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What I'm Reading/Watching/Playing April and May


Wintersteel (Cradle #8) by Will Wight

I know I just read and  reviewed this, but I wanted to read it again before the newest book came out...and I liked it just as much the second time! This is such a fun series! 

I really wish this series would get more mainstream attention, and I'm surprised that it went under my own radar for so long. I heard that Daniel Greene (a booktuber) did a review recently, I'll have to check that out and maybe his hype will help people get interested in this series. 

Bloodline (Cradle #9) by Will Wight

The newest Cradle book just came out, and it was great! It was super gratifying to go back to where the main character started and see how much he has changed and how much his old village sucks haha. We get some good backstory and the lens is starting to zoom out even more on the characters and their place in the world... and the universe. 

It was really fun reading this as soon as it came out and getting to talk about it with John. I'm so glad that he has a lot of the same reading interests as me, and that he can read (listen to) books as quick as I can read them so we always have something to talk about! 

Elinor Oliphant is Perfectly Fine by Gail Honeyman

This was recommended by a blog I follow, and was compared to the Frederick Beakman (Man Called Ove, etc) books which is a very fair's about how a grumpy person makes friends and learns to be a little more of a compassionate human and be more okay with themselves and the trauma that they have endured...and Elinor Oliphant was exactly that. It was a little funny, but it was that cringy awkward kind of funny, and the main character is not exactly likable...but she's not supposed to be. The point at the beginning is that she is super judgmental and rude and doesn't realize it. It was a good book, but a favorite. 

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

I started reading this because of the hype over the show that's coming out, because it sounded like my jam, but it is TERRIBLE. The whole book feels like it could have been a one page summary in another book. The main character is SO DUMB and not in an endearing way. Part of it might be the serious Russian accents that the narrator gives all the characters except for the main character, who has a sassy modern American accent. (I HATE IT.) The series has potential, and I even saw a headline as I was scrollin away at my Google feed that said "If you are reading Shadow and Bone, DON'T start with the first book!" and I was like...yeah that would have been useful to know before I went ahead and listened to 5 hours of the book. It's not all terrible, in fact the world building is really cool, and the magic system is really cool, and some of the characters are really cool. I can see how it would make a good T.V. show and I've heard that the show is actually better than the book so far. It will be interesting to compare them. 

The Wayfarers Series by Becky Chambers

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

I enjoyed this one quite a lot! It was fairly lighthearted and has a lot of interesting alien species, and as a bonus, the main character's name is Rosemary! It felt a bit episodic, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. It had some Firefly vibes, a little Mass Effect, and a smidge of Star Trek, all wrapped up as a charming little space novel. The characters were fun, if generally all pretty "good" and positive. 

A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

This was my favorite of the three Becky Chambers novels, with two connected storylines that featured a character in her past and "present" alongside two different AIs on a journey of self-discovery. It reminded me a lot of the nanowrimo I wrote this year which explored AIs and personhood and self growth, and it was really intriguing and well done. I read this one in just a few days, and I highly reccomend it. I think it would make an AMAZING movie too! 

Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers

This was my least favorite of her three books, but it was still enjoyable. The way the fleet and the station function and evolved were really interesting, though none of the characters featured really jumped out at me as being so cool or fun. 

Overall, I thought that the series would be more unified, but each book had it's own set of characters and settings that were only tangentially related, though still in the same universe and with a few connections between characters of different books. I heard that she just came out with another one, and I'm excited to read that one too. I do hope that the characters from different books end up meeting and interacting more, and that there is more galaxy-wide hijinks rather than just some localized interpersonal stuff. (Though I admit I love localized interpersonal stuff!)


Naruto Kai

We are on episode 31 and officially into the Shippuden! I'm still absolutely loving it. The nostalgia, the humor, the ridiculous ninja powers, the characters...there is a reason why this is one of the most popular anime of all time. I have nothing but good things to say about the way this was abridged...even if there is occasionally an episode that plays in fast-forward. 

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

So...I hated it. After the fun, emotional rollercoaster that was Wandavision, this show was just shallow, flat, and really boring. I'm not super into heroes as it is, and neither Falcon nor Bucky are really favorites of mine, but the worst part of it is that the bad guys are not interesting or engaging at all. The drama between Sam and his sister, and the bits where Bucky is dealing with repairing his past are so much more interesting that the fight scenes and the cameos and the lame bad guys. I prefer my heroes to be humans or at least humanized characters. I wouldn't have finished it except for Gunnar really liked it, so thake that as you may. (Though he agrees that Wandavision was better) 

In the end, it wasn't the worst Marvel show I've ever watched, (Sorry Iron Fist!) but it wasn't my cup of tea at all. I'm sure I'll keep watching these Marvel shows as long as they keep making them though because Gunnar does genuinely enjoy them. 


Survive! Escape from Atlantis

My kids found this when we were unpacking and insisted on playing it. It was really fun! It took about 45 minutes to play with my 6 and 9 year olds. Gameplay was pretty simple, but I don't think that's a bad thing. 

Settlers of Catan

More of the same, but every game is hilarious with the little dudes. They call sheep "betsys" they do things that make no sense, they argue over where to put the robber. It's very entertaining! And the last time we played, James got more points than me! Beat by a 7 year old, lol. (The margarita may have had something to do with my playing ability though haha.) 

"Don't you dare put the robber on my gold!"