Down Among the Sticks and Bones—Lyrical and Even Darker

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire book cover
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

Down Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire, is a prequel to Every Heart a Doorway, telling the story of Jack and Jill, how they came to the Moors and what happened to them once there.

1—Realistic Evils

Two of the most evil people in the book are Jack and Jill’s parents, who don’t love their daughters, only the desires they enforce upon them. So concerned with appearances and their own dreams of what their children should be that there’s no room for Jacqueline and Jillian to be themselves. This twists them so much that the Moors opens a doorway for the twins and invites them in. Continue reading “Down Among the Sticks and Bones—Lyrical and Even Darker”


A Wrinkle In Time (the 2018 Movie)—A Fun Kids’ Film

A Wrinkle In Time movie poster
A Wrinkle In Time

A Wrinkle In Time, based on a book by the same name by Madeleine L’Engle, follows Meg and her little brother Charles Wallace as they search the universe for their missing father. Their adventure begins when one of the mysterious Mrs.’s visits their house in the dead of night.

1—The Power of Love

It’s an old theme but it never goes out of style. Meg’s love for her father pulls her and her companions across the universe. And later saves her brother from being consumed by The IT. And it’s in learning to love herself that Meg does this. Continue reading “A Wrinkle In Time (the 2018 Movie)—A Fun Kids’ Film”

Over the Garden Wall—Fun Fairytale About the Brink of Death

Over the Garden Wall poster
Over the Garden Wall

Over the Garden Wall is an animated short series (just ten episodes) following Wirt and his little brother Greg as the traverse the forest of the Unknown and try to avoid becoming prey to the Beast.

1—Liminal Places

Liminal places are places that are between—between life and death, between human and animal, between madness and sanity, between dreams and reality, even between roles in life. Over the Garden Wall is made of such liminal places. Continue reading “Over the Garden Wall—Fun Fairytale About the Brink of Death”

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns—Beautifully Reimagined Fairytale

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao book cover
Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns, the first in the Rise of the Empress series, is Snow White retold as the rise of the Wicked Queen—or, rather, the Empress—to the throne of Feng Lu. It’s a world of Dragon Lords, scheming courtiers, and one young woman determined to rule it all.


Xifeng starts out a troubled young woman abused by her aunt who promises her a great destiny. Xifeng’s aunt, Guma, is a sorceress and a seamstress, sewing silks by day and reading the cards for Xifeng by night. It’s blood magic, as all the magic of their family is. Continue reading “Forest of a Thousand Lanterns—Beautifully Reimagined Fairytale”

Inside Out—Growing in Emotional Complexity

Inside Out movie poster
Inside Out

Inside out is a computer animated kid’s movie about the lives of the primary emotions living inside the mind of an eleven-year-old girl named Riley as she moves from Minnesota to San Francisco.

1—Things Go Wrong

Things start going wrong when Sadness starts inadvertently effecting emotions, causing them to turn from happy to sad. This culminates in a sad core memory forming and Joy freaking out and taking it out of the system. The fight over this in turn causes all the core memories to get lost into longterm memory, along with Joy and Sadness. Continue reading “Inside Out—Growing in Emotional Complexity”

Black Panther—Powerhouse Movie

Black Panther movie poster

Black Panther is a super hero film that follows T’Challa as he becomes king of Wakanda, a technologically advanced but severely secretive nation, and fights for his throne and with himself over what it means to be king.


Every frame of Black Panther is gorgeous, from the set designs to the costumes, to the special effects. And the fight scenes, can’t forget the fight scenes. The architecture of Wakanda in particular is stunning—you don’t see Afrofuturism much in Hollywood films. The underground scenes are nice too. But I think my favorite thing is all the shades of red of the Dora Milaje. The music is just perfect too. Continue reading “Black Panther—Powerhouse Movie”

The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale

The Shape of Water movie poster

The Shape of Water is the story of Elisa, a mute woman who works as a cleaning woman in a top secret facility. One day they bring a fish monster into the lab, and Elisa falls in love. Directed by Guillermo del Toro, and written by del Toro and Vanessa Taylor.

Warning: full frontal nudity, female.

1—Once Upon A Time

Where to start talking about The Shape of Water? It’s a slow simmer, rather than an action-packed romp, but the pacing is just perfect for what it is. I was never bored. The imagery is beautiful, starting with an underwater apartment scene. We meet Elisa and get to know her routine—wake up, masturbate, cook eggs, go to work. And then her routine is disrupted by a scream and a man coming out of a room bleeding from the stumps of his fingers. Continue reading “The Shape of Water—A Cold War Era Fairytale”

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales movie poster
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

Dead Men Tell No Tales is the latest in the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise. It follows Henry Turner as he truest break his father’s curse by enlisting Jack Sparrow and Carina Smyth to find the Trident of Poseidon.


The special effects were spectacular, of course, and the soundtrack is great and follows the music of the rest of the series pretty closely. The tone, creepy and adventurous, is pitch perfect Pirates of the Caribbean. Continue reading “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales—Twisty Yet Predictable”

Every Heart A Doorway—Dark and Lyrical

Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire book cover
Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Every Heart A Doorway, by Seanan McGuire is the tale of Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children—that is, children who went through a magical door to another world, and then ended up coming back. The children no longer belong to the world they were born into, their parents think they’re crazy, and so they come to Eleanore’s school. Except someone has started murdering them.

1—Every Story Has to Start Somewhere

And this story starts with Nancy arriving at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children. Nancy went to an underworld, The Halls of the Dead, where she learned to be slow and still. She’s desperately trying to hold onto her stillness in this world so fast and bright. Every child at Eleanore West’s Home For Wayward Children is trying to hold onto the survival skills they learned in the world they went to, hoping that they’ll find their door again and get to go home. Though Nancy’s roommate Sumi says, hope is a bad word. Continue reading “Every Heart A Doorway—Dark and Lyrical”

Caught Dead Handed—Psychics, Witches, and Murder in Salem

Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry A Witch City Mystery book cover
Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry

Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry is the first in the Witch City Mystery series. Told from the first person point of view of Lee Barrett, we follow her as she returns home to Salem, Massachusetts and becomes a TV psychic—and finds out she just might by psychic for real.

1—The Mystery

Lee gets her new job at WHICH-TV as host of Nightshades, where she introduces old movies and tv shows and takes calls from viewers, after the previous host, Ariel Constellation, gets killed. There’s another murder in town too and Lee is convinced they’re connected. What’s more, she’s started to see visions in Ariel’s obsidian ball. She’s also adopted Ariel’s cat—and witch’s familiar—O’Ryan. Continue reading “Caught Dead Handed—Psychics, Witches, and Murder in Salem”