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Book Review: ‘Food Whore’

Food Whore is a deliciously devised debut novel from author Jessica Tom. Tom’s background in the culinary world not only lends a hand but creates a fantastic entrée of intrigue and enchantment. Still, some sections of Food Whore are simply too difficult to digest. Tom’s knowledge of ingredients and the manner in which they blend and tangle with your taste buds will make you wish you had an ounce of the culinary skill of her characters. These intense descriptions of the many delights encountered in the New York City dining landscape may leave the pages of your book damp with your own ardent saliva.

FoodWhore paperback cover - finalLike any fine dining experience this one begins with hors d’oeuvres at a finely set table. Though the tablecloth is silk, the diners are rayon; well-meaning and fine to gaze upon from a distance, but not quite well refined. Tia Monroe is a prodigy with culinary dreams. She will put herself on the plate of culinary legend Helen Lansky and acquire a coveted internship. When her dreams burn on the stove, she is salvaged by feared and powerful New York Times food critic Michael Salz.

The entrée is not au maigre. Michael Salz suffers from a condition of the tongue, aguesia, which prevents him from continuing his journey into the succulent world of foie gras and entrecôte. Impressed by Monroe’s written works, Salz hires her to deceive the culinary world. Working for Salz takes Monroe on a fascinating journey through the sophisticated world she longs to dine in, but quickly learns it isn’t all flambé and macaroons.

No entrée would be complete without its side and this one is starchy. Though Monroe’s personal goals have taken a backseat to the misstep of the professional, she is still determined to create a whipped mashed yam joy. Her tenacity sometimes leads to a lumpy, gluey concoction that only her inner circle can enjoy and only the truest of her inner circle can truly critique to better her skill.

For dessert Tom serves a tarte tatin, warm and gooey with the surprising prospect of emotional response. With this full meal behind, satisfaction is inevitable. You may even need a nap from impending food coma, but for some reason you will crave another helping.

Portrait of author Jessica Tom by Liz Clayman
Portrait of author Jessica Tom by Liz Clayman

Jessica Tom is a writer and food blogger living in Brooklyn. She has worked on initiatives with restaurants, hospitality startups, food trucks, and citywide culinary programs. She graduated from Yale University with a concentration in fiction writing and wrote the restaurant review for the Yale Daily News Magazine. Food Whore is her first novel.


Food Whore

by Jessica Tom

Paperback: 352 pages

Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 27, 2015)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0062387006

ISBN-13: 978-006238700

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Comic Review: ‘Surface Tension’ Series (#1-#5)

This week the final issue of Surface Tension was released, bringing the 5-part mini-series written and illustrated by Jay Gunn and distributed by Titan Comics to an end. As such, we wanted to reflect back on the eco-thriller that featured everything from sea-sickness water zombies, to horrifying aqua monsters, to islanders in peril.

Surface Tension Issue #4
Surface Tension Issue #4

Since our February interview with Gunn, we have gushed about the four major reasons we loved issue #1, pondered the story’s mysteries in issue #2, and commended the series for keeping us guessing even after the midway point following issue #3.

Issue #4 gave us all of the answers to our questions, and some of my own predictions ended up being correct. Without spoiling too much, the series did raise the question on who was the bigger threat to planet earth: mankind or the “monsters.” However, there were some plot points I never would have guessed. It was revealed that the “monsters” themselves had a fascinating origin story, one that, quite frankly, could very well be possible for all we know. One complaint of mine is that while the story did a good job of building up the tension (ha, no pun intended) in issues 1-3, the denoument in issue #4 was too cut and dry (not another pun, I swear). The story unfolded using too much exposition. On one hand, I appreciated that everything was made clear, on the other hand, it lacked a certain amount of drama.

Surface Tension Issue #5
Surface Tension Issue #5

Issue #5 was the grand finale. I must say, this is where the drama returned! There’s a budding love triangle that ends up being surprisingly touching and several super hero-esque battles (whose action and movement were creatively illustrated, I might add). One scene I simply adored featured Super Megumi literally having the fate of mankind in her hands, as she holds Mary in her palm and debates whether or not wiping out the humans would be the best thing for the planet. The symbolism and art work accompanied the story nicely. At the end of the issue, I really felt like there was great closure… up until the last few pages. Gunn snuck in a twist that makes you wonder whether or not mankind got a happy ending.

Overally, I enjoyed the Surface Tension series. I found the characters to be interesting and morally ambiguous, and I genuinely cared about what would happen to them. The artwork was lovely, and I particularly enjoyed the whimsy of the monsters, the selkies (sea lion/humanoid/monster creatures that I want as a pet), the coral, and the scenes of the characters’ memories. Despite the occasional bit of foul language, the violence wasn’t overtly graphic, and the story was easy to follow along, making this a series I would recommend to everyone from a middle school student to my best adult buddy.

Did you read the final issue of Surface Tension? If so, let us know what you thought! And if not, well, weigh in anyway in the comments!

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‘Twilight’ Gets Gender Swapped for the Tenth Anniversary Edition

A lot of people ended up joining in on the Twilight bandwagon when Harry Potter ended, myself included. Now, it’s been ten years since the first Twilight book was published, and the franchise that spawned four books and five movies still has a pretty loyal fan base.

So marking the tenth anniversary of the first Twilight publication, not only has Twilight been re-released with bonus content (in book form), but a new book has also been released! Sadly it’s not from Edward’s perspective (come one, that little snippet that was leaked online was pretty amazing), but it’s kind of close?

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined, is a gender swapped novel featuring Beau, the male equivalent of Bella, and Edythe, Edwards female counterpart. Let’s not forget about Jacob either, who obviously didn’t escape the gender swapping – he’s now Julie. So far, the only people that haven’t been changed are Bella’s – I mean Beau’s – parents, Renee, and Charlie. Author Stephanie Meyer cites these reasons as, “I have a really hard time believing that any judge at that time (or even now) would give a child to a transient, unemployed father over a mother with a steady job and strong ties to her community.”

Now, as I stated before, I was absolutely sucked into the world of Twilight, but I must admit that I always thought that something had been off about the series. It wasn’t until it was spelled out that Bella was a damsel in distress, too emotionally attached to someone a hundred years her senior, that I realized that Bella probably isn’t the best role model to be idolizing.

I personally want to read Life and Death to see exactly just how much Stephanie Meyer changed and tweaked the story to try and escape with Beau and the leading…man, and how that affected the whole damsel in distress angle.

It really wasn’t until New Moon that things really got a bit obsessive, so a gender swapped version of the first book shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the story.

Check out the video below for Stephanie Meyer’s reveal of the new book, which took place during her interview with Good Morning America.

What are your feelings on this reimagining of Twilight? Love it? Hate it? Waste of time? Weigh your thoughts in the comments below!

 
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So… About that ‘Official First Look’ of Emma Watson as Belle…

There’s a photo of Emma Watson dressed up as Belle for her latest role in the upcoming Beauty and The Beast live action movie out there and the internet is going absolutely bonkers over it.

But that’s not surprising – it’s Emma freaking Watson after all.

The photo in question shows Watson donning that iconic yellow ball gown made famous by the original 1991 animated film, all the while giving the camera her best smoulder.

This ‘official first look’ was reportedly released at Disney’s D3 (according to countless websites) during their extremely brief Beauty and the Beast presentation, where Watson herself did make a small appearance (via a prerecorded video).

You can feast your eyes on the photo for yourself thanks to this tweet from OK! Magazine:

But there’s just one teensy weensy problem: the photo is a total fake.

It turns out that the image was created by visual artist Prateek Mathur as fan concept art for the film. Mathur (who is surely getting some awesome free publicity right now) even posted a video online to show how he created it (see below).

Well I’m sure the editors over at Ok! Magazine and similar publications are feeling pretty embarrassed and silly right now! And let’s not forget about the thousands (if not millions) of Watson and Disney fans out there that were fooled.

The moral of the story is a tale as old as time: don’t trust the internet.

Well… unless it’s, you know… us. We have your back.

Beauty and the Beast hits theaters in 2017.

What do you think Belle’s dress will really look like? Let us know in the comments!

 

 

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Book Review: The Glass Gauntlet by Carter Roy

“I’m not my father’s biggest fan. Not just because he ordered a flunky to kill me the last time I saw him…And not because of his secret identity as the head of the Bend Sinister…All of that is bad enough, but even worse? He stole a person’s soul.”
The Glass GauntletThe Glass Gauntlet picks up where The Blood Guard (Book #1) leaves off. Ronan, Greta, Sammy and Dawkins are dodging the Bend Sinister, finding new places to hide and clever ways to communicate. A piece in a chapter about communicating through an abandoned massively multiplayer online game (MMO) stole my nerdy heart.
Some of the best moments in the book are the attention to detail. Though I don’t care for Dawkins, I do find it amusing that he wore a YOLO T-shirt with the last “O” crossed out. There is a mention of Minecraft, a phenomenon amongst children (and adults), which made me appreciate Roy’s knowledge of his audience.
Unlike the first book of the series, high octane action transpires near the beginning after only minimal exposition. This structural shift is complete when the children, Ronan, Greta and Sammy, are enrolled in a school to test their intelligence. This is where it gets a little boring. The chapters seem to drag on a little bit. Admittedly the results of this school are predictable and throw the kids into a Maze Runner-like situation.
The dialogue and exposition are simple, even for the elementary grade levels. The characters don’t exhibit any development. These characters could actually be the same archetypes from the first few chapters of the first book and Sammy may as well not even have existed. Despite these critiques, the overall story is enjoyable for its target audience. If you or your little ones are looking for something very quick and fun to read, this is that book.

Carter Roy author photo credit JDZ Photography
Carter Roy author photo credit JDZ Photography

Carter Roy lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife, a spiky cat, and far too many books. Visit www.carterroy.com or follow him on Twitter: @CarterRoyBooks


The Glass Gauntlett
Author: Carter Roy
Age Range: 10 – 14 year
Grade Level: 4th – 8th
Series: The Blood Guard Series (Book 2)
Hardcover: 261 pages
Publisher: Two Lions (August 18, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1477826262
ISBN-13: 978-1477826263

 

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Comic Review: ’21st Century Tank Girl’ #3

21st_Century_Tank_Girl#321st Century Tank Girl is back in issue #3. Like issue 1 and issue 2, #3 is a cornucopia of stories, posters, and quotes, each overflowing with an abundance of adventure and chaos for our favorite Australian renegade and her pals.

The issue begins when hungover party-goers go on a heist for God’s tighty whities (seriously). The story ran a bit long for my liking, but random drawings in the margins (including charicature cameos by Andy Warhol, a setient hamburger, and Cheech Marin) kept my interest when the somewhat predictable story could not. With a character as wacky as Tank Girl, I was surprised and somewhat disappointed that this story had so many “spy movie” tropes. I hope they were just paying homage and poking fun at the hokey genre, because otherwise there is no excuse for being cliche.

Other stories included a local Ma and Pa shop has been taken over by BALL-MART, a “cereal-ously” ridiculous problem when Booga trades in the group’s life savings to invest in Super-Krunchy Booga Flakes, and an Evel Knievel-esque stunt beautifully crafted to look like something straight out of the Sunday funnies.

While 21st Century Tank Girl #3 had some hits and misses, I still had fun reading the issue. I do recommend that you pick up a copy of the comic in stores, as it comes with a poster. Also, there were a few stand-alone pages with gorgeous art and inspiring quotes that were so empowering they deserve to be framed and hung!

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21st Century Tank Girl #3
WRITER: Alan Martin
ARTIST: Jamie Hewlett, Warwick Johnson-Caldwell, Phillip Bond, Jonathan Edwards, Brett Parson
COVER: Brett Parson
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
PAGECOUNT: 32
COVER PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE DATE: August 12

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Official ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Poster Is Revealed

At D23, Disney revealed what will be the official movie poster of the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The movie poster for the seventh installment in the epic franchise was painted Drew Struzan, who has done poster artwork for all of the films to date. The poster shows Daisy Ridley’s “Rey” in the foreground holding a staff, while Johnny Boyega’s “Finn” is behind her holding a light saber. This begs the question, who is passing off that lightsaber to Leia in the trailer?

star_wars_poster_full.0

 

Let us know what you think about the new poster and how it measures up to the others in the series in the comments below!

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Comic Review: ‘Surface Tension #3’

Surface Tension #3 (the midway point in a 5-part ecological horror miniseries written/illustrated by Jay Gunn and distributed by Titan Comics) was released, and despite receiving a handy dandy electronic copy for my reviewing pleasure, I skipped over to my local comic book shop to pick up a hard copy. PDFs simply can’t compete with the vibrancy of ink on glossy pages or the crispness of leafing through a brand spanking new comic book. As I was purchasing the issue, the clerks asked what I thought of the series so far. “Weird, huh?” they quipped.

Surface-Tension_03_CoverYes, with premonitions of devastating tsunamis caused by eerie coral, frightening creatures (like a Creepy Fly Baby) attacking islanders, hypnosis sequences with lovely sherbet-colored panels, and fantastical transformations complete with new-found special powers like water juggling, Surface Tension #3 is definitely strange— but that’s not a bad thing. Actually, in a day and age when remakes are all the rage and everything is one giant recycled cliché, I’m more than okay with a little weirdness. (In fact, we even posted a blog about the 4 things we loved about the series after issue #1!)

As a good story teller should at the midway point, Gunn ups the ante, teasing readers by answering some questions while simultaneously introducing new mysteries. After perusing #2, we posted a blog about the 4 questions we had about the series thus far, and I am pretty sure I was 99.9% wrong on all my speculations. As someone who has a solid track record of predicting the ending of a movie from the trailer, I have to admit I’m thoroughly enjoying the surprises in Surface Tension. Not knowing what weird thing is going to happen next is precisely what keeps me reading the series!

SURFACE TENSION #3 (OF 5)
WRITER/ARTIST: Jay Gunn
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
PAGE-COUNT: 32PP
PRICE: $3.99
ON SALE: July 29

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SDCC Day 2 Recap!

The Walking Dead season 6 trailer revealed

It’s about to go down. Watch it here.

Luke, Leia, and Han Solo reunited on stage at Comic-Con

https://twitter.com/LauInLA/status/619681747542736896/photo/1

“It’s an emotional rounding of the experience we had in the first films,” Harrison Ford (Solo) said. “I never thought it would come back to bless me instead of haunt me. … I was very gratified when I read the script, because I read something that I thought was really remarkable. Well written, with some intriguing developments. So I was delighted to be involved.”

…and we got behind the scenes footage of Star Wars: The Force Awakens!

Ghost Busters reboot’s first official cast photo

This one technically did not occur at Comic-Con, but hey, it happened the same day so it must count, right?

DC reveals 2 new Superman mini-series

Neal Adams will be writing and drawing a six-issue series called Coming of the Supermen, which will be similar to Adams’ recent Batman: Odyssey, which also is a standalone book set outside current DC continuity. Coming of the Superman’s main villains will be Darkseid and Kalibak, with three new “heroes” emerging to join in on the action. The comic will debut in November 2015.

Also appearing in November is a seven issue series titled Superman: American Alien. The series will span different points of Clark Kents life, telling stories between his transition from farm boy to hero.

Fear the Walking Dead premier date and trailer

Fear the Walking Dead will air next month, August 23, on AMC. Check out the trailer here.

Chewbacca comic book series announced

Chewbacca is getting his own Marvel Comics series!  The series is set shortly after the Battle of Yavin. “Chewbacca is on his own when he crash lands his ship on an Imperial occupied planet,” Marvel explained. “Now stranded, Chewie finds himself caught in the middle of trying to return to the rebellion and helping a young and feisty girl in need.”

Gerry Duggan is writing, with Phil Noto manning the art.

The 5-issue series will begin its run on October 2015.

Photo credit: MTV

Legend of Korra Graphic Novel Series Announced

Korra will return in her own graphic novel series! Much like The Last Airbender graphic novel, this series will be set after the events of the show. Readers will finally be able to learn more about Korra and Asami’s relationship, as was confirmed by co-creators Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino during the special panel.

There is no official release date as of yet.

Stay tuned for more news from SDCC!

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Comic Review: ’13 Coins’

WRITERS: Martin Brennan, Michael B. Jackson
ARTIST: Simon Bisley, Ryan Brown
COVERS BY: Simon Bisley, Ryan Brown
PUBLISHER: Titan Comics
PAGECOUNT: 160
COVER PRICE: $22.99
RELEASE DATE: 08 July

Review:

13 Coins is a unique story of faith, sin, lust, love, and murder.

It begins with a story of a great battle of fallen angels, with the actual story taking place in the aftermath of it. The title is one of the key components of this comic, as the 13 coins essentially resemble the 13 keys to free the king of the fallen angels. I have read and watched a lot of fallen angels stories, but 13 Coins really has a nice twist that adds to the amazingly dark and gory artwork and its unique form of story telling.

13 Coins is not for the faint of heart, for children, or for those who cannot stand blood, guts, foul language, and sexuality.

The artwork portrays the story line perfectly: dark and sinister. I enjoyed the characters and I definitely became connected to them, so when something dark befell them I would tear up! I caught myself gasping throughout the story,  in awe of the form of dark art that portrayed the emotions of the storyline, the way a few lines could capture disguised and pain. This was one of the more darker tales of a man’s life; it’s a story of letting go of the past and all of the pain that he had been through in order to lift himself up off the ground to help, and even save, mankind.

Major parts of this comic are accurate and biblical, but the creators and their warped minds twisted them to give it its own origin and story. You actually feel the pain, grief, sadness and rage the main character feels, and you connect with the supporting characters and learn to loath the villains.

I will definitely be looking for the rest of this series on the shelves when it is released!

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