Books & TV Wrap Up: Feb-March 2020

Since I’d been gone for a while I thought I’d share what I’ve been reading and watching recently, and not wait till the end of the month just this time.

What I’ve been reading

I read a couple of books since I took a break but I’ll only mention the recent ones:

Lol, I just noticed the first 2 have similar surnames! I finished them surprisingly fast but that’s not to say they were 5 star reads. I actually didn’t like Caraval. I was confused a lot and felt cheated by the ending(felt a little deus ex machina). Didn’t like the kinda insta-love(‘kinda’ because you feel like they’ve known each other longer because of the fast-pacing and lots of events happening, when in reality they’ve only known each other for 2-3 days). It’s also the first time when two characters’ interactions have made me laugh instead of swoon, it felt ridiculous and like a teen’s fantasy. The writing was evocative but sometimes got a bit much. Many reviewers have complained about the purple prose. I’m not interested at all in the sequel.

Trance was ok. It wasn’t phenomenal but kept me interested throughout. The romance was medium, in terms of speed. I didn’t like how the main character felt like whenever someone else had a negative reaction it must have been something she did. Like, not everything’s about you, ok? Good grief. Especially when you could tell, if you even had an ounce of deduction skills, that whatever caused a change in a character’s behaviour was most definitely NOT due to her having her ‘episodes’. Also, the ‘unknown person’ she sees in her premonitions was so obvious, it was like the author steered the MC away from guessing just for the plotline. This one also has a sequel, and I’m fine with stopping at book one.

The Dark Vault is actually the duology combined into one copy. I was sucked in to the first book and finished it in 2 days. I was fully immersed in the story and had to take a second to re-adjust myself back into reality whenever I took a break. I think the premise, a girl tasked with the role of returning ghosts(they’re more like readable human copies of a deceased person) who’ve escaped from the library that stores them, was quite original. To add to the intrigue, there’s a serial murder cover-up and things start going awry in the other world. The setting was a little claustrophobic but there was enough mysterious things going on to keep the reader engaged. I wanted to give it 5 stars at first but, on reflection, there were a few flaws with the story(one of which I suspect is a plot hole, I’m not 100% sure) which obviously reduced the rating. I’m quite interested in the sequel, so that should say something in itself. 

I decided to check out Providence by Max Barry and got sucked into it. I stayed up until morning to finish it and enjoyed it very much. It’s about four people who go out into the far reaches of the universe in an AI ship to kill aliens. It’s more character-driven than horror, and it was fun seeing events and characters through different perspectives. What I loved about this book was how it engaged your mind with new ways of seeing things and prompted you to ask questions. For a story that’s got elements we’ve seen a hundred times before it managed to subvert some of them. Although the execution was a little rough around the edges at times, it was still worth the experience.

A Castle In The Clouds by Kerstin Gier is another book that I finished in one sitting! This was a delightful contemporary romance with a dash of mystery and hints of magical realism/supernatural, set in a quaint hotel on the snowy mountains. It’s actually a German novel, and I thought the translation by Romy Fursland was done quite well, in the sense that she managed to make it sound like t was written by an English author, and conveyed the humorous bits successfully! The funny thing about this book is that although the events take place around a week or so, I thought the romance was very slow-burn. Oh, I loved the jealous moments and little fights between the two love interests(there was a love-triangle but it wasn’t so bad).

the last magician by Lisa Maxwell

I was reading The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell and was enjoying it so far but put it on hold. It’s very fast-paced and I’m interested to see what happens. The main character has fortitude and she’s capable because she’s put in the effort to learn all that she’s been taught, although we don’t get to see her training. It’s realistic how she might not win every battle, especially if she’s up against a male, but she gives it her best shot while being uncertain of the outcome. She travels back in time to retrieve a vital artifact that can help the people with magical abilities to attain freedom from persecution, but some stuff goes wrong(duh, or else where’s the story). Each has an ‘affinity’, like how our MC can travel through time. There’s some romance and, because she’s a new variable in the past, previously set events are changing outcomes, so I’m interested to see how things pan out. And, oh guys, you can read this for FREE on RivetedLit until the end of this month!! Hehe, I should’ve mentioned that earlier, huh.

What I’m reading next

Gilded-Wolves-Roshani-Chokshi - Cover

I’m thinking of re-picking up The Gilded Wolves. This was a 2019 ARC that I’d put on hold and now that I’m sort of in the mood for an alternate-history-heist-with-magic kind of story, this fits the bill. I’ve heard mixed reviews about this one and am curious as to what my readers think. Was it good or bad?

tv icon - graphic vector from pixabay

What I’ve been watching

I’ve been watching these 5 Korean dramas and 1 Chinese drama but have put them on hold, due to various reasons like not being in the mood or waiting for subtitles. I watch them on Viki for free(because I contribute a stipulated amount of subtitles). Do you ever get these phases where you’re only in the mood for one type of entertainment? Like right now, I’m only in the mood for books and Youtube.

Asian dramas tend to be a little more dramatic than their Western counterparts, but if you can look past that there are some pretty good ones that hook you right in. There’s so much to gush about most of these shows I feel like they need their own post. I’ll just list them here and you can check out more about them in the links:

  • Dr.Romantic 2 – Medical Drama, Romance, Crazy Doctor
    • Heartwarming and made me cry. Challenged medical ethics.
  • Just Between Lovers – Real Life, Romance, Grief
    • Sweet romance between a working-class woman and poor guy. Navigating PTSD(construction disaster) and survivor’s guilt.
  • The K2 – Action, Politics, Romance
    • Cool action scenes and hot male lead. Antagonist had depth.
  • Are You Human Too? – AI, Identity Swap, Interspecies Romance, Philosophical
    • Challenged human ethics. Pretty good dual-acting from male lead. Spunky female lead.
  • Joy of Life – Power Struggle, Historical, Martial Art, Comedy, Romance, Bromance
    • Interesting mash-up of time-travel and historical drama. Lots of humor, smart and cunning characters, and a fresh take on historical drama.
  • Hotel Del Luna – Supernatural, Fantay, Mystery, Revenge, Horror, Philosophical, Found Family
    • Intriguing, suspenseful and made me tear up(ugh, that scene with her past lover! I cried buckets >_<). Love the female lead, she was so cute in a feisty way! The male lead was endearing and smart, too. Made me laugh a lot as well.

There. Now we’re all caught up! And now that I’m back I have so many post ideas, I cant wait to share them and see what you guys think! I’m also pleasantly surprised by my reading streak this time, I don’t remember finishing these many for a while!

I’m curious, what are you guys reading or watching right now?

14 thoughts on “Books & TV Wrap Up: Feb-March 2020

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  1. ohhhhhhhh nice… i’ve been meaning to read the last magician and the gilded wolves (have them saved but didn’t get around to reading them) and out of all the dramas on the list i’ve watched hotel del luna and just between lovers (stopped half way cause i was crying too much) oh and are you human too?

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    1. I put The Last Magician on hold cuz the FL did some small thing that I did not like. I’m so picky 😝 I still couldn’t start on The Gilded Wolves cuz I got locked out of that kindle account and still haven’t got the issue resolved 😣

      Omg, you watched those, too?? 😄 How was Hotel Del Luna for you? I actually shipped UI with her former lover, they’re chemistry was so much more palpable! Her and the hotel manager’s chem only strengthened towards the end. The part where I genuinedly cried was actually that part with her and her former lover 😭😭

      I didn’t cry for Just Between Lovers though, but thought it was quite heartfelt. The guy. Gosh. Spectacular performance 🙌

      Are You Human Too was a little less wow than I expected but SKJ’s acting was impressive. Ugh, I loved seeing him as the chaebol grandson. So moody 😍

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yeah… i never actually finished hotel del luna… couldn’t force myself to watch 2 hrs episodes ….. are you human too was enjoyable…. another similar drama is “my holo love?” and i loved it more ^^

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Noooo, you didn’t finish it? It was a bit long, yeah(not 2 hrs tho), but I thought there was always something interesting happening in the hotel in each episode. Plus, I couldn’t tell how it would end, like, is it happy or sad or what. And the COSTUME. OMG, IU made just about EVERYTHING look phenomenal. I’ve actually never watched her before and didn’t get why ppl adored her so much. I didn’t like the side couple though. They were wayyy too cheesy and their acting wasn’t good enough. My Holo Love sounds interesting! It’s definitely my kind of show, thanks for sharing! I have to see if viki has it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. my holo love is on netflix if you have it…. and yes i didn’t finish it, at that time i wasn’t in the mood of watching something more than 45 mins plus i already knew the ending XD
            and OMG those costume…. i was searching the whole web to finish a place that would sell them or a copy of them ^^

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  2. It’s been a while I haven’t indulged some Schwab stories! I probably should look into finishing up the ADSOM trilogy; I’ve only read the first one so far. I’m also currently watching/finishing The Witcher and look forward to ticking that box and moving onto other things… It definitely meet my expectations, to say the least hahah Thanks for sharing what you’ve been reading/watching! They do sound pretty cool. You’re making me want to try out more Korean content. I mean… the last one I checked out was the movie Parasite–which I thoroughly enjoyed! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, thanks for stopping by, Lashaan! I haven’t read ADSOM yet, though I realllllyy want to, I just haven’t got my hands on a copy yet. I’ve heard of The Witcher, not sure if it’s my kinda stuff. I need to give high fantasy more tries before I know if I’d enjoy it(only read a bit of Mistborn 1, I think with HF you need some patience or it’d make you restless 😄). Oooh, you’ve watched the Parasite? I haven’t had a chance yet, I don’t think Kdramas are usually that artistic but there are some worth watching. Arthdal Chronicles, Kingdom, and Ghost might be up your alley. And maybe the Cdrama Joy of Life if you like a cunning and likeable main character navigating the politics in ancient China. The Story of Yanxi Palace is a popular costume drama focusing on the lives of the concubines(I’m guessing there’s lots of politics and intrigues in this one), the costume in this is breathtakingly lavish(haven’t watched this one though 😁).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. YES, same! I quite disliked the ending, too. It just ripped whatever magic was there and felt like a cop out. However, I really liked the bit when they were walking through the deserted town of curiosities. The shops were quite intriguing, too bad that was just a short scene.

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  3. Awww, bummed you didn’t enjoy Caraval but I do think that series is love-it-or-hate-it. I didn’t dig the romance in that one, but Legendary’s worked for me lol.

    I haven’t been reading at all, but I might try picking up Untamed Shore by Silvia Moreno-Garcia! I hope you enjoy The Gilded Wolves!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, that is indeed interesting. What made Legendary better? I should probably go see if you have a review on it. Loll, I’ve been having these spurts of zooming through 1-3 books, and then a long interval of down time.

      I didn’t get to read The Gilded Wolves cuz I got locked out of the account that had it 😩 Haven’t recovered it yet, customer service is not available right now. Sigh. I’m gonna check out Untamed Shore, I wonder what it’s about…sounds like fantasy.

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