Saga Comic Binge Read

My boyfriend says I’m a monster because I always read his new comics before he does. I say, ya snooze ya lose. lol I’m sorry (no, actually, screw that, I regret NOTHING!) because when there are great comics to be read, I’ll be damned if I’m not going to read them. πŸ˜› In all fairness, he takes forever to actually get around to reading them, and I keep my lips firmly sealed regarding spoilers of any kind. We have a system. It works. ❀

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HIM: “You can’t keep reading my comics before I get to!”Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β Β  ME: “Bitch, watch me!”

Our local comic book shop had some pretty good sales over the holiday weekend so he went ahead and added to his collection of Saga, picking up volumes 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. Needless to say, I descended upon those poor, helpless trades like they were newborn infants left out to the wolves. I read all of them while I was over, one after the other, until I had to stop at volume 7 to go partake in 4th of July festivities because ‘MURICA.

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Oh, I’ll be back for YOU, my pretty! *cackles*

This series is just soooo damn good. It’s one of those gems that really lives up to all the hype surrounding it. In case I didn’t scream my love for this series from the rooftops enough in this “Cute Comic Couple” post or my spoiler-free review regarding Volume 2, let me just say:

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June’s Pick For The Happiest Reading Challenge

If you’re taking part in The Happiest Reading Challenge you know that June calls for reading “a book someone has recommend to you“. It didn’t take long to decide on what book I would read for this month’s part of the challenge. Like some of you guys, book and baked good blogger Cupcakes and Machetes has been throwing book upon book into my TBR mountain for quite some time. One of these books is The Lies of Locke Lamora (Book 1 of the Gentleman Bastard series), written by Scott Lynch.

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“An orphan’s life is harsh–and often short–in the mysterious island city of Camorr. But young Locke Lamora dodges death and slavery, becoming a thief under the tutelage of a gifted con artist. As leader of the band of light-fingered brothers known as the Gentleman Bastards, Locke is soon infamous, fooling even the underworld’s most feared ruler. But in the shadows lurks someone still more ambitious and deadly.

Faced with a bloody coup that threatens to destroy everyone and everything that holds meaning in his mercenary life, Locke vows to beat the enemy at his own brutal game–or die trying…”

Sounds pretty good to me! πŸ˜‰

Epic fantasy is always a plus in my book. It also helps when it passes the C&M seal of approval. And by seal of approval, I mean she was willing to bare-knuckle fight anyone in a mud pit that had the audacity to say that Scott Lynch wasn’t a “fantastic fucking author.”

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I’m really excited to finally read this one. πŸ™‚ I hear it is a seriously amazing debut from Scott Lynch. It’ll be nice to get to experience it for myself after hearing so many good things.

So, how about you? Reading anything good right now, or taking part in any reading challenges of your own? I’d love to hear about it! It’s always nice to talk about good books. πŸ™‚

 

Spider-Gwen, Vol. 1: Greater Power

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After a lukewarm first dip into the world of Spider-Gwen with Volume 0: Most Wanted back in March, I wasn’t in too big of a rush to move onto Volume 1: Greater Power. I didn’t hate it or anything. I just wasn’t as into it as I would have hoped to be. Here’s a link to clicky-clicky if you want to read my thoughts on volume 0.

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Fortunately, Volume 1 carried over the things I enjoyed about volume 0, but toned down some of the things I wasn’t as crazy about (like all the angsty band drama). I’m still a big fan of the popping color schemes, Gwen’s costume design, and this alt-Gwen herself as a character. She’s corny and loves puns. I can appreciate that. πŸ™‚ I also like that she isn’t perfect. She makes mistakes and she owns them and learns from them.

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We get to meet more alt versions of characters as some iconic baddies as well as good guys, and I use the term “guys” loosely, entering the fray. No worries, I won’t spoil the fun by saying who they are. πŸ˜‰ Here’s the fist of one of them though:

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We also get to learn more about Gwen and her friends before she was bit by that radioactive spider, as well as get some hints at some of the shadier stuff going on behind the scenes with some of the other characters. The story overall still wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but I think it may just be a slow beginning to something better in the long run perhaps. Only time will tell. I’d say I definitely enjoyed this volume more than volume 0 though, and would probably give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

And just for fun, here’s some of the variant covers included in the back of volume 1:

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Book Club Options- Waiting on the Votes to Roll In

I recently volunteered to host June’s night-out-on-the-town for the book club I’m in, which means I got to pick the book options! So as I wait for Wednesday night to roll around so I can tally up the votes I figured I would share the options I put out there with you guys. πŸ™‚

Option #1: The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World’s Most Precious Manuscripts

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Phew! That is one lengthy title, but it definitely gets a person’s attention, so well done.

To save precious centuries-old Arabic texts from Al Qaeda, a band of librarians in Timbuktu pulls off a brazen heist worthy of Ocean’s Eleven.

Yup. Sign me up for this one. I’m sold. We’ve got several hardcore nonfiction lovers in our book club so I figured this was a good choice. πŸ™‚

Option #2: An Ember in the Ashes

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β€œAll the beauty of the stars means nothing when life here on earth is so ugly.”

I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about this one, so of course I had to include it in the list. (And if it doesn’t win I’m reading it anyway at some point!) πŸ˜‰

Option #3: In Order to Live: A North Korean Girl’s Journey to Freedom

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This is my other nonfiction selection. After listening to Yeonmi Park’s emotional and heartbreaking speech for One Young World I felt really compelled to read this book. Here’s the video of her moving speech if any of you are interested in listening. (Trigger Warning: topics such as intended suicide and rape are brought up in this video, among other tragic and unjust things, so just warning you guys).

 

Option #4: Red Sister

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It is important, when killing a nun, to ensure that you bring an army of sufficient size. For Sister Thorn of the Sweet Mercy Convent, Lano Tacsis brought two hundred men.

Here’s another book I’ve been hearing amazing things about. If this book wins it will be my first venture into the works of Mark Lawrence. (Honestly, even if it doesn’t win it probably still will be with all the great reviews I’ve been reading about it.) πŸ˜›

Option #5: Stalking Jack the Ripper

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A fictional tale involving Jack the Ripper. I enjoy historical fiction so this one seemed interesting.

So, those are my choices I selected for my fellow book club ladies to vote on. I’m very curious to see the winner once all the votes are in. So far it’s kind of all over the place, so I’m hoping the remaining two votes will nail down a concrete winner.

Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? πŸ™‚

Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery- No Spoiler Review

I’ve been hearing such good things about this series and now that I’ve read it I can happily say that I was NOT disappointed! In fact, I loved it!

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The titular “Rat Queens” are a group of potty-mouthed, goblin-slaying, bar-brawling friends and “adventurers for hire”. Each of the characters brings something special to the story. I honestly can’t even pick a favorite.

There’s Hannah, the rockabilly elven mage:

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“I’ve conjured a little Fuck You.” – Hannah

And Dee, the human cleric who also just so happens to be an atheist.

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“My parents worship a giant flying squid. Holidays get weird.” – Dee

And then there’s Betty, the “smidgen” thief.

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“Tequila, vodka, and two magic mushrooms: They call it ‘The Betty’.” – Betty

And last, but not least, Violet, the hipster dwarven warrior who shaved her beard “before it was cool”.

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“I know my sword is designer. I use it ironically.” – Violet

And on top of that, there are plenty of other great characters to enjoy throughout the pages of volume 1. It’s stuffed to the brim with delightfully inappropriate humor, fun fantasy tropes and, of course, wonderful artwork of the highest caliber.

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Though proceed with caution if you’re easily put off by swear words, bloody battle sequences of ass kickery, drug and alcohol references, and talk of smut. If these things bother you, than this series is bound to offend your delicate sensibilities. πŸ˜‰

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But if you’re like me, and you revel in these things, then carry on bold reader! For there is ale to be guzzled, dungeon monsters to be fought, and merriment of the crassest sort to be had! Huzzah! 5/5 flaming orc skulls!

 

The Nightingale- No Spoiler Book Review

As Book lovers, many of us are well acquainted with those nights when we know we should get to bed, but we just can’t put down the book we’re reading until we’ve finished it. This was me last night while reading the last quarter of The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

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I don’t even know how to do this book justice in a review, but I’m going to try my best just the same. This novel is a great example of what historical fiction as a genre can accomplish. It takes what we know of history but gives us as readers the ability to step into the shoes of the characters who are living through the events that happened before many of us were even born. It shows us parts of day to day life that we might otherwise not consider while reading about the overall big picture presented in our history books.

The Nightingale follows the lives of two very different sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, as they do what they must to survive in France during WWII. Vianne is the older of the two, a wife whose husband is being held prisoner in a Nazi war camp, but also a mother who wants more than anything to keep her daughter as safe as she can while struggling just to keep them fed. Isabelle is the young and impulsive sister with a rebel’s spirit, a girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. In German occupied France, these are dangerous times. Throughout the story the two sisters are forced to make choices time and time again that could be the difference between life and death, not only for themselves, but for those around them.

Several times while reading this I thought back to people I’ve met and cared for who were there in the thick of things during WWII. In previous jobs I’ve had I have taken care of people from different walks of life, born in different countries, but who all had lived during the same war. Soldiers, civilians, holocaust survivors. I’ve seen firsthand the numbers that were forcibly tattooed onto a person’s arm in their youth that they had to carry with them into their old age long after the war was over. I’ve seen how something seemingly as simple as helping someone to undress and take a shower even decades later can trigger a horrible flashback that mentally takes them right back to the horrors of life in a concentration camp. As I read The Nightingale I couldn’t help but be reminded of these people I once knew. I was moved to tears several times as I read this book.

There is a quote from the book that I think is very relevant now, much as it would have been back then. “What good is safety if she has to grow up in a world where people disappear without a trace because they pray to a different God?” Wars like WWII don’t happen overnight, and I think this book illustrates that very point. Hate, ignorance, and intolerance are all ugly things that can only build in momentum if we let them. This happened then, and one can’t help but feel it happening now. It makes another, older quote come to mind: Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It is a disturbing thing to consider, but we as people have to learn from the mistakes of the past if there is ever to be any hope of us moving forward. As another quote from the book explains, “love has to be stronger than hate, or there is no future for us.”

The Nightingale shines a light on the ugliest parts of humanity as well as the beauty and compassion we are capable of if only we choose to do the right thing and be there for one another. It shows that love comes in many forms, not all of them perfect or easy.Β  This book gets a solid 5/5 stars from me.