When I’m not writing BoI full-time or working for GeekGirlCon, I’m a media buff. Books, TV, movies, games—the easiest way to my heart is with some good art direction and a stellar plot line (or, well, general intelligence).
To keep a steady flow of content here during book edits, I’ve decided to start a little monthly trend in the light of the popular internet series, Monthly Favorites. Because I can be trendy, too. Unlike the beauty gurus of youtube, my compilation won’t include makeup, skincare, clothes, or snacks (unless they’re really damn good), but all of media I’ve consumed and loved throughout the month.
To get the ball rolling, here’s all of the goodies that I’ve been obsessed with in February.
What I’ve been reading…
Pyromantic by Lish McBride
I had the pleasure of meeting McBride when I covered one of her panels at GeekGirlCon. She’s one hell of a woman, and her writing is just as punchy. While I won’t get into the grit of Pyromantic quite yet, as it doesn’t release until March 21st, I’ve enjoyed it immensely. Where a great deal of YA fantasy is fluffy and soft, McBride writes much more gritty, bitter characters (if reading Gaiman is like eating chocolate, reading anything by McBride is like drinking wine). Within the next month or so, I’ll be putting out a piece on the GGC blog about the panel and will go into more detail about the book then.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
It took me a couple tries to pick this one up, but once you get into it, Six of Crows is unlike a lot of YA fiction out there. I can’t just credit the intellectual world building to Bardugo’s Yale education alone—that doesn’t begin to explain the sheer amount of raw, original detail that she puts forth. Where Bardugo’s debut series The Grisha Trilogy lacked, Six of Crows succeeds. Rich fantasy mingled with an undercurrent drawn from industrial Russia, this one had me up all night.
Everything by Sarah J Maas
I wrote a more in-depth post about Maas for GeekGirlCon at the beginning of the year, but man, I can’t get enough of this woman. I’ve read everything little smidgen of fiction she’s put out to date, and I can’t get enough. I suppose I could call her “the competition” since we write for the same demographic, but I couldn’t be more thrilled to write alongside someone who constantly breaks the boundaries of the genre. From her debut novel Throne of Glass, to her most recent, Empire of Storms, you can read along as she discovers herself as a writer. Her use of language and diction transforms with her stories, tightening and flowing from the page to the lips—you can practically visualize it.
Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is probably my favorite modern author, so when he announced that he was writing a collection on Norse Mythology—another adoration of mine—I was thrilled. Like, call the whole family thrilled (to make this less weird, I come from a line of Gaiman lovers). Per usual, he had me at hello: the language is simple and elegant. It reads like it should be spoken, which is as it should be told.
Nights of Azure
This isn’t necessarily a recommendation, as I haven’t quite articulated my thoughts on Nights of Azure (I think a trip to Google Images would explain why)…but, I am enjoying myself. I picked up a copy of the game after playing Atelier: Sophie, curious to see how the studio takes on a more “serious” story. It’s gorgeous, I’ll give you that. The art direction is actually pretty impressive for a game that had a low budget, and the music is fun. I definitely favor Gust’s Atelier games, but I may have to write a more formal review on Nights once I finish it as there’s a pretty stark lacking of legitimate reviews online.
Guild Wars 2
Guild Wars 2 is that one game I can never seem to put down, no matter how long I step away from it. Since college, I’ve put my fair share of time into exploring Tyria (a modest statement), and it never grows old. Every time I dive into the game I find something new to get into, and in February I’ve found just that. This time, a guild. Before the peanut gallery is aghast with shock, I will note that I have been in guilds before, but I haven’t been quite as socially active as I have been with this one. While I won’t include the name of my guild for the sake of privacy (though some readers have managed to hunt me down in game before), there’s a little gaggle of three who I’ve inevitably been tethered to. Nikle, Nex…they all very well might show up in BoI as comedic relief, if they don’t watch out. They’re great, and I’m sure they’ll be mentioned here again.
Fire Emblem Heroes
If you would have told me that I’d be religiously playing a mobile game last year, maybe even a few months ago, I’d laugh. Fire Emblem Heroes launched early February, and for a good three weeks I was constantly leveling up my team. There’s little more to say than that—I can’t turn down the opportunity to indulge in fan service.
La La Land
This is most definitely coming from the former film student in me, but I can’t express how much I adored watching La La Land. The direction is fabulous (cheers to those Oscars, Chazelle), as is the set design, costumes, lighting and composition…ugh, I’m speechless just thinking about it. La La Land is what film sought out to do: tell a visual story. It requires a level of thought to appreciate that most film-goers simply don’t care to utilize, but for those willing to sit back and think about every bit of imagery that you’re seeing, it’s well worth it. At a basic level, the story is simple and warm, but once you start to analyzing how that story is told you’ll realize that there’s a lot more to it. Emma Stone’s wardrobe, a prime example, is more thoughtful than you think.
Final Fantasy XV Piano Collection
For the last eight years, the Piano Collections: Final Fantasy X has remained the most-listened-to album on my iTunes account. Well, it’s about to be dethroned. I finished Final Fantasy XV in late January, and while I haven’t yet articulated my thoughts on the blog yet, the music is something I can firmly stand by. When the Piano Collection dropped a few days past, all those feelings whilst playing the game came flooding back—and I’m a sucker for classical music. The track pictured, Luna, could just about drive me to ugly tears five notes in.
La La Land Soundtrack
Not only were the visuals of La La Land near perfection, but the music. Neither Ryan Gosling or Emma Stone are singers, absolutely not, but there’s something about their very real voices partnered with the heartfelt lyrics that reminds me of the love I felt listening to/watching Once. A dreamer myself, the music is raw. As I’m writing this now, I have the humming version of City of Stars playing in the background.
…and everything else.
Decent bourbon and pretty notebooks, two things that have been surprisingly beneficial to my writing (and Saturday night gaming, looking at you guildies). Some might recognize Blanton’s Bourbon as Francis Underwood’s drink of choice, just a couple sips and you’ll get why. As for the notebook, there’s something about taking notes for BoI with in a nostalgic composition book, which makes me think back to my early days as a writer in grade school—with the added bonus of gorgeous artists’ renderings on the outer and inner covers.
It’s been a busy month, that’s for sure. We’re officially pulling the blog out of HIATUS while I progress further into writing BoI, which is coming along beautifully. No idea about when we’d be looking at a publishing date, but I’ve already broken ground into a second potential book in the series (with additional plans in the works for even more).
I’ve got a growing list of things to read and play in March, so I’ll see y’all again this time next month for another recap!
Dream big, my friends.