Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1

I’ve been working through the reboot of the Archie Comics branches. After being caught up with Archie Volume 1 to 3 and Road to Riverdale, Volume 1, its time to get into something fun with Josie and the Pussycats.

Let’s check it out.

Josie and the Pussycats, Volume 1
by: Marguerite Bennett, Cameron DeOrdio
Illustrated by: Audrey Mok

Josie and the Pussycats

Starting right from scratch, the reboot for Josie and the Pussycats start at the beginning from how they formed the band together. Josie’s sluggish solo career, Melody’s endless dating life and Valerie’s love of pets and great heart for the shelter are three very different personalities but somehow these three balance each other out to become this trio that found their agent fairly quickly and was hopefully on the road to fame.

Josie and the Pussycats is a very entertaining read. In fact, if you enjoy a graphic novel that breaks the fourth wall occassionally, this one is just for you. They are incredibly self-aware and because of that, it becomes very fun to be in this world. Reading about these three girls who don’t all know their dreams or where they want to go something of a coming of age experience for them. Perhaps its a relatibility thing here. They struggle for their careers and make some rash decisions that catch them in a snag and then they literally use comic book power to get out of it. They are also starting their friendship especially Josie and Melody with Valerie so they have arguments over who takes the lead and how to work together.

I’ve never read any of the original Josie and the Pussycats so how I have no comparison however, these three are three very interesting characters that could get decent arcs in future volumes. Josie struggles with love and sitting back to find a balance of talent with Valerie. Melody struggles to really keep the team together while Valerie doesn’t know what the future holds with mentions of being a veterinarian and now being in the band and performing. Three interesting characters are shown in volume 1.

Josie and the Pussycats show a lot of promise and I look forward to seeing where they go next with this series. So far the reboots I’ve read have been very good. Its been exciting to catch up to this world in their different forms.

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Ice Planet Barbarians (Ice Planet Barbarians #1) by Ruby Dixon

Its hitting almost -40C today here in Montreal so it felt suitable to review a book set in an icy planet. Ice Planet Barbarians is the first book in a science fiction erotica series. Of course, I was two steps too slow and didn’t realize that barbarians would mean erotica so here we are.

Ice Planet Barbarians
by Ruby Dixon

Ice Planet Barbarians

You’d think being abducted by aliens would be the worst thing that could happen to me. And you’d be wrong. Because now, the aliens are having ship trouble, and they’ve left their cargo of human women – including me – on an ice planet.
And the only native inhabitant I’ve met? He’s big, horned, blue, and really, really has a thing for me… – Goodreads

So…I’m feeling a little embarrassed after I just used the Goodreads synopsis. To be fair, Ice Planet Barbarians sounds so incredibly cheesy and still, there are quite a few redeeming points to it. You didn’t expect that, right? Ruby Dixon creates a very adequate and vivid image of where these 22 year old girls have landed from the description of the first group of alien to these ice planet barbarians. The land they tread and the monsters that roam in it are all very well described. With that said, the well-written description also expands into describing the characters and their feelings as they use two different voices of the main girl Georgie and the alien Vektal. There are some downfalls that I will touch on a little later. However, its easy to almost see who these characters look like especially the hulking alien here even if some of the description comes into somewhat of a suspense as we learn why they keep referring to “khui” and “resonance”. With that said, good on Ruby Dixon to also give us a pretty self-contained story here which helps that in her sequels, it focuses on other human and alien pairings with other characters as I had a chance to take a glance at snippets of the beginning of the other books in the series. Another good part here is that the erotic scenes here work very well. It is expected as she has a great way with her words and while some of it can get a little cringy (as these books do), there is a certain satisfaction to it still, call it a guilty pleasure if you will.

One of the main issues here is really the character themselves and how they actually talk. Yes, I know they are different species and its not to do with the fact that they lack proper communication via spoken language. The character, particularly Georgie is actually really annoying to read. She starts off like a pretty spoiled character and her inner monologue which is what we read as one of the voice is hers, is just grating to read. She does take leadership but its more like she has no other choice in the most self-indulged way and she doesn’t really do much. However, I do have to say that the redeeming part here is that she does acknowledge the whole Stockholm Syndrome deal here and tries to prevent herself from letting sex get in the way of her mission, at least there was an effort in it. On the other hand, Vektal is a pretty good character. Awkward and weird in his own alien ways which is all part of the learning curve of his species and their beliefs. My only issue with his part was the writing of making his understanding of Georgie in jumbled English so you had to decipher it whenever you read it even if he didn’t understand it. I get the purpose. At the same time, his side is somewhat repetitive. There’s a lot of terms like “mate” and “my resonance” and “khui” and repetitive writing over and over again which I’m not a huge fan of it. It got a bit irritating to read.

Overall, props on world building, good erotic scenes and character design however not a huge fan of the writing style and Georgie. It comes midway for myself. I’m not exactly sure thats enough for me to keep reading the series. We’ll see if ever it shows up on my radar.

Rebekah – Girl Detective #1: The Mysterious Garden by PJ Ryan

As I continue through my 2015 acquired unread Kindle books, I land on a little change in pace for a children’s short story which is the first book in this collection called Rebekah – Girl Detective. The first mystery is called The Mysterious Garden.

Rebekah – Girl Detective #1: The Mysterious Garden
By: PJ Ryan

rebekah girl detective

Rebekah Daniels is just your ordinary spunky 9 year old girl living in the small town of Curtis Bay…EXCEPT she is determined NOT to be ordinary at all!
Her small town is filled with mysteries and Rebekah is sure that she, along with her best friend Mouse, will be able to solve every last one of them.
In this fun adventure she sets out to solve the mystery that has taken over the local community garden. –Goodreads

The first story of Rebekah – Girl Detective is a fun little entry to the series. It gives a quick snippet of who Rebekah is and her little thoughts and aspirations along with her deduction skills. It is geared towards kids therefore there is more elementary and simple way of looking into cases. It becomes straight forward and in that way, brings on a few laughs here and there. It also introduces her friends and some people in her small town that, in my opinion, in future books will probably make an appearance. In many ways, reading Rebekah reminded me a little of watching Magic School Bus where it is this world of investigation to find answers to something happening that they don’t understand. In this case, the mystery of who is stealing flowers from the local community garden turns into a rather educational result and that works very well because it not only entertains but also educates which is what I feel children novels should do.

The Mysterious Garden is a quick read and portrays very well a little girl who is curious to solve mysteries. Its also great because it still available to pick up for free on Amazon so you can get an idea if this book works for your children before actually continuing on with the series.

A short review for today!
What children books do you or your kids like?

Blog Tour: White Water Black Death by Shaun Ebelthite

Blog Tour

White Water Black Death

White Water Black Death

Author: Shaun Eblethite

Publication Date: September 2017

Genre: Thriller/Suspense

Synopsis

“A cruise ship is the perfect target for a biological attack”. These are the chilling words emailed to the Seaborne Symphony in the mid-Atlantic.

Magazine editor Geneva Jones has been sent on the trans-Atlantic cruise to help secure a major advertising agreement from the CEO of the cruise line Rachel Atkinson, but her efforts to win her over are curtailed by a mysterious crew death. Geneva suspects foul play. Rachel insists its suicide. A former investigative journalist, Geneva can’t resist digging deeper, but what she finds is far more devastating. There’s an Ebola outbreak on the ship, everyone is trapped aboard and Rachel is trying to keep it secret.

Geneva knows enough about Ebola to be terrified, but she’s also onto the biggest story of her career. As panic surges through the ship, she becomes fixated on a single question. How was the virus brought aboard? The answer is worse than she could have imagined, and the greatest exposé she’ll ever get, if she can only prove it.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35905923-white-water-black-death?ac=1&from_search=true

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.com/White-Water-Black-Death-terrifying-ebook/dp/B074Y4X37Y

Review

White Water, Black Death is a very well-written suspense thriller that takes its readers for possibly one of the most dreaded cruise experiences anyone would think of. It takes us for a thrilling anniversary cruise with many twists as it starts off with a suspected murder which turns quickly into a mysterious deadly epidemic that spirals worse and worse. The story is told using the measure of days past on the cruise and the time stamps of the different events which helps with feeling more immersed into the story. The structure fits well. However, White Water Black Death does start off a tad slow as it sets up its characters. At the same time, the characters are a little overwhelming in the beginning as well as there are a lot of characters that eventually do play key parts in this thriller however most don’t truly feel like any that you can get behind as they are developed to be quite horrible people. For some other ones, the vast amount of characters do have a slight impact on having some underdeveloped characters. However, it does a great job in specifically choosing a few characters to focus heavily on to drive the story forward.

Thrillers (both books and movies alike) thrive on its mystery and building up a scenario that intrigues its audience to piece together its story in its final reveal. White Water Black Death achieves that very well. However, the only criticism is to have hidden the entire Ebola outbreak part in its synopsis because it takes away what the mystery of discovering what had hit the ship in the first place and makes the whole set-up to figuring that out  lose its mystery. The author does a great job and building that mystery and it feels a shame to have it revealed before the reader even starts the novel. Part of my enjoyment of the book came from not having read the synopsis in advance and only knowing the bare minimum. White Water Black Death is a page turner and as a thriller it delivers with its incredible delivery to structure a story that achieves both building the suspense and creating vivid and effectively descriptive scenes that truly help visualize each moment especially when the situation intensifies, making it a gripping page-turner.

Overall, White Water, Black Death is a great suspenseful thriller that does a great job and building its story and pieces to make it both an intriguing and gripping reading experience. While it falls short in a few places, it still works effectively and incredibly well.

Goodreads score: 4/5

About the Author

shaun ebelthite

Shaun Ebelthite was born in Namibia, raised in South Africa and educated in Dubai in the Middle East where he is a maritime and cruise journalist. He has been covering all aspects of ocean transport for more than five years and runs the Middle East’s foremost online cruise magazine. He has had two children’s books published, and is now branching out into a new genre with his first thriller.

Cruise Arabia (https://cruisearabiaonline.com)

Giveaway

Giveaway: 3 Digital copies of “White Water, Black Death” in Format of Choice

Giveaway Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f21/?

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Blog Tour Organized By:

r&r book tours

 

Short Story: Zombie Beach by Anthony Renfro

If you missed the other reviews of the previous short stories in The Mike Beem Chronicles. You can check it out in the the following links:

Zombie Beach
By: Anthony Renfro

Zombie Beach

Part 1: Mike and Captain

On the Coast, Mike runs into an old Sea Captain and they form an instant bond. Mike learns of Captain’s boat, his son and daughter-in-law. Captain is desperate to get off Carolina Beach, but there is a problem (and it is a big problem) the town is swarming with zombies. Mike decides to help the old man fight his way through the hordes in order to gain safe passage on his boat.

Part 2: Mike and Myrtle Beach

Alone again. Mike finds an old motel on the South Carolina coast and decides to call it home. While rebuilding his life and motel he meets some new friends, fights off countless numbers of zombies, and settles into his new life by the sea.
Goodreads

Excerpt

Mike Beem lowered his rifle, put his right eye on the scope, and closed his left eye. The zombie he was about to shoot was an ugly sucker. He was currently hanging ten on a tall gigantic wave. The zombie surfer was riding a long board, wearing red flowered swimming trunks, and a tee shirt with a dirty smiley face on it. His shirt and shorts along with his thin long blonde hair were flapping in the breeze as he sailed down the wave at top speed.

Poof!

The zombies head exploded leaving only a ragged stump shooting blood up into the air. The headless body surfed for a moment or two before tumbling into the crashing wave.

“Why’d you do that?” A voice behind Mike asked, an older voice full of age and salty wisdom. He sounded like a man who had sailed the sea for most of his adult life.

Mike turned around to face him, lowering his rifle.

“Just saying, he wasn’t hurting anybody,” the old guy replied, leaning on a wooden cane with a silver metal ball on the top of it. His long white hair and soft white beard reminded Mike of his own granddad who had died when he was just a boy.

“I found this silencer, and I just wanted to try it out,” Mike replied, reloading his gun. “Besides, one dead zombie is one less zombie in this world as far as I’m concerned. Don’t care if it’s a threat or not.’”

“Got a name, son?”

“Mike Beem, you?”

“Most folks call me Captain, and I’m fine with it,” the old guy replied, as a cool blast of air pushed back his long hair. “Storm’s moving in. Going to be a nasty one.”

“I had the same feeling,” Mike replied, scanning the late afternoon sky filling up with grey storm clouds.

“That your truck?” Captain asked, nodding towards the 1955 Chevy.

“It was,” Mike replied, turning to face the machine, which was currently sitting perfectly positioned in a parking spot. Pieces of zombies where sticking out of the smoldering radiator, including one complete head with the eyes still looking around, mouth chomping away. “Parking lot was full of corpses. I had to get down to the beach somehow.”

“Guess so,” Captain replied, thinking this Mike guy wasn’t exactly all there. “How about a hot meal and a place to rest your head?”

Mike looked up and down the empty beach, across the decaying splintered boardwalk and the buildings now falling into disrepair. His decision was a quick easy one to make. “Sure, lead the way, Captain,” he replied, climbing down off the bench he’d been standing on. He slung the rifle over his shoulder, picked up his small bag of personal items, and then set off after the old man.

Review

If you haven’t read Mike Beem stories before, it usually adds a much more hopeful twist to the grim zombie apocalypse world. Mike Beem has lost a lot over the last few stories however he is a survival. His character is the pillar of these novels and he is written always as someone who is not only a hero but also very human and relatable. It is why its so engaging to read these stories. While Zombie Beach expands on the location with two parts and still has some charming characters, its hard to feel that that at some parts, it falls a little flat. Of course, those moments are never long, especially seeing as this is a short story however, with the comparison of the previous stories, this one lacks a little more depth perhaps its the fact that the circumstances are little more docile for the most part with only a few more action-packed moments. However, for the well-written characters especially the badass Mike Beem, this story (and all the previous ones) are totally worth your time.

Links

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0736H6M52
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0736H6M52
AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0736H6M52
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0736H6M52

The Mike Beem Chronicles

the mike beem chronicles

If you want to check out all the Mike Beem stories in one book, this is the collection of the 6 stories.

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0736DX4CS
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0736DX4CS
AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B0736DX4CS
CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B0736DX4CS

Blog Tour: Search for Maylee by Didi Oviatt (Review + Giveaway)

Search for Maylee

Search for Maylee
by: Didi Oviatt

Search for Maylee

Genre: Thriller/Suspense
Publication Date: October 6th, 2017

Since Maylee was abducted from her high school the very month of graduation, her Aunt Autumn has never lost hope in finding her. It’s been three years. Autumn has finally reached inside herself and found the courage to track down an old lead. She moves across the country to find him. Will Autumn be able to pry Maylee’s case back open? More importantly, what will Autumn uncover in the process of searching for Maylee? It’s a cold dark world we live in, and she is about to find out just how cruel it can be. Strength and determination are on Autumn’s side and she will do whatever it takes to either bring Maylee home, or to deliver the justice she deserves. – Goodreads

I’m not going to lie that Search for Maylee started a little rocky for myself. The first two chapters are a little bit of a drag to get through. The pacing is a little slow and it introduced some writing style and dialogue and especially characters that had some questionable traits and was insinuating towards a possible route a typical book would take. Luckily, past those chapters, the story really did jump back into the suspense and thriller parts and it escaped that route I feared most would take and took an intriguing turn. The further Search For Maylee got, the more of a page turner this novel became.

Search For Maylee is a relatively fast read. While the first two chapters proved that I wasn’t having great impressions of the characters, our main character, Autumn does redeem herself a lot and soon grew to become a very interesting character that develops throughout the events of her stubborn or perseverance to search for her niece. Its always great to see characters find themselves and their confidence as Autumn does here. However, this also makes the other characters hold simply filler spots making them less of someone to attach to, making them also mean less. However, the story isn’t exactly long so it makes sense that not everyone has the chance to be fleshed out as Autumn did.

This thriller and suspense’s strength is definitely in its suspense. I can’t say that it is particularly a thriller because a thriller would mean there being some twist to it and this one throws some rather expected turns. However, I’m also one to defend that a story can turn the predictable into great moments by the right pacing and creating a meaningful storyline. For the most part, the author makes a lot of great choices that line up to make those moments still on point and create enough suspense to keep us guessing as to whether Maylee is still alive and whether the search will be a success.

Overall, Search For Maylee has its obvious faults but its strengths are in creating a decent suspense and developing the main character with some memorable moments giving this novel an edge past the sluggish beginning and redeeming itself by not going down an easy path. Crafting suspense and thrillers are possibly one of the harder genres to create and overall, she does a pretty solid job.

Goodreads score: 3/5

Where to buy Search For Maylee

Amazon
Amazon UK
Kobo
Nook Book
Goodreads

About the Author

Didi Oviatt

Didi Oviatt is an intuitive soul. She’s a wife and mother first, with one son and one daughter. She’s a suspense novelist, and magazine columnist second. Her thirst to write was developed at an early age, and she never looked back. After digging down deep and getting in touch with her literary self, she’s writing mystery/thrillers like Search For Maylee, Aggravated Momentum, The Stix, and New Age Lamians(a trilogy to be). Along with a six- piece short story collection called the Time Wasters. She’s also collaborated with Kim Knight in an ongoing interactive short story anthology The Suspenseful Collection. When Didi doesn’t have her nose buried in a book, she can found enjoying a laid back outdoorsy life. Time spent sleeping under the stars, hiking, fishing, and ATVing the back roads of beautiful mountain trails, and bathing in the desert heat plays an important part of her day to day lifestyle.

Author Links

Suspense Author & Book Blogger
didioviatt.wordpress.com/
amazon.com/author/didioviatt
www.facebook.com/didioviatt
twitter.com/Didi_Oviatt
www.smashwords.com/profile/view/DidiO
www.goodreads.com/author/show/7207389.Didi_Oviatt

Columnist/writer for Conscious Talk Magazine
Like us on Facebook: @conscioustalkmag
Follow us on Twitter: @conscious_talk
www.conscioustalkmag.com

GIVEAWAY

3 Kindle copies of “Search for Maylee” Gifted through Amazon

Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0e7c6a8f19/?

Toronto Comics: Yonge at Heart ( Toronto Comics #4) by Steven Andrews

Ever since I’ve started Game Warp, I’ve been on the prowl on avenues to check out new games and Kickstarter is a great place to find all kinds of cool projects. It was through this channel that I landed on this project to fund a comic anthology based in Toronto. Although I don’t live in Toronto, I do go frequently and lately, its been at least once a year for the last two years for Toronto Comicon and such. Its great to see Canadian artists working hard to show off Canada and that is why I backed this project. Also, because I thought the art style and concept behind setting it in a city was really great. The comic book arrived sometime in July if I remember correctly and finally, I’ve sat down to read it and take a break from that huge novel that IT by Stephen King is.

Let’s check it out!

Toronto Comics: Yonge at Heart (Volume 4)
by: Steven Andrews (editor)

Yonge at Heart

From world-saving TTC controllers to secrets hiding between the shelves at Honest Ed’s, from giant robot battles over overpriced condos to the true heritage moment of the Clown Brothel Riot, this anthology celebrates everything we love about Toronto (and some of the things we don’t). – Goodreads

I have read any of the previous volumes of Toronto Comics however these are anthologies so are separate from each other. Yonge at Heart is a fun little compilation. It tackles many issues which is endearing to those familiar to the landmarks and setting but does embrace a general spectrum of issues that people tackle whether its sexuality or immigration and some light-hearted ones as well. Yonge at Heart has 21 stories in it all from different artists and writers and each hold their own unique style. I would like to say there’s a little bit for everyone.

The top 5 favorites of the book go to the following:

Signal Problems: A fantastic way to kick off Yonge at Heart as it takes us into a world filled with monsters and the headaches of public transporation may amount to something more fantastical like the workers being city protectors of monsters.

My First Slice: Being born in Canada, we never had to wonder what pizza tastes like but what about those that immigrate here? I’m guessing the story here is before the world was so multinational but it shows an immigrant family finally decide to go get a pizza and we may relate when we go to a restaurant that is ouside of our culture. Its a fun one to read. Especially since I can relate from the final reactions from the kid and his parents.

Dundas & Dragons: Get it? Instead of Dungeons and Dragons? This one is really fun. Plus, I love the art style for it where it gives a fun twist of aliens playing as earthlings through a game and its about friends going away. That true bond of friendship that can be developed through gaming.

Con-Text: Con-Text is a cool selection. There isn’t really any dialogue but the artwork here shows a cosplayer immersed in their world as there is also a contrast of reality outside of her vicinity. Its not so apparent until she reaches the event.

Home and Country: Yet another immigrant story. However, this one is very nice. The drawings are more sketch-like and I also enjoy that style quite a but. Its about two sisters that separated in two countries because one immigrates to Canada to get married and then the sister falls suit but in the end, its about a home is where you feel like you belong. What defines a home versus a country, right?

There are 21 stories here so I can’t review them all but as an overall experience, there were some stories I was not too intrigued by however, that definitely was a minority. I enjoyed this comic anthology a lot and it has me curious to look for the previous volumes.