Why I Couldn't Care Less About Marvel's New Spider-Man

I guess it shouldn't really matter who is in the suit considering half the movie is CGI anyway...

I guess it shouldn't really matter who is in the suit considering half the movie is CGI anyway...

Late Tuesday Marvel Studios announced that they had finally found their new Peter Parker in Tom Holland. I don’t know if many people are familiar with the name Tom Holland, but he’s an 19-year-old British actor who has been in things like The Impossible, Wolf Hall and something coming out soon called In the Heart of the Sea. I know I couldn’t have told you who this kid was, though he has a passing resemblance to Billy Elliott (also known as Jamie Bell).

This is not Tom Holland. That's Jamie Bell from  Billy Elliot . This gif just makes me smile.

This is not Tom Holland. That's Jamie Bell from Billy Elliot. This gif just makes me smile.

What I can tell you is that I could care less about another version of Peter Parker. I am so bored with Peter Parker, and that’s coming from someone who loved Andrew Garfield’s fluffy haired version of the character. I didn’t love the movies he was put into, but his version of the character was great and his chemistry with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy was possibly the most perfect version I could image on film.

But with five movies in 13 years, I just do not care about another Peter Parker Spider-Man film. I get that the Civil War comic book story line really relies on having a Peter Parker, but Marvel Studios has made massive changes to well-known plot lines before. They could easily have replaced Peter with the never-before-seen-on-screen Miles Morales and had a new Spider-Man that not only added diversity, but didn’t require rebooting a character for the third time in less than 15 years.

I can’t bring myself to care about another Peter Parker, even with Marvel (mostly) controlling the reigns. The Amazing Spider-Man movies relied too heavily on special effects, forgetting to put much heart or plotting into the story, and leaving their far superior cast to do more heavy lifting to give the films any sort of charisma. And I don’t even want to talk about Spider-Man 3. None of the films have fully gelled since Spider-Man 2 and even that one had the problem of Tobey Maguire being a milquetoast–verging-on-whiney Peter Parker.

Perhaps having a truly younger version of Peter will give this new version of the franchise more life than the last three movies, but I have a fear that we’re just going to get a rehash of a Peter Parker origin story that we’ve already seen twice. It’s been done. Let’s move on to something new and interesting. Even Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone couldn’t make the second retelling seem new, interesting or intriguing. We knew all the plot beats before we ever entered the theatre because pretty much the same movie had been made a decade before.

Maybe Marvel will skip the origin story this time, but I honestly can’t see that happening. Origin stories are just so easy to do, and knowing that pretty much everyone and their mom knows Peter Parker’s story at this point probably won’t be enough to persuade Marvel to try something more creative.

This is Tom Holland, by the way.

This is Tom Holland, by the way.

I wish Tom Holland best of luck and I hope he and the Marvel team surprise me. I can’t imagine he’ll get much screen time with the already over bloated cast of Captain America: Civil War, but maybe they’ll figure out a way to make him stand out. It’s just going to take something special to cause me to have any interest in seeing Spider-Man The Redux Again (He’s Really Younger This Time!) in 2017.

I’ll just be over here waiting for Captain Marvel when I can genuinely get excited about Marvel movies again..

Are you excited to get another, younger Spider-Man in 2017? Who would you have cast if given the chance? Do you know who Tom Holland is? Hit up the comments to discuss.

Author Blog Tour: From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Welcome to the Working for the Mandroid stop on Meg Cabot's blog tour for From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess. Visit here to see the full tour schedule.

As part of Meg Cabot’s tour for From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess, Meg and First Second books asked a bunch of bloggers what they would do if they woke up tomorrow and found out they were royalty. This is a particularly difficult question for me to answer because it’s been a really long time since I imagined myself a princess. What do princesses do these days? Does it come with financial security and a charmed lifestyle? Would a charmed lifestyle work well with my not-quite-so-traditional personality? Could I just lounge around reading books and eating cupcakes and ignore the rest of the world? What would my princessly duties be?

So if tomorrow I learned I was a princess, I would be a barefoot jeans and sneakers type of princess, who avoided balls and makeup and fancy gatherings. I would travel the world trying to teach people the value of being nice to one another and learn about cultures all over the world. I would eat loads of unusual and yummy foods and meet interesting people. I would try to be good and spread a little bit of happiness around the world, not for the sake of cameras, but because it would be the right thing to do.

I would hope that my new found royalty wouldn’t come with paparazzi and crazy stalkers, so I could explore the world around me and see how best I could contribute to it. I would use my new privileged position to snuggle a koala bear in Australia, but not to get much more special treatment outside of that. I would still wait in lines and wait my turn. Just because I have title wouldn’t suddenly make me better than everyone else.

What I can tell you is that I wouldn’t be a designer dress and heels princess. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I’m too clumsy for such baubles. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having people do everything for me either, so I would still bake yummy things for myself and other people, maybe even fold my own laundry! I wouldn’t mind having someone to drive me around though…

But mostly I would try to be good, just like I do every day I’m not a princess. Maybe I’d be able to do it on a grander scale in a more world-wide type of capacity than I can now, but I would remain a student of the world, learning all the time and finding the best ways to contribute to make things a little better. I’d hope royalty wouldn’t change me that much.

 

So what would you do if you woke up to find you were royalty? Answer in the comments and enter to win a copy of From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot below! Winner must have a US mailing address to receive the prize from the publisher.

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From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess
Meg Cabot

Fiewel & Friends
Released May 19, 2015
192 pages
Middle Grade / Fantasy

Find it on Goodreads

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

Olivia Grace Clarisse Harrison has always known she was different. Brought up by her aunt's family in New Jersey, book-and-music-loving Olivia feels out of place in their life of high fashion and fancy cars. But she never could have imagined how out of place she really was until Mia Thermopolis, Princess of Genovia, pops into her school and announces that Olivia is her long-lost sister. Olivia is a princess. A dream come true, right? But princesses have problems too.

In FROM THE NOTEBOOKS OF A MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCESS a new middle grade series, readers will see Genovia, this time through the illustrated diaries of a spunky new heroine, 12 year old Olivia Grace, who happens to be the long lost half-sister of Princess Mia Thermopolis.

The original Princess Diaries series sold over 5 million copies in the US (15 million worldwide), spent 82 weeks on the USA Today bestsellers list, and inspired two beloved films.


About the Author

Meg Cabot is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series. Born and raised in Bloomington, Indiana, Meg also lived in Grenoble, France, and Carmel, California, before moving to New York City after graduating with a bachelor's degree in fine arts from Indiana University. She is the author of numerous books for adults and children, including five #1 New York Times bestsellers. Over 25 million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Meg Cabot currently lives in Key West with her husband and cat. megcabot.com


Random Tuesday: How Do You Choose Your Next Book?

Normally this is where I would put together a list of links and art and awesome random things for you since it's Tuesday. For some reason Tuesdays feel like the best days for random, but not this Tuesday. This Tuesday I just have a random question. How do you figure out what your going to read next?

If you're hanging around here, you probably have TBR list that has long since turned into a pile that morphed into a mountain that's threatening to overtake your home. Or is that just me? I have a TBR room that has spilled into other parts of the house and that's not counting the hundreds (and oh, do I mean hundreds) of unread books on my Kindle and the dozens of unread shorts, novellas and such I have bookmarked online. There is SO. MUCH. STUFF. And I want to read it all. So what is a good way to choose?

This year I made a promise to myself because I found I kept buying books I wanted to read, but pushing them aside for books I felt obligated to read, either because a publisher sent them to me or I'd got them from the library or it was a cultural zeitgeist moment I wanted to take part in. This year I've decided to give myself a 1-for-2 rule. I get to read 1 book I own for every 2 "supposed to read" or review books I read. So right now I'm reading Boneshaker by Cherie Priest, which has had a home on my bookshelf for years and years yet left untouched. That's because I finished two books sent to me by publishers.

But then! How do I figure out what that one book should be? And why do I keep requesting e-ARCs only to ignore my Kindle completely (besides the fact that I'm not big on the whole e-reader thing)? How do I balance that with my bookmarks and Tor's weekly shorts?

You got me. I haven't the faintest idea, but I am making a tiny dent in the shelves and shelves of books I've bought but haven't read with this 1-for-2 thing, so I think I'll stick to it.

 

How do you choose what your next read is or what format it will take? Are you a mood reader or do you schedule your reading so you always know what book is on deck? Help me figure out a manageable system in the comments.

Happy 40th Anniversary to Tuck Everlasting! #Tuck40th

One of my favorite books from when I was a child is celebrating its 40th anniversary, so when the lovely people over at Macmillan asked if I wanted to participate in the celebratory blog tour, I was all for it. Tuck Everlasting is a book that became dog-eared and ragged in my hand as I read it over and over again. I’m so excited that it has had such a lasting presence for 40 years, and can’t wait to share it with the kids in my life when they get a bit older.

A special 40th Anniversary edition with a foreword by Gregory Maguire (the mastermind behind the Wicked series) is coming out on January 20. You can preorder it here and I highly suggest that you do. I just received my copy in the mail and it’s beautiful. It made my nostalgic heart grow a little.

As part of the anniversary celebration, Macmillan is asking book bloggers are the interwebs one simple question:

What if you could live forever?

Oh man, that’s the ultimate dream, right? Then I would have all the time to read all the books and see all the television shows and consume all the stories that I could possibly ever want. Living forever without the fear of sudden death and illness would lift a weight that likes to follow me around during day-to-day life, so I absolutely would dream from Winnie Foster’s spring.

Except.

Because there has to be an except. Would immortality be worth it without being able to bring your loved ones along? Can I have that caveat? That I would absolutely live forever, but only if my significant other and my family could come along with me? I would love to have all the time in the world to explore careers without fearing that I was stuck wasting my time doing one thing for the rest of my life. I could be more adventurous knowing that some of the worst consequences couldn’t apply for me. But it would only be worth it if I wasn’t alone, that I didn’t have to face the rest of eternity without someone with me.

So I suppose my answer is yes, but with a caveat. The rest of time is a lonely place to be on your own.

What about you? Would you dream from the well of immortality? What would you do with all that time? And do you have fond memories of reading Tuck Everlasting as a child like I do?

 

Tuck Everlasting
Natalie Babbitt

Farrar Straus Giroux
40th Anniversary Edition Comes out January 20

Preorder it Here

Doomed to - or blessed with - eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Random Tuesday: Vaguely Thinky Thoughts About Ender's Game Movie Sequels

So Ender’s Game finally came out and though it didn’t do gangbusters, it won its first weekend. Of course that left all the entertainment journalists with the requirement to run stories about potential sequels. Those articles then led me to grind my teeth in frustration. I know that journalists – entertainment or otherwise – don’t know everything about everything, but if there is a movie theatre that thinks the true, published sequels to Ender’s Game can be translated into a film with a similar tone and feel to the original, they really haven’t read the true sequels to Ender.

Orson Scott Card has made a fortune with the Ender-verse. What started out as a short story turned into a novel that is a perfect gateway into science fiction. At 13 years old, I walked into Ender’s Game hating science fiction and everything not contemporary realistic fiction or vampires pretending to be realistic fiction. Several hours later I set the book down and realized I was suddenly a spaceship-obsessed, alien-loving, all-things-sciency and crazy science fiction nerd. It was a pretty drastic transformation for the catalyst to be a 300 page book.

Read More

Thinky Thoughts: What Age Is "Too Old" for YA?

This article posted on Vulture.com about a 30-something year old woman “coming clean” about her love for YA fiction took over my Facebook feed for a while last week, and while it’s only one of a dozen that have popped up recently on major(-ish) online media outlets, for some reason I read this one. Then I read the comments. Then I became sad and a little concerned for my lack of emotional growth and maturity.

Apparently adults who read YA are in a state of arrested development, according to the experts who like to hang around slamming people on Vulture articles all day. Only adults who have never grown up or remain in a constant state of adolescence could possibly enjoy these books aimed at teenagers. Considering the number of articles that come out on a daily basis about Gen Y/Millennials having that same “arrested development” issue, it’s really starting to give me a complex.

I am not a teenager. I have a full-time job, pay a mortgage and am in a long-term committed relationship. I purposely ignored the invites to all 10-year high school reunion events. I eat 4 to 7 servings of vegetables and fruit a day when I really wish I could just stuff my face with Doritos and cupcakes. While I do not have any spawn of my own, I am often entrusted with the well-being of others’ spawn for hours at a time and I (usually) return them (mostly) unscathed. So even though I often pack my lunch based on ideas I get from what moms put in their toddlers’ lunch boxes, I’d say I count as a grown up.

I’m not sure where the line was drawn that Adult = No Imagination or No Adventure or No Fun, but these Vulture reading-habit psychologists seem to think so. I read adult books, but they’re science fiction, horror and fantasy, so I imagine that would be yet another sign of my stunted mental and emotional development. I read YA and watch television “targeted” at a YA audience because it’s fun, it’s imaginative and it’s full of adventures I would never experience in real life. I don’t care about first times or the power of youth or whatever reasons were spouted in that article. I want to experience things I can’t experience in my every day boring life, and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. If wanting adventures and imagination means I’m stuck in a juvenile state of mind, well, at least my head is filled with more fun than yours.

 

Despite all that I do have a age-related conundrum with YA, but it’s a little different.  

At what point does it become uber creepy for me to cheer for the love lives of fictional teenagers?

I mean, if I felt the same sort of attachment to real live teenagers and had the same level of concern for the state of their relationship, I probably have several restraining orders on me. To avoid the creeps of “watching” romantic encounters between teens, I seem to automatically age up characters in my head. This gives me a slightly less squick factor when I look back and think, “I loved that make out scene with whatshisname and whosthatgirl.” That’s also why I avoid outright YA romances because any graphic – or even just insinuated – sexual situation would give me the creeps and make me feel like a creepy old lady. And even though I’m not a teen, I’m not *that* old either.

 It’s probably why I rarely latch on to male book characters to the extent of referring to them as “book boyfriends”. I can only think of one that is top of mind and he’s a zombie, which brings up a whole other set of psychological issues I may or may not have…

But despite all the weirdness I get from the teen romance thing, I continue reading YA. It's adventure and fun and involves all sorts of things that will never happen in my life. If that means I'm refusing to "grow up", then I guess I'm okay with that.

So if you’re an adult reading YA, how do you cope with the romance levels in these books? Do you age characters up like I do or do you have some other trick that keeps you from feeling icky?

 

Note: I have no idea who made any of these gifs as I found them on Tumblr, so thank you anonymous gif makers. You are awesome.

 

Linked up at Oh, Chrys' Let's Discuss post. Find other great discussion posts here.

Some Thinky Thoughts: Something Strange & Deadly Book Club Week #3

I apologize for any incoherency in this post. I wrote it while watching Epic Read's Tea Time as a headache grew between my eyes, blurring my vision. Normally I'm a little more comprehensible then this.

It’s the third week in Susan Dennard’s online book club for Something Strange & Deadly. You can see all the great things she’s been sharing, including her star casting of her books and historical information about what was happening when Eleanor and her crew were fighting zombies. It’s a lot of fun and if you haven’t read this series, you need to get on it. This is great zombie fun!

My review of Something Strange & Deadly

My review of A Darkness Strange & Lovely

Now on to Week 3 questions:

Something Strange & Deadly Discussion Question #3

Eleanor finds herself more and more intrigued by (perhaps even attracted to) Daniel Sheridan, the inventor of the Spirit-Hunters. What is it about him that appeals to her? And vice versa, what do you think attracts Daniel to Eleanor?

Then there’s Clarence Wilcox, the seemingly perfect eligible bachelor. Why do you think Eleanor doesn’t like Clarence?

I love the initial love/hate relationship between Eleanor and Daniel. I think she is initially attracted to him because he doesn’t treat her as though she’s a fragile thing despite referring to her as “Empress”. He is highly intelligent and challenges her in no way anyone ever has before. Meanwhile I think Daniel is attracted to Eleanor because she’s so strong-willed and different from most of the flighty high-class Victorian girls who probably wouldn’t give him the time of day. They are both very different from the stereotypes they fit in at first look and I think that attracts them to each other from the beginning.

As for Clarence, it feels much like an obligatory relationship than one built on chemistry. I liked that Clarence was a pretty nice guy despite his own history of not-so-niceness, but he still fell into the habits and social norms of the age. Eleanor wasn’t challenged by Clarence and he didn’t respect her strength of character and intelligence. He was almost the polar opposite to Daniel, who is attracted to Eleanor because of how different she is from her peers.

 

A Darkness Strange & Lovely Discussion Question #3

In 1876, Paris was really the most glamorous city on earth. The City of Light with its electric street lamps, it's uniform (and gorgeous) beige buildings and slate rooftops, the museums and gardens--to say nothing of all the beautiful people and clothes. It's no wonder the Spirit-Hunters find themselves distracted from the Dead by luncheons and salons, new clothes and new equipment. Do you think, if you were in their shoes, you might also be easily distracted by all the wonders Paris holds? Or would you be better able to force it all aside and focus on the rising problem of les Morts?

I would get distracted by the pastries. I would just sit in a café and gorge on pastries, completely forgetting about the wandering dead. I would hope that I would eventually fall out of my pastry coma and deal with the zombies, but I don’t think the luncheons, salons and society events that distract the Spirit Hunters would keep me away from fighting zombies. Then again I’m not very social. I don’t think Paris would change that. Instead I would get distracted by food and art and the wonders of Paris.

 

If you're participating in the Something Strange & Deadly book club, link up your responses to this week's questions in the comments below.