Welcome to Things Liz Loves!

Let me apologize in advance: I'm not the regular poster I used to be. I try to keep things interesting around here though, so check back from time to time.

Check the Contests page for info about our current giveaway!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Movie Tuesday: It's almost September, y'all!

Today is the last day of August, meaning that the fall movie season will be kicking into high gear this weekend. September signals the beginning of the "Oscar race" films (AKA less explosions, more "depth"), the more disturbing horror (as opposed to summer's campy-er flicks), and usually the most anticipated films of the year.

This September brings the release of Machete, which is an action extravaganza! It is packed with stars and guns and violence, so if you don't think that Machete is full of win, then you need to get your awesome meter checked out.

September will also see the premier of the Joaquin Phoenix documentary I'm Still Here, which will follow Phoenix as he pursues his rap career. Yeah. Check the teaser trailer (and Joaquin's epic baby belly) out.

What September flicks are you excited for? Vote in the poll in the top of the right-hand sidebar and let me know what you're going to be seeing!

Monday, August 30, 2010

I'm ready to give some stuff away....

Hey bloggy friends!!! How was your weekend? Mine was busy (no surprise).

So, I'm ready to give some stuff away. I know you guys are ready to get some stuff, so I propose a plan.

The FB fan page for the blog has more fans than the blog has followers. How did that happen? Not sure, but I'm guessing it's the lack of Google ID. So, if you're a FB fan and not a blog follower, sign up for a Google ID and follow the blog. It's free, you can use your existing email address, and it's secure.

Now for the plan: If I hit 20 followers by the end of the week, I'll post the ongoing Amazon $20 Gift Card Contest officially, including the entry form. I'll choose the first winner at 50 followers, and a new winner for every 100 followers after that. And, just to sweeten the pot, I'll add winners of other little presents (like book swag, ARCs or DVD's) for reaching new numbers on the FB page, Twitter and Goodreads.

So, spread the word! Post a link to me in your blog roll or contest pages. I'm gonna make a button for blog sidebars as well, so you can post that (also counts for extra entries in the contest). You only need to fill out the form once and I'll keep your entries on file until further notice.

Hurry and get me to 20 followers! I'll be drafting the contest post with all the official rules while I wait for you guys. ;)

Check out this great interview and giveaway!

So, Flipping Pages for All Ages has an awesome interview with Sophie Jordan, author of the upcoming YA fantasy novel Firelight. There has been some hefty praise for this book, so I'm pretty excited to be able to read it soon. They're also giving away an ARC of Firelight to one lucky winner, so read the interview and enter the giveaway. I'll keep a link on the Contests page for you guys.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Chattery: What are you reading?

Happy Friday, friends! How was your week? Mine was pretty busy, what with the whole Mockingjay release and my husband's birthday.
Doesn't he look good in a sombrero?
Now that all of the hullabaloo with the release of Mockingjay is dying down, it's time to move on to other books.

So, what are you reading right now?
Wicked Lovely (Wicked Lovely (Quality))
I'm just starting Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr. I know, late to the party. So far, it's pretty good. The imagery in Marr's description of the fey is really vivid, and the music references make me smile. Ahh, Limp Bizkit's Break Stuff. The soundtrack of my preteen life. I never said it was references to good music.

Leave me a comment and let me know what you're reading. Or hit me up on Twitter. I love to chat!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins


Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Release Date: Aug. 24, 2010

"Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year." - Courtesy of Amazon.com

My first book review is a big deal for me, and I wanted to kick it off in a big way by reviewing one of the most highly anticipated books of 2010. Mockingjay is most certainly that. Most book reviewers (and people in general) prefer to remain spoiler-free until they have a chance to read the book in question. I, however, have never been able to stand remaining spoiler-free regarding any material. I freaking love spoilers. Anticipation kills me, especially when other people have the knowledge I seek, so I was EXTREMELY grateful to the Mockingjay Spoiler Sub-board on mockingjay.net's forum for giving me the big scoop without too much detail. So, yes, when I read Mockingjay, I generally knew what was going to happen. There may be a spoiler or two in this post, so be warned. That being said, here's the review.

I really liked Mockingjay, but not in the way that I liked The Hunger Games or Catching Fire. The book appealed to the vengeful side of me. In a series like The Hunger Games, it is important to have a dark and explosive ending to a story filled with such inhumane behavior. I expected Suzanne Collins to give Katniss her revenge for the murders she was forced to witness and commit. I expected Collins to return the disgusting treatment of the people of Panem by the Capitol. I got exactly what I wanted in Mockingjay, and I am really glad Collins approached the ending the way she did. In the aforementioned message boards, there was a general consensus that some fans were not happy with the dark tone of the final chapter of this series. I, however, felt it was appropriate to end the story of this era of Panem with a blaze of blood and glory.

No one likes it when their favorite characters die in a book. It takes an emotional toll when a reader watches the demise of someone they have grown to love through words. One of my favorite characters of this series died in Mockingjay, but I (unlike some fans) am not angry. I understand the reason that this character was killed, and it was important to the deterioration and later, the rehabilitation of Katniss for this character to die. (If you don't already know who I'm talking about, see my other Mockingjay post.) I feel the same way with every death that occurred in the book. It was important for these events to happen in order to move the story in the direction Collins intended it to go.

Several of the posters at the super-spoilerific message board were upset that there wasn't a traditional "happy ending" for the characters in Mockingjay. I am glad there wasn't. It wouldn't be at all realistic for Katniss to skip off into the sunset after watching thousands of people, including some that she loved, die violent deaths at the hands of the Capitol. No one would be able to realistically walk away from the events of The Hunger Games series without being permanently affected in a perceivably negative way. The point I feel Collins was trying to make with Mockingjay is that the scars of war and violence are not always on the outside. Some wounds can never be completely healed. There are some things in this world that you just never get over. Considering everything that Katniss and company had been through, I think the ending was as happy as it could get.

I did have one issue with the book that I can probably work my way through via fan fiction, and that is the way that Gale left the story. I feel that his exit didn't do his character justice. It's as though he simply dropped off the pages, never to be heard from again. I felt he deserved more than that; that Gale would never have left Katniss without a word of parting. With further thought into the circumstances, I see that he was probably pretty angry about Katniss's decision regarding Coin and Snow. Maybe the war changed him so much that no amount of love for the old Katniss could bring him to forgive her for that. It just doesn't seem right. Maybe there was some unseen motivating factor for his departure that sweet, sweet fan fiction can explore for me. Or maybe Collins will pull a Stephenie Meyer and drop a companion novella on us in a couple of years. Title suggestion: WTF Actually Happened to Gale.

I am, overall, very happy with Mockingjay and The Hunger Games series as a whole. I am extremely grateful to Suzanne Collins for bringing us this amazing story and allowing us to see it through to the end. I hope that Collins will bring this same vivid, emotional writing to the screenplay of The Hunger Games and that she will continue to grace us all with her amazing stories.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

New TV Article on Suite 101

So I wrote an article on Suite 101 about the new shows coming in the fall from NBC. It's a perfect accompaniment to the article I wrote about the CW's fall lineup. So head over to Suite 101 and read all about what's coming up for fall TV.

2010 Fall TV Preview - What's on NBC

2010 Fall TV Preview - What's on the CW

PS: My Mockingjay review is coming, I promise. I just have to wait for my husband to get home so I can take the car to the book store.

Mockingjay Philosophy

In celebration of the release of Mockingjay, I'm going to discuss some of the philosophy of the Hunger Games series. Warning: I probably have put way too much thought into this and it may sound a teensy bit snobby. *shrug*

The most in-your-face plot line in the Hunger Games is (duh) the Hunger Games, this televised gladiator-style battle to the death between the chosen children of the twelve districts of Panem. Obviously, we don't have any fights to the death being televised on our TVs, but we have to wonder if society is heading in this bloodthirsty direction. Look at today's most popular television shows. Reality TV ranks pretty high with Americans, as well as anything with violent themes. Episodes of reality TV where people get hurt are especially popular (remember the Snooki face-punch incident?). As time passes, television patrons become more desensitized to sex, drugs and violence on these shows, so the shows have to feature more of these things in a more shocking manner than before.

Reality TV has taken the seriousness out of so many things. For example, falling in love used to be a personal, private thing that everyone did on their own, including famous people. Now, if you're slightly famous and need a quick buck, you do a reality show to find your "true love" (aka person you will sleep with and never call again) out of a group of 20 "aspiring actresses" (aka current or future porn stars). The result is a 12-week spectacle of skankery that leaves the audience needing a shot of penicillin, and the concept of love stomped all over with 6-inch stilettos. It's really only a matter of time before TV producers start televising something awful like bum fights, which isn't a huge step from training our kids to fight to the death.

I think that the Hunger Games series illustrates this point well. The cruelty, while upsetting to the people of Panem, is still commonplace enough for it to have gone on unchallenged for 75 years. The people from the Capitol, who force these children to murder each other for entertainment, are so detached from humanity that they parade the poor kids like livestock before forcing them to kill each other. I hope I'm not around to see the day that our humanity is that far gone.

There isn't a whole lot that one person can do to stop this downward spiral into monstrosity. I could tell everyone to stop watching reality television, but there are millions more people in America alone that eat that crap up with a spoon on their Tivos, so it will never go away. Maybe if everyone read the Hunger Games series, they would be able to see the connection of that world with ours. Maybe then people would watch a family sitcom instead of For the Love of Some Washed Up D-List Celebrity.

So if you haven't done so, read the Hunger Games series. It's really incredible.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Monthly Spotlight: New Blog Feature!

Hello wonderful followers! Sorry for the lack of posting last week; my family and I all got really sick, so every moment not spent dead on the floor was spent cleaning the house so we didn't get more sick.

Good news, though: the follower count is climbing! We'll be at 50 before we know it, and then it's going to be contest time!

I've also decided to add a monthly feature to the blog: Monthly Spotlight. The spotlight will be on another blogger's totally awesome blog, and they will occupy the 'Monthly Spotlight' page for an entire month! The only requirements for this are that you have to submit an application via email (see the 'Contact Liz' page for details) and that you must be a follower of the blog (new or old, doesn't matter which). You only need to submit your application once, and I will keep all of them on file until your blog is featured. I decided to do this to help spread the word about other great blogs, since I know how hard it is to get the word out about your stuff.

I'm taking applications now for the spotlight for September, so click the 'Contact Liz' tab and get your application in ASAP! Also, remember to spread the word about the 50 Followers Contest. I'll set up the Google form as soon as the follower count hits 50, so help make it happen!

PS: You guys ROCK!!!

Stuff from the Old Blog: Why Do People Hate Fanatics?

Ahh, fangirls.

The world has an unjustified hatred for the fanatic. There are so many different breeds of fan: comic book guys who dress like Spiderman at Comic-Con, the dudes who wear Spock ears at Trekkie conventions, the tweens who scream at the Jonas Brothers and have “marry me” posters and the cougar mom using her daughter as an excuse to be outside Taylor Lautner’s hotel during the filming of Eclipse. Regardless of the type of fanatic you are, you are forced to deal with an onslaught of articles and and message board posts telling you how stupid you are for loving what you love. Star Wars nerds hate Trekkies, comic nerds hate Twihards and so on. It’s a vicious cycle; no matter what your unhealthy obsession, it is never good enough for the people obsessed with other things.

Why do we lash out against the fanboys and fangirls of other obsession-worthy material? The most common argument I hear is that other varieties of fanatic don’t understand the appeal to my guilty pleasure. OF COURSE YOU DON’T! If you are a straight 25 year old male and you understand why girls love Robert Pattinson, you might be lying to yourself. The fact is that most of these fan-poisons are the same to each group as the other. I think Star Wars had terrible dialogue. I think the same thing about the Twilight movies. But something about these films appeals to a little piece of our heart that wants to be a Jedi or fall in love with a brooding vampire. When the little switch flips in our souls and we get obsessed, we decide to take the bad with the good. Somehow, in the love of the source material or the idea behind the story, we gain the ultimate tolerance of mediocre movie adaptations, i.e. X-Men 3, Spiderman 3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Watchmen, Batman and Robin, etc. What we fail to understand about the deepest loves of other fanatics is hat they love the same things about their obsessions that we do about ours. We fall in love with a sensitive werewolf, they fall for an orphaned Jedi princess. It’s all relative.

What we need to do is stop trying to discount the things that people find appealing. Don’t even try to understand why people love these things. Somewhere deep down, you do understand, in a way. Just allow people their obsessions. We all have them. We have to find a way to coexist at Comic-Con and The LA Film Festival. It may be a hard thing to admit, but we are all crazy. Who cares what it is we’re crazy about?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Stuff from the Old Blog: Nostalgia! Boy Bands

*insert squeal here*

Since I was 11 years old, I have been MADLY in love with The Backstreet Boys. Every girl who was a preteen or teenager in the late 90's had their boy band poison: for some it was Backstreet, for others it was N'Sync or 98 Degrees. Really good looking, voices of the angels, a boy to appeal to every girl's fantasy; boy bands were the perfect storm for record and concert ticket sales. Their music tugged the heartstrings of every lovesick teen girl on the planet, including mine.
N'Sync, AKA My Boy Band Nemesis

Being a Backstreet Boys fanatic, I had every recording I could get my hands on. The European debut, the American debut (same as the European one, but with a couple of track changes), every bonus track, every album, several televised and Pay-Per-View concerts, making of features for every music video...you name it, I had it. My walls were papered with pictures of the Boys, especially of AJ McLean. I would have given my right lung to meet him. He was everything I liked in a guy: eccentric, a bad boy. His rougher, more manly voice really caught me in comparison to the more boyish tones of the other group members. He was a male version of me with his ever-changing hair colors and tattoos. Even as I got older and more damaged, we mirrored each other. We both had cocaine addictions, which we both sought treatment for. He was my "dream guy." Even now that I'm happily married with kids, I'd probably give some sort of internal organ to meet him. Probably a kidney or something.

98 Degrees, before Nick broke Jessica's heart.
Every girl had her true boy band love. Backstreet fans and N'Sync fans battled each other about who was the best. Some of us enjoyed the music of all boy bands, big and small. More often than not, however, you had to pick a side. When asked by the other hardcore fans, I was a Backstreet girl through and through. But away from all the other crazy teen girls, I had the N'Sync albums. I knew the words to all the 98 Degrees songs, too. I even had a couple of tracks from some obscure British boy bands that no one in the US had even heard of. I was the biggest boy band nerd I knew. I'm almost ashamed of how dorky I really was and kind of still am. I mean, when the songs come on, I still sing along, right?

Sometimes these obsessions don't die with adulthood. As a Mother's Day gift, my husband bought me and my sister tickets to see the Backstreet Boys on June 23rd, 2010 for the SLC installment of the 'This Is Us' tour. Even now, as a full-grown, mature woman and productive member of society, I have no shame in admitting I screamed like a 13-year old Justin Bieber fan through that entire concert. It was the best time I've ever had at a concert, and yes, it was all because of the Boys.

Side note: No, I am NOT a Justin Bieber fan. Just using the comparison to illustrate my point.

Updates to the 'Contests' Page

There's a new awesome contest up on the 'Contests' tab from Babbling Flow, so go check that out right away! Here's a link:


Sara always puts up amazing contests and awesome posts, so follow her blog and tell her I sent you!

Hunger Games Training Days FB App: First Look!

The Hunger GamesCatching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games) - Library EditionMockingjay (The Final Book of The Hunger Games)

One thing I absolutely love is The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins. The story is so engrossing that when I read the first two books, I didn't even stop to eat. The picture Collins paints of Katniss Everdeen's world draws you in, and you feel like a part of what is happening to her. The books really are incredible.

With the upcoming release of Mockingjay, the third book in the Hunger Games series, there is a lot of promotion going on. A blog tour, multiple contests, and now, a nifty game. I had the privilege to be invited to play the Facebook game in beta this morning, and it was really a lot of fun!

Here's a screenshot of the opening page that the Panem TV (@PanemTV) Twitter account posted:

Image courtesy of PanemTV.com
Pretty awesome, huh?

The game is a combination of cards, dice and tokens. It seems kind of complicated at first, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. Before the game begins, players choose the district they will represent. For my first game, I chose to play as the District Four female tribute (as an homage to my dreamy District Four male champion Finnick Odair, who in my mind is Jensen Ackles). Each district tribute has points for their strengths. As District Four's female tribute, my highest marks were in charm, because I'm sexy like that. District One had high marks in strength, and District Twelve had high marks in agility.

That Jensen Ackles is HOT! *My Dream Finnick*

Each player receives three effort tokens, each holding a different points value. You spend your effort tokens on task cards that are laid out, each yielding a points value that goes to your approval rating. The higher your approval rating, the better.

Once players have laid out all their tokens on the four exposed event cards, the effort points plus the players' skill points are added and compared. Then each player rolls the dice to add extra points to their score for that event. The player with the highest event score wins that even and gains the approval points.

The game is really a fun link into the Hunger Games universe. All of it has basis in the books, so it's pretty accurate for the fans. It's still in beta, so it's a little buggy, but I'm sure they will get the kinks worked out quickly. There is a chat function at the bottom of the screen so you can chat with your fellow tributes and report bugs to the developers. Fans of the series will definitely get a kick out of playing this game, and it will be available as a Facebook app and a physical board game. You can check out the Facebook fan page, the Panem TV Twitter and the Panem TV website for information about both games.

So, what do you think about the Hunger Games Training Days game? How excited are you for Mockingjay? If you haven't read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, click the links to get a copy from Amazon. It's SO worth the purchase!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Who wants a CONTEST?!?!?!

The fact is, this blog is not blowing up very quickly. I didn't expect to get 250 followers overnight, so it's not something I'm shedding tears over, but I would like to encourage some follower growth over here. So I have a plan.

What's that plan, you say?

Well, I think that a 50 Followers contest would be a great way to encourage people to follow the blog and spread the word. At 50 followers, I will start a contest for a $20 Amazon Gift Card, and for every 100 followers after that, I will add another $20 gift card. The gift card could be used to buy anything from Amazon.com, including books, movies, games and more. I'll do one of those nifty forms where you can earn extra entries for blog posts, sidebar links, tweets, FB likes, and friending/following on Goodreads, Twitter and Facebook. All the entries would be put into the randomizer thingy.

I'm adding some contest rules to a "legalese" page on here, so you can check that out in the tabs up top.

If you want to get this contest going ASAP, get the word out about the blog! If you have a blog, post a "look at this blog" post for me. Tweet about the blog to your followers. Like the fan page on Facebook.  I would really really appreciate it. And for every post/tweet/like you give me, I'll definitely return the favor.

So let's make this happen! You can use the Wibiya bar at the bottom of the page to get to my Twitter feed and the Facebook fan page. Thanks for following the blog and I heart you guys big time!
Related Posts with Thumbnails