Review of ARC Herding Cats (Sarah’s Scribbles #3) by Sarah Andersen

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

I received this as an advanced copy from Netgalley.com for an honest review.

I swear, Sarah Anderson’s strips are pixelated joy. Each one speaks to me in a different way, and I found myself nodding enthusiastically as I read them and/or laughing my ass off. She speaks to my inner animal lover and my inner anxiety and angst fueled woman. I liked this so much, I want to get some of strips printed out and hang them on the wall so moments when I am losing my mind, or having crazy anxiety due to my period and I can look up at the picture and go “ahhhh. Yes. I am not alone in this insanity.” I haven’t read the first two books in the series which is so very exciting because that means I get to experience them for the first time and look forward to all the joy. I would definitely recommend this book to any adult reader. I find some of her strips speak specifically to being a woman, but even then male readers will get a chuckle. Readdddd itttt.

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Stern, Volume 1: The undertaker, the tramp and the assassin by Frédéric Maffre and Julien Maffre (Illustrator)

I was provided a free copy of this novel from NetGalley.com for an honest review.

“1880. Kansas. Elijah Stern, the local undertaker, leads a calm and solitary life, until one day he is asked to carry out an autopsy on a man found dead in a brothel. Taking on the role of forensic pathologist, he discovers that the man had not died of natural causes and finds himself involved, against his better wishes, in the middle of a bonafide investigation. But Stern has no idea that the key to this case lies in his own past…”

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

This is a great graphic novel, albeit slow paced. It isn’t plodding or lazy but instead the text meanders from one frame to the next.  Much how I would think a cowboy of the old west would mosey. I don’t know if that is a stylistic choice by the authors, or just how the authors write, but it is effective.

I think there is a great need for graphic novels set in the old west. It was an interesting era and it is rife with historical misinterpretation. Really, the past is interesting and exciting enough without having to dress it up in silver spurs and the OK coral. The authors really did justice to the time frame. Plus the lead character is likable without being annoying, and flawed enough to seem realistic. All and all a great read and I am looking forward to reading more from this author duo.

10 Books I Want to Read This Year.. And Why

These books have been at the forefront of my brain shouting, “Read me. Read me.” ok ok, shut up already. Considering that some of them will be made into movies this year for good or bad. (Mostly bad. Don’t get me even started on movie adaptions of books. I am looking at you Eragon and you Ender’s Game. Funnily enough that with the source material carefully laid out, throngs of adoring fans, and fan fiction to boot a movie adaption would be a no brainer. You would be wrong.)

Watchman by Alan Moore – You would think with all the Alan Moore books I have plowed and plodded through I would be a big fan of his work. I am really not. He feels very uneven and overly complicated in his writing. Complicated for the sake of being complicated and artsy fartsy.  I realize and appreciate how important Moore’s work is for the graphic novel Genre though. He spearheaded adding literary characters to very flat comic books. I will be so bold to say that he is the reason we have such gorgeous works to read from Authors like Gaimen, Ennis, and Vaughan.  Maybe Watchman will make a believer out of me. Maybe it won’t. But I will not belittle the importance of it as a novel and I can appreciate that after finishing it. Even if I hate it and want to set it on fire in a dumpster.

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Image Courtesy of Goodreads.com

I should note though that I love V for Vendetta. Love is probably too weak a word. I thought about getting a V for Vendetta tattoo of this passage:

V. : But on this most auspicious of nights, permit me then, in lieu of the more commonplace soubriquet, to suggest the character of this dramatis persona. Voila! In view humble vaudevillian veteran, cast vicariously as both victim and villain by the vicissitudes of fate. This visage, no mere veneer of vanity, is a vestige of the “vox populi” now vacant, vanished. However, this valorous visitation of a bygone vexation stands vivified, and has vowed to vanquish these venal and virulent vermin, van guarding vice and vouchsafing the violently vicious and voracious violation of volition.
The only verdict is vengeance; a vendetta, held as a votive not in vain, for the value and veracity of such shall one day vindicate the vigilant and the virtuous.
Verily this vichyssoise of verbiage veers most verbose, so let me simply add that it’s my very good honour to meet you and you may call me V.
Evey: Are you like a crazy person?
V. : I’m quite sure they will say so.”

BAAAAADAASSSSS.



Habibi by Craig Thompson –  Craig Thompson is a resplendent writer. I broke out the ole’ thesaurus today to find the perfect word for his writing. His writing is resplendent. It is colorful and rich both rich in words and rich in images. If you have ever had middle eastern food, it is a symphony of different flavors. That is how his writing is. It is a damn symphony, but in language and image instead of salt and turmeric.  As you can tell I am a fan. I found “Blankets” to be absolutely wonderful. It may not be everyones cup of tea, but you can damn well appreciate the subtly and nuance that Craig employs in his writing. I cannot wait to read Habibi.

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Image courtesy of Goodreads.com


War of the Oaks by Emma Bull – I am a sucker for Urban fantasy. Give me Dresden Files and Mercy Thompson as my drug of choice any day. This looks really good. My only caveat is that there is only one book. One. NOOOOOO. You fall in love with the characters and then it is done. Way to abrupt. Unless it sucks, then one is plenty.

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Image courtesy of Goodreads.com


Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey –   I read the first sandman slim book, aptly named “Sandman Slim.” Dude, holy anti-hero batman. Yaas. Bring on the “I don’t give a shit attitude.” I love that the language in Sandman Slim is punchy. Not overly wordy and detailed.  I want some concisely written words.

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Annihilation by Jeff Vandomeer – I have head so much about this series. Almost to the point where I am like, “Ok ok dude I get it.” Sometimes a whole lot of publicity is just hype for crappy writing. Cough cough “Twilight.” Sometimes it is well garnered. The premise of this book sounds interesting as hell.

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com

Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Seriously, this sounds so cool. Kinda space operaish. Operaish? Is that even a word?

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss – I won’t go so far as to say that Rothfuss is a god in fantasy. But damn if I don’t have a crush on the hirsute writer.

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Teehee. Image courtesy of goodreads.com

His first book in the series, “The Name of the Wind” was epic fantasy at its finest. I mean that. It will go down as a classic with the likes of “Narnia,” “Eye of the World,” and Tolkien. That’s right. I said “The Name of the Wind” is in league with “Narnia” and Tolkien. Bring on the hate mail!

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson – Finally the third one is out. I am hyperventilating as I write this. Don’t start with this book. Go back and read the first of the series. Then go and read all of his other work, Mistborn, “Warbreaker,” and “Legion,”  in glorious anticipation of reading this book. Then you will know and understand my exquisite pain of waiting for this bastard to come out.

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Image courtesy of goodreads.com


The Algebraist by Iain Banks –  This comes highly recommended. It looks very interesting and it is a gaping hole in my science fiction repertoire (pops collar).



 

Doubleblind by Ann Aguire – I completely forgot about this series. I read the first two books years ago, but at the time there was only two. So.. frustration. Now there is six. Say what! Shut yo mouth.

(I start to do the running man of happiness)

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Sleeping Beauties by Stephen King – Stephen King, ug how prosaic. How pedestrian.

Look here. Stephen King is freaking awesome. Not all of his books are winners, but he writes enough of them that odds are in his favor. Besides, I read his books trying to figure out a little bit about what goes on in his twisted brain. He wrote “The Long Walk,” which gave me nightmares and “It,” which is so scary that I literally could not finish it for fear of damaging my psyche. The man is a kick ass writer and “Sleeping Beauties” looks twisted as hell. Bring it the hell on.

ARC – Jimmy’s Bastards Vol. 1 by Garth Ennis, Mike Marts (Editor), Dave Johnson (Artist), Russ Braun (Colorist), John Kalisz (Cover Art), Rob Steen (Letterer)

 

I was supplied with an ARC of this novel from netgalley.com for a honest review.

Well jesus-riding-a-pogo-stick.. that is a weird take on James Bond mythos.

First lets talk about what is completely awesome about this story. It is offensive (in a good way), ribald, crazy, and exceptionally well drawn. The writing is comedic and dirty but still very smart. Typical of Ennis’s books, of which I am a huge fan. Specifically It reminds me a lot of the style of “The Boys.” Gratuitous sex and violence.

What I found to be not so hot was stories pacing. It didn’t seem to get anywhere till the very last part of the book. The rest of it was some lead up and a lot of dick jokes, Eh I really think Garth Ennis could have done better in that department.

All in all I would recommend this series to readers after they have read some of Ennis’s better work: Preacher and The Boys specifically. He really shines in those and the characters are spectacularly put together. Also this has to be said, you really should not read this book if you are not an adult and even then it’s iffy. I felt like I needed a shower to wash some mental grime off from reading some of his other stories, and this story is not an exception. However for this series there is more story to be written maybe it will get pulled together in one glorious climax (he he). We shall see where it goes.

 

Portland Bucket List

I am never one to shy away from a bucket list or reading list of any sort or really.. anything numbered.

I feel like I haven’t been doing much of anything lately and that is rough on me psychologically. I suffer from “I need to get things done or my life is being wasted syndrome.” Followed closely by, “I’m tired and don’t want to get out of bed (depression)” and “I am to freaked out by the immensity of living that I am just going to curl up into the corner over here and rock back and forth (anxiety).”  Basically it’s fun to do things, it’s fun to not be sad and it’s fun to be like, “I did that, I level up myself.”  So I made a happy list that I will update regularly. Also, if anyone has any additions that I can add I would love that! I am all about trying stuff. If I end up trying it, ill write a post about it.

  1. Eat at a food cart
    1. Do a food cart hop
    2. Do a bar hop
  2. Get caught in a downpour on your way home.
  3. Float the river
  4. Try worlds hottest fritter.
  5. try worlds largest pancake
  6. Swim in the Willamette
    1. Swim across the willamette
  7. Hike to the top of Multnomah Falls
    1. Hike to the bridge at the falls
  8. Eat all the donuts..
    1. Old Dirty Bastard at Voodoo Donuts.
      1. Better yet, do this at 2 am because why the hell not.762f8517dfefd20c695debfd6d7ce571
    2. Blue Star Donuts. All I can say is “yaaaaaaas Queen” You so fancy.o
    3. 180 Donuts. Their Instagram looks fabulous.
    4. Delicious Donuts
    5. Pips Original Donuts
  9. Have a Spanish coffee at Huber’s
  10. Go skiing in the summer
  11. Watch the sunset from the Bluffs
  12. Get lost in the corn maze on Sauvie Island
    1. Pick berries at sauvie island
  13. Wake up hoarse from all the yelling and screaming at a concert.
  14. Understand, conceptually, how to make beer
  15. Complain about gentrification
  16. Eat two dozen wings at Whiskey Soda Lounge while waiting for a table at Pok Pok… and drink about half a dozen whiskey sours.
  17. Be “that guy” on a distillery tour
  18. See the Vaux’s Swifts fly into Chapman School
  19. Go to a strip club
  20. See the West Coast’s oldest drag queen
  21. Talk your way out of getting fined on the MAX
  22. Read an entire book on the floor of Powell’s
  23. Smell the roses At the International Rose Test Garden.
  24. Poke around the Shanghai Tunnels
  25. Have an after-hours shot of fernet
  26. Listen to Elliott Smith while it’s raining
  27. Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  28. Have your “art” featured in a coffee shop
  29. Visit the largest park in city limits: Forest Park
  30. Buy pot. Legally.
  31. See a local comedy show
  32. Visit the ZooLights
  33. Visit Sunshine lights thing
  34. Visit the street of decorations
  35. Judge the people in line at Voodoo Doughnut
  36. Get a tattoo.
  37. Watch porn with a crowdSure, Hump! Film Festival.
  38. Watch the sunrise from Mount Tabor
  39. Watch the Naked Bike Ride
  40. Visit Pittock Mansion
  41. Visit the Japanese Garden
  42.  Chinese Garden
  43.  Rhododendron Garden
  44. Starks Vacuum Museum
  45. Go to a brewpub Movie Theater
  46. See the smallest park in the world
  47. Take a picture under the keep portland weird sign
  48. Visit the Witches castle in Forest Park
  49. See the Jetliner in the woods
  50. Visit the Towering Redwood Grove
  51. Visit Powells books
  52. Take a photo in the photo booth at Ace Hotel
  53. Get a picture of the Paul Bunyan Statue
  54. Visit the set of the Goonies House
  55. Get Pictures of Castle Rock
  56. Ride the aerial Tram
  57. Visit Detention Liquor
  58. Play Dark Mini-golf
  59. Visit the Belmont Goats
  60. Visit the Freakybutttrue Peculiarium
  61. Eat Dirty Fries at Lardos
  62. Tacos at Por Que no
  63. Pancakes at slappy cakes
  64. Eat Pigeon at Le Pigeon
  65. Eat ice cream at Salt and Straw
  66. High five the Unipiper
  67. Drink a flight of whiskey at Multnomah Whiskey Bar
    1. Highland Stillhouse

Excerpts of the above list were taken from a few different sources and collated into something that works for me. All credit given to the original authors:

  1. https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/portland/portland-bucket-list
  2. http://www.bestfoodfeed.com

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files: Dog Men #1 (Dresden Files: Dog Men #1) by Jim Butcher (or Alternative Title, “My Crush Continues on Harry”)

 

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I was provided a free copy of this novel from NetGalley.com for an honest review.
Butcher writes another slam dunk in the Urban Fantasy genre with everyones favorite anti-hero and total pain-in-the-ass wizard. This go around is in the form of a graphic novel.

To preface, Harry is seething in anger and anxious about past dealings that are coming to haunt him. He is a man holding on by how fingernails. But then he gets an unexpected request for help from a member of the White Council. This takes Harry out of his comfort zone of Chicago and the reader to an unfamiliar location. Harry attempts to do what he does best, protect the innocence and cause hate and discontent for some rather nasty baddies that are attempting to shit on Harry’s evening. As always, things definitely do not go as planned.
Typical for Jim Butcher, the writing is excellent. The language and imagery are crisp and interesting with out being to verbose. In a not so typical fashion for Butcher’s writing the pacing seemed off. I found that at the start of the novel the pacing was lugubrious and slow. Maybe that was a writerly choice for tone setting, but I found that off putting. Especially in a format such as a graphic novel. Where pacing and imagery are literally at the forefront. The story picks back up in a typical Dresden fashion and ends in some very interesting ways. Overall a very good read and I would recommend it to anyone. This series has a big place in my heart and I am always so excited with Jim releases new stories.I can’t get enough of this world and  I believe that everyone needs a little Harry Dresden in their lives.

ARC of Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #3) by Ben Clanton

I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley and I am new to the series. But, oh man this book has made me a believer. It is just adorable. Not adorable in the annoying cutesy – fart way, but adorable in an uncluttered and visually appealing way with great characters. I bet this series launches a lot of memes for adults and  yet it still retains a silly and approachability for young readers. I enjoyed the lighthearted tone, the graphics, and occasional interesting science fact thrown in. (Good for trivia night as an adult.)

Did you know that Humpback whales work together and make bubble nets to catch fish?

I would highly recommend this novel to the 2nd-5th grade reader and an adult who enjoys lighthearted fun.

As a side note, I can definitely empathize with Narwhal’s obsession with his new favorite food. I too find myself feeling like Narwhal. You may now call me Madam Von Peanut.

 

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Image curtesy of goodreads

Let’s Talk Graphic Novels

I know a whole lot about a few things, not that it has done me a whole lot of good being able to quote and/or extemporize on the glories of early american science fiction or why “Galapagos” by Kurt Vonnegut is so relevant today. I could teach a class on Science Fiction and Fantasy. This makes me either really annoying, and irritating when talking about books or absolutely fascinating because I am so picky. I am going with fascinating here. Don’t burst my bubble. I am wicked smaht in this one thing.

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I started to get bored. I thought to my self, “self why don’t you branch out and learn something new.” Get wicked smaht in another branch of the literature tree.  I thought graphic novels. Yay! Then I thought. LISTS! ALL THE BOOK LISTS! I can lord my love of the highlighter and crossing stuff off with reading cool books. SCORE! Then I looked around and made sure no one else was looking and gave myself the highest of fives.

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Of Course I have a list semi-prepared, because what is life if you don’t have direction and they aren’t picture books. Get that crap out of your head. I have included the first thirty off of my list because typing is hard. I actually have 100 on the list.  You can find a full list here. According to goodreads I have read a cool 60 of the 100.

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/210.Best_Graphic_Novels

  1. Watchman by Alan Moore (Mr. Moore tends to be on here a lot.)
  2. The Complete Maus (Maus, #1-2) by Art Spiegelman  
  3. V for Vendetta by Alan Moore
  4. The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 
  5. Preludes & Nocturnes (The Sandman, #1) by Neil Gaiman (God you are beautiful Neil)
  6. Batman: The Dark Knight Returns (The Dark Knight Saga, #1)
    by Frank Miller
  7. Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
  8. Saga, Vol. 1 (Saga, #1) by Brian K. Vaughan (My favorite I think)
  9. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1: Unmanned (Y: The Last Man, #1) 
    by Brian K. Vaughan 
  10. Blankets 
    by Craig Thompson 
  11. Batman: Year One
    by Frank Miller
  12. Fables, Vol. 1: Legends in Exile 
    by Bill Willingham 
  13. The Walking Dead, Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye 
    by Robert Kirkman 
  14. Scott Pilgrim, Volume 1: Scott Pilgrim’s Precious Little Life 
    by Bryan Lee O’Malley 
  15. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic 
    by Alison Bechdel 
  16. Bone: The Complete Edition 
    by Jeff Smith 
  17. Sin City, Vol. 1: The Hard Goodbye (Sin City, #1) 
    by Frank Miller 
  18. Batman: The Long Halloween
    by Jeph Loeb
  19. Preacher, Volume 1: Gone to Texas 
    by Garth Ennis 
  20. Ghost World
    by Daniel Clowes
  21. Death Note, Vol. 1: Boredom (Death Note, #1)
    by Tsugumi Ohba
  22. Transmetropolitan, Vol. 1: Back on the Street (Transmetropolitan, #1) 
    by Warren Ellis
  23. From Hell
    by Alan Moore
  24. The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Vol. 1 
    by Alan Moore
  25. The Arrival 
    by Shaun Tan 
  26. Batman: Arkham Asylum – A Serious House on Serious Earth
    by Grant Morrison
  27. Black Hole 
    by Charles Burns 
  28. American Born Chinese 
    by Gene Luen Yang (Goodreads Author) 
  29. Locke & Key, Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft 
    by Joe Hill (Goodreads Author) 
  30. Hellboy, Vol. 1: Seed of Destruction (Hellboy, #1) 
    by Mike Mignola 

I don’t tend to read the first book in a series, because no fun. I try to read the whole thing. Some are better than others like any piece of literature. I love this particular list because it runs the gamut in terms of story type. Autobiographical to high fantasy.

I also want to make sure I say it out loud that I don’t actually believe I will be any kind of expert on graphic novels after finishing this list. Seriously. It’s a place to start and a direction to take.