Anya's Ghost - Graphic Novel Review

Anya's Ghost by Vera Brosgol
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I absolutely loved it! (And I thought I wasn't going to like it.)
I was surprised by the amazing artwork and the monochromatic tones used during the whole graphic novel.

With that said I didn't think it was a very dark graphic novel. At least not to me.
To me this ended up to be a story about self discovery and self acceptance. Acceptance by Anya of herself and her roots, and also her own acceptance as a singular and peculiar individual. I specially like one of the last words of the book

 "You may look normal like everyone else, but you're not. Not on the inside". 

The ghost part is fun and entertaining, and also how she spends time trying to discover more things about the ghost. But to me, the most important part how Anya's grow up by realising one or two life lessons during the story.

Totally recommend to anyone, either if you're starting reading comics or if already read a ton.

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Books I've read so far this year (16)

For the second year I'm setting a reading goal through my Goodreads.
Last year I've setted a certain goal and when I reach it I change it for more. It happened a couple of times. I ended up to read 57 books last year.
This year I'm starting with 50 books goal. I've already read 16 books, but that's only because I've re-read a few books and read a lot of comics. I've been noticing that my reading pattern changed a lot through out the years. At the moment I feel that I rarely have time to read. So I started to listen to audio books. This way I can preform certain tasks or just draw while listening to any book I want.

With that in mind I've started three different book series.

1) His Dark Materials Trilogy by Philip Pullman that I've started many years ago, but never finished. The first book is The Golden Compass. I have to confess that I've really liked it much more this time than the first time I've read it. You can read my full review here. [I haven't seen it yet, but there is a film inspired in the first book, with the actors Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman. I don't think I will see the film, at least until I've finished the series.]

2) I started to read the long A Series of Unfortunate Events back in the days they we're launch in Portugal. Probably one decade ago. I've read the two first books and then was never able to find them all available. They are in total 13 books. The first one is The Bad beginning. It was just as I remembered it. I've started the second one two which is called The Reptile Room, but haven't finished it yet. It's written by Lemony Snicket. [there is also a film inspired by these series with the actor Jim Carrie on the role of Count Olaf. I have mixed feelings about the book. This time when I was reading/listening to this book I kept going for the film imagery and I wasn't happy with it. I like to imagine the details and all the quirks by my own head. It was a struggle to forget all about the film]

3) I've delayed starting to read this series for years. Mainly because I thought I wouldn't like it. Which is very weird, because I love thrillers and cops/detectives shows/books, and strong female characters, besides sassy romance. And these books have it all! Besides they are written by one of my favourite romance novels Norah Roberts. These books are set in the future and follow NY detective Eve Dallas. Of course there are few clichés, like the ongoing romance with one of the most mysterious and richest men of (at least) NY. But I really enjoyed the mystery part of the police work. This one is the first book, it's the Naked in Death. There are almost 40 books in this series, and the series it's called In Death... How can someone write 40 books and have in death in all tittles? I don't know how the author does, but it works. I'm looking forward to keep reading these books.

4) The first Graphic Novel/Comic that I've read was The Psycho. What really caught my eye was the amazing art it as. I love it! The story is right up my alley, though it's kind of hard to explain it. You can know more about it in Goodreads.

5) Willow Wonderland, if you're recognizing it from Buffy the vampire slayer TV show, then you're right. I was never a big fan of the Buffy show. I watched it sometimes though. My favourite characters were Willow and Spike. I was very curious about these comics inspired by the show. I wasn't disappointed with the story and with the artwork either.

6) Another comic inspired by another TV show Dollhouse. These comics happen after the events of the TV show, that's why it's called Dollhouse Epitaphs.  I liked the story, but the artwork was a little bit disappointing sometimes. Other than that it would had helped me if remembered a little bit more about the characters and the show, which I didn't. There was no back story, the authors simply assumed that you knew all about Dollhouse.

7) Rat Queens! Oh my GOD, where do I begin? It's worth all the hype I've seen. Awesome artwork! Loved the characters, they quirky personalities. The story! And even the cliffhanger in the end. Can't wait to either pick the next single issues or wait for volume two.

8) Locke & Key - Welcome to Lovecraft. I don't like the first book. At all. I love the concept. The whole story. But I'm not fan of the first book. I have mixed feelings about the inside artwork too. Will see it's a working in progress I guess. (I've read another one from the Locke & Key series, and I had a very different opinion, that's why I think I don't like this one because it's the first book, and there is a of things being build (story, world, background story, characters and so on).

9) The Strain. You already know that I've been obsessing over this book. I'm waiting for the originals to arrive. You can read more about the comics here, and how I'm waiting for the books here.

10) Locke & Key - Guide to the Known Keys - I absolutely LOVED this one. From artwork to the side story. Probably it wasn't suppose to be read before you go further in the series, because in the final part of book there is glossary of the keys with some minor spoilers (but I'm okay with that).

11) Marvel 1602 was a re-read. I love the artwork, it's a different than the usual from Marvel.

12) Van Helsing's Night Off it's hilarious. Little short stories told only in images.

13) Polar Shift by Clive Cussler was a re-read.

14) Murder of the Vicarage (A Miss Marple Mistery) by Agatha Christie was also a re-read

15/16) 20 Ways to Draw a Cat and 20 Ways to Draw a Dress were two cute books with different styles of drawings. They are references for any artist.

Happy Readings!!

New Books for February

So yeah 15 books for 2015 was a fail. We are only in February and I went on a buying spree of books. I blame the bargains on books/authors that I really like.

I recently got really hooked by The Strain comic books. As you might seen a recent post I've made. So I've order the hole triology. The first two books will be second hand (under 4€ each) and the third is new.

The Strain Trilogy by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

# The Strain
# The Fall
# The Night Eternal

By curiosity I look for Marion Zimmer Bradley books too, when I was looking for the second hand books. She is one of my favourite authors. Last year I finally purchase my own copies of The Mists of Avalon (yes, here in Portugal it's divided in 4 parts - for some weird reason they like to split big books in various parts... in case you don't know they did it also with the Game of Thrones books too)
I ordered the Lady of Avalon, Priestess of Avalon and Ancestors of Avalon (each book was under 4€). Right now I'm missing just the 7th book.

Avalon Series by Marion Zimmer Bradley and Diana L. Paxson

#1 The Mists of Avalon - by Marion Zimmer Bradley (already have)

#2 The Forest House - by Marion Zimmer Bradley (already have)

#3 Lady of Avalon  - by Marion Zimmer Bradley

#4 Priestess of Avalon - by Marion Zimmer Bradley

#5 Ancestors of Avalon - by Diana L. Paxson

#6 Ravens of Avalon - by Diana L. Paxson (already have)

#7 Sword of Avalon by Diana L. Paxson

And I thought I wasn't going to suck in to buying more books. And again I've failed (only one day after the 1st fail). Fortunately I'm not sorry at all.
Again these are all 2nd hand books. (and where big bargains).

I'm sucker for Sherrylin Kenyon books, and this year I want to read different series written by her, instead the one that I usually read which is the Dark Hunter series.

I was intrigued with the BAD Agency series, for what I can tell has no paranormal activity, which very different from what I usually read from her. I love some detective, thriller action so I was on it.
I've ordered the four books of these series.

#1 Bad Attitude by Sherrilyn Kenyon
# 2 Phantom in the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
#3  Whispered Lies by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
#4 Silent Truth by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love

I'm big fan of Alex Cross character created by James Patterson. And I was on the hunt of books by him. I found this series called Women's Murder Club (which I actually think was going to be a TV show... I'll be searching for it after I listed the books I bought... And I was right there was a TV show inspired by these books. Between 2007/2008, with only one season, and not that bad actors.Angie Harmon which is main know for the TV show also adapted from books Rizzoli and Isles, Laura Harris, Paula Newsome and Aubrey Dollar).

I come upon a bundle of the first 8 books! in second hand for 1/3 of the price if I bought in full price (even in second hand).

1st to Die by James Patterson
2nd Chance by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
3rd Degree by James Patterson and Andrew Gross
4th of July by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
The 5th Horseman by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
The 6th Target by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
The 8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

the grand total of 18 Books! Oh boy!! But if I divide the total between all the books (including shipping costs) each book cost me around 2,97€, so... no regrets!!

Now I just want them to arrive!

So did everyone thought I was done? Yeah me too.
But still I was tempted for a few more books that have been in my wishlist for many years now.

The Killing trilogy by David Hewson. Since the american version of the TV Show The Killing came out that I've been drooling for these books. This time I've ordered the first and the second, but I'm still thinking if I should also get the third... Yeah I've also ordered the third.

I've always liked type/typography but I don't have many books about it. So I'm starting with this one. I've also been on the hunt for this Paul Arden's book. I've seen been recommend by many fellow designers. Looking forward to read it!

The BIG total is of 23 Books! (15 books for 2015 yeah right... 2 months and 38 books... jeez someone is addicted to buying books). [But if I divide the total between all the books (including shipping costs) each book cost me around 3,57€, so... no regrets!!]

Graphic Novel - The Strain vol. 1

The Strain Volume 1 by David Lapham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Creepy and Gory covers. Volume 1 has the 1st to the 11th issue of this comic. I started reading it knowing that was about vampires and some sort of pandemic virus. I was also curious because the original book is written by Guillermo del Toro (and Chuck Hogan's - The Strain ). Before finishing the volume 1 I've also saw the first episode of the TV-show/series.

I love the artwork. One issue I have with many comics and graphic novels is beautiful covers and not so pleasing artwork on the inside. But this is one is spot on. The colours and the contrast really help setting the tone of creepiness of the story. The mixture of dark colours really help to deliver a brutal and violent story. Some scenes look like nightmare material!

It all starts with an air-plane full of dead people. Mysterious dead people. Nobody knows why they are dead. Upon this the main character is presented.Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (what a name!) working for the Center for Disease Control.
He is the chief investigator of this operation, but he's life is quite a turmoil. Eph is an ex-alcoholic juggling between his job and family (mainly his son).

In the second issue a coffin is found in the air-plane cargo. There are a few survivors from this mysterious situation whom are released and sent home.
There is this morgue scene where you discover that the death people have tiny and strange marks in their necks, almost invisible to the naked eye. All bodies are drain from blood and, oddly, despite they are death for hours, the bodies are still warm and without rigor mortis. 

Another extremely important character is an old men named Abraham Setrakian. Jew from Romania, Holocaust survivor, owner of a little pawnshop is the only one who knows what is going on and have some hints how to stop this pandemic infection of vampires. (I actually enjoyed a lot the parts about Abraham life, they are scattered through the different issues and give helpful hints about what's going on and how he knows so much about everything).

One of the best and scariest parts is when the death came to life in the morgue. (I actually saw this scene in the first episode of the tv show and sh*t is awesome too!). They come to life and they first urge is to find their love ones... and feed upon them. When they finish feeding on the blood they infect the people. 

By the forth issue of this comics they decide to assume that it's a parasite - in the comics it's not very clear, but in the tv show you can see worms, white worms - the parasites - on the dead/vampires.
In issue 6 you learn that are 7 original vampires called The Ancients. Three are in the old world (Europe), Three in the new (USA - where the action happens) and the 7th is the one whom is Abraham arch-enemy. Is also the only one whom doesn't hide from the humans. These vampires (as usual) don't get a long, that's why they are divided - I suppose. It's not very clear why these vampires don't get a long and white they have a truce. Or even why the fact that this 7th vampire - the master, come to USA will begin a war between vampires. 

It was only possible for this 7th vampire come to USA because there is an economic group called The Stoneheart Group led by Mr Eldritch Palmer that make a deal with the vampire. Mr Eldritch thinks he can control the vampires. However his goals are not very clear.

There are a few questions that are not answered during this volume, that got me questioning what's going on. I will be for sure reading the rest of the comics and also keep an eye on the tv show. I'm already looking for the original trilogy to add to my tbr list.
I totally recommend these comics for anyone who likes scary vampires and horror stories.

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