Thursday, April 19, 2018

Deanna Plays: Ready Player One Made Me Play Video Games Again


Deanna Plays is a monthly feature on this blog where every third Thursday of the month I talk about something related to video games. Sometimes these are reviews of the games themselves, sometimes it's a list of books to read if you play X, and anything in between!

I've definitely talked about this before on the blog, but I don't think I talked about it on this feature before. So if you are new and want to know about my relationship with videogames this is a good post to read.

I spent my formative years playing a lot of Spyro on the original PlayStation, but somewhere along the way I stopped playing videogames. In college my boyfriend tried to get me to play Skyrim, but I felt like it was just too much. I really felt like it was listening to Wil Wheaton (aka Wesley fucking Crusher) read RPO to me that really made me dive back into gaming.

It's such a time suck, but since I am a pretend adult with no responsibilities, I enjoy wasting so much time playing games. My boyfriend and I are actually looking for a game to play together because we spend a lot of time playing  games separately. We love games but it would be nice to  play them together.

Listening to RPO and hearing about the Oasis just made me want to experience what that was.  I don't think I play a game quite like the Oasis, but it would be so amazing  to experience something like it. The closest thing I have come to it is Elder Scrolls Online and I barely interact with other gamers!

 Are you a gamer? What made you start gaming?

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

ARC Review: Spectacle Vol.1 By Megan Rose Gedris

Spectacle Vol.1 by Megan Rose Gedris
Publisher: Oni Press
Release Date: May 22nd, 2018
Format: Egalley, 136 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 
★ 1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Fan-favorite webcomic creator Megan Rose Gedris (Yu+Me Dream) crafts a compelling tale of magic, deception, and wonder in this stunningly illustrated graphic novel about the bond between sisters.

Pragmatic engineer Anna works as a psychic in the Samson Brothers Circus, but she doesn't believe in anything supernatural—until her twin sister Kat is murdered and comes back as a very demanding ghost. Sharing a room with her sister was hard, but now they're sharing a body while trying to identify the killer. With few leads, a troupe full of secretive folk, and strange paranormal occurrences popping up around the circus, solving the case seems near impossible. But the murderer in their midst may be the least of their problems
At first I was a little lukewarm on the art in this comic, but as I started to read this I started to like it better. I think it just looks a little different from what I am used to reading in terms of comics. I think part of my issue was that this originated as a webcomic, and I think webcomic art just has a different feel to it. I don't think it's bad at all, I think maybe it just wasn't what I was expecting at first, but I grew to love it.

I think what really won me over in this comic was the story. I was so interested in what was going on in this story, and there was a lot going on. The main plot is that Anna has discovered that her twin sister has been murdered and she goes around trying to figure out who in the circus they work for has done it. Anna is a pragmatic and believes in science and reason, which is funny because she is the circus' fortune teller. It's clear she feels bad scamming people, but a girl's got to eat! I really liked that she tried to see reason and find out the clues, even though she is convinced someone in particular has killed her sister. There's also a subplot with the law man of the town having put the leader of their circus in jail for no real reason, and the rest of the circus tries to make more money to collect for his bail. That gets more interesting later in the book, but at first it seemed so out of place. 

I couldn't stop reading this and going to the next page, because I just wanted to find out what was going to happen. Anna starts seeing her sister's ghost after her death, and I liked this part because she is 100% convinced that she is going crazy. Or is she? We get some snippets of the sisters lives before the circus, they ran away from an orphanage and I think it's alluded that bad stuff happened there. We don't know what, so I am hoping there is another issue to show us more about this. I'm really interested in what they ran away from, and what Kat has done that other people in the circus think she got what she deserved. 

My one complaint about this comic is that it ends on a massive cliffhanger! Like, I kept trying to click over to the next page because I didn't think it was over yet. I thought there was a glitch in the digital file I had, but then I saw other reviews mention the cliffhanger. I am hoping there is going to be another installment because the ending was so crazy and we still don't know who killed Kat. I NEED to know! 

I think this is another instance of the author & illustrator being the same person, and I like it. I don't think I've read anything by Gedris before, but I am interested in her work going forward. 

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review
Happy Reads Everyone!
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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Review: The Lost Path by Amelie Flechais

The Lost Path By Amelie Felchais
Publisher: Lion Forge Comics
Release Date: April 10th, 2018
Format: Egalley, 103 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 
★1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

Three young boys set off from Camp Happiness, map in hand, determined to be the first to find the treasure before anyone else. But the shortcut they take leads to something far more spectacular and sinister! All manner of magical beasties live in these woods, and the kids find themselves caught between warring Forest Spirits. Will the three boys find their way out of trouble? Get your map and ready, set, go! Amélie Fléchais's incredible artwork combines the best of French illustration with manga influences. A spooky new fairytale, for fans of Over the Garden Wall.
What is interesting to me about this comic is that the author and the illustrator are the same person. I don't think I've read many comics that one person is doing all the work, so that is pretty impressive. 

The art in this comic was amazing! Although, I think I have a very early copy because there are a lot of panels that are done in black and white line drawings and have not been filled in. I actually had to download this arc twice, because on the Bluefire Reader app I use on my tablet the pages with the black and white drawings just came through as blank. I opened it on Adobe Digital Editions on my computer and it was fine. It was just super frustrating because I prefer to read comics on my tablet, and it's the first time I've had an issue with files not reading correctly from netgalley. I don't think NG is at fault for this, it might just be an issue with the app I use.

The story for this one was about three boys that get lost in the woods and get sucked into a forest world they don't understand. We get a little bit of an introduction in the front of this story about what has happened, but I felt like once they get wrapped into the conflict I don't understand what the heck is happening. They don't either, so I think that is kind of the point, but the plot just felt very confusing. I'm wondering if there is going to be another book because I want to know more about what is going on in the forest. I think the kids in the story do too.

I honestly don't remember if the boys in this story have names. Maybe I wasn't paying attention. We do know that two of them are brothers, and the younger brother is really weird. I don't know if he was supposed to be not altogether there or if he just was a kid playing but he just seemed too weird. I just didn't get him. I think that these characters needed to be fleshed out a little more. I just don't think I really understood what they were about. It's also not really clear why they were in the woods in the first place! 

The art in this was great so I really enjoyed that about this one, but I just left it wanting more. I wanted to know more about these kids, and I wanted more details on what was going on in the forest. 

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Monday, April 9, 2018

Review: Hockey Karma by Howard Shapiro

Hockey Karma by Howard Shapiro
Publisher: Animal Media Group
Release Date: November 1st, 2016
Format: Egalley, 160 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 


Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD

The highly anticipated sequel to the award winning “The Hockey Saint” taking place ten years after “Saint” ends. The legendary Jeremiah “Jake” Jacobson, now thirty two, has been the world’s best hockey player over his fourteen year career because of his out of this world talent level and his smart play. But he can’t stay on top forever, and when he starts making mistakes on the ice, his career and family life start to crumble.

At the same time, Tom Leonard, his agent and best friend, is completely overwhelmed by a project that he and Jake were supposed to be working on together. A project that could have a huge impact on people throughout their city in need of a helping hand. As Jake sinks deeper into a funk over his lost status due to his deteriorating play and the emergence of teammate and rookie phenom Barclay Pedersen, Tom realizes he’s on his own. At the same time he rediscovers someone from his past who he never thought he’d see again. In that burgeoning relationship, Tom discovers the importance of taking chances and starts to believe in himself.

Can Jake break out of his downward spiral and Tom finally find the courage to step out of Jake’s shadow?
 
Hockey Karma is the sequel to The Hockey Saint, and also the third and final book in Howard Shapiro's Forever Friends Trilogy. Immediately starting this comic I noticed a huge difference in the art from this one to the last one. The characters in this book are older, more adult and the art felt that way. I'm not 100% sure if that was why the art was so different, because I checked and it looks like a different artist did this book. I think because the characters looked so different in this one that I had a hard time reconciling that this was the same naive Tom we met in the last story. Although, I think that was maybe the point.

There were parts about this book that I liked better than the previous one. I felt like this one showed more about actually playing hockey and less about the talking sports heads. That's what I look for in a sports book, so that interested me. I also really liked that we saw a female head coach for a team! That was awesome!

What I didn't like was the character of Jeremiah Jacobson. He straight up sucks. He acts like such a petulant man-child the entire story. He's mad that he is getting close to retirement and his body can't handle playing hockey anymore that he takes it out on the new rookie on his team who has done nothing wrong. His family also suffers a lot. I didn't get a feel from this story that him and Felicity actually ever wanted children, and it feels like they have a pretty unhappy marriage. I felt really bad for Felicity, because it seems like over the course of what we have seen of their marriage she has to take care of him all the time. Honestly I felt like she would have been better of without him. I understand that Jacobson clearly has an issue with addiction, and I'm glad we see him get help, but it felt like we went over all that stuff in the previous book. 

There is a subplot of Tom finding love, and of him trying to make a plan to revitalize the city. I found this stuff interesting and it was cool to see Tom actually taking what he learned in the last book and trying to do go in the community.  

The book ends on a high note, and I think this a good place to end with the story about the friendship between Jacobson and Tom. I enjoyed this one, but I don't think I need to read more about these two at this point.

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review
Happy Reads Everyone!
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Saturday, April 7, 2018

March Wrap Up


Ah it's already April!!!! And I'm already pretty late with writing up this post for my March Wrap Up, but here goes!

No Deanna Listens went up in March, mostly because I haven't really been listening to new stuff, just mostly been listening to my regular faves. The other part is that I just have been lazy when it comes to posting on here. I am THE worst!

DEANNA PLAYS


For Deanna Plays this month I talked about how I have basically played nothing but Elder Scrolls Online. It's a never ending game that I will NEVER finish, but I am obsessed with it.


BOOKISH THOUGHTS


I had another Bookish Thoughts go up in March, Reflecting on Blogging for Books Shutting down. I talked about what I felt about Blogging For books program shuttering it's virtual doors.

BOOKS I REVIEWED








  • The Magician King by Lev Grossman ★1/2
  • Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner ★★★★★
  • The Book of Esther by Emily Barton ★★
  • Star Wars: Aftermath- Empire's End By Chuck Wendig ★★★
  • The Girl, The Owl by Franco ★★★
  • Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young ★★★★

FROM THE BLOGOSPHERE
What were the best books you read in March?


Happy Reads Everyone!
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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

ARC Review: The City on the Other Side By Mairghread Scott

The City On The Other Side By Mairghread Scott
Publisher: First Second Books
Release Date: April 24th, 2018
Format: Egalley, 224 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 


Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD


When a wealthy and sheltered young girl stumbles into a pitched war between two fairy kingdoms, the fate of San Francisco itself hangs in the balance!

The first decade of the twentieth century is coming to a close, and San Francisco is still recovering from the great earthquake of 1906. Isabel watched the destruction safely from her window, sheltered within her high-society world.

Isabel isn't the kind of girl who goes on adventures. But that all changes when she stumbles through the invisible barrier that separates the human world from the fairy world. She quickly finds herself caught up in an age-old war and fighting on the side of the Seelie—the good fairies.
The City on The Other Side is a cute comic about a young girl that doesn't think she belongs anywhere going on an adventure in Faerieland. I am a huge fan of Faerie stories and am pretty well versed in the Seelie/Unseelie courts that I felt I was able to jump right into this one. 

I really liked that the Faeries in this comic are not just humanoid looking people with wings. There were lots of different and diverse looking creatures and beings in Faeire. Like, Button the Seelie Faerie that helps Isabel on her quest. Button is very much a mushroom-person?? I guess you could call it. There are other faerie that are personifications of flowers, and the Unseelie leader is a humanoid looking man with antlers. I loved that we so many different types of Faerie in this story. I found myself trying to pick them out in all the different panels. 

I also liked that even though this book isn't in modern times, it's set in San Francisco after the great Earthquake, we actually see people of color! Because San Francisco has always been a pretty diverse city. So I was glad to see that in Isabel and Benjie, who even mentions he is Filipino. It actually took me awhile to figure out that this wasn't set in modern times, but that was because the story take place mostly on the other side of "the veil" in Faerieland. 

I really liked the art in this one. It was very vibrant and I got a really good feel for the magical allure of Faerie. On the copy I had it looked a little blurry, but I partly wonder if the file I was given off netgalley downloaded as low-res. I checked one of the other comics in the app I use on my tablet, and that was also slightly blurry so I think this is an issue with where I read these ARC comics, and nothing to do with the artwork in this comic. I am 100% sure the printed copy will not look as low-res as I viewed it. So I am really interested to see how the finished product is different. 

This was a quick read, but I found it really enjoyable. Not sure if there will be anymore books after this one, because it does feel like a complete story. I would love to read more about Isabel and Benjie going on adventures together. If you like a good Faerie story, I recommend this one. 

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Monday, April 2, 2018

Deanna Listens: Hey YA

Deanna Listens is a monthly feature on the first Monday of every month...err sometimes when I remember to do it, I created to showcase some of my favorite podcasts. Today I am talking about a new podcast I started listening to, Hey YA.

Hey YA is yet another podcast from the great people behind Book Riot. This one is focused on young adult (or YA) fiction. It's hosted by Eric Smith a literary agent, author & BR contributor and Kelly Jensen an author & editor at BR, so I think they are a really credible source to talk about YA literature. I'm a huge fan of YA, so I find this one to be right up my alley.

I think they do a really good job of talking about what makes a book YA and what doesn't. One episode they briefly discussed "New Adult" which is not really a thing. It definitely deserves an episode in itself. I am conflicted about NA, because I like the idea of it especially for someone that is looking for more books about people in their twenties, but I don't know if there needs to be a new genre for it. They did an episode where they talked about all the "X meets X" pitches. Some of them were really accurate, and some of them were hilariously bad. This one really mad me laugh. It was in Episode 3, Is the Alien Rich?  

I'm just starting out with this podcast, and it's still relatively new (only 14 episodes so far) so I don't have a lot of favorite episodes yet but I think this one has a lot of potential to be good. I am definitely enjoying what I am hearing so far. Smith also used to work for Quirk Books which is based in Philly, so I always want to support people from my area. Also I've followed him on twitter for awhile and he seems like a cool dude.

If you are a fan of YA and want to listen to two people have good discussions about the genre I suggest checking this podcast out.

Happy Reads Everyone!
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Sunday, April 1, 2018

Review: The Hockey Saint By Howard Shapiro

The Hockey Saint By Howard Shapiro
Publisher: Animal Media Group
Release Date: September 10th, 2014
Format: Egalley, 153 pages
Source: Netgalley*
My Rating: 
★ 1/2

Goodreads ★ Amazon ★ B&N ★ TBD


The highly anticipated sequel to "The Stereoypical Freaks" and the 2nd book in the "Forever Friends" Trilogy, this is "The Hockey Saint"

Twenty-one year old Jeremiah Jacobson is the world's best hockey player, but he wasn't prepared for the frenzy and scrutiny that came with that title. Tom Leonard is an average college sophomore... just a guy trying to find his place in the world as he sorts through issues that are both very real and seemingly insurmountable. 

Through a chance meeting, these two strike up an unlikely friendship. Their bond is tested when Tom discovers that his idol isn't as perfect up close as he seems from afar. With Jeremiah living a little too much in the moment and with his past catching up to him, will Tom be able to help him before it's too late?
I initially requested the book that comes after this on netgalley, but was granted access to Animal Media Group's catalog so I discovered that this book was available, so I decided to dive in here. I had no idea this is actually the second book in the series. I don't think I missed much from not reading the first book. I think the story in this comic stands well on its own, so if you haven't read the first one you can still pick up on what is going on.

There isn't anything particularly special about the art in this one. I liked it, but there was nothing that really jumped out as "wow" to me. It had some pretty standard clean lines in the art, which I think makes sense for this story. The story in this comic is what really stands out, and I think that is kind of the point.

I think this story is interesting, it's all about how not everything is what it seems. When Tom meets his idol hockey player he has some preconceived notions about what he is supposed to be like. He expects a glamorous lifestyle, which he gets some of that, but Jacobson also tries to show Tom how it's important to give back to your community. It actually made me feel bad that I don't do enough charity work! Jacobson is somewhat of a "hockey saint" with how much he gives back to his community.

This was a decent one, but I had a hard time with the main character Tom. As soon as he meets his idol he kind of gives up the rest of his life to hangout with this dude. His grades drop, he starts missing practice and he's kind of crappy best friend. It seems to "all work out in the end" in this comic, but I felt like it was wrapped up a little too perfectly. His best friend forgives him for basically ditching him way too easily. The neat ending just didn't sit that well for me.

I was initially interested in this one because it's about hockey, and I am a huge hockey fan, but it's less about the game and more about how it holds captive some of the people that make a living off of it. It also seems like the author was throwing mad shade at sports journalism and how everything these athletes do is scrutinized to the Nth degree. I don't think he's wrong in this assessment, but I found it really interesting to read about here. It was so interesting to me that Jacobson would refuse to do interviews with the traditional media, but will do stuff for smaller blogs. I know when I wrote for smaller hockey blogs this was a hard feat to manage!

The next comic in this series is also about Tom and Jacobson again, so I am really interested to see where their story goes next.

*I received a free egalley copy of this book in exchange for my honest review

Happy Reads Everyone!
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