The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud

The Whispering Skull (Lockwood & Co., #2)



This is a series of five, so you can find the review of the first book here!

Given that this is a reread, I don’t remember much of this one. I had a feeling this was the one where a certain character was involved, but I honestly couldn’t remember if it was this one or the next one. Shows how much I remember, guys. Anyway, I don’t think this one was as strong as the first book, but it was really just as fun.

After the first book (and spoilers might be in here) explores the continued animosity between Lockwood and Co. and the Kipps gang. They make a bet and the story develops from there, going down a wild ride. The focus of this book, until the end, is developing George and the Skull.

In this, they find out how little they know about George and just how little they care about him or what he does. He’s largely taken for granted. They don’t notice him as a member, and that really hurts them this time. Then, the Skull. That jackass. Really, you get his backstory and the development of his purpose for the story as a whole.

Again, I highly suggest this series. It’s hilarious at times and is also really tense. What else? Great cliffhanger this book.

Hogwarts House Tag – Ravenclaw Edition

ravenclaw pottermore pic
image credit: Pottermore

Here we go! Welcome back to our weekly thing this month.

In case you guys don’t know, we’re picking characters from books and applying them to various traits from the Hogwarts houses.

Here is the Ravenclaw Recommendations video from Hannah at A Clockwork Reader on Youtube. Watching her videos is what gave me the idea and as I’m talking about her on every one of these posts, I’m a fan.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Give some sort of intro where you mention these rules, who tagged you if anyone did or where you saw it.
  • Pick two characters for each trait from that house and explain why you chose them. (Can’t pick Harry Potter characters and if you have multiple bloggers like we do, one each will suffice.)
  • Tag people if you want to, or don’t.

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in the spirit of the house.


Lord Henry Wotton is my choice. He has all of the best quotes in The Picture of Dorian Gray, which is one of my favorite books. And whoever fucking keeps combining the censored and uncensored versions of the book, stop it. They aren’t even close to the same book and you would know it if you read it, although dear Wotton is the same.

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I’m not sure if I could call Henry Wotton (I just fucking love that last name) wise, but he has a whole lot of wit and knows how to twist his words so they sound like the wisest thing you’ve ever heard in the world.

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Sometimes, when you can’t think of a character that is wise, it’s best to go back to the well of what you know. Yes, that means Patrick Ness once again. For wisdom (I’m sort of ignoring wit here.) I choose The Monster from A Monster Calls.

Now, I can’t talk too much about this book without spoiling it, perhaps one day I will do a proper review of the book, but it’s one of my favorites and another Caidyn recommendation. This book touched me on a deep emotional level and I hope that others who read it have a similar experience. It’s a gorgeous book full of feels and at the center of it is The Monster. His role is to help Conor, our main character, deal with an inevitability. He tells him three stories and in return, Conor must tell him a story. The Monster is the wise companion and guide through Conor’s journey.

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Well said, dude from Taken.



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The name is dreamy.


An obvious choice. And I don’t think I need to link anyone to any book since most people would recognize the name. In any incarnation I’ve read or see, he’s a smart man. He has his areas where he could be better or try harder, but he has a round knowledge of the world that helps him see things.

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Well… sometimes.


In The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, it’s pretty obvious who is the brains behind the operation. Felicity is Monty’s sister and the unwanted companion to Monty’s year of…well vice. However, if she hadn’t been there with him and Percy then they would’ve been fucked. I’m not exaggerating. Not only was Felicity funny, but she was the one who was figuring out everything while Monty and Percy were making goo-goo eyes at each other. If it wasn’t for her quick thinking and broad knowledge the two would not have survived. 



My choice for this is Max Vandenburg from The Book Thief. (Which Chantel read earlier this year because of me and you can find her review here!) Probably not a conventional choice, but he is. 

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In the book, he wrote stories to explain the world and to explain what had happened to him. Perhaps he wasn’t the best artist, but the way he wove words and created perfect allegories. He also inspired these same traits in someone else. For me, that makes him creative and unique in my eyes.

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If there was one character whose job I envied it would be Emi’s from Everything Leads to You, she works on film sets decorating them and setting them up. Not only am I film lover, but being able to work on sets would be so much fun. Emi’s creativity gets her the job and it is recognized by the people who matter. Not only that but there is a mystery involving the child of a deceased movie star, a kind of John Wayne type of actor, and she uses her creativity not only to decorate sets but solve a mystery. 


Blogging + College = ???: My Absence and Skye


I know, I know. I haven’t been doing this weekly thing but, alas, there is not enough time for commitments I have. Even as I write this, I should be studying for a couple midterms I have on Tuesday and don’t even get me started on grad school stuff that I have.

So, needless to say, I’ve been absent not because I want to, but because I just haven’t had the time. I’ll catch up soon with looking through everyone’s blogs and all those things, but it’ll take me time.

My big point for this is that I haven’t really discussed the animals I have. Posts bring up “furbabies” so much and I just don’t address that thing too often. Chantel has Watson. I have Blue. And I once had Skye.

Seven months ago, actually to the day, my furbaby passed away very unexpectedly. I just remember being so distressed that night that I probably made no sense. Chantel had to put up with a lot of my ramblings that night, but she was such a good friend and listened to me during my shock. The next day, we discovered that Blue has terminal cancer. Actually, this is the length of time they predicted he would be with us, but he’s still going strong.

Skye, though, was my little girl. I always refer to her as my fat baby princess since she was fat, a big baby, and a princess.

My profile on Goodreads is actually of the two of us.


She loved to nestle in under my chin and just make herself known. Actually, she’s the only creature that I’ve allowed to do this since I’m not a big touchy-feely person. Hugs are the bane of my existence. But, she loved to cuddle with me and I loved cuddling with her.

One of my favorite memories has to do with this picture:


That is her. That is my bed. We live across the street from the high school I graduated from and it’s a big football town. They shoot off fireworks just about every game. So, she sought shelter in my room. I got her up on my bed after laying down a towel and wrapped a blanket around her later, then I turned on my heated slipcover and read Tolkien to her and she passed out, much like I would.

In fact, my bedroom or close to it was her favorite spot in the world.

But, she was my little shit. And, I do miss her.

So, here’s to you Skye. You’ll always be remembered.


Classics Mini Reviews 2


So, here we are again. I read a bunch of plays by Shakespeare and now I need to review them. Therefore, here we are with me writing a few mini-reviews of them since my thoughts aren’t long enough to warrant a huge, long thing analyzing the text. That’s boring.

Much Ado About Nothing

Shakespearean comedies are weird. I like them, yet I also don’t like them. Mainly since I don’t see them as comedies like most people do. Take, for instance, Benedick and Beatrice. They’re straight-up comedy. Everything about them cracks me up, mainly because they’re like two middle school kids who like each other but, gasp, can’t say a damn thing about it. On the other hand, there’s Hero and Claudio. That story is absolutely horrific with what happens.

The only reason this is a comedy is because no one dies and they end up happy together in the end.


King John

In a sentence: Poor man’s Richard III.

More elaborate description: John’s a carbon copy of Richard and it felt hilarious to see it like that. Richard III was published in 1591 and King John went out in 1595. To me, it just felt like an attempt to recapture what he had done with that. It just came out weak and reminding me constantly of a better play. It was also super confusing. I couldn’t get down characters or the plot. Maybe because I don’t know the history as well as I’d like. Maybe because things just weren’t well stated. Maybe because it went off and did its own thing despite history.

Language was beautiful, everything else was lacking.


Richard III

Yeah, I need to add this book to my favorites list. Really, it’s that good. To me, at least. I love this period of history, so seeing it from the eyes of someone alive closer to that period than I was — okay, it was a couple hundred years, but that’s still better than me — talk about it was interesting. Especially since a few weeks ago I watched The Hollow Crown, the Wars of the Roses: Richard III. Ugh. Benedict Cumberbatch was amazing as Richard III and the man reading as Richard sounded so much like him that I could picture the scenes exactly. I’m on a Shakespeare kick now. Expect me to go back and listen to the rest of Shakespeare’s War of the Roses plays because it’s so good.

(And yes I just relistened to it. #CaidynLovesShakespeare)


September Book Subscriptions

Welcome to another edition of us talking about what book subscriptions we got in September and how excited we are about them.

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple.

So, I get PageHabit’s book subscription for mystery. This month, I actually found out that you can add onto your subscription. Aka, you can tell them that you want the full subscription you pay for plus book(s) from another subscription. They have tons of options and I was on the fence about doing mystery or horror, but now I can do both… so long as I have the cash for it, so there’s that.

Either way, this month I’ve done both!

I was super pleased with the packaging.


The book I got for mystery was The Visitors by Catherine Burns.

I haven’t heard much about this book, so I’m actually excited for it. And the note that Catherine included really interested me more about what it might look like and what sort of things I’ll be facing in the book. It’s going to be fun when I get to it.

The book for horror is The Twilight Pariah by Jeffrey Ford.

Unlike the first book, I’m not super pumped about it. An author and writer that I’m friends with on Goodreads left a very negative review for it. Now, I don’t usually base opinions off of one book, however I really trust this author since I’ve found that I largely agree with his book opinions.  If he says something sucks, then I’m likely to agree. Even without reading his books.

Other than the books, I got a short story that I’m excited for. The title really interests me.


And then I got a coaster that is perfect for holding my wine and a cool bookmark!

All in all, I liked this month’s box.

September Owlcrate – Mythical Creatures 


I was super excited for this theme when I saw it in the August crate. This is my second Owlcrate ever and I’m very pleased with it overall. I get cool stuff and I’m introduced to some books I’ve never heard of. This month featured a few things that I use daily. 

First off, the card and pin (feat your tiny hands) which I absolutely adored. This one doesn’t top last months, but I still enjoyed it. That is until Watson got ahold of the card and ruined it.


Ahh, bath salts (feat tiny hands). While I love the smell of Eucalyptus, I have no use for these because I have a shower. Sadly, they are wasted on me.


This is a book cover which I desperately needed. I ruined my copy of A Darker Shade of Magic because it was in my bag rubbing against red ink so now the copy is ruined. Now that I have this cover, I can keep books safe when they are buried in my bag. Okay, that’s a nice idea. I could use that since my books tend to get fucked up from my backpack and all the stuff I have in it.

The coin purse is probably my second favorite item in this. The first being the book cover. Obviously. I do not have a coin purse nor do I carry a wallet. My phone case has a place to put my cards and that’s all I have. Now that I have this coin purse I have a place to put all of them. 

I adore this wooden bookmark. It is Game of Thrones inspired which I love as well and it’s just a great addition to my growing collection of bookmarks. 

This Hagrid sticker is just adorable, but I’m not sure what to do with my stickers yet. 

Ze Book. With an Owlcrate exclusive cover. That’s a nice cover.

Once again, this is not a book I’ve heard of before. I’ll link to the Goodreads page here, but it sounds interesting enough. I’ll get to it one day. 

A few book related items which include a guide to the dragons in the story as well as a signed bookplate which comes with every Owlcrate. 


If I was excited last month for the theme, I’m even more excited for this month. Each box will come with a book inspired candle. I love candles even though I never light them. Each box also comes with a mug and I am ALL HERE FOR IT. So, I’m sure there will be plenty to gush about next month. 

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings



Memoirs, generally, is a genre that I love and dislike. One of my favorite books is a memoir, In My Skin. The topic explored is heavy and beautiful, yet things are always up for error and change since it’s a person’s recollection of what happened. Memories are flawed and you can twist them with hindsight. This book is sort of like this.

Maya Angelou is the ultimate example of memoirs. She captures the moment as she remembers it, yet without letting her adult mind take it. She lets the thoughts or beliefs she had stay as they were in the past. The flaws she had, she let stay. That made the book hilarious at times. Such as, her trip to Mexico when her dad got drunk as hell and she had to learn how to drive. Or anything to do with Momma since that woman was great. Or thinking that she was turning into a lesbian since, you know, that’s how it works.

Yet, on the flip side, it’s heartbreaking since she keeps with those beliefs. Momma and the white dentist who refused to serve them and Maya’s disheartened look on life. Then, most importantly, her rape when she was eight. That was told in a graphic way, yet it was unflinchingly honest to give you insight into how grooming worked and all the emotions she had. Before I finished the book, I found a review (won’t give a link to it) that 1-starred the book and said it was because she didn’t want her son exposed to “R-rated” material in high school that details rape. Sorry, but as a man, I think reading things like this have strengthened me and helped me gain more insight into something that I, quite frankly, won’t have the same experiences with. I appreciate her writing so candidly about something that caused her so much pain.

And that ending. Ugh, it was so good and it makes me want to pick up the second one.

All in all, I loved this book. It’s an utter classic and I see why. Luckily, I bought myself a copy of this under the pretext that I’m going to write about her for a project.

One tangent. My group chose Maya as our topic for a class about women and culture. We democratically chose her, too. My professor came around to each group to find out who we were thinking about doing and so I told her exactly who we had chosen. She looked at us and said: “Okay.” Not the okay like “Go for it!” but the okay like “Eh, I guess that works.” And then she asked us: “Why?” And I stared at that woman for a few seconds and came up with an answer. It wasn’t until later that I decided on something more eloquent.

Because she’s a black woman who grew up in the south. Because she’s a black woman who grew up in the south in the Jim Crow era. Because she’s a black woman who grew up in the south in the Jim Crow era and did not let that cow her. Because she’s a black woman who succeeded utterly in life. Because she’s a role model for so many other black women, no matter their age, to what you can do. Because she had her own role model of Momma, a black woman who was unmarried and ran her own store, keeping afloat through the Great Depression and lent money out.

Now, I might be a white man who will never truly understand what she went through, I can look at her and see her for the amazing woman she was and continues to be. I know my professor won’t see this, but, well, that’s my answer to why Maya’s a great woman.

First Lines Friday

There are only two Fridays left in October now. The month is almost gone and this makes one of us very sad. (Can’t speak for the other one, but one is upset about it.)

Fun fact: Did you know that Friday, July 13, 1099 was the when the Crusaders took Jerusalem from Muslims? During it, they killed somewhere between 10,000 and 40,000 (sources vary and were heavily biased) people. Men, women, and children. Maybe that’s the root of the day?

Either way, here we go!

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in purple. 

Why have I written an inspiring guide to life?

Because you need it. You people need this book like a mouth needs wine. Like a musical needs a song about wishing for things. Like an axe needs a neck. And I think you must know you need it because the question I get constantly on Twitter is: “@knghnryviii, how can I be more like you?”

I don’t think that it’s any big secret that I love Tudor history. I have since I was in high school and now that I’m almost done with college, the love hasn’t died away. I mean, I have Anne Boleyn’s signature tattooed on me and I want to get a more elaborate tattoo dedicated to her as well.

So, obviously, this book is Tudor. And it’s obviously not straight up nonfiction. So, what is it?


Unleash Your Inner Tudor: Henry VIII's Inspirational Guide to a Completely Sizzling, Sparkly, Tyrannical, Much Wider, Demanding, and Sexier You

I’m not a big Twitter person (unlike Chantel). It’s an addiction. Psst, follow me @humperdouche92. Or don’t. I don’t tweet much. Stop self promoting on my area! And all I get is random rants about things she saw on Twitter. ANYWAYS, I don’t really check it at all. But, the only time I do is to look at this guy’s account. A lot of his humor is historically based, but he also does a whole hell of a lot of humor targeted at comparing America’s fat, ginger tyrant. I totally had to buy this book when I found out the author of the account had written something.

People who knew Chester and Serena Wolcott socially would have placed money on the idea that the couple would never choose to have children. They were not the parenting kind, by any reasonable estimation. Chester enjoyed silence and solitude when he was working in his home office, and viewed the slightest deviation from routine as an enormous, unforgivable disruption. Children would be more than a slight deviation from routine. Children would be the nuclear option where routine was concerned. 

This is the second book in a companion series and I read the first book a few months ago. It’s simply one of those things where I hadn’t gotten to it yet, but I’m excited and eager to read it. 

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones cover

This is the second book in the Wayward Children’s series, the first being Every Heart a Doorway which I read earlier this year. If you haven’t heard of the series, you’re welcome. This book is Jack and Jill’s story (seriously??? Jack and Jill???) before (I was rudely interrupted) they arrived at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is what I wanted to see in Every Heart a Doorway. I wanted to know about the portals the children had gone through. I also heard this book deals with gender roles and I absolutely love that. I have a list in my head of books I’m ashamed that I haven’t gotten to yet and this is definitely one of them. I have taken a small break from reading after my readathon, but it wasn’t intentional. Just a long, tiring week. I hope to read some this weekend and maybe finish this up in a short amount of time since it’s a novella. 

The Book Blogger Insider Tag

Another tag granted to us by Emma at Thoughts of a Brown Eyed Girl! We’ve been hammering out things tonight, then we remembered this one! The rules are pretty simple.

  1. Answer the questions below.
  2. Credit the creator: Jamie from A Little Slice of Jamie.
  3. Tag at least five people or don’t if you can’t come up with five.
  4. Have fun!

Caidyn will be in blue.

Chantel will be in purple. 

1. Where do you typically write your blog posts?

My room or at school in either a random classroom or the cafeteria.

I live in a studio apartment, so I write my blog posts in my apartment. 

2. How long does it generally take you to write a book review?

Depends. But, I try to at least write the outline for my review the same day I finish it while things are fresh in my mind.

I try and write my review within 24 hours so my thoughts on it are fresh. I make bullet points in a doc and them form a review from there. 

3. When did you start your book blog?

We started back in March!

What he said. 

4. What is the worst thing about having a book blog, in your opinion?

I think that the “worst” part – and I take this to mean the hardest part, really – is keeping up with everything. I’m bad at keeping up with the people we follow and all that. I feel bad about it, but I keep up as much as possible with my schedule and it’s not enough.

I think the worst part is caring about the number of likes and comments. That’s not why we do this, but I think about it a lot. It shouldn’t matter and ultimately it doesn’t. 

5. What is the best thing about having a book blog, in your opinion?

Meeting all the great people we have who love us even though we sometimes aren’t the best with the whole blogging thing.

Being able to talk about books with awesome people and sharing my opinions with them. It’s also gotten me back into reading and writing which I can’t complain about. 

6. What blog post have you had the most fun writing so far?

My blog post isn’t technically a blog post on here. It’s a review I wrote for an author I’m not a fan of. And by a review, I mean that I didn’t rate it since I never read it but let my opinion be known how I feel through Michael Scott gifs.

There are a lot of posts enjoyed, but my favorite was a review of Blue Is the Warmest Color where I talked about the movie and the graphic novel. I was able to intertwine talking about a film and a book which I really enjoyed. 

7. What is your favorite kind of post to write?

Is it bad that I love doing rant reviews?

5-star reviews. I love gushing about a book. 

8. When do you typically write?

Whenever I get a chance. Aka really early in the morning, late at night, or sometimes when there’s nothing going on at work.

When I get off work and the weekends. 

9. Do you review every book you read?

Nope! I try to, but not always.

Since I started the blog, yes, before then no. 

10. How do you write your book reviews? With a cup of coffee or tea? With Netflix? Cuddled with your fur baby?

I don’t have a set way to do it. By the time we really got into this blog, my fur baby passed away. Sometimes I write with a beer or wine. Sometimes with coffee. Usually, I have a movie or TV show going in the background. Right now I’m watching a really bad horror movie because…. IT IS HALLOWEEN.

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I just type it on my computer. Nothing special. 

11. When do you write your book reviews? Right after finishing the book? Two weeks after finishing the book?

Skipping this one since it’s repetitive.

Right after I finish the book, but I’d like to take time to process the book and write a review that isn’t word vomit. 

12. How often do you post?

I don’t have a set schedule. If I finish a book, I usually post a review. If I don’t read, no reviews.

At least once a week with First Lines Friday, other than that nothing is set in stone. 

Hogwarts House Tag – Hufflepuff Edition

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image credit: Pottermore


Another week, another house!

If you guys don’t remember or didn’t see it, we’re doing a new tag that involves taking traits from each Hogwarts house and figuring out book characters you can apply them to.

Once again, I’m giving the credit for this idea to Hannah from A Clockwork Reader on Youtube. She’s definitely in the top three booktubers I watch and you should check out her videos. I’m linking her Hogwarts Houses videos in each house and so here is the Hufflepuff Recommendations video.

The rules are pretty simple:

  • Give some sort of intro where you mention these rules, who tagged you if anyone did or where you saw it.
  • Pick two characters for each trait from that house and explain why you chose them. (Can’t pick Harry Potter characters and if you have multiple bloggers like we do, one each will suffice.)
  • Tag people if you want to, or don’t.

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will do her thing.


This choice was kind of thrown in the air with a “sequel”, but I choose Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. He’s the typical choice for a just character since he saw what was right and fought for it. Again, his justice is flawed thanks to Go Set a Watchman. I still loved that book and thought it added so much depth to his character, showing how justice can change and perhaps how older people get stuck in their old beliefs that were liberal yet become conservative.


I feel like when it comes to just, I can’t go wrong with Jess from Not Your Sidekick. I know I just recently read this book, but she was consistently the person who was trying to do the right thing, even if it was the most dangerous thing. When it could’ve been easier to go with the flow, she fought against that because it wasn’t right. 


For loyalty, I choose Shadow from American Gods. (Which I reviewed earlier this year, and you can find my review here.) This is one of my favorite books of all time since it holds so many plots which are all done amazingly. Then the show complements it to an extreme that they fit together perfectly. I’ll stop gushing, though, and move on to talking about Shadow.

He’s a mystery character. You’re not supposed to know him or understand him or anything. The one thing you can be sure of is that his word is his word, no matter where it takes him. Especially words sworn on mead.

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Okay, if you need lessons in being loyal, look no further than Rudy from The Book Thief. He was my favorite character in The Book Thief, and there were plenty of candidates, but he was willing to stick by Liesel no matter what. That’s what made him so lovable. His devotion to her was unwavering, even when it might put him in danger. If you haven’t read The Book Thief, I would highly recommend it. 


I’m going to go with a semi-real character. Katherine of Aragon. I mean, she’s in so many fucking books that this isn’t cheating. You can find her in The Constant Princess or Katherine of Aragon, The True Queen.

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To me, she fits perfectly as a Hufflepuff, but especially patient. Her whole life, she was raised knowing she would be Queen of England. So, she waited patiently to become of age. Then she married a boy she barely knew, only to have him die a few months after their marriage. Then she waited nine years to marry Henry VIII. She patiently waited for an heir, yet never had one. The rest of her life was spent waiting for Henry to realize he was wrong. It’s a sad story, but her patience is shown in every single way.


If we are going with characters who have to deal with arrogant pricks, then I can’t help but pick Percy from The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue. Sorry Monty, but you are getting thrown under the bus so I can have a decent pick. Percy could easily go under loyal, but I would say he is also patient. He puts up with Monty’s BS to the point where it gets him in danger. Yet he doesn’t snap for a long time. His patience is tested many times, especially when Monty is acting a fool, but he waits for Monty to get his head out of his ass before finally succumbing to his feelings. 


Controversial choice, but I’m going with Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby.

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Now, I don’t really like Jay over here. I think he’s kind of a dick who can’t move on from the past and desperately clings to materialism to prove himself as worthy of a girl he can never possess, yet he wants her as a man wants property. However, he worked damn hard to get where he was. See? A silver lining to everything.


This one was extremely difficult but I finally settled on Cas from The Abyss Surrounds Us and The Edge of the Abyss, but the first book is better so we are focusing mainly on that. Cas is forced to train a reckoner for a group of pirates and training a reckoner is extremely difficult and takes a lot of effort, it’s not usually done by one person because this is a giant fucking sea creature. However, she does it all on her own while dealing with being kidnapped and not being able to see her family again. She is literally working to save her own life and she survives. 

#GetGraphic Readathon Wrap Up

5 Graphic Novels. 923 pages. 3 days.

Holy moly, you guys. I did it. I survived.

I originally had six novels on my TBR for the #GetGraphic Readathon and I stopped at five. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki was the book I ended up not reading for the readathon. It was the last book added to my TBR and I’ve read three books on Sunday alone and I’m tired. I’ll get to This One Summer sometime soon. I’m sure everyone will be eagerly anticipating that review.

All of these graphic novels have queer character and/or queer themes, and yes this was intentional. Obviously.

I will be talking about each review in the order I read them. Let’s get started!

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash

4.5/5 – First of all, I loved this graphic novel. It was far and away my favorite out of the ones I read and it was the first one I read. I know it’s because this book brought back memories and gave me a feeling of nostalgia that I haven’t gotten from a book before.

I’ve had two different camp experiences. I don’t remember how old I was the first time I went to camp, but I went to Outdoor School in the sixth grade. Outdoor School is basically just a five-day camp where you learn about nature-y, science-y stuff. Both times I went camping, I had a crush on a camp counselor. Go figure. So, the little baby lesbian in me absolutely related to this graphic novel. For those who don’t know, I knew I was a lesbian when I was ten. I came out as a lesbian and was so confident that was how I identified throughout middle school and high school. Now, things are not exactly as simple as they were then and I don’t identify the same way now, but I know what it’s like to have a crush on the older unobtainable girl. I did not have the same experience here, as I just crushed from afar, which was kinda my thing, but this book hit me in the right place. It took me back to those times, which I can look on fondly now, but seemed crushing at the time.

I really enjoyed the art of the graphic novel, although the eyes creeped me out a bit.

I can see why some people think the ending wasn’t satisfying. I absolutely get that, but this is nonfiction. There are going to be times in life where a relationship isn’t wrapped up neatly, it will end up leaving you unsatisfied. I’m certain there are times when I will never see someone again and that relationship was left open-ended or not the way I wanted. It happens to us all. I’m not going to let it ruin my enjoyment of this book I connected so deeply with. I am disappointed that the author’s other novel has such a low rating on Goodreads because I would like to read more by her.

The Wicked + The Divine, Vol 1: The Faust Act by Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie (Illustrations), Matt Wilson (Colorist), Clayton Cowles

3.5/5 – When I heard about the concept of The Wicked + The Divine, I was fascinated. Every ninety years twelve gods appear on Earth then they die two years later. In the first volume of TW+TD, they are all pop stars which makes a lot of sense. Young teenagers worship them and as egotistical gods, they eat that shit up.

The art in this graphic novel is absolutely gorgeous. I just saw the first cover page and was blown away by how stunning the art is. I think out of all the graphic novels I read, the art was the best in TW+TD. The story was a bit hard for me to follow and so I struggled to connect with it as much as I wanted to. That being said, Luci was a blast of a character. She was sassy, funny, and sexually fluid.

I will keep reading the series since I’m interested to see where the story goes, but I think most people who read graphic novels have already read TW+TD and if not I’d recommend checking it out.

The Infinite Loop by Pierrick Colinet and Elsa Charretier (Illustrator)

4/5 – This graphic novel was a lot of fun and while I didn’t completely understand the time travel elements, I had a blast. The main character is Teddy, a no-nonsense, strong woman who is also a lesbian. And a redhead. It’s becoming my new favorite trope, honestly.

This graphic novel is very much centered around the romance, which we don’t get a lot of development of, it starts out as lust and then there is a lot of yadda-yadda with regards to them falling in love. The stakes of the whole plot include getting the girl back, and it’s not really authentic when all you’ve seen is lust and no real relationship development. Especially considering that people in that future world don’t experience love. How quickly Teddy’s tune changes when she meets a gorgeous girl.

However, I really enjoyed this and had a lot of fun. I would definitely knock it down a star for the insta-love, but I was invested in the relationship. This graphic novel was more…sexy than the others I read. It wasn’t constant, but it was there. I will probably read this again one day and might have more to say about the themes and the point of the book, but that’s just not what my mind focuses on.

Skim by Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki

3.5/5 – I feel like there were a lot of elements to Skim that I would really relate to. A character has committed suicide, multiple characters are depressed, multiple characters are lonely, there is a not-slim protagonist, and she’s struggling with her sexuality. However, it didn’t connect with me as much as I would’ve liked. I read this book in less than an hour and it went by fast. There wasn’t anything that was uninteresting or dull about it. I just constantly felt like an outside observer where I really got sucked into a few of the other graphic novels I read.

The art in this graphic novel is black and white and I know nothing about art, but it looked as if it was pencil drawn. This is by no means a criticism. I thought it added to the book’s appeal, honestly. In fact, I think the art was my favorite part of the book. I may not know what I’m talking about, but I know I liked it and it fit the book. Things aren’t bright and colorful when you are depressed. Not in such an extreme way, but things aren’t as bright and it’s hard to notice the beauty around you.

This book talks about depression and honestly I related to that. Kim, the protagonist, is depressed but because a boy recently committed suicide everyone is worried that she will meet the same fate. As someone who has lived with depression for over ten years, I have not wanted to end my life. I related to a character who is depressed but has no desire to die. That’s my everyday life. This book has a portrayal of mental illness that I think it focused on the subtle ways that depression can affect someone and for that, I give major kudos.

The Spire by Simon Spurrier, Jeff Stokely (Illustrations), Andre May (Colorist)

3/5 – A fantasy/science fiction graphic novel with a lesbian protagonist, naturally, I’m in. The world in this book is bizarre and I don’t think I can accurately describe it because it’s very complex. Honestly, I don’t think I understand a lot of the worldbuilding in this graphic novel. I had a lot of trouble following the main conflict of the story and the different species (?) and their motivations. There was a lot going on here and maybe if I reread it I’d understand it better, but I can’t say I’m interested.

There were some things I really liked. There was an f/f relationship that was already established. A kind of forbidden affair. I liked that a lot. That’s always fun. Sha is the main character and she was totally badass and snarky, and I like that in my protagonist. A no-nonsense female who kicks ass. This was a theme with a few of the action graphic novels I read and it was a lot of fun to read about strong female characters who were also into ladies. Hey Comic world, I’d like more of this, please. There was an interesting twist at the end that I liked, and it was unexpected but I can’t really talk about it because of spoilers.

The one thing that really bothered me, and this might be me nitpicking, but the swearing was censored with various characters. For example, fuck became @#$%. I didn’t like this especially when there were naked images on the page. I mean, I saw boobs and yet I couldn’t read a bad word. I’m sure they had reasons for doing so, but I’m used to swearing and the censoring the words didn’t really mesh with the story they were telling.

And that wraps up my thoughts on the books I read for the Get Graphic readathon. I’d just like to thank Caidyn for his encouragement, it helped a lot, but overall it was a great weekend and I loved participating in the readathon. I might do more in the future, but I’m far less confident reading actual novels in a readathon setting. I guess we’ll see.