Review: Charmed: The Manga

Charmed

Publisher: Diamond Book Distributors
Author: Katy Rex
Release: November 13th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received a copy of Charmed: The Manga through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I used to be a huge fan of Charmed when I was younger, so when I saw that they were coming out with a manga version, I knew I had to give it a chance!

I should mention though that while it is called Charmed and is described as a story about the Halliwell sisters, they’re really only a small part of the story being told. The main focus is on a new character, Delia and her adjustment to the new school she’s being sent to. The famous sisters do show up, but they’re present for only about a third of the volume, if that.

I think if you were to go into this hoping for a continuation to the TV series then you might find yourself disappointed. However, maybe if you went into it expecting Delia’s story it’d work out better. I certainly hope that’s the case (you can probably guess which situation I ended up in).

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Review: Lost Arrow: Book I of the Kalelah Series by Marshall Ross

Lost Arrow

Publisher: Publicnoise Press
Author: Marshall Ross
Released: September 4th 2018
Received: BookishFirst
Rating: 4 Kitties

I received a copy of Lost Arrow through BookishFirst in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Lost Arrow is the first book in the Kalelah Series by Marshall Ross. It’s a quick read, but thankfully the third book is almost out, so you can easily binge through them all if you so choose. I received my copy in a set of three, which to me made it feel like one larger book. Still, I think it could be enjoyable to read them either all as one, or in the three stints as intended.

This series is very different from many others that I’ve read. It’s science fiction with a heavy dose of religion (one that is made up for the purpose of the series, and thus it never felt like I was being pressured). It’s an interesting concept, so have such an advanced society so structured like that. Yet it makes a lot of sense, with the context we’ve been given.

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Quote of the Week

JK Rowling Harry Potter

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52 Weeks of Literary Crafts: Project #2: Monster Book of Monsters

Monster Book of Monsters

I’ve always wanted my own Monster Book of Monsters, however, as awesome as they are, they can get rather pricey. So upon coming across the idea to make one online (thank you Pinterest), I just couldn’t resist!

I got the original idea from here, but I modified it slightly.

Materials:

  • Paper mache book
  • Beige paint (only needed if your paper mache book is fully brown, like mine was)
  • Brown oven bake clay
  • Brown fake fur
  • Brown eyes
  • Monster Book of Monsters title printout (see the link above)
  • Hot glue

I didn’t buy the fancier hollow book as listed in the original board, because I simply couldn’t find it at any of my local craftstores. Instead I ended up ordering the paper mache version from Amazon. Because of this I first had to paint the side, or the ‘edges of the paper’ an off white, so it’d you know…actually look like a book. I used a large brush and left visible paint lines to imitate the look of many pages. It was quick and effective.

I made one other, potentially large, alteration from the inspiration I found. I really wanted the book to have teeth. I mean, I picture this thing and I remember it trying to eat Harry, but settling for his shoe. So obviously it has to have teeth!
The teeth were shockingly simple to make. I used BRAND oven bake clay, in a shade of brown. The hardest part of this process was warming up the clay so that I could easily work with it (my husband may or may not have helped out with that bit). Then it was just a matter of making the lumps of clay into cone shapes. From the cone shape it didn’t take too much to make them look like messed up teeth. I looked at a few reference photos, and all of the teeth seemed to be going in different directions and just having fun. So I wasn’t too concerned about making them perfect.

Monster Book of Monsters 3

(Forgive the crummy phone photos – I didn’t want my nice camera anywhere near glue or clay. Being a klutz I feel like this was a good call).

Once those were done I put them in my toaster oven at 250 degrees for 20 minutes. That’s it. Really! They came out perfectly. I don’t know why I had been so intimated about working with this clay before, it was so easy!

Next, naturally, I glued the teeth into place. I should have taken a photo of how this looked in between steps, but I really wanted to start laying down the fur next. For that I let a little of the fur hang over, with the intention of cutting it down a bit around the teeth.

From there it was simply a matter of gluing the rest of the fur down. Now, this may vary on how big the fake fur you buy is, but I had to use two pieces to get my book fully covered. I decided that rather than risk having a gap or line obviously visible, that I’d cut my fur at the spine of the book – on the part that’ll be facing down. I don’t know if this actually helped at all, but I’d like to think it looked cleaner.

Monster Book of MonstersMonster Book of MonstersMonster Book of Monsters

 

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Review: Starry Night: Van Gogh at the Asylum

Starry Night Van Gogh at the Asylum

Publisher: White Lion Publishing
Author: Martin Bailey
Released: August 27th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4 Kitties

I received a copy of Starry Night through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Starry Night is the perfect book for those out there that have always been fascinating with both the painting it’s named after, as well as the artist himself; Van Gogh. It’s an illustrated novel covering the period of Van Gogh’s life that was spent at Saint-Remy, the asylum.

This novel included timelines, maps, and even went so far as to explain the events surrounding the paintings shown. This gave an amazing amount of context – not just to the paintings, but to the mindset of Van Gogh during those times.

I’ve been fascinated with Van Gogh for as long as I can remember, and yet Starry Night succeeded in putting the pieces together for me in ways other books never did. I don’t think I ever fully realized just how many of my favorite Van Gogh paintings were done while he was at Saint-Remy, nor was I ever aware of how close we came to losing some of them.

This was a wonderfully insightful book, and I strongly urge any fans of Van Gogh to take the time to read it. It is one thing to know (and list) the facts, but to have them laid out with context really enhanced the presentation of the book.

 

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Review: Failsafe

Failsafe

Publisher: Vault Comics
Released: June 26th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received a copy of Failsafe through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Failsafe is a fairly classic example of science fiction meets worst case scenarios of government control. It’s set in the not-so-distant future, and takes liberties with both the technology available and the actions of people.

This is a fun and quick read, on the whole. I think it only took me about an hour to get through it, probably less. So if you’re looking for a quick bit of entertainment, especially if you’re a science fiction buff, then this may be the perfect thing.

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Review: Weapons of Mutant Destruction

Weapons of Mutant Destruction

Publisher: Marvel
Released: November 7th 2017
Received: Marvel unlimited
Issues: Weapons of Mutant Destruction Alpha #1, Weapon X (2017) 5-6, Totally Awesome Hulk 20-22
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I read Weapons of Mutant Destruction as single issues through Marvel Unlimited.

Weapons of Mutant Destruction is another one of those volumes that collects issues from multiple events and plots. In this case it pulls from one event, and two series. For those of us that aren’t reading it in true volume form (like say if you were reading it on Marvel Unlimited) the reading order goes like this: Weapons of Mutant Destruction Alpha 1, Totally Awesome Hulk 20, Weapon X 5, Totally Awesome Hulk 21, Weapon X 6, and finally Totally Awesome Hulk 22.

Also, there are a good number of heroes mixing in together here that you’d probably never expect to see working together. Most of them are mutants, which makes sense given the plot. Included in this team-up we have Wolverine, Totally Awesome Hulk (the one non-mutant of the ‘team’), Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth, Warpath, and Domino.

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Review: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Author: Natasha Ngan
Release: November 6th 2018
Received: ARC given away at BookCon
Warnings: Animal death, sexual assault, abuse
Rating: 4 Kitties

I received a free copy of Girls of Paper and Fire at BookCon. There was no agreement to leave a review in return; I’m doing so because I want to.

Girls of Paper and Fire is the first novel I’ve read that was written by Natasha Ngan, but I can safely say that I officially adore her writing. I’m going to have to add some of her earlier novels to my TBR list.

The cover is going to get one of my unofficial awards for prettiest cover of 2018. It’s absolutely striking. I love the color choice, the design itself, and the overall balance between the imagery and the font. It’s evocative and memorable. And frankly, it’s just plain pretty. I’m not ashamed to admit that. It’s the sort of book cover that’d get me to stop and read the description – or possibly even buy the book without reading the description (sometimes I do that because I want to be surprised, I’m weird I know).

It’s amazing how much ink this novel is getting, and it’s not even out yet. When I was at BookCon I ended up waiting in line for almost an hour to get my signed copy (worth it) and they had to turn so many people away during that time. Now it’s being listed as a best seller on Amazon (again, it isn’t even out yet!). Needless to say that I’m feeling very lucky I was able to get my copy early! Though I do feel bad that I didn’t read it sooner.

Before I get on to the book itself, I just want to say how impressed I am with how sensitive Ngan and her publisher are. There’s a warning on Goodreads, and a few other sites, which I rarely see included on other books (even ones more graphic than this one). It is very up front about the fact that there’s sexual assault in this book. I absolutely love that fact. It’s something I wish more books and publishing companies could state up front (I get that sometimes it’s a spoiler issue, but I’d prefer the warning, and I’m sure I’m not alone).

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Review: City of Broken Magic by Mirah Bolender

City of Broken Magic

Publisher: TOR
Release: November 20th 2018
Received: NetGalley
Rating: 4.5 Kitties

I received a copy of City of Broken Magic through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

City of Magic is Mirah Bolender’s debut fantasy novel. If you’re looking for a new fantasy author to follow, you might seriously want to consider her. As for City of Broken Magic, think magic meets tech, but in a steampunk world, and you’ve got the core idea. In my mind I was picturing the setting as being sort of 1920s-esque, which felt right, considering some of the circumstances and the way they reacted to certain characters.

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Review: A Local Habituation (October Daye #2) by Seanan McGuire

A Local Habituation

Publisher: DAW Books
Author: Seanan McGuire
Released: March 2nd 2010
Received: Own
Rating: 4.5 Kitties

A Local Habitation is the second in the October Daye series, which currently is twelve books long…if you don’t count all the novellas and short stories that are also included in the world. To say it has a rich world and plot would be a significant understatement.

Toby Daye is back for another adventure, and as usual, she’s not entirely enthusiastic about the whole ordeal…but that’s why I love her. I’m so happy that there is still so much to Toby’s story left for me to read…even if I am slightly intimidated by how much more reading I need to do in order to get caught up (still wishing I had read this series earlier…).

For those that are new to the series, or haven’t read any of it yet, I strongly urge you to stop and look up Rosemary and Rue, the first novel in the series. It’s absolutely worth the read, and you really don’t want to skip it. I also have a feeling that this is the sort of series where you’ll want to be avoiding spoilers as much as possible…but then again I tend to do that with any series, so that may just be my bias showing.

I don’t know if this is the norm, but I made a plan for my read through of the series. I’m going to read all the novels first, and then track down the novellas. It looks like it may be difficult to find some of them, so I figure I’ll leave that towards the end. If you’ve read the series, and think I should be reading the novellas chronologically as well, please let me know!

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