Monthly Archive – November 2017

The Hate U Give

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I waited for what felt like a full year to read this book. I put it on hold as soon as it came out and dropped everything when it arrived on my shelf. The hype for it was insane… but so well-deserved.

The Hate U Give tells the story of Starr Carter, a sixteen-year-old girl who lives in two worlds. She spends her days in a predominantly white private school, where she watches what she says and how she says it. But when school is over and all her friends go home to their fancy houses and gates communities, Starr returns to Garden Heights, where she no longer has to worry about appearing a stereotype but she also has to deal with the realities of living in “the hood”.

Starr’s two worlds collide one evening when she witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Between riots, protests, allegations and assumptions, Starr discovers that her actions and words are more powerful than she ever thought. Speaking up could change her life and her community for ever. Speaking up will come with a price. But so will staying silent.

Tupac said that Thug Life means “The Hate U Give Little Infants F**ks Everyone” and, as Starr learns and so many of us know, those words are still heartbreakingly relevant. This line reverberates through every page of Angie Thomas’s genius debut novel. Everyone needs to read this book and take its message to heart.

Hate begets hate. Violence leads to more violence.  And staying silent in the face of injustice changes nothing.

We need more books like this one. We need more diverse books, diverse protagonists, diverse authors writing in their own voice about what they know.

I won’t lie. This was not an easy book to read. I read it through tears and with an aching heart. But I would read it again in a second and I urge you all to read it too. It is one of the most important books written in our time.

Week of Geek Breaking News: Infinity War Trailer… This! Just… all the this!

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Yesterday, in the grand tradition we now seem to have started of trailers for trailers, we got this…

Not only did this floor me that we were getting a first look at Avengers: Infinity War, and it was great seeing what has led up to this, but I also love how this tease was framed, with all the reaction shots of fans watching previous Marvel trailers.  I don’t know about you guys, but I have been these people.  I’ve never filmed my reaction but I have had those same looks on my face as I got a taste of what was to come.  18 times!  (For 18 films, including February’s Black Panther).

And now 19 times.

*deep breath from the diaphragm*

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

I… I have no words… How can one put this into words?!  HOW?!  THIS IS EVERYTHING I EVER WANTED AND MORE!

*another deep breath*

Just an observation, this trailer was released this morning, and I saw it was up to almost 500 000 views in it’s first hour alone.  As of this writing (about 12:30pm) it was up to 1.2 million views.  Some of the commentators noticed the view count was stuck for a while.  This trailer broke YouTube for a little bit.

Anyway, back to fangirling.  This is it people!  This is for all the marbles!  This is what nearly 10 years and almost 20 films have built towards.  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE!  In one movie fighting one common foe!  Thanos will finally make a play for the universe.  He’ll finally go after all of the Infinity Stones.  So much is about to go down and we still have to wait a little more than five months to see it happen!  I am excited and nervous at the same time!  (Nervous because it’s clear my guys are in for a rough go)

So what does this all mean for the rest of Phase 3?  How will this set things up for Ant-Man and the Wasp, Captain Marvel and the Infinity War sequel that will officially close Phase 3 in 2019?  What will be next for Marvel Studios after that?  Who will make it to the end?  (I really hope everyone, but let’s face it, that isn’t likely).  Time will tell, but what do you think Geeklings?  Post your thoughts in the comments or write your own reviews on WriteIt.

In the meantime, watch…

And watch…

And read…

And click here for my definitive ranking of Marvel films.  Watch ’em, read ’em, love ’em, and let’s hope that somehow everything will work out in Infinity War.

Until next time, End of Line.

Week of Geek: The DCEU fumbles again, What heck?

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Well Geeklings, it has arrived.  The Justice League movie.

Full disclosure; I haven’t seen it yet.  But I and the rest of the world do know two things about it.  Critics aren’t crazy about it.  And it underperformed at the Box Office it’s opening weekend.

WHAT… HECK?!

This was supposed to be it!  The culmination of… FOUR movies!

The film that brings everyone together, including some we hadn’t really met yet!  What the heck?!  (There might be a bit of sarcasm in there, my bad.)

So what’s going on?  This is the fifth movie in this series thus far, and out of the five of them only one has actually performed well with critics, fans and with ticket sales.

Well, I was reading this article the other day, and I think it really hits the nail on the head.  Give it a read for the full picture but here’s a few things I’d like to highlight…

  • This was really rushed: Four movies may seem like a lot, but only three of them really had anything to do with Justice League (Suicide Squad was more of a standalone).  DC’s decision to go the opposite route that Marvel did (with five movies all tying in to the lead up of The Avengers) while developing a Cinematic Universe means that we now have a Justice League film where we only really know half the members.  Where’s the investment?
  • Over saturation: Justice League only followed Thor: Ragnarok by two weeks.  Someone like me is happy to have several super hero films at once but the average movie goer may not be thrilled.
  • Backstage shenanigans: Though some fans may disagree with me, I’ve never been thrilled that Warner Bros decided to put Zack Snyder in charge of this operation.  I’m not crazy about the decisions he’s made thus far, or about how dark and dreary he seems to be insisting on making this universe.  And the only time the franchise has had any real success was when they put someone else in charge.  Snyder had to back out of finishing Justice League for very legitimate reasons, and WB brought in Joss Whedon to finish the movie.  I love Whedon, but it’s never easy to take someone else’s work and try to finish it, and there were A LOT of reshoots.  Often what this all leads to is two very different visions competing against each other and a very unbalanced final product.
  • Fans are just getting sick of all of this:  From the backstage drama to the bad reviews to the constant disappointment and divisive decisions DC and Warner Bros are making, some fans have likely had enough of the whole thing.  I think I’m starting to get to that point myself.  This isn’t working!  And it makes it all the more painful to know that it can work.  Wonder Woman proved it!

Having said all that, I will probably go and see Justice League.  One thing a lot of critics have been saying is that even though it’s not a perfect film it is fun.  Sometimes that’s all I want from a superhero film, and that sense of fun was sorely lacking in Man of Steel and especially Batman v SupermanSuicide Squad tried to be fun, but only as a last minute add on.  And though Wonder Woman had the emotional depth the story needed it definitely had it’s fun moments.  That’s part of what made it such a great film; it could do both.

What do you think Geeklings?  Will you go see Justice League?  Give it a pass?  Either way, how come?  Post in the comments or for more extensive thoughts head to the WriteIt site and pour your hearts out.

And, just to reassure ourselves that DC can win in other mediums, here’s a list of their TV shows…

And some awesome graphic novels…

Have a great week Geeklings, and until next time, End of Line.

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

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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

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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.