Comics Roundup #28: Baba Yaga & a Dam Keeper

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a review of a comic book. Actually, it’s been a while since I’ve read a comic book. I haven’t done so since October last year. Well, I’ll rectify that with this post.

Here I have two graphic novels. The first is a YA fantasy story about a girl seeking the witch from folklore, Baba Yaga, because she no longer feels welcome at home, and the second continues a middle-grade fantasy story about a pig who manages his town’s dam to keep back a deadly black fog.


Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola, illus. by Emily Carroll

Genre:

YA fantasy

Pubbed:

August 2015

Quick overview:

When Masha sees an advertisement for an assistant position with the fearful witch from folklore, Baba Yaga, she decides to apply. Masha had recently lost her beloved grandmother, her source of love and support, leaving her with just her dad, who has found a new family.

Masha grew up listening to her grandmother’s stories about Baba Yaga, so she doesn’t balk at answering the advertisement and seeking out the witch. Afterall, Masha reasons, Baba Yaga may be a witch, “but she’s a grandma too.”

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Reflecting on 2018: Reading

I was hoping my reading in 2018 would surpass what I did in 2017, but, unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Once again, I set a manageable reading goal, this time at 40 books, which is five books less than last year’s 45, but I ended up reading 10 books less than I did in 2017 and ended 2018 with 64 books read. I was hoping for more.

I was secretly striving for that 100 books goal, and I thought I would have hit if the year hadn’t turned sour toward the end of summer and stress and a bout of bad luck (because I believe in such things sometimes) threw me into a reading and blogging slump that persisted for a few weeks. By the time I crawled out the funk and slump of that difficult period, life became too busy to read as much as I wanted. The last quarters of 2018 were just a murky, twisty time for me. I learned a lot from it in my personal life, but my blogging and reading suffered.

But there is a bright side — I managed to read 64 books in 2018: I surpassed my Goodreads goal! 😀 I’m plenty proud of myself, especially since I managed to start and complete a series — the Fairwick Chronicles — in the year (something I never do) and continue with a series — the Night Angel trilogy — that I’m interested in (also something I never do, unless it’s a Robin Hobb series). I think I’ll continue this trend in 2019: set a reading goal in the 40s but secretly strive for the 100s, and complete a series I began.

Like the previous year, 2018 was not spectacular reading-wise. I rated 13 books 5 stars, but four of them were rereads and about half of the nine books I rated 4.5 stars were rereads too. Most of the books I read were average, but the ones that stood out and grabbed the 5 stars were great. I HIGHLY recommend them all and suggest you check out my Favorite Reads of 2018 post to see what they are. I’ll include the top five below.

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2018 End of Year Book Survey

Hey y’all!! 😀 It’s that time of year again when I do the End of Year Book Survey. It’s long. It takes forever to do and to read, but I love doing it and reading other bloggers’ responses. So shout out to Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, for creating it and updating it every year!

2018 Reading Stats

Number of books read: 64

Books: 29

Audio books: 10

E-books: 15

Comics/graphic novels: 10

Number of books reread: 11

Number of books I did not finish: 8

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

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Narnia Book Tag

There’s a book tag for just about everything, I’m sure.

I found this over on Reading With Moose and decided to do it because I am a fan of the Chronicles of Narnia series, though I’ve since forgotten much of the story. The tag was created by Clemi’s Bookish World.

Narnia: A magical world you would like to visit

the wizarding world of Harry Potter

Oh yes, it is the world I’d most like to visit, which is no surprise to anyone who has followed me on here for any length of time. I am a huge fan of the Harry Potter books and was lucky enough to visit the Universal Studios Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida, last month. It was loads of fun and I wasted lots of money there, but I enjoyed myself. I was a bit let down though because the Diagon Alley there wasn’t as quirky and vibrant as I thought it would be, but it was still good.

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Reflecting on 2017: Reading

And yet, another reflection post on the previous year. It might not look like it, but I’m taking it easy with these reflection posts. Last year, I wrote them back to back and was burnt out by the end of the first week in January and didn’t want to look at my blog or read a book. As my mom always says, “everything in moderation,” so I’m moderating how much I write in a day.

Feeling burnt out, I set a manageable Goodreads reading goal for myself in 2017 at just 40 books. I thought I wouldn’t be much interested in reading and would feel pressured by a high reading goal. But I surprised myself later in the year when I passed my reading goal and read 74 books. I was tempted then to increase my goal, but reading pressure-free was so wonderful that I left the goal as is. Inspired by that, at the beginning of 2018 I again set a manageable Goodreads reading goal for myself at just 45 books.

Overall, this wasn’t a spectacular year in reading. I read some great books, but they were few compared to 2016 when I had a hard time deciding on my best reads of the year. However, I was very generous with my star ratings again in 2017 and gave many books 5 stars, which I don’t mind much but as time passes and I reflect on some books, I realize that I no longer think they are 5-star reads. For example, Robin Hobb’s Liveship Traders trilogy, which is wonderful and thought-provoking, but is over worked in some areas making reading feel like a chore. The more I think about those books, the more I feel like dropping a star. But, whatever. It’s still a good read that I highly recommend.

Below, I’ve selected the top books for the year for each category I usually include in my quarterly reading wrap-ups. Again, this is unneeded, especially since I’ve already done a favorite books of 2017 post, but I had so much fun doing this last year that I had to do it again this year. I’ve only included up to 5 books in each category and afterward I list some stats on my reading and mention my progress in the reading challenges I participated in. It’s basically a quick overall wrap-up for the year that’s similar to my quarterly wrap-ups. All books/items, depending on their categories, are listed from absolute best to acceptable, or from least liked to acceptable. Rereads are not often consider for the “favorites” and “least liked” lists.

If you’re curious about how I managed to track all this crap, check out Brock’s YouTube video to learn more about the reading stats spreadsheet he creates every year. (He recently posted a link to an updated version on his Twitter.)

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2017 End of Year Book Survey

Yeahie!! The End of Year Book Survey is back! 😀 I enjoy doing this survey though it’s very long (which makes me like it even more) and I enjoy reading others’ responses to them too (because I get book recommendations). So shout out to Jamie, the Perpetual Page-Turner, for creating it.

Number of books read: 74

Books: 30

Audio books: 13

E-books: 15

Comics/graphic novels: 15

Mangas: 1

Number of books reread: 17

Number of books I didn’t finish: 9

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

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Comics Roundup #16: Bored by Riverdale and Fairyland

Here are two comic books I thought I’d love: Archie and I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After. Both are popular and have been mentioned by bloggers and booktubers so often that I thought I’d be an immediate fan. But instead, I was bored.


I Hate Fairyland, Vol. 1: Madly Ever After by Skottie Young (illus.) with colors by Jean-Francois Beaulieu

Genre:

Fantasy

Goodreads summary:

An Adventure Time/Alice in Wonderland-style epic that smashes its cute little face against grown-up, Tank Girl/Deadpool-esque violent madness. Follow Gert, a forty year old woman stuck in a six year old’s body who has been trapped in the magical world of Fairyland for nearly thirty years. Join her and her giant battle-axe on a delightfully blood-soaked journey to see who will survive the girl who HATES FAIRYLAND. (Goodreads)

My thoughts:

My opinion on this is an unpopular one. Just about everyone who has read this comic loved it and it’s easy to see why, but it just didn’t work for me. At first, I thought it was my mood that was the problem, but recently when I tried to reread it, I hopped around instead. I simply wasn’t interested.

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Reflecting on 2016: Reading

Y’all probably tired of me by now because I’m here again with another 2016 reflection piece, one that I don’t need to do after the crazy long Reading Survey, but one I’ll do regardless because I want to. 😀 I like rereading these reflection posts, especially the reading ones, to see what I thought of the previous year. I often do that toward a year’s end.

The theme for 2016 was Perspective, and boy did I need to remember that when it came to reading. Being in the online book community sometimes make me feel as if I need to read more and more books to keep up with everyone who read mountains of books throughout the year. Unfortunately, I’m unable to do so without cutting corners, like reading short books just to stuff in more in a month, but good thing I caught myself at it and changed what I was doing. If I’d continued on that route, reading for pleasure would no longer be pleasurable.

For 2016, I initially set my Goodreads goal to 60 books. For some reason, I started to freak out in late January/early February thinking I wouldn’t be able to complete 60 books in the year so I started cutting corners by reading a short book, George R.R. Martin’s illustrated children’s book The Ice Dragon. I reprimanded myself for that and dropped my goal to 35 books. But later I realized that I did pretty well when not paying attention to my Goodreads goal and had made such great progress that I bumped my goal back up to 60. I’m glad to report that I surpassed that goal by reading a total of 88 books, comics, and picture books. Yes, the comics and picture books are shorter but I count them anyway and except for the Martin book, I didn’t read them to cut corners.

I read no magazines this year, despite purchasing some, however, I read lots of articles and I’m glad for that. They were great substitutes for the magazines and perfect stand-ins for books when there was a lull in my reading. At this point, I usually do a long review of all the books I read in the past year, but I’ll omit that this year because 1. I read a lot, 2. I’m lazy, and 3. I think I’m tired (though I just got up). I’ll do a bunch of stats instead so I hope future me who loves to read these at the end of the year won’t be too upset at getting just stats instead. 😛

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2016 End of Year Book Survey

2016-end-of-year-book-survey

The End of Year Book Survey is a pretty sweet post created by The Perpetual Page-Turner. I did it last year and thought I’d do it again this year.

The survey is pretty long though I’ve omitted a few questions.

reading-stats-2016

Number of books read: 88

Books: 40

Audio books: 8

E-books: 14

Comics/graphic novels: 23

Mangas: 3

Number of books reread: 14

Number of books I didn’t finish: 5

Genre I read the most: Fantasy

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Comics Roundup #11: Doubts and Fears

It took a while for me to decide on the topic for this comics roundup post. I read them at different times (one for Halloween, the other because I saw it at the library a while back), but decided to review them together because they have many similarities. Though one is explicitly horror and the other strikes me as magical realism, both tap into our fears, what powers our fears, and our doubts about our capabilities. Also both include prominent characters battling mental illness and show the value of strong relationships. And both authors’ first name is Scott.


WytchesWytches, Vol. 1 by Scott Snyder, illus. by Jock with colors by Matt Hollingsworth

Genre:

Horror

Goodreads overview:

Everything you thought you knew about witches is wrong. They are much darker, and they are much more horrifying. Wytches takes the mythology of witches to a far creepier, bone-chilling place than readers have dared venture before. When the Rooks family moves to the remote town of Litchfield, NH, to escape a haunting trauma, they’re hopeful about starting over. But something evil is waiting for them in the woods just beyond town. Watching from the trees. Ancient…and hungry.

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