2019 Reading Challenge: COMPLETE!

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Woo! A few days ago I officially completed my reading challenge for the year! 😀 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. 🙂

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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. 😉

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

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No-Spoiler Review: Love, Death & Robots (Netflix)

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It’s been a hot minute since I actually watched this one, but in the spirit of catching up on all the reviews I’ve fallen behind on, let’s do this! Before we get too far into this review, let me just start by saying this collection of (mostly) animated shorts is fully loaded with nudity (both male and female), loads of violence, blood and gore, profanity, horrific monsters and aliens, and sexually explicit content pretty much the whole way through. We’re talking lots of boobies and floppy wieners, guys, so if that bothers you, I’d keep on scrolling through your Netflix options. 😉

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To give you an idea of what you’re in store for with Love, Death & Robots, I’ll give you a fun fact about the series. It was originally intended to be a theatrical rehaul of Heavy Metal. For whatever reason, this did not come to fruition so instead we wound up with 18 original shorts with unique animation styles and stories, most of which I really enjoyed. 🙂 Much like Heavy Metal, the stories often run in the genres of science fiction, horror and comedy. The animation is fantastic, with some of it being a more simplistic 2D style and some of it being so convincing it might take a couple minutes of watching it to realize it isn’t live action. Some of the shorts feel complete and others leave you wanting more because the possibilities it leaves you with are so endless.

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A humorous trio of robot tourists exploring the ruins of a post-apocalyptic city, werewolf soldiers and other shapeshifters galore, farmers with mech suits who gotta protect themselves and their cows from insect-like aliens, and a haunted desert where the ghosts aren’t your typical human spirits make up only a sampling of what you have to look forward to with this collection of tales. Some were definitely better than others, but overall I enjoyed watching most of them. Plus, if you’re not digging one, fret not because they’re all pretty short. 😉 This is absolutely not for kids, and honestly probably not even for some adults. (Trigger Warnings galore for this anthology, just sayin’.)

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If you’re a fan of exploring different animation styles and entertainment in the vein of Heavy Metal, it’s definitely worth binging your way through the anthology. Science Fiction and Horror with a dash of Comedy are the dominating genres in this series. I enjoyed most of the animated tales myself, but I could certainly see it not being everyone’s cup of tea. Most of them all brought something cool and interesting to the table, be it the animation style, plot, or characters, but I gotta give a special shout-out to my favorite (and also my LEAST favorite) stories.

My pick for the top 3 stories I enjoyed (in no particular order) would have to be:

  1. Sonnie’s Edge
  2. Three Robots
  3. Shape-Shifters

And my pick for my LEAST favorite 3 of the series, also in no particular order are:

  1. Alternate Histories
  2. Ice Age
  3. When the Yogurt Took Over

What about you guys? Anyone give this one a watch? What did you think? 🙂

Barrier (Brian K. Vaughan’s New Mini-Series!)

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One of the comics I had been most excited to get my hot little hands on during Free Comic Book Day was the first issue to Brian K. Vaughan’s new miniseries, Barrier. I literally knew almost nothing about it other than that it is written by BKV, and that was good enough for me given how much I (along with the rest of the universe) have been loving Saga. ❤

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I started reading the first issue to Barrier this morning, assuming it would be a very quick read, and that I would soon be on my merry way doing other things with my day. Boy, was I wrong. This proved to be a much longer read, because I spent about half of it using Google’s translator so that I could understand all the parts in Spanish. Which is fine, I just wasn’t expecting it. And because I’m a Super Pal, I even wrote down the translations in case anyone else *cough cough Cupcakes and Machetes cough* or my boyfriend also wanted to read it, but didn’t feel like doing the leg work to translate it. 😛

(Or if any of you guys are planning on reading it and don’t want to go through and translate it yourself, let me know and I’ll hook you up!) 😉

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ANYWAY, onto the story itself. Barrier follows two main characters from two very different walks of life. On one hand, we have Liddy, an American rancher who feels threatened after finding one of her horse’s decapitated heads, skinned and missing its eyes. Talk of “El Chupacabra” and even UFO-related cattle mutilations is quickly dismissed by Liddy who is confident that this is a warning from the cartel that plans on using her land to run their drugs. On edge, she begins exploring her options to protect her land, her animals, and herself. Our other main character, Oscar, is a Honduran young man who is attempting to make his way over the border into the United States. We don’t learn a whole lot about him in the first issue, but we do get a hint that he has something very important in his notebook, and that he may know more about what’s really going on than it originally seems.

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The two cross paths on Liddy’s property when Oscar is injured and she is armed and ready to shoot as their respective languages create a barrier (heh, I see what they did there) between them. Just then, SOMETHING pretty crazy happens, but we’ll leave that on a fairly vague note. Let’s just say, that I am definitely ready to check out the rest of this miniseries that will be released in single issues throughout the month of May in five total installments. 🙂

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I look forward to seeing these two characters forced together by bizarre circumstances will interact with one another, how they will be able to communicate, and what is going to happen to them. I also want to learn more about what Oscar seems to know already. Brian K Vaughn is amazing at creating characters who you want to keep reading about, so I am really looking forward to seeing what he does with Liddy and Oscar the more we get to know them. Marcos Martin (the artist) and Munsta Vicente (the colorist) do a great job bringing the story to life with their illustrations and vivid colors, from the characters themselves to the rough landscapes. I can’t wait to see what they do in the next installments since I think things are really about to take a turn for the crazy.

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I know some people may be put off by not being able to understand part of the dialogue if they don’t speak Spanish or are unwilling to look up translations, but I think the language barrier actually adds to this story. BKV knows what he’s doing as a writer, so I trust what he has in mind for this project. Blending science fiction with the often-debated topic of immigration, I think we’re in for a really interesting story. Like Saga, this one is for mature readers only. I heard some parents getting pretty heated during Free Comic Book Day because there’s some adult content in this, so just something to keep in mind. This one is not intended for the kiddos! 😉