Board Game Bucket List

I used to believe that gaming meant only using a console, handheld or using a PC. This summer, when I stayed in Winona, I discovered a cute little gaming store called River Quest.

**Edit: 12/10/2017 I found out River Quest was closing!  Sad Day 😦 **

My roommate got a job working there, so I was in the store at least once a week or every other week. I got to know the owner, who is one of the coolest guys in the Winona area. I was opened up to a world of a different type of gaming.

I’m creating a Bucket List of Board Games that I haven’t played yet, but I intend to. I will sticky this to the front page of the Gaming Section and I plan to update it as I play new games. Also I hope to post a review on some of these board games especially the ones with the strike out through the name. In the meantime, enjoy my bucket list! Also feel free to comment with various board games that I can add on the list.

Here is my Board Game Bucket List:

  1. Exploding Kittens Card Game
  2. Munchkin *any version*
  3. Star Wars Destiny
  4. Ticket To Ride
  5. Monsters & Other Childish Things
  6. Red Dragon Inn
  7. Arkham Horror/Eldrich Horror
  8. Star Wars X-Wing
  9. Red Dragon Inn 4
  10. Pandemic
  11. Love Letter *card game*
  12. Smash Up
  13. Bang *card game*
  14. Red7
  15. Sentinels of the Multiverse
  16. Letters from White Chapel
  17. Here Kitty Kitty 
  18. Stone Age
  19. Agricola
  20. Betrayal at House on the Hill
  21. Seasons
  22. Takenoko
  23. Code Names
  24. Shadow Hunters 
  25. Dixit
  26. Doctor Who Time of the Daleks
  27. Fury of Dracula
  28. Dead of Winter
  29. Hogwarts Deck Building Game

Link to my Board Game Reviews:

Windpeaks – Summer Camp Themed Hidden Objects Game

Wind Peaks.

Last year, I played Hidden Through Time a hidden objects game available on Steam. Hidden Through Time was one of my favorite games I played in 2020. Steam had recommended to me Wind Peaks another hidden objects game centered around kids heading off to summer camp. The premise of Wind Peaks sounded promising, but I found myself comparing Wind Peaks to Hidden Through Time. When I did the comparison, Wind Peaks was nowhere near as good as Hidden Through Time.

Wind Peaks included a story with cut scenes in between each map. The story can be quickly summarized as kids heading off to summer camp in search of buried treasure. The treasure is buried somewhere within the camp and collecting these objects will aid in their search. I’m not sure why a story was introduced because I’m not sure if any of the kids were given names? I’m not sure what the significance is of the buried treasure? It’s mostly thrown into the game to make it memorable from other hidden objects games. I did like the overall aesthetic of Wind Peaks. The summer camp theme gave off a cozy, relaxing feel to the game.

I made it clear Wind Peaks is not on the same level as Hidden Through Time. One example of this is the hint system. To get a hint in Wind Peaks, you would click on the object. A countdown would begin and if the object wasn’t found in that time, the object was revealed on the map. That’s not a hint system. The game forced me to struggle throughout the map and then finally revealed the object instead of providing a hint. In Hidden Through Time, a hint is included above the object, so I could still find the object on my own without it being given away.

Additionally, I felt the maps in Wind Peaks were a bit too big. I couldn’t zoom out to view the map as a whole, so it took forever to visually scan the map looking for objects. I wished either the maps would have been smaller or the zoom function would have allowed me to view the whole map. I also can’t stand using “WASD” instead of the arrow keys. The arrow keys make sense, I’m not sure why I couldn’t have used them to move around the map.

Wind Peaks was an enjoyable, cozy, cabin hidden objects game. The gameplay in my opinion could have been better, but it didn’t take away from the experience. The way Wind Peaks ended left open the potential of new maps being added to the game. I would play through the new maps in Wind Peaks although I hope the hint system is overhauled. Hidden object games are a nice distraction from the console games I’m currently playing through. I would rate Wind Peaks a 6.5 / 10.

WandaVision

There’s a reason I subscribed to Disney+ on an annual subscription. After watching the Mandalorian, I’m watching the 90s X-Men cartoon while the fiance watched every single season of The Simpsons. I’m not kidding, I asked my fiance if he was all caught up and he said he was. When WandaVision released their first couple of episodes on Disney+, I poured myself a Blackberry Bubly as I watched both episodes. I’m intrigued as to how WandaVision will unfold as I’m not exactly sure what’s going on in the story.

Wanda Maximoff (played by Elizabeth Olson) and Vision (played by Paul Bettany) are a married couple living in suburbia. Each episode released so far has shown Wanda and Vision in a different time era? It’s not explicitly stated which time period each episode occurs. The first episode is clearly the 50’s as Wanda stays home cooking and levitating dishes while she cleans them. In the second episode, Wanda is wearing pants, so I have to believe this was beyond the ’50s. There are certain occurences between both episodes leading Wanda and Vision to be hesitant about this life they are living. WandaVision has been compared to classic sitcoms, although my first impression of the series reminded me of The Truman Show starring Jim Carrey.

I’m happy with the WandaVision series thus far! Elizabeth Olson and Paul Bettany have great chemistry together. They cover for each other when there’s the off chance someone might discover their powerful abilities. One fun scene to watch was in episode #2 when Vision and Wanda were performing for a talent show. Vision would complete these magic tricks using his natural strengths. Wanda would summon an object to counteract Vision’s trick. It shows how this couple works together even if it’s as simple as a neighborhood talent show.

There are so many unanswered questions! At the end of episode #2, there’s a beekeeper who appears out of a storm drain. I’m not sure who that’s supposed to be. Additionally, Wanda hears her name being called out through a radio. This moment in the second episode is why I was reminded of The Truman Show. WandaVision is supposed to tie into the Doctor Strange sequel, so I’m curious as to how this will be achieved. Are Wanda and Vision in an alternate reality? Were they kidnapped and forced to be in this show to entertain others? How is Vision back because he died in Avengers Infinity War? There was an ad in one of the episodes of WandaVision listing Hydra as a sponsor for the ad. I thought that was a clever “blink and you miss it” Easter Egg.

If you have already watched WandaVision, please comment your theories in the comments below! The third episode of WandaVision will air on Friday, January 22nd only on Disney+.

Wanderlust My Travel Bucket List 4 Years Later

Four years ago, I wrote a post titled Wanderlust & My Travel Bucket List. In 2016, I was still in college and excited to finally graduate. As I re-read the post, I realized I actually crossed off a few of these places. I wanted to re-visit this topic to update my list, recap where I have been, and look to the future when the borders open.

Wanderlust *noun* a strong desire to travel.

Harry Potter World Orlando, Fl DONE! February 2019

This was my first trip listed in my post four years ago. I didn’t even list this as Universal Studios because I was so focused on going to see the Harry Potter portion of the theme park. This trip was planned for February because that’s my mom’s birthday month. It was also an excuse to leave the brutal Minnesota winter to go somewhere warm. This was one of my favorite trips I have ever taken and I’m glad I made this a priority after I graduated college.

Seattle, Washington – HAHAHAHA 2020.

I was supposed to go to Emerald City Comic Con in March of last year, however, I canceled my trip due to the pandemic. It was 100% the right decision to make. I hope to make it to Seattle one of these days. This picture itself is breathtaking.

London

I convinced the fiance to go to Europe for our honeymoon. With the borders being monitored, I do want to wait to go on a honeymoon until it’s safe to travel to Europe. London is a great beginner travel city since I haven’t been overseas yet.

New York City Comic Con / A Bigger Con Partly Done! Planet Comic-Con in 2018, New York Trip in 2018, and C2E2 twice.

This goal is partly completed. Since 2016, I have attended Gen Con (Indianapolis), C2E2 twice (Chicago), and Planet Comic Con (Kansas City, Missouri). In 2018, we flew to New York to explore the Big Apple. Once attending conventions becomes safe again, I do want to attend NYCC in all of its glory.

Reading my Wanderlust post reminded me how much I have accomplished since graduating from college in 2017. Going through 2020, I struggled with this insecurity of “not doing enough” with my life. 2020 felt like a wasted year. I realize in saying this that it’s a privileged thing to say. None of my loved ones tested positive for Covid-19. I’m still healthy as I’m sitting in my apartment writing this post. My main hope for 2021 is to speed up the distribution of the Covid vaccine! Bring on the herd immunity!

Glitter Vipers

Content Warning: hate crimes, bigotry, assault, suicide, and violence (a content warning is listed on the graphic novel)

I have been backing many graphic novel based Kickstarter campaigns. It’s gotten to the point where I forget that I backed them. I received my copy of Glitter Vipers in the mail this month. When I received my package, I stared at it wondering what I had ordered. When I opened my package, I was reminded how in June of last year, I backed this vigilante, drag queen graphic novel. I read Glitter Vipers the same day I opened it from its packaging and it was a fun graphic novel to read.

Before I begin writing my review, I want to highlight that I have no intention of discussing the hate crime, suicide, or violence in this book. I only include the content warning because it’s listed on the back cover of the graphic novel, so I figured it’s important to mention.

Glitter Vipers tells the story of several LGBTQIA+ people as they form the group titled Glitter Vipers. The Glitter Vipers originally belonged to a support group where they could discuss their lives amongst their own community. Each member has faced some sort of harassment, violence or discrimination based on their orientation or identity. These members are sick and tired of their circumstances, so they form their own vigilante group to stick up for their own which leads to them bringing down a hate group.

My first impression of Glitter Vipers is this bubblegum pop type graphic novel. I received stickers when I backed the campaign and they were shiny, pink with a punk twist. Paging through Glitter Vipers, the art is bright when it needs to be and dark when the story goes into a darker tone. The art itself was a huge positive for me.

On another positive note, I appreciate the way Ms. Fletcher is written. Ms. Fletcher is the villain of the story. There’s a comment she makes when she’s giving a public speech that echos almost word for word some of the comments J.K. Rowling has made about trans people. I’m sure this was intentional, but I read it and immediately this popped into my mind. The idea of a “Ms. Fletcher” type character in our society is spot on.

While I did enjoy reading Glitter Vipers, there were a couple of things I wished for. Glitter Vipers is extremely short. This novel is roughly 60 pages. I wish there was more background given for some of the characters. I felt Queenie, Cal, Mel, and Bri weren’t given enough development. I would have liked to know more about them.

Additionally, I wish there was a listing of the character’s pronouns with the character art. I can deduce which characters use which pronouns, but it’s not listed. For example, I believe Queenie is non-binary, so is it safe to assume they use they/them pronouns?? There are images in the back of the graphic novel with the pre-sketches to the characters, and I think it would have been a nice touch to list their pronouns.


I loved reading Glitter Vipers! I loved the art and the overall style of the graphic novel. I hope a sequel is eventually released. My main complaints with this graphic novel are the lack of character background and how the graphic novel is short. I want to know everything and anything about all the characters. If you missed the Kickstarter, Glitter Vipers can be purchased from Joe Glass’s online store. Joe Glass can be found on Twitter @JosephGlass

Women of Bond – Dr. No

When I decided to write about the James Bond film franchise, I wanted to talk about the Bond women. When Bond women are referenced, it’s often because of their beauty, and what outfits they wore that were memorable. I wanted to go more in-depth than that. From Dr. No’s film adaptation in 1962, women’s rights both in the UK and the US have evolved. In this series of posts, I’m going to discuss the actresses who played these iconic roles.

The first Bond woman introduced in Dr. No was Sylvia Trench (played by Eunice Gayson) Besides being an actress, Eunice was also a singer and a dancer. (1). When Eunice arrived on set, she had to calm down a nervous Connery who kept messing up his lines during the casino sequence. (1). It’s easy to think Connery had it all, but initially, he was nervous to act out this role. Eunice was the only Bond girl to be featured in two movies. She also will appear in From Russia With Love. Her role ended when Goldfinger director, Guy Hamilton wanted new women for Bond to entangle with (1).

The next two women in Dr. No were portrayed as villains. There was Miss Taro (played by Zena Marshall) and Annabel Chung (played by Marguerite LeWars). Miss Taro was a double agent working for Dr. No and she was supposed to lure Bond to her house, so an assassin could kill him. Zena Marshall was born in Kenya but moved to Leicestershire where she studied acting. (2) Annabel Chung was a photographer hired by Dr. No to follow Bond around and take pictures of him. Marguerite was Miss Jamaica and was approached by film director, Terence Young to ask her to be in this movie (3). She originally auditioned for Miss Taro but was afraid her parents wouldn’t allow her to take the role because of how sexual the part was. Young offered her the role of Annabel as a way to be in the movie. (3). Post Bond, Marguerite is a writer for a column in Trinidad and has written two books (3).

Finally, there’s Ursula Andress who played Honey Rider. Honey Rider walking up on the beach in a white bikini is one of the most iconic film sequences in the Bond franchise. Ursula Andress is Swiss and can speak four different languages (4). When Ursula originally read her lines, her voice was dubbed by another actress because Young didn’t like her accent (4). It’s depressing re-watching Dr. No and knowing Ursula is only there to look pretty considering her voice belonged to another actress. In recent years, Andress has been a spokesperson for Osteoporosis as she too is suffering from the disease (4).

After doing all of this research on the women who appeared in Dr. No, I found it was tough to find information about the actresses. When women are written about, it’s often detailing their marriages, children, and their acting career. When writing this post, I was hoping to gather more information about interesting aspects of their lives, not who they are married to. Marriage and children are of course a facet of a woman’s life however, women are so much more beyond their marriage and children.

Since Dr. No and From Russia With Love were released only a year apart from each other, I’m going to highlight women’s rights in the From Russia With Love Bond women post. My hope with putting this post together was to highlight these women beyond their roles within the Bond film franchise. This is my last Dr. No related post, so next week I will move on to Connery’s second outing, From Russia with Love.

Sources:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/obituaries/eunice-gayson-dead-first-bond-girl-actress-obituary-sylvia-trench-dr-no-sean-connery-a8391381.html (1)

https://www.theguardian.com/film/2009/jul/26/obituary-zena-marshall (2)

https://www.straight.com/movies/414181/bond-girl-marguerite-gordon-brings-1960s-glam-vancity (3).

german-way.com/notable-people/featured-bios/ursula-andress/ (4)

WW84 – Where’s the Female Empowerment?

I remember watching the No Man’s Land Scene from the first Wonder Woman movie. Watching this scene in the theater was an empowering moment. Diana wasn’t going to let Steve hold her back along with Diana needing Steve’s help in getting through the battleground. When me and the fiance watched WW84, I felt let down in a huge way. The plot left a sour taste in my mouth. Diana is able to be a part of history as seen through the mementos in her apartment. However, all of that can’t be celebrated because she’s still missing Steve???? Why does WW84 feel so different from the first film?

After the shopping mall fight sequence, Diana (played by Gal Gadot) is shown at a restaurant eating by herself and looking up at a plane flying in the night sky. These scenes conveyed to the viewer how Diana is not over Steve. Losing Steve during the war was traumatic for Diana, but I find it hard to believe that she hasn’t moved on. When I think of Wonder Woman as a character, she’s a role model to women and has fought for all lives on the planet. I would have liked to see Diana live a normal life when suddenly, Steve is revived. It would have been more believable to the character while coinciding with the messaging from the first film. This Mary Sue article reiterates my thoughts regarding Diana and the way she’s portrayed in WW84.

Besides Diana, there’s Barbara Minerva. Barbara (played by Kristin Wiig) wants to be Diana, to be acknowledged, and attractive. Who cares about Barbara’s multiple Ph.D.’s because she wants to be the hot girl. I felt there weren’t enough scenes in the film where I could actually buy into Barbara wanting to be Diana. There’s a brief mentioning of Barbara being bullied for being a nerd, so it’s assumed Barbara wants to be like Diana to be accepted? When I think of female empowerment, Barbara’s story doesn’t do much of that either. She feels she needs to be attractive and feminine in order to be taken seriously. This could be an over-reaction on my part, but if someone could help me understand why Barbara wants to be like Diana other than the fact that she’s attractive, please enlighten me. I would have liked to see Barbara own her persona and use the dream stone to wish for good luck with her research. This research could have led her to become Cheetah and seek power from Diana. This is what I would have liked to see out of the character.

When first watching WW84, I was hoping for a friendship to be developed between Diana and Barbara. There’s only one scene where Diana and Barbara are out to dinner where they talk about love. This again brings up the fact that Diana is still not over Steve. Once this scene ends, I’m supposed to believe Diana and Barbara are BFFs? I think there could have been more development into the friendship between Diana and Barbara, but there wasn’t.

Ultimately, if you loved WW84, I’m happy for you! I think it’s annoying when I state how much I like something and fans remind me how much the thing I like sucks. I felt WW84 could have been a much better film if it was structured differently. With the first Wonder Woman film, I walked out of the theater feeling elated to see a female character kick ass and be the star of the film. With WW84, I’m reminded of how difficult it is for women to get over breakups.

Starting a Comics Pull List

I have always wanted to start a comics pull list. I started reading comics in college, however, I wasn’t particularly fond of the comic book store in my college town. This meant starting a pull list back in Minneapolis wasn’t feasible since I wasn’t driving home consistently. Once I moved to the cities, I struggled to find a weekly comic series. I found reading trades easier than comic issues. Now, I have found at least a couple of series I’m trying to read weekly, so it made sense to finally start a pull list. I’m excited to be able to support a local comic book store weekly and get new comics! Wednesdays will have meaning for me again.

I started my pull list at Hot Comics and Collectibles. Hot Comics recently moved to a new store location in Minneapolis. It’s a quaint little shop, and it gives off a cozy vibe whenever I stop by. Hot Comics has three retail locations with two of these locations being within reasonable driving distance from my apartment. When I knew I wanted to start a pull list, I wanted a comic book store close by me. This would be a place I would drive to weekly to pick up my comics and nothing is worse than dreading a long car ride. The winter season in Minnesota makes winter driving unpredictable, and I’d hate to not be able to pick up my comics because of poor driving conditions.

So what’s on my pull list? At the moment, I have three titles on there so far. If you have kept up with my posts, this shouldn’t come as a surprise as to what’s on my pull list. First, I have Finger Guns. Finger Guns is such a fun comic series. I’m all caught up on the story, so now I’m waiting for issue #6 to release. Besides Finger Guns, I have the latest Doctor Aphra series on my pull list. The new Doctor Aphra series made me a fan of the character and her adventuring team. Finally, I have King in Black on my pull list. King in Black is the Avengers / X-Men crossover with Knull, the god of the Venom symbiote invading Earth. I haven’t been reading Donny Cates Venom series which supposedely leads up to King in Black. I never felt lost reading King in Black because the story is clear and easy to understand.

Despite having a pull list, I will read trade paperbacks. There are certain series I started way too late where I don’t think I will ever catch up to the current weekly comics. It took me a long time to feel comfortable with reading comics to have the confidence to begin a pull list. I’m happy to begin my pull list and add more titles. Let me know if you have a pull list and where your pull list is in the comments below.

Dr. No & Tropical Animals – Science Behind Bond

Happy New Year! My outlook on 2021 is if I can get through 2020, I can get through 2021. I hope a Covid vaccine gets distributed, so we can all go back to our regular routines. To kick off in 2021, I wanted to continue my Bond blog series. This post is going into the Science Behind Bond. I’m going to take one element or scene from the Bond movie and “debunk” it or say if there’s any accuracy there. Science is interesting to me, so I thought it would be fun to add a science post to my blog series. For the science behind Dr. No I decided to focus on tropical animals.

Video posted by the James Bond 007 Youtube Channel.

One memorable scene from Dr. No is when Bond is sleeping in his bed and an assassin slips a tarantula into his room. The suspense music plays as the tarantula crawls up Bond through his sheets. Eventually, Bond can move the tarantula and kills it. The main question I wanted to know is whether this tarantula was dangerous to Bond? From my research, the answer is no. In 2018, there were 44 occurences of a “tarantula related injury” and only 17 requiring hospitalization. (1) With a Tarantula bite, common symptoms include pain, tissue damage, and muscle cramping (1). It’s much more common for a human to have a histamine reaction to the hairs of a Tarantula than to be poisoned by a Tarantula (1). Unless this Tarantula is a local Jamaican spider I’m not aware of, the likelihood Bond would have been killed by a Tarantula is next to none. This silly Spectre assassin had no idea what he was doing by releasing a Tarantula to kill Bond.

The second instance regarding tropical animals isn’t featured in the Dr. No film but in the book written by Ian Fleming. In the film, Honey Rider is chained to a stone embankment where presumably the water would rise and drown her. Bond has to come and rescue her after taking out Dr. No. In Fleming’s book, Honey was chained to the embankment, and crabs were supposed to eat her instead. This was taken out of the film adaptation. I’m assuming the crabs referred to in Fleming’s novels were a basic beach crab. Mole crabs typically eat plankton and the tentacles of jellyfish. (2) Coconut Crabs are dangerous and scary crabs. They are the largest invertebrate on our planet and can be as big as a hiking boot (3). These crabs can climb trees and have the strength to carry away bones (3). If Honey Rider was chained to coconut crabs, that could be fatal.

It’s amazing how our planet has so many different species of creatures. Some are fatal to humans while others do not pose a threat unless provoked. I would recommend checking out the National Geographic article I found for Coconut Crabs. They are incredibly big and scary looking. Since this is a research-based post, I linked all my sources down below. For my next Bond Blog Series, I will focus more on the women featured in the film along with women’s rights during the early 1960s. Once I write this post, I will move onto the second Bond film, From Russia with Love.

Sources:

(1) Tarantula Spider Toxicity – academic paper by Erwin L Kong, Kristopher K. Hart

(2) Mole Crabs Bob Thomas – Loyola University New Orleans

(3) Coconut Crabs – National Geographic

2020 End of Year Book Survey

Holidays are over, and it’s time for me to recap my reading year. I always use Perpetual Page Turner’s End of Year Survey. At this point, I have read 61 books in 2020. I have blown past my original reading goal of 50. This is the highest recorded reading year ever since I started using Goodreads. Being in Quarantine, I found myself ordering more books, comics, graphic novels, and manga to read. I wanted to support my local businesses to ensure they remained open. Here are my answers:

**2020 Reading Stats**

Number of Books Read: 61

Number of Re-Reads: 2. To improve on my re-reads for 2021, I pulled specific books off my shelf and created a separate pile of books I want to re-read. Last year, I re-read the Harry Potter series, so my number for this was higher.

Genre You Read the Most From: Comics / Graphic Novels. I read more single issues this year than last year. I also read more romance this year.

1. Best Book in 2020

Final Girls by Riley Sager is the best book I read in 2020. This book took me on a trip. I didn’t know what was happening until the last few pages. Everything about the premise of this book is built on a plot twist. Reading Final Girls is similar to watching a slasher film. I’m a big fan of Halloween and Scream. Final Girls feels like an ode to these movies. I want to re-read this in 2021 to see if I can pick up any foreshadowing I missed during my initial first reading.

2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?

In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren had potential. It was a romance story taking place at a log cabin in Utah. However, I didn’t end up buying into the romance. I felt the romance between the two main characters wasn’t developed enough. By the end of the book, I wasn’t rooting for them as a couple. I felt certain characters weren’t written well which is a shame. I wish I would have liked this more. If you’re into cheesy, Hallmark movies, I bet you would have liked this more than me.

3. Most Surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?

I picked War of the Spark Ravnica by Greg Weisman. I have never read a Magic: The Gathering book coinciding with the release of a set. However, I’m a fan of Greg Weisman especially with his work on Young Justice. I wasn’t expecting anything while reading this book. I don’t know a whole lot revolving around the planes of Magic. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It’s not rated high on Goodreads, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

4. Best Series You Started in 2020?

The Athena Protocol is a sapphic, young adult, super-agent series. It’s the female version of the Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. I used to read the Alex Rider books in middle school. I have the sequel, The Shadow Mission on my 2021 to-be-read pile and I can’t wait to start it.

5. Best Book from a Genre You Don’t Typically Read?

Berserk Volume #1 by Kentaro Miura. I’m struggling to find Manga I’m genuinely interested in. So far, I have read Sailor Moon, Ghost in the Shell, and My Hero Academia. I tried to get into Attack on Titan, unfortunately, I only got through the first volume. I’m discovering I like grittier manga versus the light-hearted, bubblegum manga. My Hero Academia and Sailor Moon are the exceptions to this. My brother let me borrow Berserk. This series is gory, violent, and bonkers. I’m into it. My brother loaned me volumes 2 – 4. I’m curious where the series will go.

6. Book You Read in 2020 That You Would Be Most Likely to Re-Read Next Year?

Final Girls. I alluded to this earlier. I want to see if there’s any foreshadowing for the plot twists that I missed from my first reading.

7. Most Memorable Character of 2020?

Delia from Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee was my favorite book character of 2020. I wanted to go into the book and hug her. Delia reminds me of me when I was her age. She’s snarky, insecure, and afraid of the future. There’s a scene where Delia is meets her dad who left her at a young age. I couldn’t stop crying while reading. It’s heartbreaking. This book is a mess at times, but Delia was one of the highlights of this book.

8. Most Thought-Provoking / Life-Changing Book of 2020?

Reading Body Positive Power, I’m trying to be kinder to my body. Megan Jayne Crabbe breaks down various fad diets, how our culture impacts beauty, and how being fat in our society is demonized. I wouldn’t say I agreed with everything Megan stated in this book, but it’s a book I would recommend anyone with a previous history of body dysmorphia to read.

9. OTP Of the Year (One True Pairing)

Stella and Michael are my everything. Michael sees Stella as being the independent woman she is. Stella likes how Michael doesn’t control her and lets her be. These two are so cute together.

10. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship of the Year?

Wes and Sadie from Finger Guns have such a wonderful friendship. There isn’t anything romantic about their relationship and while they come from different family backgrounds, they want to support each other whenever they can.

11. Book That Made You Cry in 2020?

Waves is such a touching graphic novel. This details the story of a young, lesbian couple trying to have a baby. Unfortunately, they do suffer from a miscarriage. This novel highlights the pain the couple goes through as they try to move on from this tragic event. I couldn’t stop crying. I plan on re-reading this when I’m older especially if I reach a point in my life where I’m trying for a baby.

1. New Favorite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube Channel

Riley Marie is a booktuber I started watching in 2020. She picks her to-be-read books for the month by pulling out a prompt from her Stormtrooper mug. Riley is fun, engaging, and her book interests align with mine. She posts videos at least twice a week, so there’s always book content for me to watch. I highly recommend her channel.

2. Favorite Post of 2020

My favorite book post I wrote this year was Pumpkinheads and the ABC’s of Fall. I read Pumpkinheads by Faith Erin Hicks and Rainbow Rowell. Even though I read this graphic novel in February, I was still hyped for Fall. I wrote an ABC’s of my favorite words coordinating with Fall. I like how the post came together.

3. Favorite Bookish Photo of 2020

My fiance took this photo of me while visiting Traverse City, Michigan. There were so many bookstores! I spent $90 on books because why not???? Before taking this photo, I dropped my bag of books because it was heavy.

4. Did You Complete Any Reading Challenges or Goals That You Had Set for Yourself at the Beginning of the Year?

I surpassed my original goal of 50 books to 61. I’m impressed with myself!

1. One Book You Didn’t Get To in 2020 But Will Be Your Number #1 Priority in 2021?

I’m reading It by Stephen King. I was planning on finishing this book by the end of the year, but it didn’t happen. I’m going to ensure that I finish this book in 2021.

2. Series Ending / A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?

I’m anticipating two sequels. The first is The Shadow Mission by Shamim Sarif. This is the sequel to The Athena Protocol. The second sequel is A Beautiful Corpse by Christi Daugherty. This is a mystery series set in Savannah, GA. Harper McClain is a crime reporter who’s called to a murder scene that strangely resembles the murder of her mother when she’s young. The first book didn’t answer what happened to Harper’s mom much to my shock. I’m hoping the sequel will give me some answers.

3. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading / Blogging Life in 2021?

I’m not setting high expectations. I started a comics pull list for the first time, so I’m excited to read comics this way. I received a book gift card from my fiance for the Holidays, so I’m curious what I will spend it on. Finally, I want to re-read a couple of books I pulled off my shelf. I’m hoping life will get back to normal in 2021.

This post turned out to be a lot longer than I thought it was going to be. I guess that’s what happens when I read more in 2020. I did link the Perpetual Page Turner book prompt in the first paragraph, so feel free to write your own post. If you do, make sure to give Perpetual Page Turner credit along with posting your link in my comments section!

2020 Pop Culture Year In Review

Before writing this post, I read my “2019 Pop Culture Year in Review.” Many of us had such high hopes for 2020. I’m trying to stay positive for the most part, but I can’t help feeling Covid-19 took so much from me. Conventions, trips, seeing my family all have been canceled, put on hold, or decreased. While quarantine allowed me more time for introverted activities, I found myself longing for social experiences. This is my fourth Pop Culture Year in Review post and it’s likely the most different recap I have written.

Movies I Saw in Theaters:

  • Rise of Skywalker
  • Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
  • Birds of Prey

Birds of Prey was the last movie I saw in theaters before the pandemic hit. I do miss movie theaters. I hope theaters will bounce back after the pandemic. Birds of Prey was my favorite film of 2020. It was such a chaotic, girl-power action film.

Since being in quarantine, I did make a point to watch movies I had never seen before. These included the Blade movies, The League of Extraordinary Gentleman, Ready or Not, The Normal Heart, BlacKkKlansman, Ghostbusters re-make, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My favorite movie I watched for the first time this year was BlacKkKlansman.

TV Shows I Watched:

  • Girls
  • Fleabag
  • New Girl (finally finished the whole series this year)
  • You
  • Barry
  • The Mandalorian
  • True Blood
  • Normal People
  • Challenger: The Final Flight

The obvious choice of the best TV show in 2020 is The Mandalorian. The second season topped the first season in many ways. Pedro Pascal’s back must hurt from carrying the Star Wars franchise. Besides the Mandalorian, I loved Fleabag. Phoebe Waller-Bridge is an excellent writer and Fleabag allows her to shine.

Video Games I Played:

  • Spy Fox in Dry Cereal
  • Monster Prom
  • Sims #3: Supernatural / Late Night expansions
  • Kingdom Hearts 3
  • Star Wars Battlefront II
  • Costume Quest II
  • Nancy Drew and the Ghost of Thornton Hall
  • Hidden Through Time
  • Marvel’s Avengers

This year I experimented with games on Steam. I cleared out excess programs on my laptop to make space for my Steam games. My favorite game I purchased on Steam was Hidden Through Time. It was such a soothing hidden objects game. While other gamers were playing Animal Crossing, I played a lot of Sims. There’s something comforting about simulation games while being stuck inside.

My favorite game I played on a console was Costume Quest II. Costume Quest II is a game that appealed to my love of Halloween. I was able to play it for free on Xbox Game Pass, although I’m considering purchasing both Costume Quest I and II on Steam to re-play them.

Another fond gaming memory was spending hours playing Star Wars: Battlefront II. I played Battlefront II for most of the summer. It was such a great way to unwind from work, crack open a beer and play as Lando.

Gaming in 2020

Star Wars Outer Rim: Playing as Jyn Erso.
  • Star Wars: Outer Rim
  • Tattoo Stories
  • Virus < how fitting
  • Vampire the Masquerade Roleplaying
  • Ravine
  • Hocus Pocus

To be clear, I played all of these board games before the pandemic started. The highlight of my gaming in 2020 was the Vampire the Masquerade role-play session. My character was named Karen and she was the “talk to your manager” vampire. She would only feed on managers. I had such fun playing as her in this one-shot.

Once quarantine began, I didn’t play nearly as many board games. Besides board games, I missed playing DnD. DnD podcasts filled the void of being able to roleplay in person.

Graphic Novels / Comics I Read this Year:

  • The Weirdos
  • Chandra IDW Issue #2
  • Pumpkinheads
  • Teen Titans: Raven
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Omnibus Edition
  • Wolvenheart Issue #2
  • Birds of Prey
  • Batgirl #1 Rebirth
  • Lucifer
  • Waves
  • Ghost in the Shell
  • Eat and Love Yourself
  • Ghosted in LA
  • Doctor Aphra Issue #1 & #2
  • She Said Destroy Volume. #1
  • Glitterbomb Volume #1
  • For Goodness Sake
  • Joker 80th Anniversary Edition
  • Cult Classic Volume #1
  • Berserk Volume #1
  • Finger Guns Issue #1 – #5

I read way more comics and graphic novels this year than in 2019. The graphic novel that stood out to me this year was Eat and Love Yourself by Sweeney Boo. This graphic novel discusses some intense topics regarding body dysmorphia and eating disorders. It was an emotional read. I adore Sweeney Boo’s art style. I follow her on Instagram where she posts her art. Besides Eat and Love Yourself, I did enjoy Ghosted in LA published by Boom!

As far as individual comics, I was impressed by Doctor Aphra. It captured my attention within the first issue. Finger Guns is another comic series I enjoyed reading. I read through all five single issues quickly.

2020 Pop Culture Moments

  • Phoebe Waller-Bridge winning all the awards
  • QUARANTINE!
  • Celebrities & the “Imagine” video
  • President Trump advising people to drink.. bleach?
  • President Trump losing the election

Podcasts I Couldn’t Stop Listening To:

  • I Weigh hosted by Jameela Jamil
  • Ain’t Slayed Nobody

I didn’t listen to as many podcasts in 2020 versus 2019. Once I started working from home, I wasn’t listening to podcasts on my bus rides. I still listen to Not Another Dnd Podcast, This Podcast Will Kill You, Science Rules, however, the podcasts listed in the bullets were podcasts I discovered in 2020.

Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh features Jameela interviewing various actors, activists and friends. At the end of every episode, she asks her guests “what do you weigh?” meaning what gives your life meaning other than the weight of your body. Jameela Jamil seems like a lovely human being and I adore how intelligent and charismatic she is.

Ain’t Slayed Nobody is a Call of Cthulhu roleplaying podcast. This podcast takes place in the 1800’s Wild West era in the United States. Each episode is well-edited, there’s a recap at the beginning of each episode, and the keeper does an excellent job telling the story. Ain’t Slayed Nobody releases their episodes once a month for their main campaign, but will often feature one-shots as well.

Catchiest Song in 2020

Conventions I Attended in 2020

I forgot I attended C2E2 this year. The convention was in February before Covid-19 hit. I debuted my new Punisher cosplay. The cosplay is comfortable. The only change I would make is to wear my new black combat boots versus my workout shoes. At C2E2, they had the outfit Jon Berenthal was wearing on display. It was pretty cool to see.

Personal Memories

Top Three Memories of 2020:

Traverse City, Michigan (replacing canceled Seattle Trip)

Girl’s Cabin Weekend

Taking Our Engagement Photos!