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!

 

 

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Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles (Review)

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First things first, I really like the cover for this sort of mini-anthology. Secondly, I’m finding myself in the middle of a sudden Urban Fantasy kick at the moment. Two Tales of the Iron Druid Chronicles, as the title would imply, features (you guessed it!) two short stories from Kevin Hearne’s series of UF novels, The Iron Druid Chronicles. Imagine that, huh? 😛

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The first of the two tales, Kaibab Unbound, takes place shortly before the events of the first novel in the series, Hounded. Phew, there’s gonna be links galore in this post, so consider ye self warned. 😉 It’s been nearly five years (half a decade!) since I finished reading the first book in the series, but it was only after recently finishing the third, Hammered, that I decided to start reading Mr. Hearne’s short stories that are woven in a certain order between his various IDC novels.

Kaibab Unbound centers in on our protagonist druid, Atticus, enjoying a day off with his trusted Irish Wolfhound Oberon. Their plans for a relaxing, nature-filled day are sent astray when a befriended elemental is in dire need. Squirrels, shapeshifting druids, nature elementals and witches might sound like a lot to squeeze into a mere 17 page story, but Kevin Hearne manages to make it look easy, all while throwing in the humor and action his tales are known for.

The second short story, A Test of Mettle, takes place during the events of the third IDC novel, Hammered. While Atticus is off taking care of official druid business, Granuaile, a hopeful druid-in-training, is assisting an elemental of her own in a different way, trying to help level out the local ecosystem that is all out of balance thanks to an invasive species. Things do not go as planned though, and Granuaile is suddenly faced with an unnatural attack of sorts.

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I promise this gif makes sense if you read the story. 😛

I enjoyed these quick little stories and plan to continue on with both the novels and the shorter companion tales. Probably not one right after the other, but it is definitely a series I will be continuing to read. 🙂

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I also started reading another UF story last night, Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1). Like I said, I’m definitely on an urban fantasy kick at the moment. Is it a genre you enjoy reading? Any suggestions of other books/series? Let’s talk books! 😀

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. ❤

 

Whirlwind of a Month: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of August

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Well, well, well . . . look who finally stumbled her way back onto WordPress. This old gal! It may have seemed like I dropped off the face of the earth, but it was only due to the frenzy of chaos I like to refer to as August 2018. Sooo, yeah, totally ready for this month to be DONE.

Monday is Labor Day here, so that means a nice three day weekend. While some of the people I work with are going on trips for the holiday weekend, the only trip I shall be taking is straight to the Oral Surgeon this Saturday morning. Yaaaaay. Wisdom teeth, amirite?

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Quit being such dickheads, Wisdom Teeth. Seriously, go home. You’re clearly drunk, growing in all sideways and shit. Get your act together.

Anywhoo, that sums up “the ugly”, leaving “the bad” as all the other stressful stuff that just never seemed to come to an end this month, so enough of all that, let’s get to the FUN stuff, THE GOOD:

August’s Book Haul:

After watching and enjoying the movie Odd Thomas, I’d been pretty interested in reading the book series that it came from. I was pretty pumped to discover two of the books in the series at a recent used book sale and so I promptly snatched those babies up. I’ve never actually read any Dean Koontz books, so I’m curious to see what I think.

Another author I’ve never ventured into reading yet is Laurell K. Hamilton. Not sure if it’s a wise or risky move diving into a collection of her short stories rather than an actual novel, but we shall see what happens! 😀

I’ve not really even dipped so much as a toe into the pool of mystery literature out there, but the Detective Lavender Mysteries series caught my attention when it popped up for sale on the kindle recently. Gonna give it a shot.

More volumes of Giant Days is always a plus, so getting volume 6 as a surprise definitely lifted my spirits on a particularly rough day this month. 🙂 Don’t be fooled by the whole “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” load of silliness. Sometimes, comics will prove to do just fine. 😉 It’s all about the thoughtful gesture, not the extravagance of it.

The Resurrectionist caught by attention just from that snazzy cover quite some time ago. Caught it on a good deal via the Kindle and am looking forward to giving it a go!

And although I haven’t gotten to see the film version of The Meg like I’d have liked to by now, I did obtain the book, so yay for that! Will it be outlandish and probably ridiculous? Of course. Will I probably love it even more so because of that?? Most definitely.

I got some other books this month thanks to that used book sale I mentioned, but these are the six I’m most intrigued about.

Anywayyy, just wanted to pop in and say that I’m still kicking, just been busier and more stressed than normal lately. September is shaping up to be a busy month as well, but I hope to be able to squeeze in more blog time than I was able to in August. 🙂 You guys are awesome and I’ve missed getting to see what adventures you’ve all been up to. I’m going to try to catch up some this weekend, but it may take a while. Especially since I don’t know what to expect after oral surgery (except a swollen face and a healthy dose of hurting). If you’ve had any recent exciting news or anything and wanna chat about it please comment it up so I can read all about it. Feel free to even link me some of your spiffy posts I may have missed. 🙂 It’s always great catching up with you guys! ❤ Have a happy weekend, everyone! ❤ ❤ ❤

 

 

The Language of Thorns (No-Spoiler) Review

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“Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.”

I don’t even know where to begin with this dark and enchanting little book. ❤ Collecting six different tales taking place in the mysterious world of the Grisha, it’s a great read for fans of Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows duology and/or her original Grisha Trilogy. Even if you haven’t read Bardugo’s other works and simply enjoy dark fairy tales and folklore, this book is for you.

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I swear, Bardugo’s books just keep getting prettier and prettier. Each page of this book features an ever-expanding illustrated border with lovely artwork relating to the story at hand. As the tale progresses, the border reveals more and more clues relating to it, and each tale is followed with a beautiful two-page illustration to wrap things up. So no peeking at those pictures before you read the actual story, guys! 😉

If you’ve read your fair share of folklore, myth and fairytales, you’ll no doubt pick up on the many inspirations for the stories contained in this book. With several nods toward Greek myth, fairy tales of the Grimm, Anderson, and Perrault variety, along with a hint of Aesop’s fables, you’re bound to feel some sort of nostalgia while reading. I know I sure did. 🙂

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Another nice point in this collection of stories is the diversity, along with the many strong female characters. Bardugo manages to create a variety of characters and tell compelling stories with each of her tales, despite some of them only being about 50 pages, give or take.

Fun Fact: For those of you who have read Bardugo’s other works, you mayyyy just pick up on a certain character in one of the stories that we’ve seen before. I’m not gonna say anything specific here because spoilers, but I see what you did there, Leigh Bardugo. 😉

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The six tales included in The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic are as follows:

Ayama and the Thorn Wood

The Too-Clever Fox

The Witch of Duva

Little Knife

The Soldier Prince

When Water Sang Fire

I really enjoyed reading each of the tales along with their accompanying artwork. Bardugo’s writing shines as she lends her voice to such a classic form of story telling all while putting her own fresh spin on things.