Tag Archives: TV

Monthly Recap: May

Books I Read

Freefall to Fly by Rebekah Lyons

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

I also listened to two non-fiction books on audio in May. I decided to try adding audiobooks in with my podcast routine to switch things up. I don’t like audiobooks quite as much as podcasts because it’s not conversational, but it’s still working out pretty well for me. It’s a good way to absorb information while doing something else. Right now I’m “re-reading” To Kill A Mockingbird on audio, though I’ve thought about abandoning the audiobook to finish reading it for myself since the narrator’s attempt at a Southern accent has grated on me a little. We’ll see.

 

Netflix

As you may have seen on my post about Anne with an E, I got a Netflix free trial after never having it before, and watched that entire series. Since then, I’ve watched a little of Girl Meets World (thanks to Annie) and my husband and I have started Sherlock. We’re planning to keep the service through the summer, until our shows come back on TV. If you have any other recs, send them my way!

#Bookstagram Image of the Month

Life Things

A few days before our anniversary, my husband and I made a somewhat last-minute decision to take a quick, one night trip to a nearby city, Chattanooga, a few days after our anniversary. It was a really great little trip! I have a future post planned where I will share a little more about it.

We also ordered our first set of living room furniture! For our first 8 years of marriage we have been using hand-me-down furniture, which has been great and we have been thankful for, but since we’ve gotten into our new house last year we have been ready to sort of really make it our own. It will be several weeks before we get the new furniture, but when we do we’ll move the old couch upstairs to our bonus room and probably get rid of our old chairs. It’s kind of crazy to think about as it’s just another thing that feels so “adult”!

Looking Forward to in June

I don’t really have big plans, which is nice. Just some family stuff, and hopefully just enjoy the beginning of summer. I’m also rooting for the Preds for the Stanley Cup; GO PREDS! I’ve been to one Preds game before (a couple of years ago) and I honestly didn’t love it (getting shut-out probably didn’t help…), but watching them advance through each round of the playoffs has been so exciting! They’re down in the series right now, but it’s been a year of comebacks so I haven’t lost faith yet!

Potential June TBR 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling (reread)

Duels and Deceptions by Cindy Anstey

I’m still undecided on what else I want to read, but I’ll figure it out. 🙂 I also finished Better Off Friends already and really enjoyed it.

What are you looking forward to this month?

Thoughts on Netflix’s Anne with an E

My husband and I have made it a good long while without caving to the pressure of Netflix. But when I heard that an original Anne of Green Gables adaptation was coming, I knew resistance was futile. So on the day of its premiere, when I also happened to have a free evening to myself, I started a Netflix free month trial and started watching Anne with an E – the first five episodes in that first evening, and then the remaining two the next day.

As some of you know, I read Anne of Green Gables for the first time last year and fell in love with it. Mostly GILBERT, but I adore Anne too and all of Avonlea. I still haven’t seen the 1980s Anne of Green Gables mini-series everyone seems to love, but I definitely want to one day when I can get a hold of it (I did check Netflix, and it wasn’t there, sadly). As a newer fan, I felt it was easy for me to go into this series with an open mind, though there are definitely certain things that are important to me when looking at an Anne adaptation, which I think will become apparent as you read my thoughts on this series.

My quick overall thoughts (in case you don’t feel like getting into my lengthy analysis below)… The show definitely has a darker tone and more modern sensibility than the wild-eye innocence feel of the books. There are a lot of deviations and for the first five episodes I was OK with this, but the last two episodes really left me disappointed.

What I liked…

The show is beautifully shot. Like ridiculously beautifully shot. The media production major in me definitely admires the aesthetic of the show.

For the first five episodes, the characters feel true to their original selves. Even though there are a lot of story deviations, the characters still feel the same. For the most part, you can believe these are sort of lost tales of Anne’s life that Montgomery did not share with us. This changes somewhat by episode six and a lot by episode seven. I’ll get into this more later.

The acting is A++++++++. I don’t think I’ve seen any of these actors/actresses in anything else but they are all so crazy good. They feel just like the characters.

And GILBERT. OH MY GOODNESS. So until we meet Gilbert in episode 3, Matthew was my favorite, because he is so fantastic, but GILBERT. For episodes 3-5, this Gilbert is so stinking wonderful and kind and adorable and everything you want Gilbert Blythe to be. Below I will get into spoilers of how a story arc changes his character in episode 6. I still like him a lot, but he does feel different at that point.

What was mostly OK…

Anne is definitely not the only character who gets a focus on her tragic backstory. We delve into the psyches of Marilla, Matthew, and others. This would sometimes add some nice depth, but sometimes it felt a bit unnecessary and detracted from the strength of the original source.

What I didn’t particularly love…

This show is a lot darker, and some of that is OK. We get flashbacks into Anne’s past and see how it actually affects her day by day, which makes it seem like real trauma. In the books she alludes to the bad stuff she had to go through in the past, but it just mostly rolls off her like water on a duck’s back. In this adaptation we see how this impacts her conversations with others, as well as just the very painful memories she relives in her mind.

But then as if that’s not enough, there’s more. There’s attempted kidnapping, possible attempted assault, actual physical assault and thievery, and then everyone in Avonlea is so much more openly hostile to Anne in this adaptation than they were in the book. Billy Andrews is especially quite the villain who repeatedly calls Anne a dog (thankfully just a dog, not another word associated with dogs, but still very terrible). And while I remember her first teacher in Avonlea not being all that great, this one is just downright horrible. He treats Anne, really most of the class, like trash, in addition to just being a bad teacher. And then the minister, ugh! He’s portrayed all wrong for no real reason. Sometimes, I feel there’s just a little too much of the bad, when the books focused so much more on the good.

Which leads me to my next point, that there’s a little too much modern sensibility thrown in, in my opinion. It’s one thing to talk about Anne’s first period (which was really funny but also pretty poignant and well-done), and it’s one thing for the mothers to talk about educational rights for women, but when a character literally said, “Feminism. What a wonderful word,” it’s actually kind of eye-rolling instead of empowering like I think was the intent. Way to be super on-the-nose. Just like the aforementioned dark aspects of the show, the attempt to bring in a little more progressive thinking in Avonlea is taken just slightly farther than I felt it needed to be.

What I hated…

While I didn’t love everything in episodes 1-5, I was still really enjoying everything overall. This started to change with episode 6, and then 7 crashed and burned it.

—SPOILERS BELOW—

In episode 6, Gilbert’s father dies. We learn earlier in the series that his father is ill and his mother is apparently already dead. This bothered me because it was so different from the books, but what made it turn from something annoying to something I absolutely hated was when it changed Gilbert as a character. It makes him much moodier, which he has every right to be under the circumstances, but the circumstances shouldn’t exist to completely change his character. It’s obviously added for drama or tension or whatever. Heaven forbid Gilbert just have a wholesome family life. I guess it’s a shortcut way to get Anne to relate with him better, but that feels really cheap to me. It also forces him to have to quit school to work which is just like WHAAAAAAT EVEN. I don’t even know how to explain in coherent words how that makes me feel. Mostly, it just feels wrong.

In episode 7, Matthew has his heart attack but doesn’t die (I wouldn’t be surprised if he does in season two though). But he bemoans how, because of their financial woes, it would be better for Anne and Marilla if he was dead so they can get his life insurance, and at one point HE GETS OUT HIS GUN AND IS READY TO COMMIT SUICIDE. People, this is not Matthew Cuthbert. He would NEVER do that. Thankfully, his lady friend from the dress shop/his former love interest from school? shows up and stops him. But seriously, WHY. The show was dark enough without going that far.

And then the way episode 7 ends is truly bizarre, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen anyone else on the Internet talk about this yet. So earlier in the episode, Anne and their hired farmhand Jerry go into town to sell some things. Jerry, separate from Anne, sells one of the horses. As soon as the buyer walks away and Jerry puts the money in his pocket, these two ruffians beat him up and take the money. Later, we see them noticing an ad for a room available to rent at Green Gables, and at the end of the episode, they both arrive there, separately, to live. This already seems like a weird subplot to have, but it got weirder when the second one who arrives acts like he is attracted to Anne, and she acts the same towards him, BUT HE IS GROWN AND AT LEAST TWICE HER AGE. Maybe I COMPLETELY misread the looks but all the acting had been so consistently great throughout the series that I have a hard time believing that I suddenly misinterpreted what was being shown to me. And then after their exchange, it just ends. It makes ZERO sense for an ending, even for one that is suppose to leave room for more because it makes me sick to my stomach rather than eager for more.

If you’ve watched the entire show, PLEASE let me know how you interpreted the end and how it makes you feel. I need to know if I either completely misunderstood or that I’m alone or crazy in my feelings about it.

— SPOILERS OVER—

A breakdown of my thoughts in star ratings…

Episodes 1: 4 stars

Episode 2: 3.5 stars

Episodes 3 & 4: 4 stars

Episode 5: 3 stars

Episode 6: 2.5 stars

Episode 7: 2 stars

Acting: 5 stars

Cinematography: 5 stars

Characterization: 3.5 stars

Story: 2.5 stars

Series overall: 3 stars

A few parting thoughts…

As you can see, I have very mixed feelings about the series. It started off promising, even with the deviations, but at the end, the changes did more harm than good in my mind. I wish I could better understand the intent of the series writers, and if they truly interpret Montgomery’s work this way or just felt like being edgy. Because personally, I feel Montgomery’s intent was misunderstood.

On Twitter I saw where someone described this series as a dystopia version of Anne of Green Gables. That’s actually a pretty good way to describe it. Every aspect of the story is cranked up to an 11 in terms of harsh realities. I think a little bit could have been sprinkled in without going to such an extreme. The original story is a coming-of-age tale I can’t wait to share with my future children, but this version I wouldn’t share with anyone under 12, with so much of the wonder taken away and replaced with grit.

Have you seen Anne with an E? What are your thoughts on the series, and what’s your previous Anne history?

My Top 5 Episodes of DS9 Season Six

As my husband and I are going through our second full watch of Star Trek as a couple, I thought it would be fun to report on the highlights along the way. So I decided to copy the same format as Charlene. See her favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine Season 6

I seriously can’t believe that my last Star Trek recap post was in October! Timeless, Agents of SHIELD, Designated Survivor, and basketball season seriously slowed my Trek viewing down! Also, stay tuned for my Voyager season four recap coming soon!

So things are getting really real in Season 6 of DS9, but there are still some dud episodes (most notably Profit and Lace… YIKES). But I feel pretty strongly that my top two episodes for this season though are among the best of the series, arguably of the entire franchise. So stinkin’ good. On with my top five…

5. Inquisition

I think I mostly like this episode because it sets up the future of Sloan-Bashir and Section 31, including an episode next season I really love, Extreme Measures. Every time I see William Sadler, I think of his role of Sloan first.

4. You Are Cordially Invited…

Before she can marry Worf, Jadzia has to prove herself worthy to become a member of the House of Martok. But the real gem of this episode is Bashir and O’Brien suffering through Worf’s “bachelor party.” My favorite thing is when Bashir has a “vision” that he’s going to kill Worf.

3. His Way

Odo and Kira… blah, blah, blah… That’s fine, but for me this episode is about Vic Fontaine! I love the introduction of James Darren’s character and look forward to more Vic moments in season 7!

2. Far Beyond the Stars

This episode has a little bit of everything… It’s fun to see our usual characters playing different roles. It speaks on the power of storytelling. And it has a powerful message about racism.

1. In the Pale Moonlight

This commentary on morality in war and those gray places we can find ourselves in make this one of the most compelling episodes of Star Trek ever.

What are your favorite episodes of Deep Space Nine, season 6?

Monthly Recap: February 2017

Books I Read

Take the Key and Lock Her Up (Embassy Row #3) by Ally Carter

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I only got three reads in this month, but I had more lunches out of office or shortened lunches (which is when I do most of my reading) this month than usual, plus Carve the Mark took me some time to read.

Book Acquisition

My sweet husband got me the perfect Valentine’s Day gift: an illustrated copy of Chamber of Secrets! I actually don’t have the illustrated Sorcerer’s Stone yet, but he knew I was rereading the books this year and have only reread the first so far, so he wanted to get me this second book before I started rereading it.

TV Shows

Timeless had their season finale and I HOPE it’s not a series finale! While they mostly wrapped up the series arc, they opened up two new cans of worms! I really want to see what’s ahead! Agents of SHIELD also had a big episode before they go on hiatus for about a month or so, and WHOA. Any time I start to lose interest in the show they always hook me again, and I am definitely really interested in seeing what happens next!

#Bookstagram Images of the Month

The weather has been mostly mild here this month (YAY) but the grass is also dead, so I’ve been taking lots of Bookstagram pics in the pine needles in our backyard. You do what you can.

Looking Forward to March

A YA book festival, college basketball championships (*fingers crossed for Middle Tennessee*), and getting a new washer and dryer… yep. #adulting

Potential March TBR:

Star Wars: Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel by James Luceno

Glamour in Glass (Glamourist Histories #2) by Mary Robinette Kowal

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling (reread)

What was noteworthy for you in February? 

2016 Faves + End of Year Book Survey

2016 highlights…

Books: See my top 10 books of 2016 here, and see below for my answers to Jamie’s End of Year Book Survey

Book Signings: SE YA Fest (feat. several authors!)Rick Yancey, and Leigh Bardugo

Movies: Doctor Strange and Rogue One (see more about that here)

TV Shows: Timeless and Designated Survivor (LOVE the characters on Timeless and I’m just awed by Designated Survivor every week.)

Music: My two favorite bands, Switchfoot and Needtobreathe, both released new albums this year and both came to Nashville. I loved it all but I spent the last couple months of 2016 specifically really into Needtobreathe’s song “Clear.”

Life Highlights: Built and moved into our new home. Celebrated 7 years of marriage/12 years together with my husband. Traveled to Hilton Head, SC and Asheville, NC. Turned 30.

The Biltmore library decked out for Christmas was STUNNING.

Thanks to Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner for sharing this with us every year. I did skip some questions but wanted to go ahead and answer most of them…

Number Of Books You Read: 45 total, 43 new-to-me

Number of Re-Reads: 2

Genre You Read The Most From: YA

Best Book You Read In 2016? Anne of The Island by L.M. Montgomery

Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)? I reread The Start of Me and You after reading it last year and I loved it just as much and still push it on everyone, and had at least one or two read it based on my rec!

Best series you started in 2016? The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes Best Sequel of 2016? The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (I will not accept that this is the end!) Best Series Ender of 2016? Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Favorite new author you discovered in 2016? Ruta Septys

Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone? Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs

Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year? The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Favorite cover of a book you read in 2016? When We Collided by Emery Lord (Salt to the Sea is a very close second)

Most memorable character of 2016? Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe (don’t make me choose between them)

Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2016? Salt to the Sea

Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2016 to finally read? Anne of Green Gables!

Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2016? Shortest: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them//Longest: Illuminae

Book That Shocked You The Most: The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes. Oh my goodness.

OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!) Gilbert and Anne!!!!

Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year: Joel and Melody in The Rithmatist//Edward and Jane in My Lady Jane

Favorite Book You Read in 2016 From An Author You’ve Read Previously: The Fixer and The Long Game, both by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Best Book You Read In 2016 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure: The Anne of Green Gables books

Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2016?  I don’t really do fictional crushes because I am a happily married woman but let’s be real: it’s Gilbert Blythe.

Best 2016 debut you read? I only read one so… Love, Lies, and Spies it is!

Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read? My Lady Jane!!!

Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2016? Salt to the Sea and Between Shades of Gray, both by Ruta Septys

Hidden Gem Of The Year? Nora & Kettle by Lauren Nicolle Taylor

Book That Crushed Your Soul? Between Shades of Gray, Salt to the Sea, Nora & Kettle

Most Unique Book You Read In 2016? The Archived and The Unbound, both by Victoria Schwab

2017 Debut You Are Most Anticipating? Caraval by Stephanie Garber!

One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2017? I would like to build my blogging base back up a little bit, but much more importantly is what I want to accomplish as a writer, in that I want to find an agent in 2017. If I can’t do that, I hope to have my current WIP in the best shape I know how to and complete a new draft for a new story. As far as reading goes, I just want to read more books that I truly enjoy.

Were any of your favorites from 2016 the same as mine?