Watched, Read, Loved: August 2017

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Yay! It’s spring! (I am writing this up quickly in September). The weather has turned me into a positive, upbeat person for the time being. There is something to be said to drive to work and the sun is actually up when you get there, so I am pretty thankful. The saddest thing is naturally not being in the sun during the day, but it makes life worth it.

Life-wise, we went to the Modderfontein nature reserve for a friend’s birthday. It’s quite lovely, and as it is not the one I usually head to for a it-doesn’t-feel-like-the-city feel, it felt like a new place to see in the concrete jungle I live in. Had some amazing cupcakes too, which changed my life – like WOW.

I also watched the international Dota championships – like, I still don’t know how that happened. I hope to have actually played this game by next year to have a clue what is happening.

I also did a Parkrun – naturally the morning was chillier than all the rest, but I did one. I’d love to 1) make better time 2) remember my barcode and 3) get fitter. We are doing an international health challenge at work, starting the 27th of September, and the aim is 10 000 steps a day. It is scary because I don’t think I manage 2000 a day at this stage.

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Ghost (1990) – I really thoroughly enjoyed Ghost. The effects had me giggling, while the youth of Swayze and Demi Moore was really pretty to look at. Definitely one of the best Blindspots this year, though my selection has been pretty on point if I say so myself.

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The Intern (2015) – you can read my review here. The Intern is a heartwarming film with a great message, and I had a great time.

Ella Enchanted (2004) – I seemed to have had a lot of exposure to Anne Hathaway this month, but I’m not complaining as I really like both films. Hathaway is joined by Hugh Dancy, who has the most perfect face to play any form of a Prince. So handsome. This is a really fun movie, and I always enjoy it.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016) – yes, again. Don’t judge.

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Sully (2016) – probably my favorite watch this month, Sully is inspirational and I was on the edge of my seat. Highly recommended.

Wild (2014) – Wild is a prime example why I don’t like real life adaptions. The lead character was uninspiring and selfish, and a track across the NST couldn’t convince me to root for her.

Mean Girls (2004) – Is Mean Girls the most quotable movie of all time? This movie is definitely one of my favorite films ever. It is relatable, accurate, hilarious and just so much fun.

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to find Them (2016) – I have a friend who was really outraged that I talked smack about this film. His attempt to convince me was to have me watch it at home in Bluray with 3D Glasses. I don’t have the heart to say that just because something is pretty to look at it means it is good, but it did improve on rewatch.

series

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Stranger Things – the amounts of hearts I want to draw around this show. STRANGER THINGS IS EVERYTHING AND I NEED MORE NOW. The soundtrack, the premise, the whole I difference of it all, the miraculous amount of kids who can actually act. I was told by ten million people to watch Stranger Things, and now, after watching, my life is richer as a result. I need the second season now. Like NOW.

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Game of Thrones Season 7 – I joined everyone and their grandma’s to watch the amazing penultimate season of Game of Thrones. I still need to do a recap of the last two episodes, which are some of the best this show as given us.

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Vampire Diaries Season 7 and 8

Season 7 nearly sunk the show for me. The departure of Nina Dobrev proved to be a terrible blow to the show. The odd thing is that Season 7 started fine and halfway just lost the plot. It became so bad that Damon slipped in his number one ranking for me, and was replaced by Enzo. Even after being done with the show, Enzo remains as number one. I need to find it in me to review the last two seasons, but man, some things just can’t be forgiven, DAMON.

books

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The Rise of Nine (Pittacus Lore)

I am steadily working my way through the Lorien Legacies series of Pittacus Lore. I am enjoying the Rise of Nine quite a bit, although I still find the battles way too frequent and drawn out.

The Gunslinger (Stephen King)

Finally, I am also trying to attempt to work my way through The Gunslinger. I really like Stephen King’s way – I’m not always sure whether his books are for me, the man is amazing with words. I was about 5 sentences in when I googled a word to check what it means, and that rarely happens for me. I’ll still have to see what the book is all about, and hope to finish at least the first one.

What have you been up to this month?

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Series Review: Vampire diaries season 4

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Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked:

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Elena going vampire. There, I said it. The cure was stupid, everything was stupid except the fact that she was supposed to turn into a vampire if she wanted eternity with one of the brothers.

I liked how the show headed into the fact that Stefan was finding a way to accept Damon and Elena was supposed to happen and his happiness was focused elsewhere. He had some moments where I wanted him to stop acting like a tool and grow the hell up, but at the end I liked his choice in taking some time away to deal with his adaption to life.

I also love how the relationship between the brothers have developed. They have become real brothers, and there is love and respect growing between them.

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Caroline and Klaus. OMFG, I ship these two like crazy. They have so much chemistry, I love that she makes him such an idiot and that he believes that she is way more than Miss Mystic Falls. CAN THEY JUST KISS NOW? Dammit.

The Originals cross over episode. It worked exceptionally well. I am definitely investing in that show if I ever get the time, because I think I can do with more Klaus and Elijah in my life. Also, that hot guy. Looks like the villain, sure he smells like the villain, but hot damn, I need to see this pan out!

Any scene with Elijah Mikaelson in. The man just works so well on every level. He is so vastly different from his brother Klaus, and it is interesting to see how well both characters are written and developed, and not to mention how simply excellent Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies handle their respective roles.

For the first time in the last million seasons I am enjoying Matty Blue-Blue again. He’s had a rough time with all the vampires in Mystic Falls, and time and again he’s been involved and bitten and compelled and chased and lost friends and family and all manners of unpleasant things. I would have packed all my bags and left after my sister died if I lived there, but it would seem that Matt is very fierce (or dumb). I enjoyed him in season 4  – he wasn’t used so much that he took up too much screen time, and there is something endearingly human about him. I also tentatively approved of his relationship with Rebekah (or the sort of one). She needs someone who can bring the very best of her out, what there is of it, and this guy has been managing it for a while now.

What I didn’t like:

The Silas story.Firstly, I do feel that Mystic Falls have enough creatures to be getting on with. There are vampires, werewolves, witches and hybrids. We do not need the ultimate witch in this story, it isn’t about witches. Shane was Mr. Dodgypants from a mile away – always suspect a university lecturer that tells you to kill twelve people at once, BONNIE. Secondly, the execution sucked. Them trekking off to some island – MIGHT I JUST MENTION THAT THESE ARE HIGHSCHOOL STUDENTS IN THEIR FINAL YEAR – finding some shadow bounty hunters/killers, Jeremy dying, Bonnie forgetting about his death, it was all just melodramatic on a level that made me fidget in my damn seat.

Elena switching off her humanity. Actually, Elena this season. Vampire Elena seemed like the logical next step. You can’t love attractive 17 year olds (that look 30) and expect to stay just as attractive as they are for the duration of your relationship if you stay mortal. I am ALL for vampire Elena, no use for her being dead. However, her whiny ass self was a lot to bear when she turned, and the whole switching off her humanity was too much because she was just way more grating, petty and bitchy than I could handle.

The new voice overs at the start of every episode. It makes a bit of sense that it had to change as the story grew, but it felt that a part of the story had fallen away.

Vampire Diaries season four remained a whole lot of fun. There is a slight dip in the quality of the content, but it is still enjoyable and the characters are still very true to each of the characters. The death of Jeremy, then Bonnie, shook me up a bit. I’d come to love them as time went by, but hey, as with all supernatural shows, I’m sure there is some way they can be revived!

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Series Review: Vampire Diaries Season 3

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What I liked:

The flashbacks to Chicago during the prohibition era. I really enjoy when the show makers do flashbacks – they are really well done in the show. It is good to understand a little why Klaus wants Stefan to travel with him and is the first glimpse that Klaus might have some redeeming qualities to him.

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Damon in this season is on fire. He is his usual gorgeous self and as alluring as always, but he has matured and has changed his game plan when it comes to Elena, realizing that the only way he would ever get to her would be through honesty and a fair fight with Stefan.

Jeremy’s shorter hair. Can this count as something I liked? He looks much more grown up and I am so glad that floppy nonsense is gone. The character is much more stable and that can only be a good thing. I’m happy that he leaves for a bit because his story gets a bit much at times.

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Caroline and Tyler. This is my second favorite relationship for Caroline. Actors Candice Accola and Michael Trevino certainly have enough chemistry to make their relationship plausible. I also really enjoy how far Tyler has come. He was the world’s biggest high school jock jackass punk in season one, but becoming a werewolf and dealing with everything that went down (and nearly killing Damon, FFS), made him grow up and take accountability for what he does.

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Claire Holt as Rebekah Mikaelson. She’s annoying, that is for sure, but the character is the female version of Klaus – powerful and paranoid and worried that no one loves them.

I’m still wishing that Alaric Saltzman was my teacher in high school. Not only would he have been really nice to look at, but he is badass and besties with Damon. I mean really, what more do you want from a teacher? I like that he isn’t the together guy we met in Season one and how he lost most of his ability to cope – not blaming him, his wife and girlfriend have at this point been and been killed as vampires, something that would mess most people up quite badly. His friendship with Damon is still sob worthy and beautiful, and his death made me so mad the first time around – how many people must Damon still lose?! Losing him caused a lot of pain for Elena and Damon, and the lead up to his death was so heart

Klaus – man, after killing Jenna at the end of Season 2 I thoroughly hated him. The hate is still quite strong in the beginning of season two, and his actions remain deplorable, but as the season continues you start getting a glimpse of why he is like he is, and that he is lonely and terrified of Michael. Klaus’ puppy like devotion to Caroline is gut wrenching, and can we just discuss this whole scene?!

Which brings me to Michael –I think he was legitimately badass and worthy of scaring Klaus shitless. But we can hate him thoroughly whilst we admire him, because he is the main reason vampires exist and why Klaus is the way he is. The big reveal that although he isn’t Klaus’ father, he is the father of all the other Originals, was clever and really well done. His death is also really fiery and awesome, and the tension that is in the air with the last standoff between Klaus and Mikhael is electrifying. It is also one of Joseph Morgan’s best moments in the show – the heartache and disillusionment of not being loved by his father figure is heartbreaking to behold.

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Klaus and Caroline. I do enjoy Caroline and Tyler together, and the only way I would chose her to be with someone else at this point is with Klaus. She will always speak her mind, and he really is a guy that needs it. The scene below is one of the sweetest in the entire series, and it broke my heart just a little. If you haven’t seen the show yet, I think this is the first real time where you start to wonder if Klaus has redeeming qualities.

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Elena – the girl has grown. She’s angrier and feels violent towards her blood bag fate. Her character is so much stronger than in seasons one and two, and we finally see some progression.

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What I didn’t like:

How many times must Caroline go through the same drama of a parent that wants to kill her? Her father pitching, THANKS CAROL, and trying to exorcise the vamp out of his daughter. At this stage it is feeling quite repetitive and unnecessary. Her father also – there was such a magnitude of possible ideas around him – that repelling compulsion without vervain? That could have been an incredible story line.

Jeremy seeing the dead. Why did the showrunners feel inclined to even include this? I couldn’t cope (again) with all the Bonnie business, and especially seeing Vicki back – I really hated the character. I did enjoy having Anna on again, she was quite cool and I really wanted her and Jeremy to work.

Bonnie – I’m bitching here again as I’ve done in the two previous seasons, but she’s whiney, entitled and really very bitchy towards her friends. She wears her witch crown like it’s a cross and it is too much to bear at the best of times.

Can I just ask why being an evil female is automatically equated with being slutty? Katherine? She’s all over every man available and the same seems to be going for Rebekah. Just an idea, but having an evil agenda doesn’t have to mean you want to bang everyone.

Matt, who is quickly becoming obsolete.

Rating: 8.5/10

I’ve always considered the second and third season of Vampire Diaries my favorites of the lot. The original story line was intact and they didn’t have to do any major modifications to keep things going. Overall this show has always had decent writing and production, and they’ve stayed consistent in the way they depict their supernatural creatures (I’m looking at you, True Blood). My favorite character in this show will always be Damon – so many layers. The third season has him becoming so much better, and it is probably mushy but I like how he can’t help being a better person because of Elena. The only other character that I have come to love almost as much is Klaus – talk about damaged and insecure, and his development throughout the show is fascinating and so good. My favorite female character is still Caroline – I’ve been on her team since season 1. I love that Klaus has a soft spot for her – the only chink in his armor. I really did like season 3!

Series review: Vampire diaries Season 2

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Note: This post is full of spoilers!

The developing friendship between Alaric and Damon caught me right in the feels, and Rick giving Damon something to drink when they all thought he would die was so sweet between them. I love Rick – he just tells it like it is, and has no problem telling Damon when he is being terrible.

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Alaric and Jenna #coupleGoals

Caroline Forbes’ migration to being kickass and powerful. Caroline is one of my favorite characters in the show. Becoming undead was the best thing that ever happened to her.

Damon. Forever. My love for this character is eternal. He gets hurt so much in the season and it is painful, but the way he copes without ripping people to shreds shows that he has evolved.

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Elijah – classy, powerful, dressed like a king and sarcastic as hell. What is not to love?

The lead up to Klaus. He is evil, powerful and very strong, and everyone fears and respects him.I love this character so much. He is the perfect example of a troubled villain, and even though he is still a complete bastard in this season, he makes this show entertaining as hell.

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The feels – when Tyler bites Damon – HOW did I live through the suspense the first time watching this? Hell, I’ve watched this show into season four and I still have panic attacks. We all saw how Rose ended up dying in season one, it was heartbreaking, and seeing Damon so pale and sickly had me hysterical.

Jenna dying. Man, I LOVED Jenna. She was so blessedly normal – the twenty something girl who is trying to figure out who she is in life and get through college, suddenly expected to take care of people (I can relate more with her situation than you will ever know). Her anger and feeling of betrayal when she found out about Isobel and vampires and that every single person she knows lied to her was completely understandable. Her death was so sad and heartbreaking, and I was really so mad at Klaus at that stage (I still am, he is really not anywhere where he is in redemption with me).

John’s redemption. No one liked John – he was such a tool and obviously the bad guy. At the end he redeemed himself, and although I wasn’t sad that he died (he tried to kill Damon one time too many), it was still a moment where you caught a glimpse of why he was the way he was.

What I didn’t like:

The Matt subplot. He is in the way, his constant insecurities are so annoying and I am heavily invested in watching the rest of the show unfold.

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Luca – what an annoying twat. His father was okay, but Luca was just there as collateral damage.

I understand why the werewolves were incorporated and the story developed because it links to Klaus’ identity strongly. It felt a bit too much at time. It was also completely dumped for a couple of episodes then picked up in the end to just make Klaus’ story work out properly.

Isobel – I’ve never liked her. Elena has moments where she is pretty dang annoying, but with parents like John and Isobel, who could blame her?

Bonnie is still over annoying. I swear, everytime I think she will have a use she just screws up, or isn’t strong enough. Essentially, she’s completely useless in the story. Her crying/screaming/upset repertoire was too much to handle, especially in the end.

Jeremy – he is still in the stage where he must get to a place where I can root for him. At least he cut that stupid hair better. I am glad he didn’t die though – the collateral damage was insane enough at the end of Season two without him being added.

Carol Forbes finding out twice about vampires in this season. It is really not the most crucial plot line of the show, and it was a waste of screen time when other big things went down. It also ties in with the Matt story and I just don’t see for the need for it.

Rating: 8.5/10

Vampire Diaries season two is as good as it got in the series. The story is entertaining and gripping and everything falls together perfectly in the last few episodes. The romance, teenage drama, great plot twists and even greater characters entertained me to no end throughout season two.

Series Review: Vampire Diaries Season 1

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What I liked:

  • Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert. It had to be a nearly impossible task to cast a beautiful woman in a “perfect girl” role and keep it on a level where people would still like her and not want to cut her up and sell her organs on the black market (that went really dark and violent, sorry). Nina Dobrev walks that line with seeming ease, because I don’t often want to murder her character out of jealous rage.

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  • How beautiful the cast is. Seriously, no-one is ugly. Even the hardcore-prototype-cop-mom Liz Forbes is beautiful. They all make me sick. But I need to watch them be beautiful.
  • It is very different from Twilight. This released in the height of the Twilight phenomenon and the only thing it took over was the animal diet and the walking in the sun thing. Elena is blessed with more personality than Bella ever was and the relationship she’s in is neither as controlling nor as oppressive as the Edward/Bella vibe. Also, no man falling in love with baby. There is even this delightful little snarky comment to it:
  • Damon Salvatore – the character, the actor, it all. Ian Somerhalder looks as uncomfortable in the first episode as I do at work birthday parties, but he grows into his character by the third or fourth episode. Everyone hates Damon in the beginning, especially with his killing spree that includes a teacher and his brother’s best friend. But what made Damon the way he is? It breaks my little soft heart all the time! Also, the eyes on Somerhalder makes that grief his grief relatable. YUM.

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  • The way the vampire’s eyes look when they change. It is ridiculously hot.
  • Lexi – gosh I loved that character. I can forgive so much from Damon but this is the one thing that I will always be angry at him for. Lexi is one of the only things that made Stefan happy, and Damon’s idea to kill her to cover himself and Stefan was really selfish. I absolutely love Arielle Kebbel, and she would have made the best addition to this show as a permanent cast member.

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  • Vampire Caroline. No one enjoyed Caroline as the preppy teenager, but becoming a vampire is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
  • Mason Lockwood. It boggles my mind that this man is engaged to Lady Gaga, really it does. I think the biggest problem between him and Damon was that they were both the same, and that the testosterone driven competitiveness just made them both idiots.

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What I didn’t like/wish they explored a bit more:

  • The pilot episode is quite bad for several reasons. The acting is first and foremost godawful. It improves over the course of season one, but that first 45 minutes is painful. Ian Somerhalder looks uncomfortable in his skin when he appears at the end of season one. Poor Caroline (honestly one of my favorite characters of the show) is presented as preppy and awful, and while she’s preppy, she’s not awful.
  • Vicky Donovan – I could never attach to the actress and I still can’t. I was glad when they killed her off. Sorry not sorry.
  • Kat Graham as Bonnie Bennett: what a weak and annoying character – you are a witch for Pete’s sake, grow a pair.
  • The whole crow arc that is in the books was touched on briefly and never really taken any further. It is a shame, because it could have been sufficiently creepy/eerie and is about the only thing that works in those terribly written books.
  • Stefan Salvatore is the Sam Winchester of his tribe. Whine whinewhine, blame humanity, whine some more. Ugh. Hearing his internal thoughts at the beginning of the episode makes me feel so violent. Though this scene worked wonders in redeeming the character… I mean oh my goodness.

Rating: 7/10

After a shaky pilot episode Vampire Diaries Season one is so much fun to watch. The characters have surprising depth, there are a few twists and turns that manage to be shocking. The level of teen drama is quite high and everyone is very dramatic, but it is really entertaining and rather intense.

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