Review: Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters

A small look at Bleak House. (5 stars)

I'm not one who considers themselves a fan of film directors. Most of the time I couldn't be bothered to notice who has directed a film. And then I began noticing that a lot of my favorite films over the past couple of decades had something in common. Guillermo del Toro was involved as a director or in some other production capacity. An admiration took hold.

Del Toro is a very fascinating man and this book dives into his famed Bleak House. Having heard of the house many a time I'd give up a kidney to spend a day exploring its many rooms filled with art, books, and memorabilia. For those of us who delight in the grotesque, the fantastical, the macabre, the monstrous... this tome provides a very small glimpse inside the man cave of one of the patron saints of modern dark fictions. Simply put, it's just not enough! I'd gladly have read more essays and scoured more photos, del Toro is a man with a childlike penchant for hording treasures, bless him for it.

Serving to entice the palette, this book will have readers ready to make their way to one of the trio of museum exhibits that are as close as any of us will come to being a guest at Bleak House. Read at your own risk!

Notes: ARC received via NetGalley.

Guillermo del Toro: At Home with Monsters: Inside His Films, Notebooks, and Collections by Guillermo del Toro, Guy Davis, Kaywin Feldman, Michael Govan, & Stephan Jost
Arts, Entertainment, Horror, Fantasy, Filmmaking
Print (152 pages, INSIGHT EDITIONS)
The perfect companion piece to an enthralling new exhibition on the visionary work and fervent imagination of director Guillermo del Toro.
In 2016, a new exhibit on the work of visionary director Guillermo del Toro will begin at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), before moving on to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) and the Minneapolis Museum of Art (MIA). This book will be the perfect accompaniment to the exhibition, which focuses on del Toro’s creative process, including the well-defined themes that he obsessively returns to in all his films, the journals in which he logs his ideas, and the vast and inspiring collection of art and pop culture ephemera that he has amassed at his private “man cave,” Bleak House. Filled with imagery from the exhibit, including favorite pieces of art that del Toro has chosen for the exhibit, and pertinent journal pages, the book will further delve further into the director’s world through exclusive in-depth interviews and commentary from notable figures in the art world. Forming a perfect companion to the exhibition, this book will deliver an engrossing look into the mind of one of the great creative visionaries of our time.

Some of my personal favorite del Toro projects:


FREE Printable :: ROSEGOAL'D :: for Happy Planner

For two years I tried to make the Passion Planner work for me. It's such a fantastic concept for goal oriented people. I never could make use of the planner as intended though. 

I struggle with not liking long-term commitment to a single goal. I'm definitely more of an 'enjoy the journey' kind of person. I also found that the time slot based structure was both a help and a hindrance for me. Passion Planner was great for helping me keep track of appointments and meetings. But difficult for having a daily checklist for items like making sure the trash is on the curb or that a library book is in a kids' backpack on a certain day. I felt like a lot of the planner was going to waste based on how I was using it. Plus, it's very sterile and plain.

Review: What Happened to Daddy's Body?

Gentle and factual (5 stars)

There are so many books about death and coping with loss but the one book I wish I'd had as a kid was one that explained the 'after' part. My great-great grandmother passed when I was old enough to understand she was gone and that it was because she was very old. But no one chose to explain to me what happened to her body. We often think children are too young for these things, so fortunately the Barber family chose to share their story with us in an educational, gentle, and not religious way.

I hope that my young daughter will never have need of the beautifully presented information here. It is a comfort, however, to know that it is there for her if and when she needs to ask these sensitive questions.

If you have a child who will be facing or has recently lost a loved one or one who is just very curious please check this book out.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

What Happened to Daddy's Body?: Explaining what happens after death in words very young children can understand
by Elke Barber & Alex Barber
Children, Relationships, Death & Dying, Grief
My daddy died when I was (one...two...) three years old. Today we are out in the garden. It always makes me think about my daddy because he LOVED his garden. Sometimes, I wonder what happened to my daddy's body...
This picture book aims to help children aged 3+ to understand what happens to the body after someone has died. Through telling the true story of what happened to his daddy's body, we follow Alex as he learns about cremation, burial and spreading ashes. Full of questions written in Alex's own words, and with the gentle, sensitive and honest answers of his mother, this story will reassure any young child who might be confused about death and what happens afterwards. It also reiterates the message that when you have experienced the loss of a loved one, it is okay to be sad, but it is okay to be happy, too. (3 - 12 years)

More books to help children with death, grief, and loss:


Review: Mythic Volume 1

Weird and wonderful. (5 stars)

If you're into weird but fantastic comics like Pretty Deadly, Jupiter's Circle, or The Wicked + The Divine and need something new to read, look no further! Mythic, in a way, reminded me of  Death Vigil and was marvelously both different and similar to a lot of the titles I've enjoyed recently. It's off to a great start and I can't wait for the next one!

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Mythic Volume 1
by Phillip Hester & John McCrea
Comics, Graphic Novel, Paranormal
Print (248 pages, IMAGE)
Science is a lie, an opiate for the masses. The truth is, magic makes the world go 'round. And when magic breaks, MYTHIC fixes it. Apache shaman Waterson, Greek immortal Cassandra, and cell phone salesman Nate Jayadarma are the crack field team assigned with keeping the gears of the supernatural world turning, and more importantly, keeping you from ever knowing about it. Join Eisner nominee PHIL HESTER (Green Arrow, The Coffin) and Eisner winner JOHN McCREA (Hitman, The Boys) on their latest expedition to the dark heart of weird comics. Collects Mythic #1-8.

You might also enjoy:


Unboxing: August BOOMBOX! • POWER-UP

Confession: I effing love makeup... but I find it intimidating. 

When my sister-in-the-Force, JediJuggler, introduced me to Espionage Cosmetics I was all in. The $$$ I spend at EC is really embarrassing considering how little I actually use. Which is one of the big reasons I adore the BoomBox! subscription, I get a fantastic variety of nerdy goodies not just makeup.

Past boxes have been great, there's only been one I was really meh about—June's Naturally Awesome was okay but the Turquoise Nail Wraps were the only thing I loved. The Tea & Crumpets Everything Shadow from February and Banshee Lip Serum are actually two of my most used products. This month's Power-Up theme was one I was worried about to be honest. The last subscription box I got that did a theme like this left me feeling isolated. I should have known better. The retro-gaming feel totally tickled my inner kid.

One of the things I love most about EC, is that they have real geeky women who are talented makeup artists working with them as Nerd Makeup Ambassadors—I try not to play faves but JaeCHAOS is such a talented artist but also a beautiful soul, I could gush for hours. They also curate from fantastic lady nerd artists like Sam Skyler. Which means every box so far has had a great art print or colorable item plus, fantastic tutorials on how to use the included makeup. This month's piece from Fox Smith is such a fun mashup.

Since I wear a lot of fandom-centric jewelry I heart the necklace from Geek Star Costuming. I am totally in need of her Wonder Woman earrings!

I recently got a new laptop and I've been a bit bummed because the hubs has been hogging my old one that has all my great stickers—including the EC Crest one—on it. I about died of joy to see 3 stickers in this month's box. The Oregon Trail one is my favorite, since that was the game that made me a gamer, but I love all 3.

The notepad, while pretty stinking cool, will probably wind up in the box of notepads I never use. I just have SO MANY. I'm a stationary addict, I get them in a lot of sub boxes, and I get lots of swag notepads as a book blogger  so I have a huge collection. But thanks to most things being digital, I just can't use them up fast enough. That said, this one is so nostalgic and weird, it rocks.

This month was great non-makeup wise but holy casserolee the nail wraps and shadows were epic.

Anyone who loves 8-Bit games has gotta love the nail wraps. I wanted to wear 8-Bit Hearts immediately but then I decided they should be saved for my anniversary or maybe Valentine's Day. I think it might be one of my all-time favorite designs. Power Up is super cheerful and is just a bit cutesey. I wish EC had little girl sizes because these would be so darling on my 6-year-old.

For the first time ever, EC introduced Pressed Powder shadows! These are a BoomBox! Exclusive but I bet they'll release more pressed powders before too long. I have been wishing that they had them (I just find them a bit easier to store without messes) for quite some time! These arrived in the plastic lacons you can buy for lip gloss on EC but are in metal pans so I think they can be popped into a magnetic makeup palette like the Z Palette. I'll let y'all know once I figure that out.

Pixel is a gorgeous rosey pink and Console is an almost cotton candy light blue. I don't think anyone has pointed it out yet but I was immediately struck that these were total Suicide Squad Harley Quinn colors. Clearly that wasn't intentional but I found it a little inspiring as to something to do with them.

Also included is 1-Up, a gorgeous green shadow. My photos do not do it justice. (One of these days I'll buy a real camera and learn to take good pics but until then it is what it is). Green is one of my favorite colors but I always find it a makeup challenge. This one is another BoomBox! Exclusive, sorry lambs!

This month EC did something a little different. They did a sort of featured Ambassador which I want to see more of! This time it was Sasha/ThePryncess. Her makeups are always so color rich! Her floral liner inspired by the Most Ardently nail wraps from February's box is to-die-for beautiful. She created 3 tutorials for using the new shadows.

Honestly, this is the part of the subscription I most treasure. Since makeup is challenging for me, sometimes I find it hard to decide how to wear shadows and such. Including tutorials by not just makeup artists but fellow nerdgirls makes me feel empowered. Granted I could never pull the looks off with the precision they do, but I can say that I kicked but with February's tutorial which is why I wear Tea & Crumpets so much. Now if only I could get someone to always do my brows for me... lol

Overall, the POWER-UP BOOMBOX! was a smashing win. I loved it enough to actually write the unboxing post this time. teehee! 

Seriously y'all... if you want to see this sub unboxed here again please leave a comment. The process takes me about 3 days of photographing, photo-editing, and writing up the post. I would love to know if you enjoyed it so I feel motivated and inspired to make it a thing. Otherwise, my depression doubt monster sits on my shoulder making excuses why it's a waste of time. I actually have photos from every single box that's gone out but just struggle to muscle through and make these posts happen. Bleh.

Which item would you love to get your hands on? Was one of your fandoms featured? What's your favorite 8-bit game? 

Tell me below!


Review: Klaw: The First Cycle

Love this mythos! (5 stars)

I didn't expect much going into Klaw. I've been burned by loving a cover a few too many times. But woah, this was one heck of a rich mythos to dive into and I will be devouring more volumes as they arrive. Not only is the story great, the art is beautiful. If you dig shapeshifters or crime family dramas be sure and pick this one up.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Klaw: The First Cycle
by Antoine Ozenam & Joel Jurion
Comics, Graphic Novel, Supernatural, Crime
Print (144 pages, MAGNETIC PRESS)
A population of secret were-animals hide among us, and young Angel Tomassini is about to learn just how widespread -- and dangerous -- it is!
Beautifully illustrated by Joel Jurion, best known throughout Europe and the worldwide animation industry for his gorgeous and dynamic character design, written by Antoine Ozenam, this exciting young adult series explores a world of ancient conflict hiding just under the surface of modern life as we know it. With identifiable coming of age themes overshadowed by thrilling action sequences and a deep, enthralling mythology, this book will introduce readers to a world unlike anything else on shelves today.
Collecting the first three chapters of this original ongoing series -- AWAKENING, TABULA RASA, and UNIONS -- this book comprises "THE FIRST CYCLE" in the epic, hidden universe of KLAW!

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Review: Ghostbusters: Who Ya Gonna Call?

Smash or Bust? (4 stars)

I always wondered why ghosts had to be trapped and contained versus obliterated in some way. When a new crew starts competing with the Ghostbusters things get sticky and the answer to that thought gets answered. One of my fave things about this franchise was always the pseudo-science and that made this a fun, quick read.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Ghostbusters: Who Ya Gonna Call?by Erik Burnham
Graphic Novel, Paranormal, Nostalgia
Print (104 pages, IDW)
When an upstart paranormal investigation and elimination service calling themselves The Ghost Smashers sets up shop in NYC, the Ghostbusters suddenly find themselves out of work and out of favor. But The Ghost Smashers are messing with some shaky science, and it's only a matter of time until their incompetence threatens the entire world. Ghostbusters #13-16!

More fun with the Ghostbusters:


Book Review: Harley Quinn Vol. 4: A Call to Arms

The usual goofy antics! (4 stars)

Don't ask me why but I have been struggling to review this one. It was a totally fun romp but there wasn't anything about it that really stood out and made me want to rave about it. It's Harley and her hijinks, a fun read, and I'm enjoying this current continuity fairly well so I'm gonna keep reading it.

Notes: Review copy received via NetGalley.

Harley Quinn Vol. 4: A Call to Arms
by Amanda Conner & Jimmy Palmiotti
Villains, Comics, Graphic Novels
Digital/Print (# pages, DC COMICS)
Harley continues carving out her own path, with the help of guest stars Poison Ivy and Catwoman!
Harley Quinn is on a mission to make the world a better place—and get paid for it at the same time! Quinn and her Gang of Harleys are taking on do-gooding missions for a price, but sometimes that means they’re biting off more than even a gang of semi-sane butt-kickers can chew. So when a simple search and rescue mission turns into a battle royale against an invulnerable alien-empowered sea captain—that means it’s time for a vacation!
But no trip to Hollywood could ever be simple for Harley Quinn—she’s got a job to do, too. As she navigates a twisted web of movie producers, starlets, kidnappings and cults, Harley discovers that the bounty hunting business can be even more dangerous than being a hero-for-profit—especially when you’re trying to poach a bounty from Deadshot!
This collection includes HARLEY QUINN #17-21 and HARLEY QUINN ROAD TRIP SPECIAL #1, from co-writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti (STARFIRE) and artists including Chad Hardin (SUPERGIRL) and John Timms (Nova).

If you need more Harley check out:


Review: The Bodybuilding Cookbook by Jason Farley

A great resource for building mass. (4 stars)

Earlier this year the hubs got it into his head that he was going to start lifting weights. He tore apart our gaming/reading room and turned it into a pretty decent little home gym. He started taking a ton of supplements and he was doing really great until an injury sidelined him. But the one thing I was struggling with, as the primary meal maker in our family, was how awful his diet was. Instead of going for a clean eating approach where he focused on good nutrition and fuel for working out, he was eating the same thing over and over and cutting calories. What's a loving spouse to do? Find a better option!

Enter this book.

I was extremely impressed with the author's attention to detail and meticulous focus on providing the body with whole foods. Most of the recipes within were simple and rich in the building blocks needed for muscle building nutrition but also, making sure you have stamina. Sadly, the author used stock photos of the foods that, while beautiful and very appealing, were not the actual foods. I felt it was very deceptive in its visual presentation. There were also a lot of typos and some grammar issues that—while not a big issue—may be a bit annoying for some. It's also notable that the measurements are not in the US system but if you're a pretty confident cook you can easily adapt them with a conversion chart.

Overall, a great resource for folks focusing on building muscle mass through good nutritious (and delicious) foods rather than supplements.

Notes: Received this product for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

The Bodybuilding Cookbook: 100 Delicious Recipes To Build Muscle, Burn Fat And Save Time
by Jason Farley
Cookbook, Wellness, Fitness
Digital/Print (144 pages)
The Easy Way to Bulk up and Burn Fat Fast!
If you want to learn how to create healthy, delicious and nutritious meals that are specially designed to build muscle, burn fat and save time, then THE BODYBUILDING COOKBOOK is your answer!
Every serious athlete knows that your nutrition is the most crucial part of building a lean, muscular and strong physique and can either make or break the results you see in the gym. However cooking can easily become a chore, especially when all you have to look forward to is the same bland, boring and tasteless meals that the fitness and bodybuilding community claim you have to eat to be successful...
We all know those meals...
Boiled chicken breast
Baked potatoes
It takes the willpower of a saint to be able to live on these and this is why so many people fail!
With The Bodybuilding Cookbook, you'll never have to be frustrated with your diet again. You'll learn how to cook healthy, tasty, quick and easy meals that will build quality lean muscle mass, burn fat fast and won't cost you an arm and a leg!
And these recipes aren't just a slight upgrade to familiar bodybuilding meals like you'd find in most health and fitness cookbooks e.g. coating your already bland chicken with some equally bland salsa sauce. These recipes are so delicious your taste buds will believe you're in a 5 star restaurant!
The Bodybuilding Cookbook includes...
* 9 mouth-watering breakfast meals like my Brawny Breakfast Burrito, Banana and Almond Muscle Oatmeal, Power Protein Waffles and Turkey Muscle Omelette. They will kick-start your engine and ensure you start off the day as you mean to go on!
* 18 succulent and delicious chicken and poultry recipes like my Muscle Moroccan Chicken Casserole, Turkey Meatball Fiesta, Anabolic Ratatouille Chicken, Aesthetic Tomato and Olive Pan-Fried Chicken and Chicken Brawn Burger. Say bye bye to boiled bland chicken. These meals will ensure that your body has no choice but to burn fat and build muscle!
* 15 tasty and nutritious red meat and pork recipes like my Power Pork Fruit Tray, Brawny Beef Fajitas, Bulk-Up Lamb Curry & Peanut Stew, Anabolic Pork Soup and Oriental Beef Muscle Stir-Fry. These protein packed recipes will keep you anabolic, building muscle and shredding fat!
* 15 gourmet fish and seafood recipes like my Protein Packed Paella, Brawny Baked Haddock with Spinach and Pea Risotto, Workout Fish and Muscle Mackerel and Spicy Couscous!
* 10 healthy, delicious protein packed salads like my Sizzling Salmon Salad, Mediterranean Super Salad, Muscle Building Steak & Cheese Salad and more. Who said salads were boring!
* 13 tasty homemade protein shakes like my Chocolate Peanut Delight, Blackberry Brawn, Caribbean Crush, Cinnamon Surprise and my personal delicious Mass Gainer.
* And much, much more...

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The Rhialist (Rhianna Walker) is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.