Read in October

October was a pretty good reading month for me. Below is a breakdown of what I read last month but didn’t have time or the inclination to write a full review for:


15789274 Wolverine and the X-men, Vol. 1 by Jason Aaron

 Rating: B+

Genre: Comic

Wolverine and Kitty Pride are trying to pass inspection so they can open the Jean Grey school for mutants. As expected, things don’t go well when the new Hellfire Club (teen edition!) decides to attack. I loved the dynamic of Wolverine and Kitty trying to play nice with the bigoted inspectors while also attempting to keep the school in one piece as things crash down around them. It was a great set-up for a little more light-hearted X-men series and I can’t see where things go.


17182373 Captain Marvel, Vol. 2: Down by Kelly Sue DeConnick

 Rating: A

 Genre: Comic

Captain Marvel: Down starts out with a fun plot involving Carol and Monica Rambeau investigating an unexplained ship/plane graveyard near New Orleans. This was just straight-up fun that features Carol punching sharks and flows into a story about Carol trying to find a missing friend. Really enjoying DeConnick’s Captain Marvel run. One of the best things is that Carol is allowed to have female friends who genuinely enjoy one anothers’ company. This is harder to find in comics than some would think.


13431883 Wild Justice by Kelley Armstrong

 Rating: A –

 Genre: Suspense

After 4 years of waiting, fans of Armstrong’s Nadia Stafford series finally got a conclusion to the series. In Wild Justice, Nadia finds herself face to face with the killer of her young cousin and is forced to confront her memories of the past. I love the Nadia Stafford series, so I was extremely relieved when this book got released, as I knew it would wrap-up questions from the previous books. However, some things in this novel seemed like they were on fast-forward. I got the feeling that Armstrong had originally intended to have more than 3 books in the series but then changed her mind (either due to her other stories being more popular or a loss of interest in the concept) and decided to cram everything into this one. Despite this, I still really loved Wild Justice and thought it was a strong ending for the series. But I am still holding onto the fragile hope that maybe someday Armstrong might decide to give us another book featuring Nadia.


20883304Dad is Fat by Jim Gaffigan

Rating: C

Genre: Humor

I listened to Dad is Fat on an 8 hour road trip. Gaffigan’s delivery of the book was pretty fantastic and there were moments in the book that had me chuckling to myself. However, I mostly left book thinking Gaffigan was absolutely insane. Live on the fifth floor of a two bedroom apartment in New York with 5 kids, your spouse, and no elevator? No, thank you. .


17899546Avengers: The Enemy Within by Kelly Sue DeConnick

Rating: B+

Genre: Comic

The Enemy Within is actually the conclusion to plot started in Captain Marvel: Down. If you haven’t read that one, you won’t be able to follow Enemy Within very well as it wraps-up the mystery behind Carol’s illness and the person that has been stalking her, which was not really seen in DeConnick’s Avengers run prior to this. Despite this, it was a great conclusion to that story arc and I look forward to see what comes next.


13537838Wolverine and the X-men, Vol. 2 by Jason Aaron

Rating: B –

Genre: Comic

I hate mystery pregnancy plots and even though it’s made clear that Kitty isn’t actually pregnant (not a spoiler, it’s revealed within the first couple of pages) this came way too close to that kind of story. The resulting plot centered on her and the invasion of the school was boring to me. What made up for it was Wolverine and Kid Omega going gambling in space to save the school. I hear that the next couple of installments of this series aren’t the greatest, but I’ll probably continue on with it anyway.


18007564The Martian by Andy Weir

Rating: B +

Genre: Sci-Fi

A great listen on audio. I posted a full review on a blog I share with a friend of mine, which can be found here.



12119496Steel’s Edge by Ilona Andrews

Rating: B +

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Steel’s Edge is supposed to be the last book in Andrews’ “The Edge” series. Charlotte moved to the Edge after her illusions about her husband and life were shattered. She worked hard to build a new life for herself but it’s all destroyed one afternoon when she agrees to help an injured man. Now she’s set on taking her revenge and will use Richard Marr’s help to get it. I really loved Charlotte and thought the dynamics of her magic were interesting. However, I felt like there were a few minor plot threads that weren’t finished by the end. So, I’m hoping this means the Andrews writing team haven’t completely finished writing stories in this world.


19124363Evernight by Kristen Callihan

Rating: B

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Evernight is the 5th book in Kristen Callihan’s “Darkets London” series. I’ll admit I skipped over book 3 and 4 for no real reason except this one sounded more interesting at the time. Holly Evernight has been agoraphobic ever since she was kidnapped and held captive. And the constant stream of supernaturals bent on killing her isn’t helping alleviate that fear. Will Thorne is the first one person to make it past her security and she’s shocked to find he’s also someone she was forced to experiment on. I’m not a huge fan of “hate turns to love” romances, so the first part of this book wasn’t my cup of tea. Callihan’s writing was enough to keep me going though and I new that the ending wouldn’t play out the way I expected. It’s one of the things I love about Callihan’s books. She never quite goes down the path I expect her to take. All in all, an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the next book in the series (Soulbound).


26759Dark Water by Koji Suzuki 

Rating: C+

Genre: Horror

Dark Water was my horror novel for October. Essentially, it’s a collection of short stories all connected through the characters’ interactions with water and death. The way Suzuki incorporated paranormal elements into these connections was very interesting and was what kept me reading. However, I was thinking this would be more of a horror book than it really was. The majority of the tales reminded me more of Karen Russell‘s short stories, which are general fiction that utilizes some paranormal elements. So, if you’re looking for a scary or creepy read, I would suggest you look elsewhere. But if you’re looking for a collection of interesting stories then this is a solid read.


13330537Garment of Shadows by Laurie R. King

Rating: A –

Genre: Mystery

Garment of Shadows is the 12th installment in King’s Mary Russell series. I’ve been skipping around a lot with these books but it has never affected my understanding of what is going on. In this one, Mary is suffering from amnesia while trying to navigate her way around a strange city. A large chunk of this book revolves around everyone trying to figure out how Mary got injured and where the person she was traveling with has vanished. I really adore this series and loved getting some chapters told from Holmes perspective.


18136549It Happened One Wedding by Julie James

Rating: C+

Genre: Contemporary Romance

It Happened One Wedding is the 5th book in James’ FBI/US Attorney series and I really wish she’d get away from writing only books in this series. I’m starting to get a little tired of the concept and would love to see what she would do outside of FBI/US Attorney novels. In this story, Vaughn and Sidney are the best man and maid of honor (respectively) of their siblings wedding. After a rocky start, they find themselves growing on one another. Nothing too surprising here, it basically went the way I figured it would. Not bad, but nothing very memorable about it.

X-Men: X-Termination


X-Men: X-Termination

Written By: Greg Pak, David Lapham, David López

Illustrations By: Matteo Buffagni, Andre Arujo, Roberto de la Torre

Publish Date: 2013

Genre: Comic

Rating: C –

X-Men: X-Termination brings together 3 different X-men series (Astonishing X-men, Age of Apocalypse, and X-treme X-men). If you haven’t been following at least X-Men: The Complete Age of Apocalypse you’re going to be pretty lost since the majority of the story focuses on previous plot points from that series. I picked this one up to finish out the X-Treme X-Men series without having read Age of Apocalypse (AoA), so I was confused over several points. (Such as AoA Jean Grey not having mutant powers anymore, AoA Nightcrawler’s vengeance mission, AoA’s Beast being evil, and the AoA team’s dislike of Scott Summers.)

At it’s heart, this story revolves around the AoA Nightcrawler’s mission of redemption after having been obsessed with avenging his wife’s death without consideration for the consequences of his actions. It’s also a story arc for AoA Jean Grey who gets tasked with a mission to save the multi-verse. So, if you’re reading this as a wrap-up to the X-treme X-men story, like I was, you’re going to be extremely disappointed. Those story arcs and characters get shoved into the background or are efficiently dispatched to make way for AoA to take over.

Separating this from X-treme X-men, X-termination was an okay story. Nightcrawler is one of my favorite characters and AoA Kurt had a lot of page time here, so I did enjoy that aspect. I also enjoyed his character arc but I wish I had been following his story prior to reading this volume since X-termination is the wrap-up to a larger plot. Outside of that, I was too lost to enjoy a lot of what was going on. I didn’t understand the dynamics of the AoA team and I wasn’t a fan of the main “villains” here since they were just mindless consumers of power.

All in all, a very disappointing ending for X-Treme X-men which had shown so much promise in its first volume. I would recommend this only if you’ve been following all of the series that come together here.

X-Treme X-Men Vol 2: You Can’t Go Home Again


X-Treme X-men, Vol 2: You Can’t Go Home Again

Written By:  Greg Pak

Illustrations By: Stephen Segovia, André Lima Araújo, and Paco Diaz Luque

Publish Date: 2013

Genre: Comic

Series: X-Treme X-men, vol. 2

Rating: B –

After adoring X-Treme X-Men, Vol. 1: Xavier Must Die! I had high expectations going into X-Treme X-men, Vol 2: You Can’t Go Home Again. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to them. The first volume was fast paced but stream-lined and had some really interesting character development happening. In comparison, this volume was disjointed and I found myself confused about what exactly was going on in several parts.

This collection starts out where the last volume ended with Issues 6 – 7 which finds Kurt accidentally back in his own universe. These two issues were fantastic. The story is that Kurt is trying to find out what happened to his parents in a post-robot uprising landscape. Like Howlett’s (and even Emma’s) development in the first volume, Kurt’s character development here was extremely well done and I was glad to see such a great conclusion to his story-thread. However, this is where the collection lost me.

Issue 7.1 (which was the worst one, IMO) to mid-10 seemed to be all over the place. The main reason was that things became extremely rushed. Up until 7.1, some time had been taken in each universe to build-up to the final battle with the “evil Xavier”. They had also taken time to build-up character conflicts and distrust of the Xavier who has been navigating them to each world. This made the overall story more engaging because it dedicated time to making sure you got invested with the characters and what they were trying to do. After Kurt’s plot though, it was like someone pressed the fast-forward button. The pacing was very Grant Morrison-ish, as we jumped from one emergency (or several) right into the next one with very little build-up and at the expense of engaging character arcs. To give some idea of how much the story was sped-up, in the first volume we made it through 3 Xaviers while in this volume we got through 6. I’m guessing that things became rushed because they (whoever they is) wanted to get to the X-men X-termination story?

I will say that in the middle of issue 10, the plot managed to slow it’s pacing back down and re-engage me. So by the end, I was back to full investment and am looking forward to reading X-Men: X-Termination.

Avengers Assemble: Forgeries of Jealousy

18948757Avengers Assemble: Forgeries of Jealousy

Author: Kelly Sue DeConnick and Warren Ellis

Artist: Matteo Buffagni

Publish Date: 2014

Genre: Comic

Rating: B

Kelly Sue DeConnick is quickly becoming one of my favorite comic writers out there. It’s pretty much gotten to the point where if I see her name on it, I’ll pick it up even if its a comic series I normally wouldn’t be interested in. However, Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy had an overly fluffy tone to it that I normally don’t find in DeConnick’s work. You don’t need to have read any of the previous volumes of the Avengers Assemble run to follow what’s going on here.

After her social studies teacher goes missing, Spider-Girl seeks out the Avengers for help in locating him. Since all of them are busy, most of the team take turns helping Spider-Girl out and in the process finds out that the situation is more severe than just a single MIA teacher. With a plot like that and the overall wish-fulfillment tone of Spider-Girls interactions with the Avengers, I’m thinking this book was meant to be geared toward teenage girls. If it was, then I would assume it’s fairly successful at it as Spider-Girl acts as a good self-insert character for that audience. Reading this as an adult, I think if I had picked it up as a first year in high school I would’ve enjoyed it more. But I do think it did a good job of not completely alienating it’s already present fan-base by pandering too much to one audience. However, compared to the previous volume of Avenger’s Assemble that DeConnick wrote, this was extremely lack luster. Dynamic characters and interesting plots were pushed aside to drag Spider-girl into the mix and have her gallivanting around with Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Wolverine, Iron Man, etc. Also, DeConnick seems to really love her some spider based superheroes because this run is starting to get bogged down with them. Spiderman has made occasional cameos, Spider-Woman is a staple to the group, and now we have Spider-Girl squeezing in. It get boring and a little annoying when too many superheros with similar powers are clustered together like this.

All in all, this volume was extremely fluffy but not bad. If you’re looking for something light-weight to read or want to give something to your teenage niece who’s a fan of the Avengers movie then I would recommend this.