Monthly Archives: November 2016

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review

So many things happening in 2016 you wouldn’t expect; republicans gaining control of the White House, a new Harry Potter book, and hey a new Harry Potter movie! While not exactly a Harry Potter movie, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is JK Rowling’s first ever time writing a screenplay.

I’ll be honest when this movie was announced many things scared me; would it be crappy, how involved would JK Rowling be in this project, is Warner Brothers just doing this for the sake of continuing the Harry Potter franchise? This continued on when a friend of mine pointed out our new protagonist Newt Scamander is very similar to the Eleventh Doctor.

But all my fears were put to rest with great enjoyment of this movie.

Possibility of spoilers, I’m working on doing these without so many spoilers, I am a muggle, sorry I can’t do memory charms.

As stated above when a friend of mine pointed out Newt Scamander looked alot like the Eleventh Doctor I was a little scared that the character was just “the wizard version of Eleventh Doctor” and I was wrong and I’m very happy that I was wrong. While Newt has his moments of being off, he is a mostly quiet and shy character who has a deep love and understanding for magical creatures. I’m guessing that in terms of attire someone at Warner Bros. saw the Eleventh Doctor and just liked the look and JK Rowling was smart enough to avoid cloning the Time Lord.

While I did enjoy the movie I couldn’t help but feel annoyed that the conflict kept jumping around between Macusa trying to keep the wizarding world completely separated from the NoMaj world, to Newt trying to reclaim his escaped beasts, to The New Salem Philanthropic group wanting to expose and hunt down wizards and witches (for background information concerning Macusa, TNSP and more please visit pottermore.com) , once Newt reclaims his friends the films focuses and the Macusa/TNSP conflict.

I really liked the characters featured in the film and loved the romance between Jacob Kowalski and Queenie Goldstein and I truly hope both characters do get married. And yes, of course the Beasts were amazing and beautiful to look at and it was so much fun pointing things out with a friend of mine who had read the original Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them textbook.

I really loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them and look forward to reading the screenplay and cosplaying as Newt Scamander. I give Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, four out of five Niffler’s.

P.S.-I knew Johnny Depp was too talented to be a muggle.

Six of Crows Review

Things will be a little different for this review; for the first time I have listened to a story rather than reading it. In an effort to try to read all of Six of Crows before my friend and I could go to Texas Teen Book Festival I purchased the audiobook of Six of Crows. I must say it was an interesting experience.

At first I had thought I could listen to the book while doing schoolwork, but I realized that was not the case with how my mind works in terms of concentration and stories. I did find that listening to the book while cleaning, walking, and waiting was a more enjoyable experience rather than listening and doing work.

The act of listening to a story was a little hard to get use to, especially considering how thick the book is, I actually appreciated that multiple narrators were used for the story rather than relying on one narrator, I couldn’t help but wonder if some of them had background as voice actors in anime at some points. I will admit it was a little more difficult to retain what I listened to and felt things came along far more easily halfway through the story when I started reading the hardcopy book while listening to the story.

Now for the Actual Book Review

I wasn’t sure what to expect when my friend lent me her copy of Six of Crows, all I recall is that she asked me to take a photo of it alongside some lgbt books I had. At the time I took the photo my head was in a whirlwind of life concerns and a week later I wondered what was in the book that it had to have a photo taken alongside my lgbt books.

I was very pleased with the story; I had never really read a heist type of story, especially one like this with nearly all the protagonists ready to kill with only a few of them with actual heroic qualities (Matthias, Inej, Nina) and our primary protagonist Kaz being far from a hero. There’s also Jesper a gambling addict and Wylin who is the only protagonist not to get his own point of view chapter.

There are many moments of cross and doublecross between the protagonists as they are all hired to kidnap a scientist behind a powerful drug that can turn gifted people known as Grisha into nearly unstoppable forces and become addicted to the drug known as parem. The book is a nice relief of uniqueness in the YA I’ve read recently with many high points and my particular favorite character being Nina the Grisha.

My only regret is not being in the best mood when I met the author Leigh Bardugo at the Texas Teen Book Festival as I got her to autograph the copy I purchased for a friend of mine. Unfortunately waiting in lines constantly brought out the worst in me and if you ever read this Leigh Bardugo, I really am sorry for my attitude and please forgive me for not being happy that you took the time to speak with your fans about your book and what they loved about it. Sam I am sorry for bitching half the time while waiting in line.

I give Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo Six knives named after saints out of Six.

Thank you Mom and Dad for Letting me Follow and Fail at my Dreams

Hopefully in a month I will have finally finished my bachelor’s in environmental science. It’s been a very odd ride and I’d be lying if I said it was amazing 100% the whole time, because there were some years that really sucked.

As I mentioned a few times a month ago I went to the Texas Teen Book Festival in Austin and I noticed that a main theme from the talks from the authors was following your dreams. Mindy Kaling actually gave advice in how to succeed via the academic rout of entertainment while YA author Laini Taylor mentioned that sometimes following your dreams involves living a harder life or possibly even keeping it as a part time thing in terms of income.

Today I’d like to thank my parents for doing something many parents are unsure about when raising their procreation statistic from birth to eighteen (or sooner). From friends that are parents I’ve been told that they do feel bad about telling their kids to a certain rout of academia for the sake of job security. My parents did something different than most other parents, they let me follow my dreams. Granted I didn’t really have goals as a teenager. I had other concerns in life that at the time made up most of my anxiety than most of my peers.

Dreams

I did have three dreams though; become an author or writer, become a YouTube celebrity, go into stand up comedy. During highschool I did go through the culinary arts program, and although I did love it very much and got accepted to Cordon Bleu, I had to be honest with myself and realize I couldn’t handle the stress of being a chef (ironically those skills have proved the most useful in my adult life). The dream of being a YouTube celebrity was also thrown out the window since I had no access to fancy recording equipment (I got my first digital camera at 18) and YouTube just wasn’t what it is now at the time. So that left being an author or writer.

I was never open about being a stand up comedian, essentially because I was quiet with everyone but my small group of friends. In Speech class when we were offered to do a presentation as our final exam, I asked if I could do five minutes of stand up. My teacher gave me the greenlight under the condition that I couldn’t swear, make any innuendos, insult or make fun of my classmates, no racial slurs (not even poking fun at hispanic heritage), and plagiarize any other stand up routines. I followed the guidelines, got my classmates to laugh, and got an A+. I followed my better judgment and set aside that dream.

When I expressed my dream of being an author many adults thought it applied to being a journalist (they may have been onto something since I do enjoy doing book and movie reviews). When I said I wanted to write stories other adults would pull the race card and think I wanted to write about my Hispanic heritage and whatever struggles I had in life based on it. And while I think those stories are great and I can relate to a few of them, it’s a gimmick and we all know how I feel about those.

What I wanted to write about was essentially my own stories of a variety of people joining forces and overcoming differences to fight evil, badass girls using magic to save the day, and to be honest I wanted to write lgbt stories from the start. I wanted to write lgbt characters doin things you didn’t see them doing at the time (and even now don’t see them doing so often), I wanted to write them as something beyond the stereotype of flashy clothes, being bitchy, etc. I wanted to show them as performing cool magic stuff, using swords, having layers in their personality beyond “token gay friend”.

The Reality of Following Dreams

First there is nothing wrong with following your dreams, but it requires work. Maybe it’s because the college I applied to last minute and got a scholarship for doesn’t really have a good English program (I will show no mercy to that English department and it’s apathetic professors), maybe it’s because I was better at free writing than actual scholarly essays, maybe it’s because I didn’t put the full effort in school that I was claiming to at the time that I just wasn’t enjoying “following my dream”.

My only experience for writing when I was a teenager were sucky essays that were written by hand (oh thank you Gay man who helped invent the computer) and typing out sucky blogs that I deleted a LONG time ago.

During my year of being eighteen I wrote two books. I have them hidden away on a USB and backed up in a Google Drive folder and I don’t want to look at them. But I had felt it was a great accomplishment to do at the time. I kind of still think it’s an accomplishment that I did such a thing at that age in such a small frame of time compared to how many unfinished projects I have now.

It took a lot to accept that my dream wasn’t working out. I had professors that would tell me there was something wrong with my writing and only one of them bothering to help me improve myself. After a close friend had died from suicide I sat down with another friend, handed a short story, and asked if I should continue pursuing this dream. He was honest and said that while the creativity and imagination was there, there was no talent. I accepted the answer and changed my degree the following morning.

I didn’t cry over my dead dream, I had told my parents that I was changing my major, they were happy I was going for a worthwhile degree in biology (which would later go to environmental science). I decided to stop writing and concentrate on other parts in life that needed fixing up at the time.

Post Dream Life

I did return to writing about two years ago because I felt a burst of creativity in terms of stories. I decided to revisit one of my two books written and felt that it deserved a second chance of being rewritten, and that’s what I’m doing right now.

I have decided to take the advice of Laini Taylor and set my dream as part time rather than full time.

Finally, thank you again mom and dad. You accepted a risk many parents are scared to let their children follow, you didn’t do a “I told you so” like some parents would when I failed at my dreams, and you supported any and all decisions I made.