What I Watched: I stumbled onto the Halloween Baking Championship when a local bakery owner won the latest season, so I sort of watched them out of order. Pro tip: skip the season hosted by the annoying fellow with the puppets. An easy, fun watch even if it is currently the wrong holiday season.
There is zero mean-spiritedness, and the horror-themed desserts are – wait for it – to die for! The show kept Carla Hall, Zac Young (creator of the piecaken, OMG), and Stephanie Boswell around as judges for the longest time, although the third judge has varied. Hosted by comedian John Henson, the show’s schtick is costuming the judges – and they are impressive costumes, with good-natured judge participation.
What I Read: I’ve pretty much fallen in love with the Alex Verus series by Benedict Jacka. Some of you or one of you may have suggested it here; I bought the first book back in September of 2021, and promptly ignored it. My mistake! Please tell me if it was you, fellow DeadSplinterite – I owe you a huge thank you. I’ve inhaled the first six books this week, and so far, have encountered no disappointing volumes. Also, it has half ton spider ladies who sew, moral ambiguity, and magic! For those who like to try a book out before investing, Jacka offers the first chapter from each of the twelve books here. I can’t understand why Amazon hasn’t snapped up the rights and made an original series. Here is what the website says:
The Alex Verus series is a sequence of urban fantasy novels that I published between 2012 and 2021. It follows the story of Alex Verus, a mage with a dark past who runs a magic shop in the Camden Town district of north-west London.
Alex Verus is a diviner: a mage whose magical talent gives him the ability to perceive the short-term consequences of any action he takes. By searching through possible futures and selecting the actions that will lead to them, he can do things such as dodge attacks, throw objects with perfect accuracy, and guess someone’s password on the first try. This is impressive to normal people but less so to other mages, whose magic types let them do things such as teleport, disintegrate things, throw fireballs, or fly.
Mages in the Alex Verus setting are split into Light and Dark factions (NB: ‘Light’ does not mean ‘good’). Alex was apprenticed to a Dark mage in his youth and it ended very badly. As a result, by the start of the series, Alex is on bad terms with both Dark mages and the Light Council, and would really much rather just run his shop and be left alone. Fate, however, has other plans.
So began Fated, the first Alex Verus novel, released in March 2012. Eleven more books followed, with the twelfth and final novel, Risen, being released in December 2021. The series was published in both British and American editions, and as of 2021 has been translated into German, French, Russian, Czech, and Swedish.
What I Listened To: As of Today, it’s Time to Start Christmas by Frogers; God Damn Feelings by Benjamin Amaru; Work It Out by Bakermat; and Looking For Something by Castlebeat.
Thank you for playing Brain Drain! How are you, dearest DeadSplinterites? What’s new in your world, darling ones? Have you had any fun of late? Please do share!