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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New York Comic Con 2018 – Friday, October 5

I went to work for the earlier part of the day and got to Comic Con at 2PM so I could go to Ashley Eckstein’s meet and greet at the Reed Pop booth.

I was such an airhead and forgot to bring my From a Certain Point of View book for her to sign! What a scatterbrain I am sometimes.

Ok, next time. Moving on. I told her how emotional I was when I found out The Clone Wars was returning while watching the SDCC panel. Ashley said she was a hot mess because she was crying, but I told her I was crying with her and I loved when Matt got out of seat.

I was getting choked up again and so I asked her about her sweatshirt and if it’s available. She spoke about the concept for the original logo for Her Universe being Ahsoka’s markings and the shirt is available. It came out for the 10th Anniversary collection, but slipped under the radar with the other items based off the characters’ outfits.

I told her that I got the Skywalker hooded sweatshirt and she asked if it is too big. I told it her it is but I knew it would be. I can just wear it around the house when it’s winter. It is so comfy.

She is so sweet, she asked about my sister and I told her she would be coming to NYCC after work, and that we will be seeing her in April for Celebration.

At the Penguin Booth there was a mystery giveaway. You chose from several descriptions. I saw someone walk away with this book and the cover caught my eye, so I did my best guessing. I guessed right!
The Waking Land by Callie Bates

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New York Comic Con 2018 – Thursday, Oct. 4 – Part 2

After the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child panel I went to the live stage to see Ashley Eckstein talk about Her Universe and The Clone Wars being saved.

I took video of the 10 minute interview, but I am having some trouble uploading right now and will edit this post with a link to the video sometime soon.

I liked the part when she said she had to keep the secret about the Clone Wars being saved since January when she got a call from her agent and she didn’t believe it so she had to call up Dave Filoni to confirm it.

After, I roamed the Exhibit Hall and picked up these giveaways.

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I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid from Simon & Schuster.
From the Penguin booths:
The Passage by Justin Cronin
Green Rider by Kristen Britain
The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden -> I asked a few people at the booth if they had this ARC before someone found it in the back. I have all 3 now! More about this in Sunday’s post.

I also went to the Audible booth where they were having a special event all weekend for the 20th Anniversary of Harry Potter. The line was so long – about a 45 minute wait on Thursday and one hour on Saturday. You pick a character’s bottle for the “Pensive” (really just a headphone station) to hear a scene of theirs from the audiobook.

What is funny is that since July 31 I have been listening to the audiobooks and am now up to Deathly Hallows.

There are six characters to choose from Harry, Hermione, Ron, Dumbledore, Snape, and Voldemort. I would have liked to collect all 6, because you got to keep the bottle with their name, but I only got to do it twice. I picked Hermione first then Ron on Saturday. Hermione’s scene was when she slapped Malfoy. Ron… I think the machine malfunctioned, even though a repair man had just been there doing something to it, because the scene was when Bellatrix is torturing Hermione. And my sister went before me and she picked Harry and heard the exact same scene. So, yea, the machine was still busted, we think.

My sister went again on Sunday and picked Dumbledore. She heard the part when he tells Harry of the Prophecy and Voldemort’s need of it.

Another part of the Pensive experience was that you wave a wand in front of a camera, they add some smoke to the video and you send it to yourself to share on social media.

But the best part was the code they gave to redeem at Audible. I got a free credit and downloaded The Shining. Only allowed one code though, even though I went twice. My sister tried to add the second code and was told she already did it.

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Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn, narrated by Marc Thompson.

Star Wars: Thrawn: Alliances by Timothy Zahn, narrated by Marc Thompson. 13 hours 21 minutes.

Grand Admiral Thrawn and Darth Vader ally against a threat to the Empire in this new novel from bestselling author Timothy Zahn.

“I have sensed a disturbance in the Force.”

Ominous words under any circumstances, but all the more so when uttered by Emperor Palpatine. On Batuu, at the edges of the Unknown Regions, a threat to the Empire is taking root—its existence little more than a glimmer, its consequences as yet unknowable. But it is troubling enough to the Imperial leader to warrant investigation by his most powerful agents: ruthless enforcer Lord Darth Vader and brilliant strategist Grand Admiral Thrawn. Fierce rivals for the emperor’s favor, and outspoken adversaries on Imperial affairs—including the Death Star project—the formidable pair seem unlikely partners for such a crucial mission. But the Emperor knows it’s not the first time Vader and Thrawn have joined forces. And there’s more behind his royal command than either man suspects.

In what seems like a lifetime ago, General Anakin Skywalker of the Galactic Republic, and Commander Mitth’raw’nuruodo, officer of the Chiss Ascendancy, crossed paths for the first time. One on a desperate personal quest, the other with motives unknown…and undisclosed. But facing a gauntlet of dangers on a far-flung world, they forged an uneasy alliance—neither remotely aware of what their futures held in store.

Now, thrust together once more, they find themselves bound again for the planet where they once fought side by side. There they will be doubly challenged—by a test of their allegiance to the Empire…and an enemy that threatens even their combined might.

 

My wish came true! I had mentioned in my review of the prequel that I wanted the story of when Thrawn met Anakin Skywalker and would he figure out that he became Darth Vader?

I don’t think one has to read Thrawn before reading this sequel, but it sure would help to know his background. That said I was reading some reviews on Goodreads and some people mentioned that they missed Eli Vanto. I honestly did not. Though knowing the outcome of Thrawn: Alliances I wouldn’t mind seeing what he is up to with the Chiss Ascendancy.

I listened to this story on audible and once again Marc Thompson is a fantastic narrator. I did laugh at his voice for Padmé, but what can you do? He’s not Natalie Portman, or Catherine Taber.

I also bought the Barnes and Noble exclusive edition, only because I wanted the poster of Padmé. (Side rant: why must they put that ugly sticker on the cover? It’s hiding Vader’s buttons. And it is already printed inside that it’s a B&N exclusive. I pealed it off but there will always be a sticky residue.)

Ok, so back to the review.

I like that we have a time frame. The past is set after Ahsoka has already left the Jedi Order. The present is set after the Battle of Atollon on Star Wars: Rebels. So between seasons 3 and 4.

I’ll start with some critiques and then end on the positive. This is going to get spoiler-y.

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Top Ten Tuesday – July 24: Books with Sensory Reading Memories

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

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

July 24: Books with Sensory Reading Memories (where I was, what time of year it was, who I was with, what I was eating, etc.)

This is an interesting topic but there are only so many places I can list without it being repetitive. Mostly I read either during my commute, or at my grandma’s house on the weekend; and if it’s an audiobook I am either commuting, cleaning, or drawing/coloring. I feel this is going to be a short list of books that stand out the most, and it’s categorize by location or activity.

 

Grandma’s house:
I have read countless books at grandma’s house but these are two that really stand out to me.

1. The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsle.
Ironically I was reading this in August and I remember sitting in my grandmother’s yard on a beautiful day. I was crying as I was reading the end.

2) Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.
I remember going to read in one of the bedrooms because my family was so loud that I couldn’t concentrate. There is world building and politics involved and I was just like, “SHHHHH!”
It has been over ten years since I read this and would love to reread it.

Coloring in my Johanna Basford 16 month planner:

3) The Count of Monte Cristo, by Alexandre Dumas, Narrated by B.J. Harrison; 52 hours; February 11-April 24, 2018
Most of those hours were spent coloring.

4&5) The Tell-Tale Heart & The Cask of Amontillado by Edgar Allan Poe, Narrated by B.J. Harrison. Each story is 15 minutes. Great when you want to be creative but are on limited time. Listening to these stories is like a set timer.

Cleaning:
Sometimes you need to kill two birds with one stone.

6) Catalyst: A Rogue One Story, by James Luceno, Narrated by Jonathan Davi; 11 hours 15 minutes.

7) Never Broken: Songs Are Only Half the Story, by Jewel, Narrated by Jewel; 10h 21m.

8) Thrawn by Timothy Zahn, Marc Thompson (Narrator); 17 hours.

In my bed:

9) Morning Star, by Pierce Brown.
The night before the book signing I was 50 pages away from finishing. I read 100 pages on Sunday and another 100 pages on Monday. By Monday night my right eye was blood shot.

10) Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austin, Narrated by Rosamund Pike; 11h 35m.
Sometimes I just want to lie in bed and do nothing but relive a lovable classic story.

Top Ten Tuesday – July 17: Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

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

Updates are now at That Artsy Reader Girl.

July 17: Favorite Novellas/Short Stories

 

1) Zombies Vs. Unicorns, Edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier

It’s a question as old as time itself: which is better, the zombie or the unicorn? In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths–for good and evil–of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. Contributors include many bestselling teen authors, including Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Maureen Johnson, Meg Cabot, Scott Westerfeld, and Margo Lanagan. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

My favorite short stories in this collection are:

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