A Smattering of Mini-Reviews

How in the heck is the first month of the new year already almost over?? Where is the time thief that is responsible for this madness? I demand answers! Seriously, though, every year that goes by makes me feel like time just keeps slipping by quicker and quicker.

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I noticed that I’ve been slacking a bit in posting reviews for some of the stuff I’ve been reading and watching lately. Time’s really been getting away from me with everything that’s been going on, but I still want to shine a little spotlight on some of the stuff I’ve been enjoying in the past few weeks, so I bring you this post of mini-reviews! 😀 It’ll be like a little sampling rather than a full course of reviews, but I think it’ll certainly get the job done. 😉

The Plucker, by Gerald Brom:

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This illustrated novel was a real treat. I’ve been a fan of Brom’s work for quite some time. Growing up, my mom had multiple books featuring his artwork and I was hooked from a young age. I loved the dark and twisted aesthetic he had going on. One of the things I like about Brom’s novels, is that he carries over his wonderful artwork and includes tons of illustrations, sketches, and paintings to accompany the story he is telling.

When a young boy’s father unwittingly brings him a gift containing an evil spirit known as the Plucker, it quickly makes itself at home and decides to claim the boy’s life for its own. It begins its reign of terror by going after the boy’s toys, the very things the child has poured so much of himself and his love into. Thus, the toys in this book have a life force all their own, one the Plucker is keen on taking to build up the needed strength to claim the soul of the boy and take over his body. What the Plucker has no way of realizing, is that aside from his toys, the boy also has one badass little old lady for a nanny. One who knows some things about magic herself. It’s a good story with fantastic artwork. I gave it 4/5 stars.

Stranger Things 2, on Netflix:

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Remember when I mentioned how busy I’ve been and how fast time has been flying by? That’s the only explanation I have for why it took me sooooo long to finally  finish watching the second season of Stranger Things. I (and countless others) love this show and the awesome 80’s dose of nostalgia it’s been rocking. Season 2 was awesome. We met some new characters, got to see older characters continue to grow, and learn some more about “the Upside Down”. The horror element of the show continues to grow in a really satisfying slow-burn sort of way, but it never feels dull and boring because you love the characters so damn much. This was a solid second season to a great show, and I may have even liked it more than I liked the first season, which is really saying something. I would give it 5/5 stars. Can’t wait for season 3!

Phantasmagoria and Other Poems, by Lewis Carroll:

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One of my reading goals for this year is to read more poetry books since it isn’t really something I’ve read a whole lot of. Since I have always been a fan of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass, I definitely wanted to check out this book of poems from Carroll. I’ll admit, I wasn’t as smitten with this as I thought I was going to be. I liked the titular poem Phantasmagoria the best of the lot, finding that it had the most character to it. It tells the tale of a little ghost who has mistakenly come to haunt the wrong house. Carroll has a certain easy-to-read quirky charm to his poems, but this book wasn’t my favorite of his works. 3/5 stars for this one.

Milk and Honey, by Rupi Kaur:

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Another book of poems! 🙂 This was a quick and moving read. I admire Rupi Kaur’s ability to pour her soul out onto the pages of this book. Divided into different categories, the poems contained cover topics like love and loss, surviving after trauma, and the power and unity of femininity. I think many of us will be able to find something they can identify with or relate to somewhere in Milk and Honey. 4/5 stars.

The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden:

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I can’t believe I somehow never got around to reviewing this one. I read The Bear and the Nightingale with my book club ladies in December, and it made for the perfect winter read. It was both enchanting and addicting. Much like how the main character Vasilisa is enthralled with the fairy tales she is told growing up, you will become enthralled by the one she winds up living. Russian folklore and mythology enrich the story, and the backdrop of winter is capable of being both cruel and kind, with moments that are cozy and heartwarming, and others that are harsh and bitter. 4/5 stars.

 

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Books + Winter = BLISS.

As much as I grumble about the bitter cold and snow and ice of winter, even I can admit that there is a special kind of coziness to winter reading. Being all bundled up with plenty of blankets and something warm to drink while you read makes for a pretty cozy bit of relaxation.

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I’m juggling a few different books/comics at the moment. One I’ve slowly been chiseling away at is Strange the Dreamer, and it is utterly amazing. I tend to read it before work every day (as long as I haven’t wasted too much time rebelling against adulting that particular morning by refusing to get out of bed.) It’s the kind of book that could easily be devoured quickly, but I’ve been enjoying picking at it here and there and savoring the experience. I love Laini Taylor’s writing and indulging in this beautifully imaginative story each day before work helps start my morning off on the right foot. ❤

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Another thing I’ve been reading as of late is the comic series Low. It’s one I had been really excited to get into, and since my boyfriend is a fan of Rick Remender’s writing, he went ahead and bought the first 4 volumes for us to read. I’ll admit, I wasn’t really feeling this series upon finishing volume 1. In fact, if my boyfriend hadn’t already purchased volumes 2, 3, and 4, I probably would have stopped reading it. However, I decided to continue on and it is slowly getting better. Some of my major complaints have been resolved mostly (for now at least). We’ll see how it goes as I continue reading these first 4 volumes. Because of my conflicted feelings regarding the series so far, I’ve decided to wait and do a review of the first four volumes rather than doing them 1 at a time. I hope it continues to improve the further I get into the story because there are several elements to it that I do really enjoy.

The other story I’m currently reading is Gerald Brom’s book, The Plucker. First off, this book is a pretty one, so we have to talk about that. It’s a big lovely hardcover book filled to the brim with Brom’s dark and twisted artwork with a story to match. At first glance, one may take it for a “children’s book” since it is full of illustrations, but with the swearing, crass humor, and elements of horror throughout, it is certainly not intended for children. Unless the children involved are literal demons. Then maybe. The story is centered around a young boy and his toys and the dangerous predatory spirit now plaguing them. It’s sort of like if you mixed Toy Story or The Nutcracker with Evil Dead 2 and The Exorcist. 😛 It’s a fun read so far.

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Other recent reads of the new year include Saga, volume 8 (which I just recently reviewed), and Lewis Carroll’s Phantasmagoria and Other Poems. This weekend I intend to start reading Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur, which I am really excited about.

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So, what recent books have you been enjoying? Have you read any of these stories yet? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts on them!

* Happy Mother’s Day! *

Woo! It’s Mother’s Day and I figured it would be fun to have the spotlight be on my own mom today. I consider myself very lucky to have the mom I do. Both of my parents are pretty damn amazing, but today’s Mother’s Day so it’s all about Mama Moth! 😛

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I went ahead and did an interview with the lovely lady I call Mom so you guys could get to know a bit more about one of the people who shaped me into who I am today.

Q: Are you more of a Science Fiction or Fantasy fan? Or both?

A: Fantasy! Your dad’s more into science fiction than I am.

Q: Favorite Mythological Creature?

A: Pegasus.

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Q: Favorite Visual Artists?

A: Ooh, I have so many. I love Brom. There’s Dali. Michael Parkes, Amy Brown and Brian Froud. I feel like I could keep going but I’ll stop with those.

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Q: What is your favorite thing about being a mom?

A: My kids. Watching you grow up into individuals. Spending time with you guys.

Q: What does your ideal “Girl’s Day Out” consist of?

A: Three things. Bookstore, Chinese restaurant, and then top it all off with iced cappuccinos.

Q: Favorite Family vacation?

A: Florida. All the winter breaks we spent in Florida were always nice.

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Q: What is one interest you had growing up that you’re surprised neither of your kids ever got into like you did?

A: Well, you like books like I do, you like art like I do, you like animation. You’re like a mini me, except a better version. So, probably sports. I think that’s about it, because you like baking and cooking and everything else I like. So yeah, sports.

Q: Do you think your kids look more like you or their Dad?

A: Your brother looks like my side of the family, but you definitely look like your dad’s side. So it’s a 50/50.

Q: Why were books so important to bring your kid up on and make sure they had in their life?

A: Because books are the best. They just rule. You could escape into another world and be who ever you want to be.

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Q: What are some of your favorite movies?

A: Hmmm . . . well, The Dark Crystal, Labyrinth, all of the Studio Ghibli Movies . . . oh, and Overboard!

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Q: Favorite Candy?

Black licorice

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your husband?

A: (Smiles.) He always makes me laugh and he’s got a good heart.

Q: What’s your favorite thing about your children?

(About my brother) He’s my gentle giant. He has an old soul. He’s just such a sweet and loving person.

(About me) You, my dear, always make me laugh, you have such a great heart and you always care about others. Just an all around great person to be around. And you make bad ass cupcakes.

Q: How would you describe your family?

A: We’re a nerd family who is fabulous. I wouldn’t trade any of you guys for anything. Except maybe a Choco Taco (evil mom laugh). No, seriously, I think our family’s a good family. Each of us is willing to help others and that makes it even better.

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Please note that at the end of interview my mom declared “DONE!” and pretended to drop a mic. lol