by Alise T  | Category: Reading Lounge
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Schooled cover imageThis novel, written by Anisha Lakhari, was quite an enjoyable quick-read as it portrayed the typical life of a teacher and what it is really like out there. We don’t usually encounter books like this, but when we do, they are worth the read. 22-year-old Anna Taggert is a dedicated young woman, eager for independence and a teaching career where she can shape the minds of young, hard-working people. However, when she lands a job at an exclusive private middle school in New York, reality checks in. For the first time, Anna is exposed to the hardships of a teacher who must work endlessly to plan lessons and grade papers, only to receive a lousy pay check that can barely afford her some new furniture. In addition, Anna struggles to connect with her 7th grade class that consists of a variety of students between the shy and the popular. Soon enough, Anna realizes how other teachers are able to afford Gucci and Prada, and why her students’ papers are so very intellectually and thoroughly written. Teachers everywhere seem to be making thousands of dollars as “tutors” to very wealthy children, by writing the papers for them and thus pleasing the parents. At first, Anna is appalled and judgemental. But soon, she herself gets sucked into the rich lifestyle, driven by a guilty desire for designer and couture. Sooner or later, it all becomes too much for Anna and she must devise a plan to put a stop to the lie she herself had contributed to and greatly benefited from. This novel is hilarious and very enjoyable, as it shows every girl’s inner desire for fancy fashion, no matter at what cost. It consists of endless references to designer products and famous labels  It also gives us a preview of what a teacher’s life is really like and the experience of being on the other end of the classroom. Many of us have always secretly wanted to be the teacher and not the student. Now that we are slowly beginning to prepare for our future careers and our possibilities, Schooled is a great book to give you an inside on the adult world and a brief preview of reality.

More Dragon anticipation with new trailer!

by Ali Cat  | Category: Movie Madness, Pop Culture, Super Fan
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httyd poster 2 Photo

Just adding to what Sarah was talking about in her post yesterday, yes, How to Train Your Dragon 2 is a must for your list of summer movie viewing.  And btw, here’s a new, just released trailer!

I didn’t think I could be any more excited, but there’s the proof!  June can’t get here fast enough.

funny gif Train Dragon picture day1 Photo

Animation Station: Flying High With Dragons

by Sarah  | Category: Movie Madness, Randomness, Reading Lounge
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So, Disney took home the Oscar this year for Best Animated Feature with Frozen.

*cricket chirp*

Imagine the “so not surprised/amused in the slightest” look on my face right now. Then draw a suave mustache on it.

You may have already heard that this year there is a Non-Disney-Princess-Heads-Up-Pixar film that’s set to swoop into theatres and knock audience members for a loop come June. This animation lover is keeping fingers and toes crossed that it blasts away any and all competition for 2014. After all, it has dragons in it. So many dragons.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 is the sequel to DreamWorks ground-breaking animated Oscar nominated epic How To Train Your Dragon and is the second movie of the planned trilogy. Loosely based off the novels by Cressida Cowell Dragon 2 picks up a few years after the first film. The main characters have grown up a bit, it totally shows, and more dragons have joined the party on the Viking island of Berk. A new diabolical plot, a mysterious stranger, and incredible flight segments that will knock the current bar of visuals excellence right out of the park.

Another thing to look forward to is the film’s soundtrack. The How To Train Your Dragon soundtrack created by composer John Powell was a runner for the Soundtrack Oscar in 2011 for best original score. Some of the songs have such a powerful push to them that the only thing to do is to add them to your “Music to Inspire” workout playlist and up the volume for maximum impact. Here is just a taste of how heart-pound the music from the soundtrack is.

The one downside to Dragons 2 is the wait. June feels like an eternity away. But, like all things in life, there are hacks to help deal with the situation at hand. Two of them to be precise. Dragons: Riders of Berk. Part 1 and Part 2, Dragons: Defenders of Berk. Part 1and Dragons: Gift of the Night Fury are fully animated features that contain more action, adventure, and hilarious dragon moments to help tide fans over until the new movie. I had no idea they existed until last month and now I am hooked watching them nonstop. I seem to have grown fond of the slap-stick toilet humour of the dunderheaded twins Ruffnut and Tuffnut and of course there is always Toothless. How can anyone not love that plasma blasting unholy offspring of lightning and death itself?

Without a doubt, dragons are incredible.

How to train your dragon 2

May 6 2016 – Marvel vs DC – IT’S ON!

by Ali Cat  | Category: Movie Madness, Pop Culture, Super Fan
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This last weekend Captain America: The Winter Soldier premiered to critical praise and the best box office for an April release ever!  This humble blogger is not surprised.  I caught it on Sunday and it was AWESOME!  I have to agree with the critics…it could possibly be the best of the bunch.

The scope of what Marvel Studios has managed to accomplish over 9 films continues to boggle my mind.

NINE movies: Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, all interconnected with each other, all teasing each other with post-credit scenes and all happening in the same universe.  Did you know that the events of The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man 2 and Thor all happened during the same week?  It’s known in the canon as Fury’s Big Week.

Not to mention the Marvel One-Shots, short films that accompany the Blu Ray releases that continue to expand the story (The Consultant, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Thor’s Hammer, Item 47, Agent Carter and All Hail the King).  And there’s the TV Show Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD which is connected to the movies as well.  And there’s comic books.  And on top of ALL of that, there’s another movie out this August, The Guardians of the Galaxy, which will be the precursor to next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, due May 1, 2015.

And so will end Phase 2, with Phase 3 not far behine.  This is one bold, grandiose project Marvel studios and Disney has undertaken.

So of course, DC Comics and Warner Brothers want a piece of the action.

Though late to the game, DC began it’s own interconnected movies with last year’s Man of Steel, with the tentatively titled Superman vs Batman sequel due May 6th, 2016.  In addition to regular fan speculation, there’s been much debate about the casting choices thus far.  And I’ve previously mentioned my utter disdain for the decision to move this epic team-up of heroes from it’s original 2015 date, but spilt milk.  What can be done?

But here’s where it get’s interesting.  Just this last Monday, after seeing the weekend return for Winter Soldier, Marvel officially announced that they will release a third Captain America movie, as part of Phase 3.  It’ll join Ant-Man as an official confirmed Phase 3 project so far (there are rumors of others, and if one tiny throw-away line in Winter Soldier is any indication, one rumor may be true! Spoilers though, so my lips are sealed).  Here’s the thing; the date they’ve booked for the new Cap movie…May 6, 2016.  Right up against DC’s long-anticipated film.  They’d be in direct competition for the first weekend box office, and if you know anything about showbiz, that first weekend can make or break you.

So you may be thinking ‘What’s the problem?  People will go see both.  They’ll be over the moon about it.”  And while that’s true for many fans, it’s not necessarily true for the average movie-goer, and most movie studios don’t want to take that chance when it comes to million dollar plus movies they want a maximum return on.  But so far, neither studio is budging on the date.  We’ll have to see who blinks first, or if we will end up getting two epic superhero movies in one weekend.  Well, one can dream.

Yet another battlefield for the age-old show-down between Marvel and DC.  How will this play out?  We’re on the edge of our seats!

Batman Wolverine Chess Facebook Profile Timeline Cover Photo

In the mean time, hang on to your hats for Guardians of the Galaxy.  And go see Winter Soldier a few more times.

Unravel Me

by Roselyn  | Category: Blog for Hours
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unravel me PhotoJuliette has finally reached Omega Point and should feel at home among other people like her. However, she still doesn’t quite feel like she fits it. Her relationship with Adam grows tense and she is unsure of her feelings towards Warner who loves her much more than she thought possible. Juliette must decide whether she is going to be a mere pawn in the system, or something much more.

I read Shatter Me last year, but was able to to go straight into Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi without any problems. Tahereh’s writing is undeniably gorgeous and the noticeably fewer number of strikethroughs reflect Juliette’s growing strength as a character. The dialogue flows beautifully and I love the extended metaphors Juliette uses to describe her world. It is poetic and borders on being too much, but never reaches the point where the prose overshadows the story.

Juliette is not a typical heroin. She despises her power, doesn’t want to save the world and hates the spotlight. What she is, is someone who is brave and stands up against injustice. In Shatter Me, the fact that Juliette is over emotional didn’t bother me. In this book however she started to annoy me. Instead of being grateful for something to focus on and dedicate time to, she doesn’t want to practice her powers and then has a breakdown when she loses control. She gets caught up in her own personal troubles and doesn’t stop to think that maybe there are bigger issues than her boy troubles.

That brings us to the love triangle. This is one of those love triangles I am neutral about. I like the triangle itself, but wish it weren’t the focus of the book. I also have no idea how it will be resolved especially in light of what happens in Unravel Me.

There is a ton of character development and I got my wish to see more of Kenji. The plot is a lot better in this book as is the world building. We finally get to find out what’s happening in the world and the extent of Anderson’s control. It felt a little too much like a typical controlling dystopian regime though, and I’d love to learn more about society. Omega Point is pretty cool but nothing about it seems different to any other book or movie about an organisation with super powers.  I’m beginning to realize that the story hangs completely on the characters. Without them, it would just be a bland, boring dystopian and I would like to see a little more originality.

For a big book, it is a quick read that never felt dragged out or boring. The ending is especially action packed and has a satisfying conclusion, which makes me exited to read the final book in the trilogy. Recommend to fans of dystopians that have a focus on romance.