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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜‰

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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! πŸ™‚

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! πŸ˜€ 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? πŸ˜›

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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. πŸ˜› 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. πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

Great Maps – a look at cartography throughout the ages!

Biology: An Illustrated History of Life Science – Woohoo! Science! πŸ˜€

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. πŸ˜‰

Witch Hammer – Ya know, I’m really beginning to notice a theme here . . .Β  πŸ˜›

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ˜› 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! 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. ❀

 

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. πŸ˜›

(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!) πŸ˜‰

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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. πŸ™‚

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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! πŸ˜‰

May The 4th Be With You!

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Happy Star Wars Day, everyone!! ❀

After several super-busy weeks, I’m finally all moved and ready for things to start settling back into something vaguely resembling normalcy. I’ve missed all you fine and fancy folks and your snazzy blogs, so I’m looking forward to playing catch-up this weekend with plenty or reading and commenting. πŸ™‚

Hoping to start posting much more frequently again now that I’m getting more settled into the new job and new place. And what better day to hop back into things than Star Wars Day?? πŸ˜€ That said, let the memes commence!!

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Happy Valentine’s Day / Book Tag! xoxo

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Woo! Happy Valentine’s Day, luvvies! ❀ ❀ ❀ I’ve decided to participate in the Valentine’s Day Book Tag I’ve been seeing pop up all over WP lately. No one tagged me, but I thought it looked like fun, so let’s have at it!

1.) Standalone book you love

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Hmm . . . I’ve suddenly come to realize that I don’t read very many standalone books. Unless it’s a non-fiction one, of course, but that just felt like it didn’t count when I considered those titles. Animal Farm was probably my favorite assigned reading from school, and it’s just a great book in general.

2.) Dystopian book you love

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This series is just SO good! I’m currently picking away at the third in the series, and it’s been so good right off the bat. I don’t know why I waited so long to read it after completing Golden Son.

3.) A book that you love but no one else talks about

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It’s so fun getting to talk about books with people, but this is one title I have yet to get to discuss with anyone else.

4.) Favorite book couple

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I’m cheating. I’m going with my favorite comic book couple. πŸ˜› There just really aren’t a lot of books where I am 100% invested in the actual couple presented, but I am all about Alana and Marko from Saga.

5.) A book that other people love but you haven’t read yet

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I have seen SO MANY good reviews for this book. It sounds amazing and I feel all the shame for not having read it yet. “SHAME . . . SHAME . . . SHAME” *rings bell* πŸ˜›

6.) A book with red on the cover

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7.) A book with pink on the cover

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8.) You were given a box of chocolates. What fictional boyfriend or girlfriend would have given them to you?

Honestly, not a lot of the guys in the books I read really seem like the chocolate-giving sort. I think the sweetest fictional male character I’ve read about recently would be Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer, but I mean, he just seems like a thoughtful and good-hearted guy in general, so I guess we’ll go with him. Although, with his brilliantly imaginative mind, I think he could come up with something wayyyy cooler than chocolates! πŸ˜›

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9.) You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What movie would you watch?

Pshhh, like I’d have to be single to want to read a book on Valentine’s Day! I don’t really have anything that comes to mind that would be Valentine’s-specific, so we’ll just go with stuff I am reading and would watch today whether it was Valentine’s Day or not.

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This collection features 15 of Edward Gorey’s morbid little works. I’d previously read Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which features 26 ill-fated children, the name of each starting with a different letter of the alphabet, so it has been interesting reading more of his dark and twisted short stories and poems.

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My boyfriend and I have slowly been chiseling away at this Hulu show, Future Man. It’s hilarious, and over the top with its violence, gore, and inappropriate humor. I wish we had more time so we could just binge-watch it to completion!

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I’ve really been wanting to watch this one. With Guillermo del Toro at the helm, how could I not?

10.) All of a sudden you get shot by Cupid’s arrow. What new release will you love?

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There is no doubt in my mind that I will love this book just as much as I have loved Pierce Brown’s other books. ❀

Oh, and since it’s already Valentine’s Day I’d just say consider yourself tagged if you think this looks fun. πŸ™‚ Life has been a complete ball of chaos and madness lately so I waited til now to do this, so have at it if you’d like to be a last minute participant, too. Slackers Unite!! πŸ˜€

A Smattering of Mini-Reviews

How in the heck is the first month of the new year already almost over?? Where is the time thief that is responsible for this madness? I demand answers! Seriously, though, every year that goes by makes me feel like time just keeps slipping by quicker and quicker.

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I noticed that I’ve been slacking a bit in posting reviews for some of the stuff I’ve been reading and watching lately. Time’s really been getting away from me with everything that’s been going on, but I still want to shine a little spotlight on some of the stuff I’ve been enjoying in the past few weeks, so I bring you this post of mini-reviews! πŸ˜€ It’ll be like a little sampling rather than a full course of reviews, but I think it’ll certainly get the job done. πŸ˜‰

The Plucker, by Gerald Brom:

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This illustrated novel was a real treat. I’ve been a fan of Brom’s work for quite some time. Growing up, my mom had multiple books featuring his artwork and I was hooked from a young age. I loved the dark and twisted aesthetic he had going on. One of the things I like about Brom’s novels, is that he carries over his wonderful artwork and includes tons of illustrations, sketches, and paintings to accompany the story he is telling.

When a young boy’s father unwittingly brings him a gift containing an evil spirit known as the Plucker, it quickly makes itself at home and decides to claim the boy’s life for its own. It begins its reign of terror by going after the boy’s toys, the very things the child has poured so much of himself and his love into. Thus, the toys in this book have a life force all their own, one the Plucker is keen on taking to build up the needed strength to claim the soul of the boy and take over his body. What the Plucker has no way of realizing, is that aside from his toys, the boy also has one badass little old lady for a nanny. One who knows some things about magic herself. It’s a good story with fantastic artwork. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Stranger Things 2, on Netflix:

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Remember when I mentioned how busy I’ve been and how fast time has been flying by? That’s the only explanation I have for why it took me sooooo long to finallyΒ  finish watching the second season of Stranger Things. I (and countless others) love this show and the awesome 80’s dose of nostalgia it’s been rocking. Season 2 was awesome. We met some new characters, got to see older characters continue to grow, and learn some more about “the Upside Down”. The horror element of the show continues to grow in a really satisfying slow-burn sort of way, but it never feels dull and boring because you love the characters so damn much. This was a solid second season to a great show, and I may have even liked it more than I liked the first season, which is really saying something. I would give it 5/5 stars. Can’t wait for season 3!

Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, by Lewis Carroll:

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One of my reading goals for this year is to read more poetry books since it isn’t really something I’ve read a whole lot of. Since I have always been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, I definitely wanted to check out this book of poems from Carroll. I’ll admit, I wasn’t as smitten with this as I thought I was going to be. I liked the titular poem Phantasmagoria the best of the lot, finding that it had the most character to it. It tells the tale of a little ghost who has mistakenly come to haunt the wrong house. Carroll has a certain easy-to-read quirky charm to his poems, but this book wasn’t my favorite of his works. 3/5 stars for this one.

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur:

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Another book of poems! πŸ™‚ This was a quick and moving read. I admire Rupi Kaur’s ability to pour her soul out onto the pages of this book. Divided into different categories, the poems contained cover topics like love and loss, surviving after trauma, and the power and unity of femininity. I think many of us will be able to find something they can identify with or relate to somewhere in Milk and Honey. 4/5 stars.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden:

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I can’t believe I somehow never got around to reviewing this one. I read The Bear and the Nightingale with my book club ladies in December, and it made for the perfect winter read. It was both enchanting and addicting. Much like how the main character Vasilisa is enthralled with the fairy tales she is told growing up, you will become enthralled by the one she winds up living. Russian folklore and mythology enrich the story, and the backdrop of winter is capable of being both cruel and kind, with moments that are cozy and heartwarming, and others that are harsh and bitter. 4/5 stars.