Monthly Archives: February 2014

Valar morghulis

Directly translates to… March is going to be SUCH A LONG MONTH. Or “all men must die.” One or the other.

Good Guy HBO is doing everything it can to fill the Game of Thrones shaped hole in all of our hearts. They’ve released three more teasers for the upcoming 4th season. They’re pretty exciting… even if they also serve to remind us how far away April is.

DRAGONS
“They’re dragons, Khaleesi. They can never be tamed. Not even by their mother.”

 

Tyrion in the Dungeon
“Come for a last look?”

 

Stark children (minus Rickon)
“The first time I saw you, you were just a child. A girl from the North come to the capital for the first time. You’re not a child anymore.”

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Filed under A Song of Ice and Fire, Books, Fandoms, Game of Thrones, Television

I am the watcher on the walls…

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a sucker for good marketing and advertising, and HBO has always done a fantastic job when it comes to getting people extra excited about Game of Thrones. Remember the dragon shadows for Season 3?

Now, HBO has commissioned 3D street art of The Wall in London and it’s AMAZING. The artwork is intended to promote the release of Season 3 on DVD and Blu-ray, but it’s also just in time for Season 4 so it’s a win, win, win.

Photos from winteriscoming.net

GOT Street Art 2

GOT Street Art 3

GOT Street Art

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Filed under A Song of Ice and Fire, Books, Fandoms, Game of Thrones, Marketing, Television

Welcome to The Glade, ya shanks

Image credit: themazerunnermovie.com

Image credit: themazerunnermovie.com

Okay! So! I was not thrilled with The Maze Runner as a trilogy, BUT (!) that does not mean that all is lost. As I mentioned in my review, The Maze Runner is the best of the three, and I think this is going to be one of those rare cases in which the movie is better than the book. A trailer hasn’t been released yet, but there are publicity stills  floating around the interwebs. I have to say, the casting on this movie is FLAWLESS, at least in terms of how I personally imagined each character.

Take a look. I think you’ll find there’s a little something for the fangirl in everyone. 

Thomas, played by Dylan O'Brien, who you know as Stiles MTV's Teen Wolf.

Thomas, played by Dylan O’Brien, who you know as Stiles MTV’s Teen Wolf.

Newt, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who you know as Jojen Reed from HBO's Game of Thrones.

Newt, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster, who you know as Jojen Reed from HBO’s Game of Thrones.

Teresa, played by Kaya Scodelario, who you know as Effy from Skins (UK)

Teresa, played by Kaya Scodelario, who you know as Effy from Skins (UK)

Gally, played by Will Poulter, who you know as Eustace Scrubb from The Chronicles of Narnia. (And he was hilarious in We're the Millers.)

Gally, played by Will Poulter, who you know as Eustace Scrubb from The Chronicles of Narnia. (And he was hilarious in We’re the Millers.)

Minho, played by Ki Hong Lee. I don't know him from anything yet, but he's one of my favorites so I had to include him.

Minho, played by Ki Hong Lee. I don’t know him from anything yet, but he’s one of my favorites so I had to include him.

All images are from themazerunnermovie.com

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Filed under Books, Fandoms, Movies, The Maze Runner

Book Review: The Maze Runner trilogy

Image credit: goodreads.com

Image credit: goodreads.com

In light of The Maze Runner movie coming out later this year, I thought I’d get a jump on the story by reading The Maze Runner trilogy by James Dashner over the weekend. It was probably the most frustrating reading experience I’ve ever had in my life.

Brief Synopsis: Thomas wakes up alone in a lift with no memories other than his own first name. When the lift opens, he finds that it has delivered him to “The Glade,” an open arena surrounded by giant stone walls that form the maze. He and the 50 other boys (and eventually one girl) who live in the Glade, have to solve the maze, but they don’t know how or why. Throughout the trilogy, we learn that the outside world has been ravaged by sun flares that reached the earth and threw the planet into chaos. In addition, a deadly virus, dubbed “The Flare,” was inadvertently released and is killing the remaining population. Thomas and the other “Gladers” are immune to the virus, so their brains are the key to discovering the cure. Horrible things happen to them inside and eventually outside of the maze, all in the name of science and studying their reactions to said events inside their brains. If the scientists, aka the WICKED organization, can create a blueprint for an immune brain, they feel they can find a cure. But who can actually be trusted? Who is actually the good guy? How far is too far?

Trilogy Rating: Based on my star average for the three separate books, the whole trilogy gets a 3/5. If you’re the type that likes to read books before seeing the movie, then by all means, read The Maze Runner. It was a very enjoyable and unique read. In my opinion, you can skip the final two books and not miss anything. Also, I’m predicting that this will be one of those rare cases in which the movie is better than the book.

Book #1: The Maze Runner 
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Overall Impression: Without a doubt, this book is the strongest of the trilogy. The concept of the story is pretty unique and has so much potential to be something very cool. I liked the characters. It asked and answered questions at a good pace. I teetered between 3 stars and 4 stars because I felt the writing was a little juvenile and repetitive, but ultimately, I decided the book is intended for a much younger audience than me so I went with four. (Not everything can be The Hunger Games, right?)

Book #2: The Scorch Trials 
Rating: 2/5 Stars
Overall Impression: Honestly, not much stands out for me in this book because it felt like pure filler. The Gladers set out to complete Phase 2. They’ve left the maze and are now trying to navigate the Scorch, the completely destroyed and barren desert remains of the areas around the Earth’s equator. More horrible things happen, but we aren’t given any answers in terms of why or how they are happening. Also, there is zero character development. I didn’t enjoy this read very much. It’s a hopeful 2 stars, in that I’m hoping it’ll pick up after to the dreaded Second Book Slump.

Book #3: The Death Cure
Rating: 1/5
Overall Impression: So mind numbingly FRUSTRATING. I’ll discuss specifics below, but overall, I kind of hated every second of this book. I saw another review that referred to this last book as the “written version of a Michael Bay movie” and that assessment is so spot on. We jump from one fight to the next, one explosion to the next, one problem to the next, all the while having no character development whatsoever. The third book in a nutshell: Problem arises. Make a plan. Plan fails. Succeed anyway. Repeat. Over and over and over again. It’s overkill. And I won’t even touch the completely out of left field, cop out of an ending. Just ugh.

Spoilery Rant WARNING:
So, right in the beginning of book 3, Thomas has the opportunity to have his memory restored. Finally. FINALLY! All that the readers need for all of our questions to be answered is for Thomas to get his memory back. AND HE REFUSES. Other characters get their memories back, but we aren’t in their heads so that’s useless. Thomas gets the same opportunity mid-story and refuses AGAIN. Seriously, WTF? You set up all of these questions and scenarios but readers are supposed to accept “variables” as the answer to everything? I’m sorry, I don’t care that I’m not  the intended demographic for this story, that’s lame no matter what age you are.

Frankly, it makes me think that the author had no idea where to take the story once the Gladers left the maze. He didn’t know how to answer the questions and instead of coming up with satisfying answers, he tried to hide them with explosions and and hand-to-hand combat. I like a good fight scene as much as the next person, but when there’s a blow out confrontation in every chapter, it gets boring.

The lack of character development in the last two books also made it very hard to care about important deaths, including the death of my favorite character from book 1. I wanted to care, but all the characters devolved into bland, boring and predictable shells of themselves.

All in all, if you like answered questions and closure with your reading experiences, avoid this series at all cost. You will get neither here.

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Books make the best valentines!

Image credit: disneybaby.com

Image credit: disneybaby.com

Happy Valentine’s Day!

The book lovers at Buzzfeed Books  put together an adorable list of the reasons why books make the best valentines. You can check it out over there (gifs and all), or peep the list here.

Don’t forget to love a book today 🙂

11 Reasons Books are Better Valentines than People

  1. There’s no bad way to pick up a book.
  2. You don’t have to get dressed up for a book.
  3. A book doesn’t need reservations (it can take you anywhere).
  4. A book will never stand you up (unless you forget it at home).
  5. You don’t have to share your wine with a book (spilling doesn’t count).
  6. You can read numerous books at the same time and nobody judges you.
  7. A good book is guaranteed to keep you up all night.
  8. You don’t get mad at a friend for reading the same book.
  9. You don’t have to introduce a book to your parents (unless you think they should read it, too).
  10. If a book makes you cry, it’s only because it was so good.
  11. When it’s all over, you know exactly where to find the next one.

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Book Review: Memoirs of a Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks

Image credit: goodreads.com

Image credit: goodreads.com

I used to have an imaginary friend. His name was Duckie. He was a tiny yellow duckling that lived in my bathroom. Having read Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks, I’m sad that he’s gone.

Brief Synopsis: Budo is very lucky. He’s been alive for five years, which is ancient for an imaginary friend. Max is Budo’s “imaginer.” Having Asperger’s, Max has kept Budo longer than most children keep their imaginary friends. Budo is Max’s best friend and confidant. When something unthinkable happens, it is up to Budo and a team of imaginary friends to save Max or help him save himself, even if doing so threatens Budo’s own existence.

Rating : 5/5 Stars

Overall impression: This book took me completely by surprise. It wasn’t on my list, but thanks to Google magic, an ad for it started following me around the internet. I caved and I am so glad I did. I absolutely loved this book.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. A story told from the perspective of an imaginary friend? It sounds like something that could very easily veer into the realm of cheese, but it doesn’t. It’s uplifting, funny and at times heartbreaking. There were times I laughed out loud and—I’m not going to lie—it made me ugly cry. I cried so hard my right nostril was stuffed for hours after finishing.

Does it have flaws? Of course it does, but I can forgive any number of flaws when a book can make me feel as strongly as this one did. Add it to your list. It’s a quick and easy read that I doubt you’ll regret.

What I liked (no spoilers): The details in this story are so creative and convincing. The cast of imaginary friends in this book are the creations of children and they exist EXACTLY as they are imagined. Children aren’t the most detail oriented of creatures, so if they forget to imagine that their friend has ears, then that friend doesn’t have ears. It is through this element that Dicks sets the rules for the fantastical portion of the story. For instance, Max imagines that Budo can pass through doors even when they are closed. Some children don’t consider this skill when imagining their friends, which means many get locked inside closets or rooms for days. No two friends are alike, making the possibilities endless and meeting new friends so much fun. Some have wings and can fly. Some are puppies. Some look almost human… one is even a spoon.

I also loved Max. It’s really hard not to. I don’t have any experience with Asperger’s in my life (though I watch Parenthood so I’m somewhat familiar with the symptoms), so to get a glimpse inside Max’s head is eye opening. He lives his life on the inside while everyone else lives their lives on the outside. So simple, yet profound, in a way that only children (or their imaginary friends) can be.

Also, I won’t spoil the main plot, but a quick glimpse at what people didn’t like about this book revealed that they thought the “unthinkable” thing that happens to Max is far fetched. I watch A LOT of Law and Order and I say it’s not far fetched at all. I’d say it’s pretty spot on as far as unthinkable acts go.

What I didn’t like (no spoilers): Honestly, not much. If I had one complaint it would be that some chapters felt like pure filler. We are at point A and need to get to point B, but before we do that, let’s check out this thing over here. I was so invested in Max’s situation, I just wanted to unravel it as quickly as possible! Then again, maybe Dicks just wants to force his readers to savor the ride… it’s definitely a good one.

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Book Review: Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt

Image Credit: goodreads.com

Image Credit: goodreads.com

As this is somehow my first “official” review in my blog’s life, I invite you to take a quick look at my note about reviews entry. I’m not into book reports so much. I’d rather write here as if I were discussing a book with a friend, recommending or warning off the books I’ve read. I won’t be diving into allegory or symbolism… I’m not nearly that literarily sophisticated. I read books and I either like them or I don’t. Boom, Bazooka Joe. 

So! With that said… I just finished reading Tell the Wolves I’m Home by Carol Rifka Brunt.

Brief Synopsis: It’s 1987 and fourteen-year-old June is thrown into a journey of self discovery when her Uncle Finn dies of AIDS. Finn, who is also June’s godfather and best friend, is the only person who June felt understood her. All is not lost, however, because she makes an unlikely and surprising friend who misses Finn just as much as she does. At its heart, this book is about the pain of loss and the triumph of love and where we find the strength to carry on.

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Overall impression: Beautifully written and perfectly paced. This book has a TON of positive buzz on Goodreads (and beyond) and rightly so. I only rated it a 3 because I took issue with some story elements that are preventing me from launching a full on gush-fest. Overall, I enjoyed the read—couldn’t put it down, actually—and would recommend adding it to your queue, but no need to rush.

WARNING: There is a high potential for spoilers beyond this point. This part of the review is generally for people who have already read the book and are looking for someone who agreed or disagreed with their own opinion. You’ve been warned.

 What I liked:

  • Like I mentioned above, I thought this book was beautifully crafted. There were quite a few times when I had to pause and think, “Damn, that was an excellent turn of phrase.”
  • I found myself thinking about the characters often throughout the day, particularly Finn, Toby and June.
  • I think this book perfectly captures what it’s like to be young, awkward, and trying to figure out how to find your own place in the world.

What I didn’t like:

  • I feel like we lost something in the narrator being a shy, self conscious 14-year-old. While I think it’s commendable and inventive to approach the delicate topics of AIDS, loss, and jealousy from the perspective of an innocent, I feel as though this would have been a more satisfying read if June were more bold and willing to ask the hard questions.
  • Is it Finn that gave Toby AIDS? I feel like this is what we’re supposed to assume, but again, June doesn’t want to ask the direct question, so we don’t get a direct answer.
  • I didn’t buy June’s sister, Greta, AT ALL. I get that sibling relationships can be strained, but Greta just felt evil to me. She was manipulative, deceptive, and mean for seemingly no reason. The reason that is eventually given just wasn’t good enough for me and her redemption felt half hearted. Quite honestly, I was I was waiting for it to be revealed that she was being molested by the director of the school play. There seemed to be a lot of foreshadowing suggesting this but it never materialized.
  • I never could get my mind around June’s supposed “wrong” love for her uncle. Why couldn’t she have just been fond of him? Everyone knows what it’s like to have a favorite family member… adding the infatuation and feeling of being in love with her uncle gave the story a creepy and uncomfortable feeling I never quite got past. 

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