Thursday, September 12, 2019

Let's Talk: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Hello, all!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that I'm a huge Jim Henson fan. I grew up on his work, and I can still vividly remember the first time I ever saw The Dark Crystal, and to this day, I'm still completely creeped out by the Skesis. But I put my fear of the vulture/lizard/turtle/straight up nightmare fuel creatures aside to binge Netflix's new show The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and it made me so happy.

The show is a prequel story set before the events of the original Dark Crystal movie. It follows three Gelfling-- Rian, Brea, and Deet-- who have discovered a nefarious plot laid out by the Skesis which puts all the lives in Thra in grave danger.

The Skesis are lords who rule over the world of Thra and who seemingly have the best interests of the Gelflings at heart, but they harbor a dark secret: they are draining the life force of Gelfling in order to prolong their own lives. (Side note: Why anyone would trust anything that looks like them in the first place is beyond me, but I digress.) After Rian, a guard at the castle of the Crystal, stumbles upon their ritual, he is forced to flee for his life. The Skesis twist the minds of all the other Gelfling into believing that Rian is a traitor who must be stopped at all costs.

While fleeing, Rian joins forces with Brea, a princess of the Vapra clan, and Deet, a mild-mannered Gelfling from the underground Grottan clan, both of whom have also begun to suspect the Skesis of evil-doing. The three, along with a rag-tag group of friends (Hup 💛), journey across Thra hoping to inspire other Gelflings to rise up against the Skesis before it's too late.

Prequels can either go two ways: they can either be very good, or very bad. Luckily, I loved this. I think Netflix did this in such a smart, beautiful way and really did right by the original source material. Not only was the story line great, but the world of Thra itself was amazingly done. Everything from the visuals (the scenery! the Dreamfasting! the puppet show within a puppet show!) to the puppets themselves was gorgeous. Speaking of the puppets, I especially loved how you could almost make out the actors in them (you cannot tell me that Brea didn't look like Anna Taylor-Joy.) I also think the casting was so on point. Mark Hamill is made for creepy villain voices, and Andy Samberg was peak Andy Samberg as the Heretic, but my favorites were Deet and Gurjin. Those two brought such a light and humor to the show, and made for a perfect balance. I'm so interested and excited to see where they take the story from here.

Have any of you watched? What'd you think?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

One Word Kill Review

Hello, all!

I love a fun sci-fi story that takes place in the 80s. Not really sure why, but something about that sort of setting always appeals to me. That's why I knew I needed to get my hands on One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence.

Pub Date: 5-1-19
Adult - Fantasy/Sci-fi

One Word Kill follows a young boy named Nick right as he discovers he's dying of leukemia. All Nick wants to do is play Dungeons & Dragons with his friends and get closer to the new girl in the group, Mia, before his time is up. But Nick soon finds out a mysterious stranger has other plans for him.

Nick is being followed. He can't tell by who, all he knows is this man seems oddly familiar to him, and he has abilities that just don't exist outside of the fantasy worlds he frequents. A run in with this stranger leaves Nick with one mission: protect Mia from danger at all costs. She doesn't know it yet, but her life is at stake, and it's up to Nick to stop what's coming. This leads to Nick racing to unravel the mystery and save the girl--terminal illness, machete-wielding psychopaths, and the general laws of physics be damned.

I had slightly different expectations going into this book because I had read it was a bit Ready Player One-ish, and that's one of my favorite books, but I did not get that vibe at all. I did enjoy the setting of the story, and the relationship between the group of friends, but I will say it took me a while to actually get into the story. I think I was about a third of the way through before I really felt it hit its stride. Even then, I did feel some bits were predictable and just didn't impact me as much as I was hoping for. Overall, it's a quick story but I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Question of Us Review

Hello, all!

I'm a sucker for trivia, so a rom-com based around a group of friend's trivia team? Sign me up! Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy of A Question of Us by Mary Jayne Baker.

Pub Date: 9-5-19
Adult - Contemporary
Clarrie Midwinter may be an adult, but she's not a proper adult. At 26, she's eternally strapped for cash, lives off beer and cigarettes, and hasn't had a date in years. The only constants in her life is her friends, their quiz league and her best friend, Simon, asking her out at every opportunity.

Despite having some hidden feelings for Simon, Clarrie refuses every advance because she doesn't believe a guy as handsome and as put together as Simon would ever want a complete mess of a person as Clarrie. But Simon has a plan. He bets her that if their team wins the quiz league she has to go out with him, and if they lose he'll never ask her out ever again. As the weeks go by, and their team is somehow holding on in the top 2, Clarrie must decided what she really wants out of life and confront feelings she's long since kept buried.

This book was so cute and relatable. I saw a lot of myself in Clarrie, especially in the way she approaches relationships. Her and Simon had such palpable chemistry, but also an amazing friendship. The dynamic between them and the rest of their friend group was so great, and all the banter really felt like my own group of friends. That was definitely a major highlight for me. The only tiny aspect of the book I had an issue with was since I'm not British, some of the phrases Baker used I didn't fully understand, but that didn't detract me from the story all that much. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this and definitely recommend for any rom-com fan.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Massive Book Haul

Hello, all!

It's been quite a bit of time since I did a book haul, so let me just preface this by saying this is about 4-5 months of books, and that's why it's so huge. As always, let me know if you have any recommendations!

1. The Little Prince- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
2. Planting Gardens in Graves, Vol. 3- RH Sin
3. Whiskey, Words, & a Shovel Vol. 1- RH Sin
4. Silver in the Wood- Emily Tesh
5. The Witches- Roald Dahl
6. Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating- Christina Lauren
7. Roomies- Christina Lauren
8. How to Stop Time- Matt Haig
9. Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 1- Kamome Shirahama
10. These Old Shades- Georgette Heyer
11. Unnatural Creatures- Neil Gaiman
12. The Haunted- Danielle Vega
13. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna- Juliet Grames
14. Thrawn: Treason- Timothy Zahn
15. Soul of the Sword- Julie Kagawa
16. Well Met- Jen DeLuca
17. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
18. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
19. Star Wars: Thrawn
20. Silk: Sinister
21/22. All New Wolverine, Immune / Orphans of X
23. Stranger Things: The Other Side
24. Blackbird, Vol. 1
25. Firefly: The Unification War
26. Peter Pan: Arcturus clothbound edition

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

OwlCrate August Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Storms and Seas, and I really enjoyed the items they picked, so let's get to it.

First up was this wooden bookmark inspired by Daughter of the Pirate King created by Juniper and Ivy Designs. I really love how this is a bit thinner than normal book marks we receive. I also love the whole design with the lettering and the octopus tentacles.

How cute is this little tea light candle lantern? It reminds me of the little lanterns we were given on a ghost walk when I went to Salem, so I dig it. I don't usually burn a lot of tea candles, but it'll be a cute decoration piece regardless.

Then we had this pencil case created by Stella Bookish Art based off The Scorpio Races. I don't fully love the design, but it'll definitely come in handy for all my bullet journal pens.

Can you really have a box about the ocean without including something Little Mermaid related? These bath salts were made by The Soap Librarian, and while I do like the coconut-sunscreen-y smell, there's bits of flowers and things mixed in, and I'm not a fan of things floating in my bath.

The last item was this Sea Witch tea from Riddle's Tea Shoppe. I always love when we get tea, and this earl gray and hazelnut spice sounds perfect for fall. I also like how this is decaf because I try to stay away from caffeinated teas. I can't wait to try this one out.

The book this month was House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. This is a story of a family who lives in a manor by the sea on a secluded island. There were once 12 daughters, but tragedy struck four of them and leaves the rest thinking there's a curse picking them off. One daughter, Annaleigh, takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of this mystery before the darkness comes for her.

I actually received an ARC of this book, and reviewed it earlier this month. I enjoyed this. The whole vibe was a bit dark and twisted, and I just loved the entire atmosphere. I'm also a fan of the pin this month designed by Laserbrain Patch Co inspired by the Thaumas family crest. If you're a fan of murder mysteries, check this one out!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Steamy Hallows/The Strand

Hello, all!

A few months ago, I heard that there was a Harry Potter themed pop-up coffee shop in the City called Steamy Hallows. Naturally, I needed to check it out, so the other day I played hooky at work to go in for a visit.

While I did think it was cool, I felt it was a bit underwhelming. There weren't too many Harry Potter references aside from the names of the coffee and a few bits of decoration. It had a way more just witchy vibe than Harry Potter. The decor was really cool and definitely my aesthetic, just didn't really give me all the HP feels that I was expecting.

Since I don't drink coffee I just went for a tea, and I had read the menu before going that said there were pastries and cookies, but there wasn't any food when I went which was a slight let down. If you're interested in checking it out yourself, it's located at 514 E 6th Street. They don't have a website, but they do have a Facebook page. The place itself is also incredibly small, so I would suggest going once they first open or else it'd probably be a long wait to get in.

After getting our teas, we walked the 20 minutes or so to one of my favorite places, The Strand bookstore. If you're unfamiliar with The Strand, it's a huge bookstore in the City that has pretty much everything you can think of: from new releases to rare first editions. It's literally 18 miles of books, and I love everything about it. I roamed the stacks for a bit and I'm really proud of myself that I didn't buy everything I saw.

I definitely needed a little mental health day, and drinking tea and book shopping was absolutely the answer! Here are some of the pictures I took throughout the day;

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

On the Corner of Love and Hate Review

Hello, all!

Big thank you to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 8-20-19
Adult - Fiction - Contemporary
Emma Peroni has spent her whole life in politics. From her dad being the Mayor of their small town, to dedicating her adult life to helping bettering the town for the future. With her father's retirement looming, it's time for the town to choose a new Mayor. Emma will do anything for her town, but when her father asks her to be the campaign manager for Cooper Endicott, Emma's life-long friend and notorious Casanova, she's horrified. Knowing she can't say no without delving into their messy past, Emma reluctantly agrees. First on the agenda: finding a nice girl for Cooper to settle down with to lose his womanizing reputation which isn't helping the polls.

Cooper has politics in his blood: his mother is the Governor and his family founded their town generations ago. He's always known he wanted to run for Mayor, he just wasn't prepared for the drama that comes along with it. With his opponent playing dirty and digging up every skeleton from his closet, Cooper has no choice but to go along with Emma's crazy plans. The only problem? He's falling for the one person he shouldn't: the Mayor's off-limits daughter and his best friend.

This was an adorable political rom-com and I really enjoyed it. I thought Emma and Cooper's relationship was so relatable for anyone who's been in that weird "Will they? Won't they?" stage with someone. Their dynamic, especially with their two other best friends Nick and Henry, was such a highlight for me. I really liked the setting of this small Pennsylvania town that felt so cozy, and the humor was really witty and felt like real bickering, but loving, friends. The only downside for me was some scenes, especially that plot point where the main character gets sick so the potential love interest drops by to take care of them, I've seen numerous times before and in slightly better ways. Other than that, I liked this and felt myself rooting for not only Emma and Cooper's relationship, but the election itself. If you're looking for a sweet fun read, then check this one out.

Rating: 4/5