Jodi Scaife

Jodi Scaife (162)

Norman Williams takes his father’s charge of protecting King Island, Tasmania, seriously, because he loves his home and the way of life the islanders preserved through the horrors of WWII. Therefore, when the hearing impaired veteran sees Japanese whalers harvesting stranded whales in the cove off his property, he immediately reports it to local law enforcement. When his complaint is treated as a joke, Norman takes matters into his own hands and becomes a vigilante hero determined to protect his home, its resources, and its unique way of life regardless of the costs.

While I can’t say that Windblade #1 made me a hardcore Transformers fan, I jumped at the chance to review the second issue.  My exact words to my editor were, “You know I NEED Windblade #2.” Mairghread Scott’s writing and Sarah Stone’s beautiful character designs and art made me love their young heroine, and I wanted to see where her path would go after the attack at the end of Issue #1

After the events in the third installment of Gene Yang and Sonny Liew’s The Shadow Hero, Hank is more prepared to fight evil thanks to the mysterious, ephemeral friend he found in his father’s casket; however, not being able to die from gun shot won’t solve the problems the family's grocery store faces when the Tong of Sticks scares the ordinary citizens of Chinatown into boycotting them. The only customer they’ve seen in weeks is the police detective working on Hank’s father’s murder case, and Uncle Wun Too is attacked by small-time thugs while he watches the store one afternoon.  Clearly, The Green Turtle must rise again to challenge the Tong stranglehold on the region, but when Hank’s mother refuses to encourage him further, can the young man get it together in time? 

The first Watt O’Hugh novel, The Ghosts of Watt O’Hugh, was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best of 2011 and also won Best Fantasy Novel in The Indie Excellence Awards 2012.  Now, the acclaimed novel is being re-released, along with the second part of the tale of mysterious shootist and time roamer Watt O’Hugh, Watt Underground, which both clarifies some of the mysteries from Ghosts and continues revealing pieces of Watt’s story for curious readers.  With so much fanfare about the original novel, I was uncertain whether it would live up the hype, and, sadly, for me, while Ghosts is a well-crafted, unique piece, I was left mostly unmoved and slightly baffled. I personally found Watt Underground a more enjoyable read, and it almost felt like a decoder ring for some of my confusion from the first book.

Most adults have heard the famous General Sherman quote on war being hell, but we have no measuring stick to judge its veracity. Director Tom Petch attempts to give us one through his film, The Patrol, which examines the lives of British troops in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province, as they fulfill their role as part of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. It’s a war film for a modern world, where viewers have become weary of fighting other nations’ wars and trying to police the international community.

Paragon #2 continues the story of Ben, a young man who, in Issue #1, slipped into an alternate reality in response to his depression from his father’s death.  He struggles to cope with renting a room from the new reality’s version of his father and suffers strange side effects from his months of participating in drug trials.  At the same time, Ben begins to heal a little by talking about his father’s death with his new landlord.

Roadkill du Jour is a strange pun of a title for a series about a cursed biker who has lost his gang and been hexed to only eat what dies on the road for eternity. See, roadkill doesn’t just refer to animals killed on the road, and du jour doesn’t only mean the roadkill special of the day; our main character is named Dujour, and his former biker gang was named Roadkill. Alone and tormented by the loss of his wife Vanessa, Dujour rides the back roads of Louisiana eating dead critters and absorbing their abilities while he tries to rebuild his gang and find a way to take Mama Houdou, the magic user who hexed him, down for good; however, the magic queen has her eye on the wayward biker, and she plans to meet him halfway to keep Dujour from ever being able to leave the roads behind.

In Stephanie Saulter’s debut novel, Gemsigns, humanity’s increasing reliance on technology created a horrible disease known only as the Syndrome, which incapacitated youth and drained them of life before they reached the age of forty. Rather than revert to a pre-Industrial Revolution society, researchers created a cure that involved manipulating genes at the most basic level to prevent the Syndrome from ever taking hold of another child; however, gene manipulation therapy doesn’t stop with protecting people from this modern-day plague. Various companies begin manufacturing genetically modified humans, gems, to fill specific roles that are deemed unfit for “normal” individuals. Years later, Dr. Eli Walker is faced with the challenge of whether or not gems are fundamentally different from norms, and his presentation at a prestigious EU conference on the “gem question” can determine whether these manufactured people are valued as human or returned to their lives as products of the large gemtechs. Everyone has an opinion about the conference’s decisions, and they won’t hesitate to use violence to try and get their way.

Ten-year-old Alice Carroll loves her beloved lab Charlie more than anyone else in her life. Her father Lewis doesn’t seem to understand her, and she doesn’t remember her mother who died when she was born. On a trip to the countryside, Charlie unexpectedly runs off, and the young girl struggles to cope with the loss for several months before finally running back to the forest to find him. Instead of Charlie, Alice stumbles across a topsy turvy magical world, where dogs are the superior species and humans exist as their pets. Can she navigate this strange new world, and is Charlie here to be found? Most importantly, will Alice ever find her way back home, or is she condemned to spend the rest of her life as a valued, but enslaved, pet?

Emily Monroe is a highly effective personal investigator with a hidden secret; her psychic abilities give her an edge in finding things invisible to the more traditional senses.  She’s successfully concealed her talents from the non-gifted humans around her, but a chance encounter with another psychic turns Emily into a dark obsession for a man enamored of control and pain. Now, she’s working against the clock with the Wichita police force to find this man before he kills one more woman in the name of drawing Emily to him.  Simultaneously, the young woman finds hope in a male psychic named Jake who offers warmth, safety, and light.  Can the two of them protect the connection between them while preventing the killer from flooding Emily with his darkness and death?

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