Animation Imagination: Graphic Novel Love

When I was in my first year university I befriended a TA.  He was a cool guy, kind of cute, and 9 years my senior.  I was a naive 19-year-old girl with a massive crush on a boyishly handsome and brilliant young man.  Let’s just say it didn’t go anywhere as he had a girlfriend and I was probably just a kid in his eyes.  I did however get to spend a lot of time with him talking books, I learned about Hunter S. Thompson through him,  and believe it or not comics.

I had never really been a comic book fan but…as any young girl with a crush will tell you that when the boy you are swooning after likes something you want to like that something so you can have something to converse with him about.  Being naive about this art form I started reading all the superhero ones, peeps I know as much about the X-Men as an 8-year-old with an obsession with wolverine.  When I first started talking to him about these comic books, he would politely smile and indulge my poor young ego.  Then as time went on he started to tell me about these things called graphic novels.  So today I want to  share some of my favorite graphic novels with you.

maus complete

Combined for the first time here are Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale and Maus II – the complete story of Vladek Spiegelman and his wife, living and surviving in Hitler’s Europe. By addressing the horror of the Holocaust through cartoons, the author captures the everyday reality of fear and is able to explore the guilt, relief and extraordinary sensation of survival – and how the children of survivors are in their own way affected by the trials of their parents. A contemporary classic of immeasurable significance.

lost-girls-new

For more than a century, Alice, Wendy and Dorothy have been our guides through the Wonderland, Neverland and Land of Oz of our childhoods. Now like us, these three lost girls have grown up and are ready to guide us again, this time through the realms of our sexual awakening and fulfillment. Through their familiar fairy tales they share with us their most intimate revelations of desire in its many forms, revelations that shine out radiantly through the dark clouds of war gathering around a luxury Austrian hotel. Drawing on the rich heritage of erotica, Lost Girls is the rediscovery of the power of ecstatic writing and art in a sublime union that only the medium of comics can achieve. Exquisite, thoughtful, and human, Lost Girls is a work of breathtaking scope that challenges the very notion of art fettered by convention. This is erotic fiction at its finest. Similar to DC’s Absolute editions of Watchmen and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Lost Girls will be published as three, 112-page, super-deluxe, oversized hardcover volumes, all sealed in a gorgeous slipcase. It will truly be an edition for the ages.

johnny

The series focuses on the 20-something year old anti-hero Johnny C, also known as “NNY” (pronounced ‘knee’). He is a deranged serial killer, mass murderer, and spree killer who interacts with various other characters, generally by murdering them. He elaborately kills anyone who even slightly irritates him, then drains their blood and paints one of the walls in his house with it. Johnny is also willing to murder “innocent” people who, in his twisted mind, deserve their fate for some reason or another. The number of Johnny’s victims is in the dozens, if not hundreds — or perhaps even thousands. Authorities are unable to capture Johnny and seem unaware of his existence, even though his crimes are often witnessed in public and reported by the few who manage to survive

SANDMAN

A wizard attempting to capture Death to bargain for eternal life traps her younger brother Dream instead. Fearful for his safety, the wizard kept him imprisoned in a glass bottle for decades. After his escape, Dream, also known as Morpheus, goes on a quest for his lost objects of power. On the way, Morpheus encounters Lucifer and demons from Hell, the Justice League, and John Constantine, the Hellblazer. This book also includes the story “The Sound of Her Wings” which introduces us to the pragmatic and perky goth girl, Death.

JUST SO YOU ALL KNOW NEIL GAIMAN IS DOPE TIMES 100.  THAT IS ALL.

So there you have it a few of my favorite “adult” comic books if you will.  No is all honesty graphic novels are amazing, they are prize winners and many a movie comes from them.  If you have never picked up a graphic novel do so, today, some of the most innovative and challenging ideas come from this art form.  These are just a few I love but there are so many more out there that I adore.

Do you read Graphic Novels? Do you have any you want to share? Let me know what your animation imagination love is.

xoxo

Neda

Close Encounters with Favorite Paranormal Books

Hi Everyone, so this week I am going to do something a little different here on Bookish.  Anyone that knows me knows that I am not the biggest fan of Paranormal novels.  It doesn’t mean I don’t like them, because I do, I am just particular about what I will read in the paranormal genre.   So to prove a point that there are some Paranormal and fantasy books I love I am going to list them here for you.  There are also many more other than these, recently I have read a few I adore, but I can’t name them all in one shot, who knows maybe there will be a part two.

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Neda Reviews: Seduced in The Dark by CJ Roberts

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SYNOPSIS

What is the price of redemption?

Rescued from sexual slavery by a mysterious Pakistani officer, Caleb carries the weight of a debt that must be paid in blood.

The road has been long and fraught with uncertainty, but for Caleb and Livvie, it’s all coming to an end.

Can he surrender the woman he loves for the sake of vengeance?

Or will he make the ultimate sacrifice?

MY REVIEW

“Some stories aren’t black and white.”

A few weeks ago I wrote a review for Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts, which you can find here. In my review for Captive I had spoken about a lesson that Ms. Roberts taught me while reading this beautiful and moving novel , that lesson that the world works by moving in shades of grey.  One person’s moral outrage is another’s self-righteous indignation and so on.  The above quote solidifies this series perfectly.  No one in humanity is pure of all sin.  We all sin in one way or another, everything can be villainized or justified in its own way.  Look at wars for example, we are always told one view-point, that of the winner, the loser’s side is buried and completely forgotten.  Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to justify anything at all.  All I am saying is that sometimes what we see is not necessarily what is.  In the conclusion of the Dark Duets series Ms. Roberts continues to unravel this tale of Caleb and Livvie`s journey into utter darkness and helps bring them into the light.

“The naïve girl in me had been bitch-slapped into womanhood.  I’d been razed by pain, grief, loss and suffering, and honed by lust, rage and an acute awareness of my need to survive.”

Livvie is hands down the best female heroine in a romance actually , not just in a romance book but ever.  Here is a young woman who is submerged in complete and utter darkness and yet keeps all of her vibrancy, her spunk if you will.  It is so easy for a human being to decay and wither when placed in such dark surroundings, but a truly remarkable person is one that never gives up, a person who fights to the bitter end and always blazes in the path of hope and redemption, Livvie is said person.  Livvie never gives up she takes what is available to her and survives.  I know normally in romance novels we are drawn to the male lead.  This could be because these books are a form of escape, we see these charming, beautiful men riding on their horse gallantly to save the day.  What I loved most about this book is that the rescuer is not Caleb but Livvie.  Livvie is the one who wears the armor and rides the white steed and comes barreling to save Caleb.  She is the light at the end of the tunnel if you will.

Seduced in the Dark begins with Livie being interrogated by and FBI agent at a holding facility.  Right from the first page I knew that the sequel to a book I loved so much was not going to disappoint, I also felt relieved that Livvie didn’t get sold into sexual slavery.  Through Livvie’s interview with Agent Reed we slowly begin to get an understanding of what happened with Caleb after those days where Captive in the Dark ended, and let me just say that I adored book one but I cherish book two in the Dark Duets Series.  We begin to understand Caleb, his past, and the choices that lead to his future.

“She kisses my scars and I create new ones for her.”

Charlie-Hunnam

I want to talk about Caleb.  Out of every romance novel I have ever read I had the strongest reaction to this man.  This beautiful, tortured, cruel, soft, scared, violent, and compassionate man.  I know what you all must be thinking, that the adjectives I used are a jumble of contradictions, well in truth that is what Caleb is, a giant oxymoron.  When I first started reading this book I thought that Livvie was a victim and Caleb a monster, then as the story progressed I realized that Caleb was just as much as a victim as Livvie.

“In the dark, my master let down his guard and he was Caleb again.  He didn’t correct me.  He didn’t punish me.  He didn’t push me away emotionally.  Caleb was there to hold me until the nightmares passed.  He was there to tell me I was beautiful.  He was there to tell me I was going to be okay.  In the dark, he seduced me.  I didn’t want the seduction to end.”

Caleb is a creature of shadow, he is not one of light or darkness.  Caleb is so tortured that one cannot help but to feel such pain for him.  I went from wanting to have his head, to feeling such sorrow that his pain became mine.  I was so drawn to the sorrows of this man that it broke me.  It was as if all his suffering became mine and I was drowning in his pain.  I have no idea how Ms. Roberts did this, but it is a testament of her superior talent as an author.  She made me feel so many emotions, this book ruined me and tormented me but only in the best possible way.  I believe Caleb is beautiful and perfect in his imperfections.

“You think you’re different from men like Caleb. You see everything in black and white, you don’t care about the whole story; you don’t care about the gray. Some stories aren’t black and white, Agent Reed.” 

This line is another one of my favorites.  I think it is so easy for us to not look at every facet of life.  How can we judge when we don`t know what we are judging.  The superficial is not the factual.  After reading The Dark Duets Series I just felt in shock.  Not shock because of the intense subject matter but in shock because Ms. Roberts held a mirror to my face.  She held that mirror high and made me take a look at my personal hypocrisy at how I see the world around me and how as humans we are all so scared to change our mind.  I had a lot of misconceptions about this series, I was one of those people who thought it was something sordid, I am ashamed to admit I judged a book by it`s  cover.  Do not make the same mistake as I did.  There are not many books out there that make you take a step back and evaluate life, love, society, and culture, this book did all of that.  After reading this book I felt like I had been slapped, hugged, and loved.  Above everything else this is a book about love, redemption and salvation.  It is about how humanity has this immense capacity for love even when it suffers untold torture.  This book is a labour of love and as a reader I felt this love in every word.  It was a privilege to read such a brilliant honest and in your face novel.

There are a few  songs that I listened to constantly while reading these novels and I wanted to share them with you here.

Why by Annie Lennox

Teardrop by Massive Attack

Ugly Side by Blue October

Damaged by Plumb

I give Seduced in The Dark 5 stars of perfection.

Neda and Tamie Interview Kellan and Griff from The D-Bags (via S.C. Stephens)

Hello all  hell raisers and party animals.  You all know who is up on the docket right? Hells yeah you do, you know when we go after our men we get them here at Rock Temptations Magazine.  We won’t lie to you, cause well that is how we roll, but man tracking these two steamy lickable men was so damn hard, but because we love you all, and let’s face it we love, really love these two scrumptious rockers we finally managed to pin them down for an interview. 

dbags logo

Tamie…Psst hey it’s ok, I know you love Kellan, but dude he is just a guy.  No Neda…he isn’t just a guy…he’s Kellan fucking Kyle for gods sake. I think about him and all I wanna do is…well never mind that. I know he is super sexy…yeah Tamie I know you love him, you like tell me everyday.  Dood! I do not tell you every day…ok, ok maybe I do, but geez Neda…he’s Kellan fucking Kyle. Tamie, I don’t think I have heard you drop the eff bomb that many times before.  Come here, let me check if you have a fever.  Ok, no fever but you do feel a little warm, Tamie, if you don’t calm down how are you supposed to ask questions. You’re right Neda…I need to calm the fuck down. Holy crap! What if I face plant when he walks in?!?  You won’t face plant..I don’t know what is worse… that you have a crush on a guy with a very serious girlfriend, or that I have a thing for a complete whore OMG…I don’t think it’s normal that I am so attracted to Griff…he is a pig, a male slut, but man a sexy Pig.

Um…Neda…would it be like totally uncool for me to ask Kellan to sign my panties?!?  Ummm…Dude I so do not want to see your knickers…or wait do you have one in your purse… some girl’s carry one in their purse. Wait! What?!? They do?!? Ok, ok…I’ll ask him to sign something else then…maybe my bra?!? 

Tamie,  for pete’s sake stop hiding behind me, it’s not cool we need to be cool.  WE ARE COOL.  OMG! I feel warm, Tamie OMG! Here they come. OMFG! Neda…I am so gonna pass out…

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Neda Review’s Rock the Heart by Michelle Valentine

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SYNOPSIS

For the last four years, good girl Lane has regretted breaking up with Noel Falcon. She thought she was sensible when she told him his dreams of being a rock star would get him nowhere, but now that he’s a rock god and her career is stagnant, she realizes just how wrong she was. When Noel hires the marketing company where Lane is an intern, she’s forced to see him again. If she wants to land her dream job as executive within the company, she has to win him over and secure his account. Too bad Noel is still pissed at her for breaking his heart.

When Lane’s company flies her to a Black Falcon concert to gain Noel’s attention, emotions run high the moment she sees him and realizes she’s far from over him. But Noel’s countless trysts with groupies and his cocky attitude make Lane believe he isn’t the same guy she once loved—now he seems to only want her body. Then after Lane discloses she needs him to procure a job, Noel proves he’s a changed man by forcing her to go on the road with him in order to get it.

After Lane reluctantly takes Noel up on his offer, she becomes willing to do whatever it takes to keep him satisfied, even if it means succumbing to his seductive ways. Lane soon finds deception is a dangerous game and she’s not the only one playing.

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Neda Reviews: Captive in The Dark by CJ Roberts

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SYNOPSIS

Caleb is a man with a singular interest in revenge. Kidnapped as a young boy and sold into slavery by a power-hungry mobster, he has thought of nothing but vengeance. For twelve years he has immersed himself in the world of pleasure slaves searching for the one man he holds ultimately responsible. Finally, the architect of his suffering has emerged with a new identity, but not a new nature. If Caleb is to get close enough to strike, he must become the very thing he abhors and kidnap a beautiful girl to train her to be all that he once was.

Eighteen-year-old Olivia Ruiz has just woken up in a strange place. Blindfolded and bound, there is only a calm male voice to welcome her. His name is Caleb, though he demands to be called Master. Olivia is young, beautiful, naïve and willful to a fault. She has a dark sensuality that cannot be hidden or denied, though she tries to accomplish both. Although she is frightened by the strong, sadistic, and arrogant man who holds her prisoner, what keeps Olivia awake in the dark is her unwelcome attraction to him.

WARNING: This book contains very disturbing situations, dubious consent, strong language, and graphic violence.

MY REVIEW

“There is a moment, in all my studying of movies and scripts, that I’d realized something elemental about human beings and why I’d been attracted to that imaginary world. Each piece of work was attempting to describe the human condition, in all its good, bad and ugly glory. At first, it’d been an extension of my own life, strangely mirrored in this world of ‘fiction’. Each story wanted, no— needed—to reveal a human fragility, a human bondage which tied people to the things they did and to be the person they held in their heads. Those stories were something true and sometimes horrific but people were people and the parts didn’t just tell the whole story.”

The above paragraph is it for me.  It perfectly describes this book.  This book that shocked me appalled me riveted me and ultimately made me one of its biggest fans and supporters.

I had heard about Captive in the dark a long time ago now maybe a year or so, but I didn’t read it to its completion until about a few months ago.  I started reading it the first time about 5 months ago.  I gave a good try I really did, but I just couldn’t do it.  I got until the ninth chapter and gave up.  The story was too raw, too gritty, and to be honest my first impression was just shock.  I couldnt’ get passed how people were saying that it was beautiful and that Caleb was wonderful.  All I taught is for Pete’s sake he is a rapist, he trades in human slavery, he is an abuser, what are these people seeing and are we reading the same damn book.  Then a really good book friend kept at me to read it, she kept saying yes, it’s dark but Ms. Roberts is an amazing writer and that I should try to read it.  So finally I gave up thanks to her and read the book.  I decided I was going to have an open mind, I mean I have read some  pretty disturbing things in books I could handle this couldn’t I? Well let me tell you this was one of the best decisions I have ever made and Captive in the Dark is one of the best books I read in 2012.

This is not a story for the weak of heart it is a novel about pain, heartache, violence, deceit, turmoil, and struggle.  But it is mostly about a theme that anyone that reads my reviews knows I love it is a book about redemption.

Situations in life are not black and white, things are not fairy tales, people are more imperfect than perfect.  It is so easy for us to judge others as being immoral or their actions as repugnant, but who are we to judge others, who are we to know why they take the actions they do and feel what they feel.  Does that not make us just as bad?  This is something that Ms. Roberts taught me while reading Captive.  She taught me an age-old lesson that I find myself forgetting from time to time, this lesson, not everything is black and white, the majority of life is these varying shades of grey.  For that Ms.Roberts ‘ I thank you.

“This isn’t a romance.  You’re not a damsel in distress and I’m not the handsome prince come to save you.”

If you are about typical HEA romance books then do not read this.  Because Caleb is not a Prince Charming he isn’t the rich millionaire with charm who brings out the naive girl from her shell.  Do not get me wrong I love those books, but this is not that.  Caleb is not your typical man who has been hurt in the past and has closed off.  Caleb is a man who had such a horrific past that he is a monster, well at least at first that is what you see.  You see a man who kidnaps a young girl and uses and abuses her.  But here is the thing about Caleb as you continue reading you realize that he is probably one of the most three-dimensional male leads written in a romance.  Then again can this be called a romance, I honestly don’t know.  Does it have certain romance formulas? Yes it does, but it is so much more.  Captive in the Dark is a story about how our past shapes our present, and how our present can be a beacon for our future.  This is a book about hope, but in a more realistic sense of the word.  It is not about a book that gives you this ideal situation, boy meets girl boy falls in love with girl, they buy a house with a white picket fence and live happily ever after.  This is a book about hardship, about loss, struggle.  It captures how as humans we all suffer and on occasion that suffering can create demons that forge a great darkness in us.  It is a book about loyalty and how it can on occasion suffocate us.  But most of all it’s a book about hope.  Hope that the darkness can be overshadowed by light and that maybe just maybe the villain can become the hero.

Thank you CJ Roberts.  I know this could not have been an easy book to write.  I know that to put pen to paper to write this took a lot of courage.  I know that the courage is appreciated, buy me and many others.  Thank you for writing a story that is so multilayered that months after reading it I am still reeling at its beauty, complexity and above all else honesty.

I give Captive in the Dark by CJ Roberts 5 stars and to be honest if I could I would give it so many more.  Read this book please.  It is so memorable and moving that I feel that no matter what I write in this review I can never do it justice.

Neda Reviews: Need by Sherri Hayes

The synopsis:

As Brianna comes to terms with the realization that she is no longer a slave, she must figure out what she wants for her life. Forgetting her past isn’t an option. She knows she cannot imagine her life without the man who saved her, but can she be what he needs? Stephan never imagined falling in love with the woman he rescued. The scars from her past haunt her, and he is helpless to stop them. Can he be everything she needs and help her move on?

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