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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Book Review: Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues

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Death isn’t always the end. In fact, if you suddenly find yourself recently risen from the dead with an instinctual hunger for brains, it’s really only the beginning. Diana Rowland’s White Trash Zombie series of novels follows underdog character Angel Crawford as she navigates life (or something vaguely similar to it) as a freshly-turned zombie.

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No, not this type of zombie.

Even White Trash Zombies Get the Blues is a good follow-up to the debut book in the series, My Life as a White Trash Zombie. We see Angel getting more comfortable in her own skin (which only begins to rot if she doesn’t keep herself well-fed on brains, that she is able to obtain with a method far less chompy-chompy than most zombies.)

She may be getting the hang of being one of the undead, (it certainly has its perks in these books), but there are still hurdles aplenty for our struggling-but-determined heroine. A zombie mafia, corpse thieves, creepy experiments, and zombie hunters only seem to complicate things for Angel as she continues to deal with the struggles of work, love, family, and parole. The girl’s got a lot on her plate, and it isn’t all just brains. πŸ˜›

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Yum! Yum!

I really enjoyed this book and a lot of that has to do with how much I like the main character. Angel is flawed. Big time. But she’s working on it, and although things don’t come easily for her, she isn’t one to give up. Her narration feels honest and genuine, and it’s pretty damn entertaining to read given all of Angel’s sass and sarcasm that she wields with little or no apology.

The first part of the book does seem a bit slow at times, but the action and intrigue pick up nicely in the second part. I’d give this one a four out of five brain rating! πŸ˜‰

Also, I know I always rave about the cover art for these books when I talk about them, but c’mon, you gotta give it up to artist Daniel Dos Santos, this artwork is awesome!

Three Things Tag!

It’s taaaaag tiiiiime, guys! Big thanks to Random Melon Reads for tagging me for the Three Things Tag! πŸ˜€ If you haven’t yet ventured on over to their blog, I suggest you rectify that and experience their humorous and entertaining posts for yourself. πŸ™‚ Now, onto the tag at hand:

3 Read Once & Loved Authors:

Well, might as well start with my most recent newly loved author! πŸ™‚ After hearing so many good things about V.E. Schwab, I’ve finally begun my first venture into one of her books, A Darker Shade of Magic! I’m loving her writing and fully intend on reading more of her stories in the future. ❀

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V.E. Schwab

Of course I would have to include Leigh Bardugo on this list. Her writing is always a treat for me, but it just seems to keep getting better and better. She’s definitely one of those insta-buy authors for me.

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Leigh Bardugo

This list wouldn’t be complete for me without mentioning George RR Martin.

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George RR Martin

3 Titles I’ve Watched But Haven’t Read:

I mentioned in a recent blog post that I happened upon 2 of the books in the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. I enjoyed watching the film version and am definitely looking forward to reading the books that inspired it, starting, of course, with the first one.

Another set of books I would really love to sink my teeth into, would be Diana Gabaldon’sΒ Outlander series. ❀ I love the show and have only heard amazing things regarding the books.

Although I wasn’t too crazy about the third and final season of Hemlock Grove on Netflix, I did really enjoy the first 2 seasons and would definitely love to check out the source material some time. It’s been on my TBR list for a while, so maybe I’ll make this a priority on my reading list for October. It certainly seems like a fitting time to give it a go! πŸ˜‰

3 Characters You Love:

Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer. He’s just such a good character overall. πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to read more about him and the other amazing characters when Laini Taylor’s Muse of Nightmares hits the scene in October!

I’ve always loved the Cheshire Cat from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. From his crazy grin right down to the very way he speaks.

It’s always been difficult for me to narrow down my favorite character from GRRM’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, so I’m calling it a tie between Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark.

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3 Binged Series:

I binge-read George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books after having the first one literally thrust upon me by Cupcakes & Machetes years ago. Still waiting (and waiting) on the last 2 in the series to come out, but those two books will no doubt be binge-read as well upon release. πŸ™‚

If memory serves right, I think I also binge-read Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy a while back. I’m pretty certain I read the three books very quickly.

And, in the graphic novel arena, I definitely conquered Joe Hill’s Locke & Key series in quick succession. It was an excellent and imaginative series I just couldn’t seem to put down.

3 Unpopular Bookish Opinions:

Prologues don’t bother me. I know a lot of people seem to hate them, and I understand why to an extent, but as long as it is at least interesting, I’ve got no beef with a good prologue. πŸ™‚

If I’m studying a certain topic, and I’m reading an informative book about it, I bust out the highlighters and cover those pages in neon streaks. It’s quicker than writing the notes out by hand, makes for a quick reference, aaaand it’s my book so I do what I want with it! πŸ˜› Oddly enough, though, you’ll never see me dog-ear a page. I mean, I’m not a complete monster. πŸ˜‰

Call me crazy, but I hate book jackets (or dust jackets if you prefer). I know they’re to protect the book, and I get it, but they’re just so bothersome to me for some reason. I’ve gotten better about dealing with them in recent years, but they still tend to irk me just a bit. Plus, I always like the way the actual book looks underneath.

3 Current Favorite Book Covers:

Leigh Bardugo’s books are always lovely to look at, but I really like the cover for The Language of Thorns.

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Another book I just love the cover artwork for is My Life as a White Trash Zombie. The colors, the badass look of the character, it just all works for me.

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I had a really tough time picking three covers for some reason, despite always drooling over new cover art. I dunno, for some reason when I’m put on the spot my mind goes blank and I flounder about. But, I had to give some love to The Girl From the Other Side, with a cover and internal artwork that gives me the warm fuzzies. It blends two of my favorite aesthetics, monsters and cute shit.

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3 Goals For The Year:

Hmmm . . . well, there isn’t a whole lot of 2018 left at this point, it being September and all. That said, I really want to spend the remaining months of the year writing my ass off. NaNoWriMo is in the not-so-distant-future, so I definitely plan to participate in it again, but I also want to push myself to make more time for writing in general.

I’m also still working on my goal of reading 50 books/graphic novels for the year. With so little free time I’ve fallen a bit behind where I’d like to be by this point in the year in terms of my reading goal, buuuuuuut I’m confident I can catch up in the months to come. πŸ™‚

Aaaand my third goal is to continue being a boss bitch and getting shit DONE! πŸ˜› Haha and by that I mean to keep attacking my goals head on for the rest of the year. No sense losing momentum now. πŸ˜‰

Now, for the tagging! Mwa hahaha! If you’re reading this still at this point, consider yourself TAGGED! (Or not . . .) No pressure or anything. You know the drill, do it if you think it looks fun! πŸ˜€

Batwoman Played by Ruby Rose?? Let the Fangirling commence!

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If you just heard a shrill, high octave bat skree come out of nowhere, that was probably me just learning the news that Ruby Rose has been cast to play Batwoman on the CW. I’d apologize for any bleeding eardrums, but this level of excitement just cannot be contained!

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There are so many levels to this excitement. One being Batwoman (aka: Kate Kane) is a total badass and I loooove her, another being Ruby Rose is ALSO a total badass and I loooove her as well, and yet another level of awesomeness is getting to see more representation of an openly lesbian character portrayed on TV, something Miss Rose said she wished she’d been able to see more of when she was a young member in the LGBTQ+ community. πŸ™‚ SO. MUCH. AWESOME. I cannot wait! ❀

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Ruby Rose will be making her debut as Batwoman in the CW’s annual crossover event in December, but is slated to have her own upcoming show for the 2019-2020 season! I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, but this is one show I will NOT be missing. πŸ˜€

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Ruby Rose: With the look to steal your heart AND your panties. πŸ˜›
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Batwoman: See the above caption, because pretty much the same. πŸ˜›

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˜‰

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 Look at Low, Volumes 1 through 4

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Sebastian the Crab was dead wrong when he said everything was better under the sea. It’s not a bunch of dancing fish and singing crustaceans like Disney would like for you to believe.

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No, it’s nothing quite so nice as all that. It’s more like hordes of deep sea pirates out for your blood, aquatic abominations that want to eat your face, and corrupt leaders who want to keep hope and morale, well, “low”. (You just knew that pun was gonna be used somewhere in this review. May as well get it out of the way now.) πŸ˜‰

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So, for something a wee bit different, I’ve decided to go ahead and review the first 4 volumes of Low in this one post, rather than review them each separately. The main reason for this, is that I experienced very mixed feelings while reading this series. As I’ve mentioned before, Low wasn’t one of those reads that I was head-over-heels in love with upon finishing the first volume. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already bought the three other volumes, I probably would have ceased reading this series altogether. I hate to say that because I had really been looking forward to reading it and I enjoyed the overall concept, just not the execution, I suppose. It’s always a bummer when you feel like you wanted to like something so much more than you actually did, and that’s exactly how I was left feeling. Fortunately, this series improved dramatically as I continued reading it. Volume 1 may have been a rough start, and definitely my least favorite of the four volumes, but I’m glad I carried on and continued reading the story.

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Low, Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope introduces us to a grim future for humankind where, due to the sun’s lethal radiation, humans have been forced to live in the dark abyss of the world’s oceans. It’s been a very long time since humans left the surface behind, and resources are dwindling to the point of no return as we meet our central characters, the Caine family. This is a very busy volume with a LOT going on, and also the longest of the four installments. So, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of it and talk pros and cons regarding this particular volume.

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PROS:

  • A really cool concept. The whole post-apocalyptic science fiction set in the deep, dark vastness of our oceans had me completely psyched to read this.
  • The artwork and colors are lovely. Greg Tocchini (the artist) and Dave McCaig (the colorist) do a good job bringing to life the beauty and oftentimes horror of the world and characters that Rick Remender (the writer) has created.

CONS:

  • This series does have some decent character development overall, but I wasn’t feeling it whatsoever in this first volume. One character in particular has a complete moral shift in gears and character change over the course of a time hop so we’re given like no actual evidence of him growing or changing, he just does so between his last appearance and the next, and it’s honestly quite jarring.
  • Okay, I’m certainly no prude, I’ve generally got no issues with sex and nudity, but this was just . . . a bit much. Tons of female nudity and abuse, women being used for sex and then having extreme violence inflicted on them immediately after, orgies everywhere, etc. A lot of the outfits the female characters wear seem like they were designed that way simply because “tits” and “ass”. Again, this complaint is coming from someone who doesn’t typically shy away from mature content, but the male gaze was sooo prevalent in this one.
  • There’s an overall β€œalways have hope” message in Low, and it felt especially preachy in this volume. It left me feeling like I’d had it hammered in my face over and over and over again. I get that it’s a good message to put out there, but the sheer repetitiveness of it was maddening at times.

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Low, Vol. 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us is where the series begins to get get a little better, in my opinion. In this installment, we see some of the bigger complaints I had with the start of Low slowly begin to simmer down. I also began feeling more invested in the characters and what was going on. The stakes are getting higher, and we get to learn more about different characters and different places with their own big bads. I found myself going from not liking Low by the end of the first volume, to liking it by the end of this one. Was I in love with the series at this point? No, but I did like it.

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Low, Vol. 3: Shore of the Dying Light is, without a doubt, the volume that I liked the most. Tensions are on the rise and there’s a lot at risk in this installment. Also, it is hands down the volume with the least blatant overuse of pointless female nudity which, I’m sorry, has been a real issue for me through this series. You can tell the intentions are for several of the characters to be represented as strong female characters, but I can’t help but feel that it is a little undermined when you randomly have one of those characters in a fight scene in volume 2 where she’s suddenly totally topless because reasons. I mean, come the hell on. Volume 3 was a nice reprieve from this sort of thing.

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Low, Vol. 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes takes us back to some of the events that went down in volume 1 and reveals something pretty interesting and story-changing events that unfolded. There’s plenty of action in this one and some trickery and surprises. It leaves off on a point that has me curious to see where the story will go when volume 5 comes out. It’s not going to kill me to wait for it like it does with some other stories from Image.

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All in all, this series grew on me the more I read of it. I was curious to see what others were thinking of Low overall, so I looked up other reviews and they really varied. Some people loved volume 1 the most and felt it never really reached that high again, but I felt volume 1 was the worst of the lot and that it only improved from there. A lot of people felt the same way I did about all the gratuitous female nudity. Yes, there was some male nudity as well, but it was like a light breeze compared to a hurricane. Most people, like myself, were fans of the artwork, but some found it muddy and hard to follow at points. So, it seems this series is a real mixed bag for people. Have you read Low? Do you have plans to read the series? I’d absolutely love to see what you think of it. πŸ™‚

If I had to give a star rating for each volume of this series it would go as such:

Volume 1: The Delirium of Hope: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Volume 2: Before the Dawn Burns Us: 3 out of 5 stars

Volume 3: Shore of the Dying Light: 4 out of 5 stars

Volume 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes: 3 out of 5 stars