My Writing Minion

That moment when you’re doing your best to concentrate on character sheets for your writing project and your fuzzy cohort says “Screw that shit, it’s cuddle time!”

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Bailey cares not for productivity. She demands pets and undivided attention from all mortals.

It’s isn’t easy resisting those giant imploring kitty eyes when you’re trying to work on stuff. Still, I wouldn’t trade my writing minion for the world. ❤ Generally she’s pretty good about just relaxing by my side while I write, but today she wasn’t having it, rolling over onto the books I was referencing, meowing at me incessantly.

What are your biggest and/or cutest distractions when you’re trying to get your creativity on? Do you have the willpower to resist or do you succumb to the cuteness? I’m a sucker for all things adorable so I’m pretty sure you already know what my answer is. 😉

 

 

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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! ❤

River of Teeth (Novella Review)

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Ever heard of “Lake Bacon”? No? Thankfully, neither had I, but if some eccentric 20th century Americans had gotten their way, lake bacon (aka: hippo meat) would be just another part of the American cuisine. (Seriously, there’s some pretty bizarre/weird history to read up about regarding this if it strikes your fancy.) This story, written by Sarah Gailey, takes a look at just how introducing hippos to the American frontier could have gone oh-so-very wrong and led to a very different version of our old wild west.

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The job is dangerous, the reward is high, and if you ask Winslow Houndstooth, he’ll be more than happy to remind you that it is not a caper, but rather an “operation” that brings him and his motley crew together. Most of them are willing to take on the risk of going up against feral hippos to seek their fortune, but Houndstooth is driven by something more than just money, and although the cash would be great, it’s revenge that really fuels him.

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This novella was interesting and fun from beginning to end. I loved the characters. They’re all so distinct from one another, and I adored the fact that the author gives each of the characters’ hippo companions loads of personality as well. Also, the interactions between the humans and their hippo steeds feels so real to any of us who have our own animal companions we love and care for. It’s all the little moments of the characters singing funny little songs to their hippos involving their names, feeding them their favorite treats, or just showing them affection that I really enjoyed. It’s how any of us with pets are, even if most of us simply have cats or dogs rather than giant animals with jaws so powerful they can bite a man in half with ease. Even the hippos have their own distinct personalities and it just shows me that Sarah Gailey knows how to write interesting and believable characters. I definitely can’t wait to check out this story’s sequel Taste of Marrow.

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If you’re looking for a shorter read that really packs in the fun, look no further. River of Teeth is not likely to disappoint! I easily would give it 5 out of 5 stars! This was yet another solid recommendation from Cupcakes and Machetes. Have any of you guys read this yet? What is the best book you’ve read recently that was non-stop fun and/or excitement from beginning to end? 😀 Let’s talk books!

 

 

Monster-Sized Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Review of Issues 6-8)

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Released just before season 2 of Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, this collection presents us with issues 6-8 of the horror comic that inspired the popular online series. As I mentioned when I reviewed volume 1 of the comic, this is a MUCH darker version of Sabrina than the old Archie comics or the 90’s TV show. With cannibalism, Satanic worship, orgies, the souls of unbaptized children and things even more disturbing brewing, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. Me, though? I really enjoyed it. ❤

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I’d say the main thing I have to nitpick is the use of “Monster-Sized” in the title when it is a mere 3 issues long, but hey, it is what it is. 😉 Two of the issues are origin tales, one of which belonging to a few of the witches’ familiars including Salem, Sabrina’s sassy black cat.

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The other origin tale concerns a character I’m going to leave unmentioned in consideration for the people who have yet to read volume 1, but I enjoyed it as well. It’s pretty interesting seeing how the characters differ so much between this comic series and the Netflix series. As I said in my old review, I still prefer the characters in the show due to their personalities and how fleshed out they are, all with the exception of Salem who gets so much more time to shine in the comic.

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After the two origin tales we finally arrive back where the main plot of the comic series left off, which was quite the cliffhanger, so I was definitely ready to get back to that. Unfortunately, the series is having some issues (no pun intended) and is kind of in limbo from what I hear, so although it may not be the full trade we wanted for a second installment, it was nice getting to read on. Sabrina gets some tough love from her aunties, learns that everything comes with a price, and more. Hopefully we’ll get some new issues soon so we can find out where this story is headed.

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Have you been reading the comics or watching the show? What are your thoughts? 🙂

 

Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) Review

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In my recent frenzy of reading Urban Fantasy, I finally got around to reading Moon Called, the first novel in the series of Mercy Thompson books. This series came highly recommended by Cupcakes and Machetes, so I was excited to give it a whirl. 🙂

Mercedes Thompson, better known to her friends as Mercy, is a mechanic by day and a shapeshifting “Walker” by night, able to take on the form of a coyote at will. Luckily for her, her transformation is nowhere near as painful and brutal as that of the werewolves who also inhabit her everyday world. There are supernatural creatures galore in this series, and some of them are even known about by humans thanks to their powers that be deciding to come public. (Mostly with the lighter fluffy sort of fae and not the monstrous I’m-gonna-eat-your-face kind of creatures, of course.) Baby steps, people. Better to ease the general public into things than cause a widespread panic, right?

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Mercy is just going about her business, living her everyday life when things suddenly get completely turned upside down. When she tries her best to help out a young werewolf in need, the universe quickly sends Mercy a reminder of the age old saying “no good deed ever goes unpunished.” Things escalate pretty quickly after that with attempted/successful murders, kidnapping, werewolf politics, etc. There’s also paranormal romance going on, but I didn’t feel especially drawn to any of Mercy’s suitors. Granted, this is a series so there are bound to be more characters introduced along with character growth from the established characters, so we’ll see how that works out. 🙂

I really enjoyed Mercy’s character. She was kind, brave, clever, and determined. Some of the werewolves I liked, some *cough cough Samuel* annoyed the crap out of me. All I could think any time he was brought up in the book was something along the lines of “Somebody please neuter this guy or put a silver bullet in him.”

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I’m definitely planning on continuing to read the series, so I’m really looking forward to learning more about the other creatures, and seeing what happens with the characters. There seems to be some really interesting worldbuilding going on, but we just kind of see the tip of the iceberg in this novel, so I can’t wait to explore that further. 🙂 I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Reading Stats For the Year Thus Far . . .

Wow, can you believe it’s June already? We’ve officially arrived at the sixth month of the year. Seems a good and proper time to discuss how 2019 has been going so far in the realm of books.

At the beginning of the year I knew I wanted to shift my focus to writing, and so I set my reading goal much lower than usual. The ultimate goal was to restrain my inner book worm this year and finish the year off at just 25 books/graphic novels. Well, with over half the year to go I’m already at 20, so ya see how well THAT plan’s going. 😉

So, let’s talk about the books/comics I’ve enjoyed (definitely some more than others) so far in 2019.

I’d say my favorite books I’ve read this year so far go as follows:

Favorite (Fiction) Novel So Far: Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones

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I gave this one 5 out of 5 stars. I loved the whimsical and light feel to it, and although I don’t often re-read books, this is one I could see myself one day re-reading. I enjoyed the author’s writing style very much and the sass of the main character. Witches, wizards, fire demons, hat shops and more come together in this enchanting story about a girl who is forced out of her comfort zone by a witch’s curse.

Favorite (Nonfiction) Novel So Far: The Knife Man, by Wendy Moore

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I recently played hostess for the book club I’m in, so I brought a healthy dose of books about true crime, disturbing history and the like to the table to be voted on. The winning book was The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery and it was both informative and disgusting. You can definitely expect a review for this one in the near future. 🙂

Favorite Graphic Novel So Far: Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

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I enjoyed volume 1 in the beginning of the year, but I just recently got to enjoy the collection of issues 6-8, “Monster-Sized” sort of mini-trade. (I guess there’s been some issues with getting the official second volume out according to my trusted comic book shop lady.) Expect an official review of it soon!

Books That Were Re-Reads: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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This one was a buddy re-read with Cupcakes and Machetes. Just as fun and enchanting the second time around. ❤

Some of my latest reading choices have come courtesy of recommendations by you guys, so I have to give some shout outs for great suggestions to the following blogging buddies:

Suggestion from Precinct1313:

The Coffin Hill series. Great recommendation! I heeded their advice and snagged all 3 volumes. It was a spooky good time with great artwork.

Suggestion from Virtuanaut:

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Rick Remender’s Deadly Class was another solid recommendation. 🙂 I had found a copy at a re-sale book shop after discussing it briefly with Virtuanaut a while back so I made sure to pick it up. I waited until after I watched season 1 of the show and then gave it a read. I enjoyed it and would absolutely like to continue reading the series! 😀

Suggestion from Cupcakes and Machetes:

Both Moon Called and The Iron Druid Chronicles series came as recommendations from my #1 book pusher, C&M. This girl knows what I like, so if she says read it, I fully intend to do just that (even if it sometimes takes me forever to get around to finally doing it!) 😉

Well, that’s it for my 2019 (so far) Reading Stats post. How’s your year in reading been going so far? What has been your top read so far this year? 🙂

 

 

 

Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles (Review)

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First things first, I really like the cover for this sort of mini-anthology. Secondly, I’m finding myself in the middle of a sudden Urban Fantasy kick at the moment. Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles, as the title would imply, features (you guessed it!) two short stories from Kevin Hearne’s series of UF novels, The Iron Druid Chronicles. Imagine that, huh? 😛

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The first of the two tales, Kaibab Unbound, takes place shortly before the events of the first novel in the series, Hounded. Phew, there’s gonna be links galore in this post, so consider ye self warned. 😉 It’s been nearly five years (half a decade!) since I finished reading the first book in the series, but it was only after recently finishing the third, Hammered, that I decided to start reading Mr. Hearne’s short stories that are woven in a certain order between his various IDC novels.

Kaibab Unbound centers in on our protagonist druid, Atticus, enjoying a day off with his trusted Irish Wolfhound Oberon. Their plans for a relaxing, nature-filled day are sent astray when a befriended elemental is in dire need. Squirrels, shapeshifting druids, nature elementals and witches might sound like a lot to squeeze into a mere 17 page story, but Kevin Hearne manages to make it look easy, all while throwing in the humor and action his tales are known for.

The second short story, A Test of Mettle, takes place during the events of the third IDC novel, Hammered. While Atticus is off taking care of official druid business, Granuaile, a hopeful druid-in-training, is assisting an elemental of her own in a different way, trying to help level out the local ecosystem that is all out of balance thanks to an invasive species. Things do not go as planned though, and Granuaile is suddenly faced with an unnatural attack of sorts.

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I promise this gif makes sense if you read the story. 😛

I enjoyed these quick little stories and plan to continue on with both the novels and the shorter companion tales. Probably not one right after the other, but it is definitely a series I will be continuing to read. 🙂

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I also started reading another UF story last night, Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1). Like I said, I’m definitely on an urban fantasy kick at the moment. Is it a genre you enjoy reading? Any suggestions of other books/series? Let’s talk books! 😀