March 2020 Wrap-Up

It’s been a year! Oh, wait … it’s just the end of freaking forever-March. I really thought January was the never-ending month, but March sure dethroned it. A lot has been happening, and very few of these things (or none) were according to plan, but more about that later. The one thing that March allowed me to do was get back into reading again. I still can’t plow through 10 books a month, like I used to do in my late High School/early college years (wow, am I getting old?), but I am quite happy nonetheless, because I am just really enjoying diving into books again. I am DEFINITELY on track for my Goodreads reading challenge.

Anna K. The Last Wish (The Witcher, #0.5) The Aftermath

As per usual, click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads, where you are always welcome to add me as a reading buddy! My own reviews you’re able to find by clicking on the titles in the list above.

So, now let’s briefly talk about the obvious – the pandemic. I know, I know … we are all bombarded with it on a 24/7 news cycle and I can only imagine that you do not necessarily want to hear about it from me as well. I am not going to go into massive detail, but I just want to say that I hope you are all staying safe and at home (to the best of your abilities). These are trying times for everyone, but we need to remain patient and vigilant to continue flattening the curve. 

Having said that, I also want to say that it’s okay to mourn not being able to do something or see people you love. We are humans and therefore capable of more than one emotion. I can worry about the general human populace and still be sad about the fact that I had to cancel some important plans. As mentioned last month, I had planned to move to Canada this March with the work permit I acquired, but that has not happened. Not only was it my decision to cancel the flights and hotels I had already booked because traveling in this climate felt irresponsible, but a couple weeks later and literal all the borders are closed for non-essential travel. I am not going to lie, I threw myself a pity party and still am sad sometimes that I couldn’t do something I had worked towards for YEARS, but … in hindsight it might be for the better? I get to be with my parents right now. And even though it gets crowded sometimes, I am glad not to be entirely on my own an entire ocean away. It can get hard to find the positive, but I keep trying and just hoping that the more we band together (not physically, but by social distancing etc.) the sooner this will get managed.

Btw, don’t be like Vanessa Hudgens. Take this seriously!

Now, on to happier things! Life and Other Disasters has surpassed the freaking 2,500 follower milestone!!! I still can barely believe it, but I am so beyond grateful. As a way of looking back at years of blogging and which content stuck the most with you, my lovely readers, I published a series of posts titled “Kat Made Me Read/Watch It”. In it I listed all the shows, books and whatnot that you have told me you started watching or reading (partially) because of me and to this day, it’s one of the best things a blogger can hear. It makes our work feel appreciated and my heart sing. Here are the parts:

Aside from that, I don’t feel like I have been the most productive during this introspective time. I have barely picked up a brush, only honoring a couple actors for season finales or on their birthdays with a portrait. One was Ronen Rubinstein, who you will surely fall in love with just like I did once you watch 9-1-1 Lone Star (if you haven’t yet, what even are you waiting for?) and of course, the ever formidable Rupert Evans, who plays the whitelighter in the Charmed reboot.

I am serious, TK Strand will capture your heart (and not just that of hot police officer Carlos).

I thought it was especially cool that a friend of mine animated my drawing of Rupert, which made it eerily realistic and like it came to life!

MY FAVOURITE THINGS

I really had to think about this a whole lot, because I initially couldn’t think of something I had enjoyed over the top this month, but then it struck me! I absolutely 100% could not forget about Vampires. I mentioned it in this post, but to sum it up briefly. Vampirism is a matriarchy. This show creates vampires like humans (through birth) and deals with a girl who seems to be a hybrid. Her mother has broken off contact with the rest of the community, but when news gets out about Doina (the hybrid girl), they WANT her. It has a completely toxic ship, but one I am so here for? Like … I just need a second season to have Ladislas and Doina date. That’s literally all I want.

Now, it’s been a while since I’ve done this, but so many bloggers have been so very kind to me. They keep highlighting posts of mine and I always seem to have been too self-absorbed or busy to return the favour. So, here are a couple posts from around the blogosphere that I enjoyed.

  • Marie (Drizzle and Hurricane Books) talked about her book buying process and the fact that she HAS a real, several steps process is just wow! I love that girl!
  • Caro (Bookcheshirecat) has reviewed one of my all time hidden gems – Jackaby! You should really check it out if you haven’t yet.
  • Lois (My Midnight Musing) recommended some binge-worthy TV shows (including some shows that I absolutely 100% endorse as well), so give it a go if you need some more stuff on your quarantine watchlist.
  • Over at The Punk Theory, Becks has reviewed Season 1, Season 2 and Season 3 of Riverdale. That show is a trash fire that I once upon supported and now only hate watch. It’s beautiful to watch her confusion grow as she keeps with it … cause like a train wreck, you can’t seem to look away).
  • Maha (Sunshine n’ Books) made a plan for what she wants to accomplish during self-isolation. Since her to-do-list and mine are quite similar, I just felt the need to share it here too!

MY OTHER POSTS

VARIOUS TAGS

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

As I said before, I hope you are all staying safe and healthy! Here’s to hoping that we will all be able to accomplish the tasks we set for ourselves this April! If you ever feel like chatting, I am here.

The Aftermath by Rhidian Brooks (Book Review + Movie Trailer)

Publisher: Penguin
Page Count
: 325

I am struggling with how to even start this review. You all know how torn I am when it comes to the topic of books set during or closely after World War II. Some of my favourite reads treat that topic (check out Wolf by Wolf or The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society for some great examples) and I was ready to love and get my heart broken by The Aftermath as well. But somehow, that’s not what happened at all.

Rachael could find no solace in other people’s tales of woe. Pain was uniquely one’s own, and undiminished by a democracy of suffering.

The Aftermath certainly offers a perspective not too often shown. It deals with former enemies living in close quarters. With legitimate resentment and unwillingness to forgive and forget, while simultaneously needing to move on and let go. There is a constant push and pull as the story is mostly told from the confines of the families Morgan and Lubert, one English and one German. And that’s the whole point. These families have never done anything to each other per se, but their nationalities and what those countries have done during the war has led to loss on both sides and that in term to suffering. There are no real winners in war, so pain exists everywhere.

That is exactly what the book tried to show from as many angles as possible. There are complex moral questions to answer as you get confronted with what surely was the reality for many people. I am in no way EVER going to excuse the atrocities Germany (or Austria for that matter) has committed during the war, however, how can you judge every single person of a country for what the government did? How can you decide who has a clean slate and just did their best to survive or who willingly and eagerly participated? What about the children who were taught a certain mindset, sometimes too young to question what was going on – is their resentment towards the occupation justified?

And that is not all! The people who now want to rebuild the country and set it on a rightful path again, how much are they allowed to interfere really? If they disdain the entire populace, are they really able to help or are they making things worse? 

I’ve not met a German who has difficulty believing that they have been defeated, Wilkins. I think they have, to a man, accepted it, gladly, and with some relief. The real difference between them and us is that they have been comprehensively and categorically fucked, and they know it. It is we who are taking too long to adjust to that fact.

I don’t feel in any position to give or come up with proper answers here, but I was glad to have the book shine a light on those intricacies. I am not going to lie, some parts really hurt to read about. My grandmother was a young girl during the occupation and she had bad memories that haunted her until the end. I am not here to judge anyone’s right or wrong-doings, but I liked that the book showed that things weren’t that simple, that every side had its flaws.

However, why did I not love this book then? Everything felt very clinical and presented to me. There weren’t just the families, but also the Trümmerkinder (children living in the rubble), who basically started and finished the book and felt detached from everything else (despite providing a pivotal turning point for the story). While everyone had their part to play in showing what was going on, I had an immensely difficult time connecting to anyone in particular. While I was on board with some of the pain and resentment, some people felt manic and others had me furious at their unwillingness to adapt.

My biggest issue was probably the fact that the story just trickled along and then threw everything at you in the final 40 pages. I don’t mind introspective, slow stories. I don’t even mind it when nothing monumental happens at all and you just get a glimpse at a moment in time, but rushed endings have the tendency to ruin things for me. They never quite feel as satisfactory as the slower and intimate moments suggested it would all be thoroughly explained.

Fazit: 2.5/5 stars! An interesting view at post-war Germany that failed to fully capture me.

Now about the movie. I haven’t watched it yet, but I intend to at some point, because an actor I know has a role in it. However, I thought I would still share the trailer with you. From what I could see, it mainly focuses on the affair between the British wife of the colonel and the German man living in their requisitioned house. I love Alexander Skarsgard, so I don’t exactly mind that they didn’t use a German actor for the role (even though Alexander’s German does not sound authentic). Still, I could see almost all the characters from the book appear at one point or another. The piano music (especially in the second trailer) is also very much in tune with the book. It looks faithful enough, but I suspect that there wasn’t enough room in that one film to really explore all angles.


Have you read The Aftermath? Have you watched the movie? Let’s talk!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (March 23-29)

I want to use this weekly opportunity to check in with all of you! I hope quarantine life is treating you alright and that you stay home (if that is an option for you) and safe and sane. I think studios are a bit reluctant to release stuff these days, because cinemas are closed, so I am not sure how interesting this post will really be, but let’s check it out!

Movies

The Lost Husband

It looks simple enough, but sweet? Like the kind of “Safe Haven”/”Life as We Know It” stuff Duhamel used to do?

The Great

I am so into this.

The Main Event

The only experience I have with wrestling is GLOW, but okay.

Coffee & Kareem

Ed Helms and Taraji P Henson is such a funny idea for a pair to being with.

The Willoughbys

Yes, this is for me.

Survive the Night

I am just kind of over Bruce Willis thriller/action movies? Not even Chad Michael Murray as his son can raise my interest.

The Host

I think I’ll pass.

Tigertail

For some reason I thought this movie was already out just based on the name? But then I realised that I was stupid and had in reality thought of the madness that is Tiger King.

Fatima

I am really not one for religious content.

Most Dangerous Game

Didn’t I already post this?

TV Shows

Defending Jacob

Okay, my heart skipped a couple beats watching this! It’s not even my regular go to genre, but Chris Evans looks phenomenal in it. The acting is going to cause so many feels.

#blackAF

Is it copying/plagiarism if you use your own material?

Run

Still very much into the idea of this, even if it’s mostly due to Domhnall Gleeson and Phoebe Waller-Bridge being involved.

Into the Night

This took such an unexpected turn!

Survive

Every time they show more of this, it looks even creepier.

Brews Brothers

It looks so dumb, and I am not opposed to it.

Dirty John: The Betty Broderick

Oh, I thought the Dirty John series was just a limited series thing instead of an anthology-esque show.

Future Man (Season 3)

I don’t feel qualified to talk about this show.

Did you see something you might like? Let’s talk!

The Brooklyn Nine-Nine Book Tag

I’ve been looking through my 75+ drafted posts and I am trying to get to some that have been in there for literal years. Back in early 2018 Fadwa @Word Wonders tagged everyone who loves the show for the Brooklyn Nine-Nine Book Tag. (I would like to link to the original creator, but Em doesn’t have a blog anymore?) I don’t know why I didn’t do it back then, because I sure seemed to have saved it? I really love Brooklyn Nine-Nine, so it would be a natural fit. But that doesn’t stop me from simply doing it now, especially since I am trying to get a kind of blogging routine back (Fridays for tags maybe?). Let’s go!

Jake Peralta

Starts off goofy and kind of a sh*thead and then becomes a lovable goofball.

I am picking Jack from Tweet Cute! (and not just because his name is so close to Jake …) In general, I feel like the Pepper-Jack-dynamic is very similar to the Amy-Jake-one (if I wasn’t trying to pick a different book for every prompt, I’d definitely also say Pepper was Amy). Jack isn’t that much of a sh*thead, but he is a bit of a prankster and snarky and bitter.

Raymond Holt

Starts off as intimidating robot, then becomes the dad figure you secretly (not so secretly) wanted in life.

Okay, hear me out! I know that Mr. K from Anna K is NOT the perfect father. The way he treats Steven and then does a 180 in how he treats Anna is … less than ideal? However, he seems strict and intimidating, but still loves his children and wants the best for them. Even when it takes him some time to come around, he definitely comes through for Anna in the end.

Amy Santiago

Type A who’s in control but geeks out over nerdy things like stationary and tries to be cool (and fails).

Okay, so Maddison from The Field Guide to the North American Teenager actually IS cool, but she is Type A if I have ever seen one. The way she coordinates everyone’s life is a miracle and I definitely think she has a nerdy side to herself for sure.

Gina Linetti

Lovable narcissist who everyone is lowkey afraid of, extremely smart yet uses their power for evil.

I am sure there are loads of characters like that in more recent fiction, but somehow the only one I could think of was Jay Gatsby from The Great Gatsby? I don’t think I need to explain the narcissistic qualities of him, how his plans couldn’t exactly have been called “good” and how everyone was a little intimidated, yet enthralled by him?

Charles Boyle

The most loyal of friends, would memorize everything about you to make sure you’re always happy, also a foodie.

When I think about good literary friendships, somehow Morgan Matson always comes to mind. My favourite of hers is still Since You’ve Been Gone and Emily definitely has the loyal best friend thing down (Sloane not so much?). She also works in an ice cream shop during the summer, if memory serves me right, and that totally fulfills the foodie component.

Terry Jeffords

Always trying to have a self-care day but failing miserably because they need to take care of their rowdy children.

Apparently I like to throw in a childhood favourite for all these tags nowadays. It was a hard tie between Prosper and Scipio from The Thief Lord, because both have to act like the parents of the group in a way, even if they are all just trying to survive and live their lives.

Rosa Diaz

The less you know about their past … the better. Would kill to see them smile though.

Malachiasz? Malachiasz! (Wicked Saints remains a fave!)

Norm Skully

Loves food so much, they’d probably kill you for a donut. Would fake a heart attack for anything.

A little bit of a cop out, but the only character so obsessed with food that they’d do anything and that I could think of right now was Jughead. I mean, the only time he thought he might have romantic feelings for someone was when the other person was dressed as a hamburger?

Michael Hitchcock

Surprisingly a very good friend, though he seems like he’d sell you out for anything.

I am pretty sure that NO ONE believed in Sevro‘s loyalty when they first started this odyssey of Red Rising, but he has proven himself to be a formidable friend despite his shadiness.


CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED!!! Especially if you like the show! 


What did you think of my answers for the prompts? Did they make sense? Let’s talk!

The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski (The Witcher #0.5 Book Review)

Publisher: Gollancz
Page Count
: 280

It is a well known fact on this blog that I very much like the Netflix adaptation of the Witcher (it made a surprise entry into my favourite shows of 2019 list, because I couldn’t stop watching it upon its release). However, before that, I never played the games and honestly didn’t even know that the books existed. The Last Wish was originally published in 1993 (my birth year, or as I like to call it, the best vintage) and just completely escaped my notice until now. Upon closer inspection, it turned out that The Last Wish wasn’t a Witcher novel but a Witcher anthology instead, with everyone recommending to read it first. That truly explains a lot about this book!

Much like the show, you have to be prepared to not really know when things are happening and what their connection is. Reading The Last Wish, I felt like the show had done a great job, as I could clearly identify the contents of episodes 1 to 5 (not necessarily in that order) within the pages. Some character names were changed (why is Dandilion called Jaskier on the show?) and some might not have appeared yet (or will never appear at all?), but I think I had a grand advantage having watched the show before reading the book. I was prepared for the jumbled up timelines, for the messy tasks Geralt has to perform and for the characters that slowly crept into his heart.

I was especially surprised by the nonchalant mention of several well known fairy tales (such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Rapunzel, Snow White, Rumpelstiltskin, etc.), because they weren’t just tales within that universe, they actually happened there (even though in an even more sinister way than most remember it). Some got their own chapter, others were just mentioned in passing, but the inspiration was very clear behind the use of those characters/tales. That really made me think that Geralt was always just a village away from all the nighttime stories I knew so well from my childhood. A strange thought, a bit of a funny one too, but also a befitting one for it helps build a familiarity with an utterly different world.

“Evil is evil, Stregobor,” said the witcher seriously as he got up. “Lesser, greater, middling, it’s all the same. Proportions are negotiated, boundaries blurred. I’m not a pious hermit. I haven’t done only good in my life. But if I’m to choose between one evil and another, then I prefer not to choose at all.”

So, if you pick up The Last Wish, you will find a series of tales introducing Geralt to you. He will show his true character and keep you guessing at what kind of massive mess he has gotten himself into. It ends on such note, that you will want to know more about the (in this version not THAT stoic) witcher and the trials that await him. It’s exactly what was promised on the cover! However, you should not expect a traditional story with beginning, middle and end. There are hints at something that spans greater for sure, but it’s just really not what The Last Wish is.

I am definitely intrigued and would pick up further novels. My only problem for now is that I am an absolute cover snob and this is the only one Netflix has released with the TV show cover and I would like matching ones. There are about eight or nine books in total though, so I feel like the show still has a lot of material to draw from and will hopefully release the other books with the tie-in covers as well!

Never not proud of this drawing I made. Geralt, my foul-mouthed hero.

Fazit: 3/5 stars! Definitely worth a read if you are a fan of the show (or games too, I suppose)!

Have you read any of the Witcher books? Have you played the game? Loved the show? Let’s chat!

What I’ve Been (Binge-)Watching #30

Is the fact that this is the 30th post in this series a sign that I watch too much? Let’s hope not, because I really have no intention of slowing down in this climate. Here are some shows I have distracted myself with lately (which are in actuality fewer than I thought they’d be):

Vampires

I AM SORRY! I only found the French trailer, but the show is available with subtitles, cause that’s how I watched it!!!

I really thought I was over vampires at this point, but … I just can’t seem to stay away from them for good. After I finished this show, I thought to myself “huh, there were some interesting aspects, but this surely isn’t essential viewing for everyone”, yet here I am. THREE days later and I still can’t stop thinking about it.

What intrigued me the most was that this really wasn’t your usual vampire society (although they still have an inherent stalker gene it seems). In this world, vampirism is a matriarchy and vampires are created the same way humans are and not through a bite (at least that’s the story so far?). Doina, daughter of a vampire and human, turns out to be a hybrid of the two species, turning her world upside down.

This show features interesting character dynamics, although I will not hold it against you if you don’t like very many of them. To my utter shame, I also have to say that I was mainly watching for a toxic ship. I am trash that way, but at least I acknowledge it.

For fans of: international Netflix shows, different take on vampires, diverse French setting

On My Block (Season 3)

Was this the last season? It felt like the last season, but the end had me in absolute shock!? From the beginning of this show, it had always had its ups and downs. I could never take the danger as seriously as I should for some reason, because it just felt too light-hearted and silly in other moments. So, when those last frames showed up on my screen, I was like “this is a joke? Surely it must be!!” (Except for the Oscar part, I am here for that!)

This wasn’t my favourite season and I honestly don’t know what to say. I think it’s fun entertainment or a little bit, but parts of it I just could not relate to or, as mentioned above, take seriously. I think it might have been the acting, but I am really not here to bash them. I still had a great time watching all seasons after all.

For fans of: teen squad stories that get a bit out of hand and don’t look as realistic anymore

Elite (Season 3)

Okay, so, not my favourite season BUT I really like how they brought it all around. It basically mirrored season 1, but this time everyone stuck together and ended the cycle of misery. I was disappointed, because some character relationships were completely ignored, even though they had so much potential. For example, I was really hoping for a Valerio and Nadia reconciliation and that they’d be the messy friends I love to see, but instead they had Valerio be interested in being in a certain throuple (which I am cool with as a concept, I just didn’t like the other characters and used to love Valerio …). My favourite part was the Nadia-Lu-duo. Those girls really were the light for me this season!

Now, I am confused about Season 4. First, why do we need it? Why does it say no one from the OG cast will be in it? We explicitly saw a certain number of characters who had to repeat the year or were at school for some other reason … so why include that when they aren’t going to be featured anymore? I have questions!

For fans of: murder mystery and character dynamics, moral questions

Greenhouse Academy (Season 4)

Why am I even still watching this show? They completely botched the “who’s behind the door?”-mystery from a couple seasons back and they just haven’t been the same ever since. I was already massively dissatisfied with season 3, because they changed actors for characters and just had some people disappear completely. To me, that threw off the dynamic massively already and they handled it poorly. I even forgot that there was a massive cliffhanger at the end of that season, that’s how little I cared. Similarly, I feel pretty dispassionate about the twist at the end of Season 4.

I just can’t get over the fact that they reopened the whole love triangle thing with Leo, Hayley and Daniel … because someone on that list got screwed over a lot. Also … it was about a virus, so that was just poor timing for sure.

I can’t believe I used to really like Greenhouse Academy at this point, but here is the proof that I did.

For fans of: House of Anubis style over the top mysteries for teens?


Have you watched any of the shows above? Let’s talk about that!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (March 16-22)

I feel sorry for all the movies and TV shows that had to halt production, for all the projects that had to postpone their release or resort to an early digital release. We all turn to entertainment in these times, so, I hope we are all able to really show appreciation for their work and are able to support them in other ways.

Movies

Inheritance

I DIDN’T EVEN RECOGNISE SIMON PEGG!? WTF? The cast of this is amazing and even though it’s not my usual genre, I am tempted.

Selah and the Spades

The suspense is there for sure.

Adventures of Rufus the Fantastic Pet

Eh … that cat looks super weird.

Deerskin

Just imagine how wrong things must have gone for someone to diss you with a “you don’t exist anymore”.

Clover

I think thriller comedies are a weird genre.

Bad Therapy

It’s messed up.

Hippopotamus

This is the kind of movie that REALLY freaks me out.

TV Shows

Never Have I Ever

You instantly got me with “a new Mindy Kaling show”.

Upload

This feels super Black Mirror, but I am here for it!

Maxxx

This looks just so dumb

The Midnight Gospel

I’ve never done drugs, but I strongly assume that this is an accurate representation of what it looks like if you do them.

Free Ray Shawn

I’ve never watched anything on Quibi before?

Nailed It (Season 4)

I need something to laugh, so I will watch this again (even though I strongly believe that not even professional bakers can achieve these tasks within the time limits and people are set up to fail).

Is there something you’d like to watch? Let’s chat!