Star Trek TNG Season 7: My Top 5 Fave Episodes

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene at Bookish Whimsy, who is going through her first-ever run of Star Trek and sharing her favorite episodes for each season. To compare, see her top 5 favorite episodes of season seven of The Next Generation.

I have to say, I was kind of disappointed in TNG’s final season on this rewatch. I felt like many episodes reverted back to season one days (hello “Masks” and “Genesis”). However, there were some solid episodes, I do like the final scene of the series, and I liked how there was a little bit of interconnection with DS9 (more obvious to me this time around since I was watching them together). Here are my top 5 for TNG’s final season…

5. Thine Own Self

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This episode isn’t a real standout, but I enjoyed seeing Data having to figure things out on his own, with alien people, when he had no memories and many were afraid of him. It was definitely an interesting look cultural interference and a good character study of Data.

4. All Good Things…

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The TNG finale is mostly good. The time-hopping storyline is both interesting and a bit convoluted. But I do love the message at the end that we can do things today to change our future. (BTW, my favorite part besides the ending is Data’s future… with all those CATS! Darn you, Nemesis!)

3. Gambit, Parts 1 and 2

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I like seeing Picard in a different element in these episodes, sort of like in last season’s Starship Mine.

2. Lower Decks

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This episode is a very character-driven episode, but instead of spotlighting a cast character, it focuses on secondary characters, some that we have never even met before. The ending is also pretty sad for TNG, and feels kind of DS9ish overall.

1. Parallels

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Sometimes parallel universe storylines frustrate me, but this one is interesting to me as it deals more with actual multiverse theory instead of one alternate timeline. And it’s so easy for me to paint Worf with one brush, but to see so many facets of him in this episode and for them to all feel true was really neat.

What are your favorite episodes of TNG season 7?

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Branding

Once upon a time I decided to start several social media accounts, and I was semi-smart enough to use a consistent username, though it did not match up with my blog name. Though that was OK, I thought, because I wasn’t really trying to brand my blog. But rather myself.

But why I thought my initials and birthday would mean anything to anyone or stick in anyone’s mind other than mine I have no idea.

So now I am facing a dilemma. I want to rebrand everything with my actual full name so I can get better name recognition so that when I hopefully query in hopefully 2016 (I have been saying I want to query for the last two years but one day this will actually be true) I will have a pretty decent platform.

But here are the problems:

  1. Every reasonable variation of my name that I can think of has been taken on all the social media sites I use.
  2. It could actually be confusing for the people who do know me if I switch now.
  3. It might mess up links and such.

When I looked through the authors I follow on Twitter, the vast VAST majority of them have Twitter handles that are very much their name. So basically I feel like I failed for not jumping on this train long ago. I should have planned this better. I shouldn’t have been so paranoid about putting my full name out there because apparently it’s more common than I thought and someone probably wasn’t going to track me down based on it. But who knows, maybe I would have run across this problem back then too. I don’t know how long these names have been taken.

And then there’s the issue of having a private Instagram account for people I know offline, but wanting to have a public one as well that I can use for bookstagram and similar things, and trying to juggle all that

It seems my only options (at least on Twitter, and I haven’t checked to see if anything matches up across the board) involve adding writer or writes or an underscore or numbers, and I don’t want to do that (even though my current  one has numbers, again, I am trying to simplify to my actual name). So what do I do? Stick with what I have? Choose a username close to my actual name but will still have something added?

And as more people grow up and sign up for social media accounts, what options will they have if they want to use their actual name?

Oh, and let’s not forget I haven’t even looked into domain names yet, which will be my last step in branding myself before querying and I have NO idea what my options are for that are…

Any thoughts on my branding woes?

*EDIT* Thanks to Jackie Lea Sommers and her comment, I was able to find something that was available without numbers or underscores and didn’t feel too long, yay! A million thanks! Of course, if you still have any thoughts on the discussion in general feel free to chime in! But now you can find me on the web as acshawYA. 🙂

My Feels for The Hunger Games Are REAL: My THG Reread & Mockingjay Part 2 Review

*Warning: Spoilers!*

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I’m really glad I decided to pick up this series again in preparation for the last movie (so sad!). When I read the trilogy for the first time in 2012, none of the movies had come out yet (though they had been cast). My only spoiler was that I had heard one of the male characters died, and I was so worried the whole time it was going to be Peeta (I realized later the reference was to Finnick). I adored him and wanted what was best for him, so I spent all of Mockingjay SO STRESSED. But this time, I was able to appreciate Katniss’ journey even more (though I liked her a lot in my first read too, obviously, since I named my blog after her)..

The first read of the series, for me, was all about the characters. This second time around, it was about the overall story, particularly its themes of war and PTSD.

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In my initial read, The Hunger Games was my favorite read of the trilogy. After rereading, I think Catching Fire might actually be my new favorite, but I will not deny that this is most likely influenced by the movie, as it is also my favorite of the movies (which I can say for certain now that I have seen Mockingjay Part Two). The nice thing about Catching Fire is that we already know the main characters and the world, but we get some new secondary characters and we delve deeper into what leads to the rebellion. Also, Katniss’s interactions with Peeta are more genuine.

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The first time I read Mockingjay, I pretty much hated it until the last page before the epilogue. The pacing seemed off and I was so concerned about poor Peeta’s state. This time, I was more relaxed and able to appreciate the book more, but at the end I was amazed that despite the fact that Katniss and Peeta end up together and even have a family, the whole thing still feels downright tragic. Not in a hopeless way, otherwise I wouldn’t care for these books the same way, but she loses her sister, her mother, her best friend, basically loses her mentor, and several others in her life – some through death and some due to purposeful distance (or in the case of Haymitch, he continues to lose himself to the bottle). No one comes out of this in good shape, and that’s scary. But sometimes, that’s real life. But we see that good can still come out of it.

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I know not everyone loved the first Mockingjay movie, but I have a deep appreciation for it, and my feelings are the same for the second one. They’re hard movies because we see Katniss struggling so much, see the dirty underbelly of war, see the horrors of manipulation and PTSD. And I appreciated some of the changes they made in the films, few as they were.

In the final Mockingjay installment, we get a little more closure with Effie. Haymitch seems to be in at least a slighter better state than he did in the book. And in the scene where Katniss asks Gale about the bombs, you know with certainty when she says, “Goodbye Gale,” she means goodbye forever. That hit me much harder than his sudden disappearance in the book.

And after everything has gone down and she returns to Twelve, we get the scene with Buttercup and then we see little flashes of her starting her life over again. I actually would have liked more of this, but the movie was already bordering on too long of an ending (due to staying faithful to the book in so many ways, I might add) so I forgive it. Katniss hunts, Peeta returns, and they start to spend time together. And at the very end they have apparently ended up in the same house, because she leaves her bed to come into his room to crawl into bed with him. I was a little sad we didn’t get one more kiss when she finally admits she loves him, but it was sweet nonetheless.

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Neither the books nor the movies pulled any punches, but I think that is a large reason why this is a story that will continue to endure. It carries themes and warnings that we can all take to heart.

What are your thoughts on the last Hunger Games movie, or the books and movies in general?

“I Did Love You Once”: Thoughts on Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Don’t Touch is a quiet book in the world of YA. I didn’t hear a lot about it before asking for it for my birthday, but I’m pretty sure my interest in it was piqued largely thanks to Kayla. It focuses on Caddie, whose parents have recently separated and is subsequently dealing with extreme anxiety, which is fed by a rule or mantra she has created for herself: don’t touch. Caddie feels that if she touches someone, or them her, skin to skin, she will be responsible for her parents’ divorce. As someone has never experienced anything like this, it was interesting to get inside her mind see her thought process.

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The book felt very genuine, from Caddie’s anxiety to her friendships and her experience as a new student at a performing arts high school (in Birmingham, Alabama! Bonus points for the Southern setting!). She reconnects with her old friend Mandy, but for me, the highlight was definitely her friendship with Peter, who she adores, but a potential relationship between them is very much complicated by don’t touch. (Bonus points for Peter being such a nice guy! I loved it!)

Part of the plot involves Caddie playing Ophelia in her school’s production in Hamlet, and I promise you I read this book in high school, but all I remember is, “To be or not to be,” and not liking it at all. Talk of the play in the book almost made me want to revisit it and see if I could appreciate it more this time around. But the key word is almost, because in the end I decided I was fine without ever reading it again.

This book felt like a 4.5 star book most of the time; I was really enjoying it but it wasn’t quite 5-star read for me, but the ending almost lowered my rating to a 4. I don’t want to say too much to spoil it, but one aspect doesn’t really wrap up at all, but that felt realistic and appropriate for the story. The other aspect I think wrapped up a little too nicely. I understood that she had struggled a ton already, but it seemed some things happened a little too quickly, but I have no expertise on the matter, so maybe it could be that way. Also, the ending didn’t really drag after the climax, but I feel like there was maybe a little more to it than necessary. I would have preferred something a little more open-ended.

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Overall, I would definitely recommend it for a realistic look at mental illness, interesting friendship dynamics, and a sweet romance.

Content advisory: Some mild to moderate language. Some talk of sex, nothing real descriptive.

Have you read Don’t Touch? What are your thoughts? What was a book that, for you, did a good job of portraying mental illness?

The Top 15 Quotes From Books I Read In 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So. The past year OR SO? We’d be here all day; I couldn’t limit that to 10! So I decided to limit it to 10 15 quotes from 10 15 different books I read for the first time this year. Seriously, paring it down to 10 is too hard! I’ve been collecting quotes that I like this year on my Tumblr, but here’s the top 15, in no particular order…

(All pictures are from Unsplash or Gratisography, unless otherwise specified, and possibly the first one because I made it a while back.)

mistborn

unlikelyhero

letsallbebrave

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onthefence

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lasttimewesay

hitchhikers-penguin

Source

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jackaby

shadow-scale

magnolia

Source

thestartofmeyou

hero-of-ages

deathlyhallows

What are some of your favorite quotes you’ve read this year?

New Star Trek Show Dreamcast

News broke recently that a new Star Trek show is coming in 2017. Right now I’m more cautious that optimistic, especially considering it’s coming under less than ideal circumstances, as a show on a CBS subscription service. However, the good news is that it is not tied with the Star Trek reboot, and so hopefully this will be a continuation of the timeline we had with the other shows. Hopefully.

So considering all this, I decided to create the dreamcast I would like for the main roles in this new Star Trek show. I only chose actors and actresses, I haven’t figured out all their roles or what alien races would be (because I do think more than one of them should be something other than a human or super-similar-looking alien race (like Trill and Betazoid)), but just the core group of people I would like to see involved. With one exception that will be explained, I tried to pick people that, to my best knowledge, are not currently a cast member on another TV show.

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Maggie Q: I do know that I would like to see her as the captain. I think it would help with the diversity of the captains of STar Trek in general, and I also think she would carry the role very well.

BJ Britt: I LOVED him on Agents of SHIELD. I’m still waiting for him to come back on every single week. I would love so much to see him be a cast member on the new Star Trek.

Seamus Dever: Seamus is currently gainfully employed on Castle, and I love his role on there. However, the show is running its course and I think it probably should be over by 2017. So if Seamus gets freed up, I would definitely love to see him on a new Star Trek show.

Alexis Bledel: Of course, Gilmore Girls is returning so I’m not completely sure if this would work, but if it could I would like to see her in Star Trek.

Jesika Nicole: I loved her on Fringe and it’s a shame she hasn’t done much since then. I think she would be great on Star Trek!

Karl Urban: If you’re willing to ignore the fact he’s already Dr. McCoy in the reboot, then so am I. I loved Karl Urban in the new Star Trek, in the TV show Almost Human, and really I just like his acting overall. Let’s hire this man!

And with regular guest appearances by…

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Michael Dorn as Worf: As long as Michael Dorn is alive, it isn’t a Star Trek show unless he shows up as Worf (I’ll give Enterprise a pass since as least they were able to get Brent Spiner in). Michael Dorn has been lobbying for a show about Worf as a Captain, so what if he had a show run concurrently, and then made guest appearances onto this show? Imagine the possibilities!

Go forth CBS, and make my dreams happen! And don’t mess Star Trek up. Seriously.

Who would you like to see on a new Star Trek show? 

Quick Thoughts & Quotes from Three Recent Reads

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Storm Siren is a beautifully-written fantasy set in an intriguing world, but left me just a little wanting. While I liked the characters, I never felt a true emotional connection. However, the ending definitely leaves you at a cliffhanger so I believe I will try to continue with the series.

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Rook was an enjoyable read with scheming, action, and romance. It didn’t quite grab me the way Across a Star-Swept Sea, another Scarlet Pimpernel retelling did, but I liked the characters and the story, and the world was interesting. If I gave out quarter stars, it would be a 4.25.

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I’m enjoying my Hunger Games trilogy reread. The last chapter of the first book still killed me with feels when I read it, though I did feel less anxious knowing how it all ends. When I finish the series I will probably post more on my thoughts on reading all three books again.

Anyone else re-reading The Hunger Games to prepare for Mockingjay Part 2? Have you read Storm Siren or Rook?