Updates of the Reading and Working Variety

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Hello, lovelies! ๐Ÿ˜€ Despite my recent absence, I swear I have not been eaten by monsters. (Not yet anyway.) Halloween is slowly creeping up though, so I suppose it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? ๐Ÿ˜› I’ve just been insanely busy lately. A lot of it due to work. I still love my jobs though, so it’s all worth it. I just need to learn to manage my time and perhaps do more multitasking so I can have a wee bit more free time to do some of the things I enjoy (like blogging with all you awesome folks!) โค

August has been an incredibly busy month, but it’s been a good one. It seems to be a big month for parties. I got to go visitย Cupcakes and Machetes for her housewarming party earlier in the month and that was a lot of fun. My work just had their 25th anniversary Luau party yesterday. I baked some strawberry cupcakes with cheesecake mousse topping and they were a hit. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aaaand my dad’s birthday is at the end of the month, so my mom and I are making him lemon cream puffs (his request), an awesome dinner, and spoiling him with presents (several of which are Guardians of the Galaxy related).

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I haven’t had nearly any time to read this month but I am squeezing in a few minutes of reading here and there where I can fit it in. This usually results in me being super grumpy when I’m really interested in what I’m reading at the time and have to put the damn book down. lol So infuriating. I’ve started Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn.

Though I’m not as far along in either of these stories as I’d like to be by now, I am enjoying them both. ๐Ÿ™‚ Laini Taylor really does have a way with words, so it’s been awesome returning to her writing since it’d been a while. Aside from her writing style itself, I greatly enjoy her imagination. She’s so creative with her stories.

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Laini Taylor, pink-haired bad ass writer of books.

I feel like a lot of you already know about Strange the Dreamer, but for those of you who might not yet, here’s a quick blurb on what it’s all about:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way aroundโ€”and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old heโ€™s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteriesโ€”including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazloโ€™s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

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Emilie Autumn, Singer/Writer/Violinist/Actress/Etc. Etc.

I’ve been a fan of Emilie Autumn’s music and poems for a while now, and this book of hers was on my TBR list for quite some time but A.) it was difficult to find B.) it was pretty damn pricey, so alas, it stayed put on my TBR list all this time. Buuuuut, it did recently get released on the kindle for a very reasonable price so I bought that baby right up! ๐Ÿ™‚ Here’s a quick blurb regarding The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls:

Treated as a criminal, heavily medicated, and stripped of all freedoms, Emilie is denied communication with the outside world, and falls prey to the unwelcome attentions of Dr. Sharp, head of the hospital’s psychiatry department. As Dr. Sharp grows more predatory by the day, Emilie begins a secret diary to document her terrifying experience, and to maintain her sanity in this environment that could surely drive anyone mad. But when Emilie opens her notebook to find a desperate letter from a young woman imprisoned within an insane asylum in Victorian England, and bearing her own name and description, a portal to another world is blasted wide open. As these letters from the past continue to appear, Emilie escapes further into this mysterious alternate reality where sisterhoods are formed, romance between female inmates blossoms, striped wallpaper writhes with ghosts, and highly intellectual rats talk. But is it real? Or is Emilie truly as mad as she is constantly told she is?
The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls blurs harsh reality and magical historical fantasy whilst issuing a scathing critique of society’s treatment of women and the mental health care industry’s treatment of its patients, showing in the process that little has changed throughout the ages.

So, those are my little updates. Do you have any of your own? Lemme know, I’d love to hear them. I’m trying to catch up on reading everyone’s fantastic blogs, but I’m a bit behind right now, so feel free to fill me in on any exciting new news and whatnot you’ve got going on! Also, it’s Friiiiidayyyyyy!!! Have a great weekend, everybody!! โค โค โค

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Locke & Key: Small World

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Back when I first heard about Locke & Key: Small World, I knew I had to add it to my collection of the Locke & Key series. My book shelves absolutely demanded it! It was only a matter of finding it. This Friday was my lucky day though, as I found a snazzy hardcover deluxe edition on one of the “Staff’s Picks” shelves at my local comic shop. ๐Ÿ˜€

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This pretty much sums up my reaction upon discovery.

I didn’t even open that bad boy up to get a good look at the contents within. I just plucked it off the shelf, grasped it firmly in my little mitts and paraded around the store like it was already mine. Which it basically was. I would dare anyone to try to take it from me at that point. Fisticuffs Mode was fully activated.

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If you’re not already familiar with the Locke & Key comic series, this might seem a bit dramatic. If you are, however, already acquainted, I’m sure you understand. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Joe Hill (the writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (the artist) are a great team, and their work always leaves you wanting more.

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“For over two hundred years, the Locke family has watched over Keyhouse, a New England Mansion where reality itself has come unhinged, and where shadows have been known to walk about on their own.

Here they have guarded a collection of impossible keys, instruments capable of unlocking unnatural forces. Those who carry the keys bear a dreadful responsibility . . .

. . . and the old wood of this house has been stained with blood more than once.”

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Locke & Key: Small World is a very quick read. It takes readers back to Keyhouse, but introduces us to a different set of characters than the ones we’ve come to love in the volumes of Locke & Key. It still holds the same magic, humor, and horror, but the only downside is that if you’re like me and have been spoiled by reading a full volume at a time, this is like getting a drop of water when you’re parched and just want the whole glass. Still though, a drop of water is of course better than going without, but it really did make me want more to read.

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The rest of the book contained extra content like a conversation about Locke & Key with the creators themselves, an art gallery with variant artwork/covers, and a very detailed look “behind the scenes” of how Locke & Key makes it from rough script to finished pages for the comics.

If this strikes your fancy in the slightest, I highly recommend you go out and get yourself volume 1 of the Locke & Key series, Welcome to Lovecraft. It’s a dark blend of great storytelling and great artwork that draws you in with all the madness that goes down between the pages of the series and leaves you with questions as well as the desire to read the next volume. I’m purposely being vague, since it’s no fun giving away all the good bits, and trust me, this series is full of plenty of good bits. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Saga Comic Binge Read

My boyfriend says I’m a monster because I always read his new comics before he does. I say, ya snooze ya lose. lol I’m sorry (no, actually, screw that, I regret NOTHING!) because when there are great comics to be read, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to read them. ๐Ÿ˜› In all fairness, he takes forever to actually get around to reading them, and I keep my lips firmly sealed regarding spoilers of any kind. We have a system. It works. โค

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HIM: “You can’t keep reading my comics before I get to!”ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย ย  ME: “Bitch, watch me!”

Our local comic book shop had some pretty good sales over the holiday weekend so he went ahead and added to his collection of Saga, picking up volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Needless to say, I descended upon those poor, helpless trades like they were newborn infants left out to the wolves. I read all of them while I was over, one after the other, until I had to stop at volume 7 to go partake in 4th of July festivities because ‘MURICA.

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Oh, I’ll be back for YOU, my pretty! *cackles*

This series is just soooo damn good. It’s one of those gems that really lives up to all the hype surrounding it. In case I didn’t scream my love for this series from the rooftops enough in this “Cute Comic Couple” post or my spoiler-free review regarding Volume 2, let me just say:

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Fight Like a YA Girl Book Tag

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Books and wine make an excellent pairing, and this is something proven frequently over at the YA and Wine blog where you can find awesome wines to go with awesome books, fantastic reviews, and exciting posts about book/author-related events. I was thrilled to be tagged for Krysti’s newly created book tag about the many types of kick-ass ladies in literature. Big thanks to her for tagging me to do this awesome new tag! Now, let the ass-kickery begin!

THE RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
  • Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

WARRIOR GIRLS:

Okay, it’s been a very LONG time since I read this book, but I’m going with the Slayer (named Sophie) from Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row (A Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel). Slayers are total warrior girls! ๐Ÿ™‚

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND:

How could I not choose Hermione Granger for this category? I mean, c’mon, she was the brightest witch of her age. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART:

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou has a lot of heart, and love plays a large part in her story.

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GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS:

Virginia au Augustus (aka: Mustang) from the Red Rising trilogy. I nearly picked her for the “girls who fight with their mind” category since she is known to be highly intelligent, but she is also trained to fight with more than just her mind so here she goes!

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STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR:

Inej Ghafa (aka- “The Wraith”) from Six of Crows. She’s strong in every sense of the word, and she’s one of the many reasons I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE:

Temple from The Reapers are the Angels. She’s grown up in a tough, zombie-filled world, and she’s never known anything else.

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GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS:

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. Total pro with that bow and arrows. I wanted to list Inej and her trusty blades again for this, but I’m mixing it up with another girl and another type of weapon instead. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Fan art of Katniss by Me

GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES:

Okay, this series isn’t YA, but the young-but-fierce Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire immediately came to mind, so she’s who I’m going with. ๐Ÿ˜€

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GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS:

Nina Zenik from Six of Crows. She’s part of the Corporalki order of the Grisha (a heartrender, to be exact), which means she has the ability to snatch the air from your lungs or even stop your heart if you’re in her line of sight.

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STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:

Honestly, this isn’t really an area of reading I’ve explored, so I’m stumped for an answer. Here’s a cute puppy instead!

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SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS:

Isabelle Rossignol from The Nightingale. This book really isn’t strictly YA, but I feel like Isabelle’s half of the story could be considered YA, and she becomes one hell of a fierce girl. Not through brawn, but through her determination and spirit.

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MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY:

Wonder Woman: Warbringer! I can’t wait for this one to come out. ๐Ÿ™‚

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So, ladies & gents, there we have it. ๐Ÿ˜€ This tag was a lot of fun, so I’m tagging each and every one of you!! Let’s spread this tag like wildfire and promote the hell out of some badass ladies in fiction! Have a great weekend, folks! โค

I Dare You Book Tag

Big thanks to the lovely Raven & Beez who tagged me to do the I Dare You Book Tag. ๐Ÿ™‚ These bibliophiles run a snazzy blog together, so if you’re a book-lover as well be sure to check them out! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I’m shaking it up a wee bit and doing books AND comics for this because I love to read both. Basically, if it has pages, it counts in my eyes! ๐Ÿ˜› So, without further adieu, let’s start this tag! ๐Ÿ˜€

1.) What book has been on your shelves the longest?

Ooh, interesting question. I’ve still got a few books floating around from when I was but a wee moth. Pretty sure I have a couple of the Redwall books by Brian Jacques floating around. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein is another I’ve hung onto for as long as I can remember. (It was actually my mom’s book that she gave to me when I was little.)

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2.) What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

Let’s see . . .ย  for novels: Last read was Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, my current read is Soulless by Gail Carriger, and my next read is gonna have to be The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer. Planning on plucking it up from my boyfriend’s library this weekend.

And for comics/graphic novels: Last read was DC Bombshells, vol. 2. Current read is Dungeons & Dragons: The Legend of Drizzt, vol. 1. Not sure yet what one I’ll read after that.

3.) What book did everyone like, but you hated?

Oh, jeez. This is a tricky one. I can’t think of any I’ve read and loathed that everyone else was really into off the top of my head. Lame answer, I know, but it’s all I got for now.

4.) What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

I have a mountain of a TBR list and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger thanks to all you wonderful book bloggers. I’m sure there’s plenty I’ll never get to unfortunately.

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5.) Which book are you saving for retirement?

I’m assuming they’re getting at which book has the heftiest word count and thus will take up a lot of free time. Hmm . . . I doubt I’ll wait til retirement to read this one in its entirety, but I have this old encyclopedia of witchcraft and demonology that had belonged to my grandma and I’ve picked at it here and there because it’s so interesting, but that thing is a tome, and the font is very small so it will definitely take me a while to get through it once I finally set out to read it from start to finish.

6.) Last Page: Do you read it first or wait til the end?

Last page is called LAST PAGE for a reason. lol Why would I want to ruin the ending? It would take all the fun out of guessing what was going to happen.

7.) Acknowledgements: Are they a waste of paper and ink or interesting?

I think they’re great. They’re often pretty interesting to read.

8.) Which book character would you switch places with?

lol Bad things tend to happen to the characters in books I like, so I’m a little hesitant with answering this question.

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9.) Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Sort of. It’s kind of like how you might associate a certain time with the point in your life when it came out. I mostly remember what stage of my life I was in when I read a certain book. I feel like that is such an utterly boring answer. lol

10.) Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

When I went through a really difficult time emotionally just over 2 years ago, a friend secretly purchased a couple books I had been wanting to read and mailed them to me with a sweet little note. She intended for it to be so secretive but it had her name on one of the papers in there so I figured it out. lol It still makes me smile to think about it because it was such a thoughtful and kind thing to do. The books were Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues and The Lies of Locke Lamora.

11.) Have you ever given away a certain book for a special reason to a special person?

I try to pick books I think people will enjoy (or that I know they’ve been wanting to read). I’ll never just go buy a book I hear is popular in the *hopes* that they might like it. Sometimes I do themes for gifts too, so you might get a couple books with some hidden theme around them because I’m a dork like that. lol

12.) Which book has been with you the most places?

Hmmm . . . I guess any of the books I have on my kindle. I’ve taken that thing with me so many places.

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13.) Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?

Nope! Chances are if I hated it then, I wouldn’t be too keen on picking it back up again. ๐Ÿ˜‰

14.) Used or brand new?

Either way! I’m just happy to get the book. Especially if it’s a great deal.

15.) Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

Nope.

16.) Have you ever seen a movie that you liked better than the book?

I don’t know if I actually have. I feel like there was one time I told my boyfriend about before, but now it’s not ringing any bells.

17.) A book that’s made you hungry?

None, really. But Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland comes to mind when I think of scrumptious food in books. The Queen of Heart’s tarts and all the tea time goodies and whatnot. ๐Ÿ˜›

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18.) Who is the person whose book advise you’ll always take?

Cupcakes and Machetes. She has yet to lead me astray! ๐Ÿ™‚

19.) Most read authors?

Well, I’ve read several trilogies by various authors over the years, so authors I’ve read more than just three books by would be: George RR Martin, Leigh Bardugo, and J.K. Rowling.

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20.) Ship from two different books?

Ah, I don’t really have one as far as novels go, but if we’re talking comics I’m gonna do a Marvel/DC mashup here and say Deadpool and Harley Quinn. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Harleypool anyone?

As for tagging people, you guys know the drill: If it sounds like fun to you, have at it! ๐Ÿ˜€ If not, no worries. Anyone is more than welcome to join in on the fun!

The Happiest Reading Challenge: Updates

Just call me Scatter Brain McGee over here, because I’ve been meaning to (and forgetting to) talk about what I thought of Six of Crows after I read it! Oops! Shame on me, I know. As I’d mentioned before, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was my May book selection for the Happiest Reading Challenge I’m taking part in, started by super-friendly blogger, The Happiest Pixel.

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Cover and Author of Six of Crows.

Despite what my lack of a timely review might indicate, I was absolutely head over heels infatuated with this book! It was seriously never a dull moment with criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker and his crew. From start to finish this book kept me intrigued and guessing as it surprised me time and time again with twist after delightful twist.

As is a very important thing for me when reading a book, I also loved the characters. They’re quite the mixed bag, and Bardugo manages to hop from POV to POV effortlessly throughout the tale in a way that never seems jarring or off-putting in the slightest. I myself have absolutely no problem with books with multiple POV shifts throughout the chapters, but I know some people who do, and I doubt even they would have minded in this book. It flows very nicely.

I’ve talked before about how beautiful I think the actual book is with its black-edged pages and gorgeous cover, so I won’t get much into that, other than to say that the writing is just as lovely as the book itself.

I could just keep on going on about how enjoyable of a read this was, but I’m gonna keep it brief and say: If you like a good heist story and want to read a book that lives up to all the hype, this is a damn good one to go with. Can’t wait to read the next one.

So, that covers May’s part of the challenge, but what about June so far? I mentioned already that I would be reading The Lies of Locke Lamora for this portion of the challenge, but believe it or not, I cannot find where I put the book!! *GASP* Like, what the hell? Did it just sprout legs and bound off somewhere? There is a possibility that I may have taken it to my boyfriend’s and left it there, but as my brain has been busy forgetting to post about Six of Crows it also took on the task of forgetting to ask my bf about the M.I.A. book as well. Sigh . . . one day I’ll get it all together, but today is not that day.

In the mean time, I’ve begun reading Gail Carriger’s first book in The Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless.

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Cover and Author of Soulless.

I’ve already read andย reviewed the manga trilogy based off of this series of paranormal steampunk novels, so I knew what I was getting into already. And that is a witty historical fiction series set in Victorian England. I’m interested to see how the manga series (which was only three volumes) will compare and differ to the source material, which is five novels.

Those are my updates for the reading challenge so far. How’s your reading going at the moment? Into any interesting books right now?

June’s Pick For The Happiest Reading Challenge

If you’re taking part in The Happiest Reading Challenge you know that June calls for reading “a book someone has recommend to you“. It didn’t take long to decide on what book I would read for this month’s part of the challenge. Like some of you guys, book and baked good blogger Cupcakes and Machetes has been throwing book upon book into my TBR mountain for quite some time. One of these books is The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1 of the Gentleman Bastard series), written by Scott Lynch.

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“An orphan’s life is harsh–and often short–in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.

Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game–or die trying…”

Sounds pretty good to me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Epic fantasy is always a plus in my book. It also helps when it passes the C&M seal of approval. And by seal of approval, I mean she was willing to bare-knuckle fight anyone in a mud pit that had the audacity to say that Scott Lynch wasn’t a “fantastic fucking author.”

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I’m really excited to finally read this one. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hear it is a seriously amazing debut from Scott Lynch. It’ll be nice to get to experience it for myself after hearing so many good things.

So, how about you? Reading anything good right now, or taking part in any reading challenges of your own? I’d love to hear about it! It’s always nice to talk about good books. ๐Ÿ™‚