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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Book/Comic Mini-Reviews: Part 1

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Since I kind of fell off the bandwagon the past few months as far as posting, I feel like I have some catching up to do on my reading reviews. Since I prefer to write reviews right after having read something (while it’s still fresh in my mind) I decided the best way to go about it was to do a whole smattering of mini-reviews.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

This one was a re-read, but it deserves a mini-review just the same! 🙂 Cupcakes & Machetes and I decided it was time to revisit the beloved series with a buddy read back in February (told you I was behind on my reviews!) 😛 The book was just as magical as I remember it, and the second time around you get the cozy, warm fuzzies that come along with the good old feeling of nostalgia. It was like visiting an old friend. I usually don’t do re-reads since I barely have enough time for all the new books I want to get into, but this was definitely worth coming back to. ❤ It gets a solid 5/5 stars from me the second time around as well. 🙂

Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works

A book about books! What’s not to love?? Crammed full of information on old manuscripts, the evolution of books, how they were made at various points in history and how they shaped the world we live in, this one was just lovely to read. It also makes a rather dashing coffee table book if I do say so myself. 😉 I enjoyed this book bit by bit, savoring all the information over many, many cups of coffee.  ❤ Another fun thing I discovered once I’d finished reading it, is that there is a pocket in the back of the book with four fancy little book marks in it for your future reading endeavors. Very informative, and you get presents in the book! Fantastic! 4/5 stars.

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Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (Deadpool Killogy #1)

A quick read where you get exactly what the title tells you you’re going to get. After Professor X sends Wade off to an institution of sorts, our beloved Merc with a Mouth goes off the deep end (though his reasoning isn’t exactly wrong in its own twisted way) and takes down our beloved Marvel characters, both friend and foe, one by one. Loads of murder and mayhem fill the pages. And although we’ve all come to expect Deadpool to break the fourth wall by now, he doesn’t just kind of break it in this story, he utterly destroys it. I liked it, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. If you’re expecting really sassy and funny with a healthy dose of violence, this isn’t really the comic you want to go with.  It’s kind of the opposite of that, actually. It’s pretty much ALL bloody murder with only a hint of humor and sass. I’d give it 3/5 stars. That said, I do want to finish reading the “Killogy” (nice wordplay on “trilogy” btw), especially since the second installment sees Deadpool taking on characters in classic literature! 😀

Well, that’s it for today’s installment of mini-reviews. There are definitely more to come, so I’ll probably have 2 more posts similar to this one til I get back on track with my reading/reviews! They were short and sweet, but hopefully you guys enjoyed them. What are you currently reading? Let’s talk books! ❤

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. ❤

 

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo 2018

Hey, everyone! 😀 I’ve really been enjoying getting to post a lot more again this month, but I wanted to give you guys a heads up that I’ll be taking the month of November off from blogging to focus on participating in National Novel Writing Month (aka: NaNoWriMo), or “Nano Rhino” as I like to call it. 😉

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Taking part in the challenge to write 50,000 words in one month is always difficult, but it’s also a lot of fun. It takes a lot of time and effort, so I’m heeding the advice of The Shameful Narcissist, and avoiding distractions throughout the month that could hinder my word count goals throughout November. Sadly, this means no blogging for the month, but I think it’ll be the only way I’ll reach that goal and complete the challenge successfully this year. Things are always so busy, so I’m going to have to devote any free time I can get to working on my writing. Plus, it’ll really help me reach my goal of having my first draft for my book DONE before the start of the new year. It’ll be a lot of work, but I’m hopeful I can bust my ass and get it finished.

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I’ll still be posting more throughout the rest of October, and I’ll miss all you fabulous people in November, but things will return to normal again come December. 🙂 I’d love to see this first draft finished by the end of December. It’s been a while since I’ve completed a first draft for a book I’ve written. I went through a notorious project hopping spree (something I’ve always been terrible about) but I’m feeling really committed to this current project I’m working on. I want to see it finished and I’m going to do whatever it takes to make that happen.

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Are you planning on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Got any big projects you’re working on that you’re excited about? Let’s talk about it! I love the creative process, no matter what form it takes, so I always enjoy reading about what you guys are creating and working on. ❤

 

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!

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? 😉

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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”?? 😉 ❤

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

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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. 🙂

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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??

 

 

 

 

Two Hearts (Peter S. Beagle Short Story Review)

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Peter S. Beagle’s whimsical fantasy tale The Last Unicorn is a classic. It’s one of my favorite books of all time, so when The Shameful Narcissist recently read and provided a link to a short follow-up to the story, of course I was eager to return to Mr. Beagle’s rich and enchanting world of magicians, unicorns and other mythical beasts.

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The original tale is a clever and spellbinding journey all its own, so I was very hopeful that this newer adventure would be able to capture some of the magic woven in the first book. I was obviously hopeful, but I had to wonder, could Two Hearts manage to match the charm and whimsy of its legendary predecessor? Well, as Captain Cully would say: sit down, have a taco, and let’s talk about Two Hearts.

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Although this short story features multiple characters we came to love in The Last Unicorn, you may be surprised to learn that the main character is someone new entirely. Sooz, a young girl from a small village plagued by a child-eating griffin, is done waiting for the king to send more knights who all seem to fall prey to the very beast they’ve been sent to slay. She’s decided to take matters into her own hands and runs away from home to seek the king out for herself, to get his help specifically. Young Sooz, you see, has heard all about brave King Lir and the dragons and giants he’s slain, the impossible riddles he’s solved, and the maidens he’s saved.

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Unfortunately, no matter how noble the hero, the one thing they may never vanquish is time, and the king is now in the later years of his life, his mind often failing him. On her way to seek the king, Sooz befriends the infamous Molly Grue and Schmendrick the magician from the first tale. Although King Lir is frequent to forget and lose himself as he admits to Sooz, the mention of a familiar character always manages to bring him back, if even for only a matter of time.

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Lir’s bravery and kindness propel him to agree to help Sooz and her village, but will the best intentions of an aging hero be enough to finally bring an end to the griffin? You’ll have to find that one out for yourself. 😉

I will tell you, however, that Peter S. Beagle definitely captured the enchantment of his original tale once more, much to my delight. Especially in the last third or so of the story. We finally get to see what has become of the characters he introduced us to so many years ago, and he introduces us to a brave young girl who would do anything to protect those she cares for against a hungry monstrous creature. For fans of The Last Unicorn, I would definitely say this one is easily worth the read. I enjoyed it and it made me want to re-read the original book again.

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