Book Club, Buddy Reads, and Vegan Chocolate Mousse– OH, MY!

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This weekend has been a blast. We had some good friends over to the house for the first time, which was very exciting. I hosted this month’s book club get-together, and my boyfriend and Cupcakes and Machetes‘ husband went out to one of the nearby breweries so we ladies could have the whole place to ourselves. Which basically involved a lot of snacking, inappropriate conversation, a tour of the house (the reading nook and giant bean bag were both a hit!) and more snacking. Most of the girls in our book club are strictly vegan, so I made a variety of vegan dishes for everyone to nom on and everything turned out great. The chocolate mousse was definitely a success, so I’ll share the recipe at the bottom of this post in case any of you are interested. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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C&M and her hubby brought us an amazing bundle of goodies, which was so sweet and thoughtful. Aaaaand she and I decided to do a buddy read for Kevin Hearne’s A Plague of Giants in August, so there’s that to look forward to as well.

3 Ingredient Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe:

This recipe is SO EASY. You just need 3 ingredients:

  • 2 small boxes of Jello brand instant chocolate pudding mix
  • Chocolate almond milk
  • “So Delicious Dairy Free” coconut whipped topping

In a large mixing bowl, whisk your pudding mix and chocolate almond milk together, adding enough almond milk so that it gets to a cake batter consistency. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the coconut whipped topping so that it is fully blended but not over-whipped. Refrigerate until you’re ready to serve.

I served ours with graham crackers for dipping and it was seriously addicting. I think it would be great for dipping strawberries or sliced banana into, too, though. The great thing about this mousse, is how versatile the recipe can be. If you want to use vanilla or plain almond milk instead of chocolate, the pistachio, banana cream, vanilla, and lemon flavors of Jello instant pudding are also vegan-friendly, so you could make a mousse in any of those flavors just as easily. The mousse is also great for filling or topping cupcakes, or even just eating plain or parfait-style, so you can really do a lot of different things with it.

And, if you are not interested in making it vegan, just use regular milk and a tub of regular whipped topping instead, and you can use whatever flavor of instant pudding mix you want, so the possibilities are unlimited. Go crazy, this stuff is so easy and delicious.

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June Update Time!

Wow, it’s still hard to believe we’re already SIX MONTHS into the year. Luckily, 2018 has been a great ride so far, so I really can’t complain. (Although, to be fair, there is some occasional whining before/after work.) ๐Ÿ˜›

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My spirit animal

The biggest change for me so far in 2018 has been moving in with my boyfriend to our very first house. It was a big, scary leap, but it’s been great. We make a good team and he always inspires me to push myself toward bigger and better things, so I’ve got some fun projects/ideas I plan to really get going on in the days to come. Next month my little blog will be turning 2 years old, and I’m planning some fun stuff as this Ignited Moth begins her terrible twos. Mwahaha!

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I’m having some friends over this upcoming weekend (my first non-family visitors since I moved in) for my book club’s June meeting. I can’t wait for them to come see the new house and hang out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Aaaand, speaking of books . . .

Here are the books I’ve bought so far in June:

The City of Lost Fortunes

Currently reading this one for book club. I’m enjoying it so far, I just wish I had more time to really dig into it. I was struggling to stay away the other night while reading this and wound up succumbing to sleep, thus letting my kindle slip from my grasp and bash me in the face. Not the nicest way to wake up. Profanities ensued.

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A Plague of Giants

I cannot wait to get to read this one! I’ve been enjoying The Iron Druid Chronicles, so I can’t wait to read Kevin Hearne’s first big epic fantasy. He’s been great in the urban fantasy department, but I am looking forward to seeing how he really turns his brain loose for this one.

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Godblind

Like the book above, this was a recent buy due to a fantastic deal pointed out to me by Cupcakes and Machetes. Not only does she make killer book suggestions, but she also points out great deals when she finds them. She’s like a fairy godmother of all things literature, waving her magic wand around and making good books appear on your TBR list. ๐Ÿ˜› I’d heard good things about this one, and with such a great deal how could I possibly pass it up?

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In other news, I bought some fantastic watercolor markers just recently. I’ve gotten to tinker around with them a little bit, but I’m really looking forward to going wild and getting the hang of them soon. With some encouragement from the always-awesomeย Imperial Rebel Ork, I’ve decided to post more of my scribbles, doodles, and artsy stuff on the blog. Which, of course, made me want to get some new tools of the trade to make it happen. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I feel like there are a thousand other things I could babble on about right now, but I’ll keep this brief. Just know: all is well, I’m feeling inspired, and there is plenty of fun new stuff coming to the blog in about a month. In the meantime, it’s business as per usual (AKA: random, unfiltered chaos.) ๐Ÿ˜€

I hope everyone had a great weekend! โค What’s been going on in your little corner of the world lately? Feel free to let me know what recent excitement you’ve had going on or what neat stuff you’ve been working on lately.

 

I Kill Giants (No-Spoiler Graphic Novel Review)

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Joe Kelly and J.M. Ken Niimura’s I Kill Giants is a graphic novel that tells the tale of a young girl with a chip on her shoulder named Barbara Thorson, who just so happens to be an accomplished killer of giants. Or so she claims. The eccentric loner of her town, Barbara does all that she can to keep giants at bay, reputation be damned.

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Barbara is a complicated character (as most humans are.) She’s got her points that will have you rooting for her, but she also has qualities and views that make her come across like an angsty little jerk-face at times. Given everything she has going on (real and/or imagined) she may just have her reasons, though. The more you read of her story the more it will come to make sense. Barbara makes mistakes and things get messy, which just makes her feel like a real human. She’s angry and jaded, but has her soft moments, too, where you just want to scoop her up like a little chipmunk (a chipmunk that will promptly bite the shit out of you the moment you let your guard down.)

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This is a coming-of-age story, complete with its emotionally heavy moments, but it also has a lot of silliness and fun to it as well. There’s more to this one than meets the eye, but I’m not gonna get all spoiler-y on you. ๐Ÿ™‚

As is often the case with graphic novels, this one makes for a quick read, but it packs an emotional punch within its pages. After reading this, it definitely made me want to check out the film adaptation that came out earlier this year. I could see this translating wonderfully on film if in the right hands.

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Upcoming June Book Club Read: The City of Lost Fortunes

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Last month I read a really good review from none other than the fantastic Kim over at From Hook or By Book, and I just knew I wanted to read the book. Her excitement about The City of Lost Fortunes made me excited to read it as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ So, I promptly added it to my towering, ever-growing mountain of TBR books, and I nominated it for my book club’s June meeting which I will be hosting. Votes were initially split between The City of Lost Fortunes and Making the Monster: The Science Behind Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, but eventually The City of Lost Fortunes won the vote.

Here’s the synopsis from Goodreads:

The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.

The postโ€“Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricaneโ€™s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never knownโ€”a father who just happens to be more than human.

Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune godโ€™s death, uncover the plot that threatens the cityโ€™s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his fatherโ€™s son.

You had me at “gods, games, and monsters”. ๐Ÿ˜€ I’m greatly looking forward to reading this book soon. It only came out in April of this year, so it’s still pretty new. Is it one you’ve read yet? If so, I’d love to hear what you thought of it. Maybe it will make its way into your TBR list like it did mine. What current books are you most excited to read right now?ย 

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Happy Valentine’s Day / Book Tag! xoxo

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Woo! Happy Valentine’s Day, luvvies! โค โค โค I’ve decided to participate in the Valentine’s Day Book Tag I’ve been seeing pop up all over WP lately. No one tagged me, but I thought it looked like fun, so let’s have at it!

1.) Standalone book you love

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Hmm . . . I’ve suddenly come to realize that I don’t read very many standalone books. Unless it’s a non-fiction one, of course, but that just felt like it didn’t count when I considered those titles. Animal Farm was probably my favorite assigned reading from school, and it’s just a great book in general.

2.) Dystopian book you love

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This series is just SO good! I’m currently picking away at the third in the series, and it’s been so good right off the bat. I don’t know why I waited so long to read it after completing Golden Son.

3.) A book that you love but no one else talks about

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It’s so fun getting to talk about books with people, but this is one title I have yet to get to discuss with anyone else.

4.) Favorite book couple

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I’m cheating. I’m going with my favorite comic book couple. ๐Ÿ˜› There just really aren’t a lot of books where I am 100% invested in the actual couple presented, but I am all about Alana and Marko from Saga.

5.) A book that other people love but you haven’t read yet

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I have seen SO MANY good reviews for this book. It sounds amazing and I feel all the shame for not having read it yet. “SHAME . . . SHAME . . . SHAME” *rings bell* ๐Ÿ˜›

6.) A book with red on the cover

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7.) A book with pink on the cover

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8.) You were given a box of chocolates. What fictional boyfriend or girlfriend would have given them to you?

Honestly, not a lot of the guys in the books I read really seem like the chocolate-giving sort. I think the sweetest fictional male character I’ve read about recently would be Lazlo Strange from Strange the Dreamer, but I mean, he just seems like a thoughtful and good-hearted guy in general, so I guess we’ll go with him. Although, with his brilliantly imaginative mind, I think he could come up with something wayyyy cooler than chocolates! ๐Ÿ˜›

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9.) You are single on Valentine’s Day. What book would you read? What TV show would you watch? What movie would you watch?

Pshhh, like I’d have to be single to want to read a book on Valentine’s Day! I don’t really have anything that comes to mind that would be Valentine’s-specific, so we’ll just go with stuff I am reading and would watch today whether it was Valentine’s Day or not.

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This collection features 15 of Edward Gorey’s morbid little works. I’d previously read Gorey’s The Gashlycrumb Tinies, which features 26 ill-fated children, the name of each starting with a different letter of the alphabet, so it has been interesting reading more of his dark and twisted short stories and poems.

FUTURE MAN

My boyfriend and I have slowly been chiseling away at this Hulu show, Future Man. It’s hilarious, and over the top with its violence, gore, and inappropriate humor. I wish we had more time so we could just binge-watch it to completion!

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I’ve really been wanting to watch this one. With Guillermo del Toro at the helm, how could I not?

10.) All of a sudden you get shot by Cupid’s arrow. What new release will you love?

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There is no doubt in my mind that I will love this book just as much as I have loved Pierce Brown’s other books. โค

Oh, and since it’s already Valentine’s Day I’d just say consider yourself tagged if you think this looks fun. ๐Ÿ™‚ Life has been a complete ball of chaos and madness lately so I waited til now to do this, so have at it if you’d like to be a last minute participant, too. Slackers Unite!! ๐Ÿ˜€

January’s Comic Haul

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Holy Comic Haul, Batman! Between December and January’s comic hauls, there is just sooo much comic-related goodness in my life. โค Since I already went over the lovely new reads I got forย Christmas, I thought I’d share with you guys the ones I got for my birthday at the end of January, too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Paper Girls, Vol. 1

In the early hours after Halloween of 1988, four 12-year-old newspaper delivery girls uncover the most important story of all time. Suburban drama and otherworldly mysteries collide in this smash-hit series about nostalgia, first jobs, and the last days of childhood.

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Huntress: Year One

As the last survivor of a crime family eliminated by bloody rivalries among the mobs of Gotham City, the orphaned Helena Bertinelli grew into the mysterious vigilante known as the Huntress.
New writer Ivory Madison shines a light on the dark underbelly of the mob world spanning from Gotham to Sicily, exploring exactly what led Helena away from a life in the Cosa Nostra criminal society and set her on a path of vigilantism. Also, find out more about Batman’s first meeting with the fledgling female crime-fighter and why, to this day, they struggle to see eye-to-eye.

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DC Comics: Bombshells, Vol. 5

Based on the hit DC Collectibles product line! As World War II rages across Europe, the Bombshells battle new enemies showing up out of the woodwork… The incredibly popular DC Collectibles line is brought to life in these stories that re-imagine the course of history!

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Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy

FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX! At Miss Qiunzilla Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s camp for hard-core lady-types, things are not what they seem. Three-eyed foxes. Secret caves. Anagrams. Luckily, Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are five rad, butt-kicking best pals determined to have an awesome summer together… And they’re not gonna let a magical quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way! The mystery keeps getting bigger, and it all begins here.

So, yeah, between Christmas and my birthday, I’d say it’s safe to say I made out like a bandit with 15 new additions to my collection. ๐Ÿ˜› I’m looking forward to reading all of them. In fact, I’m planning on reading the fourth volume of Giant Days later tonight after I catch up on reading everyone’s blogs. How about you? Did you get any recent books/comics? What are you reading this weekend?

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ It’ll be like a little sampling rather than a full course of reviews, but I think it’ll certainly get the job done. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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 finallyย  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! ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.