Monday, April 25, 2016

(Belated) Winter Wrap-Up Post


I swear I started writing this post a month ago. I just got distracted with life...


Step aside Starks, winter is over!

Oh thank the glorious sun and the subtle tilt of the Earth for spring!

But that also means that we've finished a whole season in 2016. And I've been informed that this means I'm allowed to write a wrap-up post! I'll just list all of the things I read, watched, listened to (in no particular order) and let y'all know what I thought of them.

Books
by Maggie Stiefvater

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore. 

Kat's Mini Review: Don't ask me why it took me so long to read this book. It just did. But I adored it. I really did like almost everything about this book. It's a contemporary fantasy that concentrates on the characters. I loved Blue and her crazy mixed family. I adored Gansey and his band of boys. I think that there was a good bit of bromance in there and I think that the boys interactions with Blue were just adorable. I will for sure be reading the rest of this series very very soon.

by Alexandra Bracken
passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them— whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are play­ing, treacherous forces threaten to sep­arate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home . . . forever 

Kat's Mini Review: A fun read. It brought forward the concept of time traveling in a novel way. It introduced intriguing and dynamic characters. It was very Alexandra Bracken in style, which I love. And I also really enjoyed the history that she was able to include through the place and times that the characters went.

Go HERE for my full review

by Yangsze Choo

"One evening, my father asked me if I would like to become a ghost bride..."

Though ruled by British overlords, the Chinese of colonial Malaya still cling to ancient customs. And in the sleepy port town of Malacca, ghosts and superstitions abound.

Li Lan, the daughter of a genteel but bankrupt family, has few prospects. But fate intervenes when she receives an unusual proposal from the wealthy and powerful Lim family. They want her to become a ghost bride for the family's only son, who recently died under mysterious circumstances. Rarely practiced, a traditional ghost marriage is used to placate a restless spirit. Such a union would guarantee Li Lan a home for the rest of her days, but at a terrible price.

After an ominous visit to the opulent Lim mansion, Li Lan finds herself haunted not only by her ghostly would-be suitor, but also by her desire for the Lim's handsome new heir, Tian Bai. Night after night, she is drawn into the shadowy parallel world of the Chinese afterlife, with its ghost cities, paper funeral offerings, vengeful spirits and monstrous bureaucracy—including the mysterious Er Lang, a charming but unpredictable guardian spirit. Li Lan must uncover the Lim family's darkest secrets—and the truth about her own family—before she is trapped in this ghostly world forever.

Kat's Mini Review: Beautifully written, wonderful worlds, and an intriguing story. This is not a book about just Li Lan or just ghosts or just British rule and the Chinese population in Malaya. It is about ALL of that and more. It's like a very beautiful window into that time and place. How the cultures intertwined to very greatly affect all who lived in the port town of Malacca. And Li Lan is just our conduit into that world.

by Jennifer L. Armentrout 

Samantha is a stranger in her own life. Until the night she disappeared with her best friend, Cassie, everyone said Sam had it all—popularity, wealth, and a dream boyfriend. Sam has resurfaced, but she has no recollection of who she was or what happened to her that night. As she tries to piece together her life from before, she realizes it's one she no longer wants any part of. The old Sam took "mean girl" to a whole new level, and it's clear she and Cassie were more like best enemies. Sam is pretty sure that losing her memories is like winning the lottery. She's getting a second chance at being a better daughter, sister, and friend, and she's falling hard for Carson Ortiz, a boy who has always looked out for her—even if the old Sam treated him like trash. 

But Cassie is still missing, and the facts about what happened to her that night isn't just buried deep inside of Sam's memory—someone else knows, someone who wants to make sure Sam stays quiet. All Sam wants is the truth, and if she can unlock her clouded memories of that fateful night, she can finally move on. But what if not remembering is the only thing keeping Sam alive?

Kat's Mini Review: Jennifer Armentrout doesn't usually write contemporary, but woah she really should! This book was really good. She writes such good characters and intrigue. And I really enjoyed the mystery of it all. I kind of have a soft spot for main characters that lost their memory and must be reminded of who they used to be by well-meaning if misguided friends and family. It's a mystery being pieced back together. And JLA does that mystery really well!

by Sarah Rees Brennan

It's time to choose sides.... 
(I will not include the full blurb because it will include spoilers from the first book)

Kat's Mini Review: Kami Glass and her witty banter is back! I really enjoyed this book. It's an obvious middle book with alot of angst (ahh, the angst of middle books). But I am a fan of that. Some people hate middle books and their transition states, but I thrive on them. And there is a LOT of transitioning in this book. A lot of figuring out where people stand and what the stakes really are for everyone. It's a good book with good characters. 

by Sarah Rees Brennan

Powerful love comes with a price. Who will be the sacrifice?

(I will not include the full blurb because it will include spoilers from the first book)

Kat's Mini Review: I enjoyed this book. I felt like Kami stayed true to herself and that's what I always want for a main character. The break out star for this book was for sure Kami's dad. He was just so clever and strong and smart and kind. He was a good support for his daughter. Of course, I still love all of the friends and ensemble.

by Marie Rutkoski

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love... 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. 

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. 

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. 

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Kat's Mini Review: Ummm, I adore this book. It's awesome! It's based on Roman/Greek history and just exudes so much of that world without actually being that world! It's a great look into war and soldiers and the cost of empires. I loved Kestrel and her strength. I adored Arin and his pride. I thought they were a great pair and really felt for them when they ran into obstacles (like their inability to accept their own feelings. Angst!) I will be reading the rest of this series very soon, so stay tuned for a series review!

Shows/Dramas

First episode date: January 11, 2016
Final episode date: March 8, 2016
Director: Lee So-yeon
Number of episodes: 16
Network: KBS2

The Moorim School isn't focused solely on high academic scores. The school teaches its students virtues including honesty, faith, sacrifice and communication. The teachers and students at the school come from different countries and each have their own stories.

Kat's Mini Review: A show that started with a lot of action, fun, and character. There was friendship, romance, bromance, and a bit of magic. Really loved how each character was introduced and developed through the first half. The second half felt rushed at some points and slow at others. It was a bit of a flat finale, but I think that's because they lost 4 episodes from the end mid-season.

First episode date: January 4, 2016
Final episode date: March 1, 2016
Number of episodes: 16
Director: Lee Yoon-jung
Network: TVN
Genres: Romance Film, Drama

Drama depicts the delicate relationship between female university student Hong Seol (Kim Go-Eun) and her senior Yoo Jung (Park Hae-Jin). Hong-Seol works part-time due to her family's poor background. Yoo Jung is good looking, gets good grades, athletic and has a kind personality, but he has a dark side.

Kat's Mini Review: I really liked the first 90% of this show. It's a quiet drama about character more than anything else. Each character really sticks out and has very distinct character arcs. I loved the three mains. I also loved the two best friends. The sister was okay (a bit over the top in her craziness if you ask me). The ending was...odd. But I don't think that is how I should judge this show. So, I'd still recommend it.

First episode date: February 24, 2016
Final episode date: April 14, 2016
Number of episodes: 16
Network: KBS
Genres: Romance Film, Melodrama, Action Film, Comedy

This story tells of doctors stationed in the fictional war zone of Urk (Uruk), and follows the love story that develops between a surgeon (Kang Mo-yeon) and a special forces officer (Yoo Shi-jin), both elite in their respective fields. The story will track both their personal and professional struggles while exploring issues about the value of life.

Kat's Mini Review: I LOVE THIS SHOW. This show is my everything! Song Joongki and Son Hyegyo have the BEST chemistry. The story was tight, the drama was high, the actors were awesome. The second couple was great too. So much angst and drama and greatness. I love that they prefilmed this whole show. It really does show in the direction, writing, and production. It's just a well thought out show and phenomenal acting by the whole cast.

Music


Unsteady - X Ambassadors
Don't know why Blogger won't let me find the Music video for this song. But HERE's a link to it. Seriously, the MV is powerful. So is the song. And it's so longing and sad. But, while it seems like it could be full of hopelessness, I actually think that there is a decent amount of hope in it. The lyrics are pretty much a cry for help. And if there is a cry for help, it means there's still time to come back from that edge. 
I use this song for the second half of my WiP because my characters are crazy angsty in part 2.


Powerful - Major Lazar (feat Ellie Goudling and Tarrus Riley)
This song is short and epic. And it makes me feel like I am a powerful wizard (or I guess they might be telekinetics in the MV. I dunno, but I love it). It's a melody that sticks with you and Ellie Goulding's voice is pretty perfect for it. Also, I discovered Tarrus Riley from this MV, and I like his voice just as much. It's so gritty and goes along well with her clearer tone.
I use this song to write all of the steamy and/or intense scenes between my two main characters.

Also, apparently all images that show up when you Google "Goodbye Winter" are sadly melting snowmen.

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