Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.
That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.
Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.
Posts Categorized: books
I should really change the title of this section already. I always sit here thinking yes, what IS new? Has anything happened? Should I get my memory checked? I mostly just went to work, did a movie review for the radio, and completely neglected university. Business as usual pretty much. I also wrote a couple of posts for November, so keep an eye out for those! And of course A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TO ALL OF YOU. May you spook forth and conquer a small kingdom by stealing souls, or whatever it is you do on Halloween. I’m going to visit my cousin, and we’re going to order some food and watch as many movies on this list as we manage:
1. The Nightmare Before Christmas – it’s such a classic, and I’ve never seen it. Also it looks like there’s Halloween AND Christmas? Sounds like a winner to me.
2. Hocus Pocus – this one’s a bit of a tradition. I watched it with my cousin once when we were young and then we announced we’d watch it together every Halloween. Of course we never did, but we always talk about it, so there you go. Maybe we’ll actually manage this year.
3. Halloweentown – this is another tradition. It runs on TV every year around Halloween, and I think it has about 5000 sequels. It might not be the best when it comes to …everything, but it has sentimental value.
4. The Cabin in the Woods – as you might have guessed by the previous films on this list, I’m not a fan of scary movies (thoughI am a fan of Scary Movie 1), but I figured I’d put at least one real horror film on the list. Mainly because Joss Whedon is one of the writers, but hey, at least I make compromises. The Joss Whedon biography I read spoiled the ending of the movie, but it’s been a while since I read it, so I’m hoping I forgot some of it!
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Aloha amig@s de libros! (yes, you may hit me for that)
I hope this post finds you feeling well and spooky. It’s been three weeks since I’ve done one of these, so have a non-comprehensive list of things that happened since then
- My internship ended, and a new semester at uni started
- I went to Newcastle for a couple of days last week! I vlogged it, so I’ll upload a video about it within the next weeks
- While in Newcastle I watched The Martian, which is a GREAT movie and you should definitely see it because it’s hilarious. I’m slightly upset that no one ever recommended the book to me, but now I shall have to read it
- I watched the first four episodes of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood. It’s good so far!
- Gilmore Girls will be continued with four 90-minute episodes! It’s one of my go-to favorite shows, and I really didn’t expect it, so I’m thrilled-nervous-enthusiastic about this
I’ve been logged out of my own blog, so I figured it’s probably time for a new post. Alyssa created the milk tea tag
ages a while ago and – in true Vlora fashion – I decided to do it months later. You’re welcome, creators of tags who would have run their course without me bringing them up once the bandwagon has long derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall. (Why a mine? Because I was on a 4D motion ride last week and the experience imitated driving through a mine in a wagon, which made me think of Gringotts at the time, but NOW whenever I hear wagon I think of mines. I didn’t say my head makes sense.) (Also, by “derailed, caught fire, and crashed into a mine wall” I mean that it is lovingly remembered and has its own Walk of Fame star.)
Tea: the foundation of your reading life
This one’s easy. I’ve read the Harry Potter books more times than I can count (I mean I probably could count it, because despite what my old math teacher thinks I can actually count all the way up to the double digits, but let’s not go there). They have a special place in my heart; Hogwarts is home; no need to call me Sir, Professor; yadda yadda. I’d show you a picture of my HP books, but some of them don’t have a spine anymore, and we’re working on building up their self-esteem at the moment.
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In this book is a world. A world created by two awkward guys who share their lives on the internet!
We are Dan and Phil and we invite you on a journey inside our minds! From the stories of our actual births, to exploring Phil’s teenage diary and all the reasons why Dan’s a fail.
Learn how to draw the perfect cat whiskers, get advice on what to do in an awkward situation and discover which of our dining chairs represents you emotionally. With everything from what we text each other, to the time we met One Direction and what really happened in Vegas…
I remember exactly how I discovered Dan and Phil. It was a day like any other on YouTube, and I was watching one of Hank Green’s Sims videos. A lot of people in the comments mentioned these Dan and Phil guys and their owl slide. I had absolutely no clue what they were talking about, but for some reason
I was probably procrastinating, I decided to check it out. Fast forward to 5 a.m. and I had watched the entirety of Sims 4 with Dan and Phil. There were about 12 episodes at the time. Despite my lurking on Hank’s gaming channel, I don’t usually watch gaming videos, but these were hilarious. I found out Dan and Phil have YouTube channels other than their gaming account, so I took a look at those as well, but it was more of a cursory glance, and videos like the photo booth challenge don’t really make me stick around.
A couple of months later, I randomly took another look
okay fine, I was probably procrastinating again, and that was that. I watched videos like Existential Crisis, I Talk to Myself, Fandoms, and I Mumble, and had one of those OH MY GOD FINALLY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS ME I’M NOT THE ONLY PERSON WHO DOES THIS moments. I know, I know, you’re never the only person who does this, but sometimes you need some equally weird person on the internet to remind you of that. Dan was that person, which is my excuse for spending an entire day doing nothing but watching his videos.
If you’ve read this far, you might be asking yourself okay, Vlora, but why the eff did you write all of this without even having gotten to the review part of this post yet? and you’d have a good point. I realize not everyone is as obsessed with YouTube as I am, leave alone these two tight trouser aficionados in particular, but I need you to understand something: I really wanted this book to be good. I feel fairly neutral about all the YouTube book deals, and the only book by a YouTuber (apart from John Green) I’ve read was Connor Franta’s, which I didn’t particularly like. I read Dan and Phil’s book the day it came out.
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A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers.
Victor and Eli started out as college roommates–brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.
Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find–aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge–but who will be left alive at the end?
Superpowers? Villains? Old college roomies with a vendetta? I was sold the first time I read the blurb. Add to that the gorgeous cover, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this book. I’ve had more than enough time to reflect since I’ve read it now, so let’s dive straight in.
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I’m not usually a participant in the TGIF crowd, but THANK GOD IT’S FUCKING FRIDAY. Actually I just wrote that and realized it’s Saturday now. That’s what kind of a week it’s been. Still interning at the radio and had to look after children, who were there on some sort of holiday program this week. Me. Children. Who in the hell would think I’m qualified for that? To be honest, they weren’t that bad, but even looking after well-behaved children is exhausting. I appreciate their enthusiasm though! It also seems I have to work Saturdays as well the next couple of weeks, so basically bye bye, term papers, you’re not getting a photo this week (that was a Germany’s Next Topmodel reference, do they do the photo thing on America’s Next Topmodel too?). I did get a compliment at the office I work at though, so that was cool. Also it’s all good, because it’s the weekend, and I have two free days and Possibly Good News That Are Not Confirmed Yet. I’ll keep you posted and until then I hope your week was amazing, and I’ll see you again SOON.
Edit: I’m having a blog party! Check out my blogger friending meme :)
If you’re on twitter, you probably already know this
unless you’ve been living under a REALLY heavy rock, but there’s some SERIOUS charity stuff going on over there. Patrick Ness, author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here (which has been on my to-read for a while now) and some other books, started a fundraiser to collect money to give to Save the Children for refugees, because he was tired of only tweeting about it. He offered to match the first 10.000 pounds, and then John Green jumped in and said he’d match the next 10.000, and suddenly it all gained momentum.
SO MANY authors (and Hank Green, but I hear he’s writing a book, so…) participated that we all raised 400.000 pounds (~600.000 dollars) in only 36 hours. Obviously this wouldn’t be possible without all the people who keep giving, so please consider stopping by and giving some money yourself – every little bit helps! I love when humanity actually does something good, and this makes me proud to be a part of the book community. If you’re also a nerdfighter, this whole thing kind of feels like Project for Awesome, but on twitter.
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Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.
Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.
Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret. (Goodreads)
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Bonjour mes amis blogtastique!
As you might be able to tell by my pretentious greetings, I spent last weekend in Paris! Due to the internship and work I don’t have any proper holidays this summer, so when my mum mentioned she was going to Paris for a weekend, I latched onto her like the
leech loving daughter I am. I had to venture out of the comforts of my home, but on the plus side, I saw some sights, learned some stuff and only almost got killed on the metro once. I did make a fool of myself trying to use the metro at first also, but at least I didn’t confuse French with Spanish this time, so I’m counting it as a success. I vlogged the whole thing, so take a look if you’re interested!
According to my blogoversary survey results at least half of you don’t know that I also have a YouTube channel, so clearly I need to get better at relentlessly shoving it in your face. Kidding, I’ll try not to, but my fingers might slip from time to time. Speaking of, I’m loving all your feedback (and demands for cake), so I’ll be discussing the results in a bit, but I figured I’d wait until next week to give more people the chance to fill it out. If you haven’t yet and you’d like to please feel free to head over there and let me know what you think!
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It was my birthday this week! I celebrated with my friends last night, which was awesome. I had a bit of a rough week, so I really enjoyed having drinks with them and just hanging out. It was great, and I got some cool presents as well. I also had a family thing today. Sadly, not everyone could come, but we still had cake for a small army, so it was okay. I brought some over to the neighbours, because
I need them to continue accepting ALL THE PACKAGES ALL THE TIME instead of secretely plotting my murder I’m such a nice person.
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I started my internship at the radio this week. The start was a bit rocky due to some organizational issues, but I got into it the last couple of days. I’m mainly helping with this live show about local news and event tips (and some music) that they do, and I have to produce two segments for that each week. I was on air for the first time yesterday, and it was really fun! I thought it would be scarier, but the fact that it’s a small station, and you’re not actually talking in front of people who are physically present makes it easier. Plus, there’s a structure to the show and you have your text prepared, so you don’t have to improv everything.
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Okay, it’s just two, so it would be a very small chessboard. Also, neither of them is a Grammy, which frankly surprises me, considering my immense musical talent. Yes, it’s going to be one of those posts.
Will Smith references aside, I really was nominated for the Liebster Award and the Creative Blogger Award a while ago. Mallory and Verena nominated me for the Liebster Award, Rachael nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award, and Alyssa kindly nominated me for both at once. All of these date back to April or May, and I actually had to Google to find the posts again. In my defense, I’m lazy.
A huge THANK YOU to all of you; I really appreciate that you apparently find something you like in between all this rambling. <3 Alright, let’s do this!
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This week I…
- caught up on Teen Wolf and Suits (both awesomesauce)
- had a veeery minor skin surgery on my head that led to some stitches and self-indulgent reading time
- recorded but didn’t edit a new video
- talked to my teacher about a term paper subject and
- read The Rosie Project and a play for uni
I’m starting an internship at a small local radio station on Monday, so wish me luck! I’m going out with some friends later on, and then I’ll try to actually get term paper related stuff done tomorrow. I probably need more luck for that than for the internship. There’s just always something better to do, isn’t there? Also, my first blogoversary is coming up! I can’t believe it’s already been a year! I’m not sure whether I’ll do anything for it yet, but if you have any suggestions, let me know. :)
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Talk To Me
is a no-nonsense discussion feature on this blog. No-nonsense means I’m too lazy to make it look pretty. It’s exactly what the title suggests: I’m going to pose a question or tell you my own opinion about something, and I want to know what you think about it! Obviously feel free to write up your own post on the topic and link it in the comments.
I went to the bookstore yesterday. Now usually this would be a celebratory experience. And it still was (yay, new books!), but while I was there I found something that irked me. Irked me quite a lot that is. So naturally I had to share it with you.
Standing before the English section (because obviously I can’t be bothered to read books in my first language, that would be ridiculous), I saw a book that sparked my interest. It was called “End of Time” and – thinking it might somehow be related to Doctor Who – I pulled it out to take a closer look. It turned out not to be Doctor Who related at all, but a German/English mixed-language book for English learners. Which is an awesome concept. EXCEPT. Right there on the cover it said “Boy Zone”. Apparently it was mainly targeted at teenage boys. I remember similar marketing concepts from my childhood, books mainly targeted at girls that were mostly about first love and growing up.
Now I know a lot of products are randomly and unnecessarily gendered. But given the role books have played in my life, gendering books just seems like a bit of a personal insult to me. I understand that marketing theory can’t stress the role of defining target groups enough, but for fuck’s sake people. I don’t believe in binary genders, and I’m of the opinion that gender is mainly socially constructed (of which this is a prime example really), but let’s just for a moment neglect that debate. Why the fuck is scifi only for boys? Why is there a “chick lit” genre? Why the hell can’t we all just accept that stories are stories and can be enjoyed by all genders alike? Yes, I’m aware that you can just buy the book anyway, but I’m operating under the assumption that a lot of people wouldn’t, especially teenagers who tend to be more insecure of their identity and self-worth and would often be sujected to bullying.
In the case of this book, there is a clear label on the cover defining it as a book for boys, but often the label is in our minds. If you show someone The Princess Diaries and Maze Runner, there’s no doubt which one would be considered more of a girl’s and which one would be considered more of a boy’s book. It’s just absurd to me that we’d limit good stories this way. It’s like saying Harry Potter can only be enjoyed by children or YA literature holds no worth for people who are older than the target group. A great story is a great story and a shitty story is a shitty story. C.S. Lewis said “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” Similarly, a story that can only be enjoyed by one gender is not a good story. It also doesn’t exist, because the problem doesn’t lie with the story, it lies with society’s understanding of for whom it is acceptable to read it.
I know that this is a well-known and frequently discussed problem, but evidently it’s still a problem. It extends far beyond books – I’m often perplexed when I watch a movie and someone comments it’s a movie for men rather than women, because there’s action in it or it doesn’t primarily focus on romance. A lot of the time the thought never even occured to me. I feel inadequate when I’m more interested in a game night than watching Sex and the City. And I’m not saying I don’t enjoy things targeted at women. I absolutely do. I just don’t exclusively enjoy them, and I think that is true for everyone. “Educating” people that it’s more acceptable for one gender than another to like certain kinds of stories or do certain kinds of things makes me incredibly sad, because a lot of people will miss out on great books and experiences or feel ashamed that they’re enjoying them. It also simply just pissed me off, and writing is my tool to deal with my emotions, so there ya go.
What’s your take on this? Do you think it’s okay to gender products in the interest of marketing and sales, or do you think it’s unnecessary? Have you come across gendered books before?
The semester ended! Well, technically it’s still the summer semester until September, and as always I have to write approximately ten thousand term papers (okay 2 or 3, but they’re LONG), but at least classes are over. I had an oral exam yesterday, which went well (not thanks due to my diligent studying).
Other random things that happened the last three weeks:
- I finally watched Birdman, and it was slightly confusing, but good (even though it made fun of superhero movies)
- I went to my old school’s summmer fest and decided I don’t understand other people’s nostalgia (except for arts, which I miss)
- My laptop broke, so I stole my grandma’s new one until I get mine back. She hasn’t even used it yet. Yes, I’m a horrible person, you can’t be surprised? I literally just got my laptop, so it was sliiightly frustrating, but at least I could rescue some of my data, so I’ll live.
- I continued to make videos every week, so please check them out if you want to be my new favorite person forever (#shameless)
Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive — alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.
Okay, confession time: I know everyone loves this cover – and I like it too – BUT it does look slightly cheesy. I don’t remember why I bought this book initially, but despite the good ratings I expected it to be a lot soppier than it was. There IS a lot of romance, but it develops slowly and there’s bickering and banter, and it’s basically perfect. That’s not all though! I wanted sci-fi, and I was not disappointed. I don’t think the book is very heavy on technical explanations and – due to the fact that most of the book is set on an abandoned planet – there isn’t TONS of worldbuilding, but the stuff there was I liked. I do think that people who aren’t really into sci-fi would enjoy it too.
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Heeello people of the internet,
I don’t know! It’s been weeks. Lemme see… I’m “busy” “doing” university stuff. By the quotation marks you can see that means I’m busy reading, catching up on my favorite TV shows (heeeello Orange is the New Black, Orphan Black and Community, I am deeply ashamed I haven’t watched all of your new episodes yet), and doing all sorts of random stuff.
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You would be writing if you could. Really. It’s just… there’s no time. In between work, education, your family, and your social obligations there just aren’t enough hours in the day. But don’t worry. If you had the time, you’d already have written at least three bestsellers. You’re going to have time someday. And the world better prepare for when you’re a millionaire.
You specifically took this time to write. You cleared your schedule, cleaned your home and organized your stationery. There are even some motivational quotes pinned to the side of your desktop. Unfortunately for your future writing career, you’re just not feeling it today. The blinking cursor on a backdrop of white, blank page might as well be your best friend with how much time you’ve been spending together. Ah well, maybe some other day. There’s no need to torture yourself with putting down words you know aren’t going to be up to your standard anyway. You’ll just make up for it when your muse returns.
Your fingers would already be flying across the keyboard; it’s just… your writing space sucks. Your office is too dark, the coffee shop is too loud and the library is too quiet. Besides, the laptop is cramping your style anyway. You could see yourself with a notepad, somewhere on the windswept cliffs of Cornwall, writing poetry. Or maybe on a summer meadow, leaning against the trunk of a tree as you come up with the outline for your next seven books. This just won’t do.
Shiny New Ideas
You’re well into your new book. You’ve already written five chapters and the genius twist you’re planning to implement in chapter 14 fills you with a sense of
evil joy pride. But… there’s this other idea you had, and it was even better than this one. You should really write it down before you forget everything. In fact, was the old one even that good? Maybe you should try to write a couple of chapters of the new book first, see how it feels… Of course you’ll return and finish this one though, no question about it. If you had run with another idea every time something shinier came along, you’d never have completed an enti- oh, right.
NaNoWriMo Limits Your Creativity
You decided to finally participate in NaNoWriMo, because you’re sure it will give you that extra surge of motivation you need to finish your book. Less than 2000 words a day – piece of cake, right? Definitely doable – after all, you’ve written more than that on several occasions. It should take you what, an hour a day? Please, you can write for an hour in your sleep. The first week goes well. You miss a couple of days during the second week, but there’s still plenty of time to make up for it, right? By the middle of the third week you’re 15 000 words behind and finishing your book in the next one and a half weeks doesn’t seem very likely. You’re not sure where you went wrong. You’ve been thinking about writing so much, surely there should be something to show for it?? It’s okay, you’ll just put in some extra time during the weekend. You spend the entire weekend catching up on Game of Thrones, because otherwise people would spoil all the new episodes. You give up by the beginning of week 4, because this was a stupid idea to begin with. Writing is a creative endeavor. Creativity can’t be contained to a schedule.
You Have to Do More Research
See, the thing is you don’t want to just write a book. You want to write a good book. What if you mention those windswept Cornwall cliffs you’ve been imagining as your perfect writing space and then find out that you’ve been wrong all your life and there’s no wind in Cornwall? What if you set your murder mystery in Brussels and refer to it as the capital of Germany before you realize it’s actually in Belgium? You don’t want go making a fool of yourself, so you should do some more research. Yes, you’ve already spent weeks researching that one scene, but… there is no such thing as thorough enough. Definitely spend some more time Googling, and don’t let anyone tell you you’re procrastinating. They’ll all be jealous of the believable atmosphere in your book once it’s published. Which it will be. Soon.
I’m pretty sure I’m guilty of absolutely everything on this list. Hell, I didn’t even start NaNoWriMo to begin with. What are YOUR best writing excuses?
Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.
With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.
Contemporary books are always a little hit or miss for me. There’s no magic, there are no ancient castles, fiery dragons, nor even some good old throne usurpation by an evil uncle who has to be defeated. It’s all quite dreadful really. EXCEPT. Except there are some books that hit home precisely because they’re set in our world. With contemporary books, it’s all about the characters for me. If I love the characters, I love the book. And Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda had some GREAT characters.
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