Ms. Marvel: Review

I’m planning on adding reviews to Word-Maleerie! I write them anyways–because when you read over 200 books a year (not as impressive as it sounds; a lot of them are graphic novels), you need SOMETHING to help keep the stories straight. And I figured… what better one to start with than my library’s most recent Comic Book Club read!

From Goodreads.com

Ms. Marvel, Vol. 1: No Normal by G. Willow Wilson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This was a re-read for my library’s Comic Book Club. And… yeah, I loved it just as much as I did the first time. Maybe even more, since it was really fun to go back to where these characters first began and compare them to who they are now. I love a good character evolution, and Ms. Marvel is full of that! Plus, lots of emphasis on family and community, while still being a story about finding your own identity and…. well, just a darn good superhero origin. Seriously, if you haven’t read Ms. Marvel, I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND.
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I’ve been wanting to read Ms. Marvel for ages, and now I finally have. In short, I found the entire graphic novel… delightful. I LOVE KAMALA. She is nerdy and fun! I feel like she would be most readers if we lived in the Marvel Universe and got superpowers. (But not in a Mary Sue way. She is totally her own person and unique–which was kind of the whole theme of this particular volume–but just also very relatable.) I can’t wait to see what other adventures are waiting for Ms. Marvel!



View all my reviews

A bit of escapism, a bit of comradery… and a whole lot of fun!

I promise I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. (Yet, at least… with how crazy the world has been the past couple of years, I wouldn’t be surprised if gravity spontaneously stopped.)

So why haven’t I been writing? Well, like I said previously, I’ve been working on some new ideas for how the blog will be organized. But mostly… the past few weeks were spent enjoying a little bit of escapism. (Because we all need some of that these days, right?)

Recently, I attended the Cincinnati Comic Expo. My husband and I have a tradition of going every year, and after having to skip 2020 (for obvious reasons)… boy, were we excited to go back!

But attending a comic convention isn’t as simple as just… you know, going to to the convention. Oh no. If you’re a comic collector, like me, and if you have a nice little room that you’ve dubbed “nerdvana” specifically for nerdy memorabilia… well, you have to plan.

So the week prior was spent analyzing my collection and pinpointing which classic comics would be a part of my search. (Which also involves checking various prices, because a FAIR comic and a FINE comic have very different values… and if you don’t want to overpay–because who does?–then you need to really know the cost spectrum.) Then there was figuring out which Funko Pops I would search for, if I wanted to look for any action figures… etc., etc.

If you didn’t believe I was a nerd before… well, there’s no going back now, is there?

After the con, there’s time spent re-organizing collections (and wishing you had more shelf space) and updating Excel spreadsheets (because I’m not just a nerd… I’m also a dork… AND PROUD!)

So, yes, while I’ve been working on my plan for Word-Maleerie, Phase 2… I’ve also just been… well, being wholly and unabashedly nerdy.

Which I would recommend. 5/5 stars.

If you’ve never wandered through a convention hall filled to bursting with all things comic, fantasy, sci-fi, and anime; if you’ve never wandered through crowds, elbow to elbow with fellow nerds dressed in quippy t-shirts or decked out as their favorite characters; if you’ve never sat in a hall as costumed fan after costumed fan strode onto the stage, with the audience cheering and applauding their skills; if you’ve never haggled over a comic right after a long conversation over DC and Marvel’s movies….

In short… if you’ve never let yourself just totally be among other people who are also just letting themselves be themselves… then please do. The first chance you get.

And it doesn’t have to be at a comic convention. It can be at a sporting event. Or in a gym. Or at a restaurant. Or in a theme park. People tend to think that nerds only exist “in a galaxy far, far away” or in Gotham City.

But we don’t. “Nerd” is really just a word that means passionate. I’ve met my fair share of sports nerds. Or roller coaster nerds. Or food nerds. They just tend to go by different titles: Jocks, or adrenaline junkies, or foodies.

But it all means the same thing: Loving what you love. Being who you are. And loving other people who are also just being who they are.

We need more of that. I’d say “especially these days,” but let’s be real: Humans have always had a tendency toward selfishness, or arrogance, or violence–or a million other pitfalls.

The good news is, we also have a tendency toward comradery and kindness.

And believe me: When you’re watching a costume contest, and every single person in the audience is showering the person on stage with love and with applause that says: “Wow, you made that yourself? You look incredible!”

That moment there is when a little bit of faith in humanity comes back.

So, yes, these past few weeks have been a time of escapism. But they’ve also been a time of so much more.

I’ll be writing more soon. I haven’t forgotten this blog or all of the wonderful people who read it. Truly from the bottom of my heart: Thank you.

But in the mean time… here are some Comic Expo pictures! (Specifically the costume contest because… yeah, that’s the most fun part. Also, please forgive if the photos are blurry…. You’d be surprised how fast people move on a stage!)

Looking Back on Series that Shaped Me

I’ve had another week where there wasn’t much time for any sort of writing–even very short stories. So I thought I’d take another moment to write about some of stories that have most inspired me. This time: Favorite series. I’m only going to include series I’ve actually finished, so the list is pretty short.

My Favorite Book Series

(4) Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

(3) A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett

(2) Wayward Pines by Blake Crouch

(1) Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

(Wow… only four. I think I need to actually finish some of the series I’ve started. Other great ones that are still “in progress:” Across the Universe by Beth Revis, Discworld by Terry Pratchett, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer.)

What are your favorite series? I’d love to hear them!

Words of Advice

I’ve not had much time this week for writing, so instead of a story (even a short one), I thought I’d share some quotes on writing that either: (A) Inspired me to be a writer myself, or (B) Have helped me figure out what kind of writer I want to be.

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” — Stephen King


“Being a writer is a very peculiar sort of a job: it’s always you versus a blank sheet of paper (or a blank screen) and quite often the blank piece of paper wins.” — Neil Gaiman


“Wasn’t writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?” — Ian McEwan


“To hell with facts! We need stories!” — Ken Kesey


“Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” — Mark Twain


“No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader.” — Robert Frost


“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” — Ray Bradbury


“So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.” — Dr. Seuss


“You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” — Jack London


“Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

What quotes inspire you? I’d love to hear them!

Giving Some Credit to Inspiration

I’ve been a little bit busy here lately (the aforementioned, you’re-probably-tired-of-hearing-it Summer Reading), so I don’t have a poem quite ready for this week. But I thought I’d try something a little different: Today, I’m going to share some of the words that have inspired me. For me, music plays a huge role, especially when it comes to poetry. Here are just a few lyrics from songs that helped me find the poet in me. In short: These are all moments in songs that made me go: “Whoa… words can do that.”

“You can go through motions with your magic spells/ Buy all the potions that Fifth Avenue sells/You can try to call down all the stars above/But you can’t make love.” — Don Henley, “You Can’t Make Love”


“People speak of love, don’t know what they’re thinking of/Wait around for the one who fits just like a glove/Speak in terms of a life and a living/Try to find the word for forgiving.”–Jackson Brown, “The Shape of a Heart”


“Oh, life’s a maze of doors and they all open from the side you’re on/ Just keep on pushing hard, boy, try as you may, you’re gonna wind up where you started from.”–Cat Stevens, “Sitting”


“And it comes to you how it all slips away/Youth and beauty are gone one day/No matter what you dream, or feel, or say/It ends in dust and disarray/Like wind on the plains, sand through the glass/Waves rolling in with the tide/Dreams die hard and we watch them erode/But we cannot be denied/The fire inside.”–Bob Seger, “The Fire Inside”


“Don’t you hear my call though you’re many years away?/Don’t you hear me calling you?/Write your letters in the sand for the day I take your hand in the land that our grandchildren knew.”–Queen, “’39”


“I’ve really learned a lot, I’ve really learned a lot/Love is like a flame/It burns you when it’s hot/Love hurts.”–Nazareth, “Love Hurts”


“Walked out this morning/Don’t believe what I saw/A hundred million bottles/Washed up on the shore/Seems I’m not alone in being alone/A hundred million castaways looking for a home.”–The Police, “Message in a Bottle”


“If everything is nothing, then are we anything?/Is it better to be better than to be anything?”–Counting Crows, “Einstein on a Beach”


“I wish I was a messenger and all the news was good.”–Pearl Jam, “Wish List”


“Now I think I know/What you tried to say to me/And how you suffered for your sanity/How you tried to set them free/They would not listen, they’re not listening still/Perhaps they never will.”–Don McLean, “Vincent”

Do you have any lyrics that really connect with you? I’d love to hear them!

Some Inspiration

I’m doing something a little different. I haven’t had the time to write (even one of my short 500-word flash fictions), but I thought I’d take some time share some of the stories that have most inspired me–the stories that I got completely lost within and that made me think, “Wow, I want to be able to do what this author has done.”

My Top 10 Favorite Books

(10) Atonement by Ian McEwan

(9) Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

(8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower Stephen Chbosky

(7) Looking for Alaska by John Green

(6) The Help by Kathryn Stockett

(5) Recursion by Blake Crouch

(4) The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury

(3) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

(2) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

(1) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

What are your favorite books? I’d love to hear them!

Some Springtime

Hey, everyone, so…. I don’t have a story update today. Honestly, I’ve had a bit of writer’s block and what I’ve written of Plugged In and I Remember Everything just isn’t up to quality yet.

Add into that a lot of time spent revising for query letters and a particularly busy time at work, and… well, like I said: I’m not going to post something that I don’t think is worth reading.

So instead… here are a few pictures I took this weekend during a hike. Signs of spring are all around in Ohio.

Maybe the sunny weather and warmer temperatures will shake my writer’s block away.

Wanderlust: Living in a Book

I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or just the usual blah-ness of March, but I’m getting anxious for travel. So I thought I’d share some travel memories with these kind of mini-reviews of vacation spots.

I don’t know what else I can say about Universal Studio’s Wizarding World that hasn’t already been said. If you grew up with Harry Potter, you will feel like you’ve leapt right into the books. When I was going through different vacation pictures for this “Wanderlust” series, though, I couldn’t resist including them. I mean… there’s a fire-breathing dragon! Where else can you see a fire-breathing dragon?!?

But this post got me wondering…. What other books would be fun to walk through? To experience beyond the pages and imagination, but with real-life sight, and taste, and smell? My first thoughts went to other series…. The Hunger Games? A Series of Unfortunate Events? Percy Jackson?

But then I started wondering about other books. Being a nerd at heart, I wondered what it would be like to walk the streets of Gotham or Metropolis. Or Marvel’s New York.

I’m sure some theme park somewhere has done that… and if they haven’t… please feel free to take my idea! I want to walk down the street and see Spider-Man swinging above me! Or wander through the Bat Cave and take my picture beside the T-Rex! (For those non-comic nerds, yes, Batman has a T-Rex. And yes, it is awesome.)

And then I started to think outside of fandoms. I’m not much of Jane Austen reader, but I have friends who would love to stroll through her books. Or maybe to wander through the streets of Shakespeare’s time. Ooh… or visit Dracula’s castle! Or Dr. Frankenstein’s lab!

The point I’m making is this: Why isn’t there a literary theme park? (I mean, obviously money and copyrights, but besides that boring stuff….) Could you imagine a place where you could visit so many different genres and live through your favorite stories, both old and new?

I don’t think I’d ever leave.

And I know quite a few bookworms who would agree.

In short, to quote the meme: Take my money!

So let’s say such a theme park could exist. What “lands” would you want to be included? What sort of rides or attractions would you line up to experience?

Tell me in the comments! Let’s make Literature Land together!

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Lots of Love!

No update… because it’s….

CHRISTMAS!

I love Christmas–and yes, this post was scheduled out because I’m definitely not doing anything except spending time with family and eating way too much delicious food today.

So Merry Christmas to all of you! And if you don’t celebrate Christmas, then I wish you a full-hearted Happy Holidays! (And if you don’t celebrate anything, then I wish you happiness to end this year and start the new one.)

Lots of love, everyone!

Reminders… and Many, Many Random Acts of Kindness

For most of this month, I’m concentrating on all things spooky. But during “A Look Back, a Look Ahead,” I wanted to concentrate on another part of autumn: Togetherness. We come together for Trick or Treat and parties; we come together for apple-picking and pumpkin carving; we come together to sip warm apple cider while huddled around an even warmer fire. I wrote a while ago about about the impact kindness can have, and between everyone being tired of the pandemic and the current political environment (gotta love election years, right?), I thought it would be nice to set aside one day a week to focus on acts of kindness.

A Kindness Memory

While making these posts this month, I’ve found that little acts of kindness happen all the time. They don’t always have a good story to accompany them, but they always leave us feeling a bit better about ourselves and the world we live in. So today, rather than telling a specific story, I thought I’d share some acts of kindness that I see nearly every day:

  • Letting someone with fewer groceries go ahead of you in line
  • Giving a stranger a genuine compliment
  • Being a listening ear to friends or strangers–especially seniors
  • Picking up litter you see on the street
  • Leaving a generous tip
  • Holding doors
  • Putting away shopping carts left in the parking lot
  • Looking on the bright side
  • Recycling

Kindness Challenge of the Day

Do something–anything on that list. Or, even better… come up with something new. Do something kind and surprising. Make someone’s day and, in doing so, remind others that we are so much more than the current situation. We are more than a pandemic. We are more that arguments and debates. We are, to use the often-quoted phrase, “the change we want to see in the world.” Let’s show everyone what that means, one act of kindness at a time.

It might be a lofty goal, maybe even a bit idealistic… but aren’t those the goals most worth reaching? I think so… and I hope you do, too. It’s been said over and over again this year that we’re all in this together. And that’s true… but it will be true next year, and the year after that. So let’s hold on together. Let’s keep each other strong.

Let’s be kind.