Teaser Tuesday: Game of Thrones

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I received the first two books of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series by George RR Martin last Christmas as a present from one of my best friends.

This summer, I have begun to read A Game of Thrones and it is absolutely delightful. Reading what I had already watched onscreen, this time with vivid descriptions and a window into the characters’ inner thoughts and feelings, is so enthralling.

I’m so thrilled, so far, by reading the motivations of characters like Arya, Tyrion, Jon, Sansa, and Daenerys.

Here are a few teasers:

“Sansa had the grace to blush. She blushed prettily. She did everything prettily, Arya thought with dull resentment.”

“‘You Starks are hard to kill,’ Jon agreed.”

“He was a pitiful thing. He had always been a pitiful thing. Why had she never seen that before? There was a hollow place inside her where her fear had been.”

“Sansa was dressed beautifully that day, in a green gown that brought the auburn of her hair, and she knew that they were looking at her and smiling.”

“‘By my lights, it was you who started this,’ Lord Tywin replied. ‘You brother Jaime would never have submitted to capture at the hands of a woman.’

‘That’s one way we differ, Jaime and I. He’s taller as well, you may have noticed.'”

The characters are so complex and I’ve been loving reading how it all began!

TV/Movie Fashion Inspiration Part 2

Another year, and more fashion inspiration from TV shows and movies I’ve watched since last summer!

 

Angela, Mr Robot

 

 

Angela Moss, best friend of the protagonist of Mr Robot, and acted by Portia Doubleday, exemplifies corporate chic in her wardrobe. Her tailored outfits include classy blazers and cute collars. She looks especially divine in the color forest green, and rocks brogues/oxfords. I’ve really enjoyed watching her effortlessly preppy style in just one season of Mr Robot. A particular plus was her polished, pristine ballerina outfit, the soft hues of pale blue and white setting off her alabaster skin tone nicely.

 

Darlene, Mr Robot

 

 

Darlene Alderson, the sister of the protagonist of Mr Robot, acted by Carly Chaikin, is beguilingly sultry in short shorts and extravagant accessories, showing off her long, slender legs. She struts in daring outfits and stompy shoes. She’s a dauntless character, and it shows in her dark colors and attention-getting ensembles. Her black ballet suit is in stark contrast with Angela’s white one, giving her an even edgier look.

Rachel, Suits

 

Rachel Zane, the love interest of the protagonist of Suits, has a killer corporate look, made up of fitted midi skirts, soft sweaters, and classic blouses. Her colors fall on the neutral side, but she’s also not afraid to experiment with florals and ruffles. Her outfits scream “boss lady”, which is precisely her character. Her clothes always show off her curves, with flattering waistlines.

 

Serena, Gossip Girl

 

 

Serena van der Woodsen oozes high fashion and an upper class lady demeanor in her choice of outfits. In the winter, she wears classic trench coats belted at her slim waist, or svelte pea coats. In the summer, she rocks bright, bold color and swishy skirts. Her evening gowns are always intricately designed and never fail to fit her willowy frame like a glove.

 

Jenny, Gossip Girl

 

 

Jenny Humphrey rocks the “bad girl” persona in leather jackets, dark tights, and all-black attires. She struts in ankle booties and super-miniskirts, a leggy sight. Her impossibly long limbs are complemented by her bad ass heels.

 

Effy, Skins

 

 

Effy Stonem is an enigmatic character, and it shows in her perpetually dark clothing. She is prone to playing up her petite frame – particularly limbs – with mini miniskirts/dresses and over-sized t-shirts. She is known for her fishnet tights and solid boots.

 

Cassie, Skins

 

 

Cassie Ainsworth is a dreamer, which is highly evident in her airy-fairy clothing. She’s a lover of cutesy patterns and bright hues. Her wispy midi skirts are typically paired with bold socks over her teeny legs.Her round sunglasses really complete the look, giving her an air of childlike chic.

 

Adaline, The Age of Adaline

 

 

Adaline Bowman is a picture of grace and elegance in timeless pieces of glamour. She is exquisitely styled in velvet dresses and fancy coats. She rocks clean, straight lines as well as delicate florals.

 

Gaby, The Man from U.N.C.L.E

 

 

Gaby Teller’s sophisticated style is impeccably lady-like. Her petite figure is complemented by mini-dresses and dainty accessories. Her hats are chic, her sunglasses polished. Her outfits are refined, ivory with pops of bright color like orange and green. She favors patterns, like stripes, which give her a suave look.

 

Eilis, Brooklyn

 

 

Eilis Lacey is a true romantic, and her outfits suit her sweet, endearing demeanor. Her trademark long, fluttery, swishy skirts are winsome. Her colors are refreshing, from delicate blues and yellows and greens, to sharp whites, blacks, and grays. Her sunglasses are urbane and cosmopolitan.

5 Best Books of 2015

The 5 Best Books I Read in 2015

  1. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  2. Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas
  3. Paper Towns by John Green
  4. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  5. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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Red Queen generated a lot of buzz this year, so naturally, I had to check it out. It’s a debut novel and I was curious to see why it was insanely popular in YA circles. I’m still reading it, but it’s really good so far. It tells the story of an underclass girl, a “Red”, navigating the oppressive upper class of her society, the “Silvers”. There’s a love triangle between her and two brothers, the princes, but trust me, it’s not your typical love triangle: it’s much more interesting. Mare, the protagonist, is tough and likeable, and I really enjoy reading from her point of view. If you’re wondering whether Red Queen is really as good as everybody seems to say it is, rest assured that yes, it is.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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I’ll admit I slept on this wonderful series for too long. I finally got around to reading the first book, Throne of Glass, and I’m ecstatic I did. It’s similar to the Hunger Games and Game of Thrones, with a kick ass heroine I adore.  Celaena, the protagonist, is clever, feisty, and tough as nails. She’s in a love triangle between a prince and the captain of the guard, and I can see her with both of them. That’s good story telling. The plot is immensely fascinating, and follows Celaena as she competes to be the King’s “Champion”.  Filled with suspense and mystery, this book is a must read! It’s a page turner for sure.

Paper Towns by John Green

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I read Paper Towns because the movie was coming out, and I firmly believe in reading the book before the movie. The story captured me with the idea of loving an idea more than loving an actual person. I was struck by how quotable this book was. One of my favorite quotes is: ‘What a treacherous thing to believe that a person is more than a person.’ The social commentary is profound and pensive. John Green’s writing ensconced me.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

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What I loved about this book is that the narrator was very relatable. I could really relate to Lara Jean’s sheltered life and her strong crushes. I rooted for her to finally find true love. I really enjoyed the sisterhood between her and her two sisters, Margot and Kitty. I also really liked how Jenny Han infused her Korean culture into the story, as Lara Jean and her sisters were half-Korean, half-white. I can’t wait till I finally get around to reading the sequel, (PS, I Still Love You)!

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

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I’m Nigerian-American, and prefer to be socially aware on issues affecting African-Americans in America. Between the World and Me was so lauded this year, I had to grab a copy. I devoured it. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing is so rich, enthralling, and beautiful. His bold take on race in America was a delight to read. I admire his dauntlessness.

Teaser Tuesday: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Published: January 3, 2012

Series: The Lunar Chronicles

Pages: 387

Genres: Fantasy, Young-adult fiction, Novel, Fairy tale, Science Fiction, Dystopia, Romance novel, Utopian and dystopian fiction

Find it on: Amazon, Goodreads

Synopsis

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Teaser

Cinder is one of those books that I am constantly told to read while never actually getting around to reading it. It’s been highly recommended to me and I finally got a hold of a copy. I purchased it from my local book store, Wellesley Books, which is just down the street from my university, Wellesley College.

I must admit it has been a slow read so far, and I am still waiting for the story to pick up. Hopefully, it will deliver, as I have high expectations for such a widely-praised book.

The fantasy story follows Cinder, a cyborg, who falls in love with Prince Kai, as far as I can tell right now. What I find compelling about is that it’s supposed to be a sci-fi retelling of the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. I’m a big fan of modern twists to ancient fairy tale stories, such as Once Upon A Time, A Cinderella Story, Beastly, and Snow White & The Huntsman.

Here’s a teaser (page 6):

“She shoved back from the desk, her scowl landing first on a lifeless android that sat squat on her worktable and then on the man behind it. She was met with startled copper brown eyes and black hair that hung past his ears and lips that every girl in the country had admired a thousand times.

Her scowl vanished.”

Want to know what happens next? Well, you’ll simply have to get the book!

Movie Review: The Scorch Trials: Running Nowhere

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The Scorch Trials

Directed by Wes Ball

Released September 18th, 2015

Genre: Dystopian, Action, Adventure, Young Adult

Starring: Dylan O’Brien, Kaya Scodelario, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Ki Hong Lee

Synopsis

Transported to a remote fortified outpost, Thomas and his fellow teenage Gladers find themselves in trouble after uncovering a diabolical plot from the mysterious and powerful organization WCKD. With help from a new ally, the Gladers stage a daring escape into the Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with dangerous obstacles and crawling with the virus-infected Cranks. The Gladers only hope may be to find the Right Hand, a group of resistance fighters who can help them battle WCKD.

IMDB Score: 7.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 62%

My Thoughts

I was super excited to watch the Scorch Trials this weekend it opens because I’d watched the Maze Runner last year and absolutely loved it. It had been a thrill ride from start to finish and I thought that the action/adventure was fascinating and ethereal. Naturally, I was highly anticipating the sequel, expecting it to be bigger and bolder than the last movie.

What I Liked

The cinematography was stellar. I felt like the entire movie fit an overall aesthetic of poignant desolation. The camera focus was sharp as knives and the silhouettes made on the desert landscape were outstandingly artsy. I got chills whenever more than one character turned their heads at the same time, because it was done with such synchronicity and meaning. I felt that the visuals were excellent and I was overall blown away by them.n It certainly had a darker atmosphere than the first movie.

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Game of Thrones’ own Nathalie Emmanuel played such a BAMF (bad ass mother fucker) character, Harriet, in the movie. She was fierce, audacious, and exuded impassioned leadership. It was a delight to watch her instill awe in Thomas’s group and commandeer an army. It was such a far cry from her more gentle character on GoT, and I really enjoyed it.

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My heart leaped with a multitude of intense emotion, from terror to despair to elation. I actually got teary eyed when that tragic event occurred, and I could feel my heart leaping out of my chest with a surge of horror as Thomas’s crew was attacked by zombies. I like movies that make me feel greatly, and The Scorch Trials did succeed in that way.

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Brenda was pretty boss! She was totally self-assured and plucky, and I like her impetus. Her cool demeanor intrigued me. I think that she held her own very well and was very daring and dauntless.

What I Didn’t Like

So. Much. Running. I feel like the whole movie was just about Thomas, Newt, Teresa, Minho, and the rest of the gang just running away from the “bad guys” and being chased and shot at and attacked. Running from WCKD, running from zombies (too many zombies!), running from what ever attacker was there. It became ingratiating. Like Thomas said “I’m tired of running.” I’m tired of you running too, Thomas.

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I didn’t feel like there was any real point to this movie. I left the movie theater not even sure if I knew if there was a plot to it. A lot of random crap just happened to Thomas et al and I didn’t understand the premise of it. The first movie very clearly showed that the objective was to find the way out of the maze, and the objective was reached by them leaving the maze at the end of the movie. It seemed like for the sequel, horrible stuff was just thrown at our heroes and we were left with more questions than answers. It was more a of an awkward in-between movie, and I hope the mystery will be truly solved in the third (and final) movie.

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I didn’t like how Newt didn’t talk that much in this movie. I adore the actor, Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Nanny McPhee, Phineas and Ferb, Game of Thrones) and I wanted his character to be more important in the Scorch Trials, like he was in the Maze Runner. He kind of faded to the wayside in this movie, even though he was still Thomas’s right hand man. Plus, I really love his British accent, so I sorely missed hearing it a lot in the movie. I have a soft spot for Newt, which the Scorch Trials didn’t really deliver on.

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Teresa was just kind of there. Her character didn’t add any value to the plot until the horrific twist at the end, which appeared to have come out of nowhere. She was more of just an accessory to Thomas.

Verdict

The Scorch Trials was very aesthetically pleasing and showcased brazen female characters. It was fun to watch three Game of Thrones actors in one movie (Nathalie Emmanuel, Thomas Sangster, and Aidan Gillen). I think it was really thrilling to watch and it kept me on the edge of my seat. I thought that was excellent direction by Wes Ball in terms of visuals. Yet, it seemed pointless and meaningless, and I was left dissatisfied and disappointed.

7.5/10

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Thomas

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Playlist for Melancholy Late Nights

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  • Sia – Breathe Me
  • Ed Sheeran – Give Me Love
  • Lana Del Rey – Video Games
  • Imagine Dragons – Demons
  • Gabrielle Aplin – November
  • Daughtry – September
  • Birdy – Without a Word
  • Daughter – Landfill
  • Sia – Big Girls Cry
  • Daughter – Youth
  • The Lumineers – Charlie Boy
  • Ed Sheeran – Photograph
  • The Middle East – Blood
  • Jeff Buckley – Hallelujah
  • The Fray – How to Save a Life
  • Coldplay – Yellow
  • The Script – If You Ever Come Back
  • London Grammar – Wasting My Young Years
  • Florence and the Machine – Never Let Me Go
  • Lucy Rose – Shiver

Hypocrite or Saint: Should the US let in Refugees to Assuage the Migrant Crisis?

originally posted on my personal blog: wildcharismaandwanderlust.wordpress.com

Hypocrite or Saint: Should the US let in Refugees to Assuage the Migrant Crisis?

Oh, the hypocrisy of mainstream media. After weeks – months – of vilifying, demonizing, and dehumanizing refugees, it turns around and cries out at the injustice of children drowning. “For the children!” is the battle cry that rings out of the media. The tune has changed from the idea that the migrant crisis is an invasion of Western civilisation to actual sympathy for the migrants. It is abhorrent that it took a viral picture of a drowned child washed up on the coast of Bordum, Turkey, for the world to recognize the shared humanity of refugees fleeing war and oppression in Syria, etc for a better life.

At this point does the US even have a moral obligation to take in any refugees? A country of 53,041.98 USD as its GDP per capita is considering taking in just 10,000 refugees after months of the E.U. migrant crisis, whereas Germany, a country of 46,268.64 USD GDP per capita, has already welcomed at least 10,000 more asylum seekers than it already has just this previous Saturday. Germany affirms, “Our boat is nowhere near full” to the thousands of migrants making the perilous journey to the Western world from Africa and the Middle East.

How then can America, the land of the free, only deign to accept 10,000 asylum seekers/migrants/refugees? We consider ourselves the pioneers of the developed western democracies, and we should start acting that way. We can do better than 10,000 migrants. We have the resources and capacity to take in much more. We are the Home of the Brave, and if those refugees are courageous enough to risk their lives on a precarious boat on a quest for humane living conditions, they deserve to be welcomed into the United States with open arms.

There have been arguments that the EU’s migrant crisis is too geographically distant from the United States to expect us to get involved. Yet, this country has created a pattern and a history of getting involved in other countries’ affairs. Why is that, as the leader of the free world, we have a precedent of violently interfering with the business of countries that are geographically isolated from us, rather than extending a hand of peace and friendship to asylum seekers from countries in need?

After all, the United States of America was originally founded as a nation of immigrants, of men desperate to cross uncharted waters to find liberty and evade oppressive governments. Much of the United States’ history includes an influx of even more immigrants from countries such as Ireland and Italy who were seeking a good life of honest labor as well as fleeing persecution and famine. Ellis Island, New York, is notable for being a symbol of freedom for immigrants entering the Land of the Free via ships. What makes these migrants any different that we should turn our backs on our brothers and sisters in their time of dire need?

I call up on the Great United States of America to do the “right thing” and accept at least 50,000 migrants onto our shores. They, too, deserve life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. They, too, are human beings just like us. They, too, are worthy of acceptance.