Posted in Books, Mini Reviews

Triplet Mini Reviews: A Song Below Water, The Infinite Noise, & Raybearer

Happy Thursday, bibliophiles! Such a relief that the week is almost over…

I mentioned last week that I’m starting to do some mini review posts, so this is my first stab at it. I have a little sticky note function on my laptop where I organize all my blog-related post ideas and such, and I realized that I had WEEKS worth of books to review for my Book Review Tuesdays, and I wanted a way to review more of them without stretching everything out too long. (If I do, I tend to forget certain details of the books.) So, I have a solution: this won’t be on a schedule, but I’ll put three or more books into one review when the mood strikes me, or if I’ve just been reading lots of good content. Without further ado, here’s my first batch of mini reviews–books that have nothing to do with each other, but ones that I rated all 4 stars!

Let’s begin, shall we?

  1. A Song Below Water, Bethany C. Morrow
My copy, ft. some shells that I’ve collected from beaches over the years (kind of proud of this pic skdfhshf)

For their whole lives, Effie and Tavia have felt like it’s them against the world. Living as Black girls–and sirens, at that–in the middle of Portland is no easy task, and the world is set to subdue them by all means. In the midst of a siren trial and a celebrity’s revelation, the girls are forced to keep their identities under wraps–but the resurfacing of Effie’s past and a fatal accident from Tavia may put their lives in jeopardy.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of the year, and one of the books I bought for my birthday. There’s hardly any quality YA mermaid/siren literature out there, and I’m glad to say that we can add this to the pantheon of siren books that deliver! Of course, it isn’t without its flaws; I liked both Tavia and Effie as characters, but their voices writing-wise felt nearly indistinguishable. The writing was casual and conversational, which was both a blessing and a curse–it made the world feel genuine, but it had a tendency to drag some of the prose/plot down at times. Morrow does such a wonderful job of incorporating all these mythical creatures into our world, and she combines both Western European and Central African mythos in terms of them, which I loved.

And without spoiling anything, I LOVED the twist with Effie. No rhyme or reason, just loved it. All in all, a timely piece of magical realism!

GENRE: Fantasy, urban fantasy, magical realism, contemporary

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️.75, rounded up to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

2. The Infinite Noise (The Bright Sessions, #1), Lauren Shippen

My library copy ft. a few issues of Giant Sized X-Men (1975 & 2020)

Caleb Michaels has it all–good grades, a stable home life, and he’s the star of the football team. But something is shifting inside of him; not only has he become incredibly attuned to the emotions of others, he can see them as they appear. He thinks he’s crazy, but Dr. Bright, his new therapist, has the correct wording–Caleb is an Atypical, someone born with abilities far beyond the normal human being.

As he grapples with his newfound powers, he meets Adam, a loner with magnetic emotions. They grow closer together and begin to fall for each other, but can Caleb keep his Atypical secret?

Dr. Bright has INTENSE Professor X vibes, and I am 100% HERE FOR IT.

my gif 1k movies ian mckellen X-men Charles Xavier I'M NOT SORRY patrick  stewart cherik Erik Lensherr lizewskii •

Even if you aren’t familiar with The Bright Sessions podcast (like myself), this a superpowered romance that is not to be missed! The writing instantly hooked me, and I blew through the first 100 pages in no time, enjoying every bit of it. Much of the dialogue felt authentic and genuine, and Shippen does a wonderful job of developing Caleb and Adam as characters, as well as their romance. It’s just such a feel-good, heartfelt gem of a contemporary sci-fi novel. I can’t wait to read A Neon Darkness now!

All in all, The Infinite Noise is a must read for fans of both LGBTQ+ romance and superhero sci-fi!

GENRE: LGBTQ+, contemporary, romance, science fiction

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

3. Raybearer, Jordan Ifueko

My library copy, ft. my backyard and a cool filter

Up until the age of 11, Tarisai has led a sheltered life, shielded from the outside world in an enclosed mansion with only servants and tutors–and her mother, if she’s lucky–for company. But when her mother sends her off to compete for a place on the council of Aritsar’s Crown Prince, she realizes that she bears a powerful curse–if she is chosen, she will have no choice but to kill the Prince in cold blood.

Tarisai finds the family she never had in the council, but the curse continues to haunt her. Will she give into the curse, or be able to forge a path for herself?

I absolutely didn’t expect to like this novel as much as I did! Raybearer really has it all–rich, African-inspired mythology, detailed worldbuilding, political intrigue, actions, demons, you name it. The best aspect for me was the cast of characters–though some were not developed as much, Ifueko has created a cast with impeccable chemistry that you can’t help but root for. Sanjeet was my personal favorite character–he reminded me so much of Kal from Aurora Rising 🥺

The Lady is also a very compelling antagonist, and I loved the morally gray turn that the book takes in the last third or so. There’s some important themes about assimilation and family, making it for a timely fantasy.

All in all, a multilayered and compelling fantasy with a lovable found family!

GENRE: Fantasy, high fantasy

MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Today’s song:

NEW EELS

BOTTOM TEXT

That’s it for these mini reviews! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Books, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (8/10/20)–The Infinite Noise

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

The novel I’m going over today is a far more recent addition to my TBR. Found family vibes and powers? Consider me completely hooked.

Let’s begin, shall we?

GOODREADS MONDAY (8/10/20)–THE INFINITE NOISE by Lauren Shippen

Amazon.com: The Infinite Noise: A Bright Sessions Novel (The ...

Blurb from Goodreads:

Caleb Michaels is a sixteen-year-old champion running back. Other than that his life is pretty normal. But when Caleb starts experiencing mood swings that are out of the ordinary for even a teenager, his life moves beyond “typical.”

Caleb is an Atypical, an individual with enhanced abilities. Which sounds pretty cool except Caleb’s ability is extreme empathy—he feels the emotions of everyone around him. Being an empath in high school would be hard enough, but Caleb’s life becomes even more complicated when he keeps getting pulled into the emotional orbit of one of his classmates, Adam. Adam’s feelings are big and all-consuming, but they fit together with Caleb’s feelings in a way that he can’t quite understand.

Caleb’s therapist, Dr. Bright, encourages Caleb to explore this connection by befriending Adam. As he and Adam grow closer, Caleb learns more about his ability, himself, his therapist—who seems to know a lot more than she lets on—and just how dangerous being an Atypical can be.

So why do I want to read this?

Mutant and Proud (Peter Parker x Reader) - Cast🕷Part One | X men ...

I usually cut out the blurbs and such from the Goodreads synopsis, but I figured I would share the one at the bottom of The Infinite Noise:

“What if the X-Men, instead of becoming superheroes, decided to spend some time in therapy?”

-Vox, on The Bright Sessions

Aaaaaaaaaaaaand you had me at X-Men.

This one’s based off of a podcast, which I’ve never previously heard of, but I’m willing to go in completely blind. (I really don’t listen to podcasts much at all, for reasons I can’t place.)

That aside, this novel sounds so exciting! The Infinite Noise sounds like a superhero story with a unique, introspective twist. Not only do we have some great LGBTQ+ representation, I’m excited to see Caleb’s powers; there’s something that makes me so happy to see a male character with powers connected to his emotion. In a society that all too often belittles men for crying and feeling emotion, here we have a character who’s going through the all-too-human struggle of exploring his own emotions–and his superpowers. So that’s a wonderful step, and a necessary one in the pantheon of superpowered literature.

In short: I’m here for a timely, progressive, and romantic superhero story. GIMME ALL THEM X-MEN VIBES!

Charles xavier movies GIF - Find on GIFER

Today’s song:

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

Posted in Book Tags, Geeky Stuff

The X-Men: Apocalypse Book Tag

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at G-Swizzel Books, who was also the creator of this tag. As I am a MASSIVE X-Men fan, I knew I had to take part in this tag at some point. X-Men: Apocalypse, although it isn’t the best of the X-Men movies, will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the first one that I got to see in theaters, and my first introduction to my favorite character, Nightcrawler.

Let’s begin, shall we?

MYSTIQUE: Name a female lead who is a strong and flawed character

GIF wcw x men apocalypse mystique - animated GIF on GIFER - by ...

Elloren from The Black Witch certainly has her fair share of flaws, but one of the most beautiful parts of the novel was watching her character development, and her growth into a formidable woman.

An Epic Fantasy Novel (The Black Witch Chronicles Book 1) eBook

CHARLES XAVIER: Name a character who is a good mentor/instructor

Professor X GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I immediately thought of Captain Siege from the Heart of Iron duology–intimidating, but still fair with all of her crew, and a mother figure of sorts for Ana and the rest.

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

QUICKSILVER: Name a fast-paced book that you read in one sitting

Quicksilver Running GIF by X-Men Movies - Find & Share on GIPHY

As was…expected, I tore through Aurora Burning in one sitting. I was just as enraptured as as I was with book 1, and then the ending had to destroy my feelings like that…

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926 ...

BEAST: Name a book you were intimidated by before you read it

X-Men Marvel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Going into All Out of Pretty was fairly daunting, judging from the subject matter, but although it was an incredibly rough novel, it was still one that was completely worthwhile to read.

Review of All Out of Pretty (9781939547484) — Foreword Reviews

NIGHTCRAWLER: Name your favorite character that is a creature of the night (Werewolf, warlock, vampire, faerie, etc.)

ch:-peter-maximoff | Tumblr

Sidenote…MY BOY! MY FAVORITE MEMBER OF THE X-MEN!

When this part of the tag mentioned werewolves, I immediately thought of Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. All I’ll say is that he deserved so much better.

Épinglé sur harry potter humor, quotes and BTS

HAVOK: Name an underrated character that deserves more attention

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After reading Aurora Burning, I’d have to say Zila Madran. I already liked her character, but now that we’ve gotten so much necessary backstory on her, I hope she’ll take a more central role in book three.

Zila Madran | The Aurora Cycle Wiki | Fandom

CYCLOPS: Name a character who struggles to control their power (could either be a superpower or a position of authority)

Cyclops GIFs | Cyclops x men, Cyclops, Gif

Zoey from Sawkill Girls is certainly a prime example, what with her powers showing up COMPLETELY without warning, poor thing. Plus, I had to sneak this in here because THEY MAKE AN X-MEN REFERENCE WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT TRIGGERING HER POWERS…which is the perfect segway into the next part of the tag…

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

JEAN GREY: Name a character who had a traumatic incident happen in their past

jean grey gif | Tumblr | Jean grey, Jean grey xmen, Jean grey phoenix

March from The Smoke Thieves certainly fits the bill, poor thing…I mean, to have his entire family slaughtered as a child most definitely had a major, negative impact on the rest of his life.

Amazon.com: The Smoke Thieves (9780425290217): Green, Sally: Books

THE FOUR HORSEMEN: Name four villains to create your ultimate villain squad that could potentially take this world apart

X Men Apocalypse GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Tear this world apart? Hmmm, I have a few ideas…

So basically, we’re doomed.

APOCALYPSE: A series finale that you’re dreading

Oscar Isaac Apocalypse GIF by X-Men Movies - Find & Share on GIPHY

As of now, it’s untitled and without a cover, but whatever the last book in the Aurora Cycle is, I do not think I’ll ever be emotionally prepared…

WOLVERINE: Name a side character who always steals the show

Wolverine GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I immediately thought of Ella from the Illuminae files. She’s easily my favorite character in the whole trilogy.

Amazon.com: Gemina (The Illuminae Files) (9780553499155): Kaufman ...

You are a member of the X-Men. What power from any fictional character would you have?

Either invisibility or teleportation. Or a mix of both. No one can see you, and you’d never be late for anything.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

X Men Apocalypse GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Since I’ve already posted today, check out today’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! MUTANT AND PROUD! 🙂

Posted in Book Tags, Books, Movies

Star Wars Book Tag (+ an update or two)

book tags header

I’m back, everyone! Happy Thursday!

I’m finally out of school for the year! Officially halfway through high school…whew…

But anyway, the AP exam and finals weren’t all that bad. For a few classes, they canceled finals altogether, and others just had a paper or a lab report in place of a written test (REJOICE!). I did pretty well on almost all of them, but we’ll see about AP…

Other than that, I’ve had a good week and a half since I’ve taken a break. I got into an unfortunate loop of finding one good book to read, then having a slump of three- or two-star books in between. Luckily, I did get a fair amount of good books in. I also listened to a lot of Spiritualized, thanks to my dad (and by a lot, I mean a LOT), got to a scene that I’ve been picturing in my head for YEARS on my WIP, and the weather’s starting to warm up, which is both a blessing and a curse.

Now, back to our scheduled program.

I found this tag over at SMELLFOY CAN READ?, and the tag was created by Elisabeth Paige and Joana Sousa. As a (pretty much) lifelong fan of all things Star Wars, I was absolutely ELATED to find this tag.

So let’s begin, shall we?

this is where the fun begins

R2-D2: A book that made you laugh out loud

sad beep

Without a doubt, Good Omens had me CACKLING.

Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter ...

PADME AMIDALA: A kick-butt female character

Queen Amidala Will Not Condone GIF - QueenAmidala WillNotCondone ...

My first thought was Alosa from Daughter of the Pirate KingIt takes a certain kind of person to be able to be a captain of a formidable pirate ship at the ripe old age of 17.

Amazon.com: Daughter of the Pirate King (9781250095961 ...

LEIA ORGANA: Best or worst love triangle

Star Wars GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
On another note, this is my favorite movie line of all time. Hands down.

Leia does not deserve the subject matter of this part of the tag…

I…hate love triangles in general, but for now, I’d just say the love triangle in the Hunger Gamestrilogy. 50% because Gale is repulsive, and 50% because that’s sadly what a lot of people tend to remember/take away from the series, as opposed to…y’know, the dystopian commentary and whatnot…

Hunger Games Katniss GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

LUKE SKYWALKER: A rising star author, or a new author you’ve discovered and absolutely love

Luke Skywalker GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

I’ve just started to discover Sy Montgomery’s nonfiction novels, and even though I’ve only read The Soul of an OctopusI absolutely ADORED it. I have How to Be a Good Creature on my list as well.

ANAKIN SKYWALKER: A book or series that started out well and then became bad

Anakin Skywalker GIF - Starwarsmay4 - Discover & Share GIFs

Without a doubt, the Shatter Me series. I was already salty about how the trilogy ended (Warner is awful, change my mind), but then after book 4, it just took a sharp left turn into the flat-out ridiculous. Such a shame.

Amazon.com: Shatter Me (8601300047799): Mafi, Tahereh: Books

QUI-GONN JINN: Worst character death (SPOILERS)

Qui Gon GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

Hmm…lots to choose from…

My first thought was Zin’s death in The Battle for WondLa(Yes, we’re going back to that…) He was one of my favorite characters, but he did NOT have to go out in such a completely twisted way…I won’t go into the gory details, but it’s rough to read.

Zin | WondLa Wiki | Fandom

HAN SOLO: A book with a lot of sass

Our Favorite GIFs of STAR WARS BFFs Han and Chewbacca — Nerdist

Aurora Rising has no short supply at sassy, sarcastic writing, and the same can be said for the characters. (*coughcough FINIAN coughcough*)

Amazon.com: Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720964 ...

EMPEROR PALPATINE: Best world-building

Dew It GIFs | Tenor

I think The Black Witch takes the cake for this one. There was clearly so much care put into everything from the history to the magical races, and everything in between.

Amazon.com: The Black Witch: An Epic Fantasy Novel (The Black ...

BEN/OBI-WAN KENOBI: A book you went in with low expectations and that blew you away

Star Wars Obiwan Kenobi GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY
“General Kenobi…”

I didn’t have high expectations for The Looking Glassbut I was pleasantly surprised by the lush writing–not to mention, the great music references.

The Looking Glass - Janet McNally - Hardcover

YODA: A book that taught you something or that made you grow

Wise Smart GIF - StarWars Yoda LuminousBeingsAreWe - Discover ...

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft taught me volumes about the essentials of writing. I still try to take Stephen King’s advice to heart.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft—Stephen King | Talking About Books

DARTH VADER: Favorite Villain

Darth Vader GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Hmmm…it’s a hard decision, but I’ve have to go with Magneto.

Ian Mckellan Magneto GIF by 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment ...
All hail Sir Ian McKellen

I TAG ANY FELLOW STAR WARS FANS WHO WANT TO PARTICIPATE! 

Episode 7 Movie GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

Today’s song:

Soccer Mommy + Jay Som =

Michael Fassbender Perfection GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, take care of yourselves, and may the Force be with you!

thank you for reading sw.jpg

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!

Image result for it is wednesday my dudes

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

Image result for breakfast served anytime by sarah combs

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.

Image result for thumbs up gif

2. Anya’s Ghost, Vera Brosgol 

Image result for anya's ghost

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 

Image result for roar cora carmack

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! 

Image result for storm gif xmen

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

Image result for crown of coral and pearl

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.

Image result for hello darkness my old friend gif

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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!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Movies

Comfort Food (Musings on Books and Films)

Happy Friday, everyone!

 

Comfort food. We all have it. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and no matter how deep into the dark places we may become entrenched, it will always bring immeasurable joy to us. So this is sort of an appreciation post, but more just musings on a few books and movies that not only help me get through it, but are just fun to read/watch over and over, and they never get old.

 

BOOKS AND COMICS

Heart of Iron–Ashley Poston 

Image result for heart of iron book

Ever since I read Heart of Iron for the first time on a magical trip to Chicago, it’s been my go-to whenever I reach a reading slump, or just need a little bit more sci-fi fun in my life. Also, Jax. ‘Nuff said.

 

Pumpkinheads–Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks 

Image result for pumpkinheads rainbow rowell

This one’s a more recent addition to my list, but no matter the time of year, Pumpkinheads is especially good for curing all that ails you. I mean, it helped me recover from the initial speechless shock after seeing Joker in theaters, if that’s any proof. (And that was a seriously rough movie…so well-done, though)

 

B.P.R.D. vol. 2: The Soul of Venice and Other Stories–Mike Mignola 

Image result for bprd the soul of venice

Let me make myself clear: in the grand scheme of all things B.P.R.D., The Soul of Venice is nowhere near the peak of mastery that this comic series has achieved. But that’s not at all to say that it isn’t a ball of spooky, paranormal fun from cover to cover. Part of why this is one of my most frequently re-read trades is for a few reasons, but the most important one is that, like Heart of Iron, is that it brings back some of my fondest memories, those from when I went to Sequoia National Park one spring break. We stopped in LA before the drive there, where I got this at a comic shop just about a month before it closed. I spent almost the entire trip reading and re-reading that trade, even though I had…oh, three or four books loaded up on my Kindle?

 

The Courtney Crumrin series–Ted Naifeh

Image result for courtney crumrin

Ah, Courtney Crumrinmy first foray into spooky comics…

One of the first major comic series that I came to love (and collect in its entirety), Courtney always manages to dredge up so many happy memories for me when I go back and re-read any of the separate volumes. Of course, I end up crying (*coughcough THE COVEN OF MYSTICS coughcough THE FINAL SPELL coughcough*) every time, but it’s worth it. [sniffles] I swear…

 

MOVIES

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

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I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW FANTASTIC THIS MOVIE IS. Aside from being one of the rare sequels that surpasses its predecessor, it speaks to me as a person. I mean…a bunch of misfits and weirdos just trying to get through life. (And trying to take down an invincible, supernatural army, but, y’know, that’s just part of the job.) Over the past three or four years, it’s played such a big role in my life, and I know for a fact that I will never grow tired of it.

Image result for hellboy 2 gif

 

X2: X-Men United

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Again. Misfits just trying to get through life, with some world-saving on the side. After all the criticism these films have gotten over the years (mostly for The Last Stand, that first Wolverine solo, Apocalypse, and Dark Phoenix), it’s so sad that they’ve been pushed aside in the grand scheme of superhero films. For if you think about it, these three two original X-Men movies (we don’t talk about The Last Stand) set the standard for the modern superhero movie. For lack of better words, the X-Men movies walked SO THE ENTIRE MCU COULD RUN. There. I said it.

Anyway, X2 was what rekindled my love of X-Men a few years ago, and in the span of about a year and a half, I’ve been able to watch it a good 5 times, and it will never. Get. Old.

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All of the Star Wars movies (minus The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, you know what you’ve done…) 

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Star Wars. Need I really say any more?

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Today’s song:

I’d already heard a few songs off of Strange Mercy before, but I downloaded the rest of the album a few days ago, and I am STUNNED by how phenomenal it is.

 

So what’s your comfort food? What books, comics, films, and more will you never be able to stop re-reading/watching? Let me know down in the comments! 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Book Tags, Books, Geeky Stuff

High School Stereotypes Book Tag

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Happy Wednesday, everyone!

This tag was created by  Another Book in the Wall, (oh my God, what an incredible blog name…🤣), and I got this tag from The Corner of Laura. It looked super cute, so I figured that I’d give it a go!

 

The Mean Girl | A Book You Can’t Help But Rant About

I’ve got a fair amount of books that I’d put in this category, but I’ll go with Samantha Young’s Smokeless Fire.  Lord…this book is practically screaming in agony for an editor’s pen…

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The Bro | Your Favorite Sidekick

Without question, Doop from Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix.  He’s just…floating about wherever the team goes, filming everything, knowing everything, and just being straight-up relatable, sometimes, with that tired face of his. I mean, he plays a hilariously big role later on, but I guess you could call him a sidekick.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with X-Statix, here’s Doop himself…

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LEGEND.

 

The Dumb Jock | A Book Whose Cover Is Better Than Its Story

I’ll have to go with Laura Weymouth’s The Light Between WorldsThe cover is stunning and so well designed, but the story was just so…unbearably…boring…

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The Loner | A Standalone You Love

Jessica Khoury’s sci-fi retelling of the tale of Anastasia, Last of Her Nameblew me out of the water with its lush writing and worldbuilding. Maybe I should read it again sometime.

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The Overachiever | A Series That Should’ve Ended After Book 1

As much as I love Rainbow Rowell’s Carry OnI don’t know if Wayward Son was really necessary, as much as I hate to admit it. It just lacked that emotional punch that defined book 1, and now a third book is confirmed…dunno how to feel about that…

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The Class Clown | A Book That Makes You Laugh

Without a doubt, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good OmensThat book made me laugh like no other book I’d read before.

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The Outcast | A Unique Fictional World You’d Want To Visit

As mediocre as much of the book was, I must say, I’d definitely like to visit the Martian Exovet Cloister in Christian Schoon’s Zenn ScarlettCertainly wouldn’t have any dull days while caring for weird alien critters.

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The Nerd | An Author With the Best Writing

Neal Shusterman, without question. Not only is he incredibly clever in every little detail he creates, the writing is all at once heartrending and witty, beautiful and terrifying.

 

The Prom Queen | An Over-Hyped Book

I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again…Red Queen.  [whips out megaphone] IT’S JUST A SLOPPY LITTLE BALL OF OVERUSED TROPES, PEOPLE, NOTHING TO SEE HERE…

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I promise that I didn’t choose this one because both it and the prompt have the word “queen” in them…no pun intended, I swear…[breaks into a nervous sweat]

The Drama Kids | A Protagonist Who Is Melodramatic

It’s been a while since I’ve read Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Landsbut one of my distinct memories of why I DNF’d it was because of how whiny and entitled I found Elliot to be.

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The Teacher’s Pet | Favorite Animal Sidekick

Again, I’m turning to the world of Marvel–specifically the world of mutants–because Lockheed is an absolute show-stealer who I must shower with love and appreciation.

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Here’s Our Boy™, shown with Kitty Pryde.

 

The Hipsters | A Book You Love That Isn’t In Your Comfort Zone

I’m not an avid fan of neither novels in verse, nor historical fiction. Kip Wilson’s White Rose happens to be both, and I adored its poignant and tragic story.

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Aaaand that just about wraps it up! I had so much fun doing this tag!

Today’s song:

I forgot about this song for years, and I just remembered its existence a few days ago. And what can I say except…[loud sobbing]

 

Have a lovely rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/18/19)–Breakfast Served Anytime

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

This one’s been on my TBR for exactly two years, and I forgot it until about last week, when I started riffling through said TBR for ideas for this post. I now have it on hold at the library; it seems like a quirky, contemporary, coming-of-age novel!

 

Let’s start this week off on a positive note…without further ado, this week’s Goodreads Monday!

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/18/19)–BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME by Sarah Combs

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Blurb from Goodreads:

A coming-of-age debut evokes the bittersweet joys and pangs of finding independence in one unforgettable summer away at “geek camp.”

When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn’t know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend, Gloria resolves to make the best of her new circumstances. But some things are proving to be more challenging than she expected. Like the series of mysterious clues left by a certain Professor X before he even shows up to teach his class, Secrets of the Written Word. Or the very sweet, but very conservative, roommate whose coal-industry family champions mountaintop removal. Not to mention the obnoxious Mason, who dresses like the Mad Hatter and immediately gets on Gloria’s nerves — but somehow won’t escape her thoughts.

Beautifully told by debut author Sarah Combs, this honest and touching story of growing up is imbued with the serene atmosphere of Kentucky’s natural landscape. 

 

So why do I want to read this?

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…

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I’ve got it on hold at the library at the moment, and it should be arriving in the next week or so. Fingers crossed that it’ll be worth it, and that, again, 2017 Madeline won’t fail me. [locks eyes with self from two years ago]

 

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and stay tuned for more content later this week!

Oh, and just so you know, I won’t be able to write a Book Review Tuesday, because I’ll be going to another concert (Wilco!), and will be arriving home at a pretty late hour. I’ll try to compensate with more tags later this week. 😉

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

Anything But Books Tag

Happy Thursday, fellow bibliophiles!

 

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

Alright, let’s get started…

 

Name a cartoon character that you love.

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

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What is your favorite song right now?

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

 

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

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

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

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

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What is your favorite unneccessarily specific thing to learn about?

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

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What is something unusual that you know how to do?

Um…

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

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

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

 

What is your most recent personal project?

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

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Dark Phoenix!

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

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

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

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

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Say the first thing that pops into your head.

They did surgery on a grape.

I’m so incredibly sorry to bring that back.

I’ve created a monster

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I tag:

 

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

Posted in 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. 😉