Friday, January 30, 2015

British Isles Friday: The Scoop on Dr. Who



Since it's a big Dr. Who day for me today, I thought I'd ponder the subject here on the blog and link up with Joy's British Isles Friday, which I haven't done for awhile.

So.. what's up with Dr. Who. It's something I've only recently (relatively speaking) come into. You see, it's TV series that started way back in the 60s, which was broadcast by the BBC for many many years, and then took a break. Then in 2005, they revived it again and started making new episodes. This decision gave the series a whole new life and brought a gazillion new fans into the fold.

I started hearing the buzz about it several years ago and when we finally broke down and got Netflix, Dr. Who was one of the first shows we caught up on. With the new episodes that is. I've yet to even watch the old ones! (But they are all on there, last I looked.)

The first few episodes were... weird. Very weird. And I wondered why the buzz? THIS couldn't be the show everyone was talking about. It was corny, hokey and stupid! And did I say weird?

It's about this guy, he calls himself The Doctor. (And then everyone says "Dr. who? And then he says,  "just... The Doctor!") He's an alien. He's what they call a Time Lord. This means that he as a time machine (a British police box called the Tardis) which he uses to travel back and forth in time, meeting up with all sorts of characters from history and either solving issues, starting issues, or just generally complicating matters. And yes, he's immortal. But this does not mean he can't die.... he can instead, regenerate. Thus, we have several different versions of The Doctor, starting with the First Doctor back in 1963 through to the Twelfth Doctor, the one who currently exists!

All the Doctors, with the latest four being on the
bottom row.


As he goes along in his travels, he always finds someone, usually a girl of course, to travel with him... to be his companion. Sometimes they fall in love, sometimes they don't. Let's just say, things are usually pretty complicated. (With the 11th doctor, the girl AND her husband traveled along with!)

Companions (and others) of the recent Dr. Who series.

So, why, if the shows are so weird and corny, does everyone (well, lots and lots of people!) love them so much? I'll make a list:

  • The actors playing the doctors are phenomenal. Each one has their own personality, their own twist to the doctor's character and their own spin. And you can't help but fall in love with each and every one. That's not to say you won't have a favorite (TEN!) but you find them all fascinating in their own way.
  • The companions. They are usually really funny and add much comic relief to the show. Lots of heart too. They end up with their own very complicated back story that has you invested in them before you know it!
  • The weaving and meshing of story lines. Seriously. I don't think I've ever watched a show where everything ties together and circles around like this show does. It messes with your mind in a very delicious way. And even though I've not seen the earlier shows,  even when they tie to something from that far back, they do it in a way that you totally get it. Well, after awhile anyway!
  • The villains. Ah, some truly scary bad guys! The worst for me is a group of people called The Silence. Oh, and the Weeping Angels of course. But the most famous villains are a bunch of robot type things called the Dalecks. They are mean mean mean! 
  • The relationships. You know I'm not going to like a TV show unless it's filled with lots of character development and relationships. This one is over the top with that! And I'm not talking just romantic relationships, I'm talking all SORTS of connections. Like I said, the weaving of story lines is amazing.
  • Which also is to say, the writing is amazing. Funny, witty, weepy, deep, profound, and yes, sometimes corny...all of it. There are several different writers, all with their own style. One of them is even Neil Gaiman! Yes! 
  • Oh, the music! It's epic! The old themes and the new. Amazing!
So bottom line. . . turns out this show is not weird at all, but just down right COOL! All across the board cool... cool in every way you look at it cool! 

Did I mention my favorite was the Tenth Doctor? I especially love it... LOVE IT.... when he says the word "well" over and over and over again. Take a look:




And the whole reason for this post? We get to see the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith, today at Comic Con! (Also two companions... Rose and Amy!) And he's most awesome too! Even if you've never watched one episode, I bet you can't watch this clip of some of his lines without smiling, maybe even LOLing a bit:



This particular Doctor also has my favorite theme music, here's a taste of that:





So, have I convinced all you Dr. Who naysayers to give it a shot? Or are you already fully immersed into this pop culture phenomenon and know exactly what I'm talking about? I'm right, am I not?

Carry on.




Thursday, January 29, 2015

Book Review Discussion: The Elite by Kiera Cass

Book: The Elite by Kiera Cass
Genre: YA Dsytopian
Rating: ★★★☆ ☆
For: Fun
From: the library

Short Synopsis (beware spoilers for the first book in the series The Selection): Our heroine, America (named after that country of olden times) went to the selection in the first book. That's where the prince chooses from 35 girls, which one he wants to marry. But first, he has to narrow it down to six. They are called The Elite. And as we know, America has made the cut. In fact, it appears that Maxon (the prince) has already chosen her. But... has he really? And speaking of choosing, has American chosen him because there's still this little problem called Aspen, who she loved first. And Aspen is cozy and comfortable. Meanwhile, there's a revolution starting!

My Response: Lots of picking and choosing and changing of minds in this book! But we do learn a bit more about the turmoil this world is in and America finds herself in peril more times than one. Also, there's a pretty powerful moment when Maxon lets on to a secret he's been hiding his whole life. And now, America knows. All in all, for what this book is.... it's pretty good fun. Mostly fluff, with a touch of deeper stuff thrown in. Even a few genuinely sad moments.  Pick it up when you're in the mood for that sort of thing. Beware the triangle, but one that includes lovely characters that you can't help but change your mind about right along with everyone in the book!

Bottom Line: Fun and fluff and stuff! I enjoyed it for that.

Let's Talk About: How do you like your fluff? Pure or mixed? :)

Other Reviews:

I recommend this book to anyone looking for a fast-paced read that combines lighthearted fun with a thought-provoking dystopian world. From Wordbird

I do recommend this series, it’s really entertaining, it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but I think there are high chances of you enjoying it. Besides Prince Maxon is amazing, and you’ll instantly love him. From Words We Heart

This story was drama filled and it kept me hanging on till the very end. From Books With Bite



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Month of Letters Take Four



Does anyone remember what February is? A Month of Letters!!! This is the fourth year  of this lovely event and I've participated every time, which means,  it's a tradition now! I must do it again! So,  I'll be writing letters all month long. Or trying to write letters. Or planning to try to write letters!

Who's with me? You can either to write some letters, or volunteer to get some. (I know, it's a hard job but someone has to do it!)

I have some of your addresses, but I'd like more, especially if you are a new reader of the blog here, or if you've moved, or if we've especially connected this past year and have yet to exchange addresses. Deal?

A few years ago I had you fill out a form, and that seemed to work well, so I think I'll do that again this year. Don't forget to include your state (assuming you live in the states) and zip code! (That seemed to be a common problem last time!)  And I'd love to send international mail too, so don't be shy if you don't live in the states. :)

Happy Letter Writing!





Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want to Read at Book Club



A fun prompt from The Broke and the Bookish today! And an easy one for me to do! Here are some books I'm dying to read and they are all books that I think would make great book club books. So, take note my book clubbers! What do you think? (We'll be figuring out our new schedule in March, so we can start thinking about this now, yes?)

Books I'd Like to Read with Book Club

1. All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
2. The Light Between Oceans by Margot Steadman
3. Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
4. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
6. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
8. Wonder by R.J. Palacio
9. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
10. The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Am I right? Have you read these books? Would they make for good discussions at book club? Which one (or two) should I push the hardest?


Monday, January 26, 2015

The Worth of Celebrity: A Rant of Sorts, and a Question


When it comes to celebrities, I suppose there are two camps.  Camp number one: those of us who think celebrities are interesting and cool and intriguing and Camp number two: those of us who couldn't care less. For some reason I find myself in the first camp, and I have no idea why. WHY do I find them fun to follow and watch and observe and drool over? Why why why? What's the point in this? (Answer: It's fun!)

And most importantly, how much worth do I put in the whole celebrity watching/seeing/sighting thing?

This is the big question of the day and let me tell you why.

Comic Con here in Salt Lake is coming up again this weekend. This event is called FanX and since I've only been to one other event, I'm not sure how this one will be different or if it's just exactly the same. I think they have two events a year just to get us to fork out more money.

And money is what I want to talk about here. Because the whole point of Comic Con is  to see celebrities. (Wait, did you think it was to celebrate the comic business? Um, no.) So, how much will we, as people in the camp #1, pay to see our favorites?

Comic Con is a pretty expensive event. Nearly 100 bucks for a three day pass (much more for VIP pass). And then if you want to get a picture with your favorite celebrity, it's about 80 more bucks. If you want just an autograph, it's maybe 50 more bucks (per celebrity of course!)


But this time, not only did we pay to get IN the event (and to buy the pictures and autographs), we have also been asked to pay MORE just to go see the panel of some of the celebrities. When it was announced that Matt Smith, the 11th Dr. Who, was coming, along with his companion Amy (Karen G something) and Rose (Billie Piper, companion to both Dr. 9 and 10) they also announced that they would have a special panel, The Dr. Who Experience, which required a separate ticket. I moaned for about five minutes then easily forked over the money.

BUT... I had to decide how worth it this Dr. was to me. Because there were tiers. Was he worth 15 extra dollars? Or 30? Or 80? I decided I just wanted in the room and so I paid the 15 extra. Now... if he would have been the 10th Doctor (David Tennant) I might have forked over the extra 80! Because David Tennant is worth more to me. Yes?  And the 80 would have put me THAT MUCH closer to him!

Which then makes me wonder... how much would I actually pay to see the celebrities that top my list? And it SCARES me to ponder this. Because the answer would be... A LOT. And why is that? WHY? Why would I pay so much money just to see them?

I have no idea. (Answer? It's fun?)

How much money would I pay to see Tom Hiddleston for instance? And would I pay the extra 150 to get an autograph and picture? Would I stand in line for hours? Would I pay extra money just to insure that I got in that room? And maybe not only in the room, but up CLOSE in the room? (Answer: yes!) Where would I stop? How far would I go? How much is Tom Hiddleston worth to me?

And, would I pay the same to see Benedict, or Richard Armitage? Or Colin Firth? Or... sheesh. I don't know who. I've paid hundreds of dollars to see Josh Groban several times. I paid nothing to see Markus Zusak, but I did wait in line for nearly 3 hours (some waited much longer than that! And WOULD I pay to see him. Answer: Yes!)

Was it worth it? Yes! Will it be worth it to pay extra money to see Matt Smith? I hope so! Will I go away with fun memories and a cool experience? Yes. And how much is that worth?

As they say, it's priceless, don't you think?

So I ask you, what would you pay to see a favorite celebrity? How far would you go? Where would you draw the line? IS there any line to draw? Or are you in the other camp and you read this whole post and wonder how I've lost my mind with the whole celebrity thing? If so, is there something else (not of a life and death nature) that you'd pretty much fork over money for without a second thought? 



Sunday, January 25, 2015

Currently: Looking for New Music, but Not New Books

Listening: To Becca from I'm Lost in Book's playlists on Spotify. Because, though I love the music I've been listening to lately, I'm feeling the need to find some new stuff! And it looks like Becca has lots of new-to-me stuff! Oh, also, this week I finished listening to Serial, which I blogged about here. I'd like to listen to more podcasts, but I'd also like to try an audio book... first up is Persuasion for a re-re-read for book club. 

Watching: This week I watched the second to last episode of Parenthood. Next week, it's all over. So sad! I will post my feelings on this show then. Let's see, I'm also trying to catch up with The 100, currently on episode ten or so in the first season. Watching the random Gilmore Girls episodes too, when someone else happens to have them on. Pondering getting myself hooked on Friends, as I never watched this when it was popular on TV. What do you think? Looking forward to The Walking Dead starting up again, two weeks from tonight. Oh, and watching Downton Abbey too! 

Reading: Only 18% left in my re-re-read of North and South. Man, stuff is suddenly happening fast! I'm loving the re-read of this book so so much. Its been a fun fabulous time, this read along we've been doing. One week, and then that adventure is over. I started Landline this week, and also Shutter. I finished The Elite, which was, you know, fluff and stuff.

Writing: I went to the writing group at the library this week and was part of the beginning of a new writer's association they are calling TUAA. They have big things planned! (I'll tell you more about it when they actually have a website up to link to.) Also, a small group read chapter two of what I'm calling the farm book (I've thought of the title Indian Summer, but it's really so cliche!) and they liked it! They really really liked it! I've been thinking nonstop about these characters, but haven't actually written much. I'm floundering big time. Currently, I'm trying to make a list of 100 things I know about my characters (well, the two main ones) and I'm at 55. Today, I hope to think of more stuff! What a fun and crazy creative endeavor!

Making: I started making little bags for a humanitarian project at church. I made some banana chocolate chip cookies. I made progress in de-cluttering by cleaning out some cupboards and also boxing up junk in an abandoned kid bedroom. Oh, I made beignets for book club last week. And I made Cafe Rio pork for dinner this past week too. 

Feeling: Hungry at the moment. A little tired too, but I just had a pretty good nap. I felt a little dumpy this past week thinking I might be getting something, but so far, it hasn't happened. Yeah for that! 

Planning: To go to Comic Con FanX this coming weekend! Woot! I hope to see the original Karate Kid guy, Princess Leia, Draco Malfoy, Stefan from TVD, and Glen from TWD... AND the 11th Doctor along with Rose and Amy. Now that is going to be COOL! You can bet you'll be hearing more about all that. And I'll Instagram tons. 

Misc. Random Tidbits:

  • the kitten lost a baby tooth and that was weird to watch.
  • the youngest kid got her driver's permit
  • the two oldest (married) kids are moving, again.
  • I saw a play last night called "Is He Dead?" It was very silly.
  • I want to see The Imitation Game and The Theory of Everything
  • I want to see Jupiter Ascending
  • I can't seem to fit in Zumba
  • the brakes on the car died, so we fixed them. The furnace wanted to die too, but it fixed itself, I think
  • I bought new books this week, dang it.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Book Review Discussion: Splintered by A.G. Howard

Book: Splintered by A.G. Howard
Genre: YA Fantasy 
Rating:★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
For: Fun (the Beehive Awards thing at first, but that's over now!)
From: I bought it at Barnes and Noble

Short Synopsis: So, Alyssa's family is cursed, ever since her great great something grandma, Alice, fell down a rabbit hole and came back all crazy. Alyssa's mom, Alison, is so crazy that they are just about to start shock treatments on her. In order to break the curse, (and save her mom),  Alyssa must go down the rabbit hole herself and fix everything. Through magic, of course, and with a little help from a moth friend, she makes the trip. She ends up pulling her boy-next-door-crush along with her. Oops! And then the magical fantastical adventures begin!

My Response: I loved some parts and yawned my way through other parts. There's a love triangle of sorts with two very different boys (one magical, one not.) My feelings are firmly planted with the non magical one. There's a kiss to die for in this book. I think I better go read that scene again and study it so I can write one like it some day. The premise is pretty cool, with the passing down of craziness. And there's a fun twist at the end that I doubt you'll see coming. But, I do lose interest with all the descriptions of the strange creatures and all the weird and crazy things that must be done to reverse the curse. It's a little over the top in spots!

Bottom Line: But for the most part, I totally enjoyed it and I must say, I think I'll be reading the next book! (Book three just came out this past week I think. Sigh. How to keep up with it all!)

Let's Talk About: Alice! Fan or not a fan? Do you find this story to be too strange all the way around? Do you enjoy the retellings of such strange stories? Are you a fan of the Johnny Depp (Tim Burton) version of Alice? This story is a lot like that.

Other Reviews:

But don't you see? I loved this book. I loved it. I rushed through my day to get to the parts when I could get back to Alyssa's story. From Bookshelvers Anonymous

It's thrilling, with plot twists here and there to keep things unpredictable and exciting. From B's Book Blog

The coolest thing about this book is the brilliant display of imagination on the part of author A. G. Howard. I only wish I could think up stuff this vivid and exciting. From Logan E. Turner


I highly recommend this one to fans of fairytale retellings, and especially to those who like their books a little dark and twisty. From BookTwirps Book Reviews

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