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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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. 🙂

Inktober 2019: Week 3 Roundup

Another week of Inktober bites the dust and I’m still chugging along right on track. 🙂 This month’s art challenge has been incredibly inspiring for me. I am drawing more than I have in a long time and a large reason for that was always a “lack of time”. This just shows that with some major determination and motivation, I can manage to make more time for the things I love. It’s been a great experience so far. ❤

Day 15: The daily prompt was “LEGEND” and I was not up for anything too ambitious since I was still feeling sick. I originally wanted to do a legendary creature and wound up doing Beefsquatch (Bob’s Burgers) which is sorta kinda maybe legend-ish, right? 😛

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Day 16: The daily prompt was “WILD” and I went with Max from Where the Wild Things Are.

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Day 17: The daily prompt was “ORNAMENT” and I wanted to make a Halloween-themed ornament.

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Day 18: The daily prompt was “MISFIT” and my brain went straight to the band The Misfits. I don’t usually draw see-through things like glass so this was an ambitious piece of fan art for me to work on, but I’m pleased with how it came out. 🙂

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Day 19: The daily prompt was “SLING” and what a random prompt that was! I wasn’t sure where this piece was going to end up when I started it but I’m happy with the end result.

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Day 20: The daily prompt was “TREAD” and it instantly brought to mind the saying “tread carefully”.

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Day 21: The daily prompt was “TREASURE” and my original intent was to make a pirate in this pose but for some reason once I drew the face it just screamed Catwoman to me and I went with it. 🙂

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So, that’s that for this week. 🙂 I’m determined to keep my momentum with Inktober and finish strong. How’s your October been so far? What’s everyone being for Halloween this year? If we’re buddies over on Instagram you’ve probably already seen the look Mr. Moth and I are rocking this year, but I’ll do a post here soon with our costumes and recent shenanigans we’ve been up to.

Inktober 2019: Week 1 Roundup

Phew! It has been a busy week. Thankfully I was still able to squeeze in just enough drawing time to complete the first seven days of Inktober. 🙂 Some of the daily prompts were harder than others and some took a few tries to get the look I was going for, but it feels good to have stayed on track so far. I’ve been posting daily over on Instagram but I wanted to share a roundup of my first seven entries with you guys here on the blog. ❤

Day 1: The daily prompt was “RING” and I decided to go with the kind of rings you would see if you were to cut into a tree as my inspiration, rather than actual jewelry.

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Day 2: The daily prompt was “MINDLESS” and I just decided to go with a cute little zombie dude. This one was a quick but doing the blood was fun.

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Day 3: The daily prompt was “BAIT” and I jumped at the opportunity to draw an angler fish because they’re badass and interesting, so why not?

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Day 4: The daily prompt was “FREEZE” and I decided to draw a guy being pulled down beneath the ice by a skeleton woman. I wanted to go with muted color accents for the “freeze” prompt and I’m pretty happy with how they came out. 🙂 I wish I would have added some bubbles, but it’s never too late to go back in later and add them.

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Day 5: The daily prompt was “BUILD” and I made a mad scientist building her own creation. This one was pretty fun since this mad scientist is a character I used to draw a long time ago and wanted to make a comic about.

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Day 6: The daily prompt was “HUSKY” and I just drew a husky. Wasn’t really feeling this one, but I still got it done.

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Day 7: The daily prompt was “ENCHANTED” and I had a lot more fun with this one, drawing a whimsical fairy moth lady. I also really enjoyed adding some brassy, silver and gold with my new metallic sharpies. This one was such a delight to draw that I’m sure I’ll be drawing her again at some point. I may even utilize her to jazz up the blog a little. 😉

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I hope you guys enjoyed the drawings and I look forward to sharing my next batch in a week. Are any of you participating in Inktober or doing any other fun challenges this month? 🙂

The Return to the Sketchbook

After some neglect, I finally brushed off my sketchbook and have been showing it a little love again. I figured I’d share some of my recent illustration-sketch thingies with you guys. 🙂 Here are my 3 latest pieces, all done with watercolor markers and sharpies. Some of you may have already seen them over on Instagram but I figured I’d share them here anyway. ❤

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Not my usual color palette, but hey, it’s fun to tinker around with different colors from time to time. Yellow was a bold jump out of my comfort zone.

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This one was kind of inspired by the dead twins in The Shining, but I was listening to The Birthday Massacre, hence the bunny mask. This one was just a quickie since I felt I needed to push myself that day to practice more. I wish I’d taken my time with it more, but hey, that’s what re-draws are for, right? 😉

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Just did this one tonight. Was wanting to do a creepy spin on those cute poses couples do for photos so I thought it’d be fun to have a girl covering the guy’s eyes with bloody claw hands while he’s obliviously unaware he’s about to be dinner.

Hopefully there will be more of these art posts. Shark Week is coming up so I’d love to do some Shark illustrations soon, like last year’s whale shark drawing I did. Definitely need to buy some new watercolor markers soon. My poor little babies are drying up!! D:

Anywayyy, hope you guys enjoyed the drawings. What creative stuff have you been up to lately? 🙂 I’d love to chat about it!

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! ❤

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? 🙂