The Clasp by Sloane Crosley These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik

Friendship by Emily Gould

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK
Source: Netgalley - Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book for review. 
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis from Goodreads (although I edited out a spoiler so don't look at any synopses - even the blurb on the back!):

A novel about two friends learning the difference between getting older and growing up.  Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have been best friends for years; now, at thirty, they’re at a crossroads. Bev is a Midwestern striver still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe. Amy is an East Coast princess whose luck and charm have too long allowed her to cruise through life. Bev is stuck in circumstances that would have barely passed for bohemian in her mid-twenties: temping, living with roommates, drowning in student-loan debt. Amy is still riding the tailwinds of her early success, but her habit of burning bridges is finally catching up to her. Friendship, Emily Gould’s debut novel, traces the evolution of a friendship with humor and wry sympathy. Gould examines the relationship between two women who want to help each other but sometimes can’t help themselves; who want to make good decisions but sometimes fall prey to their own worst impulses; whose generous intentions are sometimes overwhelmed by petty concerns. This is a novel about the way we speak and live today; about the ways we disappoint and betray one another. At once a meditation on the modern meaning of maturity and a timeless portrait of the underexamined bond that exists between friends, this exacting and truthful novel is a revelation.

I loved this book SO MUCH! It’s definitely one of my favourites of this year. I seem to have had quite a few favourites this year – it has been a good reading year! Anyway, I just feel like I’m on the same wavelength as the tone of Friendship right now. Despite what that rather youthful picture to your right suggests, I am a lot closer to Amy and Bev’s age than say Katniss Everdeen. 

Anyway, the novel is, as the title suggests, about friendship. Friendship between girlfriends, co-workers, partners, and friendships that just spawn out of peculiar circumstances. Then there’s this whole other plot line (that is given away in the blurb, which I luckily didn't read because I'd read a shorter spoiler free synopsis somewhere else, maybe Glamour? Anyway, I'd recommend you just go in blind too) that makes the whole thing even better. However, the main focus is on best friends Bev and Amy. I don’t think it’s a plot giveaway to say Bev and Amy become friends in their twenties, so there’s no shared childhood and college history between them, which was refreshing. I really liked their dynamic and their type of friendship will probably ring true for many. For example, the way they secretly admire each other but occasionally this admiration crosses the line into envy. This happens a lot in real life, doesn’t it? Then there’s that difficulty that arises from around your mid twenties onwards when your best friend hits a major milestone before you. On the one hand, you’re over the moon for them and so, so proud of their journey. Yet on the other hand, like Amy, you didn’t really think that kind of future was on the cards for you - as in you, the unstoppable duo. In a way, you want everyone’s journey to mirror your own. Then of course, you’re forced to examine your own life, which is never fun. Even if you’re really successful you’ll still find something to complain about. 

Growing up in the noughties (noughteens? What is this decade called?) we are so advanced yet so backward. We can start our own Etsy businesses from our bedrooms or whatever yet we still rely on our parents for a lot more than they ever did at our age, don’t you think? As Bev points out, her mother had three children at her age yet she can’t get a full time, permanent job. Amy can swan into work at her fancy loft office whenever she likes but her bank account is still linked to her mum’s. I liked the honesty in these types of anecdotes because I think quite a lot of us are in similar boats. What will be the catalyst to make us grow up? 

Another theme Emily Gould explores in Friendship is our constant need as women to compare ourselves to other women. It seems to be what fuels us and I don’t know if we’ll ever break out of it. Through the character of Amy she also teased out this trend of wanting, no needing, to be someone. It seems to intensify more and more every year as new outlets open up. I watched a documentary on PBS America the other day called Generation Like about all these tweens and teens and teen idols and their massive followings on Instagram and whatever. It was chilling. We need to re-prioritise BIG TIME but that’s a conversation for another day. 

Finally, Friendship really highlighted that being forced to take a step ‘backwards’ in order to move forwards is one of life’s great challenges – particularly for people like Amy and Bev. When the first 20+ years of your life is all about progress – education, accumulation – of course it is a shock when you have to seemingly do something beneath you, whether that’s taking a lower paid job, moving back in with your parents, or leaving your happening neighbourhood. Your pride really takes a blow. People will tell you it’s character building, and that you’ll learn great lessons along the way, and that you’ll come out stronger. Whilst this is all true, going through it sucks! Friendship really showed this in a realistic, relatable, and authentic way. 

I would love a sequel but then again I think I need to learn to leave characters where they are. I liked the ending – it summed up this generation perfectly – so I just need to say goodbye Amy, Bev, and Sally and thank you Emily Gould.

Sunday Brunch: Season Winners and Losers

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Brunch isn't really a big deal over here but I love the idea of it - and enjoy going to brunch whilst on holiday. Whenever I'm throwing together ideas for a new story, one of my favourite things to do is go Google Maps-ing for all the nice restaurants in the area. As I have dairy intolerance, I often have to watch what I eat at restaurants so it's not always a fun experience. However, the rise of all those Food Network shows and Pinterest and all the great reviews on Yelp and Chowhound allow me to live vicariously through all you gastronauts. 

So, I thought I'd try and start a new feature (although I'm not good at keeping up features so we'll see) where we go for brunch on a Sunday, anywhere in the world, and have a chat. This week we'll be:

Last year I did a little TV winners and losers things, so thought I might as well do it this year. I haven't been as impressed with TV this season as I have been in the past but I think I've watched more TV this year, which is kind of crazy. I've been watching The Hollywood Reporter's Emmy Roundtable series and have the most respect for all those involved in television (if you like TV, I'd urge you to watch too). Anyway, let's talk about the past season.


The Good Wife has been absolutely outstanding this season and not just because of the surprise halfway through! I liked that there was an actual story arc rather than just odd cases every week. Also, the recurring guest stars as judges, lawyers, and clients gimmick is one of the most charming things about the show. During the showrunners roundtable, someone (I think it might have been Matthew Weiner but I'm not sure) talked about how networks aren't too keen on arcs because of syndication. They like to be able to shoot the episodes out of order, then they can show them out of order. I thought that was really interesting and it made me think 'oh yeah, I suppose they do' when I considered shows like Big Bang Theory. I sometimes watch 2-3 episodes in one day (don't judge) and they're often from different seasons yet it really doesn't matter.

That was a longer paragraph than I intended so I'll just summarise the rest:

  • Game of Thrones is still excellent in terms of being shocking and keeping audience attention each week (which is getting harder and harder to do successfully, don't you think?) but it hasn't been my favourite season overall. 
  • Suits, House of Cards, and Mad Men were all of a high standard. Mad Men especially. I'm really sad it's going to be over soon but I also respect the fact that it is a finite piece of work and I'm sure it will go down in history as a classic. 
  • Chicago Fire is a show I've only just got into but I love the character development. It's like a tamer Rescue Me, which means the whole family can watch. Always a bonus.
  • About A Boy has also gone down well in our household. This is mostly to do with the actors - I think it has a great cast and it's the kind of show that can run for a long time. 
  • The Mindy Project, Big Bang Theory, and Modern Family have all managed to keep me laughing. 


  • Nashville. I'm sorry y'all. I just couldn't stick with Rayna and Juliette. I might watch it on catch up though because I do love the music and the melodrama.
  • Grey's Anatomy. I'm only watching this a) to say goodbye to Sandra Oh. Cristina Yang is hands down one of my favourite TV characters and b) because my mum and sister still enjoy it and I'm usually in the room when it comes on.
  • New Girl. I don't like Nick and Jess together (I don't know if they break up, I didn't get that far). To me, the tone of the show came across like a big in joke between the cast members and it felt rather closed off to the audience, so I switched off.
  • Keeping Up With The Kardashians. YES I WATCH THIS, WATCHAGONNADO?! Except the last season was really, really boring. They're clutching at straws. Methinks it's time for E! to find a new tent pole show. 
  • Star-Crossed. I wouldn't call it a loser as such. More like A for effort, better luck next time. 


I still watch a lot of reality TV and I'm not ashamed of it. Not really anyway.

  • The Amazing Race never gets old for me. Even when they rehash contestants and call it an All-Star season. 
  • Eric and Jessie: Game On. My sister got me into this one. They're sweet in their own way and I like the relationship Jessie and Sydney have. 
  • Wendy Williams Show. How you doin'? Not quite reality but she talks about reality TV a lot and I can't get enough. After Elevator-Gate, the first thing we all said was 'what's Wendy going to say on Hot Topics?!' I was so upset when I couldn't get tickets for a taping during our trip to NYC!
  • I also love our UK shows like Made In Chelsea, The Only Way Is Essex, and Gogglebox.


So, I have a rather long list of shows To Be Watched just like my TBR (To Be Read) list. From this season I'll have to add:

  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. I gave up around episode 8 or 9 then caught a later episode the other day and was impressed. I also heard it gets much better in the run up to the finale.
  • Scandal, Hart of Dixie, and Real Housewives of Atlanta are being messed around with by UK broadcasters. Really (a TV channel) dropped Hart of Dixie, which is SO ANNOYING because I miss Zoe Hart. Scandal was dropped by Channel 4 and picked up by Sky Living who are showing it all from the beginning (haha, sorry, this means nothing to you lovely readers outside of the UK does it? However it has annoyed me that I want to vent. Humour me.) As for RHOA, well ITV2 are showing season 5 at the moment so hopefully it will be on soon. 
  • Broolyn Nine-Nine. I watch the odd episode now and again but haven't given it my full attention despite finding it quite charming.
  • As for last year, well I still haven't watched Southland and I desparately want to try Orphan Black.

So, that was a lot longer than I expected and I didn't even get to talk about my favourites in depth. Tell me, what did you enjoy or dislike this season? What's on your TBW list? Do you have any recommendations for me? 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Publisher: Fourth Estate Ltd
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From the award-winning author of 'Half of a Yellow Sun,' a powerful story of love, race and identity. As teenagers in Lagos, Ifemelu and Obinze fall in love. Their Nigeria is under military dictatorship, and people are fleeing the country if they can. The self-assured Ifemelu departs for America. There she suffers defeats and triumphs, finds and loses relationships, all the while feeling the weight of something she never thought of back home: race. Obinze had hoped to join her, but post-9/11 America will not let him in, and he plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Thirteen years later, Obinze is a wealthy man in a newly democratic Nigeria, while Ifemelu has achieved success as a blogger. But after so long apart and so many changes, will they find the courage to meet again, face to face? Fearless, gripping, spanning three continents and numerous lives, 'Americanah' is a richly told story of love and expectation set in today's globalized world.

I wasn't going to write a review for Americanah because honestly, what is there left to say?! It's truly spectacular. My only complaint was that the writing was sooooo small! It's my fault really because I'm used to reading on Kindle/iPad/Nook and making the text HUGE. Anyway, all that aside, I'll just go through a few standout points for me.

It flowed beautifully. It takes a masterful writer to navigate two points of view and flit back and forth through time and space. The characters were wonderful. I loved Ifemelu the most but I felt genuine warmth toward the majority of the supporting characters that passed through her life and Obinze's life too. I don't know the first thing about Nigeria so I really enjoyed the rich descriptions of Ifemelu's home, past and present. 

Finally, this is very much a dialogue about what it means to be black both in a predominantly black society (Nigeria has the highest concentration of black people in the world, followed by Brazil - something I learnt from one of the million different documentaries on Brazil that have been shown) and then as a minority in places like the US and the UK. I've heard that this has been a bone of contention amongst a few readers as some thought it became very preachy when really they wanted a love story. I think in parts it was supposed to be a bit preachy. Ifemelu starts a blog in the US about race and culture - most people with a blog are a little bit preachy at times, right? Especially a blog that deals with sensitive topics. Then Ifemelu decides to go natural with her hair. Now, for those of you who don't know, hair - for whatever reason - is a big deal in the black community. I would certainly recommend Chris Rock's Good Hair documentary if you want to find out more. Those of you who have bravely dipped a toe into the world of black haircare blogs and forums will laugh knowingly whilst reading this part of the novel. Ifemelu sounded A LOT like the natural hair bloggers who pretend they're not judging others for relaxing their hair but they still manage to get a few digs in here and there! At the end of the day, whilst we are growing, we all go through these stages. It is not the author's job to present us with a likeable character and a perfect love story - that would be a deservice to the craft of writing. It's our job as readers to get into the heads of thse characters and take a walk in their shoes. 

As I said in this week's Top Ten Tuesday post, if you want to gain an idea of what it is like to be a black woman in the 21st century - make that a black woman in the US because my own experience is still different to Ifemelu, Britain has its own race problems - then give this book a go. Or maybe wait until the film starring Lupita Nyong'o comes out (can't wait!). Either way, come back here and we'll talk about it! 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is: Top Ten Books I've Read So Far This Year

Winger by Andrew Smith - [My Review] Truly unforgettable. Ryan Dean is now one of my favourite characters ever. 

We Were Liars by E.Lockhart - [My Review] An example of pretty much perfect writing. The prose was simple, the story was spectacular. 

Chasing Forever Down by Nikki Godwin - I only finished this the other day but it's still in my head. The friendships in this story were beautifully written. Oh and there was lots of surfing! Always a plus.

How To Ruin A Summer Vacation by Simone Elkeles - [My Review] Another beautiful story about friendship and cultural heritage. Funny too.

Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas - [My Review] - Perfect perfect perfect! If you've never read it, get a copy right away.

What's Up With Jody Barton? by Hayley Long - [My Review] - The twist would have been enough but Hayley Long also created a lovely family and portrays a London that is true to many of us here but doesn't often feature in London centric novels. 

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - Epic. If you want to read a wonderful love story AND really learn what it's like to be a black woman in the 21st century, grab yourself a copy of this award winning novel. Or you can wait until Lupita's film version. 

Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland - I seem to be ballet obsessed this year and this book helped add some real life perspective. A true story of triumph and genius. Hopefully one day I'll see Misty Copeland perform in real life.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion - [My Review] - Hands down the best rom-com I've read in years. 

Never Have I Ever by Katie Heaney - [My Review] - Brutally honest and extremely witty this book is great for teens and twenty-somethings.

This One Is Mine by Maria Semple

Monday, June 9, 2014

Publisher: Phoenix
Source: Netgalley
Rating: 3/5
Synopsis from Goodreads:

Violet Parry is living the quintessential life of luxury in the Hollywood Hills with David, her rock-and-roll manager husband, and her darling toddler, Dot. She has the perfect life--except that she's deeply unhappy. David expects the world of Violet but gives little of himself in return. When she meets Teddy, a roguish small-time bass player, Violet comes alive, and soon she's risking everything for the chance to find herself again. Also in the picture are David's hilariously high-strung sister, Sally, on the prowl for a successful husband, and Jeremy, the ESPN sportscaster savant who falls into her trap. For all their recklessness, Violet and Sally will discover that David and Jeremy have a few surprises of their own. THIS ONE IS MINE is a compassionate and wickedly funny satire about our need for more--and the often disastrous choices we make in the name of happiness.
I ended up liking This One Is Mine but it was definitely a fight to get to that stage! I had to persevere through a rocky first third and a strange middle but it was all worth it for the finale. The last few pages were quite beautiful. 

The characters are all pretty horrid. Violet is a flaky and indulged ex TV writer; David is a superstar music manager with a huge ego and a temper to match; Teddy is a carefree, kind of racist, recovering addict; and Sally takes gold-digging to a whole other level. The only kind of likeable characters are Dot and her nanny. Oh and David's assistant Kara. However, as a name nerd, I must tip my hat to Maria Semple - all the names were great. I mean, how cute is Dot?! Anyway, we all know and understand that characters don't have to be likeable - it just means that their journey has to be that more interesting. We get there in the end with this motley crew and every time you think one of them can't get any worse, they have a human moment, and balance is restored. 

The main theme of the story is the old "you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone" and "the grass isn't always greener" and so on and so forth. Yes, they are age old adages but we don't really seem to learn do we? Especially when we seem to have everything we've ever wanted. Violet's misadventures also represents the restlessness of the rich. David pretty much bleeds money and Violet wants for nothing. Except there's no such thing. You can never have everything, so Violet feels the need to scratch this itch and take a walk on the wild side. Ownership is another theme, as can be deduced from the title. Every character wants something that's solely for them. Even Dot regularly squawks 'want dat'. On the other side, there's dependency. Sally's whole plan is to get out of debt and stop relying on her brother. Admirable. Except she wants a rich husband to save her even though she has her own business and is clearly bright enough to make something of herself on her own. 

The best scenes in the book are the chaotic ones such as the wedding, which was hilarious. I could picture it vividly. One thing I wasn't so keen on was the racial slurs. There seemed to be a lot in the first part but luckily this didn't continue for the whole novel. I was close to putting it down at one point because I just didn't see what value the slurs added to the story. Finally, I loved all the Sondheim - everybody needs some Stephen Sondheim in their life. The writing is kind of like a Sondheim composition. I was playing Marry Me A Little the other day and thought of This One Is Mine. On the surface, the song sounds normal but when you actually play it - like most Sondheim songs - it is actually a lot more complicated and intricate than you expect. There's a scene where Dot is trying to sing along to Company and trying to keep up with all the different parts and that's exactly how the reader feels when tackling this novel.

So, if you like you stories offbeat and filled with challengingly unlikeable characters, pick up a copy of This One Is Mine.

Sunday Brunch: Read Whatever You Want To Read

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Brunch isn't really a big deal over here but I love the idea of it - and enjoy going to brunch whilst on holiday. Whenever I'm throwing together ideas for a new story, one of my favourite things to do is go Google Maps-ing for all the nice restaurants in the area. As I have dairy intolerance, I often have to watch what I eat at restaurants so it's not always a fun experience. However, the rise of all those Food Network shows and Pinterest and all the great reviews on Yelp and Chowhound allow me to live vicariously through all you gastronauts. 

So, I thought I'd try and start a new feature (although I'm not good at keeping up features so we'll see) where we go for brunch on a Sunday, anywhere in the world, and have a chat. This week we'll be:

I'm going to keep it short this week because you already know this but some people could do with a little reminder.

As I'm sure you know, this week a writer at Slate ignited a debate after publishing an article stating adults should be embarrassed if they read YA. Obviously the piece was written with the intention to provoke. The Fault in Our Stars had just been released and they knew it would be a sure way to get more traffic. In response, #promoteYA became a thing with YA readers posting pictures of their YA filled bookshelves and the like. 

That's all well and good but...I don't think anyone should have to defend their book choices. Read what you want to read! Who cares what some trolly writer thinks? Unless your job involves a lot of reading, chances are you read for pleasure in your down time. So, you most certainly owe it to yourself to read whatever makes your happy whether it's YA, Romance, Horror, Fantasy, Comics, Self-Help...whatever. I read YA (particularly contemporary YA) because I enjoy high school stories and I like that there's usually quite a lot packed into a small novel. I've also found some amazing authors that I plan to stick with until the end because I love their writing so much. That's what reading is about, isn't it? Before YA, when I was actually a teen, I read a lot of 'chick-lit' (which is actually quite similar to contemporary YA and NA). I read these because I used to dream about all the fun adventures I'd have in my twenties - ahem. I enjoy memoirs and autobiographies because I like to find out how people made something of themselves. I enjoy reading my Bible for daily strength and encouragement. I really, really don't care what people think of my bookshelves. 

Chances are at some point people will come round to your way of thinking anyway and you can enjoy that whilst it lasts. Trends come and go. YA is a thing at the moment - look at the number of adaptations that have been made recently and the whole host in the works. But let's take Game of Thrones as another example. Before the show, I'm sure if you told people you were reading a book about dragons and a dwarf and kind of zombie things and an iron throne they'd look at you like:

Fast forward to now and every fashion magazine is demanding you wear Mother of Dragons braids and everyone's all 'oh Prince Oberyn 4evah'. Suddenly, this fantastical world is cool. But it won't last. In a year or two people will be on to the next thing. That's why you need to just do you and ignore the nattering on the internet - because to be honest, your colleague at work isn't telling you to feel ashamed about what you read, are they? This seems to be an internet thing. Whoever said the internet is like high school was so right. 

Don't be fickle. Like what you like because YOU like it. Don't worry about other people. Maintain your integrity. 

March to the beat of your own drum because you're brilliant. 

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books That Will Be In My Beach Bag This Summer

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is: Top Ten Books In My Beach Bag. I'm still working through my Spring TBR List and a lot of those books were summery, so I don't have too much YA on the list this week. 

Summer of Yesterday by Gaby Triana - Disney, time travel, the 80s - sounds like a perfect beach read.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally - I will read anything by Miranda Kenneally and the plot of this one sounds like it will really showcase her talent. Can't wait to get my hands on it!

The Bridge From Me To You by Lisa Schroeder - I've heard comparisons to Friday Night Lights, which is always a winner, and it was recommended on Clear Eyes, Full Shelves so I'll definitely be reading it this summer. 

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae - This has been getting really good reviews and sounds like a lighthearted, fun read. 

Nowhere But Home by Liza Palmer - More Friday Night Lights comparisons. Small town, secrets, football...I'm there. 

The One & Only by Emily Giffin - I liked Something Borrowed but never got around to reading the next one. However, this one has football in it so I'll give it a try. I like to read 'chick-lit' during the summer months.

The Best of Us by Sarah Pekkanen - I've read three Sarah Pekkanen novels and love her style of writing. For some reason, it's not very easy to get her books over here but I'm going to try and read this one and Catching Air

The Vacationers by Emma Straub - It makes sense to read holiday novels whilst on holiday. I do like novels that trap extended family members together on an island or something and leave them to simmer. 

The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith - I only just read The Cuckoo's Calling a few weeks ago, so I'm intrigued to see what Cormoran does next. 

The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan - I read about Marina's story and this posthumous collection of essays in a magazine (maybe Elle US?) and decided I'd read it. So tragic. 

Sunday Brunch: Pleasant Surprises

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Brunch isn't really a big deal over here but I love the idea of it - and enjoy going to brunch whilst on holiday. Whenever I'm throwing together ideas for a new story, one of my favourite things to do is go Google Maps-ing for all the nice restaurants in the area. As I have dairy intolerance, I often have to watch what I eat at restaurants so it's not always a fun experience. However, the rise of all those Food Network shows and Pinterest and all the great reviews on Yelp and Chowhound allow me to live vicariously through all you gastronauts. 

So, I thought I'd try and start a new feature (although I'm not good at keeping up features so we'll see) where we go for brunch on a Sunday, anywhere in the world, and have a chat. This week we'll be:

One of the best feelings is being pleasantly surprised. I plan a lot in terms of what I'm going to watch and read (but oddly enough not with music. I'll listen to things on a whim) so I'm not often very surprised by the output*. Chances are, if I've addded it to the list, I vaguely know the story and what to expect. However, these past few days I've been pleasantly surprised by a book, a few films, and a concert. 

I'm going to write a proper review for this in the week but it was SO not what I expected. There's a bit of a mystery to it, which was compelling but the main thing that had me hooked was the friendship element. This story had real heart and warmth to it. I was just looking for something light to read alongside Americanah but Chasing Forever Down got under my skin and I'm so glad to see the little #1 in the title suggesting a second one is around or on the way. 

What Maisie Knew 
I've known about this film for a while because I remember the candids of Alexander SkarsgÃ¥rd on set being discussed over at Lainey Gossip. So, I put it on yesterday and was completely blown away. In short, Maisie's parents get a divorce and she ends up going back and forth between them, although their respective partners seem to do more of the parenting. Meanwhile, Maisie is just trying to be a kid, getting on with school, trying to draw castles. It's very quiet. Maisie isn't bratty or precocious, she's just a thoughtful, quiet child. Onata Aprile plays Maisie brilliantly - she manages to disappear into the background in the way a quiet child can sometimes but still makes sure you're thinking about her. Very clever. The way Maisie is taken under the wings of her step-parents (who are barely adults themselves) in the face of her parents' selfishness and bitterness is a little bit overwhelming. I watched the whole thing with a lump in my throat. Just a really beautiful film. 

I'd never heard of this film until it cropped up in the suggestions on Neflix. Again, in short the story follows a year in the life and loves of The Borgen family who are still dealing with Mama and Papa Borgen's spearation. Now that I think about it, the tone reminds me a little bit of Crazy, Stupid, Love but quieter and even sweeter. There are so many different types of love shown through this family of four. It helps that the dad and the kids are writers so they aren't afraid of using their words. The characters were all really well rounded and most importantly the actors were all on their game, especially the youngsters. I know people kind of lumped Lily Collins in the 'young starlets who aren't Jennifer Lawrence and Emma Stone' category but I really think she is talented. This is the second indie I've seen her in where she's acted very well (the other being The English Teacher, also with Julianne Moore). Overall, I was just surprised by how sweet and real this film was. 

On Thursday I had the great pleasure of seeing Star Trek Live in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall. I love the film and the score (obviously or else I wouldn't have bought the tickets) however I was taken aback by a few things. Firstly, the number of people who also love the score and seeing them in the flesh as opposed to online. The level of excitement and enthusiasm was amazing and infectious. Secondly, I always forget the power of the orchestra. I couldn't stop the goosebumps from forming and the joining in with the raucous applause and cheering as the surviving members of the Kelvin flew to safety and the orchestra crescendoed into that title sequence! Thirdly, I assumed the concert was being put on independent of the franchise - like when I saw Fantasia Live last year. WRONG. Simon Pegg a.k.a Scotty was there to introduce the show, which was a lovely surprise. He also introduced MICHAEL GIACCHINO! I can't imagine what it would've felt like to be him on the receiving end of all those much deserved rock star worthy cheers. In a way, I guess it's like when Mozart was the Harry Styles of his day. Then Michael Giacchino introduced...J.J ABRAMS!!!!! I thought people were going to seriously pass out. It was a small taste of what it must be like to go to one of those comic conventions. Finally, to put the icing on the cake, Michael Giacchino gave us a taster of his upcoming score for Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, which was great. 

So, have you had any pleasantly surprising experiences recently?