TV Shows: Game of Thrones: Season 7 Episodes 3 & 4: "The Queen's Justice" and "Spoils of War" Review

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Considering I haven't posted the review for episode three of season seven yet, I thought I might just merge the two reviews in one post. It's just more efficient that way (and so that Game of Thrones episode reviews are not the only posts you see on the first page of the blog)
The long-awaited meeting between Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow (who's not actually a Snow, but also a Targaryen) has finally taken place at Dragonstone. Wow! We've been following these significant characters from the start of the series leading separate lives and now, finally, two of those major characters have met! But, I have to say, their actual meeting was a little underwhelming. It wasn't as epic as I expected it to be. I'm not sure what made it "less epic", but it was. Did the Sansa-Bran reunion happen in this episode? I don't really remember, and probably because it was a crap reunion! The same goes for the Sansa-Arya reunion (which I will discuss below). I mean, I understand that Bran is no longer Bran because he's the Three-Eyed Raven and is so much more now, but this was not a good reunion. The Jon-Sansa reunion was great! It was so emotionally charged that I nearly cried!

Cersei gets her revenge and poisons one of Ellaria Sand's daughters with the same poison she used to kill Myrcella. Everyone thinks Cersei is so treacherous and cruel, but she's only doing to others what they have done to her, she's just returning the favor. The Sands shouldn't have poisoned Myrcella, to begin with, she was an innocent girl who had no say in what her family members on the other side of the pond did. If anything, I say kudos to Cersei for avenging Myrcella's death.

Best episode of Game of Thrones, ever! (Well, second only to the Battle of the Bastards) Now, this episode was EPIC! I was not expecting this! Everything escalated so quickly in this episode. The fighting scene between Arya and Brienne was brilliant! I replayed that part around four or five times! And the unexpected battle between Jamie's forces and Dani's Dothraki and Drogon! Wow!

Did the Sansa-Arya reunion happen in this episode? Frankly, I don't remember when this one happened either because it was not at all memorable! I think it did. Anyway, it was sad. and by sad I mean, like, pitiful. I understand that these two were never fond of each other, but there are still sisters. You'd think there was some emotion on either end.

Cover Reveal: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

Friday, August 11, 2017

After years of much anticipation, John Green finally released the cover and synopsis of his new book, Turtles All the Way Down. Here's the cover, it beautiful!

Expected publication: October 10, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Pages: 336

Honestly, I've only read two of John Green's four books, Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars. The former was an okay book, I thought, but the latter I didn't enjoy very much (I think I gave it 2 and a half or three stars on Goodreads) I really do hope I enjoy reading this when get to reading it. I love John Green, I watch his YouTube videos on Tuesdays and he's so charming! I really want to like this book. 

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Saturday, August 5, 2017



3.5 out of 5 stars

I'm usually very wary of the books how-to books that focus on subjects as sensitive as success. I'm especially wary of nonfiction based books whose authors are not experts in the topic being discussed and the research presented in the book. I should clarify that Outliers is not a "how-to" book, which is what I originally thought it would be. This is a book that tells different stories of success and how those successes came to be. I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second half. This is because a) the stories were more interesting; b) I felt like the author Malcolm Gladwell deviates from the point he was trying to prove in the first half and; c) the connections between the stories made less and less sense to me. 

One of the critiques of Outliers is that while the research Gladwell presents was all fine and dandy, it was research he used to prove his points. This is the analyzer's version of what is called "confirmation bias" in the world of scientific research. Confirmation bias is the term used to refer to a researcher's- conscious or unconscious- tendency to slightly influence something in the research he/she is conducting so that the results reflect their hypothesis(es)/ predictions. This is problematic because rather accurately representing real-world phenomena, the research favors the researcher's wants and reflects what the researcher wants it to reflect. I feel like much of this was happening in Outliers. All of the evidence Gladwell provides his readers is cherry-picked. 

Another criticism of the book is on some of the content of chapter nine, which is entitled "Marita's Bargain". In this chapter, Gladwell focuses- at least in part- on the achievement gap and the reason it exists. He proposes- and provides evidence to support his claim- that the achievement gap exists because of the differences in the ways students from different economic strata spend their summer vacations. He says, "Schools work. The only problem with school, for kids who aren't achieving, is that there isn't enough of it." Now, I don't any delusions about being an expert on the topic of our complex education system, because I'm certainly not, not by a long shot. However, based on what I've learned in my sociology courses, (thanks, Professor Sung!) while that may be somewhat true (the part about there not being enough school not that schools work), I know that there's much more to it than that. An overwhelming amount of credible research points to the sad state of the education system in the U.S, and more specifically, to the schools in low-income neighborhoods (which are the way they because of the sad state of our education system) as being the reason for the achievement gap.

I liked his incorporation of his own family history and the way he connected that to the moral of the book. The story of Chris Langan, an average (or not so average) citizen with an IQ of over even that of Albert Einstein, is an unfortunate one. The premise of his story is that he's a genius, but life circumstances didn't allow for his genius to be nurtured and shared with the world. But I did some research and found that Langan's article was published in a scholarly journal in March 2017! Yay! It took the scientific community a good long while to realize this man's genius, but better late than never I suppose.

Monthly Wrap-up: July 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

So I'm back on the blogging wagon! July has been quite an eventful month on the blog. In fact, it's been the most eventful month of the year thus far. There were a few firsts on the blog this month. My first promotional post went up, and I interviewed my first author, the amazing Rachel Caine no less! Also, I read my first collection of novellas! The novella (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy) wasn't great, but this definitely won't be my last.

I'm finishing up the last of my course work for my Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Sociology so school has been draining me of my energy, time, and (slowly, but surely) my will to live. I'm always stressed out now. Where my education is concerned, I haven't been worry free since my sophomore year (last year). Applying to grad school has been a trying experience as well, I kept procrastinating because I don't handle rejection or failure very well. I'm applying to Teachers College at Columbia University for the splendid Neuroscience and Education master's program and I'll be devastated if I don't get in. Anyway, enough of the depressing talk. Let's get on with the goings-on of the past month, shall we?

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts 1 & 2 (Harry Potter #8) by J.K Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne

I haven't found or been listening to anything in particular this month, but I thought I'd share a playlist I really enjoy listening to. And it's- you guessed it!- classical music. Well, Chinese folk music which is essentially the same, at least in the matter of the music on this playlist. The playlist is great, give it a listen!

Duh! Did you expect anything different? As you may have read in the "happenings on the blog" section, I have been reviewing season 7 of Game of Thrones by episode so I won't disclose information here. Apparently, this season is going to blow us away (😉) and I'm certainly ready to be blown away because winter is long overdue.

Soundtrack Sunday: Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson

Sunday, July 30, 2017

I haven't done one of these in a while and it's long overdue, so here's a new soundtrack I created for James Patterson's Sundays at Tiffany's which I really enjoyed reading.