Most Anticipated 2018 Reads (Part 1)

Donnerstag, 1. Februar 2018

   Hey everyone!
   As always, to no one surprise really, I'm totally late to the game and posting this about a month late but, hey, at least I am posting it so that should have to count for something. Anyway, today I want to talk about all the releases of the first half of 2018 that I am looking forward to. In typical me fashion most of them are either YA contemporaries or sci-fi, which just goes to show once again how those two might be my favorite genres currently.
   Among all these books there is of course one that I am looking forward the most, for totally none obvious reasons *loud coughing*, which is a YA Thriller that you should totally consider checking out and maybe even pre-order.
   Anyhow, lets jump right into my list:

Published: January 9th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Number of Pages: 336 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Sci-Fi

   I really, really enjoyed These Broken Stars from this amazing duo so I can't wait so see what they've come up with this time. I mean anything YA sci-fi from this duo is basically a must buy tbh. 

* * *
Expected Publication: February 6th 2018 by Entangled: Teen
Number of Pages: 300 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Fantasy (?)

   I've been meaning to read some kind of circus related or centric book for ages and this seems like a good one to start off with. Curses/charms and traveling across Texas, figuring how to break said curses etc, sign me up! It definitely sounds like a fun read.

* * *
Expected Publication: March 6th 2018 by Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 352 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Contemporary

   This one sounds absolutely fantastic and that color is amazing, so colorful and pretty. A story containing music as its central piece and some kind of tragedy sticking and almost tearing a group of friends apart? Now that's guaranteed to be an emotional read and, honestly, I'm all about that.

* * *
Expected Publication: March 8th 2018 by Electric Monkey
Number of Pages: 352 Pages (Paperback)
YA Contemporary

  This one sounds amazing, exciting and just like a truly intriguing read I certainly want to get my hands on. Also that cover is, again, gorgeous and I am simply weak for books with pretty covers (than again, isn't everyone?).

* * *
Expected Publication: March 13th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 608 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Sci-Fi

   It's absolutely no secret that I LOVE The Illuminae Files trilogy so I cannot wait to have Obsidio in my hands, have it on my shelf next to Illuminae and Gemina, and to read it, obviously. I'm always a bit weary of trilogy finales since there is a lot of room for left down expectations, accidentally left unanswered questions or not sufficiently or convincingly, but I have A LOT of faith into Amie and Jay that this will be just as brilliant as the previous two books, easy.

* * *
Expected Publication: March 20th 2018 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 480 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Magical Realism

   A story set in Taiwan containing magical realism, angst, and feels, sign me up. Usually I'm not big on magical realism but this one sounds absolutely amazing, and reading books set in countries I've never been to, getting to know different cultures and lives, if that doesn't sound great, I don't know what does. I'm definitely very intrigued.

***
Expected Publication: April 10th 2018 by Disney-Hyperion
Number of Pages: 368 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Contemporary

   This sounds absolutely amazing and I simply need it. Family secrets that get uncovered and friendships that might potentially be more than that, hi, yes, I'm in need! And that cover, yes!

* * *
Expected Publication: May 1st 2018 by Freeform
Number of Pages: 384 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Contemporary

   Now THIS one just speaks straight to my fangirl heart and grabbed my attention immediately. It just sounds like such a fun story that's inspired by probably every fangirls dream--meeting the cast of whatever you are a fangirl of--but also nightmare--things turning out to be different than your shipper heart thought. I'm definitely curious how the show will handle the discussion of fannon vs cannon, and generally the whole issue of fans having certain expectations and how the show runners deal with the moments when expectations aren't met or things just go downhill for whatever reason. I need this like yesterday, tbh!

* * *
Expected Publication: May 15th 2018 by HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 432 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Contemporary

   A story about a group of teens being fans of a certain author and somehow ending up in said author's next book with horrible consequences, and all that told through interviews, diary entries and more? Yes please! I love books that use alternative narrative methods, and honestly this one just sounds fantastic!

* * *
Expected Publication: May 29th 2018 by Knopf Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 416 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Sci-Fi

   While I'm not into the cover, the book itself sounds so interesting and intriguing, and also pretty damn epic. Besides I have a lot of faith in Jay Kristoff and his writing after loving The Illuminae Files (even if those were co-authored).

* * *
The Body Paradox by Natasha Neagle
Expected Publication: June 4th 2018 by Entangled Teen
Number of Pages: TBA
YA Sci-Fi

   This sounds pretty damn amazing if you ask me, and also I certainly am bias towards the enemies to lovers trope (obviously) so that only adds more to this. Also the idea of sharing a body with another person, hi, I'm intrigued, so I need this like today.

* * *

Expected Publication: June 5th 2018 by Entangled Teen
Number of Pages: 400 (Paperback)
YA Thriller

   ECHOES is the story of two high school enemies finding themselves stranded on a mysterious and deadly island where nothing is quite as it seems, not even reality. I am very much bias, since this is my own book, but this is definitely the book I'm looking forward to most and I seriously cannot wait for you guys to pick it up and read it. This story has been my brain child of years and I just truly hope you'll love it just as much as I do.

* * *
Expected Publication: June 7th 2018 by Orchard Books
Number of Pages: 300 Pages (Paperback)
YA Contemporary

   As someone who loves PaperFury's blog (and twitter) I am really curious for her book. I have really high hopes for it and can't wait to read it! Also it contains music and has a pretty cover, that's already two very convincing arguments for me, plus it surely also has all the feels and is an emotional read, so basically all my favorite things in one place (which sounds awful, doesn't it?).

* * *
Expected Publication: June 12th 2018 by HarperTeen
Number of Pages: 432 Pages (Hardcover)
YA Contemporary

   I loved Lovely, Dark and Deep, and Amy is basically a auto-buy author for me because of it, so like me being excited for this one is basically a given. I need it in my life asap even though I'm sure it'll be just as much of an emotional read as her debut.

* * *

   And that's it! If I actually manage to read even half of these in 2018 I'll be very proud of myself tbh. Which books are you looking forward to the most? Let me know down below or via twitter (@Alice_Reeds).

Cover Reveal: True Storm by L.E. Sterling

Montag, 29. Januar 2018


   Hi everyone!
   Today I am bringing you the amazing cover for the final book in L.E. Sterling's YA Sci-Fi trilogy, True Born, called True Storm. I've been loving the trilogy so far (review book #1 and #2) so when I got the opportunity to help revealing the cover and getting word out, of course I had to do it!
   Anyway, without further ado, here is the beautiful cover for True Strom!

True Storm by L.E. Sterling
Expected Publication: May 1st 2018 by Entangled: Teen
Number of Pages: 400 Pages (Hardcover)

   If you can't beat them, change them...

Want to read more? Pre-order your copy of True Storm (True Born Trilogy, #3) by L.E. Sterling today!


add-to-goodreadsAmazon | B&N | iBooks | Kobo | Entangled Publishing


About L.E. Sterling:


   L.E. Sterling had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and romance to which she remained faithful even through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in English Literature - where she completed a thesis on magical representation. She is the author of two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A novel The Originals (under pen name L.E. Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urban fantasy Pluto’s Gate. Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent most of her summers roaming across Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her brothers and an occasional stray mutt - inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toronto, Ontario.

Review: Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo

Freitag, 5. Januar 2018

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 17th 2014 by Henry Holt and Company
Number of Pages: 427 Pages (Paperback)
Series: Yes, #3 in the Grisha Trilogy or Grishaverse

   Since this is the third and final book in this trilogy I won't post the summary here, since it certainly contains spoilers, so head on over to goodreads if you want to read it.

   I was more than ready to love this book, hoped that the ending would live up to all the positive reviews I'd seen on YouTube and on goodreads from bloggers and booktubers I trust. But, unfortunately, I was left feeling disappointed and annoyed at a lot of what happened. I will try to talk about my opinions in a way that won't contain any spoilers, or at least I'll try.

“I hope you weren't looking to me to be the voice of reason.
I keep to a strict diet of ill-advised enthusiasm and heartfelt regret.”

   Siege and Storm, the second book in this trilogy, already left me feeling more neutral and underwhelmed than I expected after I'd LOVED Shadow and Bone (review). I truly hoped that things would change in the finale, that the answers we'd hopefully get would make the mediocracy of the second book okay, but unfortunately that didn't happen.
   The beginning, as in about the first 100 pages or more, were very slow. There was just a lot of nothing, just some conversations, sitting around, thinking, some more conversations that didn't really amount to anything much. Then the plot finally picks up once Nikolai shows up.
   To be quite honest, Nikolai was the reason I didn't give up on Siege and Storm, and I hoped he would once more play a bigger role in this book, but that wasn't the case. We get a lot of tension between Alina and one of the main male characters, a lot of angst and emotional struggle, which I found just a bit annoying after a while, though not quite as bad as in Siege and Storm.
   Just as I hoped we did get some background informations that did explain some things, some relations between characters and history, and that was great. I liked how everything was tied together and how it certainly explained a few of the key things. It showed that all those things hadn't been just said along the way but that there'd been a purpose all along, hints that now finally made sense and created the big picture we'd waited for.

   Unfortunately the story did a great job of having amazing characters, and then just not using them, sending them away or other, and that was just really a shame. There were so many other ways in which those characters could've been used more effectively for a bigger impact than this. When the first major character related plot twist happened, I know we were all supposed to probably be shocked and sad, but I was just very annoyed. I liked that character, damn it.
   Ironically later down the line we had another major character twist (I'm avoiding actually saying what it was but I think once you'll read it you'll know what I mean) and, again, I'm pretty sure we were supposed to be sad, feel the pain of that event. Well, I don't know what it says about me, but I was pretty happy and smiled, though my happiness was short lived.

Na razrusha'ya. I am not ruined. E'ya razrushost. I am ruination.”

   Then there is generally the ending of Ruin and Rising, and thus also the trilogy as a whole. Did I like it, did it live up to my expectations and leave me satisfied? Nope. I really didn't like the ending and I'm not sure if I feel like it made sense in the grand scheme of the characters but I know others loved it so theres that. When I started Shadow and Bone I was in love with this world Leigh Bardugo had created and these really intricate characters, yet the ending of Ruin and Rising left me wondering if maybe I should've just stopped and only read Shadow and Bone. That isn't to say that Ruin and Rising, as well as Siege and Storm, didn't contain any awesome stuff, because they most certainly did. The writing was brilliant, the world building very interesting and (at least some of) the characters were well characterized and great to read about. Some of the secondary characters fell a bit flat and I probably didn't care about them as much as I should have.

   Speaking of which, let's talk about the main characters. Alina, who seemed like such a strong character most of the time, had so many emotional struggles because of a certain someone that I was just amazingly annoyed by (even more when I spoiled myself on with whom she would end up). Seeing darker sides manifest inside of her, this desire for more power, for something that the old her would've thought was wrong or too greedy, that was amazing. I loved how caring she was about the people she traveled with, her friends, and she tried to do whatever she could to save her country. In the end she was ready to sacrifice everything to do it, though I hated how torn she was. On one side she was ready to sacrifice so many people, but on the other side she wasn't ready to sacrifice a single specific one to save everyone else. HM.

“I'm the Sun Summoner. It gets dark when I say it does.”

   If you've followed my updates on goodreads you know that I REALLY didn't like Mal. From the moment on that it was said that he has feelings for Alina back in Shadow and Bone, until the very last page of Ruin and Rising. He was whiny, jealous, controlling, and sure he was a great tracker and he meant well, was ready to give his life for Alina, but most of the time I just wanted someone to punch him. He didn't fit in, he wasn't like Alina and the Grisha, and, wow, he truly had to obsess over that, behave so incredibly annoyingly because of it like your average typical 'I don't fit in with the crowd and I don't want to' teenager reminding us of that again and again.
   When it comes to his relationship with Alina, I truly felt like what they had was more of a best friends vibe, and not a romantic one, which was probably why I just couldn't with their romantic relationship. I felt like Alina had much better chemistry with other characters than with him.

“You never know," said Nikolai. "I've been busy. 
I might have some surprises in store for the Darkling yet."
"Please tell me you plan to dress up as a volcra and jump out of a cake."
"Well, now you've ruined the surprise.”

   Nikolai was simply brilliant, snarky, intelligent and just an overall fascinating character from the moment he entered the story until the very last page. I loved him and just whenever a scene contained him, whenever we saw him interact with Alina, it was just so much fun! I could honestly read an entire separate book just about him and his crazy adventures. Unfortunately I feel like his potential as character was completely wasted in Ruin and Rising which was a shame and, once again, left me annoyed.

   (If you'd take a shot every time I said annoyed in this review, I think you'd probably have quite the problem, I'm sorry.)

   Then there was the Darkling, whose real name we've finally found out. As someone who usually favors the evil characters, I was quite fond of the Darkling. Yes, he was a horrible man who did horrible, unspeakable things, I am not denying that, but as character he was just incredibly intriguing and fascinating. He was so well characterized and had this certain something about him that I just loved. Did he deserve what he got? Hell yeah.

   All in all, even if Ruin and Rising left me ultimately disappointed and annoyed for the last 100 pages, it was still a good read and I enjoyed parts of it greatly. This is a great trilogy and probably the first fantasy trilogy I've enjoyed in a very long time. I adored the fact that Ravka was inspired by old Russia, though some of the last names drove me insane because they didn't follow the 'rules' for last names in Slav countries. If you're a Slav like me, Morozova would be a female for you, right, because of the -a ending. But in this universe it's a male last name, or maybe last names don't even make an ending distinction like they do in real life. ANYWAY, that isn't really important, just a little something I thought I'd mention. Oh and also all the traveling that happened in this story, that just got a bit boring after a while.
  Despite all of this I still recommend this trilogy, especially to people like me who usually don't really enjoy fantasy because this story doesn't contain any elves or witches or orcs or any of that.
I give Ruin and Rising 3 Stars.

Review: Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Samstag, 2. Dezember 2017

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Published: June 5th 2012 by Henry Holt and Company
Number of Pages: 358 Pages (Paperback)
Series: Yes, #1 in the Grisha Trilogy or Grishaverse

   Alina Starkov doesn't expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal--and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.
   Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina's extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart--and her country--in two. (goodreads.com)

   I've heard a lot about this book and the trilogy over the years since it came out. It was all over booktube and bookstagram, and everyone recommended it, but despite buying it surely two years ago, I hadn't gotten around to picking it up until the end of November '17. Oops. I didn't really know much about the story before going in, purposefully avoided reading the synopsis, so I just kew that the world was inspired by 19th Century Russia (present me with a book set in Russia or a world inspired by Russia and I will read the shit out of it) and that it contained a character called Darkling and 'magicians' call Grisha. That's it.
   I got sucked into the story easily after maybe two chapters or less and finished the entire book in like two or three days (I mostly got around to reading for an hour or two at night) and loved it! The world was intricate and captivating, the characters three dimensional and interesting (at least most of them), and Leigh Bardugo's writing simply amazing. The way she led certain scenes or moments in the story, it was brilliant. I can definitely understand why everyone was so obsessed with this trilogy because honestly same.

   Alina was a really interesting and fun protagonist and experiencing the story and world through her eyes was great. We got to watch her go through quite the transformation across the story, make mistakes and try to fix them, navigate a society she never thought she would ever be part of, and somehow survive even if the chances were minimal to none. (As slavic person myself and used to how last names work in Russia, the fact that Alina's last name is Starkov instead of Starkova will probably never stop irking me even if it's such a small, unimportant detail.)
   The Darkling was a fascinating character that I'd easily read an entire book about, just have him narrate his everyday life and I'd still read that asap. His particular brand of evil was well crafted and I cannot wait to see how things will develop across the entire trilogy. The Darkling is the sort of evil character that you know you shouldn't like but you can't resist because he is interesting and captivating and marvelously written.
   Out of the three people caught in this love triangle (yes the story unfortunately contains a love triangle, I wasn't a fan when I realized that while reading, I'll admit that) was Mal. It wasn't that he was a bad character or not well written, I just didn't particularly like his sudden change of heart when it comes to Alina. I guess I'll probably warm up to him as the story will continue, or at least I hope so.

   Even though I'm not the biggest fan of magic in books, the way the Grisha were portrayed and explained was amazing, that it was science instead of actual magic, just manipulating the elements around them instead of making things just happen out of thin air. I really enjoyed that a lot. The whole part about the Shadow Fold and how it came to be and what it does, the scenes set within it, now those were amazing and creepy and really creative.
   Leigh Bardugo definitely wrote a brilliant beginning to what promises to be a marvelous trilogy and I honestly cannot wait to continue with Siege and Storm, the sequel to Shadow and Bone, as soon as my copy arrives in the mail. 
I give Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo 5 out of 5 stars.

Grand Prix Series - Internationaux de France de Patinage 2017

Dienstag, 21. November 2017

   Welcome to the fifth events of the Grand Prix Series in Grenoble, France. If you watched the Grand Prix last year, you know that Trophee de France (as this event was called before this year's name change) was a bit of a mess. Somehow the French organizers managed to make it even more of a mess this year.
   After witnessing the Internationaux de France de Patinage I truly wonder, along with basically everyone else on twitter, why the ISU is still giving this event to France even though they have shown, time and time again, that they really shouldn't be hosting a Grand Prix event. In one of my tweets (here) I've summed up a few of the differences between this year and last year, how this event continues to be a mess time and time again.
   My list went a little something like this:
  • Last year - No flags at all (yes, the national anthem of the winner was played simply played just like that, no flag to look at, nothing. Everyone was rightfully confused)
  • This year - shitty animated flags on a screen (It seemed like the organizers decided that it was easier to full flag gifs off of the internet instead of spending a very small amount of euro to buy a handful of different flags. What even.)
  • Last year - Paper medals (yes, as far as I've heard, the organizers hadn't managed to get the medals ready in time, so as substitutes the medalists received what seemed to be laminated paper with what the medals would look like printed on them. It was ridiculous.)
  • This year - Plastic stars in four different colors and three different sizes (I have a billion questions starting at have they just reused the 'medals' from some novice or junior competition and hoped no one would notice, or did they hire some French hipster designer who wanted to be edgy and different and thought that handing out pink/magenta stars to the ladies, blue to men, yellow to ice dance and green to pairs seemed like a good idea. I think not.)
   Personally, as well as many other people, I really think, and in a way hope, that the ISU will look at all of this and reconsider if France really is the right choice for this Grand Prix event. Maybe giving it to a different EU country would be a better idea, like maybe Spain or Germany or something, just not France.
   But, enough about what went wrong when it comes to the organization, let's instead talk about the medalists.

Men

Embed from Getty Images

   During his final season, Misha Ge of Uzbekistan finally managed to win his first Grand Prix title with an outstandingly beautiful bronze performance during both the short program and free skate. Misha is one of those skaters who might not have the quads but instead have the artistry that reminds you of what figure skating is really about. When you watch Misha perform you feel everything he wants you to feel, you see that thoughts went into the programs and choreographies, that every move and gesture is perfectly timed with the music, and it is just such a delight to watch. I am very happy that he got onto the podium and received bronze for this, though I truly would've wished that he would've gotten an actual medal instead of a plastic star.
   Javier Frenandez on the other hand continues to be something like a problematic favorite of mine. I know he is a really damn good skater, he has the technical skill, he can perform beautifully if he wants, but both of his programs are still simply not it for me. I thought that maybe, as the season would continue, I'd warm up to them, but that just isn't the case. His short continues to be goofy and comical, appropriate for the fact that it is Charlie Chaplin themed, and his free skate tries to be comical too, but instead of giggling and smiling, enjoying watching it, I just sit there and cringe. The costume is awful too just saying. He has the technical abilities but I think he tries too much to be like Nathan Chen (all quads and chasing the points) instead of like Misha Ge (more artistry and fines instead of quad gambling) which is a shame.
   This, unfortunately, is also slowly the case for Shoma Uno. I love him to pieces. He is a fantastic skater and I love both of his programs, but as the season continues I begin to find it exhausting to watch him because you worry, every single time, if he will make all the jumps, if he will hurt himself somehow and hinder his own success in this very important Olympic season, or will he make it. I think, if he would switch out some of his quads for triples and put more of a focus on presentation, he could still win and it would be less of a nervous train wreck for the viewers, and possibly also for him.
   With all the quad chasing and point grinding in the men field, it does make me wonder how healthy all these jumps are for their bodies and what the long term effects might end up being cause I can't imagine anything good coming from it.

Ladies

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   The ladies were a mess during the short program, then again everyone was because of the (as far as I heard) bad ice quality and even practice time issues because great French organizers, but the free program brought things back closer to the level you'd expect during the Grand Prix of an Olympic season.
   Personally I am happy for Alina Zagitova that she won this event. I like both her Black Swan short and Don Quichot free, her balleteque tutu costumes and the music choices. I've already once complained about how backloaded her free program is with all the jumps in the second half, but somehow this time around I didn't mind it quite as much. I definitely think she is very talented and has a lot of potential and could, in the future, really challenge the current reigning Queen Evgenia Medvedeva.
   Maria Sotskova, there is something about her programs and her skating that I struggle with. For this event she had new costumes, which I dubbed pink candy princess and blue boredom, but they didn't help much either. Maybe it's the fact that Maria seems to have much longer limbs than many of her competitors, maybe it's how awkward it looks when she has her arm raised during some of the jumps, I don't know, but I can't really warm up to her, though I think she has good chances to make the Russian Olympic team.
   Finally, taking bronze, we had Kaetlyn Osmond from Canada. As the season progresses I am actually starting to like her. She is definitely a good skater and I can't wait to see her in competition when all the ladies will be present, see how her scores will compare to the other top competitors etc.

Pairs

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   I am still very, and I mean very salty about the fact that Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France were basically robbed of their gold medal, or rather big green star. Their performances were amazing, even with Vanessa two footing (I think) the landing of their quad throw. They definitely deserved that top podium spot and I won't get over that any time soon.
   I can't stand Tarasova's and Morozov's free skate. Their costumes are hideous with their yellow and black polka dot aesthetic, and the music cut and selection of it, don't even get me started on how questionable and in poor taste that is. I don't know if maybe the person who chose it just didn't pay attention to the lyrics, or if maybe they didn't completely understand it, but honestly those are not lyrics I thought would be appropriate for something that will be skated during the Olympics, if these two will make the team. Not a fan, at all.

   And that is, all my saltiness and a few nice words about the Grand Prix event in Grenoble, France. I am very excited to see how the final event, Skate America, will be and who will make it into the Grand Prix Final!

Grand Prix Series - Audi Cup of China 2017

Samstag, 4. November 2017

   Welcome to the third event in the Grand Prix Series, the Audi Cup of China 2017 in Beijing, China. I've wondered why I've seen people call it the 'Cup of Disasters', but after I watched the short programs and free skates of the men, ladies and pairs, I certainly understood where people were coming from. A lot of strong performances but also a lot of flaws, mistakes, falls and disappointments, so lets just jump right into the medalists and my thoughts on them.

Men

  1. Mikhail Kolyada - Russia - 279.38
  2. Boyang Jin - China - 264.48
  3. Max Aaron - USA - 259.69
Embed from Getty Images

   The first day was quite the surprise filled event for the men with Mikhail Kolyada taking the surprise lead with more than a nine point advantage over Boyang Jin and thirteen over Javier Fernandez, skating a clean and magnificent program that resulted in (I believe) his first score above the 100 point mark, 103.13 to be precise. I, as well as a lot of people on twitter, was very happy about the results of the first day, and actually thought that the final results and the podium would look a little like this at the end.
   The fact that Javier Fernandez only came in 6th at the end of the competition was a true surprise. Something about his two programs just doesn't seem to work, and despite everyone seeming to love them, I dislike both. The Charlie Chaplin short program has its comedic, reference type moments but little else, in my opinion. His free skate isn't much better, and looking at his results for the free skate, merely 162.49 points, it should definitely give him quite a bit to think about. It also makes me wonder if maybe at a certain point, and age, skaters are possibly just not able to squeeze Nathan Chen amounts of quads out of their bodies anymore.
   Boyang Jin also seemed to have some troubles with his programs, both not really convincing me, though I know a lot of people love his free skate because of the partial Star Wars music used for it. I thought he was much stronger last season, but I hope he'll manage to return to the same level of skating, at least. 
   The fact that Max Aaron made it onto the podium, well, I have quite a few thoughts on that, but I will leave it at - I think it should've been Han Yan from China (who came in 5th with only 5 points behind Aaron) because his free skate was truly amazing.
   On the other hand, as I mentioned before, Kolyada was quite the surprise, at least during his short program. His free skate on the other hand, well, it went a little in the same direction as the previous time we've seen him perform it. Maybe it was the pressure of being in the lead that he just wasn't quite able to deal with well, or just bad luck or the need for more practice, but despite popping two jumps (and I think falling once?) he still managed to win. This is actually his first Grand Prix title so it's truly exciting and I am very happy for him. He definitely earned it!

Ladies

  1. Alina Zagitova - Russia - 213.88
  2. Wakaba Higuchi - Japan - 212.52
  3. Elena Radianova - Russia - 206.82
Embed from Getty Images

   The ladies competition was on fire during the free skate, the quality just getting better and better and each lady set the bar higher and higher. If this is giving us an idea of what we'll see during the Olympics in February 2018, I am even more excited. We have seen amazing performances, clean and marvelous to look at. 
   Alina Zagitova definitely caught my eye with her Swan Lake short program, and the amazing costume she paired it with that looked like she could wear it on the ice but then also join a ballet company and fit right in. Her skating is marvelous and she will definitely try to give Evgenia Medvedeva a run for her money, not that she would actually be able to beat Evgenia, but push her to somehow be even better than she already is. Her free skate was also marvelous, though I will admit I wouldn't have given her gold.
   Wakaba Higuchi and her Skyfall free skate were it for me. She had the speed perfectly showing her skills, the jumps and just the overall presentation. She is an artist and I am loving both her programs. How the judges gave her lower PCS (presentation scores) than Zagitova is beyond me, but I loved watching those two perform nonetheless.
   Elena Radionova was also pretty damn good, though certainly not as good as the two ladies above her, which shows in the point difference she has to them. I definitely liked her programs the least out of these three, but that doesn't mean they were bad by any means. She is a very good skater, I will give her that, so third place definitely seemed appropriate.
   I have a feeling we will certainly see quite the fierce competition this season once you'll also place Medvedeva, Osmond, and Kostner in the ring along with them.

Pairs

  1. Wenjing Sui / Cong Han - China - 231.07
  2. Xiaoyu Yu / Hao Zhang - China - 205.54
  3. Kirsten Moore-Towers / Michael Marinaro - Canada - 194.52
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   It is safe to say, and certainly easy to see, that the Chinese pairs dominated this competition on their home turf, and Sui/Han won very much rightfully. They are the reigning World Champions and they were untouchable in this competition. I mean, have you noticed that almost twenty six point advantage they have over the silver medalists?
   Watching Sui/Han perform both programs was mesmerizing, captivating and simply awe-inspiring in every way you could think of. The ease with which they skated, as if it was the easiest thing ever and it wasn't a competition but just the exhibition skate or something, the chemistry between them, the quality of their jumps, spins and throws, their figures and costumes, everything was utter perfection (even if Sui slightly messed up one of their jumps). I could watch them all day, every day, and I so hope that they will not only win every competition leading up to the Olympics, but also Olympic gold.
   The other two pairs were great, too, but they definitely stood in Sui/Han's shadow without any chance of getting even close to them. Maybe seeing their points, watching their programs and performances will push all the other pairs to improve even more, strive after them, even though I am sure they all stand no chance of ever actually reaching them.

   And that's it, my thoughts on the medalists of the Audi Cup of China 2017. Of course ether was also Ice Dance, but I didn't watch it so I can't share any of my thoughts with you on that, sorry! What did you think about the competitions, the winners and 'losers'? Let me know in the comments below or on twitter (@Alice_Reeds).

Grand Prix Series - Skate Canada 2017 - Short Program

Samstag, 28. Oktober 2017


   Welcome to the second Grand Prix Series event of this season, Skate Canada in Regina, Canada. A much smaller number of my favorites has been assigned to this one, but I was still really excited to watch the short programs regardless. Unlike in my Rostelecom Cup post, in this one I will be talking about my faves in the men, ladies and pairs categories, and not just the men. Timezone wise (as well as live stream wise) this competition was a nightmare for me with. For example, Shoma Uno skating at way past 2am so I had to catch up on the men's short program in the morning.
   Anyway, without further ado, let's just jump right in.

Men

   Jason Brown - USA - I am Hamilton trash and I'm pretty sure everyone knows that, so when I heard that one of my absolute favorite skaters would have a program set to my favorite song from the musical, The Room Where It Happens, I was overjoyed. I knew that Jason and his team would do an amazing job with this one and I certainly wasn't disappointed in any sort of way. When Jason takes the ice and they call is name you can just see the happiness radiate off of Jason's face and smile. He is like a beautiful ball of sunshine and watching him perform this program with so much fun is just amazing. I honestly just sit there and smile the entire time because honestly how could I not? This program fits him perfectly allowing him to show off his great artistic skills and expression making him a true artist on the ice. Honestly I just love this program and I love what Jason did with it and the way he performs it. I need him to make Team USA for the Olympics and just rock the Olympic ice because he deserves it so much. Can't wait to see his free skate and just see him bloom and grow even more as the season continues.
   For his short program Jason received a total of 90.71 points. He is currently in 3rd place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   Shoma Uno - Japan - Another one of my favorite skaters with a program set to a piece of music I adore, Vivaldi's Winter. This program is breathtakingly beautiful, marvelously choreographed and timed, and Shoma's artistic expression is just top notch amazing. His costume, that reminds me of last years free skate one but this time in shades of gray instead of red, fits perfectly into the picture. Overall I am a big fan of Shoma and his skating, his programs are always very difficult, this one definitely again on a high level, though he's mastering it with easy it seems. Love this program!
   For his short program Shoma received a total of 103.62 points. He is currently in 1st place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   Patrick Chan - Canada - Patrick is a good skater, but unfortunately he is accompanied by a sort of inconsistency when it comes to jumps. He didn't fall this time, but he touched down at least once, which was a shame. This is a really nice program, smooth and emotional, fitting with the music. Patrick's costume is quite simple in shades of gray but that underlines the choreography nicely. There is certainly room for improvement but it's easy to see that this is a very promising program. I'm actually quite surprised I must admit. I'm usually not that big of a fan of Patrick's, but this is a good one. 
   For his short program Patrick received a total of 94.43 points. He is currently in 2nd place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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Ladies

   Marin Honda - Japan - Marin looked absolutely lovely in her dress accompanied by a beautiful choreography and music. It was a delight to watch her, even if she unfortunately fell once. Despite that she did an amazing job and I can't wait to see her perform this program at its fullest potential at some point in this season. Seeing her sit in the kiss & cry afterward slowly but surely breaking into tears was really sad, even more so because she did really good and thus there was no need to cry. Looking forward to her free skate!
   For her short program Marin received a total of 52.60 points. She is currently in 10th place. If you want to watch her performance you can do it right here.
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   Ashley Wagner - USA - I like Ashley a lot, not only because she's rink mates and besties with Adam Rippon (whom I adore) and shares a coach with Nathan Chen, but also because she's a good skater. Watching her perform her short program was fun because you could see that she was having a lot of fun, too. Her dress was black and simple but still very pretty. I'm not quite convinced by the ponytail she had going on, but it was still a solid performance that I enjoyed watching. Curious to see her free skate and grow as the season continues.
   For her short program Ashley received a total of 61.57 points. She is currently in 7th place. If you want to watch his performance you can do it right here.
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   Anna Pogorilaya - Russia - I was really excited to see Anna again on the ice after her disastrous free skate at Worlds last season where she fell more times than not, a truly sad sight that honestly made me cry right along with her. This time though she performed beautifully and without any falls. Her red and gold dress was very pretty and fit her marvelously, as well as her music and choreography. She did struggle just a little in a few places but besides that she did great and I enjoyed watching her a lot. She's definitely up there on my list of favorites among the ladies so I hope she'll continue to work on her SP and get better and better as the season continues. Would love to see her represent Russia along with Medvedeva at the Olympics next year.
   For her short program Anna received a total of 69.05 points. She is currently in 2nd place. If you want to watch her performance you can do it right here.
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   Rika Hongo - Japan - Rika wasn't on my radar before Skate Canada but I am now really interested in. Her program was really awesome, her costume red, black, sparkly, and intricate, and her performance really good and artistic. Everything fit beautifully together and I am definitely putting her on my list of ladies to follow this season.
   For her short program Rika received a total of 61.60 points. She is currently in 6th place. If you want to watch her performance you can do it right here.
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   Kaetlyn Osmond - Canada - Is it just me or was she awfully overscored? Home turf must do that trick for you, or a judge who just really wanted you to lead, though this is just me being a negative nancy I suppose. I really liked her dress, she looked very pretty in it, but watching her program felt like she was doing one thing while the music something completely else and, even if you'd play the wrong one, it probably wouldn't make too much of a difference. I mean sure she is a good skater, but I don't think she should've gotten that many points and have such a big lead on Anna Pogorilaya (whom I thought actually had the best performance out of all the ladies). Nonetheless I will follow her this season to see how her scores will compare and to see that rivalry play out on the ice, probably in the same way that I follow Nathan Chen to be honest.
   For her short program Kaetlyn received a total of 76.06 points. She is currently in 1st place. If you want to watch her performance you can do it right here.
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Pairs

   Vanessa James / Morgan Cipres - France - I adore these two, easy as that. They have so much chemistry between them and artistry in their skating and expression it is unbelievable, and they just keep on getting better and better. I've so far loved all of their programs and this one is no different. The choreography, set to Make It Rain by Ed Sheeran, was beautiful and fit on the dot, their costumes with Vanessa's blue dress and the blue accents in Morgan's shirt and vest were perfect and underlined the program just right. I could watch them skate all day, every day and not get bored any time soon. I am sure they will go far this season, their throws are definitely improving and I can't wait to see this program performed at its full potential soon.
   For their short program Vanessa and Morgan received a total of 73.04 points. They are currently in 10th place. If you want to watch their performance you can do it right here.
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   And that's it for the short programs at Skate Canada. Next up the free skate and the question of who will medal from my little list of favorites. Let me know what you think and whom you are rooting for in the comments below, or on twitter (@Alice_Reeds).