Windfall by Jennifer E. Smith (eARC Review)

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Page Count
: 432

**I was provided with an eARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review!**

This isn’t Jennifer E. Smith’s first book, however it is the first time I got to read one of her stories myself. I was immediately intrigued by the story, found the relationship between the characters beyond cute and sat on the edge of my seat with excitement for the first quarter of the book … but then it just sort of fizzled out.

Alice is very closed off and doesn’t even admit to all her feelings to herself. I am very glad that we got a view of why that was and how it changed as she realised that she didn’t have to always keep those walls up. She was smart and kind and even though I was sometimes frustrated with her when she got a little judgy, I generally really enjoyed her POV and growth. Her past was so heartbreaking, but I could definitely relate to her struggles. I know that the memory of a person can be warped over time and how you tend to put them on a pedestal or try to make them proud, even if you might have chosen a different path if it hadn’t been for them. I loved how, layer by layer, Alice found more to herself and didn’t need the approval of someone who wasn’t even there anymore.

The people in Al’s life were the best! Leo and Max deserve their own story or companion novella or something. But also the adults felt real and flawed but mostly present – something I always value in my books, be it YA or adult fiction. Unfortunately, I struggled a bit with Teddy though. I knew from the beginning that him and Alice would be endgame and that Sawyer, no matter how sweet he was, wouldn’t be a viable option. Nonetheless, I just didn’t really like Teddy. I don’t think it necessarily only boils down to just being his behaviour after he received all the money, but in general he had moments where he was just a jerk. It got better towards the end, but I wasn’t always 100% behind the motivation of his actions.

All in all I very much enjoyed the read, but most of the initial excitement soon gave way as the story took on a more predictable course.

Fazit: 3.5/5 stars! A cute story!

Have you read Windfall or other books by Smith? Do you want to?

The Boy Most Likely To by Huntley Fitzpatrick (Book Review)

tbmltTim Mason was The Boy Most Likely To find the liquor cabinet blindfolded, need a liver transplant, and drive his car into a house.
Alice Garrett was The Girl Most Likely To … well, not date her little brother’s baggage-burdened best friend, for starters.
For Tim, it wouldn’t be smart to fall for Alice. For Alice, nothing could be scarier than falling for Tim. But Tim has never been known for making the smart choice, and Alice is starting to wonder if the “smart” choice is always the right one. When these two crash into each other, they crash hard.
Then the unexpected consequences of Tim’s wild days come back to shock him. He finds himself in a situation that isn’t all it appears to be, that he never could have predicted … but maybe should have.
And Alice is caught in the middle.

Told in Tim’s and Alice’s distinctive, disarming, entirely compelling voices, this novel is for readers of The Spectacular Now, Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, and Paper Towns.

Publisher: Dial Books
Page Count: 425

For those of you who don’t know, The Boy Most Likely To is the companion novel/sequel to My Life Next Door, but told from the alternating POVs of Tim Mason and Alice Garrett. I’ve mentioned Fitzpatrick’s book a couple of times in the past and even though I guess it’s not strictly necessary, I would really recommend everyone to read My Life Next Door before reading The Boy Most Likely To. We basically pick up right where the other story left off and I guess all the relationships and what happened could be difficult to grasp without the prior knowledge of the first book.

All the while I was reading the book, I was thinking about how I could review it without spoiling absolutely everyone and it’s mighty difficult, I can tell you that! While My Life Next Door was a romance with a twist, I felt like The Boy Most Likely To was a series of twists in life with a dash of romance. In my opinion, there were so many things that were way more important and actually also more interesting than the relationship between the main characters. But where Sam and Jase’s love felt so innocent and sweet, Alice and Tim were definitely more steamy and bold, constantly flirting with each other. Since this is a YA novel though, I just want to point out that there is no explicit content and I am glad about that, because it wouldn’t have fitted the story.
I am not quite sure how I feel about the alternating POVs. My Life Next Door was told only from Sam’s perspective and I didn’t feel like it was lacking anything. Even though it was sometimes interesting to see Alice’s side of things in The Boy Most Likely To, I think her perspective was not really necessary. If you take a closer look at the book, you can also see that there is way more Tim in there than her, simply because he has more to tell. I am afraid this is as far as I can go without giving away too much of the story.

***SPOILERS***

Whether you’ve read the book yourself, or you simply don’t care about Spoilers, this is the part where I tell a little more about the story, because there is so much more to say. As mentioned in the blurb, Tim’s wild days come to haunt him – in the shape of a girl, Hester, he can’t remember sleeping with and the baby that she presents to him as his son. I absolutely adored little Cal and all his scenes with Tim together. His interpretation of Cal’s mood an thoughts was the cutest thing ever and I loved to see Tim grow like that. Even though it took him a long time to realise that he actually wants to be Cal’s dad, I was so proud of him and it broke my heart that he couldn’t actually keep him. Nonetheless, Cal and Tim, their time together and Tim getting his act together, that was my favourite part of the book! (Except for when Hester was there! I dislike that girl just as much as Grace Reed and Tim’s dad.)

As for the rest, I feel like there is still so much unresolved. Did Sam and Jase find a solution concerning their future? Will Jase get a scholarship for college? Will Sam’s mother continue to mess with their relationship? (Probably!) Is Brad still stalking Alice? Is Joel really able to live together with his girlfriend? Will Patsy ever accept that her older sister took away Tim from her? Okay, I wasn’t serious about that last one, but a lot of topics have been touched upon, but except for the Cal-storyline not many of them have been giving a proper solution.

*** SPOILERS OFF***

Fazit: 4/5 stars! I really enjoyed re-visiting the Garrets and would recommend it to anyone who liked reading My Life Next Door! I can’t give it 5 stars though, because I feel like there are still things unresolved in the end.

4stars

Did you read The Boy Most Likely To/My Life Next Door? Are you planning on reading it? What are your thoughts?

The Magicians (TV Review)

I did something stupid and watched the special preview of The Magicians and as expected I loved it and now I am angry with myself for having to wait so incredibly long. I will only roughly mention what happened, because I don’t want to spoil anyone, but I cannot help needing to talk about it.

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For all of you who still don’t know, I’ve read the Magicians trilogy by Lev Grossman this year and it’s left quite the impression on me. I already did a little trailer talk for the show, but I honestly have to say that I am relieved that I actually loved it as much as I did in the end! The series is about Quentin Coldwater, a guy who never felt like he belonged until he got invited to study at Brakebills University for Magic. In a way it’s Narnia with a dash of Harry Potter but for grown-ups (and I really mean that last part!).

The pacing in the first book was a little strange by rushing through Quentin’s education and now the show definitely isn’t wasting time either. I think it’s even more extreme than the book in some ways, but to go into detail would mean that I have to spoil you for the premiere and I don’t want to do that. Somehow they have managed to stay very true to the story and change almost everything at the same time. They’ve stayed faithful with so many details, but then they just up and went to change the timeline, names, the whole story of some characters. It’s odd at first, but because they’ve done it in such a great way, it simply works!

Another thing I have to commend Syfy for is the casting! Okay, not everyone looks the way they did in the book (I’m looking at you Penny!), but I think they made the perfect choice anyway. Jason Ralph as Quentin is this cute dork and just so much more likable than his book-version. My favourite character, Elliot, looks exactly the way I pictured him and Hale Appleman gives him exactly the right attitude. And then Julia! Stella Maeve seriously knows how to portray her despair! I could swoon over the rest of the cast just as much, but maybe you should just take a look at yourself.

The first episode pulled you right in, was funny, intriguing, extreme and fast paced. It left with a huge cliffhanger so I am happy to hear that the actual Premiere on January 8, 2016 will be a double-episode. As an enthusiast of the books, I have to say that the show gave me everything I wanted and so much more! I hope you’ll give it a try in 2016 so we can all gush together! Did anyone else watch the Special Preview?

Alice (Mini-Series Review)

I was lately reminded of the modern-day Alice in Wonderland adaptation called Alice from the year 2009. From what I know, not a lot of people have heard about it, so I think it deserves a little review/introduction.

aliceAlice’s father disappeared when she was young and she has been looking for him ever since. That made it difficult for her to form lasting relationships and when her boyfriend Jack offers her a valuable ring she freaks out a little. But soon after that, Alice has to witness Jack being abducted by several men and she follows one of them, the White Rabbit, through a looking glass into what seems like a different world – Wonderland.

Length: 2 x 85 minutes
Cast: Caterina Scorsone, Tim Curry, Kathy Bates, Andrew Lee Potts, Philip Winchester, Matt Frewer, …

Alice is definitely very far off from the original Alice in Wonderland tale and also a lot more adult. The White Rabbit and his men are basically some sort of mafia, the Mad Hatter’s tea house is a stock market for types of teas that are people’s emotions and the Queen of Hearts owns a casino. Wonderland has been wonderfully corrupted and needs Alice help now. The CGI is terrible most of the time, but I like the overall style. Somehow it captivated me and that is coming from a huge Alice in Wonderland fan.

I guess the highlight was definitely Andrew Lee Potts as the Mad Hatter, who is next to Sebastian Stan on Once Upon a Time one of my all-time favourite contenders for the role. Caterina Scorsone gives us a very cynic Alice for a change, which also makes the story more interesting. If I had to complain about something, then I would say that it wasn’t strictly necessary to make it that long. There are some tidbits inbetween that are a little psychedelic and not really after my taste. However, I love the ending and that’s what really counts.

Fazit: Please don’t expect a masterpiece, but I think that this is definitely a fun and different Alice version worth watching!

Have you maybe already seen it? Would you want to watch it?

The Magicians TV Show Trailer & Thoughts

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As I mentioned in my last post, The Magicians by Lev Grossman (click here to read my full book review!) got adapted as a TV show by Syfy. You can watch the Trailer below and then I’ll share some thoughts about the differences and similarities between the book and what I saw of the show so far. This will include Spoilers for the book though!!

So, first off, I imagined this all VERY differently. None of the people look like I thought they would, but maybe that’s for the better. The cast is mostly unknown or at least not super famous and includes: Jason Ralph, Olivia Taylor Dudley, Stella Maeve (is that why you left Chicago PD Nadia?), Hale Appleman, Summer Bishil, Arjun Gupta, Rick Worthy and Anne Dudek

For those of you who know the characters, will be happy to hear that Quentin, Elliot, Alice and Julia exist and Julia plays an even bigger role than she did in the first book. As for Janet, she’ll be called Margo now (apparently because there were already too many names with “J”!) and Penny is there too but is Q’s roommate (that so can’t work …) and he’s not a punk at all. There’s no Josh or Anaïs though …

I think the show will focus a lot more on Quentin’s time at Brakebills, the College for Magical Pedagogy he attends. We can already see Quentin’s entry exam in the trailer, which looks fairly accurate to me. There is not much trace of Fillory yet and the blurb on imdb doesn’t mention it either. BUT it was said that we’ll get an early glimpse at it because Quentin will daydream about it a lot and obviously he’s reading the books. I have no idea when exactly it will come into play, because I could imagine that they just loosely based it on the novels and want to make it a more adult Harry Potter instead. I don’t know that for sure though.

There really can’t be much more deduced from the trailer, what are your thoughts? Either way, I am excited for the show simply because it’s about magic.

New Fantasy TV Shows

So, another sequel on this year’s new fall season TV shows. If you haven’t read the previous posts, I will put the link to the others at the end of this entry.

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Season 1 Promo Poster 1

I already love the original show Once Upon a Time from ABC, even though I have to say, that I think it got a lot worse in the second season. Since the show was a huge success, I wasn’t surprised they made a spin-off, called Once Upon a Time in Wonderland focusing on Alice and her adventures. The show stars: Sophie Lowe, Michael Socha, Peter Gadiot, Emma Rigby, Naveen Andrews, John Lithgow and many more.

You don’t have to know the actual Once Upon a Time series to understand what’s going on in the Wonderland-version. Alice, who fell into a rabbit hole when she was little, tries to proove to her father that she wasn’t imagining her adventures. When she travels to Wonderland again, she falls in love with the genie Cyrus, but after he gets murdered by the Red Queen, she returns home and gets sent to an Asylum by her father. I don’t want to tell you more, because that would be the summary of the entire first episode, and I’d really like it to see it for yourself.

I still think that the visual effects look very computer animated … in a bad way (I’d almost say cheap), but that was the same in the regular Once Upon a Time. Other than that, I quite enjoyed the new take on Alice’s story and I especially liked the character of the Knave of Hearts.

Witches of East End

I am mostly very prejudiced concerning Lifetime-TV-shows, because I barely ever like them. The only one I actually tolerate is the Client List, but I wanted to at least check out the show Witches of East End.

The story is based on the novel of the same name by Melissa de la Cruz and revolves around the witch Joanna and her two adult daughters who don’t yet know about their powers. Things get complicated, when Joanna’s sister Wendy turns up to tell her that someone is trying to kill her family.

Although the show is sometimes ridiculously soapy-romantic, I actually find it quite entertaining. There is a certain level of mystery that fascinates me and I think I am going to keep watching it for a while to see how it continues. Another point that convinced me to check the show out were the actors and actresses. You’ll be able to see the following people: Julia Ormond, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Rachel Boston, Eric Winter, Daniel Di Tomasso, Mädchen Amick, Kellee Stewart, Freddie Prinz Jr., Virginia Madsen, …

 

Here are, as promised, the links to the previous posts:

https://theimpossiblegirlblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/and-some-more-tv-shows/

https://theimpossiblegirlblog.wordpress.com/2013/10/03/tvs-fall-season-has-started/

 

Are there some shows you would like me to cover? If so, just leave a comment below!