I’m Alive! Spring Updates

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Hey, guys! ❀ It’s been a while, but I’m still kicking. Despite what my recent absence in the blogosphere would suggest, I was not eaten by a pack of rogue land sharks. (Just slightly mauled is all.)

I’ve had a lot of stuff going on lately and even less free time than usual because of it, but it’s paying off, so I’m not complaining. Merely explaining why I’ve been such a no-show around here lately. I’ve missed chatting with you guys, though, and I’m really looking forward to catching up on everyone’s blogs. πŸ™‚

So, let’s get to the good stuff and let the updates commence! πŸ˜€

BLAH #1: I’ve just been promoted at work and will be getting my own classroom and team. The position recently opened up and I decided to go for it. I was so excited when I heard I’d gotten the position, and I can’t wait to begin planning my room’s weekly activities and outings. I start in my new role as team leader in a week. πŸ™‚

BLAH #2: I’ve mentioned house hunting and moving in the blog recently, and tomorrow is the signing for the house, so I am beyond thrilled about that. So, new job AND new house. My boyfriend was recently promoted at work, too, so although things have been busy as hell and a bit stressful at times, it feels good having all these exciting new changes in our lives.

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BLAH #3: Haven’t had much time for reading lately, but I did read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (I’ve been reading some of the old books my grandma owned for nostalgia reasons.) I’m also currently reading The Great Alone and am hoping to finally start Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues pretty soon. (Assuming I’m not too busy with working on the house/painting this week after work.) April is going to be another extremely hectic month, so we’ll see how much reading I actually get done.

BLAH #4: Easter with the fam was nice and relaxing. This weekend was packed full of doing stuff to get ready for the house, so Easter was a nice chance to just relax and nom on some delicious food. I was in charge of mashed potatoes (my grandma’s recipe and a holiday staple.) My dad and I had a mini Ash vs. Evil Dead marathon, which was all sorts of gory and hilarious fun.

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So, those are my recent updates. How about you? Got any exciting news? I hope everyone’s been doing well and had a great weekend. ❀

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Giant Days, Vol. 4 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Yay! More Giant Days! ❀ If you’re looking for a fun slice o’ life style comic with good female friendships and likable characters all around, this is a series not to be missed out on. πŸ™‚ It’s a cute, feel-good (mostly) series about a trio of friends tackling life (and sometimes being tackled right back by it.)

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Each of the characters is going through their own things in this volume that I’m not going to get too into since, ya know, spoilers suck. In typical adulting-fashion, the girls deal with these issues, plus a whole slew of other things like the literal hell that is house-hunting, making terrible student indie films in an effort to win some cash, job hunting, and the horrors of online dating. Combine all these things and more and you wind up with another entertaining installment in the lives of Esther, Daisy, and Susan.

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Esther truly understanding what it means to be part of the work force.

Currently tangled in the sticky web that is house hunting, myself, I found their struggle all too real. That shit sucks. It sucks big time. You think it’s gonna all be awesome, that you’ll find your dream home all easy-peasy-like, but really it’s mostly moments like this:

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All in all, volume 4 is another fun and enjoyable read in the Giant Days series. Have you read any Giant Days yet, or are you reading any other good comics at the moment? Let’s talk about it! πŸ˜€

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Happy Valentine’s Day / Book Tag! xoxo

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Woo! Happy Valentine’s Day, luvvies! ❀ ❀ ❀ I’ve decided to participate in the Valentine’s Day Book Tag I’ve been seeing pop up all over WP lately. No one tagged me, but I thought it looked like fun, so let’s have at it!

1.) Standalone book you love

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Hmm . . . I’ve suddenly come to realize that I don’t read very many standalone books. Unless it’s a non-fiction one, of course, but that just felt like it didn’t count when I considered those titles. Animal Farm was probably my favorite assigned reading from school, and it’s just a great book in general.

2.) Dystopian book you love

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This series is just SO good! I’m currently picking away at the third in the series, and it’s been so good right off the bat. I don’t know why I waited so long to read it after completing Golden Son.

3.) A book that you love but no one else talks about

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It’s so fun getting to talk about books with people, but this is one title I have yet to get to discuss with anyone else.

4.) Favorite book couple

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I’m cheating. I’m going with my favorite comic book couple. πŸ˜› There just really aren’t a lot of books where I am 100% invested in the actual couple presented, but I am all about Alana and Marko from Saga.

5.) A book that other people love but you haven’t read yet

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I have seen SO MANY good reviews for this book. It sounds amazing and I feel all the shame for not having read it yet. “SHAME . . . SHAME . . . SHAME” *rings bell* πŸ˜›

6.) A book with red on the cover

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7.) A book with pink on the cover

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8.) You were given a box of chocolates. What fictional boyfriend or girlfriend would have given them to you?

Honestly, not a lot of the guys in the books I read really seem like the chocolate-giving sort. I think the sweetest fictional male character I’ve read about recently would be Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer, but I mean, he just seems like a thoughtful and good-hearted guy in general, so I guess we’ll go with him. Although, with his brilliantly imaginative mind, I think he could come up with something wayyyy cooler than chocolates! πŸ˜›

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9.) You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What movie would you watch?

Pshhh, like I’d have to be single to want to read a book on Valentine’s Day! I don’t really have anything that comes to mind that would be Valentine’s-specific, so we’ll just go with stuff I am reading and would watch today whether it was Valentine’s Day or not.

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This collection features 15 of Edward Gorey’s morbid little works. I’d previously read Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which features 26 ill-fated children, the name of each starting with a different letter of the alphabet, so it has been interesting reading more of his dark and twisted short stories and poems.

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My boyfriend and I have slowly been chiseling away at this Hulu show, Future Man. It’s hilarious, and over the top with its violence, gore, and inappropriate humor. I wish we had more time so we could just binge-watch it to completion!

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I’ve really been wanting to watch this one. With Guillermo del Toro at the helm, how could I not?

10.) All of a sudden you get shot by Cupid’s arrow. What new release will you love?

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There is no doubt in my mind that I will love this book just as much as I have loved Pierce Brown’s other books. ❀

Oh, and since it’s already Valentine’s Day I’d just say consider yourself tagged if you think this looks fun. πŸ™‚ Life has been a complete ball of chaos and madness lately so I waited til now to do this, so have at it if you’d like to be a last minute participant, too. Slackers Unite!! πŸ˜€

January’s Comic Haul

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Holy Comic Haul, Batman! Between December and January’s comic hauls, there is just sooo much comic-related goodness in my life. ❀ Since I already went over the lovely new reads I got forΒ Christmas, I thought I’d share with you guys the ones I got for my birthday at the end of January, too. πŸ™‚

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Paper Girls, Vol. 1

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

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Huntress: Year One

As the last survivor of a crime family eliminated by bloody rivalries among the mobs of Gotham City, the orphaned Helena Bertinelli grew into the mysterious vigilante known as the Huntress.
New writer Ivory Madison shines a light on the dark underbelly of the mob world spanning from Gotham to Sicily, exploring exactly what led Helena away from a life in the Cosa Nostra criminal society and set her on a path of vigilantism. Also, find out more about Batman’s first meeting with the fledgling female crime-fighter and why, to this day, they struggle to see eye-to-eye.

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DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 5

Based on the hit DC Collectibles product line! As World War II rages across Europe, the Bombshells battle new enemies showing up out of the woodwork… The incredibly popular DC Collectibles line is brought to life in these stories that re-imagine the course of history!

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Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX! At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

So, yeah, between Christmas and my birthday, I’d say it’s safe to say I made out like a bandit with 15 new additions to my collection. πŸ˜› I’m looking forward to reading all of them. In fact, I’m planning on reading the fourth volume of Giant Days later tonight after I catch up on reading everyone’s blogs. How about you? Did you get any recent books/comics? What are you reading this weekend?

A Smattering of Mini-Reviews

How in the heck is the first month of the new year already almost over?? Where is the time thief that is responsible for this madness? I demand answers! Seriously, though, every year that goes by makes me feel like time just keeps slipping by quicker and quicker.

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I noticed that I’ve been slacking a bit in posting reviews for some of the stuff I’ve been reading and watching lately. Time’s really been getting away from me with everything that’s been going on, but I still want to shine a little spotlight on some of the stuff I’ve been enjoying in the past few weeks, so I bring you this post of mini-reviews! πŸ˜€ It’ll be like a little sampling rather than a full course of reviews, but I think it’ll certainly get the job done. πŸ˜‰

The Plucker, by Gerald Brom:

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This illustrated novel was a real treat. I’ve been a fan of Brom’s work for quite some time. Growing up, my mom had multiple books featuring his artwork and I was hooked from a young age. I loved the dark and twisted aesthetic he had going on. One of the things I like about Brom’s novels, is that he carries over his wonderful artwork and includes tons of illustrations, sketches, and paintings to accompany the story he is telling.

When a young boy’s father unwittingly brings him a gift containing an evil spirit known as the Plucker, it quickly makes itself at home and decides to claim the boy’s life for its own. It begins its reign of terror by going after the boy’s toys, the very things the child has poured so much of himself and his love into. Thus, the toys in this book have a life force all their own, one the Plucker is keen on taking to build up the needed strength to claim the soul of the boy and take over his body. What the Plucker has no way of realizing, is that aside from his toys, the boy also has one badass little old lady for a nanny. One who knows some things about magic herself. It’s a good story with fantastic artwork. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Stranger Things 2, on Netflix:

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Remember when I mentioned how busy I’ve been and how fast time has been flying by? That’s the only explanation I have for why it took me sooooo long to finallyΒ  finish watching the second season of Stranger Things. I (and countless others) love this show and the awesome 80’s dose of nostalgia it’s been rocking. Season 2 was awesome. We met some new characters, got to see older characters continue to grow, and learn some more about “the Upside Down”. The horror element of the show continues to grow in a really satisfying slow-burn sort of way, but it never feels dull and boring because you love the characters so damn much. This was a solid second season to a great show, and I may have even liked it more than I liked the first season, which is really saying something. I would give it 5/5 stars. Can’t wait for season 3!

Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, by Lewis Carroll:

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One of my reading goals for this year is to read more poetry books since it isn’t really something I’ve read a whole lot of. Since I have always been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, I definitely wanted to check out this book of poems from Carroll. I’ll admit, I wasn’t as smitten with this as I thought I was going to be. I liked the titular poem Phantasmagoria the best of the lot, finding that it had the most character to it. It tells the tale of a little ghost who has mistakenly come to haunt the wrong house. Carroll has a certain easy-to-read quirky charm to his poems, but this book wasn’t my favorite of his works. 3/5 stars for this one.

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur:

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Another book of poems! πŸ™‚ This was a quick and moving read. I admire Rupi Kaur’s ability to pour her soul out onto the pages of this book. Divided into different categories, the poems contained cover topics like love and loss, surviving after trauma, and the power and unity of femininity. I think many of us will be able to find something they can identify with or relate to somewhere in Milk and Honey. 4/5 stars.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden:

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I can’t believe I somehow never got around to reviewing this one. I read The Bear and the Nightingale with my book club ladies in December, and it made for the perfect winter read. It was both enchanting and addicting. Much like how the main character Vasilisa is enthralled with the fairy tales she is told growing up, you will become enthralled by the one she winds up living. Russian folklore and mythology enrich the story, and the backdrop of winter is capable of being both cruel and kind, with moments that are cozy and heartwarming, and others that are harsh and bitter. 4/5 stars.

 

A Look at Low, Volumes 1 through 4

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Sebastian the Crab was dead wrong when he said everything was better under the sea. It’s not a bunch of dancing fish and singing crustaceans like Disney would like for you to believe.

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No, it’s nothing quite so nice as all that. It’s more like hordes of deep sea pirates out for your blood, aquatic abominations that want to eat your face, and corrupt leaders who want to keep hope and morale, well, “low”. (You just knew that pun was gonna be used somewhere in this review. May as well get it out of the way now.) πŸ˜‰

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So, for something a wee bit different, I’ve decided to go ahead and review the first 4 volumes of Low in this one post, rather than review them each separately. The main reason for this, is that I experienced very mixed feelings while reading this series. As I’ve mentioned before, Low wasn’t one of those reads that I was head-over-heels in love with upon finishing the first volume. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already bought the three other volumes, I probably would have ceased reading this series altogether. I hate to say that because I had really been looking forward to reading it and I enjoyed the overall concept, just not the execution, I suppose. It’s always a bummer when you feel like you wanted to like something so much more than you actually did, and that’s exactly how I was left feeling. Fortunately, this series improved dramatically as I continued reading it. Volume 1 may have been a rough start, and definitely my least favorite of the four volumes, but I’m glad I carried on and continued reading the story.

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Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope introduces us to a grim future for humankind where, due to the sun’s lethal radiation, humans have been forced to live in the dark abyss of the world’s oceans. It’s been a very long time since humans left the surface behind, and resources are dwindling to the point of no return as we meet our central characters, the Caine family. This is a very busy volume with a LOT going on, and also the longest of the four installments. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it and talk pros and cons regarding this particular volume.

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PROS:

  • A really cool concept. The whole post-apocalyptic science fiction set in the deep, dark vastness of our oceans had me completely psyched to read this.
  • The artwork and colors are lovely. Greg Tocchini (the artist) and Dave McCaig (the colorist) do a good job bringing to life the beauty and oftentimes horror of the world and characters that Rick Remender (the writer) has created.

CONS:

  • This series does have some decent character development overall, but I wasn’t feeling it whatsoever in this first volume. One character in particular has a complete moral shift in gears and character change over the course of a time hop so we’re given like no actual evidence of him growing or changing, he just does so between his last appearance and the next, and it’s honestly quite jarring.
  • Okay, I’m certainly no prude, I’ve generally got no issues with sex and nudity, but this was just . . . a bit much. Tons of female nudity and abuse, women being used for sex and then having extreme violence inflicted on them immediately after, orgies everywhere, etc. A lot of the outfits the female characters wear seem like they were designed that way simply because “tits” and “ass”. Again, this complaint is coming from someone who doesn’t typically shy away from mature content, but the male gaze was sooo prevalent in this one.
  • There’s an overall β€œalways have hope” message in Low, and it felt especially preachy in this volume. It left me feeling like I’d had it hammered in my face over and over and over again. I get that it’s a good message to put out there, but the sheer repetitiveness of it was maddening at times.

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Low, Vol. 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us is where the series begins to get get a little better, in my opinion. In this installment, we see some of the bigger complaints I had with the start of Low slowly begin to simmer down. I also began feeling more invested in the characters and what was going on. The stakes are getting higher, and we get to learn more about different characters and different places with their own big bads. I found myself going from not liking Low by the end of the first volume, to liking it by the end of this one. Was I in love with the series at this point? No, but I did like it.

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Low, Vol. 3: Shore of the Dying Light is, without a doubt, the volume that I liked the most. Tensions are on the rise and there’s a lot at risk in this installment. Also, it is hands down the volume with the least blatant overuse of pointless female nudity which, I’m sorry, has been a real issue for me through this series. You can tell the intentions are for several of the characters to be represented as strong female characters, but I can’t help but feel that it is a little undermined when you randomly have one of those characters in a fight scene in volume 2 where she’s suddenly totally topless because reasons. I mean, come the hell on. Volume 3 was a nice reprieve from this sort of thing.

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Low, Vol. 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes takes us back to some of the events that went down in volume 1 and reveals something pretty interesting and story-changing events that unfolded. There’s plenty of action in this one and some trickery and surprises. It leaves off on a point that has me curious to see where the story will go when volume 5 comes out. It’s not going to kill me to wait for it like it does with some other stories from Image.

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All in all, this series grew on me the more I read of it. I was curious to see what others were thinking of Low overall, so I looked up other reviews and they really varied. Some people loved volume 1 the most and felt it never really reached that high again, but I felt volume 1 was the worst of the lot and that it only improved from there. A lot of people felt the same way I did about all the gratuitous female nudity. Yes, there was some male nudity as well, but it was like a light breeze compared to a hurricane. Most people, like myself, were fans of the artwork, but some found it muddy and hard to follow at points. So, it seems this series is a real mixed bag for people. Have you read Low? Do you have plans to read the series? I’d absolutely love to see what you think of it. πŸ™‚

If I had to give a star rating for each volume of this series it would go as such:

Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us: 3 out of 5 stars

Volume 3: Shore of the Dying Light: 4 out of 5 stars

Volume 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes: 3 out of 5 stars

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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