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January 2022 Wrap-Up

Well, after dodging covid for nearly 2 full years, it finally reared its ugly head in our home. My husband and I had both been having these weird headaches for a few days and honestly, we have been so careful and had barely even gone anywhere around the time this happened other than the grocery store (both of us were even off work when this all happened) so the last thing we were expecting was covid. Well, my husband was due for surgery that week so he had to get tested and sure enough, he tested positive. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Thankfully, other than being tired and having the bad headaches it was all very mild. Thanks, Science! ๐Ÿ˜€ Very, very glad we were both vaccinated and had our boosters. It could have been so much worse. Anyway, my husband’s surgery had to get postponed, so that’s coming up this week. We both had masks on when we went to the store, so that is just further proof that this Omicron variant isn’t fucking around. Be careful out there, guys. โค

There were several other things that made January kind of a rough month, but I’m just thankful none of it was as bad as it could have been. Anywayyy, here are some things that brought me some joy in a month I would otherwise sum up as “mildly horrible”. ๐Ÿ™‚

Books Read: 3

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Vicious (Villains #1)ย by V.E. Schwab

I absolutely LOVED this book.ย Cupcakes & Machetes had read and raved about it years ago so it’s been on my radar for quite some time and I’m so glad I finally got around to reading it. I would have immediately dove right into the sequel but C&M and I are doing our annual beginning-of-the-year Harry Potter buddy read. It’s the fourth year, which means it’s time for Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, baby! ๐Ÿ˜€

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I recently decided that I wanted to re-visit some of the spooky comics I loved back in my teenage years, so I started re-reading theย GloomCookie series of graphic novels by Serena Valentino. Volume 1 held up, with gothic modern fairy tale-like stories and spooky-cute characters and humor. I still enjoyed volume 2 as well, but not quite as much as the first one. A lot of the characters were just too angsty and bitchy this time around for me. Still gonna continue reading the series though. ๐Ÿ™‚

Baking Buddies: New Achievement Unlocked!

I’m usually the baker in our household, but my husband joined in on the fun last month and we ended up making 3 different desserts together. 2 were great, and the other was “meh”, but I enjoyed having a partner in confectionery crime. ๐Ÿ™‚ He made a delicious peanut butter buttercream for one of the desserts, and it was his first time making any kind of frosting, so kudos to him! We share quite a few hobbies already so it was fun trying something new together.

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Some of my Favorite Things I Watched:

The Lost Boys (You can check out the buddy review C&M and I did for it over on our joint-blog Sugar and Scream if you’d like!)

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Demon Slayer -Kimetsu no Yaiba- The Movie: Mugen Train (OMGGGG! Amazing animation and fight sequences, and it’s got me so hyped for season 2!!)

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Attack on Titan, Season 4 Part 2 (If you aren’t watching this show yet, GET. YOUR. LIFE. TOGETHER. AND. WATCH. THIS. MASTERPIECE. Seriously, if it doesn’t pull you in by the first episode alone I’d be stunned.)

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Hobbies: Drawing and Writing

I’ll have to do a post soon with the drawings I made during January. (I think I only did like 3 for the whole month, but one was a rough/practice comic page, so that was fun and different.)

As for writing, it was a pretty productive month for working on my book’s second draft, especially given how stressful things were.

Leveling up to 35: My Birthday

With everything going on, it ended up being a very low key kind of birthday. My husband gifted me with a bounty of awesome books/graphic novels, and we got takeout from one of our favorite local restaurants (with cookie butter cheesecake for dessert!) ๐Ÿ˜€

Well, that pretty much sums up my first month of 2022. I hope you guys had a better start to the new year! โค What was your favorite part of January? Any plans for February that you’re excited for?

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My Year in Books: 2021

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Does anyone else look forward to when Goodreads posts your “Year in Books” at the end of the year? ๐Ÿ™‚ I always think it’s fun looking back on things you’ve done throughout the year, so maybe that is something I’ll try to keep better track of in 2022 in general. For now, though, I’ll just let GR do most of the work.

This year I surpassed my goal of reading 30 books/graphic novels, and read a total of 45. (Though, let’s be honest, A LOT of those were graphic novels this year.) ๐Ÿ˜‰

The SHORTEST book I read was: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells, at 118 pages.

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The LONGEST book was: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill, at 692 pages.

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Favorite Buddy Read of the Year: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkabanย by J.K. Rowling

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Favorite Novel I Read This Year: The Graveyard Bookย by Neil Gaiman

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Favorite Graphic Novel I Read This Year: I literally read all 34 volumes of the manga ofย Attack on Titan by Hajime Isayama, so I think it’s a safe bet to say this one took the cake for me in 2021. ๐Ÿ˜›

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How was your own year in reading? What was your favorite book/graphic novel you read in 2021? How many books do you hope to read in 2022?

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November 2021 Wrap-Up

Hello, December! โค It’s kind of bizarre to think that 2021 has already nearly come to an end. It feels like we were JUST wishing for 2020 to be over. What even IS time anymore since the pandemic hit? 0.o

I hope you guys all had a great November. ๐Ÿ™‚ What was your favorite part of the month? Here’s some of the things I enjoyed most throughout November:

NaNoWriMo: NaNoWriMo was definitely interesting this year. This was the first year I’ve gone into it in 2nd Draft/Revisions mode, so it was a little more difficult for me to get my footing at first. I definitely added to my word count and fleshed out a lot of the bare bones areas of the book, but I also spent a lot of time moving things around and merging my new material in with the old. Near the end of the month I found myself less focused on the word count, and more focused on just doing whatever needed to be done. All in all, I may have veered off course as far as my original NaNoWriMo goal, but I still think it was a very successful month of writing/editing, and I’m proud of what I accomplished in that amount of time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Buddy Read:ย Cupcakes & Machetes and I did a buddy read for Science Fiction month ofย The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. If you want to see what we thought of it feel free to check out ourย post we did about it.

Thanksgiving: We kept things very small, just immediate family, and everyone involved was vaccinated. I like laid back holidays so I thought it was really nice. โค My dad and I love Bruce Campbell, so we watched his new movie Black Friday.

Watching: My favorite shows I watched this month are definitely Arcane (on Netflix) and Dragula, Season 4 (on Shudder).

Reading: I only finished reading ONE thing this entire month, and it was my buddy read with C&M. Buuuut, I did also just start reading Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, which has been very interesting right from the beginning. ๐Ÿ™‚

Video Games: I’ve been playing a lot of Mario Kart 8 this week. ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

Baking: Meh. I was pretty excited to try this no bake pumpkin pie recipe, but it was bland as hell, to be honest. I’ve only ever tried making 2 pumpkin pies in my life, both for Thanksgiving with my family, and both were terrible. The first one was when I was a kid, my dad and I made a gorgeous pumpkin pie but forgot one of the ingredients… SUGAR. D: So I guess failing at pumpkin pie is a family tradition at this point. lol

What are you most excited for in December? Any last minute projects or goals you have going on before the new year? ๐Ÿ™‚

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Mission Accomplished: First Draft

“Writer Girl Summer” is finally at its end, and so is my blog hiatus I was on. My entire summer was pretty much just a caffeine-fueled writing frenzy of utter madness. It feels really damn good though to have completed my (very rough) first draft. I am so ready to take a much-needed break from writing to let the story breathe, and to regain some of my sanity before I go on to tackle the dreaded second draft.

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Luckily for me, Halloween is just around the corner, so I’m going to use the full month of October to recover from my crazy writing binge and to just focus on doing all the things I love to indulge in during spooky season. We’re talking horror movies galore, catching up on some creepy video games, reading scary stories, fall baking, etc. I’m also planning to participate in the 2021 Corpsetober Art Challenge, so I’m really excited to get back into drawing. I really didn’t draw much this summer since I was so focused on completing the first draft of my book, so I can’t wait to get back at it and practice some more with my iPad Pro. It was kind of torturous just seeing it collect dust all summer, but I’m glad I remained focused.ย 

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I can’t wait to start catching up on everyone’s blogs over the next several days, and see what you guys have been up to while I was away. In the mean time, how was your summer?? What are you most excited for this fall?

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37 Day Hiatus

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Oof. Deadlines are ROUGH. As I previouslyย mentioned, this summer is all about finishing the first draft of the book I’ve been plotting/writing. Now that I’m in the home stretch (just 37 days left to go) I really need to shift my focus into high gear and remain focused. It’s because of this that I’ve decided to take the remainder of this summer off from my blog and devote just about all of my attention and free time to making my self-imposed deadline.

I’ll still be contributing toย Sugar and Scream during this time though, so I won’t be totally removed from WP. Here’s hoping I make it back with a completed first draft AND my sanity intact come the fall. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Pup Cups, Pumpkins, and Photos: July 2021 Wrap-Up

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Update #1: Pup Cups

My mom and I like to try to get together for coffee once a week, specifically Biggby frozen coffees with extra espresso in them because we are absolute fiends for caffeine. Well, as of late, our girls’ day coffee adventures have only gotten better with the addition of a third member of our “Treat Yo’ Self” squad, that being my parents’ new resident fluff monster that they got a few months back. (Like this dog needed any more reasons to love going for car rides.) ๐Ÿ˜›

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Update #2: Pumpkin Babies

Our pumpkin patch is already fast at work producing flowers and pumpkin babies for the fall. I think this pumpkin patch will always hold a special place in my heart, not only because I love pumpkins, but also because the first harvest was for our wedding last October. โค Hopefully this year’s harvest will be just as good!

Update #3: Writing Progress

Writer Girl Summer is going really well. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve mostly been cruising along right on track to have my first draft complete by the first day of fall, so here’s hoping I can keep this pace up. *fingers crossed*

Update #4: Reading, Or Rather, a Lack There Of

I didn’t get much reading done in July, mostly due to a misplaced charger for my Kindle that has thankfully since been found. Also, when I wasn’t writing, let’s be honest, I was mostly watching a ton of anime. While my kindle charger was misplaced, I had to take a break on finishing Pet Sematary for my buddy read with Cupcakes & Machetes, I started reading Leigh Bardugo’s Ninth House.

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Update #5: Drawing

Other than completing theย Drawing Shark Week art challenge I participated in, I didn’t get a whole lot of drawing time in since this summer my focus is mostly on writing. Buuuut I’m hoping to at least squeeze in a couple Fan Art Friday posts this month since my last one was *GASP* all the way back in mid-May??! I can’t even keep up with time these days it seems. 2021 is just barreling by at breakneck speed and it’s all I can even do to try to remember what day it is half the time. Back to the point though, it will be good to get some more practice in with Procreate and my iPad Pro. I’m still loving it, I just have soooo much to learn!

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Update #6: Watching

July mostly had me been binge-watching the first 4 seasons of My Hero Academia with my husband, but I also started Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood on my own. We also enjoyed the 3 week Netflix event for the Fear Street trilogy of movies. I think we may have squeezed a couple other movies in as well, but the only one coming to mind at the moment is Gunpowder Milkshake.

Update #7: Baking

For my husband’s dad’s birthday I made a triple chocolate cake. My husband also really enjoys these honey cornbread muffins I make so I made some of those which we enjoyed with honey cinnamon butter. (SO good.) I also have an abundance of frozen blueberries I want to use up, so this weekend I made blueberry muffins. Aaaand if you follow the Sugar and Scream blog that C&M and I host together, you’ll have seen some pics of freshly bakedย bone-shaped snickerdoodle cookies we posted about in early July.

What shenanigans did you get up to in July? Any big plans for August? Hoping you all have an excellent month! ๐Ÿ˜€

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Enjoying The Finer Things in Life: Baking, Video Games, Reading and Kitties

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Ughhhh, work has been quite a doozy lately, to the point that I was in complete and utter zombie-mode each day when I got home. This weekend I decided to just indulge in some of the more relaxing things that make me happy. A Friday night drink/video chat with my amazing BFF Cupcakes & Machetes, some baking (Chocolate Coconut Cream Cake and a nice honey beer bread), playing lots of Super Mario 3D World on the Switch with my awesome husband while our adorable cat Bailey cuddles up with us, binge-reading a bunch of the Attack on Titan volumes of the manga which have been on my TBR list forever, and just enjoying the time off. I know next week will be just as tiring at work due to us being extremely short-staffed at the moment, but I’ll worry about that come Monday. For now, I’m just enjoying myself and relaxing. โค

I hope you guys are all finding your own ways to unwind and find some joy. What’s your go-to boredom vanquisher these days? ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

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March 2021: Digital Art, Fluffy Friends & Other Updates

Oof, March has been an absolute whirlwind of a month. It’s been quite the mix of high and low points. Registering for classes, family health emergencies, the sudden loss of a wonderful friend who taught me so much about life and brought so much joy to everyone who knew her, house and yard projects and repairs, and many other things have had me a bit stressed these past few weeks to say the least.

I did manage to squeeze in a bit of practice on my art tablet, taking some old sketches and outlining and coloring them digitally as seen below:

vamp girl redoneย  rainy sad girl

Started playing Super Mario 3D World on the Wii U with Mr. Moth so that’s been a fun distraction from some of the more stressful stuff that’s been going on lately.

I think the only thing I baked this month was a dark chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. Soooo good! โค

I haven’t finished reading anything new at all this month. My mood has been all over the place, which also means my reading preferences have been just as erratic. I did start reading Leigh Bardugo’s The Lives of Saints and re-reading Shadow & Bone in preparation for the Netflix show coming out. It’s been like 7 or 8 years I think since I read S&B so I was definitely due for a refresher before the show starts. I always think it’s interesting to see the differences between a show or movie and its source material. I also started reading this big ol’ Encyclopedia of Witchcraft & Demonology that had belonged to my grandma back in the day. It’s something I have read bits and pieces from but never completed reading from start to finish so I’d like to finally do that. I’m not in a rush though, It’s a lot of information that I’d rather take my time and read here and there rather than all at once.

All the critters are doing well. Luna the baby hedgehog at my work is getting sooo big. She’s “quilling” right now so she’s a little grumpy at times but the Aveeno Oatmeal baths we’ve given her have helped a lot. Quilling is basically a process that can take up to 6 months of age where she will slowly be losing her baby quills here and there and having them replaced with her big girl quills. Here’s a pic of her after her first Oatmeal bath. She was so happy and relaxed afterward.

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Bailey’s been living her best life, as always. ๐Ÿ˜› Mr. Moth got her one of those little flower-shaped kitty water fountains and she LOVES it. It’s funny because he wasn’t exactly Team Cat before Bailey and I lived with him and he’s since turned into this Turbo Cat Dad, spoiling her rotten and researching things to make sure she is the happiest kitty she can be. โค

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My parents new fluff monster is also doing really well. ๐Ÿ™‚ He had his first vet appointment and got a clean bill of health. He did really well while he was there and so he got a special “Shit Happens” treat from the doggy bakery. Kind of appropriate since they needed a stool sample from him for his first visit. Haha He’s such a happy boy and has already brought so much joy to my parents’ home with his goofy personality. The neighborhood squirrels may not like him but we adore him. โค We’ve been working on tricks and he currently knows “Sit”, “Lay Down” and “Speak”. He’s also really good at solving dog treat puzzles. ^_^

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That’s pretty much it for my updates for March. I tried to focus on the more positive stuff for my post but it was definitely a month with its fair share of worry and tears. Hopefully April will be better. ๐Ÿ™‚ How was your March? Oh, yeah, and Happy Spring! ๐Ÿ˜€

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February 2021: Huskies, Hedgehogs, and Honey Chai Cakes, Oh My!

I can’t believe it’s already almost March! February was a busy and awesome month full of surprises so I figured it was time to get my butt back on the blog and do an update post. ๐Ÿ™‚ I just got my second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine this past Tuesday and I’m so happy and grateful. (Even if it did really knock me on my ass the day after with sore muscles/joints, fatigue, little waves of nausea, and a headache). After that, I was back to my normal self though and I was just thankful to be able to get it, so no regrets. Thanks, Science! โค

I also started the process towards going to school for graphic design. Michigan has a new program it has rolled out to get people over the age of 25 back in school to get their associate degree by covering their tuition. It’s such a great opportunity and was too good of an offer to pass up, so I’ll be starting classes this summer. I’ve even already got my college ID! One of my co-workers is already taking the exact program at the same college and has had great things to say about it, so I’m really excited. Pluuuus, I’ll get to share in this experience with my BFFย Cupcakes & Machetes since she is going back to college as well starting in the spring. ๐Ÿ˜€ Different schools/classes, but we’re both excited to geek out over school stuff together so that will make it even better all the way around!

Other fun surprises this month came in the form of two new fuzzy and prickly friends. A girl I went to school with before was recently trying to find a home for a good dog in a sad and tough situation so he wouldn’t have to go to a shelter so long story short, my parents opened their home to him and now have a lovable, goofy, clumsy, fluff monster to call their own. โค My other new little animal friend came in the form of a lovely little hedgehog at my work. She’s so sweet and cute and the participants at my job just absolutely adore her, as do I. ๐Ÿ™‚

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It wouldn’t be an update post on THIS blog if I didn’t mention recent reads, hobbies, and baking. I didn’t have as much time for those things as I’d have hoped, buuuut I did bake this delicious Honey-Drizzled Cinnamon Chai Cake:

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In reading news, I happily read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Bookย  this month. It was such a treat. Kind of a nice and cozy, comfort read. ๐Ÿ™‚ I also started reading Leigh Bardugo’sย The Lives of Saints (Grishaverse)ย  and, for a refresher before the Netflix adaptation comes out, I’m re-reading/listening toย Shadow and Bone. I just watched the official trailer yesterday and I. Am. PUMPED. โค

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Well, those are my updates for the month! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also did some writing and more practice with digital art but not as much as I had planned due to all the other stuff going on. All in all, though, February was a pretty good month. I hope you guys all had a good go of it as well. โค Looking forward to catching up on some blog posts I’ve missed but please fill me in on any excitement I have missed in the mean time. What were your highlights of the past few weeks?

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November 2020 Updates

Hey, there, all you majestic beasties! โค Can you believe November is nearly over? I hope you’re all well and finding ways to keep entertained and happy. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m back at home, my work being one of the places that has closed during our state’s three week partial closure. I’ve tried starting multiple posts while I’ve been off and nothing sticks. I’m in this foggy headspace where focusing on one thing is even harder than normal, which brings us to my first November update…

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UPDATE #1: CREATIVE STUFF

With the exception of drawing, I haven’t been able to concentrate on a whole lot. So, that’s pretty much what I’ve been focusing on. Drawing. Especially mythical creatures/beings. It’s actually been a lot of fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ (The weird tree lady pictured above is a Dryad I drew, from Greek mythology.) NaNoWriMo, on the other hand, obviously got shot in the foot on take off. I don’t know what I was thinking with that one. Haha Between the pandemic and a very tense election I was pretty much glued to the news during the beginning of the month, so not much writing going on, I’m afraid.

UPDATE #2: HOLIDAYS

I think we all know by now that the holidays are going to be very different this year. Under normal circumstances I’m usually a bit on the Grinchy side, not really one for Christmas music and all the fluff that goes with it. (I’m not as bad as I used to be, but it’s never the part of year I’m really looking forward to.) Well, it’s 2020 and everything is all messed up and crazy, so of course this would be the year that I am PUMPED for Christmas. ๐Ÿ˜› Bring on the holiday baking, Christmas movies and music, cozy winter bullshit, and decorations. I would already have the tree up and decorated if it wasn’t for Mr. Moth demanding Thanksgiving be allowed to have its moment. Haha I didn’t make the comic featured below, but when I found it, it immediately reminded me of Mr. Moth and his bizarre love for Thanksgiving. ๐Ÿ˜€

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UPDATE #3: BAKING

I don’t know what it is about being stuck at home, but it really makes me want to bake ALL the things. Recent baking adventures include Snickerdoodle Cupcakes for Mr. Moth’s birthday, peanut butter cookies, pumpkin cookies, and rainbow chip cookies. I also busted out our new waffle maker and made homemade Belgian Waffles. One batch was regular and the other I jazzed up and made Pumpkin-Chai Belgian Waffles. ๐Ÿ˜€ It’s actually been really nice finding a joy in baking again. I used to bake all the time and then eventually I got sick of it. My favorite things to make this year definitely seem to be cookies. I’m really picky about cookies, so making them at home has been nice because they are super soft and chewy, just like I like ’em! โค

UPDATE #4: READING

Like I said previously, my level of focus has been practically ZERO lately, so needless to say, not a lot of reading was getting done. Well, thankfully I’m starting to come back around and get some light reading in again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Giant Days, Volume 14 and The Quotable Giant Days:

I’m not going to lie, I was sooo sad when it hit me that I was reading the FINAL volume of Giant Days. This comic about three college friends and their lives has been such a treat to read. I can’t say I’ve read many other things that made me feel like I, too, along with the characters was saying farewell to my friends at the end. Mr. Moth and I both read this series, and we agree that John Allison does a fantastic job writing female characters. (Really, just characters in general, but if you’ve ever read anything from a male author where the male gaze gets a bit heavy, you know what we’re talking about.)

The Forbidden:

Written by Clive Barker, The Forbidden tells the story of what would eventually become the 1992 horror film, Candyman. I really enjoyed this short story, though if you’ve seen the film before you’ve read the story, this one feels like the blueprint to the movie which expands upon it in a really great way.

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It’s always a treat reading more of Joe Hill’s work. With the recent news of the premature cancellation of AMC’s television adaptation of this title, I decided to go ahead and dive on in. Initially I was going to wait closer to Christmas due to some of the holiday horror vibes of this story, but as I mentioned already, I am feeling festive as fuck and could no longer wait. It’s off to a great start and I’m looking forward to reading more of it and seeing what the characters I came to love in the show get up to in the pages of this novel.

Hack/Slash Omnibus Volume 1:

This title and I go way back. I’d gotten to read a smidge of Hack/Slash long ago, enough to have given me a taste of what it was bringing to the table but not enough to sink my teeth into. Well, at 300 pages, this omnibus lays out the whole feast and dessert too. Hack/Slash follows our resident goth drifter Cassie Hack and her pal Vlad, a big, deformed man of few words who has the soul of a kitten (as long as you’re not on his to-kill list) as they hunt Slashers across the country and put them down for good. I like the way they handle their slasher mythology in this series, describing Slashers (your standard Michael, Jason, Freddy sort of fare) as “a type of undead, sort of like a vampire or zombie. They’re so full of anger that they don’t wanna die. They hate love, youth, sex . . . things they miss from life.” I mean, how often do we see the big murderous slashers who go after teenagers spring back up for more mayhem and murder after they’ve been killed? All the time, right? Makes sense to me to throw the supernatural spin on that. The series definitely isn’t for everyone, and I, myself, sometimes roll my eyes due to that “male gaze” thing I mentioned previously, but it has a lot of appeal for horror fans, and thus I do enjoy it. Genre favorites from the big screen and behind-the-scenes even make appearances such as Robert Kirkman and Mr. Good Guy Doll himself, Chucky.

Anywhooo, that’s it for my November updates. Now it’s time to play catch-up and see what you fine and fancy folk have been up to. Happy (early) Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate it. And Happy Monday (ugh) to the rest of you! ๐Ÿ˜›