Books · Favorites · graphic novels

The Chillling Adventures of Sabrina: Comics vs. Show

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Back in 2018 Netflix premiered The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina and fans of the original show from the 90s (myself included) rejoiced. It was apparent right off the bat that this newer version of Sabrina was hardly anything like the family-friendly version we remembered. It was a darker – much darker – filled with occultism, satanic rituals, orgies, murder, and the Dark Lord, Satan, himself.

I don’t know if everyone was pleased by such a huge shift in nostalgia, but I ate season one up. I enjoyed the newer, more twisted iteration of Sabrina, possibly even more than the original show. Back in the spring, Netflix released a second season, which, to my delight, was just as good as the first. It wasn’t until season two came out that I found out that the show was actually based on a comic series, set in the Archie universe. Recently, I picked up a copy of The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Crucible (vol. 1) to see just how the two compared.

There are some major differences between the comic and the television show. The comic, believe it or not, is even darker and more mature than the show. The story arch is similar: Set in the 1960s, Sabrina is a half witch on the verge of turning sixteen. The eve of her dark baptism is approaching – the occasion in which Sabrina signs her name in the Book of the Beast and fully commits herself to Lord Satan – but, naturally, she has some conflicting feelings. Is she really ready to give up her friends, boyfriend, and all that she’s come to know in the mortal world?

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I really liked the comic version of Sabrina. Her mortal friends and boyfriend were a little less present than they were in the show, which I actually preferred because I found them a little annoying at times. (Both versions of Harvey are boring and too white bread for me.) There was more Salem in the comic and he actually talked, just like the original 90s version. More talking cats is always a win for me. I also liked the crossover with Riverdale and Archie characters (I was also delighted to see Sabrina make an appearance in the Afterlife with Archie graphic novel.), although I don’t think this would have worked in the show. Sabrina’s backstory is quite different here and far more fucked up. Her parents aren’t dead this time. Rather, her mother is trapped in a mental hospital and her father is trapped inside a tree. There’s less misogyny than the show. We don’t really learn much about the coven the Spellmans belong to and there’s no Father Blackwood contending for a spot as the biggest douchebag in the series. Thankfully, Madam Satan (disguised as one of Sabrina’s teachers), is still present, following her own agenda and meddling in all of Sabrina’s affairs in a deliciously wicked way. Even without the brilliant performance of Michelle Gomez, comic version of Madam Satan is just as satisfying.

So far, there’s only one graphic novel and there’s some speculation as to whether or not there will be another. For now, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and just have to wait for Netflix to make another season to tide me over. 

Books · graphic novels · mental health

My Brain Sucks. Let’s Read Graphic Novels.

Readers, I have a confession to make: I haven’t been reading many books lately. If you’ve been following this blog since the beginning you’ve probably noticed the lack of book reviews and posts in general. Part of this is due to the chaos that has been ensuing at work the last few months, resulting in a very exhausted Kiersten by the time five o’clock rolls around.  The bigger culprit is my depression, which has decided to pay a visit and stick around for some undetermined length of time. I’ve spent far too many hours the last few weeks (months?) binge watching shows on Netflix and staring mindlessly at social media, rather than pick up the dozens of unread books on my shelves.

Believe me when I say it’s not for lack of trying. In fact, even more frustrating than how behind I am on my reading count for the year, is how many books I’ve begun and quickly abandoned because my brain can’t stay focused on anything for more than five minutes. *Long, frustrated sigh*

Cue my small, but growing collection of graphic novels. For now, I’ve come to accept the fact that I may not be doing the type of reading that I want to, but I have found a solution in graphic novels. My brain seems to be able to take in the shorter length and less daunting nature of graphic novels. Rather than picking up a 400+ page book and immediately feeling like I can’t absorb it all, I can pick up a graphic novel and stay absorbed for only about 100 pages. Even if there are multiple volumes to the story (as there often are), I know I don’t have to read them all at once, which, for whatever reason, is more palatable for my overwhelmed brain at the moment.

I normally feel guilty, like I’m letting my readers and myself down, when I’m not reading much. At this point, I am familiar enough with the cyclical nature of depression and the effects it has on me to know that it won’t last forever and that beating myself up over it will only make me feel worse. For now, at least I have found a way to feel like I’m still reading and able to stay engaged on the blog.

Check out a few of the graphic novels I’ve read recently. (Reviews to follow)

Book Reviews · Books · Young Adult

Book Review: I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest

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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure. That is, until Libby died in a tragic car crash, taking Princess X along with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon—her best friend, Libby, who lives.

Part novel, part comic book, this one was a quick and easy read. Not that quick and easy is a bad thing. In fact, by the time I was halfway through this one I found myself wishing that the Princess X webcomic empire existed in real life. (Can someone make this happen, please?!)

The premise of the story is fantastic, being the perfect blend of crime and fangirl fiction. I found the way Libby’s past unfolded via webcomic, under the guise of Princess X’s story, to be incredibly clever. Telling this story this way made it feel like the princess was an actual character, rather than just a gateway to May discovering that Libby was still alive.

Despite the short length, the story was rich with detail and intrigue. The cast of characters was a colorful  blend of pretend princesses, heroes, hackers, and rogue punks. I wish we would have seen a little more from Trick (May’s hacker neighbor) because he and May made an unexpectedly good team. But that’s just me being picky. One thing that I did really like was the lack of romance in this book. You don’t see that very often anymore in YA literature.

This was a great read about the power of friendship and not giving up hope. Two thumbs up!

Adult · Books · Fantasy

Book Review: Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

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My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Ivy Gamble has never wanted to be magic. She is perfectly happy with her life—she has an almost-sustainable career as a private investigator, and an empty apartment, and a slight drinking problem. It’s a great life and she doesn’t wish she was like her estranged sister, the magically gifted professor Tabitha.

But when Ivy is hired to investigate the gruesome murder of a faculty member at Tabitha’s private academy, the stalwart detective starts to lose herself in the case, the life she could have had, and the answer to the mystery that seems just out of her reach.

(Goodreads)

Ivy Gamble is a PI with a chip on her shoulder because her sister was born magic. The sisters’ worlds up colliding when Ivy is hired to investigate a case at the school where Tabitha teaches. It’s interesting to see how Ivy navigates the magical world, all while trying to solve a murder at the same time. As far as I could tell, the magical “world,” isn’t really different from the non-magical one (which, to be honest, I found a tad disappointing). There are some magical schools and whatnot, but beyond that we don’t really learn what all the mages go out and do once they are out of school.

The school had a lot of similarities to Hogwarts, albeit a bit less eccentric. My brain couldn’t decide if I liked this or not, though, as I kept thinking “Well, that’s been done already.” The magic system and way the students used magic was pretty cool, being a little more technical than just waving wands around and such.

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I liked Ivy and all her flaws. I even liked most of the other characters in the story. I kinda felt like maybe there should have been more mention of some of the other students, since it was all focused on a very select few, but that didn’t necessarily ruin it for me. I think the biggest issues I had with the story was the lack of world-building and the predictable plot. Overall, it was a quick, entertaining read. I’d recommend this one if you’re looking for something that you don’t have to dive too deep into.

Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Life

I’m a Geek! (And It’s Okay!)

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Last weekend Boyfriend and I were walking out of Gamestop, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild clutched happily in my hands, and he jokingly asked when I became such a geek. I brushed off the question, only for it to resurface in my brain later on. When did I become a geek? I wondered, feeling like it was almost a trick question.

In truth, I’ve always been a bit of a geek. For the greater part of my adult life, however, I’ve felt like I had to hide it. When I was a kid I owned a Sega, Playstation, and a Game Boy. One of my best friends was super into video games (and Hanson). I fondly remember sleeping over her house and staying up half the night to play Crash Bandicoot, while Mmm Bop played in the background. I’ve been a book nerd ever since I was old enough to read. My obsession with Harry Potter began when the first book came out, when I was around 11 years old. Those things alone were reason enough to make me feel like a geek. But this didn’t necessarily feel like a good thing. Twenty years ago, people typically used terms like “geek” and “nerd” in a negative way. Geeks were uncool, unattractive, and were supposedly destined to live in their parents’ basements well into their 30s.

I didn’t want that to be me.

As I grew older, I constantly felt like I needed to tone down my geeky side. In my twenties I started hanging around people who made me feel like that side of me was childish and undesirable, so I held back. If I saw a cool Harry Potter shirt for sale, I would look at it and think “I wish I could get away with wearing that,” then quickly dismiss the idea. Those types of things were meant for other people – younger people and people who went to fantasy cons, not for wearing in every day life.

Fast forward to now. We’re halfway through 2019 and I’m approaching 31 years old. I’m currently wearing a jacket with a tiny TARDIS pin on it. There’s another pin on my bag that says “Book Nerd,” which I purchased at BookCon a few weeks ago. There is representation of the fandoms I belong to all over the house. I talk about the books I love and other “geeky” topics on my blog frequently. I plan on attending HeroesCon this weekend.

So, what’s changed? you ask.

A small part of it is the fact that nerd culture and being part of particular fandoms is becoming more mainstream. There are comic and fantasy conventions all over the country, nerd makeup brands, Instagram pages dedicated to cosplay, shows like the Big Bang Theory, etc. Being a geek no longer has the same shameful connotation that it had twenty years ago. Not only is it acceptable now, but in a lot of ways, it’s cool. I don’t deny any of this, but at the same time, it’s not the only reason that I’ve decided to stop hiding my inner geek away from the rest of the world.

Ironically, despite all my griping about turning thirty, I’ve learned quite a bit about myself this past year. I’ve started focusing more on the things that make me happy and letting go of the ones that don’t. I’ve stopped trying to hang around people who make me feel like I need to change or hide who I really am and started spending more time around people who encourage me to be myself. I’ve stopped caring what people think of my pop culture shirts and anime pins. If they don’t like it or want to judge me for it that’s their problem, not mine. Finally letting go, not worrying as much, and just letting my inner geek out in all it’s glory has been a huge breath of fresh air. One that I didn’t realize I needed.

For anyone else out there feeling like they need to hide the things they enjoy: Let it out. Let your geek flag fly.

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Books · Fiction · graphic novels · manga · Young Adult

Struggles of a Lazy Book Blogger

I’ve been somewhat lazy the last few weeks in terms of my book reviews. In my defense, my laziness is stemming from the fact that I’ve been utterly exhausted by the time I get home from work in the evenings. We’re in the middle of a huge office move/renovation and I’m pretty much in charge of making things happen…but you really don’t want to hear about that. What you want to hear about is the books. I feel a tad guilty for not writing reviews of any of these, but there’s no use in worrying about it, is there?

Here are a few that I’ve read recently, but have been too lazy to review:

  • Warcross by Marie Lu (Rating: 4 out of 5 stars)
  • Death Note (I and II) by Tsugumi Ohba (Rating: 4 out of 5 stars)
  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer (Rating: 3 out of 5 stars)
  • Preludes & Nocturnes (Sandman #1) by Neil Gaiman (Rating: 5 out of 5 stars)

Here’s what I’m currently reading (that I do plan on reviewing):

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Let’s chat! Have you read any of the above books? What’s the best book you’ve read recently? 

Books · food · Life · travel

New York/BookCon 2019 Weekend (part 2)

Earlier in the week I told you all about the amazing time I had at BookCon this year, but I didn’t get to tell you about the rest of my fabulous weekend in New York. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again. I love New York City – the sights, the sounds, the people, the endless amount of things to see and do, and (most of all) THE FOOD. I could have easily spent the rest of my week there and still wouldn’t have been ready to come home.

I arrived Friday morning and made a beeline for Chelsea Market, which, in my humble opinion, is one of the best food/shopping halls in the country. While I was there I downed a huge bowl of delicious, thick hand-pulled noodles with cumin-lamb sauce, immediately followed by a black-and-white cookie (a childhood favorite of mine). Definitely not a bad start to my trip.

After checking onto my AirBnb I spent several hours wandering the streets of the city, hitting up old favorites and new places that I wanted to check out. One of my favorites was a bookstore called Kinokuniya. The bottom floor was filled with nothing but books in Japanese and a huge selection of stationary and Asian-themed gifts. The second floor was packed with English books of every genre, including tons of Japan-focused books (the cookbook section was amazing!). The top floor was packed with nothing but English and Japanese language manga, graphic novels, and anime. If there weren’t a dozen other places I wanted to visit, I would have easily spent half of my day in that store.

That night I ate Japanese curry and paid a visit to one of my favorite bakeries, Bibble & Sip, where I got a white chocolate-matcha cream puff, plus Totoro and Lucky Alpaca macarons.

BookCon took up most of my days on Saturday and Sunday. When I wasn’t hanging out with all the other book nerds, I was eating more delicious food and simply enjoying my surroundings. By the time Monday morning rolled around I was tired from all the walking and adventures, but it was worth every minute (and calorie). 🙂