Friday, June 29, 2012

Once Upon a Time Season 1

This review contains mild SPOILERS.

imagesCREATORS: Adam Horowitz, Edward Kitsis; CAST: Ginnifer Goodwin, Jennifer Morrison, Lana Parrilla

SUMMARY (from IMDB): Emma Swan gets the surprise of her life when Henry, the son she gave up 10 years ago, arrives on her doorstep. Returning the boy to his adoptive mother becomes complicated when Henry reveals a stunning theory to Emma. Everyone in Storybrooke, Maine is a fairy-tale character under a curse, and Emma – as the long lost daughter of Snow White and Prince Charming – is the one who can save them all. The story unfolds; interweaving scenes of the drama in the sleepy New England town and the inhabitants' past lives in the world of fairy tales. The timeless battle of good vs. evil is ready to begin again.


Prior to starting watching it I was intrigued, but at the same time I thought it might be a little boring. After all, I had been familiar with a lot of fairy-tales already. I could not have been more wrong.

While Once Upon a Time is fairly loyal to the traditional fairy-tales, the way it combines them makes everything look fresh. It is like when you are eating a cake and a memory of that delicious cake your mom made when you were a child echoes in your memory. Thus, Once Upon a Time evokes a childhood nostalgia, and at the same time numerous edgy little twists keep things interesting.

The most notable characters are Emma, Henry, and Regina. Regina is a gloriously malicious evil queen I love to hate and hate to love. She is very powerful and her strikes are brutal. However, learning the reasons why she has become the way she is and why she is doing all those bad things, I cannot help but spare her a pinch of compassion.

I like the contrast between Regina and Emma, which does not exist only in terms of good vs. evil. Regina is all about use and abuse of power, strongly immersed into the world of magic she came from. Emma, on the other hand, is a very grounded person, trusting only physical evidence, and a position of power does not corrupt her. In that aspect, Henry is not only caught between them as an adopted/biological child, but also as someone who is able to reconcile the reality of this world with the the belief in the fairy-tale land and its magic.

Mr. Gold/Rumpelstiltskin is also a very intriguing character, always hiding an ace up his sleeve, so you never know what he is up to. He is basically no better than Regina, but as well as her backstory his makes me feel some sympathy towards him. Actually, I quite like him.

Another character I liked was Sheriff Graham, and I was disappointed when he was killed off.

Although Snow and Charming are central characters, I have mixed feelings about them. In the beginning, I loved them a lot and was rooting for their story to end happily. But then everything stared to drag too much, and they did some things I do not approve of, so I became more or less indifferent towards them.

Basically each and every character in Once Upon a Time has an interesting backstory and traits worth analysing, but it would take too long, so if you want to know more, you will just have to watch the show.

The finale wrapped up the season's story arc quite well, but it left enough open space to make me want to know what happens next.

Here are my predictions and questions for season two:

  • Due to old grudges and the information newly acquired by Mr. Gold there will be an open war between Regina and Mr. Gold with everyone else caught in the crossfire.
  • Regina will continue trying to get rid of Emma and hurt Snow.
  • Henry will remain the driving force behind solving whichever problems that arise.
  • Will we learn the identity of Henry's father? Could it be Bael, Mr. Gold's son? He got out of the fairy-tale land before the curse, so it could be a possible coincidence.
  • Is August going to be okay? Might there be a romance between him and Emma?

Overall, I enjoyed this series. It was predictable to an extent and sometimes annoying (mainly Regina – but it would be something wrong with me if I were not disturbed by her actions), but not enough to put me off watching it. I am definitely looking forward to season two.

RECOMMENDATION: Once Upon a Time offers an intriguing take on numerous classic fairy-tales. If you are a fantasy type, you will like it. However, I would not recommend it to younger audience due to violent scenes which are at times quite graphic.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hiatus Update & What I've Been Up To


It's been three weeks since my hiatus announcement. Unfortunately, I have to inform you it will be prolonged, at least as far as reviews are concerned.

Personal Stuff:

As I mentioned last time, I've been going through some things. That is still the case, and the situation is unlikely to change soon. Mainly, I have to accept it and stop driving myself crazy by worrying and thinking it over and over. I am working on that, so while things aren't any better, my mind-set is getting there, slowly – you know, one step forward, two steps back.

panic         keep-calm-and-carry-on_thumb[1]

As always, blogging, even if not actively, is a big help both as a distraction and inspiration, and I am grateful to have discovered this world and so many wonderful bloggers whose posts often make me feel at least a bit better.

Reading and Reviewing

I still have trouble getting myself to read anything. I have a ton of high quality reads right beside my bed, I just cannot make myself pick them up. The only thing I am currently able to read is a not-so-good, erotic spin on fairy-tales – basically very easy on the brain power requirements. But at least I am reading again, so if that kind of reading helps me get back into full-on reading mode, it is not so bad either.


New Buttons: 

Suddenly, I wanted to have a larger, prettier social media buttons, so I made them on Tuesday. You can see them on the left, right below the GFC (Don't be afraid to click!:) )

And here's the picture:

Goodreads Lists:

Last week I discovered I had 666 (!) books on my Goodreads shelves. That was an immediate call for reorganization! :) Sure, I could've just added one more book, but as 234 books to-read is way too much, I decided to purge.

This is how it's turned out:

before                                                                         after

before               goodreads bookshelves2

So, I added a few more shelves. But I cut down the number by more than 50. And I like the shelf system better with the books shelved according to the likelihood of me actually reading/buying them:

  • must-have-it: will definitely buy
  • we-wants-it: will buy, when I feel brave enough to spend the money
  • get-it-maybe: will buy when I have some more money or if I win/get a gift-certificate, etc.
  • Interesting-but-improbable-read: would like to read, might buy if I get rich

You see, it all depends on the money I don't have.:)

Get-it-from-the-library is self-explanatory, and to-read means the books that caught my attention and might get upgraded to one of the above ways of acquisition or deleted from the list if I change my mind.

Of course, you've probably guessed, I am going to shuffle, purge, etc. from time to time. Because that's how I run.


Some books-related things have been on my mind for a while now. I know it's not worth getting upset, but I probably won't have peace of mind until I write it down. So, there might be one or two ranting posts in the future if I manage to put my thoughts together in a coherent and polite way.

 Film/TV Talk:

I still have a couple of film reviews to write. But, I've finally reviewed Once Upon a Time Season One, so the review is coming up on Friday.

Other than that, in the time I would be reading otherwise, I've been watching Supernatural from the beginning. I watched some episodes years ago and liked them a lot, but somehow I could never fit the show into my schedule. Now, I'm watching it a couple or more episodes a day (depends on how busy I am, I'm currently on season four) and I'm really enjoying it. It's basically all new to me, as I only remembered from before the initial few episodes and some events taking place in the end of season three/beginning of season four. But I really, really like it. I've said that already, haven't I? Okay, enough gushing.


 I'm Done:

So, that's about it. I hope I wasn't boring you, and if I was, you probably just skipped this stuff, which I completely understand ;). I just wanted to let you know what's been going on in case you might be interested.

Anyway, thanks for sticking with me, and I hope you are all well and having a good time! 

Monday, June 25, 2012

Liebster Award



I'm honoured to have been tagged by Jenese from Readers Confession with the Liebster Award. Thank you, Jenese!

So, even though I'm still on (reviewing) hiatus (update on that later this week), you know I can't resist a good set of questions that needs to be answered..

Accepting the award requires the recipient to :

  • share 11 facts about themselves
  • answer the 11 questions written by the person who tagged them 
  • choose 11 more questions
  • tag 11 more bloggers to answer those 11 questions

    1. 11 facts about me:

    • I can't stand heat.
    • I'm not an early riser (except when I have to be).
    • I love chocolate (doesn't everyone?).
    • My favourite colours are blue and green.
    • Being in touch with trends is not one of my strong points.
    • I daydream a lot.
    • I'm an only child.
    • I talk to myself (a habit developed due to fact #7).
    • Remembering people's names takes me a long time.
    • I'm a cat person (no, really?:) ).
    • I cannot think of one more fact.

    2. Answers to Jenese's questions:

  • When did you start blogging? Almost 2 years ago, so my bloggoversary is coming up!
  • What made you decide to blog? Chronic forgetfulness of book titles and authors' names.
  • What are your goals for blogging? Minimal: keep blogging.
  • What is best thing that's happened to you since you starting blogging? Meeting some great blogging friends and authors.
  • What is your all-time favourite book? The Lord of The Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • What is the one book/series that you would suggest to me? The Lord of The Rings of course, but since you don't seem to be into fantasy so much as I am, and you like romance, you would probably enjoy Lessons in Love trilogy by Suzanne Enoch.
  • Where do you receive your ARC's or do you only purchase your own? Living outside US/Can/UK means not many free bookish things, so buying is the thing to do. Or waiting and borrowing from the library.
  • Who is your all-time favourite author? There are a few Tolkien, Nora Roberts, Kate Mosse…
  • Where is your favourite place to read? My bed.
  • What is the greatest blogging advice that you have received so far? Be yourself and blog because/if you enjoy it. Don't force yourself to be something you are not or do something that doesn't feel right. But these go for life in general not just for blogging.
  • To lighten it up, Magic Mike comes out Friday (yahh)...who would you cast in your movie? :-) Oh, yeah! ;) I saw the trailer the other day and this is something I must see. As for who would I cast, I'm sure I could come up with some names, but I'm perfectly fine with the cast as it is.
  • 3. My questions:

    I'm cheating a little and posting the questions I wrote for another tag in the spring which no one answered, so why not use them again and save myself some time and energy.

  • Which fictional character would you be and why?
  • Which is your favourite animal?
  • If you could live in any time and place in history, apart from the present, when and where would it be and why?
  • What is one thing you are not good at but you wish you were?
  • If you could write (and enforce) any law, what would it be?
  • Do you remember the first book you bought by yourself and which was it?
  • Which was your favourite subject in school?
  • Which recent film would you recommend?
  • Which was the last book that was completely mind-blowing for you?
  • Do you read while eating (or vice versa)?
  • What is your favourite time of day?

    4. People I'm tagging:

    I'm going to cheat at this point, too, and not tag anyone. Liebster Award is meant for blogs with less than 200 followers. I really don't have time to go around checking the followers count. Also, there are so many wonderful blogs out there I don't want to do injustice to any of them by not selecting them.

    However, if you like tags and would like to do this yourself, feel free to do so. I know it kind of reduces the meaning of an award, but so what – if you put your time and energy in it, you deserve it anyway.

    And thanks again for tagging me with this award, Jenese!

    Saturday, June 23, 2012

    Book Nook #21

    Book Nooks
    *Every weekend*
    Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
    Show us something pretty!

    Commentary: I'm not sure how comfortable a place this would be, but it is in the open air, it offers a shade, and with some pillows I think it would make a pleasant reading spot for a while. The most important: it's absolutely gorgeous!

    Details: Location and artist unknown, not given in the original post. 
    Source: Indulgy.

    Sunday, June 17, 2012

    Cat Diary (20): New Toys

    This is an occasional Sunday feature where my cat, pardon, Her Majesty the Cat, offers her more or less gracious insight into my (and her) life.

    I've recently got two new toys. The first one is a wind-up mouse Pepca bought for me. It's fairly entertaining as long as it moves, but Pepca needs to keep winding it up. And that's not much fun.

    The second one is a plastic straw I stole from Pepca. Suits her well, she should know better than dropping things on the floor when I'm around (which is always). Besides, you know what they say about the forbidden fruit... Anyway, since it has got my attention, Pepca lets me play with it.

    Treat yourself to some playful moments sometime during these nice summer days!

    Till next time,

    Friday, June 15, 2012

    Book Nook #20

    Book Nooks
    *Every weekend*
    Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
    Show us something pretty!

    Commentary: This is a perfect place for summer reading. The porch is sheltered from the sun but still in fresh air. I like the natural materials and colours. Everything looks simple and uplifting at the same time. 

    Details: Location and artist unknown, not given in the original post. 

    Saturday, June 09, 2012

    Book Nook #19

    Book Nooks
    *Every weekend*
    Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
    Show us something pretty!


    Commentary: Me, height, and water beneath do not mix well. So, I probably wouldn't enjoy reading in this place, because I would be too worried that the whole structure will collapse. However, it looks gorgeous, doesn't it?

    Details: Location and artist unknown, not given in the original post. 

    Wednesday, June 06, 2012

    I Need Some Time off

    You've probably noticed that I'm not posting as much as I used to and my posts aren't as regular as they used to be.

    I've had very difficult few months for personal reasons I do not want to talk about online. For the most part, blogging has been a welcome distraction from my problems and something I enjoy and look forward to doing. But, for a couple of weeks now, I have been feeling like I have to post something – reading and writing reviews have become like chores I have to do, and this stresses me out.

    I'm also in a bit of a reading slump. I haven't read anything in more than a week (not counting rereading).

    So, I've been thinking about taking some time off for a while, and I think that time is now. It won't be a long break, just a week or two, three at the most. What this means for my blog is mainly that during this time, until I can get back into reading, there won't be any book reviews.

    However, there will be occasional other posts. Book Nooks for sure, because I enjoy looking for nice places to read. And then I might post a Cat Diary or a discussion post or anything else I might get inspired to blog about.

    Also, I've been catching up on some films (I hope I'll go see Prometheus this weekend) and TV shows. So, if I get a sudden surge of inspiration and/or will power for writing a film/TV review, I'll post it.

    Of course, I'll be reading your reviews and other posts, and comment when I can, because I still enjoy that a lot.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know the reason for the lack of book reviews in the next couple of weeks and assure you that I am not going to stop blogging. I just need a short vacation from reviewing.

    Tuesday, June 05, 2012

    Splash into Summer Giveaway Winner

    We were giving away a nice summer read (sponsored by Sasha Soren, author of Random Magic).

    And the winner is:

    Megan Williams

    Congratulations! You have been notified via email.

    Sunday, June 03, 2012

    Book Nook #18

    Book Nooks
    *Every weekend*
    Founder: Sasha Soren (Random Magic)
    Show us something pretty!

    Commentary: I love the uplifting colours and the brightness of the room. The furniture looks homey, and the armchair seems comfortable enough to curl up on for a while. Generally, the atmosphere is very pleasant.

    Details: Location and artist unknown, not given in the original post. 

    Saturday, June 02, 2012

    Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)

    SnowhiteDIRECTOR: Rupert Sanders; CAST: Kristen Stewart, Chris Hemsworth, Charlize Theron, Sam Claflin

    SUMMARY (from IMDB): Snow White is the only person in the land fairer than the evil queen. Unable to tolerate the insult to her vanity, the evil queen decides that Snow White must die. The queen sends a huntsman to kill Snow White. However the huntsman finds himself unable to murder the innocent young woman, and instead ends up training her to become a warrior capable of threatening the queen's reign.


    The best way to describe this film is to say it is like Narnia meets The Lord of the Rings meets Joan of Arc meets Peter Pan, but not for children. It contains a lot of violence and some scenes require a strong stomach. Let me elaborate: I can take in a fair share of violence and horror, but when bugs and the like start crawling, I squeal, close my eyes, and hide.

    The plot closely follows the traditional story. However, the details are touched-up here and there, distinguishing Snow White and the Huntsman from other adaptations of the well-known fairy-tale.

    The film is visually stunning, from costumes to scenery and even the gory parts. Everything makes a strong impact. The same goes for the music, which is beautiful and touching and fits the scenes perfectly.

    There is a lot of action in the film and static scenes are very few. In spite of the fast pace, which makes Snow White and the Huntsman completely absorbing, the story is easy to follow. There are a few cheesy moments, and William (Claflin) has some almost-Richard-Gere-in-First-Knight-but-not-really poses, which were both a little awkward and adorable at the same time.

    The acting is mostly solid. Charlize Theron is, as I expected, brilliant. Her evil queen really personifies malice, and yet, given the reasons she is the way she is, I cannot hate her entirely but have to spare her a pinch of understanding. Kristen Stewart is slowly improving her acting, too, so I quite liked her in this film. Oh, and there is also Chris Hemsworh's accent – you can take that as good or bad, whichever you prefer. 

    Overall, I enjoyed Snow White and the Huntsman very much. I was only somewhat disappointed that the film makers apparently had not had the courage to follow through with the title story arc, which would really make this film stand out from the rest of the Snow White adaptations. Hence, the ending left me with a sense of the story not being quite finished. 

    SPOILER (highlight if you want to see it): I expected one of the following two options, neither of which happens. I thought the huntsman would die in the end as a price Snow White has to pay for the greater good. Although, I would prefer the other option – Snow White and the Huntsman actually being together in the end. Either way would be better then concluding with them exchanging longing looks from afar. END OF SPOILER

    RECOMMENDATION: Snow White and the Huntsman is a visually attractive and captivating film. It is an interesting and fairly faithful version of the classic fairy-tale, but I would not recommend it to very young viewers due to the amount of violence it contains.