Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Book Review: Newtown - An American Tragedy by Matthew Lysiak

Release date: December 10, 2013
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Gallery Books
Pages: 288
Purchase links: Amazon - Book Depository - Adlibris

Description (from Goodreads):

A journalist for The Daily News (New York) offers a “meticulous account of the Newtown massacre and its aftermath.…it’s been a year, and this harrowing book might be a reminder that the debate needs reviving” (Kirkus Reviews).

The world mourned the devastating shooting at Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut, on December 14, 2012.

We remember the numbers: twenty children and six adults, murdered in a place of nurture and trust. We remember the names: teachers like Victoria Soto, who lost her life protecting her students. A shooter named Adam Lanza. And we remember the questions: outraged conjecture instantly monopolized the worldwide response to the tragedy—while the truth went missing.

Here is the definitive journalistic account of Newtown, an essential examination of the facts—not only of that horrific day but the perfect storm of mental instability and obsession that preceded it and, in the aftermath of unspeakable heartbreak, the controversy that continues to play out on the national stage. Drawn from previously undisclosed emails, police reports, and in-depth interviews, Newtown: An American Tragedy breaks through a miasma of misinformation to present the comprehensive story that must be told—today—if we are to prevent another American tragedy in the days to come.

Hmm, I am not quite sure how to approach the process of writing this review. A couple of times a year, I read these books that are very different from the YA contemporaries I normally read, and the experience of writing reviews for such books obviously differs a lot too. Last year, Dave Cullen's Columbine was one of my top 10 books for the year, and I had high hopes for Newtown, but unfortunately this book really wasn't what I expected it to be. 

We all are probably somewhat aware of what happened in Newtown and Sandy Hook Elementary school on the morning of December 14th, 2012. The events were covered in news all over the world, and sparked conversations about gun control, mental health treatment and security of children and staff in schools. The events also made people realize that horrors like this can happen to anyone, even to those who live in a well-adjusted, peaceful neighborhood and attend acclaimed schools. 

I was blown away by Dave Cullen's meticulous account of the events that led to, took place and resulted from the violence at Columbine High School in his nonfiction book Columbine. My expectations for Newtown were similar, but unfortunately I was left disappointed. The first difference between the two and one that I noticed pretty quickly after delving into the book was the fact that unlike Cullen, who had put ten years of research into his book. Lysiak seems to have gathered everything together in a hurry for the book to be released around the first anniversary of the horrors in December 2013. The lack of meticulous research shows, and things that could have been replaced by accounts from academic, researchers and other professionals are filled with speculation and statements for example from the town minister.

The foreword for the book is written by the town minister, which almost made me instantly put this book down. I am not religious at all, and I was not looking for a religious perspective into the events. Yes, what happened was evil and wrong, but rather than just getting the description of it being "evil", I wanted the level of detail I found from Columbine, and unfortunately, that kind of detail, in my opinion, cannot be gained through religion. After the foreword, the role of religion in the narrative decreases, but it is still there, and I think instantly from the beginning it kind of tampered down the credibility of this book for me.

I didn't know much about the offender beforehand, so the chapters that delved into his family life and his mental health problems were interesting. Despite that, I continually felt like something was lacking. I don't really know what it actually was, but the lack was there nevertheless. Obviously, since much of the people who actually evidenced the horror were children, their direct accounts of the events are not included in this book, but it is obviously possible that one day they wish to share their stories with the world.

Lysiak dives into some interesting debates surrounding the "causes" for Sandy Hook, such as the offender's upbringing and his mental health problems and the lack of treatment he had throughout his childhood. I think the author places too much blame on the mother of the offender, who made mistakes, but who definitely wasn't fully to blame for what happened, at least not in my opinion. In many accounts, there are talks about the offender and his 26 victims, but I think one shouldn't forget the fact that his mother was a victim too, brutally shot to her own bed. 

There are some extremely touching passages in the book, especially the chapter dealing with the funerals of the victims. It is at that chapter that the book reaches its most intimate moments. For someone looking for a touching, human-centered story, this book might work, but since I was looking for something much more researched and developed, my feelings towards this book are kind of contradictory. While I appreciate Lysiak's effort and the voice he gives to the victims, I continually kept feeling like this book did not really reach the levels of research and detail I wished it would.

The offender definitely was the evil here, there is no doubt about that, but as someone who picked this book up due to an interested in well-developed and researched true crime stories, I was disappointed. Lysiak managed to catch my interest though when it comes to the debates surrounding the horrors, and made me want to look for academic and professional accounts that have been written about the events at Sandy Hook.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan

Release date: August 20, 2013
Author links: Goodreads - Twitter
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Pages: 248
Purchase links: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

Winner of the Lambda Literary Award for LGBT Children’s/Young Adult
One of Rolling Stone’s 40 Best YA Novels
A 2014 ALA Rainbow List Top 10 Title
Booklist Top 10 First Novels for Youth 2013
A Chicago Public Library “Best of the Best” 2013

This Forbidden Romance Could Cost Them Their Lives

Seventeen-year-old Sahar has been in love with her best friend, Nasrin, since they were six. They’ve shared stolen kisses and romantic promises. But Iran is a dangerous place for two girls in love--Sahar and Nasrin could be beaten, imprisoned, even executed. So they carry on in secret until Nasrin’s parents suddenly announce that they’ve arranged for her marriage. Then Sahar discovers what seems like the perfect solution: homosexuality may be a crime, but to be a man trapped in a woman’s body is seen as nature’s mistake, and sex reassignment is legal and accessible. Sahar will never be able to love Nasrin in the body she wants to be loved in without risking their lives, but is saving their love worth sacrificing her true self?

I was pleased when I found this one from the shelves of my local library, because not only was it a book I had wanted to read for a while, it also fit quite well with my current mood for reading books that deal with themes of postcolonialism, feminism, religion, race, etc. 

If You Could Be Mine is a fairly short book targeted mainly for young readers, with it being a young adult release, but it certainly includes a lot of food for thought within it 240-something pages. Sahar is 17 year old Iranian girl living with her father after the death of her mother. While her father lives his life like a ghost, still heartbroken my the loss of his wife, Sahar keeps herself busy. She is studying for exams that will determine her future and which university she will be able to get into, while she at the same time struggles with hiding her feelings for Nasrin, her best friend. Sahar and Nashir have been in love since they were children, but the fact that they are both girls is a big no-no in Iran. If someone were to find out about their little exchanges of passion, consequences could be fatal. When Sahar, who has been hoping to keep hooking up with Nasrin in secret until she is in a position they can escape the situation in their country, she hears that Nasrin has agreed to marry a man over 10 years her senior. Sahar is heartbroken, but determined to make a big, final move in order to keep Nasrin in her life.

While homosexuality is a crime, Sahar learns that sex reassignment surgeries are legal and even paid by the government. After meeting a group of people who have gone through the surgery, Sahar is determined to get herself into a surgery and into a body of a man in order to make sure Nasrin can be with her instead of her new fiance. While Sahar tries to tell herself that things will be easier if she becomes a man, she does not feel uncomfortable in her body. Actually, she quite loves her body and wants to be able to be loved as a woman by another woman, but she knows that in her society, that is just not possible.

Though I had had this book on my Goodreads to-read list for AGES, it seems like I never really read that synopsis entirely because the whole sex reassignment thing came as a surprise to me. As Sahar gets deeper and deeper into thinking that she has to change her sex in order to be able to be with Nasrin, I started to get more and more scared for her - I AM ALL FOR SEX REASSIGNMENT WHEN SOMEONE ACTUALLY WANTS/NEEDS IT, BUT AT NO POINT SAHAR REALLY WANTS IT! As the novel processed, I also got increasingly frustrated with Nasrin.

Throughout the novel Nasrin is the more "passive" of the two when it comes to trying to actually make the relationship a reality. While Sahar comes from a less affluent background, Nasrin is used to luxury and being spoiled. Trying something is Sahar, like leaving the country or defying the will of her parents could mean that she would have to say goodbye to a lifestyle she has gotten used to. While I occasionally was annoyed by the way Nasrin acts, at the same time she is the more realistic of the two, given the rules of their society. She knows that in order to get at least a resemblance of happiness, she will have to marry and try to be a proper wife for a man. But the way she keeps Sahar waiting and hoping for something else felt wrong at parts.

Farizan writes well and develops her characters, especially Sahar, to a good extend. The supporting characters, like Sahar's cousin Ali and her father, are interesting and definitely add depth to the story, but never steal the main focus from the struggle Sahar has to go through. I believe this was the first time I read a book set in Iran, and I definitely was interested to learn more about the Iranian society and customs, especially when it comes to the treatment on same sex couples and trans people. 

While I enjoyed this book and found it extremely interesting, I felt like something was missing, which is why I only rated it 3 stars. I can't really put my finger into what I think was missing, but throughout reading it, I never got that feeling of not wanting to put the book down before I finish it, or the feeling of sadness when it was over (I mean, yes, I felt for these characters in the end, but I never felt like I wished there was more to their story that those 240-something pages). If you are interested in a YA book set in a culture different from a Western viewpoint, I recommend picking this one up to see what you think about it!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Blog Tour: Dig Too Deep by Amy Allgeyer (Review)

Today I am participating in a book tour for Amy Allgeyer's upcoming novel DIG TOO DEEP (April 1st, 2016 by Albert Whitman). 

Release date: April 1, 2016 
Author links: Goodreads - Website
Publisher: Albert Whitman
Pages: 272

Description (from Goodreads):

With her mother facing prison time for a violent political protest, seventeen-year-old Liberty Briscoe has no choice but to leave her Washington, DC, apartment and take a bus to Ebbottsville, Kentucky, to live with her granny. There she can finish high school and put some distance between herself and her mother-- her 'former' mother, as she calls her. But Ebbottsville isn't the same as Liberty remembers, and it's not just because the top of Tanner's Peak has been blown away to mine for coal. Half the county is out of work, an awful lot of people in town seem to be sick, and the tap water is bright orange--the same water that officials claim is safe to drink. When Granny's lingering cold turns out to be something much worse, Liberty is convinced the mine is to blame, and starts an investigation that quickly plunges her into a world of secrets, lies, threats, and danger. Liberty isn't deterred by any of it, but as all her searches turn into dead ends, she comes to a difficult decision: turn to violence like her former mother or give up her quest for good.

What would you do if you didn't have clean water? What if the water that comes to your house via pipes could make you sick? Those are questions Liberty is faced with when she is forced to move away from Washington D.C. to live with her grandmother in Kentucky. After her mother gets into trouble with the law, Liberty leaves her private high school and her best friend behind and journeys to a place where she never thought she would end up living at. Very quickly she notices that things are not quite as they were the last time she visited her grandmother - the top of the peak close to her grandmother's house has been blown away to mine for coal and a lot of people in the town are getting sick, Liberty's grandmother included. Though Liberty insists that she is different from her activist mother, she cannot help but to get involved in an attempt to bring justice to the sick townies. With the help of a few people from the town who actually believe what she is saying, she gets deeper and deeper into the secrets of the mining company. But gaining more information comes with consequences...

This book really made me think of my privilege. I live in a country where our tap water is clean and fresh and does not make us sick. The idea of actually buying bottled water almost makes me laugh, because why would I pay two euros for something I can get for free from the tap. While I lived in US, I got used to the idea of drinking bottled water, but still took showers and washed my teeth with the tap water. The couple of times I've been to the South of Europe and been told that I should use bottled water also when washing my teeth, I have felt like it's a burden. This book really made me think about that and how lucky I am. 

Prior going to this book, I didn't really know much about mining or mining towns (other than watching Hallmark's When Calls the Heart....), but as I kept reading this one, I googled information about mining towns and mountaintop removal mining and found some interesting facts that I probably never would have come across to if it wasn't for this book. When it comes to crisis's with water, with the situation ongoing in Flint, Michigan, I was a bit more aware of the dangers of contaminated water supply. With the situation going in Flint, I think Allgeyer's book is released just at the right time - while Flint's situation is not connected to mining, the overall focus on contaminated water is something that is very current right now. 

Liberty is an interesting character and one that I started to like all the way from the beginning of this novel. She is stubborn and headstrong, which is something that I can definitely identity with. I also liked that she is flawed and though she means best, she does not always think things completely through before acting. She is idealistic and ready to fight for causes important to her, but she does not always succeed to look at both sides of the situation. I think the town as a setting is very interesting, because while these people are getting sick, they know that things could be even worse without the mine business in town - they are willing to risk their health in order to keep their families fed. 

One of the aspects of this book I liked the most was the relationship between Liberty and her grandmother. I really loved the dynamics of that relationship, the witty dialogue and the way they are able to trust each other despite the fact that they have spend years apart. While Liberty's mother is not present for much of the novel, the complicated relationship Liberty has with her is also something I enjoyed reading about. There is a slight romantic aspect to this novel, but overall I would say it is more about the struggle Liberty goes through to have her voice heard. Following Liberty on her journey is very empowering - she is ready to fight for what she sees as right, and it was awesome to read about a young girl who is ready to take risks for the well-being of those she loves.

Allgeyer's novel both well paced and written. Overall, once I started reading it I had a difficult time putting it down, because every single ending of a chapter made me feel like I need to know more. Dig Too Deep is a very current, well-written, interesting and fast-paced story about a little Kentucky town and the people who are willing to fight for their right to healthy lives. 


The youngest of seven kids, Amy has been writing stories since she first learned to

make her letters face the right way. Her work has appeared in Family Fun, A Fly in

Amber and Stories for Children. As an architect, she spends her days restoring

hundred-year-old homes in Boise where she lives with her son, a feral house cat,

and a fake owl named Alan. She hates chocolate, but loves vegetables. She also loves

travelling to foreign lands and the smell of honeysuckle on humid Southern nights.

Amy is represented by the lovely and amazing Danielle Chiotti of Upstart Crow


Website - Twitter - Facebook - Goodreads


2 winners will receive a signed ARC of DIG TOO DEEP, and a silver starfish

bookmark, magnet, button, and "Make Your Own mini-protest sign" kit, US Only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


3/21/2016 - Curling Up With A Good Book (interview)
3/22/2016 - ReadReadRead (review)
3/23/2016 - Two Chicks on Books (guest post)
3/24/2016 - The Phantom Paragrapher (review)
3/25/2016 - The Cover Contessa (interview)
3/28/2016 - 5 Girls Book Reviews (review)
3/29/2016 - A Dream Within a Dream (guest post)
3/30/2016 - Queen of All She Reads (review)
3/31/2016 - Wanderlust & Books (interview)
4/1/2016 - The Bookish Angel (review)

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Midmonth Obsessions (#6) - March 2016

It feels insane that we have already passed the midpoint of March! Spring is making its way to where I live - the snow has melted and the weathers are climbing to plus degrees. I love spring because it means that summer is coming, but the allergies I get as everything starts to grow again in the nature always put bit of a damper on things.
Spring also means ice hockey playoffs, and honestly, I think I like time of year more than Christmas and my birthday put together (though my birthday coincides with the playoffs). Now that my birthday has been mentioned, I guess I could mention that on April 14th I will be 25! I am not a big on birthdays and usually don't like to celebrate mine, but this year I have a ticket booked for theatre that night, so I guess it can be regarded as a low-key solo birthday celebration.

My course load has eased up a little recently, which means that I have had time to read as a result of which there actually might be some bookish things on my obsessions list this month... Let's have a look!

Awesome library finds

I have been going to the library a lot in the past few weeks and have gotten into the habit of just picking up titles that sound interesting without obsessively checking their goodreads ratings, reviews, etc. This method has really been good for me so far, because I have taken a break of YA and discovered books that have been amazing, like the pictured Winter in the Blood by James Welch or The Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri. 

Fuller House

The critics slammed this show, but it seems that those who actually wanted to watch it for nostalgic reasons loved it enough for Netflix to pick it up for a second season which will premiere in January 2017. I binge-watched the whole thing the day it was released on Netflix and was happy to notice that it gave me the happy, calm, entertained feeling the original Full House always manages to give me. Also, KIMMY IS MY QUEEN! 

My Queerly Mediated class

My awesome postcolonial theory class is unfortunately over, but I am not taking a class on queer theory and representations of the queer in US media. I've had two classes of this course so far, but I can already say that this class is freaking awesome! So far we have watched The Celluloid Closet (a documentary) and just yesterday we watched one of my favorites from last year, Tangerine. Next week we will be talking about queer reading and I am already anticipating a lot of interesting questions - if no one else brings Steve and Bucky up, I am so going to do that!

Grey's Anatomy rewatch

Grey's Anatomy once a week did not feel like enough for me, so I continued my rewatch from where I last left of, which was at the beginning of third season. I am now at the beginning of fourth season and the anticipation of Lexie/Mark relationship makes me so giddy! I don't know whether I will continue my rewatch to the most recent seasons, but I will certainly sail to the very end with Lexie/Mark ship. 

Hockey playoffs

Hockey playoffs - ONLY THE BEST TIME OF THE YEAR! My team has won the championship for two years in a row, so obviously we are all hoping that it happens this year again. First game will be tomorrow in my hometown, but due to living elsewhere, I need to catch that from TV. Despite the odds, my team is actually playing in where I currently live on Saturday, and my mom is coming for a visit this weekend, so we are going to a hockey game on Saturday! I didn't expect to see any live-hockey this season any more, so it was a nice surprise to notice that I actually get to catch at least one more game before I watch the rest of the season via TV. 

What have you been obsessed with recently? Let me know in the comments so we can chat!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Get Up Offa That Slump: A Blogging Extravaganza (#4) - Don't Post That Venting Review/Bash That Book

For more information on the Blogging Extravaganza, click here.

Today, I get to rant about a book that I REALLY DIDN'T LIKE! The point of this post is not to name the book I am writing about, but if you are curious, I can tell it to you (I wrote a negative review for this book, so basically you are able to find it from my blog if you so desire). But without further ado, LET ME RANT!

Dear book that I shall not name,

I was so excited about the prospect of picking you up. You sounded like the perfect package - YA contemporary involving travel, royals and romance. Ever since I fell in love with The Princess Diaries when I was around 10, I have been in love with books that involve a romance between a so-called commoner and a royal, so when a YA novel like that comes around, I naturally get excited. And the thought that I would get to meet a royal guy, A FREAKING PRINCE, made me even more excited. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE WHEN I NOTICED THAT I VERY QUICKLY STARTED TO DESPISE YOU, dear book (I am using the work "dear" sarcastically here).

You introduced me to a main character that is whiny, privileged, and suffers from the "HORRIBLE FATE" of having to travel to Europe for the summer as a part of a luxury trip before the "HORRIBLE FATE" of going to one of the best colleges in the world without worries of student loans etc. Your main character gets to see some of the most beautiful and significant historical places in the world and she just COMPLAINS AND COMPLAINS! Nothing is enough for her! Yes, I understand that she is a teenager and sometimes teenagers complain, BUT ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! With your main character you REALLY work on to support the "annoying American tourist" stereotype. Also, this girl has been accepted to an Ivy League school despite that fact that she thinks knowing something about the history of other countries that your own home country is dumb and irrelevant......... According to her, someone who cares about history is a "freak". Nice.

Okay, then there is this guy who I think I was supposed to fall in love with, but nope, that did not happen. Yes, he is a prince, but this book really proved to me that even if you are a prince, you actually need a personality to become someone likable, or someone that you feel any sort of connection with. I kind of kept hoping that this guy would notice what a whining dummy this girl he supposedly falls in love with is, but nope.... no such hope.

I knew that you would be a cliche, but COME ON,  I think you went too far. I seriously felt like vomiting from all the instalove "cuteness" while reading you. After all of that lovey dovey nonsense, I wanted to take a shower and wash away all the syrup. Yes, I bet love is nice and all, but seriously, I JUST WON'T ACCEPT THE FACT THAT IT HAPPENS THAT QUICKLY WHEN YOU SEEM TO KNOW NOTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER AND THE OTHER ONE IN THE RELATIONSHIP IS BASICALLY LYING TO YOU ALL THE TIME! I've read Twilight and I still think this was the worst case of instalove I've ever come across to.

I will probably forever question my choices in life and what went on in my mind that actually made me finish with you.


Milka (A very disappointed reader)

Monday, March 14, 2016

Get Up Offa That Slump: A Blogging Extravaganza (#3) - Do a Book Tag

For more information on the Blogging Extravaganza, click here.

For today's post, I thought I would do the TEN MOST INFLUENTIAL BOOKS tag that I've seen making rounds in booktube. I am not sure who actually started this tag, but you can find bunch of these from Youtube if you are interested. These are in no particular order of influence.

What books have left an everlasting influence on you? 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Get Up Offa That Slump: A Blogging Extravaganza (#2) - Inspirational, Badass, and Strong Women in Fiction

For more information on the Blogging Extravaganza, click here.

I went with inspirational, badass ladies from some of my favorite television shows (+one book/movie character)! I would love to know who are your favorite fictional ladies out there - leave me a comment with a link to your post so I can come over and marvel at your lists of awesome ladies!

I was inspired to work on some graphics/posters, so for this post, I decided to limit the words and let the graphics speak for themselves.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Get Up Offa That Slump: A Blogging Extravaganza (#1) - An Interview With Yourself

For more information on the blogging extravaganza, click here.

1. Well, hello there Milka! To begin with, could you provide a picture of yourself?

Well hello there, stranger. Thank you for this wonderful interview opportunity, I am very flattered. 

2. Okay, know that we know what you look like, can you tell a little bit about yourself?

So, I am Milka (but you already knew that). I am almost 25 years old (my birthday is on April 14th - you better remember that!) and I currently live in Southern Finland. I graduated from Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in July 2015 with a honors from a Theatre and Film studies program and now I am working towards a master's degree in media studies. 

3. I've heard through the grapevine that you REALLY JUST LOVE TELEVISION. Could you tell something about that?

You've heard correctly! Doing a film studies degree gave me a chance to watch a lot of films, and because of my love for television, I also took courses on television studies, which further ignited my love for television. I am currently doing my master's degree about situation comedies, my favorite form of television, and it has made me further realize that I JUST LOVE TELEVISION SO MUCH!

4. So, now that we know that you are pretty much obsessed with TV and arguably spend too much time watching it, could you let us know your top 5 TV shows and movies? ONLY FIVE OF EACH, NO MORE, NO LESS!

Oh no.... I hate questions like this. But I will try to survive.

TV TOP FIVE (no particular order) : The West Wing, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Gilmore Girls, Friday Night Lights

FILM TOP FIVE (no particular order) : Citizen Kane, Singin' in the Rain, The Dark Knight, Duck Soup, Sleeper

5. I am sorry if that was hard for you... could you now share five songs that you have fallen in love with recently?

Something you should know about me....I don't "discover" new songs very often, but rather listen to the few same playlists I have on Spotify over and over again. So, rather than discovering something new, I often discover old favorites again. The following list includes a couple of recent discoveries, as well as a couple old faves from the past.

Sam Hunt - Houseparty 
I LOVE country music and I am obsessed with this song! Also, Sam Hunt is incredibly attractive... just look at him). I have been playing his album and his acoustic mix tape on repeat for the past few weeks and I can't imagine ever falling out of love with it.

Nick Carter - 19 in 99
I have been a MASSIVE Backstreet Boys fan even since I was like 6 years old, and obviously, Nick Carter was my favorite! I still love BSB (they better come to Finland soon so I can go to their concert!) and every single time I see Nick Carter, my love for his ignites again. While this song might not be a masterpiece or anything, it makes me want to dance, and that is always a good thing!

Kelly Clarkson - Piece by Piece

This rendition of Piece by Piece makes me SO EMOTIONAL! Though Clarkson is a phenomenal performer and I have loved her before seeing this, I don't think her music has ever hit this close to home for me. My mother and father divorced when I was around 10, and my father committed suicide when I was 12 and listening to these lyrics just made FEEL SO MUCH! 

Sufjan Stevens - John Wayne Gacy, Jr.

Oh man, if you would have asked me to name my NUMBER ONE FAVORITE SONG, I would have named this one! I was introduced to this song back in like 2010 at my English class, when my teacher made us analyze the lyrics of this song in one of my poetry classes. If you haven't heard this song before, PLEASE LISTEN TO IT NOW! I promise you won't regret it!

Elliott Smith - Angeles

Oh Elliott, I love and miss you! I remember picking up Elliott's CD from my local library when I was like 7 years old or something like that, and I think his death in 2003 just a week before my father died is probably one of the first celebrity deaths I was upset about. Because to the close proximity of Elliott's death to my father's, I tend to associate the two, and I must say that I don't mind at all associating Elliott's beautiful music with the memory of my father.

6. Okay, since you run a book blog, I guess we should talk about books... What are some of the best books you have read so far in 2016?

I have tried to read more diversely this year, which has meant that I have attempted to pick up non-YA titles. I also took a postcolonial theory course at the beginning of this year, which has made me interested about postcolonial literature. 

I finally read The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath and loved that. If you are like me and have had that book on your tbr for years, PICK IT UP! IT IS WORTH IT! Just lasr night I finished reading Winter in the Blood by James Welch, which I not only enjoyed, but also found so interesting that I now want to read more from Native American authors. 

I have not completely neglected YA, and want to bring up a couple of awesome titles I've read so far in 2016. The Girl Who Fell by Shannon M. Parker is an incredibly paced and written YA contemporary debut that I had a hard time putting down and The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner not only made me sob myself to sleep, but also introduced me to an incredible set of characters. 

7. In addition to TV, films, music and books, are the other things you are REALLY passionate about?

Well, I don't know whether "passionate" is the right word here, BUT I AM INCREDIBLY IN LOVE WITH OUR FAMILY DOG VEERA! She is my baby, my little sunshine and my best friend. Being away from here during term times (I go to university in a city different from my hometown) is EXTREMELY HARD, which means that I am counting days til I get to go home for summer.

When it comes to being passionate about something, I DEFINITELY NEED TO TALK ABOUT ICE HOCKEY. It is one of my first loves, something I have been obsessed with for such a long time. It makes me happy, but it can also make me feel extremely stressed, especially now during spring when the playoffs season starts. 

8. Well, that sounds interesting... Can you name some of your favorite teams/players?

My number 1 favorite team is the team from my hometown, which is OULUN KÄRPÄT! I used to be one of those fangirls who went to every single game, open practice, event etc. the players were involved in and more often than not, I found myself standing outside the stadium in like a -25 celcius degree weather waiting for the players after a game. 

I also love the Finnish national team LEIJONAT (translates to Lions) that plays in tournaments and such. World Cup is coming next fall, and I am VERY EXCITED FOR THAT!

From NHL (National Hockey League) that plays in US/Canada my favorite team is Pittsburgh Penguins!  When it comes to favorite players, I have two favorites- one Finnish and one Canadian. 

Pekka Rinne is a goaltender who used to play for my home team Kärpät before he moved to NHL and Nashville Predators. This is the player that turned (and still turns) me into a blubbering mess. I usually don't really get nervous around famous people, but every single time I see this guy, I turn completely speechless and have a very hard time hiding my love for him. HE IS AN ABSOLUTE SWEETHEART THOUGH AND ONE OF THE BEST HUMAN BEINGS I'VE EVER MET. 

Sidney Crosby is a name every hockey fan knows! He has pretty much won every single thing to win in hockey (Olympics, Stanley Cup, etc.) and he is not even 30 yet. I haven't been fortunate enough to see him play yet, but ONE DAY! Also, he seems like a complete sweetheart and really passionate about hockey, which is something that makes me love him more.

9. Now that we are almost at the end of this interview, I want to know if you can think of some examples from television/film/books that connect many of your interests together? (e.g. books about hockey, films about books, etc.)

Hmm.... Full Measures by Rebecca Yarros is a new adult novel that has a hockey playing love interest! I really LOVED this one - it is romantic, funny and also absolutely heartbreaking at times!

Just recently I watched the first season of HBO's The Comeback which connected my love for television and television comedies, not only because it is a comedy, but also because it focuses on the production of a television comedy. In general, I can often connect my passion for my studies to television, and at the moment, for example, I am watching some of my favorite comedies in preparation to writing my thesis. 

10. And finally, go to Youtube and share 5 videos that make you happy.

Ari Vallin scores during overtime and Oulun Kärpät wins the Finnish championship in 2004.

I would not be exaggerating when I say that this goal is one of the happiest moments of my life. The 2003-2004 season was one of the first seasons I was really invested in hockey (going to a lot of games etc.) and my hometown team winning the championship MEANT SO MUCH! Also, 2004 was the first time my hometown team won the championship since 1981, so it was a high time for us to get back to the top again.

Parks and Recreation + Ron Swanson

My kind of guy...

The Office & Jim Halpert

So Jim Halpert is like my favorite guy ever, and the Niagara episodes ALWAYS make me cry happy tears.

Dogs Meet their Owners after long periods of separation


When Netflix brings your favorite shows back...

I am in love with Netflix, especially now that it has brought some of my favorite shows back after cancellation... First it happened with Arrested Development, just now recently with Fuller House and next up WE WILL GET TO SEE MORE OF GILMORE GIRLS.

Thank you for participating in this interview Milka!