Casting Director: The Magicians (The Magicians #1)

CastingDirectorSo I was inspired by Angelfall to start this new feature where I basically ‘cast’ people for the imaginary film in my head! Yes, I know, terribly exciting.

So think of this as The Magicians meets attractive 20 somethings.

Quentin: Jay Baruchel

So, skinny, geeky and whines a lot, Quentin is a very special character and I’m pretty sure, after seeing The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, that Baruchel would make a great Quentin. He’s got the whiny voice but I can see Baruchel bringing in tons of maturity to the character (when it decides to grow up that is)

Do you think he’d be magical enough?

Alternative: Michael Cera

Alice: Juno Temple

I quite like this young actress. I’ve seen her in such a random plathora of roles, I think she could do shy, painful Alice initially and then kick it up a notch as she grows and matures into a strong person.

I can’t remember Alice’s physical description, to be honest, I tend to quickly read over those parts unless the character is different from the status quo, but I think Grossman describes her as a blonde?

Alternative: Shailene Woodley

Eliot: I Have No Idea

Eliot is a toughie to cast I think.

He’s actually the epitome of the conflicted binary in a way, he’s good looking to one end yet half of his face is ‘scarred’ (I say scarred because I don’t know how else to describe his facial uniqueness). He’s a swuave popular kid with the right amount of geek and the right amount of aloofness to make him cool and desirable. Yet he is broken.

I’m drawing up a blank with this one, so, yah.

Juliet: Emmy Rossum

So Juliet is interesting, she’s geeky yet desirable. I think she’s described as blonde in the bookbut I’ve made her a brunette here because I think Rossum would be perrrrrfect for her.

Why? Have you seen Beautiful Creatures? I disliked that movie, waste of time, but the one person that stood out to me was Rossum. She did beautiful, desirable and twisted all in one. She did innocent yet terrible.

I think she’d be great to chart Juliet’s growth in the series.

Henry Fogg: Jared Harris

Every film I’ve seen him in, he’s either the bad guy or the geeky professor type.

I’ve seen him to dark and twisted and I’ve seen him do enlightened, and Henry Fogg (aka, Sir) is one confused character in the sense that he is both nonchalant and aloof yet fierce about his school and students.

I can see him doing some magic with Quentins hands… that sounds a bit off… but if you’ve read the book, you know what I mean.

Penny: Richard Madden

So, I do watch a lot of television and films, but as you might have guessed, my range or knowledge of the actual people in the films is a bit… limited.

So Penny was a toughie and I don’t think that I can commit to Madden for the film 100% but, I think he might be a decent Penny. We’ve seen him do the tough guy routine as Robb Stark and there is a lot more to Penny than his fierce temper and insecurities. He’s complex and maybe this guy can bring it out too?

So what do you think of my magical cast?!

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A Well-Read Jaunt: Platform 9 ¾

awellreadjauntI spent this past Saturday in London, which was my first real time in London actually. My excuse for visiting the city was to attend a conference, however, it was boring as can be and I ditched it half-way and jumped into the Underground to explore.

Somehow I ended up at Kings Cross Station, which was completely by mistake, I was trying to get to the Picadilly line and I think I took the train in the wrong direction. However, when I realised where I was I ran to see if a Platform 9 ¾ actually existed and it did! There’s a wall and everything that mimics the station where Harry had to run through, and a shop selling all kinds of goodies.

awrj2april1awrj2april7

It was super exciting. I didn’t get my picture taken by Hedwig or the trolley, I’ll save that for a date when I’m with friends. However, I did check out the store and I got myself a few lovelies. I purchased a keychain, postcard and chocolate frog. I was most excited about the chocolate frog. I got the Hagrid card and now I feel all competitive and want the others!

awrjapril5awrj2april2I wanted more stuff, alas, I am but a broke student, so I couldn’t pick up Hermoine’s wand. I really want that wand. Or the Harry Potter school book set. Or the different versions of the Harry Potter series. Or the Platform 9 ¾ shirt. Or the Ravenclaw Quidditch jumper. I really want that jumper.

The store and experience, was nice though it very packed. Full of kids and littluns running everywhere, and a few teenagers (I overheard a few looking at the Gryffindor mug saying, “Oh that’s so cool! I love the lion, which house is this though, who was in it?” Needless to say, I felt a moment of snobbery, because come on, Gryffindor is the most popular house?! HOW DO YOU NOT KNOW ANYONE, of the MANY AWESOME PEOPLE IN THE SERIES, who are IN IT?

For more pictures from my adventures, check out my instagram page.

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Series Review: Divergent

Series: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Publisher: HarperCollins 2011- 2013
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Urban
Series Rating:
Source + Date Read: Library + Between 2012-2014
Recommend: For those that love a new, imaginative dystopian YA.
Series Pro’s: Kick ass females, diversity, amazing new world. It’s got a bit of stuff for everyone.
Series Con’s: The third book is a let down.
Favourite Line: “Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.”
Blurb: In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As situations transform them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

DivergentHalfHeart

Oh Divergent, how I love thee. Let me count the ways! So I came into Divergent in early 2012 when I was craving Dystopian fiction. I had just finished the Hunger Games and was getting pretty active on GoodReads. That was also when I started paying attention to the world of book bloggers, oooh. Somehow, I was pointed to Divergent and oh my goodness, this book rocked my world.

I am a sucker, I mean a huge sucker for excellent world building and Roth did such an amazing, imaginative thing when she created this dystopian Chicago! The notion of factions was amazing to me. I found it intriguing and I gobbled this book up in a night! What’s not to love about it? I thought the book was well written with great characters. It had every kind of trope you needed to get into it, there were bad guys and there were good guys, but what I liked the most were that some of the bad guys were also good, and some of the good guys also bad. Plus, kick ass female lead! And yall know I love me some kick ass women. Overall, I had to give this 4½ hearts because it truly was an amazing first read.

Yes there were a few things that irked me, such as the Dauntless were not so brave as purely reckless in my opinion. I understand this notion of beating fear, and the fear landscapes truly do show that, but jumping in and out of trains doesn’t show that you’re brave but pretty darn reckless. And I still don’t understand why the Erudite hate the Abnegation so much, having read the end of the book I understand why, but did it justify the completely shameless violence by which the Erudite sought their take over? And why use people? Sigh, so many questions.

BTW, team Candor for the win! Well that’s who I’d have chosen anyway.

Insurgent

I quite enjoyed this book though lesser so than the first. I appreciated that Roth expanded a great deal on the world building and factions from the first book. We get to see a bit more of Amity and how other people have sided with or against the Erudite in their quest for power.

What I truly appreciated about this book was Roth starting to break down the notion of the faction and how this system was created to create peace, but in reality, however, such categorizations are not feasible and as such, other methods of control were devised to give the illusion of a working faction system.

This book also strongly explores the theme of technological advancement and the pros and cons of such advancement. Some of Erudite’s toys were used for good and some used for bad, showing that technology is inherently neutral but human manipulation of it makes the technology complicated.
In short, people are complicated and make bad decisions. Oh, and I really don’t like Four’s family member that was introduced (can’t say who for the love of spoilers).

Allegiant HalfHeart

I didn’t like this book and it broke my heart in all kinds of ways. To sum it up in an overly excited, fandom way:

  1. What the hell is with that ending?
  2. Tori. Sobs.
  3. So that’s why the faction system developed? I’m not sure I like this premise. How the hell did they manage to keep it secret for so long? I think people are a tad too distrustful to keep this farce going on for as long as it did in the books.
  4. THAT ENDING.

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Despite Allegiant’s low rating I have to give this series a 4 overall because the quality of the first and second books completely tip the scale for me. I didn’t like the third book, but that doesn’t mean it was bad, it just means I didn’t like the turn it took though I understand why Roth did it the way she did.

I also chose not to pay attention to Tris‘ and Four’s relationship in this book because it wasn’t something that was a big thing for me. It happened. Done.

Recommend: HELLZ YES, now please, go get the books.
Final Series Rating:

Next week I have a Film vs Book smash up for Divergent scheduled, so stay tuned!

Name

 

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The Oxford Diaries: (7) 4 Material Culture Books I Love

OxfordDiariesAccording to GoodReads, I am 5 books behind schedule. According to GoodReads, I am pretty much a reading failure. But what I don’t include in my GR is all of the articles, books and stuff I have to read on a daily basis for grad school. If I included those, I’d have busted through my 50 book goal by the end of January.

On average, I have to read 2 to 3 books and around 5 to 8 articles a week for tutorials, lectures, essays and graded assignments. I have a big assignment coming out soon so I recently went on a borrowing spree and lugged 15 books home. These aren’t tiny books by the way, they’re like those crappy huge textbooks you’d get in 101 classes for undergrad.

So I’ve decided to share a selection of the books I love with you. It isn’t highly relevant for readers, as how many of you all study/love/like anthropology, visual culture, museum studies and material culture studies? Oh well, this is my daily life now, and I want to share it (because I can! Pah!)

4 Material Culture Books I Love:

Handbook of Material Culture edited by Chris Tilley and Webb Keane

This is an excellent starter read into the material culture world. There are a number of handbooks out there, but I’ve enjoyed this the most as it is most cultural and anthropological rather than archaeological (which I like but shun, too much science for me). For the love of bookish gods though, do not buy this thing, it’s stupid expensive. Borrow it if you can. Yes.

Summary: The study of material culture is concerned with the relationship between persons and things in the past and in the present, in urban and industrialized and in small-scale societies across the globe. The Handbook of Material Culture provides a critical survey of the theories, concepts, intellectual debates, substantive domains and traditions of study characterizing the analysis of things. It is cutting-edge: rather than simply reviewing the field as it currently exists. It also attempts to chart the future: the manner in which material culture studies may be extended and developed.

The Textile Reader edited by Jessica Hemmings

I have just recently discovered this beauty and don’t know how the hell the Bodleian SOLO system missed this for me. Where was this when I was writing my PhD proposals (a future post will come on that soon)? Where the hell was this when I was trying to convince my supervisor that a study of textile cultures and manufacturing was a legit anthropological and intellectual field of enquiry (most of my arguments for my supervisor were along the lines of ‘It’s cool’ and ‘I love fabric!’).

Summary: The Textile Reader is the first anthology to address textiles as a distinctive area of cultural practice and a developing field of scholarly research. Revealing the full diversity of approaches to the study of textiles, The Textile Reader introduces students to the theoretical frameworks essential to the exploration of the textile from both a critical and a creative perspective.

Unpacking Culture edited by Ruth Phillips and Christopher Steiner

I’m going to also write more about this book in a future post but generally speaking, I have to write a 5000 word essay on whether ‘authenticity‘ is negotiable, and by which I will say in 5000 words: Yes and this book will help me do it. I heart Ruth Phillips!

Summary: Tourist art production is a global phenomenon and is increasingly recognized as an important and authentic expression of indigenous visual traditions. These thoughtful, engaging essays give a comparative perspective on the history, character, and impact of tourist art in colonized societies in three areas of the world: Africa, Oceania, and North America. Ranging broadly historically and geographically, Unpacking Culture is the first collection to bring together substantial case studies on this topic from around the world.

The Comfort of Things by Daniel Miller

Daniel Miller is like a rock store in the material culture community and I’ve always loved his work. The Comfort of THings was one of the first material culture studies books I read during my undergrad and it helped me cement my interests completely. It’s easy to read and more Popular NonFiction than academic but still totally worth it for everyone.

Summary: What do we know about ordinary people in our towns and cities, about what really matters to them and how they organize their lives today? This book visits an ordinary street and looks into thirty households. It reveals the aspirations and frustrations, the tragedies and accomplishments that are played out behind the doors. It focuses on the things that matter to these people, which quite often turn out to be material things – their house, the dog, their music, the Christmas decorations. These are the means by which they express who they have become, and relationships to objects turn out to be central to their relationships with other people – children, lovers, brothers and friends.

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Cover Reveal: Crushed (Soul Eater #2) x Giveaway!

ObsessedHello everyone! I’ve got a very exciting post for you today.

You all remember my review for Cracked (Soul Eater #1) by Eliza Crewe? Do you remember how much I loved the book? I gave it heartheartheartheart HalfHeart after all!! Well to jog your memory I’ve dropped a few excerpts from my review below:

Cracked (Soul Eater #1)

I think this book made me fail at life today. That’s a pretty dramatic statement, isn’t it, but I really think Cracked ruined my day. Well, I shall explain why, you see. First off, I’ve been reading this on and off since September when I received the ARC from NetGalley. I was very busy at home in my moving to the UK, and I finally managed to get back to it this week. So, in retrospect, this book has ruined my entire academic week! And Oxford only has 8 weeks per term, so this will set me back…

I blame you Cracked, you’ve ruined my academic week, stole me from my readings and corrupted any sense of academic moral fiber that I have cultivated in my few weeks at Oxford…

Well today I’ve got a treat for everyone because the cover for Crewe’s second installment has landed and I’m super excited!

According to GoodReads, it’s supposed to come out on August 5th, 2014 which is my 25th birthday (ahhhh)! Talk about serendipitous.

Some tidbits about this cover: it’s done by the same artist as Cracked (Dominic Harman) and I quite like the continuity to be honest, it creates cohesion between the first and second book whilst establishing a ‘look’ or feel for the book series over all. Ready?

What do you think?

Crushed-144dpi

Crushed (Soul Eaters #2)

I also have another surprise for everyone, a giveaway! Strange Chemistry has kindly offered one lucky reader a choice between an eARC or a physical copy of the book! To participate you just have the click the link below which will take you the Rafflecopter Crushed Giveaway Page (I use wordpress.com so java doesn’t work on my page, sorry guys!). You just have to do a few things to enter, the more you do, the more chances you have to win the book!

Crushed Giveaway Page

The Giveaway starts today and ends on Saturday (12AM UK time, remember that!), and I’ll reveal + email the winner on Sunday with your options.

Update:

The winner is @jennicooke with your winning tweet!

Goodluck and I hope you’ve enjoyed this post!

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ARC Review: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare #1)

Blurb: For as long as 17-year-old Alex Wayfare can remember, she has had visions of the past. Visions that make her feel like she’s really on a ship bound for America, living in Jamestown during the Starving Time, or riding the original Ferris wheel at the World’s Fair.

But these brushes with history pull her from her daily life without warning, sometimes leaving her with strange lasting effects and wounds she can’t explain. Trying to excuse away the aftereffects has booked her more time in the principal’s office than in any of her classes and a permanent place at the bottom of the social hierarchy. Alex is desperate to find out what her visions mean and get rid of them.

It isn’t until she meets Porter, a stranger who knows more than should be possible about her, that she learns the truth: Her visions aren’t really visions. Alex is a Descender – capable of traveling back in time by accessing Limbo, the space between Life and Afterlife. Alex is one soul with fifty-six past lives, fifty-six histories.
GoodReads

Book: The 57 Lives of Alex Wayfare (Alex Wayfare #1) by M. G. Buerhlen
Publisher: Strange Chemistry, 2014
Genre: Science Fiction, YA
Rating: heartheartheartHalfHeart
Source + Date Read: Netgalley ARC + March 2013
Recommend: For those that want a bit of time travel with their coming of age stories.
Book Pro’s: Angesty teenager meets man, man makes her realise she’s not crazy.
Book Con’s: WHAT WAS WITH THAT ENDING? Talk about all the feels man.

I think this is the lowest score I’ve ever given a Strange Chemistry book, which is weird, because I love this publishing house immensely. I’m not biased, I’ve just freaked out over everything they’ve come out with so far for 2014.

That being said there is nothing wrong with this book, it’s not bad, but I couldn’t give it a 4 because I didn’t love-love it, I just liked-loved it. It’s an interesting take on the time travel story and there were a number of issues that the author brought up in this novel that I found quite fascinating.

Greed: The notion of greed and what one is willing to do to get what one wants is frequently brought up in the book. Of course it’s the bad guy that’s greedy. He uses people, things, the past to get what he wants now. He’s smart and I really do think he could be likened to a sociopath. He’s a real bad guy. The protagonist, Alex, also showed a moment of greed though: she was hungry for the past and willing to break rules to have what she wanted. Mind you, what she wanted wasn’t to use people or things up and spit them out, she wanted friends, she wanted love. So I figure her for her greed.

Companies That Control Too Many Things: That’s a long title, but you get the point, there is an overarching, terrifying company that seems to have its hand in so many honey pots, that they clearly have more than a few hands. It’s terrifying that one company, started by two men, were allowed to get so far, to delve so deeply into nepotism, bribery and overall world-domination.

Being A Teenager Sucks: Well, we are reminded that once again being a teenager sucks. It just sucks and for Alex it extra sucks (I can’t say too much without basically spoiling everything) but the overall teenage suckage is lessened and simultaneously exacerbated by Alex’s time travelling ability (which the author creatively reboots in a refreshing way, I quite enjoyed a time travel, sci-fi novel without the whole giant machine and gung-ho attitude).

Overall, I would highly recommend this book to YA and Sci-Fi lovers that want something with a unique twist.

Total Score:heartheartheartHalfHeart
Recommend? Yup!

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ARC Review: Black Dog

Blurb: Natividad is Pure, one of the rare girls born able to wield magic. Pure magic can protect humans against the supernatural evils they only half-acknowledge – the blood kin or the black dogs. In rare cases – like for Natividad’s father and older brother – Pure magic can help black dogs find the strength to control their dark powers.But before Natividad’s mother can finish teaching her magic their enemies find them. Their entire village in the remote hills of Mexico is slaughtered by black dogs. Their parents die protecting them. Natividad and her brothers must flee across a strange country to the only possible shelter: the infamous black dogs of Dimilioc, who have sworn to protect the Pure.
GoodReads

Book: Black Dogs by Rachel Neumeier
Publisher: Strange Chemistry, 2014
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Rating: heartheartheartheart
Source + Date Read: Netgalley ARC + December 2013
Recommend: For those that want some fantasy with their action.
Book Pro’s: Fantasy! Werewolves (sorta)! Biracial lead characters! Kick ass females!
Book Con’s: Young adult sexuality is expressed, which is fine, but I found the possessive nature of the Black Dogs to be quite disturbing, which isn’t necessarily a con for the book because I think the author’s trying to make a point about the aggressive nature of these people, but as someone who remembers being 15, that was a bit much for the protagonist to handle.

I’m a big fan of Strange Chemistry books, I’ve read so many ARC’s for them and one of my resolutions this year is to actually do the damn reviews. It’s not that I don’t like doing reviewsbut I tend to move on frombook to book so quickly that I forget to write a review while the memories and emotions are fresh.

But it’s a testament to this book that nearly 3 months after I’ve read it, I can remember what I liked about it vividly, as well as the characters.

Firstly, this book gets major diversity points. The lead characters are biracial and grew up in Mexico. There are strong cultural ties between the characters and where they grew up. Food, clothing and particular lifestyles are often mentioned, and spanish is interspersed throughout the book (and not in a cheesy way, it’s successful I think, in that it fleshes the characters out more).

Secondly, it is a truly imaginative tale, Neumeier totally transforms the concept of the werewolf in this book, so that the novel is a nod to historical fantasy fiction but is a unique piece of work. It is also rich in symbolism, this notion of darkness, as something to contend with rather than an ultimate evil is terribly fascinating to me. The fact that Black Dogs have such a hierarchical system, one that is steeped in violence no less, is fascinating because you’d think that it would give the alpha Black Dogs all the power right? Well Nativitad’s human twin brother (she’s a Pure, and her older brother is a Black Dog, their father was a Black Dog and mother was a Pure, talk about mixing! I loved it!) often defers his power to his Black Dog brother yet readers know, we always know, that this deference is a false sense of power because they’re doing it to calm everyone down and not through any sense of respect or true subservience. Amazing!

THirdly, every character or species is important. What irks me in so many fantasy books is that there are the Special People, those with powers, or some sort of fantasy mix which is greatbut we live in a world where everyone wants to be specialbut isn’t. We just aren’t. And in Neumeier’s Black Dogs, everyone has an important role to play. Everyone is signficant. Yes prestige and power are given to the Pure and Black Dogsbut even the regular old humans can do things that the others can’t (such as touch silver, use guns, and so on). Everyone is important to the overall harmony in battle and to the story. Boom. Plus, I love Natividad’s twin brother, I don’t think he got enough love as a human and I’m trying to give it to him here.

In short: Read this book. Also read Neumeier’s guest post.

Total Score: heartheartheartheart
Recommend? Hell, yeah.

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(3) Book Blog Exploration

So what is Book Blog Exploration? Every now and then I will share 5 new blogs or oldies that I found/discovered/really appreciate. It’s all about sharing the book blogging love (despite the fact that I am a horrible commenter).

My kuddoes to them for their hard work. If you’re not on the list it doesn’t mean I don’t love you but maybe that I haven’t discovered you’re awesomeness yet! If you have a book blog and want to be added to the list, just drop a comment, and I’ll add you!

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(3) Book Blog Exploration

Stay Bookish

Why do I love them? This chick blogs consistenly and with the right amount of bubbly attitude and fun. Plus she’s got a lush layout, what’s not to love?

Favourite Post/Series? List Of Awesome

Oh, The Books!

Why do I love them? I feel like this is a bit of a rockstar blog because the Kelley, Asti and Leanne all run successful personal book blogs. It’s got fun content and they post every day so it’s a good thing to read every morning with your morning coffee.

Favourite Post/Series? Bookish Guides

Firefly’s Book Blog

Why do I love them? Fyrefly’s blog was one of the first I discovered when getting into the bookish blogosphere. I’ll admit I don’t give this blog enough love, it deserves more but I do genuinely adore their reviews.

Favourite Post/Series? Reading Lists (by year)

Words For Worms

Why do I love them? I love the title for this blog, it’s also quite simple. The blogger writes what she feels like, she isn’t overly heavy in social media and I find the blog quite refreshing. It isn’t trying to be fancy, yinno?

Favourite Post/Series? The Fellowship of the Worms

Effortlessly Reading

Why do I love them? Oye-vey, I love this blog! She’s got a chill layout and posts quite frequently, plus, she doesn’t stick to the review-random post-kinda format some people have (like me, I’m lame, I know), and writes about her own opinions often. She isn’t one to shy away from stuff, which I appreciate.

Favourite Post/Series?  Let’s Speculate: When It Comes to Comments…

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