Monday, December 26, 2022

2022 Update

It's been a while.

The last post I made on here was back in February and even before that my posts were becoming less and less frequent. I have a full time job that I'm really enjoying that just hasn't allowed for me the time to dedicate to reading and reviewing books. I still love reading, but I haven't been the best at keeping my Goodreads up to date. I won't have a list of my TOP BOOKS READ IN 2022 because, honestly, I haven't read a lot. I've listened to a few audiobooks and read a bunch of Power Rangers comics.

If you're someone who has followed me along the journey of reviewing books, thanks for listening. I started this blog with a friend as a way to keep in touch and to fill my time while out on a boat for long shifts. I've found that in my 30s, I need to prioritize my interests. There are so many different aspects of myself, that I can't do it all at once. That's what life is, though, figuring out who you are currently while planning who you want to be and unpacking who you once were. A book reviewer is an identity that I once had, but currently not so much. That's not to say I will never post on here again. 

If you would like to connect with me, here's a few places you may find me:

Instagram: @thepdecker

Twitter: @PWDecker

Goodreads: Paul Decker


Thursday, February 10, 2022

Power Rangers, Vol. 3 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Power Rangers, Vol. 3
Author:  Ryan Parrott
Artists: Francesco Mortarino
Release Date: January 4, 2022

Synopsis: Reeling from a crippling defeat at the hands of their new enemy, the Omega Rangers retreat and must turn to their greatest enemy to stop the Empyreals.

CAN THE OMEGA RANGERS AND DRAKKON SAVE THE UNIVERSE? Reeling from a crippling defeat at the hands of their new enemy, the Omega Rangers retreat to Safehaven in search for a way to stop the Empyreals. Will Drakkon, previously their greatest enemy and now their tenuous ally, provide the answers they seek… or will he show his true colors and betray them in the most dire hour? Meanwhile, the Emissaries have their own plans, which may hold the key to saving the entire universe! Superstar writer Ryan Parrott (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and fan favorite artist Francesco Mortarino (Firefly: Bad Company) ramp up the stakes in this latest chapter of the UNLIMITED POWER era. Collects Power Rangers #9-12.


Review: This volume continues building up the world-ending event with this volume having more connection to the other ongoing series, Power Rangers, towards the end. Yale's story was the highlight of this volume for me. I'm excited to see the Omega Rangers having four members again.

The Yellow Emissary plays a big part in this volume. The design done with the emissaries always impresses me. I get giddy with seeing the different combinations of ranger suits. 

I'm kind of over Drakkon so his story was my least favorite part of this volume. His characterization makes sense and I am looking forward to what it's building up to. 

Xi's personality shines through in this volume. They really are a big part of the Omega Rangers team. What they kept in their long-term memory storage was very telling. 

I give this volume a 5/5. This ongoing series continues to be a joy. I especially like the otherworldy aspect of this series.


Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Mighty Morphin, Vol. 3 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Mighty Morphin, Vol. 3
Author: Ryan Parrott
Artists: Marco Renna & Dan Mora
Release Date: December 14, 2021

Synopsis: A dark secret from their mentor’s past and the deadly origin of their deadliest enemy may spell the end of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

WILL A DARK SECRET FROM ZORDON’S PAST SPELL THE END OF THE POWER RANGERS? In the aftermath of Zedd’s assault on Angel Grove and the revelation of the true identity of the new Green Ranger, can the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers survive a betrayal by one of their own? Uncertain of his role as the Rangers’ mentor, Zordon will turn to an old friend for help… leading him to choose between ancient loyalties and Earth. And at the center of it all is a dark secret from Zordon’s past.. Superstar writer Ryan Parrott (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and rising star artist Marco Renna along with fan favorite artist Dan Mora (Once & Future) continue the UNLIMITED POWER era with the next shocking chapter of the story no one expected! Collects Mighty Morphin #9-12.


Review: The backstory of Zordon and Zedd is getting unearthed. Ryan has done such a great job of really expanding the lore and world of the 90s show into a multiverse that makes sense and connects so many threads. Zordon isn't only a mage leader, but someone with a past and loyalties. Where does Zordon's allegiance truly lie?

Matt's ranger journey is so interesting to compare to our main heroes. He's publicly a ranger now and that definitely affects his school life. 

I loved seeing Billy being held accountable by Zordon. The relationships in these comics are so much more dynamic that they were in the source material. 

Another great interaction happened in this volume. Tommy and Matt discuss being the green ranger. These "passing of the torch" moments play out better in the comics that the show.


The Eltarian War has begun!

I give this book a 5/5. I'm lukewarm about this story arc, but the world in which it's happening is so rich. I wanted more personal moments between the rangers in this volume, but their personalities still shone through in their dialogue and actions when working together. 


Monday, January 10, 2022

Paul's TOP BOOKS Read in 2021

I didn't achieve my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2021, but it was a pretty loose goal. There's still a global pandemic happening and I started a new fulltime job this year. I'm still trying to find the appropriate amount of time to read for leisure. All of that considered, I still did read 41 books. 41 out of 50. Most of those books were graphic novels. Instead of doing separate lists for graphic novels, children's books, and non-graphic prose I have just one list of my top ten books this year. Below you will find those books. Click on the titles or cover pictures for links to my reviews! 



What were your favorite books of 2021? What books are you looking forward to in 2022?


Sunday, January 9, 2022

Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals by Alexis Pauline Gumbs - Paul's REVIEW

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Undrowned: Black Feminist Lessons from Marine Mammals
Author: Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Release Date: November 27, 2020

Synopsis: Undrowned is a book-length meditation for social movements and our whole species based on the subversive and transformative guidance of marine mammals. Our aquatic cousins are queer, fierce, protective of each other, complex, shaped by conflict, and struggling to survive the extractive and militarized conditions our species has imposed on the ocean. Gumbs employs a brilliant mix of poetic sensibility and naturalist observation to show what they might teach us, producing not a specific agenda but an unfolding space for wondering and questioning. From the relationship between the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale and Gumbs’s Shinnecock and enslaved ancestors to the ways echolocation changes our understandings of “vision” and visionary action, this is a masterful use of metaphor and natural models in the service of social justice.


Review: This book was not written for me. I am not the audience. I am a white cis gay man. So many books have been written for me, though. I recommend picking up a book focusing on a different perspective than your own. I learned so much from this book. It was recommended by a co-worker of mine who is using the framing of this book in their own program development.

I am a marine science nerd. I am also a feminist. Gumbs brings those two worlds together in such thought-provoking ways as well as the Black experience. I have a new lens to approach scientific facts about animals. They most often come from an old white man's view of the world. There are so many biases in these "scientific facts" found in guides. I hadn't taken that into consideration before. So many marine mammals have only been seen very few times by Western scientists. Western scientists often don't take into account how much their presence may create change in those they are observing. The empathy Gumbs uses in this book allows the reader to imagine the way these marine mammals move through this world that we cohabitate. 

There is inspiration and hope in this book, but Gumbs also acknowledges the very true reality of the world that we live in and the systemic oppression and toxicity present. There are activities for reflection at the end of the book, both for groups and for individuals. I did not complete them all, but this book will remain on my work desk (when it's safe to go back into the office that is) for me to peruse and reflect on. 

I give this book a 5/5. I now have a new way to think about marine mammals and how their lives can inspire us to live better for ourselves and those around us.


Friday, January 7, 2022

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir - GUEST Kevin's REVIEW

*We received this book as an eARC from Random House via NetGalley. We voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are our own.*

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Title: Project Hail Mary

Author: Andy Weir
Release Date: May 4, 2021

Synopsis: Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission—and if he fails, humanity and the Earth itself will perish.

Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.

All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.

His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, he realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Alone on this tiny ship that's been cobbled together by every government and space agency on the planet and hurled into the depths of space, it's up to him to conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.

And thanks to an unexpected ally, he just might have a chance.

Part scientific mystery, part dazzling interstellar journey, Project Hail Mary is a tale of discovery, speculation, and survival to rival The Martian--while taking us to places it never dreamed of going.


Review: This review is a guest post from my husband, Kevin Shah. He really enjoyed The Martian and dived into this book and read it very quickly. I'm hoping to read it soon, but here's his review:

I had enjoyed reading Martian by Weir. Project Hail Mary is true to the format of Martian (even in the feel of the ending). Project Hail Mary was a book I could not stop reading once I started. It was visually vivid in my head, and I was engaged from the first sentence. My journey with the book enhanced my love for science by making complex scientific concepts that were hard to understand in school and college accessible. Understanding and learning chemistry, physics, biology around a story that is plausible and through the approach of problem solving was so incredible. I wish I was taught science through the lens of such stories. As we run into a problem in the story, we all could all come together to research solutions and recommend options, and the science behind each of those. Its simple – the why helps us understand better. I especially recommend all teachers read this book and see how we can approach education through problem solving.

I kept imaging this story as how Star Trek would have started. How Earth was able to go beyond our solar system and how our survival was the catalyst and not space tourism. The story reminded me of parts of the movie Arrival as well. My favorite aspect of the story was that empathy was ultimately fundamental in human survival. The only part that felt unbelievable to me was humans from all over the world coming together and making such a mission happen. But that is my pessimistic lens based on our current reality.

I highly recommend this book. It will be hard to stop. 5/5


Saturday, December 25, 2021

Power Rangers, Vol. 2 (comic) - Paul's REVIEW

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Power Rangers, Vol. 2
Author: Ryan Parrott
Artist: Francesco Mortarino
Release Date: August 24, 2021

Synopsis: In order to save the universe, the new Power Rangers team must once again turn to their greatest enemy - Lord Drakkon - but after their shocking discovery, they need him more than ever!

LORD DRAKKON - FRIEND OR FOE? In order to save the universe, the new Power Rangers team must once again turn to their greatest enemy - Lord Drakkon - but after their shocking discovery, they need him more than ever. But a new enemy is rising, one tied to the secret history of the Power Rangers, and it will take every member of this new team to defeat them. But is Lord Drakkon ready to betray the New Power Rangers or is he truly on a path to redemption? Superstar writer Ryan Parrott (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and fan favorite artist Francesco Mortarino (Firefly: Bad Company) continue the UNLIMITED POWER era, as the Power Rangers continue their new mission...and Drakkon takes the next step towards his secret goal. Collects Power Rangers #5-8.


Review: I really like that the Omega rangers are staying in space. We get to see some of the Power Rangers characters that are more otherworldly. Astronema! SPD! Ecliptor! Jason and Zack have awesome disguise outfits on Onyx. The heist is fun. I'm kind of into Astronema and Jason together. Trini is the moral center of their group. There's some great moral dilemmas in this volume. Do you save a planet that has done bad as a whole, but is made up of individuals? Each character has their own perspective and opinion. The complexities are shown well.

I give this volume a 5/5. I love that these stories are not connected to the original tv show. Ryan has diverged us from the intended timeline and it's great. It's exciting that I don't know where this is going. The whole multiverse awaits.