Bookstooge Reviews 2018

2018Review

Collage created at Ipiccy.com.  I used the Gunmetal Font and the text color hex code is E4B678. 

2018 was a very different year from 2017. Here’s my 2017 in Review post.

 

THE STATS

 

Annual Blog Stats:

Total Posts – 248’ish

Total Views –  20K

Followers – 360+/- [fluctuation due to spam accounts getting deleted by WP]

 

Book Stats:

Books Read – 172

Pages Read – 59,371

Average Rating – 3.31

 

Graph Stats:

As you can see, the majority of what I read is in the 3-4 star rating range. I explain my rating system Here.

 

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Almost 27% of my books were re-reads and STILL my average is under 3.5. To put things in perspective though, anything over 3.1 is a good year for me. I just feel like grumping about something!

 

General Thoughts

2018 was a year of digging into blogging at wordpress and realizing that the ebb and flow of people I follow and the people who follow me, is normal. I’ve fully instituted my “I don’t follow someone who doesn’t post at least once a month” rule for new potentials and unless someone I follow lets their followers know they’re going to be gone, the same applies to people I already follow. I’ve probably stopped following quite a few sporadic bloggers this year, which has made my feed and interactions with others a bit more stable. It is also nice when people I do follow DO let their followers know that Life is getting in the way and they won’t be around for a bit. What has saddened me though is watching people disappear. While it is completely understandable, it has been a bit tough to see Life, Health or Interest make people just go “poof”. But I’m realizing this is normal and I’m hoping that in 2019 I’ll be a little more inured to such things. I hope so anyway because it is a really sucky feeling to see someone “take a health break” and then never come back.

Ok, enough of THAT!

 

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WordPress is now completely my blogging home. Anything I feel like writing, it roosts here. From the good to the bad, from the happy to the sorrowful, it gets written and posted here.

My post count was almost 100 posts lower than in ’17 but since I wrote a post almost every day that year, I’m not surprised. I can’t keep that level of creativity going. It also came down to me starting to schedule my reviews 2-3 weeks in advance. It has made my review writing much more disciplined but that very same discipline has impacted my writing on the spur of the moment, which is when a lot of non-review posts get written.

On a daily basis that lack of creativity did affect my numbers (ie, views, visits, likes, comments) but on the annual side of things, my numbers are stronger than in ’17. So with less posts I’ve gotten more. I think part of it is that not writing everyday gives people a chance to actually read what I post. If you’re only a weekly blogger and then visit me, 4 posts is a lot more handle-able (my goodness, that’s not even a real word!) than 7 or 8. Whatever the reason, 2018 was a good year for all my numbers and I’m very satisfied with them.

Speaking of satisfaction… (Sing it!)

I feel like I have settled into a good routine. I’m following people who are constant posters. My reading and reviewing schedule has fallen right into line with my whole reading rotation. My followers go up and down, but that is an aspect of what I alluded to in the opening paragraph. It does mean that I am always on the lookout for a new blogger to follow every 4-5 months, which is good for me so I don’t completely get set in my ways.

Overall, 2018 was everything I wanted from a free book blog. I reviewed, I ranted, I had fun. I also updated my little avatar,

From This:

bookstooge

 

To This:

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I’m obviously moving up in the world!

 

 

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Blogger is now my backup blog for just my reviews. I started out ’18 trying to mirror some non-review posts but gave it up pretty quickly. It’s a good blog if you like my reviews but don’t like anything else I write. It’s just as disorganized as my wordpress blog but I’m not trying to retro-actively clean it up. I also don’t like how the comment notification works so I’m not really incentivized to make it work.

 

 

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Had a bit of a dustup in a group because I talked about killing communists & hippies in one of my reviews, so Librarything has pretty much reverted to being the place where I keep track of what I’m currently reading and where I get info and cover data from. I put my reviews there as well, but since there isn’t much of a social thing outside of groups, I’m not very active there. Me and groups, we just don’t get along, sigh.

 

 

THE BOOKS

 

Best Book of the Year:

Ok, I have to admit, I am beyond stingy when it comes to this particular tag. I am also super miserly with 5star ratings. I only had two instances of this tag and only 9 5star reads. Only 3 of ANY of those was a new to me book. Books these days, they’re just not what they used to be…*sigh*

The Science Fiction Hall of Fame, Vol. 1, takes this category.

To Kill a Mockingbird is a strong runner up.

 

Worst Book of the Year:

This category is a little easier for me to write about, as I did read some atrocious books this year. The book that takes this category however, gets this “honor” because while it probably wasn’t actually the most un-enjoyable book I read, the interactions with its author went downhill very quickly; let me tell you, some severe comment deletion went on. That reaffirmed my faith in not thinking of Writers as People. Most people are jackasses. Most writers, surprisingly, are people. Which means that most writers are jackasses. Goodness, don’t you just love Logic?

Ok, now that I’m done being all clever, here’s the loser.

Gods of the Mountain

Sandworms of Dune almost beat it, but at least the authors didn’t whine at me and expect me to be their personal editor.

 

 

Plans for 2019

Not much. Last year, I was brimming with ideas. Then Life happened and stuff. This year, all I really want is to get my blog fully organized. I’m closing in on getting all my recent reviews fully tagged and categorized (recent being 2013 to Present). Once that gets done, then the BIG job of going backwards in time can begin. 2012 back to 2000. But I’m being super casual and laid back about it, so it’ll happen when it happens.

I did have a goal of breaking the 100 view mark for a post for 2018 and not only did that happen, it happened 10 times. Now, quite a few more posts have also passed the 100 view mark, but they are older posts that either I reference or get picked up in a google search. I’d be happy with the same results for 2019.

Actually, I JUST thought of a goal while writing this post. I’ve mentioned before that I think that the world NEEDS a World Book Czar and that I think I’m pretty qualified. So 2019 is the year I get serious about running for office. And by running for office I mean getting rid of all of the competition so you all have a choice of One. Me. I look forward to discussing the issues with my fellow candidates!

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“Discussions”, yes….

 

 

Personal

Where to even start? I guess church stuff. January and February were pretty bad and led to us leaving the church that we’d been attending for a decade and begin looking for another. While we have found another, you don’t make changes like that without upheaval and inner consequences. We’ll see how we do in ’19.

Health has been all over the place for both of us. Between a hospital stay for Mrs B and several crohn’s related incidents and my diabetes and then gastroenteritis and flu at the end of the year, we became pretty well acquainted with our hospital bills.

I’ve been working by myself at work since July and it is wearing me out. Things need to change by Spring or I’ll have to make some changes myself. I’m just not thinking about that to be honest.

I did finish up my Bookstooge in 100 Books and pinned it to the side of my blog. That was a lot of fun to write and think about. I should probably also go over my About page and see if anything needs updating. Thankfully, both of those posts tend to be rather static and a once a year check is good enough.

This year I did get into Magic the Gathering a bit more. Probably played a little less, but have started on constructing my own Commander decks, which takes a lot of time, thought, creativity and if one is so inclined, money. I am also dabbling with the idea of getting into the digital version of MTG, called Arena. We’ll see, as me and computer games just don’t really click that well.

I would categorize 2018 as a tough year but Mrs B and me are still doing ok, praise God.

 

 

top5

Here are the top 5 viewed posts in each of the various categories.

 

Book Review Posts

Algorithm of Power (negative review with a good writer interaction)

Gods of the Mountain (negative review with a negative writer interaction)

Lord of Light

Toll the Hounds

We are Legion(We are Bob)

 

Hmmmm, I’m sensing a trend with the ratings and viewership there….

 

Non-review Posts

Honesty and Book Reviewing

DNF – The Divisive Issue of Our Day

Why I Re-Read

Too Big to Comment

Saint Bookstooge Gives Answer

 

Ranting does seem to get some good views!

 

Commentors + Runner Up

Lashaan

Orangutan Librarian

SavageDDT (Dave)

Ola G (NOT Olag, like I originally thought)

Nicole

+ Maddalena

I live for comments, so I am glad that WordPress gives me this kind of info. I’d also like to thank everyone (well, except for that writer who got butt hurt that I did exactly what he asked me to, ie, write an honest review of his book) who commented this year. Written interactions on my blog make it so much more fun.

I’ve had more visitors and more comments than last year, so I’m hoping to keep that trend going. I’ve had some wonderful new followers this year who seem to like commenting as much as I do and I’m thankful for that. With almost 5,800 comments this year (to be honest half of them are me), that feeds my soul like you wouldn’t believe.

Who knows, maybe next’s years list of commentors will be completely different people. Come on, you know you want to edge Lashaan out of the top spot!

 

Movies

Once again, my movie list is less than 10, so a top 5 would pretty much include them all. Here’s the Top 2, just like last year.

Thor: Ragnarok (man, what a FUN movie)

Boondock Saints vs John Wick (a comparison post)

It’s not so much that I don’t watch ANY movies, but I just don’t review them. It doesn’t come nearly as easy as the book reviews. As much as I’d like to say there will be more movie reviews in 2019, we all know I’d be lying. So folks, there will be MORE movie reviews in 2019 😀

 

 

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Ok, while this post is shorter than last years Review, it’s still monstrously long by my standards (anything over 1K is monstrous in my opinion). I look forward to reading all of your various yearly posts, if you’re so inclined that way, and I hope to see you around in 2019. Unless you’re a communist, because then I will shoot you.

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My Personal ACD (anti-communist device)

 

 

 

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November ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

16 Books

5557 Pages

3.50 Average Rating (WAY UP from last month!)

 

The Bad:

The Darkside War – 2.5 Stars (potty mouth millennial SF)

 

The Good:

Chasm City4.5 Stars

Alphabet of Thorn – 4.5 Stars

 

Manga:

Shaman King continues to treat me well. I only read 2 volumes this month but I read them back to back and then spaced the reviews a couple of days apart. I like the rhythm that gave me. It completes enough of a story arc to satisfy me while not overwhelming me. With Christmas coming this month (and our whole immediate family getting together for almost a week over at Mr & Mrs Bombfunk’s house) manga might be the first casualty of a busy month.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Reviewed Antman & the Wasp. Considering there was a gap between it and Thor: Ragnarok of 6 months, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say no one has to worry about this blog ever turning into a movie review blog. It’s fun to review something a little different, and 6 months might be a bit far between, but I sure don’t plan on making movie reviews a once a month thing.

Survival Saturday came back and while not a smashing success with only an “OK” Broccoli & Cheese soup, neither did we feel like it was something we’d trade to other Survivors of the Coming Apocalypse.

Was able to vent my spleen a bit with a good rant about that filthy Communist invention, The Oxford Comma. Demon Goat contacted me afterwards and said his collecting of souls who use it is WAY up so I’m hoping that ripples back and people realize just how terrible it is. And stop using and supporting it 😉

Had another bout of the stomach flu (which while not requiring an ER visit, did keep me from work for several days) but I was better by Thanksgiving so I was able to partake of the delicious food such a time entails. I also did some actual Giving of Thanks.

We had our first snow storm this month (we got 5inches – 12.5cm) and between all the rain, snow and sickness I didn’t get a lot of work in. Instead of reading more, I ended up dicking around on Youtube and watching various people implode/explode, etc about the latest offering from Wizards of the Coast, the Ultimate Masters Set. Too pricey for me at almost $300 for one box but it has been fun to watch people scream like banshees with their heads cut off!

 

Cover Love

McKillip’s Alphabet of Thorn wins in the Cover Love category. Kinuko Craft, the artist, just captures the essence of the novel so aptly.  If Mrs Craft wasn’t already married and I was single and she wasn’t XX years older than me, I’d be tempted to marry her just for her art!  Ahhhh, Kinuko, the fates were cruel to us.

alphabetofthorn

 

 

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October ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

17 Books

5773 Pages

2.97 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

Dust of Dreams (existential excrement by the boatload) – 1.5 Stars

Fail Harder (irresponsible jackasses who should die) – 1.5 Stars

Wizard’s First Rule (clunky writing that destroyed my memories) – 2 Stars

 

The Good:

A Thousand Words for Stranger (Telepathic Jane Austen in Space!) – 4 Stars

 

Manga:

Tore through four volumes of Shaman King. Now that the setup is pretty much done, it’s shonen battles, which means some long slugging matches are coming up. Might end up slowing down my pace just a tad.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

While I read a bit more this month, it was ALL crap. My average was below 3stars for goodness sake. I am thankful for at least one 4star book.

Got Sick and kind of whimpered on for the last 10 days of the month. Didn’t read anyones posts, didn’t even reply to comments. Thankfully, that seems to be passing and I’m hoping to spring back into pure unadulterated Bookstooge Action this weekend with a Survival Saturday Post.

Did a Tag and a 6Degrees post. It was good to write some non-review stuff. Especially considering all the crap books I plowed through and then had to write about.

Surviving a Bad Book got some good numbers since I mentioned a book that a lot of people know. Always helps to stir the pot if everyone already has an opinion.

Other than that, this was a rainy blah month that crept along like a whipped cur and then threw up in my shoes. I am so thankful October is OVER WITH.

 

Cover Love

Once again, just like last month, no cover grabbed me and said “Worship me!”. I am including the Harpist in the Wind cover because I feel it really shows Darrell K. Sweet’s style. He did so many covers over the years and once you learn what his stuff looks like, you simply can’t miss it.

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September ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

15 Books

4677 Pages

3.27 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

Ghostly Echoes – ½ Star (Blatant Social Justice lies denying Biological Fact)

The Deaths of Tao – 2 Stars (Didn’t like Main Characters)

Empire – Unrated (definitely all me. Just didn’t care about the Warhammer Universe any more)

 

The Good:

The Pickwick Papers – 6 Stars (Perfect in Every Way)

Revelation Space – 4 Stars (Great Space Opera)

Hilldiggers – 4 Stars (Polity just keeps getting better and better)

 

Graphic Novels and Manga:

Started in on the Shaman King manga and read the first 2 volumes. I REALLY enjoyed them and am having to consider how much I want to read next month. Do I stick with 2 volumes and kind of ration my enjoyment or do I just dive on in and read a volume every week? I enjoyed it enough that a volume a week would not be a problem. It feels good to feel good about reading manga again 🙂

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

This month FELT wicked busy even though every single blog number says otherwise. My book numbers were the same as last month, my page numbers were actually down almost 150 pages, my post numbers were about the same, the comments section was down and a couple of the more active people I follow were either MIA or on a much reduced schedule.

The reason it felt so busy is because of work and real life. During the first week of this month my coworker gave his notice on Monday and was gone by Friday. This has left me as the sole full time Field Tech. It means I’m working by myself a LOT more and that means a lot more walking and not being nearly as efficient as a two man crew. I come home exhausted. I’ve also noticed some white in my goatee this month. I suspect the old salt-n-pepper look is only a year or so away.

The scheduling thing continues just fine but one unlooked for side effect is that it has effectively killed my desire for spontaneous writing. I used to write my reviews when I needed a post and if I needed a post or had verbal diarrhea, out came a non-review post. Now that I type on command for the book reviews, I just don’t feel like writing for fun. Kind of like jogging for a hobby versus training for a marathon. I’m going to give it to the end of the year and if it makes me continue feeling like blogging is work, then I’m going to ditch the scheduling and go back to the hodge podge of whenever I feel the heck like it. While scheduling is great, I prefer to fill my writing needs so it feels fun. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Ok, onto some of the posts. PSA: DNF was a decent one and I’m glad I got it out there. It also had the decency to generate a bunch of comments and I found out more about you all than I was expecting. It also was the top viewed post of the month (no surprise there!).

My 100 Book List post helped me continue my work on this blog and to be a good counterpart to my About Me section. I’ve stickied it to the side of my homepage so new people can easily find it when deciding to follow me or not. Preferably “not” so I don’t have to argue with them and show them how they are pretty much wrong about everything. It’s really tough being Mr Right.

And speaking of Mr Right, I’ve been Mr Right for 10 years this month. Mrs B and I celebrated our 10th Wedding Anniversary and we think we’ve got this whole marriage thing licked. Hahahahaa. Now that I’ve said that, watch, the next 10 years will be unlike anything we’ve ever experienced before.

Not much else really. Didn’t have the urge to write beyond what I had to. Really hoping I can be more engaging in October, here and on others blogs.

 

Cover Love

None of this months crop really appealed to me. I think from a purely visual standpoint, A Shaman in Tokyo was the most striking, just like a manga should be.

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August ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

14 Books

4828 Pages

3.25 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

A Path to Coldness of Heart – 2 Stars (for the Pedophile wizard)

Critical Failures – 2 Stars (profanity and not one likeable character)

The Dead Town – 2 Stars (zero tension and not much plot)

 

The Good:

War Masters Gate – 5 Stars

Play the Man – 4 Stars (non-fiction. First one of the year!)

Heir of Sea and Fire – 4 Stars (Mckillip. ’nuff said)

Queen Bitch – 4 Stars (pure fun despite the rather appalling title)

 

Graphic Novels and Manga:

Path of Doom was the only visual medium for this month. While I enjoyed reading about a Superman who was a real Super Man, this graphic novel also drove home that my comic times are mostly behind me. I don’t plan on buying any more comics and any reading of my own will probably have some other purpose. For example, I am planning on re-reading Frank Miller’s Daredevil: Man Without Fear next month and try to get a VERSUS post out of it the month after that.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Oh man, where to start. Let’s get the bad out of the way I guess. My boss’s son passed away in July so my boss was MIA for all of July but started the recovery process in August. Unfortunately, he was still pretty out of it (as you can imagine) and this led to some pretty big math errors in the office, which had real world results, which were bad. I was caught in the middle, as I was the guy the contractors saw doing the work. Having to go back to a site and change things which put off their schedule by a week and a lot of money was not fun. Plus it was a bloody hot August so 3-4 liters of water a day while at work was just normal. It made for long days where I’d just come home, clean up, sack out and be in bed by 9pm.  I think we’re on the other side of that whole situation though and I think it was a wake up call to my boss about how he’s still being affected so now he just won’t brush it off.

Only wrote a couple of non-review posts but I have to admit, I was proud of the reception that my Honesty & Book Reviewing post received. It led to almost 100 comments (Whoo!!!) and gave me the perfect setup for another in September about DNF’s. It is also now my second most “liked” post, tied with A History of…Reading and only beat out by my rant on that execrable piece of trash, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I guess honesty  still pays dividends in the  book world!

While I gave up on Culling those who follow me, I had to stop following a couple of people who hadn’t posted in over a month. That is my cutoff point. If someone just disappears without warning for a month, best of luck but I won’t be sticking around to see what happened. Now, on the other hand, if you let your followers know you’re going to be MIA, then heck,  I’ll gladly stick around. But I just hate having my chain yanked all over. You are not the center of the Universe.

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Because that would be ME!

 

I managed to write about another trilogy of books that I loved in Thriving on a Good Book – Grimnoir Chronicles.  It really shouldn’t be so difficult to write about the books I love but talking about them years after the fact is surprisingly not easy.  I need to keep practicing so I get better at it.

My Side Project is done. I’m hoping to put the results, 50 books I have hated and 50 books I have loved, up tomorrow in a single post.

 

Cover Love

If the book Fortress in Orion  had been half as awesome as this cover suggests, it would have been fantastic.  At least I got an awesome picture out of it.

Fortress in Orion

Robert J. Sawyer is a liar!!!

 

 

 

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July ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

12 Books

4008 Pages

3.5 Average Rating

 

The Bad:

The Return2 Stars

 

The Good:

Nicholas Nickleby5 Stars

Prador Moon 4 Stars

The Man with One Name4 Stars

 

Graphic Novels and Manga:

Nada, zilch, zero, none. I’ve got a Superman graphic novel on tap for August though and I’m hoping to get back into a manga series in September. I’m thinking either Kare Kano (His & Her Circumstances) or W Juliet. I own both and have read them both so I’m hoping which ever I read turns out better than that horrible experience with Oh My Goddess! If you have thoughts or opinions on either series, feel free to weigh in. I’m pretty undecided at the moment.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Started the month off with a mid-year Roundup Report. I like all those numbers and not having to wait until the end of the year to roll around in them, like a pig wallowing in mud, was great. Also, since I’m not part of Goodreads or Booklikes, that have “goals” with banners and everything, this helped keep me on track for my unofficial goals.

Started the Thriving on a Good Book series but we’ll see how long it lasts. It is surprisingly hard to write a lot about the books I like, unlike how the words flow like a veritable river when I have had a bad experience.

VERSUS went right along with the Mano A Mano post I did. Testosterone was flowing like blood in a Tarantino film this month. Of course, neither of them was as ridiculous(ly fun to write) as the Saint Bookstooge Gives Answer post where I answered your questions. My goodness, the questions I got were so much fun that I just HAD to give vent to complete silliness.

Survival Saturday. The foods I’ve got are all boil in water stuff, so obviously they’re hot foods. I refuse to make hot stuff like that when it is 90degrees out. Considering that August is usually the hottest month of the year for us, I suspect next month I’ll let this pass as well. I just can’t muster up the courage to face this stuff when I’m dying from the heat.

In the background, I’ve been continuing to update all my semi-recent (2012 and up) reviews and am currently in late 2014. Also in the background, but much bigger for me, is that I’ve started scheduling things 2-3 weeks out now. After having a talk with Professor Dickieson on his blog and getting some good encouragement, I took the last week of June and the first week of July to really pile on the reading and just bank the reviews. That has allowed me to get about 3 weeks ahead in reviews. I’ve heard of people doing this ever since I’ve been blogging but it just never seemed to work for me. But now was the time and I do plan on trying to keep that up with at least my regular reviews and series posts. The really silly stuff is almost always spontaneous though, so I’m not totally going scheduled.

Church has been going well and Pastor Mike has started a series where he is going to synopsize each book of the Bible for a sermon for the whole Bible. He calculated that will take until the end of 2019. That is the kind of planning I LIKE! And considering he was able to have a sermon on Leviticus and Numbers where I came away feeling better, that says something pretty good too.

 

Cover Love

In keeping with the testosterone that I flung around, this months cover love winner was pretty easy. Conan: Red Nails nailed it. While the cover was cool, the full picture was just awesome. I’ve included that instead of a high res cover.

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Mrs B says “He’s ugly”. I remain unaffected because Conan cut off that man’s head with a DAGGER!

 

 

 

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June ’18 Roundup & Ramblings

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Raw Data:

12 Books

4575 Pages

3.13 Average Star Rating

 

The Bad:

Toll the Hounds – 1 Star

 

The Good:

Mere Christianity – 5 Stars

 

Graphic Novels & Manga:

Read a couple more Silver Sable comics and realized that my time with this medium is pretty much done.

 

Miscellaneous And Personal:

Bailed on Survival Saturday. Work has been exhausting this month and experimenting with some food was just more than I could handle on my day off.  Thankfully, W.C. Bombfunk is making me some chicken potpie later today, so I’m still getting some kind of food!

Surviving a Bad Book went well. I announced I’m putting it on  a break since I’m going to start a new series about the Good books I’ve read.

Didn’t do to many more non-review posts. Did a VERSUS post and ended the month with a Confessional, where I admitted I was open to questions that I would answer next week.

Tomorrow I’ve got a Mid-Year Roundup scheduled, so that should have lots of numbers as well.

 

Cover Love:

Princess of Blood wins the cover love award this time. Whoever Tom Lloyd got to do these covers, he really hit a home run.

I just did some google’ing and it turns out the guy’s name is Jon McCoy.

princess_of_blood_tom_lloyd_gollancz_cover-628x977

 

 

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