Posted in Random

2019

December 31, 2019. The end of the year, the end of a decade. I normally do end-of-the-year recaps on this blog, but this is the first of this scope, really.

And looking back, I’m honestly baffled about how far I’ve come–not in the span of a year, no, but in the span of 10. I mean, I was toddling into elementary school for the first time when the decade began. Now I’m about halfway through high school, hopefully a bit wiser and more mature. But this decade has been one of many transitions, realizations, and so much growth. [pats self on the back] you did it, kiddo!

Now, let’s zoom in on 2019. Last year was a year of growing into a new skin, of realizing who I was and what I might want to do. This year, for me, was about becoming confident in said skin, and for the most part? I think it was a success. 2019 certainly had its ups and downs, but I’d say it’s a step up from the last…oh, three years or so. Not quite so awful as 2016, and not perfect, but certainly better.

It’s been an amazing year for books, in my opinion. I honestly don’t remember another time when I’ve stacked so many books on my Top 10 list, or given so many books of one year 5 stars (Aurora Rising, The Pioneer, King of Scars, Like a Love Story, etc.) . Of course, this was also a year of new series, so…fingers crossed that Aurora Burning and The Survivor (among others) won’t disappoint. We had a load of amazing movies, and lots of franchises coming to an end along with the decade. (Avengers: Endgame, Dark Phoenix, The Rise of Skywalker), and several other movies that certainly need mentioning (Captain Marvel, Jojo Rabbit, Spiderman: Far From Home, Joker, Knives Out, etc.) I’ve discovered an onslaught of great artists, thanks to Apple Music, and I went to Canada for the first time. I started a WIP that I’ve been neglecting to write for a good three years, and I completed another year of NaNoWriMo. Oh, and Trump got impeached. THANK. GOD. I mean, there’s no way he’s getting removed from office [ahem], but hey, it’s a start. Blegh. Again, 2016. What a dumpster fire.

But one thing that I find fairly notable is that I’ve starting to take this book blogging thing semi-seriously. I’ve started participating in tags, I’ve found a bunch more lovely blogs, and gotten so much insight into this cozy little world. So I’d like to thank all of you reading this, for liking and commenting on my posts, tagging me/following along with tags, and for just sticking around.

With that said, there’s a few improvements that I think I’ll start making to this blog next year:

  • For my Book Review Tuesdays, I’m going to try and start going through books that aren’t in the 3-5 star range; it’s good to review stuff that’s not the best, after all. I’ll start putting my actual star ratings on there, along with some other info.
  • I’ll try and do weekly updates. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with monthly, but we’ll see how that goes.
  • At the end of every post, I’ll try and post a link to a song that I listened to/liked as I was writing it. I’m a very music-oriented person, and I thought it would just be a fun little addition. (Currently listening to Wilco’s “Red-Eyed and Blue”)
  • When NaNoWriMo/Camp NaNoWriMo season comes back around, I’ll try and put some updates on that as well.

 

So let’s make this next decade–and year–one of rising beyond, one of growth, improvement, and joy. [holds out lightsaber] Let’s do this.

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And while I’m at it, I’ll start on one of the things I said I’d improve on. Let’s end this post with a song.

I got into girpool in August, and though this isn’t my favorite of their songs, I think it perfectly captures the New Year’s Eve state of mind, and reflecting on how things used to be.

 

So thank you for spending this year with me. Have a great rest of your day…SEE YOU IN 2020

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Posted in Art, Book Tags, Books, Geeky Stuff, Music

Anything But Books Tag

Happy Thursday, fellow bibliophiles!

 

I was tagged by A Little Haze Book Blog to take part in the Anything But Books Tag, and I’m so excited to participate!

Alright, let’s get started…

 

Name a cartoon character that you love.

Okay, technically, he was a comic character first, but Forager from Young Justice: Outsiders is absolutely precious.

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What is your favorite song right now?

Ooh…hard to pick, but at the moment, I’d probably have to go with “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead. Never fails to fill every fiber of my being with emotion…

 

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading? 

Drawing and writing, most likely. I’d add playing guitar as well, but…yeah, my fingers could not withstand playing guitar for hours. They’d never forgive me.

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What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I love to go ALL OUT for Halloween. Whether or not I end up trick-or-treating, I try to at least wear my costume to school. I was Liz Sherman from Hellboy last year, which was super fun 🙂 I dyed my hair red and everything!

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What is your favorite unneccessarily specific thing to learn about?

Cephalopod biology, hands down. They’re such a fascinating group of creatures; I have fond memories of spending an entire period in 6th grade watching a documentary on cuttlefish 🙂

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What is something unusual that you know how to do?

Um…

I don’t think I have any *unusual* talents, per se, but I can kind of make a kazoo noise with my mouth…

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Name something you’ve made in the last year, and show us if you can.

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I just finished this up a few weeks ago! It was a 22 x 30 drawing in Prismacolor  colored pencils, for my advanced art class. Recognize her? 😉

 

What is your most recent personal project?

I don’t have anything *super* personal, but I did pick up some watercolors after several years of not touching a paintbrush. This was the end result:

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Dark Phoenix!

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Tell us something that you think about often (especially when looking out windows).

It’s inevitable that every time I stare out a window, I drift into the recesses of my mind, where my story ideas start playing like movies.

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Give us something that is your favorite, but make it oddly specific.

I love watching X-Men movies (no, duh, Sherlock), but at night, curled up in a blanket downstairs, and preferably with some snacks and in the company of my cats.

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Say the first thing that pops into your head.

They did surgery on a grape.

I’m so incredibly sorry to bring that back.

I’ve created a monster

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I tag:

 

Thank you so much for reading this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Random, Vacations

“A Few Updates” 2: Electric Boogaloo

Sorry, friends, looks like I’m gonna be on another (but shorter) hiatus.

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I promise it won’t be as long as it was last time, though. I’m going to Canada tomorrow (WOOHOO!), and I’ll be back about a week from now. I’m not going to be able to get to a Book Review Tuesday that week, but I’ll take LOTS of pictures from my adventures up north and compile a nice little post once I’m settled back in.

I should probably do another fan art post soonish, but I’ve already…yeah, I’ve kinda dumped a bunch of stuff on you guys since I returned from the dead about a week ago (if you’re curious, look for 6/4/19 [Aurora Rising review], my Dark Phoenix review, and 6/11/19 [Defy the Fates review].)

 

Again, sorry, guys. See you soon!

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👋

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies

The Phoenix has Risen…and it was Worth the Wait! (Dark Phoenix review)

Let me start off by saying that this was probably the movie that I’ve most anticipated in my entire life.

Since I discovered that it was happening about a year ago, I was absolutely over the moon excited. I counted down the days, I squealed every time I saw the poster by the movie theater, I made my parents take a picture of me next to said movie poster(s), set all my wallpapers to the various posters (which all belong in the MoMA, honestly)…you get the idea. I was a very, very excited little mutant.

As the reviews started pouring in, I got a little worried. I told myself, time and time again, not to listen to the critics. I also tried to tell myself not to expect another First Class or X2, but…I couldn’t really help myself up until the end.

Then, I saw it on Saturday night. I haven’t felt such a surge of joy in a long, long time, not like I did when the “feature presentation” screen finally came up.

And?

It didn’t deserve such hate-filled reviews from the critics. Nor did it deserve as high praise as some of the other films. But even still, an incredible film, and a beautiful ending to a masterful franchise.

*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD–I ADVISE THAT YOU DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DARK PHOENIX*

 

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“I Want All of These Posters Framed in a Museum” and other stories, part one. This one gives off some wonderfully Stranger Things vibes. 

 

 

Dark Phoenix has always been one of the most revered stories in the whole of the X-Men universe. Full of raw emotion not usually seen in a superhero story (at the time, at least), it was a groundbreaking series that changed the X-Men forever. I doubt any film will ever come close to portraying it perfectly, but Dark Phoenix sure came close. Some alterations were made to the plot, but they made enough sense that they worked with the story. (ex. instead of Jean consuming the mother star of the D’Bari and wiping the entire race out, they nearly went extinct in another way and sought Jean’s Phoenix Force to resurrect what was left of them. A bit cliche, but again, it worked.)

Perfectly paced, stunning FX (especially when it came to Jean), and a plethora of fun Easter Eggs that…yeah, I had a bunch of Chris Pratt-esque, gaping moments in the theater. FOR EXAMPLE…

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–Dazzler. DAAAZZZZZZLEERRRRRR!!! I mean…okay, she’s not my favorite, but it was pretty cool to see her show up briefly after all these X-Men films. Plus, she was originally introduced in the Dark Phoenix Saga, so…nice touch.

 

 

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–GENOSHA. Such a beautiful set. I really liked the approach they took with it–instead of being super high-tech, the structures and buildings were largely made up of scrap parts. Magneto’s house was also really pretty. (I mean, who wouldn’t put it past him to have a matching tea set?)

 

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Another little Easter egg was the addition of Red Lotus (behind Storm) and Selene (in front of Nightcrawler). Though I can see why they were added in, they didn’t have much screen time at all, and seemed almost unneccesary, other than being throwaway allies of Magneto. Selene does look pretty cool, though. I’ll give them that.

 

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What truly made this film, as it did in the comics, was the emotion and the themes of family. Dark Phoenix masterfully captured the raw, unfettered feelings of each of the mutants, showing their conflicts, their sorrow, their anger. Most prominent of all was Jean herself, and her internal struggle with her newfound abilities. I got choked up at the end–no spoilers, but it’s bittersweet, with a heartbreaking loss, followed by something more hopeful. A fitting farewell for the 20th Century Fox X-Men.

 

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And to top it all off, there’s always the classic fun that comes along with watching an X-Men movie. The battle scenes are over-the-top, but in the best way possible. The final one was one of my favorite X-Men battle scenes, period.

No spoilers for this portion, but I’ll tell you one thing–

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The context for that scene is…darkly hilarious.

 

Of course, every movie has it’s flaws. Dark Phoenix was in no way perfect, and I wished we’d had these aspects in it at some point:

 

–Quicksilver never told Magneto that he was his son. It ALMOST happened in Apocalypse, but alas…nada.

–On the subject of estranged relatives, there was a similar problem with Mystique and Nightcrawler. The only hint we get of their mother-son relationship is also in Apocalypse--she gives him some degree of special treatment, but not much beyond the rescue from the mutant fight ring.

–In the other films, there was lots of care taken to make the time period believable. Dark Phoenix is set in 1992, but if we weren’t told that, I’m not sure that I would’ve figured it out. Not even a band shirt or a running soundtrack for Quicksilver. *single tear slides down cheek*

 

But, all in all, Dark Phoenix was worth the long wait. Solid 8.5/10 from me. Go see it, X-Fans–you won’t regret it. Mutant and proud. 😉

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Holidays, Movies, Music

2018

Whew.

The past 2 or so years have both been dumpster fires, and that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Mostly 2016, but you know what I mean.

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And this year?

Weeeell…I wouldn’t quite go so far to say that it was good, but it was less of a dumpster fire. You get my drift?

I’d be lying if I said that 2018 was easy. I had to face many daunting obstacles, make some difficult transitions, and come to terms with some truths about myself. But you know what? I managed to overcome those challenges, and I bet that you were able to do the same with yours. But if we look past all that we’d like to forget about this year, parts have been pretty awesome. I got to have so many new and wonderful experiences (Chicago, Sequoia National Park), discovered LOADS of new and spectacular books (some notable 2018 releases included Heart of Iron, Thunderhead, Honor Among Thieves, A Conspiracy of Stars, The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, and a few others), some amazing films (Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse, The Crimes of Grindelwald, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Antman and the Wasp, and I haven’t seen Aquaman but I’ve heard that it’s great), incredible music (Lush, Twin Fantasy, etc.) and much more. Of course, we’ve had some not-so-great moments in those respects (The Light Between Worlds, Venom, etc.), but overall, it’s been alright. And regardless of what kind of year we had in 2018, we’ve got a lot to look forward to in 2019.

I saw a meme the other day that was kind of hopeful, however silly it was.

 

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Fingers crossed. 

 

And I’m really hoping that this will be the way things are. If it gets too bad, I’ll just remember that Dark Phoenix, Avengers: Endgame, Soul of Stars, Honor Bound, King of Scars, and An Anatomy of Beasts are in our futures. So let’s try to make 2019 the inverse of 2016, everyone. Make it good. 🙂

 

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (10/16/18)-Two Dark Reigns

Hi, everyone, and welcome to this week’s Book Review Tuesday!

And THAT’S RIGHT, FOLKS…

IT’S HERE.

AND I’M SHOOK. 

 

I recently checked this gem out at the library, and I must say, it’s a pretty shocking new installment to the Three Dark Crowns series.  (For the first two books, see 6/26/18 and 7/10/18.) I guarantee that your jaw will be slack and your eyes as wide as dinner plates by the time you finish this book.

 

Hope you enjoy the review!

 

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Two Dark Reigns

As far as Fennbirn, the monstrous poisoner queen Katharine is the one true queen, and her two sisters, Arsinoe and Mirabella, are dead. Now, Katharine’s wrath and power know no limits, and she will stop at nothing to get her way.

But on a nearby island, Arisnoe and Mirabella hide out in secret, having escaped their gruesome fates, plot their revenge on the false queen. And their friend Jules, who was recently revealed to have powers of her own, grows unsure and conflicted as she realizes her potential. As tensions rise on Fennbirn, the three sisters know that uncertain times are on the horizon. What will be the fate of Fennbirn and its throne?

 

 

HOOOOOOO BOY. Words can hardly describe how I felt throughout this book.

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aAAAaaAAaaaaAAAAAAaAAaaAaAaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

 

*panting* okay, I think I’m calm now.

 

Blake’s signature writing packs a punch once more. All of our favorite characters are back, fiercer and more spirited than ever. And, as usual, plot twists are thrown at you left and right. And man, if the end of One Dark Throne ended like a Marvel post-credits scene, this was basically Infinity War. No joke. (“Mr. Stark, I don’t feel so good…”)

It’s confirmed that there will be one more book to conclude the series, but I don’t think any more information other than that has been released, as Two Dark Reigns came out a little over a month ago. So fasten your seat belts, folks, we’re probably in for a rough ride in 2019 (or 2020…¯\_(ツ)_/¯)

Come to think of it, 2019 is probably gonna be FULL of rough rides all around-I mean, Dark Phoenix, Avengers 4, Soul of Stars…whew, I’m gonna get me some tissue packs ASAP.

 

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Well, I hope you liked today’s review, and have a great rest of your day! 🙂