Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dealing with Harassment, or Why Fire is My Favourite Graceling book (Part 2)

So originally this was only going to be one post, but clearly my love for Fire couldn't be contained to one mere post.  In my last post I talked a lot about why I love Fire, but I never got to why I love Fire the most.  And part of that is because in this case it is supremely subjective (ooh alliteration!), and so personal I wasn't sure I was going to write a post about it.  But I decided it was something I should write about, so it's going to get super personal for a while, just as a warning.

I've mentioned on the blog before that I had a phone harasser.  Long story short, I got terrifying text messages for about four months and finally had to involve the cops.  What I haven't mentioned is that last summer got completely out of control as far as harassment went.  A couple weeks after I had finally ended the problems with my harasser, I got another one.  This time in real life.

I was walking through a park to find a spot to read my book, when a man approached me.  This man was very attractive - fit, tan, well dressed, looked to be in his late twenties or early thirties.  This was enough to keep me from gauging him as an immediate threat.  He told me that I was beautiful, and wanted to know if I was interested in getting his number to meet up sometime.  I was very flattered, after all doesn't everyone want a gorgeous man complimenting them?  I thanked him, but let him know I had a boyfriend.

At this point it all went downhill.  He wanted to know how serious we were, then he wanted to know if I wanted his number just in case, wouldn't stop being extremely pushy, and at this point was standing way too close for my comfort.  I finally escaped and moved to a bench at the other end of the park to finish up my book.  About ten minutes later, the guy rides by on his bike to leave the park.  I thought it was a little weird that he managed to leave by the same entrance I was at - there are a good twenty or thirty other ways to leave, but I just shrugged it off.  Until he rode back by me another ten minutes later, slowing down as he went by my bench.  And then again.  And then again.  Until he rides by, leans the bike against my bench and sits down next to me.  I was absolutely frozen.  I didn't have a clue what to do.  And I was terrified.  I was about a fifteen minute walk from my apartment, my roommate wasn't home, and I was wearing heels which are not especially conducive to escape plans.  After sitting and staring and getting no response from me, he left. I was so terrified that I honestly didn't think I was capable of walking.  And how could I be certain he was gone for good? How would I know if he followed me home?  I ended up staying in that park for hours because it felt safer to stay there than to walk home by myself to an empty apartment.

A week after that took place, a man started taking photos of me without my consent while I waited for the train.  I was in so much shock I wasn't able to process what had just happened before the train came and he got in a different car. (And don't worry, after last summer I have taken definite steps to be able to defend myself, and have probably spent an inordinate amount of time coming up with plans for what-if scenarious)  Needless to say last summer took a huge toll on my psyche, and I'm dealing with the aftermath even today.  I'm fine most days, but sometimes seeing a man on the street is enough to send me home instead of going wherever I had meant to be, and I'm not always as in control of my emotional and physical reactions to strange men as I used to be.  It's a work in progress :)

Well that's great and all you might be saying, but how does that relate to Fire?

Artwork courtesy of the Inclusive Graceling tumblr

Sometimes there is a perfect meeting of what you need as a person, and what you find in a book.  Fire is that character for me.  As you read the book, you see Fire evolve from fear to strength.  You see her deal with significantly worse situations than I have ever been in, and instead of crumpling under the horror of it all, she gets stronger, and stronger, and stronger.

Character development is one of the most important things to me in a book, and Kristin Cashore manages to completely change Fire from the beginning of the book to the end in a way that both almost makes her unrecognizable.  Her strength and assertiveness, as well as her sense of self are so much stronger it's amazing to think back to the beginning of the book and how she acted then.  And yet at the same time she is the same person, just stripped down to the really core of who she is. Not only is that just simply impressive and enough for me to declare my undying love for an author, it just happened to be a character evolution that I need to have in my life when I encountered it.  In some ways I relate to Fire in a way I haven't needed to relate to other characters, and in some ways she's sort of a beacon of hope that I can evolve into a stronger person once I have mentally and emotionally dealt with everything I need to deal with.  Beyond that connection, I just love Fire as a character.  She's complicated and tough and loyal and unafraid of her sexuality.  She also makes a choice in the book that is probably one of the most heartbreaking decisions a person ever has to make, and I think what she did was awful, but ultimately the right decision for her and for the future.  She's also a passionate musician, which is always an added plus in my book, and the time Cashore takes to describe Fire's instruments so lovingly really endeared her to me.  Fire demands respect in her relationships, and is unwilling to compromise who she is as a person (at least as she evolves through the book) in any of those relationships, friendship, family, or otherwise.  That juxtaposed with her vulnerability, tenderness, fear, but mental and physical prowess solidify Fire as one of the best examples I know of a "strong female character" (read: a complex being)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Top Ten Authors I Own the Most Books From

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish

This is actually a pretty fair representation of my favourite authors - there are few I've read more books by (read: Lemony Snickett, Margaret Peterson Haddix), but I haven't ended up keeping their books.  So here goes!

1.  Enid Blyton (23+ books)

The great thing about being raised in a family of Kiwis is that you get raised on Enid Blyton.  I'm pretty sure I own all of her Famous Five books (which I loved so much I refused to answer to anything other than George for the better part of 3rd grade), have read a huge portion of her Noddy books, used to own all her Secret Seven books, and a few miscellaneous other books.  So I don't even have a clue how many I still own (other than the Famous Fives which I definitely still have), so she pretty much takes the cake on authors I own the most of haha!

2.  Brian Jacques (21 books)

I literally own and have read all but the last three books in the Redwall series.  (There's 22 of them, in case you were wondering).  I also own two of his three books in his Flying Dutchman trilogy.  He recently died in 2011, and I was pretty much devastated when I found out.  This man was basically a HUGE portion of my childhood.

3.  Tamora Pierce (14 books)

Ok, it's no surprise that I pretty much hero worship Tamora Pierce.  It's probably more of a surprise that I don't all of her books haha! Sadly, I only own her Tortall books (excluding the Beka Cooper books which are literally the only books of hers I haven't read yet)

Robin McKinley (11 books)

I've officially read all of Robin McKinley's books except for Pegasus, and thanks to Meg, I now own all of her books except for her newest one, Shadows (and her short stories). I would put my level of fangirling for Robin McKinley right up there with Tamora Pierce!

C.S. Lewis (7 books)

This is where it starts getting a bit tricky - a lot of these next authors I've read significantly more than I own anymore.  For example, I've technically read Lewis's Space Trilogy, but now only own his Chronicles of Narnia.

J.K. Rowling (7 books)

Let's be real. Of course I own all the Harry Potter books.  I probably own some of the other ones too, but I'm not sure.  And if I had my way I'd own the whole series in the new covers too.

Lloyd Alexander (6 books)

I've read a good portion of Lloyd Alexander's books, but the only ones I've held onto are his Chronicles of Prydain (which I have reread so many times they're falling apart) and The Iron Ring (which is something I feel like I'm the only person who's read it)

Madeleine L'Engle (6 books)

While I definitely have read more books than I currently own of hers, I'm actually surprised I haven't read all or even close to all of her books.  Madeline L'Engle is actually potentially the most influential author I read growing up.  She really shaped my worldview with her blend of science and religion and just observations on how life is in a way I had never experienced (and honestly haven't since).  I think I'll make it my goal over the next year to get to more of her books.

L.M. Montgomery (6 books)

I own what I consider to really be the Anne books.  (Let's forget that last book ever happened, shall we?)

Anne McCaffrey (6 books)

I'd reread Dragonflight a billion times growing up (it's still my favourite), but I only recently got into the rest of the Pern series and her other series (I'm currently reading The Ship Who Sang) in the past year or so.  I adore all her books, so I definitely see this list growing!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

A Day in the Life (17)

Not much of note to talk about this week, just moving stresses and trying to eat as many Chicago dogs as I can before I move and they become a distant reality for me.  I did perfect my perfect pizza though - pepperoni, tomato, pineapple, jalapeño, and I just decided to add bacon which was the BEST. IDEA. EVER.  I live such an exciting life.  In other news, if you ever go to Chicago and want really good margaritas, go to Big Star. Those things are DELICIOUS. And strong. Very, very strong haha.

And that's it for my week - I leave you with what I've been listening to nonstop:

So bloody catchy.

Ever thought clarinet was the sexiest thing ever? No? Listen to this.  (You gotta wait to like the 40 second mark to get there.)

Bookish News

Chinese Lord of the Rings Covers - Holy cow these are freaking GORGEOUS.
Fictional Roommates - Sara @ The Page Sage talks about who would make the best (and worst) roommates.  (My vote is on Karou for me!)
The S Word - Meg from Cuddlebuggery gets personal and talks about why sex in YA literature is important
Instagram Book Challenge! - Nafiza from Bibliophilic Monologues wants you to join her! I don't have an Instagram, but I might join in once I'm settled after the move :)
Book Shaming - AHAHA these are perfect!
Uncorked Thoughts: Harry Potter - So Uncorked Thoughts does a weekly Harry Potter meme! How awesome is that?!
Harry Potter House Cup - And apparently there's a yearly month long Harry Potter event on this blog. Too bad I'm just finding it :-/ You can still join in though!
On Hogwarts Houses - So sue me, I apparently only looked at HP posts this week haha.  This was an analysis of the pros and cons of each house, super interesting
On Bookish Habits - More Cuddlebuggery getting personal!  (Hilarious as per usual, and Meg is clearly one of my bookish soul mates)
Mythology in Fantasy - As someone who LOVES mythology (especially non Greek/Roman since that's more or less all you encounter. Not that I don't love it too, it's just refreshing to get other stuff), this is an AWESOME list of books from all sorts of mythologies - even self created ones like American Gods.

Nonbookish News

Ask the Sexpert: The 90-year-old sex guru - This was funny and heart warming and thought provoking all in one go.  And apparently the only nonbookish thing I bookmarked this week lol

Until next week! (In which I will have moved into my new apartment but will probably be sobbing surrounded by empty cardboard boxes. That's a lie. They'll be full. Like I'd actually unpack anything that quickly lol)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Why Fire is My Favourite Book of the Graceling series (Part 1)

On a scale of 1-10, staying up until 3:30 in the morning last night rereading Fire, that was at least a 9 on the decision scale.  (And before any of my family yells at me, I would like to point out that I wouldn't have been up that late if it weren't for my terrible, evil cat.  If I hadn't had to lock Lily in my room because she's been pooping in front of the refrigerator every night for the last two weeks and my room mates hate me now, then I would have been able to sleep.  It's very difficult to sleep when your cat decides headbutting the door is her best shot at getting out of your room)

I've officially reread all three books at this point, and it's let me reflect a little on the series.  It's clear to me on this reread that Fire is my favourite book in the series, although Graceling is only a hair behind at second, and Bitterblue a hair further behind in third.  What it really comes down to is this: Fire makes me cry the most.

I know, I know it sounds really hypocritical of me since I talk so much about how I procrastinate hardcore on sad books, but there you are.  And I would like to add there's also a big difference between sad books and books where sad things happen.  In fact, it's a similar distinction I make in general between YA and adult literature - YA literature is almost always hopeful, even at it's most tragic.  Most adult literature I come across is sad in that ever pervasive, hopeless, drudgery way.  If you're going to make me sad, you damn well better get a bucket of tears and heart palpitations from me.  Just saying.

THERE ARE SERIOUS SPOILERS AHEAD.  I would recommend scrolling really fast all the way to the bottom of your post and cautiously making your way up until you see the end spoilers words if you want to read the bits of the post without them!  In the interest of not spoiling the really really spoilery bits (and not just my reactions because I don't think you can make images sort of invisible) I will make some of what I write under the reactions only visible if you highlight it.


My progession on reading Fire:

1. First half, oh yeah I remember how much I love this!

2.* About halfway through...oh god. Oh wait.  Doesn't Archer die?! WHY DID I REMEMBER THIS JUST NOW??

3. Cry because of this realization.

4. Cry when it happens.

5. *Cry because of Fire's fingers, and how I can't imagine living if I ever lost even one of my fingers.  I have actually spent probably a longer time than is healthy thinking about what I would do if this happens, because you can't play the oboe if you lose a finger. 

6. Cry because the book ended.  


I would also like to note, that while I am an absolute crybaby in most books, I very rarely cry because a book has ended.  If it's a decent book, I might put it down with a sigh of satisfaction and move on.  If it's quite good, I will probably lie in bed and think about it for a while.  If it's really good (a la Graceling and Bitterblue), I will become despondent for a good hour, think about all the characters and the worldbuilding, and whyyyyy did it have to end?!  But it's rare that ending the book actually makes me cry.  Off the top of my head, I can only think of the last Harry Potter book that put me there.

I'd make the educated guess that Graceling is the general favourite of the series. My guess is that Bitterblue is less popular because it is significantly less action packed when compared to Graceling and Fire, and at 563 pages, it's also a good 100 pages longer than the other books.  I still loved Bitterblue, and I love, love, LOVED, that it dealt with the aftermath of Leck.  My respect for books that deal with things not magically being ok afterwards (Different book spoilers: Mockingjay, Quintana of the Charyns) is insurmountable, and I think more of them need to be out there.

My guesses for why Fire is less popular are very different.  For one, I think people probably expected more Katsa and Po (and who wouldn't want more Katsa and Po?) and it was probably a bit of a shock to find yourself with completely different characters in a completely different land. It's also very outspoken about rape in a way that I think can both empower and infuriate women.  And from here on out it's probably going to be a little spoilery, at least about the world building.  It's always tricky to talk about rape, especially when it is built so deeply into the world building.  It's always a fine line to walk, and inevitably you are going to upset people.  I'd argue that as a whole, (and there are individual times when I might not agree, and I'm still uncertain how I feel about an entire book that deals with violence towards our heroine) that Kristin Cashore does this in a respectful way that doesn't use rape simply as a plot device, and that also opens up a dialogue about what makes people good or evil (or neither).  While at times it may seem like the book is saying it's Fire's fault that the men are acting this way (and that's never an ok thing to believe in my book), I'd also like to point out that usually, any time this was mentioned - the men who look to act this way against Fire generally were this way beforehand, it just happened more suddenly and violently.  At some point in the book she talks to Brigan about how she turns most men away from her tent, but the men that are truly violent, she let's attack her so that Brigan will dismiss them.  This is still a mixed bag, and I totally understand why a lot of people were really upset by the way this was approached.  I tend to take the positive out of what was said, but I'll get to that later.

(Sidenote: One of my only quibbles on this point is that it's mentioned multiple times that it's worse for Fire because she's a woman, with the implication only women are desired.  It's not only men who feel desire - I'm sure there were women who lusted after Cansrel.  Yes, physically speaking, it's generally much, much less threatening, but there are also gay men.  My point is that worldbuilding wise, it doesn't make sense to me that only women are desired.  It does make sense to me that it's much scarier for a woman - specifically a woman like Fire vs. a man like Cansrel.  But it's weird to me that it's pointed out on more than one occasion that Fire is desired because she's a woman, and that these problems don't apply to Cansrel)

I'd also like to say that Fire almost never blames herself for the way men act towards her.  Archer and Nash are perfect examples of this.  Both of them act in a manner that is wholly unwelcome to her, and she let's them know that it's up to them to get themselves under control.  I also think that Archer and Nash are brilliant studies in what makes a person good or evil.  We seem examples, like Leck and Cansrel, of people who are pure evil.  This is juxtaposed against people like Fire who is a "monster", but who isn't inherently evil.  Then you've got Archer and Nash who seem like mostly decent men, but are more or less unbearable around Fire. (I have really complicated feelings on Archer. I kind of hate him as a person, but he's not all bad. Spoilers: And I was still extremely upset when he died. I don't really get it, to be honest. I think he really tried to be good, but....I don't know.  Complicated feelings.)

All of these are reasons why I love Fire (and why if you haven't read this series, GO READ IT NOW. I know plenty of non-fantasy lovers who loved it if you aren't convinced).  I never really got to why this is my favourite book of the series - I talk about why I love it, but none of this is what makes this book so personal for me.  This post has gotten so insanely long that I will have to wait for another post to get to that though :)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Hosted by The Broke and Bookish

  Duh, she's the survival pro.

Shenanigans galore!  (If only Fred were around to complete the other perfect duo for this category...DON'T HIT ME.)


What? Everyone needs a rich hunk!

It's absolutely essential you have someone who's good with campfire stories, and Anne would be perfect!

Artwork by Sash-Kash

Genius contraption making guy - if you have to have a whiner on your crew, he better be worth it.  Foaly, as whiny as he is, can pretty much make anything, which is probably one of the most useful skills I can think of.

Artwork by Shadow71689

 I don't care what you guys think, zombies are always a legitimate concern. (Also Claudia as Georgia is pretty much perfect. Don't know who the dude is though)

Winnie the Pooh

Everyone needs a guy to tell you to just chill out and eat some honey.

The Alphabet from Chicka Chicka Boom Boom 

They can go test out all the durability of trees you want to climb. Or pull down the not steady ones for firewood. Also lots of coconuts! (I mean if the alphabet is there, I'm assuming the coconut trees are too)

Locke Lamora and Jean Tannen

Artwork by Angelwhoisinlovewithyou

Devious plotters are sometimes a tricky group, but if there's anyone I want on my side it's a bruiser (who can keep Lamora in check) and a brilliant/crazy strategist.  You never know, the island might be less deserted that you thought it was... (and ok I super love this picture. I may ship Sabetha/Locke with the force of a thousand firey suns, but I'd be possibly even happier if he and Jean end up together. Which will never happen, but still.)

Celaena Sardothien

So we can be besties. And so she can kill things.


Hermione Granger

 Smart? Check. Interesting? Check.  Powerful magic user? Check. I mean come on, every survival team needs a magic user.  Besides, she's probably my favourite character ever, so she HAS to be on the island with me!

On a sidenote, my blog is broken again. If any of you have experience with RSS feed problems, would you mind looking at my post and giving me some suggestions? And if you're regular followers of the blog, you won't have seen my last couple posts, so here's the links if you're interested!

The Book Challenge: Day 04 - Your favorite book or series ever

So...I am going to have a real problem sticking to my guns about no repeats on this list (especially since I keep picking more than one book).

I've already talked about Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia, All of Tamora Pierce's books, Abarat, and Unspoken, all of which would be contenders for this category.  I'm going to go ahead and see if I can pick a standalone novel, so let's see where that leaves me...


I've picked both of these books because
A. Then I don't have to choose between them, and because
B. The less you know about them, the better.  It means I can't talk much about them, but I'm hoping you'll take me at my word here that if you love INSANE plot twists, both of these books are definitely for you.  (And on a sidenote, I've discovered almost all of my favourite standalone novels are adult fiction.  There's like two that aren't.  Is this because almost all of YA is series now? Uncertain...)

If you like gothic feeling books, I couldn't recommend The Thirteenth Tale more. I cannot talk enough about how in love I am with this book.  If you read her book Bellman & Black and hadn't read The Thirteenth Tale, please please please don't judge her writing by that book.  (Or rather her ability to write things that are heart racing, absorbing, and have a plot. Her writing is beautiful even in Bellman & Black, it just didn't actually make anything happen).  I don't know a single person who didn't love this book. (And these are all reviewers or authors whose opinions I value greatly.  Also sorry not sorry, I was a total creeper and totally checked out if we loved the same books.  What? It's important to know!)  Basically, the writing in this book is just beautiful (and we know how I am with beautiful prose), it definitely has a complicated premise (so if you like your mysteries clear cut and simple, this isn't for you), has a...narrator that is my favourite type (LOVE - it's even like an unreliable narrator getting the story from an even more unreliable narrator. IT'S THE BEST.) and best of all, it's all about books :)  (Also if you liked The Thirteenth Tale and haven't checked out The Shadow of the Wind - and vice versa - you totally should.)

The Double Bind is no less complicated than The Thirteenth Tale, but it's a very different sort of mystery.  But again, I can't say how.  I will say it is just as...dark, but in a more graphic way?  This was my very first Chris Bohjalian novel, and remains my favourite.  If you've read any of his novels, I will say that they are all very different, and this one is definitely in a category all on its own, so if you've read his more popular books (like Midwives) it is nothing like them, and you shouldn't bring any conceptions of his style of story telling from those.  Even more than The Thirteenth Tale there's just very little I can talk about.  Like...there are things that I want to say...I just can't! Because you need to know NOTHING beforehand.  Just...can someone PLEASE read this so that I have at least one friend who has read it and I can talk to someone about it?  GO READ THIS NOW.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Day in the Life (16)

Things I learned this week:

1.  Almost all of the search terms used to find my blog are about Korean actors. I guess I got a little obsessive there for a while...oops?
2.  I am perhaps more extraverted than I thought - I just need to be around the right people.
3.  And I'm sure having weather that makes me want to go outside certainly helps. (But not with productivity)
4. Apparently you can publish things on a date that passed like a week ago.  And apparently trying to schedule said post for Sunday (aka tomorrow) after publishing it by accident is not possible. (Otherwise known as the further adventures of Elizabeth being not technology savvy.) (Update: I THINK I DID IT!!...but don't kill me if you guys subscribe by e-mail and this sent out like a billion times.  Sorry!)

Feeling angsty? This piece is great. Rock out.

Guys, the camp that I was a teaching assistant at was some of the most fun I've ever had and now I'm all mopey. (...that could also be the large stacks of things I was supposed to have packed this week and didn't).  So I've either been spending WAY MORE TIME online than I usually do, or just wandering around aimlessly outside. (With the idea that maybe I'll find boxes except I keep forgetting to actually look for them while I'm doing said wandering).  I'm still perfectly happy on my own - but only if I'm outside, so I don't know what all this moping around on the internet business is about.

The other day I wandered with the specific instruction that I was only going to go to a restaurant I had never been to, and it was awesome! I'm choosing to believe that I really was this poor waiter's best table because he did look rather frazzled and he didn't just say so and give me a free shot of limoncello because he was taking pity on me because I was eating by myself.  I've never really understood the stigma of doing that.  I got to listen to great music, (the singer sang one of my favourite songs - Why Georgia by John Mayer. I didn't know other people even knew that song existed!) eat good food, drink good cider, and read a book more or less uninterrupted (hence my wish for a table and not a seat at the bar).  In any case, it was fun times.

I have started to amaze myself with my level of procrastination.  I will spend hours walking around for no reason. I will lay on my bed and read Hyperbole and a Half all night.  I actually posted things on fictionpress. Guys. I'm pretty sure I haven't written anything in like...two years.  So on the upside, yay writing things?  (And I actually like some of it. Which is saying something, because honestly a lot of what I posted on fictionpress is absolute shit.  And no, I'm not being modest. I'm not a modest person. I'm being honest haha) On the downside...yeah...packing...

I don't usually self promote, but if you didn't read my review of Hissy Fit - go read it now.  Not the whole review - all you really need is the quote from the book.  Do it. Now. It's totally worth it, I promise.

This is probably my favourite La Roux song (followed by Fascination)  Most of you probably recognize their song  Bulletproof.

Bookish Links

Portrayals of LGBTQIA Characters in Japanese Media (Anime/Manga) - Really a very interesting look at how characters are approached in anime/manga.  There's a lot more of them than we would find in most of our media (us being Americans, since I know not all of you are), but while there might be more of them, they aren't always shown in the best light.
In Case Of Emergency - What books would you save?
A Delicate Balance: Why You Should Read Ai Yazawa’s Nana - Ok I know this is looking a little manga heavy, but guys this manga is one of the most beautiful things I've ever read.  Yazawa's artwork is some of my favourite ever, and the story is just...well, beautiful.
A Long Overdue Nod to SciFi and Fantasy’s Best Librarians - Giles! And Evie! My favourites :)
Fan Fiction is More Than Words – It’s About Worlds - Ok you guys know my very strong and enduring love for fanfiction, and this article really nails the biggest reasons why I love it so much.  Read Fangirl and want to know what it's all about?  Here's some of my suggestions as of a year ago for some of my favourite fanfics.  Go explore!
True Life: I Think I’m A Creep - Jamie talks about her need to see what strangers are reading and all the crazy shenanigans she's gotten up to find out! (Confession: I'm totally the same way, if to a lesser extreme.  But you know what's super rewarding? When you're trying to see what someone is reading and they lift the title for you in a super secret way. You might never know if they did it on purpose, but it makes me feel like it's a Super Secret Book Readers Code.  ...ok maybe I am as bad as Jamie)
Favorite Passages - How do you mark your favourite passages?
How I Recommend Books - This is seriously awesome. I'm definitely going to use some of these tips in the future! (Instead of the usual YOU MUST READ THIS I DON'T CARE IF YOU WANT TO OR NOT)
Funniest Book Dedications - This is hilarious!

Nonbookish Links

Steven Moffat Ignores Canon, Insists That the Doctor Could Be Human  - MOFFAAAAAAAAT!!!! What even. Like really? ARE YOU INSANE?! Shall we count all the times The Doctor has explicitly said he is not human? (This article does. So there you are.)
Poolside Purity & Bikini Battles - While I'm not religious and on that front am not likely to agree with that part of this, the preacher who wrote this article is seriously awesome and is bringing to the forefront a lot of the issues I have had with pretty much all churches ever.
British Film Institute Enforcing Diversity Standards - Isn't this great?! I mean if money is the only thing that really changes anything, I'm all for funding working for this purpose!
Horse versions of LotR Characters - So...these are pretty cool (And no they're not a mashup of My Little Pony, in case that's what you were thinking)
Ramblings: World Cup 2014 - Lianne recaps and talks about her favourite moments of the World Cup!
“Excuse Me, Princess“: The Princess Type, for Good or Ill, Part 1 - A well-thought and interesting discussion of princess tropes.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Hissy Fit - Mary Kay Andrews


Goodreads:  Keeley Murdock's wedding to A.J. Jernigan should have been the social event of the season. But all bets are off when she catches her fiancé doing the deed with her maid of honor at the country club rehearsal dinner. The wedding's off, too, as Keeley pitches the hissy fit of the century, earning herself instant notoriety in the small town of Madison, Georgia.

Now A.J.'s unscrupulous banking family is bringing financial pressure to bear on Keeley's interior design business. But a redheaded stranger in a vintage yellow Cadillac is riding to her rescue. Will Mahoney, the new owner of a failing local bra plant, is about to offer the designing woman just what she needs: a plum decorating assignment, a chance to clear her name, and a golden opportunity to give her cheating varmint of an ex-fiancé the comeuppance he so richly deserves.


Oh my god that is the MOST RIDICULOUS ending I've ever read and now I can't stop laughing!

     After a long time, his hand found the zipper to my tightly fitted dress. The dress had begun to fall off my shoulders when I sensed, rather than heard, someone else in the room.

     "About goddamn time," Miss Nancy roared. And then she leaned in, flipped the lock on the doorknob, and gently closed the door.

These are literally the last words of the entire book. Like seriously.  I'm dying here!

Just so you guys know, the only reason I ended up reviewing this book was because of that last page, just so I could share the wonder of it with you.  You're welcome.

It was entertaining, but I couldn't shut off how much everything bothered me. People being judged by what their families did in the past, (entire female lines being called sluts). Nonchalance at women losing their entire source of income because the wives were pissed.  "Chick lit" can honestly be the worst at perpetuating sexism which I think is a real shame.  If we're going to have an entire genre just for women, shouldn't it be filled with awesomeness and badassery?  Instead of having this stigma of "not real literature", we might as well just OWN it.  Of course it's not all books like this - I LOVE Marian Keyes (I recommend the Walsh Family books) and Sophie Kinsella.  You want to read comedy? They're just absolute gold.  Check it.  But back to what I'm supposed to be reviewing.  There are so few female characters here that are shown in a good light.  In fact it's pretty much just the main character and her aunt.  And of course the main character is shown as superior by setting her apart from the other women.  And of course her best friend is not only:

A. A complete bitch
B. Comes from a line of sluts
C. Has no character explanation or depth.

I just can't.  Things like that...WHY? Just why? And of course the fiance's cheating is explained as: men from that family just can't keep it in their pants.  Seriously?  I will say that the main character puts very little stock in that. But then the fiance also has a weird mom fetish thing. So. There's that too.

Yes, there were other parts of the book that I liked (I mean there must have been? I gave it a meh instead of a blegh, but upon writing this review I can't remember the good things.  OH - I liked her other bff who occasionally slipped into gay cliches, but otherwise was lots of fun), but they were so overshadowed by almost literally ALL of my pet peeves that this book certainly wasn't for me, and I could not possibly recommend it to anyone else.  And authors really have some strange ideas about what the small town south is like.  Hint: not like this book.

And then after all of that, everything was wrapped up SUPER quickly. Like there was a before and an after, and no leading to the building of relationships. It was like BAM we're dating now!  Plus that ending.


Don't? I mean if you are one gung-ho chick lit reader, maybe this is for you?  

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Top Ten Favorite TV Shows (Or the TTT where you see how obsessive Elizabeth gets about TV)

There's NO WAY I could narrow this down to movies, period, and no way I could narrow this down to tv shows unless I limited myself to shows that are currently still going.  I was actually surprised how many shows I am catching up on that have already finished, or how some that would have appeared even a year or two ago (Covert Affairs, Supernatural) aren't so much my thing in these recent seasons.  ...but then I thought, why limit myself?  So here are my Top 20 tv shows (of the English speaking, non-animated sort. Might as well add that disclaimer too, or I'd have another 15 shows to add haha)

Top Ten Ongoing Series

Ok, so I didn't love this last season, and I'm not sure I like where they're going at ALL with next season's story line in regards to Regina...but I feel like some of not loving this is just that in comparison to how freaking amazing the first two seasons are, it's hard to measure up.  Fairy tale retellings get me every time, and Robert Carlyle as Rumple is one of the best things I've ever seen.
So is Hook's face.

If you were reading my blog a couple months ago, you already know all the reasons why this show is basically perfect.   In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if this show isn't already secretly the #1 show of my heart...

I actually have a huge addiction to cop dramas (despite the lack of them on the rest of this list), but this one by far takes the cake.  Olivia Benson is basically my hero. Some of you know a little bit of what I went through last year with one of my stalkers, and anytime I am dealing with the aftermath of that, Olivia Benson is basically gets me through.  Especially with what she goes through in the last season.  I may miss the Captain and Munch and Eliot, but the new cast has been doing a great job too!

Ok guys, we're all sad Matt Smith has left the show. But I'M SO FREAKING EXCITED FOR PETER CAPALDI!!! I think he might end up being my favourite.  Mostly because he's just such an amazing actor, but partially because they've said they're going to tone down on the romance stuff.  I know everyone loves Rose, and I did like that part of the show, but Martha just about did me in and Amy was...unnecessarily love triangleish with The Doctor.  I'm sure that's a part of the reason why Donna is my favourite companion (closely followed by Amy and Rory). Anyway I'm talking too much.  Go watch this show.

 I feel like everyone needs to see Season 2 of this show because it is a work of art.

OH MY GOD THE SEASON FINALE TO SEASON 3 IS KILLING ME. And once again, I don't have access to Season 4 yet D-:

I credit Kirsty entirely with getting me addicted to this show! I also can't watch Season 4 on this one yet (BOOOO) but it has been really amazing so far :)

So perfectly awakward and geeky...(although I've only watched a little bit of Season 4). I just pretty much super love Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton

For some reason I often forget how freaking hilarious I think this show is.  I love ALL the characters (but especially Mitch)

This show is the perfect mix of funny, crazy, geeky, and heart warming.

Top Five Completed Shows

This show shouldn't need any introduction or reasons why it's one of the best things in existence.  After seeing my list above, did any of you really think this wouldn't be pretty much my favourite show?

I'm actually surprised I ended up loving this as much as I did.  It took a while to draw me in beyond basic enjoyment, but god did I end up loving this show and all its kooky characters!  It's also got one of my favourite ships (Zane/Joe)

Oh my GOD I love this show and I get so upset that I feel like it's the least popular Whedon show! A lot of people genuinely didn't like it, and I just don't get it.  
A. Joss Whedon
B. Eliza Dushku is freaking hot. As is Priya Tsetsang
D. The acting is fantastic (except Paul. Fuck Paul)
E. Did I mention Joss Whedon made this?
 But really, it's just such an amazing concept. And my room mate who doesn't generally watch sci-fi stuff (the one who I finally got to watch OUAT, which he loved, and Doctor Who, which he didn't) also really loved this show.  So give this show a chance!

You know, I have almost no recollection of the first two seasons. I have this vague recollection of not watching the episodes consecutively, so this show is due for a rewatch as it is.  But the last three seasons?! The FEELS. And science! And paranormal science! And family shennanigans and cows and <333 br=""> 

For those of you who don't know, this is a spin off of Doctor Who, involving one of the best characters ever - Captain Jack Harkness (He who will sleep with anything that moves. Probably literally).  This show definitely feels more adult than DW, just as a warning, but it also is blunt and unafraid in a way that DW isn't. And again, it may have taken a while for me to warm up to this show past enjoyment into full on crazy love, by the time you get to the fifth season...*sobs*

Top Five Cancelled Shows

WHY ON EARTH WAS THIS SHOW CANCELLED?!  I waited for a a whole year before discovering they had cancelled it's just not fair!! This was one of my favourite shows ever.  On the upside, at least it wasn't like when Kingdom (which would totally be on this list if I hadn't limited myself to five shows) was cancelled after dropping a huge bomb on your lap.  So when you get to the end of this, you won't be like A;SDJS WTF?!...just upset you don't get more.

This show on the otherhand...the last episode was one of the craziest things I've ever seen haha

If you liked Arrested Development, you should check out this show.  The humour is similar in a lot of ways, but I personally think this is way funnier. (Also Phil and Lem are THE BEST.)

It used to be that the words "Space Western" would have me completely uninterested in a show.  But luckily I loved Buffy enough to give this show a go, and luckily this show has Serenity to wrap it up (...sort of).  I basically tied my roommate to a chair so he would watch this show, and he ended up loving it.  ( know, as I'm making these lists, it's occurring to me just how good natured my roommate is lol)

HOLY CRAP this show!!! I mean it's a boarding school (although I think I just pretended it was a college the whole time since it felt more like that) and it's got secrets and hints of sci-fi weirdness and dear god why did they do this to me?!  I actually watched this right after Kingdom, and now have sworn off all British television (other than Doctor Who and Sherlock) that has not already completed because I just can't handle their one season uncompleted shenanigans.