Monday, March 20, 2017

Blogiversary Numéro Deux // All the promised sappy and reminiscent stuff

Quartzfeather is two, can you believe it? I can't. I don't even know where to begin... I've been blogging for two years, Quartzfeather has been a part of this world for two years. I can't imagine a life without Quartzfeather anymore, can't imagine a life without the online bookish community. So much has changed over the last two years, but at the same time, so much hasn't.

Quartzfeather has gone through many, many changes.

It's practically unrecognizable from the little blog that popped up two years ago on this day. It's had a name change, a url change, a blog topic change, multiple design changes (thank god... if you've been here from the beginning, you know how much of a pink monstrosity Quartzfeather used to be. To be honest, it still kinda is, but it's a less embarrassing pink monstrosity. Though, who knows, in two years I might be writing a blog post about how terrible my current design is. Haha, okay, this is getting too long so I'll cut it off here....), and countless other minuscule changes that I'm too lazy to mention.

I'm happy with where my blog is today, it's evolution, though not always beautiful, was a wonderful thing to experience.

(Yes, even it's awkward teenager phase, where it wasn't quite sure what it was.) Quartzfeather has become a huge part of my life and a huge part of me as a person, I have met so many amazing people, discovered so many awesome authors, and fangirled over so many phenomenal books because of it, because of you.

To the people who read my blog... thank you, thank you, thank you so very, very much.

I still can't believe that people read my posts, that people take the time out of their day to leave a comment. Comments, oh comments, those lovely things. Every single time I open my inbox and see a little comment notification sitting there, my heart fills with so much joy, and my face splits into such a broad smile.

To everyone who reads my blog, to Molly, to Tasya, to Mahriya, to Jord, to Lori, to Geraldine, and to anyone I had the ineptness to miss, thank you, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I am so grateful for every single one of you, and I hope to continue with you on this journey for many, many years to come.

continue reading

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Diversity for the Win! // Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway

First things first, let's talk about the glorious amount of diversity Queens of Geek has. Charlie is Chinese-Australian (when it was first mentioned, I literally squealed. Finding characters who share my cultural heritage is rather rare, unfortunately), plus she's also bisexual! (I've seen an increase in the amount of novels that include gay and lesbian characters recently, but sadly, very few bisexual ones so far. PS: If you have any recs leave 'em in the comments please.)

Synopsis & Details:

When BFFs Charlie, Taylor and Jamie go to SupaCon, they know it’s going to be a blast. What they don’t expect is for it to change their lives forever. Charlie likes to stand out. SupaCon is her chance to show fans she’s over her public breakup with co-star, Jason Ryan. When Alyssa read more... Huntington arrives as a surprise guest, it seems Charlie’s long-time crush on her isn’t as one-sided as she thought.

While Charlie dodges questions about her personal life, Taylor starts asking questions about her own. Taylor likes to blend in. Her brain is wired differently, making her fear change. And there’s one thing in her life she knows will never change: her friendship with Jamie—no matter how much she may secretly want it to. But when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest, she starts to rethink her rules on playing it safe.

Title: Queens of Geek
Series: N/A
Author: Jen Wilde
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, YA
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Swoon Reads and Xpresso Blog Tours!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

Taylor, our other main character, is on the Autism Spectrum.

She has Asperger's, which affects one's ability to socialize and communicate. The third guy in the trio, Jamie, is of hispanic descent. I didn't know about any of this going into the book, so it was a wonderful and welcome surprise.

Queens of Geek was a fairly effortless and quick read.

I picked it up while attending a Chinese New Year celebration and had pretty much finished 50% of the book by the night's end. I'm not sure if it's just me (and my overthinking brain), but I'm getting the nagging feeling that effortless is a bit of an odd descriptor to use in a review, so I'm gonna lay down a quick explanation.... Recently, I've been reading a lot of books that are rather prosey and purpley, and with that type of writing, I typically have to reread some sentences a couple times before they actually make sense and settle in. I love a good, beautifully written book as much as the next person, but occasionally it gets tiring, so a light fluffy read, like Queens of Geek, was exactly what I needed.

There were definitely a couple of shortcomings though, particularly with characterization.

While Charlie and Taylor did get a couple good moments of development here and there, pretty much all of the characters ended up feeling rather flat, and consequently, the romantic relationships also came off as a bit underdeveloped. In my opinion, the romances moved a little too quickly, we just didn't have enough time to get to know the characters before we jumped into the relationships.

On the other hand, the POVs were fairly distinct.

I don't recall ever having to check who's chapter was who's while reading (which I generally have to do a lot due to my poor memory). The two narrators, Charlie and Taylor, both had clear and easily distinguishable voices.

Queens of Geek also touched on some pretty interesting issues by tackling the flip side of fame.

Being famous notoriously comes with a lack of privacy, something which we see Charlie, a rising star as a result of her role in the indie hit "The Rising" (ha), deal with countless times throughout the novel. Her fans, while generally well meaning, also stir up some trouble. The fandom fervently ships her with her co-star, Jason Ryan, a boy she wants nothing do with as a result of their nasty and very public breakup. While the fandom desperately wants them to get back together, Charlie couldn't want it less. This leads to some conflict between her and some of her fans.

Fandom references are to be expected, after all this is a novel that takes place in a convention, and it's literally titled "Queens of Geek."

The references fit in well with the story and don't feel forced at all, thank thor (brownie points if you can name the fandom). However, I must admit that many of them went over my head, like at least two miles above my head. Though, the ones I did get were extremely enjoyable (hey, I'm but a simple fangirl, mention my fandom and I shall screech in delight).

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

So, what fandoms are you in? I bet you all know which ones I'm in... I'm pretty obvious when it comes to my obsessions.
continue reading

Friday, March 10, 2017

An Early Blogiversary Giveaway // Win a Free Blog Design from Yours Truly

Win a Free Blog Design From Yours Truly Remember Quartzfeather's first blogiversary where I gave away a free custom blog design? Well I'm doing it again! Quartzfeather's second blogiversary isn't technically till the 20th of this month, however, I decided to host the giveaway a bit early, since next week is spring break, meaning I'll have more time to work on the winner's blog design. (All the sappy and reminiscent stuff will be in a separate post, don't worry I didn't forget.)

If you'd like to see some of my web design work, check out my portfolio.

I've also been working on my (hopefully) first premade blog design, Classic Nelly. If you'd like to explore it, here's its test site. I'm think about looking for some beta testers soon, they'd get the theme for free on the condition that they provide some feedback. If your interested leave a comment down below and we'll see what comes of it.

Here's a quick screencap of Classic Nelly in case you're interested:

Classic Nelly Theme Screencap

Moving on, here's the giveaway rules:

(follow them or else... haha, ignore my weird sense of humor.)

  • Your platform must be Blogger (sorry Wordpress people, but I'm Wordpress illiterate).
  • You must have a blog/website of some sort, or at least one planned for launch.
  • If any graphics requiring purchase are used in the design, they will be purchased by you.
  • Also, keep in mind, I'm not creating a new template, just a design.

And finally, the giveaway...

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What would your dream blog design look like? What color scheme would you choose?
continue reading

Monday, March 6, 2017

Birthdays & AP Qualifiers, Perhaps Not the Best Combination // Quartz Gazette January & February 2017

Quartz Gazette January & February February was that month, the one where I get older in the eyes of society thanks to the Gregorian calendar (jeesh self... I'm only 15, I shouldn't be this cynical already). I didn't pay my birthday that much mind this year (well aside from the mini Cassidy-mandatory freak-out session), mainly because the crazy-scary AP Human Geo qualifier I had the next day.

I wouldn't call it the hardest test I've ever taken...

(that honor goes to the SAT, no questions asked), but it's certainly up there. All the questions were multiple choice (thank god), but the multiple choice where they give you three right answers and you have to pick the best one (you know, everyone's favorite).

I was so stressed out during the entire thing, and was, of course, sorely regretting not studying more.

And that wasn't even the real test, only the qualifier, which determines whether the district pays for your test or not. My teacher has already assured us that the qualifier was much easier than the actual test *sweats at the thought*. In the end I qualified, but man was I a mess when we were getting told our scores, thought I was gonna throw-up.

One last very exciting thing happened in the last two months, I purchased a custom domain!!!

I'd been meaning to buy one for a really long time, and it became one of those things where you always mean to do it, but at the same time, it never feels like it'll actually happen cause it never does (catch my drift?). After connecting the domain with Quartzfeather, I spent a whole hour tussling with Disqus and Bloglovin trying to transfer all my comments and followers over (why can't Disqus's Blogger sync just work properly???), in the end, I spent less time actually buying the domain (which took like 30 seconds) than I did messing with 3rd-party stuff.

Books Read in January & February

(click on the titles to read the complete reviews)

Covers of the Books Read in January and February

Front Lines // First book of 2017 YAY! Anyways I quite enjoyed Front Lines, it was an interest look into World War II. I haven't looked much into either world war, even though I am a massive history nerd, mostly due to my dislike of wars, so I can't say for sure [...]

Extraordinary Means // I don't know how to feel about this book... On one hand I really loved the story, it just felt so genuine, and so so real. Lane was pretty relatable, especially with his drive to get into a good university. Overall I'd say he was [...]

Pride and Prejudice // I have been, for quite awhile, meaning to read a novel by Jane Austen, and as I have heard so terribly much about Mr. Darcy, I was very much inclined to pick up Pride and Prejudice first. I am pleased to say that this novel has in [...]

The Diabolic // (I was too lazy to write out a review, so enjoy this list...) Thoughts: swoony romance, amazing, well-rounded characters, some great clever plot twists (couldn't predict them all), an amazing setting and world, beautiful writing, was a bit gory [...]

The Best We Could Do // Told in a gorgeous and heartfelt way, The Best We Could Do is a timely story about the hardships refugees face, and how the effects of war can last generations. As the novel delves into her parents' backgrounds, we also get to see [...]

Covers of the Books Read in January and February

Blood for Blood // It's entirely possible that this judgment is a result of overly fond memories, and the fact that I've simply gotten picker since reading the first book, but, in my opinion, Blood for Blood wasn't quite as good as Wolf by Wolf. The story drags [...]

Queens of Geek // (Preview) First things first, let's talk about the glorious amount of diversity Queens of Geek has. Charlie is Chinese-Australian (when it was first mentioned I literally squealed. Finding characters who share my cultural heritage is [...]

Avatar: The Last Airbender // It's awful good to see some old faces again, now just to wait for Zuko to show up.... This issue delves further into the traditional culture vs. modernization conflict that was established in the first installment. It's an [...]

Wires and Nerve: Volume 1 // (Preview) I should've been writing an essay for English, but instead I decided to wisely spend my time reading Wires and Nerve. I told myself I'd only read a page or two, but that quickly became the entire book. I just [...]

By Your Side // I had some concerns about By Your Side, mainly because of the many not so positive reviews that came flooding in, but it turns out there was nothing to worry about, I loved this one. I still have yet to meet a Kasie West book I don't adore to [...]

Shows & Movies Watched in January & February

(click on the titles to read the complete reviews or see the trailers)

Shows Watched in January and February

Voltron: Legendary Defender (Season #2) // All 13 episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2, were released simultaneously, as is the practice with all Netflix originals, this, of course, resulted in copious binging on my part. I watched all 5 [...]

Dragons: Race to the Edge (Season #4) // It was so great to see the gang again, the twins, as usual, were comedy gold, Viggo and Hiccup continued to duke it out, brain cell vs. brain cell, and of course, we got new dragons! All in all a great season, especially since (view spoiler)we got so much damn Hiccstrid, I mean it was about time!!! In relatively unrelated news, How to Train Your Dragon 3's release date recently got moved back one year, from 2018 to 2019 *pouts*.

Steven Universe (Season #4) // I hate to say it, but the most recent Steven Universe episode (at the time of me writing this) wasn't that great *cough* Rocknaldo *cough*. Ronaldo has never been my favorite character, and this episode did nothing to help my sentiments, in fact, it only further strengthened my dislike. Though, the rest of the episodes were fantastic; The Zoo further expanded the world of Steven Universe, always a positive, and Storm the Room broke everyone's heart into a million tiny pieces.

Star vs. the Forces of Evil (Season #2) // The second season of Star vs. got off to a bit of a rocky start, but it eventually began picking up steam, and the finale... that finale was certainly something. (view spoiler)I still can't believe that Star actually confessed to Marco, it was such a surprise! I don't have any strong feelings about the SVTFOE ships though, so I don't really care what the endgame is, but I'm eager to see how this plotline will unfold. Also TOFFEE, motherfucking Toffee is back and ready to claim his finger.... Speaking of him, Moon was so kick-ass this season, my love for her only grows. I can't wait for Season 3, SVTFOE is going somewhere great, I just know it....

Best Quotes from January & February

(some random quotes that I've taken a liking to)

  • This Above All And I think about the nature of censorship, of being told which way of thinking or being is acceptable and which way is not. And how sweeping something (say, gay students) under the rug or pretending they don’t exist won’t make it go away.
  • Wires and Nerve: Volume 1 Forgive me, Your Majesty. I'll attempt to enliven my temperament.
  • My Lady Jane After all, G knew from Edward’s pre-wedding talk, the one that went something like, “Hurt my cousin and I’ll kill you, even if I’m dead,” that Edward loved Jane, and maybe in more than a cousin kind of way.
  • Queens of Geek "If he messes with your head, I’ll mess with his face."
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender (Season #2) "It takes more than a glowing alien wound, a fall from the upper atmosphere, and crashing into a hard pan surface, at what I'm guessing is about 25 meters per second squared, to get rid of me."

Bookstagrams of January & February

(photos link to my instagram: @quartzfeathers)

Bookstagram Photos from January and February 2017

Words Discovered in January & February

(all the fantastically long & whimsically obscure words I've found)

  • Bellicose adjective; demonstrating aggression and willingness to fight.
  • Frisson noun; a sudden strong feeling of excitement or fear; a thrill.
  • Polysemy noun; the coexistence of many possible meanings for a word or phrase.
  • Homonymy noun; the relation between words with identical forms but different meanings.
  • Sessile adjective; (of an organism, e.g., a barnacle) fixed in one place; immobile.

Interesting Links from Around the Web

(posts & videos I'd like to share with y'all)

  • TED-Ed Since the Chinese Lunar New Year was in February, here's a little video about the the myth behind the Chinese Zodiacs.
  • Goodreads This is not a drill, I repeat this is not a drill, Goodreads finally introduced a function that let's you record rereads! *cheers*
  • Everything, Everything The trailer for the Everything, Everything movie was released, and it's okay. I'm not all to interested in seeing the film honestly, though, I'm rather disappointed that the mother isn't Asian like she is in the book.
  • Teen Blogger Awards If you might be so inclined, I would be absolutely delighted if you dropped me a little nomination over at the Teen Blogger Awards... #selfpromo.... *laughs nervously in the background*

Well, that's a wrap on my week late Jan-Feb recap... How has 2017 treated you so far?
continue reading

Monday, February 20, 2017

Beating Zarkon's Arse in Amazing Animated Shows Since 2016 // Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2 Review

Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2 Review All 13 episodes of Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2, were released simultaneously, as is the practice with all Netflix originals, this, of course, resulted in copious binging on my part. I watched all 5 hours of the new season in two sittings, cause what social life, am I right?

Synopsis & Details:

For millennia, the evil Galra empire has plagued the universe by destroying other civilizations and enslaving various races. The only known threat strong enough against the empire's power and plans is the legendary "Defender of the Universe" Voltron, a 100 meter tall robot warrior read more... composed of five lion mechas whose pilots are known as the Paladins.

At the crux of the war that ended with the destruction of planet Altea, Voltron was separated by King Alfor of Altea in order to protect Voltron from falling into the Galran Emperor Zarkon's possession. King Alfor bonded the five lion's energies to his daughter Allura's life force and sent them across the universe to different locations until the time for the next generation of Paladins to appear and pilot Voltron arrived. Princess Allura, her retainer Coran, and the Altean Castle of Lions were hidden on planet Arus along with the Black Lion.

In the present, the Galra Empire's path of conquest and search for Voltron has led them to Earth's solar system. A group of space pilots – Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk – discover the Blue Lion and immediately get swept up into the Galran War. They meet Princess Allura, become the next Paladins, and reunite the five lions to form Voltron and combat Emperor Zarkon's nefarious schemes, with the hopes of ultimately defeating the entire Galra Empire

Title: Voltron: Legendary Defender
Season: #2
Director(s): Joaquim Dos Santos, Lauren Montgomery
Studio: Dreamworks
Release Date: January 20th 2017
Genres: Sci-fi, Fantasy

If you follow me on Twitter (or perhaps even on my elusive, fandom devoted, Tumblr), then you've no doubt seen me yakking on about Voltron.

It's quite safe to say, I am completely obsessed with this show....

If you aren't currently suffering through recollections of my clambering fangirlyness, and still have no clue what Voltron is, or *gasp* haven't seen the first season, then check out my post on 4 Beautifully Addictive TV Shows for Every Lover of Animation, as it includes a mini review of Voltron Season 1.

Man, I thought the first season was brilliant, but Season 2 really blew it out of the water.

The animation was, once again, absolutely breathtaking, I mean just look at some of these screencaps:

Pidge in the trash nebula The Teleduv postioned above Zarkon's Command Ship Planet Olkarion Xanthorium clusters near the Blade of Marmora Communications Base Thaldycon Ice covered planet inhabited by mermaid-like aliens

Studio Mir, the company that animates Voltron, should be rather familiar to a lot of animation fans, as they also handled most episodes of The Legend of Korra. Though, that isn't the only similarity these two shows share. The executive producers, Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, along with many other members of the Voltron production crew, have previously worked on Korra, and it's predecessor, Avatar: The Last Airbender.

To have either of these shows on your resume is impressive, as they are both considered to be among the best animated works of the 21st century. So, basically, you can expect a great show from these guys.

As with the first season, the plot is heavily serialized, in fact, it's even more evident this time around.

Season 2 also moves at a much brisker pace, a lot happens, many crucial elements are introduced, and we see some serious development with both the characters and the world.

At times it almost felt like too much was happening, there were so many new details, new reveals, that my head got a bit muddled.

However, this is mostly my fault, for, you know, binging the entire thing (a quick rewatch should fix everything). Honestly, this isn't really a bad thing to be complaining about anyways, I'd even venture to say that it's sort of a good thing? After all, I've always been that person begging for stronger plots in these types of shows.

Season 1 focused on introducing the main characters, establishing the villain, and building the world, the usual stuff.

This time, the story mostly centers around Keith and Shiro, their connection, and their pasts.

As a result, some of the other main characters are neglected a bit, but not in a way that was particularly noticeable or detrimental to my enjoyment of the show.

The world, which was nicely set up in the previous season, is greatly expanded on in Season 2. (How many times can one girl use the word season? So far 13 times and counting.) We learn more about the Galra, the main baddy, Zarkon, and a little bit about the backstory of everyone's favorite five-cat robot, Voltron.

Many more planets are introduced, and with them, intriguing new cultures and characters.

I took quite a liking to most of the new species/races/peoples (I don't know what to call them???). One of my favorites is the mermaids (I mean they're mermaids, what else could you ask for?). I would love to delve further into their amazingness, but that'd be encroaching on spoiler territory, unfortunately. While some of these new species were a bit subpar, the majority were fresh, unique, and utterly awesome. The universe of Voltron has never felt vaster.

The Blue Lion and a mermaid

The second season's story takes a much darker turn than I was expecting,

but the rather serious storylines are always accompanied by a more light-hearted counterpart, so it never gets "too dark" (don't worry it's still suitable for children). The balance between serious and comedic is generally well handled, but, at times, the switching of tone did feel a bit jarring.

Speaking of comedic, I utterly adore the humor in this season.

There are so many gloriously funny quotes, that can really only be truly enjoyed in context. Though, I'm still gonna share some with y'all (my Texan's showing), cause what type of cruel person would I be if I kept these gems to myself.

Here's my favorite, cause, you know, snarky and nerdy Shiro is the best:

"It takes more than a glowing alien wound, a fall from the upper atmosphere, and crashing into a hard pan surface, at what I'm guessing is about 25 meters per second squared, to get rid of me."Shiro (2.1)

Some Hunk of course (he got so many great lines this time! I would share more, but *spoilers*):

"Quit back lion Driving!" Hunk (2.11)

And we can never leave out some good ol' Klance Keith and Lance banter:

"You know I hate to agree with Keith, but it's a big fat ditto for me."Lance (2.3)

Personally, I don't feel like any characters really got any serious development this season.

Sure, we found out more about Shiro, and especially Keith (with him being the "mystery child" and all), but I don't think either of them were necessarily fleshed out anymore. As for the rest of the crew, no character development really came their way either, much to my dismay.

Honestly, in my opinion, Season 2 was mostly about further expanding the world and setting up the political climate of the universe (is that the right word???), so hopefully we'll see more character development in future episodes.

There's one last thing I'd like to hit, and that is the music, seriously, someone give me that soundtrack already....

(At the time of me writing this post, there hasn't been any news on a Season 2 soundtrack release, though, hopefully, that's changed.) Voltron's music isn't particularly flashy, but I adore it, it's so beautiful, and fits the show/mood perfectly, plus it has just the right amount of spacey, sci-fiy, giant roboty, vibes (adjectives have abandoned me). My absolute favorite song so far is Suppose to Be My Lion, which plays when Pidge first finds the Green Lion in the first season. If there's one song you need in your life, it's that one.

All in all, Voltron: Legendary Defender Season 2 really helped strengthen the franchise.

It had a captivating and well written story, and while there were a couple faults, they are more than a little forgivable. If you've seen the first season, than Season 2 is a must see, and if you haven't seen any Voltron, what are you wait for??? Here's a link to the show on Netflix to help you begin your descent into the hell hole that is obsession get started....

A lot of the time, fan theories are a bit... well... absurd, and consequently, I typically don't give them that much weight, though, I still find some of them to be quite enjoyable.

So, when the fandom started with the whole "Keith is Galra" business, I didn't really think too hard about it.

I mean, I liked the theory, it was interesting and offered a lot of neat possibilities, but, at the same time, a lot of other similar theories were going around, such as Altean!Lance, that, in my opinion, aren't even in the plausible ball park (but hey you never know, I could be very wrong). I ended up just lumping them all, along with Galra!Keith, into the fandom crack category, and thereby not giving any of them much mind.

After rewatching the first season, I did start to pay a bit more attention to the theory,

as there was some stuff that pointed to the possibility of Keith being Galra, but I still wasn't entirely convinced, as I could've just as easily been grasping at straws.

But then the show hit us with this:

The only way this is possible is if Galra blood runs through your veins.

Keith is Galra, Keith is part Galra, I repeat, Galra!Keith is canon. As you can see, I totally didn't overreact to this information *distant screaming*.

Looking back, the hints were definitely there.

First off, there's Keith's ability to operate Galra tech (none of the other non-Galrans were shown to have that ability), then there's Zarkon telling Keith "You fight like a Galra soldier," and of course, the infamous, purple-hand-burning, scene in Collection and Extraction, which was probably the most convincing piece of evidence. Either way, I'm definitely gonna be paying more heed to fan theories in the future.

As for how the huge character reveal was handled, I have some mixed feelings.

The dynamic between Keith and Allura after the reveal was really interesting, it explored racism (speciesism?) and whether, perhaps, it's justified to a certain extent sometimes. I understood Allura's reaction, after all the Galra did kill her family, decimate her entire race, and destroy her planet, but, at the same time, it's completely unfair to judge some simply based off their race and/or ancestry.

Allura's reaction could've been handled a bit better.

Her outright ignoring Keith once she discovered he was Galra, just made me feel extremely uncomfortable, though maybe that was the intention? There's also the matter of Hunk's possibly casual racism, in case you're interested, here's a great video by ShippersGuideToTheGalaxy tackling the topic.

Apparently the Voltron staff likes keeping Shiro in perpetual possible death mode.

They had the entire fandom in turmoil with the little "Keith, if I don't make it out of here I want you to lead Voltron" line in the trailer, and now Shiro's gone off and disappeared. Though, I will admit that I'm a bit curious and excited with the possibility of Keith piloting the Black Lion. Also, Lotor is a-coming, a fact which caused the entire fandom to descend into chaos, with people already shipping Lance and Lotor or as the fandom has already dubbed the ship, Lancelot (no comment).

The Olkari are by far my favorite species of all the ones that have been introduced so far.

Their civilization, their engineering abilities, their connection to nature *sparkly eyes* so coollll... (I suppose I am a bit of a Pidge after all). I couldn't figure out how to fit these into the post, but I still want to share them, so I'll leave them here:

The first appearance of the Olkari The Olkarion City in the Woods

Before I go, I'm just gonna share some new (very exciting) information....

According to this photo, from this Toyark post, we're getting Season 3 in September of this year (start the countdown!!!), and at least 54 more episodes, which is 78 episodes in total, meaning 6 seasons of Voltron!!! *cue loud fangirling* Please feel more than free to come scream with me about Voltron on my Twitter, Instagram, or in the comments below.

Anyways, I'm off to re-binge Season 2:

Rating: 5/5 Stars

That was probably the longest post I've ever written.... (My hands are so tired.) Anyways, have you seen Voltron? What Lion would you pilot?
continue reading

Monday, February 13, 2017

It's My Birthday + Some Weird Little Reflections

I'm 15 today, and it's honestly a bit hard to believe. This birthday really crept up on me, I've been really busy lately, and I suppose I just haven't put much thought into the fact that I'd actually be turning 15 today.

That 15, the one that means I'll be going to college in 3 more years, the one that means I'm already halfway through my freshman year of high school. Age is a funny thing, our perception of it is forever changing. Ages I have yet to reach look so distant, so unfathomable, but once I've reach them, they feel so normal, so regular, both young and old at the same time.

I remember a time when high school seemed so foreign, such a large, scary, thing in my future, but now I'm a high school student, and I go to a high school everyday, it's normal, though, sometime I still have little freak-outs about how close I am to college and leaving home. Haha, I'm not sure where I wanted to go with this piece, if I ever really wanted to go anywhere, anyways, by the time you read this I'll be 15, what an odd thought.
continue reading

Monday, January 30, 2017

4 Beautifully Addictive TV Shows for Every Lover of Animation

4 Addictive TV Shows for Every Lover of Animation Here at Quartzfeather, when I'm not talking about books, I'm talking about animation. So my sweet peas it's once again time to endure my animation babble. (I have a weird habit of calling everyone sweet pea/sweetie/honey. Not sure where it came from, it's a persistent and repetitive habit that often earns me odd looks when it slips out in a convo with one of my peers.)


Voltron: Legendary Defender

For millennia, the evil Galra Empire has plagued the universe by conquering planets and destroying their inhabitants. The only known threat to the empire's power and plans is the legendary "Defender of the Universe" Voltron, a 100 meter tall robot warrior composed of five lion mechas whose pilots are known as the Paladins. At the crux of the war that ended with the destruction of planet Altea, Voltron was read more... separated by King Alfor of Altea in order to protect Voltron from falling into the Galran Emperor Zarkon's possession. King Alfor bonded the five lion's energies to his daughter Allura's life force and sent them across the universe to different locations until the time for the next generation of Paladins to appear and pilot Voltron arrived. Princess Allura, her retainer Coran, and the Altean Castle of Lions were hidden on planet Arus along with the Black Lion.

In the present, the Galra Empire's path of conquest and search for Voltron has led them to Earth's solar system. A group of space pilots – Shiro, Keith, Lance, Pidge, and Hunk – discover the Blue Lion and immediately get swept up into the Galran War. They meet Princess Allura, become the next Paladins, and reunite the five lions to form Voltron and combat Emperor Zarkon's nefarious schemes, with the hopes of ultimately defeating the entire Galra Empire.

The second this show took over my Tumblr dash I swore I wasn't gonna see it (I really wasn't looking for another all consuming obsession at the moment).

As you can see that plan failed, pretty badly.

If you're an 80's kid you might have heard of the original, the reboot does have some noticeable changes, but the two are still very much in the same vein.

Almost everyone who worked on Korra is on the Voltron team, which pretty much guarantees a good show.

The plot, unlike many animated shows is very serialized. This is mostly due to the fact that it's was released on Netflix, instead of on a TV channel, like Nick or Cartoon Network.

I've heard that the animation budget was through the roof, and I don't find that hard to believe, as the animation is pretty nice.

For me my favorite thing about this show is the personal journeys of each paladin.

Even cliche stereotypical cartoon types, like Lance, who flirts with every girl in sight, and is a bit full of himself, has a deeper layer. The girls in this show are totally badass. Allura, who in the original show was a classic princess-in-distress, can totally kick villain butt in the reboot. Also (view spoiler)Pidge is revealed to be a girl in episode 3 which is pretty cool.

If I have one complaint, it's the fact that so far, the villain's flobby and underdeveloped. However, we're only on season one at the moment, so there's definitely time for that the change.


Avatar: The Last Airbender

The world is divided into four nations -- the Water Tribe, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation and and the Air Nomads -- each represented by a natural element for which the nation is named. Benders have the ability to control and manipulate the element from their nation. Only the Avatar is the master of all four elements. The ruthless Fire Nation wants to conquer the world, and the only bender who has enough read more... power to stop them, the Avatar, has disappeared... until now. Aang, the long-lost Avatar is soon found by Katara and Sokka of the Southern Water Tribe. Now they must safeguard Aang on his journey to master all four elements and save the world from the Fire Nation.

This show is practically what animated TV legends are made of.

Since getting sucked into animation, I've heard so many good things about Avatar. And in my opinion all that hype is well deserved (but that live-action movie *shivers* oh tHE HORROR).

I finished the final season about four months ago (I actually pushed off watching the finale for like an entire week, mostly because I didn't want it to end), and I was tearing up so badly that my eyes were burning.

The world building is phenomenal, and all the characters are pretty well developed, even the villains.

(view spoiler)In fact, Prince Zuko who began as a villain character started growing on me when he was still hunting Aang. Whenever that general/admiral dude caused him trouble, I'd end up cheering for Zuko. But then I'd remember that he's trying to capture Aang, and so *confliction* Avatar is an absolute masterpiece, and yes it will make you cry. Honestly the only reason it's not #1 on this list is cause I missed the fandom by eight years, and for some reason being in a fandom always helps grow my love for a show, so yeah Voltron won in that aspect.


Gravity Falls

Twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are sent to spend the summer with their great-uncle, Grunkle Stan, in the mysterious town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Grunkle Stan has the kids help him run The Mystery Shack, the tourist trap that he owns. Dipper and Mabel try to adapt to the weird surroundings, but sense there is something strange about Gravity Falls and begin to unlock its secrets. When Dipper uncovers a cryptic read more... journal that offers insight into the town's mysteries, he and Mabel use it and their enthusiastic desire to vanquish evil, to battle the imminent mysteries that surround them.

I started watching Gravity Falls a couple months after it finished.

(I also managed to stay gloriously spoiler free until then somehow, which is miracle.) Unfortunately, because my late start, I pretty much missed out on the fandom, by the time I arrived it had already started dying-off.

My favorite thing about Gravity Falls' is the clues the creator, Alex Hirsch, scattered throughout the episodes.

Some were even in the intro. Being part of the fandom while the show was airing must have been a pretty cool experience, because you got to hunt for the hidden clues in every episode, and piece it together as the show went on.

This show's concept is great, all the characters are well developed and have awesome personalities. Dipper is my favorite, as he is more on the nerdy, thinker end (AKA me). Mabel was also a great character, she's a bit more on the whimsy and endlessly happy side of things. She and her twin bro, Dipper make the best duo.

Gravity Falls also has this fun balance between normal teenager woes (think crushes and boybands) and awesome weird out of this world stuff.

The show starts off mostly with self-contained episodes, but the plot begins to become more serialized, especially in season two.


Dragons: Race to the Edge

Dragons: Race to the Edge tells the action-laden story of what happens before How to Train Your Dragon 2, as Hiccup and Toothless explore an amazing world that they always imagined, but never knew, existed beyond the borders of Berk. In this all-new Netflix original series, the Dragon Riders discover the mysterious Dragon Eye, which is filled with ancient secrets that lead them to new lands filled with read more... undiscovered dragons. But the heroes find themselves pursued by marauding dragon hunters who will stop at nothing to seize the power.

I've gotta admit, one of the reasons Race to the Edge landed this spot on the list, is my unending love for How to Train Your Dragon.

It's not a bad show by any means, it has beautiful animation, and an awesome villain who is actually a serious threat, but in the story development area, it's not quite as up there.

But the villain, oh the villain. Unlike the other villains in the How to Train Your Dragon franchise, that dude's got brain.

Viggo's crafty, definitely calculating, and can match Hiccup brain cell to brain cell. Which is refreshing when it comes to animated villains.

Race to the Edge was suppose to run for only four seasons, however season five and six were recently announced. Apparently Netflix wanted them to continue the show, which means that it's doing pretty good

In my opinion this show just get's better and better with every season.

I'm especially fond of a brother and sister duo, that unfortunately don't appear in the movies. I'm also really in love with the character designs in Race to the Edge, honestly I love them more that the HTTYD and HTTYD 2 character designs, which was a bit unexpected.

Have you seen any of these? Have I convinced you to watch any of them? Do you have any recommendations for me?
continue reading

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Get Your Dictionaries Out Ladies & Gents // Unquiet Land by Sharon Shinn Review

Unquiet Land Review I adore the Elemental Blessings series, every single book has a special place in my heart. There's a colorful and well-developed cast of characters, and a beautifully built world, what more is there to ask for?

Synopsis & Details:

Leah Frothen has returned home. But she can scarcely catch her breath before she is summoned by regent Darien Serlast, the man who made her a spy. Leah is reluctant to take on a new assignment, but Darien has dangled the perfect lure to draw her in… Leah finds she enjoys the read more... challenges of opening a shop catering to foreign visitors, especially since it affords her the opportunity to get to know Mally, the child she abandoned five years ago.

But when the regent asks her to spy on ambassadors from a visiting nation, Leah soon learns that everyone—her regent, her lover, and even her daughter—have secrets that could save the nation, but might very well break her heart.

Title: Unquiet Land
Author: Sharon Shinn
Series: Elemental Blessings #4
Publication Date: November 1st 2016
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5 stars
Source: I received an arc from the publisher for review consideration (thanks Ace!) this in no way affected my review, cross my heart.

Unquiet Land, like the previous books in this series, takes a side character and delves deeply into their life and mind.

In this case, we are following Leah, who finally returns to Welce, after many years in Malinqua. Once back home, she quickly gets twisted up in political intrigue, as she reunites with her family, and the daughter she left behind.

There was some awkwardness concerning the love interest, as I'd previously pictured him as in his late 60's-70's (definitely too old for Leah). However, I eventually corrected my image of him, and all awkwardness was resolved.

One thing about Sharon's writing I've noticed, is that, she uses so many interesting words.

Everytime I pick up a book of hers, I need Google or a dictionary nearby, cause I'm forever searching up words. Some might find this annoying, but I actually quite like it (learning some big/unusual words never hurt anyone).

As with Jeweled Fire, a new culture is introduced in Unquiet Land.

This time it was the Karkans, their traditions are quite interesting to say the least... I'll just leave it at that to prevent any spoilers.

Unquiet Land wasn't quite as good as Troubled Water or Jeweled Fire, as it was a bit slow, pacing wise, but it's still a great addition to the series.

If you're a fan of Sharon's or looking for some wonderfully developed fantasy, than the Elemental Blessings series is definitely one to look into to.

Rating: 4/5 Stars

If you had an elemental blessing which one do you think it'd be? Elay (Air/Soul), Hunti (Wood/Bone), Sweela (Fire/Mind), Coru (Water/Blood), or Torz (Earth/Flesh)?
continue reading