Monday, September 25, 2017

A Book Review - GHOSTS a graphic novel

GhostsGhosts by Raina Telgemeier
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Telgemeier, known for her graphic novel adaptations of The Baby-Sitters Club, as well as the original books Sisters & Smile, here tells the story of Catrina, a typical young teenage girl whose parents take her and her sister from sunny, Southern California to a windy and foggy seaside town in the norther part of the state. The move is due to the cystic fibrosis with which her younger sister, Maya, suffers. As much as she loves her sister and is concerned about her, Cat can't help but feel some anger as she is separated from the friends and their social activities. Slowly she becomes adapted to her new school and makes friends, but in doing so cuts Maya out of her life.

One thing that both sisters discover is that the town believes in and celebrates ghosts, especially at the annual Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival. It seems that here in this town the dead truly do return to party and feast with their descendants. Can the fearful Catrina finally accept the possibility that spirits do survive? Also, why do some of them become so welcoming to young Maya, who understand all too well how brief life can be.

While Telgemeier's artstyle is easily accessible to kids, I'm not sure that this book would not frighten some younger children, with the concept of death, especially of children their own age. Lovely book, but parents might want to read it before letting their child read it or reading it to them.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Book Review: Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart

Girl Waits with Gun (Kopp Sisters, #1)Girl Waits with Gun by Amy  Stewart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The first book in a series based on the real life of Constance Kopp, an early female Deputy Sheriff in Bergen County, NJ. She and her sisters, living on their own on a farm, became involved in an accident with a local business owner who refused to pay for the repair of their buggy. From that point on the lives of all three sisters took a dramatic turn. Eventually leading to Constance entering a profession quite unusual for women in that era.

Told from the viewpoint of Constance, Stewart (using a mix of real and fictional characters) presents a wonderful, if old fashioned story of three very, different women and how their lives were changed by what should have been the simple repayment of a debt. Throwing in a fictional account of a child kidnapping, the book consists mostly of material taken from newspaper articles, letters and journal entries, plus interviews with the descendants of some individuals.

All three of the Copp sisters, along with other secondary characters in the book are well developed and I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

It's almost time for Comic-Con 2017

Hard to believe that it's already that time again.  Doesn't seem like a year has passed since the last one.  Hell, I think I still have some books I picked up there that I haven't read yet.

It's going to be strange not having my friend, Dan, here this year.  He's going to be taking care of some personal business and so couldn't attend. If we try again next year, maybe things will work out. I've also heard that Dick's Last Resort is no longer open, which is a bummer, as it had become a tradition to grab a burger and brew there at least once during that week.  There are lots of other places in the Gaslamp, but Dick's had it's own unique personality and the place was always full of fans & pros having a great time.

Not sure what I'll be up to this year, since I'll be on my own, plus as I'm not going to be trying to get into Hall H I'll have more free time to check into some of the smaller rooms and just wander the main floor.  I will be spending part of Thursday at the San Diego Public Library attending the 2nd Annual Educators & Librarian Comic Conference.  Very interesting last year and the inspiration for the Comic-Con we had here at Orange Public Library in May.  We had close to 600 folks in attendance and hope to make it an annual event.  I have to thank the folks at SDCC for allowing us to license the Comic-Con trademark and also the Free Comic Book Day organization for sending us dozens of free comics that we were able to hand out to attendees of all ages.

Can't close without admitting that one of the best parts of my visit is getting to spend time with my step-daughter, Kristina and her lovely bride, Sarah.  They always find some new place to take me to and we never fail to have a great time.

This year I actually hope to complete the SDCC coverage of my day-to-day adventures.  I never finished it last year, but plan to be a better blogger this time out. One of the highlights was meeting and getting a selfie with actor Nyambi Nyambi, probably best known as Samuel on the show Mike & Molly. Really a nice guy.

You can probably keep better track of me on Facebook or Twitter, or even my occassional Instagram posts. If I ever figure out Imgur I might try to post there, instead of just checking out other folks.

Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Book Review - Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

When a private plane crashes in the water's off Martha's Vineyards nine of the eleven passengers and crew are killed. Last minute boarder Scott Burroughs and the young son of wealthy parents are the only survivors. Initially declared a hero for saving the boy, Scott soon finds himself not only suspect in the crash but also the target of a Bill O'Reilly like TV anchor with his own agenda.

What happened to the plane to cause the crash and just who were the people on board? What led them all to be on that plane on that particular night? Writer Hawley (Screen writer and executive producer of several TV shows, including Fargo & Legion) does a great job here introducing us to some realistic and flawed folks who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time on one fateful night."&gt  all my reviews

Monday, May 15, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 - A Popcorn for One Review

Let's get the most often asked question out of the away at the beginning. No, this film is not as good as the first movie, but not all sequels are.  Of course, you do have some where the second film in the franchise is better.  Sadly, this is not the case here, but I did enjoy the film, only glancing at my watch once.

The Guardians are doing what they do best. Taking on some big bad for a reward.  The opening scenes of the film are a lot of fun and show that the movie is going to go even more for laughs than the first.  Maybe there is even a little too much humor, as setting up some jokes really does take away from the main story.  Which happens to be the discovery of Peter (Star-Lord's) true father and where he has been for all these years.  Kurt Russel is wonderful, as usual, playing the human appearing projection of Ego, the Living Planet. An entity millions of years old, who had been seeking his true purpose.  Having fallen in love with an Earth woman, who was to give birth to his son, Ego moved on for a while.  I'll not give anything else away at this point, but there were some wonderful scenes between Russel and Chris Pratt throughout the movie.

While this is going on we have the "B" plot, involving the race called The Sovereign, who believe themselves the ultimate in evolution. A golden skinned (and eyed) race who consider themselves superior in every way.  Feeling that some of there property has been stolen (and you can guess by whom) they set out to destroy the Guardians.  When one attempt fails they turn to Yondu and his band of cutthroats, who may have their own reasons for wanting to meet again with the Guardians. While Yondu (played with obvious glee by Michael Rooker) was fun in the first film, his role here is much larger and very central to both story lines as they merge.

I think I can give this movie a solid "B" without much effort.  The jokes mostly hit, the acting was good by everyone, with Dave Bautista just great as Drax.  It was nice seeing some new Marvel characters appear, some fun cameos and two actors that I was surprised to see, but enjoyed. One of them I hope to see reappearing in some future movies.

Of course, Marvel fans know they need to stick around for some post-credit fun, but here we even get some cuteness during the credits.  One of the later bits sets up a character who will probably be introduced in the third Guardians film.  I'm a long-time fan and immediately realized who this was going to be even before the name was revealed.  If you read the Kirby issues of Fantastic Four, you'll be just as excited.

The trailers preceding the feature were mostly for comics related films coming up later this year, with only Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK standing out as not fitting into the SF or comics genre.  It was a fun few hours and even with the movie being in its second weekend the 11:40 AM showing on Sunday was still half full.