Sunday, July 30, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Wonder Woman, Vol. 1: The Lies, by Greg Rucka & Liam Sharp

Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies
(Wonder Woman, Volume V, No. 1)
Greg Rucka, Writer
Liam Sharp, Artist
Trade Paperback, 128 pages
DC Comics
February 28, 2017
Graphic Novels, Superhero Fiction
Source: eBay

SynopsisA part of DC Universe: Rebirth!

New York Times best-selling writer Greg Rucka returns to Wonder Woman! After suffering an unimaginable loss, Diana must rebuild her mission as Earth's ultimate protector and champion. However, in the midst of her grief, her Lasso of Truth stopped working! Start down the rabbit hole as dark secrets from Wonder Woman's past unravel her present!

From the ashes of DC Universe: Rebirth, critically acclaimed writer Greg Rucka, along with illustrator Liam Sharp, unveil a tale that will forever alter the DC icon in Wonder Woman, Volume 1: The Lies!

Collecting: Wonder Woman 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, Rebirth

It's been years since I last read a comic book. I used to devour them when I was a kid. And this is my very first review of a graphic novel on this blog. Up to now, I have avoided reading and reviewing them because to me, they're not quite books. What I do like about them is that their quality is much higher than that of comic books. The paper, ink, colors, and binding are far superior. Other than that, though, graphic novels are basically comic books.

The main reason I decided to pick up this particular novel is that I've recently seen and LOVED the new "Wonder Woman" movie. A couple of days afterward, I happened to be at Barnes & Noble, and saw a display of all the newly published Wonder Woman graphic novels. I bought this one on eBay, though. 

I was hoping to recapture my former enthusiasm for comic books, and this story certainly got my attention. Not that I'm entirely satisfied with this particular graphic novel, though. What really grabbed me was the SUPERB artwork! After all, that's the whole emphasis of comics and their more elegant cousins, graphic novels. Not all comics illustrators have the level of excellence shown here, however.

Liam Sharp lives up to his name, as his visual creations here are indeed SHARP. There are several, absolutely GORGEOUS, very dynamic, large panels interspersed throughout this novel that are just totally breathtaking. He has drawn Wonder Woman as a very powerful, yet totally feminine, character. His line is flowing, sinuous, filling up the whole page of these larger panels. Wonder Woman explodes off these pages! Now I'm asking myself WHY I have never been a Wonder Woman fan before! (Well, I never heard of her when I was a kid. This despite the fact that she was created by William Moulton Marston in the 1940s. Hmmm.... methinks I smell something rotten in the state of Denmark.... )

I can't get over how AWESOME Sharp's artwork is! Yes, there's a darkness to it; in fact, there's even an element of horror, as when he draws a very grotesque character named "Urzkartaga" (UGH. Even the name sounds ugly.) It was almost more than I could take, and yet, I had to admit that Sharp's depiction of this character is excellent.

The smaller panels are very well done, too. There's one slight quibble I have here, though.... in one of these panels, at the beginning of the novel, Sharp has drawn Princess Diana (Wonder Woman) as a baby. That would not normally be a problem, except that he's given her an adult woman's mouth, lipstick and all. Lol. I'm scratching my head on that one.

Overall, though, I must repeat that Sharp's art is nothing short of BRILLIANT. I wish I could study drawing with this guy!

I was less pleased with the narrative, which I thought was pretty disjointed.

The story starts with Wonder Woman wandering around (no pun intended), asking herself why she can't find her way back to Themyscira, which is the idyllic island where she grew up, the daughter of Hyppolita, the Amazon queen, and the Greek god Zeus. Over several pages, she engages in an existential questioning of what's going on, repeating to herself, "The story keeps changing". She then goes searching for answers. This is the story's underlying theme, which is then layered to bring in another plot line: a mission undertaken by Steve Trevor and a small company of men, who need to rescue some kidnapped girls in Bwunda, a fictional African country. 

Trevor is Wonder Woman's love interest in this novel, as he is in the new movie. I'm not sure if he's her permanent boyfriend or not; I really need to catch up with the background and world of this female superhero. 

In the movie, Steve was a wonderful character -- funny, sweet, a total gentleman, and very brave. He was also quite young. In this book, he's drawn as older, and he comes across as much more serious, with barely any humor. He's just as brave here, though. He and Wonder Woman do love each other here, as well. In fact, there are a few panels dedicated to their reunion, which is very sweet and romantic. And Steve is jealous, because Wonder Woman had previously dated Superman (in older comic books). I thought that was interesting. I wonder if Greg Rucka, the writer of this story, was giving voice to male insecurity here. After all, Wonder Woman is POWERFUL. Of course she would probably prefer to date a guy who is just as powerful as she is. Regular guys don't stand a chance! Lol.

The main problem with this book is that it doesn't read like a "Volume I". There are obvious references to a previous story. Well, it is part of a series, as noted above -- Volume V, No. 1. So there's a LOT in this story that struck me as having no background at all. For instance, one of the characters is a woman turned into a cheetah by Urzkartaga. Her real name, the reader discovers, is Dr. Barbara Ann Minerva. Wonder Woman seeks her out, in Bwunda, for help in finding Themyscira. This is not explained in the story. It's obvious that the two women were previously friends, but why would this cheetah/woman be able to help Wonder Woman find her home island? There must be a reason, and that was probably brought out in a previous book. 

In addition to the cheetah/woman, there are a couple of female secondary characters, like Etta, the mission leader, and someone named Sasha, who doesn't appear to be quite what she seems. In the last few pages, another powerful female character appears -- Veronica Cale, the CEO of a vast corporate empire, who owns two downright MEAN Dobermans. 

These secondary characters seem to have little connection to the story, or, instead, a new story seems to be taking off with them. But nothing is explained, and I found this a bit confusing. I suppose things WILL be explained in a subsequent installment, but I still thought something was going on that we readers were totally clueless about.

The story ended with no real resolution to the main theme, and the whole thing with Cale and the Dobermans leaves the reader hanging. 

In addition to the jumbled-up events in the story, I also thought it was rushed. The resolution of the part in which some young women had been kidnapped, in order to be given to Urzkartaga, was just too easy to be believable. 

In short, this graphic novel is quite a mixed bag for me. The art overpowers the story. It didn't have to be that way. In this type of fiction, the art and the story are supposed to be woven seamlessly together. Unfortunately, that was far from being the case here. However, Rucka is an acclaimed novel and comic book writer, so I'm sure he's done better work elsewhere.


Greg Rucka is an American comic book writer and novelist, known for his work on such comics as Action Comics, Batwoman: Detective Comics, and the miniseries Superman: World of New Krypton for DC Comics, and for novels such as his Queen & Country series.

 Liam Sharp is a British artist, writer and publisher. His debut work started in the late 1980s drawing Judge Dredd for 2000 AD. Since then he has worked for numerous comic publishers including Marvel UK, Marvel Comics, DC comics, Image, Dynamite Comics, Verotick, as well as many others. He has published his first novel. He has worked with advertising campaigns as well as done design work and produced art for various magazines. He has worked on designs for various movies including : "Lost in Space", "Small Soldiers", and the animated series "Batman Beyond".

In 2004 Liam established MamTor™ Publishing with his wife Christina. In October 2011, Liam Sharp co-founded Madefire with Ben Wolstenholme and Eugene Walden, in Berkeley, CA, and is the company's CCO. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

Blog Tour: The Last Gambit, by Om Swami

Welcome to the blog tour for 
The Last Gambit,
sponsored by
YA Bound Book Tours  
and hosted by Garima Om!!

For my stop, I'm featuring  an 
excerpt with mini-review!

The Last Gambit
Om Swami
Trade Paperback Edition, 208 pages
Black Lotus
January 25, 2017
Kindle Edition, 210 pages
Black Lotus
February 1, 2017
Chess, Contemporary Fiction, Diverse Reads,
Young Adult Fiction

 Success by design is infinitely better than a win by chance. Vasu Bhatt is fourteen years old when a mysterious old man spots him at a chess tournament and offers to coach him, on two simple but strange conditions: he would not accompany his student to tournaments, and there was to be no digging into his past. Initially resentful, Vasu begins to gradually understand his master’s mettle. Over eight years, master and student come to love and respect each other, but the two conditions remain unbroken – until Vasu confronts and provokes the old man. Meanwhile, their hard work and strategy pay off: Vasu qualifies for the world chess championship. But can he make it all the way without his master by his side? Inspiring, moving and mercurial, The Last Gambit is a beautiful coming of age tale in a uniquely Indian context.

This mini-review is of the excerpt below, and 
not of the entire book.

This sure looks like a fascinating novel! I've never read or heard of anything even remotely like this. I have always been curious about chess, but I know it's a very complex game of strategic skill, requiring a lot of focus and patience, which I don't have much of, lol. So I definitely admire those who do! 
This novel will afford me a look at how a chess champion thinks, as well as how such a person trains to win through brilliant, well-thought out moves. And who knows? Maybe reading this book will REALLY motivate me to start cultivating the necessary patience to learn this game! 

  ‘You are a genius, Vasu,’ he said. ‘I’m investing all my time in you because I know some day you’ll surprise everyone, including yourself.’ My chest swelled with pride. ‘And that day is not far,’ he added. I felt as if I had won the world championship. He thinks I’m a genius! I couldn’t contain my smile and adjusted myself in my couch. ‘But,’ he said, gently bringing me down a notch, ‘you are not consistent. You do play some brilliant moves, but they don’t add up.’ As always, he had a nugget of wisdom. ‘Every move, Vasu, every move must put greater pressure on your opponent. To win, you must play good moves and do so consistently.’ ‘The same goes in life too,’ he continued. ‘A consistent and persistent man of average intelligence is more likely to succeed than an erratic and lazy genius. A hundred well played draws, or a hundred lost but well-fought games are better than one victory by fluke. Success by design is infinitely better than a win by chance.’

Success by design is infinitely better than a win by chance – this got etched in my mind. This was it. The missing link. I had been playing in the hope that success would come, that it would just happen. It dawned on me that success was a sculpture that I had to carve and chisel at patiently. I had to design my success.

Purchase Links

Om Swami is a monk who lives in a remote place in the Himalayan foothills.

He holds an MBA from University of Technology, Sydney and a Bachelors in Business Computing from University of Western Sydney. Swami served in executive roles in large corporations around the world. He founded and lead a profitable software company for seven years with offices in San Francisco, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney and India.

Om Swami completely renounced his business interests to pursue a more spiritual life.

To access the complete tour schedule, just click on the button below!

Book Blogger Hop No. 102: Movie & TV Show Tie-Ins

Welcome to the Book Blogger Hop,
hosted by Billy @

For more information, and 
to find out the topic of next week's question, click HERE.

This Week's Question

Do you read tie-in novels to
movies or television series?

(Submitted  by Billy @ 

My Answer

Although I don't make it a point to read such books, from time to time I definitely do so. 

I saw the movie "Wonder Woman" recently, and LOVED it, so I promptly bought the novelization, which I'm planning to read pretty soon. This movie was a total revelation to me! Although I've heard of the "Wonder Woman" TV series, I was never interested in watching the re-runs after watching one once. It just seemed so silly. And I didn't like her costume, which I thought was too provocative. The movie version, though, was entirely different! The character REALLY kicks major butt in the film, and so do her Amazon sisters! WOWZA!! So now I've become a fan! Not having grown up reading WW comics, I now have to acquaint myself with this superhero's world.

This is the movie tie-in novel I'm planning to read. It's the  official movie novelization, and was written by Nancy Holder, who has written two Buffy:The Vampire Slayer tie-ins, as well as her own novels, which are mostly in the YA genre.


In addition to the book shown above, I'm also planning to read several WW graphic novels. I will soon be posting a review of the one shown in my sidebar.

My favorite TV show of ALL TIME is Star Trek TOS (this means "The Original Series")!! Yes, I'm a DIEHARD Trekkie!! I have a collection of ST TOS tie-ins that I'm also planning to read. Since there are many Trekkies out in the universe (a lot of them on this planet), a LOT of these tie-ins have been published. 

Of course, the Star Trek universe includes some newer series, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Voyager, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Now we have Star Trek: New Generation. I don't care about any of these, though. To me, the ONE AND ONLY Star Trek series is the original one, where I can fondly watch Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Dr. McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, and Chekhov patrol the outer reaches of space, boldly going where no one has gone before! 

I feel the same way about the ST TOS movies that have been made, except that I don't much like the ones with new actors. Zachary Quinto, as good an actor as he is, just can't hold a candle to Leonard Nimoy, whom we unfortunately lost two years ago.....

Here are some of the ST tie-ins I've read in the past. 

I recently reviewed this third novel on this blog. It was pretty good, and it whetted my appetite for more! You can check out my review HERE.

Since I have mentioned Buffy, I would also like to read the tie-ins for that TV series. I must sheepishly confess to not having watched one single episode, however..... I guess I was too busy with Edward and Bella, from The Twilight Saga! Lol.

What are your thoughts on
this topic?
Please leave a comment!
If you're participating in this meme,
I'll go comment on your 
own BBH post.
If not, I will then comment on one 
of your blog posts!
Thanks for visiting!!! 

Thursday, July 27, 2017


I'd like to announce the winner
of this July Fourth Giveaway!!

And the winner is....

Brian @ Babbling Books!!


He has already claimed his prize!


Please stay tuned, as I host giveaways
all the time, whether my own,
or through blog hops 
and blog tours!!
Most of the time, these giveaways 
are international, except for 
those held by blog tour companies. These companies set their own rules for their giveaways. 



Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Can't Wait Wednesday No. 26: Kiss Me In New York, by Catherine Rider

Welcome to "Can't Wait Wednesday"!
This is a weekly event hosted by
Tressa @ Wishful Endings, and inspired by "Waiting On Wednesday", which used to be hosted by
 Jill @ Breaking the Spine.

For more information, please click HERE.

As in the previous meme, this one showcases future releases  we book  bloggers 
are eagerly anticipating!!
There's also a Linky widget, so participating blogs can link up!

Here's my choice for this week!

 Kiss Me In New York
Catherine Rider
Hardcover,  200 pages
Kids Can Press
October 3, 2017   
Christmas Romance, Contemporary Romance, 
Young Adult Fiction

It's Christmas Eve at JFK in NYC.

Charlotte is a British student, waiting for a flight home after the worst semester of her life. Anthony is a native New Yorker, surprising his girlfriend at the airport after three months apart. Charlotte has just been dumped, and Anthony is about to be dumped, right in the middle of the holiday crowd.

Charlotte's flight is canceled when a blizzard blows in, and Anthony can't bear to go home. So, they set out into the city together, clutching a book Charlotte picks up in the airport gift shop: Ten Easy Steps for Getting Over Your Ex. For this one night, they'll focus on healing their broken hearts ... together.

Step-by-step, the two struggle to put the past behind them. But the snow is so enchanting, and the holiday lights are so beguiling, that soon their shared misery gives way to something else. Soon, they're not only over their exes --- they're falling for each other.

Then a subway ride splits them up by mistake. Will they reunite before Charlotte's flight leaves New York forever?

Why I can't wait for this one!

This book was first published in a Kindle Edition
in 2016. This is its first publication 
as a print book, which, of course, 
I MUCH prefer!!

I really like this cover, but what has captivated me the most is the story and setting. I mean, Christmas and romance in New York City? OMG!! This is the stuff of dreams for a die-hard romantic like me!! I want to see how these two characters manage to get over their obviously inadequate exes, to realize that they have found something much BETTER. Mix this up with some holiday spirit, and you've got me hooked! And I don't care how sappy this book might be, either! Like I said, I'm a HUGE sucker for this combination of ingredients!!

Unfortunately, I was unable to locate any biographical information on this author. There aren't any pictures available, either. After doing a Google search, I have not found a website, or a Twitter account, or a Facebook account. The author does have a Goodreads page, but there's no picture on it. Nor is there a bio.

What do you think of my choice?
Leave your link below, so I can
come check out your pick(s)!