YA Superlative Blogfest: Best In Show

Today is the last day of the YA Superlative Blogfest! We hope you enjoy this last installment!

Click for more info!

Be sure to check out the other participants' picks by checking the linky on Katy, Jessica, Tracey, or Alison's pages.

The topic is BEST IN SHOW, and we've got a show for you.

Favorite Cover: Wither by Lauren DeStefano - This book has a gorgeous cover not only for the picture, but for the exterior ornamental designs that carry on inside the book.  That's some fiiiine design work.

Cutest Couple:
Platonic: SEAN KENDRICK & CORR from The Scorpio Races - They are the BOY and HIS HORSE, an archetypal pair about friendship and trust. Their bond was moving.  Even Alz, who never had a horse phase, was moved by their bond.

Romantic: NICK RYVES & MAE CRAWFORD from The Demon's Surrender - Because let's face it, Mae's stubbornness and spunk is the only thing that can withstand Nick's lack of empathetic ability and black, demon eyes. And she's bossy and we think Nick secretly likes being bossed around. And this exchange proves that they totally get each other.

“Sometimes I feel better around you. I kind of like your face." -Nick, The Demon's Covenant

[After Nick has just suffered a defeat] "I came to show you my face." - Mae, The Demon's Surrender (because she thought it'd make him feel better)

Most Likely to Succeed: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - This book will not be everyone's cup of tea; indeed, it was very much Krispy's cup of tea and not so much Alz's, but even Alz acknowledges that this is a good book.  It's slow and steady-paced right up until the race at the end, as is only fitting; the language is at once spare and beautiful in its sparseness; and the themes of family, bonds, and courage are at the heart of this horse-and-rider story.  This isn't a buzzword book nor an appeal to the mass market, but there's something about its qualities that make it a winner.

Boy and Horses at the Beach
(c) Saguaro Pictures on flikr - Click picture to see more from this photographer

Most Likely to Make You Miss Your Bedtime (The book you just couldn’t put down!): The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan - Again, not quite YA, but this was the book we both blazed through. Our anticipation for the return of our favorite teen demigod made reading this book a race to find out where he had been and what he was going to do now.  This second book of the series also had more interesting and dynamic characters and better pacing than the first book.

Best Repeat Performance (Your favorite sequel or follow-up.): The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan - like we said, we were REALLY excited to see Percy again, and boy did not disappoint!

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld - This was a wonderful wrap up for a thrilling, nation-hopping trilogy, and finally, after 2 books, Alek & Deryn see each other as they really, truly are.

  • Honorable Mention: The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan - What a satisfying yet not-too-pat resolution to a trilogy full of magic and amazing, layered characters. The characters! How we will miss them!  This one gets an honorable mention since we actually liked the second book of the trilogy most--which is not to say that Demon's Surrender wasn't also amazing.

Romance Most Worthy of an Ice Bath: ADAM & JULIETTE from Shatter Me - We're actually not totally sold on their romance, but goodness, did these two have some sizzling chemistry when they touched. In particular, we're talking about that scene in the shower. Yeah, you know the one. Tahereh Mafi's unique writing style was pitch-perfect here.

Pair Most Likely to Stay Best Friends Till They’re 80: PUCK & SEAN from The Scorpio Races - Whether together romantically or not, these two have the compatibility to weather all the storms and flesh-eating horses of Thisby. They both love the island and their horses, and they care about the same sorts of things.  They will grow old together on Thisby with horses and water horses, Sean largely wordless because words aren't always necessary and with Puck as full of spit and vinegar as ever.

Breakout Novel (Favorite Book by a Debut Author):

Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - We're actually not entirely sure if this is Kendare's debut, but it certainly was her first book in YA horror and she did a fabulous job with this book. It was funny, quick-paced, and scary with a charismatic main character and engaging supporting characters. All in all, an enjoyable read! We're excited for Book 2: Girl of Nightmares.

Best Old-Timer (Your favorite read of the year, published BEFORE 2011):
Graceling by Kristin Cashore - [Krispy's read] HOW did I not read this book until this year? It's high fantasy with a badass heroine, well-developed character arcs, and an intriguing plot. I need to read Fire asap, and then control my excitement for Bitterblue in 2012!

Armageddon Summer - [Alz's read] This YA novel by Jane Yolen and Bruce Coville was published some years ago but is still a fantastic read concerning belief and disbelief in everything from family to religion to love to armageddon.  All handled from two first-person POVs, the girl who is forced to take care of her siblings and the boy who feels it is his duty to look after his father.

Most Pleasant Surprise (The best book you didn’t think you’d like, but totally did):

Matched by Ally Condie - [Krispy's read, but not published in 2011] The blurb didn't grab me at all because it sounded like it was only a love triangle stretched over 300-some pages. But I read it because I won a copy, and I ended up really liking it. Yes, it's still mostly focused on the love triangle, but there was more. The utopian/dystopian setting was interesting and the theme was as much about love as it was about choice. The scariest part was I could easily see myself being content in a world like The Society, much like Cassia is at the start of the tale.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - [Alz's read] I like horses all right but I never had a horse phase, and I had some strange misconceptions about what the book was actually about--plus my reading tastes lean more toward straight-up fantasy and/or dystopian than contemporary-slice-of-life-with-a-magical-element. So while I didn't think I'd hate The Scorpio Races or anything, I wasn't expecting much. And my expectations were beyond exceeded, for the book turned out to be a good, solid, enjoyable read.

Sleeper Hit (Book you found so awesome you wish it had been hyped more): Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake - We hadn't heard much about this book but it was October and we thought a scary read might be fun!  So Krispy picked up Anna from the library, read it, loved it, and passed it on to Alz, who read it and loved it just as much.  Horror is not really our preferred reading genre, but we do love the TV show Supernatural and Anna Dressed in Blood is right along those lines.

And our TWO self-chosen categories are...

Book That Deserves to Be Mentioned Here Just Because: I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen - It's not YA and it's a picture book, but trust us, this picture book is not just for kids!

Favorite Read of 2011:

Krispy's Pick

It was a tough call, but I loved this book to pieces. Bitty, bitty pieces.

Alz's Pick

This is a beautifully-written beautifully-set book with some beautiful characters.  Lots and lots of beauty. I had a few issues, but nothing so major as to dull my sparkly beautiful enjoyment.

Thanks for coming by during the blogfest! We hope you enjoyed this fun way of winding down 2011. Have a safe and Happy New Year, everyone!

What are your picks for these categories?

Superlative Blogfest RECAP:
Head of Class
Elements of Fiction


YA Superlative Blogfest: Elements of Fiction

Behold! Glorious DAY 3 of the YA Superlative Blogfest!

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Be sure to check out the other participants' picks by checking the linky on Katy, Jessica, Tracey, or Alison's pages.

Today we get down into the nitty-gritty of storytelling, narrative, and settings with ELEMENTS OF FICTION, including all the books we've read that were published in 2011.

Most Wonderful World-Building: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Laini Taylor crafts Prague into a place of gothic beauty and mystery right alongside a supernatural world every bit as real and grounded.

Goliath by Scott Westerfeld - It takes masterful world-building to create an alternate historical timeline, where World War I was fought with steam-powered, Clanker machines and fabricated Darwinist war beasts, and make it plausible. This is a fantastic, alternate vision of our world.
Alek & His Stormwalker (c) Keith Thompson
Secrets in the Rookery (c) Keith Thompson

  • Honorable Mention: The Island of Thisby from The Scorpio Races. This place is entirely fictional but felt like it was REAL. I could smell the salt in the air, taste the sticky-sweetness of the November cakes, and hear the screams of the capaill uisce, the pounding of their hooves. I could see the windswept cliffs and the cozy town of Skarmouth, populated by the islanders and mainland tourists. Maggie Stiefvater made me believe that somewhere in the Atlantic there really is an island where water horses wash ashore every November.

Most Formidable World (Or, the setting you most definitely would NOT want to travel to.): Wither by Lauren DeStefano - Girls die by age 20 in this world. So there is the constant threat of being kidnapped and sold into marriages or worse. Also, since we're both over 20, we'd both be dead.  We want to live, dammit.

Wanderlust-Inducing (Or, the setting you'd happily travel to.): Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Prague! Not only is it a beautiful city, but the way Laini Taylor writes it the place is old art and fine history and silver winter haze.  Besides, a lot of the books we read this year were dystopians and, let's face it, we'd rather not subject ourselves to the rigors of a futuristic totalitarian society.

Thx for the Prague montage, Wikipedia.
Loveliest Prose: Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Can you tell we love this book? Basically, we wish we could write like this.
Fairy-tale city. From the air, red rooftops hug a kink in a dark river, and by night the forested hills appear as spans of black nothing against the dazzle of the lit castle, the spiking Gothic towers, the domes great and small. The river captures all the lights and teases them out, long and wavering, and the side-slashing rain blurs it all to a dream.

This was Akiva's first sight of Prague...

Best First Line: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater -
It is the first day of November and so, today, someone will die.
Most Dynamic Main Character: TRIS from Divergent by Veronica Roth - Tris's character development is clear-cut, realistic, and none too easy--every choice she makes is a hard one and they only get harder and harder throughout the book, forcing her to grow and change.

Most Jaw-Dropping Finale: Delirium by Lauren Oliver - We had some mixed feelings and mixed reactions to this book in general but all that aside, the climax remains astounding, astonishing, and powerful, a literary punch in the gut. It left us breathless.

Best Performance in a Supporting Role: ALAN from Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan / FOUR from Divergent by Veronica Roth - Alan, as you may already be able to tell, is one of our favorite people ever. He is sweet, kind, caring, decent-ish, although he does lie a lot and engage in morally and ethically questionable activities--usually for the sake of family and friends though. Four is tough, hardened by his past as much as his present, and yet within he is also a decent guy. We just really appreciate decency and character development, apparently.

Best Use of Theme: The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - This book is everything I (Krispy) wanted and hoped it would be. It's a story of a place and a community, of a way of life, of a girl and her horse and her struggle to keep her family together, of a boy and his horse and the true bond between them. It's about wanting and needing, about tradition and breaking tradition, about sacrifice and bravery and loyalty and love. With the island of Thisby as their backdrop and the races as their shared goal, Puck and Sean's story lines compliment each other, teasing out everything they care about and everything Thisby is to them.

I can't put it better than the lovely Erin Bowman, who not only put this book on my radar but gave me my own copy of it (I won her giveaway):

"What an absolutely beautiful story about love and sacrifice and the things that bind us together..."

  • Honorable mentions: Daughter of Smoke and Bone for its interweaving of hope, magic, and the need to belong somewhere even if its among monsters. Divergent for its exploration of selflessness and bravery, flaws and virtues, and the complicated paths of family and self-discovery.

And lo, those are our choices for best elements of fiction.  What are your picks?

See you tomorrow for the conclusion of the Superlatives blogfest! The topic? Best in Show! (Side note from Alz: Krispy is still freaking out over Scorpio Races even as we blog this. I need to read it.)

Superlative Blogfest RECAP:
Head of Class


YA Superlative Blogfest: Popularity Contest

Welcome to DAY 2 of the YA Superlative Blogfest!

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Once again, here are the deets: The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest is a fun and interactive way to highlight and share your favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest will span four days, beginning Tuesday, December 27th and culminating Friday, December 30th.

Be sure to check out the other participants' picks by checking the linky on Katy, Jessica, Tracey, or Alison's pages.

If you missed our picks yesterday, take a looksie here: Head of Class

Today's theme is POPULARITY CONTEST, in which we name characters from our 2011 YA reads (all our 2011 YA reads, so not just ones published this year) in the categories we think they most exemplify.

Class Clown: JAMIE from The Demon's Surrender (and the other two books in the Demon's Lexicon Trilogy). The words that come out of this kid's mouth are amazing and hilarious and GOLDEN. See quote below from The Demon's Surrender...

"Think about crack!" Jamie added, clearly struck by inspiration. "Yes! It's like I'm a crack addict, and you're my friend the drug dealer who gives me crack for free, and I know you're just trying to be a good friend, but every time I think 'Wow, this crack might be a little bit of a problem for me,' you're there to say, 'Have some more delicious crack.' Am I making sense?"

Nick stared."Hardly ever in your life."

Most Likely to Start a Riot: AMY from Across the Universe by existing - She almost started one because she's totally out of time and place among the residents of the Godspeed.

SOPHIE from Demonglass by accident - Sophie's a powerhouse of magic. The problem is, she can't always control it, so her spells tend to go BIG.

NICK from The Demon's Surrender on purpose - Nick doesn't really get emotions and gets his thrills from dangerous situations. Even if he wasn't looking for a fight, he'd gladly join in one. And under the right (or wrong) circumstances, he might well incite one.
  • Case in point:  “I don't really get scared. Want to know what else I don't feel? PITY.” - Nick, The Demon's Lexicon

Biggest Flirt: NOAH from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer - This boy is one of those teenage surface jerkfaces who is actually charismatic, verbally gifted, and perhaps not a total jerkface after all once you get to know him.

KENJI from Shatter Me - Almost every word out of this guy's mouth is flirtatious. He even tells Juliette he's got a spectacular face.

Fashion King/Queen: WARNER from Shatter Me - Clothes are very important to him in order to cement his appearance as a stylish but terrifying dictator of a man. And he's only nineteen. A precocious young fellow is he.

Girl You'd Most Want for Your BFF: ZUZANA from The Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Zuzana is vertically challenged and makes up for this lack with her big mouth and big heart.

*Close second was MAE from The Demon's Lexicon Trilogy - She's brave, loyal, smart, funny, and spunky. Who doesn't love a fearless girl with pink hair and an endless supply of sass!

*PERCY from The Son of Neptune - Technically, this is an MG book and Percy is not a girl, but Percy is of YA age and he is too lovable and badass for us to leave out.

Boy You Wish You'd Dated in High School: ALAN from The Demon's Surrender - Full disclosure, Alan has a lot of flaws. He's a consummate liar, a masterful manipulator, and he's killed people. He also has a very dangerous brother. All that aside, he is at his core a decent guy and he acts on those decent impulses. He strives to protect people he cares about. He has good manners. He adores books. He fiercely loves his brother, enough to sacrifice everything for him. So you can see why we would love him in return.

*We also had these guys in this category as Too Hot To Handle. As in, these guys are too hot & spicy for us / we know better / we're intimidated.

NOAH from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (hot but too much personal baggage); NICK (hot but scary) from The Demon's Surrender; FOUR (good guy but intimidating) from Divergent; CAS (charismatic but really dangerous lifestyle) from Anna Dressed in Blood

 Most Likely to Become President: CLAUDIA from Sapphique & VERONICA from A Brief History of Montmaray

Both of these ladies are smart, well-bred, and well-spoken. Claudia is cunning. Veronica is clever. Claudia is the Warden's Daughter and betrothed to the future King. Veronica is a Princess. These ladies would easily climb their way into office and be competent and awesome President Queens.

Villain You Love to Hate: KRELL from THE CLONE WARS TV series - All right, so this evil Jedi is not technically from a book.

Our desire to see him suffer and die increased tenfold with every second.
But his evilness increases exponentially with every episode of his four-part arc: a lone military commander with no lieutenant or superior to check his bloodlust or ambition, veto his questionable battle strategies, or even make him see that his men are in fact real people and not faceless lifeless unimportant expendable troops.

THE NAZIS from A Brief History of Montmaray - I can't get too into this one without spoiling things, but suffice to say, they're NAZIS. Everyone loves to hate on Nazis.

Favorite Parental Figure: Tris' mom NATALIE PRIOR from Divergent - This woman is a badass. Read the book to find out how and why.

BRIMSTONE from Daughter of Smoke & Bone - Brimstone is a monster with a goat head, crocodile eyes, and other animalistic features. He sells wishes in exchange for teeth. He lives in a shop whose door opens into many different cities across the world. He also reared Karou from a baby, "not without tenderness," and though of forbidding aspect and personality, it is clear how much he cares for his adopted child.

Coolest Nerd: ALAN from The Demon's Surrender - He wins this category hands down. He's smart. He believes in education and literacy. He loves books and has a way with words. He works in a book store! He knows really random trivia - historical and supernatural. He can quote Shakespeare on the drop of a dime. And to top that all off, he's an excellent kisser (just ask the ladies of the trilogy) AND he's good with a gun. He never misses, even in the dark. No, seriously. His brother Nick will vouch for him. COOLNESS.

“I don't have deal breakers," Alan said. "I look on tempests, and am never shaken.” - Alan, The Demon's Surrender.

Where would you put YOUR favorite YA characters?

See you tomorrow for more Superlative Blogfesting! The topic is Elements of Fiction.


YA Superlative Blogfest: Head of Class

Welcome back from the holiday celebrations! We hope you got awesomesauce things for Christmas and ate lots of delicious things (we did, perhaps too much)!

Today, we're participating in the Class of 2011: YA Superlative Blogfest hosted by Jessica Love, Tracey Neithercott, Alison Miller, and Katy Upperman.

Click for more info!

About the blogfest: The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest is a fun and interactive way to highlight and share your favorite YA novels, covers, characters, and story elements. The Class of 2011: YA Superlatives Blogfest will span four days, beginning Tuesday, December 27th and culminating Friday, December 30th.

Today's topic is HEAD OF CLASS, in which we name our favorite 2011 YA books.

Favorite Dystopian: Divergent by Veronica Roth

We have some very mixed feelings about the worldbuilding in this book, but out of all the dystopians we've read this year, Divergent definitely has the best character arc. Tris's development and evolution are both realistic and interesting, making this a worthwhile read. Plus, the book is action-packed, making for a fast read.

Favorite Fantasy: Chime by Franny Billingsley / Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Despite some plot issues, Alz really liked Chime for the fact that it transformed a grody mosquito-laden swamp into a place of beauty and mystery. She's currently reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone which Krispy has already read.

Both of us agree that Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a beautifully-written and atmospheric book. Being set in Prague is a bonus too, and the world-building is excellent. It puts a unique and multi-layered twist on the angel/demon mythology.

Favorite Action/Adventure: Goliath by Scott Westerfeld

Alz didn't read this one, but Krispy did and thought it was a wonderful, satisfying end to a fun trilogy. Set in an alternate historical timeline of World War I, in which the warring sides have steam-powered war machines and fabricated beasties, the books take us on a thrilling ride from Europe to the Middle East, across Russia and to America, aboard the living airship, The Leviathan. There are thrilling air battles, revolutions, war conspiracies and politics, clever beasties, a lost prince, a girl pretending to be a boy, and a friendship that possibly becomes something more. If that doesn't scream Action Adventure to you, we don't know what will.

Favorite Mystery: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

Alz read this one. The mystery in this book is indeed mysterious as Mara doesn't remember how or why her friends died or why she is the sole survivor. The tension is tripwire-taut and the story exerts in inexorable pull on the reader because you really do want to find out A) what happened and B) what the hell is going on.

Favorite Romance: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin / Divergent by Veronica Roth

*Note: We didn't read any books that would necessarily be categorized as "romance" books, so we picked couples we liked, who we thought had chemistry and development.

Mara/Noah is a great romance because while Noah is initially presented as a douchey jerk and has quite a mouth, Mara can verbally hold her own against him and has conflicting feelings about whether or not she likes him or wants to strangle him or both. Their chemistry. It sizzles. *sssssss*

Tris/Four is a different sort of romance because rather than peers, they have a trainee/trainer relationship at first. The romance develops naturally over the course of their interactions and deepens as they begin to understand each other's weaknesses and fears, as well as strengths.

What do both of these romances have in common as they both earn our Favorite Romance label? It's not love at first sight. The romance has depth beyond "oh he's hawt" and "she's sex-ayyyy". They do not instantly fall in love because of Fate and Destiny. And yet neither one of these books would probably first be labeled as a romance. Hmm.

Favorite Family Drama: Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan

Ah! Demon's Surrender! The beauteous bromance! Nick and Alan! The Ryves brothers! Despite their danger-ridden lives, they hold together through thick and thin, glued together by brotherly love. The entire Demon's Lexicon trilogy is like a family drama because all the most important relationships are familial ones. The Ryves brothers. Spunky heroine Mae and her brother Jamie. Brave Sin and her little sister and her extended "family" of the Goblin Market. There's danger and romance, but in the end, their strongest motivational ties involve family.

Favorite Genre Bender: Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Krispy read this one. It's a genre bender because it's a contemporary sort of story with paranormal elements, but it also has some family drama and action and a side of romance. The story is set in what looks like the present on the fictional island of Thisby that feels oh-so-real. The paranormal comes in the form of the dangerous and beautiful water horses that wash up on the island's shore every Fall, which the people who would ride in the Scorpio Races attempt to train. The plot is character driven - Puck Connolly is a girl who enters the race - the first to ever do so - in a desperate bid to keep her family together and Sean Kendrick is the returning champion of the races, who has one foot on land and the other in the sea, who loves a water horse that is his in every way except in name. It's a classic boy and horse / girl and horse and saving the farm story, put atop the back of a flesh-eating fairy horse from the sea. In short, moving and wonderful.

Favorite Horror: Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

This is a genre not actually included in the blogfest, but we added it because even though we only read two YA horror novels this year, Anna Dressed in Blood was too good not to include somewhere on this Head of Class list. It had a lone wolf hero whose mom cares about and supports him, blood and gore and ghosts, and supporting characters who were interesting, competent, and defied stereotypes. The voice was great.

Alz read not so many 2011-published books; Krispy read many. However, this will matter less on Wednesday when we return to the blogfest with a post on YA characters not limited to 2011. So be sure to stop in tomorrow!

What are your favorite genre picks? We'd love to hear them!


Deja Vu Blogfest

It's Friday, and today we are participating in the Deja Vu Blogfest hosted by Lydia Kang, DL Hammons, Creepy Query Girl, and Nicole Ducleroir.

Before we get to that though, I wanted to let you all know, we will be taking this coming week OFF from blogging for the holidays. This is so we can log some extra progress on projects and read some more 2011 books in preparation for the YA Superlative Blogfest, taking place the last week of December. We'll be blogging all week starting TUES. Dec 27.

So, we'll miss you and we hope you miss us too! Until then, we want to wish you all HAPPY HOLIDAYS and MERRY CHRISTMAS! (We'll likely pop in on Christmas with a merry doodle.)

ON TO THE DEJA VU BLOGFEST! Here's what it's is about:

Ever feel like you know you missed that one kick-ass post of a favorite blogger somewhere, somehow?

This is your chance to do some major catching up, and re-post a favorite blog post of your own that NEEDS to see the light of day one more time.

And on December 16, re-post your favorite/most informative/most life-changing announcement/most ANYTHING blog post you want to re-share with the world.

Click the Deja Vu Blogfest link to see all the other participants!

So here from the depths of our archives, all the way back from 2008, Alz's post On Plausible Villainy!

(NOTE: We realized as we searched through our archives that NOT ONLY did we use to make Posts of Substance, but that these posts were REALLY LONG. So you've been warned. Essay ahead. OR you can TL;DR scroll to the end of the post after the cut for our 2011 summary.)

For kicks & because Lydia requested a doodle:
Krispy's 2011 villainous crush, Loki.

Iago of Shakespeare's Othello is widely touted to be the epitome of villainy. Why? Because he's just so damn evil. The dude's got it down on Othello and wants him to suffer, suffer, suffer, and suffer some more for good measure, and manages to contrive Othello's downfall with a smiling face and everyone's full trust. Why does he do this? Because somebody else got promoted, not him, and Othello gets to take the brunt of the blame. There's not really much reason beyond that given for his absolute hatred of the Moor. Dim-witted Othello trusts Iago completely which fact of course Iago takes shameless advantage of in order to manipulate and betray his "friend", and this is supposed to be why Iago is the quintessential evil villain. And because Shakespeare is revered as such a noble figure within the realm of English literature, and he's been dead for centuries, and scholars say so, it seems to be one of those general "facts" of the academic world.

Iago's kind of one-dimensional if you just take him straight out of the play.

No, seriously. Think about it. Iago haaaaaates Othello and wants to nail his tender bits to the wall and to make him suspicious of and despise his wife so that he'll smother her with a pillow and then feel terribly, terribly guilty about it when she finally dies of it a half-dozen agonized soliloquies and dialogue exchanges or so later. Cassio got promoted instead of Iago, and this fills Iago with vitriolic rage and loathing for Othello's littlest skin particle, never mind the rest of him. Speculation as to why he hates Othello so damn much is all well and good, of course, and ripe pickings for fanfiction (leave the temptation to slash alone, please, oh gods please leave it alone), but within the bounds of the actual play itself—let's face it, there's no real concrete reason given why Iago loathes Othello so much. We're just supposed to concentrate on the fact that Iago feels betrayed, the loathing is there, and now he's acting on what he feels and doing what he does best: being a manipulative bastard. He can gain dimension for possible reasons, and this is where the analysis and interpretation takes place, but there are characters who come off to me as deep and full of inner conflict and motivations and twists and turns of psychology that form an elaborate pretzel-knot, and then there are those who just leave me going double-you-tee-eff. Needless to say, Iago's one of the latter.

An Iago-type villain holds thin water nowadays, having become a stereotype: "You passed me up, so I'm-a kill you, you son of a bitch." I mean, most villains seem to be ambitious and aspiring towards power (for either destructive I'll-show-them-all-and-destroy-the-world or constructive I-can-make-the-world-a-better-place purposes), or because they've got vengeance cooking hot on their brains (this is Iago, who takes it to an extreme), or they lust after fame/infamy, or they're lusting for somebody that they can't have or want to impress, or they're just insane (which though it can be done well is more often used as a cop-out, like the typical oh-it-was-all-just-a-dream trope), or sundry other reasons. But it's a rare villain indeed who exists simply as a plot device of Sheer and Absolute Evil for the Sake of Hating So-and-So For a Reason of Some Kind. I mean, check out the Wikipedia section talking about Iago's possible motives—about the only clear and text-citable reason for hatred is that he was passed up for promotion. (Granted, it's been a while since I've read Othello, but I'm pretty sure I remember Iago having not very many clear reasons for his absolute hatred of Othello.)

Thus there are "evil" villains. But there are also villains who are not so much villains as antagonists, opposing the protagonist without necessarily being what you'd nominally call "evil". Look at the works of Hayao Miyazaki. His films are notorious for having villains who turn out to be not quite so villainous after all—they may not exactly be paragons of pure goodwill and altruism, but they tend to have a decidedly human air of reasonability about them. Check out the invading force in Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Lady Eboshi of Princess Mononoke, or Yubaba of Spirited Away. I'll not post spoilers here, but they are human (or have humanizing qualities) as much as they are villains, and they're not pointlessly evil—or even exactly evil at all, since "evil" becomes a matter of perspective. As characters, they come off more multi-dimensional than Iago right off the bat without a great deal of analytical or interpretive work—and to my mind, if you need to work really hard to even identify (much less deconstruct) a villain's motivations and mental workings, then that means you're probably stretching things.

Want an example of a more one-dimensional "evil" villain? Check out Baron Von Rothbart of Mercedes Lackey's The Black Swan. He's a magician with a vendetta against unfaithful women—but why? The blurb on the back of the book says it's because he considers his wife's death some years previously to be the ultimate betrayal, but this isn't mentioned anywhere within the pages of the actual book, and it's a sad, sad day in literary heaven with the analytic angels of fiction weeping tears of blood when we have to turn to the summary on the back of a book in order to figure out character motivations within the story. (I mean, come on—I'm pretty sure the authors frequently have very little or nothing to do with the blurbs on back covers and on the insides of dust jackets, and there's been more than one occasion where the back blurb actually got facts about the story inside wrong.)

But back to Von Rothbart. The only hint we have of this wife's death = ultimate betrayal thing is a brief passage from Von Rothbart's daughter's perspective concerning violets. Yes, violets. Apparently Lady Von Rothbart loved violets (which the daughter Odile vaguely remembers) but there are no longer any violets growing on Von Rothbart's land because he has every patch of flowers found rooted ruthlessly out. (The poor woman doesn't even get a name—by calling her "Lady Von Rothbart" I've already given her more name than she gets in the story.) As far as I recall, that's the sole mention of any kind of wife-related angst, and the only possible hint of motivation for his going out and stalking young women to see if they're unfaithful, transforming them into swans when he finds them cheating on their men, and then kidnapping them away to his estate where they spend their days as swans and their nights as women clad in thin silk dresses. (Personally, I think Von Rothbart is a power-mad pervert with a major fetish for swans and cheating wives and way too much time on his hands, but I sadly have the feeling that my interpretation right there is giving him more character than is really there.)

So what of Krispy and I? We've been working on the "villains" lately. Motivation, background, and personal history, ambitions and deceptions and relationships with other characters. Several times we've had to back up and rethink character structure and motivation, and we're probably going to be zigzagging back and forth for a good while longer yet. Developing a plausible villain is tough work, particularly when there is a surfeit of villainous clichés lurking like potholes to trip up unwary feet. We want more dimension than simply single-minded ambition or a single life-changing tragic incident in the past, and I don't think either of us has brought up madness as a suggested motivational force or excuse for a character's actions. These elements can be present, but they have to be well-done and they can't be reason enough alone—not without turning said characters one-dimensional, or two-dimensional if they're lucky.

2011 TL;DR summary: There are different kinds of villains out there, but plausible villains are dang hard to make.

Also, we were really ambitious with our posts back then. Uh, I guess we devolved... Sorry?

Who are your favorite villains/antagonists? What makes a plausible one?


Best of 2011: Music Edition - Songs

Here's to getting over the middle of the week. Once again, we have The Sister with her music picks of 2011.

In case you missed it on Friday: Best of 2011 - Top 10 Albums of 2011

("Best Of"/Music post idea thanks to Sarah Enni.)

Top 10 Songs of 2011 (released in 2011 and in no particular order again):

1. Rumor Has It - Adele
Adele is amazing, flawfree, etc. Yes, her albums are amazing. 21 didn't make my list because I didn't listen to it enough to actually love love the album. I blame the radio for tainting her for me but this song is so effing good regardless.

2. Paradise - Coldplay
I haven't listened to this album enough, which is why it isn't part of my top 10 albums, but Paradise managed to draw me in like no other. I also haven't listened to it enough because I'm still a little ticked off that they have a song titled Princess of China even though it has nothing to do with China and has that stereotypical "Asian" sounding melody in it. I have this love/hate relationship with them for that and also because they make me sleepy when I listen to them. However, Paradise does not make me sleepy and it is sooooo goooodd.

(Krispy's note: Words cannot express how much I love this song.)

Paradise by Cold Play on Grooveshark

3. You and I - Lady Gaga
Holy shizz do I love this song! It's such a good song to blast and sing along to in the car. I don't know why I love it so much but I do.

(Krispy's note: This one too! It's twangy and soulful and catchy.)

You & I by Lady Gaga on Grooveshark

4. Edge of Glory - Lady Gaga
This song is already amazing in itself, but thanks to that Google Chrome commercial (embedded below), it made me love it so much more. It's just so inspiring and ugghhh. Favorite lyric "put on your shades cause I'll be dancin' in the flames." Uhhh, yes please.

(Krispy's note: You all already know how much I love this song.)

5. Oo La La - Priscilla Ahn
I just saw her this past Friday and she is the most adorable person ever. Seriously. So. Cute. This song pretty much shows how cute she is.

Oo la la by Priscilla Ahn on Grooveshark

6. Don't Turn Out The Lights - NKOTBSB
I remember hearing that New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys did a song together when they formed NKOTBSB but had never heard it. I had no expectations really, but when I heard the song I was like "damn this is a good song. I'd totally listen to this on the radio." Do you see a reoccurring boy band theme going on? Yeah, I know.

(Krispy's note: We were BSB fangirls. You were too if you know what this means: KTBSPA!)

Don't Turn Out The Lights (Single) by Nkotbsb on Grooveshark

7. Gotta Be You - One Direction
So I heard all this hype about this British boy band and finally decided to check them out. Catchy pop. That's pretty much all I got from them, and I mean, it wasn't bad but it didn't draw me in. But this song is way better than the song that I first listened to. It's really just the chorus that reeled me in.

Gotta Be You (HQ) by One Direction on Grooveshark

8. What Doesn't Kill You (Stronger) - Kelly Clarkson
This song is so catchy I can't even handle it. I mean when she started her comeback with Mr. Know It All, I was already like "Yeah, I like this." But when I heard this song I was like "Dang, this should have been the first single!" Well, it's her latest single so I ain't complain' though I might when it gets overplayed. Plus, her high harmonies are sickkk on this song.

What Doesn't Kill You by Kelly Clarkson on Grooveshark

9. Poison & Wine - The Civil Wars
They are perfection. Their voices blend together so well that when they harmonize I just melt. This album is also amazing but this song will give you a taste of how beautiful their voices are. They basically remind me of the two musicians in the movie Once who make up real-life band The Swell Season.

Poison & Wine by The Civil Wars on Grooveshark

10. Love On Top - Beyonce
Just cause it's Beyonce and she is fierrce. Also, this song is so cute and I am a sucker for old school sounding songs.

Love On Top by Beyoncé on Grooveshark

Q4U: Have any songs to add to this list? There were others Sis wanted to add too, but I limited her at 10.


Best of 2011: Music Edition - Albums

Happy Friday, friends! It's the holiday season and the end of the year is also coming upon us quickly.

As such, "Best of" and Top 10 lists are beginning to crop up everywhere. It's also been a while since we've had LISTS OF THINGS. So, to help you with possible holiday gift ideas or just for your own pleasure, we'll be presenting a few posts throughout December with our BEST OF/TOP 10 of 2011 picks. (Shout out to Sarah Enni for putting this idea in my head.)

Today's list topic is MUSIC. Who better to ask for music recs than my own personal music guru. I've referred to her here at A Nudge as THE SISTER.

ABOUT the Sister: If there's a band climbing the charts, she probably knows about it. She listens to bands I've generally never heard of until suddenly everyone's talking about them.

She was a 'stache Lifestyle Representative for RED Distribution (an indie label under Sony Music) and is currently an intern at both the El Rey Theatre (under AEG Live) and RCA Records - Publicity (under Sony Music).

(Her boss at the El Rey is a big Twilight fan, hence the abundance of Edwards around this Catherine.)

Take it away, little sis!


Disclaimer: I don't really ever do reviews of things I like so I know my commentary probably makes no sense. I just like things because I like them ok.

Top 10 Albums of 2011 (released in 2011 and in no particular order)

1. Ceremonials - Florence and the Machine
Florence Welch is a goddess. That's pretty much it. But in all seriousness, she has such an amazingly haunting voice. Lungs was a great album and Ceremonials just continues to show how great of an artist she is. If you ever get the chance to see her live, do it. It's worth all the money.

Stand Out Tracks: Only If For A Night; Shake It Out

Shake It Out by Florence + The Machine on Grooveshark

2. Metals - Feist
This album is completely different from the sound Feist gave us in The Reminder. I'd like to say it's less produced and more stripped down. The sound of it is so different from the last album that I almost didn't realize it was Feist. But I like it when you can tell an artist has grown or goes in a new direction that works.

Stand Out Tracks: How Come You Never Go ThereCicadas And Gulls

Cicadas And Gulls by Feist on Grooveshark

3. The Way It Was - Parachute
Parachute is a band I've been obsessed with since the end of my Freshman year in college. All I listened to was Losing Sleep because it was just such a great pop album. I've waited forever for The Way It Was to come out, and I have to say I'm not disappointed at all. You can really tell on this album that the boys have matured since the last. These songs didn't seem as pop and you can tell that their musical influences on this album had more of a rock edge.

Stand Out Tracks: What I KnowAmerican Secrets

What I Know by Parachute on Grooveshark

4. Bon Iver - Bon Iver
Bon Iver is just plain amazing. I remember first being intrigued by Bon Iver when I heard "The Wolves (Act I and II)" on an episode of Skins. This totally made me check out For Emma, Forever Ago and I was immediately in love. What's great about Bon Iver is that the songs are so simple and that's why they're so beautiful.

Stand Out Tracks: Minnesota, WICalgary

Calgary by Bon Iver on Grooveshark

5. We Are The Tide - Blind Pilot
I've loved Blind Pilot since my friend introduced me to them a few years back. 3 Rounds And A Sound was all I listened to when I wrote my papers. Blind Pilot has such great musical composition, and the lead singer's voice is amazing. I recently saw them in concert and they sound just as good as they do on the album. They did something amazing at the show. For the last song, they came off the stage and performed the song unplugged. I was up in the balcony and could hear it perfectly. Plus, people in the crowd actually sat down so everyone could hear and see (something that I have never seen happen ever in my life.)

Stand Out Tracks: Half MoonThe Colored Night

6. Torches - Foster the People
I'm sure many of you are sick of "Pumped Up Kicks" and I am too so I don't blame you, but you definitely need to listen to the rest of the album. This is such a fun, I-want-to-get-up and dance album that you can't help but have fun. I saw them at a sold-out show over the summer and they are just so fun (I also spotted Hoyt from True Blood there).

Stand Out Tracks: Call It What You WantI Would Do Anything For You

Call It What You Want by Foster The People on Grooveshark

7. Young The Giant - Young the Giant
So this is the one thing I will admit MTV actually did some good in and that's introducing this band to me. I saw their VMA performance, and it seriously stole the show. It was one big mosh-pit of fun and I just thought, "Damn this song is good." So I checked out the album. I seriously love his voice. I have a thing with voices and this is a voice that is so intriguing to me because it's both gentle and rough.

Stand Out Tracks: I GotGuns Out

Guns Out by Young the Giant on Grooveshark

8. Camp - Childish Gambino
If you guys don't know, Childish Gambino is basically Donald Glover (Troy in the show Community). I remember hearing he rapped and thought that was weird until my friend showed me the video for "Freaks And Geeks." That's when I realized he is legit. His lyrics are so smart and it's nice to hear something other than that "let's make love in this club, it's 5 am in the morning and I'm horny" shizz on the radio. Yes, he raps about vulgar things, but it isn't as simple as the songs that are out there. I feel like his vulgarity has a purpose, if that makes any sense. I guess what makes me enjoy his raps so much is that a reoccurring theme in the music is about his race and how he feels he isn't "black" enough etc. Plus, I love me some pop culture references and he is so great at it. I don't even listen to rap much but this is definitely something you need to check out.

Stand Out Tracks: BonfireHeartbeat

Heartbeat by Childish Gambino on Grooveshark

9. Never Trust A Happy Song - Grouplove
Grouplove is such an interesting upcoming band. I first saw them when they opened for Florence and the Machine. They had so much energy and the music was different from what I would normally listen to. It sort of has a country vibe to it at some points. I saw them again in October when they headlined their own show, and they were still able to draw me in as much as they did the first time. (Side note: went to the show because it was at the theatre where I intern at). Grouplove might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they are a band you should at least sample.

Stand Out Tracks: Tongue TiedColours

Tongue Tied by GROUPLOVE on Grooveshark

10. Elevate - Big Time Rush
So this might be the WTF of the list, but really it's here because I love pop songs and this is a good pop album! I grew up in the glory days of boybands, and sometimes, I still bust out BSB and other 90s music just because it makes me feel good. Pop is catchy and fun. Why Big Time Rush though? Well, I watch a lot of Nickelodeon shows (e.g. Victorious), and when watching an episode of Big Time Rush, I thought 'This isn't that bad.' Their debut album came out, I listened to it, and well, the rest is history.

Elevate just came out and it's definitely different from their debut since they actually wrote most of the songs and are trying to stray from the image they have on the show. They're trying to be legit musicians outside of the show, and this album shows that they aren't just that fake boyband from T.V. Yes, the songs aren't "OMGWOWAMAZING" smart, but they're good pop songs.

Stand Out Tracks: Show MeInvisible

Show Me by Big Time Rush on Grooveshark

And that's it! Hope you enjoyed and found some tracks you enjoyed. We'll be back Wednesday with another BEST OF/TOP 10 LIST for you. The sister isn't done either. She's also got her TOP 10 SONGS of 2011. So look out for that!

Q4U: What were your favorite albums/songs/music this year?


Boba4Life: Lori's Meme Part 2

Today we have another Boba 4 Life episode! It's PART 2 of Lori's Meme, in which Sophia (from Sophia the Writer) and I answer the rest of her questions.

Before, I get to that, I just wanted to THANK EVERYONE for your kind words and your concern. Most of our city's power is back, though not all of it. We have a few friends who are still sitting in the dark, a couple of traffic lights still out, and there are still chunks of trees and vegetation sitting by the roadside, waiting to be cleared away. BUT it is improving and it's not at all like some of the hurricane/tornado stories some of you shared! It's just really strange for SoCal, and our trees and power lines clearly weren't prepared. :P Like earthquakes don't freak me out, but this "wind event" (as they're calling it) totally did.

ANYWAY, Alz got her power back on Sunday! So yay!

On to the vlog!

Set-up reminder: This vlog's topic was a "Getting to Know You" Meme that Lori from You are the unicorn of my dreams put together. She asked us 5 random questions each. We answered the first 3 last time.

Part 1 of the Meme can be found here: Boba4Life - Lori's Meme Part 1

Krispy's Qs:
4. Do you have any phobias?
5. Name one thing you miss about being a kid.
6. Mortal combat between Prince Eric (the little mermaid) and Prince Phillip (sleeping beauty). Who would win?

Sophia's Qs:
4. In a mortal combat, who would win: Merlin or Dumbledore?
5. If your mother was turned into a zombie, would you kill her and put her out of her misery or would you let her eat you?

Thanks again for watching and for well-wishing! See you Friday!

What are your answers to these questions? OR Team Eric or Team Phillip?


Randomosity on Fridays: Windy Filler Friday

Friends, I am sorry, but I do not have a vlog for you. Things got a bit crazy and I didn't have time to cut the rest of the video together.

What I mean by "things got a bit crazy" is that the notorious Santa Ana winds came whirlwinding through town Wednesday night. For SoCal, usually when these winds visit, they bring autumn heat waves or cause the infamous SoCal fires, but this time, they decided to do what wind does best, and that's blow shizz down. And huff and puff and blow shizz down they did!

They blew down dry autumnal leaves and potted plants, trashcans and Christmas lawn decorations.

They blew down branches and small trees and LARGE trees and snapped electrical poles clean in two!

They huffed and puffed and blew down a gas station!

No, seriously. Photographic proof at the LA Times blog - High winds: Pasadena, Sierra Madre declare states of emergency.

Needless to say, the San Gabriel Valley got hit pretty hard. School was canceled Thursday and today. My local cities declared States of Emergencies and Disaster Areas. 75% of my city doesn't have electricity or running water as I type this Thursday night.

In fact, Alz is one of those 75%. She says, by the way, that writing by the flickering light of ONE candle is pretty damn hard. My street by some sweet, dumb luck is part of the 25% that DOES have power (how this blog is possible).

Miraculously, in my city, no one has been reported as hurt by all these number of things falling. So, SILVER LINING!

Driving home from work Thursday was surreal. As I got into my city where most of the lights were out, it was like driving through a post-apocalyptic and/or dystopian landscape. Broken signage, toppled trees, dark, dark houses and streets. Debris everywhere. Only the headlights of my car and the few others on the road lit the way.

There's a set of train tracks on a small hill I have to cross to get home, and that looked really creepy. As cars headed in my opposite direction approached, I could see their headlights crest the hill, backlighting the tracks and the railroad signals. I half expected zombies to shamble over the top.

I've got some more sympathy for our characters now, I'll tell you that.

SO: vlogs next week! NaNo update too!

What are your freak natural disaster experiences OR have you ever been in a situation that eerily mirrored that of your characters? (The universe is definitely telling me to get back to work on my Camp NaNo novel from this summer.)


Boba4Life: Lori's Meme

Today, I have for you a new episode of Boba4Life with me, Krispy, and Sophia from Sophia the Writer!

We actually filmed this mid-November but I didn't get around to cutting it together until now. Oops. As usual, we had too much fun doing this vlog, so it's another 2-parter. I might even have a blooper reel for you in the future. Hah.

Without further ado, this vlog's topic was a "Getting to Know You" Meme that Lori from You are the unicorn of my dreams put together. She asked us 5 random questions each. We manage to answer 3 this first time around.

Krispy's Qs:
1. What kind of music do you listen to?
2. In an epic battle, who would win: the Dalai Lama or Batman?
3. Which of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse would you fear least meeting?

Sophia's Qs:
1. If you had the option of spending the night with a vampire or a werewolf (with no guarantee that it wouldn't be the night of the full moon), which would you choose?
2. What do you consider the most important event in your life so far?
3. Explain why you should run for president.

Thanks for watching! Come back Friday for another episode of Boba4Life, Lori's Meme vlog Part 2! Meanwhile, I'll be trying to up my NaNo wordcount to something less embarrassing. Wish me luck!

What are your answers to these Meme questions?


Randomosity on Black Friday & GIVEAWAY WINNER

Sorry this is late everyone! I was going to set this up last night, but like most people in the U.S., I was in a tryptophan-induced food coma after dinner.

Then I woke up at 5am this morning to go Black Friday shopping and have just returned home. About 2 hours ago, the sister, my cousin, and I were saying "Dude" a lot (like more than usual) like a crazy feedback loop. About 1.5 hours ago, I started turning into a really grumpy bear. And about 1 hour ago, we were applauded in the parking lot when we reached our car by the car full of boys waiting for a spot. We snagged clothes, gifts, and I bought Tahereh Mafi's SHATTER ME at Barnes & Noble!

And yeah, I'm like half-zombie right now. So please excuse the lateness of this post and any weird typos. I'm concentrating as hard as I can.

ANYWAY, without further ado, the WINNER of BECOME by ali cross and the EXCLUSIVE Alz-doodle book cover is...


Congrats Stephanie! We'll be contacting you soon by the email you left us to get your deets.

Thanks everyone else for playing, and thanks again to ali for donating the prize! Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone! I'm off to take a nap.


Happy Thanksgiving!

Today, we'd like to wish you all an early Happy Thanksgiving!

Colonial / Founding Father Turkey! (You know I had to!)

We're thankful for YOU, the people who read our blog and tolerate our randomosity and general silliness.

We're thankful for the people we have met and the friends we have made through this little blog.

Fall Turkey
We're thankful for the support, camaraderie, and books we've found in this community.

So even if you aren't celebrating Thanksgiving at this time of year or don't celebrate it at all, we just wanted to express our gratitude.

Roller Wizard Turkey!

Let's keep reading, writing, and dreaming together!

*Turkey doodles all from Google's cute and fun customizable Thanksgiving splash page!

P.S. Don't forget that TODAY is the LAST DAY to enter the Become giveaway for a paperback copy of ali cross' debut novel with exclusive Alz-doodle book cover.

Just comment on the post with your email (if it's not linked to your blogger name).

Contest closes 11:59pm PST today. (Lucky for stragglers that we're West Coast dwellers, haha.)

P.P.S. We'll be announcing the winner Friday, Nov 25 and we'll contact them by email too.


Randomosity on Fridays

Happy Friday, everyone! Thanks for the book recs and for the birthday wishes to Alz! I'm actually reading The Fox Inheritance because it's due back to the library soon, but I think I'll either hit up THE NIGHT CIRCUS or DEATHLESS next!

Another thing, we're having a SPECIAL GIVEAWAY of ali cross' debut novel BECOME. It's running for a week, meaning we're closing the giveaway on NOV 23, right before Thanksgiving!

There are plenty of chances to win the novel from ali's blog tour and the Become epic giveaway organized by Christine Fonseca and Elana Johnson, but our stop is the only one where you can get an ALZ DOODLE BOOK COVER to go with it! Just sayin'. :)

So do check that out. All you have to do to enter is leave a comment (and contact info if your email is not linked to your blogger profile) on Alz's review!

Now, FRIDAY 5 of things I am happy about this week.

1. Birthdays! This week marked Alz's birthday, my facebook wifey's birthday, and my college roommate's birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, all you amazing, lovely women!

2. I finally finished my stupid section of Alz and my joint noveling venture. I know, it's taken me long enough, but in my defense, I totally forgot I was supposed to write the carnage section! Instead, I was too busy having my Heroine-in-Distress argue with a Demon Dog and banter cutely with a Punch Clock Villain, who really isn't a villain at all. He's just really dedicated to the job. So maybe he's more of an Obstructive Bureaucrat?

(Yeah, I've been reading too many TVtropes.)

3. New posters for The Avengers came out Thursday. That means a new picture of Loki, whom I love and therefore I probably wouldn't mind his whole plan to take over the world and make himself our Norse godly overlord. I mean look at him in all his golden green mischievousness.

4. SPEAKING OF MISCHIEF, I was part of a Scavenger Hunt team this weekend aptly named the Mischief Managers. We did the Watson Adventures Wizard School scavenger hunt at the Getty museum (which incidentally was used as an Asgardian location in THOR). The hunt used Harry Potter references in the clues to lead us to pieces of art that were reminiscent of things in the books, and then we had to answer questions about the art. Our team was competing against 2 teams of small children (and their guardians) and a couple.

Uh, so WE WON the hunt, which means we destroyed small children this weekend. I am both slightly ashamed and proud - the first because some of those small children were pretty disappointed and the second because um, WE WON WITH A PERFECT SCORE. Yeah, that's right. Mischief SO managed.

5. RELATED SEGUE, there's a new episode of Potter Puppet Pals out. It's called Neville's birthday. I like drunk!Snape and the birthday song. Oh, and the special appearance of one Cedric Diggory (aka Rpattz aka Edward Cullen - oh yeah, look at me working in a Breaking Dawn reference too because that's out today, I know.)

WHEW, and that's all the brilliant segueing I have left for today. Alz thinks my boba milk tea must be super special today given all the connections I'm making. Hah!

OH AND ONE MORE CONNECTION, speaking of boba, tune in next week for another episode of my co-vlog with Sophia: Boba 4 Life. We'll finally be answering Lori's 5 Question Meme!

That's it for realz this time. Have a great weekend, everyone! Remember to ENTER THE GIVEAWAY and watch out for Twihards. ;)

What Happy Things have happened to you this week?