BOOKS & MOVIES FOR 2014

AMBER LOVE 02-JAN-2015 These aren’t things that were released in 2014 necessarily. I’m such a binge watcher and reader that I usually don’t get to things right away. I have some notes intended to have at my disposal in case I ever discussed the material on Vodka O’Clock and needed quick reference. I hesitate sharing some of that because when I really disliked something, I did not hold back in these jotted down notes. If you are curious about any of the ones where I didn’t make any notes, feel free to comment here or ask me on Twitter @elizabethamber. Links go to long reviews where I’ve better covered the subject. Thanks to NetGalley and a Yule present from a friend, I’m already reading two books that I’ll put on my 2015 list.

AUDIO BOOKS

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Opening Up: A Guide to Creating & Sustaining Open Relationships Tristan Taormino
Bossypants Tiny Fey
How to be a Woman Caitlin Moran couldn’t even finish it, disliked it so much; contradictory; quotable; frustrating
A Girl Walks into a Bar Rachel Dratch Very interesting to listen to after Fey’s memoir since Dratch never got the massively huge break Fey did though because of their similar career paths and late in life motherhood.
Kasher in the Rye Moshe Kasher Amazing memoir! Seeing his standup on Netflix made everything in this book such a shocker.
Screwing My Way to Monogamy Ophira Eisenberg
I Hate My Neck Nora Ephron Enjoyed but the bits of wealth privilege were so unrelatable.
The Long Embrace: Raymond Chandler & the Women He Loved Judith Freeman Loved
The Burglar Who Counted the Spoons Lawrence Block Loved
Unbearable Lightness: A story of loss & gain Portia de Rossi Loved
Money Shot Christa Faust Not really my cuppa tea. Too graphic and tropey.
Ron Perlman: Easy Street the Hard Way Loved
Rob Lowe: Things I only Tell my Friends (still in process with this one now that I’m in my car daily) Loved

PRINTED BOOKS READ

I’m pretty sure that I’m missing some books from this list because it doesn’t seem quite right. I know I read a Rose Pressey mystery unless that was 2013. Hard to recall which is why I started keeping a spreadsheet in google docs.

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Protectors: Stories to Benefit PROTECT (a few of the collection) 41 authors: Thomas Pluck, Andrew Vacchs, Joe R. Lansdale, Ken Bruen & more Difficult subject matter to read. (child abuse) Could trigger some readers but it’s a charity project that benefits PROTECT.
Last God Standing Michael Boatman
Beautiful, Naked, and Dead Josh Stallings
Eight Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory Before I Tried it & Frakked it All Up Cunning Minx On VOC 1419, May episode
I am Amelia Earhart Meltzer, Eliopolous Fast read children’s storybook; Amelia is telling the story as if she’s an adult looking back at her life but she’s
Severance Package Duane Swierczynski
I am Malala Malala Yousafzai young readers edition
Fuckload of Shorts (read one or two of the short stories.) Jedidiah Ayres read one or two of the short stories.
The Job Lee Goldberg & Janet Evanovich lots of fun
A Boy Like Me Jennie Wood
Double Feature Joe Caramanga

COMICS, GRAPHIC COLLECTIONS, WEBCOMICS

Sometimes I noted which range of issues I read but several of them are series carried through from 2013; other times I only read the first issue just to see if I liked something with the plan to either binge read more later or drop it. And don’t forget, I covered a bunch of favorites in two different posts already: favorite female lead stories and things you might enjoy.

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Deadhorse Grissom, Sloan, Halvorson  Adventure, action, mystery, great cast of characters and political intrigue in a story of really weird stuff
Planet Gigantic Grissom, Halvorson  One of my favorite all ages sci-fi comics
Jack Hammer – 4 issues Brandon Barrows, Ionic  Love the pulp action style.
Illegitimates Marc Andreyko, Taran Killam, Kevin Sharpe (pencils), Diana Greenhalgh (inks), Peter Pantazis (colors), Thom Zahler (letters)
Unit 44 (1 of 4) Wes Locher, Eduardo Jimenez
Dead Body Road vol 1 (1-6) Justin Jordan, Matteo Scalera, Mareno Dinisio, PatBrosseau car chase, action, bank heist gone wrong, interrogation, crew of 7 robbing numbers from bank; cop Ana dies and her lover/partner Orson Gage is out for revenge; Rachel is pregnant stripper/criminal who comes out stronger at the end – token female but handled well
Pretty Deadly Kelly Sue, Emma Rios hard to follow; gave up
Black Science Remender, Scalera good so far; art has a similarity to anime showing the motion lines, vibrant colors, and incredibly unique character designs of the aliens like the high tech Native Americans and horses.
Love Machines Josh Trujillo, various artists short stories – one on girl falling in love with robotic Karl Marx in funland; microwave and vending machine in love
Deadly Class Remender, Wes Craig, Lee Loughridge, Wooton homeless, mental illness, poverty, immigration/refuge – with Nagel-like art. Marcus, Saya, Prof Lin of Kings Dominion School of Deadly Arts
Moth City season 1 Tim Gibson unique digital file where balloons and panels reveal themselves with clicks; Chinese mafia
Velvet Brubaker, Epting, Breitweiser Velvet Templeton comes out of her secretary role to return to the life of a secret agent in order to finish solving a mystery one of her fellow agents died working on.
Sex Criminals 1 Fraction, Zdarsky  first issue didn’t win me over so didn’t continue.
Rat Queens 1-7 Wiebe, Upchurch
boobage Monica Gallagher insights into a young woman expecting all women to have giant breasts when is a lanky tall ballerina. great art & salmon monochrome.
Orphans 1 Palicki, Jovanovic, Heagsta Super soldier program competition; one ends up being plant based with flora soldiers & flora babies are stolen
The People Inside Ray Fawkes One of my favorite OGNs
Princess Ugg  Ted Naifeh, Warren Wucinich (color)  You can probably find four or five posts about Princess Ugg because I talk about it constantly. My favorite comic of the year.
Dry Spell Ken Krekeler Tom is hiding his former identity as a supervillain, it seems; issue 1 leaves too much unanswered; indicates he’s struggling with artistic intentions but is ominous.
Letter 44 Charles Soule, Joelle Jones, Dan Jackson Seems I picked up at issue 7; earth scientists recruited to go to space; one a Harvard Professor that was searching for diamonds in Siberia from a crater.
Tara Normal Howie Noeldechen
I Was the Cat Paul Tobin, Benjamin Dewey One of my favorite OGNs. A nearly immortal cat recounts his nine lives going back to ancient Egypt and through time in order for Allison (black American) to write his memoir; her bff Reggie ( white Londoner) accompanies her. Burma the cat has a secret network that added things to fast foods in order to control humans and take over the world. His fame includes being the cat in an Audrey Hepburn movie, being Napolean’s cat, and being Puss in Boots. PG 13 for innocent shower scene & girls getting dressed but there’s also a panel of a spy in bed with a an agent. Burma is using a food enterprise to make humans lazy and susceptible.
Ghosted Joshua Williamson, Goran Sudzuka, Miroslav Mrva Cast is given the task to capture a ghost in the Trask Mansion. King, Joe, Jay, Trick, Rusnak and leader Jackson Winter.
Death-Defying Doctor Mirage Jen Van Meter, Roberto de la Torre One of my favorite comics of all time!
Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2 Groot had spent vol 1 regrowing and he’s back in 2. Phylla-Vell and Mantis play huge roles in this volume that anyone seeing the movie wouldn’t even know who they are. Phylla’s love for Heather Douglas is featured one chapter when she and Drax are killed and sent to Oblivion and Phylla’s actions wake up the Moondragon which was where Heather’s soul was. Meanwhile, Peter is sent to the face off against Blackstaar’s horde; this is where Jack Staff comes onto the team as he and Peter try to keep the horde out of the super prison “42”; a slightly new team lead by Rocket is busy defending Knowhere from the evil church that may or may not believe Adam Warlock is their messiah. Starhawk is gender swapped and explains that the universe keeps changing so every time he appears, he’s sometimes a man, a woman, old, young, always different.
Valerian / Shadows French comic; this volume stars Laureline which Valerian and an ambassador have been kidnapped. She and an incompentent protocol officer go on a journey to retrieve information to save them. Laureline doesn’t even hesitate at obstacles. Her “ticking clock” is not only the protection of Point Center at risk but that her pooping pet Grumpy runs out of energy every time it makes currency.
Genius marc bernadin, Adam Freeman, afua richardson super genius young black girl unites the gangs of So Central LA to stand up agains the police state; Afua Richardson deserves all the awards this year.
Lazarus Grug Rucka, Michael Lark, Santi Arcas nihilistic, oligarchy society, each mafia style family runs mass geographic areas with different specialties; citizens are considered serfs (working class) or water (over populated impoverished class)
Hero Cats (missing 2) Puttkammer & Williams best all ages book since MLP
Doberman 1-3 like Tango & Cash, 80’s style cop dramedy
Amelia Cole v2 Knave, Brokenshire, Kirkbride sorry to say terrible lettering by Deering with balloons placed out of order from top to bottom for dialog reading; gave up trying to read it.
Trees 1-7 Warren Ellis, Jason Howard scifi – around the world alien pillars that don’t seem to do anything landed; being researched for 10 years all over the world; occasionally spew waste; one story is about a young artist who is befriended by a transwoman
Southern Dog 1 Jeremy Holt, Mike Diotto, Riley Rossmo Alabama racism being shown in the school system and in families plus werewolf genocide. Flawless art.
Fight Like a Girl 1 Pinckney, Lee Amarose requests of the Pantheon to go on the quest of 9 trials in the wishing well; her wish is to save her dying brother
Itty Bitty Bunnies in Rainbow Pixie Candyland adult humor; sick, gross, fun
Strange Nation Paul Allor, Juan Romera  Fun sci-fi mystery with secret societies and conspiracy theories; Asian woman as leading character
Fade Out: Painless Suicide Beto Skubs, Rafael De Latorre, Marcelo Maiolo, Anderson Cabral one-shot about teenage boy who is suicidal and depressed; finds out his father is still alive; mother is a social worker and “slut”; gets a girlfriend but finds interest in another girl who turns out to be a serial killer of social workers. Art is better than story.
Lumberjanes breaks gender roles when the Janes meet up with boys; Riley is the youngest and completely fearless, the rest have reasonable caution but are daring and want to solve the mysteries of the monsters and weird things they encounter.
The Fade Out Brubaker, Phillips, Breitweiser murder mystery from POV of a failed screenwriter about an up and coming actress in the 1940s
Oddly Normal Otis Frampton  A fantastically fun Oz homage for young readers.
Sherlock Holmes vs Harry Houdini Anthony Del Col/Conor McCreery, Carlos Furuzono (A), Aikau Oliva (C), Rob Steen (L) read 1-2 from NetGalley; overcrowded panels, art doesn’t make Sherlock & Houdini distinctive enough to tell which is which except in panels large enough to see wardrobe, not great coloring – muscles look like airbrushed muscles instead of gradiants, excellent lettering considering how diff the job must have been with such verbose narration and dialog; story is interesting – someone is out to ruin Houdini’s reputation.
Herald Lovecraft vs Tesla 1 Doesn’t stand out enough
Churchill Unauthorized Bio Erica Schultz and Claire Connelly Fun and wild; love Claire’s art so much ever since Animals
Sensation Comics various Read a selection of the two-part and one-shot stories about Wonder Woman. Very disappointed. Only like one of the stories and one of the artists.
Black Metal v 1 twin boys are the reincarnated demon Roth
Guns of Shadow Valley Dave Wachter, James Clark, Thomas Mauer Has garnered critical acclaim and noms for Harveys and Eisners, was published in bound hard copies through Kickstarter and then picked up by Dark Horse.
Pawn shop Joey Esposito, Shawn Van Gorman, Moore multiple vignettes in nyc where the people intersect; sweet and heartfelt
Parker’s the Score Darwyn Cooke heist of an entire small mining town, bottle neck set up, goes wrong when mastermind goes crazy and blows everything up.
Amy Devlin v3 Christina Weir, Nunzio DeFilippis, TJ Kirsch amateur PI Amy Devlin – like a more mature contemporary Nancy Drew. She has real life problems. Needs financial assistance from her parents who decide to cut her off because they don’t approve of her detective agency career.
Diesel Sweeties R. Stevens comic strip collection in 8 bit style with nerd humor
Meteor men Jeff Parker, Sandy Jarrell, Kevin Volo parasitic aliens come to Earth; one has a special connection with Alden Baylor a teen boy who owns the property where one of the meteorites landed; the alien is attached to his boss Wilton. The military only wants to destroy them. Alden tries to be a delegate and diplomat but when it’s clear the govt only resorts to violence, Alden puts one of the aliens on himself and flees earth.
Ciudad Russo Brothers w/Ande Parks, Fernando León González (A), Crank! (L) Covered with the author on podcast
Innovation Comic Wes Locher, various artists
Space Corps Comic Gannon Beck, Bryan Richmond, Joey Groah A webcomic that deserves a lot more attention and bigger audience.
As the Crow Flies Melanie Gillman http://www.melaniegillman.com/ – black girl on a xian feminist camping trip, feeling like a minority and scared/anxious

MOVIES & DOCUMENTARIES

I don’t have any big reviews of these documentaries. Bottom line is that I enjoyed all of them a lot and they are on Netflix (at least they were but I know the catalog changes).

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Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries & Mentors of Ricky Jay
Drew Struzan: The Man Behind the Poster
I Know that Voice
How Sherlock Changed the World
Unlocking Sherlock