Here’s my wrap-up post for the month and for Wyrd and Wonder, a month-long celebration in May to celebrate all things fantasy that was hosted by Imyril at There’s Always Room for One More, Lisa at Dear Geek Place, and Jorie at Jorie Loves a Story. I had so much fun participating in this event, and I plan to do so again in May next year (hopefully better prepared).
Let’s Rewind is my version of a monthly wrap up but instead of talking about only books, I include all types of other stuff, like articles… bookish news… commercials… random-ass links… movies… art… podcasts… cartoons… and whatever the hell happened to me in the month. You know, the usual stuff that people talk about in monthly wrap ups. So read on to see what I did and read this month. You might stumble upon something that interests you.
May was great, although I felt the build up of exhaustion from January to April in it and took a week off from all things, except blogging, so I could spend some time with myself and some friends. Now I feel rested and back to feeling like my good ol’ self. But summer is coming and I’ll want to hang out more, so I don’t know how that’s going to work with my jobs, but I’ll figure out something.
I did some great things this month and had a few pleasant surprises. One of those surprises was meeting Dhonielle Clayton, author of The Belles, at the bookstore where I work. I didn’t realize it was her when she walked up and asked if she could sign some of her books. It’s when she sat down to sign them that I realized it’s her and shouted “OMG! It’s you!!” And then I had to run away to help customers. I was hoping to grab a photo with her but was too busy at the store and had to run down the street to ask her when she left. She was really sweet and cool about it, though. So I managed to get a photo with her and I bought an autographed copy of her book. 😀 I’m gonna read it with Rachel at Life of a Female Bibliophile later this year.
I also managed to visit the Library of Congress, something I’ve been meaning to do since forever (and I can’t believe I forgot to renew my library card, if that’s even possible). The Thomas Jefferson Building is one of the most beautiful buildings I’ve seen in D.C. Because it’s so large, I didn’t expect my visit there to be so short, but there are only a few exhibits inside.
So something I hardly talk about on here is that I am on a natural hair journey. I’ve been getting my hair permed since I was a teen, but last year I finally decided to commit to going natural. I spent the majority of last year and part of this one rocking braids to grow out my natural hair and in May, I cut my permed ends so now I’m all natural. 😀 I thought this transition from perm to natural hair would be more dramatic, but it’s not. However, now I’m on a journey to learn about my natural hair and refamiliarize myself with it. It’s been so long since I’ve felt its thick waviness. I miss it.
Blogging Life — Wyrd & Wonder
On here, May was all about Wyrd and Wonder. I first heard about the event last year and was eager to participate in it this year. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as prepared for it as I intended to be, but I managed to read some good books and publish a couple posts, so I consider it all a success.
Of the goals I set for myself, I managed to complete all except one:
✓All my posts will be about fantasy.
✓I will only read fantasy books. (I consider this a success although I snuck in a nonfiction book.)
x I will attempt to publish one post everyday.
✓I will host a giveaway. (Now closed; contacting the winner now.)
And of the 15 books/comics I intended to read, I managed to complete 6 of them, which isn’t too bad since I read other stuff not on the list. (I’ll mention the books below.)
Overall, this event was a success, and I’m glad I participated. I’m already looking forward to it next May! 🙂
All the reading I did in May was for Wyrd & Wonder, so all of these books are fantasy, except for a nonfiction book I snuck in because I always go against my rules, smh.
First up is Watch Hollow by Gregory Funaro, a middle-grade fantasy-horror novel about a girl who moves to an old house with her brother and father so that her father can fix its odd, old cuckoo clock. I enjoyed this story. It was a quick read and quite engrossing. Though it has some horror elements, it’s not scary, and I like how the end leaves us wondering what might be coming next. I look forward to reading the next book.
I then read another middle-grade novel — Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. It’s the second novel in the Nevermoor series, which is about a girl who everyone believes is cursed until she’s taken away to a new city where she learns she’s quite unique and possesses an amazing ability. I love this book and consider it a favorite. It reminds me of the early Harry Potter books in which the wizarding world opens up to us and we readers become charmed by it and long to visit. That’s how I felt while reading Wundersmith.
After that, I went YA and read The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine, a fairytale-inspired fantasy novel about an exiled princess who’s trying to win back her kingdom from the clutches of an evil witch. Oh! And there’s a part-dragon boy trying to save his kingdom from magic-wielding ogres. I was surprised that I enjoyed this as much as I did. I’ve grown wary of YA fantasy because they are often drenched in soppy romance, but The Shadow Queen was a little different. There’s romance, but it’s light and was not the focus of the story.
With this novella, I complete all the books in the Night Angel series by Brent Weeks. The Perfect Shadow contains two stories about characters who appear in Weeks’s Night Angel books, which are about a street urchin who becomes a notorious wetboy (assassin). The first story is about my favorite character, Durzo Blint, who mentors the protagonist in the series. From this story, we learn how Durzo Blint became who he is and how he met Momma K. The second story is about Kylar torturing some dude to learn the location of that duchess with the weird art fetish (I forgot her name). Both stories were good reads, but I wish there was story in there are Dorian, Solon, and Feir when they were training to be mages.
After that novella, comic books took over. I started with the epic fantasy comic book Elves, Vol. 1 by Jean-Luc Istin, illus. by Kyko Duarte. This volume contains two stories: The first story is about the Blue Elves and a powerful magical artefact called the Blue Crystal that can bestow an elf with immense power, and the other story focuses on political relations between humans and Sylvan Elves. Both stories aren’t as great as I thought they would be. They progressed too quickly in some spots and were both underwhelming. They seem to be separate stories, unfortunately; I was hoping the comic book series would be one continuous story. I liked the illustrations though.
I was in the mood for Monstress, so I reread volume 1, which was, of course, great. It’s an epic fantasy comic book series by Marjorie Liu and illustrated by Sana Takeda that’s about a girl trying to find out about her past and her mother while trying to control a powerful monster inside her. It’s such a good read and I love how detailed and expansive the world seems to be. I also love the art. The illustrations are one of the most amazing things about this comic book series.
I then read Monstress, Vol. 2 since I had it and I was eager to see what happens next. I loved it too. It heightened my interest because of the mentions of the old gods possibly being real and all, and it left me wondering where exactly the story is headed. Part of the reason why I loved it so much is Kippa, the little fox arcanic who accompanies the protagonist, Maika. Kippa is so cute! 🙂
I was considering to move on to Monstress, Vol. 3, but instead I turned to a nonfiction audio book because I needed something to listen to at work. I picked up You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero (narr.), a self-help book about building faith in what you want to achieve to manifest your goals. It was inspiring and I can see why it’s a bestseller. As soon as I completed the audio book, I bought two of Sincero’s books: You Are a Badass and You Are a Badass at Making Money.
I ended the month by finally completing The Devourers by Indra Das, a fantasy novel set in India about shapeshifters that can be referred to as werewolves. I began this novel last year for a buddy-read, but the book didn’t work well for it. We both thought the story boring. Because the book is short, I decided to complete it for W&W and I’m glad I did. This time, I was in the mood for it and appreciated the writing. I wasn’t crazy about the story.
I didn’t read any articles, but I read a couple blog posts on fantasy topics that were great. Some were written for the Wyrd & Wonder event and some weren’t.
★ Popular 2000s Fantasy Novels (thoughtsonfantasy.com)
— I HIGHLY recommend you check out this blog post if you are a fantasy fan. It’s a feature and discussion of the most popular fantasy novels published over the years. Here are the other decades Nicola examines:
Popular 1990s Fantasy Novels
Popular 1980s Fantasy Novels
Popular 1970s Fantasy Novels
Popular 1960s Fantasy Novels
Popular 1950s Fantasy Novels
Popular 1930s and 40s Fantasy Novels
Popular 1900s, 10s and 20s Fantasy Novels
Popular Pre-1900 Fantasy Novels
— A discussion about German folktales that wraps up with a Harry Potter fan fiction writing prompt
What Makes a Fantasy Original? (pagesunbound.wordpress.com)
— A discussion about how to make fantasy stories feel fresh and original
Going Over to the Gritty Dark Side / Grimdark (adancewithbooks.wordpress.com)
— A discussion about the fantasy sub-genre, grimdark, what it means and what causes a book to be placed in that genre
Great Starts to Adult Fantasy If You Are New to the Genre (adancewithbooks.wordpress.com)
— Fantasy book recommendations for those new to the genre. Robin Hobb is on the list, so I was ecstatic, of course.
#wyrdandwonder 2019 | Who inspired the women of #GameofThrones? (jessticulates.com)
— A look at historical figures who were inspirations for the women in Game of Thrones.
For more fantasy discussions and book reviews: I suggest checking out the Imyril’s Quest Logs for Wyrd & Wonder:
I’d definitely watch this!
It’s been a while since I’ve mentioned podcasts on here, but I listened to a few in May that I must recommend.
— Villarosa is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and director of journalism program at the City College of New York. In this podcast episode, she talks about reporting and writing her article “Why America’s Black Mothers and Babies Are in a Life-or-Death Crisis” and the harrowing experiences of Black people in U.S. healthcare, especially women giving birth.
Free Library of Philadelphia Podcast
— Gay is hilarious! She reads from her book Difficult Women (which I need) and answers questions from the audience. It was a great listen for a dull day at work. At some point, she recommends Alissa Nutting’s Made for Love, which I now want to read.
— Zizek is a very interesting individual. I like how he thinks, though I don’t always agree with him. I’d love to read one of his books. After listening to this podcast, I went down a wormhole where I looked up a bunch of videos/podcasts of Zizek to listen to.
— Galbaldon reads from her book and answers questions from the audience. While doing so, she talks about her writing process and what led to her writing the Outlander books. Now I want to read them too.
— Sincero reads from her books and answers questions from the audience. This podcast lead to me borrowing the audio book of You Are a Badass, which was a good read.
I managed to sneak in a good bit of shows in May. Here’s what I saw:
Spoilers: I saw this twice. I loved it, but the first time I saw it wasn’t a great experience because the person I was with wasn’t much interested in it and ended up falling asleep and snoring a little. Smh, I was aware of all three hours of the movie then. However, it was great on my second watch. Since I haven’t seen Captain Marvel, I kept wondering who’s this random badass chick? Lol! I loved Thor. Thor has steadily become one of my favorite characters and I love his arc. His reaction to the events that have happened seem most realistic. Thanos is my other favorite character. I love that he can take on Thor, Captain America, and Iron Man all at once for several minutes but then talk as if he hasn’t busted a sweat. He’s never winded. I like how the story wraps up and I’m eager to see the next Spider-man movie, but I don’t like that they’re already hinting at “the world needs another Iron Man.” I hope that doesn’t mean they will force a character to be like Iron Man because there can only be one! I loved that Captain America got his love and was sad Iron Man died, but didn’t feel anything that Black Widow is gone. I hope she comes back because the show didn’t do her justice. Like, how do I end up caring about Hawkeye and not Black Widow? Since Captain America had to return the Soul Stone, I assume he was able to trade it for Black Widow’s soul. As the red-masked dude said: “A soul for a soul.” (Btw, that part where all the women came together to fight was the cheesiest part in the whole flick. I didn’t like it. The women are badasses. No need to force it because it’s not forced for the men.)
A zombie TV show on Netflix. A co-worker told me about it and I quickly binged on it. I was so hooked. I love zombie shows, and I like how this one was filmed. I wonder what will happen next. I heard it’s based on Z Nation, but I’ve never watched that so I don’t know what it means for this show.
Captain America: the First Avenger
So…after watching Engame the first time, I decided to rewatch all the Avengers movies before seeing it again. That plan didn’t work out, but it was great to revisit a few. I ended up liking Captain America, both the movie and the character, this time through.
Iron Man 2
Totally forgot that Black Widow and Shield were in this one.
It was interesting to see how much this character has changed. I totally forgot what happened to Jane and what led to her breaking up with Thor.
This used to be my favorite, but then Infinity War came along and bumped it down. I still love it, and it’s the Hulk that makes it so great. Speaking of the Hulk, that’s the weirdest part of Endgame. I was like wah??!! I couldn’t comprehend it.
I loved the first couple seasons of this show and recently felt like rewatching it, so I did. It was so great! Jessica Pearson was the best. I loved her wardrobe.
Into the Badlands
I’m so sad this show is done. It doesn’t leave us hanging, but it certainly leaves us wanting more. I hope Netflix picks it up.
Into the Woods
I saw this play at the Ford Theater in D.C. and enjoyed it, though I thought it is a little too long and too drawn out in some parts. It was whimsical and delightful and made me want to rewatch the movie because I couldn’t remember it (having seen it so long ago).