Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: February 2016

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Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

Feb 16

Last month I read a total of twelve books: Holy Cow by David Duchovny, Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas, Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown, Hawkeye: L.A. Woman (Hawkeye #3) by Matt Fraction, Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin, Azumanga Daioh Volume 1 by Kiyohiko Azuma, Azumanga Daioh Volume 2 by Kiyohiko Azuma, Azumanga Daioh Volume 4 by Kiyohiko Azuma, Azumanga Daioh Volume 4 by Kiyohiko Azuma, Close Range: Brokeback Mountain and Other Stories by Annie Proulx, A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab and Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari.

I was lucky enough to receive and read not one, but two amazing releases that I’d been anticipating this month: Morning Star and A Gathering of Shadows. Both were so, so fantastic and definitely worth the wait. I also did quite a few re-reads: Crown of Midnight and the Azumanga Daioh series, which is completely adorable. If you want to try a new manga, I highly recommend it – especially if you’ve not read any before, it’s quite a good way to ease yourself into it. I also read Modern Romance: An Investigation by Aziz Ansari, who I love on Parks & Recreation. The book wasn’t quite as funny as expected, but wow it was an interesting read.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read five books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge, and was able to defeat Mystique, February’s villain! March’s villain is Poison Ivy.
  • I have currently read 26 books towards my Goodreads goal.

 

Currently reading:

The Sisters of Versailles

How was February for you?

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Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: January 2016

monthlyru16

Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

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Last month I read a total of fourteen books: Speak by Louisa Hall, The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick, Bossypants by Tina Fey, Fated (Fated #1) by Benedict Jacka, Winter Be My Shield (Children of the Black Sun #1) by Jo Spurrier, A Room With A View by E.M. Forster, Thor: Goddess of Thunder (Thor #1) by Jason Aaron, The Lives of Tao (Tao #1) by Wesley Chu, Hawkeye: Little Hits (Hawkeye #2) by Matt Fraction, Vicious by V.E. Schwab, Divergent (Divergent #1) by Veronica Roth, The Bees by Laline Paull and All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders.

The stand out books of the month were definitely Vicious and The Lives of Tao. I’d been waiting to get round to Vicious for so long, and finally bought myself a new copy. I pretty much read the entire book in one day; it was so fantastic to have a book from the point of view of villains, or if not villains then at least morally grey characters. Bossypants was also hilarious, naturally, being written by Tina Fey. The Man in the High Castle was a major letdown, definitely my least favourite PKD novel so far. I also finally started reading graphic novels again!

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read eight books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge and managed to defeat January’s villain, the Penguin. I’m pretty happy with that, I want to try and defeat every villain this year. February’s villain is none other than Mystique, one of my favourite Marvel villains.
  • I have currently read fourteen books towards my Goodreads goal.

 

Currently reading:

Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas
How was January for you?

Past Features

Turning Off The TV #23: The Avengers/Avengers Assemble

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Welcome to my regular Thursday feature, Turning off the TV! In this feature I recommend books similar to TV shows or films you may have enjoyed, both series and specific episodes.

The film this week is: The Avengers/Avengers Assemble.

Avengers

Nick Fury is director of S.H.I.E.L.D, an international peace keeping agency. The agency is a who’s who of Marvel Super Heroes, with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow. When global security is threatened by Loki and his cohorts, Nick Fury and his team will need all their powers to save the world from disaster. (via IMDB)

The Avengers, also released as Avengers Assemble in the UK, is one of the highest grossing films of all time. But what did you expect when it brings together various beloved superheroes, with their own franchises, as well as a handful of new characters? I absolutely LOVE this film and am pretty much in awe of everything in it: the costumes, the technology, the sets, the special effects, the music and the perfect cast. Like my X-Men version of this feature, I won’t be recommending novels but different Marvel comic books, since there are so many different storylines and line-ups to explore.

The Avengers Volume 2, by Brian Michael Bendis

The Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis

The Avengers Volume 2 by Brian Michael Bendis features some familiar faces to fans of the film: Thor, Iron Man, Hawkeye and Captain America, but also some new like Red Hulk, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Mr. Fantastic, Professor X and the Sub-mariner. Including the Avengers, the New Avengers and the Secret Avengers, it’s a force not to be messed with! The Infinity Gems, which if in the wrong hands could be used to destroy Earth, are under the protection of various superheroes – but the villainous Hood has eluded them, and is gathering the gems one by one. It’s up to the Avengers to stop him and save the world.

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1: Cosmic Avengers by Brian Michael Bendis

Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 1 by Brian Michael Bendis is one of the few Marvel comics I own, rather than one I’ve borrowed and I LOVE IT SO MUCH. The film came out on 31st July, and hopefully by the time this post is up I will have already watched it. The Guardians are a misfit band of criminals who are trying to do some good. There’s Star-Lord, aka Peter Quill, a half human prince who has defied his father; Gamora, a deadly green-skinned assassin; Drax, a ferocious warrior; Rocket, the result of a genetic experiment, and Groot, Rocket’s bodyguard/friend/transport. If you’re looking for a truly funny series to follow, this is definitely the one. Oh, and this particular story arc is fairly new and only has three volumes so far, plus an X-Men crossover, so it should be easy to catch up. Iron Man also features in this volume!

Ms. Marvel Volume 8: War of the Marvels

Ms Marvel

I’ve read a couple of Ms. Marvel volumes now, but I think Ms. Marvel Volume 8 by Brian Reed is my favourite so far. Karla Sofen (aka Moonstone) has taken over as Ms. Marvel after Carol Danvers’ death, whilst the story also follows a young lady called Catherine who shares many similarities with the aforementioned Carol (original Ms. Marvel). It’s a story of confused identities and split personalities, and whilst it suffers from the unfortunate typical trait of ‘fanservice’ (lots of skintight clothing and panty shots) that come with female superheroes, there are some really fun action sequences.

Are you a fan of The Avengers/Avengers Assemble? Do you have any recommendations to add? Are there any other TV shows or films you’d like me to cover?

Thoughts

Thoughts #17: If You Were A Superhero…

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Lately I’ve been reading a lot of Marvel comics. I’m not sure what bought it on; I’ve always been a fan of comic books, superheroes and the Marvel films – but only lately have I really started reading about them. This lead me to thinking what my powers would be if I could choose them – and I just couldn’t work it out. So I thought I’d consider some of my favourite Marvel heroes to begin with. I’d also like to address the question to my readers!

Gambit

Gambit

  • Real name: Remy Etienne LeBeau
  • Aliases: Death, Le Diable Blanc, Cajun
  • First appearance: Uncanny X-Men #266
  • Powers & abilities: Can tap into the potential energy within an object, and transform it into kinetic energy, allowing the object to explode when thrown; hypnotic charm allowing a subtle influence; very accurate aim when throwing playing cards and knives; skilled fencer
  • Amazing because… I don’t know why, I’ve just always really liked Gambit. His appearance really appeals to me, plus his powers are unique and different whilst still being useful. He’s pretty good at one-to-one combat without his powers, and can take on groups of enemies with them – covered for all situations!

Rogue

Rogue

  • Real name: Anna Marie (surname undisclosed)
  • Aliases: Anna Raven, Miss Smith, Irene Adler, Mutate #9602
  • First appearance: Avengers Annual #10
  • Powers & abilities: Previously able to absorb the powers, memories and personality traits (and life force) of anyone she comes into skin-to-skin contact with; later immunity to poisons and a virtually indestructible body, above normal reflexes, psychic sense
  • Amazing because… Rogue has gone through a lot. She lost her parents at a young age and was raised by Mystique, and discovered her powers as a teen, when her first kiss fell into a deep coma. She has been part of both the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. I can’t even imagine not being able to touch a loved one for fear of killing them, and Rogue has lived with that for her entire life.

Hawkeye

Hawkeye

  • Real name: Clinton Barton
  • Aliases: Marksman, Longbow, Goliath, Robin Hood, Golden Archer
  • First appearance: Tales of Suspense #57
  • Powers & abilities: No powers as such, but Hawkeye is an incredibly accurate marksman, with above average reflexes and hand-eye co-ordination; trained with throwing weapons and for unarmed combat; natural athlete; combat strategist
  • Amazing because… Hawkeye is a normal man. He’s not a superhero, he’s not a mutant: he’s just really good at what he does. Extreme dedication and training is the reason that he is the most skilled archer in the world, and that is incredibly admirable.

And one hero I’m not really bothered about…

Squirrel Girl...

Squirrel Girl

  • Real name: Doreen Green
  • Aliases: None
  • First appearance: Marvel Super-Heroes #8
  • Powers & abilities: Enhanced strength, speed, agility and reflexes; small claws and enlarged incisors; squirrel-like abilities and able to communicate with squirrels
  • Yep, she’s a real Marvel superhero. Nope, I don’t get it either. Apparently she was created to bring some light-heartedness to the comics, but still… squirrels?? Really?? Although if you play as her in the Lego Marvel Superheroes video game, you get to throw squirrels at people, which is strangely fun…

So, what did I choose as my powers after considering all these?

It was difficult and took some consideration, but I’ve come up with three ideas. I didn’t want to pick the usual ones like flight, invisibility, super strength etc, I wanted something a bit different – and here they are:

  • The ability to speak and understand any language I come into contact with. I love languages, and how amazing would it be to be able to speak ALL of them?! This didn’t really come from any specific superhero, although a couple of them are at least bi-lingual; for example both Gambit and Rogue are fluent in French.
  • The ability to touch an object and immediately know its history. Partly inspired by Rogue, who can learn memories by touch, I’d love to be able to touch an object and know all about it – how awesome would that be for a museum curator? I could instantly tell who crafted something, what it was used for, when it was used.
  • The ability to travel in time, and take others with me. Yep, I’d love to be able to travel in time at will, but only if I could take others with me – perhaps as long as we were in contact some way I could take them with me. This has nothing to do with Marvel, and everything to do with Doctor Who.

What would your superhero powers be if you could choose anything? Do you have any favourite superheroes?

Deadpool

HEY! DON’T FORGET THE MERC WITH A MOUTH!