Review: Still Lives by Maria Hummel

Still Lives
Author: Maria Hummel
Released: June 5th 2018
Received: Own (BOTM Pick)
Warnings: Covers famous but real murders, stalking, feelings of being unsafe
Rating: 3.5 Stars

When I first read the description of Still Lives I knew right away that I had to read it. It’s described as essentially being a thriller novel set in the art world, and I couldn’t be happier about that concept. It touches upon famous murders during the course of the description and novel, but thankfully doesn’t appear to be trying to mimic any of them.

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New Site – Quirky Cat’s Comics

Hey everyone! So I’ve been going over and over my comic reviews in my head, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not happy with the weekly new comic books roundup I’ve been doing.

So naturally that means I needed to make a change. After a lot of thinking, and a few other factors that thankfully helped motivate me to actually make a decision instead of putting it off again, I came to a conclusion.

I’m going to be splitting off my comic reviews onto another review blog; Quirky Cat’s Comics. It’s still a bit of a work in progress, but it’s getting there. Tomorrow (or today, depending on when you read this) will be the official launch for it.

I’m going to start off just sharing my single issue comic reviews there, but eventually I think I’ll transition my graphic novel reviews over to that site as well. I won’t do it right away though, so there’s no rush.

If you’ve been enjoying my weekly comic roundups, please hop on over to my new site and give it a follow. I promise that this format should be more pleasing to the eyes – with less links and more images. At least, that’s what I’m hoping for!

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Review: Shadow’s Bane (Dorina Basarab #4) by Karen Chance

Shadows Bane

Publisher: Berkley
Author: Karen Chance
Release: July 31st 2018
Received: Netgalley
Rating: 4.5 Kitties

I received a copy of Shadow’s Bane from NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Shadow’s Bane is the fourth installment in the Dorina Basarab series. It’s set in the same world as the Cassandra Palmer series, which I love (the more series in the same world = more world development for me, yay!). I’ve been a fan of this series for a while; I love the complex systems and politics that are in play. There’s vampire politics, mage politics, fae politics, and of course the politics of dealing with all of those people at once. While I would hate to have to deal with it personally, I really love seeing the main characters of this series sort it out.

For the record, I’m a huge dhampir snob. As far as I’m concerned, there are only two dhampir characters that don’t make me want to yank my hair out due to frustration; Blade (because who could possibly hate Blade), and Dorina. Both have specific and well-argued reasons for be able to exist, and both deal with the consequences of their existence. I love these two characters because rather than having their dhampir nature make their lives perfect and easy (a cheap way around vampirism, really), it actually makes things harder, on the whole. Especially for Dory.

What Dory goes through in these stories is actually so human it’s painful. All she’s ever wanted deep down is to find a family and be accepted. But being two natured, by being neither vampire nor human, she found herself ostracized by both societies she wanted into. That’s something a lot of readers can probably sympathize with, as trying to find a spot in the world to belong in is really a core part of human nature. It’s one of the many reasons I love Dory and this series.

The other reason I love this series is the absurdity and chaos that is inherent to the plot. Karen Chance is no afraid of showing us the less clean elements of magic and supernaturals. Sometimes that means that things get gory, sometimes that means a magical artifact will suddenly decide it no longer wants to follow orders and go rogue. You just never know. Because magic.

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Review: Giant Days: Extra Credit

Giant Days Extra Credit

Publisher: Boom! Studios
Release: June 26th 2018
Received: Read as single issues
Issues: Giant Days Holiday Specials, BOOM! Box Mix Tapes
Rating: 4 Kitties

I read Giant Days: Extra Credit as single issues.

Giant Days: Extra Credit is a collection of all the Giant Days short stories floating around out there. Included are the two largest; the Holiday Specials, as well as half a dozen other, much shorter, stories. Obviously since they’re shorts you don’t actually have to read them to understand the main plot, but they’re still a lot of fun. Any fan of the characters in Giant Days will likely greatly enjoy this one!

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Review: Motor Crush Vol. 2

Motor Crush Vol 2

Publisher: Image Comics
Release: June 5th 2018
Received: Read as single issues
Issues: Motor Crush 6-11
Rating: 4 Kitties

I read Motor Crush Vol. 2 as single issues.

It’s time for the second volume of Motor Crush! For a really fast paced series like this I’ve got to admit that the waiting between issues can be really painful at times! Motor Crush volume two is possibly even more action packed than the first volume, and it has a few more answers this time around too, for which I’m very grateful for.

Spoiler Warning

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Review: The Mighty Captain Marvel Vol. 3: Dark Origins

Mighty Captain Marvel Vol. 3

Publisher: Marvel
Released: June 5th 2018
Received: Own
Issues: The Mighty Captain Marvel 125-129
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I read The Mighty Captain Marvel Vol. 3: Dark Origins as single issues.

This is the last of the Captain Marvel volumes to be released before the Marvel reboot starts affecting her series (presumably, I don’t actually know this for certain). We’ve been told her series will be sticking around, though I imagine we’ll be seeing plot changes based on the events happening in the larger universe around her. It’ll be nice to see her going back to her roots a bit more though, so in an odd way I’m actually looking forward to this.

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Review: The Art of Map Illustration: A step-by-step artistic exploration of contemporary cartography and mapmaking by James Gulliver Hancock

The Art of Map Illustration
Author: James Gulliver Hancock
Released: April 3rd 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 Kitties

I received a copy of The Art of Map Illustration in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I’ll be honest with you, I don’t know much about mapmaking, but I was really curious and wanted to try and learn at least a little bit about the subject. The Art of Map Illustration is a perfect novel for getting your toes wet, so to speak.

For being an introductory sort of book it was surprisingly comprehensive, pulling in artists using multiple methods and styles. Four artists are included, and each one focused on different elements, ways to render the artwork, and what they felt was most important.

Hennie Haworth showed us some of his hand drawn maps and the techniques he used. He also covered the basics of map making (like what you’d see on a map besides the most obvious bits).

Stuart Hill makes his maps digitally, and he gave us a pretty good understanding of what was involved for that process. He had a lot of fun examples that helped to show the difference in results for hand drawn versus digitally drawn.

James Gulliver Hancock appeared to use more of a blend between digital and hand drawn. His work has a digitized look to it while not being quite as ‘clean’ as being fully digitally rendered. I actually really enjoyed the end results for his work in particular. He also had fun doing more unique works, like the solar system and things of that nature.

And last there’s Sarah King. Her work is hand drawn, but she does things in a completely different way from Hennie Haworth. Her pieces had more details in the drawings – the lines almost becoming a texture in themselves.

This was a really fun introduction for map making. I had failed to realize how much went into maps besides just the map itself, but this novel opened my eyes to that fact. I really enjoyed each artist’s unique style for creating their maps, and having a good example of different styles helped me to understand the major points they were trying to get across.

 

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New Comic Book Day Roundup

X 23

Here’s all the comics I read that came out today. I don’t want to flood my blog with a million posts, so here is a list of links to my reviews. Some will be on Goodreads and others will be on Comic Bastards.

Darkhorse:

She Could Fly #1

DC Comics:

Hal Jordan and the Green Lanern Corps #48

Hawkman #2

Plastic Man #2

Suicide Squad #44

Superman #1

Wonder Woman #50

Image Comics:

Rat Queens #10

Marvel:

Domino #4

Exiles #5

Infinity Countdown: Darkhawk #4

Star Wars: Thrawn #6

The Amazing Spider-Man #1

X-23 #1

 

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Throwback Thursday: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy

Author: Douglas Adams
Read by: Stephen Fry
Released: October 12th 1979
Received: Own
Rating: 4 Kitties

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is considered to be a classic; one of novels (erm, series) you hold up as a shining example of science fiction and writing. Believe it or not while I’ve read the first novel many times, and the following few several times, I don’t think I’ve ever actually finished the series. I always seem to start again from the beginning (The Hitchhiker’s Guide being my absolutely favorite, and therefore happily finding any excuse to read it again), and more often than not I’ll make it one novel further in the series than I managed the last time. Not sure why I always get so distracted, as the series is phenomenal. So here I am, going through the series again. Maybe this time I’ll make it through all of them?

As I said above, I’ve read The Hitchhiker’s Guide countless times, but I’ve never actually listened to the audiobooks. So I figured this would be a fun new way of experiencing a universe I love so much. The fact that Stephen Fry did the reading for this novel certainly helped. I loved his impressions and different voices he used for each of the unique characters. Some more than others, of course. All in all it was a very fun and oddly new experience for me, so I’m really happy I gave this a try.

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Review: The Girl in the Green Silk Gown (Ghost Roads #2) by Seanan McGuire

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown

Publisher: DAW
Author: Seanan McGuire
Release: July 17th 2018
Received: Penguin First to Read
Rating: 4 Kitties

I received an advanced copy of The Girl in the Green Silk Gown through Penguin First to Read in exchange for a fair and honest review.

The Girl in the Green Silk Gown is the second book in the Ghost Roads series. Anybody that’s read the first novel (Sparrow Hill Road) will immediately recognize where that title came from. I wonder if all the books from this series will use a different name used to describe the ghost of Rose Marshall?

I only recently discovered this series, and I have to tell you that I’m totally hooked. So much so that I actually almost regret the fact that I got an advanced copy for it, because now I have that much longer to wait for the next book.

It’s been so long since I found a ghost series that I was able to sink my teeth into. The world is so complex and intricate, as are the ghost roads themselves, the rules each ghost abides by, and so much more. All this combined results in a wonderfully written and immersive series.

If you haven’t read or heard of this series, I strongly urge you to stop and give it a try. Also, definitely read them in order, you don’t want to miss anything. I promise.

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