Movies I've Seen

Bad Guys vs. Good Guys

So one of the best things about having kids is getting to go to kid movies without looking out of place. I saw this preview when we went to see Brave and, since I have always enjoyed video games, I thought it looked like fun. I am speaking of the movie Wreck-It Ralph.

The movie had me from the first scene, which is an overview of Ralph’s life. He is the bad guy in the video game “Fix-It Felix” and as such, he spends every day trying to destroy the building that was built over his old home. The residents of the building are all terrified of him and hero worship Felix, the good guy of the game who fixes everything the Ralph destroys. But this isn’t the first scene. The scene is Ralph telling his story to an AA style support group called Bad Anon. All of our favorite villains are there – Bowser, Zombies, Satan (“it’s pronounced ‘Say-teen'” – that made me laugh so hard!), Robotnik, and even the Pac-Man ghosts.

Ralph is tired of being the bad guy and decides to try and win a hero medal to prove himself to the residents of the “Fix-It Felix” game. I loved how the characters could travel to different games in the arcade through a train system that meets at “Game Central Station,” conveniently located in a power strip. Several things will make any classic gamer laugh. Like having Sonic the Hedgehog giving safety ads. Seeing the cast of Q-Bert sitting off to the side with a sign that says, “Game unplugged. Homeless. Please help.” This is another place where I laughed out loud. How often do you get a Q-Bert reference?

So Ralph ends up in a game called “Hero’s Duty” and tries to win. It’s one of those violent shoot-em-up games and stars Jane Lynch as the superior officer who leads the player through the battle. She is hilarious as always. Ralph gets his medal, but then looses it when he accidentally ends up in a game called “Sugar Rush,” a racing game through a candy filled world. There he meets Vanellope, a young girl who wants to race but can’t because she’s a glitch and could ruin the game. All of the racers, including King Candy, do everything possible to keep her out. She and Ralph become friends and agree to help each other, but Ralph accidentally brought one of the evil bug robots from “Hero’s Duty” with him, and it threatens the whole arcade.

I thought this movie was a lot of fun and really clever. Lots of action, maybe a few too many potty jokes, but over all enjoyable. The kids really liked it as well. Here’s the trailer for it:

Writing Challenge Update (almost there!):

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Books I've Read · Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Tuesday – Anticipation Edition

Hello everyone! I am back after a very nice holiday. I hope you all had a nice time with family, or at least, a nice few days off. Today’s list is exciting because there are several books that I can’t wait to get next year. Although I haven’t come up with ten of them, these are the ones coming out next year that I cannot wait to read. The release dates are according to Goodreads, so if any of them are wrong, it’s their fault, not mine. 🙂

Top Ten (or Eight) Most Anticipated Books For 2013

1. Of Shadow Born by Dianne Sylvan (release date March 2013) – This is the fourth book in her Shadow World series, which is one of the few vampire series that I absolutely adore. The third book ended on such a brutal cliffhanger! I need to know what happened right now!!!

2. The Madness Underneath by Maureen Johnson (release date February 2013) – This is the second book in her Shades of London series. The first book was excellent, a modern ghost story mystery with a little Jack the Ripper history thrown in. A very interesting read. I can’t wait to see where this goes.

3. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare (release date March 2013) – I haven’t read much of the Infernal Devices series, but I’m a big fan of the Mortal Instruments series, as many of you know. This will be the third book of the Infernal Devices, which means I need to get back to reading those to be ready for this book to come out.

4. The Shadowhunter’s Codex by Cassandra Clare (release date November 2013) – This is a companion volume to the Mortal Instruments series, which will go into some of the back story of the Shadowhunter’s world (with some commentary by Clary Fray) and show what all the runes look like. It will be on my shelf soon.

5. Requiem by Maggie Stiefvater (release date 2013) – This will be the third book in her Books of Faerie series. I’ve read both of the first two (and reviewed them here on the blog) and they are really good. Let’s combine faeries with music and add a dash of romance. It’s a really good combination. 🙂

6. Shadows in the Silence by Courtney Allison Moulton (release date January 2013) – This will be the third book in the Angelfire series. I’ve only read the first one, but it was really good. I like the mythology in this series. I need to track down the second book so that I’ll be ready to read the third next year.

7. My Name is Rapunzel by K.C. Hilton (release date 2013) – I will admit that I know next to nothing about this book. Goodreads only has a very short synopsis, but that and the cover art has really drawn me in. I love retellings of fairy tales, and this one looks really interesting.

8. The Traitor Son by Julie Kagawa (release date September 2013) – I loved the Iron Fey series so much, I can’t wait to read this next series. It follows another character, who was way on the periphery in Iron Fey, but who was still very important. This book will be the second book in the Call of the Forgotten series, so I need to track down the first one right away.

Any books coming out next year that you’re excited about?

Oh, and since I haven’t updated this for a while, here’s my writing progress. Only four more days to go!

Writing Challenge Update:

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to say that I will not be online much for the rest of the week. I will have a few days off work, as will most of you, and I intend to take some much needed down time. I am very grateful for all of you who come to my blog and read my ramblings. It makes me want to keep writing, so thank you. I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I’ll see you all next week.

Books I've Read · Top Ten Tuesdays

Top Ten Tuesday – Gratitude Edition

In this season of Thanksgiving (it is not Christmas yet, no matter what the stores say!!!), it is time to think of the things in life that have uplifted me and inspired me. Of course, books are included in that, since I spend half of my waking life reading these days. Hey, as we said in the last episode of Bibliophiles Anonymous, it’s cheaper than therapy. 🙂

Top Ten (or Five) Books/Authors I’m Thankful For

1. J.K. Rowling – If it wasn’t for her, I would never have started writing. Her story is so amazing – coming from nothing, a single mom living paycheck to paycheck, having one simple idea and turning it into the largest worldwide phenomenon of my lifetime. I am unbelievably grateful for her persistence – would you believe the first publishers she went to TURNED HER DOWN? I bet they kick themselves now.

2. Harry, A History by Melissa Anelli – Along the same vein, this book tells the story behind the Harry Potter fandom. The story behind the story, if you will. It expressed everything I feel about the Harry Potter world and the closeness of the community that built itself around these books. Not to mention that Melissa Anelli is the webmistress of what I think is the best fan sites out there, The Leaky Cauldron.

3. Sheri Lynch – So many things to say about this lady. She is co-host of the “Bob & Sheri” show, a radio broadcast that is syndicated around the world. I always download the podcast version so I don’t miss it. Sheri has written two books, Hello, My Name is Mommy and Be Happy or I’ll Scream, both about life and family and trying to balance the craziness therein. Sheri is completely honest about her completely dysfunctional upbringing and it is truly inspirational.

4. William Shakespeare – What can I say about this guy? Nothing, except that I adore him. My Shakespeare class in college was the toughest class I took, but it was also the most enjoyable. No one turns a phrase like Will. No one. And I have to say, seeing The Tempest in New York City, featuring Mandy Patinkin as Prospero, was one of the highlights of my life.

5. The BrontĂ« sisters – I first read Jane Eyre my senior year of high school. That was my first introduction to the sisters BrontĂ«. Emily, Charlotte, and Anne wanted to write, but since they were women, no one would take them seriously. So what did they do? Did they just give up their dream? Nope. They took on male pseudonyms and kept on writing. Jane Eyre was originally published under the pen name Currer Bell. Nothing stopped these ladies!

There are many more, I’m sure, but I’m a bit short on time this morning. I might have to continue this topic in tomorrow’s post.


Books I've Read

Reading Challenge Complete!

So many of you who have been reading along for a while know that I challenged myself to read 60 books this year. I am proud to say that I have achieved that goal with room to spare. Yay!

Here is the complete list:

1. The Sapphire Rose by David Eddings (re-read)
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (new)
3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (new)
4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins (new)
5. LotR: the Fellowship of the Ring (re-read)
6. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (new)
7. Hellsbane by Paige Cuccaro (new)
8. Domes of Fire by David Eddings (re-read)
9. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw (new)
10. Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey (new)
11. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnson (new)
12. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (new)
13. The Two Towers by J.R.R.Tolkien (re-read)
14. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (new)
15. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (new)
16. The Magicians by Lev Grossman (new)
17. Path of Fate by Diana Pharaoh Francis (new)
18. Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien (re-read)
19. Queen of Shadows by Dianne Sylvan (re-read)
20. Shadowflame by Dianne Sylvan (re-read)
21. Shadow’s Fall by Dianne Sylvan (new)
22. The Shining Ones by David Eddings (re-read)
23. Phantom by Susan Kay (re-read)
24. The Princess Bride by William Goldman (new)
25. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (re-read)
26. The Hidden City by David Eddings (re-read)
27. The Magician of Wall Street by Minta Hall (new)
28. Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Steivater (new)
29. We the Animals by Justin Torres (new)
30. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (new)
31. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman (re-read)
32. The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (re-read)
33. The Fairy Godmother by Mercedes Lackey (new)
34. The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (re-read)
35. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (new)
36. Magic Study by Maria V. Snyder (new)
37. The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (new)
38. Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder (new)
39. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (re-read)
40. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (new)
41. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (new)
42. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (re-read)
43. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (new)
44. Hood by Stephen Lawhead (re-read)
45. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
46. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
47. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (new)
48. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (new)
49. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (re-read)
50. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce (new)
51. Sandman Vol 1: Preludes and Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman (new)
52. Ballad: A Gatherine of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater (new)
53. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (new)
54. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (re-read)
55. The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa (new)
56. Feed by Mira Grant (new)
57. Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (re-read)
58. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare (re-read)
59. The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa (new)
60. Regina’s Song by David Eddings (re-read)

This includes reading 37 new books, having only 23 of them be re-reads. Which is good because I had originally set the goal to try and read 15 new books. I’ve over doubled that goal, which is awesome! I’ve found so many amazing books this year. And eventually, I will get around to reviewing the rest of them. 🙂


Announcement Time

Greetings all! My day today is really hectic, so this will be just a small post. I wanted to keep everyone in the loop with my writing progress, but before that, I wanted to announce something exciting. At least, it’s very exciting for me.

Come January, I will be starting graduate school at Southern New Hampshire University. They have a really good online program that has everything that I’m looking for. I’ve tried grad school before in the past, but had a hard time making time for the classes. I’m hoping the online option will give me more flexibility.

I have no idea how I’m going to manage this. I have so many things going on in my life right now, and this is just going to another big thing to work in. But I’m excited. Really excited. And nervous. But mostly excited.

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Books I've Read

Who is the Demon King?

Today’s book review is The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima. It is the first book in the Seven Realms series and I came across it through the book club over at the Mallorean Tavern. The folks over there enjoyed it and I have to say that I did too.

This story follows two main characters, so I’ll start with the first one. His name is Hanson Allister, usually called Han. He has a couple other nicknames as well. One of them is “Hunts Alone,” given to him by the clans for his solitary nature. The other is “Cuffs,” the name he got when he was the leader of a street gang due to the large silver cuffs that he wore on his wrists. He doesn’t know where the cuffs came from, but he has worn them all his life. That’s right – they must be magic because as he grew, so did they.

The other main character is Raisa, the princess heir of the Fells. I liked her a lot. She’s a bit silly at times, but she can be hard as steel as well. Her mother, the current queen, is weak and clearly being controlled by others. Raisa doesn’t want that to happen to her. She has to try and weave through the chaos of court politics, where the wizards seem to be attempting to increase their influence, and the loyal members of the guard are no longer taken as seriously as they should be.

It’s this political situation that took me a while to get into. I had a hard time at first figuring out who was who and which factions were fighting which. Since the first main scene involves Han and his friend Dancer getting into a scuffle with a couple of young wizards, I assumed that the clans don’t really like the wizards much. Han ends up taking a very powerful amulet from one of the younger wizards, Micah Bayar, and this  act ends up setting in motion a whole host of events. The Bayars are also involved in plots at the palace, which include trying to influence Raisa, which doesn’t go well.

I liked Han. He’s a reformed thug who is just trying to do the right thing, trying to protect and provide for his family. I also liked Raisa. She has spunk and I like how she is trying to do good for the people, by actually going out among them to see what life is really like. The Bayars are interesting adversaries, athough I think Micah is probably not that bad of a guy. I think he’s just being controlled by his father.

I would have liked to hear more about the history of this world. There are numerous mentions of Hanalea, a queen who lived long ago and helped to defeat the Demon King. Their story wasn’t really explained until later in the book, so I got confused a couple of times. The twist at the end was one I didn’t see coming, and I won’t spoil it here.

I will probably read further into this series, if only to see what happens with Han and Raisa come together again. They met briefly in this book, although Han didn’t know who Raisa was. At the end, they are both planning to travel to the same far away place, so you know they have to run into each other again (which should be interesting, since Raisa thinks that Han was killed). So overall, an enjoyable read.

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