A Very Geeky Christmas: My Graphic Novel Christmas Tree

This weekend I decided to make a Christmas tree out of my extensive collection of graphic novels.  I was inspired by a post I saw on Hypable about how to make a Christmas tree out of books, and I knew that the only way I could make it better was if I used comics.  I placed some of my favorite trades in the front of the tree including Scott Pilgrim, Bendis’ Daredevil, Scott Snyder’s The Black Mirror, Alan Moore’s The Killing Joke, Brian K. Vaughn’s Runaways, Mark Waid’s Kingdom Come, and many, many more.  When it came to decorating, I adorned my tree with R2D2 Christmas lights from ThinkGeek, and I knew immediately that I had to top the tree with a Star.  A Star Sapphire that is.  If you’re interested in creating your own version, the best way to assemble your graphic novels is to keep the heavier, bulkier books towards the bottom (think omnibuses), and the smaller more compact editions (ie Sailor Moon, Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane, etc.) towards the top.  The second photo is un-instagrammed so it gives you a clearer look at some of the books that made it into my Christmas tree.

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My 2013 Christmas List

In addition to shopping for other people, one of my favorite things to do before Christmas is make my wish list. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned previously, I’m somewhat of a list addict.  So much so that my brother even bought me a book about lists for Christmas one year.  So anyway, after careful consideration, I narrowed my Christmas Wish List down to these 8 items using Amazon’s convenient service ^.^ What are you asking for this year (assuming you’re on Santa’s nice list)?  Leave a link to YOUR wish list in the comments!

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The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story Limited Edition – I read this graphic novel recently and I was fascinated by Brian Epstein’s story.  This limited edition version of the book includes unique memorabilia and behind the scenes sketches.  I loved it so much that I wrote a review of the book last week as soon as I finished reading it!

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The Annotated Peter Pan (The Centennial Edition) By J.M. Barrie – Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories of all time.  Ever since I was young I’ve loved reading about the adventures of Peter, the Lost Boys, Wendy and Tinker Bell and all of their run ins, with Hook, and Mr. Grin in Neverland.

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Gandalf the Grey 1/6 Scale Statue by WETA Collectibles – I always refer to Gandalf the Grey as my future husband.  He’s by far my favorite Tolkien character, and I adore his hat and staff.  I would love to place this statue on my desk so I could admire Gandalf while I work.

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Dexter: The Complete Series on Blu-ray – Dexter has remained one of my favorite television shows of all time (mostly because of seasons 1-4).  I’ve seen every episode countless times, and I’ve spent hours psychoanalyzing Dexter and basically forcing all of my friends and family into watching the series as well.  The new Blu-ray collection comes in a collectible box fashioned after the box Dexter keeps his victim’s blood slides in.  It also includes a new documentary about the evolution of Dexter Morgan.

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Fables Encyclopedia By Bill Willingham, Mark Buckingham & Jess Nevins – The Fables Encyclopedia is a recent release, and it’s a must have for any Fables fan.  The encyclopedia explores the fairy tales used in Willingham’s Fables series as well as modern folk lore.

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Harry Potter Special Edition Paperback Box Set By JK Rowling With Cover Art By Kazu Kibuishi – I’ve blogged extensively about how Harry Potter has shaped my life and then I blogged some more on Wear Pink Wednesdays about these very covers!  Kazu Kibuishi’s new cover art puts a fantastical spin on the series.  I love the scenes he chose to illustrate and it would be a fun change to re-read the series again with the new cover art as eye candy.

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Harley Quinn Pullip Doll – I’ve been collecting the DC line of Pullip dolls and so far I have Batgirl and Supergirl.  I would love to add this beautiful Harley to my collection as well!  She comes fully articulated and her jester hat is removable, allowing you to admire Harley’s blonde pigtails.  The faces on Pullip dolls are beautifully crafted and I can’t resist their anime like style.

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Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Box Set by Hayao Miyazaki – I’m a huge Hayao Miyazki fan, having seen the majority of his animated feature films, but I have yet to read Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, which is one of Ghibli’s own original creations.  The story is described as an epic fantasy tale, which is very pertinent to my interests.  This box set includes two hardcover volumes and a bonus poster!

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Concept Art: Miyazaki’s Pippi Longstocking Movie Would Have Been Perfect

When I was kid, one of my favorite books was Pippi Longstocking and I was also obsessed with the accompanying live action film, The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.  I was always drawn to Pippi because I admired her free spirit and her big heart.  I would make my family watch the movie constantly and no matter how many times we saw it, I never found any less amusing than the first time.  I often wore my hair in pigtail braids as a child too, as an homage to Pippi.  When I recently found out that Hayao Miyazaki and Isao Takahata had wanted to make an animated version of the film back in 1971, but the books author, Astrid Lindgren said no, I was heartbroken.  Fortunately some of the concept art was released by Studio Ghibli for our viewing pleasure.  Upon seeing all of Miyazaki’s magical designs I became even sadder about never seeing the film that could have been.  It would have been aptly titled, Pippi Longstocking, The Strongest Girl in the World.

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Kristin

My HUNGER GAMES: CATCHING FIRE Feels

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing The Hunger Games: Catching Fire with my partner in crime, Melissa, and within minutes of the beginning of the film, we knew we had made the right decision in braving the pre-opening night crowds.  Being the overenthusiastic geeks that we are, Mel and I both channeled The Hunger Games‘ heroine, and newest victor from District 12, Katniss Everdeen.  We met at The Strand and took photos with the second novel in Suzanne Collins’ trilogy, Catching Fire (the hardcover edition obviously, because we’re both book snobs when it comes to movie-tie in editions of novels).  We’re fully equipped with our Mockingjay pins and Katniss style braids.  This photo also serves as proof that both of us own at least one pair of pants that are not leggings.  But, back to the film!

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I wouldn’t totally say that I had been disappointed in the first film because the beginning half, with the anticipation of the games was done very well and many of the actors shone in their roles, but the second half  of the film, the actual games, didn’t even come close to meeting my expectations of what I had been hoping for.  Thankfully, the second film, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, more than made up for the lack of chemistry between Katniss and Peeta (we experience them building a meaningful and believable relationship with each other), and the gravity of the themes present within the first film.  Catching Fire establishes Katniss as the symbol of the revolution against the corrupted government ruling over the 12 Districts in Panem.  Her importance in the revolution is solidified and the other Districts idolize her because they see Katniss as a symbol of hope.  Her mere presenece inspires many citizens to take a stand against the peace agents (who kept reminding me of storm troopers).  After being personally threatened by President Snow, Katniss does her best to play his game and put on a happy face during the victors tour with her co-victor Peeta Mellark, but the President considers their attempts to be a failure.  Deeming Katniss a threat, he does the only thing he can think of; he pulls the next set of tributes for the Quarter Quell from the existing pool of victors from each District (hint: Katniss is the only female victor from District 12).  Before re-entering the arena, Haymitch advises Katniss to remember who the real enemy is.  Catching Fire is weighted with moments of intense emotion because of the tense atmosphere in a society where an uprising is long overdue.  Each actor plays a key role in the film, whether they’re pro or anti rebellion.  Two of the newest characters introduced, Plutarch Heavensby (the Head Gamemaker) and Johanna Mason (the outspoken female tribute from District 7) were amongst my favorites for their complexities and motivations throughout the Quarter Quell.  Overall, Catching Fire, had a much better sense of direction than the first film, and it succeeded in all of the places where The Hunger Games failed.

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I personally love The Hunger Games.  It’s a concept that deeply disturbs me, and for the second year in a row I couldn’t help leaving the movie theater and questioning the morals of some of the people in our society.  In both of my theater going experiences there have been people cheering when children die during the games, and laughter during scenes where such behavior is completely inappropriate.  Here are a two unspoilery examples from Catching Fire, and one societal marketing ploy that made me sick in general:

1) While attending a party in the Capitol, a party attendee offers Peeta a tiny lavender drink for when he becomes full so that he can get sick and then begin eating again.  While the people in almost all of the other districts are on the brink of starvation, the citizens in the Capitol are so abundant in resources that they over-consume to the point of making themselves physically ill just so they can continue to consume even more.  The drink symbolizes the decadence of the Capitol, the wastefulness of its citizens, and their general ambivalence and lack of concern for the well being of the other districts.  For some reason this made people laugh.

2) Haymitch is a drunkard and he is often given lines that allow him to provide the audience with comic relief.  While I understand why this is necessary, I don’t find myself giggling over his antics along with other folks.  Each time I see Haymitch drink, I think about what drove him to this point in his life.  In Catching Fire, we see Katniss experiencing night terrors (another scene in which people laughed and my mind was boggled) and visions within the woods of her District because the Hunger Games are a traumatic experience for a teenager to partake in.  Haymitch, an adult now, is obviously still so traumatized by his victory that he uses alcoholism as a form of escapism from his flashbacks.

3) If you haven’t yet seen the Subway commercial for their new sandwich, you can do so here and then attempt to suppress feelings of rage for the remainder of the day.  This sandwich is probably the most outrageous movie tie-in marketing gimmick that I’ve ever had the misfortune of viewing.  Guess what Subway, standing up for what you believe in and having the courage to stand up to an oppressing government is simply incomparable to a sandwich.  While viewing Catching Fire and seeing the scene in the context of the film that Subway chose to include in its advertisement, I became even more upset by their ad that I had been upon my first viewing (which I hadn’t thought would be possible).

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If you’ve seen the first film and you’re unsure about whether you’d like to continue the story, I urge you to give Catching Fire a shot.  There was a drastic difference between each installment and Catching Fire appeared to nail everything that Suzanne Collins had originally intended the story to convey when she penned the trilogy it’s based on.  Have you seen The Hunger Games: Catching Fire yet?  What’re your thoughts?

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My Week In Photos

Sunday

Last Sunday, my cousin Rachel came to visit all the way from Florida.  We spent the day roaming around NYC with my brother, Bob .  I wore my new Mermaid leggings by Black Milk, a hipster Ariel tee from Target, and Sephora’s Ariel palette eyeshadow in Sea Witch.  We met at City Bakery which has delicious french toast, and the best hot chocolate you will ever taste in your life.  It’s basically like drinking a melted chocolate bar!  Afterwards, we went to Books of Wonder, a bookstore in NYC that specializes in YA fiction and children’s books.  Next, we headed to the Southwest lounge in Bryant Park where we had drink and sat outside enjoying the beautiful crisp fall weather.  Afterwards we went to Baked by Melissa (because cupcakes) and finally to Times Square (where the billboards were overtaken by geeky franchises), to go to the Disney store where all of the employees raved about my Ariel outfit.  Later that night we met up with my cousin Samantha, and the rest of my family for dinner and then Rachael stayed overnight and I made her watch an episode of The IT Crowd which is my favorite sitcom ever created.

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Monday

Monday I wore my new My Little Pony dress by Iron Fist Clothing.  As soon as I saw it, I knew it was the perfect addition to my wardrobe.  I also put out my Harley Quinn pop figure on my desk so she’ll be next to me while I write, and I read the first volume of Attack on Titan, which was really engaging.  I’m definitely going to pick up volume 2 the next time I find myself in a bookstore, which is usually pretty often.

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Tuesday

Tuesday was an eventful day because it marked the finale of Fangasm!  Syfy played a two hour special of our final two episodes, which showed us LARPing in a park and visiting the Batcave from the 1966 television series, as well as final episode which showcased the launch party we had been working towards planning throughout our internship.  I also received my copy of Jetpack Unicorn in the mail which is a game that I supported on Kickstarter created by my friend and pen pal Kristina.

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Wednesday

I don’t have any photos from Wednesday, but I can tell you that I spent my night reading Pretty Deadly #1, a new series released by Image Comics, and Young Avengers #11 which I had been dying to read ever since Bleeding Cool posted a spoilery photo of Tom Hiddleston holding up a certain page from the issue.

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Thursday

When I came home on Thursday I was so excited to find a copy of Kiri Callaghan’s new book, Alys, which she had sent to me to read during my 5 and a half hour flight to LA next week.  The book is inspired by Alice in Wonderland, and I was so intrigued by the plot summary that I couldn’t wait to start reading.  I’m currently about halfway through the book, and I absolutely love it.  If you’re a fan of Lewis Carroll, I definitely suggest picking up a copy!  I also reviewed these delicious Zombie chocolate bars for On Wednesdays We Wear Pink.  They’re zombie green bars with crispies inside and they even say Bite Me on them.

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Friday

Friday was a ton of fun!  After work I headed to Bryant Park where I was ecstatic to find that they’re already setting up the holiday shops and ice skating rink!  It was an usually cold night, but I sat outside and finished reading the 5th volume of Sailor Moon.  Afterwards, I met my friend Leonard at Kinokuniya, which is a manga bookstore in NYC, and I bought the second volume of Attack on Titan, and the second volume of NANA.  From there we rushed to eat our dinner at the Brooklyn Dinner so we would be on time to see Matilda on broadway.  Matilda was one of my favorite books as a kid, so I was particularly excited to see the show.  The set design was beautiful!  The theater was decorated with enormous sized versions of Scrabble letters, and the scenes of Matilda in the library surrounded by books were some of my favorites.  I was so impressed with all of the talented children in the play, who are far more coordinated than I’ll ever be.  After the play we went to the Disney store, where I got a Frozen mug.  I keep wanting to buy everything with Elsa on it, but I’m trying to control myself until I actually see the film, even though I already know that I’m going to love it!  Then we went to Jamba Juice and drank pumpkin smoothies before calling it a night.

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Saturday

 I ended my week with the long awaited next installment of our monthly Geek Girl Blogger Brunch.  We had a lot of ladies who were unable to attend this time, but even with our reduced number (me, Cassie, Melissa, and Yissel), we had so much fun!  The theme was Harry Potter, and the majority of us were donning Hogwarts house scarves.  The hostess asked if we were in a fraternity (which is especially confusing since women are in sororities, and not fraternities), but we were definitely our waiters favorite table of the day.  He greeted us by asking if we were planning on playing Quidditch later that day, and he used my replica of Luna Lovegood’s wand to cast the levitation spell Hermione corrects Ron’s pronunciation of in the first film.  He was also very confused by Cassie’s pygmy puff, Spartacus.  We started our brunch by toasting to Melissa who just landed a book deal with Random House!  Her first book is scheduled to be released in the spring of 2015 and we’re all extremely proud of her!  After brunch we headed to a wiccan store where we played with cats.  Then it was off to The Strand (where I purchased 4 books for only $20!).  Then we went to the next closest bookstore, Barnes & Noble in Union Square, where Cassie and I shared pumpkin cheesecake.  We decided that we couldn’t end our brunch without grabbing dinner, so we also hit Heartland Brewery and I finally tried their pumpkin & sage ravioli which is incredibly decadent.  So overall, it was a fantastic week!

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My Shocking Harry Potter Based Jung Typology Test Results & Why I’m Totally Okay With Them

So, just to give you a little bit of background information, I’m a long time Harry Potter fan.  And I mean so long term that on June 30, 1997 when the Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was released, I spent the day sitting on my favorite chair in my childhood room reading my hardcover copy and hoping that on my 11th birthday (which was less than a month away at the time), I’d be finding out that I was actually a wizard too and unlike the Dursley’s, my loving parents would be gladly escorting me to Platform 9 3/4 that fall for my first year at Hogwarts.  I vividly remember preordering a copy of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, from a Book of the Month Club catalog ( ! ) (way before I knew what an impact it would have on my life), because my ten year old self had thought that a book about wizards sounded incredibly awesome.  Spoiler alert, I was right.  But anyway, I also remember JK Rowling first introducing us to Luna Lovegood.  A character who is arguably one of my favorites in any storytelling medium.  Luna is so cool.  She’s blond with green eyes, just like me, and I totally admire her ability to believe the unbelievable, as well as her complete disregard for other people’s opinions of herself.  I think Luna is the reason that I too, don’t give a darn what anyone thinks of me.  She always served as a kind of role model to me, but not in the way that adults are role models.  Luna is a character that grew up along with me (until book 5, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, when JK Rowling took a two year period to release the next book and I surpassed her in age).  But nonetheless, I looked up to Luna as much as any kid could look up to one of their peers.  (Side note: I still consider her a peer because I’m not entirely convinced that I could possibly be a Muggle).

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So here’s the thing.  I’ve spent my entire life identifying with Luna.  Then, this Harry Potter based Jung Typology Test showed up.  Did I *need* to take it?  Probably not.  Anyone who meets me agrees within minutes that I’m a Ravenclaw.  I don’t need a test to confirm it for me.  But out of sheer boredom and curiosity, I decided to indulge myself in the affirmation this test would surely provide.  So there I went, answering question after question, critiquing my personality traits until hitting submit and awaiting my result.  And there it came INTJ (Introvert Intuitive Thinking Judging).  I flipped back to the Harry Potter infographic, and my eyes beelined to Luna I (yupp), N (mmhmm), F (wait, what?), P (?!). NO. No, no, no, no, no.  This can’t be correct.  Who’s lettering do I match?  And that’s when I saw it.  Draco Malfoy. Shock. Awe. Surprise. Confusion. Speechlessness.  These are all things that I experienced.

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Fortunately, Draco’s Jung character description is not nearly as awful as  the way his character behaves in the books, so I suppose that just goes to show you that it’s all about how you choose to apply your traits to your everyday life.  Here’s mine & Malfoy’s description: Natural leaders that strive for perfection.  Objective, independent, conceptual, and adaptable.  Quickly see patterns in external events and develop long range explanatory perspectives.  Skeptical and independent.  Tend to have an aura of definite self confidence.

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I spent a bit of time reflecting upon my life and wondering how this could’ve happened, and how I could possibly be like Draco Malfoy in any way, shape or form, but while barely any direct comparisons come to mind, I did find the description very accurate and applicable to my own self.  Then I thought back to good ole book number one when dear Harry begged the Sorting Hat to place him anywhere except Slytherin.  “Not Slytherin. Not Slytherin.”  And do you know what the Sorting Hat said? “Are you sure?  You could be great, you know, it’s all here in your head, and Slytherin will help you on the way to greatness, no doubt about that – no? Well, if you’re sure – better be GRYFFINDOR!”  Which is why I’m choosing to believe that I am in exactly the same situation.  This Jung test is like my Sorting Hat and I’m begging for it to comply and allow me to continue living my childhood fantasy of becoming Luna Lovegood.  If I’ve learned anything from Harry Potter, it’s that the conscious choices we make are the ones that define us.  So while I’m quite happy with my outcome’s description, I suppose I shall attempt to be more empathetic from here on out.  In fact, the results have made me more empathetic towards Malfoy, which is probably a step in the right direction.  He made some poor choices along the way, but he proved himself in the end.  I may share traits with Malfoy, but Harry shared traits with Voldemort, and really, it’s all about the application of those traits to your own actions.  So, Luna Lovegood, I will not disappoint you!

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You can take the test here, and then compare your score to the chart above (click to enlarge!) to find out exactly which Harry Potter character you’re most like!  I’d love to know your results as well, so feel free to leave a comment!

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Geek Girl Blogger Brunch #1

To me, one of the most exciting things about being a blogger is the opportunity to meet a community of other likeminded women who are also interested in blogging about geek culture.  I met two of my best friends Melissa and Cassie through blogging and tweeting and such and since then I’ve been rapidly expanding my network!  My friend Jamila and I previously had a blogger brunch and it was so much fun that we wanted to have another one, but include more of our other friends.  Both of us have a “the more the merrier” type mentality!  After coordinating our schedules on a google calendar we decided to go to a Mexican restaurant in the East Village that serves delicious food and a plethora of strong and unlimited drinks.  All six of us (Me, Melissa, Cassie who writes for Bibliomantics, Jamila who runs Girl Gone Geek, Leslie who created the International Geek Girls Pen Pal Club, and blogs on Darling Stewie, and Yissel), woke up extra early and traveled downtown so we could discuss things like which Game of Thrones house is our favorite, who our fictional crushes are (my first one was Link from Zelda), and tweet about it using the hashtag #GGBrunch.  After brunch, we headed over to Big Gay Ice Cream Shop (I had another Mermaid), Toy Tokyo, Forbidden Planet, Barnes and Noble, Kinokuniya and Midtown Comics.  We had so much fun that we’ve decided to plan monthly brunches and give them each a theme.  Here are some photos from our lovely day!

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The Girls

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Our first round of frozen Rosalitas

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Goodies From Leslie’s Etsy Shop!

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Geek girls always accessorize

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Cassie whispers Game of Thrones spoilers to Melissa

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Outside of Toy Tokyo

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Mermaid from Big Gay Ice Cream Shop

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The $1,000 Boba Fett I need in my life (From Toy Tokyo)

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And surprising no one, I bought way too many books!

As you may be able to tell, I acquired quite a few books during our after brunch shopping spree and I could barely feel my arms as I was running to catch my train.  My Saturday haul included 1)Books – Fablehaven by Brandon Mull and Brandon Dorman, and Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl, 2) Manga – 5 Centimeters Per Second by Makoto Shinkai, Cardcaptor Sakura by CLAMP, Fullmetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa, and Is This a Zombie? by Shinichi Kimura & Sacchi, 4) Graphic Novels – Saga Volume 2 by Brian K. Vaughn & Fiona Staples, The Sixth Gun Volume 1 by Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt, The Amazing Spider-Man Volume 3 (Marvel Masterworks) by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko, and 5) Comics – The Wake #3 by Scott Snyder & Sean Murphy, Trillium #1 by Jeff Lemire, Infinity Part One by Jonathan Hickman, and Li’l Gotham #5 by Dustin Nguyen & Derek Fridolfs.

So now I’ll be hiding in my house all week and spending time with my new books! How was your weekend?

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Tea & Book Chat: Cinder by Marissa Meyer (The Lunar Chronicles #1)

Marissa Meyer’s debut novel, Cinder, quickly became a book that I could not put down.  In fact, I became so attached to the characters and the story that I ended up reading the entire 387 page book in just one day.  Cinder is a modern day Cinderella tale that blends science fiction with fantasy, creating a whimsical yet bleak dystopian society aptly named New Beijing, which formed following the end of the Fourth World War.  Adding to the science fiction aspect of the story, Cinder is cyborg, a lower class citizen in the ranks of New Beijing’s caste system, with a mechanical leg who suffered a traumatic event early on in her childhood, just before she turned 11.  An event of which, Cinder has no recollection of.  All she is aware of is that her father saved her life and soon after lost his own, leaving Cinder to live with her evil stepmother Adri, evil stepsister Pearl, loving stepsister Peony, and their hilarious android Iko who has an affinity for wearing jewelry.

Times are tough in New Beijing, as the entire county is becoming infected with a very deadly virus called Letumosis.  There is no known cure for the disease, also referred to as the plague, which hits suddenly and quickly progresses through the four stages of the disease before finally resulting in death.  Prince Kai’s father, the current Emperor, becomes infected with the disease along with Cinder’s stepsister Peony, before a cure can be discovered.  Once Peony’s illness is discovered and she is brought to the hospital to be placed in quarantine, Adril decides that the entire misfortune is somehow Cinder’s fault and as her legal guardian, she volunteers Cinder to join the Cyborg Draft and to become a test subject at the hospital.  They inject her with the disease, but miraculously, Cinder’s immune system seems to fight off the virus and her body is clear within a matter of hours.  She develops an interesting relationship to her less than truthful doctor, becomes more closely involved with Prince Kai, and learns some very shocking information about her past in the process of her volunteered research.  And of course, in true Cinderella fashion, the book spends many pages building up the excitement of big celebratory ball that is being held by Prince Kai in his castle during the final chapters.

Just when it seemed that their world couldn’t possibly face any other hardships, a race of humans who left planet Earth to inhabit the moon, called The Lunars, show up to negotiate a marriage to Prince Kai in exchange for continued peace between the colonies.  While Prince Kai detests Queen Levana, he is faced with the  difficult decision of marrying her in an effort to protect his people.  Queen Levana is shockingly beautiful due to a false facade that she is able to project to the people on Earth.  One line that I particularly loved in the novel conveyed the notion that truth cannot be hidden from mirrors.  Which is why The Lunars demanded that all mirrors be removed from the premises before they arrived on Earth.  In addition, any prior communication with Earth had always been done with a shield so they’re able to avoid revealing their true forms.

I really enjoyed this fractured fairytale.  Cinderella has never been one of my favorite fairytale princesses because she has always seemed slightly useless, but Meyer turns cyborg Cinder into a memorable heroine.  The book was full of foreshadowing which enabled me to figure out the plot twists early on, but despite being able to tell what was coming, I was still excited for all of the big reveals.  As I mentioned before, I ended up reading the entire book in one day because I had to watch the next series of events unfold.  I also liked how the beginnings of each section were prefaced with a quote from Cinderella which previewed the upcoming portion of the story which was about to be retold.  I’m very fond of the books cover art as well.  The artist made Cinder’s skin translucent so that you can see her mechanical leg which translates the fragility of the glass slipper into the fragility of her artificial limb.  She’s depicted wearing a striking red pump which pops against the shadowy background, and the title font is the perfect choice.

Cinder ends with a major cliffhanger, but luckily, the new paperback version of the book includes a bunch of extras that any book lover would appreciate.  There was an added short story called Glitches which brings us back into Cinder’s past before the events in the book occurred, an in depth interview with Marissa Meyer, twelve discussion questions which would be very interesting to discuss whether you are hosting a Cinder book club or simply pondering them on your own, and a seven page preview of Meyer’s next book.  Cinder is the first book in a four book series called “The Lunar Chronicles,” that Meyer will be releasing between 2012-2015.  Her second book, Scarlet, which twists and retells Little Red Riding Hood, will be available in bookstores nationwide this Tuesday February 5th.  Following that, Rapunzel’s story will be reimagined in Cress, and Snow White’s in Winter.  I am very much looking forward to continuing on with the series and discovering how each of the fairytales retellings will intertwine and relate to The Lunars.

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson Review

This week I couldn’t put down Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.  The book serves as a prequel to Peter Pan, who at the time is an orphan without a last name.  Peter and the other orphan boys are sent aboard a ship named the Wasp, to go to Rundoon and serve the evil King Zarboff, the third.  During their journey, Peter sneaks out of the boys’ quarters to attempt to find real food for them to eat.  Along the way he makes a new friend named Molly, who is an apprentice and descends from a long line of Starcatchers.  Molly is traveling separate from her father and guarding a magical trunk aboard their ship which is to be delivered to the Queen.  Peter and the Starcatchers is a mystical page turning adventure involving familiar characters such as the pirates Black Stache and Smee, Captain and first mate aboard the Jolly Roger, the most terrifying pirate ship in the sea.  As more sailors become privy to the magic withheld inside the trunk, chaos ensues on the high seas and five separate parties (Slank and Little Richard, Black Stache and Smee, Peter and Molly, the mermaids, and once they hit land, the Mollusks) battle each other to acquire the trunk.

If you have an affinity for the story of Peter Pan, you will fall deeply in love with Peter and the Starcatchers.  It’s wonderful to read the events which shaped Peter into the legend he is today.  You also learn about the origin of  the Lost Boys, Tinkerbell, the mermaids, and Mr. Grin, the crocodile.  The story is rich with easter eggs its fast paced narrative instantly engages the reader.  I often found myself saying I would read “just one more page,” before I put it down, but in actuality I would end up reading twenty to forty more pages.  I loved the story so much that after completing the novel I felt compelled to look further into Peter and the Starcatchers online.  I had already known about the off-Broadway play in New York (which I’m going to force someone to take me to on my birthday), but I also discovered that Disney is planning on turning the book into a film.  They’ve already employed Gary Ross (The Hunger Games) to direct, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

Peter and the Starcatchers is the first book in a four book series, and you can order a copy from Amazon.

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Tea & Book Chat: William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher

As a total literature nerd and major Star Wars enthusiast, I can confidently state that the one thing missing from my life up until now was William Shakespeare’s Star Wars by Ian Doescher.  Doescher uses iambic pentameter to adapt A New Hope into a 5 act Shakespearian adventure involving a captured Princess (Leia), a wise (Jedi) knight, and evil (Sith) lord, a young hero (Luke), and his comedic relief (C3PO & R2D2).  (That means we get to read R2D2’s bleeping in iambic pentameter!) We all know the plot of A New Hope, but what many of us may not have realized is how well the characters in Star Wars mirror Shakespearian archetypes.  I especially love Doescher’s use of literary devices.  For example, Vader’s speech in Act I, Scene II of the book foreshadows the events that are soon to follow. Verily, A New Hope, recounts the 1977 film scene for scene, and Doescher solves the lack of visuals, by adding a Chorus who explain the actions of the characters and enhance their soliloquies.  The book also includes 19 beautiful illustrations which depict the Elizabethan attire of the cast of characters in the dramatis personae. I would love to see Doescher’s retelling performed onstage, or simply read aloud by friends at a house party.  Perhaps, next May the Fourth!  I am convinced that a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, William Shakespeare had every intention of this interpretation existing.  Believe me when I say William Shakespeare’s Star Wars is the book you’re looking for. (I had to get in some Star Wars-isms!)  I’ll leave you with this satisfying line spoken by Han Solo:

[To bartender:] Pray, goodly Sir, forgive me for the

mess.

[Aside:] And whether I shot first, I’ll ne’er confess!

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You can purchase a copy of the book here, and view the trailer below.  Happy reading!

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