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Locke and Key

Locke & Key: Heaven and Earth

As an extreme fan of Locke & Key, I was thrilled to see a book of collected stories set in the world of Keyhouse. Unfortunately, this book depends on your knowledge of the six book series to understand the power of the keys that play a significant role in the stories. As two of the three stories are prequels, you are meeting family ancestors to the Locke children, and you will see some uncanny resemblances between generations.

Open The Moon–  While this story could be a stand alone, this story is better understood if you have read the issue Small World, as this has the family found in that story. We meet Chamberlin Locke and his wife Fiona and their four children. This story centers on their sickly son Ian, who is prone to convulsions, who can’t be cured by the magical mending cabinet in their home. Ian, his father and family friend Harland board a special hot air balloon to take them to the other side of the moon. This beautiful but melancholy story reunites loved ones, and Ian’s parents make a heart rending sacrifice for Ian.

Picture taken from Deviant Art (artist & colorist credit on picture)

Grindhouse– This crime-noir story is set in the 1930’s and features some French-Canadian criminals that get in over their head at the Keyhouse. Sisters Mary and Jean from the previous story are all grown up when the gangsters burst into their home and threaten them. Bombshell Mary is calm, even when her little boys are in danger and the women are forced upstairs to be assaulted. Luckily these two women know how to utilize the keys of the house to their advantage, and the crime spree ends in a shocking manner. This story is graphic and meant for mature audiences only.

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In The Can– We are reunited with the three Locke siblings from the original series in this short. Spanning only a few pages, this story takes place in what I assume would be Volume 4 when they are searching for additional keys in the house and grounds. Bode, the youngest, discovers a magical outhouse in the woods. Each time he opens the door different creatures greet him. In-jokes abound in this story, so be on the look out for clues in the first few panels that will explain what Bode sees. That some of these creatures can be found in other IDW publications comes as no surprise.

The concluding pages in the book are a photo gallery of the Massachusetts region that the fictional town of Lovecraft is based off and the author and illustrator mugging for the camera. Then we are given three drawn portraits of Bode, Kinsey and Tyler with Locke & Key mythology behind them.

This hardback book is a treat for already established Locke & Key fans and should not be missed if you miss the series and are waiting on the Hulu series (edit- Netflix picked up the series to film when Hulu passed on it) to start filming.

-Nancy

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Fall Book Tag

It’s still November! We can still legit do the Fall Book Tag! We were tagged by Zezee With Books to do the Apple, Pumpkin Book Tag (which was a combo of two tags for her) and by Dani of Perspective of a Writer to do the Fall Time, Cozy Book & Manga Tag (in which she embellished). While they were quite different, they both had to do with fall, so we decided to combine the two into our own awesome mash-up! We alternated answering- can you figure out who answered each question?

From ZeZee’s Tag:

Granny Smith: An overbearingly sweet work or character

Faith is a kick ass heroine that also is super sweet. You go girl!

Red Delicious: A book that would be perfect if it was only judged by its cover

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Darkness Becomes Her. Man, the cover is beautiful and the synopsis was so good. But don’t be fooled. It’s a hot mess inside.

Golden Yellow: A book with yellow on the cover

Hark! A Vagrant has awesome riffs on history and literature, and is done so in an intelligent and hilarious manner.

McIntosh: A writer that has influenced or would influence your writing

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Isabel Allende! She definitely has influenced my (fan)fiction writing.

Honeycrisp: A book you have read that is in great demand

Written in 1986, this dystopian tale seems so very timely during our current political climate, and still is checked out regularly.

Gala: A work that fits under many genres

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Can’t talk enough about it – the Dark Tower series! An intoxicating mix of fantasy, Western, horror, and sci-fi.

Ambrosia: A long work that was easy to follow

The six book series Locke & Key kept me enthralled the entire time. Hoping for more books from this duo and the upcoming Hulu series. (Edit- now Netflix has the rights and is filming the series!)

Pumpkin Soup: A work that you first enjoyed, but then lost interest

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The Mistborn series. The first book was great! I could not make it more than a quarter of the way through the second book, though. *yawn* Booooring.

Pumpkin Picking: Within the last year, in which genre did you purchase the most books

Ummm….hello….what is the name of our blog? Graphic Novels of course!!!!!! Pictured is the graphic novel shelves at my library that I do all the purchasing for.

Pumpkin Painting: A book with magnificent illustrations

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Need I say more? (Actually, I did. In my review of TSS.)

Pumpkin Ice Cream: The most random work you would recommend

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I just finished this photography book by Gregory Crewdson.  Filled with surreal photographs that are dark and disquieting. A fascinating book that I looked at over and over again.

From Dani’s Tag:

Crunching Leaves 

The world is full of color Choose a book that had reds/oranges/yellows on the cover!

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An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson. Not a bad YA novel. Bonus because it takes place in part in autumn =P

Cozy Sweaters 

It’s finally cold enough to do warm cozy clothing  what book gives you the warm fuzzies?

This is my crazy favorite YA book. Young love in the 80’s…

Fall Storm

The wind is howling & the rain is pounding  Choose a book that you like to read on a stormy day…

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Man, if I’m in the mood to get spooked on a stormy day… this book is it. Beautifully unsettling.

Cool Crisp Air

Makes you breath freely  What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

Tyleet from the ElfQuest saga is my favorite elf! She’s kind, patient and steady. She’s not a flashy character but the kind of person/elf you’d always want by your side.

Hot Apple Cider

Warm autumn drink What under-hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

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*SLAMS FISTS ON THE TABLE* GIVE ME AN 8 SEASON TV SHOW ON THIS SERIES

Coat, Scarves, and Mittens

The weather has turned cold & it’s time to cover up   What’s the most embarrassing book cover that you’d like to keep hidden in public?

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This was an awesome book, but it just screams that I’m a geek for reading it.

Pumpkin Spice

Time for some Starbucks  What’s your favorite Fall time comfort foods (i.e. genres) and a book/manga that represents them.

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Fantasy ❤ Autumn is the best time to read fantasy, imo.

 

Thanks ladies for choosing us! We are not choosing to tag anyone, because fall is almost over, and our tag is a hopeless muddle of our favorite questions from the tags above. And now that this autumn tag is complete, we are ready for winter- bring it on!

(Okay, Nancy is obviously ready for winter, but I DEFINITELY am not… can’t wait for it to be over!!! I’m so sad autumn is almost finished 😭😭😭 )

-Nancy & Kathleen

Hype or Like Friday: I’m A Scaredy-Cat…

It’s Friday the 13th today! And what better way to celebrate than with this writing prompt- Hype or Like Friday: I’m A Scaredy-Cat… list the top 13 books and films that scare you the most! You will quickly see I like my horror stories short and scary. I am a big fan of Stephen King, but typically only of his shorter work.

Slasher Girls and Monster Boys by various authors

Impressive collection of horror/fantasy/paranormal short stories that were all inspired by old movies or books. The inspiration of each story is listed at the end of each story, but the fun is in guessing before you know for sure.

 

Everything’s Eventual by Stephen King

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King became too wordy for me a long time ago, so I now stick to his short stories for I feel he writes them very well. I liked how not all of them had horror or a supernatural element to them, but they all brought the characters to life. Some authors write a whole book and you still don’t have a fully fleshed out character, so I have always felt short story writers who can pull you in quickly are the best authors.  My favorites were Everything’s Eventual (listened to this on audio-Justin Long nailed it), Riding the Bullet and The Road Virus Heads North.

 

Poe: Stories and Poems by Edgar Allen Poe, adapted by Gareth Hinds


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When I wrote my discussion post on whether classic stories should be adapted into graphic novels, I deliberately left stories about Poe off. I love many of the macabre poems and short stories he wrote, and I had heard that this adaptation would be out soon. The illustrations here are evocative, and I will be reviewing this particular book in a few weeks. (Edit- here it is!)

 

Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King

Four very dark short stories with Big Driver and A Fair Marriage being my favorites. This was the book that truly gave me the most chills, as they were very realistic and grim.

 

Locke & Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriquez

One of the best graphic novel series I have ever read, Locke & Key starts with a family tragedy as the Locke family is terrorized by two students who have an ax to grind with the father, Rendell, who is a high school guidance counselor.  After the father’s murder, the shattered family leaves California and heads to Massachusetts to start over at the Locke family estate, where Rendell’s younger brother Duncan provides them sanctuary. But alas, more evil awaits them there. This supernatural thriller set in a small coastal town is a winner and is being developed for a series on Hulu.

 

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These early stories of King stories grab your attention, and wonderfully describe the characters and locale in just a few pages. Favorites were Jerusalem’s Lot, Strawberry Spring, Children of the Corn, and I Am the Doorway. That many of these short stories were adapted into movies say a lot about the strength of his writing.

 

As for the movies…

Alien– There is no place to escape in space! That alien is so freakin’ creepy.

The Ring– The urban legends are true! Don’t watch the video!

The Blair Witch Project– The first of the “lost footage” movies that was perfectly done and set the stage for a new genre.

Poltergeist– I watched this as a child and it freaked me out. Children in danger, killer clown toy, and a house built on a graveyard- this had everything to scare me!

Carrie– Religious fanaticism, telekinesis and mayhem at the prom!

The Silence of the Lambs– Cannibalism and mind games at their finest.

Arachnophobia– Spiders…nuff’ said.

Give these stories and movies a chance, and you’ll be sure to have a frightfully good time!

-Nancy

Hype or Like Friday: Books Set in a Small Town

As I live in a fairly small town, I decided to try this writing prompt from a Goodreads group that I belong to. This group was created by Jillian, Larkin and Britt who are book bloggers that want to share their opinions about overly hyped books.

 

This book ripped my heart out and stomped on it, yet I adored it. Senior year is starting for three high school misfit friends: Dill, Travis and Lydia. All three have different reasons for not fitting in with their rural Bible Belt Tennessee town, but their tight friendship buffers a lot of the ugliness surrounding them. Dill’s Pentecostal snake-handling preacher father is now behind bars for child pornography, leaving him and his mother deep in debt and shame. Travis deals with an abusive father whose shames him for being gentle and loving fantasy novels, while Lydia has caring parents but her edgy fashion blog alienates her high school peers. As Lydia prepares for a future in NYC after graduation, Dill and Travis have less prospects and worry about how their lives will change, especially Dill who secretly is in love with Lydia and dreads the future. A gut-wrenching incident affects one of the three, forever changing their dynamic. After it occurred, I was shocked. I had to put the book down for awhile and process what just happened. How the other two, and their family members cope (I ached for two of the mothers) bring the book to a poignant and hopeful conclusion. One drawback though was the portrayal of the Christians in the community. They were shown to be intolerant and judgmental, and a more balanced representation would have been welcome. But…overall, this was a brilliant book, that showed readers that they shouldn’t accept diminished dreams, they should strive to be the best they can.

All of Kent Haruf’s novels take place in fictional Holt, Colorado. Haruf is known for his plainspokeness and his beautiful but sparse writing style. His books are so true to life, and will make you feel like you have know these Holt residents for years. They are loosely chronological and have some recurring characters that move in and out of the books.  My Goodreads reviews:

The Tie That Binds   

  Where You Once Belonged         

Plainsong         Eventide

Benediction           Our Souls At Night

 

Briggs Land is an absolutely riveting new series about “an American family under siege” by both the government and their own hand. Set in rural upstate New York, Briggs Land is a hundred square mile oasis for people who want to live off the grid. Established in the Civil War era, the Briggs family would give sanctuary to those who wanted to live a simple life, but this anti-government colony has taken a dark turn in recent times. The village that grew within it’s fences has morphed into a breeding ground for white supremacy, domestic terrorism and money laundering.

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I bring up these two final books often. Revival was a favorite of mine from the beginning. Inexplicably, twenty three people come back to life in rural small town Wisconsin. The “Revivers” are not your typical zombies looking for braaaiins. Instead they quietly rejoin their former lives, not even realizing or remembering their deaths. Their new existence sets the town on edge, with media scrutiny, a government quarantine and religious fanatics taking over the region. The series is being developed into a movie through Shatterglass Films.

One of the best graphic novels I have ever read, Locke & Key starts with a family tragedy as the Locke family is terrorized by two students who have an ax to grind with the father, Rendell, who is a high school guidance counselor.  After the father’s murder, the shattered family leaves California and heads to Massachusetts to start over at the Locke family estate, where Rendell’s younger brother Duncan provides them sanctuary. But alas, more evil awaits them there. This supernatural thriller set in a small coastal town is a winner and is being developed for a series on Hulu.

 

Living in a small town has it’s rewards, and all these novels give realistic representations of the joys and frustrations of knowing most everyone in town.

-Nancy

Locke & Key: Small World

Usually, I only review graphic novels vs single issues, but this is Locke & Key, I obviously needed to make an exception. Small World is a one-shot, but the creators plan a few more of these type of stories, covering some of the history prior to the original series that will be under the umbrella of Locke & Key: The Golden Age.

The Locke family has lived on the Keyhouse estate for over 250 years, and this particular story takes place in the early 1900s. Chamberlin Locke and his wife Fiona give a gift of an ornate dollhouse which is a replica of their own, to their daughters Mary and Jean. The magic Small World key creates the family in miniature and the girls can watch their family in the dollhouse. But in this supernatural thriller, things take a sinister turn quickly. Soon the miniature girls and their brothers Ian and John are fighting for their lives when a spider takes up residence in the dollhouse.  The artwork is again superb, with Locke family traits being readily evident, plus the keys we are familiar with are utilized to great effect in the story.

The note at the end of the issue, From The Publisher’s Desk, is what truly excited me for it included information about the future of Locke & Key. Creators Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez share news of the script that Hill is writing for Hulu (edit- Netflix picked up the series to film when Hulu passed on it) based on the series, and hint at a new Locke & Key comic series called World War Key. Be still my beating heart- a live series and a new six-book cycle??  So I am thrilled that I hopefully have many more years of Locke & Key epicness ahead of me!

Make sure you check out my reviews for Volume One and then the remaining horror series, Volumes Two through Six.

-Nancy

 

Hill, Joe, Gabrriel Rodriguez & Jay Fotos. Locke & Key: Small World. 2016 Variant Covers

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Spooky Settings

 

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week’s topic is: Favorite Spooky Settings! So while I would never want to actually visit these locations, they exist in my mind for they were richly created, atmospheric and very sinister at times.

 

full-dark-no-stars

Stephen King became too wordy for me a long time ago, so I now stick to his short stories for I feel he writes them very well.  Some authors write a whole book and you still don’t have a fully fleshed out character, so I have always felt short story writers who can pull you in quickly are the best authors. These four stories have very dark undertones to them, and will stay in your mind afterwards, for they are based enough in the real world to make you squirm.

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This gives me an excuse to yet again bring up one of my favorite graphic novels, Locke & Key! The story takes place on the east coast in the fictional town of Lovecraft, Massachusetts. The Locke family estate, Keyhouse and it’s grounds, are eerie and atmospheric with a cave and well house being significant to the story.

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The picturesque setting the of the seemingly sweet fairy tale Beautiful Darkness veers off course quickly into a macabre, unsettling and gruesome allegory about society.  Wait until you see where these creatures originated!

Through the Woods

Through the Woods is a short story collection that incorporates ominous woods into all the stories to great effect. The sinister wolf is lurking behind every tree, for even if you make it through the woods safely several times, all he has to do is wait for that one time he does catch you!

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Impressive collection of horror/fantasy/paranormal short stories that were all inspired by old movies or books. The inspiration of each story is listed at the end of each story, but the fun is in guessing before you know for sure. The settings for each story are perfectly unsettling and unique.

 

-Nancy

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Want to See as TV Shows

 

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week’s topic is: Books You Want to See as TV Shows.

Friends_with_Boys

Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks could adapted into a great tv series: Teenager angst! Sibling Rivalry! Misfit friends! The mother left the family! The dad is a cop! Ghosts!

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My favorite comic of all time ElfQuest by Wendy and Richard Pini, has stories dating back to the 1970’s- there are endless plot possibilities!

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My other favorite graphic novel, Locke and Key by Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez, had a tv pilot shot in 2011 but wasn’t picked up by a network. There is news they are trying again! As the casting was off in the 2011 edition (Jesse McCarty as Tyler? Please), I look forward to the possibility of this going forward.

outlander

This is an obvious cheat- Outlander by Diana Gabaldon already is a tv series! IT IS PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. I love you Jamie ♥

Revival

 

Revival by Tim Seeley and Mike Norton is about loved ones coming back from the dead, and the fall out the ensues, would be ripe for a tv series. There have been some similar shows on television recently based on this idea, but this source material is stellar.

-Nancy

Locke & Key: Volumes 2-6

This is one of the BEST graphic novel series EVER! Strong from beginning to end- I can’t recommend it enough! I will now wait as you rush out to purchase this series…

Ok, are you back from the book store? Let’s continue. When I read the first volume back in April, I said “Locke & Key is truly one of the best the best graphics novel I have ever read, hands down. It just dominates. Joe Hill and Gabriel Rodriguez are superb storytellers, and this first novel makes me anxious to read the rest of the series. Who cares that I have family, work and school commitments? Lovecraft is calling me.” Well, real life got in the way and I didn’t want to read the rest of the series piecemeal, so I waited until my family was on vacation to give my undivided time to finishing the series.

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Volume 2-Head Games:

After reading the first volume of the Locke & Key series and absolutely loving it, I knew I had to read all six volumes. Each book is dense, and takes time to get through, but is so worth the effort. This second volume delves deeper into world building, with much back story and character development. Dodge, the malevolent soul released from the well by Bode, has now managed to worm himself closer to the family by taking on a new guise. The Locke family is none the wiser, for “Zack” manages to manipulate or take out any other person who suspects the truth. More magic keys appear, with intriguing diary entries from a Revolutionary era ancestor in the back of the book explaining the powers of each key. The Head Key proves to be the most intriguing for a head can be opened and memories examined, showing how memories can be subjective to each person. The illustrations showing’s Bode’s colorful kaleidoscope of memories, compared to Ellie’s black and white adult memories are brilliant.

Volume 3-Crown of Shadows:

The third volume continues to dominate. The Locke family is still struggling over the death of the father, with the mother Nina crumbling under the strain of her rape and her husband’s murder. Her drinking takes a toll on the whole family, with Kinsey and Tyler having to take on the adult roles of parenting their little brother since their mother is too drunk to do so. More keys are discovered and used for evil by Zack, but combated by the three siblings with their own keys, still not knowing who is behind the attacks. Nina discovers a magic chest (which surprised me for they make a point in saying that the magic is for the young) which fixes broken items, leading her to put her husband’s ashes in and hoping for a miracle. Unfortunately, it can not mend death, leading to a poignant conclusion of Nina’s breakdown and the discovery of the mysterious Omega Key.

Volume 4-Keys to the Kingdom:

Another solid entry but it runs into the “middle problem” of a series, when the beginning sets up the plot and atmosphere, and the middle is left with hanging story lines, before the last volumes (hopefully) wrap up everything successfully. The beginning of the book was a fun start, with the illustrations drawn to emulate Bill Watterson’s Calvin & Hobbes style, to set up the stage for an animal showdown. Many more keys are found by the Locke siblings, and for the first time, they are not documented in the diary entries but they are obvious as to their power with the awesome battle illustrations drawn by Rodriguez. Lucas/Zack is still manipulating the family, especially Kinsey whom he romances, but Tyler is beginning to put together the clues. The end of this volume concludes with an epic cliff hanger.

Not every series can be perfect- and I do have some issues: I found the Skin Key to be problematic with stereotypical racial overtones, Ellie’s constant misfortune including her son Rufas’s intellectual disability and the implication that he is too stupid for the Head Key to be used on him, and the teenagers poor decisions in regards to what they let their friends and love interests know. I do look forward to how volumes five and six resolve the story, and hopefully tie up some of my stated issues.

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Volume 5-Clockworks:

Backstory awesomeness!!! We finally get an explanation of the keys’ origin during the Revolutionary War era, as hinted by the diary entries of different Locke generations in the back of the previous volumes. The present day Locke’s discover the Timeshift Key enabling them to witness history. They observe the first Locke family as they endure tragedy from the British while protecting the American rebels. Tyler and Kinsey watch as the 1700’s Locke children witness the evil hiding in the caverns below their home. Later we are privy to what happened in 1988 with Rendell (the father as a teenager) and his friends and how the evil invaded Lucas. It was especially heartbreaking to see how Lucas had truly loved Ellie, until he was accidentally taken over, all due to Rendell’s immaturity and bad ideas. This volume had many tragic deaths, all of whom were innocent, due to the evil that got loose from the Black Door. I can not wait to see how this story concludes, and what will happen to Bode, now that the evil is in him. What legacy awaits the Locke’s?

Volume 6- Alpha & Omega:

All the mythology that has been building over the series comes to an epic conclusion. The entire Locke family is fighting for their survival, as an evil entity has been gaining strength and is determined to take over. This coincides with prom, and a large group of foolish teens head into the cave for after prom festivities, not knowing that they are walking into evil’s lair. The final showdown occurs with Kinsey and Tyler fighting the demon that looks like their little brother. Other friends step up to assist, often with devastating results. The death toll builds, with some surprising twists and turns. Will they be able to vanquish the enemy, and at what terrible price? While the poignant epilogue gives the Locke family some closure, and a few happy endings, the Locke family is forever changed by the demons they fought and the tragedies they endured.

A few final wrap ups: The artwork made this series for it established the atmosphere to coincide with Hill’s magnificent and well paced storytelling.  Rodriguez is crazy talented. He has included Easter eggs in this series from the start, with details drawn into pictures or words written into books in a library background, so I had to smile when I recognized Hill and Rodriguez drawn as the paramedics on page 18. Although I have been on the lookout for eggs, I wonder how many other details I have missed or what other background characters have been people the artist knows.

So everyone, you MUST READ this horror series! Beg, borrow or steal these books. You will be glad you did.

-Nancy

L&K

 

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist

 

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Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme from Goodreads, created by Lainey from Gingerreadslainey and now moderated by Sam from ThoughtsOnTomes. This week’s topic is: Most Recent Additions to Your Wishlist!

 

locke-and-key-seriesI read the first volume of Locke & Key and loved it, thinking that it was one of the best graphic novels I have ever read. I wanted to savor the rest of the series, so I put off reading volumes 2-6 until I have time. My family vacation is around the corner and I have all the rest of the volumes packed away for me to enjoy then. (Edit- Volumes 2-6  So amazing! Go out and buy this series!)

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I love Rainbow Rowell, as Kathleen can attest to, for I talked about RR’s book Eleanor & Park every chance I could get, at our Young Adult Literature class. RR released a novella for World Book Day in the UK and Ireland, and it is not available in US bookstores. I am patiently awaiting my order from overseas. (Edit- I got the book in the mail and loved it!)

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I happened upon this article about the two authors working together when I was Googling RR, but I have not heard any news regarding the status of their collaboration. I loved the artwork of FEH in Friends With Boys, so I hope the graphic novel still happens.

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I am a fan of short stories, so I really enjoyed the collection My True Love Gave To Me which included a story by RR. I recently bought Summer Days and Summer Nights for my library’s collection and featured it on my monthly teen newsletter.

Civil-War-II

Civil War II is coming out in issues now but won’t be collected into a graphic novel until the end of the year. I look forward to reading the whole story then, as I was a huge fan of the original story. (Edit- not a fan of this second profiling tale)

I always have many books I anticipate reading, but I contained myself to graphic novels and YA books for this post. So many books, so little time!

-Nancy

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