Howl’s Moving Castle (Book) Review

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I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until last year that I even knew Howl’s Moving Castle was not only a fantastic animated film, but also a book! I found a copy in a 2nd and Charles Free Book Bin and snatched that baby up immediately, and I’m so glad that I did! This book was pure magic. ❀ I feel like if you’re a fan of the Miyazaki film, or if you enjoy light-hearted whimsical stories like The Last Unicorn or Stardust, that Howl’s Moving Castle might just be right up your alley. πŸ˜‰

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β€œIn the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.”

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Having grown up in a small hat shop and expecting a very uneventful life due to the social stigma of being the eldest, Sophie has her world turned upside down due to a witch’s curse that transforms her into an old woman. But perhaps the Witch of the Waste’s curse is just what Sophie needs to push herself out of the dull fate she had previously accepted for herself. Setting off to find a cure for the curse inflicted upon her, Sophie winds up finding much more than that. Witches and wizards, shapeshifters and fire demons are only a sample of the strange characters she’ll meet as she is forced out of her comfort zone. She’ll venture to moving castles and palaces and more in an effort to undo the Witch of the Waste’s magic, and she’ll do it with a sassy attitude to boot!

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The characters in this story are all so quirky and fun, and the book has a lovely light and humorous tone to it. I think the whimsy of it really made this book one of those special sort of “Feel Good” reads for me. πŸ™‚ I’m not usually a re-read sort of person (only due to there being SO MANY books out there to be read) but this is one I would consider re-reading in the future.

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β€œIt is quite a risk to spank a wizard for getting hysterical about his hair.”

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Diana Wynne Jones weaved quite the enchanting story, so I would definitely like to read more of her work in the future. She was very imaginative and created a lovely fantasy world with entertaining characters to fill it. Apparently there are two other books related to this one, so I plan to check those out one day, too!

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Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible

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“On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress Sabrina Spellman finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda.”

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Back around Halloween I watched the Netflix show’s version of this and loved it. I also enjoyed their Christmas special, and am eagerly awaiting season 2’s release in April. So how do I get my fix until then? Why, by reading the source material, of course. πŸ˜‰

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If you remember those wholesome Archie comics (or even the 90’s TV show) of old you’re likely to be shocked by the element of horror and praises of Satan in this much darker incarnation of Sabrina brought to you by Archie Horror, a more horror-centric branch of the Archie comics. We’re talking necromancy, witch orgies, cannibalism, etc.

I didn’t initially plan to compare the new Netflix version with the comic version, but seeing as so many people have already seen the show, it seems like a good baseline to go off of, so here we are. πŸ˜› There are definitely a lot of similarities between the two, but there are also some pretty damn big differences. Let me start by saying that I did really enjoy the comic, BUT . . . I did enjoy the characters more in the Netflix show. I think they had so much more personality, diversity, and charm. (Except maybe Salem. He talks in this comic, he’s snarky and also a caring companion for Sabrina. I loved Salem in this comic and thought he made a great familiar to our young teenage witch.)

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“. . . Beer . . . I miss beer . . .”

Now, seeing as that the comic came before the show, I think it only fair not to dwell on the show that came after it for too long, so we’ll just move right along onto the comic itself. This artwork had me swooning with nostalgia. As a kid, I loved any chance I got to read my dad or grandparents’ collection of old vintage horror comics. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes place in the 1960’s (with flashbacks of the 1950’s) and the artwork does a nice job of reflecting what comics looked like at that point. The colors, the art itself, it was all great in my opinion. Adding to the nostalgic feel, are some Rosemary’s Baby and other vintage spooky film overtones.

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The end to the first volume leaves off on quite the cliffhanger, so you’re likely to be left with your fingers twitching for volume 2. I know I am. I’d give it 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it, I just wish the characters had a little more personality like they do in the current show. It was a really solid introductory volume and there were a couple moments that genuinely surprised me.

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Holiday Book Haul (PLUS Exploding Kittens!)

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No worries, my fuzzy little monster Bailey is not one of the titular “Exploding Kittens”, I just really wanted to show off her Christmas photo because I’m a crazy cat mom. πŸ˜› We’ll get to the actual Exploding Kittens later on in this post, but for now let’s get into the excitement that is this year’s HOLIDAY BOOK HAUL!

The Hunger – A horror historical fiction book about the Donner Party that I’ve been very excited for. I’ve already started reading it!

Fire & Blood – The first volume of George RR Martin’s two-part history of the Targaryens.

Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works – Nonfiction about books and history, which just so happen to be two of my favorite things. πŸ™‚ Already reading this one, too.

History of the World Map by Map – I already mentioned that I enjoy history, well, I also just so happen to enjoy maps. πŸ™‚

Great Maps – a look at cartography throughout the ages!

Biology: An Illustrated History of Life Science – Woohoo! Science! πŸ˜€

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible – After watching (and loving) the new Netflix series, along with their holiday special, I’m quite pumped to read this!

Redlands, Vol. 1 – although I’m not very familiar with this comic, I know it has to do with “murder, magic and mayhem” so consider me intrigued. πŸ˜‰

Witch Hammer – Ya know, I’m really beginning to notice a theme here . . .Β  πŸ˜›

Locke & Key: Heaven and Earth – So excited to return to the horrific and magical world of Locke & Key!

Pandora’s Legacy – this one is a total wildcard for me, so I’m curious to check it out. It’s always interesting reading modern takes on mythology. πŸ™‚

Unnatural, Vol. 1 – this series was nowhere on my radar but it was one that was recently highly recommended, so I’m interested to see what it’s all about.

Alisik – This one looks like spooky fun, and I was surprised to discover that the interior artwork is actually much more detailed than the cover, something that more often turns out to be the opposite.

Gotham City Sirens: Book One – Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn shenanigans galore in this collection of issues 1-13.

Gotham City Sirens: Book Two – Now that you can only get this series in these 2 books rather than the singular volumes like I had started collecting a while back, it’s good to finally have the full collection! For some reason I had stopped reading it with just the final volume to go and never got the chance to finish it. Looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up. πŸ™‚

Soooo, that sums up my Holiday Book/Comic Haul. I’m so thankful for all the amazing reading material I’ve been gifted and I can’t wait to read it all! That said, let us finally talk about those Exploding Kittens, shall we??

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Image from The Oatmeal’s shop.

As the box says, Exploding Kittens is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions. I was fortunate enough to get the NSFW version along with the expansion Imploding Kittens, complete with a “cone of shame” to make sure you feel appropriately terrible about yourself for losing. πŸ˜› The game was a ton of fun and so easy to pick up on. Think Russian Roulette . . . but with exploding kittens!

I hope you guys have been enjoying your holiday season and have had a little time to unwind before the new year starts! ❀ Have you read or are interested in reading any of these titles? Get any awesome new books yourself?

 

Rat Queens: Orc Dave Special and Vol. 2 Reviews

I don’t know WHY it took me so long to return to the awesome and sassy world of Rat Queens, but damn, is it good to be back. πŸ™‚ Although it’s been a wee bit since I reviewed the first volume of the series, don’t let my delay in continuing fool you, I LOVE this series so far. Learning so much more about the characters and their checkered pasts only fuels that love, making me even more eager to continue reading further volumes (and much sooner than last time, I might add.) πŸ˜‰

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The Orc Dave special had my mind blown by the end. I already enjoyed the character but now I love him even more. It was really cool getting to learn so much more about the friendly vegetarian wood orc with blue birds living in his beard. I’m glad I picked up this one-shot special when it had hit my comic store (even if I did take my sweet ass time getting around to actually reading it!) πŸ˜›

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Volume 2: The Far-Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth kicks up the action with some serious Lovecraftian shenanigans. We get to see a lot more backstory and development within the motley crew of characters, but in a way that manages not to sacrifice any of the fun or action along the way. Booze, sex, displaced-reality-devouring demons, and mushroom people make up only a sampling of the contents contained within Rat Queens‘ second volume. Fighting not only hangovers, but also demons (both metaphorically and literally), the Rat Queens have their work cut out for them. I think if anyone is up for the challenge, it’s these lethal ladies. If not, it’ll only mean the destruction of reality as we know it. So, ya know, no pressure or anything. πŸ˜‰

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Book Review: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

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Death isn’t always the end. In fact, if you suddenly find yourself recently risen from the dead with an instinctual hunger for brains, it’s really only the beginning. Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series of novels follows underdog character Angel Crawford as she navigates life (or something vaguely similar to it) as a freshly-turned zombie.

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No, not this type of zombie.

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues is a good follow-up to the debut book in the series, My Life as a White Trash Zombie. We see Angel getting more comfortable in her own skin (which only begins to rot if she doesn’t keep herself well-fed on brains, that she is able to obtain with a method far less chompy-chompy than most zombies.)

She may be getting the hang of being one of the undead, (it certainly has its perks in these books), but there are still hurdles aplenty for our struggling-but-determined heroine. A zombie mafia, corpse thieves, creepy experiments, and zombie hunters only seem to complicate things for Angel as she continues to deal with the struggles of work, love, family, and parole. The girl’s got a lot on her plate, and it isn’t all just brains. πŸ˜›

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Yum! Yum!

I really enjoyed this book and a lot of that has to do with how much I like the main character. Angel is flawed. Big time. But she’s working on it, and although things don’t come easily for her, she isn’t one to give up. Her narration feels honest and genuine, and it’s pretty damn entertaining to read given all of Angel’s sass and sarcasm that she wields with little or no apology.

The first part of the book does seem a bit slow at times, but the action and intrigue pick up nicely in the second part. I’d give this one a four out of five brain rating! πŸ˜‰

Also, I know I always rave about the cover art for these books when I talk about them, but c’mon, you gotta give it up to artist Daniel Dos Santos, this artwork is awesome!

Spread, Vol. 1 (No Spoiler) Review

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“Ten years ago, we dug too deep and unleashed something we couldn’t control. Something that twisted and warped every living thing in its path. Something that remade the world in its own image. The Spread. One man has found a child who could save the world, but he has to fight monsters, raiders, cannibals, religious fanatics, and one cranky baby to do it.”

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Spread is an often over the top, yet entertaining post apocalyptic thrill ride. It’s like John Carpenter’s The Thing and Mad Max had a baby. The artwork is gritty, and most of the panels are practically dripping with blood and guts. I’ve gotta say, all the red does contrast quite nicely against the white frozen landscape the book takes place in. πŸ˜‰

Characters include a silent loner named No who isn’t as good at being a loner as it would seem considering how he keeps accruing traveling companions, a baby who might just be the last shred of hope this bleak world has, an unhinged crazy lady with a heart of gold, and a big, burly cannibal.

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Although I enjoyed reading the first volume of Spread (and plan on reading the other volumes) I could certainly see this comic not being for everybody. If you have an aversion to body horror, gore, and some good ol’ fashioned violence, obviously Spread just isn’t going to be your cup of tea.

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I always have a hard time ranking things by the “5 Star Rating System”, buuuut I would give this introductory volume to Spread 3.5 out of 5 stars. It did a good job shoving readers straight into its dystopian world and left me intrigued enough to want to continue on with No and his motley crew of miscreants as they take on The Spread.

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Well, those were my thoughts on volume 1 of Spread. What are you guys currently reading?? πŸ™‚ Any horror stuff for the month of October you’re looking forward to?

September Book Haul

Fall is here and Halloween is just around the corner. I’m excited to get ready for all the spooky fun of October, but before September comes to an end, let’s go over this month’s book haul, shall we? πŸ˜‰

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Servant of the Underworld

A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. It should be a usual investigation for Acatl, High Priest of the Dead–except that his estranged brother is involved, and the the more he digs, the deeper he is drawn into the political and magical intrigues of noblemen, soldiers, and priests-and of the gods themselves…

Servant of the Underworld was one Cupcakes and Machetes and I have had on our TBR lists for a hot minute so when she spotted it on sale really cheap on the kindle she let me know and I of course bought a copy as well. Can we say “future buddy read”?? πŸ˜‰ ❀

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Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven

Maika has spent most of her life learning how to fight, but how will she fare when the only way to save her life…is to make friends?”

NOTE: I’ve already read and reviewed this latest installment of Monstress, so if you’re interested in seeing what I thought of it here’s my review. πŸ™‚

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Giant Days: Volume 7 and also Volume 8

“Best friends Susan, Daisy, and Esther’s adventures at university continue.”

I’m always excited to read more Giant Days. Such a fun series with good characters and friendships. ❀

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The City of Brass

“Among the bustling markets of eighteenth century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles and foreign invaders alike. But alongside this new world the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits. Of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert, full of enchantment, desire and riches. Where magic pours down every street, hanging in the air like dust. Many wish their lives could be filled with such wonder, but not Nahri. She knows the trades she uses to get by are just tricks and sleights of hand: there’s nothing magical about them. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes… Be careful what you wish for.”

If that blurb didn’t sell ya, friggin’ writing goddess Laini Taylor herself describes this book as: “An extravagant feast of a book – spicy and bloody, dizzyingly magical, and still, somehow, utterly believable”. YAAAAAAS, PLEASE! ❀ ❀ ❀ SIGN. ME. THE. HELL. UP!!!

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So that was my book haul for the month of September. How about you? Add any new gems to your collection this month? What are you most excited to read in October??