I HAVE MOVED

As much as I tried to embrace it, the WordPress platform is not for me, so I have gone back to my blogging roots and updated my old Tumblr with all the posts I’ve written in the meantime – as well as some fancy new About Me, TV Schedule, TV Shows and Reading pages!

Check it out here :)

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July

(A note: Since I felt like I wasn’t truly living up to my claim that I am a TV and book blogger by only writing about books during these monthly wrap-ups, I’ve decided to incorporate the different television that I’ve been watching during the month. This will, of course, become more difficult during the regular Fall season but we’ll see how it goes!)


The Television: 

I am disappointed in myself. I am disappointed that I wasted so much time making fun of ABC Family shows based on their commercials when I could have spent that time actually watching ABC Family shows.  This month, I began, and subsequently caught up with, both ‘The Fosters’ and ‘Chasing Life’. I am absolutely and completely blown away with how much I love both of these television shows. I am (hopefully) going to be writing a more in depth review of both of these shows in the near future but I’ve been so impressed that I want to gush about them now.

First, ‘The Fosters’. This show has tackled so many controversial topics in its short run. It jumps bravely into subjects and never feels as though the drama has been forced or shoe-horned in for drama’s sake. In the course of 28 episodes, they have tackled everything from cultural identity struggles to alcoholism to corrective therapy to statutory rape. These story lines develop organically and are handled with incredible grace, all the while creating amazingly lovable, endearing, complex characters.

As for ‘Chasing Life’, I fell in love with Italia Ricci’s character, April Carver, within the first five minutes of the pilot and I can already tell that she is a character that is going to stick with me for a long, long time. The only issue I have with the show so far is the secret, illegitimate daughter plot line – it has been done many times before that it feels a little tired, but I am more than willing to watch along and see how it develops. The charm and earnestness sucked me in and the incredible amount of heart that this show has is what solidified my love for it. On a slightly more superficial level, ‘Chasing Life’ has amazingly created the first male love interest that I’ve been truly excited about in a long time – Leo. He comes with the caveat of a death sentence, as is the nature of a story about cancer, but he is incredibly charismatic and the chemistry between Leo and April is so much more palpable than between her and Dominic. In honour of how hard I fell for Leo, and my newfound love for Scott Michael Foster, I decided to begin ‘Greek’. I’ve only watched seven episodes so far, but it reminds me so strongly of the dramas that I watched when I was in my teens (in a GOOD way).

This month, I have finally finished ‘Parks and Recreation’, which was an absolute delight. I have a feeling it plays better on binge watch than individual viewing per week, but I am looking forward to following the final season. Also, mostly because the Big Brother 16 cast is so dull, I have been, slowly, re-watching the most entertaining seasons. So far, I’ve made my way through BB12 (The Brigade), BB7 (Dr. Will, anyone?) and am currently on BB8, because Evel Dick was horrible but made really good TV.

The new MTV show, ‘Finding Carter’ premiered this month and I am not completely sold on it yet. I have watched four episodes and while I love individual characters (Max, Grant, Taylor, Carter), I cannot bring myself to care about the plot lines involving Carter’s parents, any of her friends, or Lori. I’m not sure how those things can reconcile or if they ever will, but I’m along for the ride for now!


The Books:

How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper (4/5): This was yet another Jonathan Tropper book that I really, really enjoyed. Tropper has a knack of creating real and relatable characters. Russ was amazing, Claire was another strong, awesome, badass female character (who reminded me a lot of Wendy from This Is Where I Leave You). Also, much like Tropper’s previous books, the family dynamics were dysfunctional and beautiful and the humour was dry, sarcastic and biting. All good things.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer: To me, this novel felt more like two books rather than one cohesive story – which ultimately led to my feeling to conflicted to give it a rating. I was absolutely in love with any part of the novel that came from Oskar’s POV. He is a charming, sweet, intelligent, loveable character with such astonishingly profound observations about the world around him. It was an extremely refreshing lens to view a story through. On the opposite end of the spectrum, I disliked every other section of the novel. While I appreciate the creative choices and the different narrative style and the fact that the author leaves a lot up to the reader to decipher, I personally did not enjoy it. Despite that, Oskar is a character who will stick with me for a very, very long time.

The Leftovers by Tom Perrotta (4/5): I found this novel interesting. While Perrotta’s narrative style doesn’t necessarily have much flair or much originality, it is very clear. The characters were all compelling and complex and all of the plotlines were interesting in one way or another. Although it continued to nag me throughout reading the novel, I was ultimately glad that they chose not to explain the disappearances and that the novel focused more on those who were left behind rather than on the mystery of the “Rapture”. All in all, a decent read.

Everything Changes by Jonathan Tropper (3/5): This was not one of my favourite books by Tropper but I did enjoy it all the same. All of Tropper’s male protagonists have many of the same qualities, and they all end up getting the girl in the end – so in that sense, they are rather formulaic. However, I loved every single scene between Zack and his family, and his relationship with both Sophie and Henry made my heart melt.


I may not have gotten as much reading done this July as I would have liked, but I immensely enjoyed all of the television I watched, so all in all it was a good month.

As always, happy reading/viewing!

 

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Things I Liked (And Didn’t Like) About ‘The Fault In Our Stars’

It’s been over a month since ‘The Fault in Our Stars’ came out, and nearly that long since I saw it, which has given me some time to process how I felt about it. Which, apparently, is not great. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved the book, and there are still aspects of the movie I enjoyed, but ultimately I feel like this was not a book meant to be translated to the screen.

Disclaimer: The following contains tons of spoilers for both the book and the movie. Obviously.

Continue reading

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MUSIC MONDAY

Where You GoThe Young Romans 

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June Wrap-Up + July TBR

In June, I settled into my summer routine and ended up finding plenty of time to read. That, plus going on vacation meant I powered through a solid number of novels.


June Wrap-Up:

  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn | 3/5

I’ll be writing a mass review of all of Gillian Flynn’s novels sometime soon so I won’t say much about this now but I did not enjoy it very much, and definitely not as much as her other novels. However, it was decent read and I finished it fairly quickly.

  • The One and Only by Emily Giffin | 2/5

I had some major issues with this novel. My review can be found here.

  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart | 2.5/5

This novel had a TON of hype surrounding it, and in my opinion, it did not live up to the it. The twist that had been touted as such a huge, incredible one ended up being disappointing. But on the positive side, I did enjoy the different writing style and I appreciated the characters.

  • The Book of Joe by Jonathan Tropper | 4/5

I really, really enjoy Jonathan Tropper. This is the second novel of his that I’ve read and he has a way of writing dry, sarcastic humour that is right up my alley. Thoroughly enjoyed this novel.

  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell | 5/5

I fell in love with this book really, really fast. I haven’t connected as quickly or as completely to a character as I did to Georgie in a long, long time. Rainbow Rowell has a knack of writing believable love stories and incredibly flawed, complicated and relatable characters. Landline is now without a doubt my favourite Rainbow Rowell book and my favourite book of 2014 so far.

  • Plan B by Jonathan Tropper | 3/5

You could absolutely tell that this was Tropper’s first novel. The language was much more flowery and unnecessarily complicated than his later novels, the narrative was fairly unfocused and the characters were a lot fuzzier/not as well formed as in his later novels. While I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as his others that I’ve read, it was interesting to see where he started from.


 

July TBR:

  • How To Talk To A Widower by Jonathan Tropper
  • To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han
  • More Than This by Patrick Ness
  • The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
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Top 10 Tuesday (on Wednesday)

I decided to participate in this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, which was started and is facilitated by the lovely girls over at The Broke and The Bookish. However, the day got away from me yesterday, so it’s Top 10 Tuesday on Wednesday!

This week’s topic is Top 10 Characters I Would Want With Me On a Deserted Island - and as usual, since this topic is applicable to both books and television I will be answering for both! So, in no particular order…


– From Books –

Katniss Everdeen (from The Hunger Games trilogy): She has more than proven her survival capabilities, and as I have none to speak of, that would be extremely useful!

Jo March (from Little Women): Jo is so creative and such a natural storyteller that it would be nice to have someone who could provide some sort of entertainment and activity to do when the boredom sets in. She’d definitely have us doing plays with palm tree leaves and coconut costumes.

Levi (from Fangirl): Levi is so sweet and kind and calm that he would be such an awesome calming presence for me. Also, he’s a dreamboat.

Wade Watts (from Ready Player One): Wade is crazy intelligent. I’m sure he’d be resourceful enough to figure out ways to collect drink water or get food or even figure out how to get off the island.

Harry, Ron & Hermione (from the Harry Potter series): Setting aside the magic thing, these three have been through a lot and, I’m sure, would keep a level head at being stuck. The all bring something different to their little trio and would be great to have on the island.

Lena Kaligaris & Tibby Rollins (from the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series): *Spoilers* For the purposes of this list, I’m going to pretend Tibby is still alive and well because her and Lena were always my two favourites of the Sisterhood series. I think we’d get along really well.

Lincoln O’Neill (from Attachments): This is for purely selfish reasons. I fell in love with Lincoln when I read Attachments, so having the opportunity to fall in love with him for real would be awesome.


– From Television –

Dean Winchester & Sam Winchester (from Supernatural): This should be fairly self-explanatory. Sam and Dean hunt evil things for a living. Yeah, they’d be bored being stuck on an island, but they’d be super useful. And also you can’t separate them so I’ll take ‘em both.

Oliver Queen (from Arrow): It’s probably cruel to dump Oliver on an island again, but his archery skills would definitely come in handy when it comes to hunting things and getting food.

Mindy Lahiri (from The Mindy Project): I love Mindy so much. She would be incredibly distressed being stuck on an island, just unbelievably bored, but she would provide immense comedic relief.

Veronica Mars (from Veronica Mars): The love I have for Veronica cannot be quantified. I want to be her best friend, and if I have to trap her on a deserted island with me to make that happen, I will.

Maggie Caruso & Emma Crawford (from Playing House): There may only be ten episodes in the first season of this show (please, please give us a second season) but I fell hard and fast for these two best friends. Their friendship is beautiful to watch and these ladies are incredibly hilarious – I would want them on the island for Bosephus alone.

Lexie Grey (from Grey’s Anatomy): *Spoiler* Once again, I’m ignoring the rules of life and death. From the moment Lexie was introduced, she became one of my very favourite characters on the show. She started endearing and naive but grew into a beautifully strong character. I would love to spend time with her. Plus, she’s a doctor, so that would

Lorelai Gilmore (from Gilmore Girls): Lorelai is fast-talking, lovable, funny, smart, and would just make time spent on an island much more enjoyable.

James Ford | aka. Sawyer (from Lost): Once again, it’s probably cruel to dump Sawyer back on an island, but hey, it’d probably be good to have someone who’s experienced it before. Also, he’s not bad to look at.

Happy Wednesday, and as always, happy reading/viewing!

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MUSIC MONDAY

Death Metal and Disco – Alex Dezen

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The One and Only by Emily Giffin | Book Review

Screen Shot 2014-06-18 at 8.34.32 PM

Title: The One and Only
Author:
Emily Giffin 
Published by
Ballantine Books [2014] 
Pages: 
432

Synopsis:

Thirty-three-year-old Shea Rigsby has spent her entire life in Walker, Texas—a small college town that lives and dies by football, a passion she unabashedly shares. Raised alongside her best friend, Lucy, the daughter of Walker’s legendary head coach, Clive Carr, Shea was too devoted to her hometown team to leave. Instead she stayed in Walker for college, even taking a job in the university athletic department after graduation, where she has remained for more than a decade.

But when an unexpected tragedy strikes the tight-knit Walker community, Shea’s comfortable world is upended, and she begins to wonder if the life she’s chosen is really enough for her. As she finally gives up her safety net to set out on an unexpected path, Shea discovers unsettling truths about the people and things she has always trusted most—and is forced to confront her deepest desires, fears, and secrets [source].


(This review contains spoilers)

I ordered this book mostly off the rave recommendations of multiple people I follow on twitter, and of course, the synopsis triggered my Friday Night Lights nostalgia, so I was looking forward to picking it up and diving into another universe featuring a small town with a football obsession.

This FNL sentimentality both helped and harmed my opinion of the book. I loved reading a story of a group of people full of passion and enthusiasm for something, but I found myself constantly comparing Coach to Eric Taylor, and thinking of his deceased wife Connie as Tami Taylor. Unfortunately, none of the characters lived up to the picture in my head of my favourite fictional married couple and the characters that surrounded them on the Jason Katims headed show.

I didn’t feel as though any of the characters underwent any, or at the very least, believable character development.  Ryan James went from ‘pro-footballer and good guy’ beloved by all to an abusive asshole in what felt like breakneck speed (a transition that felt cheap, like it was a decision made simply to disqualify him as a viable love interest for Shea) and Lucy’s change of heart at the end came so far out of nowhere that I almost got whiplash. None of the other characters were interesting in the least – not Shea’s mom (whose name I have forgotten), her dad, her step-sister, her step-mom, Miller, Neil, or Smiley.

Shea Rigsby, the protagonist of the novel, felt wimpy. She never made a single decision for herself. She let Coach choose her life path – he told her to apply for the job at the paper, so she did; he told her she should break up with Miller, so she did. Even the decision to end her relationship with Coach was made because Lucy wanted to. I did understand that decision, their friendship was placed above a romantic relationship, but rather than being a demonstration of loyalty, it felt like Shea once again could not make a decision for herself. She even states that she had been counting on Coach to counteract her “decision” and keep their relationship together, yet again refusing to make a decision for herself, and instead counting on a man – specifically Coach – to save her from sticking to her guns.

The character of Coach was another character that felt as though he had no personality. He was simply a vessel for football talk to spew out of – something that could connect him more strongly to Shea. The only scene in the novel that he seemed to have some spunk and some sort of personality was when he was fighting with Shea. I do understand that he was meant to come off as sage and wise and stoic, but instead, he came off as completely bland.

From what I’ve gathered from Goodreads reviews, the aspect of the book that readers had the most trouble with was the fundamental plot point of the novel – the relationship between Coach and Shea. I have to agree with them. Their relationship seemed mildly incestuous. Coach states at one point that he practically raised her, and Shea comments multiple times throughout the novel that he was more of a father figure to her than her own father was. The argument of “you can’t help who you fall in love with” can also be made for their relationship, but it felt like a hero worship crush that was inorganically, and all of a sudden, reciprocated. It happened so quickly that I found myself doubtful when they protested to Lucy that it never would have happened if Connie were alive. It seems unbelievable that those feelings would have manifested so quickly, had they not been there for quite a while.

In addition to all of the plot points and characters, I had a few issues with the writing style, specifically the dialogue. It felt forced and contrived and unbelievable at times. This, more than anything else, pulls me out of a story the fastest, and I found myself tripping over conversations between characters.

Overall, although I enjoyed the nostalgic elements that called back to one of my favourite television shows, there were major hurdles that I was unable to get over. It was this that ultimately led to my reading experience being an uncomfortable and mostly negative experience.

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Top 10 Tuesday

I usually participate in Top 5 Wednesday, however, this week’s topic [Top 5 Naked Cover Books] is one that I can’t do due to the fact that half my books are at my apartment out at school and half are at home, so instead I decided to participate in this week’s Top 10 Tuesday, which was started and is facilitated by the lovely girls over at The Broke and The Bookish!

This week’s topic is ‘Top Ten Books On My Summer TBR list‘, so in no particular order:

The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides: This is a book that I’ve had sitting on my shelf for almost a year. I tried to pick it up multiple times during the school year but found that I was too burnt out from my Literature course to pick up a true literary novel in my spare time. I’m excited to read it now that I have time off for summer!

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King: This is another book I’ve had sitting on my shelf for over a year now. I keep meaning to read it, but I wanted to do it when I had time to take a highlighter and tabs to it, in order to truly get the most out the writing advice.

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt: I recently read ‘The Secret History’ and absolutely loved it, so I’m definitely looking forward to reading Tartt’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel!

More Than This by Patrick Ness: I got this book for Christmas this year and just haven’t been able to get around to it! The cover is really awesome and it’ll be first Patrick Ness book!

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell: My plan is to get into more of the classics this summer, I have a stack of Austen and Bronte and Woolfe to dig in to, but this Gaskell book is one that I’ve heard lots about and is the classic I’m most excited to read.

The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien: I utterly failed in my bet with my best friend to read the LotR trilogy over winter break, but I’ve been told that it’s best to read ‘The Hobbit’ first anyway, so that’s what I’ll be doing!

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart: Thanks to all the hype surrounding this book, I’m torn on wanting to read it. I read/watched many reviews before it was released that absolutely praised it, but since it’s release I’ve also read many that say it doesn’t live up to the hype. I hope it’ll be as great as I imagine, but I’m also prepared to be disappointed.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han: I don’t know much about this book other than it’s written by the author of ‘The Summer I Turned Pretty’ trilogy! However, I recently read ‘Burn for Burn’ and did not enjoy it all, so I’m hoping that this will go much better than that did!

The Circle by Dave Eggers: I received this book as a Christmas present from my best friend and I’m excited to get to it! Also, the cover is beautiful.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth: I have been putting off reading the last book in the Divergent trilogy for months. I have managed to stay spoiler-free, but I do know that it ends in a way that is very divisive, people either really enjoy/respect it, or they hate it. I have no idea what camp I’ll be in, but I’ve been putting it off because I’m nervous to find out.

Hope everyone had a good Tuesday, and as always, happy reading!

 

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MUSIC MONDAY

What If - Original Broadway Cast from If/Then

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