Must Read Graphic Novel!!

You need this one!

The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage – The Mostly True Story of the First Computer by Sydney Padua

Have you heard of Countess Ada Lovelace, daughter of poet Lord Byron? What about Charles Babbage? You should get to know this pair!

Book description:

THE THRILLING ADVENTURES OF LOVELACE AND BABBAGE . . . in which Sydney Padua transforms one of the most compelling scientific collaborations into a hilarious series of adventures.

Meet Victorian London’s most dynamic duo: Charles Babbage, the unrealized inventor of the computer, and his accomplice, Ada, Countess of Lovelace, the peculiar protoprogrammer and daughter of Lord Byron. When Lovelace translated a description of Babbage’s plans for an enormous mechanical calculating machine in 1842, she added annotations three times longer than the original work. Her footnotes contained the first appearance of the general computing theory, a hundred years before an actual computer was built. Sadly, Lovelace died of cancer a decade after publishing the paper, and Babbage never built any of his machines.

But do not despair! The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage presents a rollicking alternate reality in which Lovelace and Babbage do build the Difference Engine and then use it to build runaway economic models, battle the scourge of spelling errors, explore the wilder realms of mathematics, and, of course, fight crime—for the sake of both London and science. Complete with extensive footnotes that rival those penned by Lovelace herself, historical curiosities, and never-before-seen diagrams of Babbage’s mechanical, steam-powered computer, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage is wonderfully whimsical, utterly unusual, and, above all, entirely irresistible.

My review:

I completely fell in love with this book! It made me laugh so hard! The stories were great, the illustrations clever. The author adds so much historical data. I can’t pick my favorite story, the one with the Victorian novelists or the Looking Glass episode. If you are a nerd like me, you will love this one.


Comixology Unlimited

cmx-cu-sash-lg.png_0,0,361,532 208,379,152,152_QL80_TTD_ Any of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I love Kindle Unlimited. Being you know, a speedy reader, I go through books pretty quickly when I’m in the mood, too quickly for me to be able to buy them or get them from the library. With my Kindle Unlimited membership, I can read all the books I want (from a limited number of titles, granted) and it only costs one flat monthly fee, which is less than I’d spend on one book.

Comics and graphic novels are kind of tricky though. I love them, but I never know where to start and my library only has a few. I don’t feel like spending lots of money on them either. Still, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to join Comixology or not.

This month, I decided to go for a trial 30 day membership and see if I liked it. Well, yeah! I’ve been doing nothing but reading comics for two solid days now. I got through all the issues of the Runaways that they have on Unlimited, lots of Wonder Woman, Luke Cage, She Hulk, and this graphic novel called The Sword, pictured above, about a woman’s quest for vengeance against the gods that killed her family.

I don’t know yet whether it’s really worth $6/month. That doesn’t sound like much, but when you add up the subscriptions and stuff plus the fact that the selection included in that price is MUCH more limited than the Kindle subscription, I’m not sure it would be worth the cash.

I am looking for more recommendations though. If there’s a comic or graphic novel that you loved, please tell me about it! I love the superhero stuff but I’m willing to explore beyond that. List your faves in the comments.

Rapunzel’s Revenge: A Review


Rapunzel is a terrible tomboy growing up in a very restricted castle with no one but the guards and her mother around. One day she decides to climb to the wall that surrounds the castle.

What she sees comes as a complete shock. The entire horizon, as far as she can see, is a complete wasteland. Her mother has used her magic to drain the energy and power from the land and used it to create the gardens and food she grows for the castle. Even worse, Rapunzel’s own real mother is working in the mines. Rapunzel was taken from her by the witch.

Well, anyone familiar with the story knows what comes next, with the whole locked in a tower thing. But the Hales have given this story a fun Western twist and made Rapunzel a feisty heroine who can save herself, thank you very much. She eventually does meet Jack and teams up with him to save her real mother and stop the witch.

Lots of fun.

Review: Hawkeye


Title: Hawkeye: My Life as a Weapon

Authors: Matt Fraction, David Aja

Clint Barton, aka Hawkeye, and Kate Bishop, aka Hawkeye, team up in a series of adventures. The first stories are mainly about Clint, while the last story is mainly about Kate with the Young Avengers. The art was good, but the stories weren’t anything special. The exception was the last story about Clint and Kate. That one I really liked. This is part of the Marvel Now! series, which I have generally enjoyed and is available free through Kindle Unlimited.

Review: Black Panther

Title: Black Panther #1-3

Author:   Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze

Themes: government, rulership, duty, race, technology

Setting: the fictional country of Wakanda

Format: ebook

Plot: The small country of Wakanda is the most technologically advanced in the world, which is both a blessing and a curse. All that vibranium has made it a target for the villains of the world, and the citizens are sick and tired of it. The country’s ruler Black Panther comes home to civil unrest and intense pressure to fix the damage said villains left behind.

Review: Oh, I really wanted to love this book. It’s by a famous author. It’s entirely cast with POC. The art is a-maze-ing. But the story — well, it’s a mess. There’s a group of women, the Dora Milaje, who are taking power into their own hands. I want to root for them, but I don’t see how that’s going to work with T’Challa’s leadership. Then there’s some subplot with a mystical woman and some sinister dude and maybe a ghost and – well, I just don’t know what’s going on at all!

I got this comic for free, and if the second volume is available for free also, I would read it, just because I hope maybe it would finally make some sense! But if I had to pay for it, I wouldn’t bother with the next book. So disappointed.

Book Review: Immortal Iron Fist Omnibus

Title: Immortal Iron Fist Omnibus

Author: Ed Brubraker

Artists: Russ Heath, Travel Foreman, Sal Buscema, et al.

Setting: K’un-Lun, Tibet, New York City, various times

With the release of the Dr. Strange movie, a new audience has been introduced to the mystical side of the Marvel universe. And Danny Rand, aka Iron Fist, belongs very firmly to that side of Marvel. He’s a martial arts master, and you know, a bazillionaire. He’s also friends with Luke Cage and the Heroes for Hire.

This was a huge graphic novel I got from the library that had lots of Iron Fist comics put together. It all revolves around a  hidden enemy who’s trying to take over Danny’s company and attack the city of K’un Lun itself. But what made it kind of different is the amount of time it spent telling about the previous mortals who have held the position of Iron Fist, going back to Marvel’s original guy. It also tells about Danny’s origin and the other mystical fighters who protect the universe? multiverse? just Earth? Not really sure about that one, but it’s weird, and it’s cool.

I really liked most of this book. But then I’d be suddenly confronted by some outrageously portrayed female bit characters that were just beyond belief. It didn’t happen in every “issue,” but it was more than I was comfortable with. So I’m only giving it 3.7 stars, but that still is high enough that I’m recommending it. Not for kids though.

Books at the Movies

movie book

Poor Hollywood. So much pressure to make back their enormous budgets, but there’s no formula (whatever execs may think) to a surefire hit. With so much money on the line, it’s no wonder that the movie studios are turning to another source for their scripts. After all, if they find a book with millions of fans, that’s gotta translate into millions of ticket sales, right?

This week, I’m going to look at a few movies in the theater now or coming soon, and we’ll rate them on a  Lord of the Rings (universal love) to Twilight (strictly for fans).

Suicide Squad – Obviously, this one is the biggie on the list. I don’t know how it will play out in terms of ticket sales, but no studio releases a comic book movie strictly for box office. It’s all about the merchandise. Now, it is any good? Beats me. I am not a fan of the Joker, or of Jared Leto, or of Batman especially. I do feel strongly that the Harley Quin/Joker dynamic is seriously messed up. This one is strictly for fans, and for older teens/Millenials. Suicide Squad

Ben-Hur – This is such a safe choice for Hollywood. Both a remake and based on a movie, with chariot scenes and hot looking dudes with their shirts off. Are they going to emphasize the Christian setting of the book? Will they push the gay relationship that was more hidden in the original film? I really like that they have multi-cultural cast. I’m planning to see this one. Ben-Hur by Lew Wallace – the Kindle is only 99 cents.

Jason Bourne – Just saw this today. This popular series is based on a series written by Robert Ludlum. However, Ludlum only wrote 3 books, and I only made it partway through the first. It was boring, and one thing you can’t do as a thriller writer is bore your readers. IMO, the movies are better, and this newest one is solid. Matt Damon really is Jason Bourne, and as long as they keep writing scripts that keep him front and center, I’ll keep watching. Definitely high on broad appeal.

The Ninth Life of Louis Drax  by Liz Jensen- I’d never heard of this one until I started working on this article. The book is about a weird kid who has weird things happen to him on his birthday, until he winds up locked in a coma. The movie sounds like it follows the same story. I didn’t recognize anyone in the cast and I’m not sure it sounds like something I would like, so make up your own mind on this one.

Bridget Jones’s Baby – Helen Fielding’s best known character is back. I have to admit, I’m not a big reader of chick lit, but I did enjoy the first movie. I’m really hoping this one does well too. Women in their 40s do watch movies too, and we’ll watch more movies if there are movies we want to watch. Pretty simple. Not sure if this is based on one book or just on the character, but here’s the link: Bridget Jones’s Baby by Helen Fielding.

Snowden; The Queen of Katwe; Florence Foster Jenkins: The Inspiring True Story of the World’s Worst Singer – All of these movies are based on the stories of real people, but also on biographies of these people. Edward Snowden is the famous NSA whistleblower, and the script was based on  The Snowden Files by Luke Harden. I predict a lot of buzz, but not a lot of ticket sales. The Queen of Katwa is about a girl from the slums in Uganda who becomes a chess master and escapes poverty. It’s based on a book written by journalist Tim Crothers, and this one sounds like a winner to me. I doubt it will make a lot of money, but I predict some serious critical acclaim. The book is The Queen of Katwe. And finally, Florence Foster Jenkins, a real woman who was widely known (at the time) as being the worst singer in the world. There are several books written about her, but the movie seems to be based on a play, Souvenir: A Fantasia on the Life of Florence Foster Jenkins.  Most of the books are just making fun of her, but the play and the movie both focus on the inspirational message of following  your dreams, no matter what anyone says. I would like to see this one too, but I’d be fine watching it at home. I think this one will have a slow build.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – This is the one that wants to be the next Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I mean, it’s got Tim Burton! It’s got other names too – Judi Dench! Samuel L. Jackson! Rupert Everett! Alison Janney! But movies are about more than names and directors. They need to be good. I’m pretty skeptical about this one. I thought the book was a disappointment and I don’t see how making it into a movie will improve things. However, lots of people liked the book, so I might be wrong. Kids are going to want to see it, and parents will assume that because it has kids in it, it will be appropriate family fare. I think it will make money, but I predict it will be sort of average. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

So that’s my list. What do you think? Which ones have I missed? What are you excited for? Let me know.

She-Hulk: Law and Disorder


Reading Decathlon, book 5

She-Hulk: Law and Disorder, story by Charles Soule, Javier Pullido and Ron Wimberly, illustrators, Kevin Wada, cover.

I love Jennifer Walters! She’s a superhero, she’s smart, she’s funny, she’s capable, and she’s a lawyer! Awesome all around. My hope were high for this comic.

Too high. The story was great, and I’m anxious to see where it goes next. But the art was really not good. Issues 1-4 had this anime style, with big green eyes, long necks. Kind of bug like. But the last issue was just horrible. It was like the artist had only a vague idea of what the human figure looked like. All the faces were misshapen and angular. It was a mess. Only for diehard She-Hulk fans. Oh, and Hell-Cat makes an appearance too.