The Premise: Monsters at work takes place after Monsters Inc (2001). The series follows Monsters Inc after it reopens to transition to use Laugh Energy instead. The whole company is trying to figure out it’s new place and how to work under new leadership. The new character we follow is Tylor Tuskman who was hired as a Scarer fresh out of Monster U. In the chaos no one thought to let him know the job no longer existed. When he shows up to Monsters Inc. he gets reassigned to the quirky facilities team, MIFT.
I was really looking forward to this show as I am huge fan of the films and of the cast of this show. Unfortunately, it felt like the show knew that. I have this theory that you can figure out if a show is for you in three episodes. In my opinion, the show is rather forgettable. All the new characters are “weird” and intense, but they don’t have storylines of their own. Splitting the show with Mike, Sully, Celia, and Roz from the original series feels like it is splitting focus and doesn’t really know it’s own intentions. Mike and Sully even though it supposedly months later are figuring out for the first time how the new company should run and how to be in charge. The most heartfelt episode was episode three but it came it waves and for me too late. It feels like the show has yet to find it’s own heartbeat and direction.
So August’s book club pick for the month was Heartless by Marissa Meyer. It is a prequel retelling to Alice in Wonderland that explores how the Queen of Hearts came to be. We start with Cath, the daughter of the Marquees of Turtle Rock, who desires to open the best bakery in all of Hearts. Things really spiral from there. Initially I gave this book three stars but it is a book that just attaches itself to your mind. Since I couldn’t stop thinking about it I eventually bumped it up to 4 stars.
The romance is sweet and easy. Marissa Meyer does a great job of writing dissonant thinking patterns in a very believable way. While you may hate what Cath does and it’s wrong and there are other options so it’s frustrating. I always understood how Cath got herself to that point. It is the Wonderland that we all remember from the books, movies, etc. However, because this is Cath’s native land she doesn’t find any of it wonderous it’s all normal to her and that translates well in the writing. The most magical part of the story is the baking the way Cath views her beautiful creations. Truthfully, I would read a cookbook written by Marissa Meyer.
The measure of this story that was despite knowing where all the characters end up I still was rooting for their story to be changed.
So Vicious by V. E. Shwab was our April Book club book of the month. This book is a Sci-fi book following two men that 10 years after their senior thesis have become archenemies.; also, superheroes. Now I felt that hype has really effected my reading experience lately, but this is the only book that I really felt lived up to all the acclaim it has received in the book community. .
If you like: superheroes, morally grey characters, and mysteries I strongly believed that you will like this story. It is a science-fiction story in it’s elements but the writing and telling of this story is very much in a mystery/thriller style. What truly makes this book special is the character study. Every character has incredible depth and darkness and is nothing like a character I had seen before; however, all that is coming in the spoiler part of this review.
So this is a very late (sorry I started a new job) review of The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson. This was our March book club book. This is the finale of an epic fantasy trilogy so obviously there will be spoilers for a majority of this review. What I will say before that section I will say that this was an excellent book. In terms of scope the world continues to grow and grow. I still have world building questions but that’s okay because they are questions for the real world too. It was an incredible satisfying conclusion, all the story lines had conclusions that made sense but were surprising.
This is my review for the second book in the Rae Carson trilogy and the second book of 2019 family book club. Obviously because this is a sequel it’s impossible to review this book without spoilers. What you need to know is that this book builds upon the incredible world building of the first book expanding it physically and in detail. Carson has a gift for romance, the incredible pull of characters towards each other is enticing. This whole book is rising action to the climax of book three. Five STARS!
So recently we completed a week of meal delivery services. One of my partner’s co-workers gave us a promo code for a free week of Green Chef.
Setting up our week of Green Chef was pretty easy. Choosing the meal plan was our hardest part because they are all based on diet and we don’t have one. But they had every healthy meal plan and potential dietary restriction under the sun accounted for. We ended up picking Heart Healthy. It let us decide which three meals we wanted for the week, which was nice considering I was allergic to 2 of the 6 options.
The package came on Monday. It was pretty heavy to move inside. However, very nice that everything including the ice packs was 100% recyclable. The meat and veggies could all be refrigerated throughout the week so no need to worry about defrosting in time for dinner.
Every recipe was timed out nicely, so it was all finished and warm at the same time. Except the meatball dish because peeling the butternut squash took me longer than a hot second.
The steps were easy to follow and clear for someone who is barely a novice at cooking. Plus the recipe had pictures to follow.
The recipes required quite a bit of cooking equipment and for someone who doesn’t have a dishwasher a lot of clean-up
The food was delicious. My favorite was the paprika-cumin meatballs with chimichurri sauce. My human’s favorite was the rosemary-roasted chicken with kale and potato salad.
I learned how to make rice pilaf which is significantly easier than the name suggests.
We have made the kale and potato salad several times since and plan to again as it is the only was I am currently willing to eat kale.
Recipes weren’t too expensive to make on their own and we have and probably will continue to make independently. On their own the food definitely cost less than the service.
Would order again when we become a 2-income household for the pure confidence and variety
So the first book in this year’s family book club was The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson. It is a young adult political fantasy set in a Latin American inspired world. One nice thing about this is that it doesn’t just claim to be Latin American inspired there it is s a constant presence in the language, religion, landscape, etc. It follows a young princess, Elisa, who is married off to the widowed king, Alejandro of Joya d’Arena to secure a military alliance. Matters are slightly complicated as Elisa is the Bearer of the Godstone. Once every four generations a light from the heavens grants a blue stone into the navel of a child.
I personally love religion in fantasy novels it’s an automatic buy-in. I think there is so much room to explore, especially when this world where a divine entities existence is unquestionable there are still questions. There are still sects and religious zealots. Carson handles the religion with respect but also the nuance and diversity that an accurate representation requires.
Obviously this book takes place during wartime. As someone who studied political science (focusing in war and genocide), I find any representation of such to be normally lackluster or too brutal. I think Carson tried hard to show the horrors while keeping it Young Adult (more age appropriate/ innuendo instead of description). The opponents in this war are the Irvierne. They are evil and called heretics. My mom and I are in a heated debate about whether they are supposed to be savages or European colonizers. Both work incredibly well in the world and it’s inspiration.
The characters are well fleshed out. While the characters still have their mysteries and more to explore this the beginning of a trilogy. They are multi-dimensional. A vastly intelligent character can have an unhealthy relationship with food. The protector is vengeful. The cowardly wield immense power. Elisa is my favorite Slytherin main character. Hand-to what ever you believe in she is what Salazar Slytherin had in mind when founding his house. All the relationships that develop (romantic, platonic, familial) are rooted so deeply in common purpose, shared interest, a need for attention from anyone, etc. No motivation, word, tear, feels misplaced or put there to move along the plot. It all feels true.
I highly recommend this book if you are interested in military or religious fantasy. Or if you just like reading for me this was a 5 star read.