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L is Laurent Linn’s novel about art & self, Draw the Line (book review)

book cover of Draw the Line by Laurent Linn published by Margaret K McElderry Books  | recommended on BooksYALove.comStay quiet.
Avoid the bullies.
If it’s only words…

Adrian cannot escape reality with video games and his graphic novel art any longer! He must stand up to Doug and the other thugs whose gay-bashing has gone from talk to violence or he won’t be able to live with himself…if he survives their wrath, that is.

Visit the book’s website here to meet all the characters who’ve moved from Adrian’s real world into the graphic novel that he’d rather live in.

The paperback of Draw the Line releases in May 2017, but grab it now to see how this epic superhero battle on paper turns out in real life.

Standing up for what’s right – who’s next?
**kmm

Book info: Draw the Line / Laurent Linn; illustrations by Laurent Linn. Margaret K McElderry Books, 2016. [book website] [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Adrian escapes from his homophobic rural Texas high school by creating the detailed Renaissance world of gay superhero Graphite in graphic novel art, until violence demands action.

He finally has a date with super-sweet Lev (‘Teen Drag Queen Bingo’ in Dallas – who knew?), when a hate crime shocks their town, and Adrian knows that he must finally speak out and come out – at home and at school – regardless of the consequences.

Can the support of best friends Audrey and Trent keep him strong?
How can the school and town turn a blind eye to Doug’s attacks?
When will Adrian being himself be good enough for everyone else?

Chapters of his graphic novel with Graphite, Sultry, Willow, Oasis, and villainous Thug punctuate this story of becoming true to yourself and standing up for everyone’s rights.

Manga Classics : Emma, by Jane Austen (book review) – matchmaking & secrets

book cover of Emma by Jane Austen & Manga Classics published by Udon Entertainment | recommended on BooksYALove.comMatchmaking – so satisfying!
Seeing friends happy – so delightful!
Her own future so dull – oh, dear…

Emma is sure that her matchmaking will result in happy marriages for everyone in her social circle, but she will care for her elderly father instead of ever marrying. Of course, love has other plans, and secrets, too!

Enjoy the first chapter of this lively manga here free, courtesy of the publisher, then get your own copy at your favorite local library or independent bookstore.

Especially interesting are the information sections about adapting the classic text (available in full here) for use with this graphic format and creating these manga characters as reflections of each personality.

Another in Udon Entertainment’s great Manga Classics series, like Pride and Prejudice (my review here) and The Scarlet Letter (my review here), that will help first-time readers and long-time fans alike become more familiar with the characters and plots of classic stories while reading each author’s original words – back to front, of course.

So, what matchmaking have you witnessed lately?
**kmm

Book info: Emma / Jane Austen; adapted by Stacy King; art by Po Tse. Udon Entertainment, 2015.  [series Facebook page]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Ensuring the happiness of her friends through matchmaking leaves Emma Woodhouse little time for dreaming of her own future through marriage, but secrets and changes add to the complexities of her social circle in the English countryside.

Why is Mr. Fairfax so changeable around Emma?
Who sent Jane a piano as a gift?
What if Emma’s friends all marry and leave her alone?

Jane Austen’s 1815 tale of matchmaking and misunderstandings gains graphic form through Po Tse’s manga art, while Stacy King selects just the right passages from the classic text as each character speaks and thinks.

Birth of Kitaro, by Shigeru Mizuki (book review) – Japanese supernatural Yokai!

book cover of Birth of Kitaro by Shigeru Mizuki published by Drawn & Quarterly | recommended on BooksYALove.com Last of the ghost tribe yokai,
helped by his magic hair (and dead eyeball dad),
fighting evil beings in Japan!

While I didn’t meet any (obvious) supernatural beings during my recent trip to Japan, I am delighted to share this first volume in a new English translation of Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro series. The Japanese manga master died in December 2015, leaving a legacy of yokai tales and other graphic novels, which Drawn & Quarterly is bringing to western readers.

Visit the publisher’s page here to download a free excerpt of Kitaro’s adventures. Next book in the series arrives soon!

Any supernatural folk in your neck of the woods?
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Book info: The Birth of Kitaro (Shigeru Mizuki’s Kitaro) / Shigeru Mizuki; text translated by Zack Davisson. Drawn & Quarterly, 2016. [artist’s obituary]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Fighting evil creatures is Kitaro’s specialty, but the one-eyed spirit boy and his eyeball-father aren’t always sure that the people of Japan are worth battling monstrous beings of legend.

Single-eyed newborn Kitaro digs out of his mother’s grave and quickly finds himself embroiled in struggles with malicious yokai who want to overrun modern Japan.

Can half-cat, half-girl Neko Mutsume help him outwit greedy Nezumi Otoko?
How long will his late father’s spirit animate the eyeball?
What’s the best way to banish a frightful buru-buru haunting the mountain highway?

Kitaro’s wooden geta sandals clip-clop away from each supernatural encounter, and a letter in just the right forest postbox will always bring him back, as these 7 episodes from his earliest manga appearances show. First in a series, with new English text by Zack Davisson complementing manga master Shigeru Mizuki’s well-loved illustrations.

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Huck, by Mark Millar and Rafael Albuquerque (book review) – strong, brave, good…and hunted

book cover of Huck by Mark Millar, art by Rafael Albuquerque published by Image Comics | recommended on BooksYALove.comOrphan makes good,
loved by town,
hunted by desperate evil!

With super-human strength, unbelievable speed, and the ability to find anything or anyone, Huck is a quiet, unassuming man who is loved and shielded by his small town – until a new neighbor alerts the media!

Now sought out by those missing loved ones and pets, he’s also on the radar of an evil Russian scientist… who’s been searching for his ability a very, very long time.

Just on sale this week, if you don’t see Huck at your local library, ask for it at an independent bookstore or comic book shop.

A charming and humble superhero who does #onegooddeed daily, just as they taught him at the orphanage – join him in that challenge to fill the world with kindness, won’t you?
**kmm

Book info: Huck / Mike Millar, art by Rafael Albuquerque. Image Comics, 2016. [author site]  [artist site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: His superpower is being able to find anything or anyone, but Huck stays humble and helpful, doing a good deed every day in his small seaside town.

When a newcomer blows the protective anonymity that his neighbors have built around the young man since he was found at the orphanage as a baby, the gas station attendant is inundated with requests to find missing persons (and dogs).

While on these missions (with super-human strength), Huck also finds the brother he never knew! Tom knows their mother’s name and that enough for Huck to be able to find her – if the evil Russian scientist’s bad guys don’t get them all first…

Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love, by Sarvenaz Tash (book review) – Romance or reality at ComicCon?

book cover of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love by Sarvenaz Tash published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.comPlanning the best day ever at New York ComicCon!
Telling her how he truly feels about her!
Getting cut off by a random guy…

Next-door neighbors and comic creators together, Roxy and Graham enjoy fan fiction based on the Althena universe, keep their grades up, and can’t wait to go to ComicCon! (p.s. That’s where he will tell her how much he cares for her – until Devin crashes their group!)

Don’t wait till BookCon at NYCC to pick up this June 2016 release! Visit at your favorite local library or independent bookstore today to see if Roxy and Graham get any tips from famous cartoonists and if she ever figures out how he feels about her!

Been to a Con?
**kmm

Book info:  The Geek’s Guide to Unrequited Love / Sarvenaz Tash. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Graham realizes that he’s fallen for girl next door/ best friend /comic co-creator Roxy, but his plans to tell her on the perfect New York ComicCon day are foiled by a handsome British student.

It’s a miracle that famously reclusive artist-author Zinc is scheduled to appear at NYCC, years after his legendary Althena comic went dark. It’s a tragedy that a cool Brit runs into their group and decides to tag along while flirting with Roxy!

Graham and Casey can grab those limited-seating tickets for Zinc, right?
How can Graham convince Roxy to sneak past her conservative parents and skip school for another day of ComicCon?
Is there any way to get her away from Devin without looking like a jerk?

Somehow, this real-life relationship stuff is so much more complicated than the ones that he and Roxy write and draw in their comic series or any of the romantic comedy movies that Graham’s late mother loved so much. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

750 Years in Paris, by Vincent Mahé (book review) – 1 city block seen over 8 centuries

book cover of 750 Years in Paris by Vincent Mahe published by NoBrow | reviewed on BooksYALove.com“If these walls could only talk…”
People change (or do they?) –
The City of Light remains, a beacon!

Noted magazine illustrator Mahé has distilled centuries of French history into this wordless graphic novel, detailing the changes in a single block of buildings through good times and bad from 1270 to recent times.

Ask for this October 2015 release at your local library or independent bookstore or favorite comics shop, and enjoy his full-length publishing debut with all its verve and humorous/tense details.

What changes have you seen in your own town’s buildings over the years?
**kmm

Book info: 750 Years in Paris / Vincent Mahé. Nobrow Books, 2015. [author’s Facebook page]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Buildings rise and fall, as history’s parade of changes affects a single street in Paris over the centuries, as seen by a French illustrator with an eye for fascinating details.

Vincent Mahé four-color palette ably depicts military victories and invasions, celebrates society’s modernizations, and portrays the City of Light’s evolution from dirt-street hamlet to vibrant metropolis, all from the perspective of one short city block’s buildings.

As its narrow lens helps readers focus on history’s broad sweep, 750 Years in Paris uses human-scale details to wordlessly convey the gradual or abrupt changes that this single location has seen since the 13th century.

A timeline at the end of the book notes each of the 60 time-snapshots portrayed and what memorable event merited their inclusion. Enjoyable for all readers of all ages – especially good for fans of history, graphic design, and hidden pictures! (One of 8,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Plotted, by Andrew DeGraff (book review) – mapping literary landscapes

book cover of Plotted by Andrew DeGraff published by Zest Books | http://BooksYALove.com reviewBefore and after of Robinson Crusoe‘s island,
Moby Dick and the ship chasing him,
Huckleberry Finn‘s meandering voyage down the Mississippi with Jim…

Happy book birthday this week to Plotted: A Literary Atlas!

I liked it so much that I almost posted this recommendation well before its publication date, but rescheduled so as not to whet your appetite for these uniquely visualized story-maps before you could actually acquire this fascinating book.

Enjoy literary maps of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol  and of Richard Adams’ Watership Down  in this free preview from the publisher, then go get this book to see all the intricately detailed maps, so evocative of each of the 19 books selected while using no quotations at all.

Do you create mental (or actual) maps as you read a book?
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Book info: Plotted: A Literary Atlas / art by Andrew DeGraff, essays by Daniel Harmon. Zest Books, 2015.  [artist’s site]  [publisher site]  [time-lapse artist’s video] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Mental maps created by reading stories blossom into intricately designed maps on the page in this “literary atlas” covering 19 selections from ancient days to the present, as seen through one artist’s eyes.

Whether mapping the movements of selected characters (as in his panels for A Wrinkle in Time) or conveying a wider sense of the book’s narrative (like the Kafka story, “A Report to the Academy”), DeGraff includes numerous details from each work in his hand-painted maps.

Says the artist, “These are maps for people who seek to travel beyond the lives and places that they already know (or think they know). The goal here isn’t to become found, but only to become more lost. Like a poorly informed but over-confident urbanite, I seek to help you get more lost.” (Introduction)

Wander through Elsinore act by act with the many characters of Hamlet, travel the Mediterranean with Odysseus, and trace the complicated path of true love in Pride and Prejudice. Essays by Daniel Harmon accompany each nearly wordless map-set which brings fresh views of stories for readers to consider and appreciate.

Chrononauts, by Mark Millar and Sean Gordon Murphy (book review) – time travel with swagger

book cover of Chrononauts by Mark Millar and Sean Murphy published by Image ComicsTime-travel suits (with longlife batteries),
Science-genius buddies (with a wild streak),
Televised first time jump (with non-scientist commentator),
What could possibly go wrong?

Traveling back in time to film the world’s most important events as they happen, a jump goes wrong so Danny heads to ancient Samarkand to rescue Corbin, only to encounter an armored motor defense!

These best friends are making the most of time with attitude to spare, even if time-hopping to outsmart Roaring 20s gangsters and attend epic concerts wasn’t in their backers’ business plan. Now, if they could just fix what went wrong in their personal and family lives before they began time-tripping…

Ask for this September release at your local library or independent bookstore – because today is National Comic Book Day! No surprise that this mile-a-minute adventure has already been optioned for a movie deal.

So, if you had a time travel suit, where would you go?
**kmm

Book info: Chrononauts / Mark Millar; art by Sean Murphy. Image Comics, 2015.  [author site]   [artist site]   [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Their time-travel suits can take them back to film important world events, but two science genius buddies find it impossible to remain mere bystanders in history.

Corbin’s marriage and family both lost out to his obsession with inventing the chronosuits, while Danny’s womanizing leaves few who’ll weep if he doesn’t make it back from time-traveling.

Transmitting live video of landmark historical events proves the chronosuits’ worth so when Corbin’s signal is lost, his best friend jumps back to rescue him in 11th century Samarkand, right into a skirmish between motorized forces!

Without the cameras on them, Drs. Quinn and Reilly have some fun with places and persons, knowing that they can time-walk away when the going gets rough. But they have left behind family issues – and bosses waiting for marketable history footage – in their own present-day.

Will these smart guys use their time-suits to repair the broken relationships in their personal pasts or get greedy helping themselves to the riches and experiences of every civilization before now?

Wait, what about the consequences of changing history – for everyone stuck in the present!?

The first four issues of the epic webcomic are published together now to give the full arc of this time-hopping buddy adventure in a single volume.

I Am Princess X, by Cherie Priest & Kali Ciesemier (book review) – missing friend, comix clues

book cover of I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest, art by Kali Ciesemier, published by Arthur A Levine BooksTwo wreck victims, only one body in the car,
dreams of her best friend swimming to safety,
nightmares because she didn’t…

May knew in her gut that the fish-nibbled body found with Libby’s ID wasn’t her best friend, the other outsider who’d drawn Princess X to go with May’s stories from grade school onward.

Nightmares for 3 years, then a shiny new Princess X sticker shows up near their favorite coffee shop – you can start reading their story in a free excerpt.

Here’s the comic that sprang from the world that the two friends created in younger years, but it’s only part of this mystery/missing my best friend story.

Have you got the guts to search for the lost keys that could bring your friend back from wherever?
**kmm

Book info: I Am Princess X / Cherie Priest, art by Kali Ciesemier. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2015. [author site] [artist site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: New Princess X art is appearing after its artist was declared dead, so co-creator May is on the hunt, trying to find Libby using webcomic clues and neighbor dude’s tech skills before “The Needle Man” finds them!

Her best friend and comic co-creator supposedly died 3 years ago, but through her parents’ divorce and moving yet again, May still dreams that Libby escaped the sinking car. In Seattle with her dad for the summer, the teen is surprised to see Princess X stickers and graffiti in places where she and Libby hung out.

Sure that Libby is drawing Princess X again online, May asks tech whiz Patrick to help her uncover exactly who is behind the webcomic, but his research alerts a dangerous predator.

Is Libby truly alive and sending Princess X messages to May?
Can May and Patrick interpret and follow the clues in the comic?
Can they outrun “The Needle Man” before he kills again?

This novel about friendship blends with a graphic novel celebrating empowerment for a wholly satisfying story about trust, sacrifice, and persistence. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

MPH, by Mark Millar (book review) – street drug faster than speed

book cover of MPH by Mark Millar, art by Duncan Fegredo, published by Image ComicsTrapped in Detroit slum,
finding a magic pharmaceutical way out,
with a ticking clock to fuel their Robin Hood ways.

One bottle of MPH lets Roscoe, Rosa, Chevy, and Baseball run and rob faster than the human eye can see. Those 31 little pills help them ransack the banks that made millions by sending jobs overseas, give money to the downtrodden, and get the whole FBI on their trail.

Positive visualizations, a taste for the finer things of life, and a sense of duty to do some good for others while the MPH lasts – not your everyday thievery with these young folks who know their fast-running time is limited and that adding anything to this amazing drug could end it faster.

Phenomenal artwork, use of color, and panel placements (there’s this one I’m remembering – epic!) make MPH a must-read graphic novel; check out the alternate covers, too.

If you could slip between raindrops without getting wet, where would you go?

**kmm

Book info: MPH / Mark Millar; art by Duncan Fegredo. Image Comics, 2015.  [author site]   [illustrator site]   [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via NetGalley.

My book talk: A mysterious drug gives super-speed powers to four friends who leave behind the drugs and guns of their Detroit neighborhood to rob big banks, give money to the needy, and grab the good stuff before that tiny bottle of MPH is gone – but where did it come from?

Learning that his boss set him up for a drug bust to get his girlfriend, Roscoe is finally desperate enough to take a pill from the prison pusher, a pill that freezes time so that the young man can escape and run miles before the next second ticks.

The young man easily convinces Rosa, her brother Baseball, and longtime pal Chevy that MPH will let them take what they want, share with those who need it, and still be richer than Roscoe’s vision board ever promised – as long as they can do it before those 31 pills are gone.

Robin Hoods on a nationwide robbery spree, the four are chased by the FBI who have an unlikely ally in a man who’s spent 30 years in solitary confinement.

No warning labels on this bottle, so adding drugs, alcohol, or jealousy could be deadly….  Graphic novel greatness.