September round up

Ah, the month of my birthday where I spend most of my time in a state of existential dread. Good times.
I had some time off this month, so naturally, I read TOO MUCH. Even so, the amount of books I have left to read is not getting any smaller, how am I supposed to read all the things?!
This month has been an interesting one, I started the month doing two hours of zumba for charity, which doesn’t sound like much of a challenge until you hear the fact that it was the first time I’ve ever done it! This month also saw Games Night part two, seeing the Adams Family and of course, turning 29 as well as the birth of my new niece!

What I read this month:

Mirror, Mirror – Cara Delevingne
See, when I saw that Cara Delevingne had written a book and it was available on Netgalley I was intregued, especially because it sounded so good! And actually I was pleasantly surprised, think Paper Towns crossed with Pretty Little Liars with a bit of Riverdale chucked in and you get Mirror Mirror. You can read my review here

Vivian Apple versus America – Katie Coyle
It has been about two years since I read the first one, but finally I got around to finishing Vivian Apple’s story! I reviewed this here (honestly, I was sent an egalley for this and should have reviewed about a million years ago but the file wouldn’t open so I couldn’t… then I saw it at the library, so the review has happened!) This was fun and I loved catching up with Vivian and Harp again!

Come Sundown – Nora Roberts
This is the first Nora Roberts book I’ve ever read, honestly, the fact that she has her name on over 200 of them is a bit daunting! This is a murder mystery of sorts set on a ranch that swings between being a little bit like the soap opera Dallas and a little bit like Emma Donaghue’s The Room. Creepy and melodramatic in all the right places, see my full review here! (I was supposed to read and review this about a million years ago, sorry. I’m back on it now!)

Shylock is my name – Howard Jacobson
You know when I was like, hey, I wanna read all the Hogarth Shakspeare books when I came across Margaret Atwood’s Hagseed? Well, I found this which is part of that collection, a retelling of the Merchant of Venice, which I’ve always avoided because I figured it would be a bit anti Semitic. However, as Jacobson himself is of the Jewish persuasion, I figured maybe not. I normally love reading Jewish writers, especially when they stick in Yiddish and stuff cos it makes me feel like I’m in on a joke, but this was a bit… I dunno, high brow? It gave me the impression that it was super clever and I wasn’t because I didn’t connect with or really understand what was going on… Maybe I should read the Merchant of Venice and it will all become clear to me!

The Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-62
Have I ever mentioned before how much I love The Bell Jar? Well, I love the Bell Jar, so when I spotted this at my local library, I couldn’t not give it a go. This collection take us through Sylvia Plath’s time at college, into adulthood, marriage and up to her last year. Which is a bit of a weird thought. Anyway, I don’t know about anyone else, but reading the journals of celebrated people is always fascinating, they’re so intimate and this had so many insightful moments. There were moments that were a bit Bridget Jones which was weird and honestly reading about the only poet I like moaning about her period was a bit weird. Anyway. This was great. Read it.

Dramarama – E Lockhart
I was so sad reading this book! I have loved every E Lockhart book I’ve ever read, so when I saw this at the library I leaped on it. Only then I started reading it and realised that this wasn’t anywhere near as good as the others I’ve read which was such a disappointment. This is the story of Sadye, who meets her BFF Demi at an audition for a summer drama school that they both get into, only when she arrives, she realises that there are a lot of kids there who are professionals and feels insecure about her abilities. And for some reason, even though, this is completely new to her, is upset when she is given smaller parts… Anyway, it wasn’t the strongest of E Lockhart’s books and I’m a bit sad about it.

Everything We Keep -Kerry Lonsdale
Firstly, I am super sorry about how long this has been sat on my kindle for. I was sent this and the sequel to review a really long time ago… So… Sorry. This is the story of Aimee who ends up having to host a funeral on the day that she should be hosting her wedding, her fiancee James disappears and is declared legally dead following a boating accident. Its a very slow moving character driven book and features a lot of big ideas that seem a little flippantly used… I reviewed it here.

Everything We Left Behind – Kerry Lonsdale
I received this at the same time as the preceding book, so I reviewed them both together. This picks up immediately after the first one finishes following on James and Aimee’s story. I felt much the same way about this as the first one, you can click above to see all my thoughts, though if you’re planning on reading this duology, don’t read the blurb of this one until you’ve finished the first one because SPOILERS. These are quick and easy reads and would be great for summer, holiday reads.

Yuki Means Happiness – Alison Jean Lester
Another book for review. Sorry, are you bored of these yet? This was so different from anything I’ve read before – I wasn’t sure what to make of the narration to start with, but I got a little addicted to it after a while and ended up finishing it in a day! It follows the story of Diana, an American who is a little lost as to what to do with her life and unsure how she feels about the guy she’s been seeing, so she decides to take a job in Japan. As you do. While there she befriends the child in her care and along the way saves the child and herself while learning about an interesting new culture. I reviewed this too. Sorry.

Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard
Sometimes you just crave generic YA content and that was what this is. In fact, it was so generic, it was almost like someone went, The Hunger Games, Grisha series, Divergent and The Selection were all so good, let’s merge them all together and remarket it as though it were an original story! Basically, a society split into royals, who have Grisha like powers, and paupers live in a world where the poor must fight for the rich has a rebellion brewing and a poor girl somehow ends up with magic powers and gets caught up in the Prince’s selection for a wife ala Selection and then ends up having to live in the palace where she attempts to do a Katniss and become the face of a rebellion from behind enemy lines. Like, this could have been really good. It just wasn’t anything new.

Stay with me – Ayobami Adebayo
I keep seeing this in book hauls so naturally I picked it up when I saw it at the library and honestly this was amazing! It was very different to anything else I’ve ever read, its set in Nigeria and was aside from being interesting to see life in a completely different culture to anything I’m used to, it was also written in a really fascinating way with different characters taking over the narration and the different time periods that it came from, as well featuring some of the socio-political issues of the time.

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 Dark Tower
    While the film wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen, it left me really wanting to read more Stephen King as I’ve only read The Shining and the film referenced a character having the shine!
  • Allegiant part 1
  • The Other Boleyn Girl

TV I watched his month:

  • The Great British Bakeoff
  • Strike
  • Timeless
    The whole of series one is on netflix now, so for those of you that missed it – GET ON IT.
  • House of Cards

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

bubble waffles for breakfast

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

🌈d r a m a t i c s k i e s 🌈

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

t w e n t y n i n e

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

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

Luke Cutforth’s Taylor Swift parody was the best thing ever uploaded to the internet, literally the rest of us can all go home. I will just give some honourable mentions though, Daniel J Layton’s August PMS was so poignant and highlighted a lot of things I’ve been feeling myself, Dodie Clarke‘s video about depersonalisation was super interesting and her music video for 6/10 was super good. Sophie tagged me in a dinosaur themed book tag (which I will do at some point), Sanne made a great video to all the books she will never read and Leena does it again with her Creators for Change video about whether people feel British.

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

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.

July round up

Wow seven months into the year!
2016 has kind of sucked so far hasn’t it. It needs to slow the eff down and chill the eff out. The first of the cool stuff that happened is that my so far only published book, Harley’s Angels, turned three! I also had a lovely night full of too much Indian food with my friend George, celebrated Somer Valley FM’s 10th birthday and finally downloaded Pokemon Go! I also acidentally achieved gingerness! Well… Sort of. I am on the road to ginger, which is a start. (Backstory, I have always wanted to be ginger, but my hair is too dark… Now I think I have found a way to achieve ginger.) Then the month ended by going bowling with my homies and picking up a copy of The Cursed Child!

What I read this month:

11282000Rosemary’s Baby – Ira Levin
You will know from previous posts (in fact there is a section below that mentions it), I really love films, yet despite that, I have never seen the classic that is Rosemary’s Baby. Mostly because everyone tells me its terrifying and I’m not too good with horror films. Even so, I picked this up for a pound a while ago and its been on my shelf ever since, so I thought while its light enough in the evenings for me not to be too freaked out, I’d give it a go. It wasn’t jump out of your skin scary, but it was still pretty uncomfortable reading, the whole anti christ, devil worshipping cult thing aside, there is also a very abusive relationship to be found here and that is what got to me the most. Maybe I will give the film a go, thoughts?

25255576Asking for It – Louise O’Neil
I’m still struggling to describe how I feel about this book. Reading it felt like such a chore and not because it was bad, it was genuinely wonderfully written, but because of the subject matter, it was so oppressive and there were times when it made me very unsettled. I think this needs to be read in school’s because everyone knows a girl like Emma and everyone wishes girls like Emma would get kicked by karma, but no one, not even Emma deserves what happens to her. I think that was part of my problem, this highlighted so many latent problematic ideas I had buried deep within me. Please read it so we can discuss at length. I did post a slightly spoilery word vomit type ramble about it, which you can read here.

15984268The Universe versus Alex Wood – Gavin Extence
Wow. Just wow. The blurb on this doesn’t give anything away, so I’ll try not to, but this was not about what I thought it was about and for such a quirky, fun book, it has a very heavy subject matter. To start with it reminded me a lot of  Kurt Vonnegut books, full of tangents and yet somehow managed to be about the life, universe and everything and that was without all the KV references. A very serious subject wrapped up with heart and humour, its a long and winding narrative but when you stop meandering, it packs quite a punch. Also its set around where I live, which I always love! It is also, incidentally, the second book I’ve read recently about the aforementioned secret subject and is definitely the better of the two.

278958I am David – Anne Holm
This is something I wish I’d read when I was a lot younger. Its just such a shame that something that contains this good an emotional story was kind of hampered by how simplistic and childish the language was. If like me you’ve never crossed paths with this while young enough to appreciate the child like language, this is the story of a boy who escapes a labour camp with the help of a guard and his adventure as he tries to run to freedom. Its a quick, easy read while broaching some very big, scary subjects. Why didn’t I have this when I was a kid?!

20703242A Long Way Down – Nick Hornby
I saw the film a little while ago, it was ok, it was no High Fidelity or About a Boy, but it was an alright way to spend a few hours, I assumed the book would be better, because no matter how great High Fidelity the film is, the book is better, but it turns out, the film was a pretty good indication of how the book would be. It isn’t the best Nick Hornby book I’ve read, but it also isn’t the worst thing I’ve come across. Give it a go if you are looking for a light hearted, quick read… Well, I say light hearted, this is a book about suicide…

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!

  • Tangled
  • Shaun of the Dead
  • Paranoia
    Liam Hemsworth’s face and Harrison Ford’s weird haircut were by far the best things about this film.
  • The Fundamentals of Caring
    Selena Gomez drops all the F Bombs, Paul Rudd is amazing and Craig Roberts just makes me wonder why he’s so under rated.
  • Diary of a teenage girl
  • Ghostbusters (the OG, not the new one)
  • Slueth
    The original with Michael Caine. Not the remake with um… Michael Caine.
  • We need to talk about Kevin
  • Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

TV I watched his month:

  • iZombie
    Come the end of series three, I had developed a Saturn sized crush on Ravi. Ooops.
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Gilmore Girls
    Baby Sam Winchester is in this and his name is Dean! Anyway, I remember watching this when I was very young, but I don’t really remember an awful lot about what happened and apparently there is a new series coming? Colour me excited!
  • White Collar
    Netflix finally updated and gave us the last series. Matt Bomer should be on tv more, he’s so nice to look at! Also that ending was incredible.
  • Celeb first dates.
    Wtf has my life become when this is what I watch on TV, but honestly, Preston from the Ordinary Boys was on there and I used to freaking love the Ordinary Boys when I was in sixth form! From watching it, I can confirm that I would totally date Preston.

My favourite Instagram posts this month:

I thought I’d update you all on Stella’s progress, she’s giving me strawberries!

Indie being a little cutie

 

Taught the munchkins how to do the time warp!

I finally got hold of Pokemon Go and although it is glitchy af, it is my new favourite app! Say what you want about millennials always looking at their phones, but this app has seen me go out and explore my surroundings, I’ve found all manner of interesting places thanks to this game! I even had a fun adventure with the munchkins looking for pokemon and this one popped up at my mum’s house so Ellie made a friend!

I have always wanted to be ginger! Now I am! I fancied changing the hair a bit, so I tried a home colourant which ruined my mum’s towels and although didn’t lighten my hair as much as I wanted, did accidentally turn me into an auburn princess, so!

AAAAARGH! I was debating whether or not to get The Cursed Child, but then I was like, I have to have it. Its Harry Potter and it came out on Harry’s birthday! Also, I found a load of vouchers and ended up only paying 83p for it!

What I did on YouTube this month:

What I loved on YouTube this month:

Firstly, PJ’s Pokemon Go review, aka, so much shade I can’t even, also PJ is one of my favourites, so… Like, watch his stuff. While we’re on the subject of Pokemon Go, I also enjoyed Pew Die Pie’s video. Most of this month was me being sad about not having Pokemon Go tbh, so here’s Casey Neistat’s movie about the game and his attempt to play it IRL. I do have it now though and although it is glitchy AF, it is too much fun, if I didn’t work nine to five, I would have so many gyms by now. Also, if you need a giggle, check out Casey’s video orchestrating a prank with Emma Roberts and Dave Franco. Other fun stuff I enjoyed included Dil getting engaged! (Fo reals though it feels like its been forever since Dan Howell has graced my screen. Damn I’d almost forgotten how beautiful his face is), he also did his own roast yourself diss track a whole month later than everyone else, but I’ll forgive him because like I said, he’s beautiful. Finally, I must mention Luke Cutforth  and his vegan parody of Heathens I love twenty one pilots and I’m vegan, so… Lastly, but no means least, my friend Joe introduced me to a new channel by appearing on it and making several very articulate points about being LGBTQ+ and mental health.