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Best Reads of 2016

So many good reads this year- some brand new series, or some that were new to us! This also marks a year that we have been blogging- as we created this blog for a school project we were working on in November 2015 and truly started adding content in December and early January. It has been quite a fun journey, and a lesson in time management to meet our (self-imposed) deadlines of posting! We’ve made friends with other bloggers, and found our tribe at WordPress!

We are connecting our best books of the year with a meme we are trying for the first time- Hype or Like Friday that we discovered on Goodreads. This meme was created by Jillian, Larkin and Britt who are book bloggers that want to share their opinions about overly hyped books.

locke-and-key-series

Nancy: My reading highlight was the Locke & Key series, written by Joe Hill and beautifully illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. Such an epic story- it had complex characters, moral dilemmas, a malevolent evil and an atmospheric setting that sucks you in.

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Kathleen: My favorite thing that I started reading this year was Fables (Vol. 1 of the Deluxe Edition). Timeless fairy tale figures living in modern New York City – what more could you ask for? The characterization is excellent, the plot twisting and riveting, and though I don’t normally like the art to vary too much, they really pick artists who fit the style of the story at any given time. Absolutely a must-read.

 

Revival

Nancy: Another series that I found outstanding was Revival, written by Tim Seeley and illustrated by Mike Norton.  It was an atypical living dead story, in which a handful of dead suddenly came back to life. 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. Seven of the planned eight volumes are out, and I eagerly look forward to the finale of the series early next year.

 

61kihhzxy3l-_sx328_bo1204203200_Kathleen: George Perez’s Wonder Woman (review coming soon!) is the acclaimed 1980’s reboot of your favorite heroine. It’s a great origin story for first-time readers of Wonder Woman, as it’s easy to follow and heavily borrows the mythology from her Greek roots, which is always fascinating. The art is richly detailed, colorful, and full of light, as befitting the Amazon princess. Plus, cheesy ’80s dialogue galore! =P

 

 

 

The Outside Circle

Nancy: The Outside Circle, written by Patti LaBoucane-Benson and illustrated by Kelly Mellings,  tells the fictional tale of a Canadian First Nations man that comes to terms with his heritage and who begins to take responsibility for his life. The story is based on the reality that many Native people face (in Canada and the US), for the government took away thousands of children from their families over the years, breaking the circles of community and fragmenting generations of people with no connection to their tribe anymore.

 

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Kathleen: Seconds is not your typical coming-of-age story. Yeah, Katie is a 20-something who struggles with owning her own business, making friends, and with letting go of her ex… but she also gets a rare opportunity to start over by eating a magic mushroom. Soon, she starts eating one every night, but the more she tries to fix, the more she messes up. And the more she makes the house spirit angry with her. Rounded forms and warm colors belie the serious message within.

 

 

Kingdom Come

Nancy: Kingdom Come, written by Mark Waid and illustrated by Alex Ross was praised by IGN with the statement, “One of the greatest comic book stories of all time”, and they were not far off the mark. I am typically more a Marvel fan, but this DC story was fantastic for the moralistic debate storyline. The artwork is top-notch, with a distinctive photo-realism look and holds up 20 years after first being published. This book stays true to each character’s back story, so kudos to the team’s familiarity with the history of all the superheroes!  As such, the Epilogue was a perfect ending.

 

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Kathleen: High-fantasy readers, rejoice, for there is a comic out there just for you. Kurt Busiek’s The Autumnlands takes us to a world where animals speak, weave magic, and build cities in the sky. When their magic starts disappearing, the collective of wizards casts one last spell to bring a savior to their world – but the cost is too great, sending their city plummeting to the plains below. Can they survive what horrors await them in the night? Can their champion really save them? Features gorgeous, richly detailed art and beautiful writing.

 

 

invincibleNancy: The book Invincible took me by surprise this year, for it is overshadowed by writer Robert Kirkman’s more well-known project (The Walking Dead) but I felt the world-building in this one volume was as strong as DC & Marvel’s superhero worlds. We meet Mark, a new superhero, who is the son of Omni-Man. Later his world is turned upside down, with a twist that will surprise you, and his life changes forever with this new knowledge. This new development is a game-changer and sets up endless stories for the future. Sadly, this series is drawing to a close soon, but I will enjoy binge-reading the rest of the books soon.

 

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Kathleen: My last one was a toss-up between Birds of Prey and Bombshells… and Birds of Prey won. I know! Strike me down where I stand!!! They both feature a wide and varied cast of female superheroes, which I love, but Birds of Prey has the core three whom you can’t help rooting for. It has been wonderful to see how Barbara, Dinah, and Helena come together and become a family despite their differences. Exotic locales, action-packed stories, and hilarious dialogue have made this series near and dear to my heart.

 

There you have it – our ten best books/series of 2016. Thank you for all the support, comments, and friendship that you’ve all given us. We are so happy to have you all with us =D Happy holidays!!! ❤

– Nancy & Kathleen

Revival: Deluxe Edition Three

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Seeley, Tim & Mike Norton. Revival: Deluxe Edition Three. 2016.

We are now heading into the last half of the series, as it will end with volume eight. I am curious as to how the mystery will play out and how character arcs will conclude, as these middle volumes build towards the conclusion.

Volume 5: Gathering Of Waters

Frustrating read. Moral of this volume: trust no one. Do not trust the mayor’s wife, Edmund Holt, Jesse Blackdeer aka John Doe, Blaine Abel the exorcism guy, Ibrahaim, or the Feds. Don’t even trust the fish! (Aside- What was the deal in Chapter 29 when four pages changed illustration style, and then went back to normal afterwards?!)

Volume 6: Thy Loyal Sons and Daughters 

Still way too many questions about everything, with no clear answers being revealed. I’m thinking the ghosts hanging around are the souls of those who came back to life, and are waiting to be reunited with their owners, but yet there is still some murkiness about that explanation too. Such as- can souls be killed so they can’t be reunited with their original owner, leaving the body to eternal earthly life? And why is the Professor’s book a part of the mystery? I’d like more puzzle pieces please, so I am not so frustrated at the end of each volume.

 

As you can see, the middle volumes are a bit of an exasperating read for I want to be able to piece together clues by now, and just more layers have been added. I hope for clarification soon, and want to feel I am solving the puzzle alongside Officer Cypress. Never the less, I eagerly look forward to reading the concluding edition of this great series. The residents of the (fictionalized) town of Wausau, Wisconsin, have come to life in my mind, and I need to know how this all resolves for them!

-Nancy

*Reviews Of Deluxe Edition One , Two and Four

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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!

Elfquest-group

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!

locke-and-key

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

Revival: Deluxe Edition Two

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Seeley, Tim & Mike Norton. Revival: Deluxe Collection Edition Two. 2014.

When I read the first volume of Revival, I knew I wanted to continue reading this rural noir series about how loved ones reviving, which could be a dream come true for some, will be a nightmare for many. Author Tim Seeley and artist Mike Norton have stated the series will run eight volumes, with the seventh one coming out in September. Warning-  some (but not too many) spoilers!

Volume 3: A Faraway Place

Volume 2 of this series had no recap of the previous volume, so this book played it sly and had a recap done from Dana’s son’s perspective in comic book form to start us off. Some plot threads were followed more in depth such as trying to figure out Em’s killer, and explaining that the ghosts (most likely) were the unsettled spirits of the Revivers who didn’t die as expected. But there was so many other plots that were introduced or tangled up in one another. Who is the Reviver that followed Professor Weimar? How is the Professor involved in the situation? The teeth? So many questions, but perhaps this clue will help: The card that read “The Tree is Thirsty” came from Thomas Jefferson’s original statement “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” The plot thickens…

Volume 4: Escape to Wisconsin

The saga continues…with new layers added and few to no answers resolved. Dana travels to NYC to follow up on a lead, for Anders Hine had escaped WI and headed across the country when his ruse of acting as if he were in a vegetative state was exposed. Dana finally sees the ghosts attached to the Revivers, when initially she scoffed at the idea when her son told her that he saw several ghosts. (Aside-why would she not believe her son about ghosts, when people coming back to life was a fact?!) The last part of the novel had a segment that was a crossover with another popular Image comic-Chew. Agent Tony Chu from the FDA came to help investigate this Reviver phenomenon with his tasting skills. Chu was made to match the Revival art style, but as I am not a reader of Chew I was initially very confused with this plot thread, as it had not matched the previous story. If you are a fan of Chew this cross over was very cool, otherwise, it might fall a little flat for you.

-Nancy

* Reviews of Deluxe Edition One , Three and Four

 

 

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Revival: Deluxe Edition One

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Seeley, Tim & Mike Norton. Revival: Deluxe Edition One. 2013.

I discovered a wonderful series that has it all- great story, outstanding art, a mystery and supernatural elements set in a rural landscape. I have a feeling that the Revival series will become a must read for me!

Volume 1: You’re Among Friends

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.

Officer Dana Cypress, a single mother and daughter of the sheriff, is asked to head The Revitalized Citizen Arbitration Team (RCAT). Dana proves to be a realistic main protagonist as her relationships with her father, younger sister, father of her son, and the towns people are built layer by layer, and affect the decisions she makes on this new task force. Dana discovers her sister, Martha (Em), is a Reviver when she is stabbed with a scythe and survives. Em does not know who murdered her, but as the story continues, hints are left that point to many different suspects. Dana is paired with a scientist of Muslim heritage (possible romantic interest), and along with the Hmong population in town, is a nice nod to diversity within the story. An unhinged religious demonologist and creepy ghost also play into the mystery- what are their connections to the Revivers?

The artwork in this self proclaimed rural noir is very well done. All the characters are unique in looks and personalities, with a good artistic representation of the different walks of life within a town’s inhabitants.  The variant art used to introduce each of the five chapters was beautiful and gave you a hint of what was to come.

Volume 2: Live Like You Mean It

The action picks up right where volume 1 left off with no recap- a handful of townspeople inexplicably revive after dying with no memory of their death, and the community and police try to piece together what happened. Officer Dana Cypress investigates several leads, with new people and situations being thrown into the mix. Revenge plots, ghosts, and harvesting of Reviver parts are added into the mystery; with more secrets being added than solved. This series will be like a large puzzle, with Dana and us, the readers, trying to put it all together so it makes sense.

Exceptional first volume in what will most likely be a long running series, for the characters and plot lines are set up for growth. I will definitely be reading future volumes to see how the idea of loved ones reviving, which could be a dream come true for some, will be a nightmare for many.

-Nancy

** Reviews for Deluxe Editions Two,  Three and Four

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