Not Just Books: September 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

mv5bmjm3mjq1mzkxnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwodk1odgymji-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “Baby Driver”

The name alone is confusing for this one. Add to that a very low level marketing scheme for a summer movie, and you couldn’t be blamed for blinking in confusion at this entry. But let me tell you, if you enjoy action movies, especially ones with good car chases ala “The Bourne Identiy,” this is the movie for you. It’s all about Baby, a young man with some definite driving skills who gets caught up in a criminal underworld filled with unhinged bank robbers. Beyond the superb action scenes, this movie has a killer soundtrack. And without spoiling the movie, the soundtrack doesn’t exist to simply backup the movie’s action, but plays a rather pivotal role in the story itself. Sound ambiguous? Good! Check it out and find out what I mean!

mv5bmtewmduymzgyndveqtjeqwpwz15bbwu4mdq3odu3odiy-_v1_sy1000_cr006661000_al_TV Show: “Outlander”

Droughtlander is over! Finally! It’s been almost two years since Season 2 ended with Claire and Jaime being torn apart by the centuries that exist between their own time periods. Confession: I didn’t even finish Season 2 until just this summer purely because I knew that it ended on, essentially, a cliffhanger. And since it took forever and a day for this third season to make it to our screens, I feel like this was the right choice. My other confession is that I haven’t read the books this series is based on. But from a non-reader perspective, this show definitely stands on its own, full of historical drama, romance, and two outstanding lead characters. If you like period piece dramas with a heavy dose of romance (and can stand some heavy stuff, cuz this show definitely doesn’t shy away from that), definitely check out the first two seasons, and now the few first episodes of season three, of “Outlander.”

mv5bmtcynteyoty0m15bml5banbnxkftztgwotaynzu3mdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “The LEGO Batman Movie”

This is late coming, but I sadly missed getting to see this while it was in theaters, so I’ve been patiently monitoring my Netflix DVD queue to move it up to the top once it was released. And I’m glad I did! As we all know, here at Library Ladies, we’re definitively Team Superman. But, in many ways, that’s what makes this movie so perfect for me! My biggest complaint about Batman, and especially the more recent movies with him, is the overly serious take they had on this hero. Not so here. All of Batman’s flaws are played perfectly and hilariously! It’s also chock full of references to other iterations of Batman that we’ve seen in comics, TV, and movies. I’m sure I didn’t catch them all, but those I did were great. Robin and the Joker were great foils to Batman, and in many ways, these relationships had much more heart than we’ve seen in any relationships given to us with past versions of the character. Definitely worth seeing if you (like me) have been living under the rock for the last 6 months and somehow missed this one.

Kate’s Picks:

mv5bmtg2mzi0ntq3ov5bml5banbnxkftztgwodmymzc1mde-_v1_uy1200_cr9306301200_al_TV Show: “Bob’s Burgers”

Last summer I binged through the first couple of seasons of the hilarious and actually kind of heartwarming show “Bob’s Burgers”, but it tapered off when Netflix ran out of episodes. I’ve picked it up again, though, and it’s still such a great sitcom that I’ve been obsessing over making my way through it until there aren’t any more episodes to watch. The Belchers are such a funny and eccentric, but absolutely loving, family, and I love watching the shenanigans that they get into as they run a burger restaurant. It’s hard to pick a favorite because all of them are great, but Mom Linda and Daughter Louise are probably the characters who make me laugh the most. I do have to say that there is a certain, relatable something to awkward and somewhat odd teenager Tina, though, and I really do have to applaud the show for giving us a teenage girl that is comfortable with who she is and has no qualms about her eccentricities. “Bob’s Burgers” is a real hoot.

mv5bmjazmte1nzqxnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjcwody3mti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Movie: “Everything, Everything”

Though my usual book fare doesn’t contain much on the romance front, every once in a blue moon I stumble into a book that is both romantic, and appealing to me. I absolutely LOVED Nicola Yoon’s book “Everything, Everything” (putting it on my Top Ten list in 2016), and was interested in seeing the movie. I ended up watching it twice on our long plane trips to and from New Zealand, because I couldn’t get enough. While there are some small differences, it’s still the story of Madeline, a girl raised indoors her entire life because she was diagnosed with SCID, an autoimmune disorder. When Ollie moves in next door and they start communicating via internet and text, she starts to want more from her life. Amandla Stenberg is the perfect Maddie, and her chemistry with the adorable Nick Robinson is supercharged. It’s romantic and sad and I just really like it.

maxresdefaultTV Show: “American Horror Story: Cult”

To be quite honest, I have a very love/hate relationship with the horror anthology series “American Horror Story.” Some seasons I loved (“Coven”), others I thought tried way too hard to be edgy (“Murder House,” “Asylum”), and others I was solidly meh on (… the rest?). But I keep coming back, and this time it’s “Cult.” Sure, I still find it a bit on the ‘trying too hard’ side in some ways, but then there are other things about it that I really like (Billie Lorde and Billy Eichner specifically). While I’m not sure that my opinion of it will end up like my deep love for “Coven” or my disdain/ indifference towards other seasons, I do know that as of right now I’m entertained. And really, that’s all that matters when it comes to this show. I AM STILL HOLDING OUT HOPE FOR FINN WITROCK TO MAKE AN APPEARANCE, THOUGH.

 

Not Just Books: August 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

screen-shot-2017-07-11-at-14-45-31Netflix Series Trailer: “Stranger Things” Season 2

I get chills just watching this! I absolutely loved the first season (so much so that I re-watched it on a binge with my husband in a hotel during our honeymoon. We needed a break from the site seeing! And it was really good! I will defend this choice forever). This trailer is the perfect balance of giving viewers everything they could want. Familiar characters, but with new challenges. Stakes (and monsters) that are bigger than ever. The music is on point, the visuals are stunning, and it doesn’t seem to have lost anything from one season to this (the biggest worry always with second seasons). I love that it looks like we will get so much more from Will, who was largely just missing the entire first season.

mv5bmjm0mdyzoda1mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwnde5mtkxnde-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_TV Show: “Justified”

I’m not hugely into Westerns. I think I read one Louis L’Amour years ago and was pretty “meh” about the whole experience. However, I discovered “Justified” earlier this spring and have been steadily consuming it almost nightly ever since. Two things make this series stand out in my mind: 1.) The casting. Timothy Olyphant is pitch perfect as Raylan Givens, a jaded, trigger happy, Kentucky marshal. And Walton Goggins makes you root for the “villain” of the story almost just as strongly as you do for Raylan. 2.) The writing. The dialogue in this series is smart, quick, and leaves you wishing you had thought of that line. Goggins, in particular, has a way of stringing words together that makes them come out sounding almost like poetry.

a1c70sokgklColoring Book Artist: Joanna Basford

It’s been a busy, busy summer. Between traveling and finishing our basement, I’ve been in desperate need of some forced relaxation. Enter: Joanna Basford and her gorgeous artwork in her adult coloring book series. I loved coloring as a kid, and I’m not quite sure why I thought that I had to stop as an adult. But this last year when I realized that there is a thriving market for adult coloring books, I was beyond ecstatic. It took me hardly any time to realize that Joanna Basford is pretty much the reigning queen in this arena. And for good reason! Her images are beautiful, creative, and intricate enough that it can take days to finish coloring one page. One of my favorite things to do recently has been to color a page from “The Enchanted Forest” book I own while listening to my audiobook. Have to get that reading in, too, you know!

Kate’s Picks:

250px-mpgisWeb Series: “The Most Popular Girls in School”

I’m late to the train on this one, but “The Most Popular Girls in School” is a hilarious and vulgar web series about cheerleaders and popular girls being snide to each other. And on top of that, it’s all stop motion with Barbies. Yep, you read that right. Awful nasty popular girls as played by stop motion Barbies. From the rage filled cheerleader Brittnay Matthews, to the aloof and unbothered new girl Deandra, to the bubble headed Parisian (but possibly Québécois) Saison Margueritte, the characters are outrageous and hilarious. It’s very much a hybrid of “Mean Girls” and “South Park”, and I can’t get enough of it.

wet_hot_american_summer___tv_show_folder_icon_v1_by_dyiddo-d9022iiNetflix Series Re-Watch: “Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp”

“Wet Hot American Summer” is my favorite movie of all time. I had promised some of my girlfriends that I would hold off on watching its newest miniseries, “Ten Years Later,” until I could watch it with them. So the night that that one dropped, I instead re-watched the first sequel series, “First Day of Camp.” And gosh, it’s still filled with joy, absurdity, and a great cast with great comedy to boot. Most of the (HUGE) original cast came back, including Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Bradley Cooper (whose romance with Michael Ian Black in the movie is given an origin story here, and yes, it’s just as sweet as you’d think), and on top of that there are many, many cameos from other comedic players. It perfectly captures the joy of the movie, more so than “Ten Years Later” (yes I did end up watching it). Watching “First Day of Camp” and then “Wet Hot American Summer” is the perfect way to close out your own summer.

mindhunter-696x324Netflix Series Trailer: “Mindhunter”

My love of true crime has really been given a LOT to work with lately. Between the “My Favorite Murder” Podcast and a number of pretty neat true crime books coming out, my guilty pleasure has been well sated. And now Netflix is coming out with “Mindhuter”, a series about two FBI Agents (one played by Jonathan Groff) who try to study and profile serial killers. On top of that, it’s based on a book written by John Douglas! This trailer is creepy and unsettling, but it also has some familiar faces in it for me, in terms of the killers they are going to be tackling (hey hey, Edmund Kemper you crazy son of a bitch!). I really like Jonathan Groff, and I like that this takes place during a time when serial killer and psychopathic pathology weren’t really understood. I have a feeling I’ll need to watch this with the lights on, because the trailer is freaky enough on its own.

 

 

Not Just Books: July 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

mv5bntk4odq1mzgznl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmtmymzm4mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006581000_al_Movie: “Spider-man: Homecoming”

I know I for one was a pretty skeptical when this movie was announced. I love super heroes as much as the next guy. To be honest, probably more than the next guy, but even I had to role my eyes at the idea of having three Spider-man origin stories presented for us on the big screen over 15 years essentially. But after seeing “Captain America: Civil War” and loving Tom Holland’s brief cameo in the role, I was a bit more on board. All of this to say…set your skepticism aside, folks, turns out they can give us something new with this character after all! The true game changers of this movie are the wise casting (Tom Holland is perfect in both iterations of the character), wise story decisions (thank god we didn’t get another Uncle Ben dying “with great power blah blah blah” scene), and wise plots (this is truly a story about a highschool boy as a superhero, and the only version of the three that rings true to the day-to-day challenges and life of a boy this age). Add on a great villain with Michael Keaton’s Vulture, and you’ve got a great summer flick! Definitely check it out if you like superhero movies of any kind!

mv5bmjezmjyzmdq0mv5bml5banbnxkftztcwnze1otm5ng-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “Chronicle”

This movie came out in 2012, but my husband and I only got to it this last month. And man, if we knew how good it was, we would have done it sooner! I didn’t really know what to expect from this. It’s a small production, “found footage” type film about three teens who discover a strange cave and emerge with powers. From the sound of it, it could have been quite trite and cheesy. But man, not only is the “found footage” aspect done extremely well (I’m not usually a fan of this medium), but the film tackles some dark topics amidst its super powers action scenes. It’s also incredibly funny and heart felt. I really can’t recommend this film enough. Bonus points for it being set in Seattle, my old stomping ground!

game_of_thrones_title_cardTV Show: “Game of Thrones”

One of us had to do it, so this time it’s me! Obviously both Kate and I are huge fans of “Game of Thrones.” I’m there for all the high fantasy political action, Kate’s there for the dragons, we’re both there for the eye candy (don’t tell our significant others). While I’m super bummed that this is a shorter season than the last several, I’m also exorbitantly pleased to see a show taking the correct approach to story telling: tell the story, complete with beginning, middle, and, most importantly, an end. All too often massively popular shows attempt to drag on for forever to the detriment of the quality and sense of their own story. There’s tons to get through in these last two short seasons, but I’m hopeful that they’ll be able to wrap it all up in a, I wont’ say “happy,” but, satisfying way.

Kate’s Picks:

mv5bmji1mdexodg0mv5bml5banbnxkftztgwmji4mta2mji-_v1_uy1200_cr9006301200_al_Netflix Show: “GLOW”

I love me some 1980s nostalgia trips, and thanks to my husband I’ve found a certain joy from watching the over the top glory and soapiness that is pro-wrestling. So it’s really no surprise, I’d imagine, that both he and I were super into the new Netflix show “GLOW,” a fictionalized origin story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Along with the pretty impressive and always entertaining wrestling moves and in ring antics, we also get the stories of some pretty well rounded women who, living in the 1980s, are trying to succeed in an entertainment industry that doesn’t take women very seriously. Alison Brie as Ruth is, of course, a delight, but there are also a lot of wonderful newcomers that all give their characters a whole lot of backstory, motivation, and complexity. I cannot wait for Season 2.

nosleep-podcast-s4-logo_1400Podcast: “The No Sleep Podcast”

Looking for some original and deeply unsettling horror stories for your commute, gym visits, or doing chores around the house? Then do I have the podcast for you! The “No Sleep Podcast” selects some of the best stories from the Reddit board “No Sleep” and dramatizes them, turning them into a radio drama for the horror geek. I’ve been on the “No Sleep” board a number of times, and while there are definitely ways to find really good stories there, sometimes you have to dig. With this podcast, they do the digging for you, and give them an eerie ambiance with how they tell them. I’ve been devouring my way through the seasons, each episode being about two to three stories each (and if you are willing to pay for it, you can access even more stories), and have found some VERY scary gems within. Listen if you dare, but I don’t recommend doing so late at night.

headerVideo Game: “Stardew Valley”

I was at a Sci-Fi/Fantasy convention at the beginning of the month, and while I was there I became privy to a very chill video game called “Stardew Valley”. In this game you are a person who has just inherited a plot of farmland from your grandfather, and have to become a farmer and to join the community of Pelican Town in Stardew Valley. It’s kind of like “The Sims” meets “Farmville”, with some “Zelda” thrown in for good measure. It’s a very laid back and relaxing game, just the thing that I need when the world gets to be a bit too much. You can pretty much decide what your gaming experience is going to be; you can farm, or fish, or go exploring in caves, or make friends and possible romances as well. I really like the open sandbox design of the plot, and the look of it feels like something out of a Super Nintendo era game. If you are in need of a video game that is super relaxing and incredibly charming, “Stardew Valley” may be the right match for you.

Not Just Books: June 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Joint Pick

mv5bndfmzjgymtetytk5mc00nmy0lwjhzjktowy2mzi5yjkzodnlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvymda4nzmyoa-_v1_sy1000_sx675_al_Movie: “Wonder Woman”

We bought tickets to this super in advance because we knew, WE KNEW, it was going to be awesome. So just imagine our smug self-satisfaction when we walked out of the theater knowing that the DC flop fest had ended at last. And with a female superhero’s story none the less! The hype is real with this one, folks. Not only is Diana Prince/Wonder Woman fabulous, her supporting cast of characters all fit together perfectly. Want to feel empowered, ladies? Go see this movie.

 

Serena’s Picks:

 mv5bmwy3ntljmjetyzrimi00nwm2ltkznjitztvmzje0mtdjmjjhl2ltywdll2ltywdlxkeyxkfqcgdeqxvyntq4ntc5otu-_v1_TV Show: “Sherlock”

While I will admit that “Elementary” is my preferred go-to Sherlock Holmes TV show (mostly because I love Johnny Lee Miller and Lucy Lu’s Watson is a unique element to the tried and tru duo), my husband and I started watching the BBC “Sherlock” this month on Netflix. We’re now on the third season, and I’m warming up to the series as Sherlock becomes less of a jerk and Mycroft’s snarky British greatness really comes to the forefront. Though we did just finish the historical piece that re-imagines the series set back in the books’ original time period, which, for a historical fiction junky like me, just made the transition back to modern times all the more painful! Why did they have to torture me with “what ifs” and an historical version that I probably would have preferred?!

mrhpdh-cover-819x1024Blog: Mark Reads “Harry Potter”

The obsession with this blog continues! Last month I obsessively read Mark’s growing horror at the “Twilight” books all while muttering to myself “It gets even worse! Just wait for the next book!” So this month I got to experience the opposite side of book-feelings while reading Mark’s growing love affair with the “Harry Potter” series all while muttering to myself “It gets even better! Just wait for the next book!” I know it’s kind of a cop out to highlight the same blog twice in a row, but the reviews of these two series were such complete opposite ends of the spectrum that it felt like a completely different beast this second time around. And the one thing better than reading about someone hate-read a series you disliked, is reading about some fall in love with a series you adored.

Kate’s Picks:

p13713169_b_v8_aaTV Show: “Twin Peaks: The Return”

Remember how I said I hoped I’d be able to finally put this on my highlights? Thanks to my Mom and her generosity with her Showtime Anytime password, I CAN! “Twin Peaks” is back, and it’s crazier than ever. While it’s definitely feeling more “Eraserhead” than the original “Twin Peaks” at this point, I’m already hooked if only because of getting to see such favorites as Dale Cooper, Bobby Briggs, Albert Rosenfield, and (hopefully soon) Audrey Horne, aka my muse, back on my screen. It’s bananas and I just love it. We finally get to see where all of these characters have ended up after all these years, and while in some cases it’s very confusing (what is happening with Coop?!), in others it’s bittersweet and lovely (Bobby Briggs made me cry and I’m not ashamed).

e1c2bd0b5aa0a8d2fff1fe4aeb2ce4157761d9c2Netflix Show: “Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return”

Another ‘return’! So I was pretty well obsessed with “Mystery Science Theater 3000” when I was in college. I liked the snark, the retro trash movies they watched, and the characters (at least for awhile. I’m solidly a Joel girl and once the Mads leave I’m not interested anymore). So when I heard that Netflix was going to revive it, I was nervously hopeful. The good news is that while the revival isn’t going to live up to the golden days of Joel, the bots, and the Mads, it still has so much heart, great nerdy humor, and terrible movies to make fun of. Plus, while the new people (including Patton Oswalt and Felicia Day) are good, it’s fun seeing some of the original people pop up in cameos. If you like the original “MST3K”, this is a worthy revival!

 

 

Not Just Books: May 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

Movie: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

mv5bmtg2mzi1mtg3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwntu3nda2mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_

I will admit that I was one of those skeptics when I heard about the first “Guardians of the Galaxy” movie. I’m a DC fan, so I knew very little about the comics and from the description (a talking racoon?? a tree character??) I was like “Whelp! Disney/Marvel are finally showing their hands with this one! Money grabbing time!” But we all know how that stories ends! So this time, I also had worries, how could the sequel ever live up to the unexpected hilarity and quirkiness of the first one? But it did! It really did! In some ways, I would even go so far as to say that this is the stronger movie of the two, fixing up the few complaints I had from the first one, particularly in the improvement of its villain, always a weakness for Marvel. However, it is the spot on casting that carried the first movie and continues to carry the series with this one. Each character is given time to develop, as individuals, as friends, and as members of a wacky family, and each and every actor brings their A game to this feature. Definitely check this out in the theater if you possibly can!

TV Show: “Supernatural”

Supernatural_Staffel_12_PromoSPOILERS! I didn’t know what I was getting myself into when I started watching this show when it premiered during my early years at college. What it turned into was the one show that I have followed from beginning to….12 seasons later with more still coming! There have been some rough seasons here and there, but for the most part this show’s best talent is knowing its audience and consistently delivering with the spooks, the laughs, and the single man tears. Season 12 just wrapped up this month by shockingly killing off two main characters while trapping a few more in an alternative world. However, given the penchant for fan favorites to make miraculous, some would say dubious, returns, I’m mostly just curious to see how they will bring Castiel back to life. Crowley, on the other hand, might be gone for good?? But…but…what if Bobby came back? I mean, that’s a real possibility! Ugh, the fan girl spiral of speculation is happening! I’ll cut myself off now.

Blog: Mark Reads “Twilight”

 mrtwilightadIs it true schadenfreude to enjoy reading someone else’s misery while reading a book series that you also suffered through? Probably. But it’s also tons of fun. As a librarian, I of course understand and respect the fact that many people truly enjoy this series. I, however, demonstratively did not and while I will check this book out to anyone who asks me to, there is a good chance that if I see them again I will strongly recommend other, better, vampire fiction to sate this particular reading habit. All of this to say, sometimes I just need to be reassured that I’m not crazy and there are other people out there who recognize the madness that was this fad (a fad that we still see affecting the YA fantasy publishing world today). And, luckily for me, Mark was there with his hilarious, snarky, and at times downright despondent reviews of these books, chapter by chapter. I binge read this whole blog series in one afternoon and I’m not sorry.

Kate’s Picks:

220px-fargoseason3promoTV Show: “Fargo”

When it was first announced that FX was going to make a show inspired by the movie “Fargo,”  I was skeptical. Then Season 1 was very good, and Season 2 was phenomenal. Now we’re into Season 3 of this Anthology series that takes place in Minnesota, and “Fargo” is going as strong as ever. This time the eccentric criminals are being played by Ewan McGregor (who is playing twin brothers, one a parole officer and the other a parking lot mogul), Mary Elizabeth Winstead (who is a grifting card player), and David Thewlis (as a SCARY AS HELL British loan shark). And, of course, our noble law enforcement officer this season is played by Carrie Coon, who is trying to solve who murdered her stepfather. It’s darkly funny and very Minnesotan, so I’m glad it’s finally back.

unbreakable-kimmy-schmidt-season-3-update-premier-of-season-3-to-be-in-2017Netflix Series: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” Season 3

It was a long wait, but damn was it worth it, because “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is finally back!!!! I love the quirky and ridiculous humor of this show, about a woman who escaped from a doomsday cult and is living in New York City, with hilarious results. The characters on this show are all unique and funny, with the incomparable Titus Burgess playing the perfect foil to Ellie Kemper’s wide eyed heroine. Plus this season we get cameos from Daveed Diggs (schwing!), Maya Rudolph, and Jon Hamm returning as the evil (but charming) Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne.

twinpeaks_openingshotcreditsTV Show: “Twin Peaks” (the Original)

So you know how excited I was about the reboot of my favorite show of all time, “Twin Peaks”? Well, I’m still excited, but haven’t quite gained access to it yet as I don’t have Showtime. So instead of watching the new episodes I’ve been watching the original series all over again. What I love about “Twin Peaks” is that it is the perfect blend of small town soap, supernatural mystery, and quirky characters. From Kyle MacLachlan’s effervescent Dale Cooper to Sherilyn Fenn’s coquettish Audrey Horne to Ray Wise’s tragic Leland Palmer, the characters leap off the screen, and the stories unsettle and entice. I hope that the reboot brings all of this back, and that next month I’ll be able to list it as a highlight.

Not Just Books: April 2017

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Serena’s Picks:

FNV_box_art_(US)Video Game: “Fallout: New Vegas”
My husband and I both succumbed to a terrible cold last week and what better to get you through enforced couch time than a post apocalyptic, rather out dated, video game? We are still hold outs on the Xbox One, so our options for game play are stuck a bit in the past. However, as a fan of the “Fallout” series as a whole, I was excited to try out this game. While it is clear that this is a “.5” type game (not given the entire “Fallout” treatment of the full, numbered games in the series), the storyline was very compelling and the open world style was as fun to explore as ever.  If you’re a fan of Bethesda games and are looking for less of a commitment than some of the larger games out there, this is definitely worth checking out!

250px-survivor34logo

TV Show: “Survivor: Game Changers”

I warned you that my reality tv watching would make another appearance, and here we are! I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve watched every season of “Survivor.” The combination of the interesting physical challenges and the complex interpersonal strategy that make up this show has continuously drawn me in year after year. This season is notable for bringing back a few of my favorite players like Aubry (completely and utterly robbed of a win in her season due to bitter jury syndrome) and Malcom (a great player, but likely to never win as he is seen as too much of a threat to ever make it through).

MV5BMjE1ODgwOTkzNF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMDcwMTg5MTI@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,674,1000_AL_Trailer: “Thor: Ragnarok”

Most importantly…does Chris Hemsworth rock the new hair cut or what? The “Thor” series as a whole has been probably the weaker movies for me in the Marvel line up. I enjoy the character very much, but he is at his best when playing off other characters, which can make his own movies a bit challenging. However, this trailer looks awesome. I’m a big fan of the director, Taika Waititi, having loved both “What We Do in the Shadows” and the more recent “Hunt for the Wilderpeople.” Both of those movies are about as far from a comic book blockbuster movie as you can get, so I’m excited to see what new take he can bring to this movie and the genre. At this point, I feel like audiences are going through a bit of “super hero exhaustion,” so a breath of fresh air to the Marvel universe is much needed, and hopefully this movie will bring just that!

Kate’s Picks:

myfavoritemurderPodcast: “My Favorite Murder”

No one is going to be surprised that I am not only a horror and thriller fan, but also a huge true crime buff. And while my fascination with murder has always been side-eyed by many people around me, my friend and fellow murder ‘enthusiast’ Amanda told me to try out the podcast “My Favorite Murder,” by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark! Karen and Georgia are two women living in the Valley who are obsessed with true crime, and every episode they come with an oral history of a murder case, and banter the only way two close lady friends can. Also, there’s a cat named Elvis who is basically their mascot. It’s dark subject matter, but I love this show because they are both really funny while maintaining the right levels of interest and horror at the awfulness. So fellow ‘murderinos’, check this out!

mv5bmzk1nzi1odg3m15bml5banbnxkftztgwnzm0mzc4mti-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Trailer: “It”

Okay, so as much as I do really enjoy the original TV miniseries “It”, I never found it terribly scary. Tim Curry is awesome, but I was never really too terrified by him. I also think that the book is a work of sheer genius, and absolutely horrifying. So when I heard that they were making a movie of it, I was kind of skeptical. I felt it didn’t have the Tim Curry Factor, and the original book is so hard to do justice to. But then I saw the trailer, and my God. My jaw dropped and I watched it over and over again. The book about a murderous entity in small town Maine, and the kids who come together to fight it, may have just been given a worthy adaptation that captures just how scary Pennywise and Derry, Maine are supposed to be. And I cannot WAIT to see it.


hq720TV Show: “RuPaul’s Drag Race”

IT’S BACK, HUNTYS!!!! My favorite reality competition of all time and one of my favorite TV shows on the air at the moment, “RuPaul’s Drag Race”!! I’ve been addicted to this show since season 4, and now we’re on season 9 as RuPaul brings us a bunch of amazing drag queens competing for the title of America’s Next Drag Superstar! The talent of all these drag queens when it comes to performance, design, make-up, and fashion consistently boggles my mind, and the over the top self awareness that RuPaul presents in every episode is a hoot and a treat. There are also moments of awareness building and activism seen on this show as well, as GLBT issues are not shied away from in conversation. If you want to make your life just a little more fabulous, this is what you should be watching.

Not Just Books: March 2017 (Plus exciting news!)

While we do love us some books, believe it not, we do have a life outside of reading. So to highlight our other pop culture interests, on the last Monday of each month, we each will highlight three other “happenings” from the last month. Big events on favorite TV shows, new movies we’ve watched, old movies we’ve “discovered,” etc. Pretty much whatever we found of particular interest outside of the book world during the last month. Share your own favorite things in the comments!

Joint Pick

mv5bmtuwnjuxmtm4nv5bml5banbnxkftztgwodexmdqzmti-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Movie: “Beauty and the Beast”

As you all know, we have been looking forward to this movie, and our book club went together opening weekend. And boy, was it everything we were hoping it would be. The visuals were stunning, the character additions were mostly perfect (specifically Stanley Tucci’s harpsichord Maestro, who is the husband of Audra McDonald’s Madame Garderobe), and they fixed some pesky little plot holes from the original. Some of the new songs were hit and miss, but Dan Steven’s “Evermore” was a worthy addition to an already amazing soundtrack. Emma Watson is as charming as ever, but Luke Evan’s Gaston was the real surprise performance, adding a deeper level of cunning malevolence to the character.  For those who are nervous, this movie doesn’t disappoint and it is best served if seen on the big screen where the sweeping sets and large musical numbers can be fully appreciated.

Serena’s Picks:

cuaiczwueaaid_w-jpg-large Movie: “Logan”

Can I just cry instead of type? Does unabashed raw emotion count as a blurb? Look, I knew what I was getting into with this movie. The previews themselves set us up for a more tonally dark movie, it has an “R” rating, and we’ve all heard by now that this was likely going to be Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s final hurrah as these characters. But I was not prepared! Not for all the feelings! And not for all great the movie itself was going to be. I didn’t dislike the previous two Wolverine movies (though…that first one..), but this was in a category of its own. Not only as an X-Men movie, but as a superhero movie all together. I won’t say it was the best one ever (though it may be), but I do think it is a gamechanger for what superhero movies can be going forward. This proves a very important point: they can simply be good movies, superheros and abilities aside, with real characters, real stakes, and real drama. Ok, I got some words out. Now back to crying.

Movie: “Kong: Skull Island” 

mv5bmtuwmzi5odewnf5bml5banbnxkftztgwnjaznji2mdi-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_ For a complete switch of tone, the same week I went to “Logan,” I also squeezed in “Kong: Skull Island.” Which, as much as I loved “Logan” was a bit cathartic really. This movie is unadulterated fun. While I haven’t jumped on the hate train for Peter Jackson’s re-make a decade ago, this movie approaches the classic tale with stronger eye on monster-bashing good times and less on heart-wrenching tragedy. Kong is the king of this movie in every way. As the second movie to be released in this rebooted “monster world” (“Godzilla” from a few years ago was the first), “Kong” continues to set the stage of a world where amazing creatures exist beneath our world. I particularly enjoyed how much screen time Kong himself got. One of my bigger criticisms of “Godzilla” was how long it takes to see him and then how little there really is in total. Here, the human characters are probably the least fleshed out, but that feels more correct for the type of story this is setting out to tell. All in all, if you love blockbuster action flicks, this one is definitely worth checking out on a larger screen.

Kate’s Picks:

the-black-tapes-podcast-2016-iconPodcast: “The Black Tapes”

For the record, “Kong: Skull Island” is fabulous. But I have something else. As someone who enjoys a good horror story, and who also really enjoys the podcast “Serial”, when I discovered that a horror, “Serial”-esque podcast existed I was STOKED! “The Black Tapes” is a docudrama (fictional) hosted by a woman named Alex Regan, whose focus is on “Evangelical Skeptic” Dr. Richard Strand. Though he’s debunked a number of ‘supernatural’ events, there are a few cases he can’t explain, those he calls ‘the black tapes’. This show starts out like a “This American Life” episode, but turns into a conspiracy laden, “X-Files” echoing, demon and ghost fest! It’s well researched, addictive, and incredibly scary at times. I LOVE it, but I can’t listen to it at night, especially if my house is empty…

3079403-resident_evil_7_biohazard_-_ps4_boxart_png_jpgcopyVideo Game: “Resident Evil 7: Biohazard”

Speaking of things that I can’t do after dark when I’m home alone, I bring you the scariest video game I’ve played in a long time: “Resident Evil 7”. Unlike the notorious plot of many of its predecessors, Raccoon City, Umbrella Corps, and their zombie virus aren’t really in the forefront. Instead, you find yourself in a backwoods bayou setting when you start the game as Ethan, a man looking for his lost wife. It’s also first person now, which is incredibly immersive. Which means it’s both awesome and horrifying. I got through the first board, my husband laughing at me as I screamed my head off throughout the whole thing, and then had to turn it off and turn to happier things. So make no mistake, this game is awesome and a GREAT addition to the “Resident Evil” franchise. It’s just really, really scary.

Also! March means that our  blog has been online for one year! In celebration of this, we are going to be having a HUGE giveaway this week!!! You will have the chance to win not one, not two, but FOUR BOOKS! Because it’s our blog’s birthday, and we want to give YOU gifts! So tune in tomorrow, because all the deets will be revealed then!

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