July roundup

July began with that huge change that we talked about in June, I started my new job! This month has mostly been learning about robots, amongst other things! This month saw the fourth anniversary of my book’s release, you can check out Harley’s Angels on the sidebar if you know… You like! It was great for movies, Spider Man, Baby Driver and Dunkirk are all amazing, it was the month we got a new Doctor and DEAR GOD THEY’RE FINALLY A GIRL! I also headed into London at the end of July to attend YALC and try and fail to stop myself buying ALL THE THINGS. I made a little thing about my YALC swag, check it here!

What I read this month:

When it happens to you – Molly Ringwald
So, Molly Ringwald can act, she’s fabulous and she can write! I’m not sure how to explain this book, the story is presented in a really interesting way – so we have a collection of what is essentially a series of short stories, but all the characters over lap into each other’s stories and are some how related and complement each other’s lives. It is engaging and addictive reading and how I hope Molly Ringwald has another book in her because I really loved this!

The Power – Naomi Alderman
If you’re looking for something to follow the Handmaid’s Tale, this is kinda perfect.  I think that, this and Only Ever Yours are the feminist novels we have longed for this whole time. What we have is a novel set out almost like a research paper of a phenomenon where women all over the world suddenly develop the power to harness and use electricity and how they use it to overturn the patriarchy. Utterly genius and made me think a lot about how different life would be if women were the dominant gender.

The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller
I picked this up because long ago I was given a list of things to read and on it were many retellings of the Iliad (which I’ve never read) so when I saw this in the library I thought I’d give it a go… While the story was interesting, I didn’t like the way it was written, it had a lot of short sentences which made the pace a bit juttery and kept taking me out of the action. Think I’d like to give more books like this a go though!

Strange the Dreamer – Laini Taylor
Dear God, this is my favourite book of the year. I’m not even adding a ‘so far’ on the end of that because I don’t know if I’m going to be able to find anything else that quite matches up to this. I did tell myself that I wouldn’t buy any more books until I’d read everything on my shelf and gotten rid of what I don’t want any more, but honestly, I am breaking that because I need this in my life especially so I have it to re read for when the sequel comes out!

Optimists Die First – Susan Nielsen
I’ve read Susin Nielsen before and this was very similar in tone, it was a sweet, flippant tale of a young girl with anxiety dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic event and the odd characters she comes across during her therapy sessions. While this was a fun, easy read, I did think that the whole anxiety thing was dealt with a bit too easily. If only my own mental health problems could be solved by a tall boy with a bionic arm. Once the story’s big reveal came about it was all wrapped up very quickly and nicely, I’d have rather spent a bit more time on it, but it was a fun read nonetheless.

The One We Fell in Love with – Paige Toon
I was really looking forward to reading this because everyone tells me they love Paige Toon, but honestly, wtf did I just read? This is the story of three identical triplets who fall in love with their childhood next door neighbour… who is also in love with all three of them and at one point in the novel kisses two of them 24 hours apart. Like… I’m supposed to think this is romantic? He’s a douchebag. Anyone who dates you and when not dating you is going after your sister is a douchebag. These girls deserve better. No one should read this and think of it as romance and aspirational. Don’t fall for emotional fuckwits who don’t respect you enough not to bang your family members! I know there is a big reveal that some how makes it ok but no. Really no. Its a shame because I liked her writing style but the story didn’t sit right with me.

The Jane Austen Book Club – Karen Joy Fowler
As Jane Austen got herself on the ten pound note this month and was listed as Andrea Leadsom’s favourite living author. Yes, seriously. This is a woman who tried to become prime minister and she thought Jane Austen was still alive and writing. Anyway. This was a nice quick read, but I’m not really sure what exactly Jane Austen had to do with it?

Easy Way Out – Steven Amsterdam
I was sent a copy of this by the lovely people over at Bookbridgr and while I had a vague idea what the book was about, I really wasn’t prepared for this at all. I have a review coming for this if you’re interested, but for now here are a few trigger warnings for you because you know I can’t be recommending people things without letting you all know if there is content that might hurt you. This is a book about assisted suicide, there is also some explicit sex in there and lots of mentions of terminal illness and hospitals. Just so you know.

Films I watched this month:
You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television/cinema screen this month!

  • The Circle
  • Baby Driver
    This is my new favourite film, please see it!
  • Spiderman: Homecoming
  • Escape from Planet Earth
  • While we’re Young
  • To the bone
  • Captain America Civil War
  • The Amazing Spider Man
  • Dunkirk
    mate what a film!
  • War for the Planet of the Apes
  • Before I fall

TV I watched his month:

  • Doctor Who
  • Handmaid’s Tale
  • Rick and Morty
  • House of Cards
  • Ripper Street
  • Game of Thrones
  • Shadow hunters

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

baby driver more like bae-by driver

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

four years has passed since harley's angels came out – head to leahsmith.webs.com/my-books to get a copy!

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

playing frome festival tonight

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

thanks for the awesome book post @bookbridgr

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

So. Many. Books

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:
Firstly, Dan Howell and Anthony Padilla’s collab was hilarious! Here’s more D Hizzle because he is bae, ok? Also because I literally only joined Tinder so I could find him and charm him with my awkwardness and then I left because I couldn’t find him and then this. Damnit Daniel. Why not fill this whole section with his face to hide my disappointment, here’s Anthony, Dan or a Rat for your pleasure and a PSA on former emos.  Not had enough yet? Here’s TomSka’s latest sketch! I also want to mention Lucy Moon’s latest 168 Hours and James Cordon’s protest song because yes.

Advertisements

June Round up

Well, here we are six months into the year and wow has this been one of those months. Firstly, we had the General Election, or as I like to say, the day Theresa May scored a phenomenal own goal, we had all the ups and downs of the fall out of the election and then the tragedy of Grenfell and all that went with it. I don’t really know what to say, other than I hope that this is the thing that puts an end to profits before people. There were some fun moments in a month of uncertainty and anger though, like getting to see George Ezra debut some of his new material and hanging out with some old friends. I also did a big scary thing this month – I handed in my notice! By the time you guys read this it will be the start of July and I will no longer be working as a journalist, instead I’ll have moved into marketing at a new company, I’m very scared, but as I’m constantly told, if things don’t scare you, they aren’t worth doing.  Guess we’ll find out how that’s all going in the next one of these!

What I read this month:

Hag-seed – Margaret Atwood
With the Handmaid’s Tale being on TV at the moment, I was looking into getting some extra Atwood in my life. I’d been interested in reading this ever since I saw Sanne over on Books and Quills talking about this and a few other Shakespeare retellings which were released a little while ago, so when I spotted it at the library, I chucked it onto my pile. This is the retelling of the Tempest, which isn’t one I’ve read before, I would like to track that down at some point so I can compare the two and of course, I want more of the Hogarth Shakespeare collection in my life!

Free at last, the diaries 1991- 2001 – Tony Benn
I’ve always admired the work of Tony Benn and this was a gift from my grandad many moons ago that has sat on my shelf for way too long, (I’m not allowing myself to let my bookshelf get untidy, so I must read everything on it that I haven’t read and give away the ones I won’t read again before I am allowed to go anywhere near a bookshop.) so  I figured I’d give this a read while the election campaign was going on. It really is a  fascinating read and I wish I’d started it sooner, also that I had more of Benn’s diaries sat on my shelf to work though. This was interesting from a political point of view in the sense that I learned a lot about a period of politics I didn’t know a lot about before and also got to see life in the commons, which I’d not come across before. There was of course the shade thrown at New Labour and hearing about the various things going on in Benn’s life which were also very engaging. I would be interested to read more books on socialism – anyone read Bernie Sanders’ book? Any good? – before moving on to other ideologies!

Release – Patrick Ness
I love Patrick Ness. Like, really love him. I think he might be my favourite author, I think I’ve read pretty much all the Patrick Ness available now and  I have loved all of them and this was no exception. This was recommended to me by Amazon, so of course, I downloaded it. Their one click buy thing is really quite dangerous and doesn’t help with my plan to read everything on my bookshelf and tidy it up. Anyway, this is loosely inspired by Virginia Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway (which I’ve read) and Judy Blume’s Forever (which I’ve not), Mrs Dalloway is a stream of conscious type novel that takes place over the course of one day and while Release takes place over the course of one day, it isn’t stream of conscious and has slightly connected story intertwining with the main story, I don’t know if that’s the Forever aspect, but what I do know is that this book was amazing and I would do a review, but its so incredible I am kind of lost for words!

Speaking out: Lessons in life and politics – Ed Balls
From Tony Benn to Ed Balls, I figured I might as well work my way through the whole of the Labour party. I’ve enjoyed Ed Balls as a public figure (who doesn’t love Ed Balls Day and his rendition of Gangnam Style?) but I didn’t know all that much about him and having read about the political landscape in the nineties and early noughties, I thought I’d learn about more recent times when I saw this at the library (again, not helping myself with the tidying of the bookshelf). While this was an interesting insight into life in politics, especially about how the civil service and the treasury worked, there were a few moments that had me despairing. I don’t know if it was the way the stories were presented, but I think I preferred the more intimate nature of Benn’s book tbh.

I am Malala – Malala Yousafzai
I think this should be required reading, like seriously, jesus christ, not only because Malala is an incredibly inspirational and intelligent young woman who has a lot of wonderful things to say about education and women’s rights to it, but because if, like me, you are a Brit, it is very easy to be ignorant to the world around you – it isn’t in the best interests of the people in charge for you to know too much about other cultures and this was so interesting learning about Pakistan and the different people who live there and its culture. It was also fascinating to learn about someone who had first hand experience of their religion being hijacked by extremists and living in close quarters to people who felt that way. I have many thoughts about this, so I wrote a whole thing, check it out.

The Misinterpretation of Tara Jupp – Eva Rice
Ok, so at the end of the month, I stopped pratting about at the library and on my kindle and started reading the stuff I had laying around on my shelf. Go me. I feel like I’ve had this book on my shelf forever, I picked it up in a discount book store because the cover is pretty and from the blurb, I expected the tale of a vicar’s daughter breaking into the music industry in the sixties and finally feeling equal to her older sister. Well, over half way through this book and she still hadn’t sung in front of anyone, let alone made it out of childhood. I just found the whole thing dragged on with lots of unnecessary stories, when what I was there for was the shock of suddenly being in a whole new world. The people of goodreads seem to love it and while the atmosphere of the novel is great, I just… I don’t get it. It couldn’t decide what the main story arc was or who the main character is and it really didn’t need to be as long as it is, the story could have been told better in fewer pages with less of the meandering about. The only misinterpretation of Tara Jupp I could see was whoever designed the cover and wrote the blurb, because they clearly didn’t read the book first. It isn’t a bad book, it is just very slow. Too slow for what the blurb promises. It’s exactly the sort of thing I’d recommend my grandmother.

Handle with Care – Jodi Picoult
I don’t think I’ve read any Jodi Picoult before this, but I’ve always meant to. Which is probably why I picked this up and then left it gathering dust on my shelf for ever. I remember buying this. I was 20 and I’d picked it up in a charity shop before going to work at my shop job because it was a Thursday night shift and I’d forgotten my kindle charger. I am 28 now. I’ve had it that long and not managed to finish it, until now. It was interesting to read about Willow and her life because I’ve never come across anyone with OI before, but I had the same problem with this as I did with Me Before You in that it made me feel a bit… icky about the way that able bodied authors are portraying disabled people.

Films I watched this month:
You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Insurgent
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover
    I read the book what feels like a lifetime ago and I spotted that two versions of the film were on Netflix, so I whiled away a Sunday checking out the BBC adaptation.
  • The Propaganda Game
  • American Beauty
  • Under the Sun
  • Amazing Spider Man 2

TV I watched his month:

  • House of Cards
  • Handmaid’s Tale
  • Doctor Who
  • Pretty Little Liars
    Now I feel like I need to rewatch the entire thing because seriously, wtf happened?
  • iZombie
    THAT FINALE THOUGH!!

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

live broadcasting rn from a field

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

❤️💛💚💙💜

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

the end of an era

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

Had a little going away party at work because I’m well… going away to another job! Getting my P45 and watching other people come in to interview for my position has been SUPER WEIRD.

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

While the election is over now, I have the mention this video from LukeisnotSexy, James Corden spent the day working at Harrods which I’m sure was way more fun than actually working at Harrods, Louise Pentland made a very special announcement and her video telling her friends made me cry a bit! This video from Dan(iel) Howell was a bit too real tbh but I’m listing it anyway. Anthony Padilla has left Smosh and gone solo, his return to YouTube as just himself was very funny. Finally, Jack and Dean’s latest sketch was very on point.

May Round up

May was a bit of a whirlwind if I’m honest. We started off with a bank holiday (always good), playing a charity gig with the uke orchestra, interviewing potential parliamentary candidates and spending a few days in Brighton! I finally broke through the wall of writer’s block and this month seems to have been one where my creativity has been able to actually work – looks like the whole documenting my life every month is starting to work! We also had some pretty horrific things happening in the UK this month, but that keep calm and carry on attitude has kept us all strong and able to continue being kind and caring in the face of adversity.

What I read this month:

I’d die for you and other stories – F Scott Fitzgerald
New Fitzgerald claxon! Seriously, who expected there would be new F Scott Fitzgerald? This is a collection of previously unpublished stories presented together along with some biographical facts, letters to publishers and photos of Scott and Zelda. I enjoyed some of the stories more than others, but it was interesting seeing Scott attempt a different style of narration and genre to some of his more famous works.

Career of Evil – Robert Galbraith
What a disappointment this was! I adored the first of Cormoron Strike’s adventures and I enjoyed the twists and turns of the second instalment, but this one… I don’t know, I just found a lot of the misogyny very gratuitous with this one. While I know that there are people who do think the way the antagonist (no spoilers here!) did, I was just a bit like, really? I also found a lot of the tension between Strike and Robin in this one kind of ruined the relationship that had been built up over the past two books. Won’t stop me reading the next one though!

That Close – Suggs
I’ve had this book sitting on my kindle for what feels like a life time, Madness are one of my favourite bands and I have always enjoyed Suggs’ humour and found him a very interesting fellow in his forays into television. While this was great because I got to see bits of London I know and love through his eyes as he was growing up, this was a very disjointed autobiography. It wasn’t like those memoirs that are a collection of essays and it wasn’t a chronological look at his life either, every now and again, something would link back to the original story, but I found myself lost at times as he meandered through life! He does have a very engaging and friendly voice though, so no complaints from me!

Big Little Lies – Lianne Moriarty
The folk at Penguin very kindly sent me a copy of this, as I’d been searching the shelves at my local library and agonising over buying a copy every time I walk into a book shop, it was a little serendipitous that it turned up! I’ve yet to watch the TV show, so I’m not sure how they compare, but this was unlike anything I’d read before in terms of layout and pacing I wasn’t sure how something could be so subtle and yet in your face at the same time! It kept me very entertained on the train to Brighton however and I’ve reviewed it for you here

My Life – David Jason
Oh I do have a little soft spot for David Jason, perhaps its because we used to watch a lot of Open All Hours and Only Fools when I was growing up or perhaps its because he reminds me a bit of my Grandad because they’re both quite tiny and from London. Although, unlike David Jason, my grandad actually is from Peckham. This was such a charming and interesting read, I loved hearing about growing up in Finchly during the war and reading about the late, great Ronnie Barker was a delight.

Mind the Gap – Phil Earle
I saw this at the library and may have side stepped a small child heading in the same direction to pick this up and was it worth it? No. Not really. Honestly, this was on my TBR because I heard someone talk about it on YouTube and as the cover had a London tube map and I’m one of those Londoners that no longer lives in London so anything to make me feel close to my roots. Honestly, I am not the intended audience for this book which was why I was ultimately so disappointed, but for younger readers, this would be a great book about dealing with grief.

The Muse – Jessie Burton
Woah. Honestly, I picked this up because I liked the cover, but bloody hell that was an intoxicating read! I’ve not read any Jessie Burton before, but now I want to read her shopping lists, she writes so eloquently! I’m not into art, which is the main thread of this book, but I am into beautifully written prose about interesting, creative people and this was just… vewy noice.

 

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Saving Mr Banks
  • Casting Jon Benet
  • Captain America: The First Avenger
    I was watching this as the results for the French election came in. Thought it was appropriate.
  • Clueless

TV I watched his month:

  • Teen Wolf
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Riverdale
    THOSE LAST TWO EPISODES THOUGH
  • Once Upon A Time
    I know series 7 is coming, but I might just decide to end with series 6 cos it really was kind of a perfect ending if you ignore the flash forwards.
  • Doctor Who
  • iZombie
  • Brooklyn 99
  • Miss Fisher Mysteries
  • House of cards
  • The Handmaid’s Tale
    Honestly, I could barely breathe let alone anything else while watching the first episode, my God, that was intense, it was everything I remember the book being. 

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Awesome mix vol. 2 was the soundtrack of the day

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

☂️ they're back ☂️

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

that's more like it, Brighton

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:
Firstly, let’s talk about Leena’s video about being ginger, mostly because it made me think so much I ended up rambling to a camera myself! Liam Dryden’s Scottish roadtrip part one and part two was so good, it made me want to go back and explore more of Scotland! I’ll mention the end of the My Horse Prince saga purely because it became the soap opera I never knew I wanted! What sort of roundup would this be without Carpool Harry-oke, is it the best one yet? And well, I can’t not mention bae can I? My crush on Darren Criss was fully reignited by his band’s new music video and I was a bit blown away by Lucy Moon’s last 168 Hours.

April Round up

Wow, April, you were random but fun!
I think I socialised more in April than I have the rest of the year! This month I got to spend time eating take out and watching Riverdale with Charlotte, spent many hours sat eating in Chris and Julia’s kitchen, there was eating involved there too and got to do some Easter themed baking with my favourite munchkins! You might have noticed an eating trend there. No biggie. What is the point of Easter if not for eating, eh? There was even a day warm enough for me to sit in my mum’s garden and just read, I managed two trips to see Guardians of the Galaxy, there was new Paramore and new Fall Out Boy and a whole load of previously unpublished F Scott Fitzgerald stories were published!

What I read this month:

Who’s That Girl – Mhairi McFarlane
Well, I think the disappointment of this book can only be matched with the disappointment I felt when I first tried a Hershey bar. So many people I trust told me this was good, but honestly, I got so tired of it so quickly, I didn’t find any part of it funny, just mostly ridiculous and predictable. I’d like to give Mhairi McFarlane another go, but this wasn’t a good start!

Unconventional – Maggie Harcourt
Oooo this was cute! Take all the endearing nerdiness of Fangirl, make it British and set it at a series of conventions instead and you have this story of Lexi – daughter of a convention organiser who has a cute meet cute with an author at one of the events and fun ensues. I haven’t read a fun, British YA romance for so long so this was a nice change.

Girl Up – Laura Bates
I have wanted to read this for so long! I still have a copy of Every Day Sexism I’ve not managed to read yet. Though this didn’t have anything in it that I didn’t already know/ think before (guess that’s because I’m on the internet but *shrugs*) but it was still wonderful to read a book that shared all my thoughts on the subject! If you are interested in gender politics, this would be a great and accessible book to start with and is presented in a fun, engaging way. If you are planning to read it in public, there are lots of doodles of vaginas, just so you know!

Windfall – Jennifer E Smith
I love Jennifer E Smith’s books, seriously, if you are looking for some cute, fluffy YA (which let’s be honest, is a sub genre that gets more hate than it deserves) then you need to get this woman’s books in your life! This was an ARC I received from Netgalley and I was so excited to get a copy of this… While I enjoyed it, I don’t think its the strongest of her books, check out the review here.

Things I should have known – Claire LeZebnik
This was such an interesting book! While the blurb is all, girl decides to set up her sister and ends up falling for the brother of the boy she wanted to set her sister up with, which doesn’t sound like anything new, this was written in an engaging way and  I didn’t realise until I started reading it that the two kids being set up on the date are on the autism spectrum – I’ve never come across a book about kids with autism before! See my review here.

The Idea of You – Amanda Prowse
I feel really bad about not enjoying this more. Admittedly, it isn’t to my usual taste, but I wanted to read outside my comfort zone a bit more, there was nothing wrong with the narration or the story per say, it just didn’t really gel with me. I should preface that having started this book I did realise that I’m not really its target audience. There will be a full review up soon, even though it wasn’t for me, this is the exact thing you’d want tot take on holiday with you!

Milk and Honey – Rupi Kaur
I feel like this book is every where, it appears in every review and haul video/post I consume, so I’d wanted to read it for ages, though I was put off by the fact that I’m not that well versed in poetry, it’s just never really been something I’ve been able to really sink my teeth into. (I say this, but one of my favourite books is a poetry book lol) I can understand why people love it and why it resonates with so many people, but it wasn’t my cup of tea I’m afraid.

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Nerve
  • Fire walk with me – Twin Peaks prequel 
  • Moana
  • The Nice Guys
  • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2 (I actually ended up seeing this twice! 000ps!)
  • Ghostbusters
    Yes I finally saw the latest Ghostbusters movie, I don’t know, I think it would have worked a lot better as a sequel or a spin off rather than a remake, the ladies were all fab, but I didn’t like the original cast turning up and not being themselves and bits were a tad silly, but it was fine.
  • How to Train Your Dragon 2

TV I watched his month:

  • 13 Reasons Why
    I read and loved the book and when I heard it was going to be a Netflix series, I wasn’t sure how they’d make a whole series, but omg that was intense and so well put together. The series comes with trigger warnings before the harder episodes if you’re worried but those scenes are very intense, so do look after yourselves. Also there is a random cameo from Dan Howell, so… there’s that.
  • Riverdale
  • iZombie
    ITS BACK ITS BACK I AM SO EXCITED
  • Doctor Who
    Honestly, I had been falling out of love with this show for the past few series, but the opening episode was so much fun and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series.
  • Iron Fist
  • Pretty Little Liars
    I can’t believe we’re on the last nine episodes!!
  • Once Upon a Time

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Bristol is looking pretty spesh today

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

its time for the great munchkin bake off

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

y e s t u r d a y || this is as close to sunbathing as i get.

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

IT ARRIVED!!!

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

As much as I hate April 1st, it does mean that we get a Dan and Phil Crafts video and this year’s was utterly genius! We also got ASDF Movie 10 which is one of my favourite things on the internet, seriously (beep beep I’m a sheep!), while we’re on the subject of Tomska, his Last Week series are the best weekly vlogs out there, so get on that, yeah? Liam Dryden‘s YouTube comeback was amazing, so if you haven’t seen it, do! I have to mention Emma Blackery’s new music video and this video about twenty one pilots and this birthday edition of Baking with Layton.

December round up

Wow. We made it. This month was kind of a strange one for me, it was a month of firsts, it was a month of endings and it was a month of reflection, as well as being Christmas and all. Firstly, I celebrated my one year anniversary of being in my flat. I’ve been an adult for a whole year! Go me! I also preformed my first ever show as a ukulele player as part of the Frome Ukulele Group, my niece appeared in her first school nativity play, we took our first ever train trip together, went to many a festive party and generally, this month has been fun!

What I read this month:

12600138Ready Player One – Ernest Cline
My brother lent me this! This is a big deal if you know my brother, the boy that spent our entire child hood ignoring the written word, but who now actually likes reading! This is his favourite book apparently and I can see why! I’m not much of a gamer, but I did love this! A novel set in the future about an international cloud based game that is littered with eighties references – sign me the frick up.

31114950No Virgin – Anne Cassidy
I spotted this in the library and was drawn in by the attention grabbing cover and the fact that the blurb consists of “My name is Stacey Woods and I was raped”. I’ve read a lot of books about this subject this year (which sounds like a strange thing to say, I didn’t intend to do that, I just think that sexual assault and consent have been on the forefront in recent years, as they should). While this was an important story, I don’t think it was handled very well, its very short and I think it could have done with being bulked out a little. Stacey didn’t have enough room to grow on me, I just didn’t feel like I knew her or even wanted to, she also spends a lot of time blaming herself, which I know can happen, but I wanted her to remember that she wasn’t at fault. Would like to discuss this further though if any of you guys have read it – let me know!

568061The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
So if you saw my video about all the bookish things, you’ll know that I visited the library and found out about the reading passport, this is my first trip and let’s face it, a book I should have read already. This was honestly one of the most harrowing things I’ve ever read, I can’t say as I enjoyed it, it’s a bit hard to enjoy something like this, but its something I can check off of my things I should have read already list.

23361172Paperweight – Meg Haston
This catches my eye every time I visit the library and finally the time came and I checked it out. I did a whole post on this just because I felt like the subject matter deserved more than just a few lines in a round up post and also, you know me, I do like to give you guys trigger warnings and I felt like I needed a bit more of an explanation. So… Check that out here.

29567432Generation Next – Oli White and Terry Ronald
I’ve never watched any of Oli White’s videos, but like I’m in the internet, so I know the name (even if I couldn’t tell what he looked like…). While I’m glad that this book actually does acknowledge the ghost writer I am a bit like… Why give Oli White a publishing contract when he can’t write the thing himself?! Eurgh. Also, though this was an interesting idea for a story, I didn’t get on with the way it was written at all. Good idea, badly executed. Can someone point me towards a YouTuber who has a publishing deal because theyre talented as opposed to because they have a big audience?

31182580Motherland – Jo McMillan
Honestly, I mostly picked this up because it’s about communism and the Daily Fail recommended it and I thought that was kind of funny… Anyway, while this was an interesting take on a mother/daughter relationship set against a strong political ideology I was hoping it would be a bit more… Well, more. I wanted to learn more about the eastern block and communism and British communists and that was kind of a backdrop as opposed to the main focus. Which is fine, but not what I was looking for!

31259053Saying goodbye to London – Julie Burtinshaw
The last ARC of the year! I mentioned it in my last book video and showed you the cover… Honestly, I think the cover was the best bit… Sorry, I will do a more thorough review of this in the next few days or so, once I have my thoughts together! I picked this up mostly because of the cover, look at that cover and because I love London, tis my home town after all, this was about a very different London and while I thought the story was interesting, I don’t think it was executed very well… Anyway, look out for my thoughts!

Films I watched this month:

You may have noticed if you follow me on twitter, have been keeping up with my Film reviews in 10 tweets or less posts or this video, that I really like films and that I spend a lot of time watching them, so here are all the films (some new, some rewatches) that graced my television this month!

  • Men in Black
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Muppets Most Wanted
    I had a craving after all those evil Kermit memes.
  • School of Rock
  • Frozen
  • Moana
    Took the oldest munchkin out for the day to see this! I really enjoyed it! The soundtrack is my latest to buy!
  • Love Actually
  • Naked Gun
    My brother and I may have concerned our collective facebook friend list by sending each other quotes from this…
  • Die Hard
  • Home Alone
  • The Muppets Christmas Carol
  • Hateful 8
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Raiders of the Lost Arc
  • The Take

There are a lot of movies on the list this month, blame Christmas, there are always way more movies on than usual at this time of year!

TV I watched his month:

  • Class
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Tatoo Fixers
  • Once Upon A Time
  • Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency
    I’m a big fan of the book I’m not sure yet what I think of the Netflix series, I think the characters are all a little too young… But I’ll stick with it!
  • The Crown
  • Timeless
  • Doctor Who Christmas Special
    Is it me or is Doctor Who just getting worse?

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

House pride

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

It got very cold at the beginning of the month which meant that I got to show off my house pride on my morning commute.

I found bath's baubal

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

Bath’s Christmas lights looked pretty spesh this year.

Took the munchkin out on the train today. She found the metro very interesting

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

I took my niece out for the day, we got the train into town to see Moana!

Much jolly very christmas

A post shared by leah-marie smith (@leeeeeeeeah) on

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

There were so many awesome videos on Dan and Phil Games this month, so I’m just going to go ahead and recommend their whole channel! YouTube Rewind arrived in December, so many memes, so many memories and is it just me or did Dan Howell’s Stranger Things inspired wardrobe look a little Marty Mcfly? Because he’s in my favourite film and if so, D Hizzle, you are the one for me. Hit me up yeah? Stepping away from British boys with great fringes for the moment, I also enjoyed James Corden’s festive Carpool Karaoke, Casey Neistat’s batshit crazy drone video and this cute skit from KickthPJ. Also this month, Tyler and Josh were super nice and gave us a Christmas gift by releasing five reimagined songs with MuteMath and they made a video about it too and head here to download the songs for free before 18th January! Hannah Witton did Vlognukkah instead of Vlogmas (why didn’t I think of that last year?!) the videos were all so good and interesting, so check all of those out!

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You

26114524 (1)

The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You – Lily Anderson

I know that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, its something I have to tell myself far too often. I always get drawn to books with pretty covers, but seriously, look at that cover! Its got a graphic novel/ comic book feel about it added with a pretty beach scene and some pretty people being romantic and I was like, I must have this book, then I read the blurb…

Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West–and his horrendous new moustache that he spent all summer growing–down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben’s, including give up sleep and comic books–well, maybe not comic books–but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it’s time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie’s for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben’s best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben’s cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie’s best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they’re on–and they might not pick the same side.

So the cover looks like a comic book and the blurb references Doctor Who and Firefly and has talks about fandom friends and I was sold. I love nerdlove, I love Doctor Who, I love Firefly, I love comics, but did I love this book? Well, I did and I didn’t.

This book is super cute, we have a group of high school nerds who end up joining friendship groups because of nerd love and they like Doctor Who and Firefly and Cosplay and comics and science and stuff, I do love a pop culture reference. The bantz are also great, so, so many bantz and the whole I hate you until I realise I love you was so Han/Leia that I was all over it, but like…. Love stories are ten a penny aren’t they and there wasn’t anything particularly different about the Ben/Trixie story to keep me too interested once the sniping had finished. So I was excited to get to the more detective part of the book, but it took far too long for me to get there. You see, that’s my main problem with the book, it is far too long, it takes far too many pages before we get to the actual story. Also, the characters may enjoy the same kind of things as me, but that doesn’t mean that I like them… Trix begins the book by pretty much insulting every single other person in her vicinity. I am not about that life.

While there are a few things that didn’t gel with me, this is a fun, cute read and it is a modern day retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and well, everyone knows that modern day Shakespear stories are amazing, like I dare you to try and find me someone who doesn’t like Ten Things I Hate About You or the Lion King. (Yes, the Lion King. It is Hamlet with lions.) Actually, if I needed to describe this book to someone I would say that it was tumblr crossed with 10 Things I hate About you. It has the fandom references and it has the bants of the two perfectly combined. It just needed less pages and less of a focus on the generic romances and it would be awesome.

That being said, I would recommend this, especially to mid teens/ younger readers and even more so if they happen to be into pop culture references.

What Leah Wore – one, two, three, four, I declare a time war.

20131219-193858.jpg

Howdy friend and welcome to another edition of What Leah Wore, the feature where I get to show off another great love of my life, geeky clothing! Today’s post features my good friend Chris Loveder, who I recently wrote a supernatural detective novel with about a jazz, funk fusion front man. Check it out by heading to the My Books tab up there!

20140222-161921.jpg

You’ll know from other posts like this, that I love a good fandom cross over and how could I possibly resist a Doctor Who/Star Wars cross over!
Chris and I were in the middle of presenting a radio show when this was taken, it was a shirt so good we both had to buy it and present a radio show in it! We’re hoping to film the Doctor Who tag together soon, which I think is gonna be hella fun!

Today I had a traumatic experience where I got stuck in a field on my way to do some photos. It was like being in Slenderman. I ended up being saved by some angry looking farmers and then I burned my soup at lunch. I must be the only person in the world that manages to burn soup. I’m off to do some filming for work at the local Christmas lights switch on, so I’m expecting something else horrible to happen to me!

T shirt – qwertee
Chris – @krisskarnage79