Review: Batman: White Knight

Batman White Knight

Publisher: DC Comics
Released: October 9th 2018
Received: Bookish Giveaway
Issues: Batman: White Knight 1-8
Warnings: Animal death (mild), imagery of self-harm (graphic)
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

I won a copy of Batman: White Knight through a Bookish Contest.

Batman: White Knight is a standalone Batman plot. Unlike some of the other famous standalone series (most notably Batman: Hush) this one really can’t fit in with the main continuity. Some major events were altered to fit this plot. The alterations were interesting, and done with a clear intent. And to be honest, I enjoyed some of the changes made more than the original. But more on that later.

I’ve read a lot of Batman comics in recent years. So when I tell you that this was in all likelihood my favorite plot in quite some time, I want you to grasp my full meaning of that. I read this volume and immediately found myself wishing I had more to read. I don’t think there’s any intention to continue the series from here (it felt complete) but man would I love it if they did.

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Review: Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur Vol. 5: Fantastic Three

Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur Vol 5

Publisher: Marvel
Released: July 10th 2018
Received: Marvel Unlimited
Issues: Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur 25-30
Rating: 4 kitties

I read Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur Vol.5 as single issues through the Marvel Unlimited app.

Moon Girl and the Devil Dinosaur is officially five volumes in (actually, more than that by now) and still going strong. I’ll admit that I was a little hesitant to start reading this volume, what with the major change that happened in the last one. But I ended up being really happy with my decision to continue reading it.

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Review: Alice Payne Rides (Alice Payne #2) by Kate Heartfield

Alice Payne Rides

Publisher: Tor.com
Author: Kate Heartfield
Release: March 5th 2019
Received: Tor.com ARC
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of Alice Payne Rides from Tor.com in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Alice Payne Rides is the second novella in the Alice Payne series. It’s a time traveling series full of strong and brilliant women, and some admittedly curious situations that they managed to get themselves into.

If you had any doubt about its ability to follow up the first then put them to rest. Alice Payne Rides was everything I could have hoped for out of a sequel, and then some. It was just as intense as the first novella, if not more so. It furthered the plots already started, and best of all, it continued developing all of the characters we’ve met so far.

The world of Alice Payne is beautiful and dark. Time traveling has opened many doors that science fiction authors have warned us about for years – and then some. This series does a phenomenal job of showing us the cost of time traveling, while also highlighting the hope that it can carry with it simultaneously.

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Review: The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas

The Psychology of Time Travel

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Author: Kate Mascarenhas
Release: February 12th, 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Self-injury, hazing
Rating: 4 1/2 kitties

I received a copy of The Psychology of Time Travel through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

 

The Psychology of Time Travel is the debut novel of Kate Mascarenhas, and believe me when I tell you that it is absolutely worth reading. The novel is being described as perfect for fans of Hidden Figures, which I agree with. It’s one of the most intelligent stories I’ve read about time travel, and I just can’t say enough positive things about it.

At the beginning of the book, Kate Mascarenhas makes a point of talking about her motivation for writing it. She said that she felt that there wasn’t enough of a representation of women, or people of color, in time travel plots. And she’s not wrong. I don’t think it ever really hit me until I read The Psychology of Time Travel, but I have never read something quite like this.

Going back to the Hidden Figures reference – picture Hidden Figures meets time travel – and you’ve got an idea of the tone of this novel. It’s smart and sassy and full of brilliant women of all types. It also tells a story of time travel that I’ve never seen before, and I absolutely adored it.

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Review: The Psychology of Zelda

The Psychology of Zelda

Publisher: Smart Pop|
Editor: Anthony Bean|
Release: February 19th 2019
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of The Psychology of Zelda through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Psychology of Zelda is a collection of essays written by psychologists fascinated with the enduring nature of our love of Zelda. Together they delve into the psychology behind the game, some with a focus on Link, others with a focus on the plots or trials that Link goes through, and yet others choosing to focus on Zelda herself.

This novel is perfect for any fan of Zelda, from the casual to the dedicated. Anybody that’s curious about how one could break down the psychology behind the game would really enjoy this read. I know I did.

There are ten essays in total in this collection. Embodying the Virtual Hero: A Link to the Self by Jonathan Erickson; It’s Dangerous to Go Alone: The Hero’s Journey in the Legend of Zelda by Stephen K. Kuniak; The Nocturne of (Personal) Shadow by Louise Grann; The Archetypal Attraction by Anthony M. Bean (who is also the editor of the collection); Unmasking Grief: Applying the Kubler-Ross Five Stages of Greif Model to the Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask by Larisa A. Garski, F. Cary Shepard, and Emory S. Daniel; The Protective Power of Destiny: Posttraumatic Growth in the Legend of Zelda by Larisa A. Garski and Justine Mastin; The Quest for Meaning in the Legend of Zelda by Kelsey Klatka and Louise Grann; The Song of the Ritos: The Psychology of the Music Within the Legend of Zelda Series by Shane Tilton; Triforce Heroes and Heroines: Transcending the Opposites Through the Golden Power by Angie Branham Mullins; and the Legend Herself: From Damsel in Distress to Princess of Power by Melissa Huntley and Wind Goodfriend.

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Review: How to Fracture a Fairy Tale by Jane Yolen

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale

Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Author: Jane Yolen
Release: November 6th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of How to Fracture a Fairy Tale through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

How to Fracture a Fairy Tale is an absolutely astonishing collection from the mind of Jane Yolen. If you’re a fan of fairy tales, or reading twisted versions of them (not to say that the original versions aren’t exceptionally twisted to begin with…) then this is something you may want to look into. Yolen has mastered the art of looking at a story in a different light, breathing new life into a tale told thousands of times.

But this novel isn’t just a compilation of short stories (though I would have been very happy with that much) but also notes on the stories, and even some poetry. Not every story has an explanation or a poem, but most of them have one or the other. It really adds to the depth of the tales being told. Personally, I loved this touch as I wasn’t always able to identify the fairy tale her works were being based off (more than one of them I was not familiar with in the first place, as it turns out).

The stories and poems here vary from whimsical to disturbingly dark; leaving the reader feeling haunted or chilled. Being that these are fractured fairy tales, most of them have a darker undertone. Sometimes the elements used could be considered disturbing, but they’re all beautifully written despite that.

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52 Weeks of Literary Crafts: Gryffindor Baby Blanket

Gryffindor Blanket

 

My next 52 weeks project was…drumroll please! Another Gryffindor knitting project. I know, I know. What a shock. As I said before, I’ve been working really hard to make a full set of Gryffindor themed gifts for two friends that are expecting.

This baby blanket was pretty simple to make, all things considered. I knitted the blanket in three rows, and then sewed the three rows together.

I alternated the colors so I’d get a cute grid pattern, as you can see here.

 

The pattern itself is pretty simple; it’s just a straight knit. I cast on until I hit 7 inches, and then simply knitted until it was 7 inches long. Then I switched colors, and so on. Nothing fancy, as the colors did most of the work here for me.

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Review: Batman Vol. 8: Cold Days

Batman Vol 8

Publisher: DC Comics
Release: December 24th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Issues: Batman 51-57
Warnings: Animal violence (cartoonish animals)
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Batman Vol. 8 through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

It feels weird knowing that all of the buildup is finally over – that the Batman/Catwoman plot has finally concluded. But it has, and we’re well on our way to moving past it. This is the first full volume to come out after that plot, and it was kind of nice that they didn’t just pretend it didn’t happen. But more on that below.

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Review: Spider-Gwen Vol. 4: Predators

SpiderGwen Vol 4

Publisher: Marvel
Released: October 31st 2017
Received: Marvel Unlimited
Issues: Spider-Gwen 19-23
Rating: 4 kitties

I read Spider-Gwen Vol. 4 as single issues through the Marvel Unlimited app.

It’s hard to believe that Spider-Gwen has been around for four volumes (more, if you want to count the other series as well). But it is! I know I have at least another volume to go before I’m fully caught up. But I’m getting there!

I’ll admit that I had let my attempt at getting caught up with Spider-Gwen sort of go by the wayside. What inspired me to catch up again was the new Spider-Gwen series, Ghost Spider. It’s written by one of my favorite authors, so I knew right from the start that I was going to be reading it issue by issue (you’ve got to support your favorites after all). I know that means I’ve already had a couple of points spoiled, including the conclusion to the plot started in this volume. But I’m okay with that.

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Review: Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Spectacle by Jodie Lynn Zdrok

Publisher: Tor Teen
Author: Jodie Lynn Zdrok
Release: February 12th 2019
Received: NetGalley
Warnings: Graphic murders
Rating: 4 kitties

I received a copy of Spectacle through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Spectacle is the debut novel of author Jodie Lynn Zdrok. It’s labeled as young adult and fantasy, but honestly, I think it could appeal to a broader audience than that indicates (then again, I almost always feel that way about young adult novels).

The novel is set in 1887 in Paris. Well, a fantasy version of Paris. Here is the time when there were still public executions, still a bias against women working in certain fields, and no good way to identify bodies found. Those facts may not seem like they are connected, but in Jodie Lynn Zdrok’s world, they certainly are.

Nathalie Baudin is a teenager working for a newspaper called Le Petit Journal. Even though nobody really knows that she’s writing the column. Still, she loves her job. Even if her job involves writing descriptions of the bodies at the morgue on a regular basis. It’s not a job for everyone, but Nathalie is good at it, and dare I say even passionate about it.

This is not the sort of novel I would normally pick up if I’m being entirely honest. At least, it’s not like anything I’ve read recently. My eye was originally caught by the cover, and I’ll confess that I have a fondness for Tor Teen, so that made me more than willing to read the description. The description made it seem like something new and unique, and that was enough to tempt me.

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