my february and march in entertainment
books i read
The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater - This book is the sequel to The Raven Boys, which I ended up loving so much I've now read it twice! The Dream Thieves picks up where the first book left off, with Blue and her boys still on the hunt for a Welsh king supposedly buried in the Virginia mountains. The Dream Thieves sheds more light on the friendship between Gansey, the group's unofficial leader, and Ronan, the dark, brooding and broken tough guy. It also elaborates on Ronan's inherited ability to pull objects from his dream into the physical world - an ability that turns out to be very dangerous. The characters in this series are so well developed, and Stiefvater continues to reign as the queen of descriptive writing in my book.
Prodigy and Champion by Marie Lu - I really wish this YA dystopian series that began with Legend was more well known, because it has a much happier, more satisfying ending than more popular series like The Hunger Games and Divergent. I also love the dual points of view - it's refreshing to read a YA series with strong male and female main characters and to be able to recommend it to more of my students.
Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi - This book concludes the series that started with Under the Never Sky and continued with Through the Ever Night. Peregrine and Aria are one of the most romantic couples in current YA literature, and the fierce way they protect each other and fight for their relationship is one of the most enjoyable parts of reading these books. In the last book, Perry realizes that he has no choice but to work with a bitter enemy to save his tribe, the Tides, and Aria helps build a bond between the Tides and the Dwellers who have been displaced from the safety of the pod she grew up in. To get to the Still Blue, the only safe place left on Earth, the main characters have to be willing to sacrifice themselves and their loved ones, and the difficult choices made it very difficult to put the book down!
review of this book on iO9 and it sounded right up my alley. The book begins with the main character's disorientation, explained in second-person point of view, and I started to wonder if I'd made the right choice, but that section was followed by a flashback and change to third person and I quickly became addicted to the story. Half Bad's main character is Nathan, the son of a White Witch and a Black Witch, and the only known "half code" known to the Council of White Witches. His grandmother, who has raised Nathan and his half-siblings on her own since his mother's death, constantly assures Nathan that he is good, and a pretty White Witch named Annalise falls in love with him, but most other White Witches don't give him a chance. Eventually, Nathan learns that his father is the most evil Black Witch in the world, and that the Council has been keeping even closer tabs on him than he and his family suspected.
movies i saw
Admission - I was looking forward to this movie, since it stars Tina Fey and Paul Rudd. Tina plays a pretty standard Tina character - Portia, an uptight, busy professional (in this case, a college admissions officer at Princeton) who has neglected her personal life. Her college classmate John contacts her about visiting the experimental school he founded, but he has an alterior motive - his school's most promising student may be the son Portia gave up for adoption when she was a college student herself. Portia is torn between her commitment to her career and the chance to make a unique boy's dream come true. Unfortunately, the plot of the movie dragged a bit and Tina Fey and Paul Rudd did not have any romantic chemistry. The most entertaining thing about the film was probably Lily Tomlin as Portia's free spirit mom.
The Lego Movie - The theme song of this movie is called "Everything is Awesome!" and that pretty much sums up the film itself. The target audience might be in grade school, but I absolutely loved The Lego Movie. It stars a cast of extremely lovable voice actors (including Chris Pratt, Will Ferrell, Elizabeth Banks, Morgan Freeman, Will Arnett, Nick Offerman, and Liam Neeson), features loving nods to pretty much every action movie ever (the plot is basically The Matrix but with Legos!), and includes awesome cameos (Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill as Superman and Green Lantern but also kind of as their 21 Jump Street characters? Gandalf and Dumbledore? William Shakespeare doing the worm? Lando Calrissian and C3-PO riding in on the Millenium Falcon from Star Wars?). The movie was so creative and so much fun, and the theme - think for yourself instead of blindly following directions - is perfect for young people today.
The Secret of Kells - I decided I needed a little Irish movie in my life on St. Patrick's Day, and this animated feature set in medieval Ireland has been on my to-watch list for a while now. Brendan, an apprentice in the Abbey of Kells, helps Brother Aidan find ingredients to make ink to complete a beautiful illuminated Bible. In his adventures helping Aidan, Brendan befriends woodland spirit Aisling, battles a Celtic deity, and escapes the Vikings when they attack the abbey. Having seen the Book of Kells in Dublin, I thought this movie was really beautifully drawn, with lots of references to medieval Celtic liturgical artwork.
White House Down - Since I'm taking kids on a field trip to Washington, D.C. soon, I had to watch a movie about Channing Tatum saving the President, right? Anyway, I enjoyed this one so much more than I expected to. The script was really witty, the plot was exciting, and I found that I was really invested in what happened to the characters, including Channing as a Secret Service job applicant, his political vlogger daughter, the President (Jamie Foxx), Secret Service agent Carol (Maggie Gyllenhaal), and field trip tour guide Donnie.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer - So, I've been binge-watching Buffy on Netflix under the pretense that I will be a better YA writer after studying the work of the master of witty dialogue, Joss Whedon. By Season 3, I could predict what the characters would say and do, even in the episodes I didn't remember watching in high school. Maybe it's working? Buffy is basically television comfort food for me.