Monday, January 3, 2011

Men of the Otherworld

Men Of the Underworld

Written by: Kelley Armstrong
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Bantam
Language: English
January 2009, $24.99
Genre: Urban Fantasy/The Otherworld series

As a curious six-year-old, Clayton didn’t resist the bite—he asked for it. But surviving as a lone child-werewolf was more than he could manage—until Jeremy came along and taught him how to straddle the human-werewolf worlds, gave him a home…and introduced him to the Pack. So begins this tantalizing volume, featuring three of the most intriguing members of the American Pack—a hierarchical founding family where bloodlines mean everything and each day presents a new, thrilling, and often deadly challenge. For as Clayton grows from a wild child to a clever teen who tests his beloved mentor at every turn, he must learn not only to control his animal instincts but to navigate Pack politics—including showing his brutal archnemesis, Malcolm, who the real Alpha is....

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Many moons ago I picked up Bitten by Kelley Armstrong and really enjoyed it. I liked Elena and Clay, their story, the way that the wolves interacted and were described, and the rest of the Pack. Of course now Kelley Armstrong is a best selling author and her Otherworld series deals with more than just werewolves now. Now there are necromancers, witches, and half demons, but none of them have really captured my interest the way that Elena did. I do enjoy Armstrong as an author though.

In my quest to conserve on the whole ‘I have a serious addiction to the written word’, but also I need gas in Betty Blue I decided to head to the library and pick up a few things for the New Year break. Men of the Otherworld just begged to be read especially since I read that it was all about Clay. Lets face it ladies, if you read Bitten Mr. Clayton Danvers was quite enticing even if he did turn his beloved because he couldn't imagine a life without her.

In this outing we learn all about Clayton, but in the process we also have tales on Jeremy, Antonio and Nicky through Clay’s eyes. In fact I think I heart Jeremy a bit more after this. There is a small prequel novella about Jeremy’s birth and one that bookends the tale as a whole that deals with Jeremy in the now as well. After Jeremy’s birth story, we get the meat of the book which recounts Clay’s turning into a werewolf, his feral years, and then Jeremy’s adoption of the young boy. This is followed be Clay’s teenage and college years and finally we are brought up to the present.

Things I loved: Yeah Clay! From his time as a fearless young child to a feral one and then with Jeremy’s kindness and love became the man that we know and possibly lust after. Maybe that is just me. This was definitely about character development. There is no real story other than Clay and Jeremy’s lives. Maybe in a way this is really a book all about Jeremy, but it is just told through Clay’s eyes. We learn more about the Pack, Jeremy’s father Malcolm, and some of the reasons why Clay has some the little quirks that he does.

Armstrong did a great job of describing Clay as a wolf even when he was in human form. Clay doesnt have the same sensibilities as you or I would, nor does he view the world the same way. In a way Clay is a sort of chaotic good sort of good guy early on. He is undoubtedly one of the good guys and yet he is willing to do some very bad things, for example his ‘legend’ tale.

One cool thing I learned through reading this is that all of this was once available for free via Armstrong’s blog, but she decided to have it published and then the proceeds went to World Literacy of Canada so shiny gold stars for her.

Things I didn't love so much: Jeremy’s tale ‘Kitsunegari’ wasn't quite as strong as the rest of the book. While it was interesting and certainly makes me quite curious and filled with hope that we might have a Jeremy tale here soon, it just wasnt as awesome. However, as I said before Kelley armstrong gets major props for bringing the boys back, especially in a genre that has become over-saturated with female heroines and far too much romance.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. If you are fan of the Otherworld series, this is a great little addition. At least grab it from the library.

Part of: The Otherworld Series. Book One: Bitten

Book Two: Stolen

Book Three: Dime Store Magic

Book Four: Industrial Magic

Book Five: Haunted

Book Six: Broken

Book Seven: No Humans Involved

Book Eight: Personal Demon

Book Nine: Living with the Dead

Also Recommended: For strong male protagonists: Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series or Simon R Green’s Tales from the Nightside. For other great urban fantasy Ilona Andrews’s Kate Daniels series or Patricia Briggs’s Mercy Thompson series.

3.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Everyday Matters

Everyday Matters
Written
By: Danny Gregory
Paperback: 112 pages
Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press
Language: English
September 2003, $14.99
Genre: Graphic Novel/Inspiration

“Danny Gregory and his wife, Patti, were in love.  Their baby, Jack was ten months old; life was pretty swell.  And then Patti fell under a subway train and was paralyzed from the waist down.

In a world where nothing seemed to have much meaning, Danny decided to teach himself to draw, and what he learned stunned him.  Suddenly things had color again, and value.  The result is Everyday Matters, his journal of discovery, recovery, and daily life in New York City.  It is a funny, insightful, and surprising as life itself”. 


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Sometimes we forget that comics dont necessarily have to be about caped crusaders and feats of fantasy. Some of the best graphic novels out there are one shots. They have nothing to do with superheroes, though I think Danny Gregory may be a new one of mine. There is something sublime in both his artwork and his honesty in his prose that is both uplifting and heartbreaking at the same time. Heartbreaking not because Danny and Patti’s life ended, but because I can only read wistfully about how amazing this family is and how stuck my life seems to have become over the past year.

My life is simple. I work, I play and while it is not perfect and happiness waxes and wanes, it is my life. I have friends. I have family. A job that pays and my health, but sometimes you feel like you get stuck. I have been restless. I forgot what it means to be joyful and free. Sometimes I need a reminder of how to do that. Maybe it is the time of year, with New Year’s just passed. *Shrug* But this book was inspirational and isn't that what is important.

This is Danny’s journal. This and his drawings are his catharsis and his rebirth. I love his drawings. In fact it makes me want to teach myself how to draw something more than stick figures. I can draw, just not well. It also makes me want to journal and document my life, to find beauty and joy in the little things. In a way maybe that is why we blog. To share, to find some sort of catharsis in sharing our opinions, sharing our joys and such.

One of my favorite bits was his tale of the couple who was going to Italy for vacation. For months they dreamed of Italy and everything that they were going to do and experience. Bit when it came time for their trip, the plane diverted and they found themselves in Holland. The couple freaked. This sucked. The food, the sights, the people...nothing was the way their vacation was supposed to be. But they were stuck. Then something happened, they grew to love it. Sure it wasn't what they had planned but it was great nonetheless. Sometimes you just need to learn to live in life and love what you have. It doesn't mean you cant aspire to do new things, go new places, look for that Prince Charming in my case, but you also cant just give up and go through the motions.

I think that is my goal for 2011, that every damn day matters. I need to find my creativity again, to immerse myself in new perspectives and new experiences. I need to find joy and freedom and remember that I kind of rock. Sure I may seem like a vivacious, smirking awesomesauce sort of chickie, but in reality I am kind of like everyone else. I have my moments, but I am kind of a normal girly geek who has a book addiction. A serious, serious book addiction.

Now I am not an artist by any means, but then again it doesn't mean I have to draw or stick with paper and pen. I am a crafty sort of girl, something I hope to share this year and if I am lucky maybe get paid for my creativity now and again. I am not normally good at the 365 things, but I am going to try. You know you have read a great book when it makes you want to revive your life. A good book is one that entertains as much as it inspires. You rock Mr. Gregory.

Things I loved: The art is of everyday objects, simple and yet beautiful. Some of the drawings are half finished. But thats is why I like it. The mundane becomes beautiful. Drawing your favorite block of neighborhood or the medicine cabinet. So I decided to try it myself. I drew my cell phone as it sat next to me at my desk. I had fun. I wanted to draw more small things. The pen, the remote, the Christmas ornament that still hasn't found its way into a box. Maybe I will try more. I haven't journaled in years let alone one that has pictures of things I drew. *shrug*

Things I didn't love so much: yeah I got nothing. Well other than One: I currently don’t own a journal in which I can write, draw and chronicle my life thus far. Two: I wanted to read more.

Buy or Borrow: Buy. At least grab it from the library. I cant imagine that it wouldnt make you smile or want you to be more creative.

Part of: Stand Alone. Though he has other books as well.

Also Recommended: An Illustrated Life by Danny Gregory, Anything by Keri Smith, Journal Bliss by Violette

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks