August 30, 2014

What's Making Me Happy...

1. First of all! Marit Larsen's new song "I don't want to talk about it" - which I don't believe has an oficial video yet, so I can't link to it, but if you go to her site ( you can listen to as it starts playing when the page loads. 

I think it might be my favorite song of hers (and I LOVE most of her songs). The album drops sometime in October (in Norway) and I hope I'll be able to buy the song then since the single is only available in Norway as of now. The video bellow is of a preview she did with radio station in Norway.

2. Last week's Pop Culture Happy Hour (Live from the Bell House, around minute 16:14) is one of the funniest things I've heard in ages!!! 

3. I've accepted the challenge to teach English (as a language) this term at my school, I'll still be teaching Ecology and Geography, but yeah! time to venture into something new. I also got 94/100 points in my performance review for last term. :D highest I've gotten, ever. 

4. My favorite Pirate who is a Penguin (a.k.a. Sandy) has been slapping my hand away from the netgalley- request button lately so I've actually managed to make a little dent on my For Review Pile. 

5. Discovering romance authors Caroline Linden and Theresa Romain, whose books I'm growing to love so very much. 

August 28, 2014

ListManiac: Reboot, Remake, Sequel!!

Here is my list of the shows I would like to see rebooted, remade or with a sequel! To clarify:
Reboot - Complete redesign of the series, altering the status quo of the characters
Remake - Do over of the series, with the same premise and character's histories.

Here we go:

5. Candy Candy - Reboot and Sequel
This is a series that I saw when I was a kid and it's still extremely popular in my country and much of Latin America... and Italy, apparently. It tells the very sad story of a girl named Candy White who gets adopted by a very rich family from Chicago, falls in love twice but both romances end badly (because of REASONS) and she eventually becomes a nurse around the time of the WW1 (and if you trust the Italians, starts 'dating' her quasi-adoptive father - who is only, like, five or six years older than her )

Yep, this is a story where all of that (and more) happens and its AWESOME. The thing is that the quality of the animation is rather poor (the series must be almost 30 years old and it shows) and it ends very abruptly because the author and illustrator started to have problems with each other and with the production company so the anime series (and the novels it's based on) ended in a very infuriating "dot dot dot". I think a reboot would be lovely because it could streamline the story, but I'll settle for a sequel with an actual ending.

4. Ouran High School Host Club - Sequel
OHSHHC suffered from the fact that the manga was still being published (and fair ways off from being done) when the anime series was produced, so they had to find their own ending and took some weird detours from the manga (which ended in a very satisfying way even if it did suffer a weird holding patter in the middle of the story where nothing happened for chapters on end).

But still, the anime ended in a very open way and I honestly thought there would be a second season, particularly because Ouran was and still is wildly popular. But, alas, it's all rumors until now (though I think they did a life action version, I don't know which route it took, manga vs anime). Anyway, I would love to see the story continued and this characters I love so much blissfully happy. Maybe even an Ouran: The College Years series since we didn't see much of that in the manga.

3. Daria - Remake
I had a hard time calling this one because Daria (as produced by MTV) was a very strange animal, the animation wasn't great and the character designs were deliberately simple and drab (production costs and Daria's general state of mind? Who knows?) but the truth remains that it still speaks strongly to people of my generation and I still watch the series religiously whenever MTV airs it. I love Daria, I don't want her updated or rebooted, I don't want her made into a Millennial (that would really piss me off), but I would love to see the animation revamped a bit and maybe a few more stories into how Daria eventually coped with her world.

Because the one thing that always struck me about Daria (and which I notice more an more with every re-watch) is that although Daria is a bit bitter and cynical and cutting in her remarks about her own generation, her friends and herself, this is not a downer series.

There is hope all through out: that one day she'll get along with her parents, because Daria and her polar opposite sister Quinn tell each other the things they need to hear the most when it counts, because Daria stole her best friend's boyfriend, and then broke up with him and still remained friends with both. And hope because, as depressed as she sometime seems, Daria really wants to be happy deep down, she just happens to recognize that high school is not her moment, but that doesn't mean she won't get there.

2. Gilmore Girls - Sequel
No matter what Kool-Aid you are drinking or how OK you are with the ending of the series, if you were a fan of Gilmore Girls, you have to admit that the series ended abruptly. In a hopeful place, sure but, DAMMIT I WANT CLOSURE!!!!

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I want to see my characters be happy, specially when I suffered through that God-Awful season 6 with them!!!!!!!! I wanted to see Luke and Lorelai actually make a go of their lives together, and Rory becoming a kick ass reporter, and maybe get back together with Logan or Jess in the future. Lorelai and Sookie being super successful with their inn. And Paris! There is never enough Paris, sorry.

1. First Shop Coffee Prince - Sequel
This is a Korean Drama (my favorite ever) that tells the story of how an arrogant rich boy is forced to make a success of a small business (the Coffee Prince Coffee shop) on his own without help from his family, and how in the process he falls in love with one of his employees, even though he thinks she's a guy for most of the story (and she even pretends to be his gay lover for a while, just to annoy his grandmother). Both leads were great and had awesome chemistry together and I always expected them to make a second series.

They even hinted heavily at something called "Coffee Princess" in the finale, but then the lead actor had to go do his obligatory military service and I think that cooled off the plans some. He hasn't been making many dramas since his service ended though, and that makes me sad in and of itself. But yeah, I want more of this awesome story.

So that's me! Let me know what do you think and if you got a TV series that you would like to see Remade, Rebooted or with a sequel!! :D 

August 23, 2014

The Nightingale Girls by Donna Douglas

At First Sight: After seeing the nurses from the Nightingale Hospital run about in their uniforms and smart capes, Dora began to dream about becoming one of those nurses herself. Not an easy task as she comes from an improvised family in the East End, but she sees no other way to escape an awful situation at home.

When she gets her chance, Dora is amazed but the world of the Nightingale isn't exactly as she imagined, something that becomes obvious when she starts sharing a room with Helen and Millie.

Helen's mother is in the board of trustees of the hospital and likes to control everything that Helen does  - from how long her hair is to how starchy her uniform should be - and, as a result, Helen is extremely reserved and none of the other girls in the nursing program like her.

Millie - or Lady Camilla - left her aristocratic home and matchmaking grandmother behind to become a nurse, but she's constantly having trouble in her clases as the instructors don't like her rebellious and carefree attitude.

But, agains the odds, they start forming a friendship between them.

Second Glance: The Nightingale Girls sounded plenty fun when I first read the official burb, and it said that people who liked Call the Midwife (and we all know I do) would like this series. So I went in thinking it would be something like that.

But it really wasn't, I mean, it had similar elements to it but I have always found the over all tone of Call the Midwife to be overwhelmingly positive and hopeful, and there were times when Nightingale Girls was a little too dour and sad and, lets face it, depressing.

The writing was good and I grew to like all the girls eventually, they all had their demons to face, and I even liked the director of the nursing program. I just wish there had been a bit more fun in the story.

It did bring the 1930's hospital environment to life so that was a plus. 

Bottom Line: The Nightingale Girls was okay. I won't be rushing to buy the next one in the series but I'm glad I read this book all in all. 

August 19, 2014

Book Review: The Angry Little Puffin by Timothy Young

The Deal: Being a Puffin in the penguin's enclosure at the zoo is hard. For starters, no one knows what he is and everything just says he's a "Funny little penguin".

But he's not a penguin!!! And he's tired of hearing that everyday!!

My Thoughts: This books was adorable. I like puffins, it's actually what my sister calls me most of the time, but they certainly aren't as mainstream as penguins and in this little book, one little puffin is suffering from it.

But it only takes one person to really see him to make him feel loads better.

A really adorable book for kids!

August 17, 2014

What's Making Me Happy...

Hello my dears! I have a few things making me very  happy this week. Well, these past few weeks. 

1. Mah puppy is doing well! He even put on a bit of weight and is enjoying being the most spoiled being at my house. We still needs to gain a few pounds more but he's eating well.

2. This video: 

And the many gifs that came with it.

3. A little behind since I saw this a couple of weeks ago, but Guardians of the Galaxy is still making me extremely happy though I haven't been able to go see it again.

4. Orphan Black. I just finished watching both seasons and I'm so in love with this series!!!! I swear. My only problem is that I can't decide if I'm Team Paul or Team Cal... I'm deeply conflicted over which one I love the most. 

5. Just having time to relax a bit after the hectic term I had at work... 

August 16, 2014

Book Review: The Friendship Pact by Tara Taylor Quinn

At First Sight: Koralynn and Bailey have been best friends since they were 5 years old, and have gone through life's milestones together with Bailey often staying at Kora's house as her mom's life imploded over and over again with the comings and goings of her stepfathers, and later with them rooming together in college.

There is nothing to test their friendship, not even Kora's husband Danny- her high school sweetheart -  who never warmed toward Bailey, even though he has known her just as long as he has known Kora - partially because Bailey keeps on breaking Danny's best friend Jack's heart time and again.

Bailey thinks she's not built for relationships, not the way Kora is anyway, and after ending things with Jack, Bailey realizes that she really doesn't want a husband - much as she does love Jack, she's terrified of being married to him - but she definitely wants a child; and, much to Kora's displeasure, she wants to try IVF.

Kora herself is trying to get pregnant, and she's so happy with her life that she wants Bailey's life to be just like hers - with a nuclear, traditional family at the center - so she's dead set against Bailey being a single mother. Bailey hates fighting with Kora and not being able to share this with her, but she finds an unexpected ally in Danny, who gets why Bailey wants to go it alone (after seeing his own parents go through a nasty divorce years before). In fact, someone like Danny would be the perfect donor for Bailey... if he weren't married to her best friend.

Second Glance: The Friendship Pact is not my usual cup of coffee (I don't drink tea), it's not even like the Cosmo I drink once in a while when I crave alcohol but don't wanna get drunk. It's some strange mix, like when you decide to try all the flavors at the soda machine at once. It's strange, can't say is GOOD, but it's oddly addictive.

That's pretty much how I felt about this story - and let me tell you that what I said above is barely but one half of the Bailey and Kora's journey. It's strange, it's a bit "everything and the sink" yet, I couldn't put it down, I HAD TO KNOW where everything ended (and I found myself a little sad when it was over, like I needed an epilogue or something).

Like I said it's a complex story that has at it's center, a deep, deep bond of friendship. Kora and Bailey have this little phase between them: "I would give you my kidney" / "I would give you two", and they really mean it, that's how much they love each other, but their lives are very, very different. And they get tested, a lot, through the course of this book.

Jack and Danny are important players too. Jack is very in love with Bailey but can't handle that she doesn't want to marry him, and Danny is often in the middle between his loyalty to Jack and Kora's displeasure that he's not nice to her best friend. 

Bottom Line: The Friendship Pact is a very messy, tangled web of things. Sometimes it felt like too much but it was very addictive and, in the end, I guess I did care about these people a lot. It was a very interesting exercise 


August 15, 2014

Book Review: Her Best Laid Plans by Cara McKenna

The Deal: Following a bad break up (that sent 3 years of her life down the drain), 23 year old Jamie Webb is ready for some fun in Ireland, where she's on vacation ready to embark in as many adventures as she can before going home and back to school. 

But so far, her experience hasn't been great, even the authentic Irish pub she walks into is populated by old men with nary a guy her age in sight... and then the bartender shows up.

Connor Kelleher helps out at the family's bar while also trying to re-route (it went a bit off the rails after his mother died), he is instantly attracted to Jamie and when he finds out she's only staying for two weeks (and the attraction is mutual), they embark in a carefree fling... 

My Thoughts: Well, Her Best Laid Plans was a fun novella over all, I liked Jamie and Connor and I kind of got where they were both coming from. Yet the story stays very light and kind of on the surface. 

But I actually liked the interactions, they were very nice to each other and both of them knew what they were getting into. Jamie had plans and a life in Ireland, and Jamie had plans, school and a job waiting for her in Boston, she wasn't planning on staying and it was never really in the cards. 

Eventually, these two decide to give each other a chance - of course they do, this is romance!!! - but I liked how it happened. 

August 14, 2014

Burned by Sarah Morgan

Not a fan of this cover, I keep thinking
 she's gonna bite her tongue off.
The Deal: Rosie Miller is a martial artist and trainer living in London with her sister and trying to enjoy her life. Having gone through a rough childhood, Rosie took refuge in martial arts and in being strong, but there is one thing about that whole world that always brings her down: Hunter Black. 

Hunter Black was an older guy at the gym where she trained as a teenager, and they became friends and, eventually, lovers... and then he left her. And Rosie hasn't been able to have an stable relationship ever since. So Rosie is horrified when - in the middle of her latest breakup - she notices Hunter sitting on the next table at the restaurant she's at. 

Rosie tries to run away, but Hunter won't let her... and things get even more complicated when she finds out that he's her new boss. 

My Thoughts: When I read Ripped - the novella that features Rosie's sister Hayley - I was very intrigued by Rosie and what had happened to her in the past, as it's mentioned that she had gotten her heart broken before. So I was excited to read Burned... but sadly, this wasn't the greatest novella. 

For one, you never really know what the hell went down between Hunter and Rosie years before when he left, a few things are implied but most of it was guess work, and the only thing that was clear to me was that Rosie was clingy and Hunter left because they she was getting too serious of something. But, as I said, nothing is really explained (or at least it wasn't explained to my satisfaction). 

And most of the page time is taken up by Rosie and Hunter either contemplating their sexual chemistry or actually having sex. But there was little development otherwise. 

So, yeah, not a big fan of this novella.

August 12, 2014

Book Review: Season for Temptation by Theresa Romain

At First Sight: Julia Herrington knows her family is a little unconventional: her stepfather is constantly preoccupied with their livestock and her mother absentmindedly goes along with while taking care of their little children, but they all love each other in her blended family, and she particularly loves her step sister Louisa.

So she's very happy when Louisa gets engaged to Lord Matheson, a young, wealthy viscount Louisa met toward the end of her London season. Julia even likes James - as he insist to be called - when he shows up at their family home to get acquainted with Louisa family.

In fact, she might like him a little too much.

For his part, James wants to be married soon and establish a proper home, so he and his wife can offer support to his recently widowed sister (who had a tangle with scandal as a result of her husband dying while with his mistress); and he thinks proper and elegant Louisa will be a good wife for him, even if she's more of a "head-choice" and his heart isn't really engaged beyond liking her.

But, as his visit to Louisa's home progresses and she avoids all talk of wedding plans, James goes confused, not only by Louisa's behavior but also by his own response to an interest in Julia, who charms him since the moment they first met, putting them all in an impossible situation. 

Second Glance: I loved Season for Temptation, I had been a while since I read such a light-hearted, funny historical romance.

Julia was so very likable, she was funny and often said whatever she thought but she wasn't mean about it or lacked social graces completely, she was just refreshing. James was a very nice guy who rushed into a decision he later regretted but he wasn't a douche about it.

He and Julia fall in love while he's engaged to Louisa, but I could understand them and sympathize, because they both loved Louisa too in their own way, and though I didn't like Louisa for most of the story - mostly because I couldn't understand her or where she was coming from for the longest time - in the end, she proved to love Julia just as much and helped her to be happy.

And they have to go through quite a bit to get there, but the book never turned dark and moody. That was another thing I deeply loved about this book: it's lightness, and how Julia and James were always so willing to believe the best of each other, even when circumstances might have suggested otherwise.

I hate when characters jump to the wrong conclusion and have little faith in the person they are supposed to love, Julia and James have their moments of doubt, but their dispositions just incline them to believe the best of one another. 

Bottom Line: If your are looking for something fluffy and sweet and fun, I definitely recommend Season for Temptation. It's a very relaxing, romantic read. And I can't wait to read Season for Surrender. 
starstarstarstar1/2Personal Favorite 

August 11, 2014

Book Review: Crossing the Ice by Jennifer Comeaux

At First Sight: Courtney has dreamed of following the steps of her mentor and coach Emily into Olympic gold, and she's one half of a competitive figure skating pair with good chances to make it into the Vancouver Olympics... if she and her partner Mark can push themselves a little more during the olympic season.

Emily and her husband Sergei have been coaching her and Mark since they were kids... so they feel a little betrayed when they agree to coach their rival team, brother and sister Josh and Stephanie.

Having Stephanie around is never pleasant, but Josh is another story all together. He's kind and shy and slowly forms a friendship with Courtney that has the potential to turn into so much more...

Second Glance: Crossing the Ice was fun. I always find I have lots of fun with these books from Jennifer Comeaux centered around the world of figure skating.

I really liked Courtney, she was smart and funny and a good competitor, she really worked hard for what she wanted in life and appreciated all the sacrifices her parents made for her. She didn't take skating for granted.

Josh I liked too, he was really nice and I'm all for nice guys, his shyness made lots of sense to me, even though he was rich and attractive, he had never really been allowed to express much of what he was made off.

Also, I liked the fact that the book didn't gloss over what it meant for them to be on rival teams, and where their loyalties laid. The book went there with the jealousy and insecurity I'm sure lots of figure skaters experience.

Aside from that, I really liked all the other characters in the story - except for Stephanie - it was lovely to catch up with Chris and Liza and Emily and Sergei from the Edge Series, I loved how the author incorporated them without letting them overpower the story. And Sergei and Emily's twins, Quinn and Alex, are the MOST ADORABLE kids ever!

And I was left very excited for whats coming next for these two.

Bottom Line: Highly recommend Crossing the Ice, to figure skating fans and just regular people in general looking for a sweet romance. And, as I said, I'm very excited for Courtney and Josh' continued story. 
starstarstarstarPersonal Favorite 

August 2, 2014

Absentee.... Absentee

Hello my darlings!
I'm sorry I've been so quiet lately but my (10 year old) puppy has been really sick for the past few days - pneumonia, the doctor said - and everyone in my house has been in helicopter-mom mode, hovering over him.

He seems to be doing better now, but since he has lost so much weight lately, we have to feed him every few hours now that's he's on the mend. So, he's taking a lot of my time and my head space.

I am reading though, in little bits and pieces and I hope to write a few pending reviews soon.

Also, that's the reason why I didn't write my Listmaniac post of July even though I had started it already, which mans I'll have 2 Listmaniac post this months to make it up.

My first post, the July one, will be about TV series that I would like to see Reboot, Remade or Continued. For August I'm between best Opening Lines and Best Endings. I'll put that on the top-right hand side of the screen so you guys can vote.