July 22, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Characters I Would Want With Me On A Deserted Island

Ideally, I'd pick ten hot book dudes and build me a harem, but let's be real and realize we need to eat and so on. I need some handy suckers on my team so let's get down to it.

1. Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)
I'd like to know what to do in case of emergency, what plants to eat, what animals are dangerous etc. I have no doubt Hermione would be well read on these things and would be a great vault of knowledge and safety tips. She's also a witch so that's always a plus. I hope she'd remember that bag of hers...

2. Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games)
I doubt Hermione's too fond of hunting so Katniss would help us catch our dinner, warn us if someone's coming etc., even though we'd probably be safe with Hermione's spells. She'd maybe even teach us to hunt and so on, always helpful.

3. Peeta Mellark (The Hunger Games)
We'll need bread with that rabbit stew. Seriously. But also, he's calm, calculating, and pretty good at camouflage. And he's hot so he's totally in immediately. 

4. and 5. Weasley twins (Harry Potter)
Evening entertainment. And by that I mean jokes and tricks and the sort! Mostly

6. Avry of Kazan (Healer series)
We could absolutely do with a healer among ourselves. You never know what might happen, and even though Hermione probably knows how to help, and Katniss wrapped up a wound or two, a proper healer with some magic of her own would be great!

7. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles)
Whatever made us end up on that island, maybe Cinder could fix. Crashed plane, maybe a ship. Hopefully, she'd be able to get us off the island as soon as possible. Unless we had too much fun with them Weasleys...

8. Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass)
We don't need an army to protect us if we have Celaena. She'd sort any attackers right up. I'd absolutely sleep like dead if she were guarding my back.

9. Mila (Mila 2.0)
Mila's like a back-up to Celaena. Together, they'd be unstoppable and would totally level down the island if needs be. Can you say badass? 

... maybe Arya and Brienne could join that club, too.

10. Percy Jackson (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
In case Cinder failed or had no resources, maybe Percy could get us a deal with his father to get us out of wherever we managed to end up.

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

July 20, 2014

Book review: The Good Girl

Thank you Harlequin for physical ARC!

Goodreads synopsis
"I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she has her dry cleaning done, where she works. I don't know the color of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will."

Born to a prominent Chicago judge and his stifled socialite wife, Mia Dennett moves against the grain as a young inner-city art teacher. One night, Mia enters a bar to meet her on-again, off-again boyfriend. But when he doesn't show, she unwisely leaves with an enigmatic stranger. With his smooth moves and modest wit, at first Colin Thatcher seems like a safe one-night stand. But following Colin home will turn out to be the worst mistake of Mia's life.

Colin's job was to abduct Mia as part of a wild extortion plot and deliver her to his employers. But the plan takes an unexpected turn when Colin suddenly decides to hide Mia in a secluded cabin in rural Minnesota, evading the police and his deadly superiors. Mia's mother, Eve, and detective Gabe Hoffman will stop at nothing to find them, but no one could have predicted the emotional entanglements that eventually cause this family's world to shatter.

An addictively suspenseful and tautly written thriller, The Good Girl is a compulsive debut that reveals how even in the perfect family, nothing is as it seems…

(possible SPOILERS!)
I have been really looking forward to starting this book since I got it at London Book Fair. It sounds so good, so creepy, and mysterious, I was starting it rather excitedly, and with high expectations, too. I was hoping the book wouldn't let me down but the start of the novel was really promising.
It had a first-person narration but between more than one person, and it was really engaging this way because we got to see the emotions and thoughts of the characters, and it felt really intimate and so much more real than if this was a detached third person telling. 
I was engaged very early on because of the mysteriousness. I had no real idea what happened exactly, even though the plot was pretty clear. It had something that kept me reading and kept me wanting to know more. It was revealing its secrets slowly which made it a sort of tense read, a teasing one.
As much as I was totally into the book early on because I liked the past-present narrative that went back and forth between before and after the event, so it was like two stories that came into one towards the end, that was not enough. I never read anything like it and it was interesting to read a book like that, but as much as I enjoyed that, the book got boring super fast. About a third in, even less, I was bored. Towards the end, I was pissed.
I didn't care for the abductor's POV, his reasons for actions were absolutely silly and the book lost it's spine in a way because it was all so insubstantial. His story was short and told in these 'cut' sentences, and it was nice to see that POVs were not similar to one another (so the storytelling was pretty diverse) it annoyed me. He was crude and snappy and repetitive and had no idea what the hell he was doing. His actions felt forced, meek, and I was having a real trouble reading his parts. Plus he was so changeable from someone really unpleasant to someone caring it was making me see red.
Characters in general were terribly stereotypical and annoying. The poor thug, the rich deviant girl, the distant father, the sappy trophy-wife mother, the Italian-background cop, down to inability to cook and sloppy sandwiches at work. Yawn. There was also some nice white-safe-black-unsafe stereotypes over parts of Chicago. I get this is often a reality but so many stereotypes in one place could only make a satire, but this book was totally serious. So many stereotypes, so little depth, and so many predictable outcomes on all occasions were driving me up the wall. 
The story itself was just bad. The kidnapper has a change of heart and becomes love interest. Are you for real!? I get Mia's fate would probably be worse if she had a different kidnapper, but just because someone kidnapped you then changed his mind so your pretty face doesn't get hurt you don't just start loving the thug! She was pretty, so was he, and since he had no fucking plans for the girl whatsoever, why not just fall in love in three months? He threatened her, yelled at her, tied her up, but because he got her pills (while she got sick because of him) it made him a hero. You don't make a 'we' dream life in Italy with your kidnapper. It's not Stockholm syndrome when you have hots for some creep for three months. I strongly felt here the term was just thrown around to justify the romance and I found it wrong. He may have had good intentions to start the criminal life but that doesn't excuse his actions and makes him romantic. I hate romanticized crime and abuse.
So when you have a weak plot and terrible characters you cannot help but almost hate, the good writing gets lost in the mess. I enjoyed the style, and the jumping between past and present, but that did not help the otherwise 'watery' story.
I had such high hopes for this book but was let down terribly. I could not like this story no matter what. I kept reading to see what it'll happen and it just got worse and worse. The love, the obvious outcomes, just everything. Huge let down. Not to mention it was not scary at all despite the tense start. This is not a thriller. It's a messed up romance book. The ending was a bit shocking but not something to make up for the rest.
At the end of the day, the cons outnumber the pros by far and I could not like the book even though on some level, I could understand the happenings. It just wasn't right for me.

Generous two stars.

July 19, 2014

HPM: Why it's okay to be BOTH an adult and a Harry Potter fan

This post is part of Harry Potter Month event. Harry Potter Month is a blogger event put together by Faith from Student Spyglass for the month of July. For more information visit her blog.

Why it's okay to be BOTH an adult and a Harry Potter fan

I used to hide the fact I was a Harry Potter fan as a kid, except from the one girl that told me about it and was even more into it than I was. She was the safe one, the one I geeked out about it with. Others were just a bunch of Muggles that always poked fun. So I kept it to myself and never brought it up, and even when someone else did I kept my opinion to myself. 

Mind you, we were kids. When you're twelve, you have a whole bunch of problems as it is. You might be short or fat or have glasses or your teeth are all over the place so people make fun. Or you have a stupid name nobody ever heard before so you get your portion there (thanks, mom). But if you like Harry Potter instead of sneaking into the adult section in the library, you're also a dork.

My friend and I never told people we went on RPG forums that were Potter-themed, that we signed up for virtual Hogwarts school and attended it for years. We never told anyone we dressed up and played HP at home or that we played HP video games. It's like we were separate from ourselves. We were the 'school' us and 'home' us. The school us were above anything weird but home us were total Potterheads.

And it was even worse because we had no support at home. We didn't exactly get told to not read the books but bringing Potter up made my parents roll their eyes. It's not any better now when they had time to listen to me for over 13 years. It's still something that makes my parents shake their heads, roll their eyes and ask me "Still liking that, are you?" like it's a fashion fad that would go away when I grow out of my Potter onesie. That onesie grows with me okay you Muggles? Get over it.

I never fully embraced Potter until high school where I realized I don't give a crap what people think of me or my Potter love. Some of my mates read the books, some only saw the films. They said it was all good and okay, but not worth rereading and rewatching. Fine, that's your opinion. I loved it and told people about it when they asked. I got a few weird looks but we had some general geeks in class loving LotR and such as well so I didn't stand out as much. Then, I guess I was still old enough to like the books as they were still coming out. The last couple were out then and the movies were a big hit so it was fine. I didn't read much during HS but Potter stayed with me even when I forgot all about other books.

July 17, 2014

Harry Potter Moment of the Week

This is a meme hosted by Leah at Uncorked Thoughts. The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object or quote from the books/films/J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related! 

Bravest character moment

Ah, HP has a big selection of brave people. Harry being one of the bravest with his somewhat reckless behaviour, but he did get in trouble sometimes without his own volition - The Triwizard Tournament he finished despite not being ready at all being just one thing that pops to mind just now. I love Hermione and Ron for going with him on the hunt even though they didn't have to. I love Neville for standing up to Death Eaters at school even though he could have died a bunch of times. They're all so amazing and every one of them has something to offer! But I pick

Harry going to his death

Harry could have easily opted out of meeting Voldemort in the woods. I know I would. I would not want to walk to my death all cool as you like. He was prepared to die, absolutely ready for the final blow. He would not fight back at all. That was mental! Even the opening of the snitch (that must have recognized the truth in Harry's words)... that broke me, because it was real. And I'd never ever be able to reach that level.

July 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Movies or TV Shows

Oooooh what a good topic! I will be picking shows because I watch more and have more favorites. Movies rarely blow me away, and I prefer a long-term thing when it comes to TV because it can develop a story better.

1. Friends
My all time favorite for ever and ever is Friends, a show I first saw close to ten years ago and fell in love after first episode. I have been rewatching the series since then every single year. It never gets old, even though I can say the lines while watching the series. It's my go-to show when I'm sick or sad and it always picks me up, even if it's just for a little while.

2. Charmed
Another show I have been loving for years. I saw it on TV first ages ago and was immediately intrigued. I always loved magic so this was totally up my alley. It's another show I rewatch annually. 

3. Game of Thrones
I often bitch and complain about this show and the way it's taking its own course away from the books, but I cannot help to love it. I read all the books and have been fan for years so just the fact that the series exists is awesome. No matter how badly they fuck it up, I'll always watch it.

4. Haven
Pretty unknown and always fighting for a new season, I love Haven to pieces. It's a supernatural type of show very loosely based on King's novel The Colorado Kid, and it's really good! I started watching it out of curiosity. Every now and then I try a few pilots and see what shows I wanna stick with. Haven was another love at first sight. Highly recommended.

5. Orphan Black
I just started this show super very recently and was in love after the first episode. I saw entire first season in next couple of days. It's absolutely amazing and I cannot praise the main actor Tatiana Maslany enough, absolute brilliance!

6. Arrested Development
A show you either love or hate, there is no middle ground. I for one love it to pieces and must rewatch that awesomeness soon. It recently came back on Netflix but those episodes lacked a little bit of AD flavor. Still funny and all but not as great as the original parts that aired forever ago.

7. Sherlock (BBC)
You know I am a big Sherlock fan and a total Cumberbitch. I cannot get enough of that show and am always on the lookout for more info. It's a brilliant three-piece show that airs way too far apart and I will probably die of old age before I see it all. It's amazing. Oh and btw: JOHNLOCK.

8. UK (game or 'real') shows
I am a sucker of British TV, they know how to do shit well. So I totally love QI and Mock the Week (more of the rest still on to-watch). I am also absolutely loving Russell Howard's Good News as well, brilliant series that makes me laugh my ass off ALL THE TIME. All three are something I cannot get enough. Currently waiting for new episodes of all three, it's murder.

9. Midsomer Murders
Speaking of murders, I love this UK crime show. It's a movie-length series that's been coming out for friggin ever. We started watching it as a family on TV because they showed it every Thursday night a few years back. Now it's got a bit more awkward slot at 10 am so I watch it all by myself. I am nearly done catching up as well, it's really good! Totally different from a million Hollywood crime shows which is why I love it so much.

10. Misfits
Yet another British TV series about community working delinquents with super powers. It was amazing, then it got a bit weird, but the last season was absolutely awesome. It ended (for now - it has a good ending to shoot off again in case they want to come back) and I'll miss it. First two series are the best.

Honorable mentions: Miranda (UK), Blue Mountain State (US), Dark Angel (US), Veronica Mars (US), Doctor Who (UK), Perception (US), Hart of Dixie (US); The Big Bang Theory (US)

This weekly meme is from The Broke and the Bookish.

July 12, 2014

HPM: On Hogwarts Houses

This post is part of Harry Potter Month event. Harry Potter Month is a blogger event put together by Faith from Student Spyglass for the month of July. For more information visit her blog.

Hogwarts Houses in Harry Potter

We all know the four Hogwarts houses of Harry Potter fandom, but if you're a Muggle accidentally stumbling over this article we'll be talking about Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. These are the four groups that house the students during the school year, serve as their classes, family and friends. They compete among one another for the house cup and Quidditch cup, and there's no lack of rivalry among them, some friendly and some pretty vicious. 

Today I want to point out the good and the bad of each house and tell you why landing yourself in any of these is not shameful or bad in any way. You may prefer a house but you'd be bloody lucky to land in any of them because it'd mean you're good enough for Hogwarts (though with Crabbe and Goyle and such that's not saying much*).

Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry is a British wizarding boarding school teaching the magical arts, located in Scotland inside Hogwarts Castle. The castle is in the mountains near a loch. The precise location of the school can never be uncovered because it has been rendered Unplottable. Similarly, most wizarding schools locations are protected in order to prevent their ways of teaching being revealed, as well as protect the students and schools themselves from any harm.

Established around the 9th or 10th century, Hogwarts is considered to be one of the finest magical institutions in the wizarding world, though other notable schools include Beauxbatons Academy of Magic and the Durmstrang Institute. Children with magical abilities may be enrolled at birth, and acceptance is confirmed by owl post at age eleven.

The school's motto is Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus and is in Latin, which translates to "Never tickle a sleeping dragon". ― HP Wiki

Hogwarts was founded around 990 A.D. by four gifted wizards Godric Gryffindor, Helga Hufflepuff, Rowena Ravenclaw, and Salazar Slytherin. The four houses were named after the four founding wizards of the school, each stressing the importance of different personality traits.

Gryffindor valued bravery over anything else, Hufflepuff accepted anyone because she didn't care to differentiate, Ravenclaw valued the brainy, and Slytherin was all about ambition. You could see how that could make them clash eventually, which happened after a few years of peaceful harmony. Soon after opening the school, Slytherin had a falling out with the other three over the blood status of students; he preferred them only pure blooded. Long story short, Slytherin eventually left the school because of it, but not before secretly building the Chamber of Secrets, a hidden room in the bowels of the castle. When his own true heir returned to the school, he or she would be able to open the Chamber and unleash a beast - a basilisk - to purge the school of all Muggle-born students Slytherin despised. Seeing how the chamber didn't open for hundreds of years it just shows his heirs weren't the smartest or hateful enough. Not sure which is better. 

So let's move on to the houses and their valued traits.

July 11, 2014

Freebie Friday

Today's Freebie Friday free Kindle e-books are

Goodreads synopsis
Just a girl. The only one strong enough to break the cycle.

In Depression-era Mississippi, Millie Reynolds longs to escape the madness that marks her world. With an abusive father and a “nothing mama,” she struggles to find a place where she really belongs.
For answers, Millie turns to the Gypsies who caravan through town each spring. The travelers lead Millie to a key which unlocks generations of shocking family secrets. When tragedy strikes, the mysterious contents of the box give Millie the tools she needs to break her family’s longstanding cycle of madness and abuse.

Through it all, Millie experiences the thrill of first love while fighting to trust the God she believes has abandoned her. With the power of forgiveness, can Millie finally make her way into the free?

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