Thursday, July 31, 2014

Manga Review: Manga Classics LES MISÉRABLES

"The first release in UDON's new Manga Classics line!
Adapted for stage and screen, loved by millions, Victor Hugo's classic novel of love & tragedy during the French Revolution is reborn in this fantastic new manga edition!

The gorgeous art of TseMei Lee brings to life the tragic stories of Jean Valjean, Inspector Javert, and the beautiful Fantine, in this epic adaptation of Les Misérables!"

Friday, July 25, 2014


In case you couldn't tell, the theme this time around is Jeffrey Brown's graphic novels about Darth Vader in a zany alternate world where he gets to raise Luke and Leia. Though I read Vader's Little Princess a while back, I read the other two more recently, and decided I may as well review them all together. By the way, I've also read Jeffrey Brown's Jedi Academy and wrote my thoughts on that earlier this year.

Darth Vader and Son and Vader's Little Princess

I have a lot of the same things to say about both of these books, so I'm going to review them together. In each, we get to see mostly the relationship between Vader and the respective twin implied by the title. A lot of the scenes in the book come straight out of the movies, but with a bit of humorous parenting added. Iconic lines, locations, characters, and lead-ins to what ended up being important conversations in the films were adapted to parenting, or botched by one of the kids. Many new scenes were also made up, of course, such as Leia getting dropped off at school or learning to pilot.

If I really had to choose just one of the two, I found Leia's way funnier, and I feel like Brown got so much more creative with it than with Darth Vader and Son. Some of the themes Princess dealt with extended beyond the little moments with a young kid, and spanned into "she's growing up too fast," which Son didn't. Either way though, both are fantastic, warm-fuzzy-feeling, and make great nightstand table or gift books. I highly recommend them for Star Wars (old and new) fans of all ages - even folks who don't really know the franchise.

Goodnight Darth Vader

I was so happy when I learned this book was a thing - it was just released this week. Though the other two books I talked about above had brief other-twin-cameos, they largely dealt with Vader's relationship with just the one sibling. In Goodnight Darth Vader, we get to experience bedtime stories as told by Big Daddy himself to both of the twins at bed time. Sure, it isn't the Luke and Leia antics I was hoping for, but it's still a surprisingly sweet book that brings up a ton of characters and aspects of the Star Wars universe in the context of hitting the ol' hay. Cameos include Han Solo and Chewie, Ahsoka Tano, General Grievous, Admiral Ackbar, and even Sebulba. Brown dug deep and wide to include all sorts of characters and create funny scenes about what they all do when it's bed time.

As with the above books, I recommend this one for all ages and all levels of Star Wars know-how.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Elementary School Lunch Catchup: Week of July 14th

After a week(ish) of silence, I've returned! My adapter broke so I had to hit the pause button on blogging for a bit there. But I'm back, and thankfully my catching-up won't be too bad: last week marked the end of the Spring term, and the students are now out on summer break. Regular lunch posts will resume in September after this one.

Since I'm posting five lunches today, I've put them under a page break so it doesn't take up so much space for those just browsing. <3

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Elementary School Lunch: 07/10 - Italian basil spaghetti salad

A little late, but here's Thursday's lunch (no Friday lunch because we had a 'typhoon day' - the stuff we were supposed to have then will be added to our meal another day).

We had raisin bread, omelet, pasta salad, and soup. I actually kept my bread to enjoy for breakfast the next day, because the soup and salad were pretty filling, with all the spaghetti and all that. The salad also had cabbage, cucumber, carrots, and corn, while the soup had bits of winter melon, radish, potato, spinach, more carrot, and chunks of ham. We used Italian basil dressing on the salad, too.

Altogether yum.

Calorie count: 620

Friday, July 11, 2014

Book Review: ALIAS HOOK by Lisa Jensen

"'Every child knows how the story ends. The wicked pirate captain is flung overboard, caught in the jaws of the monster crocodile who drags him down to a watery grave. But it was not yet my time to die. It's my fate to be trapped here forever, in a nightmare of childhood fancy, with that infernal, eternal boy.'

Meet Captain James Benjamin Hook, a witty, educated Restoration-era privateer cursed to play villain to a pack of malicious little boys in a pointless war that never ends. But everything changes when Stella Parrish, a forbidden grown woman, dreams her way to the Neverland in defiance of Pan’s rules. From the glamour of the Fairy Revels, to the secret ceremonies of the First Tribes, to the mysterious underwater temple beneath the Mermaid Lagoon, the magical forces of the Neverland open up for Stella as they never have for Hook. And in the pirate captain himself, she begins to see someone far more complex than the storybook villain.

With Stella’s knowledge of folk and fairy tales, she might be Hook’s last chance for redemption and release if they can break his curse before Pan and his warrior boys hunt her down and drag Hook back to their neverending game. Alias Hook by Lisa Jensen is a beautifully and romantically written adult fairy tale perfect for fans of Gregory Maguire and Paula Brackston."

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Friday Things: 07/11 - pizza party on a plane

[Oh, I'm on time? Yes! But this time, the reason is because a typhoon is supposed to hit and I felt like I should probably get all my busywork done early so I can just spend the storm reading and doing other things that require little-to-no electricity. Just in case.]

On Books and Comics:

The Mary Sue had the honor of breaking the announcement of a book First Second (I mention them pretty often, don't I?) is publishing called Something New, created by Lucy Knisley. It's about a woman who grew up a shy tomboy and decides to plan her own wedding. Can't wait!

I should admit now that I didn't care much for Lost at Sea and I lost interest halfway through Scott Pilgrim, so I'm not the most avid Bryan Lee O'Malley out there. I don't dislike the man or his work, I just didn't love it. But after reading this sterling review and endorsement by my fellow Riot contributor Brenna, I'm excited about next week's Seconds release.

EpicReads suggest 25 YA titles for fans of Game of Thrones. I might give one or three of these a try...

UDON Entertainment posted up previews of their upcoming books in the Manga Classics series for Les Misérables and Pride & Prejudice. I'll probably review them, so maybe check back for that here?

On Disney:

Cute bangles coming out at the Disney Parks next week. Love the style, but I just wish they weren't so dang expensive.

More Disney DIY! This time, tie-dye Minnie ears.


In which you can read some of the weird things Jen Campbell has overheard or been told at the bookshop where she works.

Apparently Cats is coming back?

In the UK, an app is being developed for people who call emergency on their smart phones that allows them to share video of what's going on to responders, so they can try and get more information before they even arrive at the scene. Additionally, the app could help responders pinpoint the location of the caller in cases where the caller doesn't know exactly where they are. Could be very awesome.

Slightly NSFW, but very cool reminder that we are all way more than our appearance.

Pilot of a diverted plane got hungry while waiting out a storm, ordered pizza for everyone because he's an awesome guy.

[have a great weekend!]

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Elementary School Lunch: 07/09 - rainy day teriyaki fish

Today was mostly cloudy, and there was a crazy downpour from mid-morning through lunch time. A little preview of the incoming typhoon, I guess?

Lunch was some fish, salad, miso soup, and rice. Not terribly exciting, but simple and, as usual, tasty.

The fish was mackerel teriyaki - nice and juicy, too. The salad was spinach, carrot, and cabbage with some plain seasoning and lots of sesame seeds on top. The miso soup on the side featured eggplant, which was kind of new? I don't think we've done that one before. It also had radish, mushroom, onion, carrot, and tofu. Everything was great, and I had seconds.

Calorie count: 660

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Elementary School Lunch: 07/07 - 07/08 - Star Festival


Monday was the first day of Tanabata, or Star Festival, and once again we had a themed lunch to celebrate. Our main salad plate had a star-shaped croquette with pork and onion filling, while the salad itself was bean sprouts, spinach, carrots, and loads of sesame seed dressing. Yum. Bonus shot of the salad plate on Instagram.

On the side, we had a bowl of hijiki-gohan, or mixed rice with hijiki seaweed. It also had bamboo, fried tofu, carrot, burdock root, shiitake mushroom, and bits of chicken. For dessert, some fruit jelly with a lovely shooting star on top. Better shot of that at my Instagram.

Calorie count: 646

Today's lunch was Chinese style. We had a tofu bowl with loads of shrimp in it along with cabbage, carrot, mushroom, and onion as the main plate. The salad was bean sprouts, cucumber, and bits of chicken with "banbanji" Chinese-style dressing. And of course, the red bentou had our portion of rice.

Overall tasty, though I don't particularly care for shrimp one way or another. Still though, I can't complain when our lunches are so healthful and diverse.

Calorie count: 620