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? 🙂

 

 

 

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No-Spoiler Review: Love, Death & Robots (Netflix)

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It’s been a hot minute since I actually watched this one, but in the spirit of catching up on all the reviews I’ve fallen behind on, let’s do this! Before we get too far into this review, let me just start by saying this collection of (mostly) animated shorts is fully loaded with nudity (both male and female), loads of violence, blood and gore, profanity, horrific monsters and aliens, and sexually explicit content pretty much the whole way through. We’re talking lots of boobies and floppy wieners, guys, so if that bothers you, I’d keep on scrolling through your Netflix options. 😉

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To give you an idea of what you’re in store for with Love, Death & Robots, I’ll give you a fun fact about the series. It was originally intended to be a theatrical rehaul of Heavy Metal. For whatever reason, this did not come to fruition so instead we wound up with 18 original shorts with unique animation styles and stories, most of which I really enjoyed. 🙂 Much like Heavy Metal, the stories often run in the genres of science fiction, horror and comedy. The animation is fantastic, with some of it being a more simplistic 2D style and some of it being so convincing it might take a couple minutes of watching it to realize it isn’t live action. Some of the shorts feel complete and others leave you wanting more because the possibilities it leaves you with are so endless.

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A humorous trio of robot tourists exploring the ruins of a post-apocalyptic city, werewolf soldiers and other shapeshifters galore, farmers with mech suits who gotta protect themselves and their cows from insect-like aliens, and a haunted desert where the ghosts aren’t your typical human spirits make up only a sampling of what you have to look forward to with this collection of tales. Some were definitely better than others, but overall I enjoyed watching most of them. Plus, if you’re not digging one, fret not because they’re all pretty short. 😉 This is absolutely not for kids, and honestly probably not even for some adults. (Trigger Warnings galore for this anthology, just sayin’.)

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If you’re a fan of exploring different animation styles and entertainment in the vein of Heavy Metal, it’s definitely worth binging your way through the anthology. Science Fiction and Horror with a dash of Comedy are the dominating genres in this series. I enjoyed most of the animated tales myself, but I could certainly see it not being everyone’s cup of tea. Most of them all brought something cool and interesting to the table, be it the animation style, plot, or characters, but I gotta give a special shout-out to my favorite (and also my LEAST favorite) stories.

My pick for the top 3 stories I enjoyed (in no particular order) would have to be:

  1. Sonnie’s Edge
  2. Three Robots
  3. Shape-Shifters

And my pick for my LEAST favorite 3 of the series, also in no particular order are:

  1. Alternate Histories
  2. Ice Age
  3. When the Yogurt Took Over

What about you guys? Anyone give this one a watch? What did you think? 🙂

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible

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“On the eve of her sixteenth birthday, the young sorceress Sabrina Spellman finds herself at a crossroads, having to choose between an unearthly destiny and her mortal boyfriend, Harvey. But a foe from her family’s past has arrived in Greendale, Madame Satan, and she has her own deadly agenda.”

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Back around Halloween I watched the Netflix show’s version of this and loved it. I also enjoyed their Christmas special, and am eagerly awaiting season 2’s release in April. So how do I get my fix until then? Why, by reading the source material, of course. 😉

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If you remember those wholesome Archie comics (or even the 90’s TV show) of old you’re likely to be shocked by the element of horror and praises of Satan in this much darker incarnation of Sabrina brought to you by Archie Horror, a more horror-centric branch of the Archie comics. We’re talking necromancy, witch orgies, cannibalism, etc.

I didn’t initially plan to compare the new Netflix version with the comic version, but seeing as so many people have already seen the show, it seems like a good baseline to go off of, so here we are. 😛 There are definitely a lot of similarities between the two, but there are also some pretty damn big differences. Let me start by saying that I did really enjoy the comic, BUT . . . I did enjoy the characters more in the Netflix show. I think they had so much more personality, diversity, and charm. (Except maybe Salem. He talks in this comic, he’s snarky and also a caring companion for Sabrina. I loved Salem in this comic and thought he made a great familiar to our young teenage witch.)

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“. . . Beer . . . I miss beer . . .”

Now, seeing as that the comic came before the show, I think it only fair not to dwell on the show that came after it for too long, so we’ll just move right along onto the comic itself. This artwork had me swooning with nostalgia. As a kid, I loved any chance I got to read my dad or grandparents’ collection of old vintage horror comics. Chilling Adventures of Sabrina takes place in the 1960’s (with flashbacks of the 1950’s) and the artwork does a nice job of reflecting what comics looked like at that point. The colors, the art itself, it was all great in my opinion. Adding to the nostalgic feel, are some Rosemary’s Baby and other vintage spooky film overtones.

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The end to the first volume leaves off on quite the cliffhanger, so you’re likely to be left with your fingers twitching for volume 2. I know I am. I’d give it 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed it, I just wish the characters had a little more personality like they do in the current show. It was a really solid introductory volume and there were a couple moments that genuinely surprised me.

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Holiday Book Haul (PLUS Exploding Kittens!)

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No worries, my fuzzy little monster Bailey is not one of the titular “Exploding Kittens”, I just really wanted to show off her Christmas photo because I’m a crazy cat mom. 😛 We’ll get to the actual Exploding Kittens later on in this post, but for now let’s get into the excitement that is this year’s HOLIDAY BOOK HAUL!

The Hunger – A horror historical fiction book about the Donner Party that I’ve been very excited for. I’ve already started reading it!

Fire & Blood – The first volume of George RR Martin’s two-part history of the Targaryens.

Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works – Nonfiction about books and history, which just so happen to be two of my favorite things. 🙂 Already reading this one, too.

History of the World Map by Map – I already mentioned that I enjoy history, well, I also just so happen to enjoy maps. 🙂

Great Maps – a look at cartography throughout the ages!

Biology: An Illustrated History of Life Science – Woohoo! Science! 😀

Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible – After watching (and loving) the new Netflix series, along with their holiday special, I’m quite pumped to read this!

Redlands, Vol. 1 – although I’m not very familiar with this comic, I know it has to do with “murder, magic and mayhem” so consider me intrigued. 😉

Witch Hammer – Ya know, I’m really beginning to notice a theme here . . .  😛

Locke & Key: Heaven and Earth – So excited to return to the horrific and magical world of Locke & Key!

Pandora’s Legacy – this one is a total wildcard for me, so I’m curious to check it out. It’s always interesting reading modern takes on mythology. 🙂

Unnatural, Vol. 1 – this series was nowhere on my radar but it was one that was recently highly recommended, so I’m interested to see what it’s all about.

Alisik – This one looks like spooky fun, and I was surprised to discover that the interior artwork is actually much more detailed than the cover, something that more often turns out to be the opposite.

Gotham City Sirens: Book One – Catwoman, Poison Ivy, and Harley Quinn shenanigans galore in this collection of issues 1-13.

Gotham City Sirens: Book Two – Now that you can only get this series in these 2 books rather than the singular volumes like I had started collecting a while back, it’s good to finally have the full collection! For some reason I had stopped reading it with just the final volume to go and never got the chance to finish it. Looking forward to seeing how the series wraps up. 🙂

Soooo, that sums up my Holiday Book/Comic Haul. I’m so thankful for all the amazing reading material I’ve been gifted and I can’t wait to read it all! That said, let us finally talk about those Exploding Kittens, shall we??

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Image from The Oatmeal’s shop.

As the box says, Exploding Kittens is a card game for people who are into kittens and explosions. I was fortunate enough to get the NSFW version along with the expansion Imploding Kittens, complete with a “cone of shame” to make sure you feel appropriately terrible about yourself for losing. 😛 The game was a ton of fun and so easy to pick up on. Think Russian Roulette . . . but with exploding kittens!

I hope you guys have been enjoying your holiday season and have had a little time to unwind before the new year starts! ❤ Have you read or are interested in reading any of these titles? Get any awesome new books yourself?

 

I’m Baaaack!! (November Wrap-Up)

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Hello!! ❤ Wow, it seems November zipped by before I could even blink! I was hoping to get to do this update yesterday but I spent the whole day doing holiday shopping and playing with baby hedgehogs. I’m so glad to be back from my month-long hiatus, though! 🙂 I’ve missed all you marvelous people and I’ve missed blogging. I think that, although November didn’t necessarily go according to plan, it was a good month for me, and I hope it was for each of you as well. ❤

So, first thing’s first, let’s talk NaNoWriMo! So, how did I do, you wonder?? Well . . .

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I didn’t end up making the goal of writing 50,000 words for the month, buuut I did keep at it, even when I knew I was too behind to accomplish the NaNoWriMo challenge successfully. I didn’t give up, and I made progress with the book I’m writing so I’m not completely heart-broken. Instead of the intended 50,000 words in 30 days, I wound up with 36,595. Not quite what I’d been hoping for, but I’m not going to beat myself up about it. How about you guys? 🙂 Did you participate in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, how did you do? I’d love to hear about it!

Even though the goal was to do nothing but write this month, I found myself constantly being pulled in different directions: hanging out with my loved ones, reading, work, playing games and watching movies . . . the list goes on. My willpower was weak, but my month was full of fun and good times so I regret nothing. 😛

BOOKS/GRAPHIC NOVELS READ IN NOVEMBER:

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The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson (I got side-tracked when I started this in October for Halloween but ended up finishing it in November.) 4/5 stars.

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Parasite, by Mira Grant (November’s book club pick for Sci-fi month, courtesy of my real-life BFF and blogging buddy Cupcakes & Machetes. You can read her review of the book here.) 😉 I’m hoping to do a review for it myself soon as well. 4/5 stars.

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Strange Candy, by Laurell K. Hamilton (a collection of Paranormal/Urban Fantasy short stories.) 3/5 stars.

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Rat Queens Special: Orc Dave #1, a standalone issue of the Rat Queens comic featuring the character Orc Dave. Definitely an enjoyable little read. 5/5 stars.

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Rat Queens, vol. 2, so glad to finally be reading this series again. (Review for this and the Orc Dave special to come soon!) 😀 5/5 stars.

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Saga, vol. 9, the latest volume of the series and the last we’ll get for a good while as the series takes a hiatus. As per usual with this series I had ALL THE FEELS! (There’s a review for this one coming soon as well.) 5/5 stars.

A Darker Shade final for Irene

A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab (my first time reading anything by this author and I will definitely be checking out more of her books!) ❤ 4.5/5 stars

Spread, vol. 4 and vol. 5 (Woohoo! Finished the series.) I liked it. Didn’t love it, but I liked it. 🙂 3/5 stars.

I didn’t plan on reading much this month, but with the frigid early winter that has hit my home state, I was feeling the cozy-stay-in-and-read vibe and I just went with it. Michigan got ripped off when it came to autumn this year so I’m rebelling in the only way I know how: isolation under blankets with good books and comics. 😛

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Looking forward to catching up on everyone’s blogs, but it might take me a bit, so feel free to tell me about or link me to any of your posts if you wanna share some of your own recent updates/news. ❤

 

Second Week of October/Inktober

Well, we’re halfway through the funnest month of the year, guys and ghouls. 😉 This week I managed to get 2 new drawings done for Inktober. Like I said, I’m going for a no-pressure approach to my first attempt at the art challenge and just trying to partake in the fun and get some practice in. 🙂 Next month is going to be crazy enough attempting NaNoWriMo again, so I’m taking things lightly with this and just enjoying myself.

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Horror/Halloween Movies and Shows Watched This Week:

Re-watched Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Re-watched Ginger Snaps (2001)

Re-watched The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

American Horror Story: Apocalypse (2018)

The Purge (TV Series, 2018)

Horror Reading Throughout the Week:

I started reading The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson. This one was a freebie find in a Free Books bin at a shop I enjoy going to. Seemed like the perfect time of year to snatch this title up. I have been enjoying this Gothic horror novel so far. 🙂

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I also just started reading Mira Grant’s Parasite, the first book in her Parasitology trilogy. This one is classified under Science Fiction/Horror. It’s actually the book club book for next month, but since I am going to be participating in NaNoWriMo I figured I’d start it now to ensure I have time to complete it. 🙂 Especially seeing as it was none other than the spectacular Cupcakes and Machetes‘ pick for the month! As luck would have it, I’m also enjoying this one so far.

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In Other October News:

Mr. Moth surprised me by bringing me home a pumpkin! 😀 Can’t wait to carve this baby up and proudly display it on our front porch!

I got two interesting and tasty sounding seasonal bottles of soda I have yet to try, one being apple cinnamon, and the other being blood orange gingerbread.

Went to the local costume shop by my house to buy some makeup for our Halloween shenanigans this year. I was going to try to experiment with it this weekend but ran out of time. Our costumes are all set, though, and I just gotta practice doing some skeleton face paint to finish our looks. 🙂

Now that we’re halfway through October, what are you looking forward to doing to celebrate as Halloween grows ever nearer? Are you dressing up? Let’s talk October/Halloween! 😀

Book Review: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

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Death isn’t always the end. In fact, if you suddenly find yourself recently risen from the dead with an instinctual hunger for brains, it’s really only the beginning. Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series of novels follows underdog character Angel Crawford as she navigates life (or something vaguely similar to it) as a freshly-turned zombie.

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No, not this type of zombie.

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues is a good follow-up to the debut book in the series, My Life as a White Trash Zombie. We see Angel getting more comfortable in her own skin (which only begins to rot if she doesn’t keep herself well-fed on brains, that she is able to obtain with a method far less chompy-chompy than most zombies.)

She may be getting the hang of being one of the undead, (it certainly has its perks in these books), but there are still hurdles aplenty for our struggling-but-determined heroine. A zombie mafia, corpse thieves, creepy experiments, and zombie hunters only seem to complicate things for Angel as she continues to deal with the struggles of work, love, family, and parole. The girl’s got a lot on her plate, and it isn’t all just brains. 😛

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Yum! Yum!

I really enjoyed this book and a lot of that has to do with how much I like the main character. Angel is flawed. Big time. But she’s working on it, and although things don’t come easily for her, she isn’t one to give up. Her narration feels honest and genuine, and it’s pretty damn entertaining to read given all of Angel’s sass and sarcasm that she wields with little or no apology.

The first part of the book does seem a bit slow at times, but the action and intrigue pick up nicely in the second part. I’d give this one a four out of five brain rating! 😉

Also, I know I always rave about the cover art for these books when I talk about them, but c’mon, you gotta give it up to artist Daniel Dos Santos, this artwork is awesome!