Star Wars: Bloodline by Claudia Gray, narrated by January LaVoy

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Witness the birth of the Resistance

When the Rebellion defeated the Empire in the skies above Endor, Leia Organa believed it was the beginning to a lasting peace. But after decades of vicious infighting and partisan gridlock in the New Republic Senate, that hope seems like a distant memory.

Now a respected senator, Leia must grapple with the dangers that threaten to cripple the fledgling democracy—from both within and without. Underworld kingpins, treacherous politicians, and Imperial loyalists are sowing chaos in the galaxy. Desperate to take action, senators are calling for the election of a First Senator. It is their hope that this influential post will bring strong leadership to a divided galaxy.

As the daughter of Darth Vader, Leia faces with distrust the prospect of any one person holding such a powerful position—even when supporters suggest Leia herself for the job. But a new enemy may make this path Leia’s only option. For at the edges of the galaxy, a mysterious threat is growing.

This is one of the top notch Star Wars novels. It’s my first Claudia Gray novel and she is an excellent author. (I plan to read more of her work. My sister is a fan of her Firebird series.)

Leia is so in character and it’s fantastic. Gray wrote her perfectly. She really got her intelligence, her heart, her temper and her sass so well.

There is some action and adventure in the story, but it is more political – and not in a boring way. The story takes place six years prior to Star Wars: Episode VII The Force Awakens. Not an era I care for but after reading this I have more insight into how the First Order came to power.

January LaVoy’s narration was great. She sounded similar to older Leia’s voice. Her voice for Lady Carise Sindian was spot on because she sounded just like a prissy royal bitch. And I liked what she did for Ransolm Casterfo’s voice. It was great for his character development where he starts out as a stuffy ass and then by the end you are sympathizing with him.

I loved the development of the friendship between Leia and Ransolm. The turn around from enemies to friends to enemies to friends again was an emotional rollercoaster.

I can’t go further without going into some spoilers:

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Friday, April 12

Day two! The big panel today was the one for Episode IX, but my sister and I had a photo op with Warwick Davis at the same time. So I didn’t even bother entering the lottery for it. I have read online from the fandom that usually when Warwick is hosting panels during Celebration he does not do autographs and photo ops. So when it was announced that he was I thought we should take the opportunity.

Of course I was also holding out for Hayden’s announcement (he was the last guest to be announced) so I held off on Warwick’s op a little bit. His autographs was selling out fast but I’ll try to get that another time. I just really wanted the photo.

But first I really wanted that exclusive edition of Master and Apprentice so we got an early shuttle (around 8 am) to go queue up at McCormick Place. Well it more like a massive crowd waiting outside the exhibit hall. We randomly “queued” up next to Dan and Melissa (who we met the previous day). We talked about our dislike of what was done to Luke in The Last Jedi. Let’s not go there right now. But it was nice to see them again and talk about Star Wars with them while we waited.

When they let us in my sister said she would meet me at Del Rey and being really petite I snuck through the crowds to get to Del Rey. And it was chaos! No queue. Just a massive crowd of people pushing with their fists out trying to get a bracelet. Three people were putting them on wrist. Other Del Rey people were acting as barriers with their arms out to stop people from mobbing the people behind the tables, I guess.

The man I was next to acting as a barrier kept saying “don’t push”, “don’t hit me”, “there will be more bracelets tomorrow”… Someone asked if he drew the short straw this morning but he said he volunteered!

It was almost impossible once someone got their bracelet to leave the crowd and the people behind the tables were saying let them leave. As they left we kept inching up, with our fists out, and eventually I did get a bracelet. It was close too because as I was almost there they said the beacon lit up that they were running low and don’t worry there will be more bracelets the next few days.

When I found my sister again she said she was worried and thought she should try to get a bracelet for me.

Then we saw that the Her Universe booth had a pretty manageable line. It was still long but it was moving. So we decided to get on and if we didn’t get close by the time we had to get to the photo ops we’d try again later.

Luckily we did make it to the check out within the half hour-45 minutes and bought the rest of what we wanted. All in time for our photo op!

I got the:
– Padmé ombré hoodie
– Tano sweatshirt
– Sisters of the Force t-shirt
– my first (and probably my only) Funko Pop of Ahsoka Tano (signed by Ashley)
– Padmé Nouveau, even though I already have this shirt, it is worn out. And since HU reissued it I seized the opportunity.

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 – Thursday, April 11

After missing Celebration in 2017 for the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars I said I wouldn’t miss the next one. And I meant it.

When they announced it was in Chicago I was a little disappointed. I never really had an interest in going to Chicago. Especially in April, when it is still cold and there is a possibly of snow. (And it did snow!) In the end I really liked Chicago and would like to visit again to see more of the sights and museums. Just not in April.

My sister, Victoria, and I flew in a day early to do some sightseeing. It was cold and it did rain quiet heavily so we didn’t get to see much. I’ll talk about that more in another post. Right now I just want to talk about Celebration!

Day 1 was a preview day, so no panels. The show floor opened at 1 pm so my sister and I spent the morning having breakfast at Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe. We had the Upside down pineapple pancakes. It was so delicious but so big we took the left overs to the hotel and it lasted us the whole week as our breakfast.

We then walked around Millennium Park to take better photos of The Bean and the sights in the sunlight. We also went to The Chicago Theatre.

After checking out the sights and buying some souvenirs we went back to the hotel so I could dress up as Barriss Offee. I made the costume myself. After getting to wear it I know some changes I would make. The cape needs a shrug underneath to keep it from shifting. I knew this would happen but I ran out of time. I would also like to add pockets to the skirt. As for the makeup, drawing on the diamonds was hard. I think I want to find/make little purple diamond studs to glue on with eyelash glue. I would also like to save up for a really nice lightsaber and not have the Toys R Us one (which I clipped to my belt and it mostly hid under my cape.)

I would also like to point out that I don’t like what was done to Barriss on The Clone Wars so I’m Legends Barriss- where she was Anakin’s peer and was not turned into a terrorist traitor. But that is a whole other discussion.

I did get many compliments and 2 guys took my photo when I was on E.K. Johnson’s book signing line. While I was taking a photo of an excellent Ahsoka cosplay (from the end of Rebels) she said to me, “Even after everything.” I chuckled but didn’t get into my Legends Barriss spiel.

My sister and I took the complementary shuttle from the hotel which was super convenient and not so crowded on a Thursday.

Something new this Celebration was that instead of overnight queuing for the main opening panels there was a lottery. I like the idea of that but I didn’t bother with the lotteries because the only one I really wanted was The Phantom Menace panel, but we were leaving Monday.

You could also reserve panels- if you got the crappie app to work. Which I never could for reserving panels, nor for the Lightspeed lane for the Celebration Store. The only thing I used the app for was reminders for the panels I wanted to see, my autograph and photo ops, and to map the room the panels were in.

There was an 8 hour wait on the queue for the Celebration Store. There were some t-shirts I did want. Mainly the badge art of Leia, Luke, Ahsoka, Anakin &Rex & Ahsoka, and  the Rebels mural.

But after that whole fiasco I gave up on it the first day. I don’t want to spend all day on a queue for just a bunch of t-shirts. And if the app had worked as it should have I wouldn’t have needed to wait and I would have had my shirts. They also didn’t tell anyone you needed to download the app update to get the Lightspeed Lane to even show up. I found that out from someone on a queue. But even so, when I did update it, the Lightspeed Lane still did not work for me. So: Celebration= FUN! Celebration App= Epic Fail!

Honestly, I don’t know why we can’t order this merchandise as part of the Road to Celebration and have it shipped to our home instead. Such B.S.

I ordered two things from the Road to Celebration: the Anakin and Padmé pins/t-shirt and the Hera and Kanan pins/shirt. I didn’t participate in any of the pin trading or buying. I kept my goodies at home.

Anyway, back to Thursday. As soon as we got to the exhibit hall I went straight to Del Rey to get the bracelet for the exclusive SWCC edition of Master and Apprentice by Claudia Grey. The bracelets were already gone for Thursday.

Next, and I knew it would be like this, the Her Universe queue was like a mile long. It snaked, with many line breaks to Artist Alley. At the very end of the day when my sister and I saw the line was short I did manage to buy from the Sisters of the Force collection Hera’s green sweatshirt and Padmé’s Lake Retreat dress. Everything else I wanted was sold out for the day.

So after checking out the line for HU we went to Anderson’s Books. The crowd was massive and getting into the store was a fight. I was looking for the SWCC exclusive edition of Queen’s Shadow by E.K. Johnston. There were none to be seen so I was getting frustrated and was going to go ask the cashier. Victoria stayed on the check out line and thank goodness she did because they brought out a box with the edition I wanted. Vic grabbed one. I also bought a hardcover copy of Thrawn. I brought Thrawn Alliances from home for Timothy Zahn to sign but you had to have purchased something from Anderson’s to go to their signings.

Then we walked around to get the layout of the place. We went by Jason Palmer’s booth. He had been working on a giant mural that was unveiled at the convention that has the whole saga: The Prequels, The Clone Wars, Rebels, Rogue One, Solo, The Originals, and The Sequels. It is beautiful! If I had the money and a mansion, I’d get it.

Episode IX was covered the first day but I saw what it looked like on a iPad at the booth. You could buy the complete mural starting at $150 and it’s 10 inches by 7.5 FEET!

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Top Ten Tuesday April 2: Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

April 2: Things That Make Me Pick Up a Book

1) The cover. I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but we do. It’s the first thing we see. A great cover catches your eye and makes you read the description. Though I have read books were I loved the cover but the story was not too great.

2) The plot. Once the cover has called me over I read the description to see if it sounds like something that I would like. Which brings me to…

3) The genre. I am usually browsing in the Sci-fi/Fantasy, Fiction, YA, or the Classic section. Very rarely do I pick up something out of those genres.

4) The author. Once I find an author I love I am loyal to that author and will look for any new book they have coming out.

5) The price/coupon. It always helpS if the book is on sale and I can use a coupon. I may have more books on my TBR than I have time to read/ listen to, but I still have to be thrifty. Which brings me to…

6) The format. I have hardcovers, paperbacks, an e-reader and the Audible app. Depending on where I am finding the best deal determines what format I will buy the book. For some series that I am obsessed with I bought them in all 3 formats.