October (Thus Far) Monthly Update

Hey, guys! ❀ Halloween is right around the corner and as October comes to an end I’ll be shifting my focus from the Inktober art challenge of 31 ink drawings in 31 days, to the National Novel Writing Month challenge where I take on the goal of writing 50,000 words during the month of November. Like last year, I’ll probably be taking a hiatus from blogging throughout November so I can focus on writing those 50,000 words. It’s no easy task, but I’m determined to see it through this year. I’ve been prepping as much as I can throughout October, but as you’ve seen from my recent posts, a lot of my free time has been scribbling ink illustrations, one after another, the past couple weeks.

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In other exciting news, Mr. Moth and I have been reveling in fun seasonal activities, like frequenting our favorite cider mill for fresh apples, delicious donuts and cider, and other goodies, and embracing our love for Halloween in any way we can this month as we celebrate four wonderful years together. ❀ We got the king-sized candy bars for our neighborhood ghouls and goblins when they come trick or treating, have been indulging in horror movies, and went to our second year (and favorite new tradition) of Theatre Bizarre.

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Hail Zombo!

Theatre Bizarre was amazing. If you don’t know what Theatre Bizarre is, you can check out my post from last year to learn more about it, see what Mr. Moth and I dressed up like for last year, etc. πŸ™‚ We had a blast, and this year Mr. Moth even got to be a part of one of the shows, getting pulled on stage by two devils as they lit up the stage in a fury of flames, battling over his very soul for one of the stage’s final acts of the night.

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This photo wasn’t taken by me but it has Mr. Moth on stage in it πŸ™‚

Here’s how our costumes came out. It was a lot of fun doing the pumpkin makeup and I learned a lot of tricks playing around with different makeup and techniques this year. I did a more cute and whimsical pumpkin grin for my look and a scarier pumpkin look for Mr. Moth.

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The Gruesome Twosome

After last year’s skeleton makeup, and this year’s pumpkin look, face painting is definitely starting to become a seasonal hobby for me. It’s a lot of fun being able to completely transform someone like this. We have a lot on our plates for next October with the wedding and everything, but still, I can’t wait to figure out what we’ll be next year, too! πŸ˜›

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Mr. Moth’s makeup was definitely my favorite! ❀

Other than all that, I’ve been catching up on some October reading. My most recent reads are The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving, Bitter Root (an amazing graphic novel from Image Comics), and I’m currently reading The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. Tis the season for reading about things that go bump in the night!

Anyhow, I’ll do at least one more blog post before my November blogging hiatus with my final roundup of Inktober pieces. Other than that, I’ll probably do some posts over on my Instagram throughout November updating my progress with NaNoWriMo and whatnot. What are you guys looking forward to in November? How’s your Halloween season/October been so far? πŸ™‚

Rat Queens: Orc Dave Special and Vol. 2 Reviews

I don’t know WHY it took me so long to return to the awesome and sassy world of Rat Queens, but damn, is it good to be back. πŸ™‚ Although it’s been a wee bit since I reviewed the first volume of the series, don’t let my delay in continuing fool you, I LOVE this series so far. Learning so much more about the characters and their checkered pasts only fuels that love, making me even more eager to continue reading further volumes (and much sooner than last time, I might add.) πŸ˜‰

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The Orc Dave special had my mind blown by the end. I already enjoyed the character but now I love him even more. It was really cool getting to learn so much more about the friendly vegetarian wood orc with blue birds living in his beard. I’m glad I picked up this one-shot special when it had hit my comic store (even if I did take my sweet ass time getting around to actually reading it!) πŸ˜›

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Volume 2: The Far-Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth kicks up the action with some serious Lovecraftian shenanigans. We get to see a lot more backstory and development within the motley crew of characters, but in a way that manages not to sacrifice any of the fun or action along the way. Booze, sex, displaced-reality-devouring demons, and mushroom people make up only a sampling of the contents contained within Rat Queens‘ second volume. Fighting not only hangovers, but also demons (both metaphorically and literally), the Rat Queens have their work cut out for them. I think if anyone is up for the challenge, it’s these lethal ladies. If not, it’ll only mean the destruction of reality as we know it. So, ya know, no pressure or anything. πŸ˜‰

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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.

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