New Books & Novel Discoveries (September 2018)

In an odd twist, September is an even lighter month than August despite my trip to Fan Expo on the first. The trip was a lot of fun at any rate and I came home with neat curiosities, art, and dumb things I didn’t need but enjoyed getting anyway. I even came home with a few books. Though I wasn’t able to find some that I was actually looking for, I’m happy with what I did manage to pick up.

Anyway, on to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/26

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

The TroopI’m nearly a hundred pages into reading The Troop by Nick Cutter. I was pleasantly surprised with how it hit the ground running with the setup, having the characters already camped out on the small island near Prince Edward Island. It dawned on me slowly after I started reading that this might not be a zombie story at all, but rather a Wendigo story. The starving man who intrudes on their island is emaciated yet cognizant, desperately hungry and devouring everything he can get his hands on yet never able to satisfy the hunger. The novel has yet to confirm one way or another, but I’m eager to find out. The only hitch in the book for me so far is the idle banter between the boys of the troop hasn’t been well written at all.


Recently Finished

AftermathLifeDebtOver the weekend I finished reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, which you can check out my review for here. This book wound up being a significant improvement upon its predecessor for me. The ensemble cast was really well balanced, iconic characters were given more involved roles, and the plot had a lot more forward momentum. Much more happened in this book without sacrificing character moments. A few of the characters did still leave something to be desired though, with personal plot-lines that I had trouble caring for in the grand scheme of things. Nevertheless, I’m excited to read the third and final installment soon.

The Long Road HomeI also read through The Long Road Home by Robin Furth and Peter David et al, the second book in the prequel graphic novels for The Dark Tower series. The plot of this book follows young Roland and his ka-tet’s return to Gilead after the death of Susan, Roland’s love. He spends much of his time in the thrall of Maerlyn’s Grapefruit while his companions must convey his unconscious body over treacherous terrain and protect him from their pursuers. In the seventh novel Roland mentioned seeing the death of Oy through the grapefruit, which we are treated to as well. I was rather heartbreaking to see visualized, and helped to tie the book to the greater quest that lies in store for Roland.


Reading Next

The Haunting of Hill HouseI still intend to continue reading the prequels to The Dark Tower, and in terms of prose I think I can safely say I intend to read one of the Shirley Jackson ebooks I purchased within the last year. More than likely it will be The Haunting of Hill House, which I’ve heard a lot about as a classic film (1963) and novel, but haven’t spent time with firsthand. I’m excited to read a classic ghost story as well as have my first experience with Jackson’s work, considered a master of horror and mystery.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Reading Habits Tag

I saw this reading tag done by Molly over at Silver Button Books last week and decided to accept her open invitation for others to do the tag as well. September has been a bit of a weird month for me in terms of getting posts written. I feel like I blinked and the month was already nearly over, having posted very little. This tag felt like a good opportunity to get me writing a little more before September ends.

Be sure to check out Molly’s post too to read her answers!Read More »

Book Review – Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig

AftermathLifeDebt

Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig is the second novel in the Star Wars: Aftermath trilogy, continuing the story of Norra Wexley and her team; her son Temmin, his battle droid bodyguard Mister Bones, the Zabrak bounty hunter Jas Emari, the ex-Imperial Sinjir Rath Velus, and the special forces soldier Jom Barell, who work together to hunt down Imperial war criminals. The New Republic continues its fight for a firm foothold in the galaxy, while the Empire under Grand Admiral Rae Sloane and her mysterious advisor Gallius Rax conspire to regain the control lost after the deaths of the Emperor and Darth Vader. Meanwhile, in a risky move to free the Wookiee homeworld of Kashyyyk from enslavement, Chewbacca has been captured and Han Solo has gone missing. A distressed Leia enlists the help of Norra’s team to find out what happened to her husband.Read More »

Comic Book Review – Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown

Ed the Happy Clown

Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown is one of my first real forays into alternative comics. The character and the strips within this book first appeared in the author’s initially self-published comic book Yummy Fur, where the story was serialized. For the most part the story follows Ed, a boyish-looking young man who likes to dress as a clown and bring joy to unwell children. This not what the story is about however, as Ed finds himself afflicted by one horrible, often bizarre, twist of fate after another. Focused more on what happens to Ed than how he deals with each obstacle, the story line includes pygmies infesting the city’s sewers, a man who cannot stop defecating, a vampire girl seeking revenge, miniature men from another dimension, and oh so much more.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/19

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

AftermathLifeDebtI’m still reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, though I’m about two thirds of the way through now. In some ways I’m finding I like this book a lot more than the first one. The amount of development and motion in the story has really made me realize even more in retrospect just how much the first book was spinning its wheels where plot was concerned. There are other hiccups in Wendig’s writing style that recur in this book as well, making them stand out worse. Nevertheless, I am enjoying it, and I’m especially happy to see core Star Wars characters like Han and Leia play significant roles in the story, rather than being more background figures.


Recently Finished

Ed the Happy ClownOver the weekend I finished reading Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown. While a big talking point about the book for me going in was just how weird things looked without any context, I must say that by the end I was thoroughly over it. Exhaustion was bound to set in, as I expected, especially reading it all at once (rather than serially, as it was originally published). That’s not to say that I think it is bad, however, just that that particular shtick stopped affecting me by the end. The story had grown out in a more coherent direction too, ending things on a surprisingly downer note for certain characters. I should have a review posted soon.


Reading Next

The TroopLike I said last week, with October a mere couple of weeks away I’ve been thinking a lot about the horror books I may want to start reading for the season. One that I’ve decided upon, and likely my next book, is The Troop by Nick Cutter. I’ve made to sure to limit my knowledge of the story to the back cover, so all that I can glean from that is it’s about a troop of scouts on a camping trip in the Canadian wilderness who encounter some sort of zombie-like threat. Nick Cutter is actually a pseudonym for a Canadian author I really like who typically writes fiction, so I’m especially intrigued to see what he comes up with as Cutter.

Until next week, thank you for reading! What did you read this week?

Comic Book Review – Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu

Yon & Mu

Master of Japanese horror manga Junji Ito presents a series of hissterical tales chronicling his real-life trials and tribulations of becoming a cat owner. Junji Ito, as J-kun, has recently built a new house and has invited his financée, A-ko, to live with him. Little did he know … his blushing bride-to-be has some unexpected company in tow—Yon, a ghastly-looking family cat, and Mu, an adorable Norwegian forest cat. Despite being a dog person, J-kun finds himself purrsuaded by their odd cuteness and thus begins his comedic struggle to gain the affection of his new feline friends.

In the last year I’ve become quite familiar with Junji Ito’s body of work, as far as English releases go, but this is the first time I’ve read anything that he’s created outside of the horror genre. Cat Diary: Yon & Mu is a short and sweet read, each chapter a vignette chronicling the mishaps he faces becoming a cat owner. There really isn’t a plot to follow throughout the book, though J-kun (Ito) does have a sort of arc that he undergoes throughout. I’ve lauded him in the past for his ability as a horror writer, but this book taught me something new: Junji Ito can be really funny.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/12

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

AftermathLifeDebtI started reading Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig, though I’ve only really just started. My impressions about these books have shifted a little bit since finishing the first one, due to some personal reflection and encountering how other people feel about these books. I stand by my review of the first one, but it is a little telling that my favourite parts of that book were the interludes. It seems this book will be just as focused on the characters introduced in this series. I’m not sure how I feel about that. At any rate, it has started out all right so far, though I’m noticing some negative points someone made about Wendig’s writing style I hadn’t noticed myself before. I shall maintain optimism, at an rate.

Ed the Happy ClownI’ve also been reading Ed the Happy Clown by Chester Brown, which came a little out of left field. A friend of my showed me their copy and offered to let me borrow it, which I accepted. Shortly after last week’s post I started reading it and it’s really bizarre. Apparently, Brown’s idea was to take the story in random directions with each strip, though there are twisted threads the story is following along at the point I’ve reached. It’s not completely non-sequitur throughout. I’ve read two books of his before this, though they were a biography and a memoir respectively, so this is quite a dramatic shift in content.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsOver the weekend I finished reading The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden, which you can check out my review for here. Unfortunately I didn’t not quite live up to my admittedly arbitrary expectations. I really liked the lore the novel introduced into the world of Hellboy, but a lot of the story ended up meandering, the characters dwelling on concern for one another repetitively without the plot escalating these issues much. I still liked it for what it was, since the novels are really only side stories to the series proper, but I’m starting to wonder if Golden is the negative x-factor for me.

Yon & MuI also finished reading Junji Ito’s Cat Diary: Yon & Mu. I absolutely loved this book. The art was great, the stories in each chapter were well told, and most importantly it showed that Ito’s got surprisingly good chops as a comedy writer. It was just the right length too; not overdoing it yet short enough to leave me wanting more without being disappointed. I should have a review posted of it soon.

 


Reading Next

I’m really not sure what to read next. I’m starting to suspect Life Debt will take me longer than I think it will. It’s not a dense read, but it’s still 500 pages long. With October only a few weeks away I’ve started to think more about horror books to read, though I’ve no idea what I’ll start with just yet. I do think I should start one before September is over though so I can spread some reviews throughout the month.

Until next time, thank you for reading!

Book Review – The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Bones Of Giants

On the frozen shores of Sweden, lightning strikes from a clear sky. The skeleton of a huge man is revealed, its fingers clutched around the handle of an iron hammer. No one who comes to see this marvel from Norse mythology can lift it—no one but Hellboy, who lifts the hammer just in time for lightning to strike again, welding it to his hand and leading him towards a bizarre series of visions and encounters.

The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden is the second Hellboy novel, written with the creator of the character and comic book series Mike Mignola, who also provided illustrations. There was always something about this book that appealed to me more than its predecessor The Lost Army. I did enjoy that book, but it felt fairly garden variety as far as Hellboy stories go. This second novel sported Hellboy on the cover wielding what is in fact Mjollnir, the legendary weapon of the Norse god Thor, promising something a little different for the world’s greatest paranormal investigator, who typically deals with less divine forms of the otherworldly.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – 2018/09/05

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WWW Wednesday is a book meme run by Taking on a World of Words.

The Three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?


Currently Reading

Hellboy Bones Of GiantsNot unexpectedly, I’m still in the middle of reading Hellboy: The Bones of Giants by Christopher Golden, nearing the halfway mark. It was a rather busy long weekend for me and I didn’t find much time to read between being busy and/or exhausted. Nevertheless, I’m enjoying this book quite a bit more than the previous Hellboy novel. It feels much more like there’s a mystery at play; I still don’t even know why Mjollnir has fused itself with Hellboy’s hand nor the extent of the forces at play against him. He’s living up to his job as a paranormal investigator a lot more here, as he should, rather than just a big guy there to clobber things.


Recently Finished

Regrettably nothing this week. I’ve been wanting to at least have a comic done for this section every week, but like I said it’s just been a tad too busy.


Reading Next

Yon & MuI still have my plans of continuing The Dark Tower comic book prequels and starting Aftermath: Life Debt by Chuck Wendig soon, but I’ve got some new books in the pipeline too. I went to Fan Expo over the weekend and among the comics I picked up was Cat Diary: Yon & Mu by Junji Ito. In this book, the master of Japanese horror manga and creator of Uzumaki chronicles his real-life struggles with becoming a cat owner. His creepy art partnered with feline antics should make for an exceptionally unique read.

Until next time, thank you for reading!