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

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playing frome festival tonight

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thanks for the awesome book post @bookbridgr

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So. Many. Books

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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.

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June round up

Wow, June, you were a bit shit weren’t you. As if the Orlando shooting and the Jo Cox murder weren’t enough, then my fellow countrymen decided to let fascism win and throw the whole lot of us in the shit. Great huh? I don’t want this to be all doom and gloom, no matter how insignificant any of the nicer things that happened are in comparison, June did have some nice moments. This month I got to have a few days off which I got to spend hanging out with my mum and my bae Amber, this resulted in my first ever sleepover in my new flat, which was super fun! I spent too many hours waiting for a train to see James Bay (who was incredible by the way), the tiny town I work in held its first ever Pride event – if you live in an uncultured rural town, you’ll know how big a deal this is. I also got to hang with my long distance bff and my nephew has started talking which is the cutest thing in the world. I’m just sorry he and my niece have to live in this world, especially the state it is in at the moment.

What I read this month:

27416150 The Force Awakens – Michael Kogge
Thought I’d check out the novelisation of the film to see if there are any clues into who Rey’s parents are and how she ended up being where she was and what her connection to Kylo Ren is. Also I want to know how and why Kylo went darkside. Turns out, this doesn’t really answer those questions.

12649718Me Before You – JoJo Moyes
Everyone tells me how wonderful this book is and you couldn’t escape the movie hype at the beginning of the month. This is only the second JoJo Moyes book I’ve ever read and much like last time, I found her writing to be delightful and engaging, though I did find it to be a bit… problematic… A bit ableist I guess… I’d be interested to see if anyone else has any thoughts on this?

23301770My Heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga
It feels like this has been on my TBR list forever, its certainly been on my kindle for far too long, so I thought I’d get on with reading it. In fact, it had been on there for so long that I’d completely forgotten what it was about until I added it to my goodreads shelf! There were points when I adored this book, there were points when I was scared this was going to become something from my ‘reasons I hate books about mental health’ hit list, in the end, I kind of loved it.

28915259When we Collided – Emery Lord
I might review this when I can be a bit more coherent about it. Oh how I sobbed through the ending! Though this does feature the most manic of manic pixie dream girls (a trope that does get on my nerves at time), it also featured a beautifully written examination of bipolar disorder, grief, family, teenage romance and well… at its heart, love and life in their many varied forms. It was wonderful. And what an appropriate title!

26889460The Museum of You – Carys Bray
Took me a little while to get into, its an incredibly descriptive story. Its a bittersweet story, based in sadness, but with a curious, hopeful vibe. Stories about families, especially broken ones, are sort of my kryptonite and this is a good book, its just a little bit too heavy on the descriptions sometimes. There isn’t an awful lot left to the imagination. Review here.

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!

  • Chocolat
    I know Johnny Depp is all kinds of problematic in light of recent things, but it was on, I’ve never seen it. So… I’ve never read the book either, any good?
  • Guardians of the Galaxy
  • The Wolf of Wall Street
    If you have three hours to spare, I thoroughly recommend giving this a watch! Leo is incredible.
  • About Time
    The cutest thing I have ever seen!
  • Pacific Rim
    Now I know that John Boyega is going to be in the sequel!
  • Mulan
  • Iron Man
  • Mama Mia
  • The Boat that Rocked
  • Tomorrow when the war began
    I started reading the series forever ago and never finished it, I have seen the movie before, but I saw it on Netflix and thought I’d revisit it. I need to find the rest of the books and find out what happens!

 

TV I watched this month:

  • Game of Thrones
  • Peaky Blinders
    THE LAST TWO EPISODES THOUGH Like any time T Hardz was on screen was solid gold.
  • Orphan Black
  • Penny Dreadful
    Its on NowTV and my latest binge watch! I’m not entirely sure what the show is about, but I watched three seasons worth of it so it must be good! Is this it? No more?
  • The Last Leg
    The best thing on British TV tbh. I did very much enjoy the fact that Jeremy Corbyn was a guest!
  • Pretty Little Liars
    I was so excited for this to come back!
  • IZombie
    omg so good! Why did no one tell me?

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

More fun with the munchkins

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Popped to my mum’s during a lunch break this month to find she was baby sitting my niece and nephew, so we had fun in the garden for a while!

Yo, any of you guys lactose intolerant/ vegan? Get yo’selves to Sainsbury cos they got this in Chocolate and Strawberry – its super good! And its nice to have something other than vanilla for a change! Also, its not as expensive as some brand name dairy free ice cream.

Wish this could stay forever #msnpride

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My town held Pride for the first time ever and its legit the first time I have ever felt proud to have a connection to the place.

Was getting jealous of Turbo's progress… So here's Stella @krisskarnage79

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Meet Stella! If you guys follow me on Insta, you’ll know that I was gifted a plant when I moved into my place, I named it Planty (how original right?) Anyway, having been spurred on by my success of keeping Planty alive, I got myself a Strawberry plant (its name is Stella) and I am now awaiting my first batch of berries!

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

My faves, twenty one pilots, are on tour right now and I’m so sad that there aren’t UK dates on the emotional road show and I was even more sad about not getting to see the show after they started releasing promo videos for it, like this one and this one! They also released the video for Heathens this month AND I CAN’T ITS SO GOOD. Here’s a Casey Neistat where he not only rode in a Delorean, but also visited Winterfell! He also spent a day at vidcon in disguiseJames Corden hosted the funnest car pool karaoke ever and a new challenge hit YouTube, the Roast Yourself Challenge, so here are my favourite two from Emma Blackery and Luke Cutforth. Another thing I loved this month was Rose and Rosie showing just how to do a #Spon.

 

January Round-up.

How are we already a month into 2016. Time, you need to chill.
January has seen me celebrate my one month anniversary of living alone, getting hearing aids installed (is installed the right word? That makes me sound like a cyber man), returning to college and planning a major documentary project. (Sorry, there is no glory in the process.) It’s also seen me finally tick a book off of my TBR list that has been there for an embarrassingly long time.

What I read this month:

catchCatch 22 – Joseph Heller
This book has been on my TBR list for YEARS. Like, since I have been at school. That is an embarrassingly long time. Everyone tells me its a classic, I read books about people reading this book. That’s how significant it is in literature. As I don’t have any of my books in my new place yet, I took a trip down to my local library and this was the first thing I found on the shelf and I thought, you know what, now is as good a time as any. I can’t say as I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. It was a bit tedious, though I am glad I’ve finally tackled it!

23164931Time and Time Again – Ben Elton
Time travel and history and Ben Elton all in one go? Wonderful. I seemed to have a very history orientated selection from the library, this was an interesting premise and you can see more of my thoughts on it here. Basically this is a historic novel about time travel and dystopian futures – what could possibly go wrong? I’d love to read more time travel novels, so if you can think of any, you should totally let me know!

11065009Chocolate cake with Hitler – Emma Craigie
This was probably a tad young for me, but was enjoyable nonetheless! It reminded me of the Prisoner of Night and Fog, which is also a story about a young girl who grows up with Hitler being a uncle figure in their life. This though is the fictionalised account of Helga Goebbels, the actual daughter of the actual Nazi commander. This picks up at various points of Helga’s life through the Nazi rise to power interspersed with time spent in the bunker with Hitler towards the end of the war. It was an interesting premise and I’m a history nerd so I liked it, but as I said, I think it would have been a better suited to someone much younger than me. If you’re interested in something similar and you’re an older YA reader, check out the Prisoner of Night and Fog series. I reviewed that here and here if you want to check it out.

22428751How many letters are in goodbye – Yvonne Cassidy
I apologise to the publisher gods that it took me so long to read this (I forgot to switch the wifi on on my kindle and the egalley didn’t download… My bad) anyway, this was a bit of an emotional rollercoaster! There was so much going on and so many important, hard hitting issues being tackled. It also featured one of the most interesting characters I have ever come across in a YA book. You can check my review here!

25413848 (1)Under the Dusty Moon – Suzanne Sutherland
I had such high hopes for this book, like look at that cover! The blurb made it sound like this was a coming of age story about the daughter of two super famous people being left alone for the summer, falling in love and finding herself without her mother being around to grab focus, but what we got instead was just a spoilt brat moaning about their summer. I don’t mind a book about first world problems now and again, but I like to go into them prepared, so I was a bit unsatisfied to be honest. I hate leaving bad reviews, but it was an ARC, so I didn’t have much choice, you can see my review here if you can stand it!

21799202 (1)The V girl – Mya Robarts
This was an interesting read, I don’t often pick up New Adult books, but the blurb really caught my eye. A sort of distopian erotica set in the back drop of a hard core civil war where sexual slavery and assault have become legal. Yeah, I thought it would be hella interesting. Unfortunately, though it had loads of potential and could have been incredible, it just… wasn’t for me. If you like your graphic sexual content though – it’ll be right up your street! My review will be up soon!

 

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!

  • Bladerunner.
    It had been a while, I remembered that the day of Batty’s conception was coming up, thought I’d dig it out! I still can’t make up my mind whether Deckard is a replicant himself or not. Thoughts?
  • Singing in the Rain
  • Star Wars: The Force Awakens
    Second viewing, still great.
  • Cowboys and Aliens.
    I was having a bit of a Harrison Ford related month really wasn’t I?
  • Amy
    Woah, just woah. This was harrowing viewing, it felt almost a bit voyeruristic, amazingly well made documentary, but I can’t say as it was a pleasant watch. I’m not sure how I feel about it, did anyone else see it? It’s been nominated for an Oscar, which has apparently upset Amy’s father. Hmm.
  • Ant Man
  • Clueless
  • Napoleon Dynamite
  • Pitch Perfect 1 and 2
    HSM turned ten and I don’t have it at my place, it’s one of the many DVDs that still lives with my parents, so I needed something else involving pretty people singing and let’s be honest, Pitch Perfect and its sequel are amazing. Also, it has the best character intro of all time (you know I mean Jesse’s introduction right?)
  • Pride
    I just got a two month free pass to NowTv’s movie package and this was the first thing I chose to watch! What an emotional ride that was! It was Welsh and it was gay and it was anti Thatcher – all things I love in a movie! Also it featured a load of my faves and honestly, I had a cry at the end!
  • Only Lovers Left Alive
    Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton, two of the most beautiful people alive are vampires that are trying to make sense of the modern world. I wish there were more vampire movies about living in the 21st century.

TV I watched this month:

  • Making a murderer.
    Yes, me and just about everyone else in the world, I wrote a blog post about my feelings after finishing the series. Interested to see what the documentary makers come up with next!
  • Agents of Shield
    series 3 has just come back and although I think I’ve missed something somewhere, it was still pretty good return to form!
  • Tattoo Fixers.
    I bloody love Tattoo Fixers! I also subjected a friend of mine to an entire evening of Tattoo Nightmares the other day, sorry Stacey!
  • Pretty Little Liars
    I have been waiting so long for this to return and I’m not entirely sure why they don’t all just get the hell out of Rosewood, but still. Home is home I guess.
  • Shadow Hunters
    hated the film, not sure how I feel about the TV show… Anyone else seen it?
  • Crashing
    wtf even is this show? I have no idea, but I do bloody love Damon Malony, so why not! It’s about a group of twenty somethings who all live in a renovated hospital in London and their various escapades. I know I’ve only just moved, but I want to move to London and I know that if I do, it’ll likely be somewhere as mental.
  • Supernatural
    the boys returned on the 20th and Jesus H Christ. I was amazed by Misha Collins’ acting prowess in that first episode back like OMG. Has anyone else seen it? Can we flail together?
  • The girl who forgave the Nazis
    What an incredible lady. I visited Auschwitz a couple of years ago and I’m fascinated and disgusted that it even happened, its Holocaust memorial day in January, so these programmes are always around this time of year, this was such an interesting documentary on how a survivor could find it in themselves to forgive those actions. If you missed it and can find it on catchup, it was an interesting watch.

 

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

Just finished my 2015 scrapbook!

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I finished my 2015 scrapbook! I’ve never kept a scrapbook before and its definitely something I will be continuing into 2016, it was so much fun and really weird looking back on all these pictures and events that took place over the year!

Birthday boy!

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My nephew, Freddie, celebrated his second birthday!

Internet, do these look more like foxes now?

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I made use of the fox shaped cookie cutter I received for Christmas (and some vegan butter that really needed using up) to make foxy biscuits, maybe I’ll feature them as my first Great Bookish Bake Off post of the year?

❄️

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January suddenly got very cold! This was the view I woke up to one morning!

I learned depth of field

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Finally getting the hang of depth of field after three weeks of photography lessons. Also remember back in May when I said I wasn’t going to collect tsums and would only have the Big Hero 6 ones. Yeah, that didn’t really work out for me.

Lastly, a picture of a picture, it was my Grandad’s birthday on the 29th, so I insta’d my favourite picture of the two of us together, also featuring my dad and a large slab of chocolate cake that I appear to be force feeding to the aforementioned birthday boy. (I have no recollection of where this photo was taken. Also yes, I was once a natural blonde, why it couldn’t stay that colour, God only knows.)

What I did on YouTube this month:

Leah Loves 4: Not A Christmas Haul


2015 a year in review

What I loved on YouTube this month:

As always, I watched everything that Casey Neistat uploaded because he is like the King of vloggers, though I suspect everyone saw his video of him snowboarding through New York because that was all over the internet and all over the news in the last few weeks, I also enjoyed the very welcome return of Crabstickz, PJ battling some evil pens, Dan and Phil beginning a series of Undertale, which reminded me of Pokemon, my friend Joe doing an incredible dance recess, the conclusion of Hazel’s Time of the Month series and of course, James Cordon’s carpool karaoke with Adele!

What have you guys been up to this month? Have any of you seen/read any of these things? Let me know!