Bookish Wedding Inspiration: Tiger Lily

A while back, Asti @ Oh, The Books! did a post about doing blog features. I had never really considered doing my own unique blog feature before, but she mentioned how all you have to do to create a feature is follow this simple formula: books + _________. For some reason, books + weddings popped into my mind. I enjoyed doing a lot of research while planning my own wedding (though the actual execution of the planning was not as fun, especially when you had to worry about budget, boo!) and honestly the bug never entirely left my system. Now, I consider myself more of an idea person than an executioner, which is why you won’t see me going into event planning any time soon. But I absolutely love collecting pictures and ideas that fit a theme, and I thought it might be fun to try creating themed wedding ideas based off of books, and how the main character’s wedding might look. My first thought was definitely The Hunger Games, and I’ve collected a lot for it, but I’ve decided to save that one for another day. Today I wanted to share wedding inspiration for a more recent read for me, Tiger Lily.

TL-inspirationI will be mentioning themes in the book but will do my best to avoid any real spoilers!

Bridal Look

The Dress

TL-tan-wedding-dress2The people of Neverland pretty much only have natural resources to work with, so while this Vera Wang dress may be made of much finer material than their corner of the world has to offer, I thought the more beige color and the pieced together look was appropriate and might be at least somewhat similar to something Tiger Lily would wear on her big day.

The Hair

TL-hairTiger Lily wears crow feathers in her hair, and why should it be any different on her wedding day? To dress it up a bit, she might want to pair her usual style with a veil-like headpiece like this one available on Etsy.

The Accessories

TL-accessoriesI imagine that for her bouquet, Tiger Lily would choose lilies from the island of Neverland, including, of course, tiger lilies. There is a mention of wedding bangles in the book, so I looked for some bangles made from leather but also had a nice, dressy touch to them. And around her neck, Tiger Lily could wear a clock necklace. I won’t say anything else about the significance of the clock due to spoilers, but those who read the book will understand why Tiger Lily would want such a piece of jewelry.

The Groom

TL-groom-lookI figured a laid back look for the groom would make the most sense, and this picture was closest thing I could find to what I had in mind.

The Portraits

TL-couple-photo-boat TL-couple-photo-treeI felt these couple portraits were quite appropriate for a wedding in Neverland, and particularly for Tiger Lily.

The Location

TL-candle-lit-treeObviously the location of the wedding would be outdoors in Neverland. For the ceremony, I pictured something underneath a lit tree, much like the above picture. For the reception, a laid-back affair in a woodsy area.

TL-reception

The Cake

TL-cake-clockOf course, we can’t forget about the yummiest part of the wedding. I’m not sure what flavors Tiger Lily would favor, but as far as the look of the cake, this one features the themes of both feathers and clocks once again.

Let me know what you thought of this first installment of my Bookish Weddings Inspiration feature! What would you expect to see at Tiger Lily’s wedding or at one inspired by her and her story? 

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Review: Seraphina

Seraphina is like a YA sleeper hit. You don’t see a lot of blog buzz and hype about it, probably mostly because it was published in 2012. But if you look on Goodreads, you’re going to see that your friends who have read it most likely love it.

When I finished Parallel, and I found myself in the surprising situation of not having an idea of what I wanted to read next. (I always know what I want to read next.) I was trying to be a good girl and consider something on my shelves, but I also searched the library’s website for e-books and see if there were any that caught my interest and were available immediately without a wait (which is pretty rare, but happens sometimes). When I saw that Seraphina was available, I thought I ought to go for it. Shadow and Bone had really piqued my interest and I was ready to explore more fantasy (especially after a contemporary, even if it did have sci-fi in it), so I downloaded it.

The fact that right after I finished I wished that I owned a copy and that I could re-read it right then means it was pretty special.

GR-seraphinaBut I do have a couple of small complaints, so I want to get those out of the way…

What’s My Motivation?

Actually, the real question is: what was Seraphina’s motivation? About 100 pages in I realized I had no idea what Seraphina’s goal for the story was, thus I had no idea where the story needed to go. She was trying to blend in and not stick out too much, and then Orma was trying to find out about his father/her grandfather, but it wasn’t real clear-cut to me exactly what the plot was. That made it just a little off for me and made the beginning seem slowish (not too much so because I was engaged the whole time, but I felt like I was waiting to find out what the book was about).

toothlessSo Many People, Places, Terms…

So I realized once I finished the book (which again, was an e-book) that there was a cast of characters and a glossary in the back. That would have been useful to use throughout since I ended up confused many times about who a minor character was exactly again (they don’t have the easiest names) or what a certain term meant. I did read it after the fact and that helped some, but if I read it again (and in paperback!) I will definitely utilize these tools to help me appreciate the story even more!

But here’s what I loved

You Get Thrown Right Into the World

Wait, dragons can become people? Uh, okay, awesome! For the most part, you can figure things out as the story unfolds and there is really only added backstory/narrative occasionally, which I really appreciated.

Seraphina and Kiggs!

I loved them individually! I loved their friendship! I loved their *wanting more*!

astrid&hiccupThe Ending

It felt right, and it left me wanting more without leaving me at a cliffhanger. And good news, another Seraphina book is expected to come out next year so I’ll get the more that I want! Yay!

Basically, I don’t know what to say. The story is interesting and I just fell in love with the world and the people, and I especially loved Seraphina and Kiggs, and want more of them. This are no adequate words for this review. I had a couple issues (one that could easily have been resolved, so really just one) but overall, it was just great. Just read it.

hiccup-loveit

4-5stars-edit

Content advisory: Some mild language, most of which was the correct usage of the word b-stard. 

Have you read Seraphina? What are your thoughts? If not, what are you waiting for?!

Top 10 Covers That Feature an Awesome Picture + Awesome Font

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers) I Like/Dislike. My favorite covers are pretty similar at least in terms of design elements, and that is that most of them feature a great picture (photograph or realistic illustration) that takes up the entire cover, and there’s awesome font over it. That may sound like a lot of book covers, but I’m very particular about what pictures I like, what fonts I like, and some include other elements like weird graphics that I don’t really love. Here are some that really stand out to me (in no particular order)…

1. These Broken Stars

GR-thesebrokenstarsJust a gorgeous picture with perfectly minimalist font.

2. The Winner’s Curse

GR-thewinnerscurseI love just how dramatic the font and the picture feel together, especially with her holding onto the R and with the font being sideways.

3. For Darkness Shows the Stars/Across a Star-Swept Sea

fordarknessbooksStars + dresses + scrolling script = beautiful!

4. The Grisha Trilogy

grisha-trilogy-coversI tend to prefer photographs or realistic pictures of people over illustrations, but The Grisha trilogy art is just beautiful!

5. The Selection Trilogy

The-Selection-collageThe font is nice, but the real stars of these covers are the dresses!

6. Splintered 

GR-splinteredThe bugs and the plants being so close to her face bothers me some, but overall still a gorgeous cover!

7. The Promise of Amazing

GR-promiseofamazingToo bad this book wasn’t met with great reviews, because the cover is so stinking cute!

8. Once Upon a Prince

GR-onceuponaprinceThis is a bit of cheat because the picture if overlaid by a graphic that the font is on, but still, it’s too pretty not to include!

9. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

GR-thestatisticalprobabilitySo much font cuteness!

10. The Noble Groom

NobleGroom_mck.inddI almost bought this book for its cover, but I learned that I could get it from the library so I refrained. The swirls on the font though! Love it!

What are some of your favorite covers with the great picture + great font combo?

P.S. For anyone who’s interested, I did decide to start a Tumblr! *nervous* Check it out if you so desire!

Mini Reviews: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and How to Train Your Dragon 2

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

walter-mittyI don’t really watch quirky, indie movies, and while The Secret Life of Walter Mitty isn’t indie, it is certainly quirky. The message of living your life is extremely heavy-handed in the film, and yet, it’s OK. I can’t explain why it is… I suppose because of the style of the movie. Words of wisdom are written out on the street and on buildings as Walter talks to a guy on the phone about his online dating account, which he only has so he can “wink” at a girl that works with him that he is too shy to confront in real life. And the humor (minus a really weird scene where Walter imagines growing old but backwards a la Benjamin Button) is spot-on and really makes most every character interaction and moment just charming and endearing. This isn’t your typical movie, but it’s a character study and it speaks of the human condition, and to me those are two very important elements of storytelling. And the music was spot-on too. Even though the music featured in the film is not the typical fare on my iPod, it fit so perfectly with the movie and I instantly wanted the soundtrack. If you’re looking for something a little different and a little inspirational, Walter Mitty is definitely worth checking out.

4stars2How To Train Your Dragon 2

train-your-dragon2This is a hard review to write (even in miniature form), especially without spoiling things. Here’s the thing: when you hear they’re releasing a sequel to a beloved standalone movie, it’s easy to be nervous. But for some reason, I didn’t feel that with How to Train Your Dragon 2 at all. The first one blew me away so much I figured this would be have to be incredibly awesome just like it. Well, in many ways it was. But here’s the problem… it’s the sequel to something that was meant to be a standalone. It took something fairly light and made it a bit darker. It changed the characters’ lives in a more dramatic way than I was bargaining for. But it really is still very, very good. But it did make me sad and I did cry. And that was something I was not expecting at all. I understand why the story happened the way it did academically, but I still wish they had done it a little differently. But overall, still really good. I loved seeing how Hiccup, Astird, and the others had grown.

4stars2Have you seen either of these movies? What are your thoughts on them? 

 

Let’s Talk About Tumblr

This is probably a blasphemous thing to do on a WordPress blog, but this isn’t abandoning one format for the other. It’s simply about expanding my horizons.

I read something a few months back that really stuck with me. It was from author Jon Acuff (who went from blogger of Stuff Christians Like to writing books to writing and speaking about chasing your dreams), and he mentioned that he asked a group of teens who out of them read traditional blogs, such as what you are reading right now. Not a single hand was raised.

It shouldn’t have been so shocking to me. I know a few teenagers do read this blog, so obviously this is not the case all across the board, but I imagine that was a decent sample group. I mean, I work with teenagers at church, and I know:

1. They communicate via Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine, etc. All short and sweet.

2. They might use Facebook a little, but not much.

3. They don’t really do e-mail.

(By the way, if any of you girls read this blog but have never told me before, *waves!*) 

Since then, the thought of starting a Tumblr has crept into my mind (maybe before too). But what would I do with Tumblr, I wonder?

1. Post pretty pictures (like I do on Pinterest, but I would just have to pick one instead of going on a rampage of posting 50 beautiful dresses in one sitting)?

2. Write short anecdotes about… life? writing? books and movies?

3. Reblog Fitz-Simmons GIFs?

I already feel like I spend too much time online and not enough writing or… you know… exercising or cleaning or *insert other responsible adult thing here*.

Anyhow, why am I so concerned about what teens do online? Because I want to write for them! If Tumblr is the best way for me to connect with them as an author, then I should probably have one. Several YA authors have embraced this format, such as Kiera Cass and Veronica Roth. And while at this point, I would be surprised if I quereyed agents this year (though there’s six months left this year, so I suppose it’s possible! But it would certainly be much later this year), when I do, I want to have an established presence already. I don’t want to basically say, “Hey, check out my social media presence that I started last week to impress you.”

I already want an audience base, which I have with some wonderful people who read this blog and have told me they totally want to read what I write one day (I’m so honored every time anyone says this by the way, truly), but I want to be up to date on things. I don’t think any author should feel pressured to be on every form of social media by any means, but since I have decided that for now, my Instagram is for my real life friends and not something I really share outside of that, all I really have that is “teen friendly” is Twitter. (Unless Pinterest counts? I’m not sure. I actually have a decent Pinterest following.) And while I usually tweet every day, it’s only occasionally interesting (or maybe it’s never interesting, I don’t know).

But I don’t want any avenue pulling me away from the ultimate goal of publishing a book.

Of course, there’s a lot to say about motivation and self-control, and I should probably stop blaming the Internet. 🙂

Anyhow, please share your thoughts about Tumblr if you have experience with it! Do you have one? What do you post on yours? What would you like to see from me if I decided to create one? How much time do you typically spend on Tumblr in a day? Does it have a good app? Please enlighten me! 

Dreamcast: The Scorpio Races

As far as I know, The Scorpio Races has not been optioned for film, but I thought it might be fun to make dreamcast anyway. (This may or may not be a new feature… it depends how often I am inspired to try it!) I thought this one would be relatively easy since it has a somewhat small cast of characters. I don’t have actors/actresses for every character, but included most of the main characters I believe.

Hailee Steinfield as Kate “Puck” Connolly – Logan Lerman as Sean Kendrick

hailee-loganSo yeah, I totally picked them as my Jo and Laurie for my Little Women dreamcast. I clearly like these two, and apparently I want to see them together on the big screen. I don’t think Hailee really looks the way I pictured Kate, but I think she would do a great job portraying her.

 Daniel Huttlestone as Finn Connolly – Freddie Highmore as Gabe Connolly

daniel-freddieI pretty much picked Daniel because I was looking for someone younger than Hailee that I have heard of, but he did a pretty job in Les Miserables! I haven’t seen much of Freddie Highmore since he’s grown up from his August Rush-Charlie and the Chocolate Factory-Finding Neverland days, but he’s still acting and I think he could play Gabe well.

Who Knows? So Many Possibilities for George Holly!

jgl-zachary-johnI love George Holly. And I really like all these actors (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Zachary Levi, and John Krasinski) and can see each of them nailing this enthusiastic American trying to figure out Thisby Island and Sean Kendrick. Whose your pick out of these guys?

Lily Tomlin as Dory Maude

lily-tomlinLily Tomlin can do eccentric, and that’s what we need for Dory Maud.

Who would your choices be for the cast of The Scorpio Races if it became a movie? (Please feel free to cast characters I didn’t mention!) 

 

The Top Ten Books On My Summer 2014 TBR list

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR List. As I looked back on my spring TBR list, I actually read five of the books! Considering my usual track record with these TTT TBR posts, that isn’t too bad! Going on vacation really helped hone in my focus on my TBR list since I only brought particular books with me, didn’t take my Nook, and managed to only buy one book while on vacation. Whether or not my track record will continue into summer, well, we’ll see. This list is no particular order except the first three are probably what I will read first. As usual though, there will be distractions and moods will sway me elsewhere. Also, I decided not to include The Partials or The Screwtape Letters as carry-over, though they are also still very much on my TBR.

1. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

GR-tigerlilyThis absolutely will be my next read since I have to have it read by early July for book club. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it so I’m looking forward to it!

2. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

GR-siegeandstorm3. Rise and Ruin by Leigh Bardugo

GR-ruin&risingI bought Shadow and Bone on a whim this spring, read it, and loved it! Now I’m looking forward to reading the next two installments back to back!

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

GR-faultinourstarsI have this on hold at the library, and it’s a long list, so I honestly have no idea when I’ll read this. I’m sure it will become available at an extremely inconvenient time, as it did once before so I ended up not checking it out then. And clearly I’m the last YA book blogger to read this.

5. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

GR-wewereliarsTalk of this novel is seriously rousing my curiosity, so after seeing that I could get it through my library’s e-book system, I placed a hold it on it as well.

6. Write Your Novel from The Middle by James Scott Bell

GR-writeyournovelI’m about to get serious about some writing revisions, and Bell’s book Plot and Structure really helped me before, so I bought this back a while book in anticipation of gleaning from his wisdom yet again.

7. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

GR-lizziebennetLizzie Bennet in book form! Yay! I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up putting this off, but I do want to read it now!

8. SOMETHING by Kasie West

kasiewestbooksThis is vague, ha. I’ve been wanting to read Split Second since it came out, but it keeps not being on sale ever, so if that keeps up, I might end up reading The Distance Between Us or On the Fence sooner, since the former I can get from the library and either for cheap on paperback.

9. Tandem by Anna Jarzab

GR-tandem10. Relativity by Cristin Bishara

GR-relativityBecause I want to read more parallel universe stories and Kelley enjoyed both of these.

Bonus!

The Wisdom of the Enneagram: The Complete Guide to Psychological and Spiritual Growth for the Nine Personality Types by Don Richard Riso is something I will be looking through once it arrives on my doorstep (I ordered it along with the Grisha books). I learned about it from Shauna Niequist on the Revelant podcast and it sounds like a really interesting way to learn more about your personality and how you relate with others. I’ll keep you guys updated for sure, even if I don’t read the book from cover to cover right away.

What’s on your summer TBR list?

Review: Parallel

First off, many thanks to Andi for hosting a Twitter giveaway for an e-book of Parallel, which is how it came in my possession sooner rather than later (though honestly, I would have bought if I had not won since it was 1.99 that day!). Oh, and thanks to Nikki for retweeting Andi’s tweet so I would learn about the giveaway. 😉

I’m going to warn you up front that there will be spoilers and a LOT of GIFs (like way too many to be tasteful, but I couldn’t help it…), all from Fringe and Star Trek, because duh, parallel universes. Oh, and a lot of ranting about Abby’s decision making abilities and Michael. You’ve been warned.

gr-parallelFirst, let me talk about Abby. I liked Abby well enough, but sometimes it felt like she had multiple personality disorder. One minute she’s shy about the idea of sex and works hard to make good grades, the  next she’s having “rated R” thoughts about a guy (her words, not mine, BTW) and getting drunk (underage, I might add).

showtime-olivia-fauxI liked Caitlin. She was consistent, interesting, a good friend, and it was completely believable, based on her background, that she would be able to help Abby figure out what was happening to her.

yoda-crapTyler, he was just OK to me. He was kind of fun, but he sounded more deviant than Abby and Caitlin, and I guess that bothered me.

scotty-shrugCharacters are usually a big thing for me in stories, but what kept me reading this book was the plot. It was so intriguing. Abby is living out a life in LA after she chose drama class over astronomy (I felt this was a bit extreme, even with the explanation given, but anyways…), when she suddenly collides with the parallel universe and becomes cosmically entangled with her parallel self who was late to class on the first day of senior year and ended up in astronomy. Or something like that.

ryker-cantThrough Caitlin and Dr. Mann, Abby gets an idea of what’s happening, and tries to live her life the best she can while still retrieving her parallel’s old memories and getting up to speed with what’s happening in her life currently. And to make it more complicated, it changes frequently as her parallel self makes different choices. There was so much changing and this happening and then that and then things would get worse that it seriously stressed me out! Not to mention the choices Abby would make in her present circumstances that she thought were best for whatever reason but, well, hardly ever were.

uhura-noI think this book could have been separated into two parts…

PART ONE: Abby Makes Poor Decisions.

Examples of this are: getting drunk, getting drunk around boys who want sexytime when she doesn’t, hanging out with questionable boys when she’s sober, trying to screw up her parallel’s life by quitting things she (the parallel) likes and doing things she (again, the parallel) doesn’t care about, etc.

dumar-drunkPART TWO: Abby Makes More Poor Decisions: The Relationship Edition

Examples of this include: Lying to her friends, saying stupid things to people she cares about, lying to her family, hanging out with Michael, etc.

nimoy-spock-dontevenOK, let me go ahead and talk about Michael, because I have a lot to say about him.

sisko-disapproves Michael is a complete loser. I don’t even know why Abby spends so much of the story trying to like him or saying that she likes him even though he puts her in uncomfortable positions, does not communicate well or even bother to define a relationship, and acts like a total d-bag to his family with basic zero justification. Even though it seemed really obvious Josh was right for her, I was still terrified she might end up with Michael. And if the book had ended that way, it would have gotten less stars. But what still drove me up the wall was this little number…

Josh is my soulmate and Michael is my parallel’s. 

I’m sorry… What the what? No seriously… WHAT?! WHAT?!?!??!?!?!

kirk-khaaaaaanFirst off, what kind of sense does this make? I’m not saying there couldn’t be a parallel Amy out there happily with some other man who is not the husband I know and love, because I think I could be happy with someone else. I don’t intend to find out, but I believe I could be. But in what universe is it acceptable to dump your amazing boyfriend for his d-bag older brother because (paraphrasing what Caitlin said Abby said)…

I knew I was supposed to be with you from the moment I saw you treat your family like crap at Thanksgiving.

bashir-unsureHere’s the deal, I still don’t know what exactly I believe when it comes to free will versus predetermination (or in Christian circles, the latter, in terms of salvation, is known as predestination/Calvinism, which is actually briefly alluded to in this book when Abby reads the John Calvin quote in her philosophy book, but I digress). What I know is that when my husband and I were dating, I felt like he was “the one” for me, and I won’t get into all the exacts of what that looked like for me, but I also unequivocally believe, as I said before, that I could be happy with someone else. I also completely believe love is a choice. I can “fall in love” with someone who’s a total jerk, but I can choose to walk away from someone who isn’t good for me. And I can choose to love someone who is good for me. I’m not talking about forcing yourself with a good guy that you can’t stand personality wise, but if you fall in love with someone, and then one day those warm fuzzy feelings are gone, you can choose to continue loving that person. Parallel Abby, as far as I’m concerned, had a choice, and Michael did not have to be her “soulmate” because of some gut feeling she got at a dinner table. And Not Parallel Abby made her choice, I think for largely the wrong reasons (but at least it was a better choice), to go and find Josh and try to get back with him.

So basically, to sum it up, my feelings about Michael…

olivia-ickyAnd my feelings about Josh…

olivia-happyThank goodness Narrator Abby chose correctly… even if she had to make a million other bad decisions first.

OK, I’m done ranting about Abby’s poor decision making and Michael. Despite all this, I actually really liked the book a lot. The way parallel worlds were presented in this book I think was one of the best interpretations of the idea I’ve seen so far. And it made me think A LOT. It’s nice when a book makes you think so much. The book also made me laugh quite a few times; I tweeted out a few of these quotes, including:

tweet-parallel-startrek

ryker-clapAnd one more thing I want to know… was Parallel Abby living out Narrator Abby’s life for two months in LA? What happened with her and Bret (talk about another potential bad decision right there)?

But ultimately, the good outweighed the bad, even though ABBY DROVE ME CRAZY SOMETIMES. And Michael drove me crazy ALWAYS.

4stars2Also, I hope I never know what my parallel self is up to.

red-v-blue-lincolnWhat are your thoughts on Parallel? Please tell me I’m not the only one who can’t stand Michael! 

Content Advisory: Some language (but no f-bombs), talk about sex but no sex scenes, underage drinking. 

janeway-opinion

The Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Today’s topic is Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far This Year. Today’s list will be grouped by how many stars I gave the book, but other than that, this list is not in a particular order. Conveniently, this list includes everything I’ve rated 4-5 stars this year so far, except novellas.

5stars2

1. Across a Star Swept Sea

Review/Goodreads

acrossastarswept

“If they didn’t take you seriously, they would never see you coming.”

2. Cress

Review/Goodreads

cress

“I promise, I will not let you die without being kissed.”

4-5stars-edit3. Shadow and Bone

Review/Goodreads

gr-shadowandbone

“I missed you every hour. And you know what the worst part was? It caught me completely by surprise… And then I’d realize that you weren’t there anymore, and every time, every single time, it was like having the wind knocked out of me. I’ve risked my life for you… So don’t tell me why we don’t belong together.”

4. The 5th Wave

Review/Goodreads

GR-the5thwave

“God doesn’t call the equipped, son. God equips the called. And you have been called.”

5. Code Name Verity

Review/Goodreads

codenameverity

“But I have told the truth. Isn’t that ironic? They sent me because I am so good at telling lies. But I have told the truth.”

4stars26. Ready Player One

Review/Goodreads

GR-readyplayerone

“It is on! It is on like Red Dawn!”

7. The Distant Hours

Review/Goodreads

distant-hours

“Write what’s in here because you must, because it pleases you, but never because you want someone else to like what you’ve said.”

8. Steelheart

Review/Goodreads

GR-steelheart

“You can’t be so frightened of what might happen that you are unwilling to act.”

9. The Scarlet Pimpernel

Review/Goodreads

GR-thescarletpimpernel

“God would be merciful. He would not allow so appalling a crime to be committed as the death of a brave man through the hand of a woman who loved him, and worshipped him, and who would gladly have died for his sake.”

10. Parallel

Review To Come/Goodreads

gr-parallel

“A person rarely gets just one chance at anything. There are second chances everywhere, if you know where to look for them.”

What are the best books you’ve read so far this year?

Mini Reviews: X-Men Days of Future Past & The Monuments Men

X-Men: Days of Future Past

x-men-days-of-future-pastI’ve discussed my feelings on X-Men in general before, but in case you don’t know, I don’t really love the franchise, but I keep up with it anyway. I thought 1 & 2 were pretty meh. I actually liked 3 OK, but everyone else hated it. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was OK. I did really enjoy X Men: First Class. The Wolverine was fine. X-Men: Days of Future Past was thankfully more in the First Class vein, and I enjoyed it.

First off, if you’re going to see this movie (and you haven’t already), you might want to brush up on your X-Men movies because I was confused a few times and had to ask my husband a few questions after the fact. Also, I somehow missed the memo that the first part of the movie was in the future, so that part confused me too. So just know, it’s in the future! Well, until it’s in the past. But that part is pretty obvious. 🙂

This movie is heavy on Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence as Wolverine and Mystique, which I wasn’t expecting, and of course on Charles Xavier and Eric/Magneto, mostly on the portrayals done by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. The whole cast is great, but if you’re looking for a lot of people from First Class, you’re not going to find many outside of those already mentioned. Most of this movie also takes place in the 70’s, and I thought the way they filmed much of the 70’s storyline was great with a grainy film look.

My two biggest reservations about this movie though are that the cast is so large that you don’t get as much of any one character as you’d really like (unless you’re a big Wolverine or Mystique fan), and that the story felt a bit convoluted to me. The idea of changing this one thing to change everything else and then not expect that it couldn’t go wrong another way seemed really naive, and then of course when that did happen, how they managed things didn’t feel like it would have actually worked well enough. And what happened to Magneto after the 70’s story? I’m dying to know!

You’ve probably heard a lot about the addition of Quicksilver in the movie, and that scene in the kitchen was a lot of fun, definitely a high point in the movie. His time was so brief though that it almost felt pointless. But not pointless enough for me to mind him being there, since it was entertaining.

x-men-days-of-future-past-quicksilverThis is a hard movie to only “mini-review,” yet at the same time I don’t want to go on and on about it. If you enjoyed First Class, then see this movie.

4stars2Also check out:

Funk House of Geekery’s The 10 Best and the 10 Worst of X-Men: Days of Future Past

Natalie’s (Natflix and Books) review

Reading and Running’s explanation of the X-Men franchise timeline

The Monuments Men

the-monuments-menSo imagine if Danny Ocean (Ocean’s 11) was into art and had a purer heart and lived during WWII, and you would kind of have an idea of the premise of The Monuments Men. This was an interesting sort of movie. It’s written and directed by George Clooney, and while it was beautifully filmed, it’s clear he doesn’t have much screenwriting experience (though I did look up his writing experience and he did also write the screenplay for Good Night and Good Luck, which was a snore of a movie for me when I really thought I’d like it). The first part of the movie has a very strange pace and it felt very disjointed. We’re “introduced” to the different Monuments Men, though not in a very coherent fashion, so it took me a while to remember who all these people were.

But once you realize who everyone really is and get into the story, it’s interesting. There was a really poignant scene where Bill Murray’s character gets a recorded message from home that really stood out for me in the movie. There are other little vignettes, just glimpses into these these men’s missions, that build up to the climax of them finding particular art that they have been seeking for much of the film after the death of one of their own.

The Cate Blanchett character was a disappointment for me since she’s a great actress and her character was so distant and not very interesting. She’s so cold for most of the movie, and then warms up to Matt Damon’s character after she realizes he and the other Monuments Men want to genuinely protect art, so much so that she’s coming onto him (even though she knows very well that he’s married), and it felt weird and unnatural. Thankfully Matt Damon’s character, James, didn’t give in, but it just felt a little odd. If all that really happened in real life, I’m sure it unfolded in a more natural way than the way the movie presented it.

To me, this movie felt like it was just scratching the surface of something larger, just trying to give me a glimpse into a much grander story. During the credits I Googled to see if there was a book and then proceeded to add it to Goodreads, because I wanted to know the whole story instead of just these little parts. This movie wasn’t enough, and some of the script was weak, but it gave me a craving for more and had some interesting elements to it.

3stars2If you’ve seen either of these movies, let me know what you thought of them!