Saturday, 30 June 2018

Review: Dungeon Fun

Dungeon Fun Dungeon Fun by Colin Bell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Sometimes, you just want a comic that is fun, and Dungeon Fun more than qualifies for that category. The series follows young Fun as she sets forth on a quest to try to stop the bridge trolls dropping everything down into the town here she lives. Her journey brings her many adventures, new friends, and self discovery.

There's really not much that can be said beyond the fact that this is a really fun comic and it will cheer you up when you read it. The first issue of a sequel is now out - Pirate Fun. I'm looking forward to seeing what will happen in this new arc of Fun's life.

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Wednesday, 20 June 2018

[Meme] Random Questions

1) If someone wanted to really understand you, what would they read, watch, and listen to?
READ: Peter Pan, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Discworld, Les Misérables, Harry Potter, The Worst Witch, Battle Royale, Ms. Marvel, The Addams Family, Private Eye, Matilda, Neverwhere,

WATCH: Doctor Who, The Addams Family, The Worst Witch, Blackadder, Xena: Warrior Princess, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The Young Ones, Horrible Histories, Lilo and Stitch, Legally Blonde, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure, The Muppets Show, Galavant, Monty Python,

LISTEN: Queen, Halestorm, The Sex Pistols, The Ramones, Meat Loaf, Alice Cooper, blink-182, Green Day, My Chemical Romance, Guns n Roses, AC/DC, Kerry Ellis, HorrorPops,

2) Have you ever found a writer who thinks just like you? if so, who? Hm, I'd say Pratchett, but it's more he influenced a lot of my thinking to be very fair... I don't really know if there is an answer to this one?

3) List your fandoms and one character from each that you identify with.
Addams Family: Wednesday Addams
Doctor Who: Bill Potts/Donna Noble
Blackadder: Captain Edmund Blackadder
Discworld: Susan Sto Helit/Granny Weatherwax/Sam Vimes
Disney: Merida

4) Do you like your name? Is there another name you think would fit you better? No, not really? My name is my name and I'm pretty sure that I've grown to fit it over the years. It's a good name, and I like it. I mean, it was never fun growing up, because it's not exactly a name that was common in my area so it's not on those personalised things, but still. I like my name.

5) Do you think of yourself as a human being or a human doing? Do you identify yourself by the things you do? ... I have not heard the phrase human doing since... maybe the mid-90s? Is it still a thing that gets said? I didn't think it was still a thing that got said.

6) Are you religious/spiritual? In a sense, yes.

7) Do you care about your ethnicity? In a way, yeah. I will point out I'm Scottish before I'm British and so on but ... apart from that, it's eh.

8) What musical artists have you most felt connected to over your lifetime? Kind of always Queen? Like I may have drifted away from them for a while but then I drifted back and it was ... IDK how to explain it but yeah, Queen. Halestorm are probably my favourite current band though - Lzzy Hale's voice is amazing.

9) Are you an artist? I write, and I sew, and I occasionally draw. I have a very cartoon-y style that shows a lot of influence from artists like Quentin Blake and Bruce Timm if I'm totally honest with you all...

10) Do you have a creed? I have a moral code, does that count?

11) Describe your ideal day. Peaceful, with no panicking or feeling ovewhelmed. Able to actually do stuff without feeling too anxious about everything. Nothing special, really.

12) Dog person or cat person? Dogs.

13) Inside or outdoors? Mostly indoors.

14) Are you a musician? Erm, I'm incredibly rusty on both but I can play piano and clarient. Never took any grades for either but... yeah. I was also in choir.

15) Five most influential books over your lifetime. ... Just Discworld for all five? No, okay so that can be one... erm Good Omens, The Handmaid's Tale, Living Dolls, annnnd... Peter Pan. Look, it was the first book I ever read that didn't have pictures.

16) If you’d grown up in a different environment, do you think you’d have turned out the same? No? Environment shapes you. Who I am today is entirely a product of the environment I grew up in.

17) What’s your patronus? Dragon. Nah, it's probably a dog to be honest.

18) Which Harry Potter house would you be in? Or are you a muggle? I have always been sorted into Gryffindor, and yeah that's my house. Though tbh? I'm a Cackles' Girl.

19) Would you rather be in Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, or somewhere else? Cackles Academy for Witches, thanks. I'd rather avoid the fatality rates of the others...

20) Do you love easily? I ... don't actually know? The whole emotion thing can be a bit hard at time but I know I can fall for things and fandoms quite easily.

21) List the top five things you spend the most time doing, in order. And I'm not doing it in order. Because.
- Sleeping
- Reading
- Tidying
- Researching
- General work

22) How often would you want to see your family every year? As often as I currently do? I guess it would be nice to see some of them a little more, but we're pretty spread out. My immediate family I see quite often. My friends-who-I-consider-as-family I wish I could see a lot more often than I do.

23) Have you ever felt like you had a “mind-meld” with someone? Couple of my really close friends, yeah

24) Could you live as a hermit? I do eventually need interaction with others or I kind of fold into myself a bit and that's not good for my mental state. So it would be a no.

25) How would you describe your gender/sexuality? Female. Somewhere on the asexual spectrum?

26) Do you feel like your outside appearance is a fair representation of the “real you?” ... I don't know? I really don't and that feels odd to say. I don't even think I can explain why I don't know except a vague flailing and an admittance I try to keep the weirder me quiet because it can be a bit full on and ... yeah.

27) On a scale from 1 to 10, how hard is it for someone to get under your skin? Lower end of the scale.

28) Three songs that you connect with right now.
"Rock and Roll" - Avril Lavigne - I don't know why exactly, but this keeps coming into my head at the oddest points
"Old School" - Hedley - It just... fits my mood a lot
"When I Grow Up" - Matilda the Musical - I still feel like I've got a lot to work out to be a grown up...

29) Pick one of your favorite quotes. The Doctor : "There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes."

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Review: Dodger of the Revolution

Dodger of the Revolution Dodger of the Revolution by James Benmore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dodger of the Revolution is the third Dodger book by author James Benmore and follows the infamous Artful Dodger as he takes a job which has him leaving his beloved London for Paris on the outbreak on the 1848 revolution. Hence the title. I've been a fan of this series since I came across the first book - Dodger - while looking to see if there were any stories that followed on from the events of Oliver Twist. (If Pride and Prejudice can have numerous sequels...) This would appear to be the last of the series and what did I think?

Well, let's start by looking at the plot. The events of the second novel are still weighing in the Dodger's mind, and he has taken to hitting the opium dens pretty heavily, to the point that his reliance on the drug is affecting his own Artful nature. Determined to prove he is still the best thief to be found in London, he accepts a job from a pair of French siblings to help them regain their fortune. Unfortunately for all, they happened to arrive the day before the revolution breaks. The Dodger gets caught up in it all, and there's more than just a fortune at stake for the family he's been hired by.

Okay so... One of the most obvious things to say is that it is a bit weird to see the Dodger taken out of London, especially to be placed in Paris, France of all places. London is just as much a part of the Dodger's character as lifting is, and seeing him in this new environment can be, well, odd. He isn't a particularly political person - he thinks that a revolution which did not offer any monetary reward for participants would not be taken well by the lower classes of London - and to see him even briefly caught up in the fever of the revolution feels out of place for the character. It's not the say that Benmore doesn't make it feel perfectly natural within the course of the narrative, but standing back it does make me stare a little. Of all the things I would have put money on the Dodger doing, being atop the barricades was not one of them.

It's nice to see Benmore continuing to show traits of the Dodger that were introduced in earlier books, such as his anger when people disregard sex workers. He holds them with great respect, and doesn't appreciate the way others' don't. He also still shows signs of anger and upset over Nancy's death, and Benmore keeps reminding us that such a thing would leave it's mark on the Dodger - Nancy was his elder sister in all but blood, after all. Even the image of Oliver Twist as Dodger's conscience is both a good call back to the original novel and to the other books in the series, even if the Dodger's description of him is something that can be laughed at. Apparently the Dodger doesn't think much of what was considered fashionable for young gentlemen of the time.

Overall, I would recommend these books to other people, but honestly I think they're the type that you will have already made your mind up about reading. I will say do not let preconceptions make you put it back on the shelf. Pick up this series, and enjoy some good stories about a very artful thief.

You won't regret it.

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Sunday, 10 June 2018

Review: The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet was recommended to me when I expressed a bit of tiredness with the constant slew of dystopian stories, and other 'darker' fare that seemed prevalent in sci-fi and fantasy. I was told that this book was light-hearted fare, something almost akin to Firefly. That was enough to get me to pick it up, and I am very glad I did. The first of the Wayfarers series is a delightful read, light-hearted and with this odd sense of discovery kept within the pages.

The book follows the crew of the Wayfarer, a tunnelling ship that has recently taken on a new clerk, on their way to their first upper level job - creating a new tunnel in an area of space that has recently become part of the GC. That's all incidental, really, as the story is really about the people on the ship, the crew, and how they live their lives. Their passions, their loves, their hates... The things that just happen to be. Yes, there as a lot of explaining - Sissix even notes to herself that she wishes she didn't have to explain so much - but it never feels disjointed to the narrative. It flows well within the story and, to be perfectly honest, it's interesting to read about the things explained.

Honestly, just one of the best sci-fi stories I've read in a while, and really looking forward to starting the next book in the series.

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Monday, 4 June 2018

Review: Renegades

Renegades Renegades by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Renegades is the first in a planned trilogy by author Marissa Meyer, focusing on the lives of people who have super powers and how they use these powers to become either a hero or a villain. It's a very simple idea, really, so Meyer does some good in fleshing it out.

Nova - our lead villain - is not simply a villain for the sake of it. Her family had been killed by a rival gang back in the Age of Anarchy and the Heroes of the time did not save them. Her Uncle Alex - know to the world as Ace Anarchy, who was pushing forward for a world in which people with abilities could use them and that meant running against the law - took her in and she has long planned her revenge. It's decided among the remaining Anarchists that the best way for them to take out the Council of Heroes - the hypocrites - would be to sent Nova in undercover to train as a Renegade. Let them learn about the misuse of power, and then they will find a way to strike and to take them all down.

Only, that's not exactly what she finds, and those she thought were loyal to her may not be and there was more about Ace Anarchy's defeat than anyone knows...

Overall? It's a fun read and makes for a cool origin story for all our leads without bogging down to heavily in the tropes of the origin story. I'll be interested to see how it develops from here, and what that ending means for Nova going forward. I like the girl, she's brash and headstrong and getting a worrying look into what being an Anarchist means. She's not sure she's ready for it, but she's not sure she fits with the Renegades either. Her thoughts on what it means to have powers, not just to those who have them but to others without are interesting reading because from what we see, it can't exactly be said she's wrong.

Yeah, I'll be interested in how her story progresses. Plus superhero stories are fun.

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Monday, 14 May 2018

Review: Kamikaze Girls

Kamikaze Girls Kamikaze Girls by Novala Takemoto
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kamikaze Girls is one of my favourite movies. I also really like the original novel, though I do rate the movie higher, and when I was aware there was a manga adaptation, I was really interested to see and read it. After all, I quite enjoy manga and the fact that the original novel has a lot of reference to visual styles that I've seen work well in other manga made me think that it was bound to be a great thing. It was a single volume which I did have some apprehension on, but at the same time was a bit glad of because manga can be pricey.

... The problem is the actual movie adaptation is a very short part of the overall volume, and heavily truncated, leaving good parts of the story out. The art is quite nice, though there's a tendency to make any male under a certain age look ridiculously handsome, which admittedly may just be a thing to me - I quite liked that there wasn't an entire pretty boy cast in the film. The volume also contains a manga adaptation of the sequel which has never really been translated to English as far as I know. It features Ichigo falling for the twin brother of the guy she fell for in the original story. Said twin brother happens to be a ballet dancer. I will give credit, they take the time to point out that ballet dancers have to be strong and very in shape, but overall I felt this sequel story a little lacking.

There's also a bonus story by the artist that... I was not into. Had it been excluded I wouldn't have been bothered.

Overall? ... It was okay. I didn't feel as into it as I did in the way of the film or the actual novel. I'm still glad to have it and to say I've read it, but I don't think it's going to be one that will be often re-read, and my main go to when someone mentions this title is always going to be the film.

... I really would like the see the whole sequel novel translated to English, though...

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Sunday, 22 April 2018

Review: Snow White, Blood Red

Snow White, Blood Red Snow White, Blood Red by Ellen Datlow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Snow White, Blood Red was one of those names that always came up when I mentioned wanting to read fairy tales that were a bit different to the traditional collections. I can certainly see why - the editors have done a great job of gathering together a good mix of different takes on classic tales. Understandably - with the title - Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood tended to have more of a focus in this book than some others.

As I've said, it's an interesting mix of tales, ranging from quite dark in tone to a lighter comedic stylr. Many have a fantastical take to them, and many just try to relay the stories under modern trappings. None of this is bad, and the mix keeps for compelling reading. Of course, as always with an anthology, there are those you prefer over others and it was the same here. That's not to say those I didn't like as much were bad tales. I just... wasn't as into them.

Still, this is only the first book in the collection. It'll be fun to try to read the others.

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