Sunday, December 6, 2015

October/November Wrap-Up


Books I Read

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas


This book just confirms my theory that Sarah J. Maas is a genius. It's hard to even describe just how much I'm loving this series without using all caps and saying things like, "OMG I CAN'T." But OMG I CAN'T. The characters, gah, she does such a good job of simultaneously making you love them and also want to smack them upside the head. Several times. I adore Calaena (even if I can never spell her name right the first--or second--time), and I ship her and Chaol so hard. This book also brings you pain, and lots of it. Always a plus. *she says sarcastically as she tosses her heart into a blender to rid herself of this pain* Also the cover is sooo pretty.

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh


(Apparently books with "midnight" in the title looked good to me this month.) This reminded me a lot of Paper Towns if Paper Towns were urban fantasy. It's a very unique premise and story world, so I was drawn in right away. The set up was a little slower than I would've liked, but the end was nothing but action and plot twists. I liked the characters well enough, but if you're looking for a book with fantastic characters that stay with you forever, this is definitely not the one for you. I loved the plot the whole way through because it stayed mostly consistent, but had enough twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your seat. It was a great "read-it-in-a-few-days" kind of book, something fun and magical. I wouldn't reread it or anything, but it was a week of reading well spent.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


Meh. The story was interesting enough, but verrry slow. And wordy. I skimmed a lot of it. But hey, it's a classic, and I'm glad I've read it now.

Movies I Watched

"Damn Yankees"


Read my review HERE. I've been wanting to watch more musicals in general, so this was a good one to start out with. There wasn't a super complicated plot or anything that was hard to follow, but the music was fun, as well as the story. The songs are extremely catchy. I also really liked the Applegate character. There was something quirky about him that reminded me of Crowly from "Supernatural," and he made me laugh a few times. I took a couple points off for the cheese factor (granted, it's bound to happen with most musicals), but for the most part it was really good.

"Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog"


So. Good. It basically has a dream cast (Felicia Day, Nathan Fillion, and Neil Patrick Harris all in the same movie?!) and the songs are brilliant. And the story. Basically everything is awesome. And it's Joss Whedon, so be prepared for both laughter and tears! It's like "Megamind" if Joss Whedon had been in charge of it.

"The Court Jester"


Read my review HERE. A lot of people say that this movie is a musical, but there were very few songs in it, maybe three total. But the story itself was really good and funny, and the main character in particular was great. He had a lot of slapstick but clever comedy. It gave off a "Princess Bride" or "Galavant" (Which by the way is coming back for season 2! My whole family is so excited.) kind of vibe. It's fairly old (it was released in 1956), but you don't really notice it like you do with other movies. The acting was actually pretty good, and there weren't any big special effects that just made you laugh at how bad it was. I really enjoyed it. It was light, fluffy, and funny.

 "Casino Royale" 


This movie was great! It was my first James Bond and I'm excited to watch more. Constant edge-of-your-seat action with some truly awesome stunts (the first twenty minutes or so had me absolutely glued to the screen), and the tricks he plays on the bad guys reminded me of the heists in "Ocean's Eleven."

"The Wiz"


Read my review HERE. I don't use a one-star rating often, but this was just cringe-worthy. Everything was melodramatic, inconsistent, or just plain bad. The story is pretty much entirely the same as "The Wizard of Oz" (which is a musical I only like okay), except it's far more depressing. The setting always seems to be dark and gray and rundown, the buildings are abandoned or look like factories, and there's trash everywhere. The songs are also mediocre at best with lyrics capable of being written by an eight-year-old. The choreography was repetitive throughout the entire movie, and the acting was extremely bad. My brother and I laughed out loud several times, but only because something was so cheesy. Most of the time we were groaning or fast-forwarding through songs that never ended. If something deserved only thirty seconds of attention, it lasted for a good five minutes. And scenes that should've been dragged out for dramatic effect were over in the blink of an eye. (Note: This is a review for the original movie not the live performance!)



So a small theater in our area showed a live broadcast of "Hamlet" starring Benedict freaking Cumberbatch on the London stage. It was phenomenal. It was word for word from the original play, except the costumes and sets were designed to be more modern, which was pretty cool. Cumberbatch is one of my favorite current actors, hands down. You could hand him any role and he could play it fabulously.

"Singing In the Rain"


This was a fun one! It had good music, simple plot, and even a couple laugh-out-loud moments. I'm happy I watched a classic like this.

Obsessions I Acquired

Society6 - This is such an addictive site! I had to exercise a lot of self-control when browsing it, because there are so many awesome geeky t-shirts and mugs and pillows and posters and anything you could imagine, really. I got myself a few fangirly/bookish things that I really love, though . . .

I put this up in my reading nook with my fuzzy blanket and funky multicolored light.
"Dr. Horrible's Singalong Blog" soundtrack - Especially "My Freeze Ray," "My Eyes," and "So They Say." Again, the music from that movie is brilliant! It's funny and clever and catchy, all at the same time. Seriously, just listen to these few below. Or better yet, just watch the whole thing yourself on YouTube! Or both.

"Broadchurch" - Two words: David Tennant. Basically anything he's in I want to watch because I know it'll be good. And this series absolutely is! It's a murder mystery detective show set in a small beach town in England. David Tennant's character, Alec Hardy, is very different from the Doctor. He's far more cynical and, of course, Scottish. (His accent is super cool.) There are only eight episodes in each season, so it's a quick watch. Season 2 just got added to Netflix a couple days ago, too! And I may or may not have binge-watched the entire season the day it got added . . . *totally did*

"iZombie" - I didn't have high hopes for this show, to be honest. The commercials I'd seen on TV didn't appeal to me until I saw that it was another Rob Thomas creation and a couple friends had recommended it. I was pleasantly surprised. It's about zombies, but it's not your typical paranormal show. It's almost like it's another "Veronica Mars" show with a quirky zombie twist. I love the main characters, too, especially Ravi. Ravi's the best.

"Jane the Virgin" - Thanks for the suggestion, Mom! One of the best shows I've seen in a while. It's so addictive and absolutely insane. There's a plot twist every ten minutes, a cliffhanger in each episode, and characters you absolutely love (including the off screen-narrator!). It's clever in every way. I highly recommend it.

Quotes I Wrote 

Apparently I'd totally forgotten this section a couple times . . . oops. Fixing that now!

The silence passed uncomfortably, Jordan scrubbing at the dishes, Lila petting Toni’s head while squirming in her seat. She was bursting at the seams with words unspoken, but there were far too many sitting in a jumbled mess for her to make any sense of them. She had no idea where to start.
“You could start at the beginning,” Jordan suggested, as if he’d read her mind, when in reality it was just seven years of friendship. Well, if you counted the two years they’d been apart.
“It’s not that easy.”
Jordan shrugged and dried his hands on a dishtowel, leaning against the counter as Toni trotted over to him. Her nails clicked on the tile floor and she rubbed against his legs like a cat might. “It’s never as complicated as it seems once you start talking.”
Lila bit her lower lip and continued to wring her hands in her lap. “I still feel awful about it.”
“I forgave you the day you left.”
“You shouldn’t have.”
“Too bad.”
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Jordan sighed heavily and stood back up, apparently resolving himself to the fact that he wouldn't be getting anything else out of her tonight. “Can you promise me something?”
“Depends on what it is.”
He leaned against the door, one hand on the doorknob. “Don't mistake Toni and Lizzy as some kind of replacement. My relationships with them are completely different from mine with you.”
At this, she was able to somewhat deflect the conversation with a smirk and an, “Oh I've noticed.”
“What's that supposed to mean?”
She shrugged and examined her nails, tone breezy, casual, because she knew this would aggravate him even more. “Well your aura was especially bright once Toni sat down next to you.”
He sputtered for a couple seconds, then finally said, “You know, sometimes your attention to detail drives me crazy.”
“Always happy to help.” 
-'Til the Last Star Dies

Lila motioned to her with a long-fingered hand. Artist’s hands, Melody found herself thinking. Her hands looked the part of a witch, like they could create something out of thin air, something magical.
-'Til the Last Star Dies  

Picture of the Month

Astrid Holmes, the protagonist in my most recent NaNoWriMo novel, Ms. Holmes. You can read more about her and the book with the "Ms. Holmes" tag on my blog. Click HERE to look through it!

How was your October?


Books I Read

The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allen Poe


Like Sleepy Hollow, this one was a little wordy with no real purpose to be. It kind of muddled the rest of the story, which I liked. It reminded me a lot of a Sherlock Holmes story.

Movies I Watched

"The Martian"


This met all of my expectations! It really stuck to the book for the most part, which I appreciated, and kept my attention the entire time. It's not an action movie necessarily, but it certainly had its intense moments, even for someone like me who knew what was coming. I did like the ending to the movie better than the book, because I feel like the book ending was a little rushed. I appreciated a bit more resolution.

"Tangled" (a rewatch)


It had been a while since I'd seen this movie, but I loved it. Rapunzel and Flynn are adorable, the movie was cute and funny, and the music is great. I'd watch it again.

"Les Misérables"


I LOVED THIS. My favorite musical, hands down. I cried at the end and had the songs stuck in my head for weeks. The story was so emotional and compelling, and just the whole thing was incredible. The acting, the singing, all of it. Anne Hathaway did an especially good job considering she was only in it for a short amount of time.

"Mockingjay: Part 2"


The perfect conclusion to the movie series, I think. I loved seeing the direct quotations from the book at the end. Jennifer Lawrence was great, as always, as were all of her co-stars. Josh Hutcherson only got better as the series went on. I did cry. A lot. But that was to be expected.



Read my review HERE. Out of all the musicals I've watched so far, this definitely makes my top three. It's such a simple plot, more of a glimpse into a musician's every day life than a movie. It very much focuses on the characters and the music, which I liked. And the music is fantastic, and very Indie. My favorite song from it is one you've probably heard, "Falling Slowly," but every song in it is so good. The accents are also very cool! A little hard to understand at times since they're so thick, but I love hearing accents from different countries. I won't give anything away, but I really liked the ending, too. It's not your typical Hollywood ending.

"The Nightmare Before Christmas" 


Read my review HERE. This is a fun movie with extremely catchy songs. It's great to watch around Christmas time, but I also think it's a good Halloween movie. I'm not always a huge fan of claymation, but this was done pretty well. The plot was pretty simple and family friendly, the "creepiness" way toned down. It's more goofy than it is scary. The only reason I took a couple points off was because I didn't feel like I got to know the characters that well and I didn't believe the chemistry between Jack and Sally. Otherwise it was very enjoyable.

Obsessions I Acquired

The music from "Les Misérables" - As I mentioned before, I loved the music. It's nearly impossible to pick a favorite, but I do think it would be "One Day More" at the end of "Act 1" when all of the different songs come together to make one epic performance. It gave me chills.

"The 100" - It's been a great couple of months for me as far as TV shows go. It only took me a couple episodes to get into and then I was hooked. The characters and their dynamics are really what make the show. I love Clarke, Finn, Bellamy, Octavia, Kane, and so many others. And there are also characters I love to despise, and characters who are seemingly evil who surprise you. The survival aspect of it all is really fun to watch, too, especially since that's what I love to write a lot of the time. It reminded me a lot of my 2013 NaNoWriMo novel, actually, Flightless Birds. There's even a character named Raven who looks almost exactly like my protagonist!

Quotes I Wrote

As promised, there will be lots and lots of quotes from Ms. Holmes here!

I looked over my shoulder at her, eyebrows furrowed. “Blimey, you ask a lot of questions.”
Dawn shrugged now, lips twitching as if she weren’t sure whether or not to smile. “I’m a journalist, it’s what we do. Just answer.”
“Isn’t the person conducting the interview supposed to be the one actually, you know, interviewing the other?”
“Not if you’re in an interview with me. So what make you such a horrible flatmate?”
I flipped through an old and faded notebook, not paying her much attention as I had other thoughts flicking through my mind one after the other. There were more important things to focus on. “I’m insufferable.”
“Your words or others’?”
And to my surprise, Dawn flashed me a wide grin. Almost every tooth was showing, and there was a kind of mischievous twinkle in her eyes, the sort you’d see in a toddler or a cat. I opened my mouth to say something, but Dawn beat me to it.
“Well then, we’ll make a great team, won’t we?”
“Yes,” I murmured, more to myself than her, and set the notebook down. “I suppose we will.”
-Ms. Holmes

“Do you have something against people, Astrid, or just me?” Dawn suddenly snapped.
I blinked a couple times, too deeply focused on the device I was holding to give much thought to the answer. “I have nothing against people, but I have everything against idiots.”
Dawn laughed, but it was cold and humorless. Her smile didn’t meet her eyes. She was clearly offended, indignant. I ignored her and fiddled with one of the screws in the metallic glove-like gadget once I’d plopped back into my armchair.
“Excuse me?” She said, astounded.
Thinking maybe she hadn’t heard me right, I repeated, “I have everything against idiots.”
“Did you just call me an idiot?”
“No, I haven’t made up my mind about you yet.” I stuck my tongue between my teeth in concentration as I hunched more over the glove, sweat causing the screwdriver to slip against my palm. The fire I was sitting by had died down to embers, but it was still giving off an uncomfortable amount of heat. “So far you’re just annoying. Put the fire out, won’t you?”
-Ms. Holmes

Créature immonde,” I grumbled under my breath at it when it [the cat] came creeping back into the living room to lay under the armchair, staring me down with a murderous look in its eyes. I wouldn't put it past it to try to suffocate me as I slept, which is why I kept the door closed now.
“Astrid,” Dawn said in a warning tone as she passed through the living room, eyebrows raised in my direction. “What have I said about the way you talk to Sir Mittens?”
“It can't understand me,” I insisted, still casting the cat a dirty look.
He,” Dawn corrected me as she rifled through her messenger back. “And it's not about what you say, it's the tone you use. Whether you speak in English, French, German, or Japanese, the tone is still the same. It's not good for his behavior, he'll start to act up.”
“He's already acting up!” But Dawn cast me a look, and I grumbled, glancing away. “Fine, fine, I'll watch my tone . . .”
-Ms. Holmes

“I'm tired of people using me!” I snapped, standing suddenly and storming over to the window to look outside at the passersby so I wouldn't have to look at him. “I knew there was a reason she was being kind, there's always something. Nobody's ever friendly with someone just for the sake of being nice. People are rarely so selfless.”
“You don't mean that,” Mr. Hudson said gently, though he remained standing where he was. “When has Ms. Lestrade ever used you like that? When have I?”
I flapped a hand dismissively in his direction. “Natalie isn't friendly, she's civil. We have a work relationship, that's it.” I gave him a little sideways grin, glancing over. “And you're an anomaly.”
Mr. Hudson chuckled. “I'll take that as a compliment.”
“Please do.”
-Ms. Holmes

“Are you sure this is safe?” Dawn asked as we headed down the streets that were second nature to us both, our feet carrying us to our destination without us even having to think about it.
At that, I grinned. “No.”
What thrilled me even more was the fact that Dawn grinned back.
-Ms. Holmes

I sighed and shook my head. “Dawn, it's not true. I know it isn't.”
“She said my enemies were hidden amongst my friends.”
“Your point?”
I rolled my eyes over to her, a bored and aggravated look on my face. “Dawn, I don't have friends.”
She looked taken aback by this, though I couldn't imagine why as it wasn't exactly a hidden fact. It was well known, by everyone. It was not something to be pitied, in fact, I prided myself on it. I didn't have friends. And wasn't it glorious?
All Dawn did was stuff her hands in her coat pockets and watch her shoes as we continued walking out of the station and down the streets, mumbling, “Right. Sure you don't.”
-Ms. Holmes

“Lies, Astrid,” she sighed heavily, in that same high-pitched tone Sahara had used back at the flat, though hers trembled more. She was excited. “You may not realize it yet, but you fool no one but yourself.” She leaned forward to whisper into my ear, barely an inch away from me, but I stood as still as I could. “Caring is nothing but weakness and pain. Love is a myth until you find the single person who can walk the same earth as you, follow the same path, and not get lost. Have you found that person yet?”
I stayed silent. I figured saying nothing at all was better than snapping and saying something I’d regret. My actions could have a negative effect on both Dawn and myself now.
“No?” Faye leaned back, turned on her heel, boots clicking against the concrete as she strode away. “Pity. Come on then.”
-Ms. Holmes

“A man is going to die, Astrid! Why don’t you care?”
I shrugged, folding my hands in my lap. “Why should I?”
Dawn gaped at me as if I’d slapped her across the face, like I’d personally offended her. Then, very slowly, she took a step back. It took me a second to register the look on her face, because it was one I’d never seen there. One I didn’t think I’d ever see there, not directed at me. Not from Dawn. Repulsion.
“What happened to you? What made you this way?”
I stood up from the chair and walked to the window, glancing out at the perpetually overcast sky, the rain sliding down the glass between the stuffy flat and the frigid outside. It was the best way to hide my face. “What’s the point of caring, Dawn? What good is it to love something only to have it blown away like dust? All things die. All things end. All we can do is try to minimize the agony of breathing.”
“And what’s the point of living if you don’t feel?” Dawn shot back, clearly meant to be an indignant snap, though her voice shook as she spoke.
 “I feel plenty!” Turning my head toward her in time to see her take another step back made my stomach churn, but I couldn’t stop myself now. My eyes burned with the tears I’d repressed for years, everything I’d kept quiet for my own sake. To minimize the agony. “And I’m under no obligation to tell you about any of it. You aren’t my therapist, Dawn, and I don’t need one. Now shut the hell up, I can’t hear myself think.”
I kept my gaze fixed upon the tree curving elegantly in the wind outside, but I could still hear Dawn mutter darkly under her breath. I heard her shoes scuff against the floor as she snatched up her coat with an angry fwish noise. The slam of the door caused the ground to vibrate underneath my feet. Within seconds, her bristling form could be seen passing underneath the branches of the tree. I looked away.
-Ms. Holmes

Picture of the Month

My friend Charlie (who I talked a little bit about HERE) and me goofing off together.

How was your November?


Boquinha said...

It should be noted that I LOVE "Jane the Virgin." :P

Especially love your 3rd "'Til The Last Star Dies" quote.

Also, I love the Ms. Holmes quotes! It looks so good!!

And that picture of you and Charlie is great. So funny.

Ella @ Once Upon a Bookish Time said...

Omg! YOU'VE WATCHED BROADCHURCH! I legit just finished binge watching both series with my Mum a couple of nights ago and I'm STILL rolling around quietly crying that it's over and season 3 isn't going to be around for yonks!! *dies slowly and miserably* X'((( I adored the first season but season 2 was just SO mindblowingly good...I HAVE NO WORDS. NO WORRRRDS. It was just so powerful and the court room scenes WERE ASDFGHJKL. Ammaaaaaazing!! *dies again*

David Tennant's accent is HEAVENLY. And his acting was so good in here! Although my favourite character would have to be Ellie because she was seriously the most awesome person OF EVER. Olivia Colman is such an amazing actress. :')

The Magic Violinist said...

@Boquinha Never could've guessed. :P

Thank you!

Thanks, I'm really excited about that!

I love it, too.


YES I DO AND I LOVE IT. But oh my gosh, I'm with you about the waiting. Hiatus is the WORST. Those actors are amazing and the writing is brilliant. Basically every bit of it is fantastic. And the seasons are just too easy to binge-watch in a day because there aren't that many episodes!!

Isn't it, though?! I love Ellie. :) I don't know if I have a favorite character, but I adore those two.