Sunday, January 06, 2019

Wonder Woman: War-Torn


I started out pretty frustrated with Wonder Woman: War-Torn. I was wondering what Meredith Finch and David Finch did to this series that I had been seriously enjoying until now. The ending saved the book. Not just Diana getting more in touch with the island, but her final battle with Donna Troy and the flashback chapter. Oh, Hippolyta.

Irony: "She's everything they used to mock me for."


I don't agree with quite a few of Diana's decisions in this story, not that I have to in order to enjoy it. Diana seems to be that "wonder woman" who aims to do it all. She is a member of the Justice League, Queen of the Amazons, and God of War. Can I be honest? I would give up being a member of the Justice League, at least a full-time member. I'd keep in touch, help when the big things are happening, like alien invasions or whatever, but both God of War and Amazon Queen seem like full-time positions. I think that's what frustrated me. Also, when Diana was dealing with First Born, where was the League? I get that it was an Olympus problem, but this involved the FATE OF THE WORLD. Even Orion came from ANOTHER PLANET to help. Sorry for all the All Caps. I have feelings about this book.

Speaking of Orion, where is he? I missed him. I missed Zola and a bunch of the characters from the previous story arc. I know there is a new writer and artistic team, but still! Also, if they want to see who has Hera's favour, Diana couldn't just ask her to stop by? That would have saved lives, no? As I mentioned, the end saved the entire story for me. There were some touching moments. I wonder about Wonder Woman's relationships with Superman and Batman, and if they'll be explored the next two books. I also wonder if all those characters I loved will come back and what these new creators will do with them.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe



With a title like, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe, how could I resist? The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe is my first Squirrel Girl comic, but it definitely won't be my last. I adore Team Squirrel Girl. I love Nancy, Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk. Their names are amazing. Also, Squirrel Girl's dynamic with Tony Stark is fantastic and fun. I also enjoyed watching Squirrel Girl have a little banter with Spider-Man. Her final outfit change was perfect. 

The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe was the perfect book to start off my 2019. It was fun, very funny, but also had a female hero at the centre of a crazy storyline, who was also just a girl. Doreen Green is a 2nd year computer science student. Her hero team are more nerds. She balances her super hero life with her school life. Homework is a high priority and so is her best friend, Nancy. Also, Tippy. Tippy is the BEST squirrel ever. Based on this little squirrel's awesomeness, I hope that she's in the other Squirrel Girl comics that I have. Ryan North and Erica Henderson have created an amazing team of young heroes, who are totally capable of saving the world.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Forward and Backward: Hello 2019

The past 2 years probably saw me take some of my biggest steps forward with regards to my writing life. I joined the WCYR. I became one of their staff bloggers. I’ve taken on the membership profile posts and I have become more active within the group as a whole. In 2018, I joined a second local writing group and I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time. I’ve also been taking an online course from Sarah Selecky. On her website she posted some questions writers can ask themselves: Writing Inventory, Intentions, and Reminders for the New Year

Here are some answers to those questions: 

LAST YEAR:

A pitfall from this year, and how going through it made me into the writer I am now:
A pitfall? The first question and I really don’t know how to answer it. Every writing experience I’ve had this year and all the years before, have made me into the writer I am now.

A success from this year, and how going through it made me into the writer I am now:
A success from this year is the activity on the WCYR blog, The Easy Writer. I like to think that I played a pretty decent part in the increased activity.

Writing milestones. What actually happened, that mattered? What am I proud of doing this year?
(Get out your diary/notebooks and reflect, month by month.)
I don’t have time to reflect month by month, but NaNoWriMo might be the thing I’m most proud of this year.

Now I guess we’re at the “resolutions” part…

NEXT YEAR:

Next year, I’ll stop: Being so critical of myself. Probably not. But I can try.

Next year, I’ll start: Taking more time for my writing.

I want more of: The intense focus I get when I’m “in the zone”. Also, word count.

I want less of: Self-doubt. Goes with the first one, I guess. I also want less procrastination. I need to get the words on the page.

I am totally done with: I don’t know. Nothing? Nothingness?

I am ready, so ready for: A draft that I can show people.

I expect… my words to keep moving me forward.

I believe… I make pretty sentences.

I desire… my children to go to bed when I tell them so that I can keep working on my stories.

REMINDERS ABOUT MYSELF AND MY WRITING

What inspires me, without fail?
A really good prompt.

What grounds me, always?
My children telling me they need me.

What strengthens me, reliably?
My husband? Yoga?

What softens me, in just the right way?
My husband? Yoga?

I promise, I took this very seriously. However, I also have no time. Questions like these, like my responses in yesterday’s post, are often instinctual. They are my gut reaction. Often, from my gut, from deep within the pit of my stomach, is where I find the truth.


Monday, December 31, 2018

Forward and Backward: Goodbye 2018


I've seen so many "best of 2018" posts in December, and every December, I wonder how do people already know? How do you know which book was your favourite? Which movie? 2018 isn't over until December 31. So, I wait. I'm glad I waited too, because one of the best things I saw in 2018 was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: The Musical. It was fantastic. Hubby and I took the kids to see it on the 28th, a gift from his dad. The songs were great, the acting was great, it was fun and funny. The kids loved it. After seeing The Little Mermaid earlier this month, my son is totally a fan of musicals. My daughter loves going to the theatre. It's so much fun dressing up a little and taking them.

What were the other "bests" of 2018?

The movie that made me the happiest was probably To All The Boys I've Loved Before. I loved it. It put a smile on my face, warmed my heart and was just so full of happiness, with a good dose of teenage angst.

My favourite movie of the year was Black Panther. It was just straight-up amazing. It makes me excited just to think about it.

But what do I do more than anything else? I read. So here are some thoughts on the books I read in 2018:

I only read one book of poetry this year, but the sun and her flowers was amazing. I picked up milk and honey and will read it in 2019.

I also did not read a lot of non-fiction this year, but I have to say, Dear Ijeawele,or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions was a great book and I really recommend it to everyone.

Looking back, I thought I read more classics. I usually do. From the few I read, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was the best of the year for me. It’s a lesson in unreliable narrators.

The best mystery was easily The Surgeon. I need more Rizzoli &Isles in my life.

In literary fiction, the best book I read was one of those few classics. Fahrenheit 451 should be on everyone’s to-read lists.

I read a lot of fantasy this year. I guess it was all about living in another world in 2018. But the one that was probably my favourite was the urban fantasy, Visions, by Kelley Armstrong. It might be a sequel, but it definitely sucked me in more than Omens.

Romance made a surprising surge this year. I’ve just needed the feel-good nature of romance novels. The collection of short stories I recently finished, My True Love Gave to Me was probably the best, but Geekerella might make it a tie, since Geekerella was also pretty funny. Since those are both Young Adult, I’ll say my favourite “Adult Romance” of the year was Bursting with Love.

Choosing a favourite graphic novel is hard though. I read quite a few this year, especially in March (apparently). Wonder Woman: Bones really stands out for me. Though I am currently reading The UnbeatableSquirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe! and assuming I finish it before midnight, December 31, it might be my favourite of the year.

I have to say I was really surprised by how much I loved The Scorpio Races. I still think about Puck and Sean. I really hope they are living happily-ever-after.

I’ve been trying not to start new series, since I have SO MANY unfinished ones to read. I couldn’t resist Omens though. I had been wanting to read Kelley Armstrong for a while and when I got the first couple Cainsville books, I couldn’t stop myself.

I’m glad to have discovered Kelley Armstrong’s writing, as well as Karen Marie Moning and Ernst Cline. I’m looking forward to reading more by all these great writers.

Based on my Goodreads stats, the shortest book I read was Unlocked (63pgs) and the longest was It (1090pgs).

I’ve been looking for books that make me happy this year and the most fun I had reading was with Geekerella and The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl Beats Up The Marvel Universe!.

I went for the fun and happy books, but I was also capable of other emotions. The book that made me the most mad, was The Murder of Roger Ackroyd. If you’ve read Agatha Christie’s classic, you know why. If you haven’t, you really should.


Those are a few thoughts on books for 2018. It was another year of great reading. I explored new genres, read new authors, but also came back to reliable friends. I feel kind of bad for not mentioning The Invasion of the Tearling and pretty much every graphic novel I read. There is just not enough space or enough categories (I used The Perpetual Page Turner as inspiration.)

This is much longer than I intended, so I'm going to stop here and maybe look back at my 2018 writing journey in the next post. Thanks for sticking with me through 2018!

I love this! From Avengers Assemble: The Forgeries of Jealousy

Sunday, December 30, 2018

My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

With a great selection of authors, I was excited to read My True Love Gave to Me over the holidays. The stories promised to put me in that happy, holiday mood. I thought I write a sentence or two about each.

Midnights, by Rainbow Rowell - The cutest story. I love Mags! Rainbow Rowell is amazing.

The Lady and the Fox, by Kelly Link - Magical. Odd. I'm not sure if I am on board with the ending, but the story has an artistry about it.

Angels in the Snow, by Matt de la Peña - I want to know so much more about Shy and Haley. I could read a whole novel about them.

Polaris is Where You’ll Find Me, by Jenny Han - This story broke my heart a little. It was magical and beautiful and it feels like a prelude to something amazing or amazingly sad.

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown, by Stephanie Perkins - This is one of the sweetest, most romantic stories I’ve read I ages. It just made me so happy.

Your Temporary Santa, by David Levithan - Sweet, but confused. Santa is so unsure of himself.

Krampuslauf, by Holly Black - Magic and inner strength. What more could you want?

What the Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth?, by Gayle Forman - Another romantic, slice of coming-of-age story. You might not get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need.

Beer Buckets and Baby Jesus, by Myra McEntire - A bad-boy using his powers for good? So sweet and emotional. I could read a whole novel about Gracie and Vaughn.

Welcome to Christmas, CA, by Kiersten White - This one almost had me crying. Maria learning about her mom and Rick’s real motivations was so heartwarming.

Star of Bethlehem, by Ally Carter - Another sweet story, but with a twist I didn’t expect.

The Girl Who Woke the Dreamer, by Laini Taylor - This story was magic. Not that I expected anything else from the author of the Smoke and Bone series. I loved Neve and the Dreamer. The reverend more than gave me the creeps and I think he got what he deserved.

My True Love Gave to Me was a great collection to read over the holidays. The stories allowed a peak into the lives of the characters at a time when magic seemed possible. I enjoyed every story, they were full of amazing characters. Stephanie Perkins' It's a Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown was my favourite of all the stories and it was the first thing I've ever read by Perkins. I'm going to have to read more of her work. My True Love Gave to Me also reminded me how much I love short story collections.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Visions


I don't think I could have loved Kelley Armstrong's Visions more. Visions had everything I wanted. I love Olivia. She's just amazing. Her attitude, personality, acceptance, fight, she is a strong character who is taking charge of her destiny. It is Owl versus Raven, with one side telling her to stay close to Gabriel and the other saying stay close to Ricky. Olivia has no plans to give up either. With both relationships, she is going in with eyes open. She knows who Ricky is, at least as much as he knows about himself. She knows who Gabriel is and has accepted a while ago that she is not going to be the woman to "change" Gabriel Walsh. She is happy with their friendship, they both are, and they both don't want to ruin it.

There were so many revelations in Visions. I wondered how both Olivia and Gabriel were going to handle it. Olivia did a very normal, human thing, which I appreciated. I don't want to say sensible, because that sounds boring, but sometimes I really do appreciate when a character makes a sensible decision. Olivia's decision at the end led to something lovely, and then something heartbreaking. It was a fantastic ending for the second book in the Cainsville series. It had me reaching for Deceptions, wanting to make sure that I had it available for when I was ready to read it.

I'm going to need a bit of a break. I had a lot of emotions and Visions sucked up a lot of my time. I could barely put it down. I had to re-read the end, just so I wouldn't be done, so I could spend a little more time with Olivia and Gabriel. Ricky is nice and everything, but I'm all about Gabriel. When  his exterior cracks he's fun and funny. Olivia has managed to get passed it.

I'm a little worried about  the ex-fiancé though. James seems like he's going to be a problem. Olivia is finding out who she really is. She is making new friends and forming new relationships. James is trying to pull her back to who she was. That's just not going to happen. He doesn't seem like he's going to accept that. 

Visions was a complete, wonderful, intriguing story. It has also left me wondering what crazy thing is going to happen to Olivia next.

Monday, December 03, 2018

The Christmas Chronicles

Another Netflix film that I thought was just so cute. Who could resist Kurt Russell as Santa? I didn't even mean to watch it. My daughter and her friend put it on over the weekend. I meant to keep going about my day, but then I saw that family. I saw their Christmases together. I saw how happy they all were together. When a movie starts that way, I get a sinking feeling. It's a feeling I always associate with the beginning of Up. If you've seen Up, you know what I'm talking about.

Maybe I could have walked away then, but nope. Santa bursts on the scene, or glitters, or something. Then BAM! All the highjinks starts and it's hilarious. It's funny, but heartwarming. It's magical, but also cynical. It's real, even when it's not. The Christmas Chronicles marries reality with childhood adventure and I couldn't resist it. Kurt Russell (and Mrs. Claus), put me in the holiday spirit.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

NaNoWriMo Is Over


My first ever NaNoWriMo is completed. Did I get to 50,000 words? Yes! I actually got to just over 54,000. I must say, I'm pretty impressed with myself. However, is my novel done? No. I'd say it's about two-thirds to three-quarters done. I was wondering if I should take a break or just power through. Hubby thinks I should just power through, basically NaNoWriMo-Lite. 

Today being December 1st, I felt like I needed a little break. So, I haven't written anything today...yet. In the car coming home, I had a thought, something that I realized would help not only the battle scene in which it takes place, but also a thread running through the overall novel. I only have to add in a few sentences too, which makes it even better.

The most important thing for me about last month, besides the word count, is what I learned. I need to schedule my writing time and stick to that time. I have a supportive Hubby and if I say I'm going to write between 7pm to 9pm, he'll take care of all the house and child responsibilities. I also learned when my most productive time is during the day. I learned how to turn off, or at least turn down my inner editor, and that getting it on the page is more important than having a "perfect" first draft. All these things, I think will help me with my writing moving forward. That's part of what I was hoping for, I wanted the words, but I also wanted to learn.

Monday, November 19, 2018

To All The Boys I Loved Before

The movie, not the book. But after watching the movie, I want to read the book. To All The Boys I've Love Before is the cutest movie. I wasn't sure I was going to watch this movie, but then I saw Jenny Han on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. After watching the interview, I knew I had to watch this movie. The way Jenny Han talked about her characters, representation, and the story, connected with me. I could relate to her feelings growing up, which in turn went into her book, then into the movie. I loved her description of her "discussion" with the studio about why Lara Jean had to be Asian. Lana Condor was perfect (coming from someone who hasn't read the book). She was sweet and goofy, while also being strong and independenhttps://www.netflix.com/ca/t. She didn't NEED Peter or Josh. She kind of needed her sister.

Though I loved all the moments of Lara Jean and her fake boyfriend, the moments with her sisters really stuck with me. Her dynamic with Kitty is fun and fantastic. Kitty loves Lara Jean so much too. I can see how much Kitty wants her to be happy. Though Margot was away for a lot of the movie, she is a huge part of Lara Jean's life. Margot is who Lara Jean can't lie to, who she wants to make happy more than anyone else. Margot is Lara Jean's maternal figure, she wants to make Margot proud. The relationship with her Dad offers some of the funniest moments too. I also have loved John Corbett since Northern Exposure.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before is available on Netflix now and if you want to watch something that will make you just feel good, this movie is for you.


Wednesday, November 14, 2018

NaNoWriMo Update - Halfway


But not really.

The story I want to tell isn't going to fit into 50,000 words. I feel like I'm going to 90k. Can I do that in a month? Maybe if I had realized this on November 1st. Now? Nope.

Enter the mom-guilt.

I tried to type out a non-mean, non-sucky description about what the last couple weeks have been like in my house, but it's not working. Let's just say that November has been different. I've appreciated it, but also felt bad, and so many emotions.

So, NaNoWriMo...That's where I'm at. I'm halfway done, but not exactly. At least I'm confident that I can write 50,000 words in one month.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Geekerella

I could not resist a title like Geekerella. Geekerella is full of the most amazing geek references. I sat reading it and every time the novel referred to some awesome geekiness, I yelled it out to my Hubby. When I commented on a reference to The Princess Bride, he asked me to stop, because he might read this book now. I loved seeing all this geekiness, all these different fandoms represented. The "geek" part of Ashley Poston's story takes two different forms. First, there's Starfield, a sci-fi series with a serious cult following. I had been kind of thinking of it as a combination of Star Trek and Firefly, with a splash of Star Wars, and some of Poston's own uniqueness. In the story, there is the original Starfield, the movie remake, and ExcelsiCon, which was started by someone who loved Starfield (Elle's father). The other geeky aspects of the book are more subtle. It's where all the fun references come in. Just in conversation, like a bad person being called a Dalek or a group of people being called the Fellowship. Technology, social media, and blogging, are all big parts of the story too. Geekerella is definitely set now. It is present and I think it's relevant.

I was beyond entertained. There were parts of the story where I thought I might cry. I loved Elle. She was looking forward, moving forward, even though it would be so easy to slip into despair. She was a modern Cinderella, but with an opportunity to find a best friend, instead of just a fairy godmother. Sage was just fantastic. I really enjoyed the glimpses of her home life with her mom. The twist with Cal was great. The people at the Con were great. They were so loving and excepting. I don't go to a lot of cons, but I've been to FanExpo and it is a great time. The cosplay contest and the ball were just amazing scenes I could read again and again. Geekerella is definitely a book I could read more than once.

There's something about Danielle's step-mom though, something underneath her "meanness". I think she really did love Danielle's father. I also think she doesn't see herself as the bad guy. I wouldn't mind knowing more about her, what she's thinking, and why she makes her decisions. Chloe is just an entitled brat though.

Darien Freeman is fantastic. He felt so real throughout the whole novel. I loved Danielle's story, and I loved his too. Darien is not just a nameless prince with a pretty face. His story is important too, taking up just as must space in the novel. It is the connection Darien makes with with Elle than anchors the story.

I can't say enough nice things about Geekerella. The geek stuff is great. The story is interesting and heartwarming, the characters are engaging. Geekerella is everything I could have wanted from a story with the title, Geekerella

Monday, October 29, 2018

It's Been A Long Time Since I Finished Something New

Not counting blogging, of course, but even that has been affected lately. It took me a month just to finish this post.

Fiction-wise, I haven't finished a new short story since my most recent job began, and I had decided that all my spare creative energy was going into my novel-in-progress. That's not finished either. I feel like it could be, if I just had the brain-power to fit all the pieces together.

So, I haven't finished any new fiction in a long while, and what do I decide to do? NaNoWriMo. 

I thought to help myself along, I would create an outline. I already had the idea for this story for a while. Characters and scenes have played out in my head. This is a story that has been asking to be told. I hope that it's the perfect story for my first NaNoWriMo. I hope that I finish it too. Not just with NaNoWriMo, I want to finish more stories, more posts, more. I want to stick a fork in it and say, I'm done.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Thoughts Before NaNoWriMo

Mostly one big thought, "Should I do it?"

After deciding that I will do it, "Am I crazy?"

I have never participated before. I've had small children, a full time job, and other responsibilities (and excuses). This past year however, I've gotten more involved in my writing community. The children are older. Do I have more free time? It doesn't feel like it, but I've been writing more in the last year, so maybe that's where my "free time" has gone. I have a supportive family as well... and my Hubby thinks this is a good year to give it a try. His support has really helped me move forward with different projects and endeavours. Also, he's going to picking up a bunch of parenting tasks once November starts. 

I went on to the NaNoWriMo website and was reading, with a renewed interest, the information they provide. Honestly, I wanted to see what would be considered cheating. Now, I feel like I'm behind in terms of planning. I looked at the badges and that sort of made me feel better. There are "Planner", "Pantser" and "Plantser" badges. I think I'm the third... The more I think about participating in NaNoWriMo, the more excited I am.

The 2018 Worldwide Counts map kind of blows me away. There are people participating EVERYWHERE! Writing is such a solitary exercise, but really, the writing community is global. Even though I know I might not "win", I'm glad to do this, to make this concentrated focus on finishing a novel, along with the writers I know in my community, as well as the writers in the global community.

If you want to be my "buddy", my user name is LoniC. That's all you need, right? Also, I'm going to need to decide on a widget for my blog before November 1. I like watching my progress with reading, so watching my writing progress will totally be exactly the same.

So, ya. Excited. Crazy. Ready to go.

Wonder Woman: Bones


Wonder Woman: Bones is the sixth volume in The New 52: Wonder Woman series. It was fun, exciting, and just what I needed to get me out of my latest slump. I LOVE Diana. She's strong, intelligent, brave, and full of love and compassion. I really can't get enough of her. I also really liked the coming together of the characters they've visited throughout the series. Hephaestus is pretty amazing. So is Demeter. All of them. I wish there was more Orion though. I'm hoping that he and Diana get to spend more time together. There are three more New 52 books after this one.

The ending was pretty spectacular. There were some surprises I didn't expect, especially the one about Zola. I did not see that coming at all. Sometimes I forget that all these gods are siblings, especially with the offer First Born made to Diana, but then they call each other "brother" or "sister" and it comes back to me. 

I'm left wondering what will happen next. Bones is the end of Brian Azzarello and Cliff Chiang's run on Wonder Woman, so it makes sense that this is the end of the First Born arc. I have really enjoyed their work over the last six volumes. I have appreciated the way Chiang draws Wonder Woman with strength. I enjoy the faces of all the characters, there is so much expression, contributing greatly to the story. That's what has kept me reading. The story. I know DC likes to rework and rewrite its heroes and villains. I watch the shows, I've watched the movies. When it comes to DC, I'm not really worried about cannon. I want a story that engages and surprises. Wonder Woman has done that. I'm looking forward to see what the next New 52 has in store. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Wrath and The Dawn

Curses, magic, stories, what more could I want? Shazi was brilliant. I loved her. I loved her strength, her defiance, her heart. She had a depth and range of emotion that I appreciated, especially in someone so young. I don't want to give too much way, but the end, with her, the fire, Jalal, that was fantastic. Heartbreaking. Also, her father. Watch out.

I enjoyed The Wrath and The Dawn. I knew I would, but I was surprised how much I did. Sharhzad is brilliant, but it's not just the storytelling, there's is something else about her that bewitches the Caliph. Khalid, King of Kings, has met his match. Their relationship goes through so many changes. The dynamic changes too. It's interesting to see Shazi exert her power over others. She's the charm and wit to his venom, I think. Renée Ahdieh has certainly created an interesting pair.

Tariq is interesting too. I'm left wondering about how he will change and what he will do by the end of the series. I really like when an author flips a character like this. We think Tariq is one thing, a heroic noble, but by the end, I'm left wondering what else he is. The person I feel really bad for is Rahim. He goes along with his friend, thinking he is helping Shazi, but he would rather be patient. I wonder what Rahim will do in the end.

I wonder what Sharhzad's father will do in the end too.

The Wrath and The Dawn is a young adult novel, so I'm really hoping for a happy ending. I also know that, from other books I've read, that just because something is young adult and written with a younger (than me) audience in mind, it doesn't mean that there will be a "happily-ever-after" ending. With these characters and their conflicting emotions, the curses and magic, I'm wondering if this could be one of those cases where happiness is only a hope.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Lost In Space

I love the Robot. I really do. I almost wished they named him, or called him something other than "Robot". I'm hoping for more Robot in Season Two of Lost In Space. For those that don't know, Netflix's Lost in Space is a remake of Lost in Space from the 1960s. Which, incidentally, is a re-imagining of the novel, The Swiss Family Robinson. (The whole remake thing isn't new, it's just a lot more common than it used to be.)

I never watched the series from the 60s. It's before my time. Though I have watched shows from the 50s and 60s, this one just never hit my radar. I had, of course, heard of it. "Danger, Will Robinson" is part of our culture, isn't it? I knew there was a family named Robinson, a robot and a kid named Will. The Robinson children are the stars of the show. They're smart, unique and talented. They're brave and loyal. Will is surprising, Judy is intelligent, Penny is sassy. I really enjoyed all the changes they made to the original, though again, I never watched the original to really compare. I liked that the mother was a brilliant rocket scientist, and used it to solve their problems. I liked the relationship between Maureen and John. It's complex and real, something people can relate to. The whole Robinson family was really relatable, even if they were "lost in space."

I know I'm a bit behind the times, as this came out in the spring, but I really liked it. I'm wondering what's going to happen to the Robinsons, Don West and "Dr. Smith". With the way Season One ended, there are so many possibilities.


Wednesday, September 12, 2018

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo


I loved this book. I hadn't watched Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in a while, but I saw a clip of John Oliver on one of the late night shows (was it Seth Meyers or Stephen Colbert, maybe both). He was talking about A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. I know this all happened a few months ago, but I recently was reading the book with my children and they really enjoyed it, especially my son (who is on the cusp of going from picture books to chapter books). They love that love wins, that you can't stop two people who love each other from being together.


They are so cute!
There are all kinds of things I could talk about when it comes to A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo, but for me, that my children enjoy the book and easily understand the message of love is so important. The proceeds from the book go to The Trevor Project and Aids United, which is fantastic. It's a big middle finger to the current American administration, which is pretty funny. If the children didn't get the message though, I don't know if the book would have the same impact, I don't know if it would be a bestseller. Part of me hopes that Last Week Tonight puts out another children's book, because if Marlon Bundo is any indication, it would be great.


Check out the episode:

Monday, September 10, 2018

Classics List

The deadline I gave myself for the Classics Club has come and gone. It came and went 9 months ago. Some life-related things got in the way. I was having a hard time with reading and blogging for a while there. But that's just life.

What do I want to do now?

My priorities have shifted. I'm still reading and I'm still reading classics, but just not as much as I meant to when I started this challenge. I usually choose books based on how I'm feeling and how I'm feeling lately is busy. That does not often lead me to a classic, though I did manage to read more than half my list in those 5 years. I know it should be more, especially with all the short stories and poetry, but the last 2 years have seen some life changes.

I still plan on reading through the list. I hope the new moderators at the Classics Club will let me continue to add my reviews to their ever-growing list and keep me as a member. Now that it does not have a specific goal date, I have let the list grow, as other classics catch my eye. Though, if I do that, I may never actually finish. Part of me is okay with that. I am also left wondering if I should give myself a new deadline. The end of this year? The end of next?

Any classics readers out there? Anyone not finish their 5-year goal?

Sunday, September 09, 2018

The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic

Leigh Bardugo's, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic is a collection of all Bardugo's Grishaverse stories. Some of these stories I've read when they were available at Tor.comThe Too-Clever Fox is still haunting and important, giving me chills to read it again, five years laterLittle Knife is definitely a teaching story. We learn about trust, being used, and dreams fulfilled. I can't explain how much I connected with the daughter and the riverMy favourite of the stories was The Witch of Duva and I think it still is. It really changes up the idea of the step-mother. Also, who was the real witch of that tale? It's the story that pushed me into the GrishaverseThe Tailor and The Demon in the Wood are not in this collection, since they aren't "folktales", but stories about specific characters in the Grisha series. I would love to have all these stories together though. I love Bardugo's writing style and I enjoy when she writes these Grisha fables. I think each of the stories deserve something to be said about them.

The first in the collection is Ayama and the Thorn Wood. Like Bardugo's other stories, this is another where things are not what they seem. Ayama's relationship with her sister is special, even unlikely given their parents. Her relationship with the Beast is special too, but not unexpected. I really felt Ayama's pain, really connecting with her. I think that the story did to me exactly what it was intended to do.

The Soldier Prince is creepily haunting. It's sort of a dark take on The Nutcracker. There's a lot of selfishness in this story. It starts with the fancy merchants, then Droessen, but we see it throughout. Though the end could be said to encourage the nutcracker's selfish desires, it could also be said that he acknowledges his sense of self, cogito, ergo sum. So, maybe it's about desire, maybe it sprinkled in a little philosophy about existence.

The more I read of When Water Sang Fire, the more excited I became. I realized where the story came from, and it was brilliant.  I loved Ulla. I wish she had the opportunity to spend more time with her brother. I wish she could have learned more about her parentage. By the end, I was excited and scared. I knew what was going to happen. I knew it would be bad, not just physically, but emotionally. The ending was beautifully dark.

I’m so glad that Leigh Bardugo continues to write Grisha folktales. They are creative, inspired, and impressive. I’ve found myself connecting with each of them for different reasons. These stories continue to make Bardugo one of my favourite writers and the Grishaverse one of my favourite worlds.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

Writing Course Fail

I didn’t fail the course, I just didn’t finish it. Again.

I wrote for the WCYR blog a post about tips to keep writing in the summer. I even did some of the things I wrote about (carrying around a tiny notebook is very easy). One thing that was harder than I expected, was keeping up with a short and easy writing class. I signed up to participate in Sarah Selecky’s Six Weeks, Six Senses summer writing course. Every week for six weeks, I received an email with the assignment. For three weeks I did well. I was feeling good about it too. Then week four rolled around and something happened. I think the busy summer just got busier. On the last day before school, I felt like I should try to get at least one more is the assignments finished. It didn't work out. Technically, it is still summer. Maybe I will get the course done by September 21st.

I did other things from my list. I joined a summer writing group. I attended bookish events. I talked to other writers. I wrote to prompts. I read, a lot (reading is one of my favourite things to do). Somehow though, this writing course, which I tried so hard to treat like a real course, which I tried to "attend", like my summer writing group, just didn't work out. In addition to the summer social life, the day job went a bit nuts in August. In the end, I didn't finish.

It feels kind of like a fail. Like I failed. This feeling is the reason I don't sign up for other courses or groups. I just don't think I will be able to do it. It's the same reason why I haven't done more reading challenges, not to mention that I failed the Classics Club Challenge. Life gets in the way. When I have those few precious free moments, there are other things which seem to take priority. Is that bad? Should I continue to try these online courses?

Maybe it's the online thing. Like the writing group I belong to, if it was somewhere I had to go to, I'd be more likely to finish? Maybe. I attend (almost) all the WCYR events. I'm a computer/techy person... Maybe because there is no one holding me accountable, I feel less of an obligation. These online courses though, they're free. FREE. I like not having to pay for writerly learning. Is that part of the problem too? I suppose if I take a third course and this happens again, I'll be able to really see the pattern instead of just worrying that there is one.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Gathering Darkness

Why did I wait so long to read Gathering Darkness? It might be my favourite of the series so far. Morgan Rhodes creates such complex, interesting characters. It's almost impossible to completely love them or hate them. There's some part of even the best intentioned characters that you don't like or even hate. You find sympathy for those that you thought you hated. There's love between these characters too, real, messy, complicated love. Not just romantic love, in Gathering Darkness we find love between friends, siblings, parents and children. So much of that love is mixed with anger and hate. How will it all unravel?

That ending was everything. Lots of great things happened throughout the story.  Tension, fights, daring escapes, and magic were all blended together to create a captivating and entrancing story. I spent a lot of nights staying up too late reading. Even with all that amazing story, the end was everything.  The ending was all the excitement and intrigue of the rest of the book condensed into the last 10%. Rhodes surprised me with what happened to the characters. There were a lot of things I didn’t expect. Things I thought would happen after reading the first Falling Kingdoms book have not held up.  Characters who I thought were good I think really are the villains, people who I thought would get together, are actually in love with someone else. There’s so much lying, so much selfishness, but also selflessness.

There are three more books in this series. There is so much possibility. I have no idea what is going to happen. I don't know if by the end Mytica will still be standing. I don't know if it will go back to being three countries or if the island will unite under one banner. I don't know if the looming empire will take over. I don't know how magic will play a part in all of it. There's just so much unknown, but that's okay, I'm excited about it. I know Rhodes will make it flow, I know that it will make sense in the Falling Kingdoms world. I know that I will get wrapped up in the story again and I hope I am surprised by every ending.