Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 8

 

Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell

Genre: Adolescent Fiction

Rating: 3/5

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Perhaps you have heard of the long poem called The Lady of Shalott, by Alfred Lord Tennyson? The Lady of Shalott is a women in old Arthurian myth during the time of Camelot. This book features King Arthur’s younger sister, Elaine, who happens to love Lancelot. When Gwynivere arrives into the camp, Elaine notices that she has a new love rival. When the two girls get mixed up with the Saxons, Elaine puts aside her differences and aims to help Gwynivere share the Saxon’s plans with Arthur, but that means escaping their imprisonment first.

Written in a poetic format gives the novel an interesting structure. Having only read Ellen Hopkins’s contemporary novels in poetic form, those were the only structure I had to compare this contemporary novel to as well. The poetic verse does not actually add much to the story and is rather distracting since there is no real meter or flow to the poetic form. the story itself is a nice historical fiction piece for middle grade and young adult readers in that it features a female heroine who fights for her beliefs and feelings during the time of King Arthur. I would say that this is a great book for the aforementioned age groups and worth a one-time read.

 

Manga Classics: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Stacy King

Genre: Literature/Manga

Rating: 4/5

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This adaptation of The Scarlet Letter was fantastic. The art was beautiful and the reader can really read into the deeper feelings of the characters through their facial expressions in a way that cannot be expressed through text alone. Pearl was portrayed as the little evil child she is claimed to be in the original novel, and the art portrays her behaviors in a way that makes the material comprehensive on a whole new level. While the original novel still moved me, this adaptation got me a bit teary-eyes with the visual emphasis (as did the Manga Classics adaptation of Les Miserables, which did have me crying). This is a great adaptation for young readers and anyone who enjoys looking at something from a different artistic medium.
I have read not only this Manga Classics adaptation, but I have read Emma, Pride and Prejudice, and Les Miserables in the Manga Classics editions as well, and all of them are written in a fantastic way that can help struggling readers or English learners comprehend these more complex texts and students can still fulfill the needs of the Common Core State Standards with these adaptations. Check out the Manga Classics Website for the different titles, a PowerPoint on how they work with the standards, and lesson plans that go with this edition of The Scarlet Letter.

 

Tokyo ESP (Volume 1) by Hajime Segawa

Genre: Action/Manga

Rating: 4/5

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I dived into this series not knowing what to expect, but by the end of the first volume, I must say that the series looks like it has some great potential. This series introduces the reader to Rinka, a regular girl, or was regular until she is touched by a strange glowing fish in the middle of the city. When she wakes up falling through her apartment floor, she knows something is a bit different about her, and she’s not the only one. A bunch of people in Tokyo who have touched the glowing fish have suddenly gained different forms of ESP powers, and not everyone has good intentions. Now Rinka and fellow ESP user, Azuma, must use their ESP powers for good. And what’s up with the penguin? It can take ESP away, problem solved!

This seems like a very action-packed series with great art. The American release versions come as 2-in-1 compilations, which is nice, making up a total of 8 volumes in America, 16 in Japan. I would recommend this for the die-hard anime fans as well as those who are into the super hero genre.

 

Spider Gwen (Volume 0) by Jason Latour

Genre: Young Adult/Comic

Rating: 3/5

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In an alternate universe, Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman. She aims to fight crime, but when Peter Parker becomes the Lizard in hopes of being a powerful hero like Spider-Woman, he goes on a rampage, and Gwen must stop him. With the guilt of Peter’s death looming over her, Gwen aims to do good against the evil Kingpin and his lackey, Matt Murdoch. The problem is, everything she does ends up looking like a crime from the police perspective, making her a wanted criminal.

While this was interesting and the art and color schemes were visually aesthetic, the story feels a bit lacking. It was fun to see Murdoch as a villain and Gwen struggling through her secret of being Spider-Woman, but the over arching story feels plain and used. The other Spiderverse comics are vastly more interesting, but this was a nice switch-up for the girls.

 

Monster Musume: I c39bd2813d999a1ddc360bcba21e4d54_heart-clip-art-free-blue-heart-outline-clipart_298-276.png (298×276) Monster Girls by Okayado, SHAKE-O, et. al

Genre: Comedy/Monster Girls/Short Anthology

Rating: 3/5

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While this book is by no means up to par with the main Monster Musume series, it still had its interesting points and quirks. This volume has 14 short stories drawn in the four-panel comic strip format, including a story (and cover art) by SHAKE-O, the author of Nurse Hitomi’s Monster Infirmary, as well as a short, one page blip from Okayado himself. The stories are written and drawn by people from the publisher or who work with Okayado on the main series, not general fan-fiction. Most of the stories are bland, with the occasional very funny or worth-while read.

Do not buy this at full price at the store, because it is not worth that. But it on Amazon for half the cover price. The catch with this series is that each volume comes with….THREE MONSTER MUSUME COLLECTOR’S POST CARDS! These are very beautiful drawings by Okayado and worth the purchase for die-hard collectors, but still not worth 12.99 + tax just for three illustrated cards. I am still debating whether or not to continue to buy these just to have in my collection, but the post cards sure make it tempting!

Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 12)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

 

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Star Wars Dawn of the Jedi (Guide(36,453 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (1 Issue)

Writer: John Ostrander

Artist(s): Jan Duursema

This single issue is very unique. Rather than a story arc of any kind, this in a short informational issue with accompanying art work that portrays some of the Dawn of the Jedi era. This single-issue informative comic gives background details about the Je’daii code, temples and the planets they are one, what the temples main affiliation is, ships from the era, and some of the iconic masters.

Despite not having a story, this is an interesting issue to own for any Star Wars fan in that it add some history and context to the early era of the old timeline, not to mention it is a pretty hard to find issue these days.

 

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Knight Errant: Deluge (1032 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (5 Issues)

Writer: John Jackson Miller

Artist(s): Ivan Rodriguez, Michael Atiyeh, et. al.

This is the second installment of the Knight Errant series of comics: Deluge. When Kerra returns to her home-world, Aquilaris, she finds that her world is still in havoc. Not only is the Hutt crime lord Zodoh fighting Sith Lord Daiman for the planet, but Zodoh has sent an emissary to smuggle drugs in and out of the planet. The smuggling involves one drug in particular: deluge, a drug that gives people a more blissful feeling and an apathetic manner of looking at life, not giving a care about the circumstances surrounding them. Now Kerra must stop the Hutt and reclaim her world for her citizens.

As always, the art in this series is appealing, and Kerra is a fun female character to follow. This is a nice extension to the Knight Errant series and adds just a bit more flavor to the conflicts in the Old Republic era.

 

Star Wars The Clone Wars Volume 8 (20-19 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (6 Issues)

Writer: John Ostrander

Artist(s): Jan Duursema, Dan Parsons, Brad Anderson, Thomas Giorello

This volume contains the Star Wars Republic issues 72-77. “Trackdown Part 1,” and “Trackdown Part 2” Quinlan has gained some vital information that can change the events of the war. The problem is, we as a reader are just as conflicted about his loyalties as his own Jedi brethren are. Many still do not trust him, but Aayla is keen on finding out just what side he is on. When they join together to search for their master, Tholme, it is apparent that many Jedi have already turned to Dooku’s aid. Aayla and Quinlan must save their master and determine who the other Sith Lord is, and Quinlan thinks he knows just who it might be. In “The Siege of Saleucami” Parts 1-4, Quinlan forces the idea that Sora Bulq must be the other Sith and aims to track down the Anzati Jedi. In the mean time, Quinlan is being hunted down by Dooku’s men. The Jedi form a small battalion to face off against Bulq and other turned Jedi in hopes to end the war. When Aayla enter’s Quinlan through the Force, Quinlan must face his Dark Side and conquer it before he can return to the light and fight for the Jedi. An interesting betrayal from someone close to Quinlan adds for an exciting ending, and a lead-in to the final chapter of The Clone Wars.

Being the Quinlan fan that I am, I loved how this volume really revolved around him. We get to see his internal struggles with the choices he has made and the Jedi he has become, as well as see more in-depth connections between him and his fellow Jedi…and his girlfriend!

 

Star Wars Volume 4: Last Flight of the Harbinger (0 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Jason Aaron, Chris Eliopoulos

Artist(s): Chris Eliopoulos, Mike Mayhew, Jorge Molina

The Harbinger is a Star Destroyer, and guess who plans to take control of it? Leia has planned to take the Harbinger to aid a planet in need of help from the Empire, a planet with a blockade of other Star Destroyers surrounding it. To get through, Leia plans on using the Harbinger to get into the planetary orbit and release the planet from the Empire’s blockade. When Sergeant Kreel, a lightsaber-wielding Stormtrooper, is sent to reclaim the Harbinger, Luke must fend off the enemy. In the meantime, Han and Leia fight over the position of captain of the new ship! In this volume as well is included another of Ben Kenobi’s journals. In this issue, the Whookie bounty hunter, Black Karssantan, is sent by Jabba to find out who has been thwarting Jabba’s men. Of course, Kenobi may know a bit about that, as he has been ensuring that Luke and his family do not have problems from others through his interventions.

This volume was not as exciting as some of the previous volumes, but the art is still phenomenal; Mike Mayhew never ceases to amaze in the Star Wars comics. Kreel is an interesting character, so getting to see some background and development of a Stormtrooper as an actual character was fun. While Kreel may not have succeeded in receiving Luke for Vader, we are left with a captured C-3P0…great…

Phases of First Year Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Teaching

A Future First Year of Teaching English

Fictional Journal Entries about the stages of an academic year of teaching as told by Teresa Mullin

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Anticipation: August 24, 2018

I am excited to meet my students on the first day of class. I am teaching three periods of regular freshmen English and two periods of junior honors English. The mix of students is exciting and the different levels will be fun to explore and work with as well. I have all these great project ideas to get students engaged as well as a number of activities and graphic organizers in my arsenal to ensure that all students learn and succeed in my classes. I have taken a day to clean my classroom, have the desks organized in pods of four, and have posters of writers from various cultural backgrounds as well as a multitude of Star Wars and Shakespeare décor in my classroom. From day one, I plan on being assertive and making my expectations clear through behavior contracts and a constructed, developed syllabus. Students will do a “Getting to Know You Bingo” game to build classroom community, as well as a syllabus and class procedure scavenger hunt with partners. Students will also be making “Getting to Know You” index cards that they will be handing in to me so that I can learn a bit about my students as well as use the cards as random name generators for calling on students. They will also be doing a “20 Minute Autobiography” where they respond to a number of questions written on the board. I will use this as a diagnostic way of seeing how they write and organize their thoughts as well as another method to get to know a bit more about my students. I cannot wait for the school year to start next week. It will be perfect, the classroom community will be great, and students will find my English class to be engaging and fun.

“I want 80% of my students to get a B or better,” -Ms. Groves

 

Survival: October 22, 2018

After a long weekend of grading the first string of long essays, I am beat, and it is only Monday. Today gets even better! My class of freshmen read an article independently today and I gave them graphic organizers with sentence starters to help them summarize the main points and determine the author’s perspective. When I observed Anthony’s response, I was baffled. I laughed along with him and said, “I do not think the author’s main point was the invention of Spongebob Squarepants.” He does this all the time; he does not try, and it is absolutely frustrating. While he is being funny about it, I do not know what to do to get him engaged or to get him to try. I have tried talking to him about trying before, but he just shrugs and tells me English is not important to him. He has a failing grade at present, and if I do not do something to make this content important to him, he will not learn and he will continue to not care. To top things off for the day, students in my period 5 English 11 class were not having the much-needed grammar lesson for today. Based on the writing I had previously received and handed back, it appeared that my juniors needed a review on subordinating and coordinating conjunctions, as well as when and how to use them. Ronny, one of my more troublesome students who likes to make snide remarks, said, “Why are we doing this? Do you think we are stupid?” Of course I did not think they were stupid, but finding the words to explain this review was a challenge, especially after being called out in this way in front of the whole class. Other students began to join him and the class period turned into an uncontrollable riot. It reminded me of Entertaining an Elephant by William McBride, and I figure tomorrow I will write an amazing quote on the board and have students discuss and reflect on the quote in their journals to give them a class day to focus on their own writing and ideas, rather than the grammar we were going to do…

“You attack the day or it attacks you,” -Ms. Groves

 

Survival: December 1, 2018

I need to make the final exams and books reports are going to be due on student Goodreads accounts next week. It is going to be a lot of grading before the winter break, but I am very anxious to see what some of my students will produce. There are some I know will not turn in a book review report on Goodreads, and that is a major assessment for the semester (students do a total of 4, 1 each month). Grading, grading, grading…

“Grade big things, not small things,” -Kayla Marley

 

Disillusionment (Winter Break): December 26-30, 2018

The results of the final exam for the semester were a bit disconcerting. I need to rethink my methods to get students engaged with the reading and show them why reading should matter to them personally…

I had  great Christmas with my husband and his family yesterday and I am taking a well-needed break. I get to read my own books, play some video games, and enjoy nice mid-day naps to avoid thinking about my classes for just a few days.

Over the break, I am wondering if I taught well enough, or if I am the one who set them up to fail. What can I do at the beginning of the second semester to get my students motivated?

“Did I set them up to fail?” -Ms. Groves

 

Rejuvenation: February 10, 2019

Over the break and as the second semester began, I reevaluated how I do things. I have students doing more work with graphic organizers in hand-on activities and more jigsaw groups. I also had students write in their journals the percentage grade they want to leave the semester with. Having students set goals had really gotten them determined about succeeding and achieving their own goals. I am also doing a lot more art activities with the students and having them build a poetic journey portfolio project involving poems that students research, write themselves, songs of their interest, and illustrations by the students. This is going to be a semester-long thing with an abundant amount of class time spent on it. So far, the kids love it! Valentine’s Day is coming up and students will be writing “kindness notes” to each other as assigned by numbers (kind of like a white elephant gift exchange, but instead of gifts it is positive, empowered comments to classmates). We have also started doing “celebrations,” where 3-5 students share something positive that happened the day before. We have begun to do this everyday. Unlike last semester, this semester we have really built up the classroom community from the get-go, and students are more open and willing to share than they were the previous semester.

“Build the family atmosphere in the classroom,” -Kayla Marley

 

Reflection: June 20, 2019

Looking back on the whole school year, I have taken away what activities work and do not work with the students. When technology is involved, students seem more interested in the content, such as doing their book reviews on Goodreads or posting their poems on a portfolio-style blog using WordPress. I have tested out Google forms with the students to get their own feedback and input on what they remember the most, what they enjoyed,. and what they did not enjoy as much. I found that a few students would rather have worked independently more often than in groups, so perhaps next school year I will give those students an option. I have also found that giving students multiple options for projects or essay prompts allows student to write about what they want to write about while still demonstrating the main learning goals being assessed. I will be sure to add at least 2-3 more options for all the projects and prompts I will be repeating next year.

“Make use of technology,” -Kayla Marley

 

Anticipation: August 20, 2019

I have already set up my classroom in a similar way, but this year I have all five teaching periods of English 9 CP! It is a good thing I found out what worked and what did not work with the students last school year, but this is a whole new batch of kids. While I may have finally found some decent engagement strategies for my students last year, the same strategies might not appeal to my group of students this year. We will for sure be doing the Goodreads book reviews and the poetry portfolios, since those are major assessments that the students tend to have fun with while demonstrating their knowledge and understanding toward the learning goals. I will ensure students in the classroom have a “family” atmosphere right from the star, as well as having them set their own academic goals so that they have something to look back on when they feel discouraged. Let the academic year for 2019-2020 begin!

“It starts all over again,” -Phases of First Year Teachers’ Attitudes Towards Teaching

Should You Read It?-Honorable Mentions Part 7

A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

Genre: Adolescent Fiction

Rating: 4/5

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This is the story of three children who are orphaned after their parents die in a fire. When they are sent to their closest (literally, closest in terms of distance) relative, they find that Count Olaf is a terrible man who just wants to steal the children’s fortune by whatever means necessary.

While this book features three children who suffer some, to say the least, terribly unfortunate events, it is well-written for its target audience. It is a vocabulary rich book that defines new words and phrases for young readers to increase their own vocabulary, although reading that as an older reader gets a bit tiring.

 

Entertaining an Elephant by William McBride

Genre: Education Fiction

Rating: 4/5

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At first, this was a novel assigned to one of the classes everyone must take to obtain a single subject teaching credential in California. On the first day of classes, it was no longer on the syllabus (but it was listed as required through the bookstore). I got a copy on Amazon, but my professor said since it is out of print and hard to find, we won’t be reading it for the course.

That said, I read it anyway. This book is about an English teacher who has been teaching the same lesson plans on grammar every day for the past fifteen years. When  a janitor comes in and writes quotes on Mr. Reaf’s board everyday after he leaves, Mr. Reaf finds that the students are excited to discuss these quotes. Mr. Reaf thinks the debate club is leaving the quotes, but the janitor has secretly been leaving them in hopes that the anger in Mr. Reaf’s room would dissipate. While Mr. Reaf has a hard time accepting the janitor’s words on how to change his teaching strategies, he takes his own life and meaning for teaching in to consideration.

All in all, the book was a decent read, but not life changing to me as an educator. It was a bit tiresome that Mr. Reaf is one of those teachers who sticks to the same thing year after year after year, because many teachers these days do not do that. Teaching as a profession is changing, and this book is now 20 years old, dating it to a time when school was a very different place.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (Graphic Novel) by Rick Riordan

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Graphic Novel

Rating: 3.5/5

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I had thought about reading this adaptation for quite some time and finally decided to pick it up and give it a go. The art is what prevented me from reading it previously, but I found that the art is actually rather interesting, different that a lot of the graphic novel art out there these days. That said, this adaptation was all right. It spent nearly half the book with Percy making his way to Camp Half-Blood and getting his quest. The quest itself left out a number of iconic aspects that are in the novel itself, and the fight at the end was lackluster and somewhat disappointing. Where the adaptation takes so much time with the beginning aspects of the novel and the universe, it could have elaborated on the quests and involved more action. Overall it was a decent read and worth the read for any Percy Jackson fan, but perhaps not worth a re-read.

X-men Misfits Volume 1 by Raina Telgemeier and Dave Roman

Genre: Action/Modern Science Fiction/Graphic Novel

Rating: 3/5

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While deviating from the original X-men stories to make it more Japanese style and appealing to a female audience, this manga was still interesting, to say the least. When Magneto takes Kitty Pryde from her home to join Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, she finds that she is the only girl in attendance, besides some of the teachers. Being the only girl has made her quite the popular spectacle, especially with the Hellfire Club. She and Pyro become an item, but only when it is too late does she realize the wrongs that the Hellfire Club has done.

The art is fairly appealing and gives a more shojo (female-based) perspective. It has a few cliches, such as being the only girl in the school and being favored by all the guys. There also is not much appeal in terms of plot. While it is an interesting perspective, not a whole lot happens in the volume. It has potential, but just not quite enough. Worth a one-time read, but definitely not worth owning or re-reading.

Uglies: Shay’s Story and Uglies: Cutters by Scott Westerfeld

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian/Graphic Novel

Rating: 3.5/5

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Fans of the Uglies series by Scott Westerfeld will absolutely love these graphic novels. Not only is it a graphic novel adaptation, but it tells the story from Tally’s friend, Shay’s perspective. We see how Shay sees Tally as a friend and a betrayer in all things. Inviting Tally to join her at the Smoke may not have been Shay’s best idea ever, for the Specials follow and make Shay a Pretty. When Tally arrives as a pretty, she takes Shay’s boy, again, and seems to be the ruin and seed of Shay’s anger.

These are great graphic novels for fans of the series who are already familiar with the dystopian world of the series (a world in which regular people get their surgery at age 16 to become Pretties, a surgery that is meant to keep people simple and happy to prevent crime and chaos in society). The art is great and it was fun to see a visual representation of the dystopian world.

Star Wars Highlight: Comics (Part 11)

There are many, many comics in the world of Star Wars. The ones I have here vary in era, art, publication date, publisher, and style, but they are all interesting releases both to the old Expanded Universe as well as the new canon. They are listed in order based on the Battle of Yavin. Just remember, this is a highlight on a small fraction of a larger whole.

 

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Star Wars Vector Vol 1 (3963, 19 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (5 Issues)

Writer: John Jackson Miller, Randy Stradley

Artist(s): Joe Pimentel, Dan Parsons, et. al.

This is a unique collaborative volume that contains volume five of Knights of the Old Republic and volume three of Dark Times. Both are put together in one volume with a story woven around a Jedi introduced in the next installment of KotOR, Celeste Morne. Zayne gets mixed up on a mission with her to retrieve an ancient Sith artifact that can control the beasts of the Rakghoul Plague. On a side mission to eliminate Zayne, Celeste realizes that he is a better man than she thought. When she sacrificed herself to save the Mandalorians from the plague, she is thought dead. The Mandies now owe Zayne for warning them of the plague on their planed, but he leaves with a heavy heart.

In the next section of the volume, Darth Vader is seeking a casket found deep in the ice on a barren planet. Within the casket is Celeste and the Sith icon that Vader seeks. With her, she brings a return of the Plague. While Captain Heren’s crew and Vader’s troopers aim to avoid the plague and the death is will surly bring, Vader and Celeste battle one-on-one, Celeste opting to give in to the Sith lord controlling the ancient item, giving her the ancient one’s power.

This was an interesting collaborative piece that worked well together. I have not read the Dark Times arc yet, and I didn’t need to to know that this volume was vastly interesting. While the art for the KotOR piece is pretty bad, the shift in style to the Dart Times volume is absolutely gorgeous, and the two stories focus around Celeste and can be a stand-alone piece featuring her.

 

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Star Wars The Clone Wars Vol. 7: When They Were Brothers (20 BBY)

Publisher: Dark Horse (7 Issues)

Writer: Haden Blackman, Miles Lane (“Brothers in Arms”)

Artist(s): Brian Ching, Nicola Scott

This volume contains “Obsession” issues 1-5 and the short “Brothers in Arms.” Obsession was an iconic piece in seeing more of Obi-wan and Anakin’s relationship. While Anakin claims to have killed Ventress on Coruscant, Obi-wan is positive she is still alive and asks Anakin to help find her. When they do, she is in a bacta tank, fully recovered by Dooku’s aid. When she fails yet again to kill Obi-wan, Dooku has one of his droids end her for her failures. Obi-wan finds that he has been able to reach a speck of light within her just before she dies, and aims to take her back to be with other fallen Jedi. “Brothers in Arms” shows the built relationship of Obi-wan and Anakin as two comrades in battle. When they storm Dooku’s palace, they find a horde of droids, but they also find that they will always have each others backs, despite Anakin’s hard-hardheadedness.

The art in “Obsession” is sharper than some of the previous Clone Wars volumes, the characters looking somewhat more realistic, especially with their facial features. The story was focused on Obi-wan’s obsession with Ventress, a correlation between two characters in the Clone Wars that has always been interesting to look upon and analyze. It is also five months before the Jedi purge, which makes me curious as to how the Clone Wars will fall into place just before that iconic event occurs.

 

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Star Wars: Han Solo  (0 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (5 Issues)

Writer: Marjorie Liu

Artist(s): Mark Brooks, Lee Bermejo

Han Solo is asked by Leia to use his ship in a dangerous race, while the race is actually a cover to pick up three rebel spies, one of which is a traitor. Many of the racers don’t respect Han as a pilot in that he is a smuggler, but despite the mission, he is determined to win the race. Many obstacles get in the way, including the Empire. When one of the rebel spies is killed aboard his ship, the other agents find themselves staking out the one who has been feeding information to the Empire.

The art was a bit different in this graphic novel, sharper and more angular than some of the other new Marvel line. The story sounded kind of bland, but it was interesting in that we get to see an extra mission between Episodes IV and V, as well as meeting someone who was once an enemy of Han and Chewbacca. It was a decent stand-alone piece and had the thrill of excitement that any intense race would have, along with high stakes.

 

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Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens  (33 ABY)

Publisher: Marvel (6 Issues)

Writer: Chuck Wendig

Artist(s): Luke Ross, Marc Laming, et. al.

This graphic novel is an adaptation of the movie and parallels the events of the movie. Scavenger Rey and deserting Stormtrooper Finn find themselves on a mission to escort a BB-8 unit back to the Rebel Alliance. BB-8 holds the key, the final piece of the map to finding Luke Skywalker. Along the way, Rey learns of her force powers, encounters Han Solo and Chewbacca, and fights Kylo for the sake of good.

Overall the adaptation was an enjoyable read. The art is pretty sharp, and when going from motion to still, adjustments must be made to get that motion across. Some of the fight scenes or other action bits, while drawn well, do not have the same impact as seeing it on the screen. Regardless, reading and looking at an adaptation of something you know and love is always a good experience to see something from a slightly different perspective.

Highlight, A Pre-release Review: The Jane Austen Project

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Genre: Fiction

Rating: 4.5/5

I actually had the pleasure of winning this book in a Goodreads giveaway.This is the perfect book to have won because I did my senior seminar on Jane Austen for my BA; I have read every novel and many criticisms on her, as well as studied various aspects of the time period, and this book is excellent for someone with such an interest.

Any Jane Austen fan will find this book amusing, witty, and captivating!

The edition that I am reviewing is an uncorrected proof (not for sale) used for the publisher to get early feedback and reviews on the novel before its release on MAY 2, 2017! This is Kathleen Flynn’s debut novel, and she is worthy of entering the world of authorship. Her writing is intelligent and crisp, and the novel reads just like a Jane Austen novel.

Plot-wise, it is about two people working for the Jane Austen Project–Rachel and Liam–who travel back in time to 1815 to make ties with Henry Austen, Jane’s favored brother. Their goal: steal Jane’s letters to her sister before they can be destroyed as well as the unpublished novel The Watsons. The two play the part of brother and sister having come from a slave plantation in Jamaica, keeping their true identities a secret, but for how long can they keep up the ruse? When Rachel and Henry become a little too well acquainted, their plans may fall to ruin. But what about Jane? Jane, a soon-to-be-endearing friend to these newcomers finds the time travelers to be…well..just not quite able to fit in.

Told from Rachel’s perspective, it is fun to see how the mission takes form and how the duo attempts to not alter history…too much. The end was interesting, but also the reason I did not give it a five out of five rating. I love time travel and the concept of it when it can be presented clearly, which I think it was, but the whole alternate reality thing was a bit of a put off, and so was the way we were left of with our main characters. Of course, this could be changed before the final printing of the book. Like I said, I like where it went, but at the same time it is the one thing that docked points on the rating. The rest of the novel is set in 1815 with minor glimpses every once in awhile of the condition of Earth and how it was at present. Just getting those little glimpses kept the imagination working, but seeing everything in the whole final chapter was somewhat disconcerting.

Overall this was a fantastic read and well researched. I loved the use of carriage by name (the way we address Toyota and Porsche, basically) like Curicle and Barouche-landau, and the description of the attire and the smell in the streets. Flynn left nothing out of the time period. We see the reality of chamber pots, even by the gentry, and lets not forget the boys used for chimney sweeping! It is a novel authentic to the era and worthy of the wit and intellect of Jane Austen. While no one can really know what these people were like when they were alive, the novel really gives them an aura and a character that represents them in a realistic manner.