Thursday, March 14, 2019

Top 5: Batman Villains

Hello, all!

Batman was one of the first comic book characters I ever read growing up. He's still one of my favorites, and I'm also very passionate about who I think is the best Batman actor-wise. (It's Michael Keaton, by the way. Or Kevin Conroy. But definitely not Val Kilmer.)

Since this month marks the 80th anniversary of the Dark Knight, I thought it only fitting to dedicate this Top 5 to some of his best foes. Because what is a hero without a villain?

Photo: Wikipedia
1. The Joker: Let's get the most obvious out of the way. You can't mention Batman without the Joker. They're two sides of the same coin, the yin to the others yang, the totally crazy to the others crazy. He's constantly popping up to throw a wrench (or crowbar, RIP-ish Jason) into Batman's plans. There is no thorn in Batman's side quite like the Joker.

Photo: Wikipedia
2. Hugo Strange: He might not be the flashiest in Batman's Rogues Gallery, but he did what almost no others could--he figured out Batman's identity. Strange also used his knowledge as a psychiatrist to hypnotize Bruce into forgetting all about Batman, and he created the mutant Monster Men from his experiments on patients at Arkham.

Photo: Wikipedia
3. Poison Ivy: Not only is she one of the most iconic female comic book characters of all time, but she is quite the foe as well. What I think makes her so great is that she's not necessarily all evil, she does actually have some good traits, such as fighting for the Earth rather than herself. Buuuut, she does usually go about that in some criminal or murderous way.

Photo: Wikipedia
4. Two-Face: All the best stories deal with the idea of good and bad, but none have shown it so literally as with Harvey Dent. Once a respected lawyer committed to keeping crime off Gotham's streets, Dent was horribly scarred after an acid attack from a mob assassin. After the attack, it was as if Dent's outsides now matched his conflicting insides as he slipped further and further into evil.

Photo: Wikipedia
5. Bane: My favorite villain. He's the man who broke the Bat. Enough said.

Lemme know your picks!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Slayer Review

Hello, all!

I'm a massive Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan. I grew up watching the show, and it was one of the first shows that really taught me girl power and how to stand up for myself and my beliefs. I love everything about it, from the friendships to the family dynamics to the puns. Especially the puns. I know the show wasn't perfect, but it'll always be one of my favorites. That's why when I heard there was going to be a YA story set in the Buffy universe, I knew I had to check it out.

Pub Date: 1-8-19
Young Adult - Fantasy - Paranormal
Slayer by Kiersten White follows twins, Nina and Artemis, who have spent their entire lives in the Watcher's Academy. While Artemis has been taught and trained to become a Watcher, Nina has always followed a different path. Instead of violence, she chooses a life of healing and knowledge, and becomes the academy medic. Then one day, Nina's life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous and infamous Slayer that Nina's father died to protect, Nina not only becomes the newest Chosen One-- she's the last Slayer ever. Now, along with her old crush-turned Watcher-in-Training, Leo, and her friends, Nina must learn to harness this power that she never asked for and doesn't even want. When a shadowy figure starts haunting her dreams, and bodies start turning up, Nina realizes it takes more than power to become a Slayer.

I had extremely high expectations going into this book just based on how much I love the Buffy-verse. I have to admit, this left me...underwhelmed. I felt the dialogue at times tried way too hard to be as punny and sarcastic as the TV show that it felt forced. Although their relationship does work itself out towards the later half of the novel, Nina spends the majority of the book bashing Buffy because she feels she ruined her life, and that got old real quick.

I did enjoy some aspects of the storyline and characters such as Rhys and his boyfriend Cillian, and there were a few funny bits thrown into the mix. I also found it interesting to see this world through the Watcher's perspective. In BtVS, we really are just following Buffy's life and her duty, so it's nice to flip the script. As a fan, I did like all the nods to the show and comics as well. Even though this didn't turn out to be everything I had hoped it'd be, I did feel it picked up towards the end and came into its own. I'm not sure if I'll continue with this series, but it was fun for what it was.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

These two books I received via Edelweiss and Netgalley, so a big thank you to them and the publishers for the copies!

Pub Date: 3-12-19 by
Simon & Schuster
Adult - Non-Fiction - True Crime
The Trial of Lizzie Borden- Cara Robertson: I've always been a bit fascinated by Lizzie Borden and so I was very intrigued by this book. It's a massive undertaking and dense with information. It breaks down the whole event into sections, and focuses heavily on the trial itself, which are detailed down to the most minute details, by day. Along with all the information, there are also court drawings and pictures littered throughout, which in and of themselves are super interesting to look at. Robertson did such a wonderful job of telling the full story of events, from the Borden's lives before the incident to the trial to Lizzie's reclusive life after. It's such a well rounded view of one of America's most notorious murder cases, and a must read for any true crime fan.

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 3-26-19 by
Park Row
Adult - Contemporary
The Library of Lost and Found- Phaedra Patrick: Martha Storm lives a quiet, quaint life as a librarian in a small seaside village. She constantly puts others in front of herself, and never says no to someone in need. Her whole world turns upside down though once a mysterious book of fairy tales is left on the library's doorstep. Soon Martha finds this isn't just a regular book, it's full of stories she wrote growing up, and it has a dedication from her grandmother dated three years after she supposedly died. This book takes Martha on an emotional journey through her family's past where she uncovers harsh truths that were hidden from her and the depth of her own strength. I found this whole story very charming. Watching Martha go on this journey of self discovery and truly coming into her own was so heartwarming and satisfying, and at times even frustrating. It was a nice mix of quirky, funny and moving, and perfect if you're looking for something a little more emotional but still cozy.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, March 1, 2019

Current Favorites

Hello, all!

It's been a while since I've done a favorites, and there's been quite a few stuff I've been loving lately, so let's get into it!

1. Re-watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine: I was obsessed with this show when it first came out and watched religiously until midway through season 4 when I moved and forgot to DVR it. Once I heard it was coming back from being cancelled for a hot second, I decided it was time to get back to it. I'm so glad I did. I genuinely think it's one of the funniest shows out there, and it just deepens my love for Andy Samberg.

2. Head over Heels Soundtrack: I saw this show on Broadway in December and loved every minute of it. The whole show used songs from The Go-Go's, and it's just super fun and upbeat, and the perfect soundtrack to dance around to. I've been listening to it non-stop on Spotify, so definitely check it out if you need a quick pick-me-up.

3. Kinder Cards: You know when you're checking out at the grocery store and there's just rows of candy tempting you? Well, they got me. I've had a few other Kinder bars before and loved them, so I knew I needed to try this one. It has a little wafer bottom, creme in the middle and covered with Kinder chocolate on top. I'm so glad the US is starting to sell Kinder more cause it's just so good.

4: Fleece lined jeans: I'm always freezing, like full body shivering as if I'm being electrocuted freezing. Doesn't matter if it's 6 degrees or 76, my teeth will be chattering so much it sounds like they're about to fall out. I've always worn fleece lined tights during the colder months, but then I found out Old Navy sold lined jeans as well, and my world has been just that much warmer. They're also super cozy which is pretty much what I base my wardrobe on.

5. Aggretsuko: This anime is a complete Netflix gem I stumbled upon a few months ago. It follows Retsuko, a mild-mannered red panda who works in an office by day and sings death metal karaoke by night. In two words: SO GOOD. Each episode is only around 10 minutes long, so it's super easy to binge when you need something quick to watch.

Let me know what you've been loving lately!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

LitJoy February Review

Hello, all!

The theme for this month was Viva La Magic, now let's get to it!

First up was this cute little macaron keychain. I love a macaron, and this was so on point for the book this month.

Last month, LitJoy started including jewelry and in this box there was this nice hot air balloon necklace. I almost bought a necklace like this years ago, so I'm glad to finally have one.

Sequin pillows are all the rage lately, so I'm surprised it took this long to get one in a subscription box. This one was designed by Stella Bookish Art and was inspired by the Caraval series.

Next up was my favorite thing in this box: Six of Crows magnetic bookmarks. I love this little Kaz and Inej, they just look so cute.

This was another item that was very on brand for the book of the month. These little Paris stickers would be so cute to add to a journal or calendar.

The book this month was Enchantée by Gita Trelease. This story is set in 1700s Paris and follows Camille, an orphan who uses her particular brand of magic to form fake coins from metal in order to support her family. When her brother runs off with their family savings, Camille realizes she needs to do something big and sets her sights on a dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. Using forbidden dark magic, Camille transforms herself into a baroness and lets herself get swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles. While navigating aristocrats who are both afraid of and covet magic, Camille meets a handsome inventor and gets carried away in the political intrigue of the court. Her charade soon comes to a head and Camille must face some difficult decisions before Paris burns.

Lemme know what you guys though of this months box!

Monday, February 25, 2019

Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee Review

Hello, all!

Growing up, there were three jobs I wanted: 1. Marine biologist 2. Music journalist and 3. Horror hostess. Of the three, the one I'm most disappointed about not coming true was the last. I absolutely idolized Elvira, Mistress of the Dark when I was younger (still do). I envisioned myself lounging on a red velvet chaise making puns and corny jokes as a terrible horror or sci-fi movie plays on. Granted, I was always a bit more fully clothed in these dreams.While I may not have been able to make that dream come true, I was able to live vicariously through Josie and Delia in Rayne & Delilah's Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner. Big thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 2-26-19
Young Adult - Contemporary
Every Friday night, best friends Josie and Delia host a campy creature feature show, called Midnite Matinee, as Rayne Ravenscroft and Delilah Darkwood on their local public cable station. As the end of their senior year comes creeping in, the girls must face tough choices for their future. Josie wants to pursue a legitimate career in TV, while Delia wants nothing more than to keep doing this small show with her best friend.

The girls decide to take a trip down to ShiverCon, a popular horror convention in Florida, to meet with a well known horror host producer to see if he can help them take their show to the next level. Josie made a promise to her parents that if this doesn't pan out, she would take an internship with a popular TV network. Delia, on the other hand, has more than just the show on the line with this trip. Horror movies and hosting are the last scrap of her father, who abandoned her and her mother when she was young, Delia has. Her greatest hope is that one day her father will stumble upon Midnite Matinee and see her on the screen, and maybe he'd want to be part of her life again. As the girls struggle with growing up, and trying not to grow apart in the process, they come to realize their bond of friendship is more than uncertain futures and monster movies.

I really enjoyed this story. Obviously, I adored the horror hosting aspect, but I loved the characters more. Delia and Josie have such a pure, real friendship and the way they interact with each other really reminded me of how my best friends and I act together. This really is way bigger than just a book about two girls who host a cheesy horror show. It's about friendship and family and love, all wrapped together with a killer sense of humor. This was the first book I've read by Zentner but I was definitely impressed, and will be checking out more from him. If you're looking for a fast fun friendship filled book, definitely pick this one up!

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, February 22, 2019

The Vanishing Stair (Truly Devious #2) Review

Hello, all!

I read Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson last year and loved it (review here). So it's no surprise that the sequel, The Vanishing Stair, was one of my most anticipated releases for 2019. Lemme just say, it did not disappoint.

A quick recap of the first for those not familiar: Stevie Bell is a young true crime aficionado who hopes to one day become a detective. She's enrolled at Ellingham Academy, a Vermont boarding school that is tailored to students with various talents. It's also the site of an unsolved kidnapping/murder case that happened in the '30s. Stevie has made it her mission to solve this cold case, and during the events of her investigation, one student is killed and another flees after being suspected of having something to do with it. Stevie and her friends, including her semi-crush David, are thrust into trying to find out who's behind these murders before it's too late.

**Potential Spoilers Ahead**

Pub Date: 1-22-19
Young Adult - Mystery 
We pick up pretty much right after the events of Truly Devious, with Stevie's parents taking her out of Ellingham following the death of student Hayes and the disappearance of Ellie, who Stevie slightly accused of having something to do with the tragic events. Stevie has been desperately trying to get back to Ellingham, and her wish comes true but not necessarily how she was imagining. Senator Edward King, David's snake of a father, has offered to bring her back on one condition: she has to keep tabs on David, who has started acting out once Stevie left, and make sure he stays in line.

Finally back at Ellingham, Stevie is quick to jump back into where she left off trying to uncover the truth behind the Truly Devious murders that happened back in the '30s. Stevie is paired with Dr. Fenton, a local professor who wrote one of the most famous books about the case, as a fact checker for her new novel. Between trying to keep David in line without him finding out why, and retracing Ellie's footsteps to see how and where she ran off to, Stevie isn't putting her full focus on the bigger mission at hand. Then while digging up information for Fenton, who Stevie gradually feels is also hiding something, she stumbles onto a massive lead that blows the decades long unsolved case wide open.

I loved coming back to this world and these characters. The true crime aspect and following Stevie along as she collects these clues and ties all the connections together is so fascinating. I'm also a sucker for the whole boarding-school-in-the-fall vibes. With this one, I found a new appreciation for Stevie's group of friends as well. Nate is so cranky and sarcastic; Janelle is lovely and caring; and Larry the security guard is so protective over Stevie. I was really impressed with the way the story and case developed. There were twists that I didn't see coming. Like the first book, Johnson blends the present investigation with the past events, this time including perspectives from the students, Francis and Edward (who were slightly touched upon in the first book as the potential writers of the Truly Devious ransom poem), and a little taste of Dottie, the student who was part of the murder. My only gripe is that I felt like the whole story could've been wrapped up in this book, rather than waiting a whole year for a third. This also means this book ended on a major cliff hanger, and if you thought the first book's cliff hanger was good, this one blows that out of the water. I seriously need the next book ASAP. If you're looking for a little mystery in your life, check this series out!

Rating: 4.5/5