Supergirl Season 1

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So yes, I finally watched the first season of Supergirl. What to say? First off, the premise is quite interesting. When Krypton was destroyed, young Kara was sent to Earth to watch over her baby cousin, Kal-el. Due do various circumstances, she arrives on Earth significantly later than he does, and he is already an adult and already Superman. So what is Kara supposed to do when Earth already has a superhero and her cousin can take care of himself? Supergirl’s path is a bit different from that of her cousin, given that she is willing to work with her adoptive sister Alex and the DEO, a government organization tasked with dealing with aliens headed by Hank Henshaw, who has his own interesting past. Kara also works as an assistant to Kat Grant for KatCo for her day job, and has as coworkers Jimmy Olsen (yes, that Jimmy Olsen) and her best friend Winn. Not everyone is happy that Supergirl exists (looking at you, Maxwell Lord), but her persistence and optimism are catching. I actually like such a light superhero series (sorry Batman and Arrow). It is smilar to The Flash in tone. Even better, thanks to events on The Flash, Supergirl can crossover to that universe whenever there is a story worth telling. I also appreciate that while the effects are reasonably realistic the focus is on the characters and how they try to navigate both their lives and their relationships. All in all, a fun watch if you enjoy superhero stories.

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My Harry Potter Story

I read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone first probably in 2000. I vaguely remember there being three books out then. I read the book, and it was okay, but not enough for me to search for the other books.

Fast forward to 2002. The first Harry Potter movie was out. I saw advertising and merchandising for it while I was on my mission down in Brazil. It was one of three movies that either I or my family insisted I see when I returned (the other two being The Emperor’s New Groove and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). I was hooked from this point on. I immediately reread the first book and the next four as well. I think part of the reason why the movie played such an important role for me is the fact that I am not the most visual of persons. When I imagine, I hear much more than I see. So the movie helped bridge a gap for me, so to speak. Which is interesting, since usually I keep books and movies completely separate in my mind. And really, I do for Harry Potter as well, but for some reason in this case I needed a bit of a jump. I probably would have made the jump if I had kept reading as well.

Since that time, I have enjoyed each book and movie as they have come out, and have reread the series several times, often in audiobook form. I wasn’t entirely sure about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but it does sound like it would be quite the spectacle to watch. I think Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is amazing from a cinematic perspective. Lately, I have listened to the course pack of Dr. Amy Sturgis’ class “Taking Harry Seriously” from Signum University, I am almost done listening to the Mugglenet Acadamia podcast, and have started reading scholarly Harry Potter books. Yeah, I’ve gotten re-hooked recently. And I am okay with that:)

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Hidden Figures

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What to say about this movie besides it is amazing? This is a part of history that I was not aware of and so I am very pleased to be exposed to it through this movie. One thing that was interesting is the many different perspectives through different characters that is shown. I especially appreciated that Katherine, Dorothy, and Mary each were portrayed as individuals with not only their personal responsibilities at NASA being different, but each having their own personal life and their own struggles, both at home and at work. All of these ladies are portrayed as being brilliant in their unique ways (a shout out to the actresses who brought this across) and they are not interchangeable at all. It has been a long time since I have watched a movie that has made me think about society as much as this one has. Anyone who is old enough to understand the story I think would benefit from watching this movie. Highly recommended.

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The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Squirrel Girl Meets the World

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A new book by Shannon and Dean Hale! Here is the blurb:

WHO RUNS THE WORLD? SQUIRRELS! Fourteen-year-old Doreen Green moved from sunny California to the suburbs of New Jersey. She must start at a new school, make new friends, and continue to hide her tail. Yep, Doreen has the powers of . . . a squirrel! After failing at several attempts to find her new BFF, Doreen feels lonely and trapped, liked a caged animal. Then one day Doreen uses her extraordinary powers to stop a group of troublemakers from causing mischief in the neighborhood, and her whole life changes. Everyone at school is talking about it! Doreen contemplates becoming a full-fledged Super Hero. And thus, Squirrel Girl is born! She saves cats from trees, keeps the sidewalks clean, and dissuades vandalism. All is well until a real-life Super Villain steps out of the shadows and declares Squirrel Girl his archenemy. Can Doreen balance being a teenager and a Super Hero? Or will she go . . . NUTS?

I had never heard of Squirrel Girl before, but any book by Shannon and Dean Hale will be good, right? The answer, at least at this point, is yes! Having the powers of a squirrel is a bit unusual, but it actually works quite well. Doreen is a complex character. She wants to respect her parent’s rules, but she also doesn’t want to be tied down by limitations. She is trying to figure out how to be both Squirrel Girl and Doreen. Her parents also have to walk the line between being protective of their daughter and supportive. Doreen also makes some new friends: Tippy-Toe the squirrel, and Ana Sofia, who is a very complex character in her own right. Most of the chapters are from Doreen’s perspective, but we get a few from Ana Sofia and even Tippy-Toe. Also, Doreen ends up texting various Avengers, which ends up being quite hilarious. I was very happy to spend a few hours being introduced to Squirrel Girl.

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Kubo and the Two Strings

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This is a very interesting movie on several levels. For one thing, it is clearly based on Japanese culture, which I find fascinating and is a nice change from the usual American/American culture we are  usually exposed two. Another interesting point is that part of the animation is done with paper-mation, often through origami – entirely appropriate. Then there is the character of Kubo himself. In the first few minutes, we learn that he loves his mother and is worried about her, that he has taken on much of the responsibility for providing for the two of them, and that he has questions about the rules his mother has made for him, but that she seems to be incapable of really answering. So it is not surprising that Kubo is tempted to break one of these rules with disastrous consequences. He must, with the help of his two new friends Beetle and Monkey, gather the pieces of his father’s armor to defeat the Moon King who is the one who set all these events in motion years before. Kubo, Beetle, and Monkey indeed have plenty of adventures, but it is the heart of the movie, the things Kubo learns along the way both about himself and about the world that still sticks with me. The ending is bitter-sweet, but most appropriate. There is plenty of fighting, but it is not graphic. The youngest children may be frightened at some parts.  All in all, a fun view for a family.

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A Fine Gentleman

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A Jonquil brothers story by Sarah Eden has finally come out!!! Here is the blurb:

London barrister Jason Jonquil has spent his entire life working to establish his identity as a gentleman, a man of refinement like his father and brothers. But when fiery Spanish beauty Mariposa Thornton walks into his office, he finds himself losing his grasp on his dignified character. The woman is infuriating, pushing him to the limit of his legendary patience. However, her case seems simple enough—a small matter of inheritance. Or so he believes.Once a well-born lady, Mariposa fought to survive the brutalities of Napoleon’s war on Spain. She braved horrific perils and undertook dangerous missions on behalf of those fighting against the invading French army. But her greatest battle still lies ahead: after being separated from her family, Mariposa sets in motion a plan to reunite with her loved ones in England. To avoid drawing the attention of the French, Mariposa dons a carefully crafted persona to conceal her true purpose. As Jason and Mariposa are drawn together by the case, they come to know the people beneath the masks they both wear. When the truth of Mariposa’s quest is revealed, the couple is pulled into a mystery that will test the limits of their courage—and expose the true desire of their hearts.

Ah, Jason and Mariposa. Perfect for each other, even though at first they can’t stand each other. To be fair, they are both hiding behind masks at the time. As these masks are removed, Mariposa finds answers to their questions: what happened to Mariposa’s family, and who her family is in England. As for Jason, he learns truths about himself, about his eldest brother Philip, and what being a fine gentleman really means.

I love how Eden fully realizes her characters. Both Jason and Mariposa are complex people who have been impacted by life, so perhaps it is not surprising that it takes a while for the two to really come to know the other. This combined with the Regency setting makes Eden’s works memorable to me.

Another point, this is the closest we have come to the Napoleonic Wars in these books, and it is portrayed effectively. Oh, and we some hints about Stanley Jonquil’s story. I can’t wait!

If you are a fan of the Jonquil brothers, Sarah Eden, or Regency romance, you want to read this book. It won’t disappoint.

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Spring Is Finally Here

Which is a good thing, since this has been a bit of a rough winter for me. I went through three colds, the last one giving me probably the worst cough I have ever had. I am mostly back to normal now, and have high hopes of staying that way.

And it hasn’t been all bad. I have managed to do some reading for fun, I finished watching Star Wars: Rebels, I saw the new live-action movie Beauty and the Beast, I went to LTUE and gave two presentations, and I went to California to visit a sister while my college was closed for spring break. Oh, and I am about two-thirds through listening to the episodes of Mugglenet Acadamia – a pity they closed only a few months after I started listening.

Here is hoping to a spring and summer not only full of good stories, good fun, and time with family and friends, but also healthy and productive!

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