Today is Free Comic Book Day, so find your nearest participating comics store here and get there fast, before the excellent selection of free comic books runs out!
It’s also Star Wars Day – a good opportunity to point you to another volume in Ian Doescher’s Shakespearean retellings of the Star Wars movies… read ye now the Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (movie episode three).
Yes, our valiant Chewbacca appears in this volume (farewell too soon, actor Peter Mayhew), as do many characters good and evil from the episodes in this series before and after this one:
And as I wrote in 2015:
Why speak just now of this most-worthy tome,
Why note it not upon its natal day?
Mark well today’s harmonious date, kind one,
And may the Force be with us all, I pray!
Book info: William Shakespeare’s Tragedy of the Sith’s Revenge (Star Wars Part the Third) / Ian Doescher. Quirk Books, 2015. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
But that’s when teens who are Changers wake up to their fourth transformation into a completely new identity – gender, race, sexuality, talents, every physical characteristic is likely to be different from who they appeared to be as a junior or sophomore or freshman.
And before graduation, they must decide which of those four Versions to keep for the rest of their lives!
This is a bang-up ending to the series and could be read solo, but do yourself a favor and go through the whole journey with this Changer teen’s personas of Drew (book 1 recommended here), Oryon (book 2 review), and Kim (book 3 notes) first!
How much can you change yourself to become more yourself? **kmm
Book info: Changers: Book Four – Forever / T Cooper & Allison Glock-Cooper. Black Sheep/ Akashic Books, 2018. [T Cooper site] [Allison site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Junior year at Kim’s Tennessee high school brought new friendships and old conflicts renewed. One more identity to experience as a senior – and it’s the person seen in earlier visions as cause of a tragic death!
Being transformed on the first day of school each year into another body is wild. Keeping the same inner identity without giving that away is really hard. Maintaining the secrecy of the world’s Changers when attacked by Abiders is near-impossible!
Four Versions, four options – which choice will be their one body forever?
Preceded by Changers Book One: Drew, Book Two: Oryon, and Book Three: Kim.
Lightning storms go on and on. Frost on the window in summer. A house across the street that no one else in town can seem to remember…
Big change, moving from Chicago after Mom’s death to the small Arizona town where Dad grew up.
So many weird things are happening here – of course the twins and their new friends are going to investigate!
Can you escape sorrow by moving to a new place? **kmm
Book info: The Year of Lightning (The Time Shift Trilogy. book 1) / Ryan Dalton. Jolly Fish Press/North Star Editions, 2016. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: When Malcolm sees someone in an abandoned house which has no doors, the fifteen-year-old and his twin Valentine uncover a dangerous force that imperils their small town – lightning can strike much more than twice in the same place!
New to grandmother’s old house, new to Dad’s old high school, the twins start making friends as Malcolm dives into history and Valentine impresses her science teacher.
But Patrick disappears right after Fred’s back-to-school party, so school newspaper editor Winter gets everyone investigating, as the lightning storms get more and more intense.
Is the lightning striking the abandoned house or coming from it?
Why must the strange watch found there stay with Malcolm constantly?
Who’s the shadowed man lurking around town now?
The teens and longtime town residents must hurry to find out what’s going on in that house and with the watch that won’t keep normal time before it’s too late! (first in Time Shift Trilogy).
My book talk:
In New York City at last, Piper works for a famous artist with a “new vision” but the Houston native also wants time for her own creative desires as she learns to navigate the city in a whirlwind season before starting art school.
Hired by Carlyle Campbell based on photos of her big senior project in Texas, now Piper must replicate that piece and several others for Fashion Week – fast!
Can she keep her own artistic focus while working to reflect what Carlyle wants the world to see?
The intense connection she felt online with her student mentor Silas seems erratic when they’re together in person – hmmm.
Her small salary from Carlyle doesn’t go far in the city – time to find another job, and find a place to paint, and go out with Silas and new friend Grace, and apply for financial aid so she can start next semester…
It’s Piper Perish in the big city as she leaps into the next chapter of her life – as long as she can find a way to stay here!
What’s your moral compass when survival is at stake?
Book info: Rules for Thieves (Rules for Thieves, book 1) / Alexandra Ott. Aladdin Books, 2017 hardcover, 2018 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: As the curse moves toward her heart, 12-year-old orphan Alli must decide if she can sacrifice her principles to join the Thieves’ Guild for a chance to buy the cure.
Escaping from the orphanage is easy; not being caught by the city Protectors (again) is more difficult, so Alli accepts a strange boy’s offer to help – what a mistake!
A glancing blow of magic lodges a deadly curse under her skin; Beck knows how she can get money for the cure, so they head for his country – such a journey!
Of course he didn’t tell her the whole truth… entering the Thieves’ Guild is near-impossible for outsiders, but as the curse’s dark tendrils wind ever-nearer to her heart, she’s got to try!
When her initiation quest goes terrible wrong, Alli balances on a knife’s edge – her life or the lives of many?
In a foreign city, on a desperate mission – follow the Guild rules or what she knows is right?
Book one in the series, followed by The Shadow Thieves.
Luvander reluctantly joins forces with three other adventurers also heading for the fabled treasure hidden deep within the Dragon’s Maw caverns.
Hmm… why does she love roast meat and riddles so much?
Who’s the guy stalking them, with that Wanted Dead or Alive poster in hand?
Elves in battle, creatures of water, and beings of fire – time and again, Luvander is asked “Who are you?”
We join her story in volume 1 as the team journeys “Into the Dragon’s Maw,” then go further afield on land and sea with “Treasurehearts” (each volume collects 5 issues of the continuing comic).
Any adventurous blood singing in your veins?
Book info: Into the Dragon’s Maw (Scales & Scoundrels, vol.1), Treasurehearts (Scales & Scoundrels, vol. 2) / Sebastian Girner, art by Galaad, lettering by Jeff Powell. Image Comics, 2018. [author site] [artist Tumblr] [publisher site] Review copies and cover images courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Meet one who hunts treasure, another seeking a lost brother, a prince looking for adventure, and the bodyguard sworn to protect him on the quest in this graphic novel series set in a medieval world of magic and no little mayhem.
Luvander bows to no one during her ongoing treasure hunt, Dorma brings her dwarven guiding talents to the team, the prince wants to see beyond his kingdom while completing his adulthood challenge, and Koro must stand between him and excessive folly to get him home in one piece.
They traverse a land where dragons fiercely guard their treasure, misfortune takes many a peasant from their family, and bandits eagerly take hostage any well-to-do travelers crossing their territory.
Finding the legendary hidden treasure cave called The Dragon’s Maw is much easier than successfully avoiding its traps and perils – not even a bespelled dragon gives up one bit of its hoard without a fight!
Can Dorma find her brother who also sought to go “Into the Dragon’s Maw”?
What is the strange language Luvander speaks to statues down there?
If they escape with treasures, what curse might the team set loose on the world?
Surprises and secrets continue in volume 2 “Treasurehearts” as more of Luvander’s true self is revealed, the treasure hunters are hunted, and fire battles against the balance of power.
My book talk: Sent to public school as punishment, Julia discovers that her ‘family talents’ hide a deep secret that the Austin teen may not want to be part of, but does she have a choice?
Her descent from elite untouchable was abrupt after the dumb dare that got Julia and the guys she’s known forever noticed by the police, but is being ignored at a new school (and having to fake being merely outstanding at tennis) any worse than being scorned by her family group?
They heal overnight, run faster and farther than anyone else, sense trends before everyone else – but are those the only talents shared by her extended family?
When she starts sensing John’s thoughts at school, Julia becomes convinced that her charismatic father has been hiding much from the younger family members – but why?
As their feelings grow, Julia knows that she must protect John and his family from hers – but is it too late?
Brought back from death far from her country,
forced to become a spy,
even though she believes necromancy is heresy!
Not just resurrected, Naya was murdered – was she in the wrong place at the wrong time or was she assassinated?
Fellow wraith Corten knows her as a servant girl indentured to the necromancer who also sang him back to life following his early death – will he understand why she had to keep her true identity hidden?
An undead love story with deceit and treachery…
Book info: Twice Dead (Necromancer’s Song, book 1) / Caitlin Seal. Charlesbridge Teen, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Murdered in a foreign port, Naya is horrified to be resurrected as a wraith who can change her form but may not be able to change her fate as an unwilling spy.
Death isn’t the end in Ceremor, a land that her sea captain father often visits, but the Talmiran teen still shudders to be among so many undead returned to this world by necromancers.
Now she is the abomination, a spirit body resurrected by runes inscribed on her bones, needing only the aether life-force of the living as food.
Forced to masquerade as a servant, Naya learns from Corten how to exist as a wraith, finding him a bright spot in a strange place, especially when they discover her unusual powers.
Who ordered her murder and resurrection?
Who wants to shatter the fragile peace between Ceremor and Talmir?
Is dying again the only way to escape?
First book in the Necromancer’s Song series, filled with intrigue, rune-powered devices, and treachery!
Her father dead, a new king crowned.
Her destiny unclear, her life in peril!
O, that she could read the stars as her mother does, so far away!
As a royal daughter, Lady Pyppenia (Poppy to her friends) knows she has little control over her future, but she hadn’t imagined falling in love with her protector!
See the first few pages here (thank you, artist preview service) to meet Lady Poppy, her late father, and the Sleepless knight Cyrenic who swore to protect her by staying ever-awake (burning the candle of his own life at both ends). Her adorable long-eared animal friend Bini has an important role in this multicultural story, too.
If healing now would take away time from the end of your life, would you do it?
Book info: Sleepless / Sarah Vaughn, illustrated by Leila Del Duca, with Alissa Sallah and Deron Bennett. Image Comics, 2018. [artist Twitter] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Shadows deepen in Harbeny as assassins target Lady Pyppenia, teen daughter of the late king and Mrebeshi star-reader Amena, under the protection of a magically Sleepless knight.
Each minute that Cyrenic is Sleepless removes time from his life; the strength of his bond to Lady Poppy may weaken his hold on the present as well, just as three attempts are made to kill her!
The new king orders lovely dark Poppy as companion to his pale daughter just arrived from Etland, but can the cousins ever become friends?
Princess Rellen will someday become queen, while Lady Poppy never could – why is Lord Helder wooing them both?
Poppy just wants to leave Harbeny and go back to her mother’s country – what reason does King Surno have for keeping her here?
May the Stars watch over Lady Poppy amid court intrigue, and Time keep her Sleepless knight Cyrenic in the present as his increasing drifts into the past could rob him of full attention to the dangers of now in this richly colored graphic novel collecting volumes 1-6 of the ongoing comic series.
Civil War with dinosaurs,
Free black orphans eluding kidnapping slavers,
Actors, mystery, adventure – and pterosaurs, too!
Visit the book website for the Rescue Run video game and ride dinos like Magdalys and Mapper did! Cool map of their New York City, too.
Which dino or ptero would you ride?
Book info: Dactyl Hill Squad / Daniel Jose Older. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Civil War, New York City, dinosaurs everywhere – everyday life for Madgalys and friends at the Colored Orphans Asylum is shattered when riots break out and kidnappers attack!
The wonderful theater for black actors is torched, the orphanage is next, so they escape on a brachyosaur, heading for the free black neighborhood across the river, and the Afro-Cuban girl discovers that she can hear and understand the dino’s thoughts!
Riding pteros to gather information, each kid’s skills will be needed as they work together with Dactyl Hill residents to rescue kidnapped orphans from the corrupt judge who’ll send them into slavery.
Who’s this Mr. Reed noted in the orphanage register?
Can Magdalys really communicate with all types of dinos?
Will she see her soldier brother again?
First in an alternative history series, with youth fighting for justice, despicable villains opposing them, and dino battle beasts on both sides of the war between slave states and freedom.
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