Saturday, October 3, 2015

Banned Book Review: The Color of Earth

Manga has inspired a generation of young readers in the United States in the last 15 years. Teenage girls especially have flocked to the genre, finding many female characters they can relate to unlike the major comic book publishers. When it comes to book banning however, Manga are the most challenged books in school libraries. including the one I'm reviewing below. enjoy! 

"In a timeless village in rural Korea young Ehwa and her widowed mother live quietly together, best friends and confidantes" Kim Dong Hwa

The color of earth is a gorgeously illustrated Black and white Manga. The First in a trilogy of books about the life and loves of a mother in daughter in rural Korea. Manga as well as Comic Books are often an undiscovered country for most readers. The left to right format and translation hurdles often keep people from trying them. What I love most about manga is the variety of themes and genres that fit under the umbrella of the word "manga"

In this first volume we see Ewha on the cusp of womanhood. She is beginning to notice the change in her boy as well as boys. Her mother a widow and tavern owner encounters a travelling artist that stirs her heart. Ewha meanwhile is feeling the first blossoming of love for a young boy working at a local Buddhist temple. This series is in the American format of right to left. There are great scenes that express the landscape and spirituality of the Korean people.Kim Dong Hwa is a master storyteller and artist. He seems to be heavily influenced by the women in his life as well as his own fascination with a woman's heart.:) I would recommend this book for teenagers and adults. there is some nudity but it is handled artistically. 

One thing that might be troublesome to readers is the blatant sexually suggestively and sometimes blatant verbal abuse Ehwa's mother endures running the tavern. It doesn't amount to physical abuse but it is a little disturbing,I'm sure modern day waitresses encounter similar exchanges. These scenes are limited though and don't detract from the overall beauty of the series. I'm sure these scenes contribute to the banning the book faces  however I think the honest way this book approaches issues of love and sexuality are important lessons for teens and can springboard important discussions.

Friday, October 2, 2015

HallowReads Review: Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

This book wins the oldest free book on my E-reader This book wins the oldest free book on my E-reader award. I'm so glad I finally got to it. Its incredible! Paranormal fiction has really expanded as a genre but because of that I feel its been diluted. There is a rawness to Sandman Slim that wakes the reader up and fills them with the dread that is James Stark's reality. Stark arrives back in Los Angeles aflame (literally!), with anger and vengeance in what's left of his heart.

He wants to kill those responsible for sending him to hell and destroying all he loved.
Stark has a few magical items to achieve his quest but he is unaware of the far reaching consequences his actions will have on the world. Until Angels & Demons keep trying to kill him as a deterrent to his mission.
I loved this book! There was so much action it was hard to put down.I was very invested in Stark despite his selfish reckless nature. His pain radiates with the reader & we follow him hoping for the best in a narrative world that gets worse with every chapter. I'm so looking forward to the next book in this series.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

HallowReads: Midian Unmade by Various

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for a review.

Midian has been a part of my life since I first read Clive Barkers story Cabal. Midan is the home of the Nightbreed. The Nightbreed are the things that go bump in the night, the creature under the bed, the monsters of myth and magic. The coming of Boone destroys Midian but leaves the hope of a new home for the Nightbreed. 

Midian Unmade are the stories of the scattered Nightbreed. These stories are new reader friendly, but in order to maximize your enjoyment of this book I recommend you watch the movie. The writers in this anthology are very diverse yet familiar with the overall themes of  Clive Barker's world.

Seanan McGuire gets us started with The Moon Inside  a story of Babette, one of the most memorable characters from the movie.

The Nightbreed have settled in Seattle and though any location outside the protection of Midian is unsafe for the Breed, they settle well into the darkness of the town. They wait for word of Boone their destroyer and savior. They wait for word of where they will next settle. For Babette however the isolation is maddening. She sneaks out and tries to find her way in the world. It doesn't go well. Seanan is always a joy to read. She gave many new nuances to Babette's experiences that draw the reader into the story.

The Night Ray Bradbury Died by Kevin J. Wetmore was my favorite story in this anthology. Not all Nightbreed stayed together after Midian's fall. Iblis is a walker. He has walked from the ruins of Midian to Los Angeles. Iblis is a mute, his wolf like facial features don't allow for talking, but he speaks to the world through rhythm. Iblis is a Drummer. He beats out the rhythm of his heart on the tombstones of local cemeteries in the dead of night. It is here Drummer meets some fellow musicians and becomes part of a costumed rock band. Yet still Drummer wanders and he comes across a young woman in distress who shows him that not all humans are monsters and that all Nightbreed fear them.

I loved the emotions evoked in this story. As a lover of books and authors I could really connect with the female character and her grief over the loss of one of her favorite authors. I'm really looking forward to reading more by this author.

Button Button is a dark twist of a tale about humans making the transitions to monsters. A bullied young boy discovers a Nightbreed an feels that he has at last found a friend. Elliot is a frail boy who doesn't connect well with his hard working single mother, or his classmates at school.  

The Nightbreed Simon becomes very close to Elliot, yet he senses a darkness in him. When Elliott's bully escalates his abuse, a choice of light over darkness is made and a new nightbreed is released.

A really nice blend of stories. It was wonderful to revisit the world o the Nightbreed once again.