Emerjas

Halloween Bingo

 

I've got my card for this! No plans yet on what I'll be reading, but I'll figure that out later. I'm looking forward to playing.

Roar

Roar - Cora Carmack

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed by this one. Not because of any expectations I had going into it since I hadn't heard anything or even read the synopsis when I started. My disappointment had everything to do with the beginning of the book itself. It started with the princess of Pavan and heir to the throne, Aurora, meeting the prince of another kingdom to whom she is betrothed. She and that prince, Cassius, immediately had chemistry and hit it off until Aurora overheard him speaking with his brother about how he was using her. Naturally this led to her hating him, but the two are still betrothed, and Aurora really didn't have a choice since she has been hiding the fact that she did not have the magic powers that run in her family that kept her kingdom safe. To protect her kingdom, Aurora needed a husband with those powers, and Cassius had that.

 

That setup there was basically perfect for me. It had an arranged marriage romance with a couple with great chemistry that quickly turned to hate on one side due to political scheming by the prince and his toxic family. Meaning it would have been a hate-to-love arranged marriage romance with political intrigue and bad family getting in the way. And I love all those things.

 

So it really put a damper on my enthusiasm when Aurora chose to run away from all that to go adventuring with a group of storm hunters in the hope of being able to attain magic. And she picked up a new love interest, Locke, in that group who didn't really interest me. Their romance wasn't helped by the fact that he started off thinking she reminded him of his sister. Then he kept getting overprotective and possessive of her. Cassius had been possessive of her too, but he was also presented as bad since he was actively plotting against her and her kingdom whereas Locke was presented as good. Aurora resisted that behavior from Cassius more once she realized she was being used, but her resistance against being treated that way by Locke often was overridden by Locke himself. But I will admit part of my dislike for Locke probably stems from my disappointment of the far more interesting plot getting thrown away for adventuring and romance with him.

 

The other members of the storm hunter group were intriguing, and I really wish they would have gotten some more focus (and less on Locke). Things got more interesting when Aurora was interacting with them instead.

 

Unfortunately, the most interesting characters of the book were not the ones in the storm hunter plot which was the main plot line. There were breaks when we saw what characters in other areas were up to and they had the far more intriguing plots. Cassius and his family took over Pavan once Aurora ran away (or was kidnapped as she led everyone to believe), and they've got some big secret that were slowly revealed over the course of the story that really made me wish the book had been what I'd initially thought it would be.

 

Also in Pavan, Aurora's only friend, Nova, was imprisoned as a suspected conspirator in Aurora's kidnapping. There was not enough of her in the book. I very much liked her.

 

And there were a few glimpses of a mysterious man with strong storm magic travelling across the land and wreaking destruction. I am curious to see more of him as well.

 

Roar had a lot of great elements to it. It just chose to go with a story I found less interesting than the one that the beginning set up. But that's more a matter of personal preference than the story itself being bad. There was plenty to like, and I'll probably read the next book when it comes out. I just won't be expecting a story I'm not likely to get.

New Super-Man, Vol. 1: Made in China

New Super-Man Vol. 1: Made In China (Rebirth) (Super-Man - New Super-Man (Rebirth)) - Gene Luen Yang, Viktor Bogdanovic

This book had a weak start, but a stronger finish. It started off with Kong Kenan bullying a classmate. When that classmate was attacked by a supervillain, he threw a can at him and managed to save his classmate. This was caught on camera and Kenan pretended to be a hero to impress the cute reporter interviewing him. Based on this action alone, Kenan was chosen by a secret government organization to be turned into the New Super-Man and be part of the newly created Justice League of China along with the Chinese Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man. The two people chosen to be Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were both vetted and trained before given powers, but not Kenan. For some reason it was deemed a good idea to give him the powers without any further research into him.

 

Kenan then had difficulties controlling his new powers, understandably, so was told to research the original Justice League members to learn more. When Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were sent out to save someone, Kenan convinced the leader of the project to let him go to because he knew the passcode to get into the place the woman lived. I didn't understand why they didn't just make him tell them the passcode or even just have Wonder-Woman fly herself and Bat-Man over the gates since she can fly. Kenan's powers were unstable and he'd had no training at this point. And he did indeed proceed to mess things up in a huge way. The secret organization just made a lot of highly questionable decisions in the beginning of the book that had me wondering how they'd managed to get this far.

 

Luckily things improved once the story focused more on Kenan's relationship with his father and his maturing as a person as he began to realize the new responsibility he suddenly had with these powers. Wonder-Woman and Bat-Man were a good balance for him as more veteran heroes who have a better handle on their powers and the responsibility that comes with it, while still having room for character growth as they bonded with the New Super-Man. I liked their group dynamics.

 

I do feel like there were too many characters introduced in just one book though. In addition to the 3 superheroes of the Justice League of China, there were 2 opposing teams introduced, resulting in about 20 superheroes and supervillains introduced in just 6 issues. And that's not counting the non-supers also in the book. One of the teams didn't get fleshed out at all, so I'm guessing they'll get more focus later, but it was just hard to keep everyone straight with so many people getting introduced.

 

Despite a weak start due to a lot of questionable decision-making from the government agency giving the powers to the New Super-Man, the 3 members of the Justice League of China made an endearing team that were fun to watch work together. And with Kenan's relationship with his father, this book created a nice foundation for Kenan's journey to being a hero. I look forward to seeing where this series goes next.

July Books

I read 34 books in July. 17 of them were graphic novels. 9 were audio books. I had a few disappointing reads, but I had quite a few great books to make up for them.

 

 

5 Stars

Bad Romance - Heather Demetrios Bitch Planet Volume 2: President Bitch - Kelly Sue DeConnick  Saga, Volume 7 - Fiona Staples,Brian K. Vaughan  Monstress Volume 2: The Blood - Marjorie M. Liu  Big Little Lies - Liane Moriarty  

 

 

4 Stars

Words In Deep Blue - Cath Crowley Prisoner of Night and Fog - Anne Blankman  Prez Vol. 1 - Mark Russell,Ben Caldwell  Checkmate by Greg Rucka Book 1 - Greg Rucka,Various  Our Dark Duet - Victoria Schwab  All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation - Rebecca Traister Wolf By Wolf - Ryan Graudin  DC Comics: Bombshells Vol. 4: Queens - Marguerite Bennett QQ Sweeper, Vol. 1 - Kyousuke Motomi  Clean Room Vol. 3: Waiting for the Stars to Fall - Gail Simone,Jon Davis-Hunt The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue - Mackenzi Lee  

 

 

3.5 Stars

Blood for Blood (Wolf by Wolf) - Ryan Graudin Bandette, Volume 1: Presto! - Colleen Coover,Paul Tobin,Brendan Wright  

 

3 Stars

How It Went Down - Kekla Magoon  Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West (Rebirth) - Dan Abnett,Brett Booth  You're Welcome, Universe - Whitney Gardner  Supergirl (2016-) Vol. 1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen - Steve Orlando,Brian Ching,Emanuela Lupacchino  Nightwing Vol. 2: Back to Blüdhaven (Rebirth) - Tim Seeley,Marcus To  Teen Titans Vol. 1: Damian Knows Best (Rebirth) - Benjamin Percy,Jonboy Meyers  Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! Vol. 1: Hooked On A Feline - Kate Leth,Brittney Williams  Not Your Sidekick - C. B. Lee Because You Love to Hate Me: 13 Tales of Villainy - Ameriie  Justice League vs. Suicide Squad (Jla (Justice League of America)) - Joshua Williamson,Jason Fabok,Tony S. Daniel  

 

2.5 Stars

Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World - Sarah Prager,Zoe More O'Ferrall Ever the Hunted - Erin Summerill  

 

2 Stars

Teen Titans, Vol. 1: It's Our Right to Fight - Scott Lobdell,Brett Booth,Norm Rapmund The Unworthy Thor - Jason Aaron,Olivier Coipel  Conflict Is Not Abuse: Overstating Harm, Community Responsibility, and the Duty of Repair - Sarah Schulman The Bourbon Kings - J.R. Ward  

 

Bandette, Vol. 1: Presto!

Bandette, Volume 1: Presto! - Colleen Coover, Paul Tobin, Brendan Wright

I didn't really know anything about the series beyond Bandette being a thief, but decided to check it out when I found it while browsing the graphic novel shelves at the library. And that turned out to be a good choice because this was an adorably cute read.

 

I loved Bandette. She's a fun, carefree character who is confident in her abilities to successfully pull off any heist. Even when her life was in danger, she remained lighthearted as she thwarted every challenger. She's a thief who steals from bad guys, but Bandette's not completely altruistic and wasn't above keeping some of the loot for herself. Bandette definitely had a mischievous streak.

 

And her team of allies were just as much fun. My favorites were the ballerinas, but I liked them all. It was fun watching all these different groups jump into action when Bandette put out an alert to help her out when things didn't go as planned and seeing exactly what their part would end up being.

 

Bandette was a book that didn't take itself seriously. It's here to be a fun read, and it succeeded at that. The characters are charming, the art is nice, and the plot is enjoyable.

Saga, Vol. 7

Saga, Volume 7 - Fiona Staples, Brian K. Vaughan

Unsurprisingly, Saga continues to be fantastic. The story switches between cracking me up and breaking my heart. This volume does not hold on delivering the heartbreak with Hazel's family enduring even more hardships as they try to find a safe place to live as the war rages on. They get stuck in on a comet and grow close to a local family there. Unfortunately, with multiple races wanting them dead, it's hard to stay safe for long. And with a war going on, the number of casualties keeps increasing.

 

The artwork is still absolutely gorgeous. I love just how creative the different designs for various races can get.

 

This series is consistently well-written, weird, fun, and heartbreaking. I can't wait to see where it goes next.

Queer, There, and Everywhere

Queer, There, and Everywhere: 23 People Who Changed the World - Sarah Prager, Zoe More O'Ferrall

I was very disappointed by one of the entries in the glossary for this. Scratch that. I was angry. Under the LGBTQ entry, it talked about other common additions to that abbreviation and mentioned A. It said that A stood for either asexual or ally. It does not stand for ally. Each letter in that abbreviation stands for a type of queer identity. Ally is not a queer identity. They are not part of the abbreviation. Asexuals get erased enough from the queer community, often with people saying the A is for ally and ignoring asexuals completely. I don't need a queer history book that's supposed to be for queer people validating that line of thought. It didn't even mention that the A can also be for agender.

 

Outside of that complaint, the book was a bit of a disappointment anyways. The title is very misleading, as is the introduction which gives a brief history of queer people in each area of the world. With the title including the word "everywhere" and the introduction highlighting areas all around the world, one would think the people chosen for the book would also be from all over the world. Instead, more than half the entries are from the US. The majority of the remaining people are from Europe. The author's notes in the back mention that she left out a lot of people due to not having enough sources to write a chapter for them. But I don't see why shorter sections couldn't have been done for those people. It just was very strange to have sections of the world get a short history in the introduction, but not have a single person featured from that area in the main body of the book.

 

The people who were featured were all interesting figures, although the short chapters meant there was only a brief look at each. There are sources in the back for each person if you want to learn more about a particular person. Also, if you're looking for definitive labels for each person, you'll be disappointed. A number of the entries only have speculation on how the person might have identified.

 

Overall Queer, There, and Everywhere is a short, easy read that features a brief, but interesting look at various queer figures from history (and a couple who are currently still living). It just had a more narrow global focus than I had expected and that issue with one of the glossary terms.

Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West

Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West (Rebirth) - Dan Abnett, Brett Booth

This didn't really feel like a good point to jump on if you're not familiar with Wally West. Although the name suggests this is a team book, this first volume is really all about Wally with the other Titans as supporting characters. Wally has reappeared after being stuck outside of time and everyone in his life forgetting about his existence. He is able to get his former team to remember him, but is unable to do the same for his former wife, Linda Park. Most of the book has the Titans trying to discover what exactly happened to Wally.

 

Wally's my favorite Flash (thanks in large part to the Justice League show), so I was happy to have him back in action, but I haven't really read much that featured Linda, so all the scenes about how much he missed her fell flat for me because I just didn't have any emotional connection to the two of them as a couple. His scenes with his friends worked much better for me because I'd read plenty of stories of them as a team. I'm not just how everything would work for someone new coming in because a good chunk of the story relied on nostalgia. However, the ending gives me hope that the story will be moving away from looking wistfully back at the past and instead focus on moving everyone forward.

 

It was great seeing the Titans back together, but I need more than nostalgia to keep me interested in the story. I'll definitely be checking out the next volume to see if we'll be getting a true Titans series that spreads the focus across the entire team.

June Books

 I read 29 books this month. With one glaring exception, they all ranged from okay to awesome. I had 11 audio books, but only 4 graphic novels this month.

 

5 Stars

One of Us Is Lying - Karen M. McManus The Soldier's Scoundrel - Cat Sebastian  

 

4 Stars

Ramona Blue - Julie Murphy  Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth) - Greg Rucka  Geekerella - Ashley Poston  Cherry - Lindsey Rosin  Star Wars Rebel Rising - Beth Revis  Jessica Jones Vol. 1: Uncaged! - Brian Michael Bendis,Michael Gaydos  Once and for All - Sarah Dessen  A Psalm for Lost Girls - Katie Bayerl  Lady Knight - Tamora Pierce  Into The Water - Paula Hawkins  The One Memory of Flora Banks - Emily Barr  Anne's House of Dreams - L.M. Montgomery  

 

3.5 Stars

Made You Up - Francesca Zappia Attack on Titan: Lost Girls The Manga 1 - Hajime Isayama  

 

3 Stars

Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home - Amy Dickinson  The Spectacular Sisterhood of Superwomen: Awesome Female Characters from Comic Book History - Hope Nicholson  Antisocial - Jillian Blake  And the Trees Crept In - Dawn Kurtagich  Anne of Windy Poplars - L.M. Montgomery  Ruin and Rising - Leigh Bardugo  Eliza and Her Monsters - Francesca Zappia    The Great American Whatever - Tim Federle  Tash Hearts Tolstoy - Kathryn Ormsbee  You Know Me Well - Nina LaCour,David Levithan  

 

2.5 Stars

Wink Poppy Midnight - April Genevieve Tucholke  The Whole Thing Together - Ann Brashares  

 

.5 Stars

New Romancer Vol. 1 - Peter Milligan 

Into the Water

Into The Water - Paula Hawkins

Into the Water is a book about the ways women can be blamed for a man's actions whether it be the man himself casting the blame or other people. It's about how men are excused for their wrongdoings because they are good men while women are persecuted for their wrongdoings. It's a book about troublesome women.

 

Beckford is not a suicide spot. Beckford is a place to get rid of troublesome women.

 

Nel's body is found in the Drowning Pool, a spot where a number of women's bodies have been found over the centuries. Nel was in the process of writing a book about these women, and it appears that she chose to end her life as they had. She left behind a 15-year-old daughter, Lena, whose best friend, Katie, drowned herself in the same place a few months earlier and an estranged sister, Jules, who became Lena's guardian upon Nel's death. Jules hadn't spoken to her sister in years, but is now forced to return to her old home for her niece, bringing back old memories as she tries to make sense of her sister's death.

 

This book has a lot of points of view to sort out which made keeping everyone straight very difficult at the start of the book. I eventually got everyone down, but I had to keep reminding myself of who was who for a while there. This made for a slow start to the book, but things did pick up after a bit and then I sped through the book.

 

Somewhere in the middle of the book, I noted that there was a lot of women being blamed for everything. Things like this can make me wary since I'm used to a number of books having all women, except the heroine, depicted as evil, but with the earlier "troublesome women" quote, I was hopeful that this was completely intentional, and I was not disappointed. A later exchange between Lena and Jules confirmed it for me.

 

Lena’s voice grew cold. “I don’t understand you. I don’t understand people like you, who always choose to blame the woman. If there’s two people doing something wrong and one of them’s a girl, it’s got to be her fault, right?”

 

“No, Lena, it’s not like that, it isn’t—“

 

“Yes, it is. It’s, like, when someone has an affair, why does the wife always hate the other woman? Why doesn’t she hate her husband? He’s the one who’s betrayed her, he’s the one who swore to love her and keep her and whatever forever and ever. Why isn’t he the one who gets shoved off a fucking cliff?”

 

And women getting all the blame is what we see throughout the book. One of the first girls drowned a few centuries ago was a 14-year-old girl who was accused of seducing a 34-year-old man and leading the poor, innocent man astray. Nel was blamed for Katie's suicide.

A male teacher blames Katie (his 15-year-old student) for seducing him. Upon learning about the teacher, Katie's mom blames Lena for Katie's suicide because she didn't tell about the teacher even though her son was also aware of it and didn't tell. Jules is blamed for her own rape by her rapist who denies it was rape because all the girls wanted him and he was doing her a favor. A woman blames Nel for her own death after her father-in-law confesses to murdering her in cold blood because Nel was threatening the family with her questions about the death of her father-in-law's wife.

(show spoiler)

 

And when some of the women try to point out that a man should be held accountable for what he's done wrong, they are met with resistance from other women.

 

“He loved her,” Lena said. “Doesn’t that make him a good person, that he tried to find out what happened to her?”

 

“But, Lena, don’t you see…?”

 

“He’s a good person, Julia. How could I say anything? It would have got him into trouble, and he doesn’t deserve that. He’s a good man.”

 

But we got this wonderful thought from the female investigator of the case that shows exactly what she thinks about "good men."

 

There are a lot of them about. My father was a good man. He was a respected officer. Didn’t stop him beating the shit out of me and my brother when he lost his temper, but still. When my mother complained to one of his colleagues after he broke my youngest brother’s nose, his colleague said, “There’s a thin blue line, love, and I’m afraid you just don’t cross it.”

 

I just really liked the last part of the book where it becomes evident that all the women being blamed for everything is part of a larger point. I even appreciated how one of the people who was making those points about one man still was guilty of excusing another for his wrongs because she saw him as "good" and didn't want to ruin his life over it. Despite seeing things so clearly in one area, she still had a blind spot for another area.

 

I also liked the relationship between Jules and Lena who start out on the wrong foot with one another, but grow to understand each other as they learn how to communicate. Both of them are "messed up" as Lena puts it, but that doesn't mean they can't form a family together.

 

Most of the characters in this are unlikable, with several being particularly awful, but I still loved a few of them, despite their faults. No one is perfect or without some measure of fault for at least one of the issues in the book. But some of the characters are given more than their fair share of the blame. There's not an easy or clear answer to how much blame someone deserves for each issue. Just an acknowledgement that there's typically an unfair distribution of that blame.

 

Despite a slow start with a large cast of characters to keep straight, I ended up loving the Into the Water. It may have taken a little bit to draw me in, but once it had me, I was glued to it. I have a feeling it will be on my mind for a while.

Star Wars: Rebel Rising

Star Wars Rebel Rising - Beth Revis

Confession: I didn't particularly like Rogue One when I saw it in theaters. I just didn't care about any of the main characters in it, and I'm not a big enough Star Wars fan to have caught a majority of the references in the movie or recognize names of characters beyond the really big ones like Darth Vader. I knew nothing about this book other than it involved Jyn Erso in some way (I recognized her on the cover). I didn't really plan to read this, but my library got the audio book, and I was looking for one really fast to download. This was the only available book in the section I was browsing that I hadn't read and that wasn't a sequel to something I hadn't read or that wasn't a book I had no intention of ever reading. And I'm glad I ended up picking it.

 

Rebel Rising managed to do what Rogue One failed to do which is make me care about the main characters. It tells Jyn's story prior to the movie and gave me a better idea of who she is and why. Her story's not a happy one. She was forced to learn how to fight and survive from a young age under the guidance of Saw Gerrera who took her in after her mother was killed and her father joined the enemy. I loved her complex relationship with Saw who became her surrogate father. And I loved Jyn in general and how she kept trying to keep to herself and not care about others for her own sake, but kept caring despite herself, even when it often led to the very pain she was hoping to avoid.

 

It's a shame this book came out after the movie. I think I would have enjoyed Rogue One if I had read this before seeing it. I would have gone in already caring greatly about one of the main characters.

Even if that would have made the ending hurt more.

(show spoiler)

This book made me a Jyn fan and has made me consider giving the Rogue One novelization a shot just to see if I do enjoy the story (and Jyn) more.

Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One

Wonder Woman Vol. 2: Year One (Rebirth) - Greg Rucka

Despite a disappointing start to Wonder Woman's new run, I had hope the series would improve. And that hope was rewarded with the very next book. As the title of the book suggests, this volume takes us back to Wonder Woman's origins. It starts prior to Steve Trevor's arrival and gives us a glimpse of her life on Themyscira and her curiosity about the world beyond. We also see parallels between her life with the Amazons and Steve's life with his fellow soldiers prior to their first meeting.

 

While I've read Diana's origin story a number of times now, stories like this are why I've yet to grow tired of it. I am so glad the Amazons were back to wonderful, fierce, non-rapist selves in this run. I loved Diana's relationship with her mother and their love for one another. And, although we didn't see much of her, I liked the fact that Diana had a lover on Themyscira, even though Diana's sense of duty and desire to see the world ultimately meant that they couldn't last.

 

Barbara Ann Minerva and Etta Candy played just as big of a role as Steve did in introducing Diana to man's world once she arrived. All three of them were fun to watch as they worked together to try to figure out how to help Diana adapt. They had a nice dynamic. And it looked like Barbara and Etta were flirting with one another by the end of the volume which was very cute.

 

But it was Wonder Woman who was my favorite here. She was sweet, fierce, loving, strong, determined, and brave. Diana had moments of doubt about her choice to come when she was detained shortly after bringing Steve home, but a visit from the gods who bestow gifts upon her convinces her that she did the right thing. Her joy at this was charming to read. Seeing her delight at the world, even with all the misunderstandings, is just so nice. She's fun to watch discover the world.

 

Also, the art in this book is gorgeous. Every page looks amazing.

 

After a few years of reading books where Wonder Woman just didn't feel like Wonder Woman to me, having this book is fantastic. This book captures the heart of the character I love, and I'm so happy for it.

May Books

It's already a couple of months into the year, but I like seeing other people's monthly wrap-ups, so I've decided to join in. Better late than never.

 

I read 27 books this month which is a lot more than I would have guessed. Of the 27 books, 7 were graphic novels and 11 were audiobooks. While I had a handful of bad reads, the majority were pretty great.

 

 

5 Stars

The Lawrence Browne Affair - Cat Sebastian 

 

 

4 Stars

First Test - Tamora Pierce  Rebels Like Us - Liz Reinhardt  Goodbye Days - Jeff Zentner  Allegedly - Tiffany D. Jackson  Page - Tamora Pierce  Saga, Volume 6 - Brian K. Vaughan,Fiona Staples  The Pearl Thief - Elizabeth Wein  Star-Crossed - Barbara Dee  Clean Room Vol. 2: Exile - Gail Simone,Jon Davis-Hunt  Goldie Vance Vol. 2 - Hope Larson,Brittney Williams  The Girl from Everywhere - Heidi Heilig  Squire - Tamora Pierce  The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You - Lily Anderson  We Are The Ants - Shaun David Hutchinson  

 

3 Stars

Love is Love - Various,Phil Jimenez  All Star Batman Vol. 1: My Own Worst Enemy (Rebirth) (Batman - All Star Batman (Rebirth)) - Scott Snyder,John Romita Jr.  You Don't Know My Name - Kristen Orlando  Windfall - Jennifer E. Smith  Through the Ever Night - Veronica Rossi  Siege and Storm - Leigh Bardugo  Rebellion - Kass Morgan  

 

2.5 Stars

Tohyo Game, Vol. 1: One Black Ballot to You - G.O.,Chihiro The Love Interest - Cale Dietrich 

 

 

2 Stars

Black Widow Red Vengeance (A Black Widow Novel) (A Marvel YA Novel) - Margaret Stohl The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes Novel) - Brittany Cavallaro 

 

1.5 Stars

Justice League Vol. 2: Outbreak (Rebirth) - Bryan Hitch 

 

Goldie Vance Vol. 2

Goldie Vance Vol. 2 - Hope Larson, Brittney Williams

Volume 2 of Goldie Vance continues to be an adorable series with a fun cast of characters. Goldie's best friend, Cheryl gets greater focus this time around with her connection to the new mystery revealing a couple secrets she'd been keeping from Goldie. Their friendship gets challenged a bit in this book, but their love for one another is never in question. The two of them are a good team.

 

There wasn't as much of Diane as I would have liked, but the little bits we saw of her and Goldie together were too cute. I wouldn't mind the next mystery being connected to Diane so there will be more of her.

 

Goldie's mom played a bigger role this time around, and she is pretty fantastic. She works as a mermaid and wants Goldie to spend some quality mermaid time together. Their dynamic was sweet and funny. And I loved how she helped Goldie out with the mystery.

 

It really is the cast that makes this such a fun series. Goldie is a fun and clever protagonist, and she's surrounded by a diverse group of friends and family that each bring something different to the table when it comes to assisting with the mystery solving. This series is a blast to read.

Asking For It

Asking for it - Louise T. O'Neill

This was a painful read, but I think the very reasons it was painful are also the reasons why it is important. I was angry at a lot of the characters throughout this book, including the main character at times, even as I felt bad for a number of them at various times as well.

 

Even before Emma, the main character, is raped, this book was not pleasant. Emma and her friends were awful. Awful to one another and awful to other people. They are the mean girls of other stories. They put people down, bully others, backstab one another, steal things, and do a number of other things to demonstrate just how terrible they are at the start of the book.

 

But none of that matters when it comes to Emma’s rape. Yes, she was not a nice person. But it doesn’t matter. She didn’t deserve it. She didn’t deserve a group of boys (and an adult man) raping her while she was unconscious and doing other things to her body, all while they filmed everything. Her actions don’t justify their actions. Not that that stops so many people in her community from trying to excuse them by tearing her down. Because they’re all athletes with promising futures that shouldn’t be ruined by this. It’s a familiar story that I’ve seen play out in the news more times than I’d like. It’s an awful one, and none of that awfulness is ignored here. Emma is a shadow of herself after details of the rape come out and has been beaten down by so many people, including those she thought she could count on.

 

This is not a happy story. But it is one, unfortunately, that reflects a reality that some rape survivors face. And no one deserves it, regardless of who they are as a person.

Justice League Vol. 2: Outbreak

Justice League Vol. 2: Outbreak (Rebirth) - Bryan Hitch

This volume starts off in the middle of a battle between the Justice League and some kind of being that spreads fear. After the team seemingly defeats it, they all split off only to get hit again with the fear causing everyone to lash out in different ways. Aquaman and Wonder Woman decide to conquer the world together to save everyone. Superman decides he must kill Batman. Cyborg and Baz lash out at those around them during a friendly football game between friends out of fear of being rejected for being different. While on a date together, Flash starts acting like a jerk to everyone and Jessica locks herself in the restaurant freezer to shut out the world. After some painful dialogue from everyone as they fight off the fear, Jessica decides to quit the Justice League because she feels she isn't ready for this. And that's the only consequence we see from this little arc in the rest of the book. Nothing is mentioned about Aquaman and Wonder Woman's declaring of war. No damage control for any of the public breakdowns some of the heroes had. I just have to wonder what the point of it all was.

 

It just feels like the book is going for emotional payoffs that it hasn't put any effort into building toward. Jessica suddenly asking Flash out wasn't the result of a building relationship between the two. Her choice to quit the team due to feelings of inadequacy felt abrupt. This is supposed to be a team book, but there's not any focus on how they are as a team. The fear arc feels like it should come after work has been put into establishing everyone much better as characters and team mates. An arc exposing the cracks in the team doesn't pack much of a punch if I haven't really gotten a good idea of what the team is like together. And it especially doesn't pack a punch if all consequences of the arc are then ignored. The end of the book even lessened the impact of Jessica quitting by having her join in the big battle of the next arc and saying she'll always be there to help. So she'll fight with the team still, but just won't say she's on the team.

 

The second arc in this volume started off with a premise that I found hard to buy. Apparently the giant world-wide crisis of the previous volume that they had such a difficult time with only had a single casualty. I don't understand how only a single person died from all of that. And then we get a computer virus so great it can hack into anything including Cyborg and Baz's ring. I'll admit the Lantern Corps is an area I'm not as familiar with, but I really didn't think their rings could be infected with a computer virus. Is that something I just completely missed? Because it just seems really ridiculous. I don't like it.

And the whole virus ends up being an accident by a girl who just wanted to make a better search engine and ended up with an app that could take on the Justice League without even trying for that. And they needed her help the take care of the problem in the end.

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There were just too many elements of the story I was questioning for me to enjoy it. And it didn't have any good character moments to make up for things.

 

This Justice League run is not impressing me. The first volume was boring. This one was just painful.

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