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Nerd Life Update: July

It's been a while since I've done a "Monthly" Nerd Life Update, and today I woke up feeling especially nerdy, so I thought, why not!

For those of you new to my blog/news feed, although most of the time I use this space for updates on cover reveals, book releases, and other author-related news, occasionally I devote a post the "Monthly" Nerd Update, where I share a broad snapshot of the books, movies, games, and other nerdy things that I'm enjoying that month.

In this installment I'll be recapping some of my favorite nerdy things and experiences from the past few months, including my thoughts on Netflix's: The Last Kingdom, discovering the Nevernight Chronicles book series, and some new nerdy collectibles I found in my garage!

Let's get started!

Movies & Television

The Last Kingdom

Am I the only person who hadn't heard of The Last Kingdom?? I was asking my Reader Group what they thought of The Witcher because I was thinking about watching it, and one of them suggested The Last Kingdom instead. I'll admit, I almost turned it off just five minutes into episode one. I'm not really the type of person who enjoys history or war shows, and it was painfully obvious that this was both. But, for the sake of my friend, I kept watching. The Last Kingdom follows Uhtred Ragnarson after he is ripped from his Saxon family as a child and raised by the Danes. The show is not shy about major jumps in timeline, so fairly quickly we see Uhtred grow up into a young man, see his Dane family slaughtered, and he gets set on a path to avenge his slain family and reclaim his Saxon home.

If someone had given me that pitch, I wouldn't have even started watching The Last Kingdom. Again, it's just not my style. I liked Game of Thrones because of the fantasy first, not because of the time period or the fighting.

But, then I saw Uhtred all grown up and...well... Let's be honest, he's hands-down the best thing about the series, and I'm not just talking about his acting lol At least, that's why I kept watching at the beginning.

But the longer his story went on, the more invested I became. You watch his loyalty to his country deepen. You see the heartaches he endures, the sacrifices he makes, and you can't help but start rooting for him. It's odd, actually. The show begins by setting up Uhtred's motive and goals pretty distinctly: avenge family and reclaim Bebbanburg. But, he's soooooo unbelievably patient and far-sighted, he knows that to do so will take time and precision and men, that at times throughout the seasons you actually forget that's what he's fighting for, and I think that's one of my favorite things about Uhtred. Yes, he has goals and ambitions, but he's not blindly fueled by them. I just finished the fourth season last night and I was in tears as we, yet again, witness the sacrifices he makes for Wessix and the other countries. I promptly Googled "season 5 The Last Kingdom release date" and was sad to see that it will likely not air until October 2021... and that's if production hasn't been interrupted like it has been for so many other television series.

*sigh* So if anyone has any recommendations, I'm in need of a new series to binge! Preferably one with another scrumptious man with strong ethics! ^_^


Oh, and don't recommend Witcher because I already went and binged it, too. I actually watched it first. My partner and I tried watching it months ago when it first came out, but we couldn't get past the first episode (my partner thought it was boring), so it's just been on my list of things to revisit for months.

Well, my partner was out of town last week and I was finally able to give it another shot. I'm not sure what our problem was with the first episode, because The Witcher is AMAZING!

It's got a strong, brooding man who appears cold on the outside but it's so obvious he's a big softy. There's a young woman with a heart-wrenching backstory and devastating power. Oh, and apparently another girl with a heart-wrenching backstory and devastating power... The biggest complaint I've seen about the show is that it, too, jumps in time, but whereas the jumps are overtly mentioned in The Last Kingdom, The Witcher actually keeps it secret from the viewer. I'm not sure I see the big deal with it. I think it added some intrigue and mystery, but not in an overly difficult-to-follow kind of way.

Besides, anyone who's played any of the games or knows anything about the story, would've been able to tell pretty quickly that there would be some time lapses since Yenifer wasn't a sorceress at the start of the show, and Cirilla hadn't yet met Geralt. If you're into medieval fantasy with anti-heroes and talk of destinies, then you'll definitely want to check out The Witcher!


The other show we've been binging lately is Sherlock—the one with the ever-talented Benedict Cumberbatch.

I know by now, Sherlock is kind of like old news to people. I mean, season 4 aired back in January of 2017, so it's been a while. But I had actually never seen it. ANY of it. And my partner simply couldn't abide being in a relationship with someone so sheltered, so it was either we break up or we watch Sherlock (insert sarcasm here).

Boy, had I been missing out!

As a writer, the dialogue in Sherlock was a fascinating study. Not only did they need to maintain the portrayal of Sherlock as a "high-functioning sociopath"—his words, not mine—but they also need access to very detailed information about murders and professions, timelines and history, plot and conflict. I'm not doing it justice, but I think many would agree that this show is impressive.

Although the writing had me vexed, Sherlock wouldn't have been anything without the characters. We're first introduced to Dr. John Watson, a veteran returning home from war with his own issues to address, but we soon learn that he's not actually ready to leave the action. His mind is too sharp to retire or be a regular ol' doctor at a hospital. He needs the thrill and the adventure, just as much as Sherlock does. Who, you may have noticed, I didn't start with. "He's the main character," some might insist, "so you should start with him," but in many ways I think John was more valuable than given credit.

Without John, Sherlock would've just been a pompous, isolated jerk with a mind palace. Don't think that doesn't mean I didn't just love Sherlock, because I totally did, but for the purposes of this post, I want to throw some love at John Watson for once, one blogger to another.

You want to know the best thing about Sherlock though? According to the internet, there is a plan for a season 5 to release sometime in 2022, which means, it's not over yet for Sherlock and Dr. Watson!

Books & Comics

I'm not going to lie, reading has been extremely difficult these past few months. I've been fortunate to be allowed to work from home, but for that reason, I'm not really listening to many audiobooks right now, and no matter how hard I try to read when I lay down for bed, my brain just can't focus on a book. There has, however, been one book that's managed to keep my attention, and that's the Nevernight Chronicles. Nevernight is about a young girl, Mia Corvere, who is ripped from her family at a young age and vows to take vengeance on those who destroyed her family (apparently, I'm really into vengeance lately lol). She trains to become an assassin and seeks to join the Red Church, and infamous congregation of the deadliest assassins in all of Godsgrave. First of all, the lore in this series is unbelievable. For it being young adult epic fantasy, you get a lot more worldbuilding and history than typical YA novels—and I LOVED it! The narrator reports for all of the characters, but occasionally he goes off on tangents about the fascinating backbones—pun intended—about the city and its history.

Speaking of the narrator: wow! Seriously, if you don't typically do audiobooks, this one is worth it for the narration alone! What was also really exciting about reading Nevernight was that I found it to be really inspiring. I had already written Soul of the Crow, the first book in my upcoming ya epic dark fantasy series, but I had started to wonder if it was too dark for the young adult crowd. Nevernight showed me it can be done though! And I think that helped pull me out of my self-doubt and pity, and made it possible for me to finish the last two books in two months' time!

Gear & Collectibles

Like most of you can probably relate, funds have been tight the past few months. I've been trying to limit any unnecessary spending, which consequently and sadly means amassing more collectibles. However, I cleaned out my garage last week and found a bunch of hidden gems that I had completely forgotten about! Who needs to shop for more junk when you have a bunch of it in your garage! First up, was this adorable mini Loki & Thor figurine! It actually came unassembled, so it was kind of nice to take a break from unpacking boxes to put it together. Aren't they adorable?!

Next, I found this awesome Eleven & Demagorgon set. Then, to my pleasant surprise, I also discovered a Barbara Funko POP vinyl figure! I think what happened was that right before we moved from our last place, I received a couple of LootCrates but I had nowhere to put anything (and we were moving, so I didn't want to unpack them just to pack them back up), so I left everything in the boxes. But then, we were awful about clearing out the stuff in our garage for TWO YEARS, so there they sat...alone...collecting dust...

But now Eleven and Barbara have a nice, cozy spot at my computer desk ^_^

Last but not least, I thought I'd share this Aquaman action figure I got my son. Don't ask me why, but for some reason he's obsessed with Aquaman (and it's the cutest thing). We have a bunch of superhero board books, and he say "Aw-man" over and over again until we finally flip to an Aquaman page.

So you'll understand why I had to get him an Aquaman action figure. This one I found on Amazon for only $12


There you have it, my long overdue "monthly" nerd life update! Thanks so much for reading! If you have any recommendations of TV shows I should watch or books that might keep my interest, mention them in the comments below!

Until next time,

Stay nerdy!

Jessaca Willis

Fantasy Author

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