Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
Monstress by Marjorie Liu

I was able to read issues 1 – 6 from NetGalley, which comprise the first volume of the comic.  For me, I find reading comics a bit different from novels.  Which I know is stating the obvious, however with novels all the pictures come out of your own head.  It’s your imagination choosing how to portray things.  With comics, the pictures are there for you, and it’s something I have to remember to pay attention to as well as the words.  Especially because with the more condensed format of the comic, the pictures are a large part of the story and can tell you things that aren’t included in the writing.  I find that reading comics is almost harder for me because of this difference.

On the other hand, comics allow you to enjoy art that enhances the story.  There are so many styles, and the artwork for Monstress is gorgeous.  The cover art combined with the title is what drew me in.  The story is dark, and can be disturbing, which is reflected in the art.  It’s also beautiful.  

The story is intriguing as well and I want to know more about Maika, and the people she’s picked up as companions.  I feel like these characters can not be taken at face value.  There’s too much going on for that to be the case.

I’m interested in keeping up with this series, but I have a feeling I’ll wait until the other omnibus volumes come out, rather than reading each issue separately.  Here’s hoping it doesn’t take too long for the next one!


Cloud Nine (#13)

  • It’s fall!  I’ve been able to wear long sleeves, even a hoodie!  
  • Pumpkin Spice!!  I’ve already had cereal, cookies, and a pumpkin spice chai.  So yummy!
  • Kenshin Part 2
  • Intervention 7 – Got to see Juliet Landau and Alex Kingston.  Woot!  Plus yummy food from Smashburger.
  • Figured out how the usb drive worked for music in my Jeep.  I don’t have a cd player, and using my phone can be cumbersome.  The usb works awesome though, so now I need to buy a physically smaller one, and load it up!
  • I made it to book club this month!
  • Figured out at least the start of a concept for NaNoWriMo.

Still getting up early…

So, two months in and my method for getting out of bed is still working.  A brief explanation – I set my first alarm to the radio at 6:05, and my second alarm at 6:15.  I have to get up to give the cat medicine, otherwise I’m not sure this would work so well for me.

I’ve also instituted a Gold Star rating.  On my Google Calendar I have an event set up and made the color gold.  I just add a day to it every time I manage to get up like I want to.  On days where I might falter a little, I get a Silver Star and change the color.  And there are now two days where I didn’t give myself a star at all.  So here’s my rundown:

59 Gold Stars
2 Silver Stars
2 Zero Stars

That first day with no stars was a holiday and I was off work, so it was outside of my normal schedule.  I gave Reki her medicine and then I crawled right back in bed and fell asleep.  Woke up around 8 without any kind of alarm clock going off and it was glorious!  And yes, that is actually the word I thought when I woke up.  The second day was this morning.  I had been at a convention all weekend, and had a really crappy Saturday night/Sunday morning, so this morning the snooze button became my best friend.

Now that I have this one thing going well I’m starting to think about what I should tackle next.  I’ve read on other blogs where people do a reboot and tackle four or five things they want to improve, but I’m not sure doing so much at once will work for me.  I think I’ll pick one thing, and get that going in addition to the getting up early.  And keep building from there.

Although I guess technically I’ve tackled two things already.  As a bonus to my getting up early I decided to tack on doing French on Duolingo.  I don’t feel that much more fluent in French yet, but it’s fun and I still enjoy the language.

The Emperor’s Edge series

Imperial law enforcer Amaranthe Lokdon is good at her job: she can deter thieves and pacify thugs, if not with a blade, then by toppling an eight-foot pile of coffee canisters onto their heads. But when ravaged bodies show up on the waterfront, an arson covers up human sacrifices, and a powerful business coalition plots to kill the emperor, she feels a tad overwhelmed.
Worse, Sicarius, the empire’s most notorious assassin is in town. He’s tied in with the chaos somehow, but Amaranthe would be a fool to cross his path. Unfortunately, her superiors order her to hunt him down. Either they have an unprecedented belief in her skills… or someone wants her dead.


The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker
The Emperor’s Edge by Lindsay Buroker

“A thrilling fantasy adventure!”  – Me

If I had to sum up the Emperor’s Edge books, that would do it.  I will admit I wasn’t sucked in on the very first page, but a few pages past that I was hooked.  A friend of mine recommended The Emperor’s Edge (probably years ago) and I just hadn’t picked it up yet.  Not too long ago I saw the first three books in an omnibus for 99 cents and decided to get it.  I mean, for that price I wasn’t even worried if I ended up not liking it.  Turns out I love it!  I read the first three in less than a week.  The third one (Deadly Games) I even stayed up late to finish although work would be waiting the next morning.  I was so hyped up, strictly from the story, that I could not sleep until I finished it.  I had to know what happened.

Buroker has a gift for witty dialogue, often making me laugh out loud.  The team she has put together in her novels works well, and allows each character to shine.  Everyone has a distinct personality and gets fair page time.  She doesn’t linger too long on one set of characters before checking in with the others, and the team is never split up longer than they need to be.  

These stories have stayed with me as well.  I’m a pretty avid reader, and honestly I don’t remember all of the books I’ve read.  With these books and characters, I want to visit again.  I’ve even dreamed about them!  

And now that I’ve finished all the books and short stories in the Emperor’s Edge series, I’m going to read her box set called The Forgotten Ages, which takes place about 20 years earlier and explores a couple of characters we meet later in the Emperor’s Edge series.  Plus a young assassin apparently makes an appearance.

If you like fantasy and adventure, go for it!  Highly recommended!



Cloud Nine (#12)

I’ve switched Cloud Nine to be a monthly feature, rather than every other week.  So here are things I liked from the past month!

  • Rurouni Kenshin – Part 1 – The movie was a lot of fun.  Can’t wait for parts 2 and 3.
  • Cute little pressie from Meiran – A team Mystic keychain!  We’re rivals, since she’s team Valor, and yet she still buys me cute things.  ; )
  • Kurios by Cirque du Soleil – This was such a good show.  It felt like a mix of steampunk and jazz, with awesome props, costumes, and performers.  Probably my favorite Cirque show yet (I’ve seen four of them now).
  • BWR16!  That’s my shorthand for the family reunion.  Got to see family, play with my great niece (we quickly became buddies again), and eat lots of yummy food.  
  • Novel planning session – Since my cousin was in town for the reunion, we hashed out some more stuff on our joint writing venture.  Woohoo!