I Dare You Book Tag

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

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! 😛 So, without further adieu, let’s start this tag! 😀

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 . . .  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. 😉

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. 😛

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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! 🙂

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. 😛

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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! 😀 If not, no worries. Anyone is more than welcome to join in on the fun!

Review- The Art of Alice: Madness Returns

It’s no secret if you’ve been following my blog that I have a passion for art and books. Because of this, I’ve always enjoyed books featuring art collections that range from rough concept sketches to beautifully detailed prints. My mom shares this interest and so we’ve collected many art books throughout the years. I figured I’d make a new category in my blog specifically for art appreciation where I can do artist spotlights and review some of the amazing art books in our collections. 🙂

To kick things off we’ll start with one of mine, a hardcover video game concept art book for American McGee’s Alice: Madness Returns.

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Just look at this creepy, gorgeous cover!

This book takes us down the rabbit hole and through the looking glass so that we can get a good peek at the creative process behind American McGee’s haunting version of Wonderland. With an introduction by McGee himself, we really get to see the long and creative journey that went into making this game. Different chapters cover subjects like pre-production, creating the final look for Alice and her costumes, the separate world building that went into London and Wonderland, cinematics and more!

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Whether you’ve played the game or not, this book is enjoyable for fans of all things Alice (assuming they don’t mind a good measure of horror thrown in the mix), as well as just art lovers in general. The images presented in the book are gorgeous and it’s definitely one of my favorite art books I’ve ever purchased. I’d highly recommend it! If you’re not already acquainted with this game, check out this old trailer for it. As I’m sure you can tell from the concept art seen above, it’s quite the surreal, nightmarish version of Wonderland.

Do you enjoy art books as well? What sorts do you prefer or collect? I’d love to hear about it! 🙂

Celebrate Good Times, Come On: Rise of the Necro Rhino!

Writing challenges can be hard. I suppose that’s why they’re called “challenges” to begin with. This past November I took my first shot at slaying the fearsome beast known in the writing community as NaNoWriMo (aka- National Novel Writing Month or “Nano Rhino” if you’re absurd and silly like my boyfriend and I are). It did not go as planned.

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But, hey, instead of letting it getting to me or giving up I took it as a learning experience. I took a hard look at what didn’t work for me and read people’s tips on what led them to their own NaNoWriMo success. One of the best tips I read was: Do not go for perfection. It’s called a rough draft for a reason. 😉

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This month I decided to take what I learned and try again at writing 50,000 words over the span of 30 days in a challenge I dubbed The Return of the Necro Rhino. Again, because I am absurd and silly. And also morbid.

I started off strong and then hit a bump in the road earlier in the month when I got sick AND lost power for 48 hours due to some crazy high winds. Luckily I caught back up and have been going strong for the most part and staying right on track. Aaaaand today I finished the challenge by completing just over the 50,000 word goal for the month!! 😀

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I still have so much work left to do on this book and the rough draft isn’t even fully finished, but a big chunk of it is, and for that I am pretty damn jazzed. I got over a major writing hurdle I was experiencing and feel liberated because of it. I’m also really, really thankful for all of the wonderful support, advice, and love I’ve gotten from you guys during this challenge (and just overall in general). You guys are seriously awesome, and you make blogging such a joy!

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Valentine’s Day Fan Art

It’s the weekend before Valentine’s Day so I thought I’d share some of my more lovey-themed doodles/fan art with you guys. Some are older than others so you’ll probably notice some definite changes in style and the varying tools I was using to draw/color them at the time. That’s one of the fun things about drawing, your style is constantly growing/changing as you continue to learn new skills and explore new art styles. 🙂

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Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas, daydreaming about Jack.
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Severus crushing on Lily. “Always.” ❤
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An older one of Harley Quinn, pining for her Puddin’.
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Queen of Hearts fan art from volume 1 of the Tales from Wonderland comic.
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Sheldon and Amy fan art sketch from The Big Bang Theory.

I’m off to do some Valentine’s Day baking now. The plan is chocolate chip muffins and chocolate covered cake balls. 🙂 I hope you guys all have an amazing weekend! ❤

 

A Sweet Throwback Thursday

Well, I was going to post an update on how that pop cake I made turned out (the triple chocolate fudge / Rock & Rye Faygo combo), and then I remembered that it’s Throwback Thursday which means it’s time to post creative past endeavors. So I’m just gonna post both! 🙂

Onto the first order of business:

The chocolate/Rock & Rye cake turned out great, but the chocolate flavor of the cake definitely overpowered the Rock & Rye soda’s taste (which may or may not be a good thing). I really enjoy the flavor of Rock & Rye, but I was a little hesitant to mix it with chocolate. Turns out I had nothing to worry about since it just tastes like a plain old scrumptious chocolate cake (a very moist one at that!)

If you have no idea what I’m talking about when I mention “pop cakes” see my previous blog post “Let Them Eat Cake”:

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I should have taken a pic of the cake when it was finished but I assure you it resembled most other chocolate cakes you have seen.

(ALSO: One of my co-workers just made the “spice cake / ginger ale” pop cake mentioned in that post and it was to die for. She ended up making it in a bundt cake pan and drizzling a homemade cinnamon vanilla glaze over the top. Would highly recommend.)

That said, now we can move right along to the second order of business: TBT!

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A birthday cake from a few years back I made and decorated for my buddy, Jared. (Birthday is purposely misspelled as “burfday”.) He greatly enjoys Final Fantasy, so I made him a black mage cake.

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Alice in Wonderland themed cookies I baked for a dark fairy tale themed Halloween party a few years ago. They were pumpkin spice cookies with cream cheese frosting. I’m pretty sure I accidentally baked them too long while running around like a chicken with its head cut off to get things ready for the party. Oh well! 😛

 

 

Whistle While You Work

Sitting in one spot for hours at a time, staring at your computer screen or pad of paper, and trying to put thoughts into actual words can be a maddening process. Though what’s life without a little madness from time to time? 😉

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Sometimes it can be pretty hard to remain focused. One thing that seems to help me, is having some sort of music in the background while I’m working. Usually (though not always) something of a more instrumental variety. Oftentimes, this might mean the soundtrack to a particular video game. I think going with instrumental music usually works best for me because I get less distracted by a singer’s lyrics and can focus more on the overall mood of the music as I write.

Today I’m all about the OST (Original Sound Track) for a game called The Binding of Isaac. It’s a fun and challenging game with great music and a creepy and oftentimes flat-out disturbing mood to it. The OST for the game definitely reflects this. Created by electronic music producer, Danny Baranowsky, the game’s music somehow manages to be both calming and motivating to me when I write. It’s helped me chisel away at writer’s block on multiple occasions and it’s definitely in my arsenal of go-to playlists for when I need something to keep me on track and working.

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I find it interesting all the different methods and tools people use to stay focused and keep working when they are creating things, be it stories, art, or whatever it is they might be constructing. Whatever helps a person pry their seedling of a concept from the depths of their mind and put it onto paper or some other medium of the creator’s choosing. Caffeine and music seem to be two very ideal components of the equation for me. What works for you?