T5W – So Long Old Friend…

Hidy Ho! Today’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Fandoms You Are No Longer In. “But isn’t it only Tuesday?” you say. Well, yes, but I’m going on vacation tomorrow, so you get to enjoy this post a day early. 😉

I’ll be honest, I don’t really consider myself to have abandoned ANY of my fandoms, but there are a few that I was really intensely into and have since tempered my feelings for. So while I still consider myself to be IN those fandoms, I’m not the rabid fan I used to be.

Uh, also, these are almost all tv/movie fandoms…though I DO own at least one book from each, so that counts right? 😉

SeaQuest DSV – Does anyone even remember this show except me? This was actually my SeaQuestDSVMainTitlevery first fandom (and my first celebrity crush; you are missed more than you know Jonathan Brandis 😦 ). Not only did SeaQuest kick off my love of sci-fi (and science in general), but it is the series that introduced me to fanfiction! I still really like the show and watch it from time to time (Yea Netflix!), but I’m not as obsessed with it as I was when I was a kid.

Rise of the Guardians – This was a short-lived fandom for me. The movie 6-reasons-why-rise-of-the-guardians-is-still-the-best-holiday-movie-of-the-decadewas WAY more amazing than I thought it was going to be, and since I was really hung up on Pinterest at the time, it was extremely easy for me to fall into the fandom. The artwork that came out of this fandom was completely astounding and there are a TON of fanfics out there with some really great writers. Unfortunately, I fell out of the fandom as easily as I fell in. I think there just wasn’t enough story to keep me enthralled for very long.

Merlin – If you haven’t yet watched BBC’s Merlin…DO IT. It’s a wonderful show. It manages to be both a serious drama and a hilarious comedy, without looking like it’s trying too hard. I really enjoyed the fandom too, the fanfic was fun and some of that artwork was AMAZING! I was devastated when the series ended (Especially like that! What were they thinking?!?), but I’ve since calmed down and mostly moved on to new obsessions. I still watch the show sometimes and occasionally get on Merlin fanfic kicks, but I’m not AS angry about it ending as I used to be…maybe…kinda… 😉

merlin3
Random: This picture has always weirded me out. Doesn’t it look like Arthur is about to kill Merlin? Think that was intentional?

Sherlock – I have actually always loved Sherlock as a whole, but when I discovered BBC’s Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and John Watson in BBC Sherlock Season 1 Episode 3 The Great GameSherlock during the hiatus between series 2 & 3, I fell HARD. The show was SO GOOD and it had been a LONG time since I stumbled across something that I fell in love with. So I went with it. I followed all the Pinterest boards I could find, read all the crazy conspiracy theories, bought the dvds and watched them over and over again for clues…I went a bit crazy. 😉 I still love Sherlock, but I have calmed down enough about it that I have completely accepted that it might end. In fact, I think series 4 was a wonderful conclusion to the show and probably SHOULD be the last season. Is this what growing up looks like? 😉

Harry Potter – Man, I was so far gone down the Harry Potter rabbit hole when I was in high school & college. Don’t get me wrong, I STILL love Harry Potter. I still read the fanfic (in fact, I’m re-reading one right now), am collecting the Illustrated editions, went ballistic when The Cursed Child & Fantastic Beasts came out, and still to this day have a giant poster ad for Book 5 that my friend snagged me from her job at Books A Million hanging in my book room. But…I’m definitely not still insane about it. I think I burnt myself out a bit. Harry Potter will always hold a place in my heart, it just doesn’t consume my life like it used to.calling_all_harry_potter_fans__you_can_now_enrol_at_a_real_life_hogwarts


 

What fandoms are you no longer a part of?

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T5W – There’s No Such Thing as a Small Part

It’s time for another Top 5 Wednesday! This week’s topic: Favorite Minor Characters.

I’ve been having so much trouble with this one, you guys! I will be the first to admit that my memory isn’t the best, so trying to think of my favorite minor characters (that weren’t all just from Harry Potter) was SUPER difficult for me.

Here’s what I came up with…

Smokey Lonesome (Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe – Fannie Flagg)

8b67d259aee82e2eee1f97b3b3634fedSomething about this character pulled me in; I just felt so much compassion for him. I also loved that he was willing to stand up for his friends, even against someone who could easily have taken him down.

Calixte (Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor)

61yt-aCI16L._AA300_I loved this character. She was charismatic, feisty, and wasn’t afraid to stick up for herself. She also didn’t rag on the main character, Lazlo (with whom I felt an immediate kinship) just because he was bookish, unlike a lot of the other characters.

Rubeus Hagrid (Harry Potter – JK Rowling)

ebafecac73151e5c53694808c9a14ce0Well, I had to give myself one! 😉 I LOVE Hagrid. I always have. He’s compassionate towards the children and animals, extremely loyal to those he deems worthy, and just so…well…lovable! (Side note: I still think Robbie Coltrane was the best casting in the entire HP series. He completely epitomized my Hagrid!)

And, now, since I’m having so much trouble with this category…I’m going to cheat a bit and give you three books where the minor characters turn into the main characters!

Welcome to Night Vale (Joseph Fink & Jeffery Cranor)

51IZUXor7hL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_The authors of the Welcome to Night Vale podcast took a handful of very minor characters and an even more minor subplot and managed to turn it into a brilliant novel-length adventure, delving into parts unknown for parts even more unknown.

NPCs (Drew Hayes)

22088245In this book, the NPCs (non-player characters) in a role playing game end up having to become the heroes they usually despise in order to save their town from a tyrannical king. It’s actually a really great story about finding strength you didn’t know you had.

The Rest of Us Just Live Here (Patrick Ness)

23830990Ever wonder what it’s like to live in an apocalyptic town when you aren’t the hero? This book reads like a John Green novel set in the Buffy Universe, but focuses on the kids who aren’t trying to save the world.


So give a girl a hand, who are some of YOUR favorite minor characters?

Quick Note

Hi all! Just a quick head’s up!

Since this blog has turned mostly into discussions about books, I’ve tweaked the name just a tad to reflect that. I will still have random musing posts once in a while, but the vast majority of the content will remain about books: Book Reviews, Book Suggestions, Book Tags…what can I say, I just really like books. 😉

Thanks for sticking with me!
~Jess 😀

Book Review – The Juliet

Book: The Juliet – Author: Laura Ellen Scott

Genre: Adult, Adventure, Western?, Treasure Hunt

Description from Goodreads:

During Death Valley’s great wildflower bloom of 2005, retired cowboy actor Rigg Dexon gives a rootless woman a gift that will change her life forever: the deed to The Mystery House, a century old shack long thought to be the hiding place of a legendary emerald known as The Juliet. Willie Judy remembers Dexon from cereal commercials she watched as a kid, but now she’ll spend the next seven days searching for the truth about him, the house, and herself, as the history of The Juliet reveals the American Dream’s dark side—one that is corrupt, bawdy, and half insane. (see listing here)

My Review:

Where to start…

This was an odd one. Though the description above focuses on only two characters, the book itself is more about the history of the jewel and ALL of it’s owners, not just Rigg & Willie. The entire lifetime of the Juliet is shown, along with all the despicable things people did to each other in order possess the gem.

I will say, the novel hopped around quite a bit in the Juliet’s history, going back and forth between all the owners’ stories at once, instead of running a direct timeline. This made sense in the context of the story, but it was somewhat difficult to follow. The author DID include the dates at the beginning of each section, but I still had some trouble remembering who lived in which year, though not enough to throw me out of the story.

It helped that I really liked the author’s writing style. All the characters seemed completely believable, which, considering the wide variety, was pretty impressive. Even though most of the characters were all similarly greedy, the author managed to imbue each of them with their own sense of purpose and individuality. And, as easy as it would have been to go overboard with the ways in which the characters obtain the Juliet, you never have to throw on the “suspension of disbelief” switch in this novel. Even the most unbelievable of twists seemed entirely believable with this cast of characters.

The author also managed to encapsulate the time periods in which she was writing fairly well, without falling into the common pit of overdoing the accents & dialogue or focusing too much on historical details. The scenes in older time periods were just as easy to follow as the modern ones and, though there was some description of the locations/clothes/etc, the focus stayed where it should, on the Juliet and her devotees.

I ended up really enjoying this book. Putting all the bits and pieces of the story together into one cohesive storyline made me feel like I was also on a treasure hunt, the treasure being the Juliet’s history rather than the stone itself.

Similar Book(s):

Yyyyeeeaahhh…I got nothin’. So I’m just going to list the author’s other works. 😉

Death Wishing & The Mean Bone in Her Body

 

Whatcha Readin?

Hi all! I am in the middle of a few books, so I don’t have a full review for you today. Instead I thought I’d do a little promo for the books I’m currently reading. They are so good!

The Juliet (Laura Ellen Scott)

29511753Description: During Death Valley’s great wildflower bloom of 2005, retired cowboy actor Rigg Dexon gives a rootless woman a gift that will change her life forever: the deed to The Mystery House, a century old shack long thought to be the hiding place of a legendary emerald known as The Juliet. Willie Judy remembers Dexon from cereal commercials she watched as a kid, but now she’ll spend the next seven days searching for the truth about him, the house, and herself, as the history of The Juliet reveals the American Dream’s dark side—one that is corrupt, bawdy, and half insane.

Thoughts: This one is a bit odd, but I’m really enjoying it so far! I plan to do a full review of it when I’m done, so I won’t say too much here. Suffice it to say, if you like a little bit of mystery, a touch of thriller, and a lot of The West, you should enjoy it! 🙂

Ireland (Frank Delaney)

90360Description: One evening in 1951, an itinerant storyteller arrives unannounced at a house in the Irish countryside. In exchange for a bed and a warm meal, he invites his hosts and their neighbors to join him by the wintry fireside, and begins to tell formative stories of Ireland’s history. Ronan, a 9-year-old boy, grows so entranced by the storytelling that, when the old man leaves abruptly under mysterious circumstances, the boy devotes himself to finding him again. Ronan’s search for the Storyteller becomes both a journey of self-discovery, long unspoken family secrets, and an immersion into the sometimes conflicting histories of his native land.

Thoughts: I’m really loving the storytelling vibe of this one. I’m doing the audiobook, which is the perfect medium for this type of novel, especially since the author contributes his wonderful Irish brogue which only enhances the tales. If you love history, Ireland, or even just listening to someone tell you a good story, this one is for you!

Up Next:

The Shack (William Paul Young)

1812457Description: Mackenzie Allen Philips’ youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his “Great Sadness,” Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend. Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever.

Thoughts: This one was chosen by my Book Club to be our next read. I’ll be honest, even being Catholic, I get a bit leery about “religious” books, but the story line sounds thoughtful and hopefully a bit inspiring, so I’m gonna give it a go.

Rat Queens Vol. 1: Sass & Sorcery (Kurtis J Wiebe, author & Roc Upchurch, artist)

20299683Description: Who are the Rat Queens? They’re a pack of booze-guzzling, death-dealing battle maidens-for-hire and they’re in the business of killing all the god’s creatures for profit. Meet Hannah the Rockabilly Elven Mage, Violet the Hipster Dwarven Fighter, Dee the Atheist Human Cleric and Betty the Hippy Smidgen Thief.

Thoughts: The description goes on to say the book is “like Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack”…how could I resist that?!? 😉 Honestly, this sounds like a fun series and the artwork is really cool, so I’m going to cross my fingers and dive on in!


So how about you guys? What are you reading right now?

T5W – Summer Reads

Hi all! This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is “Books That Remind You of Summer”. Now, I don’t really have a lot of books that remind me particularly of summer itself, but I can think of a few that would be great to read in the summer!

This book actually does take place in the summertime, so let’s start with it. 

Where Things Come Back (John Corey Whaley)

12162432The summer before Cullen’s senior year turns into a season of loss and rediscovery. Just as the town is celebrating the reemergence of a bird thought to be extinct, Cullen’s little brother Gabriel goes missing. — I don’t want to give to much away, so I’ll leave it at that, but this was an interesting book. The secondary story, about a missionary in Africa, gets woven into the tale in such a way that you aren’t sure what’s going to happen until the end. I wasn’t a huge fan of the jumping POVs, but it worked ok within the narrative. I’d recommend this one for people who like a little mystery in their ‘coming of age’ tales.

I seem to be reading a lot of “life journey” type books lately, which meshes well with the idea of summer to me. I’m not sure why, it just feels like summer is a good time to find yourself (or others). 

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper (Phaedra Patrick)

34532251After Arthur’s wife passes away, he finds a charm bracelet in her closet that he didn’t know she owned. Curious about what the charms mean, he goes on a journey of discovery to find out more about his wife’s life before they met. — I really enjoyed this book. The idea was an interesting one: how well do we REALLY know the people we think we know the best? Finding out about Miriam’s life alongside Arthur was fascinating and watching Arthur coming back to life after his wife’s passing was touching.

The Last Voyage of Sigismund Skrik (Karstin Flohr, John Brownjohn translator)

24965065Sigismund Skrik is the “master hairdresser of the seven seas”. Plying his trade on a transatlantic ship called The Liberty, he meets and chats with quite a wide variety of people, from a circus strong woman to a concert pianist…even some monkeys! — This was a quirky little book. The tale of how Sigismund came to be a hairdresser on a ship is interspersed with the backstories for all the characters he meets. I’d recommend this book to anyone looking for a fun, lighthearted read with a nice ending.

Gone Tomorrow (P.F. Kluge)

3409917Upon the death of campus legend George Canaris, fellow professor Mark May becomes his executor. Expectations abound on whether or not he will find the infamous, never-published novel that Canaris has supposedly been working on for decades. Finding a kind of memoir instead, we get to follow along on May’s discovery of Canaris’ life. — This book was really interesting. It follows the life of an author who was expected to be the next coming, but instead spent his life as a college professor. Not a great description, I know, but if you enjoy life-story novels, especially about fellow book people, this one would be a good one to pick up.

And now, for something completely different. This was the first book I stayed up all night to finish, so it always reminds me of summer, not because of its content but because of when I read it first. 😉

The Death & Life of Superman (Roger Stern)

110918This book is the novelization of one of the greatest story arcs in the Superman comics. It runs from the death of Supes at the hand of Doomsday (not a spoiler, it’s right there in the title 😉 ) through the aftermath and the rise of the pseudo-Supermen. — I will admit, I’ve never been a big Superman fan (too much of a boy scout for me; I’m a Batman gal all the way), but the story line and the writing of this novel kept my attention well enough for it to become my first ever binge read! I highly recommend it to fans of comics and especially Superman fans.


What books or types of books shout “summer” to you?

Mini-Reviews – Graphic Novels

Hey guys! I thought I’d do another session of Mini-Reviews because I managed to snag a couple of really good graphic novels the other day! 🙂

Saga, Volume 1 Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)

Description from Goodreads:

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.

My Review:

I didn’t quite know what to expect coming into this one. I hadn’t actually read any reviews for this series other than a few comments from friends on Goodreads which basically all said “Where has this been all my life?!?” Seeing that it also has one of the highest ratings I’ve ever seen on GR, I decided to add it to my list.

Man, am I glad I did! This was one of the most exciting graphic novels I’ve ever read. I’ll admit, I haven’t really branched out of the ‘superhero mainstream’ before in physical comics, so I was delighted to find a full-fledged story with amazingly fleshed out characters.

Apparently not one for shying away from action, the author begins our story with one of the main characters in the midst of childbirth and ends the same scene with a gigantic firefight. What a way to jump into the middle of things! It works really well in this instance, though, by pulling you directly into the story without having to worry about too much setup. It also helps set the tone for the series by letting the reader know upfront how much danger our main duo is in.

The author is really great at making all of the characters seem believable too, which can be difficult in a sci-fi, where you can have anything from spider-women to ghosts. I love that, by the end of Vol 1, we’re already starting to get some backstory for all the main characters. I’m really becoming attached to some of these guys and finding out more about them and how they got into this situation is very interesting.

The artistry of the novel is wonderful as well. The diversity between the different species is very impressive and everything was really well executed. I did however, feel like I’d seen one character somewhere before…

2301482-saga5_web72
Left: Prince Robot IV (Saga, 2013), Right: The One Electronic (Rice Boy, 2006-2008)

Very probably a coincidence, but I couldn’t get it out of my brain. 😉

All-in-all, I’d definitely recommend this for sci-fi fans! I’ve already ordered the Volume 2; I can’t wait to get started!

Fables, Volume 1: Legends in Exile Bill Willingham (Writer), Lan Medina (Artist), Steve Leialoha (Artist), Craig Hamilton (Artist), Mark Buckingham (Cover Artist)

Description from Goodreads:

When a savage creature known only as the Adversary conquered the fabled lands of legends and fairy tales, all of the infamous inhabitants of folklore were forced into exile. Disguised among the “mundys,” their name for normal citizens of modern-day New York, these magical characters created their own secret society that they call Fabletown. From their exclusive luxury apartment buildings on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, these creatures of legend must fight for their survival in the new world.

My Review:

Oddly, it was the cover that originally drew me into this series (great job, Mr. Buckingham, lol). I literally went “Is that a flying monkey?” and then I noticed the title. I’ve always been a fan of fairy-tales, so I decided right then and there to give this one a go.

I love the idea of fairy-tale characters trapped in our reality. Seeing how each character has established themselves in our world puts a very interesting twist on the original tales. This story mainly focused on Snow White, the Big Bad Wolf, and Rose Red, but the author did a great job of pulling in as many characters from different tales as he could. He even got Old King Cole in there!

The mystery in this novel “What happened to Rose Red?” was really interesting. I was pretty stumped as to what happened all the way up to the end. The author did a good job with the pacing of the story, so that the reader was intrigued, but not rushed to a poorly explained conclusion.

Having finished the novel, though, one has to wonder…just where did the creators of ‘Once Upon A Time’ get their idea? A dark force takes over fairy-tale land, leaving our heroes trapped trapped in the mundane world? That sounds awfully familiar…


So how about you guys? Read any good comics lately? Got recommendations?