Posted in Book Tags, Geeky Stuff

The X-Men: Apocalypse Book Tag

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

I found this tag over at G-Swizzel Books, who was also the creator of this tag. As I am a MASSIVE X-Men fan, I knew I had to take part in this tag at some point. X-Men: Apocalypse, although it isn’t the best of the X-Men movies, will always have a special place in my heart, as it was the first one that I got to see in theaters, and my first introduction to my favorite character, Nightcrawler.

Let’s begin, shall we?

MYSTIQUE: Name a female lead who is a strong and flawed character

GIF wcw x men apocalypse mystique - animated GIF on GIFER - by ...

Elloren from The Black Witch certainly has her fair share of flaws, but one of the most beautiful parts of the novel was watching her character development, and her growth into a formidable woman.

An Epic Fantasy Novel (The Black Witch Chronicles Book 1) eBook

CHARLES XAVIER: Name a character who is a good mentor/instructor

Professor X GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I immediately thought of Captain Siege from the Heart of Iron duology–intimidating, but still fair with all of her crew, and a mother figure of sorts for Ana and the rest.

Amazon.com: Heart of Iron (9780062652850): Poston, Ashley: Books

QUICKSILVER: Name a fast-paced book that you read in one sitting

Quicksilver Running GIF by X-Men Movies - Find & Share on GIPHY

As was…expected, I tore through Aurora Burning in one sitting. I was just as enraptured as as I was with book 1, and then the ending had to destroy my feelings like that…

Amazon.com: Aurora Burning (The Aurora Cycle) (9781524720926 ...

BEAST: Name a book you were intimidated by before you read it

X-Men Marvel GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Going into All Out of Pretty was fairly daunting, judging from the subject matter, but although it was an incredibly rough novel, it was still one that was completely worthwhile to read.

Review of All Out of Pretty (9781939547484) — Foreword Reviews

NIGHTCRAWLER: Name your favorite character that is a creature of the night (Werewolf, warlock, vampire, faerie, etc.)

ch:-peter-maximoff | Tumblr

Sidenote…MY BOY! MY FAVORITE MEMBER OF THE X-MEN!

When this part of the tag mentioned werewolves, I immediately thought of Remus Lupin from the Harry Potter series. All I’ll say is that he deserved so much better.

Épinglé sur harry potter humor, quotes and BTS

HAVOK: Name an underrated character that deserves more attention

x-men GIFs - Primo GIF - Latest Animated GIFs

After reading Aurora Burning, I’d have to say Zila Madran. I already liked her character, but now that we’ve gotten so much necessary backstory on her, I hope she’ll take a more central role in book three.

Zila Madran | The Aurora Cycle Wiki | Fandom

CYCLOPS: Name a character who struggles to control their power (could either be a superpower or a position of authority)

Cyclops GIFs | Cyclops x men, Cyclops, Gif

Zoey from Sawkill Girls is certainly a prime example, what with her powers showing up COMPLETELY without warning, poor thing. Plus, I had to sneak this in here because THEY MAKE AN X-MEN REFERENCE WHEN THEY TALK ABOUT TRIGGERING HER POWERS…which is the perfect segway into the next part of the tag…

Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

JEAN GREY: Name a character who had a traumatic incident happen in their past

jean grey gif | Tumblr | Jean grey, Jean grey xmen, Jean grey phoenix

March from The Smoke Thieves certainly fits the bill, poor thing…I mean, to have his entire family slaughtered as a child most definitely had a major, negative impact on the rest of his life.

Amazon.com: The Smoke Thieves (9780425290217): Green, Sally: Books

THE FOUR HORSEMEN: Name four villains to create your ultimate villain squad that could potentially take this world apart

X Men Apocalypse GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Tear this world apart? Hmmm, I have a few ideas…

So basically, we’re doomed.

APOCALYPSE: A series finale that you’re dreading

Oscar Isaac Apocalypse GIF by X-Men Movies - Find & Share on GIPHY

As of now, it’s untitled and without a cover, but whatever the last book in the Aurora Cycle is, I do not think I’ll ever be emotionally prepared…

WOLVERINE: Name a side character who always steals the show

Wolverine GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

I immediately thought of Ella from the Illuminae files. She’s easily my favorite character in the whole trilogy.

Amazon.com: Gemina (The Illuminae Files) (9780553499155): Kaufman ...

You are a member of the X-Men. What power from any fictional character would you have?

Either invisibility or teleportation. Or a mix of both. No one can see you, and you’d never be late for anything.

I TAG ANYONE WHO WANTS TO PARTICIPATE!

X Men Apocalypse GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Since I’ve already posted today, check out today’s Goodreads Monday for today’s song.

That’s it for this book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves! MUTANT AND PROUD! 🙂

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Music

My Favorite Music References in YA Literature

Best Abe Sapien GIFs | Gfycat

If there’s one thing I love as much as books and reading, it’s probably music. I was raised in a family of wonderful music nerds, and as a result, music has grown to be an integral aspect of my life.

And so, it always brings me a rush of joy whenever I find music references hidden inside books I love, and by proxy, authors with similar musical taste. I thought I might compile a few of my favorite books with music references in them, just for fun.

THE BLACK BEAST LIVES! - HalfGuarded

 

  1. The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik, David Arnold

Amazon.com: The Strange Fascinations of Noah Hypnotik ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, brief joke about Wilco/Jeff Tweedy

I mean, one can sort of tell from the get-go that this book is very Bowie-centric; The title itself (a reference to a lyric from “Changes”), and the Aladdin Sane lightning bolt in the ‘I’ in “Fascinations”. (On another edition, it shows Noah with the bolt across his face, just like the Aladdin Sane album cover!) Other than that, there’s a continual respect for Bowie throughout the novel. Other than the general wondrousness of the novel, I’m just glad to see that someone else holds Hunky Dory as highly as I do.

Also, the mention of Wilco is very brief, but it was still pretty funny to see. Even if it was poking fun at them.

David Bowie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

2. The Hazel Wood, Melissa Albert

Amazon.com: The Hazel Wood: A Novel (9781250297327): Albert ...

Artists referenced: The Beatles, Nirvana, T.Rex, (!!!), David Bowie

Though music doesn’t play (no pun intended) as big a role in The Hazel Wood as it does in some of the others in this post, there’s wonderful references aplenty in this one, from a minor character being described as reminiscent of David Bowie to a discordant, chaotic scene in which the main villain sings an off-key rendition of “Yellow Submarine”. Also, I’m frankly so impressed that Albert slipped in a T.Rex reference in there. COME. ON. That’s the deep cut to end all deep cuts!

t. rex band | Tumblr

 

3. The Final Six and The Life Below, Alexandra Monir

Screen Shot 2020-04-20 at 1.39.16 PM.png

Artists referenced: Radiohead

Weirdly enough, though I’d heard Radiohead here and there before reading The Final Six,  but seeing the reference was ultimately what convinced me to listen to Radiohead! This is easily some of the best utilization of references I’ve seen in a novel, period. First off, in The Final Six, there’s a particularly chilling scene in which Beckett, the main antagonist, glimpses Naomi sneaking around, and after a tense conversation, he sings part of “Paranoid Android.” (“When I am king, you will be first against the wall/With your opinion, which is of no consequence at all…”) Already veeeery spooky, but the song’s title hints that Beckett knows more than what he let on. (No spoilers)

In The Life Below, Monir also uses “Sail To The Moon”–in particular, its musical structure–as the center point of one of the main subplots in the novel. And boy, it’s FASCINATING.

Thom Yorke GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

 

4. The Looking Glass, Janet McNally

The Looking Glass - Janet McNally - Hardcover

Artists referenced: St. Vincent, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac (I don’t really care about the latter at all, but hey)

Another dip into the realm of magical realism!

Music plays a semi-important role in this one, as part of the novel is set on a road trip; there’s a running joke where Sylvie’s friend’s brother (I can’t remember his name for the life of me) listens to one specific artist in the car for the month. His pick of the month is Fleetwood Mac; there’s a line (which I can’t find) where Sylvie makes a remark something along the lines of “why can’t we listen to something good, like David Bowie?” to which the other character responds that he’d already listened to him for all of April. And though the St. Vincent reference was brief, McNally perfectly captures the nature of her music.

St Vincent GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

 

5. Ziggy, Stardust, and Me, James Brandon

Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon: 9780525517641 ...

Artists referenced: David Bowie, Pink Floyd

Again, another Bowie-centric book. I related to this one in particular because Bowie is Jonathan (the main character)’s hero; the book is set in 1973, so it’s at the heyday of his Ziggy Stardust era. As someone who similarly worships him, this novel hit the sweet spot for me. There’s also a wonderful scene where Jonathan and Web soundtrack a school presentation with Pink Floyd’s “Time”, easily my personal favorite of their songs.

David bowie GIF on GIFER - by Kirindis

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS: 

 

So what do you lovely people think? What are some music references in literature that you love? Tell me in the comments! 

ziggy stardust david bowie gif | WiffleGif

 

Since I’ve already posted today, head over to today’s Goodreads Monday to see today’s song.

 

Have a wonderful day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Movies

The Nowhere Man: A Comic to Film Comparison of Johann Kraus

Three Portraits of Johann Kraus | this cage is worms

I don’t know why, but writing this feels so surreal…I’ve had the idea to write this one since last year, but I’ve all but put it off until now. So here you go, fellow bibliophiles…

No movie adaptation can capture the true essence of a character, not really in full. Sometimes, they’re so wildly different–whether it be in looks or personality–that your perception of them is all but tainted when you re-read the source material. But sometimes, these differences make for an interesting examination of the character themself–and they might even work better for the plot set in the film adaptation.

I know I’ve mentioned Johann here a fair amount of times on this blog, but for those of you who aren’t super familiar, here’s the rundown of his character:

Johann’s from the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. universe. After a supernatural accident rendered his physical body all but dead, his incorporeal body was kept in a containment suit to that he may live and move about again. A longtime member of the B.P.R.D. (after Hellboy quits), he specializes in communicating with those who have passed.

He’s been in the B.P.R.D. comics for quite a while (since about 2001), and he appeared on screen for the first (and so far the only) time in Hellboy II: The Golden Army, voiced by Seth MacFarlane. I saw HBII before I started reading the comics, but once I started reading them, I realized that there is a major discrepancy in terms of Johann’s personality between the comics and the film. But this is one of the rare instances where it isn’t all that bad.

johann krauss | Tumblr

Nothing quite exemplifies the purest form of these differences than their separate entrances in the comics and the film.

In the comics, Johann first appears alongside the rest of the team in the first volume of the B.P.R.D. comics, Hollow Earth and Other Stories. For most of the first scene where we see him, we only see him from the back as Kate shows him around the B.P.R.D. headquarters. He’s clothed in a heavy trenchcoat and a large hat, and it isn’t until she leaves him to the tutelage of Dr. Manning that we see him take the hat and trenchcoat off, revealing his containment suit–and the fact that he’d taped sunglasses to his helmet to further disguise himself. (sneak 100)

B.P.R.D: Plague of Frogs Volume 1 TPB :: Profile :: Dark Horse Comics
from Hollow Earth and Other Stories (2001)

In the film, there’s a lot of hubbub that surrounds Johann’s arrival. He’s been assigned to this division of the B.P.R.D. to keep Hellboy in check. All of the main cast is gathered out in the lobby as Dr. Manning reads off his file. Johann eventually arrives in the elevator, flanked by a bevy of B.P.R.D staff. Once he steps out of the elevator, in all his steampunk-suited glory, he proceeds to CLICK HIS HEELS, TAKE A BOW, and THEN introduce himself. He’s even got his own little Danny Elfman theme in the background as this all goes down. What a guy.

johann krauss | Tumblr
The clip isn’t on YouTube, but man, it’s PRICELESS…

So, you can probably already see the major differences.

In the comics, Johann is a far more subdued character. For most of the earlier B.P.R.D. run, he most often defers to the wisdom of the other agents. He’s still confident in his skills, but he knows that he’s the new guy, and that he’d best leave the work to more experienced agents like Abe, Liz, and Kate. He asks a bit too many personal questions, he stumbles quite a bit, but there’s no question that when Johann gets on the job, he will get it done with a unique, psychic prowess.

In Hellboy II, however, we see a version of Johann who has already built up a sort of reputation. After being enlisted to Hellboy and his team, he immediately assumes command of them, inserting himself as their unofficial leader in all their further missions. He’s a bit of a martinet, in a way, but mostly when it comes to Hellboy, still resentful towards Manning for assigning Johann to watch over him. They’re the antitheses of each other, really; Hellboy prefers to play by his own rules, while Johann is, as Hellboy says, “Mr. ‘By-The-Book’.”

Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (7/10) Movie CLIP - Hellboy Smokes ...

But for once, I don’t really mind the change. Not only are Johann’s interactions with the other characters (Hellboy especially) sometimes hysterical, it works seamlessly with the plot. Johann is almost a vehicle for Hellboy’s character development, someone to challenge him like Dr. Manning never could. His influence makes Hellboy begin to realize that his actions have consequences (wHEn wIlL you lEARN). Liz also begins to question Johann’s actions, but comes to realize that he’s had his fair share of hardships in the past as well. (In the case of the movie, Johann lost his wife in the supernatural accident that caused his predicament with the containment suit.) It’s a different interpretation of the character, to be sure, but leave it to Guillermo del Toro to pull it off flawlessly. Can I get a WHOOP WHOOP?

B.P.R.D., Vol. 6: The Universal Machine by Mike Mignola

Despite these differences, though, Hellboy II managed to stay true to the character in most other respects–he’s incredibly intelligent, unafraid to speak his mind, and can even be quite philosophical at times. Plus, there’s all the possible shenanigans that can go down when Johann’s ghostly form can slip out of the containment suit…

johann krauss | Tumblr

Strangely enough, though, Johann’s Hellboy II personality does begin to show up in the Hell on Earth run of B.P.R.D., once he’s gained more experience; the Johann that isn’t always understanding towards his teammates, and the Johann who becomes something of a disciplinarian, at his worst, mostly with the likes of Fenix. He’s still reserved at heart, but often hides in the face of the other agents.

Johann Kraus (@Johann_Kraus32) | Twitter

But the only other key difference I see between the comics and Hellboy II is simple: Johann and Hellboy never even meet each other in the comics. By the time he comes to the B.P.R.D., Hellboy’s packed his bags. Which begs the question, really: how would they get along in the comics in some alternate timeline? I wonder about it quite a lot, but I still don’t have an answer.

If you can be any dark horse comics character, who would you be ...

Johann’s always been one of my favorite characters in the Mignolaverse, up there with Abe Sapien and Liz, for me. There’s so many possibilities with him, and he’s a continually complex character, not to mention the design of his containment suits. Whatever your takeaway from the comics and the film may be, there’s no doubt that he’s an absolutely fascinating character.

Today’s song:

Hope you enjoyed this post, everyone! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Movies

Comfort Food (Musings on Books and Films)

Happy Friday, everyone!

 

Comfort food. We all have it. It comes in all shapes and sizes, and no matter how deep into the dark places we may become entrenched, it will always bring immeasurable joy to us. So this is sort of an appreciation post, but more just musings on a few books and movies that not only help me get through it, but are just fun to read/watch over and over, and they never get old.

 

BOOKS AND COMICS

Heart of Iron–Ashley Poston 

Image result for heart of iron book

Ever since I read Heart of Iron for the first time on a magical trip to Chicago, it’s been my go-to whenever I reach a reading slump, or just need a little bit more sci-fi fun in my life. Also, Jax. ‘Nuff said.

 

Pumpkinheads–Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks 

Image result for pumpkinheads rainbow rowell

This one’s a more recent addition to my list, but no matter the time of year, Pumpkinheads is especially good for curing all that ails you. I mean, it helped me recover from the initial speechless shock after seeing Joker in theaters, if that’s any proof. (And that was a seriously rough movie…so well-done, though)

 

B.P.R.D. vol. 2: The Soul of Venice and Other Stories–Mike Mignola 

Image result for bprd the soul of venice

Let me make myself clear: in the grand scheme of all things B.P.R.D., The Soul of Venice is nowhere near the peak of mastery that this comic series has achieved. But that’s not at all to say that it isn’t a ball of spooky, paranormal fun from cover to cover. Part of why this is one of my most frequently re-read trades is for a few reasons, but the most important one is that, like Heart of Iron, is that it brings back some of my fondest memories, those from when I went to Sequoia National Park one spring break. We stopped in LA before the drive there, where I got this at a comic shop just about a month before it closed. I spent almost the entire trip reading and re-reading that trade, even though I had…oh, three or four books loaded up on my Kindle?

 

The Courtney Crumrin series–Ted Naifeh

Image result for courtney crumrin

Ah, Courtney Crumrinmy first foray into spooky comics…

One of the first major comic series that I came to love (and collect in its entirety), Courtney always manages to dredge up so many happy memories for me when I go back and re-read any of the separate volumes. Of course, I end up crying (*coughcough THE COVEN OF MYSTICS coughcough THE FINAL SPELL coughcough*) every time, but it’s worth it. [sniffles] I swear…

 

MOVIES

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Image result for hellboy 2

I CANNOT STRESS ENOUGH HOW FANTASTIC THIS MOVIE IS. Aside from being one of the rare sequels that surpasses its predecessor, it speaks to me as a person. I mean…a bunch of misfits and weirdos just trying to get through life. (And trying to take down an invincible, supernatural army, but, y’know, that’s just part of the job.) Over the past three or four years, it’s played such a big role in my life, and I know for a fact that I will never grow tired of it.

Image result for hellboy 2 gif

 

X2: X-Men United

Image result for x2 xmen united poster

Again. Misfits just trying to get through life, with some world-saving on the side. After all the criticism these films have gotten over the years (mostly for The Last Stand, that first Wolverine solo, Apocalypse, and Dark Phoenix), it’s so sad that they’ve been pushed aside in the grand scheme of superhero films. For if you think about it, these three two original X-Men movies (we don’t talk about The Last Stand) set the standard for the modern superhero movie. For lack of better words, the X-Men movies walked SO THE ENTIRE MCU COULD RUN. There. I said it.

Anyway, X2 was what rekindled my love of X-Men a few years ago, and in the span of about a year and a half, I’ve been able to watch it a good 5 times, and it will never. Get. Old.

THE INCREDIBLE NIGHTCRAWLER!.gif

 

All of the Star Wars movies (minus The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, you know what you’ve done…) 

Image result for star wars posters

Star Wars. Need I really say any more?

Image result for han solo gif

 

Today’s song:

I’d already heard a few songs off of Strange Mercy before, but I downloaded the rest of the album a few days ago, and I am STUNNED by how phenomenal it is.

 

So what’s your comfort food? What books, comics, films, and more will you never be able to stop re-reading/watching? Let me know down in the comments! 

That just about wraps up this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Movies

I Am Mother (Movie Review)

Not sure if I should start out this post with my usual bibliophile greeting, since this isn’t the most bookish of posts, but hey, we’re all bibliophiles here, aren’t we?

Last night, I finally got around to watching I Am Mother, a movie that caught my attention when it came out last summer. I won’t detail the main reason why until around the end of the post, but needless to say, I put off watching it for a while. I’m not sure where my expectations were, but I was pleasantly surprised (and a bit freaked out, not gonna lie) from the results. An incredibly tense and well-done film that’s lingered in my thoughts since the moment I switched the TV off.

BE WARNED: I’m not sure if or how I’ll go about reviewing this without substantially spoiling the film, so for those who haven’t seen I Am Mother and intend to, you may not want to read this. 

 

Image result for i am mother poster
Also…this poster…*chef’s kiss*

 

The film follows Mother, a caretaker droid with one task: to nurture the next generation of humanity after an extinction-level event wiped out much of the human race. In her lair, she raises her female child, referred to only as “Daughter,” teaching her about her species as she grows. But when she enters her teenage years, Daughter begins to grow suspicious that Mother may be hiding something from her. Her suspicions are confirmed when a woman shows up outside of her dwelling. She and Mother take the injured woman in; while Daughter is eager to care for her, Mother is more hesitant, almost reluctant to help her in any way. The woman (who also goes unnamed…nice…) is also reluctant of the droid’s help, claiming that it was a droid just like Mother who caused her injury.

Conflicted by the opposing truths of Mother and the woman, Daughter begins to delve deeper into her situation, spurred on by the woman, who claims that it was droids, not the contagion that Mother claimed, that wiped out the human race. A delve into the laboratory where the other embryos are kept leads Daughter to the discovery that Mother’s intentions are far more sinister; the droids intend to make a new human race, one less fallible than the humans of old, and the children who do not live up to the droid’s standards are terminated.

After the disturbing revelation, the woman convinces Daughter to go back outside with her, where they discover that the droids have already begun to lay the groundwork of their plan, making the air and ground fertile. But the woman has been withholding secrets as well–though she spoke of more humans, she appears to be the only one left in the vicinity. Betrayed by both sides, Daughter returns home with the intention of rescuing her newly born brother, who is currently under Mother’s care. Reluctantly, she shoots the droid who raised her from birth, saving her baby brother as she breaks down into tears. The film ends with her beginning to raise her brother, and staring hopefully into rows of unborn embryos in Mother’s laboratory.

Image result for i am mother poster

Nearly every scene in I Am Mother is beautifully shot; the director clearly has a penchant for symmetry, which shone through in every camera angle, from simple landscape shots of Mother’s dwelling, to a particular shot of Daughter staring at the woman through the infirmary window, the glass pane separating them an on-the-nose portrayal of their moral divisions. For the most part, the FX were well done, though Mother herself, though smooth in design and execution, didn’t seem quite as computerized as she was intended to be, mostly in the way she ran, however tense some of those scenes were.

As a whole, I enjoyed the acting a fair amount. The best of the cast, in my opinion, was Clara Rugaard (Daughter); she stunningly portrayed Daughter’s naïvete and eventual growth into an independent young adult. I didn’t particularly care for Hillary Swank (the woman from outside) as much, but she did an excellent job of making her pain seem all too real.

Now, for the most part, I feel that Rose Byrne was a good fit for the voice of Mother, though she did add to the feel of her not being mechanized quite enough. Though the writing shone through, her voice didn’t feel as though it belonged to a robot, though it was on its way to being there. I haven’t seen her in much other than her role as Moira McTaggert in the newer X-Men films, but I’d say she did a good job with Mother other than that.

Other than some political undertones (possible anti-abortion weirdness; I’m personally more pro-choice myself, but the undertones weren’t blatant, and I may have misinterpreted them. They don’t align with my personal beliefs, but hey, think and believe whatever you want, as long as you’re not hurting anybody) and a few more nitpicky aspects, my only problem with this film was the second-to-last scene. In it, we see the woman in her dwelling on the outside. It is revealed earlier that Mother is part of a hive-mind who is working to “repair” the human race, and her consciousness exists in all of the droids that we see throughout the film. One of these droids, not so unlike Mother herself, approaches the woman, makes a remark about how she’s surprised that she’s survived this long, and hints that it’s “almost as though she has a purpose.”

The scene is the last that we see of the woman and this droid, and goes unresolved for the rest of the film.

Image result for visible confusion gif

What? WHAT? What exactly are they hinting at? If they have the audacity to leave such a cliffhanger unresolved, is there going to be a sequel???

I dunno. Anyway.

 

Before I end this review, I’d like to address one more question I’ve had about I Am Mother since the trailer was released. The plot, or at least the first third of it, almost resembled a favorite series of mine, almost to a T.

Image result for the search for wondla

Yep. That’s right. GUESS WHO’S BACK…

Regardless, the first novel follows a strikingly similar plot–that of an adolescent girl, raised by a robot called M.U.T.H.R. in an underground facility. As she grows, M.U.T.H.R. continually tells her that she is not ready to go to the surface world, and that her being human is “special”.

Sound familiar?

Image result for the search for wondla art

Though I Am Mother takes a far more sinister turn, it shares some major similarities to the series, what with WondLa ending up as a journey on an unfamiliar Earth, now colonized by alien life forms while humans dwell in the shadows. The later books do take several dark turns, but not quite in the way that I Am Mother did. So why all these similarities? I’ve done a bit of digging on the internet, but all I’ve found is that either the (tiny but mighty) WondLa fandom just came out of its hole and said “Hey waaaaaaait a minute, that’s kinda funny…”, or that the film is “loosely based” on the novel. And if the latter is true, it’s very loosely based. Very. It went from “Sheesh, did they just paraphrase the dialogue from the first few chapters?” to “[glances at book] THIS is what it’s based off of?” in a split second. Even the outside view of Mother’s dwelling likened to the illustrations of the abandoned Sanctuaries in WondLa. I’m still scratching my head on this one, but either way, a very different interpretation, if that’s what it was.

Image result for i am mother

Though it wasn’t without its flaws, I Am Mother was certainly a well-done and thought-provoking movie that continually kept me on the edge of my seat. I’d give it a solid 8/10.

 

Today’s song:

(This one’s been lodged in my head since this morning…)

 

That just about wraps up this review! I hope you enjoyed this deviation from my normally bookish content…

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Book Tags, Books, Geeky Stuff

High School Stereotypes Book Tag

book tags header.jpeg

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

This tag was created by  Another Book in the Wall, (oh my God, what an incredible blog name…🤣), and I got this tag from The Corner of Laura. It looked super cute, so I figured that I’d give it a go!

 

The Mean Girl | A Book You Can’t Help But Rant About

I’ve got a fair amount of books that I’d put in this category, but I’ll go with Samantha Young’s Smokeless Fire.  Lord…this book is practically screaming in agony for an editor’s pen…

Image result for smokeless fire samantha young

 

The Bro | Your Favorite Sidekick

Without question, Doop from Peter Milligan and Mike Allred’s X-Statix.  He’s just…floating about wherever the team goes, filming everything, knowing everything, and just being straight-up relatable, sometimes, with that tired face of his. I mean, he plays a hilariously big role later on, but I guess you could call him a sidekick.

Related image

For those of you who aren’t familiar with X-Statix, here’s Doop himself…

Image result for x statix doop

LEGEND.

 

The Dumb Jock | A Book Whose Cover Is Better Than Its Story

I’ll have to go with Laura Weymouth’s The Light Between WorldsThe cover is stunning and so well designed, but the story was just so…unbearably…boring…

Image result for the light between worlds book

 

The Loner | A Standalone You Love

Jessica Khoury’s sci-fi retelling of the tale of Anastasia, Last of Her Nameblew me out of the water with its lush writing and worldbuilding. Maybe I should read it again sometime.

Image result for last of her name book

 

The Overachiever | A Series That Should’ve Ended After Book 1

As much as I love Rainbow Rowell’s Carry OnI don’t know if Wayward Son was really necessary, as much as I hate to admit it. It just lacked that emotional punch that defined book 1, and now a third book is confirmed…dunno how to feel about that…

Image result for carry on rainbow rowell

 

The Class Clown | A Book That Makes You Laugh

Without a doubt, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good OmensThat book made me laugh like no other book I’d read before.

Image result for good omens book cover

 

The Outcast | A Unique Fictional World You’d Want To Visit

As mediocre as much of the book was, I must say, I’d definitely like to visit the Martian Exovet Cloister in Christian Schoon’s Zenn ScarlettCertainly wouldn’t have any dull days while caring for weird alien critters.

Image result for zenn scarlett christian schoon

 

The Nerd | An Author With the Best Writing

Neal Shusterman, without question. Not only is he incredibly clever in every little detail he creates, the writing is all at once heartrending and witty, beautiful and terrifying.

 

The Prom Queen | An Over-Hyped Book

I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it again…Red Queen.  [whips out megaphone] IT’S JUST A SLOPPY LITTLE BALL OF OVERUSED TROPES, PEOPLE, NOTHING TO SEE HERE…

Image result for red queen cover

I promise that I didn’t choose this one because both it and the prompt have the word “queen” in them…no pun intended, I swear…[breaks into a nervous sweat]

The Drama Kids | A Protagonist Who Is Melodramatic

It’s been a while since I’ve read Sarah Rees Brennan’s In Other Landsbut one of my distinct memories of why I DNF’d it was because of how whiny and entitled I found Elliot to be.

Image result for in other lands book

 

The Teacher’s Pet | Favorite Animal Sidekick

Again, I’m turning to the world of Marvel–specifically the world of mutants–because Lockheed is an absolute show-stealer who I must shower with love and appreciation.

Image result for lockheed x men

Here’s Our Boy™, shown with Kitty Pryde.

 

The Hipsters | A Book You Love That Isn’t In Your Comfort Zone

I’m not an avid fan of neither novels in verse, nor historical fiction. Kip Wilson’s White Rose happens to be both, and I adored its poignant and tragic story.

Image result for white rose kip wilson

 

Aaaand that just about wraps it up! I had so much fun doing this tag!

Today’s song:

I forgot about this song for years, and I just remembered its existence a few days ago. And what can I say except…[loud sobbing]

 

Have a lovely rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

thank you for reading.jpg

 

 

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies

The Rise of Skywalker, or “GUESS WHO’S FINALLY BACK FROM THE DEAD…”

[wipes a coat of dust off of computer screen] Oh, hey everybody! I’m officially on winter break now, and I’ve got my finals over with, so I’m back on my normal(ish) schedule for now. I still might be a tad sluggish through next week, what with holiday festivities coming up, but I suppose this post marks the end of my hiatus.

2cAc8M.gif

 

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s get to the good stuff.

Last night, I saw The Rise of Skywalker. Despite some of the reviews, I still came in with my expectations absolutely through the roof (curse you, TFA/TLJ-nostalgic brain…), but I expected nothing that came my way. And quite frankly? I’ll have to watch it again, but The Rise of Skywalker might just be my favorite of the sequels.

rise-of-skywalker.jpg

Now, fair warning: DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN THE RISE OF SKYWALKER, AS THIS REVIEW WILL PROBABLY BE CRAWLING WITH SPOILERS. I’m really sorry, I just haven’t quite found a way to write something that adequately expresses my emotions without revealing half the plot. Oops.

 

Let’s start off with the central plot, concerning Rey, Kylo Ren, and…Palpatine. Yep, that’s right, folks, the cryptic trailer laughter wasn’t all for naught.

giphy.gif

 

The revelation of Rey’s true heritage definitely served to complete her/Kylo’s arc deftly; Now that she knows who she’s truly descended from, she has a complex battle with her own emotions, but eventually realizes that blood does not determine one’s destiny. A beautiful theme, I think, and one that mirrors the original trilogy without being too on-the-nose about it. I also THOROUGHLY enjoyed seeing all of the backstory with Palpatine in hiding on Exogul (Am I spelling that right? It’s the Sith planet, however it’s spelled). I was a bit suspicious when the rumors about his resurrection starting circling, but as I started watching the movie, I realized that it’s exactly the kind of thing that you’d expect Palpatine to do, and, in a way, ties a tiny bit into one of the themes of The Last Jedi: failure.

Palpatine lost everything at the end of Return of the Jedi. Betrayed by his own apprentice (hey, that’s just karma, buddy), his empire destroyed, and all of his efforts in were in vain. And of course, because he couldn’t bear to see his disturbed dreams flushed down the drain, he…stole away to a fabled planet in the unknown regions, brings himself back to life, and tries to get his granddaughter back to his side to resurrect the Sith and the Empire for good. As one does. But the root of that is that he cannot accept his own failure. His refusal to accept failure is, in part, what makes him a crucial antagonist, however over the top, in this film. For learning from failure, as Rey, Luke, and all the rest soon learn, is what truly makes a person a true hero, perhaps.

tumblr_dca595700b84636996ac7705698be886_f07dec87_400.gif

 

And Rey. Oh, Rey…

Ever since I saw The Force Awakens in sixth grade, I’ve looked up to her in so many ways. And to see her complete her beautiful arc, and go against the wretched evil that runs in her blood to become what she knows is right, made me so happy. There’s so much controversy and scorn directed at her from the fandom (I stand by the fact that she is not a Mary Sue, thank you very much…notice how naïve she is in the first two films? That’s a character flaw, if I’ve ever seen one…), but she is, at heart, a role model, and an archetypal, unforgettable hero. So I owe a big thanks to her.

Her, and Finn, Poe, and all the rest. After a few years of bonding, the complex relationships of these characters have finally come into their own, having been through so much. Astounding chemistry, several tear-jerking scenes, and brimming with heart…these characters truly are a big part of what makes these films so unforgettable.

But…but…okay, I’m still pretty bitter that we didn’t get FinnPoe. I mean, COME. ON. Their feelings for each other couldn’t have been more obvious…and yeah, some props to Disney for having a brief lesbian kiss at the end, but they’re probably just doing that to check off a representation box. To be sure, it’s wonderful to see, and I felt kind of warm and fuzzy, but having two characters that are so undeniably in love lacking any sort of romantic resolution is just disappointing. Finn and Poe are a couple. Don’t you dare tell me otherwise. Thank you, goodnight.

Finn-and-Poe-GIF-star-wars-42657896-540-268.gif

 

Overall, The Rise of Skywalker was a phenomenal end to the Skywalker saga, beautiful both thematically and visually. But, it certainly wasn’t without its flaws.

Though seeing the arcs of major characters (Rey, Kylo Ren, Finn, Poe, etc.) were satisfying, there were some areas where I’d like to have seen a little more backstory. Of course, the movie was nearly 3 hours long already, so we would’ve had Avengers: Endgame 2: Electric Boogaloo if everything was expounded upon. And there’s one character in particular that I would’ve like to have explored more in depth:

ae60a19febe679e82c649b9ab33b085d.gif

Bill Weasley  General Hux.

After the death of Snoke in The Last Jedi, Kylo Ren rose to power as the Supreme Leader of the First Order. In the beginning of Skywalker, there’s a mention that there’s a mole in the First Order, and we later find out that Hux himself, the cold, ruthless general, is the one who alerted the Resistance to Palpatine’s reawakening. Disappointingly, though, after helping Rey, Finn, Poe, and the others escape, he’s shot, brushed off of the First Order’s shoulder without another word.

The mere fact that the death of Snoke has pushed him this far is absolutely intriguing. We’re now sure of where his loyalties truly lay this whole time: only with Snoke. With him gone and his rival, Kylo Ren,  in power, he seems to have had an extreme internal conflict, questioning who he truly trusts. Such a dramatic change of character was absolutely astounding to see, but I feel that it was an afterthought. As with a few other elements of the film (parts of the path to find the Sith Wayfinder, Finn never telling Rey whatever it is that he so desperately wanted to tell her, etc.), I felt that parts were a bit rushed, and a bit of focus on something other than the grand Palpatine plot could have done the film some necessary service. But, all things considered, The Rise of Skywalker was as unforgettable as its predecessors, a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I am so grateful to have witnessed. Solid…ooh, 9/10 for me? Maybe more like 8.7, but either way, I WANNA SEE IT AGAIN. 

 

I’ll be back next week with some more content, so stay tuned for more! Have a lovely rest of your day, and I hope you enjoy The Rise of Skywalker as immensely as I did!

 

thank you for reading.jpg

Posted in Books, Geeky Stuff, Goodreads Monday

Goodreads Monday (11/18/19)–Breakfast Served Anytime

Happy Monday, bibliophiles!

Goodreads Monday is a weekly meme created by Lauren’s Page Turners. All you have to do to participate is pick a book from your Goodreads TBR, and explain why you want to read it.

This one’s been on my TBR for exactly two years, and I forgot it until about last week, when I started riffling through said TBR for ideas for this post. I now have it on hold at the library; it seems like a quirky, contemporary, coming-of-age novel!

 

Let’s start this week off on a positive note…without further ado, this week’s Goodreads Monday!

 

GOODREADS MONDAY (11/18/19)–BREAKFAST SERVED ANYTIME by Sarah Combs

25893630.jpg

Blurb from Goodreads:

A coming-of-age debut evokes the bittersweet joys and pangs of finding independence in one unforgettable summer away at “geek camp.”

When Gloria sets out to spend the summer before her senior year at a camp for gifted and talented students, she doesn’t know quite what to expect. Fresh from the heartache of losing her grandmother and missing her best friend, Gloria resolves to make the best of her new circumstances. But some things are proving to be more challenging than she expected. Like the series of mysterious clues left by a certain Professor X before he even shows up to teach his class, Secrets of the Written Word. Or the very sweet, but very conservative, roommate whose coal-industry family champions mountaintop removal. Not to mention the obnoxious Mason, who dresses like the Mad Hatter and immediately gets on Gloria’s nerves — but somehow won’t escape her thoughts.

Beautifully told by debut author Sarah Combs, this honest and touching story of growing up is imbued with the serene atmosphere of Kentucky’s natural landscape. 

 

So why do I want to read this?

First off, I’m glad that Breakfast Served Anytime seems to be a novel about self-discovery, but without the romance aspect at the forefront. I’m not opposed to romance, but as I said in Goodreads Monday (9/9/19)-Loveless: WOMEN 👏 CAN 👏 DISCOVER 👏 THEMSELVES 👏 WITHOUT 👏 A 👏 MAN 👏

Other than that, most of the concepts and plot points in here seem to be pretty intriguing, what with Gloria trying to find her way amongst fellow outsiders, and navigating her own loss and heartache. Plus, you know I’m here for these X-Men references…

giphy.gif

I’ve got it on hold at the library at the moment, and it should be arriving in the next week or so. Fingers crossed that it’ll be worth it, and that, again, 2017 Madeline won’t fail me. [locks eyes with self from two years ago]

 

Have a wonderful rest of your day, and stay tuned for more content later this week!

Oh, and just so you know, I won’t be able to write a Book Review Tuesday, because I’ll be going to another concert (Wilco!), and will be arriving home at a pretty late hour. I’ll try to compensate with more tags later this week. 😉

thank you for reading.jpg

 

Posted in Art, Book Tags, Books, Geeky Stuff, Music

Anything But Books Tag

Happy Thursday, fellow bibliophiles!

 

I was tagged by A Little Haze Book Blog to take part in the Anything But Books Tag, and I’m so excited to participate!

Alright, let’s get started…

 

Name a cartoon character that you love.

Okay, technically, he was a comic character first, but Forager from Young Justice: Outsiders is absolutely precious.

giphy.gif

 

What is your favorite song right now?

Ooh…hard to pick, but at the moment, I’d probably have to go with “Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead. Never fails to fill every fiber of my being with emotion…

 

What could you do for hours that isn’t reading? 

Drawing and writing, most likely. I’d add playing guitar as well, but…yeah, my fingers could not withstand playing guitar for hours. They’d never forgive me.

tumblr_a70a68ffc4518b4d39a736e763a6640f_6d1281e5_540.gif

 

What is something that you love to do that your followers would be surprised by?

I love to go ALL OUT for Halloween. Whether or not I end up trick-or-treating, I try to at least wear my costume to school. I was Liz Sherman from Hellboy last year, which was super fun 🙂 I dyed my hair red and everything!

giphy-1.gif

 

What is your favorite unneccessarily specific thing to learn about?

Cephalopod biology, hands down. They’re such a fascinating group of creatures; I have fond memories of spending an entire period in 6th grade watching a documentary on cuttlefish 🙂

giphy.gif

 

What is something unusual that you know how to do?

Um…

I don’t think I have any *unusual* talents, per se, but I can kind of make a kazoo noise with my mouth…

giphy-1.gif

 

Name something you’ve made in the last year, and show us if you can.

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 4.42.44 PM.png

I just finished this up a few weeks ago! It was a 22 x 30 drawing in Prismacolor  colored pencils, for my advanced art class. Recognize her? 😉

 

What is your most recent personal project?

I don’t have anything *super* personal, but I did pick up some watercolors after several years of not touching a paintbrush. This was the end result:

Screen Shot 2019-10-17 at 4.44.45 PM.png

Dark Phoenix!

tumblr_pnmfu8yLXG1uelgxao1_500.gif

 

Tell us something that you think about often (especially when looking out windows).

It’s inevitable that every time I stare out a window, I drift into the recesses of my mind, where my story ideas start playing like movies.

giphy.gif

Give us something that is your favorite, but make it oddly specific.

I love watching X-Men movies (no, duh, Sherlock), but at night, curled up in a blanket downstairs, and preferably with some snacks and in the company of my cats.

source.gif

 

Say the first thing that pops into your head.

They did surgery on a grape.

I’m so incredibly sorry to bring that back.

I’ve created a monster

maxresdefault.jpg

 

I tag:

 

Thank you so much for reading this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Geeky Stuff, Movies

The Phoenix has Risen…and it was Worth the Wait! (Dark Phoenix review)

Let me start off by saying that this was probably the movie that I’ve most anticipated in my entire life.

Since I discovered that it was happening about a year ago, I was absolutely over the moon excited. I counted down the days, I squealed every time I saw the poster by the movie theater, I made my parents take a picture of me next to said movie poster(s), set all my wallpapers to the various posters (which all belong in the MoMA, honestly)…you get the idea. I was a very, very excited little mutant.

As the reviews started pouring in, I got a little worried. I told myself, time and time again, not to listen to the critics. I also tried to tell myself not to expect another First Class or X2, but…I couldn’t really help myself up until the end.

Then, I saw it on Saturday night. I haven’t felt such a surge of joy in a long, long time, not like I did when the “feature presentation” screen finally came up.

And?

It didn’t deserve such hate-filled reviews from the critics. Nor did it deserve as high praise as some of the other films. But even still, an incredible film, and a beautiful ending to a masterful franchise.

*SOME SPOILERS AHEAD–I ADVISE THAT YOU DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN DARK PHOENIX*

 

dark-phoenix-poster.jpg
“I Want All of These Posters Framed in a Museum” and other stories, part one. This one gives off some wonderfully Stranger Things vibes. 

 

 

Dark Phoenix has always been one of the most revered stories in the whole of the X-Men universe. Full of raw emotion not usually seen in a superhero story (at the time, at least), it was a groundbreaking series that changed the X-Men forever. I doubt any film will ever come close to portraying it perfectly, but Dark Phoenix sure came close. Some alterations were made to the plot, but they made enough sense that they worked with the story. (ex. instead of Jean consuming the mother star of the D’Bari and wiping the entire race out, they nearly went extinct in another way and sought Jean’s Phoenix Force to resurrect what was left of them. A bit cliche, but again, it worked.)

Perfectly paced, stunning FX (especially when it came to Jean), and a plethora of fun Easter Eggs that…yeah, I had a bunch of Chris Pratt-esque, gaping moments in the theater. FOR EXAMPLE…

Screen-Shot-2019-06-06-at-4.44.41-PM.png

–Dazzler. DAAAZZZZZZLEERRRRRR!!! I mean…okay, she’s not my favorite, but it was pretty cool to see her show up briefly after all these X-Men films. Plus, she was originally introduced in the Dark Phoenix Saga, so…nice touch.

 

 

genosha-dark-phoenix1.jpg

–GENOSHA. Such a beautiful set. I really liked the approach they took with it–instead of being super high-tech, the structures and buildings were largely made up of scrap parts. Magneto’s house was also really pretty. (I mean, who wouldn’t put it past him to have a matching tea set?)

 

xmen-dark-phoenix-1554115298.jpg

Another little Easter egg was the addition of Red Lotus (behind Storm) and Selene (in front of Nightcrawler). Though I can see why they were added in, they didn’t have much screen time at all, and seemed almost unneccesary, other than being throwaway allies of Magneto. Selene does look pretty cool, though. I’ll give them that.

 

dark-phoenix-trailer-gq-1.jpg

What truly made this film, as it did in the comics, was the emotion and the themes of family. Dark Phoenix masterfully captured the raw, unfettered feelings of each of the mutants, showing their conflicts, their sorrow, their anger. Most prominent of all was Jean herself, and her internal struggle with her newfound abilities. I got choked up at the end–no spoilers, but it’s bittersweet, with a heartbreaking loss, followed by something more hopeful. A fitting farewell for the 20th Century Fox X-Men.

 

x-men-dark-phoenix-trailer-gq.jpg

And to top it all off, there’s always the classic fun that comes along with watching an X-Men movie. The battle scenes are over-the-top, but in the best way possible. The final one was one of my favorite X-Men battle scenes, period.

No spoilers for this portion, but I’ll tell you one thing–

dark-phoenix3.jpg

The context for that scene is…darkly hilarious.

 

Of course, every movie has it’s flaws. Dark Phoenix was in no way perfect, and I wished we’d had these aspects in it at some point:

 

–Quicksilver never told Magneto that he was his son. It ALMOST happened in Apocalypse, but alas…nada.

–On the subject of estranged relatives, there was a similar problem with Mystique and Nightcrawler. The only hint we get of their mother-son relationship is also in Apocalypse--she gives him some degree of special treatment, but not much beyond the rescue from the mutant fight ring.

–In the other films, there was lots of care taken to make the time period believable. Dark Phoenix is set in 1992, but if we weren’t told that, I’m not sure that I would’ve figured it out. Not even a band shirt or a running soundtrack for Quicksilver. *single tear slides down cheek*

 

But, all in all, Dark Phoenix was worth the long wait. Solid 8.5/10 from me. Go see it, X-Fans–you won’t regret it. Mutant and proud. 😉