5 Favorite Chick Lit Authors

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One of these books will reappear later in my list. (Photo courtesy of Melanie S on Flickr.)

One of these books will reappear later in my list. (Photo courtesy of Melanie S on Flickr.)

Growing up and attending school within the U.S. education system meant reading a ton of books I didn’t want to read–The Scarlet Letter immediately comes to mind. But while I was struggling to get through whatever classic I had been assigned, I would take a break, curl up on a Saturday, and get through a whole chick lit young adult novel in one sitting. On more than one occasion I’ve stayed up until the wee morning hours (4 or 5 a.m.) in order to finish a book because I needed to know what happens. So it’s safe to say I’m a book-lover–and chick lit is my favorite genre.

Chick lit, which refers to literature written for and mainly appealing to women, is often brushed off as silly or trashy fiction with weak female characters. Of course, if you’ve read chick lit, you know that is a complete misconception. Sure many chick lit novels contain a romance aspect or plot, but they also delve into the main character’s professional life, as well as their relationships with family and friends. The best chick lit deals with all aspects of a woman’s life, not just her love life. I’m not the first or only person who’s defended chick lit, though, so has Jamie Beckman of The Frisky. But, since I’ve read many, many chick lit novels–both for women and young adults–I thought I’d list some of my favorite authors who specialize in women’s fiction, as well as some of my favorite novels.

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10 All Time Favorite Disney Songs

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'Hercules' premiered in 1997 and starred Tate Donovan, Danny DeVito, & Susan Egan. (Photo courtesy of Disney.)

‘Hercules’ premiered in 1997 and starred Tate Donovan, Danny DeVito, & Susan Egan. (Photo courtesy of Disney.)

Recently, I re-watched Hercules, which was one of my favorite Disney movies when I was a kid. For those who have Netflix Instant, how great is it that so many Disney movies are available on Instant? I know it’s because the two companies struck a deal back in December, but I’m so glad the viewers are get something as well. Since my family’s collection of Disney movies consists almost exclusively of VHS tapes and we don’t actually own a working VHS player anymore, it’s nice to be able to watch some of my favorites anytime I’d like. Sure, ABC Family or the Disney Channel occasionally decides to play some of the Disney flicks I grew up with, but sometimes it’s nice to come home from a long day of work, have a drink, and sing along to Hercules at top volume.

My rewatch experience got me to remembering all the music from those Disney movies to which I still know all the words. There are plenty of playlists on Pandora, Songza, and Spotify devoted exclusively to those songs, such as “Disney” curated by my friend Monica. I also remember arguing with friends when I was younger over which Disney songs were the best, although movies like The Little Mermaid, The Lion King, and Mulan always made the list–to be honest though, my friends and I still have these discussions. So for a bit of nostalgia, I decided to put together my list of all-time favorite Disney songs.

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Badass Ladies of ‘Teen Wolf’

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Photo courtesy of MTV Remote Blog.

Photo courtesy of MTV Remote Blog.

Happy Moonday! It’s finale day! Now, I know some fans have watched the leaked midseason finale of Teen Wolf, but this is a spoiler-free (at least in this case) blog. I haven’t watched the finale and I hope everyone will be tuning in with me tonight at 10pm ET on MTV, if not already watching the all-day season three marathon.

But let’s get on with this blog post: today we’re talking about the ladies of Teen Wolf because, well, they’re pretty damn awesome. Last week we learned about Stiles’s mother, Claudia Stilinski, who we’ve all wondered about for nearly two and a half seasons. She’s a special lady: she brought us Stiles, and she’s the only member of the Stilinski family on the show to have a first name. In honor of Claudia Stilinski, I thought now would be a good time to talk about all the super-cool women on Teen Wolf. A while ago I wrote a similar post called “Badass Ladies of ‘Once Upon A Time’” because that show also has a lot of kick-ass women. I wanted to turn that post into a series because we should celebrate the great ladies of TV more, and now seems like a great time for a second installment.

Photo courtesy of MTV.

Photo courtesy of MTV.

I’m sure there will be some people who disagree with me, but I think Teen Wolf is a good example of a show with complex and well-constructed female characters (I think we can all agree that they’re created with as much thought as the male characters.) Although I definitely became interested in the show because of all the–regularly shirtless–men, it’s safe to say I’ve stuck around just as much for the ladies as for the men. So I’m taking this time to celebrate those ladies. On this list I’ve only included characters who are still alive, but posthumous mentions go out to the badass ladies who are no longer with us: Kate Argent (played by Jill Wagner,) Victoria Argent (Eaddy Mays,) and Erica Reyes (Gage Golightly.) Without further ado, the badass ladies of Teen Wolf:

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An Introduction to the Cast of ‘The Maze Runner’

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The official logo for 'The Maze Runner.' (Photo courtesy of 'The Maze Runner' on Facebook.)

The official logo for ‘The Maze Runner.’ (Photo courtesy of ‘The Maze Runner’ on Facebook.)

Amidst all the other young adult dystopian novels being turned into movies, The Maze Runner is one that I am especially excited to see. The movie is based on The Maze Runner by James Dashner, which he told fans during the Nerd HQ panel at SDCC this year, was inspired by books he liked when he was younger: Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card and The Lord of the Flies by William Golding. It’s easy to see the inspiration from those books in The Maze Runner, as well as the other two books in Dashner’s trilogy: The Scorch Trials and The Death Cure. I just recently finished the trilogy and it’s made me even more excited for the film.

One of the first stills released of the whole cast in the Glade. (Photo courtesy of 'The Maze Runner' on Facebook.)

One of the first stills released of the whole cast in the Glade. (Photo courtesy of ‘The Maze Runner’ on Facebook.)

Since I didn’t start The Maze Runner until after I found out about the casting choices, while I read the books I envisioned the characters as the actors who were chosen to play them. Although I usually don’t like to picture the actors as the characters while I’m reading, for The Maze Runner it worked. Many–if not all–of the cast members are a perfect fit for their character. For instance, the protagonist, Thomas, will be portrayed by Dylan O’Brien, a talented actor (currently working on Teen Wolf) whose ability will definitely do justice to Thomas’s character. As for the rest of the cast, I’ve seen some of them in other projects, but many were unknown to me. So I conducted a few online research into these actors and began to fall in love with everyone in the main cast. Not only do they constantly post pictures to Instagram and tweet about each other, they also seem to absolutely adore each other:

“I would genuinely describe this entire set as one big bromance.” –Will Poulter

Wes Ball’s adaptation of The Maze Runner comes out February 14, and personally I can’t wait. For anyone else who’s excited, or who wants the lowdown on the cast & characters, I compiled all my research (or internet stalking, whatever) about everyone into one post. So here’s a little bit of info about the Gladers, and the actors behind the characters.

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What’s So Great About ‘Orphan Black’?

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'Orphan Black' has been renewed for a second season to premiere in April 2014. (Photo courtesy of BBC America.)

‘Orphan Black’ has been renewed for a second season to premiere in April 2014. (Photo courtesy of EW.)

Aside from the fact that Tatiana Maslany and Orphan Black were robbed in the Emmy nominations, the Canadian science-fiction show is gaining a lot of traction in the television industry. I remember seeing promos for Orphan Black way back in January, before the show premiered on BBC America on March 30. It looked interesting so I checked out the show and watched the whole first season as it aired; I fell in love with the characters and the story. Recently I’ve noticed more and more of my friends are watching Orphan Black and falling even more in love with the show than I did. But I’ve been wondering why the sudden influx of fans? Is it because of their appearance at San Diego Comic-Con? Or maybe the greatness of this show is spreading through word of mouth? Since I’m unsure of the reason why Orphan Black’s following is growing, I thought I’d list why I love the show, plus include a handy helpful guide to the characters and science of Orphan Black at the bottom. I’ll make a convert out of my readers yet.

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6 More Great Songza Playlists

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I've saved over 40 playlists to my favorites. Yikes. (Photo courtesy of Songza.)

I’ve saved over 40 playlists to my favorites. Yikes. (Photo courtesy of Songza.)

About a year ago, I wrote about Songza, the fantastical wonderland of curated playlists created by professional music nerds for music nerds like myself. One of the most unique aspects of Songza, is the ability to choose any time of the week, then an activity, then a genre of music, then a particular playlist to fit your needs. It’s a wonderful way to discover new music by finding the perfect soundtrack for your day. Or, there are plenty of mixes full of well-known songs, contemporary chart toppers, and classics that are sure to be familiar, and might even be on your current Spotify playlist. In addition to being a super-cool website, Songza is also an extremely popular music app that’s great for any music lover on the go. So, since it’s been a year since my last list of great Songza playlists, here are some more I’ve discovered.

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