Saturday, July 30, 2011

Fangirling Over Korra Info

Last weekend was big for Avatar:  The Last Airbender fans.  We got so much new information about the new series, Korra, and I, for one, was absolutely freaking out.  People who follow me on Twitter had to put up with my constant retweeting of people who were there.  It's been a week, and thinking about all of the new information still makes me excited.  Fair warning:  This post is going to involve a lot of fangirling.

The show is going to be two seasons long!  Granted that's still not very long, but last I heard there was only one season planned.  If they wanted to go for a third season, that would be perfectly fine with me.  I wonder if the seasons will be called books like the last season.  Wouldn't it be cool if the first season was called Air?  From what I've heard, that's the only element Korra has to master, and we didn't get a Book 4:  Air in the last series.  I don't know what they'd call season two after that though.

Aang and Zuko founded the city, United Republic, where the show takes place!  I absolutely love the idea of them founding a city together for some reason.  It probably has something to do with my love of Zuko's friendships with all of the members of the Gaang.  That's one of my favorite parts of the second half of season three.

I love that they named one of the characters after Mako, Iroh's original voice actor who died before the first series was over.  Who doesn't want to have a cartoon character named after them?  I find it interesting that Korra will be traveling with two brothers especially since they seem to be very different.  That should make things interesting.

Animals!  The fire ferret, Paboo, sounds cute.  I can't wait to see what he looks like.  Naga, a female polar bear dog, also looks really cute.  I really love the fact that there are more sky bison and lemurs.  Too bad we have to wait until season two for them to be important.

Toph's daughter is chief of police!  I honestly wasn't expecting to see Toph's kids or anything.  It really makes me wonder who she married.  If we never find that out, it will bug me immensely.  I want some information on him!  I also love that Toph trained a bunch of metalbenders.

Of course I get excited over every little bit of Kataang news.  They had three kids!  I hope we get more information about them as well.  Plus, I definitely want to see Tenzin's kids.  They should be cute.  His oldest, Jinora, is apparently a bookworm.  I can see myself liking her.

Tenzin lives on Air Temple Island.  Does that not sound cool?  I can't help but wonder if they just named the island that or it's an island that an actual old Air Temple sits on.

That was the biggest of the news for me.  I can't wait for the new series (or at least an airdate)!  I'm so excited!

Friday, July 29, 2011


I guess I've been a Demi Lovato fan since Camp Rock premiered although I've never really considered myself one.  I've listened to some of her music, but I don't own any of her CDs or songs.  When she went to rehab, I followed the story like a lot of other people did.  I felt sorry for her.  She's gone through a lot of hard stuff, and I really admire the fact that she's trying to get better.

A couple of weeks ago I listened to her new single, Skyscraper, and I absolutely love it.  I'd say it's one of the best songs I've heard in a while.  I'm not usually a fan of those types of songs.  I prefer happier, more upbeat songs myself.  Skyscraper's different though, and I think it's the emotion behind it.  Listening to Demi sing that song when you know what she's been going through makes it so much more powerful to me.  I also think her emotions while singing really come through in the song.

I also thought the music video was absolutely amazing.  If you haven't seen it yet, you should watch it.  It's so simple and beautiful.  I've really come to admire Demi for being so strong even though she's gone through so much.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Goblet of Fire: My Least Favorite Harry Potter Book

I want to make it perfectly clear:  I do love Goblet of Fire.  It's just not my favorite of the books.  I've never been entirely sure why that is, but I think it has something to do with the first time I read the book.  I was pretty young (about seven) when I started reading the Harry Potter books, and back then Sorcerer's Stone was considered a thick book to me.  I remember feeling kind of intimidated by the size of Goblet.  I was a good reader for my age, but I couldn't imagine reading a book that thick.

I don't think I've ever admitted this to anyone, but I actually never finished Goblet until after reading Order of the Phoenix.  When I was about seven, I started reading Goblet, got bored sometime during the Quidditch World Cup, and gave up.  I even lied to my parents and told them that I'd finished the book.  (I don't think they believed me.  No seven year old reads a book as long as Goblet that fast.)  I was nine when Phoenix came out, and I read it with no problem at all.  (Although it took me a couple of weeks to finish it.)  There were several things in Phoenix that didn't make sense to me, and I knew that was because I hadn't finished Goblet.  By the time I'd finished reading Phoenix, I knew I was going to have to go back and read Goblet.  This time I successfully finished the book, but I still found it boring compared to the others.

I think my biggest problem with it is the Quidditch World Cup.  I'm not a sports person, so the Quidditch games have never been my favorite parts of the books.  That's were Goblet lost me the first time I tried to read it.  My second time reading it, I forced my way through that, and I thought the rest of it was a lot better.  Still, I've never been a huge fan of the Triwizard Tournament, and I think this is also because I'm not a big sports person.  It's just not my type of thing.

There are certain parts of Goblet that I love.  The Yule Ball and the graveyard scene for example.  Yet everytime I re-read the book, I'm always a little bored during the World Cup and tournament tasks.  They're just not my thing, and I'm sure they're the reason Goblet of Fire has always been my least favorite Harry Potter book.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Book Review: The Chosen by Chaim Potok

The Chosen (Ballantine Reader's Circle)ISBN:  0004492134
First Published:  1967
Read from June 30th to July 10th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Few stories offer more warmth, wisdom, or generosity than this tale of two boys, their fathers, their friendship, and the chaotic times in which they live. Though on the surface it explores religious faith--the intellectually committed as well as the passionately observant--the struggles addressed in The Chosen are familiar to families of all faiths and in all nations.

In 1940s Brooklyn, New York, an accident throws Reuven Malther and Danny Saunders together. Despite their differences (Reuven is a Modern Orthodox Jew with an intellectual, Zionist father; Danny is the brilliant son and rightful heir to a Hasidic rebbe), the young men form a deep, if unlikely, friendship. Together they negotiate adolescence, family conflicts, the crisis of faith engendered when Holocaust stories begin to emerge in the U.S., loss, love, and the journey to adulthood. The intellectual and spiritual clashes between fathers, between each son and his own father, and between the two young men, provide a unique backdrop for this exploration of fathers, sons, faith, loyalty, and, ultimately, the power of love. (This is not a conventional children's book, although it will move any wise child age 12 or older, and often appears on summer reading lists for high school students.)

I read this for summer reading.  Before starting the book, I wasn't expecting much.  I'd chosen to read it out of three other books because I enjoy reading World War II era books, but I didn't really know what it was about.  The school'd copy didn't have a synopsis on it, so all I knew was what the teacher had told us:  It's about two Jews in New York during World War II.  That's not really that much information.

It was probably during the second chapter that I really started getting into the story, and it wasn't hard to finish it after that.  (Writing the papers I was supposed to was different.)  I loved every single one of the characters even Danny's father who frustrated me to no end.  They were all so well-written.

The relationships between all of the characters (especially Danny and Reuven and Danny and his father) were wonderful, and handled so well.  It was all very realistic.  Nothing in this book is perfect.  It's as if you're reading about real events. *slight spoiler*  There's no picture perfect happy ending although the ending's not sad either.  I loved that because the ending doesn't really seem like an ending at all.  These characters seem real, and you know that more is going to happen to them.  They have to continue living after this.  For them, this isn't the end.

I cannot recommend this book enough.  Honestly, I'd completely forgotten how much I loved it until I started writing this review.  I thought it was amazing, and I've only scratched the surface on everything I love about it.  I could probably rant forever about my love for this book.  Instead, I'll just let you read it for yourself.

The Stars at LeakyCon

As I mentioned in a past post, I was in Florida a little over a week ago for LeakyCon, a Harry Potter conference.  It was absolutely amazing.  I've wanted to go to a Harry Potter conference for years and years, and it's a little sureal that I was finally able to go to one.  I still don't think it's entirely sunk in that I was actually there.  However, that isn't what I want this post to be about.  This post is just to rant about how amazing all of the stars that were present are.

The members of Starkid wouldn't usually be considered celebrities (except Darren Criss of course), but at a Harry Potter conference, they're almost as big as the actual movie stars.  Since I was a fan of A Very Potter Musical from the day (night actually) it was first posted on Youtube, I was really excited for the Starkid keynote.  Watching them preform live was amazing, and it was great because the whole audience was singing along.  After singing a few songs, they sat down and talked for a bit with Firenze acting as a moderator.  They seem like such awesome (and hilarious) people.  I got my picture taken with them (along with a big group) and was able to say hi to Brian Holden who was saying hi to everyone.  One awesome thing was getting to brag about seeing Darren Criss to my sister (who could care less about AVPM but it a big Glee fan) later.

There were quite a few actors from the movie(s) there as well.  Chris Rankin (Percy) was there for the whole weekend.  He kept making jokes about how he's always at these conferences, and he acted as moderator during the actor panel.  He seemed to like joking around, and he even had us all sing the Hogwarts school song for the other actors.

All of the kids seemed to be having a lot of fun, and they were always really amusing during the actor panel and then the keynote.  I probably wouldn't have been a fan of Benedict Clarke just because he plays Snape, and I'm not a big Snape fan.  However, he was so hilarious.  When asked what his dementor would be, he answered lemon meringue pie because of the sweetness of the lemon.  He also won Harry Potter trivia against the other kid actors.  It was hilarious because they started the trivia to find out whether Will or Helena was a bigger Harry Potter fan.  Then, Benedict starts answering questions and beat them both by a long-shot.

Will Dunn (James Potter II) and Arthur Bowen (Albus Severus) were also hilarious.  They seemed to stick together a lot.  My dad and I actually saw them running around the conference area together.  Will gave Arthur a hard time because Arthur hasn't read the Harry Potter books and Will's a big fan.  Arthur actually said that he watched the first movie when he was really little, and it scared him.  When asked about pulling pranks on set, Arthur said he tricked Will with nuts because Will's allergic.  Will then called him an idiot.  They really seemed like brothers because they bickered and teased each other a lot.

Rohan Gotobed (Young Sirius) also seemed pretty cool although he was quieter than the other actors.  I don't remember him saying a whole lot, but he seemed like a pretty funny person based on the stuff he did say.

Helena Barlow (Rose) and Ellie Darcy-Alden (Young Lily) were both adorable.  They weren't as loud as the boys, but they were really cute, and Helena seemed like a really big Harry Potter fan.  She says she reads the books before she goes to bed a lot.  During the actors photobooth, I stood behind Helena, and she was so sweet.  Both of those girls are.

Ryan Turner (Hugo) was the youngest of the group, and he only really talked when directly asked a question.  He was adorable, and even though all of his answers were only about a sentence long, there was a cheer from the audience.  He actually reminded me a lot of my little brother.  He's a really cute kid.

Scarlett Byrne (Pansy) was actually walking around and helping hand out movie tickets on the first day.  No one seemed to notice she was an actor in the movie until the next day when she was on the actor panel.  My dad and I saw her several times the first day, and I kept kicking myself afterwards because I should have recognized her considering I knew what she looked like and even follow her on twitter.  She seemed like a really sweet person (the complete opposite of Pansy), but she did look intimidated at times.  I don't blame her since this was really her first experience with the Harry Potter fandom.  They had her go up on stage during the Draco and the Malfoys show when he was singing a song about Pansy.  She just stood there smiling at him as if she wasn't sure what to do.  Her and Evanna seemed really close, and Evanna's the one who got her to come to LeakyCon.  After seeing her at the conference, I think I've really become a fan of her, which probably wouldn't have happened otherwise because she has such a small role in the movie.  She seemed like such a nice person though.

Evanna Lynch (Luna) did a lot during the conference.  She was on Pottercast and Mugglecast, went on stage during The Remus Lupins' and The Whomping Willows' performances, and even played bass for Harry and the Potters.  She seems like such an amazing person, and she really is a huge Harry Potter fan.  If there was one Harry Potter actor I would want to meet in my life, it would be her just because she's as big of a fan as anyone else at that conference.  I've always been a fan of her, so it was awesome to see her in person.  They couldn't have choosen a better person, or bigger Harry Potter fan, to play Luna.

It was so great to see all of these people at LeakyCon.  They're all amazing, and I hope they have great careers outside of Harry Potter.  To be honest, I'll probably watch anything any of them are in just because they're in it.  They're all such awesome people and of course, great actors.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Belle: My Favorite Disney Princess

I've mentioned in multiple Disney posts that my favorite Disney princess is Belle.  I think it's time that she finally has a post dedicated completely to her.

I've loved Beauty and the Beast since I was a little kid, and I think one of the reasons was that I found Belle more relatable than any of the other Disney princesses.  Why?  She loves to read.  I'm sure that wasn't the only reason I liked her, but I'm positive that it was a big factor.  I've basically been a bookworm since I was born, so I always love characters that enjoy reading.

In addition to that, I love that Belle isn't the typical damsel-in-distress.  She stands her ground with the Beast and Gaston.  Of course, I didn't think much about this when I was younger, but I do think I realized it in the back of my mind.

I've always loved romance books and movies as well, and the Beast and Belle are my favorite Disney couple.  I don't really have a definite reason for this.  I do know that I typically like couples that start out arguing and then fall in love with each other (I have no idea why), so the fact that they don't really like each other at first may have something to do with it.

As a side note, I've often wandered if my love for Beauty and the Beast had something to do with my obsession with werewolves later on.  The Beast himself isn't a werewolf, but he's kind of similar.  I just can't help but wonder.

Anyway, my two main reasons for loving Belle so much is that she loves reading and she stands up for herself.  There are several Disney princesses that could fit the second one, but I can't think of any that have shown a love for reading.  I've realized over the years that if there's a character that loves to read, they'll probably become my favorite character of the book, movie, TV show, etc.  I guess it provides something that allows me to relate to them.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review: Solid by Shelley Workinger

SolidISBN:  1453624821
Published:  July 9th, 2010
Publisher: CreateSpace
Read from June 5th to July 9th, 2011
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Teens who discover they were secretly genetically altered before birth are brought together at a classified site where they forge new friendships, find love, develop "super-abilities," and even unearth a conspiracy.
I loved this book, and I would definitely say it's the best book I've read in a while.  The synopsis of the book really intrigued me, and I was really excited to read it.  It didn't dissapoint.  I loved all of the characters.  They, along with the awesome plot, helped make the story amazing.  It's really easy to follow the scientific aspect of the book because the main character knows just as much about science as the average person, so it's explained in a way that anyone can understand it.  I think this is a great book for everyone to read, and I'd definitely recommend it.

You can learn more about the book and how to buy it here on the official site.  The sequel, Settling, just came out on July 4th, and I can't wait to read it.

I recieved this book for free from the publisher or author in exchange for a fair and honest review.  This in no way affected my review of the book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

My Reaction to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2

Last Thursday evening I got the opportunity to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 early at LeakyCon.  It was four hours before the movie would be released on the east coast.  I loved being able to see the movie in a theater full of Harry Potter fans.  They weren't even normal fans.  These were people who love Harry Potter so much that they came to a Harry Potter conference.  For about fifteen minutes before the movie started, a bunch of people in the theater were singing wizard rock songs.  It was amazing.

My feelings may change after multiple re-watchings and discussions, but as of right now, it's my favorite Harry Potter movie.  I loved how fast everything seemed to go.  It in no way felt like a more than two hour movie.  Plus, it was amazing to finally see the conclusion of the Harry Potter series in movie form.  It was even more amazing to watch it in a theater with people who cheered and cried at moments that non-fans wouldn't have.  (The crying at certain points was incredibly loud.  You can't really blame people, but I'll admit that it was a little distracting.)

There were many things that were completely different from the book, but this is the first movie where I can say that I think a majority of the changes were for the better.  (Although there were still one or two things I would have liked to seen added in or changes that just seemed off.)

I love books, and I'll always prefer them to movies.  Still, there a certain things that always look really cool when seen on-screen, such as epic battle scenes.  The movie didn't match anything that I'd had in my head, but it's interpretation of the books was still amazing and incredibly fun to watch.  I'm going to see it again with my family tomorrow, and I can't wait to see it again.  It's going to be so much fun talking about their reactions to the movie afterwards (only my dad has read the books).

Monday, July 18, 2011

Where I've Been...

I know it's been a while since my last post!  Sorry about that.  The original plan had been to write some posts before leaving for Florida.  (I was at LeakyCon for those of you who didn't know that.)  However, I got really busy before leaving and didn't have the time.  After that, I decided that I'd just post while I was there.  That plan was ruined when we get to our hotel and discover that they charge for Internet access (and my parents weren't willing to pay).  (We were also extremely busy, so the posts probably wouldn't have gotten written anyway.)

We got back a few hours ago, so you can be expecting regular posts again.  Hopefully, I can get caught up with everything.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Making Friends at Hogwarts

I don't think there's a Harry Potter fan out there who doesn't day dream about going to Hogwarts.  (As a side note, I just want to post what the amazing J.K. Rowling said during the London Harry Potter premiere earlier today:  Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home." Man, I was emotional this morning.)  Of course, if we all attended Hogwarts, we'd make friends there (hopefully).  One thing I think it's interesting to consider is who I would be friends with if I attended Hogwarts.

I guess it really depends on what time period it was in.  In reality, I'm about thirteen years younger then the trio, so I wouldn't have been at Hogwarts with them.  (Actually, this past year would have been my last.)  I would have been a few years older than Teddy Lupin.  It would've been so cool to be friends with him as well, but realistically speaking, I doubt I would have befriended a boy about four years younger than me.

For the sake of this post though, we're going to pretend that I would have been attending Hogwarts at the same time as the trio.  I still have a bit of a problem.  I consider myself a Hufflepuff, and if I wasn't in Hufflepuff, then I know I would have been in Ravenclaw.  There's no way I would have been a Gryffindor or Slytherin.  That means I would have been roommates with Hannah Abbott and Susan Bones amongst others.  There's nothing wrong with these characters, but as we don't know much about their personalities, I can't really say if we would have been good friends or not.  Although, if Hannah marries Neville, I'm sure she's awesome, and we'd get along great.

I know that I could befriend people from other houses as well, but it wouldn't be quite as easy.  As people who know me would quickly tell you, I'm a very shy, quiet person.  Making friends has never been something I'm great at.  I pretty much rely on other people approaching me first.  As a Hufflepuff, I could see myself quickly befriending members of my house since their known to be a friendly and accepting house.  Making friends in other houses, however, would be harder for me.  You kind of have to go out of your way to befriend members of other houses.  The only time your really forced to be around other houses are classes and meal times, and you can always stay with members of your house during those.

As much as I'd like to say I'd befriend the trio and other major characters from the books, I honestly don't think I would.  I suppose it's possible that I could befriend Luna, since she doesn't have many friends in the books.  If I saw her constantly alone, I'd probably try and convince someone to come with me to go and talk to her because I hate seeing people always alone.  As for Harry, Ron, and Hermione?  I'd probably think they seemed nice.  Maybe I'd have a conversation or two with them.  I'm sure I'd be impressed by everything the seem to get into over the years, but I doubt we'd be close or anything.

Since we're all Harry Potter fans, I think most of us would love to be best friends with the trio.  However, I wonder how many of us would actually befriend them if we were given the chance to be their classmates.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Disney Icons

Yep, it's yet another Disney post.  I'm really starting to enjoy these.  I feel like I don't get to talk about Disney enough.  This post is about different Disney icons.  (I don't know if icon's the right word, but I can't think of another one).  There are certain images that you see that always remind you of Disney.  In this post, I'm talking about two of them.

The first is the Mickey head and ears.  It's essentially only three black circles, but I bet it would be hard to find someone who doesn't immediatley think of Disney when they see it.  One of my favorite things about it is that it's hidden in different locations around the Disney parks.  I haven't been to Disney World since I was twelve (at which time I wasn't looking for hidden Mickeys), but when I go back (hopefully kind of soon), I plan to keep an eye out for them.  Also, this isn't the exact same thing, but has anyone else got one of those hats with the Mickey ears from one of the parks?  I think mine from when I was about six or seven is still laying around somewhere.

The other icon I want to talk about is the castle.  You know which one I'm talking about.  Every Disney movie you watch shows a castle before the actual movie.  It's one of the things I think about first when I think of Disney movies.  I decided to look up more about it, mainly to find out which princess' castle it's supposed to be.  From what I read, it's a combination of Sleeping Beauty's castle at Disneyland (and the Hong Kong Disneyland) and Belle's castle at Disney World (and the Tokyo Disneyland).  I like the idea that they combined the two instead of just choosing one of them since everyone's going to have a favorite castle.  (Mine's Belle's since she's my favorite Disney princess, and I've only ever been to Disney World.)

I also love the new castle shown before movies. Even though I'll always be found of how it used to look when I was younger, the new one does look so much cooler. I remember being impressed with it when I saw it the first time.

This whole thing about the castles has made me wonder about something.  Why were Belle and Aurora's castles choosen for all of the parks instead of having a different princess' castle at each park?  I'm going to try and find some stuff about that.

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Bravest Disney Princess

Today is American Independence Day, and in honor of the birthday of the "home of the brave" I'm going to do a post about who I think the bravest Disney princess is.  (I can't help but cringe at how corny that sounded, but I thought of it, and I'm going to keep it that way.)

Now, it shouldn't come as a surprise that my first thought was to choose Belle.  Then, I really thought about it and decided that I absolutely had to choose Mulan.  Technically Mulan isn't a princess, but since Disney counts her as one, I think I can choose her for this.

I don't know how you could argue that any of the Disney princesses are braver than Mulan is.  I mean saving your father by offering to be a Beast's prisoner and leaving everything you've ever known to live on land and many other things Disney princesses have done are certainly brave, but I don't think any of that can compare to going off to war (while disguised as a guy) so that your father won't have to.  I think that makes her braver than all of the other princesses.

Obviously going off to war in and of itself is brave, but Mulan had to pretend to be a guy the entire time.  There was no telling what they could do to her if they discovered the truth.  (Well, it's a Disney movie, so of course everything would end up all right but still.)  That's why I think Mulan is the bravest Disney princess.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Favorite Disney Parents

I'm doing another Disney post.  This one's about my favorite Disney parents.  It's kind of weird to be doing this post today because I went to my cousin Cassie's baby shower earlier, but that honestly has nothing to do with choosing to write this post.  As I've said in past Disney posts, it's quite possible that I'm forgetting some characters that I would have otherwise added to the list.

1. Mufasa and Sarabi from The Lion King.  I'm a huge Lion King fan, and I love both of Simba's parents.  Mufasa's death is always a sad scene to watch.

2. Simba and Nala from The Lion King 2.  I think Simba and Nala are wonderful parents in the Lion King 2.

3.  Kala from Tarzan.  I love how Kala adopts Tarzan.  (Isn't it weird that I've only picked animals so far?)

4. James and Eudora from The Princess and the Frog.

5. Fa Zhou and Fa Li from Mulan. (I had a lot of trouble finding a picture of both of them together.)

6. The Sultan from Aladdin.  I'll admit that he's more on here because I find him amusing than his parenting skills.

One thing I noticed while making this list is that I generally prefer the animal parents to the human parents.  Odd.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Writing Routines/Habits

I know different writers have different places they like to write.  Some write at home while some prefer places such as coffee shops (J.K. Rowling, for example).

Me?  I do virtually all of my writing while sitting on my bed.  I've read in lots of different places that doing things other than sleeping on your bed causes insomnia because your head no longer associates the bed as a place just for sleeping.  In spite of this, I still use my bed to read, write, etc.  This is mainly because my room is the only place in the house I can go that's quiet, and I'm not a person who can write when things are going on around me.  The only places to sit in my room are the bed and a very uncomforable wooden desk chair.  Obviously, I prefer the bed.

Most of my writing is done in the evening and/or at night.  While I will sometimes write at random points during the day, I always try and write for a while right after I get out of the shower at night.  I don't really know why I chose that time of day, but it works for me.  I'm a night person, and that's when I feel most awake.  (Maybe it's because of the insomnia caused by using my bed for things other than sleeping.)  I've been trying to write more in the afternoons, but it hasn't been working too well.  I think there's too much going on, and I get distracted a lot more.

I'm always impressed that there are people who can write in busy places or as soon as they wake up.  Those are things I wish I could do, but as of yet, have been unsuccessful.  I'm someone who needs a nice quiet area where I can focus, and I'm definitely not enough of a morning person to successfully write right after waking up.