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Comics Picks For 19.02.2014

Another very slow week, mostly due to traveling again. And now I’m in India for a cousin’s wedding, so I have big doubts that I will be able to read all that much in the next two weeks at least. Its certainly going to be quite a challenge.

Still, there were some really good entries this week, and I’d recommend almost all of them, barring like two of the issues. Definitely check out Kings Watch #1 if not anything else. More Phantom goodness? Hell yes, please!

Anyway, here’s another edition of this new feature. Full reading list, as always, is available here and all my comics reviews are available here.

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Killer Women Season 1 Ep 1 (TV Show Review)

The Fall 2013 season has been quite good for television programming, what with Arrow returning for an awesome second season and the launch of new shows like Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow which have been really good so far from all that I’ve seen. Agents of SHIELD has been the only down-kicker, of all the new stuff I’ve seen in the last few months. Joining the line-up of good shows returning for the second half of their new (or debut, as appropriate) seasons is ABC’s Killer Women, a show seemingly styled along the likes of Chuck Norris’ classic Texas Ranger, except with a female protagonist, which is pretty damn great.

Tricia Helfer, of Battlestar Galactica, Burn Notice, Tron: Uprising and Two And A Half Men fame among others, plays the lead character Molly Parker. Molly is a Texas Ranger, newly minted and she’s a tough no-nonsense individual who goes on instincts more than she does protocol. The series premiere was broadcast earlier this week and I’d say that its off to a good start. Sure, there are some cliches here, but I wouldn’t condemn the show just on the pilot. I’ll give it my Agents of SHIELD treatment, give it until a mid-season mark or something before deciding whether to stick with or drop it. But right now, I’m definitely sticking with it.

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Best of 2013 Part 2b: Graphic Novels

A few days ago I did my best of 2013 list for the books I had read in the second half of the year. In a departure from previous such lists I divided the books and the comics into separate posts so that I didn’t have one massive post up. Massive posts are a bit tough to handle, especially when you are promoting them on social media. And with the split posts, the directions are different and there’s no unnecessary crossover.

So, with the books already having been covered, I now delve into my favourite graphic novels of the year. A post with the best single issues will follow on later.

You can check out my top-of-the-month lists on my Reading Awards page and this list is both an extension, and a continuation of what goes on there.

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

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25 Series I Want To Read in 2014

Last year, I blogged over at The Founding Fields about 25 book series from various genres, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, space opera, etc that I wanted to read in 2013. The intention behind that particular reading challenge was to read a broad variety of some of the most popular names in those genres as well as to try out several new authors and revisit some favourite classics. While I wasn’t as successful in the challenge as I might like, I’ve made it a new year resolution to make sure that I do indeed repeat the challenge in 2014 with new books, new authors, and finish it this time.

To that effect, here are the 25 book series I’ve picked for this reading challenge for this year. You can see the previous list for 2013 here.

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Most Anticipated Books of 2014

For two years now, my goal has been to read as many different kinds of novels as I can. I’ve tried out several different genres/subgenres that I normally would not, and the experience has helped me in becoming a better reader and a reviewer. Being a prolific reader and reviewer is all about diversity, in all its different forms. And that’s what I’ve come to value most.

Still, its not that easy, dealing with the diversity, or just the sheer volume of all the reading. When I put together the 2013 list of my most anticipated books (link), I intended to read all of them. But sadly that never happened and somewhere along the way I just lost track. The 2013 list had 51 books on it. The 2014 list has 41 books on it. A much more manageable number I dare say.

We’ll see how the year pans out and whether or not I will indeed be able to get through all them. I remain hopeful as ever. And there will be some more lists going up in the next couple weeks, so stay tuned for those.

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Amazing X-Men #2 (Comics Review)

With all the dozens of X-books already on its monthly release schedule, Marvel added another one to the mix last month, and brought back fan-favourite Kurt Wagnar aka Nightcrawler, who’s been dead for a few years. The guy is still dead, but he’s clearly being setup for a resurrection of sorts since he happens to be in Heaven of all places. The first issue was pretty good in almost all respects. It had a really fun story, some really good art and it had Nightcrawler being all kinds of awesome. When you start off a new series with something like that, that sets expectations for the immediately future issues.

That’s one place where the second issue failed for me since Nightcrawler is here in only one panel, but narrates the entire story regardless. The action this time around is completely focused on the Amazing X-Men team sans Nightcrawler and while I kind of enjoyed it, I still felt let down in a lot of ways since there was a lot of a genericness to the issue, whether we are talking location or dialogue or what have you. Its not the issue I expected or needed or wanted.

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The Cover Art Mega-Post Part 3

So this is the third such post I have done for the blog. I took a 2-month break in between posts so that I could have some more material to showcase here, and it certainly has helped. There were a lot more books I wanted to cover, but I chose to stick withe magic number 17, the number of books I’ve covered previously.

A lot of the books on this list are next year’s releases, and just as before, they all sound great, even some of the ones that are second or third (or else) in their respective series. I’m not sure if I can put aside the time to catch up to them any time soon but I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to get around to some of them at least. We’ll see how that works out.

In the meantime, enjoy all these great covers and these books! Hope you liked the previous posts and that you’ll like this one as well.

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The Cover Art Mega-Post Part 2

Two weeks ago I did the first of these kind of posts, which can be found here. There were some really fun-looking books on that list that I would love to read (all of them) this year, but given how these kind of things work out for me, especially of late, that is probably not going to happen any time soon. My only consolation is that these covers are so bloody damn good!

Hope you liked the previous post and that you’ll like this one as well.

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NANP: The Depths of Names

The final guest for Names: A New Perspective is David Annandale, author of the Jen Blaylock thrillers and the horror novel Gethsemane Hall. I’ve only read some of his tie-in short fiction for Black Library, and what I’ve read has really impressed me. He has a full novel coming out next year, The Death of Antagonis, which I’m really looking forward to. It also helps that David teaches film, video games, literature and creative writing at the university level. How cool is that? Which is why I was so keen to get David on this guest series, even though he isn’t a debut author from 2010-12 as the other writers so far have been, and here’s what he had to say:

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NANP: A Rose By Any Other Name

As we move into the final stretch of the first wave of guest posts for Names: A New Perspective, today’s guest is Elspeth Cooper, author of the two Wild Hunt books Songs of The Earth and Trinity Rising, all of them published by Gollancz. I’d been meaning to read the first book (my review) for quite a while, as part of my sort of unofficial 2012 Morningstar reading challenge, and I got the chance to read the book in August. It was a fantastic read, with some decidedly new takes on some of the old tropes of epic fantasy, very much in line with a lot of the “modern” epic fantasy I’ve been reading of late. Elspeth is definitely in my top tier of modern authors and I have a firm hope that Trinity Rising will be just as great a novel as Songs of The Earth. Here’s what Elspeth had to say about how she uses names in her novels.

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NANP: What’s In A Name?

Dropping by on the blog today is Stina Leicht, author of the Fey And The Fallen series, and is a 2012 Campbell Award nominee. She is one of the new-generation of Night Shade Books authors, alongside Teresa Frohock, Courtney Schafer and Jeff Salyards among others, who’ve all been featured on the blog previously. I read her first novel, Of Blood And Honey, in August of this year and was suitably impressed with it to get the sequel, And Blue Skies From Pain. Stina is a fantastic author and I’m looking forward to some great things from her in the future. Here’s what she had to say on the topic of names and their significance in her writing.

NANP: Names, Names And Names

Joining Names: A New Perspective today is Gwenda Bond, who had her first novel Blackwood published this year through Angry Robot Books’ YA imprint, Strange Chemistry. Along with Kim Curran’s Shift, Gwenda’s novel was one of Strange Chemistry’s first wave launch titles and has had a very good response so far, which I hope continues well into 2013. The book is on my to-buy-and-read list and I’m rather looking forward to it, particularly since the cover art is just so fantastic! This is what Gwenda had to say on the topic of names in her novel(s).

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