Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saying Goodbye to The Monstrumologist Series and a Godbomb

Hi all in the Land-o-Blog. I have yet again been away for awhile, The wandering, master-less Ronin Librarian Bill. The Holidays are upon us and I hope you all had a great Christmas, Hanukkah or whatever Holidays you follow!!!! I truly had a blessed one indeed. Yet, enough of this as we talk books. GNs and such. So here we go!!!!

The Final Descent (from The Monstrumologist Series) by Rick Yancey - Well all good things must come to an end and Mr. Yancey did so with the forth and last book in this series (I said I wasn't gonna cry, I said I wasn't gonna cry). Before I start I want to say this series has been outstanding for both older teens and adults. I know this series had a tough time finding a following, which makes me sad, but if you want to read a series that is exciting, full of intrigue, love, hate, growth an change and about the human condition without flinching from hard truths (with a strong dose of the macabre), this series is definitely for you.

The story starts switching between time frames and ties up the relationship of Will Henry and the great Monstrumologist Dr. Walthrop among other characters associated with the series. Dr. Walthrop is again on the hunt for a last of it's kind, aberrant life form called T. Cerrejonensis. A dangerous snake like creature thought to be extinct for 100 years. It's poison so deadly it causes agonizing death, yet if said poison is handled correctly can be made into a powerful drug that causes feelings of euphoria but is deadly addictive.

We get to see Will Henry as a older teen and as an adult. Unfortunately Will Henry has become more cynical or perhaps you could say realistic about the dirty work that comes along with the field of Mostrumology (indeed he starts to remind us more and more of one Jack Kearns in his views - however not in Kearns' twisted extracurricular activities, can you say Jack The Ripper)) and Dr. Walthrop more blind and depending on Will Henry to take on the dirty work he does not want to acknowledge exist. This book is full of paranoia, unexpected twist, creepiness and unexpected reveals. Does Dr. Walthrop have his moment in the sun with the capture of T. Cerrejonensis? Does Will Henry escape with his soul intact and into the loving arms of his true love Lilly? Read and enjoy!!!! Cheers to Mr. Yancey for this wonderful, creepy ending to an outstanding series.

If you interested to see reviews of the other books in the series:

The Monstrumologist -
The Curse of The Wendigo -
The Isle of Blood -

I also recommend very highly Mr. Yancey's new book in a series about an alien invasion that really rocks called "The 5th Wave." Hey I forgot to review that one!!!! Maybe next time.

Thank you Mr. Yancey once again for this excellent series. It was a great ride!!!!!!!!!

Thor: God of Thunder - Godbomb by Jason Aaron, Esad Ribic, Butch Guice and Tom Palmer - This Graphic Novel collects Thor: God of Thunder issues 6 - 11. Jason Arron has been on the comic book writing seen a good while now and let me tell ya kiddies, his a darn good writer that packs a punch when there is a tale to be told. This GN deals with a planet that is dying along with it's indigenous population. One of the aliens named Gorr prays to the Gods to save his family and people. None answer and as Gorr's family dies before him and he is cast out by his people he swears revenge against every so called god that has ever existed. One day great powers fall from the sky into his hands and he starts a crusade of fulfilling his revenge and so starts the downfall of beings calling themselves gods everywhere until Gorr runs across a race of gods that call themselves Asgardians. Gorr defeats the majority except Thor. Jumping through time and space Gorr must contend with 3 Gods of Thunder. One in his reckless and careless youth, one who serves with the Avengers and has a mighty sense of nobility and one who has grown old and crafty taking Odin's place as the All-Father. This is really a great story bringing together three very different versions of Thor at different ages against a genocidal alien who wants nothing more than to destroy any notion of the existence of gods. Great storytelling combined with awesome art make this one a must read!!!!!   

Well until next time (hopefully alot sooner than between this post and the last),


Friday, August 23, 2013

It's Been a Long, Long Time or Skitt!!

Hi all you hepcats out in the "Land o Blog!!!!" Ronin Librarian Bill has been wondering the nether regions, fighting book banners, saving damsels in distress, fighting crime where ever it rears its ugly head so I've been off the radar for some time. If you don't believe me check it out:

Oh No, I may have shown to much. Just hope those reading this know that I am not the best at what I do!!!!!
Oh well enough silliness lets talk books and Graphic Novels.

Green Lantern, Volume 2, The Revenge of Black Hand by Geoff Johns, Doug Mahnke, Ethan Sciver, and more - If you go to the post I put up here you will see my review of Volume 1. This volume continues the very interesting team up of Hal Jordan (Earth's First Green Lantern) and his mentor and nemesis Sinestro (now back in the Green Lantern's a long story to explain his history). In this roller coaster ride of a story as the two team up to not only take on the crazed Black Hand (of The Black Lantern Corps) but also take on The Indigo Corps when their power source is turned off. Now the Indigo Corps have always been portrayed as on the side of the angels so why would this cause problems? Man if you have not read this GN yet you are in for a real shock! What makes this GN so great besides what I have laid out is the interaction between Jordan and Sinestro. They often have dynamically different opinions on how to solve problems (Jordan being more diplomatic and Sinestro more whatever it takes). Yet for all their differences they really have great chemistry and make a great team. Also before this GN is done you get a glimpse at the next big threat coming down the pike for the universe. It's called "The Third Army" and man it looks like it's gonna be a great story!!!

Before Watchman: Minutemen & Silk Spectre by Darwyn Cooke and Amanda Conner - DC did several very controversial prequels to one of the greatest Comics/Graphic Novels ever; The Watchmen (Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons). The main controversy being other writers and artist telling stories involving characters so much belonging to these two creators and putting their spin on what came before. Moore more or less dismissed the titles as he has become a Comic/Graphic Novel recluse, however Gibbons was more supportive of the efforts but forth by others on these stories. I really liked "The Minuteman" story (a collection of the 6 issue miniseries) by Darwyn Cooke with such great characters with real depth as Hooded Justice, The first Silk Spectre, The first Nite Owl, The Comedian, Mothman, Dollar Bill, The Silhouette and Captain Metropolis. The story centers on the true story of the Minute Men as told by Hollis Mason (The Original Nite Owl) to be published in his tell all book named "Under The Hood." The story starts in the present (hat being 1962) with the story of The Minute Men being told through flash backs as early as 1939. The GN is beautifully written and illustrated. It is full of intrigue, shining moments, despicable lows, true heroism, true vileness, hilarious goofs and spectacular highs. It is the story full of tribute to "The Watchmen" as it tells the story of what if super heroes existed in the real world. Well worth reading and a darn good tale at that. It does nothing in my opinion to hurt the classic Watchmen story. The Silk Spectre story by Mr. Cooke and Amanda Conner is a spotlights on the second Silk Spectre which happen to be the daughter of the original carrying on in the super hero business. The story is not as strong as the Minutemen one, but Mrs. Conner supplies the collected 4 issue miniseries with some great artwork. It is worth reading but just pales when compared to "The Minute Men." Some familiar faces show up, one being one of my most favorite amoral characters in both The Minute Men and The Watchmen. I must caution here that as in "The Watchmen" this GN is targeted at an older audience due to language, violence, nudity and such. Great stories, great artwork.... well what are you waiting for? Go check it out!!!!!

Hopefully you will hear from me sooner than last time. Anyway peace all,


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

An Interview with the Great Ms. Yingling!

Hey ho, all guy reading fans everywhere! This is Iron Guy Carl, back from another long absence. This time I've got a terrific interview with one of the most terrific book bloggers out there. Her name is Ms.Yingling. She's a school librarian in Ohio and blogs at Ms. Yingling Reads. She's also been a friend to Ronin Ninja Bill and me for a long time. She also hosts a weekly Guy Friday on her blog that recommends books for boys! Hmmmm--wonder where she got that idea??? Anyway, she does a lot for boy reading and we're happy to have her aboard for an interview.

There's a nasty rumor out there that says it's uncool for boys to read. How do you think it got started?

I think that some boys find it hard to read, and it's easier to say it's not cool than to say it's hard. It's hard to sit still, the words are tiny, and their mother keeps handing them The Secret Garden. Their teachers are girls, their librarians are often girls, and there are just not enough MEN out there to make it cool.

That’s why you have the Iron Guy in blogland, making reading cool for boys. What would the boys at your school say to the answer to the first questtion? And why do you think it's cool for boys to read?

    We have an awesome 6th grade teacher, Mr. Buxton ( who is very influential. If he book talks something, 50 students come in to request it. Reading is highly encouraged in our school, so the boys see each other reading. Also, we have a good selection of books with action, dog poop, robot decapitation, etc. that boys actually enjoy reading.
     I think it's cool for boys to read because it makes them smarter, and smart guys are THE coolest.

What are the favorite books of the boys at your school?
    Notebook novels like Wimpy Kind, Big Nate, and Dragonbreath, any sports books that are about basketball or football, and the world record books.

If you became Queen of the Universe and could tell every librarian everywhere what the 5 best books for boys of all time are, what would you say?

Did someone take my crown away? I would have to say Horowitz's Stormbreaker, Riordan's The Lightning Thief, Korman's Ungifted, Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak and Mack's Mathlete vs. Athlete.

  Ms Yingling believes that a librarian should LOOK like a librarian!

 You used to be a Latin teacher. What made you choose to be school librarian? What are the best and hardest parts of it?

    I didn't exactly choose to leave the field-- there were just no jobs. I have always loved to read, and I could get an MLS and not have to get another bachelor's degree. The best part of my job is when I am riding my bike home and a student who is hauling  garbage cans back to the garage runs out to say "Ms. Yingling! The book you gave me is AWESOME!!" (happened just last night!), or when I am describing a book to a student, and another student pipes up "That book is great. You have to read it!" I also like my little slice of internet "fame" and all the interesting authors, librarians and teachers I have met.

The hardest part is that it's a ton of work. It's a 24/7 kind of job. I'm at school for ten hours a day, and do another 3-5 hours of work at home, which leaves very little time for other things. I even dream about overdues. I wouldn't spend the time if I didn't enjoy it, though, so I can't complain!

Would you say, "Boys are awesome" in Latin?

"Pueri optissimi sunt" would be "Boys are the very best!"

How about "The Iron Guy and Ronin Ninja Bill are kings of MANLY MEN”?

Viri ferri Carolus et Ronin reges viri virilissimi sunt.

That said, it's been 20 years since I have taught Latin; I just ripped Ned Vizzini about the Latin in House of Secrets, so feel I should be careful!

Because of your excellent blog and your great work for guy reading, we gave you our highest honor and made you an Honorary Guy. Have you ever gotten over the shock of receiving such a great award?

    I have never gotten over the shock, but I attribute my current reading tastes (romance and dog poop? Fantastic!) to this award. I feel honored every day when boys trust me to get them a book they will enjoy.
I ask these final questions of everyone I interview--Which do you prefer, cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

    Girly answer to this one: I don't care for either! Also, I'm an old person, so I eat more grilled vegetables and hummus!

Don't worry about your girly answer. We're proud of our MANLINESS, so you should be proud of your GIRLYNESS!

Well, all kidding totally aside, we're are very glad that you're out there, sharing your love of books, especially with boys. Thanks for all you do and for taking time to answer our questions. And be sure to check out her blog, boys, and be doubly sure to read her Guy Friday posts!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Good Graphic Novel Reads from The Swamp and More

Hi all,

Ronin Bill has been wondering the lands of literature and has stumbled across some pretty great Graphic Novels. You know I remember when comics where just 25 cents an issue. Guess that dates me a bit, but I still love them. The first comic that I ever bought was Flash 235 by Cary Bates (writer), Irv Novick (penciller), Tex Blaisdell (inker) and the wonderful Dick Giordano (cover artist).
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Giordano several times late in his life. On one occasion he was invited to an event where no one knew who he was except me. Needless to say I made sure he was properly taken care of at this event. We talked a little and he asked me who was one of my favorite heroes that he had drawn. I immediately said Batman and before the event was over he gave me a drawing of Batman that I will treasure forever. He was a class act. Here is the synapses from "The Flash and Green Lantern find that both Iris Allen and Carol Ferris have been kidnapped, and both go to Earth-Two to help the Flash of that world battle Vandal Savage, who has kidnapped Carol." Man not only do you get the Silver Age Flash, but a team up with the Silver age Green Lantern and the golden age Flash against the iconic Flash Villain Vandal Savage. I was hooked!!!!!!

Well enough reminiscing lets talk about my recent reads:

Saga of The Swamp Thing Volumes 1 and 2 by Alan Moore, Stephen Bissette, John Totleben and others (no disrespect intended) - The Swamp Thing was created by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson and the work they did with the character was phenomenal. During the second run of the comic series at issue #20 Alan Moore and crew took over. The world of comics was about to be changed forever. Collected in Volume 1 are issues 21 thru 27. The mind blowing stuff starts right off with the famously titled "The Anatomy Lesson." The Swamp Thing appears to be dead an frozen in cryochest as a result of a battle with the evil General Sutherland. Southernland hires Jason Woodrue, otherwise know as "The Floronic Man," to decipher how Alec Holland was transformed into The Swamp Thing. The Floronic Man is considered an expert in this field due to experimentation on himself in which he transformed himself into a plant/human hybrid. What he discovers blows the roof off everything we thought about The Swamp Thing. From there The Floronic Man comes into contact with "The Green," the worlds plant life and goes on a rampage in which the earth's plants turn against mankind. The mighty Justice League looks on helplessly as there is nothing they can do. Of course The Swamp Thing plays a pivotal part in the outcome. We are also treated in Volume One to a very new interpretation of The Demon as he joins up with The Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane to fight the ghostly evil of The Monkey King (a supernatural entity that preys on the nightmares of children).

 The Floronic Man

                                                  The Demon, Swamp Thing and Abby Arcane

Wow that was only about Volume 1! Well Volume 2 covers a deadly vendetta by Abby's Uncle Arcane, once a man now something so vile and wicked it makes the denizens of Hell shutter. Following that story, The Swamp Thing has to actually travel to the afterlife to save Abby's soul which Arcane has doomed to Hell. The Swamp Thing Travels to Purgatory, Heaven and Hell in search of Abby's soul, but gets a little help from his friends such as Deadman, The Phantom Stranger (one of my favorite DC characters), The Spectre and once again Etrigan The Demon. There is much more included in this volume and it cooks!!! These Graphic Novel deal with some mature topics so I would recommended it for teens 13 and up. Great stuff!!!!!!!

Swamp Thing, Deadman, The Phantom Stranger, The Spectre and once again Etrigan The Demon. 

X-Force, Old Ghost, Volume 2 by Craig Kyle, Christopher Yost, Mike Choi and others - If you have not checked out any of The X-Force GNs boy you are missing out. This entry is about Volume 2, but if you find it interesting you need to check out Volume 1 and the ones that follow also. X-Force is a secret team of mutants put together by Cyclops to take care of mutant threats before they can harm other mutants. The team as of this volume consists of Wolverine, X-23, Wolfsbane, Archangel, Warpath, Domino, Elixir and The Vanisher (although in his case it is quite against his will). Basically there are two story lines one following Warpath as he goes to visit his brother's grave and ends up confronting a Demon Bear. He soon finds himself in need of help and The Ghost Rider enters the fray. The other part of the team sans Wolfsbane is trying to locate the dreaded Legacy Virus that has already killed many mutants in the past. They need to find it first and also figure out who is after it. It does not help matters that Warren in his Archangel identity is fighting to maintain control of his more violent tendencies toward friend or foe and that Wolfsbane is left behind because in her wolf form she only wants to kill Angel/Archangel. Highly recommended for older teens!!!!!

Well that was quite a bit. Hope I didn't get to long winded. Until next time, keep fighting the good fight.



Thursday, April 4, 2013

Atomic Bombs and Shadow Ops

Hi all in The Land of Blog it is your Ronin Librarian Bill reporting in once again. I have 2 very cool books to tell you about, so let's get this show on the road!!!!!

BOMB, The Race to Build - and Steal - The World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin - It is stated on the inside of the book cover: "In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: When placed next to radioactive material, a uranium atom split in two." This of course led to the discover of what atoms can do to make one of the deadliest, destructive weapons ever created - The Atomic Bomb. This is a fascinating story showing the race between Germany, America and the Soviet Union to make the first atomic bomb or through espionage steal the secrets needed to catch up with each other. It is a story of brilliant men such as physicist Robert Oppenheimer who gave The United States the first atomic bomb and upon realization of what he had created stated: " Now I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." It tells of stories of brave soldiers sneaking into occupied German territories to destroy plants and operations that were vital to them developing an atomic bomb. It is a story of men and women put into extraordinary circumstances and moral dilemmas in a race to invent something that should never have seen the light of day. This is really a great piece of non-fiction that I would recommend to all 12 years and older.

Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole - This book is a follow up to "Shadow Ops: Control Point" which you can read my review Here. In this instalment Colonel Alan Bookbinder, who works at the Pentagon and never actually seen active combat discovers he is "Latent" meaning he has manifested the ability to do magic, but not what kind as yet. He turns himself into the appropriate military authorities as "Selfers" those who do not turn themselves in are hunted down and either imprisoned or killed. Bookbinder soon finds himself transported to "The Source" another plane of existence where magic is everywhere along with magical creatures both friendly and definitely unfriendly. Things soon fall apart due to events in the previous book and the U.S. Installation in the Source finds itself cut off from the home plane, our plane of existence, and under siege from enemies that far outnumber them. Oscar Britton is back as he pursues and tries to take down a very dangerous witch know as Scylla. Bookbinder soon finds out what his magical power is and boy is it a big one. The Frontier Fortress under constant siege and running out of everything puts Bookbinder on an adventure to find Britton, a Portamancer (the ability to open and close gates to different locations and dimension) so that he can save the men and women serving at the Frontier Fortress. He forms a squad an some very interesting allies and enemies along the way. Just as good if not better than the first book! As before with the first book I must caution that this really is an adult book (language and violence being the strongest issues). This book is recommended for older teens. Great stuff!!!!!

That's all for now. Remember, war at time may be necessary, but it should never be the first choice of action.


Monday, March 18, 2013

The Undiscovered Country and Beyound...

Hi ho all in "The Land of Blog,"
Tis good to talk with you again.

At the moment I am a Youth Services Librarian without a home (not working at a Library). However I am still reading great books for tweens and teens. Therefore my name has been changed to Ronin Librarian Bill. Now you may be asking, what exactly is a Ronin. Well this is a pretty good/brief definition I found:

Ronin - in Japanese history, masterless

Okay let's talk some recent reads:

The Last Apprentice: The Spook Bestiary, The Guide To Creatures Of The Dark by Joseph Delaney and Julek Heller - Well if you are a fan of The Last Apprentice Series, this book is a must for you or any other up and coming Spook. This book covers not only all the creatures that the Spook John Gregory has dealt with in his lifetime but also notes from the likes of Spook Apprentice Tom Ward, Past Apprentices, the much missed Spook Bill Arkwright and many more. Covered not only in text but with wonderful illustrations the book cover Boggarts (and believe me there are many different types). The most frighting of all Boggarts to me are Rippers which feed on animal and human blood (very dangerous) eventually killing their victims. Also of interest covered are The Old Gods (such as Aphrodite, Artemis, The Bane - a very nasty creature that can cause it's victims to be crushed, breaking bones and crushing internal organs, by exerting a tremendous amount of pressure, The Fiend (known by other names such as the Devil, Satan, Lucifer and The Father of Lies), Golgoth (Lord of Winter), Pan (The Horned God) and many more. Of course witches are covered (man there are so many types), Elementals and things Spooks and others have only heared tales of. This is a great companion piece to go with the series and even has some encounters by various Spooks featured guaranteed to curl the hair on your very head. Recommended for readers 11 years old and up!!!!!! Great Stuff!!!!!

The Last Apprentice: Grimalkin The Witch Assassin (Book 9) by Joseph Delaney - I have to tell you one of my favorite characters in this series the Witch Assassin Grimalkin of the Malkin witch clan. Once a sworn enemy of The Spook and Tom, she becomes a part of of an alliance between them and Alice. Spoiler Alert - The alliance is primarily the assurance that The Fiend is once and for all taken care of (that is put out of the picture if you know what I mean). Grimalkin has in her possession the head of The Fiend and is on the run from dark forces while Tom, The Spook and Alice search for a way to end The Fiends threat forever. If the head and body are reconnected The Fiend will live again so Grimalkin along with her apprentice Thorne are running from forces that even give Grimalkin a challenge. The main being an evil obscenity known as a Kretch that actually hurts Grimalkin very badly. How long can Grimalkin and Thorne keep ahead of the deadly hunt by the Kretch and other dark beings? Read and find out if this very cool knife throwing witch assassin is up to the task. A page turner for sure. Recommended for those 13 and up mainly because of the violence factor.

A very cool action pose of Grimalkin!!!!

I know it has been awhile since I wrote a review, but hopefully things will get better in the future and thanks to everyone who has been hanging with the blog.



Monday, December 3, 2012

I'm back... with Jonah Hex and Ender Wiggins!!!

Hi all you cool cats in "The Land o Blog." I've been travelling the waste lands all by my lonesome for a little while now, but have found the communication portal once again. Big shout out to Iron Carl for carrying the load all by his lonesome will I was missing in action!!!! Luv ya dude!!!! Anyway since I'm back I'd like to make this post a little special. Hold tight all:

For a Few Dollars More staring Clint Eastwood and Lee Van Cleef!!!!
After reading my first review you will understand why I included this awesome clip!!!!

Jonah Hex, Bury Me In Hell by Justin Gray, Jimmy Palmiotti and others - For those of you unfamiliar with Jonah Hex let me fill you in. Jonah Hex is the ultimate western anti-hero out there in the world of comics. This Graphic Novel covers the comics numbered 61-70. If you love the Spaghetti Westerns (The Good, the Bad and The Ugly, For a Few Dollars More and A Fistful of Dollars) made with Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef and Eli Wallach (The very best with all 3 involved), you will love this Graphic Novel. This GN includes Jonah taking on a Killer Octopus (I know this one has you scratching your head), being stranded in a town where breakfast, lunch and dinner are more than a tad odd and plenty of other stories involving bandits, gunslingers, saloons, whiskey and general wild west adventure. I must caution that this book is not for younger readers as the violence, language and general mature level is definitely for older western fans. My recommendation would be at least 14 years old and up. If you like this one there are many other excellent Jonah Hex GNs out there. Great stuff!!!!!

Speaker For The Dead by Orson Scott Card - Orson Scott Card is by far and away one of the finest writers of Science Fiction that I know. Now to me what makes for great Scfi is not just futuristic machines and gadgets, spaceships, etc., but also great written characters and a solid plot that peaks your interest. "Speaker For The Dead" has all of these items and I flew through it. Now if you are not familiar with "Ender's Game," the first book in which we meet Ender Wiggins and the war against the Buggers is held, stop right now and read that book first. I would also suggest following "Ender's Game" with "Ender's Shadow" about another interesting character named Bean. Okay after reading those two books dive into this one. This book is about what happens to Ender after The Bugger War ("Ender's Game" and "Ender's Shadow" occur at the same time, just focusing on different characters). He becomes what is called a Speaker of the Dead and tells the story of people's life that are no longer with us.

The story starts on a world know as Lusitania that is colonized by humans. The problem is there is an alien race already living their known as the Porquinhos or Piggies (although in no way or form do they resemble pigs) which means because of incidents that occurred in "Ender's Game," humans are forced by The Starway Congress to have limited contact with this newly discovered species. The limited contact that is allowed for study leads to quite a mystery. A mystery that involves death and causes great pain and suffering until it builds to multiple calls for the most famous Speaker of the Dead....Andrew Wiggins. also not known by many to be Ender (despised by many for reasons you will have to read about)!!!!!!! A great read that I thoroughly enjoyed. Recommended for those13 and up.

Well I missed you guys and I will be back soon. Let me know if you are reading something you really like by commenting on this post?

Peace all,