Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: February 8-14, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and happy Valentine’s Day, if that’s your thing! I’m not *super* into it or anything (I guess it’s more worthwhile when you’re…y’know, actually dating somebody), but regardless, I’m down for any kind of holiday that celebrates love of all kinds, be it romantic, familial or platonic. So love each other today and every day of the year, okay?

Image result for happy valentimes gif 30 rock

This week’s been kind of hit or miss; there hasn’t been a whole lot of schoolwork, thankfully, but precalc just continues to make my mood go 📉 so…yep. Let’s hope that statistics next year will be more merciful…

I accidentally got a whole bunch of shorter books on my library haul last week, so I read a lot more than I expected! Again, hit or miss, but I did find a few great ones, for sure. And blogging-wise, I loved doing my review this week! Writing-wise, I’ve been steadily outlining, and I got around to organizing my favorite scene in my sci-fi WIP. 🥺 (Again, details are largely undisclosed, but I will say that there are quite a lot of tender feels and a certain Beatles song.)

Other than that, I’ve been drawing a bit, I finished rewatching season 1 of Fargo and started rewatching season 2, and I finally got around to watching The New Mutants, which I was so excited for, but…gah, if you looked up the entry for the word “disappointment” in the dictionary, the movie poster would be there. So much wasted potential…they did my poor X-Men so dirty…😔👊

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

If It Makes You Happy–Claire Kann (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for if it makes you happy claire kann

Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)–Octavia E. Butler (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for dawn octavia butler book cover

The Dark Matter of Mona Starr–Laura Lee Gulledge (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for the dark matter of mona starr by laura lee gulledge cover

Escaping Exodus (Escaping Exodus, #1)–Nicky Drayden (⭐️⭐️)

Image result for escaping exodus by nicky drayden

Color Outside the Lines–Sangu Mandanna et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for color outside the lines book

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

The City We Became (Great Cities, #1)–N.K. Jemisin

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Game Changer–Neal Shusterman

Image result for game changer neal shusterman

Today’s song (sort of Valentine’s Day edition):

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (2/9/21) – Before the Fall

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Me? Reviewing non-YA books two weeks in a row? I’m in rare form…

I just have to review this one, though. I’ve been a massive fan of Noah Hawley’s work on television for years; Fargo is my favorite show, and Legion follows very close behind. So you can imagine my excitement when I found out that he’s written several books!

I spent some of my Christmas gift card money for a local bookstore on this one, and man, I’m so glad that I did. I’m not usually one for mystery, but Before the Fall is a slow-burning but visibly intricate novel that I’m sure I’ll never forget.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Image result for before the fall book noah hawley cover

Before the Fall – Noah Hawley

One night in August, an unknown disaster causes a private plane to crash into the ocean with 11 people onboard, including the crew. Most are powerful media giants or their companions, some soon to be convicted of crimes, others on the road to even more fame and fortune. The only exception is that of Scott Burroughs, a struggling painter on his way to New York.

Scott, along with the four-year-old son of a powerful newscaster, are the only survivors.

Now in the midst of a national conspiracy, Scott finds his privacy tumbling down around him as the media attempts to decipher the cause of the plane crash–malfunction, terrorism, or something else entirely?

Image result for stormy ocean gif

TW/CW: Plane crash/resulting trauma, loss of loved ones, death(s) (adults and children), substance abuse

[chanting to myself in front of the mirror] “stop talking about Fargo…stop talking about Fargo…STOP TALKING ABOUT FARGO…”

My first 5-star read of 2021, ladies, gentlemen & others! I’ll admit that my expectations were absolutely through-the-roof high, but I’m delighted to say that Before the Fall 110% met them.

This was my first exposure to Noah Hawley’s novels, but I’ve adored his work ever since falling in love with Fargo and Legion. But even though there’s a significant gap between experiencing a TV show and a book, this still felt just as cinematic. It really felt like I was watching an episode of Fargo; the writing did meander a bit and linger on things for too long, but it felt like drifting through plot points as we get more information on the characters. Something that I always value in any good novel is a clear care for even the smallest of details, and Before the Fall was exemplary in that department.

Now, I read fast. It’s a problem, at this point. But it’s not every book that makes me actively think “man, I can’t wait until I have a break so I can pick this up again!” And Before the Fall built up such a suspenseful and gripping story that I found myself looking forward to the times in my day when I could kick back and read it. Hawley’s writing instantly pulled me in and didn’t let me go until the final page. Everything in this novel felt deliberate, placed just so to make for a plot that kept me guessing all the way through.

Normally, writing that tends to ramble bothers me sometimes; it feels like the author’s going off on random tangents that have no pertinence to the central plot. And maybe I’m biased, but Hawley made it work in such a way that I looked forward to all of the little digressions throughout the novel. Throughout Before the Fall, backstory and suspense are built through a series of thorough snapshots–obituaries, days in the lives of the dead passengers, and more. Even Scott’s paintings–the subject matter of which is far more important than I would’ve thought at first–help to make the mystery unravel. (As well as help Scott’s reputation unravel…oops…) Every single character, even the side characters that seldom make an appearance, felt astoundingly authentic, someone you could pass by on the street, so fleshed-out they were.

All in all, a stunning and intricate mystery from one of my favorite creative minds. I’m 100% going to read Hawley’s other novels now. 5 stars!

Image result for fargo fx gif

Before the Fall is a standalone, but Noah Hawley is also the author of The Good Father, A Conspiracy of Tall Men, The Punch, and Other People’s Weddings. He is also the executive producer/writer/director of the TV adaptations of Fargo (FX) and Legion. (FX/Marvel television)

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: February 1-7, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this first week of February has treated you all well.

Reading-wise, I’d say February’s off to an awesome start! I finally got around to some of the books I’d bought with a gift card I got for Christmas, and they were all great! (And I have my first full 5-star read of the year! Noah Hawley never misses…) Other than having to study for a math test, I had hardly any homework, so I had a bit of time to relax. And since the cases have been getting more manageable where I am, I went back to volunteering at my local library! It’s so good to be back. (Safely, of course.)

Other than that, I’ve been steadily working away at my outline, watched Vertigo, and caught up on WandaVision. (And for those of you who’ve seen the last episode…OH MY G O D AAAAAAAAAAH)

Also, I gave in and started rewatching Fargo from the beginning. Oops.

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amen

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Before the Fall–Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

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A Song of Wraiths and Ruin–Roseanne A. Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for a song of wraiths and ruin

The Conference of the Birds (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #5)–Ransom Riggs (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

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The Brighter the Stars–Bryan K. Prosek (eARC) (⭐️⭐️)

Image result for the brighter the stars bryan prosek

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers, #1)–Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Image result for the long way to a small angry planet book cover

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

If It Makes You Happy–Claire Kann

Image result for if it makes you happy claire kann

Dawn (Xenogenesis, #1)–Octavia Butler

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Color Outside the Lines–Sangu Mandanna et. al. (anthology)

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The Dark Matter of Mona Starr–Laura Lee Gulledge

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Escaping Exodus–Nicky Drayden

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Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

January 2021 Wrap-Up 🌨

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I figured this year that monthly wrap-ups would be a fun way to track my reading progress. This is my first stab at it, so we’ll see how it goes…

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Screaming Thom Yorke GIF | Gfycat

January was…an interesting month? Definitely had its ups and downs, I’d say. The school year started out super stressful and overwhelming, and I had to take a week and a half off blogging. But after getting over that initial hump, the workload started to get more manageable, and it’s stayed that way, for the most part, knock on wood.

As far as writing goes, I finished the initial edits on my first draft of the sci-fi WIP I’ve been steadily chipping away at since November 2019 (or thereabouts). I’ve now started outlining it before moving onto draft two; the filler chapters…why did I write so many filler chapters…

Reaction Gif

I found a lot of good music though! I’ve been listening to loads of Julien Baker lately (I can’t wait for the new album in February!), and I thoroughly enjoyed getting into the scores for Fargo and Legion. I just got into Lucy Dacus too, and No Burden was a good album, for the most part.

And it’s generally just a relief to have Joe Biden in office. Hey, he’s not perfect, but it’s quite a nice change to not have to worry about my basic human rights being taken away on the daily. 🙂

READING AND BLOGGING

My Goodreads challenge is for 250 books at present (I lowered it in anticipation of schoolwork), and I read 20 books in January! (Not counting a few single-issue comics.) This is the first year where I’ve been paying attention to how many books I’ve actually read in a month, so it’ll be interesting to see how my progress waxes and/or wanes.

So without further ado, here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

Haunting the Deep by Adriana Mather: 9780553539547 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books
Haunting the Deep

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2) by Roshani Chokshi
The Silvered Serpents (The Gilded Wolves, #2)

4 – 4.75 stars:

I'm Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid
I’m Thinking of Ending Things

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Zero Repeat Forever – 4.75 stars, rounded up to 5

Amazon.com: Zero Repeat Forever (1) (The Nahx Invasions) (9781481481854):  Prendergast, G. S.: Books

I’m too lazy to list every single post that I’ve made this month (and I think that it’d be rather tedious to go through, anyway), so here are some of my highlights.

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

I Believe In You All GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

GOALS FOR FEBRUARY:

Film Animated GIF | Beetlejuice movie, Beetlejuice, Michael keaton  beetlejuice
  • Read more books by Black authors for Black history month! (And make a post about it!)
  • Listen to & review Little Oblivions (Julien Baker) when it comes out!
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Finish my initial outline for my sci-fi WIP?

Since I already posted today, check out today’s weekly update for today’s song.

And that wraps up my January! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: December 14-20, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.

This week has definitely had its emotional ups and downs, what with studying for finals and actually doing finals. All that studying definitely took a toll on me, but at least in the case of one of my finals, it paid off. (I’ve only gotten one of my scores back and it was good, but we’ll see about the others…) I still have my AP Bio final tomorrow, though, and even though I’ve been studying for a solid week and a half, I’m still trembling in fear…

Who's Going To Say: "I Have A Bad Feeling About This." In Rogue One?? |  Star Wars Amino

One more school day…one more school day…

As for reading, I’ve been doing frequent curbside from the library, and I’ve found some great reads! I picked up some more for break, and I’m so excited to get into them. And it’s always so nice to come back to blogging after a break. I have a whole load of book tags and some original post ideas piling up, so chances are, I’ll be pretty active through winter break…

Other than that, I watched both Kill Bill movies, finished rewatching season 4 of Fargo, and I’m two episodes away from finishing The Queen’s Gambit on Netflix, which I’m sadly finding to be veeeeeery mediocre. (How…how are so many people liking this show? I mean, I love Anya Taylor Joy and her 60’s outfits and all the music, but everything’s just so flat…so stilted…)

Oh, and this is old-ish news, but IS ANYONE ELSE SUPER EXCITED THAT NOAH HAWLEY IS CURRENTLY DEVELOPING AN ALIEN TV SHOW ON FX? REJOICE!

[ahem] I’ll step off my soapbox for now, let’s talk about other things…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)–Kendare Blake (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, Book 1) (Anna Dressed in Blood  Series, 1) (9780765328670): Blake, Kendare: Books

We Are Lost and Found–Helene Dunbar (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: We Are Lost and Found (9781492681045): Dunbar, Helene: Books

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1)–Kaylyn Josephson (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Storm Crow (The Storm Crow, #1) by Kalyn Josephson

How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge (The Thorne Chronicles, #2)–K. Eason (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

How the Multiverse Got Its Revenge by K. Eason: 9780756415310 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

THE ONE LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

THE ONE LONELY SONG THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost, #1)–Coco Ma

Amazon.com: Shadow Frost (Shadow Frost Trilogy, Book 1) (9781982527440):  Coco Ma: Books

Cemetery Boys–Aiden Thomas

Amazon.com: Cemetery Boys eBook: Thomas, Aiden: Kindle Store

Unhooked–Lisa Maxwell

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell

Alien: Echo–Mira Grant

Amazon.com: Alien: Echo: An Original Young Adult Novel of the Alien  Universe (9781250306296): Grant, Mira: Books

Today’s song:

I haven’t been able to stop listening to this one for most of this month, so of course I had to share…

That’s it for this (short) week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 30-December 6, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well. Just under a month left in this cursed year, we can do it…

It’s definitely been an okay week, considering that awful feeling of having to go back to school after break. I beat my NaNoWriMo goal of 35,000 words on Monday, but after that, I started getting rather unmotivated for that particular WIP, so I think I’ll take a little break from it. I’ve been meaning to go back and edit my sci-fi WIP that I finished in June, so maybe I’ll start on that once I’ve gotten over the finals hump.

And speaking of finals, chances are, I’ll be posting a lot less in the next few weeks. My finals start in two weeks, so I’ll be studying a lot next week, so I doubt I’ll be terribly present or consistent. I’ll be back once Winter Break rolls back around, though. So just a heads up.

Its That Time Of Year Again Announcement GIF - ItsThatTimeOfYearAgain  Announcement Declairing - Discover & Share GIFs

On a much lighter note…I’ve gotten out of my reading slump! I ended up DNFing the first book of the week, but after that, I read a whole bunch of great books. I also got to the season finale of Fargo, and I’ve started re-watching it, too. We also put up our Christmas ornaments and decorations, so that’s given everything a cozy, festive air.

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms, #1)–Morgan Rhodes (DNF-⭐️)

Amazon.com: Falling Kingdoms: A Falling Kingdoms Novel (9781595145857):  Rhodes, Morgan: Books

Grown–Tiffany D. Jackson (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Grown (9780062840356): Jackson, Tiffany D: Books

Mortal Remains–Mary Ann Fraser (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Sterling Teen to Debut in Spring

Almost American Girl–Robin Ha (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Almost American Girl: An Illustrated Memoir (9780062685094):  Ha, Robin, Ha, Robin: Books

The Weight of Feathers–Anna-Marie McLemore (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Bloody & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)–Shelby Mahurin

Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove) (9780062878052): Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

Sparrow–Sarah Moon

Amazon.com: Sparrow (9781338032581): Moon, Sarah: Books

Americus–M.K. Reed

Amazon.com: Americus (9781596436015): Reed, MK, Hill, Jonathan: Books

The Candle and the Flame–Nafiza Azad

Amazon.com: The Candle and the Flame (9781338306040): Azad, Nafiza: Books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Geeky Stuff, TV

“If I don’t come back, I’m dead or in jail.” (Fargo: Year 4 review)

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All images in this post credit to FX Networks

Happy Friday, bibliophiles! I suppose that the bibliophile greeting doesn’t *quite* fit for this post, but hey, you probably followed this blog for books, right? Today, we’ve got something a little bit different–but at least I kept my promise, didn’t I? I hinted at doing a review for at least a week prior to today…

At the beginning of quarantine, my brother and my parents had just started binging Fargo. So like so many of us have done with different shows in the last 6 months, I starting doing some serious binge-watching. I’d already been exposed to Noah Hawley’s masterful storytelling through Legion, but Fargo never ceased to wow me. I forgot about it for a few months after finishing up season 3, and then the trailer for season 4 came out in September. I didn’t see it coming, but little did I know that this newest season would be my favorite yet!

Chris Rock Leads the Future in New Fargo Season 4 Teaser

Here’s the special thing about Fargo: each season follows a plot that, chances are, you’ve seen before: murder mysteries in small towns, sibling rivalries escalated to astronomical proportions, dysfunctional crime families; this season, in particular, centers around the politics of rivaling Italian and African-American gangs in 1950s Kansas City, and a mortician’s family who unwillingly gets caught up in the action. But every season, without fail, Noah Hawley spins it into something that you’ve never seen before, be it with the characters, the cinematography, and the plot twists (and there’s a LOT of plot twists). Fargo is all about the unexpected, and season 4 brings the factor of the unknown and unseen up to levels that I haven’t seen since…well, I guess that season 3 ending…(no spoilers.)

And maybe I’m biased for this one. October was one of the hardest months I’ve had in quite a while, and Fargo was, without a doubt, one of the things that kept me going through it. As the season came out, my days started to revolve around the Monday nights that would inevitably bring another episode to fuel me with enough dopamine to keep me going through the rest of the week. But I genuinely believe that this show embodies what storytelling should be–what good TV should be, really. And this season has truly cemented Fargo as my favorite show. (And considering that I don’t readily jump for murder mysteries/historical fiction, that’s definitely saying something. That’s just the power of Noah Hawley, folks…)

Now, TREAD LIGHTLY! This review may contain some minor spoilers, but for your benefit, I’ll try to keep it light on them. But even so, be warned…

Fargo" season 4 has spun a complex, compelling American fable of race and  crime | Salon.com

I…can’t really find anything major that I didn’t like about this season, so consider this review a breakdown of most everything that I loved.

THE GREAT:

  • Characters/casting/acting: With every Fargo season, there’s no shortage of complex characters and masterful actors (for previous seasons, see: Martin Freeman, Bokeem Woodbine, Jean Smart, Ewan McGregor, David Thewlis, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, etc.), but season 4 in particular had them in no short supply. I loved all of the (HUGE) main cast and many of the supporting characters, but for one reason or another, this is the first season where I’ve gotten really attached to more than one character. And considering that Fargo is one of those shows that 75%-80% of the main cast is killed off by the time the finale rolls around, it…didn’t go over well with my emotions. But in all seriousness, THESE CHARACTERS!

Let me just digress to talk about my three favorites in this season:

Fargo Season 4 Episode 5 Review: The Birthplace of Civilization | Den of  Geek
  • Doctor Senator (Glynn Turman): let’s be honest, what’s not to like? He consistently has some of the best lines/general dialogue in this season, he’s strategic, he’s clever, and he’s instantly likable. I’ll get more in depth on the morally gray theme of the whole season later on in the review, but leave it to Fargo to make us AGGRESSIVELY sympathize with all manner of mobsters and criminals…anyways, this guy’s the best.
In 'Fargo' Season 4, All the Cops are Bad — Noah Hawley Explains Why |  IndieWire
“I am Ethelrida Pearl Smutny. And I am one of a kind.”
  • Ethelrida Smutny (E’myri Crutchfield): LOVE HER! She’s one of the few characters in this season who’s morally right and seeks to do the right thing, and she is such a lovable character in every way. She’s frequently underestimated by most of the adults in this season, but she shows herself to not only be smart–smarter than them, in some cases–, but compassionate and determined to do the right thing. The world needs more people like Ethelrida.

And last but most definitely not least…

Fargo' Season 4 Character Guide: Who's Who in the New Series
“If I don’t come back, I’m dead or in jail. Do your lessons.”
  • Patrick “Rabbi” Milligan (Ben Whishaw): [SCREAMS AND CRIES INTO THE VOID]

Out of the three I just mentioned, he’s absolutely my favorite. He’s endured so much tragedy and trauma over the course of his life, but all he wants is for Satchel to have a better life. Again, no shortage of clever and insightful lines, and objectively one of those characters that just needs a big hug and a mug of hot chocolate. Just…just trust me on that one. You’ll see.

FX Postpones Fargo Season 4 After Production Delays Due to Coronavirus |  Consequence of Sound
I hate myself for thinking about that “What do you have? A KNIFE! NO!” vine when I saw this scene…

But as far as characters, it doesn’t stop there. Everybody, from Chris Rock (Loy Cannon) to Jason Schwartzman (Josto Fadda) to Jessie Buckley (Oraetta Mayflower) truly shines in season 4. Each character is distinct, complex, and it was an absolute joy to see all of their stories unfold. (Also, it’s worth it just to see Jason Schwartzman just SNAP…that scene of him just pretending to hold a gun and just go “HAGAGAGAGAGHGHAGSDHAGHGHGH” just lives rent-free in my mind now…)

(Plus…THE GAYS WON 2020, EVERYBODY! Can we just talk about how Zelmare and Swanee INVENTED “be gay, do crime?”)

Preview — Fargo Season 4 Episode 8: The Nadir | Tell-Tale TV
[intense sapphic happiness ensues]

Whew, that went on for a while. BUT WAIT–THERE’S MORE, BECAUSE THIS SHOW IS VERY NEARLY FLAWLESS:

  • Score and soundtrack: At this point, I think it’s just impossible for Jeff Russo to ever make a bad score for a movie or a TV show. Besides all of the remixes of the music from previous seasons, I loved all of the new songs. I particularly liked Odis (Jack Huston)’s theme (somehow it almost sounds like a car alarm? But in a good way) and the Legion-y song with the shootout with Zelmare and Swanee at the train station. And I loved all of the other songs that were slipped in. No spoilers for the context of the Johnny Cash song in the finale, but when I tell you that I SOBBED…
  • Timely themes: One of the main complaints I’ve seen about this season is that it’s “too woke,” (🙄) which I think is utterly idiotic. This season’s set in 1950, but it’s more timely than ever–there’s discussions of race, police brutality, immigration, and what it means to be an American. And it’s all handled quite well, I think. One thing I’ve always appreciated about the show as a whole is how it depicts the American police system–for the first three seasons, there’s usually 1-2 cops that actually know what they’re doing, but they’re frequently dismissed by a largely unbelieving and sexist police force. This season is the first where we have both of our main cops as largely corrupt, but we still sympathize with one of them (PTSD relating to WWII). Most of the characters are morally gray as well (I mean, most of the main cast are members of separate gangs), and that contrast was also well-done.
  • That classic, Noah Hawley weirdness: in every season, there’s at least one episode or plot point that’s highly out of the ordinary, and lucky for us, we got that in the form of episode 9. Besides having a whole episode of Rabbi and Satchel after not seeing them for two episodes, there’s an amazing Wizard of Oz theme with the whole episode. I’ll shamelessly admit to thinking about it for a solid WEEK.
Fargo' Season 4, Episode 9 Recap: And a Little Dog, Too - The New York Times
  • All the Coen Brothers references, of course: Treehorn? The Raising Arizona screaming? Everything that I missed? LOADS OF FUN.
Chris Rock Says Irish Actress Got Best Part on 'Fargo,' Evil Nurse Oraetta
“Ya like pie?”

All in all, this was a masterful show from start to finish. My favorite season out of the four, by far, although I love them all. I’m already rewatching the whole season over again…

MY RATING: ★★★★★

TW/CW: Graphic violence (mostly gunshot wounds, but there’s some parts that definitely made me queasy), racism, xenophobia, police brutality, some brief racist/homophobic/ablelist slurs, poisoning, loss of loved ones, alcoholism/substance abuse

EDIT: Whoooooooa, apparently this is my 500th post! Dang…😳

Today’s song:

I haven’t heard this song in so long…the memories…😭

That’s it for this TV review! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 23-29, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated everybody well. Only one month left in 2020…we can do it…

My Thanksgiving Break was this week, and luckily, only one of my teachers assigned homework, and I was able to get it done last weekend, so that was really nice. I had a lot of time to relax–I picked my Radiohead puzzle back up (I hit a wall with it in October, so I figured that now would be a good time to resume it), and watched Annihilation (AAAAAAAAH), I’m Thinking of Ending Things (excuse me while I internally write a 17-page essay on that one), and the newest episode of Fargo. Thanksgiving dinner was delicious, even though we didn’t have anyone over. And we just got our Christmas tree yesterday, and it smells so nice…🥺

And NaNoWriMo’s almost over! It feels like it’s gone by so fast…but hey, I’m on track to finish my 35,000 words very soon!

I’ve had a bit of a reading slump this week, though…after Clap When You Land, I’ve had a mostly disappointing library haul. So chances are, my Book Review Tuesday next week will *probably* be a bit of rant review…sigh…

But hey, I finished my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge! 250 books!

Top 30 Done GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

I love this part–Tillie Walden (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

I Love This Part: Hardcover Edition: Walden, Tillie: 9781910395325:  Amazon.com: Books

How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us Back–Jeff Tweedy (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us  Back: Tweedy, Jeff: 9780593183526: Amazon.com: Books

Clap When You Land–Elizabeth Acevedo (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Clap When You Land (9780062882769): Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

Kingdom of Souls–Rena Barron (⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

Music from Another World–Robin Talley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Music from Another World by Robin Talley

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?–Philip K. Dick (⭐️⭐️)

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick: 9780345404473 |  PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Six Angry Girls–Adrienne Kisner (⭐️⭐️.5)

Six Angry Girls by Adrienne Kisner

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Falling Kingdoms–Morgan Rhodes

Amazon.com: Falling Kingdoms: A Falling Kingdoms Novel (9781595145857):  Rhodes, Morgan: Books

Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove, #2)–Shelby Mahurin

Amazon.com: Blood & Honey (Serpent & Dove) (9780062878052): Mahurin,  Shelby: Books

The Candle and the Flame–Nafiza Azad

Amazon.com: The Candle and the Flame (9781338306040): Azad, Nafiza: Books

Sparrow–Sarah Moon

Amazon.com: Sparrow (9781338032581): Moon, Sarah: Books

Today’s song:

“Submarine”–The Dook

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: November 16-22, 2020

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.

It’s nice to be back to blogging, and I think I’m finally back in the right headspace academic-wise to be back again. I mentioned a little of what I’ve been up to in my back from the void post, but it’s definitely been a good week.

Aside from…well, y’know, having to write lab reports and take some tests at the end of the week, it was a good week leading up to break. Lately, my weeks have revolved around the new episodes of Fargo coming on Monday nights, and Noah Hawley blessed us with “East/West,” which was, without question, my favorite episode of the season. So that’s been on my mind for the whole week. I read some decent books from the library, and got a bunch more when I went back on Thursday, so I’m fully stocked up for break. We watched Blood Simple on Friday night too, and that was thoroughly enjoyable.

Something I failed to mention (and probably shouldn’t have, since it would have made the post painfully long) in the last post was NaNoWriMo! I’m at about 70% to my goal of 35,000 words by the end of the month (I’m still in the Young Writer’s Program, so I’m working my way up to 50,000 so I’ll be prepared once I graduate). At this stage, I’m getting to a part in the WIP that I’m liking, but I’m worried that it’s going to be too short. I feel like this happens with everything that I write, so I suppose I’m prepared, but it’s still not a pleasant feeling. We’ll see how it goes.

Fargo' Season 3 Premiere Recap: Threepeat | Decider

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Crownchasers–Rebecca Coffindaffer (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Crownchasers (Crownchasers, #1) by Rebecca Coffindaffer

Blazewrath Games–Amparo Ortiz (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Blazewrath Games (9781645670797): Ortiz, Amparo: Books

Girls Like Us–Randi Pink (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Girls Like Us (9781250155856): Pink, Randi: Books

Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered–Austin Kleon (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Show Your Work!: Kleon, Austin: 8601421725149: Amazon.com: Books

Feeder–Patrick Weekes (DNF–⭐️)

Amazon.com: Feeder (9781534400160): Weekes, Patrick: Books

All the Light We Cannot See–Anthony Doerr (for book club) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel (9781501173219): Doerr,  Anthony: Books

THE ONE, LONELY POST I MADE THIS WEEK:

…AND THE ONE, LONELY SONG THAT WENT ALONG WITH IT:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

How to Write One Song–Jeff Tweedy

How to Write One Song: Loving the Things We Create and How They Love Us  Back: Tweedy, Jeff: 9780593183526: Amazon.com: Books

Six Angry Girls–Adrienne Kisner

Amazon.com: Six Angry Girls (9781250253422): Kisner, Adrienne: Books

Clap When You Land–Elizabeth Acevedo

Amazon.com: Clap When You Land (9780062882769): Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?–Philip K. Dick

Amazon.com: Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?: The inspiration for the  films Blade Runner and Blade Runner 2049 eBook: Dick, Philip K.: Kindle  Store

I Love This Part–Tillie Walden

I Love This Part: Hardcover Edition: Walden, Tillie: 9781910395325:  Amazon.com: Books

Kingdom of Souls–Rena Barron

Amazon.com: Kingdom of Souls (9780062870957): Barron, Rena: Books

Music from Another World–Robin Talley

Amazon.com: Music from Another World (9781335146779): Talley, Robin: Books

Today’s song:

[sad girl hours intensify]

That’s it for this (very short) week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Mini Reviews, Movies

Back from the void! (Mini reviews of some books I read on my hiatus + general updates)

Hey bibliophiles! Thanksgiving break is here, and that means I’m back to posting semi-regularly!

You betcha - GIF on Imgur

Luckily, after the absolute dumpster fire that October was, November really picked up for me! I’ve started getting my grades up, Biden won the election (!!!!!), and my general mood and mental health have just gotten a lot better.

But before I begin, I’ll just start off with this: I’ll probably start being a little bit more fluid with my posting. I’ll still stick to weekly updates and reviews and such, but depending on how I am that week, I might not do Top 5 Saturdays as much. We’ll see how December goes, anyway. School’s 100% remote now, and everything’s starting to close down again here in Colorado, so I’m fairly certain of another lockdown.

And so this post is for all of the notable novels I read in hiatus, as well as some movies and TV I’ve been enjoying. (Of course, the time I take a break is when I get all the 5-star books…)

Let’s begin, shall we?

WHAT I ENJOYED WHILE I STEPPED INTO THE VOID FOR A FEW WEEKS

BOOKS

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything–Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

Amazon.com: Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything  (9781534448636): Gilliland, Raquel Vasquez: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

It’s been three years since ICE raids and phone calls from Mexico and an ill-fated walk across the Sonoran. Three years since Sia Martinez’s mom disappeared. Sia wants to move on, but it’s hard in her tiny Arizona town where people refer to her mom’s deportation as “an unfortunate incident.”

Sia knows that her mom must be dead, but every new moon Sia drives into the desert and lights San Anthony and la Guadalupe candles to guide her mom home.

Then one night, under a million stars, Sia’s life and the world as we know it cracks wide open. Because a blue-lit spacecraft crashes in front of Sia’s car…and it’s carrying her mom, who’s very much alive.

As Sia races to save her mom from armed-quite-possibly-alien soldiers, she uncovers secrets as profound as they are dangerous in this stunning and inventive exploration of first love, family, immigration, and our vast, limitless universe.

WOW. I was excited to read this one, but I didn’t expect it to pack as much of a punch as it did. This is the prime example of a genre-bending novel–all of the sci-fi, contemporary, and magical realism elements blended seamlessly, and even if I separated the different parts, I enjoyed each little cog in the machine just as much as the other. I found myself rooting for Sia at every step of the way, and her journey and struggle were so heartfelt and painful. Add in some #ownvoices representation and no shortage of timely themes, and you get this novel–unexpected, seamless, and nothing short of a joy to read.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Revolution of Birdie Randolph, Brandy Colbert

Amazon.com: The Revolution of Birdie Randolph (9780316448543): Colbert,  Brandy: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Dove “Birdie” Randolph works hard to be the perfect daughter and follow the path her parents have laid out for her: She quit playing her beloved soccer, she keeps her nose buried in textbooks, and she’s on track to finish high school at the top of her class. But then Birdie falls hard for Booker, a sweet boy with a troubled past…whom she knows her parents will never approve of.

When her estranged aunt Carlene returns to Chicago and moves into the family’s apartment above their hair salon, Birdie notices the tension building at home. Carlene is sweet, friendly, and open-minded–she’s also spent decades in and out of treatment facilities for addiction. As Birdie becomes closer to both Booker and Carlene, she yearns to spread her wings. But when long-buried secrets rise to the surface, everything she’s known to be true is turned upside down.

This one was on my TBR for almost two years, and I’m so glad I picked it up now! The Revolution of Birdie Randolph was one of those rare books that manages to discuss a myriad of issues, but in a way that doesn’t make any of them sound preachy. The struggles of all the characters felt refreshingly real and dealt with in a way that serves to raise conversations. Everything about this novel felt so authentic, which brought me immeasurable joy.

And at the same time, tackling all these issues, Colbert didn’t make it overly heavy–there’s certainly parts that are hard to read, but I didn’t leave it feeling sick to my stomach. At times, it even felt like a slice-of-life story, but I enjoyed that 100%. There’s POC and LGBTQ+ representation aplenty too! All in all, a beautiful and diverse piece of contemporary fiction.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Are You Listening?, Tillie Walden

Amazon.com: Are You Listening? (9781250207562): Walden, Tillie, Walden,  Tillie: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Bea is on the run. And then, she runs into Lou.

This chance encounter sends them on a journey through West Texas, where strange things follow them wherever they go. The landscape morphs into an unsettling world, a mysterious cat joins them, and they are haunted by a group of threatening men. To stay safe, Bea and Lou must trust each other as they are driven to confront buried truths. The two women share their stories of loss and heartbreak—and a startling revelation about sexual assault—culminating in an exquisite example of human connection.

At this point, every time I read something by Tillie Walden, I’m guaranteed to rate it in the 4.5-5 star range, and Are You Listening? is no exception. A family friend recommended this one to me a few months back, and it wasn’t available at my library at the time, so I ended up reading On a Sunbeam and Spinning beforehand.

I ate this one up in the span of a few hours, and I enjoyed every panel of every page. It’s a story of bonding in the toughest of situations, of sticking together no matter what, of trust. Walden’s artwork is as stunning as ever, turning an unexpected road trip through rural Texas into a strange, desolate, and trippy landscape where nothing is as it seems. And we have two queer women at the wheel–what’s not to love? And a CAT! A CAT!

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Crownchasers, Rebecca Coffindaffer

Amazon.com: Crownchasers (9780062845160): Coffindaffer, Rebecca: Books

Blurb from Goodreads:

Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?

But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.

Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.

“Perfect for fans of Aurora Rising” [SLAMS THE WANT-TO-READ BUTTON]

This was one of my most anticipated reads for the second half of the year, and I was…a little bit disappointed, not gonna lie. It wasn’t bad, per se–I liked it, but it left me wanting a little more.

There’s no doubt that it was super fast paced and threw me right into the action–a blessing and a curse; a blessing because it kept me reading for a while, on the edge of my seat, and a curse because…we’re given very little information about the world(s) we’re in. I liked the banter between Alyssa, Hell Monkey, and the others, and they had decent chemistry. (Also, there’s quite a lot of LGBTQ+ characters, including Alyssa herself–I’m not sure if she’s bi, pan, or another identity, but she’s definitely shown to like several genders! Woohoo!)

The breakneck speed definitely had me forgetting where everybody was, why x and y was so important, etc. But for a debut novel, I’d say that this is a solid start on Coffindaffer’s part! Not my favorite, but I think I’ll tag along to see what book 2 holds.

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

MOVIES/TV:

Fargo: Year 4 (2020)

Fargo' Season 4 to premiere Sept. 27 on FX - UPI.com

Yep, it’s settled: Fargo is officially my favorite show. Noah Hawley is a true mastermind of storytelling, and every ounce of his creativity truly shines through in this season. I’ve always loved his characters, but this is the first season where I’ve really gotten attached to some of them (which, given the rate at which characters are killed off in this show, is…not good…). Episode 9 (East/West) is, hands down, my favorite of the season so far–the characterizations of Rabbi and Satchel, all the weird Wizard of Oz references…I haven’t been so invested in a show in such a long time. There’s only two episodes left in this season, so you can expect a review in a few weeks’ time…

Alien: Covenant (2017)

Alien: Covenant | 20th Century Studios

Nobody:

David: GUESS WHO’S BACK

[ahem] Anyway…

Prometheus is definitely one of my favorite movies now, but Covenant wasn’t quite as good. I still enjoyed it though, don’t get me wrong–I love some good, old fashioned sci-fi action, and the twists were so well-executed (though the big one was a tad predictable…I still loved it, though. No spoilers.). I didn’t get attached to any of the characters, but I still adored David, and the creepy little workshop he had going. Everything felt a little rushed, but with where the movie ended, I’m excited to see what else Ridley Scott’s going to pull out of his hat.

Blood Simple (1984)

Blood Simple (1984) - Watch on HBO MAX, HBO, Cinemax, and Streaming Online  | Reelgood

My family’s Fargo kick has made me put a whole bunch of Coen Brothers on my list. We watched this one last night, and…WHOA. I ASPIRE TO HAVE A DEBUT AS GOOD AS THIS. Sure, it took a while to pick up, but it had that signature tension that makes you get invested in so many of their films. Also, even though I’ve never been to Texas, it definitely captured that weird vibe you get when you’re in the South at night, and you’re super tired, and there’s all this humidity and weird ambience floating around…

Today’s song:

So that’s what I’ve been up to while I was gone. As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!