Sunday after a long weekend

Beautiful photo by Daniela Cuevas
This is a picture from the amazing work of Daniela Cuevas. Visit Daniela by checking out Unsplash.
Sunday, after a long weekend, is the worst day. The shortest day. The most disappointing day.

I have to go to work tomorrow, after a long weekend that was true and utter, low-key bliss.

What?!?

I wrote about 4 letters on Friday, and two more on Saturday.

There was a lot of Batman: Arkham Knight played. I’m nearly finished with the main storyline (and I have so much to talk about as it relates to that–but more on that later).

I got my SSS (It is a stationery subscription service, the first of its kind) on Friday and proceeded to freak at how perfect it is… If you want to get it of your own (There are a lot of options, but I recommend the $20 option) go to La Papierre and check it out. If you tell them I, Nicole R/GothamGal sent you, I might get a little surprise in my next one…

I’m setting up some work stuff. I made 4 pitches to various websites, and am hoping to pitch more of my certain set of skills this week… Gina Horkey is having a challenge for those of us in her 30 Days or Less to Freelancing Success course.

I have been giving myself permission to create, to play and to have fun. It’s been amazing nice to unwind. Looking forward to unwinding a little more this week.

How was your long holiday? Any plans for the coming week?

Prepping for War: A Review of Fables Vol 11: War and Pieces

gothamgal2

GothamGal is a devoted comic fan. Reading comics from an early age (TinTin, Archie, Katie Keene and much more), she has recently revisited her old interest and is branching out into the streets of unread comics and graphic novels! While she favors DC Comics, Marvel is slowly winning her over—but Vertigo, Image and IDW have so many new things to offer, she might just say she’s a comic fan—with no labels. She fights for literature, education and the right for ALL to read comics!

As someone whom has been obsessed with the Fables series lately (Just check out the flurry of posts)–I reviewed <a href=”http://www.alwaysreiding.com/raised-by-wolves-a-review-of-fables-vol-8-wolves/” target=”_blank”>vol 8</a>, <a href=”http://www.alwaysreiding.com/a-retelling-of-a-retelling-fables-1001-nights-of-snowfall/” target=”_blank”>1001 Nights of Snowfall</a> and <a href=”http://www.alwaysreiding.com/saving-the-day-in-a-nice-pair-of-heels-gothamgal-on-fairest-vol-4-of-mice-and-men/” target=”_blank”>Fairest Vol 4</a> and Fables Vol 9: Sons of Empire, and even Fables Volume 10: The Good Prince. Next up has to be, Fables: Volume 11: War and Pieces.

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The residents of Fabletown and the Farm (and even those above the clouds) are fighting a war against the Adversary. An all out war on many fronts. Bigby is the strategizing lead, but Prince Charming has stepped away from the mayorship, and brought back King Cole as mayor of Fabletown. Charming is leading the sky portion of the attack, in a Sinbad-led sky ship that flies due to a number of flying carpets being inside of it.

This book details the tides of war, from the frontlines, as well as the decisions made by the people in power behind the scenes, but it ends up being between small groups of people… and the tension can be cut with a knife. Will Fabletown be able to fight and best the Adversary and his minions, or is this the end of Fabletown?

I found myself holding my breath a few times throughout reading this graphic novel. I was THAT invested in the story. Normally I do not read any type of war stories, specifically because of that feeling, but it was an awesome read.

I loved the character development. In times of strife, you can really see what a person is made of, and Prince Charming REALLY stepped up, which surprised me. We have not really seen that side of him before. And Bigby is always wonderful, in my opinion. I also enjoyed how Blue had a more important role within the story than I originally thought he might.

Fables is continuing to be a series that I fall in love with when I read them. While I am just over halfway through the series, I cannot believe the things that I am learning. I am running out of shelf room, but I am so happy to do it! Each volume has surpassed the last in the quality and story development.

Fables Volume 11: War and Pieces is available in paperback and eformat from your favorite retailer.

The art of writing

Some of you may know that I write letters. It is a great way to get fun mail in reply. Also, it is an amazing way to make certain that tangible aspects of letterwriting stay alive for another generation. And, one of the best parts is shopping for supplies!
I went to one of my favorite stores today, it is an asian book chain and I was able to snag stuff.

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Got some magnets and page flags to swap.

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Some tabs and some odd letter writing paper.

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Some washii, Coleto refills and more page flags.

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And Chronicle Books’ Typewriter notepaper. It comes in a cool paper typewriter, that is pretty sturdy, and also doubles as storage once the paper is gone. I have not met a Chronicle Books product that I did not like. Review forthcoming.
Also, I was also able to write a letter with my stuff!

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Called to Action : A Review of Fables Vol. 10- The Good Prince

gothamgal2

GothamGal is a devoted comic fan. Reading comics from an early age (TinTin, Archie, Katie Keene and much more), she has recently revisited her old interest and is branching out into the streets of unread comics and graphic novels! While she favors DC Comics, Marvel is slowly winning her over—but Vertigo, Image and IDW have so many new things to offer, she might just say she’s a comic fan—with no labels. She fights for literature, education and the right for ALL to read comics!

As someone whom has been obsessed with the Fables series lately (Just check out the flurry of posts)–I reviewed <a href=”http://www.alwaysreiding.com/raised-by-wolves-a-review-of-fables-vol-8-wolves/” target=”_blank”>vol 8</a>, <a href=”http://www.alwaysreiding.com/a-retelling-of-a-retelling-fables-1001-nights-of-snowfall/” target=”_blank”>1001 Nights of Snowfall</a> and <a href=”http://www.alwaysreiding.com/saving-the-day-in-a-nice-pair-of-heels-gothamgal-on-fairest-vol-4-of-mice-and-men/” target=”_blank”>Fairest Vol 4</a> and Fables Vol 9: Sons of Empire. So when I snagged a copy of Volume 10: The Good Prince, I knew it would be a reviewed item.

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War is in the air, and finally the residents of Fabletown know it. The leaders of town have been told of Frau Totenkinder’s ‘spies’ and they have spies of their own. However, all of the leaders know that war is coming, but only one has a way of knowing just how closely it comes.

Fly, also known as Ambrose the Frog Prince, has been moping around the office, a shell of himself, as the information about his family sinks in. But, a mysterious coat of armor begins speaking to Buffkin, and when Buffkin accidentally knocks over the coat of arms, he sets in motion Frau’s plan. Ambrose puts on the armor and ventures into the depths of the Wishing Well, far away from even the magic of the old witch. And he starts a quest to build a new Fabletown, showing the Adversary’s minions kindness and prosperity they never realized.

But, closer than anyone ever guessed, lies a saboteur. Someone Ambrose helped out, and will that Saboteur be able to kill Ambrose before he has a chance to save the rest of the Fables?

This was a dark tale, and very mission-centric. The wishing well portion of the journey was really rough—and it was nice to see how those within the well whom were given a second chance. I knew that there would come a point where one of the two saboteurs would do something heinous—proving that there is some evil in the fable world.

I loved the insight into the character of Ambrose, whom has oftentimes been overlooked as Fly. It is a wonderful story, and a compelling read. Now, onto the 11th volume!

Fables Vol 10: The Good Prince is available in paperback and eformat from your favorite retailer or local library.

Dying for your Art : A review of Susan Wittig Albert’s Death Come Quickly

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One of the great things about paperbacks is that they can be a welcome distraction from the screen. They also are a great passage of time—I know, for example, that I will be able to look forward to a new China Bayles mystery each year and in a great, portable format. Enter Susan Wittig Albert’s Death Come Quickly.

When an unexpected attack (and eventual death) in a shopping center parking lot hits Pecan Springs, China Bayles gets sucked into a mystery, with dangerous implications. China must use all of her resources, both friend-wise and internal, in order to solve the mystery. Her journey will take her from her garden and store, to a local private museum and all the way to the law firm of an ex-lover. But, moreover, when many of her friends have commitments and are dealing with things on their own (including her own husband), China has to rely on her knowledge to get the job done and the mystery solved. However, she does get occasional assistance from her friend (and business partner) Ruby—and Ruby’s psychic. Will Chyna be able to solve the mystery before the killer thinks she is too close?

I love reading this series, and while I can see how the writing style may not be for everyone, this series is like meeting up with an old friend. It is also easy, with the way the series is written, to jump right in without having read other books in the series.

China’s latest mystery, dealing with a cold case and a documentary were interesting to me. However, I felt there were two major points that I kept going back and forth over. China’s exploration of possibly having children has been hashed and the line has been drawn in the sand in previous books. Also, the whole ex-lover thing. I did not feel comfortable in that situation, and it felt, to me, like China did not talk about it, despite it being a big issue, in my opinion.

Overall, I liked the story, and the cold case aspect. I felt like, however, the mystery was a little too easy to solve. The clues made me think of the ultimately guilty party much earlier than I would have thought. Also, the recipes in the back were pretty awesome, I look forward to passing them along.

Do you like mysteries? Why or Why Not? Please share in the comments.

On Wednesdays We Wear Pink: A Review of Lauren Saft’s Those Girls

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Girls on their own as teenagers can be awful—believe me, as a former girl I can tell you stories. But add a group, and the stakes get a lot higher—and the jokes even more cruel. When publisher, Poppy (part of Little, Brown Books for Young Readers) gave me the opportunity to read Lauren Saft’s Those Girls, I jumped at the chance to read this book.

Alex and Mollie have been friends forever. Since fifth grade, Veronica has been part of their group and they’ve all navigated the waters together. Fast forward to this year—junior year. This year is the year everything changes—sure, Alex is still a little shy and stoner-y, Mollie still has her older boyfriend Sam and her eating disorder and Veronica is still on her own at home and using her body as a way to connect with the opposite sex. But this year, things are different—Mollie feels Sam slipping away, Veronica has a boyfriend (Alex’s best friend, Drew) and Alex joins a band. But as things change, they seem to unravel—and there are some dangerous implications as friend is pitted against friend. And the futures of these friends are in jeopardy.

I really enjoyed this book and found it to be a well-written and QUICK read. Saft’s characters are every girls—meaning readers can identify with one or more of these characters. I am looking forward to reading more from Lauren Saft.

I loved the character of Alex. All of what she was going through, and the way she dealt with it made me love her even more. I saw a lot of myself in Alex. However, she makes a pretty heinous choice later on that I wanted to scream AT her about.

Veronica was set up to do a few things in the book early on. I was saddened to see how readily she accepted her status with the male population of their area. She was also not as intelligent as the other girls, and I had hoped she would prove me wrong.

As I said, while I was shocked with the freedoms that some of the teens had in this book, overall it was a solid and interesting read. I definitely recommend it for the summer!

Do you still have a core group of friends from high school like Those Girls?

Arrival today

I am in an online reading group (okay, maybe 2 or 3) and we’re reading this in July:
John Green's Paper Towns
And, of course, I needed to get through more of this series:
Fables vol 12

All in the Family: A review of Fables: Sons of Empire

gothamgal2

GothamGal is a devoted comic fan. Reading comics from an early age (TinTin, Archie, Katie Keene and much more), she has recently revisited her old interest and is branching out into the streets of unread comics and graphic novels! While she favors DC Comics, Marvel is slowly winning her over—but Vertigo, Image and IDW have so many new things to offer, she might just say she’s a comic fan—with no labels. She fights for literature, education and the right for ALL to read comics!

It is no joke that I love Bill Willingham’s Fables series. I reviewed vol 8, 1001 Nights of Snowfall and Fairest Vol 4 most recently. The series is just about ready to celebrate it’s 150th issue, and will be ending shortly (which is sad), but I love that there are some great collections in the graphic novel format that can stand the test of time (and that I don’t have to worry about bagging and boarding!). I picked up Fables: Volume 9: Sons of Empire  recently, and I love to savor these books as much as possible.picmonkey_image (1)

Taking place directly after the events of Bigby Wolf’s ‘secret mission’ in volume 8 (Wolves), we open to the Adversary (Geppetto) and Pinocchio are digging through the ashes of the fire that decimated their woodshop home and the grove of enchanted trees that allowed Geppetto to create the magic marionettes. They decide to call together enemies of Fabletown, in the Homelands, including the Snow Queen, the Gnome King and more. As they plot on their Fabletown revenge, Hansel (the first Fable to be kicked out of Fabletown for his gross misdeeds) settles near Fabletown as a representative of the Adversary.

As they plot, the story goes to the North Pole, with a very magical Christmas story, with an appearance by a certain attempted burglary of Santa’s naughty and nice lists, as well as a heartwarming plotline featuring one of the cubs (and an explanation of how the man in red does it all in one night).

I loved how they explained the backstory for Hansel, and made it seem so natural—seriously hardcore amazing writing. Also, I am interested in learning more about Red Riding Hood and what she is doing in Fabletown.

Overall, Sons of Empire has enough of the storyline and strong-writing fans of the series come to expect, coupled with some great and heartwarming images that are sure to stay with readers for a long time.

At about 200 pages, this volume is a great deal in paperback, and will in no doubt be collected in the hardcover editions. However, the paperbacks provide a bite-sized and easily digestible piece of Fables history and a great addition to a personal library.

You can pick up your copy of Fables Volume 9: Sons of Empire at your favorite retailer today—hurry and catch up!