Posted in Books

The Fall Bucket List Tag

I’ve been seduced by another fall-themed tag.

It’s this or Halloween tags.

Those are the only options. Continue reading “The Fall Bucket List Tag”

Posted in Books

TERRIBLE PROSE TUESDAY: Harry Potter phenomena I don’t understand

If you hadn’t guessed, I love Harry Potter. It’s a story I return to often and enjoy even more with every read.

I’m not too crazy about the fanbase.

I wouldn’t say it’s an entirely negative reaction, but more of a puzzled one. The fanbase has decided on things that I don’t agree with and/or comprehend and I wanted to take today to go through some of those things. Continue reading “TERRIBLE PROSE TUESDAY: Harry Potter phenomena I don’t understand”

Posted in Books

The Women of Lunar Chronicles

I bought Cinder in 2011 when I ran out of books my freshman year of college. I no longer have my original copy due to my annoyance when what I thought was a standalone ended on a cliffhanger.

It took a good friend of mine to convince me to give the series another chance.

Looking back, I don’t know why I didn’t love this series right away. The Lunar Chronicles was made for me: it’s a female-led space drama with straightforward romance, bad boys, and princesses, which is what I secretly want out of every book I read.

The intense plot of Lunar Chronicles would have had me sold but Marissa Meyer makes it with her excellent characters. I want to marry all (well, most) of the men and be all (well, most) of the women; for Meyer, I’d call that success.

Strangers who have seen me reading Lunar Chronicles ask me about it when they see my crazy reactions.

Like with Chaim Potok’s The Chosen, I’ve had to stop reading Lunar Chronicles in public. It’s rare that one series can make me cry/blush/squeal/scream with rage. Never have I been so invested in four different ships at once.

If you want to understand why I love these books, I need to introduce you to the characters. Let’s start with ladies first.

WARNING: Lunar Chronicles spoilers ahead

Cinder

There’s a lot to admire in Linh Cinder.

I love the cyborg as a binary-challenging device. I also love that Cinder actually does something and kidnaps the emperor/love of her life to save the planet.

At times, I find dorky, sarcastic, relatable girl a bit too cool. There are things about her I can’t connect to, like the fact that she can remodel cars (no big) or that she carries the fate of Earth on her shoulders (whatever). There’s also the whole “burn victim with cybernetic enhancements” thing. And, as Cinder acknowledges, she’s nothing without her supporting cast; I didn’t get into the series until they were introduced.

Cinder’s character benefits from the others’ presences. Her interactions with them are what make the series interesting. Still, I like Meyer’s exploration into Cinder’s psyche as she deals with her (lack of) humanity, her new responsibilities, and the mystery of her past. I’m down for more heroines who save their male counterparts through abduction and spaceship hotwiring. Meyer has created a funny, smart protagonist that is easy to cheer on.

Winter

The little I know about Princess Winter hints that her mind isn’t a very fun place to be.

Canon states that if a Lunar doesn’t use his or her gift for an extended period of time, they will go insane. Winter’s intense hallucinations are proof of this.

“But you are crazy.”

“I know.” She lifted a small box from the basket. “Do you know how I know?”

Scarlet didn’t answer.

“Because the palace walls have been bleeding for years, and no one else sees it.”

Eesh.

How great a euphemism, though, does her psychosis provide? “That girl is not using her Lunar gift, if you know what I mean…”

So far, Winter terrifies me, but I’m interested to see the world from her perspective.

Also, she must be pretty cool if someone as awesome as Jacin Clay loves her.

Cress

Cress is my least favorite of the four mains. I don’t have a lot of positive things to say about her.

A lot of my dislike stems from Cress’ character type. I have a hard time not interpreting “naive and innocent” as “stupid.”

Finefinefine. Cress was trapped in a satellite by herself for 7 years. No doubt that would make for naiveté and poor social skills, but COME ON. I got tired of her wide-eyed newcomer act pretty quickly, especially since she’s a newcomer to MY PLANET. I don’t share her fascination with SAND. Cress tends to make choices that get her sold into slavery. Not surprisingly, she’s a bad judge of character. She manages to convince herself Carswell Thorne is a virtuous soul. Carswell Thorne. The Lunar Chronicles version of Han Solo and Mal Reynolds. Virtuous.

“You’re a hero!” “Sure thing, babe.”

Two other counts against Cress: she doesn’t like Iko and she doesn’t trust Wolf. As I love Wolf with every fiber of my being, this last part is offensive to me.

Lastly, Cress thinks she lives in a romance novel. She fantasizes constantly that she’s an opera singer, a beautiful actress, an adventurer… Reading Cress’ POV chapters was like watching “UHF,” only not as fun.

That is not something I thought I would ever say.

Thankfully, Wolf doesn’t like Cress much either, resulting in one of my favorite scenes:

Wolf was scowling at a mirror and trying to pat down his unkempt hair. He wore an impeccably fitted tuxedo with a classic white bow tie and pressed lapels.

He caught Cress’s eye in the reflection, and she couldn’t help but stand a little straighter, but though his gaze skimmed over her, he had no reaction whatsoever.

Deflated, Cress clasped her hands. “You look great, sweetheart.”

He did, in fact, look like a romance hero, all muscles and edges and chiseled bone structure. He also looked miserable.

Suddenly nervous, Cress gave a little twirl, displaying her full regalia.

Wolf only gave her a crisp nod. “The hover is waiting.”

She let her hands drop to her sides, resigned to the fact that Wolf would dress for his role, but he would not play it. “Right. You have the invitations?”

He patted his breast pocket. “Let’s get this over with.”

Scarlet

HARDCORE.

I lovelovelove Cinder, but Scarlet is my favorite heroine as sole representative of Team Normal.

Scarlet is 1/4 Lunar, but she doesn’t have–or hasn’t yet exhibited any signs of–the Lunar gift. Unlike Cinder and Michelle Benoit, Scarlet can be manipulated by Lunars. I appreciate Scarlet because I know how useless I would be in these intense situations. Scarlet has more weaknesses than the other characters and still manages to be SO COOL.

Shooting thaumaturges? Like a boss.
Flying ships? Of course.
Withstanding mental torture and chopping off her own finger to defy Lunar royalty? You bet.
Rescuing her grandma? …well, she tried.

I’m sad there wasn’t more of Scarlet in Cress, something I hope will be remedied in Winter. Less Cress! More Scarlet!

Each of these ladies gets me pumped to save the galaxy, and each one has a hot male counterpart to help them do so. I can’t wait to talk about the men…

Posted in Books, Entertainment

BOOK REVIEW: Royal Wedding by Meg Cabot

The premise: It’s been 6 years since the last Princess Diaries was published. Forever Princess ended the series on a good note, wrapping up every plot thread and relationship while hinting at future possibilities.

Royal Wedding picks up 8 years after Forever Princess. Mia is living in the Genovian consulate, plagued by paparazzi. Her father is (once again) losing the race for Genovian prime minister, and her longtime boyfriend Michael is planning a supersecret proposal that is obvious to everyone but Mia. Complicating matters is the discovery of Olivia Grace O’Toole, Mia’s long-lost half-sister.

Similar to: Any other Meg Cabot book (not much of a stretch)

My reaction: The book features Meg Cabot’s trademark humor and lighthearted tone. Even at 400+ pages, it’s a quick read. I’ve always found Cabot’s writing to be predictable, so I wasn’t too shocked by the many “plot twists” sprinkled throughout. (The half-sister twist was ruined long before publication; Royal Wedding was announced at the same time as Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, a new series starring Olivia Grace.)

I was surprised by some of the choices Cabot made regarding characters. Lilly and Kenny have broken up, as have Tina and Boris. Mr. Gianini is dead, leading Mia to name her community center after him. This death makes room for a couple that did not work in the previous 10 books: Prince Philippe and Helen Thermopolis.  I understand that people change. However, this book felt like a rewrite of the original characters, at times coming across as more of a fix fic than a genuine part of the series. While it might be more “realistic” to have longtime couples break up, it’s hard to feel satisfied as a dedicated reader when Royal Wedding undoes in a matter of sentences relationships it took the whole series to develop. Royal Wedding functions as an overlong epilogue to an otherwise great series.

I didn’t hate this book. I always have fun reading Princess Diaries books and this one was no exception. I’m having trouble with what feels like a flipping of universal laws: the typical outlandish Princess Diaries elements have been replaced by stark realism (including infidelity, a dead stepfather, an abused half-sister), which contrasts oddly with a chipper optimism that feels out of place in the series’ only adult novel. I’ve always preferred Cabot’s YA stuff. Royal Wedding is more reminiscent of her historical romances and adult series; that is, it’s a little too peppy to feel authentic.

The book lacks an arc and is not something I would recommend to newcomers. However, for longtime fans, Royal Wedding is an entertaining return to much-loved characters. Princess Mia deserves a happy ending and I am more than happy to see her get one.

Posted in Entertainment, Television

BBC: The Musketeers

Yes. YES. I found the greatest TV show of all time.

It has everything:

  • Brooding dark-haired men
  • Facial hair
  • Swashbuckling uniforms
  • Screaming
  • People with British accents even though the show is set in France
  • Regret
  • Peter Capaldi
  • This guy
  • Do rags
  • Duels
  • Slow-motion walking
  • An excellent score

” The Musketeers” is all I’ve ever wanted in television.

I’m only one episode in, but I’m optimistic.