Wrap Up: September 2017

What? September where’d you go?! Seriously, though, one minute I was gallivanting across Pennsylvania with a couple of friends and suddenly it’s the end of the first month of school and I’m wondering where it all went. Can’t say I’m sad to see September go. One month down, 9 more to go, school-wise, amiright?

Sigh.

Books Read

It was a very Fable-ulous (hah!) month, and one where I actually finished the series itself! I’m of two minds on that still, but anyway, playing book catch-up has its pros and cons.

Fables: 1001 Nights of Snowfall by Bill Willingham || Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel || Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman || The Storyteller’s Daughter: A Retelling of the Arabian Nights by Cameron Dokey || Fables 21: Happily Ever After by Bill Willingham || Fables 22: Farewell by Bill Willingham || The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith

Currently Reading

Not doing a good job actually reading, since I’ve mostly been listening to audiobooks, but there it is. I really should catch up on some Netgalley ARCS as well as books on my TBR.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch || Sin in the Second City: Madams, Ministers, Playboys, and the Battle for America by Karen Abbott

Writing

Yeah, yeah, it’s going. I’m actually determined to do some writing during my creative writing class. At least I’ll do it alongside my students to get back into actual practice. Sigh again.

Movies

The good thing about school being back is that I end up watching a ton of movies on the side while I grade. I watched old favorites as well as new stuff, though not all necessarily good. I regret even pulling up the Netflix version of Death Note, by the way…

But. I’m also now singing along to Newsies so that’s pretty cool.

Gaga: Five Foot Two || Me Before You || Sing || Whiskey Tango Foxtrot || Newsies: The Musical || Casablanca || Death Note (Netflix) || Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Television

Handmaid’s Tale – Had a month of Hulu and I totally binged this show. Big. Mistake. It’s a pretty heavy show, and I definitely wouldn’t recommend bingeing it. It was really good, though.

iZombie – Working slowly through season 2! I think it’s mostly my attention span, but I still like this show, so I’ll get to it all eventually.

Supergirl – Still not sure what to make of this show. I’m slowly trudging through it when I feel like putting something campy and not brain-heavy.

Strike – I am liking this so far! My friend and I are finally up to The Silkworm, which is the book I liked the best of the three Cormoran Strike books I’ve read.

Video Games

I don’t know if I should even include the games/apps I play on my phone on top of Mass Effect 3

But er, yeah, started my umpteenth playthrough of ME3 and already loving the additional quips I get from characters after having played through DLCs in previous games. I can’t wait to rip into the Omega DLC, because Aria T’Loak was definitely one of my favorite NPCs of ME2.

I also have been playing something called The Arcana on my Android, which has beautiful artwork (kind of reminds me of my favorite fanart of the Shades of Magic trilogy) and I’m hoping a really good story!

Fooding

Not much personal cooking in September. I think it’s due to the fact I’ve been coming home late because of school. October is going to be filled with food, though, considering I have at least two birthdays to get through…alive.

Chicken Tapaka || Cajun chicken alfredo pasta || Wildberry gimlet || Rabbit braised in white wine with kasha || Chicken and spiced pecan waffles || Chicken teriyaki bento box || Banana ice cream || Ent draught

Miscellany

Started a knitting project that’s probably going to take up quite a bit of time. I’ll probably talk more about it come December, mostly because talking about it now might spoil a few things.

I’ve already filled up half this wall with student work…

So my classroom is pretty awesome. On a small budget, I managed to Harry Potterize my room somewhat, which is great. My seventh graders certainly appreciated it…when they’re not being terrors, hah!

Nerdy News

Here comes the Magic School Bus! Part deux. DEFINITELY brings back memories. Nerdy, sciencey memories.

If I hadn’t already visited the Warner Bros studio up at the United Kingdom, I’d be all over the news that Harry Potter artifacts are headed down my neighborhood. All the same, pretty cool!

I’m mostly over Peter Jackson at this point, but I am SO watching the eff out of this Phillip Reeve adaptation. Only because steampunk and um, yeah.

The Doctor is finally ginger! Well, David Tennant is anyway. Yaaaaas. This is mostly due to the fact that he’s playing the devilish Crowley in the Gaiman-Pratchett adaptation of Good Omens.

How was your September?

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We Have a Quest!

To find the grail!

The quail!

No, the grail.

For some reason every time the use of the word “quest” makes me start singing to Spamalot. There’s too much Monty Pythoning around here…

But that’s me digressing.

Kudos to CW at Read, Think, Ponder for the awesome graphics!

Aentee at Read at Midnight put forth an amazing reading challenge called The Reading Quest and just so I can force myself to read and catch up to my TBR, I decided I’d join in on the quest. That said, I doubt I’m going to get through all of the ones I’ve put on this list, but I’ll try to at least get my lovely Mage through her hero’s journey!

Now, normally I go straight for either the Rogue or Mage during my fantasy playthroughs (almost always a Rogue during my first playthroughs in Elder Scrolls and Dragon Age franchises), but occasionally being a mage has its perks. Like being able to heal yourself without waiting for your slow-ass party members. Or setting people on fire at whim. Erm. Not morbid at all or anything…

I do plan to do either Bard or Mage next, depending on whether or not I get out of the realm of side quests on top of the Mage quests… (and goodness knows I love my side quests!).

Just so I don’t lose track of which books I plan to read for each quest, I’m putting my master list down here:

The Quest Board Book List

Mage:

The First Book of a SeriesSnow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
A Book Set in a Different WorldOur Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
A Book Based on MythologyThe Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
A Book that Contains MagicGoldenhand by Garth Nix
A Book With a One Word TitleCaraval by Stephanie Garber

Bard:

A Book that has a TV/Movie Adaptation – Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore
A Fairy Tale RetellingHeartless by Marissa Meyer
A Book Cover with Striking TypographyVassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
A Book Translated from Another LanguageW.I.T.C.H. vol. 1 by Elisabetta Gnone (translated by Parke Godwin)
A Banned BookDrama by Raina Telgemeier

Knight:

A Book with a Verb in its TitleGod Save the Queen by Kate Locke
A Book with a Weapon on its CoverEon by Alison Goodman
A Book with a Red CoverThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente

Rogue:

A Book Published by a Small PressHollow City by Ransom Riggs
A Book with <500 Ratings On GoodReadsThe Magic Mirror by Susan Hill Long
A Book Cover with a Partially Obscured FaceAmerican Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang

Side Quests:

Potions – A Book Concocted by 2 Authors – The Janus Affair by Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris
Time Warp – A Book Set in Either the Past or the Future – Dreadnought by Cherie Priest
Expansion – Read a Companion Novel or Short Story – Stars Above by Marissa Meyer
Multiplayer – Buddy Read a Book – Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie
Mini-Game – Read a Graphic Novel, Novella, or Poem Collection – Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu
Grind – A Book with 500 Pages – Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
Respawn – Read a Book You Previously DNF – Fate of Flames by Sarah Raughley
Animal Companion – Book Referencing an Animal in the Title – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I will be updating this list with links to reviews at some point!

Are you taking part in The Reading Quest? Let me know!

Wrap Up: July 2017

Books Read

I’m pretty sure this list is only substantive because most of these are graphic novels. All the same, I’m playing a bit of catchup on my lack of reading and reviewing, and this is the result.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier || Skinwalker by Faith Hunter || Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1 || The Arabian Nights translated by Richard F. Burton || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2 || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 3 || Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 4

Currently Reading

The List by Patricia Forde || Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor || The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 5 || Monstress, Vol. 2 by Marjorie Liu

Writing

While I didn’t take part in Camp NaNoWriMo, writing has been a major part of July, and will likely be a major part of August as well. I’m probably going to slow down on the writing department come September once more, but for now, I’m taking what I get!

Movies and Television

The Beautician and the Beast – Don’t ask.

Dirty Dancing – It was the summer of ’63 when I started watching–okay, no. I’m not THAT old, but I love this movie.

Independence Day – Totally my July 4 movie tradition. Every single year.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – I’m still torn up about this movie.

The Martian – Totally watched this again because my bestie was missing such a great movie.

Wonder Woman – See, THIS is a girl power superhero movie without all the unsubtle “yay female superheroes all females rock omg this is a message I’m going to keep bringing up over and over again every other sentence” that the Supergirl show has (more below).

Better Call Saul, Season 2 – Ughhhh so good. And Netflix, I’m waiting for Season 3 plsthx!

Inside British Vogue – I like fashion documentaries, but the documentarian annoyed me. Your job is to DOCUMENT, not fucking give input about things you know nothing about. Ugh.

Arrow, Season 3 – Well, damn. I went back to finishing this season and things completely goes down at the end of the season. The happyish ending tho, lmao. Yeah, okay. Not gonna last long in CW, nope.

Flash, Season 1 – I was pretty much going back and forth on my Arrow-Flash binges. But holy hell, Flash got INCREDIBLY good.

Supergirl, Season 1 – I legit just watched the first episode yesterday. Then I had to google “Does Supergirl get better later on” because honestly, that pilot wasn’t so great. I love the idea of female superheroes, but please stop throwing feminist morals at my face every other scene in the episode. ESPECIALLY since the rest of the time seemed dedicated to comparing said female superhero to the more superior male cousin that is Superman. I just…STAHP PLEASE. Just give me action and some sort of plot. But again. This was just my first impression of the pilot. Apparently it does get better around episode 6/7, so I might hang on.

Video Games

Hah. There’s been only one video game that I’ve been preoccupied with all month. And that’s Mass Effect: Andromeda. I actually finished it last week, so of course the next thing I did was boot up a new Mass Effect trilogy playthrough. Yeah. I am obsessive, but I can’t help myself!

I’m still trying to figure out how much I like ME: Andromeda, to be honest. It certainly doesn’t hold a candle to the original trilogy, but at the same time, I’m judging the a game that’s solely an INTRODUCTORY game, so I can’t get angry about it. I am a little disappointed in the romance arcs. None of them seemed very interesting. But then again, I wasn’t gungho on the romance in ME1 either. So yeah. I hope the second installation–if there ever IS one–gets the same treatment as ME2, because that’s when everything gets turned around.

Fooding

It says something about my lack of work when I spend most of my days actually baking. Or eating.

Macarons || Ube birthday cake || Spiced ginger treacle cake || Hummus || Marble and almond brownies || Sushi || Peach upside down cake || Japanese pork combo at Mitsuwa

Miscellany

I’ve mostly been on vacation over the month of July. On top of that, I had a birthday pass me by, which meant I got to splurge on random things, hah!

Managed to get Shakespeare in the Park tickets for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was FANTASTIC.

I’ve been sufficiently pool-ready the past few weeks, so obviously that’s where I’ve been during my weekends. There was also a summer fair at the Meadowlands, and I couldn’t pass it up because I so wanted to get on a Ferris wheel. I LOVE FERRIS WHEELS.

Other than that, same old, same old.

Nerdy News

Gotham goes Gaslight in a Batman steampunk animated movie. Not gonna lie, I’ve been so waiting for them to do this. I haven’t read the Elseworlds series that this animated movie is going to be based on, but I’ve actually seen a demo of Gotham by Gaslight as a video game, and I’ve been craving steampunk Bats since.

Honestly cannot wait for Good Omens to come out. It’s going to be a blast to see Crowley and Aziraphale on the screen and not just on the page.

Joker as a good guy is like watching Lex Luthor become President of the United States and still being a thorn on Superman’s side. It’s GREAT. Now, once this is released completely, can we have an animated movie based off this series with Mark Hamill reprising his Joker role? CAN WE PLEASE?

Alright, I admit I’m sliding this article in solely for the purpose of being able to mention AIRSHIPS in this post. Because the possibility of rebuilding airships just made my steampunk writing self all excited and giddy.

The next Wonder Woman movie is taking place in the ’80s. Which is pretty cool, though I wonder how they’ll explain WWII, because that’s practically a gigantic war in between her origin movie and the Cold War. [SPOILER] Also, I don’t know why people find it a good idea to bring Chris Pine back. That just lessens the impact of his actions in the previous movie. Just saying. [/SPOILER]

Not sure how I feel having seen the A Wrinkle in Time trailer. On the one hand, it looks pretty cool and action-packed. On the other, AWiT is one of my favorite childhood SFF books, and if they eff this up, I’m going to be INCONSOLABLE.

One of the most exciting trailers that got released at SDCC was definitely Ready Player One. Because holy hell, the stacked buildings looked exactly like the illustration in the book. And omg SO many Easter Eggs in that trailer. I can only imagine how many more are in the actual movie.

And yay more Agatha Christie movies! I always love watching these.

Still not holding my breath, but I suppose this is good news to the G.R.R. Martin and A Song of Ice and Fire fans. I haven’t read the fifth book yet, so…

And the new Doctor is…oh come on. That was practically everywhere when it was finally released. Here’s to Jodie Whittaker for taking the balls by the horn! (Hah!)

I hope you guys had a great July, too!

Wrap-Up: February 2017

february2017-monthlyFirst off: Happy Dr. Seuss Day!

Teaching the bigger voldies has given me quite the perspective on time management. Where “time management” equates to “no time at all” for the most part. Seriously, how do fellow teachers deal all the time?! I swear I’ve only managed to rack in a couple hours of video game this weekend, and then it was back to grading, lesson planning, and browsing other math and science resources. Not to mention the fact that I’m also trying to keep regular schedule with reading and blogging…

Sigh. At best, it’s going to be an interesting next few months. At worst, I’ll not have done any writing or editing at all.

But it’s not all fatigue and sadness! Lots of good stuff this month, too!

Books Read

I was in a bit of a slump over the month, to a point where I’ve even gotten bored with audiobooks to a point where I just DNF it after the first few chapters. Hopefully I’ll find a balance of being able to read AND get other work done in the coming weeks.

Avatar: The Last Airbender, Smoke and Shadow, Vols. 1-3 by Gene Luen Yang || An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir || Legenderry: A Steampunk Adventure by Bill Willingham || Gilded Cage by Vic James

Currently Reading

Let’s be honest here. I’ve probably pushed all books back in light of Schwab’s A Conjuring of Light being out. Sorry not sorry.

Portal of a Thousand Worlds by Dave Duncan || Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson || Truthwitch by Susan Dennard || A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Writing

Unless I’m counting blog posts and lesson plans, writing has pretty much been nonexistent. Not a good thing, but I don’t think that’s going to change until I’ve got a decent system in place to get through my regular workdays without being utterly drained of any motivation whatsoever, lol.

Movies

February is always my busiest month for movies, and for good reason! Now that the Oscars are over, I can finally take it easy with watching the other movies I wanted to get to this year. That said, there were some very good movies on the list that I watched this month. And, uh, I totally watched more than 8 movies, I just didn’t have room to add the rest…

february2017-movies

Moana || Hacksaw Ridge || Lion || Kubo and the Two Strings || Florence Foster Jenkins || Fences || Jackie || Hell or High Water || Nocturnal Animals (not pictured) || The Red Turtle (not pictured) || Captain Fantastic (not pictured)

Television

The Magicians, Season 1 – Honestly, this had something going for it, up until the characters kept doing stupid things, and I was just so over it.

Arrow, Season 3 – Yeah, still on this season, but I’m getting to the point where I had stopped a long way back!

Flash, Season 1 – Ditto.

Outlander, Season 2 – So I subscribed to a free week of Starz, which meant I totally binged a majority of the second Outlander season. I may have to resort to other streaming services to get to the rest of the episodes, though…

The Great British Bake Off, Season 3 – NETFLIX FINALLY HAS MORE SEASONS UP. Naturally, I just had to watch it.

Video Games

Dishonored 2 – Took me much longer to finish a stealthy, non-lethal run with Corvo, but that’s mostly because I haven’t been binge-playing video games in a while. I plan to do a couple more runs on this game, but I might wait another time.

Batman: Arkham Knight – A ways back, I totally rage-quit this game and stopped playing it for a while because the effing Batmobile Riddler challenges DROVE ME NUTS. I just went back into the swing of things, though. Might as well try to finish the game…before I contemplate heading back to Dragon Age

Fooding and Drinking

Last month there was a severe lack of food and drink pictures gracing my blog. This month, I needed to separate food AND drink apart, because there was a lot of both happening due to Valentine’s Day and it being my mother’s birthday among other things.

february2017-fooding

Thin Mint Oreo and Kit Kat Brownies || Tutti Frutti Waffles || Apple Pirozhki || Pineapple BBQ Chicken Flatbread Pizza || Tiramisu || Waffle Fries || Marinated Prime Rib BBQ || Harvey Wallbanger Cake

I’d also visited The Way Station, which was the dorkiest bar I’d ever seen. And this is a good thing! I ended up ordering a few Doctor Who-inspired drinks, and they were LOVELY.

february2017-drinks

Galliano || 4th Doctor || 10th Doctor || River’s Red Mark || Barefoot Moscato || Mocha Madness || Moroccan Mint Tea || Vodka (for baking!)

Miscellany

Valentine’s Day was a pretty good day, considering. My bestie and I ended up just reserving a table at Max Brenners and fed on food and chocolate for the rest of the day. Soooo delicious.

I did do another Food and Fandom post, which means I’m good for the month. But now the cycle begins again and I probably need to start thinking about another F&F project to do in order to stay on top of my own Reading Challenge…

Nerdy News

I honestly don’t know why I insist on following up on the Mass Effect hype, because every single time I see an article, like character profiles (YES FEMALE TURIAN COMPANION RAAAAAAH), voice actor announcements (Margery Tyrell joins The Tempest crew as an asari, WHAAAT), and the fact that you can still actually decide which Commander Shepard is YOUR Shepard in ME: Andromeda (FemShep all the way!) only gets me overexcited about this game. And it’s not like I’m even planning to get it in March! I’m going to have to wait much longer than that, otherwise NO work is getting done…

On another space-related note: I am so eagerly awaiting for our First Contact with turians. NASA, make this happen. You’ve found the planets, so find the aliens. Just don’t try to wage war, please. XD

WHAT IS THIS NEVERWHERE SEQUEL, GAIMAN YOU ARE KILLING ME HERE I MUST HAVE IT.

You know what, I’d actually be interested in the Ford, Bernard, and Maeve Westworld Funkos. I wouldn’t mind if they suddenly came up with a Hector Funko. Rodrigo Santoro is a beautiful man.

Hayao Miyazaki getting bored of retirement and coming back to make more movies is really not surprising. He’s pretty much a workaholic, which is a good thing, because YAY MORE MIYAZAKI MOVIES!

My first reaction to there being a possible A Darker Shade of Magic movie was practically, “OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG OMG EEEEEEEEEEEEE.” My second one is, quite naturally, “OH GOD PLEASE DON’T EFF THIS UP I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH.” So yeah. Excited and REALLY hoping for the best. And super happy for Schwab, who must be super-stoked about this news.

Food and Fiction 2017: A Reading Challenge

I’m trying to tell myself not to be silly-nervous about starting up and hosting a reading challenge this year, but I can’t help it, considering I’ve seen so many stellar reading challenges floating around already and I mean…another one? Cue groaning, am I right? (RIGHT?)

But all the same, I have been playing with the idea for a while now, and thought, well, why not? It seemed like something fun to do, and if all else fails, it’ll motivate me to at least continue to update my Food and Fandom section–which I hadn’t updated in a while…

(In hindsight, sorry about starting this a bit late, I should have started this earlier in the month, but what’s done is done…it’s not like I’m going to be closing off the signing up list or anything, though!)

foodandfiction-2017-1

Food and Fiction Reading Challenge 2017

Intro

Plenty of fiction books talk about food. As a spec-fic reader, I am always in awe of the worldbuilding that goes about in the story, and one particular detail I pay attention to is how authors describe scenes where characters interact over a meal. These scenes are not groundbreaking or anything, and most of the time they don’t really move the plot along (unless you’re drinking wine at the Purple Wedding, hem hem…). But come on. It’s FOOD. What’s not to be inspired about it?

Challenge Guidelines

  • The challenge will run from January 1st, 2017 to December 31st, 2017.
  • Read a book of fiction with some mention of food. It could be as simple as a mention of a rare cup of aromatic Colombian coffee or a grand Mediterranean feast in some faraway kingdom.
  • Share your review of the book (short, long, a teeny status update) on your blog, Goodreads account or, heck, YouTube channel and other similar bloggy places.
  • Include a blurb about what food craving you ended up having after finishing the book! Blurbs can be: pictures of what you think the food looked like through the author’s description, accounts of you attempting to make the food or an interpretation of it, a recipe blog post of the food from the fictional book, or even pictures of where you went afterwards to satisfy a particular craving.
    • Examples (and reading challenge inspiration, really) can be found at my Food and Fandom page.
  •  You can set your own number of books you’d like to use for this challenge!

To Participate

  • Challenge yourself to read, review, and foodify a certain number of books. Again, it can be as little or as much as you want. Comment below to let me know you plan to participate and how many book-food-thingies you may be doing for the year. Also, you could tell me what food cravings you’ve had so far when you’ve read books.
  • Make sure to link me! I will be setting up a linky each month for you to show me what you guys have read and done. I love looking at pictures of food, obviously.
  • Spread the word! I will be using #foodandfiction for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, so feel free to use it so I can see what you guys have up. And share the love, because the more the merrier!

For 2017, I plan to do at least 12 food and fiction-related posts (once a month). This means I need to step it up! So with that all said, good luck and have fun with it!

And of course, feel free to comment below with questions, etc. Again, this being my first attempt at a challenge, I could be missing a few things and it won’t hurt to point me to the right direction. 😀