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

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 finallyΒ  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! πŸ™‚ 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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Happy Halloween!

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Let the festivities officially begin because Halloween is upon us! (Although I’ve been trying to squeeze in Halloween hijinks throughout the whole month.) πŸ˜›

It’s pretty dang cold here in Michigan right now, but that’s okay. I’m soaking up all this fall weather while I can. This past weekend I got to head out of town to spend it with my #1 partner in crime, Cupcakes and Machetes. She was hosting our book club’s October meeting and threw a lovely get-together with delicious fall goodies and an awesome tour of the old cemetery behind her house. I stayed the night and we wound up carving pumpkins and watching the first 2 episodes of the latest season of Stranger Things. (I can’t wait to see the rest of it!) It was a great way to spend the weekend before Halloween, not to mention how gorgeous all the trees were on the drive! πŸ™‚

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I can’t wait to see all the costumes everyone wears at work today. I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but I’m a program instructor at a day program for adults with special needs and we’re having a big Halloween party with a costume contest, creepy sensory bins, spooky decorations, and room-to-room trick or treating. I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun. πŸ˜€

One of the major reasons I’m in the job field I am is my big brother. He has autism, OCD, and epilepsy. For a long time he wasn’t really into doing holiday-related activities. (In fact, for years my parents couldn’t put up a Christmas tree because in his opinion, that tree simply did not belong in the living room so it was coming down one way or another.) He’s come around though in recent years and even helped decorate the tree last year which was really nice. πŸ™‚ Well, he’s embraced Halloween now, too, it seems. We got to decorate pumpkins together. I carved mine and he decorated his with paint and face stickers. He did such a great job and it was really cool getting to do that with him.

My pumpkin was supposed to be a pug face. Hopefully it looks sorta kinda like one. πŸ˜› Anywhoooo, I hope you guys all have a fantastic Halloween! Are you doing anything fun today? What were your favorite Halloween activities you got to do this year?