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Happy Birthday, Paul!

My best friend Paul turns 25 today! I miss him so bad. I hope he has a great birthday!

I give this cute children's book about a sassy girl in a wheelchair...a 75/100.

I first found out about this book through a website called Disability In Kidlit. One of the people who run the site conducted an interview with one of the authors, a thirteen year old girl with Charcot Marie-Tooth, a kind of muscular dystrophy that prevents her arms and legs from doing what they're supposed to do. The girl in question, Melissa Shang, originally campaigned for American Girl to release a Girl of the Year doll with a disability by making a petition. Said petition got 150,000 signatures and she was featured on Oprah Magazine, USA Today, CBS, and other news outlets, but American Girl didn't release a doll with a disability. But that didn't stop Melissa Shang, so she decided to write a book instead, with some help from her sister, Eva, and a few other people. So far, it's still rather obscure, seeing that there hasn't been much publicity around it with the lack of reviews on various book sites, along with only being sold through Amazon, since it's self-published there. While I won't deny that the book has a lot of flaws, it's still a very good book that any kid should have the chance to read.

Seeing as it's a children's book, it's no surprise that the premise is very simple. Mia Lee is a girl who's just starting middle school and is intent on not only joining the Video Production Club, but becoming club president as well, since she loves making stop motion videos. But a classmate, Angela Vanover, isn't too fond of Mia because of the latter's disability and clumsiness, and is intent on becoming club president as well. At first, things are confusing when Angela suddenly starts being nice to Mia for seemingly no reason. Then Mia's posters suddenly go missing, and Mia and her friends, old and new, have reason to believe that Angela might be responsible. But she's going to find out the truth no matter what it takes. Yeah, if you're looking for something complex that'll make you think, you won't find it here. The premise is pretty basic and predictable, so you won't find anything groundbreaking here. Just a bunch of middle schoolers dealing with life and having some down-to-earth adventures.

The same with the prose, which isn't very strong. It's very simplistic and beige, so it's very easy for children as young as eight or nine to be able to read without much trouble. Of course, seeing that the book was written by a thirteen-year-old, that's no surprise. Nobody can write like John Steinbeck, Stephen King, or Lucy Maud Montgomery when they're thirteen. The prose is also peppered with some unfortunately cringeworthy lingo and slang. The word "humongo" is used ad nauseum and can get really irritating after a while.

(more to come soon)

Anne With An E

I give this slightly grimmer adaptation of Canada's most famous children's novel...an 85/100!

My Anne of Green Gables history is different from others. I first heard about it in 2009, via Before Green Gables, namely the anime version. I thought it was cute, so I read the book soon after and then the original Anne of Green Gables. Then I saw the 1979 anime version of Anne of Green Gables, which I consider to be the best adaptation--animated or otherwise--due to its faithfulness to the books and the effort it made to really develop the characters and make the story really come alive. I never saw the 1985 live-action mini series, and only just recently saw it. But then I heard from an online club that Netflix was making their own Anne of Green Gables adaptation, called Anne With an E, and I saw that it was getting a LOT of backlash, and it still is. Many of the comments on the trailer Netflix posted on YouTube were just stupid! People were complaining up the wazoo. "Oh, this isn't really Anne of Green Gables!" "Oh, this is gonna be so bad! The Megan Follows version is the best!" "Oh, it looks super angsty and grimdark and edgy and trying too hard to be relevant to 2017 and ewwwww!" "Oh, this isn't like the novel at all!" "Oh, it's probably another piece of PC feminist trash!" And all of these comments were posted BEFORE the series ever came out. I felt kinda bad, because I thought it genuinely looked good. Plus, I needed something to watch since everything else I was watching was either ending, were reruns, or getting really bad, so I thought this would be a nice change of pace, since I'm still in my anime rut.

After seeing the series in its entirety (For now, at least), I can wholly say that I honestly don't feel Anne With an E deserves all the backlash it's gotten. It's actually a very genuinely good show in its own right! Sure, it's not a straight adaptation of the book and it does things differently from the book, both for better and for worse, but compared to all the crap I've been seeing on TV lately, Anne with an E is definitely one of the better shows to come out on Netflix.

The basic premise is still the same as the book: Anne Shirley, a red-headed, imaginative orphan, has spent her whole life being used as free labor for ladies who bore too many children. After she spends a stint in an orphanage, she is miraculously adopted by the Cuthbert family, and goes to live with them in Prince Edward Island...only to find that they requested a boy, not a girl. They wanted a boy so Matthew, one of the Cuthbert siblings, could receive help on the farm. But through trial and error, Anne manages to win both Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert over and become part of their family. One of the many things people are up in arms about is that Anne With an E takes a slightly darker and more realistic path in showing the unpleasant parts of Anne's unhappy childhood in detail and how her unstable upbringing affects her and those around her, like her classmates and other members of Avonlea.

Many people don't like the change in tone, but personally, I really like it, namely because unlike most Anne adaptations, Anne With an E manages to bring something very important to the table: conflict. Obviously, a story can't thrive without some kind of conflict, whether small scale or large scale. Stories without conflict are like food without flavor--bland, boring, and uninteresting. Don't get me wrong, Anne of Green Gables is very good, but it can't be denied that both the book, 1980s movies, and the 1979 anime series were very slow paced and had very little in the way of conflict, and were very episodic in nature. They were masterpieces when it came to characterization, but it lacked that extra ounce of drama and bittersweetness to really make them stand out even more. Before Green Gables, both the book and the anime, had much more conflict than the original did, and Anne With an E is throwing in its own dose of conflict, some of which works very well, and some don't, which I'll elaborate on.

(more to come soon)

Dog Got Fixed

Whew! It took us a while, but we got Penny fixed today and we just picked her up from the vet. We would have picked her up earlier, but there was a really bad accident on the road, and we were stuck in traffic jams. It was just nuts!

Shipped Out The Item!

Sent the Blu-Ray out, now I gotta wait for the DVD I ordered.

Gotta Return an Item

Uuuuugh. Guess what I found out? I ordered an anime set off Amazon, thinking it'd be the DVD/Blu-Ray combo packs (I only want the DVDs, but FUNi releases them with both DVD and Blu-ray so I kinda have to get them with the latter). Instead, I find that I ONLY got the Blu-Ray discs, and I don't have a Blu-Ray player! Gotta ship it back.

My Dad's Okay!

Good news! My dad just got through surgery to correct those abdominal aortic aneurysms, and it was successful! He's okay! Thank God!


So, a new Anne of Green Gables show is out on Netflix. I've seen up to episode 3 and I really like it. It does have its flaws, but what show doesn't? But man, I'm seeing people on YouTube be really harsh on it without even giving it a shot. They're all saying stuff like, "Oh no! It has feminist propaganda!" "Oh no! It's all grim and dark and edgy and trying to be relevant to 2017!" "The 80s version will always be the best one!" "Oh no! This isn't Anne of Green Gables at all! Grimdark edgelords are hurting TV!" When was a show being dark and grim bad? It's still faithful to the book, even with its divergences (some of which make sense, others don't). God, why are people so quick to assume the worst about everything? At least be happy it's not the awful PBS movie that came out this past fall. I for one have come to really like Anne With an E. It has its flaws, but it's still a very good series. I'll gladly watch Anne With an E over most of the crap currently on TV nowadays, like all those trashy romcoms or talk shows or everything on MTV. I don't even watch Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon anymore because all their shows (sans Steven Universe) are crap and they keep treating genuinely good shows like crap in favor of garbage like Breadwinners.

Firechick's Book Reviews: Queens of Geek

I give this geeky book about fandoms and conventions...an 80/100!

Just from looking at the premise of the book, I knew it was my kind of book. I mean, geeky girls with problems going to a convention, having fun, and experiencing all the pros and cons of being at a convention? With one of the girls being autistic, too? There was no way I could resist! As soon as I heard that this book existed, I wanted to read it. Badly. I knew I'd like it, and after reading it, I find that I do!...but not as much as I wanted to. Don't get me wrong, I do really like this book. It has many things that I not only like, but absolutely LOVE. One would think that this would end up being my number one favorite book of all time. However, as much as I like Queens of Geek, it unfortunately isn't a masterpiece. Like any form of media, it has plenty of flaws that prevent it from truly being great, which is a shame, because with a little tweaking and added polishing, it would be an absolutely amazing book. But it's mostly just sugary sweet wish fulfillment.

So three friends Charlie (a girl, not a boy), Taylor, and Jamie all travel from Australia to America to attend their first ever convention, SupaCon. Charlie is a famous internet sensation whose vlogging and game reviews have catapulted her to being a movie star, and she's been invited as a guest to promote a sequel to a film she starred in. But she's having trouble getting past a rather nasty breakup with her ex-boyfriend, Reese. Taylor, her best friend, is an autistic woman who is often plagued with anxiety and easily overstimulated, but she is intent to have fun and meet her idol, Skyler Atkins, the writer of the Queen Firestone book series, of which Taylor is a huge fan. But when certain things don't go as planned, and some unexpected curveballs are thrown at them, Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie have to find ways to not only make the most of their short time at SupaCon, but try to deal with the things that are intent to bring their spirits down. Also, there's some good ol' romance thrown in for good measure. Because what's a contemporary YA novel without some romance, right?

If you're looking for Stephen King or John Steinbeck-quality writing, you're not gonna find it here. Being a modern day novel, the prose isn't particularly strong. It's descriptive enough for teenagers to be able to read without much trouble, but it's pretty typical teen novel prose, so it's nothing masterful or Pulitzer worthy. It does do its job pretty well, and I was easily able to picture everything happening in my head just fine. Plus, the story itself is very predictable and cliche: characters fall in love right away, main character deals with a nasty break up with an ex-boyfriend who had an affair behind her back, etc. It's been done a million times in a million different forms of media before, and the authoress doesn't do anything new with this, so if you're tired of romance tropes like these, this isn't gonna be the book for you.

(more to come soon)

Happy Mother's Day!

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there, including my own mother!



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