Thursday, May 26, 2016

The Truth is in This Post

I've already shown it off twice (on Instagram, where we should definitely be friends), but I'm going to do it a third time anyway! Recently I received an alien necklace and earrings from my blog buddy, Kelsey (fangirlcrafter)! I'd been wanting to order custom pieces from her for awhile, but Jenny (magiccatjenny) was hosting a giveaway to win a custom piece of your choice from Kelsey - and I won! Aaaah! The stars must have aligned for me that day. So I told Kelsey how much I loved the alien brooch she made herself earlier this year, and I wanted to work off of that. Instead of making it green brooch like hers, I asked for a purple alien necklace! Purple is my favorite color, and while I REALLY loved the neon green, neon colors just look bad on me hahah. She contacted me again when it shipped, and it arrived two days later! Wahoo! Opening her package was such a delight. I laughed when I went to tear open the envelope and I saw she'd written "the truth is in here!" on the flap. I "oooohed" and "aaaahed" as I pulled out the jewelry box, a sweet handwritten note and a few glow in the dark stars - which was funny because the day before I'd been talking to Andrew about getting glow in the dark stars for the bedroom (I know, I'm like 10 years old inside). Here's the pic I snapped right after opening.

handmade alien jewelry

Anyway, when I finally let myself open the box I was so excited to not only see my (amazing) necklace, but she'd also made me matching earrings?! She's the best :) I'm not great at photography so my pictures don't do them justice, but trust me, they all look even more magical and adorable in person! The purple glows in the dark, and the eyes have glitter! The next day I paired them with my X-Files tank from one of my favorite online shops, Jordandene. I love how my alien/X-Files collection is slowly growing! If it's obvious that I look/feel awkward in the pic it's because I was struggling to use my phone's self-timer for the first time, hahah.


So yeah, I'm really happy! Go visit Kelsey and check out all the other amazing things shes made! Sometimes she takes customer orders, if you're nice ;) I already have another idea floating around in my head to celebrate a certain video game expansion coming out in August, but we'll have to wait and see :P

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bookish (and Not-So Bookish) Thoughts #24

Woah, it's been a minute since I wrote one of these! Let's catch up :)

1. THE X-FILES IS COMING BACK. I know season 10 had a lot of haters, but aside from that final episode (which I'm still kinda mad about tbh) I really enjoyed it.


2. I'm 3 books ahead of schedule in my Goodreads challenge! Mostly due to all the comic volumes I've been reading lately, but still! Yay. Speaking of comics, don't forget to enter my giveaway for Bitch Planet vol. 1!

3. Considering how much I love playing Telltale Games, I guess it's kind of weird that I hadn't played Game of Thrones already. But I'm doing it now! I'm on episode three. So far I'm mostly enjoying it, but I have to admit I'm having a bit more trouble with this one than I have previous Telltale games, because...um, I haven't watched Game of Thrones >_> (don't hate me)

Me, after literally every decision I make in GoT's.

4. After I finish playing GoT I need to start playing Emily is Away, which is the May pick for Indie Game Gang! I know many of you have shown interest in joining but always have some excuse or another (no judgments), but I just wanna say that this month is the perfect time to join because the game is FREEEEEEEEE and word on the street is that it will only take you an hour or so to complete. So I'll see you there. Right? [wiggly eyebrows]

Emily is Away

5. It's only May and it's already 91 degrees outside as I type this. I HATE IT. Summer is the worst. Cold > Heat. Always. Also how have I lived on my own for so long without an ice cube tray? What is wrong with me?? I kind of want this galactic ice cube tray from Target.

6. Totally meant to write about this sooner, but did everyone have a good Free Comic Book Day?! My car broke down at a comic book shop 25 miles from home, so that sucked, but I must admit I got a pretty sweet comic haul! I'm actually still reading my way through some of these. I was especially excited to pick up the free re-printing of Archie! I'd been wanting to start reading this reboot before it even came out, but I wasn't able to get my hands on a copy. I read the issue that same night, and I loved it so much that the following week Andrew surprised me with volume 1 of the series (collecting issues 1 thru 6)! Eeeeeeee! And a quick Free Comic Book Day PSA - check your local library! Most libraries do it, too. I had so many friends that went to multiple shops for FCBD, but when I asked if they stopped by the library they were like "whaaa?" And the homie at the library let me take ONE OF EACH COMIC (not shown here, obvi). So yeah. Next year? Check your library!

Free Comic Book Day 2016

Bookish (and Not-So Bookish) Thoughts is hosted every Wednesday by Bookishly Boisterous! 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Armchair BEA Day 4 - Surviving Fictional Worlds + Giveaway


Today's theme: "Today we'll talk about surviving fictional worlds. We all know that sometimes, the worlds we love in fiction can be dangerous. Which fictional worlds would you want to live in? Which worlds do you never want to dive into? Which worlds are you content to stay behind the glass, so to speak, rather than wishing to dive through the page? And once you get there, what would you do?"

Keeping it simple and doing this list style :) Be sure to check out the end of the post to enter the giveaway!

Three Fictional Worlds/Stories I'd be Tempted to Visit:

1. Riverdale (Archie Comics) - Archie comics for liiiiiiife! I've been reading Archie comics for ten years now, and one of the reasons for that is because Riverdale just seems like an awesome place to be. It's super chill, there's not a whole lot to worry about (aside from Reggie and Veronica) and Pop Tate's always giving out ice cream and burgers for free. The only exception to this is in Afterlife with Archie, where Riverdale is actually a terrible place to live, but that's a big spinoff so we're not going to worry about that :P

2. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern- Honestly, I didn't really care for this book, as a whole. There was just way too much going on and the characters were shallow. The magical circus setting of Le Cirque des Rêves is amazing, though (and I'm not just saying that because of all the food, but that definitely helps). If that world was real, I could totally picture myself as a rêveur and follow the circus around!

3. Steelport (Saints Row III and IV) - Is it cheating to pick a video game world? Because I'm still bitter over the fact that I'll never be able to join my favorite fictional gang, the Third Street Saints. I want to be best friends with Kinzie and Johnny Gat!


Three Fictional Worlds/Stories I Wouldn't be Caught Dead In:

1. Bitch Planet, by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Valentine De Landro - a dystopian reality where non-compliant women are sent to an off-planet prison? NOOOOPE. There are some really badass ladies there, though. Something to keep in mind when trying to start your own fictional girl gang ;) Bitch Planet is a comic series I just recently started reading, and while I'd never want to go there, I'm really enjoying reading this! Girl power!

2. Anywhere in The Hunger Games. - Because obviously, and because if I was ever selected I would most definitely lose.

3. Beautiful You, by Chuck Palahniuk - (SPOILER ALERT) C. Linus Maxwell tries to controls the entire female population with brainwashing sex toys. Another, big, fat, disgusting NOPE. Sorry Mr. Palahniuk, you really lost me with this one.

And now for the giveaway! I hope you like comics, because I'm giving away Bitch Planet, volume 1 :) Open anywhere that The Book Depository ships to, which is most places, but please make sure they ship to you by checking this list! Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below - the winning entry will be verified, so no sneaky business!

Bitch Planet


Thursday, May 12, 2016

Armchair BEA Day 2 - Aesthetic Concerns


Today's prompt: "How often do you judge a book by its cover? How often are you surprised by what you find? Do you strategize and make sure every book in your series has the same cover design (as far as you are able to) and type? How important is it for the visual art on the outside of the book to match or coordinate with the literature art on the inside?"

Instead of going fully in depth on this topic I decided to use it as a good excuse to talk about a book cover trend I hate...which is having a big, giant face across the cover. I don't know what it is, but it really lessens the experience for me. I mean, if I have no other cover option, then I MIGHT read a book with a big giant face, but I always look for other cover options first (and that's only if it's a book I'm really looking forward to, but was ruined by a creepy face). So yes, I DO judge books by their covers.

Although the cover of Haunted glows in the dark, which is a cool touch.

Look at all those faces staring back at you! (Well, mostly...sorry A Little Life.) Is that not unsettling? I guess it's not to most people, since these covers are being made all the time, particularly with book-to-movie adaption covers. Half of these books I've read. The other half I've been wanting to read, but at the same time not really in a huge hurry.

The one good thing to come from this trend? BOOKFACE.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Armchair BEA Day 1 - Introductions!



Happy first day of Armchair BEA! Yaaaayyy :) If you don't know what I'm talking about then check this out! As always, the first day of ABEA is to share our introduction posts, to get to know each other a bit more and introduce ourselves to new friends (hi, new friends!)

1. What is the name you prefer to use? My name is Natalie, but you can call me whatever you want, as long as it isn't mean :D

And this is what I look like (errr I'm in the middle), although my hair is almost a foot longer now.
I met Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket and Robin Ekiss last year! :O #BookishDreams

2. How long have you been a book blogger? I've been writing on this blog since 2013, but I had others blogs before that! I'm not strictly a book blogger, but I do write about books a fair amount.

3. Have you participated in ABEA before? This is my third year participating. Maybe someday I won't be poor and I can go to the actual BEA, but in the meantime you guys are cool ;)

4.  Do you have a favorite book? My favorite book is Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell!

It's also one of my favorite movie adaptations, even though there's lots of differences
and no one seems to agree with me.

5. If you could recommend one other book blogger, who would it be and why? Kokoba and Outlandish Lit, because they write about books that I might have never learned about otherwise. Sorry, I cheated and listed two :O

6. Which day of ABEA are you looking forward to the most? I have no idea what I'll write about, but I'm looking forward to reading everyone's Surviving Fictional Worlds posts on Saturday!

7.  How do you arrange your bookshelves? Is there a rhyme or reason? Or not at all? They used to be organized by color, but now it's just wherever they fit! I wish my shelves were prettier, but such is life.

So I guess that's it for now. I can't wait to "meet" everyone else! In the meantime I'll close this post with one of my favorite gifs.

SO BASHFUL.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Oxenfree

This month the game we played for Indie Game Gang was Oxenfree, the first game from Night School Studio! Oxenfree is a story/adventure game with some spooky paranormal elements! (P.S. Happy May the 4th!)

Oxenfree

"Oxenfree is a supernatural thriller about a group of friends who unwittingly open a ghostly rift. Play as Alex, a bright, rebellious teenager who brings her new stepbrother Jonas to an overnight party on an old military island. The night takes a terrifying turn when you unwittingly open a ghostly gate spawned from the island’s cryptic past. How you deal with these events, your peers, and the ominous creatures you’ve unleashed is up to you. 

YOU determine every aspect of Alex's story while exploring Edwards Island, uncovering the base's dark past, and changing the course of your friends' lives."

Oxenfree
Regular fog or ominous fog? Only time will tell.

Oxenfree is mostly a story based game, so as long as you listen to the characters and follow your map then it's pretty straight forward. If you're into Telltale games (or any other story based games, really), then you might want to check this game out. You spend most of the game with your new stepbrother, Jonas, but the other three characters (Clarissa, Nona and Ren) filter in and out as well. Every time you're with these characters there's going to be conversation, and the responses you can choose from (if you want to respond) appear in comic book like speech bubbles. I like how the conversations in this game flowed in a realistic way; like if your friend is saying something stupid you're totally free to just interrupt them.

Oxenfree
Just your typical, not-spooky cave. Nothing to see here.

Something I was really curious about was how scary this game would actually be. I like scary, but I can be pretty jumpy which is a bad combination. Did I jump while playing this game? Yes. But was it partially my own fault because I always had the grand idea to play it in the dark, late at night while I was home alone? Yes. Why did I do that? I don't know, I guess I'm self destructive in that way. Last year I went through a similar phase, and whenever I was at home and had a few drinks, I'd think it was the PERFECT time to play any video game with jumping puzzles - such as LIMBO or Thomas Was Alone - games I'm notoriously bad at even when I'm not drinking. Then I'd wonder why I never beat these games. #shrug

Oxenfree
Walking by a completely regular looking collapsed building, with no questionable shadows on it.

An interesting mechanic this game uses is Alex's radio. Somehow she's able to communicate (and sometimes control) the ghosties by tuning into different frequencies on her radio. I had trouble picking up the entire story, so I'm not exactly sure how/why that works. A lot of the island background stories were kind of hard to keep up with. Lots of information is thrown at you, most of the time when you need to be focusing on something ELSE in the game (like saving your friend, or not dying, or something), so it can be hard to keep it all straight. That was kind of a bummer.

Oxenfree
Just my friend being possessed. NBD, I can fix this! 

While I definitely enjoyed Oxenfree, it still had its downfalls. The island isn't very big, and you spend a good chunk of time going back and forth across the island to accomplish your tasks, so there's definitely a lot of walking involved. Luckily there's lots of dialogue to keep you occupied, but still. Something else that bugged me a little is that the game has multiple endings that I would LIKE to experience, but for the most part the game doesn't have a lot of replay value. The endings are mostly determined by things you choose to say in conversations. There's a couple other things that can help decide your ending, which I won't say because they're spoiler-y, but again they are not these big, interesting things that I would replay the whole game just to do those parts differently. So while I do want to see the other endings, I'll be watching them on Youtube. Which probably is not the attitude the developers were hoping for.

Oxenfree
Um, I can probably fix this?

Overall, I give Oxenfree a 7 out of 10. I wanted to like this game a lot more, but it just has some kinks to work out. I read there will be a few changes for the PS4 release; I wonder what that could mean? Anyway, let's talk about you now. Have you played Oxenfree, or would you like to? What else are you playing right now? 

Monday, May 2, 2016

May Goals + April Check-In



1. Read at least one book I already own.
I FAILED THE EASIEST GOAL, YOU GUYS. And you know what's sad? I actually read six books in April, but none of them were books I already owned. Living next to the library is both a gift and a curse. My library pile is so big right now, I'm not even going to bother migrating this goal to May -_-

2. Write at least 8 blog posts. Nailed it! I wrote ten blog posts in April!

3. Taxes. Done! I paid to do it on TurboTax because I'm a scrub.

4. Start shopping for a cocktail dress. I did this! I bought one, too! I walked into Torrid, semi-planning on buying this navy dress, but once I tried it on I saw it was waaay too long on me, and pretty overwhelming for my short frame. I ended up getting a black sleeveless dress with triangle cutouts around the neckline, but it's not on the site anymore so I can't show you :( Originally I didn't want a sleeveless dress because I'm self conscious about my arms, but not wearing things because you don't like a certain body part is dumb and I'm trying to get over that fear. I also had a coupon to get $30 off, but in order to qualify for the coupon I needed to spend $20 more, so I also nabbed these floral leggings! So with the coupon I basically got the leggings for free :) Torrid makes the best leggings (that I've tried so far, anyway), I practically live in their black premium leggings.

I only missed one goal, not too bad...even if it was the easiest one >_> Oh well, moving on. May should be a really fun month! Free Comic Book Day is next week, my brother is graduating high school, and my friend is getting married. Here's some goals for May!

1. Finish reading The Heart Goes Last. 
I'm about a fifth of the way through right now. So far I'm not crazy about it, because books about cheaters kinda bum me out (totally not a spoiler, that's actually on the book flap ok), BUT I can feel a big twist coming on, so I'm intrigued enough to keep reading.

2. Get my Pandaren to level 100. (World of Warcraft thing). She's 87 right now :O

3. Start meal planning semi-regularly. During the last week of April my friend convinced me to try meal planning. I mean, it makes sense. There's really no good reason not to meal plan, I've just been too lazy to try it. Anyway, she helped me plan out one week of dinners and then we went grocery shopping. Because of a change in my work schedule I've been home most evenings, but Andrew hasn't; so I wanted to get better in the kitchen so I could have dinner ready for him at when he gets home at night. The meal planning definitely helped! Everything I planned was super easy stuff to make, but still! I planned it, and then I actually cooked all of it when I said I would! So I want to try making meal planning more of a habit.

4. Move Turtle into a bigger tank. When I got a turtle I didn't realize he'd actually.....grow? I didn't know he was still practically a baby at the time. We didn't get him from a pet store; a friend of mine has a house she rents out, and when the last tenants moved out they LEFT THEIR TURTLE and she was unable to contact them after they moved. Assholes. So I took him home, and here we are. The poor guy desperately needs to be moved into a bigger tank, which we already HAVE, but can't figure out where to put!! It's too big to go in the spot that his current tank is in. #ApartmentProbs

5. Hit 500 followers on Instagram! I'm so close! Only 25 followers away! Hint hint. (Yes, I will follow you back, unless all your posts are promoting some sketchy pyramid scheme or something equally not cool).

Do you have any goals or big plans for this month? Let's chat!

Linking up with My So-Called Chaos and Hodge Podge Moments :)