Saturday, December 31, 2016

Brand New 52 - December Edition

art by Neverblue t-shirts

Can you believe that 2016 is over? I can, and thank goodness for it. I know that 2016 seemed all bad, but there were some good things too. Like I, not only, beat my reading record from last year, but I doubled my goal!

Holy shit, that's a lot of reading.

Speaking of which, here's what I read this month:

by Hans Christian Andersen

64 Pages

For love of a handsome prince, the youngest mermaid makes a bargain with the evil sea-witch and endures great suffering in order to become human.

This has always been one of my favorite stories, from the Disney version to the Toei Animation version, I couldn't get enough of it when I was younger. But despite loving it, I'd never actually read the original. Thanks to Serial Reader, I finally got the chance.
And it was good. I really liked it. I can see where both studios pulled their ideas from the book, little things like Ursula's garden full of creatures and her two eels. 
It's a sad tale, of course, with the little mermaid (no name) dies at the end due to the Prince marrying another girl and her hurling herself off the boat and into the water to become sea foam.

by Ann Aguirre

336 Pages

Once Corine Solomon only had the touch—the ability to read an object’s past by handling it. Then she inherited her mother’s magick, and that ended up being a hell of a burden. But if Corine can wrestle a demon queen and win, she can bring back her lover Chance after he’s made the ultimate sacrifice. Can’t she? All Corine knows is that she can’t leave Chance behind if there’s anything she can do about it.
But the clock is ticking—and she still has to deal with debt-collecting demons and a maniacal archangel who’s running a recruitment drive. The stakes have never been so high…and this time it’s truly Corine’s last chance to save the love of her life.

This was the last book in the series, but I was okay with seeing it end. It wasn't the greatest book that she's wrote, but like all her other series, she manages to wrap things up like no one else I've ever read. Little things that are just asides in earlier books get wrapped up. It's incredible. This is another one of her series that is totally worth reading.

by Jude Deveraux

277 Pages

A relentless campaign by phone, letter, and email has persuaded Hollander Latham's parents to purchase the home of her dreams: Spring Hill, a beautiful North Carolina plantation where Holly spent her memorable thirteenth summer. Now a successful architect, Holly is intent on reuniting with Spring Hill's neighbor and her love from that long-ago summer, wealthy heir Laurence Beaumont she dreams of working her way into Lorrie's heart while restoring his historic estate, Belle Chere. But as Christmas fast approaches, Nick Taggert a mysterious stranger who makes her laugh and tempts her with a surprising passion turns her plans upside down. One man can seduce her with fortune and privilege; the other can promise her the simple gift of love. And on a frost-covered Christmas night, Holly's choice will unmask astonishing truths and hidden dangers revelations that will forever change her charmed life and her vulnerable heart.

I waited all year to read this book (tbr). All year..... Yup, I thought it was a Christmas book. I mean, look at the cover and read the blurb. Totally a Christmas book.... Nope, not at all. Not only does most of this book take place in the summer, but Christmas is just an arbitrary day that's thrown in at the end with absolutely no meaning.
Also this book plods along at a nice pace for most of it and then suddenly does a 180' and spirals weirdly from there. I was disappointed in this book

by Sarah J. Maas

662 Pages (23:16 Hours)

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.
With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

I really loved this book. I mean, I loved the first one, but this one was sooooo much better. All those things that made me feel icky about Feyre and Tamlin's relationship comes to a head and she realizes that even though she's sacrificed so much for him, their relationship is super unhealthy. This book is very much about healing, both mentally physically and emotionally and that is wonderful. So many authors skip that healing phase, when in fact, it is the most character building phase there is.
I'm so sad that the next book isn't out yet. I want to read it so badly!

by Charles Dickens

117 Pages (3:42 Hours)

This classic story is the second in a series of five Christmas books Dickens was commissioned to write - beginning with A Christmas Carol. A haunting tale set on New Year's Eve, The Chimes tells the story of a poor porter named Trotty Veck who has become disheartened by the state of the world - until he is shown a series of fantastical visions that convince him of the good of humanity. Though much different from and certainly a bit darker than A Christmas Carol, the moral message of The Chimes is equally poignant - touting the importance of compassion, goodwill, and the love of friends and family.

This was a gift from Audible last year as a thank you for being a member. Thinking it was a Christmas story and Christmas already being past, I did the only reasonable thing, I waited the entire year to listen to it before Christmas. Turns out that it's actually a New Years story and I could have listened to it last year. Also turns out that Charles Dickens isn't all that great. This story was an awful mess. It sort of started out as a "treat those less fortunate than you better" and turned into a weird ghost story full of visions (you feeling like you know this story yet?) that are suppose to convince him of humanity's goodness, but it doesn't quite pull it off as well as A Christmas Carol. In fact, I was confused as to the impact the nasty visions were suppose to have.
I guess I did learn not to read Dickens unless you have to

by Joanne Fluke

352 Pages

When it comes to holidays, Minnesotans rise to the occasion—and the little town of Lake Eden is baking up a storm with Hannah Swensen leading the way. The annual Christmas Buffet is the final test of the recipes Hannah has collected for the Lake Eden Holiday Buffet Cookbook.
The recently divorced Martin Dubinski arrives at the buffet with his new Vegas showgirl wife—all wrapped up in glitter and fur. His ex-wife, however, seems as cool as chilled eggnog. And when Hannah’s mother’s antique Christmas cake knife disappears, its discovery in the décolletage of the new—and now late—Mrs. Dubinski puts the festivities on ice.
With everyone stranded at the community center by a blizzard, Hannah puts her investigative skills to the test, using the ingredients at hand: half the town of Lake Eden—and a killer. Now, as the snowdrifts get higher, it’s up to Hannah to dig out all the clues—and make sure that this white Christmas doesn’t bring any more deadly tidings…

Another murder? How do these keep happening at such a regular interval to be conveniently found by our Heroine? Ah, who cares, these are always silly fun and truth be told, I read them for the recipes.  Best thing about this book: It was only 252 pages long and had 100 pages of recipes at the back!!!!
Yay! That's what I call a Christmas miracle! 

by Charles Dickens

112 Pages

In October 1843, Charles Dickens ― heavily in debt and obligated to his publisher ― began work on a book to help supplement his family's meagre income. That volume, A Christmas Carol, has long since become one of the most beloved stories in the English language. As much a part of the holiday season as holly, mistletoe, and evergreen wreaths, this perennial favourite continues to delight new readers and rekindle thoughts of charity and goodwill.
With its characters exhibiting many qualities ― as well as failures ― often ascribed to Dickens himself, the imaginative and entertaining tale relates Ebenezer Scrooge's eerie encounters with a series of spectral visitors. Journeying with them through Christmases past, present, and future, he is ultimately transformed from an arrogant, obstinate, and insensitive miser to a generous, warm-hearted, and caring human being. Written by one of England's greatest and most popular novelists, A Christmas Carol has come to epitomize the true meaning of Christmas.

Wait... did I just say that I learned that I shouldn't read Dickens unless I have to? Yeah, I did. But if you're going to read Dickens at all, this is a pretty good one. I actually quite enjoyed it. I haven't read it since I was a kid, so it was nice to revisit it without having to watch one of the terrible reiterations of it. (which I refuse to watch after nightmares of Uncle Scrooge trying to drag me to hell with him)
This book does have one of my new favorite analogies in it though: 
"Marley's face. It was not in impenetrable shadow as the other subjects in the yard were, but had a dismal light about it, like a bad lobster in a dark cellar."
After much laughing and much research, I discovered that when lobsters go bad, the bacteria that eats at it glows slightly in the dark. See? You just learned something. No go out there and make "Like a bad lobster in a dark cellar" a thing

by Bailey Cates

320 Pages

When the bookshop next to the Honeybee Bakery hosts a signing for a Savannah radio celebrity's new self-help book, magical baker Katie Lightfoot is happy to provide some delectable desserts. A big crowd has turned out for the event, curious about the book (and maybe to sample some goodies), but the final chapter comes too soon for the author when she is found dead at the event.
The prime suspect is Angie Kissel, a former witch whose familiar was once Katie’s own terrier, Mungo. Katie is at first hesitant to help, afraid of losing the little dog who has become so important to her. But after a little nudge from Mungo himself, Katie decides to try to conjure up the real killer—before Angie gets served...

A Bakery next to a Book Shop! My dream come true! Not so much the murder, but you know what I mean. The more I read this series, the more I want to have baking magic. It's amazing how much I actually think about it; what I would bake, how it would help people (Don't even get me started about the baking magic in Fantastic Beasts) sigh....
Anyway, this book was fun and I really enjoyed it. I was a little disappointed with the recipes at the back, but they can't all be magical scones (just Greek scones this time... gross..)
Hopefully the next book will be just as good.

by Charles Dickens

108 Pages

Includes A Christmas Tree, What Christmas is, as We Grow Older, the Poor Relation's Story, the Child's Story, the Schoolboy's Story and Nobody's Story.

Remember above when I said you shouldn't read Dickens unless you have to? Well, I didn't listen to myself. I was trying so hard to get in as much Christmas reading that I forced myself to read these awful, awful short stories. Only one of them had anything to do with Christmas at all, and that was A Christmas Tree; where he talks about the decoration on his tree and what they remind him of. This includes Ghost Stories, which he tells 3 or 4 of in the middle of the story. It's really awkward. The other stories only mention Christmas in them but aren't actually about Christmas at all. It's really weird. I don't recommend.

by Leigh Bardugo

462 Pages (15:25 Hours)

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes 
Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

I kept hearing great things about this book, so I finally picked it up in an Audible sale and I'm very glad that I did. It was excellent. If you want a great Ocean's 11 style story based in a fantasy universe with crazy magic and fun characters, I suggest picking this up. I enjoyed that they actually hired multiple voice actors for all the different characters, it gave it more life that some other audio books have. Seriously, what are you waiting for? Go get this book.

by Wendy Holden

468 Pages

Four parents-to-be seem ante-natally sorted. Flash Hugo and Amanda have booked a chic private clinic and royal maternity nurse. Right-on Jake and Alice want an all-natural home birth with whale music and tree-hugging nappies. But nothing goes quite to plan. Amanda finds motherhood less glam than the stars make it look and disappears back to her career. Which leaves Hugo with the child and without a clue what to do. 
Alice has problems too. Bringing up baby to Jake’s eco-fascist standards means home-made organic everything and a recycled cardboard cot. Will nappiness bring happiness to anybody? Not before bedhopping spouses, beastly bosses and bitchy nursery mothers have all done their dreadful worst…

I've had this book for years (trb) but never got around to picking it up. I really didn't want to read about parenting, even if it was in Wendy Holden's awesome style. But I'm glad I picked it up because it was great. I shouldn't have been surprised. Wendy Holden always makes he books clever and funny and full of heartwarming characters and horrible people that you love to hate and who always get their comeuppance. I need to find more of her books.

by Leigh Bardugo

560 Pages (18:00 Hours)

Kaz Brekker and his crew have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn't think they'd survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they're right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and left crippled by the kidnapping of a valuable team member, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope. As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz's cunning and test the team's fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city's dark and twisting streets―a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of magic in the Grisha world.

While you're out buying Six of Crows, you might as well pick up the sequel as well. You're going to want it as soon as you finish the first one anyway. Although not quite as good as the first one, this one has just as much fun and the antics will make you want to keep reading. It's more like Ocean's 12. Still great, but lacking a little bit of the charm and style that the first one had.
After finishing this, I had to look up more books by this author. I'm very excited to know that she has an entire other series based in this land. I may have to head back to the bookstore....

by Terry Pratchett

445 Pages

It's the night before Hogswatch. And its too quiet. 
Where is the big jolly fat man? Why is Death creeping down chimneys and trying to say Ho Ho Ho? The darkest night of the year is getting a lot darker...
Susan the gothic governess has got to sort it out by morning, otherwise there won't be a morning. Ever again...The 20th Discworld novel is a festive feast of darkness and Death (but with jolly robins and tinsel too). 
As they say: 'You'd better watch out...'

Oh Terry Pratchett, you get crazier and crazier with every book of yours that I read. I saved this one for Christmas and it was the best holiday story I read this year.
I already loved Death as a character, but him putting on a red suit and fake beard to take on the mantle of the missing Hogfather made me love him all the more.
There are a lot of different plots going on in this book, which can make it hard to follow sometimes, but it's worth it by the end when you finally figure out what's going on.

So I did pretty good on the challenge this year.
I gave up on Trends While Reading, but only because it was making me depressed I didn't need that.
I finished reading the rest of The Wheel of Time and finished 11 of my 12 TBR pile (and only had to replaced 2 books on it)

Not too shabby if I do say so myself  (and I do)

Books that I am currently reading

by Timothy Zahn
57 of 694 Pages

by Hans Christian Andersen
161 of 343 Pages

by Kiera Cass
3:33 Hours of 8:07 Hours

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Lost Princess - RIP Carrie Fisher

You've probably all heard by now that Carrie Fisher, our beloved Space Mom, passed away yesterday morning after suffering from a heart attack days earlier.

It seems 2016 needed to give us one more blow to the heart before ending and this was a terrible blow.

The World has lost some amazing people over the years, but for me, I've never lost someone who was an Idol before and I honestly don't know how to feel or what to say.

Princess Leia taught me how to be strong when I was a young girl. She taught me that I could stand up for myself and that I could be a self-rescuing princess. She taught me to never take any gruff from anyone and to love fiercely.

But it was when I got older and realized who Carrie Fisher was in real life that I truly began to idolize her. When I learned what she had gone through in her life and saw how she handled everything with grace and humor and crassness all at the same time, I truly fell in love. She's the kind of woman I want to be.

When I was feeling lost after my own diagnosis of a mental illness, it was Carrie Fisher and her writing that I turned to. Knowing that there was an advocate for mental illness out there and handling it so publicly, I was inspired.

I was one of the lucky ones who got to meet her. (BEST DAY EVER)

This is a great loss for the Star Wars community and the World at large. But may she continue to inspire girls, both young and old, both as Princess Leia and herself and may it be known far and wide that she drowned in moonlight, strangled by her own bra, just the way she wanted.

RIP Carrie Fisher

 You will be missed

Friday, December 23, 2016

Stocking Stuffers

Looking for something amazing to fill your loved one's stocking with?

DoOomcat has just the thing for their every geeky need

For no matter who you choose from the old...

or the new...

or even if you can't decide yet and want to catch 'em all

Bring some magic into your life

Make your heart soar...

And go a little crazy this Christmas

Hope your stockings are stuffed with goodness and your heart and feet are warm

(you can also buy these awesome stocking shirts here)

Friday, December 16, 2016

We Got The Plans

We're off to see Rogue One tonight and I am soooooo excited!
I've been trying to avoid spoilers, but I came across this and it was too good not to share.

I'm pretty sure this is what the movie is about...

Don't mess with the imperial ice cream machine..

and for those who don't get the ice cream joke, you can check out this video about it here

art by Alyruko

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Thursday Threads - Rogue One

Is everyone excited about the new Star Wars movie today? I know this geek girl is! But if only I had something to wear to the theatre to show my love.....

Oh wait... I just need to swing by Hot Topic to find something from their new Rogue One collection

Check out these amazing outfits

I am in love with the Rebel jacket. It's probably my favorite piece from this collection. Although the men's version comes in a close second. Might have to get that one too.

As you can see, they decided to stick with mostly earth tones in this collection and that seems to match with the outfits from the movie (although I can't say for sure, since I've been trying to avoid spoilers)

I love the idea of this flightsuit dress, but I'm not overly sure if they pulled it off or not. My favorite feature from it are the shoulder clips. I love the sweater too, but would love it more if it had actual shoulders, but that's just me.

I'm loving the graphic tees and I'm hoping to add them to my collection soon.

I feel like Star Wars really missed out on the opportunity to have a make-up line for this movie called Rouge One. Just me?

Anyway, enjoy the movie and your new out of this galaxy duds.