Tag Archives: reading

Lil Red’s Book Club: Mike Omer’s In The Darkness Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Mike Omer’s In The Darkness Edition

Hello and welcome to the latest edition of Lil Red’s Book Club! Before the libraries closed in Ohio, I was lucky enough to have visited one a week or so prior and was able to get two books. One, was Doctor Sleep by Stephen King and the other was called In The Darkness by Mike Omer. Before we begin discussing In The Darkness, I must warn those who might be triggered that this book revolves around the FBI catching sexually deviant serial killers.

Whew! Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to it without discussing any spoilers:

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In The Darkness follows FBI profiler, Doctor Zoe Bentley, and her partner, Special Agent Tatum Gray, who are sent to San Angelo, Texas on a case that could escalate. The situation? A video stream of a young woman being buried alive, posted from an account only known as Schrodinger and titled “Experiment Number One”.

Doctor Bentley specializes in serial killers and spent her childhood living next door to one. Now, she makes it her livelihood to help the FBI track them down. But, how can you track someone down based on video footage shot in a seemingly random location? And, is finding the potential future victims in the small amount of time before they die even possible?

In The Darkness covers a whirlwind case which begs all of the typical questions of who can be trusted, is sketchy, a red herring, and the serial killer, of course! This detective mystery kept me guessing until the very last page and I can’t wait to read more of Zoe Bentley’s adventures in Mike Omer’s collection.

What I loved about this book, is that it literally read like Law & Order SVU, a show that my boyfriend and I are obsessed with. It was fast paced, the main characters were all flawed but extremely likeable, and the story felt so crazy that it just might happen. Indeed, this book is not for the faint of heart but is one I recommend for those who enjoy a high pressure cat and mouse game between the good of the police force and the evil of the killer on the run.

I am going to rate Mike Omer’s “In The Darkness” with a seven out of ten stars. The story line was interesting and intricate and I was rooting for Zoe and Tatum the entire time. The writing, at times, left a little to be desired. But, other than that, no complaints!

Which book are you currently reading? What is your favorite genre to read? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: Stephen King’s Doctor Sleep Edition

Hello! Before Ohio’s stay at home order was put in place, I took my brother to the library to get some books. I ended up picking out Doctor Sleep by Stephen King for myself and, since all of the libraries are closed, it has been sitting in my apartment this whole time. So I read it. And, let me tell you, I am so glad I did because it was EXCELLENT! Let’s get started:

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Doctor Sleep is the sequel to The Shining, which follows the infamous Jack Torrence’s son, Dan. Despite constantly being drunk, Dan still shines and every once in a while, he gets contacted by a little girl named Abra who writes on the chalkboard of his rented room. Fast forward, and Abra grows up into a preteen, Dan gets sober, and becomes a hospice orderly with the nickname of “Doctor Sleep” because he helps people who are close to death pass over.

Everything is looking good, until Abra becomes aware of a wandering group called the True Knot. The True Knot are a vampire like people who feed off of “steam” to help promote their longevity. What is steam? It’s the vapor that comes out of the children who they like to torture that are able to shine. And Abra? She shines a lot. So much so that the True Knot, lead by a beautiful viper women named Rose The Hat, picked up on her and they want her bad.

Will the True Knot continue to prosper from their evilly acquired steam? Or will Abra, Dan, and some unexpected friends along the way be able to finish them off once and for all? Read the book to find out!

Before reading Doctor Sleep, I saw the movie with my sister and boyfriend in theaters and was less than impressed. I loved the story line but, oh my god, did it drag on for what felt like forever. I believe it was just under three hours. So, I wasn’t really sure what to expect from the book because I didn’t want it to be so drawn out that it read like a dryer manual.

Thankfully, it was the movie that was flawed and not the book because it was a wild ride. There was excitement with every turn of the page of Doctor Sleep and I found myself reading it for hours on end without feeling any desire to stop. The “good guy” characters were all just so likeable and I was mentally cheering them on the whole time. As for the bad guys? They were awful. But, I’d be a liar if I didn’t say that I was eager to find out what they were going to do next.

Doctor Sleep was an amazing read and my only regret was that I didn’t start it sooner. I loved it so much that I’m even willing to give the movie another shot! I reward Doctor Sleep with the prestigious ten out of ten stars and I can’t recommend it enough if you are a Stephen King fan!

What book are you currently reading? What did you think of the movie or book of Doctor Sleep? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Self-Isolation Check In

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Self-Isolation Check In

Hi! Towards the third week of March, Ohio issued a stay home order that put a name to the suggested self-isolation constantly being recommended. This means that the only times you should be out in the general public is if your work is deemed “essential” or you are shopping at an essential business like the grocery store, pharmacy, or are stopping at the gas station.

This hasn’t been too bad, because all of the nonessential businesses and restaurants have already been closed for a while so it’s not like a bunch of fun stuff instantly got taken away. Both my boyfriend and I work in fields that are considered “essential” so we are lucky enough to still be able to go to work. But, trust and believe that as soon as we get off of work, we are hunkered down in my apartment for the rest of the day.

My time in self-isolation has proven to be pretty fruitful. I love spending time with my boyfriend playing video, card, and board games and watching all kinds of good movies and shows. Recently, we got into watching Lego Masters and that has been our latest obsession in quarantine.

I also have made good on my promise to read Doctor Sleep by Stephen King and have been enjoying that greatly. And, as often as I can, I try to practice the languages that I am learning on Duolingo: French, German, Spanish, Italian, and Czech. It makes me feel good to exercise my brain after what feels like nonstop TV time and it also really helps to break up the boredom with something more mentally stimulating.

What I am most excited about during this stay at home order, however, is that the weather is finally nice enough to hike – which is still allowed! I am looking forward to being more active with walks as often as I can because I am in such a slump without being able to go to the skating rink. So, hopefully this will help decrease all of the energy I have in the evening from not doing much of anything for the past month! 😀

How have you been spending time in self-isolation? Did you set any goals for yourself to accomplish? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Passing Time In Self-Isolation

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Passing Time In Self-Isolation

Hi everyone! I hope that all of you are managing to stay healthy and safe during this crazy time. I also hope that you’re staying sane after hearing coronavirus related news all day every day because that can be a bit much, too. As more businesses, schools, and gathering places close and events are cancelled, it’s easy to feel trapped. And, if you are practicing self-isolation you might be running out of things to do to keep occupied which just adds to the panic. So, allow me to come in with a few suggestions:

Read A Book:

This is such an obvious idea but you’d be amazed at all of the posts I see on Facebook asking for binge worthy show suggestions as opposed to an un-put-downable book. Crack open that novel you’ve been holding off on reading for ages, sit back, relax, and read. And I mean really read, which means more than just one chapter! A few weeks back, I borrowed Doctor Sleep by Stephen King from the library and am hoping to finish that during my free time.

Work On A Puzzle:

I happen to really enjoy a good jigsaw puzzle and, while everything is so up in the air, it is a great way to kill an afternoon. Although I still have to go to work, I plan on limiting seeing my clients just in their home instead of in the community so I definitely see a lot of puzzles in my future. You are not limited to jigsaw puzzles, though! Try a word search, crossword, jumbles, Sudoku, or Mahjong to fill up some free time.

Binge Watch A Little:

Lol, it would be cruel and unusual to not put this suggestion on the list but try not to go overboard with it. Limit yourself to one to two episodes a day so your brain doesn’t turn into complete mush. That’s not to say you can’t treat yourself to an America’s Next Top Model bingeathon (God knows I have!), but don’t make that the norm while outside activities are so limited.

Spring Clean:

If now isn’t the perfect time to spring clean, then I genuinely don’t know when it would be. Set aside some time during the day to tackle at least one room or area of your home or apartment. Disinfect, dust, sweep, and Swiffer until your place is sparkling. Don’t forget to really clean things like light switches, door knobs, handles, and the toilet flusher!

Games Galore:

While in self-isolation, my boyfriend and I have grown very partial to video games, particularly Rock Band. We have such a blast playing the different songs, talking about music, and honing in on our skill. We both play on hard on the guitar… But I don’t mean to brag. 😉 My beau and I have also been playing Little Big Planet, Unraveled, Mario Party, and Super Smash Bros. to help pass the time. We both highly recommend Unraveled and, although it has long since been beaten, we always enjoy playing it again from time to time.

If video games aren’t your thing, then board or card games work just as well. I, myself, love Scrabble and Sequence and I never say no to a good game of Monopoly. One of my clients enjoys playing Poker and I have gotten pretty into that, too. Games are such a fun way to pass the time and reconnect since going out to dinner is not an option right now.

From the ideas above to cooking an amazing meal or even starting a blog, I hope these suggestions come in handy when you feel the boredom of self-isolation sinking in. Enjoy!

How have you been spending your free time amid the coronavirus panic? What is a book, movie, show, or game suggestion that you recommend? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Stranger Diaries Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Stranger Diaries Edition

Hi! I have been on a huge graphic novel kick lately so it has been a while since my last Lil Red’s Book Club meeting. But, since I finished the Lucifer series of comics, I am back on my mystery/thriller novel obsession and devoured The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths within a week. Unfortunately, the grand reveal of this book just didn’t do it for me, which is too bad because everything that led up to it was filled with nail biting suspense. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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Talgarth High was the former home to Gothic writer, R.M. Holland, who specialized in the dark and obscure. He is also the favorite of Clare Cassidy, an English teacher who reads his short story, The Stranger, every year to her classes. Clare is a posh, divorced, middle aged woman whose daughter, Georgia, attends Talgarth High, as well. And, as most thrillers go, everything is seemingly perfect until a murder takes place.

Two murders, actually. Two murders that are obviously inspired by The Stranger in the ways that they are committed and in the fact that the killer leaves a quote from the novella behind at each crime scene. “Hell is empty”. The Stranger Diaries is an intertwining whodoneit between Clare, Georgia, and Detective Sargent Harbinder Kaur – all of whom could be in danger if the killer strikes again.

From witchcraft and long dead writers to notes from the killer appearing in Clare’s diaries, red herrings are everywhere in The Stranger Diaries. Will you be able to figure out whodoneit in time? Read the book and find out!

My mom and I normally read the same books as each other and we both came to the conclusion that this was an excellent book with a really shitty ending. The Stranger Diaries was unputdownable for me and I took every opportunity of free time I had to continue turning the pages.

I loved reading snippets from The Stranger, I adored how the book went back and forth between characters, and a lot of the book was downright creepy. How would you feel if someone was writing to you in your private diaries?! But, the big BUT, is that the grand reveal of the killer was the most random, lackluster unveiling I’ve read in a long time and that was so disappointing to me.

Obviously, I’m not saying NOTHIN about whodoneit. But I will say that if you read the book, try not to look too far into the subplots because they are definitely going to cloud your judgement. Take things for what they are and you might just be able to solve the case on your own!

I am going to give The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths a star rating of: five out of ten. Had the ending been better, it might have received the prestigious ten out of ten stars from me but, unfortunately, I am having trouble looking past a huge build up for a let down of a grand reveal. Whomp whomp.

What are you reading right now? Which book should I read next? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Death Of Mrs. Westaway Edition

Helloooo everyone! I recently just finished the fifth book out right now by Ruth Ware called The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. I, for the most part, have had a very positive experience with this author. Though there were a few books like The Woman In Cabin 10 and In A Dark Dark Wood that I wasn’t wild about, I highly enjoyed The Turn Of The Key and The Lying Game. Unfortunately, The Death Of Mrs. Westaway was a big miss for me with the grand reveal so, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Death Of Mrs. Westaway revolves around twenty-one year old Harriet AKA Hal, a tarot card reader who runs a small stand on Brighton Pier. She inherited the shop from her mother after she was killed in a car accident and needed to take up shop immediately to try to make ends meet. Young, broke, orphaned (she doesn’t know who her father is), and owing money to a dangerous loan shark Hal is in way over her head when bills pile up, her stand is lacking customers in the winter season, and the threats from the man she owes to turns dangerous.

Hal feels the need to escape and she can do that if she can swing fooling an entire family into believing she’s related to them. When she receives a letter in the mail claiming that she is the recipient of a substantial inheritance from the deceased Mrs. Westaway, it seems almost too good to be true – especially considering that she believed her grandparents to be dead. Despite committing a major act of fraud, Hal has nothing left to lose and everything to gain and heads to the funeral with the claim that she is the daughter of the deceased woman’s daughter, Maud.

At the funeral, Hal encounters the three brothers of her “mother” and, though lots of questions are raised, she is supposedly in with a family that she seemingly has no connection to. Or so she thinks. Because when she discovers her real mother in a photo of the siblings at their elaborate Victorian manor, everything she thinks she knows about herself and her mother becomes flipped. Does this family know who her father is? What is Hal’s mother’s relation to them? Is she a rightful heir to the inheritance after all? Read the book and find out!

I am not sure how to feel about The Death Of Mrs. Westaway. I actually loved it until the grand reveal and, although I saw it coming, I was disappointed with the outcome. I genuinely can’t say anything more than that without giving it completely away. But, what I will say, is that I did enjoy a solid ninety percent of the book. It was well written, suspenseful, downright sinister at times, and I liked almost all of the characters.

I appreciated Hal’s bravery throughout the novel and I liked that she didn’t back down to find the answers that directly pertained to her. She was able to play herself off as the mousy long lost niece and all the while she was making plans and using her intuition to solve the mystery of her own life. She was a heroine that I rooted for the entire time and I wish that the grand reveal did her more justice.

All in all, I’m going to rate this book with a six out of ten. I did not hate it but it was certainly not my favorite Ruth Ware novel by any means. I feel like I ended my reading journey with her on a sour note and am looking forward to a new book by her so that redemption can possibly happen.

What are you reading right now? How did you feel about The Death Of Mrs. Westaway if you read it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Turn Of The Key Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Turn Of The Key Edition

Hello! In today’s edition of Lil Red’s Book Club, we are going to be discussing another one of Ruth Ware’s novels called The Turn Of The Key. If Ruth Ware’s name sounds familiar to you, that’s because it probably is! I have spent this past summer reading all of her novels and she has been featured in many a Lil Red’s Book Club posts these past few months.

While recovering from the car accident, I was able to dedicate my time to reading The Turn Of The Key in a matter of days and I enjoyed it very much. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Turn Of The Key revolves around Rowan, the new live in nanny for an extremely wealthy husband and wife architect duo and their four daughters. They live in a remote location in the hills of Scotland in an old house with an eerie combination of extremely modern technology and the original layout of the home from decades ago. The technology is so advanced, in fact, that everything can be controlled by an app called “Happy”. The shower settings, lights, curtains, doorbell, coffee machine, and oh yeah – the video monitoring in the bedrooms.

Rowan gets thrown right into her new position, as Sandra and Bill, the parents travel a lot for work and is almost immediately left alone with the girls Maddie, Ellie, Petra, and Rhiannon. The seemingly “perfect” position with the plush pay and fancy accommodations is anything but, though. Especially considering all four of the previous nannies were driven out by forces that can only be described as supernatural.

These powers that be get to work as soon as Rowan starts her new gig. From creaking in the attic to a freezing cold bedroom and the Happy app working on its own, all of the frustrations of caring for the difficult children and a lack of sleep begin to catch up with her and everyone is a suspect. The maid, handyman, children, – heck, even the parents could have a role in what’s going on because Rowan firmly doesn’t believe in ghosts.

Is what’s going on a prank, the old house just being an old house, or something far more sinister? And is everyone in the home really who they say they are? Read The Turn Of The Key to find out if Rowan can uncover the mystery before someone gets seriously hurt.

The Turn Of The Key has easily become one of my favorite Ruth Ware novels. Wrote in the form of a series of letters, this page turner keeps you guessing until the very last sentence of what really happened in the house during Rowan’s stint as the nanny. So many bombshells were dropped and twists and turns happened that I simply didn’t see coming and, normally, I’m really good at that!

I can’t give too much away in the synopsis of the book without spoiling the surprises but, if you’re in need of a good story to crack into, then definitely give The Turn Of The Key a try. Especially since I’m rating it with an: eight out of ten stars. For a unique story line, interesting characters, and being absolutely un-put-down-able. Bravo!

What book are you reading right now? Have you read any of Ruth Ware’s other novels? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Lying Game Edition

Howdy! I recently finished another Ruth Ware novel called The Lying Game and have read The Woman In Cabin 10 and In A Dark, Dark Wood by her this summer, too. I have to say, I wasn’t overly impressed with either of those books but The Lying Game was a great read and I am happy that I chose to give Ware one more try before calling it quits and finding another author to read. So, without giving any spoilers away, let’s discuss:

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The Lying Game revolves around new mother, Isa, and her three best girlfriends from high school, Kate, Thea (Whose name I’m still not sure how to pronounce!), and Fatima. At their boarding school, the girls reveled in what they called “The Lying Game” and would keep a scoreboard to record the points from the tall tales that they would spin based on the quality and if people actually believed them. The game was supposed to be all in good fun and the rules were simple, including “never lie to your friends” and “know when to stop the lie”.

The girls spent one year at the boarding school together, which came to an abrupt halt when they were asked to leave quietly in the wakes of a possible scandal that directly involved them. And, although it’s a rarity that they talk now as they are all in their thirties, when a friend texts the three words of “I need you” the now women drop their responsibilities immediately and flock to the one in distress.

So, when Kate sends Isa the call to action, she packs up her belongings with her six month old daughter in tow and makes the journey to her, near the old boarding school. The text was indeed an urgent one because once the ladies arrive to Kate’s, it is revealed that a human bone was found in the sea – a result of their “game” being taken too far. With a police investigation nipping at their heals, the once best friends have to come up with a plan and unravel the truth behind their lies before an arrest is made. Were they murderers? Covering something up? Or just plain stupid? Read the book and find out!

I absolutely adored The Lying Game and devoured it in a matter of days. It was so refreshing to read a book with a tangible plot and told from the perspective of someone with a sound mind. Because, let’s be honest, the unstable narrator shtick has been hopelessly drawn out. The Lying Game was filled with twists and turns that actually seemed plausible and I really had no idea what the end result was going to be.

It was interesting to see how a mistake that happened in their teenage years has haunted each woman in the almost two decades since it happened. Each one dealt with the trauma in a different way and it made for fascinating characters with realistic flaws and personalities. The Lying Game was a wild ride and I am now ready to tuck into another Ruth Ware novel ASAFP!

And, now for the star rating…. I award The Lying Game with an eight out of ten. The plot was riveting, the characters were all likeable in their own ways, and I genuinely enjoyed myself while reading it. Highly recommend.

Has anyone read The Lying Game? What were your thoughts on it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

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Lil Red’s Book Club: The Woman In Cabin 10 Edition

Salutations! In the newest edition of Lil Red’s Book Club, we are going to be discussing the mystery thriller, The Woman In Cabin 10, by Ruth Ware. This author might sound a bit familiar to you, as I just recently reviewed another one of her books, In A Dark, Dark Wood. And, similarly to it, The Woman In Cabin 10 is another one that revolves around an unreliable narrator. Let’s discuss, without giving any spoilers away!

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Lo Blacklock, a writer for a travel magazine is your classic “can we trust everything she sees” narrator. Following the usual formula of a heavy drinker while on medication, sleep deprived, as well as recently traumatized by a break in, Lo is… well, at a low point. Ba dum chhhhh. Anyways, very shortly after the break in happened, Lo sets sail aboard a luxury “cruise ship” that’s more like a yacht as a fill in for her boss on maternity leave.

The Aurora is welcoming a select few in the travel industry to board for a week, sailing around Norway, to get the hype built for their launch. The surroundings are swanky and the guests are even more posh – ranging from photographers to heiresses as well as journalists and models. This is a big break for Lo and, while she should be networking her little butt off, she ends up investigating a murder that she only heard, instead.

Enter The Woman In Cabin 10, a cabin that was supposed to be empty.  Lo spoke with the tenant one time after knocking on her door to borrow a tube of mascara and didn’t see her again that night at dinner. A dinner that she ended up getting WASTED at, by the way. So, who’s to say that what she saw was accurate when she claimed she saw a bloody smear on the glass divider on her balcony once she was back in her room? Or heard a huge splash that sounded like a body falling overboard?

The whodoneit begins, as Lo questions all of the staff with the help of the head of security and prying into just what the guests were up to after the dinner party. No one has seen the woman who she saw in the cabin and absolutely no one is ruled out as a suspect. Filled with red herrings and hidden intentions, will the murder get solved or remain a mystery at sea? Read The Woman In Cabin Ten to find out!

I have to admit, I wasn’t a fan of In A Dark, Dark Wood and wasn’t expecting much better from The Woman In Cabin 10. But, I ended up enjoying it a fair amount. If I’m being honest, I am SO. Freaking. Sick. of the unreliable narrator angle. However, this murder mystery set at sea was too dishy and fun to not be a total page turner. The grand reveal at the end was also one that I wasn’t expecting at all and, normally, I am very quick to solve it on my own.

While I couldn’t stand any of the characters from In A Dark, Dark Wood, I quite liked the cast of players in this one. They all held my interest because all of their personalities were so different and it made for a fun reading experience to watch and study their interactions with each other. The finger pointing and guessing games between them kept me on my feet till the very end.

I didn’t love The Woman In Cabin 10 by any means but, I finished it in three days so that has to count for something, right? I’m going to give it a six out of ten rating and would recommend it for a quick summer read, if nothing else.

Who else has read The Woman In Cabin 10? What did you think about it? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

Tattoo You: Death From Sandman Edition

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Tattoo You: Death From Sandman Edition

Helloooo! I am a huge graphic novel fan and my all time favorite is the Sandman series by Neil Gaiman. I have read and reread the fantastic saga countless times and it still manages to surprise and intrigue me every time. I have several tattoos from the Sandman series featuring my favorite characters like Dream, Delirium, and Destiny, but the one I love most of all is probably of Death. Check out this beaut:

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Death is probably the most beloved Sandman character to anyone you will ask. She’s this darling little goth girl who is the human personification of, you guessed it, death. But, instead of having a grim outlook on life, she loves it and is always up for an adventure. Death is a protector and meets every single person in their final moments to ease the transition from the living to the dead.

Although I enjoy each character from Sandman in their own right, I have always been drawn to death. I adore her spunky, sassy attitude and her sleek sense of style. She’s bubbly and cheerful and I think that that teaches people to find the joy in the not so great situations because it’s always there if you know where to look.

Who else is a fan of the Sandman series? What is your favorite comic book series? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah