Currently Playing/Watching/Reading IV

Looking back at my previous posts, this seems to be the majority of what I’ve been writing on here–I promise my inspiration will return one of these days, when I’m not working 60+ hours a week! Until then, mini reviews and gushing about the media I’ve been taking in (Which, to be honest, is not much lately) is a very nice reprieve. As always, this post was inspired by my girl Flavia, check out her blog for more wonderful content! I hope you guys enjoy, and I look forward to keeping up with writing in the next year! (I imagine an end-of-the-year post will be coming before then, I hope.) Without further ado….

Currently Watching: Recovery of an MMO Junkie

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I figured this would be another immersion anime in which you see very little of the characters outside of the fantasy world–but I was wrong for it, and so glad to be. This story presents a healthy balance of both the character as they appear in the game, and who they are outside of that as real-life working adults. (“working” is a relative term…)

For those of you who haven’t heard about the show, here’s a small synopsis:

Moriko Morioka is a 30-year old elite businesswoman-turned-NEET, after feeling unfulfilled in her professional life. (Her reasoning is revealed throughout the run of the show, which shall remain unsaid here.) She joins and MMO called Fruits de Mer, & thus “starts over” with a new persona AND a new gender! That’s right, she effectively makes her own new beginning by moonlighting as a male character named Hayashi, who is quickly invited to join a guild called @home. There, (s)he meets friends to play with and begins to feel more fulfilled in her fantasy life. (s)he also meets another player named Lilli, your typical mild-mannered healer who is kind, and shy, on only wants the best for those around her (?). It’s fun to see the characters both in and out of the game, and watch as they are all slowly drawn together in both worlds!

I’m only about five episodes in, but so far I’ve found that I really enjoy it–it presents a nice slice-of-life situation and I feel it accurately describes what it feels like to be directionless/unable to move forward; it is a gentle reminder that no failure is permanent or, at the very least, that we are not as bad as we think we are. It presents a nice “study” of gender roles, and flips expectations on their head (Something I will never not enjoy.) I don’t know how quickly I’ll be able to finish it, but I’m excited to keep going on this journey!

Currently Playing: Kingdom Hearts-Final Mix

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I picked up the new PS4 release for Kingdom Hearts earlier in the year, but haven’t messed with it too much until now. (Have I finished any of the other games I’ve started this year yet? No  whoops (: ). I only ever had the first three games available to me when I was younger, because I only owned a PS2 & a Gameboy Advance–needless to say, I am thrilled that I get to experience the magic all over again, and to complete the series before the third installment finally hits shelves! I love the soundtrack and of course the characters. I remember loving these games so much, and I’m grateful to have this opportunity again. If you’re a fan of Final Fantasy & Disney alike, then I urge you to please pick this up! It is so worth it. I hope that the third one will be released while I’m still at least in my twenties……

As an added bonus, I was able to purchase this game WITHOUT using a credit card, and that made my day all the more. For those of you that don’t know, I’ve been on a journey the last few months to eliminate as much debt from my life as humanly possible, and that’s why I have two jobs. It was a huge sense of accomplishment to purchase this without worry of having to pay anything back 🙂 Baby steps, but it all works out in the end.

I have one day off this month, and that’s New Year’s Day–you better believe I’m going to spend it as a human potato, playing as much of this game as I possibly can before I walk into the office again!

Currently Reading:

I….I’ve got nothing for you guys here…it’s so sad! I DO have a huge TBR list though, and you can check out what I’ve been lusting after here.

Since I’m currently lacking in one department, I thought I’d make a little bonus round for you guys (& it’s not because I have another obsession that I want to gush about AT ALL….)

Currently Listening: Lights, Skin & Earth

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Lights is my GIRL. I love her so much, and I’m so pleased with her latest creative endeavor! I love all of her previous work, but she really blew me out of the water with this one. If you haven’t heard anything by Lights, you should definitely check her out! She’s generally got a Synth-pop-rock vibe going on, and each of her albums reflects a different theme or time in her life. She’s big into video games and comic book culture, and she’s really good at creating her own story through her music.

With this one, she’s taken it a step further and actually written her own comic book! (Excuse me, written AND DREW. This is all her own original artwork, how cool is that?)

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It’s very post-modern and apocalyptic, and this is a rare exception to my general dislike of the post-modern genre. She totally kills it, and I’m all in for this ride.

Well guys,

That’s about all I’ve had time for this month, unfortunately! I know the 60 hour work weeks won’t last, so I’m grateful to just keep adding to my library when I can, to catch up on later. Hopefully I can keep the momentum going with all of these wonderful things I started this month!

I hope you’ve all been enjoying your holidays 🙂

–Lux

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Top Five Books on my Amazon Wish List

I love the wish list feature on Amazon–it allows me to keep track of all the things I want to have, but either have no motivation to spend the money (or, I straight-up don’t have the money and like to torture myself.) I have no self control, so I have several lists (broken down into category–how did I become so organized?) that are pushing 50 items plus….

BUT I think one of the great things about this feature is that it allows me to keep a virtual TBR, and doesn’t let me forget all of the wonderful literature that I one day plan to get my hands on.

(Now, you might rightfully so be asking yourself, “why don’t you just get a library card if you don’t wanna spend the money?” Well my friends, that’s because I have a horrible memory and cannot for the life of me return anything on time. Hello, double-digit library fine….)

In no particular order, here are my top 5 most desired books!

1. The Only Pirate at the Party

By Lindsey Stirling

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I LOVE Lindsey Stirling so much; she’s so talented, and seemingly so kind. I love that she is unafraid to be herself, and I love that she does so many covers of original music from video games! Whenever I have a bad day, I watch a few of her music videos and especially her “behind the scenes” shorts that she does on YouTube. It’s hard not to smile when she’s so excited about the little things, and it reminds me to be grateful for the little things as well. This has been on my TBR list for a good year and a half now, and I STILL haven’t bought the dang thing. (I mean, better yet I still haven’t purchased her latest CD….& yes, I still buy CD’s because I’m in the stone age.)

 

2. The Cruel Prince

By Holly Black

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This one won’t be released until January 2nd, but it’s been on my radar for a while now. I read the Tithe series when I was in high school, but I hadn’t followed much of her work after that. Until last summer that is–I bought The Darkest Part of the Forest & let it sit on my shelf for ages, but I finally got around to it in August. It was simply amazing, and rekindled my adoration of dark fairy tales. I’ve got this one on preorder for sure!

3. The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice & Virtue

By Mackenzie Lee

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People have been talking about this one non-stop all summer, and I can’t wait to read it myself! I enjoy a good love story, no matter the gender or the sexual identity. (& this one sounds like it’s got plenty of shenanigans along the way!)

4. The Joy Luck Club

By Amy Tan

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This one has been floating around in my peripheral vision for YEARS, but now I think I’m finally in a good place to read it–I’m much more mindful of characterization and the character driven story than I was when I was younger. I also really enjoy historical fiction, or fiction that has historical/social/economical elements to it. Plus, the cover is lovely.

5. The Bear and the Nightingale

By Katherine Arden

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I think out of all the books on my list, this is the one that I’m most excited for. For my birthday, my best friend gave me about about the “Beauty and the Beast” story as told around the world, and all the myths surrounding it. This book, from what I’ve seen, looks to be a retelling of an old Russian folktale of the same nature. It’s beautifully written (again, from what I’ve seen) and I wanted to read so much more than the Amazon sneak peak would allow me! This will probably be the first on my list to make it to the cart.

 

So there you have it, folks! What are some things from your wishlist that you’ve been the most excited about?

–Lux

& So it goes….

I’ve never quite figured out the “correct” way to run a blog; I know that most carry themes and nuances, a picture that they want the audience to see. I have no such vision, and because of that I think I struggle a bit more. My ideal goal would be to have something that people could relate to, more than anything else–whether it be me rambling about a particular book or movie, or me talking about my everyday life and problems.

I think today, I would like to talk about my everyday problems.

More and more, I find myself thinking about all the possibilities I could have if I just gave myself the chance. (I hope that makes sense?) I have so many things that I want to do and to try, but I never give myself that time to explore it. I want to learn another language, to learn the piano or the violin, to travel to so many different places. I think though, more than anything, I crave independence.

I’ve never lived on my own before.

I mean, I haven’t lived with my parents for several years–but I’ve never lived alone before.

In the past few months, I’ve had more problems with my roommates than I care to discuss in-depth right this moment. Please understand, it’s not that we dislike each other by any means, but I do think we’ve each outgrown the living situation in one way or another. At one point, it had gotten so uncomfortable that I couldn’t help but look into other options, which included revamping my finances, and facing the possibility that I might have to go it alone from here.

“Alone” is not exactly the right way to put it; it’s all about your frame of mind. At first, I was afraid to be apart from my best friend, and afraid that if I didn’t do this the right way, I’d fall right on my face. Living alone meant that my rent and living expenses would essentially double, and that I would be by myself more often than not.

But would that really be such a bad thing? Would moving really mean that I would be alone? (Spoiler alert: just because I wouldn’t live with my best friend anymore doesn’t mean that I still wouldn’t see her all the time.) The more I embraced it, the more I realized that I had potential to grow, in more areas than one.

It’s already been decided that everything’s fine, and that neither of us want to move out, which I am fine with; but I think this experience forced me to take a good look at myself, and remember what I am capable of–so I’m thankful for that, and I think it gives me more confidence in the future. It allowed me to think of all the bright possibilities:

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*I already watch my finances closely, and after crunching the numbers I feel that I could still live comfortably, even if I can’t pay off my debts as quickly as I would  like.

*I can live at my own level of cleanliness. (I promise I’m not gross responsible.) Living under the weight of someone else’s expectations is hard. Most of the time, I just feel so tired; I work two jobs, and try my best to maintain relationships outside of those two jobs. When I come home from a 14 hour workday, I don’t really want to deal with the dishes right that second, or take my laundry out of the dryer and fold it right away. Sometimes I just need a moment to breathe, and having two roommates can make things feel claustrophobic. (Disclaimer: it’s proper etiquette to clean up after yourself when you have others living with you; I totally understand that.) But I’m just so tired.

*I can spend however long I need or want to in the bathroom, and can get ready in the morning without feeling rushed or worried that I might wake someone up. Sharing one bathroom between three women is 10/10 not recommended.

*I can have any guest that I would like over, at any time, and not have to feel guilty about it. If I have a boyfriend and I want him to stay the night, he can! If I have several friends in from out of town that need to stay the night, they can! If I’m lonely and want to invite my friends over late at night, they can visit without fear of disturbing other residents! As with cleaning, it’s common courtesy to make sure that guests are welcomed by the other people living in the house, because they are forced to deal with them too. I know that’s totally fair. But at some point, living with other people has almost starting to feel like I’m back living with my parents because I have to ask permission to do so many things that would otherwise be second nature. This is equally exhausting.

*I can watch what I want, when I want! Okay, let me explain–of COURSE my roommates don’t interfere with what I’m watching; I am the one who interferes with what I’m watching. When I finally get a moment at home, I usually spend it with them doing something or another, which is a good thing! I like to see them, and I like to be social. But sometimes I just simply want to exist and to shut my mind off, and watch or play or read something fun.

*Myself and my dog wouldn’t be anyone else’s burden. My roommates are not dog people, whether through preference or situational circumstances. I don’t want anyone feeling as though I’m weighing them down, ever. I feel more at ease when the pup can roam freely, and when I’m the only one who has to deal with his mess.

*It occurs to me that I have no furniture other than my bedroom–bed, bed frame, dresser, and TV–but that might make things more fun, too 🙂 I can roll around on the floors in an empty apartment until I slowly start to furnish it myself. That could also be something to look forward to.

Even though it is nice to have someone to come home to, I look forward to the day when I can have my own space. Have any of you lived alone before? What do you like about it, or what don’t you like? Do you have any future advice?

Cheers,

Lux

 

Currently Playing, Watching, Reading III

Hello, everyone 🙂

I’m so sorry for the break in posting! Life has gotten a little crazy, but that’s something I should save for a “life update” post–Which I assure you, that is coming soon. In the past month I haven’t had a lot of extra time to be watching or reading or playing anything…but I’ll at least talk about some of the things I’ve started!

Currently Playing: Pokemon Moon

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I’m SO in love with it already! I’m only about two to three hours into gameplay so far, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The characters are all really cool (or cute, that too) and I love the island theme! The music is lovely, and the battles are more exciting than ever. I’ve worked really hard not to spoil anything for myself (SUPER hard when you work in a Pokemon card shop, by the way) and I’m excited to see where the story takes me. I love all of the cut scenes with Lillie in them!

I only have Moon, I missed out on Sun–but that’s because I’m stubbornly waiting for the Ultra versions to come out, since I pre-ordered the collector’s editions of them. Knowing me though, as a collector I’ll probably end up with the original anyways….

All the new Pokemon are SO cute. I of course started out with Rowlett as my first Pokemon! I’ve always been partial to grass types as starters, since they seem to get the most flack from the fandom–but they can be just as strong as the others!

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Who is your favorite starter?

Currently Watching: Beyond the Boundary

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Or should I say, re-watching! I saw this sometime last year, & absolutely loved it. A coworker of mine recently asked for a list of anime recommendations; after including this, I thought it would be a good to rehash the experience 🙂 The English translation of the movie released in the States sometime last week I think, so I definitely want to check that out as well.

I’m only a few episodes in right now, but I can remember exactly why I was so drawn to it–the music and the animation are stunning on their own. The premise is dark and intriguing, centered around our heroine who is the pariah of the spirit hunting world simply because of her lineage.

If you like Noragami, or other spirit-related content, this show is right up your alley. It centers on the living vs. the dead, and other ominous things that go bump into the night. The male lead, Akihito, is an intriguing character himself as well, and perfectly fits along the theme that you can’t always win the fight and that even your best intentions can go horribly wrong. There is so much more than what is shown on the surface, between the characters and the story itself. A lot of it has to do with well-placed dialogue and foreshadowing that is so subtle, you don’t realize it’s happened until after the fact. Brilliant writing!

After I watched it through the first time, I heard through the grapevine that this show was one that people really loved, or absolutely hated. Though I myself loved it, I can see why some didn’t; the humor is a little off-kilter at times, especially with the timing and occasional fan-service. Now, fan-service isn’t something that bothers me too much, but I do agree it was placed irresponsibly into the story. However, in my eyes the characterization along with the music, story, and scenery more than made up for it. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who asks–just make sure to wade through some of the awkward parts, okay? It’s worth-it, I promise.

Currently Reading: Black Rose Alice

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I have had little to no time to read this month, so lately I’ve just been picking up whatever manga I can find to read in one sitting! There’s lots of pictures and the stories are always super interesting, so it definitely fills the gap for me 🙂 I go through phases where I only read manga for months at a time; or visa versa, where I only read books for months at a time…anyways!

Black Rose Alice came as a pleasant (and delightfully creepy) surprise to me! If you love Buffy, or Anne Rice, I would definitely recommend this to you. I could almost even compare the vibe to Del Toro’s Crimson Peak (If you haven’t seen it, do so!)

The story begins with a tragedy that happened in 1800’s Vienna, with lust, jealousy and of course, tragedy. It sorts of goes back and forth in time to present day in this volume, keeping the reader interested in how the stories correlate. As I sort of spoiled in the aforementioned statement, this book involves vampires–but a twist on vampires you see. They’re presented as paralytic insects that infect a body and essentially destroy it so that the host is “dead”…but still walking. Disgusting and wonderful, all the same time. (Be warned, there’s some bug-eating imagery in there that’s not all pleasant.)

I went into this expecting campy romance, and came out of the other side with my mind blown. There are more adult themes in here than anything, with mature storytelling and intricate plot lines. I can’t wait to pick up the next volume!

Sadly,

That’s about all I’ve had time for this month folks. I hope you get some good recommendations out of this, and please feel free to shoot me some recs as well! I’m falling further behind on my media, so I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for reading,

Lux

Build Something You Can be Proud of: Creative Spaces

I’m going to be completely honest with you–I am not an artist, but I wish so much that I could be! I am a firm believer of the mindset “You can be anything that you want to be”….But even I am willing to admit to myself that I don’t have the attention span to make it in the arts. I get so restless and antsy when I sit still for too long. I would still like to consider myself a creative person, though–and I think that creativity takes many other forms.

One of the best ways that I love to express myself is through my environment. I’ve just recently moved,  and though I hate the moving process, I LOVE the setup process. 🙂

One of my favorite kinds of YouTube videos to watch are the room tour videos; I think they are the ultimate form of self expression for people like me, who love art but can’t/don’t make it!

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I’ve always been a collector at heart; my new room is rather small, so this is only a portion of my collection on the shelf there. As you can see, I have a Tower O’ Toys stacked beside it that I most likely will have to keep there. (I’m too stubborn to store them in the unfinished basement, for fear of water damage). This doesn’t bother me in the slightest–I like “comfortable clutter” and being surrounded by all of my favorite things. This display isn’t perfect, but it is definitely Something I can be proud of. 🙂 This bookshelf was the main reason I chose to have the smallest room in the apartment–this more than made up for the lack of other space!

Along the same veins of creative space, another thing that I find to be really interesting are “desk tours” of sorts, where artists and other creative thinkers share their work space. A lot of different professions share this idea–there is an Architecture blog that I follow called “Life of an Architect” (You should look it up, Bob Borson is a really fun guy) & he also chose to dedicate a post to the creative work spaces of architects. It’s really cool, because an artist’s desk is where all of the magic happens!

I’m a HUGE manga reader–I recently stumbled across these articles here that showcase different popular mangaka, and the space they used to create some of the comic world’s greatest classics! If you’re interested, take a look & enjoy.

http://kotaku.com/famous-japanese-manga-were-born-on-these-desks-1537642979

This next one is more about artists in Japan/Asia in general, which I find just as entertaining:

http://kotaku.com/japanese-artists-show-off-their-workspaces-1762345155?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow

Annnnnd one more–this is the creator/artist for Space Brothers, recreating The Martian movie poster with his own original design and characters. Really neat 🙂

http://kodanshacomics.com/2016/03/01/the-martian-x-space-brothers-watch-chuya-koyama-draw-his-version-of-the-movie-poster/

Thanks for reading!

–Lux

 

Currently Playing/Watching/Reading II

Hey guys! It is time once again to chat about all of my current favorites 🙂 I’ve had SO much going on this month, therefore my list will be a bit small–but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. Between moving apartments and working two jobs, I’m not at my usual “peak potato”* performance, but I think I’ll still have some gems in here for you! Usually when life gets really busy my focus tends to be more on anime-related things, because they are such a good stress-reliever.

*Ultimate form of laziness & un-productivity

Without further ado….

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Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Explorers

People give this game a lot of flack, but I think it is SO fun! It was released for the Nintendo 3DS in January of 2016, and I managed to get my hands on a copy of it last summer. Like most in the Final Fantasy franchise, it’s a bit of a long one & I like to take my time, so it’s been an ongoing completion battle since last winter!

In this game, you play a solitary explorer who travels the island of Amostra in search of Crystals, which are the source of magic & life in this universe. In order to get to these Crystals, you have to battle a horde of Monsters & Eidolons (REALLY powerful monsters). One of my favorite things about this game is that of course there are familiar monsters and beings that span the entire FF series such as Chocobos and Cockatrice, each re-imagined in their own unique way 🙂

Another thing that I love is the Eidolons themselves, which are the beloved GF’s (If you’ve played VIII) we all know and love. Because the Eidolons are monsters that you have to defeat rather than call upon for aid in battle, they came up with another really cool idea–the GF’s that you call on in here are the heroes from the other FF games themselves!! (Complete with their original theme music, heck yes)

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You can play as Squall, Cloud, Tifa and many others!

It is most comparable to Monster Hunter (Which I do not know from personal experience as I’ve never played them). The world is set up in such a way that you can customize your character in an open(ish) setting, and go on quests ranging from level 1-10. The quests do get very repetitive as they are usually the same thing with higher-level monsters as you go, but I love the music, and there is so much more to this game than just the main-level quests! You have a “notebook” to track your progress, and you get rewards for each of the completions in the book; you can unlock new bonus content etc.

I know this is a strange thing to say, but I also really like that they track your progress with a percentage in each category, too! Like, “You have captured XX% of Eidolons”, “You are XX% through the main story”, that sort of thing. The completionist  in me always wants to bring everything to a perfect 100 🙂

Almost everything about your character is customizable; from your sex to your appearance (hair/eyes), your voice and even your occupation, you have to opportunity to make this game your own unique experience! & though I did say it is a solitary journey, you can always connect with your friends and battle through quests together, along with a party of monsters that you build as well!

Despite its repetitive nature, I think the creators worked hard to combat this by offering so many other refreshing aspects such as customization and an expansive choice of armors & weapons. This game really is what you make it, so make sure you build something you can be proud of!

So far (I’m all the way to the level 10 quests) I would give this game a solid 8.5 out of 10. I would definitely recommend it!

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Currently Watching: Boruto

I am only on episode 12 of this, but you guessed it–I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. So so much. Given that I love the original series, this came as no surprise. I could read Masashi Kishimoto’s grocery list & still be entertained! Sorry, this is mostly going to be me gushing more than anything else. To try and keep it as short as possible, here are a few bullet points detailing why:

*Marketing–just LOOK at how bright and beautiful that promo is! I am loving the vibrancy throughout the series. The first opening theme is beautiful both in song and animation; It plays a nice homage to Bleach.

*Characters–I think all of the children turned out exceptionally well created. They are each unique, with their own personalities. Much like the original Naruto series, it’s so hard to pick favorites–but so far I LOVE ChoCho (She’s hysterical) and Mitsuki (So mysterious!)

I’m also really glad that you still get to see some of the original teams too, and how they act as parents and adults. It’s a really cool feeling to grow alongside beloved characters.

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*THAT OPENING THO (Don’t worry, that’s all I’m going to say. I mean, with picture included, need I say anything else?! So awesome!!)

I know people have a lot of feelings about this series, and believe me, I’m not ignoring that–but I will most certainly be making an entirely separate post to discuss my full feelings on the subjects at hand.

Moving right along…

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Currently Watching: Your Lie in April

I’ve watched this through to the end once last year. One night this month I just decided to watch an episode of something random–I was only planning on watching a single episode–however this is a series that will hook you in. I ended up watching over half over again, and I plan to finish it out sometime next week.

Like Boruto, the colors and animation in this series is breathtaking. It’s so pretty to look at, and the colors are so vibrant–this contrasts nicely with the devastating subject matter. I won’t say much about it–it is your job to discover the lie yourself!

The story revolves around Arima Kosei, a world-class pianist who has decided to give up music. Through the love and encouragement of his friends, he finds the strength to continue on–to remember that music can heal your heart and just a quickly break it.

If you haven’t seen this series, please PLEASE do yourself a favor and give it a chance. You won’t regret it.

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Currently Reading: Howl’s Moving Castle

This story was a book long before it was picked up by Miyazaki; Published in 1986, Diana was inspired by a young reader who asked her, “Please write a story about a floating castle.” Thus, the masterpiece was born!

In case you haven’t heard of this story before–it revolves around Sophie Hatter, the eldest sibling of three, who is cursed by the Witch of the Waste to appear as the old woman she seems to always act like. Shenanigans ensue, and she ends up as the terrible Wizard Howl’s cleaning lady–where she starts to realize that not everything is as it seems. Everything you could want in a fantasy adventure is there–fire demons, magic spells, talking dogs…I love that I could not EVER guess where this story was going to go.

As with everything in this post–I loved it SO much. I’ve read it once before in high school. The characters were very well written; Howl was so over-dramatic (much more so than in the Miyazaki version) & I loved him even more so for it. He wasn’t this all knowing perfect individual–he was whiny and vain and a “slither-outerer” as Sophie liked to call him.

“I feel ill,” Howl announced. “I’m going to bed, where I may die.” 

Sophie herself was hysterical, always calling Howl out and taking care of the household. Calcifer, though he is technically a demon, was what I even might call “adorable”. There are of course differences between the film and the book, but I loved them both equally 🙂

I would 10/10 recommend this book EVERY time. I think it will have to go on my “yearly reading list” at this point!

 

So my friends,

There you have it! It’s not much, but these are all the things I’ve had a chance to enjoy over the month of August. Do you have any good recommendations for what I should be watching, reading or playing next? Cheers!

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black

“There’s a monster in our wood

She’ll get you if you’re not good

Drag you under leaves and sticks

Punish you for all your tricks

A nest of hair and gnawed bone

You are never, ever coming home.”

I loved this book so much. This is going to be one-part review, & one-part of me gushing. Plan accordingly.

**You should also plan accordingly in that this review may contain spoilers. I’m sorry, I just really can’t help myself–sometimes I say too much in the hopes that someone might want to discuss aspects of the work with me. If that is the case, please feel free to do so in the comments section 🙂

Once upon a time, the little town of Fairfold had slumbering within it a mysterious Fae prince, housed in a glass coffin not unlike a certain one that comes to mind….

“Something even more dangerous than your prince walks in his shadow.”

It’s up to the gallant Hazel & her older brother Ben to decide what to do with the beautiful young man, & to put together all of the missing pieces to save not only the town, but themselves as well. This contemporary YA fairy tale is the perfect escape!

The Review

5 stars!

The first words of a novel are highly important; but sometimes the first words aren’t the most enthralling. Sometimes that comes right after–& Holly Black is GOOD at that. She paints a very pretty and at times grotesque picture that leaves me desperate for more. 

“I am too much made of trees and leaves and open air,”

It feels like the first true, haunting fairy tail that I’ve read in ages. The mood is contagious and warm, yet chilling at the same time, with sincerely dark undertones. I loved the seriousness of it, and the anticipation of anytime I felt like something was about to happen. I loved the mystery in all of it–parts of it felt like there were things that had already happened in this book, like the reader is looking into the middle of the story; the timeline was spun in such a way to keep you guessing. (That’s one of my favorite things about this book–I couldn’t predict what would happen next.) 

This fairy tale takes a more traditional route, focusing on the tricksters and the things that go bump into the night:

“Townsfolk knew to fear the monster coiled in the heart of the forest, who lured tourists with a cry that sounded like a woman weeping…it fed on sorrow and sowed corruption.”

The characters and relationships are complicated & realistic; while there is some romance in this story (& a healthy amount of representation, at that) I enjoy the fact that it focuses mainly on the sibling relationship between Hazel & Ben. The romance was there, but often not elaborated on. (The parts that were, were not overdone if that makes any sense.) There are several other aspects of the story that Holly decided to focus on, and they definitely shine!

The siblings were realistic in that they loved each other and were very close, however they were riddled with misunderstanding towards each other; it was always a game, as the reader, to guess which character knew what because they seemed to keep so much from each other (As real siblings tend to do.)

I liked that all of Holly’s characters were flawed in one way or another. There were times when I was frustrated and upset with Hazel, but could understand why she did what she did. That is good characterization, and helps the audience to connect more even if they don’t always agree with the character (yes Hazel, I’m still looking at you girl.) The same could be said for Ben, who wished too much to escape into the life of someone, anyone else. Or Jack, or Carter, or Amanda–everyone, whether they were a main or supporting character, came with their own thoughts and feelings and mistakes. This made me truly love them even more–these characters were no less deserving of love than any living, breathing human who could make the same mistakes.

I also LOVED that this book was a stand-alone; to me, it makes it feel that much more special 🙂 Lately I’ve been feeling like there is an over-saturation of trilogies and duologies in the YA market. I’m not saying that they’re all bad (I have read and loved many of them). I simply mean that sometimes I don’t want to commit to a book if I know I’m gonna have to wait a few years to finish the story or pay for two or three different installments, you know? I think some stories do much better as a stand alone, and this is one of them.

 

 

If you’re looking for a great escape, this novel will do just that for you. It’s a lovely balance of fantasy and realism, and helps you to question and understand some of the relationships in your own life. It even makes me want to believe that there is a little magic out there for me in this world 🙂 This is one that I will keep on my bookshelf indefinitely, to be read and loved many times!

I’m thrilled to see that Holly has another Fae novel coming out in January of 2018–

Image result for the cruel prince holly black

Have you read this book, or any others by Holly Black? What did you think? I would love your honest opinions below!