Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Spring Book Tag (or Kate is Super Behind on Her TBR)

*laughs forever because when am I not behind on my TBR?*

Anyways.

Engie from "Musings From Neville's Navel" tagged me for the Spring Book Tag! And what better time to do a book tag all about spring than when it doesn't really feel like spring because the weather in Pennsylvania is all over the place right now?


What’s your spring TBR?

*glances nervously toward bowing bookshelves* *continues manic laughter*

So many books . . . so many.

But seriously I'm not sure I have any specific spring TBR books. I'm in a lot of book clubs, so those usually end up taking precedence over everything else, but I'd love to finish reading Les Misérables before summer gets here.

If someone asked you for a spring release recommendation, what book would it be?

Generally I'm not great with remembering what books are coming out when exactly in the year, but Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum was a spring release, and it was fantastic. It was fun and fluffy, but also had a lot of depth to it. Addictive is probably the one word I'd use to describe it.

Which two books are you eagerly awaiting that release within the next two months?





HARRY POTTER AND THE CURSED CHILD BY FREAKING J.K. ROWLING.

Because with a July 31st release date, it's still technically coming out within the next two months. And OH MY GOD.

I can't think of any other books that are coming out in the next two months. Of course as soon as I hit publish, I'll probably come up with one, because brains are annoying like that.

Which character would make a great Easter Bunny?

Winter from Winter by Marissa Meyer because she would just get sooo into it. I can see her dressing up and painting eggs and everything.

What book makes you think of spring?

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. First of all, it has the word flower in it. Second of all, the cover is a bright freaking yellow. Third of all, I read it a couple of years ago in the car while driving to Washington D.C. to see the cherry blossoms in bloom. So yeah, lots of spring all around.

Name a cover with flowers on it.


Whatever my mixed feelings on this book are, that cover is gorgeous and absolutely whimsical. That's what initially caught my eye when I was digging through a box of ARCs. Well job, cover designers.

Which two characters would you want to go on an Easter egg hunt with?

Calvin and Hobbes! Who else to go on an Easter egg hunt with than two of the most playful, imaginative people in the fictional universe?

What is your favorite bookish spring activity to do?

Is it cheating if I say read? Reading outside is pretty nice, too, because spring is (usually) great weather. Not too hot, not too cold, just a slight breeze, and enough shade to make the whole experience pleasant. Although I don't know what the heck is happening with spring this year. It went from being 70 degrees and sunny to cold and rainy and miserable in two days.

Which book did you enjoy that had a spring-ish cover?


This book was fantastic. All of the colors and simple design are spring-ish to me. This book is just spring-ish in general when you consider the protagonists' names are Violet and Finch.

Who is your favorite contemporary author?

Like Engie said, I'm not really sure how this relates to spring, but I do know that there's no competing with Rainbow Rowell. Although I guess a lot of her books aren't strictly contemporary since they're sometimes set in the 80s or 90s. So I'll also name Stephanie Morrill as a favorite.

Tag, you're it! Feel free to "steal" this tag for your blog or post your answers in the comments.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

The Stages of Reading a Really Good Book

Or at least my stages of reading a really good book. Of course these won't apply to everyone, but all of us bookworms tend to have tons of things in common, including our reading habits. I'm sure many of you can relate to this.


Me with a new book . . . or an old one . . . or any of them, really.
Page 1: *reading somewhere normal, like in bed or on the couch* I can't wait to finally read this! I wonder if it's as good as everyone is saying. Recommendations from three different friends on Goodreads must mean it's great, right?

Page 10: All right, I'm starting to see what all the fuss was about. I'm hooked already. I'll finish the chapter, maybe read a couple more and then go to bed--ooh, a plot twist already?!



Page 50: *having already read past midnight* Holy cow, I can't take my eyes away! Is that the love interest? Okay, I should really go to bed soon though. I can always read tomorrow.

Page 100: An early morning while running on little sleep is nothing compared to what this character is going through. So what if I have to be up in six hours? I have to see what happens next.

Page 150: *has fallen asleep with her face in the book*


Page 200: *reading in the car while being driven to whatever event is happening that morning* No. Way. Oh my God, did anyone else see that? Am I the only one who sees how insane this is?


Page 250: *explains every last detail to little brother while walking the dog because she needs to talk to someone ASAP*

Page 300: Everything's going to be okay, no one's dying, the author wouldn't do that, writers aren't that mean, hahahahahaha . . . Yeah, I'm definitely going to cry by the end of this.


Page 350: *goes through an entire box of tissues from gross sobbing*


Last page: That. Was. AMAZING!!!

Acknowledgements: *frantically texts/tweets/instant messages every single bookish person she knows urging them to read the book*


Phew, even writing about the process has me on an emotional roller coaster all over again. What was the last book you read that you feeling like this?

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Look Around, Look Around at How Lucky We Are to Be Alive Right Now!"

I'm shamelessly stealing the "Hamilton book tag" from Emma at "Kittens on Bookshelves." Although I guess technically she said to consider myself tagged, so it doesn't count as stealing anymore. I DIGRESS.


I've been obsessed with the soundtrack for about a month now. It's all I've listened to for weeks. And it's fantastic. I may or may not have even had dreams about somehow miraculously winning tickets to see it on Broadway, even though it's sold out for months. If you haven't heard any of the music, DO SO NOW. It's all on YouTube and Spotify! I've never heard anything like it, but it's amazing. Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius and has a serious fanbase behind him for this. I recently got my whole family into it, too, so now we'll randomly shout things like, "What time is it? SHOWTIIIIME." after walking into a room.
And now because of listening to the entire album approximately 90871284 times over, memorizing half of the songs, making plans to do a lip sync battle to "Farmer Refuted" with a friend at a talent show (she's the Samuel Seabury to my Alexander Hamilton), and scrolling through dozens of Tumblr posts of "Hamilton" fanart, I'm taking on the challenge of reading a 750 page biography all about Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Now I just need to get my hands on the Hamiltome . . .


Me upon watching it for a second--*coughs*--seventeenth time.
So this is all a preamble (see what I did there?) to say of course I had to snatch up a "Hamilton" book tag as soon as I saw it, plus add a few more songs myself because I couldn't resist. Here we go!

(Note: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson spoilers toward the middle of the post!)

"Alexander Hamilton" - A Character With a Rich and Complicated Backstory

There are so many characters I could go with here, but for this one I'll say Cinder from the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. It's hard to explain just how much crap she's gone through without giving anything away, so you'll have to read the series yourself to find out. Let's just say she's crazy awesome but also haunted by her painful past, just like the best characters are.

"Aaron Burr, Sir" - Two Characters Who Constantly Butt Heads 

Oh my gosh, totally Simon and Baz from Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I've never seen two characters bicker more than they do, and yet it works. It kept me entertained the entire time, made me giggle, and didn't stop me from shipping them in the slightest.

"My Shot" - A Protagonist That Goes After What They Want and Doesn't Let Anything Stop Them

Alanna from the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce. Disguising yourself as a boy to train to become a knight in a medieval fantasy story is pretty dang gutsy. Obstacles are constantly hurled at her throughout the series, and yet she keeps fighting.

"The Story of Tonight" - Your Favorite Historical Fiction or Non-Fiction Book


Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein, as of recently. It's an excellent audiobook, too, probably the best one I've listened to since Harry Potter. If you decide to pick it up, I highly recommend going that route, at least for some of it. The whole story is so realistic, you have a hard time believing it didn't actually happen.
"The Schuyler Sisters" - An Underrated Female Character

Nimona from Nimona by Noelle Stevenson! And I say she's underrated only because hardly any of my other bookish friends have read the book (so fix that and find a copy!). She's an impulsive, hilarious, eager-to-please, "villainous," shapeshifter, and she's one of the best characters I've read in a long time. I love her.

"You'll Be Back" - The Sassiest Villain 

Sadly, I've read very few books with sassy villains in them, but I want to remedy this, so recommend all your favorites in the comments! But every character in the Order of the Stick Series by Rich Burlew is pretty sassy and/or sarcastic, so there's that. If you like playing Dungeons & Dragons, it's the book for you.

"Right Hand Man" - Favorite Bookish Friendship 

Blue and her raven boys from the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater are pretty much the definition of #SquadGoals. But Clary and Simon from the Mortal Instruments and the Golden Trio from Harry Potter all deserve mentions, too. Oh, and the Marauders, also from Harry Potter! (Can you tell I'm a sucker for friendship stories?)

"Helpless" - A Relationship You Were Pulling For From the Very Start

How am I supposed to pick favorites with this one?!?! Gah. I guess instead of mention all bazillion of my ships, I'll go ahead and say Simon and Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. Their mutual love and respect for Oreos, flirtatious e-mails, and general adorableness made for a happy, fluffy read that made my fangirl heart go "sqeeeeeee."
"Satisfied" - Favorite Book with Multiple POVs

I could pick a ton, because multiple POV books tend to be my favorites (they're usually the kind I write), but I'm trying to be diverse with my selections so I won't mention another certain Rainbow Rowell book that starts with Eleanor and ends with & Park. (And I do realize I just mentioned it even though I said I wouldn't, but shh, the devil's in the details.) I'm gonna go with These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, because yes. That just about sums it up. 
"Wait For It" - A Book Worth Waiting For

CAN WE ALL SAY The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling?!?! I know it's a script, but it's in book form, so it still counts!!! July 31st can't come fast enough. But like Aaron Burr, I'm willing to wait for it.

"Stay Alive" - A Character You Wish Were Still Alive

It's probably been like five years, but I still don't think I've recovered from the childhood trauma that was (highlight for Bridge to Terabithia spoilers!) Leslie's death. So did not see that coming.
"Ten Duel Commandments" - Favorite Fight Scene

It's hard for me to pick out a single fight scene, but any of the craziness that happens in Tamora Pierce's books and the Divergent series comes to mind as great action. Medieval fantasy and dystopian tend to bring that side of stories out.
"What Comes Next?" - A Series You Wish Had More Books

All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill. I could've read so much more of that story had it existed. I'm a sucker for time travel. That book basically had me reading for three straight days, breaking only to eat and sleep (a little).
"Dear Theodosia" - A Book With Great Parent-Child Relationships

Three books come to mind immediately: August's parents with August and his sister in Wonder by R.J. Palacio, the Finch family in To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, and the March family in Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Two of these books came out a really long time ago, so clearly family dynamics is something I'm longing for in modern YA stories especially. Feel free to share your favorite family-centric books in the comments! I'm always looking for suggestions.

"Non-Stop" - A Series You Marathoned

The amount of sass in this coat flip is perfect.
The W.I.T.C.H. graphic novels by Parke Godwin were a favorite of mine when I was younger. Heck, they're still fantastic! I'm pretty sure I read all eight of them in a day or two and became obsessed enough to write terrible, terrible stories about characters similar to all five of the main girls. It was my sad attempt at fan-fiction. But hey, imitation is the highest form of flattery, right?

"What'd I Miss" - A Book or Series You Were Late to Reading



I'm dreadfully behind on the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas, which I embarrassingly only started a couple years ago. And also the Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. I'm horrible, I know. But they're both amazing and I will finish them one day.

"Take a Break" - A Good Beach/Vacation Read



Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum! Much like Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, it's involves anonymous e-mails from someone at the same school. The whole time I was reading it I was trying to guess who it was while also thinking, "please don't be him, please don't be him, for the love of everything don't be him." It reads really fast and it's not one that involves a lot of brain power, perfect for lounging by the ocean.

"Say No To This" - A Guilty Pleasure Read


The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I know, I know, it's not the greatest writing in the world, but I absolutely adore the characters and the stories. I didn't think I'd be able to stomach it after not even getting past the first couple of chapters of Twilight, but I was pleasantly surprised.

"The Room Where It Happens" - A Book World In Which You Want to Live




Hogwarts, plain and simple. I've never met a single person who didn't want to go to Hogwarts. I don't even understand Harry and Ron when they're complaining about their homework. Um, you're LEARNING FREAKING MAGIC. Sign me up, please and thank you.

"The Reynolds Pamphlet" - A Plot Twist You Didn't See Coming

Why yes, yes that is King George throwing the Reynolds Pamphlet in Hamilton's face and then prancing away.
Look at all their faces!!
That, ladies and gentleman, is Thomas Jefferson making it rain while chanting a taunting, "Never gon' be president now."
(I had to include more than one gif because I couldn't decide between the three!)

How about everything that happens in Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn? Talk about insanity. That and We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. Oh, and Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas! Gah, so many "*GASP*" moments.

"Burn" - Most Tragic Ending to a Relationship

That moment when your ship goes down in flames.
Ugh, even people who haven't read The Fault In Our Stars by John Green knows it's tragic. During rereads I still sometimes trick myself into thinking it'll end differently, but it hasn't worked so far.

"Blow Us All Away" - A Character Who Changed the World


Katniss Everdeen! She's the original dystopian "face of the rebellion." The reluctant hero, inspiration to society, willing to stand up to tyrants, she's got it all. And half of it she wasn't even trying to do!

"It's Quiet Uptown" - A Book That Made You Cry Ugly Tears

There are about a dozen I could pull out for you right now, but basically any book with a dog on the cover is destined to be something that makes me cry into my pillow before bed. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare had me bawling over Simon feels, too.

"The Election of 1800" - A Book or Series That Made the Fandoms Take Sides (i.e. Team Edward vs. Team Jacob)

I have to mention Hunger Games and Throne of Glass again. The Katniss-Peeta-Gale and Celaena-Chaol-Dorian love triangles make the fans go nuts. (*coughs* Not that I would ever get into shipping wars, nosiree, Bob . . .)

"Best of Wives and Best of Women" - A Favorite Heroine

The protagonists of the Lunar Chronicles are all just so amazing for different reasons, but they work well as a team, too! So many feels in that series, I tell you. So many.


"Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story" - A Book Series That Will Be Remembered Throughout History


Like Emma said in her tag, how can this go to anything but Harry Potter? A lot of stories can seem outdated, but I don't think that'll be the case here. It'll stand the test of time because it's so unique and complex and rich with emotion. The characters are all as complicated as the plot, but it's not at the expense of the story. I can't find a single negative thing to say about it.

Tag, you're it! What are some of your favorite "Hamilton" songs? Feel free to steal this for your blog or answer a few questions in the comments. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

MA Trip

Last week my family went on vacation to Massachusetts to visit friends and relatives and see some things in Concord and Boston. We'd just finished reading Little Women together and learning about the transcendentalists, so it was perfect timing! Being homeschooled really helps us to go places off season when there aren't any school crowds, too. ;)

The drive was a good 7+ hours, but it mostly passed quickly for me thanks to a combination of listening to the "Hamilton" soundtrack over and over (and over and over and over . . .) again (you'll be getting a blog post about the music soon enough) and writing in my notebook.

We were greeted by my grandma and plenty of delicious Portuguese food. The next day we traveled all over Concord. We saw so many things: Orchard House (the old home of the Alcott family), the Old Manse (the home to many transcendentalists over the years), Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, Walden Pond, Old North Bridge, and the Minute Man Statue.

Orchard House https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orchard_House
Obviously it was all really cool to see just because of the history, but we also heard a lot of interesting stories. For example, Little Women is almost entirely autobiographical. Louisa patterned Jo after herself, and all of the other March women after her sisters. The oldest, Anna, was Meg; the youngest, May, was Amy (notice her name is just rearranged); and the second youngest, Elizabeth, was Beth. But there were a few key differences, including that Louisa's father never went to help in the war (but Louisa did as a nurse!), Louisa never married, and there was never one true Laurie in her life. Instead, she created Laurie using bits of different boys she was friends with when she was younger. (Spoilers for Little Women ahead!) Louisa never intended to have Jo married, but after the first part of Little Women was published, she got so many fans from letters begging to have her married (specifically to Laurie) that she decided to compromise. She would have Jo get married, just to somebody else, Bhaer.

Louisa's sister May was really an artist, just like Amy. As a kid she would draw all over the walls to practice her sketching since paper was expensive and usually Louisa or her father would get to it first. You can still see the drawings on the walls if you visit the house! And the Alcott parents were totally okay with her doing this. Another fun fact, May went on to be the first art teacher of a boy, Daniel Chester French. who later became a famous sculptor. He's the one who sculpted the Minute Man Statue and the Lincoln Memorial.

So yeah, Orchard House was a favorite as far as that day went.

The next day we went to Boston to see the Harvard campus, Harvard Bookstore (an indie bookstore!), Boston Commons, the public gardens (where we got to take a ride on the swan boats), and the Isabella Steward Gardner Art Museum. The museum was gigantic, with three different floors filled with sculptures and paintings and tapestries. The second floor was closed for renovations and restorations when we went, but they still had the most famous pieces out in another exhibit for everyone to see. In the nineties, a bunch of famous paintings were stolen from the museum and to this day are still lost, so they have some spots talking about that on empty spaces on the wall.

"Isabella Stewart Gardner" by John Singer Sargent https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isabella_Stewart_Gardner
Isabella also had a lot of John Singer Sargent pieces, which made my mom spin a whole tale where she wondered if Isabella had a thing for John, especially after we realized she posed for one of his portraits. For a large portion of their friendship (or was it just?), Isabella was married. My mom kept saying it'd make a great historical romance, but we didn't know that there was actually a lot of gossip about the two of them back when they were alive! Apparently after Isabella received the portrait John painted of her, she loved it, but her husband did not . . . hmm . . .

http://www.mos.org/planetarium/laser-michael-jackson
We went to the Boston Museum of Science on our last day there. We spent the whole afternoon there exploring it and we didn't even see it all! It's that huge. My favorite parts were easily the optical illusions gallery and the Hall of Human Life. There were a lot of social science surveys and interactive stations you could use, which were fun. After we were done there, we went to the planetarium attached to it to see a Michael Jackson laser show. It was kinda cheesy, but still cool to have done. The more abstract patterns were really awesome, but there were a few songs were they displayed these terrible laser cartoons that told the story along with the music that had both my brother Max and me giggling in our seats. At one point after the first of the songs in this style ("ABC"), Max was laughing and said loud enough for everyone to hear, "What the heck are we watching?" I'm pretty sure our parents lost it.

So after walking close to fifteen miles in three days, eating tons of seafood, riding the T all over, and seeing as much as we possibly could during our stay, we got to come home and get our little dog back. Scout was very happy to see us after being apart for so long, and vice versa.

Have you ever been to Boston or Concord? What was your favorite thing you saw? Leave a comment!

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Two Poems

So I'm taking this fantastic online poetry course from the University of Iowa called #Flashwrite. I'm two weeks in and already seeing a big difference, which is exciting because poetry has always felt like my weak point. But I'm having tons of fun with it. :) I thought I'd share the poems I've been working on since taking the course and ask if you have any advice for me, too. The first is from the week on imagery and the second is from the figurative language lessons.

Worn Tires on a Lonely Highway

Classic rock crackles through a bad connection,

Poor enough to annoy but just good enough not to turn off.

He's been driving for hours,

And the deep purple bags under once bright green eyes tell you

He's exhausted.

But the road is long and endless,

Pavement smooth and grey,

Double yellow lines faded to a ghost of a guideline.

It'd be so easy to veer off to the other side,

But he keeps on driving.

The rumble of the engine became your lullaby,

The smell of cheap gas station coffee and

Greasy bacon cheeseburgers from the sketchy diner with broken AC

Your fragrance of choice.

Motel carpets that used to be green are now brown,

So you don't take your shoes off even when you crawl between wrinkled sheets,

But the sound of his snoring still sings you to sleep.

Morning comes early,

And it's back on that lonely highway,

Just the two of you up front and an empty backseat.

Two brothers,

One car,

All the days to keep on fighting.


Lila

She is an angel of the underworld,

Too good for dark but

Too dark for good.

She is lost,

Like a cat that roams the neighborhood streets,

Perching only for a night on wicker porch furniture,

Never staying in one place long enough to watch the sun set and then

Rise on a new day.

She is thirsty,

Parched lips and dry tongue yearning

For the wetness and satisfaction of feeling

Her skin brush that of another

Who knows what it's like to be cold

Even in the thick oppression of August's rays.

She is broken,

Made up of shattered shards of mistakes she

Glued back together but in the wrong places with "what if"s and

"Could have been"s and the

Glittering promise of redemption she chased for years,

Like a mirage on the desert horizon.

Instead of water she found dust

And rust

And lust for a pinch to pull her from this nightmare she mistakenly called

Hope.

She is the hitchhiker on the side of a highway.

She is rain on campfires.

She is the back corner of a garage where you store your

Forgotten notebooks and bicycles with flat tires.

She is a moonless night,

She is melting wax,

She is shame

And blame

And self-inflicted pain,

But most of all,

She is.

What did you think? Is there anything I can do to improve either one of them? If you'd like, you can share some of your poetry in the comments. I'd love to read it!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

March Wrap-Up

Books I Read

Tell Me Three Things by Julie Buxbaum

4/5

I really, really enjoyed this one. I'd read a lot of action-packed stories recently, so a little bit of "fluff" was welcome. It was a fun high school story, but it didn't feel like it lacked any substance. The main character, Jessie, has lost her mother and now has to move across the country with her new step-family. That alone could make for a really heavy book, but the author weaves it in so it just adds layers rather than dwelling on the grief. Something else that sets it apart from other high school stories was the mystery of the anonymous e-mail sender. Mixing that in with the rest of the drama was a nice touch. Everything that happened was a realistic portrayal, I thought. And the frequent texts and e-mails made for a lot of white space that was fun to read. It was the perfect book for me while I was stuck on the couch with a fever.

The Haters by Jesse Andrews

DNF


Gah, I was so hoping I'd like this book better, because I usually love stories focused around music! I just couldn't get past the narrator, Wes. He and his friend Corey annoyed and confused me. Most of their dialogue/narration sounded like they'd taken a big ball of stupid and tried to make it sound like something resembling smart. They failed. I was only able to get about fifty pages in before I gave up. I'm mostly disappointed because I was excited to read what looked like a good YA novel with a male protagonist! A lot of them just end up being mediocre for me because they all sound the same. Where are my quirky or geeky or bookish boys???

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

4/5

This book had all the makings of a five-star read if it had just been formatted a little differently. I loved Julie. I loved her sarcastic narrating style and her friendship with Maddie and how brave she was throughout captivity. But the way she told Maddie's story confused me, especially when she referred to herself in the third person. And Maddie's part was very easy to read, but didn't have as much excitement as Julie's when she talked about what her life was like after being captured. But I absolutely loved their relationship, as well as the ending of the book. There were tears.

Movies I Watched

"Phantom of the Opera"

3.5/5

Great music and production! I had a little less sympathy for the phantom than a lot of people do, but the overall story was interesting. The costumes were amazing, too. After a while a lot of the music sounded the same to me, but I did like it.

"The Bourne Supremacy"

4/5

This one is probably my favorite of the three, but it ended way too fast! The whole trilogy was great and highly recommended.

"Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory"

4/5

I really enjoyed both versions of this story for different reasons. I watched the older version ("Willy Wonka") first. And for a movie made in 1971, it did a pretty good job of holding up to modern standards. The special effects, the acting, even the music was all great considering. My favorite part about this movie in particular was Willy Wonka himself. He was sarcastic and didn't take any of the other four kids' brattiness, but he was also quirky and funny. He reminded me a little bit of any of the Doctors from "Doctor Who," down to the unique outfit and fast talking and magical world that seems bigger on the inside. This movie did have somewhat of an abrupt ending to it, though. Not unsatisfying, but quick. I liked the music in this one much better, too.

"Spectre"

4/5

Not my favorite I've seen so far, but I definitely liked it. It kept me interested, had a great cast (three cheers for Andrew Scott!!), and had me on the edge of my seat more than once, as all James Bond movies should.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"

3.5/5

This was very Tim Burton. It wasn't creepy, necessarily, but definitely a lot darker. Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka was more odd than delightfully quirky. With Gene Wilder, it didn't seem awkward at all when he gave Charlie a great big hug. Johnny Depp always gave off a "don't touch me" vibe. There was something more off and almost cold about him. It wasn't a bad different, I just preferred the other Willy Wonka better. However, this movie had a lot more backstory to it. You get to find out more about Charlie's family (he has a dad in this version, which he didn't in the other), the chocolate factory before it closed down and reopened, where the Oompa Loompas came from and how they came to work for Willy Wonka, and a whole flashback sequences about Willy Wonka's childhood. I liked that aspect a lot. It added more layers to the story. The ending was more complete, too.

"Batman Begins" 

4/5

Even though I'm a Marvel girl through and through, the Batman series is one I can get behind. I couldn't do too many of these darker movies in a row, but I really liked the cast and the story. And everyone needs an Alfred in their lives.

"Little Miss Sunshine"

4/5

Oh my gosh, this movie was great. It's an offbeat Indie film with a totally dysfunctional family. It makes you tear up a little at some parts, but also laugh hysterically at others. Olive is adorable, but every character adds to the fun.

"The Dark Knight" 

4/5

Holy crap, I'd heard about how psycho the Joker is, but seeing him in action is a whole other thing. He definitely stole the show, and the entire movie is a roller coaster of events. I can't wait for the next one.

Quotes I Wrote

Time is fragile. Time is complicated. The past can be changed, yes, but the past is what makes our future. We are who we are because of our battle scars.
-Ms. Holmes

Having a time machine did not make me some sort of ruler over it. I couldn't always manipulate it in the ways I wanted. I wasn't a god. I would never be able to change Mia's fate, but I could change this. I could hold her hand.
-Ms. Holmes

"All right, what happened?" Dawn said. Her arms were crossed over her chest defiantly.
I took a sip of tea to avoid the question. I grimaced. It was pomegranate. I'd never liked fruity teas. "What do you mean?"
"You haven't called Sir Mittens one name in Polish or Portuguese. Something must be wrong."
"Nothing's wrong."
"You filthy liar. Do you think I'm a complete duffer? You may like to think you're some sort of emotionless shell, but I see right through you, Astrid Holmes."
-Ms. Holmes

Obsessions I Acquired

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" - Talk about a quirky show! It has all the best parts of "Galavant" mixed with "Jane the Virgin" and "New Girl." The plot is simple, the characters that you can't help but love (or love to hate) make every episode interesting, and it makes you laugh every other minute. I'm so glad it got renewed.

"Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." - Despite being only two episodes in, I'm hooked. Talk about a fantastic pilot! I already had high expectations just because it's Marvel and Marvel is great, but it surpassed even that. Coulson is the absolute best, and I can already tell some of my favorite characters are going to be Fitz and Simmons.

Picture of the Month


My dad took my brother and me to see the Blue Man Group. It was such a fun show!

 

How was your March?

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Doctors, Detectives, and (Adorable) Dorks, Oh My!

Carly at "Books and Etc." tagged me in the Favorite Screen Characters Tag, and because I'm a huge fan of TV shows/Netflix/binge-watching (second only to being a bookworm), I couldn't resist!

Technically I think the list is supposed to be primarily movie characters, but like Carly, I'll bend the rules a little. ;) Writers are nothing if not rebels. (By doing things like using the Oxford comma even when people say it's wrong. Totally dangerous, amiright? We're practically Batman.)

Actual photo of me as a superhero.

Anyways. Time for a list where I'll try to limit myself to one character per fandom! (In no particular order.)

1. The Doctor from "Doctor Who"


Where to begin with this one? He's a character who spans decades of television history, always changing yet remaining the same familiar alien who brings hope to the world. No matter which regeneration of the Doctor is your favorite, they all share a few things in common. They love with a passion, feel loss deeply, and would do anything to protect the innocent. My personal favorite is the Tenth Doctor--as shown above--who can not only be serious and strike fear in the hearts of creatures such as the Daleks, but can be a total goofball. He's a Time Lord mixed with the best parts of humanity, and the chemistry he has with his companions makes the Doctor Who universe that much more enjoyable.

2. Charlie Bradbury from "Supernatural


Charlie Bradbury is a geek, and the world loves her for it. She's a total quirky fangirl, making Felicia Day the perfect person to play her. Charlie is a bright spot in a dark series, making me laugh in every episode she's in. Within the first two minutes of meeting her, I wanted to be her friend. She's compassionate, sarcastic, and knows just what to do to help the Winchesters out when everything else fails. Oh, and she's a computer hacker with a tragic past. So many layers!

3. Sherlock Holmes from "Sherlock"


There are so many things I could say about Sherlock, but I'll keep it brief. Benedict Cumberbatch's portrayal of this classic character is by far the best I've seen. It's hard to imagine anyone else now when I read the stories or even see the name. Everything we know about him is still part of the character, but with a modern twist. He's aggravating and a know-it-all and sometimes all you want to do is slap him so he'll behave, but you also get to see him soften throughout the series. He's a complex mystery himself, which makes the show so perfect.

4. Sookie St. James from "Gilmore Girls"


A klutzy chef with a sense of humor and is always up for a fun time? Yes please! Bubbly and always giggling, Sookie is the best friend we all want in our lives. She'll drop anything to show up at your door with a plate of homemade cookies when she knows you're having a bad day. Anytime you need cheering up, Sookie's there. She's one of my favorite parts of this show.

5. Severus Snape from the "Harry Potter movies



There are actors you will always see as a certain character, and Alan Rickman will always (see what I did there?) be Snape to me. He brings the character to life on the screen in a way no one else would have been able to. Can you imagine a different actor pulling off his cool "obviously" in the way Alan Rickman did? He was fantastic in all the movies, but the eighth was where he especially got to show off the depths of his character. Sometimes I don't like it when I've seen a movie adaptation and now every time I read the book I see that actor, but I don't mind with Snape. He's exactly how I pictured him.

6. Dr. Horrible/Billy Buddy from "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog"


In just forty-five minutes, Joss Whedon managed to cram buckets of awesomeness in this web-miniseries. Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion, and Felicia Day make up a dream cast. But the root of this geekdom heaven? Dr. Horrible himself. If you've ever seen "Megamind," he reminds me so much of the protagonist in that, too. Dr. Horrible (or Billy Buddy, when he doesn't want to give away his secret identity) is sarcastic (see above), socially-awkward (in the best way possible), and straddles the line between good and evil. His quest is to get into the Evil League of Evil--and yes, that is the actual name--but he's also falling in love with Penny, who couldn't be more good than she already is. She volunteers at a homeless shelter and sees the positive attributes in every single person she meets. If you want to see a little glimpse into Dr. Horrible's personality, just listen to "My Freeze Ray," one of the first songs in the show.


7. Peggy Carter from the Marvel universe


There's no other way to put this really: Peggy Carter is badass. She runs circles around the men who condescend to her and knows how to play to her strengths. Every movie or TV show she appears in is a hundred times better because of it. She's not a side character who gets shoved to the side while the heroes take the spotlight. She is a hero, and an equal, to Captain America and any of the Avengers.

8. Rey from "Star Wars: The Force Awakens"


(Some spoilers ahead.) I am beyond excited to have a female lead in the new Star Wars movies who is as cool as Rey. She's strong, quick on her feet, and anything but a damsel in distress. Watching her wield a lightsaber or use the force (UNTRAINED, might I add) on the big screen was epic. I'm just disappointed we have to wait so long for another movie.

9. Richard Castle from "Castle"


Oh, Castle. There are so many words I could use to describe him: impulsive, witty, protective, caring, childlike, clever, oblivious, optimistic, creative, and many, many more. He's a best-selling mystery author who got permission from the mayor to shadow NYPD homicide detective Kate Beckett. They drive each other crazy, and the playful banter is never lacking, but they actually make a fantastic team. He's always there for the people who need him, even if it's at his own expense, and overall has a great relationship with his mother and daughter.

10. Regina Mills from "Once Upon a Time"


I went from absolutely despising Regina the first couple seasons, to feeling conflicted about her, to loving her. Only a character as complex as this one could do that. She's the evil queen from Snow White, but this show has managed to make her so much more than that. You learn all about her childhood and the events that led up to her becoming a villain, but you also get to see her care for a son in Storybrooke. It's been a roller coaster of a ride getting to watch her turn into something other than your typical Disney villain, but it's been a fun one.

11. Rogelio De La Vega from "Jane the Virgin"


"Jane the Virgin" is a pretty recent discovery (thanks to my mom getting me into it). Rogelio is one of the many reasons why I love it as much as I do. Even though he drove me crazy the first couple of episodes I got to see him, he made me laugh hysterically. To put it in the best light possible, he never lacks confidence in himself. He's a huge telenovela star with a heart as big as his ego. He's very naive about most things, which only adds to the humor of his one-liners as he's unaware he's saying something he shouldn't. And he constantly tweets updates about his life or "New Pants Wednesdays" on the show, which somebody took upon themselves to create in real life. I had a blast going through his account: @RogelioDeLaVega

12. Stiles Stilinski from "Teen Wolf"


Stiles is HILARIOUS. Even during the episodes that are just okay, he's always there to pick up the slack. Dylan O'Brien is great in this role, surprising me with pain and tears when I least expected it. Stiles is a great friend. You can't help but want to give him a hug all the time. And if you need to sneak into a strictly off-limits location in order to save the world, he's the one you want on your side to provide a distraction.

13. Jessica Day from "New Girl"


Simply put, Jess is an adorable dork. Nearly every single thing she does or says is so totally awkward, but she's one of the most lovable characters on TV. She's the kind of person who randomly breaks into song or dance in order to ease the tension in the room. She'd also be the one to adopt the kitten that just keeps coming back to her door or bake cookies for the hungry. She's the character who came up with her own theme song for herself. All around, she makes the perfect sitcom protagonist.

I tag any and all who want to use this tag! Who are your favorite screen characters?