Review Roundup

Masquerade Season by ‘Pemi Aguda [short story]

This one really made me think and it hit me harder than I anticipated. Actually, Masquerade Season reminded me of The Giving Tree, honestly. One of those stories where the message makes you ache and it leaves you deeply melancholy.

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt [fiction]

I got a chapter sampler version, so I’m only reviewing the couple of chapters I read, but I really, really like the prose in this one. There’s a very distinct voice, which is so nice to find. The set up is very intriguing, and I’m really curious to see how it’s going to wrap up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC-excerpt. Excited to read the full book!

Dust Bowl Venus by Stella Beratlis [poetry collection]

Woe be unto us: We thought dancing did not matter.

I really do have, like, a thing for poetry. I truly do. Poems are so fly, and these ones are awesome.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine [children’s books]

This is such an informative and awesome kid’s book! It’s interactive, which is great for teaching kids and getting them engaged with the material, and there are so many different birds that are described herein. It also delves briefly into how evolution and Darwinism work. A lovely, colourful book for young readers!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Winter Soldier Vol. 1: The Longest Winter by Ed Brubaker [graphic novel/comic books]

I’m gonna admit, I picked this up because of the show. It’s awesome to finally have the focus on Bucky’s character, who I’ve always found interesting. This comic was quite compelling and I really liked the artwork. I was a bit confused? I feel like there was backstory I didn’t have, but maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the show/films universe. Like, I wasn’t expecting Bucky and Natasha to be so close! I liked them together, I was just a bit thrown. That said, I liked it overall. Definitely going to read a few more Winter Soldier tales. 

Mika and the Dragonfly by Ellen Delange [children’s books]

Do you need a spoiler warning for a kid’s book? It’s only 17 pages, so I have no idea! But, uh, spoilers? Haha. The artwork in this is absolutely lovely, and there’s a good message about being kind to insects and making friends. I’m a little unsure about the method of resolution, though: the dragonfly’s wing fell off and the kid ends up gluing it back on.

Adults don’t take kid’s books literally, of course, but I’d just be sure to tell the kid you’re reading this to not to attempt gluing a dragonfly’s wing back on. I really worry about the dragonflies, okay?! That’s my only nitpick, though. Overall it’s a very sweet little book and definitely worth picking up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Book Review: Mortal Engines (2001)

Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve

I absolutely fell in love with the Mortal Engines film by Peter Jackson, which I’ve reviewed here, and ever since I watched it, I’ve been wanting to read the book. I finally had time to finish it the other week and I ADORED it. There are a few big differences from the film, but I loved both in their own way. For anyone who loves dystopian fiction, definitely dive into this series.

*SPOILER WARNING*

“You aren’t a hero, and I’m not beautiful, and we probably won’t live happily ever after,” she said. “But we’re alive, and together, and we’re going to be all right.”

Oh my goshhhhh, this book is so fantastic, I cannot. Hester/Tom are so fucking perfect together. The scene where he’s specifically told not to tell Hester and in less than a second goes, nope, Hester’s gonna be mad if I don’t and then runs off to tell her immediately is *chef’s kiss* These two are so perfect together I canNOT.

Tom looked round at her, and saw more clearly than ever before the kind, shy Hester peeping from behind the grim mask. He smiled at her with such warmth that she blushed.

This entire book has me like, protect Hester Shaw at all costs she is precious, despite the fact that, you know, she could break my face with her pinkie finger.

But seriously, this book is soooo good. And as grim as it is, this universe is fascinating! I definitely love Tom and Hester as much as I did in the film. Anna is a total badass, too! I also adore Kate and Bevis. Precious little investigator duo \o/

Anywho, I must get the rest of the series! 

Audiobook Review: Midnight Sun (2020)

I first read Twilight (2006) when I was thirteen. I loved it, and read all three sequels in quick succession. I was a bit hesitant to give Midnight Sun a go, however. After all, it’s the same plot as Twilight, only from Edward’s POV. (There’s also a gender-swapped version of Twilight, too. So, there’s three Twilights to choose from, really.) But then I read The Host, and I really enjoyed that, and I found out that Jake Abel (in The Host movie) was voicing Edward in the audiobook, so I decided I wanted to give it a try.

‘My life was an unending, unchanging midnight. It must, by necessity, always be midnight for me.’

Ah, the nostalgia hit me hard on this one. I was deffo not expecting it. Like, I haven’t read Twilight since I was a teenager, but diving back into this world has been so fun. And I really, really like Edward’s POV. I actually prefer his POV. And I wholeheartedly recommend reading this via audiobook. After listening to it, I can’t picture anyone else as Edward. Jake Abel is A+ casting.

Also, Edward is bloody hilarious in this. Like, the things he obsesses over had me howling. Dude has absolutely ZERO chill. And I like the insight and development of their relationship that Meyer goes into. He and Bella have a lot of conversations that they didn’t have in Twilight, and hearing his perspective on the whole thing actually makes a lot more sense now. Bella always thought of him as so perfect and it was really hard to get a read on *Edward* in her book. Now, reading his perspective, it just makes so much more sense. The books complement each other quite well in that sense.

You learn about Bella’s favourite bands, movies, books. It’s not just Wuthering Heights and Romeo and Juliet. Bella gets cool points for Monty Python love, I’ll give her that. She talks about having jobs back in Arizona which led to her lack of a social life because she was always taking care of her mother, having no childhood because she was the adult, etc. Edward susses out why she loves taking care of people and worries about her not getting to do the things she actually wants. His concern for her wants is really sweet, honestly. Yes, he needs to chill, but it’s hard not to sympathise with the lad. Seriously, though, it’s from Edward’s POV, but Bella’s personality is explored so thoroughly in this one and I’m so here for it.

As well, his interactions with Emmett have me giggle snorting. They’re great bros in this and the family interactions really added that extra side to the novel that we never got from Bella’s POV. He’s also so sassy about Mike and the other students in the school. Like, chill dude. C’mon. Be cool. No one can conjure problems out of thin air to worry about quite like Edward. Poor lad needs a cup of tea and a calm movie.

Anyways, this book is pretty cool and Bella/Edward are still shippable.

Book Reviews: The Host (2008), Roommate (2021), Skyward (2018)

I read some really fantastic books this week. I think the one that’s going to be swirling around in my head for the next couple of days is The Host, though. It made me think and feel and wonder and angst. There were a few things I wish were done a bit differently or shortened, but overall I really truly adored it. Roommate by Sarina Bowen felt like a book to read at autumn time and I devoured it. Skyward by Joe Henderson was so brilliantly coloured and detailed and had such great representation. If you’re in search of a brilliant graphic novel, definitely pick up this one! I also read another children’s book that was wonderful, but I’m going to save that for a separate post.

The Host by Stephenie Meyer

“Eight full lives and I never found anyone I would stay on a planet for, anyone I would follow when they left. I never found a partner. Why now? Why you?”

Wow. This book. I have a lot of feelings. I understand now why this is the book Stephenie Meyer picks as her favourite. There is so much that I loved about this story: dear Wanda, tough Melanie, kind Jeb, lil Jamie, angsty Jared and sweet, lovely Ian.

lil’ bit, Jared, it’s true
(gif set credit)

SPOILER WARNING

That said, I don’t think there’s even teams, because the book is pretty solidly Wanda/Ian, Jared/Melanie. But I think the gif is hilarious XD

Ian is a total pumpkin pie precious cinnamon roll gem, though. I mean:

“I held you in my hand, Wanderer. And you were so beautiful.”

And:

“You deserve a life, too, Wanda. You deserve to stay.”

“But I love her, Ian.”

He closed his eyes, and his pale lips went dead white. “But I love you,” he whispered. “Doesn’t that matter?”

“Of course it matters. So much. Can’t you see? That only makes it more . . . necessary.”

Gosh, I cried at multiple parts of this story and I’m well impressed by the sheer humanity Meyer packed into this alien tale. Bravo, Meyer, you got me. You got my EMOTIONS.

I’ve always thought that if a person wants to, he can get along with just about anybody. I like putting my theories to the test. And see, here you are, one of the nicest gals I ever met. It’s real interesting to have a soul as a friend, and it makes me feel super special that I’ve managed it.

JEB ♡

My interest in this book started when I stumbled upon an interesting interview where Stephenie Meyer talked about The Host and said, ‘If I never wrote another book, I think I’d probably choose The Host. It feels like my most important story in a lot of ways. But I very much hope that my best book is still ahead of me. (Let’s be honest, though. I’m going to be remembered for Twilight.)’ For anyone curious, the interview is here.

I always get curious about the book that an author picks as their favourite of all their work, and the fact that she picked it over Twilight is striking to me and has left me very curious to read it.

Also, the movie left me with FEELS. Jared and Melanie OTP:

And of course Ian and Wanda \o/ ❤❤❤❤

I love all these characters.😭😭😭

(Movie review.)

Roommate by Sarina Bowen

We’re like a constellation in the night sky—people associate the stars with one another, but those stars only look like a group. They’re really millions of light years apart.

This book has everything you could possibly want in a romance story: adorable couple + amazing, delicious descriptions of cooking and baking + great side characters + heartfelt romance.

I loved Roderick and Kieran so much! Precious pies, both of them. I wholeheartedly recommend this one!!

Skyward, Vol. 1: My Low-G Life by Joe Henderson

This was a seriously cool graphic novel and I’m so curious to see where it goes in future volumes. The artwork in this is breath-taking, and there’s really good representation, too. I love the central characters, and the premise of a world without gravity is intriguing (albeit highly disconcerting!). The ending left me with EMOTIONS, so I must read the next one asap.

Six fabulous children’s books!

I’m hoping to get back to some longer fiction in the coming weeks, as my TBR is piling up and there are so many that I want to read, but it’s been so hard to have time to sit down and properly devour a long book lately that I can only consume comics, novellas and children’s books. I’m really loving the ones I’m finding! Some seriously adorable and inspiring works here!

♡ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review ♡ 

Opal the Octopus is Overwhelmed by Ashley Bartley

‘Opal Octopus says yes to everything, without taking time to think through it. Now she’s overwhelmed by too much on her plate, because she’s quick to agree’

Summing up this book in three words is easy: PRECIOUS. RELATABLE. IMPORTANT.

My mind feels squishy and scattered. I can’t focus on one thing at a time. Wanting to be perfect at everything I do really makes my anxiety climb!

Preach, Opal. As a perpetual juggler of too many things at once, I related to this lovely little book so much. Like, honestly, everyone should read this whether they’re a kid or an adult. Trying to balance everything at once is exhausting and stressful and, in the words of dear Opal, anxiety-inducing. Listen to this octopus and make time for yourself!

I Can Say No by Jenny Simmons

I can use my words
If someone looks down on me.
For the color of my skin
Or the makeup of my family.
I can say, ‘No!
There is no room here
For hate, injustice,
Unkindness, or fear.’

Why, what a wholesome, powerful little book about teaching kids to stand up for themselves and others, to show the importance of boundaries and individuality and self-care. Gotta say, for such a short and sweet book, it packs a profound punch. The pictures are absolutely gorgeous, vibrant, rich and detailed. There’s excellent diversity and representation. Definitely a fantastic book for kids!

I can say NO
to the thoughts in my head
that tell me I’m worthless
because I messed up again.

Um, yes?! Let’s be instilling this in everyone. *throws confidence confetti into the air* Say no with gumption, kids! Talk down your demons and embrace your own path!

My no is my no – there’s no need to explain.

HEAR HEAR

Of course, the author does illustrate the importance of choosing when to say no, or when you can’t – like listening to your parents about chores, haha – and thus provides a balanced approach to saying no.

How to Tap a Maple! by Stephanie Mulligan

This is a cute little informative book about the process of tapping maple syrup from trees in the winter snow. It’s a good explanatory book for children curious about how syrup is refined through boiling and straining before it can be served. It’s set in Maine, which is a lovely state, but of course now I’m missing Canada! And I also want pancakes. 😉

The Froggies Do Not Want to Sleep by Adam Gustavson

Seriously, 100%, could not stop laughing at these froggies.

This absolutely gorgeously illustrated book is light on the words, but the artwork is some of the best I’ve seen in a while. Simply splendid! The writing, honestly, reads like some exasperated, knowing parent, who simply cannot get the froggies to go to sleep and I just cracked up laughing every page.

‘They want to sing opera while firing themselves out of cannons’ but they certainly do NOT want to go to sleep.

I giggled. Hard.

The Speckled Feather by Johanna Ries

The artwork in this straight up left me like:

I think it’s hand drawn, water-colour-y and lush and lovely, and I’m absolutely enamoured. You just want to fall into the artist’s world and live inside these colours. So, so beautiful. Hats off to the artist!

The story itself is an important one about friendship, care and the downside of selfishness. Three birds live with an elephant and are protected from predators by the elephant until they start fighting with each other about who gets to keep the speckled feather that blows their way one day. Mr Elephant ain’t about that nonsense and teaches them a valuable lesson.

Definitely recommend!

Norman’s First Day at Dino Day Care by Sean Julian

Maybe together it’ll only be half as scary

Aww, this is a sweet little story about how to believe in yourself, even when you’re shy and nervous and don’t feel up to public speaking. A great message for kids! And the drawings are adorable.

Four great books for kids!

I’ve been mixing up my comic book binge and non-fiction pile and fantasy/sci-fi tomes with kid’s books. They’re just innately cheerful. Like, even at my age, I just absolutely love how whimsical and colourful these books are. Fantasy is basically a given and every book is upbeat and vibrant and boisterous.

You can’t get through these books without smiling – TRUE FACTS. And it’s really making me miss all the books I grew up with.

all arcs received from netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up by Sean Taylor & Alex Morss

I wasn’t expecting this to be so educational and informative! I picked it up thinking it was just a picture book for kids, and it is, but when you finish the sweet story of the family welcoming spring, the rest of the book focuses on educating kids about plants, animals, migration, life cycles, climate change and safeguarding the natural world. How wonderful! This is a lovely little book for parents to read to their children, perhaps before starting a garden or teaching them about kindness to all creatures, large and small.

The Chicken Who Loved Books by Angela Elwell Hunt

Okay, this is cute. Like, I couldn’t stop giggling. It’s 17 pages of a chicken getting mad at a little boy for bringing his videogame to the chicken coop instead of bringing a book to read to them. It could have been a liiiiittle bit longer, I reckon, cos I felt like it stopped a wee bit abruptly, but the illustrations are super cute and I now want to go find a flock of chickens who want to be read to. The dream, honestly.

Lockdown Hair by Linda Steinbock

Pandemic books for kids is definitely going to be a thing after this last year. I mean, I grew up with environmental warning books like The Wump World, so that’s not surprising. As I’m sure you guess going off the cute cover, this one has a great message and focuses on being safe and oh my gosh, it is ADORBS.

Who doesn’t love a book about staying safe in lockdown with a quote at the end by Greta Thunberg? This is seriously so sweet. The plot follows a young girl trying to come up with inventive ways to help at a hair salon during the pandemic. The leaf blower for hair drying to stay two metres apart rather than a blow dryer was particularly cute!

So You Want To Build a Library by Lindsay Leslie

Every book – and library – is made better by dragons.

Well, obviously.

And don’t forget about TEENY TINY NOOKS for teeny tiny fairies with their teeny tiny books.

Oh my goodness gracious, be still my heart! THIS BOOK.

Who hasn’t dreamed of building their own library and filling it with floofy chairs, water slides, a bathtub, dragons, fairies and much, much more?! I, for one, am waiting for my own personal library to curl up in with my giant, dragon and fairy friends. *taps foot impatiently*

Anyways, this is super cute and a lovely book for kids!

Review Roundup

Wanted (2016) is a gripping television show set in Australia. Lola is a single mother with a job she hates and a boss who treats her like crap; Chelsea is a wealthy accountant with a stealing problem. While the pair wait at a bus stop, a car rolls up and knocks into the side. Just as they start helping the unconscious driver, another car arrives and two men jump out wearing masks. A fight ensues that leaves one of the men dead, with the other man forcing Lola and Chelsea into the boot of the car.

While the women try and convince him to let them go, the police try and figure out what happened at the bus stop and whether the women are involved as accomplices or as victims. When Chelsea manages to break away from their kidnapper and call the police, the women expect help to arrive – but the cop who shows up kills their kidnapper and then tries to kill them. Terrified, the pair flee. On the radio, they learn that they’re being blamed for the murders and decide to keep running. Very quickly, a much larger story unfolds as the women try to outsmart the men chasing them and find out why they’re being framed.

This is such a good action/mystery/drama. Lola and Chelsea are fantastically well actualised characters and as their story unfolds, they become unlikely friends. Good cop Josh, trying to unravel the crime that his boss is in on is wonderful, too. If you like shows that centre on friendship, this is definitely the one for you. Lola and Chelsea have fantastic growth and the actresses are brilliant!

I can’t wait to see how season two shapes up!

All five of these were arcs from Netgalley

Mouse Music by Suzan Overmeer is the first a few ARCs that I requested recently. This is a lovely kids book about keeping an open mind to others, told through the perspective of a mouse violinist. I adored the art style and the message was lovely. A great book for young kids!

Pitter, Patter, Goes the Rain by Ellen Delange. I absolutely loved this art style! It’s so cute! The story has a lovely rhyming structure and the pictures draw you right in! Great book for kids.

Tales of the Lost Horizon by Michael Eging is another ARC. The cover is just so lovely and I’m a big poetry fan.

I sit alone to contemplate
the workings of a muse.
Yet the pages still seem blank,
I wonder what’s the use.

This is a collection of poetry, short stories and artwork which was so well done. Seriously, the illustrations are fantastic. Definitely worth checking out for those who like fantasy collections and mixed poetry/prose/art.

Firekeeper’s Daughter by Angeline Boulley is going to be awesome, I just know it. I received a free excerpt and it looks to be a smashing début. This book opens with some great prose and a quickly engaging plot. Boulley’s writing is superb! I’m not going to rate it until I can read the whole thing, but I’m definitely excited to see how the whole book turns out! Native American folklore is something we need much more of in books and this one looks to be a fantastic read!

Big and Little by Yang Hang. Oh goodness, these raccoons are TOO PRECIOUS. What a lovely little book for kids about patience and friendship.

I have also been inhaling comic books recently! There are so many good ones online that I’ve discovered, so I’m going to share quite a few recommendations!

The Old Guard is by far one of my top superhero stories. I saw the film first (and have rewatched it OF COURSE), but I missed the characters and wanted to try out the comics. They have the same vibe and are just awesome. *waits impatiently for movie two*

Rock and Riot WAS SO FUCKING CUTE. EVERYONE SHOULD READ THIS ONE RIGHT NOW.

Jackson’s Diary looks like it’s going to be super cute. It’s just beginning as a webcomic, so I’m curious to see where it goes!

I was really surprised by Priya’s Shakti. I downloaded it because the artwork was very eye-catching, but it ended up having a very important message. The comic is about women’s rights and the horrors of rape culture.

Jupiter’s Circle is an LGBT centric superhero tale set in the McCarthy/Lavender Scare era when persecution was well under way. Curious to see how this unfolds, but I’m nervous it’s gonna be super depressing 😥 

The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal IS AMAZING AND WONDERFUL AND EVERYONE SHOULD READ IT.

Novae is a historical fiction comic.

January Reading Roundup

Following on from my post about comic books here at the start of the month, I read a lot more throughout the month, so do forgive the absolute overload of comics in this post! 😉 I’m absolutely loving the variety of genres that I’ve been trying lately and the artwork is always so different, which is enchanting. It’s hard to tell what my favourite art style is yet, but I definitely have some styles that I’m loving.

40 Seconds is really cool. Reminds me a bit of Stargate, and I’m curious to see how the storyline wraps up. Field Tripping is like crazy Magic School Bus, only it gets darker, fast. Goliath Girls reminds me of Pacific Rim, only with an Adventure Time-esque twist. My Boyfriend is a Monster is an anthology series, each following a different romance that centres on the paranormal. I read the first two; one follows a couple in the zombie apocalypse, the other follows a girl who finds out her boyfriend is reanimated.

Let all the Children Boogie is a new short story from Tor. I really enjoyed it! Tor has such a plethora of short stories to choose from and they always make a great break from long, winding sci-fi.

In the Flood was super trippy. Is trippy a genre? If so, this is definitely that genre. Perhaps more accurately it’s surrealism, but trippy works too. This graphic novel was visually gorgeous, but I admit I felt a bit confused by the storyline and I’m still not wholly sure I get how it played out. I think it would’ve helped if I’d read the synopsis beforehand. Oop. Definitely worth a read, though! (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

The Weirdies was bloody fantastic. When the main location in the book is Our Lady of the Perpetual Side-eye, you know the book is going to be good. AND WHAT A GREAT READ À LA A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS. A bit like The Gashlycrumb Tinies and Addams Family, too. Kate Winslet’s narration just made it *chef’s kiss* Barnacle, Garlic and Melancholy are just delightful. And Ms Emily is the best! The descriptions and one-liners had me giggling and shaking my head the whole time. Some of them were incredibly profound, too:

‘Being very strange kept people away.
And if people stayed away, you could never disappoint them.’

This is dark, funny, a bit gothic, wicked and just wonderful. ‘I want you to be weird! As gloriously, outrageously weird as you can be! I like it – no, I love it!’  (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. (as told to his brother) was wonderful. It’s hard for me to really express how much I sank into this tale and how much I wish the ending was different!

If the book is good enough, you feel like everything is true.

I honestly, truly enjoyed this. It’s a very good twist on kid goes off to fantasy world. This story focuses on the family he leaves behind, the brother who wants to know the truth of where he went. My heart broke for Aidan throughout this story and I do wish it had a slightly different ending, but overall I thought the take was interesting and Aidan and Lucas had a great brotherhood. It kind of reminds me of Last Bus to Everland.

➵ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review ♡ (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Sadie Sprocket Builds a Rocket IS SO CUTE! A little girl builds a ship to Mars, aiming to be the first one there. It’s told in rhymes and it reads like a song almost, which I adored. This is such a great book for kids!! There are facts on female scientists and Mars at the end, too. (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Fearscrape was so unexpected! I loved the sarcastic, quippy, fourth-wall breaking narrative of this comic. Seriously, I was not expecting it to be so amusing, haha. So many good one liners! This first comic follows Henry Henry, a translator/writer after he steals a manuscript from another author. He’s subsequently mistaken for the author by a being who appears before him, the Muse. Henry Henry’s consequently brought into the ‘Fearscape’, a place where writers selected by the Muse battle fears in order to make them less frightening. That’s, like, such a cool idea? Very intrigued to see where it’ll go! (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Apparently this was originally written in French as Mécanique Céleste, which I didn’t know until I finished it. Very cool! I love reading translated work.

‘The envoys are supposed to represent the planets … but that girl’s a star.’

I didn’t realise this was a sport-themed graphic novel, oops. Not a genre I’d normally pick up, but I enjoyed this one! The art is really cool and the colour are very … calming, almost? The colour scheme reminded me of Peanuts, although the genres aren’t in the same realm at all. It was very retro! The plot is fairly straight forward: the fate of everyone’s future lies with who wins the match. So, in essence it’s a very relaxed, sporty version of The Hunger Games.

Worth a read, especially for those who like dystopian, sports or graphic novels!

➵ thank you netgalley for the free arc in exchange for an honest review ♡ (Review cross-posted to Goodreads.)

Review Round Up

New year, new reads, new shows.

I started off the new year by reading a few comic books and finishing Sylvester by Georgette Heyer, narrated by Richard Armitage. I’ve been having a hard time focusing on longer reads at the minute, simply because I have so much to do, so short reads and audibooks are very helpful right now.

I really enjoyed Oddly Normal, which has adorable illustrations and a fairly sad storyline; Die!Die!Die! was intriguing. It’s by the same author as The Walking Dead and has gruesome opener, but looks to be really interesting. I’m curious to see where it goes! Has anyone read any of these?

I also started two new TV series: Young Wallander and The Alienist. I adored them both and cannot recommend The Alienist enough. Dakota Fanning, Luke Evans and Daniel Brühl make a fantastic trio! The mystery is intense and fairly un-guessable, which is something I’ve been waiting for. The costumes are gorgeous as well. Everything about the show is well done, honestly. If you enjoy dark mysteries, this one is enthralling.

Young Wallander is based a Swedish book series and was brilliantly done. I love the whole cast and thought it ended well. It has a second series coming, I believe, so the few things that weren’t wrapped up I’m assuming will be addressed in the coming season.

Honourable Mentions of 2020

I feel like there are so many films, books and shows that I wanted to review this year that I haven’t got around to for some reason or other. (Re: laziness). Oh well! I’m listing some of the ones I can remember below (and I’m sure there’s still others I’ve forgotten).

Shows: Summertime was a great show, for anyone looking for a warm and sunny show with cute romances. Set in Italy, diverse cast/rep. Curon is another good Italian show! I haven’t finished it, but the start is super strong. The Last Kingdom is soooooo amazing. I don’t know why I haven’t written up a review for this epic beauty, but it totally deserves one. Another Life is a great sci-fi adventure, with lots of diversity/rep and a solid plot. Got sci-fi queen Katee Sackhoff in it, too. Score! The Mandalorian is so absolutely brilliant, my Star Wars heart is a flutter. The Mess You Leave Behind is a fantastic Spanish murder mystery show. If you loved Élite, you’ll love this one. And Arón Piper is in it! Mismatched is the Hindi adaptation of When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon. I bought the book a while back and haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I’m definitely moving it up my list! This is a super cute romantic comedy series set in Jaipur and I can’t wait to finish it. The Great was fun as well, and I really liked the cast. I also just started Bridgerton, which I’m enjoying!

Films: The new Little Women was super cute. I didn’t love it quite as much as the Winona Ryder version, but the cast is fantastic, and I liked some of the changes. I think this one would have been great as a miniseries, actually. Spending more time exploring the romance and building up to the end would have been good, I reckon, as that seemed more the focus in this version, whereas the 1990s version was more focused on the growing up aspect, I felt. I caught up on most of the Marvel movies this year and really liked some of the latest ones. The new Spiderman is great, and I’m excited for Natalie Portman’s return to Thor in the next one. I’m also intrigued by the shows coming to Disney+! I really like the idea of WandaVision. I liked Solo, the Han Solo standalone for Star Wars. All the standalones have been pretty good, actually. Happiest Season is a new Christmas film with Kristen Stewart, I have a lot of thoughts on it. Did anyone else see this one? I also can’t even begin to review Hotel Mumbai, which was a truly heart-shattering watch and the actors were amazing in their roles. I think, rather than writing a review, this look at the true story behind the film is worth a read.

Books: I write a lot of mini reviews on Goodreads that I don’t bother linking here. But my page is here, for anyone curious. All of the nonfiction books I’ve picked up this year deserve their own review. Guns, an essay by Stephen King, was very poignant and thoughtful. But having the time, or even figuring out how to describe them is so hard sometimes on top of studying. Some recommendations for anyone looking to delve into more non-fiction: The Korean War at Sixty: New Approaches to the Study of the Korean War; A Violent Peace: Race, U.S. Militarism, and Cultures of Democratization in Cold War Asia and the Pacific; Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War; Sex Among Allies: Military Prostitution in U.S.-Korea Relations; Framed by War: Korean Children and Women at the Crossroads of Us Empire; Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World; Name, Rank, and Serial Number: Exploiting Korean War POWs at Home and Abroad.