Tag Archives: music

2016 Favourites | What I’ve been loving this year

Hello again, for the last post of the year ūüôā

Last year, I did a post called “15 in 15” because considering it was 2015, the number worked. I thought I’d do a follow up “16 in 16” but… I think I’ll be sticking to fifteen because if I keep that up every year, these lists are going to keep getting longer!

Read on to see what were¬†my favourite books of the year, as well as my top picks of music, film and TV. The majority of titles in all three categories were released in 2016, but some are slightly older things that I’ve discovered.

books-fave

Last year I read something like 190 books, and this year, I’ve only read just over 50! I wouldn’t say this has been my best year for reading, but I have discovered some fantastic books.¬†Unboxed¬†by Non Pratt was unexpectedly poignant and¬†Everything Leads to You¬†has become one of my favourite books of all time.

film-and-tv-faves

After my GCSEs ended, I spent a month in bed, on our newly-purchased Netflix, binge watching a gazillion tv shows. I adored¬†How to Get Away With Murder¬†and¬†The Get Down,¬†two shows that weren’t even on my radar at the beginning of the year, but I’m now a massive fan of. Movie wise, the¬†Ghostbusters¬†reboot has to be one of the best things to have happened this year. Bless Kate Mckinnon.¬†Rogue One¬†was pretty fantastic too.

music-faves

2016 may have been rubbish, but the music that came out this year most certainly wasn’t. Honestly, I could write¬†pages¬†about every album above. I adore them! While I’ve been veering more into indie sounds, I was also introduced to Sleater-Kinney, one of the most iconic riot grrl bands, and so many songs of theirs have become hugely important to me. Tegan and Sara’s¬†Love You To Death¬†is literally the best thing to have ever happened, and will forever be a favourite and special album. I’ve gotten into quite a few new artists, like Shura and Lauren Aquilina, but my favourite new discovery is probably¬†Christine and the Queens, who’s the musician everyone needs in their life.


So, there we go! That’s another whole year of¬†stuff. 2016 was a bit rubbish in general, but at least there’s been some great media to distract us from it, eh?

And before I go… A huge THANK YOU to everybody who has been reading my blog this year. I am hugely grateful for every view, like and comment on my posts, and seeing that people enjoy my ramblings is what makes me keep blogging!

See you in 2017. ‚̧

Advertisements

Book Review: Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis

Related posts: Blog Tour: Lisa Selin Davis on the novels that inspired her

Published 16th October 2016 by Hot Key Books.

31328363Goodreads Synopsis:¬†In the aftermath of her older sister’s death, sixteen-year-old Carrie is taken under the wings of her sister’s friends, and finds herself forsaking the science nerds of her former life and slipping into a daze of cheap beer and recreational drugs. Carrie – a talented guitar player and obsessive tracker of the coming Vira comet – is partying hard and fooling around with boys she doesn’t even like, even though she’s desperate for a boyfriend.
Her mother, enveloped by grief at the loss of her eldest child, has retreated to a monastery in the Catskills that requires a vow of silence. With her family splintered apart, Carrie is overcome at times by uncontrollable rages and her father decides to send her to a boot camp for wayward teens. Compounding the shame, and to her horror, she is forced to wear work boots and a hard hat – boy poison.
Then she meets Dean, a fellow musician and refugee from his own dark past. Throughout the summer Carrie learns more about Dean, about her sister’s death, about her own family’s past, and about herself…as well as about the Bee Gees, disco and the difference between wood and sheet-rock screws. Through love, music and her precious comet – and no small help from Lou Reed – Carrie fumbles her way through the complex web of tragedies and misunderstandings, to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.

My Review:¬†First things first – I read this book at the¬†wrong time.¬†It was a really great story, and I did enjoy it very much, but I stupidly started reading it as my mock exams started. It took me nearly a month to find the time to finish it! So, maybe, I would have loved it even more if I had read the book in one go:¬†it’s definitely a book you can get completely immersed in.

What I loved the most about¬†Lost Stars¬†was the characters. They were so wonderful and real-feeling. They’re still in my head, long after I put the book down. I quite liked Carrie and how complex her character was – the story is centred around her anger issues, and how her mother’s absence has played into it. I did tear up a little at the resolution.

The gang of teenagers Carrie hangs out with were my favourite. I loved how Selin Davis takes the time to explore Soo, who I could’ve read a whole book about! The love story… I didn’t enjoy so much. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just really cynical.

Another aspect of the book I adored was the setting. Selin Davis’ debut is¬†such a fantastic trip back to a few decades. I love books set in the 70s-90s – the atmosphere is just so great and nostalgic even if I’m a millennial. I loved all of the pop culture references, and the frequent mentions of iconic songs. It just¬†made the book.

I do think I would’ve been able to enjoy¬†Lost Stars¬†even more if I’d read it at a better time, but I also think it has quite a few similarities to books that were already favourites of mine. It seemed very much in the same vein as¬†Perks of Being a Wallflower¬†and¬†Love Letters to the Dead, in terms of the atmosphere and the similar topics of grief. It reminded me of those books¬†a lot¬†in places, but that’s not to say it’s not really original and compelling itself. I’m sure fans of those two books would adore¬†Lost Stars.

Overall, this was a really enjoyable book and quite a fantastic debut novel. Lisa Selin Davis is definitely an author to look out for – I would love to read more from her in the future.¬†Lost Stars¬†intertwines grief, hope and love into a really thought-provoking and poignant story. I’d definitely recommend it to contemporary fans!

My Rating:

three and a half

I received a copy of Lost Stars from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

15 in 15: What I’ve been Loving this Year

I hope you had an awesome Christmas and/or holiday!

In 2014, I made a¬†huge¬†infographic of my favourite reads of the year. It took ages, and I read a ridiculous amount last year, so that list was pretty big. I like summary posts, and I thought – why not write about¬†just¬†my top fifteen books of 2015? And, while I’m at it, why not throw in some other things too… So here’s a post of my top fifteen books, albums and movies/tv series of the year! Most of the things mentioned in this post are relatively new (out this year) but some are recent discoveries I’ve made.

booksalbumsfilm + tv

(shhh the Blue Neighbourhood music video trilogy totally counts)

Have you enjoyed any of the things I’ve mentioned above? What’s been your favourite discovery of this year?

Have a great 2016!

Songs and Stories #2

I’m so excited to see what people think of this post ūüôā A few months ago, I wrote Songs and Stories, in which I paired some of my recent favourite reads with songs I loved that bore similar meanings or messages. It was really fun to do, but I’d only ever intended it as a one-off post.¬†However, over recent months, I’ve been scribbling down some more ideas for book and song pairings. I came up with quite a few more, so I thought, why not make a Songs and Stories #2?


THE FAULT IN OUR STARS by John Green // Soil, Soil by Tegan and Sara

“All you need to save me
Call (call)
And I’ll be curled on the floor
Hiding out from it all
And I won’t take any other call.”

This song is probably Tegan and Sara’s saddest, and to me some of the lines really resonate with John Green’s story – the sorrowful yet romantic lyrics go perfectly. The mood of the song is just right!


THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST by Emily Danforth // Girls Like Girls by Hayley Kiyoko

“Isn’t this why we came? Gotta get with you
Girls like girls like boys do, nothing new”

Cameron Post is about a gay teenage girl who grows up in a very conservative town and is sent aweay for being who she is. Girls Like Girls goes with the book for obvious reasons – especially because the message of the song is that being different is nothing new!


OFF THE PAGE by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer // Believe by Mumford and Sons

“I don’t even know if I wanna believe
Anything you’re trying to say to me /
So, open up my eyes
Tell me I’m alive.”

Off the Page¬†is all about Delilah and her boyfriend Oliver, who is literally a prince from a fairytale. I love it because it’s a story about how much people believe in childhood stories and writing. This Mumford and Sons song is perfect.


THE NEXT TOGETHER by Lauren James // Someone New by Hozier

“Don’t take this the wrong way,
You knew who I was with every step that I ran to you”

In¬†The Next Together,¬†two characters fall in love. They will die – but they’ll be reborn again, years into the future, and the cycle will repeat – except they don’t remember their past lives. This is one of my favourite Hozier songs and it’s about someone falling in love with a different person, every day, and I ¬†think some of the lyrics fit Lauren James’s story quite well!


Do you agree with any of the pairings I made? Do you have any songs and stories suggestions?

And, ¬†of course – would anyone like to see a Songs and Stories #3? ūüėÄ

Book Review: Remix by Non Pratt

Published 4th June 2015 by Walker Books.

21472663Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of Trouble comes a new novel about boys, bands and best mates.

Kaz is still reeling from being dumped by the love of her life… Ruby is bored of hearing about it. Time to change the record.

Three days. Two best mates. One music festival. Zero chance of everything working out.

My Review: Non Pratt’s d√©but novel, Trouble, was undoubtedly one of the best UKYA novels of last year. I was really looking forward to reading more from Non – and a book set at a music festival sounded pretty awesome!

Remix is quite a quick read which was great for me, but the story was so complex and well written. It centres around two best friends, Ruby and Kaz, who tag along with Ruby’s brother and his boyfriend to a music festival – mainly to see their favourite band, Goldentone. From the first night, issues start to unfold. Unexpected people join them at the venue, and some pretty insane things happen – all over the course of a three-day camp.

I really loved the protagonists – They were are well written as Non’s characters in Trouble were. Ruby and Kaz are both flawed and relatable characters who were just really fun to read about.

That said, it did take me almost half of the book to actually understand the network of people – there isn’t a huge cast, but the dual narrative switches so quickly (literally every few paragraphs at some points) that I couldn’t keep track! The narratives of Kaz and Ruby were both well crafted, and I could really feel both girls’ voices – but they changed so quickly that I lost track of who-had-drama-with-who at points.

The final pages of Remix will leave you in a bit of a daze – everything spirals into quite a shocking conclusion that completely stunned me. It feels like quite an abrupt ending – though it’s the kind of resolution that keeps the book in your head for days.

Overall, Remix was another great title from Non Pratt and I’m looking forward to her next book. It’s a perfect read if you’re looking for something short-ish – but one that is very eventful and emotional. I can’t stop thinking about the two best friends!

My Rating:

four

I received a copy of Remix from the publisher, via LoveReading4Kids, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

My Remix quote on LoveReading4Kids here!

 

Songs and Stories

My favourite songs are ones I find relatable or with beautiful lyrics. Occasionally, I’ll listen to a song and not attribute its lyrics to my own life, but to characters in books. I may be the only person who does this… XD

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been jotting down book titles, alongside the titles of songs that fit the stories. Rather productive procrastination, seeing as it might by worthy of a blog post…

It took me a while to get widgets working for Spotify (and I’m not 100% sure these widgets¬†will¬†work…) but now I’ve finally managed to put together a list of songs and stories! Here’s hoping my music taste isn’t¬†that¬†bad…

#1: ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES BY JENNIFER NIVEN

“If you‚Äôre ever feeling lonely, if you‚Äôre ever feeling down, you should know you‚Äôre not the only one ‚Äėcause I feel it with you now…”

I was listening to Kodaline’s new album while revising and I’d just finished All The Bright Places – a story of a girl coping with the death of her sister, and a boy coping with depression, who form a really strong bond. The chorus reminded me of the book so much and what no I definitely didn’t cry at the song.

#2: WHERE SHE WENT BY GAYLE FORMAN

“Love is a game that we could play, even only for today,¬†I don‚Äôt wanna lose you, we‚Äôve been apart for far too long, now we only have a song, let the music move you, there was a part of me that never left a part of you, I wish I could be everything you wanted…”

If I Stay Spoilers?? >>¬†I love Neon Trees lyrics and when I listened to this¬†immediately thought of¬†Where She Went!¬†I felt like the lyrics could have been from Adam’s perspective as he meets Mia again for a day, and how he doesn’t want to lose her again, and about the music guiding the relationship… Uch my feelings.

#3: LIES WE TELL OURSELVES BY ROBIN TALLEY

“We are surrounded by all of these lies, and people who talk too much, you got the kind of look in your eyes, as if no one knows anything but us…”

The verse I copied above is exactly why I chose this song for¬†Lies We Tell Ourselves,¬†which is a story about a gay teenage girl in the ’50s who falls for another LGBT* girl: All through the story, they have to keep everything a secret because of the people around them. The chapters in Robin Talley’s d√©but all begin with a lie Sarah says to herself – which is why the first line of the verse above clicked with me straight away!

#4: THE BUNKER DIARY BY KEVIN BROOKS

“I feel you in these walls, you’re a cold air creeping in, chill me to my bones and skin…”

Though the song’s called¬†My House¬†and obviously the people who are so inhumanly captured and locked away in this book are¬†not¬†in their house, I found the lyrics could be attributed to the story. There’s a lot in the song about a person who the singer’s afraid of, who is in the house somewhere, and the singer can’t run away.

#5: ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE BY BENJAMIN ALIRE S√ĀENZ

“Oh and the answer,¬†well, who would have guessed, could be something as simple as this…”

It was easy to pick a song for this book!¬†I had to go with Simple as This.¬†The novel is about Ari and Dante who are both taking very different pathways in life – yet eventually gravitate towards each other again: And the Jake Bugg song is about trying lots of things but coming back to what the narrator couldn’t believe he’d missed.

¬†What did you think of the songs I picked? Are there any songs you can relate to a favourite book? ūüôā

Book Review: So Jealous X by Tegan and Sara Quin & Emy Storey

(^plus many other contributors!)

This isn’t the kind of book that I usually review – despite being¬†generally dedicated to YA, I couldn’t¬†not¬†review this, even though it’s non-fiction & music.¬†It’s safe to say I’m a Tegan and Sara obsessive.¬†I totally do not have a dedicated Tumblr ahem. So… this post doesn’t quite fit my blog demographic but I need to fangirl. Pls excuse my bad photos.

PicMonkey Collage

sojealousx.com description: It was nearly a year ago when we started talking about how to celebrate the 10th anniversary of So Jealous. We all agreed we needed to put together something really special; an extensive look back at a record that changed our sound and the course of our career.

We‚Äôre re-releasing the record and packaging it with our live DVD, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs Not Fun, Don‚Äôt Do It!‚ÄĚ, as well as a 22-track bonus CD containing b-sides, previously unreleased demos, and new remixes of our favourite songs from the record.

The three discs will be bound into a beautiful hard cover book that contains over 100 pages covering every memorable So Jealous moment we could recall, along with personal accounts from the plethora of characters involved in recording, releasing, marketing, and touring the record. Not to mention tons of never-before-seen photos, many from our own personal albums.

My Review:¬†I’ve been a Tegan and Sara fan since mid-last year, when I discovered them: So I’m not a long-time fan, as many are. However, I think I was nearly as excited as most long-time fans when I found out about So Jealous X: The tenth anniversary re-release & book, celebrating my favourite album of theirs.

IMG_2581

I love So Jealous, the album, because of its indie-rock feel and the beautiful lyrics. I practically begged my parents for a pre-order of So Jealous X... My little fangirl heart died a little when I opened it on Christmas.

The book is just so gorgeous to look at. I’m a big fan of Emy Storey, Tegan and Sara’s artist, who had so much input on the layout of the book. The look and feel of So Jealous X¬†is just amazing.¬†It feels like a very personal scrapbook made at the time; I loved leafing through all of the dreamy-looking polaroids and funny candid shots from backstage on tour!

PicMonkey Collage

So Jealous X is a complete, and brilliant, archive of everything¬†So Jealous-era. There’s so much more than I thought would be in there: I was expecting the book to be some pages of song lyrics, some photos of behind the scenes production… And So Jealous X¬†does include that…¬†along with poster artwork, and merchandise archives, and music video storyboards, and press shot outtakes, and brilliant anecdotes, and even more.

I enjoyed everything. I would totally buy more Tegan and Sara books – maybe on the tenth anniversaries of their albums post-So-Jealous, there’ll be more?;D

IMG_2568

The writing was so fantastic: I loved reading Tegan and Sara’s introductions to the book (They were so nostalgic¬†and wistful-sounding) and especially loved all of the inputs from band members like Ted Gowans, guitarist. It was so fascinating to read how important So Jealous was to Tegan and Sara – their accounts shows how pivotal the album was.

On Christmas day, I intended to read just the intros by the twins, and ended up sitting and reading the entire book in one go. And I’ve reread many parts since. Reading about the whole band’s experiences and memories – from Tegan and Sara themselves, to managers and art directors¬†– makes you feel like you were there with them.

IMG_2583

Also, it’s not just the book that’s beautiful – this goes a lot off topic from a¬†book review,¬†but the book does come with SO Jealous, the album, plus the DVD from the era “It’s Not Fun, Don’t Do It!” and a bonus CD of remixes and covers and demos of songs from¬†So Jealous.¬†The DVD made me laugh wayyyy too much, and the bonus audio that had never been heard before was so mind-blowingly awesome. I really liked the covers of Tegan and Sara songs included – my favourite has to be the screamo-ish So Jealous rendition¬†by the Cancer Bats.¬†I haven’t stopped listening to it!

Overall, I couldn’t have loved¬†So Jealous X¬†more. I love¬†how personal¬†So Jealous X¬†feels to fans – with a whole, colour book, containing so many experiences and recounts and photos, along with two album’s worth of songs and a DVD, it’s so much more than just a re-release. Though quite a bit of money, I really recommend it if you’re a fan of the Quin twins, or if you’re looking for a crazy, amazing new band to discover. ūüėĬ†// End fangirling.

My Rating:

five

I received So Jealous X as a Christmas present!