Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Mystery Blogger Award

This tag was created by Okoto Enigma @ Okoto Enigma's Blog. I was tagged by Ivy at "Ivyclad Ideas." Thanks for the nomination!

The Rules

Put the award logo/image on your blog.
List the rules.
Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well.
Tell your readers 3 things about yourself.
You have to nominate 10-20 people.
Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog.
Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify).
Share a link to your best post(s).

Three Things About Me

1. I organize my bookshelf somewhat by genre, but mostly by mood, if that makes sense. So paranormal, mysteries, and thrillers might all get lumped together for a "dark" section. It makes it very handy in deciding what I should read next since I can match my mood to my shelf!

2. My dream theatre role is Eponine from "Les Misérables."

3. I wear fandom t-shirts to any kind of social event or summer camp if I don't know many people there and want to make new friends.

Ivy's Questions

1. Can you draw?

Can I? Yes. Do I? Not usually. Am I very good? Nope, not at all.

2. Do you like any specific type of non-fiction?

Memoirs! They tend to be informally written, funny, and full of voice. It's hard to keep my attention with non-fiction, but that's a genre I can get behind.

3. Do you prefer animated shows or live-action shows?

Definitely live-action. I feel way more connected to the stories and the characters. Plus, some animation styles freak me out (like claymation *shudders*).

4. Would you survive a zombie apocalypse?

I would like to think I could, and I do when I daydream, but in reality, I'd probably die. Although all of my "training" from books and movies would allow me to survive a little bit longer. I wouldn't die in the first wave, at least.

5. What animal would you be and why? (Designated weird question™)

A baby elephant! Fun-loving and klutzy as hell.

My Questions

1. If you could live in any one fictional world, what would it be?
2. What is your favorite classic fairy tale and why?
3. If you could be fearless for a day, what would you do?
4. Cats or dogs? Coffee or tea? Early riser or night owl?
5. What article of clothing seems to best fit your personality? (Designated weird question™)

My Best Post

This was a tricky one for me to pick, but the blog posts I had the most fun writing and received pretty good responses are as follows:

"The Importance of Fan-Fiction"
"On Writing Endings"
"What Makes a Great Fictional Romance?"

I tag . . .

Any and all who wish to participate! All too often I see bloggers sheepishly admitting that they "stole" a tag, so here's a way to do a tag without having to steal it and admit your deepest, darkest secrets. ;)

Feel free to answer some or all of the questions in the comments!

Monday, February 12, 2018

Rip it or Ship it?

The "Rip it or Ship it?" book tag was created by emmmabooks, and since I was looking for a fun OTP-themed blog post for Valentine's Day, I couldn't pass this one up.

For those who aren't familiar with the tag, the concept of "Rip it or Ship it?" is to mix up a bunch of different names from book characters, randomly select two of them, and smush them together to create a couple. These characters can be (and should be, if you want to make it especially interesting) from different series/book worlds. If you think the two characters would work as a couple, you "ship it." If you think they'll go down in flames, you "rip it."***

***Please note that I don't condone ripping books in any way, shape, or form.

I've picked 10 different combinations of characters (some good, some bad, some so very bad that they're laughable), so . . .

1. Diana Prince from Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Linh Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles.

Amazon warrior + cyborg mechanic. Both of them are fiercely loyal to their friends, have a natural ability to lead, and strive to do what's right for the good of their people. Where Diana tends toward the more adventurous side of things, Cinder is generally more careful and calculated. Like with most of my favorite ships, these two are similar in lots of ways, but complement each other with their opposites. My conclusion:

2. Dolores Umbridge from Harry Potter and Jace Wayland from The Mortal Instruments

The most despicable of evil and condescending teachers at Hogwarts + angsty, muscular, demon hunter . . .

3. Inej Ghafa from Six of Crows and Tris Prior from Divergent

I can definitely see Inej fitting in with the Dauntless crowd, seeing as she's pretty much the tiniest and most terrifying acrobat you're likely to meet. Also, Tris has a strong set of morals, just like Inej. As for the chemistry, well . . . I suppose it could work? Maybe??

4. Neville Longbottom from Harry Potter and Isabelle Lightwood from The Mortal Instruments

Isabelle would completely intimidate Neville for a long time. In fact, Izzy would probably be the one to make the first move. She seems harsh at first, but underneath that callused exterior, she's kind and protective. And, as evidenced by the rabid Simon/Isabelle shippers, she works well with the sweet and dorky underdogs. I think Neville would benefit from someone with so much confidence who could push him to stand up for himself and go after things in life.

5. Cath Avery from Fangirl and Simon Snow from Carry On

I swear I didn't plan this.

As perfect as it would be for Cath, the biggest Simon Snow fan in the universe, to end up with Simon Snow himself, I think even Cath would be opposed to the pairing, seeing as she's dedicated most of her life to the idea that Simon and Baz were somehow going to end up together. Sadly, I have to do this:

6. Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games and Nina Zenik from Six of Crows

Um, he makes delicious baked goods and she's obsessed with waffles and various tasty pastries. They could grow old together in a cozy little bakery, feasting on waffles and bread. It doesn't get much better than that.

7. Henry "Monty" Montague from The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and Carswell Thorne from The Lunar Chronicles

I've been cracking up over my keyboard for the past few minutes imagining Monty and Thorne's inevitable meet-cute: they constantly try to one-up each other with their dashing good looks and charm with the ladies, but in their ridiculous competition end up falling for each other instead.

8. Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter and Reid from The Upside of Unrequited

This is a tricky one. On the one hand, Luna and Reid are both outcasts in their social circles, but for different reasons, so they'd probably find some common ground in that. On the other hand, while I find them both adorable, they're adorable in totally different ways. I'm not sure Luna's brand of weird and Reid's would necessarily mesh. So . . .

9. Augustus Waters from The Fault In Our Stars and AIDAN from The Illuminae Files

Nope. Nope, nope, nope, nope, nope.

10. Simon Spier from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and Harry Potter from Harry Potter

Again . . . did not plan this.

I think I have to go with this one just so I can indulge Simon's Harry Potter fantasies.

Your turn to play! Pick two characters randomly (out of a hat, from a generator, or from the first two books you spot on your bookshelf) and tell me if you would "rip it" or "ship it." Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 2, 2018

January Wrap-Up

1st wrap-up post of the year! I'd love to feel more excited about it, but January was kind of a bummer month for reading. Movies were a little better, though, so that helped. I'm hoping this means I had to do a sort of reading detox or something and get all the bad ones out of my system so I can pick up better books next month. *crosses fingers*

Books I Read

Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed


Why, whyyy wasn't this better??? It had all the makings of a super good book, but somehow turned out to be a predictable, cliché, boring romance. It wasn't interesting, the stakes weren't high, and the hype that surrounded this book was largely because it handles Islamophobia, but it barely even touched the topic! This book could have been the next The Hate U Give, but it didn't even come close to being that good. The writing wasn't great and the dialogue was awkward. The whole thing just felt super surface level and too easy. If the author had dug a little deeper, it could've been a masterpiece, but it was just fluffy, and not everything in it was supposed to be fluffy. There was a really big focus on Indian culture, which I found to be refreshingly diverse and interesting. It made for great family dynamics and perspectives on how to straddle two cultures. But otherwise? Meh. Read my review HERE.

Everless by Sara Holland


Another hyped up book that fell flat! I had really bad luck in the ARC department, it seems. It had a very cool premise (you can turn your blood into currency and those coins can then be consumed to add years to your life) and I loved the creativity that went into the world building and legends. Ultimately, that's what made the story unique and worth reading, because otherwise it read like any other fantasy. The protagonist was bland and the romance was laughable. Instalove everywhere. The plot twists could have been great, but they were confusing and sloppy in execution. I probably won't read the sequels, but it was entertaining while it lasted and a fresh take on fantasy worlds. Read my review HERE.

How to Make a Wish by Ashley Herring Blake


Yay for diversity! Yay for bisexual/lesbian rep and interracial couples! The romance in this was so sweet and innocent and addictive. I loved it. The focus on families and mother-daughter relationships was really nice, too, especially since there were so many different kinds of family relationships portrayed in the story. The author handled some tricky topics in the perfect way, which is not easy to do. The negatives for me were: 1. The ending was a little too neat and perfect for the situation the characters were in. It didn't strike me as realistic at all and some truly horrible behavior was excused as "just another mistake." 2. The writing was just okay and 3. The middle kind of dragged.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab


I so, so wanted to like this more than I did, to the point where I found myself saying "this has to be better than I think it is." It seems like every single person on the planet loves this book and Victoria Schwab, but I was underwhelmed. The story started off with a bang, but it went downhill from there. I was under the impression that I was supposed to be rooting for Victor as an antihero, but then he became darker and more villainous. By the time I was around the 50% mark, the plot started dragging. Where before the dual timeline plots were cool and interesting, the flashbacks quickly became repetitive. Sydney and her dog were the only characters I could feel sympathetic toward, but something about the writing style made me very detached from everyone in the story. I loved the premise, but the beginning was way better than the end. At that point, I just wanted to finish reading so I could move on to something else. I also found it strange that this was categorized as adult. Other than the ages of the characters, everything about it read like a YA novel. Maybe I read the wrong Schwab book? Though the favorable Goodreads rating seems to indicate otherwise. Maybe it's just me.

Movies I Watched

"The Family Stone"


A funny story about a quirky family! A lot of the characters turned out to be kind of horrible people and some of the plot twists were predictable, but I enjoyed it otherwise.

"Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle"


I didn't expect much out of this movie, but because I had low expectations, it ended up being a lot more entertaining than I thought. I watched it mostly because the trailer was hilarious and the cast was great, but I also liked the nostalgia factor since "Jumanji" was my movie of choice when I was younger whenever I was sick and needed something to distract me. The remake keeps very little of the original "Jumanji" movie, though (basically just the fact that characters get sucked into a game, but also the iconic drumbeat). And, as with any action blockbuster, some things were undeniably cheesy and way too perfect. But hey, I had fun.

"Must Love Dogs"


EXCUSE ME, GOOD SIR, BUT WHERE WERE THE DOGS. They were there for mayyybe 0.8 seconds, but then they were gone. I literally chose this movie over another one because I thought I'd be getting a heck of a lot more dogs than I got. I feel so betrayed. False advertising! Horrible marketing!

(All right, the romance was kind of cute, but also suuuper cheesy. And I mean cheesy even for a rom-com.)

"The Post"


I felt pretty confused for a good chunk of the movie, but you catch on quickly after that. I don't think it's an accident that this movie is coming out now. The timing is excellent. Even though, historically, I knew what would happen, I still felt like I was on the edge of my seat. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep were great, as always. Highly recommend.

"Lady Bird"


I would've given this 5/5 stars if I were just judging it by the first 3/4 of the movie. It has everything that's so wonderful about quirky Indie movies. Saorise Ronan is great at everything (and did a much better job of disguising her accent than she did way back during "The Host") and Laurie Metcalf made a great mean mother. It was really funny, too! However, the ending seemed to come out of nowhere and fell really flat for me. It left a sour taste in my mouth that didn't match the rest of the movie. I was expecting the story to go somewhere it didn't, and the direction it did go felt out of place.

"The Reader"


I wasn't sure what to think about this even hours after I had finished it. Ultimately, I think that was the point. The movie takes an almost dangerously neutral stance on every topic it covered, including some pretty heinous Nazi war crimes. But, as I said before, I think that was the point since it wasn't the kind of movie that told you what to think but instead displayed all the facts in an unbiased manner so the viewer could make up their own mind. The acting was incredible, so I can definitely see what Kate Winslet got an Oscar for her role. There were a lot of touching moments, as well as supremely uncomfortable ones and heartwrenching scenes. I'm not sure how else to describe it, but I would recommend it. It's heavy, though, so save it for a day that isn't already gloomy!

Quotes I Wrote

Me right now trying to pretend like I'm being super productive and enjoying every single minute of the rewriting process:

Sooooo . . . yeah, no quotes to report.

Obsessions I Acquired

"How to Get Away with Murder" - So I may or may not have binged every episode in, like, a week and a half. The details aren't important. What is important to note is that this show is completely and utterly addictive. I did like the first two seasons better than the later ones, but it's still a great show. Somehow I'm not bothered by the fact that almost every single character is unlikable in one way or another. Except for Oliver. Never change, Oliver.

Jesse the Reader's YouTube channel - I discovered Jesse kind of by accident, because I don't usually watch YouTubers, but I got distracted on Twitter by an EpicReads video about upcoming movie adaptations. Jesse was theYouTuber involved and 20 minutes later, I was still watching suggested videos in which he was featured. He's so funny! And his videos are a great reward for getting some homework done since they're usually around six or seven minutes. 

Pictures of the Month 

FINALLY GOT MY LICENSE!!! After one failed attempt, I passed with flying colors the second time. Take that, stupid parallel parking!

Max and I were both finalists in a poetry contest! I somehow ended up snagging the first place prize, which was a great surprise. Here are all the winners posing for a picture.

My family took TJ to see "Something Rotten" for his birthday and we all loved it!
Because every wrap-up post needs a picture of Scout in it.

How was your January?