Posted in Books, Down the TBR Hole, Goodreads Monday

Everything That I’ve Managed to Cross Off of Goodreads Monday or Down the TBR Hole (Part I of ?)

Happy Wednesday, bibliophiles!

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For the past few months, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’ve put on my Goodreads Monday and Down the TBR Hole posts. Now that I’ve been doing both for a fair amount of time, I’ve actually managed to read a few books that I’d posted from my TBR. It’s gonna be interesting to see how my initial thoughts measure up with how I actually feel/felt about the book. Some of them, I’ve already reviewed, but there’s some that I haven’t, so let’s see…

(These are posted in order of when I read them, not when I posted them.)

 

1. Breakfast Served Anytime, Sarah Combs

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INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday, 11/18/19):

First off, I’m glad that Breakfast Served Anytime seems to be a novel about self-discovery, but without the romance aspect at the forefront. I’m not opposed to romance, but as I said in Goodreads Monday (9/9/19)-Loveless: WOMEN 👏 CAN 👏 DISCOVER 👏 THEMSELVES 👏 WITHOUT 👏 A 👏 MAN 👏

Other than that, most of the concepts and plot points in here seem to be pretty intriguing, what with Gloria trying to find her way amongst fellow outsiders, and navigating her own loss and heartache. Plus, you know I’m here for these X-Men references…

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

Though I’m disappointed (but not surprised) that the “Professor X” plotline wasn’t also an X-Men reference (they probably had to change it up for copyright reasons), this was a cute and fluffy novel, and very much a feel-good read. Forgettable at worst, but a nice reprieve from more intense literature and the state of the world. I’m also glad that somebody else appreciates The Magnetic Fields, at least.

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2. Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol 

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INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Down the TBR Hole #1):

Oh, yeah. This one’s been on my TBR for three years, and I’m still on board with this sarcastic spookiness.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I’m so glad I was right about this one. An absolute joy to read, with relatable themes, adorably stylized artwork, and witty writing. Don’t regret reading this one, not one bit.

Read my full review here! 

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3. Roar (Stormheart, #1), Cora Carmack 

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INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Down the TBR Hole 2: Electric Boogaloo):

A fantasy with a female lead who can control the weather? I’M IN. SIGN ME UP.

RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I put a GIF of Storm from X-Men after my blurb on that DtTBRH post, and though Aurora/Roar doesn’t *quite* measure up to her (I mean, it’d be incredibly hard to do that, anyway), Roar was a fantasy with incredible chemistry between its characters, though a bit lacking in the romance department.

Read my full review here! 

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4. Crown of Coral and Pearl (Crown of Coral and Pearl, #1), Mara Rutherford 

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INITIAL THOUGHTS (from Goodreads Monday, 9/23/19):

Okay, maybe it’s not exactly a mermaid book, but it seems like a good execution of the concept of undersea kingdoms. If all goes well, it sounds like Crown of Coral and Pearl has a lot of political intrigue and some interesting world building. I’m not expecting another Smoke Thieves, but here’s hoping that we’ll get *something* as good as that.

And let me elaborate on the whole “desperate to read a mermaid book” thing. I haven’t read a book in years that has executed the concept of mermen well. Case in point: Jennifer Donnelly’s Deep Blue. Avoid this one at all costs; the mermaids were uncreatively designed, as was the kingdom. And, there was the unrealistic dialogue and the onslaught of awful puns that the author seemed to think that we were going to take seriously. Just stoooopppp. Ally Condie’s Atlantia has a similar plot to Crown of Coral and Pearl, but it fell into a nearly identical trap: corny dialogue, cardboard characters, etc. So yeah, I really need a good mermaid book. Soon. Right now. 🅱LEASE?

RATING: ⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to 3

THOUGHTS AFTER READING IT: 

I was promised mermaids. Kind of.  The pictures I’ve seen from some of the giveaway boxes that came from it had mermaid drawings. But did we get mermaids? Nope. Just a shoreline kingdom with some pearl divers. That’s it.

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[both songs play simultaneously on a broken recorder as I smack myself in the forehead]

I just finished one up a few hours ago, so here are my firsthand thoughts. Though the worldbuilding, political systems, and writing were intriguing enough, it lacked in most other departments. The plot and romantic subplot were both riddled with cliches, and I only felt the slightest bit of sympathy for the characters. They were well-written, to be sure, but it felt like the same plot that’s been plaguing YA for years, vomited up yet again. And…it’s shelved as fantasy, but there’s almost nothing that would qualify it for fantasy–or even science fiction–save for a few semi-magical critters and oceanic lore. Disappointing, really. Meh.

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Today’s song:

Man, this one brings back some serious memories…

For now, that’s all the books that I’ve read that have come from my Goodreads Monday and Down the TBR Hole posts! I’ll post more of these once I start stacking up more finished books. Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

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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. 😉