Saga & Rat Queens Comics Reviews

Today I’m going to be reviewing three comic books! I didn’t want to keep them in their own posts because the reviews are kind of short.

sagavol6Title: Saga, Volume 6
Series: Saga vol. 6
Author: Brian K. Vaughan
Illustrator: Fiona Staples
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel – Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 152
Format: Purchased Paperback

After a dramatic time jump, the three-time Eisner Award winner for Best Continuing Series continues to evolve, as Hazel begins the most exciting adventure of her life: kindergarten. Meanwhile, her starcrossed family learns hard lessons of their own.

Compiles issues #31-36

In this volume we got to see Hazel grown up a little bit as she enters kindergarten. And it’s not exactly a picnic for her either considering all of the crap she’s been through and the fact that even though she’s with her grandmother, they’re still in jail, pretty much.

I enjoyed this volume because we got to see progress of Alana and Marko coming together to rescue their child, of Hazel’s teacher wanting to help Hazel when she reveals her wings to the teacher, and more on other side characters.

I thought that this volume really started to pique my interest again because I’m excited to see where the story goes next with all of the fun surprises that happened at the end, plus a little bit of happiness for the family.

It wasn’t the best volume, but I still enjoyed it and give it 4/5 stars.


ratqueen1Title: Rat Queens, Vol 1 Sass & Sorcery
Series: Rat Queens vol 1
Author: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Illustrator: Roc Upchurch
Publisher: Image Comics
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel – Fantasy
Pages: 128
Format: Purchased Paperback

Who are the Rat Queens?

A pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire, and they’re in the business of killing all god’s creatures for profit.

It’s also a darkly comedic sass-and-sorcery series starring Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief. This modern spin on an old school genre is a violent monster-killing epic that is like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack!

Collecting Rat Queens #1-5!

This comic had a lot of buzz floating around it and I can definitely see why. The illustrations are absolutely lovely and detailed, even if the story in this first volume felt very jumbled to me.

There are four women who are part of the Rat Queens, a group of people who kill others for a living protecting the town: Hannah, Dee, Betty, and Violet. Each one has their own distinct personality, which I picked up on right away and appreciated, and each one brings their own abilities to the group. I found that, as a group, they all worked well together and did what was necessary to achieve their goals.

Despite that, I wasn’t super comfortable with the amount of profanities in this novel. It’s actually really obnoxious because for almost all of the characters they have some profane word to say almost every other word and definitely in every sentence, which I felt took away from the main point of the story.

I also felt that the story was kind of jumbled and hard to follow at times, because the sequences didn’t really fade out smoothly all that often, but when they did I found that I liked it more.

Other than that, I really did enjoy it. I thought that this volume was definitely more of an introduction into who the characters are and just what they’re meant to do.

I rate this volume 4/5 stars.

ratqueens2Title: Rat Queens, Vol. 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth
Series: Rat Queens vol 2
Publication Date: May 6, 2015
Pages: 128
Format: Purchased Paperback

This booze-soaked second volume of RAT QUEENS reveals a growing menace within the very walls of Palisade. And while Dee may have run from her past, the bloated, blood-feasting sky god N’rygoth never really lets his children stray too far.

Collects RAT QUEENS #6-10

I’m going to admit: I definitely liked this volume a lot more. The plot really picked up and I didn’t feel that it was as jumbled and all over the place as the last one, plus we got to see a bit of back story for some of the characters due to an evil squid. Yeah. Seriously.

The characters are all trying to figure out just who was really behind their attempted assassinations, and even though they’re given a name, they didn’t know the severity of their situation. This volume packed in a lot of story and action, and though a few sequences had me confused, I felt that it was all very smooth and much easier to follow.

I really like that we got to have a little bit more of an in depth look at Dee, who ran away from her home and religion to find answers in the world, and how what is happening in this volume encompasses her religion entirely. It was interesting to see how she dealt with the issue and that she used logic and a sound mind to go through with it all.

Again, there were a few things in the story that I didn’t appreciate, but it’s more of a preference and whatnot (drug use and the profanities again), but I really did appreciate getting to see a bit more of where Hannah and Violet came from before they were in the Rat Queens.

I rate this volume 4/5 stars.

Orange: The Complete Collection Vol. 1 & 2 Manga Review

orange1Title: Orange: The Complete Collection 1
Author/Illustrator: Ichigo Takano
Publisher: Seven Seas
Publication Date: January 26, 2016
Genre: Manga – Teen – Sci-fi, Romance
Pages: 384
Format: Purchased Paperback

A Plea From the Future

On the day that Naho begins 11th grade, she recieves a letter from herself ten years in the future. At first, she writes it off as a prank, but as the letter’s predictions come true one by one Naho realizes that the letter might be the real deal. Her future self tells Naho that a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, will soon join her class. The letter begs Naho to watch over him, saying that only Naho can save Kakeru from a terrible future. Who is this mystery boy, and can Naho save him from his destiny?

When my best friend suggested this manga series to me, I knew I would love it. She knew I would love it. And frankly: I did love it. It was heartwarming, very touching, and it reached all of the places inside of me that I try to not touch – and I needed every minute of it.

There are trigger warnings for depression and suicide and there are spoilers below.

From the characters to the story to the art, I found that each part was expanded upon and really thought over carefully as the story grew and we got to learn more about these characters and just why it is they have to save Kakeru.

Naho, our leading lady, was kind of like your typical shoujo heroine who’s very modest, easily embarrassed, but has a big heart. She cares very deeply for her friends and doesn’t want anyone to get hurt – emotionally or otherwise. I thought that she was very cute and that she did her best to help her friend (who she obviously developed feelings for). I wish she had been more brave at times and had acted as the letters suggested, but I also know that it’s not in her nature to be as brave as she was sometimes.

Kakeru, the main focus of the story, deals with a lot of depression and suicidal thoughts after his mother commits suicide on the day of the entrance exams when he doesn’t return home right after school. He blames himself and, as a result, he holds in his feelings, not sharing with his friends. In the future world (10 years in the future), he is no longer there with them, and they all reflect back on him not being there and what they could have done to save him. In the past life, his friends are changing the future, and as a result he ends up enjoying life a lot more, but he’s still very depressed and puts on a smile so his friends don’t worry. But when they do push and ask him very serious questions, he does eventually break down and tell them some of what’s bothering him and I think those were some of the most important parts.

Suwa, Hagita, Azu, and Takako, the other friends in the group, all try to cheer up Kakeru even though they don’t fully know why they’re doing it just yet. I love that they all try their best to be supportive in whatever way they can and that they don’t back down and let Kakeru drown in a spiral of darkness.

The plot of the story was one that had me reeling from so many emotions. I laughed, I cried (more like sobbed), I was angry, joyful… So many emotions were packed into this first large volume that I felt like this was a story written for me. I loved seeing the progression from the past and the future, to see where they were ten years in the future, how they were living their lives, why they came together, and how they wanted to fix it. And then their past selves, though doubtful at first, really took the letters’ advice to heart and implemented as many changes as possible. It was so inspiring and beautiful.

There was, of course, romance as this is a shoujo manga (girl’s manga, aka, here there be romance and cuteness), and though it was subtle, it was still there and so darn cute. The feelings grew slowly and steadily, and just like any school crush, it was difficult for either party to really speak their feelings. I feel that, if they had, it would have made it just a little bit easier overall.

Overall, my favorite aspect of this book was the friendship because it is such an important element in this story. Not giving up on your friends or taking sides or anything like that. It was all about trying to make one friend happy, yes, but they were all doing it because of how much they care for Kakeru.

This first volume is definitely 5/5 stars and I extremely, highly recommend it.

orange2Title: Orange: The Complete Collection 2 Publication Date: May 31, 2016 Pages: 384 Format: Purchased Paperback

Everyone has regrets in life. So who wouldn’t take the chance to change the past if given the opportunity? When sixteen-year-old Takamiya Naho receives a mysterious letter, claiming to be from her twenty-seven-year-old self, her life is suddenly thrown into flux. The letter informs her that a new transfer student by the name of Naruse Kakeru will be joining her class, and to keep her eye on him. What is Naho to make of the letter’s contents and its cryptic warning?

Orange: The Complete Collection 2 also includes a bonus story, Haruiro Astronaut. This five chapter story is about a pair of twins who discover that they can’t share everything in life – or at least not an alien that suddenly becomes a part of it.

In this second volume, we pick up the story right where it was left off and we find out that all of the friends received letters from their past selves. They all work hard and come together to try to make Kakeru’s life as happy as possible. Of course, sometimes they couldn’t rely on the letters because the events happening in their timeline was different from their future selves’ timeline. Sometimes it would make things worse, but other times it would make things better, and sometimes events would align and they could follow the letters’ suggestions.

Naho really tries to make an effort to express her feelings to Kakeru in this novel, and it does make him happy, until a slip up that causes his thoughts to spiral and he doesn’t want to hurt her anymore and, therefore, turns away from her. This causes a downward spiral that they were hoping they could control, but it ends up happening anyway.

These times were the toughest to read because, as someone who has had similar experiences, once we dove into Kakeru’s point of view and saw his thought process, it was very similar to ones I have had before. When we relived the past Kakeru’s life, it was very saddening, but it also showed just how much the group of friends had come to that point to really make their Kakeru happier and change the outcome to the best of their abilities. I thought that this was a very powerful move and one that was well handled.

The ending, of course, made me burst with happiness. It was so beautiful and heartwarming and it shows just how strong friendship can be; how strong love can be. I absolutely loved this series and thought that it was really well done and showed accurate representations of depression. It’s easy to put on a smile for the world when really you feel like you’re dying on the inside. For Kakeru, this was all too true, and I’m so glad that the friends were able to help him in one timeline even if they couldn’t help him in another.

Beautiful. Simply beautiful. 5/5 stars.

Also, there was a a bonus five chapter story with different characters called Haruiro Astronaut.

This short story followed twin girls, Chiki and Mami, and how Mami always has the boys falling in love with her, and Chiki’s never really had a crush on anyone before. It’s a cute, hilarious story about the girls’ falling for guys, but it mostly focuses on Chiki and I loved it!

I felt that Chiki and Mami were very different personalitywise even if they were very similar in looks. Chiki was more like the mother hen, always looking out for others – especially Mami – whereas Mami is much more like a child and needing to rely on others.

When Mami introduces Chiki to a hot, smart basketball player, Yui, Chiki finds out that Yui likes her sister. So when those two start going out, we’re introduced to two other characters: Tastuki – Yui’s best friend from childhood – and Taskuoki – a kid from Chiki’s class who claims to like Mami, but really…

Let’s just say: hilarity ensues, there was a lot of laughter (A LOT), and it was adorable and really helped to lighten the mood after reading Orange. It was very cute and heartwarming, and I need a whole series just about these characters, please and thank you. This short story is a definite must read and I rated it 5/5 stars, too!

Favorite Books of 2015

Hey peeps! Today I wanted to talk about some of my favorite books I read last year because, well, why not? I loved them so much that I want to share with you all what they are and why I loved them. I already did a video version of this topic last month and just never got around to actually doing a blog post. So here we go!

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

thefinalempire

This first installment of the Mistborn trilogy was just amazing! It was epic in a way that I had never read before. The plot was extensive, weaving so many aspects of the lives that were being lead together; the magical system was unique and defining, but not all powerful; the characters were differentiated by talent, personality, caste, and more; and it was just overall an amazing read. Highly recommended. Check out my review!

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

igniteme

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the character arc in this trilogy was amazing. By far one of the best arcs I’ve ever read about. Juliette just proved how strong she was on her own without any guy to hold her down, and then the fights happened and the romance blossomed and the writing was incredible. This final installment of the trilogy was just amazing and I couldn’t recommend this more. Check out my review!

This Shattered World & Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

thisshatteredworldtheirfracturedlightAs the second and third books in the Starbound trilogy, I just felt that these two were better than the first. The stories that were told were haunting, heart-breaking, intense, and fast-paced. The romances were ones that made my heart flutter and the worlds in which they lived in had me wondering about our own universe. The way that the story wound itself through these two and joined everyone and everything together was smooth and enticing. Also, have you seen the covers? Gorgeous! Check out my reviews here and here!

Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor

daughterofsmokeandbonedaysofbloodandstarlight

As the first and second books in this trilogy of monsters and angels and humans, I was drawn in not only by the concept of the chimera and angels fighting against one another, but for the writing. Laini Taylor’s use of the English language is one that is beautiful and encompasses so much emotion and passion in every stroke. Not only that, but I found the characters to be engaging, the story to be different, and the romance to be one that stretches beyond time. Check out my reviews here and here!

Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

queenofshadows

As the fourth installment in my favorite fantasy series, of course I loved this book. It wasn’t without its problems, of course, but it was just everything I wanted and more from this series so far. There’s action, adventure, deceit, romance, death, magic, and more. Loved it and can’t wait for the next one. Check out my review!

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

thekissofdeception

My first audiobook experience and it also became one of my favorite books. This story is one in which a princess runs away from marriage and tries to build a new life with her friend, but ends up in a much bigger plot than she could have imagined. The audiobook was told in three perspectives and the actors did well with changes of voice and pronunciations. I loved the story and the characters and it’s just a beautiful tale of lies, love, friendship, and the need for freedom. Check out my review!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

anemberintheashes

This debut novel was amazing from start to finish. Set in an ancient Rome-esque society, there is brutality in the land, slaves, warriors, a fight for freedom, hints of magic, and so much more. Honestly, how is this a debut? It’s so good! I’m also really glad that the second book will be coming out later this year because I need it now. Check out my review!

Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

simonvs

This. Was. So. Cute. I was squeeing and laughing out loud so much from this book and I am so glad I picked it up. This book is a coming out story and one that kids in today’s modern age can appreciate. With the use of the internet, two kids from the same school are able to communicate with one another and get close with one another, falling in love though they don’t know who the other is just yet. It was so adorable and it just brought so much happiness to my heart. Highly recommend this one. Check out my review!

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare

cityofglass

This is the third book in the Mortal Instruments series, and when it was originally a trilogy I could see how this wrapped up the story beautifully. Not only were the characters coming in to their own, but the story was growing more and more exponential and the plot was becoming more and more twisted. This book holds hope, revenge, love, anger, and so much more. Honestly, a fantastic installment for the series. Check out my review!

The Amazing Book is Not on Fire by Dan Howell and Phil Lester

theamazingbookisnotonfire

So I didn’t discover these two YouTube stars until I saw their book trailer, but I still really adore them! And I just needed the book. It’s a funny compilation of some of their best work, some fun facts about them, and some advice on making YouTube videos. I also got the audiobook, and it made the book 100x better. Loved it! Check out my review!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Steifvater

theravenboys

The writing in this book is phenomenal! I loved the story, the characters, the twist of the psychics and the magic that lingers in the little town of Henrietta. The characters are all so intriguing and genuine and though I didn’t grow to love them until the second book, they were still etching their way into my heart. I highly recommend picking up this book and giving it a try. Check out my review!

So there you have it! Thirteen of my favorite reads from last year. If you haven’t picked any of these up then I highly suggest you do; you won’t be disappointed! And if you are, well… sorry.

What were some of your absolute favorite books that you read in 2015? Did you read any on my list? What were your thoughts? Let me know!

The Future Collection Short Stories Review

thefuturecollectionTitle: The Future Collection
Author: Beth Revis
Publisher: Scripturient Books
Publication Date: January 13, 2015
Genre: Young Adult – Short Stories, Sci-Fi
Pages: 105
Format: Won eBook for nook

This collection of sci fi stories from NY Times Bestselling author Beth Revis features worlds and technology from the future. Featuring three brand new, original tales and three reprints, each story explores a different set of characters in a different world and facing different problems in the future world.

“Doctor-Patient Confidentiality”: A girl wakes up in a cryomed unit and must recall why she’s there and what’s she’s lost.

“The Most Precious Memory”: In a world where memories are sold and consumed like drugs, one deal has a weird twist.

“The Girl & the Machine”: A time traveller meets someone who claims she’s met his future self and that they’ll change the world together.

“Lag”: A reporter has found the story of a lifetime–but a malfunctioning teleportation has made her forget it…

“The Turing Test”: A college student must determine which test subject is human and which is an android with A.I.

“As They Slip Away”: A novella set in the world of Across the Universe, exploring the fate of a side character.

So I really love the science fiction genre, and Beth Revis really showed me just why I love it so.

Not only are these short stories a unique spin into the world of sci-fi, but they’re also just imaginative, heartfelt, creepy, and held the hint of possibility in them. Though, as you’ll see, I have a hard time talking about these stories without giving too much away, so I’m sorry for being kind of vague.

The first short story, Doctor-Patient Confidentiality, told the story from the perspective of a young woman who had just woken from hyper sleep to discover that she had died – or come close to it. She has an internal struggle as to losing her friends, losing time, unsure of whether or not it was her husband’s fault, etc. This story had me questioning just why she continually blamed the husband when, really, it was her fault that she had gotten sick.

And then you find out who the doctor is and it hits you in the feels. Oy.

The second short story, The Most Precious Memory, tells the story from a perspective of a young man who doesn’t remember anything – he’s sold his memories, or drank them, to the point in which he doesn’t know his name. One day when someone offers to sell him the most precious memory, he can’t pass up the opportunity.

And when he does he really starts to try to want to hold onto those memories.

This one hit me right in the feels. It had so much heart because of just who the memory that he was buying belonged to and it really just made me want to cry.

The third short story, The Girl & the Machine, is about a teen who can time travel, but he can only time travel within his own direct timeline. He can’t go into the future, and he can’t go too far into the past. But he does change some things and does things to become the young man he is today, and that’s when he meets the girl.

The girl knows him from his future self and how she was told that together, they could change the world. So the boy, being naturally curious, follows her to a lab where they learn a little more about each other.

And that’s when my emotional attachment and curiosity for the boy halt and I want to slap him. The subject of rape does come up, so tread lightly if this is a trigger warning for you, but it’s not so detailed that it’ll make you cringe. It did make me angry, though.

And then the girl told him who she was and just what she was planning to do, and though I was horrified just from everything that was going on, I was kind of impressed with how she handled it.

The fourth story, Lag, is about teleportation and how one woman is teleported and forgets everything over the last two weeks. She has no recollection whatsoever, and the last time she updated her memories at the Memory Bank, it was two weeks ago. So what had happened?

Being a reporter, she has a natural knack for getting information, and she quickly discovers just what that information will cost her – and has cost her. This story was engaging and very descriptive of some gruesome details, but the reasons why she couldn’t remember anything for two weeks will shock you. I was shocked, anyway, though I kind of got it a little bit before reading about why.

The fifth story, The Turing Test, is probably my second favorite. This one is about a girl who is majoring in artificial intelligence and she is asked to be put to the test to determine if two computers she’s talking to are AI’s or humans – or neither or one or the other. As she asks them questions, she quickly picks who is who because of the discussions being held, but then things turn on their head and new mysteries and revelations are discovered.

This one has a lot of possibility of happening in the future, so it’s creepy in that aspect, but it was extremely fascinating to read about. I’d definitely want a continuation on this short story.

The sixth and final story, As They Slip Away, was the longest story, but it was also told in about four parts, all from the same perspective of a girl who lives at the Hospital aboard the ship, Godspeed. She, along with others, are called “loons” and they are all the crazy people on board, but one of the other girls has a theory that the pills they take aren’t because they’re crazy, but it keeps them continuing to see realty.

As the story progresses, it focuses on six individuals who are adept at the arts, and who each have talents and assignments to complete in a month. But there is one guy who is just kind of too creepy, though he finds the main protagonist beautiful.

Then things just spiral downward after a shared moment with a friend.

I’m not really sure how I feel about this story. It was creepy, but entertaining, but mostly creepy and kind of sad. She gave up her humanity because of a guy. It’s tragic, really.

Overall, I loved each of these stories. I think each had their own special quirks to make them unique and that ultimately interested me and had me wanting more. But there were also a lot of typos that I spotted, so that was really the only downfall. And I wished there had been more.

I rate this collection 4/5 stars and highly recommend it if you’re looking for a quick sci-fi fix.

Top 5 Wednesday: Books to Read By the Fire

Welcome to another Top 5 Wednesday as hosted by Lainey of gingerreadslainey. Today’s topic is our top five favorite books to read by the fire, aka holiday/winter reads. So here are my picks in no particular order:

5. The Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews

magicbites

This adult urban fantasy series would be nice to curl up by the fire with because not only does it have action and fantasy, but there’s also a slow burn romance that’s just filled with tension as the books progress.

4. The Starbound trilogy by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

This trilogy is beautiful and epic and it tells the story from six different perspectives throughout all of them. Between the lonely and dangerous world in the first book, to the war ridden, split territory world in the second, to the underworld and an mysterious beings in the third, this trilogy definitely has a lot to offer during those cold winter nights. Plus the romances are amazing.

3. The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare

cityofbones

Need I say anything about this series? It’s got action, adventure, conflict, romance, demons, magic, weird creatures, kickass people, and so much more. Definitely a good read to curl up by the fire with.

2. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

eleanorandpark

This story is both part sweet and bitter, but the sweet far outweighs the latter. This story is about two outcasts and how they come together to find a love that’s truer than anything they had ever experienced before. How sweet for the holidays, right?

1 . All the manga!

I love manga, so reading it is just a fun activity to do in general. You can find everything under the sun from action, adventure, romance, shoujo-ai (girl-girl love) and shonen-ai (boy-boy love), to one-shot, slice of life, horror, and so much more. Really, whatever your preference is, you can pretty much find a manga based around it. Really, all you have to do is find the one that you think best fits your winter mood.

So there you have it! My list of some of my favorite winter reads. Definitely check these out and see what you like curling by the fire with.

What books would you read during the holidays/winter time? Let me know!