Sunday, January 1, 2023

A Year in Review

I am going to say absolutely nothing about the shit show of the last year and approach 2023 calmly and quietly hoping not to spook it in the least. This was an odd year for books, as in there were so many books I really liked but not many I loved. I don't know what that says about me... Maybe my state of mind or just a lack of brilliance in my reads? Was I reading genius and not knowing it? Who knows, I'd never repeat 2022 to figure it out. So instead, let's do the end of year wrap up where I try to remember what I read and what my impressions of it were... And yes, this was another record breaking year for me but the gold ring remains elusive, in that I want to have the most books AND the most number of pages read in the same year to officially be the most I've ever read. It will happen one day...

1) The Haunting Season: Eight Ghostly Tales for Long Winter Nights by Bridget Collins et al: Ah, a short story anthology. I don't have that much love for short stories for the same reason I like TV shows over movies, there's more room for the narrative to expand. But so many favorite authors contributed to this that I had to read it. Some were amazing, some were shit, and Natasha Pulley didn't get the memo of what you don't do in a short story anthology.

2) Scott Pilgrim Free Comic Book Day Story by Bryan Lee O'Malley: This was shit and pointless.

3) Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah: I was actually reading Devil House and hated it so much that I picked up this book for book club and I think I really liked it just because it wasn't Devil House. It was slow paced and basically an episode of Northern Exposure crossed with Law and Order: SVU, which makes it odd. But yes, if you read the description of the book that means there is no otherworldly element. The alien angle is a lie.

4) Devil House by John Darnielle: This could possibly be one of the worst books I've ever read. It purports to be fictional true crime but is not really, instead it's a whole bunch of "look at me doing pretentious writing styles" IE second person narration and some weird fake ye olde English. Avoid like the creepy neighbor in a true crime documentary.

5) The Case of the Team Spirit (Bad Machinery #1) by John Allison: I don't know why I keep reading John Allison. I want to like him but I just can't seem to really get into it. I picked this up because it's loosely connected to Giant Days. It was a boring story about football. I'm a masochist so I will probably read more.

6) The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins: A Jane Eyre retelling that I hated. When the line "reader I fucked him" was uttered I just couldn't anymore.

7) Firefly #35 by Greg Pak: OK, getting into the individual comic issues now, which means it's likely I won't remember anything in particular but just the arcs. Well, hopefully the arcs. This looks like it part of the arc where the crew of Serenity went through a portal to Earth-That-Was. And really, that's the entirety of the arc. They go through a portal, some boring shenanigans with the locals and the not-so-locals, and eventually they leave. Why? No idea. 

8) Buffy the Vampire Slayer #33 by Jeremy Lambert: This was basically a big giant arc of nothing leading up to the official launch of the extended Buffyverse. 

9) Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #2 by Casey Gilly: Whereas old Buffy as the Last Vampire Slayer within the Buffyverse was just pure awesomeness. There's rights for vampires, Buffy is old and haunted and hunted, she and Angel were married but her and Spike were also a thing, oh, and Tara and Willow have a daughter named after a character in The Sandman comics! THIS is the Buffy series I want more of!

10) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #17 by Alyssa Wong: From the cover this looks like it was the introduction of The Ascendant. The Ascendant created artifacts to mimic Sith powers. That's all. I mean, we're now another years worth of comics now on from the beginning of this and I'm still, seriously, that's all it does? Boring. 

11) Magpie Murders by Anthony Horowitz: I so wanted to like this. An author's murder which can only be solved by reading his latest whodunit. The problem was I knew whodunit pretty quickly, something which the adaptation tried to delay by moving a key piece of evidence. But more problematic was that Susan Ryeland is totally unlikable and unsympathetic as a lead. Also, she was pretty stupid too. She just doesn't "get" whodunits despite being an editor of them? Oh please.

12) Batman Vs. Bigby! A Wolf In Gotham #5 by Bill Willingham: A very odd mashup that wasn't very well explained. It felt like it was more to get people who haven't read Fables to get interested before that series returns... 

13) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #18 by Alyssa Wong: Judging by the cover I think this is when Aphra runs into Kho Phon Farrus using Ascendant tech. 

14) Angel #1 by Christopher Cantwell: This Angel arc is one of the comics that really nailed how the Buffy EU could be done right. Angel as a TV star but still running his business with lots of Cordy? Yes please!

15) The Passion of the Purple Plumeria by Lauren Willig: The Pink Carnation series is a perennial favorite, and this one is an interesting addition because we really see the inner workings of Miss Gwen's and Jane's relationship and it's maybe far different than we thought? Or could Jane just be, you know, pushing everyone away to succeed at her job?

16) Night of the Ghoul #4 by Scott Snyder: This series which was a Comixology original was part Twilight Zone part Lovecraft at it's best about a cursed movie, sadly it fell apart. Here it was still great though. Also the long time between issues sometimes was more than a little annoying. 

17) The Night Things by Ted Naifeh: I have blocked all this out of my head because it was so shit. The art in particular. Why did she look like that!?!

18) Criminal, Vol. 1: Coward by Ed Brubaker: Bizarre fact, I thought this was a new to me Brubaker, but I had apparently read it at some time because the twist with the death at the end I knew was coming. And not just in that way of, oh, this is Noir so the femme fatale always dies. 

19) Scene of the Crime by Ed Brubaker: Good, but not their best. My main problem was I couldn't get around the suspension of disbelief that this crime scene photographer was allowed to sell his work through an art gallery. That's not how it works. I should know, my grandfather was a crime scene photographer.

20) The Season by Sarah MacLean: I feel horrible in that I really don't remember anything substantial from this book, just fleeting images of the homes and the ransacked study, wait was someone trying to kill the heir/love interest? I think that might be it.

21) Dying is Easy by Joe Hill: Stand-up comic is the lead suspect in another comic's death. Nothing much happens. 

22) The Archie Art of Francesco Francavilla by Francesco Francavilla: I love Francesco Francavilla's art, especially for Archie. Seriously, he created the look of Archie Horror.

23) Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean: Spinster makes a daring list and a deal with a rake. She will complete her list, such as drinking in a gentlemen's club, while also tutoring the rake's illegitimate sister. Very fun and sexy. And speaking of remembering the locations more than the plot of The Season, one of those locations is in this book!

24) Bunny and Biscuits: A Very Dorrington Valentine's Day by Lauren Willig: Little known fact, but I won a competition to name this short story. I love it so much and I feel like it was written just for me. I know it wasn't but I can pretend right?

25) Firefly #36 by Greg Pak: Still on Earth-That-Was is my guess. They were there way too long. 

26) Buffy the Vampire Slayer #34 by Jeremy Lambert: Oh, it was the final showdown methinks. It sucked. And not like vampires.

27) Star Wars: Crimson Reign #2 by Charles Soule: Here's the thing about Crimson Reign, AKA returning to the awesome idea of Crimson Dawn, once it became this specific arc I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be reading the other series like with the War of the Bounty Hunters, so I was often confused. Just let Qi'ra rule, OK?

28) Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #1 by Cullen Bunn: I really enjoyed this story about a family with magical powers and them trying to deal with basically a fire bender, but I didn't know there was a whole other arc before this one so I was confused.

29) Manor Black by Cullen Bunn: Which is why it's lucky that I have Comixology and was able to go and read the first arc right away. Family with great powers and great responsibility, big Lovecraftian House, and very thin on plot. But it's moody AF!

30) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir: OMG! Andy Weir just didn't write about a guy trapped in space, he wrote about a guy trapped in space with his new best friend who happens to be an alien! And the alien, like the hero, is also trying to save his planet. Who cares about the humans, Rocky FOREVER!

31) Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #3 by Casey Gilly: Along with the new Angel arc this arc is amazing. I wanted more but we only got four I believe, I'll remember when I get to it further down. But damn, Spike telling Buffy how amazing she still is? I can't handle it.

32) Angel #2 by Christopher Cantwell: And more awesome Angel, the fact that Andrew and Lorne bond over watching Cordy's old shows is priceless. Though I feel bad Lorne is kind of a sad Lorne.

33) The Mark of the Midnight Manzanilla by Lauren Willig: Attack stoat! 

34) All-New Firefly #1 by David M. Booher: OK, so this is when they stopped being on Earth-That-Was and started helping out those I want to say monks? The monk storyline is boring and still ongoing ten months later. Though I do like seeing this through the eyes of Jayne.

35) Batman Vs. Bigby! A Wolf In Gotham #6 by Bill Willingham: Yeah, I'm just not into this. Why do I care who would win in a fight? PS, I vote the Big Bad Wolf, who is basically a werewolf.

36) Refrigerator Full of Heads #4 by Rio Youers: This series started off strong, a slasher that picks up where the other series left off. But after awhile it was just the villains and the heroes racing around the island doing nothing but trying to find each other. Oh, and I hated bringing back the Final Girl and the art was like lurid and bad Mad Magazine Art.

37) Night of the Ghoul #5 by Scott Snyder: This would be when the plot started to drag. So yeah. It went downhill fast. 

38) Doctor Radar #1 by Noël Simsolo: This is another comic I have fully blocked from my memory. The cover was so cool, the art inside wasn't. Nor was the story. Nor was anything about it.

39) Petrograd by Philip Gelatt and Tyler Crook: Tyler Crook is an illustrative genius. This story isn't. This story is a white savior complex BS history of the start of the Russian Revolution. 

40) Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas: The first in Lisa Kleypas's Wallflowers series and I liked that it was about female bonding and doing what needed to be done to survive. Hell, if they needed to compromise a man, so be it!

41) Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #2 by Cullen Bunn: Eh, can't remember this one really. I know I liked this Manor Black series but it is also somehow eminently forgettable...

42) The Nice House on the Lake, Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV: First I have to say, if you're putting out an ARC of the trade paperback, make sure the resolution is good enough that you can actually read the story. Instead I re-read my individual issues. A group of friends chosen by their alien friend to survive the apocalypse in rural "Wisconsin." They are trying to figure things out AND find out if the apocalypse can be stopped. This arc ends with their alien friend Walter doing a mind wipe to see if he can get it right the second time around. So yeah, very creepy. The "I want to take care of you but you can only remember what I want you to" kind of creepy.

43) The Nice House on the Lake #7 by James Tynion IV: And they remember nothing and now Norah is the "outsider." Walter knew she was trouble and therefore has locked her up.

44) Murder at Teal's Pond: Hazel Drew and the Mystery That Inspired Twin Peaks by David Bushman and Mark T. Givens: I actually picked this for my book club to read. I kind of felt bad about that. We're all Twin Peaks fans and there really isn't anything of that here. Sure her death might have been a seed of the inspiration, but not much more. This book did a good job of setting up the time period and the town but had no new revelations about anything to do with the case. Too many "what-ifs."

45) Devil's Cub by Georgette Heyer: My first Heyer that wasn't a murder mystery. All the characters were very over the top and melodramatic. If you took liberties for their antics and just realized it's a French Farce with all the people running about not knowing who everyone is with lots of doors slamming then you'll enjoy it.

46) Destination High Moon by Brian Kesinger: Yeah, nothing. I adore Brian Kesinger though!

47) Buster and the Haunted Banjo by Brian Kesinger: Um... The Banjo was played by a ghost or ghosts right? And Buster just kind of held it? Am I anywhere near accurate?

48) Star Wars: Crimson Reign #3 by Charles Soule: This issue had Yoda. That is all you need to know.

49) Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer #4 by Casey Gilly: OMG, why can't we have more of this story? More of old Buffy kicking ass. Plus we never learned what really happened to Tara... So I NEED more.

50) My American Duchess by Eloisa James: Romance with a heavy helping of pineapple. Seriously, it's kind of awesome how the history of pineapple is so integral to the plot.

51) It Happened One Autumn by Lisa Kleypas: The male best friend from the first book obviously falls for the American he couldn't stand. Almost completely similar in structure to the first book yet somehow still fun.

52) Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas: This book literally picks up right after the last one and OMG it is brilliant. Our devil falls for our stammering heroine who proposes a marriage of convenience, for both of them. Set in a gaming hell. Damn I loved this book. 

53) The Lure of the Moonflower by Lauren Willig: I really didn't want the Pink Carnation series to end. But end it did. With it Lauren's monthly Zoom-along ended too. It was a year plus of so much fun. I want to do it all again.

54) Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson: True crime meets YA teen angst. It's a combination that somehow actually works. All about a mysterious disapperance and two murders at Ellingham Academy in I believe the twenties. And then Stevie Bell coming in in the present day with the goal of solving that crime. It's easily addictive and because the wait list was so long at my local library and did just buy the whole trilogy because you do not learn the solution here.

55) Buffy the Last Vampire Slayer: The 25th Anniversary #1 by Jeremy Lambert: No idea.

56) Angel #3 by Christopher Cantwell: Continuing Angel awesomeness.

57) All-New Firefly #2 by David M. Booher: Monks blah blah.

58) Refrigerator Full of Heads #5 by Rio Youers: Why wasn't this series over by this point? It way overstayed it's welcome. Some might even say it was unnecessary. And by some I mean me.

59) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #19 by Alyssa Wong: Flashback to the girls at the academy... Maybe?

60) The Dynamite Art of John Cassaday by John Cassaday: I first was introduced to John Cassaday's work through his collaboration with Joss Whedon on X-Men and Firefly. I might have signed copies of these that I got when I met John at Wizard World. And yes, I'm calling him John. I've "met" him afterall. These are just the pieces he did for Dynamite. Which means a lot of old and classic franchises. Think Zorro. It's hit or miss all depending on who his colorist was. As you can see he's usually his own best colorist. But I loved seeing his process. 

61) Jane and the Unpleasantness at Scargrave Manor by Stephanie Barron: This took me a little white to get into, but once I did I loved it. I mean, Jane Austen solving crime, who wouldn't love it? But it was the whole world and the characters that Stephanie Barron built that made this so believable. It felt like Austen without being Austen. I think my problem getting into it was the framing device. But I really can not wait until I have time to read more in this series. Who knows, if the framing device continues maybe I'll grow to like it.

62) You've Got Red on You: How Shaun of the Dead Was Brought to Life by Clark Collis: This was a wonderfully complete history on the movie Shaun of the Dead that really takes you on a deep dive into the making of the film. As someone who is more than a little obsessed with all the people involved in the film it didn't really contain anything new, other than the Dylan Moran character was written for David Walliams and this makes so much sense to me on so many levels it's kind of surprising to me I never knew this before. But the downfall of the book is that it gives the movie a status that it doesn't deserve. It's a wonderful film but it wasn't the cultural shockwave Collis thinks it is. 

63) The Vanishing Stair by Maureen Johnson: Oh, more Stevie Bell mysteries! This one had crazy cat lady conspiracy theorists and an amazing reveal about the 'Truly, Devious' letter.

64) The Hand on the Wall by Maureen Johnson: And of course I had to go right into the conclusion of the trilogy and learn who was behind the present day crimes and what the twist was in the past crimes. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn't see everything coming though I would have thought a school in the mountains of Vermont would have been better prepared for a blizzard of The Shining scale...

65) Scandal in Spring by Lisa Kleypas: Oh how I hated this book. It's odd to say that, given how much I enjoyed the other three in the series and adored the previous volume. But no. So much no. Whining, bitching, I hate both the leads. So I guess they deserve each other?

66) Night of the Ghoul #6 by Scott Snyder: This was a story that ended with a whimper... Evil cult, a lost Hollywood horror classic, and spider creatures and whatever. It just, it just became very disappointing.

67) Motherbridge: Seeds of Change by George Mann: A new graphic novel by my author friend George Mann whose blog tour I got to participate in. It's so relevant, climate change, immigration, family, and without being in the least preachy, which can really happen when you are handling these subjects. 

68) Star Wars: Lando - Double Or Nothing by Rodney Barnes: I sadly remember nothing of this. Which is odd because all things Donald Glover usually go to a special place in my brain, mainly containing gifs of him on Community. But yes, I remember nothing. Did he maybe get the Millennium Falcon in this story? Seriously I should stop trying to guess. 

69) Star Wars: Han Solo - Imperial Cadet by Robbie Thompson: I have blocked this out because I hated it so much. 

70) Carnival Row: Sparrowhawk by Jordan Crair: Totally no idea. Maybe I should re-read before the show comes back in February... Or maybe these are in that new collection which my friend George Mann, mentioned above, is a part of.

71) Carnival Row: From the Dark by C.M. Landrus: Ditto, no idea.

72) A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer: The heroine was wonderful and levelheaded in this marriage of convenience story. The hero though? What a whiny little shit. He looks down on his AMAZING father-in-law, strings along his ex, and then gambles everything at the end just so he can be free of his father-in-law's influence and purse strings. And that ending, it went on FOREVER! 

73) Something is Killing the Children Vol. 1 by James Tynion IV: I like stories by James Tynion IV because they take place in Wisconsin. I read this first volume when it first came out and was unimpressed. Fast forward to now and a really bad thing happened to a young girl in northern Wisconsin and I really felt the need to read something about monsters who hurt kids getting what they deserve, a gruesome death. This filled that void. Remember to fight the monsters in whatever form they come.  

74) Something is Killing the Children Vol. 2 by James Tynion IV: Oh, and the other reason I was re-reading the first volume and then these other volumes is because they were all available on Comixology for free with the unlimited membership which I have.

75) Something is Killing the Children Vol. 3 by James Tynion IV: But I've told myself that I'm only allowed to keep the membership as long as I use it each month. As in, I HAVE to get my money's worth.

76) Something is Killing the Children #16 by James Tynion IV: I believe the first three volumes tied up the Wisconsin story and the individual issues dealt with the House down in Chicago. Could be wrong.

77) Something is Killing the Children #17 by James Tynion IV: All I know is I loved these but can't remember the stories per issue. But I don't think we got up to the Southwest story yet...

78) Something is Killing the Children #18 by James Tynion IV: Though I could be wrong there.

79) Something is Killing the Children #19 by James Tynion IV: As you can see I'm not cheating and looking at my reviews. I have to remember this. Though I do look at the covers to try to jog my memory. 

80) Something is Killing the Children #20 by James Tynion IV: And yeah...

81) Something is Killing the Children #21 by James Tynion IV: Memory. Not. Jogged.

82) Something is Killing the Children #22 by James Tynion IV: At all. 

83) House of Slaughter #1 by James Tynion IV: I just didn't like this. It's a prequel to a character who has since died so I don't get the point. 

84) The Convenient Marriage by Georgette Heyer: This SUCKED HARD! Marriage of convenience to a spoiled little shit of a girl who had nothing and now is spending money like there's no tomorrow and her husband just does nothing? Ugh, make it stop. I want to forget I ever wasted time on this book.

85) To Sir Phillip, With Love by Julia Quinn: OK, so the problem with this book is the idea of who Eloise is has been strongly shaped by the Bridgerton television series. So to have Eloise hare off into the country and tie herself to a lout who she only ever corresponded with and somehow find a HEA out of this shit show makes zero sense. Eloise deserved better than Sir Phillip. 

86) All-New Firefly #3 by David M. Booher: Guessing it's still the monks and the people attacking them, because seriously, that's all that there ever was this year... 

87) The Vampire Slayer #1 by Sarah Gailey: This is all about Willow being the Slayer after somehow taking Buffy's powers after a traumatic event and only Giles and Willow know that Buffy is the Slayer because everyone else's memory is wiped. It's all very ill defined and actually quite stupid. 

88) Angel #4 by Christopher Cantwell: Whereas Angel continues to be awesome. 

89) Star Wars: Crimson Reign #4 by Charles Soule: Time for the Knights of Ren! Which of course play into Kylo Ren way later, not that I remember how or will ever bother to watch those horrid sequels again. I mean, the prequels are actually better than those sequels and I will fight you on that.

90) Free Comic Book Day 2022: Stranger Things / Resident Alien by Michael Moreci: OK, given the title I thought this was a Resident Alien/Stranger Things crossover. It's not. It's two separate stories. What. A. Waste.

91) The Winchester Mystery House: The Hundred Year Curse by Joshua Wener: Free Comic Book Day intro to the Winchester Mystery House which was to get you to want to buy the series when it came out. It was interesting, but it didn't capture my imagination enough to make me want to learn more. Though for those who know nothing about the Winchester Mystery House it's a good primer!

92) Refrigerator Full of Heads #6 by Rio Youers: Is it over? Please say it's over!

93) The Nice House on the Lake #8 by James Tynion IV: Yeah, can't bring this issue to mind really.

94) The British Paranormal Society: Time Out of Mind #1 by Chris Roberson: I love Roberson's other series about Sarah Jewell and was excited about this other Hellboy spinoff. It's an interesting setup in that a colleague has gone missing and the small village is very Wicker Man. Or like that small village in the bad Agatha Christie Amazon adaptation of The Pale Horse with Rufus Sewell. 

95) Harrow County Library Edition Volume 1 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: I saw that all of the Harrow County Library Editions were available on Comixology and therefore, because I'm still bitter that I didn't get them before they became outrageously priced, I decided to re-read the whole series to see if they are worth me being grief-stricken over not getting them. The first volume is easily the strongest. Emmy learning who she is and the townspeople turning against her. 

96) Harrow County Library Edition Volume 2 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: This volume has the weakest arc with guest artist. I'm sorry but I would love to have a rule passed that only Tyler Crook can illustrated Harrow County. I don't think it's too much to ask.

97) Something is Killing the Children #23 by James Tynion IV: And I'm pretty sure this is where we head down south to a whole new killing field. Still waiting for this arc to wrap as I type this. 

98) The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin: As my friend so well put it, space commies vs. space capitalists, who will win? And who cares says I? 

99) Harrow County Library Edition Volume 3 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: Ugh, I totally blocked out that Tyler Crook wasn't doing all the art for this series. I HATE guest artists. HATE THEM!

100) Harrow County Library Edition Volume 4 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: And the series ends on a whimper that is also kind of confusing. So Hester came back because Emmy killed her twin? And then Emmy killed Hester but she had to leave Harrow? It's just all kind of confusing. Again, a solid first and second and forth arc, but otherwise, it can meander a little too much. 

101) Tales from Harrow County: Death's Choir #1 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: Death's Choir jumps forward to WWI and has ghosts of the dead coming back to Harrow. For the first time EVER the artist was able to capture Tyler Crook's style. 

102) Tales from Harrow County: Death's Choir #2 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: See above.

103) Tales from Harrow County: Death's Choir #3 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: See above.

104) Tales from Harrow County: Death's Choir #4 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: See above.

105) Tales from Harrow County: Fair Folk #1 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: And the good artist is gone replaced by someone who doesn't even understand basic proportions. This arc is about how the balance of the magical creatures was upset by Emmy leaving. The bad are is so bad even the return of Priscilla didn't make me as happy as it should have. 

106) Tales from Harrow County: Fair Folk #2 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: See above.

107) Tales from Harrow County: Fair Folk #3 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: See above.

108) Tales from Harrow County: Fair Folk #4 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: See above.

109) Tales from Harrow County: Lost Ones #1 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: This new arc with the return of Emmy is really the reason that I started this epic re-read. The problem is continued bad art, and just weird pastel colors. The story, Emmy meeting other members of her family, well, it was told before and better, and this just seems like Cullen Bunn trying to relive the glory days. 

110) All-New Firefly #4 by David M. Booher: Probably still on that stupid planet.

111) The Vampire Slayer #2 by Sarah Gailey: Poor Buffy.

112) Angel #5 by Christopher Cantwell: Spike trying to be heroic by helping Wes and not realizing how bad the consequences are. Damn I love this arc.

113) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #20 by Alyssa Wong: Spark Eternal, Sith powers, yadda yadda. 

114) The British Paranormal Society: Time Out of Mind #2 by Chris Roberson: The townspeople continue to be weird and unhelpful, as weird townspeople are.

115) Sanditon and Other Stories by Jane Austen: Dammit, why did Jane Austen EVER have to die. At the VERY LEAST couldn't she have finished Sanditon? Also, in her earlier writing, her wit is just so damn sharp it cuts.

116) When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn: I was sad that so much of this is about wanting a baby, but I liked the whole finding love again after loss aspect of the story. It was a welcome break from the other Bridgerton siblings.

117) The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry: A re-read of a favorite from last year for book club. Oh how I wish the miniseries had captured just a bit of this genius. The idea of what it is to be "woman" and "other" and the different kinds of love. 

118) Fables #151: The Black Forest Part 1 by Bill Willingham: Fables is back! Picks right up where the normal world now knows something about the world of the fables after appearing in New York overnight. Snow and Bigby and the kids are off to find themselves a new home. And Peter Pan is arising as a new threat. Solid art, solid story, still don't know where it's going after all this time.

119) The Nice House on the Lake #9 by James Tynion IV: Don't remember.

120) Angel #6 by Christopher Cantwell: Spike starts acting on Cordy's TV show, yes!

121) Tales from Harrow County: Lost Ones #2 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: Eh, even "nice" family is evil. Sigh.

122) Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #3 by Cullen Bunn: This series mythology is still not solidified so I'm not at all sure what is going on.

123) Scaramouche by Rafael Sabatini: This book just went on and on and on. Revenge set against the backdrop of revolution. Ironic that someone who doesn't believe in the revolutionary cause because the standard bearer to avenge his friend. If the hero had maybe been a tiny bit likable this might have worked. Maybe. Instead he was a cruel ass.

124) Sweet Revenge by Andrea Penrose: The first in the Lady Arianna mysteries about a girl bent on revenge and taming a rogue. If I have any complaints about this volume it's that the recipes annoy me and the Hell Fire Club is overused.

125) It's in His Kiss by Julia Quinn: OMG me and Hyacinth Bridgerton are one and the same! Obsession, dark wit, and viewed by some as "too much."

126) Miss Butterworth and the Mad Baron by Julia Quinn: Read because this ties into It's in His Kiss, but this story doesn't align with the story as glimpsed in the book, and though I don't want to speak ill of the dead, the art style was not to my liking.

127) All-New Firefly #5 by David M. Booher: I think we're now more onto the Jayne has a son aspect of this arc. Though they're still on that planet with the monks. STILL!

128) Star Wars: Crimson Reign #5 by Charles Soule: Seriously, I don't know if this feels like just a partial story because I'm supposed to be reading all the other comics, but from what I've read in Doctor Aphra there doesn't seem to be much crossover...

129) The House Across the Lake by Riley Sager: The high point and the beginning of every summer, the new Riley Sager. This one didn't disappoint, an unreliable widow narrator, drawn to her neighbors she watches across the lake, hints of the supernatural which aren't hints! HE WENT FULL SUPERNATURAL FOLKS!

130) Fables #152: The Black Forest Part 2 by Bill Willingham: See above.

131) The Lonesome Hunters #1 by Tyler Crook: I love Tyler Crook so much and can't wait to see where this goes, but it's a tad confusing. Or hero stole a sword and now crows are angry? See, doesn't quite make sense yet. Just an old man and a young girl against the world, which I can so get behind.

132) Something is Killing the Children #24 by James Tynion IV: Nothing really happened here.

133) Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn: I finally read this in preparation for the adaptation on Amazon and I hated it. Not the adaptation, that was good, this was just, confusing and angry, and the slurs, while correct for the time period felt too harsh to read now because we know better.

134) The Cocoa Conspiracy by Andrea Penrose: This one fooled me, it started out as a house party and then went to Vienna for political intrigue, I thought I'd love the part hate the politics, but it was just the reverse! Loved it!

135) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #21 by Alyssa Wong: Oh look, the Spark has possessed Aphra and her clothing looks awful. Seriously, this is my number one concern with the Spark, bad clothes.

136) The Vampire Slayer #3 by Sarah Gailey: And Faith shows up. Blurgh. I am not a fan of Faith.

137) Buffy '97 #1 by Jeremy Lambert: This made NO SENSE. I have no idea where this fits into the Buffyverse. A fashion show, a mall, it wants to be 90s but is just so, darn, stupid.

138) Recipe for Treason by Andrea Penrose: We get a conclusion to the first major arc AND a daring balloon escapade!

139) The Stolen Letters by Andrea Penrose: I did not like this short story. It was all about Adrianna lying to her husband Sandro, which is BS. Yes yes, she lied because his Aunt told her too, still is BS.

140) On the Way to the Wedding by Julia Quinn: Very meh. The men's stories aren't the best and it wanted to be big and epic and was just, when it boiled down to why everyone was acting crazy, plain stupid. Sure her uncle is a spy, so throw him in jail and just move on.

141) Smoke and Lies by Andrea Penrose: Oh, my favorite! It's off the chain! Arianna and Sandro are hanging out with Napoleon on Elba and the journey there is chaos with so many people they know and can't trust. My favorite in the whole series.

142) Angel #7 by Christopher Cantwell: Aw, Spike hates other Spike, that is so accurate.

143) Fables #153: The Black Forest Part 3 by Bill Willingham: That Bookworm is creepy.

144) The British Paranormal Society: Time Out of Mind #3 by Chris Roberson: Not much forward momentum.

145) Tales from Harrow County: Lost Ones #3 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: Are the relatives eating the "kids?" And I'm kidding anyone if I say I actually care.

146) The Lonesome Hunters #2 by Tyler Crook: Crows, relics, people on the run...

147) Manor Black by Cullen Bunn: OK, so I decided to reread all of Manor Black before the final issue of the new arc and I still have no idea what's really going on, but I like it... 

148) Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #1 by Cullen Bunn: No idea.

149) Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #2 by Cullen Bunn: No idea.

150) Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #3 by Cullen Bunn: No idea.

151) Manor Black: Fire in the Blood #4 by Cullen Bunn: No idea and it's over.

152) Something is Killing the Children #25 by James Tynion IV: Still fighting something down in the southwest... 

153) A Question of Numbers by Andrea Penrose: OK, so I read these all together really fast so I was thinking this is the Paris one, but it's the defeat of Napoleon one.

154) Mad and Bad: Real Heroines of the Regency by Bea Koch: Very much history light, almost like reading a Wikipedia entry. But the inclusion of some people, such as Princess Caraboo, made it totally worth the read. Plus you should support Bea Koch and her awesome bookstore, The Ripped Bodice.

155) Happy-Go-Lucky by David Sedaris: OMG, David Sedaris had officially lost his grip on reality. He comes off as an Ariosto whose head I can't wait to cut off.

156) Soul Taken by Patricia Briggs: Oh my, this was a treat for my birthday. Mercy Thompson went all out Halloween and there are some deliciously fun Scream-esque moments.

157) Uncommon Charm by Emily Bergslien and Kat Weaver: A wonderful little story about magic. I really want more in this series.

158) All-New Firefly #6 by David M. Booher: And they're fighting on the planet again, blurgh.

159) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #22 by Alyssa Wong: Spark possessing her still, but the Spark has plans.

160) The Vampire Slayer #4 by Sarah Gailey: So. Damn. Stupid.

161) Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade by Nancy Springer: I am SUCH a fan of Enola Holmes. I need this to not be the last book, even if the two "new" books were obviously trunk books. Though I do wonder, I don't think you could have made your living Resurrection Man style at this time...

162) Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman: And with Sandman coming to Netflix I am doing a reread of all the volumes I've read and trying to actually finish the series (hint, I haven't yet). This is a good setup of Dream and what he's been through, the downfall in the storytelling is that the actual DC superhero licenses that are shoved into the narrative just don't work.

163) The Doll's House by Neil Gaiman: This is the one with the people all in Florida right?

164) A Tangle of Serpents by Andrea Penrose: This is the one in Paris. 

165) A Swirl of Shadows by Andrea Penrose: And this is the one in Russia. And now I need more!

166) The Quiet Gentleman by Georgette Heyer: This one I have complicated feelings about, I liked the whole plot to kill the heir, but I hated the whole, lets keep giving the scumbag who is a repeat attempted rapist a chance to redeem themselves. 

167) Angel #8 by Christopher Cantwell: OMG, it ended just as emotional as the show! Proving once again how powerful that ending was and how Cordy should have really been there.

168) Tales from Harrow County: Lost Ones #4 by Cullen Bunn and Tyler Crook: Stupid family, stupid pastel art, just stupid.

169) Dream Country by Neil Gaiman: Yeah, it's just yeah, whatever. I don't really get why people love the Shakespeare story so much.

170) Seasons of Mist by Neil Gaiman: Boring.

171) The Ink Black Heart by Robert Galbraith: This, this book took balls. To write yourself as the victim when you're a hateful human and then spew forth on how much your fanbase disgusts you? JK is a deplorable. 

172) The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson: Very good end of summer reading. I liked that in this standalone that Stevie learns that even cold case crimes have ramifications for the living. It's an important lesson she needed to learn.

173) The Vampire Slayer #5 by Sarah Gailey: This issue was literally an entire issue of fighting a monster made of pasta. You're asking yourself seriously!?! And yes, I am serious. I do NOT get this part of the Buffyverse.

174) The Lonesome Hunters #3 by Tyler Crook: Going to meet up with the head of the crows.

175) Fables #154: The Black Forest Part 4 by Bill Willingham: No memory.

176) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #23 by Alyssa Wong: All of Aphra's exes are here to save her! Why? Who knows because she treated them all like shit.

177) All-New Firefly #7 by David M. Booher: The f***ing portals are back!?! You have to be kidding me!

178) Firefly: 20th Anniversary Special #1 by David M. Booher: Very weird, it's about River and her belief that she is only the sum of the memories of those she loves and nothing without them. Nice concept, bad execution. 

179) Newburn, Volume 1 by Chip Zdarsky: PI who was a cop and now works for the mob so that he can get some of his own back. Rather boring. 

180) A Game of You by Neil Gaiman: This is all about the goings on in an apartment building and how all the people are connected. Heartbreaking.

181) Our Friends from Frolix 8 by Philip K. Dick: Space Trump. But written in the seventies with very two-dimensional females.

182) Secrets of the Nile by Tasha Alexander: Oh, Lady Emily is back and she is resplendent in Egypt involving a murder at a dinner party, there's poison, secret histories, oh, and maybe some magic!

183) The Hacienda by Isabel Cañas: Just what a haunted house story should be, evil house, naive heroine, knowledgeable priest, and now fight the evil and the temptation of falling for each other!

184) Fables and Reflections by Neil Gaiman: This is the one with the Roman Rape, and also where I gave up on the series last time. I still plan to finish this series. I really really do. It's not my fault I haven't picked up any other issues in, um, three months. 

185) The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud: A horrible haunting that's overtaking London and an EPIC fight in a store like Selfridge's, my favorite in this series by far!

186) The Vampire Slayer #6 by Sarah Gailey: No memory.

187) All-New Firefly #8 by David M. Booher: Stupid ass portals.

188) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #24 by Alyssa Wong: And meanwhile in Aphra's head...

189) The Lonesome Hunters #4 by Tyler Crook: They beat the crows! But what's with the ominous phone call?

190) The Nice House on the Lake #10 by James Tynion IV: Is this where they learn they're immortal and stupidly keep shooting each other until one of them actually dies? I think it is.

191) Fables #155: The Black Forest Part 4 by Bill Willingham: A girl and a bear wandering around New York, what could possibly go wrong?

192) Hellboy: The Silver Lantern Club by Mike Mignola: This really helped make the Chris Roberson spinoff I'm currently reading make more sense. Also it was just crazy fun supernatural and occult stories.

193) The Creeping Shadow by Jonathan Stroud: Evil artifacts aren't being destroyed by being used for nefarious purposes, now what could those be?

194) The Empty Grave by Jonathan Stroud: Those purposes could be fueling The Problem to make money and discoveries, because just as a guessed, the heroes are the villains!

195) Chilling Adventure of Salem by Cullen Bunn: Salem is awesome. Cullen Bunn is awesome for writing this. Also, OH THE HUMANITY! Nick Bakay forever!

196) Afterlife with Archie, Vol. 1: Escape from Riverdale by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Years ago I read this the didn't read the rest, though I meant to, so for Halloween this year I decided to finish what I had started, even if the story was never finished by the writers. Again, I will say, I love that the zombie apocalypse comes about because of the love for a dog, and Vegas's death, I couldn't stop sobbing.

197) Afterlife with Archie #6 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Weird ass Sabrina by way of Lovecraft.

198) Afterlife with Archie #7 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: No idea. 

199) Afterlife with Archie #8 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Stupid parody of The Shining.

200) Afterlife with Archie #9 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: Reggie is horrible.

201) Afterlife with Archie #10 by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa: And they "end" the series without any main characters just Josie!?! WTF!

202) Nine Liars by Maureen Johnson: Oh, I was so excited for this and was let down. It was basically a murderous version of Peter's Friends wherein I didn't care if they all died. Also Stevie's teen angst was turned up to eleven.

203) Pumpkin Spice and All Things Nice by Laura Greenwood: There's nothing much to this Cauldron Coffee Shop series, they're so short and pricey that I don't know if I'll continue reading them. But cute girl runs coffee shop ends up with cute cursed jinn, and there it ends so that you have to buy the next volume.

204) O Caledonia by Elspeth Barker: Oh my I HATED this "rediscovered" classic. It's nothing like what they compare it to, I can definitively say I Capture the Castle had way less attempted rapes for sure. Plus, such hatred towards women! Sheesh, I wish I could block out that I read this.

205) All-New Firefly #9 by David M. Booher: Oh look, another portal. Sigh.

206) The British Paranormal Society: Time Out of Mind #4 by Chris Roberson: A solid ending with the stones true meaning being discovered with it turning out the villagers were wrong all along.

207) Fables #156: The Black Forest Part 5 by Bill Willingham: This was when Snow White and her family basically turned into white saviors and that doesn't sit well with me at all.

208) House of Slaughter #0 by James Tynion IV: OK, so months back I read the first in this series and was unimpressed, but then slowly they started being released on Comixology's Unlimited service, so I waited long enough and I got to read all of them. Still not as good as the main series, but not as bad as I thought it would be, and definitely interesting reading the dynamics within the house.

209) House of Slaughter #1 by James Tynion IV: One through five is the first arc, which is basically about what the house should be doing versus what it actually does. Save the children, that should be the only mission.

210) House of Slaughter #2 by James Tynion IV: See above.

211) House of Slaughter #3 by James Tynion IV: See above.

212) House of Slaughter #4 by James Tynion IV: See above.

213) House of Slaughter #5 by James Tynion IV: See above.

214) House of Slaughter #6 by James Tynion IV: Now six through ten is about I believe fighting a dragon? Can't be sure. This is very dreamlike and the narrator might be autistic. Starts solid with endangered kids a a camp and ends with a whimper. 

215) House of Slaughter #7 by James Tynion IV: See above.

216) House of Slaughter #8 by James Tynion IV: See above.

217) The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin: I read this for Halloween, I don't know why. It sounded interesting and maybe if I had read it when I was younger I would have but instead it's a bunch of unlikable and oddly racist characters, who know the inherent racism of America and "understand," vying to get an ungodly amount of money. Oh and there's lots of patriotism. Too much patriotism. In other words, it hasn't aged well. 

218) The Vampire Slayer #7 by Sarah Gailey: No idea about this issue. 

219) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #25 by Alyssa Wong: Too much waiting for the next Crimson Dawn arc and not enough here and now storytelling.

220) House of Slaughter #9 by James Tynion IV: See above.

221) House of Slaughter #10 by James Tynion IV: See above.

222) The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite by Gerard Way: Wow. Just wow. I wanted to read the comics because I fell in love with the television show this year and the show is awesome, this is not. Taken on it's own, it's not bad. There's some nice snarky humor, but the show is transcendent, this is too much of this earth. And the artist is Mike Mignola no matter how much he wants to be.

223) Unfortunate Decrees And Iced Coffees by Laura Greenwood: This was a story about Willow's BFF and her working on the Humber Stone. Note, it would have been nice to know the Humber Stone is a real thing and not to discover it after the fact. 

224) The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher: This book made me feel sad and depressed and also made me dislike Harrison Ford more than I did. It was too unfocused and too, I don't know, just pathetic. 

225) The Day of the Locust by Nathanael West: This book's only good passages are direct lifts from West's BFF Fitzergerald and it's a book I wholeheartedly disliked with characters I DESPISED. The men where horrible, one of which wanted to rape the female lead all the time, and as for the female lead? West has some weird ideas about females that's for sure. 

226) Even Though I Knew the End by C.L. Polk: I thought it was funny when this almost veered into "angel porn" because I've been watching The Midnight Club, but that's not really what this is. This is a wonderful tale of true love and damnation and wonderful femme fatales and sapphic love. A quick read that I encourage you to pick up. 

227) The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 2: Dallas by Gerard Way: Yeah, it's just, whatever. The show is so much better I literally don't know why people like these comics.

228) Firefly: Keep Flying #1 by Jeff Jensen: Oops, I was wrong.What I said was the plot of the 20th Anniversary Special was actually the plot to this. So go read that, number 178, and then come back here. Which means I totally don't know what number 178 was about.

229) The Nice House on the Lake #11 by James Tynion IV: Everything's going to hell and somehow Walter had all his friends build this little bubble and then wiped their memories. So odd. I really wonder how they're going to wrap it up with only one issue left. Oh shit, Tynion better not do what he did with the other series about the school kids on another planet where they got home and it just abruptly ended. Shit, now I'm going to be all paranoid.

230) The Umbrella Academy, Vol. 3: Hotel Oblivion by Gerard Way: So. Bad. It's like Way had so many ideas over the ten years between volume two and volume three that he didn't sit down to streamline them and just threw them all in and this is a chaotic unclear cluttered mess.

231) Tales From The Umbrella Academy: You Look Like Death by Gerard Way: Klaus has some fun in LA being the toast of the town and getting an old Hollywood starlet a second shot by getting her possessed by other great actors of days gone by. Ends with a weird creature and Klaus not learning anything.

232) Hazelnut Latte And Something To Say by Laura Greenwood: Willow is dating the jinn and think that's all that happens here. They're seriously so short and so pricey that I can't remember what happens and then I'm just pissed I spent the money for a hour's read.

233) All-New Firefly #10 by David M. Booher: Yeah, portals, monks, Jayne, Jayne's son, blah blah blah.

234) Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #26 by Alyssa Wong: Hehe, the Spark has teamed up with the murderbots. I'm excited!

235) Star Wars: Hidden Empire #1 by Charles Soule: Hey, look, they realized no one knew what they were supposed to be reading in the last Crimson Dawn arc so they did a nice concise summary before beginning the new arc. I approve.

236) The Umbrella Academy #0 by Gerard Way: This story about Allison's "murder" was actually in the first trade paperback. I just love the James Jean cover.

237) The Umbrella Academy: Hotel Oblivion Ashcan by Gerard Way: The first few pages from the third trade paperback which were shit there and shit here.

238) Tales From The Umbrella Academy: Hazel and Cha Cha Save Christmas by Gerard Way: This literally makes NO SENSE! Santa Claus is real, and Hazel and Cha Cha are insane. It felt like Way didn't know what he had when he first wrote Hazel and Cha Cha and the show made them popular so he thought he'd bring them back but he obviously doesn't know how to write them.

239) Peppermint Tea And Nothing Is Free by Laura Greenwood: The teapot has been stolen and her jinn might be cursed into it again! If I didn't mention it before her sexy jinn has been cursed to live in a teapot for centuries and every so often the curse isn't so bad and he can do more and then he's re-cursed. If I recall correct the teapot was stolen because they were stupid and got him official government documents which I really think could have waited until after his curse was broken.

240) Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: I think this book is awesome. This is a re-read so it's amazing how many little things I caught that I missed before, all the foreshadowing! But at it's heart it's a haunted house mystery, if the house was designed by Gaudi and built in Dubai and then left to rot. More!

241) The Mysterious Study of Doctor Sex by Tamsyn Muir: A cute little story about Palamedes and his belief in love. Obviously set before the events at Canaan

242) Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: So totally different than the first book. This is the first book being retold in the second person while you feel you're going insane. So. Weird. Yet somehow it works.

243) As Yet Unsent by Tamsyn Muir: THIS is where we find out that Gideon's body is not decaying!

244) Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir: And once again an entirely new style, with Harrow's body being piloted by Alecto and a war brewing between the free people united with the Blood of Eden and God and the nine and the cohort. Very confusing but still so interesting. Basically you end the book going, I have no idea what I read but I like it!

245) A Wallflower Christmas by Lisa Kleypas: Oh, this was fun. Lots of Dickens and lots of lust. The best part though was reuniting with these characters and seeing them meddle in other people's lives. I've literally been saving this one all year for Christmas! It did not disappoint.

246) An English Murder by Cyril Hare: This one is a bit of a shocker, in that it's a Golden Age mystery that isn't antisemitic, and yes, I'm looking at you Dorothy L. Sayers and Georgette Heyer! Also, the ending is a fun bit of obscure history. Totally enjoyable and also a bit of a Poirot sendup.

247) The Christmas Murder Game by Alexandra Benedict: The author thought she was too clever by half. The book completely fell apart at the end because the cruelty within the family was never explained fully and she just glosses over incest. Oh, and I knew who the killer was all along. That was probably the most disappointing part.


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