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.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Once Upon a Time season 6 episode 2 - A Bitter Draught Review

I don't have a lot to say about this episode, to be honest. It wasn't bad but it wasn't anything amazing either. The biggest thing was probably the rise and fall of the Count of Monte Cristo, so to speak. At first I thought he would become one of the season regulars but then he was killed so I don't expect to see him again. I have not read his original story nor have I seen any movies he might be in so I was pretty indifferent to him the whole time.

I liked that Emma started to share her visions, she should be more open by now. I also liked how Hook apologized to Belle, it was about time he took some real responsibility (though I like him whatever he does). The Jolly Rodger was a nice idea but I don't think it hold Rumple off too long. Speaking about Rumple, the flirt between him and the Evil Queen was almost too much for a family show!

This episode focused mainly on out core cast, we didn't get to see Aladdin or Jafar or even Hyde. Regina & co found out that her evil side is still causing mayhem so now they probably start to figure out how to get rid of her for good. People on the Internet have predicted that eventually she will unite with her evil side and I agree, that's most likely what will happen.

Friday, September 30, 2016

September Wrap Up

I started university at the beginning of September and that has severely affected the amount of free time I have. I don't have time to read as much as I'd like to and not even the books I'd like to, since I have to read a boring novel for a literature course (more about that in the October wrap up). I only managed to finish three books in September, but hey, that's something.

The first book I read was the fourth and the last book in the Lunar Chronicles, Winter by Marissa Meyer. I wrote a full series review after finishing that. In addition to the main series I read Stars Above, a collection of short stories about the Lunar Chronicles characters before and after the events of the series. I needed that to ease me off the Lunar world, my heart ached when I turned to the last page. I must reread the series soon, I think.

And the last book I read in September was the Throne of Glass, the first book in the series of the same name by Sarah J. Maas. I have heard so much about this series so I thought I would finally get into it, especially now that the fifth book was just published. I'm waiting to get my hands on that from the library (now on the tenth place), in the meantime I have to read the rest. The first book didn't fascinate me quite as much as I was anticipating, mainly because I don't like Celaena's character. The plot was interesting enough for me to continue on with the series.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Once Upon a Time season 6 episode 1 - The Savior Review

My favorite show is back on air! It was a pretty good premiere for the new season, we got to see a lot of bits that will hopefully play out nicely during the season. Still, knowing Adam and Eddy, I have my doubts.

I like that Aladdin was introduced and that he is (or was?) a savior. I'm very interested to learn his backstory. I don't mind that they changed the actor for Jafar but I do mind if they retcon something from Wonderland, I'm still mad how they handled Will on the main show. By the way, my first thought about that red bird was that it's a phoenix but more logically it's Iago. Hopefully Abu makes an appearance, too.

My favorite moment of the episode was Hook and Emma getting steamy on the couch, more happy couple moments, please! I'm tired of Emma always raising her walls, Hook is her true love, she should be fine sharing everything with him! Hook is still bae and devilishly handsome and all that.

Despite my love for Hook and identifying with Emma, Regina is the queen of the show. Bobby may be tired of playing Rumple but Lana Parilla is holding the whole show on her shoulders, bless that woman. Snow and Regina having a moment, man that was good. More friendship awesomeness, please!

I can't wait to see all the characters from the Land of Untold Stories, I wish there were some interesting ones. We could go back to the "fairytale of the week" style they did in the first season but I'm afraid the writers have lost that ability. Though I hear rumors that they are going back to the roots of the series and maybe doing a whole season arc instead of these half and half we've got since season 3. I'd like that very much, for some reason they haven't been able to keep those shorter arcs together and usually they feel rushed and not thought through.

Am I the only one who got hit by the fact how big Henry already is? He should get much more scenes, and good scenes, not those childish scenes they make him do. He has a girlfriend now, let's see some Henry & Violet! He's a big boy, make him do some big boy stuff! Maybe what's wrong with the show is that after season 1 Henry's role has been extremely insignificant except when he's the Author.

Oh, almost forgot! I liked Morpheus! Though I don't know if we'll see him again as Rumbelle's son, but the actor at least was nice and damn that burn on Rumple, own son telling his mom to avoid daddy dearie. If the writers can keep everything together, this should make an interesting season.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Fall TV

I generally hate fall because it has always been the end of everything nice: summer, sunshine, vacation etc. The only good thing about fall is that the summer hiatus ends and all the tv series come back on again. Here are the series I'm most excited about:

Once Upon a Time: my favorite, even though the writers are trying to ruin it with lazy plots. I have never had a bigger crush on anyone than I have on Hook. I will stay with the series til the bitter end.

Survivor: it actually already started, but man, I love it. It just keeps surprising and they always find people I can root for and wish to see again. Those all-stars seasons are just thrilling! It's a travesty that Survivor wasn't even nominated at the Emmy's.

The Flash: I enjoyed the second season a lot and have high hopes for the third. The characters are more likable than those on Arrow and the plot is at least at times lighter.

Arrow: I wanted the fifth season to be the last, so that Oliver's island arc would be nicely wrapped and they would have a satisfying ending but no. Anyway Felicity is still one of my favorite tv characters and her awesomeness deserves more recognition.

The Walking Dead: I somehow feel that I like Fear the Walking Dead more than the original and it's probably because they focus more on characters. My favorite TWD characters are Carol and Carl and they tend to get pushed aside from time to time. Still, that cliffhanger.

In addition I watch a lot of Finnish TV but I'm not going to bore you by listing those. One thing is for sure: I'm going to spend too much time watching TV and too little time studying, as always.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Book Series I Won't Finish

A couple of weeks ago I made a post about book series I have finished or caught up on. Now I thought I'd list the series I have read one or two books of but have no interest in finishing for one reason or another.

  • Fablehaven: it started out okay but then I lost interest. I don't know if it's because I'm too old for the series or because I have hard time identifying with the characters.
  • Maze Runner: I read the first book in Finnish and the translation was one of the worst I have ever read and the plot and characters didn't appeal to me either. I have not heard anything good about the sequels so I will just try to forget I bothered to read the first book.
  • The Mortal Instruments: I know a lot of people love this series but I'm not feeling it. In my opinion Clary and Jace are some of the most irritating and stupid characters ever and reading about their hardships offers nothing to me.
  • The Kane Chronicles: though I love Percy Jackson, somehow the Kane Chronicles never had the same magic and I lost interest.
  • The Carrie Diaries: Sex and the City is nothing special to me but I tried this series and it wasn't for me.
  • Skullduggery Pleasant: not sure if I spelled that right but this just wasn't my style
  • The Earthsea Cycle: this is probably the only one I feel guilty of because it has such a high status and people consider it one of the classics but I just found it boring.
If you can argue for some of these, please do! I'd love to hear reasons why I should continue with some of these series.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Monthly Recommendations | Science Fiction!

Once again, it's time for Monthly recommendations! The topic for this month is science fiction and though I like to think that I read a lot of sci-fi it turns out I don't, at least the kind I'd like to recommend. Also science fiction is a hard genre for me to define because it includes stuff like space adventures, dystopians and everything in between. Despite that, I have a couple of books to recommend.

First I'd like to quickly mention the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer which I'm kind of obsessed now. I just finished the series and wrote a whole review about it (including some spoilers). That was something really original with cyborgs and the Moon being inhabited.

The second book I want to recommend is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. That, too was something totally different and I was thrilled almost the whole way through the book. The idea of a society where everyone is rather living in virtual reality than the actual world is very plausible. The quest for the grand prize is exciting and I can't understand what's taking so long to make a film out of it.

Lastly two books I read back to back: 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. 1984 tells the story how world has become a totalitarian society where everyone worships the Big Brother, the great ruler of the country. Censorship is strong and people are brainwashed to follow the ruler. At the other end of the scale is Brave New World, where everything surrounds around pleasure and easy living. People are lazy and used to only pleasant and beautiful things. I can see that happening in the future of our world as much as Ready Player One and that is a little scary.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Lunar Chronicles | Series Review

I might have said this before but I love series and reading the whole series back to back. This summer my project has been the Lunar Chronicles and now I have finally finished it. I'm still reading Stars Above, the collection of short stories about the different characters featured in the Lunar Chronicles, but I don't consider it a necessity. It's a nice bonus after finishing the actual series when you don't wanna move on from that world just yet.

The first book in the series, Cinder, got me hook right from the start. Very original idea, though it is a fairytale retelling. That didn't play a big role but when there were allusions to the original fairytale it was fun to notice them and they had nice twists. I've read some dystopian novels but this was the first with cyborgs in it and it was interesting, and the whole future world felt realistic and well-planned. Some plot twists I guessed, like the fact that Cinder is Selene, but some were total surprises like Dr. Erland's role.

The second book, Scarlet, is probably the weakest of the four, mainly because I'm not a big fan of Scarlet. I don't know what it is about her, perhaps I've had enough of these strong, independent, outspoken female characters. Also the relationship between her and Wolf is a bit too weird for me. The chapters with Cinder and Thorne in them were way more interesting and fun. Still it's a four star read, maybe 4- if you have to compare with the other three books.

The third book, Cress, was again better than the previous. I liked that we had met Cress already, so we didn't get a totally new character out of the blue. Saving Cress kicked the story off with speed, only to slow down a little in the middle. Again I guessed some things like they all ending up in the same place eventually, but the journey there was interesting enough for it not bothering me. At times the Rampion crew reminded me of Firefly and the crew of Serenity, which I love. Probably the funniest part of the whole series was the kidnapping of Kai, in all its craziness and scrambling.

The last book, Winter, was quite different from the other three, mainly because it takes place on Luna and Levana's palace. The Lunar society felt very much like Panem from the Hunger Games with the sectors and dictatorship and the rich taking advantage of the poor. Again, a new main character was introduced in the previous book, which I liked. There were a lot more twists and turns than I expected, sometimes I had no idea how the characters were going to survive the dangerous situations they got themselves in. I expected at least one major death, other than the obvious Levana death, but it never came. The ending was maybe a little too happy, but I'm not complaining, it's good to have some positivity in literature for change.

My favorite characters are Cinder and Kai. They break a lot of stereotypes, Cinder being the handy mechanic and Kai the soft and sweet prince. I can identify with Cinder and I like that she's not the typical beautiful and quick-witted heroine. I thought I would not like the playboy Thorne, but his brother-sister relationship with Cinder was very amusing. Cress and Thorne were a cute couple, but I would have liked it more if Thorne actually wasn't that into her and she would have gotten a wake up call after dreaming all the fantasies. I could have done without Winter but I guess she had her role in the story and her struggling with the Lunar sickness was interesting and raised an important issue. Lastly, I have to mention Iko, she always managed to fill her role as comic relief.

All in all this is one of the best series I've ever read even with some of its faults. The characters and the world are well-built and the plot takes you to places you never could have guessed. I will definitely reread this someday.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Wrap Up

This August I managed to finish the total of four books (almost five) and three out of those four I enjoyed whole-heartedly. I'm quite satisfied with my reading progress this year, I have surpassed the amount of books I read last year a long time ago. Anyway, here are the books I read during August.

First I devoured Harry Potter and the Cursed Child in one night, because that's how I always read Potters. I'm trying to continue to reread all the Potters, I will probably read the Prisoner of Azkaban next month and after I finish the rest I plan on rereading the Cursed Child. I did a full review of the Cursed Child after finishing it, but I don't know how I feel about it after reading it a second time and getting some distance.

After the Cursed Child I finished The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. I was kind of disappointed to it because I had heard people describe it as a fairytale or children's story and I would never read this to a child. The main character was a child, yes, but the book really creeped me out and I disliked it.

Then I read The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and oh, how I loved it. I had heard a lot of recommendations about the Night Circus and I was not disappointed. The story was nicely weaved to two different times and the mystery surrounding the circus and the game held up until the last pages. I liked almost all of the characters, only Marco felt a little too intense to my taste. Despite that, a five star read definitely.

Lastly I finished Cress, the third book in the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. This is one of the best series I've read in a while, though a little fluffy at times, but well, it is a fairytale retelling and I'm not complaining. I just finished the last book in the series before writing this so I will be posting a full series review hopefully in a couple of days.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Book Series I'm Caught Up On/Finished

I have always liked to read series. You get to know the characters and the world and get attached to it way more than with standalone stories. During my life I have read a lot of series and I thought to share those I'm caught up on or finished entirely.

  • Harry Potter (naturally)
  • The Lord of the Rings (on top of the trilogy I've read Silmarillion and the Hobbit)
  • The Inheritance Cycle (that did not deliver)
  • The Princess Diaries (even my dyslexic sister has read it through)
  • Pure Dead (was there a clear plot, I'm not sure)
  • Artemis Fowl (I should reread this series)
  • Molly Moon
  • Shamer Chronicles (from Lene Kaaberbøl who is behind the W.I.T.C.H. comics)
  • Chronicles of Narnia (another quite obvious)
  • Ingo (because mermaids)
  • Aaro Korpi (from Ilkka Remes, a Finnish detective novel author)
  • Arthur-trilogy (that dragged)
  • Oman keisarien aikakirjat (A finnish fantasy series, a direct translation could be the Emperors' of Oma Chronicles)
  • Bromeliad-trilogy (by Terry Pratchett, my first touch to his works)
  • The Magic Thief (a good basis but left me wanting a bit more)
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians (I should reread these and write a series review)
  • The Heroes of Olympus (I love Percy and Annabeth)
  • Twilight (I wanted to be able to critize them so I had to read them)
  • The Gentlemen Bastard Sequence (when will the next book come out??)
  • The Hunger Games (again, obviously)
  • The Wolves of Mercy Falls (Maggie Stiefvater's writing is one of the most beautiful)
  • Inkworld (I don't see the greatness of Dustfinger)
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (perhaps the first book would have been enough)
  • Divergent (unpopular opinion but I liked the ending, that was brave)
  • A Song of Ice and Fire (I fear the last two books will feel like nothing after the series ends)
  • The Night Angel trilogy (oh so tragic and violent)
  • The Raven Cycle (how come so many authors struggle to end their series properly?)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

My Top10 TV Theme Songs!

As it is known I watch too much TV and have watched for years. Every once in a while I come across a show with a great opening theme song. In my opinion a great theme song is not necessary but it adds to the greatness of the show. A great theme song captures the essence of the show and is recognizable, preferably keeps playing in your head after you hear it. For some time it seems to me that shows have stopped using actual songs and almost any themes, they just flash the show name and that's it. It makes me a bit sad since a great theme song is an essential part of the experience. I decided to list my top10 favorite tv show theme songs of all times and precisely songs, not just ten-second-tunes.

10. Freaks and Geeks
This series is so bittersweet in whole. It's absolutely great series and it was cancelled way too soon. The theme song, Bad Reputation by Joan Jett is speedy and fun as the series itself and gets you into that Freaks and Geeks mood right away.

9. H2O
I used to watch H2O when I was around 15 years old so it gets its place on this list heavily because of nostalgia. And the song No Ordinary Girl sung by Ellie Henderson is quite good, gets you to sing along and excited about mermaids.

8. Firefly
This is a more recent discovery but sadly also a show cancelled too soon. So much injustice in the world... Anyway the theme song The Ballad of Serenity by Sonny Rhodes gives me all the space cowboy feels I need. The perfect song for walking slowly on a prairie with your stetson.

7. Los Serrano
Nostalgia is a thing on this list and Fran Perea's Uno Mas Uno Son Siete falls into that category. I used to watch this too when I was around 15, they would air it every summer for many years. I love this crazy show and it brings so many good memories and moments with it.

6. ER
The suspense in this show is real and so is the theme song. The name of the song is just Theme from ER and the composer is James Newton Howard. The song is purely instrumental but that doesn't take anything away from it. I was so disappointed when they changed it to that dull tune for the last season, never change a theme song that has been playing over a decade!

5. The Big Bang Theory
Some of my enchantment towards TBBT has faded over time but the theme song, The History of Everything by Barenaked Ladies never fails to suck me in. Impossible to sing along but BANG it's just so much fun to try and fail every time. Never gets old.

4. Suits
Suits is a cool badass show and so is their theme song, The Greenback Boogie by Ima Robot. Harvey is kind of cowboy rock-star lawyer who couldn't care less about anyone and the theme perfectly depicts that. Living the high life just the way you want without anything in your way.

3. Game of Thrones
If the show is epic, so is the theme song. Powerful and dramatic, raises you from your seat and even with no lyrics you can't help but hum along. I especially love the ending when it drops to the last few quiet sounds. Close to perfect if not that, there's nothing else I can say.

2. The O.C.
This show might get the most nostalgia points ever because this was the first show I actively followed and was a fan of. I still have the theme song California by Phantom Planet in my iPod and every time I hear it it's just as good as the first time. I recently rewatched the whole show and it made me realise how much I miss it and how awesome it was at the time.

1. Friends
High nostalgia score for Friends too. I had a hard time deciding between Friends and the O.C. but eventually I had to place Friends and I'll Be There For You by The Rembrants as #1 because it still works. And yes, I clap.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Parks and Recreation | Complete Series Review

Because the weather here was rainy and I had a little flu I spend last week watching Parks and Rec seasons 4-7. I had watched seasons 1-3 earlier in the spring and now I was in the mood to watch the rest. And I loved every second of it. (Should go without saying but this post contains spoilers from the outset and throughout.)

Parks and Rec was originally planned as the Office spin-off and the style is similar but in my opinion that's where the similarities end. I liked Parks and Rec a thousand times more than I liked the Office. My main problem with the Office was that I could not stand Michael Scott and when he left, I liked the last season a lot more than the previous 8 seasons. With Parks and Rec I loved every main character and the whole team working at Parks Department.

Almost every single character works with any of the other characters. Leslie and Ron have good relationship, Leslie and Ann are the best best friends though they are so different, April and Ron have excellent dynamics, Andy and April are a fittingly weird couple, Leslie and Ben are cute, Tom and Donna treat themselves properly... I could go on for hours.

It was heartwarming to see some of the characters grow so much during the seasons. April becomes an adult with actual professionalism, Tom learns how to be a real entrepreneur, even Ron softens a little. The bigger plot lines never felt boring or unnecessary but were interesting and all the little humor here and there just made me love everything so much more. The running jokes never got old but always made me laugh. Maybe not the Jerry being laughed at because that's really not cool.

My only complain has to do with Ann and the Lot 48. I felt like something was missing after Ann and Chris left. Leslie works fine on her own or with any of the other characters but her relationship with Ann was special. Also the thing that brought Ann and Leslie together was the Lot 48 and the biggest plotline of all was building a park on it. On season 7 we learn that yes, the park has been built and it's awesome but we didn't get to see that. I'm a bit annoyed by that but what can you do. I wasn't the biggest fan of the three-year timeskip either but watching the last season now was amusing since it's almost the same year.

The last episode got me emotional with all the happy endings. I waited Ann and Chris to return the whole season and when the team had their last gathering at the old office and they weren't there I started to get disappointed but then they appeared and I got something in my eye and I was so happy for Leslie and the whole gang. It was the perfect ending and I loved it from the bottom of my heart.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Silicon Valley Season 3 | Review

I have not talked about HBO's Silicon Valley before on my blog so first of all let's just say that I love it. It's like The Big Bang Theory but not so "invasive", there's no audience laughing and humor is bit more subtle. Character types sometimes remind me of TBBT also, there's the awkward Asian, the weird buddy of the Asian guy, the tall guy who is not quite normal and the center character who has the closest relationship with the only female. Obviously all the guys are extreme nerds but the angle is a bit different since they are IT-engineers, not scientists.

Enough comparing. I love all the characters of Silicon Valley and I love the plot though I understand very little about the actual IT-stuff they talk about. The dynamic in the group is great though I sometimes wish Erlich would shut his mouth. I have shipped Richard and Monica since the first episode but it seems the writers are not gonna pair them up. Shame, really, they would make such a great couple, they already have a great relationship.

Now I'm going to talk about some specific things in season 3, so if you do not want to get spoiled, stop reading now!

I thought they would finally succeed with Pied Piper when the beta was great but I had the same thought as Monica, that all the people who loved it where IT-nerds who understand it, not ordinary people without excessive knowledge about coding. I didn't like that they cheated with the users but they got through that and now it's nothing anymore. I'm not sure what they are going to do with Pied Piper now that they will focus on the videochat, is the file compressing thing forgotten? I loved that Big Head and Erlich bought them and not Gavin Belson, can't wait to see what they will do next season. Hopefully Monica joins Pied Piper, I'm not sure whether she was actually fired from Raviga or not.

Erlich wasting Big Head's money got on my nerves quite heavily, I can't stand sloppy personal or corporal finance. It's not even that complicated, you just have to have more income than what you spend. Actually making it happen is the challenge but throwing a million dollar party is definitely not the way to do it. At the other end of the spectrum, Gavin bringing in all the animals was hilarious and the board putting him on the roof was funny as hell. It's been a while since I watched the first two seasons so I probably missed some of the running jokes but even now this show is one of the best comedies. Please air the fourth season as soon as possible!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child review

There has been (of course) a lot of talk about Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, some good and some bad. I'm one of those who was quite happy with the original seven books at the time, the story ended well and everything was fine, though naturally I was sad I had to say goodbye to my favorite fictional world and all the characters. So I had some mixed feelings upon hearing that they were going to publish a new story and in a play format. Still I bought the book and read it in one sitting and I must say despite everything it was like returning home because that's what Harry Potter is to me and will probably always be.

Now I'm going to get into spoilers so if you have not read the book, go read it! You have been warned, THE SPOILERS START NOW!

The first scenes of the play were a bit confusing since we go through three years very fast and I must admit, I was bothered when the lines weren't exactly like they were in the last chapter of the Deathly Hallows. The story got a lot better and clearer once it stopped skipping years. I didn't mind the play format, it made it very fast-paced, and since the world is familiar to us all we don't need long descriptions but sometimes I would have wanted to hear what the characters were thinking instead of just what they said out loud.

About the characters: Scorpius and Albus are the best thing in the book. Their friendship is so heartfelt that the book proved itself with that only. I'm not sure how I feel reading about Harry & co as adults but they weren't bad either. The alternative universe Ron & Hermione were my favorite thing after Scorpius and Albus, this just proves that they are meant to be, no matter how J.K. regrets pairing them. Also I have never really liked Snape, not even after all his heroism, but here the two second we saw him I actually enjoyed his character.

Now I enjoyed reading this greatly but I can't overlook some extremely fan fiction like things. Don't get me wrong, I love fan fiction but I expected them to come up with something little more true to the original series. Voldemort having children has been a subject in fan fiction as long as I have been reading them so I yelled out loud when I read that. That is so out of character for Voldemort! He planned on living forever by making the horcruxes, he did not want to have children! Bellatrix would have probably done it in a second but Voldemort, never. In addition, I'm not sure I like all the time-traveling either, it worked out okay but still not my favorite thing.

Besides the characters I loved the humor in the story. Scorpius having a huge crush on Rose was sweet and Rose saying that Scorpius doesn't look like Voldemort because he has a nose... I laughed. My favorite fan fics are those that pair up Rose and Scorpius and this gave me more than I could have hoped for.

If it weren't for all the fan fiction traits this book would be a 5-star-read, no question about it. Since there are those very out of character things I can't account this into canon with the original seven. Instead I consider this as expanded universe, very much worth reading.

Monday, August 8, 2016

July Wrap Up

Pokémon Go was published in July and though I didn't mean to start playing it, seeing my brother play made me want to try also and then there was no coming back. Pokémon Go took a big chunk of my time I'd otherwise spend reading but despite that I managed to read five books.

The first two books I read were Blue Lily, Lily Blue and The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. I wrote a whole series review about The Raven Cycle, so I'm just going to say here that I enjoyed the series but wasn't fully satisfied with it.

After finishing the Raven Cycle I read The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. My interest for this book was sparked by Once Upon a Time which introduced Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde as new characters in season finale. I wanted to be familiar with their original story before the new season premieres in September to fully appreciate the plot and easter eggs. The book itself was very short and quick read, though the construction of the book was very different from what I expected.

Then I got to the second book in my favorite new series the Lunar Chronicles, Scarlet by Marissa Meyer. Scarlet's character wasn't as good as Cinder but still the overall story keeped me very interested and excited and I surprisingly liked Thorne very much after his and Cinder's relationship stabilized. Wolf and Cinder went a bit too Twilight for my taste but other than that I enjoyed the book a great deal and am looking forward to getting into the third book.

The last book I had time to finish in July was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum. Once Upon a Time was the reason to reading this, too, because the Wicked Witch of the West has been a character since season 3 so it's about time to get some insight on her. The book itself was a nice children story, though I kind of saw where it was going the whole time but it turned out a bit different than what I thought.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Monthly Recommendations | 1 Year Celebration

So Monthly Recommendations group is 1 year old and for celebration the topic for this month is to recap all the past topics and recommend one book for each. Obviously I have only done this for a couple of months so most of these are totally new to me, which is fun. I skipped the few topics I've already posted recommendations for, because this post is long enough even without them. Here are the topics and my recommendations:

An underrated book
The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick is a book that even underrates itself. It has the potential to be much more but it's way too short and all the things are just starting when it ends. In short, the book takes place in an alternative reality where Nazi Germany and Japan won the WWII and rule the world. America has been split in half between the winners. Luckily, Amazon has made it into an incredible tv show that hopefully tells the whole story, not just the beginning. The first season at least fulfilled all my hopes and expectations and the wait for the season 2 has already been too long.

A book set in school
I'm going to cheat here a bit and recommend a series which has not so much focus on school setting but learning to be a magician, and that is Chrestomanci series by Diana Wynne Jones, the first book being The Lives of Christopher Chant. If you liked her book Howl's Moving Castle, you should definitely read the Chrestomanci books as well. The main character is Christopher, who has nine lives and is discovered by the great magician who holds the position of Chrestomanci and takes Christopher as a sort of apprentice to learn to use his talent and preserve his lives, which is something he is not very good at.

A creepy book
I'm in the middle of the Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman and though it's supposed to be this childhood fairytale, it's seriously creeping me out. The main character is a 7-year old boy whose neighbours are somewhat mystical and he accidentally releases this evil spirit at their farm that starts to torment the neighbourhood. As said I haven't finished this book yet so I don't know the whole story but I have a bad feeling about it.

A trilogy
I feel like Brent Weeks doesn't get enough recognision so I'm going to recommend his Night Angel trilogy. The story is about an orphan boy Azoth who wants to become a wetboy (like an assassin, but better) and is trained by Durzo Blint, the best wetboy there is. As the story progresses, Azoth meets people from his past and gets in very lethal situations and finds out what makes Durzo Blint so legendary. Azoth becomes best friends with the heir to the throne, Logan, who is my favorite character of the series as he is the total opposite of Azoth, little naive but learns how the world works and grows to be a leader.

A book you think others should read ASAP/before the end of the year
This is my other cheat since I have not read either of the books I'm recommending for this topic. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is becoming a movie by the end of this year so I really need to read it before that happens. Similarly Starz is making a tv series out of Neil Gaiman's American Gods and I must also get to that but luckily the show will start airing in 2017, so I still have time.

A fantasy book
There are many great middle grade fantasy series, Harry Potter being the crown jewel for me. Very close to Harry Potter in my books is Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. The series has seven books and all of them have the feel of the Philosopher's Stone which I love. The world is fascinating and every single character is lovely. More people should read this series.

A book with little to no romance
I feel like all young adult or adult books have romance so I have to make a cop out and recommend middle grade book, that is How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. The movie is based on this but the plot is totally different, in the book the vikings have this rite that when they are at a certain age they capture their own dragon to train.

A standalone & survival story
I will combine the last two topics and recommend Airman by Eoin Colfer, the writer of the Artemis Fowl series. Airman tells the story of Conor Broekhart, a young inventor who dreams of flying like a bird in 1880s but is wrongfully imprisoned and must adapt to prison life at horrible prison island while planning his escape. This is another character driven book that I love and that would deserve to be read more and made into movie.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

TV Series I'm Caught Up On

Last week I made a post about TV Series I've Watched Through meaning series that have already ended. Now I thought to continue with the series I'm caught up on meaning series that are still airing new episodes. Some of these are my favorites, some I watch just for fun.

  • Once Upon a Time (it's sad to watch how the writers destroy something so amazing)
  • Suits (every episode should be Donna-episode)
  • 2 Broke Girls (it grows on you)
  • Arrow (Felicity rocks)
  • Black Sails (I was hoping for another Pirates of the Caribbean but at least it's about pirates)
  • Mustat lesket (Black Widows, the best Finnish drama right now)
  • The Bridge (how many people will be murdered in the next season?)
  • Deutschland 83 (sometimes even Germans get it right)
  • The Walking Dead (I used to get severe nightmares)
  • Fear the Walking Dead (I may like this even more than the original)
  • Follow the Money (why so dark all the time, Nordics?)
  • Game of Thrones (still not over about the fact that they passed the books)
  • Occupied (I love that the Nordic countries are making quality TV)
  • Mr Robot (raising an interesting issue but I'm not that enchanted)
  • Orange is the New Black (two days in June, and then I have wait another year)
  • Survivor (the greatest reality there is)
  • Amazing Race (me and my mom would blow those yankees out of the water)
  • Syke (Nurses, another great Finnish series)
  • The Big Bang Theory (can't believe it's been airing for ten years)
  • The Flash (Arrow's little lighter brother)
  • Man in the High Castle (holy cow the first season was awesome)
  • True Detective (I actually liked season 2)

When new seasons air I might do reviews of some of these like I did about season 4 of OITNB. I can't wait for the fall when all the series come back from the summer hiatus.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Summer Reading Recommendations!

I was randomly inspired by PeruseProject to make a list of summer reading recommendations, so here we go!

If you want some suspense and thrill with a hint of supernatural or fantasy, try the Green Mile by Stephen King or Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. Both of these sucked me right in and didn't let me go until the very last pages.

If you want to read something with a focus more on people in a summery setting, you might enjoy Maggie Stiefvater's Sinner, the sequel to her Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy focusing on Cole and Isabel.

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen also has a focus on struggles and relationships between people and the setting is a circus, a bit more exotic than your average let's-hang-on-the-beach summer novel.

The lightest recommendation on my list is the Pure Dead series by Debi Gliori, a middle grade fantasy series about a mafia family who live in a castle and own magical pets. All sorts of absurd and hilarious things happen though the family only tries to live a normal life.

Last but not least a classic summer read recommendation: detective stories. They are fast to read, keep you guessing and entertain you through and through. I personally have read Agatha Christie the most, you can't go wrong with those.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

TV Series I've Watched Through

I watch a lot of TV and I thought I'd share what series I have watched through and through, from the beginning to the end. I only list series that have ended permanently, I'll do another post listing the series I watch that are still continuing. Some of these I have watched many times and will watch again in the future. I use the TV Show Time app to keep up with my watch list and I can recommend that to anyone who watches as much TV as I do. Without further ado, here are the series I have gone through:

  • Tudors (Jonathan Rhys Davies is a great actor but as a whole the show didn't amaze me)
  • 11.22.63 (the ending was beautiful and bittersweet)
  • Cold Case (one of the first series I actively followed)
  • Breaking Bad (this is so guy show that I can't stand it)
  • Desperate Housewives (the humor was on point)
  • ER (my record for a rewatch round is 3 months)
  • Firefly (I'm mad about this)
  • Glee (some of the greatest covers I've heard)
  • Gossip Girl (it just got better and better every season)
  • H2O (because mermaids)
  • Helppo elämä (Easy Living, a quality Finnish drama)
  • How I Met Your Mother (the last season was completely unnecessary and the ending ruined it)
  • Hustle (their cons were very entertaining)
  • Los Serranos (oh those summers spent with Serranos)
  • Lost (to be honest I was lost at some point)
  • Once Upon A Time In Wonderland (Alice and Knave made great partners)
  • Prison Break (though they are now making more)
  • BBC Robin Hood (it could have been saved but the third season went the wrong direction)
  • Sex and the City (not my favorite but had to watch once through)
  • Ex List (the idea was kind of fun)
  • Good Wife (kept you on your toes)
  • the Mentalist (at least first four seasons were awesome and the rest weren't that bad either)
  • the O.C. (this will forever stay with me in my heart)
  • the Office (U.S.) (I hated Michael Scott and liked the last season 100% more when he left)
  • Under the Dome (the ending saved a lot)
  • Revenge (had they thought this through?)
  • Friends (they'll be there for me whenever I feel like it)
  • Revolution (we'll see if they ever continue it)

At some point I will make my top5 favorite series of all time! I also thought I'd make a post where I talk about a few series presenting them and saying what I liked or didn't like about them. I don't think making a whole review of these is a good idea since some of them have ended so long ago, but something will come up at some point!

Monday, July 11, 2016

The Raven Cycle | Series Review

I finished the last book of the Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater's paranormal-fantasy series just yesterday and wanted to of course share my thoughts. The series has gotten a lot of praise and people love it but I have some mixed feelings. Spoilers start here, so if you have not read the series and don't want to be spoiled, stop reading now!

I have heard that people have found the first book a little hard to get into but I didn't feel that way. I admit a lot of characters are introduced very early and information is given in bits and pieces. The concept of ley lines and Glendower might be difficult to grasp but that is exactly what interested me the most while reading and has to do with my mixed feelings. In the first book the hunt for Glendower has the biggest emphasis and I like the first book most because of that. As the series goes on I feel like Glendower becomes less and less important and the focus is on other things and when Glendower is finally found he is not even woken but just dead. I felt betrayed that in the end he has no significance.

As for characters my favorite in the first book was Adam but through the series he changes and I somewhat lost interest in him when he was no longer the ultimate underdog. Ronan's story is one of the most logical which is funny since he is the most illogical character. Adam and Ronan have nothing to do with Glendower which is why I think the hunt had less and less impact on the overall story. Their relationship was great up until they kissed. I would have needed to see them talk about what they are to each other but it was all left out.

From the start I had zero interest in Gansey and was not bothered to think that he would die. His relationship with Blue reminded me of Bella and Edward and made me resent them a little. Blue on her own is an OK character and I shipped her and Adam but that obviously was doomed. The trio Maura, Calla and Persephone are awesome though I feel like they are forgotten and pushed aside towards the end of the last book.

There are a lot of very insignificant characters that in the end have little to no say in what happens. The characters that have some impact are forgotten or not tied in satisfyingly like Neeve or Mr Grey or Gwenllian or Artemus. What happened to them?

The ending is why I mostly have mixed feelings. Not only that Glendower was dead and didn't matter at all but Gansey waking from death was a cop out. I didn't enjoy Divergent series that much but one of the upsides is Tris dying in the end, that felt like an adequate solution and brave move. Gansey's waking wasn't even explained properly. I would have wanted one more chapter before the epilogue, maybe from Mr Grey's point of view which describes how the demon perhaps shatters or ceases from being, what the effect for Cabeswater was, little something else. So many things were left unexplained and I'm not happy about that. Even still it's a fairly good series, four stars for the first three books, three stars for the last book.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Orange Is the New Black Season 4 review

I finished season 4 in two days as I is appropriate and it completely destroyed me, it was an emotional roller coaster as always. It's funny how the series gets you to root for all the characters, excluding some goddamn assholes like Piscatella. Even if the inmates are not friends with each other, they make you sympathize every single one of them.

When you think about it, not a lot happens in each episode but still at the end of the season we are at a totally different place than at the beginning of the season. A lot of characters got their first flashbacks but the new characters didn't become very significant, the focus was firmly on the old characters.

Now I'll get into more spoilery stuff, so if you have not watched the season yet, stop reading now! SPOILERS AHEAD!

The first part of the season was lighter and funnier with Piper's gangsta with an A act and Poussey being a huge Judy King fan. Red and the other lady dealing with Lolly and the body is sometimes hilarious to watch, though Lolly is essentially a sad character, like Crazy Eyes, who by the way had the most heart-wrenching flashback of the season. She never meant anything bad to happen and due to a misunderstanding and an accident she apparently ended up in prison.

When they showed Nicky for the first time I yelped out loud and punched my fist in the air. Red hugging Nicky warmed my heart deeply. I was glad Nicky got her mess sorted out though she shouldn't have gotten into that in the first place.

I enjoy the prison being one big community more than a battlefield of different gangs so that took a little of the enchantment away. They should be united against the guards and demand their rights, not quarrel with each other.

I don't know if I'm glad for Pennsatucky that she made up with Coates or if I hoped she would never forgive him. He apologizing was the very least I expected and the scene was excellent. After season 1 I couldn't stand Pennsatucky but season 3 got me on her side and now I wish nothing but happiness for her.

Lolly's backstory was at the same time great and sad. It didn't clarify whether she was right or a bit looney already but both options got her where she ended up. The flashback actor was phenomenal portraiting Lolly before prison (no, that wasn't the same actor!) but still keeping the character true. Lolly's time machine and relationship with Healy gave me all the feels, and though she belongs to psych she deserves better.

Red is still my favorite character. She is the funniest but at the same time the most badass of all. She will not bend but she is a fierce mother of her prison family and takes care of her own, even if they do dumb things. Vee never had a chance at beating her.

Now finally, let's talk about the last two episodes. I did not see that coming, not at all. Poussey's romance with Soso was so fresh and it was cut so suddenly. Poussey was the small sun shining everywhere she went, I couldn't believe she was dying when she did. If it were caused by anyone else I would have been so angry, but because it was Bailey I just felt deep, deep sorrow. Bailey didn't mean anything like that to happen and I feel so bad for him, too. His life is almost as ruined as Poussey's, I don't know how he can go on, he's still just a kid.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Monthly Recommendations | Empowering Female Leads

This months topic for Monthly Recommendations is empowering female leads and immediately I think of like five or six characters like Hermione or Annabeth but as always I'm not going to recommend the most obvious books.

First book I want to recommend is actually a historic series called Wars of the Roses by Conn Iggulden. The series tells the story of the English royal houses Lancaster and York that were fighting for the crown for decades. One of the main characters is Queen Margaret of Anjou, a French nobel girl who is married to king Henry VI in the first book of the series. Henry VI is sickly and weak so Margaret must be strong for both of them and the royal house and she is very good at managing the kingdom while her husband is not able to.

Another series with strong female leads is the Wolves of Mercy Falls, also know as the Shivers trilogy, by Maggie Stiefvater. She is probably more known for the Raven cycle these days but I love this series and how its female leads Grace and Isabel are so different but still fight for the same things.

I don't know if the main character in the next book is strictly speaking empowering but I find her strong in her own way, though she is more Donald Duck-y, of out of the frying pan, into the fire type of character. I'm talking about Stephanie Plum of the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, an amateur bounty hunter. I laugh out laud when reading her adventures trying to earn her living but even if times get tough she never quits.

Finally I think at this point almost everyone has heard of Game of Thrones but only a few people have actually read A Song of Ice and Fire series by G.R.R. Martin which is a shame. The series is well-written and the world is enchanting with all the detail. Martin has made many good female characters and is indeed praised for it. I feel like everyone can find a character they identify with since there are so many. My favorites are Arya, Sansa and Catelyn, but other people might like Cersei or Daenerys better. Anyway all of these characters are strong and get even stronger the further they go.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

June Wrap Up

I read some awesome books during June, one book less than in May because I began my summer job so I have less time to read now. Still four books total which is pretty good, considering I was abroad and used two days to watch the new season of Orange is the New Black.

The first book I read was Cinder by Marissa Meyer, the first book in the Lunar Chronicles. I had heard a lot about this series but nowhere had I gotten the right picture. Basically this is a fairytale retelling but there is no princess action at all. Instead, Cinder is a cyborg and the best mechanic in a future Asian Commonwelth society. One day prince Kaito shows up to her booth and asks her to fix his droid which contains essential information about Lunars, people living on the Moon. This premise is one of the best I have read for a while and I enjoyed the book right from the start till the end, though I guessed some things right I did not see other things coming. Characters were really real and I liked them all, can't wait to continue to the next book.

Then I read the Silkworm by Robert Galbraith, also know as Auntie Row, the second book in the Cormoran Strike series. Here Robin and Cormoran get a new case and we get to know them more. The book kept you guessing the murderer till the last pages and during the investigation we get to know more about Robin and Cormoran. I like their dynamic but I hope Rowling doesn't make them a pair, they work so much better as just colleagues.

After that I got my hands on to the Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas, a prequel to the Throne of Glass series. This is another series I've heard so much about and wanted to read as soon as possible, though I must say at least based on this book the Lunar Chronicles are ahead. Still, this book managed to crush me and ended with a huge cliffhanger. After I finish the Lunar Chronicles I'll start with this series.

Last book I read is The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, the second book in the Raven Cycle. This kind of felt little sidetracked from the greater story that began in Raven Boys, though cliffhanger game was strong in this also. The characters went ways I didn't necessarily like so much and definitely didn't hope for. Getting to know Ronan better was interesting but it wasn't enough. Despite that Stiefvater's writing keeps being awesome and beautiful and poetic and I enjoyed the book nevertheless.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Game of Thrones season 6 review

My initial excitement about GoT has long faded, mostly because my favorite characters have had less screen time or died and characters I don't care for so much get bigger and bigger storylines. Despite that I can't deny that Game of Thrones is an excellent tv show and HBO has really made a good job with it.

My problem is that from the start I have sensed that Tyrion, Daenerys and Jon are Martin's favorites and they will not die but have this great destiny. In otherwise so unpredictable series this has deflated my enjoyment. At the same time my absolute favorite Arya gets less and less scenes and her story is completely pushed to the side and overall Starks, who I root for, suffer a loss after another.

What is interesting to me is all the politics and plotting and that was very much present this season also. King's Landing is one big hornets' nest where everybody is trying to get the upper hand. Even the High Sparrow got involved but he didn't know who he was up against.

The last two episodes were epic but the best moment of the season for me was the reunion of Sansa and Jon. The looks, the setting, it was all perfect and it summed up what the Starks have been through. This was a season where they finally start to get back what they have lost. Another heartfelt reunion was when Jaime and Brienne met at Riverrun. Their relationship is one of the most interesting, complicated but somehow still deep. It's hard to say how they are going to end up, especially because Jaime at least until the last episode has proclaimed his love for Cersei but that may have changed now due to Cersei's actions and the last of their children dying. Man, I'm sad for Tommen, he should have never become a king, he was too sweet for the job.

Before the season was halfway through I made a guess that by the end of the season or at the beginning of the next Daenerys and Arya would return to Westeros and look what happened. I think Daenerys is getting Dorne to her side and she will wipe out the Lannisters and take the Iron Throne. Starks may help her but they might be more concerned with the White Walkers. In the very end of the series Daenerys will go north and defeat the White Walkers with her dragons, since fire is deadly to them.

I don't know if I like Jon being the King in the North. It was a powerful moment, sure, and Lyanna Mormont is certainly a badass. As said I knew that Jon had a great destiny on his shoulders and now L+R=J theory was also confirmed so nothing can stop him. I wonder how fast Bran will get back to his siblings and if Arya will also return to Winterfell. Her killing Walder Frey felt good, a little payback for Robb and Catelyn. If the three living Stark children and Jon team up, nothing can stop them.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Top5 Hottest UEFA EURO 2016 Players

European Football Championship has been going on for a couple of weeks now and I've had time to see every player's face more than once so I thought I'd share my top5 hottest players. Usually this list has been dominated by my teenage crush Fernando Torres but for some reason he did not make to the Spanish squad this year so I needed to find someone else for the #1 slot.

5. Manuel Neuer - Germany
There are a lot of OK looking guys and I actually had a bit of trouble finding someone to fill the fifth place. I chose Neuer because he is the boy next door kind of guy, not devilishly handsome but pleasant-looking and fairly cute. And he's tall! *swoons*

4. Antoine Griezmann - France
Griezmann is not the hot hunk type either but he's cute, especially when he smiles. A bit short but what can you do, he still warms my heart. Additional plus, he plays for Athletico Madrid, where a certain Fernando Torres also earns his living these days.

3. Gareth Bale - Wales
I was not aware of Bale's existence before the Championship because I don't follow football that much outside international competitions. But he is actually hot with his man bun and scruffy beard and he scores in every game so what's not to love.

2. Sergio Ramos - Spain
I used think of Ramos as a not as handsome Torres knockout when he still had long hair. Now that he has gotten rid of that he is one huge piece of man candy. His beard doesn't hurt, either.

1. Gerard Piquet - Spain
Top 2 seems to be Spanish even without Torres and I seem to have a weakness for Spanish footballers. I had to think for a moment at what order I will put Piquet and Ramos but ended with Piquet as #1 because he is taller and cute and hot at the same time, no wonder Shakira snatched him.

No Cristiano Ronaldo on my list? Yeah, I despise him, his personality seems to be rubbish and his attitude garbage and ego bigger than any football stadion in the world. I have always thought he is slimy and too pretty and thinks too much of his looks, I prefer a little more manly men in that sense as you can see from my list.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

How I became a reader

It's always interesting to hear how someone's love for reading was awoken. I have my mother to thank for my appreciation for books and reading. My parents always read me a bedtime story before I went to sleep and my mother took me and my sister to the library weekly when we were little. We sat there looking at wonderful books (before we knew how to read) and we always left with a bag full on books. I loved it.

I didn't learn to read before going to school but my parents say that it took me like two seconds to learn at school. After that I read by myself but my deep passion to reading began when I was in second grade and got the first Harry Potter book as a Christmas present. It was love at first reading and there was no going back. Since then I have read my ass off and I am never going to stop reading.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Monthly Recommendations | Around the World

The Goodreads group Monthly Recommendations gives a topic for every month along which you can recommend books. This month's topic is Around the World and I tried to find books about different cultures, not just stories about modern western people traveling the globe. Also when I give recommendations I recommend books that are not the most popular or famous but books that perhaps not so many have read. Isn't that the idea of a recommendation, to recommend a book the other person hasn't read yet?

First I will recommend one of my favorite books of all time, Q&A by Vikas Swarup (also known as Slumdog Millionaire but the book blows the movie out of the water). The idea is basically the same as in the movie but the story has so much more nuances and the Indian culture is explored from many different angles.

Next recommendation is The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke, who is more famous for her Inkheart trilogy. The book follows two orphan brothers who run away to Venice and join a child gang that lives in an old movie theater. Funke's writing is beautiful and the whole story is like a fairytale where Venice is mysterious and full of adventures.

Then I'll give you another Khaled Hosseini recommendation, his book called A Thousand Splendid Suns. It follows two Middle Eastern women who are married to the same man. Hosseini gives honest insight to living in Middle East and their culture, which at times is hard and cruel but at times brings great joy.

My last recommendation is bending the rules a bit since it's technically about an alternative universe but I'm going to count it in because it could very well belong to this world. Terry Pratchett's Nation is a story about a Pacific tribal boy who is in the middle of his rite of passage when a tsunami hits his island. His whole tribe is wiped away but survivors from other islands and from a ship appear, causing conflicts.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

May Wrap Up

I know I said I'd probably do only a couple of "Recent Reads" type of posts in a year, but this May was such a good reading month for me that I decided to do one just about it. Especially considering that I was supposed to read for my university entrance exam. Fingers crossed that it didn't cost me my education.

First book I read in the month of May was the Green Mile by Stephen King. I've heard much about the movie but wanted to read the book first and I'm glad I did. This was also my first Stephen King book and damn it was good. He really knows what he's doing and I was on the edge of my seat, so to say, the whole time reading this. The mystery aspect was perfectly crafted and the characters held my heartstrings right til the end. Can't wait to see the movie.

Then I read Trinity by Conn Iggulden, the second book in his the War of Roses series. This is my kind of historical fiction. It has political conspiring and royals and battles. The characters are all fleshed out quite nicely and multiple point of views make it hard to hate any of them (though I still who I'm rooting for which a bit absurd since the result can be already read from Wikipedia). The amount of characters with similar names make it sometimes difficult to know who is who but other than that I enjoyed this book completely. This has very similar aspects as the Song of Ice and fire without dragons or magic.

During May I also read the first book in Rick Riordan's new series about Norse gods, Magnus Chase: the Sword of Summer. I wrote a full review, check it out if you are interested to hear my thoughts.

Then I read the Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater which is the first book in the Raven Cycle series. I have heard mixed things about this series, a lot of people have given up on it during the first 100 pages. My friend recommended this for me and I didn't find it difficult to get into. Only thing I felt a bit confusing was the amount of characters that are introduced almost right off the bat. The books is about a girl called Blue and four private school boys who are trying to find a long lost Welsh King that is sleeping under a ley line according to legends. I will be reading the rest of this series during the summer and will do a full series review once I'm finished.

The last book I read during May was Passenger by Alexandra Bracken. I had pretty high expectations and hoped for this and some of them were met, some were not. The premise of the book is that the main character Etta comes from a family of time travelers who are rivals of another traveler family. Their descendant Nicholas is told to bring Etta to them and she is blackmailed to search for an old time traveling artifact. The idea of this book and the time traveling aspect is the best I've ever seen but every once in a while the characters made me cringe. 4/5, I will read the rest of this series when it comes out.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Captain America: the First Avenger movie review

I know I'm a bit late for this party but I saw the first Captain America movie on Saturday and thought I'd share my thoughts. I have never been a big superhero fan, I've only seen the Tobey Maguire Spiderman trilogy, the Dark Knight and the first Thor movie and thought they were OK, not great. Althought now that I think about it, I watch Arrow and the Flash and enjoy them quite a bit, but that's it.

The only interesting factor that made me actually want to watch Captain America is that Sebastian Stan is one of the actors in it. I love Sebastian Stan, too bad he never stays long in any of my favorite series (how awesome is Jefferson in Once Upon a Time?) I was a bit disappointed at how small his role was after all, the movie would have been so much better if he had more screen time.

The beginning was promising though; I liked Skinny Steve a lot and I hate when "weak" characters suddenly get huge muscles and perfect abs. It gives so wrong image to people. Also all the USA propaganda makes me cringe and I'm a bit tires to all these WW2 themed movies. There are other interesting eras and historic events, you know.

Funny thing about this movie was that the villains were the actors of Elrond and Thorin. That's basically the only good thing about the villains, they are very 2-dimensional and left me cold. I'm obviously not familiar with the Marvel universe but I can guess Hydra will come up in other Marvel movies.

The ending was quite sad, Steve waking up 70 years later in a hugely developed world. His love interest is probably long dead or at least very old at that point which was about the only thing that moved me in this movie (okay Sebastian Stan falling to his apparent death was a shock but I googled that he is in the next Captain America movie too, so he's not dead). Based on this movie I'm still not that fond of Marvel but if the other movies happen to pop up somewhere I might very well watch them too.

Friday, May 27, 2016

My Favorite Disney Movies

I grew up in the 90s which is described as the Disney Renaissance and for good reason. None of the movies made during that time were bad, not even average but true gold. Many of my favorite movies are from that era, so I thought I's list my top5. I will only include Disney Classics, not Pixar or live action movies.

5. 101 Dalmatians: I like all Disney Classics, though some of them I've never seen, but some have a special place in my heart mostly because I used to watch it when I was a kid. 101 Dalmatians is one of them, we played the old VHS so many times with my sister. Also, Cruella is awesome.

4. Robin Hood: I have a weak spot for heroes with a bow (coughlegolascough) and Robin Hood in his foxy form is right down my alley. I never cared too much for the noble and brave princes but little shady characters get my heart beating. This is a fun and adventurous movie and I love it, never mind that it's from not so successful Disney era.

3. Peter Pan: in addition to heroes with boys, I love pirates and one of my deepest wishes is to be able to fly. Peter flies and never grows up so this movie has everything I could ever wish for. Stories with eventful adventures and freedom as a theme always appeal to me.

2. The Little Mermaid 1 & 2: I know that the sequel isn't technically a Classic, but I watched it more than the first movie, so I'm going to count it in here. I'm not a big fan of larger than life love stories but the concept of mermaids is what I loved here as a kid and still do. The story is great in both movies but as a kid I identified more with Melody because she wanted to be free and explore the sea. Music and the songs in these movies are some of the best there are and they will always stay in my heart.

1. The Lion King 1 & 2: again I'm going to include the sequel, deal with it. When I was very small, like 3 years, I never got past the elephant graveyard scene in the first movie because the hyenas were so scary. In my opinion The Lion King will always be the Disney masterpiece, I don't think any movie can ever top this, it's perfect. The music, the songs, the story, the characters, it all just clicks and I have loved it my whole life. The death of Mufasa is a 100% tearjerker for me and I rarely cry watching movies.
Now about the sequel: though it may not be as perfect as the first one, it will forever be my favorite. I got it on my birthday and since then I watched it at least once a day for a few years. Kiara is the fictional character that embodies me 100%. I was a bit of a wild child, climbing trees and seeking adventures, not wanting anyone telling me what to do. I identify with Kiara more than any other character, real or fictional, and I love Kovu too. The story is beautiful and the songs are great, I used to know them all by heart as a kid. Thank you Disney for making my childhood so great.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Book Review: The Sword of Summer (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #1)

I don't know if I know how to write a sufficient book review but let's try. I'll give an overview first and then go on to more specifics, but I'll give you a warning when the spoilers start.

So The Sword of Summer is the first book in the new Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series by Rick Riordan. The book is definitely written in Riordan's familiar style including fast action and ongoing joky tone. That probably has an appeal among a bit younger audience but I feel like I'm getting a little too old for this style. Riordan seems to be determined to claim all the possible gods to his stories, the new addition in this series being the Norse mythology. His next series is bound to be about Hindu gods, I'm calling it here.

To give you a quick synopsis, Magnus Chase is a 16-year-old boy who dies on his birthday fighting a fire giant Surt. He is brough to Valhalla, a place for heroes who died in combat, by a valkyria named Sam. It turns out that Magnus is a son of Freyr, a god from Norse mythology. He gets a prophecy stating that Ragnarök, viking version of the apocalypse, will start in nine days if he doesn't find the Sword of Summer before Surt. That leads to a quest with a lot of twist and turns through several of the nine Norse mythology worlds.

At times I felt like the book had a lot of similarities with the Percy Jackson series and especially with the Lightning Thief. The Sword of Summer is very enjoyable but after reading 14 Riordan books already I'm starting to get tired of his style. He should upgrade it a bit, since his characters are not 12 years old anymore.

Now that I mentioned characters, a few words about them. For the most part they were good and interesting if I forget the fact that they have some similarities to Riordan's earlier characters. The diversity of the characters is wide: Magnus is homeless, Sam is of Middle-Eastern background, Hearth is deaf and Blitz wants to design clothes instead of working as a blacksmith as most of the dwarfs do.

Despite my criticism, I will read the whole series through if it stays on this level (or gets even better, who knows). I liked the book enough to be interested in the story and the characters and the Norse mythology is a cool thing since I don't know much about it. The Greek gods I was somewhat familiar with since we touched on them on history lessons while talking about the Ancient Greece but we skipped the Norse mythology totally when we talked about vikings. I gave this book 4/5 stars on Goodreads and recommend anyone who likes Riordan's other books to read this too.

Now a few words about the specific things in this book. SPOILERS AHEAD! Don't read on if you don't want to get spoiled.

First about the similarities between this book and the Percy Jackson books. To start with Magnus, he finds out that he is a son of a god and not only that, he is the only son of that god in a long time. He has lost his mother, which felt somewhat similar to the Lightning Thief, though Percy's mother doesn't actually die. The book is written in Magnus's point of view a.k.a. the narration is in first person and he cracks same kind of jokes as Percy. Thank gods he is not also ADHD and dyslexic but actually loves reading and books, which was heartwarming for me.

I don't know if I'm going to like Sam or not. She is the Annabeth to Magnus's Percy but I hope they will not become a couple. I love Annabeth and Percy as a couple but for once it would be nice to see a pair working together as just good friends. Sam's background and engagement to Amir is interesting and I'd like to see how that plays out in the long run. 

It was nice to see Annabeth even for a little while. I'd love it if they visited Camp Half-Blood or New Rome and Magnus got to meet Percy and everybody else. 

There are probably a lot more similarities than I have mentioned so far but I'll say this last one and somebody else can pick up from here. Gunilla reminded me of Clarisse, a tall and mean leader type of character who doesn't like the main character. I though she would be one of the regular characters thoughout the series but no. I still can't believe she died, her and Magnus's moment on the balcony looking down on Asgard made me ship them and it was all crushed. Still not over it.

I can already guess what happens in the last book of the series. So much talk about Ragnarök can only lead to Ragnarök or a smaller version of it. It will be an event like the war in the Last Olympian where all gods and demigods and viking heroes are involved.

After reading this I need to get my hands on the Trials of Apollo series but since the first book (Hidden Oracle) just came out I don't think that will happen soon. Luckily I have tons of books waiting to be read, so the wait shouldn't be that bad.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Monthly Recommendations: Friendship Stories

Goodreads has tons of groups and one of them is called Monthly Recommendations hosted by Trina from the booktube channel Between Chapters and Kayla from Kayla Rayne. Each month there is a topic for which you can give recommendations to, and the topic for this month is Friendship Stories. A lot of books are about friendship or the friendship is one of the core elements of a lot of books, but I tried to choose books that have something special about the friendship in them. Also I'm not going to include the most obvious choices like Harry Potter in this list but books I think not so many people necessarily have heard of or read.

First I want to recommend The Lies of Locke Lamora (and the whole Gentlemen Bastard Sequence for that matter). Locke Lamora is a bit like Robin Hood and the Gentlemen Bastards are his Merry Men. They steal from the rich but keep it all themselves and live carefree life. In the middle of a con someone interferes their business and things start to get dangerous on several levels. The book includes flashbacks showing how the group came together and became such a seamless team of criminals.

The second book I'm going to recommend is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. This follows an Afghan boy called Amir and his family's servant's son Hassan, who are best friends despite being from different social classes. They live in 1970s Kabul in Afghanistan, where one day Hassan gets in trouble and Amir doesn't help him because he is a coward. This drives a wedge between them, and sometime after that the Soviet Union attacks Kabul and Amir escapes with his father to the United States. His past keeps haunting him even when he has grown up until he gets a chance to make it all better.

The third book I want to recommend is City of Thieves by David Benioff. This is a story about two young men, reserved Lev and confident Kolja, during the siege of Leningrad in WWII. They meet at jail and in exchange for their freedom they are told to find a dozen eggs for a colonel's daughter's wedding cake in five days. Since food is scarce during the siege that is almost an impossible task, but they try nevertheless and a lot of close calls, stumbling and serious danger follows. Even in the most desperate situations they have each others back right til the end.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

My Eurovision 2016 Favorites

This year I'm not going to guess which countries are going to get to the final but I will list my favorites (which probably don't even get to the final and definitely are not going to win). I have no understanding of music, so this is not an educated opinion. I like songs very randomly, but usually the melody has to have some hook but not too obvious and lyrics have to have some hook too but not too repetitive, which is a problem with many Eurovision songs. Anyway, my favorites this year, in no particular order, are:

Belgium: young and sweet singer and the song is catchy. Delightful dance moves too, I wouldn't mind Belgium doing well for a change.

Hungary: I liked this entry before I even heard the song, because the singer is a former basketball player and that is a big plus in my books. Singer's voice is lovely and I like the Star Wars-y light sticks the background singers wave.

Bulgaria: feels modern, I could see this played on the radio around Europe. The melody gets me dancing, so definitely one of my favorites.

Iceland: the singer of the Iceland's entry has been on Eurovision earlier and I liked her then and I like her now, though the song this year is a little bit more mainstream and the show has some similar elements to that of the winner of the last year.

Ireland: I'm too young to remember Westlife, but boybands are always in. This is the most summery of all the songs this year and listening to it makes me want to sit in the sun..light with my friends.

Cyprus: this reminds me of Linkin Park, which is not a bad thing. Heavier music is still quite rare in Eurovision, nobody has been able to do what Lordi did. Maybe Cyprus will? I would like to see more rock in Eurovision and I hope this song does well.

Lithuania: this is another a bit summery song and more than that it is about being young and free which usually works. The video is a bit weird but I hope the stage show will be awesome and Lithuania gets into the final.

France: I don't understand why nobody ever votes for France. They've had some very cool songs but they always place last in the final. I hope that won't happen this year, but I'm afraid it will. Anyway, this song, too, makes me happy and smile, so it belongs in my favorites.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Recent Reads 1/16

I thought that I should tell what I have read recently, and since my monthly reading phase depends on how buzy I am and what I am reading, I'll just recap all the books I've read this year so far. In the future I will probably try to space these a little more evenly, maybe every two or three months.

January: half of the Christmas holiday is during January, so I had extra time to read and read five books. First book I read was Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. It was the first time I read it in English and though I know all the Potter books are awesome, I didn't remember CoS being this good. I should re-read the rest of the series, too, which I will do once I get my hands on the English versions.
Then I read Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater, which I guess is a stand-alone sequel to the Shivers trilogy. I loved Shivers and my oh my did I love Sinner. Isabella and Cole are just the perfect imperfect couple and their undeniable chemistry works like nothing else and sparks fly throughout the book.
After Sinner I read Ready Player One by Ernest Cline and that was also extremely good. I had heard it would be good but the synopsis and reviews I had heard didn't quite prepare me for the adventure I stepped into. Basically it takes place in a virtual reality where there is a treasure hunt and the winner inherits the virtual reality company, so not a big deal or anything. My only complaint is that for a chapter or two in the middle of the story the pace kinda dropped and slowed down, but it was picked up fairly quickly and the rest was just great. Can't wait for them to make a movie out of this.
The second to last book I read in January was The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith, also known as J.K. Rowling. I had my doubts about this, because I'm not too into detective stories, but Auntie Row delivers as usual. The main character Cormoran Strike is a struggling private detective who forgot to cancel his contract with a temp agency. That gives him Robin Ellacott, who has dreamed of exciting things to happen to her. Together they try to figure out what happened to a model who according to police jumped from a balcony to her death.
And the last book I read in January is So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams, which is the fourth book in the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. The book is as crazy as the first three, going across time and space and nothing seems to be impossible.

February: in February I only read two books, because I started to prepare for my university entrance exam and that took a majority of my time. First I read Mostly Harmless by Douglas Adams, the fifth and last book to his Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series. The book stayed on the same course as the previous four, but I expected a little more since this ended the series. The different plotlines were not resolved like I would have wanted and I was left a bit confused after finishing this. I understand there is a sixth book to this series, but it's written by Eoin Colfer, so I might check that out sometime in hopes that there I could find true closure.
The second book I read in the month of February was The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick. The book is set after the second World War, but the winners were Japan and Germany and world is build according to their preferences. The book follows a couple of characters who try to cope with the world, and one of them stumbles onto a sort of revolutionary, strictly forbidden book, The Man in the High Castle which tells how the world would be had the Alliance won the war. The book is very short, only about 300 pages when this could have been made into a whole series. Amazon has adapted this to a TV show and the first season aired last year. I watched it after reading the book and holy cow it was good and felt very fresh, I can honestly recommend it to anyone who likes series with a little historical and political aspects.

March: my March was filled with Percy Jackson, since I only read books by Rick Riordan. I re-read the Battle of the Labyrinth and the Last Olympian and then I went through Percy Jackson and the Greek Gods and Percy Jackson and the Greek Heroes. The last two were a bit hard to get through, at least I felt like it, because they were a collection of short stories about Greek gods and Greek heroes and being so there was no coherent plot. Also Riordan's joky style didn't quite fit with these stories since they mostly are tragic and serious tales.

April: in April I only read one huge book, the Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. The story of the book is about a young guy who lives in poverty and tries to improve his situation by murdering and robbing a shylock. After the crime he is constantly worried about getting caught and gets into all sorts of situations following his crime. The book is clearly a product of its time, the description of the poverty and the poor and the constant suffering is present all along. I found the story a bit static and tedious at points, but I'm glad I went through it.