Read and Rated: October

I haven’t been quite as productive as September but I’ve been hitting the non-fiction books a lot more this month so it all evens out. So here is a quick rundown of the books I finished during the month of October.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Skincare: the Ultimate No-Nonsense Guide by Caroline Hirons

Firstly I am going to say that I have no clue who Caroline Hirons is but I did find their Skincare book quite informative. I could have done without the near constant references back to her YouTube channel but Hirons spelt out skincare issues in easy to understand language and included a lot of helpful pictures.

I have been trying to get a better handle on my skin which has always been a nightmare, so this book was very informative in helping my choose products that would suit my skincare needs – which were also detailed in the book. Win-win!

Continue reading “Read and Rated: October”

Murder on the Rockport Limited: Thoughts of a TAZ first-timer

With the release of the second The Adventure Zone graphic novel, Amy from Lost in a Good Book and I thought it would be a great idea to look at how we each experienced the novel; myself having only read the graphic novels and her having listened to the listened to the entire TAZ Balance podcast.

As I am see this graphic novel with completely new eyes I thought I would take the time to point out some of the things that confused or stood out to me.

Warning: If you haven’t listened to the podcast for this arc or read any of the graphic novels, here there be minor spoilers.


How did you enjoy the story knowing/not knowing the podcast?

Amy: I loved the story because I loved reliving the story in visual form. I heard the boy’s voices in my head and I loved being able to read it with their voices.

Ally: Before reading Murder on the Rockport LimitedI had read the first in the series, Here There Be Gerblins and I remember really loving both the story and characters. While I’m not as familiar with the characters as Amy, I very much got a clear grasp of their characters.

Amy: With the hints and clues to future events I knew what was coming and I loved the easter egg hunt to see just what Carey had included in the illustrations. From background detail, characters in crowds or the smallest detail in character stat sheets it was a fun read to see the references I understood, and it often replaces some of the jokes that were excluded by simply making them visual.

Ally: Sometimes I would see little details in the background or read an offhand comment by a character and it would pull me up. Just the knowledge that this story has already been told in a different format really made me aware of little things like this – I couldn’t help thinking, ‘I am sure this means something to someone.’

Amy: It’s hard to say just listen to the arc to match the graphic novel because it draws from multiple episodes. Murder on the Rockport Limited takes storyline from episodes before and after the actual arc and even alludes to things that are far from happening.

Ally: I will admit that after I finished the graphic novel I did flip back to certain pages and ask my partner questions like, ‘will this come back in later books?’ or ‘Is this character important?’ I swear the characters Angus talks to at the end were too fancy and pretty looking to just be throw away characters – I swear they must be coming back or something!


Things Amy noticed that were missing or different from the podcast

While the majority of the storyline was there, naturally not everything could be included. Seeing which scenes and lines were omitted was an interesting game I played while I read and while I know some parts couldn’t possibly be included because the content wasn’t quite story related or only possible in the audio medium, they were missed.

  • I missed the references to everyone in the town of Rockport looking like Tom Bodett, and I wished desperately that Carey had made all the background characters look like Tom Bodett as a subtle nod, but I understand why she couldn’t do that.
  • In the podcast, The Director gives the trio tokens and are told to present them to the resident artificer and “he will help [them] out with acquiring a few new tools that [they] can use on [their] adventure”. She also provides directions and instructs them about how to find the chambers. In the graphic novel this is brushed over with the characters getting a guidebook which explains everything they need to know about navigating the moon base, and Taako mentions their first stop is to see Leon the Artificer.
  • Connected to this, Leon mentions it is against the rules of the Bureau of Balance to hand out magical items to people, and that instead they leave it to fate as a work around situation. This is the only explanation given before the tokens are put in and each character gets their new item. Everything else is the same, the items they acquire are the same, and Taako has the first of his many funny and trying interactions with poor Leon about how he uses the machine.
  • Structurally it contains not only the Rockport arc, but the Moonlighting episodes from before and after. These episodes, come to be known as Lunar Interludes, are the events that happen on the Bureau moon base that are separate from the adventure arcs. This is where characters level up, buy items and you get more of the overarching story from the Director. The way they have been split is perfect for the graphic novel as it gives great cliff hangers and it allows the Interludes to be included because they hold vital information as well.
  • There were a couple big scenes not included such as the initiation test the trio were required to do to join the Bureau of Balance as well as a battle in a swamp when they first land near Rockport. These are inconsequential really, though there were some great origins of later events, but this was early on in the podcast when Griffin was trying to have more random mini battles for the players and not simply continual story.
  • Robbie at the moment is only visually referenced which means no Pringles just yet but I have high hopes for his return if the story stays on the same track.
  • Just as in Gerblins the official licenced names of characters and places have to be changed so instead of going to Neverwinter the train is heading to Ever Summer which is just adorable.
  • The other big one is of course the ending. While the podcast arc ends simply enough, the novel adds a little extra that extends the character development and brings a few more details forward so we don’t need to wait for further arcs to learn things. It also gives a greater sense of the Bigger Picture and great foreshadowing.
  • Not quite a difference but additional dialogue is included that doesn’t happen in the original story. This is often still within the established scenes though and is more for space and timing than anything else. There is still word by word dialogue taken from the podcast, even if it is out of order it is included. Clint has tidied up Griffin and the boys’ conversations into something succinct and appear more intentional, the jokes that are spur of the moment on the podcast become clever and funny dialogue in the story.

Looking at the list it goes to show how much actually stays the same. The tiny jokes and the off the cuff remarks are the main things missing but they are also things that are funny in the podcast, not actually connected to the story (see Jenkin’s voice crisis which is a delight).

Ally: Oh wow! This does answer a lot of the questions that arose for me when I was reading. I did think the whole scenes on the moon were over so quickly! It just seems all so easy and glossed over how they joined the Bureau of Balance – I’m glad there is more to that whole part of the story.

Also Tom Bodett? Pringles? I – I honestly have no words…


Things that didn’t make sense to Ally as a first time reader of the story

While I extremely happy to pick up the two The Adventure Zone graphic novels and read them with not much prior knowledge, there were a few things that I thought I was missing out on. Nothing too serious just small moments and throwaway comments that let me thinking that there was probably more to it than what I read.

  • No dogs on the moon – I honestly have no idea why this caused such a passionate response. I know Magnus asked for a dog but the passioned panel of NO DOGS ON THE MOON really confused me. I just kept asking myself, why? What did the dogs do? Why aren’t they allowed back 😋
  • Leon and the gashapon machine that the trio used their tokens on really confused me. While it certainly was a visual joke that worked well, I think the conversational tone really threw me as I did not really get what was happening.
  • The part where the trio find out about the organisation and the moon base happened so quickly!
  • I felt like I had barely been introduced to this before we were speeding onto the next adventure. Like, what is the Bureau of Balance – I have a basic understanding but it did leave me quite unsure and curious.

As you can see, the main points that didn’t completely gel with me were the ones based on the moon. So, while I completely followed the main story, I did feel like the larger story and world building was a bit vague. Due to this, I did feel this part of the story left a lot of gaps for questions for me but because of how awesome the rest of the following story was, I was quick to forgive and move on.


Final Thoughts

Ally: Having read Amy’s post about her experiences with the graphic novel, I am shocked at how much content has been left out as well as how much foreshadowing there appears to be. Some of the content left out does appear to relate to moments that confused me, so it is good to know that there is the chance that it will be included and fleshed out more in future releases.

AmyOverall, I think it certainly acceptable to only experience the story through the graphic novels because I have full trust in Clint and Carey to bring to life Griffin’s story and all the wonderful additions the boys made on their epic journey during production.

Ally: I’m not ready to sit down and listen to the podcast but as a first time reader, I am really enjoying the characters, the story, and the way that the DnD elements have been incorporated into it all.


I hope you liked our comparison of the two types of The Adventure Zone graphic novel readers! It’s always nice to know how fans of an existing work and those who are new to the work, interact with the same media.

Despite really enjoying the graphic novel, I never did get around to writing a review 😅 so check out Amy’s post where she reviews the book!

While you’re at it why not check out the next book in the series, Petals to the Metal!

Or even better, why not start from the beginning and give The Adventure Zone podcast a listen!

Read and Rated: September

I was quite productive and read a fair amount this September. So here is a quick rundown of the books I finished during the month of September.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Who’s that Earl by Susanna Craig

Who’s That Earl is the first book of Susanna Criag’s I have read and I quite enjoyed it. The characters of the historical romance were very nuanced and I not only did I like them as individuals but I really liked them together. First in the Love and Let Spy Series, I will deifnelty be looking out for the next in store.

Also I do love the cover of this book, it is so striking and different. However every time I look at it I can’t help but think that there is something wrong with her arms? Maybe it is the style of the dress that is throwing me off? I’m not sure, what do you think?

Continue reading “Read and Rated: September”

How I Broke Up with My Colon by Nick Seluk (The Awkward Yeti)

How I Broke Up with My Colon

by Nick Seluk; The Awkward Yeti

Fascinating, bizarre, and educational true-life medical stories retold in cartoon form by the creator of the bestselling Heart and Brain book series.

Mysterious illnesses. Freakish injuries. X-rays revealing something weird that got stuck in your foot. These strange but true stories are among the 24 medical tales retold in hilarious fashion by New York Times bestselling author/illustrator Nick Seluk. Featuring fascinating stories submitted by people all over the world, How I Broke Up with My Colon is an educational and highly entertaining tour through the bizarre workings of the human body.

Taken from book blurb

Release Date: March 24, 2020.

Length: 192 pages.

Series: Stand alone.

Genre: Graphic Novel.

Read as: an eBook.

Sourced: NetGalley.


My Thoughts

How I Broke Up With My Colon is different take on the short story/biographies format. Inside the graphic novel you will find funny medical stories illustrated by Nick Seluk who is better known as The Awkward Yeti.

Continue reading “How I Broke Up with My Colon by Nick Seluk (The Awkward Yeti)”

Bloodlust & Bonnets by Emily McGovern

Bloodlust & Bonnets

by Emily McGovern.

From the creator of the hit webcomic My Life As a Background Slytherin comes a hilarious graphic novel pastiche of classic Romantic literature led by a trio of queer misfits—and several angry vampires.

Set in early nineteenth-century Britain, Bloodlust & Bonnets follows Lucy, an unworldly debutante who desires a life of passion and intrigue—qualities which earn her the attention of Lady Violet Travesty, the leader of a local vampire cult. 

But before Lucy can embark on her new life of vampiric debauchery, she finds herself unexpectedly thrown together with the flamboyant poet Lord Byron (“from books!”) and a mysterious bounty-hunter named Sham. The unlikely trio lie, flirt, fight, and manipulate each other as they make their way across Britain, disrupting society balls, slaying vampires, and making every effort not to betray their feelings to each other as their personal and romantic lives become increasingly entangled.

Both witty and slapstick, elegant and gory, Emily McGovern’s debut graphic novel pays tribute to and pokes fun at beloved romance tropes, delivering a joyous, action-packed world of friendship and adventure.

Taken from book blurb

Release Date: September 17, 2019.

Length: 261 pages.

Series: Stand alone.

Genre: Graphic Novel.

Read as: an eBook.

Sourced: NetGalley.


My Thoughts

As a fan of Emily McGovern and her comic My Life As a Background Slytherin, I was honour bound to pick up this graphic novel. I am glad I did because even though it is a step away from her Slytherin comic, Bloodlust and Bonnets retains the irreverent humour and distinct art style.

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Dekoboko Sugar Days by Yusen Atsuko

Dekoboko Sugar Days

by Yusen Atsuko.

Yuujirou Matsukaze has been close friends with Rui Hanamine since the two of them were children, and at that time, Yuujirou was the one who stood up for and took care of his adorable, soft-hearted friend. But as it turns out, Yuujirou’s childhood dreams end up growing a little too big to handle ― or, rather, too tall! At over six feet in height, the cheerful and happy-go-lucky Rui towers over his would-be protector… and still has no idea Yuujirou’s had a crush on him since they were kids! 

Taken from book blurb

Release Date: February 18, 2020.

Length: 256 pages.

Series: Stand alone.

Genre: Manga. QUILTBAG. Yaoi.

Read as: an eBook.

Sourced: NetGalley.


My Thoughts

Dekoboko Sugar Days is a quick and cute story of Yuujirou and Rui as they each come to realise their feelings for each other. Yuujirou was a favourite character of mine, as he both angstyed over his short height and his feelings for Rui. I say angst but really it was all just cute pining and over compensation for his shortness by drinking a lot of milk.

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Mooncakes by Suzanne Walker

Mooncakes

by Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu

Publisher: Link.

Amazon: Link.

Goodreads: Link.

Book Depository: Link.


A story of love and demons, family and witchcraft.

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers’ bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

Taken from book blurb

Length: 256 Pages.

Genre: Graphic Novel. Fantasy. QUILTBAG.


My Thoughts

Mooncakes is a cute , inclusive, and easy to read graphic novel. The book is a fantasy story set in modern times, with witches, magic, and werewolves taking centre stage in this graphic novel.

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Anticipated Arrival Rundown

Anticipated Arrived Rundown

In the time since posting my first and second Anticipated Arrival Rundowns, I finally have access to and gotten around to two things on my list. Check out the below two items I’ve been waiting for and finally experienced ❤


Fence by P.S. Pacat

PostAnticipated Arrival: C.S. Pacat’s Fence Vol.1

It has been pretty much a year since this Anticipated Arrival post and I can update that I have finally gotten around to reading this gem. I am a big fan of P.S. Pacat and her Captive Prince series (I totally have signed copies 😱😍) so anything new by her was a must read. And Fence really is a must read!

I finished the first volume of Fence in one sitting and fell in love. I was lucky enough to have Volume 2 sitting next to me and have just recently received my preorder of Volume 3 😄 For such small volumes they pack in a lot of story. I found all the characters very compelling, the art beautiful, and I really just want more so I can see where the rest of the story leads.

I would really recommend picking up Fence if you see it!

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The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill

The Tea Dragon Festival

by Katie O’Neill.

Publisher: Link

Amazon: Link.

Goodreads: Link.

Book Depository: Link.


Rinn has grown up with the Tea Dragons that inhabit their village, but stumbling across a real dragon turns out to be a different matter entirely! Aedhan is a young dragon who was appointed to protect the village but fell asleep in the forest eighty years ago. With the aid of Rinn’s adventuring uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, they investigate the mystery of his enchanted sleep, but Rinn’s real challenge is to help Aedhan come to terms with feeling that he cannot get back the time he has lost.

Taken from book blurb

Length: 136 Pages.

Series: Tea Dragon #2.

Genre: Graphic Novel. Fantasy.

Read as an: eBook.


My Thoughts

The Tea Dragon Festival tells the story of Rinn and Aedhan, a recently awoken dragon. Once charged to protect the village, Aedham accidentally slept for 80 years. Now that he has awoken he explores the village with Rinn, trying to make up for lost time.

For those that have read the first book in the ‘Tea Dragon’ series, the characters Erik and Hesekiel will be familiar to you. This prequel is just as sweet and beautiful as first book, The Tea Dragon Society. While it is a prequel story, it can really be read in any order.

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The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill

The Tea Dragon Society

by Katie O’Neill.

Publisher: Link

Goodreads: Link.


From the award-winning author of Princess Princess Ever After comes The Tea Dragon Society, a charming all-ages book that follows the story of Greta, a blacksmith apprentice, and the people she meets as she becomes entwined in the enchanting world of tea dragons. 

After discovering a lost tea dragon in the marketplace, Greta learns about the dying art form of tea dragon care-taking from the kind tea shop owners, Hesekiel and Erik. As she befriends them and their shy ward, Minette, Greta sees how the craft enriches their lives—and eventually her own.

Taken from book blurb

Length: 72 Pages.

Series: Tea Dragon #1.

Genre: Graphic Novel. Fantasy.

Read as an: Hardcover.


My Thoughts

The Tea Dragon Society is a super cute and sweet graphic novel. The story reads almost like a fairytale with its structure and almost vague narrative, what separates The Tea Dragon Society from other stories is the fantastic art and emotional story telling.

Continue reading “The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill”