Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (9/14/21) – Tell the Machine Goodnight

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

I have my dad to thank for finding the book I’m reviewing today, so thank you! It was in an NPR article that he sent me a month back that talked about the ways that sci-fi literature has changed in the past decade. I’d read or shelved a book or two from the list, but I added Tell the Machine Goodnight after reading it because of how fascinating it sounded. I’m glad to say that I wasn’t disappointed!

Enjoy this week’s review!

Tell the Machine Goodnight: A Novel: Williams, Katie: 9780525533122:  Amazon.com: Books

Tell the Machine Goodnight – Katie Williams

In a near-future world, the secret to happiness can be obtained with the click of a button. Apricity is a company that has created a machine that can, with startling accuracy, predict exactly what someone needs to be happy.

Pearl has worked for Apricity for many years, earning her notoriety from her coworkers and her manager. But as she looks out into her life–particularly her teenage son, who rejects happiness above all else–she questions the purpose of the machine. Is “happiness” truly what she sells?

Bee Honey GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

TW/CW: substance abuse, eating disorders, stalking, violence, emetophobia

Tell the Machine Goodnight feels like what would happen if Noah Hawley sat down and tried to write a Ray Bradbury novel from scratch. Which is to say, I loved this book.

Everything about this novel felt like a dazzling callback to all of my favorite sci-fi classics. It’s set around 14 years from now, and everything is more or less the same, but there are just some aspects that are fundamentally off. It’s mainly Apricity, among other things, but Katie Williams did a fantastic job of making a world that was simultaneously familiar and unsettling, like something that could feasibly emerge in the next few decades.

I’ve read a lot of reviews that said that they felt that Tell the Machine Goodnight had no plot, but for me, the lack of structure added to the appeal of the narrative. It’s presented as a series of interconnected vignettes of life in Williams’ near-future world, and what society looks like when personalized, surface-level happiness dominates all else. One in particular stood out to me; in one thread, Pearl’s ex-husband creates modern art out of the Apricity suggestions. (One of them was to eat honey, and so he made an art form out of eating honey in excess and then vomiting it out.) Little quirks and stories like these made the world feel all the more fleshed out for me, and I enjoyed every page of it.

To top it off, I firmly believe that good sci-fi should make the reader think, and Tell the Machine Goodnight nails this right on the head! A lot of sci-fi media these days tends to tout that they “comment on the role of technology in our lives,” but I’ve found that very few books/movies/etc. that are advertised as such actually hit the mark. That’s not the case with this novel–it explores some very relevant themes, and does them in creative ways. Throughout the novel, there are themes of the meaning of true happiness, relationships, and our growing reliance on technology that does everything for us. Is computer-generated, temporary happiness truly happiness? It got me thinking, and I’m sure that I’ll be thinking back to it for years from now.

All in all, a modern sci-fi novel that has the feel of a classic and is sure to become a modern classic. 4 stars!

Bbc scales vie GIF on GIFER - by Thorgahuginn

Tell the Machine Goodnight is a standalone, but Katie Williams is also the author of Absent and The Space Between Trees.

Today’s song:

I’M SEEING HER ON THURSDAY NIGHT I’M SO EXCITED

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

Posted in Book Tags

3 Bookish Things Book Tag

Hi again, bibliophiles!

I was in the mood for a book tag today, so I figured I’d give this one a shot. I was tagged by Riddhi @ Whispering Stories (thank you!), and I’m not sure who created the tag, so if you know, please let me know so I can credit them!

Let’s begin, shall we?

📘3 BOOKISH THINGS BOOK TAG📘

3 READ-ONCE-AND-LOVED AUTHORS

Amazon.com: The Sound of Stars eBook: Dow, Alechia: Kindle Store

Just so I don’t sound like a broken record, here are three that I’ve discovered more recently and loved…

3 TITLES I’VE WATCHED BUT NOT READ

The High Fidelity Cultural Reference Guide, Vol. V: Great Scenes and Lines  -- Dry The Rain | High fidelity quotes, Soundtrack to my life, Pixies songs

3 SERIES I HAVE BINGED

Ooh, I rarely binge series, so this one’s probably a little harder…

Amazon.com: The Young Elites (9780147511683): Lu, Marie: Books

3 CHARACTERS I LOVE

OOH, lots to choose from…I’ll think of some that I haven’t talked much about in other book tags…

Kaliis-768×1060 – Amie Kaufman
character art by @kiranight_art

3 CURRENT FAVORITE COVERS

I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite book cover, but here are a few recent reads that had covers that I ADORED

Victories Greater Than Death | Charlie Jane Anders | Macmillan
Victories Greater Than Death
Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea (9781536204315):  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books
The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea
REVIEW: 'The Ones We're Meant to Find' by Joan He will take readers to a  futuristic world that hits close to home - Bookstacked
The Ones We’re Meant to Find

3 THINGS YOU HAVE USED AS BOOKMARKS

Uh…I just use bookmarks, and I have no memory of using anything else…

3 UNPOPULAR BOOKISH OPINIONS

Amazon.com: The Cruel Prince (The Folk of the Air, 1) (9780316310314):  Black, Holly: Books
  • The Cruel Prince wasn’t that good, and Jude and Cardan’s relationship was all kinds of toxic
  • Wings of Ebony wasn’t that great either, but I will say that a) I loved the unapologetic approach to racism and colonialism and b) the cover was really pretty
  • Alina from Shadow and Bone shouldn’t have been paired off with the Darkling or Mal – both options weren’t great, and why did she need to be paired off in the first place? (But if I could pair her off with anyone, I’d say Genya.)

3 BOOK GOALS FOR THE YEAR

Page to Screen: The Handmaid's Tale | Arts | The Harvard Crimson
  • Read at least 250 books (I’m at 130 right now!)
  • Actually get around to reading The Handmaid’s Tale bc it’s been sitting on my Kindle for over a year
  • Don’t cry that hard during Aurora’s End (because it’s a given that I’ll cry at some point)

I TAG:

Love Reading GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Since I’ve already posted once today, check out this week’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (3/2/21) – The Punch

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

The novel I’ve decided to review this week came in my last library haul. This is only my second foray into Noah Hawley’s novels after I fell in love with Before the Fall last month, but I can tell from just these two novels that he’s become an auto-buy/borrow/read author for me.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Punch by Noah Hawley | Grand Central Publishing

The Punch – Noah Hawley

Joe Henry is dead, but what he leaves behind is a dysfunctional family in tatters. His wife Doris, has all but given up on life, his eldest son David struggles to keep two separate relationships (and his constantly teetering emotional state) afloat, and his youngest son Scott grapples with paranoid cynicism and a luckless love life. The three surviving members of the Henry family are brought together to scatter Joe’s ashes, bringing to light everything that Joe kept in check while he was alive and leaving all but chaos in their wake.

Shared by SexyTrash04. Find images and videos about gif, scene and series  on We Heart It - the app to get lost in w… | Umbrella, Under my umbrella,  Future boyfriend
I know I just put this gif in a book tag but the opportunity was too good not to miss

TW/CW: loss of loved ones, description of illness, substance abuse (mainly smoking), mild physical violence (hence the title), cheating

As I mentioned earlier, this is only my second Noah Hawley novel, but judging from this one and Before the Fall, he’s easily earned a spot as one of my favorite authors. The Punch had a very different feel to it than the latter, though; all at once tragic and laugh-out-loud funny, a superbly written story of the trials and tribulations of a dysfunctional family.

Let me just start off by saying…I think The Punch boasts one of the best opening scenes/images that I’ve ever seen in a book; the story of the Henry family begins/ends in a hospital on Valentine’s Day, with sickly and injured patients being wheeled about amidst cheery heart decorations and a pianist playing “Wonderwall” in the background. It’s hysterical, it’s so well-crafted, and in one scene alone, the mood of the entire book is encompassed–equal parts tragedy and comedy.

Having a novel with a cast of unlikable characters is usually hit-or-miss for me; I had a hard time getting through Watchmen for the first half or so because of how despicable most of the characters were. (and on that note, PLEASE 👏 STOP 👏 ROMANTICIZING 👏 RORSCHACH 👏 HE’S 👏 AWFUL 👏 [ahem] I digress), for example. The difference between my being able to enjoy a novel with an entire cast of characters like this is usually a mix of whether or not you’re supposed to like the characters and how well-written they are. (And no, that’s not a dig at Watchmen – it ended up being a four-star read for me in the end.) Clearly, the cast of The Punch are all deeply, deeply flawed people, but they’re not framed as the “good guys,” but simply protagonists. That, coupled with Hawley’s stellar writing, made me stick around even when the characters were at their all-time lows (which were…pretty low, not gonna lie.)

What also made a difference with the characters was the familial chemistry that they had with each other. They all bounced off each other so authentically, behaving exactly how you’d believe a dysfunctional family would, producing no shortage of weird occurrences and plenty of quotes that made me laugh out loud. (I can’t seem to find the quote, but there was this one that made me just WHEEZE…it was something along the lines of “It’s like it says in the Bible. All is full of love.” “No, I think that’s a Björk song…”) (I wish I’d written it down, I borrowed a copy from the library…)

But in its (tragically) short entirety, The Punch was a perfect blend of tragedy and comedy, a story of family, dysfunction, and a whole lot of miscommunication and shaky relationships. Clever writing, memorable imagery, and hysterical quotes – this one really has it all. 5 stars!

martin freeman Fargo caro's edit wgifs billy bob thornton lester nygaard  THE FIFTH GIF..HIS FACE OH LORD wonderlandinmymind •

The Punch is a standalone, but Noah Hawley is also the author of Before the Fall, Other People’s Weddings, The Good Father, and A Conspiracy of Tall Men. He is also the creator of FX’s TV adaptations of Fargo and Legion, the latter of which in association with Marvel Television.

Today’s song:

okay I was yesterday years old when I realized that this was a cover this whole time

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

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (2/16/21) – A Song of Wraiths and Ruin

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

And now, onto another book that I bought with my Christmas gift card and loved!

I’ll admit to being a bit jaded with most YA fantasy novels at present (even though I still read them in droves), but the cover and the mythology of this novel convinced me to buy myself a copy, and I’m so glad I did! A novel that simultaneously felt nostalgic and something wholly new and original.

Enjoy this week’s review!

Image result for a song of wraiths and ruin

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin, #1)–Roseanne A. Brown

My copy ft. a cool filter and one of my bookshelves

In the wealthy city of Ziran, it is a time for celebration, many days of carnivals and competition at the Solstasia Festival. This year, however, the lives of two very different teens with cross in ways that could change their world forever.

Malik came to Ziran to escape, but at a price; as an entrance fee, an evil spirit captured his sister, and the only way that he can get her back is to kill Karina, the crown princess of Ziran.

Karina yearns for a life outside the palace, but after her mother, the Queen, is assassinated, she begins dabbling in dark magic to bring her back. Her magic, too, has a price–it requires a king’s beating heart, and the only way she can get that is to sneak her way into the Solstasia competition–where Malik has entered in order to get closer to her.

Their destiny is to kill each other–but their feelings for each other cannot be ignored, and they may have to twist fate itself to find their way out of this conundrum.

Image result for dark magic aesthetic gif

TW/CW (from Roseanne A. Brown, at the front of the book): self harm (magic ritual), violence, abuse (emotional and physical), anxiety/panic attacks, loss of loved ones, animal death

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve read a fantasy that I’ve loved as much as I did this one! A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is truly a treasure.

What stood out most for me was the writing style. There’s something about Brown’s writing that’s evocative of so many things that bring joy to me; there’s an almost Marvel sensibility about it, maybe a little bit of Disney (normally, I’m not the biggest fan of Disney, but this made it work)…it’s hard to quite put my finger on it, but the style was delightfully cinematic, calling to mind a classic, feel-good adventure movie. This would translate to well to the big screen, I’d love to see a movie adaptation of this one…

The characters were wonderful as well! Karina was such a lovable protagonist, and I adored her free spirit and determination. (Plus, the image of her standing on top of a table and aggressively serenading an entire restaurant…immaculate) Malik was the perfect character to balance her out, more of a calming and grounded presence. Both of their traumas felt very authentic, and it’s always good to see male protagonists that not only have mental illnesses (Malik seems to have some form of anxiety), but are openly sensitive and express their feelings. Together, they created such a captivating, enemies-to-lovers romance! Yeah, yeah, I know the whole “they’re both trying to kill each other, BUT HEY, THEY’RE MADLY IN LOVE NOW” trope has been done before, but Karina and Malik are both such well-written characters that I can make an exception. What can I say, I’m a total sucker for enemies to lovers.

And the worldbuilding! Brown’s world was so lived-in and full of resonant magic. My favorite aspect was the mythology surrounding all of the different deities and spirits, and I had such a fun time discovering the world piece by piece as the plot progressed. Like I said, I haven’t read a fantasy novel that’s filled me with *this much joy* in quite a while. GAH!

Image result for oh it's beautiful gif
I think I used this gif when I did a Goodreads Monday on this one…I’m coming full circle

All in all, an adventurous and well-written fantasy that filled me to the brim with joy. Maybe I’m not so jaded with YA fantasy after all. 4 stars!

Image result for wholesome cat meme gif

A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is the first novel in Roseanne A. Brown’s A Song of Wraiths and Ruin duology, followed by A Psalm of Storms and Silence, which is scheduled to be released on August 31, 2021. Wraiths is Brown’s debut novel.

Today’s song:

rewatching of Season 2 is well underway…the strings at the end of this give me Sparklehorse vibes and I love it

That’s it for this book review! 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.

Image result for wrench and numbers gif
amen

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

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

Image result for before the fall book

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)

Image result for the conference of the birds

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

Image result for dawn octavia butler book cover

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

Image result for color outside the lines book

The Dark Matter of Mona Starr–Laura Lee Gulledge

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

Escaping Exodus–Nicky Drayden

Image result for escaping exodus by nicky drayden

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 Book Review Tuesday, Books

Book Review Tuesday (1/5/21)–Among the Beasts & Briars

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles! This is my last day before I have to go back to school… :/ so heads up, I’ll probably be posting less frequently in the next few months because of school.

Anyway, this book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2020. Ashley Poston is one of my favorite authors, and I’ll always hold her Heart of Iron duology close to my heart. And although Among the Beasts & Briars didn’t quite hit the level of wondrousness of that duology, it was still a fantasy like no other that I’ll always cherish.

Enjoy the first book review Tuesday of the year!

Among the Beasts & Briars by Ashley Poston

Among the Beasts & Briars–Ashley Poston

Cerys leads a quiet life in the kingdom of Aloriya, working with her father to tend the royal gardens. But behind her life of peace is a haunted past–as a child, the woods surrounding her kingdom stole her friends and her mother. She has never seen them again since. But by some miracle, the woods left Cerys alone, marked only by traces of magic in her blood.

When the woods invade the coronation of Aloriya’s new queen, Cerys is forced to flee. Joined by a familiar fox who followed close behind her in the gardens and a bear hiding momentous secrets, she must journey to the heart of the woods, where it is said that an isolated town has escaped the curse that took her mother and friends. But the woods hold secrets darker than the three could ever know…

Fantastic Mr Fox Animated GIF | Fantastic mr fox, Fox gif, Mr fox
Soul of Stars spoilers without context

TW/CW (from Ashley Poston): Frightening Situations, Secondary Character Death, Trypophobia, Bleeding/Self-Harm (not suicidal), Animal Attack, Blood, Grotesque Transformations

I saw a fox outside my window this morning when I woke up…maybe it was a sign that today was the perfect day to write this review…

I think Among the Beasts & Briars was the last book I read this year, and I honestly can’t think of a better book that I could’ve ended the year on. Ashley Poston’s pulled off another masterpiece, chock-full of lovable characters and lush imagery.

With all of Poston’s novels, what shines the most is usually the characters; I’m delighted to say that Among the Beasts & Briars was no exception! Cerys was such a lovable heroine. I’m always drawn to and relate to characters who don’t possess the typical qualities of traditional heroes/heroines–they’d rather stay on the sidelines, aren’t quite so brave, and are unwillingly forced into strange situations. Like Aurora Rising, I really resonated with the message that you don’t have to be brave or be from a noble background to be the hero of your own story, and Cerys exemplifies that theme in its fullest.

And I can’t talk about characters without talking about Fox! He was such a delightful character, and I loved his development as he grappled with his transformation. There’s no shortage of interesting details in his POV of the shifts between his fox form and the unintentional human form, and he and Cerys had the best chemistry. Vala was also wonderful, and they made for a perfect trio of fantasy misfits. I won’t spoil anything, but Seren was one of my favorites too–REDEMPTION ARCS DONE RIGHT, PEOPLE!

VFX Movies Gallery

I also loved the fantasy world of Aloriya and the woods. Poston’s prose makes for so much lush imagery, making for a world that’s as lived-in as it is fantastical. My favorite aspect was absolutely the Woodcurse–there was clearly so much time spent creating the mythology around it, and it was simultaneously fascinating and creepy. And Hellboy made me a sucker for all sorts of spooky monsters, and everything that got swallowed by the Woodcurse just made the paranormal part of my heart so happy.

As with most of Poston’s novels, Among the Beasts & Briars was reasonably dark, but at its heart, it had such a resonant warmth to it, a glimmer of hope and joy no matter what. With every novel she writes, it clearly shines through how much she loves crafting stories, and it shines through on every page.

All in all, a fresh and unique addition to Poston’s pantheon of masterful literature. 5 stars!

Princess Mononoke gif - GIF on Imgur

Among the Beasts & Briars is likely a standalone, but Poston is also the author of the Heart of Iron duology (Heart of Iron and Soul of Stars) and the Once Upon a Con series (Geekerella, The Princess and the Fangirl, and Bookish and the Beast).

Today’s song:

I’m disappointed that we didn’t get the version with the whole cast on the Legion score, but Noah Hawley has such a gorgeous voice…this makes me cry every single time

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: 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 Geeky Stuff, TV

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

FXNOW - Watch Full Episodes of FX Shows & Movies
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 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!