The Force Awakens & Rogue One: Thoughts from a Star Wars Newbie

I’ve never felt like a Jedi. Nor did my father before me, who preferred Spaceballs to Star Wars. My mother, though, loves with the original films. I always felt a little sad that Episodes IV-VI didn’t connect with me, because I know how much they mean to others.

When The Force Awakens came out I didn’t see it in theaters. It’s hard to articulate why. Mostly I felt like I’d be playing in someone else’s sandbox. This wasn’t my movie.

Rogue One

That went out the window when I saw the trailer for Rogue One.

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Book Review: A Dream of Ice: Book 2 of the Earthend Saga

The cover of A Dream of Ice by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin is shown.


A Dream of Ice: Book 2 of the Earthend Saga
Written by Gillian Anderson and Jeff Rovin
Published in 2015 by Simon451


A Dream of Ice expands the universe of A Vision of Fire, exploring the aftermath of the destruction of Galderkhaan from both the ancient and modern perspectives. Caitlin struggles to cope with the trauma she witnessed and with the new reality in which she finds herself. Meanwhile the ghosts of two Galdkerkhaani souls lie in wait for the opportunity to undo everything Caitlin has done.

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J.R.R. Tolkien smiles and smokes his pipe.“All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king.”

—from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

Book Review: We Should All Be Feminists

The cover of We Should All Be Feminists is shown.

We Should All Be Feminists
Written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Published in 2014 by Random House

Listen, this is not an actual review. The word “review” makes it sound like I’m going to deliver a measured analysis of the text’s strengths and weaknesses. This book, which started its life as a Ted Talk, is an argument in favor of universal feminism. It’s written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Don’t expect me to do anything but fangirl.

I loved it. I devoured it. And its small size makes it ideal for carrying around like a talisman.

“But you do,” he went on, not waiting for contradiction. “You love the boy body and soul, plainly, directly, as he loves you, and no other word expresses it.”

—from A Room with a View

Book Review: Not Just Jane

The cover of the book "Not Just Jane" is shown.

Not Just Jane: Rediscovering Seven Amazing Women Writers Who Transformed British Literature
Written by Shelley DeWees
Published in 2016 by Harper Perennial


There is this ridiculous idea out there that Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë are the only English women novelists worth reading. Intelligent, sophisticated people actually believe this. And it drives me bonkers.

There is in fact a fuckton of brilliant writing from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that almost no one reads or studies. Mostly because women wrote it. Women who, you know, forged the literary landscape as we know it. 

In Not Just Jane, Shelley DeWees does her part to solve this problem by lionizing seven of England’s underappreciated women writers.

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Book Review: The Little Book of Skincare

The cover of

The Little Book of Skincare
Written by Charlotte Cho (of Soko Glam)
Published in 2015 by William Morrow

I became curious about Korean skincare methods after one of my favorite YouTube beauty bloggers (Shaaanxo) made a video demonstrating a bunch of Korean products she’d bought. She also mentioned something called the Ten Step Korean Skincare routine. At the time I had a Zero Step Skincare routine, so I decided to look into it.

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Peter S. Beagle Update

So incredibly happy to be reading Beagle's new book!! #TakeBackTheUnicorn #shelfie

A post shared by H.L. Shepler (@hlshepler) on


Oh happy day! When I wrote a few months ago about Peter S. Beagle’s struggles to get out of the clutches of his megalomaniac handler, Connor Cochran, I was afraid. I didn’t know what was going to happen, because the situation was dire. Beagle wasn’t (and still isn’t) getting any money from the sale of his art. The story wasn’t gaining a lot of traction in the mainstream.

But there’s good news! Better than that, there’s fantastic news! The countersuit against Peter Beagle’s lawyer is dismissed. Not only that, but Beagle’s childrens’ attempt to take over his estate have failed: Heirs’ Lawyer Quits. Beagle has been declared mentally sound and his court case looks promising.

Then there’s the best news of all: Summerlong. Nothing proves that a writer has their wits about them like a new novel. I have never loved a book so much before I even read it. I cannot wait to read it! A review will follow soon, but for now here’s the description from the publisher, Tachyon Publications:

Beloved author Peter S. Beagle (The Last Unicorn) returns with this long-anticipated new novel, a beautifully bittersweet tale of passion, enchantment, and fate.

It was a typically miserable Puget Sound winter before the arrival of Lioness Lazos. An enigmatic young waitress with strange abilities, when the lovely Lioness comes to Gardner Island even the weather takes notice.

As an impossibly beautiful spring leads into a perfect summer, Lioness is drawn to a complicated family. She is taken in by two disenchanted lovers—dynamic Joanna Delvecchio and scholarly Abe Aronson—visited by Joanna’s previously unlucky-in-love daughter, Lily. With Lioness in their lives, they are suddenly compelled to explore their deepest dreams and desires.

Lioness grows more captivating as the days grow longer. Her new family thrives, even as they may be growing apart. But lingering in Lioness’s past is a dark secret—and even summer days must pass.

As always thanks to Fans Against Fraud for the updates.

The X-Files: Ice

Mulder and Scully stand on an airfield base with the guest characters in the X-Files epsidode Ice.
Trust, Identity, and Contagion in the Arctic: Bring Your Mittens

Ice: Season 1 Episode 8
Written by Glen Morgan & James Wong, Directed by David Nutter
First aired November 5, 1993

Ice is intimidating to write about. Like Squeeze, it’s one of the most famous episodes of The X-Files. There are also a lot of layers to it. I don’t have a favorite from Season One, but Ice is definitely in my top five. Unlike Shadows, this episode written by Morgan and Wong is character driven, nuanced, and complex.

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Book Review: A Vision of Fire

An image shows the cover of the book A Vision of Fire.You are all shocked that I’ve read this book. I’m certain of it.

A Vision of Fire: Book One of the Earthend Saga
Written by Gillian Anderson & Jeff Rovin
Published in 2014 by Simon451: an Imprint of Simon & Schuster

Every review of A Vision of Fire I’ve seen immediately compares it to The X-Files. The snarky ones hint that the book is like a novelized, slightly more new-age episode of the show. I was pretty sure that was going to be an exaggeration, and I was absolutely right.

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