Tabitha by Neil Gibson, Caspar Wijngaard

I really wanted to like this comic. It’s from an indie publisher, and I was hoping to give them a good review, maybe get them a few more sales and fans. It won’t be from this title.

Title: Tabatha
Author: Neil Gibson, Caspar Wijngaard
Publish Date: November 3, 2015, by TPub Comics
Genre: Thriller
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Luke works as a mailman in Los Angeles and moonlights as a thief – the empty houses on his postal route are rich, easy pickings for him and his friends. Everything goes to plan until one house turns out to not quite be so empty. The situation spirals out of control, leaving the happy go lucky thieves battling for their lives. And all because of Tabatha.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

I like the concept. It starts out as if it’s about some thieves and how they case places to rob later. Further, one of the characters is awkward around women, and I wondered if it was going to get dark because he would get some power over women. But it was not to be.

 

***Spoilers***

 

***Major Spoilers***

 

Ready for them?

 

Tabatha ends up being a doll that the bad guy thinks is real. He has conversations with her, and he is the one kidnapping and killing the other women to give Tabatha a real body through some ritual.

The idea is very good, but the execution is lacking. I think some of the ideas are an attempt to provide a reason to read it again, but it didn’t work for me. They would show the bad guy talking to his victim from the victim’s perspective. Then later, we get it from the bad guy’s perspective, and we “hear” Tabatha’s side of the conversation. I think it was too easy to fill in the blanks, and the later dialog doesn’t add anything new, which is why I didn’t feel the need to go back.

The group of kidnappers is even a bit stereotyped, with the girlfriend of one of them being taken to be the latest body for Tabatha. At least the girlfriend is not a damsel in distress, which is nice, and the group works together to save themselves.

I give this a three, right in the middle. Some good ideas and good artwork, but marred by cliches. If I hadn’t read so much, this might have been better. As it is, it doesn’t rise above the other things I have read through the years.

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Spirited Christmas by Gary Jonas

Are you ready for a little Christmas Spirit? Or maybe a little spirit in your Christmas?  Jonathan Shade investigates a haunting and finds more than he’d been paid for…

Title:  Spirited Christmas
Author:  Gary Jonas
Series:  Jonathan Shade (Christmas novelette)
Published: December 1, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy Supernatural Detective
Source: public giveaway

Publisher’s Description:  A ghost is haunting a little girl’s family every Christmas, so she hires me to get rid of it. The hauntings have escalated from mere sightings to full-fledged possession. I figure it’s an open-and-shut exorcism, but the truth is more than I bargained for…

A short novelette that takes place before Modern Sorcery.

Nervous Nellie’s nervousness necessitates knowledge of the novel. In other words …SPOILERS. *BEWARE*


Nervous Nellie says…

This is a short little story – about an hour’s read.  A little 10 year old hires Jonathan to get rid of a ghost that keeps grabbing and scaring her but only at Christmas.  First clue to the mystery: anyone that reads supernatural detective novels will immediately think of a ghost bound to an object in the Christmas box.  Yep, that’s what it is, but Gary Jonas is not an author that gives us a super simple little exorcism.  Nope.  Jonathan Shade has to put his detective skills to work to figure out this little girl’s hinky family situation.

It was a story that kept me involved for the whole hour I waited in a hospital waiting room.  As a matter of fact, I had already decided that I’d have to finish the story before I could leave said waiting room.  Gladly, I finished the story a few minutes before I was sent on my way.

There is no sex, no gore and no swearing.  This story can be read as a standalone, but it would be helpful to understand all the players by reading Modern Sorcery first.  This little episode adds a whole lot of spirit to Christmas.

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try [list series or books, put goodreads links to anything you reference]

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Nell’s Gossip and Book Hunt 12/9/18

 

Welcome to my Sunday book hunt and author gossip.  Keep coming back for updates on book releases and news from favorite authors.

Back with new releases again… they keep writin’ them, we keep readin’ them.

You know how much I love Jenn Stark’s books.  If you don’t know, then I’m telling you that I loooooove Jenn Stark’s books.

I have every one of them and I love how she can weave together a story.  She released a new book in October.  I haven’t read it yet, but it’s on my list.  Check it out.

The Red KingTitle:  The Red King
Author: Jenn Stark
Series:  Wilde Justice #1
Release date: October 10, 2018
Description:  New world order, new job, new mission.

As the first Justice of the Arcana Council in two hundred years, Tarot-reading Sara Wilde is tasked with taking out the most dangerous magic-wielding criminals on the planet. Her first assignment? A killer known only as the Red King, who’s systematically picking off the world’s most gifted magicians in the rollicking streets and storied canals of Venice, Italy, on the eve of Carnevale.

Amidst the festival’s music, masks, and brightly colored costumes, Sara must unravel the truth about a brutal murderer from Venice’s own murky past, navigate the twisting political currents of magicians who seek to rival her own Council, and keep one costume change ahead of a conjurer whose lethal spells could end Justice–permanently. Good thing the diabolically sexy and deeply powerful Magician of the Arcana Council has Sara’s back…if only he didn’t hold so much of her heart as well.

The canals of Venice will run with blood when you deal in The Red King.

 

Title:  The Lost QueenThe Lost queen
Author: Jenn Stark
Series:  Wilde Justice #2
Release date: December 27, 2018
Description:  Not all who wander are lost. 

As Justice of the Arcana Council and an experienced artifact hunter, Tarot-reading Sara Wilde prefers to track down the missing on her own. With her latest case, unfortunately, everyone’s dying to help her out.

Determined to locate the Lost Queen, a witch destined to fulfill a dark and twisted prophecy, Sara finds herself corpse-blocked at every turn. Not even the electric, provocative, and deeply powerful Magician of the Arcana Council–whose newest arcane pursuits test Sara’s emotional and sensual boundaries–can help her find her mark.

Worse, Sara isn’t the only hunter on the case. From the shadowy labyrinths of Budapest to the ancient churches of Moscow to the glittering lights of Los Angeles, the world’s most powerful male witches are gunning for the Lost Queen, demanding her as their rightful consort. Right before they end up dead, each more gruesomely than the last. There’s definitely a pattern here…and one Sara needs to break, before her own mercurial Magician becomes the prophecy’s next target.

Better hope you don’t find what you’re looking for when you hunt The Lost Queen.

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Turncoat by Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus

I picked up a couple of titles from the TPub Comics booth at Wizard World Chicago. Here’s my review of the first.

Title: Turncoat
Author: Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus
Publish Date: December 6th, 2016 by TPub Comics
Genre: Graphic novel, superheroes, comedy
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Turncoat follows the story of Duke, the world’s worst superhero assassin, and his constant battle with his ex-wife and rival assassin, Sharon. Duke is always one step behind Sharon, constantly missing out on the “big hit” that will set him for life (it certainly doesn’t help matters that he only ever seems to go up against D-list superheroes like “Bug-Boy” and “Freedom Fighter”). So when Duke receives a contract for the most famous superhero team in the world, he realizes his time has come, not just to finally make the big hit, but to finally move on from his ex-wife.

If only it were that simple.

Turncoat is a collection of the entire six-issue run of the popular webcomic of the same name (www.turncoatcomic.com). Created by Ryan O’Sullivan and Plaid Klaus in 2014, despite the two of them never having met. Ryan is from London, England, and Klaus is from New York.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Percy Procrastinator says…

This is a title that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s dark and anti-heroic, if not downright villainous. Before they get to the “big hit,” they do several smaller ones that truly show how bad Duke is. And it’s hilarious. In all the wrong ways and for the wrong reasons. He betrays. He’s petty. And I kept laughing.

He wants to be taken seriously but he is never the one who makes the big kill. When the “big hit” comes, he thinks he’s ready. He’s not.

I don’t want to spoil things here because I think this one is a solid four and worth a read. They eventually reveal Duke’s motivations and backstory, and it works well. And there are a few twists as it gets to the ending, which I did like.

There were several minor things here and there that didn’t work for me or I would have given this a five. Still, a good story and fun read.

Kill Them All by Kristen Brand

Valentine Belmonte is back with a die-hard vengeance when her family is attacked on their vacation, leaving her former-superhero husband, Dave, in a coma. But without the morals of the White Knight to back her, will she fall back into her old and villainous habits?

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Title: Kill Them All
Author: Kristen Brand
Series: White Knight, Black Valentine, Book 4
Publish Date: September 15th, 2018
Genre: Superheroes
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionValentina Belmonte walked away from her supervillain career years ago. Having peaked at the top of the national Most-Wanted List, she now lives a quiet life with her husband and daughter, enjoying the Florida sun. Sure, she has to curb her violent and illegal instincts to stay under the radar, but her family is worth it.

Until they’re attacked. With her husband—a retired superhero and the closest thing she has to a conscience—hospitalized and on the brink of death, she’s done playing nice. She doesn’t know who attacked them or why, but she’ll wreak bloody destruction until she finds out. Nobody does revenge like a supervillain, but as her single-minded pursuit grows more violent, it threatens the only family she has left…

Possible spoilers beyond this point.


Kat Mandu says…

The White Knight and Black Valentine books continue to be one of my favorite superhero series. There’s action, intrigue, lots of sexy innuendos, and plenty of superpowers to play around with. And in this particular book, it’s all about Valentina, a powerful telepath from a family with a penchant for psychic abilities. She’s sassy, sneaky, and damned near unstoppable – especially if she gets her mind-controlling hooks into you.

In Kill Them All, Valentina deals with the ultimate betrayal and the “loss” (Dave’s not dead, but he’s not exactly functioning and able to help) of her husband. With danger lurking around every corner and her past coming back to haunt her, Valentina is slowly being pushed back into her old life – back to committing crimes, back to dirty deeds, and back to killing people. The whole idea is that she’s gotta figure out what lines can be crossed on the path to getting her husband back… and which ones she can never come back from.

This has a lot of intensity as Valentina is faced with multiple foes and backstabs from her so-called friends. But she’s smart and sassy and she begins to figure out the game she’s apart of….which may end up being the death of her, but I won’t spoil too much.

There are plenty of other heroes and baddies that join the fray – like Freezefire, who is Dave’s best friend and former trainee, plus a goody-two-shoes who plays an important role in reminding Valentina who she is. Lady Nightmare, Valentina’s sister who can mentally trap people in their worst nightmares. Oh, and you get to meet Ember, who is technically a bad guy with obsidian armor and some pyrotechnic skills. A few others are mentioned but don’t play as big of a role (until the end, that is, for one of them).

Overall, I really enjoyed this! Can’t wait to read the finale!

Our reviews in this series…

Other recommendations…

…you might try some other superhero favorites like Lexi Dunne’s Superheroes Anonymous, Jennifer Estep’s Bigtime series, and the Heroine Complex series by Sarah Kuhn.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

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