May & June Wrap-up!

I haven’t been the best at updating this, and once it got further into June, I figured I would just combine the two months for a wrap-up.

I have passed my Goodreads goal of 50 books (currently at 56), and I haven’t upped the number because I don’t want to stress myself out or feel like I have to read. This summer is continuing to be quite busy, and I deal with my anxiety by knitting. Since I can’t knit and read at the same time, I divide my free time. Sometimes it stresses me out to choose, but I don’t want to feel bad if I’m choosing to knit one day instead of read. Both reading and knitting are passions of mine, and having a higher Goodreads goal would just make my anxiety worse.

Also, from now on I will be listing comics’ authors as academic papers list authors, with the first listed author followed by et al. I don’t want to list the whole list, since I don’t want to accidentally leave any out, and Goodreads isn’t always complete when they list authors/illustrators/colorists/etc. to a comic’s page (which is what I use when writing down my wrap-ups).

Anyway, you’re here for the wrap-up, so here we go.

May 2017:

June 2017:

  • Terrence: A Short Story by Alice Rachel ★★★★★
  • The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman et al ★★★★★
  • The Sandman, Vol. 7: Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman et al ★★★★★
  • The Sandman, Vol. 8: World’s End by Neil Gaiman et al ★★★★★
  • Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore et al ★★★★☆
  • The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones by Neil Gaiman et al ★★★★★
  • Amulet, Vol. 4: The Last Council by Kazu Kibuishi ★★★★☆
  • Jessica Jones, Alias Vol. 1 by Brian Michael Benis et al ★★★★★
  • Chewbacca by Gerry Duggan et al ★★★★☆

I also unboxed the June Nocturnal Reader’s Box: All Hail the King (Stephen King).

I hope everyone is having a great summer so far! I’m actually ready for fall, cooler weather, and Halloween, but the summer isn’t so bad.

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Terrence: A Short Story by Alice Rachel

Terrence: A Short Story by Alice Rachel

Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review and to participate in her readalong. All thoughts and opinions are completely my own.

If you’ve read any of my previous reviews on the Under Ground series by Alice Rachel, you already know how I’ve raved about this series and its amazing character development. I know I don’t need to say more on that, but it’s just so integral to each of her stories and main plotlines as well, and I just love how much depth it adds to the whole series. The love for these characters, as sad as their backstories might be, is so apparent through Alice’s writing and the care she puts into getting their (albeit fictional, still important) stories out into this whole of this series.

In addition to character development, this story gives another point of view on the corrupt dystopian that has arisen in this series. This story’s namesake is a gay man living in this world where it’s illegal to be gay, and can be killed on sight if breaking that law. It’s such a terrifying concept that someone could be killed for loving who they love. With June being Pride Month, this readalong has been great for giving readers new perspectives while also relating what we’re reading to the real world and all of its current political and social climates.

If you are interested in reading this short story, it can be read separate from the rest of the series, but of course I highly recommend the entire series. Alice Rachel does have a recommended reading order of her books and short stories (found on her website as well as in each book), and it’s such a fully satisfying experience to really get to know all of these characters in this complex world she has built in this series.

Rating: ★★★★★

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Holding Ground by Alice Rachel

Holding Ground by Alice Rachel

Note: This book was sent to me for an honest review by the author.

What another wild ride in this series. This book is the second novella on Stephen in the Under Ground series by Alice Rachel, and if you’ve read only the main novels of the book, you really need to pick these novellas up. The main novels focus on the two main characters, Chi and Thia, but all of the characters in these books have huge backstories that are important to know, especially Chi’s own brother Stephen. Not only does it make the main story more interesting, but it shows a great perspective of how complex each individual human is and that it’s key to truly knowing a person and understanding their actions.

After reading this book, which does mention events from the main novels, I have such a better picture of this whole web of characters. Actions that I previously thought as horrible were shown with true justification through another character’s eyes. If every person tried to get to know those around them like how Alice Rachel fleshes out her characters, I think there would be better people out there. Seeing different perspectives and just listening to others can give you a new outlook on your own life, and can help you treat others with more respect. If the main characters of this series knew Stephen’s own personal story, I know they would treat him much, much differently.

I live in Chicago and constantly deal with crazy amounts of people around me, especially on the crowded subway. When there’s a rude person, I try to think that it’s just been a rough day for them. At the same time, if that rude person truly thought about their own affect on the complex lives around them, maybe they would take a moment to choose their words and actions more carefully. I don’t want to go into a huge philosophical rant, but these novellas and their new perspectives on this storyline have really gotten me thinking.

This series and its novellas have become one of my favorite series, for so many reasons. I’m so excited for the next books, novellas, and short stories in the series, and along with that, seeing even more characters developed.

My reviews on the previous books in the series: Under Ground (Book 1), Losing Ground (Stephen’s first novella), and Standing Ground (Book 2).

Rating: ★★★★★

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Free Comic Book Day Mini Reviews

Free Comic Book Day Mini Reviews

Happy Free Comic Book Day! If you didn’t know, FCBD is a day in May when comic book stores give customers free comics that are usually produced specifically for the day. They can be a first issue of a series or a spinoff of an existing series. I love both of these, and I was able to pick some up today! I devoured them already and have decided to write short reviews on them, since I really enjoyed all of the ones I read and gave them all five stars.

“I Hate Image” by Skottie Young


Being that I absolutely love the I Hate Fairyland series, this issue was my most anticipated of the comics today. Image is my favorite comic publisher, and I even met Skottie Young at BookCon last year. That being said, this was so much more enjoyable than I even expected. This issue has Gertrude (the main character of Fairyland) on a mission to the Image headquarters, and of course she stumbles upon many other Image characters along the way. My favorites were all mentioned: Bitch PlanetThe Walking Dead, and East of West. The incorporations of these other comics was executed amazingly, and didn’t seem forced because it didn’t take itself seriously. Gertrude and the IHF plot fit this kind of collaboration perfectly, and if you love that series, definitely try to pick this issue up! It was awesome knowing the other comic series mentioned, but it wasn’t necessary to enjoying the issue as a whole.

Bob’s Burgers by various authors & artists


First off, I love the Bob’s Burgers TV show and have been wanting to read the comics for awhile. Though I haven’t gotten to the existing comics yet, I thoroughly enjoyed this short issue of three stories in the BB universe. Each story focused on one of the Belcher kids, and they fit the story and tone to each personality perfectly. The stories were satisfying as a snack, and they did make me want to pick up the larger volumes even more. These made me laugh and also want to binge-watch the show again.

Suicide Squad #1


Though I enjoyed the Suicide Squad movie well enough, we all know it had many flaws. I’m not sure if I waited to start this series because of that, or because I already just really love the Amanda Conner Harley Quinn series and am sucked into that storyline more. Either way, I’m glad this first issue was included in this year’s FCBD so I had more drive to read it. The in media res beginning was really good, and then getting into the individual backstories later was beneficial. Unlike the movie, which tried to get the backstories all out of the way at the beginning, this story held my interest more at the start. The backstories weren’t unnecessarily drawn-out, and the emotions were still there. This issue did a great job at setting up the Suicide Squad (really, the movie should have done it more like this issue). It was quick but not forced, and I didn’t feel like I was missing something. It makes me want to continue the series with more motivation than I had previously. The artwork in this was average; it did seem a bit inconsistent with Harley’s appearance, but at least it wasn’t too distracting.

Spill Night by Scott Westerfeld & Alex Puvilland


This was another issue I was excited about and hoping to pick up today. I was thrilled when I found out that Scott Westerfeld had released a graphic novel and added it to my TBR right away. I do still need to buy it, but I’m definitely going to soon. This FCBD issue is a short prequel to that graphic novel, and it gave me a good idea of the premise of the series. It is definitely that unique kind of sci-fi that Westerfeld does (I absolutely love his Uglies and Midnighters series), and I can’t wait to find out more about this world that I’ve only gotten a small glimpse into. The artwork is messy-looking, but while reading, it seems purposeful as it matches the vibe of the plot and just goes along with the whole thing quite well. I love the creepy lettering in this as well. This issue exceeded my expectations and I’m so happy for that, and I can’t wait to get my hands on the first volume of the Spill Zone series (though Vol. 2 is not until 2018).

•  •  •

Thanks for reading my short reviews! Did you go out to get comics on FCBD this year? Did you pick up any of these? I also bought volume six of Lumberjanes and am very excited to continue my favorite comic series. Today put me in a comic mood for sure, and even though I am excited for the novels I’m currently reading and planning to read soon, I also want to keep up with the comics that I’ve gotten and plan to buy some more soon.

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April 2017 Wrap-up

I didn’t finish many books this past month, but I did read some bigger books and am still pretty happy with the ones I finished.

  • Lumberjanes, Vol. 4: Out of Time by Noelle Stevenson, Shannon Watters, & Grace Ellis ★★★★★
  • The Mythical Creatures Bible: Everything You Needed to Know About Mythical Creatures by Brenda Rosen ★★★★☆
  • The Waste Lands by Stephen King ★★★★★
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 3: Safety Behind Bars by Robert Kirkman & Charlie Adlard ★★★★★
  • Standing Ground by Alice Rachel ★★★★★
  • DNF: Mind Games by TJ Moore ★☆☆☆☆

I’m excited for May’s reading, especially since I’ve started A Court of Wings and Ruin, and the next Dark Tower novel is in my queue as well.

What was the best book you read this past month?

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Standing Ground by Alice Rachel

Standing Ground by Alice Rachel

Note: This book was sent to me from the author in exchange for an honest review. It is also the sequel in a series (Book 1: Under Ground; book 1.5: Losing Ground). If you haven’t read the previous books in the series, I highly recommend them.

To start off…HOLY FEELINGS. This book is full of them. You know, those kinds that suck you in while you’re reading and you feel everything along with the characters. Though sometimes painful, it’s such a true reading experience, and it takes an amazing author to pull this off.

I participated in the author’s read-along for this book during the month of April. I loved reading a few chapters each evening and then answering her immersive questions on Instagram for each section. It’s an awesome experience, and I’m really grateful that Alice Rachel was able to put this all together for her readers. Because of my vacation, I got a bit behind in the read-along, but then I was later able to binge-read even larger sections of the book. It was so easy to get fully into this world and these characters, and it’s hard to put this book down. I’m glad I blew through the last part of the book in one sitting, because it was so intense, and I just had to know what would happen next. Of course, the ending includes a cliffhanger, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next in the series.

On another note, which I’m sure I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of Alice’s books, the character development is excellent. I think having short novellas and stories outside of the main series for each character really helps, but even within the main books, there is just so much backstory that works so well with the main storyline. As a reader, I become even more connected to these characters and feel so much more strongly about them. Not only does each character have intense backstories and complex personalities, but Alice Rachel also does her own portraits of them (you can view them on her Instagram and even purchase prints and more on her Society6 page). My personal favorite character is Kayla, who is involved with the Underground rebellion. She’s a strong, badass woman who also is an amazing friend and all-around caring person.

It’s usually hard for me to write reviews on books that I absolutely loved, but this series is different. There are so many aspects that I love to gush about, and it’s such a complex world that even my longer reviews on it don’t even scratch the surface. If you’re interested in dystopian books and worlds, and you love deep, gritty character development, this is definitely a series you need to pick up. If you have already read the first book, you need to get your hands on this one. Don’t worry if it’s been awhile, since Alice puts a super helpful Book 1 recap at the beginning of this installment.

This is one of my favorite series that I’m currently reading, and I’m so glad I stumbled upon Alice Rachel’s Instagram page ages ago. If this sounds like a great series to you, definitely check out these books: they are all available as ebooks (and the Kindle prices are super reasonable. I’m not being paid or anything to promote this series; I just really love these books and think that they deserve much more recognition than they get.

Rating: ★★★★★

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The Waste Lands by Stephen King

The Waste Lands by Stephen King

I absolutely loved this installment in the Dark Tower series. Each book pulls me in even more than the previous one and I fall even more in love with the series.

I was really happy to get more details about what happened to Roland’s world to cause it to be a world that has moved on, though even more questions are raised within these answers. The concepts of time and space are extremely interesting in this world/universe, and I’m okay with not getting all the complete details since there’s so much to process already. I read this book while on vacation, and I was thinking about it even when I was away from the book and doing something else (which is always the sign of an amazing book, in my opinion).

The development of Susannah and Eddie’s relationship made me really happy as well, and, even though it has a doomed feeling in the big picture, it brings more hope to the storylines of the ka-tet. In addition to that, I love Oy and the small cuteness he brings to tense situations. There’s so much more possibility with this group, especially when I think back on The Gunslinger when it was only Roland, or even just Roland and Jake. I’m so excited to see this story expand even more, and there’s so much left to go (in my own reading journey of it).

Rating: ★★★★★

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