Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Everything Sucks! on Netflix // Currently Watching



Hello, beautiful people!

Yesterday, I started watching Everything Sucks! on Netflix, which is made of ten episodes of about twenty-five minutes. Little did I know I would end up staying up late to binge-watch the whole season, yet, I couldn't stop myself. In the middle of binge-watching it, I learnt that Netflix had announced the show's cancellation last week, when it hadn't even been on their website for two months (I don't get why they did that after two months when they wait forever to renew their shows??). After finishing the first and apparently unique season we'll ever get, I just didn't understand, especially since it was a show so full of hope. Why does Netflix keep cancelling (most of) their diverse shows? *cries forever* Let's hope the social media campain #RenewEverythingSucks will work...


WHAT IS EVERYTHING SUCKS! ABOUT?

It's 1996 in a town called Boring in Oregon (yes, it's a real town), where high school misfits in the AV and drama clubs brave the ups and downs of teenage life in the VHS era. The show mainly follows Luke O'Neil (Jahi Di'Allo Winston), an aspiring filmmaker and Kate Messner (Peyton Kennedy), the principal's daughter figuring out her sexuality, who both come from single-parents households, trying to discover out who they are.




MY THOUGHTS ON THE SHOW

I knew I would end up loving Everything Sucks from the very first minute, when it started talking about the Star Wars prequel movies and how the characters were pretty sure they wouldn't be good. I was born in 1996, so I thought it was a funny reason to watch it: it felt so nostalgic of that time. It was full of pop culture references (from movies to items such as Tamagotchis!) and had an amazing soundtrack (not to be cliché, but Oasis? HELL, YES). It does use '90s clichés, but that's all the fun. Once I finished it, I just wanted to get to the nearest store to dress like the characters (but it might be because I adore Emaline).

It's not the type of show that will necessarily enthral you right in, it took me a couple of episodes for that to actually happen, which is also linked to the fact that there was bullying and homophobic slur (which was the point) at first, it made it a bit hard to watch. Like I've read in some reviews that I agree with on that, the show is a bit all over the place, like teenagers are, so that felt realistic, but because of that, it took me a bit of time. 


THEN
I
FELL
FOR
IT.


Everything Sucks! is a coming-of-age story that felt so authentic: it reminds you how awful high school sometimes was when you weren't popular or things like that, it navigates relationships, heatbreaks, unrequited love, figuring out your sexuality, trying to find your voice and what you love in life. Yes, everything does suck, but that's reality. Yet, it's also so full of hope. It's funny, it's heartfelt, it's relatable. More than that, it has amazing representation and that's why it's even more heartbreaking that it got cancelled.

(Sorry for the shade thrown on 13 Reasons Why with this tweet, even though I 100% agree with it) 

I adored so many of the storylines, and as all the characters came together in the second half of the season, it became better and better. While some of the secondary characters felt two-dimensional in the first half of the season, they all had their own stories in the second half and I came to care for them all. Most of the characters started off a bit two-dimensional because of the '90s clichés, but then the show went way farther than any '90s TV shows would have gotten away with and that's why it's amazing. It also followed some of the characters' parents and while they didn't have a lot of screen time, I came to root for them as much as for the kids. 

My favourite story arc was without a doubt Kate's, who was coming to terms with the fact that she was a lesbian and I can't say anything without spoiling, but the way they did it felt realistic, especially for the 1990s (the concert scene was amazing, I'm still crying). She's the type of character that everyone can relate to, that's supposed to be YOU and it worked. She's such a teen icon and we need more characters like her on television. The award for best character development goes to Emaline, my personal favourite, she goes from being this arrogant theatre teen to a kinder and more romantic young woman, figuring out how to be her own person, because she needs no man (spoiler alert: the type of character I love the most).

I really love Emaline. UGH I miss her so much already.

Overall, Everything Sucks! isn't a perfect TV show, but it deserves so much more publicity than it got for the past two months. It's nostalgic, authentic and has great representation. I truly couldn't stop watching it, because I was holding on to hope that it would go the way I wanted, it more than did, and if Netflix truly doesn't pick it back up again, I'll never get over it (the only show I feel like that about is Agent Carter and I'm still bitter after two years), because I need more, I want to see my favourite characters grow together. Please, Netflix.


Have you watched this show or do you want to?
What's your favourite TV show at the moment?



Lots of love,
Lucie

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

Reading wrap-up + Favourites // March 2018


Hello, beautiful people!

I can't believe March is finally over, it was an eventful and tiring month, sometimes amazing, sometimes awful, but that's life, I guess. What I want to remember out of it are moments such as Disneyland Paris, Livre Paris, where I met Victoria Schwab, Marissa Meyer and Diana Gabaldon (!!!), seeing my best friend every week, despite not living in the same city, watching amazing TV shows and helplessly falling in love with books. There were so many positive things happening in March that I hope it will outweight the way I felt most of the time in my future memories.


W H A T  I  R E A D

In March, I decided not to have a monthy TBR anymore and it was such a nice feeling: while I read tons of books during the first ten days of the month, I "only" read four books during the last three weeks of it and I felt so great about it. Reading isn't a competition after all, even though it feels like it at times (I'm mainly the one competing with myself, but still), it was so nice to just take my time with books, for once.

  • Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, 5/5 stars
  • The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, 4/5 stars
  • First Ladies of the Republic: Martha Washington, Abigail Adams and Dolley Maddison, and the Creation of an Iconic American Role by Jeanne E. Abrams (e-ARC), 3.5/5 stars
  • The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, 3/5 stars
  • The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher, 4/5 stars
  • Renegades by Marissa Meyer, 5/5 stars
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Jason Fry, 4.5/5 stars
  • The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar, 3.5/5 stars
  • Villette by Charlotte Brontë, 2/5 stars
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, 5/5 stars
  • Murder in Mesopotamia by Agatha Christie, 4/5 stars

I completely fell in love with three books this month, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, Renegades by Marissa Meyer and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, I wouldn't be able to pick a favourite out of these three! I also had my first big disappointment with Villette by Charlotte Brontë, but it was a buddy read and ranting about it to my friend was hilarious and made the experience enjoyable somehow.


F A V O U R I T E  B L O G  P O S T S



Ashleigh @ A Frolic Through Fiction went to Haworth to visit the Brontë Parsonage and she made me want to visit it even more, someday.
Evelina @ Avalinah's Books talked about book smugglers in Lithuania at the end of the 19th century.
Elise @ The Bookish Actress talked about the "not-like-other-girls" trope, and why we need more 'unlikable' heroines (her posts are amazing in general though, I can't believe I just discovered her blog!).

My lockscreen, aka one of my favourite Star Wars fanart. 
I found it there, but I'm not sure who the artist is, sadly.

F A V O U R I T E S

TV SHOW // Jane the Virgin

I watched a lot of TV shows that I adored this month, but Jane the Virgin won everything. If you don't know, this one has been on my favourite shows list for a few years now, but I forbid myself to watch it if the season hasn't finished airing yet. Why, you will ask? Because whenever I watch it, I enter the ultimate stage of binge-watching, aka I won't do anything but watch it and it always ends in cliffhangers, so I can't bear to wait each week. I wasn't supposed to watch season 4 just now because of that, but I obviously did. Oops. 

Season 4 is absolutely amazing so far, it's been delivering so many important messages that matter even more to me on a personal level and that's why the binge-watching was even worse than usual. This show always makes me feel better, makes me smile no matter what, it was no different for season 4. I cannot wait to continue watching it week after week, even though it will mean I'll scream every time it ends on a cliffhanger, but oh well. There is no point in forbidding myself to do things that will make me happy. I also love Petra even more than usual, this season. She's the type of character I can't help but love, I have to say that the Petra we've been seeing lately is the best.



TEA // Empress Grey from Marks & Spencer

I was carburating to Jasmine Tea in February, but considering how winter-y the weather still was in March, I needed to drink a more winter-y tea again. As M&S is a loyal friend of mine, I tried this one out from them and adore it, I've been drinking it during breakfast every morning for the past few weeks (it goes very well with porridge, I have to say!). It makes me feel so warm, more comfortable in my own skin on a daily basis and that's what I need from a good tea.

TV SHOW // The Good Place

I finally watched The Good Place and it was one of the best things ever. The Good Place follows Eleanor Shellstrop, who lands in an idyllic afterlife only to discover that she has been mistaken for a very good person. Certain that she lived a bad life and is destined to be sent to hell if she's discovered, Eleanor tries to keep her presence a secret even though it causes disruption to everyone around her. The Good Place is one of those shows that's weird, in a very good way (like Legion*). It's the kind of show that you binge-watch because you want to understand what's going on. I usually need to have a show where an episode is about 20 minutes long on the go, it's perfect for breakfasts or study breaks, I am so glad I had this one in March. It was absolutely hilarious, had such a diverse cast of characters and I cannot wait to watch season 3!


*can you tell that I was rewatching Legion while I was typing this? 

BEAUTY // Green clay masks

Doing face masks has become a weekly tradition for me lately and after trying out several of them, I have settled on green clay masks this month and I adore them. They always make me feel like my skin is all new and clear whenever I'm done with them. They're perfect in my Sunday self-care routing while I'm watching a TV show now. I've started to use more beauty products lately, so stay tuned, maybe I'll have things to say in the future, even though I have no idea about what I'm doing lmao.

MUSIC // Found/Tonight

I don't listen to a lot of new music each month, but this one song was more than enough. Found/Tonight was the March Hamildrop and oh my, nothing can tops this. N O T H I N G. Found/Tonight is a mash-up between You Will Be Found (Dear Evan Hansen) and The Story of Tonight (Hamilton), performed by Ben Platt (the original Evan Hansen) and Lin-Manuel Miranda (the original Alexander Hamilton). A portion of proceeds from the song are going to the #MarchForOurLives initiative. It's simply everything and to quote Evan Hansen, words fail to tell you how much I adore it and how much I listened to it on repeat this month.

TV SHOW // Star Wars: The Clone Wars & Star Wars: Forces of Destinies

I managed to have daily Star Wars content in March and that's everything I ever needed. I started watching The Clone Wars and adore it. Like many people, I'm not the biggest fan of the prequel trilogy (it has its good parts and its... less good parts, shall we say), so I wasn't intending to watch The Clone Wars any time soon, considering it's set between Episodes II & III, but I had to watch it if I wanted to watch Star Wars Rebels, so. Anyhoo, I actually adore it, it's another 20 minutes long show perfect for short breaks and I even came to like Anakin Skywalker at times, which is an improvement. Let's be real, though, Ahsoka Tano is the best character and I love her to pieces. Thanks to my little brother for telling me the first two seasons were on Netflix France, even though my responsabilities weren't as happy about it.

My fierce baby

On the other hand, I watched Star Wars: Forces of Destinies and it's so cute, it's on Disney's YouTube channel, each episode lasts three minutes and mainly follows the female characters of Star Wars (in season 2 there is an episode only focusing on Luke, which I liked, but why??). I watched the episode of Rey and the Porgs five times because I'm ridiculous and would watch anything Star Wars, even if it's supposed to be for kids or something. I can't wait for May, because we'll get the rest of season 2 (more content from The Last Jedi, YES) and Kylo Ren* will appear at some point!


*Did you really think we would get through a monthly wrap-up without mentionning Kylo? Think again. *evil laughter*

What did you read this month? Any new favourite books?

Lots of love,
Lucie

Tuesday, 13 March 2018

The Radical Element, an anthology edited by Jessica Spotswood // Book review

Hello, beautiful people!

In 2016, I discovered my favourite YA anthology, A Tyranny of Petticoats, a historical fiction and fantasy anthology, which focused on telling the stories of a diverse array of heroines. When I heard that a follow-up project was in the works, I couldn't be more excited about that and had to get my hands on it as soon as possible. Lucky for all of you, The Radical Element is coming out today, and I'm sharing my review with you all to (maybe) convince you to read it. While I'm at it, I have to say that you do not need to read A Tyranny of Petticoats first, it's an amazing anthology, but the two of them are independent (and complementary) and different authors contributed to them.


The Radical Element, an anthology edited by Jessica Spotswood

Authors included: Dahlia Adler, Erin Bowman, Dhonielle Clayton, Sarah Farizan, Mackenzi Lee, Stacey Lee, Anna-Marie McLemore, Meg Medina, Marieke Nijkamp, Megan Sheperd, Jessica Spotswood, Sarvena Tash
Published: March 13th 2018 by Candlewick Press
Genres: short stories, young adult, historical fiction
Number of pages: 320

Goodreads summary: In an anthology of revolution and resistance, a sisterhood of YA writers shines a light on a century and a half of heroines on the margins and in the intersections.


To respect yourself, to love yourself—should not have to be a radical decision. And yet it remains as challenging for an American girl to make today as it was in 1927 on the steps of the Supreme Court. It's a decision that must be faced whether you're balancing on the tightrope of neurodivergence, finding your way as a second-generation immigrant, or facing down American racism even while loving America. And it's the only decision when you've weighed society's expectations and found them wanting. In The Radical Element, twelve of the most talented writers working in young adult literature today tell the stories of the girls of all colors and creeds standing up for themselves and their beliefs—whether that means secretly learning Hebrew in early Savannah, using the family magic to pass as white in 1920s Hollywood, or singing in a feminist punk band in 1980s Boston. And they're asking you to join them.



MY THOUGHTS


Disclaimer: I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Reviewing and rating anthologies is usually tricky, because you can't always love all of the short stories they are made of; yet, for The Radical Element, I can say that I enjoyed all of them and that the messages the anthology was trying to get through were executed well.The Radical Element is an empowering read that focuses on young women who didn't fit within the norms of society, who were marginalized and learnt to respect and step up for themselves. 

The short stories manage to make you learn historical details you might not have suspected, especially since the stories of those young women would be stories erased from the records of history. In a way, it puts the stress that history was made as much by women than by men, even though so many of them had to work in the shadows (for that, I'm considering Lady Firebrand, which was one of my favourite stories) and thanks to some of the authors' notes, you might even get recommendations for non-fiction history books on women. 

As I'm more interested in the 19th century than in the 20th century, I have to confess that I loved the short stories set from 1838 to 1927 more, because those are set in time periods that compel me, but that's personal preference and they all were pretty good. My personal favourites were Lady Firebrand by Megan Sheperd, Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore and Better for all the world by Marieke Nijkamp. Some of them include fantasy elements, which I really loved, considering mixing history and fantasy is one of my favourite things. I discovered several new authors through this anthology and will make sure to check some of their novels out. 

Another thing I loved was that it didn't have a lot of romance, it was sometimes hinted, it was sometimes shown, but it wasn't the focus of the story, it was more about growing on your own. I would have liked to see more f/f romances though, it was hinted once in Step Right Upand there was a f/f romance between secondary characters in Take Me With U, but I wanted a bit more. 

Now, I have to say that if you read the stories one after the other without reading anything else on the side, the endings of most of them must feel a bit repetitive, but it goes along with the main message of this anthology: it's about getting through obstacles that prevent you to be who you are and embracing your difference and that's such an important idea. I believe that this anthology should be read by as many young women as possible, to show them that they got this and that they can dare dreaming and fighting for what they want. 

The representation in this book is fantastic – or that's what I felt, but for that, it's important to check out what #ownvoices reviewers have to say – and quite a few of those short stories were #ownvoices. This anthology is an accurate representation of what it is to be American when you feel like you're not wanted, when you're different from what the norm wants you to be: it tells the stories of women of colour, disabled women, women from different religions. It is an amazing example of the diversity young adult literature has been getting and what it deserves. 

OverallThe Radical Element is one of the best YA anthologies I got to read, alongside A Tyranny of Petticoats which is its close second (it makes sense, considering A Tyranny of Petticoats was edited by Jessica Spotswood and focused on similar themes). It delivers such important messages and might have a lasting impact on young adults who will read it, as its heroines were relatable and might make you want to fight harder to defend what you believe in. 


Individual ratings of the stories: 
  • 1838, Savannah, Georgia – Daughter of the Book by Dahlia Adler 4/5 stars 
  • 1844, Nauvoo, Illinois – You're a Stranger Here by Mackenzi Lee 3/5 stars 
  • 1858, Colorado River, New Mexico Territory – The Magician by Erin Bowman 3.5/5 stars 
  • 1863, Charleston, South Caroline – Lady Firebrand by Megan Sheperd5/5 stars 
  • 1905, Tulsa, Indian Territory – Step Right Up by Jessica Spotswood 4/5 stars 
  • 1923, Los Angeles and the Central Valley, California – Glamour by Anna-Marie McLemore 5/5 stars 
  • 1927, Washington, D.C. - Better for all the world by Marieke Nijkamp5/5 stars 
  • 1943, Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts – When the moonlight isn't enough by Dhonielle Clayton 3/5 stars 
  • 1952, Brooklyn, New York – The Belle of the Ball by Sarvena Tash3.5/5 stars 
  • 1955, Oakland, California – Land of the Sweet, Home of the Brave by Stacey Lee 3/5 stars 
  • 1972, Queens, New York – The Birth of Susi Go-Go by Meg Medina3.5/5 stars 
  • 1984, Boston, Massachusetts – Take Me With U by Sarah Farizan 3.5/5 stars



Are you planning on picking up The Radical Element
Which anthologies are your favourites?



Thank you for reading,
Lots of love,
Lucie

Friday, 9 March 2018

My most anticipated releases of 2018 (part 2) // Grabby Hands #10

Hello, beautiful people!

Back in December, I decided to revive my Grabby Hands feature where I talk about all of my most anticipated book releases. I am now doing those posts every three months, which is why today, I'm going to talk to you about my most anticipated releases from April to June; it's the Spring edition, I guess. This isn't the list of all the books I'm anticipating, because it would be too long, but the ones I really need to get my hands on like... Now.




Dread Nation by Justina Ireland - April 3rd
Genres: young adult, historical fiction, fantasy

Dread Nation is an alternate history novel set after the American Civil War... Except there are zombies. Because of the new laws, Afro-American and Native-American children are forced to attend combat schools to put down the dead and it follows a girl who attended one of those schools, returning home when she finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy. I know many people don't like books with zombies and I thought it would be my case until I read Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard (btw, READ IT), that was also historical fiction. I've always wanted to read more novels set during the American Civil War, so the time period interests me, even though it's alternate history, and it seems to focus a lot on oppression as well. I've seen great things about this one, I cannot wait to read it.

Circe by Madeline Miller - April 10th
Genres: fantasy, historical fiction, retelling

Okay, I have to admit that I have yet to read The Song of Achilles, even though I've seen people on bookstagram raving about it. My only excuse is that I need to get the Bloomsbury Modern Classics edition and well... I'm not ready for this book to destroy me, like it did for everyone else. Anyway, I'm quite curious about Circe, which follows the Greek mythology character of the same name, a witch who was banished by Zeus to an island, where her path is intertwined with many important characters: Hermes, Daedalus or even Odysseus. I've heard so many great things about Madeline Miller's writing, I'm so ready to jump into this one!

Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel by Daniel José Older - April 17th
Genres: science-fiction

It's no secret that I've been completely obsessed with Star Wars ever since Episode VIII came out last December (I already loved Star Wars, but it got so much worse). Last Shot is coming out right before Solo: A Star Wars story and I have to say that I'm really not excited about that movie*, but I added Last Shot on my TBR because I really want to read more Star Wars novels. Apparently, it follows different timelines and as I've always been curious about Han's character, I knew that I wanted to read it, but I didn't need it right this instant, you know? AND THEN. We got an excerpt involving a two years old Ben Solo. BEN SOLO. I adore him so much, he's my ultimate weakness, I need every single piece of information on him. I need to know everything. I'm so obsessed. Maybe it'll help me keep faith until Episode IX is released, but let's be real, I'll just cry every time they talk about him**.

*maybe it will not be as bad as I think? Maybe I'll end up enjoying it? One shall live in hope.
** I'm so sorry, but I'm emotional about him 24/7, I can't be calm when I talk about him, oops.



Leah on the Offbeat by Becky Albertalli - April 24th
Genres: young adult, contemporary

A new book by Becky Albertalli is always something to rejoice about. I really enjoyed Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda, her debut, but my personal favourite is The Upside of Unrequited. This one follows Leah, Simon's best friend that we met in his novel and as a matter of fact, I don't really know much about it, except that Leah is bisexual. Now that I think about it, if it has Becky's name on the cover, it will most likely be amazing. I know she has sensitivity readers who loved this one, which means the representation must be good.

Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young - April 24th
Genres: young adult, fantasy

Sky in the Deep is Adrienne Young's debut novel and the premise sounds so exciting. It follows Eelyn, who was raised to be a warrior and fights alongside her clansmen in an ancient rivalry against another clan, until they face her brother who was supposed to have died on the battlefield. She is then forced to flee into the mountains, her clan is raided by a ruthless clan supposed to be a legend and to ally herself with someone she doesn't think she can trust. This is a Viking-inspired fantasy novel, I've been looking for Vikings books my entire like. 

The Oddling Prince by Nancy Springer - May 15th
Genres: young adult, fantasy

So anyway, this one is set in Scotland. This is the main reason I need it. I always need books set in Scotland. It involves dark secrets, faeries, royalty, brothers and from the summary, it says that it "explores the darkness of the human heart as well as its unceasing capacity for love", honestly it sounds so good? Now that I've read The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, I know that I need more ruthless faeries in my life (hopefully it'll be like that). Nancy Springer also wrote the Enola Holmes series that I adored as a child, it followed Sherlock Holmes' younger sister, she was one of my heroines, so I'm curious to read another of her novels.




On The Come Up by Angie Thomas - June 5th
Genres: young adult, contemporary

This is another case where seeing Angie Thomas' name is more than enough to make me want to read this book. On The Come Up follows Bri, a young woman who wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time, which comes with a lot of pressure considering her father was an underground rap legend who died before getting his big hit. When her mother unexpectedly loses her job and her family might become homeless, Bri no longer wants to make it, she has to make it. I cannot wait to read another book by Angie Thomas.

A Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir - June 12th 2018

The wait is almost over. Finally. The Ember series has been one of my favourite YA fantasy series for such a long time and I can't believe we almost waited two years for the third book. It was for the best, I'm sure of that, but oh, it was excruciating. It's my fault for reading A Torch Against the Night on its release week, because I have no restraint, but oh well. I can't say much considering it's the third book in a series, but I cannot wait to reunite with all the characters and see what will happen next.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings, anthology edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman - June 26th 2018

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings is an anthology focusing on reimagining the folklore and mythology of East and South Asia. It has star-crossed lovers, meddling immortals, feigned identities, it involves fairy tales, myths and folklore. I don't know all the authors who are contributing to this anthology, but reading an anthology is also about discovering new authors, right? I'm quite looking forward to reading stories by new-to-me authors, as well as to get some more out of the authors I already know, such as Renee Ahdieh or Julie Kagawa. I've come to really enjoy anthologies, so I hope I'll love this one as well.


Are you excited for any of these books? 
What are your most anticipated releases for April, May and June?



Lots of love,
Lucie

Monday, 5 March 2018

Reading wrap-up + favourites // February 2018


Hello, beautiful people!


I realised I haven't posted in a while, but February was such a busy and amazing month, so sadly, I didn't have a lot of time to dedicate to my blog. February was the month I turned 22, saw The Last Jedi in theaters for the last time, saw Imagine Dragons live once again and went to England on my own. It was the month I truly let the past die, because I had to*. Some of my painful past came to haunt me a lot in February, yet I finally turned back to face it and I'm feeling so much better because of that (it only took me two and a half years, after all). February was such a great month for me, I did my best to make the most of it and I hope March will be equally as good.

*Me vs mentioning Kylo Ren or Adam Driver in almost every post. 

W H A T  I  R E A D

February was quite a good reading month. While I still read as much as usual - or almost - I feel like I took my time with books; sometimes it took me a week to finish one, sometimes I finished two in the same day (the perks of traveling). My reading month was equally made of young adult novels and classics, I'm quite happy about that, it's all I need. I haven't read any non-fiction, though, I'll have to fix it next month!

  • The Radical Element, anthology edited by Jessica Spotswood (e-ARC), 3.83/5 stars
  • All of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor (ARC), 4/5 stars
  • The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald, 3/5 stars
  • Crooked House by Agatha Christie, 5/5 stars
  • Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes, 3/5 stars
  • The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy, 5/5 stars
  • Shirley by Charlotte Brontë, 4/5 stars
  • The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton, 3/5 stars

As you can see, I finally did rate books 5 stars, that's it! The Mayor of Casterbridge was my favourite book of the month for sure, but Crooked House came quite close. I knew Thomas Hardy wouldn't disappoint me and fix my 5 stars ratings.

F A V O U R I T E  B L O G  P O S T S





F A V O U R I T E S

MOVIE // Black Panther (2018)


Just like with every single Marvel movie, I was so excited for Black Panther and had to watch it in theaters the week it was released. What I hadn't expected was to love it as much as I did, to the point that it is one of my favourite Marvel movies for sure, it will probably make my list of favourite movies of the year and I need to rewatch it as soon as possible. I tried long and hard to find any flaws, but I couldn't. I simply adored everything about Black Panther: the characters, the world, the plot, the soundtrack, the photography. From what I've heard everywhere, the representation is amazing as well (but check the Internet and #ownvoices reviewers for that ;) ). I understood and liked the villain a little too much because while what he was doing was wrong, there were quite a few of his ideas I was agreeing with. I particularly loved the female characters, they were so strong and saved the day so many times. Shuri was my favourite, like most people, but I loved so many characters in the end. If you haven't watched Black Panther, I would definitely recommend you to watch it, even if you're not up-to-date with Marvel movies or not a Marvel fan.

TV SHOW // Brooklyn Nine-Nine


I started watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine a few months ago, a night I wasn't feeling great, and from the start, it made me laugh. It is set in the 99th precinct of the New York Police Department and follows a team of detectives, led by the newly appointed Captain Raymond Holt. I don't watch a lot of sitcoms and that's even worse for shows involving investigations (most of the time, I find them so repetitive and end up being bored), but this one more than won me over, as it's so much more than that. It has such a diverse cast of characters, tackles down so many important and topical issues, while staying hilarious, providing me with characters I can consider as role models. I've been watching it since December I think, but I binge-watched seasons 4 and 5 in February and I couldn't stop. I'm so glad we'll get new episodes in March, because I need more.

MUSIC // Imagine Dragons

One of the highlights of February was seeing Imagine Dragons live for the second time. They are my best friend's favourite band, so when tickets went on sale last September, we jumped on the chance to get ours and the concert was absolutely amazing. I had already seen them in 2014, which feels like ages ago, so I don't remember everything about that one, but they did such an amazing job on their tour. I cried several times, even if I didn't show it, because of what they talked about, and even more when they did Demons (this song will always get me). Needless to say, I mostly listened to their albums for the past month or so, especially Evolve, as they were touring for that album. I had missed going to concerts so much.

My friends

It sounds very cheesy, but February was a month full of my friends and I'm so grateful for that. Whether it was about having many outings in Paris, going to the movies all the time, my best friend surprising me on my birthday by coming for the evening, not being alone at uni anymore or reconnecting with the first friend I made when I moved to Paris, my heart was full (of love*). I'm not overly fond of celebrating my birthday, to be completely honest, but this year, it was amazing, because I felt surrounded by the people who matter the most to me. Moreover, I'm terrified to let people in, I didn't do it for two years until January 2017, but I'm really doing better on that front and I felt it, in February.

*that was a Les Misérables reference, you're welcome.

MOVIE // Coco (2017)

Another movie I (finally!) watched in theaters was the latest Disney animated movie, Coco. For some reason, I didn't have time to watch it before, but I was seriously missing out, because it deserves all the hype it is getting. It was such a beautiful and heart-wrenching movie, visually stunning, with a great soundtrack on top of it all. It's one of those animated movies I know I will show to my little brothers when I get my hands on the DVD, and if I ever have children, they will have no choice but to watch it as well.

Going to England on my own

Last but not least, and that's why this post didn't go up before, I went to Leeds on my own last week. I do live on my own, but going to another country for a few days, when English isn't my first language, with no one to rely on but myself was such an enlightening experience. It gave me time to think about where I was going with my life, it pushed me to ask for people's help there (I don't even do that in my own country), to speak English and not actually making a fool of myself. As a matter of fact, I had plenty of problems with travelling (thanks to the cold and the snow), yet, I stayed calm the entire time and wasn't stressed out. I was pretty much the best part of myself in the UK, I dealt with everything. I am so proud of myself and I'm quite motivated for March now.


I hope you had an amazing month,


Lots of love,
Lucie

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

On being disappointed by the last book in a series



Hello, beautiful people! 

For a while, I've been thinking about how in book series, finales often disappoint me. Yesterday, I was reading Immortal Reign by Morgan Rhodes, the last book in the Falling Kingdoms series, one of my most anticipated reads of the year and I was left unsatisfied – not that it was a bad book, when I look at ratings, most people gave it 5 stars – but it didn't surprise me that much, as it has happened a lot lately. By scrolling on Goodreads, I realised that the last book finales that had impressed me had be ones I had read... In 2016.  
It started as a tweet, I wanted to make a caption out of it for bookstagram, but it ended up as a blog post. Of course, everything I talked about is how I feel about book finales and why so many of them have disappointed me, that's my opinion on the subject and we all have different ones.

Side note: When I say I'm disappointed, it doesn't mean I gave all of these finales 2 stars,  as a matter of fact they mostly got 3 stars, they can still be enjoyable books and it's not because I was disappointed that you will be as well. 


The crushing weight of expectations 

The thing is, when you fall in love with a book that will have a sequel, you end up having expectations. Sometimes, you reread the book in anticipation, or you will look at fanart, or read fanfiction, or you'll just think about it and how much you cannot wait for the next one to be released and you will start having expectations. I know some readers even make theories about sequels, but I rarely ever do that, because I'd rather be anticipating a book in agony without expecting the plot to go this or that way, it would be even more excruciating for me. In any case, we will expect to fall in love with this sequel as much as with the first book or the previous ones in this series, so in a way, we're already putting this future book on a pedestal 


(But actually, it doesn't work like that...)

For book finales, I have even bigger expectations, I wonder how the author could resolve everything in just one book considering all that's happening (I'm thinking about Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare as I type that), I wonder whether my favourite characters will be alive and happy by the end of the series (as I mainly read YA fantasy book series, the alive part is a huge factor, I know it must have sounded weird, but anyway), I'm pretty much lying on the floor for two years, because I don't know what to do with my life until I know what happens, but at the same time, I don't know what I will do with my life once I know. #bookwormproblems 

To take an example that's not even a book (it can't be one of my blog posts without this)... I'm terrified to watch Star Wars Episode IX when it will come out, in December 2019 (they're only starting to shoot it this summer and yet, I'm already freaking out). Everyone knows I loved Star Wars, Episode VIII: The Last Jedi so much that I saw it ten times in theatres (I finally said the number, you can all judge me now) and that it became my favourite movie. So yes, I can't wait to know what will happen next, but I have no clue about which way it will go, and I'm scared it'll never be as good as The Last Jedi. Considering how much I loved The Last Jedi, I am bound to expect too much out of it and it scares me, because what if it isn't and it tarnishes my memory of the previous movie? When something becomes your favourite thing, it's so hard for the sequel to live up to it, because you have way more expectations going into it than when you started the first book/movie/whatever. 

That's what happened when I read Immortal Reign yesterday and countless other book finales: I already adored the world, the characters, was already invested in the story and that's such an amazing thing, because I couldn't wait to go on adventures with everyone one last time. It was also a curse, as because of that, I had such high standards, for it was a finale and I was expecting even more than usual, which led me to feeling underwhelmed. I expected to love it and that was the problem, I didn't go into it like I would have gone into a first book in a series, but there was nothing I could do about that. 


I'm not that much of a fan of happy endings and epilogues 

That's not even about the Falling Kingdoms series, I'm saying that in general (but actually, I know which book series I'm talking about...). When I look at the book series that, in the end, disappointed me, it also was because things wrapped-up too nicely. Writing endings must be so hard, killing off characters can be hard, I get that, but when I'm reading a book where every single one of the characters survive the end of the world without a scratch, that's so unrealistic (on that note, I should really start reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series, at least characters die all the time).  


(we all know which exact gif I wanted to put, but just in case)

It might be my personal tastes, but when I'm reading a book finale, what I want is to suffer, to get my heart broken, to cry my eyes out. If I feel like none of the characters really suffered, it will almost seem a little easy and I will be underwhelmed by what's happening. There are so many book series I have long forgotten because the endings were nice, but they weren't memorable at all as no one died or had a very sad ending (I really sound like a cold-hearted individual and I'm not sorry). There is a trilogy I read years ago that made me cry... A lot, to say the least, and every single time I'm in a bookstore, I take the last book out of the shelf, look at it, say to whomever is with me that this book crushed me and that I don't know if I will ever reread it because I'm not ready to cry that much again, but there: I read it when I was about thirteen, I just turned twenty-two and I still remember the endingI read so many books that at the end of the day, I won't remember all of them, but those I remember are the ones that shocked me, that made me cry and there aren't that many books finales doing this. 

I love knowing that my favourite characters survived the end of the world or almost, that they're happy, that maybe they're in love, it's true, I'm not going to lie. But if everyone is happy, everyone has a perfect life, I know it's fiction, but it won't make any sense to me. It's the same thing when every single character must be romantically paired off with someone else by the end of a series: not all of them need to be in a romantic relationship to be happy and have a great life. I don't like epilogues for the exact same reason: it's always to give everyone a cheesy happy ending and it feels over the top (shoutout to my best friend who feels the exact same way). I will be happy for the characters and then proceed to forget everything in a week, this isn't even a joke. I just think that when a book finale makes you suffer, it will be even more memorable and it's the sign of a good ending. 


(To sum it up, this is what I want)

Sometimes, I just lose interest in a book series 
or I've changed too much by the time the last book comes out 

This is pretty much the elephant in the room that I need to address: most of the series I read and the series I talked about so far are young adult series. The thing is, I don't read as much young adult literature as I used to, I love discovering new genres and some series I started a few years ago don't interest me as much as before. 

For some of them, just like it was the case for Falling Kingdoms, I started reading them when I was new to blogging, YA literature and everything else. I first read Falling Kingdoms in 2015, when most of what I read was YA fantasy and in 2018, I can tell you that I have now read hundreds of those. Because of that, when I was reading Immortal Reign, I was so used to most of the plot devices that nothing shocked me, or I was rolling my eyes at some things, because in three years, of course I've changed, both as a reader and as a person. I don't enjoy the same series I used to, yet, I want to know how they'll end. It's one of the reasons I gave so many book finales 3 stars: that's what I gave to Immortal Reign, to The Raven King, to Frost Like Night, to Warrior Witch, the list goes on forever and I just gave examples of series I had adored (please don't kill me about The Raven King, but like... I don't even remember a thing about it, when I remember the first three books in The Raven Cycle perfectly). 



Reading book series demand so much commitment, between waiting for the different releases and trying to remember what happened in the previous book; that last one is on me, because I mostly read new releases and then have to wait a year or more for the sequel. I've noticed that when I read duologies, I'm not that often disappointed, I haven't been involved with this world, these characters, this story for as long as with book series and because of that, maybe it's a format that suit me better. Or maybe I should binge-read some book series to avoid that, I truly don't know what the best course of action would be. 

Because I often have to wait for book finales to come out, sometimes my reading tastes have changed too much and I stop reading series... When I only have the last book in it left to read (this is so ridiculous). That's what I'm doing with Throne of Glass - but that's a way more complicated story, I truly dislike it now -, that's what I did with The Death Cure, the last book in The Maze Runner trilogy, because I knew we wouldn't get all the answers and that pissed me off (I'm still going to watch The Death Cure as a movie, though). Sometimes I have "valid" reasons like for those two, sometimes, I just don't care enough anymore and I delete the book from my Goodreads shelf at some point, without any particular reason. I've had this new rule for a while, that if I rate a first book in a series 3 stars (and below, obviously), I'm not going to force myself to read the sequel, because it means I don't like the series that much. I had rated Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard three stars when I read it, yet I continued with Glass Sword and it was just to give it 2 stars, so there was no point in continuing, really... 

Reading book series is so complicated, years can happen between the moment I start them and the moment I finish them. Because of that, when I read book series, I've had all those expectations and the books can't always meet them. I'm way harder to please with last books in a series than with first ones, and that's why so many of them end up disappointing me. Despite that, there are some book series that have stellar conclusions, I probably feel this way because I do read a lot.  


What about you? Are you often disappointed in book series, or are you often satisfied by them? Which ones have your favourites finales and which ones have your least favourites finales? 

Thanks for reading, 
Lots of love, 
Lucie