Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood (Monstress #2) by Marjorie M. Liu (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist)

December 5, 2017
 Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood, (Monstress #2, )Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda, InToriLex, Book ReviewPublished By: Image Comics on July 11, 2017
Format Read: Paperback Edition (152 pages)
Genre: Comic/ Fantasy/ Horror
Series: Book Two of Monstress
Source: Purchased
Rating: FIVE STARS
Monstress, Vol. 2: The Blood (Monstress, #2)
~Amazon~
The Eisner-nominated MONSTRESS is back! Maika, Kippa, and Ren journey to Thyria in search of answers to her past... and discover a new, terrible, threat. Collects MONSTRESS #7-12

VERDICT: 

REVIEW:

This  volume continues the adventures of a outcasts group fighting their way to answers and Maika continuing to be a Boss. We learn more about the gods who used to rule this universe and Maika's family. We get to visit the Isle of Bones which is immaculately described and full of surprises. Throughout this volume there are examples of characters showing sympathy and understanding towards beings who we would characterize as bad. This works well because Maika is learning to control and be at peace with the dual nature of her self. While I grappled with the expanding mythology, I never stopped being engaged with the story and caring about what happens next. 
"You will never redeem yourself. But focus always on your shame, and your shame will eat you , it will become you. That is the coward's way. A coward never has to learn."
Although this does not pack the emotional punch the first volume did, the comic continues to explore a universe of beings grappling for power. The power struggle of species and gods lays a great backdrop to how these characters will journey on. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys bad ass female protagonists and dark action packed fantasy. If you enjoyed the first volume this is a worthy follow up. I am excited for what new adventures the author will conjure up next.
Reviews in Series:
Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening (Monstress #1) by Marjorie M. Liu (Writer), Sana Takeda (Artist), Rus Wooton (Letterer, Designer)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

New York Times bestselling and award-winning writer Marjorie Liu is best known for her fiction and comic books. She teaches comic book writing at MIT, and she leads a class on Popular Fiction at the Voices of Our Nation (VONA) workshop.

Ms. Liu is a highly celebrated comic book writer. Her extensive work with Marvel includes the bestselling Dark Wolverine series, NYX: No Way Home, X-23, and Black Widow: The Name of the Rose. She received national media attention for Astonishing X-Men, which featured the gay wedding of X-Man Northstar and was subsequently nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for outstanding media images of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. Ms. Liu also wrote the story for the animated film, Avengers Confidential: Black Widow and Punisher, which was produced by Marvel, Sony Pictures Entertainment (Japan) Inc., and Madhouse Inc.

Her newest work is MONSTRESS, an original, creator-owned comic book series with Japanese artist (and X-23 collaborator) Sana Takeda. Published by Image in Fall 2015, MONSTRESS is set in an alternate, matriarchal 1920’s Asia and follows a girl’s struggle to survive the trauma of war. With a cast of girls and monsters and set against a richly imagined aesthetic of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS #1 debuted to critical praise. The Hollywood Reporter remarked that the longer than typical first issue was “world-building on a scale rare in mainstream comics.”
Ms. Liu is also the author of more than 19 novels, most notably the urban fantasy series, Hunter Kiss, and the paranormal romance series, Dirk & Steele. Her novels have also been bestsellers on USA Today, which described Liu “as imaginative as she is prolific.” Her critically praised fiction has twice received the Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award, for THE MORTAL BONE (Hunter Kiss #6), and TIGER EYE (Dirk & Steele #1). TIGER EYE was the basis for a bestselling paranormal romance video game called Tiger Eye: Curse of the Riddle Box. Ms. Liu was born in Philadelphia, and has lived in numerous cities in the Midwest and Beijing. Prior to writing full-time, she was a lawyer. She currently resides in Boston.
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Book Scoop November 24- December 1, 2017

December 1, 2017
Book Scoop, IntoriLex, Book News
Book Industry News & Links to Sift Through

HEADLINES

2017 Word of the Year is Complicit

The Hate You Give is Banned by Katy Texas School District
The Hate You Give, Angie Thomas, Waiting on Wednesday, InToriLex


~Amazon~
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
James Baldwin's Home Set to Be Demolished

White Marvel Editor Uses Japanese Pseudonym to Circumvent Company Policy

Emma Cline Author of Girls is Accused of Plagiarism by her Ex

LINKS TO CLICK

NYT 100 Notable Books of 2017
Future Home of the Living God, Louise Erdrich, InToriLex
Future Home of the Living God
~Amazon~ 
The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.
Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado, InToriLex
Her Body and Other Parties
~Amazon~
In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women's lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

A wife refuses her husband's entreaties to remove the green ribbon from around her neck. A woman recounts her sexual encounters as a plague slowly consumes humanity. A salesclerk in a mall makes a horrifying discovery within the seams of the store's prom dresses. One woman's surgery-induced weight loss results in an unwanted houseguest. And in the bravura novella Especially Heinous, Machado reimagines every episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, a show we naively assumed had shown it all, generating a phantasmagoric police procedural full of doppelgangers, ghosts, and girls with bells for eyes.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.



Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below
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Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

November 2, 2017
Intorilex, Book Review, Difficult Women, Roxane Gay, Shory Story, Grove Press Published By: Grove Press on January 3, 2017 
Format Read: ARC Edition (272 pages)
Genre: Short Stories/Feminism/Contemporary
Series: Standalone
Source: Goodreads Giveaway
Rating: FIVE STARS
The women in these stories live lives of privilege and of poverty, are in marriages both loving and haunted by past crimes or emotional blackmail. A pair of sisters, grown now, have been inseparable ever since they were abducted together as children, and must negotiate the elder sister's marriage. A woman married to a twin pretends not to realize when her husband and his brother impersonate each other. A stripper putting herself through college fends off the advances of an overzealous customer. A black engineer moves to Upper Michigan for a job and faces the malign curiosity of her colleagues and the difficulty of leaving her past behind. From a girls' fight club to a wealthy subdivision in Florida where neighbors conform, compete, and spy on each other, Gay delivers a wry, beautiful, haunting vision of modern America.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

These stories broke my heart  and wrung me out. The best writers make characters speak to you  and these characters pulled on emotional threads. The different stories find ways to remind you of what makes us all human. These women struggle through unimaginable pain, and find a way to survive. They are sad but they have not resigned themselves to the tragedy they experience. I was refreshed to read one story told from the "wrongdoers" side. The story made me sympathize with someone who acts evil out of selfishness and that is a powerful thing.
"It was a dark, ugly thing to see such greed cloaked in false good."
I cried while reading. I had to stop in places because words pulled at me when I wasn't ready. Over and over these women's lives are described as seamlessly crafted around others at the costs of themselves. Many of these stories describe the uncomfortable need to satiate others and leave scraps for yourself. Black women too often find themselves trying to ignore and survive so many layers of oppression. These stories describe how oppression can intersect and how women strive to live with the consequences of it.
"Instead of speaking, I remained silent. Words cannot fill the faithless with faith."
Read these stories if your ready to take a hard look at how heartache affects women's lives. Roxane Gay has left a lasting impression on me and I'm excited to read more of her work. All of these short stories engaged and challenged me in a positive way. I'll be thinking about these characters for a long time. I would recommend this for fans of diverse contemporary stories with feminist themes.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short Fiction, Virginia Quarterly Review, and many others. She is a contributing opinion writer for the New York Times. She is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women and the New York Times bestselling Hunger. She is also the author of World of Wakanda for Marvel. She has several books forthcoming and is also at work on television and film projects.
Twitter
Website
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Monday Musings: Boston Bookfest 10/30/17

October 30, 2017
Monday Musings, Boston Bookfest, InToriLex, Book Blogger

LIFE LATELY

I have been reading but shamefully haven't posted to my blog since September. Well I'm back from another unplanned hiatus,and I'm grateful to my readers who have reached out and checked up on me. I'm excited for all that I have planned for November. I'm hoping to end my year productively reviewing  some great titles.
I recently dealt with some pressing family issues, but I feel recharged and ready to tackle my never ending To Be Read book pile. The Book Riot Ad network ended this past September, so I no longer will have ads on my blog. This is not a huge deal because I blog as a hobby. However I hope to dedicate more time to InToriLex so I can reach more readers. I have also started a few writing projects and have been overjoyed to practice my craft.

This past Saturady I browsed the vendors in Copley Square at the Boston Bookfest. I grabbed a lot of free totes, a great free t-shirt and new books. 

There was a packed schedule of lectures with wonderful authors throughout the whole weekend.  I wasn't able to attend any lectures but I was happy to chat with vendors about books.

It was great to see some smaller indie publishers out in full force. They had activities for kids and the weather was amazing. I was hoping there would be more vendors, but I understand how a outside festival in October may not be appealing. The New England Science Fiction Association gave out books for free and had a number of titles for sale. I'm happy I got to do some book browsing and learn more about the book community in Boston.
Have you read any of the books I picked up? Let me know in the comments below.
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Book Scoop September 1- September 15, 2017

September 15, 2017
Book Scoop, Book News, InToriLex, Man Booker 2017
Book Industry News, Links to Sift Through & Short Stories

Happy GreenPeace Day!!!

HEADLINES

Autumn
~Amazon~ 
Fusing Keatsian mists and mellow fruitfulness with the vitality, the immediacy and the colour-hit of Pop Art (via a bit of very contemporary skulduggery and skull-diggery), Autumn is a witty excavation of the present by the past. The novel is a stripped-branches take on popular culture and a meditation, in a world growing ever more bordered and exclusive, on what richness and worth are, what harvest means.

Autumn is the first installment in Ali Smith's novel quartet Seasonal: four standalone books, separate yet interconnected and cyclical (as the seasons are), exploring what time is, how we experience it, and the recurring markers in the shapes our lives take and in our ways with narrative.

From the imagination of the peerless Ali Smith comes a shape-shifting series, wide-ranging in timescale and light-footed through histories, and a story about ageing and time and love and stories themselves.


LINKS TO CLICK

Same Kind of Different as Me
~Amazon~
Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver's life was still hopeless—until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together.

But slavery takes many forms. Deborah discovers that she has cancer. In the face of possible death, she charges her husband to rescue Denver. Who will be saved, and who will be lost? What is the future for these unlikely three? What is God doing?

Same Kind of Different As Me is the emotional tale of their story: a telling of pain and laughter, doubt and tears, dug out between the bondages of this earth and the free possibility of heaven. No reader or listener will ever forget it.
Future Home of the Living God
~Amazon~
The world as we know it is ending. Evolution has reversed itself, affecting every living creature on earth. Science cannot stop the world from running backwards, as woman after woman gives birth to infants that appear to be primitive species of humans. Thirty-two-year-old Cedar Hawk Songmaker, adopted daughter of a pair of big-hearted, open-minded Minneapolis liberals, is as disturbed and uncertain as the rest of America around her. But for Cedar, this change is profound and deeply personal. She is four months pregnant.

Though she wants to tell the adoptive parents who raised her from infancy, Cedar first feels compelled to find her birth mother, Mary Potts, an Ojibwe living on the reservation, to understand both her and her baby’s origins. As Cedar goes back to her own biological beginnings, society around her begins to disintegrate, fueled by a swelling panic about the end of humanity.

There are rumors of martial law, of Congress confining pregnant women. Of a registry, and rewards for those who turn these wanted women in. Flickering through the chaos are signs of increasing repression: a shaken Cedar witnesses a family wrenched apart when police violently drag a mother from her husband and child in a parking lot. The streets of her neighborhood have been renamed with Bible verses. A stranger answers the phone when she calls her adoptive parents, who have vanished without a trace. It will take all Cedar has to avoid the prying eyes of potential informants and keep her baby safe.

A chilling dystopian novel both provocative and prescient, Future Home of the Living God is a startlingly original work from one of our most acclaimed writers: a moving meditation on female agency, self-determination, biology, and natural rights that speaks to the troubling changes of our time.


SHORT STORIES

Henosis by N. K. Jemisin
Egg Laying Queen by Kristen Arnett

Did I miss anything in the book world? Let me know in the comments below.
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The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein

September 14, 2017
The Punch Escrow, Tal M. Klein, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Geek & Sundry on July 25, 2017
Format Read: ARC Edition (319 pages)
Genre: Science-Fiction/ Thriller/ Humor
Series: Standalone
Source: Giveaway Win
Rating: FOUR STARS
The Punch Escrow
~Amazon~
It's the year 2147. Advancements in nanotechnology have enabled us to control aging. We've genetically engineered mosquitoes to feast on carbon fumes instead of blood, ending air pollution. And teleportation has become the ideal mode of transportation, offered exclusively by International Transport—a secretive firm headquartered in New York City. Their slogan: Departure... Arrival... Delight!

Joel Byram, our smartass protagonist, is an everyday twenty-second century guy. He spends his days training artificial intelligence engines to act more human, jamming out to 1980's new wave—an extremely obscure genre, and trying to salvage his deteriorating marriage. Joel is pretty much an everyday guy with everyday problems—until he's accidentally duplicated while teleporting.

Now Joel must outsmart the shadowy organization that controls teleportation, outrun the religious sect out to destroy it, and find a way to get back to the woman he loves in a world that now has two of him.

VERDICT:

REVIEW:

I didn't know what to expect from a futuristic hard sci-fi thriller. However I was pleasantly surprised with the good pacing and humor. It is hard to find books that bend genre's in a workable way but this book  did. The protagonist Joel's sarcasm and relatable reactions to things balanced out a book that included foot notes on futuristic world history.  The world building was fantastic, because every time I wondered how that would actually work, it would be followed by an explanation. The world building read well because the writing was good, it never read like filler or rushed exposition.
The characters in this book include a multi-faceted travel agent, Yoel (Joel's double), an ancient cult leader and a mad scientist. The characters were realistic and flowed together and apart nicely. Joel's epic journey to find himself  and survive the people who each want to use him for his own agenda included action, banter and romance. Hard scif-fi does not have to be boring, this book tells a human story in a future world where humans can upgrade themselves into something else entirely.
"Even if I were capable of gauging my state of mind objectively, I could only determine such things in retrospect."
The short cliff hanger and song titled chapters kept me engaged and made me wish this was a trilogy. I liked the book so much I was able to read a chapter that was left on the editing room floor (thanks Mr. Klein). The use of footnotes was done sparingly, but it would have helped the whole book stay in line with it's hard sci-fi know it all feel, if the author used them throughout. I don't know what the future of teleportation will be, but this gave some really cool imagery and ideas of how it could work. I would recommend this to fans of awesome hard sci-fi thrillers with humor and heart.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tal M. Klein, author and musician, was born in Israel, grew up in New York, and currently lives in the Detroit area with his wife and two daughters. When she was five years old, his daughter Iris wrote a book called I'm a Bunch of Dinosaurs that went on to become one of the most successful children's book projects on Kickstarter --something that Tal explained to Iris by telling her, "your book made lots of kids happy." Iris then asked Tal, "Daddy, why don't you write a book that makes lots of grownups happy?" Tal mulled this over for a few years, and eventually wrote his first book, The Punch Escrow. It won the Inkshares Geek & Sundry Hard Science Fiction publishing contest, and was the first book published on Legendary Entertainment's Geek & Sundry imprint. The film rights for The Punch Escrow have been acquired by Lionsgate. James Bobin (Flight of The Conchords, The Muppets) has been attached to adapt and direct.  Twitter
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