Saga, Vol. 9 (No-Spoilers) Review

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Without hinting too much at what goes down in this volume, let me just say it is one you will immediately want to follow up with the next installment upon finishing. Unfortunately, Saga is on a lengthy hiatus for the time being, so be prepared for quite the cliff hanger AND quite the wait.

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This was another solid volume to the series, but daaaaaamn. SO. MANY. FEELINGS.

I swear, if Saga isn’t busy wowing you with its great story-telling, compelling characters, and unique worldbuilding, its preoccupying itself by ripping your heart out and eating it raw. Saga continues to expertly pull the reader up with its highs and plummet them to the hard, cold ground with its crushing lows, and that’s one of the things that makes me love it so. You can never tell what is going to happen, and because of that you are reminded time and time again of the harshness that comes with real life. I think it makes me that much more invested in the characters of this series. Nine volumes deep, and Saga continues to keep readers on their toes and surprise them.

With certain scenes causing many of us to no doubt scream at the sky “Say it isn’t soooo!” or drop to their knees while crying, “NOOOOOOO!” all dramatically and what not, this hiatus is going to be like torture. Please see the below image, to see my mental image of Brian K. Vaughan vs. his readers at this point. I think it should be fairly obvious who is who. πŸ˜‰

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As if there was any doubt, this is another 5/5 star installment from me for Saga.

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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! πŸ™‚ 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? πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜›

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.) πŸ˜‰ 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!) πŸ˜€ 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.

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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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ˜›

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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. ❀

 

September Book Haul

Fall is here and Halloween is just around the corner. I’m excited to get ready for all the spooky fun of October, but before September comes to an end, let’s go over this month’s book haul, shall we? πŸ˜‰

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Servant of the Underworld

A Priestess disappears from an empty room drenched in blood. It should be a usual investigation for Acatl, High Priest of the Dead–except that his estranged brother is involved, and the the more he digs, the deeper he is drawn into the political and magical intrigues of noblemen, soldiers, and priests-and of the gods themselves…

Servant of the Underworld was one Cupcakes and Machetes and I have had on our TBR lists for a hot minute so when she spotted it on sale really cheap on the kindle she let me know and I of course bought a copy as well. Can we say “future buddy read”?? πŸ˜‰ ❀

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Monstress, Vol. 3: Haven

Maika has spent most of her life learning how to fight, but how will she fare when the only way to save her life…is to make friends?”

NOTE: I’ve already read and reviewed this latest installment of Monstress, so if you’re interested in seeing what I thought of it here’s my review. πŸ™‚

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Giant Days: Volume 7 and also Volume 8

“Best friends Susan, Daisy, and Esther’s adventures at university continue.”

I’m always excited to read more Giant Days. Such a fun series with good characters and friendships. ❀

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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The City of Brass

“Among the bustling markets of eighteenth century Cairo, the city’s outcasts eke out a living swindling rich Ottoman nobles and foreign invaders alike. But alongside this new world the old stories linger. Tales of djinn and spirits. Of cities hidden among the swirling sands of the desert, full of enchantment, desire and riches. Where magic pours down every street, hanging in the air like dust. Many wish their lives could be filled with such wonder, but not Nahri. She knows the trades she uses to get by are just tricks and sleights of hand: there’s nothing magical about them. She only wishes to one day leave Cairo, but as the saying goes… Be careful what you wish for.”

If that blurb didn’t sell ya, friggin’ writing goddess Laini Taylor herself describes this book as: “An extravagant feast of a book – spicy and bloody, dizzyingly magical, and still, somehow, utterly believable”. YAAAAAAS, PLEASE! ❀ ❀ ❀ SIGN. ME. THE. HELL. UP!!!

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So that was my book haul for the month of September. How about you? Add any new gems to your collection this month? What are you most excited to read in October??

 

 

 

 

January’s Comic Haul

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Holy Comic Haul, Batman! Between December and January’s comic hauls, there is just sooo much comic-related goodness in my life. ❀ Since I already went over the lovely new reads I got forΒ Christmas, I thought I’d share with you guys the ones I got for my birthday at the end of January, too. πŸ™‚

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Paper Girls, Vol. 1

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

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Huntress: Year One

As the last survivor of a crime family eliminated by bloody rivalries among the mobs of Gotham City, the orphaned Helena Bertinelli grew into the mysterious vigilante known as the Huntress.
New writer Ivory Madison shines a light on the dark underbelly of the mob world spanning from Gotham to Sicily, exploring exactly what led Helena away from a life in the Cosa Nostra criminal society and set her on a path of vigilantism. Also, find out more about Batman’s first meeting with the fledgling female crime-fighter and why, to this day, they struggle to see eye-to-eye.

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DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 5

Based on the hit DC Collectibles product line! As World War II rages across Europe, the Bombshells battle new enemies showing up out of the woodwork… The incredibly popular DC Collectibles line is brought to life in these stories that re-imagine the course of history!

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Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX! At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

So, yeah, between Christmas and my birthday, I’d say it’s safe to say I made out like a bandit with 15 new additions to my collection. πŸ˜› I’m looking forward to reading all of them. In fact, I’m planning on reading the fourth volume of Giant Days later tonight after I catch up on reading everyone’s blogs. How about you? Did you get any recent books/comics? What are you reading this weekend?

A Look at Low, Volumes 1 through 4

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Sebastian the Crab was dead wrong when he said everything was better under the sea. It’s not a bunch of dancing fish and singing crustaceans like Disney would like for you to believe.

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No, it’s nothing quite so nice as all that. It’s more like hordes of deep sea pirates out for your blood, aquatic abominations that want to eat your face, and corrupt leaders who want to keep hope and morale, well, “low”. (You just knew that pun was gonna be used somewhere in this review. May as well get it out of the way now.) πŸ˜‰

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So, for something a wee bit different, I’ve decided to go ahead and review the first 4 volumes of Low in this one post, rather than review them each separately. The main reason for this, is that I experienced very mixed feelings while reading this series. As I’ve mentioned before, Low wasn’t one of those reads that I was head-over-heels in love with upon finishing the first volume. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already bought the three other volumes, I probably would have ceased reading this series altogether. I hate to say that because I had really been looking forward to reading it and I enjoyed the overall concept, just not the execution, I suppose. It’s always a bummer when you feel like you wanted to like something so much more than you actually did, and that’s exactly how I was left feeling. Fortunately, this series improved dramatically as I continued reading it. Volume 1 may have been a rough start, and definitely my least favorite of the four volumes, but I’m glad I carried on and continued reading the story.

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Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope introduces us to a grim future for humankind where, due to the sun’s lethal radiation, humans have been forced to live in the dark abyss of the world’s oceans. It’s been a very long time since humans left the surface behind, and resources are dwindling to the point of no return as we meet our central characters, the Caine family. This is a very busy volume with a LOT going on, and also the longest of the four installments. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it and talk pros and cons regarding this particular volume.

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PROS:

  • A really cool concept. The whole post-apocalyptic science fiction set in the deep, dark vastness of our oceans had me completely psyched to read this.
  • The artwork and colors are lovely. Greg Tocchini (the artist) and Dave McCaig (the colorist) do a good job bringing to life the beauty and oftentimes horror of the world and characters that Rick Remender (the writer) has created.

CONS:

  • This series does have some decent character development overall, but I wasn’t feeling it whatsoever in this first volume. One character in particular has a complete moral shift in gears and character change over the course of a time hop so we’re given like no actual evidence of him growing or changing, he just does so between his last appearance and the next, and it’s honestly quite jarring.
  • Okay, I’m certainly no prude, I’ve generally got no issues with sex and nudity, but this was just . . . a bit much. Tons of female nudity and abuse, women being used for sex and then having extreme violence inflicted on them immediately after, orgies everywhere, etc. A lot of the outfits the female characters wear seem like they were designed that way simply because “tits” and “ass”. Again, this complaint is coming from someone who doesn’t typically shy away from mature content, but the male gaze was sooo prevalent in this one.
  • There’s an overall β€œalways have hope” message in Low, and it felt especially preachy in this volume. It left me feeling like I’d had it hammered in my face over and over and over again. I get that it’s a good message to put out there, but the sheer repetitiveness of it was maddening at times.

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Low, Vol. 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us is where the series begins to get get a little better, in my opinion. In this installment, we see some of the bigger complaints I had with the start of Low slowly begin to simmer down. I also began feeling more invested in the characters and what was going on. The stakes are getting higher, and we get to learn more about different characters and different places with their own big bads. I found myself going from not liking Low by the end of the first volume, to liking it by the end of this one. Was I in love with the series at this point? No, but I did like it.

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Low, Vol. 3: Shore of the Dying Light is, without a doubt, the volume that I liked the most. Tensions are on the rise and there’s a lot at risk in this installment. Also, it is hands down the volume with the least blatant overuse of pointless female nudity which, I’m sorry, has been a real issue for me through this series. You can tell the intentions are for several of the characters to be represented as strong female characters, but I can’t help but feel that it is a little undermined when you randomly have one of those characters in a fight scene in volume 2 where she’s suddenly totally topless because reasons. I mean, come the hell on. Volume 3 was a nice reprieve from this sort of thing.

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Low, Vol. 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes takes us back to some of the events that went down in volume 1 and reveals something pretty interesting and story-changing events that unfolded. There’s plenty of action in this one and some trickery and surprises. It leaves off on a point that has me curious to see where the story will go when volume 5 comes out. It’s not going to kill me to wait for it like it does with some other stories from Image.

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All in all, this series grew on me the more I read of it. I was curious to see what others were thinking of Low overall, so I looked up other reviews and they really varied. Some people loved volume 1 the most and felt it never really reached that high again, but I felt volume 1 was the worst of the lot and that it only improved from there. A lot of people felt the same way I did about all the gratuitous female nudity. Yes, there was some male nudity as well, but it was like a light breeze compared to a hurricane. Most people, like myself, were fans of the artwork, but some found it muddy and hard to follow at points. So, it seems this series is a real mixed bag for people. Have you read Low? Do you have plans to read the series? I’d absolutely love to see what you think of it. πŸ™‚

If I had to give a star rating for each volume of this series it would go as such:

Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us: 3 out of 5 stars

Volume 3: Shore of the Dying Light: 4 out of 5 stars

Volume 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes: 3 out of 5 stars

Saga, Vol. 8 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Woo! First review (and post) of the New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and an amazing start to 2018 so far. ❀ My boyfriend helped assure that much for me by stopping by our local comic book store New Year’s Eve and picking up this delightful title that just came out at the end of December. Needless to say, I about screamed with joy when he pulled into the parking lot and revealed his master plan.

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Brian K. Vaughan (the writer) and Fiona Staples (the illustrator) continue to weave their outlandish space opera of epic proportions in this volume, but add in some of the fun of the Old Wild West along the way. I don’t want to get into any spoiler territory, so we’ll keep things fairly vague as I talk about my feelings on this volume. And trust me, I got plenty of the feels for this series. ❀

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One thing I really like about the series as a whole is that it has a lot of heart, but not in a corny, mushy, or preachy sort of way. This volume is no exception. It continues to explore the theme of family, and what exactly family means when you really get down to it. It challenges convention at every turn and makes no apologies, and I utterly love it for that. ❀

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We see old and new faces alike in this volume and are presented with some pretty interesting “what-if” moments. It confronts deep-rooted feelings of both tragedy and hope head-on and still continues to surprise the reader with just about every turn of the page. This is a series that can make you cry one moment and then laugh another.

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Volume for volume, Saga makes for a quick, intense and often-times hilarious and utterly random emotional roller coaster. The characters are so well-written and full of their own troubles and flaws that it makes them feel completely human despite, ya know, the whole televisions for heads, and having horns and/or wings thing.

I honestly feel that just about everyone can find SOMETHING they can relate to somewhere in this series. So, if you have yet to hop on the Saga bandwagon, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???! Do yourself a favor and GET. ON. THAT.

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5/5 Stars.

 

Book/Comic-Related Christmas Haul

Brrr! All of the people wishing for a “White Christmas” certainly got their wish here in Michigan. (What were you lunatics thinking?!) πŸ˜› I just got in from shoveling a bunch of snow and am chilled to the bone. Thankfully, hot chocolate with butterscotch schnapps mixed in is a thing. πŸ˜‰ It’s soooo good and soooo warm. I’m in a state of total bliss now as I thaw out.

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I hope all of you enjoyed the holidays with your loved ones and had a wonderful time. ❀ (And maybe even gave and got some awesome prezzies!) πŸ˜› Christmas certainly is NOT all about the presents, but this post sure as heck is gonna be. πŸ˜‰ I was too excited about some of the fantastic gifts I got this Christmas not to want to share them.Β  and Let’s start this post off by talking about my favorite gift I unwrapped this year:

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I have been coveting these particular Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland vintage artwork ornaments for YEARS. Seriously, years. My dream is to one day decorate my Christmas tree in all literature-themed ornaments and decorations, and these fit the theme so perfectly. Needless to say, I was beyond elated to get them as one of my gifts from my boyfriend. He ended up spoiling me rotten, but these were my favorite of the gifts he got me for sentimental reasons. ❀

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Okay, enough being mushy, let’s move on and talk about COMICS! πŸ˜€ I got some graphic novels I am very excited to read. First, we have the first three volumes of the manga series The Girl from the Other Side. I’d been seeing artwork for this series floating around and absolutely loved what I saw, but I had no idea it was an actual manga series until I read a review on volume 1 from the Random Melon Reads blog. I can’t wait to learn more about this story. Here’s a tidbit about it from Goodreads:

“In a land far away, there were two kingdoms: the Outside, where twisted beasts roamed that could curse with a touch, and the Inside, where humans lived in safety and peace. The girl and the beast should never have met, but when they do, a quiet fairytale begins. This is a story of two people–one human, one inhuman–who linger in the hazy twilight that separates night from day.”

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Next, we have some more mainstream goodies starring some of my fave DC leading ladies! πŸ˜€ I’ve heard really good things about Batwoman: Rebirth, and I’m looking forward to continuing the Bombshells series with volumes 3 and 4. Volume 2 had a definite lack of Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy so I’m pumped to see them right on the cover in the thick of the action for volume 3.

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Speaking of continuing series I’ve already started, I’m looking forward to seeing what shenanigans the girls from Giant Days get up to in volumes 4 and 5. I’m also thrilled to report that Cupcakes and Machetes has gotten into this comic recently as well. It’s always fun getting to talk to friends about comics and books and whatnot. πŸ™‚

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And on the topic of awesome female-centered comics I like to enjoy with my friends, I also now get to enjoy volumes 2, 3, and 4 of Rat Queens! I didn’t shy away from expressing my love for this series when I reviewed volume 1 back in March, so you can imagine how giddy I was to receive more of this series. It isn’t every comic I give a rating of “Five out of five flaming orc skulls.” πŸ˜‰

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I got some other awesome non-comic or book related gifties, but the last I want to share with you guys is this awesome shark mug and shark snack bowl duo. It’s no secret that I love me some sharks, so I was pretty pumped about these. Especially because I’m also a fan of coffee mugs. And snacks. πŸ˜›

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Did you have a lovely Christmas this year? What was your favorite present you gave and/or received? Are you glad the holiday chaos is finally over?? πŸ˜›

Oh! And because a couple of you asked to see it, here’s a pic of my R2-D2 Christmas sweater I got this year. πŸ™‚

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