Friday, April 13, 2018

The Anything but Books Tag

Engie at "Musings from Neville's Navel" tagged me for this, and since I tend to keep things very bookish around here, I thought it'd be a nice break to do something new. Enjoy!

What is a cartoon you love?

I don't keep up on many animated shows, so I'm going to start off the tag right by cheating a little and saying that the "Scooby-Doo"/"Supernatural" crossover episode is a cartoon that I love. The episode was hilarious and oh-so-clever.

What is your favorite song right now?

I hate picking favorites sometimes because I have favorite songs in all kinds of different genres, so it's impossible to pick just one. However, my favorite song right now is probably "Found Tonight" by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Ben Platt. It's definitely been my most played song for the past month. I've also been constantly humming/singing "Hook's Waltz" from "Peter Pan," but that's because it's been in my head since we last rehearsed it.

What is something you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I feel like I'm a pretty predictable person, so I'm not sure I'll be able to answer this one well. I'm not generally an artsy/crafty person when it comes to doing things with my hands, but some relaxing activities I like to do while listening to an audiobook or watching reruns of a favorite TV show include coloring, cross-stitch, and making friendship bracelets. (Which reminds me, I need to continue working on my Ravenclaw cross-stitching project I temporarily abandoned . . .)

What is your unnecessarily specific thing to learn about?

Ever since getting into musical theatre, I love doing background research on any actors I'm currently obsessed with so I can track down soundtracks from other shows they've been in. I also have these sudden bursts of obsession with "Les Mis" where for a week I won't listen to anything else, and when I get into that mood, I like to listen to various cast albums and compare the songs in each one.

This is my favorite version of "One Day More" that I've heard (so far).

I stumbled across this video in my hunt for the previous one and WOW, what a performance! The whole thing is incredible, but the last four-ish minutes are especially amazing when four different Valjeans come out to sing "Bring Him Home."

What is something unusual you know how to do?

My go-to party trick is freaking people out by turning one foot completely backwards while keeping the other facing forwards. It never fails to make people squeal or shriek. I also have a knack for memorizing ridiculously long WiFi codes whenever my family stays at a beach house on vacation. I think it came from not wanting to track down the piece of paper every time somebody else needed to log in with their phone or laptop. (For example, I still remember the WiFi code from a beach house we stayed in four or five years ago: 47CC3B0068DDB874. Don't ask me how.)

Name something you’ve made in the last year.

Scrapbooks! I haven't made many recently, but I got really into scrapbooking for a little while and made some for friends and family. I especially liked any scrapbooks I made that involved pictures of my cute dog.

What is your most recent personal project?

I'm not really sure what to make of this question, so I'll just go ahead and say my April poetry challenge. Since April is National Poetry Month and also Camp NaNoWriMo, I decided I'd challenge myself to write one poem each day of the month (technically I decided on April 3rd and then had to catch up so I wouldn't already start so behind, but it all worked out in the end). It's a nice way to keep myself writing during a busy school and theater season.

Here's a little snippet of what I've been working on.

Tell us something you think about often.

You have no idea how hard it is to give an answer that isn't book related . . .

The future? I think that's a pretty natural thing to think/wonder about. I don't think about it in a stressful way, but more in an "I wonder what I'll be doing in five years" or "Imagine if I ended up going into this career" sort of way.

Give us something that’s your favorite, but make it oddly specific.

My favorite kinds of socks are knee-high socks that have a fun design and are stretchy enough to not be suffocatingly tight.

Tag, you're it! Answer the questions for your own blog post or answer some in the comments. :)

Monday, April 2, 2018

March Wrap-Up

For some reason, I feel like March wasn't a very productive reading month, but my Goodreads reading goal suggests otherwise. My perception of time is all off lately. Maybe March was some kind of weird time black hole.

Books I Read

Lord of the Flies by William Golding


This is the first classic I picked to read for my New Year's resolution (read 6 classics of my choice by the end of the year) and I liked it more than I was expecting to. Once I got past the first chapter or so, the story drew me in. It's not a happy book by any means, and I disliked just about every character, but it was exciting, to say the least. It was a fascinating (if disgusting) look at how violent humans can be if left to their own devices.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston


I listened to the audiobook on a whim because I'd just downloaded Hoopla and wanted to test it out. It was a fast, fun, cute book and gave me something to do while I drove to school. Some of the book struck me as cliché and unrealistic, but then again, it's a fairytale retelling, so it was bound to have those fairytale qualities. I always love books that talk about the importance of fandom and the community you can find within a beloved TV show. If you're looking for something to give you the warm-fuzzies, try this book.

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


As far as characters go, I felt more connected to the ones in Illuminae, which made Gemina feel a little longer, but the action in this sure made up for it. I felt on edge with each page turn. And WOW those plot twists! Though some parts of it were super confusing, the ending was satisfying and the perfect conclusion for a whirlwind of a book. I'm exciting to pick up Obsidio.

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir by Jennifer Ryan


It took me a while to get into this one, but once it got going, it was a nice book to pick up before bed. It was cozy and character-driven, which are some of my favorite aspects of a story. One thing that prevented me from rating this higher was the fact that I couldn't stand one of the characters whose perspective I was forced to read every twenty pages or so, which is the curse of most multiple POV books. I didn't like her, she didn't change at all throughout the book, and I didn't think her plot line really wrapped up by the end. The whole book could have done without most of her chapters.

Autoboyography by Christina Lauren


I feel very conflicted about this book. On the one hand, the romance was adorable, the messages it sent were positive and need to be talked about, and it was about a writer, which is always a big plus for me. On the other hand, there was so much about it I just couldn't buy. Certain aspects of the story seemed too perfect and super unrealistic. I couldn't picture it happening in real life. The stakes seemed high, but in reality, the consequences weren't as severe as they should have been. I also thought it was a little long for your typical contemporary romance. Sometimes 400+ page books work for this genre, but in this case, it could have used some trimming. A lot of the plot seemed repetitive. ALSO, I haaaaate it when characters ditch their best friends for a romantic partner. Not. Cool. At. All. And it happened a lot here and the protagonist didn't do much to remedy the situation.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen


I had a really hard time reading about the animal cruelty in this book, which is part of the reason why I didn't rate it higher, but that's not to say the story wasn't good, because I did enjoy (most of) the rest of it. I was hooked right from the prologue and spent the rest of the book wondering how things would turn out at the end. I also loved seeing the protagonist far into the future and way back in time, however depressing the nursing home chapters were. I didn't enjoy the gratuitous sex scenes, either. I'm not at all opposed to having them in a book if it serves a purpose, but there were some moments (I'm thinking about Barbara's character, specifically) that went on for several lengthy paragraphs even though it did nothing for the plot. If you like elephants as much as I do, you'll love any of the adorable moments with Rosie, but fair warning, there are a lot of tough scenes that have to do with her, as well.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds


I loved this! Stories told in verse can be really hit or miss for me. I like poetry, but when I pick up a book expecting a strong narrative, sometimes I feel too much like I'm reading a poem instead of a story. This was totally different. It was clearly poetry, but it didn't feel like that at all. You could easily read this in an hour, but it still makes such an impact. I love how the difficult topics were tackled and the amount of grief and emotion that were packed into just a few lines of verse was incredible. I know not everyone is a fan of ambiguous endings, but when done right, I totally am, and this ambiguous ending was done right. It definitely makes you think.

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde


I had to read this for my Intro to Literature class and mostly liked it. It was long and boring with a pretty simplistic plot, so those aspects of it made it hard to concentrate and actually finish the story, but the enjoyment for me came with individual lines of dialogue. The use of dramatic irony made it humorous and helped to lighten the mood since reading about stuffy high society people can be insufferable.

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie


Since I'm in a production of "Peter Pan Jr.," I wanted to read the original story for some background knowledge. Almost every single line of dialogue in the book is in the show, but the show keeps things moving way better than the book. There were lots of rambling, boring sections. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing style, either, or most of the characters. But it's definitely imaginative and I like the story as a whole, just more when it comes to the Disney or theatrical versions.

Wires and Nerve: Gone Rogue by Marissa Meyer, Stephen Gilpin, and Douglas Holgate


I didn't love this one as much as the first book, mostly because I feel like the characters did a lot of monologuing and I'm not a big fan of that, in general. But everything else was great, in typical Lunar Chronicles fashion. The characters make the story and getting to spend more time with them in any form is always loads of fun. I love Iko and her spunk.

Movies I Watched

"Miss Representation"


This was an excellent documentary about the way women are viewed in the media. It touched on a lot of different aspects of media (politicians, news anchors, actresses, etc.). It made good points about how young girls need to see a variety of female role models in order to get a well-rounded portrayal of the kinds of women they can be. I highly recommend it.

"I, Tonya"


I'm not sure what I expected to see, but whatever it was, it wasn't this. I was pleasantly surprised at the quirky, fascinating, humorous way Tonya Harding and the people around her were shown. It doesn't deify them in any way, but it does get their side of the story and explains how Tonya became the person she is. I was hooked the entire time. I also laughed way more than I thought I would during the movie. It's very dark and the ending (without giving too much away) doesn't leave you with a lot of hope. Even with tough subject matters, I appreciate when a book or movie can include even a touch of lightness to the end so you don't leave the theater feeling heavy and lethargic, which is really the only reason I didn't give it a 5/5.

"The Mask You Live In"


Made by the same creators of "Miss Representation," this documentary takes a look at men and boys in American society and why our culture fosters toxic masculinity. It shows how harmful it is to both men and women and highlights specific aspects of our society that cause boys to be raised with the "men don't cry or show emotions" kind of thinking. It was hard to watch, but it makes you think, and hearing from some of the men interviewed in the documentary gives me hope for the future.

"Get Out"


This was definitely worth the hype. For those of you who were as confused about the genre as I was before I watched it, here's my opinion: for the first hour and a half of the movie, it's a psychological thriller, but by the last fifteen minutes, it's a full on horror movie. There are jump scares, violence, and gore, just not for a while. I spent the entire time on the edge of my seat, thoroughly creeped out by these off-kilter characters. I tried to guess what some of the twists would be, but for the most part, I was surprised (and disgusted). It covered a lot of racial issues discussed today in a genre you wouldn't necessarily expect to do that. The ending felt a little abrupt for me, but the rest of the movie was very entertaining.

"Finding Neverland"


Again, because of "Peter Pan Jr.," we decided to watch this. I really enjoyed it! Kate Winslet is good in everything she does, and this was no exception. It was a really sweet story full of imagination, just like the story J.M. Barrie wrote. I loved getting the behind-the-scenes on how "Peter Pan" came to be and what the public thought of his idea. Some of it was pretty predictable, but overall I loved it.

"A Wrinkle in Time"


I wasn't a huge fan of the book, so I tried to go into the movie without low or high expectations. It was all right. I didn't get a good sense of who the characters were (except for maybe Charles Wallace, who was adorable and definitely stole the show), a lot of the plot felt like convenient excuses to show off some fancy special effects, and some of the high points included cheesy dialogue and/or monologuing. Pros: it was visually stunning, the actor Charles Wallace was really freaking good for how young he was, Chris Pine (because Chris Pine), and for once a movie targeted for family audiences actually showed a healthy sibling relationship.

"Love, Simon"


Loved, loved, loved "Love, Simon!" The book is better, of course, but overall I'm really happy with how it got adapted. The casting choices were perfect, especially when it came to Martin, Simon, and his family. Speaking of his family, I think they were actually portrayed better in the movie than they were in the book. I loved getting a closer look at his parents, especially. It did a really good job of showing things from both Simon's point of view and the other characters'. The soundtrack was excellent and all of the humor that was in the book came through in the movie. In fact, they even added more humor with character additions like their well-meaning but strange vice principal. Go see this immediately.

"Forgetting Sarah Marshall"


As far as stupid humor goes, this was good stupid. I liked all of the actors (especially Russell Brand--what a wacky dude) and any of the scenes involving Jason Segel's Dracula musical (just trust me on this). If you're looking for something light and brainless, this is a good choice.

"Water For Elephants"


I liked the movie about as much as I liked the book. Maybe a little bit less since basically all of the nursing home scenes were cut, and I did like the juxtaposition of the protagonist's modern day experience with his experiences in the circus. But it was a good adaptation, and the actor who plays August was the perfect choice for a truly despicable character.

"Ready Player One"


I haven't read the book for this, but I've heard it's much, much different from the movie. I'm still planning to read the book, so my feelings on this might change once I do, but as far as first impressions go, it was a decent movie. If it's not a Marvel or Star Wars movie, I'm not typically a huge action/sci-fi blockbuster person. This one interested me more than most blockbusters because the action was interspersed with actual plot. It wasn't just one extended battle sequence (*cough* "Justice League" *cough*). It was pretty funny and creative. I enjoyed the characters Aeche and James Halliday most. The main character and his love interest didn't do much for me, but that was probably more due to the fact that there was a heaping scoop of insta-love, which annoys me to no end.

Quotes I Wrote

“Hey.” The girl slid her hand to Melody’s wrist, squeezing it. “What’s your name?”

“Melody,” she answered automatically, trying to drown out the perpetual thought of dangerdangerdanger that her brain sent as somebody else let out a scream, accompanied by the sound of shattering glass.

The girl grinned, and in that flash of a moment, Melody glimpsed something wild. Reckless. She wasn’t sure whether to be alarmed or comforted. Maybe a bit of both.

“I’m Lila.” The girl released Melody’s arm and adjusted her leather jacket. “It’s going to be all right.”

-'Til the Last Star Dies

But she couldn’t shake the image of Melody’s expression, a mixture of determination and terror. It wasn’t often Lila had come across Freelancers so young and scared. Only in recent years had she started to notice them. That’s what war did to people, beat them down until they were forced to grow up and become a machine.

People weren’t made to break that young.

-'Til the Last Star Dies

Obsessions I Acquired

Words with Friends - I haven't played this in years, but now that there's an option for Android devices, I picked it up again to play with my family. It's a fun app to use when I need a quick break from homework. I especially like the lightning rounds, as stressful as they can be. :P

Pictures of the Month 

I auditioned for "Peter Pan Jr." with my brother and a bunch of my friends, and though I wanted to get the role of Captain Hook, I wasn't at all expecting to get it. But I did! And one of my best friends got Smee, so we're going to have a blast playing these characters together. We've had a few rehearsals so far and everyone in the cast is so fun and talented.
My "fandom of the month" jewelry kit happened to be Peter Pan themed, by some crazy coincidence!
Our audition group for "Peter Pan Jr." From left to right: Mr. Darling/Otto the pirate, Smee, Captain Hook, Mrs. Darling, and Dandelion the brave girl.
I got new glasses!
We saw Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp live in concert and it was SO much fun. They sang some "Rent" classics as well as various originals and covers. I loved it.

We went to see "Shrek: the Musical" at my friend TJ's school. Lots of the kids in that show are in "Peter Pan Jr." as well. TJ, who played the Ugly Duckling, will be Smee. His sister (on the far right) is playing John.
Their Lord Farquaad is our other Captain Hook!
Gingy is playing Peter Pan.
Loved "Love, Simon!"
My Scholastic awards officially arrived! Four silver keys and six honorable mentions this year.
Obligatory Scout pictures.
Wet from a bath.

How was your March?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Childhood Book Tag (Let the Nostalgia Begin!)

I got tagged to do this forever ago by Engie at "Musings From Neville's Navel." But, in typical Kate fashion, I forgot about it until months later, so it was like discovering a brand new tag all over again! #ProcrastinationWorks(Sorta)

What is the first book you remember reading on your own?

I'm pretty sure my first "big book" was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. Whenever my parents would read one of the Harry Potter books to me, I'd pick up the book and reread it on my own. I was probably somewhere around five or six when I started reading them by myself.

But, because I'm predicting that Harry Potter is going to end up being the answer for many of these questions, I'll provide an alternate. I was thoroughly obsessed with the Magic Tree House series and reread them constantly. Once Merlin Missions became a thing in the series, I was even more obsessed. I'd snatch them up from the library shelves as soon as the new ones came out.

What is the first book you remember having your parents read to you?

There were many books we read together, but I'm pretty sure the first one I remember. (I think this came before Harry Potter? I could be wrong, though.) I also remember being sooo upset by some of the events in the book.

What is a book you read on the recommendation of your parents or a friend?

If I remember correctly, my mom recommended these books to me. This series is one of the many I read by flashlight late into the night so as not to wake up my brother, who slept on the bunk above me.

What was your favorite book in elementary school?

Besides Harry Potter, American Girl books! I read so many of these series, but Samantha was my favorite. If you asked me why, though, I wouldn't be able to tell you. All I remember is that I had the box set for the Samantha series and read them over and over again. I also liked the Kit, Julie, and Molly books.

I also remember eating up books by Andrew Clements like they were going out of style. They definitely influenced my childhood, because every time I read one of his books, I tried to recreate something that happened in the story or allowed myself to be quite literally inspired by the characters. School Story was one of my favorites because the twelve-year-old girl in the book submits a novel under a pen name and gets published without anyone discovering she's not an adult. I basically got to live out my fantasy in the story. And the girl's pen name, Cassandra Day, ended up being the name of my protagonist for one of my NaNoWriMo novels. After reading The Landry News, I wrote my own "newspaper for a while." No Talking made me challenge myself to not speak for an entire day (pretty sure I failed that one) and Lunch Money made me want to make a little pocket change myself by selling trinkets to friends or setting up "yard sales" in the backyard (even though no one ever came by).

Calvin and Hobbes was another obsession of mine, so much so that my grandparents got me the complete treasury for Christmas when I was six (it was so heavy I couldn't lift it and I can barely lift it now). I never went on a road trip without arming myself with a flashlight and one of the paperback collections. They could keep me busy for hours.

What was your favorite book in middle school?

Hmm. Again, besides Harry Potter, it's really hard to narrow down. I had a ton of favorite books around this time. My first inclination was to say the W.I.T.C.H. books. I don't remember how I learned about them, but I do remember immersing myself in its magical world. I also remember that I asked Santa for the books one year and learning later that I'd made my parents sweat about that gift because the books were all out of print and nearly impossible to find. I ended up getting a few in my stocking along with a note that Santa was trying really hard to look for the others and that they'd be coming in the mail from the north pole soon. I eventually got the whole collection, though, and I loved getting the packages in the mail, so it all worked out.

I remember very little from this series, but I know that I loved it. They were the first big books I devoured in no time at all, reading one or even two books a night. I lost a lot of sleep over them, but I didn't care in the slightest. They were action-packed, exciting, and addictive.

Another beloved series that I read and then reread and then reread some more. It's what made me fall in love with medieval fantasies so much so, I wrote my own, which was basically the same exact plot disguised as my own story.

These were two huge series for me as a kid, too. I read The Lightning Thief in mostly one sitting and waited impatiently to get my hands on the sequels and though the Fablehaven books were huge, I barely stopped to eat before I'd finished those, too.

I should also give special shout outs to Ella Enchanted and Princess Academy, a couple of my favorite books at the time that satisfied my fairy tale needs.

What was your favorite book in high school?

Considering I'm still in high school, there are some of my top favorites. I couldn't fit every favorite into the collage, but it gives you a pretty good idea of what my bookshelf looks like.

What book did you check out of the library most often as a child?

Oh my gosh, it wasn't a single book, but books in a series. I went nuts for the Thoroughbred series, so much so that when I'd read every single book in the library system, I started buying used copies of the sequels and donating them to the library. I would ride my bike and pretend it was one of the horses from the books, I took horse riding lessons, I drew horses (mostly attempted to draw them--they were never very good), I bought stuffed horses, etc. I was horse crazy.

What book did you make all your friends read?

The first one that came to mind was The Hunger Games. It was probably my first big book obsession after Harry Potter. You know, the kind of obsession that influences what games you play in the backyard and the playground. My friends and I all made fake bows and arrows out of sticks and jump ropes and played Hunger Games, complete with temporary alliances and dramatic death scenes. I went to the midnight releases for all the movies and I bought a Mockingjay pin that I wore for days on end, no matter the occasion. If somebody in my friend group hadn't read it, those of us who had would gasp and demand they read it immediately.

What is the book that made you love reading?

Yeah, I can't give a better answer than this.

What is your favorite middle-grade read now?

Wonder by R.J. Palacio! Young or old, I haven't met a person who read this book and didn't like it yet. It made me laugh and cry so many times.

What is your favorite YA read now?

See above for many, many answers to that!

What was the first long series you read as a child?

Let's get the obvious out of the way first.

Now that that's out of the way, I'd also like to mention the Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. I think a thirteen-book series is pretty long for a kid, but I loved those books. It was the first series I can remember buying with my own money, too. The library always had a rack of used books out by the entrance that cost no more than a couple dollars per copy. They usually had a book from the Series of Unfortunate Events out there, so after many weeks, I managed to get a complete set, even if some were paperback and others were hardback.

Tag, you're it! Feel free to answer any/all of these questions in the comments and/or on your own blog. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

February Wrap-Up

In addition to everything I have listed below, I'd also like to report that I completed one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2018, which was to eat a vegetarian diet for an entire month! It was actually way easier than I thought and I had very few moments when I missed eating meat (and that meat was usually fish, because I love sushi). Although I did have to eat more snacks throughout the day (some dried fruit, a handful of nuts, etc.) to keep up my energy, I wasn't as hungry as I thought I would be. I really enjoyed the challenge and I'm sure I'll eat vegetarian meals more often in the future.

Books I Read

Artemis by Andy Weir


I really enjoyed The Martian, so I was expecting to like this one way more than I did. Artemis has basically everything The Martian has (super sarcastic humor, high-stakes survival situations, in-depth description of science-y stuff that's still interesting, sci-fi that feels realistic, etc.), except The Martian did it better. I felt like Jazz, our protagonist, was the perfect example of a female protagonist written by a man who's never written a female protagonist before. I didn't connect with her. I didn't even realize she was an adult until her age was mentioned because she read as being really immature. If you haven't read Andy Weir before, though, start with this one. Every Martian fan I've talked to said they would have liked Artemis better if they'd read it first.

Far From the Tree by Robin Benway


I LOVED THIS. Every since the book was recommended for fans of This Is Us, I knew I had to pick it up. It made me tear up so many times and the writing was gorgeous and full of voice. I loved all the characters and their storylines, so when we switched from one perspective to the next, I never had that "oh no, now I need to read about this person now" moment that happens sometimes in books with multiple POVs. It focuses on families and siblings and the intricacies of adoption and every topic was covered so well. If you're in the mood for a contemporary, make this one your next read.

Dancing Skeletons by Katherine A. Dettwyler


I had to read this for my Intro to Anthropology class and it surpassed my expectations. It's always nice when you can actually enjoy an assigned book rather than trudging through it just to finish the homework. Though I wasn't a fan of the writing at all (it had a nice storytelling quality, I guess, but it read as being super simplistic), the experience the author had were fascinating. I was especially interested by the reasons why certain cultures did genital mutilation since the reasons varied even from one town to the next.

On Writing by Stephen King


I really should have read this years ago considering how many writers sing its praises, but I only got around to it now. I really enjoyed it! It was funny, had a ton of great and applicable advice (not just for writing, but for life, too), and taught me a lot about Stephen King I hadn't known about before. It took me a while to get through the beginning, though. The snippets from his life seemed to be all over the place and not too connected. I didn't get what he was trying to do until the end. But the middle was a gold mine of wisdom.

The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown


The best part about this book was by far the symbols and hidden meanings in various works of art. You would think that the action-packed adventure storylines would be the most entertaining, but I actually liked the chapters that dealt with deciphering codes and analyzing paintings most. The adventure became something more like a nice bonus. Overall, the plot was what made it worth reading, because otherwise, the book didn't have much going for it. The characters were flat, the writing was awful (not even just okay--it was truly terrible), and the foreshadowing wasn't so much foreshadowing as it was the author hitting you over the head with a random piece of information you knew was bound to show up later. The book as a whole could've benefited from a lot more editing, too, since cutting several thousand words would have tightened the novel up and made it read faster.

Movies I Watched

"Roman Holiday"


I'd only ever seen Audrey Hepburn in "My Fair Lady," so I really liked getting to see her in a role that's pretty much the opposite of Eliza Doolittle (Eliza is a common girl learning how to be a high society lady and Ann is a princess learning how to let loose and live a common life). Though the acting in this movie tended to be a little over the top, the characters were enjoyable and entertaining. The story is fairly simple, but there was a lot of humor, which I wasn't necessarily expecting, so it was a nice bonus. I won't give anything away, but the ending went in a direction I didn't anticipate. I'm glad it did, though, since my guess at what the conclusion would be wasn't nearly as interesting as what it actually was. Some may not find it satisfying, but personally, I liked it.



The characters were quirky and lovable, the soundtrack was great, and the story was largely driven by a simple plot. It had all the makings of a great Indie movie, even if parts of it were predictable in a more mainstream way.

"Black Panther"


Oh man, this did not disappoint. Marvel has struggled recently to put out movies with a lot of heart, well-developed characters, and a fantastic story, but "Black Panther" turned all of that around. Not only was it racially diverse, but the positions the women held were diverse, too. They all had their own sets of morals, goals, and personalities. It tackled a lot of important ethical dilemmas we face nowadays and didn't provide a clear answer, which I appreciated, since there's some gray area in those issues. The cast killed it, too. I loved it.

Quotes I Wrote

I'm in that editing stage now where everything I rewrite seems to be even worse than was I'd written before, so . . . nothing to report.

Obsessions I Acquired

The "Anastasia" soundtrack -  My current favorite song from "Anastasia" is "In a Crowd of Thousands (although I also really like "Learn to Do It," "We'll Go From There," and "Crossing a Bridge").

Pictures of the Month 

Our family went to see Paula Poundstone do stand-up and she spent time doing autographs and taking pictures with the fans. She was hilarious.
A celebratory dinner after I got inducted into my community college's honor society.

The obligatory Scout picture.

How was your February?

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!