Currently Playing, Watching, Reading III

Hello, everyone 🙂

I’m so sorry for the break in posting! Life has gotten a little crazy, but that’s something I should save for a “life update” post–Which I assure you, that is coming soon. In the past month I haven’t had a lot of extra time to be watching or reading or playing anything…but I’ll at least talk about some of the things I’ve started!

Currently Playing: Pokemon Moon

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I’m SO in love with it already! I’m only about two to three hours into gameplay so far, but I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. The characters are all really cool (or cute, that too) and I love the island theme! The music is lovely, and the battles are more exciting than ever. I’ve worked really hard not to spoil anything for myself (SUPER hard when you work in a Pokemon card shop, by the way) and I’m excited to see where the story takes me. I love all of the cut scenes with Lillie in them!

I only have Moon, I missed out on Sun–but that’s because I’m stubbornly waiting for the Ultra versions to come out, since I pre-ordered the collector’s editions of them. Knowing me though, as a collector I’ll probably end up with the original anyways….

All the new Pokemon are SO cute. I of course started out with Rowlett as my first Pokemon! I’ve always been partial to grass types as starters, since they seem to get the most flack from the fandom–but they can be just as strong as the others!

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Who is your favorite starter?

Currently Watching: Beyond the Boundary

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Or should I say, re-watching! I saw this sometime last year, & absolutely loved it. A coworker of mine recently asked for a list of anime recommendations; after including this, I thought it would be a good to rehash the experience 🙂 The English translation of the movie released in the States sometime last week I think, so I definitely want to check that out as well.

I’m only a few episodes in right now, but I can remember exactly why I was so drawn to it–the music and the animation are stunning on their own. The premise is dark and intriguing, centered around our heroine who is the pariah of the spirit hunting world simply because of her lineage.

If you like Noragami, or other spirit-related content, this show is right up your alley. It centers on the living vs. the dead, and other ominous things that go bump into the night. The male lead, Akihito, is an intriguing character himself as well, and perfectly fits along the theme that you can’t always win the fight and that even your best intentions can go horribly wrong. There is so much more than what is shown on the surface, between the characters and the story itself. A lot of it has to do with well-placed dialogue and foreshadowing that is so subtle, you don’t realize it’s happened until after the fact. Brilliant writing!

After I watched it through the first time, I heard through the grapevine that this show was one that people really loved, or absolutely hated. Though I myself loved it, I can see why some didn’t; the humor is a little off-kilter at times, especially with the timing and occasional fan-service. Now, fan-service isn’t something that bothers me too much, but I do agree it was placed irresponsibly into the story. However, in my eyes the characterization along with the music, story, and scenery more than made up for it. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who asks–just make sure to wade through some of the awkward parts, okay? It’s worth-it, I promise.

Currently Reading: Black Rose Alice

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I have had little to no time to read this month, so lately I’ve just been picking up whatever manga I can find to read in one sitting! There’s lots of pictures and the stories are always super interesting, so it definitely fills the gap for me 🙂 I go through phases where I only read manga for months at a time; or visa versa, where I only read books for months at a time…anyways!

Black Rose Alice came as a pleasant (and delightfully creepy) surprise to me! If you love Buffy, or Anne Rice, I would definitely recommend this to you. I could almost even compare the vibe to Del Toro’s Crimson Peak (If you haven’t seen it, do so!)

The story begins with a tragedy that happened in 1800’s Vienna, with lust, jealousy and of course, tragedy. It sorts of goes back and forth in time to present day in this volume, keeping the reader interested in how the stories correlate. As I sort of spoiled in the aforementioned statement, this book involves vampires–but a twist on vampires you see. They’re presented as paralytic insects that infect a body and essentially destroy it so that the host is “dead”…but still walking. Disgusting and wonderful, all the same time. (Be warned, there’s some bug-eating imagery in there that’s not all pleasant.)

I went into this expecting campy romance, and came out of the other side with my mind blown. There are more adult themes in here than anything, with mature storytelling and intricate plot lines. I can’t wait to pick up the next volume!

Sadly,

That’s about all I’ve had time for this month folks. I hope you get some good recommendations out of this, and please feel free to shoot me some recs as well! I’m falling further behind on my media, so I need all the help I can get.

Thanks for reading,

Lux

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Build Something You Can be Proud of: Creative Spaces

I’m going to be completely honest with you–I am not an artist, but I wish so much that I could be! I am a firm believer of the mindset “You can be anything that you want to be”….But even I am willing to admit to myself that I don’t have the attention span to make it in the arts. I get so restless and antsy when I sit still for too long. I would still like to consider myself a creative person, though–and I think that creativity takes many other forms.

One of the best ways that I love to express myself is through my environment. I’ve just recently moved,  and though I hate the moving process, I LOVE the setup process. 🙂

One of my favorite kinds of YouTube videos to watch are the room tour videos; I think they are the ultimate form of self expression for people like me, who love art but can’t/don’t make it!

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I’ve always been a collector at heart; my new room is rather small, so this is only a portion of my collection on the shelf there. As you can see, I have a Tower O’ Toys stacked beside it that I most likely will have to keep there. (I’m too stubborn to store them in the unfinished basement, for fear of water damage). This doesn’t bother me in the slightest–I like “comfortable clutter” and being surrounded by all of my favorite things. This display isn’t perfect, but it is definitely Something I can be proud of. 🙂 This bookshelf was the main reason I chose to have the smallest room in the apartment–this more than made up for the lack of other space!

Along the same veins of creative space, another thing that I find to be really interesting are “desk tours” of sorts, where artists and other creative thinkers share their work space. A lot of different professions share this idea–there is an Architecture blog that I follow called “Life of an Architect” (You should look it up, Bob Borson is a really fun guy) & he also chose to dedicate a post to the creative work spaces of architects. It’s really cool, because an artist’s desk is where all of the magic happens!

I’m a HUGE manga reader–I recently stumbled across these articles here that showcase different popular mangaka, and the space they used to create some of the comic world’s greatest classics! If you’re interested, take a look & enjoy.

http://kotaku.com/famous-japanese-manga-were-born-on-these-desks-1537642979

This next one is more about artists in Japan/Asia in general, which I find just as entertaining:

http://kotaku.com/japanese-artists-show-off-their-workspaces-1762345155?utm_campaign=Socialflow_Kotaku_Facebook&utm_source=Kotaku_Facebook&utm_medium=Socialflow

Annnnnd one more–this is the creator/artist for Space Brothers, recreating The Martian movie poster with his own original design and characters. Really neat 🙂

http://kodanshacomics.com/2016/03/01/the-martian-x-space-brothers-watch-chuya-koyama-draw-his-version-of-the-movie-poster/

Thanks for reading!

–Lux

 

Currently Playing/Watching/Reading II

Hey guys! It is time once again to chat about all of my current favorites 🙂 I’ve had SO much going on this month, therefore my list will be a bit small–but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless. Between moving apartments and working two jobs, I’m not at my usual “peak potato”* performance, but I think I’ll still have some gems in here for you! Usually when life gets really busy my focus tends to be more on anime-related things, because they are such a good stress-reliever.

*Ultimate form of laziness & un-productivity

Without further ado….

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Currently Playing: Final Fantasy Explorers

People give this game a lot of flack, but I think it is SO fun! It was released for the Nintendo 3DS in January of 2016, and I managed to get my hands on a copy of it last summer. Like most in the Final Fantasy franchise, it’s a bit of a long one & I like to take my time, so it’s been an ongoing completion battle since last winter!

In this game, you play a solitary explorer who travels the island of Amostra in search of Crystals, which are the source of magic & life in this universe. In order to get to these Crystals, you have to battle a horde of Monsters & Eidolons (REALLY powerful monsters). One of my favorite things about this game is that of course there are familiar monsters and beings that span the entire FF series such as Chocobos and Cockatrice, each re-imagined in their own unique way 🙂

Another thing that I love is the Eidolons themselves, which are the beloved GF’s (If you’ve played VIII) we all know and love. Because the Eidolons are monsters that you have to defeat rather than call upon for aid in battle, they came up with another really cool idea–the GF’s that you call on in here are the heroes from the other FF games themselves!! (Complete with their original theme music, heck yes)

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You can play as Squall, Cloud, Tifa and many others!

It is most comparable to Monster Hunter (Which I do not know from personal experience as I’ve never played them). The world is set up in such a way that you can customize your character in an open(ish) setting, and go on quests ranging from level 1-10. The quests do get very repetitive as they are usually the same thing with higher-level monsters as you go, but I love the music, and there is so much more to this game than just the main-level quests! You have a “notebook” to track your progress, and you get rewards for each of the completions in the book; you can unlock new bonus content etc.

I know this is a strange thing to say, but I also really like that they track your progress with a percentage in each category, too! Like, “You have captured XX% of Eidolons”, “You are XX% through the main story”, that sort of thing. The completionist  in me always wants to bring everything to a perfect 100 🙂

Almost everything about your character is customizable; from your sex to your appearance (hair/eyes), your voice and even your occupation, you have to opportunity to make this game your own unique experience! & though I did say it is a solitary journey, you can always connect with your friends and battle through quests together, along with a party of monsters that you build as well!

Despite its repetitive nature, I think the creators worked hard to combat this by offering so many other refreshing aspects such as customization and an expansive choice of armors & weapons. This game really is what you make it, so make sure you build something you can be proud of!

So far (I’m all the way to the level 10 quests) I would give this game a solid 8.5 out of 10. I would definitely recommend it!

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Currently Watching: Boruto

I am only on episode 12 of this, but you guessed it–I LOVE THIS SO MUCH. So so much. Given that I love the original series, this came as no surprise. I could read Masashi Kishimoto’s grocery list & still be entertained! Sorry, this is mostly going to be me gushing more than anything else. To try and keep it as short as possible, here are a few bullet points detailing why:

*Marketing–just LOOK at how bright and beautiful that promo is! I am loving the vibrancy throughout the series. The first opening theme is beautiful both in song and animation; It plays a nice homage to Bleach.

*Characters–I think all of the children turned out exceptionally well created. They are each unique, with their own personalities. Much like the original Naruto series, it’s so hard to pick favorites–but so far I LOVE ChoCho (She’s hysterical) and Mitsuki (So mysterious!)

I’m also really glad that you still get to see some of the original teams too, and how they act as parents and adults. It’s a really cool feeling to grow alongside beloved characters.

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*THAT OPENING THO (Don’t worry, that’s all I’m going to say. I mean, with picture included, need I say anything else?! So awesome!!)

I know people have a lot of feelings about this series, and believe me, I’m not ignoring that–but I will most certainly be making an entirely separate post to discuss my full feelings on the subjects at hand.

Moving right along…

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Currently Watching: Your Lie in April

I’ve watched this through to the end once last year. One night this month I just decided to watch an episode of something random–I was only planning on watching a single episode–however this is a series that will hook you in. I ended up watching over half over again, and I plan to finish it out sometime next week.

Like Boruto, the colors and animation in this series is breathtaking. It’s so pretty to look at, and the colors are so vibrant–this contrasts nicely with the devastating subject matter. I won’t say much about it–it is your job to discover the lie yourself!

The story revolves around Arima Kosei, a world-class pianist who has decided to give up music. Through the love and encouragement of his friends, he finds the strength to continue on–to remember that music can heal your heart and just a quickly break it.

If you haven’t seen this series, please PLEASE do yourself a favor and give it a chance. You won’t regret it.

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Currently Reading: Howl’s Moving Castle

This story was a book long before it was picked up by Miyazaki; Published in 1986, Diana was inspired by a young reader who asked her, “Please write a story about a floating castle.” Thus, the masterpiece was born!

In case you haven’t heard of this story before–it revolves around Sophie Hatter, the eldest sibling of three, who is cursed by the Witch of the Waste to appear as the old woman she seems to always act like. Shenanigans ensue, and she ends up as the terrible Wizard Howl’s cleaning lady–where she starts to realize that not everything is as it seems. Everything you could want in a fantasy adventure is there–fire demons, magic spells, talking dogs…I love that I could not EVER guess where this story was going to go.

As with everything in this post–I loved it SO much. I’ve read it once before in high school. The characters were very well written; Howl was so over-dramatic (much more so than in the Miyazaki version) & I loved him even more so for it. He wasn’t this all knowing perfect individual–he was whiny and vain and a “slither-outerer” as Sophie liked to call him.

“I feel ill,” Howl announced. “I’m going to bed, where I may die.” 

Sophie herself was hysterical, always calling Howl out and taking care of the household. Calcifer, though he is technically a demon, was what I even might call “adorable”. There are of course differences between the film and the book, but I loved them both equally 🙂

I would 10/10 recommend this book EVERY time. I think it will have to go on my “yearly reading list” at this point!

 

So my friends,

There you have it! It’s not much, but these are all the things I’ve had a chance to enjoy over the month of August. Do you have any good recommendations for what I should be watching, reading or playing next? Cheers!

Book Review: The Darkest Part of the Forest, by Holly Black

“There’s a monster in our wood

She’ll get you if you’re not good

Drag you under leaves and sticks

Punish you for all your tricks

A nest of hair and gnawed bone

You are never, ever coming home.”

I loved this book so much. This is going to be one-part review, & one-part of me gushing. Plan accordingly.

**You should also plan accordingly in that this review may contain spoilers. I’m sorry, I just really can’t help myself–sometimes I say too much in the hopes that someone might want to discuss aspects of the work with me. If that is the case, please feel free to do so in the comments section 🙂

Once upon a time, the little town of Fairfold had slumbering within it a mysterious Fae prince, housed in a glass coffin not unlike a certain one that comes to mind….

“Something even more dangerous than your prince walks in his shadow.”

It’s up to the gallant Hazel & her older brother Ben to decide what to do with the beautiful young man, & to put together all of the missing pieces to save not only the town, but themselves as well. This contemporary YA fairy tale is the perfect escape!

The Review

5 stars!

The first words of a novel are highly important; but sometimes the first words aren’t the most enthralling. Sometimes that comes right after–& Holly Black is GOOD at that. She paints a very pretty and at times grotesque picture that leaves me desperate for more. 

“I am too much made of trees and leaves and open air,”

It feels like the first true, haunting fairy tail that I’ve read in ages. The mood is contagious and warm, yet chilling at the same time, with sincerely dark undertones. I loved the seriousness of it, and the anticipation of anytime I felt like something was about to happen. I loved the mystery in all of it–parts of it felt like there were things that had already happened in this book, like the reader is looking into the middle of the story; the timeline was spun in such a way to keep you guessing. (That’s one of my favorite things about this book–I couldn’t predict what would happen next.) 

This fairy tale takes a more traditional route, focusing on the tricksters and the things that go bump into the night:

“Townsfolk knew to fear the monster coiled in the heart of the forest, who lured tourists with a cry that sounded like a woman weeping…it fed on sorrow and sowed corruption.”

The characters and relationships are complicated & realistic; while there is some romance in this story (& a healthy amount of representation, at that) I enjoy the fact that it focuses mainly on the sibling relationship between Hazel & Ben. The romance was there, but often not elaborated on. (The parts that were, were not overdone if that makes any sense.) There are several other aspects of the story that Holly decided to focus on, and they definitely shine!

The siblings were realistic in that they loved each other and were very close, however they were riddled with misunderstanding towards each other; it was always a game, as the reader, to guess which character knew what because they seemed to keep so much from each other (As real siblings tend to do.)

I liked that all of Holly’s characters were flawed in one way or another. There were times when I was frustrated and upset with Hazel, but could understand why she did what she did. That is good characterization, and helps the audience to connect more even if they don’t always agree with the character (yes Hazel, I’m still looking at you girl.) The same could be said for Ben, who wished too much to escape into the life of someone, anyone else. Or Jack, or Carter, or Amanda–everyone, whether they were a main or supporting character, came with their own thoughts and feelings and mistakes. This made me truly love them even more–these characters were no less deserving of love than any living, breathing human who could make the same mistakes.

I also LOVED that this book was a stand-alone; to me, it makes it feel that much more special 🙂 Lately I’ve been feeling like there is an over-saturation of trilogies and duologies in the YA market. I’m not saying that they’re all bad (I have read and loved many of them). I simply mean that sometimes I don’t want to commit to a book if I know I’m gonna have to wait a few years to finish the story or pay for two or three different installments, you know? I think some stories do much better as a stand alone, and this is one of them.

 

 

If you’re looking for a great escape, this novel will do just that for you. It’s a lovely balance of fantasy and realism, and helps you to question and understand some of the relationships in your own life. It even makes me want to believe that there is a little magic out there for me in this world 🙂 This is one that I will keep on my bookshelf indefinitely, to be read and loved many times!

I’m thrilled to see that Holly has another Fae novel coming out in January of 2018–

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Have you read this book, or any others by Holly Black? What did you think? I would love your honest opinions below!

Everyday Life Updates

So much has been going on in my life lately–it’s crazy how time seems to slip by so quickly! I love to read posts about everyday life from other bloggers, because I think it’s really interesting to have a “day in the life” experience with someone whose life is completely different (or sometimes, not-so-different) from my own 🙂 It’s the best of both worlds, really– I’m either experiencing something completely new or I feel comforted by the thought of “I’m not the only one who does that!”

I love my job(s)

Yep, that’s right–I said job(s). I was recently lucky enough to score a brand new weekend job! It’s with a specialty card shop; not stationary or anything like that, but more like card games! We sell Pokemon, Magic the Gathering, assorted baseball cards…you name it, we got it.

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I love it so much.

This job requires me to hang out with kids more often than not. I have a general uneasiness around kiddos, but this place is quickly curing me of that because they’re all SO CUTE. It’s not like working retail in a department store where parents let their kids run loose (“Stop throwing shoes Jimmmmyyyyyyyyyyuhhh”). No, this is different because these kids are here for themselves and they are so excited. It’s precious to see their faces light up when they enter the room, and how shy/excited they are to tell you all about their favorite Pokemon. (I love Pokemon too, mostly for nostalgic reasons, so this job is basically perfect!). They just want to be around you and be close to you and show you all of their cool things which I am so on-board for! The company van even features Pokemon on it, and kids always get excited when they see it so we keep little cards & novelties on-hand to give out for them. I’m basically the Pokemon fairy & it’s the best thing ever??

Of course, that’s not to say that we don’t cater to other clientele, which I like just as much if not better! It’s great to be around people, adults and children alike, who share the same passion. 10/10 working life. Also, did you know that Final Fantasy has a card game?? Because I didn’t either & I can’t wait to try it. I love the video games series so much, so I was pumped to see it’s made its way into other mediums. Expect a separate post with details!

My only complaint is that I’ve got that old lady problem now, of falling asleep within 15 minutes of turning something on to watch. Because of this…I’m so far behind on so many things ):

I’ve been dreading my forth-coming evaluation at my weekday job–but I got such a good review that I kind of want to hang it on my fridge for my roommate to stare at! My weekend job lets little kids bring in their report cards for good grades–they’ll get a booster pack of Pokemon cards for it. I wonder if this counts, too? I’m gonna go for it.

I’m Moving

(Thank all that is good.)

I already signed the lease; all I need to do is pay the fees and finish up all of my packing! (Definitely not an easy task, as I tend to collect all sorts of things from manga/books & figures to movies & video games!)

My current residence is less-than-ideal; I have half a mind to call the health department on them for all of their negligence. But–what’s done is done, & I’m just thankful to be moving on. I only need to make it three more weeks & then I’m free!! Expect a future post on my new setup that I will have 🙂

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(Can you tell I’m excited?) I’ve worked in an architecture firm so I know how to make proper drawings!**

**Outright lie; my architecture friends are dry heaving right now at the site of this, I’m sure 🙂

I’m excited, it’s in a really nice neighborhood that’s closer to downtown; & it’s a historic building so that means more space for less money! The hardwood floors are lovely & I will have a walk-out second level porch! Mine is the smallest room in the apartment, but I don’t mind because it has lots of nice, natural lighting & a built in bookcase–what more can I possibly ask for??

Speaking of moving…

My sister is moving to Korea

Okay, no even fair! She is planning to teach English in South Korea for a year. I forget which town she will be in, but from what I can tell it’s about two hours between Seoul & the coast! I really hope I get the chance to visit her while she’s there, but I can’t manage to save money for the life of me, with all the collecting that I do…..keep your fingers crossed for me. (& your toes, for good measure.)

What’s been going on in your lives, lately? Tell me some stories! I would love to hear them.

 

Currently Playing/Watching/Reading

So one of my favorite blogs that I follow on here is Flavia the Bibliophile (Hey girl heeeeeyyyy), & this is a series of posts that she will do at least once a month that details all of her currents. I really like this idea, because it gives me a chance to ramble to someone (or no one, depending on if the blog ever gets read or not) about the things I am really enjoying (& in some cases, not enjoying!). Please note: My playing/watching sections are spoiler-free, but my reading section is not. So without further ado, let’s get started!

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Currently Playing: Final Fantasy XV

I actually bought this game the first day that it was released, but as you can see I’ve been dragging my feet on it. I’m currently about 43% through the game and loving every minute of it! So far I’ve only been playing in the open world side of things, attempting to finish as many side quests as I can. I’ve been trying to level up my boys as well, because I’m nervous about how things will go once I make it to the story-driven part of the game. (Seriously, I got stuck in IX that way because I didn’t level up enough and I didn’t stock enough restoratives. I got stuck in the same field for weeks until I started over again…whoops).

I’m loving all of the extra details as well, from the fishing, the cooking, and OF COURSE the baby Chocobos! I really like that you can change the colors and name them as you please. Also can we talk about those EPIC guardian summons?!?! Ramuh scares the crap out of me every single time & I love it so much. He’s my dude! I can’t wait to see if there are other summons available as the game progresses.

My only slight complaint about this game kind of comes as a double-edged sword; while the whole open world/thousands of side quests is really, really fun, I think it distracts the audience from the main story more than I would like to admit. I can see why they only did part of the game as open world for that reason. I also think they tried to reconcile this by releasing an anime (Brotherhood) with back story, Kingsglaive as a prequel movie, and of course there was the precious demo with young prince Noctis and another guardian, Carbuncle. (This was adorable and reminded me of a nice mix between Kingdom Hearts and Supernatural. I would definitely recommend it!) All three of these were wonderful in their own right, and helped to remind the audience of the story.

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I’m mostly dragging my feet because I know the rest of the story/the ending will make me REALLY sad….but eventually I will make myself push through it and continue. As of now I would definitely recommend this game to any RPG fan!

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Currently Watching: Goblin, the Lonely & Great God

I have a feeling that this is something I would have liked a lot more when I was younger and in high school or early college–that’s not to say that I don’t like it now because it’s simply stunning. There are many parts to this intricate story that hit me pretty deep. I’m currently on episode 13 of 18, so I will wait to give my final review–but here are some of my current thoughts and positives on this series:

*The music is so beautiful! I’ve never fallen in love with a K-Drama score like I have this one. It’s ethereal and heart-wrenching, which makes the story that much more beautiful. Music plays a large part in any story, because it enhances the emotions of any given situation.  A+++++++

(The visuals are just as stunning, by the way)

*The story is epic, complicated, and lovely. I am a big fan of series that make me think, and this one does just that. Rather than follow the typical outline of a K-drama, this one is different in that there is no love triangle/second love interest; instead, the second male lead gets his own story line that intertwines deeply with the two main characters. This is important, because they’re all together both in the past and the present (You’ll see what I mean when you watch it). This series makes you contemplate morality, the difference between right and wrong, and how the consequences of your actions affect everyone around you. Story is also A+++++++

*My only complaint (if I can call it that, because it’s not deterring me in any way) is the fact that I like the second lead & his story more than I like the main love story…but that’s more so just a matter of preference! I think it’s because the main female love interest is younger and so far, she hasn’t been given a lot of character growth–I feel like she’s not as well-rounded as the other characters. This is what I meant when I said I might enjoy it if I’d seen it when I was younger–there are some moments when the male leads are constantly rescuing her or fawning over her & I just think….why?

With all of these elements combined, despite my hesitation about the main female lead I would still recommend this K-Drama all the way! I watch mine on Netflix & Dramafever (Which also has an app on the PS4 in case you were wondering). Where do you watch yours?

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Currently Watching (Also): Tsuki Ga Kirei

This is a sweet, quiet little slice of life anime that I’m really enjoying. Though it centers around a romance, I would like to classify it in this category rather than the shojo or romance drama categories, mainly because it differs from them in the sense that it avoids a lot of tropes. (Not that tropes are always a bad thing.)

It’s about two third year middle school students who are sort of finding their way around their first romantic experience. It’s sweet and realistic in my opinion; they talk more over Line (texting) than in person because they’re both very shy, and it showcases all the subtleties and misunderstanding that often happen in a young relationship without going over the top. I relate to these kids so much because I’m also very shy, especially when it comes to romance; I also like to keep my private life to myself.

It’s a quiet piece but I’m enjoying it all the same–not all relationships have a big, loud start! So far I’m on episode 6 of 12, I’ll keep you all posted. Slice of Life is my favorite genre, do you guys have any suggestions or favorites that I should try? 🙂

 

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Currently Reading: Glitter by Aprilynne Pike

So I read this book for my book club that I have tomorrow night; most of the ladies in my circle are librarians who happen to be in charge of the YA section, so most of our selections since I have joined are all YA. I don’t mind this at all, but I do have to say….

hated this book so much. (I’m sorry if I offend anyone!)

The story was rushed, most of the characters are two-dimensional, and the main character, Danica, is quite possibly one of the worst characters I have come across in YA literature. She’s selfish and will step on everyone around her to get ahead.

***Lots of spoilers from this point on***

The premise is that Danica is being forced to marry a murderous young king through the manipulations of her own power-hungry mother. From this standpoint, I can definitely sympathize with Danica–who would want to marry an abusive psychopath?! What I can’t justify is all of her actions after this point.

Desperate to leave, she tries to pay a criminal to help her escape from her cruel fate. However, at the last  moment he raises the price so high that she must figure something else out, and quick. So what does she turn to? Selling drugs, of course….

I think the idea is interesting enough–it’s a dystopian society (Why is YA so obsessed with this concept?) set in the future of France, where a large corporation has bought out the palace of Versailles and created a “bubble” of noble elite who still dress like it’s the 1700’s but have the all the comforts of modern society, such as robots for servants called M.A.R.I.E. (subtle, I know).

In order to make her great escape, Danica comes up with the clever idea of selling “happiness” drugs disguised as makeup–hence “Glitter.” Not only is she drugging all of noble society without their knowledge and consent, but she’s aiding her own father’s terrible addiction as well. Instead of, I don’t know…helping him get clean?!

She’s in love with her dealer …she spends all of her time saying “Why doesn’t he love me” instead of, “Wow this guy could kill me.” It’s incredibly stupid and vapid of her to think this way–especially about the guy who’s using her to sell drugs?!?!? How could he possibly be appealing to her? There’s little development in the area of his character except that one day he hates her and then all of a sudden he loves her. Instalove, much?

Once again I gotta come back to the whole stepping on people to get ahead thing.

HEAVY SPOILERS AHEAD

Because of her, her own mother and best friend die of an overdose; her dealer boyfriend gets put in jail (the only person she bothers to check on and promise to come back for), she leaves her father to die alone from withdraws in captivity, & she openly admits to her other friend, “hey, you’re gonna get in a BUNCH of trouble once I leave and you’ll have to pick up the pieces.” (AND THEN SHE LEAVES ANYWAY.) Like, this girl deserves all the bad juju that will come her way after all is said and done.

I also have to wonder–since this book will be a series, why did she rush the ending so much? There was so much more potential there.

*heavy breathing* The rant is over, I promise.

 

Spider-Man: Homecoming

“Finally, the Spider-Man we all deserve!”

 

I’ve heard people describe this movie in such a way even before it’s premiere & let me tell you–they are absolutely right. I’ve only just watched it yesterday, but it was so well executed that I could’ve sat there in the theater for yet another showing and been perfectly content. (Which is saying something, because this movie is a whooping 2hrs.&15 mins. long). Tom Holland was the perfect choice for our young hero, breathing new life into the character. I felt the whole spectrum of emotion: Fear, joy, sadness. I spent a good amount of time watching through my fingers (Both from anxiety and, in some cases, second-hand embarrassment.)…where do I even start?!**

 

**Probably by saying that I’m not good at keeping secrets and therefore, I might end up writing in some spoilers because I don’t always think before I speak. So if you haven’t seen this movie yet, out of the kindness of my heart I have to tell you…back off & come back later!

 

Been there, Seen That

A+ for avoiding all of the cliched parts of the Spider-Man origin story; this journey begins after his accident, as well as after Uncle Ben has died. Any allusions to those parts of Peter’s life are mentioned once, casually, as the story moves forward. That’s not to say that they just push Uncle Ben under the rug–I think they paid him a much better homage in this story by subtle, superb writing techniques–i’ll touch more on that here in a second.

 

That’s the downfall in a lot of these superhero movies–we can only see Uncle Ben (As well as Thomas & Martha Wayne) be killed so many times before it becomes oversaturated.

 

(No, this movie is not “Avengers 4 with Spider-Man in it”).

If you feel this way, it makes me sad because it’s almost like you missed the point! Yes, there were some Captain America cameos in there (but not really?…It’s super funny, trust me), but it was more so a goal, an aspiration of Peter to be a part of the Team than anything, and as an audience you see how isolated and far away he felt from them. I liked that this version acknowledged the fact that both Spider-Man and the Avengers not only live in the same universe, but in the same city–which makes that idea so much more frustrating and relatable. So close, and yet so far away. No, you don’t actually see any of the Avengers other than Iron Man, which brings me to my next point:

 

So Many EMOTIONS

Oh man–I’m not fifteen anymore, but this film reminded me exactly of how it felt to be fifteen. Homecoming was a breath of fresh air because it was written so differently than its predecessors; it focused more on Peter’s daily life, and how he coped with the newfound “responsibility” of his powers and what it means to just be a kid–kind of like a story about a kid who just-so-happens to be Spider-man, rather than the other way around. He was awkward, lovable, and all-around relatable–which, in my case, means he was a bit of a mess up. (Aren’t we all?). He was impulsive, he didn’t think things through, and he wanted to rush into something much bigger than himself. He was so ready to just grow up, prove himself and be a part of the “Team.”

 

This brings me to my favorite thing to talk about in regards to this movie–his complicated relationship with Iron Man.He is the only direct line that Peter has to the Avengers, and he is someone that Peter feels is especially absent. This was SO WELL DONE because I think it’s a subtle way of reminding us of the absence of Uncle Ben & how much Peter unknowingly wants to depend on Tony. This is a perfect example of showing, not telling–and it’s GREAT.

 

On the one hand, I’m frustrated with Tony just as much as Peter is, because we were all teenagers once–we know how it feels to be silenced and unheard by adults who do not take us seriously. But as an adult, I also feel for Tony–he didn’t have a good relationship with his Dad, and he certainly doesn’t know how to be a role model to anyone else. (I don’t know how to handle myself around people a lot younger than me either, so I’m in no place to judge here.) But, I think that’s one of the brilliant things about the writing in this movie–neither character is truly wrong, but neither character is truly right, either. This remains true in most human relationships, so I really liked that. Just….FEELINGS. So many feelings.

 

The Anti-Hero

They went the good old anti-hero route for our villain: The Vulture (also refreshing in its own way because we’re all pretty tired of the Green Goblin at this point). He’s your run-of-the-mill blue-collar worker who gets screwed over by the government and decides to take revenge (okay, it’s a bit more complicated than that but I’m sure you guys are probably tired of reading at this point if you haven’t given up already). I do enjoy that many stories take the time to help you understand the villains, and to let you sympathize with them in your own way. Michael Keaton made his own stunning performance in this  character, and I’m grateful for that as well. 

 

However, I’m glossing over all of that because I want to talk about THIS MOMENT (Spoiler warning):

 

This was my favorite piece of writing in almost this entire movie (Still spoilers, I’m sorry):

 

Up to this point, we’ve seen Peter be pushed to the wayside by adults and especially Tony; they’ve made it abundantly clear that he’s still a kid and has a lot of growing to do, and he’s not to be taken seriously. When an adult sees you as a child, there are certain things they say and do vs. certain things that they would definitely NOT say or do.

 

The first time that someone acknowledges him in this movie, and treats him as an adult, is when the Vulture turns to him and says, “I’m going to kill you. If you do not walk away from this right now, I will kill you.” THAT in itself was brilliant, and it definitely gave me chills. SO MANY CHILLS. In that moment, I felt the gravity of the situation and Peter’s raw fear–which makes it so much more powerful that he wouldn’t walk away. 

 

Final Thoughts

I have no other words for you except to say…go see this movie. It was brilliantly executed in my opinion, and I can’t wait to see more from our leading man Tom Holland. For me, this film was an easy 10/10.