Monday, October 2, 2017

The Walking Dead, Compendium 1

About a year ago I got hooked into the phenomenon that is The Walking Dead. I binge watched the first 6 seasons over the course of 2 months and have been a fan ever since. A few months ago (when season 7 ended) a co-worker asked me if I had ever read the comics? To me the obvious answer was no. Comics are for kids right? Adults don’t read those things. It was that day at work that I got put in my place and was told by many, many co-workers (who are my age or older) that the comics were so much better than the show and that no, these comics are not for kids.

I still had my reservations, but then decided to give them a try. So me, having no experience with reading comics, had to go to a co-worker and ask them what is the best way to buy comics. I knew there are a lot of issues out, but really wasn’t looking forward to buying them one at a time. That’s when I was taught what a compendium is. I learned a was able to buy a whole bunch of the comics in one big book. So of course I took that route.

As someone who has never in her life read a comic, the biggest adjustment I had to make was that there is no narration. The whole thing is written in dialogue. I know that those of you who love to read comics are thinking I’m a complete idiot right about now. No, I’m not a complete idiot. I did know that comics are written in dialogue format, but it’s one thing to know this and another to actually try and read it.  The best way to describe it is if you were listening to someone on the phone. You only hear one side of the conversation. Yes, I was hearing what the characters were saying to each other, but had no idea what was going on in their heads.

Once I got past that part, I actually got really into the story. As someone who has seen every episode of The Walking Dead, it was interesting to see how the comics are different. I had heard that the show changed a lot of things but didn’t really realize how much until I read the comics. Some of the changes I really liked, and others not so much.

 *** Spoiler alert from this point on***

The Bad:

 The biggest let down was that some of my favorite characters from the show aren’t in the comics. I know that many people have different opinions about who their favorite is, but mine is without a doubt is Daryl Dixon.  His character has come a long way since the beginning of this show, and he has developed some really deep connections with other characters on the show.  When I was reading the comics I just felt like something was missing. I kept asking myself, “WWDDD?” (What Would Daryl Dixon Do) when certain things kept happening in the comics. When the Governor cut off Rick’s hand (which btw…. WTF!!), I kept thinking that Daryl would kill this guy in a second.  

Something that I was expecting, but still threw me for a loop, was how fast paced the comics are compared to the show. I mean the show spent one whole season on a farm (not my favorite season) and while reading before I knew it our gang was ran out of the prison and Lori and Judith were killed (again… WTF!!). This also goes back to the fact that I didn’t care for the lack of development for the characters. If I honestly hadn’t watched the show first, I’m not sure if I would have gotten into the comics. If you had read my reviews before, you know that for me to really love a book I need to fall in love with the characters first and feel some sort of connection to them. That is hard to do when reading in the comic format. I am reading the dialogue but have no idea what a character is thinking or feeling.

The Good:

The best part about these comics is by far the illustrations. The drawings are amazing. At times I found myself not even reading the dialogue but reading the story through the illustrations.

I also love how the comics don’t hold back. I went into reading this thinking that the comics were going to not as gory or shocking because TV shows always try to make things more dramatic for the sake of ratings. But I was pleasantly surprised that in some areas of the story, the comics went even one step further than the show. One example is when Judith is killed. As a fan of the show I feel like Judith’s character is the one safe thing in the show. They would never kill off a baby right? So when I read the Judith was killed at only a couple weeks old when Lori and her were trying to escape the prison I was shocked.

What I’m looking forward to:

Every week after I watch the show and I get on social media, people are always commented on how “this is nothing! Wait until …….”. When it comes to book/movie/TV spoilers I’m actually kind of weird. I admit it. I actually like spoilers. I don’t like being completely shocked when something happens. If one of my favorite characters dies I want to know about it so I can mentally prepare myself. So I am looking forward to the part in the comics when I pass where the TV show is now. I know that the show does a lot of things differently or in a different order than the comics, but I can get a better of idea what is to come. For example, I keep hearing things about the Whisperers. “If you all think Negan is bad, wait until you meet the Whisperers.” I want to know who these people are and if they are as bad as I keep hearing.


Overall I really enjoyed reading the comics. I wouldn’t go as far to say I liked them better than the TV show, but I am definitely going to continue reading them. I think my opinion will change more in favor of the comics once I pass the point where the show is now. Right now I am just reading a story I have already heard (in the format of television of course). Once I get to the point where things are starting to become new to me, I think I will enjoy reading it a whole lot more.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

101 Things That Piss Me Off

Title: 101 Things That Piss Me Off
Author: Rachel Ballinger
3.5/5 stars

Why this book?: Let me just say, this normally isn’t the type of book I choose to read. I normally choose to curl up with a 500-page novel so that I can get lost in pages and pages of romance, adventure, and blah blah blah. The reason why I chose to read this book is simple. I have been spending the last 5 weeks in summer school reading, taking tests and reading some more. I wanted to take a break from it all but I didn’t want to commit to a 500-page story because frankly I don’t think my brain could handle it right now. That is when I saw that one of my favorite YouTubers came out with a book and I decided to try it out because it is exactly what I was looking for at the time. It is short, and I didn’t feel like I was committing to a long book.

Likes/Dislikes: I really enjoyed this book. It took me a little over an hour to read and it helped distract me from other things that I have going on right now. Now, if you haven’t taken the time to watch some of Rachel Ballinger’s YouTube videos then I suggest you do so before reading this book. Part of the reason why this book was so enjoyable is because I literally could hear Rachel’s voice as I was reading her book. It was almost like she was lying next to me in bed (is that weird?). This book is written in the form of what I would almost call journal entries or maybe even list form. Each entry is anywhere from 1/2 a page to 2 pages long. They are short, sweet, and (this next thing I mean as a compliment I swear) don’t require a lot of inept thinking. Like I mentioned earlier I didn’t want to commit to a long, complex story. I wanted something I could sit down with and just enjoy, and this book did exactly that.

Recommendation: I would recommend this book to anyone who has obviously seen some of her YouTube videos and who just needs a quick read. This book is funny and relatable in many ways. 

Dark Wine at Midnight

 Title: Dark Wine At Midnight
Author: Jenna Barwin
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Romance
3.5/5 Stars

Dark Wine At Midnight is first in the series of a brand new series that is written by Jenna Barwin. The second book is set to release in the winter of 2017/2018.

A no-spoilers quick summary: This book is set in the fictional small California community called Sierra Escondida. The community is inhabited and ran by vampires who are trying their best to blend into the mortal world around them. Their town structure/peace is disturbed however by the arrival of Dr. Cerissa Patel, a scientist with her own agenda. Dr. Patel soon gains the interest of Sierra Escondida founder Henry Bautista, who throughout the story becomes more entangled in Cerissa’s mission.

Favorite character: Normally I reserve my opinion of ‘best character’ for our hero or leading lady in the story, but this was not the case in this book. My favorite character in this book was by far Sierra Escondida’s police chief Tig Anderson. I found myself rooting for this character the entire book. I felt like 95% of the characters in this book had their own agenda, but Tig’s only agenda in this book was protecting the vampires and mortals of Sierra Escondida. Every choice she made and every thought she had was made with good intent. Tig was first introduced as a tough as nails cop, but as the story progressed (not to give too much away) I came to realize that she had so many layers going on and I found myself wanting to read more and more about her.
Overall likes/dislikes: Overall I really like this book. Something I really liked about it is that as readers we didn’t know everything 100% up front. I feel like with a lot of books, we as the reader know almost everything there is to know about our main character (Cerissa Patel in this case). Typically, the first 3 or 4 chapters go through everything that we need to know about our main character so that the reader is all caught up by the time the story starts to unfold. Dark Wine at Midnight didn’t offer its readers explanations at the beginning of the story and I loved that. Jenna Barwin kept me guessing until the last chapter, where I once again discovered something major about one of the main characters. Because of the choice to not divulge information all at once, I wasn’t able to determine how the story was going to end. Now it’s no surprise that I read a lot. I have gotten pretty good at predicting how a book is going to end. Now I don’t like to admit this, but Ms. Barwin managed to keep me in the dark for 95% of the book. Even when I finally fit together some pieces, I wasn’t able to solve the whole puzzle.

Something that I didn’t necessary dislike but made me stop and have to reread some parts of the book was the vampire politics. Ms. Barwin did a great job of creating this world and the people in it. In this world vampires are driven and live by their rules that committees and founders created so that they could all live peacefully. Vampire politics and laws drove a lot of what was going on within the story and sometimes I found myself getting a little confused so I would have to go back and reread certain parts of the books. Like I said it’s not necessarily a dislike, but more of a pre-disclosure to make sure you pay attention and don’t try to rush through those parts of the book.

I gave this book 3.5 stars. I took away some points only because for me personally the first book in a series usually underscores compared to the rest of the series. I enjoy reading books when I have personal interest in the characters, and this is why I like to read series.  It doesn’t matter what series you read, the first book is when you as the reader are still trying to develop some kind of connection with the character. Normally this connection doesn’t really develop until the middle of the first book, and that was the case with this series. Cerissa and Henry gave off a lot of potential right from the start, but it wasn’t until I was around half way done with the book that I felt myself become invested in their story and caring about what happened to them. I will say this though, now that I have that connection with these characters I can not wait to see what happens to them in book 2.

Recommendation: I would highly recommend this book for those who are fans of the True Blood series. This series held the same elements of romance, supernatural beings, and politics.