January 2019 Wrap-Up

For the first time in a long time, this section in the beginning that is always dedicated to books, isn’t completely empty. I’ve gotten a bit of my reading groove back and had a blast with most of the reads I picked. Not gonna lie, I have become even more careful with the selection of stories I actually read, just because I don’t want to end up in the slump that was the previous year again.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea  Dumplin’ Movie Tie-in Edition  Welcome to Lovecraft (Locke & Key, #1)  Echo North

Like in the olden days, click on the titles to get to my reviews and on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads!

January was a challenging month for me. I don’t want to get into the details as most of what happened was very private and took me a long time to come to terms with, so I’d rather not rehash it all. However, all of that made January feel like years and the blink of an eye at the same time. It was a strange one, so much so that I didn’t even hesitate for a second writing the date in the title. I am DEEP into 2019 already.

All that aside, I did actually post a couple new chapters in the Google Doc for the #witchyWIP that still roams my mind just … every single day. I haven’t had the time and energy to write the way I wanted to, but maybe going with the craze and switching to Comic Sans as a font did help a little bit. I have also decided to publish the existing chapters on wattpad in the near future. Any takers for that? (I hope so, because at least some people were interested in a little Twitter poll I did)

So, while I’ve been productive to a certain degree and able to balance some aspects of my life better than others, I am somewhat glad this month is over. It just wasn’t exactly a smooth start into 2019.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

Hands down, it just HAS to be a tie between Halt and Catch Fire and the Roswell reboot on the CW. Both of those shows have completely enthralled me for very different reasons, so don’t make me choose!

Halt and Catch Fire has complex characters that aren’t really likable … at all. They are so very flawed, but as you watch, they grow on you big time and you cannot help but love them regardless. Also, it’s set in the world of computer programming and engineering in the 80s with excellent female badasses. 10/10 would recommend if you are into slow character studies (and a better Mad Men).

Roswell, New Mexico on the other hand is everything CW represents and I am here for it. It has beautiful actors and actresses, most of whom will look very familiar from previous shows on the network. It feels very current, with them not holding back on making political statements and trying their best at integrating LGBTQ+ characters (I say try, because sometimes they are misguided, but I give them A for effort). Most importantly though, I like this reboot so, so, so, so, so much more than the Charmed one (They lost me when they butchered the whole whitelighter storyline). Roswell, NM is nothing like the show from the 90s, but you DEFINITELY have the chemistry between the characters. It works that they are all aged up to adults and I feel like they all got more pressing conflicts than their High School equivalents did. It’s still early days, but I am in love.

MY POSTS

2018 IN REVIEW

TV SHOW/MOVIE RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

That was a short recap of my month of January! I hope you had a less turbulent start into the new year and I am looking forward to chatting with you!

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi (Book Review)

Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count
: 310

Tahereh Mafi is one of my all-time favourite authors. I haven’t read everything by her, however, most of what I have read was more in the dystopian (??? gosh, I am terrible with genres) category, whereas A Very Large Expanse of Sea is Mafi’s first YA contemporary! I wasn’t sure how her writing style would translate to this genre, but it was a truly amazing read!

Where to even start? Set one year after the terrible events of 9/11, it chronicles a particularly memorable time for Muslim teenager Shirin. You can immediately tell that it is a very personal story and while I don’t know all the specifics that went into this book, I am certain that Tahereh drew some parts of it from her own experiences. Even though I can’t say I was really a teen in 2002 just yet myself, I was slowly getting there, and it instantly brought back some memories from that peculiar time. I remember the news reports and the fear and all that even though I was living on an entirely different continent. But I also associate those years with a certain kind of nostalgia, when everything was getting more digitalised while not quite being there yet.

Aside from a setting I could easily wrap my head around, I was most enamored with the characters. Shirin is a no-bullshit kind of narrator and a really smart one at that. She manages to paint a picture of all the people in her life in a way that makes them seem real, even if you only meet them briefly on the page. Her growing relationship to Ocean was exactly how I picture teens in love for the first time. Everything happened fast but at the same time with caution and the awareness that the other person might just have the power to break their heart.

The entire story tackled so many different topics. This isn’t just a love story, although there certainly is a focus on it, but also a tale about family, friendship, finding your passions and having to handle racism and Islamophobia. It hurts deeply to know that there are such vastly ignorant and hateful people out there. I always wished that those parts of the story were fiction only, but unfortunately that’s not the case.

Lastly, Tahereh Mafi finished the story off in the most bittersweet way. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I am not going to go into the details here, but it felt right to end it in that certain way, while you also wanted so much more afterwards.

Fazit: 4/5 stars! This book was packed with so much in such few pages in comparison.

Have you read A Very Large Expanse of Sea? Is it something you’d be interested in? How did you feel about Tahereh writing in another genre? Let’s talk about it!

November 2018 Wrap-Up

Can you believe it? I actually read something last month. It doesn’t really warrant a full round-up of books, as it was one singular novel, but I am still glad that books haven’t left my life entirely. I read Juliet, Naked by Nick Hornby (click on the title to get to my review) but I also got halfway through A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi. I am enjoying it a lot so far, but I was just super busy and didn’t get around to finishing it before the end of the month.

So, what else has been happening in November? It was a time of doing nothing and way too much at the same time. I still haven’t managed to make any friends outside of work. That fact leads to me really looking forward to the weekend and having a little bit of a break, while also dreading it endlessly because I will be all by myself. However, no one can tell me that I haven’t made an effort!

During the past month, I went to a number of events – some related to work, others completely on my own volition! I got to go to the opening of a new cinema, where they showed an exclusive advance screening of Fantastic Beasts 2. Also, the opening screening (with one of our films) of the French Film Week in Berlin, and two concerts. I was especially excited about the Hozier concert, because I’ve seen him live before and it was the best.

The concert turned out to be even better than I expected. I was seated (this was a surprise as the event wasn’t supposed to be seated) right behind the opening act (Saint Sister) and Andrew basically sang while looking our way the entire time. In a way, it felt a little like he was singing it all to me and I still felt free enough to sing my heart out in return.

And then, this week, Saint Sister was back in Berlin playing their own gig and I went to that concert too. Again, I was kind of on my own on this one, but Saint Sister (just like Hozier) and their opening act, Ciaran Lavery, are all from Ireland and there were a lot of Irish people around, I sort of felt at home. I honestly don’t really know what happened, but I was in this crowd of strangers and they were playing beautiful music and … I just started crying and didn’t even care? Afterwards, I had a really nice chat with Ciaran and I wasn’t even the one who approached him. He started talking to me and what has my life become?

I want to do more of those things. Maybe find more Irish acts who perform in Berlin? Because I have a feeling that the same people tend to visit those gigs and maybe that will mean I’ll finally find some likeminded folks and hopefully also friends here? Anyway, it was all a lot of fun and really exciting but at the same time massively exhausting. I am still surprised I didn’t get sick like 80% of my co-workers did.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

It simply has to be the fact that I actually got to meet Andrew (Hozier) after the concert. He is the kindest, tallest bean out there and he even signed my ticket. What a lovely bloke!

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

Again, I was terribly bad at keeping up with your posts, unless you tagged me in them. However, a couple of you took part in NaNoWriMo and I just want to say I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! No matter if you wrote 1 or 50,000+ words, you attempted something brave and deserve recognition for it. So, if you have a round-up on your NaNo experience or any other kind of post you’d like to share with me, don’t hesitate to leave a link in my comments!

MY POSTS

WRITING RELATED

ALL KINDS OF TAGS

TRAILER POSTS

This was my month! How was yours? Do you have any kind of favourite type of event where you like to meet new people? Let’s chat!

October 2018 Wrap-Up

Once again, I am coming at you with a wrap-up when I have read absolutely zero books. I don’t know what exactly causes it, but I felt so busy with life and so uninspired to do anything else, that I basically didn’t pick up a book until a week or so ago. I am currently reading A Discovery of Witches, but I am only 30% into the book, so the review will have to wait a while (as for the show – GO WATCH IT!)

Generally, I do feel like I am becoming more myself again though. Not that Berlin changed me as a person THAT much, but overall, I just didn’t have time or energy or motivation to do a lot of things that I would typically consider to be me-things. However, I have managed to post a couple blog posts that weren’t just the usual Sunday trailer round-ups and I even got back into drawing again. I haven’t painted anything in such a long time, it was entirely strange to do it in a new setting with different lighting and materials. So, while this may not be the most perfect Teresa Palmer/Diana Bishop (yes, the only thing I managed to draw was a person from A Discovery of Witches), I am still very happy with the outcome! I think it’s some of my most detailed work with watercolors I have done so far.

Since it is already November, I also want to announce that I am taking part in NaNoWriMo! For those of you new to the subject, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is supposed to be a motivational event to get you to finish your work in progress or reach at least 50K words in the span of that one month. Feel free to add me on the website (click here for my profile info) and hold me accountable as I go along. I am not actually striving to hit 50K with my #witchyWIP, but I just want to make sure I do write a little bit every day or as often as possible this month.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

If you haven’t guessed it yet, I don’t know how to help you, because my favourite thing of the month is obviously A Discovery of Witches. It’s probably annoying how much I talk about it on here, but I am absolutely mesmerized by that show. It is beautifully shot, it has haunting performances of both Teresa and Matthew, as well as the remainder of the cast and the story is really interesting. There’s actual science or at least the need for science to explain the origin of all species and to prevent the supernatural creatures from dying out. If that’s not a great spin on star-crossed lovers then I don’t even know.

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

I know I have been absolutely, not-shockingly-at-all absent from your blogs. I am truly sorry for that, but keeping up with the things on my own platform were sometimes all I could handle. Still, I want to at least highlight a little of my friend’s work and especially Marie’s part in the Shattering Stigmas series of this year (although everyone who contributed did an amazing job and was so brave for opening up!). And since it’s the month of NaNoWriMo, I also want to mention a great post on Plotting and Planning your WIP by Beth! I am sure you can find some great ideas and approaches there or at the very least a good platform to discuss how you tackle your writing.

MY POSTS

ALL KINDS OF TAGS

TRAILER POSTS

How was your month? Did you read or watch something good? Let’s chat all about it – especially if you have watched A Discovery of Witches as well! 

June 2018 Wrap-Up

Can you believe we are wrapping up June already? I have to say, I thought this year would go very differently from the way it did. Anyways, I am actually quite happy with the amount of reading I managed this month. And I am even more happy that the number of books I am behind on my Goodreads challenge is slightly decreasing. Here is what I’ve read:

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)  The Immortalists  Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)  The Song of Achilles  To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)

As always, click on the title to get to the review on the blog and on the cover to get re-directed to Goodreads!

I have become increasingly frustrated with the lack of progress in certain areas of my life. I know that I am definitely partially responsible for it, but it isn’t ALL on me and therefore I feel a little stuck. That’s never a nice feeling, so I tried to do as much as possible and to keep as busy as I can and succeeded in doing so. I went to a small film premiere for one of the funniest Austrian movies I have seen in recent years, I also got to go on a set visit for an Austrian TV show that hasn’t even aired yet and went to the monthly board game night one of my friend’s coordinates. In addition to that, I went to the movies with an entire branch of my family, there were several birthdays and I started to go to yoga again. It’s all baby steps, but I will get where I need to go in the end.

I am also really happy to have established a sort of routine for myself, which involves working on Arcadia for at least three days a week. I did publish a new chapter, but I want to hopefully upload more than one per month from here on out. Also, I have come to the conclusion that Arcadia will be a duology and even though there is still a couple chapters left in part one of the series, it will be done rather sooner than later. It took me a while to figure out what was holding me back in writing more, until I gathered that there was just too much I wanted to pack into one book. This will make things a whole lot easier for me! Nonetheless, I could use your motivation more than ever and I just love getting feedback and reactions! Read Arcadia here if you haven’t yet and let me know what you think!!

Lastly, it was my 5-year-blogiversary and I had so much fun answering all YOUR questions! If you missed the posts, I put the links below and if there are still questions you want to ask me, you can do so in the comments. I did a little giveaway and my good friend Marie won and she recently received her gift and I couldn’t be happier that she likes it! Also, Life and Other Disasters now officially has more than 2000 WordPress followers and I am so happy this happened in the blogiversary month.

FAVOURITE THING OF THE MONTH

This is a kind of random segment I just established in this very moment. Basically, I want to showcase a book/show/movie/song that was my absolute favourite thing of the month. For all of you who follow me on Twitter, you’ve probably noticed a short period of time, where my account has basically become a fan account for the movie Set It Up, but I was just so in awe of it! It’s very much in the spirit of older rom-coms (which I have missed SO much) but it is current and has an amazing cast. I watched it several times and have no regrets whatsoever! (The pizza scene is iconic forever!!!)

ELSEWHERE ON THE BLOGOSPHERE

I like that this little section has become a fixture in my wrap-up because all of you are creating such great content and I just feel like it needs to be shared.

  • T. Mack is a fellow blogger I feel like I have a lot in common with, so I was extremely delighted to see her spotlight the show Queer Eye. We all need it in our lives and I just hope everyone reads the article and then watches the show! There is no makeover show this impacting anywhere else out there.
  • The Orang-utan Librarian gives us another writing insight post on the difference between showing and telling (something I have personally struggled with)!
  • Sophie tells us all reasons as to why we should participate in Camp NaNo and explains the whole event a little further for people who are unfamiliar with it.
  • Meggy does something unplanned and gets personal and it is beautiful!
  • Lia wrote an amazing post to bring awareness about romance in media and how you apparently can’t find a happy ending if you are not willing to be in a relationship (which is totally not the right way of thinking!!).
  • Lois got to visit Canada this month (guess who was super jealous and wanted to hide in her suitcase?) and has written her first travel diary post! I cannot wait for the rest of it!
  • Nicka wrote this really relatable post about getting lost in your 20s and how it’s okay to not have it all figured out.
  • Lastly, I GOT INTERVIEWED! Deborah was so kind as to ask me some really interesting questions for her Blogger to Blogger series and I’d love it for all of you to check it out and maybe find out something new about me.

MY POSTS

BLOGIVERSARY POSTS

ALL KINDS OF POSTS

MOVIE/TV RELATED

TRAILER POSTS

So, this was my month! What do you think? Let’s chat about all the things that happened!

Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (Book Review)

Publisher: MCD Fsg Original
Page Count
: 200

Once again, I have turned to Twitter to help me make a decision and once again the result was a tie (Why do you keep doing this to me?). So, I have made the decision to review the first book, Annihilation, of the Southern Reach trilogy and that I will do another post for the movie and the remaining books. I still haven’t watched it yet, just because I have heard that there are some parts of the other books in it, even if it is supposed to only be about the first one and I don’t want to be spoiled. But for those of you who wanted a big post about everything concerning this series, you will still get it when I am done reading and watching.

I went into this book with fairly low expectations, which probably helped me incredibly in getting completely sucked into the world. I can see how the writing might not be for everyone, as it is very factual and without many embellishments. I would even go so far as to call it cold and distant, but considering the setting we were in, I kind of appreciated that scientific detachment. In a way, it added a layer of realism to it more than a flowery language ever could.

You never find out the names of any of the people involved, our MC is simply called the biologist. She wants you to think that she is objective when she details what happened in Area X, but it is very clear that she had an agenda of her own when she got there. Some part of me never quite liked the biologist, but at the same time I could relate to her on so many levels. I understood her need for solitude and I share the same ability of completely getting lost in my work. And I might not be identical to her when it comes to friends and family, but I still sort of got her behaviour.

Despite everything this book is, I didn’t expect to also find a heartbreaking love story in it, but all the bits about the biologist and her husband gave me exactly that. I am not saying those parts were my favourite … but they kind of were. It was so much about letting people in, knowing them in ways no one else does and about how everyone needs something different from a relationship.

“I loved him, but I didn’t need him, and I thought that was the way it was supposed to be.”

Should you ever pick up this book, I hope you don’t expect to find answers in it. It is an enigma until the very end. It probably leaves you with more questions than you started out, but there is beauty in its mystery. I am very much looking forward to what the next books have in store for me, but I also have a feeling that we, as the readers, will never get that full picture of everything. Still, it is so very imaginative and chilling! I know I probably should have been scared (seen as this is a sort of Horror SciFi book? And I hate horror?) but I was weirdly fascinated instead. I am also very curious to see how that all translated to the screen, even though I already know that they changed quite a bit (and made it look scarier from what I could tell from the trailer).

Fazit: 4.5/5 stars! A promising start to the trilogy.

Did you read the book? Did you watch the movie? Let’s talk!

Midnight Sun by Trish Cook (Book Review + Movie Trailer)

Publisher: Poppy
Page Count
: 272

Usually when I talk about books and movies in one post, the movie came AFTER the book. I am not sure that’s the case here. Please don’t hold me accountable for that info, but from what I gathered online, the movie is based on a Japanese film from the year 2006 and therefore they wrote the book for the American movie. I guess this is one of the rare occasions where you wouldn’t have to read the book before watching the movie? The two could still differ from one another, but looking at the trailer it looks exactly the same.

But now on to the actual content! To me, it felt like Everything, Everything meets A Walk to Remember but a tinsy bit less emotional? Despite the seemingly heavy topic, I mostly had a lot of fun reading this book. Admittedly, there were some rather cringey exchanges at times, but I never took them too seriously and therefore could laugh through them. The characters were cute and relatable teens with dreams and aspirations of how they and their love might change the world. The pacing seemed well chosen for the progression of the story and never seemed too rushed. It’s also not a very long read, which is something I gravitate more towards when my schedule gets busy.

All of that is well and fine, except that it never truly hit home on the emotional component with me. Don’t get me wrong, I liked the book a lot, but I just think that there was more room for depth and character development. A lot of it felt cliché or stereotypical, for example the mean girl that remains a mean girl for a century and becomes personified evil just because she is jealous of the seemingly perfectly adorkable but hot MC. I prefer a little more reasoning and nuance with my villains. Also, while I get that the lonely girl trapped in her house enjoys people watching and will inevitably develop crushes on reoccurring faces, please don’t ever normalise stalky behaviour as cute. Again, I understand that this is a very particular situation, but I just want to point out that the person on the receiving end should always be a bit wary if they notice tendencies like that.

If that doesn’t bother you, I am sure you will enjoy this sweet love story. I am not going to promise you a happy ending, but a wild ride of adorably awkward dates, some great female friendship, caring parents, melancholy and a tad of broken heart.

Before I leave you with the trailer, I just want to say that I really appreciated that little definition and the provided links to explain XP at the end of the book. They clearly stated that they may have taken a couple liberties (e.g. how fast it progresses in Katie’s case) but they also showed that they have done their research and wanted to portray it as accurately as possible.

But enough from me, here’s the trailer:

Fazit: 3/5 stars! A really great and fast read that could have used some more depth.

Have you read the book? Are you interested in checking it out? Are you going to watch the movie? Let’s talk!