Updates of the Reading and Working Variety

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Hello, lovelies! 😀 Despite my recent absence, I swear I have not been eaten by monsters. (Not yet anyway.) Halloween is slowly creeping up though, so I suppose it’s only a matter of time, isn’t it? 😛 I’ve just been insanely busy lately. A lot of it due to work. I still love my jobs though, so it’s all worth it. I just need to learn to manage my time and perhaps do more multitasking so I can have a wee bit more free time to do some of the things I enjoy (like blogging with all you awesome folks!) ❤

August has been an incredibly busy month, but it’s been a good one. It seems to be a big month for parties. I got to go visit Cupcakes and Machetes for her housewarming party earlier in the month and that was a lot of fun. My work just had their 25th anniversary Luau party yesterday. I baked some strawberry cupcakes with cheesecake mousse topping and they were a hit. 🙂 Aaaand my dad’s birthday is at the end of the month, so my mom and I are making him lemon cream puffs (his request), an awesome dinner, and spoiling him with presents (several of which are Guardians of the Galaxy related).

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I haven’t had nearly any time to read this month but I am squeezing in a few minutes of reading here and there where I can fit it in. This usually results in me being super grumpy when I’m really interested in what I’m reading at the time and have to put the damn book down. lol So infuriating. I’ve started Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor, and The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls by Emilie Autumn.

Though I’m not as far along in either of these stories as I’d like to be by now, I am enjoying them both. 🙂 Laini Taylor really does have a way with words, so it’s been awesome returning to her writing since it’d been a while. Aside from her writing style itself, I greatly enjoy her imagination. She’s so creative with her stories.

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Laini Taylor, pink-haired bad ass writer of books.

I feel like a lot of you already know about Strange the Dreamer, but for those of you who might not yet, here’s a quick blurb on what it’s all about:

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever.
What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?
The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

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Emilie Autumn, Singer/Writer/Violinist/Actress/Etc. Etc.

I’ve been a fan of Emilie Autumn’s music and poems for a while now, and this book of hers was on my TBR list for quite some time but A.) it was difficult to find B.) it was pretty damn pricey, so alas, it stayed put on my TBR list all this time. Buuuuut, it did recently get released on the kindle for a very reasonable price so I bought that baby right up! 🙂 Here’s a quick blurb regarding The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls:

Treated as a criminal, heavily medicated, and stripped of all freedoms, Emilie is denied communication with the outside world, and falls prey to the unwelcome attentions of Dr. Sharp, head of the hospital’s psychiatry department. As Dr. Sharp grows more predatory by the day, Emilie begins a secret diary to document her terrifying experience, and to maintain her sanity in this environment that could surely drive anyone mad. But when Emilie opens her notebook to find a desperate letter from a young woman imprisoned within an insane asylum in Victorian England, and bearing her own name and description, a portal to another world is blasted wide open. As these letters from the past continue to appear, Emilie escapes further into this mysterious alternate reality where sisterhoods are formed, romance between female inmates blossoms, striped wallpaper writhes with ghosts, and highly intellectual rats talk. But is it real? Or is Emilie truly as mad as she is constantly told she is?
The Asylum For Wayward Victorian Girls blurs harsh reality and magical historical fantasy whilst issuing a scathing critique of society’s treatment of women and the mental health care industry’s treatment of its patients, showing in the process that little has changed throughout the ages.

So, those are my little updates. Do you have any of your own? Lemme know, I’d love to hear them. I’m trying to catch up on reading everyone’s fantastic blogs, but I’m a bit behind right now, so feel free to fill me in on any exciting new news and whatnot you’ve got going on! Also, it’s Friiiiidayyyyyy!!! Have a great weekend, everybody!! ❤ ❤ ❤

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“How I Choose My Books” Tag!

Oops! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been pretty busy, but I was lucky enough to be tagged by the awesome conqueror of books, Birdie Bookworm, so here we are! 😀 Thank you again so much for tagging me! This looked too fun to pass up. I’m normally really bad about getting back around to doing tags and awards, so this time I’m getting right on it!

Also, be sure to check out the Birdie Bookworm blog. It’s a great one, and deserves to get lots of love! 🙂

Since my bookshelves contain books AND comics/graphic novels, my answers will be sort of a mixed bag. I love comics, so there’s no way I’m leaving them out. 😛


1. Find a book on your shelves or e-reader with a blue cover.
What made you want to pick up this book?

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues by Diana Rowland. I actually didn’t pick this one up myself. It was a gift from a friend since we’d read the first book in the series together in our book club. I’m looking forward to reading it though since I enjoyed the first one called My Life as a White Trash Zombie.

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2. Think of a book you didn’t expect to enjoy, but did.
Why did you read it in the first place? 

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I really enjoyed reading The Girl with All the Gifts, but I had no idea of what to expect from it when I first picked it up. A friend of mine had been strongly recommending it and singing its praises up and down without actually telling me ANYTHING about it. Which I’m glad she didn’t, because this one definitely benefited from going into it blind. I was hopeful I would like it when I read it, but I literally had no idea what to expect. Thankfully, it was a good read! 🙂

3. Stand in front of your bookshelf with your eyes closed and pick up a book at random.
How did you discover this book? 

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One of my few books of poems. 🙂 I’d read and enjoyed Anne Sexton’s Transformations years ago, so I got this one so I could read more of her work.

4. Pick a book that someone personally recommended to you.
What did you think of it?

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Cupcakes and Machetes quite literally shoved this book at me and demanded I read it a while back. I’m so glad she did. It introduced me to not only one of my favorite authors, but my favorite series as well. Kudos to you, C&M. You have yet to lead me astray with any book suggestions. 😀

5. Pick a book that you discovered through YouTube / book blogs.
Did it live up to the hype? 

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I first heard about Giant Days in a nifty post from The Brunette Bookworm Blog a while back and heeded her advice, picking up a copy of volume 1. It did not disappoint! 🙂 In fact, I really liked it! I’m currently reading volume 2 at the moment as well.

6. Find a book on your shelves or e-reader with a one-word title.
What drew you to this book?

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Volume 1 of Monstress. Hands down what drew me to this was the gorgeous artwork. Each and every panel is a work of art.

7. What book did you discover through a film / TV adaptation?

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I read Let the Right One In a while back, after seeing (and absolutely loving) the film. I’ve never watched the American remake, so I can’t say anything about that one, but I was instantly drawn in when I watched the original Swedish horror film. Usually I prefer to read the books before watching any movie/TV adaptations, but I’m glad I was able to see the film first in this case since it introduced me to the novel.

8. Think of your all-time favorite book/s.
When did you read these and why did you pick them up in the first place?

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As if there were any doubt: A Song of Ice and Fire!!! My favorite books (and show) to geek out about. No doubt about it. I wanna say I began reading these in 2011 if memory serves right. There was no option of going back after that. 😛 As I mentioned in a previous answer, Cupcakes is totally to blame for this obsession. lol


Tags:

I’m no pressure about these book tags, so if you think it sounds fun, have at it. If I tag you and you don’t want to do it, no worries. 😉 I’m just tagging some people I think might find this one fun since it’s a bookish tag.

Cupcakes and Machetes

The Shameful Narcissist Speaks

By Hook Or By Book

My Bookish Dream

The Book Raven

Books And Hot Tea

The Happiest Pixel

Bionic Book Worm

Books, Vertigo and Tea

Let me know if any of you decide to do the tag yourself. I’d love to read your answers, too! ❤ ❤ ❤ Hope everyone’s having a great week so far. We’re soooo close to the weekend!!

Locke & Key: Small World

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Back when I first heard about Locke & Key: Small World, I knew I had to add it to my collection of the Locke & Key series. My book shelves absolutely demanded it! It was only a matter of finding it. This Friday was my lucky day though, as I found a snazzy hardcover deluxe edition on one of the “Staff’s Picks” shelves at my local comic shop. 😀

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This pretty much sums up my reaction upon discovery.

I didn’t even open that bad boy up to get a good look at the contents within. I just plucked it off the shelf, grasped it firmly in my little mitts and paraded around the store like it was already mine. Which it basically was. I would dare anyone to try to take it from me at that point. Fisticuffs Mode was fully activated.

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If you’re not already familiar with the Locke & Key comic series, this might seem a bit dramatic. If you are, however, already acquainted, I’m sure you understand. 😉 Joe Hill (the writer) and Gabriel Rodriguez (the artist) are a great team, and their work always leaves you wanting more.

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“For over two hundred years, the Locke family has watched over Keyhouse, a New England Mansion where reality itself has come unhinged, and where shadows have been known to walk about on their own.

Here they have guarded a collection of impossible keys, instruments capable of unlocking unnatural forces. Those who carry the keys bear a dreadful responsibility . . .

. . . and the old wood of this house has been stained with blood more than once.”

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Locke & Key: Small World is a very quick read. It takes readers back to Keyhouse, but introduces us to a different set of characters than the ones we’ve come to love in the volumes of Locke & Key. It still holds the same magic, humor, and horror, but the only downside is that if you’re like me and have been spoiled by reading a full volume at a time, this is like getting a drop of water when you’re parched and just want the whole glass. Still though, a drop of water is of course better than going without, but it really did make me want more to read.

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The rest of the book contained extra content like a conversation about Locke & Key with the creators themselves, an art gallery with variant artwork/covers, and a very detailed look “behind the scenes” of how Locke & Key makes it from rough script to finished pages for the comics.

If this strikes your fancy in the slightest, I highly recommend you go out and get yourself volume 1 of the Locke & Key series, Welcome to Lovecraft. It’s a dark blend of great storytelling and great artwork that draws you in with all the madness that goes down between the pages of the series and leaves you with questions as well as the desire to read the next volume. I’m purposely being vague, since it’s no fun giving away all the good bits, and trust me, this series is full of plenty of good bits. 🙂

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Saga Comic Binge Read

My boyfriend says I’m a monster because I always read his new comics before he does. I say, ya snooze ya lose. lol I’m sorry (no, actually, screw that, I regret NOTHING!) because when there are great comics to be read, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to read them. 😛 In all fairness, he takes forever to actually get around to reading them, and I keep my lips firmly sealed regarding spoilers of any kind. We have a system. It works. ❤

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HIM: “You can’t keep reading my comics before I get to!”            ME: “Bitch, watch me!”

Our local comic book shop had some pretty good sales over the holiday weekend so he went ahead and added to his collection of Saga, picking up volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Needless to say, I descended upon those poor, helpless trades like they were newborn infants left out to the wolves. I read all of them while I was over, one after the other, until I had to stop at volume 7 to go partake in 4th of July festivities because ‘MURICA.

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Oh, I’ll be back for YOU, my pretty! *cackles*

This series is just soooo damn good. It’s one of those gems that really lives up to all the hype surrounding it. In case I didn’t scream my love for this series from the rooftops enough in this “Cute Comic Couple” post or my spoiler-free review regarding Volume 2, let me just say:

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20 Magical Years of Harry Potter

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I can’t believe it’s been 20 years now since Harry Potter made his literary debut. With all the books, movies, merchandise, and amazing amusement parks that have since followed, it’s hard to remember life before we knew of Hogwarts and dreamed of getting our very own acceptance letters delivered to us.

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I was first introduced to the Harry Potter series many, many Christmases ago when my grandmother surprised me with a copy of the very first novel. I’d never heard of Harry Potter before that moment and had no idea that I (and so many other people) were destined to fall in love with this book and the others to come after it, so big thanks, Grandma. (I also have her to thank for introducing me to South Park and the Evil Dead movies, so major props to her.) lol She knew cool shit when she saw it. 😛

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20 years later, no one can deny that J.K. Rowling truly created something special with her intriguing world of wizards and mythical beasties that intertwined with our very own world of muggles. She gave us such a delightful range of characters that many of us were lucky enough to get to grow up with. The Harry Potter series is one that stays with fans for life and can be visited time and time again, be it through the books or the films. Or both!

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Here’s to 20 magical years, and the countless more to come!

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Fight Like a YA Girl Book Tag

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Books and wine make an excellent pairing, and this is something proven frequently over at the YA and Wine blog where you can find awesome wines to go with awesome books, fantastic reviews, and exciting posts about book/author-related events. I was thrilled to be tagged for Krysti’s newly created book tag about the many types of kick-ass ladies in literature. Big thanks to her for tagging me to do this awesome new tag! Now, let the ass-kickery begin!

THE RULES:

  • Thank the person who tagged you.
  • Mention the creator Krysti at YA and Wine
  • Match at least one YA girl with each of the themes below.
  • Tag as many people as you like!

WARRIOR GIRLS:

Okay, it’s been a very LONG time since I read this book, but I’m going with the Slayer (named Sophie) from Spike & Dru: Pretty Maids All in a Row (A Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel). Slayers are total warrior girls! 🙂

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR MIND:

How could I not choose Hermione Granger for this category? I mean, c’mon, she was the brightest witch of her age. 😉

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT WITH THEIR HEART:

Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Karou has a lot of heart, and love plays a large part in her story.

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GIRLS WHO ARE TRAINED FIGHTERS:

Virginia au Augustus (aka: Mustang) from the Red Rising trilogy. I nearly picked her for the “girls who fight with their mind” category since she is known to be highly intelligent, but she is also trained to fight with more than just her mind so here she goes!

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STRONG GIRLS OF COLOR:

Inej Ghafa (aka- “The Wraith”) from Six of Crows. She’s strong in every sense of the word, and she’s one of the many reasons I can’t wait to read Crooked Kingdom!

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GIRLS WHO FIGHT TO SURVIVE:

Temple from The Reapers are the Angels. She’s grown up in a tough, zombie-filled world, and she’s never known anything else.

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GIRLS WHO ARE WEAPONS MASTERS:

Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games trilogy. Total pro with that bow and arrows. I wanted to list Inej and her trusty blades again for this, but I’m mixing it up with another girl and another type of weapon instead. 😛

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Fan art of Katniss by Me

GIRLS WHO DON’T CONFORM TO GENDER ROLES:

Okay, this series isn’t YA, but the young-but-fierce Arya Stark from A Song of Ice and Fire immediately came to mind, so she’s who I’m going with. 😀

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GIRLS WITH KICK-BUTT MAGICAL POWERS:

Nina Zenik from Six of Crows. She’s part of the Corporalki order of the Grisha (a heartrender, to be exact), which means she has the ability to snatch the air from your lungs or even stop your heart if you’re in her line of sight.

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STRONG GIRLS IN CONTEMPORARY NOVELS:

Honestly, this isn’t really an area of reading I’ve explored, so I’m stumped for an answer. Here’s a cute puppy instead!

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SERIOUSLY FIERCE GIRLS:

Isabelle Rossignol from The Nightingale. This book really isn’t strictly YA, but I feel like Isabelle’s half of the story could be considered YA, and she becomes one hell of a fierce girl. Not through brawn, but through her determination and spirit.

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MOST ANTICIPATED BOOK WITH A STRONG LEADING LADY:

Wonder Woman: Warbringer! I can’t wait for this one to come out. 🙂

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So, ladies & gents, there we have it. 😀 This tag was a lot of fun, so I’m tagging each and every one of you!! Let’s spread this tag like wildfire and promote the hell out of some badass ladies in fiction! Have a great weekend, folks! ❤

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 and 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?