2019 Reading Challenge: COMPLETE!

Screenshot_2019-07-10 Recent updates Goodreads

Woo! A few days ago I officially completed my reading challenge for the year! 😀 And even though I still have six months to go, I plan on sticking pretty much to my original plan. I kept my reading goal low, slashing it in half from last year’s 50 down to an easily attainable 25. The reason I did this was to be able to shift my focus to some of my other goals, the main one being writing. Well, as previously stated, I intend to GET. SHIT. DONE. over the next six months, so I’m ready to pour my all into writing for the rest of the year. Still, I thought it’d be fun to discuss how the reading challenge went. 🙂

1534247108455

I started the year off on a dystopian/post apocalyptic streak with The Road and The Handmaid’s Tale.

1ioghl

From there I ventured off into some lighter whimsical fantasy with Howl’s Moving Castle and a re-read / buddy read of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone with Cupcakes & Machetes.

l-15121-when-someone-says-they-havent-read-harry-potter

I also squeezed in some good non-fiction with Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works and the morbid but very interesting The Knife Man: Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery. (The latter of which I intend to do a special review of for blogging buddy and podcast extraordinaire, Imperial Rebel Ork for his and his buddy’s Fly on the Wall Podcast.)

giphy

Eventually I found myself in a total Urban Fantasy binge, devouring two novellas and the third full-length novel of The Iron Druid Chronicles as well as the first installment of the Mercy Thompson novels.

hB7500B27
I’m sorry (not really) but I found this one while looking up memes and I couldn’t resist adding it. The struggle is REAL, I tell you!

Along with these titles were several graphic novels of various genres (horror, slice of life style comics, superhero, action, and comedy). I also read River of Teeth recently which was such a great story that I will probably end up reading its sequel sometime soon despite insisting I’ll not be reading much the next few months. 😉

disney-book-memes

Well, that’s it for me, but how has YOUR reading challenge been going this year? 🙂 What was your reading goal? How’s it going? Let’s talk books! ❤

Book/Comic Mini-Reviews: Part 1

210x

Since I kind of fell off the bandwagon the past few months as far as posting, I feel like I have some catching up to do on my reading reviews. Since I prefer to write reviews right after having read something (while it’s still fresh in my mind) I decided the best way to go about it was to do a whole smattering of mini-reviews.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone:

This one was a re-read, but it deserves a mini-review just the same! 🙂 Cupcakes & Machetes and I decided it was time to revisit the beloved series with a buddy read back in February (told you I was behind on my reviews!) 😛 The book was just as magical as I remember it, and the second time around you get the cozy, warm fuzzies that come along with the good old feeling of nostalgia. It was like visiting an old friend. I usually don’t do re-reads since I barely have enough time for all the new books I want to get into, but this was definitely worth coming back to. ❤ It gets a solid 5/5 stars from me the second time around as well. 🙂

Remarkable Books: The World’s Most Beautiful and Historic Works

A book about books! What’s not to love?? Crammed full of information on old manuscripts, the evolution of books, how they were made at various points in history and how they shaped the world we live in, this one was just lovely to read. It also makes a rather dashing coffee table book if I do say so myself. 😉 I enjoyed this book bit by bit, savoring all the information over many, many cups of coffee.  ❤ Another fun thing I discovered once I’d finished reading it, is that there is a pocket in the back of the book with four fancy little book marks in it for your future reading endeavors. Very informative, and you get presents in the book! Fantastic! 4/5 stars.

IMG_0079

Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe (Deadpool Killogy #1)

A quick read where you get exactly what the title tells you you’re going to get. After Professor X sends Wade off to an institution of sorts, our beloved Merc with a Mouth goes off the deep end (though his reasoning isn’t exactly wrong in its own twisted way) and takes down our beloved Marvel characters, both friend and foe, one by one. Loads of murder and mayhem fill the pages. And although we’ve all come to expect Deadpool to break the fourth wall by now, he doesn’t just kind of break it in this story, he utterly destroys it. I liked it, but I wouldn’t say I loved it. If you’re expecting really sassy and funny with a healthy dose of violence, this isn’t really the comic you want to go with.  It’s kind of the opposite of that, actually. It’s pretty much ALL bloody murder with only a hint of humor and sass. I’d give it 3/5 stars. That said, I do want to finish reading the “Killogy” (nice wordplay on “trilogy” btw), especially since the second installment sees Deadpool taking on characters in classic literature! 😀

Well, that’s it for today’s installment of mini-reviews. There are definitely more to come, so I’ll probably have 2 more posts similar to this one til I get back on track with my reading/reviews! They were short and sweet, but hopefully you guys enjoyed them. What are you currently reading? Let’s talk books! ❤

I Kill Giants (No-Spoiler Graphic Novel Review)

51x4aytCuQL._SX321_BO1,204,203,200_

Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s I Kill Giants is a graphic novel that tells the tale of a young girl with a chip on her shoulder named Barbara Thorson, who just so happens to be an accomplished killer of giants. Or so she claims. The eccentric loner of her town, Barbara does all that she can to keep giants at bay, reputation be damned.

img.jpg

Barbara is a complicated character (as most humans are.) She’s got her points that will have you rooting for her, but she also has qualities and views that make her come across like an angsty little jerk-face at times. Given everything she has going on (real and/or imagined) she may just have her reasons, though. The more you read of her story the more it will come to make sense. Barbara makes mistakes and things get messy, which just makes her feel like a real human. She’s angry and jaded, but has her soft moments, too, where you just want to scoop her up like a little chipmunk (a chipmunk that will promptly bite the shit out of you the moment you let your guard down.)

e2826870feac0dc9ca3fdecf52190c7b46362be3ee1a06c927ea679d8cbcadbe

This is a coming-of-age story, complete with its emotionally heavy moments, but it also has a lot of silliness and fun to it as well. There’s more to this one than meets the eye, but I’m not gonna get all spoiler-y on you. 🙂

As is often the case with graphic novels, this one makes for a quick read, but it packs an emotional punch within its pages. After reading this, it definitely made me want to check out the film adaptation that came out earlier this year. I could see this translating wonderfully on film if in the right hands.

592d9e2472049.png

 

Strange the Dreamer (No-Spoiler) Review

Strange

Some things are just so damn good that they deserve to be savored. And savor I did while reading Laini Taylor’s vividly imaginative epic, Strange the Dreamer. Although I was in no rush to reach the end of this tale, I was enthralled from beginning to end. The world, the characters, the writing itself, were all sublime.

sd2.gif

Lazlo Strange, as the title would imply, is a dreamer in every sense of the word. Since he was a young boy, orphaned by the war and raised by monks, he has been fascinated by a mythical lost city that others brush off as the stuff of fairy tales. It isn’t until years later when he is living the humble life of a junior librarian that Lazlo is presented with the opportunity to seek out his dreams, and with them, the lost city of Weep.

tumblr_oqrggw6kE91vifvv4o1_500

This story is pure magic. It did exactly what I always hope for a book to do: it made me feel something. And in this case, not just something, but a LOT of somethings. Parts of the book are so damn fun, while others are so charming and so sweet you’ll never want them to end, and then other parts are utterly devastating. Beauty and ugliness. Love and hatred. Dreams and the harsh realities of human nature. This book is gonna give you the feels.

This was, without a doubt, a 5/5 Stars sort of read.

sd1

 

 

Kimmie66 (No-Spoiler) Graphic Novel Review

k1

This was one of those reads I went into headfirst, knowing nothing about other than that I enjoyed the work of the creator, Aaron Alexovich. Finding this little graphic novel at the library, I saw that it was written and illustrated by him and that was enough for me, having previously enjoyed his other works like Serenity Rose and Confessions of a Blabbermouth.

Kimmie66 turned out to be a sort of science fiction mystery set in a 23rd century future where people spend more time living their virtual reality lives than their own physical ones. It’s a place where your very best friends might just be people you’ve never even met in real life, and who live lives you know nothing about.

kimmiepanel

The story follows a teenage girl named Telly after she receives a suicide note from her best friend, the titular Kimmie66. But things get weird quickly as Kimmie66 continues showing up all over the various virtual reality “lairs” after her supposed death. Telly doesn’t know what’s going on at this point and is wondering if it’s all some sick prank or if she has an actual ghost story of sorts on her hands. Setting out to discover the truth, Telly gets help along the way from her slob of a brother, a mysterious hustler hacker, and her and Kimmie’s other loud-mouthed friend from their own VR lair.

Kimmie66 was a quick and entertaining read, and featured the spooky/cute black & white art that I’ve enjoyed in Alexovich’s other works. My only change I wish could be made would be for this story to be longer so it could have gotten into things a little deeper because it was all really interesting and left me wanting to know more about certain characters and whatnot. It was a good read though and makes me want to look into checking out more of Alexovich’s work again soon. 🙂

 

“You’re Not Good Enough” Book Tag

Despite that bleak-sounding title, this tag is actually a lot of fun. 🙂 I saw Birdie Bookworm’s post with it and couldn’t resist giving it a shot. The rules of the game go as such: you pick 30 characters from books you’ve read and write those names down. After that, you randomly select 2 of those names for each of the questions. At this point, you’ll use what you know about each of the characters to pick who you think is the best answer given the specific question presented. Pretty easy, right? Since I like reading graphic novels/comics so much, I’m including characters from those as well as regular novels. Alrighty, now that we’ve sorted out the rules, let the games begin!

tumblr_static_tumblr_luopk4mri01qfy5yoo1_r1_500


You only have one more spot on your spelling bee team, who would you pick to complete your team?

Sevro au Barca (from the Red Rising trilogy) VS. Zaphod Beeblebrox (from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy)

Huh, funny how both characters came from science fiction novels. Well, this one is definitely no contest. In a match of intellect I am absolutely going to have to pick Sevro over the outlandish Zaphod Beeblebrox.

giphy


Both characters want to kill you, which one would you kill first so you have a better chance of surviving?

Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games trilogy) VS. The Darkling (from the original Grisha trilogy Shadow and Bone)

Damn, I would prefer not to be on the bad side of either of these characters, but I’d say I’d rather not have to take on the Darkling over Katniss. I’ll take my chance with Katniss and her arrows in this case.

hg


You’re on the Bachelor/Bachelorette and you’re down to these two characters, which one are you going to give your rose to?

Atticus Finch (from To Kill a Mockingbird) VS. Temple (from The Reapers are the Angels)

Yeaaahhh, I’m going to have to say I’ll go with Atticus Finch on this one. I’m not looking to woo any underage girls, no matter how good at killing zombies they might be.

tumblr_mdd6fzherh1r94e9jo1_500


You’ve been chosen for the Hunger Games, who would most likely volunteer in your place?

Maika Halfwolf (from Monstress) VS. Melanie (from The Girl with All the Gifts)

I would have to say Melanie. She seems way more likely to take one for the team and go into the games willingly to protect someone, especially if she cares about them. Maika on the other hand is a lot more jaded and would probably just let me go into the games to die.

aa1fa0e9b7aa0759ebcf04652dbffb5b.jpg.gif


You’re stranded on an island, which character would you sacrifice to engage in cannibalism?

Esther (from Giant Days) VS. Molly Grue (from The Last Unicorn)

Ew. lol I’m not looking to turn cannibal any time soon, but logistically speaking, Molly is more scrawny and wiry if I’m remembering right, so probably not that great to eat. If you’re going to stoop to eating people to survive, might as well eat someone that is a little more tender like Esther. Sorry, Esther!

0L3O4r9


You’re the next DC/Marvel superhero (with your own tv show, of course), who is your sidekick?

Hodor (from A Song of Ice and Fire) VS. Lord Maccon (from Soulless)

Okay, I adore Hodor and all, but I am going to have to say Lord Maccon. How could I pass up having a ruggedly sexy Scottish werewolf for a sidekick? I’m sure his alpha tendencies would cause a power struggle, but I think I’d be okay with that. 😉

wwwwwwww


You’re a manager of an avocado admiring company, who would you fire for lack of communication skills?

Coburn (from Double Dead) VS. Angel (from My Life as a White Trash Zombie)

Heh, undead pitted against the undead. What an interesting turn of events. Well, I know that Coburn has one hell of a foul mouth on him and an attitude for days, so I suppose he might not be as great communicating with whatever sorts of customers or clients frequent “avocado admiring companies” overall. “The customer is always right” is sure to not fly with him, especially if the customer is a homicidal idiot like the ones he encounters in his book.

fu1


You’ve just finished a book in which your favorite character dies, which character is most likely to comfort you?

Alice (from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland) VS. Luther Strode (from The Strange Talent of Luther Strode)

Mmmkay, so on one hand we have a hulking ultra-violent killing machine, and on the other we have a small little English girl. Oddly enough though, I’m going to have to give this one to the massive beast of a man who can shove his fist straight through your chest. Luther has that sensitive side to him that keeps him from just becoming another ruthless maniac. He’s got heart, so I could see him comforting someone like that. Plus, Alice doesn’t see the point in books without pictures, so yeah, definitely gonna have to give this one up to Luther.

Alice-Wonders-How-One-Could-Pay-Attention-To-a-Book-With-No-Pictures-In-It-In-Disneys-Alice-In-Wonderland


Ugh, it’s High School. Who would most likely be part of the popular clique?

Isabelle Rossignol (from The Nightingale) VS. Kinsey Locke (from Locke & Key)

I would have to say Isabelle for this one. There’s nothing snooty about her character or anything like that, but she’s a girl that everyone deems to be beautiful and although there is SO much more to her character than just looks, that’s really all it takes for some people to be deemed “popular” in society. Plus, Kinsey’s got too many demons (literally AND metaphorically) to join the ranks of the popular kids at school.

jqhVTEW


The day has arrived; you’re finally a year older! Who would have the nerve to forget your birthday?

Bilbo Baggins (from The Hobbit) VS. Jeremy Clovenhoof (from Clovenhoof)

Jeremy Clovenhoof. Without a doubt. The guy is literally the devil, so yeah, gonna have to go with Clovenhoof on this one.

evil-laugh


You’ve just found an upcoming BookTube star. Who would it most likely be?

Emily “with a Y (from The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls) VS. Arya Stark (from A Song of Ice and Fire)

Heh. Just the fact that both of these characters would have no access to the technology needed to become BookTube stars is funny to me. But, pretending that they did in fact have the technology, I would see Emily being more into that sort of thing than Arya. It’s been a long time since Arya had time for things like books.

tumblr_m82okcqngr1qfvb0b


Sleepover time! Unfortunately, you can only invite one person. Who would you invite?

Gwen (from Spider-Gwen) VS. Inej (from Six of Crows)

Hmm . . . I think I’d have to go with Inej. I really liked her character in SoC. She seems like a really good friend in the story, too.

tumblr_ocl3zti9uZ1ut8szno3_500


Bam! You’re pregnant! Who’s the other parent?

Dee (from Rat Queens) VS. Marko (from Saga).

Well, that certainly escalated quickly. Both characters are awesome, but I’m gonna have to go with Marko. Added bonus: He’s already got that dad thing down since he’s got a kid. Major drawbacks: He’s got a bounty on his head aaaand I really don’t feel like getting my ass kicked by his wife (and awesome character/his soulmate) Alana.

raw


You’ve just written a super important text. Who would see it, but not reply?

Karou (from Daughter of Smoke & Bone) VS. Darrow (from Red Rising)

This is a tough one. Neither of them are really jerks or anything, but both of them feel like they have the weight of the world(s) on their shoulders, so I could really go with either or on this question. I think we’ll go with Darrow though since the technology in his story is beyond the point of simple text messages. He’d probably see my archaic form of communication and laugh.

HTTPS9tZWRpYS50ZW5vci5jby9pbWFnZXMvOGI3Y2MxZmU1NzUzYjE1YmRlMGEzMDZjZWY3NDcxNDIvdGVub3IuZ2lm


You’ve just woken up and it’s time for breakfast. Your mom and dad have been replaced by . . . who?!

Tyrion Lannister (from A Song of Ice and Fire) or Atticus O’Sullivan (from The Iron Druid Chronicles)

While it would be beneficial to have a powerful druid for a family member, Atticus is just too swoon-worthy of a character to be a parental figure. So Papa Tyrion it is.

Tyrion-Lannister-tyrion-lannister-23106785-500-284


Like I said, I went ahead and did this tag after seeing Birdie’s awesome post, so if you think it looks fun, have at it! And let me know if you do because I’d love to read your answers. 😀

 

 

20 Magical Years of Harry Potter

HP1_Cover.jpg

I can’t believe it’s been 20 years now since Harry Potter made his literary debut. With all the books, movies, merchandise, and amazing amusement parks that have since followed, it’s hard to remember life before we knew of Hogwarts and dreamed of getting our very own acceptance letters delivered to us.

OWL_carrying_a_message

I was first introduced to the Harry Potter series many, many Christmases ago when my grandmother surprised me with a copy of the very first novel. I’d never heard of Harry Potter before that moment and had no idea that I (and so many other people) were destined to fall in love with this book and the others to come after it, so big thanks, Grandma. (I also have her to thank for introducing me to South Park and the Evil Dead movies, so major props to her.) lol She knew cool shit when she saw it. 😛

hp5.gif

20 years later, no one can deny that J.K. Rowling truly created something special with her intriguing world of wizards and mythical beasties that intertwined with our very own world of muggles. She gave us such a delightful range of characters that many of us were lucky enough to get to grow up with. The Harry Potter series is one that stays with fans for life and can be visited time and time again, be it through the books or the films. Or both!

hp8

Here’s to 20 magical years, and the countless more to come!

hp4

hp1

hp2