Gentleman Jack: Season 1 Review

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Wow, did this show ever draw me right in. I absolutely loved it. ❀ The series is inspired by the nineteenth century coded diaries of Anne Lister, a landowner and industrialist who basically said “Take your patriarchy and shove it” all while looking for love, which obviously wasn’t the easiest thing to do for a lesbian living in the 1800s. The series premiered in April and just wrapped up this week with a very powerful season finale.

The show is a historical drama, but it has plenty of laughs as well. I love the way Anne’s character breaks the fourth wall from time to time. It’s done seamlessly and adds a humor and lightness to this period piece I wasn’t expecting. I also thought it served as a nice reminder of Anne’s diaries that gave life to this series to begin with.

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I really enjoyed the characters and their relationships with one another throughout the show. Each of them has their own obstacles they face throughout the season, and the relationships are just as often complex as they are touching. Anne and her sister (who you may recognize as the actress who played Yara Greyjoy in Game of Thrones) could not be any less alike, often butting heads and scoffing at one another, but when it comes down to it they are there for one another and truly do care. Anne is a tough badass who doesn’t take crap from anyone, but she also has a soft side and a strong love and devotion to those she cares about, be it or family, friends, or romantic interests.

Binge-watching this during Pride Month was just a happy coincidence but it was nice reflecting on how far we’ve come since the days Anne was around to now. ❀ Humanity still has a long way to go, but every step forward is moving us in the right direction to a better, happier and more loving world. πŸ™‚

Did any of you guys watch this? I absolutely adored it! Cannot recommend it enough. ❀ What shows are you currently invested in?

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Moon Called (Mercy Thompson #1) Review

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In my recent frenzy of reading Urban Fantasy, I finally got around to reading Moon Called, the first novel in the series of Mercy Thompson books. This series came highly recommended by Cupcakes and Machetes, so I was excited to give it a whirl. πŸ™‚

Mercedes Thompson, better known to her friends as Mercy, is a mechanic by day and a shapeshifting “Walker” by night, able to take on the form of a coyote at will. Luckily for her, her transformation is nowhere near as painful and brutal as that of the werewolves who also inhabit her everyday world. There are supernatural creatures galore in this series, and some of them are even known about by humans thanks to their powers that be deciding to come public. (Mostly with the lighter fluffy sort of fae and not the monstrous I’m-gonna-eat-your-face kind of creatures, of course.) Baby steps, people. Better to ease the general public into things than cause a widespread panic, right?

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Mercy is just going about her business, living her everyday life when things suddenly get completely turned upside down. When she tries her best to help out a young werewolf in need, the universe quickly sends Mercy a reminder of the age old saying “no good deed ever goes unpunished.” Things escalate pretty quickly after that with attempted/successful murders, kidnapping, werewolf politics, etc. There’s also paranormal romance going on, but I didn’t feel especially drawn to any of Mercy’s suitors. Granted, this is a series so there are bound to be more characters introduced along with character growth from the established characters, so we’ll see how that works out. πŸ™‚

I really enjoyed Mercy’s character. She was kind, brave, clever, and determined. Some of the werewolves I liked, some *cough cough Samuel* annoyed the crap out of me. All I could think any time he was brought up in the book was something along the lines of “Somebody please neuter this guy or put a silver bullet in him.”

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I’m definitely planning on continuing to read the series, so I’m really looking forward to learning more about the other creatures, and seeing what happens with the characters. There seems to be some really interesting worldbuilding going on, but we just kind of see the tip of the iceberg in this novel, so I can’t wait to explore that further. πŸ™‚ I gave this one 4 out of 5 stars.

Howl’s Moving Castle (Book) Review

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I’ll be honest, it wasn’t until last year that I even knew Howl’s Moving Castle was not only a fantastic animated film, but also a book! I found a copy in a 2nd and Charles Free Book Bin and snatched that baby up immediately, and I’m so glad that I did! This book was pure magic. ❀ I feel like if you’re a fan of the Miyazaki film, or if you enjoy light-hearted whimsical stories like The Last Unicorn or Stardust, that Howl’s Moving Castle might just be right up your alley. πŸ˜‰

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β€œIn the land of Ingary where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of the three. Everyone knows you are the one who will fail first, and worst, if the three of you set out to seek your fortunes.”

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Having grown up in a small hat shop and expecting a very uneventful life due to the social stigma of being the eldest, Sophie has her world turned upside down due to a witch’s curse that transforms her into an old woman. But perhaps the Witch of the Waste’s curse is just what Sophie needs to push herself out of the dull fate she had previously accepted for herself. Setting off to find a cure for the curse inflicted upon her, Sophie winds up finding much more than that. Witches and wizards, shapeshifters and fire demons are only a sample of the strange characters she’ll meet as she is forced out of her comfort zone. She’ll venture to moving castles and palaces and more in an effort to undo the Witch of the Waste’s magic, and she’ll do it with a sassy attitude to boot!

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The characters in this story are all so quirky and fun, and the book has a lovely light and humorous tone to it. I think the whimsy of it really made this book one of those special sort of “Feel Good” reads for me. πŸ™‚ I’m not usually a re-read sort of person (only due to there being SO MANY books out there to be read) but this is one I would consider re-reading in the future.

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β€œIt is quite a risk to spank a wizard for getting hysterical about his hair.”

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Diana Wynne Jones weaved quite the enchanting story, so I would definitely like to read more of her work in the future. She was very imaginative and created a lovely fantasy world with entertaining characters to fill it. Apparently there are two other books related to this one, so I plan to check those out one day, too!

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Strange the Dreamer (No-Spoiler) Review

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Some things are just so damn good that they deserve to be savored. And savor I did while reading Laini Taylor’s vividly imaginative epic, Strange the Dreamer. Although I was in no rush to reach the end of this tale, I was enthralled from beginning to end. The world, the characters, the writing itself, were all sublime.

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Lazlo Strange, as the title would imply, is a dreamer in every sense of the word. Since he was a young boy, orphaned by the war and raised by monks, he has been fascinated by a mythical lost city that others brush off as the stuff of fairy tales. It isn’t until years later when he is living the humble life of a junior librarian that Lazlo is presented with the opportunity to seek out his dreams, and with them, the lost city of Weep.

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This story is pure magic. It did exactly what I always hope for a book to do: it made me feel something. And in this case, not just something, but a LOT of somethings. Parts of the book are so damn fun, while others are so charming and so sweet you’ll never want them to end, and then other parts are utterly devastating. Beauty and ugliness. Love and hatred. Dreams and the harsh realities of human nature. This book is gonna give you the feels.

This was, without a doubt, a 5/5 Stars sort of read.

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Saga, Vol. 8 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Woo! First review (and post) of the New Year! I hope everyone had a fantastic New Year’s Eve and an amazing start to 2018 so far. ❀ My boyfriend helped assure that much for me by stopping by our local comic book store New Year’s Eve and picking up this delightful title that just came out at the end of December. Needless to say, I about screamed with joy when he pulled into the parking lot and revealed his master plan.

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Brian K. Vaughan (the writer) and Fiona Staples (the illustrator) continue to weave their outlandish space opera of epic proportions in this volume, but add in some of the fun of the Old Wild West along the way. I don’t want to get into any spoiler territory, so we’ll keep things fairly vague as I talk about my feelings on this volume. And trust me, I got plenty of the feels for this series. ❀

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One thing I really like about the series as a whole is that it has a lot of heart, but not in a corny, mushy, or preachy sort of way. This volume is no exception. It continues to explore the theme of family, and what exactly family means when you really get down to it. It challenges convention at every turn and makes no apologies, and I utterly love it for that. ❀

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We see old and new faces alike in this volume and are presented with some pretty interesting “what-if” moments. It confronts deep-rooted feelings of both tragedy and hope head-on and still continues to surprise the reader with just about every turn of the page. This is a series that can make you cry one moment and then laugh another.

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Volume for volume, Saga makes for a quick, intense and often-times hilarious and utterly random emotional roller coaster. The characters are so well-written and full of their own troubles and flaws that it makes them feel completely human despite, ya know, the whole televisions for heads, and having horns and/or wings thing.

I honestly feel that just about everyone can find SOMETHING they can relate to somewhere in this series. So, if you have yet to hop on the Saga bandwagon, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR???! Do yourself a favor and GET. ON. THAT.

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5/5 Stars.

 

Giant Days, Vol. 3 (No-Spoiler) Review

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Giant Days is, as I’ve seen it described before, “a slice of life” sort of comic following a group of friends as they navigate their first semester at university. It’s honestly quite charming in my opinion, and one of those feel-good sorts of easy reading. Not to say it doesn’t have the occasional sad or angering moment thrown in as well, but overall it’s got fun and silly humor and good female characters/friendships. Good male characters, too. Just good, human characters all around it would seem. (Maybe even a good pigeon character as well.)

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Being a young adult makes for stressful and odd times, and the events that have transpired over the first three volumes of Giant Days do not shy away from that. In fact, GD fully embraces it with a running start and tackle-hugs it to the ground. This volume in particular covers topics ranging from bedtime romps and heartache to student elections and the terror that is camping.

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My boyfriend and I have been reading through this series together and our personal reviews on this volume were mixed. We both liked volume 1 the best so far, but he wound up enjoying 2 more than 3, and I on the other hand enjoyed this volume more than I did with volume 2. We both agree we’re definitely going to continue reading the series though with volume 4 at some point. πŸ™‚ The series just has some sort of comfy cozy vibe that keeps me coming back for more if that makes any sense. Maybe it’s because I enjoy the characters so much, even when they’re doing normal everyday stuff.

So, how about you guys? Reading anything good right about now? Do you have any go-to feel-good reads you enjoy like this one?

The Happiest Reading Challenge: Updates

Just call me Scatter Brain McGee over here, because I’ve been meaning to (and forgetting to) talk about what I thought of Six of Crows after I read it! Oops! Shame on me, I know. As I’d mentioned before, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo was my May book selection for the Happiest Reading Challenge I’m taking part in, started by super-friendly blogger, The Happiest Pixel.

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Cover and Author of Six of Crows.

Despite what my lack of a timely review might indicate, I was absolutely head over heels infatuated with this book! It was seriously never a dull moment with criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker and his crew. From start to finish this book kept me intrigued and guessing as it surprised me time and time again with twist after delightful twist.

As is a very important thing for me when reading a book, I also loved the characters. They’re quite the mixed bag, and Bardugo manages to hop from POV to POV effortlessly throughout the tale in a way that never seems jarring or off-putting in the slightest. I myself have absolutely no problem with books with multiple POV shifts throughout the chapters, but I know some people who do, and I doubt even they would have minded in this book. It flows very nicely.

I’ve talked before about how beautiful I think the actual book is with its black-edged pages and gorgeous cover, so I won’t get much into that, other than to say that the writing is just as lovely as the book itself.

I could just keep on going on about how enjoyable of a read this was, but I’m gonna keep it brief and say: If you like a good heist story and want to read a book that lives up to all the hype, this is a damn good one to go with. Can’t wait to read the next one.

So, that covers May’s part of the challenge, but what about June so far? I mentioned already that I would be reading The Lies of Locke Lamora for this portion of the challenge, but believe it or not, I cannot find where I put the book!! *GASP* Like, what the hell? Did it just sprout legs and bound off somewhere? There is a possibility that I may have taken it to my boyfriend’s and left it there, but as my brain has been busy forgetting to post about Six of Crows it also took on the task of forgetting to ask my bf about the M.I.A. book as well. Sigh . . . one day I’ll get it all together, but today is not that day.

In the mean time, I’ve begun reading Gail Carriger’s first book in The Parasol Protectorate series, Soulless.

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Cover and Author of Soulless.

I’ve already read andΒ reviewed the manga trilogy based off of this series of paranormal steampunk novels, so I knew what I was getting into already. And that is a witty historical fiction series set in Victorian England. I’m interested to see how the manga series (which was only three volumes) will compare and differ to the source material, which is five novels.

Those are my updates for the reading challenge so far. How’s your reading going at the moment? Into any interesting books right now?