The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

Monday, February 16, 2015

 

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This is the best book I have read recently. The style is unique, the tone is witty, the characters are really entertaining and the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. I can't think of any other book that so cleverly tells the story as Stroud has done with this series. It’s written from the third person perspective for the young boy Nathaniel and the first person perspective for the superior Djinni, Bartimaeus. The footnotes that can be found in Bartimaeus chapters greatly enhance the story with humorous remarks. It may sound tedious to read a bit, jump to the bottom for the footnotes and then carry on back up top. But Stroud has done it masterfully and these footnotes add magic to the book. They actually bring out a whole new aspect to Bartimaeus' character.

I’m not enamored with the protagonist, Nathaniel, but I actually really like that he isn’t a self-sacrificing noble boy. Instead he is a selfish, arrogant, and ambitious apprentice. It’s good to have somewhat flawed and ignoble heroic protagonist in your story every once in a while. Bartimaeus, on the other hand, is the magic of this story. I absolutely love him. This ancient, powerful Djinni is a delightfully sarcastic, self-centered and a very entertaining character. To be honest, Bartimaeus chapters alone are worth the read.

Stroud has created a magical world consisting the elements of friendship, loyalty, survival, moral values, determination, greediness, and corruption. This is not a more easily read novel and it is quite long read compared to other YA books. It does require a fair amount of attention to enjoy every aspect of the story and the uniqueness of the writing. But trust me, Bartimaeus will be worth your time.

Seraphina & The Fifth Wave

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Seraphina Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Dragons! I never get tired of reading about dragons. That love over dragon stories caused me to find most stories somewhat predictable. But Seraphina's world is really intriguing and captivating. Rachel Hartman has marvelously crafted this dragon world; the transformation of dragons to humans, consequences of human emotions, consequences of love between humans and dragons, the half humans and their abilities, and the co-existence of both species. I like almost all the characters, especially Seraphina and Lucian; they both are very clever, brave, and altruistic. The side characters that add colors to the story are also really fascinating. I'm really grateful that there were no confusing thoughts and dramas as we see in most YA novels. Even though there was a smell of a love triangle in the corner, I hope Hartman would be able to craft it without an irksome drama. What glued me into the book apart from the captivating story was Hartman's writing. Her writing's one of the unique aspects of this novel. Seraphina is indeed a page turner and I'm eagerly waiting for the next book to get lost in this beautiful and refreshing dragon world.

The Fifth Wave The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave certainly is not a disappointment, but it is not at all surprising or refreshing either. The plot is highly predictable and the justification for using children as soldiers to kill humans does not give the satisfaction to believe the story when the aliens have the power to kill all humans at once or by themselves with their resources. Child soldiers, typical forbidden love story, and highly predictable dystopian plot is just not my cup of coffee. But dystopian YA lovers will definitely love this book.

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

 

 

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Have you ever read a book which you absolutely like and your mind is all over the universe after reading it? And still think about some characters and hard to review because can’t think what to say and how to articulate those thoughts? And the Mountains Echoed is indeed a “thousand tragedies per square mile” as Hussain mentioned in the book. It has been few months since I read this story (or short stories) of human characters and I still can’t put my thoughts into words.



The central theme of the story is about two siblings, Abdhullah and Pari that separated because of the younger sister, Pari, was adopted by a wealthy family where her step uncle is working as a chauffeur. But this is not just their story, this is the story of Abdhulla, Pari, Parwana, Masooma, Nabi, Suleiman, Idris, Timur, Roshi, Nila, Adel, Gholam, Iqbal, Markos, Ordelia, Thalia, and Pari. This is the story of all of them, the story that changes the lives of all of them because of Abdulla’s father, Saboor made a decision to give up one of his children. The story encompasses many years, more than 50 years, till the two siblings find their way to each other.

The structure of the novel is different compared to Hussain’s early work. And the Mountains Echoed is halfway between a novel and a short story collection. Each chapter introduces a different character, focuses on how the character has developed so far and the purpose of their lives, and how they connect to the story. Behind each character’s shadow Hussain tells the tale of family, love and loss. At the end of each chapter I find myself staring into the space and still thinking about the people that I just read. It was hard for me to move into a voice of another character so soon though I was eager to find out where all these stories will end. It would have been a messy read if someone less talented had constructed this complicated layout, yet Hussain’s simple and captivating writing has remarkably managed to shove us into the lives of these thorny people.



Hussain has a knack for crafting characters and emotional connections that stick in our hearts long after the pages are turned. Sometimes those characters are very familiar and you see yourself in them, or you see someone else that you know, a friend, a family member, or a colleague. They all have good and bad, both within them, they are just imperfect human creatures. Ashamedly I realized that as Idris we all, even myself, encapsulated in our own colorful lives and even though we want to give a little color to those monochrome lives, we are not yet ready to give up even a tiny little shade of color from our lives. But there are people like Nibu and Parwana who look after their loved ones tenderly in their worst situations without expecting anything. It’s heartbreaking to live through the pages of Abdullah and Pari’s separation, Parwana and Massoma’s separation, Sulaiman’s last breath, little Roshi’s tragedy, Iqbal’s timeworn life, and Pari’s reunion with the old senile Abdhullah.

Nila is one of the leading and most appealing, complicated characters in this tale. She is a stereotype of female artists, who is emotionally unstable, attractive, a smoker, and who has a bad taste in men. The journey of Nila’s life seems somewhat very exciting, sometimes it’s heartbreaking, and sometimes it’s so depressing. The idea of mother and daughter dating the same guy was so disturbing though they were not blood related. Because of that Pari became my least favorite character until she got married and had kids. None of these relationships are simple, but Hussain masterly brings out the happiness, frustrations, and the pain of each one of those relationships beautifully.

As always with Hussain, the writing and the characters are rich. At the end of each chapter I find myself wishing to spend little more time with those characters. Even though I love all the chapters and adored every page, I could have done without the stories of Idris, Markos, and Adel, plus I wish there were more pages narrated by Abdhullah. Yet every chapter adds more color and vital links to the story.

This is one of the most beautiful, powerful and emotional book that I have read recently. And the Mountains Echoed is a highly recommended book for all bookworms around the world.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Thursday, June 05, 2014

 

 

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Well, my hubby and I got our first movie date last week since A’s birth and decided to watch the X-Men: Days of Future Past. We both were so excited about the new addition to the X-Men franchise and it is a perfect follow up after the X-Men: First Class which gave us a little hope after few absurd sequels, especially the X-Men: The Last Stand. I didn’t have a high expectation for the movie plot, but was very excited about the cast. You don’t get to see these handsome men (Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender) and gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence together in the big screen every day, not to mention their awesome interviews all over the media.

The movie starts with a scene of future world and a narration of how mutants and humans (who has the ability to give birth to mutants) are fading from the earth by Sentinels’ hand, robots that were created by humans to destroy mutants. To prevent the war and save mutants and humans, Professor X, Magneto, Kitty and the other young mutants who remains fighting, altogether are sending Logan’s consciousness back in time to change the past and secure the future world from sentinels.

There are few continuity errors in this sequel, or we can say few plot fixes for the previous X-Men movies. We all know what happened to Professor X in the X-Men: Last Stand and he is still alive in his own body in this movie. Kitty didn’t have a time travelling ability in previous movies, and her power of phasing through objects doesn’t even connect with time travelling ability. And how we can forget Wolverine’s Adamantium claws? Last time I checked, he didn’t have adamantium claws, also he met William Stryker during the Vietnam War, not afterwards. The X-Men team didn’t even bother to spend few minutes explaining these things, so I didn’t bother to overthink these facts. I just sent a massage to my mind that think this as a reboot for X-Men. However, I’m so glad that X-Men team has removed all those horrible scenes from the previous movies, it seems as those movies never existed.

Apart from those continuity issues there are few plot holes that I managed to grasp from the first watch. I still can’t understand why Magneto has to be released from the prison to manipulate Mystic since Charles is capable of dealing with her even without his powers. Also why they introduce a character like Quicksilver and not taking advantage of his power for the main mission. They could have saved from lots of trouble if they use Quicksilver to prevent the murder scene of Trask and it can be led to a more complicated plot. Not to mention this whole time travelling aspect of the movie, though Singer managed to present the concept without jumbling the plot line, it still confuses my mind, especially the last part of the movie where Wolverine wakes up to a whole new timeline and wondering what has happened. But these plot holes didn’t stop me from enjoying the movie.

One of the most exciting and the strength of the movie is its cast. Each and every one of them are great as their respective characters. My only regret is that new mutants don’t have much of screen time to show their personality and to introduce themselves. Yet, within those few minutes Blink managed to stole everyone’s eyes with her splendid teleportation portals and Quicksilver stole the entire movie with his funny and superfast jailbreak scene, the best scene of the movie, though I’m still wondering about how he listens to those normal speedy music when his whole world is superslow. Hugh Jackman is great as always as Wolverine. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence, all of them have done a marvelous job portraying their respective characters. I can’t think of any better cast that could have portrayed Professor X, Magneto and Mystic’s younger selves better than them. Peter Dinklage is great as Dr. Bolivar Trask, his future Sentinels are super scary with mimicking and absorbing the power of mutants.

All in all, the X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men Movie so far. The choreography, the CGI, the cast, all perfect. Even though there are few plot holes in the script, you can still enjoy the movie without asking too many questions. You wouldn’t miss much if you watch it in 2D since Bryan Singer still have to harness his 3D abilities. With this fantastic cast, action-drama sequels and wonderful visual effects, The X-Men: Days of Future Past is a perfect cup of coffee for a warm summer evening.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

P.S.  Sit tight, don’t get ready to leave yet. There is an end credit in the movie that gives a glimpse of the next X-Men movie. I am not going to elaborate it since I guess I gave enough spoilers to the movie :D

Pompeii

Sunday, May 18, 2014

 

 

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We have seen few movies based on and inspired by true historical disasters before. Among them Titanic and The Impossible had successfully captured love, horror, greediness, and fear of those moments that we almost felt we were living in the middle of the disaster in those few hours of journey through those movies. Jack and Rose still live in the depth of our hearts, and the Henry family who survived from the Tsunami still gives tears to our eyes. After watching all those disaster movies, could Milo and Cassia be able to imprint their love in our heart? Could Pompeii be able to give the horror and the glimpse of the real disaster of the eruption of Vesuvius?

Pompeii starts with a scene of Romans murdering a whole tribe of Celtic horsemen, and the only survivor of this massacre is a little boy named Milo. Later this little boy, Milo, becomes a slave and end up in Pompeii to fight with gladiators. On his way to Pompeii he meets Cassia, the daughter of the Pompeii’s ruler, and they both fall in love with each other at first sight. A corrupted Roman senate, Corvus who is responsible for the death of Milo’s tribe, forces Cassia to be his wife. In the middle of all these dramas there is a life-or-death battle and eruption of a great volcano.

The script is neither surprising nor appealing. The two parallel stories of love and gladiator battles are a stereotype of any other gladiator or ancient Roman movies. The love story, rich-girl-loves-poor-boy, is cliché and there is no time to build a relationship between Milo and Cassia. The love story lacks the strong depth feelings, dialogs and characteristics of tragic love story. Instead the movie has given more time to build a relationship between two gladiators, Milo and Atticus. That relationship is somewhat interesting thanks to the character of Atticus.

There are so many mistakes, plus inaccurate data in this movie. The rain of lava bombs which destroyed almost all the city when the volcano exploded is like a meteor shower. The effect is a bit tempting though it’s not how it happened. There were no lava bombs when the Vesuvius erupted but an ash and pumice rain and it was very hard to breath because of the air was thick with ash. But the Pompeii has not captured how hard people tried to survive through this rain of ash and how they escaped from the city. Instead, it gives you nice visual effects of a volcano explosion with lava bombs. Also there was no evidence for a massive tsunami which brought ships into the city, the arena wasn’t destroyed during the eruption, there were no cracking grounds in the middle of the Pompeii city, and list goes on. There were so many inaccuracies in this movie, but it captured the ancient Pompeii city, buildings, costumes, and the culture fairly impressively though I doubt women in this ancient time wore slits up dresses. After all this is not a documentary about Pompeii, this is a historical fiction with good visual effects.

That being said, the acting is just good enough but not impressive. There are no memorable lines except for the repeated lines of previous movies of this genre. But the cinematography is really good. The Pompeii city which has buried nearly for 2000 years was pretty much alive with a magnificent view. The graphics and visual effects of the volcano and the disaster are excellent but not realistically visualized.

So the answer for those two questions I asked early in this post is, NO. Milo and Cassia couldn’t dive into my heart and I didn’t feel the horrific feeling of death through this movie. Pompeii failed in almost every aspect, the writing, acting, characters, and historical aspects. If you are a fan of good visual effects you’d be able to enjoy this film without massive complaints. But if you are a fan of history, especially about Roman history, you might have to switch off your brain if you want at least slightly to enjoy this film. And for the fan of disaster love stories, you’d be disappointed too.

My Rating: 2 out of 5

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

 

 

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After being frozen for half a century, Cap is back to save the world. Welcome back Captain America for your second solo, “save the world” battle. I am not a comic book fan. I haven’t read a single comic book. But I am a great fan of comic book adaptations. When I saw the first trailer of Captain America: The Winter Soldier I was so excited and couldn’t wait till it hit the cinema, though the first Captain America movie isn’t in my “fantastic movies” list.

It has been two years since the New York battle and Steve Rogers is slowly adapting to the modern world of digital era. The black and white world he used to live no longer exists, no one can clearly separate the good guys from the bad guys. It seems that his superior Nick Fury also has his own agenda and Steve cannot trust anyone. With the death of Nick Fury, Captain becomes a fugitive and teams up with Black Widow and Falcon, and with few people he knows he can trust, to unravel the conspiracy that has been hidden behind the S.H.I.E.L.D for nearly 70 years.

Steve Rogers is a trustworthy military veteran who always value nobility. What Marvel did with the character was, threw him out from his comfort zone. Steve always want everyone to be trustworthy, have a black and white morality and Marvel tossed him into an espionage, politically savaged, gray world where no one can be trusted. So the battle of “save the world from Hydra” is not just some scenes with actions to kill the bad guys, it is more of a personal mission to the character as well as an emotional journey to the audience. It is good that Steve reads a lot on internet and making to-do lists to catchup those 70 years that he had been missing, though I wonder how many years he would have to spend on history and pop culture lessons with his busy schedule. Chris Evans has never been better as Steve Rogers, with a heroism physical and stunt actions. After watching Fantastic Four, I was disappointed to hear Marvel’s decision of casting Chris Evan as Captain America. But now I am so glad that they picked Chris Evan for the role of Steve Rogers.

Scarlet Johansson perfectly embodies the role of Black Widow. She is mind blowing with her sarcastic comic attitude, and complex martial arts movements. This time Black Widow has quite a long script than her previous scripts, and her tools, intelligence, and stunning combats are quite impressive. Though she is working with Captain, she always has her own mission and goes through her own emotional journey rather than just being an eye-candy to the plot. She is indeed a superhero and I expect a Black Widow solo movie soon from Marvel since there is so much to tell about this amazing character.

The other member of the “Team Cap” is Falcon. This is the first time Falcon has introduced to the Marvel cinematic universe. I cannot think anyone better for the role besides Anthony Mackie and I’d definitely like to see him in more movies in the future. Nick Fury gets more screen time in this movie and Samuel Jackson is great as always embodying the role of Nick Fury giving a lot more power to his scenes. Robert Redford, giving a calm and gripping performance, portrays Alexander Pierce who leads the Hydra activities inside the S.H.I.E.L.D with high authoritative powers. Marvel introduces two more comic characters in this movie, Brock Rumlow and Sharon Carter, a.k.a. Agent 13. Frank Grillo’s performance as bad-ass S.T.R.I.K.E agent is remarkable. Even though Agent 13 has a minor role in this movie, Emily VanCamp steals those few scenes with amazing performance portraying Agent 13.

Bucky Barnes, a.k.a. The Winter Soldier is brainwashed and doesn’t know his true identity and he has a more personal connection with Steve Rogers than the Hydra lets him believe. Sebastian Stan is remarkable as Winter Soldier and performs well with his limited amount of screen time. I expected more scenes of Winter Soldier, after all the movie is named after him, but we don’t get to see much of him and it feels like he is more of a window dressing to the plot. Even in those few moments he manages to scare them all since his humanity switch is off, yet, he is having some soft spots here and there. I always like villains but here it’s different and I feel sorry for him. You can’t blame him for his ruthless assassinations when he has been brainwashed and frozen for time to time for nearly 70 years. Do we get to know more about him, his personal life, and his motives in the next Captain America movie? Fingers crossed.

In many superhero movies and comic book adaptations we can see lots of plot holes and silly plots. To my surprise, I didn’t see major plot holes in the first watch. The writing is pretty much good and smart in this movie. Also Captain America: The Winter Soldier has the best hand-to-hand fight scenes as well as best heavy action scenes. The most disappointing scene for me was to know that the Councilwoman who kicked Alexander’s ass is turned out to be Black Widow. It would have been more excited if it was really the Councilwoman. And the most predictable scene was the last battle. Captain and Falcon manage to replace chips on the first two helicarriers and here comes the Winter Soldier to the third halicarrier to stop them. It would have been more intense if Winter Soldier appeared in the first or second helicarrier and fought through the last one. Also I knew from the start that Alexander Pierce cannot be trusted, he always had that villainous look in his eyes.

I don’t want to spoil this post anymore by describing the post credits. But I can say those two post credits give some clues about next Avengers and Captain America movies. All in all Captain America: The Winter Soldier is all you want from a superhero movie: actions, thriller, comedy, and little bit of drama well balanced in a one movie.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal

Sunday, April 20, 2014

 

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“Shades of Milk and Honey is precisely the sort of tale we would expect from Jane Austen, if she lived in a world where magic worked.” This is how the Shades of Milk and Honey is described on the back cover of the book. So I picked this book hoping to dive into a romantic historical fantasy world with deep characters.



The story is about Jane Ellsworth, 28 years old plain woman who is a skilled glamourist with no hope for a marriage due to her plain features. Her younger sister, Melody is gifted with beauty and charm. The two sisters became jealous at each other when they began their hunt for eligible men, especially for Mr. Dunkirk. With the arrival of Mr. Vincent, Jane and her skills of glamour gets more attention which makes Melody unsecured of herself leading to a tragic mistake of love and judgment. Throughout this drama, there is beauty woven into each scene with the touch of magic to enhance the art.

What’s most refreshing about Shades of Milk and Honey is how easily Kowal manages to weave the magic into the familiar setting of Regency England without witches, wizards or black magic. Magic is a craft, a skill to be learned and practice, and it is a normal skill as cooking or sewing, which must be mastered by women to accomplish themselves. There is nothing so special about glamour or magic. It is simply something that use to enhance the art and decorate the upper class lifestyle. It can be used to give a little life to a painting by making the hair move in the wind, or to decorate a dining room, or to produce a beautiful music, or to change someone’s appearance. The magic in this book is simply mystical and beautiful. Apart the fact that magic burns the energy in human body, it is not dangerous at all.

Though the glamour is so charming, the story lacks deep characters, romance, memorable heroes and heroines. Jane is a wonderful, interesting, intelligent character though her self-doubt and the comparison to her sister’s beauty is slightly irritating. I would’ve preferred more words developing the relationship between Jane and Mr. Vincent, and more romance bubbles around them. It would have given more romantic atmosphere to the story. However, Melody reminds me of those girls who has so much beauty and do everything to get in the middle of everyone’s attention using silly dramas despite improving their skills and patience. Mr. Dunkirk is a decent gentlemen, an overprotective brother, and he can be easily manipulated. His sister, Beth, is a dreamy girl who always believes in true love. And Captain Livingston is a villainous gentleman after a handsome dowry. The relationships with these characters are quite predictable and dull. I knew from the start that Captain Livingston cannot be trusted, and the mysterious Mt. Vincent is definitely going to be the better half of Jane.

The comparison between Kowal’s work and Jane Austen’s work is inevitable since Kowal tribute this debut to Jane Austen. The world of Shadow of Milk and Honey is a combination of Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma; Nervous mother, worried father, a sense governed elder sister, beautiful and passionate younger sister, secret engagements, rakish villainous gentlemen, sprained ankles, and misunderstandings. But Shades of Milk and Honey lacks the depth characters which we deeply dived in Jane Austen novels as well as heart wrenching, dreamy romance that we still fantasize in Jane Austen Novels. However, attempt to imitate Jane Austen’s style is no easy task and Kowal manages to skillfully duplicate Jane Austen’s style with the dash of magic.

Even though the story lacks a depth plot as well as the characters, it is a charming story that can be enjoyed in the summer light with a “… and they lived happily ever after” ending. Despite the silly attempt to deeply dive into the characters and the plot, I enjoyed the writing, the setting and the simple story. This is a perfect magical, historical fiction to relax in a sunny day with a good cup of coffee.

My Rating: 3 out of 5

12 Years a Slave

Sunday, March 23, 2014

12 Years a Slave


Movies are not just for an entertainments, movies can educate people on various things such as history, culture, science. This film, 12 Years a Slave, is about slavery that took place in the recent history of 1800s. It is based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. It reveals the truth about one of the darkest times of human history.


Slavery is a very delicate subject and still occurs in the modern world, though it is not as brutal as past. Even though it is hard and depressing to watch such stories, I am happy that McQueen and the team revealed the cruel reality of slavery by creating this movie. It shows the brutal events that followed during Northup’s 12 years as a slave.

12 Years a Slave has an incredible cast with renowned as well as obscure actors. As Patsy, Lupita Nyong’o brings a new face to the big screen with marvelous performance. Chiwetel Ejiofor is perfect as the main character, Solomon Northup. Michael Fassbender is truly excellent in this movie. His character is the most barbaric, lunatic and evil soul. I almost hit the screen when I watched him play as Edwin Epps.

Even though the events took place within 12 years, I felt like it’s based on three or four months. Solomon haven’t aged much during that 12 years of slavery. However it seems like his family has aged for more than 20 years. It’s sad to see such plot holes in this great movie and I think directors should have paid more attention to these details.

This is one of those movies that is honest about history and it takes you on a powerful and emotional journey. Honestly, I never want to watch it again, not because it is not a good movie, ofcoz it is a remarkable movie, but it is extremely painful to watch. That being said, I still think 12 Years a Slave is one of the best movies of the year.

My Rating: 4 out of 5

I’m H-A-P-P-Y

Monday, March 17, 2014

I’m H-A-P-P-Y is one of Akira’s favorite nursery rhymes. He always responds very happily to this song with a little coos and goo-goos. It’s hard to believe that our sweet little boy Akira is four months old already. I enjoy his sweetness so much every day and cherish every moment being around him. I can’t stop admiring him every second, as for me, he is the most wonderful, beautiful and innocent creature in the whole world. I can’t even begin to explain how motherhood has changed me.

 



I have never been a kid person before, I didn’t even know whether I like children or not. So when we got the news about our new addition to the family, we got scared. Of course we were so happy to hear the good news, but we got so scared about parenting. I was so worried about being a good mother because I’ve never thought about mothering before. KP helped me a lot to overcome my fear. At last I learned that if you love your baby, care about him, protect him, and give your best to be a good mother you don’t have to be worried about it. There is no such thing as bad mothering if you try your best to raise your child in a good way.

My nine months period of pregnancy was not that fabulous. I was so moody, grumpy and was in the pain most of the time and the worst part was the food aversion. Until the day that Akira was born, I didn’t enjoy a single meal. I just ate for the sake of nourishment. But the feeling of having your little buddy with you all the time was amazing. And there’s really no way to describe the feel of those first kicks. All the pain that I have suffered through that time just vanished when I first saw his face. That tiny little face brought so much happiness to our small family and now we can’t think about how we have been living without him all these past years.

I have learned so many things for this four months. I have learned to live on less sleep, to eat super-fast, to shower in two minutes, to organize effectively, and most importantly to be strong. Also when others pass judgment on parenting decisions it is hard to do things in my own way, but somehow I managed to master the art of ‘keep calm and do things as I like’. I know it is hard to raise a child, and no one tells this before we have kids, maybe it’s because they don’t want to scare us. Even though it is hard, there is nothing to be scared. Honestly, there is nothing like seeing that wide smile in the baby’s face when he sees us. All the hard work we do, all the sacrifices we make, is worth to see that cute smile.

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House of Cards

Monday, March 10, 2014

House of Cards


I don’t know how I missed House of Cards, if KP hadn’t mentioned it I wouldn’t know the existence of this great political drama. Somehow I am glad that I missed it when they aired the first season, hence I watched the whole two seasons at a stretch, with no breaks, without waiting for another year.

 



“There are two kinds of pain. The sort of pain that makes you strong, or useless pain. The sort of pain that's only suffering. I have no patience for useless things.” With a cynical narration, Frank Underwood starts his mission to become the most powerful man in the United States of America. His wife, Clair Underwood is his backbone and helps him unconditionally to achieve his ambition. Even though Zoe Barns is just a pawn in this game, she plays a significant part with a great ambition to become a top journalist. Frank Underwood cynically moves Peter Russo as his Pawn with the help of Doug Stamper, one of his Nights, to win this political game.

House of cards is an adoption of a BBC TV mini-series from 1990s and it is based on a book from the author Michael Dobbs. As for me, the cast, the direction, the writing and the visuals are better than the old TV series. Kevin Spacey’s incredible charismatic performance as Frank Underwood really drew me in and kept my attention. Robin Wright’s performance as Clair Underwood is stunning and just as good as Spacey. It is fascinating to watch how each character evolves through the season with their unique personalities. One of the main success factors of House of Cards is its cast. I can’t think of any better cast for this outstanding show.

Even though this is a political drama, it hasn’t bored me for a second. The excitement at the end of an episode was so much that I couldn’t fight off the urge to watch the next episode straightaway. So I finished watching the first season within 3days. One of the great benefits of binge watching is that you don’t have to wait till the next week to see the next episode, you can watch it right away or you can watch it whenever you have time. Also the excitement after the end of an episode doesn’t fade away while you are waiting for the next episode to be aired.

This is a great TV series in every way, writing, directing, visuals, everything is so perfect. I didn’t even want to blink for a second and take my eyes off from the show. The direct talk to the audience from Frank made it easier to understand Frank’s motives and perspective. I am very excited to see Frank’s next dark mission to stay in the power, unfortunately I have to wait till next year to see the next season. Counting down the days!

My Rating: 5 out of 5