Currently, I’m… | September 2019

Hola all! You may have noticed a slight lack of posts in the last fortnight or so. Truth be told, I’ve been feeling a little unmotivated to blog. The combination of going away on holiday (and needing to organise things before then), hitting something of a (dare I say it) reading slump, and trying to feel more organised generally at work after returning from holiday has meant that I’ve not hugely been feeling the desire to blog. And, as anyone who has experienced something of a rough patch will know, once you start sliding down that slippery slope, the climb back up (and the perfunctory posts you have to write to catch up to present) seems all the more difficult.

Still, I’m finally feeling like I have maybe a modicum of motivation to write something of what I’ve been up to whilst I’ve been mostly incommunicado on here, so I’ve decided to do a Currently, I’m… post, which might well be something of a rarity for this blog.

Currently, I’m reading… 

Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron

This isn’t going to be an easy confession but here goes: guys, I’m not loving this book. I started this when I was on holiday in Spain last week because I was lucky enough to be granted an eARC by the publisher. However, I don’t know whether I’ve just not been paying enough attention, or I’ve been too distracted by general holiday things, or I’ve just read it too sporadically, but I don’t really feel like I’m into the story… and I’m 50% of the way through so… that’s not exactly the most glowing review, is it? I’m SO torn on what to do about this – do I persevere, do I give up, do I restart reading it? Every review I’ve seen has been gushing and glowing so I’m quite sure I’m in the minority here which makes me think its my problem, not the book’s, but I still find myself in quite the dilemma.

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Feature | Favourite Christmas Songs

Since I’m participating in Blogmas this year, I figured I should make sure at least some of my posts were holiday/Christmas related. So, on this fine Saturday evening, I bring you the first of my ‘Favourite Christmas X’ posts. Each week I’ll (hopefully) be bringing you some of my favourite Christmas-related things, whether that’s TV, film, books, music, or general tidbits! This week I bring you my Favourite Christmas Songs!

We all know this feeling, right? You’re minding your own business shopping somewhere and suddenly, over the speaker system, you hear it – your first Christmas song of the season… in October. I feel very sorry for anyone who works retail over the festive period and this is one of the reasons. That being said, I love a good Christmas song and once it hit mid-November I felt it was an acceptable enough time to start listening to some festive tunes once more. I thought I’d share some of my favourites below, and maybe you can share some of yours in the comments too?

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Review | The Killers, Wonderful Wonderful Tour at Liverpool Echo Arena

Once upon a time, I was very confused as to why Rosianna would buy tickets to see The Killers on multiple successive nights; it’s safe to say that, after going to one of their Wonderful Wonderful tour gigs, I’m no longer confused at all. Five years to the day after their last visit to the city, the band graced Liverpool once again with their incredible presence and they were amazing, to the point that, as I was leaving the venue, I dearly wished I could come back the next night and do it all again. If I had a Time Turner to hand, I would have used it. Trying to convey how good they were will probably fall short of the reality, and I’m not exactly a music connoisseur, but for my own (and posterity’s) sake, I’ve decided to do a “review” of the gig. Because I can’t not.

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September Favourites

Last month’s Favourites post was a reasonably long effort. Either this month I’ve been more discerning, or I’ve had less new favourites to report, or I’ve had less time to procrastinate and so find new favourites. Actually, that last one sounds most likely. What with finally, mercifully finding a job, worrying about starting that job for days, rushing to move all my possessions over to my new home in Liverpool, getting used to having a job again and all the stuff that goes along with it, getting used to living with Liz (not that that takes much/any effort at all)… well, life has been a bit in flux in September. However, there are still some things I have been enjoying a lot, so I thought I’d share them with you today now that October looms ahead.

Favourite Books

sixofcrowsSix of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

So, this past month I finally got around to reading Leigh Bardugo’s Six of Crows and by gum it’s good! I adored the Grisha trilogy against my better judgement… and by better judgement I, of course, mean that I have some level of awareness that the characterisation and writing quality could be improved a little. However, Bardugo’s stories are compulsively readable, so obviously I knew this duology about a gang of ruffians taking on an impossible heist to break someone out of an impenetrable fortress would be right up my street. And, hallelujah, everyone was so right when they said this was like a huge level-up from Bardugo’s previous books, it was SO GOOD. In fact, the sequel Crooked Kingdom is laid in wait beside me and I will definitely be picking it up in October.

Favourite Songs

Can’t Stop The Feeling! by Justin Timberlake

Yes I know this song has been out for well over two months so it’s nothing revolutionary, not is it at all obscure. But I’m going to go ahead and admit that I first heard this song thanks to the Trolls trailer which played before Finding Dory. And I didn’t really have much/any desire to see the actual film but I love this song. I defy you to not at the very least want to chair dance. I keep hearing this song everywhere in the UK now that Trolls promotion is kicking up a notch over here and I can safely say I am still not sick of this song – surely the sign of an absolute tune.

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Tag | Music Tag

This week’s tag post for Tag Thursdays (yes I’m trying to coin a phrase) features music. I don’t really talk much about music on here, mostly because although I listen to music I’m not at all “into” it – I’m not an expert and never will be and, to be honest, I’m fine with that. However this tag seemed fairly low-key so I gave it a go. Disclaimer alert: I know I have mostly a questionable taste in music but I don’t care. Onto the tag…

1. Name your top 3 favourite artists/ bands:

It changes a lot but right now? Honestly? Don’t judge: Taylor Swift, Hozier, Queen (sorry/not sorry for my questionable taste)

2. What is the last song you listened to?

‘The Schuyler Sisters’ from the Hamilton soundtrack

3. What was the first concert you went to?

My Chemical Romance – a friend wanted to go, her parents didn’t trust her on her own or with her first-choice friend, so I volunteered. It was pretty fun.

4. If you could spend a day with your favourite singer who would it be?

Probably Adele, she seems a right laugh.

5. Are there any songs that you can’t stand hearing?

Most songs by Drake to be honest, ‘Hold On, We’re Going Home’ is the one exception. I just can’t stand his vocal tone, not sorry.

6. If you could have a soundtrack to your life what would it be?

I’d like it to be a musical one. Hopefully not Les Misérables because I’d really rather like to live to the end.

7. Can you sing?

Hahahahahaha… no. I still do, though.

8. Your favourite cheesy song?

Right now it’s Can’t Stop The Feeling by Justin Timberlake but I love all manner of shitty, questionable 90s/early 00s pop, I even have a playlist called Unashamed Pop that features the likes of S Club 7 and B*witched.

9. What songs do you listen to when you are feeling down?

Probably a lot of shitty eighties/nineties/early noughties pop – nothing like a cheesy tune to lip sync along to in order to cheer yourself up.

10. First L.P/C.D/Mp3 you bought?

think it was probably a Steps greatest hits compilation, or else Kelly Clarkson’s Breakaway/Natasha Bedingfield’s Unwritten – I think they were released at similar times.

11. Do you like musicals if so which is your favourite?

Yes. I adore Les Misérables, but I’m also partial to Cinderella (Laura Osnes IS an actual Disney princess), Hamilton (who isn’t?), Wicked (again, who isn’t?)Once, and can I just say that Catch Me If You Can was amazing and should not have had such a limited run.

12. Favourite musical instrument?

I love the sound of the piano and the violin. I cannot play anything to save my life though – one of my greatest regrets in life.

13. If you could see anyone in concert who would it be?

Adele. Maybe Taylor Swift – what? I think she seems to put on a good show!

14. If you wrote a song what would it be called?

I’m a terrible writer in general so I won’t be turning my hand to song writing. One thing is for sure – the title of it would probably be unnecessarily long winded and digression from the actual point of the song itself, since that’s how I speak anyway so it would be fitting!

Quick Fire:

Rock or Pop: Mostly rock, but there’s nothing wrong with a good bit of pop.

Sing in the shower or on Stage: In shower, I wouldn’t dare sing on stage. Mostly because I’m a terrible singer and can’t hold a tune.

Musical or Concert: Musical

Guitar or Drums: Guitar

Ear phones or speaker: Speaker

Music while you work or quiet: Only music without vocals or droney or ethereal-y vocals (i.e. Bon Iver, Daughter)

1 Direction or Justin Bieber: One Direction, that’s not even a difficult choice.

Sing or Dance: Dance – I can’t do either but I’d rather be able to dance traditional ballroom, specifically a Viennese waltz.

Instrumental or lyrics: Lyrics

Prince or Michael Jackson: Michael Jackson, no contest.


Ok so that was the aptly named “Music Tag”! If you feel like doing the tag yourself, consider yourself tagged by me – post your answers/blog post in a comment below as I’d love to read them!


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March In Review ¦ The More Fun Stuff

If you read the first part to this March In Review post I can only congratulate you for being such a caring person that you read my inane and self-absorbed chatter about my very insignificant life, or else I’ll become suspicious that you are procrastinating writing an essay or studying and merely using my blog as a way to do that. Even so, go right ahead. Hopefully this post is a bit more interesting (???) and marginally more fun. No real life crises to be found here, just a jumble of thoughts about the books, tv shows, films, and music I experienced in March 2015.

THE THINGS I PUT INTO MY EYES AND EARS

My academic section of this review was quite long, which likewise means the ‘Things I Put Into My Eyes and Ears’ section is likely about to be long. And yes, that title is merely because I didn’t want to use the word ‘Entertainment’. Basically all the books, films, tv shows, songs, web series, whatever, I enjoyed experiencing with my sensory organs. What fun.

BOOKS

First the books. I read a total of 5 books this month which… isn’t too great considering that 3 of those are graphic novels which took about 30 minutes each to read. What can I say, this month has been a whole lot of moments of ‘where has my time gone?’ and ‘why wasn’t I reading?’ Having said that, I dipped my toes back into the strange and murky waters of graphic novels and picked up Chew which a lot of Booktubers have been talking about. I think I first saw this on Emily Jean‘s channel but quickly practically everyone I subscribe to has now picked up this series. Unfortunately my library only had the first 3 volumes but I thoroughly enjoyed them all. I constantly come back to this description but it’s basically like police procedural meets Pushing Daisies meets Hannibal but in graphic novel form. Very gruesome, very entertaining.

Elsewhere, I also read Gail Carriger’s Soulless which is the first book in the Parasol Protectorate series. This was… fun, as I said in my brief review. Set in a Victorian steampunk London, it follows the protagonist Alexia Tarabotti who is soulless, essentially meaning that if she touches a supernatural creature their powers are normalised for as long as that contact is maintained. Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, are all just part of everyday life in this world in a really refreshing way that felt novel to me and was actually one of the things I really loved. Vampires were still vampires, werewolves were still werewolves, and yet these clans were part of government and the world-building Carriger did felt quite believable on the social-political side of things. An impressive feat considering she’s juggling steampunk, Victorian, romance, supernatural, sassy-protagonist genres and tropes in this novel.

I had a couple of minor niggles with Soulless which can be completely ignored for the sake of what fun this book is. But for the sake of honesty… I don’t like it when something feels too over-done and too self-concious and there were a few moments in this book where the characters said sentences that were just… not realistic. Simply put, they felt like what people think stiff upper lip Englishmen would say. And that’s not to say that only English novelists have the monotony on writing English characters, obviously not, but it felt akin to that horrible moment in a US rom com when the dashing ‘British guy’ murmurs ‘Bollocks!’ in his crisp, Received Pronunciation accent. It doesn’t entirely ring true and whilst I know some suspension of disbelief is always made in these scenarios (hell give me Colin Firth bumbling that he likes someone ‘just as you are’ any day) and yes I am aware that I am being pedantic about speech patterns in a book which contains vampires and werewolves and ghosts… I don’t know, it’s a bug bear. But, as I said, once I let go and just went along with the slight Mary Sue-ish moments and the conveniently broad and gruff yet sweet Scottish rogue that was Lord Maccon, it was indeed jolly good fun.

I also read The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling, the hype surrounding which has completely died out so it’s a great time to pick it up with very little preconception about what to expect. I said pretty much everything I had to say in my review on Goodreads but I really liked this. Once again Rowling shows her skill in writing convincingly a cast of characters with family and personal relationships that are convoluted and complex and brilliantly plotted. I watched the recent BBC series of this too and really liked it. I thought Rory Kinnear was a great choice for Barry, Keeley Hawes was hilarious and weirdly loveable, and Michael Gambon as Howard was utterly disgusting, which is kind of the point. I liked the cuts they made to some of the characters and the changes they made with Barry’s relationship to Krystal, even if I did miss the rowing element of the entire thing. Also, the cinematography was superb and gorgeous – I expected nothing less.

TV SHOWS (AKA NETFLIX IS RUINING MY LIFE)

Now moving on to visual things. Netflix has had the unfortunate habit of managing to schedule the release of shows just before I have important essay deadlines. March has been no exception with the arrival of Once Upon A Time. After some stubbornly silly uncertainty over whether I was actually enjoying watching this, I found myself at episode 12 of the first season and that’s when I couldn’t deny that on some level I must be really invested in this show. I’ve just finished season 1 and have no doubt that I will be swiftly devouring the following seasons in the month(s) to come. Favourite characters at the moment (though it changes with each stupid decision one of them makes in any given episode) are Regina (what? I know), Belle (just a feeling I have), Red, and Rumple/Gold (apparently I like my morally ambiguous ‘bad guys’). Also on an aesthetic level, a shout out must be given to August’s pretty eyes and hair (and general face tbh) and, of course, to Emma’s ridiculously perfect golden locks. Ugh.

Then came the gem that is Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Weird, wonderful, quirky, genuinely hilarious, I love this show with every fibre of my being. I don’t think I can adequately sum up its plot or its appeal but for those who have seen it I’m sure you’ll now understand that feeling of being casually out and about, or maybe even at work, when suddenly in your head you just heard Pinoooooooooot NOoooooir. It’s mildly distracting. And I may have found myself in spare moments suddenly chanting “unbreakable, they alive damn it” and “females are STRONG AS HELL” which isn’t a terrible message to take away but does tend to raise eyebrows of the uninitiated.

One Amazon Prime membership renewal later and I am now fairly convinced that Amazon has conspired with Netflix to plot the inevitable decay of my academic life by holding the rights to Vikings. I’ve only watched 2 episodes of so far but I very quickly fell in love with. I think I can pinpoint that moment of falling at the first time the titles rolled. What can I say, I’m a complete sucker for pretty graphics and I am more than sure that April will bring me devouring the first and second seasons.

Speaking of, just as I type this, an email has popped up in my inbox announcing the release of Orphan Black season 2 on Netflix. Seriously now, this isn’t even funny any more. Bye, bye, good grades, it was nice knowing you.

MUSIC

In case anyone was ever in any doubt, all I’ve been listening to solidly for the past few months (aside from Blank Space because Blank Space) is Hozier’s self-titled debut album. Because Hozier. That should be enough to explain but if it’s not, this live performance of Work Song should do it. The songs I consistently come back to are Jackie and Wilson, Someone New, and Like Real People Do, and in case covers are your vibe they did a great one of Ariana Grande’s Problem and Arctic Monkeys’ Do I Wanna Know? so you should definitely listen to those too.

And for some random songs I’ve developed a strange liking for in March, the only two that spring to mind are The Vaccines’ Handsome and Lissie’s cover of Nothing Else Matters. Very very different beasts, each equally excellent depending on your mood.

OTHER AKA STUFF I FOUND ON TUMBLR

I have a tag on tumblr – reserved for mostly cat vines, if I’m honest – entitled ‘dead of cute’ that encompasses all manner of cute gifs and videos. Occasionally when I’m feeling sad I dip into it because everyone needs to see a sleepy cat nodding off and I’m not at all ashamed to admit that. And sometimes you need to see a tiny kitten annoying a very very patient and chilled St Bernard, trust me on this.

And likewise, sometimes, you just need to see a cute Spanish boyband sing in a car, a video that is much better than the official one for the song. I can’t explain it, but it made me smile in March so here it is.


And thankfully, I think that’s just about everything I shoved into my ears and/or eyes in March. Phew. It’s been mostly a month of avoiding academic work by watching TV shows and reading books in odd sudden and inexplicable binges. I’m hoping to try to rein myself back in in April since I have 2 essay deadlines and those 10,000 words won’t write themselves (more’s the pity) but we’ll see. For now, what things did you cram into your eyes and ears, anything I should know about?

 

December Favourites

I have enjoyed quite a few things lately and I want a manner in which to gush about them in a validated forum that isn’t just Twitter. So here we have (drumroll please) my December Favourites.

It’s a short list as I’ve been, well if not actually working on essays then pretending to be, working on essays so my TV and film watching has been rather limited. That being said, I just seem to have replaced the time I would spend watching TV shows with watching booktube videos so… oops?

Song: Uptown Funk – Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars

I kind of hate myself a little bit. I first heard this via Nick Grimshaw on Radio 1 and he pointed out the shudder-inducing title. I agree, Grimmy, but I also love it despite myself. ‘Funk’ does indeed describe this catchy song and I can’t stop chair-dancing to it. As I said, I hate myself for it but there you go, here’s just another reason to add to that list.

Song: Blank Space – Taylor Swift

I just can’t stop listening to it. Taylor, thank you. Also thank you for this video because never before have I wanted to be a parody of a maneater lurking in a fancy Gatsby-esque mansion, luring pretty model men to my humble abode whilst wearing couture. I want that for you, I want that for myself too, but, unfortunately, I am not you. Also if anyone wants to see something super cute you should watch her and Greg James lipsyncing to this song in a car – just watch it, and then watch the behind the scenes.

Booktuber: Ron Lit

Is this a surprise to anyone who has spied books I’ve recently added to my ‘to read’ list on Goodreads or to anyone who follows me on Twitter? I doubt it, but here we are: the smarty pants that is Ron Lit. She is smart, funny, cute as hell and just all round really really great. She talks about Austen and feminism and body positivity and oh, oh, she objectifies men, such as Mr Thornton, in a manner which I aspire to whilst also intelligently talking about people like Judith Butler and Nina Auerbach. And she once included Tom Hiddleston in a literary Kiss, Marry, Kill pot because she just wasn’t sure if he was actually real because he was so perfect – so like, Ronnie, I FEEL YOU. She also persuaded me to read Mansfield Park and it feels so different to other Austen I’ve read but I think I’m enjoying it so far so, yeah, she knows what’s what. Duh.

Book: Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

wpid-dsc_0203.jpgThis is definitely a book for booklovers out there. You know those lists on Goodreads titled books-about-books or books-set-in-bookstores,yeah, well this is one of them. What I like about this, however, is that it doesn’t denigrate technology in a slightly snobbish way that could happen. Instead, technology is incorporated to try to track the quests of those weird and wonderful characters that borrow books from Mr Penumbra, and ultimately to try to solve problems. Whether it is successful – well, you’ll just have to read to find out. I really enjoyed this book, I’d recommend it to everyone, and it was such a fun read.