Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York by Roz Chast
(Bloomsbury USA, 2017, 169 pages)
Going into Town: A Love Letter to New York started as a small booklet written by author Chast as a guide to Manhattan for her daughter who was moving there for college. On the first page though, she states, “it’s not really a guide book” because, for example, there’s nothing in it about the Statue of Liberty. She covers the basics, including the layout of Manhattan, from which I learned that avenues run north and south, while streets run east and west, and the distance between avenues is greater than the distance between streets. I also learned that Manhattan is 2.3 miles across, so you could plug in a toaster on one side of the island, run the cord along 14th Street, and have toast on the other side. Chast’s dry wit made me chuckle aloud several times. In addition to the layout of Manhattan, she covers the Subway system, the Met and other museums, parks, food, and apartments. I’m planning to go to New York over the summer and will probably check out this book again before I leave. Even if you’re not going there, it’s a fun, informative read.
Batman ’66 Meets Wonder Woman ’77
by Jeff Parker & Marc Andreyko; art by David Hahn & Karl Kesel
(DC Comics, 2017, 144 pages)
The first half of the book is set in the 1960s as a female thief aided by Catwoman steals a rare book of maps from a man’s safe. The female thief grabs the book and escapes with a man in a car (who we find out later are Ra’s al Ghul and his daughter Talia). Feeling set up, Catwoman joins Batman and Robin to try to capture them. Batman flashes back to his childhood as young Bruce Wayne tries to stop thieves from stealing a similar rare book. As a boy he had been aided by Wonder Woman, who apparently never ages.
The second half of the book is set in the 1970s. Batman has retired from crime fighting, but comes back to help Nightwing (formerly Robin) and Catwoman find Ra’s al Ghul and Talia, who have resurfaced after a decade on Paradise Island (home of Wonder Woman). Batgirl also becomes involved in the pursuit, but the writers erroneously refer to her as Batwoman (two different superheroes, people)! Interestingly, over the course of the comic, Catwoman takes on each of the forms of her 1960s Batman tv series actresses—Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether, and Julie Newmar—respectively. I enjoyed volume 1 and plan to pick up volume 2 when it’s available. Recommended for fans of both classic Batman and Wonder Woman tv series.
4.5/5 stars (lost 1/2 star for calling Batgirl by the wrong name)
Star Trek: Boldly Go, Vol. 2
by Mike Johnson and Ryan Parrott; art by Megan Levens and Tony Shasteen
(IDW Publishing, 2018, 144 pages)
Star Trek: Boldly Go features characters from the new films (primarily Kirk, Spock, Uhura, Scotty, and Spock’s father, Sarek) along with those from the Starfleet Academy series, also written by Mike Johnson. It comprises four main stories in different settings—a peace conference focusing on the relationship between the Federation and Romulans; Spock and Uhura helping to rebuild new Vulcan; the mystery of the stolen captain’s chair from the Enterprise that is being repaired; and the search for a woman whose young daughter reports her lost. I enjoyed all of the stories, but the endings of the first two were a little disappointing. Fortunately, each story got better as it went along. Recommended to Star Trek fans of the original series and new films.
Wrong to Need You (Forbidden Hearts #2) by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 2017, 368 pages)
The second book in the Forbidden Hearts series focuses on Jackson and Sadia. Jackson is Livvy’s twin brother (from Hate to Want You) and Sadia is the widow of his older brother, Paul – yes, this is an interesting love “triangle.”
Jackson returned home to check on his sister after he worried she’d be hurt by Nicholas, again. This is the first time he’s stepped foot back in town since he was accused of arson. He didn’t even come back for his brother’s funeral. When Sadia realizes Jackson is home NOW she can’t believe it. Not only did he miss the funeral but he also hasn’t replied to any of the messages she has sent him over the past decade. They’d grown up together, been best friends, and then she couldn’t help but be hurt by his radio silence.
Jackson knows he hasn’t done right by Sadia and so he attempts to make amends by helping out in the cafe she runs on her own. The truth is, he’s been in love with her since high school and he had to bury his feelings when she married Paul. What neither he nor Sadia counted on was the strong attraction she would feel for him. It feels wrong lusting after her brother-in-law but there’s no denying the chemistry between them…
It was fun to be able to read this immediately after the first book in the series. I appreciate the connecting characters, though the books could feasibly stand alone. I wasn’t as invested in this title as the first one, but I still enjoyed it. And I’m obviously keeping up with the series. I’ll be pursuing Rai’s backlist next 😉
Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai
(Avon, 2017, 371 pages)
Nicholas and Livvy have established a one-night rendezvous every year for the past decade. That’s all they get – one night. Then they go back to not communicating until the following year. The two have a complicated past. They’d been high school sweethearts but a rift between their families forced them apart. When Livvy doesn’t show up for her standing date with Nicholas he’s not sure how to handle things. He’d been counting down the days each year until he got to be with her. Then he finds out she’s back in their hometown and he won’t be able to rest until he finds out why she stood him up.
Meanwhile, Livvy can’t really believe she’s back home. She has spent the past ten years wandering around the country. The only reason she’s back is because her mom is recovering from an injury and Livvy wants to be supportive. The last thing she wants is to run into Nicholas… so naturally, he puts himself right in her path.
Nicholas and Livvy struggle to find a way to coexist in the same town without giving in to lustful urges they know will eventually do more harm than good. Even with their families doing everything they can to keep them apart, it’s hard to ignore their attraction to one another…
This was my first time reading a book by Rai and I loved it! She was actually recommended as a contemporary romance author I might like by Victoria Dahl (whose romance novels I love). I appreciate the writing, the multicultural cast, and just hearing a new voice. I definitely recommend her. I’m about to start book 3 in the series 😉
House of Women by Sophie Goldstein
(Fantagraphics, 2017, 200 pages)
In this black and white graphic novel, four women go to a planet to help civilize the natives who live there, particularly the children. The natives, who look part Grinch, part human, do not speak the women’s language, except young Zaza. The women aren’t prepared for an unexpected transformation that occurs when the young natives, including Zaza, hit puberty that could endanger their lives. A man living on the planet who seems human, but strangely has four eyes, provides understanding of the natives, but has also formed a sexual bond with them.
The book leaves unanswered questions, including information about the man’s past and the fate of the natives and the women, perhaps leaving it open to a sequel! I recommend House of Women for a quick read for fans of science fiction and graphic novels.
Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta
(Scribner, 2017, 309 pages)
I wasn’t blown away but it was an entertaining read.
Here’s the blurb from Amazon:
Eve Fletcher is trying to figure out what comes next. A forty-six-year-old divorcee whose beloved only child has just left for college, Eve is struggling to adjust to her empty nest when one night her phone lights up with a text message. Sent from an anonymous number, the mysterious sender tells Eve, “U R my MILF!” Over the months that follow, that message comes to obsess Eve. While leading her all-too-placid life—serving as Executive Director of the local senior center by day and taking a community college course on Gender and Society at night—Eve can’t curtail her own interest in a porn website called MILFateria.com, which features the erotic exploits of ordinary, middle-aged women like herself. Before long, Eve’s online fixations begin to spill over into real life, revealing new romantic possibilities that threaten to upend her quiet suburban existence.