Book Review – Hellboy: The God Machine by Thomas E. Sniegoski

Hellboy The God Machine

Hellboy: The God Machine by Thomas Sniegoski is the fifth Hellboy novel, based on the comic book series created by Mike Mignola. Religious artifacts and other random objects of worship have started disappearing without a trace, the identity of the perpetrator a complete mystery and their motives unclear. Following a tip from an unlikely source, Hellboy and Liz Sherman foil a museum heist attempted by crude, undead cyborgs, fashioned together with scrap technology and powered by the souls of the dead. These creatures were created by a small order of fanatical psychics, who plan to use esoteric technology to bring a new messiah into the world. If they succeed, it could bring about the complete annihilation of humanity.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – February 24, 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

I’m between books at the moment. I meant to start reading volume 26 of Berserk by Kentaro Miura last night, but I got sidetracked.


Recently Finished

Hellboy Oddest JobsOver the weekend I finished reading the anthology Hellboy: Oddest Jobs, edited by Christopher Golden, and I posted the review yesterday morning. None of the successive books in this trilogy lived up to my experience with Odd Jobs a few years ago, but I’m actually fine with this. I’m thinking that might have been lightning in a bottle, between the book itself and my mindset going into it. This book was for the most part consistently enjoyable, with a few more surprises along the way than the second one. I actually enjoyed this one more, as it had a couple of stories that were really something special, going to some wonderfully weird and imaginative places. This marks the first book completed for my Series Challenge for this year too, which feels pretty good.


Reading Next

The Song of AchillesAs I’ve said for a couple weeks now, I’m going to start reading The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller, which I should actually start any day now. It will feel good to read a more conventional novel again (not that it’s really been all that long). I definitely want to read through Berserk Vol. 26 first, but that won’t take very long. I’ll probably read through volume 27 right after too, to be honest. Other than that, I’m really not sure what book I’ll read next. I ought to figure out the comics I’m going to read next sooner. I’ve been good about getting those read so far this year and I want to keep that momentum going.

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

Book Review – Hellboy: Oddest Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Oddest Jobs

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs is the third book in the “odd jobs” trilogy of anthologies edited by Christopher Golden, telling stories about the comic book character Hellboy created by Mike Mignola. This book brings together 15 different authors of fantasy, horror, and mystery. Most notable among them is Joe R. Lansdale, the introduction proclaiming his story as the reason this book started coming together in the first place. Accompanying each tale is an original black and white illustration by Mike Mignola.Read More »

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 – January 29, 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 Year of the FloodI’m just over halfway through The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, and I’m happy to report that my misgivings from last week have been quelled. The world before the pandemic is still horribly bleak, but I feel I know enough about all of the supporting characters that I’m not dreading the worst from all of them. I’m also really enjoying the distinct perspective each protagonist brings, one having been a child/teen before the Flood, and the other an adult. The lives of the lower classes, less seen in the first novel, are much more fleshed out in this book too. Despite living among them, there’s something quaint about this eco-relgious group that lives in squalor but have richer lives. I’m looking forward to seeing how they might play a role, if any, in how the pandemic starts.


Recently Finished

No Longer HumanOver the weekend I finished reading No Longer Human by Junji Ito, and posted a full review of it last night. I think this manga is one of those stories where you acknowledge that it’s conveying something meaningful or important, but actively engaging with it is a disconcerting or unpleasant experience. It deals with a lot of heavy subject matter that in some cases is executed upon really effectively, and in others muddied by borderline supernatural elements that I speculate are Ito’s additions to the tale. I think this manga is good, but its character has a repellent quality that gives me mixed feelings. I feel really motivated to check out Osamu Dazai’s original novel now, though, so I can see the clay Ito is molding with.

I also read Jenny Finn by Troy Nixey & Mike Mignola, et al. Haven’t much to say about it. The art was good, and it had some interesting visuals and ideas, but the story felt half-baked. Didn’t really care about any of the characters or what was happening. First two-star rating I’ve given on Goodreads in a while.


Reading Next

Here (away from it all)For starters, I’d really like to read The Case of Charles Dexter Ward graphic novel adapted by I. N. J. Culbard soon, since I’m really interested in checking out how he adapts Lovecraft’s work. I should probably do this before I go out and buy more of them. Other than that, I think I will deviate from my 2020 to-read list to check out Here (away from it all) by Polly Hope, one of the books that caught my eye in The Book of Forgotten Authors. I’ve mentioned it before, but to refresh it’s been described as Lord of the Flies with adults, which is what originally piqued my interest. I expect society to devolve and disappoint me in compelling ways.

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

WWW Wednesday – January 22, 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 Year of the FloodI’m a good 100 pages into The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood now, and I’m getting a much better sense of the characters. The plot is jumping between two characters surviving after “the Flood” pandemic has wiped out most of humanity, and their time before the Flood as members of God’s Gardeners, an eco-focused religious group. The most striking thing about getting back into this trilogy is being reminded just how bleak this world is. There’s actually an odd purity to the world after the pandemic. Prior to it, corporations run everything and the worst crimes against humanity are rampant. I like the focus characters well enough so far, but I wish I didn’t expect the worst from nearly everyone else.

No Longer HumanI started reading No Longer Human by Junji Ito over the weekend, which is adapting the Osamu Dazai novel of the same name. I’m having some mixed feelings about it so far. It’s not an unenjoyable read, but I guess I just don’t feel completely hooked yet, despite having read five chapters now. It’s primarily concerned with the misadventures of a young man, Oda, who feels intrinsically disconnected from other people, using buffoonery as a child to escape this by constantly keeping others entertained by his antics. Tonally, it’s a decidedly dismal story thus far. I like how Ito’s art informs us of the character’s perspective, though. He uses a lot of his usual foreboding style, but I see it as more reflective of how Oda sees other people than actual reality.


Recently Finished

The Book of Forgotten AuthorsOver the weekend I finally finished The Book of Forgotten Authors by Christopher Fowler. You can check out my full review here. I say finally, not because I didn’t enjoy it, but just that I was particular about getting it done. I really liked this book and would definitely pick up a follow-up if Fowler was inclined to write one. I’d likely read that more as a supplemental book though, so I can take my time and enjoy it more slowly. I was ultimately able to restrain myself from adding more and more books to my TBR while reading this book, which is probably for the best. That figurative shelf is crowded as it is without a bunch of books that will be difficult to find.


Reading Next

Jenny Finn HCI’ve not decided on a novel I’d like to read next, but to keep the graphic novel train going I’ll likely crack open Jenny Finn by Mike Mignola et al. Though a Lovecraftian tale by the author—not outside his wheelhouse—it seems different from his usual pulpy style of uncanny lead characters like Hellboy or the Amazing Screw-On Head. I don’t know much more about it than that; with Mignola’s name on a horror graphic novel I’m pretty much sold every time.

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

Book Review – Hellboy: Odder Jobs edited by Christopher Golden

Hellboy Odder Jobs

My second book for Frighteningly Good Reads 2019 is Hellboy: Odder Jobs, the 2004 sequel to the first Hellboy anthology Odd Jobs, once again edited by Christopher Golden. This book collects 16 stories by a variety of authors including one by Frank Darabont and another co-written by Guillermo del Toro. Each story is accompanied by an illustration by Mike Mignola. My history with Hellboy anthologies has been a little out of chronology; when I first started checking them out I read Odd Jobs (1999) and An Assortment of Horrors (2017) within months of each other, the latter being the most recent release. I was excited to finally continue the “odd jobs” trilogy (as I’m dubbing it) properly, hopeful that my positive experience with the two books I’d previously read would continue.Read More »

WWW Wednesday – May 15, 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! 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!