Fan Art Friday: Remembering Leia

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.  We’ve been doing this since 2016 and still haven’t run out of pictures to color!

I just got a new set of colored pencils for Christmas, so I was eager to try out all the new colors.  It was nice to be able to have a different color palette, but I felt like I did a lot of blending to get it to look closer to how I wanted it.  The new pencils are really nice to color with though!

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This isn’t the best picture because I had bad lighting and had to do some photo editing to make it look better.  The background is actually shaded with a light blue though it doesn’t show up well here.

ETA: Here is a slightly better picture, though I left the original for posterity 😀

I picked shades of pink and purple for the flowers for a couple reasons.  First, these feminine colors seemed appropriate for Leia here.  Although she didn’t have any agency in choosing this outfit (ugh), Leia does show that it is possible to be feminine and badass at the same time.  Remember, she kills Jabba while wearing this bikini!  Femininity can be powerful.

Second, these flowers look like Forget-me-Nots to me, which can be pink, purple, and blue.  I thought this was also appropriate as a tribute to Leia as well as the actress that played her, Carrie Fisher.  I was so pleased with how they were able to include her character in The Rise of Skywalker in order to give her a fitting send off.  The use of previous footage and visual effects worked so seamlessly, and it was wonderful to see Leia as “Master Skywalker,” even if just for a bit.

Also, check out Kiri’s version that uses the botanical details to reference Queen Amidala’s famous red gown.

2019 Reading Review

Another year, more great books.  In 2019, I read about 145 books, of which about 2/3 were Regency romances.  The rest were from various genres, and I reviewed 17 of them here on this blog (you can check out the Book Reviews category to see them all).  Here are some highlights.

Fantasy

I really enjoyed the Wayward Children series of novellas by Seanan McGuire, starting with Every Heart a Doorway.  The characters and worlds of this portal fantasy series have stayed with me; read my full review here.  I also enjoyed exploring the novel length version of Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, which reads like an original fairy tale; read my full review here.

I read very little YA fantasy this year, and I what I did read was pretty average, nothing really outstanding.  I’ve been a little disappointed with the quality of current popular series.  Anyone have recommendations for recent must-read YA fantasy?

Comics

I highly recommend both the Darth Vader and Doctor Aphra comics by Kieron Gillen.  If you only read one Star Wars comic, I’d recommend the Vader Down crossover issue, which features the OT characters as well as Aphra, one of my favorite new canon characters.  It has everything you want: action, humor, great characterization.

Nonfiction

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I’ve been working through Ta-Nehisi Coates’ book of essays, We Were Eight Years in Power, since the beginning of the year.  These are essays on various topics previously published in The Atlantic (including “The Case for Reparations”), compiled here with his reflections on each piece.  It’s not light reading, but I feel like I’ve gained a lot of perspective, especially as we enter another election cycle.  And I’m so glad I discovered Coates’ beautiful writing.  I also enjoyed his run of Black Panther, and I can’t wait to read his novel debut, The Water Dancer.

As a relatively new mother I also enjoyed Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott. Everything she wrote rang so true to me!  Plus she is just an entertaining writer.

Author of the Year: W.R. Gingell

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Awhile back I raved about Gingell’s Masque, an inventive version of Beauty and the Beast, but this year I really started reading through her oeuvre, and the more I read the more I fall in love!  Luckily, she now works full-time as an author and is continuing to release several new fantasy stories every year.  So far, I’ve read her fairy-tale inspired Two Monarchies series (of which Masque is a part), her epic fantasy Shards of a Broken Sword trilogy, and her hilarious urban fantasy City Between series.  I’m going to do some more detailed reviews of these in the coming months,  but if you are looking for a quick, entertaining read, I highly recommend her work.  Also, check out her blog and Facebook page.

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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

At the end of last year, I made some reading goals for myself for 2019 and I think I did pretty well with them.

  1. Read from more genres.  I tried really hard with this one and I succeeded.  Some genres I read this year include: cozy mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, classics, historical fiction, memoir, non-fiction essays, short stories, poetry, comics, and YA.  I also listened to some more audiobooks; though I still don’t love them, I started to use them in conjunction with ebooks to allow me to continue the story wherever I am.
  2. Finish Heyer’s romances.  I read Venetia, which is one of her best, as well as a mystery from her.  I still have 2 more Georgian romances to read!
  3. Read books I already own.  Yeah…still working on that.  Definitely a goal to continue next year.
  4. Finish the books I started.  I did get better about this!  I finished most of the books I started last year, and while I still have a few I started this year that I’m in the middle of, I feel like it’s more under control instead of a revolving door of library loans.  I did have a couple of DNFs this year; mostly they had some element of mental illness that I couldn’t handle reading about at the time.

For 2020, I want to focus on getting back to reading physical books instead of being on my phone and Kindle all the time, as well as reading all the books that are already on my shelves.

What were your favorite books of 2019?  Do you have any reading goals for 2020?

Fan Art Friday: Center Switch!

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

Anticipating the release of The Rise of Skywalker later this month, I picked an image with the original Skywalkers: Luke and Leia on a speeder bike chase through the Endor forest.

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This one was extremely busy and I didn’t quite know how to handle it. I did the background designs in earthy tones, like the Endor forest flying by. Then I wanted something to stand out from that, so I went very bold with the flowers and other top designs. The blue reminds me of the air rushing by as they are speeding along.

Check out Kiri’s excellent version of the siblings here.

This scene always made me laugh a little. Like, how did Luke even know how to jam their comlinks? But then again, if an Ewok can figure out the speeder, I guess it can’t be too hard.

I can’t wait to find out how the stories of Luke and Leia (and their family) end later this month!

Fan Art Friday: Sebulba

Welcome back to our Star Wars coloring book club, where Kiri from Star Wars Anonymous and I color the same image every month to compare and contrast.

This month, we have one of the antagonists of Episode I, the Dug podracer Selbulba.

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This one was not that interesting.  Sebulba is kinda brown, and his headgear is kinda brown (ETA: apparently it’s actually grey, whoops).  I didn’t have any great ideas for the background either, so I asked my husband what color he thought of when he thought of Sebulba (isn’t this the kind of question you ask your spouse all the time??).

He immediately said orange, because of Selbuba’s pod!  Genius.  So I did some orange tones for the flowers and the decorations.

And that’s about it.  I’m happy with how it looks, but I wouldn’t say it was one of my favorites, which kinda jives with my feelings about Sebulba.  He is a pretty one-dimensional character, a fine opponent for the podrace but not all that interesting.

Check out Kiri’s version of this Bantha Poodoo character here!