Anna K. by Jenny Lee (Book Review)

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Page Count
: 374

It’s time to make a confession: I have never read or watched Anna Karenina in all my life. Why is that little tidbit of info about me avoiding/being oblivious about a Russian classic vital to you in this very moment? Well, Anna K. is a the glorious modern retelling of said classic and I hereby freely admit that I have no way of comparing the two, but I hope that still gives me a “unique” view on the book. It definitely made me curious about the original novel, that’s for sure.

Every happy teenage girl is the same, while every unhappy teenage girl is miserable in her own special way.

This book really left me in some sort of emotional state of mind! It took me a bit to find my footing, but from the get go, Anna K. is a fast-paced whirlwind of amazing characters. A lot happens as you sort of play tag with the characters and switch from one POV to the next almost seamlessly. At first, I was a bit unsure of just the vast amount of characters, but they were interconnected beautifully and each had their own voice and personality and depth to them despite all of it being told in the 3rd person (to me that sometimes feels a little less personal, but not here). On the one hand, it felt like you were just observing the characters’ lives, but on the other hand, you had clear insight into all their motives and desires.

What I first believed to be a superficial glitzy love-at-first-sight teenage foolery, turned out to be so much more than that. I loved the upperclass Manhattan/Greenwich setting. I loved that Anna K. was a Korean-American teen and that her family’s tradition clashed and blended with American society standards. I adored the character dynamics and how everyone was connected in a more or less expected way. I loved how heightened and extra a lot of it was. At some point, there was one tragedy after the other and each time I thought my heart couldn’t possibly break any more, but then there was another one just around the corner. Yet, you don’t leave this book sad (maybe a little wistful), but rather full of hope and love for all these characters.

There’s not much fault one can find with this book in my opinion. The characters aren’t perfect paper cutouts, but actual human beings with faults and flaws. Anna and Steven even made it into my list of favourite literary characters and that’s not an easy one to get on. So, if you aren’t into cheating plotlines and characters using an excessive amount of drugs, maybe this isn’t the read for you. The love is also very … insta? Love at first sight in general comes quick to these characters. But if you want a Gossip Girl approach to a Russian classic (and I’ve been told Jenny Lee did a pretty remarkable job with the retelling) with a more diverse cast of characters, you should definitely check it out! I promise you will keep turning page after page in anticipation of what might happen next and how things could possibly go so terribly wrong for someone so lovely.

As a last thought, I would really encourage you to check out the Author’s Note at the end of the story. It really added even more spark to an already very entertaining and heartfelt rollercoaster of a read for me.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! A fun and emotional take on an old classic!

Have you read Anna K. or Anna Karenina for that matter? Would you be interested in doing so? Let’s chat!

The Perfect Book Tag

Yes, hello everyone! This is me actually doing a tag again? It’s been ages, but we are all staying home, taking care of ourselves and others in the process and I really, really wanted to give you some fresh content on the blog. I haven’t been the most present on the blog as of late, because both parents are doing the whole home office thing now and I try to limit my internet use (as not to crash the poor rooter) while they need to work, like the good daughter that I am. However, that leaves me with online time mostly in the late afternoon and sometimes I just don’t have it in me to be creative then.

With much talk about basically nothing, this all led to me checking my drafted yet never completed posts and I found this little gem. So, huge thanks to The Orangutan Librarian for being so thoughtful and tagging me for the Perfect Book Tag back in the day!

The Perfect Genre

pick a book that perfectly represents its genre

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

Ha! I tricked you! I bet you thought I would pick a book from my favourite genre (fantasy/sci-fi), but regular good old YA contemporary it is. I read The Field Guide to the North American Teenager pretty recently and I thought it had some great teen representation and also gave me flashbacks to my semester abroad in the US (which I always kinda like).

The Perfect Setting

pick a book that takes place in a perfect place

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

To me, the perfect setting might not be the same as for you? I like a good magical world, I really, really do. Would I want to live in it? That’s debatable, because most of the time it’s connected to mortal peril. So, my perfect setting is something more along the lines of the British isle of Guernsey, loads of beaches and cliffs, an all-surrounding calm and friendly (albeit somewhat nosey) neighbors.

The Perfect Main Character

pick the perfect main character

AUGUST FLYNN! (This Savage Song) My baby boy will forever remain perfect in my eyes. PERFECT, do you hear?

The Perfect Best Friend

loyal and supportive, pick a character that you think is the best friend ever

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Tough one! Tough one indeed! But, I think, in the end I’d go with Kenji from the Shatter Me series. If you have him on your side, I think you’d be able to get through anything.

The Perfect Love Interest

pick a character you think would be an amazing romantic partner

I have a couple contenders for book hubby, but one of my all time favourite people is Max Vandenburg from The Book Thief! He is kind and smart and patient and a fighter. I don’t actually know how he is romantically, but I see those qualities as a plus in a partner.

The Perfect Villain

pick a character with the most sinister mind

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)

I DON’T WANNA SAY WHO! But the villain in Wicked Saints is divine (no pun intended)!

The Perfect Family

pick a perfect bookish family

My Life Next Door

The Garretts from My Life Next Door will forever remain an example of a loving, present and beautiful family. I don’t think any such thing as perfect exists, but they are darn close!

The Perfect Animal or Pet

pick a pet or fantastic animal that you need to see on a book

The Water Mirror (Dark Reflections, #1)

Okay, I read the Dark Reflections series when I was like 12, so, no guarantee to how they would hold up now, BUT they had living stone lions who could fly. And their fur was soft. And I never loved creatures more than them!

The Perfect Plot Twist

pick a book with the best plot twist

We Were Liars

Even saying that this book has a plot twist is a bit of a spoiler, but it has been out for years now, so what can I say? We Were Liars had me in freaking tears!

The Perfect Trope

pick that trope you would add to your own book without thinking

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

I am a total sucker for fake dating! Most notable example here is probably To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before? (Also quite enjoy enemies to lovers though. Or the “there’s only one bed in the room/one room left at the hotel”-dilemma. OR the friends with insane chemistry that hook up one night and don’t make it awkward but just seamlessly start dating afterwards because they are meant to be)

The Perfect Cover

pick that cover that you would easily put in your own book

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)

The ENTIRE Jackaby series has covers to die for, but this was the one I saw first (although it’s the final book), which is why I picked it now.

The Perfect Ending

pick a book that has the perfect ending

***SPOILERS FOR THE LAST LINES OF CALL ME BY YOUR NAME!!!***

Twenty years was yesterday, and yesterday was just earlier this morning, and morning seemed light-years away.
“I’m like you,” he said. “I remember everything.”
I stopped for a second. If you remember everything, I wanted to say, and if you are really like me, then before you leave tomorrow, or when you’re just ready to shut the door of the taxi and have already said goodbye to everyone else and there’s not a thing left to say in this life, then, just this once, turn to me, even in jest, or as an afterthought, which would have meant everything to me when we were together, and, as you did back then, look me in the face, hold my gaze, and call me by your name.

Everyone can feel about Call Me By Your Name however they want (and I get certain criticism), but I ADORED that book. And I thought the ending was perfect (love a good reference to the title), so I will never understand why the author felt it necessary to write a sequel I hated.


If YOU, much like myself see yourself in need of ideas for blog posts in these dire times, CONSIDER YOURSELF TAGGED!!!

What did you think of my answers? Could you relate? Let’s chat!

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (March 9-15)

I hope you are all doing well, not taking the social distancing too hard and finding ways to keep yourself entertained in the meantime. I know you don’t need to read about the virus here on top of everywhere else, but due to the next monthly update not being for a while, I just wanted to inform you all that I will not be going to Canada anytime soon. Measures in my own country have increased and, in general, it would neither have been a responsible nor smart choice to go right now. All of that has left me rather sad, but I suppose it wouldn’t have been fun over there either. So, let’s get back to regular programming and start talking trailers!

Movies

Soul

IT LOOKS SO COOL!

Jungle Cruise

On the one hand, I think this is so silly, but on the other hand, I am on board.

Uncorked

Didn’t know this movie was made until just now, but I will HAPPILY watch anything with Mamoudou Athie. He is seriously underappreciated.

The Very Excellent Mr. Dundee

Awe, if Paul Hogan did this to have fun, I am all for it.

Bad Trip

I … don’t think I need this in my life. I never enjoyed anything jackass-like before.

The Artist’s Wife

This movie has a realness to it.

Arkansas

It’s a maybe from me.

The Quarry

This just isn’t really my kind of movie.

True History of the Kelly Gang

George MacKay out there, still giving very intense roles his all!

The Little Dragon

Not a huge fan of the animation style, so will likely pass.

Children of the Sea

This could be cool, I think.

TV Shows

Home Before Dark

I super like the look of it. I mean, they torched that little girl’s bike. That’s brutal!

The Third Day

This turned dark fast.

Altered Carbon: Resleeved

Yo, I didn’t even have the time to check out the second season of the live action show yet. No way am I going to watch this animated stuff too.

Did you see a movie or TV show you’d like to watch? Let’s talk about it!

Kat Made Me Watch/Read It! (Part 3)

This is the final installment in the Kat Made Me Watch/Read It!-series! After the posts about movies and books, the only plausible topic could be TV shows. It’s probably the thing I am most known for, because I watch a ridiculous amount of shows. Therefore, reigning this post in has been really difficult, so I decided to only allow myself ONE sentence per show to describe how I feel about it, in order for it not to get out of hand entirely.

9-1-1

I will go down with my still non-canon Buddie ship, while supporting all the other characters too, because this show has so much more than superficial drama.

9-1-1: Lone Star

With a much shorter season (and there only being one so far), 9-1-1: Lone Star has managed to emotionally rope me in just like the OG show and I have no regrets stanning it.

The Royals

Once a guilty pleasure, then a non-guilty obsession, so if I could bring back ONE show – this is it! (Check out a post about it here)

Wynonna Earp

I fought for this show to stay on the air and I even own some replica jewelry from set, so this passion for female cowboy Supernatural will never cease to exist. (Check out a post about it here)

Sense8

My dedication for this show goes so far that I had an actual screaming fit when I saw myself (as in physical form) during the end credits of the very last episode! (Check out a post about it here)

Charmed

If you think this is just a love pertaining the reboot, you are sorely mistaken, because I even own trading cards from the OG show. (Check out a post about it here)

Younger

As bookworms, we should really all be watching a highly entertaining, funny, insightful, steamy show set in the publishing world that champions female characters! (Check out a post about it here)

The Bold Type

Female friendships are the best thing and if you don’t see yourself in Sutton, Jane or Kat, I am sure there are many other characters in that show you’ll find aspects of yourself in – which remains a thing of beauty!

The Good Place

This show is perfection and I will not tolerate any other opinion on the matter. (Check out a post about it here)

A Discovery of Witches

It has witches, vampires, time travel, magic, demons and beautiful cinematography – why would I ever stop gushing about things that are so on brand for me? (Check out a post about it here)

Ragnarok

While I am always here for Norse gods in modern settings, it was my good friend, Lois, who convinced me to include the show and I was more than happy to do so! (Check out a post about it here)

Dynasty

This was also included because of a dear friend, Marie, who I will never get tired gushing over the Carringtons with! (Check out a post about it here)

The Rook

This show has given me one of the best characters ever and I will forever hate them for not continuing with it – Gestalt deserved better! (Check out a post about it here)

Now, that’s it? I think? But if I could point you towards some amazing, not so well known, fairly new releases, these would be my picks:

  • Dollface
  • Reprisal
  • The Society
  • Four Weddings and a Funeral
  • The Politician

You can read about ALL of them here, because they were featured in my favorite new shows of 2019 post!


Did you ever watching something you’ve previously seen on the blog? Please tell me all about it – I’d really like to know!

Kat Made Me Watch/Read It! (Part 2)

Yesterday, I did the first post in this series, exploring which content you (my lovely, lovely followers and readers) have decided to consume partly because of me. I am really not claiming full responsibility for your actions here, but I am more than happy to take credit when you like something you’ve spotted on Life and Other Disasters. This blog has been my space to talk about all sorts of things but, admittedly, books have taken a bit of a backseat as of late. Still, there are some I could never really stop talking about and that passion for these stories has motivated some others to read them too. Here are the books some of you have read because of me! (At least there are more to talk about than movies!)

Words In Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

Words in Deep BlueThinking of myself as a blogger, I don’t usually consider myself a big buff in the contemporary department. However, in some twist of fate, I really absolutely connected with Words in Deep Blue and I have heard from quite a few people who credited me after picking up the book for themselves. I honestly couldn’t be happier to hear things like that, because even though there is sadness in this book, it’s such a love letter to books too, in a way.

Read the review here!

Monsters of Verity Duology by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity, #1)Okay, so … remember when everyone was absolutely 100% in love with the Shades of Magic trilogy (or soon to be saga?) by Schwab? Well, I enjoyed it, but didn’t love it because I was too busy adoring a monster boy who wanted to be good so bad. The amount of times I have talked about August Flynn is ridiculous and he’s not even my crush (although I have created a dating profile for a tag for him). He is more like my adoptive son that I want to protect at all costs.

I still wish this series continued somehow, because there was definitely an opening for more to tell in Our Dark Duet.

Read the review here!

Red Rising Saga by Pierce Brown

Are there really people out there who don’t know about my utmost love for these books? Or for Pierce? Or for the characters? Or for the fact that they are going to make a TV show out of the books instead of movies to not compromise the story arcs too much? I don’t know … it’s like I never talk about any of these things?

*cough* please cast Richard Harmon as Sevro *cough*

Read the review here! And click here to read my post about all the reasons why I love the series!

Wolf by Wolf Duology by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf, #1)As someone who grew up in Austria, World War II is a complex topic. I, personally, always felt like I didn’t want to deal with that stuff in my free time, since we were bombarded with it at school. BUT, in the end, some of my favourite books were exactly about or inspired by those historic events. Next to The Book Thief, my most significant read was probably Wolf by Wolf. I had a LOT to say about it and it wasn’t all good, but it left a permanent impression.

Read the review here!

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietySpeaking of World War II … this book wasn’t set during that time, but dealt with the consequences of that war. I dabble in adult fiction quite a bit, but never expected to fall so utterly in love with this story. The characters were sweet, everything was told solely in letters and it featured one of my favourite tropes – the found family trope!

Nevermind that it was also made into a beautiful movie with some of my favourite actors.

Read the review here!

The Martian by Andy Weir

This book was just a whole lot of fun! Even if I knew the outcome, I was really into the ride as a whole. It was scifi, but not too out there. I laughed and was simultaneously really invested in the more precarious situations. Also, I can appreciate some good research!

Read the review here!

Shatter Me Series by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)Honestly, my reviews for this series were … not my best? But I love it regardless and just need to work on expressing it a little. I have to admit that I am a bit more of a fan of the original books rather than the series as a whole (what exactly is happening in these new books and do we all consider it canon???), but this is also a strong contender for a TV show and I am here for it.

When I first read these books, I just had never seen someone use words in this way before. The contradictory thoughts. The almost lyrical way. I was in love!

Read the review here!

The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner

The Serpent KingWe started with a contemporary YA novel, so we might as well end with one. There’s a certain way I like to describe this book and it still holds true, and that’s “This book will push you down to the ground and then be the hand to reach out and help you get up again”. It’s just true.

Read the review here!


These were the books I have been told I am associated with regularly and that’s totally cool with me, but very briefly, I want to list some that I WISH I was also known for (by clicking on the title, you’ll be redirected to my review for it):


Were there any unexpected books on here? I am not really surprised that there are no new releases, but did I miss a book? Have you read something because of me before? I’d really love to hear about it!!

Kat Made Me Watch/Read It! (Part 1)

This post has sort of come to be in order to celebrate a beautiful milestone in this blog’s history and that is 2,500 followers on WordPress for Life and Other Disasters! I am in awe of all of you lovely people who have stuck with me through thick and thin or even just recently joined the flock (that sounded weird. I apologize!). The idea is simple, while I do blog mostly for myself, noting fills my heart more than people telling me I was responsible for them watching/reading something and it turning out to be something they’ve enjoyed. So, I would like to do a series of posts spotlighting the movies, TV shows and books that I have been told people associate with me the most. So, basically, stuff I have “influenced” them to read or watch because of my posts either here or on twitter or elsewhere.

Today, I am starting with some movies! Most of you know me for my TV obsession, so this is a perfect light start to the matter, because there really weren’t all that many movies I could think of. If this is something you’ll enjoy beyond the three posts I have planned though, I am more than happy to maybe establish this as a yearly feature (possibly on blogiversaries?), but … one step at a time.

Set It Up

The way Netflix still hasn’t sponsored any of my posts, despite more than half my content being about their content is a tragedy. However, when it comes to movies, I think most of you remember my absolute freak out over their romcom Set It Up. First of all, how dare there not be more romantic comedies these days? They are fun, great escapism and when done right, something you can watch a hundred times and not get bored. Secondly, whoever cast Glen Powell and Zoey Deutch as the leads is basically a genius, because, in my eyes, they have found the next Tom-Hanks-Meg-Ryan-combo. And thirdly, this movie is just wildly relatable on so many levels. I, as a writer/bloger/creative-person trying to get by with business stuff that I feel very loyal towards but that distracts me, found myself in Zoey’s character especially.

Good news for all of us – Glenn and Zoey are currently working with the director to maybe create a sequel? Either way, they have worked together before and they will work together in movies again. Their friendship and chemistry is too great to waste!

Little Women

I was surprised by this, because it’s a rather recent film. Then again, Greta Gerwig is an absolute director idol of mine and we all know how much I adore Saoirse and Timothée, especially when they are on screen together. But Florence was also brilliant in this movie and so was everyone else.

I have the script at home, because Greta was kind enough to make it available publicly, and even though there are slight changes to the final product, I am still so very much in love. The tone, the intertwined timelines, the acting, the way this story still hasn’t gotten old – it’s perfect! PERFECTION! I can literally read it at any time, see the scenes in my head and get all the emotions I had while experiencing the movie for the first time all over again.

Last Christmas

Another surprise to me when I heard it, but when my good friend and blogging buddy Marie (@Drizzle and Hurricane Books) tells me she associates me with the movie Last Christmas, I am not going to argue with her! Maybe, and I really don’t know if that is true, but maybe it had something to do with me seeing the movie months before its release in the presence of Emilia Clarke and Paul Feig? I got to go with some work colleagues when the movie had a special premiere in Berlin and I had a grand time. We got an advent calendar (which I have still saved somewhere in my room, even with all the chocolate gone), a green Christmas hat and free drinks.

Aside from all that, I obviously also had a good time at the movie itself. I am not sure it will become a Christmas classic really, mostly because I guessed the twist from the trailer, but I do enjoy being right … a lot.


Did I miss something crucial? Are there movies you have watched because of me? Please, tell me all about it!!! This is what I live for ❤

Trailers You Might Have Missed … (March 2-8)

I hope you are all doing well! There’s not much to talk about considering that my last post was my monthly wrap-up, so let’s dive right into the trailers!

Movies

Banana Split

THIS IS MY KIND OF MOVIE!!! (I seriously wouldn’t even have minded if they’d made it gay)

Connected

They kind of lost me a little bit with the robot apocalypse? But it still has great animation style.

Artemis Fowl

I hear people who have read the book aren’t into this.

Lost Transmissions

It’s not something I’d expect Simon Pegg in, but I am not against it.

Antebellum

I still think this looks cool?

Only

This … this is exactly like that Casey Affleck movie? Just that it was about his daughter instead of his wife? Why are they producing all these movies where women go extinct???

Seven Stages to Achieve Eternal Bliss

This is the kind of strangeness I expect Taika Waititi to partake in …

Greyhound

I am sorry, but war movies just really aren’t my thing.

Blue Story

Peoples feels about this movie are very mixed and I don’t know what to say about it, cause I don’t think it’s my lane?

Radium Girls

I don’t know why (maybe The Kissing Booth?) but I can’t take Joey King all that serious.

Proxima

Apparently they worked really close with ESA experts to make this movie realistic, but Eva Green is spectacular either way.

Sea Fever

This has been done so many times, it’s just in the sea this time around.

The Other Lamb

Cult movies are just creepy beyond anything.

TV Shows

I Know This Much Is True

We don’t just get one, but TWO Mark Ruffalos in this!

Unorthodox

The first shot is of Berlin and then it just continued far different from what I expected. But it’s very Berlin in the end.

The English Game (Mini-Series)

Did not expect this to get so intense.

Our Girl (Season 4)

I LOVE THIS SHOW! I am actually glad Captain James isn’t in this, because he behaved so out of character last season and I didn’t like that at all. I pretend it never happened.

Elite (Season 3)

I AM READY!!! Like SO SO SO ready!!!

Casa de Papel/Money Heist (Part 4)

I am still no season 1 …

What We Do In the Shadows (Season 2)

Let the weird continue.

Siren (Season 3)

Despite this title sounding like a very me thing, I have never watched the show and therefore have nothing to say.

Ozark (Season 3)

I TRIED, okay? I just didn’t get into this show and was surprised it had a third season.

What did you think? Are there shows or movies you would like to watch? Let’s chat!