Season 2, Episode 1: 1001 Nights (or Arabian Nights)

Here’s a little early return to our regular programming! Episode 1 of Season 2 is now up on Fableulous Retellings, and for the next few weeks, we’ll be all up on some Arabian Nights love. Here’s a fun (okay, semi-fun) fact about me: the framework tale of the 1001 Nights has been a personal favorite tale of mine. There’s nothing more badass than a female who saves lives and kicks ass with the use of her words and her abundance of stories.

Check out our first episode now!

Fableulous Retellings Podcast

Meg and Mari are back a little sooner than you would expect! They have started up season 2 and didn’t take it easy as they tackled the original 1001 Nights in their opening episode. Here’s a quick peak at some of the things discussed in this episode:

Why did we pick 1001 Nights?

  • Richard Francis Burton
  • The over-arching Arabian Nights’ story
  • How Eunuchs became Eunuchs
  • A Man gets embarrassed by farts
  • What the heck is vermicelli cake? (Seriously about half an hour of us talking about vermicelli cake has been cut) and so much more!

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Join us every Tuesday for a new episode!

Thank you to BenSound for our theme music and VidaLovesCake for our artwork!

Check out this episode!

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Wrap Up: August 2017

Okay, seriously, the summer came by way too quickly this year. I already have only a few days left before I have to actually get back to work, and I’m shaking my fists at you, Summer!

That said, at least the weather will cool up (I absolutely love sweater weather), and I’m ahead of my Goodreads goal, so huzzah!

Books Read

Still got a number of reviews I want to get done in September, but for the most part, these were the books I’d finished during the month.

I DNFed one book in August, which isn’t too bad, though I do note that my list of DNFs have grown a big higher than previous years. I think it’s tolerance level, maybe. Mostly I just decided that I have way too many books I want to read that spending time on one I don’t really care about is a waste.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr || Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman || Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor || Battlestar Galactica Vol. 1 || Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore and Brian Bolland || The List by Patricia Forde || Xena, Warrior Princess, Vol. 1 ||  Injustice: Gods Among Us Year One || The Moth and the Flame by Renee Ahdieh || The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh || Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie M. Liu || The Wicked + The Divine, vols. 4 and 5.

Currently Reading

So far so good!

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel || Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Writing

I’ve been on and off with the writing this summer, which is probably the only thing I’m disappointed in, though, again, largely my fault. I did manage to do a huge deal of edits to my novel, and I wrote down what I can discern are notes of a future short story.

Movies and Television

Lordy, Game of Thrones. I don’t think I can last that long to want to see the last season. I really want it happening sooner than later.

I’ve also pretty much binged iZombie on Netflix and NO REGRETS.

As for movies: the most entertained I got was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which is saying something. I absolutely hated how stupid Civil War was, and likely put me off of watching any other Marvel Avengers movie that’s to come in the foreseeable future. I also don’t know why I watched Schindler’s List for practically the umpteenth time, but it IS a fantastic one, albeit the topping is super depressiong.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies || Million Dollar Baby || Captain America: Civil War || The Craft || Schindler’s List || Armageddon || Game of Thrones || iZombie

Video Games

Besides the apps I play on my phone (which have started taking up more time in general), I started Mass Effect 1 all over again and beat that in a week. I’m halfway through my playthrough of Mass Effect 2 but it’s taking longer because of all the DLCs that are now included into my copy. Also, I LOVE Kasumi. I don’t know how I never got through a playthrough with her, especially when I’ve played ME multiple times already.

Gonna have to put some of ME playing on hold, though, now that school is back soon. Sigh.

Fooding

Part of the reason this month went by quickly for me was because I totally baked or cooked double-time. It was hard picking pictures out of really stellar ones, but I’ll narrow things down to food I’ve either made the first time or foods I’ve tried the first time.

Peach crumb cupcakes || Korean-flavored ground beef || Parsnip cakes || Triforce blueberry pie || Pan de bono || Poke bowl || Spicy ramen with poached eggs || Chicken with saffron sauce

Miscellany

Took advantage of the pool and the beach this summer, and went on family and friend trips in surrounding areas (loved the glass museum!). Didn’t travel too far, though, which is somewhat of a bummer, since I’ve made my list of places to visit outside of the U.S. but I’ll have to hit those another time.

My friend and my podcast (Fableulous Retellings) has ended its first season run, and we’re gearing up for season 2, which should be exciting, because it’s all about 1001 Nights, which is a collection of some of my favorite stories ever!

I started a knitting project that could quite possibly take me over a year to finish, because it’s massive. The idea isn’t mine, though it certainly came about when I was making a Christmas present that I wanted for myself as well…

Nerdy News

I mean, how much more epic a saga can Dragon Age be? A super-epic one, if Laidlaw has anything to say about it. And, honestly, I cannot wait for the next installment. After Trespasser, things look like they’re going to get super exciting!

Good Omens is happening, but what’s more, it’s happening with the two perfect actors to take on the roles of Aziraphale and Crowley! Honestly, you can even interchange the roles and I’m sure Tennant and Sheen can still hit the ball out of the park.

A modern Dracula, a la Sherlock? Well, with Sherlock pretty much wrapped up (as far as I can see), I wouldn’t mind seeing what its former creators have in store for another iconic Victorian creation.

A Cuckoo’s Calling has premiered, but I haven’t seen it yet. This was the trailer I watched a while back. I love Holliday Grainger, and this looks pretty good!

“Neo-Victorian fantasy noir.” You mean detective steampunk?! I’m down. So down.

I’m so happy for Victoria Schwab right now. Mostly because now I have MORE Shades of Magic books to look forward to. But, I mean, wow. Just wow. Good for you, Schwab. I can somewhat live vicariously through her, haha.

That’s it. How was your August?

Mini Reviews: The Killing Joke, Trigger Warning

More minis! I’m clearly making up for my lack of reading two months back, so there’s a few more of these in the foreseeable future, that’s for sure.

Also, my library finally resettled their audiobook collection, and I can now return to listening to those while I multitask, which is a big plus, because now I can polish off even more books than usual.

The first is a comic book I’ve been meaning to read for the longest time, and after having seen the animated movie that was based on The Killing Joke (which was pretty damn great though the first 30 minutes were not altogether accurate or welcome), I just had to pick it up.

The second is an audiobook short story collection narrated by the author. I’ve been a fan of Gaiman’s longer works, and some of his short stories are pretty awesome. Despite being called Trigger Warning, though, there was probably only one instance where a story got super-creepy. (That’s saying something about my morbidity tolerance, lmao).

I rated Trigger Warning pretty high, though in retrospect, the high rating was due in large part to the longer, standout stories. If you consider the fact that I only really enjoyed four out of 24 stories, the percentage is pretty steep. Just saying.

Have you read either of these? What did you think?

Mini Reviews: Xena Warrior Princess, Battlestar Galactica

I may have seen someone review the Xena graphic novel and my initial thought was: “THEY MADE A XENA GRAPHIC NOVEL?!” So naturally I needed it in my life. And I was glad that I did. That also meant that I got wind of the fact that Dynamite Entertainment also had a Battlestar Galactica one, so I had to go and read the first volume of that, too.

Wasn’t such a big fan of the BSG one, but the Xena graphic novel was a hoot and a half.

Have you read either of these? What did you think?

Cake and Godstars || Dreams of Gods and Monsters Review

Initial Thoughts:

*sobs* This was a love-hate. I love-hate myself for love-hating the last book of what I found as a terribly beautiful trilogy. And it was SO GOOD. Up until I got around 200 pages of story that got thrown in there just to make people SUFFER. So I’m crying inside here. I can’t help it, because I really wanted to love this book more. Ugh. Maybe I’ll be able to say better things once I’ve thought about it a bit.

I LOVE LIRAZ POV THO?


DREAMS OF GODS AND MONSTERS

by Laini Taylor
Little, Brown & Company, April 2014
YA fantasy, romance, supernatural
Rated: 3.5 / 5 cookies

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited – not in love, but in a tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

An epic war and an epic alliance

**Note: Here be spoilers of the previous two books.

Make no mistake, I think Laini Taylor is a godstar in her own right. I admire her writing, and I will recommend this trilogy over and over again, even with my frustrations in Dreams of Gods and Monsters. In DoGaM, we get the conclusion to a war between angels and demons and for the most part, a resolution to all the shipping that’s been happening since book one (I’m looking at YOU, Akiva and Karou!). Joram, the seraphim Emperor, is dead, as is Thiago, the chimaera Warlord. To continue the charade, Ziri poses as Thiago with the help of Karou and her close friends. Meanwhile, on the seraph’s side, Akiva leads his contingent of Misbegotten against a more formidable foe: his uncle, the deformed and cruel Jael. Without the idea of working together, both armies–Misbegotten and chimaera–are doomed to fail. But slowly and slowly, Akiva and Karou’s dreams of peace and cohabitation become a reality.

But not without a bit of struggle and a ton of butthurt feelings.

Always. XD

Like Taylor’s previous two books, there is a slow-burn story in the making, and while at this rate I would normally object the pacing–because I mean, come on, between the first book and the second, can we get to the action already?–I didn’t mind so much because Taylor is just such a lovely wordsmith. It doesn’t work as greatly in this book as it did in the previous two, but I appreciated it nonetheless, and I found that she fleshed out the other characters so well.

Liraz felt…guilty.

It was not her favorite feeling. Her favorite feeling was the absence of feeling; anything else led to turmoil…

She hadn’t felt their magic drill its sick ache through her for the entire time that they’d been encamped here. And that was why she was angry. Because they weren’t giving her a reason to be angry.

Feelings. Were. Stupid.

I loved Liraz’s development. And I absolutely loved that she gets a bit more POV in this book. Ever since Haz in the second book (OH GOD I STILL CRY INSIDE FOR THAT), Liraz has gone through a roller coaster ride in emotional turmoil. Yes, Akiva has, too, but Liraz took longer to persuade to make nice with the demons. But when it comes down to it, Liraz is a stalwart and loyal ally and I would never want to be on the receiving end of her anger.

Laughter and helpless grins, a swift breaking down of barriers. No one could hold out long against Haz. Her own gift, she thought with an inward shudder, was very different, and unwelcome in the future they were trying to build. All she was good at was killing.

She’s also badass. Like…seriously. So badass.

…Another moment, and they might have kissed.

But Ellai was a fickle patroness and had failed them–spectacularly–before. Karou didn’t believe in gods anymore, and when the door crashed open, there were only Liraz and the Wolf to blame for it.

“Well,” Liraz said, her voice as dry as the rest of her was not. “At least you still have your clothes on.”

And hilarious in her own dry humor. And yeah. Okay. I totally just threw in as many Liraz quotes I could find. Because I fangirl her.

“We haven’t been introduced. Not really.”

I also fangirl the fact that Liraz follows in the whole “demon-loving” route that her brother Akiva had undergone. In this case, there’s a recurring exchange between Ziri and Liraz that made me giggle like a schoolgirl because they are just. So. Damn. ADORABLE. Even near the end I was hoping things would work out.

“It might turn us both into Japanese men.” She squinted at him. “Would you still love me if I were a Japanese man?”

“Of course,” said Mik, without missing a beat.

Also, more Zuzana and Mik antics. They’re always a hoot and a half and a welcome cool breeze amidst all the warring and hating on each other.

So with all of this awesomeness, what went wrong?

To be honest, this story did not need to be 600 pages. Everything could have wrapped up nicely in 300, with the end of Jael and his Dominion, with the combination and alliance pulling through in victory. IT WAS FEASIBLE, YOU GUYS.

But nope. NOOOOPE. Deus ex machina happened, and an entirely new story got thrown in by the last 200-300 pages.

Several new characters got introduced, and yes, it helped build the world around them, and honestly, if I wasn’t already so invested in the characters in the previous books, I might have liked Eliza and Scarab. But as is, I found that I was skimming through most of Eliza’s chapters and rolling my eyes with the whole Stelian plotline. It could have been a completely different book, and a spinoff to the trilogy. The ending became super-anticlimactic to me, because most of the resolution was finished 100 pages or so before the damn epilogue. And I will say I didn’t read the epilogue. Not for a while. Because I knew if I read it, I would probably have chucked the book across the room or something, and I wouldn’t want to do that because I loved the first two books and the first 300 pages of DoGaM so much. So. Much.

3.5 out of 5 cookies! I would still recommend this book, for Liraz and Ziri and Zuzana and Mik. For Akiva, who’s still pretty awesome, even in his broody, angry form. And for Karou, who’s still got a lot of resurrecting ahead of her.


Have you read this book (and this trilogy)? What did you think?