Tuesday, January 24, 2017

TTT Freebie | The Blacklist -Favorite Episodes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme put on by The Broke and the Bookish


I am insanely addicted to The Blacklist right now. As I'm watching new episodes, I'm also rewatching previous seasons for the ...third time?

Yeah. Addicted.

Since we've got a Freebie this week for Top Ten Tuesday, it was kind of a no-brainer for me. What I'm listing off are my favorite episodes from Seasons 1 & 2, in chronological order. (It would have taken me another hour at least to figure out their exact hierarchy of favoritism. I'll save that til after the show ends.)

Why only those two seasons? Because these are the ones I've seen more than once and I pick favorites based on the lasting impact of the episode overall, rather than on shock factor from the next big reveal. Over the past three years, these are consistently the episodes I gravitate toward.

Once I rewatch seasons 3 & 4, I might have to do a Part Two.

Pilot (1x1)
One of the best pilot episodes I have ever seen. Seriously, if the first two minutes don't hook you, I DON'T KNOW WHAT'S WRONG WITH YOU. In addition to the best hook in TV history, the rest of the episode just keeps piling on the intrigue, mystery, and intensity. And then Liz STABS HIM IN THE NECK WITH A PEN!

The Stewmaker (1x4)
Reddington, the mystery surrounding him, and just what the heck he wants from Elizabeth Keen are driving factors of the show. This episode pokes at all of these, but the best part -THE BEST PART- is Red's confrontation with The Stewmaker because it's a smack in the face reminder of what kind of man Red is and the extremes he goes to without even blinking. Plus, the Farmer Parable that screams "backstory."
Not to be forgotten is that little bit when Red pushes Ressler into a dangerous corner with homicidal criminals and Ressler totally delivers. I love the look of grudging respect on Red's face when Ressler danced out of that one. ^_^

Anslo Garrick (1x9)
*fangirl scream*
Probably the first episode I watched on repeat. There is so much crazy good stuff in this episode when a mercenary breaks into the Post Office to kidnap Red. It's the first time we see Red do any dirty work -man, can he handle a gunfight! We also get some buddy-buddy time between Red and Ressler, the boy scout agent. These two are polar opposites, hate and mock each other openly, and I adored seeing them forced to rely on each other. Contains some great lines and Red's Wish. It also contains the heartbreaking goodbye scene between Red and Dembe. And on the other hand, Liz finds herself teamed up with uber geek agent Aram as the only ones left to take back the building.
Anslo Garrick, Conclusion is also fantastic -plot thickens! Fisk!- but only part 1 made it to the favorites

Ack! I'm talking too much! The rest will be briefer.

The Good Samaritan (1x11)
Fantastic villain
Personal stakes for Liz = bonding time with Red
Red cleans house: This entire half of the episode gives me goosebumps. It's just Red, tracking down leads, tying off loose hands, and getting his hands dirty -all while being his dastardly, charming self.

Madeline Pratt (1x14)
Welcome an old fling of Red's, aka Elizabeth Bennett
Liz and Red undercover as thieves
Betrayal, twisty plot turns
Another great Red monologue that teases backstory and tears. Emotion level = dangerous

Mako Tanida (1x16)
Revenge story
Another fantastic villain
Personal stakes for Ressler
More Red/Ressler team up
Ressler and the Dark Side
(Plus, Tom/Jolene story thickens)

The Mombasa Cartel (2x6)
Some of the creepiest villains
Winner of the creepieset use of song in history -Run From Me by Timber Timbre shouldn't be that terrifying but it is
Ressler battles his drug problem
The reason the Cartel is on the Blacklist
Liz's secret revealed!

Luthor Braxton (2x9)
Three and a half seasons in, this is still my FAVORITE EPISODE OF THE SERIES
Great story
Great villain (Ron Perlman!)
Some Red backstory
Liz gets her hands dirty, teams up with Red and prison inmates
Red and Liz bonding time with another o
ne of my favorite Red 'tales':
In Mexico, there are these fish that have colonized the freshwater caves along Sierra del Abra. They were lost. They found themselves living in complete darkness. But they didn't die. Instead, they thrived. They adapted. They lost their pigmentation, their sight, eventually even their eyes. With survival, they became hideous. I've rarely thought about what I once was. But I wonder if a ray of light were to make it into the cave, would I be able to see it? Or feel it? Would I gravitate to its warmth? And if I did, would I become less hideous?
Best song of the series -Blood on My Name by Brothers Bright- to accompany one of the greatest scenes of the series:

Luther Braxton, Conclusion is also fantastic and really dives hard into Liz's past
Red is never quite so fascinating as when he's trying to save Lizzie. Or keeping secrets from her. You know.

T. Earl King VI (2x14)
Red is up for auction
Liz goes undercover to save him
Delicious chaos ensues

For now, at least, these are ten of my top favorite Blacklist episodes, but really, there's only been one or two that I haven't loved. They are literally ALL GOOD.
GAAAAHHHH! There's still so much more good stuff I didn't even list! I'll have to do another Blacklist list...

 Do you have favorite Blacklist episodes?
What show are you obsessing over? 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Fandom Mashup #1 | Survival on Deserted Planet

Fandom Mashup Post is a weekly meme hosted by Lunar Rainbow Reviews -and they're super fun!

In your intergalactic travels, you and your team have found yourself stranded on a (seemingly) deserted planet and you need some serious survival skills to make yourself at home. Who else is stranded with you?

Swiss army knife and endless roll of duct tape included, of course.

Mal Reynolds and Zoe Washburn
Let's see -survived a horrific battle with no backup, scrape a living as outlaws hunted by authorities, and fiercely loyal to each other and anyone they consider crew. Yep. I'll need these kind of heroes along.

Jack Sparrow
His insanity borders on genius. Plus, if it turns out any space pirates are actually using our not-so-deserted planet for nefarious purposes, I want someone who speaks the lingo. In fact...

The (Good Half of) the RLS Legacy Crew
Captain Amelia, Mr. Arrow, Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver, Doctor Delbert Doppler, B.E.N., and Morph! Let's just add this whole fantastic lot, shall we? I mean, Jack's a great, crazy, inventive pirate, but since we're in space, why not get the crew of a space ship?

Oliver Queen
He survived on an island for years (granted, not quite on his own). But he could definitely teach me to fight.

Hermione Granger
Knowledge + magic.

Hank Lawson
We're going to need a really good doctor, and Hank can fix/cure anything with ANYTHING. He will be essentially to the longevity of my party.
Speaking of Doctors...

The Doctor
I'm torn between Ten and Twelve, so I'm just going to take both.

Really, who else do you want watching your back on a potentially hostile planet?
Baze Malbus and Chirrut Imwe
These two will be fantastic in a tricky spot like this! "I am one with the Force and the Force is with me."

Newt Scamander
In case whatever we run into are more beast than sentient, Newt will figure out a way to co-exist with them.

So now that I've pretty much populated the entire planet, I think we can call it good! With this lot on my side, I think we're in good shape to survive. ^_^

Who would you want with you for such an adventure?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friday 56 | The Blacklist: The Beekeeper (#159)

Friday 56 is hosted by Freda's Voice

*Grab a book, any book
*Turn to page 56 or 56% on your eReader (if you have to improvise, that's ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post in the Linky on Freda's blog.
*It's that simple.

"Where's the Bodysnatcher?" Ressler asked.

Doesn't that sound fascinating?

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

TTT: Hidden Gems/Underrated Books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme put on by The Broke and the Bookish

Newly Discovered Hidden Gems

I Am Not A Serial Killer by Dan Wells
I'd never heard anything about this book before I stumbled on it at the library and it's been out for at least six years. This is a fantastic, if morbid, tale with fantastic first-person narration and top notch character development.
(I know, I know; I've been talking about this one a lot! Don't worry; it totally deserves the praise.)

Vicious by V.E. Schwab
Though I know this book has been talked a lot about on blogs and booktube (that's where I first heard of it), for a long time it was only available in hardcover at $30+ so I'm assuming it wasn't all that popular at the beginning. With the success of Schwab's more recent books, Vicious is more readily available so if you haven't read it, you'll want to check it out. (FYI, I'd rate this one R for swearing. The book was good enough I read in spite of this, but there's quite a lot of it.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen
This book is huge in Utah, but I'm honestly not sure how popular this book is elsewhere. If it isn't, IT SHOULD BE. This is a fantastic proper romance (aka, clean; my favorite) that's also a steampunk that's also a retelling of Beauty and the Beast that's also inhabited by ghosts, vampires, werewolves, and who knows what else at this point! I really hope Allen makes this a series, I don't really care if it has sequels or companion novels, I just want more of this awesome world.
(Note: While this is written by an LDS author, it's not an LDS book.)

Underrated Favorites

Half Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
I feel like a lot of Colfer's stand alone novels are underrated but my favorite among them by far is Half Moon. I've lost count of how many times I've read it and the audio version is great too.
This is funny mystery for middle graders, with a kid detective who thinks he's a hard-boiled private eye, which is absolutely hilarious in the first person narration.
Check out my review here!

Always Neverland by Zoe Barton

This is an after-Peter-Pan Peter Pan adventure. We know that Peter continued finding new mothers for the Lost Boys after Wendy went home and this is what happens when Peter decides to take Ashley to Neverland -but Ashley is more interested in adventures and fighting pirates than playing mother. I know this kind of story has been done a lot, but Always Neverland is the best I've read; Barton does a fantastic job of keeping Neverland and it's inhabitants true to the original while updating it for a modern audience at the same time.
Check out my review here!

The Ever Afters by Shelby Bach
Of course it's on this list! This series is phenomenal and it deserves the love of every school, librarian, and fairy-tale-loving child. No joke.
Check out my reviews for the whole series here!
I also hosted an awesome blog party when the final book came out.

What are some of your favorite underrated books? Newly discovered hidden gems? I'm all ears!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday | Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamiton

Waiting on Wednesday is a book meme hosted by Breaking the Spine (at least as of August 2016; if someone else has taken it over, feel free to correct me.)

Traitor to the Throne 
by Alwyn Hamilton
Release date: January 25, 2017

This is the sequel to her debut last year, Rebel of the Sands, which I adored and immediately got my sister hooked on. I can't to see what happens next!

Admittedly, I'm not thrilled about the cover switches. I loved the cover for its predecessor.

What book release are you waiting on?

Thursday, January 5, 2017

My Favorite 'To Reads' of 2016

So I did a completely abominable job keeping track of the books I read last year, much less reviewing them. I know there are probably more I could add to this list but, unfortunately, I didn't always write titles down. *epic fail*

Next year's resolution? KEEP TRACK OF EVERYTHING. To help with that, I actually got a really awesome gift from work. May I present...
*drum roll please*

Want one? Get it here: Barnes & Noble | Amazon

Almost the entire book are pages for reviews. You might be thinking Isn't this what Goodreads is for?

Well, yes...
                            ...and no.

I love Goodreads. Don't get me wrong. But I don't keep it on hand when I'm reading a book and have a thought that would be great in a review. So my plan for this next year is to write down those thoughts as I read. You know, the ones I push aside, say 'I'll have to remember that for the review', and then forget it by the time I do write the review. Yeah, those ones. (This is bound to make review-writing more efficient too. Whew!)

Guys, I haven't even started using this book yet and I'm already in love with it. <3

At any rate, to get 2017 started off on a good note, here -in no particular order- are my absolute favorite reads from 2016. Most of these do not have reviews yet -but they're on the way!

John Wayne Cleaver series by Dan Wells:
I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells | 5 stars
Mr. Monster by Dan Wells | 4 stars
I Don't Want to Kill You by Dan Wells | 5 stars
The Devil's Only Friend by Dan Wells | 5 stars
Over Your Dead Body by Dan Wells | 5 stars
I'm saving my comments for reviews, but this series is incredible. Dark. Morbid. And incredible.

Iron Man: The Gauntlet by Eoin Colfer | 5 stars
Amazing. AMAZING. Colfer was the perfect choice to write this book and he dominated. I hope Marvel loves it as much as I did, because I would read every. single. one.

Calamity by Brandon Sanderson (Reckoners #3) | 5 stars
An Epic end to an Epic series. Pun very much intended.

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge | 5 stars
I wasn't sure I was going to like this. I did.

Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton | 5 stars
Sequel comes out in March! Squee!

Vicious by V.E. Schwab | 4 stars
Fantastic book, amazing characters, great plot, but as a caution there is a lot of swearing.

Library Wars: Love and War Vol. 14 &15 by Kiiro Yumi | 5 stars
Wonderful finale. My favorite manga series of all time, bar none. ^_^

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast by Nancy Campbell Allen | 4 stars

Mistborn: The Finale Empire by Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn #1) | 5 stars

The Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #1)
I'm still reading this, but I love it so much it's going on this list!
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling:
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
These don't even have ratings yet. I've got a lot to say about these.
Like, A LOT. I just haven't pieced my thoughts together just yet.
(Except #1; I reviewed that awhile back.)

This one I actually have reviewed, so you can read all the gory details for yourself.

And those are my top picks from my reads last year!
What were your favorite reads from 2016?

Monday, January 2, 2017

It's Monday! Here's What I'm Reading...

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a place to meet up and share what you have been, are and about to be reading over the week.  It's a great post to organise yourself. It's an opportunity to visit and comment, and er... add to that ever growing TBR pile! So welcome in everyone. This meme started with J Kaye's Blog   and then was taken up by Sheila from Book Journey. Sheila then passed it on to Kathryn at the Book Date. And here we are!

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee of Unleashing Readers decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join them!

Good 2017, my fellow book dragons! It promises to be a good year. At least, I plan to make it so, and hope you do too! ^_^


What I Read Last Week:
I've somehow fallen into this deplorable habit lately of starting half a dozen books and audiobooks all at once and I haven't finished any of them yet. But I guess there was one thing I finished...

Avatar: The Last Airbender -Smoke and Shadow, parts 1-3 by Gene Luen Yang

Gotta admit, I loved a lot about this trilogy. The Avatar comics have been rather touch and go with me since the beginning, but I must say they're improving. Smoke and Shadow is probably my favorite of all to date, but let's leave the review for later, shall we?

What I'm Currently Reading:
*takes deep breath*
Are you ready for this?

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
An ARC from Netgalley that I am thoroughly enjoying, albeit a little slowly. Savoring. That's what I'd doing. Savoring.

The Green Man edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling
After reading their anthology The Faery Reel, I knew I had to read this one about the elusive 'Green Man' of mythology, which happens to be a topic of research at the moment.

The Last Gunfight: The Real Story of the Shootout at the O.K. Corral -And How It Changed the American West by Jeff Guinn
I have a mental list of books at my library that I need to read. They don't always make it onto my Goodreads TBR, but whenever I walk past their shelves, I get a reminder. This has been on that mental list for the better part of four years. I don't have a great track record with nonfiction, but I'm very interested in Old West history, so we'll see.

The Man With No Name by Frostfyre7
Okay, yes, this is a fanfiction. But it's a freaking amazing and totally believable Firefly/Doctor Who crossover and it is spectacular. Seriously.
You should go read it.
Right now.
I'm so excited about it I even made an appropriate YouTube playlist.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
I read this a few years ago and I didn't remember enjoying it all that much. At least, I swear I read it a few years ago. It's a favorite of a friend of mine so I decided to give it another go and -you know what? I don't think I actually finished it the first time around. Because I don't remember Fae in this story at all. Or magic. And you know what else? I really, really like it!

Elantris by Brandon Sanderson
I felt like I was well-read in Sanderson until I realized Mistborn: Final Empire was the only Cosmere novel I've read. Might as well start at the beginning! As always, fascinating and elaborate and captivating.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This has been on my TBR forever and I found this on my library's Overdrive. I love that, because I can put it onto my MP3 and listen when I can. I'm *almost* finished with it and I'm loving it.

What I'm Reading Next:
Next? Next?! Dudes, I'm not even sure I'll finish all of these!

Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
At the very least, I've gotta read this. Book club book, you know.

Girls to the Rescue by Bruce Lansky
Recommended by my niece, who absolutely adores them, because these short stories are all about girls being brave and heroic!

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas
Told you I was enjoying Throne of Glass.

Well, that's what I'm up to.
What are your recent and current reads?