Sunday, 17 September 2017

Carlyn's Diary: September 2017

I have two weeks of holiday time. It’s spring in Australia, my favourite time of the year. It’s also my birthday month. This time around, I’m having a staycation. I plan to catch up with old friends and mostly binge watch through my Netflix saved list as well as finish one book. I plan on watching, The Age of Adeline, Albion: The Enchanted Stallion, Pulp Fiction and Room. As well as a whole bunch of series.

 I would like to get through a ton of books too but I know myself enough to know I won’t do it. So my goal is to just finish reading Gulliver’s Travels by Johnathan Swift. It’s been almost two years and I’ve read the book on and off, forgetting about it all the time and starting new books.

I haven’t decided yet on what I will do for my birthday. I usually have a big plan but this year I’m aiming for something low key. I was thinking of having a roast dinner with my family and going out with my friends later.

Friday, 4 August 2017

August Life Update

I changed from my journalism degree into creative writing. I decided to go with my heart as all I really want to do is write fiction. I originally chose journalism to be sensible because it has better job prospects. However, I thought I might as well be happy because this will be my second degree and I’m not young anymore.

It has been the best decision I made. I’m enjoying my course and I like being around like minded people. I was a bit nervous about sharing my work as we have to critique each other but I’m there to learn so it’s necessary.


Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin)
My little brother introduced me to this kdrama. It’s about a Korean general Kim Shin (Gong Yoo)  from ancient times who is executed by the emperor who is afraid he’s too powerful. He gets stabbed with his own sword but doesn’t die. Instead he becomes an immortal known as a goblin and must wander the earth until he meets his bride. The love of his life is the only one that can pull the sword out and grant him death.

It’s an interesting concept and well written. The costuming, special effects and locations are excellent. I recommend the series.

Boys Over Flowers
In this Kdrama is set in high school. It’s about a girl named Geum Jan Di (Ku Hye-sun) who gets a scholarship to Shinhwa High School, a private school in Korea. Students take a disliking to her because she’s not rich especially Gu Jun Pyo (Lee Min-ho), the most popular boy in school. Gu Jun Pyo is the heir to the Shinhwa company and his family owns the school. He does a series of pranks on Geum Jan Di to force her to leave but she rises to the occasion which leads to him falling in love with her.

The two get together but their love is tested by Gu Jun Pyo’s mother who doesn’t approve of the relationship. The couple have the support of Gu Jun Pyo’s friends Yoon Ji Hoo (Kim Hyun-Joong), So Yi Jung (Kim Bum), Song Woo Bin (Kim Joon) who are all heirs to large fortunes. The boys make up the group known as F4 who rule the school.

The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt Series- Book 1 Me Just Different by Stephanie Morril

Skylar Hoyt is this popular high school student who decides to change her life after something bad happens to her at a party. She becomes estranged from her friends as she tries to work out who she real is and finds herself liking an unpopular boy. I thought it was a cute story, it reminded me of the stupid fights you have with your friends in high school.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

The Lunch Box

Illa (Nimrat Kaur) is a young Indian housewife who makes hot lunches for her husband which is sent through the intricate Dabbawala system to deliver it to her husband. In India, it is common for office workers to have hot meals from home or a restaurant to be delivered to them via a delivery service. Usually a man will come collect the meals from a residence or restaurant and then it may be sent on the train or bike depending on the location. Illa’s lunch is accidently sent to Saajan Fernandes (Irrfan Khan ) an accountant who is about to retire after thirty five years working at the same firm.  

The two start to send messages to each other in the lunch box and they learn about each other’s lives. Illa writes about how her husband takes her for granted and Saajan writes about the monotony of his life and his loneliness from being a widower for many years.The pair come to depend upon each other and fall in love but it’s complicated. Illa has a husband and a young daughter and Saajan feels he may be too old to start something new. They try to meet a few times but things get in the way.

It was a cute movie. One of my friends recommended this film to me so that’s why I watched it. I love movies set in India as I love Indian culture. I enjoyed watching the film but I wish the ending hadn’t been ambiguous. I had hoped that all the issues would be resolved in the end. I don’t know if they would have got their happily ever after because they were both lonely people who just happened to be there for each other. I think a hobby and friends could have easily fixed the hole each had and Illa needed to communicate more with her husband.  

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Autumn Dreams

Eighteen year old Annie (Ivy Matheson) and nineteen year Ben (Matt Visser) get married and run away to New York but are stopped by Annie’s father. Ben goes to New York by himself and Annie remains on her family farm. The two are separated for fifteen years until they reunite to get a divorce as each have decided to marry other people.  Ben (Colin Egglesfield)  lives in New York engaged to Jovanna (Tasya Teles) and Annie is engaged to Joe ( Michael Karl Richards) back on the farm. The divorce proceedings don’t go to plan and Ben and Annie spend time reminiscing their past and rekindling their love.

Ben and Annie were a nice couple. Nothing spectacular about their love story, sometimes love is like that. I thought that there was more chemistry between the teenaged versions of Annie and Ben rather than the older ones. I also think it’s because the teenagers were at the height of their love and the older ones were rekindling their love.

It’s a cute movie to watch when you want something on but don’t want to concentrate too hard. I watched it while I was cleaning the lounge room. I also picked it because it had the shortest running time on my huge saved list on Netflix. What I found refreshing about this movie was that there were no scheming love interests. I thought Jovanna would be some uptight city girl who would make snarky remarks about Annie being a small town country girl. Or that Joe who was friendzoned by Annie in their teenage years, would be behind some kind of deception which resulted in Ben and Annie’s estrangement.  However, Jovanna and Joe were both nice people. I felt bad for them in the end.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Carlyn's Diary: June 2017

This year I decided to go back to university and study journalism. I am a teacher but I wanted a career change. I’ve always liked writing so I want to work in a field with writing. Now that I have finished my first semester, I’ve realised that journalism is not for me. I would like to do creative writing instead so that’s what I’ll be doing next semester.

I was first interested in journalism as I wanted to be a better writer and blogger. However, I’ve decide to go into creative writing instead. I started to write a novel because it was something that I always wanted to do. Then I realised that I need some help in writing a good story and that learning about creative writing would be better for me.

What I’m watching

 I finished watching Anne with an E on Netflix. It’s a new series based off Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery. A story about an orphan girl warms the hearts of two elderly people that adopt her. I like this new adaption which I feel is made for this generation. It’s more darker and veers off the books a little bit.

I’m currently watching Designated Survivor on Netflix as well. It’s about a minor politician who becomes the President of the United States after a terrorist attack.

What I’m reading

I’m currently reading Eve by Jenna Moreci . I’m only at the beginning so I don’t have all the answers but it seems to be about a young woman who is a mutant who is despised for being a mutant and there’s aliens and she is in college. Good read so far. 


Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Isla and the Happily Ever After

Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins is the last book in the Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy.  The books focuses on three girls who attend the School of America in Paris. This one is about Isla, a quiet girl in her final year of high school. She has a three year long crush on Josh Wasserstein, a boy in her class who she thinks doesn’t know she exists. A chance encounter with Josh leads to love.  As the pair start to know get to know each other problems arises. Josh is the son of a senator and must play the role of the perfect son in public. He knows what he wants in life and Isla doesn’t. Isla is plagued by doubts about their relationship and feels that she is not good enough for him. She wonders whether he loves her for her or he wants her because she’s there.

The book is set in Paris and New York, two gorgeous settings which adds to the romance. I think it’s makes for great escapism and perfect for holiday reading. I found myself wanting to visit both cities after reading this book and visiting all the places mentioned.

After reading this book, I judge the first book as the best out of the three. The relationship between Isla and Josh was a little too passionate for me. The two fall in love very fast, like Romeo and Juliet fast. The couple do a lot of frantic kissing and making love. They are ready to do anything for the other. I don’t think it’s unrealistic though because teenaged love can be like that. I would have liked for their relationship to be a slow build, starting with friendship and leading to love.  

As a prudish crusty old person, I didn’t think like all the sex that they were having. I didn’t think it was appropriate for the young audience. However, I can also reason that young people have sex and the sex is handled responsibly (they practice safe sex) and delicately in the book. I would recommend this book for older teenagers.

I didn’t relate to Isla at all. In the book, Isla doesn’t know who she is or what she wants to do in college. I didn’t see her problem as an issue at all. She’s rich and can go to any college she wants, she could take a whole bunch of classes to find herself. She doesn’t have to go to college either.

I would have liked to have read more of Isla’s life outside of her relationship with Josh. Isla’s relationships with her friends and family are mentioned in the book but I would have liked more. I liked Isla’s best friend Kurt who has autism and is obsessed with maps. I think he deserve his own book. I also liked Isla’s sisters and her relationship with them.

Despite these flaws, I still think that Perkins is a talented writer who writes beautifully. Her descriptions are gorgeous. I wish I could write like her. This book is entertaining and fun to read. I recommend it for older teenagers. 

Friday, 12 May 2017

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

I once read a discussion on secondary characters and how it must feel for them to have all this adventure happening around them or to be the best friend of the chosen one. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness explores this idea. The book follows Mike Mitchell, a high schooler about to graduate high school. He just wants to go to prom and spend the remaining weeks with his friends Henna, Jared and his sister Mel before they all leave to go to different colleges. What gets in the way of all this is the frequent times the world has almost come to an end. In Mike’s world they have had “1. the undead, 2. those soul eating ghosts, 3. the vampire cycle of romance and death” (Ness, 2015 pp. 83-84). Mike is not the chosen one, nor are his friends. Instead, they are just the regular people going about their business and while all the dooms day stuff is happening.

Each chapter begins with a short passage on what the chosen ones are doing. In this book, they are called Indie kids, they all have unusual names and wear unusual clothing. It reminded me of Twilight and other YA books. I liked reading those passages too and I would love it if it were turned into a short story too. I enjoyed all the digs at stereotypes like how there’s a love triangle and where it repeatedly says that the spirit from the other world is the most handsome boy the heroine has ever seen.

While the book spoofed the YA supernatural genre, there were serious issues presented in the book as well. Mike has Obsessive Compulsive Disorder stemming from anxiety and feelings of worthlessness. His dad is a closeted alcoholic and his mother is a politician who wants to pretend she has a perfect family. Mike’s sister Mel also is a recovering anorexic.
 I liked Mike. I admired his protectiveness of his friends and family. He’s just a regular guy but when bad stuff happens he’s ready to help them. I felt sorry about his OCD and his continual habit of washing his hands and counting. It’s terrible to have something control you like that. I didn’t really relate to his feelings of worthlessness though because it was clear that his loved ones cared for him not just put up with him like he thought.

This is a cute book and fun read for those who like Young Adult supernatural fiction. I liked this book so much that I have earmarked pages of the quotes that I like from the book. I found the premise to be hilarious and original.

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