The One Resolution I’ve Kept…

I am a sucker for new year’s resolutions, to the point that I do mid-year checkups on them. And I’m still a normal human being, so I am really failing at most of them. But that’s what the second half of the year is for, right? This year I made broad resolutions, and then I made specific book and writing ones. I’ve pulled up my book/writing ones and….

….yeah I still need to work on them. But one of the goals was to read more graphic novels/comics, and that I have actually accomplished. I have wonderfully nerdy friends, who I have to actually ignore as they recommend more and more series to start (and as they recommend DC comics. Still can’t quite get into DC yet.) My unfortunate problem is that I have no idea how to actually review graphic novels. Thus below is a quick look at what I’ve been reading in volume format — I’m weeks behind on single issues and will catch up at some point. So here are my rants, ramblings and ravings on five different comics!


saga-alanamarkoandhazel

Thanks to Mari @ Story and Somnomancy and my good friend Tim, I bought all 5 volumes on an impulse back in January….and then promptly put them on my shelf and ignored them. Have I mentioned that I’ve been trying to read more of these, but just didn’t feel they were for me?

Brooklyn was hit with a few feet of snow at once earlier this year, and I finally caved and decided to give the first volume a try….and by the end of the snow day, I had read all 5 volumes. It’s a bit of a Romeo and Juliet situation, with more nudity, more violence, a larger playing field, and more non-main character death (meaning Romeo and Juliet are still very much alive). I have no idea where the story is going or if they ever plan on wrapping it up — some of the criticism I’ve read regarding the comic is how flimsy the plot is, but I rather enjoy the epic space drama…drama of it all. Plus the forbidden love between Marko and Alana just makes me happy?

I enjoy the artwork as well. I really can’t comment on much of it as I’ve yet to come across a comic where I didn’t care for the artwork (then again, I’ve looked at a few and put them back — due to a combination of artwork and story line. I’ll work on this.)

Rating: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4.5/5 Moose


nailbiter-banner-2

Nailbiter was recommended to me by Tim, again, or well his comic shop. The concept seemed so wonderfully fascinating that I picked them up immediately— I think I had to go to two different stores for the first volume.

The series revolves around a small, fictional town called Buckaroo, OR. This town’s claim to fame is that they have produced not one, but SIXTEEN serial killers. Nailbiter is obviously one of these serial killers, and is actually the most recent one. (Actual name: Edward Charles Warren.) He got his nickname because he has a disturbing fetish where he chews off his victim’s nails and part of their flesh. The story starts when Agent Carrol goes missing, and his friend NSA agent Nicholas Finch comes to down find him. Instead he begins to pull at the threads of the town’s legends, trying to figure out why the town has produced sixteen serial killers.

I wrote about Nailbiter briefly, and my opinions on it haven’t changed. I love this series. It has everything I want in horror.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 5/5 Moose (Yes it has slow points, but I still love it.) 


paper_girls_teaser_953_540

Paper Girls is another one recommend to me by Tim, (pretty much he recommends, I read) as well as a group of ladies I enjoy discussing comics with (primarily what are good strong female led ones.) First of all, I LOVE the covers of the individual issues,

The story starts with a bang in the early hours after Halloween in 1988, hints the NEON covers. Four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls find them selves thrown undercover as otherworldly creatures just start colliding with small town suburbia. The muted red-blue-purple tones are wonderful. There’s only been one volume, but issue 6 came out recently as well. I haven’t decided if I am going to keep up with single issues, or wait for the next volume. Either way, I’m a fan.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4/5Moose


untitled-1-1330128834

Phonogram was recommended to me by my friend James, who is currently on a no more recommendations break. (Have I mentioned that my friends are all awesome and want to share the great things they’ve read?)

Phonogram is a bit of a different graphic novel than the other ones I’ve read. The volume is entirely in black and white. It takes place in the UK, following David Kohl, a smug bastard of a mage who use the medium of Britpop music to interpret his magic. His mind starts to unravel — he starts thinking he likes music that he’s never cared for — causing him to lose his identity and magic. And all of this traces back to Britannia, who has been dead for ten years.

I wanted to like this volume. I want to like this series (not that I’ve read the second or third volume.) But there is just something that was not clicking for me. I feel like I missed a previous volume or something, but that’s fine.

Rated: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 3.25/5 Moose


robert-kirkman-outcast-header-image

Outcast is my current read. I have read the first two volumes, and I’ll probably pick up the third one for a read this week. This of course is in combination with the television show on Cinemax, which I’m currently watching on Sundays either before or after Preacher. Again, this comic was brought to my attention from my good buddy Tim, so really if you ever need a comic recommendation, I’ll point him out to you. (Maybe. I’ll think about it.)

Outcast is a bit hard for me to read. The possessions make me uncomfortable, the abusive scenes make me cringe…but it’s still a good read. And I have to give major props to Megan, Kyle’s adopted sister, who tells off her childhood rapist in an appropriate manner.

Anyways, Outcast is about Kyle Barnes, who seems to be surrounded by possessed people. His mom, his neighbors — you name it, they might be possessed. Instead of hiding, his normal stance, he’s decided to get out and help the local preacher with his past exorcisms, which seem to have all failed.

I will say that I am enjoying the TV show as well, and can’t wait to see where they go next.

Rating: moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 4/5 Moose


My to read next list includes the following, but you are welcome to recommend more:

  • Rat Queens
  • Sex Criminals
  • The Wicked + the Divine
  • The Private Eye
  • October Faction
  • Huck

Seriously, recommend more! And feel free to tell me you think my choices are insane, that’s fine.

Book Review: Unbound

I haven’t been reading Victoria Schwab’s books for a year yet — 9 months from the look of it, but I have already commited to reading all of her books and everything she puts out in the future. And why, may you ask?

Because she seriously just keeps getting better. This was the second sequel book I’ve read of hers, and AGAIN, it’s just as good (or in this case better than) the first book. Which makes me REALLY excited to read Vengeful, the sequel to Vicious.

But this review is about Unbound, the second book in the Archived series. YES, I thought it was just a duology, which led to some disappointment at the ending. Good news — there’s another one coming! And this book didn’t end on a cliffhanger (or well, it was one that was resolved by a wonderful short story later on.)

13638131

The Unbound

Victoria Schwab
Published 2014

Format: paperback
Genre: Young Adult, paranormal
Rating:  moose-mdmoose-mdmoose-mdmoose-md 3.75/5 Moose


Synopsis 

Mackenzie “Mac” Bishop: a sixteen-year-old girl who’s destiny in life is to be a Keeper, responsible for keeping Histories (ghosts) from escaping the Archive (final resting place). Unfortunately for her, one nearly killed her shortly after she moved to Colorado. Now onto of having to move on from her near death experience without anyone to talk to, she also has to start a brand new high private high school.

High school would be hard enough, but Mac is also dealing with nightmares, black outs, and now people are going missing, all of which saw Mac last. She’s convinced the Archive is involved somehow, though she’s not one hundred percent those missing aren’t her fault. With her sanity being threatened, her destiny is being held by a thin thread.

Characters

Mackenzie Bishop — The main character of the series, a junior in high school. She’s also one of the youngest Keepers (someone who can read Histories) to exist, taking over her grandfather’s role when she was twelve. Her family moved to Colorado after her brother passed away in order to get a fresh start. She shys away from human contact and friends. In the second book she is trying to deal with her emotional/mental state after Owen attacked her in book 1.

Wesley Ayers — Wes is the first Keeper Mac has met outside of her grandftather. He’s 17, charming, arrogant, slightly narcissistic, outgoing and “eccentric” (re: wears eyeliner and earings and spiked hair). This book shows how little anyone, especially Mac, knows Wes as she didn’t even realize Wes went to the same high school as her.  Mac and Wes seem convinced that they’ll make Crew together soon.

Roland — One of the head Librarians who has been put in charge of Mac. He’s a calming, patient force in Mac’s life, trusting her to make mistakes even after she didn’t tell him about Owen.

Owen — Owen shows up in nightmare form through out this book, a representation of how mentally unstable Mac is. He shows up any time Mac zones out even slightly, threatening her with a knife and chaos.

Rants, Raves and General Thoughts

flirting-reaction-gifs_1
My reaction almost every time Wes showed up

So I was on the fence about Wes the first book, but I feel like I must say, I find Wes wonderful and need one like him now. I don’t particularly care for him as a love interest (I was team Roland until I realized it was creepy okay? It’s the Chucks. Damn Chucks get me every tim.) but given that Crew tends to be code for soulmates, it made sense that he’d shift into more of a love interest. Plus it’s been awhile since I’ve had a crush on a book character  (looking at my reading list of 2016, I think it’s been since my last book by Ms. Schwab?) And this crush definitely colored my love for this book.

As the book went on, I realized I relate to Mackenzie quite a bit — her internal vibe/aura being a thunder storm makes it even more relatable. I’m guessing mine sounds similar, though probably more like a tornado. (And Wes’s being metal music — swooooon.)

The pacing of this book is better than the first. It still jumps to the “past” (sometimes the past was a few days ago, not childhood) way too much for my liking, and I still found it a tad predictable, but it’s not as ridiculously slow. In true book 2 of a YA trilogy fashion, our lead heroine is quite broken after the events of book 1, but at least she’s not curled up in a ball doing nothing.

The ending is rushed quite a bit, again, but I was appeased by the knowledge of a third book. Maybe one where Wes/Mac make Crew?

I’ve always been good at math. It’s straightforward, black-and-white, right and wrong. Equations. Da thought of people as books to be read, but I’ve always thought of them more as formulas—full of variables, but always the sum of their parts. That’s what their noise is, really: all of a person’s components layered messily over one another. Thought and feeling and memory and all of it unorganized, until a person dies. Then it all gets compiled, straightened out into this linear thing, and you see exactly what the various parts add up to. What they equal.

Final Verdict

Before I read The Archived, I was toying with my own idea of what happens to people when they die. That thin idea has gone on the backshelf as this series does a perfectly wonderful job of handling the dead. If you haven’t read a Schwab book, don’t start with this series (Vicious or A Darker Shade of Magic. GO GO GO.) But if you’re already a fan, give this one a read. It’s still good, just not her top series.

No YOU carry too many notebooks…

wp-1465943771592.jpg

The way to my heart is through a notebook. It’s not surprising, and maybe a little sad, but I am a sucker for a beautiful notebook. I’ll go into a stationery store to calm myself, and am usually good about not buying anything new. Occasionally I cave, if one is pretty enough…

….Even if I carry 4-5 on a daily basis as it is. What isn’t pictured are any legal pads, because I’m currently between book ideas. Well, “between” is used loosely — I got frustrated with one book idea and set it aside, and haven’t started outlining any of the ideas I’ve been tossing around in my head. Plus I’m not 100% sure my bag or back could handle too much more weight.

To be fair, the brown one on top doesn’t leave my apartment too often. It’s my personal, “no one will ever read” journal. I am a strong believer that every writer should have one of those, even if you don’t write in it every day. My twitter becomes a dump for thoughts frequently, and based on reading it, you can kind of imagine how this journal looks.

The second, small journal is my book idea journal. It’s literally just for the purpose of jotting down book ideas, notes for book ideas, etc. I keep this on me 100% of the time. You literally never know when inspiration going to hit — I’ve spent an hour in the Natural History Museum jotting notes and ideas down. (I found the museum horribly disappointing outside of that hour, which is sad as I could not wait to visit it!)

img_20160326_155608.jpg
The tree area of the Natural History Museum and I became good friends.

The third notebook is literally a collection of lists. It has my new year’s resolutions, my book challenges, my bucket list, my 30 day challenges, my current grocery list, hiking list….you name it, I’m working on a list of it (hopefully?) I am such a scatterbrained person naturally, so I need ways to focus. And unfortunately, I can’t get on board the electronic route. This notebook doesn’t always travel with me, but it’s with me usually (especially during the work week.) Have I proved how odd I am yet?

arielle-in-john-tucker-must-die-arielle-kebbel-6369975-853-480
Did you ever see John Tucker Must Die? The insane girl who was constantly GO GO GO? That’s what this notebook reminds me of.

The fourth notebook is the smallest, and I have it in 5 more that size plus 3-4 larger ones. I don’t know what I love about this brand (Cambridge Limited), but it’s a decent daily writing notebook. I use it for my daily writing prompts (which I go in and out of doing regularly… currently “in.”) I think it’s their floppiness yet sturdiness — allows for easy crossing out!

The final notebook is one I received from Women in Aviation International when I went to their conference in March. It’s a gridded notebook, so I’ve turned it into a daily calendar notebook that looks like this….

img_20160526_131439.jpg

Note the WAI logo? It’s a fantastic organization. I’m sure this isn’t what they want their notebook used for, but it works for me. Each thing done daily gets a colored square. I am embarrassingly behind on this month’s coloring (and…well…accomplishing anything) or I would post a picture of what it looks like currently.

I should feel more organized in life, or at least like I am on my way to becoming someone who doesn’t casually consider themselves a writer, but really I’m just a notebook hoarder. I have a shelf with so many on them, and yet I think it might be time for a new one….

lhjhbb9

Questions Me Before You Caused

 

I saw Me Before You tonight — I am a sucker for a chick flick, and Sam Claflin’s quite perfect jawline. I haven’t read the book, nor do I plan on it. But I feel like if I get some thoughts out on it, maybe I can move past it (and by watching Zombieland — thank you MTV.)

  • Why can’t her dad find a job? Why does it fall to the daughters to pay for the household?
  • Jenna Coleman’s character is a single mom — who what how?
  • ….Could I pull off Jenna Coleman’s haircut? (No Meg. No you can’t.)
  • Does anyone else think Matthew Lewis is looking a little too thin? I’m worried about you bud. I hope you’re doing good.
  • This is just a manic pixie dream girl trope. Why is everyone getting teary-eyed?
  • Okay. The mom breaking down made me tear up. I swear I’ve seen that look in my own mom’s eyes and that does it.
  • Emilia Clarke’s shoes are all wonderful and I need to know where to buy them.
  • And how to walk in heels on cobblestone paths.

0ded9b9b044142750d54a2c3444cb8c7

  • ….no one is going to explain how or why this dude’s parents own a castle, but no title?
  • I have confusing thoughts on assisted suicide now.
    • Seriously, I’m conflicted as hell.
    • But I still found him to be a selfish prat.
  • Some people want a small-town life and can we stop trying to shame them for it?
  • Why can’t I pull off the side braid? Maybe I can pull off Jenna Coleman’s haircut.
  • God thank god for some real live flirting. Not just movie crap flirting.
  • …But we all recognize that she essentially cheated on Patrick right? Like, I get that the guy wasn’t meant to be deep or anything, but god I felt bad for him.
  • Really the person I felt for the most was the mom. What does that say about me?
  • Seriously. Seriously. I want to be able to pull off Jenna Coleman’s hair.

mby_stills_001

Book Review: Remembrance

Hello! I apologize for my sudden disappearance — it’s a bit of a long and boring health story. I’ve been reading through it, so expect another round of small updates on those books this week. Except on The Crown, I have way too much to say on that book.

Last year Meg Cabot released an exciting update that she was releasing a new book in her Mediator series, a series that ran from 2000-2004. It’s a series I read in 2009 during he height of the “girl dates supernatural being” craze. It’s a good YA series — Susannah “Suze” Simon has more personality than the typical YA heroine of the genre, and Jesse (the ghost boyfriend) isn’t as possessively controlling. I read the series a second time to prepare for the new book, and while it’s definitely not my favorite, I still think it’s a breath of fresh air in the genre.

Is there too much focus on liking a boy? Sure. But Susannah at least doesn’t seem like a helpless numb skull. I give the overall series 3/5 Moose: worth a read if you like the genre. And if you haven’t, this review is going to have spoilers for the past 6 books.

25573701

Remembrance (The Mediator #7)

Meg Cabot
Published 2016

Format: ebook
Genre: Paranormal romance, Chick-lit, YA (maybe?)
Rating: moose-mdmoose-md 2/5 Moose


Synopsis

Remembrance picks up roughly 8 years after the last Mediator book. Suze is no longer in high school (student wise…she’s interning at her high school), and Jesse has taken to his second life quite well. They’re engaged to be married a year from when the book starts, giving Suze a chance to finish her degree and Jesse to finish his residency. Unfortunately, life isn’t all rosy and happy as it should be when you’re engaged to your soulmate.

Suze is suddenly thrown into a decade old murder mystery haunting one of the students at her alma mater, while old, live haunts are coming out of the woodwork too. With the help of Father D, Jesse, and her own kickass Brooklyn attitude, Suze looks to survive a cranky young ghost and her own archenemises — Paul Slater.

Characters

Susannah Simon – The main character of the entire series. By this book she has accepted her Mediator life and is working towards a counseling degree to help children and ghosts. She’s inherited some money from her father, and is now sharing an apartment with Gina (her childhood best friend).

Jesse de Silva – Jesse was born in the 1800s, died in the 1850s, haunted Suze’s bedroom for years, and then was pulled through time by Suze in book 6. With the help of Father D, he was able to get into college and medical school, his life long dream. He is engaged to Suze and living with her older brother (because isn’t old fashionedness adorable?) He is also now able to see ghost, and could have something darker or more demonic inside him…

Paul Slater – The main? antagonist of the story. Really, he kind of pops in an out and disappears for half the book but… He’s a fellow mediator, loaded, and looking to make Suze’s life miserable again by convincing her that he’s the one she should be dating. He’s bought her old family home and is threatening to tear it down, which could have major repercussions on Jesse’s existence.

Rants, Raves, and General Thoughts 

I remember enjoying this series, and I was excited to see a new book (even though the 6th book offers a failry satisifying ending to the series, in my opinion.) I’m all for some ligh summer reading.

It took a great bit of willpower to not mark this DNF in the first 50 pages. I refused to know that I had re-read six books for the point of reading the 7th only to not do so. But….okay. I get that Jesse was alive in the 1800s. I get that he’s supposed to be old fashioned and wonderful.

I do not buy into the premises that a couple is together for 8 years without having sex. I do not buy into the premises that a couple would be together 9 years before getting married, if marriage is the requirement for sex. 

giphy

And unfortunately, SO MUCH OF THIS BOOK is Suze just literally in heat and unable to handle it. Which, I cannot blame her for honestly, but OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD.

Once the book settled into the ghost’s story — a horse accident that was really a murder — the book improved a bit. There is a great realization by the main character, which essentially boils down to that every female has a male that has made her question her core existence. 

There’s just too much going on in this book for me. If it’s an attempt to bring the series back….okay, but the dark ghost story plus Paul Slater was just a bit too much. And SERIOUSLY. The Paul story line was quite forced. Eight years later and he’s still carrying a torch for her? But hasn’t contacted her in eight years? Keeps trying to sincerely apologize, and then is an asshole again? Not buying it.

The rest of this book tries to kind of let you know where all the wonderful side characters are. And by putting them all in there, none were really able to shine. Gina moves to California to be an actress…something happens to keep her from doing so…but it’s never explained what? Sleepy is now a rich drug dealer, Dopey is married with triplets (the most believable after high school story), and Doc is away at Harvard and…well. I guess they had to have a gay character?

giphy1

Final Verdict 

If you thought the series wrapped up nicely, maybe avoid this one. If you are a completionist (hi— welcome to the club) then give it a read. As someone who genuinely enjoys Meg Cabot’s books, I’m bummed by how much I didn’t like this book. And it makes me a little concerned for other 2016 release (but I’ll hold out hope!)