Me and Finals…in GIF

When my Business Intro professor says “no study guide”:

When my Business Intro professor caves and gives one after all:

When I still try and sneak “fun” books between study breaks:

When my Brit Lit professor says Harry Potter will be on the test:

When I’m the only one who followed directions for the group project:

When a friend still hasn’t started their essay that’s due TOMORROW:

When a friend asks me to proofread their essay:

When I’m preparing for the final:

When I actually start the final:

When I’m actually in the final:

When I come out of finals:

When grades haven’t been posted yet:

When I realize I get to do this all over again next semester:

My Rating System: An Explanation

You may notice that there are a lot of 5- and 4-star reviews around here. Very rarely will you see a 3-star and I don’t think I’ve ever posted a 2-star on here. (Maybe one? Not many.)

Now, this does not mean I fall madly in love with the 5- and 4-star books. It is actually very rarely that a book gets me fangirling enough to earn itself a spot on my Shelf of Awesome. Sometimes I give 5 sparkly stars to a book when I know I don’t want to read the sequels (I have also been known to eventually go and gobble up whole series of the books I only gave three).

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When I rate a book, I try to give credit where credit is due. Reading is a highly subjective thing and to some degree I try to stay objective. Like many writers, I tend to edit in my head a I read books, but I can turn down the volume on my inner editor enough to enjoy a book with bad mechanics, bad formatting, or even plot holes—so long as it has some other literary qualities I enjoy (such as dragons or pretty much any form of magic). By the same token, I might open a book to find flawless formatting, perfect copyediting, succinct dialogue—but for whatever reason it will just fall flat for me.

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Just because I didn’t enjoy a book doesn’t mean I think it was written poorly and just because I enjoyed a book doesn’t mean I think it was written well. For example, Hidden by M. Lathan brought me far less enjoyment than Captured by Erica Stevens, yet I’ll be the first to admit that Hidden was the better book. From an editorial standpoint, the plot was better formed, the formatting was superior, the mechanics were pulled off without a hitch—I just couldn’t get into it the way I did Captured because Captured “clicked” for me and Hidden didn’t.

Certain books “click” for me that don’t “click” for other people and vice versa—that’s just the way it is. I try to take that into account when I write my reviews. I also try to take into account if a book is well written or not. That is why some of my favorites only got four stars and some of the five stars were deleted off my Kindle straightaway.

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This is making me sound like a mature, focused reviewer, right? Wrong. There have been rare occasions where I have discounted a book down to 4-stars when the characters made me angry *coughcoughCrownofMidnightcoughcough* and given 5-stars to a book I loved that should have realistically been 3.5-stars. What can I say? I’m still human.

When it comes down to it, I really don’t like writing negative reviews. I really don’t. That’s why my star ratings hover around 4-5—if I enjoyed a book, it seems just rude to give it anything less. If I didn’t enjoy the book, but I think all the mechanics were decent, I still want to acknowledge the good points.

In the dreaded situation that the book fails both standards…well then I close my eyes, give it three stars and do my best not to feel like an evil witch.

Love me a Bromance

Let’s talk about bromance. A bromance is a colloquial word used to describe a strong friendship between two men in a brotherly relationship. (It is referencing a purely fraternal bond, not a romantic one.) Though the term is relatively new, it could be argued that this particular literary device itself dates back to antiquity.

The Greeks had them, the Romans were huge fans. Friendship between men as the driving force behind a story were not uncommon at all.

I love me a bromance. Just something about two guys with a brotherly bond strong enough that they would die for one another touches the heartstrings. Though romantic relationships tend to be considered the ultimate embodiment of love, I think that’s not fair to parental relationships, sibling relationships, and friendships.

As I said, I appreciate a good bromance, but looking at my favorite books, I realized that…well, only one or two series have them. (My favorite movie on the other hand has about five going on, so maybe that makes up for it.)

Ron Weasley and Harry Potter are one of my favorite bromances along with the Winchesters and Castiel of Supernatural. There’s all the complexities and nuances of close interpersonal relationship without the BS that comes with romance. They tease each other, they play pranks on each other, they fight for each other, and they’re willing to die for each other (which the Supernatural boys plainly demonstrate about once a season).

I think writers would do well to add in more bromances. Personally, I’ve kind of had them in my published works (Armandius and Velaskas of Argetallam Saga could maybe qualify. As well as Karile and Saoven in later books). But haven’t really tackled them the way I am in this WIP for summer 2015 (yes, I’m talking about the assassin one again—here’s that Pinterest board for like the umpteenth time).

Anyone else here like a bromance? Have a favorite?

Favorite lines that WEREN’T in the movies

When books get turned into movies, things have to be changed. Books and movies are two separate types of entertainment and two separate types of media, so changes and alterations are inevitable. Unfortunately, this often means that juicy bits of the book get lost in the cracks. Here are some of my favorite lines from books that, sadly, didn’t make it into the movies.

“I am quite beautiful enough for us both, thank you very much!” ~ Harry Potter and the Halfblood Prince by J.K. Rowling

This was simultaneously touching and funny. When Bill Weasley is permanently scarred from his encountered with Fenrir Greyback, Molly Weasley says “What a shame. He was so young. And was going to be married, too!” At this, Fleur de LaCour (did I spell that right?) makes it clear in no uncertain terms that she still wants to marry Bill, she thinks his scars mark him as brave, and they will be blissfully happy whether anybody likes it or not.

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“And you, Ferney, should get your ugly face off that fence before it gets hurt.” ~ The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

In the books, the pony Bill that appears in the first film is bought from a sour old fart in Bree who jeers and insults Strider and the hobbits as they leave. Sam, leading Bill, gives the bully fair warning before clocking him in the face with an apple.

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And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many. ~ The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

This passage is in reference to Faramir and Eowyn shortly after her acceptance of his marriage proposal. When I read this, I squeed and jumped up and down like any true fangirl. In the books, Faramir and Eowyn’s love story actually had more page time than Aragorn and Arwen’s, yet theirs was cut. More’s the pity.

“Good shot, Bill.” ~ The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bill makes a reappearance in the final book when the hobbits return to the Shire, which has been overtaken by Saruman and Grima and the hobbits must fight to reclaim their homeland. It just so happens that Bill’s former abusive master is in league with them and Bill is given the chance to mete out justice in the form of a kick to his ex-owner’s buttocks.

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“Starving.” ~ The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The dwarves first encounter the elves of Mirkwood while the natives are holding a feast. When things go south, the rest of the company escapes whilst Thorin is captured. When Thorin is taken before Thranduil, his response to every one of the elf king’s questions is “starving.” Their original conversation goes like this:

Thranduil: Why did you and your folk three times try to attack my people at their merrymaking?

Thorin: We did not attack them. We came to beg, because we were starving.

Thranduil: Where are your friends now and what are they doing?

Thorin: I don’t know, but I expect starving in the forest.

Thranduil: What were you doing in the forest?

Thorin: Looking for food and drink, because we were starving.

Sometimes I do think movie versions are better than book versions (heresy, I know), but more often I find myself staunchly insisting the books were better. It truly is a pity these lines didn’t make it into the movies. But I guess the books don’t always want to share everything with their film counterparts.

Ten Characters I Would Vote For If They Ran For President

With the race for the President of the United states of America coming up, the airwaves have been bombarded with political message after political message. (Those of you who live outside the US, be grateful.) I just so happen to not like either candidate and I can think of ten individuals I would rather vote for. So without further ado, may I unveil my presidential nominations in ascending order.

10. John Carter of Mars

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Here’s a bloke who’s all action and no talk. A war hero who’s taken on the hordes of Green Martians, you couldn’t ask for a stronger personality. However, his strength is also his weakness and his rather martial mindset could be a problem during diplomatic state visits.

9. Peeta Mellark

Unlike Mr. Carter, Peeta has the gift of speech. He has a way of inspiring people which would be invaluable as a leader. He’s also cute.

8. Doctor Who

The Doctor would make a brilliant president. Clever, open-minded, and creative, he always knows what’s best. Though, he might find the restrictions of office to be a bit much, which is why he’s No. 8.

7. Dumbledore

Wise, patient, kind, from what I’ve seen, Dumbledore would be an awesome president, too.

6. Shepherd Book

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The retired black-ops specialist turned priest in Firefly would also be an excellent choice for his open-mindedness, cleverness, and sense of humor.

5. Armandius Caersynn

Armandius Plontagent Kirlistan Caersynn is strong, brave, and does a fine job as High Lord of Green Haven, so I say we vote him in.

4. Zeddicus Zu’l Zorander

As a Wizard of the First Order, we wouldn’t have to worry about a security detail for this president. Not to mention he would see to it that White House dinner parties always had excellent menus.

3. Prince Caspian

Do I really need to explain? Caspian is good-hearted, strong, patient, and tries to do the right thing. (I may have also had a crush on him at one point, but that’s irrelevant.)

2. Gandalf

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Another president who wouldn’t need a security detail. And with the wisdom of centuries inside that head, who can protest his qualifications?

1. King Arthur

The Once and Future King would be the perfect president. He united All Britain, didn’t he? So long as we keep a look out for Morgan Le Fay and keep him from meeting Guinevere until after she hooks up with Lancelot, we’ll be fine.

So…who would you vote for?