Monday, February 19, 2018

Black Panther

Black Panther was amazing. I loved it. I don't think I could have enjoyed it more. I was so excited to see it. As a Walking Dead fan, I was excited to see Danai Gurira as Okoye. She was badass. She was tough, intelligent, and loyal. She was multidimensional, not just T'Challa's general, but also his friend. Okoye had her own life beyond that of serving the king. Danai Gurira was just amazing. I loved the Queen Mother and Nakia too. For me though, the stand out was Shuri. She is a genius. She is young, but I bet should would give Tony Stark a run for his money. I loved her relationship with T'Challa. They teased each other just like siblings would. They love each other, support each other, and would to anything for each other. It doesn't matter that they are the prince/king and princess. They are family.

T'Challa was amazing. He learned so much about himself and his family. He grew as a person and a leader. He is definitely the leader to take Wakanda into the future. Killmonger and Klaue were amazing villians. They were multidimensional, especially Killmonger. I had some mixed feelings about him, in a good way. 

The characters made this movie for me. Yes, the action was fantastic. I loved the fights, the chases, the explosions. The story was interesting, the plot was well-paced, with great reveals and subtle sub-plots. But the characters drove the story. Everyone from T'Challa, to Agent Ross, to M'Baku. I want more Black Panther. I'm excited to see some of the same characters in Infinity War, but I'd love to see another Black Panther movie. I'm not sure what it would be about, but I'm sure it would be great.

The Trailer (in case you haven't seen it).

Friday, February 02, 2018

Official Blogger With The WCYR

The Writer's Community of York Region (WCYR) is my local writing community. I've written quite a few posts since I volunteered to be their workshop/seminar blogger. I had been to a couple of meetings over the past few years, but  now that I have a little more free time, I became an official member this past September. I spoke with one of the board members that I know from a writing group, and I knew I could help out.

Blogging for the WCYR is definitely different than writing posts here. Each post I write goes through an editing process. This is the first time I've worked collaboratively with an editor. It has been a great experience, trading ideas, making suggestions, and I think it has helped my writing in general. It has added a bit of pressure, trying to get things done on time, but I like a "medium" amount of pressure. I also really like the WCYR, in general. Everyone I’ve met so far has been fantastic. The members are friendly and like-minded. The workshops are more than educational. The seminars are engaging. They give me more than enough material to work with. Every month I look forward to the guest speaker, the topics they will be speaking about, and that I will then be writing about.

My latest post is about a workshop I attended on revising your manuscript. Next is a post about the WCYR elections and the one after is about volunteering with the group. I've gotten to write about adding humour into your work, poetry, backstory, and other interesting topics.  It’s exciting to be able to share what is happening in the WCYR with the writing community.

I've got my own member profile now and I'm officially listed as part of the WCYR team! It's not huge, but it is what my time allows and I like blogging. I love being part of this community and allowed the opportunity to write about it. I hope to help more in the future, but for now, I'm enjoying what I can do.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Why I Started Reading Romance Novels

Because sometimes I need a happy ending.

At first, I was going to call this post Guilty Pleasures,  but then I wondered what I have to feel guilty about. They are books. I love books. I am willing to give any book and any genre a chance. Yes, there are some I gravitate towards more than others, but I’m not going to discount a book just because someone calls it "cheesy" or "fluff" or whatever. I have been reading contemporary, ebook, romances. Mostly from Melissa Foster, a few from Bella Andre, some from Gena Showalter and Juliana Stone, and most recently, Merry Farmer.

It first started with Bella Andre. I can't remember why I read the first book in the Sullivan series. I remember it was free at the time. In The Look of Love,  boy saves a girl, but the girl also has to learn how to save herself. She escapes a bad relationship, finds freedom, and also find a super hot guy. Also he’s rich.

A lot of these people tend to be rich, at least one of the two main characters. Some are billionaires, some just live comfortably. They often on their own business that they’ve built from the ground up. A lot of the times, they work hard and don’t have time for relationships. Some of the men and women are more promiscuous then their partner, but love changes them or they see others in love and it changes them before they meet "the one". Usually the men come from a big family. They love their parents or at least one parent, they yearn for love, but often feel they don’t deserve it.

So maybe there’s a formula to a lot of these books, but I don’t care. Melissa Foster has become a favourite of these ebook romance authors. Though she writes about alpha males, females are independent, intelligent and strong-willed. They often don’t have time for relationships too. They are trying to build a business, or move forward with their lives in someway. They don’t necessarily need a man, but when the right one comes along they can’t resist each other, most of them often try.  No matter who these people are or what trouble they have to overcome, there is always a happy ending.

Lately, I’ve needed happy endings. The world is kind of being a difficult place to live in. After a hard day,  after reading the news and watching emotional videos, after listening to abrasive, emotional, commentary, I need a happy ending. I love reading all sorts of book, but they don’t always have happy endings.  I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone, but I wouldn’t call the end of Empire of Storms happy. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is only kind of happy at the end, the entire novel is laced with sadness. Even the end of the second Wonder Woman graphic novel I read left me a little angry. The Rules of Magic made me cry, as well as Anne Of Green Gables. Sometimes, I just want things to work out. I wanted a man and a woman to be together. I wanted the business to flourish. I wanted the little girl to get adopted.

I have to make a quick comment about why I added Merry Farmer to the mix. I think I was just looking at the Goodreads Giveways page when I saw a book that was number four in a series called Nerds of Paradise! Nerds! Like actual rocket scientists. Nerds who meet small town ranchers, farmers, etc. Boy nerds and girl nerds. I couldn't resist a title like that, so I checked out the series. The first one, Opposites Attract is free, so I read it. I have read the second and third novels since.

So, when I need a happy ending, these authors are who I go to. The books only take a day or two to read, and I am left feeling satisfied. For a few moments (maybe longer), I feel like things can work out. People can be nice. Love will win.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Books of 2017

I read 45 books in 2017! Part of me can't believe it. I've been so busy lately. I'm reading Stephen King's It right now. I had hoped to be done before the end of the year, but nope. I read a surprising amount of Romance this year. It is a genre I used to steer away from. I thoroughly enjoyed each of those stories, which I plan on posting about soon.

The best book I read this year might have been The Shadow Land. I was surprised by how much I loved it. I won it from Goodreads and I honestly don't know if I would have picked it up this year if not for the win. I loved everything about it. The characters were engaging. There was a really interesting mystery. A large part of the book took place in a time and place I wasn't very familiar with, but I ended up learning so much.

Actually, The Shadow Land might be tied with Unless for best book of the year. I loved Carol Shields' novel. I plan on reading it again. I just connected so much with the main character and felt so much for her daughter.

I read a few books from series by Sarah J. Maas. She is one of my favourite authors now. I am eagerly awaiting the next books in the Court of Thorns and Roses and Throne of Glass series.

King's Cage did not disappoint. I had been looking forward to Victoria Aveyard's latest and was beyond excited to read every word.

I started some great graphic novel series, Avengers Assemble, Wonder Woman: The New 52, Lumberjanes, and X-Men '92. I have more books from all of those series. I might take a break from It to read some of them.

The Rules of Magic and Anne of Green Gables both made me cry. 

Brave New World freaked me out.

A Study In Scarlet hooked me on Sherlock Holmes.

I'm really happy with the books I read this year. They called to different parts of me. There was love and magic, family and friends, parents and children. Looking at the image, I would read each of these books again (except one). I might read them all again sometime in the future. 

Plans for 2018? I'm going to finish the Queen of the Tearling series. I got my hands on the 2nd and 3rd books. I'll read more graphic novels. I might start the Ms. Marvel series. I might read something else from Carol Shields. I'm pretty sure I have The Stone Diaries. I will read more Romance, especially the books by Melissa Foster. I'll read some more Captain Underpants with my son. Looking again at the image, I realize I didn't ready any Margaret Atwood in 2017! Last month I got a copy of The Heart Goes Last, so that's definitely on the list too. 

So many reading plans, so little time....and it is only January 1st!

I hope everyone was happy with what they read in 2017 and that they have great books to look forward to in 2018!

Happy New Year!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Wonder Woman: Iron

That did not end the way I thought it would. Though, I really liked it. It was unexpected. The final image was fantastic. I ended up liking Ares more than I thought I would. I liked learning more about Diana's past, specifically, her childhood. I think I might have a crush on Orion. When I started Wonder Woman: Iron, I wasn't sure where the story was going to go. Obviously, they had to search for Zola's baby, but beyond that, I didn't know.

I really enjoyed the dual story lines of Wonder Woman and the First Born. First Born was definitely an interesting character. I wonder if he is the reason Hera punishes Zeus's other children. Though it's not their fault. If Zola is any example, not all of the mothers knew who he was. Even if they did, it is not the child's fault. Not Diana, Lennox or Siracca. I loved Siracca, I loved how her relationship with Diana has begun. I hope we get to see her again.

Ares has me so confused. Is he good? Bad? Selfish? Selfless? What has changed in him from when Diana first met him to now. His behaviour during Apollo's party was interesting. We certainly know who his favourite siblings are. I think Diana has become more of target of the Olympians as well.

I'm also left wondering what Orion will do in the end. Will he fulfill his mission? How will he fulfill it? Will he find a loophole? Brian Azzarello has created an intriguing story. Cliff Chiang and the other artists created a very visual appealing story. I loved Diana's expressions. All the characters showed their emotions and intentions on their faces. Except for Aphrodite, of course. I don't want to see what someone thinks perfect beauty looks like. Wonder Woman: Iron had a great ending, but also left me excited to read Wonder Woman: War.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Rules of Magic

I've been doing really well with the books I have won from Goodreads. Like The Shadowland, The Rules of Magic is one of the best books I've read this year. The Rules of Magic hit all the right feelings. It was an emotionally charged tale of three siblings, though Franny was the star. I loved Jet. I adored Vincent. Since this is a prequel to Practical Magic, I knew the tale would end with Franny and Jet living in the Owens house together. I still hoped for a different ending. I wanted them to be the ones to break the curse. I wanted them to find love and live happily ever after. In this prequel, Alice Hoffman gave so much more depth to Franny and Jet, to their stories. Though, I have only seen the Practical Magic movie, after reading novel, I want to read the book.

Endings are so important to me. The ending can change how I feel about a story. Sometimes I delay reading the end because I have a feeling something bad will happen to a character I love or because I want to hold on to the characters for just a little while longer. Both were the case with The Rules of Magic. I wanted to keep Franny, Jet and Vincent. I wanted to keep Haylin, William, Raphael and April. I wanted so much to know more about April. I wonder if Hoffman will ever write April's story. I liked learning about the Reverend and more about the curse and feud. I liked learning more about the town and the Owens' place in it.

Hoffman's writing was beautiful, flowing from one image to the next. I could see Franny and Haylin swimming, I could see Vincent and his guitar, Franny carrying daffodils, the children listening in on their father. I could see the garden and the box of lettuce, the vines and wild hair. Hoffman transports you into the lives of the Owens', from childhood to adulthood, eating chocolate cake for breakfast. The Rules of Magic has made me a fan of Alice Hoffman and made me more of a fan of the Owens' family. 

Sunday, November 05, 2017

X-Men '92: Warzones

When I found out there was a series called X-Men '92, I knew I had to have it. I talked about it so much with my Hubby. These are my X-Men. These were the X-Men that was on TV when I was young. This cartoon series probably led me to loving comics, and probably led me to being more of a Marvel girl, than a DC. The television series is on Netflix and I've been rewatching it with my Hubby (who also loved this cartoon) and our own children. The nostalgia is strong with this one.

Knowing that this volume was a Warzones collection, I knew that the book wouldn't find the X-Men in the world I was familiar with. These X-Men live on Battleworld with our Lord Doom. They fought a war and won. The world they won seems to be the one that the X-Men from my youth were fighting for. Mutants are free and the X-men are heroes. Baron Kelly certainly seems to like them. They seem to be happy. I want them to be happy, but then it wouldn’t be a good story if they stayed that way

What we learn is that there is a mutant rehab centre for “evil mutants”. The X-men didn’t know about it and they don’t trust it. Even though Baron Kelly reassures them, they have to investigate. I was not surprised by what was going on, but surprised by other things. I was also very excited to see another awesome group of mutants show up.

X-Men ‘92: Warzones was fun and fantastic. It hit the nostalgia where I wanted it too, but also had a great story driving it. I’m excited to read the next books in the series.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Empire of Storms

Aelin, wow. She is certainly a schemer. She doesn’t share. I know it makes for better drama, but all those reveals at the end were crazy. She brought so many people together, from everywhere, through force of will and power, favours owed. It shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I was when certain people showed up. She might be young, but Aelin (and Lysandra) had a very unique upbringing, making both of the capablem of the things that they do.

With so many betrayals and lies in Empire of Storms, there was also trust and beginnings. I also hope in the future books, there will be forgiveness. So many of the characters tugged at my heartstrings. Lorcan, Gavriel, Aedion, Lysandra, Manon, Elide, they were all given dimension. They are more than just players in Aelin’s game, they each have their own personalities, hopes, fears, and desires.

I don't feel like I can say much more without giving away all the secrets of this novel. Empire of Storms was fantastic, heart-racing, and amazing. Definitely a book I couldn't put down, keeping me up late reading. It was exactly what I wanted from the fifth book in the Throne of Glass series. Sarah J. Maas continues to expand Erilea, with wonder, magic, and a rainbow of colours. I’m excited for Tower Of Dawn and whatever other books Maas adds to this exciting tale.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The ending was beautiful. The words were poetry. Sentences evoking complex imagery. It was an artful ending that I am glad I stuck around for. I loved the funerals and the wedding. I loved the uniqueness and the craziness of Jamat Guest House. I thought it was the perfect place for Anjum. In the end, it was the perfect place for them all. Arundhati Roy created a tapestry of words. I am very glad I won The Ministry of Utmost Happiness from Goodreads.

What grabbed me in the story was Anjum and the Hijra. The discoveries and secrets of Anjum's mother were captivating. I needed to know what happened next in Anjum's life, every moment, every adventure, the sadness and happiness. I really enjoyed reading about the Hijra and how they all lived and loved. Though sometimes a bit crazy, Anjum's life captured my imagination. She suffers so much, yet comes out of it with a home. I still want to know if Anjum gets to live out the rest of her days in peace.

Tilo, the other main character, was also very interesting. She seemed too modern for modern India. She was irreverent about caste, class and etiquette. I liked Tilo. I thought she was unique, which is probably why she was loved by thee different men in the novel. I just felt we spent too much time on her story. I liked Garson Hobart, Naga and Musa. But my favourite part of their love square is towards the end with Tilo and Musa. They are some very interesting situations the three men find themselves in over the years. Tilo has a quality about her though, a grace that I connected with. Still, I felt her part of the story was too long. I wanted to get back to Anjum and Saddam and the baby. I wanted to know what was happening in the graveyard and how the blind Imam was.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness was not an easy book to love, but I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Everything at the end, in the Jamat Guest House was wonderful and the characters went through a lot to get there.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max

Lumberjanes: Friendship to the Max was so much fun. It was exactly what I expected and exactly what I needed. I loved Jen. Jen is the best camp leader the girls could have asked for. Jen wanted to have adventure, but her first priority was always the safety of the girls. We learn more about the personality and motivations of someone we only saw as “in the way” for the Roanoke campers.

I like that in this volume we get to see more of the camp. There are more cabins, and they are filled with more girls. Their safety is Rosie’s top priority. We also get introduced to new and unique characters. Diane was interesting. I wasn’t sure where she was going to lead the girls. I also liked that we learned more about the boys camp. Who was the bear lady

The bull coming out of the woods thing was pretty funny

I wish Lumberjanes was longer. There was an issue of another comic at the end. It was good, I just expected more Jo, April, Mal, Molly, Ripley and Jen. And Rosie. Who is Rosie? I want to know so much more. I have the next 2 volumes and I know there are at least 4 more after that. I’m hoping we’ll find out more about Rosie in one of them. Because I think the Lumberjanes camp is no accident. There’s definitely something going on.

Also, Jen’s happiness at the end made me happy. Molly and Mal made me happy too.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

It's been a while since I posted about food or even tried new recipes. I am blaming the children. My son especially is going through a very picky eater faze. I have been sticking to a particular set of foods just to make sure the children eat. You know what they're not picky about? Chocolate Chip Cookies! These are chocolate chip oatmeal cookies from a recipe I have had for almost 15 years. I got the original recipe from a website called, which doesn't seem to exist anymore. Like so many recipes, I've made some changes. I have more brown sugar and less white sugar. This time, I also used a mixture of dark chocolate chips and semi-sweet. I also always use butter, not margarine. They didn't last very long. I took some in for my coworkers for a potluck. They were all eaten. The ones I left at home did not make it to the day after. It made me really happy to see people enjoying the cookies.

Since I can't find the original recipe, I found a couple that are close.

This is from Betty Crocker.

This is from All Recipes

(I don't know what the rules are for posting a recipe from a website that doesn't exist anymore.)

I'm really glad I printed off this recipe, which I highly recommend of any recipe you find online that you know you will continue to use.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Blog Facelift

I decided to give my blog a little facelift. The background picture is different; it is from an ice storm last winter. I kind of love it, the way the ice coats the branches of the bushes, the clarity of the ice, but also the harshness of it. I changed my profile picture. The old one was from when I first started this blog over 10 years ago, so definitely time for a change. The fonts are mostly the same, the colours are different though. I've also made social media connections easier. On the sidebar, I have some pretty icons I got from here, and I used the instructions I found here. I like written instructions with screenshots better than video. There is no pausing and it's quieter. I don't need the kids hearing it and asking me what I'm doing. I changed the theme the blog is based on. It's similar to the old one, but I think it lets the background picture through better. I'm thinking about changing the layout, but I'm not sure. I'm fairly happy with the way it looks now. Different, but not too different.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Queen Of Shadows

That was a neatly perfect ending. Is that giving away too much? I have mixed feelings about that end, to be honest. It did everything I wanted it to, in a beautiful, horrific, exciting way, but I would have liked one twist. I guess there was a twist, but it wasn't really a surprise to me. When it happened, I was like, oh ya, that makes sense

The characters though, are what made Queen of Shadows so amazing, and what keeps me coming back to the Throne of Glass series. I loved the other two female characters that we got to explore. Lysandra was someone we met along time ago, but in Queen of Shadows, Sarah J. Maas explores her thoroughly. She is so much more than she appears. She is forging a path for herself, becoming her own person, instead of what others expect her to be. I also just loved Nesryn Faliq. She was brave, strong and independent, and she loved. Maas created a character that was fierce, but also emotional. There is also more than just what's on the surface with her. I'm excited to see where Nesryn goes next.

I really liked how Maas dealt with Aelin and Chaol's relationship. Part of me wanted it to be different, but I understand why it was that way. It seemed natural, based on what happened to both of them in Heir of Fire. I'm excited for more Chaol. He has been a favourite for me since the first novel. I feel like his loyalties and morality have been constantly tested. He's been through so much and deserves his own story to explore those changes.

I wonder what will happen with Dorian. He has also been through more than his fair share of grief. He's not that young prince we met in Throne of Glass. He has loved, he has suffered loss after loss. He feels as though he has caused pain. Dorian's feelings about his friends, his family and himself are complex. I wonder who he will eventually become. I wonder what new relationship lies on the horizon.

I really liked the dynamic between Rowan and Aedion. Adversarial, brotherly, comrades, soldiers. They developed their own understanding, outside of their relationships with Aelin. I wonder if we'll see more of Rowan's former compatriots, specifically one who will have a big impact on Aedion's life. Will it happen in the next book? It adds to the incentive to read Empire of Storms soon.

I'm interested in how Maas will expand Eleria, as the location of the main story seems to be shifting. I hope that doesn't give too much away, but there's a big world out there and Adarlan is only one small part. What will happen in Terresen? What about the mountains? The other countries?

I was talking about books with a new friend the other day' she was asking who my favourite authors where. I gave my "usual" answers, but I also realized that Sarah J. Maas is now one of my favourites. I've read all but one of her currently published books. I'm always on the look out for when something new is coming out (Tower of Dawn). Where I hear she's touring, I check to see where. Like other favourite authors, there are some books I've liked better than others, but I've enjoyed them all. I'm excited to see what else Maas has in store for her readers.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Wonder Woman 2: Guts

Wow. That ending was nuts. Diana, Hermes, Zola, wow. I couldn't put it done. Wonder Woman: Guts was fantastic. It was exciting, full of action, emotion and the unexpected. It was a great, maybe perfect sequel to Blood. Hermes! I thought one thing, then it was totally something else. Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang and the team did a fantastic job. 

I don't know if I could have been more excited by what Guts did with all the characters. Diana, of course, was amazing. I loved seeing more of Apollo. We got to see Artemis, Demeter, and Persephone. The time with Hades, his whole story, left me a little heartbroken, but also with hope. I wonder if we'll see more of him in the future. The characters were explored and made three-dimensional. 

I'm not sure what else to say... If I say much more, I'm going to give away the end, because Hermes... Demeter... damn. Otherwise, I'm just gushing about how much I enjoyed this book and I am very much looking forward to more Wonder Woman from The New 52.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

The Defenders

The ending was fantastic. I thought it was over, but there was more. There was a little more story to be told, a little more about these characters that needed to be said. I really liked how The Defenders brought everyone together, not just Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, but Colleen and Misty, Karen and Trish, their friends who have helped them with their secrets, who just want them to live their best lives, are finding connections with others like them.

I'm looking forward to everything after this. I want more of all of them. I want more Jessica, more Luke, Matt, and Danny. Also, I want the Daughters of the Dragon. I really liked how the secondary characters had their own growth, moving their stories forward, trying to put things together, but also try to not hinder the Defenders. Some of them had real moments of bonding. Karen and Trish, looking at the board, sharing their worry was a great moment of quiet, in the midst of the fighting and chaos. 

I just wish the start was was a little better, more energetic. The initial fight was good, but after that, I feel like I spent 2 episodes waiting. I wanted them to be together sooner. I get the whole, look at where they are now thing, but the excitement happened when they were together. That fight in the white hallway, with Jessica’s scarf on Matt’s head was brilliant. It was what I had wanted from Iron Fist. The Defenders was so exciting, I could watch it again. I’m looking forward to seeing more from these characters and to the next time they team up. 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Avengers Assemble: Science Bros.

Avengers Assemble: Science Bros. was hilarious. There were so many funny moments. There were so many pages where I had to show my Hubby. I kept saying to him, "You have to read this." (I also may have mentioned that this collection is by Kelly Sue Deconnick, who wrote all those Captain Marvel comics that I love.) The relationship between Tony Stark and Bruce Banner was fun. It was easy, like I think it aught to be, like two people who have known each other for a long time. I really enjoyed the first interaction with them and "The Captains". They're just making breakfast, talking about science stuff, and Bruce Banner calls Tony Stark's science, "razzle dazzle". Captain Marvel just eggs them on. Then they talk about a colleague who is missing, then there is a bet. Then they go on an adventure, with Thor and Spider-Woman. Again, like with the Captain Marvel books I've read, I loved Spider-Woman. I loved her attitude, her humour, her relationship not just with Captain Marvel, but with Hulk too. If I'm going to start reading any new comics, they will definitely be Spider-Woman (not counting the Deadpool and Wolverine books my Hubby picked up). The end though, with Wolverine and especially Spider-Man, was just great. Yay!

Let's razzle dazzle!
The actual Science Bros. adventure is just the first part of this collection. A wonderful amazing part, but it's the only part of the collection I have a problem with, even though I really, really don't want to. The problem is not with the fantastic story. It's not with any of the scenes or plot. It's with the way the first artist drew/coloured/designed Spider-Woman (I'm not really sure how it all works in the comics world). I kept asking myself (and sometime the Hubby), why was it necessary to show her butt-crack? Is her suit so tight, it is constantly going up her butt? Is her suit painted on? The same artists did not do the whole book, and for the first time, I was happy about it. I was tired of seeing Spider-Woman's cleavage through her full-body suit. I really don't want to complain about the art too much, not in a book that I otherwise loved. The expressions on the faces of all the characters throughout the story were amazing, really showing their feelings, their anger, annoyance, fears, and caring. Just when one image had Spider-Woman looking practically like she didn't eat, with skinny arms, no hips and belly button indent, I thought my head was going to explode. When the artist changed, I could easily tell, mainly because Spider-Woman no longer looked like she was sporting body paint. 

(My rant is done.)

We get to see more than just those first few Avengers. We are also given a Black Widow adventure, which gives us hints into her past with Hawkeye, and a deeper look into the "red in her ledger". It was a fascinating, interesting story, which included some (needed) support from Spider-Woman). Afterwards, we get a visit from Vision. We find out about the aftermath of the end of his relationship with Scarlet Witch. He's hurting, a machine, but so much more. He's in pain. There were parts of their story I didn't know about, like what happened to his children, so I had to look it up. I really enjoyed his conversation with Captain Marvel, and I really liked the end. It makes me want to read the New Avengers.

One of the best group shots ever!
Science Bros. is definitely a book I could read again. If I need a laugh or some light in my day, it is not a long read. Like the last Avengers Assemble I read, Science Bros. had many of my favourite characters that I could be engaged by, entertained by, but not overwhelmed. There was never too much going on, it was all just enough. Watching Captain Marvel and Wolverine share popcorn was a great moment. I enjoyed Spider-Man's cheekiness. Science Bros. has easily become one of my favourite graphic novels, the second in a series I am thoroughly enjoying.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Anne Of Green Gables

I cried. I had to suck it in though, and quickly dry my eyes so that my children wouldn't see, since we were in the car. It was a bit of a long drive home from where we were, and since my Hubby was driving, I was happily, excitedly, reading Anne Of Green Gables. The end just got me right in the heart. My feelings... my FEELINGS! (Not that my children would have seen my tears, involved in their own car ride activities.) 

My Hubby noticed though, steeling some glances at me before asking, "Are your crying? Why are you crying?"

"The book, the book made me cry. "

"What happened?"

"I can't tell you." *sniff

"Did all the hobbits die?"

*I give him a stern look. 

"What? I was joking."

(Telling me all the hobbits die is what he did when I read Lord of the Rings shortly after we started dating. Now whenever I have book feels, he asks me if the hobbits died.)

This is the second time I have read Anne Of Green Gables. The first time I read the book, I was in grade seven or eight maybe. I didn't remember much of the exact story, just impressions of Anne and Marilla. I did remember the scene with Gilbert in the schoolhouse when Anne resolutely decides to hate him. I did not remember how much Anne grows up in this novel. She's goes from 11 to 16. Grown up life began so soon back then...

I loved Anne. I loved her exuberance, her fierceness and her imagination. Anne was loyal and hardworking, but would get lost in her dreams. There was joy, excitement and adventure. There was also pain, anger and sorrow. Anne's story was every bit as wonderful as I remembered. 

Though I always intended to reread and finish the series, my time in Prince Edward Island at the beginning of July inspired me to pickup the novel when I got home. Something about being there, visiting the Anne of Green Gables Museum, seeing Lucy Maud Montgomery's things and learning more about her life, connected me to her stories. Anne of Green Gables, is just one of those quintessentially classic Canadian books. Children across the nation and the world read it. It's been made into countless adaptations. I know there is a new one, I haven't seen it yet though. 

The hope that Anne has, as she arrives at the Cuthberts, after having so much sadness and hardship in her young life, calls out to everyone. She moves beyond it, works hard, and makes the people she cares most about proud. Anne of Green Gables really is one of the best books I have ever read and I am looking forward to when my children are old enough to read it too.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Dark Tower

I wanted to love The Dark Tower. When I heard that a movie was finally going to be made based on Stephen King's epic novels, I was so excited. I have read all The Dark Tower novels. I have read *most of the graphic novels. This series, the way it has been woven into many of King's other works, is probably my favourite books series. From the trailers though, I could tell this movie was not going to be like any of the books. So that is the mindset I went into the movie with, and any fan of King's novels, should not expect the movie to be like the books.

When we walked out of the theatre and I asked my Hubby what he thought of the movie, he said that he liked it. It was entertaining. I hesitate to say that I "liked" it, because I feel like a proper adaptation of the first Dark Tower book, The Gunslinger would be amazing, a dark, gritty, blend of western and fantasy. There was so much of the mythos that they just touched on, without fully exploring. But it wasn't terrible. I was engaged, I wanted to know what would happen next... because the story was so different from the books, I really didn't know what was going to happen.

The best part of the movie for me was Idris Elba. He can be anyone, in any movie, and make it better. He was thoughtful, harsh, yet caring, the way Roland should be. Also, I have to mention, the sound of Roland's guns was fantastic. I know that it doesn't seem important, but Roland's guns should sound like hand canons, and I feel like they did. This is an entertaining movie, with some good acting. If you haven't read the books, it is probably something you will enjoy. If you're a fan of the novels, just be aware of how different the movie will be.

* I own all the graphic novels that have been published, I just haven't read them yet.

The trailer, so that you know what you're in for.

Friday, August 04, 2017

Stopping for Strangers

Stopping for Strangers is a well-crafted collection of depressing stories. Someone always seemed to be dying or getting their heartbroken in the end. People were constantly losing something. I just wanted Daniel Griffin to give us some kind of hope. They were engaging, involving, rounded, full stories. I just wish there was a happy-ending occasionally or some kind of positive feeling mixed in with the rest of the story, even if the end isn't happy.

I won this slim volume of short stories from the 49th Shelf ages ago. (There was a mix-up too, where I didn't received the book for months.) I'm sorry I didn't read is sooner. As I often do, I'm going to comment on the stories that really stood out to me.

That ending blew me away. One sentence and it darkened the entire story. It was brilliantly placed. The timing was perfect. The story was just long enough for that sentence to have impact, for it to slap you across the face.

The Leap
The Leap is painful, heart wrenching. Depressing. I wanted to be done, but I also wanted to know how Marv was going to turn his life around. The story was so full of pain. 

Stopping for Strangers
Stopping for Strangers was weird. I was scared for a bit, the story had a horror element to it. But there was something else underlying everything too. So much was left unknown. 

Mercedes Buyer’s Guide
A stand out for me, Mercedes Buyer’s Guide was interesting and probably least depressing of all the stories. There was still something missing from the lives of the characters. The husband was missing some kind of life satisfaction. The wife was working towards a better education. The children were missing time with their mother. Barbara was missing maybe the things she wanted. Something about the end though, left the story with a different tone than the others. The tone said to me that maybe this family would stay together and maybe they would all be alright. 

I liked Stopping For Strangers. Though dark, it was interesting. I'm happy that I won it and glad I finally read it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming

I loved Spider-Man: Homecoming more than I thought I would. I heard it was good, really great, but I feel like I've seen SO MANY Spider-Man movies over the years, that part of me was seeing Homecoming just because it was part of the MCU. But nope. The end, the ENDS, were amazing. The different endings definitely elevated the movie for me, but all of it was great. The beginning was hilarious, the middle was fantastic. It was exciting, entertaining, there was character growth, and they used the 3D well. I don't know if I could have asked for more.

Tom Holland was adorable. He was the sweet, goofy, adolescent Peter Parker I wanted. He was a nerd. He was a super-nerd, fully in hero-worship of Iron Man. His relationship with his best friend was great. His crush was lovely. I loved his relationship with Aunt May. The videos he takes were so much fun. I loved how much he wanted to be a hero. For the people who haven't seen Homecoming yet, I don't want to get too much into how much Peter Parker grows, as each event becomes an experience for him to learn from.

Michael Keaton is amazing. AMAZING. For a moment, my mind went all the way back to Beetlejuice. He's so animated, serious, loving, crazy, determined, the Vulture is perfect. You can sort of understand his motivations, but he just seems to let things go to far. He is extreme. Toomes is a complicated character, one you can easily love and hate.

I also have to say how much I loved Zendaya. Her character was hilarious. She was perfectly messy, not a stalker, just observant. She was quiet, intelligent and thoughtful. She appreciated the people who became her friends. I fell for that character.

Also, Flash was the Flash I remember from when I was growing up. He was a complete a$$hole. He was a perfect jerk. His behaviour at the party was perfect. I loved what happened to his car.

I'm nervous but excited about what going to happen to Peter's friend Ned. It'll be something bad, right? No way he's going to be "the guy in the chair" forever. When he was that guy though, and the teacher comes in, and he gives the answer to what he was doing, normally, I wouldn't pay any notice to that particular response. However, my cousin took his daughter, who is a couple of years older than my daughter, to see Spider-Man. She loved it (of course), but she looked at her father and asked what that word meant. I know that this is really vague for people who haven't seen the movie, but I feel like I'll spoil the moment if I give too many details. What I am left with, though, is wondering if my daughter will ask us the same question when she sees the movie.

If you haven't seen Homecoming because you've seen too many Spider-Man movies, don't worry. There's no origin story. There's a reference to how he got his powers, but we are not seeing Peter Parker discover his powers, he's not coming to grips with the change. He has had his powers for a while. He knows how to use them. He made enough of a name for himself already, for Iron Man to have recruited him in Civil War. After that taste of what Spider-Man is like, we get to see an exciting continuation to his story.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Orc King

I needed more Drizzt in my life and The Orc King delivered. The amount of time that passed from the end of the last book, The Two Swords to the beginning of this one through me off. I thought the beginning would start closer to the end of The Two Swords, but it is months later. My Hubby reminded me that sometimes, that's just the way it goes with Forgotten Realms novels. (Plus, these are two different series within the Legend of Drizzt series). The Orc King is the first book in Transitions and I am wondering if that series title has more than one meaning. Something happened in the Forgotten Realms/Dungeons and Dragons. The book was published a while ago and my husband thinks it was around when a new Player's Handbook came out. When the D&D roleplaying game gets updated, all of Faerûn can change. R.A. Salvatore sort of refers to the change within the context of the story. The other, (more important to me) transitions are with the characters, the "Companions of the Hall". Catti-Brie is not the warrior she once was, accepting a new role. Wulfgar is making a major change as well. There is a change in the Silver Marches. Dwarves, Orcs, Elves and Humans are all transitioning, changing, and their future is not what they thought it would be.

Can I talk about how much I love Catti-Brie? I've always loved her. I was happy to see how her relationship with Drizzt has progressed. They speak so openly and honestly to each other, it's great. There are no ulterior motives and if one wants to know something, they just ask. Their conversation about Innovindil was interesting. I also appreciated that Catti-Brie had her own growth and change separate from Drizzt. She's forging a new and unexpected path, and I am excited to see where it goes.

I found Bruenor to be frustrating in this novel. I mean, I think I understand all his motives, and I think he was hearing everyone's comments and advice throughout the story, but he was so dismissive. I really like how Hralien balanced him out though. I hope to see more of this elf in future stories. I really liked Wulfgar's change too. I am not sure what role he will play in future stories, but I think he is where he belongs, as though his arc over the last 17 (wow!) books has finally come full circle. I don't know what else that character could do while in Mithral Hall, besides fight, of course.

I wonder what will happen next. I know they will keep looking for Gauntlgrym. I just wonder about the Orcs. I wonder about the Kingdom of Many-Arrows and Mithral Hall. The relationships, the dynamics between races, how it will all change. This is the Transitions series, after all. I expect that there will be a lot of changes coming. 

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Avengers Assemble

I picked up Avengers Assemble because it was listed as the first book in a series that included Avengers: The Enemy Within, which I had read as part of a Captain Marvel series. When I looked at what other books were part of the series, I saw Science Bros. and knew I had to get them. I am really glad I did and Avengers Assemble is a great first book. Brian Michael Bendis does a great job at bringing everyone together. The story could feel overloaded, but it focuses where it needs to focus and offers snippets of Spider-Man and Mr. Fantastic comments, and others, where necessary. 

The story focuses on the "core" movie Avengers at first, Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Hawkeye, Black Widow and Thor. There's a problem. They have to solve it. The problem is really big and they need space help. Enter the Guardians of the Galaxy. Then there's some space adventures. Maybe a couple of the guys die. Also, I'm pretty sure Thor and Gamora were flirting, but that was before the deaths. I've only recently started reading comics/graphic novels more regularly, so (spoiler?) is Thor and Gamora a thing? Because that would be cool.

The art was great. Fun, spacey, earthy, expressive. The colours were great. I loved all the battle scenes. I liked how it was organized, how the art lay on top of each other. The big scenes had an epic feel, but the artist was able to bring the story back into focus for those character moments, like with Hawkeye and Black Widow.

I do think there was a good balance of character and story. Though with so many characters, there wasn't a lot of "growth" happening, we got so see characters meet for the first time and show off their personalities. Rocket and Hawkeye's interactions were great. Drax was direct. Hulk showed emotion and fierceness. There was a lot packed into this book. I didn't find it overwhelming though. It was engaging and exciting. I'm even more eager to read Science Bros. and I wonder how it will all end. (Thanos!)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

A Court Of Wings And Ruin

I looked at A Court of Wings and Ruin and thought, well, that's shorter than Mist and Fury. Nope. The pages are just thin. The edition I have is a healthy 699 pages. There was a lot packed into those 699 pages. I don't think I have my head around it all yet. 699 pages and I can't believe it's already over. Sarah J. Maas made me want a long book to be even longer.

[Spoilers if you haven't read the first two books in the series. Vague spoilers for A Court of Wings and Ruin] 

A Court of Wings and Ruin starts off where we left Feyre, in the heart of the Spring Court, playing Tamlin's injured love. Revenge for what was done to her sisters is on her mind. However, her duty to the Night Court rules her decisions. I thought there would be more time with Feyre at the Spring Court, but like with the last book, what I thought was going to happen and what actually did, were two different things. I liked that we got to explore Prythian. Other Courts needed attention. There was a race across the land. There was bonding, there was revenge. People got to know each other in ways that they never expected. Characters grew and changed, taking on different roles as the land around them changed. I liked that we got to know the other High Lords better. Until now, we only really knew Rhys, Tamlin and Tarquin. I REALLY hope we get to spend more time with Helion, because there are some great secrets that need to come to light.

I feel like for the most part, Feyre and Rhysand's story is over. Especially with Tamlin's final moment in the story.  I know there are more books in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series to be published, but I feel like they will be about other characters. A book about Lucien and Elain, maybe one dealing with Queen Vassa, maybe the same book. A book that takes us deeper into the Dawn Court, the Day Court, Winter and Autumn. Each Court, each "royal family" has so much history, is filled with secrets, they could fill their own books. There are three novels and two novellas coming out in the next five years (according to Goodreads) and I could easily read them all.

I want to know not just about the High Lords, but about the characters I've come to love. What will happen with Mor? She revealed a pretty big secret, her reasons why keeping it silent are understandable, but they have had a cost. What will happen with Azriel? He has a bond with Elain, but where can that lead? What about Amren and Varian? Will we see them in the Summer Court? Will Tarquin see his dreams fulfilled? What will happen to Eris? I feel like somehow, he is misunderstood, and like Rhys, he's been playing a game, hiding his real self.

I really loved this novel, the entire series. I could read it all again. I was actually surprised there weren't more twists at the end. More "endings". But I suppose that also leaves us with more to explore in the future. A Court of Wings and Ruin has left me with a serious book hangover. When I think of what I want to read next, all that comes to might are the characters of the series, what could have been, what may be still, what will never be. I couldn't have asked for a book or series to grip me more.