PillowByRiver

If only I have a pillow by the river. Love reading in a relaxing environment, though it's often hard to do it. Most of my readings are done at airports...

Archie Vol. 1 - Fiona Staples, Mark Waid Archie Vol. 2 - Mark Waid, Veronica Fish

Humorous story in the first two volumes. I like that there is no real villains in the book. However, from vol. 3 (which is not added to booklikes yet), the story becomes slow, predicable, and there is no Betty any more. 

Lumberjanes Vol. 5: Band Together -  Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen Lumberjanes Vol. 6: Sink or Swim - Leyh Kat, Carey Pietsch,  Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Maarta Laiho, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen

Unsatisfactory followup to the first 4 volumes

The first issue in vol.5 is prequel written by Noelle Stevenson. It tells the story of how the 5 main characters and Bubbles the raccoon met when the camp started. It is still true to the character I've met and loved in first 4 volumes. This also explains why I gave these two 2 stars instead of just 1. 

 

Afterwards, without Noelle Stevenson on the team, the story hopelessly tried to make April the single main character instead of the no-single-main-character strategy used in previous volumes. This feels weird, like why is April more special than the others. What's worst is that the story became totally predicable, doctrine about "friendship-to-the-max" and not fun any more. By just skimming the pages, I can already tell the story without reading all the fruitless small talk tries to be funny. 

Lumberjanes, Vol. 1 -  Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen Lumberjanes Vol. 2 -  Noelle Stevenson Lumberjanes Vol. 3 - Shannon Watters Lumberjanes Vol. 4: Out Of Time -  Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooke Allen

A warm great series reminding me of Runaways

The first four volumes is a great warm series. The story is new, fun and mysterious. Noelle Stevenson definitely puts her great story-telling abilities to good use in this series. All characters are cute and fun in a natural way. This reminds me of Nimona also by Noelle. I don't know how to describe it, but the story always move in some peculiar pace that's unpredictable yet fun to read.

 

There is no single one most prominent character in this series. Yet all characters shine beautifully. The last series that accomplish this I have read is Runaways by Brian Vaughan. Unfortunately, like Runaways, this series made a a bad turn when the original storyteller left the team, as the vol.5 and vol.6 are not good at all without Noelle Stevenson.  

SPOILER ALERT!

I was excited about this book, but got disappointed a little after reading it

The Bourbon Thief - Tiffany Reisz

The original sinner series by Tiffany Reisz is my favorite erotic series I've read. So when this book popped up on my library's recommendation shelf, I was excited and immediately took it home. However, the book did not quite meet my expectation. 

 

The whole book starts and ends with a mysterious woman sleeping with a millionaire who loves collecting rare bourbons. She stole one very rare Red Ribbon bottle and hence the book title. After getting caught, she promised the millionaire that after hearing her story, he would be more than willing to voluntarily give her this bottle.

 

------- Now begins the spoiler ---------

 

The sex between she and the millionaire is not very natural and feels forced. The story she told, which occupies most of the book, is not so capturing. The beginning of the story is quite intense (the almost sex at the horse stall, and the flood night when Tamara's grandfather tried to rape her). It raised my expectation that this would be as good as the Siren despite the disappointing beginning. But the story took a turn and for the following half of the book the story falls very flat without any fluctuation. The author maintains a suspense tone that anything could go wrong at any moment. But it's not until within the last 80 pages. The final revelation is out of my expectation, but not shocking and good enough to keep me very interested. 

 

In general, too many witty talks were sprinkled throughout the book without pushing the plot line moving. The characters are not so likable and their motivations feel a little forced for the sole sake of twisting the story. This reminds me of the too many animated movies now with multiple small jokes (which are all put in the trailer) without a coherent plot and lovable characters. I admit these witty talks are part of Tiffany Reisz's style, and I love it sometimes. But the overall plot is not moving at all for almost half of the book so it felt quite short of my expectation. Hope she can do better on her next book. 

SPOILER ALERT!
A Monster Calls - Patrick Ness, Jim Kay

The book is so captive from the beginning. It's not long, only 200 pages, with illustrations here and there. I cannot put down the book until I finished it. It's quite mystery from the very beginning, also to the end. The ending is unexpected although you know that the monster definitely would have something to do with the protagonist's life and mind. The truth is heart wrenching, extremely powerful at the climax of its mystery. 

 

 

Now is the spoiler part. When Ben, the protagonist talks to his mom for the last time. His mom's assurance that it's alright if many years later he ever felt sorry that he didn't talk to his mom for the last few minutes, but instead just being angry that his mom "lied" to him about how serious her conditions were, it's alright. Because she knew, she knew all what he wanted to say. It made me tearing up. Here are two screenshots of these two pages (I don't even know it's legal or not to post them here, but I like it too much to care). 

 

The explanation for all the nonsense stories told by the monster is flawless. I have to quote the conversation between the monster and Ben in the last few pages. 

 

Monster: The answer is that it does not matter what you think, because your mind will contradict itself a hundred times each day. You wanted her to go at the same time you were desperate for me to save her. Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.

 

Ben: But how do you fight it? How do you fight all the different stuff inside?

 

Monster: By speaking the truth. As you spoke it just now.

 

 

Hope all people suffering from this contradiction can accept this fact now and just be honest with themselves. Your mind can have ideas from both ends of the spectrum, and it's OK. Even if the society may suggest consistency as a good virtue. 

(show spoiler)

 

 

SPOILER ALERT!
Commencement - J. Courtney Sullivan

This book touched many topics about women such as feminist, sex slaving, cheating, lesbian, etc. It is not bad to touch all the topics, and not bad to read some of the arguments in the book. But as an overall story, every character is so stereotypical that it is not convincing at all. Readers can also vaguely feel that the authors are just glorifying the "wonderful" all-woman Smithie college from which the author herself graduates from, and assigning bad names to most males.

 

At first, I just had this confusion that why they automatically became friends. You have 300 pages with very small font words. Can't you spare some space to ease us into accepting how they became good friends.

 

Bree's going back and forth between leaving her lesbian partner Lara and dating a man, is not convincing. It simply changes too fast. Since graduation, Bree had wanted to leave Lara because lack of approval from her family. She directly said without any hesitation that the she would "never" be able to present this relationship openly to her friends and family. Then right after Lara left her, she suddenly called her the love of her life. After dating handful of men during her stay with Celia at New York, she went back to San Fransisco to pack her stuff, and pursued Lara with all she has again. Seriously, this mood swing is too fast and if she has always loved Lara this deep, why all I read from the book is all her complaints against Lara?

 

Also, the description of Lara is so stereotypical--an Asian girl with short hair who's totally a hard-core lesbian. I cannot even count how many of such characters I've seen in movies and books. How does this stereotype even come? The story about how she and Bree fell in love at college is touching. But after graduation, she just became a stereotypical person that's not lovable at all.

 

Sally's husband, Jake, is like this insanely perfect husband that only exists in illusion. He is happy all the time, is enthusiastic about anything, is always tolerant of Sally's mood swing. BTW, he is also incredibly rich that right after the marriage they have a house with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. I am not saying this is necessarily impossible. But the author writes so little about him. His sole job in this book is to be perfect--all the time. That's it.

 

The ending part is especially disappointing that you know from the beginning what the truth are, but the author spends a quarter of the book describing how all other girls were so worried about April's disappearance and thought she was dead. The end chapter is not twisting at all, and is filled with unnecessary argument with how males are cruel. You have made such points repeatedly throughout the book. Right now I only worry about what happened to April. This chapter made me take another star off to make the final rating as 2 stars.

gorgeous drawing and beautiful story

Habibi - Craig Thompson

The drawing in this book is really gorgeous. Nearly every page contains beautifully drawn scriptures, curves or patterns. They make you stop reading the plot here and there just to appreciate these beautifully drawn details. 

 

The story is also very touching. Dodola, forced to be married at 9 years old, was later sold after her husband dies 3 years later. She adopted the 3 year old Zam, a black boy and lived in the dessert with him. She traded sex with caravans across the dessert for food. While Zam is in charge of finding water. By accident, Zam witnessed what Dodola did for survival and vowed to sell water to provide food for both of them. Unfortunately Dodola was kidnapped by a harem King and Dodola was starved nearly to death. Dodola became an eunuch to make a living and was kidnapped to serve in the same harem King to serve all the women there. Zam saved Dodola just as she was commanded to be drowned by the harem king. They struggled to make a living and after much struggle, including Dodola battle to recover from the drowning injury and Zam attempting suicide to deal with his castration, they adopted another small black girl and decided to start a new life together. 

 

See, I recalled all the story. They are presented in Craig Thompson's special flowing way. You feel the story is flowing and the pages are turned one after another before you even realized it. 

 

Yes, there are many many pages containing Dodola forced to have sex with caravan and harem king. I bet there are more pages with Dodola's bare breast than not. But it does not feel pretentious. It just tells a very hard life story for her. 

 

I only give it 4 star because of the plentiful religion references from Christianity and Muslim. The author kind of blends the two religion's stories and quotes together to form a fictional unified religion. I understand religion and belief are always an important part of the author's works. But it's taking so much pages that I think it's kind of distracting to the real story -- like not all the references are really useful for the progress of the whole story. The balance between religion and story is not as well handled as in Blankets. 

 

But in sum, it's definitely a recommended read. 

Good-Bye, Chunky Rice - Craig Thompson

cluttered to read. Okay story about leaving friends to new places. But both the story and the drawings are cluttered (maybe intentionally). So it's much more painful to read than Blankets. 

— feeling sad
Blankets - Craig Thompson

A heartbreaking story about love and beliefs. But the emotions are really striking. Guess I will read other books by this author. 

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

talk like God does not make your book deep, instead, it's just annoying

Sin City, Vol. 6: Booze, Broads, and Bullets - Frank Miller Sin City, Vol. 5: Family Values - Frank Miller Sin City, Vol. 2: A Dame to Kill For - Frank Miller

Not as good as the other three volumes, but still good reads.

Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye - Frank Miller Sin City, Vol. 4: That Yellow Bastard - Frank Miller Sin City, Vol. 3: The Big Fat Kill - Frank Miller Sin City, Vol. 7: Hell and Back - Frank Miller

love the story.

SPOILER ALERT!
Pride of Baghdad - Brian K. Vaughan, Niko Henrichon

A traumatic story of a pride of lions in Baghdad escaping after US bombed the city. A very ironic ending about freedom. After US soldiers killed them, they said the pride of lions are finally "free". 

mediocre

Runaways, Vol. 10: Rock Zombies - Takeshi Miyazawa, Terry Moore

Old idea: people listened to music and all became zombie. It's disappointing that the cure is simply playing the music reversely. 

Runaways, Vol. 8: Dead End Kids - Michael   Ryan, Michael Ryan, Joss Whedon Runaways, Vol. 9: Dead Wrong - Humberto Ramos, Terry Moore

OK follow-up to Brian Vaughan's first 7 volumes`

The stories in these two books are definitely as intense as the first 7 volumes written by Vaughan. But they are still fun to read. 

you know this is the book that ends the series

Runaways: Homeschooling (Runaways (Marvel Paperback)) by Immonen Kathyrn (2010-04-07) Paperback - Immonen Kathyrn

Chaotic storyline. First the author killed the lovely dinosaur Old Lace. Then he killed the lovely leapfrog, the runaways' transportation for such a long time that it even develops the ability to talk. Finally, the author decided to add a chaotic time-travel story which betrays every previous story setups. 

 

I guess that's all it takes to end this series.