New Books & Novel Discoveries (May 2019)

As far as physical books go, this has been a month of preorders. I did poke around some bookstores throughout the month though, especially while I was visiting Toronto. There are some used bookstores I really like there and I tried to find some specific novels and comic books I’ve been looking for, but sadly had no luck. What stung the most was a specific comic I was looking for was there one of the last times I’d checked the location, but that was many months ago.

So, what I’m left with in terms of new books were those I’ve been expecting for several months. Not that I’m complaining, mind you. On to the books!Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 29, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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 Hidden Life of TreesAt the moment I’m only reading The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben, which I’m almost a third of the way through. The chapters of this book offer fantastic snippets of insight into how trees really interact with each other and the world around them. Part of me was concerned about how accessible it might all be, but so far each chapter is a nice digestible length that concisely explores or expounds upon something new about their biology and behaviour. Learning how the trees of ancient forests are connected to each other by what is known as a “wood wide web” or how trees actually work toward nurturing their saplings to help them live longer lives has been simply marvelous so far.


Recently Finished

Hope DiesSince last week I finished volume eight of Marvel’s Star Wars series Mutiny at Mon Cala by Kieron Gillen et al and over the weekend I started and completed Hope Dies by Kieron Gillen et al, the ninth volume. Following their successes in volume eight, Hope Dies has them suffer at the hands of Darth Vader’s swift and brutal campaign to destroy the Rebel Alliance once and for all. We know that he does not succeed, of course, but I really enjoyed seeing the heights the Alliance was able to achieve and how much of that got torn away from them by Imperial efforts. One thing I especially like about Gillen’s run in this series is how he’ll include characters from other Star Wars media. In this case I’m referring to Hera Syndulla and Zeb from the Rebels animated TV series who only appeared on the periphery yet their inclusion was appreciated.


Reading Next

The Healing ThirstI’m back to mulling over what novel I want to read next, since I don’t expect to be in the middle of The Hidden Life of Trees for an especially long time. I just haven’t made up my mind, as usual. Something else I have to read next is the second Bloodborne graphic novel: The Healing Thirst by Aleš Kot, Piotr Kowalski, and Brad Simpson. I loved The Death of Sleep and while I’ve actually sat on my copy of this book for a little bit since it came out I’m nonetheless really excited to get to reading through it.

Feel free to leave a link to your post below.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – On Earth as it is in Hell by Brian Hodge

On Earth as it is in Hell

Published in 2005, On Earth as it is in Hell by Brian Hodge is the third novel based on the Hellboy comic book series and the first not written by Christopher Golden. Unlike the previous two novels, this book is considered to be outside of the accepted canon of stories. It does however work off of established Hellboy continuity up until the point that it was published.

Hellboy, Abe Sapien, and other agents of the BPRD are brought to the Vatican after a fiery attack upon the archives kills a number of people, destroying many priceless texts from history in the process. One survived, however, which Hellboy believes to have been the true target of the attack: The Masada Scroll, purportedly written by Jesus of the Nazarene himself decades after the crucifixion. The culprits? None other than seraphim, having unleashed devasting heavenly fire. But why would agents of Heaven enact such death and destruction? In trying to keep the scroll safe for the Vatican, Hellboy and company come up against heretical fanatics, diabolical deities, and a conspiracy to bring about Hell on Earth.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 22, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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

Mutiny at Mon CalaLast night I decided to start reading the next volume of Marvel’s ongoing Star Wars series that I need to get to, which is Volume 8: Mutiny at Mon Cala by Kieron Gillen, Salvador Larroca, and David Marquez. I’ve been an especially big fan of Gillen’s work in the new Star Wars comic books and this book continues that trend. Previous volumes in this series have been all right, but always left more to be desired. In this volume the crew of the Millennium Falcon are trying to rescue the Mon Calamari king from prison, hoping this will help in getting them to pledge some of their fleet to the Rebel Alliance. I’ve reached a critical point where their plan has been compromised and I’m excited to see where things go.


Recently Finished

On Earth as it is in HellOver the weekend I finished reading On Earth As It Is In Hell by Brian Hodge, the third Hellboy novel. I should hopefully have a review done before the end of the week. I’m having such oddly mixed feelings about this book. On the one hand I think it had the most intriguing plot of all the Hellboy novels I’ve read so far, but on the other I was pushing myself to finish it finally. I did not feel a natural drive to power to see what happened next. I liked the story, yet I was largely motivated by my desire to move past the book entirely. I’m a little vexed by this, but hopefully I can get these feelings fully sussed out for the review. All the same, there were really good things about this book I hope the novels that follow it have taken cues from.


Reading Next

The Hidden Life of TreesI’ve decided the next book I will read shall be The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben. This is pretty close to my previous science read, but I loved the last book so much that I’ve decided to just take the plunge with this book. It’s a topic I know almost nothing about, yet I’m curiously fascinated by it all the same. I do hope that it doesn’t disappoint.

Feel free to leave a link to your post below.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Writing Report #8

Aw shucks, it’s been a minute since my last report again. There have been some small developments to write about, however, so I figured I’d do a little check-in with any of you lovely people who are interested.

In my last report I wrote about how I need to form a habit; that I write in bursts with longer periods of inactivity in between. That is unfortunately still the case and I hate myself (only a bit). I feel a little guilty about not having broken that, even though I’m sure others can relate to some degree. Anyway, enough lollygagging.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 15, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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

On Earth as it is in HellI’ve read a little bit more of On Earth As It Is In Hell by Brian Hodge since last week, but admittedly it has not been very much. What I have read has begun to flesh out the predicament Hellboy and company are in a little more clearly though, which I’m continuing to find interesting. In a nutshell, a rogue element of the Roman Catholic Church has been using dark rituals to summon demons and the dead to inflict punishments and interrogations upon them in the name of the church, but in meddling in such forces they have become heretical. This faction has apparently found a way to summon seraphim, and is directing them to try and destroy an ancient document that challenges widely held truths to Christianity, which the BPRD is now tasked with protecting.


Recently Finished

Planting Gardens in GravesLate last week I finished reading Planting Gardens in Graves by R. H. Sin. In a number of ways I really did enjoy reading this collection of poems. I liked the little rhythm I got into as I went along, but the content of a the poems themselves left a lot to be desired. I think there’s a lot of ground to cover with the idea of investing feelings in the wrong people in life, but his poems typically manifested this sentiment in one of three ways: women are wronged by men in relationships, the poet is wronged by unappreciative women, or men generally don’t appreciate women. An unfortunately narrow set of viewpoints that seemed to dominate the collection.

TheAmazingScrew-OnHeadI also read through The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects by Mike Mignola over the weekend. I loved this book a lot more than I was expecting, especially the story featured in the title. “The Amazing Screw-On Head” is a tongue-in-cheek pulpy story about an android who serves President Lincoln and is charged, time and again, with saving the world. It was brimming with humour, yet played itself straight at the same time. Other stories in the collection took on a similar tone as well, while “The Magician and the Snake” was great to revisit, a tale that continued to be perfectly brief and poignant. The book is mostly just a collection of curious story ideas Mignola has had, but they were such fun to read. You really can be most surprised from unexpected places.


Reading Next

I’ve been visiting family for the past several days, so I must say I’ve given little to no thought on what I plan to read next. I promise that once I do make up my mind you’ll be the first to hear about it.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett

Witches Abroad

Witches Abroad is the 12th novel in Terry Pratchett’s comic fantasy Discworld series, and the third in the “Witches” subset of books. Desiderata Hollow knows that soon she will pass on. She’s a witch. Witches are good at knowing things like this. The problem is, she’s also a fairy godmother to a girl far across the Disc in a land called Genua, whose destiny is being meddled with. She passes her wand onto Magrat Garlick, one of the witches of in the kingdom of Lancre, with express instructions to travel to Genua to help this girl, and to not allow the other witches Granny Weatherwax and Nanny Ogg to help her (knowing full well that those two will do the exact opposite of what is asked of them). Their objective vague and their destination clear, the trio commence their long journey to Genua.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 8, 2019

www_wednesdays

WWW Wednesday is a weekly book meme run by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. Check out her post and others over on her blog! Feel free to leave a link to your own down below as well.

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

On Earth as it is in HellI’m only a quarter of the way through On Earth As It Is In Hell by Brian Hodge, but that’s a fair amount more than where I was at last week. As a Hellboy novel I’m enjoying it quite a bit. He’s taking his time to set the stage for something a little more intricate. I love reading about Hellboy clobbering monsters as much as anybody, but he’s more than just a brute. I did have a moment where I laughed at this book really hard though. You may or may not be familiar with posts going around social media poking fun at male authors clumsily writing female characters. I’ve encountered an example in the wild with this book and it had me in stitches for a good 5 minutes. Otherwise the writing has been pretty good, so I’ll try not to hold this against it.

On Earth As It Is In Hell Excerpt
Mystifies men, wears a choker, has periods…you know, a woman. Duh.

Planting Gardens in GravesI’ve also started reading Planting Gardens in Graves by R. H. Sin. I’ve only read about 50 pages, which is especially little considering it’s a poetry collection that I could power through quickly if I chose to do so. Reading it has been enjoyable so far; Sin’s style is very accessibly. The only misgivings I have about the book are what these poems collectively seem to be about. In a broad sense it so far seems to be capturing the feelings of investing yourself in people romantically who let you down. I don’t mind this necessarily, but so far there has been a weird line in the sand drawn between the sexes, when I feel most of these sentiments are pretty universal.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1955Over the weekend I finished reading Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1955 by Mike Mignola et al. I enjoyed it a lot more than 1954. This book managed to balance episodic adventures with a connective narrative really well. There were also some great little characters moments that helped this time in Hellboy’s life feel more distinct. Despite his appearance he’s only about 10 years old, after all, and his relative inexperience with life grates against his teammates in interesting ways. Despite this, he’s demonstrating how much he excels at his job as an agent too. I’m actually pretty excited to see what 1956 has in store for the characters now.

Witches AbroadI also finished reading Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett and I enjoyed this novel quite a lot. I should have a full review up soon. Discworld novels often have at least one moment that makes me burst out laughing, and I’m happy to report that this novel was not an exception. He just has such a way with words sometimes that it strikes such a cord with me. I know Lords and Ladies is not far off in my reading lineup, which is another Witches novel, but this book has got me excited to revisit these characters again so soon. The trio of Granny Weatherwax, Nanny Ogg, and Magrat Garlick might just be my favourite, second only to Death himself.


Reading Next

TheAmazingScrew-OnHeadI’m afraid I’m at a bit of a loss again regarding what novel I’d like to read next. I may deviate from my list for the year for my next one, but I’ve made no decision yet. I have finally gotten more digital Star Wars comics, at any rate, so it’s likely I read some of those next. I’d also like to read The Amazing Screw-On Head by Mike Mignola, which is a collection of stories by the creator of Hellboy. One story in particular is “The Magician and the Snake”, which he co-wrote with his daughter and I’m happy to have a physical copy of. It’s a lovely little story.

Until next week, thank you for reading!

Book Review – Fragile Things by Neil Gaiman

Fragile Things

Fragile Things: Short Fictions and Wonders is a 2006 collection of short stories and poems by Neil Gaiman. Most of the pieces contained within are actually reprints, previously having appeared in anthologies, literary magazines, music albums, and in one case paired with a picture in a photography book. Most relevant to some, perhaps, is the final novella-length story The Monarch of the Glen, which is a sequel to the novel American Gods that takes inspiration from the story Beowulf. This book also contains the story “How to Talk to Girls at Parties” which was adapted into a film in 2017.Read More »

Comic Book Review – Smashed by Junji Ito

Smashed

Smashed is the newest English translation collection of short horror stories by manga artist Junji Ito, bringing together 13 chilling tales. Most of them are one-shot stories, with the exception of trio that focus around a strange haunted house attraction that pops up in abandoned buildings near the outskirts of towns, charging outrageous prices but promising to scare you out of your wits. I didn’t know much about the stories collected in this book going in. I saw there was a new collection coming out, and that’s pretty much all that was needed to get me to commit to picking it up.Read More »