Randomosity on Fridays: Then & Now Version: Loki

Once upon a time, there was an ungodly cute pupster who loved to chew on sticks:

I don't know what a stick is. Is this a stick? I will chew upon it.
Two years later, he grew up into this crazyface who still loves to chew on sticks:


Ah, what a difference two years makes.  And yet the more things change, the more they stay the same.  We have wondered if Loki will mellow out as he grows older but I doubt it.  If anything, age will only put him further into his prime and in no time at all he will be conquering the world and making us all kneel before him.

This has been your weekly dose of the Loki.  Stay cool, chew on a stick, and have a great weekend!


Book Review: CONTROL by Lydia Kang

This review has been long in coming, especially since I read an ARC for Control back at the end of 2013 a month or two before the book released in December 2013.

Anyway, I did always mean to write something, especially since the author, Lydia, is one of our first online-blogging friends. It also seems appropriate now to highlight a book by an Asian American author in light of the We Need Diverse Books campaign and because May is Asian-Pacific American Month.

So, here we go!

CONTROL by Lydia Kang

Disclaimer: Borrowed the ARC from a friend, and as I mentioned above, we are online friends with Lydia. So, we like her a lot, but this review will be fair and honest to the best of our abilities.

PROS: Interesting world building; intriguing cast of characters; actual science in the science fiction; development of different kinds of relationships (familial, romantic, platonic, etc.)

CONS: Pacing plateaus for a bit; heavier subject matter insufficiently addressed; standard "bad guy" villain(s)

Intellectual Rating: 6/7 out of 10
Emotional Grade: C+

Goodreads blurb:
When a crash kills their father and leaves them orphaned, Zel knows she needs to protect her sister, Dyl. But before Zel has a plan, Dyl is taken by strangers using bizarre sensory weapons, and Zel finds herself in a safe house for teens who aren’t like any she’s ever seen before—teens who shouldn't even exist. Using broken-down technology, her new friends’ peculiar gifts, and her own grit, Zel must find a way to get her sister back from the kidnappers who think a powerful secret is encoded in Dyl’s DNA.

A spiraling, intense, romantic story set in 2150—in a world of automatic cars, nightclubs with auditory ecstasy drugs, and guys with four arms—this is about the human genetic “mistakes” that society wants to forget, and the way that outcasts can turn out to be heroes.

Even though science fiction is not an easy sell for me (it takes some convincing for me to venture into the genre), I looked forward to this book. The premise was promising, and knowing Lydia's background in medicine, I was curious to see how that knowledge would translate to the future-science of the world of CONTROL.

On that front, the book is a success. The few YA scifi books and many more sci-fi-flavored books (e.g. all those dystopians) I've read have more often than not given me pause when it comes to the more science-y aspects of their world-building or plot points - and this despite my not being a science geek myself. Sometimes, science-based explanations or plot points would make me question their plausibility and logic. Not so with CONTROL! It was cool to have that solid scientific basis for the plot points and world-building involving mutations and gene manipulation. Plus, the science actually felt like an important part of the book instead of just window dressing. Like plot-related science aside, I loved how Kang showed how scientific and technological advances might affect other aspects of society - like entertainment! She gives us downloadable scents and night clubs with special rooms just for experiencing specific kinds of sensations - thanks to the help of airborne drugs. The club scene is one of the most dynamic and delirious sequences in the book! Kang takes "feeling the music" to another level.

Speaking of science and geekery, it was cool too to have the main character Zelia be really into science. And it was nice that the text shows us that. Zelia clearly knows her stuff, and the way she reacts to being in a lab and the way she describes things (and even her jokes) show us that this is her passion. Yes, some of the science-based descriptions or jokes were a little corny, but I liked them because I think it gave Zelia character and even she was aware at her nerdiness.

This does bring me to one of the bigger issues I had with the book though, and that's also Zelia. Generally, I like her! Like I said, I love that she's smart and passionate about science. She's also protective of her family, and I really appreciated that her main emotional motivators in Control have to do with her sister Dyl and her father. But I had trouble fully connecting with her, despite her obvious distress over her sister's well-being and her admirable tough attitude when it came to the many changes in her life. I think it didn't help that while Zelia's main drive is to save Dyl, I don't really know Dyl well enough. Much like Prim in the first Hunger Games book, Dyl is almost more a symbol (of innocence, family) than an actual person. The sisters don't have much time together before they're separated, and we don't learn much else about her, other than that she's beautiful and sweet and naive.

I think another factor to my detachment from Zelia was her kind of unclear character arc. Like I could see the direction the plot was going and Zelia does have a host of insecurities, but at the end of the book, I couldn't really tell you what Zelia's character arc actually was. Self-acceptance/ confidence? Sure. Learning to open up to people, I guess? Though Zelia learns things, she also somehow felt stagnant. But this could just be me (sometimes, you just don't click with someone) and with what she's gone through and where the book ends, I am curious to see how Zelia grows in the next book.

The supporting cast, Zelia's new friends at Carus House, was a fun group. I enjoyed learning about each of their genetic modifications and about each of them as people. I know some readers will be disappointed that the genetic modifications don't necessarily grant showy, almost magical levels of powers to the group, but I kind of found that refreshing! Yes, these teens have extreme physical modifications and/or weird abilities, but it's kind of nice to see people like this not be conveniently normal looking or have "super powers" like mind-reading or laser eyes. Of the supporting cast, I particularly liked Vera, the confident, green-skinned bombshell of the group who starts off seeming like a "mean girl" but ultimately isn't. I loved her fierceness and sass.

Unfortunately, I can't say that about the antagonists of this book. We meet a few members of the opposing Areus House, and while their special abilities are interest-piquing, their personalities don't make too much of an impact. There is one character (who I won't name so as not to spoil you for anything) who does make an impression, but it goes from intriguing to creepy and kind of one-dimensional. I suspect we'll learn more about Areus House in CATALYST (Control #2), but as it stands in this first book, everything about the place hits the one note of "evil/bad." I don't need all my villains in all my media to have a lot of depth or shades of gray, but I do usually want a little more than this. I'm kind of like why are they so shady? Is their whole deal really just greed, etc.?

I'm going to mention my more minor issue with the pacing now before I get into the last bigger issue I had with the book. Overall, the pacing was fine. Things happen quickly enough, but they do plateau once Zelia gets to Carus House. This was okay though because Zelia was learning about herself and her past and discovering things about her new friends. So it doesn't drag per se, but I did find myself wondering when the next big plot event would happen eventually.

Now the last bigger issue I wanted to mention was that part of the plot has to do with heavier subject matter that is sexual in nature. Much of it is described in vague terms and/or implied, and the bad things are absolutely condemned by the text and treated as traumatic experiences within world. But the thing is, I didn't feel like this really messed up stuff was sufficiently addressed. It's kind of like "This is a bad, bad thing. These are bad, bad people for doing it," but it almost feels like the gravity of what has been perpetrated (and some of these things on young characters) isn't quite there. Like I expected the characters to be more outraged, but maybe this is not that out-there-despicable to them? Basically, for something so serious and seemingly horrible to me, it didn't seem like the characters felt the same way and/or they didn't feel like this needed further discussion.

So as you can see, I did have a few big issues with the book, but I liked quite a bit too. I liked it enough to want to read the next book and see where all of this goes. The world Kang has built is definitely a curious one, and it's definitely one of the more scientifically sound ones I've read. It is a promising debut with a generally fun, diverse cast and some good plot twists too!

So if you like science-y, fierce girls and real science in your Science Fiction, I recommend you give CONTROL a try! And if you like it, be on the lookout for the upcoming sequel CATALYST.


Name That Book: Literal Version Deux Answers!

Time for the answers to Wednesday's post.  Behold!


1. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Didn't realize that my doodle was pretty close to the cover re-design.


2. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas
In this one it was hard to show the hands pointing toward 12.
Maybe I should have crammed an AM on there somewhere.


3. Fury of the Phoenix by Cindy Pon


4. Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
I really wanted to draw Fatprincess instead of the female symbol
but that would have given it away.


5. A Confusion of Princes by Garth Nix
See all the ??? They are confused.  And princely.

I'm so proud of Krispy because when I asked her if she got all of them, she said yes, except for OMG THE CROWN AND CLOCK ONE IS CROWN OF MIDNIGHT.  She also identified #2 as an angry bird--an angry phoenix--a-hah!  Fury of the Phoenix.  We were on the same wavelength this time, she and I.

Hope you enjoyed this round of Name That Book.  Our weekend plans consist of express tickets to board the Fatty Train to Fat Town, i.e. we're planning on eating some delicious food and then some more delicious food.  

What are your weekend plans?


Name That Book: Literal Version Deux!

Howdy, howdy!  It's time for another rousing round of Name That Book!  Once again, it features YA titles interpreted literally via doodles.  Take a gander and give a guess!






Good luck!  Answers lie somewhere in the future.  In the meantime, I'll be trying to catch up on Arrow since Krispy's way ahead of me.  Damn you, Krispy!


Writers on Writing

Oh hey! Another Monday post from me! This time it's because I was tagged by my dear Miss Tracey Neithercott to talk about my writing process. She posted her piece last week on her blog, and you should definitely check it out. This blog hop/chain basically asks 4 questions about writing, and it's been cool seeing how different people approach the process of getting a story written.


I am the WORST right now in that I'm not really working on anything. My brain has all over the place lately, which is bad. But the last thing I was working on was a sort of murder mystery written in verse. It's very experimental for me in that I've never written anything long in verse, and it's a story told from 3 different POVs, which presents a whole other set of challenges.

The idea originated from brainstorming sessions with my #twtpoem cohorts April Tucholke and Lydia Kang, and it was going to be a story told in a series of tweets. That ended up not happening, but with their blessing, I started messing with the story on my own.

Novel-wise, I've been tinkering on and off with a Cinderella retelling. I know it's like the most retold fairy tale ever, but I find myself consistently coming back to this story. And my co-blogger Alz would like me to get back to my Asian Fantasy that I talked about ages and ages ago.


Um, I've been told I have pretty writing? So I guess it might be that. I think because I'm into lyrical writing, I tend to pay attention to flow and mood when I'm writing as well. So it goes a bit beyond just metaphor and description and clever turns of phrase.

This goes hand in hand with my interest in poetry. I don't read it very often (or practice it much) and I've never studied it in depth, but I like it because it's writing in a very condensed, sharp form. I feel like there's more pressure on each line, each word in poetry because you have to say and do so much in so little space. So I think it's a good study for writing in general, and I like to experiment with poetic techniques and forms in my prose too.

I also like ambiguous characters. So hopefully, you'll see a few of those lurking about.


Because it's fun??? But more seriously, I write things with magical elements or that play off of fairy tales and myth because those are the things I love. Wanting magic to be real has been a wish of mine since I was a wee lass, so given the chance to make my own magic, why wouldn't I?


When Tracey asked me to participate in this blog chain, I joked with her that my answer for "writing process" would simply be "Bwuuuhhh?" and that's kind of true. I'm a pantser by nature, so I sort of write whatever strikes my fancy and go with it.

The problem with this is that I frequently run out of steam and then I'm stuck because I didn't really think things through. So now, unless it is really nagging at me, I will sit on an idea until I have a better hold of it. I might write down a line or two, especially if I like the turn of phrase or mood or whatever, but I'll turn the premise over in my head until I've come up with something closer to a plot. I'm also trying to work in more outlining, so that my heading is clear. Basically, I've become more of a hybrid pantser-plotter.

Now, this will be a more unusual thing to say but I have the (maybe bad?) habit of revising as I go. I'm working on turning off my edit-brain and just getting the first draft out, but it's a work-in-progress for me. It's what makes me a slow, probably too deliberate writer. In novel stuff, I read the scene I wrote before to get myself back in the right frame of mind, but I'll also tinker with it. Like I said, it makes drafting slow and I'm not sure how much more effective it is in the long run. But I have this habit because this is how I've always written my academic essays/papers - as in, I rarely did multiple drafts of my papers/essays because I wrote to be done in as few drafts as possible. So whenever I got to the end of my papers, they were essentially finished because I'd already done the revision while drafting, if that makes sense. (And yes, this worked for me if my grades were anything to go by.) But like I said, I don't think this is quite as effective for novel-length stuff but I'll let you know how it goes since my process is still evolving. :p

Anyway, when I get stuck and/or when I'm finished, I step away for a bit before coming back to look at it again.

Pinterest has been a great help for visuals and references. And unlike most people it seems, I can't do the music thing. I like music, but I also like singing along to music. So anything with words is likely to distract me. I can do soundtracks sometimes, but ultimately, I prefer silence (or ambient noise).

Thanks for the tag, Tracey! To continue this enlightening chain, I'm going to tag the multi-talented Cat York and the smartie Yahong Chi! Looking forward to learning all your secrets reading about your process, ladies!

(Edit: Yahong has already written her post! Here: Yahong's Writers on Writing post.)
(Edit 2: And now Cat's post is up too! Here: Cat's Writers on Writing post.)

*Thanks Supernatural (specifically the character Chuck) for all these fantastic writing-related jokes. Perfect gifs.


It's a Loki!

Happy Friday, folks!  Have a Loki or even two:

What? What are you looking at?
I didn't do anything. I've done nothing! I'm a dog.
It's been mega-hot out here, so eat some frozen yogurt, drink some boba, and stay chill this weekend.


What's Up Wednesday (35)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


Still reading Sea of Shadows. I'm not that far in, but I was surprised to find that the fantasy world is Japanese-based. It's pretty interesting so far.

I mentioned I might be switching gears though because I really want to read The Fault in Our Stars before the movie is out. Besides that, my friend wants to do an impromptu book-club reading of Junot Diaz's THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, which I just bought last week.

I'm getting back into writing if that counts?

Do blog posts count too? I'm doing a few more of them than usual this month - this past Monday I talked a little about my "home away from home" as part of a feature for Dog Vacay and next Monday (5/19), I'll be participating in a bloghop called WRITERS ON WRITING. I was tagged by Tracey, whose Writers on Writing post is here, posted this past Monday.

Also in terms of blog writing, this month marks the return of Book Reviews! I know, neither Alz nor I have done any in a while. In case you missed it, I reviewed the unflinching and lovely WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart. Don't worry. I only talk about the writing style and themes, no spoilers. It's a book where going in blind is best, so you can also bookmark my review for after you read too. I read an ARC months ago, and I'm looking forward to actually being able to talk about it with other people now that it's out!

Two other book reviews I hope to have up this month are 1) CONTROL by Lydia Kang (a review that I should have written months ago) and 2) DIVIDED (the sequel to DUALED) by Elsie Chapman. I was recently approved for an ARC of DIVIDED, so I hope to have it read and reviewed by the end of the month when the book will be released.

I wanted to have those 2 book reviews this month too because May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month in the U.S. and I thought it'd be a good opportunity to highlight books by two Asian-American/Canadian authors.

So that's most of my writing / planned writing of late.


My dear friend Eva! She's graduating with her Masters in Public Administration this week, and I could not be more proud of her. She's going to do great things (and already has as an undergraduate advisor and reading volunteer)!


Most of my free time this past week has been spent binge-watching ARROW. The Sister and I got through all of Season 2 just in time to catch the season finale tonight. I already kind of regret it because now I'll have to wait until Fall for more and I want it nooooow, haha.

Channeling Felicity Smoak. Appropriate since she pretty much says
what I'm thinking when I watch this show. Yep, I own her S1 finale
horse-print dress! One of my favorites.
Mother's Day was this weekend, and we had a nice family lunch. The Sister dug up this old picture of us with our mom from when we were babies. Well, she was a baby. I looked like I just stepped out of a catalog.

Other than that, I'm just trying to stay cool. It is HOT this week in SoCal - like summer hot. I think we're going to hit 100F today. Here's a post-swim Loki to get you through the day. :)

Q4U: What's up with you this week?


Home Away from Home

Recently, the dog-sitter finding site Dog Vacay reached out and asked me to share a place I considered a "home away from home." They look like a bunch of fun peeps (just look at their blog!), so I thought I'd respond to their request. (Also, I guess this proves that I totally post about Loki too much, hah.)

I actually spend quite a bit of my down time in various spots around my actual home because most of the cafes near me are either Starbucks or kind-of-loud boba tea places and I don't actually spend that much time at my local library. So I wouldn't consider any of these places "home away" spots.

Which makes me a little sad just because back in college, I used to spend so much time in cafes, which were also crowded but seemed more cozy. Maybe it was because there wasn't loud music playing or maybe it was because there was a different sort of energy - the kind only to be had when there's a college crowd crammed into a small space. Or maybe it was the indoor/outdoor set-up of my favorite cafe. I don't know, but I always enjoyed the vibe I had there whether I was studying or just there to chat with my friends.

Since I went away for college, the 4 years I spent up in NorCal sort of made the area my home away from home. I still hold fond feelings for the Bay Area when I go up there. People say your college years are some of the best years of your life, and while I'm not sure about that yet, there was something kind of wonderful about all those moments spent lying in the grass on the lawns or reading under trees or while sitting on the steps outside stately-looking buildings.

My return to campus a year or two post-graduation.

Nowadays, my "home away from home" is a little more abstract, but it's one my fellow bookworms will recognize and totally understand.

My already way too full bookshelf.
It's books. It doesn't really matter where I am as long as I have a good book with me because I can let myself get lost within those pages. I don't really need anything else, though I do favor a particular corner of the couch. :)

As for Loki, he's been lucky enough to have people come over to take care of him when I'm away. So he has not yet had to have a home away from home. BUT if he did, I think Alz's yard would be the closest thing since he's played there a couple of times and Alz is his favorite sitter. (That's why she's his godmother.)

Loki with Alz's feet in the background.

Thanks to the lovely people at Dog Vacay for reaching out to me for this project! And if Loki ever needs a sitter, maybe I'll check out their site for options! And if you're looking for a dog sitter, they might be an option for you too!

Q4U: So, is there somewhere you consider your home away from home?


Book Review: We Were Liars

This upcoming Tuesday, E. Lockhart's much buzzed about book WE WERE LIARS will be available for purchase. You might have heard the title and seen tantalizing but ultimately vague reactions and descriptions of the book. I understand this is frustrating.

It was frustrating to me too, though it also did catch my attention and pique my interest. The very nicely put-together We Were Liars Tumblr can give you a better idea of what you're getting into.

But the site itself instructs us to lie about the book's contents.

I won't lie to you, but I won't tell you the whole truth either. To do so would be a disservice to your reading experience. You know how there are some books, some movies, some stories where you're better off going in knowing as little as possible? This is one of them.

I was lucky enough to get an e-ARC from Netgalley for it a month or two ago, and it's taken me that long to figure out a way to review this thing without letting too much slip.

Disclaimer: Received an e-ARC from publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

PROS: Vivid prose; strong voice; nuanced character conflicts; atmospheric; clever structure

CONS: Story occasionally meanders; sometimes felt detached from the characters; writing style/structure might bother some people

Intellectual Rating: 8 out of 10
Emotional Grade: A-

Goodreads blurb:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

From a "plot" standpoint, the book focuses on Cadence Sinclair Easton and the distinguished Sinclair family. It's about her coming of age - falling in love, becoming aware of her privilege, growing frustration with her family - but it's also about Cadence's realization of the dysfunction that exists beneath the shining image of the Sinclair clan that the world sees. Cadence spends every summer on the Sinclair's private island with her cousins and her cousin's friend. Together, they form a group called the Liars. The book is also about one particular summer they spend together.

First, I have to say that E. Lockhart's prose is just gorgeous. The writing is spare but lovely and so vivid. She quickly and effortlessly paints a picture of the Sinclairs and their island, of the carefree summers playing by the shore, of the family's magazine-perfect blue blood lifestyle. She creates an almost dreamy quality to Cadence's recountings, but she's also careful to reveal the many cracks beneath the dream, the countless microaggressions the family members inflict on each other that have built up over the years. Cadence's voice is distinct and sometimes lulling (I did feel a bit detached from her as a character, but she herself is struggling with detachment as well), but it will draw you in and hold you in a kind of spell.

Photo: We Were Liars Tumblr / Text (c) E. Lockhart  #wewereliars

If you like reading Contemporary, the story gives you more than enough to chew on. You have first love, budding teenage rebellion, family drama. There's some political disputes, inheritance issues, personality clashes. The novel is structured in an unconventional way with short chapters and jumps from the present to the past, and it's never quite clear where exactly the book is going in the first few chapters of the book. While I ultimately found this structure effective, it did make the story feel like it meandered at times. And while the problems faced by Cadence were understandable and easy to sympathize with, it did make me feel at times like "But these are still rich people, first world problems."

The good thing is even these parts served the story as a whole. The meandering plot helped set the mood of timelessness and created the "magical" quality of Cadence's summers on the island. It also kind of mimicked, I think, the often non-linear and easily distracted nature of memory and recall. And while many of the Sinclairs' problems stem (at least partly) from their extreme privilege, we're shown how these conflicts affect the characters at the personal level and how none of the drama is simple or easily solved. I don't think the story paints money as the root of the problem so much as it shows the reader how trapped any of us are within the cages of our personal and familial narratives.

What was it that Leo Tolstoy wrote about families?

"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."

Which leads me to themes. If you've been here long enough, you'll know that I'm a girl who loves a well-executed theme or two in books. WE WERE LIARS is full of them: memory, love, grief, family, narrative.

We are all stories, and for prestigious families like the Sinclairs, this might be even truer because they tend to have such elaborate family histories, myths even. WE WERE LIARS explores what happens to people who have strong familial narratives that are entrenched in its members. Cadence and the Liars are at the age where they're realizing just how their family's image of itself can and have affected them; they're starting to see how it affects the adults too. E. Lockhart cleverly has Cadence use fairy-tales and other well-known stories as framing devices for the broken narratives and parts she has come to recognize in the Sinclair clan.

The story also explores different types of love, and in keeping with the family theme, it shows how love and loyalty can in some ways be both binding and destructive and healing and freeing.

And then there's the theme of memory, linked with the story-telling aspects of the book. How reliable is it? What are the things you remember about the people you love? What are the images you form and keep? Is any one version of a memory or story more true than another?

There's not much more I can say. WE WERE LIARS is a great book for studying voice and how to build a slow burn. It's nuanced and a little unresolved, which I liked because life is messy and unresolved. And yet, it's not un-hopeful. This is a story that lingers.

So I recommend you pick up the book and meet the Sinclairs. When you're done, I'd love to chat about the truth. But if anyone asks you about how it all unfolds, remember: just lie. (The truth is meant to be discovered.)


What's Up Wednesday (34)

What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme geared toward readers and writers, so we can check in with each other. To join, just check out Jaime Morrow or Erin Funk's blogs for the link widget and sign up!


SEA OF SHADOWS by Kelley Armstrong, but I'm not very far in. Haven't had much reading time this week. I'm also reading SCARLET by A.C. Gaughen, which is written in dialect. Pretty interesting so far but again, I'm not very far in.

I'm probably going to have to switch to reading THE FAULT IN OUR STARS at some point though because I, um, still haven't read it and that movie is coming out. So I would like to be prepared.


A few lines of poetry here and there. The thing I'm dabbling with is supposed to be told through 2-3 POVs. So right now, I'm mostly trying to figure out the voice of each character.


As part of the WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS campaign, May 3 (Saturday) was a call-to-action day. The campaign encouraged people to buy and/or request diverse books and use the hashtag #DiversifyYourShelves to talk about it. I made a few recommendations and then did some book-shopping of my own.

My Diverse TBR pile. Bought POINTE & OSCAR WAO on May 3, bought THE NIGHT ITSELF in 
the UK in Feb (it'll be out in US in the fall but titled THE NAME OF THE BLADE). KILLER OF 
ENEMIES and NIGHTINGALE'S NEST were won from giveaways.
It was also California Book Store Day, which I found out about literally on Friday afternoon. CA Book Store Day was a state-wide celebration of independent book stores with participating book stores carrying exclusive (that day only) books and art and holding their own events/activities!

So I took care of 2 birds with 1 stone: went to my local indie, bought a CA Bookstore Tote (I love the design!) and some diverse reads.

(It was Free Comic Book Day too but I am not a comics reader and the line by the comic bookstore we passed was super long and it was super hot this weekend - like in the 90Fs.)


Thursday, the Sis, our friends, and I went to the Wiltern to get our teenybopper on at The Wanted concert. We didn't know many of the songs, but it was still fun! Oh boy bands.

[Photo: Gennia]

I also FINALLY got my long-awaited Sherlock-inspired BORED leggings from Gold Bubble Clothing! Long-awaited because 1) I've been coveting these since I saw them last November (during Nerdvember, saw someone's pic of them) but they were part of a limited line and 2) I ordered these babies in February when the line was made available again, but thanks to new company growing pains + flaky fabric suppliers, the collection's creation kept getting delayed.

But it's all good now because I have them and the leggings are great! For those of you have seen BBC's SHERLOCK, you'll recognize the print as the wallpaper from inside 221B.

On Saturday, other than all the book buying, the Sis and I also saw The Amazing Spider-Man 2. It was fun and we enjoyed it, but it definitely had way too much going on. Surprisingly, it wasn't the number of villains that made it bloated (unlike say Spiderman 3 from the older trilogy). There was just too much going on - too many character arcs and plot points, which made the transitions between the arcs jarring.

But like I said, I enjoyed it. It's a fun summer movie and I liked it about as much as I liked the first. It's very funny and Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are just too adorable.

Sunday was May the 4th aka Star Wars Day! We love us some Star Wars up in here, so of course, we had to show our pride! [Photos from me, the Sis, and Gennia]

We also built one of the Sister's remaining Lego sets: Anakin's Jedi Interceptor!

[Photo: Gennia]
Here's the finished product, complete with spring-loaded missiles:

Even Loki got in on it with a lightsaber and a PetCo Star Wars line bow tie!

And it was so sweet that a couple of you expressed that you missed seeing Loki around the blog. Well, you're in luck! On top of his Tumblr (Dog Days of Loki), Loki now has his own Instagram account as well! So if you only want to see all pup all the time, go join his army! He's @dogdaysofloki.

LASTLY, the Sis and I finished ARROW Season 1 Monday night. So good! Must start Season 2 immediately! We actually bought the first season because it was super cheap at Target ($15!!). It was also the season finale of BATES MOTEL Monday night, so it was just a night of OH MY GOD for us, haha.

I read books slow, but I watch TV fast. Bring on the next season! ;)

What's up with you? Got any good diverse reads to recommend?


Randomosity on Fridays: Castle of Otranto Version

What-ho and hey-hup, peeps!  'Tis Friday and time for your weekly dose of randomosity.

A long time ago, I read this book called The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole.  It was published in 1764.  The Goodreads blurb reads in part thusly:

First published pseudonymously in 1764, The Castle of Otranto purported to be a translation of an Italian story of the time of the crusades. In it Walpole attempted, as he declared in the Preface to the Second Edition, "to blend the two kinds of romance: the ancient and the modern." Crammed with invention, entertainment, terror, and pathos, the novel was an immediate success and Walpole's own favorite among his numerous works.

It is in this Alz's humble opinion that the blurb is giving the book too much credit.  It is legit ridic and, according to the prof who taught it, it is supposed to be.  I mean, the author himself built a gigantic Gothic-style castle complete with towers and battlements and with "gloomth" as a consideration for the decor, and then named his badass creation Strawberry Hill.  Just 'cause he could.  You can read the Wikipedia page if you're curious.

Basically, Horace Walpole did what he wanted and enjoyed doing it, and although it has been some years since I read The Castle of Otranto, I can tell you straight up that the book is full of more melodrama, lost heirs, curses, and inexplicable pieces of gigantic falling armor than you could shake a stick at.

Don't believe me?  Here's a comic I drew from when I first read the book in order to explain to people just how amazingly lulzy this book is:

Pretty sure that last bit about the fatal helmet's plumes is a direct quote, or nearly.

Honestly, I can't even remember 75% of what happens in the book because it was so random.  Who knew that 18th century literature could be so hilarious?

Q4U: What's the oldest and/or most ridiculous thing you've ever read?

Happy Friday!  Have a rollicking, frolicking weekend and remember--May the Fourth be with you!