[Ava’s Demon: Chapters 1-18] Michelle Czajkowski’s ongoing online series

Talk about an awesome cover page.

Ava’s Demon is an incredibly beautiful series that exists online for free, for which I am extremely grateful. The artwork is stunning and the story is engaging, and I heartily recommend this for readers who like graphic novels and readers who like dystopian, fantasy, and science fiction stories. You can find the ongoing series here. The author seems to be halfway through (my rough estimate) chapter nineteen. It’s updated regularly on Thursdays AND –my favorite piece of information–it’s FINISHED. The only thing the author-illustrator needs to do is draw it! I find that so incredible.

Ava’s Demon starts out simply enough. Ava, one of the main characters of this story, has a demon that has been with her for her whole life. The demon has been whispering horrible things in Ava’s ear since she was a child, so Ava is not a happy person. Not at all. She goes through her days feeling unloved and forgotten, but wishing that she wasn’t. When an attack hits her school and Ava manages to escape, the demon isn’t very happy. But when they crash land on a planet and Ava is injured in the crash, it seems the demon is finally going to get her wish.

At the eleventh hour, the demon reveals that Ava doesn’t have to die and can start her life over–if she enters into a pact with the demon. Of course, demons tend to lie. Ava does survive, but not in the way that she was led to believe. Ava’s Demon then progresses into a story that blends fantasy elements with that of a science fiction world. It becomes about so much more than demons and their humans.

As the story is ongoing, it’s a little difficult to review the plot since it’s just a small snapshot of the larger story. It definitely has dystopian elements to it where things aren’t always what they seem and there’s a organization–or a person (yet to be determined)–who controls a lot of planets. So far there’s only been a couple of places in the comic, but it seems like interplanetary travel may be used to show different elements of the world that Czajkowski has created. There’s hints about another force that destroys planets that hasn’t been fully revealed, as well as characters with pasts. Ultimately, everything Czajkowski is doing is making me extremely interested in the story. It’s being given to the reader slowly, but gives us tantalizing tastes of the larger picture. I’m so excited to keep reading it.

I chose a few panels that I thought illustrated moments of the plot but weren’t particularly spoilery of the larger story. All credit goes to the artist, Michelle Czajkowski, and panels are linked to their respective pages on the Ava’s Demon site. 

A person who takes over the world and has an organization full of followers.

A world where being human is seen as a disadvantage…

But are they blind? Not all believe in Titan…

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A Year in Review: Top Reads of 2016

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I rang in the New Year in a small apartment in the inaka of Japan, surrounded by rusty little houses that creaked in the wind as the sea whooshed gently in the distance. As the minutes counted down, we watched a strange show where grown men voluntarily had their family jewels whacked with a paddle for entertainment and if those who were watching laughed, they got their butts slapped with yet another paddle.

Suddenly it was 10…9…8…3…2…1…Happy New Year! and it was midnight–a brand new year and full of possibilities. Standing on the concrete outside of the apartment seven stories up in stocking feet, we listened to the bells from the local temple toll and the distant sound of flutes and drums playing in the New Year. The town was relatively quiet as 2017 came into being.

Now that the New Year and the first hectic days of January have passed, I want to look back on the books that I read in 2016. I read a lot in 2016 and was thrilled that I made (and went slightly over) my goal of 100 books. I binge-read a lot of series that I never read when I was a teenager, read things that made me cry, and read things that made my heart full. I read things that were over-rated, things that weren’t even out yet, and things that remained in my mind long after I’d finished them. 2016 was a really full year of books. I’m incredibly thankful that I was able to read a variety of things thanks to new friends, NetGalley, and random discoveries.

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It’s hot and it’s cold: What I’m reading in October as the weather figures itself out

I ended up reading a lot when I was home for my visit. But I not what I had put on my September TBR pile.

I blame Sarah J. Maas and her Throne of Glass series.

And my lack of control.

While the first novel, Throne of Glass, is a mess, the rest of the series became something that I loved and obsessively read (and am still reading, actually) when I was home. Because of that I ended up only finishing Dreamwielder, so I’m shuffling the rest of those books into my October TBR pile. Time also got away from me so I ended up without any new physical books this time. Thank goodness for Amazon, or else I’d really be crying.

*・゜Finishing up*・゜

I'm trying to read this slower than the others because I there's not another one to read after this one. But I'll probably devour it.

I’m trying to read this slower than the others because I there’s not another one to read after this one. But I’ll probably devour it.

*・゜Going to read*・゜

No theme this month. And only one book that’s kind of Halloween-y. I’ll have to find other books that are spooky to read this month!

The cover is so pretty and old-fashioned looking! In this book, no one can dream! Dreams are manufactured, which is a really cool dystopian slant. And for whatever reason, once you turn 35, you're sent to live beneath the city? I'm very intrigued. I have high hopes for this one, so I really hope it's good! It just came out this year in April.

This month for sure! Check out my September reads for my thoughts on it.

There's still a good chunk of time left before this book is published in March 2017. I want to read it because it's about witches--specifically ones that can raise the dead. It's a new series, so I hope I like it! Perfect for the month of Halloween.

There’s still a good chunk of time left before this book is published in March 2017. I want to read it because it’s about witches–specifically ones that can raise the dead. It’s a new series, so I hope I like it! Perfect for the month of Halloween.

*・゜Upcoming Reviews*・゜

These books. I really love this series, but I still stand firm that the first book kind of sucks.

These books. I really love this series, but I still stand firm that the first book kind of sucks. I’m glad I was able to binge read them and had been told they got better!

And that’s it! I’m sure that there will be a lot more that I read, but I have to remind myself to focus on making my costume for Halloween. Preparing it will be a process, but I hope it will turn out the way I want it to! Happy reading, everyone!

Slipping into Autumn: My September Books

This month is going to be a little light on the reading and reviewing. I’m visiting home, so while I have a good chunk of travel time to read, I won’t have a lot of time to sit down and write my reviews. I do have a few new releases that are coming out in October that I have reviews for. I’m excited that I finally get to share them because I read them in early to mid-August.

I think the best part about going home is that I can buy books in person! I’ve bought books online here, but they tend to be expensive and they also take forever to arrive. I have some series that I’m planning to finish out and I’ll probably buy some more books as well, because I have absolutely no self-control when it comes to books.

*・゜I’m excited to get my hands on these!*・゜

I read A Darker Shade of Magic ages ago and I've been trying to get this one ever since. I want my covers to match, so I NEED this one. Desperately.

I read A Darker Shade of Magic ages ago and I’ve been trying to get this one ever since. I want my covers to match, so I NEED this one. Desperately.

Everyone says that the second and third of this series makes it, so I'm hoping that they're right.

Everyone says that the second and third of this series makes it, so I’m hoping that they’re right.

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I feel like everyone in the young adult book community finished this years ago.

*・゜I have a reading theme!*・゜

So apparently I’ve put off reading books that all deal with dreams!

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A Special 100th Post: On seeing Cursed Child

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Luggage is placed about a dark stage, the only light coming from the illuminated old-fashioned clock face in the background. Dust motes linger in the air, gently floating in the bands of light. A lone man walks onto the stage. And just like that, it begins.

The music starts the heartbeat of this momentous play, starting the excitement. More and more people come on stage, moving the luggage in choreographed movements that let us know that we weren’t exactly in the normal world anymore.

We were back again.

The action built, the nameless witches and wizards moving the luggage to simulate a train station, their cloaks fluttering through the sparkling dust filled air. Beautifully choreographed, they all moved together in a magical way.

The introduction to Cursed Child brought me back to all of those Harry Potter moments: waiting for the books and reading them in one go on the couch in my porch; trying to guess what would come next in the series; standing in line for the midnight movie premieres. My heart couldn’t contain all of the happy feelings that just that small amount of time gave me. I couldn’t believe I was there. I couldn’t believe this was happening. Naturally I cried–and I’m talking full on lip-quivering, trying to hold back tears crying–within the first 15 seconds out of sheer joy and happiness.

I managed to get myself together as we were introduced to old and new characters.

There’s something just so magically different to seeing Harry Potter play out in front of you. Yes, we have the movies. But seeing this–seeing the actors traipse across the set and interact with one another–there was something so beautifully tangible about that. To feel as if you could reach out and touch the actors; to have an actor go into water and emerge dripping wet and to hear the splash of that water; to feel the heat of fire on your face…that is something that can’t be replicated or felt when you’re watching it on the screen.

When it was over, I immediately wanted to see it again. Blinking into the late afternoon light after part one, I was filled with dread that Harry Potter was almost over–over over–and the desire to see it again, before I’d even seen part two. I found part one to be a gripping reintroduction to the world and an introduction to these familiar, loved characters as adults. It truly left off on a cliffhanger that left me with my mouth hanging open. Thank goodness I only have a few hours to wait, I thought as I collected my #keepthesecrets pin and headed off to eat some dinner. Part two was darker, having lost some of its lightheartedness at the conclusion of part one. It was in true Harry Potter fashion, where you’re not able to see the darkness right away, but it slowly grows and spreads tendrils of shadow into the light.

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More Summer Reading: My August Books

August is a good time to read a ton of books. My work placement is very unique in the sense that although I have to go to work, I don’t actually have much work until it starts up again in mid-September. So, that means lots of reading. I’m going to try to remember to read and review on time (instead of reading a lot of them and then realizing that I haven’t reviewed any, oops!) this time around.

In addition to books, I have some backlogs of reviews and a post about seeing The Cursed Child in London (!!) to do. I also am excited about doing an author interview. I’m really hoping that it works out!  Right now I’m working on reviews–but I also have The Dream Thieves open on my kindle because I can’t resist. So without further ado:

*・゜Finishing Up*・゜

I really love this series. I thought that I’d get to the third one too, but I ended up putting this one last on my list and am only getting to the end now.

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Over halfway through now, the only downside of this book is I kind of feel that it’s very much a middle book–things happen, but not as much as I feel they did in THE RAVEN BOYS.

*****

*・゜Coming Up *・゜

Books, books, books. So many books. Some are newish, some are getting up there, and others are brand new from NetGalley!

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“I’m going on an adventure!” My upcoming trip to see Cursed Child.

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I’m so incredibly excited.

Last October I decided to do something crazy.  With days to spare, I signed up for a list that would allow me to purchase Harry Potter and the Cursed Child tickets. I received emails counting down the days–and then hours–until I’d be sent a link where I could get in a virtual line to purchase tickets.  I toyed with the idea that I’d purchase a ticket, but certainly didn’t plan on actually purchasing one. I just liked to dream. It was nice to think that I could go to London and see this planned play if I wanted to. Well, when tickets were actually on sale, I decided to be spontaneous.

I bought the tickets.

Harry Potter has been a part of my life since I first picked up The Sorcerer’s Stone in fifth grade at my private Catholic school. Which, now that I think of it, was rather odd considering how Harry Potter is sometimes banned on account of the witchcraft in it. In any case, I’m thankful it wasn’t banned in my small classroom. I was eight years old when the book was first published, but by the time I discovered it the third novel was out. It was exciting to start reading the books when I was Harry’s age. I read them cover to cover, often staying up late to finish them, regardless if I had school the next day. I eagerly waited for the next installments.  It’s an experience that I shared with countless other people as we read and grew up with Harry Potter. It’s (probably) an experience that will never be replicated in my personal life again, and as such, I feel like there will always be a slight hole that I’m looking to fill.

As I grew up and became an adult, I always hoped that there would be a continuation of the world that J.K. Rowling created in those first pages of Harry Potter. Harry had three children, after all, why couldn’t there be a story about one of them? Or Teddy Lupin? Or Scorpius (unfortunate name aside)? Harry Potter is just something that I couldn’t–and still can’t–let go. It’s as much a part of my childhood as going up to the lake is. Harry Potter helped form a huge part of my identity as a reader.

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