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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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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Image courtesy of goodreads.com


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.

Poke around the Shanghai Tunnels they said..

I want to tell you a little story about an experience I had when I first moved to portland. I went on a haunted ghost tour of downtown portland found here.

I did this for a variety of reasons:

  1. It was cheap entertainment for the evening.
  2. Gave me an opportunity to walk around like a tourist.
  3. Also, gave me a chance to hang out with my very cool friend Jessica.
  4. I like dark stories when they involve architecture and secret compartments.
  5. Even better if they feature some sort of dastardly secret society hell bent on kidnapping you and using you for nefarious purposes.
  6. I can use these stories later to not-impress family and friends when they come to town to visit me.
  7. I do believe in ghosts.
  8. I do believe that alcohol can make the above mentioned points even better.

The evening started off mild and wet. I met up with my friend Jessica and ghost hunting partner at a local bar downtown called Oldtown Brewing. This bar is renown for its excellent beer, excellent pizza and haunted and terrifying past.

“Old Town Pizza sits in what used to be called the Old North End, a section of the city with a rather questionable reputation. Despite the upstanding clientele of the Merchant Hotel, even it was known for offering one of the oldest professions in the world: prostitution. As legend goes, one of the young “working women” was Nina, sold into this life by a thriving white slavery market. In an effort to clean up the neighborhood, traveling missionaries convinced Nina to share information in exchange for freeing her from a fate she did not choose. Nina cooperated but soon afterward was found dead in the hotel, now Old Town Pizza. Thrown down the elevator shaft, Nina is reported to have never left the building. Could it be Nina who carved her name in the brick of the old elevator shaft, now the backdrop of a cozy booth in the rear of the restaurant?” https://www.otbrewing.com/haunted-past

The beer was good though, plus they had karaoke. Bad karaoke can make you wish you were dead, so that was close enough for me. I did not meet Nina, there was no hovering over my pizza while karaoke played, but I did hear a neat story told by a great storyteller.

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Entrance to the tunnel proper
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Entrance to the bowels of hell. No really just stairs to the basement.
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The weird tunnel is in the back that just leads off.
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Where we had our story time. No seance this time. 
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Old AF stairs that lead down into the basement. 

 

After our food, beer, and story where concluded. We headed down single file to the back of the restaurant and filtered through a series of hallways and stairs that lead down into the dusty and dimly lit basement. The room looked old by the wood lathe used on the walls. It smelled dusty, moldy, but with the never mistaken smell of rising pizza dough.  You can tell that it had not been used as a busy space in years except by GHOSTS! haha no really, it was pretty well not used. In the corner of the basement was a dark and cordoned off hallway that lead.. well..it led away into darkness.  I am not trying to be all mystical or scary movie-ish. It literally led out into the darkness around the corner. It was a weird hallway. We were not allowed to follow the hallway into the great beyond. My inner goonie was screaming. Apparently it is dangerous to walk around pitch black tunnels in the middle of the night that may or may not be used for slave trade and/or drug running. They could get sued. All I heard was blah blah you are ruining my fun.

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The tour continued around downtown from there. It is a walking tour after all. The guide walked and pointed and the tour group nodded sagely and occasionally took pictures. I know we visited the Bensen Hotel, which is a marvel of wood and crystal and makes me feel both very fancy and underdressed at the same time. Apparently it is said to be haunted by the ghost of the previous owner, Mr. Bensen. No freaky apparitions of men from the 1930’s wearing expensive suits were seen. I did however have another drink.

A little bit of trivia, “The Jimi Hendrix Experience drummer Mitch Mitchell died in his hotel room at the Benson Hotel on November 12, 2008 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benson_Hotel)”

I hive-fived his ghost while washing my hands in the ladies loo.

 

 

 

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.

 

ARC of Blame! Volume 1 (Blame! Master’s Edition # 1) by Tsutomu Nihei

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

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Image courtesy of Goodreads.com

I am flummoxed. I very much wanted to like this book. I feel like it would increase my “cool” factor exponentially if I did, but alas I was confused and slightly perturbed.  As a reader I don’t have a whole lot of experience with Manga as a genre. I have dabbled in it, but never went swimming. That being said, I have quite a bit of experience in reading the cyber punk genre which is one of my favorites. Manga absolutely excels in it. “Ghost in the Shell,” and “Akira” are bonafide classics and rightly so.  But “Blame!” just didn’t do it for me. I can appreciate the quality of the artwork and the simplicity of the dialog: the dialog is minimalistic and it relies on the stark visuals to convey meaning and tone. But, I think it reached to far into starkness and loses any sort of context for the story. I got lost repeatedly and the characters ended up meaning nothing to me. Any die hard manga fan should check out this novel but the average reader trying to branch out would be well served to check out “Akira” or “Ghost in the shell”.

Eh maybe I am just not cool enough.

Not-Cool

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.

The Spice Must Flow

Dune is a ridiculous book. Don’t hate on me for saying it. I only read the first book, so maybe in the sequels it gets less “odd.” I am not honestly sure. It is probably the perfect book for the sci fi lover who likes out there works like Dune and Octavia Butler. But, seriously. It was so ridiculous in parts that it made me giggle uncomfortably. The movie with Sting did not help much. Even if it was true 1980’s in all it’s glory.

That being said, the book has some seriously kick-ass quotes and the sand worms are awesome. I decided that the, “The Spice must flow,” is the quote for my spice wall. I have a lot of spices, some of which I have never used. But it is like tools, eventually you get around to using it for something. Besides, it gives me a chance to go out and make odd dishes for the hell of it. The moral of this story is “Must have many odd spices.”

I decided to make a wall of spice. I still want to get a picture of a sand worm instead of the cooking picture. But you get the point.

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Remember, “Fear is the mind killer.” Or whatever…