Books

Spooky Book Recs (pt. 2)

Merlin and I are gearing up for Halloween over here. Here’s a picture of him hanging out with this new buddy, Bill Door.

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Welcome to part 2 of Kiersten’s Spooky Book Recommendations. We’re a month and a day away from Halloween, so you still have plenty of time to start getting your creep on. (If you didn’t check out part 1 yet, click here to see what I recommended last time.)

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Slayer by Kiersten White – I finished this one a few weeks ago (review here) and immediately thought about how great this would be for Halloween season. It takes place in the world of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, after the comic series ends. The book follows Nina as she comes to terms with the newfound discovery that she’s a Slayer – the last of their kind. It’s hard to figure out what to do with your new identity, however, when demons show up and start wreaking havoc on the world. Clearly, this is all Buffy’s fault.

 

…Speaking of Buffy, the Buffy graphic novels/comics would be another great series to dive into if you’re looking for something a little shorter to read.

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There are some other great graphic novels/comics out there that perfectly fit the bill for Halloween. One of my favorites is the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Filled with witchcraft, occultism, horror, and gore, this one might not be suitable for younger readers though. There’s only one graphic novel available for now, but you can find some of the later volumes of the comics available online pretty easily.

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)

Fantasy · Favorites · graphic novels

Book Review: Saga (1 & 2) by Brian Vaughn

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Last weekend I attended the highly anticipated, annual HeroesCon here in Charlotte. It’s a 3 day event celebrating all things comic books, graphic novels, superheroes, and nerdy pop-culture. This was actually my first year attending and I’m now wondering why the hell I haven’t gone sooner. It was so much fun. There was some interesting panel topics, but I was so busy checking out all the graphic novels, merchandise, art, and amazing cosplay (HeroesCon takes its cosplay seriously) out on the floor that I only managed to check out one panel. I will definitely be attending multiple days next year.

While I was at the con I (obviously) picked up some reading material, including the first two books in the Saga series. I immediately devoured both of them and will be picking up more of the series pretty soon.

Saga (#1) – When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

Saga (#2) – The smash-hit ongoing epic continues! Thanks to her star-crossed parents Marko and Alana, newborn baby Hazel has already survived lethal assassins, rampaging armies, and alien monstrosities, but in the cold vastness of outer space, the little girl encounters something truly frightening: her grandparents!

This series has it all – outer space, plot, romance, weird ass fantasy creatures, raunchy sex, and comedy. It’s told from the point of view of Hazel, daughter of Marko and Alana, who was lucky to be alive. Her parents are from warring planets and have gone through hell to escape multiple assassination attempts. (The things we do for love, right?) We learn bits about where Marko and Alana come from – Landfall, the largest planet in the galaxy, and Wreath, satellite of Landfall. We see pretty quickly that not everyone is as ready to overlook centuries old feuds as the couple is.
The cast of characters in this story is brilliant, including teenage ghost Izabel (who makes one hell of a babysitter), a sidekick cat with the ability to tell when people are lying, and robotic royalty with televisions for heads.
Read this series. You can thank me later.
(Note: These probably aren’t suitable for younger readers, due to some pretty graphic sex illustrations)
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?