Category Archive – Super Fan

Week of Geek Breaking News: The title of the next Fantastic Beasts movie revealed!

by  | Category: Movie Madness, Must-Read Fiction, Pop Culture, Reading Lounge, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Rejoice Wizarding World fans!  The next film in the Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them series has a title and release date!  AND a cast photo!

Click here to learn more details about each character, and here for more about the movie.  And while The Crimes of Grindelwald won’t be out until next November, go ahead and sign out Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them to catch up (find the textbook here and the screenplay here).  Stay tuned for more, until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: YA Books that started in NaNoWriMo

by  | Category: Must-Read Fiction, Pop Culture, Reading Lounge, Super Fan, What's Going On
Bookmark and Share

Hi again Geeklings!  How we doing?  Experiencing the November blah’s yet?  I may have something that’ll distract you…

As I mentioned on this site before, I’ve been trying something new this month.  Yay, new things!  I’m giving NaNoWriMo a shot.  For those who aren’t familiar yet, it’s a challenge to write 50 000 words of a novel in one month.  I’ve just passed the halfway point, both in November and in word count, so I like to think I’m giving it a solid effort.

To clarify, no one is expecting the participant to have a completely edited, polished and ready to publish novel in a month.  And you don’t have to write the entirety of it all in November either; if you had some things written before it all counts as long as it’s the same project.  It’s all on the honor system and it’s all for the personal challenge.  NaNoWriMo just wants you to get the words out, just to get them finally written down in a first or second draft, and then in January and February they host online help for editing and publishing.  It’s a great system.

So far I’ve found it interesting, challenging, stressful and so rewarding all at the same time.  This is the most I’ve written on a single project, and I’m a little worried at how the next 24 000-ish words are going to go.  Will I think of enough to write about?  Will all the placeholders I’ve put in the work so far have to be fleshed out?  So many ‘what if’s, but I’m determined.

And one of the best things about it is that they have a Young Writer’s Program.  Busy?  Overloaded with school and extracurriculars?  Wanna give this a try but feel like 50 000 words is WAY too much?  The Young Writer’s Program let’s you set your own word count and helps you through it.

If you’re looking for some inspiration, we’ve got some YA novels that started as NaNoWriMo projects.

CinderCinder, Scarlet and Cress by Marissa Meyer

From Cinder: “Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.”

The Lunar Chronicles feature a mix of fairy tale characters and a lot of sci fi.  Creating the first book during NaNoWriMo worked well enough for Meyer that she used the challenge to create some of the follow-ups.  That’s commitment.

Anna and the French KissAnna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

“Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?”

For those looking for a little romance in an exotic locale, give this one a try.

RampantRampant by Diana Peterfreund

“Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns…

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they’ve been extinct for a hundred and fifty years.

Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend—thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to—perhaps most dangerously of all—her growing attraction to a handsome art student … an attraction that could jeopardize everything.”

Deadly unicorns.  What more could you ask for?

CrewelCrewel by Gennifer Albin

“Incapable. Awkward. Artless. That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: She wants to fail. Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen to work the looms is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to manipulate the very fabric of reality. But if controlling what people eat, wherethey live, and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and used her hidden talent for a moment. Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her dad’s jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because tonight, they’ll come for her.”

Token of DarknessToken of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes

“Cooper Blake has everything going for him–until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.

No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible.”

The Forest of Hands and TeethThe Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

“In Mary’s world there are simple truths.
   The Sisterhood always knows best.
   The Guardians will protect and serve.
   The Unconsecrated will never relent.
   And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the villa≥ the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.
   But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.
   Now, she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?”

Side Effects May VarySide Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

“When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs. So she convinces her best friend, Harvey, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge as it is about hope.

But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission, and now she must face the consequences of all she’s said and done.”

Now THAT is a twist if ever I heard one.  What the heck do you do if you act like your actions won’t have any consequences and suddenly they do?  We’ll have to read to find out how Alice deals.

AlienatedAlienated by Melissa Landers

“Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet..”

The first book in a whole series.

Livvie Owen Lived HereLivvie Owen Lived Here by Sarah Dooley

“Olivia ‘Livvie’ Owen feels things differently than her parents and two sisters. Livvie is autistic. Her family has had to move repeatedly because of her outbursts. When they again face eviction, Livvie is convinced she has a way to get back to a house where they were all happy, once.

The problem is, Livvie burned down that house.

But she’s not giving up. Here is her story.”

Books featuring autistic characters are on the rise but still few and far between.  Author Sarah Dooley was a special education teacher who worked with autistic children, so she does come from a somewhat knowledgeable background on the subject.

And, gotta give a special shout out to one of my favorite books of all time…

FangirlFangirl by Rainbow Rowell

“Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?”

That’s really a small snippet of what this book is all about.  Cath is a fan.  Cath is an introvert.  Cath is a writer.  And Cath is going through a seismic life change.  As a fan, introvert and kind-of writer myself, Cath resonated with me in a way that few literary characters have, before or since.  It’s a great book.  Read!

So there you have it.  Quite an eclectic mix of subjects but all are proof that the system can work as long as you want it.

And if you’re looking for a place to write, or meet other writers, or get some ideas, we’ve got you covered too.

Good luck Geeklings!  Hope to see you at the club, and until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: Ranking Marvel’s Films… Can it be done?

by  | Category: Movie Madness, Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Hiya Geeklings.

So, this weekend I got to see Thor: Ragnarok for my birthday.  Squeal!

LOVED IT!  Funny, action packed, had Doctor Strange in it for a little bit.  So much Loki!  And just awesome.  So much to love!  Ali happy!

And it got me thinking about the MCU, or the Marvel Cinematic Universe if you want to skip the shorthand, Marvel Studios’ wackadoodle dream of creating connected films over a broad scale and bringing all the characters and storylines together for a single goal.  It’s had a succession of great directors and top-notch talent in acting, special effects, costuming, writing (one thing I like to say is that, eventually, Everyone Joins the MCU).  They’ve changed and adapted their original plan when certain properties became really popular or they got the rights back to certain characters (welcome back Spidey!)

17 films so far.  Let’s break it down.

Phase 1 – 6 Films

Iron ManThe Incredible HulkIron Man 2ThorCaptain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers

Phase 2 – 6 Films

Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Guardians of the Galaxy, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ant-Man

Phase 3 – 10 Films

Captain America: Civil War, Doctor Strange, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok

That takes us to right now.  I’ve got the links above for everything you can sign out but here’s a handy list of what we have in our libraries.  I like lists (clearly).

And then the next ones coming up are…

Black Panther (click that link, it looks amazing), Avengers: Infinity War, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel, Another Avengers Film as yet untitled.

That’ll end Phase 3, and then there’s also a Spider-Man sequel and a 3rd Guardians of the Galaxy movie announced, so I guess that’ll be Phase 4?  Or maybe they’ll just start a new set of phases?  That’s still a few years off, so we’ll see.

So I liked Ragnarok so much that I knew I’d put it up in one of the top spots of favorite Marvel films.  Which got me thinking; how would I rank the other ones?  No small feat, seeing as how there’s almost 20 of them.  So how to go about it?  How I did it was split them up into four different categories and then rank them from there, which made more sense in my own head; a head which is not overly inclined to numbers.

So here they are, my order of released Marvel films from best to worst.  This list is comprised of my own personal preferences.  Some you may agree with.  Some of you may disagree vehemently.  But here they are…

Top Marks

The Avengers – This one may not technically be the absolute best of Marvel’s films, but I’m giving it the top spot because in my little fangirl heart, this moment in cinematic history was a game changer for me and for so many other fans.  This was the first time we got to see Marvel’s plan really come to fruition.  This was something new, something delightful, something that FIVE other films had built to.  And it didn’t let us down.  It was a great film and it proved that what Marvel was on to, this crazy plan of an extended universe, was just crazy enough to work.  It’s left so many other studios scrambling to follow suit.  This was the gold standard for shared universes.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier –  Not only was Cap’s 2nd solo outing probably the best one to date, it was one of the most well made of Marvel’s films, from writing to pacing to acting to effects to… everything.  It gave more screen time to Black Widow and introduced the Falcon.  And it packs one of the biggest emotional punches in the series and two of the biggest twists, completely changing the direction for the rest of the films to follow.

Iron Man – The one that started it all, the face that launched a thousand ships (use whatever double meanings you want there).  It made Robert Downey Jr a household name again (come on, he IS Tony Stark), took a superhero that hardly anyone knew anything about and made him an essential component of the Marvel Universe, and with that one end-credits scene not only started a tradition of waiting in a darkened theater until credits have rolled but hinted at a larger universe.  Plus, it was just a great movie.

Thor: Ragnarok – The third film in the Thor trilogy is, I think, the best one.  Though it gave us some real stakes and some far-reaching consequences for the MCU, it was also a ton of fun, with a lot of humor, some great action sequences and candy for your eyeballs.  It’s really a cultivation of what Marvel’s done so far and how good it can be.

Doctor Strange – This would rank high on my list just for granting me one of my deepest wishes; for Benedict Cumberbatch to join the MCU.  But it was just a great movie anyway, so it’s up here.  One of the trippiest films Marvel’s ever done, it completely worked and gave us a real heroes journey with a whole ton of magic.

Guardians of the Galaxy – One thing I’ve read about as to why Marvel is so successful is that it doesn’t just make great superhero movies.  It makes great films from different genres that happen to feature superheroes.  And Guardians proved that they could tackle a real Sci Fi tale and make it work.  With some great characters, funny lines and eye-popping cosmic romps, Guardians was solid from first take off to last.

Thor – This movie gave us our first introduction to Loki.  Even if the rest of the film wasn’t fantastical fun (and it is) that introduction would be enough for me.

Captain America: The First Avenger – A great intro to Cap, the film had an awesome retro feel and led into the first Avengers film nicely.

Not as good but still great

Spider-Man: Homecoming –  This one was a bit of a last-minute addition to the MCU after they unexpectedly got the rights to Spider-Man back from Sony.  But after a great intro in Civil War, Marvel Studios took the character back to his roots by making him a full-fledged high school student with all the nerdy awkwardness that entails.  Add Tony Stark as a mentor and the Vulture as a somewhat sympathetic villain, and you’ve got a great Spidey solo flick.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – It didn’t quite have the same magic as the first one, but it had me in tears by the end of it and it was still visually awesome, smart and had a lot of interesting observations about the nature of families.

The Incredible Hulk – I’ve found that a lot of people genuinely forget this movie exists, or often mistake it for The Hulk, which is a totally different film and has nothing to do with the MCU (and I hear it’s pretty bad).  But the Hulk does have his own MCU film with Incredible Hulk and it’s actually pretty good.  Mark Ruffalo has been a great Bruce Banner from The Avengers onward, but Edward Norton did well the first time out.  Plus I liked Liv Tyler‘s Betty Ross, and villain Thunderbolt Ross would appear again in Civil War.

Ant-Man – Ant-Man’s always been a weird superhero, and this film did not shy away from the weirdness.  By giving the reigns to conflicted petty criminal Scott Lang, they gave us an interesting main character, and seeing the world from a perspective of being tiny was really neat.  And it was funny.  All good.

Meh

Thor: The Dark World – This one gets a lot of hate, but I can’t hate anything that has Loki in it.  Sorry.

Avengers: Age of Ultron – A good movie that I still enjoyed but it just didn’t have the spark or the cohesion that the first full Avengers film did.  It did give us Vision though, so that’s awesome.  And I like James Spader a lot, so I was happy to hear him as Ultron.

Iron Man 3 – Still fun but not overly noteworthy.  But it did have some interesting looks at mental illness, which doesn’t come up often enough in film, so there’s that.

Least favorites

Iron Man 2 – Still fun but not overly memorable, less so than Iron Man 3 for me, so it goes here.  Points for introducing the Black Widow, one of the most awesome heroines to ever awesome.

Captain America: Civil War – Yeah, I know.  I KNOW this is a good film.  A great film even, possibly one of the best in the series.  It brought a lot of our favorite characters together, it brought Spidey back, brought Bucky back, introduced the Black Panther, introduced Martin Freeman‘s character Everett K Ross, and was just really well done over all.  But I don’t like it.  It’s devastating, watching these characters I love go through such awful things, having to grapple with moral quandaries that really don’t have right or wrong answers, and see everyone’s loyalties divided over them.  And then to have to watch them fight each other?!  I know movies like this need to have stakes, but COME ON!  This was way to much!  I didn’t like it, darn it, so I’m putting it last.  Sue me.

*Deep Breath*

So, there we go.  What do we think Geeklings?  Was I on the mark?  Way off?  Did I do any films major injustices?  Post in the comments section or head over to WriteIt to create your own list.

Quick mention: It’s NaNoWriMo time, and if you’re looking for places to write be sure to check out the Teen Writer’s Club!

Have a great week guys, keep watching the skies (rhyming!) and until next time, End of Line.

Happy Halloween!

by  | Category: Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Image result for halloween

The day is finally here!  Candy!  Costumes!  Creature Features!  Creepy Campfire Tales!  How many words that start with ‘c’ can I use?!  Maybe that’s enough.

Anyhoo, in honor of this most festive and frightening night, here’s some fun vids…

And some fun stuff to check out…

Have a great time!  Be safe!  Stay Spooky!

Week of Geek: Halloween with Clowns, Classics and Cartoons…

by  | Category: Movie Madness, Pop Culture, Super Fan
Bookmark and Share

Hi again Geeklings!

First thing’s first; a HUGE thank you to everyone who came out for our first ever Vaughan Fan Con.  There were some amazing cosplays and a whole lot of enthusiasm.  We had a great day last Saturday, and that was in no small part due to everyone who came, so THANK YOU!

Now, we’re about a week away from one of my all-time favorite holidays.  Yup, Halloween is nearly upon us.  *happy noises*  I love everything about this holiday.  The costumes.  The spookiness.  The fall weather.  The excuse to binge as much horror entertainment as possible.  All the pumpkin-related food.  All the candy.  That shivery, orange, red, yellow, fiery, spicy feeling that comes with it.  That sense that you’re continuing something ancient, something ironic (laughing in the face of our inevitable demise) and something awesome.  So much love!

I’ve written before on the Fandom of Horror.  This year I thought I’d bring up some new Pop Culture experiences I’ve had over this season thus far, to offer my humble suggestions to brighten your Halloween fun.

IT: Clowns are scary.  You know it.  I know it.  Everyone knows it.  There was a whole clown scare last year with people dressing up just to freak other people out.  And yet, we perpetuate this common belief that these heavily painted terrors are perfectly acceptable for kids birthday parties and other benign activities.  STOP THIS CLOWN AGENDA WE KNOW THE TRUTH!

Anyway, one of the biggest things out there brave enough to speak true about the terror of clowns is IT.  Based on the Stephen King book of the same name, there was a recent film adaptation that blew everyone away.  We have in the system one of the first adaptations, a miniseries released in 1990 starring the irreplaceable Tim Curry.  Sure, it looks a little dated by today’s standards but it’s still one of Curry’s most iconic performances and it still brings the scares.  If you weren’t scared of clowns before you will be after this.

Hammer Horror Films: After Universal Studios reigned supreme with their classic monsters, Hammer Films emerged from England with their own take on scary movies.  I watched one of their earliest films the other night and quite enjoyed it, so I’m passing the message on.  We’ve got a collection of their horror films in the system, and be sure to give this iconic version of Dracula starring Christopher Lee a try.  Get ready for shivers.

The Munsters: Switching gears from outright scary to funny with scary overtones, we’re going all the way back to 1960s sitcoms and the creepiest family since The Addams Family.  The Munsters were a typical extended family always up for wacky antics, except they were pretty much all monsters.  Dad Herman was a Frankenstein’s monster-type creature.  Mom Lily was a vampire, as was her father Grandpa Munster.  Lily and Herman’s son, Eddie, was a werewolf.  And then there was niece Marilyn, who was… human.  Totally normal.  One thing about each and every Munster is that they don’t see anything weird about themselves.  They assume everyone lives in haunted mansions and has kids who howl at the moon, which makes for fun misunderstandings.  But the bottom line, they’re quite endearing.  And it’s always fun to see how TV looked back in the day.

(P.S. I’m going as Lily Munster this year for Halloween.  So excited!)

Regular Show: One of Cartoon Network‘s weirder offerings (and that’s saying something), Regular Show is about anthropomorphic creatures who who live together and work at a park.  Despite the main characters being a blue jay and a raccoon, they are your typical slackers, much more interested in playing video games and goofing off.  And getting into misadventures involving zombies, aliens, ghosts, curses and food challenges.  It’s weird but it’s fun, and totally relatable if you’ve been in the workforce for longer than 2 seconds.  And the show goes nuts on it’s Halloween episodes, as the characters gather around and try to outdo themselves with scary stories.  There’s a DVD collection of some of their spookier episodes here.

How about you guys?  What are some things you can recommend for a chilling yet fun Halloween?  Post away or write it out on the WriteIt site.

And since no Halloween season is complete without Disney’s Haunted Mansion, here’s a clip from Disney XD featuring Star and Marco from Star vs the Forces of Evil.  Have fun, be safe, be spooky, and until next time, End of Line.