Graphic Novel Review: Bombshells, Vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett
4 Stars , Fiction , Graphic Novels , Latest Posts / February 25, 2019

About: Bombshells, Vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett (illustrated by Marguerite Sauvage, Ming Doyle, Laura Braga, Maria Laura Sanapo, Marc Deering, Stephen Mooney, Ted Naifeh, Garry Brown, Mirka Andolfo, Bilquis Evely, and Sandy Jarrell) is a graphic novel from DC Comics imagining the DC Super heroines as World War II era champions. This graphic novel collects Bombshells #1 – 6. 200 pages Publisher: DC Comics Language: English ISBN-10: 1401261329 My rating for Bombshells, Vol. 1: Enlisted – 4 Buy Bombshells, Vol. 1: Enlisted from Amazon.com* More Books by Marguerite Bennett* Thoughts: This book seemed right up my alley, a reimagined adventure taking place in the World War II era. Right in the beginning I loved what the creators did with the characters. The graphic novel Bombshells, Vol. 1: Enlisted by Marguerite Bennett (illustrated by Marguerite Sauvage, Ming Doyle, Laura Braga, Maria Laura Sanapo, Marc Deering, Stephen Mooney, Ted Naifeh, Garry Brown, Mirka Andolfo, Bilquis Evely, and Sandy Jarrell) started off great, but fell off soon after. The story is fine, but I don’t understand why Ms. Bennett needed monsters when the Bombshells are fighting Nazis, the most atrocious monsters off all (and many villains in comics were modeled on). I thought the…

Fun Facts Friday: James Russell Lowell
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / February 22, 2019

James Russell Lowell (22 February, 1819 – 12 August, 1891) was an American editor, critic, poet, and diplomat. Books by James Russell Lowell* Born in Cambridge MA, he was an 8th generation Lowell, ancestors to settlers who came to America in 1639. In 1838 Mr. Lowell graduated from Harvard College. Despite being known as a troublemaker, he managed to earn a law degree from Harvard Law School. In 1841 Mr. Lowell published his first collection of poetry. Together with his wife, Maria White (married in 1844), the couple had several children; sadly only one made it to adulthood. The Lowells took on the abolitionist cause with great enthusiasm. Mr. Lowell wrote anti-slavery poems and even moved to Philadelphia, PA to work as an editor for an abolitionist newspaper. Lowell taught at Harvard for 20 years as a professor of languages. In 1874 Mr. Lowell resigned from his Harvard professorship and became an ambassador to Spain (officially “Minister to the court of Spain). Even though he spoke the language and a trained lawyer, Mr. Lowell did not socialize well in Spain and used to send funny letters to his political bosses. Those dispatches were posthumously published as Impressions of Spain (1899)….

Graphic Novel Review: Arale by Tristan Roulot
5 Stars , Fiction , Latest Posts / February 19, 2019

About: Arale by Tristan Roulot (illustrated by Denis Rodier) is a graphic novel taking place in Russia, 1934 in which the Czar is mortally wounded and Rasputin concocts a mind transfer plan. This graphic novel was originally published in France. 66 pages Publisher: Europe Comics Language: English ASIN: B07N8C3CZK   My rating for Arale – 5 Buy Arale Amazon.com* More books by Tristan Roulot* Thoughts: Arale by Tristan Roulot (illustrated by Denis Rodier) is a dark, gritty, fantasy graphic novel which blends science, facts, myths, and fiction into a rich story, which is as original as it is interesting. The author does a great job telling the story quickly and getting the reader immersed almost from the first panel. There is much commentary on Russia of the time, the Czar’s rule, the true cost of war and the cost that the war industry demands in blood and treasure. The author sends the reader down a path full of twists and turn, full of familiar, yet unfamiliar, landmarks gradually building an irresistible plot full of strong characters. The art is fantastic, full of great scenery and expressive battlefields. Mr. Rodier draws very dramatic, expressive and dynamic panels suited for the story…

Fun Facts Friday: Sax Rohmer
Fun Facts Friday , Latest Posts / February 15, 2019

Prolific English author Sax Rohmer was born on this day in 1883 (d: 1 June, 1959). Mr. Rohmer is best known for his series featuring the mastermind Dr. Fu Manchu. A few months ago I also did a Fun Facts post about the character Dr. Fu-Manchu.     More books by Sax Rohmer Sax Rohmer’s real name is Arthur Henry Sarsfield Ward. Before being a novelist, Rohmer was a song and comedy sketch writer. Rohmer claimed his was a member for the qabbalistic Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn as well as having ties to the Rosicrucians (study or membership in secret societies). However his claims were never proven and many think that they were just used to boost his reputation as an occult writer. Among his literary influences Rohmer named Edgar Allan Poe, M.P. Shiel and Arthur Conan Doyle. Rohmer published his first novel called Pause! Anonymously. The Mystery of Dr. Fu-Manchu was an immediate success. The first three books in the Fu-Manchu series were published between 1913 and1917. The fourth book was published in 1931 (14 years later). Between 1931 and 1959, Rohmer wrote 10 more novels in the series. Contrary to Rohmer’s books which tells of a…

Book Review: The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King
4 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / February 14, 2019

About: The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King is a historical fiction novel taking place in Italy around the middle 1500s. This is Ms. King’s second novel. 384 pages Publisher: Atria Books Language: English ISBN-10: 150119643X My rating for The Chef’s Secret – 4 Buy The Chef’s Secret from Amazon.com* More books by Crystal King* Thoughts: Books about food and food preparation, especially with historical context, are some of my favorites, second only to books about books. The Chef’s Secret by Crystal King is this type of historical fiction work and the plot has much to do with food preparation. Even though I must admit that very little of the chef’s specialties sounded appetizing. I have never heard of Bartolomeo Scappi, and it was a big part of the reason I wanted to read this book. As it turned out, Mr. Scappi was one of the first, if not “the” first, celebrity chefs. In his monumental cookbook, Opera dell’arte del cucinare (1570), Mr. Scappi published around 1,000 recipes of Renaissance meals and techniques. By Unknown – Opera by Bartolomeo Scappi, Public Domain, Link I enjoyed the way the author described the era, life, extravagant meals (for the rich, of course), and even some techniques for good measures….

Book Review: American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson
5 Stars , Fiction , Historical Fiction , Latest Posts / February 12, 2019

About: American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson is a novel taking place in the last half of the 20th Century, following an African-American FBI officer, recruited by the CIA to undermine an African leader. This is Ms. Wilkinson’s first novel. 304 pages Publisher: Random House (February 12, 2019) Language: English ISBN-10: 0812998952 My rating for American Spy – 5 Buy American Spy Amazon.com* More books by Lauren Wilkinson* Thoughts: I enjoyed American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson very much, as it is a thought provoking book, which even though I might not agree with (based on my experiences), I can certainly understand the viewpoints presented.  Ms. Wilkinson writing is fresh and elegant, easy to follow and tells a good story. I’ve read many spy books before, the Cold War is of course a setting to many of them because it provides such a rich background. This novel does take place during that era, but doesn’t take place in the Eastern bloc, but instead in Africa. The protagonist, Marie Mitchell, is a complex character which finds herself in the unenviable position of fighting for something she doesn’t really believe in.  She is a strong woman, flawed, analytical, smart, who thinks for herself and…

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