Quarterly Rewind, Summer 2014 – Books, College, OneRepublic, And More!

Hey, everyone! Today is the last day of summer (s0b!) so it’s time for another quarterly rewind. Where did this season go?!

Anyway. This post covers the time from June twenty-first through September twenty-first. And as always, the idea of a quarterly rewind is not mine – the credit for that goes to Jamie @ The Perpetual Page-Turner.

P.S. You can find earlier quarterly rewinds here, if you’re interested.

Image From This Summer

DSCN3996

Taken in mid-June at the Vietnam Wall in Washington, D.C.

Favorite Quote From A Book I Read This Summer

“We are not youth any longer. We don’t want to take the world by storm. We are fleeing. We fly from ourselves. From our life. We were eighteen and had begun to love life and the world, and we had to shoot it to pieces.”

- All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque

A single quote can’t possibly do this beautiful book justice; in order to really show you how great this classic is, I’d have to quote the whole book. So instead I’m just going to tell you: READ IT.

This Summer In One Word

Busy.

Most Popular Review This Summer

Strangely enough, that would be my review of We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. I gave it only two-point-five out of five stars… but evidently a lot of people read it, even the ones who I know for a fact love it.

Top Two Books I Read This Summer

  1. The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller is AMAZING and basically everything I’ve ever read by her has been awesome. She’s not a very-well-known author, but I wish she were. Also, I need to review this book. I read it in… July, I think? And I still haven’t talked about it. I HAVE A DESPERATE NEED TO FANGIRL OVER IT.
  2. Many of my bloggy friends spent the past few YEARS trying to convince me to read Good Omens by Terry Prachett and Neil Gaiman. Well, I finally did. And it was sooooo funny and well worth reading.

Two Things I’m Looking Forward To This Fall

  1. Movies, honestly. Book-to-movie adaptations, to be more specific. Such as The Maze Runner and Mockingjay: Part One and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
  2. My future university’s housing applications open in October (see below for more specific news about college) and I’m anxious to see who I’ll have for a roommate. Hopefully someone who is not too annoying? And who is also a nerd?

Three New Obsessions This Summer

  1. The Piano Guys! They’re two musicians who post amazingly BEAUTIFUL videos on YouTube. They write some of their own stuff, but my favorites are the pieces where they combine classical music with a modern song. My favorite video from their channel is discussed in one of the lists below.
  2. Everyone Is Gay! It’s basically an LGBTQ+ advice website-thingy, and the two ladies who run it are sooooo funny and friendly and just… you should go check it out. It makes me laugh. It makes me smile. (Random side note: Cait. Hey, CAIT. If you’re reading this post – that website reminds me of your blog. Its writing style, I mean. Very casual and fun.)
  3. James Dashner’s Maze Runner series! I have yet to read the prequel, The Kill Order. But I can’t wait to!

Most Popular Five Blog Posts Overall This Summer

  1. I loved writing Amy & Rory; Kissing For Science; And Time-Traveling, Crime-Fighting, Interspecies Lesbians and I guess my readers loved it too!
  2. A Recap Of Pride 2014 discussed the LGBTQ+ blog posts I wrote in June.
  3. In Fifty-Five Questions About Books And Reading, I discussed… you guessed it. Books and reading! And I noticed that a lot of my readers later answered those questions on their own blogs – it was fun to read all your posts!
  4. Doctor Who Series Eight Review: “Deep Breath” (Co-written With My Brother) was a hit, evidently. OH HOW I ENJOYED WATCHING THAT EPISODE. And writing that post, too, of course.
  5. In Collaborative Reviews Of Doctor Who, Series Eight + In The Forest Of Titles And Theories, I listed a bunch of wild predictions about possible happenings in each episode. And I was spot-on with my guess about “Listen,” so that makes me happy.

Five Posts I Loved On Other Blogs This Summer

  1. Cait @ Notebook Sisters made me giggle a lot with her post 28 Reasons Why Being A Bookworm Actually Sucks.
  2. Alex @ The Afictionado always writes well intriguing fandom-analysis posts anyway, and I love them even more when they’re about one of my favorite authors… so Fairies, Aliens, Bisexuals, And Other Fantastic Creatures: Alex Reads Malinda Lo was a recent favorite of mine.
  3. Sabrina Wolfheart @ Books and Bark is one of my most recent awesome-blogger discoveries, and I loved her post called What Professor McGonagall Taught Me.
  4. Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer made a list of 12 Places To Put Your Books (When You Run Out Of Shelf Space). Have you ever put books on your cat? She does. Apparently.
  5. Aaaaaaand now we transition from the silly to the serious! Miriam Joy @ Miriam Joy Writes compared current events such as Ferguson to the currently popular genre of YA dystopia in Our Reality Is Dystopia.

Five Things That Happened This Summer

  1. I applied to my top-choice college, the University of Iowa, and was accepted shortly thereafter! So I’ll be going there next fall. I’M SO EXCITED! I plan to double-major in Creative Writing and Journalism, with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
  2. I had a part-time summer job during the county fair, and now I really appreciate all the work that is necessary for the event to function smoothly. I’d never spent so many days in a row – ten – at the fair before!
  3. My family went on a road trip to Utah. I took lots of pictures (so many I needed not one but two posts to show you my favorites) and read lots of books (nine in eight days – a new record for me).
  4. I completed my goal of reading one hundred books in 2014. I just finished my one hundred and eighth, in fact.
  5. I proposed the idea of collaborative Doctor Who reviews and have been surprised at how well that’s worked out. I’d been worried that someone would drop out at the last minute and I’d have to scramble to find someone to co-write with me! Well, that hasn’t happened so far and I have my fingers crossed that it won’t. It’s been so much fun!

Six Songs That I Listened To Far Too Often This Summer

1. “Beethoven’s Five Secrets” – The Piano Guys

THIS SONG. IT IS GLORIOUS. It’s a combination of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and OneRepublic’s “Secrets.” It’s an unlikely combination, I know, but don’t doubt it. The two songs are perfect together.

2. “Fix You” – Coldplay

I used to dislike this song. Can you believe that?! The beginning still isn’t my favorite, I’ll admit, but when the tempo and volume pick up it’s WONDERFUL. It always cheers me up!

3. “Ordinary Human” (The Giver) – OneRepublic

This song is spectacular… and it almost makes up for the suckiness of this adaptation. I love love love the lyrics, the beat, the way the singer sounds every-so-slightly angry, the… everything about this song, really.

4. “If I Lose Myself” – OneRepublic

I’ve been on a big OneRepublic kick lately. (As you probably already suspected.) This song just makes me feel… happy. Other OneRepublic songs I have enjoyed lately include:

5. “One” – U2

Oh my god! This song! It’s beautiful. U2 and Coldplay are probably tied for my favorite bands, to be honest.

6. “Amy’s Theme” (Doctor Who, series five) – Murray Gold

Music is powerful stuff. Case in point: I LOATHE Amy. But this piece gives me ALL THE FEELINGS.

What did you enjoy most on my blog this summer? And what have you done during these past few months?

P.S. This is the last post by technically-still-a-child-Engie! Tomorrow I shall be an ADULT. Scary, right?

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “Listen” (Co-written With Matt @ The Little Engine That Couldn’t)

Happy Saturday, everyone! Doctor Who is on tonight… so while you wait for the new episode, why don’t you read about something else Whovian? Today I’m co-reviewing last week’s episode, “Listen,” with Matt from The Little Engine That Couldn’t. He’s probably the funniest blogger I know, so I am VERY EXCITED to co-review with him!

P.S. You can find my earlier collaborative reviews of Doctor Who here.

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Matt is a teen blogger who likes to read, write, snowboard, and obsess over anything related to Game of Thrones. He recently got a job at McDonald’s, where he still hasn’t been able to make an ice cream cone without messing it up. He still thinks the scariest Doctor Who monsters so far were the peg dolls from “Night Terrors.” You can find his blog at The Little Engine That Couldn’t.

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Warning: Spoilers ahead, sweetie!

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Hey, guys. Engie here. Matt and I decided to make a list of ten observations we had after watching “Listen.” It’s not a top ten list, though, not exactly. It’s just five thoughts from Matt and five thoughts from yours truly… and as you can see, sometimes we didn’t always agree!

Oh, and by the way, Matt’s thoughts are in italics. The odd-numbered list items, basically. I let him go first because I’m nice that way.

But before we start, I’d just like to say: I CORRECTLY PREDICTED THIS EPISODE. I wrote in an earlier post that it would be fantastically creepy to have an episode where Clara and the Doctor heard a strange noise and realized they weren’t alone. AND I WAS RIGHT. Yay! I think this is why Matt wanted to review this episode with me, honestly. He likes creepy stuff, so I’m glad my prediction was right…

1. I’m sure many felt otherwise, but I really liked how this episode ended.

Some may have found the reveal anti-climactic, or cheating on Moffat’s part, but I’d have to disagree. I think that a reveal of any monster would’ve been disappointing, no matter how terrifying it may have been. The idea that it was all in the Doctor’s head was at once surprising and made perfect sense (to me at least), considering that after every single scary moment in this episode, the Doctor or Clara would give the audience a plausible explanation for what happens. (Though neither of them nor the audience would believe it at the time.)

And despite the fact that this has to be about the five-hundredth time a Doctor Who story has been resolved with a time loop, it still felt inspired, somehow. It felt earned. In “The Name of the Doctor,” Clara jumping into the Doctor’s time stream had no effect on me, because it felt like she only did it because the plot demanded it, whereas her comforting the young Doctor made perfect sense for her character, because it was consistent with everything we knew about her so far.

2.  The first third of the episode – the first story, the one set in the children’s home – was my favorite. After that, I felt the episode wasn’t quite as good.

Like… monsters under the bed? That’s relatable. Everyone’s thought about that, even if they refuse to admit it. I think the whole story should’ve been set in the children’s home. That story was super-creepy, and really-well-written, and then the other parts felt disjointed.

We don’t always need grand storylines, I guess. We don’t need to go to the end of the universe, where everything is dead, or even to the beginning of the Doctor’s life. I guess it just bothered me that Moffat was trying to make the story some big blockbuster thing. Keep it simple – that’s why “Blink” was so good!

If two-thirds of the story had to stay, though, I guess I’d pick the children’s home part and the part with the Doctor. But I realllllly didn’t like the Orson Pink thing.

3. Assuming that the thing underneath Rupert’s bedspread was, in fact, a child playing a prank, and not an evil alien thingy that will become of utmost importance in the final two episodes, I think I speak for everyone when I say: that was one strange kid.

I mean, I’ve tried to scare other people before when I was younger, but usually I’d finally make a sudden movement, or start laughing and give myself away. Basically, I can’t imagine any kid in such a situation staying quiet for so long. But I guess that’s still more plausible than it actually being a monster under the covers instead.

4. I checked under my bed after this episode. It’s kind of embarrassing, really.

Oh, well. I suppose it serves me right for watching a creepy episode late at night. WHAT WAS SITTING ON THE BED?! “Listen” really reminded me of “Midnight,” another scary episode, because we have no idea who or what the villain was and we can’t stand not knowing. Side note: Moffat likes to write creepy episodes about not doing things that are instinctive, doesn’t he? Don’t blink, don’t breathe, don’t look.

5. One thing I particularly liked while rewatching was this tiny exchange in Rupert’s room…

TWELVE: [Thumbing through book] Where is he?

CLARA: Doctor?

TWELVE: I can’t find him. Can you find him?

CLARA Find who?

TWELVE: Wally.

CLARA: Wally?

TWELVE: He’s nowhere in this book.

RUPERT: It’s not a Where’s Wally one.

DOCTOR: Well, how would you know? Maybe you just haven’t found him yet.

RUPERT: He’s not in every book.

TWELVE: Really? Well, that’s a few years of my life I’ll be needing back.

I thought it was a nice bit of foreshadowing there. It actually gave away the entire twist of the episode, but the first time through I just thought it was the Doctor being quirky. So… well done, Moffat.

(Also, only just after this episode did I realize that Wally is apparently the UK version of Waldo, or perhaps Waldo is the American version of Wally. I will never know which came first. Sure, I could probably just look it up, but that seems like a lot of work, even though it isn’t.)

6. Clara and Danny’s relationship is a foregone conclusion now.

Ugh. Why? It’s strongly implied that Orson Pink is one of their descendants, and… I don’t know, I think I’m just grumpy because THEY’VE BEEN IN ONLY TWO EPISODES TOGETHER and they’re already snogging?! It feels like they barely know one another, and they have no chemistry together. I can’t stand poorly-written romantic subplots, so please please please don’t let this become another sub-par Amy-and-Rory thing.

7. I liked the soundtrack for this episode, mostly because I barely noticed it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Murray Gold’s score (I have jogged to “I Am the Doctor” many times) but there were times throughout the show where I’ve felt like it was played too loud, and the same themes would be repeated over and over again. In fact, I don’t remember a single moment throughout all of series seven where there wasn’t music thundering in the background. Sure, the soundtrack was catchy, but it was often distracting and a lot of times I felt the show relied on it too much to set the mood.

Here it was the lack of a score that caught my attention, particularly in the conversation between Clara and the Doctor at the end of the universe. It was one of those rare moments in the show where besides the Doctor and Clara talking, it was completely silent, which created a feeling of suspense and creepiness that no amount of “BAAA dum. BAAA dum. BA dum BA dum BA dum..” can more accurately purvey.

(I was trying to imitate the Jaws soundtrack, by the way. I’m not sure how clear that was.)

And the music that did play, like near the end when Clara was comforting the very young Doctor, was fantastic. Maybe it wasn’t as hauntingly beautiful as the soundtrack from, say, The Leftovers, but it was effective nonetheless.

8. I loved the episode’s intro, what with Twelve postulating ideas and all that.

It just felt so… Doctor-y. I like Twelve already, but I’m still getting used to him and I think this might have been the moment where he just felt right as the new Doctor. I love the science-y, theorizing side of the Doctor – and how, when Clara walked in, she said he’d been alone with his ideas for a little too long.

9. I think Capaldi’s going to end up being my favorite Doctor so far.

He’s definitely on his way there. He’s so much darker and crazier than all the previous versions I’ve seen, especially in this episode, yet he’s also clearly capable of being goofy and lovable. Like in that split second scene where Clara surprise-hugged him, something I could imagine Clara doing a lot to unsuspecting people.

10. I loved seeing Clara interact with kids. 

She’s been a nanny several times, and there was that great scene in “The Rings of Akhaten” where she talked to that little girl, and now she’s a teacher. She’s really good with kids, and it’s nice to see that she’s interested in something, because otherwise I have no idea what she likes. I LOVED her scenes with Rupert and the young Doctor.

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Hey, it’s Engie again. And I have one final question for Matt. Who do you think Missy is?!

I have no idea. I read this theory online a few days ago that she is actually Madame de Pompadour from “The Girl in the Fireplace,” but the more I think about it the less sense it seems to make.

Er. Yeah. That’s a really weird theory…

Thanks for reviewing with me, Matt!

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What is YOUR opinion on “Listen?” I’d love to know!

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The To-Be-Read Tag + The Book Blogger Confession Tag

Good afternoon, minions and readers-of-mine! This Friday, I’m going to take part in not one but two blog tags about books. This morning, Cait @ Notebook Sisters tagged me in a to-be-read tag, and yesterday Sabrina Wolfheart @ Books and Bark tagged me in a book blogger confession tag. Thanks, guys!

First up is…

The To-Be-Read Tag

1. How do you keep track of your TBR pile?

…what do you mean by that? I don’t, really. I just add books to my Goodreads to-read list whenever I wish, and I have stacks and stacks of books just laying around my room waiting to be read.

Seriously, one group takes up most of the bottom shelf of one of my bookshelves, another is stacked on top of another bookshelf, and the third is right next to my bed. Sometimes I trip over them when getting out of bed. Oh, the things I do for books.

2. Is your TBR mostly print books or ebooks?

Honestly, I only read ebooks if I A) don’t have any print books handy at the moment or B) a particular story only exists as an ebook. So my list is mostly comprised of print books.

3. How do you determine which book from your TBR to read next?

It depends on a few factors, some of which are more shallow than others:

  • What books have to go back to the library first (I am the Queen of Overdue Books and Late Fines)
  • Which books are shiniest and newest
  • Which books I’ve been looking forward to the longest
  • Which books have pretty covers
  • Which books have been recommended to me by oodles of friends (so that I can say, “I finally read it! Are you happy now?!”)

4. A book that’s been on your TBR the longest?

I have no idea. I’m not sure that Goodreads adds books to my to-read list in the same order that I added them – they seem all mixed up – but I think it’s The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

5. A book you recently added to your TBR?

I’m going to make this question more interesting and list the ten most-recently-added books! (In reverse order, so that the first is the most recent.) I read a lot of different genres, so I thought it would be neat to see which ones recently made it onto my to-read list.

  1. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (fantasy)huntress
  2. Pink by Lili Wilkinson (contemporary, romance, LGBTQ+)
  3. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith (dystopian, LGBTQ+)
  4. The Kill Order by James Dashner (dystopian)
  5. The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (contemporary)
  6. The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy (thriller, mystery, adult)
  7. Doctor Who: The Clockwise Man by Justin Richards (science fiction – NINE!)
  8. Doctor Who: The Crawling Terror by Mike Tucker (science fiction – Twelve!)
  9. Doctor Who: Silhouette by Justin Richards (science fiction – Twelve!)
  10. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (contemporary)

6. A book on your TBR strictly because of its beautiful cover?

Huntress by Malinda Lo… pretty girls! With SWORDS!

7. A book on your TBR that you never plan on reading?

I Am The Messenger by Markus Zusak, honestly. I tried to read it about, oh, five or six years ago? And it was really dull. But everyone keeps telling me I have to read it.

8. An unpublished book in your TBR that you’re excited for?

17378508There are four I’m super-excited for, actually:

  1. The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan (Publication date: October 7, 2014)
  2. Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater (October 21, 2014)
  3. Winter by Marissa Meyer (November 24, 2015)
  4. The Winds of Winter by George R.R. Martin (Who even knows? “When the sun rises in the west and sets in the east,” perhaps.)

9. A book in your TBR that everyone recommends to you?

Looking For Alaska by John Green, maybe? Bleh. (It’s one of the books I added just so that I could someday say that I’ve read it.)

10. Number of books in your TBR?

Are you ready for it? You should probably sit down if you’re not already, just so that you don’t fall down from shock after seeing how large my list is.

Anyway.

…four hundred and eighty-seven!

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I’m tagging:

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The Book Blogger Confession Tag

Which book did you recently not finish?

we were liarsI almost always finish my books, but… one that I came close to not finishing was E. Lockhart’s We Were Liars. I couldn’t stand it.

Which book is your guilty pleasure?

Currently, it’s Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard. The plot and writing style are sooooooo simple, but the story is fun.

Which book do you love to hate?

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green! It’s one of the worst, most-sloppily-written books I’ve ever read. People generally yell at me for saying that, because it has a huuuuuge and very vocal fanbase.

Which book would you throw into the sea?

I don’t like The Fault in Our Stars, but I wouldn’t throw even that book. Books don’t deserve to be thrown into the sea!

Which book have you read the most?

Um. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, I think? But I haven’t reread it in years.

Which book would you hate to receive as a present?

…have I mentioned The Fault in Our Stars too much already? No? Well, then. That book. I can totally see how a well-meaning relative who knows I love books would buy me that book for Christmas or my birthday, because after all it is one of the most famous YA stories of all time.

Which book could you not live without?

Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City by Kirsten Miller, because it is an amazing and escapist story.

Which book made you the angriest?

Um. I don’t know? The Death Cure by James Dashner, maybe, because it had SO MANY DEATHS and I was SO SAD.

the fault in our starsWhich book made you cry the most?

All of the (as-yet-published) books in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series, and The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. Tears, people. TEARS.

Which book cover do you hate the most?

I know I haven’t been very nice to The Fault in Our Stars today, but… seriously. Its cover looks like plain old clip art. I like minimalist covers, just… not that minimalist.

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I’m tagging:

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And as always: Feel free to answer these questions on your own blog, even if I didn’t tag you!

P.S. What books are you reading at the moment? And what will you read after them?

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 32 Comments

First Reactions To The “Mockingjay: Part One” Film Trailer

It’s time for one of my favoritest types of posts! I love to write up my reactions to various film trailers… and the trailer for Mockingjay: Part One was released just two days ago. I’M SO EXCITED! I’ve been impatiently waiting for this film ever since the credits rolled at the end of Catching Fire almost one year ago. I LOVED Mockingjay-the-book (sometimes I feel like one of the few people who did) and I am so ready to see the story onscreen.

P.S. You can find my earlier film trailer reactions here.

Warning: Spoilers ahead, so read/watch at your own risk!

0:11 – Is that District 13?!

0:17 – See, this is one of the reasons I loved Mockingjay: We were finally able to see the full effects of Katniss’ participation in the Games. She has PTSD and she’s under a lot of pressure from all sides… so of course she’s not going to be Little-Miss-Sunshine. I thought Suzanne Collins was actually very realistic in her portrayal of Katniss during the last book. And if you disagree with that, then I’ll just laugh at you and ask how well you would react if your friends and family members were killed off one by one. Sheesh.

0:19 – PRIM! I regret every moment I used to hate her. Prim. Little butt-kicking nurse Prim.

0:23 – I really shouldn’t love President Snow’s voice as much as I do, because he’s evil and all that, but it’s glorious. His actor should record audiobooks or somethng.

0:32 – OH MY GOD OH MY GOD IT’S THE INSIDE OF DISTRICT THIRTEEN!

0:34 – Beetee! [High-fives him]

0:37 – I’m interested to see the changes in Effie, that’s for sure.

0:40 – The only part of this movie that I am not looking forward to is Gale. Go away, please.

0:45 – Ooh, it’s Katniss’ battle-outfit-thingy! I’ve been wondering what the movie’s version would look like.

0:52 – [Makes sad Engie noises] Peeta! Nooooooo!

0:56 – Haymitch looks so not-fierce in a fuzzy hat.

0:57 – Oh my god. I thought Caesar Flickerman’s suits couldn’t get any weirder, but this new one is, um… interesting.

1:05 – You tell them, Katniss! You go, girl!

1:06 - I DON’T WANT TO WAIT EVEN JUST TWO MORE MONTHS FOR THIS MOVIE.

1:11 – Finnick, don’t do the sad-face-thing. Because it makes me feel like I need to hug you, and there aren’t enough hugs in the world to help you.

1:14 – OMG OMG OMG. Natalie Dormer! I have a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge crush on her. (It’s a major crush, so I feel justified in using all those Us.) She’s on Game of Thrones and she was in the first Captain America movie and also in some other things I want to watch, such as Elementary. She’ll play Cressida in Mockingjay, and I don’t even care that she has such a tiny role because… she is awesome. (I have a feeling that when we go see the movie my friends will be all, “Peeta! Gale! Finnick!” and I’ll just be like, “Cressida!” and they’ll just ask, “Um…. who?) I literally squealed with glee when I found out she was going to be in the movie.

1:17 – Well, this is certainly a change from the Games. And I’m looking forward to it – Catching Fire felt too much like a repeat of the first book. Now war isn’t just a game. It’s real.

1:20 – Did they rappel down anything in the book? I don’t remember this scene. But it looks cool, so it’s all good.

1:25 – I don’t recall this exploding-dam scene either, but whoa.

1:27 – And here we see a sad Katniss in the rain.

1:35 – I AM SO READY TO SEE THIS MOVIE.

So. That was a pretty awesome trailer, wasn’t it? I’m looking forward to so much: Katniss kicking butt, Finnick gaining more depth and character development, Cressida, a look at places other than District 12 and the arenas, et cetera.

During the rest of the year I always feel like I’m such a moderate fan of anything and everything Hunger Games… and then a new trailer comes out and this happens. This fangirling. I love the books, and the film adaptations thus far have been amazingly good and accurate to the original stories. So I have high hopes for this latest movie, too. I can’t wait to see it!

What do you think of the trailer for Mockingjay: Part One?

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

My Hero Monday: Julia Child

My Hero Monday is an original weekly feature 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. 

Chloe recently decided to make MHM a monthly link-up as well… and as I love both link-ups and feminism, I eagerly signed up to participate! 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) you can find the rules and other information here.

Enjoy!

julia childJulia Child

Date of birth: August 15, 1912

Date of death: August 13, 2004

School(s): Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris, France

Profession: Chef, author, television personality

When did I first hear about her?

I was twelve or thirteen when we watched the movie Julie & Julia, which is based on a book of the same name written by Julie Powell. In both stories, Julie blogs about her efforts to cook each of the five-hundred-plus recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

What makes her one of my heroes?

Yeah, it’s cool that Julie cooked all those recipes, but you know what’s even more amazing? That Julia wrote all those recipes. That’s a lot of work! Before she even began writing she had to test multiple versions of each recipe to see which one worked best, then she had to write it out as clearly as possible with no confusing bits, and then she had to decide how to organize the whole book! (And she had to keep from squabbling with her co-writers. For the ten years it took them to write the books. Ah, the joys of collaboration.)

Let me tell you some more about Julia Child: She only started cooking because she was bored. When she moved to Paris along with her husband, she signed up for classes at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school because it gave her something to do. And she loved it. That single decision led to her writing a two-volume guide to French cuisine, and later she had her own cooking show.

Julia Child introduced millions of Americans to different ways of thinking about food at a time when most of them were eating the same old meat-and-potatoes fare – and she did this in a traditionally male-dominated field of work. Most French chefs at the time were men. But she didn’t let that fact discourage her from pursuing something she loved.

It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that when I was about twelve or thirteen I wanted to be a chef. Later on, I changed my mind – I want to write for a living now – but a few years ago I wanted to be just like her. She’s still one of my most important role models, and the boxed set edition of Mastering the Art of French Cooking resides on my shelf of favorite books.

P.S. Before I move on to the section about my favorite Julia Child quotes… here’s a video where she shows you how to make an omelette! Because… why not? Because breakfast is good.

Notable Quotes

“I was thirty-two when I started cooking; up until then, I just ate.”

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“Find something you’re passionate about and keep tremendously interested in it.”

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“You’ll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”

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“I think every woman should have a blowtorch.”

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“Life itself is the proper binge.”

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What’s your opinion of Julia Child? And what did you think about my first My Hero Monday post? I’d love to know!

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

September 8: Isa @ A Doodler’s Freedom

September 15: nevillegirl @ Musings From Neville’s Navel

September 22: Ana @ Butterflies of the Imagination

September 29: Wrap-up by Chloe @ A Girl’s Voice

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

“We’re All Stories In The End.” – Teens Can Write, Too! September 2014 Blog Chain

tcwt-3[1]This month’s prompt is:

What are your favorite book beginnings and/or endings?

I’m going to talk about general types of beginnings/endings, rather than specific ones. I’ll offer examples, of course, but I’ve noticed that there isn’t ONE beginning (or ending) that I love. I love many of them, and have also noticed that they can usually sorted into groups… I guess I love some beginnings and endings so much that I like to see them over and over again!

Beginnings

The White Rabbit put on his spectacles. “Where shall I begin, please, your Majesty?” he asked. “Begin at the beginning,” the King said gravely, “and go on till you come to the end: then stop.”

- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

+ I like beginnings that show the main characters discovering a world gregor[1]that they didn’t know existed. If a book (or any type of story) opens this way, there is a ninety-nine-point-nine percent chance that I will absolutely adore it. I love stories where characters discover that dull ordinary life isn’t all there is: Magic also exists, and fairies too, and hidden lands, and time-traveling. Et cetera. I LOVE that sense of magic and wonder and awe found in those beginnings. I like escapist books, I guess. I wish I could open a book and be taken away to another world – literally.

Some examples?

  • The Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke
  • The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  • The Skulduggery Pleasant series by Derek Landy
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
  • The BFG by Roald Dahl
  • The Kiki Strike series by Kirsten Miller
  • The Percy Jackson series, the Kane Chronicles, and the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan
  • The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  • (And Doctor Who!)

I think I have only one type of favorite beginning, honestly. But don’t worry – I have loads of favorite endings!

Endings

“I’ll be a story in your head, but that’s okay, because we’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one, eh? Because it was, you know. It was the best: A daft old man who stole a magic box and ran away.”

- Eleventh Doctor, Doctor Who, “The Big Bang” 

the geography of you and me+ I love happy, sometimes ridiculously mushy endings. Because they make me smile!


Some examples?

  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
  • Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson

+ However, sometimes I also adore sad or even tragic endings. I don’t really know why. It depends on my current mood, I suppose. I can be just as satisfied with a sad ending as with a happy ending, provided they’re both written well.

Some examples?400px-Gatsby_1925_jacket

  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton

+ I absolutely freaking ADORE ambiguous endings. I love endings that don’t tell me exactly what happened, where I can decide for myself where the characters go and what they do and – most importantly – whether the story’s ending was happy or sad. I like to make up my own theories about such things, and sometimes I change them – again, all according to my mood at the time of reading (or as the case may be, rereading).

dramaramaSome examples?

 

  • The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks and Dramarama by E. Lockhart
  • Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
  • The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth
  • Malice and Havoc by Chris Wooding
  • Roadside Picnic by Arkady and Boris Strugatsky

+ I love long, drawn-out romantic stories/subplots that culminate right at the very end – but no sooner. These endings are always so cute! I don’t want the characters to get together right away. It’s much more satisfying if their romantic tension and chemistry together slowly increases until, two- or three- or four-hundred pages later, they’re finally a couple. I don’t like many romantic stories but if they’re written this way, I am guaranteed to like them.


Some examples? ash

  • Ash by Malinda Lo
  • Fan Art by Sarah Tregay
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

Well, that’s the end of my favorite-endings list. But it’s not the end of this post. Not quite. Because there is one ending that is possibly my favorite of all time, but that doesn’t easily fit into any of the four types of endings above.

My favorite ending EVER is the conclusion of A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin.

I don’t want to spoil the ending for anyone who hasn’t yet read this book, but IT. IS. a game of thronesAMAZING. It’s beautiful yet deadly, and incredibly well-written – I read that Martin originally wrote a novella consisting of only that character’s scenes, and then expanded it into the novel we know today. And it’s obvious once you’ve read the story… because not a word is out of place in that chapter and it makes that kick-butt scene EVEN BETTER. I read that ending and went, “…oh. WHOA. This changes everything!”

…strangely enough, it’s also my favorite beginning. Not the ending, of course. But that whole book. It’s the first in a series of epically long books, and it’s a stunning beginning. Very well written, et cetera. It sets the tone for the whole series – namely, that characters don’t necessarily reap what they sow, so bad things happen just as often to good guys as to bad guys.

Can you tell that I love this book? And that I think you should read it too? READ IT.

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Are any of my favorite types of beginnings and endings also your favorites? Or do you have different favorites? I’d love to know!

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

7th – http://vergeofexisting.wordpress.com/

8th – http://zarahoffman.com/

9th – http://thelittleenginethatcouldnt.wordpress.com/

10th – http://www.elizamcfarlish.weebly.com/

11th – http://sammitalk.wordpress.com/

12th – http://irisbloomsblog.wordpress.com/

13th – http://musingsfromnevillesnavel.wordpress.com/

14th – http://fantasiesofapockethuman.blogspot.com/

15th – http://miriamjoywrites.com/

16th – http://magicandwriting.wordpress.com/

17th – http://ttkesley.wordpress.com/

18th – http://www.brookeharrison.com/

19th – http://www.freeasagirlwithwings.wordpress.com/

20th – http://roomble.wordpress.com/

21st – http://unikkelyfe.wordpress.com/

22nd – http://erinkenobi2893.wordpress.com/

23rd – http://butterfliesoftheimagination.wordpress.com/

24th – http://lillianmwoodall.wordpress.com/

and http://www.paperdaydreams.com/

25th – http://write-where-you-are.blogspot.de/

and http://theedfiles.blogspot.com/

26th – http://insideliamsbrain.wordpress.com/

and http://anmksmeanderingmind.wordpress.com/

27th – http://semilegacy.blogspot.com/

and http://dynamicramblings.wordpress.com/

28th – http://oliviarivers.wordpress.com/

and http://randommorbidinsanity.blogspot.com/

29th – http://theloonyteenwriter.wordpress.com/

30th – http://thelonglifeofalifelongfangirl.wordpress.com/

and http://teenscanwritetoo.wordpress.com/ (We’ll announce the topic for October’s chain!)

Posted in Books and Reading!, Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Teens Can Write Too!, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

DOCTOR WHO Series Eight Review: “Robot Of Sherwood” (Co-written With Star @ The Place The Universe Forgot)

Hello there! It’s time for another co-written Doctor Who series eight review. This time I’m discussing “Robot of Sherwood” with Star over at The Place The Universe Forgot. She’s pretty cool. She kind of reminds me of little!Engie.

This discussion’s format is similar to the one Miriam Joy and I used to talk about “Into the Dalek.” Actually, it’s the same exact format. Because… I don’t know. Because why not? There’ll be different styles of review later on, don’t worry.

Now it’s time for a quick bio-thingy provided by Star, and then the review itself!

P.S. You can find previous collaborative reviews here.

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Star is a multi-fandom little weirdo who spends most of the her free, non-Internet time either writing stories about witches and destruction, or rereading Harry Potter for the seventy-third time. She still hopes that Jack Harkness will return to Doctor Who, for however short a time. You can find her irregularly updated blog at The Place The Universe Forgot.

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Warning: Spoilers ahead, sweetie!

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“What did you think about Twelve in this episode?”

Star: Well, personally, I like him. I didn’t really think I would like him all that much originally, and, although I started out disliking him in his first episode, I’ve grown to enjoy him. No one will ever replace Nine, of course, but still… he’s very… eccentric, I guess.

Engie: [Makes happy noises because NINE]

Star: I especially loved his obsession with how Robin Hood absolutely, definitely, probably couldn’t be real, and the part where he was taking bits of the Merry Men and examining them. (When he told that poor fellow that he only had six months to live, I laughed. Cruel, but still hilarious.) So, all in all, I liked him in this episode, and I probably will for the rest of his career. He’s interesting, kind of bratty, an awful person, yet endearing.

Engie: Oh, I totally agree. It was so much fun to watch Twelve – he’s hilarious, but is trying so hard to be Such A Serious Doctor. He’s not exactly like Nine, and I didn’t want him to be exactly the same anyway, but he’s just reminiscent enough to make me happy.

“And what did you think about Clara?”

Star: Ooh, you’ve really opened up the floodgates now. Right, so, my love for Clara was dwindling during the hiatus between season seven and season eight. It was dying, collapsing, rotting away. But “Deep Breath” alighted the fires once more, and although this episode didn’t exactly fuel the flames, it kept it burning.

Engie: Ha ha, my love for Clara died very quickly, just after “The Snowmen.” (Victorian!Clara is the BEST version, in my opinion.) So I spent series 7b being pretty disappointed. But I like her more now in series eight, and I liked her in this episode. And I liked her dress. She looked like a princess! An adorable princess!

Star: Is it just me, or is it really cute that her hero is Robin Hood? ‘Cause he’s not exactly stereotypical hero material, he’s a thief with a heart of gold (oh, clichés), and that’s the (apparently fictional) man she idolizes. But that’s mainly about Robin, so let’s focus on Clara.

Engie: Yes, let’s.

Star: Clara was glorious in this episode. The whole part where she kind of seduced that guy (what was his name?) was really great. I kind of wish she wouldn’t be reduced to someone that everyone flirts with every episode, but unfortunately, given that Moffat is the writer, we won’t get a good Clara for a while.

 Engie: Most of Moffat’s female characters, companions and others, are like ninety percent flirtation and ten percent actual character development.

“What did you think about the interaction between Twelve and Robin Hood?”

Star: Although I didn’t focus much on their interactions, their banter – especially in the prison cell – was hilarious. I kind of wish it had turned out that Robin was a robot, though, because I feel like that would’ve made it infinitely sadder. And Twelve would’ve been a bit sad about the whole thing. I don’t know…

Engie: Oh my gosh, that banter in the cell. And their archery competition (shown in the video above) was so funny too! They tried to one-up each other throughout the whole episode… but not in an “I’m mad that you like Clara romantically” way. I hate plots that are just about guys fighting over girls. Like, get a life! Instead Twelve was just determined to prove that Robin was just a guy pretending to be the legend, and who would mess up because he wasn’t real.

“What is your favorite quote from the episode?”

Star: Personally, my favorite would have to be…

 TWELVE: “I have no sword! I don’t need a sword, for I am the Doctor, and this is my spoon! En garde!”

Engie: Ha ha, nice. My favorite is…

TWELVE: “I’m not a hero.”

ROBIN HOOD: “Well, neither am I. But if we both keep pretending to be, perhaps others will be heroes in our name. Perhaps we will both be stories. And may those stories never end.”

“So overall, did you like this episode?”

Star: Oh, yes! It wasn’t the most brilliant thing I’ve ever seen, but I did enjoy it. Not as much as I may have enjoyed it if it were a bit less light-hearted, but… still. Sometimes you need that little bit of humor instead of endless torrents of sadness, although I definitely wouldn’t object to the latter.

Engie: Me, too. “Robot of Sherwood” was ridiculous, but in a good way, a funny way, not in a “why am I wasting my time watching this?” way. The episode was worth it for the TARDIS’ bookshelves alone. I WANT THEM. Anyway. It was a decent episode. Better than what I expected!

“And last but not least, who do you think Missy is?

Star: THIS IS GOING TO BUG ME UNTIL WE FIND OUT. I have no idea. Clearly, she knows the Doctor personally, maybe even romantically, and she’s more than a bit weird. But it’s only episode three, so hey, we have plenty of time until Moffat gives us the answer to this.

Engie: I’ve given up trying to figure out who Missy could be, honestly. We’ll just have to wait and see…

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What is YOUR opinion on “Robot of Sherwood?” I’d love to know!

Posted in Nevillegirl's Adventures!, Non-Neville Posts, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments