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Tale as Old as Time

I’m not using any pics on this because Disney would basically ruin me, so I apologize for the lack of visual involvement. I promise to be brief.

Since I’m not done with Empress of a Thousand Skies yet, mostly because work and school together are making my brain melt a la Raiders of the Lost Ark, I did want to come by and let you know that I went to see the live action Beauty and the Beast. “But Amanda, why weren’t you reading?” “I WAS, I BROUGHT SCARLET TO READ BEFORE THE PREVIEWS YOU JUDGMENTAL MONSTERS.” PS I love you keep coming back to judge me and go follow Angry Angel Books on Facebook and Twitter.

Beauty and the Beast was one of my favorite movies when I was young. A lot of Disney movies came out while I was a kid in those puffy VHS covers. So of course I went to the Cinebistro prepared to tear shit up because HOW COULD THIS BE BETTER WHO IS FUCKING WITH MY CHILDHOOD?

It was okay. I still maintain that it is unnecessary, just re-release the cartoon on special edition DVD or something, but since it’s here let’s talk about it.

THE GOOD
1. It was really pretty. Thanks CGI!
2. Some story additions were nice – Beast has daddy/mommy issues, Belle’s mom died and she doesn’t know how. The part of the original B&B where dad steals a rose and gets locked up is there. Belle knowing that they are all under a curse really dealt with all the haters that are like SHE’S IN LOVE WITH A BUFFALO – no she’s not, she understands that there is a man under there.
3. The voices were well chosen – Sir Ian McKellen as Cogsworth was A++ and I have so much love for Emma Thompson; she rocked Mrs. Potts.
4. GASTON – WHO DID THIS CASTING IT WAS FUCKING PERFECT
5. LAFOU – JOSH GAD IS A GOD HOLY COW WHO DID THIS SEND THEM AN EDIBLE ARRANGEMENT

THE BAD
1. The CGI was so crazy that sometimes it was painfully obvious that Emma Watson was looking at an empty table trying to appear amused at nothing.
2. Emma Watson’s singing was totally fine – on pitch, etc – but it was not enough. It reminded me of how I felt when Russell Crowe played Javert in Les Mis – he sang fine but it just wasn’t enough for Javert. Belle has this longing for more, and most of the time Emma Watson was like I WILL SING THIS SONG RIGHT and all the acting kind of stopped.
3. The timeline: Go see this movie and see if you can tell me how long Belle is at the palace. In the cartoon there is ~passage of time~ and we understand that they are interacting for probably a month? This movie lines it up so that at most she’s there for 48 hours. I’m sorry, that’s not enough time for (a) the Beast to stop being a dick and (b) Belle to fall in love with his softer side.

I also have to say that the way they did the ending made me cry. Mostly because the dog footstool basically dies with all feet in the air. IT WAS THE DOG FOOTSTOOL, not any of the human knick knacks – THE DOG DIDN’T ASK FOR THIS. But don’t worry everything is okay in the end. It’s Beauty and the Beast, so see it or don’t, whatever. I mainly saw it to judge and see if it was as good. It wasn’t, but it was enough to make it worth my while.

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Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)

scarlet

Book 1: Cinder

When I saw the cover to this one I had my doubts. Cinder was such a new and different house built on a reliable foundation that my expectations were high for the next book. Scarlet has lost her grandmother to kidnappers and is frantically trying to find her when she meets up with Wolf (HUUUUUUUGE EYEROLL) who agrees to help her because his former gang had probably captured her for military secrets she may hold. It turns out that the army we heard about in Cinder was a bunch of altered Lunars with sharpened teeth and wolfish instincts.

Scarlet’s story is set in France, and we learn that her grandmother served in the air force. We alternate between Scarlet and Wolf’s journey and Cinder’s escape from prison. To be honest I endured the Scarlet parts because I was so invested in whether Cinder was going to make it (and given that there are like 2 or 3 more books in this series, I’m assuming she does), but then the Scarlet story suddenly gets interesting when we discover that her grandmother may have had a hand in Cinder’s past, and because of that she may have affected Scarlet’s future.

I don’t feel like it’s a spoiler to say that all the good guys find their way to each other in the end. We have Cinder, her android friend Iko, Captain Thorne (Sleeping Beauty foreshadowing?), Wolf (eyeroll), and Scarlet. I was skeptical about this again but it ended well and this fairy tale stone continues to gather moss as we move forward. I’m kind of digging the ragtag band fighting evil and experiencing self-discovery and transformation.

Something that is reemphasized is the creation of a device that had been installed in Cinder. When it was removed in the first book she was able to use her Lunar gifts again. In this book we find that it had been surgically installed in Scarlet’s grandmother (a human) and it allowed her to resist the Lunar deceptions. Apparently these were both prototypes, but questions are starting to be asked about mass production to protect the humans of Earth against Queen Levana, who is basically declaring war on Earth, but it was a passing conversation with future implications. There is a lot going on in these books other than the reimagining of the fairy tales, and the political shenanigans are very interesting by themselves.

I’m not sure why every time I start one of these Lunar Chronicle books I have greased my eye sockets ready for intense eye rolling, but by the end I’m like WHAT HAPPENS NEXT but hey, it’s nice to have preconceived notions wiped away with pleasant surprises. This series is a set of pleasant, enjoyable surprises – go get it and start. I’ll be moving on to the next book: Cress.

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Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3)

Avast, there be spoilers ahead that might hurt experience in the previous books if you haven’t read them. I will not spoil anything in this book though.

Book #1: Throne of Glass

Book #2: Crown of Midnight

heir of fire

This book seems to be the turning point in this series. We follow three different points of view throughout. First, Celaena (Aelin) in Mistward working with an immortal Fae Rowan to master her abilities to earn an audience with her aunt Maeve, one of the three Fae Queens, after Chaol gets her sent away on a King’s Champion errand for her own safety. Second, Aedion returns to the kingdom, assumedly under the control of one of the king’s black rings, but is quickly revealed as an ally and Aelin’s cousin. And third we witness Manon and the witch clans taking advantage of the breeding of wyverns – choosing their flying horrors and learning to ride them, preparing to fight for the king. Keep in mind that Celaena killed Baba Yellowlegs previously, and the Yellowlegs witch clan is seeking revenge. The other two clans are the Bluebloods and the Blackbeaks.

Okay, is that enough that is going on? I mean, reading this book was like watching 3 trains steaming towards a central location without understanding that they were playing a game of chicken. Then all of a sudden in the last 3 chapters I was like WOOOOOOAAAAHHH WOOOOOOAAAAHHH!!!!!! because a MILLION things happened all at once and my jaw was just hanging open until I was done.

The story in this series is told so well. I am invested in the characters and their relationships, I am angry with the antagonists, I am interested in the lore and the magic, I want to know what happens next. Heir of Fire reveals more about the past, about how Terrasen looked and felt when Aelin was a young girl before the tragedy. I am beginning to wonder what a new Terrasen  would look like and how it would rise against the king.

Other reviews of this book complain that it moves too slowly, but I think it feels like that because we’re looking at so many things happening, and Maas wants to lead to the turning point very carefully so we know where all the players are when everything goes down. The destination is really worth the journey – savor this book.

Leigh Bardugo and Sarah J. Maas are hands down my two favorite fantasty YA writers right now. Go and pick up their books and start reading: you will not be disappointed.

On to book #4: Queen of Shadows – It’s SOOOOOOO long but my body is ready. 🙂

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Technical Difficulties

Ladies and gentlemen,

Due to increased work and school loads this week due to this author’s spring break laziness from last week, reading for pleasure time has decreased significantly. Regular posts are expected to resume this weekend, and we thank you for your patience.

In the meantime we are working to increase viewership on Facebook and Twitter. If you haven’t already, please drop a like or a follow, I promise that I don’t inundate you with posts and the more people that follow, the more seriously this website and its online presence are taken.

As always thank you for reading about my reading, and we’ll be back to the regularly scheduled reviews shortly. Have a great week!

Sincerely,

Amanda

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Self-Care Revisited

Last December I posted an essay on suggestions that I had for self-care. If you are new to Angry Angel Books and would like to read it, please click here.

I have been spending this evening before heading back to the real world controlling my breathing and warding off a panic attack which is being fueled by the unruly amount of work I have to do this week. I also know that I (we) left the house in shambles too, so not only do I have work-work and school-work to do, there are chores backed up too. *breathe in* *breathe out*

My coping methods are pretty rad (thanks therapy!) but sometimes I still struggle, so I thought I would take this evening to provide a Monday post with more self-care suggestions at the end of quarter 1 of 2017.

  1. Get Active! – if you’re like me the get active! idea from December has petered off into the “gosh I should really go for a walk” as you continue to stare at your computer screen and wait for the next episode of your show to load on Netflix. The first day of spring is coming, and with it renewal and fresh beginnings. Find some small way to move, whether it be walks, 25 situps in the morning, weights on your ankles that you lift under your desk while you work – the important thing to remember is that you don’t have to join a gym. Make this small. With some very real healthcare realities looming, making sure you have some healthy habits in place is very important.
  2. Relax Mentally! I think we’ve all got some way to relax physically. I like to think I am a champion relaxer that way. I am NOT good at telling my mind to take a freakin’ break already. In December this was a suggestion to engage in some kind of meditation app like Headspace, but I never ended up shelling out the dough. So I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest some new ways to tell your brain to chill the fuck out.
    • Coloring books: I have plenty of friends that like to shame this all day long. They love to call them dumb. Here’s what I’ll say though, if you like to color, if you ever liked to color, there are so many options out there for adults to use coloring as a tool for relaxation. Coloring pencils, gel pens, sharpie fine tip markers – you name it, it’s out there.

      you are here
      Order Jenny Lawson’s amazing bestselling, inspirational coloring book. (Click the Pic)
    • Journals: There are so many beautiful journals out there that aren’t as expensive as a Moleskine. If there is something you are into, there is a journal out there with that theme on the cover. Treat yourself and then use a website that provides positive prompts or words to spend some time writing, or just fuck that crap and write about whatever you want.

      journal
      Spoilers! (Click the Pic!)
  3. Drink Water! This one remains as important as it was in December. Get that diet soda and that juice and coffee and fancy schmancy espressocinochiatto but please for the love of all things good please find a way to get eight 8oz glasses of water in.
  4. Do something new! Research says that novelty and learning new things brings happiness, and with the plethora of apps available there should be something new to try. Listen to new music, start to learn a new language, or find a website that offers online classes for free.

To help with all of this I recently discovered a website (with a companion app) called Habitica. You create a little character and you earn points and coins as you complete tasks and goals individualized to you. You can team up with friends to fight monsters or raise your own stable of interesting creatures, but it’s all based on your own habits, daily tasks, and to do lists. The only downside to this is that it would be very easy to just take advantage of it, but if you don’t take it too seriously it could be a fun way to motivate yourself to drink water, take a walk, and keep up with that Duolingo language you’re trying to learn. There are other habit helping apps and programs out there too, so if this one doesn’t float your boat, maybe check out some of the others.

Don’t forget to take care of yourself. Especially if you are a woman reading this, remember that the world wants…no sorry, expects us to sacrifice ourselves for others while keeping a smile on our faces. Remember that it’s okay to flip the world the bird and focus on you. Selfish isn’t always a four letter word, sometimes it is absolutely essential.

How do you take care of yourself? What suggestions would you make to others that feel too busy, or don’t know where to start? Let’s share and make a great pile of ideas so we can all remain sane. Have a great week!

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Working for the Weekend

As I approach the end of my spring break I find myself in the enviable situation of having accomplished basically nothing. I had good intentions: I was going to clean out my closet, throw away and donate things, go on walks, clean the house in general, and get organized. Instead I spent the week staring at my laptop, my Kindle, books, the TV, or nothing at all as I allowed my mind to get washed out and ready for another 2-3 months of teaching.

It was also my birthday this week, as some of you may have read, and this weekend the husband and I are headed to Disneyworld for some time away from not only work but also the home responsibilities. I dropped our two miniature schnauzers off at the PetsHotel this morning and I am ready to stay in a hotel myself for a couple of nights.

We won’t be at the parks all day though; despite the lovely weather in Florida this week I am a fat woman who wasn’t designed to be out walking in the direct sun for too long. The rest of the time I’m planning to sleep or trek out to read by the pool, bc staying still in the sun is okay. 🙂

The weekend is a great time for me to read. I have 3 books that I am working on right now, with 3 on the back burner. When I visit the pool this weekend I’ll be bringing Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) on my Kindle, Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) from the library, or Empress of a Thousand Skies which I bought for myself.

 

I have an old Kindle Fire 7″ so it’s not an HD or anything really advanced, but I like being able to go from my book to facebook and back again. The only downside is that it’s a little difficult to read in the sun with the reflective screen.

So tell me, what are you reading this weekend? Are you taking time to relax? Are you listening to a book instead of reading one? Share what you’re doing in the comments.

I wish you the best this weekend and I’ll see you on the flip side when I’m back to work with some reviews for you as well.

Book Review

A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic #1)

DSOM

In the spirit of starting all of the fantasy series that are out and hot right now, I decided to take a dip into the universe of the many Londons. I really appreciate V.E. Schwab’s ability to keep this book exciting while laying out all of the information, characters, and locations that we need to know about once this series really gets going. Sometimes first children of a book series can get too bogged down in details or burn out too early with too much action, but this book is a nice mix of the two.

A few things to keep in mind. First, there are 4 parallel universes, each with a different approach to magic. Pure magic, every day magic, controlled magic, and not really any magic. The main character Kell calls them Black, Red, White, and Grey Londons respectively. And London is the name of the city they all share, but that’s all they share. England as a country doesn’t exist in all of them, so London is our lynchpin.

Kell is a special kind of person that can move between the worlds, and he is one of only two of that kind of person left in all the universes. Something terrible happened in Black London and it has been locked away and inaccessible from the other Londons. So we travel with Kell to see what’s going on, and we see that there is some trouble brewing. All in all it’s a really slow burn but the fireworks at the end are amazing.

This is a very smart book. I was never bored, I never rolled my eyes. The rules of the universe(s) are clear and more are slowly coming into focus so you never have to take things for granted. The ending was grand and speaks of more adventure to come in a very subtle way. Come with me and discover A Darker Shade of Magic. You won’t be disappointed.