Thursday, July 28

I Ship It (and So Should You)

Thursday, July 28

One of my favorite things about the Internet is the fact that there are always new and wonderful things to run across.

I did just that recently when I visited Anna over at Nerdy Alerty and read about the short film and webseries, I Ship It.


Y'all—it's SO CUTE. Pop over to Forever Young Adult to learn more about why I'm so jazzed about this series, and to check it out for yourself!

Tuesday, July 26

Nerd News | Comic Con round-up

Tuesday, July 26

If you pay attention to the nerdy side of the Internet—which, I'm assuming, most of you do—you know that this past weekend/half of last week was Comic Con in San Diego. It is a time of huge reveals, massive crowds, and lines that go on for days, and it's one of the most amazing experiences I've ever been a part of. (We went a few times a few years ago; sadly, we haven't been in much too long.)

While being awesome, the event can also be utterly overwhelming, particularly if you try to follow every newsy bit that's announced. That said, I'm very thankful for the news outlets that do cover everything (or almost everything), because it makes me feel a little less like I've missed out.

I'm highlighting a few of my favorite things from the event below, but do let me know if I missed any of your faves in the comments!

Wonder Woman



This looks really, really, really good.

Star Trek: Discovery


As much as I enjoy the movies, I'm super excited that Star Trek's going to be back on the small screen. More details here.

Doctor Strange



This looks very Inceptiony. And .. that's basically the extent of my knowledge about this, haha. Other than that I'm excited Benedict's joined the Marvel 'verse. More details here.

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them


It's not exactly new Harry Potter, but it's close enough (and looks fun enough) for me. More details here.

American Gods



I read this book many years (and many books) ago, so I barely remember the plot. But I do remember loving it, and Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite people, so I'm here for this for sure. More details here.

Sherlock



The three words revealed about the show's fourth season? "Thatcher, Smith and Sherrinford." ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ More details here.



Also of note:


Thursday, July 21

Haiku Revieu | Ghostbusters

Thursday, July 21
Ghostbusters
★★★★

Who you gonna call?
Erin, Abby, Holtzmann, and
Patty—Yeah that's right



Following a ghost invasion of Manhattan, paranormal enthusiasts Erin Gilbert and Abby Yates, nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann, and subway worker Patty Tolan band together to stop the otherworldly threat.


I enjoy the original Ghostbusters movies a lot. I mean, they're classics, with a lot of nerd appeal. But I certainly wasn't one of the many individuals who raged against the idea of a reboot, particularly after seeing who was going to star. Because, really, the leading ladies—and Chris Hemsworth—are all pretty dang awesome, and I trusted that they (and director Paul Feig) would be able to pull off something fresh without trashing the originals.

And, I'm happy to say, I believe I was right in placing my trust in their hands. I really enjoyed seeing this new Ghostbusters. Was it perfect? Nope. But I don't think it needed to be.

My assertions about the cast certainly came true; Kristen Wiig, Leslie Jones and Melissa McCarthy were great, and it was nice seeing Melissa in a role that never once asked her to be gross or make fun of herself/her body for the sake of comedy. The standout among the ladies was definitely Kate McKinnon, however. I'm sure you've seen people singing her praise far and wide, and I'm jumping on that hype train hardcore. There's something undeniably attractive about Holtzmann, and pretty much every moment she had on screen was a delight. (As fellow nerdy blogger Barb of You Fancy Me Mad put it so eloquently: " ... I wasn’t sure I wanted to be her, be friends with her, or make out with her.") And Chris Hemsworth brought his comedy a-game. I was quite impressed, having really only seen him in more serious action/leading man type roles. (Yes, I know, Thor has comedic moments. But the role of Kevin is much more traditional comedy.)

The cameos, of which there are quite a lot, are all well done, too. I won't go into detail, so as to not spoil them for you, but keep your eyes peeled from start to finish.

The plot of the movie isn't exactly complex, and it doesn't shy too far away from the plots of the original films, but I don't consider this a fault. Sticking with formulas that were created for the originals made this Ghostbusters fit well in the established universe. (Side note: There's a moment in which a secondary character talks about this sort of paranormal problem happening before, but people just forgetting about it, which made me think that this isn't so much a remake as a reboot. I'm not sure if that was meant to be taken that way or not ...)

Basically, if you like movies about bustin' ghosts, watching ladies who can be smart, beautiful, and hilarious at the same time, and seeing Chris Hemsworth being his beefcakey self, I think you should go see this one. In theaters, specifically, to prove all those haters wrong.

Check it out:




Friday, July 15

Recently Read | May/June 2016

Friday, July 15
What did I read during the months of May and June?


Top Read


A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) by Sarah J. Maas

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.



If you've never read any of Sarah J. Maas' books, you're missing out I'd recommend starting with this series. Don't get me wrong, the Throne of Glass series is excellent, but the first couple of books are a bit slow and Maas' excellent writing hasn't quite hit its stride. (However, if you find that you enjoy this series, do go back and pick up Throne of Glass, too.)

When I finished reading A Court of Thorns and Roses, I didn't think there was much need for a sequel. Then I read this book, and I was absolutely floored at the way the series did a 180. A character I pretty much despised in the first book became a total favorite in the second, and so many secrets were revealed/events turned on their heads. Plus, for those of you who like some serious "11 on a scale of 1-10" swoon, A Court of Mist and Fury will satisfy for sure.

One of the reasons I love this series so much is Maas' ability to create fantastical worlds that and engaging characters who feel totally real—even with the fantasy elements. Her characters aren't perfect, but they're strong and loving and snarky and people who would make excellent friends or even better enemies. She also writes a lot of relationships that begin or involve enemistry (i.e. "enemies" who have serious chemistry), which I love.


Honorable mentions


My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows

Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown ...

Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended ...

Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.

The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?




I don't know much about the true history of Lady Jane Grey, other than she was made Queen—regardless of the fact that she had no interest in the role—for nine days, and was then beheaded for her trouble.

Thankfully, Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows decided to give Jane a much more light-hearted story in My Lady Jane, a book that—spoiler alert—doesn't end with an execution. The story within is both educational and entertaining; Jane is a fabulous and sassy heroine; and the authors' writing styles work delightfully well together.



Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West—and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing—down to number four.

Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books—well, maybe not comic books—but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.

The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on—and they might not pick the same side.



From the moment I read the synopsis of The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You, which features references to Doctor Who and Firefly, I knew (or at least hoped) that I was going to love this book. Then I realized it was a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, which is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, and I was beyond sold.

I'm happy to announce that the book lived up to my internal hype. The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is a delightful read, with characters who I want to be friends with and a heavy helping of delicious enemistry. The book overflows with nerdy references, too, which might be a bit much for readers who aren't as entrenched in nerdy pop culture as I am, but which made me super happy. More nerds who aren't stereotypes in YA books, please!


 Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)
by Sarah J. Maas

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth ... a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?



I read/re-read the entire (four books and a collection of novellas) Throne of Glass series in May to celebrate Throne of Glass being the Forever Young Adult Book Club pick for May (and because we hadn't reviewed them on the site yet) and definitely enjoyed the re-read. I also decided that Heir of Fire, the third book in the series, is the best/my personal favorite.

I love getting sucked in to Celaena's life, and even though I find myself rolling my eyes at the number of suitors she's had in a very short period of time, I can't deny that Sarah J. Maas has a way with the swoon. Plus, like I said above, she's so skilled at worldbuilding and crafting characters who feel like they could be real even while they're battling paranormal creatures and dealing with magic.


Other reads


★★★★

The Invisible Library (The Invisible Library #1) by Genevieve Cogman | Girl on a Wire (Girl on a Wire #1) by Gwenda Bond | Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas | The Raven King (The Raven Cycle #4) by Maggie Stiefvater | Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes |

★★★

Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan | Ivory and Bone (Ivory and Bone #1) by Julie Eshbaugh | Steeplejack (Alternate Detective #1) by A.J. Hartley | Dumplin' (Dumplin' #1) by Julie Murphy |  It Wasn't Always Like This by Joy Preble | And I Darken (The Conqueror's Saga #1) by Kiersten White

★★

Night Speed by Chris Howard | Rocks Fall, Everyone Dies by Lindsay Ribar | The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Waas


I'd love to hear if you've read any of these titles, and what you thought about them. Also, have you read anything lately that you'd recommend?


Thursday, July 14

Haiku Revieu | Swiss Army Man

Thursday, July 14
Swiss Army Man
★★

Paul D. is shipwrecked
And Daniel Radcliffe is dead
This movie is weird



A hopeless man stranded in the wilderness befriends a dead body and together they go on a surreal journey to get home.


Before I get into my review, I have a disclaimer: I might have not been the right audience for this movie. (I've heard so many people rave about it, and, well, you'll see how I felt below.) So, grain of salt.

Going to see Swiss Army Man was the Mister's idea, but I was game to check it out. I'm not purely a "mainstream" movie fan—I do like to branch out from superheroes and action sequences on occasion. I knew it was going to be a strange movie from seeing the preview and reading various snippets of reviews, but I was hoping the strangeness would balance out with the rest of the plot.

Sadly, that didn't quite happen. Instead, Swiss Army Man made me uncomfortable, physically, thanks to what Hank (Paul Dano) uses Manny (Daniel Radcliffe) for. Nothing drastically inappropriate, mind you, but think about the title of the movie and watch the trailer and you'll see what I mean.

The movie was definitely more magical than I'd expected, however, and left me with a sense of hope that I wasn't expecting. I also enjoyed Dano and Radcliffe's chemistry, and Radcliffe pulled off being a dead body surprisingly well.

I just ... I don't really know what to think. Even now, nearly two weeks after seeing the movie, I'm conflicted. I (really) don't want to see it again, but it wasn't all bad. Just really, really weird.

If you've seen it, or plan to, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Check it out:




Monday, July 11

Haiku Revieu | Independence Day: Resurgence

Monday, July 11
Independence Day: Resurgence
★★★

Aliens return
Where's Will Smith when we need him
At least we have Jeff



Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind's new space defenses be enough?


Thanks to having an awesome movie theater chain in our area (the Alamo Drafthouse—seriously, we're so spoiled), we often get to attend unique theater experiences in addition to normal ones. A couple of weeks ago, we got to attend one of the former, with a double feature of Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence.

Now, I adore Independence Day. It's such a classic—which I can say now that's it's 20 years old *sigh*—and features my favorite fictional president and one of the best movie speeches of all time. So going into the double feature, I knew that regardless of how good the sequel might be, it would be tempered by watching the original just prior.

Suffice it to say, the sequel might have actually been helped by the fact that I was still riding the high from the original while watching it. It's not that it wasn't entertaining, because it was, in the way that every movie filled with high-stakes action and explosions is entertaining. (I have simple tastes.) But the "new" characters didn't have nearly as much charm as the originals. Specifically Jessie T. Usher's Dylan Hiller—the grown-up version of Vivica A. Fox's kiddo from the first movie—and Liam Hemsworth's Jake Morrison, a totally new character who is basically every role Liam's ever played in a movie, except this one gets to hang out in space. Jessie was extremely wooden, and Liam is, well, Liam (i.e., the human equivalent of the word fetch).

I was also super disappointed in Sela Ward's President Lanford. Lady had some big shoes to fill, and she totally let me down.

It was great to see Jeff Goldblum back as David Levinson, however. That man has some SERIOUS swagger, both in literal walk and portraying of characters. I was excited, too, to see Brent Spiner revisit his role as the wacky Doctor Dr. Brakish Okun, mostly because I'm always going to root for anyone from Star Trek: The Next Generation when they show up on my movie/TV screens, but also because I thought he died in the first movie?

The plot of the movie actually surprised me, and in a positive way. It was much more story-driven than the original, and gave a good amount of background as to the aliens' reasons for invading Earth in the first place. (I'm being purposefully vague as to avoid spoilers, natch.) These new reveals felt a tad shoehorned, but I would be lying to say that I wasn't intrigued by what was revealed. I don't know if there will be another addition to the franchise in the future, but this movie left it wide open for more.

This is one of those reboot movies that won't ruin your childhood, but isn't really one you need to rush to theaters to see.

Check it out:




Wednesday, July 6

6 on 6 | July

Wednesday, July 6


Learn more about the 6 on 6 project.

Monday, July 4

Today, we celebrate our Independence Day!

Monday, July 4

Every year, around this time, I'm reminded of one of the greatest speeches of movie history. (President Thomas J. Whitmore is my favorite fictional president.)

We recently went to a double feature of Independence Day and Independence Day: Resurgence* in a theater, and this speech once again hit me right in the feels.



Happy Fourth of July, everyone!


*Haiku Revieu coming soon!

Friday, July 1

Hello, July

Friday, July 1



Download this page of the 2016 Man Calendar for personal use by clicking on the image; it will open in a new window. Right/control click to save it. Then print the page on letter-size cardstock, and trim it to 6"x9".

Desktop version:

Download full-size version here.

The 2016 Man Calendar:

Mr. July: Benedict Cumberbatch
Mr. June: Chris Pratt
Mr. May: Henry Cavill
Mr. April: Chris Evans
Mr. March: Jensen Ackles
Mr. February: Tom Hiddleston
Mr. January: Lee Pace


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