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Friday, April 14

Nerd News | Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser trailer

Friday, April 14

Well, dang. It's a good week to be a a fan.

So many questions, but for right now I'm just basking in the glow of it all. Here's a look at the first poster for the movie, too:

Also, this is beautiful:

What a gift she was.

Also of note:

1 Thanks, Colt!

Tuesday, April 11

Recently Read | January + February 2017

Tuesday, April 11
With every new year comes a new Goodreads goal. This year, I'm sticking with a nice, round 100. If I go over? Reading more is never a bad thing.

What did I read during the months of January and February?

Top Read

Wires and Nerve, Volume One (Wires and Nerve #1) by Marissa Meyer

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold.

When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity.

When I reached the final page of Winter, then the last story in Stars Above, I got a major case of TEABS (a Forever Young Adult-coined term meaning "the end of an awesome book syndrome"). I adore Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles series, and the characters in the books became like friends over the course of four books, a novella, and a handful of short stories. It was heartbreaking to think that we'd never go on another (new) adventure again.

Thankfully, I was wrong in my assumption that our time together was over and done. Meyer has expanded the Lunar Chronicles universe into graphic novels, and she's placed Iko—Cinder's android who never quite got her own storyline in the novel series—in the lead role.

The first volume of Iko's story is a quick read, but holds a lot of promise. It's awesome to read about her continued character growth, going from servant to partner to badass secret agent, and to see glimpses of the other characters, too. Plus: there's the promise of swoon, which was hinted at in the novels, but never had a chance to blossom.

Honorable mentions

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Set in the near future, The Handmaid's Tale describes life in what was once the United States, now called the Republic of Gilead, a monotheocracy that has reacted to social unrest and a sharply declining birthrate by reverting to, and going beyond, the repressive intolerance of the original Puritans. The regime takes the Book of Genesis absolutely at its word, with bizarre consequences for the women and men of its population.

The story is told through the eyes of Offred, one of the unfortunate Handmaids under the new social order. In condensed but eloquent prose, by turns cool-eyed, tender, despairing, passionate, and wry, she reveals to us the dark corners behind the establishment's calm facade, as certain tendencies now in existence are carried to their logical conclusions.

This was my first time reading this classic dystopian novel, and it was both the right time and the wrong time to pick it up. It hits a little too close to home for my liking, but it's a vitally important "what if" case.

Pro-tip: Be sure to read the "historical notes" at the end of the novel. They left me with a much different—more hopeful—feeling toward the book than the actual end of the story did.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

The last night of the year. Now the days of winter begin and the Goblin King rides abroad, searching for his bride…

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her mind, her spirit, and inspired her musical compositions. Now eighteen and helping to run her family’s inn, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her own sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl has no choice but to journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds—and the mysterious man who rules it—she soon faces an impossible decision. And with time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

I didn't know what to expect going in to Wintersong, other than that the synopsis made me think of Labyrinth. But the story itself is less kooky (I mean this in a good way, don't get me wrong) film and more "Goblin Market," with an ethereal and atmospheric spookiness about Liesl's tale.

The book also shows more of the Goblin King's side of things, which I always appreciate in a retelling. He's more than just a frightening user of beautiful young women, and there are reasons why he acts the way he does. This is one of those books that sticks with you for a while, even though it doesn't make an immediate and sudden impact.

The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston

Princess. Captive. Gladiator.

Fallon is the daughter of a proud Celtic king, the sister of the legendary warrior Sorcha, and the sworn enemy of Julius Caesar.

When Fallon was a child, Caesar’s armies invaded her homeland, and her beloved sister was killed in battle.

Now, on the eve of her seventeenth birthday, Fallon is eager to follow in her sister’s footsteps and earn her place in the fearsome Cantii war band. She never gets the chance.

Fallon is captured and sold to an elite training school for female gladiators—owned by none other than Julius Caesar. In a cruel twist of fate, the man who destroyed Fallon’s family might be her only hope of survival.

Now Fallon must overcome vicious rivalries and deadly fights—in and out of the arena. And perhaps the most dangerous threat of all: her forbidden yet irresistible feelings for Cai, a young Roman soldier.

I am all about stories in which ladies prove to the men in their cultures and lives that they can not only do what the menfolk do—they can do it better. The idea of female gladiators is a new and interesting one; I'm sure y'all are well familiar with the idea of male ones. But there's really no reason why women couldn't have been tossed into the ring (and there's actually some historical evidence that a few were!).

The Valiant doesn't really break any new ground, and is filled with pretty standard YA themes, but the story still manages to be engaging and the characters are well-rounded. I'm looking forward to reading future books in this series.

Other reads


The Burning Page (The Invisible Library #3) by Genevieve Cogman | Of Beast and Beauty by Stacey Jay


Frostblood (Frostblood Saga #1) by Elly Blake | Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love #1) by Jessica Park | History is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera | Timekeeper (Timekeeper #1) by Tara Sim


Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan | The Edge of Everything (Untitled #1) by Jeff Giles | Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson

If you've read any of these titles, I'd love to hear what you thought! And, have you read anything lately that you'd recommend?

Monday, April 10

Nerd News | Thor: Ragnarok trailer

Monday, April 10


This is me right now, if not literally, then definitely on the inside.

Unlike some (many?) people, I do like the Thor movies—and, no, not just for Tom Hiddleston's Loki. They're not at the top of my Marvel Cinematic Universe movie ranking, but they're not at the bottom either. (I'm looking at you, Iron Man 2. And don't even get me started on The Incredible Hulk.) They've never really stood out among the other movies, however ... until now.

This trailer is so much more epic than either of the previous movies. I don't know what that means for the film itself, but I now have high, high hopes.

Excuse me while I go watch it again. Then go find all the GIFs. Then watch it again.

Also of note:

1 Thanks, Colt!

Wednesday, April 5

Happy First Contact Day!

Wednesday, April 5

Break out the cheese pierogies and old school rock and roll records—it's First Contact Day!

Live long and prosper, friends.

Saturday, April 1

Hey April | 2017 Man Calendar

Saturday, April 1

Download this page of the 2016 Man Calendar for personal use by clicking on the image; it will open in a new window. Right/control click to save it. Then print the page on letter-size cardstock, and trim it to 6"x9".

Desktop version:

Find the rest of the 2017 Man Calendar here.