Netflix Book Tag #blogmas Day 12

I came across this tag on Book Loving Nut and I thought what a cute idea. I want to do that! So here I am sharing the love with all you wonderful people! 

Recently Watched: The book you most recently read-

I have oddly read a few poetry books lately. This one was pretty great. It is poetry to your heartbeat in a forest running through the land, if that makes an sense.

Top Picks: A book recommended to you based on another book you’ve read-

Recently Added: The book you most recently bought-

I am pretty excited to read this. It looks rather awesome!

Popular on Netflix: One book that you have and one book that you haven’t read that everyone has been talking about-

No hate mail. I haven’t read this yet, but I will. 

Comedies: A funny book-

Still makes me laugh thinking about it. Fuck Sticks! 

Dramas: A character that is a total drama king or queen

The main characters are at a very dramatic age. 

Cartoons: a book with cartoons on the cover-

The cartoons are a lie. This book is not for kids. 

Watch again: a book or series you want to read again-

Always good for a reread of this series. 

Documentaries: a non-fiction book that you would recommend to everyone-

Really interesting reads on urban plants and the graphics are beautiful. 

Action & Adventure: an action packed book-

You absolutely cannot beat Dresden Files. 

New releases: A new release or soon-to-be-released book that you’re excited about-

I have applied to read this through Netgalley and I am sooo hopeful. It looks incredible. 

Here is the fun part. Picking lovely people to continue. No pressure if you don’t want to 🙂

Noura  @  The perks of being Noura

Lucy @ A Novel Purpose

Meagan @ Quibbles and Scribbles

Dave @ https://espressococo.com/

These are just some lovely blogs that I follow and you should too. Wonderful writing!  Anyone can do this tag though, so write it all up. Have a lovely day! 

Review of “The Thing Beneath the Bed (The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss” #bookblogger #bookblog #kidsbooks @PatrickRothfuss

If you are looking for this title, it can be found on worldbuilders.com

About

“This is not a book for children.

It looks like a children’s book. It has pictures. It has a saccharine-sweet title. The main characters are a little girl and her teddy bear. But all of that is just protective coloration. The truth is, this is a book for adults with a dark sense of humor and an appreciation of old-school faerie tales.

There are three separate endings to the book. Depending on where you stop, you are left with an entirely different story. One ending is sweet, another is horrible. The last one is the true ending, the one with teeth in it.

The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle is a dark twist on the classic children’s picture-book. I think of it as Calvin and Hobbes meets Coraline, with some Edward Gorey mixed in.

Simply said: This is not a book for children.”

My Thoughts

First and foremost, an honest disclaimer, This is not a kid’s book. It is delightfully wicked fun, but in no way shape or form should you read this to your unsuspecting child. Unless of course, you are a bit of an asshole. In that case, read on. I had the fortune of hearing a live reading of this by Mr. Rothfuss himself a few years ago.

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

You would think by the sweet saccharine pictures that there was nothing menacing underneath it all, but oh god you will see. I don’t want to give it all away because of spoilers. But this sweet saccharine girl is not what she seems.

The fun part of this book is once you finish it, go back and reread. See what you missed. It is hilarious what we readers gloss over. Try to get your hands on a copy of this, it is out of print I’m afraid. The library has a few copies. Do it. I would give it six stars if I could.

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Rothfuss, Patrick. The Thing Beneath the Bed. Subterranean Press, 2010.

You can also find copies of this and it’s sequel on worldbuilders.com

eARC Book Review – Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

“Ring around the rosies
pocket full of posies
ashes ashes.
we all fall down”

Stats

  • 4 out of 5 Stars 
  • Hardcover, Limited, 128 pages
  • Expected publication: December 31st, 2018 by Subterranean Press
  • Original Title  – Kingdom of Needle and Bone
  • ISBN159606871X (ISBN13: 9781596068711)
  • Edition Language
  • English URL https://subterraneanpress.com/kingdom-of-needle-and bone

About

From the publisher, “We live in an age of wonders.

Modern medicine has conquered or contained many of the diseases that used to carry children away before their time, reducing mortality and improving health. Vaccination and treatment are widely available, not held in reserve for the chosen few. There are still monsters left to fight, but the old ones, the simple ones, trouble us no more.

Or so we thought. For with the reduction in danger comes the erosion of memory, as pandemics fade from memory into story into fairy tale. Those old diseases can’t have been so bad, people say, or we wouldn’t be here to talk about them. They don’t matter. They’re never coming back.

How wrong we could be.

It begins with a fever. By the time the spots appear, it’s too late: Morris’s disease is loose on the world, and the bodies of the dead begin to pile high in the streets. When its terrible side consequences for the survivors become clear, something must be done, or the dying will never stop. For Dr. Isabella Gauley, whose niece was the first confirmed victim, the route forward is neither clear nor strictly ethical, but it may be the only way to save a world already in crisis. It may be the only way to atone for her part in everything that’s happened.

She will never be forgiven, not by herself, and not by anyone else. But she can, perhaps, do the right thing.

We live in an age of monsters.”

My Thoughts

Ring around the rosy
Pocket full of posies
Ashes, ashes
We all fall down

Children’s rhyme

Humans can be many things. Saviors and Sinners. Hunters and the hunted. Monsters or the divine. We are given ample opportunity to show our true colors during our lifetimes. Often humanities true colors are somewhere in the grey area as no one is any one thing and as such, we are a collection of moments. Most writers often overlook the many faces of human nature, but great writers give a plurality to their characters. It may not be easy to understand who is good and evil without thinking about it, but isn’t that real life? Mira Grant aka Seanan Mcguire is one of those great writers that celebrate the pluralism of morality in her characters, and this novella is an excellent example of this. 

Dr. Izzy Gauley, the protagonist,  is as morally gray as any character could be. She is distraught, caught in the guilt of her previous choices, and she must continually make ethically ambiguous decisions to further what she believes is the truly right thing. Those choices may or may not bring the entire proverbial glass house on top of herself. Much of the plot hinges on whether her choices in this story are wicked and self-serving or genuinely in the best interest of all are up to the reader. She is a good character. But, this is not surprising as Mira Grant has a tendency to write real people. 


“…Salvation at the tip of a needle”

The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

Plot-wise, Grant has written a novella that is absolutely terrifying to a parent. What happens when herd immunity fails? The whole premise is based on a parent’s worst nightmare, losing their children. Even worse is that it is through the parents own actions that global calamity happens. Although the delivery of the message regarding immunizations and the importance thereof is a bit ham-fisted at times, her point comes across. Vaccinations are essential and the backbone of a healthy society. What I really liked about the plot is that it developed from, “How important immunizations are,” to a discussion on bodily autonomy. Do we sacrifice bodily freedom for the sake of a healthy society? A very real and prescient argument that could play out in the courts in the next upcoming years.

“Are we doing the right thing” she asked. 

The Kingdom of Needle and Bone by Mira Grant

I hope to see this turn into a full-fledged series. There is enough meat on the bones of this novella to expand the characters and plot into a great story very much in the vein of the “Newsflesh” series.  

I am so glad the Mira Grant is such a prolific author. I enjoy her work often and repeatedly. She is one of the few authors that seem to be just as good on a reread as it was initially. I can’t tell you how many times I have read Newsflesh and October Daye. If you have an opportunity to check out this novella, I dearly hope you do. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for providing me with a copy of this in exchange for my honest review.

Graphic Novel Review of “Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus” by Chester Brown

Theological Musings in a Polemical World

220px-Chester_Brown_(2016)_Mary_Wept_Over_the_Feet_of_Jesus_(cover)
By Source (WP:NFCC#4), Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=56243974

Awards

None that I can find, however, Chester Brown is a highly acclaimed author for many of his other works.

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Stats

3 out of 5 stars

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus by 
Chester Brown

Hardcover, 280 pages

Published April 12th, 2016 by Drawn and Quarterly

ISBN 1770462341 (ISBN13: 9781770462342)

imageedit_2_4317882437
http://www.pastemagazine.com

About

From the publisher, “The iconoclastic and bestselling cartoonist of Paying for It: A comic-strip memoir about being a john and Louis Riel returns and with a polemical interpretation of the Bible that will be one of the most controversial and talked-about graphic novels of 2016. Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus is the retelling in comics form of nine biblical stories that present Chester Brown’s fascinating and startling thesis about biblical representations of prostitution. Brown weaves a connecting line between Bathsheba, Ruth, Rahab, Tamar, Mary of Bethany, and the Virgin Mother. He reassesses the Christian moral code by examining the cultural implications of the Bible’s representations of sex work.”

Mary Wept 2

Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus is a fitting follow-up to Brown’s sui generis graphic memoir “Paying for It”, which was reviewed twice in The New York Times and hailed by sex workers for Brown’s advocacy for the decriminalization and normalization of prostitution. Brown approaches the Bible as he did the life of Louis Riel, making these stories compellingly readable and utterly pertinent to a modern audience. In classic Chester Brown fashion, he provides extensive handwritten endnotes that delve into the biblical lore that informs Mary Wept Over the Feet of Jesus.”

My Thoughts

This novel is a fitting followup to Chester Brown’s “Paying For It;” a practical and positive look at what it is being a John and hiring a prostitute. Paying For It is hailed by sex workers for its advocacy of Prostitution and normalization thereof.

Brown has been a vocal advocate for many years for sex workers, and it is evident in many of his works. He reminds me of a guy who is obsessed with Star Trek, or bugs, or 16th-century weaponry used in northern France. Nothing wrong with being passionate about something, but you wouldn’t necessarily want to be stuck on a road trip with him. He seems very very intense…

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This collection is fascinating in how he approached nine individual Bible stories, completely turned them on their head, and presented them in a new way. All the while threading them together into a cohesive thesis on his beliefs. Some of the stories featured are of Bathsheba, the prodigal son, Cain and Abel, Ruth, Rahab, Tamar, Mary of Bethany, and the Virgin Mother. One of his stories shows Mary as a prostitute but still very much loved by God and fit to be the mother of Jesus.

Prostitutes, who often are demonized by the Christian church and society are shown as people who just have a job to do. The novel is definitely polemic, and if you are an easily offended reader or prefer to not read something that has religious overtones, maybe this book is not for you.  However, it is a quick read, and sometimes stories need to be turned on their side to see things from a new angle. Whether or not you believe them to be the truth, much as the author does, it doesn’t matter. Enjoy the well-written stories and the simple but still elegant graphics. If these stories intrigue you, and you would like to know more there are 100 pages on notes at the back of the book detailing why he made certain literary and artistic decisions and the research behind them.

I didn’t necessarily like this graphic novel, but it was indeed interesting. Sometimes interesting and thought-provoking are good. I have one of Brown’s other works, Ed the Happy Clown sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. We will see what kind of rabbit hole it leads me down.

Guest Post – Webcomic Review of Schlock Mercenary

“Right now I’ve got just two rules to live by.
Rule one: don’t taunt elephants.
Rule two: don’t stand next to anybody who taunts elephants.
-Sergeant Schlock”
― Howard Tayler, The Tub of Happiness

This is the front cover art for the book Schlock Mercenary written by Howard Tayler. The book cover art copyright is believed to belong to the publisher, The Tayler Corporation, or the cover artist.

This is a guest post by Mark Tabler, who by day turns Chinese food into Ruby code and by night is a webcomic aficionado. Also, he is a licensed locksmith, blacksmith, wordsmith, and pretty much any other smith you can think of. You can find his marvelous words on everything from gaming to slot machines here;  Mark on Quora. 

Stats


Author(s)
Howard Tayler
Websitehttps://www.schlockmercenary.com/
Current status/scheduleActive / Daily
Launch date12 June 2000; 18 years ago[
Genre(s)Science Fiction, Comedy

About

 From Wikipedia, “Schlock Mercenary is a comedic webcomic written and drawn by Howard Tayler. It follows the tribulations of a star-traveling mercenary company in a satiric, mildly dystopian 31st-century space opera setting. Since its debut on June 12, 2000, the comic has updated daily, begun to support its author, and been nominated for five Hugo Awards.”

My Thoughts

Schlock Mercenary, the Comic Space Opera by Howard Tayler, is a masterpiece of modern webcomics. It’s also a masterpiece of ancient webcomics. Some interesting dates: Its first strip was published on June 12, 2000. On April 29, 2002, Tayler wrote a blog post in which he reaffirms his commitment to his readers: “Fresh Schlock, right here, every day, forever, or until I die.” And below the strip of June 12, 2018, there is a note from the author: “Today’s installment is the six thousand, five hundred and seventy-fourth installment of Schlock Mercenary.” If you count the days between 6/12/2000 and 6/12/2018, you get 6,574. For nearly two decades, Tayler has not only kept his promise, but has kept it on a daily schedule – and with zero gaps, zero backfills, and zero “guest” or “filler” strips. I bring this up for two reasons: the first is that if you follow any webcomics at all, you’ll recognize this feat as clear evidence of a true artistic passion coupled with a work ethic that can only be described as legendary. Independent of all else, 6,574 updates in 6,574 days is worthy of a lifetime achievement award strictly on its own merit.

“Maxim 3: 
An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.

-The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries” 

Howard Tayler

The second reason I bring this up is so you know how strongly I must feel about the work, when I say that I rank its sterling publishing schedule as only third or fourth on a list of its most impressive qualities.

https://www.schlockmercenary.com/

Tayler is a master storyteller. I’ll grant (and so will he) that if you start from Strip #1, you will not find the work of a master artist. But the story begins to unfold in curious, interesting, and unpredictable ways right from the start. I believe that one of the hallmarks of a brilliant writer is to craft stories where the events are a surprise as they unfold, but seem inevitable in hindsight. Tayler nails this aesthetic: every single book stands in equal support of its series, in a format of “I had to tell you that story so that I can tell you this one.” And, by the time you get to book 5 or 6, the art will have progressed to “solid competence,” and not long after that into “work of a legitimately talented artist.” 

“Where’s your sense of adventure?
It died under mysterious circumstances. My sense of self-preservation found the body, but assures me it has an airtight alibi.
-Captain Tagon & Captain Andreyasn” 

― Howard Tayler, Resident Mad Scientist

Schlock Mercenary is both an epic saga with a long story to tell, as well as a comedy strip with a rock-solid gag-a-day tempo. Most of the punchlines are well-crafted and worthy of at least a grin or a short chuckle, and Tayler manages to pull of more than his fair share of laugh-out-loud moments. In somber moments, the punchlines soften into wistful quips. (After telling a horrific war story, a commander is offered a refill of a stiff drink by a sympathetic lieutenant. The commander declines: “They don’t make bottles big enough for this kind of empty.”) It’s this amazing balance that turns this into a classic for the ages, in my estimation. Whether I’m in the mood to follow the adventures of some of my favorite career-sociopaths, or to philosophize about the social ramifications of longevity in a post-scarcity world, or simply giggle about how different people react to Schlock’s unusual biology. (Required to wear a costume in support of a mission, Schlock complains about his appearance. A supportive crewmate says she thinks he looks handsome, but Schlock grouchily huffs that he “looks like a pile of crap under a tarp.” His crewmate takes a second look, and replies “Okay… but don’t go blaming the tarp.”)

https://www.schlockmercenary.com/

Now is a great time to catch up with the strip. We’re somewhere in the middle of Book 19, now, and Book 20 will end the current 20-year mega-arc of the story. Tayler has promised two things about a post-Book-20 world: that there will still be new Schlock every day, and that it won’t be the beginning of another 20-year arc. As of right now, you’ve got about 18 1/2 graphic-novel-sized books to catch up on, which would give you the chance to follow along as this story finishes up in real time. I’ve been reading Schlock almost-daily since before I was legally old enough to drink. My *reading* schedule is gappier than Tayler’s *publishing* schedule, but in all that time, I’ve never been disappointed: not in writing, not in the stories, not in the drama or the humor or the philosophy. I think that if you have any love of graphic novels or webcomics, you owe it to yourself to at least take Schlock Mercenary for a spin.

Much of the biographical information for this post was taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schlock_Mercenary

Graphic Novel Review of “Mouse Guard Fall: 1152” by David Peterson

“Take no duty of the Guard lightly. Friends must not be enemies
Just as enemies must not be friends.
Discerning the two is a life’s work.”

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Stats

Hardcover, First Edition, 192 pages
Published July 21st 2009 by Archaia (first published May 30th, 2007)
Original Title
Mouse Guard: Fall 1152
ISBN 1932386572 (ISBN13: 9781932386578)
Edition Language English

Awards

Winner of “Best Publication for Kids” Eisner Award, for Mouse Guard: Fall 1152 and Mouse Guard: Winter 1152.

Winner of “Best Graphic Album-Reprint” Eisner Award, for Mouse Guard: Fall 1152.

#87 on the Goodreads Best Comics Ever List

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Book Summary

“Take no duty of the Guard lightly. Friends must not be enemies
Just as enemies must not be friends.
Discerning the two is a life’s work.”
― David Petersen

From the publisher,” The forest is a dangerous place for any animal, especially one as small as a mouse. In the past, the mouse world endured a tyrannical Weasel Warlord until a noble band of mouse soldiers fought back. Ever since the Mouse Guard has defended the paces and prosperity of its kingdom. For generations, this league of scouts, weather-watchers, trailblazers, and protectors has passed won its knowledge and skills.

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Now three of the Guard’s finest have been dispatched. The mission seems simple: They are to find a missing mouse, a grain merchant who never arrived at his destination. But when they see him, they make a shocking discovery—one that involves a treacherous betrayal, a stolen secret, and a rising power that has only one goal: to bring down the Guard…”

My Thoughts

“The best solution is always found at the point of my sword.”―Saxon’s belief

If you were walking around a bookstore and came across this book sitting on a shelf you would think that with its cartoonish depictions of animals wielding swords and bright colors that it was a children’s book. You could not be further from the truth. This is a very nuanced story about betrayal, bravery, endurance, and sincerity; it is most certainly not a children’s story.

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artstation.com

To start off, imagine what it is like to be a mouse in the first place they are small, weak, and fearful. Mice are prey animals in nature. Their entire lives are spent in fear of the unknown next predator around the bend. Almost every creature in the forest could be a predator to them. In response, you build your home in the most protected and sheltered spot you can find and hope for the best. Now imagine you are a guard mouse. You are weak and small by nature. However, you have learned to be strong because you have to be.  You must be brave because the smaller you are, the more bravery means and there are mice to protect. Thus flows the story of mice who are brave sent out into the forest to protect the weaker.

Stylistically, the panels are superbly drawn. The illustrations look as if they glow from within like light shining through the trees in autumn. Wind could rush therough my room as a read this and I would not be more convinced that it was fall. The illustrator completely nailed what fall is supposed to feel like.

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Conclusion

I would recommend this to anyone over the age of ten. I think if a child tried to read this before that age, much of the subtleties would be lost on them. But, I would especially recommend this to any comic book/graphic enthusiasts out there. This is a graphic novel that graphic novel lovers, love.

Blogmas Day 6 – The Christmas Stocking tag

All the books for all those Christmas moods.

The lovely Katie at Reading Through Infinity Tagged me with this wonderful Christmas Tag.  So here goes:

Rules

  • Link to the person who tagged you.
  • Link to me, as I’d love to read your answers.
  • Answer all 10 questions, choosing books for each theme.
  • Tag five people to do this.

You get up on Christmas morning and your stocking is full! You take it down and start to unwrap the treats inside. The first thing you see is…


An orange! Which book is refreshing and vibrant, both inside and out?

This series made me laugh so hard I guffawed. Laughing to me is the ultimate refresher. 

The next thing you see is a bag of chocolate coins. (Yum) Which book have you recently bought that was expensive but totally worth the high price?

I found a first edition hardback signed edition of this in a second-hand shop and purchased it. It is the most expensive book I own. It is a gorgeous, funny, and worthwhile read. Vonnegut really knows how to capture us humans in prose. 

You also pull out a bath bomb. Tell us about a book that had explosive action scenes.

The zombie chase scenes in this are grabbing on to the edge of your seat exciting. 

Next is a pack of playing cards. Which series won you over?

Absolutely one of my favorites. The first book is slow going and it took me a couple tries to get into it. But, once I was there it became one of my favorite books. Talk about a BAMF.

You also get a candle. Which character is a symbol of hope in their story?

Such courage and fortitude is demonstrated by the nameless main character in this visual story. It exemplifies the strength it takes to be an immigrant in a foreign land. It is a crazy beautiful book. 

There are socks inside too. Is there a book that you think really encompasses all the distinctive tropes of its genre?

God I have a love hate relationship with this series. I loved the first books, but the series eventually fell into disrepair. It almost became a parody of itself. Sex, problems, sex, stupid situation no normal person would find themselves in, sex, and then voila the end. 

There’s also a notebook. Which author’s writing process do you find most interesting/inspiring?

I don’t know of many writers’ progresses but I do find a lot of authors interesting people.  I enjoy the ranting and raving of Christopher Moore and Stephen King quite a bit. 

To go with the notebook, there’s a fancy pen. Is there a book or a series that you’d change if you’d written it yourself?

Yes. The Iron Druid’s series by Kevin Hearne. Hearne is a great writer, but that last book felt phoned in. It was a rush to conclusion and a bit of a downer when the rest of the series was very positive. I would have changed the tone of the last book.

There’s also a small bedside clock. Which book took you a long time to pick up but was worth it in the end?

This book took me awhile to get going in. Most of the first fifty pages I was scratching my head saying “what the hell.” Get into it, keep reading and you will see. It is so good. 

Your pile is getting really big. You reach in to pull out the last gift and it’s… a lump of coal? You’re a little disappointed. But you look closer and realize there’s a seam running through the coal. You crack it open and sitting inside is a tiny golden snitch. Tell us about a book that surprised you in some way.

Shustermen does not get the glory and recognition he so richly deserves. I started reading this on a lark having no idea what it is about and it was well worth the read. It surprised me how damn good this book is. 

Kaili –  @entertaininglynerdy

 Elaine –  @elainehowlin

 Kaleena@readervoracious

Katie – Reading Through Infinity