Review: Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book One audiobook) by Jim Butcher

Let’s address the racist elephant in the room… yes, super unfortunate name, but no, the title Storm Front is not in any way related to good ol’ David Duke or white supremicism.  I seriously cringed a little bit every time I saw the title in my phone.

Storm Front Dresden Files Book One By Jim Butcher cover

HARRY DRESDEN—WIZARD  Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations. Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates. No Love Potions, Endless Purses, Parties, or Other Entertainment. Harry Dresden is the best at what he does. Well, technically, he’s the only at what he does. So when the Chicago P.D. has a case that transcends mortal creativity or capability, they come to him for answers. For the “everyday” world is actually full of strange and magical things — and most of them don’t play well with humans. That’s where Harry comes in.”

Made-Up, Oddly Specific Genre: winky post-Buffy hardboiled detective novel, WITH MAGIC and COKE-DRINKING.

Stream-Of-Consciousness Notes: I love reading first person perspective when it’s done well.  Harry Dresden is kind of a grumpy tomcat.  This is probably a book for cat people, whatever that means.  Vampire escorts!  Really dumb fairies!  Coke-drinking!  Gotta love a sassy talking skull, too.  Did not give a care about the plot, but enjoyed most of the individual scenes a lot.  Ridiculously easy to listen to.  James Marsters sounds appropriately tired and bored, which sounds like a bad thing but is totally a good thing.  I will probably only ever “read” the rest of these books as audio.

But… definitely drags a little at times, and the characters are not exactly nuanced.  The noir style can feel forced when you’re not carried away with the plot. Supposedly the series get much, much better as it progress, though.

“It is the prerogative of wizards to be grumpy. It is not, however, the prerogative of freelance consultants who are late on their rent, so instead of saying something smart, I told the woman on the phone, “Yes, ma’am. How can I help you today?”

“Paranoid? Probably. But just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean there isn’t an invisible demon about to eat your face.”

Why Should You Care? Not a single one of the fifteen books in this series has less than a 4/5 average rating on Goodreads.  James Marsters reads the audiobooks, which means you can mostly just picture Spike, soooo… y’know.  Big bestselling series.

Recommended If You Liked: The Southern Vampire Mysteries (True Blood) series by Charlaine Harris, Pushing Daisies AND Law & Order, Hellboy.

Book: 7/10

Audio Recording: 9/10

Overall: 8/10

A wee tweak… (my last “paragraphs of explanations” post for a while!)

Bill Pullman dog Alaskan Malamute White Swiss Shepherd Berger Blanc Suisse Samoyed direwolf puppy ttc subway

My first children’s book will undoubtedly be Baby Direwolf Rides The Subway!


I have to be kinder to myself.  Like, I should probably apply the sentiment of the tattoo on my damn arm to my self-care as well as treatment of others, right?  I set this bizarrely rigid standard in my head, and if I can’t meet it, I kind of shut down in a panic– gee thanks, various anxiety disorders and OCD!  I decided this blog was daily Monday to Friday, so that turned into “if I miss Monday, then I HAVE to start from scratch next Monday instead,” and “if I don’t post before 4pm, it’s a wash and I NEED to start from scratch tomorrow, or next Monday”– not even as procrastination, but because I would feel like a fuck-up if it weren’t tidy and regular… so we’re chucking that arbitrary stuff for the sake of me actually relaxing and posting anything at all (it’s batshit that I’ve been doing this, by the way, because I have a number of blog post drafts just waiting to be published, which have been ready for WEEKS).

I’m now going to be posting when I feel like it.  That may be at 10am, or it may be at midnight.  No particular days, but I’m setting a goal of at least three posts a week (the good news is that it very well might be much more frequent than that, because I’m capable of being enthusiastically productive when I ease the pressure a little.  I actually have a very strong work ethic when I don’t let myself get paralyzed by unrealistic completionist baloney.)

I have written a ton about the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, by the way.  I’m just not clear on how much of that to share… his work over the years informed a very, very significant chunk of both my character and my personality, and godfuckingdamnit I’m starting to cry writing this measly little paragraph.  I’d love a little feedback on what you’d like to see in tribute to Him– a cheerful Best Of, a reading guide to Discworld, my maudlin personal elegy (complete with rending of garments and tearing of hair), whatever.  It’s all written, so just let me know.

I’m putting up one or two more posts tonight.  Love you, babies.

xo Beck

Some Comic Relief

gangsters and gun molls comic cover

The internet is my favourite thing, and Public Domain (as always) freaking RULES:

Comic Book + is a site for reading or downloading more than 26,000 Golden and Silver Age comics LEGALLY and FOR FREE.  Detective stories, superheroes, romance, horror, cowboys… anything your lil heart desires.

(Fun Beck Fact: when I was about six, I wanted to be a “gangster’s moll” when I grew up.  I really liked the combo of old cars, champagne, and fluffy maribou high-heeled slippers.  Weird kid.)

For Lack Of A Better Comic - Simpler Times ebooks e-books


“Aw, you made me ink…”

I went seven years between my first and second tattoos, not quite two years between my second and third, and then the third through sixth over eight months.  After my first two (somewhat discreet ones), it took til I was almost 27 to feel like I was a grown-ass woman who could get away with getting the bigger and more obvious ones without my mother disowning me (I mean, not literally, but the two rules were no tattoos and no motorcycles, and my I-swear-actually-wonderful mother did make me cry when I came home with my first at 18 because it looked “like a barcode”…). And then I fucking went for it.

I already had my first lit tattoo, my Kurt Vonnegut quote (see here).

The ones I got in the last eight or so months:

1. Direwolf

neotraditional tattoo direwolf game of thrones a song of ice and fire george r r martin travis driscoll archive tattoo

Last June, I did the single most impulsive thing of my life and got a giant piece on my outer thigh with less than a week’s notice. We took some artistic license and strayed from some details because I loved the artist’s neotraditional style (the wight hand should technically be black, not teal, and in the book it was a pure white direwolf who found the hand, anyway).  It was my first colour tattoo/my first tattoo with any shading, and took about five hours (I think?), which is four and a half hours longer than either of my first two.  Designed and tattooed by Travis Driscoll guesting at Archive Tattoo.  I plan on getting him to do Iorek (armoured polar bear!!!) from His Dark Materials on my other thigh someday.

2. Mockingbird

to kill a mockingbird harper lee atticus finch tattoo the one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience angie fey archive tattoo

In July, I got an arm piece that I had wanted for a bonkers long time (I booked that appointment in MARCH)– it’s a mockingbird with an Atticus Finch quote from To Kill A Mockingbird: the one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.  Designed and tattooed by Angie Fey at Archive Tattoo over two sessions (totalling about four hours, I think?)

(I have a real blathery post coming about the latest Harper Lee shenanigans, by the by.)

(pic on left was after first session, right after second session)

3. Frey pie

american traditional frey pie meat pie the north remembers game of thrones a song of ice and fire tattoo george r r martin okey doke tattoo franz stefanik

Then last month (January), I ended up doing an unexpexted double-whammy day… I got an Algonquin Park tattoo (based on an AJ Casson [Group Of Seven] painting) on my arm, and another A Song Of Ice And Fire piece on my hip above the direwolf.  An American traditional-style meat pie (a Frey pie with a Wyman Manderly quote), designed and tattooed by Franz Stefanik at Okey Doke in an absurdly fast session.

To come eventually (not soon– my bank account and my mother’s poor heart need a break for a while): a neotraditional Iorek on my other outer thigh. An american traditional Terry Pratchett Discworld piece near my knee. A Quentin Blake illustration from Roald Dahl’s The Witches. A couple of quotes. And then a couple of non-book ones, too (including a traditional “mum” one, as requested by my mum, which is A HUGE DEAL.)

Screen Shot 2014-11-13 at 11.32.31 PM

“It’s Hard To Explain…”

The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows is a compendium of invented words written by John Koenig. Each original definition aims to fill a hole in the language—to give a name to emotions we all might experience but don’t yet have a word for.”

I find these satisfying in the same way as these. My few of my favourites…

anemoia - 

n. nostalgia for a time you’ve never known. Imagine stepping through the frame into a sepia-tinted haze, where you could sit on the side of the road and watch the locals passing by. Who lived and died before any of us arrived here, who sleep in some of the same houses we do, who look up at the same moon, who breathe the same air, feel the same blood in their veins—and live in a completely different world.

dialecstatic -

adj. hearing a person with a thick accent pronounce a certain phrase—the Texan “cooler,” the South African “bastard,” the Kiwi “thirty years ago”—and wanting them to repeat it over and over until the vowels pool in the air and congeal into a linguistic taffy you could break apart and give as presents.

semaphorism -

n. a conversational hint that you have something personal to say on the subject but don’t go any further—an emphatic nod, a half-told anecdote, an enigmatic ‘I know the feeling’—which you place into conversations like those little flags that warn diggers of something buried underground: maybe a cable that secretly powers your house, maybe a fiberoptic link to some foreign country.

Lemme know if you look at the site and find other favourite ones!


Miss me?

Um, hi.

It’s been a minute, huh?

blue lipstick blonde hair selfie

Being busy and distracted turns into being those things AND burnt out, which turns into being those things AND guilt about neglecting the blog, which turns into anxiety, avoidance, insecurity… even when the “busy” part goes away.  I’ve been in a dip for a while (ooh, check out that casual euphemism!)  It’s been a really hard few months.  Not to blather on, but the kind of “hard” where, in waves, I would find it impossible to read books, sit through a whole movie, see people I like, cook food…  Some great stuff has happened and I’ve had lots of lovely moments!  But my neutral default setting in between has been more like “stare into space while a cat headbutts you, eventually get up to eat a can of soup for dinner.”

But I’ve been trying.  Putting in the time on the fucking tedious process of figuring out the right med combo for me.  And I’m starting to get back into the swing of things.  It feels amazing to be doing things.

Allie Brosh (Hyperbole And A Half) on depression. sun birthday sounds not sounds your hair is spiders everything is spiders

Allie Brosh (Hyperbole And A Half) on depression.

I have written and prepped over a week’s worth of posts, so I can get momentum into blogging again.  I’ve had some false starts, so I hope you’ll bear with me and maybe trust me enough to check back in on the daily.

I have a whole bunch of updates, including another couple of book-related tattoos I got (whoops!), where The Gonq is at, and my puppy, Bill Pullman.

Love love love, Beck xo

p.s. a lil sneak peek of my baby direwolf:

Bill Pullman Alaskan Malamute White Swiss Shepherd Berger Blanc Suisse Samoyed direwolf puppy in the snow

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis covers Magician's Nephew, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, Silver Chair, Last Battle

Final hours AND a Lovely Sneak Peek…

Quick lil note here to say:

a) we have 11 HOURS LEFT on the IndieGoGo campaign for the Gonq Press!  We’ll be printing beautiful classics on an on-demand book machine, as well as offering self-publishing printing (and helpful resources for writers looking to self-publish, from well-designed cover templates to editing services).  The perks are mostly pre-buying lovely books OR credit to use towards printing with the machine, with some fun extras thrown in.  Please check us out, contribute if you can, and SHARE IT AROUND!

A simple way to explain the project:

Our campaign page:

b) I have a sneak peek of the Narnia covers that we plan on doing with the Gonq, and they’re bonkers gorgeous.  Done by Toronto illustrator Sarah Letovsky, here are a few of them to get an idea…

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis covers Magician's Nephew, The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, Voyage Of The Dawn Treader, Silver Chair, Last Battle


My more regular posts will be starting again in September, when I’ll be self-employed!  See youse then <3

The Gonq Press and The Algonquin Bookshop

How do I even start this post?  This is a project that I have been developing for YEARS now, but I’ve always been very precious about the details (to avoid judgment/dismissal and jinxing, to keep from risking the unique edge the idea has by sharing it with the wrong people, or too many people… I sound like quite the little curmudgeon, don’t I?)  You know how it is when you’re this invested in an idea for so long…


I’m running a crowdfunding campaign to start up the Gonq Press.  We’ll be leasing an on-demand book printer (an all-in-one printing/cutting/binding unit that spits out a store-quality bound trade paperback– the Espresso Book Machine and Xerox Perfect Bind are two options– and they’re AMAZING and WE’RE IN THE FUTURE) to create curated series of public domain works, with really gorgeous letterpress covers designed by Toronto illustrators and artists.  All of the perk levels above $25 receive books (of your choice), as well as other goodies like getting snail mail, memberships to the store (see next paragraph!), and definitely some fun stuff like stickers and buttons thrown into every shipment.

Step two: opening The Algonquin Bookshop.  Yeah, I’m that person who wants to open a bookstore in the age of fatalistic articles announcing the Death Of The Printed Word.  I have some really good reasons why this is actually a GREAT idea, and why I am particularly well-suited to it.  I’m going to do a post exclusively about this part of the plan (and there’s a section about it on the crowdfunding page), but the crowdfunding campaign is just for the Gonq Press, so let’s get back to that…

We’re starting with two series of five titles each: The Blurred Line Between Fiction And Memoir, and The Lesser Works.  When we hit $5k, we’ll release the winning series of the contest we’re running**, either Selected Faulkner, Colonial Adventuring (I bet you’re terribly curious what’s in there…), Early Canadiana, or Contemporary Poetesses, and then a full set of The Chronicles Of Narnia will be released when we make it to $10k (those are going to be insane gorgeous).

Faulkner is winning hard right now, and I’m a little sullen about it because it’s not where my heart lies, but holy cow are there a lot of Faulkner superfans out there!

The Blurred Line Between Fiction And Memoir letterpress covers for on-demand book printing with the Gonq Press

The Blurred Line Between Fiction And Memoir

The Lesser Works series letterpress covers for on-demand book printing with the Gonq Press

The Lesser Works

**the contest!!!  Vote for which of the four series you’d like us to produce by commenting here, or on the IndieGoGo page, or tagging me on Twitter, and be a donor of any amount (no minimum), and we’ll choose one winner at random to receive a free set of the series we wind up releasing.  Free books, guys.  Come on.  All you gotta do is comment, and contribute a coupla bucks.

How can you help?

Contribute *any* amount– large donations are great, but so are small ones.  The number of people who support our campaign is a concrete number of “investors”/customers to be able to use to secure traditional funding for the bookstore.  The perks for some of the higher amounts are pretty sick, though :)

Share share SHARE (please)– sharing on your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, and/or blog is a huge deal.  The more exposure we can get, the more support this campaign can find.  Sharing on FB and whatnot is great, but specifically sending a note (with the link) directly to people you think would be interested is one of the most powerful, active things you can do to contribute– I think a lot of us just skim over links people post in statuses on Facebook.

Feel free to ask if you have any questions at all, and recommendations/tips are ALWAYS welcome.



The Prodigal Blogger Has Returned…

Stupid Kitten's chubby self, with a sliver of my ASOIAF direwolf thigh tattoo

Life happens, right?  Here are some updates:

  • My job is great, but intense.
  • I quit my job!
  • I quit my job (on good terms) because I am working towards creating The Gonq Press and The Algonquin Bookshop.  Been running a crowdfunding campaign for it– my next post will go into more detail :)
  • My boyfriend and I are both platinum blond/e now.  One of us looks like a total skid, but I won’t tell you which.
  • I have read disturbingly little in the last few months, due to various factors too boring to go into here that also have a lot to do with why I wasn’t blogging (stress/busyness, depression, anxiety, laziness… you know the drill.)  Now reading I Was Told There’d Be Cake: Essays by Sloane Crosley because my sister-in-not-law-but-you-know-what-I-mean gave it to me for my birthday, and it’s WAY up my alley.  Reminds me a bit of Night Terrors.
  • I’m listening to A Song Of Ice And Fire in audio (having read the series once, and being obsessed with it, of course).  I have this to say about it: holy shit I love these books/Roy Dotrice pronounces Brienne’s name like “Bry-een” and it irritates the hell outta me/I may have gotten a big ol’ direwolf tattoo a few weeks ago/I am developing a crazy long ranked list of my favourite characters, and Sandor Clegane is for sure in the lead.  Actually, my number one is a group package of Tommen, Ser Pounce, Lady Whiskers, and Boots, and THEN Sandor Clegane.
  • If you’re reading this…

I’m at my job til September, and the crowdfunding runs for another 16 days, so I’m excited to be back on here but not committing to full time again yet, BUT come September, I’m scheduling out special blogging time every day, so be prepared to get sick of me and my foul mouth.

<3 Beck

P.S. I didn’t realize how much I love and miss blogging until typing this post.