All kinds of books. Biographies, history, sci-fi, fantasy, romance and more. Books can take you away to exotic destinations like Narnia, Asgard, Middle Earth, Hogwarts, Galactic Sector ZZ9 Plural Z Alpha, Oz, the planet Buzzell and beyond! And if you love books as much as I do, then come over to Instagram @nerdinthesand
In an effort to live a more minimal lifestyle, I’m attempting to pare down my collection of books. This is your gain, readers!! Cause instead of selling my books…I’m just giving them away! That’s right…they’re free. A couple books a week!
If you live in the US, like to read books and have an Instagram account then you could win them. This week I gave away Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige and A Whole New World by Liz Braswell.
I hope you’ll take my books off my hands and put them into your own! And as I find new reads that I simply love and can’t put down, I’ll make sure to let you know and share them as soon as I do actually put them down.
And for some other book related goodness, come on over to Goodreads and join my Star Wars Book Club!! We read Star Wars books and talk about them and we want you to join us!!
February is the month of love. Which often illicits a “Yuck” and an eye roll from me. Instead of my usual “down with love” attitude, I decided instead to share the things I love with my instapeeps. And the best part is that a bunch of you joined my challenge and shared the things you loved with me! Check out the hashtag #NerdsLove for more from everyone and each individual hashtag below for more specific expressions of love.
If you are a die hard Jane Austen fan, like me, then perhaps you are or were skeptical about the merits of a book that adds blood, gore and the undead into the prim and proper world of Austen’s Regency Era story. Guess what…the resulting work is simply astoundingly fun! A match made in heaven or rather…hell!!
Let me assure you…the movie is no less awesome than the book! I was worried that the film adaptation might skimp on the story and go straight for the gory, but the sweeping romance of Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet’s love story was not sacrificed.
I was also skeptical about Sam Riley’s, Mr. Darcy. He does not have the countenance that I have come to expect from my Darcy’s. But I have to tell you on the scale from Colin Firth to David Rintoul…I’d place Riley above below Matthew Rhys, but above Elliot Cowan. If only because I’ve never met a Darcy I didn’t like and there are 10, in my estimation, that deserve ranking. Sam Riley definitely gave a solid Darcy performance and upon multiple viewings, I expect him to rise in esteem. The curious thing to me was the timber of his voice. It had a gravelly quality to it that at first I did not care for. But given the dark nature of the zombie apocalypse it started to fit in better than a more refined English accent. All in all, a very charming addition to the Darcy family.
As high as my standards are for Mr. Darcy, they are even higher for the second oldest Bennet sister. Perhaps it’s because I identify so closely with her that I hold her in such high and lofty esteem. Lily James has everything that an Elizabeth Bennet should have. A love of longs walks, a ready wit and oh yeah, she kicks serious zombie ass…a quality I never knew I always wanted in Elizabeth Bennet. Her chemistry with Sam Riley is tangible. Especially in the famous proposal scene, where Mr. Darcy makes his love and his reservations about their match known. Let’s just say Elizabeth, a trained warrior, doesn’t take the insult of his proposal lightly and more than just verbal sparring ensues.
It’s the first time I was ever rooting for Mr. Collins, even if just slightly. The incomparable Matt Smith enters the scene as the silly, ridiculous, irreverent Mr. Collins. But where his predecessors have played the role with nauseating smarm, Smith manages to make Collins seem charming (the only other Collins who achieved a level of charm is Maxwell Glick’s Ricky Collins from the You Tube sensation The Lizzie Bennet Diaries.) It probably helps that I’m incredibly biased towards loving all things Matt Smith, seeing as he is Doctor Who and all! He will always get my vote. I was happy that Charlotte Lucas got to have such a delightful match, though Charlotte herself in this film is quite forgettable.
Lady Catherine de Bourgh
I cannot go further without mentioning another powerhouse in the world of geeky fandom. Lena Headey, Cersei Lanister herself, rounds out this cast as Mr. Collin’s benevolent patroness, the Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Except once again, with delightful twists in store for the fan of this classic story. Lady Catherine is no mere aristocrat sitting on her laurels and passing judgement on the Misses Bennet. She is a hardened warrior who has slayed hoards of zombies and even has an eye patch to show for it (a patch used for necessity, not vanity.) When she confronts Elizabeth about whether or not Darcy has made her an offer of marriage, she does more than ask a few tough questions.
The rest of the players are aptly cast, though widely forgettable. Except for the nefarious Mr. George Wickham who is played by the very charming Jack Huston. So charming, in fact, that I was hoping Wickham would end up being as delightful as the man who played him. Alas, Wickham remains a scoundrel in this adaptation as with all the others.
The Walking unDead
As a fan of all things zombie and all things Jane Austen…my standards on both sides are always very high. I equally expect my romance to be sweeping and my head shots to be brutal. So I am happy to say that I was as satisfied with the portrayal of these beloved characters as I was with the zombie effects. The shots were so resounding that I could feel them in my chest. The zombies were believable…the blood and guts visceral. And the action was fast paced and hard-hitting. It’s as much an action movie as it is a romance. What better way to get boys to appreciate the wonderful world of Austen…just add zombies!
All in all, a really fun movie. I watched the entire thing with a gigantic smile on my face. But, reader… I did not walk away unscathed…
Thanks to Lootcrate for infecting me with the zombie virus!!
Before Star Wars: The Force Awakens came out in theaters, I attempted to make my way through the old canon of Expanded Universe materials. But since I only started in January of last year, I didn’t get very far. There is just so much to get through and I am a slow reader. I like to take my time with books and really live in them for a little while.
So…my mission failed.
But I will not be discouraged by my lack of accomplishment. Instead I will embark on a new endeavor and I want you to come along for the ride. Over on Goodreads, I’ve started a Nerd in the City book club. 1 book a month…totally doable. And we are starting with The Phantom Menace novelization, which is the first canon book according to the Disney Reading Group.
I know…it’s not original canon. And I know that some of you are still stinging from the pain of the disbanding of it. My very own cousin, Wesley, refuses to read any of the new stuff in solidarity with George Lucas’ vision for the Star Wars Universe.
But, reader…the past is the past. It’s time to move forward. The old canon isn’t going anywhere and if you happen to have about 15 years on your hands in the future, then you should definitely dive right in. I intend to finish that mission one day, when I’m old and gray and have nothing but time.
As for right now, I want to prepare myself for Star Wars: Episode VIII which will be released in December of 2017. If my calculations are correct and barring any unforeseen book releases, if we start reading The Phantom Menace in February, we should be reading The Force Awakens novelization by November 2017 which is complete perfection. What a great way to immerse in the SWU while we suffer the pain of waiting for the next movie. (Pain may be a bit strong.)
Anyways…the invitation is open. The virtual cookies have been baked and my virtual living room is very comfortable. So I hope you bring a friend!
I am by no means the first delicate female to suffer from this deep affliction. But it is, perhaps, safe to call my case one of the most severe. Long have I suffered in silence, but I cannot continue thusly. I must share with you my struggles in the hopes that you, gentle reader, may commiserate with me and perchance even share in this sickness as well, for I truly cannot be the only one out there who has experienced, what will hence be known as, The Jane Austen Syndrome.
But it’s symptoms are not so easily recognized in everyone so keenly as they are in me. Allow me to illuminate some such symptoms for you, so that you may then be able to seek the proper advisement from your local apothecary to acquire the necessary cure for such an illness as this.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to…
1. Taking long walks for no reason at all
2. Getting constantly caught in the rain
3. Spontaneous trips to the English countryside
4. Learning the art of wax sealing letters
5. Ballroom dance lessons
6. Calligraphy lessons
7. Piano and/or singing lessons
8. Performing piano and/or singing skills in public at random
9. Taking turns around the room
10. Discovering an affinity for high tea
11. Wearing overly large bonnets even when it isn’t sunny out
12. Seeking out men with names like Henry, Edward, Fitzwilliam, Charles, Edmund, George, Frederick, etc.
13. And finally, when you start considering a double wedding….it’s all over. You are officially afflicted with The Jane Austen syndrome. Go ahead and embrace your inner petticoat!
Zombie killing may not have been associated with Jane Austen in years past, but thanks to Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” getting the big screen treatment, that’s all about to change. Don’t miss Elizabeth Bennet and company kick serious undead ass on February 5th in theaters! Check out the trailer:
The question on everyone’s mind lately… “Is Kylo Ren Redeemable?” or as my guest blogger Michael Burgett queried yesterday: “Will Kylo Ren Be Redeemed?” If that question is not on your mind, then you just haven’t seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens enough! Go watch it again and then we can talk!
Reader, you know me by now. I’ve shared many an embarrassing story with you. I’ve told you about my dates and about my family and about my hopes and my dreams. I believe that you truly know me, in all my pie-in-the-sky optimism. So, of course, my answer to both the aforementioned questions would be yes. Yes, Kylo is redeemable and yes, he will be redeemed. In fact, I’d go further and say it is merely a matter of time till he is redeemed. And it is one scene in particular that gives me this hope for the son of Han Solo to find his way back to the Light.
Han is leaving the Rebel base to go destroy Starkiller and confront his son who has turned so far from the path that Han, Leia and Luke had wanted for him. Leia and Han share a tender moment of goodbye, not knowing that it would be their last moment together. Leia says to Han “there is Light in him.” And as we know, this is a strong theme in the Star Wars universe. The presence of Light is more than just a touch of the good side…it is hope. Padme felt the Light in Anakin. Luke felt the Light in Darth Vader. That pull to the Light is a powerful feeling.
Often it is the Dark side that is given all the strength of power. And in the past we have witnessed the pull from the Light to the Dark in Anakin’s journey. Kylo’s journey, for us, starts out in the Dark with that sliver of Light still shining inside him. Light that he is desperate to eradicate and turn from.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. All that Light talk happened before Kylo kills his own father, our beloved Han Solo. Tell me something…does one deplorable act completely erase your humanity? Some might say yes, but I say no. (It’s a different story when it comes to the Emperor. Ask me about it sometime!) Kylo is still Leia’s son. And in the end if when Kylo comes back to the Light side, he will have to fully feel his actions on Starkiller base. The Dark side allows you to cloud your true feelings and boil them down into pure anger. But as any person who has experienced anger knows, there’s usually something else going on underneath it. And Supreme Commander Snoke knows this. He is pulling Kylo’s strings the way Emperor Palpatine pulled Anakin’s. The Dark side is manipulation and lies.
Now, I really like the point that Michael in his article yesterday. If this were just a villain, like Darth Vader was back in 1977, then we wouldn’t be having this argument. We don’t argue whether Hannibal Lecter will be redeemed or if Lord Voldemort will come back to the side of good wizardry in the end. But in 1983, when Return of the Jedi was released, George Lucas taught us that even a bad guy as bad as Darth Vader himself could find redemption and bring balance to the Force. Let’s not forget that lesson just because Kylo Ren has no prophecy to bring about his redemption.
We, the viewer, had no idea what history lay underneath Vader’s mask till the prequels came out in 1999. With Kylo, we know a little of his history, but none of his motivation. Why did he turn? What drew him to the Darkness? What lies about Darth Vader’s legacy has he been told? And if he finds out the truth about The Chosen One, will that make a difference?
All will be revealed in due time, reader. We may have to wait a few more months than we want to with Episode VIII being pushed from May 2017 to December 2017. But think of how happy your Star Wars friends will be to have another onslaught of delicious merchandise to acquire that Christmas. It’ll be so easy to shop! So in the end, the wait is worth it. And we can continue our speculation up until the very day when the truth is shared with us.
You know what I love about Fridays? The fact that they always come back around again. Fridays never leave us nor forsake us, gentle reader! Fridays are steadfast and ever constant. And so shall my Follow Friday Blog series be.
I want to help you discover the multitude of internet talent that may be hiding just around the river bend. You deserve to enjoy fun photos, sweet music and hilarious posts that will help remind you that the world is a beautiful place and God put beautiful people in it!!
As always, if you have a suggestion you’d like to send my way for consideration please email me at: email@example.com. I always love to hear from you, readers!!
Do you love Star Wars? Did you see The Force Awakens and wonder to yourself “Hmmm…I wonder what kind of things that moody, little twerp Kylo Ren would tweet if they had such things as Twitter in that galaxy far, far away?” Well, wonder no more. Because Emo Kylo Ren exists for your reading pleasure on the Twittersphere!! And boy is he hilarious. Just take a look at the above tweets. There’s more where that came from. Go follow @KyloR3n right this instance!
Allow me to introduce you to the wonderful world of Maxwell Glick aka Mr. Cheezy Pop. Maxwell is best known on the inter webs for his charming portrayal of Ricky Collins in The Lizzie Bennet Diaries web series (which again, if you haven’t seen…you must see immediately.) He was also in School of Thrones and Muzzled the Musical (both of which deserve your viewership as well.)
But it’s his You Tube channel that I want to draw your attention to. In this age of digital trolling and Trump on TV, it’s fair to say that we could all use a little positivity in our lives. And that’s exactly what Maxwell has to offer. He LOVES Disney and his channel has is a veritable treasure trove of fun including, but not limited to: original parody songs (my personal favorites,) Disney tours, reaction vids, commentary and a whole lot more.
The point I’m trying to make is that you should give Maxwell a try!!
Meet Theo and Beau. A pair of best friends who love to take the most adorable naps together. Luckily mom, Jessica Shyba had the good sense to document the adorable that took place and put the resulting pictures up on Instagram, where these pictures feel right at home.
Beau was just a toddler when he found his new best friend in puppy, Theo. Both were tiny tykes when Jessica started out. They have both grown, but don’t worry the cute still continues in this family’s newest endeavor “Naptime with Theo and Beau.” A children’s book that is now available everywhere books are sold. And “Bathtime with Theo and Beau,” their follow-up book, just landed in stores on January 19th, 2016.
But that isn’t all, in 2014 the family welcomed home Evvie, their newest edition. And guess what she loves to do…take naps with adorable animals like Theo and the family’s cat. Don’t miss a single moment of the adorable that this family has to offer with the popular hashtags: #TheoandBeau and #TheoandEvvie and of course @mommasgonecity herself!!
Marty, Michael, Brandon and Jared are four nerdy dudes who decided to start a podcast together. Each Tuesday on their weekly podcast, they break down what’s new, exciting, infuriating, etc. in pop culture. It could be a new trailer that dropped, a TV show pilot, a game launch…if it’s nerdy and they have a reaction, they’ll be discussing it on the podcast.
They occasionally have guest reactors including your truly! But don’t take my word for it. Check them out every week and make sure to weigh in on any reactions you may have or burning questions you want answered on their Twitter page.
If you enjoy clean, fun, family entertainment then let me introduce you to the first family of Vine. The Eh Bee Family is a hilarious group consisting of Mom, Dad, Daughter and Son who love to tell funny 6 second stories on a daily basis. They have over 2 million followers on Vine and over 12 million followers word wide over various social media platforms. Check them out on You Tube, Instagram, Twitter and their native platform Vine. This group is safe to share with the little ones. The kids and parents alike are talented and have found a way to share the joy of their family with us all.
Calling anyone who loves to read and believes in equality. Emma Watson has been working with UN Women and in an effort learn more about equality and to prepare for her role as feminist icon and all around lovely human being, Emma has started her own Book Club on Goodreads. The group is called “Our Shared Shelf” and the first book we’re reading is “My Life on the Road” by Gloria Steinem. The perfect choice for this group.
In a world where more and more people are escaping direct interaction with the online community due to the huge insurgence of internet trolls and hate mongering, Emma Watson takes a bold step towards greater connectivity with her fans and creating a conversation about equality that is positive and productive to the narrative of our culture. She has a big dream for the women of this world and she’s not afraid to share it!! So get onboard the Hogwarts Express…ok, I had to make a Potter reference somewhere!! Moral of the story is, join in!
And, of course, if you aren’t yet following little ole me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, You Tube, Pinterest, Podcast coming soon, Periscope (@nerdinthecity), Vine, Snapchat (@nerdinthesand) and on the very Blog you are currently reading, then now’s the time to pick your favorite platform, cause I have a little something for everyone!
Thanks for reading. Go forth and discover something or someone new!
If you haven’t yet seen Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, then I’d venture to say it’s only a matter of time till you do.
The biggest pop culture event of all time…even the Muggles want to be a part of this. There’s a lot of new people discovering the wonderful world of Star Wars. Maybe they just never devoted the time to watch all 6 movies before (or 3 if you’re a purist.) Maybe they thought it was kid’s stuff, but now are discovering the truth.
Inevitably they’re gonna reach a point where they’re going to wonder…”Now what?” It always happens after the excitement and fervor of a new movie dies down. It happens to me after binge-watching a show or reading a great book series or watching a new Star Wars movie. It’s hard because all you (I) want to do is immerse in the fictional world you’ve (I’ve) just been a part of. It recently happened to me after watching 4 straight seasons of Scandal. It happened after reading Harry Potter, but nowhere has it hit as hard as with the Star Wars Universe.
So…you’ve seen Star Wars. You’re in what Amazon likes to call a #Showhole. But there’s good news. This is where the fun begins. This is when you can start to discover what we die hard fans have been doing to stay in touch with that galaxy far, far away for years.
It’s called the Expanded Universe and it’s marvelous!
Here’s what you’re gonna do…If you’ve been living in a cave and have just emerged after 12 long years and haven’t had time to take a shower and get yourself to the movie theater quite yet…then Step 1 is pretty clear.
And if you haven’t gone back and watched the 6 movies that came before then…actually scratch that other Step 1… this is Step 1.
Next up is the television universe created by Cartoon Network and Disney XD in the form of Clone Wars (seasons 1-6 available on Netflix) and Rebels (season 1 available on Netflix, season 2 currently airing on Disney XD.)
After watching all that, go to your local book store and pick up the newest novels in the Expanded Universe: Dark Disciple, Lords of the Sith, Tarkin, A New Dawn, Heir to the Jedi, Aftermath, Lost Stars, etc. These novels start to build the world around what you know and have seen on screen. They fill in the blanks and flesh out the questions. They also allow supporting characters to have rich story lines.
After you’ve read all that, head to your local comic book store and dive into the Expanded Universe created by Marvel Comics. The comic runs for Star Wars, Lando, Darth Vader, Princess Leia, Kanan… The best thing about all this material is that is fits together like one giant puzzle. Each component working with the rest. It’s very impressive!
If you’ve done all that and are still thirsty for more. Go see Episode VII 2 or 3 or 12 more times so you know the dialogue by heart and then…
Go deep or go home.
The Star Wars Universe goes beyond Disney cannon. But I warn you, this step is not for the faint of heart. It involves heart break, misery and long hours reading amazing stories that are now considered mere Legend in the Star Wars Universe.
You wanted more and here it is! Silver platter not included!
I’m a pretty inspired person. I find inspiration in music. I find it in movies. I find it in books and blogs and friendships and in daily quiet time with God. Out here in California I find it when simply gazing at the sunshiney sky or a perfectly placed palm tree.
But sometimes the well runs dry.
So I made a list of the things that usually help me get my inspirational groove back.
Step 1: Turn to God
This is usually the first place I turn. I admit, sometimes it takes a back burner in the quest for motivation and inspiration. But it should always be first. My favorite devotions are “My Utmost for the Highest” by Oswald Chambers and “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young. I try to do these consistently. When I reach a stagnant moment, I will always have a place to turn.
Step 2: Make a List
After placing my path back in God’s hands (time and again) I try and list the dreams He’s placed on my heart. The passions that I can’t shake. The “unreasonable,” “unaccomplishable” musings that fill my brain and heart constantly. In list form, they seem much more attainable!
Step 3: Watch any and all Marvel movies
For some reason the MCU really sparks my imagination! I dream of being a superhero. I dream of saving the world. And after watching Captain America or Avengers, it just seems easier to accomplish.
Step 4: Walk, Run, Jump, Spin
When I’m in a season of laziness and drought, it’s easy to forget or ignore the things I love most. Happiness doesn’t seem attainable in the darker moments. But I love working out! I really do. I had a guy at Crunch gym, a guy who was trying to sell me on a membership by the way, tell me that people work out to lose weight or gain weight or look better, but never because they love it. To which I responded, that’s nice…show me to my spin class. Cause I love spinning!! The feel of aching muscles, muscles that you may have forgotten existed is what keeps me moving.
Step 5: Read
In addition to my Bible and my daily devotionals, I love to read biographies and autobiographies of inspiring people. People like Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn and Bobby Kennedy and Mindy Kaling and Ellen Degeneres and Rock Hudson and Felicia Day and Amy Poehler and anyone else who strikes me as an inspiration. Their stories inspire my own.
Step 6: Write
How can you expect to write about life if you aren’t living one. Staying home and catching up on 11 seasons of Supernatural may lead to some searing pieces about the show, but it won’t give you life experiences or insight into the greater struggle. So do all the other steps on this list and then write it all down. Share your life with people. Or take up a challenge like #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) I’ve never written a book in my life…but I’m gonna try it!
How do you stay inspired when inspiration seems lost?