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2017 Screen Favs

 

2017 was a fun year for great movies and tv shows. But more than that it was a great year for movies and TV with powerful and inspirational female characters and their stories!

There are some true standouts that are getting a LOT of well deserved attention but some of the ones that I personally connected with the most have not gotten a whole lot of recognition. I want to take a few minuets to really talk about the ones I really love!

I am picking my top 4 Female Power fav’s from 2017 to showcase.

Before we dive in don’t forget that all this month I am running a very special giveaway for Legendary’s coming birthday! I’m giving away two big prize baskets, one that even included the elusive and wildly popular Rose Gold Minnie Mouse ears from Disney! Don’t miss your chance to enter below in the rafflecopter! So many ways to win 🙂

#1 WONDER WOMAN

This one should come as no surprise! I was going crazy when this came out in theaters, and even back in 2016 when the media campaign really kicked it up. Wonder Woman has been a source of fascination, amazement and inspiration to me since I was nine! I loved to watch the Justice League cartoon shows (and its many forms over the years) and read the comics when I could get my hands on them.

I truly do not think they could have chosen a better actress than Gal Gadot to play Diana Prince, Princess of the Amazons of Themyscira. Gal captured the innocence, the strength, the iron will wrapped in the finest silk, and the open, honest heart that is rooted in doing what is right, no matte the cost.

The genius women behind this movie broke the mold of female characters with the visuals they used. Showing all the Amazons training and fighting in ways that were not meant to entice or capitalize on sexy female body images like Marvel does so damn often. They showed these women working hard to have the skills they do and the steel bonds that weave them together. They supported each other and empowered each other to be better, and they were there for when the other fell to help them back up. That is what gave Diana such a strong moral compass, even when she had to defy her mother, and leave her home forever to do what she believed to be right.

Diana charged across the WWI battle field when no men were even brave enough to dream of doing such a thing. For me this was the most powerful part of the movie because she had no fear of facing such danger alone and she couldn’t bare the thought of just walking away from people who needed help. She stood up for those who could not stand up for themselves and that is a truly rare and inspiring act of heroism.

I loved reading all the cool tweets and articles that came out in the weeks after. One that really sticks out for me was an article with a bunch of young children’s reactions that I read on Cosmo’s site.

  • Seven girls playing together during recess on Tuesday, saying that since they all wanted to  be Wonder Woman they had agreed to be Amazons and not fight but work together to defeat evil.
  • A boy threw his candy wrapping in the floor and a 5-year-old girl screamed ‘DON’T POLLUTE YOU IDIOT, THAT IS WHY THERE ARE NO MEN IN THEMYSCIRA’

#2 SUPERGIRL

There are so many great things this show has done on 3 seasons. I loved the light-hearted quirkiness of season one with the added layers of Cat Grant snarky inspiration and powerful sisterly devotion. Then the slightly more mature, more dynamic second season where Kara learns how to love an enemy of her planet and also how much she’s willing to sacrifice to do what’s right. And now we have season three which has gone darker than both previous seasons, but I can understand why because of what Kara is dealing with, and the underlying layers of danger that are shaping her world.

I am only going to focus on the things that happened in 2017 that really got to me about this show. The biggest moment is two-fold. To save her city, Supergirl took on her revered and god-like cousin in a battle Royale that would put Superman and General Zod’s battle to shame. Clark was at his full-strength, and fighting enraged because of the effect of silver kryptonite which made him see his worst fear (General Zod, pun fully intended above). Despite the odds being so far skewed against her, and everyone in the world thinking that no one could beat Superman, Kara-Supergirl-did. And she did it on her own, with no help or interference; my mind was blown! Part two is the even bigger fold of this scenario because of what Kara had to end up sacrificing to save the innocents of National City and the world.

Mon’el and Kara had a very intense and passionate build and burn to their relationship. I have to admit I was not happy that James got thrown to the side, but I really started to like Mon’el about half way through the 2nd season. After the truth about who he was on his planet came out, that was when I fully committed to team KaraxMon’el. She loved him, truly loved him despite the stupid things he did. Then she had to do the one thing that would rip him from her life permanently. To stop his Psycho Daxamite mother from taking over she set off a bomb created by Lena Luthor that saturated the atmosphere with lead, the one thing Daxamite’s are deathly affected by. Kara knew that doing that would mean that Mon’el would die too, and it would break her heart, but she still did it.

She was able to save Mon’el but only because she put him the pod he came to earth in and sent him into space where he was sucked into a black hole that we found out in season 3 dropped him several hundred years in the future.

At the end of season 2 in ’17 even Clark came to Kara and affirmed to her that she was the superior kryptonion, and not just because she beat him, but because she made a decision that forced her to give up her heart, and Clark admitted that he would not have had the strength to do it.

There are many more reasons to love this show and the fantastic female power that it delivers every week, and that is because of the amazing cast of strong, independent and capable female characters that don’t need men to save them. Lena Luthor, Cat Grant, Alex Danvers and Meghan–in addition of course to Kara Zor-el ;D They even threw in the most popular and well-known actress who donned the Wonder Woman gauntlets and lasso, Lynda Carter, as the president of the good old US of A. It doesn’t get much more powerful than that.

#3 PITCH PERFECT

“Say your prayers because Fat Amy is coming for you.”

I had NEVER expected to see the action sequence that kicks off the whole movie and set up for an aca-spectacular finale to a franchise I love so much! (Yes, that is largely in part because of the amazing songs and musical sequences.)

The two parts of all this that got me the most focused around my fav Bella: Beca. Yes the premise of the movie, all the girls abandoning their lives to tour with the USO to perform on military bases hoping to get picked by some crazy big shot DJ to be signed by his label is very far out there, but this is not the typical Bella competition.

Beca of course immediately catches the attention of the producer, and you can totally tell he’s fascinated by her, and she in turn is strongly drawn to him, thought she seems to not realize it. Said hot producer and DJ Khaled eventually offered a contract for JUST HER but she turned it down because she is a Bella and she was not going to stab her girls in the back like that. The best part was in the end when she told the girls about it they told her she was crazy for not taking the deal! They all go on to tell her that they realize now that they don’t want to keep singing and that real friends, real sisters always support each other and don’t hold any one back from getting their dream!

The second part about this I loved so much, and something that is so NOT a normal thing in dramedies is the fact that despite the attraction, Beca didn’t fall into the arms of the hot producer, Theo, that clearly had a thing for her. Instead she held him off and made a crack about how he now worked for her and she was going to drive him crazy.

I also loved that we got to meet Fat Amy’s estranged father and the aca-crazy he brings to the already guaranteed to be a disaster shenanigans of the Bella’s. Despite Pitch Perfect’s plot having several holes, the expected final of sisterhood and female empowerment felt natural and impactful without being over done.

#4 The Bold Type

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am the first to say I’m not much of a contemporary books or shows that don’t have some kind of action element to it, but this gem snagged my attention right from its first seconds! I love the dynamic chemistry between all the stars of this show, but especially between the characters of Sutton, Jane and Kat. I love seeing three girls who are so inseparable. I love that when one of them does something bitchy or stupid or hurts the feelings of one of the others, instead of losing their shit, they come together, apologize and support each other.

This show broke a lot of molds like the other shows and movies I’ve listed here and they took on a hell of a line up of real issues facing women today. They took on everything from sexism and racial issue to online bullying and rape survival in a powerful season finale that had tears in the eyes of every person that has a heart.

When the series starts we find that Sutton is in a relationship with a man in a powerful position in the company. They highlighted the age-old assumption most people would have made accusing Sutton of sleeping her way up. Instead the relationship was NOT at all about that, they truly cared for each other; but they also showed the strain it put on the relationship to have to hide their love from everyone they know. Sutton is my favorite of the three girls because her personality is so close to mine, plus I loved seeing her gain her confidence to go for her dream of working in the fashion department of the magazine and finding her courage to show what a kick ass talent she is and how she refused to give up despite making many mistakes.

Little Jane is my second favorite. I like that her story focused on her admitting that she was not what her image portrayed and her journey to discovering who she is and what she really wants in her life and career. Jane had several major story lines from having to write an article admitting she had never had a Big “O”, getting into a relationship with a notorious player,  finding ways to break past the assumptions others made of her because of her look and where she worked, and having to face the fact she was positive for a gene that can cause breast cancer in women–the same cancer that killer her mother. At the end of the season they had Jane making a huge decision that put her out on her own, but I love that they showed how supportive her tough as nails boss was of it and how she knew that no matter where she was her friends would stand beside her.

Kat is a wonderfully complex character. She had some of the more crazy but impactful story lines. She dealt with falling in love with a truly beautiful and strong feminist Muslim photographer and realizing that her sexuality was NOTHING like what she had believed all her life. Her relationship with Adina was riddled with everything from cheating to getting arrested (and dealing with the ignorant hate that people have for those who look or talk differently, especially an Arab woman.) She also had to learn how to step up into being a boss and managing the people working for her. And most importantly she learned that she needed to step away from all the things that held her back from growing into the woman she wanted to become.

There are so many shows that could be included in this list but for me these are the ones that I loved the most and I hope that if you haven’t checked out any of these movies or shows, you will and see if maybe you can’t find something of yourself in all of them. I know I sure did!

<3 always LH

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Happy New Year & Legendary Birthday Giveaway

 

It’s almost the New Years and I am hoping 2018 will be a far better year than 2017. Not that it was a bad year, but it was one filled with distraction and exciting craziness.

I have great plans and I’m starting this new year with my first giveaway celebrating Claiming Excalibur and A King Will Rise’s birthdays!!

For the whole month of January I will be running a giveaway with 2 great prizes!

1- a pair of Rose Gold Minnie Mouse Ears, $20 Amazon gift card, Stack of YA books and Legendary Swag including the complete Legendary Saga on Ebook.

2- Full signed set of the Legendary Saga (print copies), $20 Amazon gift card and Legendary Swag

This is definitely one of my better giveaways, and there a A LOT of ways to be one of my winners! Don’t miss your chance and the many other special things I’ve got planned this month and the new never before published scenes from all four books!

 

So start entering the give away using the rafflecopter entry form below and keep checking back for the coming goodies 🙂

Until then I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!

<3 always LH

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2017 Holiday Time

I love pretty much every holiday. I have to admit Christmas and New Years are not my fav (that’s Halloween), but they are great times 🙂

As many of you know I live in more than just my writing Universe; I also live in the Universe of Pastry Chefs. Fun fact I’m sure many people don’t realize about the Food and Bev industry is that holiday and weekends off are so not a things for us. (Though currently I get Saturday’s off—17 years earned!! LOL)

My current pastry shop is always crazy busy at this time, so I usually end up celebrating my Christmas with my fellow leaders and the amazing people that work in my kitchens. It’s always a lot of fun because we usually end up making special meals for our brigades and do our own gift exchanges.

Another great thing about the holidays is both Claiming Excalibur and A King Will Rise have Christmas/New Years Birthdays!!

It’s all very exciting, especially since Legendary’s Birthday is in Feb! So to celebrate all of these wonderful things I’ll be doing several special giveaways—one that will be including a grand prize of gift cards, signed books AND a pair of ROSE GOLD Minnie Mouse ears that every Disney fan is losing their mind over!!

It’s so very Aliana 🤓🤗

Stay close, you’ll see the first giveaway starting up at New Years!!

 Until then, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! Enjoy the one last GIF 🎄🎁

<3 always LH

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2017 Fall YA Scavenger Hunt–Christina June

Happy October readers, and welcome to this fall’s YA Scavenger Hunt! I love October and I love Halloween–it’s my favorite holiday–though I do very much miss seeing the beautiful fall colors that seem to lack here in Florida.

For those neophytes joining us the YA Scavenger Hunt blog hop of fun-ness is designed to give readers a chance to gain access to exclusive bonus material from their favorite authors…and a chance to find new favorite authors and win some great prizes! I’m on #TeamBlue this time and I’m thrilled! As per usual I have an extra giveaway going on that you can only enter here on this page. $20 in gift cards and is very special prize basket filled with so many things us book lovers live off of ;P The rafflecopter is below so don’t miss it.

There is more to this hunt than access to exclusive content. If you want any of the grand prizes  you need to find and add up all the number clues from each author for the team hunt. Get that total number and you can enter for our prizes–one lucky winner will receive ONE SIGNED BOOK from each author on the hunt team!

 

But you have to play fast. This contest will only be open for 5 days, OCTOBER 3-8! Each author on my #TeamBlue have listed a certain number; collect the numbers of all the authors and add them up. Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.

Go to the YA Scavenger Hunt page to find out all about the hunt, the rules, the other teams, and all the prizes up for grabs!

For this hunt I am hosting CHRISTINA JUNE and her Cinderella reimagining: IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE

 

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client).

When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela/fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

A modern play on the Cinderella story arc, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE shows us that sometimes going after what you want means breaking the rules.

Buy the book here

SPECIAL CONTENT: Inspirational boards for her books!

EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE:  From author Christina June comes Everywhere You Want to Be, a modern tale inspired by the classic Red Riding Hood story.

Matilda Castillo has always followed the rules, but when she gets injured senior year, she’s sure her dreams of becoming a contemporary dancer have slipped away. So when Tilly gets a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend the summer with a New York dance troupe, nothing can stop her from saying yes–not her mother, not her fears of the big city, and not the commitment she made to Georgetown. Tilly’s mother allows her to go on two conditions: one, Tilly will regularly visit her abuela in New Jersey, and two, after the summer, she’ll give up dancing and go off to college.

Armed with her red vintage sunglasses and her pros and cons lists, Tilly strikes out, determined to turn a summer job into a career–and figure out how to break it to her mother later. Along the way she meets new friends … and new enemies. Tilly isn’t the only one desperate to dance, and fellow troupe member Sabrina Wolfrik intends to succeed at any cost. But despite dodging sabotage and blackmail attempts from Sabrina, Tilly can’t help but fall in love with the city, especially since Paolo, a handsome musician from her past, is also calling New York home for the summer.

As the weeks wind down and the competition with Sabrina heats up, Tilly’s future is on the line. She must decide whether to follow her mother’s dream of college or leap into the unknown to pursue her own dreams. 

 

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives in Virginia with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, was released in May 2017, and a companion, EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE, will be available in 2018.

 

 

Sounds like an interesting series! Take the time to check it out after you enter the extra giveaway I’m running! To be eligible for the grand prize on #TeamBlue you need to remember that I am a HUGE Ohio State Football fan and that the jersey number of my favorite players from the last few seasons is 97! 

Make the jump to NINA ROSSING’s page to continue the hunt! And if you haven’t already, you’ll soon find my special content on this hunt which is super exciting for me because I’ve released the first chapter of my newest book CHASING THE ORION STARS which is on Swoon Reads!

Happy sleuthing 🙂

<3 L.H.
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#YAInstahunt August ’17

Scavenger Hunts are one of my favorite things every! I’m teaming up with eleven other amazing authors to put together a first of its kind instagram picture hunt! We’ve got the full rules, how to participate, and all the prizes available right here!

1 st up: how it all works & the rules:

Each entry must be posted on Instagram AND must be tagged with #YAInstagram to be counted as an entry! You can earn up to 8 points per team — 1 for each photo you post on Instagram using #YAInstahunt — The authors will choose their winners so get creative! Grand prize winner will be chosen from the contestants that take part in all teams and has the most points entered. Don’t forget to also tag the teams authors with each pic entry! Share the love <3

Any entries on other forms of social media DO NOT count, so make sure you are posting each pic on Instagram! However, you can share this hunt on twitter, facebook, Pinterest and all other social media platforms. but only Instagram entries count.

Winners will be notified through Instagram

2 nd thing to know: The authors taking part AND each team’s prize!! We’ve got a lot of good ones 🙂

TEAM PINK PRIZES: Print copy of REAWAKENED + $20 gift card & Legendary swag 

TEAM GREEN PRIZES: ebook The Watcher and The Angel Killer + Copy of The Castaways & swag

TEAM PURPLE PRIZES: $10 Gift card + $20 gift card & November girl swag

TEAM RED PRIZES: $25 gift card + Custom crow pendant & a signed hardcover of BLACK BIRD OF THE GALLOWS

TEAM YELLOW PRIZES: T-shirt & Swag + $25 gift card

TEAM ORANGE PRIZES: $20 Amazon gift card + $25 B&N gift card

The grand prize winner will receive 1 copy of EACH AUTHOR’S featured book! Open internationally–where ever Book Depository ships to for free.

Put Aug 25th on your calendar and get your INSTAGRAM filters ready for use! See you all then

<3 always L.H.

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