Saturday, April 25, 2015

Little Life Updates

Happy Saturday! I hope everyone's having a great weekend :) Today's post isn't really about anything in particular, I guess I just feel like writing. The last three blog posts I wrote were book reviews, and so is the post I will ideally (but probably not) have up on Monday. So today I just felt like writing about me and what I've been up to (mostly not bookish related, but some of it is because I can't NOT write about books). Sometimes I'm very self centered! I guess that's why I have a blog (shrug).

Today's mood.

- So clearly I've been reading a lot. This week I started and finished Go Ahead and Like It, and two days ago started Geek Love. Having friends that loan you books is very important!

- I went to see two shows today! One was a ballet of Cinderella (very cute), the other is actually later tonight - it's a play called Picnic. I love seeing shows!

- Lately, if I'm not out somewhere or reading, I'm playing Heroes of the Storm. SO OBSESSED. It's more fun to play with friends though, so sign up for beta and be on my team!!! I was thinking of writing a whole post dedicated to this, but maybe I will when it's not in beta anymore.

- Last Sunday I fell in love with an Italian tenor named Pasquale Esposito. He was doing a concert at the theatre I work at! Originally I had planned to have the night off, but at the last minute I was called and asked to come work in the box office because they were short handed. Even then I hadn't really planned to stay for the whole show...I was going to finish my job in the box office and then go grab a burrito at the taqueria down the street (they're ridiculously good, and I was hungry). A buddy also working that night convinced me to stay and watch the show with her, and I'm so glad I did! So much fun. We met him afterwards and he was so charming, too <3

- I'm still incredibly heartbroken without any more of The X-Files to watch, but currently I'm rewatching The Gilmore Girls (#throwback), and Andrew and I just started watching Daredevil! We didn't really like Arrow so originally weren't planning on starting this one, but after countless recommendations we decided to give Daredevil a shot. So far we're only on episode two.

- In three days I'm seeing Mastodon and Clutch in concert! I'm really excited, but at the same time really nervous because I'm 100% not metal enough for this kind of thing. I bought the tickets for Andrew for his birthday last month. They're his two favorite bands, so he's super excited! I'm a fan of Clutch, but not so much Mastodon.

- I'm also really excited for Free Comic Book Day next month! If the concept is new to you (or even if it's not), I recommend watching this video by one of my favorite bloggers and Youtubers, Nerd Burger! I've never been able to go out for Free Comic Book Day before. I was always either working all day or not around for whatever reason, but I think I'll actually be able to participate this year! I really hope so, because there's a free Fight Club comic I'm hoping to pick up! If I'm brave enough I might even wear some of my Aquaman garb that day :)

Ta-dah! So now that my chit chatty quota has been filled, I'll leave it at that. How has your month been going? 

Friday, April 17, 2015

Tales from the Bookshelf: Hollow City

Hollow City
He's not quite a hollow or a wight, but he's got his eyes on the peculiar children nonetheless 

Hey friends! Last month I wrote about reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs. This month I read the second book in the series, Hollow City! If you want to check out my review of the first book to get all caught up, you can find it by clicking right here! Go ahead, I'll wait.

Alright! So I wrote in the first review that Miss Peregrine's took a long time to ramp up, set the scene and introduce the characters before the story really got going. The second book is the complete opposite! It begins exactly where we left off in book one. Now I'm kind of glad that we got all of that stuff out of the way in the first book; it made the second one much easier to enjoy because you already had good knowledge and an appreciation for each character in the story. Here's the bio for book two!

The extraordinary journey that began in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children continues as Jacob Portman and his newfound friends journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. There, they hope to find a cure for their beloved headmistress, Miss Peregrine. But in this war-torn city, hideous surprises lurk around every corner. Hollow City draws readers into a richly imagined world of telepathy and time loops, of sideshows and shapeshifters. - via Quirk Books

Like the first book, Hollow City is illustrated in the form of real life, vintage photographs. I thought the photos were much more strange and creepy in this one! They really help set the mood (which is usually, uh, kinda dreary). There were a few photos I wanted to show you, but I didn't want to risk possibly spoiling any of the story, so I settled with just this guy:

Hollow City
Doesn't that make you want to read the story to figure out what's going on? Hahah.

Overall I really enjoyed this book! The story was fast paced and exciting, you learn some crazy stuff about the hollows, wights, loops, and you get a much better feel for the characters. If you were hoping for some progress on the whole Jacob/Emma romance, there's more of that, too. But not in an overly sappy teen romance way, so it's cool. Oh, and the ending? Wow. Maybe I'm gullible (ok yes I am), but I didn't see that coming from a mile away! The third book is scheduled to come out in September. I guess that's not too far off, but I hate waiting to know what happens next >_<

Run down - 
Title: Hollow City
Author: Ransom Riggs
Published + Publisher: Quirk Books, February 24, 2015
Genre: Fantasy, Mystery, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 428 (paperback, including bonus chapter from book 3)
Source: Courtesy of Quirk Books!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy!

Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
Edward and Alphonse jumped into the picture to rep one of my favorite fandoms ;)

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

Hey friends! I'm so excited to share today's book with you. When I first read about The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy last year, I already knew I needed to read it. I mean it's basically my life (or dream life, anyway) in book form. It was even on my 2015 reading list. So imagine my excitement when Quirk Books offered me a copy to share and write about?

The Office Andy Gif
Just to give you an idea.

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy is written by uber nerd and badass geek girl feminist, Sam Maggs! The book is a fun, light read and gives a great introduction on what it means to be a geek girl in this day and age.  And if you're like "Pfffft, been there done that," there's still lots of great stuff in here for you too; such as interviews with other famous geeky women, resources for your next nerdy bash, and tips on how to meet and make new fangirly friends.

Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy
Fun surprise art underneath the book jacket!

My favorite part about this book is how she often talks about the importance of not judging other people when their interests/fandom and ways to do things are different than yours. There's no one way to be a proper fangirl! I appreciated this because sometimes I feel a bit disconnected from the geeky girl community...I'm not really a fan of Doctor Who or Firefly, I'm terrible at cosplay,  I don't read fanfic (although this book taught me a lot about it!), YA is generally bad, and I can't afford to go to the cool conventions. But that's ok! Even though those things seem like they're everywhere it doesn't mean I'm the only girl with those feelings, and it's important to respect other girls that do have them (or don't). In this book there's lots of shout outs to many different fan communities! I even learned that apparently the term for a huge X-Files fan is a X-Phile. I don't understand why, but I'll roll with it.

Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy

The book is divided into four chapters, and I'm pretty sure at least one of them is bound to have a little something for every geek (not even just girl ones) out there. My favorite chapter was the final one, titled "Aim to Misbehave: Geek Girl Feminism." Chapter three, "Geronimo! How to Survive Conventions," is also really useful if you've never been to a con before (spoiler: the main key is snacks and comfortable shoes). At the end of the book is a list of resources for some awesome sites and things to check out, one of them being the blog The Nerdy Girlie, run by co-founder of one of my favorite groups, Female Geek Bloggers! If you consider yourself a female geek blogger, you really need to join and hang out with us. We're cool :)

Another favorite part of this book is The Geek Girl's Litany for Feminism, which you can read on this badass poster I wish was on my wall.

Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy

The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy hits shelves on May 12th, so be sure to grab a copy! And maybe even one for your friend you're trying to convert, too. If you're super excited, pre-order a copy and enter to win some cool stuff in the pre-order campaign!

Run down:
The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy: A Handbook for Geek Girls
Author: Sam Maggs
Published + Publisher: May 12th 2015, Quirk Books
Pages: 208 (hardcover)
Source: Courtesy of Quirk Books!

Friday, April 10, 2015

The World Needs More Love Letters

Lately I've been thinking a lot about snail mail.

When you're a kid, getting any kind of envelope addressed to you in the mail is SO. EXCITING. When you get older...not so much. Holidays aside and unless I'm expecting a package, most of my mail is either junk, a PG&E bill, or from some other place that wants my money. Lame. So I've been thinking about getting a pen pal! I miss getting excited to open envelopes and I think it'd be fun to make a new friend! That's why when I saw The World Needs More Love Letters I knew it was the inspiration I needed to get started!

Irresistible all-in-one stationery and envelopes for writing love letters to a lover, friend, parent, child, or other important recipient, from the TED speaker and creator of The World Needs More Love Letters website. The world needs more love letters...and here are 40 gorgeous pages—and ideas from an expert--to inspire your own. When you want to compose a letter of love, desire, gratitude, or friendship, but don’t know where to begin, this beautiful self-mailer stationery pad will help you find just the right words. With Hannah Brencher’s insightful note-starters and 40 vibrant letter pages, you have everything you need to share meaningful thoughts with those you love. (Simply add a stamp!) - Random House

Before this book came in, I didn't realize it already had a huge web presence before it was even published. The More Love Letters website is really great. For people that are having a rough time (or just need a little extra love) they compile "Love Letter Bundles;" and you can nominate someone you know to receive a bundle of sweet letters from people across the globe! They also run a program called Campus Cursive, to help spread love and encouragement around college campuses. You can learn more about the creator, Hannah Brencher, at her blog!

Inside the front and back cover are 40 letter writing prompts (one for each page) to get your creative juices flowing. The pages inside are all stationary pages. You simply write on one side, fold it up (it's only three folds, but there's a handy diagram on the back), add your stamp and drop it in the mail box. No envelope required! It's pretty nifty. There are five different colorful paper patterns to choose from, so I think it's safe to say that your letter will stand out in the mail box ;)

The letter prompts aren't too in depth, but enough to hopefully spark some creativity if you're in a rut. Some prompts are more romance based, but many of them you could use in a letter to a friend or family member, too. I'll mostly be using them for family, friends and hopefully a pen pal! Maybe I'm just not much of a romantic, but I can't see myself writing Andrew many spontaneous love letters...when you live together and work together you don't really spend much time apart, hahah.

Folding the letter up literally takes two seconds. I had origami stationary when I was kid that was harder than these. On the closing flap there's also that gummy stuff you lick on envelopes, so you don't need to tape it shut, either. A book like this would be perfect to bring on a vacation if you plan on sending lots of letters home! Just bring your postage stamps and you're all set.

In closing, I think this is a great book and I love the idea behind it. Now I just need to stop being nervous and find a pen pal. Last week I made an account on the International Geek Girl Pen Pals site. I have a lot of blog friends that met their pen pal through there, and they really love it! When you send in your request for a pen pal you just answer a few questions and make a list of 5 things you're really passionate about, and they try to match you with someone they think you'd be compatible with! So tell me, do you have a pen pal? How do you like it? Also, how often do you write to them? Being so busy and all I'm scared I'll be a shitty pen pal and not write to them often enough. How embarrassing ._.

Important Legal Disclosure Thing: I received this book courtesy of Blogging for Books for this review. All opinions are my own!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Kawaii Box!

Kawaii Box

Happy Monday! (I know none of us like Mondays, but I like to wish people a happy one anyway, can't hurt.)  I hope everyone had a great Easter! Last week I received my very first Kawaii Box in the mail! What on earth is a Kawaii Box and why should I care, you ask? Well, let me tell you. Kawaii Box is the cutest monthly subscription service ever, where you receive a box filled with hand-picked kawaii goodies from Japan and Korea directly to your home every month! They offer free worldwide shipping, and every item you receive is 100% original and licensed. Yay!

Way back in December I won a giveaway on Bookworms in Dresses for a free Kawaii Box! Being so far back I'd kind of forgotten about it, but last week I was happily surprised to learn it was waiting for me at the post office! My little Kawaii Box made quite the journey; it was sent from Singapore, and judging from the labels and stamps on the box it looks like it somehow stopped in the UK for a bit! Once it made it to my town the postman attempted to drop it off to me, but since I wasn't home he took it back to the post office for me to pick up! I live in walking distance from the post office, so right after I saw the delivery notice I headed straight over! Here's what was inside.

Kawaii Box

1. The first thing I saw in the box was this cute little handwritten note and card. Sweet little touch.

2. The red panda keychain plush is awesome! He's so cute. I remember when I was younger and I had SO MANY plush keychains! Most of them were Hello Kitty, but I had a lot of Pokemon ones, too. I think I'll be adding this guy onto my hedgehog backpack.

3. Next was this pastel cube bracelet! I think it'll be a fun touch to an outfit :)

4. The diamond travel tag will be useful on my journeys this summer!

Kawaii Box

5. I love this bear cupcake mechanical pencil! The topper is so cute, and you can never have too many mechanical pencils. Or I can't, anyway. They're like bobby pins, always mysteriously disappearing...

6. ...same thing goes for erasers! I love Hello Kitty, so this eraser is perfect!

7. The lollipop hairclip is so glittery! I'm not sure if the colors will look great on me, but even if I don't end up wearing it I want to finding something to use it for.

8. Metallic gift stickers! Lately I've been really into stickers, stationary, pens and things like that because I've been toying with the idea of finding a pen pal!

9. They also sent a pencil case for my new pencil and eraser! I love the galaxy print trend that's been happening. Last week I was in a store looking at a galaxy print dress. I showed it to Andrew and asked what he thought, and all he said was "why does that dress look like outer space?" Men.

Kawaii Box

10. So I was really confused about the big candy thing. I couldn't read the package so I didn't even know what to call it! Quick google search taught me that it's called Kracie Nerunerunerune DIY Candy, and you mix the different powders with water to make a sugary paste like this! So I'd say this is a treat to enjoy at home, hahah. Can't wait to try it out!

11. More candy! I'd always wanted to try green tea Kit Kats, and now I finally have! It was really...interesting. Hahah! I enjoyed it, but I wouldn't recommend it to everyone. My bar was a little deformed from it's long journey, but it had hardened back up again and was fine to eat!

12. ...and even more candy! Just not the edible kind. It's a little Apollo Strawberry Chocolate keychain! I've never tasted one before, but I knew what it was from seeing them in anime and Japanese movies!

13. The last item in my box was a set of cute panda chopsticks. I'll probably just hold on to these instead of trying to use them - I'm terrible with chopsticks!

So that's everything! Even though I had no idea what I'd be getting, opening my Kawaii Box was really fun. I've seen a million different box subscription services, but until now I've never had a chance to try one out! I have a few more different boxes I've been itching to try, so maybe that'll happen sometime, too ;)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Tales from the Bookshelf: The Martian

Earlier this month I read The Martian, by Andy Weir. I'd been wanting to read this for quite some time, but I had it ordered from the library and it took fooorever for it to be my turn with it (I almost caved and bought the paperback when I saw it in Barnes & Noble, but I resisted). I'd read many good reviews on it, and with the movie coming out this Summer it's been gaining even more popularity. All for good reason, because this book was really great!

The Martian Andy Weir

Bio from Goodreads: Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first man to die there. It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he's stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he's alive--and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to get him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills--and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit--he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

I find the background on this book pretty fascinating. The author, Andy Weir, is a program engineer and a lifelong space nerd. Extensive research went in to making this book, as he wanted everything to be as realistic as possible! When asked about this in an interview with Crown, he said - "The basic structure of the Mars program in the book is very similar to a plan called “Mars Direct” (though I made changes here and there). It’s the most likely way that we will have our first Mars mission in real life. All the facts about Mars are accurate, as well as the physics of space travel the story presents. I even calculated the various orbital paths involved in the story, which required me to write my own software to track constant-thrust trajectories."

So clearly he was pretty dedicated to this. The Martian started off as a story serialized on his blog, and while it had an impressive following, he wasn't able to get any agents or publishers interested in his work. Eventually his blog readers asked if they could get an e-reader version of the novel, so he listed it on Amazon for as little as they'd let him: $0.99. Within four months, The Martian rose to the top spot on Amazon’s sci-fi best-seller list, then two months later he signed a book deal with Crown Publishing AND a deal with 20th Century Fox for a movie starring MATT DAMON. The book is currently number 10 on The New York Times’ fiction best-seller list. If that isn't inspiring for a writer then I don't know what is!

Official teaser trailer from the upcoming movie. Doesn't show a whole lot, but it's enough to make me geek out a little!

Now let's talk about the story. What I really loved about this book was that even though our protagonist, Mark Watney, was in a terrible situation with all odds against him, the story didn't feel sad and dreary. Most of the story is told from Mark's point of view in the form of "logs," which for Mark are more or less journal entries. I'm not sure if any real person in that situation could manage to look on the bright side 90% of the time, but fictional Mark Watney definitely does, and with plenty of humor thrown in, too. Mark seems like a cool dude to hang out with. I've read some reviews from people that don't like the way it's written and that Mark's light attitude sucks the tension out of the dire and dramatic situations he gets into. If you're simply looking for an edge-of-your-seat thriller, then I guess I can kind of see their point, but I still don't agree with it. You do you, Mark.

What they don't tell you on the book flap is that you also get little pieces of the story from the people working at NASA; from when they first realize Mark's still on Mars to their plans on how to get him back. These moments are mostly written in third person. Knowing what they have going on at NASA while also knowing what Mark's up to on Mars definitely added to the story, but often left me feeling even worse for Mark that he wasn't able to communicate with them and hear these things himself!

While there's still so much more I want to say about this book, I think it's best I cut this one short if I don't want to slip out any spoilers. But seriously, I can't recommend this book enough. I don't care who you are or what kind of books you're into, but give this one a shot. I wasn't sure if I'd like it at first because space stories aren't really my thing, but right now I wouldn't be surprised if The Martian is the best book I read this whole year.

Also I now know way more about Mars than I'll (probably) ever need to. But a little extra knowledge is always good, I like to think ;)

Run down - 
Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Published + Publisher: Crown, February 11th, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, Humor, Adventure > Survival
Pages: 384 (hardcover)
Awards: 2015 ALA Alex Award, 2014 Goodreads Choice Winner
Source: Library

Wednesday, April 1, 2015


Another month come and gone! While March was a busy and fun month, there's nothing too crazy to report about it. My mom has told me before that "no news is good news," so let's just go with that.

Some March photos (you might notice a theme in a few of them...)

1. We had a printer error at the theatre, which printed out a tiny 2 inch tall program, Adorable. / 2. New Star Wars shirt! / 3. Book mail! / 4. More book mail! / 5. Badass Hamlet statue from an event I worked at. / 6. Excited to try a recipe from my new cookbook! 

So I've been doing a lot of reading lately, hahah. I'm not the fastest reader, but ever the book hoarder I'm pleased with my book collection growing! All the books pictured are new additions from March, so expect reviews on ALL OF THEM soon! Also the soot sprite I made earlier this month keeps finding his way into my photos, hahah. So anyway, here's what I'm currently up to!

Reading - Right now I'm working on Hollow City, by Ransom Riggs! It's the sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, which I also read this month and wrote about this week. In addition, I'm reading The Poser, by Jacob Rubin. I alternate my daily reading depending on my mood that day, hahah! For the last two "Currently" posts I wrote about struggling to finish Doomed, by Chuck Palahniuk. Well, I finally gave up and returned it to the library unfinished. Sorry, Chuck Palahniuk, maybe next time.

Watching - I strongly considered leaving this category out this month, because I'm STILL just watching The X-Files. I mean, there's a lot of it to get through! And it's not like that 6-episodes-a-season crap that seems to be the thing to do now; there's 20-something episodes a season! And there's two movies! Anyway, I just started season 9, the (*holds back tears*) final season. I hate to say so, but I'm kind of bummed out with it right now. I thought season 8 started pretty weak, but halfway through got super great and all was forgiven. I didn't like Agent Dogshit Doggett either, but he grew on me. Except now with season 9 sometimes it feels like I'm not even watching the same show. Obviously I'm still going to finish it, but I'd be lying if I said I wasn't disappointed :(

Listening - This month I've been trying to familiarize myself with the music of Mastadon and Clutch.  Andrew's birthday was this month, and for his birthday I got us tickets to The Missing Link tour, which consists of both Mastodon and Clutch. They're literally Andrew's two favorite bands, so it's a dream come true tour for him. Personally I'm not a huge metal fan, so Mastodon isn't really my thing. Clutch is pretty fun, though! They have bits of blues and southern rock mixed in, so they're not quite so much angry yelling like a lot of metal music feels to me. Either way I wanted to get to know their music more before going to the concert next month, because concerts are always more fun when you actually know what you're listening to, hahah. It'll be an interesting experience!

Playing - My new big thing is playing Blizzard's new game currently in beta, Heroes of the Storm! It's a "multiplayer online battle arena game," and I'll try to explain it without sounding too dumb. Basically there's two teams, and each team wants to destroy the OTHER teams statue thingy that's in the back of their base. Along the way you have to fight through the enemy team and their gates that want to shoot you before going in and stuff. I guess it sounds really silly when I try to explain, but it's fun, I promise!

Working on - This month (and into next month) we're doing Nunsense at the theatre I work at! It's a fun little musical comedy about five nuns putting on a fundraiser. Basically the story goes like this: after an unfortunate cooking accident fifty-two of the nuns (The Little Sisters of Hoboken) die of botulism. Only nineteen of the nuns survived, and that was only because they were off playing bingo that night. After raising a lot of money from starting a greeting card company, they bury forty-eight of the dead nuns. Thinking they had plenty of money to spare, Reverend Mother buys a flat screen TV for the convent - resulting in not having enough money to bury the four remaining dead nuns, so in the meantime they're being stored in the freezer until they can earn the rest of the money. It's weird, but fun ;)

Loving - Right now I'm obsessed with the app, Poshmark! As always I'm kinda late to the party, but oh well. So far it's the easiest way I've found to sell your clothes and accessories online. You don't need to calculate shipping either, because they take care of everything for you! When you sell an item they e-mail you a free shipping label, and you just tape it on your box and drop it at the post office! Obviously the prices can be awesome too, and sometimes it's a little hard to stop myself from buying ALL THE THINGS! Are you on Poshmark? If you are, tell me your username or however else to find you so I can check out your closet! I love snooping around in other peoples things :P Here's my closet! It's kinda empty right now though, hahah. If you're NOT on Poshmark and want to try it out (which you should) download the app and sign up with my code, BWVNW, and you'll get $5 credit to shop with! Yippee!

So that's me! I hope everyone had an awesome month and have great plans for the following. Bring it on, April!