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. ❀

 

Spread, Vol. 1 (No Spoiler) Review

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“Ten years ago, we dug too deep and unleashed something we couldn’t control. Something that twisted and warped every living thing in its path. Something that remade the world in its own image. The Spread. One man has found a child who could save the world, but he has to fight monsters, raiders, cannibals, religious fanatics, and one cranky baby to do it.”

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Spread is an often over the top, yet entertaining post apocalyptic thrill ride. It’s like John Carpenter’s The Thing and Mad Max had a baby. The artwork is gritty, and most of the panels are practically dripping with blood and guts. I’ve gotta say, all the red does contrast quite nicely against the white frozen landscape the book takes place in. πŸ˜‰

Characters include a silent loner named No who isn’t as good at being a loner as it would seem considering how he keeps accruing traveling companions, a baby who might just be the last shred of hope this bleak world has, an unhinged crazy lady with a heart of gold, and a big, burly cannibal.

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Although I enjoyed reading the first volume of Spread (and plan on reading the other volumes) I could certainly see this comic not being for everybody. If you have an aversion to body horror, gore, and some good ol’ fashioned violence, obviously Spread just isn’t going to be your cup of tea.

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I always have a hard time ranking things by the “5 Star Rating System”, buuuut I would give this introductory volume to Spread 3.5 out of 5 stars. It did a good job shoving readers straight into its dystopian world and left me intrigued enough to want to continue on with No and his motley crew of miscreants as they take on The Spread.

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Well, those were my thoughts on volume 1 of Spread. What are you guys currently reading?? πŸ™‚ Any horror stuff for the month of October you’re looking forward to?

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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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.