TV & Film, TV Reviews

“Riverdale” Talk, Episode 8: The Outsiders

Episode Synopsis: After moving in with the Lodges, Polly still feels a bit unwelcome back in Riverdale. In order to lift her spirits, Betty and Veronica decide to host the mother-to-be a baby shower, even if it means having to invite Mrs.Cooper and the Blossoms. Meanwhile, Mr.Blossom puts Fred’s construction project on hold by taking his crew. As Archie and friends begin to help out, one of Fred’s rivals sends a threatening message to stop the project all together.

My Thoughts: I decided to try something new for this discussion and write mini blurbs of my thoughts during the episode!

Maybe Jughead can take his jacket off more often???

I think it would be in the best interest of Jughead for him to keep wearing a tank top while working for Fred. His ripped arms will agree.

OH MY GOSH MOOSE, NOT MOOSE!

Moose is one of my favorite characters in the Archie comic book series and seeing him get beat up was so heartbreaking for me. However, I’m still trying to figure how he recovered so easily after being hit by a crowbar.

I’m trying to get on the Betty and Jughead ship, but I think I left my boarding pass at home

As a reader of the comics, I’m having trouble picturing Betty and Jughead as a couple. I do like seeing the more personal and intimate side of Jughead though!

Okay Archie, let’s just waltz into the baby shower, accusing our friend’s dad of being in a gang and sabotaging Fred’s company. Cute stroller by the way, Polly!

Oh Archie, why must you be so melodramatic? I understand that your dad’s livelihood is at risk, but there’s this great saying that goes, “Think before you speak (preferably before you crash a baby shower)”.

It’s official, Mr and Mrs.Cooper are the worst.

While Mrs.Cooper does begin to redeem herself in this episode, Mr.Cooper  is another story. He refuses to welcome his future grandchild because of their “Blossom blood”.

Yup, I left my boarding pass at home. Sorry, but not sorry, I won’t be boarding the Betty and Jughead express today.

As much as I love this show and the direction it’s headed, I feel like the CW sat back and said, “Hm, there’s not a romantical relationship on this show yet? We can change that!” While I appreciate how much Betty and Jughead care about each other, I just find their relationship so cringey. I almost lost it when Betty announces that she believes anything Jughead says and proceeds to kiss him, accompanied by bright light and background music of course.

Mrs.Cooper: “And I think by now you know what I’m capable of”.

ME: *Screaming and having ALL the fangirl feels*

My mouth dropped when Mrs.Cooper threatens Mr.Cooper to get out of this house with this line. She has to have murdered Jason, right???

My Rating: 5/5 stars. While a ripped Jughead may or may not have influenced my rating, this is the Riverdale episode that I needed! “The Outsiders” reminded me so much of the show’s earlier episodes because the dark and mysterious vibe was back.

What do you think of Riverdale? Share your comments below!

Books

My Most Anticipated Spring Releases

From standalones to series finales, there are so many YA books coming out this spring. I’m anticipating all the fangirl feels this season!

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz– A YA retelling, Melissa de la Cruz’s Alex and Eliza follows the fateful night Alexander Hamilton and Eliza Schuyler meet at the Schuylers’ ball. Being the massive Hamilton fan that I am,  I’m excited for this book to come out on April 11,yet I’m a bit skeptical. I’m not sure if we really need a YA retelling of how the couple met, similar to how we “needed” a young adult version of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J.Maas– Since A Court of Mist and Fury reaffirmed my belief that Sarah J. Maas is the queen of fantasy, I cannot wait to get my hands on ACOWAR (Sarah said that this abbreviation is quite fitting to the story). I don’t know what to expect in the final book of this Beauty and the Beast retelling turned retelling of Hades and Persephone turned I don’t know what else yet. ACOWAR comes out May 2.

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han– Oh, the series finale that will cause all the tears. I’m so happy Jenny Han decided to add another book to her To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series. This book perfectly captures love and family-relationships, and there’s so much baking! With her father’s wedding, high school graduation, and college all on the horizon, Lara Jean has some big decisions to make about her future and of course her relationship with Peter. Always and Forever, Lara Jean better colem with Kleenex on its release day,May 2.

Our Dark Duet by Victoria SchwabOur Dark Duet is the final book in Victoria Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology. This Savage Song, the first book in the duology, was my the first Schwab book that I’ve ever read and I’m absolutely obsessed. The duology takes place in Verity, a city divided by monsters. We follow Kate, the daughter of a man who the monsters are even afraid of, and August, who just wants to prove that he’s more than the monster everyone thinks he is. While I’m sad that the series is ending on June 13th, I can’t wait for Augustus and Kate’s story to continue in Our Dark Duet.

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen– Sarah Dessen, the queen of YA contemporary, comes out with her thirteenth novel on June 6th. Once and for All follows Louisa, the daughter of a wedding planner. Having been to more weddings than most people will in their lifetimes, Louisa is quite over the whole happily ever-after thing. Ambrose is determined to get Louisa out of her funk, especially when he begins to develop feelings for her. Mixed with humor, love, and weddings, Once and for All sounds like the perfect summer contemporary.

What books are you most anticipating this spring? Comment below!

Fandom

My Experience Seeing Hamilton

Since February 2016, I’ve been absolutely obsessed with Hamilton. And when one is obsessed with this musical about Alexander Hamilton, one knows that there’s a 0.00000001% chance of ever being able to see it due to its high demand and extremely expensive tickets. That being said, you can imagine my shock when I found two tickets underneath my Christmas tree. My parents first played the tickets off as a joke gift, as they were wrapped in a bunch of The Children’s Place bags. I’m just five feet tall (or so they tell me) so I’m used to my height being the source of most ha-ha moments. What I thought would be a pair of kids’ pajamas turned into an envelope with two tickets to the room where it happens.

So on January 8th, 2017, my mom and I set off on our experience seeing Hamilton. Beforehand, my mom had never listened to the show besides listening to my constant renditions of “My Shot”. We went the day after a huge snowstorm and it was still really cold out. So naturally at the train station, I stepped into a huge pile of slush while getting out of the car, my feet freezing and my once-black boots taking on whatever what was in that pile. Once we got into the city, the weather and my feet warmed up, the latter thanks to a pair of fuzzy socks from Duane Reade.

Since we already had our tickets, my mom and I weren’t in a rush to get to the theatre, and we had a great lunch at The Pig N Whistle (next way to my heart: food from an Irish pub). We arrived at the Richard Rodgers Theatre around 2:30 and there were just people on people on people in line. Even with the crowds, we went into the theatre quickly and had time to splurge $60 on the classic Hamilton tee and mug.

While we sat in the second row of the rear mezzanine, I could see the stage with no problem. Before the show even started, I was completely mesmerized by the lights. The lights hit the stage so that it looked like there were “Alex”s spelt all over the stage. As soon as “Alexander Hamilton” started,  I began judging how this cast sounded compared to the album. Unfortunately, by the time I saw the show, the original cast had left for other projects (even though there was a small part of me that hoped that Lin would make an appearance).I quickly stopped because the singing and acting were amazing. Jordan Fisher played John Laurens and Philip Hamilton, and I was in love with the character he brought to each role . While Javier Muñoz, aka ‘Sexy Hamilton’ didn’t perform as the title character, Michael Luwoye bought a lot of emotion and humor to Hamilton himself.

Hands-down, my favorite part of the show was the humor. Between Laurens drunkenly slumping over Burr during “The Story of Tonight (Reprise)” to King George III stomping his foot for his spotlight to turn blue, I couldn’t stop laughing. My mom loved every scene that King George III was in, both of us agreeing that Rory O’Malley completely stole the show as the monarch. Overall, I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the entire show and I’m so lucky to have had this experience seeing Hamilton. I ordered the Alexander Hamilton biography, the book that inspired Lin-Manuel Miranda to write the show, right when I got home because I needed more! The author, Ron Chernow, is coming to my school in a week to give a talk about his book so my Hamilton experience will most definitely continue throughout 2017.

Book Reviews, Books

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Summary: From the moment their senior thesis regarding extraordinary abilities went horribly wrong, college roommates Victor and Eli have had it out for each other. Ten years after their mishap, Victor has just broken out of prison and with the help of his cellmate and a young girl who has a supernatural ability, he’s ready to get his revenge on Eli. Meanwhile, Eli, aided by a college student with her own agenda, hunts down individuals who have extraordinary abilities. With revenge and supernatural power on both of their sides, the question is who will survive when these two foes finally meet?

Star Rating: 5/5 Stars

Cover Lust?: Yes!The cover is really cool because it depicts a scene that occurs early on in the book

My Thoughts: Vicious was such a dark and thrilling novel. Just from reading this book alone, I’ve come to the conclusion that Victoria Schwab is the QUEEN of writing villainous point of views. There’s no denying that Eli and Victor themselves, and their relationship, are super-messed up. They were both ultimately driven by jealously– Victor being jealous of Eli for always being the best, and Eli being jealous of Victor for always being one step ahead. I loved how Schwab told their story by transitioning between the past and the present. We see Victor and Eli in college (aka everything hits the fan) and after college (aka everything can get even worse). I definitely rooted for Victor over Eli because Eli’s logic was so irrational. I also favored Victor more because I pictured him as the Kaz Brekker (character from Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows) of the Vicious world, as they’re both such dark masterminds. If you loved the Six of Crows duology and you’re looking for something similar in the adult genre, read Vicious.

I loved Victor’s sidekicks, especially because they didn’t just feel like sidekicks. Mitch and Sydney each had their own backstory and role in the novel. In the second part of the book, I was screaming in almost every scene for Mitch not to die so he could carry on and drink his chocolate milk. I adore the image of this big, tattooed man sitting with a carton of chocolate milk. Sydney was my favorite character in the entire book. For a twelve year old with a creepy, supernatural ability, she was so strong and so unafraid (I would be crying in the corner, waiting for my mom to come and get me). I loved how she fit alongside Victor, and I enjoyed seeing Victor care about her, even though Mitch would gladly do anything for that girl. AND THIS BOOK HAS A DOG  AND HIS NAME IS DOL AND HE’S SYDNEY’S SIDEKICK. I was also screaming for Dol to live in every scene in the second part.

Even though it was published in 2013, it makes me sad that Vicious doesn’t get the hype it deserves today. Schwab does a fantastic job of telling a story about villains. She makes it clear that these characters aren’t magically going to become good people and they’ll have a happily ever after. Right now, Vicious and This Savage Song (both Schwab books) are tied for my favorite book of the year. Vicious might have an advantage because of the dog though.

Books

Spring 2017 TBR

Happy Spring! There are some great book releases coming out this spring, so I’m excited to get a head start on those and some pre-2017 books this season.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer– As a huge fan of Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles series, I’m actually surprised that I haven’t read Heartless yet. While Heartless isn’t a fairytale retelling, it’s a backstory about the Queen of Hearts. All Catherine wants to do is open a bakery in Wonderland, but her parents’ plan for their daughter involves a marriage to the King. I’m really excited for all of the baking in this book!

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon– Not only am I happy that the two main characters in When Dimple Met Rishi are Indian-American (yay diversity!), but I’m also super excited with the fact that this being promoted as a YA romantic comedy. We obviously have a lot of romance in YA, but not romantic comedy!! When Dimple Met Rishi follows two teens, Dimple and Rishi, who meet at a summer program for web developers. What makes Dimple and Rishi’s story different from others is that they aren’t just fellow camp-mates; they’re each other’s arranged spouse. When Dimple Met Rishi comes out on May 30.

A Court of Wings and Ruin (ACOTAR #3) by Sarah J.Maas– The conclusion to the A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy, A Court of Wings and Ruin, is sure to break me! I’m so ready to be reunited with the Night Court and find out how Feyre’s story ends. Since ACOTAR was a Beauty and the Beast retelling and A Court of Mist and Fury was inspired by the story of Hades and Persephone, I’m excited to see what Sarah J. Maas has in store when this book comes out on May 2.

A Psalm for Lost Girls by Katie Bayerl– Contemporary meets mystery meets religion in Katie Bayerl’s debut novel, A Psalm for Lost Girls. A March 2017 release, the book follows the aftermath of Tess da Costa’s death, whose town believed that Tess was a miracle-producing saint. When the town petitions for Tess’s official sainthood, her twin sister, Callie, refuses to join in on the cause. All she wants to do is prove that Tess was more than a saint; she was Callie’s sister and best friend. When Ana, a girl who has been missing for six months, is found alive at Tess’s shrine, Callie is more than ready to uncover Tess’s real identity.

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1) by V. E. Schwab– I finally started reading Victoria Schwab’s books this year and I’m absolutely obsessed! I read This Savage Song and Vicious, and I can’t wait to dive into this book about magic and parallel universes and so much more. Once this school semester ends, I plan on diving into A Darker Shade of Magic and marathoning the Shades of Magic trilogy. 

What are books are you excited to read this spring? Comment below!

Books

Jacqueline Woodson Reading & Signing Event

Happy Friday! Last night, my university hosted a discussion and reading by author Jacqueline Woodson.  Woodson is well- known for her books Brown Girl Dreaming and Another Brooklyn. She has won so many awards for her work, most famously for the National Book Award in 2014 for Brown Girl Dreaming. Written in verse, BGD follows Woodson’s experience growing up as an African American girl in the 1960s and 1970s. As a child, she grew up in both the North and the South, right alongside the Civil Rights Movement and beyond. I read BGD over spring break and enjoyed reading it. I loved the poems focusing on Woodson’s relationship with her grandfather.

During the event, Woodson discussed her work and her writing process. Before reading from her books, she gave advice to the aspiring writers in the room. Her best piece of advice was to write about what you know or have experienced first-hand. By doing so, Woodson believes that a writer will be more invested in their story and their characters. She joked about not wanting to kill off most of her characters because she loved them too much, causing the audience to laugh in agreement. Woodson read from three of her books: Brown Girl Dreaming, Another Brooklyn, and If You Come Softly. Having Brown Girl Dreaming fresh in my mind, I really enjoyed listening to Woodson narrate the novel and I got a better sense of the emotion in the story. 

I bought Another Brooklyn (kudos to my school for $5 student copies) and Woodson signed my copy at the end of the event. Overall,  it  was such an awesome experience to have an author that I’ve read from visit my campus and be able to meet her. In the best fangirlish fashion, I felt so cool when Woodson asked who had read Brown Girl Dreaming (me!) and who was there for extra credit (I wish, but not me!). I look forward to hopefully attending more author events this year and reading more of Woodson’s books.

Have you read Brown Girl Dreaming? Share your thoughts and comments below!

Books

What I Want to Reread in 2017

I’m always so focused on my growing TBR pile that I feel like I don’t have time to go back and reread. While i constantly look to Harry Potter and Fangirl for my rereading needs, I’m hoping to expand outside my ‘comfort zone’ and re-pick up these books before the end of 2017!
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell– I absolutely loved Carry On when it first came out and I’m still obsessed. Frankly, I love all of Rainbow Rowell’s books and I’d read her grocery list if I could (she often tweets about cake from Whole Foods, so I think my wish is already semi-complete). I can’t wait to dive back into the world of Simon Snow and Baz and magic and romance and everything else! Since I own two copies of the book already, one signed, you could say that I’m more than prepared for this reread. And you better believe I’m buying the gorgeous paperback edition when it comes out in May!

A Court of Thorns & Roses and A Court of Mist & Fury by Sarah J.Maas– I would love to reread A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury before the conclusion to this series, A Court of Wings and Ruin, comes out on May 2. I plan on rereading these alongside Kristin of Super Space Chick, Cristina of Girl in the Pages, and Alexa Loves Books’ACOTAR Series Reread event. Like me, these bloggers know how everyone is super-busy trying to manage their TBR piles. That being said, this reread event has a relaxed reading schedule and what makes it extra-exciting is that Kristina, Cristina, and Alexa will be hosting giveaways in their wrap-up posts for each novel!

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon– With the film adaptation coming out on May 19th,I want to refresh my memory of Everything, Everything before seeing the movie. Since the book is on the shorter side, I should have no problem giving this a quick reread. Everything, Everything follows a girl and her allergy to the outside world, the latter becoming more problematic when she falls in love with the boy next door. If you plan on reading the book before the movie, I recommend not watching the trailer, as in true 2017 movie trailer fashion, the trailer gives away most of the book’s plot.

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner– I picked up this book in 2015 and I enjoyed it, but I really was not into the sci-fi aspect of the novel. This book is often hyped as ‘Titanic in space’, as two protagonists come from two different economic backgrounds and are the only ones to survive when their luxury spaceship liner crashes. Since I’ve picked up more sci-fi since then and love Kaufman’s The Illuminae Files, I really want to give These Broken Stars another go. Its gorgeous cover is also giving me motivation to reread.

If you could reread any book in 2017, what would it be? Share your answers and comments below!

TV & Film, TV Reviews

“Riverdale”Talk: Episode 7: “In a Lonely Place”

Episode Synopsis: After Polly escapes from Quiet Mercy, the tension between the Blossoms and the Coopers increases even more as each family hunts down Polly. Meanwhile, Archie convinces Fred to give Jughead’s dad, FP, his job back at the construction company. Jughead encourages FP to take the job and clean up his act so their family can get back together. Keeping up with the Lodges, Veronica is still angry at Hermione for her relationship with Fred and forging her name on the drive-in contract for Fred’s company.

My Thoughts: This episode put a really big emphasis on Jughead and his strained relationship with his dad. My heart shattered when we learned that Jughead was living in a stairwell closet in Riverdale High. I wish Archie had taken him in sooner, you know, before Jughead is forced to go to the police station! While I definitely don’t believe that Jughead was Jason’s murderer, I’m not entirely convinced that he wasn’t involved at all in the murder. Thanks to Archie’s wait, whatttt facial expressions, Fred wasn’t too convincing when he tells Sheriff Keller that Jughead was doing work for him the week of the murder. My suspicion grew more when the camera pans to Jason’s varsity jacket in FP’s closet at the end of the episode. I had my own wait, whatttt moment this episode when it’s revealed that FP is the Serpent doing business with Hermione. Since FP is part of this “wrong-side of the tracks” gang, it makes me wonder if he was doing some sort of business with Jason and got Jughead involved.

I was a bit annoyed by Betty’s willingness to share information about Polly with the Blossoms.Betty, here’s a tip: if you’re going to talk about your sister who’s being hunted down by half the town and who’s pregnant with her dead boyfriend’s baby and said boyfriend is related to your family’s biggest enemy, please don’t discuss the matter in the student lounge. It’s obvious by the Blossoms’ demeanor throughout the episode that they just want the baby and will do anything to put Polly out of the equation. I was really intrigued by Cheryl’s change of heart about Polly and the baby. I think that Cheryl is motivated by the fact that this is Jason’s baby and she doesn’t want her parents’ untrustworthy hands in the matter. I’m happy that Polly is safe staying with the Veronica and Hermione, but how long is that going to last without the Coopers finding out? In regard to the Lodges, I really wasn’t a fan of Veronica’s brat attack in this episode. I think there’s a better way to resolve issues with your mother without having an online shopping spree and going clubbing with your gay best friend. Also, why does the label ‘gay best friend’ even exist in this show??? I’m really hoping that we get more character development about Kevin (show that he’s more than the gay best friend) in the second half of the season.

My Rating: 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed that the plot focused more on Jughead in this episode because we got to see more of his character and background. However, being a fan of the comic book series, I’m still unsure of his emerging relationship with Betty. While I love them as best friends, I don’t know how well I could see them as a couple. We could also tell that Archie may or may not be cool with this relationship and I’m sure we’ll see his feelings play out more when ‘Riverdale’ returns on March 30.

What do you think about Jughead’s possible role in Jason’s death? Share your ‘Riverdale’ comments below!

Book Reviews, Books

Review: We Are Okay by Nina LaCour

Summary: You go through life thinking there’s so much you need. Your favorite jeans and sweater. The jacket with the faux-fur lining to keep you warm. Your phone and your music and your favorite books…Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother

From the day she abruptly left San Francisco, Marin hasn’t talked to anyone from her old life. No one knows why Marin really left, even her best friend, Mabel. Now a college freshman in New York, Marin is forced to confront the tragedy and grief she left behind when Mabel comes to visit over winter break.

Star Rating: 5/5 stars

Cover Lust?: ABSOLUTELY

My Thoughts: We Are Okay is definitely one of my favorite reads of 2017 so far. Based on the publisher’s description of the novel, I thought the book would just focus on Mabel responding to her mother’s death. But it didn’t. It dealt with family and love and grief and all the things that require you to have a box of Kleenex by your side. I absolutely adored the emphasis on family relationships. The relationship between Marin and her grandfather was both heart-warming and heart-breaking. The devastation Marin suffers from the deterioration of her family was enough for tears to splash onto the page. On a happier note, I loved how Mabel and her parents thought of Marin as family first, not just as Mabel’s best friend.

I really enjoyed how Nina LaCour incorporated diverse elements into the story, such as LGBTQ relationships and mental illness, but they didn’t make up the entirety of the novel. She implements them in a manner that makes the novel feel like real life. It’s also a cozy winter read–snow, Christmas lights, and diner food, anyone?

As much as I love an action-packed fantasy, this book reminded me of why I’m a contemporary girl at heart. I really want to read another one of Nina LaCour’s books soon, preferably right now (okay, I’ll wait to get my hands on Everything Leads to You until spring break)!

TV & Film, TV Reviews

‘Riverdale’ Talk: Episode 6: Faster, Pussycats!Kill!Kill!

Episode Synopsis: As Riverdale prepares for its annual Variety Show, tension rises between Josie and Val over the Pussycats’ performance. After getting Archie a spot in the show, Veronica gets angry when Archie tells her that he doesn’t need anymore help with his performance. Meanwhile, Betty and Jughead find more information about Polly’s whereabouts. Adult-wise, Fred looks into getting the drive-in lot job for his construction company, unaware of Hermione’s involvement in the project.

My Thoughts: Overall, I cared a lot more about Betty and Jughead’s plotline than anything else. We’re only six episodes in and I’m getting tired of the ‘Archie and his dream of being a musician’ plot line. I realize that the show is not going to entirely focused on Jason’ murder, but there’s a pretty stark contrast with Veronica and Archie are fighting over a talent show and Betty and Jughead investigating a murder.

I enjoyed getting some more interaction with Josie and the Pussycats this episode. I really like Val as a character and I hope she just simply doesn’t become a love interest for Archie. I didn’t enjoy how Veronica suddenly took her place as a Pussycat, even though I knew Val would be back in by the end of the episode. I have a feeling Veronica will simply forget that she was even part of the band come next week. I feel bad for Josie with all the pressure from her parents, with her dad being a musician and her mom being the commander she is. Between Josie’s mom and Betty’s parents, I’d love to know why some of the parents on the show come off as so demanding. No wonder Josie almost has a breakdown on stage and Betty takes Adderall.

Getting back to Betty and Jughead’s plotline, I was so intrigued by Betty’s interaction with Polly. I really thought Polly would be so unstable (and is she?) that she wouldn’t be able to talk to Betty. While I was surprised by her pregnancy news, I wasn’t so shocked to find out that she didn’t know about Jason’s death. Another win for the Coopers, I suppose. The ONE thing that bothered me about Betty and Jughead’s plotline this episode was THAT KISS. WHY CAN’T WE JUST HAVE ONE COMPLETELY ‘JUST FRIENDS’ RELATIONSHIP ON THIS SHOW? At least for this episode, nothing came out of it except for Betty remembering something Polly had told her about Jason.

Rating: 3/5 stars. I really enjoyed learning more about Polly and how she fits into Jason’s story, but I didn’t really care too much about what the other characters were up to. This was definitely the least intriguing episode so far. Based on the promo for next week’s episode, I’m excited to get more into Jughead’s background and what he’s been really up to.

Share your thoughts and reactions on ‘Riverdale’ below!