Caturday Reads: Cosy Mystery, Galactic Sci-Fi, & Retro Gaming

Today is the first day of school! Excuse me while I freak the hell out from both excitement and total dread. Jesting aside, I am rather ecstatic to begin this new journey. Nothing has felt this right within my heart and amid my spirit in a long time. While I am supremely intimidated, I’m also looking forward to the new experiences, knowledge, and life lessons that this journey shall grace me with.

Aside from doing the typical First Day Shindigs that go with online learning (class orientations, syllabi quizzes, and introductory discussion posts), I shall be doing my best to relax as much as possible before the assignments get into full-swing time-consumption mode as this may be my last weekend to chill without too much concern.

The plan as it stands is to read a couple books, marathon the Star Wars films in machete order with Madame Gabs, and try to play Donkey Kong Country 3 with full completion (I’ve never been able to do this, but Gabs has, so she’s going to help me, woot). The books I shall be reading consist of a cosy mystery and the second instalment in a medical sci-fi series I began at the start of January. I tried to read Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter this past week, but I couldn’t get into it at all. I suspect that I was very much not in the mood for a psychological thriller. Rather than force myself to trudge through it, I simply changed genres. I picked up this cosy mystery last night and so far it’s been a great match!

Check out my books and other gigs down below. If you see something that catches your fancy, clicking their titles shall take you to their respective pages of interest.

Murder in the Margins (Open Book Mystery #1) by Margaret Loudon

The first book in an all-new cosy mystery series (released October 2020), the story follows an author named Penelope Parish. After her debut hit, she finds herself struggling with a severe bout of writer’s block. Believing that a change of environment may suit her best, she takes up a writer-in-residence position at a small bookstore in Chumley-on-Stoke, England. However, shortly after her arrival, a quiet retreat becomes nigh impossible for Penelope when the chairwoman for a local festival is found murdered. An American author and soon-to-be Duchess of Worthington, as well as an acquaintance of Penelope’s, is perceived as the culprit. With the help a local friend and her floofy kitty, Penelope promises to assist in proving her friend’s innocence!

I started this last night and I’m approximately three chapters into it (roughly forty pages) and so far it’s been a treat! It’s well-written without being too cheesy or jam-packed with puns, it has an excellently cosy ambiance of a British small town and quaint cottage where Penelope is residing, a kitty-cat side-kick, some sassy ladies that gossip as well as have each other’s back, and a curious little mystery that has been satisfying my Anglophile heart. This book has been hitting the spot for me and I can’t wait to finish it in the coming days.

Beyond Varallan (Stardoc #2) by S.L. Viehl

This is the second book in a long a galactic, medical, science-fiction series called Stardoc. It follows the main character, Cherijo, shortly after the events of book one. Her past and true identity has been revealed to the League, forcing her to go on the run with her late husband’s Clan. Aboard their starship, Sunlance, Cherijo has found a home and the perfect position of head physician in training. However, when a terrible accident begins to threaten the lives aboard the Sunlance, an accident that may be directly related to Cherijo, she must do everything she can to save her newfound family or risk losing everything she holds dear forever. (Snippet is relatively spoiler-free with regard to book one, Stardoc.)

The first book was an incredible gem! It is packed with complex medical and biology-based scientific jargon, which I couldn’t get enough of. It has a curious premise that reminded me a lot of something one would expect in an episode of Stargate SG-1 or the Star Trek franchise. The writing was excellent, except for one super awkward scene (I’ll discuss this in more detail in a book review coming out next week), and when I was finished with it, I found myself quite eager to continue with the next book; a feeling I haven’t experienced with lengthy serials in quite a few years. I haven’t started this second instalment yet, but I’m pretty thrilled about doing so later tonight.

Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble from Rare & Nintendo (SNES)

In the third instalment of this beloved retro franchise for the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, Dixie Kong and her cousin, Kiddie Kong, must team up in order to rescue her boyfriend, Diddy Kong and his chum, Donkey Kong, from Kremlin baddies.

The Donkey Kong Country games are some of my absolute favourites from the Super Nintendo era. As a non-English speaking, eccentric, immigrant kid with no friends, these games practically defined my childhood (along with Yoshi’s Island, Super Mario World, Tetris Attack, Kirby’s Avalanche, and Kirby’s Dream Course). So, when I saw that it had been added to the free SNES library available online via the Nintendo Switch, I told Madame Gabs that we absolutely had to play them! I’m currently making my way through Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy Kong’s Quest and have the last two levels left (the birdy racing level and then Captain K. Rool’s boss fight).

Star Wars Films

The goal is to watch all of the Star Wars films in machete order (the order that makes the most narrative sense) between this weekend and possibly next weekend, as there are quite a lot of films to get through. My favourites of all-time include The Empire Strikes Back, Rogue One, and Revenge of the Sith, respectively. It has been years since I’ve seen any Star Wars films. I think the last one I watched was The Force Awakens when it was released in theatres. Suffice to say, the time for revisiting them as definitely arrived!

One of the main reasons I felt so compelled to watch the films again (and for the first time with a couple of them) is due to the terrible hangover that I’ve been suffering through upon finishing up the second season of The Mandalorian. I started to speculate potential actors to play Grand Admiral Thrawn (now you know where that portion of my social media name comes from), which then stressed me out as he’s my favourite Star Wars character in existence and I’m petrified they’re gonna fuck up his casting. That’s when I figured it was time to make new, happier memories with one of my favourite science-fiction franchises. I’ll admit that I have some bad associations tied to the series as I last partook in it with people I’d like to forget exist. But rather than allowing that to prevent me from enjoying something I cherish, I’m going to replace those yucky memories with some amazing new ones with the one person who means everything to me in the world, aside from my cats, of course.

That does it for my weekend shenanigan plans. I know that my relaxation itinerary seems to be a bit ambitious, but I think that’s just turning into my overall personality lately. I don’t mind too much as it keeps me busy and I love staying busy as all heck.

I leave you today with some Kiki rawrings! She’s a little ginger kitty with a stumpy tale whom I adopted from my friend about five years ago when she (my friend) moved to Japan for work. Kiki loves to lay along my shoulder while I sleep on my side or she’ll hang out on the back of my computer chair while I work. She’s also got a fondness for preening human paws, which is as adorable as it is gross. But hey, her affection is a reflection of her sweet little heart. Until next time, keep reading and relaxing, chums!

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