twelve | twenty | seventeen

Welcome to 2017! You may be expecting a book review (which will come soon, I promise), but today I’m coming at you with something a little different. Hopefully that’s okay.

If you’ve been reading for a while, you know that I write book reviews and the occasional (totally unprofessional) movie review. While that’s all fine and dandy, I do write some other things in my spare time! If I’m not reading books, watching movies, or writing reviews for either, I’m writing short stories. I can hear you asking: so what?

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WELL… This year I’ve made a promise to myself to write at least one short story a month. I was playing around with different venues to post the stories on (or just keeping them for myself), but then I realized my blog wasn’t getting enough love or attention from yours truly. So, without further ado, I present to you:

 

twelve | twenty | seventeen

twelve stories in twenty-seventeen

 

I hope you’re as excited as I am! Make sure to keep a lookout for a new story here each month. If you like what you see, let me know and leave a comment! Share it with your friends! I love getting feedback, so please do not hesitate. The first story will be uploaded very soon and I’m already working on the next one! Thanks for reading and staying with me on this exciting journey!

-Riley


Featured image from Magic4Walls, Gif from Tenor Gifs

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Romione & the OTP’s Say “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

First of all, “Romione & the OTP’s” is a great fandom band name.

Second of all, I’d like to take this moment to say Happy Valentine’s Day, readers! It has been quite some time, hasn’t it? Well, I’m happy to say I’m back from London (and have been for about two months now) and that I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. If you want to read about my adventures, head on over to Riley Takes London and check it out! But, as I’m back in the States and it’s the fourteenth of February, let’s talk about that!

Now, it’s important that you know I’ve never been into the whole idea of “Valentine’s Day” with the chocolates, flowers, cards, endless fawning, etc. I went through it once and it was fine, but now I have a better idea of how to spend my Valentine’s. Why go to a packed restaurant and throw your money at waiters when you can revisit the wonderful book and movie relationships you know you love? Or, if you magically have reservations somewhere, why not bond later over your favorite movie or tv show? Inspired by the wonderful Kristina Horner over at YouTube channel “italktosnakes,” I’m going to talk about something quite inherent in February the Fourteenth: romance. And not just any romance, but fictional romance! OTP’s, shipping, canon, all of that fun terminology you might not understand. Though, if you’ve been around on the internet for the past couple years, you might have heard of them.

For you uninformed, the term OTP means “one true pairing.” Basically, it’s the one ship (short for “relationship”) that you love above any other. For me, the ultimate OTP is Ron x Hermione, or Romione. Though, let’s be honest, anyone who knows me knows I’d rather it be Rilon (you know, Riley x Ron), but I digress. Shipping is when you like the idea of two characters together, either as a romantic or platonic relationship. Say you’re watching The Office and you find yourself thinking Jim and Pam are cute. Huzzah! You’re shipping them, albeit subconsciously! Jim and Pam are actually a great example of the final term I mentioned above, canon. When a relationship is canon, it has happened in the course of the tv series/book/movie/etc. Jim and Pam are an actual couple on The Office, so thus they are canon!

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I want to talk about a couple of my favorite OTP’s and pairings. I have quite a lot, seeing as I’ve been involved in fandoms (groups of people that are fans of specific things) technically since I’ve started Harry Potter back in third grade. However, I’ll only talk about three because I could go on forever and would if I had the time or patience. So, let’s get started!


Romione

1. Ron x Hermione, Romione

This one should come as no surprise considering I mentioned it in the last paragraph. However, it’s not hard to see why I like them in the first place. Ron Weasley, a loyal friend yet annoying companion, plus Hermione Granger, the genius witch yet slightly overwhelming friend, is a match made in heaven. I know plenty of people who will disagree vehemently and lob ships like Dramione (Draco x Hermione) my way, but I am firm in my position. Hermione’s smarts complement Ron’s obliviousness and please, would you look at the way he looks at her? Plus, they are both attractive human beings so naturally their children will be beautiful, smart, and dashing. Perfect combination, if you ask me.

Rapunzel x Flynn

2. Flynn x Rapunzel

Flynn (or Eugene if you wish) and Rapunzel definitely make my list of favorite OTP’s because of how sweet and pure their love is. Flynn is a thief; he’s focused on getting what he wants at any cost, even if it means abandoning people who promised to help. Rapunzel, on the other hand, is a prisoner in her own life, longing to escape and see the world with the lanterns being the gateway to that dream. Both have dreams, but they don’t realize what they really want until the scene depicted above. The crown Flynn seeks is obsolete once he realizes that Rapunzel is the key to his happiness. Rapunzel, after seeing the lanterns and fulfilling her dream, realizes Flynn is the new dream she was searching for. As you can probably guess, unlikely romance is my favorite kind of romance.

Snowing

3. Prince Charming x Snow White, Snowing

ABC’s Once Upon a Time is one of my favorite tv shows, hands down. I’ve enjoyed every season so far and can’t wait until it returns in March! Even though we’re entering the second half of season four, there has been one couple on the show that has held my heart from episode one. Meet Snowing. Not only is their ship name adorable, but their relationship physically hurts my emotions. Snow White was a pariah in her own kingdom, but she didn’t know that for the longest time. Prince Charming was that dashing man who came along, tried to catch her for bounty, and ended up falling in love. Their story is tragic and gets expanded upon each season, but how cute they are remains the same. What makes this relationship even more fantastic is that the actors are married in real life. It’s snowing all the time, if you catch my drift (whoa two puns in one sentence, make it stop!).


Now that I have forced my shipping thoughts upon you, tell me what your favorites are! I watch plenty of television and movies as well as read plenty of books, so it’s rare that I won’t know which ship you’re talking about. I mean, please, I have a tumblr; you can ship something you’ve never even seen because others have done it for you.

On this Valentine’s Day, don’t fret if you don’t have a physical valentine. Just think: while you’re saving money by not buying anyone gifts, you’re also given the freedom to hang out with your OTP’s! Crack open a book, start up Netflix, whatever suits your fancy, and enjoy the day! I know it’s what I’ll be doing.

None of the .gifs used are mine.

London is a place. I am going to it.

Good afternoon, everyone! Riley here with a super special message.

In just a mere 8 days, I will be on a plane to London, England to study abroad for the semester. Even as I’m typing this, I still don’t fully believe it’s happening. I’ve paid the fees (or most of them), registered for classes, secured accommodation, and even signed up for events but I still can’t believe it! It has been a dream of mine to go abroad during my college years, so it’s a bit daunting that the dream is coming true. To quote Rapunzel and Flynn from Disney’s Tangled:

R: “What if it’s not everything I dreamed it would be?”

F: “It will be.”

R: “And what if it is? What do I do then?”

F: “Well, that’s the good part I guess. You get to go find a new dream.”

I guess one of the biggest things I’m afraid of is that I won’t love my time there. That I will want to come home almost immediately and I won’t give myself the chance to enjoy being on my own. However, I’ve heard plenty of stories and recommendations from friends and family alike that guarantee me I’ll love it. It’s a scary thing, to be promised an experience, but I’m willing to make it my own regardless. And if –no, when!– I fulfill this dream of mine, I will move on to another dream. But, then again, who says you can’t harness two dreams at once?!

Probably one of the best parts of this dream is that my best-friend-since-first-grade is also going with me: same school, same flat, the whole shebang! It’s insanely exciting and comforting to know that one of the people I’m closest to will be joining me on this amazing experience. I can’t wait!

I can go on and on about all of the cool things I’ll be doing and experiencing, but I’ve created a whole other blog specifically for that purpose. If you head on over to rileytakeslondon.wordpress.com, you will see all of the stuff I’m getting up to! I’ll try and upload pictures, record my experiences, reflect on things, and just generally document the next three months of my life. I’m extremely thankful and feel very blessed that I have been given this opportunity and I intend to make the most of it. Do you care to join me?

See you guys very very soon!

-Riley

Harry Potter and the Fandom Everlasting

Good evening to you all! I hope your summers are all as awesome and exciting as they are hot and humid.

I come to you tonight with a post dedicated to your favorite boy wizard who isn’t a boy anymore: Harry Potter. With the recent opening of the Diagon Alley portion of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Orlando and the Quidditch World Cup articles and coverage on Pottermore, there has been a lot of news that would make and has made Potterheads squeal with delight (I’m not saying I did, but I’m not saying I didn’t). In the Harry Potter fandom, any news is practically good news and July was full of great news! I won’t be summarizing the events of the past two weeks—you can look them up on your own—but I am going to take this chance to revel in the joy of the past and things to come by celebrating and remembering one of my favorite series of all time.

I'm the one on the left.
I’m the one on the left.

Anyone who has known me for any amount of time knows that I am a Harry Potter fan, a Potterhead if you desire. There is honestly no doubting it! I sport Deathly Hallows necklaces, build Harry Potter Lego sets, have a cardboard standup of Ron Weasley, have dressed up as Luna Lovegood for Halloween on more than one occasion (I have the blonde hair for it), own two copies of each of the books, and the list goes on and on. Being a fan, even of something as large as Harry Potter, is a part of who I am.

I began reading the series when I was in third grade. I had heard about it and even saw the movies in Blockbuster waiting for my virgin mind to be blown by their sheer awesomeness. However, not many people in my school seemed to be toting around these books and I was a child dead set on fitting in at any cost (thankfully I grew out of that). Even though my sheepish behavior in regards to HP was shameful at this age, I am eternally grateful that I didn’t watch the movies before I read the books. Thank you, eight year-old me.

I remember purchasing Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone because it is one of my favorite memories. A random day in third grade, I believe it may have been a Sunday, my dad and I went to the mall with my youngest sister (at the time she was only 1 or 2), and entered the smallest bookstore you’d ever seen. I went straight to the kid’s section in the back and somehow locked right on Harry Potter. I had seen the cover so many times; what made me want to buy it then? I reached into my little purse and pulled out eleven dollars of allowance money saved over backbreaking months of cleaning dishes and purchased the book that would change my life. I just didn’t know it then.

WWoH in Orlando!
WWoH in Orlando!

Before Harry Potter, I was an avid reader. I reread countless books in my bookshelf, took out stacks at the library like it was my job, and even recommended a few choice titles to my peers (can I get a shout-out for Spot?). I read for fun and that was it. So what if Spot went to a Halloween party? It was fun, but it was meaningless fun. I didn’t get anything from those childhood books except the fact that they were easy to read and fun to look at. Harry Potter opened a whole window into the world of reading for me. Not only was I reading each book for fun, but I was also connecting people to events and discovering backstories and character development. The events that occurred in Sorcerer’s Stone mattered in Chamber of Secrets and that excited me. Reading Harry Potter showed me that books could be meaningful as well as fun.

But, like I said earlier, I wasn’t always the gung-ho HP fan that I consider myself today. I tried to hide my Harry Potter books as best as I could because of their sheer size, but also because my peers weren’t all too accepting of the “wizardly fiction” I was reading. I remember my grade school having us read Prisoner of Azkaban for summer reading into seventh grade and then retracting it because of the wizardly elements and what that meant to the Catholic church (like seriously? come on now). But still, I didn’t really have any people to get excited about Harry Potter with. I had my best friend Jen, who I still have today, but we didn’t exactly have a group of Harry Potter lovers that shared our excitement. We just had a bunch of fellow students who gushed about cute boys and wore Aeropostale.

It wasn’t until I explored the online world more fully, namely Tumblr, that I embraced my love for Harry Potter with open arms. The sheer amount of overwhelming emotion that exuded from my online friends after finishing Deathly Hallows or the extreme amount of gifs that appeared after a movie premiere was just so exciting; it was what I was looking for all along! These people felt how I felt about Harry Potter and that was so exciting. I found lifelong friends in the Harry Potter fandom that I wouldn’t have discovered otherwise. It’s amazing what happens when you truly embrace who you are, even if it is a tiny fraction of your whole self!

Me and the family enjoying a tourist-y picture.
Me and the family enjoying a tourist-y picture.

So, in conclusion, I want to thank J.K. Rowling for creating this beast of a fandom with her magical words and immense imagination. Without her, and without Harry Potter, I’m not sure I would be the person I am today. Some people may still think I’m a bit strange for liking something so strongly, especially now that the books and movies are over, but to them I have something to say: I open at the close. The books and movies may be over, but the fandom is just beginning. Harry Potter will never die; it will live on… always.

 

Until next time, DFTBA!

-Riley

Riley’s Declassified TFIOS Survival Guide

So you survived The Fault in Our Stars’ opening weekend! Congratulations; this is surely a feat not to be taken lightly! Though, knowing the amount of awesomeness (and sadness) you felt in regards to this movie, you’ll be back for Round 2 (or 3, 4, 5… etc.). I’m here to help!

If you live under a rock, let me catch you up. John Green’s fantastic book The Fault in Our Stars was adapted into movie form by Josh Boone and released this past Friday, June 6th. I’m sure most of you have already seen it once, twice, thrice, but odds are you’re going to see it again. I, personally, only went to see it last Thursday, but I will be going again later this week (hopefully with a review to follow!). After seeing it the first time totally unprepared, I threw together a survival guide to get you through the tears and emotional heartache that is this wondrous film.

Tip 1: Bring a box of tissues. Or several.

Even though I didn’t cry the first time because I was too busy rolling my eyes at sniffling preteens, I am completely and utterly prepared to bawl my eyes out appropriately this coming Thursday. I will be bringing my best friend and my sister along with me, the former not having read the book and the latter not having seen the movie yet. There will be tears a plenty and a box of tissues will be necessary. Those travel packs will NOT be enough. Don’t kid yourself. You aren’t that strong.

Tip 2: Bring a hand to hold or a body to hug. Trust me, you’ll need it.

When I went on last Thursday, I had neither of these things. I felt like it was only me and the movie and that was scary. Though, to be fair, if I did hold someone’s hand, I may have broken their bones. The whole row in front of me was a group of friends who all hugged each other and cried. In theory that’s a great idea, but I don’t have nearly that many friends. So on Thursday I will have two people to squeeze and my leisure. Lord knows I’ll need it. If you don’t have anyone to hug or hold (I’m sorry), buy a large drink. It serves the same purpose AND it provides ample hydration! Double yes!

Tip 3: Buy popcorn so you can stuff your face after or while you cry. FOOD SOLVES EVERYTHING.

Definitely do this! If you don’t like popcorn, buy any other food that suits your fancy! As long as you have something edible to stuff your face with after you cry the first time (and trust me there will be many more of these moments), you will be good to go. Plus, the fact that your mouth will be full of junk food will buffer the loud noises of your sobs. Win!

Tip 4: Mentally prepare yourself for the attractiveness of the cast. The quicker you accept this, the quicker you will enjoy the movie for what it is.

I am definitely not the first to admit that Ansel Elgort is one of the cutest people on this planet. Nor am I the first to fawn over Shailene Woodley and her perfection. I am still not the first person to say that Nat Wolff has grown up so much from his days in the Naked Brothers Band and still looks just as attractive if not more so than he did back then! All of that aside, the cast is ungodly attractive. Maybe that’s a bit weird for a movie about cancer, but it’s easy to cast aside once you pay attention to the story. Before you go see the movie, look at as many photos as you want of Elgort, Woodley, Wolff, and whomever else so that you get accustomed to their faces. Know their attractiveness. That way, you won’t be fawning over any of them during the most important parts of the film (except maybe the stare-down in the first half hour; definitely fawn then).

Tip 5: Don’t hesitate to talk about the movie at length afterwards. Like Augustus said when he quoted An Imperial Affliction: “That’s the thing about pain; it demands to be felt.”

The last and final tip is probably something you would have down without my help. If you’re seeing the movie with a bunch of people, don’t just sit in sad silence on the way home! Talk about it! The emotions need to be released! If you cry again, that’s okay (see what I did there?)! The movie is so fantastic and true to the book that it deserves to be talked about for longer than its run in theaters. What was the funniest part? Were the irreverent jokes still funny despite the context? How did everyone do in their roles? The little romance that could is so much bigger than just a movie adaptation. It’s a little infinity of its own!

Tip 6: Go home and hug a pillow. It’ll be okay. Okay?

There’s no expansion on this tip; take it for what it is. Appreciate the reference. Cry some more.

Now that you’ve read through the tips and tricks of getting through the TFIOS movie, go see it! Multiple times! See it with your brother, your mother, your sister, your father, your best friend! But, once you do see it, make sure to report back here and tell me what you think.

Until next time, DFTBA!

-Riley

Apologies, Summer Reading, and Promises of Good Things

… it’s been too long.

 

I apologize for the rather long hiatus this blog has taken, but it’s summer now! I have a lot more free time nowadays, so hopefully I can get some posts in. Sadly I do not come to you with a book or movie review, but I do come with apologies. I hope all of you are still interested in hearing from me after all this time. In upcoming weeks I should have book reviews lined up as I am reading two books currently, but for now I shall give you a peak of what’s to come!

 

New Materials for this Summer:

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

A Separate Peace by John Knowles

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin

 

I’m sure you’ve all heard of some of these, so my reviewing them might be helpful to you in case you would like to read them! Of course I’m going to try and reread some old favorites like Harry Potter and The Fault in Our Stars (in time for the movie, no less), so keep an eye out for posts regarding those. I really hope you all stick around and enjoy what’s to come; this should be a fantastic summer!

 

DFTBA!

-Riley

Venture Through the Looking Glass with Issue Four.

Hey, everyone! Check out this edition of The Paperbook Collective (and all the rest) because I was published in it! Also, the rest of the works are simply amazing and I’m honored to be a part of it.

The Paperbook Blog

Good afternoon Paperbook People!

As always, I am pleased and proud to announce the arrival of yet another issue of The Paperbook Collective…

The November Issue!

iSSUE fOUR

I’m sure that everyone is feeling a bit fragile from last nights various Halloween shenanigans. So stop whatever you’re doing, sit down, pour yourself a bit fat drink of your choice, and curl up with the November Issue of The Paperbook Collective.

As always, it’s available in two very easy versions for you to peruse, a PDF version and an online version.

Here are the links for you:

PDF ~

The Paperbook Collective Issue Four 2013

ISSUU ~

The Paperbook Collective Issue Four 2013

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It’s quite convenient, isn’t it, arriving at the start of the weekend like this. Take some time out to explore Paperbook Land with our insanely creative contributors.

Have a fabulous weekend.

Enjoy.

Cheers,

EPSON MFP image

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Forget “wake me up when September ends”, how about when the semester ends?

Good morning/afternoon/evening, fellow book lovers! Riley here with an update of sorts.

My life as an English major is about 75% amazing and 25% ridiculous amounts of reading and writing. Add on a Writing minor and we’re talking even more writing. I’m not complaining, but I’ll use my previous sentence as an excuse for not posting as much to BookingAwesome. You may be wondering, “Riley, you said you were going to do a read-along of Frankenstein! What happened to that?” Or “What about those other fun and fantastic books you were talking about? HAVE YOU ABANDONED US?” And to both of those questions I will not really have an answer except for NO I DIDN’T ABANDON YOU. WE DIDN’T ABANDON YOU. WE ARE NOT FINISHED HERE! ALAS, THIS IS JUST THE BEGINNING! So hold on to that hope and hang on to the reigns. We’re going to have a fun ride, gosh darn it!

But seriously. As most of you know, I started my sophomore year of college this past month. Even though it’s only been a month, so much has already happened. I have probably finished around five books already (Children’s Lit being the bulk of those) and will probably read ten more by the end of semester AT LEAST. Because I have finished so many books already, it is possible that I will do book reviews on them. They may be quite quick, but short ones are better than nothing, am I right? So here are the books you can look forward to possibly seeing in a book review (and trust me, they are all great books):

  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • currently reading One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
  • will soon be reading Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte and Blizzard! by Jim Murphy

Like I said, all of these books (except the ones I haven’t read yet) are amazing in their own right. It is possible that this week, since I have some free time (or I think I do), I could do a book review or two. So keep a look out for that!

There are plenty of exciting books on the docket for the rest of this semester, so please stay tuned. We’re not finished here! BookingAwesome will slowly become a place for children’s literature, YA literature, and the classics. There will be something for everyone! Thanks for sticking around with us, everyone. It’s been a bit rough lately, but hopefully my fellow bloggers and I will get back into the swing of things.

Until next time, DFTBA!

-Riley

Fall semester is falling into place. Get it?

This summer felt like it took forever to end, but I’m glad it dragged. I enjoyed every single day of my summer and I guess I’m allowed to be just a little excited about the upcoming fall semester. I am taking three English classes, a science, and a history this semester and I guess I’m ready. All of my books have come in, my supplies have been purchased, and now all I’m waiting on is the final portion of excitement to kick in! Oh, and my friends. I’m also waiting for my friends to move in.

Since I am an English major and taking three English classes this semester, I have plenty of books to read during the next few months. I’ve been thinking of using BookingAwesome as a sort of online notebook, but I’m not sure how you readers would feel about that. Either way, here are the books I will be reading over the next few months!

British Literature 2:

  • Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Longman Anthology… etc. I will probably put up little notes to short stories and poems I read.

Hamlet and its Afterlives:

  • Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  • Ophelia by Lisa Klein
  • Gertrude and Claudius by John Updike
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard
  • Al-Hamlet Summit by Sulayman Al-Bassam

I also have a Children’s Literature class, but I won’t bother you the plethora of titles I have to read! Trust me, there are a whole lot of them. In my history class, Gender in Asia, I have a novel or two as well, but I haven’t decided what I plan to do with them. I will let you guys know as soon as I know what I will be reading and in what order! Who knows, maybe you can read along with me! The only piece of news I know in reference to what I’m reading first is Frankenstein by Mary Shelley. So if you want to break out your Gothic literature mindsets, we can get going! As always, thank you so much for commenting and reading and telling your friends! With your help we can make this blog something to be proud of.

If you have any suggestions as to what we can write about or read, please let us know! I know I’m always looking for something to write about, so start with those suggestions!

Thank you so much for reading. Until next time, DFTBA!

-Riley

Crusaders Proud, We Will Always Be

THE BOOKING AWESOME CRUSADES

Okay let’s ignore the fact that the title is from my high school’s alma mater and continue on with the exciting news.

Morgan and I have been concocting an awesome idea for the month of August as sort of a “last hurrah” of summer. I am randomly calling it “The Booking Awesome Crusades,” so tell me what you think of the title. Here’s how the idea hatched: I recently finished Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief for the second or third time, and I thought maybe I could do a book vs. movie post about it. I won’t taint anyone’s opinion on the movie if you’re never seen it, but if you’re holding it up next to the book there is no contest. There are so many differences it’s ridiculous, so I figured a blog post would be a fun idea. Then I got to thinking: Percy Jackson & the Olympians: Sea of Monsters comes out August 7th in theaters. If I read Sea of Monsters in time, I can also do a book vs. movie post about it! This sparked the idea  between myself and Morgan: why don’t we do this with a bunch of  book/movie duos? There’s Harry Potter… The Hunger Games… Inkheart… so many options!

The thing is, how many do we do? How often do we do them during August? Do we do 1-2 every week? Or more? It’s up in the air, really. I’m almost certain I have nothing going on (ever) so any amount would be good for me. What do you guys think? Is 1-2 book vs. movie posts a week in August going to cut it for you? Should Morgan and I each do 1-2 posts for the Crusades? Let us know! We’d love to see your opinions.

So, TBAC (The Booking Awesome Crusades)! How it’s all gonna go down (on my part at least):

  • I write a book review first. I am a firm believer in reading a book before seeing the film, though it isn’t incorrect to do it the other way.
  • I write the film review. In terms of what I’m reviewing in the film, I’ll probably be covering how closely it followed the book/differences from the book/etc.
  • OVERALL REVIEW! This will take the book and movie together and pretty much give a pitch to you guys on if you should watch/read or not. This won’t be too long; maybe a paragraph or two. Basically it just butters up (or kills) the movie/book combo and serves them to you on a silver platter.

I think this idea sounds super fun! If you guys have any suggestions on the matter, leave them in the comments! We love to read and reply to your comments; it literally brightens my day to see people actually reading our material! Makes me want to keep going with this blog. :)

Until next time, DFTBA!

-Riley