Julie Plum: Girl Exorcist

Oh, Julie Plum. Where to start. Let’s begin with the positives.

Yay for strong female protagonists! It’s always nice seeing a strong female leader that doesn’t need a man to save her. Unfortunately for her boyfriend, this left him no purpose in the book; thus, he was just there to basically carry her purse. He didn’t even carry the backpack with the heavy incantation book. Nope, her awesome, strong female friends got to do that.

Now I’m brought to one of the negatives: poor characterization. Either get rid of the boyfriend altogether in the story, or actually give him a personality that makes you understand why Julie Plum is with him in the first place. He could have been at least street smart and offered some skill/benefit to the team. But, no, he had to get lost in a ghost town at least three times. Emphasis on ghost town. I don’t understand how he kept getting lost. It’s called listen for the only voices for hundreds of miles and follow those voices to your girlfriend. I’m ashamed to say that I did find it entertaining every single time he would fall down stairs or trip on tree roots. If he isn’t capable of being any help to Julie, he might as well make us laugh, right?

So, basically, Julie Plum is the supernatural version of Nancy Drew. Numerous plot holes il_570xN.242063081aside, it was quite entertaining. Her two friends Tyler and Betty definitely reminded me of George and Bess, Nancy’s friends, and they brought some fun comic relief once in a while. They would bring helpful insights at times that would help Julie solve a puzzle or figure out a clue, and they of course were the ones toting around the mighty Latin incantations book.

I hate to be nitpicky, but I have to admit that I was a little disappointed with the Latin phrases. They were inconsistent, for one, which shouldn’t have been a problem because Julie was reciting the same paragraph throughout the story (so the paragraph shouldn’t have changed…). I’m also not sure how much research was gone into the Latin words and phrases. I’m no expert, but I’m pretty sure the word expelliarmus has no place in an exorcism.

Overall, Julie Plum: Girl Exorcist wasn’t half-bad. Now, I’m not saying it’s half good, either, but it wasn’t the worst writing ever, and it was a quick, entertaining read. Just don’t expect a work of literature if you decide to sit down and read it. I admit I wasn’t expecting the book to surround only one exorcism (attempted multiple times), so be prepared; you will be in that ghost town for the entire book. Don’t be waiting for them to go somewhere better. If you do decide to read it, I suggest that you go in with the lowest expectations possible (maybe read Eleanor’s review again) in order to actually be able to enjoy it. Low expectations are key.

 

Julie Plum: Crap Exorcist

What total and utter crap.

Update: Violet has informed me that this does not actually constitute a review. I don’t think this particular book deserves any more of my time, but to appease my sister, here we go. Begin rant.

Brief Synopsis: A 16 year old girl runs around a (literal) ghost town looking to exorcise a demon accompanied by 2 friends and a useless tagalong boyfriend.

That’s it. That’s the whole story.

For some reason, this town in Anywhere, USA (but totally MidWest, let’s be honest) is completely evacuated of all living inhabitants because of a single demon possessed boy. Apparently there were no priests or any other kind of professional that could have been called, so bring in the inexperienced teen!

This quickly brings into questioning, who is paying this girl? Is the city paying her? Are there even still city officials/finances to pay her?? And what happened to the people who did live in this city? Did they just find the demon possessed and pick up and go? Is this why the city in Footloose became the city in Footloose? These are not questions to disturb a certain author, it would seem.

Whatever the back story, young Julie Plum, our “heroine” (and I’m seriously stretching the meaning of the word), takes to her first exorcism. Followed closely by her friends who are really only there to carry giant books of Latin incantations. –I would like to note how easy it just was to convey the idea that Latin incantations were spoken. It literally took no Latin. This chick wrote out e v e r y incantation that was used in its entirety. I swear I skimmed through half the book, because why would I ever take the time to read through a language I don’t speak or understand.-

At least her friends had some kind of use. Because otherwise we would only be left with her fumbling, bumbling boyfriend. This guy screwed up every attempt at the exorcism. It actually took them the entire book to exorcise a single demon because this idiot wouldn’t just stay in the car!

Above all else, all I can say is: Girls, just leave it to the (extremely attractive) professionals.

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Benedict Cumberbatch and his Undeniably Snape-like Voice

First of all, I would like to start by saying that the fact that Violet feels so strongly about an off-handed comment on the similarities of 2 men’s voices is absolutely ridiculous. Seriously, Vi, had I known this whole argument would have been triggered, I would have kept my opinion (no matter how simple and plainly obvious it may be) to myself.

Now, to the matter at hand. To Mr. Cumberbatch’s credit (and to Violet’s), he is indeed a fantastic actor. On this we will always agree. I will also stop to note that Alan Rickman is an amazing actor. (As for Snape, well, that path may just be a little too dark, too treacherous for a simple blog post. A discussion for another time, perhaps.)

*Side note: For a fun, interactive activity, try singing Benedict Cumberbatch to the tune of Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust.”

And as different as these actors/men may be, you cannot combat that both of them (especially when Alan Rickman is portraying Snape) have deep, methodical voices. For the sake of argument, we will use Benedict specifically as Sherlock. Both Sherlock and Snape have an ever-running inner monologue that the audience/other characters are not necessarily privy to. So, when they speak it is very calculated and direct. I will give you that Snape will draw things out whereas Sherlock speaks quickly, but in terms of sound and sound alone (the only thing on freakin trial here), there is a definite similarity. So much so, that he has been asked to do impressions on late night shows:

Now to looks. While I can appreciate a man’s talent, I will not be so blinded as to say his… unconventional, shall we say, features are attractive. Maybe calling him a weird alien was out of line, but still.

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No, actually, I stand by my statement.

He is a weird alien giraffe man. Just look at this candid photo:

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See what I mean?

Violet, you are my little sister, and I love you dearly, but I cannot with integrity admit that he is a gorgeous anything. However, I will say, he is a sight to behold (however you wanna take that).

Benedict Cumberbatch is Gorgeous and Sounds Absolutely Nothing Like Snape

There’s usually at least one thing Eleanor and I can actually agree on: our love for Benedict Cumberbatch.

While this is still true (what’s not to love?), I’ve found out recently that Eleanor and I have very different opinions on a few things. Shocker!

Here’s what happened: Eleanor and I were having a lovely conversation about the lovely person that is Benedict Cumberbatch when, suddenly, Eleanor casually mentioned how he sounds like Snape and looks like a weird alien. She continued talking like she hadn’t just spoken blasphemy, so I had to stop her to make sure I had heard her correctly. Had she actually just compared the devastatingly gorgeous voice of Benedict Cumberbatch to the voice of the character Snape in Harry Potter and decided that they were the same?!

She looked at me like it was the most normal statement in the world, responding with a simple, “Yeah.”

Well, Eleanor, since I was somewhat incoherent during my rant on the couch after that, I’ve decided to write this comprehensive list of similarities and differences between Cumberbatch and Snape (as depicted in the movies by the great Alan Rickman). As you will see, my conclusion is that the differences STRONGLY outweigh the similarities…like by a landslide.

Similarities:

  • Both Severus Snape and Benedict Cumberbatch have English accents (this is the end of the list of similarities)

Differences:

  • Snape has a droll, monotone voice
  • Cumberbatch has a voice that displays an array of emotions
  • You would not want to listen to Snape read an entire book on tape
  • Cumberbatch has done just that. He is in high demand when it comes to audio books.
  • Snape’s voice is not soothing. It’s actually quite devious.
  • Cumberbatch’s voice is arguably one of the most soothing and lovely voices to listen to.
  • Cumberbatch plays a dragon in The Hobbit quite brilliantly. Another example of the great things he can do with his voice.

I don’t even begin to rest my case, but these examples will do for now unless someone needs more convincing.

Now, I was so flabbergasted — yes, flabbergasted — by Eleanor’s out-of-the-blue statement comparing Snape and Cumberbatch that I didn’t even have a chance to reply to her “weird alien” comment when she said it. I figured it’d be easiest to combat with visual aids anyway, so here goes:

First off, this man can pull off virtually any hair color, though my personal favorite on him is dark brown:

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He even pulls off facial hair in a breathtakingly amazing way:

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Next, I love how he looks in Sherlock.
Once while Eleanor and I watched it, she pointed out that they have him wear a lot of scarves, and she said that they’re trying to cover up his long neck. She then proceeded to call him a giraffe. While I cannot deny the fact that he does indeed have a longer than average neck, I stand by my belief that he is an extremely cute giraffe, and he can definitely pull off scarves. Let’s be real, he can pull off most anything:

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Finally, those EYES. Stare at them for 10 seconds and then tell me that you still aren’t swayed even the slightest bit:

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At the VERY least, you have to admit, Eleanor, that he’s a gorgeous alien.

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Man Buns: Actual Pros and Cons

As you might have gathered from Eleanor’s article, man buns have become quite the hot topic in our household. To be clear, I’m not actually against man buns. What I am against is Eleanor’s obsession with them.

Let’s just say that I used to enjoy when my older sister would play with my hair. Unfortunately, man buns have entered the picture and have put a damper on the festivities. While I admit that there are a few select people who can pull off the man bun style, I am certainly NOT one of them.

So stop giving me man buns, Eleanor!

Eleanor’s obsession aside, even though I’m not technically against man buns, I’m definitely not for them, either. I honestly just don’t think they’re that great.

My sister made some strong cases with good quality photographs of hot hipsters, but the man bun fad is frankly getting out of control.

I’m sure some guys can pull off tie-dye leopard pants as well, but that just means that some guys can pull off anything — not that tie-dye leopard pants are the best.

  • Pro: I agree that the men in the particular pictures that Eleanor showed looked great.
  • Con: That’s not often what man buns look like in everyday life, and there are many more styles of man buns that do not work as well.

Case in point:man-bun-hair

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  • Con: There are also a lot of guys who just can’t pull off a man bun, but they try anyway:

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If you want your hair out of your face, guys, cutting it is a very viable option:

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  • Pro: Good-looking man buns on good-looking people look great from the side. Most pictures have this profile shot as well because…
  • Con: They don’t look as good from the front. I personally don’t like the look of a guy’s hair completely slicked back .

Here are two pictures of the same, beautiful actor Eleanor used, Avan Jogia. While he’ll always look good, I definitely like him better when his hair isn’t stuck to his head.

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Same with Jared Leto:

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So, for the sake of conclusions and clarifications:

I don’t hate man buns, but I don’t love them, either. I think there are better-looking hairstyles that a guy could have.

However, here is a picture of the one man who is my exception to the rule. He can, without a doubt, make it work, and I don’t wouldn’t want him to ever have any other hairstyle.

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Oh, Shang. Don’t ever change.

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For those of you out there who are thinking, “Well, he’s animated. Of course it looks good,” think again. Here’s one more photo for thought. Notice the slightly blurry guys in the background? They are also animated, and they also have man buns, and it’s just not working for them like it is for Shang.

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Man Buns: Hot or Not?

Okay, so, this is an issue on which my sister and I are, to say the least, divided. And it’s an issue that is just so very important.

We’re talking about man buns. That is a bun- on the head of a man.

I’d like to start my argument with this:

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I mean, I really don’t think I need to say more, but just in case (and just for good measure, and really just cuz I can):

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Just look at its majesty.

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Looooooook!

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It’s almost too much… And yet…

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And don’t. Do NOT get me started on the glory that is Jason Momoa

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I mean, the man knows how to bun.

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Game of Man Buns:

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I can’t even handle it.

In all honesty, I don’t even know why this is up for debate. Clearly, the man bun is in. I’m right. And that’s all that matters.

Broadway Baby: My Life is Ruined

She won’t. stop. SCREAMING!

Yes, it is true. The movie no one wanted or even thought should ever actually be a thing is now indeed, a thing. Boy Parade is making a movie. A not just any movie. One that takes place (kinda?) on Broadway. That place is sacred, man, come on.

What we’ve gathered (once I calmed Violet down) is that Danny plays Billy (is that a Billy Elliot nod? Cuz it needs to not be) who flies to New York to become a Broadway star only to be rejected by everyone (art imitates life, you see).

So, he decides to write his own show with the help of older brother, Eric who plays Chris, supposedly. I swear to you, he is slated as “Chris,” but in one of the scenes IN THE TRAILER, they flat out call him Eric. Did no one notice? Does no one care? Is he really just too dumb to be able to respond to a fake name? My money’s on one, if not both, of the latter two.

Miles and Justin P play a Bert & Ernie type couple named Robbie and Ronnie… seriously… who are choreographers (honestly, if that right there was the whole movie…. I’d watch it).

And Justin T is a DJ (named DJ apparently? Is it a job, it is a name? Who cares!) who is enlisted for some reason or another for this Broadway show.

The main song (which I have already heard the 5 second clip way too many times for my sanity’s sake) is called “Boys on Parade” and, from what I can tell, it sounds remarkably like me gagging.

I know that Violet’s going to make us go on opening night, which means that we’ll be lining up by 7, as if someone were to be ahead of us. Her excitement is at dangerously high levels. I swear, I just saw her looking up colleges in New York (purely coincidental, I’m sure).

Well, until this monstrosity hits theaters and Violet stops talking (singing, screaming, etc) about it, I’ll just have to use this pillow to muffle my own screams. But, oh, are they of a different variety.

Broadway Baby: My Life Is Complete

I cannot stop screaming. It’s bad (but AMAZING). Eleanor has threatened to take away my computer because I keep watching it. “What is ‘it’?” you ask? Oh. Let me tell you. “It” is what will change the lives of our generation. “It” is what will cause Eleanor to not be able to stand me for months. “It” is a BOY PARADE MOVIE!!!!!!! Your eyes are not deceiving you; you read that correctly. Boy Parade, the amazing band with angelic voices, is coming to the big screen. I know. My brain can barely comprehend it as well.

If there are sparse individuals out there who still have no clue who Boy Parade is (I’ve met a few more recently; crazy, I know), then feel free to read my previous Boy Parade article that explains a bit more about them.

So, back to important business. Here’s what I can tell so far from the trailer for Broadway Baby: Taking Broadway to the Streets:

-The movie seems to be surrounding Danny (obviously, because he’s the lead singer in the band). And Danny goes to New York to go on Broadway. Once Broadway rejects him (shut up, Eleanor), he decides to make his own Broadway show that he can be in and perform in front of Broadway in the street (apparently this is legal? Ah, who cares).

-Eric (*swoon*) plays Danny’s disapproving older brother (who also happens to live in New York). But once he gets over the disapproving bit, he agrees to write the songs for the off-off-off-off Broadway play.

-Miles and Justin P. seem to be playing a couple that are veteran Broadway choreographers/dancers. And they agree to help out Danny with his play endeavors, choreographing as well as participating in the play.

-Justin T. seems to be a nightclub DJ? Well they befriend him somehow, and he agrees to act as composer and write the music for Eric’s lyrics.

-The main song of the show (which was already partly shown in the trailer and I’m sure will be on radios before the movie comes out) is called “Play on Parade,” which seems quite fitting.

 

Here’s the rundown of their names in the movie:

  • Danny is now Billy
  • Eric is Chris? (I’m not sure. I could’ve sworn someone in the trailer actually called him Eric…so we’ll see)
  • Miles is Robby
  • Justin P. is Ronnie
  • Justin T. is DJ (apparently this is both his profession and his name)

 

I don’t know about you, but I am sooooo super duper extraordinarily excited to see this when it comes out. This is one to see opening night, for sure. I’m stoked. Eleanor may not admit it, but she’s pretty stinkin’ excited as well (I know cause I heard her screaming in her room earlier).

Freaky Friday Make-Overs

And I mean freaky.

As Violet so perfectly explained previously, we decided to do sisterly make-overs on one another. And as just about anyone could have expected, the results left much to be desired. So much so, that someone literally deleted all the pictures! I did not break a sweat, and my ankles nearly (thanks again for those deathtraps you strapped to my feet) for nothing! Without further ado, here’s what happened.

What I Did For Her:

I decided that my goody-two-shoes of a little sister needed a major update. I replaced her sweater ways with leather. So much leather. So good. Specifically, I gave her a black leather skirt, biker boots, and a simple white tee. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the vest to complete the look (because, apparently my room “looks like a tornado went through.” Moms are great, aren’t they?).

With her dressed so perfectly, we moved onto make-up. Such an ensemble requires heavy, dark eyeliner and lips as dark as the blood of your enemies. I had to cake on the blush just to try to give her some color, because, let’s face facts, that girl is pale as a ghost!

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I mean, if I had the skill, this is what she should have looked like

Body and face were done, so next was hair. And yes, I did give her a man bun. Because, sadly, my own hair is just far too thin to sustain the glory, so I must live vicariously (which I do whenever she sits still long enough…. so, usually when she’s reading. I can get away with anything then, she literally will not notice). And here, I must point out that had you let me give you bangs, IT WOULD HAVE LOOKED FAR LESS MAN-ISH!
Hide the sheers all you want, but I guarantee you, I will find them. And Mom’s not home, Violet. Mom’s. Not. Home.

Overall, I made this mouse of a girl into an edgy woman. Seriously, who doesn’t want to look like a 26 year old biker chick? Get your brain checked! It was magnificent.
What She Did to Me:

First off all, out of what can only be described as vengeance/envy, she pinned back my bangs. My signature, my love. Gone. Then, she proceeded to curl every hair (seriously, though, why does that take so long?) into an angelic, half-up do *insert gagging noises*
“Ridiculously gorgeous” she said. It was a beehive. Seriously.

She then clad me in a black circle skirt, white blouse (do you seriously iron your clothes?!), and pink cardigan. And it was not a subtle pink. I got lacy bow tights for …. “edge.” Edge?! Lacy bows are not edgy, sister dear. And those shoes! Your picture is misleading!! That pink makes them seem cute and unassuming, but those black monstrosities you strapped me into were lethal! That strap is not decoration. They are meant to prevent the breaking of ankles, which I assure you, I would have still managed had I stayed in them a second longer.

Finally, for make-up, she ran a couple brushes and a tube of lipstick over my face and called it made. The natural look apparently means naked-faced to this one.

Basically, by the end, I was all ready for church.

If there is a lesson to be learned, I think that it’s to just leave each other’s styles alone (even though, you actually looked amazing… And you should get bangs).

Makeovers!

My sister Eleanor and I have always loved playing with each other’s hair and experimenting with makeup. Recently, we both agreed to let each other do whatever we wanted to the other’s appearance. Head to toe makeovers!

As you can imagine, this didn’t go as well as we thought it would.

After I finally talked the sheers out of Eleanor’s hands, we amended the verbal contract, saying that we could both do whatever we wanted within reason. You’re all welcome that you don’t have to see me with bangs. It wouldn’t have been a pretty sight.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though. Let me start with the amazing makeover I gave to Eleanor.

Hair and Makeup:

  • I pinned back her bangs and curled her hair, giving her a 1/2 up,1/2 down hair style. It looked ridiculously gorgeous on her.
  • I gave her pink, almost nude lips.
  • I decided on natural browns for eye shadow paired with black mascara so that her eyes would pop but not be a distraction from the overall look.

Outfit:

  • White blouse
  • Black circle skirt
  • Pink cardigan
  • Lacey bow tights
  • 2″ Mary Jane heels

Even though I had to chase her around the house with that tube of pink lipstick, the finished product was worth it. She looked so classic and so cute with this look. I even threw in the lace tights with the bow pattern to give it a slight Eleanor edge. The look would have been perfect if she had just kept the flower in her hair. Apparently, for Eleanor, a flower from our garden is not “within reason.” I let the fight go once she reminded me that she still had to give me my makeover. She didn’t admit to it being a threat, but she always gets this mischievous gleam in her eyes that gives her away.

Oh, and for the record, Miss You-can’t-make-me-wear-stilettos, these are stilettos.

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And these are closer to what I made you wear, only yours were black and not even as high.

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Now that you all know how great I made Eleanor look, let me share with you what she did to me…

Luckily, by the time her turn came around to have fun with my appearance, I had already hidden the sheers (we didn’t want a repeat of that morning). Since bangs were out of the question, you’ll never believe what she did to my hair. Well, those of you who are privy to my sister’s unhealthy obsession may be able to guess. Yup, that’s right. She gave me a man bun! Anyway, I can’t get into that topic. Moving on.

To accompany my new ‘do, Eleanor gave me heavy eyeliner, the darkest lipstick she could find, and more blush than my cheeks are used to.

The featured pieces of the outfit that she picked out for me were the leather skirt and biker boots. For the final Eleanor touch, she couldn’t resist putting her own glasses on me. While they look great on her, they just do not fit my face well, not to mention that they make the world a tad blurry.

Can I just say that no high school girl should look like a 26-year-old female biker? With my features, less is more when it comes to makeup.

So, while I made Eleanor a gorgeous, edgy socialite fit for any occasion, she decided to turn me into an older, edgier, man-bun-wearing version of herself. Thank you, Eleanor, for giving me yet another reason to dislike man buns.

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