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The Silkworm

Well, I’ve done it! I have finally finished it! Before I get any further, i would like to specify that I didn’t have trouble reading this because of the book itself. It just happens to be a large book, which is how I like them, but I haven’t had the time to read like I used to when I was a high school student with very few responsibilities and a bad habit of caring more about what I was reading than what my teacher was teaching….holy run on sentence. Okay, let’s not do that again. Anyway, this is a review of The Silkworm, and I’m very excited to give it.

So the story starts off after some time has past from the events of Cuckoo’s Calling. Once again, there is a reason it’s called The Silkworm and you find the reasoning out quite early. Strike has been receiving some unwanted publicity from the Landry case, and some much need business. Robin is still by his side, but now with aspirations of her own (wanting to be trained to be a detective herself). It’s then that Leonora Quine walks in, sits down on his sofa and refuses to leave. Mrs. Quine is like a breath of fresh air compared to the well-dressed and well to do clients that have lately been gracing him with their presence. Unlike the business men looking for a leg up on their competition, or the spoiled housewives of unfaithful husbands, Mrs. Quine doesn’t want revenge or proof for her lawyers. In fact, Mrs. Quine doesn’t have a lawyer, she looks down right dumpy in her worn out and too big coat. She just wants her husband, ever so slightly known writer Owen Quine to come home. See Owen’s just wrote a book called Bombyx Mori (means Silkworm) and it has started the shit storm to end all shit storms in the literary community. To make matters worse, Owen has run off after sending it out to be published. Leonora just wants him to come home to her and their daughter, Orlando and she needs Strike to find him.

Of course this seems simple enough and as a reader I was left wondering what could possibly go wrong there. Well not really, Owen turning up dead is not shocking at all. In fact, you should really expect it as the reader and you pretty much do. However, that doesn’t detract from the story at all. Nothing is helped by the laundry list of suspects a mile long, including everyone who was shamed and had their dirty little secrets aired in the book. Unfortunately, the book passed so many hands, you really have no idea who could’ve done it, but the grisly way in which Owen dies leaves images I would never want to see come to film. However, the descriptive prowess of one Mr. Robert Galbraith leaves little of the body to the imagination. It is a horrific sight in my mind and I never even saw it. It also helps narrow the list to people who read the book by a certain date, but that list isn’t so small either. I spent huge chucks of this book guessing at the killer. I spent more and more time narrowing it down person by person, right along with Strike. The tension that builds when the wrong person is arrested for the crime is palpable in a room full of screaming sports fans, I was tense and harried and had nothing to do for it except keep reading and hope for the best. Strike knows the killer long before the reader/this reader. I narrowed my list down to three people, and to make things even more embarrassing, it was none of the three I had picked. The true killer blindsided me completely, but as I finally got to hear the full explanation Strike gave for the how and why…it seemed painfully obvious and I love that in a mystery.

There is great satisfaction reading the resolution of this story and I can’t wait to get my hands on A Career of Evil because I really can’t get enough of Cormoran Strike and his partner Robin. The team is wonderfully realistic. They aren’t always smooth and they don’t always agree with each other. Robin, though less experienced than Strike, never blindly follows what he says or believes everything that comes out of his mouth. This story explores their dynamic more than Cuckoo’s and I love the growth between the pair.All I really have to say is that I would definitely recommend this book. Anyway, it’s late and I should get to bed…or more likely my next book (The Giver, finally). Goodnight, guys and as always, thanks for reading.

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Vibes

I had to reread this story for this challenge, and I’m not sure I feel the same way about it that I felt when I first read it. It’s probably because I’m older and I don’t see things the same way, but it’s still a pretty interesting story, so let’s begin.

vibesThe story follows a teen girl at an alternative high school, who wears clothes she makes out of trash and old cloth and such. Her name is Kristi and she can read peoples thoughts. All around her people are thinking she’s fat and gross, and to make matters worse, Gusty Peterson, who she’s hat the hots for forever, always thinks sick when he looks at her. As a defense mechanism, Kristi hates everything and everyone except her cat Minnie Mouse. She wears tons of makeup, weird clothes and only hangs out with one guy, her friend Jacob who is always picturing her ginormous boobs in water. Kristi’s life pretty much consists of avoiding her workaholic mom, trying to ignore the thoughts of everyone around her, pretending she doesn’t like Gusty Peterson, complaining about everything, loving Minnie, and wishing after two years in Africa her dad would finally come back home. The a new guy named Mallory comes to school, and a school project forces Kristi to work with Gusty, and finally her dad does actually come back and Kristi quickly learns that she doesn’t know nearly as much as she thought she did about what’s going on in other people’s minds.

When I first read this book I loved Kristi simply because she was weird and different and I felt a sort of outcast kinship with her. Reading it now, however, I realize Kristi was a huge bitch. She was terrible to her mom for no real reason, she was rude and not to mention oblivious to what was really going on with her only real friend. She was so busy assuming the worst from everyone she couldn’t see how wrong she really was. Not to mention half of the stuff that happens to her is her own fault. That being said, I did still manage to enjoy this book, and I’ll tell you why. People around her actually call her out on her crap, and as the story progresses Kristi, herself, admits she was wrong and tries to makes things better. The most salvageable thing about this book is that the main character admits her flaws and actually tries to grow and change. At the end of the day, what I like best about this story is that none of the characters are perfect and nobody is given a pass when they do something really wrong.

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Ella Enchanted

Ella_enchantedYou might have heard me rage about the movie that is claiming to be an adaptation of this book. That is because Ella Enchanted is one of my absolute favorite children’s books and I felt so excited when the movie was announced…then it broke my heart. So now, since I think my rage was very vague on the details besides stating it had barely anything other than names the same, I’ll actually explain how the book went down so any who saw the movie will understand just how different the two were.

The book starts with an inconsolable baby Ella crying. The fairy Lucinda comes along (she’s known for giving “gifts” that are actually curses) and “gifts” Ella with obedience. Ella’s mother, Lady Eleanore and Mandy the cook (who in the book was old, chubby and grey) beg Lucinda to take it back but she refuses and leaves. Ella then explains how her mother never told her father about the curse and how she tried very hard to never order Ella to do anything. As she grows up she does things to try to delay the inevitable need to follow the order, dawdling and forcing herself to wait as long as possible, but her vision would blur, she’d feel sick and dizzy and to keep from passing out or worse she’d have to follow the order. When Ella turns fifteen, her mother passes away. At the funeral she meets and befriends Prince Charmont. After her mother’s passing Ella’s father sends her to a boarding school where she meets Dame Olga’s children Hattie and Olive (both are described as fat with hair that looks fake and pig faces). Unfortunately, at some point while at boarding school, Hattie figures out that Ella has to follow direct orders and begins to abuse Ella’s curse. Ella runs away from boarding school and goes looking for her father at a giant’s wedding. There she finds Lucinda instead, whom she begs to lift the curse. Lucinda orders her to be happy about her “gift”. After the encounter, Ella returns home where Mandy reverses the order. Then her father marries Dame Olga. At the wedding Ella and Prince Charmont renew their friendship. Lucinda shows up and gives her father and Dame Olga the “gift” of loving each other…a gift which quickly backfires on Ella when Dame Olga learns Sir Peter only married her for her money and she, unable to hate him, takes all her hatred out on Ella. Sir Peter quickly leaves and Dame Olga and her daughters reduce Ella to a servant. Her only solace is the letters she writes back and forth with Charmont. It is through these letters that they fall in love. Almost as soon as she realizes her feelings for him are mutual, she realizes the danger her curse could cause not only him but their entire nation. She quickly breaks his heart and ends the friendship. In the end there is a three day ball which Ella does attend in disguise. She is unmasked at the last ball by a jealous Hattie, then forced to flee the Prince. He shows up at her house when she is packing to run away and then accidentally orders her to marry him.

I will not say how it ends, though it’s a children’s book so you can assume it ends happily. What I will say is, anyone who saw the movie should already see all the differences. There is no evil uncle plotting to rule a kingdom. No innocent ogres being framed…in fact the one time you meet the ogres they almost kill Ella, no remorse. The elves show up in passing. There’s no silly freezes in midair, no cursed lovers stuck as books…the list of what is different goes on and on. Even the way it ends is different. I know to some people it seems silly to get upset when a movie isn’t exactly like the book, and I get that. But when a movie changes a book this much? Why bother to call it anywhere close to the same thing? What I loved the most about Ella Enchanted was that, yes it was Cinderella, but she was strong despite being turned into a servant. She took matters into her own hands and she was witty and funny and kind and sneaky. She had flaws but she was still lovable. There was no need for the overly silly and gimmicky crap because the story was strong enough on it’s own. There wasn’t a giant plot hole like there was with the movie…seriously, if she could just order herself to stop taking orders why didn’t she do that earlier? I loved how there was something so powerful about the ending. I could go on and on, but this is already longer than I intended it to be, so I’ll just say this, I would very highly recommend going out and reading this book. It is so much better than the movie.

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Cuckoo’s Calling

the-cuckoos-callingOkay, this is actually a pretty recent read. Like last two years or so read, which is probably more recent than most of these books (rereads not included). Anyway, I know what you all are thinking, it says it’s by Robert Galbraith but we all know that’s just J.K. Rowling in disguise and yes, I did only want to read it because I found out the real author…however, bare with me because this is no Harry Potter book.

The series follows gruff, war vet turned private detective Cormoran Strike, who is basically everything I’d want in a noir detective but he’s stuck in modern England. He’s accompanied by Robin, who is newly engaged, newly moved into the city and just supposed to be temporary. Their first meeting is anything but smooth. However, after a bumpy start the two begin to work better together. The plot is set in motion by John Bristow, who knows Cormoran from childhood. His adopted sister, Lula Landry (a famous model) died three months previous and all except Bristow had accepted it as suicide, Lula having been known to deal with mental issues and drug abuse. Strike is reluctant to take on Bristow’s case but Bristow is well off and offers enough money to make a dent in Strike’s piling bills, so he takes the case, though he expects to find nothing different than the police did…what follows is a murder mystery that had me guess until the big reveal, something I never saw coming.

There are several thing I enjoyed about this story. The first is it’s characters. Cormoran Strike is rough, not just around the edges, but everywhere one looks. He’s not good at being soft or kind unless he means it. He drinks, he’s missing a leg, his looks are nothing to swoon over and he doesn’t have enough social skill to charm the pants off a desperate cougar…however, he is huge and intimidating and that works just as well. Robin, on the other hand, is pretty normal. She loves celeb gossip, her fiancée and  the idea of mystery and danger more than the actual practice of dealing with both. She’s stubborn, intelligent and cheeky and I enjoy the back and fourth she and Cormoran build as the story continues. I like the way the story kept me guessing, which might not be hard to do in books because I haven’t really read many detective novels but according to Criminal Minds and the first episode of BBC’s Sherlock it’s pretty hard to fool me, so take that as you will. I really enjoyed how fully fleshed out Lula Landry was. She is dead at the beginning of the story, but she still comes to life as we uncover her story. She was relatable in her struggle to understand who she is, not just the being adopted part but being mixed. For me a lot of what she struggled with connected on a deeply personal level.

There are moments that are slow, I will say that. But the thing about it is, every slow moment seems to develop the characters more, for me at least. There was something really realistic about the the ebb and flow of action throughout the story. Some moments hit as slower than others but overall I really enjoyed reading this and would recommend it.

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Fandoms – Be afraid…be very afraid

Fandom quite literally is a shortened way of saying Kingdom of Fans…well, fanatics. And there has never been a more accurate term for the people who are part of fandoms. I, myself am in several, if that tells you anything. I’m sure you can guess at least two I’m in, I have mentioned them a few times. Anyway, a fandom is a group of fans who are fiercely dedicated to and in love with a certain book (usually a series), anime, manga (they are different), movie, author, company (i.e. Disney). You can literally have a fandom for anything. Usually if you are in a more widely known fandom there is a name for its fans, some you might have heard and not even realized it. In the fandom community it is the same as calling someone from New York a New Yorker…only a bit more creative, because, well…geeks 🙂 Below are a list of some T.V. fandoms and their people:

  • Sherlockians – Obviously people who are apart of the Sherlock Holmes fandom. Now, Sherlockians are not necessarily fans of the original Sherlock Holmes novels, although they can be. They are also not the same as fans of the movies with RDJ. They are fans of the show that comes on BBC and stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. It’s very intense and so is its fan base. Unfortunately I do not know too much about the show as I have not watched it yet, but I look forward to seeing it and finding out just how amazing it is. They usually in fight over ships*(anything with an * is further explained in bold at the bottom).
  • Hunters/SPN Family – Personally I prefer Hunters, and yes I am one. This is the Supernatural fandom. Supernatural is a show about two brothers and more recently an angel who hunt demons and all sorts of other monsters. They are very much anti-heroes and often find themselves doing things morally questionable. But they have the world’s best interests at heart and they are dedicated to their family, both blood and other hunters (though other hunters tend to be more trouble than they are worth). This fandom might be one of the largest I have ever known in America. It has a very loyal fan base though they, too, fight over ships.
  • Whovians – This one should sound familiar to you all as I am a very big Whovian myself. This is the name given to members of the Doctor Who fandom. One of the oldest, if not THE oldest, fandom around. The Doctor, which is what he is called*, is very old though he sometimes does not look it. He is a Time Lord and for those of you who do not like time travel this show is not for you. He travels in a T.A.R.D.I.S. which is an acronym, though it is also acceptable for write it as Tardis, or even TARDIS. That stands for Time And Relative Dimension In Space. It is, in the most basic sense, The Doctor’s time machine. This is another fiercely loyal fan base, though most of the in fighting in this fandom has nothing to do with pairings as The Doctor is not known for romantic interests, but between NuWho fans and Classic Whovians. NuWho would be everything since 9*.

Now I did these three fandoms first because they are the three top fandoms to be found on Tumblr. They are also very much like a family as most of these fans would love to see a crossover featuring all of the fandoms together, this idea is known as SuperWhoLock…look it up, there will be an abundance of information.

  • Oncers – Newer fandom for the show Once upon a Time. Now just because you watch this show does not mean you are a Oncer. You could easily just be a casual fan. Most people consider themselves in a fandom when they become very loyal to their fandom and find themselves talking about them often and even making inside jokes with other fans. There are levels to being a fan. Enjoying something alone is not enough to be considered a member of that fandom.

Cancelled shows and their fandoms:

  • Browncoats – Fans of the widely believed to be cancelled before it’s time show, Firefly. This fandom has so much power and loyalty they managed to get a movie, Serenity, made after their show was cancelled. This fan base will also be very closely identified with the Joss Weadon fan base…now I can’t tell you know who Joss Weadon is because he is so huge in geek culture he actually gets his own section in H, so be patient. Firefly was like a sci-fi western. It had bandits, who were anti-heroes and some of the best ever created at that (can you tell I’m also a browncoat?), and they are on a spaceship called Serenity (hints the name of the movie).
  • Merlinians (though some would try to go by Merlinites) – Fans of the show Merlin. I must confess this is another I do not know too much about, but it is another BBC show like Doctor Who and Sherlock. It follows the story of Merlin and Arthur in their younger years. Apparently is also has Morgana before she goes bad. I have heard great things about it, and though the fandom remains loyal, talk of the show has petered out since it’s cancellation.

Book/Movie Fandoms:

  • Twihards – I will say very little about the fans of Twilight because anyone who has read my blog before will know I do not like Twilight and I don’t understand what it’s fans see in it. Twihards are pretty much to fandoms what Beliebers are to music lovers. They just don’t seem to be good for anyone, but they stand by the things they love despite the overwhelming hatred that greets them and that is the nicest thing I can say.
  • Demigods – These are fans of the Percy Jackson books, and I hear there are a lot of them. Once again,  do not personally know much about how things happened in the books. I did see the movies, and I know that Demigods will hate me for saying this but I thought they were decent. “True” Demigods will hate the movies. Apparently they butchered the books, which is always unfortunate to here, as a fellow fan of a butchered book I know how much it hurts to hear that something you loved was murdered in the movie adaptation. These fans apparently lost a lot of good characters as the books went on, so you will often find them depressed when they talk of their fandom.
  • Tributes – Hunger Games fandom…though I find this name funny because when you really think about it, nobody actually wants to be a tribute unless you would be from one of the career districts. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be though. This is one I am a fan of, but would not consider myself a member of the fandom…yet. I am getting to the point of full-fledged tribute, but right now I am basically living in a district and watching the games on television. If you don’t know the premise of this one you must have been living under a rock. This is one that the movies have actually done okay with. Not LOTR good*, but not Ella Enchanted bad*.
  • Potterheads – If you don’t know what a Potterhead is you have not be alive the last decade. Harry Potter is one of the largest fandoms worldwide! And, of course, yours truly is a huge member of this fandom. I have been a Potterhead since book one, I literally grew up with this fandom, however I will not turn the entire rest of this post into me fangirling (if you don’t know what that means…wow, just wow) over my number 1 fandom. These fans are as diehard as the Tumblr top three (see SuperWhoLock above) and they are very passionate. In fighting, because of the abundance of knowledge provided by Queen Rowling (as Potterheads have taken to calling her), ranges from ships, to houses, to schools, to Order vs. Death Eaters. But at the end of the day, Potterheads will always defend each other, and Potterheads, Hunters, Whovians, and Sherlockians will always stand together against anyone who might threaten any of those fandoms.

Classics that require little explanation:

  • Star Wars fans– As an older generation of fandom they do not have a widely used name like the above fandoms do. Though some might call themselves Jedi or Sith, titles which are used to explain which side of the war they would be on. This fandom should need little explanation besides stating that it is a widely held belief that most “true” fans would hate the prequels which messed up much of the stories told by the original movies.
  • Trekker – A newer term for the fandom formally know as Trekkies. Nowadays to call a Star Trek fan a Trekkie is considered rude in the fandom, at least that is my knowledge from Trekkers I have run into. I, myself have not ever been a fan of Star Trek, which is often the case if you are a fan of Star Wars. These two fandoms tend to butt heads when they collide. However, I did enjoy the movie that came out, though I have heard from “true” fans that the new movies were not good.
  • Comic book nerds – Though the term should really be geeks since nerd is NOT synonymous with geek ( I will get farther into that when we reach N). People who are apart of any comic book fandom. This fandom can be broken down into sub-fandoms, the main three of which are Marvel, DC, and Indie comics. From those three main sub-fandoms we break this fandom down further into individual series fandoms such as Spiderman, Batman, Spawn,The Walking Dead series …you get the picture.

Alright, that should cover some of the most popular fandoms you will come across. I hope this has proved helpful and below you will find, in order, slightly longer explanations for the areas I have placed an asterisk.

*Shipping will be explained at S, though if you already know what it is good for you. 

*Doctor Who, the show’s title, is a question not his name. Whovians get mad when it is used in that context, i.e. So Doctor Who was trying to save Amy…No!… The Doctor was trying to save Amy…Yes!

*The Doctor’s faces are known by the number regeneration he is, there were originally 12 though he has been granted more recently so the show might survive another 50 years.

*Lord of the Rings is pretty much the gold standard of book to film adaptations.

*Ella Enchanted is my personal standard for the worst book to film adaptation ever. As in, so bad they only took character names and the most basic plot line and turned it into a movie. Every book lover who has had a book turned into a movie has this standard, and it depends on the readers taste in books, I’m not kidding, ask one you know the answer will very, but the distaste is the same.

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