Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Netflix's A Series of Unfortunate Events & Why You Should Watch It

Last week, like just about everyone else, I watched A Series of Unfortunate Events on Netflix. I was eagerly awaiting the show, but considering how the movie turned out, I wasn't getting my hopes up too much (although just from the previews it already looked a million times better). But I watched all eight episodes in the span of two days, and I can honestly say I am SO happy with this series. I feel like it finally got the screen adaption it always deserved, and is really unlike anything on TV right now (well, Netflix...you know what I mean). I'll definitely be watching it again before season two comes out! Below I'm going in depth on certain parts of the show, and things I liked! Everything is spoiler-free, aside from one part very clearly marked SPOILER! :P

The casting in this series is excellent. The children fit perfectly. The casting for all their guardians was on point (with lots of diversity too, yay). Neil Patrick Harris makes a great Count Olaf; which I think is a tricky thing to do, and probably the biggest downfall of the movie. Count Olaf may wear laughable costumes and not always have the most common sense, but at the of the day he's a villain and a murderer who will stop at nothing to kidnap these children. Jim Carrey turned this into more of a comedic role, while NPH was able to pull off all sides of the character. However my favorite casting choice is Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket. His little narration tidbits were my favorite.

Another thing I was worried about was how the  format and pacing of the show would work. Would they cram one book into each episode? How long would the episodes be? How much of the content were they skimping on? Well, each episode is about hour long (some more, some less), and they cover one book in the span of two episodes. There's eight episodes, so season one covers the first four books. Did they skimp on content? Well...yes, but that's to be expected with any book to screen adaptation. It's just an unavoidable thing, IMO. The good news is that they still cover enough ground for you to feel satisfied. I think the two episodes per book format worked out really well, considering books 1 through 8 are pretty short anyway. However at book 9 they start to get longer (and longer...they just keep getting bigger until the final book hahah) and there's a lot more important plot points. If they end up making the shows for the entire series I hope they consider stretching the later books into three episodes.

Covering new territory
The movie covered the first three books. And while the series is very different, it was hard not to compare their adaptation of those first three books to the movies adaption of them. It sort of felt like you were watching a remake (a much, much better one, but a remake none the less). The series goes into book four, The Miserable Mill, and it was a lot of fun to see a part of the story that had never been on the screen before. For that reason I'm even more excited for season two! Plus it will include one of my favorite books in the series, The Hostile Hospital.

The parents
(SPOILERS) Ok, so a big thing this series does where you're like WOAH THIS IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE BOOKS, is the addition of the set of parents that show up at the end of episode 1 (and more throughout the season). They've been kidnapped and are trying to find a way out because "our children need us!" So at first it's like, wait, are these the Baudelaire parents (who in the books are thought dead)? Uhh ok. But then at the end of the season you learn that they are actually the parents of the Quagmire triplets. Whaaaaat. If you haven't read the books then you'll learn more about them in the next season, when they cover book 5 - The Austere Academy. But no matter whose parents they are, none of that was in the books, so it's a new addition, and I'm actually kind of curious on where it's going. (END OF SPOILERS) I'm not always a huge stickler, not in the NO THEY CAN'T DO THAT, THAT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENED IN THE BOOK kind of way. If the change is done tastefully and is not for some stupid reason (like changing friend-relationships into romantic-relationships, why?) then I don't really mind. Daniel Handler wrote most of the episodes and is also a producer for the show, so I trust his judgement. I read an interview he did, and when asked "Has the mystery itself significantly changed from the books?" he replied "I would say that the destination is the same, but the route is different." I'm ok with that...and it's kind of fun not knowing what's going to happen next!

Theme song
I just like it :) It's sung by Neil Patrick Harris, and parts of the lyrics change depending on which book you're on, giving you a little recap and sometimes little clues on what might happen next. So there are 4 different songs! Watch and listen to the first song here!

So yeah...watch this show! Even if you haven't read the books, watch it! Or if you've already seen it, tell me what you thought! I've read all the books and loved it. Andrew and my friend did not read the books, and they loved it just as much (well, maybe a little less, I admit I'm obsessed and maybe a little biased...but they loved it, really!).

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

My Year in Books - 2016

So I didn't finish my 2016 Goodreads Reading Challenge. I'm a little disappointed, but it is what it is. I know I didn't spend as much time reading as I could have, but it's hard juggling so many solo hobbies while also trying not to be a recluse ;) My goal was to read 55 books, and I read 49. That's not too bad I suppose. Anyway, I love these reading charts that Goodreads makes at the end of each year. To get yours go to this blog post and click on "see your year in books!" Now I'm going to break mine down!

Goodreads Year in Books

- The 49 books I read amounted to 9,611 pages! Woohoo! That's almost like reading Mission Earth two and a half times.

- The shortest book I read was Home Alone: The Classic Illustrated Storybook. Which was to be expected, because it's a children's book hahah. It was the only Christmas book I have and 'tis the season and all that. Unfortunately the book didn't have the same charm as the movies. I gave it two stars!

- The longest book I read was Funny Girl, by Nick Hornby. I had really been looking forward to this one because I love Nick Hornby books. I liked it, but not one of my favorites from his collection. I gave it three stars! This is one of those times where I wish Goodreads had half stars, because I think I'd give it 3 and a half.

- The most popular book I read was Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Considering that it was already a popular book and the movie came out last year, that's not surprising! This was actually a re-read. I first read the book shortly after it was published in 2009, but with the movie coming out I decided it was time for a refresher. Full review on that here!

- The least popular book I read was When Life Hands You a Lemon. It was a book I won in an Armchair BEA giveaway. Even though I gave it a low score (one star, yikes) I should mention that all the other reviews are great, and the only reason it's "least popular" is because it hasn't been read by many people.

You can see the rest of the books I read in 2016 on my Goodreads page, or by checking out the books tag here on my blog! What did you read in 2016?

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Highlights

Another year come and gone. Something I always like to do as the year comes to a close is take a look at some of the things I did that year. Scrolling through my photos, reading old logs I wrote, or spur of the moment Twitter rants. I think we can all agree that 2016 had some rough spots, but I still try to reflect on the good times as well. Times with loved ones, receiving exciting news, taking new steps forward, or just being excited about that last episode of Gotham (damn you, mid-season break!). Here's some of my highlights from 2016 :)

1 / Here's the first picture I took in 2016 :) Partial pic of my fam getting #lit on NYE, hahah. Andrew and I aren't one for big parties, so we usually keep it simple and either stay home or go to my families house. This year was even more simple than usual, because my mom was out of town, and my older brother decided to spend it elsewhere, so it was just me, Andrew, my dad and my little bro. It was cool though. More Martinelli's for us ;) We also played Star Munchkin!

2 / That same month Andrew and I went to Maryland, and got engaged in a jellyfish exhibit at The National Aquarium! I really like this picture, even though it's super grainy and we're not looking at the camera. It's the only picture we have of us with the jellyfish after it happened! Hahah. If you'd like to read more about it, I wrote a big long post about our trip!

3 / In March my mom took my brother and I to see The Book of Mormon! We all had a great time. I also bought my new favorite shirt there. You can read more about our evening here! Everyone I told was like, "Wow, I can't believe your mom wanted to go with you to see that." It was her idea!!! She also took me to see Avenue Q for my 16th birthday. Basically my mom is the best.

4 / In April I started my very first Facebook group - The Powerpuff Bloggers! For 2016 I made a resolution to start practicing healthier habits. In the end I am hoping to lose some weight, but instead of making a goal like "lose xxx pounds" I wanted to get into the habit of just living a healthier life. So even if I don't lose any weight, I can still say I'm eating better, staying hydrated and getting up and moving more than I was before. Anyway. I thought a great way to help keep myself mindful and motivated was to have like-minded peers to share things with and talk to. I already knew that many of my blog friends had similar goals, so why not start a group for us all to work on our goals together? I'm so happy I started this group, and I'm so thankful for everyone in it. If you'd like to share your health and fitness goals with a bunch of nerdy blogger gals, join our group!

5 / In that same vein - I started doing yoga! The group and I took on the 30 Days of Yoga Challenge together and we had a lot of fun. I'm still not super great at it, but that's ok. I'm getting better at it and I'm enjoying myself. I try to do it at least three days a week!

6 / I also turned 25. I'm officially in my mid-twenties T_T I'm not super big into birthdays, and I don't especially like getting older, but I had a fun day. One of my bff's and I share the same birthday. We were both working on a production of The Little Mermaid at the time but we still celebrated and had a nice day :)

7 / Spending time with friends (just like, in general). Something I wanted to work on in 2016 was spending more time with friends, saying "yes" to more invites (rather than staying home and watching Netflix), and just putting myself out there a bit more. I've struggled with depression on and off for years - and a big part of it was feeling lonely a lot of the time, even though I had plenty of great people around me. In 2016 I spent more time with friends than I have in...well, a really long time. I said "yes" to outings that I probably wouldn't have before (like going to the fair in 90 degree weather to pet cows and baby goats), I've strengthened my old friendships and I've built new ones. I've even started hanging out with my co-workers!

To wrap things up, here's a photo collage with more great moments from 2016!

1. Going to the Bay Area Book Festival & meeting Gene Luen Yang. 2. Cows! 3. Hiking?! 4. Valentine swap with the Geek Girls x Bloggers!
5. Music in the park! 6. Getting Jesse hooked on Pokemon Go! 7. Jesse graduating HS! 8. Wedding! 9. Winning this amazing alien set handmade  just for me by The Fangirl Crafter! 10. Getting to wear cat stuff all week while working on CATS! 11. Christmas Day selfie with my love <3
12. Matching X-Files shirts with Alyssa! 13. Pokemon Go in the park! 14. My birthday! 15. Going to Rocky Horror in my Jughead costume on Halloween! 16. Making my first heart for I Found a Quilted Heart!

Have a great 2017, everyone!!!