Top 10 Highly Biased Reasons Why Reign is Great

Fair warning: We tried to avoid spoilers in this list, but we may hint at things pretty strongly. Nothing major, and nothing you wouldn’t see in the first episode, but you will get a general sense of things. Also, we like drama filled shows. They let us gossip about things without, y’know, ACTUALLY GOSSIPING ABOUT REAL PEOPLE. If you don’t like drama and you’re trying to decide whether or not to start a new TV show this list is probably a waste of your time, because this one is not for you. But if you have been hearing a lot about this show and don’t want to commit to watching an episode without knowing that we approve (aww, we’re flattered!), read on.

See below re: pretty people and costumes.

  1. Pretty People. Seriously, everyone in this show is drop dead gorgeous. It depends on what your “type” is, but there is someone who you will find drool-worthy. And they aren’t all twenty-somethings, either! The King and Queen of France are quite attractive, as are most (ok, all) of the courtiers and minor characters, who vary in age. Continue reading

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Pick-Me-Up: Hello, Tailor Discusses Pepper Potts

WARNING: this site is addictive if you care at all about costuming.

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts – ass-kicking girly girl who isn’t afraid to work hard, look good, or work hard at looking good.

Hello, Tailor is my newest obsession, thanks in large part to this post on Pepper Potts and why she is a great female character that is also an underrepresented type: that of the non-bitchy, intelligent, highly motivated girly-girl. Pepper (like Gwyneth) likes looking pretty and clearly puts effort into it. This article goes into all of the reasons why her character design is AMAZING, and how her costuming does a lot to enhance her character traits.

If you have any interest at all in costuming and the way that clothes shape our perceptions of people, I highly recommend checking the blog out. Nothing too technical or fussy, just an interesting take at a side of the movies that most people don’t actively think about.

Kate now has an overwhelming urge to go get her sewing machine fixed.

What Makes a Strong Female Character: A Basic Guide

Recently Kate and Charlotte were talking about how easy it is to focus on the negative, when there are some awesomely feminist things going on in the realm of young adult literature. So we spent a lot of time going over the relative strengths of female protagonists in young adult literature (YA for short). After several conversations, we decided it would be helpful to have a written guideline of strengths to judge characters against. We think that the list that follows is a good general template for judging. When making this list, we were aiming for broad categories – it’s not a helpful criterion if it is so specific that it describes only one or two people.

Please note, we do not expect (or want) a character to have all of these traits. That would make for boring books. However, we do expect a strong female character to possess three or more of these traits. We are also completely aware that there may well be strong female characters that don’t fit ANY of these categories. If you can think of any, please tell us who they are and why they are great! We are happy to be wrong (and to make new categories).

Divergent's heroine Tris getting ready to make a literal and metaphorical leap into the unknown

Divergent’s heroine Tris getting ready to make a literal and metaphorical leap into the unknown.

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Review of “Counting by 7s” by Holly Goldberg Sloan

Counting by 7s

In the interest of full disclosure, know that I read this book as an Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) that I did not have to pay for. Also in the interest of full disclosure, I work in a bookstore, where our basement is periodically overflowing with ARCs. The fact that the book was free doesn’t influence my review; we get sent a lot of terrible books, and I won’t tell you to go read any of those.
Also, I won’t spoil anything that isn’t revealed in the first chapter or on the back of the cover.

The Penguin rep for our store gave this book to me when I asked if she had any recommendations for new, non-fantasy young adult books. Reps tend to be pretty intense about books that they like, which only makes sense – after all, their job is to talk people into buying books. However, she was even more excited than usual about this book. Plus, she compared it to After Iris by Natasha Farrant (another recent middle-grade novel that I loved), AND THEN SAID THAT THIS WAS BETTER.

To be honest, I assumed that part was a bit of rep-ish BS. It wasn’t.

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Why I Liked Star Trek: Into Darkness, But Mostly Why It Made Me Mad

main-star-trek-into-darkness

Warning: Spoilers ahead. Also, rants. I freely admit that I go into waaaaay more detail about some things that I didn’t like than the things that I enjoyed.

Let me start off by saying that I enjoyed the new Star Trek movie. I repeat – I had fun watching Star Trek: Into Darkness, and overall, I liked it. It was a well-made blockbuster action movie. It was pretty to look at, it was full of attractive people, and the set (for the most part) looked like the high-tech love child of the original Enterprise and an iPad. I really, really liked how much screen time was given to Benedict Cumberbatch. Because seriously. I would pay money to watch him in anything. A movie about watching paint dry, you say? Fine. Take my money. It was well spent.

I did not prefer the blatant sexism. Because seriously, Mr. Abrams, what the hell? I know that it is a blockbuster, and thus I expect for the focus to be on a white male protagonist, because unfortunately that is the world we live in right now. I accept that. If I wasn’t prepared for some sexism and/or racism, I would not go see a summer blockbuster, just like I wouldn’t have gone to see Into Darkness if I had an overwhelming hatred for lens flare. I’ve made my peace with the fact that I can like something in spite of its flaws.  But this went kinda overboard on the sexism, and the worst part is that I don’t know that Abrams & Co. even cared enough to notice.
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