Secret Invasion
by Brian Michael Bendis

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is not a well structured review, more of a stream-of-consciousness-commentary. Here we go…

I liked the direction the prologue was going and the artwork wasn’t bad either. Maybe a winner?


Chapter 1
It‘s Tony! 


This comic had me at Red Alert!And there is humour! Sarcasm! Who the heck are Simon, Carol and Bob? The Civil War thing isn‘t quite done with, is it? I like this story!

Artwork — some of the characters‘ proportions are a little off. Some very strange boobs. But mostly it‘s good. Very colourful. 


A little confusing there at the end…

Chapter 2
Some weird mirror verse scenario is going on… Spiderman is funny in both manifestations. Lots of fighting, bright colours, not a lot of talking or any annoying narration. FiiiizzzzChunck! Fun!


Chapter 3
An in-between chapter, connecting the dots… a little bit of Maria Hill and the helicarrier, a little bit of the bad guys, a little bit of the new Avengers…

Devastating revelation!

Chapter 4
I am confused. And why do the women always have to wear clothes that are barely there?

This would make a pretty good screenplay. But seriously, the weird boobs are distracting.

Sometimes I am not sure, which superhero I am looking at. So I am missing out on some of the fun. Just another dude with a chiselled chin in a cape…

Chapter 5
Nice page layouts! 

I am sorry, but this white dude as Nick Fury just looks wrong! Even if he started out looking like that in the original comics. Give me Samuel Jackson any day!

It feels a bit as if I‘ve accidentally stumbled into the set of Men in Black with all those alien impersonators.

Chapter 6, 7 & 8
Fighting! Lots of fighting! Resolution? Reunion? Drama! Yay! And oh no! Sadness! And oops! And no — you have got to be kidding! Well, that was bloody entertaining.

Alternative covers — some nice, some ok, not a bad offering.

I wouldn‘t mind reading the next volume. Tne next issue after this could be Secret Invasion: War of Kings — it‘s hard to tell.

Notes of the overbooked and overcommitted…

Would there be any interest in a read-along of Great Expectations by Charles Dickens for September? I will host it if there’s any interest. Please …

Interest in a September Read-Along?

Well, it looks as if I committed to a Charles Dickens read-along in November (September didn‘t work out). The ebook is downloaded, I took a note in my Goodreads calendar, I am ready and not quite as overbooked as in September!

My plans for September 2020:

Again a lot more than I had intended. It just happened. Next year I have to make more of an effort, not to committ to too many BRs… 

BR novels:
– Mindtouch, ebook started
– Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy #5), ebook started
– The Bookish Life of Nina Hill
– Sourdough 
– The Mother Code
– Axiom’s End
– Maybe The Only Good Indians

Solo reads:
– Something from Prime Reading (KU)
– maybe The Ippos King, To be published September 15 

Sitting at the dock of the bay…. no, wait… stone…

A Stone Sat Still
by Brendan Wenzel

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Cute little story about various animals hanging out on a stone. It offers each of them something different, but always stays a constant in the world. Nice one.

Wenzel’s poem focuses on how point of view affects experience. This time, his subject is a humble stone: 

A stone sat still
with the water, grass, and dirt,
and it was as it was
where it was in the world. 

In each spread or vignette, a different wild creature encounters the round rock. […]

Have you ever seen such a place? Wenzel asks. Look closely, his words say: even the most seemingly insignificant bits of Earth offer splendor. The wonderful mixed-media creatures and their encounters entertain, while bigger ideas suggest all kinds of conversations about perception and perspective, wildlife and habitat, local and global change, and eternity and evanescence. 

Ages 3–5.

(Text in Italics from here:

I am partial to the otters and the cat, although the whole book makes me happy.

Books I am looking forward to in 2021…

I try not to buy too many new books. Therefore I tend to avoid all these lists of upcoming books or just have a very quick glance at them, but refuse to add anything to my want-to-read-pile. I dream of the day, when I have no books piling up on my kindle or my living room table… Alas, I have middling success. Here are a few books I want to read in 2021. It’s a pretty short list, yay!


Black Magick, Vol. 3: Ascension (Paperback)
by Greg Rucka

Expected publication: February 2nd 2021 by Image Comics

The black-and-white artwork of the first two volumes was excellent. Beautifully drawn, rich details, just very nice. The story was good and has lots of potential.


Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder, #1)
by Ilona Andrews (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: January 12th 2021 by NYLA

From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward. 

I refrained from reading this on IA‘s website, aka the weekly serialized chapters. In fact, I think that is still ongoing. The fact that there is no cover artwork yet makes me feel a little dubious about the planned publishing date of January 2021… And I am wondering if Julie will be as good as the original Kate Daniels stories.

Wild Sign (Alpha & Omega, #6)
by Patricia Briggs

Expected publication: March 16th 2021 by Amazon Digital Services

Mated werewolves Charles Cornick and Anna Latham must discover what could make an entire community disappear—before it’s too late

I have been reading the Mercy Thompson books and this spin-off for years. It is still one of my favourite UF series, almost as loved as Ilona Andrews‘ Kate Daniels series. I actually spent the first few months of this year with re-reading all of these books in preparation for a new release of the main series.


A Desolation Called Peace (Teixcalaan, #2)
by Arkady Martine (Goodreads Author)

Expected publication: March 2nd 2021 by Tor Books

An alien armada lurks on the edges of Teixcalaanli space. No one can communicate with it, no one can destroy it, …

I really liked the first book and I can‘t wait to find out what Mahit Dzmare and Three Seagrass are going to face in this sequel to A Memory Called Empire.

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6)
by Martha Wells (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: April 27th 2021 by

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

What can I say… Instabuy! Although the last installment dragged a bit in the middle…

Untitled (The Expanse, #9)
by James S.A. Corey (Goodreads Author) 

The much awaited 9th and final installment of The Expanse series.

Oh boy, oh boy. No proper cover yet, no title yet and no publishing date… O.o <— that‘s my anxious face. It will be the end of an era… and if we‘re unlucky, it might not even happen in 2021… who knows!? Meep.


One Last Stop (Hardcover)
by Casey McQuiston (Goodreads Author) 

Expected publication: May 6th 2021 by Piatkus

From the New York Times bestselling author of Red, White & Royal Blue comes a new romantic comedy that puts a queer spin on Kate & Leopold.

I really liked Red, White & Royal Blue. And Kate & Leopold is a fun movie…

Meh? Not very hellish…

Rating: 2 out of 5.

Hellboy Volume 1: Seed of Destruction
by Mike Mignola,  John Byrne

My first hellboy comic. I liked the two movies with Ron Perlman a lot. 

Chapter One
Kraut here. Hello! Not summoning any monsters…
The Torch of Liberty… is that Captain America’s alter ego outside of Marvel?


Very old-fashioned looking artwork. Very straight-forward page layouts.
Frogs. Flashbacks. Nazis. Wut?

Chapter Two
Oh well. I really do not like the artwork with those blocky shadows and lack of details.
Story… very wordy. Not very suspenseful. It gets a bit more interesting towards the end, when the bad guy shows up. It saved this volume from being dropped after this chapter.

Chapter Three
Still wordy. Long conversations and a fight scene with an equally longish and boring voice-over by Hellboy. It doesn‘t add anything interesting. And to make it worse, this whole drawn out affair is topped off with the bad guy narrating his life story. And how Hellboy came to be. Again. Argh.

Too much telling, too little showing! In a graphic novel! Come on!

Chapter Four
The climax. Action, fighting, monsters and again a ridiculous amount of narration, that took out all the fun for me. The grand finale was just so drawn out and not in a suspenseful way. Whatever. Thank goodness, I am almost done!

Two stories…
These two origin stories were not bad.

And the final Hellboy gallery had some good panels.

But overall this was really disappointing and just not for me. I did not like the artwork, the single chapter plots were really thin and there was just too much narration. It was just not well balance and lacked suspense.

My M.C.A. Hogarth Backlist, Part 1

Here is my summary of Her Instruments by Hogarth.

Earthrise (Her Instruments, #1)
by M.C.A. Hogarth (Goodreads Author) 

This was a NetGalley ARC back in 2015.

Wasn’t so sure at first, if I would like it, but about a quarter into the book I was in love with all of the main characters. I adored Hirianthial, his psychic landscape was fantastic. The Harat-Shar are great comic characters and the bird-like Bryer is fascinating. The Flitzbe is like a more advanced tribble.

Throw in a classic run-chase-and-hide scenario with an asteroid field, and your swashbuckling space adventure is off to an entertaining ride.

I really liked the second part of the book. The swashbuckling comes to an abrupt stop, but it gives a great additional depth to the characters of Reese and Hirianthial. The changing POV between those two is very well done and flows smoothly. The setting is a nice bit of world building as well.

And after the nice interlude on the planet of the hedonistic furry people and lots of eyebrow action we’re back to the swashbuckling bit in part three of the book.

I am not sure, why this book resonated so strongly with me. Perhaps if I had picked it up at another time, it could have had the potential to bore me to death. But I really liked it. The characters were vibrant and their cultural misunderstandings, differences and moral codes felt real. I just wanted to hug them all and join the crew for a bitchfest about the injustice of life. And then I wanted to ravish the Eldritch. What a fab character. I laughed myself silly over Reese’s addiction to Eldritch romance novels.

Fun, well-drawn characters, interesting plot, snark, humour, eyebrows. We have a winner. Onwards to the next installment.

Rose Point (Her Instruments, #2)

Could be a bit spoilery, beware.

Kickass heroine falls in love with one of Tolkien’s elves, rescues and follows him home, when he needs some help after horrible things happen to him during a kidnapping (tentative non-con warning in a very non-graphic way).

No, not really. But in stretches it felt a bit like that. Although my elf looks a bit more Benedict Cumberbatch than Orlando Bloom.

Actually, despite this being Sci-Fi, it does have more of a classic fantasy feel to it than anything else, being mostly set “dirtside” on a planet with a feudal society and low technology level.

You definitely should read Earthrise first, before delving into this. It will make the team dynamics of our intrepid crew more plausible and enjoyable. They don’t get as much time on the page as in the first book. Here the story mostly revolves around Hirianthial, life and politics on the Eldritch planet and then around Reese. The UST between those two amps up some more and I really hope it will get resolved in the third book of this trilogy, otherwise I will pull my hair out. The really, really bad guys finally show their face in this installment as well and I am biting my nails to find out what happens next.

Great adventure yarn, great characters, good plot.

Laisrathera (Her Instruments, #3)

A well-written and fitting conclusion to this trilogy. No truly surprising plot-twists or epiphanies, but sound and entertaining story telling. I had withdrawel symptoms for a while, this world sucked me in so deeply.

I liked the addition of Val and Belinor, especially Val was a character with a lot of potential. The immediate connection between those two, with possible benefits, was a bit out of the blue, but worked and made me curious for more of their story.

Lesandurel was also an interesting character with story arch potential. And the whole crew of the Moonsinger, obviously. I think I saw on the author’s website that this will be the setting of a new book/trilogy (I never checked).

The book itself was a bit more sedate and introspective, compared to the previous two. But there was still plenty of action, great character development and our two heroes finally finding each other. My only, very small disappointment – I had expected a larger-scale conflict with the Chatcaavan and a overall darker and more angsty tone and found it all a bit too vanilla in the end. Nonetheless, bottomline, fun, great story, loved the characters.

A Rose Point Holiday (Her Instruments, #4) 

So saccharine-sweet and fluffy, it will give you cavities. Which is ok, as it was intended as holiday reading. Excellent feel-good material for Christmas/New Year or whatever holiday it is for you. It is also full of good ideas for another novel in this particular series or maybe the Pelted Universe as a whole. Should definitely be read after the Her Instruments trilogy.

For space opera, look no further among my works than the Peltedverse. This setting deals with the social implications of genetic engineering, the culture clashes between aliens, the frictions that lead to interstellar wars and of course, space elves and their royalty. The sprawling Pelted universe has been in continuous development since the early 1990s and it shows in the depth and breadth of the material. Constructed languages, artificial cultures, multiple alien species working together in harmony (or not)… if you want big, friendly universes full of growing pains, this is your stop.

At one point I actually considered reading all of the Peltedverse books and stories in chronological order. There s just so much! So in the end I decided to be less completist and OCD and just read what I am in the mood for, regardless of reading order. Yep, reading them out of order and I am not sorry.

If you want to have a go, follow the link below the quote above, it leads you to Hogarth‘s website. You are welcome. Or just start with Earthrise. This trilogy + extra holiday story all scored five stars with me.

My pretty!

Look what hit my inbox yesterday!

Emerald Blaze (Hidden Legacy, #5) by Ilona Andrews

I actually managed to download it without starting right away. Supreme effort of will. But I am still reading this:

Mindtouch (The Dreamhealers, #1) by M.C.A. Hogarth

I really liked Hogarth‘s Laisrathera (Her Instruments) trilogy and I have read and liked some of her other stories since then as well. I even played around with the idea of reading her complete backlist with some friends, but ran out of steam eventually.

She wrote interesting and diverse characters years ago, before it became the thing to have non-binary characters. I took a longer break… 2017, maybe? So it‘s about time to read this and the other two novels that have been languishing on my TBR pile.

However, being the huge Ilona Andrews fan that I am, I might have to have a peek at the other book as well, before finishing Mindtouch…

Fighting, running, silicone life…

BLAME! Vol. 3

by Tsutomu Nihei

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Here are my chapter comment, written down as I read them…

::LOG.21:: THE HYBRID ::003::
Ok, odd. I didn’t remember Cibo changing this way in the last volume (view spoiler). And I am not really sure what happens there at the end or what Kyrii does exactly.

Artwork—Matrix meets Aliens.

Inside. This reminds me of that horror movie, where they are in a maze of cubes with changing gravity, directions and various horrors behind every door…


Safeguards! Eep!

Confusing fight scenes and I find it difficult to understand the action sequences.

::LOG.24:: THE EIGHTH CAVE ::105::
New, rather ominous characters. Cibo does interesting things with her body.
I am starting to wonder if Kyrii is a pod-person, because he barely speaks or does anything.

::LOG.25:: HACKING ::141::
Have we met the Silicone Life in the previous volumes?
My comment regarding the fight scene: wut? What is going on? I was underwhelmed by this chapter.

::LOG.26:: THE UNSTABLE CAVE ::171::
Nice chapter cover!


A furious start and towards the end of this chapter another Moebius flash…


I am not a big fan of the action sequence in the beginning of this chapter. Similarly to scenes in previous chapters I found it hard to interpret what is happening. What did happen?

::LOG.28:: VERSIONS ::251::
Slightly more inspired battle scene. However, I wouldn‘t mind some plot. Here is my problem with these characters: I don‘t like any of them. And I am still not sure, what their motivations are or where they are headed. Maybe I am not reading this fast enough and struggling to remember. Or they are just not that memorable.

And again some frames that were just indecipherable.

Some plot, yay. I like Mensab and Seu better this way. Not sure that I kept track of the whole time shift and forwarding thing… and I lost the plot again, what little of it there was.

::LOG.30:: THE ENDLESS WAR ::311::

Wut? Not bad, as finales go, but what do I do with that ending? What does that mean? The sleeper has awakened?

:: The End ::
Well… there was some nice artwork here of there, but now enough to really wow me. And I was really missing some plot. Mostly this made me feel meh. It was ok.

Ghosts in the machine

The Furthest Station (Peter Grant, #5.5)
by Ben Aaronovitch (Goodreads Author),  Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Narrator) 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Furthest Station (Peter Grant, #5.5)
by Ben Aaronovitch (Goodreads Author),  Kobna Holdbrook-Smith (Narrator) 

Ghosts on the Metropolitan Line. I wasn‘t all that interested in this novella, I mainly got it to listen to Kobna Holdbrook-Smith. Kobna delivered, but so did Ben Aaronovitch and Peter Grant. 

There was humour, there was non-plussed Peter and creepy Molly, curious Abigail and suave Nigthingale. The story was good, if not terribly exciting or overly suspenseful. I had a few laughs and enjoyed the ride.