River of Teeth (Novella Review)

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Ever heard of “Lake Bacon”? No? Thankfully, neither had I, but if some eccentric 20th century Americans had gotten their way, lake bacon (aka: hippo meat) would be just another part of the American cuisine. (Seriously, there’s some pretty bizarre/weird history to read up about regarding this if it strikes your fancy.) This story, written by Sarah Gailey, takes a look at just how introducing hippos to the American frontier could have gone oh-so-very wrong and led to a very different version of our old wild west.

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The job is dangerous, the reward is high, and if you ask Winslow Houndstooth, he’ll be more than happy to remind you that it is not a caper, but rather an “operation” that brings him and his motley crew together. Most of them are willing to take on the risk of going up against feral hippos to seek their fortune, but Houndstooth is driven by something more than just money, and although the cash would be great, it’s revenge that really fuels him.

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This novella was interesting and fun from beginning to end. I loved the characters. They’re all so distinct from one another, and I adored the fact that the author gives each of the characters’ hippo companions loads of personality as well. Also, the interactions between the humans and their hippo steeds feels so real to any of us who have our own animal companions we love and care for. It’s all the little moments of the characters singing funny little songs to their hippos involving their names, feeding them their favorite treats, or just showing them affection that I really enjoyed. It’s how any of us with pets are, even if most of us simply have cats or dogs rather than giant animals with jaws so powerful they can bite a man in half with ease. Even the hippos have their own distinct personalities and it just shows me that Sarah Gailey knows how to write interesting and believable characters. I definitely can’t wait to check out this story’s sequel Taste of Marrow.

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If you’re looking for a shorter read that really packs in the fun, look no further. River of Teeth is not likely to disappoint! I easily would give it 5 out of 5 stars! This was yet another solid recommendation from Cupcakes and Machetes. Have any of you guys read this yet? What is the best book you’ve read recently that was non-stop fun and/or excitement from beginning to end? 😀 Let’s talk books!

 

 

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? 🙂

 

 

 

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? 🙂

Sniffles & Sci Fi: A Mid-January Update

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Greetings from the land of sniffles and hacked up lungs. ❤ I’ve been bogged down with a pretty wretched cold this weekend. Considering I was sick just two weeks ago, this makes me a fairly grumpy bundle of rage right now. Despite my current germ-stricken state, the weekend hasn’t been a total bust. Having to stay home the whole time let me get a lot of writing done, so yay for that, I suppose. 🙂

Although it wasn’t planned, I kicked the first month of the new year off with a theme of dystopian literature and television. I’m currently reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road and Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and I binge-watched the first season of The Shannara Chronicles and half of the second season of Future Man.

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Mr. Moth and I also cuddled up on the couch and finally gave that Bird Box movie a go that everyone has been talking about. I didn’t choose the dystopian life, the dystopian life chose me. 😉

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In other news: I’m a bit behind on some of the reviews I need to write for some comics and movies I’ve enjoyed recently, so reviews are on the horizon, folks! 🙂

Reviews to come:

  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018 film)
  • Aquaman (2018 film)
  • Locke & Key: Heaven and Earth (2017 Graphic Novel)
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Vol. 1: The Crucible (2016 Graphic Novel)

I’ve tried a couple new recipes recently that I also look forward to sharing, particularly my first adventure in cooking cauliflower rice, as well as a lovely ginger sesame stir fry!

I’ve also got my birthday coming up at the end of the month! 😀 I really can’t wait to celebrate with my loved ones! ❤

How’s your January been going so far, guys?? Anybody else a slacker like me and still have their Christmas tree up? 😛

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.

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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. 🙂 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. ❤

 

Barrier (Brian K. Vaughan’s New Mini-Series!)

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One of the comics I had been most excited to get my hot little hands on during Free Comic Book Day was the first issue to Brian K. Vaughan’s new miniseries, Barrier. I literally knew almost nothing about it other than that it is written by BKV, and that was good enough for me given how much I (along with the rest of the universe) have been loving Saga. ❤

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I started reading the first issue to Barrier this morning, assuming it would be a very quick read, and that I would soon be on my merry way doing other things with my day. Boy, was I wrong. This proved to be a much longer read, because I spent about half of it using Google’s translator so that I could understand all the parts in Spanish. Which is fine, I just wasn’t expecting it. And because I’m a Super Pal, I even wrote down the translations in case anyone else *cough cough Cupcakes and Machetes cough* or my boyfriend also wanted to read it, but didn’t feel like doing the leg work to translate it. 😛

(Or if any of you guys are planning on reading it and don’t want to go through and translate it yourself, let me know and I’ll hook you up!) 😉

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ANYWAY, onto the story itself. Barrier follows two main characters from two very different walks of life. On one hand, we have Liddy, an American rancher who feels threatened after finding one of her horse’s decapitated heads, skinned and missing its eyes. Talk of “El Chupacabra” and even UFO-related cattle mutilations is quickly dismissed by Liddy who is confident that this is a warning from the cartel that plans on using her land to run their drugs. On edge, she begins exploring her options to protect her land, her animals, and herself. Our other main character, Oscar, is a Honduran young man who is attempting to make his way over the border into the United States. We don’t learn a whole lot about him in the first issue, but we do get a hint that he has something very important in his notebook, and that he may know more about what’s really going on than it originally seems.

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The two cross paths on Liddy’s property when Oscar is injured and she is armed and ready to shoot as their respective languages create a barrier (heh, I see what they did there) between them. Just then, SOMETHING pretty crazy happens, but we’ll leave that on a fairly vague note. Let’s just say, that I am definitely ready to check out the rest of this miniseries that will be released in single issues throughout the month of May in five total installments. 🙂

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I look forward to seeing these two characters forced together by bizarre circumstances will interact with one another, how they will be able to communicate, and what is going to happen to them. I also want to learn more about what Oscar seems to know already. Brian K Vaughn is amazing at creating characters who you want to keep reading about, so I am really looking forward to seeing what he does with Liddy and Oscar the more we get to know them. Marcos Martin (the artist) and Munsta Vicente (the colorist) do a great job bringing the story to life with their illustrations and vivid colors, from the characters themselves to the rough landscapes. I can’t wait to see what they do in the next installments since I think things are really about to take a turn for the crazy.

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I know some people may be put off by not being able to understand part of the dialogue if they don’t speak Spanish or are unwilling to look up translations, but I think the language barrier actually adds to this story. BKV knows what he’s doing as a writer, so I trust what he has in mind for this project. Blending science fiction with the often-debated topic of immigration, I think we’re in for a really interesting story. Like Saga, this one is for mature readers only. I heard some parents getting pretty heated during Free Comic Book Day because there’s some adult content in this, so just something to keep in mind. This one is not intended for the kiddos! 😉