Sunday, February 28, 2016

This Strange Wilderness by Nancy Plain

Title: This Strange Wilderness: The Life and Art of John James Audubon
Author: Nancy Plain
Pages: 136
Published: March 1st 2015 by University of Nebraska Press
Source: Library
Links:  goodreads,

Birds were “the objects of my greatest delight,” wrote John James Audubon (1785–1851), founder of modern ornithology and one of the world’s greatest bird painters. His masterpiece, The Birds of America depicts almost five hundred North American bird species, each image—lifelike and life size—rendered in vibrant color. Audubon was also an explorer, a woodsman, a hunter, an entertaining and prolific writer, and an energetic self-promoter. Through talent and dogged determination, he rose from backwoods obscurity to international fame. In This Strange Wilderness, award-winning author Nancy Plain brings together the amazing story of this American icon’s career and the beautiful images that are his legacy. Before Audubon, no one had seen, drawn, or written so much about the animals of this largely uncharted young country. Aware that the wilderness and its wildlife were changing even as he watched, Audubon remained committed almost to the end of his life “to search out the things which have been hidden since the creation of this wondrous world.” This Strange Wilderness details his art and writing, transporting the reader back to the frontiers of early nineteenth-century America
I love birds. In 2003 I became really interested in bird watching and learned more about Audubon and discovered all his illustrations of birds. When I put this book on hold at the library I didn't realize it was aimed towards teens but it was still quite enjoyable.  For those of you who may not be aware of who Audubon is.. he was a man who explored North American and made over 489 painting of birds. He was one of the first artists to also paint birds life size and to draw birds in their natural environment.  This is before there was such thing as photography so for people to see these images was something special. I recently saw a display of his works at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Something that was truly special.

Plain writes an amazing story about Audubon's life using a lot of his own words from letters he wrote (I would like to read the books she sited next). I learned so much of Audubon's life, like the fact that he was sent to America by his father so that he didn't have to join Napoleon's army.  I learned about other naturalists at the time who would try to discredit Audubon's work.  At the time there was a lot of competition.  Audubon would travel around trying to sell subscriptions to his art to make money.

I also really enjoyed the illustrations included in the book.  Not just of the birds that he had painted but there were even portraits of Audubon that his sons has painted of him. What I wouldn't do to travel along with him out into the wilderness and see these birds.  One thing that surprised me was the fact that Audubon drew the birds and painted them, but had an apprentice draw and paint the background.  If you have never had the chance to check out Birds of America be sure to do it.  Your local library has a copy.

If you have any interest in birds or birding history this is a great book.  Audubon is a fascinating man.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

March Month Long #weirdathon

I love crazy fun formatted books.  So when I saw there was going to be a #weirdathon in the month of March I was totally in.  Weird books can really be anything that's weird, but I love books that have funky formats.  Outlandish Lit is hosting this fun event... so if you are interested, be sure to go over there and sign up.  All the details are listed there as well.  So far I plan on reading In the Shadows by Kiersten White and Jim Di Bartolo and Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  Now that I am looking at the book I see that it is a book series though... and I'm trying not to start series anymore till they are finished so ... I might just read House of Leaves instead. Well see.  Are you joining up??  What are you going to read?  Do you have any recommendations for weird formatted books?

Monday, February 22, 2016

Deadpool- Movie Review

For those that follow this blog.. you know I love comics.  So of course I had to go and see this movie. It was AMAZING.  Deadpool comics are ... well not for everyone. He is not a superhero.  This movie is rated R.  Let me go off on a quick rant here.  I was so tired of seeing on social media everyone saying... "This movie is great, but not for kids."  I even saw one person ask a friend on their instagram "I keep seeing everywhere people saying not for kids but I was just wondering why?"  HELLO... rated R.  RATED R.  That should be enough to tell people not to bring kids, but apparently rated R means nothing to people. I'm not even going to tell you why not to bring kids to this film other then ... rated R. 

OK... there is that.  Now back to my review... I remember seeing Deadpool in that third Wolverine movie. I think I've seen that movie a total of one time.  So I don't even totally remember it, just that I thought Deadpool was going to be so much cooler. Oh and Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool in that movie too.  Then Ryan came back to the superhero world and played Green Lantern in a huge movie flop.  There is another movie I only saw once. It was awful... so when I heard Reynolds was going to play Deadpool again I was surprised.  I really didn't expect anyone to allow him to be a superhero again. 

Sooo... a few years ago some footage "leaked" online of a Deadpool movie that could possibly be made and fans went nuts.  It was the Deadpool movie people wanted.  What does that even mean you ask??  Well.. Deadpool comics are naughty.  He speaks to the comic reader since he knows he is a comic book character (which he also does in the movie), he has sex, he kills, he is bad but... good.

The movie explores his origin (which is tied to the XMEN) and at the same time we get to see him trying to get revenge on the guy who caused him to have a mutant gene exposed. What I like about Deadpool is that he isn't trying to save the world... he isn't trying to join some big group (Avengers/XMEN/Justice League). I also love that this is an adult movie.  One of the reasons I am loving the shows Jessica Jones and Daredevil on Netflix.  It is more for an adult audience. What I would really like to see is a Spiderman and Deadpool crossover.  Those two are so funny in the comics. 

So... I recommend this movie.  It stays true to the comic.  I hope there isn't some R rated superhero bandwagon now.  I heard the next Wolverine is going to be rated R.  Ughhh... I used to love Wolverine until he started off on his own movies so maybe if it is rated R his movies will get better.  

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Comic Adventures Issue #36

read a lot of comics and rarely review them here on the blog. That's because I really don't have a lot to say for an entire post.  So I thought I would review several comics on one post.  I will still review graphic novels on their own now and then, but this is where I will talk about super-hero type comics (DC/Marvel) or sequels to some that I have already reviewed.

This issue I talk about: Star Wars: Darth Vader ,  Batman and Robin vol. 7,  Green Lantern vol 6, and Superman/Wonder Woman Vol . 3.

I've been quite excited to get my hands on the new Star Wars comics ever since I heard about them. Apparently this is now canon in the Star Wars universe. This comic takes place right after A New Hope.  This comic really allows you to get to know Vader way more then you ever will in the movies.  This comic covers the aftermath with Darth Sidious after the disaster of the Death Star.  Darth Vader is now in trouble so the Emperor sends a trooper to follow Vader around and keep an eye on him. Vader of course has his own little mission going on (trying to figure out who the pilot was that blew up the Death Star) so we get introduced to some new characters that are going to help him out.  One is a young girl who is quite smart with Driods, Dr Aphra.  There are also two new murderous droids.  Yes, murderous blood thirsty droids.  The book was good but we'll see how long Vader can keep a line of comics going with his own story. 

3 out of 5

Ok.. so I had to go back and see what happened in the volume before this one and to my surprise I didn't have volume 4 or 5 marked as read nor had I reviewed them here on the blog.  Who know why?  So I went on goodreads and marked them as read. This volume was pretty fun.  For those following this storyline you know that Damien was killed off. In volume 6 Batman finds out that Damien is taken to Apokolips and follows Damien there in the Hellbat suit. Darkseid shows up here and battles it out with Batman.  There is a great and fun team up with the Justice League.  I am sorry to see that this series was canceled and I am pretty sure this is the last volume.  Damien Wayne has been fun to read about it.  I really really enjoyed this volume. I love that Damien's dog Titan was even along for the adventure, even traveling to Apokolips.  There was like a side-story in this volume about Damien and Batman in space and they took on these aliens on the moon. Fabulous!  I was way into it and the artwork was just great!  The entire Bat family shows up in the comic as well and it's fun to see them working together as a group.
5 out of 5
Finally... a Green Lantern that was amazing!  The story flowed along perfectly unlike the previous two volumes that were just way way too long. The New Gods have come to our universe because they know this is where Darkseid is going to attack because Darkseid is obsessed with Earth.  Be warned... the Lantern comics are crossover mayhem. This one though wasn't as confusing as some have been.  I like that we get to see all the rings represented in this comic... including the black!  Black Hand is so funny to me. The art is really great. Apparently there is a story I am missing here about Godhead (see these dang crossovers) so I need to go and find that one.  Plus this is right before the whole Convergence story starts .. I need to read that too.  Damn you DC giving me so much to read.   I am trying to get my library to order all the Convergence comics though before I get started on any of them.  I don't want these half stories.  Anywho... I thought this volume was fun and a good story. 

5 out of 5

I like this series.  We get to read about Wonder Woman and Superman first meeting.  That was fun. The villain in the book is basically a kid who lost his parents in one of the Darkseid invasions.  He blames the superheroes which makes it easy for Circe to take control of him to get revenge on Wonder Woman for the things her mom did.  Geeze, now that I think about it everyone is taking revenge on everyone who had really didn't mean to do anything. The artwork is only so-so and the cover is terrible.  I like that all artists get a chance but this one was meh for me.  The faces weren't great inside, though the inside illustrations look way better then that cover. The book is also all about relationship goals.  Can Wonder Woman and Superman trust each other and count on one another???  The love story continues.  I am sad to see that DC is relaunching again.  I'm sure in the next relaunch Wonder Woman and Superman won't be together.

3 out of 5  

This counts for 13 comics towards my 2016 Graphic Novels Challenge.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson- Review

Title: Furiously Happy
Author: Jenny Lawson
Pages: 329
Published: September 22nd 2015 by Flatiron Books
Source: Library
Links: goodreads,  The Bloggess (author website)

"It's the difference between surviving life and living life. It's the difference between taking a shower and teaching your monkey butler how to shampoo your hair." Jenny Lawson - aka The Bloggess - returns with the follow-up to her bestselling memoir Let's Pretend This Never Happened, recounting stories from everyday family life in her inimitably frank, hilarious, bizarre and endearing way. She describes her battles with depression and anxiety and her quest to overcome them by saying yes to even the absurdist opportunities and making the good times gloriously good. For as Jenny says: 'You can't experience pain without also experiencing the baffling and ridiculous moments of being fiercely, unapologetically, intensely and (above all) furiously happy...' It's a philosophy that has - quite literally - saved her life.
I am not one for non-fiction. In fact, it's surprising I have read two in a row almost. One of the first non-fiction books that I read and really enjoyed was actually Jenny Lawson's first book Let's Pretend This Didn't Happen.  I am not even really sure why I picked it up.  I remember going to her website a couple times and then hearing about her doing a book signing in my town (I didn't go) and then finally picking it up and loving it.  Now I wish I would've gone to the book signing.. sigh.

The cover of this book is already fantastic.  If you don't know anything about Lawson she loves taxidermy. So that raccoon on the cover?  That is an actual taxidermy she has in her house!  YES! Ok so back to the book itself.  Jenny Lawson started out with a personal blog that basically talks a lot about the mental illnesses that she suffers from.  The blog became quite popular and so she has now written two books.  Both book really just have a bunch of personal stories in it of her experiences with life and mental illness.  I too have mental illness.  I have anxiety.  Real anxiety.  Crippling anxiety at times.  So I really relate to Lawson.  I think though people who don't have mental illness also love Lawson's books and blog because she writes like you are her friend. One time my mom told me I should write a book about my anxiety, after reading this book I can tell my mom I just don't have the skills to write a good book.  Just not happening.

The book does such a fantastic job of making people not feel like losers.  That everyone's lives are a mess whether you want to admit it or not. But she makes this awful things funny.   This is the type of book I wish I had a girlfriend book club to read with and sit around and laugh about the things in this book. There were some bad things in this book.. it's so HARD for me to say that.  But there were times where I thought MAYBE the stories went a little too far.  I couldn't tell if she was just making the story way more extreme then it really was.

I did like her first book better.. but I think that's because her style of writing was all new to me.  I do think everyone who likes to laugh would love these books.  I mean.. I'm sitting in Toyota's waiting room and I read a part about a cat with string stuck in it's butt with a bell and I straight laughed out loud.  It just came out!  I couldn't help it or stop it! But there are serious and insightful topics in this book too.  This quote here I loved:

“Don’t make the same mistakes that everyone else makes. Make wonderful mistakes. Make the kind of mistakes that make people so shocked that they have no other choice but to be a little impressed.”

I want that to be me!!  I hope to be furiously happy... live every day to the fullest.   Great book for everyone! 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Until Dawn - Video Game Review

Stop everything you are doing and go and pick up this game.  A friend of mine loaned this to me and I am shocked I hadn't heard more about it.  Apparently, there is a lot of controversy behind the game with is too bad being it is one of the best game of this type I've played since Heavy Rain. Until Dawn was originally supposed to be for the Playstation Move on the PS3.  Sony pushed it back mainly I think because the maker of Until Dawn also had a game out called The Order 1886 and it wasn't as good as Playstation wanted. It's a shame but I suppose in a way it's good because since I haven't seen or heard about this game it was all pretty much a surprise to me. 

The game is basically about a group of teenagers who are friends that go up to a cabin for a weekend. There is a of course a psychopath on the loose up in the mountains with them.  While they are up on the mountain in the cabin bad things start happening and the teens have to figure out ways to survive till the morning.  This game is similar to me to the style of Taletell games. You make choices and based off those choices determines what happens at the end of the game.  Your choices may kill one of the characters off! You don't run around picking up amo but you do run around and find clues.  You will jump when monsters jump out in scenes.  

I discovered that some screenwriters wrote this game!  Which is probably why the horror in the game was so cheesy and fun. For example two teens head off to a cabin to have sex only to have scary things happen to them.  The teens are actors whom you might recognize while playing the game. For example here is Hayden Panettiere:

I really wish I could've played the game in one sitting to keep the momentum going.  It kind of slowed down my nerves when I had to quit the game and then start it back up again the next day.  So if you have a whole day to dedicate to this game then play it all day... preferably in a dark room. There is a reason it's rated M.  Swearing, lots of blood, monsters, murder and frights.  I loved it.

I give this game 10 out of 10!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Comic Adventures Issue #35

read a lot of comics and rarely review them here on the blog. That's because I really don't have a lot to say for an entire post.  So I thought I would review several comics on one post.  I will still review graphic novels on their own now and then, but this is where I will talk about super-hero type comics (DC/Marvel) or sequels to some that I have already reviewed.

This week I talk about Deathstoke Vol 1 Gods of War,  Marvel Civil War, Green Lantern New 52 Vol 5, and Harley Quinn New 52 vol. 2

I haven't read anything previously with Deathstroke except Suicide Squad. I say that because most reviews I read about this comic are people comparing the New 52 Deathstroke to the other version.  I do know of the other one was an older man.. grey hair and a beard. Apparently this one is more like the guy in Arrow (Manu Bennett). There are A LOT of characters in this comic... so many cameos including Batman.  Is he in everything or what?  The comic has a spoiler for the Suicide Squad comics though I didn't think it was a big deal but if you want to avoid it read those first. This is another comic about father/son issues.  Slade Wilson (Deathstroke) is of course trying to help and save his family. I didn't love this comic.  Just a lot of stuff going on so I am not sure if this is going to be a comic series that gets a lot of issues if it doesn't pick up some with the story. The artwork is amazing. 
2 out of 5 

Most of you know that the next Captain America movie is him VS Iron Man in a film called Civil War.  So I was interested in reading the comic the film is based off of.  Since this is one of those big comic book events this volume only covers some of the event.  I wish it would say which volume though. I don't know much about Marvel (which I've mentioned before) but the characters in this comic are pretty well known.  The artwork is fantastic.  I enjoy that there are different opinions in the comic, Tony Stark wants superhero to register with the government and be civil service employees.  Captain America doesn't want to have to sign up and be registered.  The comic does do a good job of representing both sides.  As I read.. I don't know which side I would want to win.  I read that there will be a newer Civil War comic released soon. Spoiler for this comic:  So at the end of the comic Captain America just decides to give up and let Tony arrest him so he can be registered.  Apparently this is explained in other crossover novels. But this comic is so old (2007) that I am not going to bother trying to read all the comics.   3 out of 5

It's taken my a while to write this review.  I don't even have much to say about the Green Lantern comics. Some aliens take over the Green Lantern corps and broadcast a message making the world think they are Hal Jordan.  So they world now realizes that the Lantern's rings when used taken away from the life force of the galaxy.  This makes everyone made and against the Lanterns. I will say that the Green Lantern Corps shows up a lot in this issue and I haven't read any of their stuff so I was super confused there. Some new races are introduced... one that the character Gorrin-Sunn is apart of.  This race lives on a planet where the water is made out of a lava-like substance that acts like oceans, quite neat.  This is a super long volume so be ready for that. Part of the reason this comic is so long is because DC adds in the side stories that happen in other comics (Red Lanterns/Green Lantern Corps) and I appreciate that they try to do this. 

3 out of 5

I am really enjoying the Harley Quinn series so much.  I just love her.  I never really thought I would because to me in the cartoon series I've seen her in she is so annoying.  There was a really quick Future's End story in here which is why you see the Joker on the cover.  Most of the comic follows a fun story that has both Power Girl and Harley Quinn teaming up.  Apparently Power Girl has lost her memory so Harley makes like they are best friends and they do a bunch of adventures together. My favorite story though in this comic is Harley's San Diego Comic Con story.  It is fun! There is a section in it where she runs into a bunch of people who are cosplaying her and she joins their little fan club.  The fan club is looking for a fun time so Harley really brings it to them. The girls are not ready for the good time that Harley is bringing.  They even end up in jail... I love this line up picture.  Can you spot the real Harley Quinn???

5 out of 5

This counts for 9 comics towards my 2016 Graphic Novels Challenge.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Instagram was Hacked

Hello all.... well for those that follow me on Instagram I am sorry but today you probably saw some nudey pictures of some chick.  I took a picture of all the snow we got here in Colorado and it got a few likes.  Then I went on there a few minutes later and started to look through my feed and there was a pick of a chick in undies so I clicked on the account because I knew for sure I didn't follow an account like that.  Imagine my shock when it was MY account.  Ughhh.  So I contacted instagram, who sent me an automated email.  The email said I had to reply to the email with a picture of myself holding up a sign with this numerical code they sent me, my name, and my username handwritten.  It was like a straight mugshot.  I don't even know how the account got hacked to be honest.. but we all know hackers are everywhere.  I just hope I don't have to start the account over but if I do.. fine. They deleted half my photos on there anyways.   People are actually liking this account and a few of my guy friends have liked that girl's pictures!  Not even noticing this is an account they don't follow.

I do totally feel violated and I am sure people feel the same way when their facebook/blog gets hacked.  I'm still waiting to hear back from Instagram.  I'll probably give them till Thursday this week and then go and set up a new one.  Thanks for all my fellow book bloggers who have reached out to me to let me know they noticed I was hacked.  I am sure it was surprising to see lingerie and some strange chick and not my amazing book pictures.

UPDATE:  Fixed!!!  You should just be seeing my amazing book pictures now :)