First Lines Friday

We’re here again. Yet another week passed us by. And, goodbye September! In a few days, it will be beautiful fall with the start of October.

Caidyn will be blue.

Chantel will be in purple. 


‘Vicar arrested for drunk driving’ is not the sort of headline my bishop wanted to read about his priests. So I slowed down my Ford as I saw the flashing lights of the police car ahead. An accident. I hunched low over the steering wheel, hoping to hide the tell take sign of the dog collar around my neck. My wine-sweetened breath wafted into my face, reminding me of the reason I must not stop to offer any assistance. I was pretty certain that I was not over the drink drive limit, but possibly very close.


So, what is it? It’s an indie book. It’s fantasy, believe it or not. (In a couple of paragraphs more, you get to that part of the book. Then, it’s pretty unique that it’s told from the perspective of a woman priest in the Anglican church.

Give up? (Don’t worry. I don’t blame you.)

It is….

THE TEMPTATION OF DRAGONS BY CHRYS CYMRI

The Temptation of Dragons (Penny White #1)

Chrys asked me to read this, like, back in July but I was too busy and didn’t get to it until this point. My goal was to read it in September but I just got to it. So, pretty sure this will extend into October. (Sorry, Chrys!)

The title caught me off-guard as well. It sounds like a romance and its summary on Goodreads, for me, didn’t serve it much better. However, it’s not romance. It’s a woman trying to make do as a priest and then gets thrust into this crazy world of dragons and unicorns and gryphons and snail sharks.

So far, it’s good and I’m enjoying the ride!


Before Hannah left, she asked if I was sure I’d be okay. She had already waited an hour past when the doors were closed for winter break, until everyone but the custodians were gone. She had folded a load of laundry, written an email, searched her massive psychology textbook for answers to the final exam questions to see if she had gotten them right. She had run out of ways to fill time, so when I said, “Yes, I’ll be fine,” she had nothing left to do except try to believe me. 

I helped her carry a bag downstairs. She gave me a hug, tight and official, and said, “We’ll be back from my aunt’s on the twenty-eighth. Take the train down and we’ll go to shows.” 

I said yes, not knowing if I meant it. When I returned to our room, I found she’d snuck a sealed envelope onto my pillow. 


This is a book written by an author I enjoy. I’ve already read one of their books this year and gave it a high rating. No, it’s not Patrick Ness, but he’s amazing. Go read his books! Anyway, the other book I read by this author was a book with an f/f relationship and I’ve heard this book, which came out this year, features another f/f relationship and I’m so here for that. I hauled this book last month as I finally got a physical copy after the book has been out for months. 

Without further ado, I present…

We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

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If you haven’t read Everything Leads to You and want a sweet f/f romance along with an interesting plot, give it a try. I personally loved it and I felt it was fun and interesting. It was also fun for me as a film geek. As a result, I’m very excited to read this book and I plan to read it soon, so keep an eye out. Also, this takes place when the main character is in college, not high school. That was my main issue with Everything Leads to You, but I’m excited to see a book that takes place while the characters are in college. 

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The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)

(Caidyn)

5/5

So, if anyone knows me you’re probably thinking “Don’t you hate non-adult books???” But, aha, you’ve found my weakness. I hate YA. Definitely a genre I count as my least favorite, although I definitely have quite a few books I count as favorites. They’re the outliers for me. However, I absolutely love middle grade. Middle grade is my shit. This series is definitely a favorite of mine. Given that the fifth and final book came out earlier this month, I decided it was time for a reread. Plus, this is a buddy read with Chloe! Her first time and my second time.

This book has three main characters in it; Lucy, George, and Lockwood. Lucy is the absolute main character since she’s the one telling the story. Everything’s from her perspective. She’s brilliant and a strong female character since she doesn’t take shit from anyone. And, she also had her weaknesses that she struggles against. Certainly not a Mary-Sue.

George is just a sarcastic shit who loves to eat. He sounds a lot like me. No one really likes him in the group, yet they also love him.  He’s the official researcher for the group. He goes above and beyond, spending his time in the library. Basically, a lot like me. This summer, I did a literature review for one of my classes on Japanese sexuality, focusing mainly on heterosexuality and homosexuality. (Sorry to use that word but it’s the technically correct one.) A number of sources my prof wanted were five. I doubled or tripled that. The page number? I think I was two pages over. I love me some research.

Finally, there’s Lockwood. The easiest way to describe him is as a young Sherlock Holmes. I can’t give much more away than that since you find out more about him in later books and, well…

This whole book (and the series) is set in an unnamed time in an alternate universe where ghosts roam. Only kids can see them and save everyone. To me, it feels like the 1800s with children as a slave labor force. Then, it also distinctly feels a bit more modern, perhaps pushing into the 1950s. I love how Stroud doesn’t actually name the time so you can keep guessing.

In this, Lockwood & Co. take a case, fuck up very badly, and everything spirals to there. Until they have to take a case that is creepy as hell and certain death. This book really is creepy. I wouldn’t call it scary but it got my heart pumping even though I’d read this book before. It’s well-written and crafted well.

It’s a great time of the year for this series. I actually recommended this series to my coworker so her kid could read it. He’s 10 and loved it. Not too scary for him, so I’d hazard to say it’s all fine for most people. It’s also a good starting point for people unfamiliar with middle grade. There are no contemporary issues. All of this is wrapped around a good horror/mystery. Then, it also gives you a taste of the genre. What middle grade has in common with YA is that there are usually no adults present to help out, but they’re still there to fall back on.

So, this series is basically great and I think everyone should give it a try.

Shakti Rising: Embracing Shadow and Light on the Goddess Path to Wholeness by Kavitha M. Chinnaiyan

Shakti Rising: Embracing Shadow and Light on the Goddess Path to Wholeness

(Caidyn)

4/5

Thank you to Netgalley for giving me this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I had a super weird upbringing, to be quite honest. That’s what leads me here. The “religion” I was brought up in was a mix of Christianity, Buddhism, and so many others that I can’t name them. But, Christianity and Buddhism were the biggest pieces of it. Currently, I align closer to Hinduism. However, I have many hints of other religions coursing through me. Every single religion I’ve encountered, I seem to find something I like. Mainly, I requested this book for Kali since I had a huge feeling she was going to be featured in this.

The basic structure of this book is first the goddess is introduced, from her looks to her relationship with Shiva to anything else. Then, her “shadow” is introduced and how she keeps you from being enlightened. Third, her “light” is shown and how it brings you closer to enlightenment. Finally, you get some exercises that you can follow to help you get closer to the goddess.

It’s a pretty straightforward book once you get used to the topic. It’s easy to follow as well, so long as you can wrap your head around things.

Even for me, it was super dense. There were tons of terms thrown at you with a definition given the first time, then nothing else after that. I’d forget the definitions and would stare wide-eyed at the terms before going on and pretending I understood them. Some added reminders would have been helpful for me. Also, this book is centered on the philosophical side of Hinduism and definitely Buddhism. I found more Buddhism in it than Hinduism, honestly. This isn’t a book you can just jump into. It takes time.

I wish I had more time to read this since it wasn’t an easy book. This is one that I want to own a physical copy of just so I can mark it the hell up and use it in my personal life. I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who is looking for a first glimpse into Hinduism or doesn’t have a personal interest in it.

The Sunshine Blogger Award

Sunshine Blogger Award

Once again, we were nominated for a lovely award by the lovely Emma at Thoughts of a Brown Eyed Girl. Thank you so much for the nomination! We really appreciate it. You always leave comments complimenting us and we really enjoy reading those. Dare I say, it adds Sunshine to our day.

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How does it work?

  • Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the blogger who nominated you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog.

Chantel will be in her regal purple.

Caidyn will likely be in his normal blue.

1. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or white chocolate?

I think I’m in the minority here, but I adore white chocolate. Even though it isn’t chocolate, technically. White chocolate Reese’s are to die for. Also, my signature drink is a White Chocolate Mocha. This is a no-brainer for me. 

Did you know that white chocolate isn’t really chocolate? It’s a chocolate derivative. It doesn’t contain chocolate solids. I actually hate white chocolate, too. The taste is gross. Really, I’d prefer dark chocolate myself, but I also love milk chocolate from time to time.

Ummm…yeah, I said it in my answer it’s not really chocolate. I even bolded it in case you missed it and dark chocolate is garbage. 

Oi.

Image result for bitch gif

I answered these at 7AM and didn’t have coffee. I don’t read every word you say. Dark chocolate is the bomb.

That much is clear.

2. What is one object that you cannot see yourself living without?

I find it hard to choose just one thing I cannot live without. However, I won’t deny that I can’t live without a computer or a smartphone. One or the other, but I need a way to connect with the outside world and you can do pretty much anything with the internet nowadays. Wait, should my answer be the Internet? Is that an object?

The internet is an object yet it isn’t. You can have it but never own it. I think I could live without the internet, though. I did for the first few years of my life, after all. But, I can’t see myself living without my car. It would really fucking suck if I didn’t have my car.

Ah, okay, I’ll stick with my computer and/or smartphone than with the addendum that I need access to Internet somehow. I have lived without the Internet. Doesn’t mean I want to, but I currently live without a car happily. Although, that would probably be different if Portland didn’t have a great transit system. 

3. What is the longest it’s ever taken you to finish a book?

I couldn’t give you a specific timeline for anything because I’m pretty sure it was before I started blogging and tracking my progress on Goodreads, but I would say it took me a really long time to finish Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. I actually went and saw the movie after struggling to read it and finally finished it after I saw the movie in theaters. Again, I don’t know how long it took me, but it took me a long time. 

Yes, I have you beat. The book that’s taken me the longest is one that I’m still reading. The Bible. No joke. Been reading it since 2015, so almost two years. I’m still on the Torah/Five Books of Moses. Aka, I haven’t even gotten to them establishing Israel.

4. Favorite color?

Uhh, rainbow! Nah, seriously I think my favorite color would be a dark blue or teal, but I don’t think about it much. 

My favorite color is the one that I write in.

5. If your life was made into a movie, what actor/actress would play you?

Ooh, this is a fun question! Obviously, my answer is Meryl Streep. 

giphy

Though, to avoid whitewashing I would probably pick Raven-Symone because I think she can nail my sense of humor. Clearly, we aren’t going for looks here. 

I mean, I could make a joke and say, Hillary Swank, because she played a transguy all those years ago. But, she doesn’t look like me. I think Elijah Wood would be the best choice since we sort of have similar facial features and height.

You are a Hobbit too?!

I am. Even though I really hate that series.

I didn’t read the book in middle school and have no interest, but I like Hobbits. 

6. If you could write one book with any author, who would it be and why?

PATRICK. NESS. DUH. We’d have a book with cute little queer sweeties and there would also be some weird shit going on. 

Mark Lawrence. My demons would come out to play.

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7. What’s one book that you read for nothing but the cover?

So, I’m very picky about the books I read. I won’t just see a cover and pick it up, I need to know more about it to see if it’s something I’m interested in. I only read books that sound interesting and I think I will like. 

The most recent book was Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton. Super good.

8. What’s your favorite thing to eat for breakfast?

Cinnamon rolls. 

yas yas yas

Mmmmm… eggs. I love eggs.

9. What was the first ever book to make you cry?

I have no clue. I used to cry about everything and now it takes a lot to make me cry. Unless I’m watching The Lion King. Seriously, I cried three times. I’ll put a short top three here of books that made me cry the hardest. 

  1. The Book Thief
  2. A Monster Calls
  3. I’ll Give You the Sun (because I hate it)

The first book that made me cry (that I remember) was Old Yeller. I have a distinct memory of my mom driving around the block for a long ass time while I was sobbing in the back over the ending.

10. Name a few of your favorite bloggers.

I mainly watch Booktubers, but honestly, I really enjoy reading people’s blogs, reviews, and tags. I definitely get motivated to read when I read what other people are reading. 

Jesus, seriously? I don’t know. (Where I am, it’s 7:30 AM and I haven’t had all my coffee yet and processing things is not happening.)

Jesus is a great blogger. 

I have found a new path for us:

Image result for jesus as a blogger

Oh, Lord. 

I also found this picture and am really confused.

Image result for jesus as a blogger

Irony?? 

11. Favorite day of the week?

gotta-get-down-on-friday-rebecca-black

Oh yes. I went there. 

Goddammit, Chantel.

Image result for liam neeson gif i will find you

Sunday. It’s my day to treat myself.

I mean, I legit like that song and I want to share it with the world because Friday is an amazing day. 

I’m pretty sure I punched the last person who played that. We’re friends, but I will not hesitate.

Hey now, it’s a good thing you are on the other side of the country.  


Since we usually don’t tag people, we’ll leave 11 questions you can feel free and answer in the comments or just say we tagged you and post it on your blog. Go ahead, we’ll be okay with it.

1. What was a book you threw across the room in anger?

2. Do you prefer actual books or e-readers?

3. Have you ever been to a con? (Comic-Con, Dragon Con, BookExpo, etc.)

4. What is your process for picking out books to read?

5. What was your favorite book setting?

6. What is a book you wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole?

7. What is your dream job?

8. What is one place you would love to travel to and why?

9. What is your favorite subject to learn about?

10. Have you ever read a book that you knew you wouldn’t like just to rant about things?

11. Do you have something random/weird that you geek out about?

 

Queens of the Conquest by Alison Weir

Queens of the Conquest (England's Medieval Queens)

(Caidyn)

4/5

I received this book from Netgalley for an honest review.

Buckle in children. This is going to be a long review. I’m half tempted to get my APA ass out and do sections since my outline for this is just about three pages long, and that’s not including quotes (although since this is an ARC, quotes are likely to change and I should check to make sure they’re in the published version by my lazy ass will not) and me going into more detail.

My review structure is going to be pretty simple. Weir broke this into five sections and there are, technically, only four queens. I’m just going to sort of go with her sections. Also, head’s up. 4/5 queens are named Matilda. I’m sorry. Please imagine me trying to read this behemoth and keep all the names straight. Weir actually changed one of the queens known to history as Matilda to Maud so she wouldn’t confuse people as much.


“The Queen of England occupied a powerful and socially desirable position. Her status was reflected in every aspect of the ritual and ceremonial that surrounded her and governed her life; and she would have been aware of the weight of responsibility that brought with it. A queen had to be the embodiment of piety, beyond reproach morally, the guardian of the royal bloodline, a gentle and moderate mediator in the conflicts of men and a helpmeet to her husband. Her virtue was exemplified by her chastity and humility, her charity and her acts of mercy.”

Matilda of Flanders

“Though often apart, [Matilda and William] clearly worked in unison for the general benefit of their realms, and trusted each other.”

Before this book, I sadly hadn’t heard of the first Matilda. However, I know a lot about her husband, William the Conqueror. Really, Matilda was really the first modern queen. She made the model of how queens should act throughout time. She was a fantastic leader, helping her husband while also being a regent in Normandy with her son. The quarells that William had with his eldest were straightened out by her. She was a religious leader and founded so many places, bringing her own children in as nuns. As I said, she was a good mother and took care for her children. She was a patron to so many different places, religious and otherwise. Really, Matilda is a woman to be admired since she succeeded in a very modern way in a male-dominated world. Personally, I loved her and definitely want to read more books about her.

The only thing was her marriage to William. It was a bit fucked up. I mean, she didn’t want to marry him so he came and beat her up, then she said she wanted to marry him for that reason. I thought it was great propaganda but really fucked up.

Matilda of Scotland

“Chronicles would call the new Queen ‘the second Matilda’; like the first, she set an example of devout queenship that would be emulated by her successors.”

Another Matilda. Technically, her name was Edith and when she married Henry I her name got changed. I thought that she modeled herself after her mother-in-law and her own mother. She was extremely religious in nature, washing the sick’s feet. It made me wonder whether that queenly tradition started with her.

However, this part wasn’t exactly about her. There was a big controversy before her marriage that took up her time. Then there was a huge part of the Investiture Controversey where she took the side against her husband, then had to try to warm him up. There was a bit of stage setting for the eventual civil war between Maud (who will come later) and Stephen.

Weir also made some claims that she didn’t follow up on. Such as, her being oppressive in taxation. It was mentioned quite a few times, yet never followed up. Weir focused more on her religiosity. She was friends with Anselm of Canterbury, who’s pretty famous for his proof for God. As I said earlier, she mixed in on the controversy over who has the right to invest bishops with their titles. When she died, she almost became a saint. Pretty impressive, right?

Adeliza of Louvain

“Adeliza would be remembered as ‘the May withouten vice.’ She was young and untried, and was to play virtually no public role in politics.”

If there was ever an antithesis to the first two queens, this was it. When Matilda of Scotland died, Henry I remarried to Adeliza. Her whole point was to produce more legitimate children. With Matilda of Scotland, he had two children. He had tons of illegitimate children as well. Adeliza did not have any children with Henry I and, even worse, Henry lost his only son and had to settle his heir on a woman, Maud, who had been married to the Holy Roman Emperor and stayed in the Germanic territories until he died and left her a widow.

This section wasn’t about Adeliza, quite honestly. This section was setting the stage by explaining who Stephen was or about Maud. She never did anything religious as a queen and she wasn’t involved in government. The later section actually talked more about her. With her second husband, she had children. Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard actually claim her as a descendant through those children. In her second marriage, she also created religious houses and issued charters.

Matilda of Boulogne and Empress Maud

“The energetic Queen Matilda proved a formidable political opponent to the Empress. The two women had much in common: both were strong characters, heiresses with royal Saxon blood and nieces of King David of Scots. Both were married to forceful, acquisitive men, and ambitious for their sons.”

This last real section combined both the queens involved in the civil war. After Henry I died, Maud was supposed to inherit the throne. However, she was with her husband (more on him later) and Stephen jumped at the chance and took the throne. From there, it turned into a civil war.

Henry really undermined Maud’s cause, honestly. I think she would have made a great queen and the toils of war were what caused her to act as she did. First, he married her off to a man eleven years younger than her without getting support from anyone in England. Second, he never involved her in politics. Third, she had to spend time with her husband rather than be in England to make a presence. So, she got fucked over. When she was in the war, the English largely viewed her as haughty and that she was pretending to be a man since she came to England as a woman alone. Her husband never supported her, but tried to win Normandy. She was literally alone and trying to navigate a poltical field that she had never been brought into. So, to me, Weir’s comment in the last chapter about Maud acting this way because of menopause was absolutely absurd. She was stressed out. Of course you do stupid things when you’re stressed out. Furthermore, why can’t you take a feminist reading. This is the time period when men’s domination over women was being formalized and it’s certainly down to the Bible and tradition that she was seen as unfit.

So, to me, Weir’s comment in the last chapter about Maud acting this way because of menopause was absolutely absurd. She was stressed out. Of course you do stupid things when you’re stressed out. Furthermore, why can’t you take a feminist reading. This is the time period when men’s domination over women was being formalized and it’s certainly down to the Bible and tradition that she was seen as unfit.

It was obvious that Matilda favored Maud, even though she treated both women evenly. Matilda was in about the same state as Maud, but she was backed up by her husband. She ruled while he fought. While Maud was seen as usurping her femaleness, Matilda was viewed as a queen ought to be. I think this quote sums it up better:

“In the eyes of male contemporaries, [Maud] had behaved in an imperious, unwomanly fashion, while at the same time manifesting the weaknesses of her sex. Queen Matilda, on the other hand, had shown herself as tough and thrusting as Maud, and men had praised her ‘manly courage,’ yet she had retained support because she acted in Stephen’s name, and won sympathy because she had to act alone while he was imprisoned.”

Maud made the same mistakes Stephen made, yet they were interpreted differently through history. Her mistakes were because she was a woman unused to doing this. Stephen made these mistakes because they were an accident. Maud just didn’t have anyone to help her out like Matilda did.

My concluding thoughts are that this book is good, but focused a lot on men or people other than some of the queens. Perhaps this book would have been better as separate biographies on the women, not like they were. The ending totally pissed me off and left me with a bad taste in my mouth since I definitely think it’s appropriate to read history through a feminist lens.

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie

Murder on the Orient Express

(Caidyn)

4.5/5

So, this is my third time reading this. Don’t expect a huge analysis or anything. Plus, doing that would just give away the fun of the mystery, you know?

I love Poirot. I think that he’s the best character Agatha Christie wrote and I will fight you on it. I’ve seen every single episode of Poirot (and am super pissed about Netflix taking off the first, like, eight seasons). I’ve read some of the books/short stories. This reread was for myself, not for the movie. At this moment, I’m really unsure whether I’ll go and see the movie. I saw it was coming out and decided it was time for a reread.

The mystery is brilliant. Again, probably one of the best that Christie wrote. The first time I read it, I remember being really stumped about it since there were so many suspects but none of the clues matched up to my prototypical murder. This being my third time, the story is literally peppered with clues and there’s great foreshadowing. Not only that, but if you listen to the audiobook version like I did, the reader is fantastic with all the different characters.

The characters themselves were all super distinct. There are over 12 of them and I never once got them mixed up for one another. I think that’s a good mark for the reader since even when I reread stuff, I can get people mixed up in my head.

It’s seriously a great book. Even if you’re not that into mysteries, I’d suggest you read it since Christie is out of this world. And it makes me want to read all of her Poirot series (including ones I’ve already read) instead of doing productive things, like read books I haven’t read.

Moriarty by Anthony Horowitz

Moriarty (Sherlock Holmes #2)

(Caidyn)

DNF at 63%
1.5/5

This is the sequel to The House of Silk. My review of it can be found here.

I’m starting this review off with a question that I had throughout all that I read. How did this get published? Seriously. How? This is classified as a Holmes pastiche. There was no Holmes. There was no Watson. There was even no Moriarty. There were just original characters and some minor characters from the Holmes stories.

Granted, I’ll give the publisher this: Horowitz is well-known and he’s a good writer. Just like I enjoyed The House of Silk for its writing being from the period, this is in the same vein. It’s also very unique since it’s all minor characters that are woven around the aftermath of Reichenbach Falls. It’s also intriguing since you sort of want to see how it turns out. Or, I did until I reached a point where I figured out I just didn’t care.

What frustrated me was the fact that Horowitz decided to call this a Holmes pastiche. Just make it an original story since the whole thing is carried by an original character and the one major character in this that was from the Holmes stories is so original and liberties were taken that it doesn’t even recognize him. Make it an original story. You can still keep a lot of the backstory of it, honestly.

Then, things just got ridiculous. Detective Jones (the only character that was major) just came off a tad too much for me. He felt unreal. I liked his character up until discovering his background. Sure, it made sense. But it just felt unreal to me and made me step away from the story. Then there’s the preposterousness of a character that was basically an American Moriarty and terrible representation of agoraphobia.

Really, I got to a point where I didn’t care anymore. I couldn’t name any characters and I had been jolted out of the story too many times to actually think about how off it felt that I wasn’t going to continue with it. Too bad since this is written very well.

First Line Friday

Where the fuck did this week go, guys? I mean, seriously. This has to be a joke. Anyways, happy fall!

Image result for fall gifs

Caidyn will be in blue.

Chantel will be in purple and damn I love that gif. 


 

There was a hand in the darkness, and it held a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately.

The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.

The street door was still open, just a little, where the knife and the man who held it slipped in and wisps of nighttime mist slithered and twined into the house through the open door.

I jumped right in this time. I mean, it’s finally fall. This is an actual picture of me today:

THAT IS SO FUCKING CUUUUUUTE!

Dis good

So, it being fall at long last, I’m picking another book that I’m going to read sometime soon to get myself in that mood. Some hints about it

  • It’s a kids book.
  • It’s written by a well-known author.
  • It takes place in a graveyard.

Enough hints.

It is…..

THE GRAVEYARD BOOK BY NEIL GAIMAN

The Graveyard Book

While Neil Gaiman isn’t my favorite author, I do really love his craft and how he is such a good storyteller even when I’m not that into the story. Years ago, I listened to this book while at work and found it an okay one. Nothing special, really. So, I want to reread it since I’m such in the mood for fall this year.


The world changes faster than we can fathom in ways that are complicated. These bewildering changes often leave us raw. The cultural climate is shifting, particularly for women as we contend with the retrenchment of reproductive freedom, the persistence of rape culture, and the flawed if not damaging representations of women we’re consuming in music, movies, and literature. 


This week went by so quickly and I am struggling to keep myself awake so I’m being lazy this week with First Lines Friday and picking a book I’m currently reading because I couldn’t be bothered to do any research. 

So right now I am reading two books with feminist themes and to avoid spoiling my review of either by saying how I feel about them, I’ll just say that this book was published in 2014 and is still relevant three years later. This is a nice thing, but it doesn’t always mean the book is enjoyable or interesting.

Anyway. This week I chose…

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

cover-bad feminist

This book is a collection of essays by Roxane Gay and I’ve only gotten through the first section of the book, but moving forward I am interested to see what she’s got to say in terms of gender, sexuality, and race. Oh, and by the way, I am really enjoying this book so far. Not so much the other book I’m currently reading. 

Blogger Recognition Award

Chantel brought it to Caidyn’s attention (because he fails at looking at things and liking things and being a good follower like everyone else is) that we got nominated for something! Yay! So, a huge thank you to Hannah!! Seriously, we so appreciate it and love knowing that there are people who really enjoy this blog.

If you guys don’t follow Hannah, you totally should. She’s a really funny one and literally makes us laugh when we read her posts. She knows how to work her humor, something that we both can appreciate since we try to bring that into our stuff.

The Rules:

  • Thank your nominator
  • Tell us about how your blog got started
  • Offer 2 recommendations for your fellow bloggers
  • Recognize 10 more wonderful bloggers
  • Let your nominees know you’ve recognized them

Caidyn will be in blue.
Chantel will be in whatever color she wants since she changes it all the fucking time.


HOW WE STARTED

Little known fact, but I actually have started a blog a million times. But I never saw the point since I have Goodreads. I have a good following on there, something I’ve built up over years and am definitely proud of. Perhaps it’s not amazing when you look at other people, but it’s something I feel grateful for every day.

So, I started blogs and wound up deleting them since I just didn’t see the point.

However, Chantel texted me sometime in December 2016 about doing a little “book club”. We started it in January and went on with some plans. Then, Chantel texted me again. She tossed out that we do a blog together, so, I agreed. And then it evolved to where it is now.

And literally that day I created the blog. It all happened very quickly. For those who aren’t in the know, Caidyn and I have never met in person because we live on the other side of the country from each other. We originally met online roleplaying about BBC Sherlock, a show that neither of us has any interest in watching anymore, and from there we talked outside of the roleplays and the rest is history. It’s not really an exciting story, but if I missed anything feel free to add, Caidyn. 

No, it’s not too exciting of a story. I just remember setting up the OOC thread all because we had an issue with the RP that was making things difficult and that’s how we became friends. We always know that we can take criticism and feedback from each other because of that, I think. That’s how we got to know one another, fixing a problem. And that sort of shows in how we interact with one another.


THE RECOMMENDATIONS

My recommendation is that you don’t force it. Seriously, if you don’t feel like blogging, don’t do it. Or try something new. Step back from reviewing books and try doing something more personal. Maybe talk about things. As my coworkers like to randomly shout while they’re packing boxes: “If it don’t fit, don’t force it!” (Usually, it’s shouted/sung. And it’s horrendous. Sadly, it pops into my head often as words of wisdom.)

I would absolutely agree with Caidyn’s recommendation. We haven’t posted a lot lately because we are both busy and I know I personally am in a reading slump. I’m glad that we have First Lines Friday to keep us active, but it’s okay to take a break every once in awhile. 

Exactly, and I know that I’m not going to post my college blogging series for a while since I have nothing to add or talk about. If anyone has anything they want me to write up how I handle something, feel free to ask.

My recommendation is something that I think Caidyn would agree with and it sounds a bit cliche, but blog for yourself and not for the followers. By this I mean, try not to get bogged down by how many followers you do or do not have. I think our followers are great and interactive, but even if we didn’t have any I would still be doing this because I need to talk about books. It encourages me to read more and I’m thinking critically about the books I’m reading. Plus, every once in awhile we do a fun tag where we bicker or we post something personal. A blog can be anything you want it to be, but remember that it’s for you. 

Yes! Definitely blog for yourself. I used to write fanfiction and I always wanted to please the readers. Then, one day, I decided I wanted to write a story for me and it was probably one of my most popular stories. Alas, I never finished it, but it still lives on. I know that, in the future, I wouldn’t be averse to doing other posts besides the tags we get or book reviews. Chantel’s passionate about movies, after all. I’m passionate about other things than books. Do whatever feels right to you. It’s your blog, not someone else’s.

That’s exactly how I approach writing. I’m only going to write stories I’m interested in, period. That being said, I don’t have a lot of motivation to write a lot of the time, this blog is about as much writing as I get done. I wouldn’t mind branching out in the future too. This is a place to explore different things, after all. 


OUR NOMINATIONS

I think this is actually our least favorite parts of doing these tags. Everyone we know has been tagged and it leaves us in an awkward position since we don’t want to double-tag people and all of that.

So, what we’re going to do is let you guys do this if you want. Anyone who follows us or sees this or anything. Feel free to make your own post or, even better, give us recommendations in the comments. We always love a good bit of feedback!

Rose City Comic Con 2017

(Chantel)

As I announced in last week’s First Lines Friday, I attended Rose City Comic Con in Portland. I know it was a week ago, but it had been a long week getting back to work and I didn’t have a lot of motivation to do anything. However, I’ve recovered a bit and I’m ready to talk about some of the things I saw and bought at RCCC.

The con went from Friday until Sunday and while I went Friday and Saturday, I needed to recover before work on Monday so I didn’t attend on Sunday. Sometimes you just need a rest day.

Just for shits and giggles, here is a selfie from Friday and this is the shirt I was wearing. It was the official RCCC shirt from last year and I love this shirt. I don’t wear it outside of any cons and I was excited to wear it again.

Here is a selfie from Saturday and the shirt I was wearing.

Now, I love this shirt. It’s one of my favorite shirts, if not my favorite shirt. It’s puffy, it’s the Tardis, and it’s fantastic. I bought this at Wizard World Comic Con in February from the booth of J&R Apparels. I linked to their website if you want to check out other puffy shirts they have. Their shirts are really cool and super comfy. I highly recommend.

Also, my eyes look weird in that picture, but I’m gonna roll with it.

Saturday is also the day I bought the majority of prints and books. I didn’t get much so this is a fairly small haul, but I want to share some of the things with you and will include links to the artist if possible.

Books: 

Niobe: She is Life #1 

Written by: Amandla Stenberg & Sebastian A. Jones

Illustrated by: Ashley A. Woods & Darrell May

Edited by: Joshua Cozine

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I had not heard about Niobe at all before, but it’s a graphic novel from Stranger Comics and I was sold when I was told the concept of the graphic novel. The art on the front is gorgeous enough and it was written by Amandla Stenberg from The Hunger Games and Everything, Everything. I didn’t get to meet Amandla, the autographs on the graphic novel are from the Sebastian A. Jones and Darrell May. I look forward to reading this in the future. I am trying to read more graphic novels (since I’m not really a fan of comics and graphic novels…yet) so it makes sense that I would walk away from a Comic-Con with at least one graphic novel.

Ardulum: First Don by J.S. Fields

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I think one of the highlights of the convention for me was going to a panel of queer authors and listening to them talk about how important representation on the page is. I went to the booth they were at after another panel. Not only was I happy to get LGBTQ+ book recommendations I’d never heard of before, but to meet queer authors that had books published was a lot of fun. I ended up buying Ardulum from J.S. Fields, but I definitely wanted to buy L.M. Pierce’s book, Trans Liberty Riot Brigade and while I didn’t I do plan on buying/reading in the future. I am always for buying and promoting queer author’s works. 

Prints:

Artist: Jason W. Christman

I really love minimalist prints and this R2-D2 and Tardis print are two of my favorites. I knew I wasn’t walking away from this booth without getting the R2-D2 print. The Tardis print is absolutely gorgeous and I can’t wait to get frames for these and hang them up. 

Artist: Bruce Brenneise

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These two prints caught my eye as I was walking around, trying my best to look around me while everyone else was trying to move forward. The landscape is gorgeous and I love the ship in the top one. These prints are absolutely stunning in my opinion and I’m very glad I was able to buy these from the artist who was kind enough to hold them for me until I was ready to leave so I didn’t have to carry them all day. 

And finally: 

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This year I got the Stranger Things themed Comic-Con shirt. I knew the moment I saw it, I wanted it. They actually had a large variety of shirts this year, but this was the one I wanted. I could’ve gotten the Sasquatch one to match last year’s, but I like having something completely different. Even though I didn’t get to wear it this year, I will wear it next year for sure. 

That is everything I bought at Comic-Con, however, I want to show off one more thing. Even though I didn’t meet any celebrities this year or get any autographs, I went to a panel and I’ll just leave these pictures here. No matter how hard they might be to see. 

I don’t know how good those look, but if you don’t recognize them that is James and Oliver Phelps who played Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter films. It was really fun to watch them answer questions and talk about their experiences during, before, and after the Harry Potter films. 

The reason I posted about my weekend at Comic-Con was to demonstrate that someone who isn’t good with crowds and feels very socially awkward can go to a large event like this and still enjoy themselves. It’s definitely not for everyone and Saturday I felt very overwhelmed, yet I still had a great time. One day, I’d like to find a con buddy, but I’m not going to let that stop me from doing something I enjoy.