I hope you all have had a good start to your 2020! I am posting my last My Month in Music for 2019 and maybe ever. I have done this for two years (sort of) and I’m just ready to be done…but I can’t fully decide. So we’ll see…On to the playlist!
This is very likely the worst playlist I have ever made. I might yet again need to re-think the making a playlist thing, because now the songs are so different it just doesn’t work…at all. In previous months, there was so much of one artist it didn’t really work well either. (Maybe I’ll just start putting all the songs on shuffle, since that would be about as good as this playlist is). Anyway…here we go I guess…
Mother – Courtney Love
As Hope and Promise Fade (Live at Queen Elizabeth Theater, Toronto, ON April 20, 2011) – Chris Cornell
I was given Tiny Meat Gang (a.k.a Cody Ko and Noel Miller) tickets for Christmas 🙂 And I’m going with my friend Valerie in March! Can’t wait to see my favorite Mr. Struggles! (Also she is 100% the Noel of this friendship…I think…we’re having trouble deciding).
I also saw Six at the Ordway with my mom over my Thanksgiving break and I absolutely loved it! You should go see it if you can! Here are some pictures of us there 🙂
Thank you for reading this blog post with an absolute shitshow of a playlist ❤
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?”
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.
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!
So this is verrrrrry long. I would have just skipped July and August, but I had a lot of music to share that is different from what I usually post. Some new songs came out, and I listened to more new music than I typically do (let’s see if we can keep that up, but what can I say? I’m a creature of habit). Because of that, I really wanted to share this playlist. Also, I think this is a particularly well put together playlist, so I wanted to share it. I hope you enjoy it! (If you are able to make it all the way through).
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Summary: “Fifteen-year-old Aki Simon has a theory. And it’s mostly about sex.
No, it isn’t that kind of theory. Aki already knows she’s bisexual — even if, until now, it’s mostly been in the hypothetical sense. Aki has dated only guys so far, and her best friend, Lori, is the only person who knows she likes girls, too.
Actually, Aki’s theory is that she’s only got one shot at living an interesting life — and that means she’s got to stop sitting around and thinking so much. It’s time for her to actually do something. Or at least try.
So when Aki and Lori set off on a church youth-group trip to a small Mexican town for the summer and Aki meets Christa — slightly older, far more experienced — it seems her theory is prime for the testing.
But it’s not going to be easy. For one thing, how exactly do two girls have sex, anyway? And more important, how can you tell if you’re in love? It’s going to be a summer of testing theories — and the result may just be love.”
I wanted something easy and fun to read, so I decided to read a YA contemporary novel. (Also, I realized I hadn’t read any since 2015, so there’s that). I love Robin Talley (please read Lies We Tell Ourselves if you haven’t), so I decided to read this 🙂
One thing I liked about this novel was the friendships. There were interesting dynamics between each friendship, which made it interesting. Also, the relationship in this book is so cute! They’re both young, figuring out their sexuality and what their future holds for them. There’s a lot of unknown things, but that they like each other isn’t one of them.
Another thing Talley does really well is her dialogue is great. It’s very natural and differs with different characters well. Here’s a good example:
“The new guys are going to be incredible,” Lori had whispered to me as we walked to the party with the others.
“They’re going to be exactly the same as the guys we already know,” I whispered back.
“Not true. These guys are way cooler. Much less boring.”
“How could you possibly know that?”
“Look, I’m an optimist, okay?”
In addition to the same-sex relationship in Our Own Private Universe, Talley included other characters that made this a diverse novel. Aki and her family are black, and it takes place in Mexico, meaning many of the side characters are Mexican. Aki and at least one other character are bisexual, there is an out lesbian character, and one character who is pretty sure they’re pansexual. Very rarely are there books, especially contemporary YA novels this diverse.
There were also some things about this book that were less prominent that I still want to mention. For one, it’s very sex positive, specifically regarding LGBTQ+ people. Talley brings up topics about safe sex and the issues of sex education, which largely only teach about one kind of sex. On a completely different note, all of the sections of this book have Prince song titles as titles. Additionally, there are more references and mentions of Prince throughout, which was fun. There is also a small section with a long conversation about Harry Potter, which made me very happy.
There were some things I didn’t love about Our Own Private Universe, though. For one, while I liked Aki, Lori and Christa (and other characters), I didn’t love any of them. I liked some of the background characters a little better, but overall they were all just fine. There were traits in them all that really bothered me too much to really love them. (Saying exactly what things bother me would spoil a lot, so I can’t be specific). The other main issue I had was with the characters arguing over stupid things and lying to each other. It made some of the conflicts feel catty and unoriginal. (Again, putting specifics would spoil things so I can’t be more specific).
Overall, I think this books like this one are very important as LGBTQ+ relationships are very under represented in books and the YA genre. If you want a fast, cute romance novel this is a good one to choose!
For this playlist, I chose artists and bands that have members in the LGBTQ+ community.
As 2019 starts, I wanted to reflect on my 2018 in the books I read, the music I listened to and things that happened in my life. I love reading posts like this, so I thought I’d make one myself
I finally listened to and fell in love with hopeless fountain kingdom by Halsey, which along with Badlands is one of my favorite albums. (Seriously, she is amazing at making albums that are perfectly put together)
I fell in love with Soundgarden
I fell in love with Semler and loved Six Feet Under All the Same, which she released on Halloween
I listened to Harry Potter soundtracks as well as Reign‘s soundtrack constantly while studying
After seeing Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, I listened to a lot of ABBA
I listened to Shane Dawson’s music a lot
Troye Sivan released Bloom and I listened to it non-stop
Hands Off Gretel released both Kiss Me Girl and S.A.S.S which I listened to non-stop (though I felt weird about listening to Kiss Me Girl since it’s a little yikes. But such a bop :/).
Gabbie Hanna released Honestly and Monster, which I loved (and the second parts of both: Honestly (Encore) and Monster (Reborn))
I fell in love with Audioslave
I saw Bohemian Rhapsody and listened to a lot of Queen
All of the music I listened to this year is documented (mostly) in my Month in Music posts, if you’re curious about any of the music I talked about. I also will be continuing this in 2019, but editing the format somewhat.
I read 10 books this year
My favorite books I read were: Hit So Hard by Patty Schemel (review), I Hate Myselfie by Shane Dawson (review) and Dirty Blonde: The Diaries of Courtney Love by Courtney Love (review). (I also re-read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling, but I thought I should pick new books)
I also finished the Graceling trilogy, which I would highly recommend (Graceling and Fire are better than Bitterblue though. Fire is my personal favorite).
This album is really good (and it was released on Halloween which fits perfectly). I love the quality of her voice and the sound of each song. The album is cohesive, but there is also a good diversity of sound. Semler sings about everything from heartbreak to murder to falling in love with a vampire, so there’s a lot of different topics covered. I certainly can’t say that for most albums I listen to. I’m glad to have more music to listen to around Halloween!
Some of my favorite songs (this is most of the album… there are only 7 songs. I’m bad at picking favorites):
Still how I am making it through very boring reading for class. And interesting reading (but it’s still really long, so I need something to keep me reading for a long time). This will probably be the same for a long time. I just really still love Harry Potter, so this way I can involve it in my life all the time. Also, to anyone that wants to make fun of me, yes I know I am 18, judge me all you want, I will never be shamed for my love of Harry Potter. 💛⚡️📚
Sorry to have three of these posts in a row now! I should have a book review coming up soon, so that will help change everything up a bit. But for now, here’s another post about the music I listened to last month.
This EP is really great! I love her voice a lot and in just 4 songs there is good diversity in the sound. I knew Red Rover and Don’t Grow Up Too Fast (sort of, from the super cute music video). I can’t wait until she comes out with more music! I’m not going to pick favorites like I usually do because that would be a little pointless since there are only 4 songs.