The Happiest Reading Challenge: Updates

Just call me Scatter Brain McGee over here, because I’ve been meaning to (and forgetting to) talk about what I thought of Six of Crows after I read it! Oops! Shame on me, I know. As I’d mentioned before, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was my May book selection for the Happiest Reading Challenge I’m taking part in, started by super-friendly blogger, The Happiest Pixel.

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Cover and Author of Six of Crows.

Despite what my lack of a timely review might indicate, I was absolutely head over heels infatuated with this book! It was seriously never a dull moment with criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker and his crew. From start to finish this book kept me intrigued and guessing as it surprised me time and time again with twist after delightful twist.

As is a very important thing for me when reading a book, I also loved the characters. They’re quite the mixed bag, and Bardugo manages to hop from POV to POV effortlessly throughout the tale in a way that never seems jarring or off-putting in the slightest. I myself have absolutely no problem with books with multiple POV shifts throughout the chapters, but I know some people who do, and I doubt even they would have minded in this book. It flows very nicely.

I’ve talked before about how beautiful I think the actual book is with its black-edged pages and gorgeous cover, so I won’t get much into that, other than to say that the writing is just as lovely as the book itself.

I could just keep on going on about how enjoyable of a read this was, but I’m gonna keep it brief and say: If you like a good heist story and want to read a book that lives up to all the hype, this is a damn good one to go with. Can’t wait to read the next one.

So, that covers May’s part of the challenge, but what about June so far? I mentioned already that I would be reading The Lies of Locke Lamora for this portion of the challenge, but believe it or not, I cannot find where I put the book!! *GASP* Like, what the hell? Did it just sprout legs and bound off somewhere? There is a possibility that I may have taken it to my boyfriend’s and left it there, but as my brain has been busy forgetting to post about Six of Crows it also took on the task of forgetting to ask my bf about the M.I.A. book as well. Sigh . . . one day I’ll get it all together, but today is not that day.

In the mean time, I’ve begun reading Gail Carriger’s first book in The Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless.

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Cover and Author of Soulless.

I’ve already read andΒ reviewed the manga trilogy based off of this series of paranormal steampunk novels, so I knew what I was getting into already. And that is a witty historical fiction series set in Victorian England. I’m interested to see how the manga series (which was only three volumes) will compare and differ to the source material, which is five novels.

Those are my updates for the reading challenge so far. How’s your reading going at the moment? Into any interesting books right now?

Spider-Gwen, Vol. 1: Greater Power

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After a lukewarm first dip into the world of Spider-Gwen with Volume 0: Most Wanted back in March, I wasn’t in too big of a rush to move onto Volume 1: Greater Power. I didn’t hate it or anything. I just wasn’t as into it as I would have hoped to be. Here’s a link to clicky-clicky if you want to read my thoughts on volume 0.

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Fortunately, Volume 1 carried over the things I enjoyed about volume 0, but toned down some of the things I wasn’t as crazy about (like all the angsty band drama). I’m still a big fan of the popping color schemes, Gwen’s costume design, and this alt-Gwen herself as a character. She’s corny and loves puns. I can appreciate that. πŸ™‚ I also like that she isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes and she owns them and learns from them.

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We get to meet more alt versions of characters as some iconic baddies as well as good guys, and I use the term “guys” loosely, entering the fray. No worries, I won’t spoil the fun by saying who they are. πŸ˜‰ Here’s the fist of one of them though:

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We also get to learn more about Gwen and her friends before she was bit by that radioactive spider, as well as get some hints at some of the shadier stuff going on behind the scenes with some of the other characters. The story overall still wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but I think it may just be a slow beginning to something better in the long run perhaps. Only time will tell. I’d say I definitely enjoyed this volume more than volume 0 though, and would probably give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

And just for fun, here’s some of the variant covers included in the back of volume 1:

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No Spoiler Review- Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening

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I just love it when a book lives up to all the hype surrounding it, and Monstress delivered this and then some. Hands down, this story has the best worldbuilding I have ever seen in comic form. It’s a beautiful blend of magic and horror from beginning to end.

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“Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steam punk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both and make them the target of both human and otherworldly powers.” Goodreads

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Between Marjorie M. Liu’s dark and intriguing writing, and Sana Takeda’s consistently gorgeous and impeccably detailed artwork, it’s hard NOT to fall in love with Monstress. The only reasons I can imagine anyone complaining would be if:

A.) They get squeamish over blood and violence.

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B.) They’re offended by cuss words, and when cats are the ones uttering said cuss words.

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Or C.) They don’t like monsters. Or ghosts. Or the ghosts of monstrous gods.

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Another thing I really enjoyed about Monstress were the characters. Maika (the main character) has seen some shit in her seventeen years of life. She had to become tough to live through the things she’s been through. She has scars both mentally and physically that prove her to be a survivor. The world she lives in is not kind, with war, slavery, and murderous and power-hungry witch-nuns only providing a taste of the dangers that has left most of the population wounded and desperate no matter what “side” they are on. Also, if you are seeking a story that represents strong women, this one’s for you. I mean the pages are literally filled with them. Unlike most stories where male characters tend to vastly outnumber the female characters, Monstress actually flips this concept.

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This is the sort of story that slowly unravels with time, but not in a way that ever leaves the reader bored. It simply has layers. Layers upon layers. Like onions. And ogres. (You’re damn right I just made a Shrek reference there.)

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This first volume did a great job at introducing the readers to the world, characters, and story, but it definitely leaves us with questions. Which is honestly just fine with me because I am really looking forward to reading more when volume 2 comes out this summer! πŸ™‚ Definitely a 5/5 star beginning to what will no doubt be an incredibly epic story.

Bring On the Writing Memes!

Today is another busy day, but I’m doing my best to squeeze in some writing where I can! As well as doing some shopping for a certain BFF of mine’s upcoming birthday. (Cupcakes and Machetes, you spoiled bitch, you!) πŸ˜› ❀

I also wanted to squeeze in a quick blog post, so prepare yourselves, Memes Are Coming! Writing memes to be exact! πŸ˜‰

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This is probably true.
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FACT: I am beyond guilty of this. My main character is still known as MC in my first draft at this point. But I can tell ya all about how she looks, her back story and family history, etc. lolΒ  /FAIL.

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Also, if I were ever to be put on trial for murder, my google search history would probably condemn me to life in prison. Hey, man, writers gotta do their homework on grim topics sometimes. πŸ˜›
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Hmm . . . some of you may have not been alive long enough yet to get this meme.
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Truth! I’m a total plot hopper. I write around.

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This is so true. I have to prepare like I’m about to present a business project any time I am asked to explain what the hell I’m currently writing about.

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lol And this is why I’m so horrible at explaining what I’m writing about to people. It’s almost like it’s easier to write the whole damn book than to briefly explain it. πŸ˜›

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So, yeah, those are the writing memes I decided to share! πŸ™‚ Do any of these memes strike true to you when you’re writing, too?

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post some writing inspirational quotes I like if I can squeeze it in. Happy writing/blogging, everyone!! ❀

Writer’s Guilt

Oof! You know how sometimes you’re reading a book and you come across a point that makes you have to stop and process what you just read because it was like a punch to the heart?

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Well, this is where I must ask those of you who also write, do you ever feel like this after you’ve written a certain scene in your own story? Do you ever feel writer’s guilt or remorse for the things you put your characters through? I know they’re fictional, but it’s amazing how you can come to care for them, just like the characters you read about in other people’s books. Or am I just a weirdo? πŸ˜›

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Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery- No Spoiler Review

I’ve been hearing such good things about this series and now that I’ve read it I can happily say that I was NOT disappointed! In fact, I loved it!

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The titular “Rat Queens” are a group of potty-mouthed, goblin-slaying, bar-brawling friends and “adventurers for hire”. Each of the characters brings something special to the story. I honestly can’t even pick a favorite.

There’s Hannah, the rockabilly elven mage:

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“I’ve conjured a little Fuck You.” – Hannah

And Dee, the human cleric who also just so happens to be an atheist.

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“My parents worship a giant flying squid. Holidays get weird.” – Dee

And then there’s Betty, the “smidgen” thief.

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“Tequila, vodka, and two magic mushrooms: They call it ‘The Betty’.” – Betty

And last, but not least, Violet, the hipster dwarven warrior who shaved her beard “before it was cool”.

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“I know my sword is designer. I use it ironically.” – Violet

And on top of that, there are plenty of other great characters to enjoy throughout the pages of volume 1. It’s stuffed to the brim with delightfully inappropriate humor, fun fantasy tropes and, of course, wonderful artwork of the highest caliber.

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Though proceed with caution if you’re easily put off by swear words, bloody battle sequences of ass kickery, drug and alcohol references, and talk of smut. If these things bother you, than this series is bound to offend your delicate sensibilities. πŸ˜‰

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But if you’re like me, and you revel in these things, then carry on bold reader! For there is ale to be guzzled, dungeon monsters to be fought, and merriment of the crassest sort to be had! Huzzah! 5/5 flaming orc skulls!

 

Saga, Volume 2: No Spoiler Review

Volume 1 of Saga had me madly in love at first read, and Volume 2 made me put a ring on it. This series really is something special. The writing. The artwork. The characters. It’s the total package.

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It’s actually been a couple weeks since I finished reading this, but I kept getting sidetracked when it came to writing up a review for it. I think I’m going to have to attribute some of that to the fact that this is a tough series to review and define. It’s such a fresh, exciting, witty, and outrageous series that it can be hard trying to confine all of its awesomeness into a neat and tidy little package of a review. That, and sometimes I can be a total procrastinator. πŸ˜‰

This volume gives all usΒ Marko/Alana fans some much desired backstory of how they came to be the epic couple we now know and love.

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We get to see Marko way back when he was just a little tyke and get some more insight regarding the friction between his and Alana’s people. We also get to learn more about how much of a book nerd Alana was before she was too busy on the run from bounty hunters to crack open a good book. (As if we needed any more reasons to love this woman!) ❀

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And of course we have adventures aplenty from bounty hunting duo, The Will and Lying Cat, as well as a certain somebody from Marko’s past. Perhaps someone with an old grudge of her own?

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Prince Robot IV is of course still relentless in his hunt of Alana and Marko. The man is willing to do anything to find them, even reading trashy romance novels.

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Plus, you get adorable new characters like this little cutie:

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If you want a comic series that truly lives up to all the hype around it then Saga is for you. A beautiful blend of science fiction and fantasy, action and romance, laughs and thrills. As if you hadn’t guessed by now, this is a solid read and deserves nothing less than 5/5 stars. The only drawback is if you don’t have volume 3 on hand when you finish reading this because there’s a definite cliff hanger!