Strange the Dreamer (No-Spoiler) Review

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Some things are just so damn good that they deserve to be savored. And savor I did while reading Laini Taylor’s vividly imaginative epic, Strange the Dreamer. Although I was in no rush to reach the end of this tale, I was enthralled from beginning to end. The world, the characters, the writing itself, were all sublime.

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Lazlo Strange, as the title would imply, is a dreamer in every sense of the word. Since he was a young boy, orphaned by the war and raised by monks, he has been fascinated by a mythical lost city that others brush off as the stuff of fairy tales. It isn’t until years later when he is living the humble life of a junior librarian that Lazlo is presented with the opportunity to seek out his dreams, and with them, the lost city of Weep.

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This story is pure magic. It did exactly what I always hope for a book to do: it made me feel something. And in this case, not just something, but a LOT of somethings. Parts of the book are so damn fun, while others are so charming and so sweet you’ll never want them to end, and then other parts are utterly devastating. Beauty and ugliness. Love and hatred. Dreams and the harsh realities of human nature. This book is gonna give you the feels.

This was, without a doubt, a 5/5 Stars sort of read.

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2017 Scrapbook Tag

One of the interesting things about the new year is always reflecting on the one we just left behind. I was tagged by the awesomeย Read Rant and Rock & Roll for this funย 2017 Scrapbook Tag. If you already aren’t acquainted with their spectacular blog, you should definitely stop on by and change that, because you’re missing out. ๐Ÿ˜‰ There’s always fun posts about books, movies, music, and other goodness.

TV Series:

Movies:

Albums:

I am so drawing a blank at this category for some reason. I listen to music all the time, but I got nothin’ right now. Sorry!

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Books:

Celebrities:

Like the “album” category, this was another tough section for me to answer, but I couldn’t drop the ball twice in one post, could I? ๐Ÿ˜› Some of these people may not be “celebrities” in the traditional sense of the word, but this is my blog and I do what I want! ๐Ÿ˜‰

I Tag:

I normally am lazy and don’t actually tag people, but what the hell? Let’s do this!

Cupcakes and Machetes

Imperial Rebel Ork

Reads and Reels

The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

The Maniacal Unicorn

Luna @ GamersUnitedGG Blog

Touch My Spine Reviews

 

Books + Winter = BLISS.

As much as I grumble about the bitter cold and snow and ice of winter, even I can admit that there is a special kind of coziness to winter reading. Being all bundled up with plenty of blankets and something warm to drink while you read makes for a pretty cozy bit of relaxation.

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I’m juggling a few different books/comics at the moment. One I’ve slowly been chiseling away at is Strange the Dreamer, and it is utterly amazing. I tend to read it before work every day (as long as I haven’t wasted too much time rebelling against adulting that particular morning by refusing to get out of bed.) It’s the kind of book that could easily be devoured quickly, but I’ve been enjoying picking at it here and there and savoring the experience. I love Laini Taylor’s writing and indulging in this beautifully imaginative story each day before work helps start my morning off on the right foot. โค

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Another thing I’ve been reading as of late is the comic series Low. It’s one I had been really excited to get into, and since my boyfriend is a fan of Rick Remender’s writing, he went ahead and bought the first 4 volumes for us to read. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really feeling this series upon finishing volume 1. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already purchased volumes 2, 3, and 4, I probably would have stopped reading it. However, I decided to continue on and it is slowly getting better. Some of my major complaints have been resolved mostly (for now at least). We’ll see how it goes as I continue reading these first 4 volumes. Because of my conflicted feelings regarding the series so far, I’ve decided to wait and do a review of the first four volumes rather than doing them 1 at a time. I hope it continues to improve the further I get into the story because there are several elements to it that I do really enjoy.

The other story I’m currently reading is Gerald Brom’s book,ย The Plucker. First off, this book is a pretty one, so we have to talk about that. It’s a big lovely hardcover book filled to the brim with Brom’s dark and twisted artwork with a story to match. At first glance, one may take it for a “children’s book” since it is full of illustrations, but with the swearing, crass humor, and elements of horror throughout, it is certainly not intended for children. Unless the children involved are literal demons. Then maybe. The story is centered around a young boy and his toys and the dangerous predatory spirit now plaguing them. It’s sort of like if you mixed Toy Story or The Nutcracker with Evil Dead 2 and The Exorcist. ๐Ÿ˜› It’s a fun read so far.

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Other recent reads of the new year include Saga, volume 8 (which I just recently reviewed), and Lewis Carroll’s Phantasmagoria and Other Poems. This weekend I intend to start reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, which I am really excited about.

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So, what recent books have you been enjoying? Have you read any of these stories yet? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

Saga, Vol. 8 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Woo! First review (and post) of the New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and an amazing start to 2018 so far. โค My boyfriend helped assure that much for me by stopping by our local comic book store New Year’s Eve and picking up this delightful title that just came out at the end of December. Needless to say, I about screamed with joy when he pulled into the parking lot and revealed his master plan.

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Brian K. Vaughan (the writer) and Fiona Staples (the illustrator) continue to weave their outlandish space opera of epic proportions in this volume, but add in some of the fun of the Old Wild West along the way. I don’t want to get into any spoiler territory, so we’ll keep things fairly vague as I talk about my feelings on this volume. And trust me, I got plenty of the feels for this series. โค

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One thing I really like about the series as a whole is that it has a lot of heart, but not in a corny, mushy, or preachy sort of way. This volume is no exception. It continues to explore the theme of family, and what exactly family means when you really get down to it. It challenges convention at every turn and makes no apologies, and I utterly love it for that. โค

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We see old and new faces alike in this volume and are presented with some pretty interesting “what-if” moments. It confronts deep-rooted feelings of both tragedy and hope head-on and still continues to surprise the reader with just about every turn of the page. This is a series that can make you cry one moment and then laugh another.

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Volume for volume, Saga makes for a quick, intense and often-times hilarious and utterly random emotional roller coaster. The characters are so well-written and full of their own troubles and flaws that it makes them feel completely human despite, ya know, the whole televisions for heads, and having horns and/or wings thing.

I honestly feel that just about everyone can find SOMETHING they can relate to somewhere in this series. So, if you have yet to hop on the Saga bandwagon, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???! Do yourself a favor and GET. ON. THAT.

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5/5 Stars.

 

New Year’s Resolutions: 2018

Daaaaaaaamn, guys. I seriously can’t get over the fact that tomorrow is the final day of the year. It feels like 2017 went by in the blink of an eye. A lot of things happened and a lot of changes were made, all for the better. ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel like this was a fantastic and much-needed year for patching up what was once the fast-sinking vessel that is my mental health. I’m happy to report that I accomplished a lot of important goals I’d set for myself this past year, and that I’m not only much happier, but also much stronger, because of it.

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I had a lot of things I wanted to work on in an attempt at bettering myself and I conquered the goals set before me. Honestly, it’s probably been my best year ever as far as slaying New Year’s Resolutions goes and it feels pretty damn good. I plan on riding that high right into 2018 by continuing to try and better myself. That’s kind of the thing about life, isn’t it? We’re always pushing ourselves, learning new things, and taking new chances.

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So, that said, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of what exactly my goals are for the new year! I’ve got several themes for my various goals concerning different aspects of my life. Things like reading, fitness, writing, etc. (Knowing me, I’ll probably come up with several additional goals throughout the year, but as of right now, here’s what I intend to work on in 2018:)

Reading Goals of 2018:

  • Finally read the neglected books that have been sitting on my bookshelves, untouched.
  • Venture into reading more poetry.
  • Read 50 books/graphic novels (Last yearโ€™s goal was 45, so I upped it by 5.)

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Creative Goals of 2018:

  • Bust my ass to get my writing project ready to start submitting by the end of 2018.
  • Start utilizing art tutorials and online courses to learn snazzy new art skills.
  • Experiment with watercolors.
  • Draw! Draw! Draw! Write! Write! Write!

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Fitness Goals of 2018:

  • Do more cardio, kickboxing, and dance.
  • Drink more water.
  • Find more fun and active hobbies like going to the trampoline park.

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So, that just about covers my personal goals for the new year. ๐Ÿ™‚ How about you? Are you planning on making any new year’s resolutions? Did you complete any this past year? I’d love to hear about them! ๐Ÿ˜€

Since I don’t know if I’ll have time to hop on tomorrow, let me just wish you all a very Happy New Year! Here’s to what will hopefully be a fantastic 2018! โค

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Book/Comic-Related Christmas Haul

Brrr! All of the people wishing for a “White Christmas” certainly got their wish here in Michigan. (What were you lunatics thinking?!) ๐Ÿ˜› I just got in from shoveling a bunch of snow and am chilled to the bone. Thankfully, hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps mixed in is a thing. ๐Ÿ˜‰ It’s soooo good and soooo warm. I’m in a state of total bliss now as I thaw out.

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I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays with your loved ones and had a wonderful time. โค (And maybe even gave and got some awesome prezzies!) ๐Ÿ˜› Christmas certainly is NOT all about the presents, but this post sure as heck is gonna be. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I was too excited about some of the fantastic gifts I got this Christmas not to want to share them.ย  and Let’s start this post off by talking about my favorite gift I unwrapped this year:

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I have been coveting these particular Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland vintage artwork ornaments for YEARS. Seriously, years. My dream is to one day decorate my Christmas tree in all literature-themed ornaments and decorations, and these fit the theme so perfectly. Needless to say, I was beyond elated to get them as one of my gifts from my boyfriend. He ended up spoiling me rotten, but these were my favorite of the gifts he got me for sentimental reasons. โค

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Okay, enough being mushy, let’s move on and talk about COMICS! ๐Ÿ˜€ I got some graphic novels I am very excited to read. First, we have the first three volumes of the manga series The Girl from the Other Side. I’d been seeing artwork for this series floating around and absolutely loved what I saw, but I had no idea it was an actual manga series until I read a review on volume 1 from the Random Melon Reads blog. I can’t wait to learn more about this story. Here’s a tidbit about it from Goodreads:

“In a land far away, there were two kingdoms: the Outside, where twisted beasts roamed that could curse with a touch, and the Inside, where humans lived in safety and peace. The girl and the beast should never have met, but when they do, a quiet fairytale begins. This is a story of two people–one human, one inhuman–who linger in the hazy twilight that separates night from day.”

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Next, we have some more mainstream goodies starring some of my fave DC leading ladies! ๐Ÿ˜€ I’ve heard really good things about Batwoman: Rebirth, and I’m looking forward to continuing the Bombshells series with volumes 3 and 4. Volume 2 had a definite lack of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy so I’m pumped to see them right on the cover in the thick of the action for volume 3.

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Speaking of continuing series I’ve already started, I’m looking forward to seeing what shenanigans the girls from Giant Days get up to in volumes 4 and 5. I’m also thrilled to report that Cupcakes and Machetes has gotten into this comic recently as well. It’s always fun getting to talk to friends about comics and books and whatnot. ๐Ÿ™‚

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And on the topic of awesome female-centered comics I like to enjoy with my friends, I also now get to enjoy volumes 2, 3, and 4 of Rat Queens! I didn’t shy away from expressing my love for this series when I reviewed volume 1 back in March, so you can imagine how giddy I was to receive more of this series. It isn’t every comic I give a rating of “Five out of five flaming orc skulls.” ๐Ÿ˜‰

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I got some other awesome non-comic or book related gifties, but the last I want to share with you guys is this awesome shark mug and shark snack bowl duo. It’s no secret that I love me some sharks, so I was pretty pumped about these. Especially because I’m also a fan of coffee mugs. And snacks. ๐Ÿ˜›

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Did you have a lovely Christmas this year? What was your favorite present you gave and/or received? Are you glad the holiday chaos is finally over?? ๐Ÿ˜›

Oh! And because a couple of you asked to see it, here’s a pic of my R2-D2 Christmas sweater I got this year. ๐Ÿ™‚

Work Holiday Party Dec 2017 (2)

Getting Festive

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Happy Holidayyyys! โค Today is Christmas Eve and with all the recent and upcoming festivities I wanted to squeeze some time in to pop in and say Merry Christmas since I don’t know if I’ll get a chance to tomorrow. ๐Ÿ™‚

Last night we met up with my boyfriend’s family’s for their annual bake-a-thon, where we baked and decorated an arsenal of Christmas cookies. Shapes ranged from reindeer to unicorns and everything in between. Seriously, I mean everything in between. We also had an armadillo-shaped cookie and a penis-shaped cookie because inappropriate baked goods are funny. His mom also made these delicious pastries called Rugelach.

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We’re celebrating tonight’s Christmas Eve at my boyfriend’s parents’ house, and Christmas over with my family so I’m pretty excited. I feel like I did a lot of holiday stuff this year. More than I think I usually do, so while all the running around can be stressful and tiring at times, it did make for a particularly festive holiday season so far. ๐Ÿ™‚

Some of the holiday highlights included:

Visiting a historical villageโ€™s Holiday Nights event. It was really cool walking around after dark, learning some interesting stuff and seeing the rambunctious โ€œmurmurersโ€ in action. I didnโ€™t know anything about this old โ€œmurmuringโ€ holiday tradition, but apparently it involves revelers of the season dressing up in disguises to go house-to-house for food and drink and partying it up. So, itโ€™s kind of like Halloween at Christmas for adults, except you get booze instead of candy. Not too shabby, in my opinion. Why the heck did we do away with this awesome tradition?

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Goings to an outdoor Kringle Market and shopping around for lots of goodies, including my new favorite dessert, The Christmas Kronut. This was my second year going, and although the crowd can be a bit much, I plan on going again next year. It was a lot of fun. ๐Ÿ™‚

Christmas shopping for my loved ones is always a fun thing to do. I love when you find someone the perfect gift and then seeing the look on their face when they open it. I will say, though: I normally quite dislike wrapping the presents. It’s just tedious. lol My attention span has never been in it. I moaned and groaned the whole way through it, but I think I actually did a decent job wrapping gifts this year. I’m not known for my wrapping skills, in fact, I’m known for purposely wrapping the gifts in a manner that makes it look like a toddler did it. Or a drunk uncle. One or the other.

The work holiday party was also a lot of fun. I’ve mentioned before that I work as a program instructor at a day program for adults with special needs. I love my job every day, but seeing all their faces light up when they got to meet Santa Clause and taking our room caroling around the entire building was just so nice. We sang fun, upbeat songs like Jingle Bell Rock, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, etc. and had a bunch of fun instruments for everyone to play. We did a big potluck and since I baked a bunch of stuff for the last couple work parties I decided to take it easy on myself for this one and brought in rolls and made a some delicious Garlic Parmesan Butter to go with them.

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Minus some stressful family medical issues that have luckily since been improving, the last month of 2017 has been a pretty good one. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m excited to see what the new year will bring. I hope you guys all enjoy what’s left of the holiday season and have plenty of festivities of your own! โค

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