Sunday, September 30, 2012


I've got one of the most annoying, useless, and stupid abilities on planet Earth. Unfortunately, I love to indulge in it when I've got nothing else to do. Yep, I whistle! Have a listen, if you can stand it for more than ten seconds!

Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)

Click it!

Your pal,

Saturday, September 29, 2012

New Hangouts

As if YouTube, GoodReads, Facebook, Twitter,, Deviant Art, Fanfiction.Net and weren't enough (and I might have missed a few in that list), guess who is now on Pinterest AND Tumblr? Go on, guess. You'll never guess.

And now, I bring you links!

Angels on Pinterest  I haven't even been on there for five minutes, but it's addicting as chocolate! Enter at your own risk!

Angels-Protégée's Phan Thing on Tumblr Now I get it! It's actually a little easier to use than Blogspot...but this place is still my favorite. I'll just be hanging out over there for exclusively Phantom-y things.

Your pal,

Friday, September 28, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (Inkspell - Cornelia Funke)

Here we are again! I guess it must be fate...all right, I'm kidding. I'll stop now.

The captivating sequel to INKHEART, the critically acclaimed, international bestseller by Cornelia Funke, an author who is emerging as a truly modern classic writer for children.

Although a year has passed, not a day goes by without Meggie thinking of INKHEART, the book whose characters became real. But for Dustfinger, the fire-eater brought into being from words, the need to return to the tale has become desperate. When he finds a crooked storyteller with the ability to read him back, Dustfinger leaves behind his young apprentice Farid and plunges into the medieval world of his past. Distraught, Farid goes in search of Meggie, and before long, both are caught inside the book, too. But the story is threatening to evolve in ways neither of them could ever have imagined.


Now onto the review. As always, as posted on GoodReads:

 Ah crud, now I gotta post a review...

Well, my opinions on this book have certainly changed since I first read it. But I'll be darned if I can come up with a coherent review at the moment, so I'll go with a few of my main points.

-I refuse to say which setting I like better: the original, where books come to life, or the sequel, where everything is inside the book. Literally, inside the book. I like them both!

-Dustfinger is given more screen time, if you will, which is the best move Ms. Funke ever made. He's easily the most fascinating character and needed to play a bigger part in all the action. And that HEINOUS cliff hanger still has the power to make me feel all choked up.

-The Meggie/Farid subplot isn't nearly as interesting as it used to be. In fact, it just irks me a bit these days.

-Basta, while the better villain of Inkheart, doesn't get a lot of time in Inkspell. Now that I come to think of it, his character kind of suffers here...he talks to much and yet doesn't really seem to do anything. That was a let-down, I won't lie to you.

-Roxane....I dunno...she's got something to her that's a little unappealing, but I can't put my finger on it. Oh well, I still like her.

-I thought this was supposed to be a children's book?! Why all the swearing?

-I like the expansion of Resa's character, but Mo...I swing in both directions in regards to Mo. He's got some good points, but he's still too perfect in my opinion.

-Not enough Elinor! Not enough Elinor!

-I loved the Black Prince...we need more of the Black Prince!

-And of course, Rosenquartz!

-Even apart from the swearing, there's a lot of stuff in here that makes it an...interesting idea to bill it as a children's book. Complex plot with a LOT of characters to keep track of, violence, suggestive content...I'm not trying to make a stink out of it, but it seems a little odd. It's not juvenile, but it's not young adult either.

Well, that's that, and now I can get around to FINALLY reading Inkdeath. Yippee!

Voila! That's all she wrote!

Your humble book nerd,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Another Homemade Video

Heck, I was just so happy to have a camera again I couldn't help myself. Me singing! I've been obsessing over Les Miserables lately (can't wait for the movie!), and this is what happened.

I Dreamed A Dream

It needs some work, but it's not half bad, if I do say so myself...

Your pal,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bookshelf Tour #2

Yippee! A better camera! Isn't it great?

Bookshelf Tour

Eep! Can't find the video on here! Would you be happy with a link?

Your humble book nerd,

Friday, September 21, 2012

Phantom-y Fiddling

I stand firm in the belief that Erik's skills on the violin are overlooked waaaay too often in most Phantom discussions/adaptations/artwork/etc. But that's another conversation.

Anyway, another vid! Shocking, isn't it? This girl is just amazing, and ranks up there with Charlie Daniels, Mairead Nesbitt, and David Garrett as one of my fiddle-playing idols. Take a look at this, and you'll see why.

Lindsey Stirling - Phantom of the Opera medley

Now you see? Hardcore skills, AND she's even got the fancy moves thrown in there! She also does her own arrangements, directs, produces and edits her own videos, and she's got a new album coming out! I'll add that to my wish list. I'm in love with those costumes, too, especially the black ones. The edgy, rocker-chick thing with that uber-awesome purple violin (and here I thought I'd never find an electric that actually looked good!), and the long cloak in the snow...too cool!

Your pal,

Friday, September 14, 2012

FF.Net: A Not-So-Guilty Pleasure

I write fan fiction. A lot of it. I read fan fiction. A lot of it. And I'm dishing out some of it this week because it's late and I have to get up in the morning and have to post something fast. Some of it's mine, some are a few of my personal favorites.

And it's Friday, so of course it's all to do with Phantom.

Repercussions by Angels-Protegee: With no options left to her, Christine must make a choice and face the consequences of her decisions.

The First Choice  by Angels-Protegee: Erik is looking for a singer, and it's not who you think.

Black Roses  by Angels-Protegee: "Jealousy is as powerful as any narcotic, you see, and when it consumes you so utterly, it can make you lose your can make you do things you'd never believed yourself capable of."

Condemnation  by Angels-Protegee: In a world of only darkness, there are no heroes. Heaven is just a lie. And salvation is as far away and untouchable as the sun.

Refused Penance  by xxInspireMexx: Unable, and unwilling to forgive, a woman struggles with tremendous loss in life while her faith is more than just tested. Facing solitude in an opera house that is no longer a refuge but a mausoleum, Phantom bears the pain of loss as well.

What Really Happened  by HDKingsbury: What really happened when the screen faded to black? This little bit of silliness was written after watching "the" movie – again. And hey? What's wrong with a little self insertion now and then?

Texts from the Infamous 'Phantom Phone'  by thiswillbeourfairytale: Nadir will regret the day he gave Erik the ability to 'text'...

The Opera Ghost Unraveled  by michellemybelle25: To find the true man beneath the mask, Christine must unravel the Opera Ghost from every role he chooses to play as they both learn what it really means to love.

Let It Bleed  by michellemybelle25: An aggressive outburst and its consequences.

Phantom of the Kissing Booth  by Kryss LaBryn: Gerik is in character. A brief, slightly silly look at his days of being 'locked in a cage'...


Your pal,

Reviews From an HBN (Tess of the d'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy)

Check it out! Another one off the BBC's list! This makes nine!

The chance discovery by a young peasant woman that she is a descendant of the noble family of d'Urbervilles is to change the course of her life. Tess Durbeyfield leaves home on the first of her fateful journeys, and meets the ruthless Alec d'Urberville. Thomas Hardy's impassioned story tells of hope and disappointment, rejection and enduring love.


And my review as posted on GoodReads:

Everything aligned somehow so I read this book exactly when it would have the most impact. Isn't it so quaint when that happens?

I didn't know what to expect from this, as I was only barely familiar with the plot and didn't even know the name of the book for the longest time. All I knew was that I'd seen part of a TV adaptation and was so intrigued by it that I had to track down the book. It took me awhile, but lo and behold, here it is!

I think I'll be focusing mostly on the characters here. In summary, I hated Alec with a passion, spent most of the time absolutely furious with Angel, and jumped back and forth between feeling empathetic and heartbroken for Tess and just wanting to thump her. I'll start with Alec, as he's the easiest. He got better than what he deserved, if you ask me. After what he put Tess through and how he ruined her life, he got off pretty damn easy! Oh, boo hoo, he repented for a little while because he felt so terrible for what he did and wanted to make amends, but when temptation struck again he was just as much of's go with "pig," shall we? The only other villain that springs to mind at the moment I despised as much as him is Uriah Heep, and I really don't know that I might hate Alec a tiny bit more. And after all of that, he got a knife through the heart while he slept, thinking himself so victorious in having finally brought Tess back under his thumb. He deserved it, but he deserved more than that!

Onto Angel Clare, the bloody be fair, he did love Tess after all and when it came down to it, he didn't blame her for Alec's actions or hate her for keeping the secret from him. But come on, man, you should have figured that out sooner! What is wrong with you?! You could have saved everyone, including your devoted wife, SO much heartache if you hadn't been such an obtuse moron! I started out liking Angel a bit (or at least, he was heaps and bunches more appealing than that turd Alec), then as I said, I spent a great deal of the book furious at him, his principles he abandoned in the blink of an eye, and his stupidity. Did you really have to run off to Brazil and just ditch the woman you made yourself responsible for? Everything she did, she did for love of you! You idiot!

All right, methinks it's best if I move on...

Tess herself was a tricky one to pin down feelings for. She was steady and devoted and pure, in spite of everything she'd been through, and I loved her for that. She was proud, self-sacrificing to the point of masochism, and she laid down her spirit in deference to her husband when she would have done better to give him the what-for, and I could have clocked her for that. Yet everything she did, she did for love of Angel. She tried to refuse him at first to avoid defaming him, she finally confessed to her history with Alec because she couldn't stand to lie to him, and she did her best to deter Alec's renewed advances out of loyalty to Angel even after he'd left her. She ultimately died for love of Angel, if you think about it. To rid herself of Alec and wholly attach herself to her husband, she committed murder and was put to death. While I cried as I read the last few pages, I still felt so relieved for her, because at last she was free of her misery and torment, knowing those few days of happiness with the man she loved and who (FINALLY!) loved her in return.

I loved Thomas Hardy's use of language throughout, his imagery and symbolism. My favorites were "A field-man is a personality afield; a field-woman is a portion of the field; she has somehow lost her own margin; imbibed the essence of her surrounding, and assimilated herself with it." That suited Tess perfectly, and I connected with that part. There was also "The greater the sinner, the greater the saint; it was not necessary to dive far into Christian history to discover that." Paul the apostle comes to mind, but as this was spoken in reference to Alec d'Urberville, the whopping pile of dung he is, this smacks of irony and hypocrisy. Boy, he must have made an impressive cleric, if a brief one! Best one of all, "'How can I pray for you,' she said, 'when I am forbidden to believe that the great Power who moves the world would alter His plans on my account?'" Oh, SNAP! Does she forgive that fantastic sinner? I don't think so! Every heroine deserves a "You go, girl!" moment, and that one was Tess's.

To wrap this up, it was a heart-wrenching read and one of the saddest I've read recently, but oh my, did I love it. The money I paid for this one was money well spent! (But I'll admit, it would be nice to get a brand-new copy when this one wears that hasn't been scribbled all over by the previous owner...)

Your humble book nerd,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Randomness 17

More YouTube stalking...don't give me that look! I was watching videos of my favorite routines from So You Think You Can Dance, one of the best shows EVER, and decided "Heck, why not pass some on? I've got nothing better to do!"

Chelsea and Mark - hip hop ("Bleeding Love")

Katee and Twitch - contemporary ("Mercy")
 The famous door routine!

Courtney and Mark - jazz ("The Garden")

 Kayla and Kupono - contemporary ("Gravity")

Lacey and Kameron - contemporary ("Dancing")
I missed this one when it first aired, but a friend recommended it to me, and now I can't stop watching it!

Charlotte and Matt - jazz ("Relax")
 I saw the original routine over here in the States, but I like this performance better.

Lacey and Danny - samba ("Hip Hip Chin Chin")

Sabra and Neil - jazz ("Sweet Dreams Are Made of This")
 The Emmy-winning table routine!

Now for my top three faves of all time...

Will and Jessica - contemporary ("Silence")

Allison and Ivan - contemporary ("Why")

Jeanine and Jason - contemporary ("If It Kills Me")

I really could spend hours and hours watching and posting more of these, but I'll leave you with what I've got here. Toodles!

Your pal,

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Had to Share This 23

Clear back in July I was railing on about how I was going to post a review for Notre Dame de Paris. Now here we are in September, and nada. *facepalm* Gonna have to watch that again to let it sink in a bit more. In the meantime, I thought I'd pass on my favorite song from the show, topping even "Belle".

Well, "Danse Mon Esmeralda" was stunning, so I'll say one of my favorites.

"Tu Vas Me Detruire" ("You Will Destroy Me")

I'm also in love with the English version!

"Your Love Will Kill Me"

(When I typed that one into the search bar, one of the top videos on the list was the Phantom of the Opera vid that turned me onto the English translation in the first place...tee hee.)

Your pal,

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Felt Like Being Goofy

And couldn't think up a suitable post...So I've got more stupid pictures for ya.

All right, so maybe that last one's not stupid, but I threw it in anyway. Deal with it.

Your pal,

Friday, September 7, 2012

Character of the Month - September 2012

I missed last month...whoops. Anyway, here we go! This month's character is...drum roll, please!

*drum roll*

Raoul, the Vicomte de Chagny (The Phantom of the Opera)

 Ha HA! Bet you didn't see THAT one coming! It seems to me that dear Raoul is browbeaten far too often by the more...erm...enthusiastic phangirls, and that's just not fair! So, I'm about to commit the unpardonable sin, considered by some a capital offense.

I'm about to defend him.

Come on, what's wrong with Raoul? Sure, you get the versions where he's unappealing at best and complete trash at worst, but when he's in character, he's a great guy! No matter what the version, he's perfectly ready to risk his life to save Christine from Erik, despite how little he knows about his adversary. He's kind, sweet, honest, dependable...and yes, he has his faults.

Take Leroux's novel, for instance. When it looks like Christine is playing him for a sap, he lashes out at her and wants never to see her again. While this used to make me spitting mad, I have to feel his pain now. How might you feel if you thought the one you love was lying to you and toying around with your heart? And be honest! Yet despite this, he still runs off to her rescue and nearly dies in the attempt. Does this bother him? No! His only concern is for Christine's safety. Something else that usually gets the Raoul-bashers' dander up: how he looks at his engagement to Christine as disgraceful for one in his position. Let's be honest, by society's standards, he's marrying beneath him. BUT--does it stop him? No! He loves her, really loves her, and that's the end of it!

I'll admit, though, my favorite interpretation of the character is through Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical (a bit ironic, since it was Webber who first trashed him in a professional setting in Love Never Dies). How can that be, you ask? Webber!Raoul is just a cardboard, stereotyped Prince Charming! Let me favorite interpretations of the character, period, are the performances given by Patrick Wilson and Hadley Fraser, termed by some as the fop and the jerk. What's up with the name-calling? Both actors made me not only respect Raoul, but actually (gasp!) like him! There's nothing Raoul wouldn't do for Christine, and these two made that obvious. He tried to do what he thought was right by everyone and wasn't afraid to stand up to the Phantom, even call him out! Everything that makes every other Erik-lover hate on Raoul is something I've come to regard as another reason to love on him some more. There, I said it!

In the realms of fan fiction, however...well, like I said, the poor guy gets trashed. Even reaching back before Love Never Dies, Susan Kay dealt him a raw hand in Phantom. He did all he could for Christine, the love of his life, and did it matter? No sirree, it did not! She was grateful to him and tried to be a "dutiful wife," but after all the hell he went through for her sake, she just didn't love him. *sniff* I'll say this for Ms. Kay, though, she didn't drag his character through the dirt in order to have her E/C ending. She kept him noble to the end. Brava!

If Raoul must be downplayed, I prefer to exploit faults he already has. No drunken, wife-beating, gambling butthead for me, thank you! I'll take him with an extra shot of Leroux arrogance, Webber hotheadedness, and his universal knack for being the "hero." Work with what's already there, peeps! Work with what's already there!

So there it is. I'm crazy enough to want to throw myself at the feet of a middle-aged, antisocial, homicidal, sexually frustrated, reclusive sociopath who needs to see a shrink himself. And I've still got a lot of love for his rival. No shame!

Your pal,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Randomness 16

Eh, just throwing one out here. Enjoy.

Sean Morey - The Man Song

Found that a few years ago and thought it was pretty funny.

Your pal,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reviews From an HBN (Blood of the Fold - Terry Goodkind)

Book three of the Sword of Truth series

When Richard Cypher's odyssey began nobody could have imagined where his adventure would lead. Overcoming personal tragedy and becoming the Seeker, wielder of the magical Sword of Truth, Richard defeated the megalomaniacal wizard Darken Rahl and fell in love with Kahlan Amnell, who, as the Mother Confessor, wields considerable magic in her own right and presides over the Midlands, dealing justice in disputes both large and small throughout her land. The Blood of the Fold, a group of fanatical anti-magic zealots, have joined the forces thwarted by Richard and Kahlan. They are the unwitting pawns of a sorcerous evil from the Old World, a realm that has been magically sealed for thousands of years. Richard, Kahlan, and their allies now face the combined might of two worlds - the old and the new. This stunning confrontation threatens an armageddon of unimaginable proportions unless Richard and Kahlan can believe in the power of their love and their faith in the Truth.

My review as posted on GoodReads:


Terry Goodkind needs to get himself a better editor...

Apart from that, this one was MUCH better than Stone of Tears. The plot still wandered, but it got back under control in time for a much more exciting, much more detailed climax. This one would still be a 3.5 by my reckoning, but again, the good stuff was just that good. You'll notice, though, that this time I rounded up.

Two things that are becoming an annoying trend in this series are the oh-so-convenient prophecies being made left and right, and the even-more-convenient Wizard's Rules that are revealed at the most useful of times. I've got it pegged like this: Wizard's First Rule, People are Stupid (first book following how Richard and Darken Rahl worked to deceive each other to gain victory), Wizard's Second Rule, The greatest harm can result from the best intentions (in trying to defeat Darken Rahl, Richard nearly set loose the Keeper), and Wizard's Third Rule, Passion rules reason (everyone and his pet dog's emotions lead them into disasters that could have been avoided had they stopped to think things through). My take on it is that the rules establish the theme, and the instant the rule of focus for a particular book is revealed, the whole story becomes predictable.

It would be easier on me if I didn't like other parts so much. Gratch and the Mord-Sith are high on my list, for one thing. I could have done without a few subplots, or at least I think the way they were handled could have been better, but as it was I thought it dragged through the parts narrating Tobias Brogan and Emperor Jagang. They were both nasty characters, but Goodkind could have gotten so much more mileage out of them as villains. (Unless he ended up using that as a window to cram some more rape and torture in there, in which case they're best left as they are. We get it, man, they're the bad guys. Quit ramming it down our throats.)

The movers and shakers keep moving around, as well. First book, the focus was on Richard. Second, it was more on Kahlan. This time, most of the story was about Ann, Nathan, and Verna. And it's weird, but whenever Goodkind narrows in on any particular character, the rest are made less appealing, even if they were awesome in previous installments. It's like he just stops trying to make everyone grow along with the series. *cough*Richard!*cough* Character development is key, but come on, you have to balance it out! If there are too many people running around to give them a fair voice, then someone has to get cut! This is where a better editor is called for!

Yet for all the complaining I'm doing, I'm still giving this one four stars. That's non-negotiable. It was predictable, occasionally sluggish, and just perplexing--not always in a good way--but what I liked, I loved. Take it or leave it

Your humble book nerd,

Monday, September 3, 2012

Artist of the Month - September 2012

I'm a few days late...what of it?

*drum roll*


As it turns out, to get the better music career, you have to be voted off American Idol. Apart from three winning contestants, all the runners-up have had a better time of it! Take Chris Daughtry, for example. He was one of my favorites on the only other season I followed (aside from David Cook's year), and came in fourth, yet he's the third most successful contestant to date after Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood...and those gals came in first, so he's not done shabby! He landed a record deal and formed the band called, you guessed it, Daughtry. The group has released three albums since their inception, with their debut being the fastest selling rock album in Soundscan history. Holy cow! They've been touring constantly for about five years now, and Chris and Co. have co-written most of their songs with some pretty huge names in modern rock, ranging from Rob Thomas to Chad Kroeger to Tyler Connolly. Well played, boys!


As always, I've chosen my personal favorite to showcase directly in the post. To be honest, though, I've had to choose and re-choose favorites from this group from the get-go. They're that good! (Well, at least I think so...) Plus, this song is kind of fitting for this month, and I'm editing this post to make that statement because I only just noticed it.

Feels Like Tonight
What About Now
No Surprise
Over You

Happy listening!

Your pal,