March 2022 Monthly Wrap Up

This month I only read three books but I also binged watched the last season of Doctor Who and finished Kingdom Hearts 2.

Books:

The first book I finished was Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition volume Six by Hiromu Arakawa. I’m rereading the series as I buy and collect these editions. This volume starts setting up plot elements that will become majorly important later. I love Ling and how the character is introduced but this is a sad volume overall because of everything with Hughes.

Next I read Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. This is a young adult Star Wars novel that follows Padme as she first become a Senator. I loved getting to see more of Padme and learning how exactly the decoy system worked. I do wish we had gotten a little bit more of Sabe as I was interested in the work the character was doing. Overall, I glad that through Star Wars novels that some of the women of the series are being more fleshed out and given more attention.

The last book I read this month was Why the Titanic was Doomed by Bryan Jackson which is a nonfiction book about the Titanic. I received an early review copy through Netgalley. This book details all the circumstances that came together and caused the sinking of the Titanic. Most of this information was stuff I already knew as an avid reader of nonfiction Titanic works. However, I was a little surprised that there was no mention of the coal bunker fire that many believe contributed to the sinking. Overall, this is a good book for those interested in the Titanic.

TV:

The only thing I really watched this month beside YouTube videos was the last season of Doctor Who. Doctor Who Flux was the most recent series of Doctor Who. I generally wait to watch Doctor Who when the season has finished airing as I haven’t been a big fan of the stories being told the last several years and if I want to finish it I have to binge watch it. I wanted to like this season and I did like some of the ideas but overall it felt rushed and liked there were too many story lines. I also watched the New Years special which I liked the take on a time loop but one that get shorter each loop.

Video Games:

I also finally finished playing Kingdom Hearts 2 and was able to continue the story of Sora and his friends. I love how the game play took what worked from the first game and add to it. I have a full review that goes more in-depth but know that I love the series and I’m working trough the next entries.

January 2021 Wrap Up

In January I read seven books including one comic and three manga. I also watched the Doctor Who New Years special and the LifeTime Mini Movie A Recipe in Seduction.

Books:

Beneath the Moon by Yoshi Yoshitani is a collection of retellings of different myths, legends, and stories from different culture that also come with beautiful illustrations. All of the art work was use for the Tarot of the Divine Deck. I loved the art and the stories but I wished some of them where a little longer.

Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume One is the fist volume in a comic book series following Darth Vader’s adventures working for the Empire and attempting to catch the Rebels while investigating the Emperor’s secrets following the events of A New Hope. I thought that I would like this comic series as I like most of the other Star Wars books that I’ve read. However, I like the premise of the story more then the story itself. Mostly I just found this boring.

Museum Mercenary: A Handbook for Independent Museum Professional by Rebecca Migdal is a nonfiction museum book focusing on how to be an independent professional/contractor in the museum field. I read museumology books to expand my know of the field and this would be a good resource for anyone in the field. This book contained plenty of useful information and made me realize that I don’t want to run my own business in this field.

Fullmetal Alchemist Fullmetal Edition Volumes 3 and 4 by Hiromu Arakawa. I’m collecting these editions and rereading the series at the same time. Volume 3 finishes off the Lab Five arc which ends in the death of one of my favorite characters but shows that there are bigger things at play then our main characters know. Volume 4 has the brothers going to see their teacher and confessing that they attempted to bring their mother back from the dead. Most of this volume is told in flashback but gives us more background on the Eric Brothers and why they did what they did.

Saiyuki Resurrected Edition volume one by Kazuya Minekura is the first volume of the collected editions of the Saiyuki manga. I’ve read all of the Saiyuki manga before but when I saw these editions I knew that I wanted them and decided to reread the series as I buy them. Saiyuki follows Sanzo, Goku, Gojyo, and Hakkai as they travel west to find out why the demons are attacking humans and to stop the resurrection of the demon king Gyumaoh. This story is based on the Chinese novel Journey to the West but as the author states “is the most ‘monkeyed’ around with” version. This first volume is mostly setting up the world and the characters through singular contained stories that only give hints to the larger plot and conflict the characters will encounter. I love this series and plan to continue rereading and collecting these editions.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff is the second book in the Nevernight Trilogy which follows Mia learning to become an assassin and getting revenge on those who destroyed her family. This only focused mainly on Mia learning how the Red Church was involved in the death of her father and becoming a gladiatorial combatant to kill one of the men responsible. Though this book took awhile for me to read I loved where the story went and the ending made me so glad that I don’t have to wait for the next book and plan to read it soon. I have a full review posted as well.

Movies/TV:

A Recipe for Seduction is a LifeTime Mini Movie that was sponsored by KFC where Mario Lopez stars as Colonel Sanders. This is only 16 minutes long but still contains all the drama of a LifeTime romance movie. Colonel Sanders is hired as the new chef to this rich family that is in debt and the daughter who doesn’t like her current boyfriend falls in love with the chef. I watched this because the idea and commercial was something that I never though would exist. Its not a bad movie though a little cheesy, the acting is good but the plot moves so fast that you end up going what did I watch. If it sounds interesting I would suggest watching just because its so short.

I also watched this month the Doctor Who New Years Special Revolution of the Daleks. The past several years I’ve not been the biggest fan of Doctor Who and while I think this special was better I still had some issues with it. I do love any time they bring back Captain Jack Harkness and I loved his interactions is all the companions specifically Yaz. I also loved how Ryan and Graham’s story and character arcs came full circle. However, my two biggest problems was the politics and the Dalek story itself. Personally, I use movies, TV, and books to not have to think about politics and what’s happening in the world so I’m just not a fan when its added in. Especially with characters that feel like many of the politicians in power or have been in power recently. However, my bigger problem was with the Dalek story. I get that not all characters in Doctor Who, especially side ones, would know what a Dalek is by name but how do people not recognize them when they been on Earth so many times not even counting times is Classic Who. Also I not a fan of the “they will help/be good for security story” when I personally have trouble that people would accept things that look like a Dalek doing that. Overall, not a bad episode but not great. I hope the new season will be better and I wonder where Doctor Who as there are rumors that Jodie Whittaker will be leaving and I hope they get new writers.

TV Show Review: Black Summer

p16715506_b_v8_aaBlack Summer is a zombie TV show from Netflix that is a prequel to the events of Z Nation. Black Summer starts about six weeks after the start of the zombie apocalypse and focuses on Rose who is separated from her daughter, Anna, and a small group of survivors as they attempt to get Rose back to her daughter.

Though technically in the same world as Z Nation this show is much more realistic and more in line with our world today as people have yet to figure out how they will survive and live in this new world. The show is much shorter at the moment than Z Nation with only one season of eight thirty minute episodes but a second season is in the works.

Black Summer is a much slower show that focuses more on the interaction between people and how the world has change would effect people. Though Rose is essentially the main character because of the plot following her journey. The show does allow itself to give some focuses to other characters primarily Julius James, a criminal who is using the name Spears as it is the name of the guard who’s uniform he took. Also even though we can’t understand her I love the development given to Sun a Korean woman who can’t speak any English. Black Summer is very good at showing how those who can’t communicate with other members of the group or those with disabilities would survive or not in this new world. However, I wish Netflix had subtitled Sun’s lines as I think it would allow the audience to understand her better and maybe give us some information to her back story.

Overall, I like Z Nation more as a series but I do plan to watch the next season of Black Summer as I think that it will become a very good series in time.

TV Show Review: Z Nation

p15918390_b_v8_abZ Nation is a zombie TV show that aired for five seasons on Syfy which follows a group of survivors attempting to get the only known survivor of a zombie bite to a CDC lab in California. 

The series starts out three years into the zombie apocalypse where most humans have been killed and groups of survivors have figured out how to live in this world. Just before the world fell apart prison inmate Alvin Murphy was injected with an experimental zombie vaccine after which he was bitten eight time and did not turn it is believed that his blood holds the cure and the last hope for humanity. The series as a hole revolves around Murphy’s travels and a group of survivors looking to get him to help save the world.

In season one we are introduced to the main group lead by Lt. Roberta Warren who’s main focus become getting Murphy to California and the CDC. Citizen Z a NSA agent stuck at the Northern Light post in the Arctic Circle who guides the group through their journey and tries to figure out why different people are after Murphy. “Doc” a counselor and recovering drug addict who is the groups medic even though he is not really a doctor. “10K” a young man who is an amazing sniper and has vowed to kill 10,000 zombies. Addy Carver a young woman with a talent with radio equipment and uses a customized metal bat known as the Z Whacker. The main group stays mostly the same thorough the entire series with a few new character being add and some lost in each season.

The series starts out very much like its supost to be a very fun campy take on zombies and ridding on the fame of the Walking Dead. Though the series is pretty reduclus in how far zombies are taken and some story elements it does deal with emotional and hard topics while also trying to be as entertaing as possible. I didn’t love every season or epsiode but overall its an enjoyable show.  In the following paragraphs I will be giving a summary of each season which some spoliers will be included.

Season one is mostly just the group attempting to get Murphy to California and all the things and problems they encounter a long the way. Near the end of the season they met Dr. Kurian the creator of the zombie virus who wants to take Murphy with him and while Murphy escapes he triggers the launch of multiple nuclear weapons which turns this into a nuclear apocalypse not just a zombie one.

Season two starts with the group getting back together and attempting to find Murphy again. As the story progresses they run into a woman they had met before who is now pregnant with Murphy’s child. When the baby is born it becomes clear that because of the vaccine in Murphy’s blood and his mutation into a zombie/human hybrid that the baby is not fully human and Murphy finds a couple to leave the child, Lucy, with. At the end of the season they arrive in California and Murphy agrees to go to the CDC lab but not all is as it seems and Murphy has other plan for the future.

Season three is my least favorite of the entire series mostly because of 10K’s story line. This season starts with a two part movie episode introducing The Man, a villian, who will show up again and his connection to ZONA. However, the main story of season three is Murphy creating a cult of “blends” people who he has injected with his blood which he can then control, and Warren trying to figure out how they can stop Murphy and save humanity. Near the end they form a truce when they need to save Lucy from The Man and stop ZONA from getting her.

Season four starts two years after the end of season three where Warren was shot and infected by Murphy’s blood and they where both taken by ZONA. Warren and Murphy escape ZONA and meet back up with the rest of the group who are trying to get to Newmerica, a community that is trying to get the world back on track. However, Warren keeps having visions of the Black Rainbow and the destruction of the world so the group goes on a mission to stop it.

Season five is the last and at the moment final season of Z Nation. Following the ending of season four and the Black Rainbow, Doc, 10K, and Sarge, a newer member of the group, are leading other survivors to Newmerica while Murphy goes looking for Warren. The group meets up again after finding Newmerica and meeting George, an old friend of Warren’s. Because of the Black Rainbow the zombies don’t just walk some of them talk and understand what is going on. Which becomes the main conflict of the season what to do with the talkers and how will this change society going forward. The series ends with Murphy eating the brain of a scientist that figure out the cure and we are left to wonder what will happen next. There is enough loose ends for more season but Syfy did offically cancel the series and no one has pick it up.

March 2020 Wrap Up

In March I started reading more and doing other hobbies more as with the virus I’ve been at home more. I read six books in March which had been my best month so far this year.

Books:

36495876._SX318_Fullmetal Alchemist: Fullmetal Edition volume one by Hiromu Arakawa is the first volume of the Fullmetal Alchemist manga series. This is a special hardcover edition that the publisher has started to release. The story follows brothers Edward and Alphonse Elric who are attempting to restore their bodies after trying to bring their mother back to life and failing. This series is a reread for me and I still love the story as much as the first time I read it. I’m reading each volume as I collect these editions.

45899240Monstress volume four by Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda is a fantasy graphic novel that continues the story of Miaka and how she is connected to the demon who lives inside her. This volume gives the reader more information on Miaka’s past and where the major conflict is heading. I can’t wait for the rest of the story.

52186666._SX318_SY475_The Deep by Alma Katsu is a historical fiction with supernatural elements focusing on the Sinking of the Titanic. The story follows maid Annie Hebbley who survived the sinking and is working as a nurse on Titanic’s sister ship Britannic during World War I and her connection to soldier Mark Fletcher. I loved the concept of the story but felt that it switched perspectives too often for me to connect to the characters. I received this book from the publisher by winning a Goodreads contest and there is a full review on this blog and Goodreads.

33116011The Race to Save the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport in a historical nonfiction book about the different plan to possibly save the Romanov family and the ideas to get them out of Russia. While good I prefer historical books about the family directly than events that they didn’t have any control or input on so not my favorite book about the Romanovs. It would be a great resource for anyone studying this time period.

44660930._SY475_Five Nights at Freddy’s Fazbear Frights #1: Into the Pit by Scott Cawthon is the first in the series of Five Nights short story collections. All of the stories take place in the world of Five Nights at Freddy’s and show different elements to the previous books and game. All the stories are very creepy and good for teenagers. They remind me of R L Stine’s and Darren Shan’s series and books. As someone who is into the lore surrounding the games and story I do plan an reading the next books in the series.

26114463Nevernight by Jay Kristoff is the first book in an adult fantasy series following Mia Corvere to train to be an assassin and kill those who destroyed her family when she was a child.  I loved this book even though it took me quite a while to finish. The first hundred pages before getting to the Red Church are slow but it pick ups from there. I love Mia and Tric’s relationship and its one of the strongest parts of the book. I also have a full review posted.

TV Shows:

Series12Promo2(1)Doctor Who: I finished Doctor Who series twelve this month and I liked it much more than series eleven. At times it still didn’t feel like Doctor Who to me and I felt that there could have been more fun stories that didn’t need a message but I liked the dynamics between all the characters and the companions being fleshed out more. However, the Timeless Child story line was dumb and was not something that the series needed. The fact at the end of the series that it had no impact and nothing really changed meant that the writer had no reason to add it in. I do plan on watching the next series but I generally wait to binge watch it.

Movies:

downloadKong: Skull Island: I watched Kong: Skull Island because I heard that I wasn’t bad and I want some mindless entertainment one night. Though the plot isn’t all that interesting the acting is good and the visual effects are great. The ending sets up the idea that Kong and the other monsters like Godzilla all exist in the same world and I’m interested in where movies that these ideas.

March 2019 Wrap Up

So March was a very busy month for me, so I didn’t read very much but I did watch some TV shows and movies.

Books:

34895950The only book I read this month was The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill. The Tea Dragon Society is a short graphic novel set in a fantasy world where tea leaves are harvested from dragons. The story follows two young girls, Greta and Minette, who are learning about tea dragons and how to take care of them. It’s a beautifully illustrated story inspired by anime and manga with very unique fantasy concepts. Many of the characters are a combination of different fantasy races and use different fantasy elements. I would like to see the story continue as this first book is so short at only 72 pages there isn’t much time to connect with and learn everything about the characters. 3.5/5 stars.

TV Shows:

clonewarsI finally finished the Star Wars: The Clone Wars TV show which will be getting a continuation on Disney’s new streaming service that is supposed to come out sometime in 2019. The Clone Wars show is set in between the Clone Wars and Revenge of the Sith movie and does fix some of the problem that the prequel movies have. The big thing is it gives much more information about the Clone Wars and fleshed out most of the bigger relationship from the movies. This show made me believe that Obi-Wan did consider Anakin his brother and the relationship between Anakin and Padme is much better and is given time to grow. Anakin is given a padawan in Ahsoka Tano. Ahsoka is an amazing character but also allows the audience to see Anakin as a leader and in different stories and positions from the movies. However, there are some episodes that are just not that good and can be skipped without missing any plot or story elements. I would recommend not watch most to the episodes that feature Jar Jar or primarily focus on the droids. Also the show was not originally released in chronological order so there are two ways to watch it, episode release order or chronological. I would recommend watching the show in chronological order as it gives you a better sense of the state of the Jedi during the Clone Wars but before Revenge of the Sith.

Movies:

Captain_Marvel_posterSo I saw Captain Marvel and I liked it, I do have a full review here so I won’t go completely in-depth. As the newest MCU movie and connected to Avengers: Endgame I would recommend going to see it but it’s also a good movie that can be understood without having seen any of the other Marvel movies. Connections to other MCU movies are mostly in little Easter eggs that you will understand if you’ve seen some of the other movies but they don’t detract from the story being told. I loved seeing a younger Nick Fury and how the Shield that we know from the other movies started. All of the acting is great and while the movie is funny none of the jokes become too much and make it feel like a comedy. However, many of the jokes will not connect if the 90’s references are not understood. Ultimately, it’s a movie about a woman realizing and coming into her own power.

Cloverfield_paradox_posterThis month I also finally set down and watched The Cloverfield Paradox which I liked the most out of the Cloverfield movies so far. The movie starts out with some info dumping about how the earth is running out of power sources and so the world has sent a team to a space station to work with a massive particle accelerator to attempt to find a new power source. When the experiment works all hell breaks loose on the space station has they ended up breaking the fabric of reality. Though it is a science fiction movie I would classify it more as a body horror such as Alien or the Thing than just straight sci-fi. I’ve never loved any of the Cloverfield movies and this ones no exception though I do like it better than the others. In Cloverfield I felt like the characters were very annoying and I didn’t care what happen. It doesn’t help that I have never been a fan of found footage movies either. 10 Cloverfield Lane on the other hand was a movie that I like the concept of but found the movie as a whole very boring. So, I didn’t have high expectations for Cloverfield Paradox. Though I don’t think Paradox was needed as part of the Cloverfield series I did like the concept of the movie and I wasn’t bored. If any of the Cloverfield movie got direct squeals I would want it to be Paradox as I feel like it has the most that could be done with it given how the story and ending is set up. I do plan to post a full review so for all of my thoughts check that post.

February Wrap Up

In February I read five books and watched series 11 of Doctor Who. 

Books:

Witch Child by Celia Rees is a historical fiction young adult novel that follows Mary Newbury who escapes a witch trials in England and travels with a group of puritans to the new world. However, it becomes clear when they arrive in Massachusetts that Mary must be careful as she is an outsider who could easily be tried as a witch and she might just be one. Witch Child is a reread for me as I read the book initially when I was a teenager. I didn’t love it as much as I remember because I’m much older now.Witch Child feel more like a middle grade but I still like the book. 5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Artemis by Andy Weir is a science fiction novel where Jasmine lives on Artemis, Earth’s first and only lunar colony. When her get rich quick plan falls apart she learns how the colony is truly run and what she has to due to try to save her friends and family while also not getting arrested. An interesting story on how a lunar colony would be run though not as funny as the Martian. I personally liked the premise of the story more than the story that is told and I feel like Artemis would not work in reality with how everything is run. 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

Rolling in the Deep by Mira Grant is a novella about a research ship going to the Mariana Trench to find Mermaids. When the ship gets there all the scientist think that the company sponsoring the trip is just going to film a mockumentary but they end up finding real mermaids who are not kind or beautiful. This book is technically a prequel to Into the Drowning Deep but it works as a stand alone. I didn’t connect to the characters much due to how short the book is but what is there is great. It made me want more from this world and story. 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant is a science fiction horror novel about a reteach ship going out to the Mariana Trench to find mermaids and what happened to the ship that went out seven years previously. This is a reread for me and I loved it just as much as the first time I read it. The best way I can describe it is the book is everything I didn’t know I wanted out of murderous mermaids. 5_Star_Rating_System_5_stars

The Invasion (Animorphs #1) by K A Applegate is the first in the Animorphs books where a group of teenagers are gifted the power to turn into animals to fight an invasion of aliens. I read most of the series when I was in elementary school and junior high but I never finished it so when I found the books again I want to see if I would like them enough to reread and finish the series. Though it feels much younger than I remember its probably just because I’m not the age these books are marketed to but I think its a good start to the series. The conflict is established early and the reality of the character involvement is much more harsh as these kids are going to fight a war. Though I didn’t love any of the characters they are realistic for the situation they are trust into and the books are much darker than I remember. 5_Star_Rating_System_3_stars

TV shows:

Doctor whoThis month I finally sat down and watch the most recent season of Doctor Who with Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor. For me I was not a huge fan of this season, its not bad but its not all that good either. Most of the episodes were decent but I didn’t connect with any of the new characters or story lines. Graham and Ryan were the best characters and while Yaz was fine, with so many new characters and actors fighting for good character moments none of them were given much overall. As for Jodie Whittaker, I think she is a good actor but she is not the Doctor. I felt no connection between her version of the Doctor and other actors who had played the character and I didn’t believe that she was the Doctor. I don’t blame any of the actors as they are just bring what they can to the writers work so I feel like the writing needs to get much better for Doctor Who to continue and be loved by so many. Ultimately, if the show had any other name I don’t think I would have finished the season. I will watch the first few episodes of the next season as they will have a year to hopeful fix problems from the past season but if those first episodes aren’t good then I won’t continue watching.