Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Unboxing - Wizarding World of Harry Potter Loot Crate #1 - Nov 2016

That's right! I got in on the ground floor of Loot Crate's newest subscription box, the Wizarding World box. What is it? It's a bi-monthly subscription box filled to the brim with HP related goodies. It's on the more expensive end of subscription blocks in my experience, which is why I'd never tried Loot Crate before, but how could I not with an HP box? So I cancelled my Nerd Block, and I might stop the Marvel Collector Corps come the new year, that will definitely make up for the cost of this one. This month was the first of the WWHP blocks, and oh goodness it did not disappoint, I've honestly never been more pleased with the contents of one of my subscription boxes before. Let's get into looking at what I got then shall we, welcome to:

This is going to be a rather image heavy post so I thought I'd give a jump cut a go...

Musing Mondays - reading Kelley Armstrong & wondering if my life could be a John Green novel

Musing Mondays - November 28, 2016

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m currently reading…

Sea of Shadows (Age of Legends #1) by Kelley Armstrong

I've had an urge to read some Kelley Armstrong since about halfway through the last Fionavar book, not sure why but there it was so I gave into it. I'm still reading Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them I am also just reading this one in addition to it. Although at this point I am further into Sea of Shadows because I keep wanting to find out what happens next, but that's really besides the point isn't it?

So there are four main characters in this novel First there's Ashyn, whose name I read as  Ashlyn in the first few pages which kept making me think of the first book in Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series. Next up is her twin sister Moria, whose name I read for the first 5 chapters as Moira before I realised I was consistently inverting the I and the R. Then there's Ronan, who's name I can't read without thinking of Ronan Dex from Stargate Atlantis, and I am not at a point in the book where I am convinced that that isn't actually an incorrect way to imagine him. And lastly a young imperial guard named Gavril Kitsune - I have VERY bad feelings about him and it's giving me anxiety because I am loving the interplay between him and Moria so far and if my suspicions are proven correct it will be for naught. But I am worried because everything I know about kitsunes and Kelley Armstrong is leading me to believe that Gavril is going to turn out to be a traitor and I really don't want him to be.

Now here's the blurb from Goodreads:

"In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.
Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.
Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever."

          THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: If you were a character, which author would you trust with your life (to write your story)?

Part of me, the insecure and anxiety ridden part, wants to say that I would be such a boring character so how could any of the authors that I love ever actually write my life story? I think we probably all feel that way. Except for those of us that are really confident I suppose, and I admire people with that much confidence because that's just not me. Don't get me wrong I love my life and I know I'm damn lucky to have the life I've got and the great people who are a part of my life (like my wonderful best friend Angie who has been here to get me through some of the hardest parts). And sure lost of interesting things (both great and bad) have happened in my life (life for instance my cousin had a therapist when we were kids who informed them that we as a generation (meaning all of my cousins and I) had seen more familial death in our young lives than many adults experience, and I think I was around 8 at that point) but on the whole I just don't think that I'm as exciting and adventurous as the characters of a lot my favourite authors. But then I do read a lot of fantasy and sci-fi so that could be where my disconnect lies? And BOOM the minute I wrote that sentence the perfect answer popped into my head: JOHN GREEN! That sweet, silly, talented and wonderful man would most assuredly be the author I would trust with my life. He would perfectly be able to capture the juxtaposition of the pieces of my life story. (Why yes, I do consider myself a nerdfighter!)

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Strictly Come Dancing Week 10 (spoiler alert)

So the celebs are home from Blackpool minus my beloved Greg *sob*(I’m over it, honestly) and back in training for a new week and a new challenge.  Not only do they have to perform a new dance as usual but they are all competing in the first ever Cha Cha Challenge.  And I will explain more about this later for those who don’t know how these challenges work. But for now let’s take a look at each celebs dance for this week.

First up was Danny Mac and he was dancing the Samba.  Usually the Samba brings to mind images of a Rio Carnival or a tropical limbo. This week Oti channelled the origins of the Samba back to its roots in African tribal religions and came up with something absolutely unique and sensational.  The routine was imaginative and very energetic and Danny’s moves were out of this world, no wonder he made history by scoring another perfect 40, therefore being the first ever celebrity to score top marks for a Samba ever!!

Second onto the dance floor was Ore Oduba who was dancing a Paso Doble.   We all know how smiley Ore is so channelling the aggression and fierceness of the Paso would be a new direction for him.  He did it beautifully, instead of a traditional flamenco style Paso, it was a modern and fresh routine but keeping all the elements of the Paso and making it dark and intense and very dynamic.  A very positive performance.

Next up was Louise and she is definitely my vote for the winner of the series.  She and Kevin were dancing the Viennese Waltz this week and she was absolutely beautiful.  It was incredibly graceful and elegant, however I did detect the slightest of lifts which is not permitted in a Viennese Waltz, however Louise is always a joy to watch.

Judge Rinder was next to perform and he was dancing the Rumba and as we know it is a difficult dance for a man to perform.  I like Judge Rinder, I find him extremely entertaining and he has genuinely been improving week after week.  However this week it wasn’t his night, the moves looked jumpy and he seemed to be a little hesitant and unsure of himself.  It definitely wasn’t one of his best dances and with the standard of the competition at this level I fear for his survival this week.

Next we come to Ed Balls.  I still don’t believe he is still here but the man is dividing the nation with just as many people cheering him on as there are those wanting him out.  He was dancing a Tango this week to Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones and he was supposed to be a male model on the catwalk.   He is camp, over the top and puts more into the comedy value than he does the dance steps.  I’m still not impressed and want him out.

The final contestant up was the sweet little Claudia.  She was dancing the Argentine Tango and was simply amazing. I really can’t understand how she didn’t score any tens this week, her dance was beautiful, precise and dramatic.  She even held her cheeky smile back to maintain the moody and sultry element this dance requires.  And given that her partner AJ hadn’t danced this particular dance before either, I thought it was a stunning achievement.

So once all the celebs had done their individual dances the leaderboard looked like this.

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse    40
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton 39
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton 36
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard 36
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero 29
Ed Balls & Katya Jones 23

However next we come to the Cha Cha Challenge.  In the challenge, all couples take to the dance floor and dance a Cha Cha Cha.  They all keep dancing until the music stops and the judges then decide who is the best and award points accordingly.  The best dancers receive 6 points and the worst just 1 point.  This is then added to the judges scores and has the potential to change the look of the leaderboard.  All dancers danced their little hearts out, changing places halfway through so the judges got to watch all six dancers equally clearly.

The challenge was won by Louise Redknapp, followed by Danny, Ore, Claudia, Judge Rinder and Ed in descending order.  So following the challenge the leaderboard had the same order but had Louise now as joint leader with Danny, and Ore no longer tying with Claudia but in clear third place.  The leaderboard looked like this going into the public vote.

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse    45
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton 45
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton 40
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard 39
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero 31
Ed Balls & Katya Jones 24

So after a night of wonderful dances and Ed Balls as well, it’s all down to the votes.

On to Sunday night and a really entertaining opening dance by the pros, a sports themed Charleston and extremely good fun.  There was a performance from Ellie Goulding but she was outshone by the dance routine accompanying it from Kevin and Karen Clifton, such a beautiful dance couple.

The dance off was between Judge Rinder and Ed Balls this week.  Holding my breath as they both danced again and quite rightly and at long long last, ED BALLS IS OUT!!!!  He just didn’t have enough in him to be saved by the judges and with Judge Rinder performing the Rumba better the second time round, it was Mr Balls calling ‘Taxi!’

Now the real fun starts with proper dancers left, so I predict tears and tantrums along the way.

Keep Dancing!

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Unboxing - #owlcrate November 2016 - Wonderland

November's #owlcrate arrived on Monday, but I didn't get the chance to sit down and write this unboxing post until today, because last Friday my pre-ordered copy of Pok√©mon Sun arrived so I have been obsessively playing that instead of writing or doing my copyright course work. This month's theme was Wonderland and here's the spoiler card:

As I have mentioned many times over, I am a HUGE Alice in Wonderland fan, I love adaptations, re-tellings and just anything to do with and Alice. My desktop lock screen is the 45th anniversary wallpaper of the Mad Tea Party ride at Walt Disney World, a ride which I also have another illustration of (that I bought while I was there this year) framed and hung on my wall. I've even had an Alice in Wonderland tattoo, although it was temporary, it was part of a project done by Litographs. I'd link to it but the website is down, so just look at one of my photos from it.

Anyways, being as big of an Alice fan as I am, obviously I was extremely excited for this month's box. I believe I said as much at the end of my post for the October box. I spent the entire month wondering what new Alice adaptation/re-telling I was going to receive because I haven't been following new books very closely lately so I had no idea what was on the horizon. I was also curious to see what other tidbits there would be and I was secretly hopeful that there would be a Funko Pop, because I love them so much.

And on that note, now it's time for what I thought of each of this month's items, with my 8-bit Alice shirt as a backdrop, I totally wore that to work today:

1. Mad Hatter's Wonderland Elixir exclusive tea blend from Riddle's Tea Shoppe and Adagio Teas

This tea smells SOOOOOOO good that it's actually making me consider trying tea. I don't drink hot beverages, I am much more a cold beverage girl, but I really am tempted to give this a try because of how good it smells and because it's Wonderland themed. The tin it comes in is AWESOME, look at the inside of the lid!!

2. the fancy Alice in Wonderland bookmark from Authored Adornments

I'm not sure if every single one given out was unique but the one I got happened to have one of my favourite bits on it, where Alice says curiouser and curiouser. Here's a close up because you really can't see it well in the big shop up top:

3. Alice in Wonderland  magnet from Evie Bookish

I love magnets. I show off most of my magnets on my desk at work because my above the desk hutch is metal! So currently I have a magnetized photo of me and Angie on there, Figment from Walt Disney World, the 10th Doctor, and Star Lord, Alice will definitely be a good addition. I really love this magnet in particular because of the artwork and colours but most especially because of the quote: "Imagination is the only weapon in the the war against reality." it's a great quote, I love quotes about imagination. I have a few framed quotes above my desk as well including the one from Alice about doing 6 impossible things before breakfast, so this will definitely fit the theme I seem to be going with at work.

4. The custom illustrated edition of the original Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & bookmark from Rock Paper Books

I was not expecting 2 books in this box! I was absolutely over the moon to see they'd also sent us a copy of the original Alice stories in addition to the pick of the month. I have at least 2 editions currently, but it never hurts to have another, especially one with such fun, whimsical artwork on the cover!

6. Heartless by Marissa Meyer + quote card

I had heard about this book! But not enough to know it was an Alice adaptation! I am so damn excited to have it! I know a lot of bloggers were trying to get ARCs for it. There's been a lot of hype about this book if I remember correctly? I love seeing the classic stories told from the villains point of view, and I've always like the mad Queen of Hearts. One of my favourite Alice adaptations to date was actually another one from the Queen's POV, Colleen Oakes's Queen of Hearts. I can't wait to get to this book now. I think as soon as I finish the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them screenplay, and the Kelley Armstrong trilogy I just started, that I will read this one!

Overall I really enjoyed this box, everything was as promised 100% Alice so I really couldn't have asked for more. I was disappointed that there was no Alice funko pop but given that out of the ones that exist I have the 2 I really wanted I am okay with that. I'm already looking forward to December's Epic box.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Musing Mondays - Fantastic Beasts & fictional worlds I want to live in

Musing Mondays - November 21, 2016

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

Up next I think I’ll read…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling

There was never any question that I would buy this and read it, so I thought why not sooner rather than later and then that way I can review the screenplay since Angie handled the reviewing of the film. Because this blog really doesn't need 2 separate reviews of the same movie, that's probably overkill. I picked a copy of the book up today while I was out on errands, got it for 40% off the cover price too which is always nice. I know some people don't like reading plays and scripts but I've never really minded. In fact I wrote a script once in high school and I have been tempted to write more, but really that's a topic for another day, right now I'm talking about this script. I am super excited to read the screen play and see what other details/directions might be in the text that didn't get translated onto the screen.

Like Angie, I too saw the film last week, in fact I saw it before opening day because I saw it at 9:15pm on the 17th. Which apparently broke the rule I in fact had created for our library staff movie nights - I totally forgot that I was the one who declared that we should not go to opening nights/opening weeks of films because they are usually mad houses. That being said, to be fair, it was the second set on a Thursday night, that is literally the deadest set of the week! (I worked at a cinema for about a year and a half so I know all the patterns and am good at picking the best times to go to the movies for maximum enjoyment) So I figured we were going to be okay and we were! And best of all I LOVED the film, I mean I knew going into it that I was going to, but I loved it even more than I was expecting to, so this film may actually manage to coax me back into fanfiction writing, which I used to love. We will see how I feel about that notion after I finish reading the screenplay!

          THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: Are there any particular worlds in books in which you’d like to live?

You mean aside from the above referenced Wizarding World of Harry Potter right? Because OBVIOUSLY I would live in that world if I could. That's like the saying goes, "If you can be Batman, you always be Batman," except for me it's "If you can be in Harry Potter's world, you be in Harry Potter's world." But that's definitely not the only book world that I would totally love to live in (or at least do a year long exchange program in...) for different reasons. So to keep this from becoming too crazy I'm going to stick to picking 3 fictional worlds I would like to live in (other than the aforementioned WWHP) and tell you why I would want to live there:


Books set in this world: The Summer Tree, The Wandering Fire, & The Darkest Road

Why Fionavar?  So I definitely waffled about whether to include this one on my list or Narnia, and I decided on this one for one main reason: Fionavar is at it's absolute most basic level Narnia for adults. Fionavar has everything you could want in a high fantasy realm but with an easier back and forth bridge between it and our own realm than you can get in Narnia (plus you get to actually pick and choose where you cross!). It's got dragons, dwarves, elves, celtic gods (among others), magic, swords. Really you name it this world has it and now that they've defeated all the bad guys it would be a really awesome place to live. There's really no downside to living in Fionavar after the end of The Darkest Road.

If I were going to live in Fionavar, I think I would want to live either in Brennin or become a Dalrei, they seem like the 2 most awesome places to be, but Cathal is not without its charms. Overall Fionavar is a pretty great place for women as far as high fantasy realms go too. Lots of powerful women and they are well respected and hold positions of power. Unlike other less friendly to women fictional worlds that draw some of their inspiration from this one *cough*Westeros*cough*.

 The Supernatual World

Books set in this world: Nevermore (#1), Witch's Canyon (#2); Bone Key (#3), Heart of the Dragon (#4), The Unholy Cause (#5), War of the Sons (#6), One Year Gone (#7), Coyote's Kiss (#8), Night Terror (#9), Rite of Passage (#10), Fresh Meat (#11), Carved in Flesh (#12), Cold Fire (#13), Mythmaker (#14) & The Usual Sacrifices (#15)

Yes it is a different world from ours, that was evidence by S06E15 The French Mistake where they got spit out into our realm and hijinx ensued. It hasn't been referenced in the novels as far as I know because I haven't gotten any further into the novel series than the first one but I plan to. So why do I want to live in this fictional world? Because it's like the world we live in, except with one key, awesome, difference: everything magical, mythical, legendary etc. that could ever exist DOES exist in this world and has someone who has always loved the fantastic and the paranormal I would have such an awesome time if I could interact with all of those things.

Would I be a Hunter? Heck no I am not physically fit enough, but I would totally be one of the Men of Letters when Dean and Sam get that back up and running because the one thing those boys are missing is a dedicated person handling their information and I would be a kickass Hunter Librarian. I know my strengths and I am willing to accept my limitations.

The Riordanverse

Yup, I just gave Rick Riordan the Joss Whedon treatment, but he TOTALLY deserves it! Seriously, his fictional world encompasses 5 distinct series for a total of 19 books as of this writing, but he's planning at a minimum at least 3 more:

Series set in this world: Percy Jackson and the Olympians (5 books); The Heroes of Olympus (5 books); The Kane Chronicles (3 books); Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard (2 books at the moment) & The Trials of Apollo (1 book at the moment) + 3 crossover novella between the PJO series and the Kane series.

Similar to above - still not all that different from our world as it is now, just magic and mythology all exist. I could happily land in any of the pantheons in the Riordanverse. I would be equally happy to end up at Camp Half-Blood, the Brooklyn Nome, or the Hotel Valhalla. Or maybe less so that last one, I mean I love Norse mythology as much as I love Greek, Roman, and Egyptian, but to get to the Hotel Valhalla, you have to die and I have to say, reaaaally not a fan of that entrance requirement.

If I were a Greek demigod, I'd probably be a child of Athena with a gift for strategy. If I were a Roman demigod I'd be a daughter of Bellona instead of Minerva (Athena's Roman form) because Bellona was more about action than Minerva. Although come The Trials of Apollo I think it would be pretty hilarious to be a daughter of Apollo.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Strictly Come Dancing Week 9 at Blackpool (spoiler alert)

So the remaining eight couples have reached the dizzy heights of week nine and the Blackpool Tower Ballroom with it’s bouncy floor.  As always the setting was spectacular, there were a few surprises in there this week and even a moment when you just can’t believe what you’re seeing (even more unbelievable than Ed Balls dancing Gangnam Style).  The professionals and the celebs teamed up to dance a spectacular opening sequence, each celeb got a moment to shine on their own and sensibly Ed Balls stayed sat down.  But it was a sensational opening to the Blackpool show and the chandeliers were shining as much as the celebs smiles.

First up was Claudia.  Now I have always loved her and AJ when they dance.  However this week, they were doing the jive and for me, it wasn’t her best dance.  It didn’t seem as clean and precise as some of the others that we’ve seen but the judges seemed to like it. I hope she gets through as I’ve seen her perform much better than this.

Next up was Ore and he was dancing the Viennese Waltz.  It was beautiful and the amount of spinning he did was simply amazing.  Although I don’t understand all the technical terms, apparently it was an incredible amount of flekerls (spinning around on the spot), if it was me I would be dizzy but Ore didn’t seem too affected and impressed the judges, although I think the 10s were a little over the top considering the comments from the judges, Darcey in particular admitted there was a problem with his head control yet scored him with a perfect 10.

Louise has been outstanding over the last few weeks and this week was no exception.  She was dancing the Paso Doble and it was amazing.  It was very aggressive and powerful, the music was perfect and the choreography was stunning.  Simply wonderful and well deserved score.

However up next was Danny Mac dancing the Charleston.  It was cheeky and cheerful, very bouncy and fast paced and thoroughly enjoyable.  Finally the moment arrived and Craig Revel Horwood brought out that rarely used object, his 10 paddle and Danny Mac scored the first perfect score of the series, a full 40 points and very well deserved.

Now whoever followed Danny Mac would have a tough act to follow.  Unfortunately it was Ed Balls and what a comedown it was.  He was also doing the jive and whilst Claudia’s wasn’t that impressive, she was better than Ed Balls.  He was slow, flat footed and just awful.  Even the entertainment value had decreased and surely this has to be his finale.  If not, it’s just getting ridiculous.

Next up was my favourite star Greg Rutherford.  I got a shock earlier in the week when I found out he was only 30 years old, somehow he seems older than that but I guess it makes sense as he’s still an active athlete.  He was dancing the Quickstep this week but the music choice was strange as it was ‘Born to Hand Jive’, surely this is more suited to, well a jive?  Still I enjoyed the routine greatly but I have a feeling he may be in the bottom two tomorrow night.

The final dance of the night was Judge Rinder and he was dancing a salsa.  That man can seriously shake his booty.  It was fast, spicy and superb and really entertaining.  I enjoy watching him as he really gives it his everything and is very entertaining and the man can dance.  I would be happy to see him return next week.

So by the end of Saturday night, the leader board looked like this.

Danny Mac & Oti Mabuse            40
Ore Oduba & Joanne Clifton 38
Louise Redknapp & Kevin Clifton   38
Claudia Fragapane & AJ Pritchard 36
Judge Rinder & Oksana Platero 33
Greg Rutherford & Natalie Lowe 32
Ed Balls & Katya Jones 23

So an amazing 40 for Danny at the top of the leader board and Ed Balls of Fire down at the bottom, I never know what to expect in the Sunday results show so I won’t even try to predict.

Sunday night and an amazing opening fifties style routine from the professionals and the remaining celebs but a stunning shock as the first couple into the dance off tonight is Claudia. Now as I said earlier, I wasn’t fond of her jive but I still didn’t expect to see her in the dance off.  It will be a real shame if she goes.
A live performance from Simple Minds performing their classic hit ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’ and then it’s back to the red light of doom and this time it hits poor old Greg Rutherford so he will be joining Claudia in the dance off.  I fear this is the end for him as he’s not strong enough to compete with Claudia.

Another live performance this time from Rick Astley, he was a hero of mine in the 80s and he’s still pretty good to listen to.   And we are into the dance off and first up is Claudia, followed by Greg.  Claudia was strong and Greg just didn’t harness the happiness he had on Saturday night and it affected his performance.  In the end the judges voted to save Claudia and AJ so we have to say farewell to Greg and I am devastated to see him go as he was always my favourite and I’m in tears as much as poor Greg is.   Everyone seems to be so upset to see him go.

So next week will be a little bit darker for me but I shall continue to watch as it’s inevitable that it gets harder as the couples dwindle and the standards get higher.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A Fantastic return to the Wizarding World (spoiler free review of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them)

The wait is over, the long long wait.  Finally we can be drawn back into the Wizarding World created by J.K Rowling as the cinema release of Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them is finally here.   We’ve had trailers, we’ve had teasers, we’ve even had casting releases for the sequel before the first film is released, such is the confidence in the box office pull that Harry Potter and the Wizarding World has.

Of course Harry Potter isn’t anywhere near this film, he’s not even a twinkle, even his parents aren’t born yet.  Instead we follow the adventures of Newt Scamander, a delightfully charming Eddie Redmayne.  He is a Magizoologist, a person who studies magical creatures and as the film begins he has come to America with a suitcase full of, well Fantastic Beasts. He has been travelling all around the world in search of different species to study and has many specimens in his magically expanding case (just wait until you see inside it).

He has arrived at a time when wizards are forced to hide from the No-Maj (non magic folk, the American equivalent of muggles).  Something is terrorising the streets of New York and everyone in the American Ministry MACUSA, is convinced that one of Newt’s recently escaped creatures is to blame.  

Newt teams up with Porpentina Goldstein (no spoilers who she is but those who have the original book will know her), her sister Queenie and a No-Maj called Jakob Kowalski and the four of them set out to prove that it isn’t one of the creatures to blame but something else.

I enjoyed the film from the moment it started to the satisfying yet open end.  Despite being part of the children’s series this film had a much more adult feel to it given that the leading characters were adults this time rather than school children.   The characters were all engaging and well developed.  Newt himself was sweet and naive, genuinely caring and at ease with the creatures he had discovered and a little awkward around humans.  Other than the main four characters, they were at odds with the President Seraphna Picquery who seems likeable enough but she is determined to keep wizards in hiding. There is also head Auror Graves, a charming and smooth Colin Farrell, one can never be sure who’s side he is on.  We also meet some sinister No-Maj’s who are fighting to rid the world of wizards and witches.  The thoroughly wicked Mary Lou Barebone and her children Modesty, an eight year old girl who constantly sings about dead witches, her older sister Chastity although we know little of her,  and the son Credence who gave me the shivers, a very mysterious young man.

Then of course there are the Beasts themselves and what a wonderful array of creatures we meet in this first of five films.  I’m sure there are many more to come and I’m hoping we get more dragons, although they were featured quite prominently in the Potter movies so the other creatures may get to feature more this time. However they have always been my favourite mythical creatures.  But the new lineup is rich and diverse, just to name a few here.  We have Frank, a glorious Thunderbird, native to America and has a very important role to play in the movie.  The Niffler is adorable, he resembles a mole and is attracted to anything shiny (mainly coins and expensive jewellery). Newt has a pet Bowtruckle which is pretty much a moving green twig but it is pretty cute.  There were some beautiful serpent-like creatures called Occury’s.  They hatch from pure silver eggs and can grow or shrink in size to fit the available space, we see them very tiny in a teapot up to huge dragon size filling an attic in Macy’s department store.  My favourite had to be the Demiguise, Dougal the Demiguise.  They are said to resemble a silver gibbon or ape but to me, he reminded me of a sloth.  They can make themselves invisible so are very hard to find, but we did get a glimpse of him and I adored him.

All in all I enjoyed my journey back into J.K Rowling’s world and I eagerly await the next film with great anticipation given the revealings of this first film.  There is so much more to come before this film ties in with the films we already know and love, although we did have a couple of familiar names mentioned already.  I already love Newt as a character and I’m sure we’ve not seen the last of Jakob, despite what happens in the film to him.   I also can’t wait to see what other Beasts Newt has in store for us but I’m sure I won’t be disappointed.

I already have the film on my wish list for when it is released, no self respecting Potterhead can miss this film.  You won’t be disappointed.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Musing Mondays - I didn't choose the reading life, the reading life chose me & #owlcrate YA novels

Musing Mondays - November 14, 2016

Musing Mondays is a weekly meme that asks you to choose one of the following prompts to answer:

  • I’m currently reading…
  • Up next I think I’ll read…
  • I bought the following book(s) in the past week…
  • I’m super excited to tell you about (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I’m really upset by (book/author/bookish-news)…
  • I can’t wait to get a copy of…
  • I wish I could read ___, but…
  • I blogged about ____ this past week…

I’m currently reading…

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

This one is the September #owlcrate selection which I have been excited to read since it's arrival. As I was finishing The Fionavar Tapestry I realised I was still very much in the mood for more fantasy so I decided to read this one first in hopes of finishing it before the November box arrives because at this point I've only read 1/4 of the books I've received! I also have a lot of other recently purchased books that I want to get around to, like I'm really in the mood for some Kelley Armstrong so I think after I finish this one I'm going to start Sea of Shadows. So far after I am up to page 77 which puts me about half way through chapter 5, but I think I've had the major twist of the book figured out since 3 pages into chapter 2. That's not necessarily a bad thing and it hasn't stopped me enjoying the novel. I've been itching to keep reading it all day actually, I didn't want to stop before work this morning.

"When kingdom come, there will be one.
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.The last queen standing gets the crown." -- via Goodreads

          THIS WEEK’S RANDOM QUESTION: How has your reading changed in the last 10 years?

My reading has changed a lot in the last 10 years in quality, quantity and choice. By which I mean the amount of reading I do, the books I select and how I read them. For starters since finishing my Bachelor's degree in English in 2009 I find myself unable to NOT read a book with a critical eye, which can actually be really annoying sometimes. When you're reading critically you can't help but notice every little flaw, or as Angie tells me frequently, nitpicking. I am definitely guilty of that sometimes. I also find myself doing a lot more analysing while I am reading which I never used to do before university. Reading critically is super important though I just wish that I still knew how to turn it off. I can still lose myself in a really good book but even then the critical part of my brain is still there as background noise.

I also read a lot more each year now than I did 10 years ago. I think I've mentioned a couple of times before that I dislike being forced to read certain books and then feel guilty about reading the books I want to read instead? Well over the last 10 years obviously I've had fewer and fewer assigned books since finishing my degrees and diplomas. So now a days the only "assigned" books that still make me feel that way are certain selections from my self-imposed reading challenges. I know right now that I am not going to complete either the Book Riot Read Harder Challenge or the Pop Sugar reading challenge because none of the books I have left on my lists are as appealing to me as the books I have been buying lately that I want to read. I can't help it, I just don't like having to force myself to push through a book I'm not that into, not when there are so, so many books out there that I could really lose myself in if given half a chance.

The last thing that has changed in my read habit over the last 10 years is the choices I make in terms of what I read. Over the last 10 years I've really expanded my horizons into different genres and authors that I had never explored before. I used to be firmly a YA reader, but then I found some Adult fiction that I could get into and that was a gateway into the world of Adult genre fiction for me, my shelves, and my favourites list are still a very healthy mix of middle grade, YA, and adult stuff though. I remember when I finally discovered that romance novels didn't have to be as bad as I thought they were (thank you for that professor who assigned me Outlander for a class in 2008!). Now I go through phases where for about 2 months all I read are harlequin romances (the paranormal ones mostly). I used to firmly be a fantasy reader with the occasional sci-fi thrown in and maybe a thriller and a mystery every now and again. But then I thought I'd like to get into reader's advisory in public libraries and that meant becoming more knowledgeable about all the genres. So I try to consume a wide and varied diet in my reading but there are still some areas where I could improve. I don't read nearly enough historical fiction.

I also read a LOT more graphic novels than I used to! I grew up reading Archie comics, but I went through a phase where I was convinced that comics and graphic novels were cheating. Honestly I feel awful that I ever said that because there are so, so many really gorgeous and fantastic and rich and wonderfully written graphic novels out there! I've also started consuming both ebooks and audiobooks in the last 10 years which were two other formats I was never expecting to enjoy.