Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Monthly Recommendations | Family Focus

It's that time of the month again, my Monthly Recommendations are here! This month the topic is Family Focus and I don't know how well my recommendations fit into this topic but I'm going to give them anyway.

First book I want to recommend is the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It's a story about a mysterious black and white circus that doesn't advertise its movements but just appears at some place and leaves without a warning. The performers of the circus form a tight family that takes care of each other and the whole story is quite heartwarming. Circus as a setting is also very interesting and I wonder why there are not more books or tv series set in a circus. Maybe it will be the next trend after this assassin trend passes.

Second book I'm going to recommend is actually a whole series and that is Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. The main family reminds me a bit of the Weasleys in that they have seven sons and they accept outsiders amongst them easily. There are also other adults who sort of have the role of a parent and they are all great characters. Also the world is awesome but that's another story.

At the other end of the spectrum is Slam by Nick Hornby, a story of a 15-year-old skaterboy who accidentally gets his girlfriend pregnant. His mother also had him when she was 15 years old and she offers him great advice and support throughout the book. Following the teenagers trying to cope with becoming parents was written very realistically and though this was not exciting like fantasy, I enjoyed the story a lot.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Survivor Millenials vs Gen X | Mid-Season Thoughts

Now that it seems like there will be a merge this week I felt it was a good moment to recap this first half of the season and share my thoughts and feelings. The theme isn't the most exciting, not like Brain vs Brawn vs Beauty for example, but so far it has worked out pretty well, certainly better than old people vs young people in Nicaragua. Still, for some reason the Millennials have had the upper hand this season.

There has been a nice amount of twists and big moves and even blindsides already, some of which were good and some of which were not so good. I'm not too active on pre-season, I listen to a couple of Rob Has A Podcast -podcasts where they go through the cast bios, just to get to know the players a little bit. Prior to the season starting I didn't have particular favorites or winner picks but I have quickly formed them as I've been watching.

I do not like Figgy or Taylor and I was hoping Figgy was the first to go from the Millennials tribe. I thought Mari had the vote locked down but apparently Jay and Michelle were very convincing and turned things around. Jay's ruthless blindside last week got me totally unprepared, Michaela was my absolute favorite and I hated to see her go. I hope she will come back on some all stars season.

I find Hannah to be a bit similar to Aubrey last season but whereas Aubrey grew into a confident player, Hannah is still in that little overwhelmed phase. Adam on the other hand I like, I hope Zeke takes his to his new alliance. Will I feel is a bit over his head, he is riding Jay's coattails at the moment and not doing anything significant himself.

I don't care much for the Gen-Xrs, only Ken gets some sympathy from me. David is playing too nervous game to my taste and Jessica is interesting only because of the Legacy advantage. Ken should vote her out and get the advantage to himself. Sunday, Bret, Chris, they seem like cool guys but so far they haven't done much.

It's going to be an interesting episode this week, merging from three tribes to one has never been done before. I have many second-rate favorites (because nobody is as amazing as Michaela) who I hope do well after the merge but they are all in different tribes and alliances right now, so somebody will get booted and I will be disappointed yet again how my favorites never win. I don't dare to guess who will win but if it's not a Millennial, then I'm going to be very surprised.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

October Wrap Up

All the school assignments took their toll in October and I only managed to read two books, TWO BOOKS, that's so much less than what I wanted to read. Anyway, let's wrap up the miserable October and move on.

The first book I finished was Thinks... by David Lodge. I blame this book for my bad reading month because this was for school and 2/3 of this was sooo boring. Then the last third of the book suddenly picked up the pace and a lot happened. I need to write a 2500-word essay about this also so I'm not getting rid of this damn book for a long while.

The second book I read was the Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas, the second book in Throne of Glass series. I'm working my way through this series and so far I'm not too impressed. My main problem is that I don't like Celaena at all and I'm not a big fan of Chaol either, so it makes reading the series a bit challenging. We'll see how the rest of the books turn out, I'm not a quitter. Before Christmas I will get through them and post a full series review.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Buying Books

I subscribe to a lot of BookTube channels and one very common video type is the monthly book haul where the youtuber presents the viewers with all the books they have bought during the previous month. Somehow all these tubers manage to buy sometimes dozens of books in one month, which just blows my mind and also irritates me a little bit. It makes the BookTube feel a bit shallow when a tuber buys three versions of the same book. How can they even afford all those books? Books are not cheap!

I myself buy books quite rarely because I'm a student and don't have too much extra money to throw away. Luckily, I'm fortunate to live in Finland where the library system is magnificent and they get even the newest books pretty quickly, including international books that have not been translated or even sold in Finland. I've grown up with library and I love it, it saves me big bucks both in terms of text books and fictional books.

Books that I buy are a sure thing, meaning that I know that I will read them more than once. I wouldn't buy a book without knowing that I like it. Usually I've already read the books I buy and I buy them as a collector, hardback always. Currently I'm trying to track down the version of the Hobbit with Tove Jansson's illustrations (the Finnish translation) and also the Finnish translation of the Night Circus. Both I have read and both I will read again. Only Harry Potter related books are an auto-buy for me, I have just recently acquired all the seven books in English, after owning them all in Finnish for years.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Monthly Recommendation | Monster Mash

Monthly Recommendations is a Goodreads group that gives a montly topic to which people can recommend books. This month's topic is Monster Mash and I don't have a lot to recommend here, since I rarely read books that are scary or have a focus on supernatural creatures. I should read some Stephen King already but there are so many interesting books to read and so little time. Of course I've read fantasy books that have all sorts of monsters in them but I don't feel like I can recommend them for this topic. However, I do have a couple of things to recommend.

My first recommendation is The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. The book is not very scary but almost philosophical, reflecting on the good and bad sides of human nature. It is a very short book and a fast read, if you want to read a classic this is a good one.

My second and last recommendation is The Walking Dead comics by Robert Kirkman. I bet many people have watched the series but never read the comics, I didn't even know there was a comic until about a year ago. The series follows the comic book storyline but adds stuffs and mixes things every once in a while. The comic book is nothing like those superhero comics, it has lot of dialogue and at points very graphic pictures of zombies and dying people etc. If you want horror, with this you can find it.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Once Upon a Time season 6 episode 3 - The Other Shoe review

So much Hooker loveeeee! Seems like this season is all about CaptainSwan happiness until it's ripped away when the hooded creature appears. Hook was admittedly completely useless again, like he's been for a couple of seasons now, but he's so damn adorable that my heart just can't resist him. And on top of that, even Henry got to do stuff, granted it wasn't that special.

I also kind of started to ship Hyde with Regina/the Evil Queen. If he can turn to the good side at some point and Regina and the Evil Queen fuse themselves together again, they might be an interesting couple. Though I bet that Hyde and Jekyll will be forgotten by the end of the season when this story arc is completed.

Even Snow was good in this episode! "I might be a princess but I can still track", oh she definitely had her moments. Planning the future, I wish it would work out that way but when is it ever going to be peaceful in Storybrooke? And are they not returning to the Enchanted Forest? Apparently not, we all know what a bitch meatloaf is back there.

The episode did not add anything big to the overall plot of the season but I liked seeing Cinderella and getting more of her backstory. Although I'm a bit skeptical about the portal to the Land of Untold Stories, you just open any door with that key and it takes you there? Felt a little like a plot device and we probably won't see the key again since the stepmother took it with her.

Still nothing about Aladdin or Jasmine or Jafar and seems like next weeks is going to be about Jekyll and Hyde but the week after that will give us the story of Aladdin. Until that, we probably won't get any information about other saviors or Emma's condition. Well, as long as Hook remains devilishly adorable, I'll be fine.

Friday, October 7, 2016

My History with Harry Potter

In honor of the new play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, I thought I'd share my history with the series. I read the play already when it came out in August but the Finnish translation will be published next month so I'll be reading it again in another language. I was quite young even when the Deathly Hallows was published so I read the whole series first in Finnish and just lately I've had it under way to read them all in English.

My parents bought the Philosopher's Stone as a Christmas present for me when I was 8 years old and my cousin got the Goblet of Fire that same Christmas. I don't remember if I read them both then but I at least read the Philosopher's Stone right away. I have a nameday, something we acknowledge in Finland, in February and I received the Chamber of Secrets as a present then. I'm not sure when I got the Prisoner of Azkaban but I guess it was a birthday present that spring. Somewhere along the way I also got my own copy of the Goblet of Fire and read those over and over again. My favorite was the Prisoner of Azkaban until the Order of the Phoenix came out.

The Order of the Phoenix was published in 2004 in Finnish. I was still about 10 or 11 at the time so I was a bit clueless and didn't go to any midnight  release parties. The book had been out a couple of months when I remember my mother pulling it out of a closet at home one day and said that I had to do some chores to get it. I finished those chores in record time and started reading what became my absolute favorite book for a long time. I carried the book with me if I went away for even a couple of days and read it probably ten times within the first year alone. The book is obviously the biggest in the series and it suffered so much that my mother put sticky-backed plastic over it to keep it together.

At this point the first three movies had come out and I liked the first two very much but I was a bit disappointed in the third because it added stuff that wasn't in the book and changed things too much to my taste. The fourth one was a big disappointment and the fifth even bigger and I lost my faith in the movie series. The last three were okay but they lacked the magical atmosphere the first two have, so I can't be totally satisfied with them.

I acquired the Half-Blood Prince closer to its release date and was quite shocked of the events in the book. I liked it very much but it didn't take over my life like the Order of the Phoenix. I remember debating in my mind which one is better and never coming to any conclusion. I still don't have a conclusion, I need to reread them all closely to one another and try to decide.

The Deathly Hallows is the one I remember most clearly, perhaps because it was the last. I went to buy it the day after it was released and read it in two days. I was very excited and didn't quite understand that it was the end then. The book was fabulous and I read it again after a few weeks and the I reread the whole series. I checked and noticed that I haven't read it since and decided that it's about time, so I try to continue my reread round in English and refresh my reading memories.

I'd like nothing more than to be able to see the new play on stage but that won't probably happen, I'm too busy with work and studying and too poor to travel to London and buy the tickets. Another dream I have is to visit the Leavesden studios near London where the movies were shot and the Harry Potter amusement park in the U.S. but those dreams also have to wait. Someday.