Review: Ghost Stories by Coldplay (Album, 2014)

Dienstag, 24. Juni 2014

Title: Ghost Stories
Artist: Coldplay
Released: May 16th 2014
Genre: Alternative Rock [1]

Track list:
1 - Always in my Head
2 - Magic
3 - Ink
4 - True Love
5 - Midnight
6 - Another's Arms
7 - Ocean
8 - A Sky Full Of Stars
9 - O (Includes hidden song "Fly On")

   I know, I normally don't do reviews for music but I got a request to do it, so here I am.
   Coldplay started out in 1996 but needed until 2011 or even 2012 to convince me that their music is actually phenomenal. I was anticipating this album quite a lot because I love both singles they've released: Magic and A Sky Full Of Stars. Luckily, those are not the only two songs on this album that will show you that Coldplay is an amazing band and this album more than worth listening.
   Because I don't pay attention to any of the celebrity gossip stuff or care about their personal life, I will not talk about the reasons why or why not Coldplay decided to create this album the way they did and made it sound this way. I know that the Rolling Stone did this but I didn't find it in any way helpful.
   What I can tell you, is what feeling this album creates for me. When I listen to it and close my eyes a very distinct picture forms inside my head: The moon high on the sky, shining silver and bright, its light reflecting on the calm water of the ocean and me sitting on the beach near the water. Something like a feeling of nostalgia, longing or simply the feeling that something is missing starts to flood me. Normally Coldplay albums always rather created a feeling of "Fix You", that all will be well yet Ghost Stories is more hunting and sad, though most of Coldplay's songs might be generally defined as "sad", one way or the other.
   And I definitely want to mention how much I love the cover. It's not just one of the boring ones where you just have a picture of the band or whatever, no, this one reflects both the title and the music. It's like a piece of art that I would totally put up on my wall. My copy came in like a thick paper sleeve, which just had the cover shown above without any writing on it, and inside is the normal plastic packaging, booklet and CD which we all know. I really like it when albums have this tiny extra stuff that makes it stand out.
   The one thing that makes me a little sad is that Ghost Stories only have 9 tracks. I would have wanted maybe like one or two more, but all in all it is still perfect. Maybe 9 is fully enough, especially when those nine tracks are as amazing as these ones.

   All in all I really like this album. The music is hunting, beautiful and nostalgic, just the way I like Coldplay, and works perfectly with the weather we currently have here (rain, cold, cloudy).

   I give Ghost Stories by Coldplay 5/5 Stars.

Ed Sheeran (Live) - Music Vlog - #1

Montag, 23. Juni 2014

   Hey guys!
   Today I went to a mini Ed Sheeran concert (+/- 30minutes), which awesomely enough was for free, and I also managed to get a signed copy of his new album "X" (Deluxe Edition). I'm so happy. And of course, I used this opportunity to film a little vlog about it, for you guys, including a little bit of live footage so you guys can have a glimpse at the awesomeness that is Ed Sheeran live on stage with his guitar. 
   Again, just like before with my Movie Vlog, I want to say sorry for the shakiness of the video. I seriously should finally learn to remember that walking and vlogging don't go well together.
   Anyway, here's the video! I hope you guys like it!

Review: The Fault in Our Stars (Movie, 2014)

Samstag, 14. Juni 2014

Titel: The Fault in Our Stars
In Theaters: June 6th 2014 (US)
PG: 13 
Run time: 125 Minutes
Cast: Shainlene Woodley (Hazel Grace)
Ansel Elgort (Augustus Waters)
Nat Wolff (Isaac) 

Hazel and Gus are two teenagers who share an acerbic wit, a disdain for the conventional, and a love that sweeps them on a journey. Their relationship is all the more miraculous given that Hazel's other constant companion is an oxygen tank, Gus jokes about his prosthetic leg, and they met and fell in love at a cancer support group. (IMDb) 

   The Fault in Our Stars, a story so beautifully told it's hard to believe. As a lover of dramas and books/movies that will challenge you to break out in tears, I have never watched a movie that made me cry uncontrollably just this much. Sure, I cried while watching Marley and Me, a story centered around a dog, but this is a whole different league of cry worthy movie.
   The story is centered around these two oh so lovable characters, Hazel Grace and Augustus, who are both kids with cancer, though Augustus has been in remission for quite a while. Seeing the two of them fall in love "slowly and then all at once" is beautiful. Their relationship seems so pure and real, though sure it's one of those, kind of, "insta-love" things but this one seems believable.
   Something that makes this movie stand out is, for example, the fact that while being pretty and all, Shainlene Woodley portrays maybe the only female movie character which has cannulas in her nose throughout the entire movie, simply because she wouldn't be able to breathe 'normally' without them. I've seen a lot of movie, yet in none of them something like this was a thing.
   The movie may start of slow and subtle but that only adds to the whole "making the audience fall for the characters"-factum even more prominent. This isn't one of those action packed love stories where people scream around and create problems so dumb you just want to facepalm throughout the whole thing. No, The Fault in
Our Stars is quite the contrary. It shows the struggles but also the love that young adults can share, especially when it might very well be the only love they might share before dying way before they should.
   Another incredible thing is how true to the book this movie is, not only in terms of the plot but also the dialogues. Many loved quotes from the book are features and delivered amazingly by the actors. No matter how you twist and turn it all around, The Fault in Our Stars is a memorable and witty movie starring cancer kids, but on solemnly focused on the cancer part like some other movies or books might be.

   When it comes to the acting, I am lost for words. When I first heard that The Fault in Our Stars will be made into a movie, I feared that the actors and screenplay writers won't be able to do the characters, which were so beautifully crafted by author John Green, justice. But, luckily, I was surprised in all the right ways.
   As you guys know, I really didn't like Shainlene Woodley in the role of Tris in DIVERGENT but her acting and portrayal of Hazel Grace in The Fault in Our Stars was outstandingly amazing. Through the way she acted and said certain lines you could really feel all the feels clearly. In certain scenes she would make you fall in love with her and in other ones she would make your heart shatter into a million pieces.
   And the same also goes for Ansel Elgort as Augustus Waters. After seeing him play Augustus, I feel confidante enough to say that I cannot imagine any other actor being able to play him as charmingly as Ansel did. Though his wits and charming smirks/smiles he will cast a spell on you.
   Willem Dafoe as Peter Van Houten, the author of Hazel Grace's and Augustus beloved Novel "An Imperial Affliction", will make you hate him most of the time just as much as he did in the novel. I imagined a lot of people playing Van Houten, but I'm happy with Willem Dafoe playing him. He did a great job in playing this character which has a weird love for Swedish Hip Hop.

   All in all I can say that this is my movie of Summer 2014. I won't go as far as saying that it's my movie of the year, because I'm still waiting for Mockingjay: Part 1, which hits theaters in November, before I will make my decision. I can see why people might say that The Fault in Our Stars is only another melodramatic movie for girls, or something along those lines. Just today the moderator, of the radio station I sometimes listen to, was criticizing TFiOS but personally, I cannot and will not agree.

   I love the book and I love the movie, though many believe I'm crazy for loving something so sad so much, but the thing they do not understand is that it is not sad, well it is, but it is mainly beautiful, touching and outstandingly great. Call me insane, but this is the type of story I might very well enjoy most because it makes me feel something deep inside of me. It is not just another story which drowns in the sea of story out there; it's one that will stay with you for a long time.
   The music features in TFiOS is also on top of the game. It has songs by Ed Sheeran, Grouplove and Charli XCX. The songs fit perfectly and reflect the movie with the atmosphere they create.

   I recommend this movie to, well, everybody. This movie is worth seeing in all the right ways. It will make you cry but it also will make you happy all at the same time. No matter if you watch it alone, with friends or with your s/o. But remember, keep Kleenex nearby, you'll need it.

   I give The Fault in Our Stars 5 out of 5 Stars.

Review: Retribution by Amy Rachel Thompson

Dienstag, 3. Juni 2014

Retribution by Amy Rachel Thompson 
Published: June 18th 2013
Number of pages: 280 (paperback) 
Series: Yes, #1

   Regan Edison has just moved from California, to enter her first year at Georgia Liberty College, the place where jacked up Chevy trucks and hunting are a way of life. Regan hopes to start a new life for herself and she thinks that Georgia is just the place to do it. That is until she meets an unexpected stranger.
   Colter Hayes is a member of the Collectors, a group of wrongfully punished lost souls. Colter and the rest of his team, Finn, Kaiden and Devon, work for the Requiem Council who pass judgment on those souls that are neither tagged for Heaven nor Hell. The Council has charged the Collectors with finding the lost in exchange for a chance at redemption.
   When an ex-councilmember known to pass Retribution on lost souls sets his sights on Regan, the Requiem Council dispatches the Collectors to Georgia to work as protectors for Regan. The Collectors must fight to save Regan from a fate they know all too well, but can they work to earn back their chance at redemption or are their fates sealed forever?
   Who is meant for Heaven?
   Who is meant for Hell?
   And who is just lost? (goodreads) 

   I received a free copy of Riot from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

 “Never, ever, ever, invite strangers into your room; they will be psychotic serial killers. You know what? Scratch that. Never, ever, ever go to college, apparently that’s where dreams, and young girls, go to die. Or maybe that’s just me.” (Regan)

   When I first read the synopsis of Retribution on NetGalley I was intrigued and knew I wanted to read it. I don’t know if it’s because of my expectations of this book or if other people feel the same way, but honestly I was kind of disappointed by it. Unfortunately. 
   I really didn’t like how ‘easily’ Regan accepted everything the guys told her, about the Collectors, the Exiles or Agro. She showed some resistance yet still accepted in relatively fast. Somehow that seemed very unrealistic and it somehow bugged me. And speaking of the whole business with the Soul business. I don’t know if I’m too stupid to understand it or what but I found it all very confusing and somewhat poorly and confusingly explained. At first I thought that it was done this way to underline how confused Regan was by it all, but even toward the end of the book I still didn’t quite get it, though the characters tried to explain it all a few times. Oh well, maybe that’s just me. 

   When it comes to the main characters, I liked Regan, at least most of the time, not always though. She seemed like an all right narrator and person, though she doesn’t belong to my favorites. Sometimes her train of thoughts just made me stop and ask myself, or rather the book, “are you serious right now?” because she just made weird decision sometimes and would jump over into being stubborn and reckless for no reason whatsoever. 
   Then there is Colter, who to say the least pissed me off constantly. His temper was extremely unnerving and straight out unfriendly. He was angry most of the times, to a point where it wasn’t even funny anymore. I mean, I understand WHY, because the book will eventually tell you why, but that didn’t change my opinion about him. 

   “After centuries together, I unfortunately have grown accustomed to Colt’s temper. I think anger is the only emotion he has, or at least knows how to express.” (Kaiden) 

   Then there the other guys, Finn, Kaiden and Devon. They all seemed like the opposite of Colter. They were very friendly, funny and helpful. I really liked them all and I did feel bad for them, more than I did for Colter. 

   No matter how I look at it, I never really came to like or really care about all these characters enough to really be sad or happy when something happened to them. For example, toward the end of the book something BIG and sad happens and I must say it rather annoyed me how much they were whining about it. I mean I understand why but yeah that was just my lack of caring for what happens to them, which I found very sad.   
   But, in general, at first I thought I would give Retribution 4 stars, because it started out quite good and interesting but, the further I read and the closer I got, the more my rating started to decrease. Somewhere around 75% through I was already at a point where I said I’ll only give it 2.5 Stars.

    All in all, maybe if you are more into the whole soul business reads, this might be a story for you, but for me personally it was a rather disappointing read. I enjoyed reading this book only up until maybe 50% in, the rest was rather a ‘continuing to read just to see how it end and be able to write a review for it’ type of thing.

   “Shit man, I think you broke my nose.” 
     “Yeah, well, you broke my patience.” (Colter) 

I give Retribution by Amy Rachel Thompson a 2 out of 5 Stars.

May Wrap Up

Sonntag, 1. Juni 2014

   So, that was May, wasn't it?
   A lot of things happened over May, like my finals or my birthday which means that I acquired a lot of books and, despite studying and stress and all that fun stuff, I also read quite a lot of books - 11 books. Most of the books I read were very satisfying and therefore got quite high ratings, only two disappointed me - We Were Liars by E. Lockhart, for which you can find a review I did on my YouTube channel, and More Than This by Jay McLean.
Book of the Month:
Vampire Academy (Russian Version)
Why? Because Russian version,
hella awesome!
   And this time, I have two new "categories" for you guys:
   Book of the Month and Most Anticipated Read. 

Books Read: 
  • Frostbite by Richelle Mead [5 Stars]
  • Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead [5 Stars]
  • Blood Promise by Richelle Mead [5 Stars]
  • Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken [5 stars]
  • Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead [5 Stars]
  • Last Sacrifice by Richelle Mead [5 Stars] 
  • More Than This by Jay McLean [3 Stars]
  • Bad girls don't Die by Katie Alender [4 Stars]
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart [3 Stars]
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare [5 Stars]
  • Riot by Sarah Mussi [5 Stars]

Most Anticipated read:
City of Heavenly Fire
Why? Do I need to explain why?

 Books Acquired:   
  • Ruin by Rachel Van Dyken
  • Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott
  • Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski
  • Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Delleria
  • Bad Girls Don't Die by Katie Alender
  • The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin (Paperback) [5 Stars]
  • More Than This by Jay McLean
  • Академия вампиров - Охотники и жертвы  (Vampire Academy - book one in Russian) by Richelle Mead
  • We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
  • Riot by Sarah Mussi (via NetGalley)
  • City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
  • Retribution by Amy Rachel Thompson (via NetGalley)
  • Paradigm by Ceri A. Lowe (via NetGalley)

~ In Progress ~
  • Killing Sarai by J.A. Redmerski
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Still struggling with the 12-year-old-protagonist factor...)
  • Retribution by Amy Rachel Thompson (currently I'm struggling with this one. I'm leaning toward giving it a 2.5 star rating because the characters are pissing me off and the whole lost souls, exiles and so on business is still really confusing and I don't know...)

   A lot of books will arrive soon so I am excited to get to those and in general I hope I can keep up with my reading. I mean, on GoodReads I said, for the GoodReads Reading Challenge 2014, that I want to read 50 books this year but, because I'm already at 35 and we only just finished May so I might increase my goal to like 65 or something. I'm not sure yet. And in general I want to step up my YouTube game and also just be able to post more reviews and interesting stuff for you guys. We'll see, we'll see. ;)