The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren Book 2 The Siren Review

Whisky Tango Foxtrot is a good way to describe my experience with the second book in The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren trilogy. No I don’t mean it’s a bad read (I enjoyed it alot), but there are enough surprises here that will make the reader wonder if they watched Once Upon a Time and had a shocking cliffhanger presented to them.

Possible Spoilers from this point on, I’ll try my best not to give any, but if you want we can put you under a Siren spell and drown you afterwards.

The second book in the series continues the life of Blaize Trails as he continues to attend the faux ‘pray the gay away’ school known as sanctuary prep. Blaize is still recovering from the trauma of losing his friend Jimmy from the previous year’s encounter with the homophobic group the Zimmerman Zealots.

Despite all his trauma, Blaize is fully excited to leave his homophobic home life and return to sanctuary prep to hang out with his friends and eat hamburgers that heal you. However just because he is returning to his school, doesn’t mean the stakes aren’t any higher for Blaize, his friends, and peers.

Blaize now has the power of the Seeker given to him by his friend Jimmy before he died. Despite knowing better Blaize chooses to keep this new knowledge to himself only and not tell the staff at his school or any of his friends out of desires to not be owned by the government or to endanger any more of his loved ones.

The approach the Siren has taken against the school has also changed; rather than being backwater foulmouthed possible inbreds, the Zimmerman Zealots have expanded their resources to becoming politicians, not the foul mouthed orange kind either. They’ve become proper, have an extended vocabulary, and aren’t always under the control of the siren. Tensions increase when it’s revealed that one of the senators and part time controlled member of the ZZs has been informed that not all ‘healing schools’ are what they claim to be.

On a more teenage first world level of things, Blaize’s second year at Sanctuary Prep isn’t as glamorous as he’d thought it be (second year of highschool is never as glamorous as expected). The topic of bullying returns to the series and the minor character of Tracy returns as a main character. She is harassed by her former friends, but Blaize and his friends show her some kindness and invite her to hang out with them. Too bad her personality is that of an awful person.

The approach to bullying is done differently this time around with the character Roze choosing to do something about it and standing up to the jock crowd and encouraging other students to join in and creating a group known as the Red Shirt Brigade. I was actually reminded of the television series The Good Place at one point in the book with Roze, Blaize, and Cassie teaching Tracy how to be a ‘decent person’ with mixed results.  

The parents of the character Cassie are introduced in this novel as well and along with Blaize’s parents present two different types of homophobia in the book; a nonviolent ‘have you tried not being gay?’ atmosphere is present with Blaize’s home life that frustrates him heavily even though he knows that his family still loves him and struggles with his own emotions of still loving his parents, but being angry with how they view his sexuality. Then there’s Cassie’s home situation; Cassie is abused both emotionally and physically by her adoptive parents causing Blaize to have some relief that despite his parents being homophobic, he is still loved by them regardless.

There is romance in the book, but like with the previous novel I am happy with how it was handled and that Blaize’s affections for a character named Timothy is more in the crush area that occasionally slips into stalker territory instead of constant Twilight Saga level of obsessing over the love interest. I do like that Blaize makes the smarter decision concerning his feelings for Timothy for the greater good of not only Timothy, but all of the student body at sanctuary prep and could relate to some of the heartache that Blaize had at later points in the book.

One final thought is that I am very, very sorry to the author Cody Wagner! Despite my decision not to approach him about the story when I was reading the first book until after I was done, I may have bugged him a little bit with my real time reactions to the events of the book (something tells me JK Rowling and Anne Rice don’t put up with that). It was pretty cool to have him tease me about theories I thought up as I went along reading, and it was pretty cool that some questions I asked that resulted in a “not answering” response were addressed in this book!

I give The Gay Teen’s Guide to Defeating a Siren Book 2 the Siren four Tater Tot Pyramids out of five.

You can purchase the ebook on Amazon Kindle and the paperback edition will be available soon!

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A Ring of Endless Light Review

In 1980 Madeleine L’Engle published her novel A Ring of Endless Light focusing on the continued life of the Austin family. In contrast with the Murry-O’Keefe family the books that revolve around the family are mostly stand alone and the reader doesn’t have to exclusively have to read the series in order (as in you could read A Wind in the Door or Many Waters without reading A Wrinkle in Time to get into the story. A Swiftly Tilting Planet requires some previous knowledge of A Wind in the Door.) The lives of the Austin family require some previous reading of books focusing on them.

Spoilers from this point on

The primary theme of this novel is death with the very first page taking place at a funeral of a family friend of the Austin family known as Commander Rodney, who suffered a heart attack after saving a rich kid from drowning. Vicky Austin and the rest of her family spend their time on an island that they normally spend no more than two or three weeks at each summer due to her grandfather’s battle with a form of leukemia.

The topic of death is one that is ever looming over Vicky’s mind due to the revelation that it was her own friend Zachary Gray whom Commander Rodney had saved despite the fact that Zachary was trying to commit suicide at the time. Meanwhile Zachary is trying to come to terms with the death of his own mother who was killed in a car accident, but unlike the Christian traditions of the Austin family, Zachary’s mother was cryogenically frozen in hopes that in the future she can be “saved”.

I haven’t read any of the other novels featuring the Austin family or Zachary Grey, but it’s easy to gather that the worlds of the two families clash completely with the humble, religious, and educated Austins, and the rich, entitled, buy your way out of trouble Gray family. From what I’ve read about L’Engle’s work concerning the character Zachary Gray, L’Engle had seen him as the “ultimate redemption story” she never got to finish.

Although the primary topic of death being a major theme in A Ring of Endless Light, it does play background noise at times to Vicky’s trials as a typical teenager; she likes boys and has “finally become beautiful enough to attract them.” However, unlike modern YA literature, Vicky isn’t in a “team Edward/team Jacob” love triangle. While she does have two characters with romantic interest in her (the above mentioned Zachary Gray and the son of Commander Rodney, Leo), Vicky doesn’t spend her time pondering over “which one is good for me?” and focuses more on herself and concentrates more on helping Leo recover from the death of his father and functioning as Zachary’s moral compass at times.

Vicky also has a third romantic interest named Adam that doesn’t show feelings for her due to the events that previously happened in The Arm of the Starfish (gotta get around to reading that).

How Vicky approaches ‘dating’ each of these boys is actually a relief. She never officially goes on a romantic date with any of them, she actually didn’t like Leo too much at the start of the novel, but does grow to genuinely care for him as a friend by the book’s end even with Leo’s desire to take the friendship further. Despite the best efforts of Zachary and Leo Vicky is very firm in what she doesn’t want from them and by the climax of the book, Vicky has lost any previous infatuation with Zachary after a incident with him flying a plane.

Adam is a college student studying dolphins and marine biology. He’s handsome, athletic, and honestly who wouldn’t fall for someone that is dolphin approved? It’s one thing to be approved by a cat or dog, but dolphins are one of the most intelligent sentient species on earth. If a dolphin approves of a boy, he’s the type you bring home to mother. Adam doesn’t actively pursue Vicky romantically ever in the book, but is very grateful for her help in his research. (Side note, this form of science would probably be mocked in real life).

In terms of the plot with dolphins, Adam hypotheses that because of Vicky’s artistic abilities as a poet, she should be able to connect with dolphins. And that she does through a form of telepathy previously used in L’Engle’s books known as kything. There is a significant amount of growth between Vicky and Adam where towards the end it is all but confirmed the two are in love with each other since Vicky is able to call Adam in her time of greatest distress.

The climax of the novel does heavily involve the above topic of life, death, and dolphins. Through kything the dolphins give VIcky an idea of what the universe is like beyond what she knows of on the planet earth and a deep understanding of what is beyond life and death.

In the climax of the novel while rushing to see her grandfather, Vicky is briefly left in charge of a sickly child also suffering from terminal illness. Sadly said child has a seizure and dies in Vicky’s arms sending her into a deep despair challenging not just her religious beliefs, but everything the dolphins told her and her faith that there is good in humanity despite all the sorrow and evil in the world. The plots come full circle when Vicky is healed of her sorrow through the healing abilities of the dolphins.

Outside of romance and death, A Ring of Endless Light does have some interesting callbacks to her previous work outside of the Austin family. When Vicky has a small conversation with her little brother Rob, he asks her about the possibility of a planet with a population that has no sight and no hearing, which DOES exist in L’Engle’s universe (the planet Ixchel visited in A Wrinkle in TIme). There is also the above mentioned callback to A Wind in the Door, and the fact that Adam did do some research with Dr.O’Keefe (aka Calvin O’Keefe).

I also do enjoy the fact that even though A Ring of Endless Light being published nearly forty years ago, the topics seen in the novel are still relevant today. Is it okay to let a loved one die from terminal illness and is it bad to prolong their life via “hooked up to a machine”? Is it bad to slaughter animals even though said animals eating the source of income/food for your family? Can all diseases be “healed by science”? Etc.

In Comparison to the Disney Channel Original Movie

While the movie adaption isn’t bad (it’s a lot better than any of the DCOMs released since Highschool Musical), it is very toned down from the book in many ways. One of the major differences is the reduction of the cast size from nearly twenty characters, to about eight named characters. The theme of death is toned down significantly with the dolphin plot taking place as the central plot.

Instead of being mystical creatures, the dolphins are still pretty damn mystical, but do not serve the same purpose in the film as they do in the novel, where instead of being the source of Vicky’s healing from her trauma, they’re involved in a “illegal net fishing is bad!” plot that reminded me a lot of another DCOM called The Thirteenth Year.

Zachary is also toned down from being reckless and suicidal to just being rich and unaware of the world around him (his father owns the fishing company that has dolphins getting tangled up in nets). Adam goes from introverted scientist to excited marine biologist who is pissed about dolphins getting killed in fishing nets.

It’s not a bad movie, but if Disney could have gotten away with The Color of Friendship, they could have at least handled the topic of death better than Vicky’s grandfather suddenly croaking after the dolphins were saved (ironically Vickey’s grandfather didn’t die just yet in the book.)

I give A Ring of Endless Light by Madeleine L’Engle, four out of five dolphins (seriously, we need to go back to writing about dolphins in YA, WHY AREN’T THERE MORE DOLPHIN STORIES??)

The Princess Diarist Review

The time has come to review the last novel written by the late, great Carrie Fisher. After discovering how much I liked her writing with Wishful Drinking I thought I could just jump into Fisher’s memoirs of her experience with the first Star Wars film (now confusingly known as episode Four A New Hope). And It was still fairly funny, granted this time there was the main reason why fans wanted to buy the book (this reason taking up two thirds of the book), her affair with Harrison Ford.

No You can’t spoil real life, but I will talk about The Last Jedi a bit here with some minor spoilers, I promise this will be the last time I talk about Star Wars until the end of Star Wars Rebels.

This novel is more or less Carrie talking about her life behind the scenes of what was going on when filming the first Star Wars movie, her life prior to the movie, life as an actress during that time, her hesitation at going into showbiz, her experience with Harrison Ford (gosh he was/is hot. Remember when you didn’t need amazing muscles to be hot?), her life in the world of comicon, and a depressing realization I had that resulted in me taking a few months (and some audiobook sessions) to finish this novel.

The Princess Diarist is a pretty damn good book, Carrie Fisher had chosen to write it solely because one day she was cleaning house and found her old diaries from when she was filming Star Wars, which is pretty cool that she kept and found them and that the ink managed to last for so many years.

As mentioned above the main focus of the book (and one of the reasons why so many people were interested in the book in the first place prior to December 27th 2016) was the revelation that Carrie FIsher had an affair with Harrison Ford. Carrie FIsher didn’t go into too much detail about what went on in the bedroom (with the exception of maybe one detailed poem) as she felt that sex is a private matter.

She talks about the secret she and Harrison Ford shared and how she did have feelings for Harrison Ford that she didn’t want to have because she saw that her father ran off with Elizabeth Taylor and didn’t want to become ‘a homewrecker’ by having an affair with Harrison Ford. The poems she wrote can sometimes be particularly dark to the point that I resorted to listening to the audiobook (which somehow got Carrie FIsher nominated for a Grammy), to highschool crush and feelings, to being in love with someone and knowing that you yourself can be more interesting and better than what you see yourself as and wondering how that person views you. Despite how dark the diary entries go, I feel that people can relate to them even if the situation is just so unrealistic.

I will admit I did get annoyed how the book focused so much on this affair; I understand it’s a secret that Carrie Fisher almost took with her to the grave, but I was hoping for other stories and adventures she had on set of Star Wars. But then again the diary entries that were created partially because of the affair so I understand why so much of the book was devoted to it.

It was fun seeing how Carrie Fisher talked about her life after the original Star Wars trilogy, going through life living in Princess Leia’s shadow, hating princess Leia, liking Princess Leia, understanding that she is only famous because of Princess Leia, hating Star Wars for a little bit, then just growing to accept all of it.

She does also talk a bit about her life in conventions giving small parodies/generalizations of the fans she meets while at conventions. She mentions that despite meeting some fans multiple times, she didn’t remember them, but was polite about that situation, and situations where children thought that Princess Leia was a beautiful young woman still (don’t do drugs kids). Most of all she did like the Star Wars fan base and enjoyed joking around with her fans and just grew to enjoy everything. She accepted what life had given her and was happy to live it.

And now for the depressing realization of this novel and The Last Jedi. Throughout most of the book Carrie FIsher mentioned the topic of death a lot. Most people would say “she was old, of course she’s going to talk and joke around about death,” which is fair enough, I joke about dying a lot too. But then I saw The Last Jedi last week and noticed something about Carrie’s performance and began to tie something with what she had written in the book. Carrie knew she didn’t have much time left on this earth.

Granted she was having a blast on The Ellen Degeneres show a little over a week before she passed away, but who wouldn’t have a blast on Ellen? Even the kids from Thirteen Reasons Why had a blast on her show!

I could be wrong, I really hope I’m wrong about this observations I had while reading this book and seeing her act one last time, but this is a feeling I have, nothing more and nothing less. It was great seeing the crazy lady and her internal thoughts one last time, it’s making me consider going to go see The Last Jedi again on the 27th dressed as a giant prozzak pill.

I give The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher five out of five strange Slave Leia autographs.

Star Wars the Last Jedi Spoiler infested review.

As I mentioned in my other review of Star Wars The Last Jedi, there would be two seperate reviews, this one is the spoiler review. DO NOT READ IT UNLESS YOU WANT YOUR MOVIE EXPERIENCE TO BE SPOILED! I will not spoil everything though, so there you go 🙂

So first thing is first, all the fans making theories about Snoke being a force vampire, Rey’s parentage, wondering what will happen with Leia due to Carrie FIsher passing away, and Luke being on the dark side of the force all get a giant middle finger given to them. Fans of shipping from the previous film get a smaller middle finger given to them and a pat on the back (even my Poe/Finn ship got a small pat on the back). Essentially though it’s fair to say each and every fan who spent the past two years trying to solve the new mysteries in the Star Wars universe got bamboozled and I’m fine with being mostly bamboozled.

The film picks up immediately after The Force Awakens concluded with Poe doing some badass flying drawing time for the Resistance to pack up and flee to regroup. However Poe believes that the Resistance should focus primarily on defeating The First Order right then and there rather than using a strategy after regrouping to continue battling the First Order, it is this recklessness that leads to The Resistance losing many resources at the start of the film and more or less spending most of the film at the mercy of The First Order.

We also see Finn recover from his injuries from The Force Awakens and his primary goals are to find Rey, save her, and go into hiding away from both the First Order and the Resistance. He goes on a secret mission to infiltrate the First Order to stop them from tracking the Resistance through hyperspace.

During all of this Rey is spending her time with Luke Skywalker trying to convince him to aid the resistance against the First Order, however Luke has grown cynical and disillusioned with the Jedi and feels it is arrogant to call the Jedi order as the sole good side of the force arrogant. And as usual Luke is a whines and complains because that’s what he’s good at.

Your Fan Theories Have No Power Here!

I’ll start things off with one that many fans had been wondering about since Rey came into the mix; her parentage! Many thought Rey was the long lost twin of Ben Solo/Kylo Ren, the obvious age difference between the two actors makes this very unlikely plus even if Leia had some weird “force memory erase” her body would definitely remember being pregnant with twins. Essentially my theory of Rey’s parents being “no one” were right. She was just a girl abandoned by her family, there are hints to her being something more than what she believes herself to be. Also no she isn’t Luke’s daughter and she isn’t the Disney version of Luuke Skywalker.

Despite what many fans believed, Leia was not killed off in this film due to Carrie Fisher’s passing last year despite Lucasfilm and Disney stating many times that the character Princess Leia would not be killed off.

#BossBitch

Leia shows us why she is in charge of The Resistance (outside of the fact that she founded it), in the event that all of the Resistance leadership was ambushed and went flying into space, Leia showed us that despite not being trained in the force as a Jedi, she knows damn well how to use it. As with The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi shows us many female characters present in the film doing heroic deeds all without screaming “woo feminism,” and once again the film passes the Bechdel test.  

Another strong character is Amilyn Holdo who though gets little characterization in the film itself (for more info on her past go read Leia Princess of Alderaan). Despite serving as someone that Poe distrusts throughout the film in terms of leadership and decisions not to do any form of action choosing to flee, she shows that she can not only put an end to a small mutiny, but also delivers a strong blow to the First Order.

References to Knights of the Old Republic (the only GOOD Star Wars video games)

Oddly there are references to the Knights of the Old Republic video games with porgs infesting the millenium facon and Luke more or less becoming The Exile of Knights of the Old Republic 2.

Let the Hate FLOW Through You!

As I first mentioned many fan theories and plot lines started in The Force Awakens and heavily advertised in the marketing for The Last Jedi are thrown out the door with major villains in the previous film being defeated with ease. Rey’s parentage is treated as unimportant, the damage of the government system is not shown despite many implications that the government is in chaos due to most of the senators for many planets are dead.

Let’s be honest with ourselves, some of what was being presented to the fans were a little ridiculous at times (no one is going to take you seriously when you look like look like an aged anorexic version of Sloth from Goonies who stole Goldmember’s wardrobe).

In place of all these theories and teasing we get an actual story that I previously mentioned, the film felt more like watching a few episodes of Star Wars Clone Wars or Star Wars Rebels where in some situations flying around and blowing shit up was not the best solution to a problem and that there were alternative solutions that would have helped alot more. While I understand that fans were displeased with this, this was a better approach to telling the story rather than relying on the predictability of something along the lines of “Rey’s parents were noble people hiding her away from the First Order” or “Snoke is an evil Force vampire that awoke because Palpatine killed all the Jedi at once”.

I also felt the story was more along the lines of the 2004 scifi series Battlestar Galactica where the main goal was for the humans to find the planet Earth and start a new home and evade the cylons, which is nearly exactly what happens here actually.

I really liked this movie even if it wasn’t at all what I expected; I give Star Wars the Last Jedi four porgs out of five.

Star Wars The Last Jedi Spoiler Free Review

I just got home from the movie theatre from Star Wars The Last Jedi and it was a blast; I will be doing two seperate reviews of the film, one a general review of the film, and the other filled with spoilers and observations that will make fanboys go insane and what not.

Just to clear things out of the way I will say that no The Last Jedi does not follow in the same footsteps that The Force Awakens did and do a general repeat of The Empire Strikes back, no  Mark Hamill isn’t a bad actor contrary to what his lack of lines in The Force Awakens lead you to believe, and no there isn’t anything post credits (go use the restroom!)

I promised a spoiler free review and dammit you’re getting one!

The film is very properly paced, but rather than having three acts, four (possibly five) are in the film. There is a strong presence of leadership and decision making present in the film with two of our protagonists learning a good lesson of “knowing when to fold ‘em” rather than a continue on fighting against your enemy because ‘that’s what you do in war.’ Poe’s character arc revolves around this conflict due to reckless behavior on his part that would have spared The Resistance a lot of loss had he just listened to Leia.

Finn’s character arc is essentially a continuation of “stop being a damn coward,” that was present in The Force Awakens. Along with the continuation of Finn’s character we also see the continuation of Rey and Kylo Ren’s character growth as they both begin to question what they are doing on their chosen sides of the Force with Kylo Ren wondering if he has chosen the wrong side of the force and Rey realizing that not everything about the Jedi and Luke Skywalker is as good just as she was lead to believe.

We also see what has become of Luke Skyywalker in his old age and semi isolation from the rest of the known universe, and he’s as grumpy as you’d expect him to be in old age. I will speak more of him and Leia in the spoiler review.

While the film is good, there are flaws present in the film in terms of jumping between the three protagonists of the film with Poe wanting to gain leadership in the Resistance, Finn on a secret mission, and Rey learning more about the force and training with Luke to better use the force. There are some issues with the characterization of Amilyn Holdo and Captain Phasma where the former doesn’t have much characterization at all and the most anyone knows of her is her introduction in Leia Princess of Alderaan (I’m guessing she will receive character development in future expanded universe media), as i am writing this Phasma’s presence in the film is forgettable. SHe doesn’t really do much (again) so fans who read the Phasma novel and read her midquel comic will be disappointed.

Despite the film being advertised as a darker film compared to The Force Awakens, there is a significant amount of laughs in the film where all the characters get in on comedic scenes and even some slapstick among the younger cast.

The film looks great, I will admit I was at a disadvantage due to my seating while watching the film due to lack of seating. Hopefully seeing it a second time with a better angle (or lack of angle since I had to look up from the second row) will allow me to better appreciate the film.

I give Star Wars The Last Jedi four adorable porgs out of five.

What I Learned from National Novel Writing Month

This past month for the first time I participated in Write a Novel in November and I am proud to say that not only did I finish said novel, I went above the 50,000 word count required to ‘win’. It was an interesting experience for me along the lines of ‘something I’ve always wanted to do, but never have.’ I’m going to be honest and say that I thought I was just going to go strong and write the target amount of 1,666 words per day the first few days and then forget about it and just fall behind and fail miserably.

But I didn’t; I kept going and going on typing the story. Some days were easy where I could just keep on typing and the words went onto my computer screen with grace, competence, probably some minor typos, and didn’t sound forced. And there were days where I was literally pulling anything out of my ass and hope that it made sense in the grand scheme of things. Some days were harder than others not because of writer’s block, but because I was busy with the Thanksgiving holiday, Black Friday, and I honestly didn’t want to write on my birthday (I still wrote something, just not the 1666 word count).

Today I am going to tell you how this strange approach to writing a novel has taught me about the novel writing process and what I learned about myself as a writer (I feel like I’m typing an essay I did last year to graduate again.)

Why Would You Do That to Yourself?

Why would I torture myself to write the first draft of a novel in a month? Well it isn’t the first time i’ve written a full novel, those novels were written side by side when I was eighteen when I had better time management and what not. This time period was around seven to nine months which isn’t too bad. However both novels are under 50,000 words and should not be read by anyone ever.

I chose to participate in National Novel Writing Month because I have been working on a novel on and off and created a little universe with outlines for heroes, villains, and all kinds of magic. But it’s been nearly half a decade since this started and it’s mostly been short stories that have been finished and one of the main stories has yet to be finished at all.

So I told myself “you gotta see if you can actually finish a story again before you want to continue on with your little multiverse,” and that’s what I did.

How did you Prepare? What Inspired your Story?

I became ‘pregnant’ with my story in the spring of 2016 while taking a hydrology class and reading Water the Fate of Our Most Precious Resource by Marq Devilliers. The book talked about water and different situations concerning irrigation, dams, the pollution of water in parts of the world, and some of the history of water.

One day I had the image of the world shortly after the end of humanity and a lonely mermaid traveling the wrecked seas looking at the remains of humanity and struggling to stay alive herself because of all the pollution. I may save this concept for a painting.

I prepared for this story by making an outline and setting goals for myself and creating structure by choosing how many chapters to write ahead of time. I settled for thirteen chapters because it seemed like something that was doable for me since this was my first time doing this.

I also set rules for myself; the primary ones being that I would not use any ‘chosen one’ themes (I will write an essay about that soon), no romantic interest and no love triangles (I made damn sure not to fall into that), and to stay as lightly above religion as possible (despite my best efforts religion (okay fine christianity) has made its way into my writing).

So what REALLY Happened? (and some areas where I know I made mistakes)

As I mentioned above I went pretty strong with the start of the month sticking to environmental themes at least for my story. THen came writers block. These were night where I pulled anything out of my ass just to get the plot rolling and ended up doing something that I like to call ‘Off Road Writing’ where I went off the main plot of the outline and created something new. It did benefit in some situations where characters grew more and became more fleshed out.

Speaking of fleshing out characters a mistake I did make was having two supporting characters hijack the story from my protagonist for possibly three chapters.

I also did make a mistake concerning a habit of my protagonist that developed on its own that i will have to go back and rewrite some parts of the story just to have things make more sense for my protagonist.

The drawback of Off Road Writing was that the environmental and climate change themes I had planned out and that had inspired the story took a backseat and despite my best efforts did not make it back into the main plot so well. However themes of life and death and what life is worth did take it’s place so for the second draft I may be able to save what was once lost.

Also despite me intention of this story being stand alone, it is still a stand alone story, but it has been incorporated to my little multiverse, which is kind of a good thing since i got to introduce a character sooner than I wanted to and give an aura of mystery to him.

What Will I Do Now?

I’m taking a break from this novel I’ve written just to forget everything that happened and catch up on my own reading and continue job hunting. I’m actually going to ask a handful of trusted friends to read it and give me feedback and condemn me for my crappier parts of the novel the nights I literally pulled crap out of nowhere.

I don’t know if I want this to be published, definitely not in its current form, but you never know. In its current form I’d give this little novel I’ve written one seashell out of five.

Justice League Review

Normally I don’t review superhero movies because I forget to review them. I had forgotten to review Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Captain America Civil War, Spiderman Homecoming, and a few other superhero films just because of sheer forgetfulness. This doesn’t mean I disliked any of these movies, outside of Batman vs Superman I enjoyed all of these films (I am a little annoyed Suicide Squad got the oscar for makeup instead of Star Trek Beyond still).

One of the reasons I don’t review superhero films too often either is that I normally don’t see them within the period of time of relevance. With the exception of Batman vs Superman I saw most of these movies a good three to four weeks after the hype died down. I do also actively watch the DC Arrowverse on the CW, I have been working on a Supergirl essay for a while.

I honestly did like the movie though, it is nice to see how far the movie came from last year’s Batman vs Superman (I’m not going to continue on with Batman vs Superman, a lot of other people on the internet have done that for me already).

No I won’t be talking about fan theories and potential foreshadowing either, I’ve tried that before with Star Wars Rebels, not too many people care to read those reviews.

Possible spoilers from this point on, and some comparison to the Marvel Cinematic Universe from a storytelling standpoint.

As stated above this movie was a huge step up from Batman vs Superman, not as good as Wonder Woman was earlier this year, but better than Suicide Squad. My main issue with the movie is some nitpicking on Wonder Woman’s character and how her actions (and the ending to her movie) more or less contradict the events of Batman vs Superman and how the writers tried their best to merge the Wonder Woman who had given up hope on humanity in Batman v Superman and the Wonder Woman who had a sense of duty to defend any and all in need at the end of Wonder Woman with her optimistic views and compassion.

One of my complaints about Batman vs Superman is that someone DC and WB knew that they were behind Marvel in their big awesome cinematic universe that had been going since 2008 with at least two to three movies released per year (I’m guessing all that money from Disney helps build a cinematic universe a little faster). So to make up for this Batman vs Superman decided to introduce the whole Justice League via cameos for everyone except for Wonder Woman. This went as smoothly as anyone would expect.

In continued comparison I do actually like the DC approach to what is happening in their universe compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe ; where the Marvel Cinematic Universe became a very well crafted and detailed universe with massive amounts of foreshadowing, tie ins and references to their other pieces of work, and the occasional break from the main plot of The Avengers to do something like Guardians of the Galaxy or Doctor Strange it was nice to see something like Justice League.

Because there is no foreshadowing or any sign of something big going down soon nearly all DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU?) all the movies can more or less be seen as stand alone and you don’t have to see each movie (except maybe Batman vs Superman) to know what’s going on. You can watch Suicide Squad one night and Wonder Woman the next and not have to care about continuation or making sure all the dots are connected.

A final comparison I will make before I continue on with the review is the tone of our heroes; while all of the Avengers are heroic or feel the call to heroism, only about 2.5 of the Justice League feel the call to heroism with Superman being dead for a portion of the film and Wonder Woman and Batman actively fighting against crime and the Flash being around to stop local crime via ‘pushing a badguy out of the way’. Aquaman does very small time heroics around low populated areas on earth and Cyborg is laying low out of fear of what he is now. A big step away from Iron Man flashing his cash around, Captain America being a legend, and Thor having some news about himself while Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the future members are still very small time in comparison.

I do like the characterization of our heroes in this film too; we see a very new side of Bruce Wayne that hasn’t been seen since the Batman Beyond animated series; Bruce has been doing the Batman stick for about twenty years in this universe and it’s getting pretty obvious that his body can’t keep up with his vigilante activities as it once did. This may also tie into how (allegedly) in real life Ben Affleck has cited playing Batman is very physically demanding with Affleck not being as young and physically capable as he once was when he filmed Daredevil. For those who want to but in and say Robert Downey Jr. is over fifty and still playing Iron Man with no complaints, do remember that most of Iron Man’s fight scenes are cgi with Down’s voice recorded and inserted in or his head just filmed. I am hoping that with this age and realization that he can’t continue on being Batman that the DC Universe will introduce Terry McGinnis the main protagonist of the animated series Batman Beyond.

Wonder Woman is still the badass of the bunch, saving and defending the innocent with grace, compassion, and kicking ass in all her finery. As I mentioned above they do try to merge the two attitudes of Wonder Woman from the previous two films and it is sloppy at worst which isn’t a bad thing. She too has been at being a hero for a while and while she still has a sense of heroism at the end of Wonder Woman, we still don’t know what happened between the end of that film and the start of Batman vs Superman that could have disillusioned her a little, there is even a hint of disappointment she has for herself because she acts in defense as a reaction to evil happening rather than proactive offense. We probably won’t find out since Gal Gadot and some of the writers admitted that was a bad direction to start Wonder Woman off with.

But Wondsey does show more of her compassionate side with Cyborg and is the reason he joins up with the team. She is also still the best fighter of the bunch (she is a godslayer after all), and puts up the best fight against our villains and brief Pet Cemetery minded Superman.

Aquaman is a loner, he’s kind of like a toned down Lobo, except instead of being a total jackass, he’s more interested in solitude. He listens to classic rock, helps an isolated community by bringing them fish, and doesn’t care to much to becoming king of Atlantis. He has a bit of arrogance, but it is welcomed in a team primarily composed of brooders.

Cyborg is a far stone’s throw away from his most popular portrayal from the animated Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go tv series for children. He primarily broods, not from the fact that he is no longer fully human, but out of fear that he could easily turn against mankind and be their downfall. He does liven up a little around Flash and slowly begins to be a happier person.

I’m not going to talk about Superman because that would take this review into a new strange direction, but it is so nice to see Henry Cavill shirtless for fifteen minutes. Other than that I don’t really like what is done with him in the film in terms of being ‘overpowered’.

I LOVE THE FLASH! At first I was concerned because Ezra Miller was announced as the Flash after the tv series The Flash premiered (kind of like a middlefinger to the tv series in terms of how much hope the WB has for it). Ezra Miller got the role down very well, and the Flash is our comic relief and the closest thing to a normal person in this whole fiasco. While Bruce Wayne is the only non super powered member of the group, he has seen all kinds of weird stuff, the Flash is more or less just a kid doing what he thinks is right and got pulled into a world of crazy. He doesn’t know how to fight, doesn’t have a team supporting or training him, he just pushes a bad guy out of the way and discovers that he too can do a plethora of heroics in his own way that doesn’t involve getting directly involved with the combat.

He is a nice compliment to our Flash on the CW, where he’s just making things up as he goes along and does good for the sake of being good. I will say I’m not too fond of his costume since at times it looks more armor based, but it grew on me. I may try to cosplay as him later.

Our villain is…dull. He’s big, intimidating, can take on the whole Justice League, and the first time he was defeated it took the entire combined efforts of Atlanteans, Amazons, and every man tribe on earth (and even some outside help from the Green Lantern corp). The macguffin of the Mother Boxes is confusing at worst, despite one of the benefits of the DC universe being that there are no ties between films beyond characters, some of the bigger things like the Mother Boxes will be lost on regular people who don’t read the comics that these movies are based on.

With the film itself, the pacing was significantly better, the fight scenes were great, I will admit some of the cgi usage got a little annoying to the point where it looked they were using footage from one of the more recent Batman video games with scenes involving Ben Affleck. I did like the film overall and look forward to future films in the DC universe to see what else they will bring to the table now that it looks like things are on track.

I give Justice League four cool costumes out of five.

Why Rosario’s Death Hurt A Little More

First, WILL AND GRACE HAS BEEN BACK FOR OVER A MONTH! All my gay needs are being met happily. I swear ever since the series returned last September each episode has not disappointing in terms of comedy. Karen is still insanely drunk, Grace is still Grace, Jack is adjusting to the fact he isn’t a twink anymore (and is now a grandpa), and Will is still being Will.

However I like many fans was saddened to discover Shelley Morrison would not be returning to the series as Karen’s maid Rosario. At first I brushed this off and understood that the actress had retired and that she wouldn’t have the same amount of energy she once had to do the show and that she and the writers would keep things open for cameo in the future. Unfortunately last Thursday the characters fate was cemented. Rosario Inez Consuelo Salazar passed away.

Many fans were hurt and saddened at the decision to kill off the character, this hurt a little more. Yes the episode was still loaded with hilarious one liners, amazing innuendos, Karen going nuts, and some physical humor, the tone and knowledge that Rosario was dead couldn’t be escaped.

The reason why it hurt was because my godmother loved Will and Grace. About six months before she passed away in 2015 my godmother and I were talking about Will and Grace; we both loved the show and it had been my introductory to the idea that I didn’t have to be the gay stereotype constantly seen in the media at the time with the fact that Will was constantly mistaken for a straight man who was single despite Grace being in his life. She had mentioned how she would love for the series to come back.

You can imagine my tears of laughter and joy in the fall of 2016 with the short Vote Honey was released and led to the return of Will and Grace! I chose to watch again because Will and Grace was the early stages of the gay agenda your church pastor has warned you about (don’t be surprised if he goes missing), and because I miss my godmother.

I watched the return of the show with her photo close to me, I did consider buying a few episodes and watching them next to her grave, but that’s all kinds of crazy I’m not willing to go to just yet.

Rosario’s death (on the last day of the Mexican holiday Dia de los muertos and the catholic holiday All Souls Day) was sad, it reminded me that someone I love and couldn’t physically be with me to watch the show anymore. But there was still laughter and strange things happening despite the sad nature of the reality like in real life (except hopefully no women are having threesomes with their ex husband and his daughter).

Prelude to Write a Novel in November

It is less than a week away before I begin my journey to writing a novel in November, I have spent my time looking for jobs, finishing up books, starting up books, and various forms of self loathing over lack of employment. Also hating a sudden weight gain I have that my family claims isn’t showing (I know they’re lying!)

Are You Some Sort of Narcissist?

Nah, I hate myself too much to be a narcissist, but thanks for thinking I have a self esteem that strong. I decided to do one last blog before I try this little experiment of writing something so long within such a short amount of time. It will literally be the longest form of writing I have ever written if I am successful.

What is Write a Novel In November? How did you Discover it? Why are you Participating?

Click here to learn more about write a novel in november! Don’t want to click that lovely link I provided that will conveniently open in a new window because I’m that nice of a person? Yeah I don’t blame you I normally left click and open links in a new tab too. Anyways the actual name for this is National Novel Writing Month, I don’t know why it’s associated with November directly, but why not?

I discovered this little thing writers do via the FAQ page for Marissa Meyer’s website when I decided to look her up after reading the first three books in The Lunar Chronicles (you should totally read The Lunar Chronicles). I thought it was an interesting thing to do for some people.

I decided to participate because why not? My friend Sam and I were going to try it last year, but we didn’t really accomplish much.

What was Last Year’s Book About? What’s This Year’s Book? 

A mermaid committing homicide because her entire school was killed in a boating incident with stupid rich kids. This year’s book is still a mermaid story, but there is no homicide, I don’t think I can write constant homicide scenes and keep them interesting. I suppose this year’s book can be labeled as a “scientifically accurate Little Mermaid.”

Dude Mermaids Suck! Write about badass girls in lovetriangles fighting a totalitarian government in a distopian world! 

I can’t help but feel that story has been done already, but this story is different from what I normally write. As mentioned above it has to atleast be 50,000 words which is alot longer than my little collection of short stories.

I’ve also been advised to write a story that is the opposite of what I normally go for in entertainment (in my case alot of science fiction with some fantasy. Also I haven’t seen too many YA books about mermaids (once again single track mind with my fiction).

Okay so how’d you come up with the idea?

My degree; to be more precise I came up with the idea while taking a hydrology class. Mainly from reading Water the Fate of our Most Precious Resource by Marq De Villiers. I’m actually devoting most of tomorrow to skimming through the book and looking over my notes from an Oceanography class I took in college too.

I guess in a sense I’m applying “write what you know” to this story in the sense that I’ve written short answers to questions in both hydrology and oceanography. I also know the feeling of grief and loss a little too well so there’s that too.

Themes?

Environmentalism for sure, some religion (mainly Christian, Jewish, and Hindu faiths because those are the only ones I know fairly well). I don’t plan on writing it in a dystopian way though.

That’s all I’m gonna say for now, wish me luck!

 

 

Turtles all the Way Down Review

       

Turtles all the Way Down the long awaited novel by John Green after his heavy success with The Fault in Our Stars. If you follow his vlogs like I do you will know that until a few months ago he had stayed very quiet about his work post The Fault in Our Stars. Many fans of his (some known as Nerdfighters) were very excited to see the release of Turtles all the Way Down, and since I have read most of John Green’s books I figured I’d read Turtles all the Way Down too.

        Also fun fact, I had intended to grab the book at Target because Target dictates to me what is worth reading and what isn’t and to my surprise I got myself a signed copy of Turtles all the Way Down. It seems like something silly to gush over, but there’s just something nice about knowing a book you bought was in the same area as their ‘parent’.

Spoilers from this point Onward, can’t jedi mind trick this out of you. Hehe Star Wars reference in a book that has NOTHING to do with Star Wars. And maybe some discussion about John Green’s vlogs over the past few years.

        Turtles all the Way Down follows a girl named Aza Holmsey, a girl who suffers from a form of OCD that involves the fear of Clostridium Difficile (C.diff) and other bacterias to the point where she’s always applying hand sanitizer to one of her fingers that has a perpetual cut due to always pushing her thumbnail into her middlefinger. Aza has only her mother due to her father dying when she was a child.

        Aza also has her best friend Daisy who is a big Star Wars fan having knowledge of the current expanded universe, the Legends universe, and even writing her own Star Wars fanfiction. The story kicks off with Daisy taking interest in the disappearance Russell Pickett wanted by the police for a white collar crime due to a large reward being offered for the knowledge of the whereabouts of Russell Pickett. Because of this Aza runs into Davis a childhood friend of hers and son of Russell Pickett.  

        In all honesty I was a little worried reading the first quarter of the book; worried that this was another flavor of Looking for Alaska in the same way that Paper Towns was due to the mystery of the disappearance of Russell Pickett that our protagonists want to solve. After some bribe is involved the mystery is dropped down to mainly background noise in the novel with the bulk of the story involving Aza’s OCD and how it affects not only her, but her relationships and prevents her from experiencing life in the same way a normal person would.

        I don’t have OCD, I’ve made jokes at the expense of individuals of OCD (mainly out of my lack of education on the disorder and inability to organize my living space), but TatWD gave what has been described by fans on the Facebook Nerdfighters page as a very accurate internal description of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It probably helps that John Green as admitted to having OCD and knowing the experience for it.

        The way it affects Aza outside of the fear of C.diff is a constant fear of not being clean enough and losing the ability to do things that some people would enjoy doing and have no problem doing (such as French kissing) where the thoughts of another person’s bacteria inside of her make her unable to enjoy the sensation and her thoughts focusing primarily on the fact that something that isn’t hers is inside of her.

        Aza also struggles with her relationship with Davis, who she does have feelings for, but the above side effects of her OCD prevent her from enjoying the more physical parts of their relationship. While both of them do have a unique form of communication via text message. Even though Davis does return the feelings towards Aza he does have physical desires (not sexual, but atleast some form of physical intimacy.

Aza does feel guilt for her choice t date Davis despite his dad missing because it distracts Davis from taking care of his little brother Noah who isn’t taking the disappearance of their father in the same way that Davis is.

There is some strong emphasis on parents in this novel, even stronger than Green’s previous work where parents are far from a obstacle in their stories as seen in some other YA books. Aza has only her mother who worries about Aza frequently because of her mental health and just because she’s a good mother. Davis’ father on the other hand abandoned both his sons, was never too close to them, had arguments with his wife before she passed away, had the staff of his house raise his sons, and left all his money to a tuatara named Tua in hopes that the research to discover the secrets to the long life of tuataras can be found and he’d get the credit for funding it. Daisy’s parents are mentioned, but never seen due to Aza never asking about them or ever going over to Daisy’s house.

        My favorite character in the novel is Daisy, as I mentioned before she’s a huge Star Wars fan, but she was fun. There were moments of her being shallow and using Aza a bit (she did kick off the whole plot by making Aza not only trespass on Russell Pickett’s property but start a relationship with Davis Pickett for the sake of information on the whereabouts of Russell Pickett. Daisy also makes some points that Aza’s life isn’t as bad as she feels it is due to Daisy only having a smartphone as her only form of online entertainment which becomes very shocking and impressive when people remember that she has written lengthy Star Wars fanfiction on her smartphone. I felt myself siding with Daisy in one argument when Aza is concerned about her spending habits after they receive their hush money through buying not only a new car, but a new laptop. Daisy argues that Aza has a laptop and a car and lives in a house with her own room despite having only one working parent while she only has her smartphone, shares her room with her eight year old sister, and lives in an apartment complex even though she has both her parents and both of them being employed. Minor fun fact, but the paper BB-8 seen in the photo above was used as a bookmarker because I couldn’t find a bookmark that wasn’t currently being used, you can imagine how delightfully surprised I was discovering that Star Wars was mentioned frequently in this book and how appropriate it is.

        As I mentioned before I don’t have OCD, but anxiety issues; there were parts of the book where I could relate to Aza’s mental health and constant moments of being a prisoner in her own mind and having internal conversations with herself. Some parts of the book were very eye opening at how OCD isn’t “a need to have everything perfectly tidy” as I’ve joked around about in the past, but something more that really does control how a person functions and can prevent them from having a normal life and in some cases making horrible decisions based on the mental argument they have with themselves.

        I really enjoyed Turtles all the Way Down; it was a nice alternative to the usual John Green protagonist of teenage boys feeling the need to prove something about themselves, or being fixated on ‘the girl’. Aza and her friends were really fun and even the main conflict of Aza’s OCD causing problems in her life her friends and family still love and care for her.

        I give Turtles all the Way Down by John Green four Star Wars fanfics out of five.