Quickie Book Review: Symbiont

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A world where people can live free of disease and sickness sounds pretty tempting, right? Well, what if the cure for these ailments came in the small and tidy little package of genetically engineered tapeworm implants? Not quite as tempting, is it? Well, in the world of the Parasitology novels, the general public was not so easily swayed by their squeamishness, and these tapeworms caught on pretty quickly and on a mass scale. Then, in standard science fiction tradition, the shit hits the fan.

People with these cure-all implants have begun losing control. The tapeworms are taking over their hosts, and they are hungry little buggers. Like, zombie-horde-levels of hungry.

This book is a solid sequel to Mira Grant’s Parasite. The characters are up against tough odds with enemies on all sides. Not everyone with the implants are reduced to mindless hunger machines that just want to eat people, and not all humans are good and trustworthy. There were a lot of interesting moments in this book, and I greatly look forward to reading the third installment in the future.

Rating: ★★★★✰

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January 2020 Updates

I can’t believe the first month of the new year is already almost over! January is always a big month for reflection and goal setting for me. It marks not only the start of a new calendar year, but also a new year in my life since it is my birthday month.

I know my blog posts have been far and few between and while I’d like to say that that is about to change, I’m afraid I can make no such claim. This year is going to be nuts. Between planning our wedding/honeymoon, my creative pursuits, work, etc. I will do my best to post when I can, but I also am not going to beat myself up over it if it isn’t as often as I’d like. 2020 is going to be an interesting year full of lots of crazy adventures and I’m kind of just living in the moment and trying to push forward to work toward my goals while also making sure I have time for the things and people that make me happy. ❤

Anywhoooo, onto some of the stuff I’ve been up to the past couple weeks!

Currently Reading:

I’m currently hopping back and forth between Mira Grant’s second Parasitology novel, Symbiont, and January’s book club choice, Missing in Michigan, by April A. Taylor. And because reading two books at once is never enough, I’ve decided that adding a graphic novel into the mix was obviously the right way to go. 😉 Lady Mechanika, Volume 1 has been on my TBR List (and bookshelf of neglected titles) for too long, so I finally decided to take the plunge. Between one book about everything that could go wrong when scientists play God with genetically engineered tapeworms, another about a mystery-solving therapist to the dead, and yet another filled with lots of steampunk and monster goodness, I think I have plenty to keep me entertained no matter what I’m in the mood for.

Currently Playing:

Mr. Moth and I gifted each other a Nintendo Switch for Christmas and we’ve been having an absolute blast with it. I have always loved Mario Kart 64 but never ventured into any of the following iterations of the game over the years. I always worried with all the loopy crazy tracks that it would bitch smack me with some serious vertigo. Fortunately, this turned out not to be the case. 😀 There’s definitely a lot of differences from what I’m used to with the Nintendo 64 version, but I love it. We’ve been playing some other games along the way and have really enjoyed Unravel Two. It’s such a mellow and oddly-calming game. Kind of reminds me of how I felt when I played Never Alone. Speaking of games I’ve played and enjoyed before, Shovel Knight was one we decided we wanted to re-play. “All hail the Troupple King!”

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In other gaming news, although I, myself, am not playing it, I have been watching Mr. Moth play Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice. It’s a cool puzzle-based blend of history/mythology/psychology, and it’s been fun (and frustrating) helping Mr. Moth hunt for runes in the game. I like playing games, but I also enjoy watching others play them as well. 🙂

Current Creative Projects:

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Back in November I found my writing groove once more through NaNoWriMo, buuuuut then the holiday season brought it all to a grinding halt. Thankfully, things have finally settled down once more and I’m back at it. 🙂

In other creative news, I have a very exciting update regarding my future art projects. Although my birthday isn’t technically until the end of the month, celebrations have already begun. Among other awesome prezzies, I received a snazzy new drawing tablet! I’m so excited about it. There’s a lot for me to learn and it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to work on any digital art, but I can’t wait to get the hang of it and start making lots of new illustrations.

Anyway, that’s it for my January update post. 🙂 I think I’ll try to at least do one of these types of post near the end of each month, and then we’ll see what else I can pepper in here and there throughout the months to come. I hope everyone is doing well and having a fantastic start to the new year. ❤ ❤ ❤

The Quiet Boy (Short Story) Review

 

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My Inktober wendigo art from this year.

Who loves wendigo stories? Why, yours truly, of course! 😉 To be honest, I love legendary and mythical creatures of all sorts, but wendigos are always a special sort of treat in my book.  Needless to say, I am really excited to see the upcoming horror film Antlers, produced by Guillermo del Toro.

For those of you wondering to yourself, WTF a wendigo is, here is your quick Wendigo 101 lesson for the day: A Wendigo is an evil spirit from Native American Algonquian legend that will corrupts anyone who has committed the unforgivable crime of cannibalism. The evil spirit twists the human it is influencing into a monstrous version of themselves with a horrible, never-ending hunger, and a murderous cruelty that knows no bounds. Since these legends originate in Canada and the Great Lakes regions of the United States, it is no surprise that winters were hard where these tales originated. People didn’t always make it through the winter, and hunger can make people desperate enough that they’d do anything to survive, even taking part in an act as taboo as cannibalism. In a lot of ways the legend of the wendigo can be seen as a cautionary tale.

Last week I found out that this movie is actually based off the plot of a short story called The Quiet Boy, written by Nick Antosca, creator of Channel Zero. Always a fan of reading the source material before I watch a movie or show its based on, I tried to look up the story on GoodReads but couldn’t find it. Then I saw over on the Bloody Disgusting website that you could read the entire short story HERE on the Guernica site. So, if you’re interested, check it out.

Anyway, let’s get onto my review for The Quiet Boy, shall we? 🙂

Julia is just starting her teaching career when Teach For America lands her in a small town in the middle of nowhere, where the unofficial town motto is “Hills, Whores, and Liquor Stores.” Definitely not was she was hoping for when she dreamed of being a teacher. Still, our protagonist wants to do right by her fourth graders.

While teaching her kids about storytelling, specifically of the fairy tale and tall tale variety, one of her young students named Lucas catches her attention with the story he is working on. What she initially assumes is going to be another cookie cutter take on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, turns out to be something much different altogether, and something far more sinister.

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Drawing from Lucas’ story in the Antlers movie trailer.

Worried for Lucas, she wants to help the boy, and learn more about what his home life might be like. Between the underlying themes in the boy’s story he is writing and the fact that Lucas always comes to school in old clothes, always smells like damp leaves and damp animal fur, and looks to be very underfed, Julia assumes things aren’t great at home. She also worries that Lucas’ father might be a drunk and not taking proper care of him or his younger brother. Her fellow teachers view Lucas as one of those lost cause kids,  but Julia wants to help him, and to learn more about what his life at home might be like. Due to how private and protective Lucas is any time she brings up home or his family, Julia decides to pay his home a surprise visit when she is sure he won’t be there. What she discovers is nothing she could have imagined. Things get dark pretty quickly from this point on in the story, but I won’t spoil the fun. 😉 It’s a quick read and I provided the link so you can read it if you’re interested in seeing what Julia finds. The story does its own thing with the wendigo legend, and I thought it was interesting the direction it went in.

I’d rate it 4 out of 5 stars, and reading it made me excited to see how it will be adapted into a movie when it hits theaters in April 2020. 🙂

NaNoWriMo 2019: Mission Accomplished

I’m baaaaaack!

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It feels like an eternity since I’ve gotten to mingle with all my awesome blogging buddies here on WP, and this moth is excited to be back and see what all I’ve missed! ❤

As mentioned in my last post back in October, I’ve been on a hiatus from blogging for the past month so I could devote all my free time on completing NaNoWriMo. (The popular writing challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days during the month of November.) Well, my dears, I am very pleased to announce that many heavily caffeinated beverages later, I have indeed vanquished the NaNoWriMo beast and completed the challenge!

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I’ll admit, there were a couple times near the end that I worried with my schedule that it just wasn’t going to happen. I wrote almost every day, and sometimes I could squeeze a lot of writing time in, but other days it was next to none, but I did it, and with a whole day to spare, even! 50,161 words in 29 days!

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I think doing two creative challenges over the span of the last two months (Inktober and NaNoWriMo) was exactly what I needed for both my creativity AND my confidence. I learned that if I force myself to make time for what I love doing and focus on actually just doing things rather than just thinking about them that I can accomplish quite a lot. I’ve also learned that when experiencing writer’s block or not knowing what to draw, that sometimes just pushing through the creative block and actually doing it gets your creativity flowing again. 2019 may be coming to an end fast, but I plan to take what I’ve learned the last two months and top off the year with that determination. I’m very excited to work on continuing this practice in 2020 as well. 🙂

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I’m looking forward to catching up on what everyone has been up to. How was your November? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? If so, how’d ya do?? 🙂 I hope everyone has a very happy December. Let’s make the most out of the last stretch of the year! ❤

 

 

Bring It On, NaNoWriMo!

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So, life kicked me in the butt today, but rather than letting it discourage me, I’m saying to hell with it, and letting it encourage me instead. You know what goes great with soul-crushing disappointment? C-R-E-A-T-I-V-I-T-Y!!! (Seriously, there’s a reason for the “tortured artist” stereotype.) I’ve been getting back in my art groove this month with the infamous Inktober art challenge, but behind the scenes of that I’ve also been prepping for next month’s writing challenge NaNoWriMo. Two creative and grueling challenges in two months? Oh, hell yes. So, bring it on National Novel Writing Month. I’m ready for ya this year.

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I even did a thing and signed up for the official NaNoWriMo website. If any of you guys are on there too, let’s be writing partners in crime and root each other on! 😀 You can see my official NaNoWriMo profile here! 🙂 It’s pretty sparse right now since I just signed up and haven’t had much time to check out the site yet, but there will be updates/content to come–especially once November hits!

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So, who else is getting in on the NaNoWriMo fun this year? The more the merrier! 😉

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!