Bites

Published: January 25, 2017
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

When King Mancastle and his mighty vassals ride off on crusade, the women left behind are not at all put out—that’s a lot less armor polishing for them to do. Of course, when the men get themselves eaten by a dragon and leave a curse that attracts monsters to the castle…well, the women take umbrage with that. Now the blacksmith’s wife Merinor is King, Princess Aeve is the Captain, and the only remaining (and least capable) knight Sir Riddick is tasked with teaching the ladies of the castle how to fight, defend, build, and do all manner of noisy things the men had been doing while the women assumed they were just drunk. (goodreads.com)

I’ve been hearing about LADYCASTLE for a while now so when I got the chance to nab a copy at BEA I took it. When I first started reading I was a little discombobulated with Aeve’s singing. Not too sure what was going on or what I was supposed to be reading. And then I got to the part where it’s basically making fun of Disney princesses and word comes back to the castle that all the dudes are dead and things finally settled in.

The art is cute without being cutesy and is an excellent compliment to the story itself. Both bring it all together to give you a little bit of snark, a little bit of humor, and a lot of BAMF women having to take care of themselves after their husbands got themselves killed. I look forward to reading more in the series and where Merinor takes her feisty band of badass broads next.

4

I received a copy of this comic from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

December 9, 2017

Published: June 25, 2014
Publisher: Image Comics
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Kyle Barnes has been plagued by demonic possession all his life and now he needs answers. Unfortunately, what he uncovers along the way could bring about the end of life on Earth as we know it. (goodreads.com)

This is definitely an interesting comic. I’m not strictly blown away by the art. It’s not bad. It tells the story without getting in its own way, which is nice. But the story is really what’s driving the book here.

It’s compelling and so far (having only read the first issue) it’s sort of toying with the idea that this may or may not be an actual demon possession but someone who’s just mentally ill. Maybe. But I like that psychological horror aspect of it.

While I’ve watched the first few seasons of The Walking Dead (I stopped after they escaped the Governor’s town there) I haven’t read the comics and THE OUTCAST is my first Kirkman comic that I’ve read. So far so good. It’s nabbed my attention, that’s for sure. I look forward to reading more!

4

I received a copy of this comic from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

December 2, 2017

Published: October 1, 2011
Publisher: Darby Creek Publishing
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

I thought the bus was filling with smoke. But then the smoke took the shapes of shadowy, faceless people. …

Lamar takes the late bus home from school after practice each day. After the bus’s beloved driver passes away, Lamar begins to see strange things – demonic figures, preparing to attack the bus. Soon he learns the demons are after Mr. Rumble, the freaky new bus driver. Can Lamar rescue his fellow passengers, or will Rumble’s past come back to destroy them all? (goodreads.com)

This was a great freaky little read for reluctant readers. I’ve enjoyed all of the books I’ve read in the Night Fall series and THE LATE BUS was no exception.

Jasper mixes terrifying elements of the supernatural with the psychological for a blended story that really plays with the mind. Considering the way things disappear, how not everyone can see these things, and the voices Lamar hears, it really toes the line of what’s real and what isn’t. And Jasper does it in a way that doesn’t invoke the cheese card (a la RL Stine). The characters are realistic and relatable, truly scary things happen to them, and things are resolved in a way that doesn’t require huge blow-outs and contrived situations. It all really works.

And even for a story that’s written for reluctant readers I don’t feel like I’m being talked down to. The writing is simple and to the point but it has a job to do and it does it. It tells the story. It gives me characters struggling through these scenarios. It gives me creepy, scary elements. But it doesn’t moralize me or condescend to me at all. I think the people at Lerner/Darby Creek really nailed the line for that.

Two thumbs up for THE LATE BUS! A great little chiller to read right around Halloween.

4.5

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Published: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

Sarah Andersen’s hugely popular, world-famous Sarah’s Scribbles comics are for those of us who boast bookstore-ready bodies and Netflix-ready hair, who are always down for all-night reading-in-bed parties and extremely exclusive after-hour one-person music festivals. (goodreads.com)

It’s hard to review books like this because you either like the humor or you don’t. And I loved it. Took me no time to whip through the book, laughing out loud the entire time. I’ve followed Andersen on tumblr for a while now so I was familiar with her comics going into the book (it’s why I bought it). I love her simpler style of drawing that on first look may be a little too simple but as you read through the comics you see just how poignant they are.

The reactions are what really get me. Just these bug-eyed, squiggly, sometimes-messes that have me cackling because they hit so close to home. And that’s another thing that makes them great. If you can relate to them they become all the better. As an introvert with social anxiety these hit incredibly close to home and make them all the more relatable.

Hilarious. What more can I say?

5

November 14, 2017

Published: July 1, 1994
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Author: Website
Info: Goodreads

It was Julian’s last challenge before he disappeared into the Shadow World, taking Jenny Thornton’s boyfriend Tom and her cousin Zach: “If you want them, come on a treasure hunt. But remember: if you lose, there’s the devil to pay.”

Jenny, Audrey, Michael, and Dee have burned their bridges, leaving their families behind, to enter the Shadow World with a set of runes, magical letters that open the doors of hell. They’re lost in an amusement park of nightmares, at Julian’s mercy as they look for Tom and Zach. Jenny’s only clue is a gold coin, Julian’s gift, and Julian himself, more beautiful, more seductive, and more dangerous than ever. And determined to make her his bride . . . (book back blurb)

I really hate the ‘make her his bride’ part. Because it’s less about that now and I think Julian just wants to finally win a game against Jenny. Odds aren’t in his favor here since she’s got two out of three, but points for perseverance.

THE KILL is probably my favorite book out of the whole series. I thought it was the best written, had the most heart, the best character development, and it was certainly the creepiest. An amusement park of nightmares? Yes, please. You had me at amusement park.

I like THE KILL because the characters have real consequences for their actions. People aren’t unscathed as they go through all of this. There are repercussions to things. They’re not just coasting through, trying to hit certain tasks and getting out of tight spots through a series of conveniences. For how unrealistic the story it, this only works to ground it more in reality.

The setting is killer. I love me a good creepy amusement park. I think they’re sinister anyway but to have this mock up of one in the Shadow World is just perfect. I especially liked the museum arcade with all the really old arcade games with creepy clowns and dolls in them that made all these weird clanking, grinding sounds when you used them. There’s a place in San Francisco that it reminded me of, Musee Mecanique, that’s also a penny arcade that doubles as a museum with really creepy dolls that repel and fascinating at the same time.

Jenny’s morphed into total BAMF territory and is so fed up with Julian’s crap that she just barrels through this world with only thoughts of Tom and Zach driving her. She stands firmly on her own two feet and I love how it’s the woman rescuing the men. Michael is actually the only man in the rescue party and he’s effectively worthless (still). So it’s Jenny, leading a charge of angry women into Julian’s world to take back what’s theirs. And Smith’s othering of Dee has been brought back down to a minimum. It’s still there but nowhere near as pervasive and cringe-worthy as it was in the last book.

My recap will be going up on 11/23 over at The Devil’s Elbow so be sure to check that out when it posts! The Forbidden Game is an excellent series that I think with just some small tweaks would stand up in today’s market. It’s creepy and empowering and unlike many series it actually gets better as it progresses. Love that.

4.5