Superhero Comics

CefW4ekWwAI1unIWhen the announcement of the New Super-Man featuring a Chinese (!!) Superman by Gene Luen Yang came out a few months ago, I figured I needed to get on the superhero comic train. Here are a few of the comics I’ve been reading, and a few that I’m looking forward to:

 

 

 

 

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson, Adrian Alphona
Ultimate Comics Spider-Man by  by Brian Michael Bendis, Sara Pichelli
Silk, Vol. 0: The Life and Times of Cindy Moon by Robbie Thompson, Stacey Lee
Gotham Academy, Vol. 1: Welcome to Gotham Academy by Becky Cloonan, Brenden Fletcher, Karl Kerschl
The Totally Awesome Hulk by Greg Pak, Frank Cho

It’s super exciting that the world of superhero comics is making progress in terms of representation — and making awesome, more accessible comics at the same time! But there is still a lot of room for improvement. (I’m still mad about the whitewashed casting of Iron Fist, among other things.) Hopefully, comics like Gene Luen Yang’s upcoming New Super-Man will help accelerate change for the better.

Further reading:
Superheroes in Color on Tumblr
The ‘Asian Superhero’ Is Not An Oxymoron

New Releases

Here are two new releases for this week:

Summer of SloaneSummer of Sloane by Erin L. Schneider
Disney-Hyperion

Warm Hawaiian sun. Lazy beach days. Flirty texts with her boyfriend back in Seattle.

These are the things seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre pictured when she imagined the summer she’d be spending at her mom’s home in Hawaii with her twin brother, Penn. Instead, after learning an unthinkable secret about her boyfriend, Tyler, and best friend, Mick, all she has is a fractured hand and a completely shattered heart.

Once she arrives in Honolulu, though, Sloane hopes that Hawaii might just be the escape she needs. With beach bonfires, old friends, exotic food, and the wonders of a waterproof cast, there’s no reason Sloane shouldn’t enjoy her summer. And when she meets Finn McAllister, the handsome son of a hotel magnate who doesn’t always play by the rules, she knows he’s the perfect distraction from everything that’s so wrong back home.

But it turns out a measly ocean isn’t nearly enough to stop all the emails, texts, and voicemails from her ex-boyfriend and ex-best friend, desperate to explain away their betrayal. And as her casual connection with Finn grows deeper, Sloane’s carefree summer might not be as easy to find as she’d hoped. Weighing years of history with Mick and Tyler against their deception, and the delicate possibility of new love, Sloane must decide when to forgive, and when to live for herself.

Genius the GameGenius: The Game by Leopoldo Gout
Feiwel & Friends

Trust no one. Every camera is an eye. Every microphone an ear. Find me and we can stop him together.

The Game: Get ready for Zero Hour as 200 geniuses from around the world go head to head in a competition hand-devised by India’s youngest CEO and visionary.

The Players:
Rex- One of the best programmers/hackers in the world, this 16-year-old Mexican-American is determined to find his missing brother.

Tunde-This14-year-old self-taught engineering genius has drawn the attention of a ruthless military warlord by single-handedly bringing electricity and internet to his small Nigerian village.

Painted Wolf-One of China’s most respected activist bloggers, this mysterious 16-year-old is being pulled into the spotlight by her father’s new deal with a corrupt Chinese official.

The Stakes: Are higher than you can imagine. Like life and death. Welcome to the revolution. And get ready to run.

Review: The Smoking Mirror

The Smoking MirrorTitle: The Smoking Mirror (Garza Twins, Book 1)
Author: David Bowles
Genres: Fantasy, Action/Adventure
Pages: 220
Publisher: IFWG Publishing, Inc.
Review Copy: Purchased
Availability: Available now

Summary: Carol and Johnny Garza are 12-year-old twins whose lives in a small Texas town are forever changed by their mother’s unexplained disappearance. Shipped off to relatives in Mexico by their grieving father, the twins soon learn that their mother is a nagual, a shapeshifter, and that they have inherited her powers. In order to rescue her, they will have to descend into the Aztec underworld and face the dangers that await them.

Review: The Smoking Mirror is exactly the kind of book I wish I’d been able to stumble across when I was in the target audience’s age range. Protagonists of Mexican descent as heroes in a fantasy book? Facing trials in nine levels of a hellish underworld to save their mom? That would have meant the world to me when I was twelve, and as an adult, it still makes me really happy. It also made a lot of other people happy—The Smoking Mirror was named a 2016 Pura Belpré Honor book.

Author David Bowles straddles the line between middle grade and young adult with The Smoking Mirror. It is a great action/adventure story—the nine levels of the Mictlan prove to be a harrowing (and gruesome) checklist for the Garza twins to get through. Each section is distinct (and terrifying), populated by gods and monsters who get in their way, and thereby keep the pace from lagging by providing ever-new challenges for the twins. Each time they made it through a level of the underworld, I was eager to see what they would be up against next. Occasionally, it felt as if their victories weren’t as difficult as I wished they were, but there were many other, more satisfying encounters.

While I felt that some of the writing was weak in places (or distracting—my taste in humor didn’t always line up with the author’s) and wished that there had been more space to explore the world (including their relationship with their grandmother and their family’s grief), Bowles made up for it by creating a pair of protagonists I enjoyed rooting for. Carol and Johnny are engaging heroes, and I enjoyed the back and forth of their distinct POVs. Despite their not-infrequent clashing, watching the twins come back together and depend on each other during the story was a rewarding journey. The descriptions of the Mictlan and the frequent use of Spanish are also some of my favorite parts of the book.

Recommendation: Get it soon! The Smoking Mirror is an entertaining adventure story that moves at a quick pace and features a memorable and underrepresented mythology. While the book isn’t without its flaws, it nevertheless kept my attention on the story it was trying to tell. I’m happy to learn that the next book was recently released—I think this series would be a great addition to one of my younger sibling’s bookcase.

Extras
“Author David Bowles on his Garza Twins Series and the Pura Belpré Honor”

“Twins battle Aztec gods in ‘Smoking Mirror’”

“Castle Horror Podcast: Interview: David Bowles, author of ‘A Kingdom Beneath the Waves’”

Book Festivals!!

It’s finally spring and that means the beginning of book festival season! If you are a lover of books, like I am, you are sure to be there ready to buy some books, attend panels about everything from writing stories to discussing obscure book topics, and geeking out about meeting your favorite authors. Here are some upcoming festivals. Which ones are you going to?

 

yallwest

April 30 – May 1st
Santa Monica High School
601 Pico Boulevard
http://www.yallwest.com/

HCBF_logo_cmyk

May 7th
215 Harry Howard Ave
Hudson, NY Website: http://www.hudsonchildrensbookfestival.com/

 

 

 

 

 

beaMay 11-13
McCormick Place
Chicago, IL
http://www.bookexpoamerica.com/

 

 

 

 

bookcon

 

May 14
McCormick Place,
Chicago, IL

https://www.thebookcon.com/

 

 

 

logo-lealaMay
Los Angeles Convention Center.
1201 S. Figueroa St
Los Angeles, CA
http://www.lea-la.com/

 

gaithersburg

May 21,
Gaithersburg City Hall
Gaithersburg, MD
www.gaithersburgbookfestival.org

 

 

The Star-Touched Queen EXCERPT

We are excited to share an excerpt of THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN by Roshani Chokshi with all of you today. We’ve had our eye on this book for a while, and it looks like it could be a lot of fun:

The Star-Touched Queen High ResTHE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN (St. Martin’s Griffin; April 26, 2016) is a lush and vivid standalone debut young adult fantasy that seamlessly weaves the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone with Indian folklore. Featuring a smart, independent anti-princess who must take her place as queen and a forbidden romance that defies the odds, debut author Roshani Chokshi pairs beautiful writing with a thrilling pace and compulsive plot, using her own Filipino and Indian heritage to create a culturally diverse and vividly imagined world.

Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

Roshani Chokshi CREDIT Aman SharmaFrom an incredibly fresh voice, Roshani Chokski’s THE STAR-TOUCHED QUEEN is a beautifully written standalone novel that will enchant young adult and fantasy readers until the last page.

Click here to read an excerpt of the book!

New Releases

There are five books coming out this Tuesday. Are any of these on your to-read list?

soldierSoldier (Talon #3) by Julie Kagawa
A fighter dedicated to saving humankind from dragons in strictest secrecy. That was what Garret Xavier Sebastian thought he was part of as a soldier of the Order of St. George. What he learned from a fiery dragon hatchling twisted all he believed in and set him on a collision course with certain death-but not without a chance to put things right.

Betrayed and on the run again, Ember and rogue dragon Riley discover an unthinkable truth about Talon and St. George. They’ll need Garret’s skills and insider knowledge of the Order to negotiate an impossible deal-and if they fail, there will be no way to stop all-out war. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

 

prodigyProdigy: The Graphic Novel (Legend: The Graphic Novel #2) by Marie Lu

After escaping from the Republic’s stronghold, Day and June are on the run in Vegas when the country learns that their Elector Primo has died and his son has stepped in to take his place. They meet up with the rebel stronghold of the Patriots—a large organization straddling the line between the Republic and its warring neighbor, the Colonies—and learn about an assassination plot against the Elector. Using threats and blackmail to get what he wants, the Patriots’ leader, Razor, convinces June to let herself be captured by Republic soldiers so she can win over the Elector and feed him a decoy assassination plan. But when June realizes that the new Elector is nothing like his father, she must work with Day to try to stop the Patriots’ plot before Razor can fulfill his own devastating plans. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

The Rose and the DaggerThe Rose & the Dagger (The Wrath and the Dawn #2) by Renee Ahdieh
In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad has been torn from the love of her husband Khalid, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once believed him a monster, but his secrets revealed a man tormented by guilt and a powerful curse—one that might keep them apart forever. Reunited with her family, who have taken refuge with enemies of Khalid, and Tariq, her childhood sweetheart, she should be happy. But Tariq now commands forces set on destroying Khalid’s empire. Shahrzad is almost a prisoner caught between loyalties to people she loves. But she refuses to be a pawn and devises a plan.

While her father, Jahandar, continues to play with magical forces he doesn’t yet understand, Shahrzad tries to uncover powers that may lie dormant within her. With the help of a tattered old carpet and a tempestuous but sage young man, Shahrzad will attempt to break the curse and reunite with her one true love. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

The Star-Touched Queen High ResThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen? Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most… including herself. [Image and summary via Goodreads]

Keep Me in MindKeep Me In Mind by Jaime Reed
Ellia Dawson doesn’t recognize the handsome boy who sits in tears by her hospital bed. But he’s telling her that he’s Liam McPherson, her boyfriend. Boyfriend? Ellia thinks in shock. She has no clue who Liam is, let alone whether or not she once loved him. She remembers her family, her friends, and the fact that she wants to be a fashion designer. But Liam is a big blank in her life.

Meanwhile, Liam is devastated that Ellia, the love of his life, who suffered an accident while they were running together on the beach, has lost her memory. He is desperate to win her back, rebuild what they once had, but Ellia keeps him at an arm’s length. She’s much more comfortable with a new boy she meets at the hospital, who understands more what she’s going through. So Liam begins writing the story of the two of them, piecing together the past in the hopes of having a future with the girl he loves. [Image and summary via Goodreads]