2019 Wrap – Up

As this year is coming to a close, I thought I’d look back on 2019. I did this last year and really enjoyed it, especially because I love reading these posts from other people.

Music:

This year, I decided to start this section off with what I listened to most (according to Apple Music). I listened to 575 hours of music, as of December 30th, which is around 23 days straight of listening to music. (Of course that doesn’t count everything, but still). That’s a lot.

Top 10 Songs of 2019:

  1. Freaks Like Us – Hands Off Gretel
  2. Be Yourself – Audioslave
  3. Misery Chain – Chris Cornell
  4. I Want the World – Hands Off Gretel
  5. Can’t Change Me – Chris Cornell
  6. Nightmare – Halsey
  7. Preaching the End of the World – Chris Cornell
  8. The Last Remaining Light – Audioslave
  9. Superpower – Adam Lambert
  10. S.A.S.S – Hands Off Gretel

This is not surprising…at all.

Top 10 Artists of 2019:

  1. Soundgarden – 67 hours
  2. Chris Cornell – 51 hours
  3. The Lumineers – 36 hours
  4. L7 – 34 hours
  5. Audioslave – 33 hours
  6. U2 – 22 hours
  7. Foo Fighters – 20 hours
  8. Hands Off Gretel – 19 hours
  9. Temple of the Dog – 18 hours
  10. Elton John – 17 hours

…That is a total of 169 hours (or 7 days) spent only listening to Chris Cornell’s voice. Sounds like a good time honestly

Top 10 Albums of 2019:

  1. Echoes of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path – Soundgarden
  2. The Lumineers (Deluxe Edition) – The Lumineers
  3. Euphoria Mourning – Chris Cornell
  4. III – The Lumineers
  5. Higher Truth – Chris Cornell
  6. I Want the World – Hands Off Gretel
  7. Six: The Musical (Studio Cast Recording)
  8. Cleopatra (Deluxe Edition) – The Lumineers
  9. Lungs (Deluxe Edition) – Florence + the Machine
  10. Temple of the Dog – Temple of the Dog

Additionally…

  • I saw L7 play at the Varsity
  • I saw Queen play at the Xcel
  • Hands Off Gretel released I Want the World and it is amazing
  • Adam Lambert released Velvet: Side A and it is amazing
  • I listened to more new music than I usually do…though I clearly still have some favorites…

I posted about what I listened to all of 2019, so check that out if you want!

Books:

Hopefully I’ll read even more good books in 2020!

Life:

  • I posted my own writing on this blog for the first time. (I hope to do more of this, but it’s really scaryyyy)
  • I started my English Major Overanalyzes Song Lyrics posts, which I hope to continue soon!
  • I finished my first year of college and started my second year
  • I saw Daniel Sloss live at the Cedar Cultural Center!
  • I made some new friends!
  • I took my last math class ever!
  • I took some classes I really loved
  • I watched: Queer Eye, Versailles, Mindhunter and finished The Tudors which are all great (and verrrrry different)
  • I saw Six at the Ordway

I hope you all had a great 2019 and good start to 2020! I really like these posts because it’s good to reflect and be proud of all you did in the year, so what are some things you are proud of/were fun in 2019?

Thanks for reading ❤

Book Review: A Nearly Normal Family

Found on Google Images

Title: A Nearly Normal Family

Author: M. T. Edvardsson, Translated by Rachel Willson – Broyles

My Rating: ★★★★

Summary (Goodreads): “Eighteen-year-old Stella Sandell stands accused of the brutal murder of a man almost fifteen years her senior. She is an ordinary teenager from an upstanding local family. What reason could she have to know a shady businessman, let alone to kill him?

Stella’s father, a pastor, and mother, a criminal defense attorney, find their moral compasses tested as they defend their daughter, while struggling to understand why she is a suspect. Told in an unusual three-part structure, A Nearly Normal Family asks the questions: How well do you know your own children? How far would you go to protect them?”

My Thoughts:

This is what I was looking for when I read You Owe Me A Murder! (You can read the review for that here if you want). I was pulled in fast by the scene in the prologue, where Adam is about to testify at Stella’s trial. Though we know nothing about either character yet, it’s an exciting look at what’s to come.

Edvarsson is able to keep that excitement throughout the novel. The reader slowly gets a picture of what their family looks like and what Stella was like when she was younger, through using flashbacks. This builds up the suspense slowly and well. In addition to the use of flashbacks, there were cliffhangers at the end of nearly every chapter, which made it hard to stop reading.

A Nearly Normal Family is also interesting because it’s written in multiple points of view. Readers get to read from the perspectives of the father, mother and Stella. Given that all read very differently, this made for an intriguing way to tell the story. It slowly shows how each person sees themselves, each other and life in general. This adds to the mystery of the novel, because the reader gets pieces to put together. Additionally, it can be hard to tell what really happened and who is telling the truth, which adds to the feeling of uncovering the truth over time.

The characters in general are well -written. All of them are complex and have qualities about them that are unlikable or negative, and other qualities that are positive, making the characters feel like real people. Each character can be unlikable at times, but that is why they feel like real people going through a crazy event.

Overall, I would really recommend this book for a fun, fast thriller novel.


Playlist:

I didn’t really have any other songs I could think of to make another playlist about murder, so I’m going to use the one from my review for You Owe Me A Murder. Sorry!

  1. Down by the Church – Semler
  2. Hunted Down – Soundgarden
  3. Enter Sandman – Metallica
  4. Eating Simon – Hands Off Gretel
  5. Every Breathe You Take – The Police
  6. Monster – L7

You can listen to the playlist here 🖤


Thank you for reading! I hope you all had a great October and Halloween 💀🎃

Book Review: You Owe Me a Murder

Found on Google Images

Title: You Owe Me a Murder

Author: Eileen Cook

My Rating: ★★★1/2

Summary (Goodreads): “17-year-old Kim never expected to plot a murder. But that was before her boyfriend dumped her for another girl. Now Kim’s stuck on a class trip to London with him and his new soulmate and she can’t help wishing he was a little bit dead, even if she’d never really do that.

But when Kim meets Nicki, a stranger on the plane who’s more that willing to listen to Kim’s woes, things start to look up. Nicki’s got a great sense of humor, and when she jokes about swapping murders, Kim plays along — that is until Kim’s ex-boyfriend mysteriously dies.

Blackmailed by Nicki to fulfill her end of the deal, Kim will have to commit a murder or take the fall for one.”

My Thoughts:

I had a bit of a rocky start with You Owe Me a Murder. But despite being a bit apprehensive of Kim’s judgmental nature and negative attitude (more on that later), I was pulled into the plot. I kept reading because what started as making fun of Kim’s “I’m not like other girls” attitude turned into a genuine interest in what was going to happen. The other reason I kept reading was because I could tell that I would be able to finish this book quickly. Say what you will about mediocre YA fiction, it makes for fast reading.

Despite much of what I’ve just said, there were multiple good twists and turns in You Owe Me A Murder. I was genuinely surprised a good few times while reading, which is what I wanted. However, there were also moments I think were supposed to be more surprising than they were.

My biggest issue with this book was the characters. The background characters all had about one personality trait each. Jamal is a tech geek, Sophie is nice and Miriam, the theater girl is over-the-top and dramatic all the time. Only a few minor characters were interesting or more than two dimensional. Though the characters were pretty boring, the romance was pretty cute, excusing a few very cringe worthy lines of dialogue as seen here:

I grabbed his hand. “Would you do that? Keep the monsters away?”

He placed his hand over his heart. “I happen to be the master monster slayer.”

p.247

I just involuntarily had a physical reaction to how cheesy that is.

On top of that, the main character, Kim, wasn’t very likable. (This was mostly a problem at the beginning of the book, however). She was so judgmental of other people, which usually came across in a very “I’m not like other girls” way.

Kim’s not like other girls. She likes science and reading. What a nerd! I’ve never met a girl who reads the newspaper! Kim is so different.

Sidenote: Kurtis Conner and Tiffany Ferg both have great videos on why this is a dumb concept that women use to put other women down to feel accepted by men and is caused by internalized misogyny. You can watch their videos here: The “I’m Not Like Most Girls” Phenomenon, “I’m Not Like Other Girls”. But I won’t make this review into anymore of a feminist rant. But before continuing, I did want to include some memes making fun of the “I’m not like other girls” concept.

Okay, now onto my last few points. I want to quickly recognize that these are 100% sort of picky. I feel justified in including them though, because I generally don’t get this nitpick-y with my reviews. First off, I think Cook uses too many similes. When they aren’t necessary, putting in a simile or metaphor is annoying, although this comes down to preference.

My eyes darted around, trying to take in everything at once, like a starving person at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

p.50

It feels like she made the point twice here. But again, maybe it’s just me. (Although this is not the only time she did this).

Secondly, Cook references Henry VIII a few times, and Anne Boleyn at least once in her novel. This is completely understandable, since it’s a bunch of students on a trip to London. However, there’s a moment where Kim compares herself to Boleyn and it just comes across as dramatic and cringey.

Maybe the ghost of Anne Boleyn figured I deserved the answer since we’d both been overthrown by a guy who moved on pretty quickly to the next model. She would have moved on too — if they hadn’t cut off her head.

p.65

As someone who has a great interest in English history, this stood out to me more than it may have other people. I am willing to admit that. But still. Getting dumped is not the same as dying by beheading and the idea that Anne Boleyn would have been afforded the luxury of marrying again? It likely annoys me so much because it so oversimplifies Anne Boleyn’s time as Queen of England and the complex dynamic of not only Henry VIII and Anne but all kings and queens.

Overall, the plot was the only thing that saved this book. But it was fun and very hard to put down, so if you want a fast, easy read, this isn’t a bad choice.


Playlist:

  1. Down by the Church – Semler
  2. Hunted Down – Soundgarden
  3. Enter Sandman – Metallica
  4. Eating Simon – Hands Off Gretel
  5. Every Breath You Take – The Police
  6. Monster – L7

You can listen to the playlist here 🖤


Thank you for reading! I hope you are all having a great October so far 🎃

Book Review: The Hammer of Thor

Found on Google Images

Title: The Hammer of Thor (Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard #2)

Author: Rick Riordan

My Rating: ★★★★

Summary: “‘Magnus Chase, you nearly started Ragnarok. What are you going to do next?’

It’s been six weeks since Magnus and his friends returned from defeating Fenris Wolf and the fire giants. Magnus has adjusted to life at the Hotel Valhalla — as much as a once-homeless and previously alive kid can. As a son of Frey, the god of summer, fertility and health, Magnus doesn’t exactly fit in with the rest of Odin’s chosen warriors, but he has a few good peeps among his hallmates on floor nineteen, and he’s been dutifully training for Ragnarok along with everyone else. His days have settled into a new kind of normal.

But Magnus should have known there’s no such thing as normal in the Nine Worlds. His friends Hearthstone and Blitzen have disappeared. A new hallmate is creating chaos. According to a very nervous goat, a certain object belonging to Thor is still missing and the thunder god’s enemies will stop at nothing to gain control of it.

Time to summon Jack, the Sword of Summer and take action. Too bad the only action Jack seems to be interested in is dates with other magical weapons…”

My Thoughts:

If you want to see my review on the first book (The Sword of Summer), you can read it here.

Until reading The Hammer of Thor this year, I hadn’t read anything by Riordan in a few years, and it was fun to read something by him again. It was also a little hard because I had a little trouble remembering what happened in the first Magnus Chase book. But that’s what the internet is for! So quick shoutout to Wikipedia for having indepth plot summaries!

As is typical of Riordan’s novels, the action starts only shortly after the book begins, and continues at a fast pace through the rest of the book. His pacing is perfect, with never a dull moment, but not moving past scenes too quickly either. The Hammer of Thor also included lots of humor, again as is typical of Riordan. He is great at writing funny scenes and lines that are funny to anyone. Nearly every joke was really funny to me now, even though the novels are aimed at a younger audience. Here are some lines I enjoyed:

…teenage einherjar hung out playing board games or just chillaxing (which is like chilling, except with battle axes).

p. 32

Or just this title with a reference I greatly appreciated:

You Keep Using the Word Help. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means

p. 341

I just always have such a fun time reading books by Riordan, which is why I will read anything he writes. I was also really happy while reading this because of the amount of diversity in this trilogy and his books in general. I’m happy knowing he is showing kids that people are all different and that’s normal. The Magnus Chase series has people of different religions, sexualities and gender identities. Though he isn’t anymore, Magnus was homeless and other characters are shown to have rough childhoods. This is so so so important for kids to see.

Overall, you should go read the first book right now 🙂 I can’t wait to read The Ship of the Dead!


Playlist:

I made this playlist based on Alex Fierro, by far one of my favorite characters in The Hammer of Thor. Also, I did not mean to have songs by the same artists, but those songs just fit the character the best, so…oops. Lots of Audioslave for you!

  1. Rebel Rebel – David Bowie
  2. Keep on Livin’ – Le Tigre
  3. Bad Reputation – Joan Jett
  4. Jewel of the Summertime – Audioslave
  5. Freaks Like Us – Hands Off Gretel
  6. What You Are – Audioslave
  7. Don’t Play – Halsey
  8. Live to Rise – Soundgarden
  9. Changes – David Bowie
  10. Be Yourself – Audioslave

You can listen to the playlist here 🙂


Thank you for reading this review! 📖 ❤

My Month in Music – June (2019)

I hope you are all having a great July so far! Here is some music I listened to last month 🙂

You can listen to the playlist here 🔮


I hope you all have a great July! Happy listening and thanks for reading ❤

Book Review: Shout

Found on Google Images

*TW: rape, domestic violence

Title: Shout

Author: Laurie Halse Anderson

My Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Summary: “Bestselling author Laurie Halse Anderson is known for the unflinching way she writes about, and advocates for, survivors of sexual assault. Now inspired by her fans and enraged by how little in our culture has changed since her groundbreaking novel Speak was first published twenty years ago, she has written a poetry memoir that is as vulnerable as it is rallying, as timely as it is timeless. In free verse, Anderson shares reflections, rants, and calls to action woven between deeply personal stories from her life that she’s never written about before. Searing and soul-searching, this important memoir is a denouncement of our society’s failures and a love letter to all the people with the courage to say #metoo and #timesup, whether aloud, online, or only in their own hearts. Shout speaks truth to power in a loud, clear voice — and once you hear it, it is impossible to ignore.”

My Thoughts:

The minute I heard that Laurie Halse Anderson wrote Shout I knew I needed to read it. I haven’t read all of her books, but I’ve read a lot of them, and all were fantastic. I loved Speak when I read it, and although it’s been a long time since I read it, I remember how well she handled the complicated conversation around rape. She continuously tackles complex issues like eating disorders (Wintergirls) and PTSD (The Impossible Knife of Memory) so well. Shout is no different.

Anderson wrote in free verse, which I really enjoyed. It allowed her the freedom to write each poem in a different form and length, which kept it interesting. I also liked the mix of memoir (especially at the beginning) with poetry focused on the issue of sexual assault as a whole. Anderson was able to tell her own story while also addressing issues she herself never directly faced.

I really loved this book. There was not a poem I disliked. Of course, I had my favorites, but everything was well written and expressed different emotions and ideas. I’ve always thought Anderson is so talented with word choice and writing poetic lines in her novels, and Shout reinforced that. Some of my favorite lines are below (because quoting an entire poem is a bit much).

The image of my father hitting

my mother picassoed in front of me

like Sunday sunshine slicing

through the church windows, fracturing

and rearranging the truth on the floor.

Another example:

I didn’t speak up

when that boy raped me, instead I scalded

myself in the shower and turned

me into the ghost of the girl

I once was

Shout writes about the violence so many women experience in their lives in such a real way that nearly brought me to tears and filled me with rage. Anderson once again tackled a difficult topic with grace, expressing the anger and hurt so many women feel due to their experiences and the experiences of others. I cannot say enough that this book is excellent and everyone should read it.


Playlist:

This is a playlist of angry women (one of my favorite genres of music):

  1. Asking for It – Hole
  2. Nightmare – Halsey
  3. Can I Run – L7
  4. Oh Bondage Up Yours! – X-Ray Spex
  5. Seneca Falls – The Distillers
  6. World Against She – Hands Off Gretel
  7. Suck My Left One – Bikini Kill

You can listen to the playlist here 🤘🏻


Thanks for reading! ❤

My Month in Music – May (2019)

I hope you all had a good May! I finished my first year of college and it’s been very nice not to have homework. I haven’t written down what I’ve been listening to as well since coming home, so I apologize if the playlist is a bit repetitive! Anyway, onto the music 🙂

You can listen to the playlist here 🙂


Special Mentions:

I saw L7 on the 19th and they were amazing! We were standing in the 3rd – ish row and it was a lot of fun!


Thank you for reading! I hope your summer is off to a great start 🙂

My Month in Music – April (2019)

In April I didn’t listen to much new music, but there are some good songs in this playlist either way, since I have impeccable music taste. Just kidding, but I hope you enjoy it!

You can listen to the playlist here!


Thanks for reading! I hope your May is going well!

My Month in Music – March (2019)

March was a great month for music. I didn’t listen to as much new music as in February, but Hands Off Gretel’s new album came out and it’s a masterpiece (as I expected). If you like a mix of grunge, punk and pop, you should definitely check it out! Now…onto the playlist!

You can listen to the playlist here 🙂

Special Mentions:

No other songs to share, but I did get tickets to see L7 in May!


Thanks for reading! Happy listening 🙂

My Month in Music – January

I know we’re already really far into February as I’m posting this, so sorry for that! I still want to talk about the music I’m listening to, but I got sort of tired of the way I was doing it before, so now I’m just going to make a playlist of the songs I listened to each month. I might also mention some other music things like I do later in this post 🙂 Anyway…onto the playlist!

Listen to the playlist here.

I am aware of the…ummm…theme in the songs above, which I think will change as I remember to track more of what I listen to every month. For now…I guess too bad if you don’t like Chris Cornell??! (Also…how?? If you don’t).

Special Mentions:

I have started listening to The Tudors soundtrack while I study. I still use the Reign soundtrack and Harry Potter soundtracks. I love writing to Reign and use the other ones for other homework.

Also…on January 16, a five-hour tribute concert for Chris Cornell was held at the LA Forum. I thought I would share some of my favorite performances (that I saw, I definitely didn’t see all five hours). 


Thank you so much for reading! Happy listening!