The Return to the Sketchbook

After some neglect, I finally brushed off my sketchbook and have been showing it a little love again. I figured I’d share some of my recent illustration-sketch thingies with you guys. πŸ™‚ Here are my 3 latest pieces, all done with watercolor markers and sharpies. Some of you may have already seen them over on Instagram but I figured I’d share them here anyway. ❀

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Not my usual color palette, but hey, it’s fun to tinker around with different colors from time to time. Yellow was a bold jump out of my comfort zone.

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This one was kind of inspired by the dead twins in The Shining, but I was listening to The Birthday Massacre, hence the bunny mask. This one was just a quickie since I felt I needed to push myself that day to practice more. I wish I’d taken my time with it more, but hey, that’s what re-draws are for, right? πŸ˜‰

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Just did this one tonight. Was wanting to do a creepy spin on those cute poses couples do for photos so I thought it’d be fun to have a girl covering the guy’s eyes with bloody claw hands while he’s obliviously unaware he’s about to be dinner.

Hopefully there will be more of these art posts. Shark Week is coming up so I’d love to do some Shark illustrations soon, like last year’s whale shark drawing I did. Definitely need to buy some new watercolor markers soon. My poor little babies are drying up!! D:

Anywayyy, hope you guys enjoyed the drawings. What creative stuff have you been up to lately? πŸ™‚ I’d love to chat about it!

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2019 Reading Challenge: COMPLETE!

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Woo! A few days ago I officially completed my reading challenge for the year! πŸ˜€ And even though I still have six months to go, I plan on sticking pretty much to my original plan. I kept my reading goal low, slashing it in half from last year’s 50 down to an easily attainable 25. The reason I did this was to be able to shift my focus to some of my other goals, the main one being writing. Well, as previously stated, I intend to GET. SHIT. DONE. over the next six months, so I’m ready to pour my all into writing for the rest of the year. Still, I thought it’d be fun to discuss how the reading challenge went. πŸ™‚

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I started the year off on a dystopian/post apocalyptic streak with The Road and The Handmaid’s Tale.

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From there I ventured off into some lighter whimsical fantasy with Howl’s Moving Castle and a re-read / buddy read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with Cupcakes & Machetes.

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I also squeezed in some good non-fiction with Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works and the morbid but very interesting The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery. (The latter of which I intend to do a special review of for blogging buddy and podcast extraordinaire, Imperial Rebel Ork for his and his buddy’s Fly on the Wall Podcast.)

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Eventually I found myself in a total Urban Fantasy binge, devouring two novellas and the third full-length novel of The Iron Druid Chronicles as well as the first installment of the Mercy Thompson novels.

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I’m sorry (not really) but I found this one while looking up memes and I couldn’t resist adding it. The struggle is REAL, I tell you!

Along with these titles were several graphic novels of various genres (horror, slice of life style comics, superhero, action, and comedy). I also read River of Teeth recently which was such a great story that I will probably end up reading its sequel sometime soon despite insisting I’ll not be reading much the next few months. πŸ˜‰

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Well, that’s it for me, but how has YOUR reading challenge been going this year? πŸ™‚ What was your reading goal? How’s it going? Let’s talk books! ❀

My Blogiversary: 3 Years Ignited

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Three days ago officially marked my little corner of the blogosphere’s third birthday!! I had no idea when I started my humble little blog 1,098 days ago that I would still be calling this bit of cyberspace my little home away from home, but look at that, here we are! πŸ˜€

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It’s been such a fun and inspiring three years, and such a large part of that is the fantastic community here on WordPress. You guys are the best. ❀ It’s amazing how you can form such great connections with people you’ve never met face to face, some even living in a completely different hemisphere than the one you live in. The world is crazy and awesome like that sometimes. πŸ™‚ So, a big shout out to all you amazing people who have shared in this experience with me the past three years. There’s no way I would have stuck around this long without such an outstanding community to share in all the fun with. ❀

I originally made this blog as a little hub of creativity. Adulting can make chasing creative pursuits challenging, but I feel like I’m starting to find a good balance now to focus and squeeze in more time for it on a larger scale again. It isn’t much, but I’ve started using my sketchbook again for the first time since the beginning of the year, and I feel like I’ve finally settled down on and committed to a single writing project. As I continue to nurture my creativity again I’d like to start sharing more about that journey here on the blog. I still plan to do reviews and my other random posts, but I think I’d like to make a turn back to focusing on creativity here again, be it mine personally or just the topic in general. πŸ™‚

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Well, there are officially only six months remaining in 2019, and I don’t know about you, but knowing that has reignited a fire in me to GET. SHIT. DONE. Both creatively, and here on my blog. Looking forward to sharing the journey with all you wonderful people. ❀ Thanks for making this adventure such a great experience the last three years. πŸ˜€

River of Teeth (Novella Review)

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Ever heard of “Lake Bacon”? No? Thankfully, neither had I, but if some eccentric 20th century Americans had gotten their way, lake bacon (aka: hippo meat) would be just another part of the American cuisine. (Seriously, there’s some pretty bizarre/weird history to read up about regarding this if it strikes your fancy.) This story, written by Sarah Gailey, takes a look at just how introducing hippos to the American frontier could have gone oh-so-very wrong and led to a very different version of our old wild west.

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The job is dangerous, the reward is high, and if you ask Winslow Houndstooth, he’ll be more than happy to remind you that it is not a caper, but rather an “operation” that brings him and his motley crew together. Most of them are willing to take on the risk of going up against feral hippos to seek their fortune, but Houndstooth is driven by something more than just money, and although the cash would be great, it’s revenge that really fuels him.

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This novella was interesting and fun from beginning to end. I loved the characters. They’re all so distinct from one another, and I adored the fact that the author gives each of the characters’ hippo companions loads of personality as well. Also, the interactions between the humans and their hippo steeds feels so real to any of us who have our own animal companions we love and care for. It’s all the little moments of the characters singing funny little songs to their hippos involving their names, feeding them their favorite treats, or just showing them affection that I really enjoyed. It’s how any of us with pets are, even if most of us simply have cats or dogs rather than giant animals with jaws so powerful they can bite a man in half with ease. Even the hippos have their own distinct personalities and it just shows me that Sarah Gailey knows how to write interesting and believable characters. I definitely can’t wait to check out this story’s sequel Taste of Marrow.

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If you’re looking for a shorter read that really packs in the fun, look no further. River of Teeth is not likely to disappoint! I easily would give it 5 out of 5 stars! This was yet another solid recommendation from Cupcakes and Machetes. Have any of you guys read this yet? What is the best book you’ve read recently that was non-stop fun and/or excitement from beginning to end? πŸ˜€ Let’s talk books!

 

 

Gentleman Jack: Season 1 Review

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Wow, did this show ever draw me right in. I absolutely loved it. ❀ The series is inspired by the nineteenth century coded diaries of Anne Lister, a landowner and industrialist who basically said “Take your patriarchy and shove it” all while looking for love, which obviously wasn’t the easiest thing to do for a lesbian living in the 1800s. The series premiered in April and just wrapped up this week with a very powerful season finale.

The show is a historical drama, but it has plenty of laughs as well. I love the way Anne’s character breaks the fourth wall from time to time. It’s done seamlessly and adds a humor and lightness to this period piece I wasn’t expecting. I also thought it served as a nice reminder of Anne’s diaries that gave life to this series to begin with.

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I really enjoyed the characters and their relationships with one another throughout the show. Each of them has their own obstacles they face throughout the season, and the relationships are just as often complex as they are touching. Anne and her sister (who you may recognize as the actress who played Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) could not be any less alike, often butting heads and scoffing at one another, but when it comes down to it they are there for one another and truly do care. Anne is a tough badass who doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she also has a soft side and a strong love and devotion to those she cares about, be it or family, friends, or romantic interests.

Binge-watching this during Pride Month was just a happy coincidence but it was nice reflecting on how far we’ve come since the days Anne was around to now. ❀ Humanity still has a long way to go, but every step forward is moving us in the right direction to a better, happier and more loving world. πŸ™‚

Did any of you guys watch this? I absolutely adored it! Cannot recommend it enough. ❀ What shows are you currently invested in?

Monster-Sized Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Review of Issues 6-8)

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Released just before season 2 of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, this collection presents us with issues 6-8 of the horror comic that inspired the popular online series. As I mentioned when I reviewed volume 1 of the comic, this is a MUCH darker version of Sabrina than the old Archie comics or the 90’s TV show. With cannibalism, Satanic worship, orgies, the souls of unbaptized children and things even more disturbing brewing, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Me, though? I really enjoyed it. ❀

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I’d say the main thing I have to nitpick is the use of “Monster-Sized” in the title when it is a mere 3 issues long, but hey, it is what it is. πŸ˜‰ Two of the issues are origin tales, one of which belonging to a few of the witches’ familiars including Salem, Sabrina’s sassy black cat.

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The other origin tale concerns a character I’m going to leave unmentioned in consideration for the people who have yet to read volume 1, but I enjoyed it as well. It’s pretty interesting seeing how the characters differ so much between this comic series and the Netflix series. As I said in my old review, I still prefer the characters in the show due to their personalities and how fleshed out they are, all with the exception of Salem who gets so much more time to shine in the comic.

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After the two origin tales we finally arrive back where the main plot of the comic series left off, which was quite the cliffhanger, so I was definitely ready to get back to that. Unfortunately, the series is having some issues (no pun intended) and is kind of in limbo from what I hear, so although it may not be the full trade we wanted for a second installment, it was nice getting to read on. Sabrina gets some tough love from her aunties, learns that everything comes with a price, and more. Hopefully we’ll get some new issues soon so we can find out where this story is headed.

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Have you been reading the comics or watching the show? What are your thoughts? πŸ™‚

 

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) Review

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In my recent frenzy of reading Urban Fantasy, I finally got around to reading Moon Called, the first novel in the series of Mercy Thompson books. This series came highly recommended by Cupcakes and Machetes, so I was excited to give it a whirl. πŸ™‚

Mercedes Thompson, better known to her friends as Mercy, is a mechanic by day and a shapeshifting “Walker” by night, able to take on the form of a coyote at will. Luckily for her, her transformation is nowhere near as painful and brutal as that of the werewolves who also inhabit her everyday world. There are supernatural creatures galore in this series, and some of them are even known about by humans thanks to their powers that be deciding to come public. (Mostly with the lighter fluffy sort of fae and not the monstrous I’m-gonna-eat-your-face kind of creatures, of course.) Baby steps, people. Better to ease the general public into things than cause a widespread panic, right?

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Mercy is just going about her business, living her everyday life when things suddenly get completely turned upside down. When she tries her best to help out a young werewolf in need, the universe quickly sends Mercy a reminder of the age old saying “no good deed ever goes unpunished.” Things escalate pretty quickly after that with attempted/successful murders, kidnapping, werewolf politics, etc. There’s also paranormal romance going on, but I didn’t feel especially drawn to any of Mercy’s suitors. Granted, this is a series so there are bound to be more characters introduced along with character growth from the established characters, so we’ll see how that works out. πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed Mercy’s character. She was kind, brave, clever, and determined. Some of the werewolves I liked, some *cough cough Samuel* annoyed the crap out of me. All I could think any time he was brought up in the book was something along the lines of “Somebody please neuter this guy or put a silver bullet in him.”

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I’m definitely planning on continuing to read the series, so I’m really looking forward to learning more about the other creatures, and seeing what happens with the characters. There seems to be some really interesting worldbuilding going on, but we just kind of see the tip of the iceberg in this novel, so I can’t wait to explore that further. πŸ™‚ I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.