Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Once Upon A Time - Series Thoughts

Hello, Dragonflies

So I just finished re-watching (the first 6 seasons of) Once Upon a Time. I started watching OUAT with my dad when the first episode came out in Europe. Since then, I watched every episode as they were released! However, I haven't taken the time to binge the series. 

Until now. 

And let's just say, I have a lot of thoughts! 

Some a very random (ok, most are very random), but they all have a point! Sorta! Ok maybe not ^^

  • Snow and Charming are adorable both in-show and IRL, and their story is so lovely! 
  • I forgot how dark this show actually is! In high school so many people would say it's a kids show but there's some seriously messed up stuff! 
  • Baby Henry is too cute
  • I don't care if Hook is a villain at first, he's my favourite character. He's kind yet tortured and is growing past what he's done and he's committed and thoughtful and hot and we all need someone like him in our lives
  • HAHA dwarves hatch out of eggs! 
  • Oh dear fast forward pregnancies
  • These guys have no peace - one baddie is defeated and BOOM new curse
  • Regina is so interesting! I'm so happy things turned out well for her! 
  • OUAT Anna is 100% relatable
  • Rumplestiltskin has such contrasting personalities, I always find it hard to trust him. 
  • Season 1: Only one magic bean is left in all the realms. Season 6: Magic Beans have solved 99% of all problems 
  • I love how Leroy's always the one to be like WE GOT A PROBLEM, PEOPLE, always while dramatically bursting into a room with other dwarves in tow
  • Red ate her boyfriend while she was a wolf. Ew. 
  • Dark Hook is so cool 
  • I love how each of the 'good' characters can also play evil roles really well! 
  • David and Snow are awesome. Again. They always have a plan even when there is nothing logical to do.
  • Ok Hades was cool until he got sappy for Zelena in the fakest relationship in the show. NOT COOL to torture Hook though! 
  • The Hercules arc was perfect
  • Ok I thought that the musical episode would make me cringe but I absolutely adored it, it was everything the show stands for, with Disney-like music, and an ending that properly made me cry tears of joy for the characters
  • What did make me cringe was when they changed actors for some characters. Killian's brother Liam? Cinderella? Young Baelfire? Short-haired Rumple? (Ok I realise that doesn't count but it was odd!)
  • Epic Merida arc 
  • I don't get what's so attractive about Gold. So many people in the series just love him and ew no

That's it for now I think! Very random post, I know, but this show makes me smile, every time! It really does well in conveying the hope it talks about, in the long run. 

Stay bookish, 

Thursday, November 22, 2018

12 Days of Giving, #bookish12days

Hello, dragonflies, and happy thanksgiving! 

I am taking this opportunity to say that I am thankful for what I have - a steady family, friends who I know I can count on, an education, a safe place to live, and access to every basic need. 

It sounds obvious, but I promise, I have a point. 

Since I started university in 2014, I have been involved in my uni's Charity Committee - I spent two and a half years running it and a year and a half helping out when I could. This really passed on a lot of insight regarding the world we live in. 

So many people don't have access to education, or have to walk for a long time through dangerous areas to get to school. The illiterate population in the world is large, as is the amount of people who can read, but don't have access to books. Kids are pulled into street gangs to be able to possibly make money, children in lower-class urban regions don't always have access to the things we do... it's these types of problems that have had me thinking for the past few years. I am so happy that I have been able to participate in helping several low-scale charities to help specific areas of the world! 

Giving feels great. 

Now, I'm not in that school anymore - my new uni isn't the easiest to start committees in, yet I still want to help people. 

So, I decided to do something. 

Between December 1st and December 12th inclusive, I am hosting, both on my blog and my instagram, an event called 12 Days of Giving, #bookish12days. Every day during that timeframe, I will be advertising a charity that I have chosen. Some of these will be charities I have supported with my university in the past, whilst others I have discovered more recently. This event will be split into daily and event-wide mini-events. 

- Every day a new charity...
- advertised with the help of a larger influencer... 
- accompanied by a relevant blog-wide event 

The 12 days total will have
- a large giveaway... 
- in which extra entries can be gained if you can send me proof of donation to your local charity. 
- a personal donation to a local charity of books and school supplies! 

I have so much planned for you guys! You can already get hyped with buzzwords like 'Secret Santa', 'contests', 'photo theme challenges', 'tags'... 

I honestly cannot wait to start sharing these charities with you! They will be mostly educational and bookish, but I also do have a mental health charity :) 

I am not sure weather or not I'll have a money drive that will be sent to the most popular charity, but in any case, I am someone who wholly believes that even just raising awareness can help! 

If you want to follow this event, make sure to follow the hashtag #bookish12days! The influencers I have contacted have all sorts of ways to advertise these charities, so who knows what platform this may end up on! 

Stay bookish! 

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Hello, dragonflies! 

The time has come! JK Rowling has blessed us again with an extension to the Wizarding World we all know and have come to love! Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald is officially out in theaters all over, attracting hoards of Potterheads - because that sounds better than Newtheads - who were eager to see how our favorite universe got extended. 

Image result for the crimes of grindelwald

So yesterday I was both bored and freezing in my dorm room, which has a dysfunctional heater and no hot water, so went downtown. Walking by the movie theater, I noticed that this movie was starting five minutes from then! First time at the movies by myself, but it was fun! 

Now I went in trying not to have any firm expectations or hopes, to have the maximum surprise effect. Now, I have many many thoughts and feels that I want to discuss! 

Note: This will be in two sections; I'll start with the non-spoilery bit and will let you know once spoilers will begin!

My first note is Holy Headwig, Jude Law was an amazing Dumbledore! Perfect casting, perfect role representation! He had that awesome eye twinkle going on when he smiled, and was such a cool professor! No wonder people have such respect for him, even in his younger adult life, he just shows that he owns the room. 

This movie in general did feel like a filler-movie. There are five of these Fantastic Beasts movies that are in the works, and I think that this one in particular built a base for something much bigger than we can imagine for now; although I do have my theories, that I'll discuss in the spoiler part!

I loved the way they portrayed the magic in this movie... mostly. Some uses of magic were incredible, and really brought me back to the feeling of first watching the Harry Potter movies so long ago. (Disclaimer: I've been feeling old while writing this - The first movie came out 17 friggin' years ago, I was five!). Other moments weren't the most consistent with what we know about the magical world and laws that, as total nerds, we took as fact. 

I also felt like the movie was... I'm not sure, maybe edited strangely? I felt like some moments that should obviously have been there were just cut out for the sake of making the movie short enough. Again, more details in the spoiler section! 

Overall, I enjoyed watching the movie! It was a fun break, and really satisfying to be able to fangirl about the magical world again! 

If you haven't seen the movie, you should stop here! I'm not going to hide anymore details! 

Image result for fantastic beasts gif crimes of grindelwald
BOOM epic magic time this GIF is so satisfying 

Aaah, how to write this in a way that makes sense, that is the question. 

Let's go big point by big point. 

First, the character development. 

I feel like this movie kind of put a break on the characters we know and are growing to love. I love Newt Scamander - he is adorable and so delicate and has the biggest heart. I do agree with the theory that he may be somewhere on the autism spectrum, but that doesn't take anything away from his character, at all! You could tell he had a kind of relationship with his brother that involved a lot of guidance, which I appreciated. 

Another character I liked a lot was Leta Lestrange - I'm so sad she's already dead! In the entire movie, she certainly had the most interesting and well thought-out character arc! I loved the flashbacks of her and Newt's friendship when they were at Hogwarts together, her story with Credence (Is it just me or were they on the Titanic when she swapped her crying Lestrange brother for him!?), and her whole morale tilting. She really made for an incredible character! 

The others felt... flat. Credence and Nagini were simply running around 90% of the time, Jakob served no purpose but to show Queenie's intentions, which didn't make sense in the end. We never really learn much about Tina... from the movie it is difficult to catch the fact that Newt is now a famous author or why Queenie suddenly sides with Grindelwald... it was all a bit flat to me, and I feel like this really could have been resolved if there was a bit more meaningful dialogue between characters in the movie. 

Second, the storytelling. 

I mostly loved this! The flashbacks to various childhood memories were probably some of my favorite parts - everyone's back at Hogwarts and learning about friendship and magic and it was just so sweet! I think that one of the coolest ones was Dumbledore's memories of making a Blood Oath with Grindelwald, which was something we haven't seen yet! I loved how we could finally see what Dumbledore really sees in the Mirror or Erised! 

We do know of Unbreakable Oaths, but these were represented wrong in this movie with respect to how they were shown in the HP movies. Considering the director and author are the same, canon should be law. This happened many times - polyjuice potion was as common as aspirin, spells worked differently, laws were different, even the way magic manifested itself was vastly different. Many times, I felt like I was watching fanfiction, just because of the inconsistencies between the OG series and what we were now seeing. PolandBananasBooks has a great video on YouTube that focuses more on specific inconsistencies, I would highly recommend it! 

I do think that this movie did bring the magic element out well - One of my favorite scenes was with the Kelpie - sure, I agree with the masses who say that it was too long and took away from plot-building screen time, but I loved how it brought the light-heartedness back to the movie! This is also the case for the scene in which Newt uses that golden power to see what happened with the circus, I loved it! 

One last bit about the storytelling I adored was how they tied the Wizarding World with our muggle history. Sure, the entrance to the French Ministry of Magic was plain stupid (anyone could see that!) and the fact that the magic community just understood muggles so well was off-setting after what we learned from the OG series, but some bits were so well done! You can totally see Grindelwald's point about muggles once he points out that World War 2 was going to begin if they didn't do anything. It would be scary for anyone. Also, flashback to what was possibly the Titanic was super cool! 

But, like I mentioned, the story was told in such a way that the magic was really put forward. If I have to use one sentence, I'd say that they really tried to pull on our nostalgia by being flashy and giving us familiarity, to the point where they ignored quality or consistency. 

I have no idea why Queenie joined Grindewald. What was the point of the big fire dragons? I'm sure Leta knew what she was doing when she switched the babies. The wand didn't choose Credence so does that make him go crazy? What about Nagini? I just feel like the lack of dialogue lead to many plotholes. 

BUT THE END REVALATION! Nowhere does it say there were 4 Dumbledore siblings - We know about three, and that there was a showdown at some point in which Arianne died - I find it incredible that there's a 4th one, and I can't wait to see what happened for him to be wiped out of history! 

Also side note but I wanted to see more of Bunty, she seemed like she would be a fun character to have around! 

That's most of my thoughts about it, for now! I definitely enjoyed watching it, but I felt like I was watching fan fiction most of the time, which was very odd for me. Overall, I'm giving it a 3/5 feathers! I would, however, love to see JK Rowling put this in book form! I think that with a little fleshing out, this can be an incredible story! 

Have you seen the Crimes of Grindelwald? What did you think? Let me know! 

Stay bookish! 

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella

Hello, Dragonflies! 

Look I'm being an active blogger again! That hasn't happened in a while! But my current courses allow for a little more relax time, so between each Throne of Glass book I read, I've been reading something totally different from that world. And fast. I finished this book in a few hours this afternoon. 

My formatting is being odd?

I just started and finished reading Finding Audrey, by Sophie Kinsella! 

 "Audrey can't leave the house. she can't even take off her dark glasses inside the house.

Then her brother's friend Linus stumbles into her life. With his friendly, orange-slice smile and his funny notes, he starts to entice Audrey out again - well, Starbucks is a start. And with Linus at her side, Audrey feels like she can do the things she'd thought were too scary. Suddenly, finding her way back to the real world seems achievable."

This was definitely super cute! Our main character is Audrey, a 14-year-old with severe anxiety and depressive episodes. "To put you out of your misery, here's the full diagnosis. Social Anxiety Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder and Depressive Episodes." She also often mentions being 'overly sensitive' which hey! something I can relate to! I'll talk a bit more a bout this later. 

The problem is, her disorders are so prominent in her life that she quit school and went to a mental hospital for a while. She comes back home, to a mom who takes everything in the Daily Mail far too seriously, a brother who is addicted to video games, a 4-year-old, and a dad who's doing his best to keep everything running smoothly. 

Now her brother's best friend, Linus, comes into her life, and she starts coming out of her shell, little by little. 

This book is funny and quirky and yet manages to keep a light atmosphere while exploring very dark topics as mental illness. I thought that the balance was perfect, and that this book could easily be appreciated for younger audiences, just as much as older readers! 

That's all I can really say without spoilers! You've been warned! 

This book was so, incredibly wholesome, and really relateable. My mom's often taking things on the news at heart (we basically live a no-sugar life now, among other random things, haha!), my brother also had a time where he would hide to play video games, and now it's just accepted. I also have weird brain episodes where my 'lizard brain' says one thing but my normal brain says something else. Being overly sensitive was really shown well, for once, in a book. Too much external stimulus is exhausting, overthinking is a great friennemy... things like that. 

There were so many moments that were really heartwarming, and others that I could easily see in a movie! Audrey's relationship with Linus was adorable, and I absolutely loved how he would just make sure she was okay, or that what he was doing would not freak her out too much. He was such a sunshine in the book! 

I also just really loved how, while Frank found a passion for cooking, the family accepted his love for video games, and went to the tournament with him, despite having obviously been against his addiction. In fact, the entire family dynamics of the book was something I wish I could see more often in literature - everyone really loved each other, despite the little mishaps here and there. Like I said, sometimes reading this felt like looking into a mirror. 

I just had one problem with it. While the book in general portrayed mental illnesses in what I thought was a really elegant yet powerful way (especially with the scene where Audrey meets an old friend of hers, who has awful misconceptions about Audrey's mental stability!!), I had a hard time with the fact that Audrey got better so quickly. 

Now I feel like a hypocrite. I usually don't like it when people say a book is bad because it did a bad job portraying an illness. That is not what I'm about to say. As I've been saying, this book did a really good job with it! There was only one thing that I wish could have been re-thought. 

I have friends with anxiety and depression. I myself was recently diagnosed Overly Sensitive, which is also a type of anxiety. None of us have had it so bad that we ended up missing school because we had to go to the hospital. And yet we also all know that these things don't just go away. (Overly Sensitive being a mix of being mentally affected by too much stimuli, the sudden overthinking of a simple thought, or being extremely affected by what I downplay as 'people being idiots'. You also just feel things more deeply, like when you miss someone or somehwere, for instance.)

The book did give an excellent message. Sometimes, pushing yourself to do something scary is a good way to learn that it might not be as bad as you thought. I guess it's the same as telling a kid 'how do you know you don't like broccoli if you've never tried it?'. 

The odd thing was that once Audrey tried the scary things, and got a boyfriend, all of her doubts just vanished. I do understand the boost of confidence that being in a relationship - romantic or platonic - can bring, but it doesn't fix everything on it's own like that. You might slowly learn to find coping mechanisms, to accept your fears but don't let them own you, but not once have I experienced anyone telling me "Oh my depression vanished once I got up and did something about it!". 

I know I'm not explaining myself very well, it's a difficult topic. That's why I'm in no way putting any author down for trying to address it. If I can't even express myself correctly within a blogpost, imagine how difficult it must be for authors to write it in a book. 

I'm giving Finding Audrey a 4/5 feathers! 

Have you read Finding Audrey? What did you think? Let me know! 

Stay Bookish! 

Monday, November 5, 2018

The Midnight Dance, by Nikki Katz

Hello, Dragonflies! 

Yes I'm changing fonts! I find this one more comfortable to read, don't you? 

I just finished reading The Midnight Dance, by Nikki Katz

This cover is everything! 
"When the music stops, the dance begins.

Seventeen-year-old Penny is a lead dancer at the Grande Teatro, a finishing school where she and eleven other young women are training to become the finest ballerinas in Italy. Tucked deep into the woods, the school is overseen by the mysterious and handsome young Master who keeps the girls ensconced in the estate – and in the only life Penny has never known.

But when flashes of memories, memories of a life very different from the one she thinks she’s been leading, start to appear, Penny begins to question the Grand Teatro and the motivations of the Master. With a kind and attractive kitchen boy, Cricket, at her side, Penny vows to escape the confines of her school and the strict rules that dictate every step she takes. But at every turn, the Master finds a way to stop her, and Penny must find a way to escape the school and uncover the secrets of her past before it’s too late."

I honestly had no idea what to expect when I started this book - this was purely a cover-buy for me, on every level! I was instantly intrigued when the premise promised memories, the 1800s, and Italy. Other than that, I didn't know anything about this book!

Let's start off with the positive, shall we?

It certainly wasn't bad. In fact, I really loved the idea that Katz put forward in this book! The Midnight Dance was an awesome story of mind control, mixed in with a bit of steampunk and a unique boarding school-like idea. Mind-control books are really not that common, and I really loved how Italy in the 1800s was portrayed!

I also really liked the character relations. The main character, Penny, is in a facility with her sorelle (sisters), and they all get along so well! It was lovely to read about! Cricket is also absolutely adorable in every way! The Master is the right amount of creepy and charming, giving this really odd character you loved to hate. 

There was a lot going on, and I was there for it! 

However, the book itself felt a bit too condensed. You guys know by now that I'm a sucker for quick standalones. (I say as I'm re-reading Throne of Glass, fully knowing that Kingdom of Ash is almost 1000 pages long... help me) 

My problem with this book is that everything deserved more pages - longer paragraphs, shorter chapters, and a more fleshed-out world development. The ideas were incredible! But with so many events happening, most of which are a new concept, it's difficult to make it all make sense in 300 pages.

I'm not the best reader (is there even such thing?). I openly admit to skipping words and/or sentences when descriptions get too long - my eyes and mind wander a lot. Even so, I can usually grasp almost every detail in a story: maybe not a character's hairstyle or the fact that their sword was peeking over their left shoulder, but I can still hold onto the plot and characters enough to know things that, according to Buzzfeed, 'only a real fan would know'. 

The Midnight Dance could have easily been a book I would have latched on to if not every sentence was so packed-full of details that missing a word made the rest of the paragraph confusing. For instance - the end of the book spans over about 30 pages, in which our main character, Penny, does an incredible amount of traveling, dancing, convincing, discovering, traveling back, trapping, healing, and reuniting. Out of nowhere, Cricket appears and giant revelations are given about the antagonist. 

In 30 pages. 

This structure made the book a little tiring to read, so I had to take it bit by bit. 

But seriously, Nikki, if you're reading this, I hope you don't take it badly! Stories like yours, that are so creative, deserve so many more pages! That's only a compliment :) 

For me, this book gets 3/5 feathers! Keep going with the writing, Nikki, but give your ideas more words! 

Have you read The Midnight Dance? What did you think about it? Let me know! 

Stay bookish!