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!

 

 

June 2017 Highlights

Summer is finally here, which makes both of us pretty happy! The weather is warm, the outside is inviting, and the days are filled with possibilities for fun and socializing! We have a new set of books that we’re excited for this summer, and we’re going to start with our June Highlights!

Serena’s Picks

32075662Book: “Our Dark Duet” by Victoria Schwab

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Why I’m Interested: The review won’t be up for a few weeks yet, but SPOILERS, I very much enjoyed “This Savage Song,” the first in this YA fantasy duology. The tenuous peace between the north and south side in a city plagued by monsters has been broken. Kate is off hunting beasts in the waste land and August is left to be a good soldier, using his Sunnai abilities to help save a city seemingly bent on its on destruction. It seems to be a pattern with Schwab to separate her protagonists from one book to the next, so I’m excited to see the impetus will be that draws these two back together and how this whole crazy situation will resolve!

31450908Book: “Down Among the Sticks and Bones” by Seanan McGuire

Publication Date: June 13, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This novella is written as a companion (?) or sequel (?) to “Every Heart a Doorway” which introduced us to Jack and Jill, two girls returned from a dark and dangerous world and who are each…coping?…in their own way with their sudden and forced return to the “real world.” Here we will get their story, in what I’m sure will prove to be a very dark, tragic story. We already have hints of what these girls’ lives were like in this mysterious land of science and vampires, but I’m sure this will be a deep dive into all the sad feels.

22817331Book: “Now I Rise” by Kiersten White

Publication Date: June 27, 2017

Why I’m Interested: “And I Darken” was probably one of the biggest surprise hits for me last year. What started with a bizarre concept, Vlad the Impaler but as a teenage girl, morphed into a complex, and tragic, character study into both Lada (girl!Vlad) and her brother Radu who share a complicated love for their childhood friend Mehmed, a boy who is also the heir to an empire that Lada has sworn to fight. The last book ended with Lada setting off on her own to re-claim her homeland, a task that is seemingly impossible due to her gender as well as the complicated political, cultural, and religious conflicts overtaking the region. The last book blew me off my feet with the surprisingly serious historical take the author managed to create even in the midst of such a the bizarre concept as a female Vlad. But now I’m prepared! And super excited!

Kate’s Picks

32620309Book: “The Party” by Robyn Harding

Publication Date: June 6th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: “The Party” sounds like it’s going to be a ‘When Sweet Sixteen Parties Go Bad’ kind of romp, which sounds like it’s just the right amount of salacious and sudsy for me. And you know when something like this goes horribly wrong, there is going to be a domino effect that threatens to expose the dark secrets of a perfect family. I’m not certain if there is going to be much mystery to this one or not, but it’s implied that there are twists and turns that will make you question just how innocent everyone is in this whole thing. I like domestic dramas with thriller elements, so I hope that this one delivers.

31147267Book: “The Changeling” by Victor LaValle

Publication Date: June 13th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I really enjoyed LaValle’s horror novel “The Devil in Silver” as well as his short story “The Ballad of Black Tom”, and so I feel like it’s a good bet to give this one a try as well. This newest book of his sounds like a dark fairy tale, in which a man tries to find his wife who has disappeared after committing some kind of horrific act. Given the title of the book I’m going to go ahead and assume it involves a child or their child. LaValle has a penchant for the disturbing and creepy, and I feel like this book could be deeply haunting as well as beautiful.

32735394Book: “Every Last Lie” by Mary Kubica

Publication Date: June 27th, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I really liked Kubica’s “Pretty Baby”, and while I wasn’t as enthralled with her more recent book “Don’t You Cry” I like her writing enough to give this a whirl. In this one Clara, a wife and mother, is devastated to lose her husband Nick in a car accident. She’s relieved that their daughter Maisie is okay, but starts to wonder if it really was an accident when Maisie starts having night terrors. I’m sure that there will be a lot of twists and turns in this book, and I’m hoping that it will be a thrilling read.

What books are you excited for this month? Tell us in the comments!

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

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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.

Literary Loves: Characters Who Woo Us

We know that we can’t possibly be the only book worms who have fallen for literary characters. So in celebration of all things fantastical and romantic (and perhaps setting up our husbands to fall short), we would like to share the characters who make our hearts thud a little bit faster as we turn the pages of their stories. 

Serena’s Picks

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Book: “Pride and Prejudice,” “Emma,” Northanger Abbey,” Sense and Sensibility,” Persuasion,” and “Mansfield Park” by Jane Austen

Literary Crush: Well, let’s see, we have Mr. Darcy, Mr. Knightly, Mr. Tilney, Colonel Brandon/Edward Ferrars, Captain Wentworth, and Edmund Bertram

I cheated! Right off the bat! Right out of the gate! But really, there was no other choice because either 1.) the list would be extra long including all seven and made up entirely of Jane Austen characters for my portion or 2.) there would be no post because I could never narrow it down to only 3 and my part would STILL be made up entirely of Jane Austen characters. I will say that Mr. Darcy and Mr. Knightly are probably my favorite two of the bunch, but when we start to get into thirds and fourths…nope! Can’t do it! Many, many articles have been written about the appeal of Jane Austen’s heroes, so I won’t bore you with a re-cap here. They’re just the best. The end.

11289310Book: “Daughter of the Forest” by Juliet Marillier

Literary Crush: Hugh ‘Red’ of Harrowfield

Juliet Marillier is one of my favorite authors and “Daughter of the Forest” is my favorite of her books. So it stands to reason that out of the many fantastic heroes she has written (I really resisted not just including them all again, guys! I’m making progress!), Red would be my favorite leading man. He’s pretty much what every woman wishes for. Strong and competent, but endlessly patient and understanding. Sorcha can’t speak for the majority of their time together in this book, and even though he knows she can answer some of his most heart-wrenching questions about his lost brother, he stands by her, giving her the time and space she needs to heal and grow to trust him. He stands up for her against his family and the questions and fear of her that arise from her being a strange outsider. Their love grows slowly throughout the book until in the end she, too, makes her own sacrifice for him. Their love story is beautiful, and Red is a great hero character in his more quiet, steady way.

119324283870Book: “The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass” by Philip Pullman

Literary Crush: Will Parry

This one feels a bit strange typing it out as an adult woman since this is technically a child character, but I read these books when I was the main characters’ ages, and it would be wrong to deny the  massive crush I had (have?) on Will. Having been already introduced to the unstoppable Lyra in “The Golden Compass,” Will was already fighting an uphill battle being introduced as a main character in book two. But not only did he stand his own, by the end he may have been my favorite of the two. It was also surprising seeing a meaningful and touching romance develop in a natural way in a book that is about teenagers as young as these two. But especially in “The Amber Spyglass,” we see Will’s willingness to do anything to save Lyra and then to follow her anywhere, even into the Underworld. He has the same quiet, steady strength as Red, so I guess that must be kind of my thing?

Kate’s Picks

77392Book: The “Anne of Green Gables” Series by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Literary Crush: Gilbert Blythe

One of my favorite literary heroines is the impulsive, imaginative, and witty Anne Shirley. I grew up idolizing her (thanks to my Dad’s love for the books about her), and her love interest Gilbert Blythe was hands down the first book character I was totally in love with. Gilbert starts out as a rival, who pisses Anne off when trying to get her attention by calling her ‘Carrots’. But as the series progresses, Anne and Gilbert go from enemies, to friends, to true loves. He’s funny and smart, and sure, a little careless with how he shows his affection for her, but that’s okay. He worships the ground that Anne walks on, but also doesn’t let her get away with some of her more irrational (or spiteful) moments. And boy did it take Anne long enough to figure out that he was the one for her! But the moment that she did (after he nearly died from typhoid fever, OH MY GOODNESS THE FEELINGS), they were just the best couple, and he was everything that she (and I) ever wanted.

4722840Book: “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë

Literary Crush: Edward Rochester

Snarky? Check. Brooding with a tragic past? Check. Willing to have his true love go toe to toe with him and respectful of her because of it? CHECK MATE. Yeah, it’s probably not great that Edward Rochester lied about keeping his mentally deranged wife locked in an attic, but given how terrible asylums were at the time I’m sort of willing to cut him a little bit of slack. As the love interest in “Jane Eyre”, Rochester falls in love with Jane, the Governess to his ward. Jane is an independent and capable woman and is not willing to let him give her any grief, nor is she willing to let him manipulate her. Rochester does eventually learn from his mistakes, and when he and Jane are reunited they continue to be on even footing, relationship wise. As much as the ‘dark and brooding soul’ trope can get old, Rochester has enough snark and sarcasm to keep it from becoming too much. And for the time period that the book was written, him being on such even footing with Jane in their relationship and romance is quite refreshing!

472331Book: “Watchmen” by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (Ill.)

Literary Crush: Dan Dreiberg/ Nite Owl II

As someone who loves superheroes and has a thing for a good number of them (Helloooooo Wade Wilson), Dan Dreiberg from “Watchmen” is the one that holds the biggest key to my heart. Dan is painfully geeky and kind of socially awkward, but he’s very smart, way adorable, and fiercely loyal when it comes to his teammates and friends. He is also a very capable crime fighter, who plays to his strengths of tech knowledge and gadgetry by creating a number of doo dads and inventions that aid him in his endeavors. And he is eternally patient when it comes to his unstable partner, Rorschach. Dan does have his issues, of course, as he is a bit neurotic, and is sometimes plagued by self doubt (such as when being a superhero is strictly outlawed by the Nixon Government). But at his heart he’s really just a good guy who puts on the cape and cowl because he wants to make the world a better place. Also, he loves bird watching and has a deep love for owls. He’s just an adorkable and good guy, so what’s not to love?

What about you? Do you have any literary crushes that make your heart sing? Let us know in the comments!!

 

May 2017 Highlights

On the first Monday of each month we highlight our top three books that are scheduled to be published that month.

Serena’s Picks:

31632115Book: “Triple Threat” by Gwenda Bond

Publication Date: May 1, 2017

Why I’m Interested: Kate and I have posted joint reviews for the first two books in this series, “Fallout” and “Double Down,” as our love of  all things Superman and Lois Lane is never-ending. While we’ve each begun to have some concerns about the longevity of the premise of this series (teenage Lois solves mysteries in Metropolis with the help of her “friend” SmallvilleGuy whom she knows only through virtual reality), I’m sure we’ll both end up reading and reviewing this one sometime in the near future!

23308087Book: “Flame in the Mist” by Renee Ahdieh

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I read and enjoyed both “The Wrath and the Dawn” and “The Rose and the Dagger” by this author, so I was excited to hear that she was starting a new YA series. Even more exciting, this book is being marketed as a similar story to “Mulan” and I love me some “Mulan.” Basically, any story about a girl dressing up as a man and becoming a badass warrior is a book that I will probably be checking out. The fact that it’s by an author who wrote a solid YA duology just increases the appeal.

8306741Book: “Thick as Thieves” by Megan Whalen Turner

Publication Date: May 16, 2017

Why I’m Interested: OMG OMG OMG! This is not only one of the books I’m most looking forward to that is being published this month, but it may be my most anticipated book of the entire year! The combination of it being the 5th in a series that I have absolutely adored and the fact that it’s been SEVEN YEARS since the last one came out….I’m so excited! What’s more, Whalen Turner has created such a complex world and changed up her narrator and storytelling style so many times throughout the series that I truly don’t even know what to expect from this. All I know is that, yes, I am excited.

Kate’s Picks:

33151805Book: “Into the Water” by Paula Hawkins

Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I was one of those people who enjoyed “The Girl on the Train”, and I feel that Paula Hawkins has a pretty good chance of delivering another solid thriller novel. This one involves the body of a single mother being discovered in a lake, a fate that met a young woman in that town fairly recently before that. Now the daughter left behind has to adjust to a new life, and a new person in the form of her strange aunt. I’m sure that twists and turns will ensue. This sub-genre may wear me down and grate me a bit, but I’m looking forward to see what Hawkins brings us this time.

31752345Book: “Black Mad Wheel” by Josh Malerman

Publication Date: May 23rd, 2017

Why I’m Interested: I really liked Malerman’s novel “Bird Box”, and I was hoping that he would be coming out with something new. This one also has an incredibly intriguing and original premise, as a group of people have been recruited by the U.S. Government to go into an African desert and track down the origin of a dangerous sound. What they find is something that is far more complicated and dangerous than just one malevolent piece of audio, I guess, and honestly that sounds pretty freakin’ rad, premise wise. Malerman is so good at writing unsettling and uncanny stories, and I have high hopes that “Black Mad Wheel” will be a worthy follow up to “Bird Box”.

31554413Book: “The Boy on the Bridge” by M.R. Carey

Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017

Why I’m Interested: This is the much anticipated sequel to Carey’s break out work “The Girl With All The Gifts”, the runaway zombie hit. While I didn’t particularly care for the execution of that one, the originality he gave to the zombie story did impress me to a certain degree. And therefore, even if I wasn’t too impressed by that one, I am more than happy to go back into this world that he has created. It seems that official promotions are being pretty tight lipped about the plot to this one, but the few things I have read has given me hope that the originality is still going to be there.

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

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.

April 2017 Highlights

Serena’s Picks:

30253091

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!