Stacking the Shelves (2): Comic Con Edition Part 2 - Penguin & Random House

Considering that most of my books haven't been arriving via my mailbox, I figured it was time to swap over to Stacking the Shelves. This weekly linkup is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Visit her site to see what everyone else has gotten their hands on recently.

A few weeks ago, I posted part 1 of my Comic Con book collection. Due to family and work things, I hadn't gotten around to putting together everything for the second edition until today. Here is the second edition that features books I received from the wonderful people at Penguin and Random House.

 

From the Penguin Booth:

                    

Gods & Warriors by Michelle Paver

Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

The Friday Society by Adrienne Kress

Legend by Marie Lu (Special Comic Con Edition - signed)

Nerve by Jeanne Ryan

Wereworld: Shadow of the Hawk by Curtis Jobling

Prodigy by Marie Lu

Soulbound by Heather Brewer (signed)

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris

The Iron Hunt by Marjorie M. Liu

From the Penguin Booth:

                  

12.21 by Dustin Thomason

The Kill Order by James Dashner

The Devil in Silver by Victor Lavalle

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

Mystic City by Theo Lawrence

Acacia by David Anthony Durham

The Passage by Justin Cronin

A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin

The Fire Chronicle by John Stephens

Scarlett Dedd by Cathy Brett

Blades of Winter by GT Almasi

 

So that's it for the second round. Next week I can finally catch up with the other books that have arrived in the last few weeks since we got home. Whenever will I have time to read all these?

Television Review: Beauty & the Beast (2012) Pilot

While at San Diego Comic Con, Fernando and I got sneak peeks at the pilots for three upcoming new fall television shows: Elementary, Revolution and Beauty & the Beast. Two weeks ago, Fernando talked about yet another Sherlock Holmes incarnation, Elementary. This week I hit up the remake of the 1980s show Beauty & the Beast. Next week one (or both) of us will rave about the not-a-remake Revolution.

Beauty & the Beast
The CW
Debuts Thursday, October 8 @ 9 Eastern / 8 Central

I guess I should start this review off with a couple of caveats. First we walked into the Comic Con screening of the remake of Beauty & the Beast ten minutes after it started. I don’t think this really affected my opinion of the show because I can’t imagine anything other than Misha Collins or Nathan Fillion showing up in that short time span that would change my mind on how I feel about this show. Secondly I have absolutely no familiarity with the original 80s soap opera, so I suppose I have no emotional connection to the property or nostalgia unless it involves singing and dancing dishware and the massive library that would totally recreate if I was extremely wealthy.

With all that out in the open, I can sum up my opinion of the CW’s new Beauty & the Beast with two words: laughably bad. Heavy emphasis on “laughably”. I know I wasn’t supposed to find this pilot as hilarious as I did, but there was just too much melodramatic, overwrought staring from afar not to find it hysterical. I know at least the people behind me didn’t appreciate my laughter…

Kristin Kreuk as Katherine is passable as the beauty part of the equation, though she’s going to have to do a lot more heavy lifting to be believable as a homicide detective in New York City. Her character felt too proper and unwilling to get her hands dirty, constantly looking for someone to save her while she adamantly declared that she didn’t need saving by anyone (Elena Gilbert syndrome, anyone?). Perhaps with some more development she’ll be less of a damsel in distress and more believable as a hardened cop.

Jay Ryan plays Vincent, the beast portion of the story. This is the part where Fernando couldn’t stop laughing because his “beastly” quality is that he has some scars on his face from some war injury. I get that this was a pilot and they didn’t want to put in the money for extra special effects if it wasn’t to get picked up, but once it was picked up, they really should have gone in and made his transformation more than just some unfortunate scarring. According to the panel after the pilot aired, the exact form of Ryan’s “beast” hadn’t been finalized just yet, but I really hope it’s more impressive and uglier than scars.

Due to the issue of finding his transformation laughable, Vincent didn’t make much of any other impression on me. He moves very fast and he’s incredibly strong. I like that this explained by some genetic experimentation he volunteered for in the army. It felt a bit like Amped mixed with Partials, but his back story didn’t make his lovelorn stares from afar any less silly. Then again I hated the insta-love between Vincent and Catherine from the start and the melodrama built in to constantly beat you in the head that, “Hey! These two are MEANT TO BE! FEEL SAD FOR THEM BECAUSE THEY ARE APART!”

The setup involves the death of Catherine’s mother when she was a teenager and how somehow Vincent ties into that. Now as she discovers his military secrets, shady big bads are trying to remove them both. I don’t know if this reflects the original show at all, but it definitely has “rehash” written all over it to me.

I don’t think this is a show I will be watching come fall. Despite thinking The Vampire Diaries had one of the worst pilots ever only for it to become one of my favorite shows, I don’t think I can Beauty & the Beast the benefit of the doubt here. Between the insta-love, the staring from afar and just the general forced unnecessary drama, I don’t think I could sit through another episode. Stick to Once Upon a Time if you want a compelling beauty and the beast love story.

 

Television Review: Elementary Pilot

While at San Diego Comic Con, Fernando and I got sneak peeks at the pilots for three upcoming new fall television shows: Elementary, Revolution and Beauty & the Beast. Over the next three Fridays, we'll be doing sneak peek reviews. Today Fernando, our resident Sherlock fanatic, reviews CBS' upcoming modern Sherlock Holmes retelling Elementary.

Elementary
CBS
Debuts on Thursday, September 27, 2012

Yes, yet another Sherlock Holmes interpretation is being dished out from CBS and under the title Elementary. Leslie and I were lucky enough to watch the pilot during Comic Con. I'm not going to compare this iteration of Sherlock Holmes with Steven Moffat's pitch perfect Sherlock on BBC. In fact, put those other Holmes out of your head. Take a couple of moments to clear your mind of those other performances. 

Elementary stars Jonny Lee Miller (from the ill-fated Eli Stone) as a British Sherlock Holmes and Lucy Liu as an American Joan Watson. Yes, Elementary switched the sidekick from a John to a Joan, but more on that later. Miller does a great job as the very dark, fallible Holmes who escaped on his final day of rehab. Watson has been hired by Holmes' father to monitor Sherlock to keep him from relapsing. Another of the changes in the CBS version is the location has been moved from London to New York City. 

The rest of the plot is quite predictable: Holmes helps the NYPD by freelancing as a consultant, Watson is thrust into cases at his behest, and Holmes is always a few clues ahead of the on-case detectives. 

Miller really does fantastically as Holmes; however, this first case was not the best way to draw me in to future episodes. Elementary's procedural predictability is the biggest flaw in what should be a refreshing addition to the CBS line up. I hope that future cases allow Miller’s portrayal of Holmes to flourish. Future cases should also highlight Liu's acting prowess because her character seems to have more depth than we've seen on CBS in a while. 

Elementary has the right actors for a successful series. The big mystery for the rest of the season will be if the show’s writing can elevate to the level of the performances of both Miller and Lui as well as improve on the mythic persona of Sherlock Holmes. 

There are already many highly successful, well-acted, well-written versions of Sherlock Holmes, not to mention the original works. So what CBS? What is in this version that will keep me tuned in? I love Sherlock as a character and this has that, but a show like Elementary has to be more than that and this show should try to be more than that. The cases, the Watson-Holmes friendship, the city and the intellectual analysis all play a part in molding the Sherlock Holmes world. 

I hope that Elementary beaks the mold of other CBS police dramas that used to litter its schedule because some of the elements are in this pilot. Please, please let the rest of the season expand on the best parts of this pilot. I look forward to the rest of the season but I will be watching with fingers crossed. 

 

And here's a picture of Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu that Fernando took at Comic Con a few weeks ago.


Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop: Win a Fantasy Book or Book Swag

It's been awhile since we've hosted a contest at Working for the Mandroid, so we're really excited to take part in another of Kathy's fantastic giveaway hops. Plus if I don't get some of these books out of the house, I fear Fernando might start throwing them out*. So here we are, taking part in the Lazy Days of Summer Giveaway Hop hosted by Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Laura from Colorimetry. You can see the entire list of participating blogs on Kathy's site here.

* He wouldn't really, but he keeps looking at the stacks with slight irritation.


Rules remain our standard: the contest officially begins as soon as I post this and runs through midnight on August 1. The giveaway is open to anyone with a US mailing address and will be chosen via Rafflecopter about a week after the contest closes. The winner will have 48 hours to respond via email or another winner will be chosen. All following options are in the sidebar on the left, right under the WFTM banner.

Because I came home with loads of things from Comic Con, there will be two winners. The first winner will get their choice of any of the books below and the second winner will get the swag bag of bookish things.

Here is the book selection one winner will get to choose from:

         

 

And here's the swag bag for our second winner, including a limited edition Finale t-shirt, a Crewel bracelet, a Mortal Instruments poster, Blood & Starlight sampler, buttons, bookmarks and assorted other things I can fit into a padded envelope. Here's a sample of the things (forgive the bad photography):

So how do you enter to win one of these two prizes? Well, check out the Rafflecopter entry form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Stacking the Shelves (1): Comic Con Edition Part 1 - Hachette, MacMillan and More

Considering that most of my books haven't been arriving via my mailbox, I figured it was time to swap over to Stacking the Shelves. This weekly linkup is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Visit her site to see what everyone else has gotten their hands on recently.

So I just cataloged the 42 different books I received at Comic Com this year and decided it would be completely irrational to post those all in one post, so we're splitting this into two. First up we have the titles from Hachette, Macmillan, Simon & Schuster, Tor and Harper Collins. Here we go...

 

From the lovely people at Hachette:

         

 Blackout by Mira Grant (signed)

Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (signed)

Forbidden by Ted Dekker & Tosca Lee

Soulless by Gail Carriger

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

 

From the awesome people at Macmillan:

     

Crewel by Gennifer Albin (signed)

Eve & Adam by Michael Grant & Katherine Applegate (signed)

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (signed)

Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBridge (signed - I purchased this one)


From the generous people at Simon & Schuster:

           

Blood Lite II: Overbite by assorted authors

Legends of the Dragon Realm by Richard A Knaak

Lucky Bastard by SG Browne

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Spider's Bite by Jennifer Estep

This Dark Earth by John Hornor Jacobs

The Map of the Sky by Felix J Palma

 

And finally (for this round) from Tor and Harper Collins:

 

Tarnished by Karina Cooper

Girl Genius Omnibus 1 by Kaja & Phil Foglio

 

So there's round one. A million thanks to the publishers and the wonderful people manning their booths for taking the time to chat with me. The next edition will have all the great books from Penguin and Random House. See why we take extra suitcases to Comic Con?

Comic Con 2012: The Wonderful Art of the Con by Katie Cook, Lord Mesa, & More

The best part of the Comic Con exhibit hall is Artist Alley, where artists showcase their work and often times take commissions for a fee, drawing whatever they're asked to do. Every year we come home with lots of art to add to our collection and this year was no exception. Here are the newest pieces we'll be adding to our walls.

Most of the Comic Con artwork is related to comics, fantasy or science fiction, so I was surprised when I came across the sweet art of Celine Chapus. Be forewarned if you check out her site, PurpleTopHat.com, because she does a lot of moderately NSFW with her collection of angel-inspired artwork. Most of her work is more of the romance genre, but I loved this commission she'd done for a writer friend. Cupcakes and books, who needs anything else? This piece will take up some prime real estate in my library.

You can also find Ms. Chapus on Twitter at @purpleceline.

Fernando was on a mission to find some Game of Thrones art and was successful. These are postcard-sized prints from the artist who does official GoT cover artwork for the graphic novel adaptation. Mike S. Miller does some pretty incredible things and you can see much more of his artwork on his DeviantArt account here.

I love Lord Mesa. He makes some of the most adorable superhero artwork out there. For the past three years, I've bought new artwork from him and this year, we finally bought our first piece of Marvel superhero art. I mean, how could we not buy this Avengers inspired piece?

He's also drawn all the characters from Young Justice, which is my favorite superhero cartoon now that I've caught up with Super Hero Squad. I heart Robin. To see a lot more of Lord Mesa's art, check out his DeviantArt account.

By the time we were loaded down with too much art and Fernando had declared he would buy no more, I found this print by Tess Fowler, an artist I hadn't heard of before. Of course, he bought it immediately (which was lucky for him because it was her last copy). To see more of her work (including My Little Pony, Doctor Who, and a slew of female superheroes), check out her blog here.

I got Superman: Earth One for Fernando as a Christmas present last year. He got super excited when he discovered the cover artist, Shane Davis, selling prints in Artist Alley. Turns out he's done a ton of DC cover artwork.

A few months ago, I posted about Steve Dooley's Victorian steampunk series of superheroines. To my surprise, Mr. Dooley was in artist alley selling prints of his series. I had to buy some because these are gorgeous and my walls need more fancy battle armour and corsets. I love Wonder Woman the most. You can see his entire series here. And can I just say that there are more on his DeviantArt account that he didn't have with him and OMG LADY MECHANIKA! I hope he returns next year with others because I will BUY ALL THE THINGS!

 

 

And then of course, there's my Katie Cook commission of Batwoman. I never got close enough to her to get more minipaintings, but I love this Batwoman painting so much, I'm perfectly fine with that. Visit her on Twitter (@katiecandraw) because she's super amusing.

Comic Con 2012: Fernando's Five Favorite Things

Comic Con 2012 ended four days ago. Here are my five favorite moments from this year’s Con.

5. HBO swag bags

My adoration of Game of Thrones is well documented. Leslie and I also enjoy True Blood. We decided to attend the panels because of how much we enjoy both shows. Along the way we discovered the fantastic tradition of the HBO swag bags. Each show gave a small pull bag, the book equivalent of the current season, a T-shirt, a month free on Xbox Premium, and a small trinket (Game of Thrones keychain, a True Blood stress ball). It needs to be pointed out that each item can be purchased from the HBO store, putting a value of approximately $50 per bag. That is how you show fans you appreciate them. Thank you, HBO! The HBO bags are easily the best promotional swag at the Con. 

 


4. Twitter giveaways

This year Leslie and I were sporting iPhones at Comic Con. Each of us has a twitter account and Leslie created a wonderful list that kept each of apprised of all the Twitter happenings. That small app and list was the reason we won two Twitter giveaways! The first was a Game of Thrones (@gameofthrones surprise, surprise) Mondo poster giveaway that involved us being one of the first 100 people at a specific spot at a specific time in order to win. The next was done as a promotion for The Dark Knight Rises (because that movie needs more hype) done by @batsignalsearch that involved a similar right place, right time tweet with the added caveat to tweet a picture of a bat signal that was projected at the location. The big prize was a premiere viewing in your home town with runner-up prizes of Mondo posters. In both cases we walked away with Mondo posters. If you are not familiar with Mondo's art, check it out here

 

3. Panels 

 

As always the panels at Comic Con are amazing. This year seemed like it might be a let-down with big hitters like Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki missing from The Big Bang Theory panel and Peter Dinklage and Jack Gleeson both missing from the Game of Thrones panel; however, neither panel was a disappointment. The Big Bang Theory made up for it with funny banter from the remaining cast as well as a surprise announcement, where one of the lucky attendees got a ticket to go to SPACE! The best panel for me had to be from the cast of Fringe. Watching Anna Torv, Joshua Jackson, John Noble, Lance Reddick and Jasika Nicole each giving insite into their characters was fascinating. The highlight was a poorly placed pause on Torv's response to a question on what she’s learned from Olivia: " I think it's to come…" Jackson’s immediate laughter helped the crowd realize the pun which lead to a red faced Torv. 

 

2. Hotel Location (see picture above for the view from the hotel room)

This year two things helped us get the hotel we wanted: luck and timing. We could not have gauged the differences a close hotel makes in the overall Comic Con experience back in March. The Hilton Gaslamp was where we laid our heads to rest and it quickly became the biggest blessing for out 2012 pilgrimage. We could see the lines forming, we could drop off loads of books/swag, we could recharge our phones/selves and best of all we were in the thick of it in under two minutes! The hotel proximity enhanced our 5 days in Comic Con land and made our time there extraordinary. 

 

1. Signings

I don't chase movie stars but I have to confess at Comic Conm there are some exceptions. At our first Comic Con in 2009, I stopped dead in my tracks when I got a glimpse of the great Leonard Nimoy, I immediately got in line to get a signature. In 2012 I was lucky enough to draw tickets that allowed me to get a poster signed from the cast of Fringe and from Game of Thrones author George RR Martin. This was last appearance at Comic Con for the cast of Fringe and having been a big fan of the show that poster and interaction while getting their signatures was a once in a lifetime chance. Martin’s signature means something to me on a different level - I NEVER READ. George RR Martin changed that and his epic novels are a true joy to my day and meeting him was just as epic.