WWW Wednesday – January 6, 2021

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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!

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

Nothing this week. Been taking a little breather from reading since my blitz last week, but I’ll start reading my next book before the week is out.


Recently Finished

Hellboy 1956The night of last Wednesday I read through Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 by Mike Mignola et al. It had been a little while since I continued this series, and it was strange coming back because of how much the whole volume felt like filler. I liked how it tied itself in with Hellboy in Mexico, which took place in the same year, having Hellboy largely absent from the events concerning the BPRD. The death of his childhood dog being part of his motivation for going AWOL/on a bender in Mexico for six months was a nice addition too, though I wish it had had some sort of emotional payoff, since the people around him were oblivious to what he was going through. The rest of the book kind of spun its wheels, though, and connected with other books I’ve yet to read.

SpiderlightI also finished Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky last Thursday, which I largely loved. It was a strong contender for one of my Top 5 Books Read in 2020, but I ended up having really mixed feelings about the ending that I’m still trying to come to terms with. When considering the novel’s tongue-in-cheek attitude toward fantasy tropes, I kind of love what the ending does to the characters and the world itself. As something emotionally cohesive with the themes of the story, however, it felt like a bit of a cop out. I’m firmly of two minds about this, which has made tackling the review in a more timely way a little difficult. I should have it up before next Wednesday, at any rate. Still, it was a great fantasy novel with an excellent inhuman character and a highly nuanced look at the dynamics of good vs evil.

The Force Awakens The Visual DictionaryLastly, I read through The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo as my 11th hour read for 2020, allowing me to complete my Goodreads challenge on time. Though a lot of the lore within I’d learned from secondary sources that used this very book for the information, it was a lot of fun to read through the primary source itself. I really enjoyed running into some snippets of information that I first ran into in novels that came out after this one, showing how long these ideas had been in place in canon. It provides some great, close-up images of props from the film too.


Reading Next

Master & ApprenticeSomething I’ve mentally committed to doing this year, as I did last year, is reading through the leftovers from my scrappy to-read list, which I put together every January. With that being the case, the next book I’m going to start will be Star Wars: Master & Apprentice by Claudia Gray, which I’m still really looking forward to thanks to Gray being the author. Her Star Wars stuff has been so good so far. The other two leftovers are Moby Dick by Herman Melville and American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis. I don’t know when I’ll get to them, as I expect the first will be a particular undertaking, but I am resolved to read them this year nonetheless.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below. Happy New Year, everyone 😀

WWW Wednesday – December 30, 2020

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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!

The Three Ws are:

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

Decided to take an impromptu week off last week, but now I’m back and ready to read more WWWs 🙂


Currently Reading

SpiderlightI’m just about 3/4 of the way through Spiderlight by Adrian Tchaikovsky, and oh boy am I enjoying this book. It takes its setting and lore so seriously, yet has such a hilariously tongue-in-cheek attitude towards it at the same time. I take the characters, the quest, and their personal tribulations very seriously, but it’s also made me laugh many times. One of the main characters is a giant spider named Nth, who is made to join the band of heroes and turned into a man-spider thing by their magician. His involvement in their quest compromises the group, while he himself is miserable, and it makes for some great group dynamics. I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop between him and the Chosen One of their band, as she is still far from accepting him as anything more than a thing of the Dark.


Recently Finished

During the holiday I did very little reading, so over the past few days I’ve done a blitz of reading graphic novels to catch up on my Goodreads challenge. Let’s have a look, shall we?

Shortly after my post on December 16, I read through Remina by Junji Ito, which you can read my full review for here. Though a longer book, it felt more like an expansion on a short story idea the author had, rather than something of the caliber of his other longer works. I was a little disappointed, but it still made for a decent cosmic horror story, with some fantastic imagery on two-page spreads.

I finally decided to crack open more Berserk by Kentaro Miura, reading through volumes 22, 23, 24, and 25. It’s great to be reminded again of why I love this dark fantasy series, simply by coming back to it, and it was great to see some of the veils of its world peeled back and explained more clearly than ever before, though it was a lot to take in. Manga volumes read so fast, so now I need a bunch more that I will quickly finish once I get to them.

Finally, last night I read Koshchei the Deathless by Mike Mignola, Ben Stenbeck et al, which takes place in the Hellboy comic book series. It was a fantastic little side story about the titular character’s life, told retrospectively by the old lich to Hellboy, the two of them sitting together in a bar in Hell. Unlike other books “From the Pages of Hellboy” that I’ve read, I really connected with this one emotionally.


Reading Next

The Force Awakens The Visual DictionaryIt’s safe to say that the reading plans I laid out aren’t going to come together, so no Master & Apprentice until the new year. If nothing else, I want to complete my Goodreads challenge. So, as one last graphic novel for the year I’m going to reading Hellboy and the B.P.R.D.: 1956 by Mike Mignola et al, continuing the series set during Hellboy’s early years, after not having read any since the middle of 2019. Hopefully I can recall all the little plot threads. Additionally, I’ve decided I’m going to read The Force Awakens: The Visual Dictionary by Pablo Hidalgo. As of Christmas I have all of these books for the Sequel Trilogy, and decided I ought to read them instead of just sit on them. I expect it will be quick and fun, and a bit different as I don’t usually read through reference books.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

Book Review – Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon

Hellboy Unnatural Selection

Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon is the 4th standalone novel in the Hellboy series of books, based on the characters from the comic book series of the same name. As with the third novel, this book is apparently considered to be non-canon with the comic book series. Mythical creatures have suddenly appeared all around the world: a werewolf stalks the streets of Baltimore, a dragon perches on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, a giant alligator lurks in the canals of Venice, and many more. Hellboy and his fellow BPRD agents (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defence) are spread thin, trying to contain the situation before more lives are lost. As things go from bad to worse, however, they come to learn that the emergence of these creatures across the globe is simply a diversion, meant to distract from a more concerted plot that, if successful, could change the world forever.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – July 8, 2020

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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!

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

Different SeasonsI started reading Different Seasons by Stephen King over the weekend, though I’ve been busy the last couple days and haven’t made any further headway. It starts with the novella “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption,” which has been really interesting as a big fan of the film. The film is actually quite faithful to the story, it just tells it a little more chronologically and streamlines some of the story points. Red is our sole narrator, and while he’s Irish in the book, there is no escaping hearing it all in Morgan Freeman’s voice. I think it’s all the better for that. I’ll be finished this story in the book sooner rather than later, so I guess I just have to wonder if it has any surprises in store for me that were left out of the film. The rest of the book is fairly unknown territory, at least. Regardless, it’s great to read some classic King again.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionOver the weekend I also finished reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, the fourth Hellboy novel. With all of it said and done, I want to say I have mixed feelings, but it’s actually weirdly straightforward. I think I’m going to remember this novel better than the other Hellboy books I’ve read so far because of how simple the story is. I don’t necessarily mean this as a strike against it, though I certainly do feel certain things could have been done much better. The premise was just simple enough, with memorable action and some evocative characters, that it will leave a better impression on me than some of the more complicated plots of other Hellboy books. I’ve been more preoccupied this week, but I should have a review up soon.


Reading Next

Through the WoodsI’ll be occupied with Different Seasons for a little while, I’m sure, so no novel has been chosen next, but I do really want to start reading Through the Woods by Emily Carroll, a comic book collection of short horror stories. I recently heard about this collection in a video discussing horror graphic novels, showing it as an example of some of the better stuff that has come out of Western comics lately, which made me eager to give it a look. Flipping through the pages, the art looks lovely, and I can’t wait to read through it.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – July 1, 2020

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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!

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 Unnatural SelectionI haven’t finished reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon like I planned to last week, but I am less than 100 pages away from finishing it, so I got pretty close. I’ve got weirdly mixed feelings about this rather action-heavy novel. On the one hand, it is exactly what I wanted as a palette cleanser: pulpy fun. My mind does glaze over occasionally while reading extended action scenes, but Hellboy fighting a bunch of dragons wreaking an airport does make for good fun. I’m oddly most interested in the characters introduced in this novel though, i.e. none of the series main-stays. I think the writing is best when told from their perspective. A lot of the characters come of as low-key hot for each other too, which I’ve found strange. I’ll probably have it finished and a review up in the next week.


Recently Finished

Immortal Hulk AbominationOver the weekend I read The Immortal Hulk: Abomination by Al Ewing et al, the fourth volume in the series, and it has reminded me just how much I love these books. It’s a series about the Hulk told within the main Marvel Comics continuity, but tells it as a horror story. This story introduces a new interpretation of the Abomination, as well as a strange new form for the Red She-Hulk, both of which I really liked. The Abomination was absolutely haunting, which is amazing considering how mainstream and often cartoon-y these big hulking brutes are as superhero characters. Beyond the body horror of it all, I love how the psychology of Banner and the different personalities that reside within him are fleshed out and given depth.


Reading Next

Different SeasonsIt has been a week, yet before I started writing this I realized that I still hadn’t made a decision on what book I want to read next. Well, I have made a snap decision. I will finally start reading Different Seasons by Stephen King. If I remember correctly, this collection of novellas was one of the first of his books that I bought when I really started getting into his work outside of The Dark Tower, yet I let it languish while I read through others instead. It’s time to fix that. This will be a long one, but I’m hoping his writing style will help me breeze through it. My understanding is these stories have less of a horror bend to them as well, one having been adapted into the film Stand By Me and another The Shawshank Redemption.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – June 24, 2020

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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!

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 Unnatural SelectionOver the weekend I started reading Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, though I only got about 50 pages in. I’m enjoying how much it just dives right into its premise, that around the world different mythological creatures are appearing and wreaking havoc: a dragon perching on the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro, a werewolf stalking the streets of Baltimore, a giant alligator lurks in the canals of Venice, and more. Each is being tackled by a different Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) agent, giving us a number of perspective characters so far. These stories are intercut with with two magicians traveling the world in the 1970s, uncovering the remains of old creatures and sending them to their father, who seems to be behind the attacks in the present. I’m curious to see where the story goes and how this all ties together, especially with the monster-fighting kicking off the novel.


Recently Finished

The Rise of SkywalkerLast week I pushed myself to finally finish off reading Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. While I prefer how this book fleshes out the details and gives greater context for the ideas introduced in this story, there is something to be said for the visual spectacle being lost when translated to the page. My ideal version of all this would definitely be an extended cut of the film, but having been fairly satisfied with what the film was on its own, though disappointed in spots, I feel even better having read this now. Given the more unique reasons for picking up this novelization, which I don’t normally do, I don’t especially feel like reviewing this book, so I likely won’t be putting one up. I’m planning to write up a little analysis of some of the more fleshed out lore and character details, though, for the contingent of my readers who are interested in such things about Star Wars.


Reading Next

I’m at the point again where I really don’t know what I want to read next, though I’ll have to make up my mind soon, as ideally I want to be finished with Unnatural Selection by next week. I think I might take a break from reading Star Wars comics, though, to get caught up on The Immortal Hulk by Al Ewing at el. I just purchased volume six on sale, which means I’ve got three of those books to read now.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

 

 

WWW Wednesday – June 17, 2020

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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!

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 Rise of SkywalkerI’ve made considerable headway in Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker by Rae Carson. When I started it I intended to set aside time I’d normally use for other hobbies to read this, but my efforts on this front have been mediocre. So, with the other books I was in the middle of finished up, I decided to give this book more direct attention and now I’m over 75% of the way through. For all the film’s flaws, I still quite like it, so I’m happy to see this novel present a better version of that story. I’ve reached many of the bigger moments from the film now, and the benefit of prose and some expansions have appreciably given the story more depth. Some of my inferences prior to reading have been vindicated as well, which is always a plus.


Recently Finished

Star Wars Rogues and RebelsOver the weekend I finished up Marvel’s mainline Star Wars series that started in 2015, set between A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back. The 13th and final volume was Star Wars: Rogues and Rebels by Greg Pak et al, which nicely tied up the story lines of the previous volume. The stuff with the rock people got really weird (in the best of ways), and I particularly liked that the book didn’t try to stitch itself seamlessly into the beginning of the film that follows it. I guess I just like that it gave things a little room to breathe. The only thing that bristled me a little was one of the epilogue chapters, which tied into the end of the Doctor Aphra series, which I’ve yet to finish. I wish I’d known that was in there before I started, but oh well. It didn’t spoil too much.

White TearsI also finished reading White Tears by Hari Kunzru, which became quite intense as it got further into the back half of the novel. It made for a superbly unique ghost story, the main character Seth being pushed to the brink by the mashup of real-world and otherworldly forces that assail him. His search to uncover the origins of the anomalous “Graveyard Blues” he recorded, and in turn make-good with the ethereal musician Charlie Shaw, takes a decidedly dark turn as he gets closer and closer to the heart of the matter. It made for some effectively harrowing reading, and I especially liked the how disorienting the narrative became as his placement in reality became more distorted and unreliable. I posted a full review yesterday, which you can check out here.


Reading Next

Hellboy Unnatural SelectionComing away from White Tears, which uses horror to cover rather heavy, real-world subject matter, I’ve decided I want the next book I start to weigh easier on the mind. To avoid starting another Star Wars or Discworld novel so soon, I’ve decided I’ll start Hellboy: Unnatural Selection by Tim Lebbon, which is the next standalone Hellboy novel that I need to read. It should make for some good, pulpy fun as he faces off against mythical creatures turning up in major cities around the world. This will be the second multi-media tie-in novel of Lebbon’s I will have read too, after reading Alien: Out of the Shadows back in 2018. It wasn’t badly written, but I had mixed feelings, so I’m intrigued to see what he does with a less restrictive property.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – February 12, 2020

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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!

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

Here (away from it all)I’m coming up on halfway through Here (away from it all) by Polly Hope. The story was a bit of a slow burn for several chapters, but the situation has been steadily ramping up in a way that’s become more and more interesting. As expected, humanity is disappointing me in this story. I really would like to think that in a crisis such as this, small communities left on their own wouldn’t take such a bad turn, but I do know it’s very probable. I’m a little thrown by some of the language in the book; taking place on a small Greek island there have been some names and nuanced language I’ve had to research while reading. I do wish context had just been given, but it’s an issue I can live with.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Winter Special 2019It’s been a bit of an odd week. Along with personal matters, I for some reason struggled to get my review of The Year of the Flood finished. I wanted it up Friday, but didn’t finally get it posted until Sunday morning. So, I failed in finishing Here over the weekend like I wanted to. Oh well. It’s not much, but I did read the Hellboy Winter Special 2019 by Mike Mignola et al. Fairly self-explanatory by the title, it’s a single comic issue that’s a little longer than normal, featuring three Winter/Christmas-y stories. Perfect time of year for them. Only one of them featured Hellboy, but it was a great little Christmas ghost story with a nice, warm sentiment and a creepy final panel as a spooky little cherry on top.


Reading Next

I am still drawing a blank on what I want to read next…but I have decided that whatever it is ought to be lighter in tone. The Year of the Flood and Here have both been heavy stories. I could use something a little more fun and/or uplifting.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.

WWW Wednesday – December 4, 2019

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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!

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

ThrawnI’m making good progress on Star Wars: Thrawn by Timothy Zahn. I’m just about halfway through it now. I’m really enjoying Thrawn’s rising through the ranks, thanks in large part to the fact that the novel doesn’t go out of its way to frame the Empire as evil and menacing as per usual. They did enforce law and order throughout the galaxy, after all, and while their nasty side still shines through, Thrawn’s commendations are received for how he deals with pirates and organized crime, at least so far. I wouldn’t be surprised if rebel cells make their way into the story in some way, but I like this angle for a villain’s origin story. I prefer the idea of him being an admirably cunning, even honorable character, who doesn’t shy away from doing bad things if it suits a goal, rather than being just another overtly malicious figure.


Recently Finished

HellboyKrampusnachtLast night I read Hellboy: Krampusnacht by Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes. I honestly feel a little guilty about counting this on my Goodreads Challenge for 2019, but even with its inclusion I’m not going to reach my goal, so I’m just going to let it sneak in. I feel this way because it’s only about a single comic book issue long. A volume is normally composed of at least 4-5 issues, if not more. It was a fun little Christmas story nonetheless, giving an interesting little twist on the Krampus figure, though a little formulaic for a Hellboy story at the same time. I’ve no regrets about reading it though, and discovered when I was done that they’ve released a Hellboy Winter Special issue every year since 2016, so I’m probably going to get those now too. Probably won’t count those though.


Reading Next

Lords and LadiesIt has occurred to me that I wanted to try to read more Discworld books this year than I did last year, but I cannot do that if commit to reading The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood. There is a good chance, if I have the time for it, that my final book for the year will be Lords and Ladies by Terry Pratchett instead. I’ve only matched the number of books I finished last year. If I clear that one I can beat it. I will simply push Atwood’s book to January. My Gaiman backlog has been around longer, though, so I do still intend to read Stardust after Thrawn.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post, or what you’re reading, down below.

WWW Wednesday – November 20, 2019

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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!

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

Oof, this is going up late, isn’t it? Nothing I’m currently in the middle of, which is part of why this is going up so late. My schedule is a weird, tiresome, mess sometimes. I need a bit of a mental palette cleanser.


Recently Finished

Dreams of Terror and DeathI have finally finished Dreams of Terror and Death by H. P. Lovecraft. Oh boy, do I have polarizing feelings about this book. I can’t quite remember the last time I struggled with a book that I still concede has enjoyable and artful qualities. Such an awkward spot to be in. The bulk of the reading over the last week was the story “The Case of Charles Dexter Ward,” the longest in the collection. While there are many details I really liked, it also highly exemplified a problem Lovecraft has. He would foreshadow something, seed clues throughout the story that made it obvious to me, then proceeded to keep building up clues and draw out the story and “mystery,” despite the fact that I’d already figured out what was going on. Woof. I should have a review up soon. Need to get some things posted finally. So much for finishing this book in early November.


Reading Next

Marley's GhostThrawn by Timothy Zahn and Stardust by Neil Gaiman are in my near future, but Christmas is fast approaching too. I don’t usually go out of my way to crack open a holiday read, but as it turns out I’ve got a couple that I need to actually get to. The first is Hellboy: Krampusnacht, which is a short issue that has Hellboy clashing with a Satanic Santa-like figure. The other is Harvey Kurtzman’s Marley’s Ghost, which is a graphic novel adaptation of A Christmas Carol (my go-to Christmas story, because I go against the grain ;)). I’m going to finally read those this year, I promise. The Christmas Spirit is forgiving, but it’s disappointment in you can be crushing.

Until next week, thank you for reading! Feel free to share your own post down below.