The Christmas Carol Book Tag

I found this tag at My Infernal Imagination – it’s all about Christmas carols and which books remind you of certain songs!

Enjoy!

You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Name a villainous character you can’t help but love to hate.

Billy-Ray Sanguine! From the Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy! I despise him – he’s hurt all the characters I love most – but at the same time he’s kind of endearing. Those books have sooooooooooo many villains and they’re all soooooooooo great. They’re the real stars of the story, aren’t they?

All I Want For Christmas Is You
What book do you most want to find under your Christmas tree this year?

ALL OF THE BOOKS EVER PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

Um. Anyway. I’d be ecstatic if someone gave me an autographed, personalized copy of Ash by Malinda Lo. Hint, hint. (I usually get gift cards for Barnes & Noble, though, which is fine too.)


cinderRudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Name a favorite character who had to overcome a major obstacle. Why are they your favorite?

Linh Cinder from Marissa Meyer’s Cinder, because her life is just one difficulty after another but she doesn’t let that stop her! Here are some of the things she must deal with:

  • Realizing she’s a cyborg and freaking out about that
  • Outgrowing her cyborg body
  • Dealing with prejudice against cyborgs
  • Avoiding an evil queen who wants to kill her

But in spite of all that she still kicks butt. You go, girl.

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
Which characters do you think are at the top of Santa’s “nice” and “naughty” list?

Nice

  • Annabeth Chase, you’re such a lovely girl. Here are your presents!
  • And what would you like for Christmas, Blue Sargent? (A boyfriend who won’t die when you kiss him, perhaps?)
  • Peeta Mellark, your stocking is filled with… frosting and cake. Enjoy!

Naughty

  • You’ve been a very naughty boy, Tywin Lannister – PREPARE TO FIND COAL IN YOUR STOCKING.
  • Did you really think Santa wasn’t watching you, Nefarian Serpine?
  • LEVANA, I DEMAND THAT YOU STOP THIS NONSENSE IMMEDIATELY. Go sit in the corner and think about what you’ve done.

Frosty the Snowmanash
What book just melts your heart?

I know I’ve already mentioned Ash, but… Ash. It makes my fangirlish heart melt with its adorable love story. It’s the best book I’ve read thus far this year! (And since this year is nearly over… I’m probably not going to find anything more amazing, hmmm?)

Feliz Navidad
Your favorite book that takes place in a country other than your own?

Me gusta La Casa de Alacrán de Nancy Farmer. Apropiadamente, su escenario es México. Es un novela distópica sobre un capo de las drogas en un país llamado Opium y clon joven suyo, Matteo.

Translation: I like The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. Fittingly, it’s set in Mexico! It’s a dystopian novel about a drug lord in a country called Opium and his young clone, Matteo.

(In other news, I just finished my third semester of Spanish at college. So I couldn’t resist showing off just a little! Also, I just noticed a thing: Matteo’s surname, Alacrán, is Spanish for “scorpion.” I see what you did there, Nancy Farmer.)

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
What book do you read to get in the Christmas spirit?

I won’t go into much detail here because one of my upcoming posts is literally all about this, but… I quite like to reread The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsberg and Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry each year. I love Christmassy picture books!

harry-potter-and-the-chamber-of-secrets-book-cover-294w531[1]Sleigh Ride
What character would you most want to spend the holidays with?

Only one? MOLLY WEASLEY. But I’d love to hang out with all the other Weasleys too, if possible. I love the holiday scenes in the Harry Potter books; they always make me happy and festive. Also, I wouldn’t say no to a Weasley sweater – just not a maroon one, please!

Baby, It’s Cold Outside
What book do you hate so much you’d sacrifice it to the fire to stay warm?

Wait, I can only pick one?! [Evil laughter] There are, quite frankly, PLENTY of books I’d toss into the fire if need be, but if I could choose only one I suppose it would be Eragon by Christopher Paolini. His concept was absolutely brilliant… his execution of it, not so much. Bleh.

Do You Hear What I Hear?
What book would you recommend to everyone?

I would recommend And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie. Even if you think you don’t like mysteries – ESPECIALLY if you think you don’t like mysteries, you just have to try it. It’s one of the most gripping and intricately plotted novels ever written, in my humble opinion.

Feel free to answer this tag’s questions on your own blog!

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6 Things I Learned About People In 2014

Time for a thinky post! This is the first of probably many end-of-year wrap-up posts – most of which will probably be about books. So! I thought today I’d talk about something that isn’t books. I’m going to discuss stuff I learned about something that is very mysterious to me.

People.

People are confusing and weird and awesome and figuring them out is tricky. Here are some of the things my little introverted self learned about people and relationships in 2014.

1. Sometimes friends grow apart and that’s OK. It’s sad, but it happens sometimes so I’ll just have to deal.

I used to be friends with this girl. And now I’m… not? I think? But we didn’t fight – we simply grew apart. I think that in a way that is harder than breaking up with a friend.

I’ve always wanted a sister, and if I could pick who she was, then at one point I would’ve chosen this girl. Now I’m not so sure. We’ve grown up and changed. The interests that initially bonded us aren’t really there any more, and we don’t have too much in common nowadays.

Perhaps most tellingly, we don’t make much of an effort to get together and hang out, or even just to talk to one another through emails or IMing or whatever. I have online friends – people I’ve never even MET face-to-face – for whom I make a greater effort to stay in contact, because… because we actually have stuff to talk about.

I still like this girl. We’re just not as close as we once were, and it’s taken a while to get used to that. But it happens… it’s just another part of growing up.

2. Having a long-term friendship with someone should not compel me to remain friends with that person if they make me uncomfortable. If they’re unpleasant, I shouldn’t feel guilty about ending things with them even if we have quite the history together. 

This happened to me twice this year.

Late last winter, I broke up with a friend I’d know since about seventh grade. I thought coming out to her would be simple, but she turned out to be one of those “love the sinner, hate the sin” people.

Ew.

I didn’t need to deal with her homophobia, so I told her that – and said that I wouldn’t be talking to her again. I didn’t want to do this: She has a great sense of humor, and loved geeking out with me about all sorts of things.

And like I said, we’d known each other for around six years. I had a LOT of memories of doing fun things with her, and it felt weird to dump her. In the end, though, I’m pretty sure I made the right choice, because I would’ve felt sooooo uncomfortable continuing to hang out with her.

The second example features a group of people, instead of a single person. My brother and I changed 4-H clubs after spending eight or nine years in our old one.

I’d basically grown up with some of its members, but we’d been dissatisfied with the club’s leadership and lack of organization for years. 2014-15 is my last year of 4-H, so I wanted to have FUN. I didn’t to want to be miserable! So we left and joined another club.

And it’s weird. There are still so many people in this new club who I don’t know, and I’m still getting used to my new club’s traditions, the way they run their meetings, et cetera. But that weirdness doesn’t mean that things are bad. They’re just different. I’m glad we made the choice between sticking with the “meh” club we’d known since forever, and something new but better.

In both situations, I felt guilty about abandoning those people. THEY didn’t make me feel guilty – I did that all myself. I guess… I guess I just kept thinking about how much I used to like them. And then I was like, “Do I really want to keep hanging out with someone because of what our friendship used to be? Because of memories? No. No, I don’t. I’d rather find new people to make better memories with.”

3. “I’m willing to lose friends over ideological differences.”

That’s in quotation marks because it’s from a friend’s video. Miriam Joy @ Miriam Joy Writes vlogged about some things they’d learned about themselves in 2013. Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s an old video, but I didn’t see it until recently! Anyway, that quote stuck with me. I couldn’t get it out of my mind, because it perfectly sums up some of the relationships I’ve ended this year.

Like my friendship with the girl from point #2.

I don’t mind if my friends are different – but if their ideologies lead them to treat me (or others!) as lesser, then I DO have a problem with them. If they treat me poorly because I’m _____ (queer, female, atheist, et cetera) then it’s over between us. If our parents or siblings are friends then I’ll probably still have to see them, and I’ll be courteous to them, but I’m not going to go out of my way to talk to or spend time with them.

I don’t need friends who try to convert me. I don’t need friends who mock me for liking girly things, then later tell me that I’m not girly enough. I don’t need friends who tell me, “I don’t hate lesbians, but why can’t you be quiet about it? Why don’t you try liking a guy?”

Thankfully, most of the people-I-know-who-are-drastically-different-from-me-in-some-way aren’t like this. But sometimes they are, and I don’t want to be around them any more than is absolutely necessary. Why would I be friends with a jerk whose interests are the same as mine when I can be friends with a sweet, awesome person whose interests are the same as mine?!

Having friends who are different from oneself is very beneficial because it exposes to different ways of life and points of view. But if hanging out with that person becomes uncomfortable, rather than mutually beneficial, then… what’s the point? If I’m fine with our differences but the other person sees our differences as a wedge that splits us apart, then I’m getting out of that friendship as soon as possible.

4. Online friends count, too!

Hey! Here’s something cheerful, after a bunch of relationship-y topics that were kind of bleh!

Anyway, online friends are important too, and not lesser because we’ve never met face-to-face. I’ve met some absolutely amazing people through various online writing communities, and talk to a lot of them every single day. Thanks, guys. You’re the best. I love our fangirlish conversations, your words of encouragement, our hopefully-not-so-ridiculous plans to meet up someday when we’re older.

I’d like to give a special shout-out to the people who were exceptionally awesome friends to me in 2014:

[Blows platonic kisses to her friends and also offers them chocolate]

5. I am often EXTREMELY shy around A) my crushes and B) people I admire.

I think all of us are like this to some extent, but I feel REALLY shy. (Not to mention awkward!) It doesn’t help that this year I crushed on, like, a gazillion girls, queer and straight alike.

I don’t even flirt with (most of) these girls, for heaven’s sake – I just get shy about asking them stuff like, I don’t know, what they did last weekend or when their school goes on winter break. I need to get over this. BUT IT’S SOOOO INTIMIDATING. Blergh.

6. Friendships do actually require effort and sometimes I need to exert more effort with this stuff.

Sometimes I don’t spend much time with friends but it’s not because we’re growing apart! Sometimes I’m just lazy when it comes to asking friends if they want to meet up somewhere and hang out. Sometimes, as I said above, I’m just shy.

I need to work on being a more involved friend. That doesn’t mean I have to become a social butterfly, but if I miss someone and think they’re awesome and want to hang out with them… I need to actually make an effort to ask them to do so.

-~-

What did you learn about people in 2014? Was it a good year for you in terms of friends, or was it kind of sucky? Let me know in the comments!

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Movie Review: The Hobbit – The Battle Of The Five Armies

the hobbit the battle of the five armies

Guess who saw The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies last night and cried her eyes out? That’s right, ME.

For a variety of reasons, including, but not limited to, sadness and… frustration? Yes.

This movie made me feel ALL THE THINGS, but I’m not sure that all the feelings I felt were good ones. Gah. Let’s look at what I did like first, shall we?

This review is spoiler-free!

(Well… mostly. I AM going to discuss the deaths of a few characters but I’m not going to tell you who died! That doesn’t count as a spoiler, right?)

  • I loved the scenes with the people of Laketown
  • I loved seeing the five armies, especially the elves of Mirkwood and the dwarven Ironfoot army led by Dáin
  • Luke Evans and Richard Armitage gave fantastic performances as, respectively, the reluctant leader Bard the Bowman and the increasingly-driven-insane-by-gold Thorin Oakenshield
  • This practically goes without saying, but Howard Shore’s score was lovely – I particularly enjoyed the Laketown theme, which was heard SOOOOO many times
  • GALADRIEL KICKED BUTT WOW GIRL YOU ARE AMAZING I FREAKING LOVE YOU
  • I knew those deaths were coming, but that didn’t stop me from absolutely bawling in the theater

And last but not least, I adored the end credits song, which was written and performed by Billy Boyd, who played Pippin Took in the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

IT IS SO BEAUTIFUL AND OH MY GOD IT MAKES ME SO EMOTIONAL UGH WHY

And now for the things I didn’t like as much. There are only two things I disliked about The Battle of the Five Armies, but… they’re both pretty big problems, in my opinion.

First of all, this film has extraordinarily bad pacing. The plot is choppy and just doesn’t “flow” very well. I can totally understand why, though – Peter Jackson chopped the story into three pieces! (Figuratively speaking, that is.) I do appreciate being able to spend all that extra time in the wonderful world of Middle-earth, but it does make for some awkward moments when the plot is way too stretched out or not stretched out enough.

There is – hmmm, how do I phrase this in order to avoid spoilers? – a death towards the beginning of the film that was sooooooooo anticlimactic, and I wish it hadn’t been like that because it was SUCH a big deal in the book.

However, I wonder if this problem could be solved by watching all three Hobbit movies back to back. After all, together they (theoretically) form one gigantic, nine-hour-long story. I may have to rewatch the movies and see how they flow, or don’t flow, together.

thCAZMEZ6GEver since reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have preferred it to its predecessor. Before seeing this movie, that was mostly due to its characters and complexity and whatnot. Lord of the Rings is just darker and more thought-provoking than The Hobbit, and I like that.

Now I also like Lord of the Rings more because its movie adaptations are better. Even The Two Towers, AKA the middle of the story, has a plot that “flows” better than that of any of The Hobbit films: It has a clear beginning, middle, and end, because Tolkien wrote it that way.

When I rewatch one of the Lord of the Rings films, I don’t feel the need to rewatch the other ones too. I don’t feel as though the movies don’t make sense without each other.

(I mean, Lord of the Rings movie marathons are definitely fun, buuuuut… I’m happy to watch just one and don’t spend my time afterwards complaining, “How can you call THAT an ending?!”)

Anyway, enough of that. My other issue with The Battle of the Five Armies is also plot-related, but is about the ending rather than the movie as a whole. There was no closure! For heaven’s sake, I spent three movies and nine hours with these characters – so when some of them die, I don’t just want the remaining characters to be like, “LOL, I guess it’s time for us to head home!”

Why wasn’t the dividing-of-the-gold ever discussed after the battle? That’s why they STARTED fighting, for pity’s sake.

Why didn’t the characters say a proper goodbye to one another?

WHY WEREN’T CERTAIN CHARACTERS’ FUNERALS SHOWN?! That would’ve been, like, the ultimate sadness.

Blergh. It was kind of frustrating, as you can see from my reactions.

-~-

So, my final verdict on The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies? GAH. That’s it. That’s my opinion. I really, really like the book, and… well, the movie definitely had some nice moments. But overall, it’s not that great. This trilogy started with a bang, continued fairly steadily, and then fell flat on its face.

I don’t know. Maybe these three movies are better when watched one after another. But then again, I didn’t watch any of the Lord of the Rings movies back to back, yet they still made sense and flowed together well, plot-wise. I guess that I had high expectations for The Battle of the Five Armies, but they were not met. Not really.

…I guess you could say this movie was an unexpected disappointment.

Rating: 2/5

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My Hero Monday: Laverne Cox

My Hero Monday is an original feature (and now a link-up!) from the feminist blog A Girl’s Voice. In the words of its creator, Chloe, “It celebrates female heroes in our society, and promotes learning about new heroes.” My Hero Monday posts feature women both real and fictional, living and deceased. 

The full link-up schedule can be found at the end of this post – and if you’d like to join next month (I strongly encourage that you do so), you can find the rules and other information here.

I think MHM is the best thing – maybe the only good thing – about Mondays, don’t you? Normally I’m like “UGH, a brand-new week of responsibilities and stuff” but now I’m also like, “Ooh, I get to fangirl about my favorite lady heroes once a month!”

Anyway. This time, MHM doesn’t have a theme – it’s a free-choice month, so participants can write about absolutely whomever they wish. Enjoy!

Note: You can find my previous MHM posts here.

my hero monday

laverne cox 1Laverne Cox

Date of birth: May 29, 1984

Current age: 30

School(s): Alabama School of Fine Arts, Marymount Manhattan College

Profession: Actress, television producer, LGBTQ+ advocate

When did I first hear about her?

2013, I believe. My friend Orphu (who blogs at A Mirror Made of Words) thinks she’s cool too, so that’s how I first heard about her. I did some Googling, gradually learned more, and was basically like, “Wow, this is a really cool lady!”

What makes her one of my heroes?

 Where do I even begin?!

Let’s see. Well, first of all, Ms. Cox is a huuuuuuuuge advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. That topic is very important to me and I want to do similar work for the community someday, so naturally I admire her efforts.

More specifically, I admire her transgender advocacy. Sure, gay men and lesbians have more rights than they’ve ever had in the past, but the situation for other groups in the queer community is still pretty dismal. Trans people have very few legal protections, are more likely to live in poverty, are more likely to run away from home/be kicked out, and experience violence/murder at a disproportionately high rate, soooooo… that kind of puts the whole marriage equality fight (AKA the most well-known LGBTQ+ issue) in perspective, doesn’t it?

So I’m glad that someone is bringing more attention to trans issues.

I admire Laverne Cox because she is intelligent, well-spoken, and not afraid to call people out for their ignorant and/or malicious comments. Many people are getting better with regards to homophobia/heteronormativity, but still have a TON of misconceptions about trans people.

I’d imagine that it gets very frustrated to hear transphobic comments all the time… and then how does one respond to that? I know I don’t always feel like telling people, “Hey, you really should think twice about saying [insert thing here], because it’s hurtful/erroneous” because I get tired of having to repeat myself over and over and over again.

So I admire Laverne Cox’s refusal to let these comments pass, her willingness to discuss this stuff loads of times until people finally start getting it. She definitely has her work cut out for her.

Another thing I admire about Laverne Cox is her dedication. A quick glance at the speaking schedule on her website shows that she is SUPER busy; she gives a lot of talks at universities and whatnot. (Side note: Please speak at the University of Iowa sometime between fall 2015 and spring 2019, Ms. Cox! I’d be overjoyed if you showed up at my college.) She wouldn’t do this if she didn’t truly care. I really admire people (of ANY profession) who are willing to give up their precious free time in order to better the world in some way. I want to do a lot of LGBTQ+ advocacy someday but GAH, giving up my alone/reading time to interact with people would be hard for me.

And last but definitely not least, I am in awe of everything Laverne Cox has accomplished in just thirty years of age. She’s received awards from GLAAD, was nominated for an Emmy, produced her own TV show, played a trans woman on the popular show Orange is the New Black, and appeared on the cover of TIME magazine. (She is the first openly transgender person to do so.)

Pretty impressive, huh? No wonder I consider her one of the coolest people I’ve ever heard of. NEVER STOP BEING AWESOME, LAVERNE COX.

P.S. Before I move on to the quotes section, I’d like to share a video with you – since I seem to have made that a tradition in my previous MHM posts. Here is Laverne’s video for the It Gets Better project!

Notable Quotes

“Some folks, they just don’t understand. And they need to get to know us as human beings. Others are just going to be opposed to us forever. But I do believe in the humanity of people and in peoples’ capacity to love and to change.”

-~-

“Many in the trans community are fed up with LGBT organizations that continue to erase trans identity or just give lip service to trans issues. We need our cisgender allies – gay and straight – to treat transgender lives as if they matter, and trans people need multiple seats at the tables in the organizations that say they’re interested in LGBT equality; this absence has been painful since Stonewall.”

-~-

“The preoccupation with transition and surgery objectifies trans people. And then we don’t get to really deal with the real lived experiences. The reality of trans people’s lives is that so often we are targets of violence. We experience discrimination disproportionately to the rest of the community. Our unemployment rate is twice the national average; if you are a trans person of color, that rate is four times the national average. The homicide rate is highest among trans women. If we focus on transition, we don’t actually get to talk about those things.”

-~-

“My third grade teacher called my mother and said, ‘Ms. Cox, your son is going to end up in New Orleans in a dress if we don’t get him into therapy.’ And wouldn’t you know, just last week I spoke at Tulane University, and I wore a LOVELY green and black dress.”

-~-

So! Time for YOU to talk. How much did you know about Laverne Cox prior to reading my post? Have you heard any other good quotes from her that I missed? Are there any other cool queer and/or trans women I should know about? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Hey, you! Yes, you! Please help me decide a thing: I’ve written about only real women for MHM thus far, but… do you think it’s time to post about a fictional heroine? TELL ME YOUR OPINIONS, PEOPLES.

Be sure to check out the other My Hero Monday link-up posts!

December 1

Chloe @ A Girl’s Voice

December 8

Samantha @ Bookish Serendipity

Mawa Mahima @ All Things Wordy

December 15

nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel

December 22

Cait @ Paper Fury

Bridget @ Stay and Watch the Stars

December 29

Wrap-up by Chloe @ A Girl’s Voice

Posted in LGBTQ+, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Heroine Tag

Hey there! I didn’t originally intend to post today – even-numbered days are my days off! – but Cait @ Paper Fury tagged me in The Heroine Tag and… it looks really cool, so of course I had to jump in! I love heroines.

Also, it’s quite appropriate that I’m publishing this the day before my post for My Hero Monday, isn’t it?

Anyway. Enjoy!

P.S. This tag evidently doesn’t have any rules, which means I’m not limited to discussing only literary heroines, right? Right?! So I’m going to talk mostly about heroines from books, but also about a few ladies from TV shows and movies. Because awesome heroines are everywhere.

Which heroine would you trade places with?ash

Ash from Ash by Malinda Lo! I mean, her evil stepmother and stepsisters make her do loads of chores (yes, this is a retelling of “Cinderella”) but on the other hand, fairies. She meets fairies and has a cute girlfriend and that just sounds like the most amazing life to me.

Which heroine would you push off a cliff while hoping that there are some jagged rocks at the bottom?

I would dearly love to do this to Lola from Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins. I liked Anna and Isla, the other protagonists from this trilogy, but Lola is just… no. She’s a brat. She thinks everyone and everything revolves around her!

A heroine you couldn’t care less about? (They’re so bland that they don’t even trigger the hate in you.)

Tris Prior from the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth, definitely. She’s sooooo dull and nothing in her personality appeals to me. Right now I have the second book, Insurgent, checked out from the library for the THIRD time because I keep trying and trying to read it but it’s just so boring that… I can’t. It’s so frustrating because I can usually manage to slog my way through any book, even the dreariest of classics.

Divergent-posterA heroine you thought you wouldn’t like but ending up liking, and vice versa?

A heroine I thought I wouldn’t like: I didn’t expect to like Donna Noble from Doctor Who! I never hated her or anything like that, but I was kind of unimpressed by her first episode. I’d heard a lot about her from my friends who were already Whovians and when I saw her I was like, “That’s it? That’s the great Donna Noble?” But then I kept watching and realized that SHE IS AMAZING. She’s my favorite companion now.

A heroine I thought I would like: I was SO EXCITED to read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars in part because Hazel sounded cool. And then I read it. She was pretentious, spoiled, and had this weird Insta-Love thing with Gus. UGH.

A side heroine who is much more interesting than the main heroine?

TANITH LOW TANITH LOW TANITH LOW.

[Clears throat] Um. Sorry about that. Anyway, I really adore Tanith Low from Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series. I don’t necessarily think she’s better than Valkyrie Cain, the books’ protagonist, but she’s definitely equal to her. She’s eighty years old but looks twenty (because magic), and kicks butt with a sword, and can run up walls and across ceilings. I may or may not have a gigantic crush on her. since you've been gone

And then in book five a THING happens to her and I don’t want to spoil the story for
anyone, but anyway. It’s interesting and makes me feel ALL THE FEELINGS and really changes the course of the plot.

P.S. She even gets her own book eventually! The Maleficent Seven is a novella set between the seventh and eighth books.

Which heroine would you want as your friend?

Oh gosh, now this is a difficult question because I want to say ALL THE HEROINES. So. Um. I think I might like hanging out with Emily from Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson – she’s an introvert, too, so I think we’d have a lot of… quiet, dorky fun together. I don’t really do well around people who have super-perky personalities, you know?

Every love triangle should be girled the hell up, am I right?

Every love triangle should be girled the hell up, am I right?

Which heroine do you wish would just CHOOSE between the guys girls in her little love triangle?

Love triangles where a girl has to choose between two boys don’t interest me very much, so… Laura from the webseries Carmilla needs to choose between her two (female) crushes: her roommate/vampire Carmilla, or Danny, the TA of her English class. I don’t want to spoil the ending of season one for anyone, so I’ll just say that she did pick one of them buuuuut… the other girl looked so sad about it! And season two has been confirmed, so it’s totally possible that Laura will veer back and forth between them. Because they’re both pretty awesome and cute.

A “bad girl” heroine?

Cam, I think. She’s from The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. I actually really like her, but WHOA. She smokes, drinks, gets stoned, and shoplifts basically all the time.

17378508Then again, there’s not much to do in The Literal Middle of Nowhere, Montana. So I don’t really blame her for those shenanigans?

(“Shenanigans” is such a lovely word, isn’t it?!)

A “good girl” heroine?

Blue Sargent from the Raven Cycle series by Maggie Stiefvater! She’s very sensible, and kind, and helpful. I strongly admire her!

Your favorite heroine of them all? (If you can’t choose, pick your top three.)

  1. Katniss Everdeen from the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I love her spirit – stubborn yet broken, kind yet a loner.
  2. Blue Sargent again, because I see myself reflected in her – and I also see who I’d like to be.
  3. Valkyrie Cain! I’ve loved seeing her grow up over the course of the series, from age twelve to age eighteen. She’s learned so much magic and changed so much throughout the story.

I’m tagging:

As always, feel free to answer the questions here on your own blog whether or not you were tagged!

Talk to me, peoples! Who are YOUR favorite leading ladies? Why do you like them so much?

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

What My Favorite Authors Taught Me – Teens Can Write, Too! December 2014 Blog Chain

tcwt-3[1]This month’s prompt is:

“What works of fiction have taught you by example, and what did they teach you?”

That question is so vague, isn’t it? What does it even mean? Am I meant to discuss what books have taught me how to write books of my own, or am I supposed to list what books have taught me about life?

Because I can definitely talk about the latter.

  • Lord of the Rings taught me not to wear jewelry because it might be EVIL
  • The Hunger Games taught me that bread is awesome
  • The Chronicles of Narnia taught me to check the backs of wardrobes for hidden worlds
  • The Artemis Fowl books taught me that ‘evil genius’ is an acceptable career choice, even for children
  • The Percy Jackson series taught me that pens can double as swords
  • The Great Gatsby taught me how to party like it’s 1922, old sport

OK, OK, I’ll stop. But those are all very cool things and you should know them too. Right? Right.

On a more serious note, here are some of the things that works of fiction have taught me about writing my own books!

inheritanceGeorge R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series taught me how to handle many, many subplots and a huuuuuuuge cast of characters.

Malinda Lo’s books taught me about the importance of diversity in literature. After all, who wants to read a bland book?!

Lois Lowry’s The Giver taught me how to write concisely. Books don’t have to be lengthy in order to have an enormous impact on their readers.

But on the other hand, it’s your book – if you really want to add astonishingly beautiful descriptive passages, go ahead. Emily M. Danforth taught me about the power of description in her book, The Miseducation of Cameron Post.

Derek Landy’s Skulduggery Pleasant series taught me about the importance of humor, and how to gradually make a story darker. I just finished reading those books and his skill with the latter item AMAZED me – the first few books are children’s stories, but the middle ones are middle-grade material and the last few are definitely YA. It’s brilliant.284440

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series taught me the importance of foreshadowing. Thanks to Rowling and Landy, I think my fangirlish heart is broken from all the little hints that only made sense once I’d read book four, or book eight, or whatever. WHY MUST YOU DO THIS TO ME, AUTHOR PEOPLES?!

Stephen King’s Misery taught me that it’s not always necessary to include ghosts and werewolves and other supernatural beings in one’s scary stories: Sometimes other people are terrifying, and the best horror is psychological anyway.

Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles taught me to save even my weirdest ideas, because even the most unlikely combinations – cyborg Cinderella, anyone? – may appeal to other people.

 -~-

In this post I only listed authors who have positively impacted me, but I could’ve easily written about what I’ve learned from the authors I dislike. That’s the beauty of being both a reader and a writer – I’m not in it just for the story. Even if I hate a certain book, the time I spent reading it wasn’t a total waste… because it taught me how not to write! That’s pretty important too. There’s just no way I’m going to love every book, but I can choose to learn something from even the worst novels.

And now I’d like to hear from you, dear readers! What have books taught you, either about life or about writing? Let me know in the comments!

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:

5thhttp://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/

6thhttp://nasrielsfanfics.wordpress.com/

7thhttps://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

8thhttp://introspectioncreative.wordpress.com/

9thhttp://semilegacy.blogspot.com/

10thhttp://kirabudge.weebly.com/

11thhttp://whileishouldbedoingprecal.weebly.com/

12thhttp://randomosityofeden.wordpress.com/

13thhttp://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

14thhttp://www.alwaysopinionatedgirl.wordpress.com/

15thhttp://www.juliathewritergirl.wordpress.com/

16thhttp://miriamjoywrites.com/

17thhttp://horsfeathersblog.wordpress.com/

18thhttp://unironicallyexcited.wordpress.com/

19thhttp://theboardingblogger.wordpress.com/

20thhttp://stayandwatchthestars.wordpress.com/

21sthttp://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

22ndhttp://fantasiesofapockethuman.blogspot.com/

23rdhttp://lilyjenness.blogspot.com/

24thhttp://oliviarivers.wordpress.com/

25th – [No posts today!]

26thhttp://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

27thhttp://missalexandrinabrant.wordpress.com/

28thhttp://www.pamelanicolewrites.com

29thhttp://jasperlindell.blogspot.com.au/

30thhttp://maralaurey.wordpress.com/ and http://theedfiles.blogspot.com/

31st – http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for December’s chain!)

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Teens Can Write Too!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 11 Comments

8 Reasons You Should Watch “Pacific Rim”

pacific rimKAIJU (怪獣, kaijū, Japanese) Giant beast.

JAEGER (yā’gar, German) Hunter.

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays – not because of the food, or the visitors, but because of the long weekend. (Note to my international readers: We get Thursday through Sunday off. It’s awesome.) This year, I used that extra time to catch up on a lot of stories. Because stories are my favorite thing! (Well, after food. Maybe.)

I read seven or eight books. (I can’t remember exactly how many.) Historical fiction, contemporary, short stories, et cetera. I started listening to Welcome to Night ValeI binge-watched Carmilla. I had time for a few more episodes of Elementary.

And I watched Pacific Rim.

My wonderful friend Micha @ Wanderer on the Sands of Time adores that movie more than I’ve ever seen anyone adore anything. And enthusiasm is infectious, right?! So eventually I said OK OK I NEED TO WATCH THIS MOVIE ALREADY. So I did.

It was an afternoon well spent. And now I’m going to write a list of awesome things that will hopefully convince YOU to watch the movie!

This post is spoiler-free!

1. This movie has MONSTERS and GIANT FIGHTING ROBOTS…

SO. COOL.

(The plot is basically about these giant creatures from another world – known as the kaiju – that appear from a rift in Earth’s crust deep beneath the ocean, and attack cities. Eventually Jaegers – huge robots piloted by two or more people – were built to fight the kaiju. Awesomeness ensues.)

2. …but it’s also a well-written movie.

I must confess: I was not expecting this. (Sorry, Micha!) I was expecting a fun-yet-slightly-pointless story, but Pacific Rim isn’t that. Sure, there are a lot of scenes with kaiju and Jaegers punching each other in the face, but the movie also has time for a decent plot.

When I see action/adventure/superhero movies, I expect lots of explosions and super-expensive special effects, and little else. I don’t expect intriguing subplots! I don’t expect well-written, complex friendships between characters! Basically, I don’t expect to be impressed by any movie containing that much action and violence. But I was WRONG. Pacific Rim doesn’t win the title of “deepest movie ever,” but it’s definitely a compelling story.

3. It’s dystopian/post-apocalyptic. 

Basically: END-OF-THE-WORLD AWESOMENESS AND DRAMA.

4. Pacific Rim has an amazing soundtrack composed by none other than the brilliant Ramin Djwadi.

I love his work on Game of Thrones, and his music here is just as beautiful, if very different. Forget violins and fantastical-sounding pieces – think electric guitars instead! My favorite piece is “Canceling the Apocalypse,” a simple-yet-beautiful reprise of the main theme, but I also really love the following songs:

And last but not least, courtesy of Micha, here is an awesome video that you NEED in your life: Pacific Rim‘s main theme played on a singing Tesla coil!

(What can I say? Micha is a science nerd.)

5. There are SO MANY FRIENDSHIPS in this movie.

I think that forms the heart of Pacific Rim, honestly: People working together to fight giant monsters. There is one pairing that could, I suppose, be interpreted as romantic, but it seems like a lot of people see Raleigh/Mako as best friends and not boyfriend/girlfriend.

And I love that. SO MANY MOVIES have completely unnecessary romantic subplots, and this movie is just like, “Pffft. Who needs those when you can have a story about FRIENDS WHO BLOW UP THINGS?!”

 6. The scientists are amazing. 

Speaking of friendships… Newt and Hermann crack me up! They’re the scientists in charge of learning more about the kaiju, and they are so. Freaking. Great. They squabble about one another’s theories and argue about Newt’s foolish decisions. (Such as linking his brain with that of a kaiju, just to see what would happen.)

Basically, they’re the best.

7. This movie portrays one of the best father/daughter relationships I’ve yet seen in fiction.

Mako and Stacker* are adorable. They really, really care for one another, always worrying about whether the other person will come back safely, and basically they’re just… perfect. I may have even teared up during some scenes. I find that a lot of young protagonists have very shallow relationships with their parents – they don’t really interact with them that much during the story, and instead go on their merry way. But that’s not the case in this movie, and I appreciated.

*All the characters in Pacific Rim have weird names. You’ll get used to it.

8. I think people of all ages can find something to like about Pacific Rim.

I LOVE stories that are capable of this! Star Wars and the Harry Potter books are excellent examples of this as well – there are so many facets to those stories that I think anyone could read/watch them and find something they enjoy.

So. I think little kids would probably be like, “Wow, giant monsters! And explosions!” Those who are a little older will probably pay more attention to the subplots, dark dystopian setting, et cetera.

There are a lot of movies that can’t do this – The Hunger Games films spring immediately to mind. They’re great movies, to be sure, but honestly I think they have a fairly narrow fanbase in terms of age. No one’s going to take their eight-year-old to Mockingjay Part One, right? (God, I hope not. That was INTENSE.) Meanwhile Pacific Rim, for all its fight scenes, is a surprisingly ungory movie.

-~-

I would recommend Pacific Rim to lots of people anyone who enjoys science fiction or dystopian fiction. Or robots. Or film scores that kick butt. I would like to thank A) Guillermo del Toro, for making such a cool movie, and B) Micha, for the recommendation. I’m looking forward to the sequel, which will be released sometime in 2017!

P.S. Pacific Rim is by no means a brand-new movie: It came out in the summer of 2013, so if this post has piqued your interest and you want to see it, well, it’s definitely not in theaters. But you can watch it here for free, if you’d like. And be sure to let me know what you think once you’ve finished it!

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments