spoiler free, Tags, Uncategorized

Ten Things That Make Me Happy

tag Thursday

Everything feels so unreal right now that I’m still finding it hard to believe it’s all actually happening. I developed a cough for a couple of days and was feverish yesterday so me and the family are on self-isolation for the next two days. In light of everything, I thought it would be fun to make a list of ten things that make me happy post and I won’t tag anyone particular to do it but feel free to make your own lists or let me some of your own in the comments!

My friends. My online and offline friends have been the brightest light in my life these past few months and I genuinely can’t even imagine my life without any of them.

My Family. I know this one is pretty much a given but it’s been hard for all of us lately but I could not be more grateful for my parents, my husband and my son right now.

Dungeons and Dragons. This kind of ties in with my first point because each one of my groups have been the only reason I’ve stayed sane through all of this mess. I look forward to each and every one of these games each week. I love you, folks.

Animal Crossing. The new game launches tonight and I’m stupidly excited. Having something I’ve been waiting for, for so long is finally here and it couldn’t have come at a better time let me tell you.

Writing. I’m not doing a ton of writing lately but when I have been it’s been a fantastic escape and helped to keep me calm when I’m trying not to freak out.

My Cat. Jiji is loving having someone at home all the time at the moment. She’s becoming super soppy and even more affectionate lately. Not to mention having kitty snuggles while she happily purrs is the best medicine while I’m not feeling well.

Music. Music has helped in so many ways throughout my life in general and although I’m not a ‘music nerd’ I adore it. I like to sing and dance, I like to listen to songs my friends send me and I like to send them songs too.

Books/reading. This one is probably another obvious one but I’m glad I have no shortage of fantastic worlds and stories to jump into at any moment.

Discord. This one kind of links back into the friends part but this app has made it super easy to keep in contact with everyone. It’s strange that I don’t really like phone-calls but voice chatting on discord is fine. Whether it’s playing games, watching stuff together, playing D&D or just messing around chatting and such. Not to mention just having somewhere for us all to chat and message each other. Good job Discord (apart from that one time two days ago where you stopped working during a particularly tense moment in D&D).

Video Games. I’ve already mentioned Animal Crossing but I’ve been playing Stardew Valley, Pokemon and a little Mass Effect (obviously) here and there too, sinking a few hours in when I can and they just chill me out so much. Plus bonus points for more escapism.

So that’s my list, tell me some of yours!

 

 

book reviews, spoiler free, Uncategorized

Heartstopper Vol 3

Six for Sunday

43449920._SY475_Heartstopper Volume Three by Alice Oseman

Rating: XXXXX

Published February 6th 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books

“There’s this idea that if you’re not straight, you HAVE to tell all your family and friends immediately like you owe it to them. But you don’t. You don’t have to do anything until you’re ready.”

In this volume, we’ll see the Heartstopper gang go on a school trip to Paris! Not only are Nick and Charlie navigating a new city, but also telling more people about their relationship AND learning more about the challenges each other are facing in private…

Meanwhile, Tao and Elle will face their feelings for each other, Tara and Darcy share more about their relationship origin story, and the teachers supervising the trip seem… rather close…?

If you haven’t already checked out volumes one and two of Heartstopper yet what is wrong with you?! This gorgeous, brilliant graphic novel By Alice Oseman centres around Nick and Charlie, previously featured in one of Alice’s ‘written’ novels, Solitare; whose main character Tori is Charlies older sister. Oseman later released an ebook story about Nick and Charlie set a year after the events of Solitare and begun thinking about the backstory behind their relationship prior to Solitare but no matter how she tried she just couldn’t get their story on the page the way she wanted; it occurred to her that maybe it was because their story didn’t fit into a conventional novel format and instead on September 1st 2016, created the Heartstopper comic Tumblr page and uploaded the first eleven pages of Nick and Charlies story. The comic gained immense popularity which would only continue to grow when she released a bound physical edition of volume one, first via Kickstarter and then after it was picked up by a publisher, Hodder.

I adored the first two volumes, (you can check out my spoiler-free review for volume one here or volume two here) and was so happy to have made it to the London release of volume three to hear Alice speak about her this brilliant series and get my copy signed.

If like me, you enjoyed the first two volumes you are in for a treat as volume three is largely more of the same, which for any other book would possibly be a negative point but if you read Heartstopper this is probably what you’re here for. Nick and Charlie being beyond adorable, beautiful and heartfelt moments and the sweetest, cutest flirting I have ever witnessed. We get to know more about Nick and Charlie’s friends which I really enjoyed, I love that they’re each so distinct and memorable; hearing their stories gave me such joy along with seeing more of their personalities come to the surface.

Volume three is the biggest volume so far and there’s so much great stuff packed in without making it overwhelming. I’m always happy to have a good amount of Heartstopper to get through so this was an absolute bonus, it did mean, however, that due to real-life time constraints and things this is the first one I’ve not been able to read in one sitting. Volume three isn’t just physically larger though, the story itself is broadened as we see the characters out of their typical settings and there are some heavy emotional moments and serious issues addressed (trigger warning for self-harm and eating disorders).

Heartstopper Volume Three is another absolute gem with a fantastic, sweet and funny story, a perfect continuation of the series and a big warm fuzzy hug for your soul and it’s out now!

 

 

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free, Uncategorized

S4S – Six Favourite authors to follow

Six for Sunday

Happy Six for Sunday! The weekly challenge where we give six answers to the prompt form the lovely Steph at A Little But A Lot. This week the prompt is six authors you love to follow. I love using Twitter and follow quite a few authors on there, I started following authors whose books I liked and eventually followed those whose books I hadn’t read yet purely because I thought they were awesome (some of which are included in this list), quite often I’ve followed an author first, liked their twitter content and then read their books after. Am I the only one who does this?

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Jay Kristoff  
Probably a fairly obvious one for me. I think I followed Jay fairly early on before I’d read any of his books because he just seemed pretty cool, to be honest, and it definitely (along with the desperate pleas of some of my friends) led to me finally reading Illuminae and it was just a slippery slope from then on. Also please see: Bitch you can teleport.

Sam Sykes  
So Seven Blades in Black is definitely on my TBR but Sam is one of the authors who I’ve yet to read (I’m sorry!) but I do follow on Twitter because honestly, he’s absolutely hilarious.

Christie Golden 
Christie’s Twitter account has everything, Cat pics, warcraft lore nerdiness and more. Christie is my favourite fandom author having written for quite a few fandoms/franchises that I adore and I love hearing about her experiences writing these different books. Also, did I mention the cats? Because they are ADORABLE.

L.D Lapinski 
“Many fandoms, one trashcan” in their bio is absolutely perfect. Honestly, follow them if you love anything even slightly Good Omens or Micahel Sheen related their twitter feed is a gift.

Melinda Salisbury  
Definitely check out Mel’s Twitter for witchy goodness, baking, zines and more. Not to mention her sometimes scarily relatable day to day stories.

Alice Oseman  
I mean for a start obviously, you need to follow Alice for all the Heartstopper goodness. She’s always posting loads of lovely sketches and pieces from Heartstopper, not to mention updates when episodes go live on Tapas and extra AU comics etc. That and all the great news and info about her other books should be reason enough but on top of that, we also get quality Alice being adorable in brightly coloured suits too.

Are there any authors that you love to follow? Have you brought a book purely because of an authors social media presence? I know I absolutely have.

 

 

 

Comics, q&a, spoiler free, Uncategorized

NPC Tea – Sarah Milman Q&A

Q&A

You may have seen my review for this week, the latest two issues, six and seven, of NPC tea, a beautifully illustrated comic by the lovely Sarah Milman. (If you missed the post you can check out spoiler-free reviews for Issues 1-5 here or issues 6&7 here). Today I have the pleasure of sharing with you all a little Q&A with the illustrator and author herself!

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First off, thank you so much for taking part in this Q&A for my blog. I realise you must be super busy with the Kickstarter for the latest issue of NPC Tea being live and working on the issue itself. I’ve been reading NPC Tea for some years now but for those who may not have heard of NPC Tea before how would you describe it?NPC Tea is about a tea shop run by orcs, elves and other fantasy creatures in modern day Cardiff, and it’s inspired by D&D, Final Fantasy and LOTR. That’s the elevator pitch, anyway! The comic is about fantastical beings trying to live a normal life but finding their pasts difficult to escape. It has themes of pacifism and historical revisionism, and also orcs and elves kissing. You know, all the important stuff.

How have you found using Kickstarter to fund each issues initial run? Were there any particular pros and cons?
I’ve really enjoyed using Kickstarter, but it’s difficult to switch off from! I’m quite an anxious person who tends to stress a lot, so the campaigns are both really exciting and nerve-wracking. It’s easy to obsess over numbers, and if you don’t like self-promotion it can get painful at times! That said, it’s incredibly satisfying when a campaign succeeds, and it’s allowed me to connect to people from all over the world. NPC Tea wouldn’t have been possible without it. 

On average how long does it take to complete an issue?
It’s condensed a lot over the years. Issue 1 took about three months to draw, while 7 took 3 and a half weeks. I aim to complete two pages a day, but with recent issues, I’ve tried to pace myself. As a freelancer it’s hard not to overwork, and to force yourself to step back or take time off. 

What is your favourite aspect of creating comics and what particular element gives you the most personal satisfaction?
This is difficult – I find most of it very satisfying. There’s nothing better than nailing the script, especially when it takes a while to get just right. I really enjoy looking back on older pages and seeing my progression – even if I might cringe at some bits of artwork, I like to think that I keep improving with each issue that I make.

Do you have a least favourite aspect?
Colouring! This is why I initially chose to use limited colours for NPC Tea – I enjoy all the other elements apart from colouring, and I think it’s my weakest area. Though I’d like to get better at it, and will probably go back to full colour in future projects. It’s not strictly comics related, but I hate admin and promoting myself too – I actually freeze up when I have to send out business emails, even if it’s in response to something good…

What tools do you use to create comics and what makes them the “right tools” for you?
I make my comics completely digitally, and NPC Tea was all made with OpenCanvas. I’d like to switch to Clip Studio paint though – OC can be a bit buggy, but I haven’t found a program that has the same kind of line quality that I like. I also use Scrivener to write, though to be honest pen and paper works in a pinch.

How would you describe your typical work routine?
Chaotic…? I tend to write best very late at night. So, when I’m writing scripts or thumbnailing, I tend to stay up late and get out a draft in one or two sittings, then edit the script with a cup of tea over the next few days. When it comes to actually drawing, I’m a lot more disciplined, and I’m at my desk at 10am, working through till about 7. I like to work to podcasts and cartoons – my favourites are Swindled and Avatar the Last Airbender. As a freelancer I can work whenever I like, but that’s not always a good thing!

What do you do to recharge your creative batteries?
I find that travelling helps me to write. Especially on trains, it’s easy to let my mind wander and come up with dialogue and new ideas. The indie comics scene in the UK is so diverse – reading other people’s comics and seeing what they’re creating is inspiring. My favourite thing to do is have a nice bath while reading comics! I also play games, though as a completionist they tend to make me procrastinate…
I’d like to have more hobbies that make me go outdoors. I am very pale and weak.

Do you have any advice to give to others who may be thinking about creating comics?
I’d say start out with something short, and gain the experience of getting it printed. I made the mistake of starting a long form comic straight out of the gate, and that was a difficult learning curve. Also, make something that you’d like to read! If you’re stuck for ideas, there are always a lot of anthologies out there to join.

What is next for NPC Tea? Is this the end?
Well, I’ve written this volume to stand alone, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t have ideas for a series two! I’ve written a lot of short stories too – it’s been a long time since I’ve written something not NPC Tea, and I might want a break from orcs and elves when all this is over… but that’s looking unlikely. I think I’m going to see how people react to the finished story, and go from there. If people want to see more from Hanny, Oz and Bryn, I won’t need much convincing to continue.

You can order issues 1-7 via Sarah’s Etsy store here right now if you want to catch up asap or if you back the Kickstarter you can choose to receive all of the single issues (with an exclusive slipcase to keep them all together neatly) OR a hardback bindup of all of them! Not forgetting Sarah also has a Patreon where at the $1 tier you can read up to issue 6 digitally right away!

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Uncategorized

S4S – Bookish Habits

Six for Sunday

Happy Six for Sunday! The weekly challenge were we give six answers to the prompt form the lovely Steph at A Little But A Lot. This week the prompt is Bookish Habits.

Stalling when reading the last 100 pages or so of a book. 
I only realised that I actually did this last year but no matter how much I’m loving a book I always slow down and procrastinating reading the last 100 pages or so because I don’t want it to end! I’m especially bad if it’s the end of a series too as I’m almost always disappointed with the ending of last books.

Buying SO many books and taking forever to read them. 
I love buying books; buying books makes me happy but damn I have a really bad habit of buying them and then taking an absolute age to read them because I get distracted by something else. This has happened so much in the last three or four months especially!

Reading while I’m eating meals. 
I know this is super rude and I don’t do it if I’m out with friends or if my husband isn’t doing something as equally anti-social during dinner but pretty much every other time I’m eating a meal I am doing so one-handed because there is a book, e-reader or my phone (kindle app) in my other hand. This started when I used to work in an independent shop when I didn’t want to choose between eating and reading time on my lunch break and so just…did both. Now meal times is one of the most peaceful times for me to read!

Using random things as bookmarks when I have a perfectly good (and substantial) collection of ACTUAL bookmarks.  
I have HEAPS of bookmarks and loads of different kinds to suit my mode. Most of them are in a pot on one of my bookshelves so they’re not hard to get to or anything but SO often I just tend to grab whatever is closest instead, including a (clean) fork once!

Reading for an hour and then falling asleep.  
This one drives me CRAZY! I’m really loving a book, I don’t have anything planned that evening so I can spend the evening reading my book right? WRONG. I get maybe forty-five minutes to an hour in and I start doing those long blinks, my head tilts and I do that annoying thing where you fall asleep for a second then wake yourself up. This happens on repeat until I give up and do something else. (This also happens when I game sometimes and is just as annoying).

“I’m not requesting any more books” *Goes on Netgalley to check one thing…requests another five books.” 
I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who does this! I just can’t help myself!

Do you have any of the same bookish habits? Good or bad! Let me know!

 

 

book reviews, Comics, Uncategorized

Journey to Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance

comicbookreview.png
45485630Journey to Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance 
by Ethan Sacks (writer), Luke Ross (artist)

Rating: XXX

Published November 19th by Marvel Comics

“I wasn’t going to allow my friends to suffer while I can do something about it either”

BEFORE THE EXCITING EVENTS OF STAR WARS: THE RISE OF SKYWALKER! Hounded by the FIRST ORDER across the galaxy, the RESISTANCE is in dire need of ships, weapons and recruits to make a final stand against KYLO REN’S forces. Desperation drives a delegation led by GENERAL LEIA ORGANA and REY to entreat the Rebel veteran’s one-time allies, THE MON CALAMARI, to join the fight – but decades after Imperial occupation enslaved their planet, there are those willing to stop at nothing to prevent another war from bloodying the waters of Mon Cala. A system away, POE DAMERON and FINN have their own mission: to hunt down a weapons cache on the remote moon of Avedot, unaware that they are being hunted by the most notorious criminal gang in the galaxy!

Rey-Star-Wars-Allegiance

So although the Journey to The Rise of Skywalker content is meant to be read before the film is released, I had only read Resistance Reborn before going into the cinema and instead found that I tried to read through some of the Journey content afterwards instead to fill the hole where the film novelisation should be. The Allegiance comics are one such distraction and I haven’t read a Star Wars comic in a good long while with the exception of the first Poe Dameron comic last year (or maybe even the year before…it’s been a while) so I wasn’t sure what to expect, not to mention obviously things will change with different writers and artists. This review covers issues one to four of the Allegiance comic series designed to link the events of The Last Jedi to The Rise of Skywalker.

At the start of the comic, we get one of the iconic Star Wars scrolls and honestly this was a brilliant start and feels better than the one we got at the beginning of TROS (The Rise of Skywalker). Not everyone reads every single bit of content or plays Fortnite (yes I’m still salty we got the emperors “returning speech” in a Fornite event okay…) so I was immediately pretty done with the TROS crawl but this one feels relevant and I feel actually does a good job, off to a very good start!

If you’ve read Resistance Reborn then this whole scenario probably sounds quite familiar, Leia appealing to others for aid, Finn and Poe off an a side quest for the rebellion somewhere and it’s very much the same here which has the unfortunate effect of making Allegiance seem like a heavily watered-down version of the novel with the novel having better emotional stakes and pay off. These comics were released first but I think in the timeline the novel comes first as it’s pretty much directly after the end of The Last Jedi but who knows, as it always is with Star Wars, the timeline is a little hazy.

On its own, however, Allegiance is not a bad read, there are no especially huge moments but I think they’ve done pretty well to get through two stories with some interesting character interactions and such within the space of four issues. Saying that, the story is relatively paper-thin but honestly a little fun and they really reminded me of the old weekly Star Wars comics  I used to read when I was a kid. The characters have missions to complete, they attempt to, trouble happens, they get out of trouble simple and easy, a bit like the equivalent of the “monster of the week” style you find with some TV shows and the first few seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Honestly, it works though and it was only really on reflection for this review that I realised how little story there really was. It was by no means mind-blowing but it was enjoyable and as a result, I ended up ordering some more Star Wars comics and I do think I’m ready to see TROS again at some point in the future so I guess it did its job? Not to mention it explains a couple of things like the inclusion on the Mon Calamari forces in TROS and the presence of Admiral Ackbar’s son who has a few lines in the film.

With not a huge amount of story there were a few other things we managed to get out of the Allegiance comics, one of which was more Rose Tico and not only more Rose content in general but alongside Rey! She doesn’t play a massive part but is integral and has some brilliant characterisation that was sorely lacking in the film. Her personality really shines through and it seems like she and Rey have become good friends which was lovely and honestly, I’d read a whole comic about them two hanging out and going on missions etc.

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Essentially being one of the main characters of the sequel franchise Rey obviously gets a lot of page space and we get to see her doing a little force training as well as a fair bit of fighting (again like the older comics, we get a large amount of action), during which we see her beginning to use the force a lot more which I enjoyed. One thing I really noticed about her character was just how angry she was which felt very at odds with how Rey is portrayed in the films, sure she gets angry but she spends so much of these comics making threats and barring her teeth in 80% of her scenes that just seemed a little out of character although it does harken back to a lot of Anakin’s reactions in Revenge of the Sith so maybe this was the idea? To spread a little seed of doubt as to Rey’s “place” in the force in addition to the “Dark Rey” we see in the trailer.

Rey was also one of the only characters I had any problems with art wise too as she just seems like someone decided to see how many action figure poses they could put her in instead of just standing normally like an actual person and not a power ranger (see above image).

rose-rey

I haven’t really mentioned the Finn, Poe and BB8 side of things for which I would be remiss but there’s unfortunately not a lot to say about it. It’s good, it’s fun and we are treated to the usual Finn and Poe b/romance banter but it does sadly feel largely unimportant and unneeded which is a shame as they’re really fun characters.

Overall this was an enjoyable read and it certainly scratched an itch but just wasn’t satisfying enough for me. Definitely not required reading for TROS in any capacity other than understanding the presence of the Mon Calamari.

 

#SixforSunday, spoiler free, Uncategorized

S4S – Six Bookish Resolutions

Six for Sunday

The first Six for Sunday post of 2020 is here! I just wanted to say a massive thank you to Steph from A Little But A lot for coming up with all of these prompts over the past year or so (I’ve been doing it for about a year now I think). I love taking part each week (even when the prompts are super hard haha). Honestly, folks, Steph is super lovely and works her butt off, make sure to check her out.

This weeks prompt is Six Bookish Resolutions, I try not to make any solid resolutions of any kind usually but this year I did find myself making a small list of personal things I’d like to achieve like making sure to be active every day, taking a creative writing course of some kind and keeping on top of my blog as well as things like meeting the critical role cast this year and getting a tattoo but this what bookish resolutions could I make?

Finish Six of Crows! 
Okay, so I know this one is a little specific but it’s driving me nuts! Every time I go to carry on reading it I end up having to put it down to read something I’m on a deadline for and I never learn. So this year I’m going to clear a space for Six of Crows and I’m going to damn well finish it! Then I might even read Crooked Kingdom as well!!

Think more about the books I buy
I ended up on a bit of a little book buying spree at the end of December but I’m back to really trying to decide how much I need a book RIGHT NOW as opposed to just buying immediately on a whim.

Read the books I have already
This kind of goes hand in hand with the previous one. I have so many books to read and I did make a bit of dent in my physical TBR last year but I’d like to continue to do so. Not to mention the more books I read, the more books I can buy at a later date? (I’m weak okay?!)

Read more indie or smaller publisher books 
I quite often pass over indie or books from smaller publishers as I find they don’t tend to grab my attention as much, maybe it’s some strange bias I have or I worry that I need to read “popular” books. I’m not sure, whatever it is, it can get in the bin this year because I would like to read more of them! (Feel free to recommend your favourite books from indie and small publishers!)

Get back into Audiobooks. 
Since my office closed down and I’ve been a stay at home mum I haven’t found a lot of time for Audiobooks and I really miss them. One thing I thought I would like to do would be to listen to an audiobook for a little each day, maybe while doing housework or going for a walk while Nate is at school. I think my first one this year might be the second Discovery of Witches book.

Make review notes and review promptly
This is kind of part reading, part blogging related really. I have a habit of finishing a book and rushing in the next one and then a week or two later when I have to write the review I can’t even tell you what the name of the main character is. For the love of books future me, please write some notes, you’re phone is always an arms reach away, use it, or post-it notes, just SOMETHING.

There we have it! Six bookish resolutions for the year! I wonder how many I’ll actually keep? Do you have any book-related new years resolutions?