Friday, May 27, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the gif.

Dean Winchester and bedhead. Nothing could be better. Nothing.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

My Thoughts on the Captain America: Civil War Movie

I watched Captain America: Civil War back when I went to the Fierce Reads St. Louis signing a few weeks ago, but I just now decided to write about it. #lazycollegestudent

Anywho, if you’ve been living under a rock in the bottom of the sea and haven’t yet seen the trailer for CW, here you go: 

Okay, now I’ve got to be brutally honest here. I haven’t really loved Marvel’s movies since Captain America: Winter Soldier. That was a really good movie. Avengers: Age of Ultron was, at first, blah because of certain relationships between characters who have no business being together (I mean, honestly! Black Widow and Hulk?! WTH!). Now, I’ve gone back and re-watched AoU, and I liked it a lot more. But don’t get me started on how terrible Iron Man 3 was. Ick.

Needless to say, I was hoping for better. And I got some better. Civil War is great. I enjoyed all of the characters (minus one I’ll get into later), and I thought the plot was a true testament to what’s going on in our society right now. Way to bring the comic book plot to the real world, Marvel.

Back to the characters though. Steve/Captain America was fantastic, as always, but I did have a problem with his character. It wasn’t that he was bad or anything; it was that he wasn’t in the movie as much as I feel the title Captain America: Civil War should warrant. Iron Man/Tony Stark hogged the screen time. And, while I may be in the miniscule minority in this one, I have grown to loathe Iron Man. Why? Because Marvel sticks him in practically every scene and allows for no real character development for the “side characters,” and instead puts funny Tony Stark in to save the day. Grr… But I could, for the most part, ignore Mr. Stuck-Up Stark.

As for the other characters, I really enjoyed Black Panther and Spider-Man. I didn’t know much about BP before, but I can’t wait to see him in his own movie. I did find it a little odd that BP got his own twist to the fight scene theme music that was jungle/African-based but no other character got his/her own music.

Peter and Ant-Man were hilarious, but as someone mentioned online somewhere, Ant-Man as a character was never introduced to the ex-Avengers. No one ever said his name out loud. Weird… But the female characters had me in so much love. I can’t wait for the Black Widow movie. She seriously deserves her own storyline.

As for the plot of the movie, it had me guessing the entire time, despite how much I thought was given away in the trailers. Yes, you know Team Iron Man is going to take on Team Captain America, but the logistics behind it are a lot more complicated than the trailers share.

All in all, this is a must-watch for any Marvel fan or even any kind-of Marvel fan, and I’m sure if you are a fan, you’ve already watched it. Civil War is funny, action-packed, and has some cool new and almost-new superheroes to add to the growing Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

The Beauty of Darkness
(The Remnant Chronicles #3)
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Hardcover, 496 pages, Henry Holt and Co.
Genres: YA, Fantasy

Lia and Rafe have escaped Venda and the path before them is winding and dangerous - what will happen now? This third and final book in The Remnant Chronicles is not to be missed.

Bestselling author Mary E. Pearson's combination of intrigue, suspense, romance and action make this a riveting page turner for teens.

My Thoughts

Yes! Yes! Yes! That is all.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown
(The Selection #5)
Publication Date: May 3, 2016
Hardcover, 279 pages, HarperTeen
Genres: YA, Dystopian

When Eadlyn became the first princess of Illéa to hold her own Selection, she didn’t think she would fall in love with any of her thirty-five suitors. She spent the first few weeks of the competition counting down the days until she could send them all home. But as events at the palace force Eadlyn even further into the spotlight, she realizes that she might not be content remaining alone.

Eadlyn still isn’t sure she’ll find the fairytale ending her parents did twenty years ago. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you…and soon Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more impossible—and more important—than she ever imagined.

My Review

So once again the America Singer gang is back to do… whatever it is the royalty in Illéa actually do. Which seems like a whole lot of nada. And, as most people can probably relate to, The Selection series was not my favorite and it had some major problems, but it was entertaining in its own way. The Heir and The Crown, though, have absolutely no value to the world Cass has built. Let me tell you why I think so.

First, let’s talk about the characters. Absolutely none of them seem real. The boys are two-dimensional, Eadlyn is two-dimensional, and her siblings are two-dimensional. It’s just absurd how fake they all were. While The Selection trilogy had some character development and seemingly realistic male and female characters, it seems like Cass put no effort whatsoever in creating characters for this duology that had their own thoughts and feelings. All of the boys constantly kissed Eadlyn’s butt and none of them were really that different from the next boy in line.

 I feel like my character rant could go on forever, so I’m just going to move on to the plot. My major issue with the plot does not revolve around Eadlyn stepping up to help her father, King Maxon, after everything that happened in The Heir. What does bother me is the fact that her father agreed to a certain spoilery arrangement, just because it would make his life easier. No real father would have done that to his child. No real king would have done that to an unprepared princess.

My second major issue plot-wise was who Eadlyn chose. This, like with the father-daughter dilemma, does not revolve around Eadlyn’s actual choice. It revolves around the fact that I was unemotionally invested in the boys that by the time I got halfway through the book, I realized I didn’t care who she chose. That should never happen in a good book. I should always care who the main character ends up with. Always.

Now, you might wonder why, if I claim to have this much ill-will towards this book, that I am giving it 2.5 stars instead of 1. Well, that’s a sort-of simple answer: the ending managed to redeem a few qualities. Eadlyn did manage to step up, and the way her family situation worked out did kind of fix itself into a way I was comfortable with. I still didn’t believe it could happen, but the way it was explained later on in the book felt a little more realistic. Also, a wee bit more character development happened towards the end, but it was nowhere near what I really wanted.

All in all, I’m sure, if you read and enjoyed the books in The Selection series, you’re probably going to read this one in order to finish the entire series. However, if you want to keep things where they left off in The One and are unsure about continuing, just don’t bother picking this book up. It won’t add very much to your overall experience, especially considering both books are ridiculously short and it seems like Cass had no investment in the story. It actually seems like the publisher pushed her to write the spin-off books more than Cass was actually willing to write them, and that’s just sad.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.

Monday, May 23, 2016

My Thoughts on the Beauty and the Beast Teaser Trailer

I had a different post in mind for today, but then I saw this beauty. If you haven’t yet seen the teaser trailer for Disney’s live-action Beauty and the Beast movie, now’s your chance.

I recently wrote my review for The Jungle Book live-action film, and you all know how amazed I was by that movie. I’m hoping Beauty and the Beast goes above and beyond that though. Emma Watson as Belle is simply perfection, and the effects and castle images are absolutely breathtaking in this teaser.

When the trailer started up with the soundtrack music from the cartoon, I immediately started feeling the childhood nostalgia. It seriously made me want to run and watch the older version. Unfortunately, I don’t have it with me. Darn.

I don’t have a whole lot to talk about because this trailer is so ridiculously short (evil teasers), but just know that I love it, and I must watch it. There is no other option.

What do you guys think of this new live-action adaptation?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Rearranging the Shelves

Okay, so I needed a quick post, and then I realized “Hey, you just rearranged your entire collection of books and bookshelves. You can share a snippet of that.” So, that’s what I’m going to do.

Here’s a sneak peek of the mess I made trying to do just that:

Over the following weeks, I’ll share some actual bookshelf pictures. These are mostly for myself, since I won’t remember what my shelves look like once I go back to college. With these updated pics, I can know for sure what my new shelf organization system looks like.

As I was rearranging though, I thought it was strange how it took me over three days to arrange my books on the shelves in a way I’m semi-satisfied with (I still need at least two more full-size bookshelves) while it used to only take me a few hours to completely take them off and redo them. I remember even being able to lay out every single one of my books on my bedroom floor. Now, I can barely do that with just one bookcase. I love owning 900-some books, but at the same time it can be a burden.

I own WAAAAY too many books now. This experience has made me very wary about what I'm going to do in the future when I have to move all of my books out of my parents' house. Oh well, I'll deal with that later…

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: The Rebel Edition

 "Stacking the Shelves" is a weekly haul meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews. It allows book buyers to share their accumulation of books with the online book-loving community.

After last week’s humongous book haul, this one looks pretty teeny tiny. There’s just three books.

I won these three books from Penguin Teen’s giveaway that was going on over at Once Upon a Twilight. Thanks Penguin and OUaT!

I already own the first two books in hardcover and both are signed, so I’m probably going to trade them in at my local used bookstore. However, I’ll definitely be keeping Lady Renegades.

What books have you bought/received lately?

Friday, May 20, 2016

Dean Winchester Friday

Dean Winchester (or sometimes Jensen Ackles) Fridays make me a very happy fangirl. You'll see why when you look at the gif.

Dean Winchester is rolling around acting like a dork. That’s why we love him.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

My Thoughts on The Jungle Book Movie

I watched The Jungle Book live-action movie when it came out, and I just recently had enough time to share my thoughts on it. So, if some of my comments seem a little off, it may be because the material isn’t fresh in my brain.

I’ve posted the trailer below, just in case you, for some unfathomable reason, haven’t seen it yet.

Okay, so I was skeptical when the idea of creating a live-action The Jungle Book was mentioned. Why? Because I’m not a huge fan of The Jungle Book cartoon version. It was okay, but there are a lot of other Disney movies that I liked 100x more (*cough* The Lion King *cough*). However, once I saw the first trailer for this movie, I automatically knew I’d be watching it in theaters.

I had watched Disney’s live-action Cinderella, and while I enjoyed it, it wasn’t amazing or anything. When I watched The Jungle Book though, feelings of childhood nostalgia rose up in me. I had never even been that connected to Bagheera, Baloo, and Mowgli, but once I saw that first beautiful opening sequence, I was hooked.

Every scene had such vivid detail, yet apparently, pretty much everything besides Mowgli was CGI-made. That’s insane. The animals alone would have been exhausting to create, but to do the plants and tress too, ugh. Some people just have too much talent. As for the actor who played Mowgli, he was really, really good. I can’t believe how fantastic he was considering he was acting at nothing.

Now, there are probably people out there who are unsure of seeing a movie that is essentially a reproduction of the cartoon, however, it’s really not. While the general plotline is the same, there are completely different scenes and some new introductions to characters that were very minor in the cartoon version. Additionally, Mowgli’s wolf brothers are absolutely adorable in this film, and what happens to that wolf family was incredibly shocking. I couldn’t believe Disney did that!

Despite my raving, I did have a few minor qualms. I didn’t like the voices for a couple of characters, like Scarlett Johansson as Kaa, but most of the main characters’ voices were spot on. I also thought King Louie was just too big. I know there was an actual ape that got to be that large once upon a time, but Louie was simply too big for the time period he was in.

All in all, even if you simply thought the cartoon The Jungle Book was simply an okay movie, you need to go watch the live-action film. It’s so much better and more detailed, and the action scenes are incredible. I for one can’t wait to see what they do with the sequel.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases we're eagerly anticipating.

This week, what's really got my pages in a twist is...

P.S. I Like You
Publication Date: July 26, 2016
Hardcover, 304 pages, Point
Genres: YA, Contemporary

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?

While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

From beloved author Kasie West (The Distance Between Us) comes an utterly charming story about mixed messages, missed connections, and the magic of good old-fashioned secret admirer notes.

My Thoughts

I don’t even have to read the description to know I’ll enjoy this one. I’ve only read one of Kasie West’s contemporary books, but it was good enough that I plan on reading all of her other ones.

What book are you waiting on this Wednesday?

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Review: First & Then by Emma Mills

First & Then
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Hardcover, 267 pages, Henry Holt and Co.
Genres: YA, Contemporary

Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.

My Review

Friday Night Lights combined with a Pride and Prejudice retelling? Count me all the way in. I was definitely looking forward to devouring this book, especially since I finally managed to actually read P&P last year. Thankfully, or not so thankfully depending upon how you look at it, this book did live up to that description.

The book starts by introducing the main character Devon Tennyson, who while seemingly average, was funny in a dry-humor kind of way. However, some of the relationships between Devon and the other characters, like her friends, love interests, and family needed flushed out. I wasn’t sure all of the time why certain characters liked hanging out with her or why a certain someone even had a crush on her. She was too distant and sometimes even abrasive to those around her.

Although Devon wasn’t exactly the most flushed out character ever, her cousin Foster is fantastic. I very much enjoyed how he instigated a majority of the book, and I wish the relationship between himself and Devon had gotten more attention. This would have also helped with the Ezra love interest thing because of Ezra’s insertion into Foster’s life.

Oh, and random note, there was some mild slut-shaming (this does get addressed in the book in a positive way though) and popular kid nonsense that I feel was overly done. It wasn’t terrible, but it was a little distracting at times. I just wanted to warn some people in case you are like me and find that displeasing.

The plot of the book was cute with no huge deviation from P&P. This meant you knew things were going to work out in the end, no matter what. Unfortunately, this did make the ending so very rushed (like all Jane Austen books, P&P ends too abruptly, so F&T does the same). I wanted so much more from Devon and her other half, so to speak. I really wish a sequel or another spinoff book in the same world revolving around a retelling of Austen’s other books was in the works. This would really help ease my need for more.

All in all, First & Then is a light and ridiculously short contemporary read. It’s about football and unrequited loves, family and loss, and even finding a place to fit in. I’d definitely say pick it up if you’re in the mood for any of that.

*Note: I purchased a copy of this book for myself. This in no way affected my opinion/review.