Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Book Review: Famous in Love by Rebecca Serle

(Review copy from Edelweiss)

Release Date: October 21, 2014
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Poppy
Age group: YA
Pages: 336
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

The romantic story of a girl who gets plucked from obscurity to star in the next major feature film franchise based on a book and the ensuing love triangles she gets entangled in on—-and off screen. 

Meet Paige Townsen, Rainer Devon, and Jordan Wilder…

When Paige Townsen, a young unknown, gets cast in the movie adaptation of a blockbuster book series, her life changes practically overnight. Within a month, Paige has traded the quiet streets of her hometown for a crowded movie set on the shores of Maui, and is spending quality time with her co-star Rainer Devon, one of People’s Sexiest Men Alive. But when troubled star Jordan Wilder lands the role of the other point in the movie’s famous love triangle, Paige’s crazy new life gets even crazier.

In this coming-of-age romance inspired by the kind of celeb hookups that get clever nicknames and a million page views, Paige must figure out who she is – and who she wants – while the whole world watches.




MY THOUGHTS:

Paige Townsen has wanted to be an actor since she was little. She has had roles in school and community plays, but hasn't had her "big break" yet. That is before she is cast to the play the lead in a film adapted from a best-selling young adult book series called Locked. She travels from Portland to Hawaii to the set of the film and begins her new life as one of the most buzzed about young stars of Hollywood. But the job does not come without complications; the director is difficult, Paige finds it hard to just let go with her acting, and for the first time in her life she finds herself falling for two different guys at the same time. 

I desperately wanted to live Paige, but throughout I felt like she's quite bland. She's the "girl next door" who very quickly changes from a nobody to somebody. Since the process of her getting the role is not established with detail in the book, it feels like getting the role for a film like Locked (which clearly is Serle's version of The Hunger Games) is just a piece of cake. I felt no connection towards Paige, none whatsoever. I did not hate her, but I did not particularly like her either. I felt nothing except annoyance. And that's not really because Paige and the way she is, but because I wasn't given a chance to really get to know her. 

The guys, Rainer and Jordan, are alright, but neither made me want to scream from excitement. Rainer seems like a complete douche for most of the times, but occasionally he's given this "good and sensitive guy" treatment that justifies Paige's attraction towards him. And of course his fit, handsome and extremely rich. But it also seems like he gives Paige attention only when someone's there to witness it and when he can gain something from it. 

Jordan is the cliche "mysterious guy with a mysterious past that's actually a complete lie" character. I think I could have fallen from him if he's story would have been established more because I always end up falling for the damaged guy everyone sees as a bad boy. Unfortunately the novel focuses more on Rainer.

So the love triangle... It's bland and tiring and annoying. And since the guys are boring, the love triangle feels useless. I do not mind love triangles when they are well established and when it feels like it is justified for the character to be in love with two characters at the same time. But with this one it felt like Paige likes Rainer just because he's handsome, a film star and the only guy around her age at the set. Then Jordan shows up and she falls for him because he's mysterious. 

The ending of the novel is so weird. I probably would have liked an ending like that otherwise, but with this one it just felt like the author suddenly decided to seem all philosophical and deep and it just does not fit at all here because the rest of the novel is fluff and bland and to be honest, quite crappy. If the character names would have been changed from Paige, Rainer and Jordan to for example Jennifer, Liam and Josh or Kristen, Robert and Taylor, this would read like highly edited fan fiction without any of the perks of fan fiction (sexy times I mean). So if that's your thing, check this out. Otherwise, maybe you should just read something else.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave, #1) by Rick Yancey

Release Date: May 7, 2013
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Age group: YA
Pages: 480
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.



MY THOUGHTS:

The world, as it was known before, has been destroyed in waves. The first wave took the lights out, making everything that needs electricity or battery, everything we are used to, garbage. Cars are lying around the roads, cellphones do not work anymore, the Internet has crashed. After the 1st wave, there has been three more waves - we are now up the the fourth wave, "the silencer". Is the fifth wave going to come? Are there any humans left on the planet to suffer from the possible wave? 


"The Hum is gone.
You remember the Hum.
Unless you grew up on top of a mountain or lived in a cave your whole life, the Hum was always around you. That's what life was. It was the sea we swam in. The constant sound of all the things we built to make life easy and little less boring. The mechanical song. The electronic symphony. The Hum of all our things and all of us. Gone.
This is the sound of the Earth before we conquered it."

The 5th Wave has been so hyped that my expectations were super high. Luckily, Yancey was able to fulfill my expectations, BIG TIME. I don't think I have actually read that many alien books, so I cannot really compare this to something else I have read, but hey, if other alien books are like this, count me in! I had not read anything else by Rick Yancey either before this one, but I am definitely looking forward to reading his other novels. 

The book has different narrative point of views. After a page of "epilogue", which by the way sets the tone for the book perfectly and got me interested right away, we first get to see things from Cassie's point of view. I instantly started to like Cassie - she is strong, intelligent, but also very realistic with her high school crushes and worries about how Ben, her crush sees her etc. She is also pretty sarcastic, which I loved, because I am an avid fan of sarcasm. I am happy the other character point of views ended up being interesting as well, because Cassie's POV was a hell of a start for the novel. "The Zombie" is an interesting character in the sense that he is inside the action for most of the time. He forms a relationship with Nugget (also known as Sammy) which thus forms a link between him and Cassie. And then there is Evan - mysterious, handsome Evan with his beautiful hands and hamburgers with home baked buns. I loved the sections of the book that focused on Cassie and Evan and their relationship - it is not instalove, but there definitely are sparks there.

"There's a quote from Stalin," he says. " 'A single death is a tragedy; a million is a statistic'. Can you imagine seven billion of anything? I have trouble doing it. It pushes the limits of our ability to comprehend. And that's exactly why they did it. Like running up the score in football. You played football, right? It isn't about destroying our capacity to fight so much as crushing our will to fight."

The world of the book is an interesting one. It is not chaotic in the sense that people are running around etc. It is chaotic in the sense that it is extremely quiet and the only sounds you hear are gun shots and bombs. Most of the people are dead. The military is working on saving the children first - they are forming bases in which the children are safe. But it seems that you cannot consider being completely safe anywhere.

What I really loved about this book were the twists and turns - I was never quite sure who I can trust. This really made me want to keep turning the pages in order to see what happens next. The pacing of the novel is also incredibly well done - you stay "at the edge of your seat" for the whole time, wondering what will happen next. The incredible story, with likable characters, world building and well-written language truly is a recipe for a great read. 

The 5th Wave is an YA book, but I think that it has potential to reach readers also from other age/interest groups. The little details, such as Wonderland, the devices they use and just the general atmosphere of a mystery story will no doubt attract also fans of science fiction and mysteries, not only fans of YA novels. I personally cannot wait for the second book - The 5th Wave would have worked as a standalone novel very well, but since the characters and the world were so well built, I can't wait to read more.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Book Review: Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols

Release Date: March 17, 2009
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Pocket Books/MTV Books
Age group: YA
Pages: 245 (paperback)
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

OW FAR WOULD YOU GO?
All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far...and almost doesn't make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won't soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won't be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge -- and over....

MY THOUGHTS:

When I saw Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols at this secondhand bookstore over at Portobello Market at London, I knew that I was destined to buy it. There it was in the middle of several Dan Brown and James Patterson books, buried by the crime and mystery novels. I read Forget You by Jennifer Echols a couple of years ago and I knew that I was in for a treat with Going Too Far.

We are introduced to Meg, a girl with blue hair and rebellious spirit. She drinks, occasionally smokes pot and engages in casual sex. She's running away from past problems, and the only way she feels like she can do it is to defy the rules and her own limits. Then one night she and a group of her friends are captured from a railroad bridge, drunk and high. She is taken to the police station and soon she finds herself driving around with a young police office, John After, trying to learn about her mistakes. The more time she spends in the force, and especially with John, the more she starts to learn about herself and the consequences of her actions. She also starts to realize that John might not be quite what she expected him to be.

I really liked Meg's narrative voice. She is funny and sarcastic, but also extremely unsure of herself. She has gone through a lot and it almost feels like she thinks that she does not deserve good things. John has also a past that haunts him as well as a future that has been planned ahead. But when he starts to spend time with Meg, he starts to realize that some of his plans might be changing. The chemistry and connection between these two characters is well established and occasionally SUPER hot. And oh my, John is so dreamy.

In a familiar YA contemporary fashion, Going Too Far addresses issues from familiar relationships and friendships to romantic entanglements. Echols does good job establishing the characters and creating the story. Going Too Far is fast-paced, romantic, funny and meaningful. The writing is beautiful and Meg's voice's original. I usually am a fan of nerdy, awkward female protagonists, but it was refreshing to read about a protagonist who seems very confident, even if that was partly only pretend.

I warmly recommend Going Too Far to all fans of YA literature, especially those who like contemporary that is not only cute and fluffy, but also deals with real issues and problems.


Monday, September 8, 2014

Fall Television Preview #2: NBC


Welcome to the second Fall Television Preview post! The first post focusing on ABC shows can be found from here

This post will focus on shows that are originally aired by NBC.

NOTE: THERE MIGHT BE SOME SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE RETURNING SHOWS.


Returning Shows:

Parenthood - Season 6 (September 25)

Parenthood is among the newest additions to my weekly TV schedule. I was in a need of a good drama to watch after I finished with my re-watch of Friday Night Lights earlier this summer, and I though the obvious choice would be Parenthood, since the same man, Jason Katims, is behind both of those shows. 
I got instantly hooked and fell in love with all of the characters and probably cried during every single episode. It is great to see Lauren Graham in something since I loved her in Gilmore Girls. Also, I loved Matt Lauria in FNL so I got very excited when his character, Ryan, showed up!! 

The upcoming season will be the show's last, so I am preparing myself for a lot of feels!

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 9/10

Parks and Recreation - Season 7 (Return Date not announced)

Oh Parks and Recreation, my favorite sitcom at the moment. The happiest show in the world. Every time I hear the opening notes of the theme song I instantly start to smile and I forget all my worries. Amy Poehler is my queen, Adam Scott is an adorable nerd, Aziz Ansari is perfection and Nick Offerman is my dream guy. Aubrey Plaza gives life to me, Retta is badass and Chris Pratt is just... well, AWESOME! These cast members, plus all the rest, make Parks and Recreations one special show and one of those shows that I will always hold in my heart.
Last season ended with a time jump (KNOPE BABIES) and it will be interesting to see how the upcoming, last season of the series unfolds. I will be a one crying mess once this show finishes. I feel like with the end of both Parenthood and Parks and Recreation, NBC is letting go of two gems.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 10/10


New Shows:

Marry Me (October 14)


I've tried not to get too excited about new NBC comedies and I do have to admit that this looks like I won't be on air for a long time. But since I loved Casey Wilson in Happy Endings I want to give this a try.

The show follows what happens to Annie (Wilson) and Jake (Ken Marino), a couple who try to turn their long relationship together into an engagement. 

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 5/10

A to Z (October 2)


Co-produced by Rashida Jones (Ann from Parks and Recreation), A to Z is a sitcom that follows the lives of Andrew and Zelda and their relationship from point A to point Z with a use of voice-over narration (kind of like How I Met Your Mother). 

This does not seem overly brilliant either, but I like both Ben Feldman and Christin Miloti, so I gave the pilot a chance and found it quite enjoyable. I don't see this becoming my favorite show or anything like that, but if it will be able to keep me interested for 20 minutes or so, I will keep watching it.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 5/10

Mission Control (Not announced)


The premise for Mission Control sounds BRILLIANT. Mary Kendricks (played by Krysten Ritter) is a doctor working as an aerospace engineer, leading a team of NASA scientists at the time of space exploration. So the setting is the 1960s, and since she's a woman, a place in the world of science, a very male dominated field, is difficult for her to keep up with. 

This single camera comedy, executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay (Anchorman), is compared to Anchorman in its tone as it focuses on the "golden age" of American ingenuity and advancement. 

I am so excited for this one and I just hope that it is all it seems to be!

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 7/10

Mr. Robinson (Not announced)


Graig Robinson plays Graig, an artist who takes up a job as a substitute teacher to pay the bills before he can make his big break. He believes he's in for an easy task, but quickly he realizes the the kids are not as easy to handle as he believed. 

Pretty much the only reason I'll give this a go is the fact that I think that Graig Robinson is HILARIOUS in The Office

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 4/10

One Big Happy (Not announced)


One Big Happy, produced by Ellen Degeneres, centers around Lizzy (who's gay) and Luke (who's straight) who are like a family. Though there are no romantic feelings between them, they decide to stick together and start a family - not in a traditional way though, but by visiting the doctor's office in an attempt to conceive. But then Prudence, a British girl, shows up and connects with Luke, much to now pregnant Lizzy's despair.

I feel like this could be either really good or really bad. I am hoping that it's really good. 

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 6/10

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Spring 2015)


I AM SO EXCITED! Ellie Kemper. CREATED BY QUEEN TINA FEY! 
This ought to be AMAZING!

After living in a cult for 15 years, Kimmy (Kemper) and three other women are rescued, which causes a national sensation which culminates with an appearance on the "Today" show. When it's time to get back on the bus to home in Indiana, Kimmy decides that it's time for her to start live her life and stays in NYC, from where she wants to find friends, romance and happiness.

I AM SERIOUSLY BURSTING FROM EXCITEMENT! 30 Rock is one of my all-time favorite shows, so my expectations for this one are SUPER high.

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 10/10


Other New Shows:

The Mysteries of Laura (September 24)


Debra Messing as a NYPD detective and a mother of twins. The promo for this looks like a one big mess. Though I like Debra Messing, I'm gonna pass this one.

Bad Judge (October 2)


NO NO NO NO! This looks horrible!

Constantine (October 24)


This does not look horribly bad, but I just don't have any interest to add shows like this to my schedule at the moment. 

State of Affairs (November 17)


Shows somehow related to politics are usually right up my alley, but for some reason I just can't get excited about this one. Maybe it's Katherine Heigl, who I have never like a lot. I'm gonna wait for the reviews and see whether I want to watch this one not.

Odyssey (Not Announced)

The premise for this actually sounds pretty interesting: an international conspiracy explodes when three strangers' lives unexpectedly collide - a female soldier, a corporate lawyer and a political activist. 

I am going to wait for the reviews/promos before the final judgement.

Aquarius (Not Announced)

Set in 1967, David Duchovny is a LA Police Sergeant who's looking for a daughter of a respected lawyer and teams up with an undercover cop who fits right into the 1960s hippie, flower power setting. What makes this show at least a bit interesting is the fact that they end up looking for a killer who we all know these days as Charles Manson. The show will follow the cat-and-mouse game between the police and Manson and NBC plans on taking it on for several seasons, finally ending it with the Tate-LaBianca murders.

I am going to wait for the promos and reviews, but the premise does sound interesting. 

Allegiance (Not Announced)

Allegiance is about a young CIA analyst who learns that members of his close-knit family are actually Russian spies, deactivated years ago, but now called for work again to plan a terrorist attack inside the American borders. 

This could be good. I need to wait to see/read more.


Which returning NBC shows are you excited about?
Are you planning on watching any of the new shows the network is airing this fall season?

Friday, September 5, 2014

Fall Television Preview #1: ABC


It is time for the first fall television preview post and I am EXCITED!

This post will focus on shows that are originally aired by ABC.

NOTE: THERE MIGHT BE SOME SLIGHT SPOILERS FOR THE RETURNING SHOWS. 


Returning Shows:

Modern Family - Season 6 (September 24)

I've been watching Modern Family for a couple of years now on schedule after binge-watching the first three episodes around one Christmas. It might not be the most intelligent and witty comedy out there, but it definitely has its charm and for me, it is not hard to understand why it is so popular among both the critics and the audiences. With a streak of Emmy wins, Modern Family seems like it's here to stay!
Last season ended to the much expected and awaited wedding and it seems like the show will continue right from that with the opening episode titled as The Long Honeymoon. One news that really got me excited about the upcoming season was the announcement about Adam Devine signing up for six more episodes, and not just as a "manny" for Gloria and Jay. Does this mean that something can finally happen between him and Haley? Also, I am curious to see whether the Cam and Mitch wanting a second baby story line will be discussed again in this season. I really hope so because I do love those two. 

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 7/10


Grey's Anatomy - Season 11 (September 25)

I've been obsessed with Grey's Anatomy since I saw an episode of it for the first time back in like 2006. Yeah, it might be super unrealistic and melodramatic most of the time, but it is also addicting and such so much fun to watch. Since I've watched it for such a long time, I've learned to love the characters, especially the ones that have been around since the beginning of the show.

In the season 10 finale we had to say goodbye to Christina Yang (my favorite character in the show) and learned, quite surprisingly, that the new head of cardio actually seems to be related to couple of characters already familiar to us!! It is interesting to see how this plot line develops while also waiting to see how the Meredith-Derek situation is solved (Derek having a job in D.C., Meredith not wanting to leave Seattle). 

New relationships (Owen and Derek's sister), hints about a major break up and the casting of Geena Davis for a major arc in the season are all things worth getting excited about! There also are rumored flashbacks to Meredith's childhood, which makes me very interested since I've always found Ellis Grey to be an interesting character worth focusing more on. 

Finally, there's a rumor that just BLEW MY MIND. Apparently there's going to be a love triangle involving Alex, Jo and MEREDITH. A scoop from Spoilers Guide says the following: Jo is going to be horrified to discover how much time Alex is going to be spending with Meredith and how much time Meredith is going to be spending [at their] house. COUNT ME INTRIGUED! 

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 9/10


Scandal - Season 4 (September 25)

I binge-watched Scandal seasons 1-2 within a couple of days last year, and watched season 3 then according to the schedule. I am a huge fan of American political dramas and though Scandal is not what I usually look for (it, for example, is very difficult to compare to one of my all time favorites, The West Wing), there's something really addicting about it that just made me want to watch more and more. A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that it is created by the same woman who created Grey's Anatomy, Shonda Rhimes, and there definitely are some similarities between the shows when it comes to dialogue and cliffhangers. 

Scandal is quite unrealistic, dramatic and yeah, also melodramatic, but every single episode feels like a thrill ride and it's super hard to figure out what's going to happen next. In the season 3 finale the Grant family suffered a major loss, Olivia decides to take up on her father's offer to a new life and Fitz wins the re-election. The episode ended dramatically to Fitz trying to call Olivia while she closes off her phone. 

Obviously Olivia will return with the problems again rising up in D.C. with the re-reinstatement of the B613, but the question I am most eager to get the answer to is "what happens between Olivia and Fitz next?" Fitz might be a complete dick, but there's something in him that I just cannot resist (maybe it's the whole president thing). Portia de Rossi will also be joining the cast, which is super exciting!

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 7/10


Once Upon a Time - Season 4 (September 28)

I AM SO EXCITED, I JUST CAN'T HIDE IT! I don't think I've been this excited about a show
coming back for a long time!! Season 4 is going to be AMAZING!

Season 3 ended with Emma and Hook (CAPTAIN SWAN 5EVER) taking a trip to the enchanted forest where Emma got to witness her parents falling in love as well as learned more about herself and her history. They also saved someone from the past and brought her back to Storybrooke, which ended up with Regina breaking her heart - ONCE AGAIN! The Wicked Witch of the West was defeated and Rumple and Belle got married (without Belle knowing that Rumple has been lying to her). And yeah, then it was revealed that Elsa from Frozen will be joining the cast for season 4. No big deal at all, right?

Though I am extremely excited about Elsa's involvement and seeing Hans as a 'sociopath' (as well as Anna and Kristoff's storylines), most of my excitement is centered around Emma and Hook and the development of their relationship. They ended up kissing in the finale after it was revealed to Emma that Hook gave up his ship to bring her home (SERIOUSLY? PERFECT MAN!) but it is inevitable that they both have a lot to go through before they can fully commit to anything. We'll also see Belle's mom, Hook's modern look (the photos taken from the set look so HOT), The Knave (from Once Upon a Time in Wonderland) and probably a lot of other cool stuff. 

Seriously, I am so excited it's quite ridiculous! 

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 10/10


New Shows:

How To Get Away With Murder (September 25)


The new addition to the Shondaland night over at ABC, How to Get Away With Murder is a legal drama that focuses on a law professor (played by Viola Davis), working at a Philadelphia law school, who gets involved in a murder plot with her students. I'm expecting witty dialogue, major plot twists and cliffhangers. If the show is anything like Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, it's probably filled with interesting, varying characters and addictive storylines. I have high hopes for this one!
EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 8/10

Selfie (September 30)


I had already planned that I would not watch this one, but then I saw the pilot over at Hulu, gave it a watch and actually found it quite entertaining. The show uses the premise similar to My Fair Lady and Pygmalion, focusing on a man (Henry Higenbottam, played by John Cho) who tries to "rebrand" the image of Eliza Dooley (played by Karen Gillam), a woman obsessed with social media and gaining popularity through platforms like Instagram. The name and the idea kind of made me want to avoid this one, but it actually ended up being quite cute, which means that I'm definitely willing to give a chance for the first couple of episodes, just to see what it's all about. 

EXCITEMENT LEVEL: 5/10



Other new ABC shows: 

American Crime (midseason series) - I'm DEFINITELY going to watch this one)

Forever (September 23) - An immortal medical examiner in NYC. Could be interesting. I'll wait for the reviews.

Marvel's Agent Carter (January 2015) - Chad Michael Murray has been cast to this one! Definitely watching this one (hopefully I have caught up with Agents of Shield by then)

Secrets and Lies (midseason series) - Remake of Australian series of the same name. Focuses on a family man who discovers a body of a child and becomes the prime suspect for the murder. Could be interesting - waiting for the reviews!

The Whispers (midseason series) - co-executive produced by Steven Spielberg. Explores what happens when an alien race begins a take over of the world by using children to gain what they want. Once again, really depends of the reviews.

Black-ish (September 24) - A middle class African-American family man wants his children to discover something about their cultural identity. Unfortunately the trailer did not convince me, which means that it is very unlikely that I will be giving this one a watch.

Cristela (October 10) - Focused on a Mexican-American law school grad who tries to find the American Dream while dealing with the problems of her family members. I couldn't even finish watching the promo, so yeah, I won't be watching this one!

Fresh off the Boat (midseason series) - First Asian-American sitcom since All American Girl, which aired in 1994. This could be either a hit or a miss! I'll be waiting for the reviews.

Galavant (midseason series) - "fairy-tale themed musical comedy"; sounds so tempting, but the promo is SO BAD! This will be a fill-in for Once Upon a Time... NOT WATCHING THIS ONE! 

Manhattan Love Story (September 30) - focused on dating, falling in love and the differences between men and women, discovered through the unfiltered thoughts of the main characters. Since the promo did not convince me, I am not going to be watching this one. 


Which returning ABC shows are you excited about? 
Are you planning on watching any of the new shows the network is airing this year?

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fall Television Preview Announcement


Those of you that visit my blog regularly, and especially those who check out my Sunday Post updates are probably aware of the fact that I am OBSESSED with television. Though this is mainly a book blog, I thought it would be fun to post something about the shows that continue/start this fall. I will focus on the continuing shows that I watch as well as the new shows I am planning to watch. I will organize the posts by the networks and from below you can find the schedule for the upcoming posts. 

SCHEDULE FOR POSTS:

Fri 5th of September - ABC
Monday 8th of September - NBC
Wednesday 10th of September - CBS
Friday 12th of September - CW
Monday 15th of September - FOX
Wednesday 17th of September - Misc. Channels

I hope you join me! Let's fangirl about television together!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: Burial Rites by Hannah Kent

Release date: April 23th 2013
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Picador Australia (kindle edition)
Age group: Adult
Pages: 352 (kindle edition)
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository 

Description (from Goodreads):

A brilliant literary debut, inspired by a true story: the final days of a young woman accused of murder in Iceland in 1829.

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution.

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

Riveting and rich with lyricism, BURIAL RITES evokes a dramatic existence in a distant time and place, and asks the question, how can one woman hope to endure when her life depends upon the stories told by others?



MY THOUGHTS:

Eerie, poetic, touching, intriguing, mysterious, dark, real, honest... those are just some of the words that popped into my mind while reading Hannah Kent's debut novel Burial Rites, a fictional story based on historical research about the final days of Agnes Mangusdottir, the last person executed in Iceland in 1830. 

Based on real people, places and events, Kent's novel takes the reader along to a journey to witness the last days and thoughts of a thirty something Agnes who is accused, along two other people, of a brutal murder to two men as well as committing arson to cover the traces left by the horrific act. She's placed under the supervision of a family living on a farm. Naturally, knowing only the public side of the events, the family avoids her as much as they can - after all, she is a brutal murderess with no conscience. But as time goes by, the family gets to see another side of Agnes - a side that "could have been" if it wasn't for the wrong people and wrong decisions. With the help of the mother of the family, as well as the young reverend appointed to help her on her journey to execution, Agnes opens up about her past, her present and the night that changed everything for her while keeping to herself what everyone wants to know - did she really do what she's accused of?

Around last Christmas I kept eyeing Burial Rites every single time I visited Waterstone's (which is usually several times a week). Since I rarely buy books from there (the prices are so high compared to discount bookstores), I never ended up purchasing it. Then these stickers started to appear to the cover of the book indicating all the awards and the praise that title has gained. Finally, almost nine months after Christmas I got an ebook copy of the novel and gave it ago. Now I hope that I could take a trip to the past just so I could have bought this book already during the Christmas time. 

Burial Rites, a historical novel in its essence, occasionally reads like mystery or a crime story, occasionally like a book of poetry and very often like a combination of all. The historical detail from the names, locations and letters shows that Kent really knows what she is writing about - the research put into this piece of work must be humongous. Though the case is probably much written about in Iceland, I had not heard about it before and without reading the synopsis of the book one could think that all of these people and events are products of Kent's imagination. The fact is though that when you know that the people you are reading about actually lived, the novel gains a new level of meaning, a new level of accomplishment. Kent gives Agnes a voice that is honest, touching and oftentimes extremely melancholic. The people that surround Agnes also get a voice and one of the most interesting aspects of the novel is to follow how their opinions about Agnes change as the story develops. Kent takes her time establishing the background to the murders - we get to know about Agnes's childhood, her jobs on several farms, her relationships with the people who were killed. In addition to that, Kent allows the reader to get to know Agnes after the murders - a woman who finds her place from the home of the people who did not want her there in the first place. 

Like its subject matter, Burial Rites is dark and eerie and often very sorrowful and hopeless. There are glimpses of hope here and there, moments in which Agnes does not feel like everything is over, but then the black ravens come and eventually devour all the hope. I feel like I should warn that this might not be for the faint of heart. Though there's only a couple of scenes of direct violence, the general atmosphere of the novel could very well seem suffocating for some readers. This is one of those books that will definitely haunt me for the days to come - the lyrical, eerie prose of Kent has definitely left a mark on me with its descriptiveness and detail.

What Kent excels in is making Agnes, an accused murderer, a character you can feel for and a character you can connect with. Agnes is not a monster, but she's not an angel either. She's so real, so human and so perfectly flawed. When you feel like you finally know her, she reveals more of herself, adding more layers to her history and personality. The supporting characters from the young reverend to the family Agnes stays with all have their own unique perspective to what they are going through which feeds incredibly well to the building of Agnes's story and character. It has been a while since I read a book with this good character development and pacing - you just want to keep reading and reading to see what happens.

In conclusion, Burial Rites is mindbogglingly brilliant debut novel by Hannah Kent. This definitely makes me curious to see what she comes up with next.

The film rights of the novel have been optioned by Allison Sheamur, the producer of The Hunger Games and it has been announced that director Gary Ross and Oscar Winner Jennifer Lawrence has been attached to the film. Gary Ross directed The Hunger Games, in which he, in my opinion, excels with creating the eerie atmosphere of the setting, which is something I hope to see in the film adaptation of Burial Rites as well.  Jennifer Lawrence might not perfectly fit the physical description given of Agnes in the book, but while reading the novel I really was able to imagine Lawrence playing Agnes on the big screen. The project still seems to be in pre-production, meaning that it might take a while for it to come to the cinemas near you, but I do really feel like Kent's story and writing are perfect for cinematic interpretation.