Monday, April 28, 2014

Reign Review: Season 1 Episode 19: "Toy Soldiers"

At the beginning of this episode we find out that it's been a month since the last episode. Reign seems to really like time jumps. With everything that's happened and the six month (I believe) gap that was Francis and Mary's honeymoon, I think it's safe to assume that it's been roughly a year since the beginning of the show. I'm bad with timelines though, so it's completely possible that I'm wrong. The snowball fight throws it in our faces that it's winter, which would be a good clue, but I can't really remember what seasons we've been through. I just know there's been snow before, and I remember there being nice weather when Mary first came to court. I'm spending way too much time trying to figure us out though. The point is that we're now quite a long time from when the show started, and I wonder if Reign is going to keep this pace or slow down. Roughly a year per season isn't out of the ordinary though. I think the time skips are just making it seem like they're making things happen fast.

I really wish we could see the English court at least a bit. We keep hearing about what's happening there, and it just keeps making me want to see it more. However, I know the show is centered around Mary, and unless she goes to English court, I doubt we'll see it. Still, wishful thinking. There's a lot of potential for some good storytelling at the English court right now I'm sure.

The scene where Francis and Catherine confront Henry and he's not wearing trousers was the greatest. I just had to throw that in here I loved that line, but the looks on Francis's and Catherine's faces made it even better. It's like they can't imagine him possibly getting worse, and that was them realizing that he really has completely lost his mind.

Speaking of Henry going crazy, I really want to find out what's up with that. I've become so desperate that I've looked into historical stuff with no answers. I just want to know what's going on. (Also, unrelated to this episode, but while researching some stuff I discovered that Henry and Catherine apparently had a daughter historically. Where is she? Why couldn't she be in the show? Looking into stuff about her has made me think that she would have been very interesting to have in the show. I mean it, from the descriptions of this girl's relationships with both Mary and Catherine, she would have been amazing in the show.)

I really hope Mary and Francis work out all of this drama between them. Francis really does need to get that Mary is queen of Scotland and has to actually rule. He's frustrating me quite a bit. I'm sure that will continue to be an issue for the foreseeable future though.

Everything I said in my last review about how Penelope became too arrogant that she became stupid became even more true when she tried to fake a pregnancy. I know I said I hoped she'd never appear again, I did get a lot of satisfaction over Catherine getting the upper hand there. Now though I really am hoping that we never see Penelope again.

Oh, and I have to talk about Greer and Lord Castleroy. Lord Castleroy is very impressive in this episode. I still want Greer with Leith, but at least Lord Castleroy seems decent. He's looking really impressive in comparison to Lola's husband (who I don't remember even being in this episode). I'm still holding out for Greer to be with Leith, but if she doesn't, at least she seems to be marrying a decent guy.

We only have three more episodes left this season, so it will be interesting to see what all happens before the break between seasons.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Life Post: One Direction's On Tour Again and I Need to Prepare for CoHF and SIL

We're going into the final week of classes before finals. Two weeks before I'm finished with my sophomore year of college. Two weeks until I'm halfway done with college. Wow. I don't even know how to feel about that, so I'm trying not to focus on it.

One Direction's Where We Are Tour started two days ago, and I'm a bundle of emotions. The boys are all back together again, and they've been tweeting more, and they all just seem to be in great moods. I forgot how much I love tour until it started again. I'm excited for my own show, of course, but I'm also just content seeing how happy everyone is while tour's going on. It's good times. Watching everyone on Twitter freak out during the first show as we discovered the setlist for the show was fun just like for last tour, and now I'm excited for the coming months. The second show is tonight, and there are just about four months until I see them in Chicago! Yay!

Since it's the 27th, that means that it is excited one month until a very important day: the release of City of Heavenly Fire, the final Mortal Instruments book, and Cher Lloyd's album Sorry I'm Late. I still have no idea how I'm going to handle both of them being released on the same day. I suppose it's good we're getting songs from Cher's album early, so it will be less overwhelming. Also, I'll get my iTunes copy of the album that day (not so sure about the hard copy), but I'm not entirely sure when I'll get my CoHF copy, so that may give me more time between everything. Still, I think I need to spend the next month mentally preparing myself. (Who am I getting though. I can't be emotionally prepared for that book. I'm legitimately freaking out over what may happen.)

Summer break: 12 days
City of Heavenly Fire book release: 30 days
Sorry I'm Late album release: 30 days

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Book Review: Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright and David Leslie Johnson

ISBN: 0316176044
Published: January 25th, 2011
Publisher: Poppy
Read from April 13th to 22nd, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The blacksmith would marry her.
The woodcutter would run away with her.
The werewolf would turn her into one of its own.
Valerie's sister was beautiful, kind, and sweet. Now she is dead. Henry, the handsome son of the blacksmith, tries to console Valerie, but her wild heart beats fast for another: the outcast woodcutter, Peter, who offers Valerie another life far from home.
After her sister's violent death, Valerie's world begins to spiral out of control. For generations, the Wolf has been kept at bay with a monthly sacrifice. But now no one is safe. When an expert Wolf hunter arrives, the villagers learn that the creature lives among them--it could be anyone in town.
It soon becomes clear that Valerie is the only one who can hear the voice of the creature. The Wolf says she must surrender herself before the blood moon wanes...or everyone she loves will die.
Based on a screenplay written by David Leslie Johnson


I went into this book very skeptical. This book is a novelization of a movie, which doesn't create the greatest confidence in a book, but the fact that I had only heard negative things about both it and the movie it was based on made me even less confident that it would be good. I had bought it back when the movie came out based on the mere fact that the story revolved around a werewolf though, and I was determined to read it.

I do think that the book could have been a lot worse. It's the only novelization of a movie I've read that wasn't meant for children, so that right there kind of improved it. The whole situation about who wrote the book is a bit confusing, but from what I can understand, Johnson wrote the script which was then given to Blakley-Cartwright who wrote the book.

I do think that Blakely-Cartwright is a good writer as far as how she strings words together. As far as that goes, the book was good. The story is what was the problem. For that reason, I'm actually hopeful that Blakely-Cartwright could go on the write some good stuff in the future, since she wasn't really responsible for the story just the actual words put down in the book. If she had been constructing this story on her own, maybe it would have been much better. Then again, maybe it wouldn't have been. She apparently doesn't have any other novels for us to know.

It's hard to even know where to start with the problems with the story though. There's a love triangle between Valerie and two guys. Neither guy is given any personality, so it's hard to really care about how that even turns out. None of the characters in the story are really given time to be fleshed out or be three-dimensional, which is funny because if you read Catherine Hardwicke's introduction she praises Blakley-Cartwright for doing just that when it wasn't possible in the film.

My biggest problem with the love triangle, however, is that it's your stereotypical case of instalove. Valerie and Peter were best friends as kids, but Peter disappeared. Now, Peter comes back and him and Valerie are basically a thing just like that even though they've both grown up and no longer know each other. They hardly even have a conversation throughout the entire book, yet they're both incredibly adamant that it's true love. I don't know how they know that considering that fact that they hardly speak to each other, but apparently they do. In fact, at one point in the book Valerie sneaks away to meet Peter. They're alone, which you think would be the perfect opportunity to have a conversation and catch up with each other, but they don't. They just ride around on a horse without speaking. Needless to say, it's a bit difficult to believe that they're meant to be together.

On the other hand you have Henry who has apparently been in love with Valerie for quite a while even though she doesn't return his feelings. This is also a bit hard to see considering he doesn't talk much to Valerie over the course of the book either. Now, since his feelings can kind of be pushed aside as a crush, I wouldn't have minded that much, but with Peter and Valerie's relationship being so unbelievable, Henry's feelings just made the whole love triangle even more unenjoyable.

*Slight spoilers in the next paragraph*

As for the rest of the storyline, there is absolutely no build up towards the conclusion. The entire book drops hints that the wolf could be various people, and then when you actually discover who the wolf is it makes no sense at all and is completely out of left field. If you're going to do that, you at least have to make it so that readers can go back and see where you actually dropped hints toward that ending, but I'm pretty doubtful that I would find any of those if I went back and looked. Looking back on it, the fact that this was pretty much the only character where there weren't hints might have made it somewhat obvious, but that's some pretty bad foreshadowing, if you could even consider foreshadowing.

Then we have the fact that there's not even an ending in the book. Apparently, when the movie was coming out they wanted to keep readers from discovering the end of the movie, which I get but also think is ridiculous. Maybe if the ending had actually been a worthwhile one I would feel a bit more sympathetic, but that doesn't change the fact that no one wants a book that is missing a chapter. You have to go to a website (listed on a page at the end of the book) in order to read the last chapter. Now, almost anyone reading this is going to have Internet access and be able to get the last chapter, but who wants to do that? It's a terrible idea. To be fair, you're probably better off without that chapter because the conclusion is pretty terrible, but if you want to know who the wolf is, getting online to read the chapter is required.

Can I also point out that anyone can go to that website? If you really want to read that chapter, all you have to do is going to the website and open up the file. So they went through all of this to disguise the ending before the movie came out, but now it's on the Internet for the whole world to read without actually watching the movie or reading the rest of the book.

Overall, the writing in the book wasn't terrible, and I was at least able to stick with it all the way through. It's not a very memorable story though, and I didn't really care about how it went at all. I am curious enough that I wouldn't mind watching the movie just to have seen it. I wouldn't really recommend this books though (and probably not the movie). There are much better werewolf stories out there, and you're not really going to get much from this one.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reign Review: Season 1 Episode 18: "No Exit"

Well, a new episode of Reign airs tonight, which means that I should probably get my review of last week's episode up today. Whoops. There's a lot going on at the moment.

I don't know why I found it so surprising that Mary had a brother. I've just been picturing her as an only child this entire time. I think the dynamics between her and her brother are interesting though. It's somewhat similar to Francis and Sebastian but also a bit different. I do find it sad that she can't completely trust her brother to not kill her for her throne though. I completely understand why Mary wanted to trust him so badly even when Francis didn't.

I actually love that James is trying to get Mary to go to Scotland, even if it's to kill her on the way there because I'd love to see Scotland on the show. I doubt that will happen though, at least in the near future.

Also, can we talk about how James is the first Scot on the show that has actually had a Scottish accent? (Or wait, did the guys in that past episode? I can't remember.) Anyway, that just makes the other Scots lack of a Scottish accent even more glaringly obvious. This show really is all over the place as far as accents are concerned.

I really liked that Francis and Mary did finally come to an understanding about her being a queen though. I'd love to see more of Francis being supportive of Mary ruling and whatnot.

Henry is still getting crazier and crazier every episode. I'm starting to think that Penelope is an idiot. Maybe not an idiot per se, but someone who did something cunning, got what she wanted, and then became too arrogant to actually see what was obvious. Henry's gone psycho, but she thinks she has control of him. I'm glad she's finally back to being a servant because I honestly could not stand her, and I hope she doesn't show up again. Her stealing Kenna's wedding ring was the final straw of me not full out despising her.

Speaking of Kenna, she and Sebastian just get cuter each episode. The way they were married was still horrible, but I do love them together. I'm hoping everything keeps working out. I think I may love them even more than I love Mary and Francis or Greer and Leith (so sad he's gone though) at least at the moment.

Since I mentioned Greer, I want to mention her wedding really quickly. I wonder if it's even going to happen. Lola was already married, which I wasn't expecting that soon, but Greer's not. I'm kind of holding out hope that Leith shows up again and they can be together. I'm not sure though. Things don't tend to go that happily on this show.

There's definitely something up with Julian's past, and I feel bad for Lola. As far as I can tell, he likes marrying women for money, and I'm fairly certain he's not actually rich himself, only pretending. I also wonder if he doesn't suspect that Lola's baby is Francis's and if he doesn't plan to use that to his advantage. I can see that all going very badly, and it makes Kenna and Sebastian's forced marriage look good in comparison.

Oh, and I forgot that there was a good deal of Olivia and Nostradamus in this episode. They still weird me out as a couple. There's too much of an age difference there, and it happened so fast and out of place for me. I just can't get behind it.

Another thought that I just had: where's Clarissa and when is she showing up again? I've been feeling a lack of Catherine lately, and having another storyline with Clarissa would probably help that.

I'm looking forward to tonight's episode. Since it's been a week, I can't actually remember what the preview for it contained at all, but I'm hoping it's good.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Life Post: So... I May Have Started Working Out

This week has started dragging on, and I've reached the part of the semester where it's a struggle. I feel like I'll be talking about that for a while now, at least until the end of the semester. I want to savour these few weeks because afterwards I'll be halfway done with college, which is just scary, but I'm also ready for summer break.

I just realized that I don't think I've mentioned this here on the blog yet, but I've begun doing Blogilates. (If you want to get into pilates and working out, I highly recommend the site.) It's great because it's the first time in my life where I actually kind of look forward to any sort of physical activity. I realized a little less than a year ago that all of my problems with anything lumped under "exercise" comes from some (i.e. a lot) of horrible experiences in grade school PE classes. All of that stuff turned me against pretty much any form of physical activity, and I pretty much shunned it even though I wanted to be healthy. I wanted to be healthy without working out. I still have a lot of the problems I did before, and I don't know when (or if) I'll get over them. (Seriously though, guys. I know PE is important in schools, but I could give you a long list of ways it needs to be changed in most schools because I went through so much crap.) I love Blogilates though. The trainer, Cassey, is fun and the workouts are fun, and in a surprising turn of events for me, I'm actually starting to enjoy the feeling I have after working out. Being sore is becoming a good thing, and I never thought I'd say that.

All of that being said, I only brought that up for one reason, and that is to say that you eat a lot more when you work out. I've gone through so much food because I'm burning more calories now than ever before. That's perfectly fine because I love food, but when you eat food you have to buy food. That's not so fun when you're a poor college student. It's becoming a struggle to actually have food in my dorm when I'm hungry.

So, now you know something new that's been going on in my life lately. Other than that it's mostly just been writing my last papers of the semester, finishing up the reading, and getting prepared for finals. We have a floor meeting later tonight on moving out of the dorms, which is sure to remind me again of how close summer break is. In about two weeks it'll be break. That's crazy. This year has flown by. I can't even believe it. I'm excited for this summer though. It's going to be awesome!

Summer break: 15 days
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare book release: 34 days
Sorry I'm Late by Cher Lloyd album release: 34 days

Monday, April 21, 2014

Life Post: Nearing Finals

This Monday has felt odd because I'm not very conscious of how close it is to summer break. Everyone keeps talking about it, and every professor is constantly reminding us of finals. We're definitely wrapping everything up now.

Usually it takes a bit of adjustment once I get back to school from home, but I honestly feel like I never left. That's most likely because it was only for a three day weekend, but whatever the cause, I'm happy I'm not feeling really off and having to adjust to the work again.

Of course I have a lot of studying to do and final projects to work on now, but it's not too bad so far. I haven't started the bulk of studying for finals as there are still two weeks of classes, and I'm more focused on finishing up reading and all of that. I just hope I can keep a good pace through the rest of the semester. I don't want finals to be extremely overwhelming. I think I'll be good though. My finals are pretty well spread out. I have three on one day, but two of those are just presenting projects. Overall, there's not a day where I have too many tests going on.

Summer break: 17 days
City of Heavenly Fire book release: 36 days
Sorry I'm Late album release: 36 days

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Life Post: Easter Weekend and Back at School

I just got back to school about an hour or so ago, and I'm putting off unpacking at the moment. Car rides make me feel so sleepy that I just have no motivation to do anything afterwards. It was nice getting to see my family this weekend, and it's so weird that there are now less than three weeks left until summer break.

Last night was interesting. My sister's (and Jenny, the exchange student who lives with us) prom was last night, and three of them got ready at our house and their dates all showed up there. It didn't get as crazy as I thought it might, but Regina was freaking out quite a bit beforehand. Things apparently went well though, so that's good. She said earlier today that she still didn't think it had sunk in that she'd actually gone to prom. I don't understand that outlook since I've never thought of prom as that big of a deal even after having gone, but oh well.

Easter was great, although we didn't really do much, and I spent a few hours of it in a car. I got a bunch of candy like usual as well as a rune/Mortal Instruments necklace, the This Star Won't Go Out book, and Frozen on DVD, so that's all pretty awesome.

Now I just need to mentally prepare myself for the final weeks of classes and finals. It's hard when I know summer break is so close.

Summer break: 19 days
City of Heavenly Fire book release: 37 days
Sorry I'm Late album release 37 days

Friday, April 18, 2014

Book Review: Girl at the End of the World by Elizabeth Esther

ISBN: 0307731871
Published: March 18th, 2014
Publisher: Convergent Books
Read from April 1st to 13th, 2014
Synopsis from publisher:
I was raised in a homegrown, fundamentalist Christian group—which is just a shorthand way of saying I’m classically trained in apocalyptic stockpiling, street preaching, and the King James Version of the Bible. I know hundreds of obscure nineteenth-century hymns by heart and have such razor sharp “modesty vision” that I can spot a miniskirt a mile away.
Verily, verily I say unto thee, none of these highly specialized skills ever got me a job, but at least I’m all set for the end of the world. Selah.
A story of mind control, the Apocalypse, and modest attire.
Elizabeth Esther grew up in love with Jesus but in fear of daily spankings (to “break her will”). Trained in her family-run church to confess sins real and imagined, she knew her parents loved her and God probably hated her. Not until she was grown and married did she find the courage to attempt the unthinkable. To leave.
In her memoir, readers will recognize questions every believer faces: When is spiritual zeal a gift, and when is it a trap? What happens when a pastor holds unchecked sway over his followers? And how can we leave behind the harm inflicted in the name of God without losing God in the process?
By turns hilarious and heartbreaking, Girl at the End of the World is a story of the lingering effects of spiritual abuse and the growing hope that God can still be good when His people fail.
Includes reading group discussion guide and interview with the author


Girl at the End of the World's synopsis caught my eye, and I was intrigued. However, I wasn't expecting to become as enthralled by the book as I did. Girl at the End of the World is the story of the author's experiences growing up in a Fundamentalist Christian cult. I'm not going to lie, the cult part was what caught my eye. I don't have personal experiences with cults, but the cult mentality is something that I find both fascinating and horrifying.

Fascinating and horrifying is a good way to describe Esther Earl's story. Her memoir connected with me emotionally, and even though I've never had any of her experiences, I felt myself sympathizing with her. The author dealt with far more than she should ever have had to in her life, and it was hard to read but also extremely eye-opening. I was rooting for Esther the whole time, and even though I knew before beginning that she did eventually escape the cult, I still found myself on the edge of my seat throughout the book.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. The book is written very engagingly, and it would have held my attention easily, even if the subject matter weren't so gripping. I think everyone could get something out of this book. It's a hard story to read at times, but I don't regret reading it a bit. It's hard to put into words how this book made me feel, but I can say that it is one of the best books I've read in a while. It's one of those books that I want to share with everyone I know. Elizabeth Esther's story is one that I am incredibly glad was told.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Life Post: Home for Easter

I'm home for Easter weekend! It's a bit weird because I haven't been home since spring break more than a month ago, but it doesn't feel like it was that long. Maybe that's because my family came up to Indy, or maybe it's just because it still doesn't feel like spring some days. Either way, it doesn't feel like I was away from home as long as I was.

One of the most frustrating things about being home is that there are more distractions, and I end up getting almost nothing done. Yesterday was especially bad between the drive home and Holy Thursday mass. I didn't get anything done except a small bit of homework in the car. I'm hoping to get a lot more done today. I have a fair amount of homework to do in addition to writing and some other stuff. So far I haven't gotten quite as much done as I would have liked so far today, but it's still the morning. I tend to lag behind a bit in the mornings.

Now, I need to get to homework so that I'll be finished with everything before Good Friday mass tonight. I really don't want to be doing homework and stuff late into the night.

Summer break: 21 days
City of Heavenly Fire book release: 39 days
Sorry I'm Late album release: 39 days

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Cool Japan by Sumiko Kajiyama

ISBN: 0984633456
Published: November 1st, 2013
Publisher: Museyon Inc.
Read from April 10th to 13th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Explore the heart of Japanese culture with this three-part travel guide. First, visit Kyoto, where you will discover one thousand years of history from the ancient love story the Tale of Genji to the traditional tea ceremony. Then head to Tokyo to experience Japan's cutting-edge capital, where the twenty-first-century kawaii culture collides with landmarks like the Kabuki-za Theater and the Imperial Palace. For a different perspective, venture outside the city to the seaside towns of Tohoku, the region largely affected by the 2011 tsunami disaster. Written by local expert Sumiki Kajiyama and illustrated in lively animation style, this book introduces readers to Japan's national heroes and must-see places from a uniquely Japanese perspective. Informative, entertaining, and useful, Cool Japan is an ideal introduction for any traveler looking for a deeper understanding of Japanese culture, past and present.


I really enjoyed this book, although it contained more history than I was expecting it to for a travel guide. It was more like a book on the history of certain locations in Japan, and then there was travel information thrown in at the end of the sections. I can understand why that would be frustrating if you were looking for a travel guide, but I quite enjoyed it and thought it was very interesting.

From the writing (and the fact that the writer is from Japan), it is clear that the writer's first language isn't English. I love the fact that the book is written by someone from Japan because they are more likely to know the area better. However, the book definitely could have been edited better. There were a lot of parts where the wording was awkward or just not right. That's probably my biggest complaint with the book.

Overall, I enjoyed it and thought that the information it contained was cool to learn.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Book Review: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

ISBN: 1451673310
Published: June 2013 (first published 1953)
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Read from April 7th to 13th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
The sixtieth-anniversary edition commemorates Ray Bradbury's masterpiece with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman; personal essays on the genesis of the novel by the author; a wealth of critical essays and reviews by Nelson Algren, Harold Bloom, Margaret Atwood, and others; rare manuscript pages and sketches from Ray Bradbury's personal archive.


I was incredibly excited when I learned that we were going to be reading this for my humanities class. I've heard a lot about the book for years, and I'd been curious about it ever since I learned what it was about. I went into the book with somewhat high expectations, and I'm happy to say that the book may have actually exceeded them.

I now consider Fahrenheit 451 one of my all time favorite books. I loved it. The topics it deals with (i.e. censorship, book burning, book banning) are all issues that I feel very strongly about. No doubt my passion for the theme of the book made me love it even more. I think the message of the book is even more important now than it was when Bradbury wrote the book thanks to new technology. Don't get me wrong, I love technology and certain television shows and all of that, but I think this book's message is so important for people to hear.

This is a book I would recommend to absolutely everyone. I think people who love reading will enjoy it because of their own passion for the topic. However, I also want everyone I know who doesn't enjoy reading to read this book because it could possibly make them understand the importance of reading. Of course, that's a bit idealistic and is incredibly likely to not happen. Still, I'd love for everyone to read this book. I really wish it had been required reading for me at some time during high school, but I'm glad I finally got to read it in college. It's definitely the best book I've read in months.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Life Post: Finals Are Coming

This has been going really great so far, although I'm not too thrilled that it decided to snow today. We had been having such good weather, and now it's cold and snowing again. Oh, well. I hope that this was the last of it for the season. We deserve a nice spring from here on out.

It's really dawned on me how close finals are now, and I have this nagging feeling that I need to study now. It's actually kind of annoying because I'm scared I'm already starting to get stressed out when there's still a few weeks left. I'm trying to just do the work I have and not focus on finals yet. I'm sure I will be more than enough stressed in a few weeks. I can stand to push it off for a bit. Honestly I'm not even worried about most of my finals. Two of them are projects instead of tests, and we're already working on one. There's really only one final I'm really worried about, and that's because my tests grades in there have been steadily becoming lower each test. I don't know why because I keep studying harder, and it's extremely frustrating. I just hope I manage to keep my grade up to an acceptable place until the end of the semester.

I say I'm not going to focus on finals, and then the majority of this post ends up being about finals. I really am preoccupied by it. At least it'll be over in a few weeks. Now, I have some reading to get done for one of my classes. I have to be ready for finals after all.

Summer break: 24 days
City of Heavenly Fire book release: 42 days
Sorry I'm Late album release: 42 days

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Life Post: Rest, Music, and the Mortal Instruments

It's been a pretty great weekend. The temperature got up to 77 degrees yesterday, and it's really nice today as well. It really does feel like spring now, and I love it. I think it's supposed to start getting colder again though, and I'm not looking forward to that at all. Here's to hoping it doesn't last long, and next time it'll get warm for good.

Most of my weekend was just relaxing. I had a ton of homework last week, but my load was somewhat light this weekend in comparison. That means I got to spend time actually recovering from last week. I still have a bit of homework to get done before tomorrow, but it's not too bad.

Later today I have to go to a music recital as an arts experience for my humanities class. It's the last arts experience I'll have to do, and I'm hoping it goes well. The last music recital I went to for an arts experience was really entertaining, but this one will be a bit different. I can't remember the exact theme of the last one, but it was something to do with medieval music I believe (at least part of it). This one is supposed to be religious music and it's the pastoral music ministry putting it on. I'm not sure how alike or different it will be from the last one, so I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

I also just got finished editing a video on some of my City of Heavenly Fire predictions. I get really excited any time I can talk about the Mortal Instruments, so I made it part one of four in order to keep things short. The video should be here when it's done processing. I'm hoping to get to the other three videos I'm planning soon because I really, really want to talk about the book.

Summer break: 26 days
City of Heavenly Fire book release: 44 days
Sorry I'm Late album release: 44 days

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Reign Review: Season 1 Episode 17: "Liege Lord"

So, Henry seems to be getting even crazier, and apparently he's hallucinating now. Honestly, this has all made him a very frustrating character to me. He wasn't my favorite before, but now I'm cringing every time he comes on screen. I'm not sure if it's a good sort of dislike (where it's a good story even though I hate the character and all of that) or a bad sort of dislike. I really want something to happen with it in the near future other than Henry just degenerating into madness. I want someone to look into it, try to figure out what's wrong, or something like that. I know Henry wouldn't want to be cooperative, but I feel like everyone should be trying to look more into what exactly it is that's wrong with him.

Penelope is a character that I dislike far more than Henry. Wasn't she just supposed to be queen for a day? It's been more than a day, hasn't it? I feel like I missed something there.

Why haven't Katherine's ladies been in earlier episodes? It seems like they should have made an appearance. Now it seems obvious that she has them of course, but it never even occurred to me before. Now one randomly shows up, and I realized that they probably should have been around a bit before. It seems kind of odd that they just didn't seem to be around anywhere.

I'm starting to remember why I thought Kenna and Sebastian were cute at the beginning of the series. Honestly, I still feel extremely bad for them, but I'm also enjoying them being married, which I feel bad about too. I'm really hoping that they make their marriage work though because I really enjoy them as a couple.

Lord Julian proposes to Lola, she comes clean to him, and he wants to marry her anyway. I loved this storyline, and I'm definitely going to be rooting for the two of them now. I love that she came clean and that won't be a secret between them. Of course, it's still a secret from Francis, but at least her (possible) future husband knows. I hope things work out for them.

I feel really bad for Mary about the contract. I'm not surprised that Katherine or Henry did it, but it has to really suck knowing that your own mother betrayed you like that too. It makes me really happy that Francis is on her side about it though. I really do love their relationship.

It was also so great to see Mary step up as queen like she did. Mary and Katherine go about being queens in such different ways, and I really love watching how they are different. According to next week's preview though, there's going to be some drama between Mary and Francis over this. I'm hoping that's resolved soon. I'm completely on Mary's side though. She really does need to put Scotland first. She's not the queen of France yet, but she is queen of Scotland. Hopefully she and Francis come to an understanding about that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Book Review: Beastly by Alex Flinn

ISBN: 0060874163
Published: October 2nd, 2007
Publisher: HarperTeen
Read from March 29th to April 9th, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
I am a beast.
A beast. Not quite wolf or bear, gorilla or dog but a horrible new creature who walks upright--a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster.
You think I'm talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It's no deformity, no disease. And I'll stay this way forever--ruined--unless I can break the spell.
Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls by night? I'll tell you. I'll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life. And then, I'll tell you how I became perfectly . . . beastly.


I'd been wanting to read this book since I learned about it back when the film was coming out. Beauty and the Beast is my favorite Disney movie, and I was excited to read an adaptation of it. I have to say, that this book is really similar to the Disney version of the fairy tale except more modern. There are differences, but once Kyle had been cursed, I could easily follow along with what was happening and it seemed to follow the plot of the Disney version fairly closely.

It took me a bit to get into the book because of it being told from Kyle's perspective. Since he is the beast, it is no surprise that Kyle is not at all a likeable character at the beginning of the book. I'm not someone who thinks characters always have to be likeable, but he was someone very frustrating to read about for quite a while. I stuck with it because I knew that was the point of the book and he was likely to grow over the course of the novel. And he did. I actually think the author did a great job with that. The progression happened at a nice pace, and it was gradual. He wasn't suddenly a better person. He gradually realized how horrible he had been and it was a process in order for him to become a better person.

I have two somewhat negative things to say. The first is that there were occasional parts of the book where there would be awkward wording. A lot of it was in how Kyle talked after becoming the beast, and that was even acknowledged at one point when Kyle said something about how Lindy made him talk like a romantic lead from one of her favorite books. I didn't like that at all. It felt extremely out of place and unrealistic. I think it might have been an attempt to make things more fairytale-esque, but it didn't work for me. Most of it just seemed off, and I don't think it gave off whatever feeling the author was trying to create.

The other part I didn't like that much was the random chat room sections. I didn't think they were necessary, and the book would have been better off without them. They didn't connect to the rest of the story, and you would never know Kyle was visiting a chat room if it weren't for the actual chat room sections of the book. It felt like they were just there to throw in other fairy tales to the story, and I didn't like it at all.

Overall, I did enjoy the book. It definitely gave off a similar feel to the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. I'm not familiar enough with other Beauty and the Beast stories to say how it compared to those. It was a cute story though. It wasn't realistic, but I was expecting that going into a book based on a fairy tale. I thought it was fun and enjoyable.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Life Post: Homework and My Sister Visiting

Just like I said in yesterday's post, this week is packed with homework. I've been working like crazy today, and I still have to work on two papers (one of which needs to be finished tonight) and work on vocab before I can consider myself to be done with homework today.

This isn't that big of a deal, but my sister is coming up tonight, so that's going to be a huge distraction. She has a college visit tomorrow here in Indianapolis, and she's staying the night in my dorm so she doesn't have to drive up here early in the morning. It should be interesting. It'll be her first time staying in a dorm, and I have to share a room with her for a night. We'll see how that goes.

I'm going to try my hardest to have all of my work done before she gets here. Theoretically I should, but we'll see if it happens. I seem to be lagging behind today. I'm off to do vocab though, and get that out of the way.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Naruto Shippuden Review: Episodes 151-155

I was going on and on in my last couple of reviews about hating the current storyline, and luckily that storyline came to a close in episode 151. I was more than happy to be finished with those episodes. So far, the episodes after that have been much better, so I hope that keeps up for a while.

Sasuke has got even more people after him after capturing the Eight-Tails, and I wonder how important that will be in future episodes.

We got quite a bit of focus on Itachi and Sasuke and all of that in episode 152, and that always gets me worked up. Plus, Naruto has finally found out about Jiraiya's death. I was kind of dreading that happening, but I also wanted it to finally happen. It had been long enough. It made these episodes a bit emotional, but at least that's not something I'm waiting to see happen anymore.

Kurenai being pregnant is in episode 153, and I can't figure out if that was in an earlier episode or if I just knew about it because of spoilers. This is one reason why I shouldn't read spoilers. Sometimes it's hard to distinguish between what I've actually watched and what I've just read about online already. Either way, that was in episode 153, and Shikamaru also made a comment about being the kid's teacher in the future, which made me emotional for some reason. I just get really sappy sometimes, and I thought the idea of that was cute.

I thought the seen where they're talking about Jiraiya's code and Kakashi pops up having overheard was amusing. I have no idea why Kakashi was even there in the first place, but it provided some amusement.

And Naruto starts sage training in episode 155, and that's pretty awesome. I really look forward to seeing what happens there. Plus, Naruto's eyes looked really cool. I just had to comment on that.

Overall, I don't feel like I have much to say on these episodes except a few comments that are basically disjointed, but I think that's because these episodes are that way. I'm loving them a lot more than the episodes before, but these episodes are kind of like downtime before something else significant happens I feel like. There's not a whole lot to comment on. I'm really excited to see what happens next though!

Life Post: Homework Overload

School has gotten really crazy this week. I already had way more homework than I've had lately, and then I was given two more assignments (both due Thursday) in two of my classes today. It looks like I'll be doing nothing but homework for the rest of the week.

The week has been good overall though, and I haven't felt entirely overwhelmed yet. These two new short papers aren't going to help matters, but I'll manage. I'd already planned to write this post and a Naruto review today as well as film, edit, and upload a video to Youtube, so I'm still going to do that even with the new papers I have to do. Since I already had my to do list for today, I think I'll start one paper today, but then write the rest of the paper and all of the shorter one tomorrow. Not the best plan, but I already overpacked my to list today (mostly with homework). I have no doubt that the papers will get done. I just don't know how stressed out I'll be afterwards.

Anyway, I clearly need to go get other things done. I plan on writing that Naruto review before I even get to homework though, so expect that up really soon. I'm really excited to talk about these episodes considering the storyline I hated finally ended and we're back to some good (but also sad) stuff.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Life Post: KDP Initiation and Seeing Family

Today was a busy day. It was my initiation into Kappa Delta Pi, which is an international honors society for education. My family came up to Indianapolis for it, so I also got to spend time with them. Oddly enough, I wasn't too nervous about the initiation. Right before everything was about to start, I was a bit worried, but nothing near what I usually would be. It wasn't until we were lining up to go on stage that I really started shaking, and I think I stumbled a bit while walking. Overall though, it wasn't nearly as nerve-wracking as those things usually are to me, and now I'm officially in KDP!

Afterwards, my family and I went to Walmart so I could buy food, which is basically something that happens anytime my mom comes up. Then we went out to eat at this Vietnamese and Chinese restaurant. The food was delicious, and it was awesome to spend time with my family.

They left after we ate, and then I did all of my homework at all of that. I was worried that I wouldn't have much time to get everything done with all that happened, but I actually managed to get through it really quickly since I did a lot of it yesterday after expecting this. It's great because now I actually get a bit of a break before starting the week tomorrow.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Twisted Review: Season 1 Episode 19: "A Tale of Two Confessions"

Well, I'm only about three days late reviewing the season finale of all things. Oh, well. Things happen.

It isn't surprising that the show threw a bunch of craziness at us for the finale and ended on a cliffhanger. Here's to hoping season two gets picked up and this wasn't our last episode.

At this point, I expect Charlie to get crazier and crazier each episode. As soon as we saw Jo walking down the street alone, I expected Charlie to do something crazy. I actually believe (although it's been four days since I watched the episode and may be wrong) that she's walking alone once and confronts him and then leaves. It's the second time she's walking alone that he kidnaps her. I remember seeing her walking along the first time and fully expecting something more than just him yelling at her. So when it happened again and this time he kidnapped her, I wasn't surprised. However, I do think Jo wasn't the brightest to be walking alone at night when she knows some dude, who has been to juvie before for something she's not entirely sure about, has some crazy obsession with her. If I were Jo, I wouldn't have been going anywhere by myself.

I remember that the first time Charlie appeared my first thought (other than that he was creepy) was that he could be Tess's kid, and then I realized her kid was a girl and didn't give it much more thought. Now I should know to trust my instincts more, especially after we learned that her supposed daughter wasn't really her daughter. Honestly, the fact that Jo is apparently Charlie's sister manages to make his obsession creepier, which I didn't think was possible. And if we get a season two where they try to act like a family with him, then I don't think I can handle it. It's just too weird.

The episode ended with a gunshot though, so for all we know someone is dead. I'm not even going to try to guess about that because there are such a wide range of things that gunshot could have meant. I think Kyle shooting Charlie seems the most logical, but you never know with this show.

I'm kind of going backwards with this though. The endings of these sorts of episodes always overshadow the rest of it for me, and I'm having trouble remembering what else was in the episode.

Oh, there's the Danny and Jo stuff. I really don't want them together, but it could be worse. I did think Danny and Lacey would make a better couple, but I have to say that Lacey and Rico are growing on me, which I think it entirely because of the actors dating in real life. I don't want that to affect the show for me, but I think it is. However, I also think Rico and Andie are absolutely adorable together. At this point, I've pretty much thrown out trying to decide who should be with who, and I'm just going to accept whatever happens. It's too crazy for me to invest in a couple.

Okay. What is up with Whitney and Jack? That was entirely unexpected, and now I'm trying to sort that out. We've seen Whitney's mom. Was she in on all this? Is Jack really Whitney's dad or are they just working together? That opened up so many questions. Especially since Charlie was apparently in on it but isn't anymore. We seemed to learn a lot about Charlie in this episode, but that makes me question all of it. Are they working for Vikram? That seems like it would make sense, but he's supposed to be dead now. I have no idea what any of this means, and I'm not even going to try and make sense of it yet. I'm now sufficiently freaked out by both Jack and Whitney now though, and I hadn't found them suspicious at all before this episode. I think this has a lot of potential to be interesting though.

Overall, I thought it was a good finale, and it definitely did a good job of creating suspense for a second season. I know there are aspects of Twisted that I complain about a lot, but I did enjoy the first season. I really hope it gets picked up for a season two, so we can see how the story continues. I'd really like to know what's up with Whitney and Jack. I still can't get over that plot twist.

LIfe Post: It's Too Early in the Year for This

I slept in later this morning than I typically do even on other Saturdays, and it was fantastic. Not only that, but my room is finally a normal temperature. I don't know what happened the other day, but Thursday night the temperature in my room started rising. It was odd because it wasn't even that hot outside, but by the time I went to bed it was 84 degrees. It kept rising because the air conditioner wouldn't work except for the fan, which did basically nothing. It was even hotter when I woke up, and it was like that for most of Friday as well. Finally, they got the air conditioner in the hall working, so even though they still won't work in our rooms, the hall is cold enough that our rooms cooled down. Right now my room is 76 degrees, which is basically the temperature I keep it at anyway.

That was all basically the biggest thing to happen to me over the past day or so because I was so concerned with trying to get my room cooler. I was worried it was just going to keep rising and I'd have a 100 degree room or something. People were walking around the dorm in short shorts and tank tops even though it's way too cold outside for it just because they couldn't stand to be in here in anything else. I'm glad that's over.

I'm really excited though because as I was writing this post, Little Mix officially announced that "Salute" was going to be their next single! We pretty much knew it already, but confirmation is always awesome anyway. You have no idea how much I am looking forward to that music video. "Salute" is one of my favorite Little Mix songs, and I've wanted it to be a single since I first heard it. It's just perfect single material I think, and it gives a good idea of what Little Mix is all about. I'm so excited! I know I already said this, but I can't wait to see the music video!

Summer break: 34 days
City of Heavenly Fire book release: 52 days
Sorry I'm Late album release: 52 days (Oh! I preordered a hard copy of the album and a signed poster!!! Yay!!!! I'm so excited!)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Book Review: Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson

ISBN: 0451529952
Published: November 1st, 2005 (originally published 1919)
Publisher: Signet Classics
Read from March 28th to April 1st, 2014
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Winesburg, Ohio, gave birth to the American story cycle, for which William Faulkner, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and later writers were forever indebted. Defying the prudish sensibilities of his time, Anderson never omitted anything adult, harsh, or shocking; instead he embraced frankness, truth, and the hidden depths everyone possesses. Here we meet young George Willard, a newspaper reporter with dreams; Kate Swift, the schoolteacher who attempts to seduce him; Wing Biddlebaum, a berry picker whose hands are the source of both his renown and shame; Alice Hindman, who has one last adventure; and all the other complex human beings whose portraits brought American literature into the modern age. Their stories make up a classic and place its author alongside the best of American writers.   


I had never heard of this book until it was assigned in my humanities class, and I had no idea what to expect going in. I know it's a classic, but I have to say that I didn't really enjoy this book. However, I don't really have anything negative to say about it, and I think my dislike for the book comes entirely out of my own personal preferences while reading.

I like having an entire book to connect with characters, but more than that, I struggle keeping track of large casts of characters. The entire premise of this book is that it is more or less a series of short stories focused on many different characters in this one town. I got so confused by who was who. Even though each story focused on someone else, characters came up multiple times, and I'd feel like I should know who someone was but I didn't. I'm terrible with names, and I often can't remember names until a decent way into a book. I was absolutely hopeless with this one. I had no idea who anyone was, and it just left me confused more often than not.

That's really all I have to say about it. I'm not sure how I would have felt if I hadn't had that problem. I can certainly appreciate why the book is a classic, but the large cast of characters was a struggle for me and prevented me from really getting into the book.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Life Post: The "April Showers" Have Begun

I woke up to thunderstorms today, and I was ready to get absolutely soaked. Somehow I got incredibly lucky and every time I've had to go outside so far it has only been sprinkling. I'd sit in class and it would be pouring loudly, but each time class ended it had calmed down. I did have to navigate some gigantic puddles. The way our campus is there are always giant puddles everywhere. It was so bad that I was pretty much wading through ankle deep water at one point without any way to avoid it. Needless to say my shoes, socks, and bottom of my pants were all soaked, but it could have been worse.

Other than the storm, not much is going on today. My classes went well, and while I'm tired, I feel way better than I did yesterday when I was dealing with a horrible headache. I still haven't started on my homework today, and I should really get to that. I'm going to go get some reading done now.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Life Post: It's April!

Happy April Fool's Day, everyone! I won't be pulling any jokes on you in this post considering I wouldn't even know what to do, and I've spent far too much energy already today just trying to make sense of the How I Met Your Mother finale (that I already wrote about and will therefore try to avoid talking about even more).

That finale really has dominated my entire day though because I can't seem to escape it. It's being talked about everywhere I go online, and I get it because I feel the same way. But, like I said, I already talked about it, so moving on.

I typically have three classes on Tuesdays, but today two of those were canceled. This meant that I got to both sleep in and get finished earlier than normal, and it was great.  I felt more awake in the class I did have than usual. Plus, it actually feels like spring outside today, which I greatly appreciated. Hopefully that's a good sign as spring starts.

My day hasn't really consisted of much other than school work and talking about How I Met Your Mother though. I'm hoping things are calmer tomorrow. We'll see.

HIMYM Review: Season 9 Episodes 23 and 24: Last Forever, Parts 1 and 2

I don't even know where to begin. Starting this review is so intimidating to me because I still feel so overwhelmed by everything that happened in these two episodes. It certainly wasn't what I was expecting, and my feelings are overwhelmingly negative. I have seen a couple of positive views at this point, but it seems like a good deal of people agree with me. Before you just think I'm bitter about not getting my way though, I need to explain some things.

It seems like everytime something ends there's that group of people who are extremely vocal about hating it. I've never been one of those people. In fact, I almost always love how creators choose to end their stories. I've even written two posts on it. I've never reached the end of something and been completely and utterly unsatisfied with it. How I Met Your Mother broke that trend last night. And it wasn't just because of bitterness over things not going how I wanted them to. I'm really good at accepting things that don't happen the way I want. I can get over it as long as I can see the story that the creator(s) was/were telling and can see that it made logical sense and was well done. I can't see that with HIMYM.

That finale was one of the worst things I've ever had to watch. The first episode wasn't too bad. I wasn't thrilled about it, but I thought things would look up in the last episode. Then the last episode came on and was even worse.

The problem wasn't that things were sad instead of being overly cheerful and happy. I can accept it if the writers wanted to go from a more realistic approach to getting older and starting families, but whatever they did in those episodes last night completely undermined every single bit of character development we've gotten in the past nine seasons.

I'll start with Lily and Marshall because they were probably the least focused on in the finale, which will make them easiest. We found out that they have a third child and eventually move out of the apartment, which I thought was fitting since it was the end of the series. I can accept everything that happened with them, and my only regret is we didn't see more of them in the finale. They were basically there for their friends' stories, and their lives remained the same other than one more kid and pretty much losing their friends. I'm both thankful and upset by that.

From here I really don't know where to go on because all of the rest of my thoughts are one jumbled mess, and I don't know where to jump in. I'm just going to do my best to straighten all of this out and make it coherent.

Barney and Robin get a divorce three years after they were married. That was the first bit to really make me angry. Look, I know I wanted Barney and Robin together, and anything I say about this could be taken as me being bitter they didn't stay happily married forever. I assure you it isn't. My initial anger was about that, but the more I've had time to think about it the more I realize how terrible it was from a storytelling perspective. This entire season was the time leading up to Robin and Barney's wedding. It was built up and the big episode right before the finale. You can't have a wedding like that and then divorce them in the next episode. From a storytelling perspective that's just crappy.

We were given more than a season to adjust to the idea of Robin and Barney being married. In ten minutes that was completely taken away. We didn't get to see their marriage souring; we were just told it did and that they divorced. That seems just cruel after building up their marriage and making it such a big deal. If the show had more time to go on and develop their marriage and then show it going bad, then okay. They could have done that. But the fact of the matter is that they didn't have that time and they just threw the divorce at us unprecedented, and that's what makes it such horrible storytelling.

The theory about the mom dying was true. I was somewhat expecting that at this point, so I wasn't shocked so much as just disappointed. The fact of the matter is, I could have dealt with her death if it weren't for everything else surrounding it. First of all, Ted has been trying to entire nine seasons to find the woman he wants to marry, and then when his fiancee gets pregnant they proceed to wait five years before getting married? I shouldn't have to point out that it's out of character for Ted. I know that the series was all about him growing, but if he was having a kid with a woman who he absolutely loved and had planned on marrying anyway, it wouldn't have taken him five years. It just wouldn't have. Besides, any of this character development that could have plausibly led to him being okay with delaying the wedding would have been thrown out again when he went chasing after Robin at the end.

Then the biggest kicker and what completely pushed it over the edge for me was the ending. I know a lot of fans wanted Robin and Ted together, but even if you did, I don't understand how you can be satisfied with that ending. This entire show was built up to be Ted meeting the mother of his children. Then she dies and he gets together with Robin. I know that all of this stuff actually took place over a span on years, but it completely undermined the point of the show to me. Her death would have been one thing, but they effectively made the entire show be about Ted getting together with Robin when the mother has been built up the entire time. Basically, the mother was used as a plot device to give Ted children (which Robin could have never done therefore making their relationship unrealistic before Ted had children) and then hand him over to Robin once she died. They didn't kill off the mother for any reason other than the fact that they needed Ted to be free to go chasing after Robin at the end of the series.

This is made even worse by the fact that so much of the recent seasons have been about Ted getting over Robin which have now completely been thrown out as well. To me it undermines every single bit of the last several seasons. If that had been the ending a few seasons in I might have possibly been able to accept it, but not now. Robin and Ted were too far past for that ending to be thrown at us and be acceptable. Not when everyone had already moved on, and not when the creators had to throw away two relationships (Ted and Tracy & Robin and Barney) that had been built up in just the last hour of the show.

And can we talk about how Robin specifically said that she never wanted kids? Yes, she struggled finding out she never could have them, but that was only because she knew the option was out no matter what she wanted. She came to the conclusion that she had never wanted children and still didn't. Now she's supposedly going to be with Ted and by step-mother to two children which is something she never wanted? No, no, no. That's incredibly out of character for Robin, even if the kids are older. It just doesn't make sense for her character.

So, I hope that mess of thoughts makes sense. What it boils down to for me is that many of the characters were completely ruined in the finale, and none of them acted in character. Plus, it was a storytelling nightmare that might have been acceptable if the show had ended sooner, but the fact is it didn't. None of it made logical sense, and it was just all around the most disappointing television I've ever watched. I really wish I had never watched the finale in the first place, and that I could just pretend like episode 22 was the real ending of the series. It would have been more fitting than what I had to sit through last night.