Blog

Book Review (2): Wicked

Gregory Maguire loved the classic tale of Dorothy and her encounter with the Wicked Witch of the West. But he wasn’t just fascinated by Dorothy and her trip down the yellow brick road, he was fascinated by the Wicked Witch and if she actually was so wicked. Gregory Maguire’s lovable character, Elphaba, was loved so much that his story was turned into one of the best selling Broadway plays called Wicked.

Wicked

Wicked tells the life of the Wicked Witch of the West, Elphaba, before Dorothy takes her trip to Oz. The Wicked Witch wasn’t always wicked, however. She was once loving, caring, and kind. The story builds on the actions that drove Elphaba to become wicked. It builds on the idea of racism and equal rights in a world where Animals are being treated like animals, sorcerers and sorceress’ have too much power, dwarf sized people called Munchkinlanders are made fun of from their size, and a girl is harassed from being born with green colored skin. The story asks the question of whether people are born wicked or have wickedness thrown upon them.

Gregory Maguire showed a different side of the Wicked Witch of the West in his novel, Wicked. He showed the struggle of a girl who was born with green skin and how the world treated her. It reflected a lot on the racism going on in the world today. Gregory Maguire also added Animals in his world, especially to explain the Cowardly Lion who follows Dorothy around in the Wizard of Oz. These Animals were animals, but they walked, talked, and went to school like humans. But these Animals were not treated equally by humans. It seemed Elphaba knew the struggle these Animals were going through because of the torment she received through out her life of her green colored skin. So Elphaba makes it a big part of her life to bring awareness to people on how Animals are being treated and that everyone should be treated equally. She wanted to make a change. But making a change always comes with difficult decisions and sacrifices.

I did not like this book. I had a hard time finishing it, sadly. I was disappointed because I was looking forward to reading this book ever since I saw the play on Broadway two years ago. I thought the play was amazing. It had great singing and songs, fantastic acting, and a well done story that tied well into the Wizard of Oz. Although the book and play were very similar, I enjoyed the story of the play more.

I thought the beginning of the book was well written and really drew me into the story. When Gregory Maguire drifted off to other point of view characters, who I didn’t feel strongly about, I lost interest.

The story also jumped around a lot. This caused for poor character development and poor story structure. Everything happened sporadically without any build up towards the plot point.

That being said, I thought the book was well written. Gregory Maguire has amazing imagery and his writing has a sense of humor.

I did not know this book was an epic fantasy nor a four book series. The four books are part of the Wicked Years series. I am having a hard time deciding whether or not I want to give the next book a chance. We will see.

What were your thoughts on the book? Did you enjoy it?

Join My Listserv!

Follow Me on Instagram!

Follow Me on Twitter!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Movie Review (4): Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It is hard to find diversity among the numerous amounts of superhero movies that are hitting the big screen these days. However, Guardians of the Galaxy definitely adds diversity to the lineup.

I am very picky with my superhero movies. For me, it is hard to best Spider man and the Batman trilogy. Those movies take it a step beyond the classic superhero layout and add great characterization.

That being said, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is definitely a summer hit. I thought the overall plot was unique and not forced. I enjoyed the love interest between Peter and Gamora (especially since I have a secret crush on her myself). The writer, James Gunn, did a great job exploring deeper into the characters during this film.

I thought Drax the Destroyer’s part was kind of strange in the movie. He didn’t add much to the plot except for his hilarious one liners.

Baby Groot made the movie with his adorable eyes and his innocent personality. I am happy they found use for him through out the movie.

Groot.jpg

I also loved Stan Lee’s cameo in this movie; it is up there now with his cameo from Deadpool.

I thought the special effects were beautiful and realistic. The entire movie was colorful and intriguing to watch. It reminded me a lot like Star Trek with exploring new planets.

I didn’t think Peter Quill’s volume 2 playlist was as good as the first movie. I actually didn’t know most of the songs surprisingly.

I am excited for the third installment of this series. I am definitely not ready for it to end yet.

And I hope we get to see an adolescent Groot in the next movie!

What were your thoughts?

 

Join My Listserv!

Follow Me on Instagram!

Follow Me on Twitter!

Writing Tip (1): Just Write!

This will be my first blog about writing tips. And I feel very strongly about this one. I’ve encountered numerous people who seem really devoted to writing but now it’s a year down the road and they still are outlining their plot, or starting over with a new story idea, or playing video games and saying they will get to it tomorrow. People ask me for advice and how to do it and all I say is–just write! Just do it! That’s all it takes!

Watch this short video for a perfect example:

Spongebob writes an essay

For those of you who are too lazy to watch it, here is a photo to sum it up:

spongebob.jpg

Besides being absolutely hilarious, it is so accurate! It doesn’t matter how much you write. You just need to be more like Spongebob and sit down and do it! Some days you will only write one really fancy word and other days you will write 1,500 words. But you will write nothing if you don’t do anything.

So don’t hesitate. Get behind your keyboard and type away while shouting, “I’m doing it! I’m doing it!” Or whatever works for you.

Just write!

What gets you motivated to write? Share it with me below!

 

Pat

Join My Listserv!

Follow Me on Instagram!

Follow Me on Twitter!

 

Fork and Cork 2017

The past weekend I traveled back to Blacksburg, Virginia to visit my brother at Virginia Tech (go Hokies!). This was my first time back since September; my first time back without really knowing any one at the school besides my brother’s class (no friends). But there are always new friends to be made in Blacksburg, Virginia and that was exactly what happened at Fork and Cork.

After a gorgeous day hiking at Mcafee’s Knob and a night of crazy downtown festivities, my brother and I went to Fork and Cork, an annual wine festival held in Blacksburg, Virginia, on the Virginia Tech campus.

IMG_1577 IMG_1579.JPGIMG_1599

If you have never been to Fork and Cork, or even Virginia Tech…you. must. go! It is a full day of all you can drink wine tastings from the local wineries. You don’t even have to be an expert on wine to enjoy this event.

IMG_1641.JPG

I sure wasn’t.

Local bands gathered on a stage to perform, local food trucks lined up to serve amazing lunch and dinner, the hosts at the different winery booths served a hefty tasting, and the community made you feel right at home.

IMG_1614.JPG

So if you have ever wanted to visit Virginia Tech, I definitely recommend going for Fork and Cork. This is an experience you do not want to miss. You will definitely be seeing me there.

IMG_1666.JPG

Now off to Virginia Tech again this weekend for my brother’s graduation (I cannot get enough).

hokie bird.jpg

Are there any fun community events at your school? Tell me about it!

 

PJ

Twitter: @patjohnswrites

Instagram: @patrickjohnswrites

Website: http://patrickjohnswrites.com/

 

Book Review 1: Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland

I have been a fan of K.M. Weiland ever since I discovered her informative podcasts called, “Helping Writers Become Authors.” K.M. Weiland has a bubbly, fun personality which makes these podcasts fun to listen to. Not to mention they are short (10 – 20 minutes) and very helpful with writing tips. After a year of listening to these podcasts, I decided to read her book, “Dreamlander.”

Dreamlander takes the reader on a journey crossing between Earth and the dream world of Lael through Chris Redston’s dreams. When Chris is called into Lael and chosen to be a Gifted to protect the dream world, he accidentally brings back a prince who is out for the power of the Gifted and for taking over Lael. Chris works together with a princess, a Cherazii warrior, and also with his friends in the real world, to put a stop to the prince’s destruction.

I could not put this story down. The idea of waking up in another world in your dream is brilliant. It definitely gets the creative mind flowing for all of those dreamers out there. The world K.M Weiland created was absolutely stunning; she paints such a beautiful picture in her writing. I particularly enjoyed the tension between Chris and the princess and how they grew together through out the story. Their relationship reminded me a lot of Eragon’s and Arya’s relationship in the Inheritance Cycle series.

I can definitely picture this story as a television series.

I thought some of the characters could have been developed more in the beginning of the story to give them more meaning at the end. But I am excited K.M. Weiland has announced that she is currently working on the next novel in the Dreamlander trilogy. So she has a lot of room for character development with these lovable characters which I am definitely looking forward to learning more about. I will certainly be adding the next book in the series, Dreambreaker, to my reading list.

Overall, Dreamlander is a must read for anyone who is interested in epic fantasy. This beautiful world is only going to become more beautiful.

Movie Review: Logan

With its outstanding acting, well thought out plot, and ability to throw down some raunchy curse words, Logan was able to stand out with originality from its predecessors of X-Men movies.

Logan is definitely a top hit and a must see as a superhero movie, and as its own movie. It is able to go above and beyond all the original X-Men movies now that the R-Rated logo is slapped on there. We all know Logan as a man full of anger and bottled up emotion, but we finally get to see him really let it out in this movie especially with his use of F**k and S**t.

The Professor shows a different side in this movie. He is now a crippled old grandpa and cracks some hilarious grandpa jokes through out the movie that adds humor in this dark story, while still providing Logan with fatherly knowledge.

But what really makes this movie, is the stellar performance by Dafne Keen who plays Laura. She is only twelve years old, has little to no lines in the movie, and kills it! She is a rouge mutant who escapes a facility that is training children to become cold blooded killers. She does a great job acting like a real wild animal with her shrieks, screams, and cold attitude.

download

She reminds me a bit of Eleven from Stranger Things.

eleven

The message of the story is portrayed greatly by Hugh Jackman. He shows Logan as a bottled-up, lonely mutant; he is one of the last mutants alive. Logan believes that bad things happen to those he loves. But Laura helps break down Wolverine’s through out the story and helps him realize that what is most important in the world, is family and not being isolated.

In the end, Logan will go down as a classic in the X-Men franchise and also as its own movie. This is a great farewell to Hugh Jackman who played Wolverine for seventeen years. He will be missed. I hope Marvel sticks down this route of real superhero movies instead of the lousy summer hits.

 

Movie Review: Why Him?

A plot similar to Meet the Parents, with James Franco playing the Ben Stiller outsider role, and Bryan Cranston playing the Robert De Niro hard ass father role, Why Him? had its own unique qualities that made it an entertaining movie.

I went into this movie with low expectations mainly because I am not fond of James Franco’s acting, especially in recent comedies. He is a little too much for me, like his absurd character he played in The Interview. However, I was able to tolerate his weird sense of humor in this movie. James Franco and Bryan Cranston had a good rivalry and definitely made this movie entertaining.

But my favorite character overall was Gustav played by Keegan-Michael Key.

maxresdefault.jpg

I think this picture explains it all. Key plays a flamboyant German who serves as James Franco’s servant through out the movie. Absolutely hilarious. I would see the movie just for experiencing this character. Seriously.

Beyond the overall plot, I thought this movie sent a good message out to all the millennials out there. I am especially going through the same mind set and change as Zoey Deutch’s character, Stephanie Hemming. Times are changing and people want support for their dreams, especially from their parents. They don’t want to be told what to do anymore. And that was what Stephanie Hemming had to struggle with during the movie.

It definitely wasn’t a classic like Meet the Parents, but I suggest giving this entertaining Rom-Com a watch.

Fun Fact: I forgot that Ben Stiller was one of the producers for this movie. Now the connection with Meet the Parents makes sense!

Happy movie watching.

Pat

Movie Review: Room

I have finally gotten around to watching this movie after a friend reminded me about it the other day. It is free on Amazon Prime so I thought why not give it a try. It already had me sold after seeing Kong: Skull Island with my new celebrity crush, Brie Larson.

Brie Larson

She is perfect.

Room is about a woman and a young baby held captive in an enclosed space and finally gain their freedom, letting the boy experience the outside world for the first time.

When I went into this movie, I thought it would be mainly about the woman (Brie Larson) and less about the boy’s experience. I thought it would be more about the struggle of the mother and her kidnapper. Even though the kidnapper wasn’t in it as much as I thought he would be, he still gave a creepy vibe through out the movie, knowing the kidnapper would come back.

The boy was born into the small shed and knew nothing about the outside world. When his mother tried to explain there were other things out there beyond the room, the boy would get stressed because he couldn’t comprehend or picture any of it. It was interesting trying to put yourself inside the boy’s shoes to really imagine what he was feeling.

I thought it was a powerful movie. The acting was amazing. I thought the boy should have won an award for his performance in and outside of the room.

My favorite part was how they went back to the room at the end of the movie to look at it one last time. I didn’t expect the boy to miss it, but it made sense. That was where the boy grew up. That was his real home. And I loved how he asked his mother if that really was the room they had stayed in because it was so tiny. The room really did seem to shrink at the end of the movie after being exposed to the rest of the world.

A creepy, yet inspiring movie. I definitely recommend this great flick.

What were your thoughts about the movie?

Thanks for tuning in,

Pat

 

 

Disney Movie Review 3: Beauty and the Beast (2017)

I am going a little bit out of the chronological order of Disney films on this one. My next one is supposed to be Fantasia but I couldn’t pass up seeing the new live action film, Beauty and the Beast.

I saw it with my awesome mother in our local movie theater which I can’t even remember the last time I’ve been to. So it already brought back some old memories, good times, and good vibes.

The movie followed the original except for a few new songs added in.

This is one of my all time favorite Disney movies! The soundtrack is inspiring, fun, bouncy, and catchy. The story is dark, easy to relate to, funny in how it makes fun of common village folk, and enjoyable.

My favorite song of the movie was definitely Little Town. I love how the entire village is singing about Belle behind her back while she is obviously within hearing distance. And it gets even better when Gaston rolls a long acting all cocky and like a stereotypical meat head.

My favorite line of the whole movie: “When I was a lad I ate four dozen eggs every morning to help me get large. And now that I’m grown I eat five dozen eggs so I’m roughly the size of a barge.”

It cracks me up every time!

Overall I thought the movie was fantastic and was definitely an awesome throw back. The singing was great and the dancing was fun. Emma Watson and Luke Evans had fantastic voices and pulled their rolls off really well.

My only disappointment was that crazy old Maurice wasn’t very dorky like the original. He was more serious in this movie.

Now time to watch Fantasia!

Patrick Johns

Twitter: @patjohnswrites

Instagram: @patrickjohnswrites

Disney Movie Review 2: Pinocchio

After waiting a few months for Pinocchio to finally come out of the Disney Vault in January, I was finally able to get my hands on it through my local library. This is the second Disney film. It was based on a children’s novel titled, “The Adventures of Pinocchio.”

I honestly cannot remember the last time I watched this movie. What I do remember was watching it numerous times at my grandmother’s house when I was little. So old feelings and memories popped up right from the beginning.

Now that I am older, I was able to comprehend more of the movie. Pinocchio is a messed up movie! I had nightmares after watching it. The villains in the movie sell “stupid” kids to this man who brings them to a place called Paradise Island where the kids are allowed to do whatever they want without consequences. As good as this sounds, the man drugged the kid’s beers and cigars causing them to turn into donkeys to be shipped and sold. Messed up! But luckily, Pinocchio escaped, only to learn that his father had been eaten by a giant whale called Monstro. So half donkey, half puppet, Pinocchio, went on a journey to save his father with his conscious, Jiminy Cricket and becomes a real boy.

My favorite part of this movie were all the adult jokes sneaked into the dialogue. And I enjoyed Figaro (the cat) and Cleo (the fish) and how they annoyed each other the whole movie.

Overall I really enjoyed re watching Pinocchio as an adult for the first time. It definitely gave me a whole new perspective on the movie. I wonder when I will watch it again in my life.

 

Updates on my novel, Junkland:

I have officially received comments from my Beta Readers and I am now in the process of fixing my novel with their comments. I am hoping to get this all done soon and have my book out by April!

 

Patrick Johns