Wrap Up: April 2017

This is probably not the last thing you’ll hear from me with regards to what I did in April, but I figure I might as well try to put this monthly wrap-up together anyway. Which was hard, by the way. I had way too many pictures to filter through, and it was crazily tempting to put everything on my vacation up as a slideshow. But that’s hundreds of pics, and so to save space and time, I had to limit the pics I used. That said, vacation wasn’t the only thing I did in April, which could also explain why I’ve been scarce in the blogoverse lately.

Books Read

Yeah, I read a meager two books over the month of April…which means I’m pretty behind. Considering BookCon is around the corner, I really should get through my books, since I’m anticipating I’ll be getting more in the beginning of June. Urghhh frustrationz.

Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs || Silk by Caitlin Kiernan

Currently Reading

Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan || The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan || Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Writing

Other than minor edits for a few writing pieces, not much on this front. I’ve been focusing on putting my writing voldies’ anthology together for the school, so I haven’t actually managed to gain the time to go back to my own stories. This whole time management thing is really kicking me in the rear.

Movies and Television

I was just as bad with movies over April like I was in March, so not much on my front.

London Has Fallen || Your Name || La La Land (yes, again, I don’t know why) || Assassin’s Creed

And TV wasn’t any better, though I am making my way back to watching Arrow and Flash. I’ll probably be adding Supergirl into that list at some point, but it’s practically a low priority. I may end up bingeing most things once the summer hits, because then I’ll finally be out of work for several weeks!

Video Games

Final Fantasy XV – I’ve been playing this game for way too long. And there are way too many feels in it. TOO MANY FEELS. I’m probably halfway into the playthrough, but I keep getting distracted with all those damn side quests. I must have spent a good 3-4 hours just gambling away at the monster arena alone… *twitches*

Fooding, Drinking, and Desserting

This is going to be a food-heavy post. Surprisingly, I didn’t really eat so much during my week in Europe, so the food pics were not as numerous as I’d thought. Same thing with the drinks. I kind of had a bit of a stomach ache in the middle of my vacation, so that might have curtailed my appetite a bit (and it’s still a bummer about not being able to have butterbeer!).

With the exception of the lamb, everything else I’d had abroad.

Fish n’ Chips || Lamb Curry || Chicken Meat Pie || Fettuccine Bolognese || Croquettes || Pork Roast || Smoked Salmon on Seaweed and Rice || Hummus and Tabbouleh

And, of course, the drinks! Not all alcoholic, mind…

Whittard’s mango tea || Phileas Fogg’s Trans-Siberian Express (vodka base) || Fuller’s London Pride (pale ale) || Cappuccino Americano || Phileas Fogg’s Oriental Journey (gin base) || Earl Grey tea with apple and blackberry butter biscuit || Rose wine rainbow float || Thai iced tea

And, of course, vacation days wouldn’t be complete without dessert! I went to Brussels as well, so two-thirds of these pics came from there.

Belgian Waffles (banana and Nutella) || Snickers ice cream || Haagen-Dazs Limoncello ice cream || Tiramisu || Chocolate parfait || Assorted Belgian chocolates and macarons

Miscellany

Spring break happened! Honestly, I thought spending a week in the UK was not enough, especially when I had packed my vacation days with so much to do. I visited quaint English villages, countrysides, castles, and traipsed the city for hours, and I found that I still hadn’t seen everything that London and much of England had to offer. I guess that means having to book another trip at some point over there, amiright?

I also took a day trip to Brussels, which was pretty cool, though honestly, I was a little underwhelmed by the city itself. Much of the center and the touristy areas were pretty, and it was worth the day trip. The most I got out of the city, though, were the numerous amount of artisanal chocolateries that lined the streets. While the city itself underwhelmed me, I was certainly overwhelmed by all the chocolate shopping I did!

I’m not even going to discuss the fact that I’d gone to the Warner Bros. Harry Potter Studio. Because that’s just a whole other post waiting to happen.

Nerdy News

Here be vampires. Now all I need scientists to do is uncover skeletal evidence of were-creatures and I’m set. I mean…um, a lot of things are possible these days, right?

With all the complaints people had of Mass Effect: Andromeda, it was a matter of time that a patch came through. Though, honestly, people, do you remember how it was like playing ME1? Because I do, and from the looks of things, ME:A shouldn’t really have been getting so much Hater-ade. But maybe that’s just my rational side talking.

I mean, between G.R.R. Martin and Patrick Rothfuss, I’m wondering if there’s a betting pool somewhere for who gets their next book published first. Not that I should complain, I’m horrible at reading series, and I haven’t read either of their latest series installments. Well, in the case of Rothfuss, this will be remedied at some point!

Here comes the General! Word is that the late Carrie Fisher will at least have footage added into the next two Star Wars movies. Which is great, because giving her an off-screen mention would have been really sad.

Honestly, I’m not sure how I feel about Bioware’s MMO IP, because I’m not a big MMO player, but I’d totally try this game out for when it ever gets released.

Meet young Albus Dumbledore. Though, really, how “young” is young anyway? In any case, I thought this was a much better casting call than the silly thing they did with Grindelwald (ugh, Depp, seriously? I still don’t see it).

I can tell why Star Wars fans would lose their collective shits over this trailer. Honestly, I didn’t know which I loved more, the fact that Rey is doing Jedi training or the fact that the legendary Luke Skywalker finally has some speaking roles in this movie. Probably both, because I was squeeing by the end of the trailer.

Yaaaaas Carmen San Diego yaaaaaaaaaaas. She was seriously my version of James Bond growing up, and I’m SO happy they’re going to reboot this over in Netflix. SO HAPPY.

I’ve read only the first book, and a couple volumes of the graphic novel adaptation, but I could totally get into watching The Wheel of Time series. I am a little wary about what studio is going to do this, though, because I thought The Shannara Chronicles weren’t as well-done as I’d hoped, and that was also based off a fantasy series.

I find them adapting Fahrenheit 451 into a series kind of amusing, considering Bradbury’s commentary on media itself. But, hey, y’know what, I’D STILL WATCH IT.

I’m not caught up with Marvel’s superhero movies (in fact, I’m not caught up with any of the superhero movie franchises), but this particular X-Men arc is near and dear to my heart. The Dark Phoenix storyline was always my favorite of the X-Men franchise, and I thought it had been poorly handled in the original movie trilogy.

Mini-Reviews: A Brief History of Time, A Life in Parts

Alright, I’ve got a number of reviews and mini-reviews on the backlog, as well as some updates about what I did all of spring break (which will probably come in the way of me nerding out to some of my favorite literary places). But since I’m going to need more than an hour or two off an evening to compile my shmat together, mini-reviews it is!

These were some audiobooks I’d listened to prior to me traveling abroad, but pretty good to listen to, considering.

Have you read these? What did you think?

TTT: Badass Female Cover Girls

For more information on Top Ten Tuesday, click here.

I think I was staring too long at Silence Fallen because this is clearly what spawned by Top Ten Tuesday this week.

Badass female leads. And badass female book covers. What’s not to love about this list, right? RIGHT?

Okay, so I had this thing where every year in a forum, I’d make myself a signature and feature my year’s “Signature Cover Girl.” I’ve been pretty good with that for years now, and when the opportunity came to do a Top Ten Tuesday about book covers, I figure…why not do a top ten list of book covers that showcase their fabulous femme protagonists?

Top Ten Badass Female Cover Girls

River Marked by Patricia Briggs – This is probably one of my favorite Mercy Thompson covers. Mostly because you see Mercy within a tribal-marked backdrop, looking fierce and badass. I mean, okay, so it doesn’t necessarily tell me about what the book is going to be about, but SHE IS FIERCE, OKAY?! (Note: I did end up loving this book, so there.)

A Gathering of Shadows by V.E. Schwab – This wouldn’t be a list without Delilah Bard. Especially when she graces the second book of the Shades of Magic trilogy so nicely. SO NICELY.

Fire by Kristin Cashore – I don’t have a copy of this cover of Fire, but it is super-lovely. I am rather fond of archer-girls. I’ve been fond of them since I’d read of Maid Marian shooting just as awesomely as Robin Hood in a piece of fiction (which I’m pretty sure was Outlaws of Sherwood by Robin McKinley…). Fire is just fabulous.

Monstress by Marjorie Liu – I had immediately yoinked this graphic novel off the NetGalley list because holy hell that cover is amazing! And I mean…of course it’d be on this list!

Daughter of the Empire by Raymond E. Feist and Janny Wurst – This version is one of the more recent ones, I think. The copy I’d read showcased Mara as an ’80s heroine in white priestess robes, which didn’t really convey the sense of a Japanese-inspired society. I’m super-glad they updated it to this cover, because hell, I’d love to be Mara of the Acoma if I can wear that getup at least once.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor – There was another cover I would have preferred to put up here of another Laini Taylor book, but this is Karou. I love Karou. She’s the girl with the blue hair and the string of teeth around her neck. And these covers always leave a bit of ethereal mystery.

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh – Yaaaaas Shazi yaaaaaaas. She slays on both covers, but I will say this one I liked most because when you open up the book, you see Shazi inside looking resplendent in her Middle-Eastern-inspired outfit. And she is gorgeous.

Soulless by Gail Carriger – Alexia Tarrabotti and her parasol! I will admit I totally put this book in here because I love the outfit. Well, and Alexia is lovely, too, duh. But mostly that outfit. I’d totally wear it. Well, minus the super-tight corset.

In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce – Old school! I must have a couple of covers for this series sitting on my shelf, but this particular one is still my favorite. It’s got that early ’90s vibe, it’s bright and colorful, and it has two of my favorite Song of the Lioness characters ever.

Sabriel by Garth Nix – Also another cool ’90s cover. This was certainly the original before a more modern edition entered the fray, but I loved it for the artwork. And Sabriel’s coat and bandolier were rendered so well! And Sabriel is striking quite the cover girl pose.

Judging Book Covers #3: Silk by Caitlin Kiernan

I know, I know. I’ve taken a short blogging hiatus and I come back with a reblog instead, lol! I promise some more updates in the next couple of days, but this is just as important, promise!

My friend Meg @ Le Foi Aveugle has been pretty busy starting up her first podcast, and I’m so excited for her! This particular podcast is all about books, and I had the pleasure of being a guest for these next two episodes. On episode 3, we discuss the book Silk by Caitlin KiernanIf you like podcasts, or, well, like books in general and want something to listen to in the background while you do other things, hop on over to the Judging Book Covers Podcast and have a listen!

Listen on iTunes, Stitcher, or where ever you listen to podcasts: iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud | Google Play| Pocket Cast| RSS Feed Word of the Day: Weird For episode 3 I welcome two new guests, James DeBruicker and Marilag Angway! We discuss Silk by Caitlin Kiernan, which is a darker book than the previous two […]

via Episode 3: Silk by Caitlin Kiernan with James DeBruicker and Marilag Angway — Ramblings of Blind Faith

Food and Fiction: Mercy’s Trouble Chocolate

Alright, it’s chocolate-centric week, because I’m most likely in Belgium right now, gallivanting about and visiting chocolate shops. However, that is something I’ll probably be blogging about much later in the week when I get back from vacation, and instead, this is more along the lines of “Oh, hey, I finally finished Silence Fallen by Patricia Briggs and I want to talk about chocolate chip cookies!”

Or chocolate in general.

So just a quick summary of the book and the Mercy Thompson universe: Silence Fallen is the tenth installation of the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs, and revolves around Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, now the mate of the Columbia Basin’s Alpha werewolf. For those who are a fan of–or who have read–the series, you’ll know at this point that Mercy is living a rather eclectic life as a mechanic and non-werewolf wife. She’s also a shape-shifting coyote, is friends with a powerful fae, is bonded to an equally powerful vampire, and has adopted a fire-generating fae spirit. Mercy can also see and command ghosts. So. Yeah. Not a normal life by any means, and things just escalate from there.

One of my favorite things about Mercy is the fact that she bakes cookies. You laugh at this minute detail, but seriously, she does a lot of baking in the books. I admire her for that, because honestly, how does she find the time between being kidnapped by vampires and having to fend for herself against the Gray Lords and coyote-hating pack members? But she does, and in the beginning of Silence Fallen legit starts with her trying to bake cookies.

Of course, everything goes horribly wrong afterwards, but that’s besides the point.

The point is, I ended up with a craving for chocolate chip cookies. So I made them.

Thankfully, I wasn’t making cookies for a pack of werewolves, so I didn’t have to worry about lack of ingredients! So no vampire-induced car accidents here!

I was, however, baking these cookies for a get-together, so I decided to add a bit of extra into it. Mmm…coffee chocolate chip cookies here we come!

I used the recipe from Cathy at Lemon Tree Dwelling. And they came out delicious, by the way!

The coffee flavor came out, and the cookies themselves were seriously disappearing pretty quickly! I’d definitely make them again.

Anyway, I’ll end it there. Gotta run and frolic!

This post counts as #3 of my Food and Fiction Challenge.