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? 😛

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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. 😛 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?

 

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. 🙂 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.) 😉

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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!) 😛

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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. 😉

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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. 😉

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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! 🙂 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. ❤

 

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. 😉

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?? 🙂 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. 😛

(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! 😉