Netflix Originals Faves

I’ve had Netflix for a few years now and have always been a fan of the shows they offered. In recent years, Netflix has started creating Netflix Originals – and I’m hooked!

It started innocently enough, take a popular TV series, put up an extra season, like Arrested Development. But then they started producing their own series altogether like Orange is the New Black. And from the successes of those, they basically took over all my TV watching time. So, here are seven of my Netflix Original faves (in no particular order).

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A Series of Unfortunate Events is based on the children’s book series of the same name. Before Netflix, there was a movie that spanned four of the thirteen books. Let’s just say, Netflix’s approach – currently, each book is two episodes – is a much better one.

The costumes and set design are gorgeous! Since they worked closely with the author of the series, they managed to keep true to the source material – with a few extra bits (that work!) here and there. I especially loved the way they included the story’s narrator – Lemony Snicket. And the acting? Remarkable!

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Netflix released season three of Black Mirror, that was the first time I heard of the show – a British Sci-Fi show with a satirical glimpse into modern society’s psyche. I started from episode one of the third season – imagine a world where you rated others based on your interactions, now imagine those ratings determining your worth to society. Then I moved back to the first episode of the first season. I’m glad I didn’t start with that one, most people I spoke with afterwards were turned off from watching the rest of the series because of the pig storyline. Yeah, what a way to kick-off a series!

There are so many great gems of episodes, so much to think about after seeing each one. Thought provoking is definitely a phrase I would use to describe this.

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As a lover of British history – specifically the monarchy – I was especially happy to see that Netflix was releasing The Crown last year. I binged watched over several weekends, and I’m anticipating the next season. It was so well done, with great acting! Clarie Foy and Matt Smith were exceptional.

Queen Victoria is still the most fascinating monarch to me, but Queen Elizabeth II is coming in a close second.

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I’m not often interested in documentaries, but 13th came highly recommended by quite a few friends, so I decided to watch it. Wow, did it pack a punch!

As an immigrant, who migrated just a few months short of my high school graduation, I didn’t spend a lot of time learning U.S. History in school, and to be honest, at that point in my life I didn’t care much for any history lessons. Now, I enjoy reading about historical figures and learning about past events, so seeing how the laws – and America’s particular history with slavery – shaped the current penal system was fascinating.

It gives you a lot to think about, and I appreciate that it looks at both sides of the political spectrum and has people from both ends commenting on our current system. I believe that it’s a must-see documentary for anyone living in the U.S.

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I’ve heard Stranger Things being described as a nostalgic movie for folks who grew up in the 80s, and I can understand why. There are a lot of references to things a kid of the 80s would understand. Nevertheless, it’s a series anyone would be able to enjoy. I wouldn’t call this a horror, but there were some frightening bits and a lot of suspenseful moments. I’d think of it more like science fiction, a little bit like Firestarter or E.T.

The acting was good overall, but I think the kids stole the show, especially Eleven. I’m looking forward to the next season. Warning, you might have the urge to eat Eggos after watching this show.

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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is one of those shows that I find funny, no matter how many times I look at an episode. There are so many little gems that one might miss after the first viewing. I really love that there was a sweetness to the show under all the comedy.

Season three is releasing soon, and I’ve got my calendar marked!

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A recent fave of mine, The OA is a good deal magical realism and some mystery. It’s compelling enough to keep you clicking on the “Yes, I’m Still Watching” button. I appreciated the way they slowly revealed Prairie’s missing years, allowing the viewers to switch back and forth between believing she’s insane and wondering if, perhaps, what she’s saying is real.

I can’t wait to see how the story continues!

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InstaReview: The Sun is Also a Star

Every since I read the NTY article on it, I have been intrigued with the 36 questions that gave you an intimate look into anyone’s life – even strangers. Just the idea of it was really intriguing, so, after reading rave reviews about The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon, and the fact that she integrated this study in her story, I had to add it to my TBR pile. Then, after seeing that it was one of the BOTM picks, I had to get it!

✨ The Sun is Also a Star, ☀️ by Nicola Yoon is part humour, part tear-jerker and overall brilliant. It's told from the perspectives of Natasha 🇯🇲 and Daniel 🇰🇷🇺🇸, with a smattering of stories from the people who shifted their paths during the day they first met. There were times where I found myself wondering about the seemingly endless day of traveling around Manhattan – no "train traffic up ahead"? – and a few times where I had to go back to see who was telling the story; but after getting into the rhythm of the storytelling, I found myself engrossed, until the last tearful sentence. Seriously, read the last few chapters at home. This book is more than just a romantic tale (cheers on the great use of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love article). The characters are diverse and their interactions felt real, and that's what makes me love it so much. It could be the story of someone I know. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #amreading #review #igreviews #bookreview #nicolayoon #thesunisalsoastar #immigration #romance #weneeddiversebooks #diversecity #jamaican #korean #manhattan #botm

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[Caption] ✨ The Sun is Also a Star, ☀️ by Nicola Yoon is part humour, part tear-jerker and overall brilliant. It’s told from the perspectives of Natasha 🇯🇲 and Daniel 🇰🇷🇺🇸, with a smattering of stories from the people who shifted their paths during the day they first met.

There were times where I found myself wondering about the seemingly endless day of travelling around Manhattan – no “train traffic up ahead”? – and a few times where I had to go back to see who was telling the story; but after getting into the rhythm of the storytelling, I found myself engrossed, until the last tearful sentence. Seriously, read the last few chapters at home.

This book is more than just a romantic tale (cheers on the great use of the 36 Questions to Fall in Love article). The characters are diverse and their interactions felt real, and that’s what makes me love it so much. It could be the story of someone I know. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Google Pixel

Anyone who knows me knows how much I love (and depend on) Google. It keeps my appointments, my emails, my documents and now, my photos. Because first time ever, I have a Google phone – the Pixel.

I’ve had the Pixel for almost four months now and our journey has been a bumpy one. The first device I picked up started restarting once I began loading apps. I had to return it for a new one. Then, in January, I dropped it, right on the face! It had a long – but light – crack, that you could only see if the screen was turned a certain way. I was going to get it replaced, but I kept putting it off because it wasn’t unusable – and part of me was in denial that I cracked my screen after only two months!

Then, one fateful day in March – a cold, grey, Monday – I shattered the screen. I was placing a letter in the postbox and I pulled my phone out to check to see if I would make it on time for the next train, and it fell. Face down. On the pavement. Shattered.

Of course, now it was unusable! While I knew it was working because I could feel the buzzing, the screen was nonoperational. So, I took it to uBreakiFix, and they fixed it in a matter of minutes. Now, I have a screen protector and a warranty.

Nevertheless, my bad luck aside, the Pixel is by far my favourite phone. There’s a smoothness to the display and the apps that I can only describe as delightful, and the pictures it takes are astounding1. And of course, the unlimited cloud storage space is a huge plus!

It’s much lighter than my last Android and I love the Live case – mine is the lower half of Manhattan. The battery life is great! I don’t have to charge it multiple times a day like I did my last phone, once is enough. And the rapid charging is a plus.

I know there was some concern with the fingerprint sensor is on the back of the phone, but I think that’s the perfect place. This is the first time I’m using a fingerprint sensor on a phone, and I have no issues with it being on the back, especially since I could use multiple fingerprints to unlock the phone, thus being able to easily use both my left and right hand – one-handed – without fumbling around the front. Overall, a really well-designed phone. I’m curious to see where Google goes with this.


1My Instagram has more photos taken with the Pixel.

 

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InstaReview: By Your Side & On The Fence

[Caption – formatted] A look at two @kasiewest novels that I read recently – By Your Side & On the Fence. 💏 

In By Your Side, Autumn, who has protective parents, managed to gain their approvals to go away with her friends for the long weekend. Unfortunately, she’s stuck in the library 📚 with no phone 📵, and Dax – the anti-social assumed violent guy 💪 from her school.

It was EXTREMELY difficult to believe that one could be stuck in a public place like this. Won’t doors open from the inside? Regardless, the story was engaging and the situation allowed them both to be vulnerable with each other. Of all the Kasie West novels I’ve read, this one saw a lot more character growth – them having to reveal parts of themselves to each other that no one else sees, and in Autumn’s case, to her friends

–#–

On the Fence was a “girl/guy next door” read. Growing up without a mother and in a house filled with a cop father and brothers, Charlotte (call her Charlie 🏀) was accustomed to being one of the guys. 🏈 Even with Braden – their next door neighbour. But, things change when they start having late night chats by the fence.

This particular plot was perpetually moving, never a slow/dull moment. Some of the characters from previous Kasie West novels made an appearance. There was that trademark banter that I’ve come to enjoy from Kasie West’s novels, but I also loved the family dynamics in this one

Overall, I’d call both of these “adorable beach reads”. ⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

A look at two @kasiewest novels that I read recently – By Your Side & On the Fence. 💏 In By Your Side, Autumn, who has protective parents, managed to gain their approvals to go away with her friends for the long weekend. Unfortunately, she's stuck in the library 📚 with no phone 📵, and Dax – the anti-social assumed violent guy 💪 from her school. It was EXTREMELY difficult to believe that one could be stuck in a public place like this. Won't doors open from the inside? Regardless, the story was engaging and the situation allowed them both to be vulnerable with each other. Of all the Kasie West novels I've read, this one saw a lot more character growth – them having to reveal parts of themselves to each other that no one else sees, and in Autumn's case, to her friends. . On the Fence was a "girl/guy next door" read. Growing up without a mother and in a house filled with a cop father and brothers, Charlotte (call her Charlie 🏀) was accustomed to being one of the guys. 🏈 Even with Braden – their next door neighbour. But, things change when they start having late night chats by the fence. This particular plot was perpetually moving, never a slow/dull moment. Some of the characters from previous Kasie West novels made an appearance. There was that trademark banter that I've come to enjoy from Kasie West's novels, but I also loved the family dynamics in this one. . Overall, I'd call both of these "adorable beach reads". ⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookphotography #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #bookphoto #readingaddict #kasiewest #onthefence #byyourside #youngadult #ireadya #romance #contemporary #addictedtoreading #instareview

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TEN more Favourite Doctor Who Episodes

A while ago I posted ten of my favourite Doctor Who episodes. Since then, I found a lot more that I liked. So here’s another list of ten favourite Doctor Who episodes.

Note, spoilers!

Asylum of the Daleks

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The Story: The Doctor, Amy and Rory meet Oswin Oswald – who later becomes important to, and is one of my favourite characters on, the show. Along the way, the Doctor helps to fix Amy and Rory’s marriage.

Why I love it:

  • The story of Oswin and her humour. “Is there a word for total screaming genius that sounds modest and a tiny bit sexy?”
  • Also, the first time we hear “Run you clever boy, and remember.” (>>)

The Snowmen

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The Story: One of the Christmas specials where we meet Clara Oswald, a governess in the Victorian Era.They investigate sentient snowmen and the Doctor starts on the mystery that is Clara.

Why I love it:

  • More Clara, I love her as a companion, she’s spunky and a bit of the Doctor’s equal. I also loved that she doesn’t swoon over him!
  • Madame Vastra, Jenny, and Strax – love these three!
  • Victorian England (>>)

The Day of the Doctor

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The Story: The Doctor and Clara are taken by UNIT where they receive a message from Elizabeth 1. The 10th incarnation of the doctor and doctor prime(? original?) also make an appearance. This episode focused a lot on the time lords and Gallifrey.

Why I love it:

  • I liked the glimpse into the time war.
  • I loved that this had a little bit of everything, from future travel to past travel.
  • Also, David Tennant. (>>)

Listen

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The Story: What if there was an entity that was so good at hiding that you never realised it exists? Also, what’s that under your bed?

Why I love it:

  • Thoroughly frightening – at least in the beginning.
  • Loved the way the stories ties to the nightmare of someone hiding under the bed, ready to grab your feet.
  • Peter Capaldi’s portrayal of the doctor in this episode is great. (>>)

Time Heist

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The Story: Think Ocean’s 11, but the most dangerous – and well protected – bank in the galaxy. Along with memory-wiping worms.

Why I love it: 

  • The “smartness” of the heist, especially when we find out why it happened.
  • The way some of the past Doctor  Who episodes were referenced.
  • Overall thrill of the episode. (>>)

Kill the Moon

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The story: After crash landing on the moon in the future, the doctor, Clara and one of Clara’s students, Courtney, try to figure out what’s going on on the moon before astronauts can blow it up.

Why I love it:

  • There is only one reason I love this episode, and that’s because the moon is a dragon in an egg, waiting to hatch! (>>)

notes: images taken from bbc.co.uk/doctorwho

~*~

 

InstaReview: Jackaby & The Distance Between us

Starting the year with a good read really sets the tone for the rest of the year. So, I was very pleased that this year started with two very good reads in two completely different genres!

 

Started the year with two great reads! . . First, The Distance Between Us by @kasiewest. 💏 This is my second read from Kasie West after reading P.S. I Like You. I was nervous. I rather YA fantasy novels, so when I read contemporary I'm always a little cautious going into it. Luckily, The Distance Between Us did not let me down. It was adorable and, even though it had its angsty moments where I wanted to kindly ask Caymen to please speak to her mom, it was overall believable and quite enjoyable.⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . Then there was Jackaby by William Ritter. ✨🤔 🕵️‍♀️ If you took today's BBC Sherlock, changed the setting to America, changed the time back to the time of the original Sherlock Holmes. Keep the cleverness and repartee, but add just the right amount of fantastic creatures, then you've got Jackaby. It was enthralling from beginning to end. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ . . . #bookstagram #books #bookish #booksofinstagram #instabook #booklover #bookworm #igreads #ilovebooks #bookaholic #readingaddict #bibliophile #instaread #reader #reading #read #amreading #thedistancebetweenus #jackaby #williamritter #kasiewest #review #igreview #bookreview #ebook #kindlereads #kindle #reading #sherlock

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[Caption] Started the year with two great reads!First, The Distance Between Us by

First, The Distance Between Us by @kasiewest. 💏 This is my second read from Kasie West after reading P.S. I Like You. I was nervous. I rather YA fantasy novels, so when I read contemporary I’m always a little cautious going into it. Luckily, The Distance Between Us did not let me down. It was adorable and, even though it had its angsty moments where I wanted to kindly ask Caymen to please speak to her mom, it was overall believable and quite enjoyable.⭐⭐⭐⭐  

Then there was Jackaby by William Ritter. ✨🤔 🕵️‍♀️ If you took today’s BBC Sherlock, changed the setting to America, changed the time back to the time of the original Sherlock Holmes. Keep the cleverness and repartee, but add just the right amount of fantastic creatures, then you’ve got Jackaby. It was enthralling from beginning to end. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ 

~*~

 

… written by Libba Bray

 

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Libba Bray @ The Scholastic Store in SoHo

 

After reading the Gemma Doyle trilogy, I was absolutely enthralled with Libba Bray‘s storytelling style. It was imaginative, it was magical, it sucked me in and made me struggle to take my time to savour the tale because I wanted, so badly, to devour it.

Later, I picked up her Going Bovine standalone and was both impressed and perplexed. Perplexed with the surrealness of the story itself (what’s real/what’s in his head), and impressed by her ability to string the absolutely absurd together in such a way that makes you want to keep on reading.

Then, Beauty Queens was released by Scholastic and I was privileged to attend a signing done at the Scholastic Store (pictured above). Beauty Queens was satire and wit. There are a lot of characters, but they never felt flat. It’s definitely absurd, but that absurdity helps to expose the reader to a thoughtful narrative on popular culture, and modern society.

From this point, I pretty much vowed to buy everything Libba released, so when The Diviners came out, I was ready for anything. The Diviners had a lot of things I loved; the roaring 20s, mystery and a touch of the supernatural. Ok, a lot of the supernatural, so much so that I stopped reading this book before I went to bed because it was hard to turn off my imaginings. The main protagonist (Evie) was self-centered, and while I am not a fan of books with main characters like that, she didn’t annoy me as much as I thought she would (though she tried to really hard in the end).

So, after reading an 1800s fantasy series set in England, a surreal dark comedy set in NOLA, an absurd satire, and a 1920s paranormal/historical series set in New York, I think it’s safe to say that Libba Bray is a versatile author; and I’m probably still going to read everything she publishes.

~*~