http://www.unshelved.com/UnshelvedA comic about a library2016-07-23T02:46:44-07:00Gene Ambaumgene@overduemedia.comBill Barnesbill@overduemedia.com(c) Overdue Media LLChttp://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-23Unshelved on Saturday, July 23, 20162016-07-23T00:00:00+00:002016-07-23T00:00:00+00:00
Steeplejack has earned three starred reviews! Set in a 19th-century South African fantasy world, A.J. Hartley's YA debut is packed with action and intrigue. Start reading now!

Unshelved comic strip for 7/23/2016

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This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on March 4, 2005.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-22/Book_ReviewsBook Reviews2016-07-22T00:00:00+00:002016-07-22T00:00:00+00:00
by Gene ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )

Bookclubvertical

This week's Unshelved Book Club features books about the Norwegian soldiers who stopped the Nazis from developing an atomic bomb, a foodie bucket list, a popular high schooler whose autistic brother is about to start attending her school, a young woman seeking revenge with the help of the three fates, and a girl who wants to become a warrior and help her father defeat the dragon who took his arm and legs.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-22Unshelved on Friday, July 22, 20162016-07-22T00:00:00+00:002016-07-22T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/bookclub/2016-7-22Unshelved Book Club on Friday, July 22, 20162016-07-22T00:00:00+00:002016-07-22T00:00:00+00:00

This week's book recommendations from the creators of Unshelved and their friends.Learn who we are, how we pick books, and other books we've featured.


Amazon | Powell's
Scarlett Epstein Hates it Here by Anna Breslaw
Razorbill, 2016. 9781595148353. 288 pages.

Link to this review in the form of a comic strip by sarahhunt tagged coming of age

Unshelved comic strip for 7/22/2016

Amazon | Powell's
Sabotage: The Mission to Destroy Hitler's Atomic Bomb: Young Adult Edition by Neal Bascomb
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016. 9780545732437. 320 pages.

Link to this review by flemtastic tagged history

Nazis took over Norway in 1940 without much of a fight, gaining a North Sea foothold and control of a remote industrial plant, Vemork, that was able to manufacture heavy water used in some nuclear reactors. Soon the plant was operating at capacity, sending barrels of heavy water to Berlin where scientists were feverishly trying to develop an atomic bomb. Word reached Churchill, and he tasked patriotic Norwegians in Britain to join the resistance by heading back to Norway and creating a base for operations against the plant. They prepared supplies and scouted the factory before the British sent in a force of demolitions engineers to destroy it, but things went poorly -- bad weather caused the engineers’ gliders to crash, and the survivors were captured. The second attempt, with the Germans on high alert, involved sending six more Norwegians to join the four already hiding in the freezing countryside. They planned to ski to the plant, destroy its production capabilities, and escape through the woods to Sweden. The chances of survival for the skiing commandos was less than fifty percent. And If they failed, there was a good chance that Nazi Germany would develop an atomic bomb before the Allies.

Why I picked it up: Neal Bascomb wrote The Nazi Hunters, one of the few nonfiction books I can give to kids that never fails to amaze them. When I tell them it is about Israeli secret agents kidnapping, drugging, and smuggling a Nazi officer out of Argentina, they are hooked.

Why I finished it: Churchill wanted to harass the Nazis with commando raids across Europe to keep the Germans off-balance. The Norwegian team that attacked Vemork was part of the British Special Operations Executive whose leaders called their unit the "Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." Unbeknownst to the Allied troops, Hitler had ordered that all Allied commandos caught in Europe were to be executed, not captured. In fact, all survivors of the glider crashes were interrogated then summarily shot at point blank range. 

It’s perfect for: My student Trevor. He's reading all sorts of military books about famous battles along with technical specifications for military vehicles. This book would entrance him, especially the details about climbing the 600 foot cliffs to the Vemork plant bearing backpacks bulging with high explosives. 

The Monster War A League of Seven Novel by Alan Gratz
Tor Teen, 2016. 9780765338242.

The Monster War is the third book in the action-packed, steampunk League of Seven series by acclaimed author Alan Gratz.

Having discovered the monstrous secret of his origins, Archie Dent is no longer certain that he is worthy to be a member of the League of Seven. But with new enemies to face, he realizes that he may not have the luxury of questioning his destiny.

Wielding the Dragon Lantern, the maniacal Philomena Moffett has turned her back on the Septemberist Society, creating her own Shadow League and unleashing a monster army on the American continent. Archie and his friends must race to find the last two members of their league in time to thwart Moffett's plan and rescue humanity once more.

“This hybrid of steampunk and alternate American history features a hell-raising girl’s school, Atlantis, and three highly likable leads in a yarn rip-roaring from start to finish.” Booklist on A League of Seven (Book #1)

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Amazon | Powell's
1,000 Foods to Eat Before You Die: A Food Lover's Life List by Mimi Sheraton
Workman, 2014. 9780761141686. 1008 pages.

Link to this review by dawnrutherford tagged cookbooknonfiction

Journalist and food critic Mimi Sheraton was inspired as a young girl by her parents (an adventurous home cook and a produce vendor) plus Robert Louis Stevenson’s poem “Travel.” She has spent her life pursuing new flavors and experiences, often writing articles on strange exotic foodstuffs to justify travel. This book is a savory reduction of her life's work.

Why I picked it up: I've always been attracted to books that talk about things you should do before you die, but frequently find them depressing because unless you’re wealthy, it’s impossible to experience even a tenth of the adventures they contain. This is different, though, because Sheraton supplies recipes or mail order information for many.

Why I finished it: My best travel experiences have been when I've visited foreign countries in the company of someone who lived in them for some time. I'll never forget the schnitzel I had in Vienna, all the varieties of ramen I ate in Okinawa with my cousin, and the tasty conch in Belize. Every article in this book makes me feel much the same way, as though I am getting the scoop from someone in the know who wants to share her discoveries with me.

It’s perfect for: Anyone who has ever salivated over the all-too-brief food pages in a DK Eyewitness Travel Guide and wanted a whole book of those, but with history, context, and sometimes even literary references. It is also wonderful for revisiting personal travels, and for understanding how simple foods, such as grilled yakitori chicken in Japan, can taste so amazing.

Steeplejack by A.J. Hartley
Tor Teen, 2016. 9780765383426.

Seventeen-year-old Anglet Sutonga lives repairing the chimneys, towers, and spires of the city of Bar-Selehm. Dramatically different communities live and work alongside each other: the powerful white Feldish, the native Mahweni—and Ang, part of the Lani community who immigrated over generations ago as servants and now mostly live in poverty.

When Ang is supposed to meet her new apprentice Berrit, she finds him dead. That same night, the Beacon, an invaluable historical icon, is stolen. The Beacon’s theft commands the headlines, yet no one seems to care about Berrit’s murder—except for Josiah Willinghouse, an enigmatic young politician. When he offers her a job investigating his death, she plunges headlong into new and unexpected dangers. Ang must rely on her intellect and strength to resolve the mysterious link between Berrit and the missing Beacon before the city descends into chaos.

“A richly realized world, an intensely likable character, and a mystery to die for." — Cory Doctorow, New York Times bestselling author

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How To Say I Love You Out Loud by Karole Cozzo
Swoon Reads, 2015. 9781250063595. 240 pages.

Link to this review by diane tagged coming of age

Jordyn Michaelson has a pretty good life in her exclusive high school. She’s relatively popular, a starter on the field hockey team, and Alex, a star football player, has taken a liking to her. But she’s keeping a huge secret. The special school her autistic brother attended has closed, and until a suitable replacement is found, he has to attend Jordyn’s school. Fearing that she will lose the life she has built if everyone know she is related to the “weird” new kid, she refuses to acknowledge that she even knows him.

Why I picked it up: My school has a program for students with autism and other developmental challenges. I’m always looking for books that feature these students in a positive way.

Why I finished it: Cozzo didn’t shy away from Jordyn’s embarrassment over her brother. Her attempts to maintain a “normal” existence seemed authentic, and it was clear that she was struggling with a conflict of conscience. She loves her brother, but also resents the way his challenges dominate her family’s time and encroach on her own life. And the growing relationship between Jordyn and Alex was very sweet, which only made it hurt more when Jordyn’s secret comes out and Alex feels betrayed. The resolution brought me to tears.

Readalikes: Wonder by R. J. Palacio, another story about a young man with challenges, this time more physical than intellectual or developmental. Augie has a very visible deformity and has always attended a special school. When he decides to attend a regular school, he experiences a full range of reactions, from embarrassment to antagonism to empathy. Both books emphasize the need for tolerance, understanding, love, and respect.

Vicarious by Paula Stokes
Tor Teen, 2016. 9780765380944.

Winter Kim and her sister, Rose, have always been inseparable. Together the two of them survived growing up in a Korean orphanage and being trafficked into the United States. But they've escaped the past and started over in a new place where no one knows who they used to be.

Now they work as digital stunt girls for Rose's ex-boyfriend, Gideon, engaging in dangerous and enticing activities while recording their neural impulses for his Vicarious Sensory Experiences, or ViSEs. When Rose disappears and a ViSE recording of her murder is delivered to Gideon, Winter is devastated. She won't rest until she finds her sister's killer. To find out what happened to Rose, she'll have to untangle what's real from what only seems real, risking her own life in the process.

"Stokes gives fans of suspense a story full of twists and turns…. The author admirably handles graphic and disturbing content in a subtle manner.” School Library Journal

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Amazon | Powell's
The Shadow Behind the Stars by Rebecca Hahn
atheneum, 2015. 9781481435710. 256 pages.

Link to this review by wally tagged coming of agefantasy

Endymion, a revered hero, sought to marry Aglaia because of her beauty; when she rejected him, he killed everyone in her village and raped her. She somehow makes her way to an island where the three Fates live apart from mortals. The Fates put a spell on Aglaia to calm her, but she cannot remain with them. Chloe, the spinner and the youngest of the three, knows that Aglaia's destiny will destroy them all if she is not killed, but she cannot deny Aglaia’s desire for revenge.

Why I picked it up: It looked like an interesting take on Greek mythology’s Fates.

Why I finished it: I liked the slow pace of this novel and the thoughtfulness of the Fates. The first part of the book follows Chloe's narration of the lives of the Fates and their timeless task. Then Aglaia’s arrival brings the sisters face-to-face with mortality. Aglaia's realization that she is pregnant leads first Chloe, and then her sisters, to wrestle with whether or not to join the world of humans.

Readalikes: Ursula K. Le Guin's Annals of the Western Shore trilogy, particularly Voices. In it, Memer must deal with the fact that she is the daughter of a woman who was raped by one of the soldiers who have occupied her city for a generation. Memer is shunned by most of the people in her city because she’s a shameful reminder of the occupation.

Flying by Carrie Jones
Tor Teen, 2016. 9780765336576.

People have always treated seventeen-year-old Mana as someone in need of protection. She's used to being coddled, and it's hard to imagine anything could ever happen in her small-town, normal life. As her mother's babying gets more stifling than ever, she's looking forward to cheering at the big game and getting out of the house for a while.

But that night, Mana's life goes haywire.

It turns out, Mana's mom is actually an alien hunter, and now she's missing. Now a guy Mana has never met or heard of (and who seems way too young and way too arrogant to be hunting aliens), has shown up as her “partner”, ordering Mana to come with him. Alone, Mana will have to find a way to save her mother--and maybe the world--and hope she's up to the challenge.

“With nods to numerous science fiction and fantasy works, this series opener from Jones (the Need series) is complex and nuanced while maintaining a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek vibe.”Publishers Weekly

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Amazon | Powell's
Dragons Beware! by Rafael Rosado, Jorge Aguirre
First Second, 2015. 9781596438781. 160 pages.

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged coming of agefantasygraphic novel

Claudette wants her father, Augustine, to train her to be a warrior so they can defeat the dragon who took his arm and legs and retrieve his sword, Breaker. Her brother, Gaston, wants to be a sword maker, though he excels at cooking; he has vowed not to cook again until he makes his father proud. Their friend Marie is locked in the castle for princess training, and so she will stick around to meet the princes that have come to court her because of her valor.

The evil Grombach has escaped Calavera Island, and his gargoyle army is about to attack the city. The Marquis thinks there’s nothing to worry about, because the city’s walls protect its citizens. But Augustine knows he needs his sword to defeat Grombach again. After he leaves to get it back, Claudette, Gaston, and Marie soon follow. But before they can reach the dragon’s cave, they’re attacked by gargoyles. Luckily, Claudette’s wooden sword is magic.

Why I picked it up: I loved the previous graphic novel in the series, Giants Beware!

Why I finished it: It’s a lighthearted, entertaining, colorfully drawn book that manages to give equal time to characters who defy stereotypes without reading like a crappy after-school special. Giants make an appearance, the princes courting Marie endure entertainingly minor abuse at the hands of Grombach, and both diplomacy and cooking both have a role to play in the end. 

Readalikes: These graphic novels are up there with Bone and Amulet as one of the great, truly all-ages series that can be read and enjoyed by the whole family.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-21Unshelved on Thursday, July 21, 20162016-07-21T00:00:00+00:002016-07-21T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-20/SteeplejackSteeplejack2016-07-20T00:00:00+00:002016-07-20T00:00:00+00:00
by Ang ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )

Steeplejack

Please welcome Tor as this week's sponsor. Released amidst a flurry of starred reviews, Steeplejack is an action-packed mystery, filled with social commentary and intrigue, set in a lush fantasy world that feels like Victorian-era South Africa. An excerpt is available on the Tor website where you can read it now, which I strongly suggest you do! And while you're there, spend a little time exploring the Tor blog and its exciting array of excerpts, sweepstakes, and articles.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-20Unshelved on Wednesday, July 20, 20162016-07-20T00:00:00+00:002016-07-20T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-19Unshelved on Tuesday, July 19, 20162016-07-19T00:00:00+00:002016-07-19T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-18Unshelved on Monday, July 18, 20162016-07-18T00:00:00+00:002016-07-18T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-17Unshelved on Sunday, July 17, 20162016-07-17T00:00:00+00:002016-07-17T00:00:00+00:00
Discover DREAM JUMPER Book One: NIGHTMARE ESCAPE -- a new graphic novel from Greg Grunberg and Lucas Turnbloom. Read an excerpt now!

Unshelved comic strip for 7/17/2016

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This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 27, 2005.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-16Unshelved on Saturday, July 16, 20162016-07-16T00:00:00+00:002016-07-16T00:00:00+00:00
Discover DREAM JUMPER Book One: NIGHTMARE ESCAPE -- a new graphic novel from Greg Grunberg and Lucas Turnbloom. Read an excerpt now!

Unshelved comic strip for 7/16/2016

link to this strip | tweet this | share on facebook | email us

This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 20, 2005.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-15/Book_ReviewsBook Reviews2016-07-15T00:00:00+00:002016-07-15T00:00:00+00:00
by Gene ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )

Bookclubvertical

This week's Unshelved Book Club features books about a Native American kid with a great life but an abnormal name, saving babies born with heart abnormalities, what happens to a family after an infant disappears, a massive cat lover looking for love in San Francisco, and astronauts who crash land on a very strange planet that may remind you of bad 80s cartoons.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-15Unshelved on Friday, July 15, 20162016-07-15T00:00:00+00:002016-07-15T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/bookclub/2016-7-15Unshelved Book Club on Friday, July 15, 20162016-07-15T00:00:00+00:002016-07-15T00:00:00+00:00

This week's book recommendations from the creators of Unshelved and their friends.Learn who we are, how we pick books, and other books we've featured.


Amazon | Powell's
Southern Bastards Deluxe Hardcover Volume 1 by Jason Aaron, Jason Latour
Image, 2015. 9781632154446. 256 pages.

Link to this review in the form of a comic strip by geneambaum tagged graphic novel

Unshelved comic strip for 7/15/2016

Includes a gallery of variant covers, a sketchbook, and a selection of readers’ recipes that includes fried apple pies and banana pudding. Yum.

Collects Southern Bastards #1 - #8

Publisher’s Rating: M / Mature

Why I picked it up: The owner of Pike Place Market’s BLMF Literary Saloon recommended it. He’s got great taste, particularly when it comes to noir crime novels. Sold.


Amazon | Powell's
Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie, Yuyi Morales
Little Brown, 2016. 9780316013727. 40 pages.

Link to this review by craigseasholes tagged picture book

Almost anyone could admire the cool things about this Native American youngster’s life. He's got a brightly painted, kid-sized guitar. Him mom rides a big motorcycle. He once touched a wild orca on the nose. He learned to ride a bike when he was three. He's a grass dancer at powwows. His parents love and play with him, and his little sister isn’t too annoying. The only problem: “Thunder Boy is not a normal name.”

Why I picked it up: Every librarian looks for books that reflect our diverse communities. I leapt the moment I saw Sherman Alexie’s name on the cover.

Why I finished it: Morales’ illustrations are clever, colorful and just plain amazing. When the siblings fight over a rubber ball, they see it struck by a bolt of lightning from their dad Big Thunder's scowl. Thunder Boy Jr., in bright yellow coveralls, stands behind a guitar, strikes a Johnny Cash pose, and declares, “Hello, my name is Thunder Boy Jr.” His gleeful little sister in pink pants bounces onto the next page to correct him: “Thunder Boy Smith.” Wishing he’d been called Sam like his mom wanted, instead he is saddled with a nickname he thinks “sounds like a burp or a fart.” With the combined fury of a howling coyote, an angry rattlesnake, and a roaring bear, Thunder Boy Jr. declares, “I HATE MY NAME!” and imagines several others that might better suit his interests and experiences. 

Readalikes: The beauty of Thunder Boy Jr. is how it addresses the call for fun books that reflect families' diversities. Three others that also do this are: Apple Pie 4th of July by Janet Wong, in which a Chinese American family celebrates the 4th of July with friends; Big Red Lollipop in which sisters have to navigate sibling rivalry en route to their first American birthday party; and The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say which shows how gentle counsel helped his daughter overcome racial teasing while embracing her bi-racial identity.

The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan
Arthur A. Levine Books, 2016. 9780545946124.

From the brilliant mind of Shaun Tan, Grimms' fairy tales as they've never been seen before!

Wicked stepmothers, traitorous brothers, cunning foxes, lonely princesses: There is no mistaking the world of the Brothers Grimm and the beloved fairy tales that have captured generations of readers. Now internationally acclaimed artist Shaun Tan shows us the beautiful, terrifying, amusing, and downright peculiar heart of these tales as never before seen.

With a foreword by Neil Gaiman and an introduction by renowned fairy-tale expert Jack Zipes, this stunning gallery of sculptural works will thrill and delight art lovers and fairy-tale aficionados alike.

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Amazon | Powell's
Breakthrough! How Three People Saved "Blue Babies" and Changed Medicine Forever by Jim Murphy
Clarion Books, 2015. 9780547821832. 144 pages.

Link to this review by sarahhunt tagged history

Babies born with heart abnormalities struggle to get enough oxygen into their bodies, so their skin and lips turn a pale blue. In 1944 no one thought anything could be done. Heart surgery was almost never attempted. Surgical tools were primitive, the machinery needed to keep a patient alive and thriving had not yet been perfected, and post-surgical care was almost nonexistent. Operating on a fragile infant was unthinkable.

Dr. Helen Taussig, a pediatric surgeon who had done extensive research in heart malformations, suggested a simple and logical surgical procedure to repair babies' hearts to Dr. Alfred Blalock, a doctor known worldwide for his study of shock. Vivien Thomas, an African-American researcher working for Blalock (who was often assumed to just be a janitor), performed experimental surgery on dogs to test the procedure. The three created a way to save lives that had never been imagined before.

Why I picked it up: Jim Murphy writes great medical stories that include discussions of social and ethical issues. His books always challenge my knowledge of history and medicine.

Why I finished it: Murphy does a stunning job not only with the drama of a lifesaving procedure, but the assumptions fellow medical researchers had about African-Americans, women, people with disabilities, and people without medical degrees. It all added up to the fact that this research had to be absolutely watertight to be accepted. Murphy even packed information into the changing ethical views on animal experimentation into a single, beautifully balanced chapter.

Readalikes: Rebecca Skloot's The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, another story of ethics and medical breakthroughs that also started at Johns Hopkins. 

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier
Graphix, 2016. 9780545540629.

From Raina Telgemeier, the #1 New York Times bestselling, multiple Eisner Award-winning author of Smile, Drama, and Sisters!

Catrina and her family are moving to the coast of Northern California because her little sister, Maya, is sick. Cat isn't happy about leaving her friends for Bahía de la Luna, but Maya has cystic fibrosis and will benefit from the cool, salty air that blows in from the sea. As the girls explore their new home, a neighbor lets them in on a secret: There are ghosts in Bahía de la Luna. Maya is determined to meet one, but Cat wants nothing to do with them. As the time of year when ghosts reunite with their loved ones approaches, Cat must figure out how to put aside her fears for her sister's sake -- and her own.

Raina Telgemeier has masterfully created a moving and insightful story about the power of family and friendship, and how it gives us the courage to do what we never thought possible.

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Amazon | Powell's
She's Not There by Joy Fielding
Doubleday, 2016. 9781101966877. 368 pages.

Link to this review by murphy'smom tagged mystery

Caroline Shipley and her husband Hunter always enjoyed over the top wedding anniversary celebrations. When their tenth rolls around, Hunter plans a surprise trip to Mexico for the entire Shipley family and the couple's closest friends, along with a romantic dinner in the resort's restaurant. But the babysitter never shows. Caroline and Hunter take turns every thirty minutes making sure their young daughters, Samantha (age two) and Michelle (age five), are safely asleep. Somehow Samantha vanishes without a trace.

Their marriage and their lives fall apart. Fifteen years later Caroline gets a call from Lili, a young woman who thinks she is Samantha. Lili has moved around her entire life, been homeschooled, and never had much to do with the outside world because of overprotective parents. Lili saw pictures of Samatha in the library and thought she resembled her. As much as Caroline wants to believe Lili is Samantha, she has her doubts.

Why I picked it up: I have been a huge fan of Joy Fielding's books ever since my mother bought a copy of See Jane Run for a quarter when I was twelve. I read that paperback cover to cover in just a day. 

Why I finished it: Was Lili scamming Caroline, or was this young woman really Samantha? Fielding flipped between past and present to create cliffhangers between chapters.

I knew if I didn't finish the entire story I would miss one of her famous, twisted endings. I always think I have Fielding’s plots figured out but then she throws a curveball I don’t see coming. This book was no exception. I couldn’t trust any of the characters because all of them could have had something to do with Samantha’s disappearance.

Readalikes: Heartstopper by Joy Fielding, which is told from the kidnapper's point of view. Shortly after Sandy Crosbie, a high school English teacher, arrives in a small Florida town, someone starts abducting and killing good looking teenagers. The Edge of Normal by Carla Norton, a novel about a young woman becoming re-acclimated to the world after being held captive by a sociopath who beat, raped, and branded her repeatedly.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey
Graphix, 2016. 9780545581608.

"Pilkey... has once again fired an arrow of joy straight at the fevered childhood psyche of millions of readers. An utter, unfettered delight." -- Booklist, starred review

New from the creator of Captain Underpants, it's Dog Man, the crime-biting canine who is part dog, part man, and ALL HERO!

George and Harold have created a new hero who digs into deception, claws after crooks, and rolls over robbers. When Greg the police dog and his cop companion are injured on the job, a life-saving surgery changes the course of history, and Dog Man is born. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound has a real nose for justice. But can he resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?

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Amazon | Powell's
Wuvable Oaf by Ed Luce
Fantagraphics, 2015. 9781606998168. 264 pages.

Link to this review by dawnrutherford tagged graphic novel

Oaf is a total sweetheart of a guy looking for love in San Francisco. But it isn't always easy for a guy like him to find dates; he’s massive, covered in body hair, and kind of stinky, though his twenty-one cats are crazy about his stench. He bides his time running Oaf's Home for Wayward Kitties Who are Really Cute and Need Lotsa Love and crafting odd little animals stuffed with his body hair. His life is full, but lonely. 

And then one day he sees him: a surly little beady-eyed bald man glowering from across the street. Oaf thinks "He looks like he could use a nice long cuddle!" A crush is born and then flamed when Oaf discovers this adorable wee fellow (Eiffel) is also the lead singer for a band called Ejaculoid.

Why I picked it up: At the American Libraries Association conference in San Francisco this summer, I met a man wearing a Wuvable BatOaf t-shirt. I asked what it meant. He immediately launched into a happy rant about this wonderful bear romance comic and how much he adored it, then pointed me around the corner to where Ed Luce was hawking his wares. When I saw the crazy cats on the cover of the hardbound collection I had to read it.

Why I finished it: There is so much to wuv in this book. I was dying to see if the incredibly awkward and kind Oaf would have a chance with Eiffel, whose first thought on seeing Oaf was "big ape," and not in a nice way. But I knew Oaf had it in the bag when, on their first date, Eiffel asks Oaf how he can afford a home in San Francisco on dolls and cat welfare, and Oaf confesses he was once the wrestler Goteblüd.

My favorite part of the book are the flashbacks of Oaf's Worst Dates (and Non-Dates) Ever (think broken teeth, severe cat allergies, and an unacceptable dissing of Morrissey) and finding out how Eiffel got his band together (mostly via realizations during sex that they would be better bandmates than boyfriends, such as the time his future drummer wouldn't stop pounding out rhythms on his butt during sex). 

Readalikes: While Wuvable Oaf is packed with sweetness and romance, it is also sprinkled with sexy hairy dudes, crude references, and the occasional nearly explicit sex scene. None of this bothered me one bit, and in fact it made the adorable love scenes even better. Some might find it a bit much, but for those who feel this book is just hinting at what they really want to read, I recommend Chip Kidd's beautifully designed, completely graphic anthology of Japanese bara manga Massive: Gay Erotic Manga and the Men Who Make It.

Nightmare Escape Dream Jumper, Book 1 by Greg Grunberg and Lucas Turnbloom
Graphix, 2016. 9780545826044.

Ben's dreams are all nightmares . . . And his nightmares are real!

Ben has a problem. When he sleeps, he dreams, and when he dreams, they're all nightmares! But he can also jump into other people's dreams. So when his friends start falling victim to an evil dream-monster that prevents them from waking, Ben knows he has to help them. Easier said than done when dreams can shift and the monster knows his way around the ever-changing landscape of the mind! With help from a talking rabbit-companion who has a mysterious past, Ben might just be able to defeat the monster and save his friends . . . if he can figure out how to use the power within him against his enemies.

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Amazon | Powell's
Kaptara Volume One: Fear Not, Tiny Alien by Chip Zdarsky, Kagan McLeod
Image, 2016. 9781632155573. 128 pages.

Link to this review by geneambaum tagged fantasygraphic novelscience fiction

Keith, a gay and somewhat scrawny bioengineer, is on his way to Mars with a small group of astronauts. His aunt got him the opportunity because he didn’t really have anything worth staying at home for.  

After their ship breaks apart in a spatial anomaly, the crew members use their escape pods to crash land on a strange planet that is clearly not Mars -- it’s filled with plants, dangerous creatures, and has breathable atmosphere. After Keith is saved from a monster in the Murder Forest by a sword-wielding warrior, he is presented to Jinli, Queen of Endom, the fourth kingdom of Kaptara. He learns that an armada belonging to Skullthor, leader of the Dark Burroughs, has broken air and space treaties to travel to Earth and take it over. (Keith’s ship fell through the hole in space that Skullthor’s armada created.)  

The Queen’s son, the randy Dartor, and her trusted head of security, Manton, try to convince Keith to join their adventure to save our planet, but Keith doesn’t care. He doesn’t want to go back.

Publisher’s Rating: T+ / Teen Plus

Contains Kaptara issues #1 - #5.

Why I picked it up: Chip Zdarsky wrote it, and I love Sex Criminals, which he draws and co-creates with Matt Fraction.

Why I finished it: It’s a hilarious sendup of the He-Man universe, and a few other media properties I grew up with in the '80s. Dartor is always shirtless, though he does wear a cape, fur boots, and fur panties like any self-respecting barbarian warrior. (Keith seems to be lusting after him, but Dartor is so self-absorbed he hardly notices.) He tries to teach Keith to fight with a battlebroom, which doesn’t go well, and the vehicles he and Manton ride off in look like pig/pug hybrids with tank tracks attached. This is a minor spoiler, but Keith eventually decides to join them, tracks them down with the help of She-La, a zaftig squirrel woman whose insanely cool ride looks like it’s more "balding white guy" than horse. They’re all taken prisoner by the most amazingly off-color Smurf sendup ever, the Glomps, a group of disgusting, foul-mouthed, sexist cannibals who send them after a nudist shape-changing wizard. It’s completely entertaining insanity, and I haven’t even mentioned the bee people yet. 

It’s perfect for: Heather. She refused my offer to be her personal Stuart Smalley a while back, but I think she’d get the affirmations she needs from the two-armed floating orb that appears throughout the book. Via text that appears on its surface, it offers relevant advice to everyone like “Be the Best You You Can Be” and “Together Everyone Achieves More.”

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-14Unshelved on Thursday, July 14, 20162016-07-14T00:00:00+00:002016-07-14T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-13/Dream_JumperDream Jumper2016-07-13T00:00:00+00:002016-07-13T00:00:00+00:00
by Ang ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )

Dreamjumper

Ben’s dreams are all nightmares … And his nightmares are real!

This week's sponsor is Scholastic, whose Graphix imprint has filled our libraries with exceptional graphic novels such as BONE, Smile, Amulet, Space Dumplins, and more. Their new series, Dream Jumper by Greg Grunberg and Lucas Turnbloom promises to be another favorite, particularly with younger patrons. Click through to start reading Dream Jumper, Book 1: Nightmare Escape now!

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-13Unshelved on Wednesday, July 13, 20162016-07-13T00:00:00+00:002016-07-13T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-12Unshelved on Tuesday, July 12, 20162016-07-12T00:00:00+00:002016-07-12T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-11Unshelved on Monday, July 11, 20162016-07-11T00:00:00+00:002016-07-11T00:00:00+00:00http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-10Unshelved on Sunday, July 10, 20162016-07-10T00:00:00+00:002016-07-10T00:00:00+00:00
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Unshelved comic strip for 7/10/2016

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This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 19, 2005.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-9Unshelved on Saturday, July 9, 20162016-07-09T00:00:00+00:002016-07-09T00:00:00+00:00
Listen up! Subscribe to our podcasts or visit our site to hear Unshelved audiobook commentaries, author interviews, and more!

Unshelved comic strip for 7/9/2016

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This classic Unshelved strip originally appeared on February 18, 2005.

http://www.unshelved.com/2016-7-8/Book_ReviewsBook Reviews2016-07-08T00:00:00+00:002016-07-08T00:00:00+00:00
by Gene ( link to this post | email me | my twitter )

Bookclubvertical

This week's Unshelved Book Club features books about a group of friends in Paris, an American "bomb" in a Korean workplace, how Broadway shows are put together, how to become a lion, and a murder mystery involving a library patron and several writers.