Monday, November 30, 2015

November Wrap Up

So, this was a bit of a shot month, looking back at how much I actually managed to read.  And I don't think I set goals to high, either.  I had five books I wanted to read, and I only got through two of them.

The first book I had planned to read was Sword of Shannara but I only got 230 pages into it.  I don't want to call this one a DNF yet, because I still want to try and finish it.  I think it may end up sitting for a while, but hopefully I just wasn't in the mood for it.  One thing that was really bothering me as I read it was the lack of female characters.  I don't think, up until the point I had got, one had even been mentioned and that was killing me a bit.

Then I wanted to read Dawn of the Jedi, but decided to push it off in favor of another fantasy book, to try and redeem the genre for me.  So I skipped down to Way of Shadows, a book my roommate has been begging me to read for ages now.  I managed to finish this one, but not until the 25th.  It took me some time to read, and I'm honestly not sure why, since I ended up really enjoying it.  My review for this one will be published this Friday.

I was afraid I wouldn't have time to finish any other books this month, but, less than an hour ago, I managed to finish Dead Man's Drive, a book I received for review from the publisher.  I liked this one, it was a good urban fantasy for some light reading.  I still haven't written the review, but I do plan to publish a review next Friday, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

I also started Cress the other day and am currently on page 230.  So far, I absolutely love it!  Why did I put this one off for so long??

I did do a lot of manga and graphic novel reading, though.  I read the first volume of Guardians of the Galaxy, and the third volume of Hawkeye.  I enjoyed them both, though neither received five stars.  I also managed to read volumes 5, 6, and 7 of Noragami (all five stars) and am in the middle of volume 8.  I still love this series dearly.  The last manga I read was the first in a new series, Horimiya, wasn't something I would normally pick up but a friend recommended.  And it was so good!

I did watch Jessica Jones in the span of two days, and my review of it will be going up tomorrow.  I enjoyed it, just not as much as Daredevil.  I also binged Blue Exorcist, which was so amazing I don't even have words for it.  I have a review for that coming up in a few days as well.

So how much reading did you guys do this month?  Did you watch Jessica Jones?  Let me know in the comments!

Blogging Tips #3: Writing A Review

Hello and welcome to another edition of Blogging Tips!  So far, doing these has been a lot of fun, and actually help me evaluate my own blogging.  I love encouraging people to blog, and I love lending a helping hand.  Thanks again to the wonderful Lauren, who lent some advice in the comments section.  You can see that here if you are interested.  And, if you're interested, please don't be afraid to ask questions or lend your own experience and advice in either the comments section or by emailing me here.

Like last time, I'll be posting her advice, and then expanding on it with my own thoughts as well as adding my own additional advice.  This post is specifically about writing a book review, so I hope it helps.

Her advice: Include a picture, rating, and short summary.

My Thoughts: Yes, yes, and yes!  And make sure all three are easily accessible in the review.  People will always look at the picture and the rating to get a general idea, and then the summary.  I know if it's a book I've never heard of my first desire is to find out what it's about.  I recommend putting the picture, rating, and summary at the top of the post, though the rating can just as easily go at the bottom.

Pictures can be taken from anywhere, and taking your own always has a really great affect and makes things personal, but if you're like me, you may just want to get them from Goodreads.  And that way, you also know that every picture will be the same size.

The most important thing to keep in mind about ratings is that you need a set way to rate.  If you're going to do it out of five stars, make sure you do it out of five stars every time.  And have some set criteria.  I do it based off of how I feel when I immediately finish the book and then, on top of that, how well it was written and thought out.  I work to separate myself from the name of the author or the fandom, because it's more accurate for me that way.  It doesn't always work, but it allows me to really admit whether a book was actually good or just popular.  Rating can be hard, and it helps to keep a little chart somewhere, whether it's public on your blog or not, about what constitutes a good book for you.

Summaries can be done in two main ways.  Either take it from somewhere else, like the back cover, or summarize it yourself.  I like to summarize myself, just because sometimes the blurbs can be misleading sometimes.  However, both ways are pretty good.

Her advice: Include likes and dislikes.  Discuss what I would want to know as a reader.

My thoughts: Including both likes and dislikes is important.  And remember, when writing posts, the first and last points will be the most powerful.  People are more keen to remember the first and last thing they read, so if you really want to get something across, whether it's a problem or a perk, put it in one of these locations.

Discussing what one might want to know before going in is important.  It can be pretty much anything.  For me, if there's some really adult stuff, like graphic sex, I try to put that somewhere where someone can find it immediately.  Or if there's some sort of possible trigger, like rape.  Having these notices can help.  And, generally, just giving advice about the book, like whether the cover is super misleading, can be really beneficial to those interested in reading.  A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself whether you would have wanted to know this before diving in.

Her advice: Wrap it up.

My thoughts: Yep, this is super important because it helps get the general point across to the reader.  This isn't unlike summarizing an essay you've written for class.  Lauren likes to use .gif's or pictures (and she does an AWESOME job of it).  I don't do this, but I love how it gets across information.  As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

My advice: Keep your format the same.

It doesn't have to be cookie cutter, but it's a good idea to keep each review somewhat the same, format wise.  If you always start with a summary, start with a summary.  If you always end with the rating, end with the rating.  That way, people who stop by your blog regularly won't have trouble finding the information you need.  Don't let this stop your creativity, but also don't start doing experimental review formats every single time you post.  Finding your rhythm will take time, but you will find it.

My advice: Include links to the author/where to buy/Goodreads.

This isn't really that necessary, since it's not exactly hard to google stuff nowadays, but I like to include links to make things even easier.  I know after reading certain reviews I've gone and bought the book immediately (yes, I have a problem).  It can be a nice touch.

If you're still looking for how to format your posts, you can always ask me a question.  Or, just stop by other book blogs and see how they work theirs!

Thanks again to Lauren!

There won't be another blogging tips post until January (they're now a monthly thing, rather than biweekly as I was once going to run them).  I'm not sure exactly what the theme for it will be, yet.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sunday Comics & Important UPDATE

Welcome to another edition of Sunday Comics!

This is actually a little bit of a different sort of Sunday Comics.  For one, I didn't actually read any comics in the last two weeks.  For another, I've made a decision about this post series, and it's sister series, Sunday TV: I'm not going to be doing them as often.  In fact, I'll only be posting one of each a month.

There are a few reasons for this.  First and foremost, I haven't been reading very many comics lately, or watching much TV.  And I don't want to force myself to read or watch these things because they generally bring me a lot of joy.  Secondly, I'm working on making better content.  These are two posts that I always seem to rush through and don't care much for.  I want my blog to become more about quality than quantity, which is something I struggle with at the moment.  Finally, the blog will be going through some small changes.  I'm going to be not only taking time with each post, but I'm going to be revamping how it all looks.  I don't know exactly when you'll notice the big change, but I've been playing with different styles and I'm very excited.

I hope you guys don't mind the change!  And hopefully this is just the first step in a positive direction.  You won't see another one of these posts until near the end of December, but hopefully by then I'll have read some comics again.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up and Book Haul

Hey, happy day after Black Friday (aka the day I spent way too much on books but I don't really care).  It's been really nice to be on break, and be back in my own bed.  I've also managed to rearrange my bookshelves (they look amazing!) and I think after tweaking them a little more I'll end up posting pictures.  I'm always a little self-conscious about my bookshelves, but how I have them now is probably my favorite I've had them in a few years.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday 56: Clockwork Angel

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.  Click here to join in on the fun.
Rules: Grab a book, any book.
Turn to page 56, or 56% in your eReader.
Find a sentence, or a few, and post it.

ARC Book Review: The Flux ('Mancer, #2)

Author| Ferrett Steinmetz (Facebook/Twitter)  Rating| 4.75 Stars
Edition| eGalley courtesy of Netgalley  Release Date| October 6th, 2015
Related Reviews| Flex

I received a copy of The Flux from Angry Robot Books via Netgalley in exchange for an honest reviews.  Thank you!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Anime Review: The Devil is a Part-Timer

Watch| Netflix  Rating| 2.5 Stars
Buy Links| Amazon

Well, this is a show I've had my eye on for some time, and since I've been going through a bit of an anime phase, it was time to give it a shot.  Plus, it had been popping up as recommended after Noragami (my very favorite anime and manga), so all signs pointed to it being really good.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Siren

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Click here to join in on the fun.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Widow Giveaway!

That's right it's time for a Giveaway!  And not a traditional one, either.  Before I went off to college I sent my preorder ticket of Black Widow: Forever Red to the people who published it.  If you did this, as long as there were supplies, you could get a signed art print of the characters from it, who would be featured in an upcoming comic.  Well, I wasn't sure it even went through, because you never really do know with these things.  But when I came back from college I found out I had received not only one of these art prints, but FOUR all packaged up together.  So, since I'm so lucky to have a couple extra lying around, I thought I'd give two away.

Graphic Novel Review: The Long Halloween

Author| Jeph Loeb  Artist| Tim Sale  Rating| 3 Stars
Edition| Kindle eBook

So, sadly, I still haven't found a Batman story that I like very much.  Sign me up for practically any other member of the Bat-family and I'm sold, but Bruce just doesn't keep me entertained.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Album Review: 25

Artist| Adele
Listen| iTunes

This is, easily, one of the biggest music releases all year and when I heard about it I pretty much instantly preordered it.  Did it pay off?  I think so.

5 Star Book Review: The Martian

Author| Andy Weir (Facebook/Twitter)  Edition| Kindle eBook  Rating| 5 Stars

This book was a roller coaster of emotions that kept me on my toes and made my heart pound nearly the whole time.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sunday TV

Welcome to another edition of Sunday TV, where I talk about the shows I've been watching lately.  I haven't done much live TV watching lately, which is really detrimental to keeping up on things, but it happens.  I did manage to finish off Jessica Jones, and there will be a full review of that coming shortly.  I'm also in the middle of binge-watching Blue Exorcist, which is so very good, and I just can't seem to stop.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up & Book Haul

Hey guys, sorry for the break, but I really needed it.  Honestly, I could have gone for a longer break, but it's better that I don't so that I don't lose track of blogging (it took me so long to get into the habit after the last time).  Finals are over, I won't know how I did for another week or so, and I'm at home, surrounded by most of my books.  And, yesterday, it snowed for the first time!  I love the winter time, since it's always perfect reading weather.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: Steeplejack

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Click here to join in on the fun.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up and Haul & Small Break

So, this is going to be a really quick post, because I just don't have the time right now.  Finals are upon me.  Next week the wrap up will be more normal.  But until then, this will be my last post before I take a small break.  It's just a week long, and it's so I can recover from finals and settle back into my home.

Friday, November 13, 2015

5 Star Audiobook/Reread Review: Red Rising (Red Rising, #1)

Author| Pierce Brown (Facebook/Twitter)  Narrator| Tim Gerard Reynolds  Rating| 5 Stars
Edition| Audible Audiobook
Related Reviews| Red Rising (Original) | Golden Son

You may remember that I read this book much earlier this year and that I absolutely fell in love.  Well, I wanted to give audiobooks a whir, and this seemed like a natural choice.  I love it as much as I did the first time, which is no surprise, plus it's narrated by one of my favorite narrators.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Discussion: Where to Start With Comics

Discussion posts are something I do every Thursday to get a conversation going.  I'd love to hear your input in the comics!  Thanks for stopping by!

Book News: ACOTAR Movie

Welcome to the newest feature of this blog!  I plan on doing Book News posts whenever something important and bookish happens for a series I care about.  They'll be posted sporadically, since I won't know when the information will be coming out.  You can always see old posts and information to catch up on under the Reviews & Book News tab.

5 Star Book Review: Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell

Author| Susanna Clarke  Edition| Mass Market Paperback  Rating| 5 Stars

I picked this book up after watching the mini-series, and while I don't often recommend you watch an adaptation before you read the original, in this case I make an exception.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Your Future Book Tag

I saw this really awesome tag over on Lauren Stoolfire's blog which you should go check out right now because it's awesome.

The Tag:
Choose five books to answer the questions.  The five I chose were ones I've either begun or finished that I have with me at college.

Waiting on Wednesday: The Demonists

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Click here to join in on the fun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Blogging Tips #2: Voice and Content

Hello and welcome to another Blogging Tips post!  I love to encourage people to blog, whether about books or not, and actually have a friend who has recently started blogging.  But that's neither here nor there.  Basically, I want to help out people who are new to blogging by giving advice.  And I want your help!  If you have tips you think would be great to give newcomers, please let me know in the comments, or email me at tsundokublog(at)gmail(dot)com.  These tips come courtesy of Lauren Stoolfire who I talked with in the comments of the last post, which you can access here.  Thanks, Lauren!

TV Review: Over the Garden Wall

Watch| Youtube  Rating| 4 Stars
Starring| Elijah Wood (Wirt), Colin Dean (Gregory), Melanie Lynskey (Beatrice)
Buy Links| Amazon

This is, according to most of the internet and all my friends who have seen it, one of the best shows ever.  I didn't watch it for any of them, though.  I didn't find out that so many had seen it until after I had already devoured all 2 hours of the show.  And my reaction: it was very good, but it wasn't the best.

Monday, November 9, 2015

College Journey #6: Calendars and Schedules

Welcome to another installment of my college journey blog posts!  I'm coming to the end of my first term here, so things have been rather stressful.  Luckily, I go home in a week, so I get to spend plenty of time with my bookshelves.  If you ever have a specific question you'd like to ask about either college in general or my specific college (Knox College) please feel free to ask in the comments!  I make these posts to help ease the fear of people who are going to be starting college, whether at mine, in the near future.

New To You Book Club November: Cosmic Avengers Review

Author| Brian Michael Bendis  Artists| Steve McNiven and Sara Pichelli  Rating| 3.5 Stars
Edition| Paperback

Cosmic Avengers is the November book club pick of the month.  If you're curious about the club, click the tab at the top of the page for more information.  You still have the rest of the month to read this book, and I'd love to talk to you about it.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Sunday Comics

Welcome back to another edition of Sunday Comics.  I've still be in the mood for comics, and it's been a very nice mood.  The last two days or so I didn't get a ton of comic reading done, but before that I was going pretty steady.  Again, I'm sorry about the lack of pictures in this post, I'm still having trouble for some reason.

Book News: Hunger Games Theme Park

Welcome to the newest feature of this blog!  I plan on doing Book News posts whenever something important and bookish happens for a series I care about.  They'll be posted sporadically, since I won't know when the information will be coming out.  You can always see old posts and information to catch up on under the Reviews & Book News tab.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Weekly Wrap-Up

Hey guys, how has your week been?  Honestly, mine has been a bit stressful.  But I'm finally catching up on all the posts I meant to do earlier this week.  On a positive note, I managed to not buy any books this week!  I have managed to keep to my book buying ban!  Which really surprises me, honestly.  But it makes my wallet happy, for sure.

Book News: Bone Season #3 Title

Welcome to the newest feature of this blog!  I plan on doing Book News posts whenever something important and bookish happens for a series I care about.  They'll be posted sporadically, since I won't know when the information will be coming out.  You can always see old posts and information to catch up on under the Reviews & Book News tab.

Discussion: Literary Pairs

I'm so sorry guys!  I meant to get this up on its regular day- Thursday- but this week has been really busy.  I have two papers due and they're taking up most of my time.  But as I sit in the library and procrastinate, I thought I'd finally get this up.  This week's discussion is one I'm actually really excited to talk about because it's literary pairs!

Friday, November 6, 2015

Friday 56: The Sword of Shannara

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice.  Click here to join in on the fun.
Rules: Grab a book, any book.
Turn to page 56, or 56% in your eReader.
Find a sentence, or a few, and post it.

5 Star Book Review: The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive, #1)

Author| Brandon Sanderson (Twitter/Facebook)  Edition| Mass Market Paperback
Rating| 5 Stars

Okay, so let me take a deep breath.


Thursday, November 5, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Daredevil- Born Again

Author| Frank Miller  Artist| David Mazzucchelli  Rating| 4.5 Stars
Edition| Kindle eBook

For those of you who have been around the blog any time in the past year have probably noticed that I absolutely adore Daredevil.  I've reviewed quite a few Daredevil graphic novels this year, and while some of them aren't that great, others are fantastic.  This aligns with the latter and is probably the second best that I've read.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Book News: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie

Welcome to the newest feature of this blog!  I plan on doing Book News posts whenever something important and bookish happens for a series I care about.  They'll be posted sporadically, since I won't know when the information will be coming out.  You can always see old posts and information to catch up on under the Reviews & Book News tab.

Waiting on Wednesday: Ghost Talkers

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine.  Click here to join in on the fun.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Graphic Novel Review: Hawkeye vs Deadpool

Author| Gerry Duggan  Artist| Matteo Lolli and Jacopo Camagni  Rating| 4 Stars
Edition| Paperback

This was a really fun read.  It lacked seriousness, but that's not too surprising seeing who was headlining the title.  If you're a fan of either Hawkeye or Deadpool, you'll enjoy this one.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sunday TV

Sunday TV is something I do every other week or so to keep you guys up to date with what I'm watching.  If you watch any of these shows, please comment down below and we can talk about them!

November TBR

It's been a while since I've done a monthly TBR, but I kind of miss them, so I thought I'd get back in the habit.  I know, now, after months of pretty much judging my reading patterns, that I get through about five books a month, and about that many graphic novels/manga as well.  My TBR is subject to change, but I'm fairly certain that these are the ones I will for sure get to.