Tuesday, April 25, 2017

*Review* #BeatTheBacklist - Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Katana by Mike Barr

Genre: Graphic Novel
Published: September 27, 2016
Pages: 128


One of the stars of 2016's blockbuster film Suicide Squad, get her own solo graphic novel: Katana! 
Katana's trademark weapon, her sword christened with the name Soultaker, has always been a mysterious blade. However, one of the world's most dangerous superhumans needs to know more about Soultaker's origin if she's going to have any hope of controlling the sword instead of falling under its influence. Dr. Helga Jace, a Markovian astrophysicist, may be able to shed some light--but before Katana can get the info, Kobra's forces attack! 

Prepare for Summer 2016's biggest blockbuster film with SUICIDE SQUAD MOST WANTED: KATANA, written Mike W. Barr, returning to the character he co-created in the 1980s, with art by Diogenes Neves!


I received a copy of this book through the Goodreads First to Read program in the hopes that I would leave an honest review.

So I don't read a lot of graphic novels, I've mentioned that before, because I find they just don't really appeal to me all that much, but sometimes I win them, and when I win them, I feel like I should read them (especially since they are much faster to read than novels.) I was really hoping this book would be an exception for me because I really enjoyed Suicide Squad, but I just did not really enjoy this graphic novel. 

The illustrations were good, I guess. Because of my lack of experience with graphic novels, I don't have much to compare them to however. I didn't find myself having issues following the illustration panes, so that's a positive for me. Being able to follow the storyline was definitely a bonus, but it didn't help much. 

As far as the story goes, I just felt like it was somewhat lacking in the delivery. I never really felt very engaged with the characters, and during the high action scenes, there were so many sentence fragments I wanted to bang my head against my desk. I get that I'm probably supposed to get the story from the pictures at that point, but I just don't enjoy doing that. I'm not a child anymore and prefer to form my own pictures in my head while reading because my brain is capable of doing that. 

Overall I give Suicide Squad Most Wanted: Katana 3 out of 5 stars, because even though I didn't enjoy it, that has a lot more to do with my own personal preferences than the book itself, and I wouldn't feel right giving it a lower rating with my limited experience and fondness for graphic novels. - Katie 

Buy the Book

About the Author

Mike W. Barr has written for some of pop culture's most enduring icons, including Sherlock Holmes, Ellery Queen, Doc Savage, the Shadow, Captain America, the Hulk, Batman, Star Trek, Star Wars and The Simpsons. He's also created some icons of his own, including the comic book series CAMELOT 3000, BATMAN AND THE OUTSIDERS, The Maze Agency and Mantra. He has written for the online sites Icebox and Stan Lee Media (and lived to tell the tale), and co-created the web comic Sorcerer of Fortune. He lives in a house with too many cats and not enough books.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Good for Everybody

So IABB's weekly confessions day is over, and it looks like I've got some 'splainin' to do, because it seems to me that someone (probably an author) has grossly misunderstood some recent confessions from bloggers, and I'm here to set the record straight (at least as I see it.) For those of you that are new or not aware, IABB confessions are completely anonymous and IABB and the graphics artists are not responsible for the content of the confessions, they merely provide the platform for their airing. 

Interestingly enough, this confession struck a nerve with me (probably because it's targeting bloggers, and that's what I am). Now it's not really about me because I don't sign up for blog tours and am constantly asking PR companies to remove my email address from their mailing list because it's for review requests only. Additionally, if you check my Review Policy page, you will see that I do not accept review copies of books any longer as well. I have commitment issues, and buying or winning the books that I review greatly reduces my reviewing stress levels. So in a way, I get what this confessor is saying about just buying the book if you want to read it so badly. So yeah, if there is a book that you desperately want to read and you get turned down for a review copy, buy it yourself. I'm pretty sure most bloggers already operate that way (based on various comment threads in blogger groups I'm a part of on Facebook.)

But the thing is, I really don't think any blogger is going to submit a confession saying they're tired of being told/treated like they're not important enough for review copies of books because they got turned down one time. That type of confession would be the result of consistently being refused the review opportunities, but still being expected/asked to provide promotion for all the books. In my experience, when you sign up for a blog tour requesting a review copy and you get denied that copy, the PR company still expects you to make a promo post on your scheduled date. So if a blogger is consistently being denied review copies, the PR companies are essentially saying "You're good enough for promo, but that's it." And if the blogger prefers to only promote books that they've actually read, that would get old fast. And who knows, maybe the PR companies continually refuse to grant the blogger review copies because the blogger continually refuses to post promo for books they were denied a review copy for. That's certainly a circle that could never end. I know if I were that blogger, I would simply ask to be removed from the PR companies mailing list.

And that's the thing. Asking to be removed from the mailing list in the first place is probably the only way to get the PR company to maybe reconsider their position. I imagine one of the things authors want to know about PR companies before choosing to use their services is how many signups they can guarantee, and the actual posting percentage for those signups (it will never be 100%, because things happen and some posts just don't get posted.) And sure, one blogger asking to be removed probably won't make a huge difference to the PR company because there are lots of us out there. But to the bloggers that are getting tired of being denied review copies, you might as well cut those ties now. Work with PR companies that actually value you as a blogger. I'm sure there are some out there that will (because there are quite a few PR companies out there too.)

And one final thing, to answer this confessors final question (sort of). Those confessions you're responding to are not complaints about having to potentially buy books to read them. Those confessions are a reaction to being made to feel like we (bloggers) just don't matter at all to PR companies. It's not about the books. It's about being shown that we don't matter to them. And yet, without us, the PR companies don't have jack squat to offer authors. - Katie 

*Top Ten Tuesday* Things that Make me NOT Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is things that will make me not want to read a book. This list will be shorter than last weeks.

1) Alpha males - I know that alpha males are the super hot thing in romance/erotica right now, but I've always preferred my men more beta. That overprotective, my woman can't do shit for herself attitude just isn't my cup of tea.
2) Motorcycle Clubs - So my husband and I watched Sons of Anarchy and it was okay, but MC books just do not do it for me. I think some of that may be because the men are pretty much always alpha.
3) Mafia/gangs - For me, these feel like they are exactly the same as MC books. Again the males tend to be alpha, and they have a lot of the same drama to deal with.
4) Military - My husband was active duty Army when we got married. He deployed almost exactly 6 months after we tied the knot. The last thing I needed while he was gone was anything reminding me of my loneliness and why I was lonely in the first place. I've never watched Army Wives either. He's been out of the military for over three years now, but I don't really feel any strong urge to read books that may remind me of that time of my life either.
5) Excessive spelling and grammar errors - If I happen to read reviews, and several of them mention issues with the spelling and grammar, I will avoid that book. Unfortunately, most reviewers don't mention those things, because there are many people that think pointing out those flaws, particularly in indie books, is petty, and some of THOSE people are absolutely not afraid to comment on your review about that. But spelling and grammar are important to me, so if they are an issue in a book that I've read, I will absolutely be commenting on it, naysayers be damned.

And that's pretty much all that will turn me off of a book. I really do have very eclectic taste, as I've mentioned in previous posts ad nauseam.

What are some things that will make you not want to read a book? - Katie 

*Deja Revu* 24 April 2017

Déjà Revu is a weekly review round-up that is open to all book review blogs.
Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
Dystopian/Post Apocalyptic
General Fiction
Woman's Fiction

Saturday, April 22, 2017

*Review* The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han

Genre: YA Romance
Published: May 5, 2009
Pages: 276


Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between the months of June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the next summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys that Belly has known since her very first summer--they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one terrible and wonderful summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.

Joood's Review

I have been on a Jenny Han kick lately. I basically just went through my library’s overdrive app and placed a hold on all of her books, regardless of what they were about. I totally did not read the synopsis for this one before I started reading it. I just saw who the author was, so I figured I should read it. I honestly probably would not have read it otherwise. I'm not really a fan of love triangles, especially ones that include siblings. I just think it's too much of a betrayal among the relations, and I think it’s cruel when someone leads on siblings. But I'd already gotten into the book before I realized what was going on, so it got a pass.

Although I did like the majority of the characters and I found the story to ultimately be good, I had an issue with part of the way the story was told. There was just something about the flashback scenes that confused the hell out of me. I think they were the biggest turn-off I had regarding this book. Maybe it was different in the written version, but I did the audio – and there really wasn’t much of an indicator of the age shift.

As I mentioned, I liked the characters... well, all but one. I had a really hard time caring about Belly... which is disappointing, because she’s the main character. She’s also an entitled little shit. (I blame her parents). It’s bad enough she’s toying between two brothers, but she’s also so freaking fickle about it. It made her out to be annoying AF.

Still, I liked it enough to want to read the next book… especially with that ending. I am just saying.

3/5 Platypires - Joood - Hooligan

Buy the Book

About the Author

Jenny Han is the New York Times bestselling author of The Summer I Turned Pretty series; Shug; the Burn for Burn trilogy, cowritten with Siobhan Vivian; and To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Still Love You. She is also the author of the chapter book Clara Lee and The Apple Pie Dream. A former children’s bookseller, she earned her MFA in creative writing at the New School. Visit her at DearJennyHan.com.

*Stacking the Shelves* 22 April 2017

(Titles link to Amazon via Amazon Affiliate links)

Stacking The Shelves is a feature/weekly meme created by Tynga’s Reviews in which you share the books you are adding to your shelves, both physical and virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical stores or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Now, I already have a monthly post I do featuring the books I get in the mail (and it's a lot because I have a serious Goodreads First Reads giveaway addiction), and I'm going to try to start posting my monthly Read-A-Thon posts again too (even if none of the Platypires will be joining me), which will cover the books I receive through Netgalley. But I also go to my thrift store at least once a week, and often leave with a bag full of books. It's such a common occurrence that I'm known as The Book Lady to the frequent volunteers (and I suspect that they've started scheduling their $1 bag of books sales for Thursdays simply because that is the day I usually visit.) So my Stacking the Shelves posts are going to focus on my thrift store hauls, because this is my blog and I do what I want. 

On that note, here are the books I picked up this week.

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving - I know this is a book that ends up on lists of great books or books that everyone should read, so I needed it. 
The Princess Plot by Kirsten Boie - I feel like this book would appeal to my daughter. The cover is almost entirely pink, and she really likes pink. 
A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines - My son actually suggested this book. Based on the cover, it definitely qualifies as a diverse read I think, so I bought it. 
The Portable Beat Reader edited by Ann Charters - This is a classic, so I needed it. 
My Horizontal Life by Chelsea Handler - So I really wish I would have flipped through this book before buying it, because some asshole censored it. It's fucking Chelsea Handler talking about one night stands. There is supposed to be fucking cursing damnit. 
Mattimeo by Brian Jacques - I have bought a few of the Redwall books, so I'm trying to get the entire collection. 
The Beet Queen by Louise Erdrich - I'm not really sure why I bought this book. I think something somewhere made me feel like I'm supposed to read Erdrich, but I don't know for sure.  SaveSave
Tales of Burning Love by Louise Erdrich - There were a few Erdrich books at the thrift store this week, so I snagged most of them. 
The Bingo Palace by Louise Erdrich - So I really liked the cover of this book. My copy has what looks like a circus tent outlined in Christmas lights under the aurora borealis. It's quite pretty. 
The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz and J.S. Lewis - So I honestly thought that this would be a sequel to some YA fantasy story. It's not. It's the first book in the series. So that's a bonus. 
Conspiracy by S.J. Parris - First of all, the cover for this book is awesome. Second, it's historical fiction set in the 1500s. 
How to Conquer the Tri-State Area by Heinz Doofenshmirtz (with Ellie O'Ryan and Dan Povenmire) - Phineas and Ferb is one of the few kids shows that I actually enjoy watching with my children, so this was a no-brainer. 
The Truth Behind A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lois H. Gresh - I have several of the books from the Series of Unfortunate Events series, so this seemed like a good book to buy to go with those. 
The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp by Rick Yancey - Someone wrote "awsome" inside the front cover in lime green marker. I took that as an endorsement for the book. 
Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman - I own several of Gaiman's books...One of these days I will actually read one of them. 
Demigods and Monsters edited by Rick Riordan - I bought this book thinking it was written by Rick Riordan. It's not. It's written by other people (one of them Jenny Han) about Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. It will likely still be entertaining.
The Dinner by Herman Koch - I'm like 93.7% sure that this book appears on some sort of list, although looking at the cover on Amazon, it might be one of those lists of books to read before the movie comes out. 
The Wednesdays by Julie Bourbeau - The cover is like this deep aqua green color, and looks a bit creepy. My son likes to read "scary" stories to help him be more brave. This could come in handy. 
The Life List by Lori Nelson Spielman - My copy of this book has a cartoony cover (which if you read my recent Top Ten Tuesday post you know that gets me). It's also a blueish-green color (which also gets me). I'm guessing it falls pretty solidly in the women's fiction category. 
A Rotten Person Travels the Caribbean by Gary Buslik - The cover of this book made me think of Jimmy Buffett. My mother-in-law loves Jimmy Buffett. It is probably in no way, shape or form connected to Jimmy Buffett, but that doesn't really matter. 
Slave Girl by Sarah Forsyth - I sometimes enjoy reading true-crime books. And one of the topics that both horrifies and fascinates me in that arena is human trafficking. I imagine this will be a thought provoking read.

So that's all the books I got this week. And because my thrift store was having a bag of books sale when I was there, this haul only cost me $2. One of these days I'm going to have to stop book shopping at the thrift store because I'm going to run out of room for all my books.

What books did you add to your shelves this week? - Katie

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

*Top Ten Tuesday* Things that Will Make Me Want to Read a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Joood - Hooligan of Platypire reviews bossed me into doing this, so I guess this is a thing I do now. 

This weeks theme is things that will make me instantly want to read a book.

1) Cover. I know they say that you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but we all end up doing it anyway to some extent at least. I mean, it's the first thing we see after all. There are a few different types of covers that will immediately draw me in. First, covers that are heavily blue or aqua in color are very appealing to me. They demand further attention. I'm also very drawn to cartoonish covers. I don't know what it is about them that I like so much, but they call me, and I have a hard time resisting the lure.

2) Title. I will buy a book simply because I find the title intriguing, and the weirder the better really. For instance, I may not have read Amish Vampires in Space by Kerry Nietz yet, but I've owned it since October 2015 (and it was on my wish list for a while before I actually bought it.) And I will read it one day, probably (Joood - Hooligan keeps telling me I need to) because I'm just really interested to see what type of story this title fits.

3) Controversy. Call me crazy, but if there is controversy surrounding a book, I want to know why, and I want to read for myself. Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth, for example, is one of those books I want to read because of the controversy surrounding it. (Granted, I wanted to read it before I heard about the controversy because of the blue cover, but now the controversy has increased my desire to read it.) Now this is a book that even after reading it, I may not understand what is so controversial about it, because I'm white. But reading it would put me in a better position to learn about topics or portrayals that are widely considered a problem.

4) Hype. Like controversy, I want to know what it is about a book that has everyone talking about it. A good example of this is 50 Shades of Grey by E.L. James. This was a book my last book club read because we wanted to know what all the hype was about, why were women going crazy over this book. And 50 Shades didn't live up to the hype for me, but I do understand it.

5) Setting. This is more about time than place, but I want to read every book set during the WWII era, particularly the ones that take place in Europe. And this doesn't mean I don't want to read books set during other times (because I do), but seeing a date between 1939 and 1945 in a book's blurb will have me one clicking faster than you can say "Bob's your uncle."

So there are probably more things that will make me instantly want to read a book, but these are what I can think of right now. This was kind of a difficult topic for me because it's pretty easy to get me intrigued in a story, and I wanted to keep the list reasonably short (for a change).

What are some things that will make you instantly want to read a book? - Katie