Sunday, May 31, 2015

Armchair BEA - Wrapping it Up

Armchair BEA
The fifth and final ABEA banner I'm using was made by the cool folks behind Geeky Library!

Day FIVE! Whew. So I guess that's it, guys. This is my favorite blogging event, and I'm sad to see it end. I met some new blogging friends, I grew closer to old blogging friends, my "to read" list is longer than ever before, and I'm feeling so inspired to just keep writing even more about books (which works out great because I have a whole list of books I need to write about)! What could be better? Not much, friends. With that said, I want to give a big, giant THANK YOU to the awesome homies behind Armchair BEA, and all the other book lovers that made it awesome!

Here's a little recap of what I wrote and some of the awesome posts I saw this week! Get ready for ten billion hyperlinks!

I'll throw some book gifs into this post because why not. Also because Trapped in the Closet.

Day 1 - On the first day we wrote our introductions! I shared a cat gif, expressed my love for Kanye West and other embarrassing tidbits. On Instagram we shared #Shelfies! Here's mine, but I'm really in love with this one posted by Erratic Project Junkie! I'd love to make my own little reading room someday.

Day 2 - The next day I wrote about "Visual Expressions" and different ways to tell stories! I also enjoyed this post on A Universe in Words on the subject, she had some great picks! On Instagram everyone got creative with book spine poetry. My favorite was this one from Jenni Elyse!

Day 3 - On Friday one of the topics was "Character Chatter," which I had a lot of fun writing about! One of the Instagram themes for the day was quotes, so I snapped a pic of one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books :) The ABEA site shared some awesome notes from the Blogger Con panel at Book Expo America, about engaging your readers! I also got to join the second half of the ABEA twitter party that morning, which was a lot of fun! I was late because I got my time zones mixed up, hahah.

Day 4 - Day four was all about book to movie adaptations and hosting giveaways! I wrote about a few of my favorite book/movie adaptations! It's probably my favorite daily topic post of the week. My buddy Kayly from My Open Sketchbook also had some great picks! Our Instagram theme was the same, so I snapped a pic of more favorites (well two of them are the same from my post, but there's one new one)! If you haven't seen the huge list of ABEA blogs hosting giveaways, be sure to check it out!

When you really wanna like the new Chuck Palahniuk book, but he just keeps writing about bodily fluids.

You also may (or maybe not) have noticed I used a different ABEA banner each day. Thanks again Bursting Books, My Open Sketchbook, Strupag, Geeky Library and Nina Reads for lending me your art and making things a bit more colorful!

So I guess that's everything. Thanks for a great week, everyone! I had so much fun. I hope some of you enjoyed reading my posts even a fraction as much as I enjoyed reading yours ;)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Armchair BEA - Book to Movie Adaptations

Armchair BEA
Today's ABEA banner is from Strupag! She even edited it to add my blog link at the bottom. How awesome is she?!

Welcome to day four! Today we're discussing book to movie adaptations. In the book world it can sometimes be a controversial topic. Like, how DARE they ruin my favorite book like that, or, that is NOT what that character's supposed to look/act/sound like! No matter how great the movie turns out to be, there's still always a fair amount of people 100% against it. Here's a few of my favorites!

A Long Way Down, by Nick Hornby

This is one of my favorite books, and eight years later it was turned into a movie I really love. The movie does has a few differences from the book, but I didn't really mind because the overall story just translated so great to film. It's a story about depression, but it's awesome because it's a story about depression that isn't dreary and make you want to curl in a corner and think about how much life sucks. I mean, it's actually pretty funny. Also it stars Aaron Paul, who isn't hard to look at. (I'm a huge fan of all of Nick Hornby's writing, and another one of his books, About a Boy, was turned into a TV show last year. It's not my fav but it's still a fun watch!)

A Long Way Down Book to Movie

Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

Another favorite book! I hate admitting it...but I didn't know about the book until I saw the trailer for the movie (this trailer, in fact). I was equally fascinated and confused by it, but I knew I had to see the movie and that before I did, I needed to read the book. So I did, and it was amazing. The general consensus is that this book is hard to read, and unfortunately they're not wrong. Because of that sometimes I feel like the movie is even better (in a way), because you don't feel the need to reread that last chapter to make sure you understand what's going on (true story). But don't let that discourage you! While I read the book I often referred back to this Cloud Atlas readalong guide and it helped so much.

Cloud Atlas book to movie

Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk 

Alright, unpopular opinion, but I think this movie is even BETTER than the book. I just feel like it flows better as a movie, and you can actually see how The Narrator changes throughout the story...and yes, I think the new ending is better, too! Even the author agrees. The original book ending makes you think, but it leaves everything so open ended. I know that's something a lot of other people enjoy, but I'm not really a fan,

Fight Club book to movie

Tomorrow we're writing mushy-gushy-we-all-love-each-other wrap up posts, so today's topic is the last one with an actual theme! See you then!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Armchair BEA - Character Chatter

Armchair BEA
Today's banner is from My Open Sketchbook

Good morning friends, and welcome to day 3 of Armchair BEA! Today's topic is our favorite (or least favorite) characters! Good and bad characters have a HUGE impact on the books I like! If a character is lame or intolerable, chances are I'll hate the book. I try to be more open minded, but that's usually how it goes. Here's a look at some of my favorite book characters!

Leander, from The Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily, by Dino Buzzati

Leander is the king of the bears! He's brave, noble and BADASS! The Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily is one of my favorite books. Random fact - in World of Warcraft I have a plague bear companion and named him Leander. In the book, Leander has a son named Tony, so when Andrew was leveling one of his Warcraft characters with me, he found a bear cub pet and named him Tony. Love <3

The Bears Famous Invasion of Sicily
Since all the bears are drawn the same I thought I'd point him out.

Mark, from The Martian, by Andy Weir

Mark is AWESOME. Stuck on Mars? No worries, he'll just pass the time by growing potatoes and using his own poo to make soil. I could use a few lessons in optimism from Mark Watney.

Dana Scully, The X-Files

Alright, I'm not sure if this is cheating, but I'm adding a character from a TV show :) Scully is BADASS. Even though she worked in a (at the time)  male dominated field, she wasn't all weird and obsessive about that fact and just did her job like the awesome BADASS she is. She even rocked in those awful, baggy pantsuits in the earlier seasons. So basically she's everything.

Dana Scully The X-Files

Tomorrows topic is book to movie adaptations! Wooooo! :)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Armchair BEA - Visual Expressions

Using a spiffy new BEA header, thanks to Bursting Books!

Day two! Today's topic is "Visual Expressions," different ways and mediums to tell stories, so here's a few favorites that I wanted to share :) I'm always intrigued by new and creative ways to tell stories, so I'm excited to see what everyone else has to say on this topic!

Horrorstor, by Grady Hendrix

I read this book back in January, and it's definitely one of the most creative books I've ever read! It's a sci-fi/horror story/comedy told in the form of an Ikea catalog! It's not super scary or sci-fy-y, so if those aren't usually your favorite genres I'd still recommend giving this book a try! For more of my thoughts and some fun pictures from inside the book check out the review I wrote!


Sailor Twain, or The Mermaid in the Hudson, by Mark Siegel

This is a graphic novel I read recently! It's a bit hefty, but I plowed through it in a few hours. It's about two steamboat sailors that fall under the spell of a mermaid found in the Hudson River. I picked it up on a whim in the YA section at the library (while I was actually in search of Aquaman), so I didn't know what to expect. It turned out to be a lot darker than I'd thought it'd be, and is illustrated in creepy, shadowy drawings that really fit with the story. After a short Google search read that it wasn't supposed to be in the YA section after all, hahah.

Sailor Twain

The Resurrectionist: The Lost Work of Dr. Spencer Black, by E.B. Hudspeth

Here's an uber creepy book I read last year! The Resurrectionist is written in the form of a (fictional) biography about Dr. Spencer Black, who slowly but surely goes crazy with the obsession of proving that mythical creatures existed in the past. It also includes letters to and from Dr. Black, which by themselves are more than enough to prove his growing insanity. This book gets a bit gross at times, so if the idea of chopping up animals and sewing them back up into new ones makes you queasy (I mean how else are we gonna make mermaids, guys) then maybe give this one a pass. You can read my full review of this book right here!

Tomorrows topic is "Character Chatter!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Armchair BEA - Introductions

Armchair BEA

Hi friends, and welcome all my new Armchair BEA friends! I'm so excited to get started. If you're confused as to what's going on, you can catch up by reading this post I wrote a couple weeks back! Basically I'm participating in a five day online book conference. It runs in conjunction with Books Expo America happening right now in NYC - and since I'm not in NYC, here I am participating from home. Each day there's a different topic for participants to write about and discuss, so get ready for a week full of books!

Our first blog topic is introductions to help all the participants get to know each other :) A set of questions were supplied and we were asked to pick five of them, so here we go! Be sure to go "meet" some of the other bloggers by checking out the link up post in the ABEA hub!

Three of my favorite things: books, cats, and gifs.

Tell us a bit about yourself: How long have you been blogging? Where are you from? How did you get into blogging? - I've been blogging on and off since sometime in my early teens - and I'm 23 now ;) So that's quite awhile now that I'm thinking about it. Currently I blog from a little apartment in Northern California. While my blogging style and themes have gone through various reincarnations, my very first blog was a book blog! I loved writing about books I was reading (which used to be about five at a time), and I'm pretty sure the only person that read it was my mom, who has always been my biggest fan (thanks mom).

What is your theme song? - Clutch's Cyborg Bette if I'm in a car, Kanye West's POWER or Stronger if I'm playing a video game (I'm not so secretly a huge Kanye fan, I know I shouldn't be but I CAN'T HELP IT) or Queen's Don't Stop Me Now if I'm in a really great mood. I can never pick any one specific song for my life, hahahah.

Kanye West Dance Gif
I love music I can dance to!

What is the top book in your TBR pile? - Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories From the Mystery Writers of America! I just got it in the mail from Quirk Books last week, and I can't wait to start it!
What book are you most looking forward to reading this summer? - We Are Pirates, by Daniel Handler! I've been wanting to read it since seeing him at his book event back in March!

It was a pretty cool night.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, what author would you want to bring with you? Why? - Maybe Lisa See, because I love everything she writes (so she could tell me great stories) and she seems super chill! OR maybe John Green, because even though I don't always like his books anymore he seems really fun and I feel like we'd never run out of things to talk about! That's it for the day! Tomorrow's topic is "Visual Espressions!" :)

Saturday, May 16, 2015

5 Fandom Friday (on Saturday) - 5 Binge Worthy Shows

5 Fandom Friday

Happy not-Friday! So I used to do 5 Fandom Friday posts every week, but then life got in the way for a bit and I sorta just forgot to pick it back up. Then! Yesterday as everyone else's 5FF posts filled up my Bloglovin' feed I saw that the theme this week was your favorite binge watching shows! This is a topic I could totally get behind and could write about in five seconds flat. I LOVE re-watching my favorite shows. I know a lot of people don't see the point in that, but I think it's so fun and comforting to revisit my favorite characters. Every time I rewatch a series I finish loving it even more. Here's my top 5!

5. Flight of the Conchords

Even though there's only two seasons of Flight of the Conchords, it's still fun to watch over and over again. The humor is so awkward and perfect, and since there's so much singing it feels like I'm watching a musical. This is a great show to have on in the background, because even if you can't give your full attention to it you can still jam to all the fun songs!

Flight of the Conchords I'm Not Crying
"I'm not's just raining...on my face..."

4. It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Andrew introduced me to this show shortly after we met, and then it kinda just became our thing and we'd watch an episode or two every time I went over! Now I'm pretty obsessed and since then have rewatched the series twice :) The humor is so weird and often dark, it's hard not to laugh. It's Always Sunny always has the best call-back jokes!

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia dance gif

3. The Office 

I jumped on The Office bandwagon a little late, which is ok because that just means you don't have to wait between seasons. By the time I started watching The Office on Netflix, everyone else had given up because it was around the time (spoiler) Michael Scott left. This is my favorite light-hearted show, and it can always put me in a good mood! Andy's my favorite!

The Office Andy
If you've seen me post this gif five times before, it's because it's one of my favorites.

2. Desperate Housewives

Yet another one of my favorites shows that's no longer airing. I don't remember how or when I got into this show, but it quickly became a favorite. Most people that don't watch Desperate Housewives seem to assume it's just a drama, and while it does have dramatic elements and story lines it's more of a comedy that pokes fun at living in the suburbs. This show always made me wish I was best friends with my neighbors! Maybe someday, hahah. I've binge watched this show a lot of times, but now that it was pulled from Netflix I'll have to find another way to watch it!

Desperate Housewives Bree

1. The X-Files

Everyone following my blog this year knows that I became SO OBSESSED with X-Files recently! Every episode was on Netflix, and nothing could stop me from watching them one after another until, sadly, there were none left. After watching the last episode, I started crying. It was so silly. Andrew was like "Why and you crying? It ended as close as it could to the way you wanted!" Which was true, because I wanted Mulder and Scully to run away together, hahah. But the real reason I was crying was because the end of The X-Files meant I had to find a different show to watch, and after spending so much time invested in Mulder and Scully (and the baby, THE BABY *ugly crying*) , I just wasn't ready to start another show! #FandomProbs. Anyway, with the new season confirmed I have something to look forward to! Also, Dana Scully is probably the greatest female character ever written.

The X-Files

So those are my favorite shows! What shows do you love to binge watch? I hope everyone's having a great weekend!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Armchair BEA is Coming!

Armchair BEA
Designed by Nina, of Nina Reads!

Last year I participated in Armchair BEA, which is an online conference for book bloggers that aren't able to attend the real-life book convention, Book Expo America (or just BEA) in New York City! That way you can still "meet" other book bloggers, discuss books, and since both conferences happen at the exact same time (May 27th - June 1st), they also keep you in the know about what's going on in New York. Part of Armchair BEA are daily topics for everyone to write about on their blog each day of the conference! The blog topics were published on the Armchair BEA site on Friday, so I thought it'd be fun to share them here so you can have a little idea what I'll be writing about and you can check in if you're interested!

Armchair BEA

You can click on the image source to be directed to the actual post, where they go into a bit more detail on each topic - but really they encourage you to get creative and interpret them however you want! It's not listed on the picture, but on the 31st everyone does a little wrap-up post to be all mushy gushy and write about what a great time they had. I don't know EXACTLY what I'm going to write about for each topic yet (or if I'll write about each and every topic). Last year I picked one of the two topics for each day and wrote about that one. I have a bit more blogging experience and more ideas floating around this year, so we'll see what I come up with! In the meantime, if I'm posting even less than usual (if that's even possible), it's because I'm working on my BEA posts! I have a lot going on that week, so if I want to participate in the other activities and read everyone else's great posts, I'll need to make sure mine are ready way ahead of time.

Another fun thing they do is have a daily Instagram contest! Each day of BEA there's a bookish related prompt for you to snap a picture of. One of the the prompts last year was to take a "shelfie," which is basically a picture of your bookshelf. My shelfie was one of the four winners!

So yeah. I'm really excited! Have you participated in Armchair BEA before? If not, does it sound like something you'd be interested in? Registration is free and still open (wink wink)!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

My First Free Comic Book Day!

Free Comic Book Day

As everyone knows by now, last Saturday was Free Comic Book Day! If you didn't already know, well...I guess the title is self explanatory. Free comic books!!! Even more exciting, this was my first year being able to go! Past years I was always working, or out of town, or just SOMETHING. So this year, even though I had a crazy busy week, had trouble getting out of bed that morning, and was all out of coffee, I knew I HAD to go to Free Comic Book Day.

While I wanted to do a little Aquaman casual cosplay, it was unexpectedly warm out so I ended up just wearing the top half and a regular pair of shorts, nixing the leggings. Still fun! We only had two stops on our Free Comic Book Day Extravaganza, and the first one was at the library. Andrew and I live right across the street from the library, it's awesome! Their Free Comic Book Day event was more kid orientated, and we waited in line with some 5 - 10 year olds and their parents. Slightly embarrassing, but the kids were cute and I still got my comic book so it's a win! Since they were keeping it kid friendly they didn't have a good portion of the free comics other places were carrying, but that's alright because they DID have sweet bookmarks and stickers! They also had Marvel coloring pages up for grabs, and as tempting as they were I decided to leave them for the kids.

Free Comic Book Day

Our next stop was at the comic shop in the next town over! There was a long line out the door and Stormtroopers doing crowd control. We ran into an old friend of mine who was also just getting there, so we got to hang out and chat in the long line together! Long lines are easy with good company ;) Once inside, they let everyone take four free comics each, and if you wanted additional comics from the free table they were $1 each. Before going I already knew I HAD to get the free Fight Club 2 preview from Dark Horse Comics. I can't wait for the full graphic novels to come out! My other two favorites I picked up that day were Afterlife with Archie and Teen Titans Go! I've been reading Archie comics since I was a kid and have been wanting to start the Afterlife series for awhile, and I got really into Teen Titans when I was in my early teens. Cyborg is my favorite!

Combined with the comics Andrew picked, here's the rest of our haul! Actually, one's missing. I was reading it last night so I guess I forgot to grab it off my nightstand, hahah. Oops. For the most part we wanted the same comics, so I like that we ended up getting a big selection of things we both like. Double the fun! Did you go out for Free Comic Book Day?

Free Comic Book Day

P.S. - Sorry for the hokey comic book-y fonts and words on my pictures. I saw them on PicMonkey and just couldn't say no because I'm a sucker like that.

Monday, May 4, 2015

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook + An Awesome Mac & Cheese Recipe!

Something you may or may not know about me is that I don't really cook. This isn't a fact about me that I'm happy about, and really if I could magically give myself a love for cooking, I would. Oh, how much easier life would be. Now, even though I rarely cook, that doesn't mean I don't enjoy cookbooks. In fact, I LOVE cookbooks! A fun and interesting themed cookbook always inspires me to cook - and the only way for me to get better in the kitchen is to cook more! So when Quirk Books asked if I'd be interested in reviewing The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook I jumped at the offer!

Mystery Writers of America

"Hard-boiled breakfasts, thrilling entrees, cozy desserts, and more--this illustrated cookbook features more than 100 recipes from legendary mystery authors. Whether you're planning a sinister dinner party or whipping up some comfort food perfect for a day of writing, you'll find plenty to savor in this cunning collection. Full-color photography is featured throughout, along with mischievous sidebars revealing the links between food and foul play. Contributors include Lee Child, Mary Higgins Clark, Harlan Coben, Nelson DeMille, Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton, Charlaine Harris, James Patterson, Louise Penny, Scott Turow, and many more."

Mystery Writers of America is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those devoted to the genre. Membership is free and open to the public! Prior to this book I didn't know much about them, but I've looked into it more and it's really awesome! They also provide scholarships for writers, teach writing seminars, sponsor conferences and present the Edgar Awards!

Mystery Writers of America

Each recipe in the book is written by a different author in the Mystery Writers of America. Some of the recipes are related to books they've written, recipes they like to eat while they write, or just recipes they like for another reason. Either way, it was interesting to read the introductions each author wrote for their recipe and how they connected it to their books and lives.

Before writing this review I wanted to try making one of the awesome recipes in the book. While I was extremely tempted to try making Alafair Burke's Rum-Soaked Nutella French Toast, I decided to start with something I had a bit more experience with - macaroni and cheese! While I'm a huge (HUGE)| mac and cheese fan, I'd never made it in an oven before (as the recipe required). It required a lot more prep work than I was used to, however I'm used to making mac and cheese by simply boiling noodles and tossing in a brick of Velveeta. Either way, it was DELICIOUS and definitely worth the extra effort!

I'm far from a food photographer, but I tried.

Dispersed throughout the books are other fun facts and information about the connection between food and mystery novels. Agatha Christie loved adding poison into her characters drinks, and many Sherlock Holmes stories had a lot to do with food! I loved reading this book and learning both more about food and mystery writing :)

Run down -
The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook
Author: The Mystery Writers of America, edited by Kate White
Published + Publisher: March 24th, 2015 by Quirk Books
Pages: 176 (hardcover)
Source: Courtesy of Quirk Books!