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!

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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.

April 2017 Highlights

Serena’s Picks:

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Book: “Shadowcaster” by Cinda Williams Chima

Publication Date: April 4, 201720617636

Why I’m Interested: First off, I see what you did there, marketing company! Trying to make it look like the cover of the “Throne of Glass” books! This is a bad sign for the series, that the first book probably didn’t perform as well as they’d like, so they’re changing up the cover design to mimic a popular title. And…I kind of get it? I loved Williams Chima’s first series in this world, but the book that started off this sequel series, “Flamecaster?” A big “meh.” But I’ll give it another go still based on the strength of the first and my hope that the story can bounce back from a slow start.

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Book: “Red Sister” by Mark Lawrence

Publication Date: April 4, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This is another female assassin book, and as my quest for a good female assassin book continues, I’m including this on the list. For two references to “Throne of Glass” in one post, that is by far the most popular YA title of this type right now…and I kind of hate it. So it is with everlasting hope that I continue to search for a good one! Mark Lawrence is know for writing quality political fantasy fiction, but I haven’t read any of his books up to this point. This may be a good place to start!

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Book: “Skullsworn” by Brian Staveley

Publication Date: April 25, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Speaking of female assassins, THIS is where my real hope for this type of book lies! And it’s mostly due to the fact that I’ve already met Staveley’s assassin, Pyrre, in his debut trilogy “The Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne” and both it, and she, rocked! Staveley’s assassins are no joke. Their organization is a religion that worships death, yet somehow the author has side-stepped all the stereotypes that come with that set up and left us with a no-nonsense and tragic group of people. Pyrre’s past was hinted at in the first books, so I’m fairly sure this won’t be a hunky-dorey fun time, but she seems like the type of character who would be well-served by a prequel/spin off and I’m excited to see how her story unfolds!

Kate’s Picks:

32994321Book: “Final Girls” by Mira Grant

Publication Date: April 30th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I liked Mira Grant’s “Newsflesh” Trilogy because it was an interesting and fresh science-y take on zombies. A lot of tech is used in that series to explain some aspects of society after a zombie uprising, and it’s as fascinating as it is tense. Serena let me know that Grant had written a new novella that also takes on some cool tech themes, so I was definitely intrigued. “Final Girls” speaks of a therapy that puts people through a terrifying simulation, similar to a horror movie scenario, in hopes of either curing phobias, or repairing broken relationships. It, of course, probably goes completely wrong. So think “Westworld” madness meets questions about ethics in the psychological profession.

29939052Book: “Ararat” by Christopher Golden

Publication Date: April 18th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Survival horror stories that put people up against the elements and the awfulness of nature are great on their own. But when you add in the paranoia of an unseen possible monster, you get something all the more terrifying. “Ararat” goes in the tradition of “The Terror” and “Abominable” and puts two people in a blizzard on Mount Ararat in Turkey. Some people suggest that this is the mountain that Noah’s Ark ended up on after the flood. But when the climbers explore the inside of a strange ship, they find something that seems far less godly, and far more demonic. I’m here for that, as I’m sure you all know.

29422134Book: “Unearthly Things” by Michelle Gagnon

Publication Date: April 11th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: So it’s true that sometimes retellings of classic tales can be very hit or miss. I’ve read some that are pretty good, and some that are pretty… not? But I’m a sucker for anything that tries to tell “Jane Eyre” (remember “Jane Steele”?), even if it could be a total train wreck. “Unearthly Things” takes the “Eyre” story and puts it in modern day California, with orphan surfer girl Janie moving in with the rich Rochester family. She doesn’t really fit in with the upper class, but connects with John, the bad boy older son of the family. Though there are weird noises, perhaps even screams, coming from the attic of the mansion, and Janie may be stumbling upon a terrible secret in her new home. This book could either be just what I need, or terribly disappointing. I’m willing to gamble on it.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

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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Rah Rah for RA!: Different Perspectives

Occasionally we here at Library Ladies get an email asking for some Reader’s Advisory. Sometimes it’s a general ‘what should I read next?’, and sometimes it’s a specific genre or theme that the reader is asking for. We do our best to match the reader to some books that they may like based on the question they give us.

Dear Library Ladies

Given the socially divisive climate of our world today, I’m looking for books that expose me to perspectives (suburban white gal) different from my own. I’d like to start with American since that’s where I live, but would also like a few international perspectives. I have a good amount of fiction on my to-be-read list so I’d like to start with non fiction, but will also take fiction suggestions. In terms of content, I’m in the middle of the spectrum of traumatized-for-a-good-cause to Disney-movie. Thanks for your help!

-Emma Watson Should Be The Patron Saint of Book Club

Hi EWSBTPSOBC!

First of all, brava for you seeking to stretch your reading experiences beyond what you usually may tackle. We’ll try to give you an array of reads that can fit your personal comfort spectrum.

30650040Book: “Muslim Girl: A Coming of Age” by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh

Publishing Info: Simon & Schuster, October 2016

This is a memoir by Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, the founder of the website and blog Muslim Girl. She was a child living in New Jersey on 9/11, and experienced a backlash against her and her family because they are Muslim. They moved back to Jordan for a time to flee the Islamaphobia, and while there Al-Khatahtbeh had a personal and spiritual awakening she took with her back to the United States. This book talks about those experiences of being a Muslim child in a post-9/11 world in this country, and how she came to found her blog. It emphasizes her experiences, but also highlights her activism on speaking out for Muslim rights in this country. This is a pretty quick read at 134 pages, and it’s very enlightening.

25666051Book: “In The Country We Love: My Family Divided” by Diane Guerrero

Publishing Info: Henry Holt & Co., May 2016

Diane Guerrero is probably best known for her characters on “Jane the Virgin” and “Orange is the New Black”, but she has also written a book about being the child of undocumented immigrants. When Guerrero, who was born in this country, was fourteen, her parents were arrested and deported back to Columbia. Guerrero was left alone in this country to live with family friends, but the trauma of losing her family deeply affected her. While this does talk a bit about her path to her acting career, the bulk of it deals with visiting her parents in detention centers, trying to get through school and life without her family, and the emotional issues she had in the aftermath of her parents deportation.

25489625Book: “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Publishing Info: Spiegal & Grau, June 2015

Written as a letter to his son, this collection of essays by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a powerful and incendiary examination of race in America. It covers the subjugation of African Americans in American history, form the days of chattel slavery, to systematic discrimination, to the deaths of African American males such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown at the hands of police officers. This work is both beautifully written and personal, as well as eye opening and a difficult read because of the deep injustice spoken of. It is framed as a number of letters to Coates’ son, which makes it all the more emotionally resonant and impactful. It charts dark truths of American history and society, and forces the reader to examine them.

6493208Book: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

Publishing Info: Crown Publishing Group, February 2010

This book made the rounds on a bunch of “most read” lists back nearer its publication, but if you haven’t read it, it’s a definite go-to! This story details the history of race and medical experimentation, specifically the story of an amazing woman whose genes have been used for decades in all kinds of medical research from in vitro fertilization, cancer treatment, and vaccines. This is kind of a double-dose book as it features both race in America, as well as bio ethics and how much control people have on their own bodies. So if that’s a secondary subject that might be of interest, definitely check this one out!

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Book: “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson

Publishing Info: Vintage, September 1995

This is a fiction suggestion! But it does cover a very unique time period and perspective in American history, the Japanese internment camps. It’s a beautiful story wrapped up in the memories of a community that is still dealing with its own rocky history with the happenings of WWII. It book also tells the tale of a bi-racial couple, a white boy and Japanese girl, falling in love during this time period. I don’t always love the “high literature” jargon that gets tossed around so much, but this is a book where the term “atmospheric” really does apply!

197753Book: “Custer Died for Your Sins: An Indian Manifesto” by Vine Deloria, Jr.

Publishing Info: Oklahoma Press, October 1970

An older book, but a must-read for a take on Native American relations in the United States. For such a touch subject, the book is also surprisingly humorous in its detailing of such things as U.S. race relations, federal bureaucracies, Christian churches, and social scientists. Deloria tackles many deeply ironic subjects, like the romanticizing of Native American culture with regards to nature and social structures. Of course, this book is now nearly 50 years old, so some background/context reading could be helpful with some of the specific policies and cultural happenings, but it still makes most list for readers wanting a deeper look into Native American life in America.

March 2017 Highlights

We could try to type out something in a really terrible Irish accent in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day this month, but let’s just skip it maybe? March is also notable as it marks the Library Ladies one year anniversary! So yay for that!

Serena’s Picks

29522966Book: “The Beast is an Animal” by Peternelle van Arsdale

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Why I’m Interested: There have already been comparisons to “Uprooted” floating around (one of my favorite reads of the last few years), and this book seems poised to be another break-out original fairytale.Featuring a girl with a strange power who sets out to save her village from the fearful twin soul eaters and their Beast overlord only to find that she shares a unknown connection with them, this book sounds like just the type of dark, twisted folk tale I would love. Plus, just look at that beautiful, creepy cover and tell me you’re not intrigued!

30687916Book: “Silence Fallen” by Patricia Briggs

Publication Date: March 7, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This is the 10th book in the Mercy Thompson series. Tenth! That’s a lot of central Washington werewolf/shapshifter/vampire/fae action! While the series has been rather hit or miss for me with the last few books, I did enjoy the last book (which was good, because the one before that was a fairly large miss). But it is starting to feel like the stakes simply can’t be raised any higher and that this tale might be nearing its end. Through kidnapping shenanigans, this book drops Mercy into Europe where she must maker her way home on her own, which does sound interesting. A change of setting could be what the series needs. And as much as I love Mercy and Adam together, the strength of this series is Mercy herself and sometimes she’s best left to clean up messes on her own.

28449207Book: “Strange the Dreamer” by Laini Taylor

Publication Date: March 28, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I very much enjoyed Laini Taylor’s “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” trilogy. The fantasy elements were all very unique, her world building was extraordinary, and she wrote her teenage female protagonist in a believable and sympathetic way. So, on those strengths alone I would be interested in a new fantasy series by this author. But, as it happens, this one also features Lazlo Strange a junior librarian! The description of the story seems confusing, something about a world where dreams choose your path and a lost world and dead gods. But I’m pretty sure if I tried to explain the premise of “Daughter of Smoke and Bone” that would also sound very odd, so I’m going to have faith that Taylor once again knows what she’s doing.

Kate’s Picks

30687788Book: “Ill Will” by Dan Choan

Publication Date: March 7th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I’m always on the lookout for a good thriller that may take inspiration from true events, and “Ill Will” sure sounds like The Smiley Face Killer Conspiracy! You have a psychologist named Dustin who is haunted by his brother, a convicted murderer who is just now being let out of prison. Who was put into prison in the first place because of Satanic Panic and Dustin’s own testimony. Add that in with a crazy, unrelated theory one of his patient’s is tossing around involving a serial killer who covers his tracks by staging drownings, and  you have a book that has ME written all over it!!! This genuinely sounds like it could be a serious mind warp and I am totally here for that, just as I’m always here for disturbing psychological thrillers.


23447923Book:
“The Inexplicable Logic of My Life” by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Publication Date: March 7th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I know it isn’t one of the genres that I usually focus on on this blog, but I absolutely cannot WAIT for this book!! First of all, the plot itself sounds like it’s going to be punching me right in the feelings, as a teenage boy is having a hard time coming to terms with his own identity and questioning whether he belongs or not. But most importantly, this is a book that is written by Benjamin Alire Saenz, who wrote the book “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe”, which is hands down one of my very favorite YA books of all time!!!! So even though this isn’t the “Aristotle and Dante” sequel that I’m waiting for (not terribly patiently I might add), I love his writing and story telling, so I am VERY stoked to get my mitts on this book.

30753832Book: “The Fall of Lisa Bellow” by Susan Perabo

Publication Date: March 14th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Though it sounds like it’s less about the crime itself and more about the aftermath and damage done, “The Fall of Lisa Bellow” is on my list. When Meredith Oliver and her nemesis Lisa Bellow are getting lunch from a cafe, a masked man bursts in. He hesitates between the two, and picks Lisa to take with him. Now Meredith is trying to cope with her guilt, her trauma, and her life after the fact. This sounds like it’s probably going to break my heart, but I’m very interested in the concept of survivor guilt and how a town reacts to a crime like this. My guess is that this is going to be a book that needs tissues ready, but I’m up for it!

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!

Not Just Books: February 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:

mv5bmtg4nda1ota5nf5bml5banbnxkftztgwmdq2mdm5ode-_v1_sy1000_cr006741000_al_Movie: “Hell or High Water”

I’m on a bit of a “Western” kick right now both with what I’ve been reading (upcoming review of “Silver on the Road!”) and watching. This movie is a modern western about two brothers who are pushed to their limit and begin a bank robbery spree in an attempt to save their family home. Their story is balanced by that of the federal ranger who is tasked to stop them. The cast in this one is really what sells it. It’s no surprise that Jeff Bridges plays the gruff and grumpy federal ranger character as it seems like the part must have been written specifically with him in mind. But the surprising performance is that of Chris Pine who gives himself a break on the action hero type and instead shows that he has real drama chops in this much more subdued and complicated character. Also, Ben Foster is criminally under-recognized as a fantastic actor, and this is no exception!

top-chef-nola-0-0

TV Show: “Top Chef”

There are a few reality tv shows that are my guilty pleasure (I’m sure others will show up on this list eventually). But maybe the most bizarre is my love of realty cooking competitions, as I hate cooking myself and am quite terrible at it. I particularly like “Top Chef” because while it is reality tv, is often lacks the added and unnecessary drama that pops up in other cooking show (I’m looking at you “Master Chef” and “Hell’s Kitchen!”). This season has been set in Charleston and has had a mix of new chefs and returning Top Chef competitors. Some of my favorite contestants did very well, which also increased my enjoyment of this particular season!

oregon-trail-old-featureOnline Game: “The Oregon Trail”

I discovered that you can play the old 1990 version of “The Oregon Trail” online! This has not been good for my productivity levels either at work or at home. Kate and I, and our other halves, got together on New Year’s Eve and among other fun board games, we tried playing a card game version of “The Oregon Trail.” Her husband and I didn’t make it to Oregon due to tragic circumstances, sadly. But the game did spark major nostalgia and when I found the online game…an addiction was re-born!

Kate’s Picks:

heathers300Soundtrack: “Heathers: The Musical”

Some friends and I, on a whim, went to see a local production of this Off Broadway musical, based on one of my favorite movies. I had never heard the music from it before, but I was completely entranced by it as we watched it. It captures the movie perfectly with a rock and roll soundtrack, and it has some amazing power ballads between Veronica Sawyer and J.D., the renegade teens who are killing their most awful classmates (much to her horror). This is one of my most screwed up ships (I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT, GUYS!), but the two songs “Seventeen” and “Our Love Is God” have been on a constant loop in my day to day this past month because they’re so passionate and power ballad-y, and capture that doomed relationship so very well. Sweet, sweet anguish.

drew-barrymore-timothy-olyphant-santa-clarita-dietNetflix Show: “Santa Clarita Diet”

Now I love me some zombie shows, but I love them even more when they think outside the box. “Santa Clarita Diet” is a hilarious satire of suburban life mixed with a zombie show, in which Drew Barrymore, or Sheila, finds herself turned into a sentient zombie. Her husband Joel (played by the foxy Timothy Olyphant) is doing his best to be supportive, because he loves his wife. It’s her ‘eating people’ thing that’s hard to stomach. Barrymore and Olyphant are hilarious, as it their daughter Abby (Liv Hewson) and her best friend Eric. It’s gross and bloody, but has a whole lot of heart to it. And many, MANY laugh out loud moments.

riverdale-header3TV Show: “Riverdale”

YES, OKAY, I’M INTO THE SEXED UP “ARCHIE” SHOW!!! But I have my reasons. First of all, it’s seeping in “Twin Peaks”-esque nostalgia and aesthetic. Second, Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, the man behind “Afterlife with Archie” and “Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”, is the showrunner, so you know he’s going to have some serious, SERIOUS dark and screwed up stuff up his sleeves. Yes, I’m bitter that they started by killing off Jason Blossom (GODDAMN I LOVE THE BLOSSOM TWINS, HOW DARE THEY!?!?!), but I love what they’re doing with a lot of the characters that I like (Betty, Kevin, Josie, and of course, Veronica). Though I will never understand why we’re supposed to believe that the doof Archie attracts so many capable and intelligent women….. But also, Luke Perry. I mean, really.

 

 

February 2017 Highlights

Winter is still here, but we’re dreaming of spring! And in the mean time, February is the month when all chocolate eating is justified and weight gain magically doesn’t exist! So yay for that! It also seems that the beginning of the year is ripe with tons of new releases. We both had a very tough time narrowing our list down to only three choices,  but here they are!

Serena’s Picks

16148435Book: “The Burning World” by Isaac Marion

Publication Date: February 7, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This is a very strange book in that it is a sequel to “Warm Bodies,” a novel that was published seven years ago now and has had a feature film released a few years ago on top of that. The timing is bizarre, to say the least. So this is listed based on the strength of the original that introduced us to “R” a zombie who wanted more from life and found it in his human love interest, Julie. Kate and I both read this for bookclub (check out the review here) and very much enjoyed it. But the book also felt fairly perfect as a stand-alone novel, so combine the question of “is there really more story to tell here?” with the delayed publication date…we shall see!

24763621Book: “Wintersong” by S. Jae-Jones

Publication Date: February 7, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This story features the tried and true story of a girl stolen away to an underground world by a Goblin King. But never let it be said that simply because we’ve read  one (or a million!) iterations of a story that there’s not still more than can be done if you have the right take and author. While the premises definitely sounds similar to “Labyrinth,” there also seems to be notes from “The Phantom of the Opera” with a musically inclined protagonist whose mentor is some type of Other. This is the second month in a row that has a book that references “Phantom of the Opera.” Is this a trend??

25670396Book: “Miranda and Caliban” by Jacqueline Carey

Publication Date: February 14, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I read and loved Jacqueline Carey’s three Terre d’Ange trilogies. I read and loathed her urban fantasy series. From everything I’ve heard, this book hearkens back to the former both in style and substance. A re-telling of “The Tempest,” this book focuses the tale on Prospero’s daughter, Miranda, a lonely girl who befriends Caliban, a wild boy that is taken into servitude by her father. This sounds like such an intriguing premises, and if Carey is back to form, than she is more than capable of bringing much beauty and heart to this strange tale.

Kate’s Picks

20600617Book: “Afterlife With Archie (Vol.2): Betty R.I.P.” by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa

Publication Date: February 14th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: As you all know, I absolutely LOVED the first collection of “Afterlife with Archie” comics. And finally, FINALLY, the second volume by Aguirre-Sacasa is coming out. When we left the Riverdale gang they ventured out into the zombie apocalypse, running from Jughead and his undead army. I’m still so tickled about it. I’ve just been dying to find out what happens next because I love what’s been done with these characters and I love how genuinely creepy Aguirre-Sacasa has written this story. I’m a bit worried about the collection title, because Betty is my girl and I don’t want to say goodbye to her yet!

29430798Book: “The Devil Crept In” by Ania Ahlborn

Publication Date: February 7th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: When Stevie Clark’s cousin disappears, memories and whispers in the community remind him of another disappearance he heard of, from years before. Not only did children disappear, but pets did too, and no one knows what happened. Stevie decides to try and find his cousin on his own, but maybe the truth is far worse than anyone ever expected. This sounds like a really creepy and suspenseful book, and while missing person books can be a bit heavy at times, this one has the potential to bring in more scares than melancholy. I really can’t wait to see what this is all about.

24382227Book: “Dreamland Burning” by Jennifer Latham

Publication Date: February 21st, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Though this one kind of functions outside of my usual genres, I have to say that I’m very intrigued by this book. It is a two perspective story in which a girl in modern times finds a skeleton on her property, and then nearly 100 years ago a boy finds himself in the middle of a community simmering with racial tension. The context of the story is Jim Crow Laws and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921, and I am very interested to see what Latham does to interweave these two stories, and how she connects the past to the present in a number of ways.

What books are you looking forward to this month? Let us know in the comments!