June 2018 Wrap-Up

Black Sails (2014)This month started with a finale that I waited for way too long to watch. Black Sail‘s fourth season is definitely its weakest. I think the plot was stretched out for way too long. The thing I loved the most about this show (its pacing) definitely became the show’s undoing. It felt as though the writers only had material for a few more episodes but, to air them, they had to make a whole new season.

https://resizing.flixster.com/o51TQxmUHVdNaB4LCnDBYVniprk=/206x305/v1.dDsyNjAzODk7ajsxNzczMzsxMjAwOzc2ODs5NjAAnd because I can’t control myself, I watched Riverdale‘s second season. Overall, it was fun, I definitely binged it. It did have some holes, but they can be seen as the characters not being able to see their actual situation with clear eyes.

36580694And given that I wanted to read something other than The Maias, I read Spectacle Volume 1 by Megan Rose Gedris. This was a really fun book featuring three things that I absolutely love – mystery, circus life and demons. Overall, I’m glad I picked this up.

33590273And going from great to pretty bad, I read Night’s Dominion Volume One by Ted Naifeh. Oh, boy, was that confusing. The characters were inconsistent and it felt like the author thought about the plot so much that he actually forgot that we, readers, need context. This book had so much going on that there was a point in which my brain turned off and I simply looked at the pretty pictures.

I also watched Monty Python and The Holy Grail. I had a great time watching it, I particularly loved the whole coconut ordeal. Are there any other Monty Python films that I should watch?

24662901Then, I finally finished The Maias by Eça de Queirós. What a painful book. I didn’t really care for the characters and the plot advanced awfully slowly.

26778755I also read Kaijumax Season One: Terror and Respect by Zander Cannon. Overall, this felt like Manga Classics: Huckleberry Finn – it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good either. It left me with an overwhelming sense of indifference, which isn’t good. Also, the whole plot felt expected. I know this is supposed to teach us about how prisons treat inmates but, if you want to learn that, read Shawshank Redemption or watch Orange is the New Black. Both those things are entertaining and will teach you that prison is hell and so are the people inside it – inmates, wardens – even if they sound nice. You’ll get back stabbed. You’ll get your cavities searched to a degree that shouldn’t be legal. You’ll bleed. Those two works taught me that. However, Kaijumax wasn’t able to leave the same impression in me.

30812672Given that my sister told me to read it, I read Shadows and Dreams (ReMade Season One Episode One) by Mathew Cody. Overall, I think this was a nice first episode. It sets the world up and we get to know the main characters. It left me with some questions too. However, I didn’t feel the excitement that I felt while I read Bookburners’ pilot.

19536000I also read Chew Volume 8: Family Recipes by John Layman. This book was really fun – it even had Toni again. Also, I read the previous volume a long time ago, I missed these characters.

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Take Me To Amsterdam

So, today I’m bringing you a different post.

In March, me and some friends went on a trip to celebrate the fact that we’re ending high school, something that’s pretty common in Portugal. Most people go to places like Punta Úmbria or Punta Cana to drink lots of alcohol but we decided to do something different. Among all the cities in Europe we wanted to visit, Amsterdam seemed to be the most interesting one. And oh boy was it fun.

The first thing we had to decide was ‘Where will we stay?’. Thankfully, some of my friends’ friends made a trip similar to ours in their senior year, so we asked them. They recommended Ecomama, a quirky hostel. After seeing some pictures, we decided that was going to be it.

So, when we arrived on the 22nd, we went directly to Ecomama. And holy cow, it’s so great.

First of all, the room we stayed in was amazing (take note, it was room 11). The view was fantastic.

We were so close to the water we had little ducks coming near us. At the time, I was reading Jane Eyre, so I made a little nook for me to read during the night (two benches on top of each other… iIt wasn’t stable, but at least I could see the water. It was peaceful.). But that wasn’t my only reading spot. You see, Ecomama has great common areas. There’s the kitchen, the bathrooms, the ‘library’ and, my favorite, the tent.

Reading in that spot is amazing, it’s as cozy as it seems. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting such a bookish town. Heck, even the hostel’s stairs had books.

Also, the common areas in this place? Absolutely amazing. No one steals food from the kitchen, everything’s well lit and there’s no smoke whatsoever, which means that the hostel smells lovely. Something that’s also lovely about the hostel is the staff. Everyone was really nice and answered all of our questions (even the dumb ones!).

After a good night’s sleep (and a trip to the supermarket), we visited Rijksmuseum. It has beautiful paintings and beautiful statues and it’s a really big museum but that’s not the point. The library’s the point.

Tell me that doesn’t look like it’s in Hogwarts. I dare you.

We also visited Stedelijk that day, which was fun (until we were evacuated). It taught me how Modern Art works, and I love it ever since that day.

The next day, we were on our way to Body Worlds when we found the cutest little shop called Les Petites Puces. Everything in that place was adorable and I wanted to buy everything. Sadly, my wallet didn’t agree with me.

Body Worlds was eye opening, it’s odd to see how we actually look on the inside.

The next day we visited the newer side of the city. We went to NEMO, a science museum, which was really fun. There was a cork board in which people left notes and we found some Portuguese ones, it’s weird how we can find each other no matter where we are. Also, the message said ‘Ana, quando vieres a este museu, espero que não faças metade das merdas que o teu irmão mais velho fez.’, which we thought was beautiful and wholesome.

Given that the local library was nearby, of course we had to go and see it. And man, it’s really beautiful.

In total, it has eight floors. Yes, EIGHT. And do you see that part with the curved bookcases? That’s the kid’s section. It’s so adorable. But the thing I loved the most about this library was the way they identify books.

I don’t know how books are organized where you live but, in Portugal, when we pick a book up, we only know whether it’s erotica or not. Or if it’s a graphic novel. This library, though, has a tagging system in which the little doodles let us know the genre of the book we’re picking up. Pretty neat!

And that’s our trip in a nutshell. I’m going to miss that city. Well, I already do. But the thing I’m going to miss the most are those who came with me. Our laughter, our inside jokes, the cereal, everything. In a certain way, I guess I already do.

Love you guys.

May 2018 Wrap-Up

39805744This month started out by reading The Lost Path by Amélie Fléchais. Honestly, this isn’t no Little Red Wolf, but it’s still fun. The art’s beautiful and the story’s that kind of bizarre I simply love. I need more Fléchais in my life.

Life of Brian (1979)Later on, I found some Monty Python films on Netflix and decided to watch some. I started with Life of Brian and oh, golly, that alien scene is the definition of ‘good bizarre’. Often times, I caught myself giggling, even though I was watching by myself. This is a weird movie about weird people. Oh, and never forget to always look on the bright side of life.

33776413I also read The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe by Stacy King. I absolutely love this series and I’m really happy they decided to finally do something with one of my favorite authors. I also love the fact that they kept The Raven exactly as it is, they didn’t change the words.

24876544Later on, I  read The Wormworld Saga: The Journey Begins by Daniel Lieske. Overall, this is a nice graphic novel. It isn’t awe inducing, but it’s fun. The art’s absolutely stunning and this book sets the ground for an amazing universe I can’t wait to meet.

Resultado de imagem para riverdale season 1I also watched Riverdale‘s first season. This is one of those shows that I know aren’t the best, there are bits that are WAY too soap opera-y, but I can’t help but love it.

18813006Later on, I read The Labyrinth Wall by Emilyann Girdner. Honestly, I started this book thinking it was going to be like Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet (a story that started with a great idea but has poor execution). I was wrong. Even though this book doesn’t have the most complex plot and even though the characters are as realistic as a preteen’s Canadian girlfriend, I had lots of fun reading this. It kept me wanting to read more and more, which was something I needed.

Resultado de imagem para lucifer season 3Given that I have no self restraint, I also watched Lucifer‘s 3rd season. Is this a good show? Yes. Was this a good season? I’ve watched better. In this one, Decker feels like a clueless baboon who doesn’t know who to pick, which is very annoying. However, I liked the second OVA, it felt as though it was a good closing episode that paid tribute  to what the show was. It also featured Lucifer’s family, which is always a plus for me.

40017781Later on, I read InSEXts Year One Volume 1 by Marguerite Bennett. Overall, I had fun reading it. This is one of those fantasy books that isn’t just fantasy – it’s a mish mash of genres and has plenty of underlying themes (in this case, feminism).

Imagem relacionadaI went out with some friends and we watched Deadpool 2. It was a  nice film, it definitely had twists I didn’t see coming. We also had a blast, I’d say this movie is better than the first one.

26591767I also read Manga Classics: The Count of Monte Cristo by Crystal Chan. I haven’t read the original novel yet, however, this book made me want to read it even more than I wanted before. Even though I already knew most of the plot points, this book kept me hooked, possibly because I wanted to see how each point would be portrayed in a manga form.

34507470I started reading Manga Classics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Crystal Chan. I wasn’t able to finish it, though. I love Manga Classics, I love its art and concept. However, with this book, it felt ‘okay’. Given that I have so many books to read and so many things to do, I chose to spend less time on a book that wasn’t as fun to read as I knew it could be.

Check out this post in video format here.

April 2018 Wrap-Up

6400662This month started out with a blast to the past as I read Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth by Chris Priestley. I first read this series when I was really young and I fell in love with it. Coming back to it a few years later, it has lost some of its charm, however, it was still a pretty fun read.

4374400Later on, I read If I Stay by Gayle Forman. This book is hard to talk about. I had fun reading it, however, whenever I thought about it, I realized how some of the characters acted as if they belonged to a soap opera. It was full of clichés and some actions had bigger consequences than the characters thought they did. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it, though, I read it in a day.

17237214Continuing on with romance, I read Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan. When I started reading this book, I thought it would be a cheesy book, however, I was very very wrong. It does have romance, some of it is cheesy, but there’s more to the book than that. I absolutely loved this book and hope that you will read it too.

Resultado de imagem para a series of unfortunate events s2 posterI also watched A Series Of Unfortunate Events‘s second season. I’ve never read any of the books, however, I used to watch the original movie when I was younger. I knew what would happen in the previous season because of the movie but, with this one, I didn’t know what would happen. Honestly, I think this series has changed a lot, which is something I highly value. This show is really fun and I can’t wait for the next season.

Alicia Vikander in Tomb Raider (2018)Given that I had been staying inside my house for so long, I decided to go to the movies and enjoy a bit of sunshine. I went with a couple of friends and we watched Tomb Raider. Overall, it’s a fun action movie. It has a lot of inconsistencies (why did she always leave the door open? Why did she have infinite arrows? Why didn’t she actually go pick her arrows up from the corpses?) but I still enjoyed it.

The Good Dinosaur (2015)I also found out that The Good Dinosaur was on Netflix, so I had to watch it. Truth be told, I waited far too long. The animation is beautiful, it even makes up for the not so original plot. It was fun but I don’t think I’ll watch it again.

758941Later on, I read The Face of Deception by Iris Johansen. Honestly, I was expecting for it to be more interesting, however, it was still enjoyable. The copy I read had some serious issues, but it’s possibly due to bad translation.

30096041I also picked up The Shadow Glass by Aly Fell. Overall, I really liked this book. It has supernatural elements, it has beautiful art, it has everything you need in a piece of fiction.

Resultado de imagem para lucifer season 2To relax, I watched Lucifer‘s second season. Overall, I think that there are some aspects that are better about this season, and some that are worse. The show centers a lot more on Lucifer’s divine problems, but there were a lot of times in which I felt the show was baiting me into watching the next episode.

20898092Given that it was the book picked for this month’s Book Club Discussion, I read Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Overall, I liked it. It wasn’t awe inducing, but it wasn’t bad either. All in all, I’m glad I picked it up.

Chew, Vol. 7: Bad ApplesI also read Chew Volume 7 – Bad Apples by John Layman. Overall, it was a fun book. It’s great to see how different characters grieve and I’ve grown to love Colby more and more throughout the series.

20926821To switch things up, I read Nightship to China by Damian Dibben. Honestly, I expected a lot more from this book. It feels formulated and more of the same. It tries new things for the series and fails miserably. Maybe I’ve outgrown this series, this is an okay book in a series that used to be extraordinary.

11610910Later on, I read Star Wars Omnibus: The Complete Saga – Episodes I through VI, an anthology that has too many authors to write them all down. I expected more from this book. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good book, I simply hoped I’d get to know more about this universe that I love. I also expected the characters to look a tad better but I guess we can’t have everything.

28116220I also picked up Low Volume 3: Shore of the Dying Light by Rick Remender. I missed this series so much. This volume is definitely a great addition to the series, it kept me turning the pages and I can’t wait to read the next volume.

34504727And because I have no self restraint, I also read Low Volume 4: Outer Aspects of Inner Attitudes by Rick Remender. I’m not sure if this is the end of the series but, if it is, it sure ended with a bang. Also, Tajo holding hands with Mertali? I hope they’re a couple now.

11307236Given that I had studied Miguel Torga in school this month, I was curious to read more of his poetry. One day, I was looking around my school’s library and found Orfeu Rebelde. I read it rather quickly and had lots of fun doing it. Truth be told, I’m usually iffy when it comes to poetry but, now that I’ve started to read more (outside of classes), I really like it.

March 2018 Wrap-Up

Jennifer Lawrence in Red Sparrow (2018)I started this month by going to the movies to watch Red Sparrow. Honestly, this is a fantastic movie (even though some Russian characters never actually speak Russian). It’s intense, it’s bloody and it has a LOT of betrayal. It also isn’t painfully predictable like most spy movies.

6609784Then, in a blast to the past I re-read Monster Vol.1 (Perfect Edition) by Naoki Urasawa. This is one of those manga that you often find yourself missing. I loved it the first time around (3 years ago) and its magic is still there! Read it, it’s worth it.

25732455Then, I read LOW Volume 2 by Rick Remender. Overall, this is a great series. This volume’s beginning reminded me of 1984, which is great too.

30199315Then, I read this month’s book club pick The White Cottage Mystery by Margery Allingham. Overall, it’s a fun mystery book. It isn’t wildly complex, it’s just right.

24154660Later on, during a somewhat reading marathon, I finished reading The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson #10) by Darynda Jones. I absolutely love this series and this book is another great installment. I do think it has a more intricate plot line than the other ones too.

https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1506372508l/36304132.jpgThen, I read the beautiful Dream of the Butterfly Vol.1- Rabbits on the Moon by Richard Marazano. This graphic novel is too cute to be true.

35677917I also read You can’t just kiss anyone you want by Marzena Sowa. This book’s heartbreaking. It’s very historically rich and beautiful, you should read it.

6308031Later on, I read the depressing Doomed Love: A Family Memoir by Camilo Castelo Branco. It’s as depressing as the title suggests.

34538076On the same day, I read Marie Curie – The Radium Fairy by Chantal Montellier. I love Marie Curie, she was an amazing scientist, and this book really let me down. Its art is weird, it’s like the artist really liked two types of drawing so they chose to use both. Story wise, I feel it could have focused on some other parts of her life, it felt like we were actually reading a book about her husband.

February 2018 Wrap-Up

Resultado de imagem para suits season 1 posterThis month started out with procrastination. I don’t know about you but, when I have to study, I end up watching A LOT of shows. This time, my escape goat is Suits‘ season one. This show is great, it’s that kind of show that you can’t watch only one episode of, you always want to watch more.

Resultado de imagem para lucifer season 1Continuing on with procrastination, I finished Lucifer‘s first season. I think that the aspect I love the most about this show is that Lucifer tells everyone that he’s (literally) the Devil, and no one believes him. The season ends with an amazing cliffhanger, I can’t wait to watch the next one.

27825629Later on, I read An Excellent Day for an Exorcism (Bookburners Season 1 Episode 14) by Brian Francis Slattery. Overall, it’s a fun episode, I absolutely love the main fight scene. This episode also left me wanting to know more about how the demon world works.

Imagem relacionadaYet another show I watched is The Good Place‘s second season and I have to tell you, this is a great show. I absolutely love every single character and I laugh a lot while watching it. It’s a very emotional show too, the last few episodes hurt me where it hurts the most.

34325240Later on, I struggled through this month’s Book Club Pick, Black Seed by Kenneth Marshall. It’s so bad I don’t want to talk about it ever again.

Doug Jones and Sally Hawkins in The Shape of Water (2017)I also watched The Shape of Water, a movie I’ve wanted to watch since I’ve known it was being made. I absolutely love del Toro and this movie is (probably) some of his best work so far.

27825627Later on, I read Things Lost (Bookburners Season 1 Episode 15) by Margaret Dunlap. Overall, it isn’t an awe inducing episode, but it’s still a nice one.

27825625Continuing on with Bookburners, I read the final episode, Siege (Bookburners Season 1 Episode 16) by Max Gladstone. Overall, I love this episode, it’s a strong ending for a strong season.

23848452Continuing with fantasy, I read The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9) by Darynda Jones. This is a great book, something I love about it is that it can be read as a standalone too. I think you’ll enjoy it more if you read the others first but, if you don’t have the time to read 8 books, you can just read this one. Something I also love about this series is that it has mystery, romance and paranormal elements.

23200006Later on, I read Low Vol.1 by Rick Remender. This science fiction graphic novel is great, it builds a very interesting world.

36688096I also read Operation Cairo (False Idols Season 1 Episode 1) by Lisa Klink. Overall, this isn’t a mind blowing episode but I can see that the series probably will knock my socks off.

36612645Given that I was curious, I also read The Glass Slipper (False Idols Season 1 Episode 2) by Patrick Lohier. Overall, it was a really fun episode with some hard to believe coincidences.

Interview with Brian Francis Slattery

I’ve had the great pleasure of interviewing Brian Francis Slattery. Brian Francis Slattery is the author of several books and one of the authors of a serial that I write a lot about- Bookburners. He has won the Philip K. Dick Award with his book Lost Everything and is a prominent short story writer.

In this interview, I’ll especially focus on Bookburners. Bookburners is an episodic series in which we follow Sal, a former cop who, instead of jailing bad guys, finds magic artifacts and locks them away. Want to read it? Click here.

Now, for the questions:

Given that this is the first question, I’ll ask you about the beginning. How did you get into writing?

I’m one of those people who always wrote, from a very early age. I can’t remember a time I wasn’t into writing. But I got into writing professionally pretty slowly. Baby steps. I was an editor first, and still am. Then I tried my hand at journalism and it stuck. I got very lucky and had a first book published. I pretty much pinch myself about the rest.

Following up on that, how did you get sucked into the Bookburners’ world?

After writing four books on my own, I was interested in some sort of collaborative project. Maybe a graphic novel? Some other multimedia thing? I was open to anything (still am). When I heard Serial Box was starting up, I jumped at it. Four years later, I’d say collaborating with other people is even better than I expected it to be. Working with Andrea, Margaret, Max, and Mur has been one of my most satisfying writing experiences so far.

Every author has a special kind of writing, we can see that in Bookburners. However, the writing’s quite cohesive too. How do you manage that?

We talked from the very beginning about how to balance our individual voices and overall cohesiveness. Because we were deliberate about it, we settled pretty easily on a certain mode of writing—simple, clear, straightforward—that could serve as the best vehicle for the story we wanted to tell, while also letting each of us flex our particular writing muscles in new and interesting ways. A great editorial team helps, too.

In Portugal, there are a lot of sacred cities, how come the Bookburners haven’t come here yet?

It’s funny you mention that, because my wife and I took a trip to Portugal several years ago that remains quite vivid in my mind—from the architecture to the food and music to the people we met to the general feel of the landscape—and I have been looking for an excuse to set one of the episodes there from the beginning. We do have another season ahead of us, so who knows? A chase through the near-vertical alleyways of Lisbon? A secret society in Évora? A dive into the river in Porto? It could happen.

In your episode “An Excellent Day for an Exorcism”, we know that demons live in a different dimension from ours. Is it Hell? If so, does that mean that God is real?

You’re asking me a lot of interesting questions! I imagine you’d get a somewhat different answer from each writer on the Bookburners team, but at least from my perspective, I’ve operated under the assumption that the wide world of magic is essentially incomprehensible to us. It’s bigger and weirder than the reality we’re used to, and the various concepts we have to try to get our minds around it—from religious and spiritual to paranormal and pseudoscientific—latch onto pieces of a much greater puzzle. So I write from that point of view. That isn’t to say that one interpretation is right and another is wrong. Part of the fun for me as a writer (and hopefully for readers) is to leave room for readers to make sense of the magic in Bookburners in their own ways, much like the characters in the story do.

You’ve written some of the most gruesome episodes so far. Whilst writing, did you ever think you were going too far?

Part of the pleasure of collaboration is the ability to take risks. We all suggest ideas in our initial story meetings that end up on the cutting room floor. We all try things now and again that don’t work, and we take out those parts. I’ve pretty much written every episode with the intent to push things as far as I can, and regarding the gruesomeness of them, I’ve been waiting for my collaborators to pull me back. So far they haven’t.

On that note, how do you manage to write something that will both shock the reader but also make them want to read more?

I’m pleased that the gruesome stuff is having that effect! From my perspective, I write scenes like that with two things in mind. First off, I see myself as essentially a journalist in the world of magic. I try to convey what happened in the most straightforward way I can think of. But we also try to write from a specific character’s perspective at any given point, and I don’t like writing scenes of consequence-free violence. One way to make sure those consequences are felt is to write from the victim’s perspective rather than the perpetrator’s. I do this as often as it makes sense to do so (though there are exceptions), and it’s definitely my hope that this helps the reader connect to the story, even if that connection might hurt a bit.

Now, to finish things off, which of your works do you recommend to those who love Bookburners?

I am the worst at self-promotion, and one of the things I love about Bookburners is the way the collaboration has changed both the kinds of stories I’ve been telling and the ways I’ve been telling them. That said, I’d say in some ways that Bookburners is a cross between my second book (Liberation) and my fourth book (The Family Hightower), in that it’s a collision between weird stuff and a detective story. But I’d suggest that people who are interested in what makes Bookburners tick should check out all of our creative output. And maybe watch more Spanish movies.

 

That’s all we have (for now!). Thank you so much, Brian Slattery, for giving me this opportunity and answering my questions.