Friday, 19 January 2018

Top Moments in Film/TV that made me cry

I cry a lot in movies and TV shows. Whether it's a wedding or a funeral or a pet bunny getting run over by a car (kidding. That never happened. And I totally wouldn't cry over that. #sorrynotsorry. No offense to bunny-owners) the tears come fast. I get so invested that it takes very little to get me bawling.
Obviously, books have almost the same effect. But I do cry less easily in books. I definitely have sobbed over a few bookish deaths, etc (Finnick's death, anyone?) but it's less of a thing. 

This post is a list of some of the TV shows and movie moments that have - and occasionally still do - made me cry. And by cry, I don't mean a single tear slipping melodramatically down my cheek, I mean sobbed. This list is of The Moments. The "my life is ending why why why such tragedy my chest aches my lungs hurt I can't freakin' breathe" moments. 

And I could choose more moments, but you gotta stop somewhere right? 

Rose and Ten's separation // Doctor Who season 2 // 
My poor babies. This isn't actually a death, but to be fair they got separated for all eternity - although not quite cos they reunited later and Ten basically cut himself in half so Rose got the human half to supposedly live with forevermore and okay my argument's crumbling here BUT IT STILL COIUNTS BECAUSE THE MOMENT OF SEPARATION WAS TOUGH. I sobbed my guts out. They were going to be together, but then Rose got sucked into the parallel universe and it was bye byes. The situation then became even more heartbreaking when Ten "called" her and the "connection" cut off before he could say he loved her. LIKE JUST RIP OUT THE REST OF MY SOUL WHY DON'T YA
And if their goodbyes don't tear you up, then the shot of David Tennant standing alone in the Tardis with a single tear running down his cheek and his mouth open to say "I love you", definitely will.
If it still doesn't, then you're heartless. 

Kate's death // White Collar season 1 // 
I honestly did not know how to cope when this happened. I'm kinda over it now (lol that sounds so dumb) but during my obsession with the TV series I struggled for a while (#nolife). For those of you who don't know: When Neal got out of prison, Kate had supposedly been kidnapped - I say supposedly because until the very end it was never confirmed whether she was actually working with the bad guys or not (I hold to the assumption she wasn't because it makes her good and perfect and the perfect soulmate for Neal #biasedlogic, although in retrospect they had literally no chemistry so great shipping, Amy). So anyway, when Neal finally caught up with her, she agreed to escape with him and start a new life. But then the plane blew up. With her on it. Neal's reaction was beyond painful, and lasted a whole other series while he embarked on a quest for revenge (#convenientwriting). But the thing that hurts me so much about their story, is that we'll never know whether Kate was playing him the whole time or whether she was just a victim. The real tragedy is the unknown - and that she died before they could resolve things.
Poor Neal. My baby. 

Sybil's death // Downton Abbey season 3 // 
Oh my shattered heart. Sybil's death was the first major movie moment I remember sobbing at. It's a heartbreaking story: Tom and Sybil returned to Downton with her pregnant with their first child, but when the labour started there were huge complications. Her wealthy family consulted a pompous, high class doctor who'd been brought in for the occasion, and when the birth reached a "do this now or she dies" moment, he suggested one solution, the local village doctor another way. Sybil's husband, pressured by her family, went with the rich doctor's opinion, and to everyone's joy Sybil and her little girl survived the birth. The joy was short lived. During the night, the family were awakened by screaming, and gathered helplessly around Sybil's bedside as she tossed and writhed screaming "my head! My head!". It was a result of eclampsia. A result of the misguided doctor's judgement. She died, with her husband and family clutching at her. It was extremely traumatic, and made worse by the fact that Sybil was my favourite character on the series and she and Tom my favourite couple. It totally tore me up. (And don't ask why, but in later years I've rewatched her death three times. Sobbed every time.) 

Kili's death // The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies // This broke everything I had. Unlike basically the whole universe and devoted fandom, I actually loved Kili and Tauriel's romance, and was heartbroken with the way he died: stabbed right in front of her. It was torturous. (But I do think the writers should've had her kill that stupid Orc for revenge, not had Legolas do it. It would've been more satisfying.) (FYI: This image is of Tauriel. I couldn't find one of dead Kili.)

Gwen's death // The Amazing Spiderman 2 // 
This literally destroyed me. Out of this list, it takes the tissues. Not only were Emma Stone and Andrew an OTP in real life (they've since broken up but we're not talking about that because #nothealedyet) but their relationship as Spidey and Gwen was so well written and well developed. Their chemistry won everyone over. They were absolute magic together, and have since been cited as the only thing the Amazing Spiderman films had going for them.                      
Then Gwen dies. Yes, I knew it was coming and yes the writers tried to ease us into it by dropping huge hints throughout the film that she wouldn't make it, but it still hurt like heck. The way she dangles, then the spider thread snaps, then Spidey swoops down with another thread and implicitly kills her, is absolute dark perfection. It's perfection because it's a beautifully crafted scene and because the acting is so up there, but it's dark because it's as raw and real and gut-wrenching as it gets. Hearing her neck snap as she hit the ground was just another stab in the heart for me - and then I had to watch Spidey sobbing over her body WHICH TOOK EVERYTHING OUT OF ME, NOT GONNA KID. Gosh it hurt. Still hurts whenever I think about it (like looking at the above image THANKS AMY and my stomach's twisting now so there's that and I'm sad now).
And yet, I have a lot of respect for the writers because in my opinion they wrote a death scene that is cinematic mastery yet to be topped. It was so well-done.
But flip, it's never stopped crushing me. 

Amy and Rory's departure // Doctor Who season 7
This wasn't a death but it sure felt like one. Rory and Amy's relationship was something incredible, a love story definitely better than Twilight and one that, despite only being subplot in the show, always felt like more than that. 
Amy started off as the Eleventh Doctor's single companion, but they were soon joined by Amy's childhood friend, Rory. The two of them clearly had feelings for each other, but the complications, twisted feelings, and turmoil never stopped - even when they finally married. Still, their relationship was brilliant. Through everything, they never stopped loving each other, and their ups and downs frequently made me sob. 
But then came the ultimate heartbreak. 
Long story short, they were all taken to an alternate dimension on earth, and the only way to get home safely was for Rory to die - on the assumption that by doing so he'd break the dimension's power, create a paradox, and wouldn't actually die at all. It was a big risk to take. 
Then Amy climbed up beside him on the rooftop, saying that famous line: "Together or not at all." So amid my sobbing - which made for a rather blurry TV screen, I'll admit - Amy and Rory threw themselves off the building in each other's arms (by this time, Amy - as in me - was sobbing hardcore, and dramatic music and slow motion DID NOT HELP the vibes). 
Turns out they survived, and all the good guys returned to the real world. 
Except it didn't quite work out. One of the Weeping Angels - they're the bad guys - had been sucked back to the real world with them, and it took Rory in a whirling split second, sending him back to the alternate dimension where he'd live for the rest of his life and never be able to leave. 
But Amy wouldn't let him go that easily. Despite the Doctor pleading with her to come back into the Tardis, she wouldn't leave her husband. She let the Weeping Angel suck her back too so she could be with Rory forever. 
They never saw the Doctor again. They did send him a letter later on (how it got to him is complicated - not for this post), and told him how they were happy, but that still didn't make the incident any less heartbreaking. The moment Amy turned to follow her husband, something in Doctor Who died. That show really does know how to crush your heart in the most stunningly dark way possible. It's so beautifully tragic. 
Doctor Who has never been the same without Amy and Rory. 

Allan a dale dies // Robin Hood series 3
Oh my poor, poor Allan. This series was my bae during my Robin Hood obsession stage, and Allan A Dale was my favourite character. 
But then he died. Betrayed by his friends who wouldn't trust him, he was left alone at their camp in the forest while they went to attack Nottingham. Poor Allan was in the woods when he heard someone approaching, and seeing it was the Sheriff (the Sheriff wasn't at Nottingham at the time - long story) he started running to warn his friends. 
Unfortunately for Allan, the Sheriff had arrows. Allan took a few in the back before collapsing in the dirt and leaves of Sherwood forest. He died alone, with his friends believing he was a traitor. 
It was so unfair. My poor little cinnamon roll. 

Honourable mentions
- Laurel's death in Arrow
- Marian's death in Robin Hood
- The ending of Arrival
- Neal's death in Once Upon A Time

OK now I'm feeling very emotional. 

Hope you enjoyed this post! (Although maybe "enjoyed" isn't quite the right word...) 

Have you watched and sobbed at any of these deaths? What other film and TV moments have touched you and forced you to haul out the tissues? Let's chat :) 

P.S. In retrospect, this post sounds kinda sarcastic and light hearted. Which isn't particularly appropriate when you're discussing things that can literally suck your soul right out of your chest.

P.P.S. Yes I know these are all fictional BUT THEY STILL HURT. (And let's be honest, fiction makes us feel more than real life, no? #not) 

P.P.P.S. I might do a Part 2 of this post because I'm always crying. 

P.P.P.P.S. If you're still reading well done. I have absolutely nothing to say to except don't you have something better to do. (If you don't, yay I guess? If you do, #honoured). 

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

EVERLESS (Everless #1) - by Sara Holland

EVERLESS - Sara Holland
Published: 2018 by Hachette
Pages: 362
Genres: Young adult / fantasy
Triggers/Content Advisory: Mild, occasional fantasy violence
Format: ARC paperback.
Source: Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan SA for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.
In the kingdom of Sempera, time is currency—extracted from blood, bound to iron, and consumed to add time to one’s own lifespan. The rich aristocracy, like the Gerlings, tax the poor to the hilt, extending their own lives by centuries. No one resents the Gerlings more than Jules Ember. A decade ago, she and her father were servants at Everless, the Gerlings’ palatial estate, until a fateful accident forced them to flee in the dead of night. When Jules discovers that her father is dying, she knows that she must return to Everless to earn more time for him before she loses him forever. But going back to Everless brings more danger—and temptation—than Jules could have ever imagined. Soon she’s caught in a tangle of violent secrets and finds her heart torn between two people she thought she’d never see again. Her decisions have the power to change her fate—and the fate of time itself.

A few days ago, I was in the mood for something to sweep me away. Something I could lose myself in for a few hours. Then Everless arrived.
It turned out to be just what I needed.

The writing is simple, but dreamlike. I love the intensity which courses under the words from start to finish, and that makes it an intoxicating, consuming, breathless read - as beautiful as it is moving. The emotion is understated, but it's deep. There's a sincerity to every character and every word that makes this book so powerful.

The plot is incredibly unique. There's not a lot of action, but the story never drags. There are so many secrets and mysteries lurking behind the scenes, and the anticipation/need for answers drives you from page to page. Towards the end, the twists blow you away.  They're excellent.
There's a real integrity to the plot and a real passion, and I feel like the author wasn't afraid to make her story unique and concentrate on what aren't the norms for a YA fantasy. Speaking of which, it is an extremely original story. Despite a rough first chapter - it begins with the all familiar scene of the heroine hunting in the forest - the story is unpredictable, unique, and intense. There's a lot of emotion in these pages, but it's never melodramatic. It's realistic and hauntingly relatable.

The world is so dangerous, so entrancing, and so different and vivid. It takes your breath away and you never know what to expect. It's also intelligent, with a rich history flavoured finely with mythology. I loved soaking it up - it's perfect escapism. You sink in, never wanting to look up, and it sweeps you along on a stunning journey.

Maybe I am a mystery— a secret— that needs unravelling...

The characters are beautiful. I love Jules, and I love how she's flawed, genuine, impulsive, and above all: kind and soft-hearted. She's not a push-over and she's definitelty capable, but she has a big heart. That and her impulsivity often puts her in danger or makes her trust the wrong people, but it makes her human - relatable. She's a wonderful heroine.
The secondary characters are also lovely. Everyone is vivid and genuinely lovable - even the villains' have a winning three-dimensional aspect to their personalities.

This book has so many incredible relationships. Jules' friendships - FEMALE FRIENDSHIPS TOO SO YAY YAY YAY - are strong, positive, and absolutely heart-warming. I love her interactions with everyone and how they all look out for each other. It's brilliant. As for the romance, there's barely any, and out of fear of giving spoilers, all I'll say is: I SHIP JULES AND LIAM SO HARD AND HELLO NEW OTP. So yes, there isn't much romance, but Jules' and Liam's friendship is spectacular. I WANT MORE OF THEM PLEASE.
Jules' relationship with her father is perfection. It's so realistic and beautiful, and I love his character as well. They truly have an amazing father-daughter bond.

Everless is a riveting whirlwind of alluring secrets, unique worldbuilding, and beguiling characters. It's beautiful, it's mesmerising, it's intoxicating, and you'll find yourself willing to  sell your soul just to escape into this world for a few more minutes. Even if it is on borrowed time...

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Romanticised Abuse: Bad Boys

Our goal is to raise awareness and draw attention to romanticised abuse in films, book, etc, in order to fight it
- Join us! Design your own header (or use mine)  and start posting - once a week, two times a week, whenever
- Share examples of romanticised abuse you've seen in books or films - doesn't even have to be a whole book or film; simple one scene is enough, if there's an instance of romanticised abuse in it
- Keep the post short. Just a few paragraphs.
- Please link to my blog as the original creator.

// Just a quick recap in case you're not sure what a bad boy stereotypically is. A "bad boy" in fiction is the guy who usually thinks of himself before anyone else, goes against rules and what is socially appropriate, and is typically mysterious, dangerous, and with a shady agenda and past. He's the opposite of the "angelic blonde goodie-goodie hero". He's the anti-hero. He borders dangerously close to the villain, except his behaviour is apparently acceptable because he's good-looking and makes the ultimate right choice in the nick of time - usually just at the end of the book. // 

Bad boys in YA literature are a huge thing. We love reading about brooding anti-heroes with tragic pasts, angsty protective sides, and of course the ultimate six-pack and sexy wardrobe. Guys like Damon Salvatore, Jacob Black, Chuck Bass, adore them.  
But what puts me off bad boys, is that too often they're physically and psychologically abusive - if not to the heroine then to someone else - and they are constantly disrespecting their girlfriend or love interest. Personally, I don't find myself swooning over someone who ignores the "no" with a "I'll do it anyway because I'm hot and trust me, you'll love it". It just isn't romantic. It isn't loving. The problem with bad boys is that they're usually violent, sexually menacing, and ignore the heroine's sexual boundaries. They don't take no for an answer. They can frequently touch or sexually harass the heroine, and yet it's thought of as " hot" and romantic because it's so heavily romanticised. 

But if these abusive relationships need to stop, that begs the question: 
if bad boys tend to romanticise abuse through their relationships, then should writers stop writing bad boys? 

That seems a little extreme, so below are some points that I think expand on possible solutions to this dilemma. 

1: Draw the line at sexual violence & assault / A boy can be bad without sexually assaulting the girl! Don't feel that in order to make your hero dark, dangerous, and an outcast of society you need to make him sexually violent, controlling, and sexist. Look at Nate from One of Us Is Lying; he's a criminal and the bad boy of the school. He's morally grey, and swoony because of it, but not once does he assault Bronwen, touch her without her consent, or try to control her. McManus writes a bad boy who doesn't abuse the heroine, and their kisses and interactions are still hot and sexy. More so because it's based on mutual consent. Consent is sexy, people! 
Another example would be Kaz from Bardugo's Six of Crows duology. Kaz is a morally grey character who does terrible things and fits the bad boy persona, but he never disrespects or assaults the female characters. He treats them like equals deserving of respect, and he's still protective of them. 
Thousands of readers love Kaz (myself included). Thousands also ship him with Inej (myself included). This proves that a bad boy and his romantic arc can be sexy, swoony, and shippable despite the fact the bad boy isn't sexually violent or abusive.   

2: Write good good guys / The reason so many readers favour bad boys - I think - is because the alternative is usually a boring, stereotypical, good male character who plays by the rules and doesn't have serious flaws. Come on. bad boys are interesting because they have flaws, right? 
The sooner writers start writing three-dimensional, flawed, good looking good guys, the sooner we'll learn to love them. Look at Mal from Bardugo's Shadow and Bone trilogy. Most readers call him boring, annoying, and bland, and favour Nikolai (the trilogy's "bad boy") instead. Compared to Nikolai, Mal isn't as well written, as three-dimensional, or as compelling. Bardugo uses these two stereotypes very mildly, but it's still a point: Nikolai's morally grey with a winning, witty personality, and so we love him, but Mal has very few interesting qualities so we don't. Yet what if Mal was as well written as Nikolai? As three dimensional and rounded? We'd probably appreciate their characters equally. And maybe, we'd even prefer rooting for and swooning over the so-called good guy, instead of the bad boy. 

(FYI: Yes, I do acknowledge that we're all different people with unique taste who inevitably favour one character more than another, simply because. It does depend largely on your personal preference). 

3: Call out the sexual perversity for what it is / If your bad boy is causing the heroine emotional distress or making her physically uncomfortable, treat that seriously! Let her get angry with him, call him out on it, and avoid him for most of the book (that's not much of a story, granted, so maybe just avoid including sexual harassment, etc, altogether - see Point 1). And then, if you still insist they need to be together, have the guy apologise sincerely and have him work for her forgiveness. She should be furious with him, and he should genuinely change before they can even get close to each other again. 

But again, I personally think you're playing on very thin ice if your bad boy assaults your heroine and then, despite apologies and forgiveness, they end up together. I just think that sexual assault isn't something you can easily come back from - if at all. Even murdering someone can be explained and is sometimes easier to forgive because there are other ways to interpret it (examples: it was self-defense, it was an accident, etc). 
Maybe it's just better to adhere to Point 1 above and stay clear of including any kind of sexual assault/harassment and/or abusive themes.  

Writers, write guys with flaws - disastrous flaws. But don't, I am begging you, feel like you have to make them controlling, violent, sexist, and an attempted rapist or sexual assaulter to make them sexy and darkly appealing. When women are assaulted daily, in or out of a relationship, romanticising these horrific behaviours in fiction is atrocious and toxic. A guy can be dark, brooding, and morally grey without backing the heroine up against a wall and caressing her body without her consent. That should not be something you glamorise. It should be something you call out and write solid consequences for if it has to feature in your story at all. 

Boys can be bad. Girls can be bad. We're all flawed people. But do not write an incident of sexual assault into your book and label it as anything other than sexual assault simply because you think it's the only way to make a dude flawed and irresistible. 

←Jacob and Bella in Twilight 

Monday, 15 January 2018

Cover Reveal: MERCURY RISES by Scarlett Kol

I AM SO EXCITED TO SHARE A COVER REVEAL WITH YOU TODAY. And not only is the cover absolutely incredible (scroll down to see) but the book is a ROBIN HOOD RETLLING WHICH IS LITERALLY MY DREAM. (I love Robin Hood). I hope I get to read this book at some stage. I really do. 

A girl looking for a way out. Being the daughter of New America’s leader, Mercury Masters has everything a girl could want. A glamorous life full of beautiful people, and the power to have anything she wants, except for one thing—to escape. Because Mercury’s perfect life comes with secrets to keep. Dangerous secrets that if made public would destroy her, her family, and her father’s reign. Then she meets Hawk. A boy looking to be a hero. Hawk, a handsome prep school dropout turned vigilante, has his own family secrets. Deadly secrets that have haunted him since he was fifteen. But instead of fighting the ghosts of his past, Hawk has assembled a group of misfit hackers and thieves to save the future from the corrupt government of New America and the mysterious virus that is killing off its citizens. But trying to do the right thing is tough when the person you really want to save is your enemy’s daughter. A love that could kill them both. Powerful forces keep them apart, but coming together could be the key to saving New America from destruction—even though it may cost both their lives //         A near-future YA biopunk retelling of Robin Hood.
Goodreads  /  Pre-order: AmazonKobo

Scarlett Kol grew up in Northern Manitoba reading books and writing stories about creatures that make you want to sleep with the lights on. As an adult, she's still a little afraid of the dark. Scarlett now lives just outside Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada with her husband and two boys, but if you need to find her she's likely freezing at the hockey rink.

Doesn't the story sound amazing and isn't the cover absolutely stunning?! 

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Weekly Round-Up: Reading and watching

I've been reading a lot this week. I also finished watching Godless on Netflix, and have been watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S and The 100 sporadically.  This is my last week of holiday, though, so I'm gonna make the most of it ;) 

Posts of the week: 
Book Review: THE SNOWMAN

Currently Reading

I'm still dragging my way through And I Darken, and I'm halfway through Renegades with Uma :)

For Review

AHHHH!! THIS WAS THE BEST BOOKMAIL WEEK. I got an amazing signed hardcover of The Language of Thorns, and a beautiful ARC of Everless - both from Pan Macmillan. 

I've already finished reading Everless ;) It was that good. 

Around the Blogosphere

Heather reviews A Study in Charlotte

Angela reviews Invictus

Erica's hosting an adorable Giveaway

Emily talks Goodreads goal

Michelle compares the Big Little Lies book and TV show

Kyra reviews Wintersong

Lauren reviews Beneath the Haunting Sea

Audrey shares ways to Grow as a Christian and as a writer

Entertainment News

IT'S ABOUT TIME. There's not much info at this stage because the development is still very early, but I do know that the movie's getting a female writer! Yay!  

The BAFTAS will be held on the 18th of February, and Joanna Lumley will be presenting. 

It was a Golden Globes like no other. Women came together in black, standing against sexual harassment and assault. There were some amazing speeches in line with this protest, with Oprah's  keeping people on their feet. 

Have a look at the upcoming Ophelia film, starring Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts. 

Big Little Lies came out strong in the TV section with 4 wins, and The Shape of The Water won Best Picture.

Neeson says that the sexual assault allegations in Hollywood have started a witch-hunt. To a degree, I actually agree that he has a point. The article is worth reading.   

Five women have accused Franco of sexual assault and harassment, making him the latest male in Hollywood to come under fire for inappropriate behaviour. 

Coming Up...

This week, I'll be reviewing Everless and Wonder Woman: Warbringer. There'll also be another Romanticised Abuse post.

Week 2 of January is gone! Can you believe it?!

Did you have a good week? What are you reading or watching at the moment?