Film Review – Mamma Mia Here We Go Again

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Picture courtesy of: Universal Pictures/Relativity Media/Littlestar/Playtone/Kobal/REX/Shutterstock/MetroUK

 

Picking up a few years after the original left off, Sophie and Sky have married and are rebuilding Donna’s hotel in her memory. Sophie is overseeing the finishing touches for the grand opening while Sky is training with a large hotel chain in NYC. Sophie is sad becasuse Sky, along with two of her fathers – Bill and Harry – are unable to make the festivities. The plot centers on the theme of family as the story bounces back and forth between Sophie in 2018 and Donna’s own journey in 1969 to finding her place on the island of Kalokari.

The cast is perfectly completed with Lily James as young Donna, Alexa Davies as young Rosie and Jessica Keenan Wynn as young Tanya. Josh Dylan appears as young Bill, Hugh Skinner as young Harry, and Jeremy Irvine as young Sam. Returning, of course, are all of your favorite ABBA songs, combined with an emotionally deeper plot and an appearance by Cher.

 

Film Title: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Photo courtesy of: Jonathan Prime via Variety

 

HHC Rating:  5 Stars

This multi-genrational saga will run you through the gamot of emotions, and it is so good. I am actually having trouble writing this post because I keep tearing up, and I saw it weeks ago. I’ll try to keep this short since I’m having trouble reading what I’m typing. Aaaaand now the Starbucks I’m sitting in and has been playing musical soundtracks just turned on Mamma Mia. #dead.

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again was perfection. The entire theatre sang along, the plot had intricacies and twists we didn’t neccessarily see coming, and then the credits song brought us all to tears while dancing our feet off. We loved it so much that two of my friends and I have decided to be Donna and the Dynamos for Halloween. Luckily, I had already been thinking about going blonde for the past three months. The next time you see me, I’ll be blonde! (if all goes well. Which it should.) If you have any leads on the Dynamos awesome pants (seen above) please send them my way.

 

 

Now please excuse me while I practice for our three-part harmony of Super Troupers.

~Amanda

 

*P.S., the theatre was giving away books when we went to see Mamma Mia and I didn’t even know that was a thing? The book they gave us is called The Lido, and my review is impending. So far it’s also great.

M Train – Patti Smith

M-Train-Patti-SmithSource: Goodreads

 

Transportive. Delectably imaginative. Easy to pick up, hard to put down. Completely immersive. Deliriously inspiring. I want to crawl inside and live here forever. Forget punctuation and plot – who needs it?

My father claimed that he never remembered his dreams, but I could easily recount mine. He also told me that seeing one’s own hands within a dream was exceedingly rare. I was sure I could if I set my mind to it, a notion that resulted in a plethora of failed experiments. My father questioned the usefulness of such a pursuit, but nevertheless invading my own dreams topped my list of impossible things one must one day accomplish.
~ p.81, M Train – Patti Smith

This passage! Smith just gets me, even though all I knew about her while reading the book were the facts in the author bio at the back of the book: her marriage and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I wondered if she only wrote poetry and took polaroids. Did she write music? Had I heard any of it? (obviously, I have, but I am notoriously bad at remembering artist and band names. Lyrics are my strong suit.)

All of the people she mentions I know by name, yet they are all strangers to me. Burroughs, Wittgenstein, Rackham, Bulgakov, Wegener, Camus, Ibsen, Plath, Genet, and many others I’m sure. As I read I wondered if getting to know these people would make me a better writer. Smith already has.

When I finished it, all I could think about was what a journey it was. I wanted to start it over immediately, and did, and was again transported to that place between dreams and reality. Much like Smith’s obsession with The Wind-Up Bird, I just wanted to dive back in. I had a copy from my local library, but I actually went out and purchased a copy of my own yesterday so I can continue to pour over its pages. The writing is phenomenal. I rarely enjoy works written in the first person, but this memoir of sorts is executed to near perfection.

I found that I didn’t even mind the strangeness of moments in the story where Smith actively mentions that she “Closed her notebook and sat in the cafe thinking about real time.” How do we know that’s what she did if she wasn’t writing down her thoughts? Obviously, her notebook was closed. Still, the fluidity of the book allows for this kind of endeavor. The ‘story’ plays out in black and white almost as if we are watching it through her polaroids. I wondered whether, if I pushed on their surface, they would grant me entry.

This is one of those books my children are going to find on my desk, dog-eared and falling to bits because it has been read and loved so much. I often had the realization while reading that I had been thinking of a dozen things, set off by a passage I had read 30 minutes ago, the book lying on my lap in quiet anticipation, perfectly happy to wait for me to come back down to reality and continue to wade through its pages.

 

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

The Tenth Power (The Chanters of Tremaris, #3) – Kate Constable

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Source: Goodreads

Her songs silenced, Calwyn decides to return to the mountains she once called home. The sickness she finds there propels her into a quest of unimaginable consequences, pitting her against an evil the likes of which she never thought to face again after Samis’ death.

 

Constable’s third book in The Chanters of Tremaris is noted mostly for the ‘return’ of its master villain, hinted at near the end of book two. While initially, I found the idea ridiculous, the storyline played out pretty well. The book crosses a little more into YA territory, with some war and some odd couplings romantically, but for the most part, the strange bits will go over Middle Grade readers’ heads (they did mine when I was 11, so..).

The story develops the characters in new and interesting ways, and we finally learn the origins of the Chanters and the Tree People. Basically, this book fills in all of the holes we’ve been feeling in the world history for two books now, which was very kind of Constable to do. As you learn everything, it becomes ever more obvious why all of the information was withheld in the first place.

I will say that you should prepare yourself for some very unwarranted characters deaths. As far as I can tell they served little to no purpose other than to prove that Constable is able/willing to kill off characters, but that could just be my opinion. If you somehow understand why they died, please let me know. Also, the plot twists are pretty great in this one. Readers can see with their own two eyes how Constable has grown as a writer since the first book.

Overall, this book was a wonderful ending to the trilogy. It wrapped up all of the loose ends and set the world back on its feet. Sometimes, that’s all we hope for.

 

HHC Rating: 4.5 Stars

 

Other reviews in this series:
Book #1 – The Singer of All Songs
Book #2 – The Waterless Sea

You're Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) – Felicia Day

Source: Goodreads

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is like a trip to Versailles – that famous French palace with a hall full of mirrors – where all the mirrors are windows into Felicia Day’s life. The widely proclaimed “Queen of the Geeks” – a title she tries not to lay claim to – is fantastically funny, and comes across as an old friend filling you in on life after a long time apart.

I’ve always been a big fan of memoirs – and this is one that I’ve been really excited about – so I pre-ordered it and read it in basically one sitting when it arrived. The little anecdotes from people’s childhood, teenage, and college years are usually hilarious, and the struggles that the authors face in their early adulthood are full of universal self-identification. For me, the self-identification goes back to Felicia’s childhood, growing up homeschooled. Although mine was not nearly as isolated as hers, the imagination growth and creativity flow were always at an all-time high.

The way Felicia bares it all about her early adulthood struggles really impressed and inspired me. At a time when no one was internet famous, she forged new paths and created a world no one else could have imagined. It was revolutionary to say the least: putting a show on the internet and then having it become this great big thing. When I discovered The Guild a couple years ago, it was (and is STILL!) a huge deal. And don’t worry; despite all the ‘geek talk’ in the book, Felicia really takes the time to make everything understandable to even the most un-geek reader.

You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) is most definitely a home-run in the memoir category. Felicia Day’s personality just oozes out in the writing, and if you’ve ever seen one of her videos, you’ll probably even read the whole book in her voice like I did. Definitely a five star read.

HHC Rating: 5 Stars

Summer Playlist 2015

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(Not sponsored. I just love the website) If you spend enough time with me, you’ll realize that I’m addicted to 8tracks. Its a website that lets people create playlists of music, and its gloriously FREE! I’ve been using it for the last year and half to discover new music and it’s fantastic. You select emotions or actions or artists or genres of music and it recommends playlists. Best of all, everytime a song comes on it provides links to buy the song on Amazon, iTunes, or view on Soundcloud or YouTube. Below are some of the songs I’m obsessed with at the moment, none of which I would have discovered without this flipping amazing site:
Most of the songs are Indie/Alternative/Chill, but theres a couple dancier songs as well.
🙂
SONG / ARTIST
Desperate Measures / Marianas Trench
Madness / Muse
Falling In Love In A Coffee Shop / Landon Pigg
Mine / The Aquadolls
Put On A Light / Generationals
Gold Rays / Vinyl Pinups
Beware The Dog / The Griswolds
Geronimo / Sheppard
Set Sail / Charleston
Bloom / Pogo  (I have to stop and talk about this one for a second. Its like a DJs compilation of the all the disney songs to create something entirely new. The Sound of Music, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White and a bunch of others. ITS AMAZING, and you can YouTube it HERE.)
Reflections / Misterwives
Run River Run / Run River North
Orange Sky / Alexi Murdoch
The Mother We Share / CHVRCHES
Just Another Girl / The Killers
Thunder Clatter / Wild Cub
Pumpin Blood / NoNoNo
Of Space And Time / City And Colour
In The Air Tonight / Fleet Foxes cover (Originally Phil Collins. BUT THIS GIVES ME CHILLS and Ic an only find in on Soundcloud (via Tumblr here)
New York State Of Mind / Joanna Wang cover (Originally Billy Joel. AGAIN WITH THE CHILLS. YouTube It HERE)
Sons and Daughters / Allman Brown and Liz Laurence
Home / Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
Shine / Elmo
High / Young Rising Sons
Get Out / Cassey Abrams
I’m Good / The Mowgli’s
Lether Jacket / Arkells
Sun Shy / Dresses
Paris / Magic Man
Shadow / Bleachers
Silhouettes / Colony House
Flashed Junk Mind / Milky Chance
Electric Loves / BORNS
Shut Up And Dance With Me / Walk The Moon (I’ve been a WTM fan for about a year now, so this isn’t new, but check out this video for some smiles.)
That’s all for the moment!
Until Next Time,
Amand

Concerts: Daydreams of Strange Times

​     September 20th was my first time in Philadelphia. Yes, I know, ‘but you live so close? How have you never been there before?’ Well, I’m actually equi-distant from Philly and NYC, and I’m more of an NYC girl, even though I go to school in Pennsylvania. So, last Saturday was my first time driving through (technically around) Philadelphia. My co-host Jordan and I (and her step-dad, awesome guy) went into the city for the Cage the Elephant/Black Keys concert at the Wells Fargo Center (Flyers arena for those of you who don’t know what WFC is). It was surprisingly easy to get to, and we had great seats:
     We were nearly in the middle of balcony across from the stage. Going into the concert, I really only knew the few Cage the Elephant & Black Keys songs that Jordan and I had played on our radio show, but I was still surprised at how much of the music I recognized.
     Now, the last time I went to a concert, it was All Time Low. There was no seating at that concert, and an abundance of high school students. This concert, I found, was entirely different. We had seats. I love sitting at concerts. Standing is nice if the song is particularly danceable, but for the most part I prefer to sit and relax. The other thing about this concert is that, with the exception of the two or three people sitting to our left, the entire stadium of concert goers seemed to be in their early twenties to late thirties. There were even a few middle-aged people there. I really love it when music speaks to more than just one age category. It makes it feel more real, somehow (and that’s probably why I’m still obsessed with music from the 70’s and 80’s).
     The bands were great. The lead singer from Cage The Elephant did quite a lot of crowd-surfing (and lost his shirt in the process. We didn’t complain,), and The Black Keys had a really great light show. Over all it was a successful evening, and I might even consider going to another concert so long as I can sit back and enjoy it. You can check out some more pictures from the show below.Enjoy!
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Jordan (right) and I in our seats getting ready for the show. Yes, my iPhone takes blurry pictures. Professional cameras weren’t allowed. 
I really liked the different colored lights that Cage The Elephant used throughout their set.
More of Cage The Elephant.
The Black Keys had an insane light set-up. Everything is blue here because this show was part of their Turn Blue Tour. Yes, I bought a t-shirt, and Yes, I will be wearing it frequently in the future.

Until next time,

Amanda