Thursday, January 26, 2017

To Interrupt the Regularly Scheduled Program

So I'm taking an unplanned hiatus. I talk about the reasons why here so please if you're curious check it out.

I may not be back until March. Until then I'll be around on twitter but that's about it.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Book Review: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber
Facebook - Twitter - Website
Edition: ARC courtesy of Publisher
Buy Links: Amazon - Barnes and Noble - Book Depository
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Rating: 5 Stars

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I am among the majority when I say this was one of my most anticipated books of the new year. It sounded splendid- a carnival event that only takes place rarely and is a magical adventure and the quest of one sister to save the other. Paired with the positive early reviews and huge amount of buzz I thought, and found correct, that nothing could go wrong with this book.

Scarlett and Tella's father is abusive and Scarlett thinks the only way to get away from him and off the island he keeps them on is by marrying a complete, but seemingly kind, stranger. Every year, however, she wrote to Legend, the master of Caraval, in an attempt to see a performance. Only a few days before her marriage, she finally receives a reply, and three tickets that will get her into the performance which is on a neighboring island. It is her sister and the strange boy she found her sister hooking up with, though, that get her to that performance by kidnapping her and stealing her away in the night. It's not long before Scarlett realizes that Caraval is even more dangerous than it seems and that her sister is the game- whoever finds her wins.

It has been such a long time since I was so thoroughly sucked into a book that I didn't want to put it down. This book was like a drug. Every word propelled it into something grander and greater than I could have imagined going in. Not only was the world a whimsical, yet dark, and stunning dreamscape that leapt off the page and stole me away, but the characters were well thought out, three dimensional beings that made me laugh and cry and feel everything in between. The plot was incredible as well and while I was guessing the entire time I read, rarely did my guesses land their mark as things turned out to be better than I could conjure.

I already know that this is going to be in the top ten books of this year, and the year has only just started! I'm eagerly awaiting the next book and I don't think I could recommend this one any harder. Should I mention the slow to develop but heart swooning romance? Should I mention the endless magic at Caraval that will leave you looking for your own ticket? Should I mention the relationship between the sisters that was stronger than even the romance and showed another, more beautiful side, to the love normally common in YA novels? Or should I leave you here and beg you to pick this up and devour it?

I'll leave you here.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mini Movie Reviews: Florence Foster Jenkins & Cafe Society

This was... not what I was expecting at all. Actually, I never really expected to watch this movie in the first place. The trailers didn't look super appealing and then it kinda floated off my radar anyways so I wasn't sure I cared. But then the awards buzz brought it back to the forefront and I took the opportunity to rent it.

Certainly, I wasn't disappointed. It was a pretty good movie, all in all, but it also wasn't the best it could be. It felt like, the whole time, it was missing something, though I could not say what that was. The actors were all pretty good in their roles, even though it was a pretty limited cast. The plot was funny, heartfelt, and sad, which makes a pretty good combination, too. It just felt lacking the entire time.

My favorite thing about this is that it's a true story. What a cool story! What a cool lady! Like, why don't we learn about her in the history books, if only it's just a line here or there. I know it's pretty trivial, but people like her should be celebrated. But now I'm going on a rant, so let me cool off.

This is a good movie to rent. It's a sold film that hits all the right notes, even if it does seem to be missing some spark. I'm glad I didn't see it in the theater but it was better than I thought it would be.

This was like watching a bad remake of a good Woody Allen movie. The acting was poor, the cinematography was standard, and the plot was dragging and pointless. I know I'm being harsh- and I know I'm not generally a huge fan of Woody Allen films, but I can tell a good movie from a bad movie. I have little to say beyond the fact that I really didn't like it and would recommend staying away from it for its mediocrity. 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Movie Review: Eddie the Eagle

When I was flipping through google's selection of movie posters for this one there were a few that struggled to make this movie look "cool" which struck me as ridiculous. It's not a "cool" movie, even if it does star Eggsy Unwin and Wolverine... er Taron Egerton and Hugh Jackman, I mean. The poster I ended up settling with for this post pretty much sums up the mood of the film, absurdity and all.

The first thing you need to know is that this is based on a true story. I'm a sucker for sports movies like this, where the underdog rises up and faces his demons by showing off his talents. The second thing you need to know is that, while this is that sort of movie, it's not about the best of the best. It's about the worst of the best with the biggest heart.

Eddie Edwards has all his life wanted to be an Olympic Athlete. He just isn't much of an athlete until he discovers he's not so bad on the slopes. Push comes to shove, and when they won't let him in for the downhill ski he road trips to the mountains where he's determined to qualify and be the one and only member of the British ski jumping team. There he meets ex-American Olympian Bronson Peary, who agrees to help him if only to prevent Eddie from hurting himself.

I was taken in immediately with the movie. The cinematography was clear and the director didn't waste any time drawing you into the setting for the film which is clear within the first five minutes. The characters, too, aren't left open ended for two long and all the relationships are clearly defined, and though they may be a little to black and white rather than dynamic gray, they fit the casting well.

Speaking of the cast- it was interesting to see Egerton in this since the only other films I've seen him in are Sing (where he's only a voice) and Kingsmen, where his character is basically the opposite of what you get here. I thought he did a great job and oftentimes forgot I was seeing the same actor who had portrayed a secret agent. Personally, I think he'll go far in his career since every movie of his I've seen I've liked. The other main player is Hugh Jackman and, let's be honest, can you really go wrong with him? I mean, sure, you probably can, but I've never really seen a bad movie (we're ignoring the first two Wolverine movies because those were just for studio cash and he wasn't the problem with either of them) he's been in. It did take a while for his character to appear on screen and I was impatiently waiting for that moment, but otherwise I thought he was pretty fantastic.

Overall, this is a must watch movie, if you ask me.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: The Killing Joke

Batman: The Killing Joke is part of my DC Read-through, an ongoing series of posts inspired by a free eGalley I received. The eGalley was a magazine of the books DC claimed were the best places to start with their comics and I took this as a challenge. I handpicked about two dozen, and I try to read one or two a month. If you're interested in the rest of this series check out the tab above. My last post was a review of the first volume of Sandman and my next one is going to be V for Vendetta. Because this isn't a typical review I don't focus on the typical things, I stick mostly to looking at whether this is a good place to start with DC comics or not in lieu of plot details and my personal enjoyment.

This one is up there with Watchmen as one of the darkest comics I've ever read. Seeing as they're both written by Alan Moore I really shouldn't be surprised. I would argue, however, that this is darker, and perhaps, because it is shorter, it packs a very different, but still powerful, kind of punch to the gut than Watchmen did. Which is why I'm going to say that this is a poor place to start for any comic reader.

If you're looking to get into Batman comics this isn't the place. Sure, you're probably well versed in who the characters are, but if you want the full impact of the emotions that this is meant to convey I think you need to spend more time getting to know exactly who it is within these pages. I've read Batman comics before, but I still didn't get all the emotion that I think this is meant to convey. It's also not meant to be a set up for anyone really, but the Joker, as it does reveal a "version" of his backstory. While he may be one of the best character's ever written I don't think his is the head you want to enter into this series with.

If you're looking to get into superhero comics this also isn't the best place. The only hero to really appear is Batman and it's in a limited capacity. He's there, and his morals are certainly fleshed out nicely and quickly, but he himself isn't the most interesting part nor is he meant to be. It's not a comic about a hero as about the human condition, which it portrays beautifully.

Finally, if you're looking to get into comics in general I would say it's so-so. For a one-shot it's a really solid story, and if you're a connoisseur of fine things, particularly fine art, this is definitely a piece you need to add to your collection. However, if you're just generally looking to get into comics this will either be a turn on or a turn off. There's not really a middle ground with this one, so I would recommend starting somewhere else. If you're pretty sure this is the kind of things you want to read regularly, than by all means go for it, but if you're just kinda curious and not sure, try something else first to get a taste for the medium.

I do want to add a word on whether I liked it or not: I did but not really because of the plot (which I find a tad too disturbing for even my tastes) or the art (though it is very nice art that matches the story well) but because of how much of a statement piece it is as art and what it contributes to the genre. I like being able to see it on my shelf and I think it will be a nice piece for my collection for many years to come.

TL;DR? Perhaps not the best place to start with comics or graphic novels but definitely a must read if you think you can stomach it.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

College Journey: Find Your Own Music

College Journey is a twice-monthly posting series (the last two Thursdays of every month) where I talk about both my experience and advice I've collected along the way. I go to a small liberal arts college in the middle of Nowhere, IL, and while I enjoy the campus and the company the wider community is much different than what I'm use to. If you ever have a question, check out my college journey tab, where I've collected all past posts, or shoot me an email (tsundokublog(at)gmail(dot).com) and I'll respond as soon as I can.

This post is two pronged. I mean a lot with the title. I mean it, first, in a literal manner, and, more importantly, in a figurative way. Music is a super big help in my life- it keeps me going, motivates me, connects with me, inspires me, and picks me up when I'm down and nothing else can do it. It takes no energy to listen to music and I'll often fall asleep and wake up to it stuck in my head. It's a soundtrack for your soul, and it's important you find some you like to keep you going through life, if it does have that sort of effect on you.

More importantly: you need to find your own internal rhythm. You can't base your days off of what everyone around you is doing because you can't sacrifice your goals and your time to someone else's, at least not all the time. There are always exceptions, but it's a bad idea to try and spend every waking minute following someone else's schedule when it doesn't work for you. Maybe you don't know what I'm talking about, but I'm guessing you do. In it's essence, what I'm saying is don't bend over backwards for someone or something when you can't straighten up afterwards.

Recently I've had stress issues and I think those stem, at least in some part, from trying to fit the things I need to do into other people's schedules and them trying to fit what they need to do into mine, making everything stressful in the end and tempers and emotions run high. So I took a step back and recollected my thoughts and what I needed to do to help calm things down and here's what I've come back with:

Classes come first. That's it. That's the reason you're in college isn't? It's so you can learn and use that knowledge in your life in some way, whether it's career-wise or not, you have an end goal in mind and classes are probably what gets you there. Don't let someone else get in the way of them and make sure to take time before and after each class so that you're not rushing around from one to another.

Do homework alone, or at least part of it. I like doing homework in an environment conductive to getting stuff done, and sometimes that means with a bunch of my friends in the library as we all work diligently and sometimes that means secluding myself in my room. Even when they're all out in the common room having fun and doing things. This tags onto the mantra that classes come first- because homework and studying are the key to your classes.

Eat on your time. Meals are one of the few social times I always have assured but they've also been problematic lately. I try to make sure I have my homework done at specific times so I can eat with specific people but that's been getting in the way of, you guessed it, homework. And homework is the key to classes. And classes come first! See where this is going?

Actually know when you're going to hang out with people. By this I mean, you know you're going to want to have fun Friday nights through Sunday evening, and while that won't really work out, you do know the times of the day and the week when you're going to be willing and more wanting to hang out with friends. You're going to want to go on adventures and play board games and just exist in the same space in a non-toxic way. Which means you have to be able to schedule your homework and other priorities around this time so that you don't feel like you're missing out on something important.

Take the time for yourself and don't feel guilty. Pretty self-explanatory.

That's my best advice, and I'm going to try my own darnedest to keep up on it as well. Good luck to us all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Mini Movie Reviews: The Jungle Book & Sing

This movie has gotten only praises as far as I can tell, and I can see why. The animation was stunning, and paired with the voice acting, I would say they nailed all the characters. Bill Murray in particular was fantastic and his version of Baloo really blew me out of the water. He was easily my favorite character in this film (which I'll touch back on in a moment). Neel Sethi, who played Mowgli, was also very good. I'm always worried about children actors, because you either have a  hit or a miss regarding their abilities, but I'd say Sethi definitely falls into the hit category and I hope he has a bright future in acting ahead of him.

The plot was slow for a long part of the film and it felt indeed like several chapters taken from a book. I must admit, I've never read the original story, I'm only familiar with Disney's previous animated version, so I don't know if the book is meant to feel like this on purpose. However, once Baloo showed up I was thoroughly involved and thought the stakes were appropriately high and the tension appropriately dangerous. His part in the plot also moved things forward and he served as a good connection between Mowgli's past and present without being the omniscient force that Bagheera was.

Overall this is definitely a film worth watching, though I am glad I didn't see it in theaters. For me, this is a sit-at-home covered in blankets film. While it would look absolutely stunning on the large screen I preferred the intimacy of watching it on my computer. Which, yes, it is on Netflix right now so there's little excuse not to see it (unless, of course, you don't have Netflix).

Since the first trailer jumped into my lap I have been anticipating this movie. It just looked adorable! And the cast is fantastic! And the music is fantastic! Really there's not much bad I can say about this film, so I won't.

I will say it a fun movie, but it's definitely a kids film. Don't take this to mean anything bad about it though! I certainly enjoyed it and I would see it again, but if this isn't your genre you already know that and you plan to stay away. 

I don't think it's destined to become a classic (not up there with How to Train Your Dragon or Shrek, is what I mean), though I am glad it was a good watch and I'm glad the general public agrees.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

January Wrap Up (Weeks One & Two)

So this is the first of my new style of Wrap Up's! And, unfortunately, it's late. I've been having some mental health and stress related problems that have kept me from both reading and blogging as a whole. I wish I could say things are looking up, but I'd have to say they just don't look like they're going to be getting any worse, which is in itself a positive. As of writing this, I'm feeling a lot better than I did yesterday and the day before, so we'll see how long this bout of trouble lasts me.

Otherwise, not much has been going on. School has, overall, been pretty good, and classes are interesting in the very least. Before the mental health troubles I was reading a lot more than I expected I would be, so that's always a good sign! I hope everyone else has been having a great start to the new year and I'm sorry if my absence has been felt, I'm going to try and get back to regular posting and visiting blogs this week and hopefully I won't be knocked off that plan any time soon.

Books Finished
Star Wars: Showdown on Smuggler's Moon
But Then I Came Back
The Killing Joke
I adored But Then I Came Back and Caraval (both ARCs) and Caraval for sure will be making it into my favorite books of the year, even though it's only January. Really, when this one comes out you will need to pick it up immediately. Shiver was a fun reread, though it doesn't hold up quite as much as I would have wished. I did end up crying at the end of it, because it's just so beautiful on the final pages and it brought me back to a simpler time and place.

Currently Reading
I'm in the midst of Gilded Cage (an ARC) and while I'm enjoying it I don't think it's what I had a taste for at the moment. I'm only about a fourth of the way through, though, so we'll see if my mood changes as the week progresses.




Coming Soon
Tuesday-- Mini Reviews of The Jungle Book & Sing
Thursday-- College Journey
Friday-- Review of The Killing Joke
Saturday-- Review of Eddie the Eagle
Next Sunday-- Mini Reviews of Florence Foster Jenkins & Cafe Society
Next Tuesday-- Caraval Review
Next Thursday-- College Journey
Next Saturday-- Wrap Up #2

So, yep, that's all for me this week! Here's to a better next to week and me trying to get myself (and my blog) back together! Have a wonderful week, everyone.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

TV Review: Westworld, Season 1

This is one of those hard stories to talk about, because if I say too much I could ruin the whole thing, so I will tread carefully. Also, a warning for those interested in the show: there's a lot of nudity. Not sexual nudity, per se, but nudity. Like, you get the chance to see nearly every character nearly full-frontal, and several of them full-frontal. If you're uncomfortable with that don't watch it because it will make you uncomfortable.

First of all, I see why so many people enjoyed it. It's a solid story backed with an amazing cast, shot beautifully, and full of fan theory potential. Plus, with the final episode it answers all the big questions you had all along, and then asks new ones we have to wait TWO YEARS to see answered since it won't be back until at least 2018.

I can't say much about the plot, though I wish I could discuss it in depth here. I don't even know where I would start with that, though. There are several interesting and important threads laid out in the very first episode and while many of them do end up intersecting, they don't all necessarily. I will say if you're not taken in the first episode by the plot, because it seems repetitive and like it's not going anywhere, stick around until at least episode three. Things really pick up there and stuff stops sticking to a formula.

The first thing that I loved when I watched the first episode was the cast. They are amazing! Every single member blew me out of the water, I was in such awe of them. Like, seriously, even if the show was bad they would have made it good. Since it was already a great show it became amazing because of the talent collected here. Everyone was perfectly cast and I loved everyone, even the ones I hated. Each member was able to make you feel something for them- whether that was disgust, horror, love, sympathy, awe, or something in between all of that- and I can easily say that I will never forget a single one of them they're imprinted that strongly, emotionally, on my mind.

As for the beautiful cinematography- all you can do is watch and see for yourself how beautiful everything is. From the harsh metals and dark lights of the industrial half of the park, to the open spaces and historical(ish) details of the "westworld" every single shot was gorgeous. If you get a chance to watch on a big screen I strongly recommend because you won't be disappointed in the least.

TL;DR? If you have the chance to watch this, jump on that opportunity because you won't regret it. The story, cast, and cinematography were all out of this world, and this is certainly not a show to be underestimated.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Mini Review: Showdown on Smuggler's Moon (Star Wars, Vol. 2)

After seeing Rogue One I wanted to keep the Star Wars bug biting so I picked up the second volume of the comic series. I read volume one several months ago and thought it fit the characters perfectly and did a nice job to fill in the space between the first two films. This one also does a very nice job of that, though I think it veered a bit further away from a plot I wanted than the first did. The characters are still spot on and I swear I can hear the actors voices when I turn the pages, and things jump off the page thanks to the great quality art.

For plot in general, it moved a little too fast for certain things to happen they way they did. In part of it Luke receives training, and I had a feeling, based off of what the characters said, that this lasted for at least a few days, or a week at most, but on the page that only amounted to one or two brief training scenes. Because of this I did get a bit confused over the timeline, which also makes it seem that everything that happens to Han and Leia takes place in about a day, while Luke's story clearly doesn't.

Everything paid off in the end, though, and I loved how it all finished out. Spoiler alert: seeing the original squad all holding Lightsabers was a dream come true.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Mini Manga Reviews: The Case Study of Vanitas (Vol. 1) & Reindeer Boy

The Case Study of Vanitas is Jun Mochizuki's most recent series. I first discovered her manga last year when I picked up the first volume of Pandora Hearts and from page one was absorbed into the story. I'm still making my way through that series but took advantage of the opportunity to jump into this series as it began. The art in Vanitas is just as stunning as that in Pandora, but so far the storyline is slower. Little beyond character introductions has happened so far into the story, but I'm not really complaining because all the characters are pretty interesting.

Vanitas is a human pretending he's a legendary vampire- oh, and he's curing "sick" vampires that have gone crazy using the book that may have cursed them in the first place. Noe is a vampire with a secret agenda who "befriends" Vanitas in an attempt to get closer to his book and promises the reader at the end of the first chapter that he will kill Vanitas. And then there are an array of side characters who we've only seen pieces of and who I'm very curious about, not least of all Jeanne, who reminds me of Brienne from GOT if I'm being honest.

So far I would say this has a bunch of potential and I'll be happily reading it for a while. If you're looking for a new manga without a lot to catch up I'd strongly recommend this one.

I don't know if this qualifies more as a graphic novel or American manga, but it's short enough to be somewhere in between if nothing else. I've been a fan of Cassandra Jean's since I discovered her TMI fan art and I'm so happy to see her doing so well! I believe this is her first professionally published original work and if it's anything to go off of, I think her future works will be just as good.

Of course I loved the art, she's one of my favorite artists, and the story was really cute. My only problem- it ended too soon! And sometimes that can come off as not a bad thing but in this case it was a bit disappointing. I was looking forward to more of a story and it had a lot of momentum that ended rather abruptly in the end. I think this is because it's meant to be part of a series, but since that hasn't actually been confirmed it doesn't really make me feel better about that ending. Sure it was cute but so much was left unanswered!

My favorite part was just the relationships between all the characters. I don't have a word to describe this bond, but when I see it on the page it takes me to some of my favorite stories where the bond is similar (mostly stuff I read when I was younger so there's this HUGE nostalgia factor).

If anything, this is a pretty good holiday read, seeing as it's about Santa and his reindeer.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Book Review: The Bear and the Nightingale

Author: Katherine Arden
Edition: eGalley courtesy of Netgalley
Release Date: January 10th, 2017
Rating: 3 Stars
I received an early copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

I stumbled across this one a little on accident, but as soon as I read the description I was enchanted. It sounded beautiful, and whimsical, and haunting, and was absolutely what I was in the mood for during the winter months. Unfortunately, it let me down quite a bit, not unlike how the Crown's Game did last year, and for several of the same reasons.

The Bear and the Nightingale is about Vasilisa and her family. Since she was a young girl Vasya has been able to see the spirits of the forest and her house, which was never a problem until she got older and a powerful and dark god in the forest begins to try and take his power back.

I'm going to start with the positives, because the book wasn't all bad. The writing was gorgeous, for one, and the descriptions were so life like I could see everything clearly. I also loved the setting, which was historical Russia, which came alive as did everything else. Adding the touch of linguistics to the story as it was told brought me back to fond memories of reading Grisha for the first time, and I'll never complain about that. The beginning, too, was an incredibly strong start, and for the first 100 pages I was in love with the story. The near-ending (the fifty or so pages leading up to the climax) was also amazing and pulled from East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I wish more time had been spent with that part of the story since I could have bathed in that plot for ages.

It was the middle that dragged. One of the biggest problems was the number of characters the story tackled, and the limited number of pages. Had the story been stretched out to cover longer than it did, and more pages than it did, I don't think I would have minded the wide cast so much, but it all felt packed in with boring details that didn't really matter. It all ties up in the end, but with the amount of time spent following non-main characters around I was hoping they would all have a bigger impact than they did. Like I said, the near-ending was my favorite part, and when I got to that part it felt like everything before had been a very extended prologue, making me dislike it even more for keeping me from the interesting bits.

Since there were so many characters none of them felt as fully developed as they could have been. Too many of them depended on their plot line to be people, even our protagonist. I wanted characters that changed more because of themselves and not because the plot said they needed to.

TL;DR? The problems with slow plot and poor character development can't be overcome by the beautiful prose and few interesting parts, but some people will surely fall in love with it, and I just wish I could have been one of them.

Waiting on Wednesday: Age of Swords

Waiting on Wednesday was created by Breaking the Spine
The gods have been proven mortal and new heroes will arise as the battle continues in the sequel to Age of Myth.
In Age of Myth, fantasy master Michael J. Sullivan launched readers on an epic journey of magic and adventure, heroism and betrayal, love and loss. Now the thrilling saga continues as the human uprising is threatened by powerful enemies from without—and bitter rivalries within.
Raithe, the God Killer, may have started the rebellion by killing a Fhrey, but long-standing enmities dividing the Rhune make it all but impossible to unite against a common foe. And even if the clans can join forces, how will they defeat an enemy whose magical prowess makes the Fhrey indistinguishable from gods?
The answer lies across the sea in a faraway land populated by a reclusive and dour race who feels nothing but disdain for both Fhrey and mankind. With time running out, Persephone leads the gifted young seer Suri, the Fhrey sorceress Arion, and a small band of misfits in a desperate search for aid—a quest that will take them into the darkest depths of Elan. There, an ancient adversary waits—an enemy as surprising as it is deadly.
Why I'm Waiting
I wasn't as taken with the first book in this series as I was with Sullivan's previous work, but now that a lot of the groundwork for this world has been laid and all the characters are set up I think I will be more than happy with this one. Also, this cover is so much more than I expected! I love it!

Age of Swords is released June 28th, 2017, and you can preorder it here

Monday, January 2, 2017

Graphic Novel Review: Preludes and Nocturnes (Sandman, Vol. 1)

Welcome to the new year's first addition to my DC Graphic Novel Read-through. This is an ongoing series where I explore what DC has dubbed the best places to start with their comics. For that reason, these reviews focus less on the plot and development of the story and more on whether it's generally good and if you should start here. My previous posts in this story were for Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns. This week I'm going in a different direction, and rather than picking up a superhero comic I went with Preludes and Nocturnes, the first collected installment of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman. My next review for this series will be for Batman: The Killing Joke so keep your eyes peeled for that one soon!

Going into this I'm more than a little biased since Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. In fact, it's rather surprising that it took me this long to even pick this series up! It certainly disappoint on the Gaiman front, and even though he claims it's not his finest work, his style seeks through the writing and translates incredibly well into a comic. The art was something I was worried about since it's far from conventional, but it really does work with this story and I can't even imagine anything different fitting onto the page quite as nicely.

I realize this is a hard book to sum up, probably because the plot isn't necessarily what makes it interesting. Basically: a group of magicians capture the otherworldly entity known as Dream (our "hero") which leads to his long imprisonment. After he breaks out he goes on a quest to reclaim what was taken from him.

If you're looking to go into comics but aren't interested in superhero's than I would certainly recommend this one. Especially if you're coming off books in the similar genre as this. It's a good graphic novel to cross over into the medium with, even though it is a bit unconventional. It's also a more mature graphic novel, though not necessarily because of violence of sex, more for the concepts and just the world within the pages itself.

However, if this is where you want to jump into classic DC fare don't start here. Sure, Constantine shows up, and there are passing references to some of the big hitters, but they're really just there to cement this in the world of DC not to really be a "part" of it. It's not a superhero comic, it's a fantasy/paranormal comic. 

Probably not the best place to start unless you're not interested in superhero comics at all. It is, however, one of the best graphic novels I've ever read so I can't recommend it strongly enough on that front.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year Plans

Welcome to 2017! I'm so excited for this year. I just have a good feeling about the books and movies this year, which means a good year for the blog. However, there are going to be a lot of things changing this year. Some of those are noticeable, such as new and updated pages, and others are below there surface and may take some time really show themselves. I've thought a lot about all of these changes and I'm so excited to implement them all. Honestly, you may not be interested in any of this, and that doesn't hurt my feelings, since it's more of a "business" thing that goes on here. But if you do end up having any questions about how things run, this is the post to stop by at.

First off, thanks to advice from friends, I'm going to go back to do more movie and television reviews. I won't review everything I watch, but if it's something I feel strongly about it will be getting a review. I already started this at the end of last year, but that was a sort of trial run. Now, expect to see a review or two a month that do not focus on books. This won't be taking over the blog, but I will consider it a major part of it nonetheless.

Another thing is I'm going to try to go back to only reading one, or two since I'm in a bookclub, book at a time. I had a good thing going for a while but I wasn't really finishing what I wanted to finish and just reading those that took "priority". So I'm going to go back to reading as I like when I like as much as I can. Obviously ARCs take precedence, but I only request those that I want to read right away, so it's not really a problem.

Speaking of ARCs I want to keep up on them. The second half of the year I really did start to manage this and I think I have a good system for it now. Hopefully you'll see more ARC reviews this year, too, because even though I'm not as crazy about them as I once was when I started (when I first found out about ARCs they were all I wanted like I didn't have any patience and I was always trying to get more even if I didn't read the ones I had) I still like requesting ones I'm genuinely interested in, and particularly those I wouldn't pick up on my own.

I also have a new schedule for posts. It's pretty similar to how things have been running already, but I'm going to post it again here with a little bit of clarification.
Sun -- Discussions & Announcements
Mon -- Book Reviews
Tue -- Media Reviews & ARC Reviews*
Wed -- Waiting on Wednesday**
Thu -- College Journey***
Fri -- Book Reviews
Sat -- Wrap Ups ****
* My goal is to publish ARC reviews the week before the book comes out, but if there's already a review scheduled for that day, depending on how things are, I'll post the review the day of the book's release or two weeks before it's release.
** This won't be every week, just week's when there's actually a newly released cover for a book I'm excited for.
*** Like last year this will be only the final two Thursdays of the month. I did discuss in the most recent College Journey that the first College Journey of the month will have the usual advice, while the second of the month will be more of a "what I'm doing" type of post.
**** Probably the biggest change: Wrap Up's will only come twice a month from now on. They'll come on the second Saturday of each month and they'll come on the final Saturday of each month. I've said in the past that I love writing Wrap Ups and they're my favorite post, and that hasn't changed, but it's just more economical to spend my time doing less of them. However, I think I'll be including book hauls in each of them. We'll see, that's something I'm still deciding.

A few weeks ago I tried to include weekly book news in each Wrap Up but you may have noticed that didn't really work out. I'm dropping the idea completely. I had a hard time keeping up on everything and sometimes there just wasn't anything interesting happening, nor did I like wedging it into Wrap Up's. However, if something big does go down, or there's a lot of little things, that I want to comment on, I'll be more keen to write a discussion for it.

The pages on this blog have been left to get a little wild and out of date, something I hate when it happens. So I've updated all the important ones: Review Policy and About Me. I've also changed some around. Instead of having a tab that says Reviews or 2016 there's a tab labeled 2017. At the top is a link to Archive, which is my previous Reviews tab and a link to 2016 which was the 2016 tab. This 2017 tab will keep track of everything I read and will have links to any reviews I write for each book. There will not be a place for TV or Movie Reviews on this page. I've also replaced the Current Giveaways tab with two new ones: College Journey, which both serves as an introduction to the series and a collection of all the important links. The other is for the DC Comics Readthrough I'm doing and will be up there as long as I am doing that series of reviews, which will certainly last through the year. It has a schedule for what I'm reading in the coming months and links to all past reviews.

The tab for Bookstagram has been taken off as I'm no longer on Instagram. It just wasn't meant to be. Someday I may return to Instagram as a medium for book stuff, but I don't see that happening this year. If I do start up another Instagram it will be a personal account, which I may or may not share. Booklr, however, will remain, as I want to be more active on my Tumblr. I don't expect this to ever be my first priority, but I like having it and don't want it to go to waste at all.

And that's all the big stuff changing! If you've read this far, you get Bonus Points I suppose. Happy New Year everyone!