FangirlMoms and FangirlMoms’ husbands at Vampire Academy

Last night was opening night for The Vampire Academy film in our city.  We went to see it, along with our reluctant (yet supportive) husbands.

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Date Night Attire: Casey wore her St. Vladamir Academy Guardian jersey shirt with Belikov on the back, clearly indicating her fangirl icon for the evening.  I had no Vampire Academy attire to speak of but I did wear my Mellark Bakery jersey shirt to indicate my dedicated fangirl status, regardless.  We looked fangirlicious, if I do say so myself!!


Dinner: We wanted something quick and delicious to both eat and drink.  We chose a local authentic Mexican restaurant. Having both completed the Shatter Me series this week, with the reading of Ignite Me, we decided to indulge in a FangirlMoms created drink titled, “Warnaritas”, a lime margarita on the rocks with salt.  (*NOTE* FangirlMoms advocate drinking legally and responsibly!)

Fangirl Drink Warnarita

Ticket Line:  Casey identified a fellow fangirl by way of her Beacon Hills Lacrosse hoodie with Stilinksi on the back, much like the sweatshirt my husband got me for Christmas!  We introduced ourselves and fangirled appropriately.

New Fangirl Friend

Before the Trailers: We located perfect viewing seats in the center of the theater and as Casey left to get refreshments, I marched up to our new fangirl friend to discuss other book-to-film adaptations.  I shared our website info and told her to look us up for a shoutout! (“HEY FANGIRL!”)  Her father was with her and he has read many of the same books, including all of the Mortal Instruments.  When Casey joined our conversation, I believe she convinced him to give Infernal Devices a chance.  FangirlMom challenge achieved!

Trailers: We love trailers! Our personal favorite was the Divergent trailer, which included footage from all of the trailers that have been released, including the dog simulation part released this week!  It was so beautiful up on the big screen. Looking at Four, Casey could not even breathe and I was breathing too quickly = fangirling!

VAMPIRE ACADEMY:  To be honest, I squealed when it started.  Having read the book in May of last year, I have followed the fandom through the tightly closed set, fangirling over pictures of signs and chairs or any other tidbit approved for public viewing.  Richelle Mead has definitely kept us aware of anything she could but nothing would have prepared me for how good the movie actually was.

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Five reasons I loved the movie.

  1. When the credits rolled at the end, I had no scenes left on my “MUST BE IN THE MOVIE” checklist.  All of the important scenes were there.  There were some minor tweaks made which made sense to me, for example calling it a love charm instead of a lust charm.  The only thing I wondered about was I don’t remember seeing anyone under the desk while the headmistress was on top of it with a boy, as I saw in a released movie still.  Maybe I sneezed and missed it?
  2. Zoey Deutch was the PERFECT Rose.  She got her attitude, her snark, her flirtation, and her overall badassery exactly right!  She wasn’t the only one to become the character, either.  Danila nailed Dimitri. Cameron is Mason.  Dominic personified Christian. Nobody could have given us a better Natalie than Sarah.  And if you need Princess Lissa, Lucy is your gal.  The casting department deserves a round of applause and when the credits rolled, that’s what I gave them!
  3. The feels were real y’all. I am an honest reviewer who avoids spoilers and I won’t get specific here about what caused my feels, but let me get specific about what I felt.  I had goosebumps, I had hair raise on the back of my neck, I had hot flashes (and no, I’m not that old of a mom) and I laughed out loud… a lot!!  This movie has chemistry, scary moments, and humor.  The humor you remember from the book is there, but there are new elements added in as well.  You will laugh!
  4. We were in this movie and if you are a fangirl, you were in this movie as well.  In a public area, the main characters encounter a gaggle of girls squealing about something they seemed excited about.  I turned to Casey and whispered, “They’re fangirling!” as Casey said, “That’s us!” to me.   It was an epic moment and as strange as it may seem, really made me feel like that part of the movie was a nod to “our kind”.
  5. Possibly my favorite reason to love Vampire Academy was the cliffhanger they put in the end to point toward the sequel. If you have read the books, you know what the second book entails and the genius filmmakers dedicated a few seconds to a teaser from it.  I was surprised and pleased that they did that and it got me so excited to learn about the sequel getting the green light.  If you want to see that too, do your part and go see Vampire Academy in a theater near you!!!

Wrap-Up:  I know the question you are wanting us to answer, “What did your husbands think of it?”  I will quote our husbands, “I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.”  “That was a funny movie, when can we go see it again?” My answer to that is, “As soon as we can!”

If you go to see Vampire Academy in theaters, let us know what you think!  Share your pictures with @FangirlMoms on Twitter or here in the comments

Why I am Team Warner

Warning * Spoiler Alert* Warning * Spoiler Alert*

Today I’m sharing my thoughts regarding my favorite character from Tehereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, Warner. Warner is a multifaceted character with many-many sides to him and through each book more and more of him is revealed. When I started reading Shatter Me, I wanted to hate Warner and I tried, but there was just something about him that kept me guessing and wanting more of him. I was intrigued by him and just knew there had to be more to this guy. By the end of Destroy Me I couldn’t resist Warner anymore. I was truly fascinated and by the end of Unravel Me I was way past captivated and sinking deep into the depths of obsession.

In Shatter Me, everyone loves to hate Warner. People are fearful of him and do not see any good in him. He comes across as callous, harsh, uncaring, selfish, power-hungry, not to mention cruel. Warner shoots Private Seamus Fletcher, 45B-76423 on the quadrant in front of Juliette and his soldiers. He forces Juliette to touch, thereby hurting, Jenkins in front of the other soldiers. He wants to use Juliette as a weapon. He is threatens to hurt Adam in order to get Juliette to comply with his rules. He makes Juliette think she is going to kill a child again. He truly seems possessive of Juliette. After Adam and Juliette escape, he tries to kill Adam and Kinji. He is responsible for all of these things and shows no remorse. He does, in fact, seem quite the embodiment of evil and even a bit sociopathic. Nevertheless, I am curious about him. What makes him tick? Why is he doing this? When Juliette seduces him in order to shoot him, why do I want them to keep kissing? Why am I shipping them? There has to be more to his story!

I want more of Warner, so I read Destroy Me, and I find out that there is, in fact, more to him! We find out for instance that when Warner killed Private Seamus Fletcher, he did so because Private Fletcher beat his own wife and his own children daily. Private Fletcher even kept food from them, slowly starving them to death. By killing this man, Warner was trying to protect Fletcher’s family. Fletcher was the monster, not Warner.

The Fletcher incident also served as a cover to make dear ole Daddy, who is none other than the supreme commander, think he is killing insubordinate soldiers who are partial to the resistance. By doing this, is he is trying to save innocent lives. However, when the supreme commander finds out Warner did not kill Fletcher’s family he orders them killed and we see the true expectations held by the Reestablishment for Warner. Warner is not sold on the Reestablishment either.

In the same way Warner tries to protect innocent people, he was protecting Juliette from the thousands of lonely soldiers in sector 45 with the incident regarding Jenkins. If it weren’t for this, soldiers would have undoubtedly harassed Juliette and tried to get their hands on her. Without this necessary and controlled illustration with Jenkins, Juliette might have killed any one of those men and what would it have done to her? Warner didn’t want her to be harassed by them and he didn’t want her to have to deal with the guilt she would experience after killing one of his soldiers because of her touch. Warner was protecting Juliette!

We follow Warner into Sector 45 and we find out he visits the compounds frequently to check on the citizens because he wants to make sure they are cared for, have enough food and have enough medical care. He is concerned for the people. He looks the other way when his men take extra food home to their families. Then there is the scene when he feeds and cares for the stray dog and I have major Warner feels!

When Warner’s father shows up we find out the reasons why Warner is self-loathing, broken, empty and lonely. He has suffered abuse all his life at the hands of his father and this is all he knows. Meanwhile, Warner reads Juliette’s notebook and it becomes apparent that he truly loves her and he never, ever wanted to hurt her. He simply didn’t know how to show love appropriately because he had not experienced it himself and simply went about it in the wrong way. He realizes he has misunderstood Juliette and her happiness was not because of him, but was because of Adam. At this he becomes even more distraught.  At the same time, when he reads her notebook he sees into Juliette’s soul and realizes just how much they are truly alike; he understands her completely in a way that nobody else could, not even Adam, and it changes him! We see him begin to realize who he really is underneath the hard shell of his exterior, which has been constructed to protect him over the years.

Then along comes Unravel Me and Warner’s shell cracks wide open. He is captured and held hostage by Castle and during Juliette’s interrogations, he opens up to her and she starts to see the person inside the shell. He makes her feel “safe and familiar.” He knows everything about her including how she has killed. He accepts her. He encourages her to accept herself and find a way to deal with it. He doesn’t want her to feel ashamed of herself. He sees Juliette as strong and capable.  The more they spend time together; we see that he and Juliette are attracted to each other on an intellectual level and emotional level. And even before the illustrious chapter 62 with their white hot passion, Juliette realizes she is attracted to him physically. Then Warner recites the words he has memorized from her journal to her, explains why he did the things he did and apologizes. And in those moments Juliette understands him and she sees into his soul, which is wide open.

We find out about Warner’s gift and that he can touch Juliette because he can redirect others abilities. He can do this because this very ability is based on empathy, which allows him to intellectually identify with the feelings, thoughts, and attitudes of others. Yes, he has used this to his advantage in order to be manipulative. However, he also understands others. I am reminded of a quote from another book, very different from this one, but it has to do with empathy and war and when I think of this quote I think of Warner and I understand him.

“In the moment when I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not   love   them the way they love themselves. And then, in that very moment when I love them…. I destroy them.” ― Orson Scott Card, Ender’s Game

In the end, we see just how truly horrific Warner’s father is when he shoots Juliette in cold blood, just to punish his son. But, it provides us an opportunity to see Warner with all his defenses down. In the horrible moments when Juliette lay dying on the floor with Warner over her, begging Sarah and Sonya to save her, his shell is completely gone and all that remains is his warm, loving heart beating right out of his chest for Juliette.  This is a pivotal moment for Juliette and it’s at this moment when I realize that although I personally love Warner, I realize that because of all that’s happened and their true persons have emerged, Juliette and Warner need to be together. Juliette and Warner are perfect for each other. They understand each other better than anyone else ever could and on top of it all nature has given them abilities that bring them together-bring them together to be an effective team against the reestablishment. Then, Juliette says, “I’m done being nice. I’m done being nervous. I’m not afraid of anything anymore. Mass chaos is in my future and I’m leaving my gloves behind” and this solidifies my feelings about Warner and Juliette.

So, as you can see, Warner is not the villain everyone thinks he is. On the outside, Warner is a fortress built high with blocks of concrete. But inside, he is comfort and strength and he has the capacity to love beyond all measure. There are so many other things at work for him. He is intelligent. He is empathic. He is a survivor. He loathes his father and what he stands for. It even seems that he hates the Reestablishment and does in fact crave revolution. Warner is the difficult choice, but he is the right choice. Team Warner all the way! ~Casey Anderson






Review: Ender’s Game

I read Ender’s Game this Spring and really liked it. It was one of those books that received a 5 star rating from me on Goodreads because reading it changed me. The book and movie tell a futuristic tale of preparing for war. The method of preparation is the controversial part. In the end, I am left asking myself, “Which way is right?”
The movie stayed true to the book in all the ways that mattered to me. There were parts I would have liked to see more of, of course, but isn’t there always? The actors were well-suited to their parts. Three cheers for Asa Butterfield for pulling off a young Ender!
I loved watching this book come to life. Even non-readers will find themselves enjoying the movie. I know of someone who has seen the movie only once and is planning to use the themes of it to teach out-of-the-box leadership strategies to her staff.
Look for this Ender’s Game Poster at your local theater and go see it!
Please tell me what you thought of Ender’s Game, either the book or the movie.

VIDEOS: Catching Fire Cast Interviews

Chris Van Vliet Interview with Josh and Jennifer, Woody and Liam (in which Woody realizes Liam is Chris’s brother), Lenny and Elizabeth & Sam and Jena:

Part 2 of that interview in which Jennifer and Josh discuss “swamp” kissing:

EPIX interview with Jena Malone

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