Sunday, 31 December 2017

MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2018

Whenever it gets to this time of the year I like to review my reading exploits from the previous 12 months. This time last year I wrote my Most Anticipated Books of 2017 list containing all of the books that I was really excited about. I normally write a huge list of books I'm looking forward to being released and then edit it down to about 15/20 books. It's a great thing to do because it gives me a whole list of books I need to buy and means I have a handy guide to the books I haven't read. I managed a whopping 4 from my list of 17 this year. A whole book more than I managed to read from my 2016 list. Please, hold your applause. No need for a standing ovation. No, I'm not a hero. So, yeah, I kind of fucked up but that won't stop me writing another goddamn list. Maybe I'll make it all the way up to 5 in 2018? Probably not but at least writing this keeps me busy for a bit.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

My Least Favourite Books of 2017

Yesterday I uploaded a top 10 list containing my favourite books out of the ones I've read this year. There were plenty of super obvious and unoriginal choices on the list but it's hard to deny how great they are. Whilst I was writing it I couldn't help but feel that my book choices have improved somewhat this year. I may not have made great strides in terms of the number of books I've read this year because, as I've mentioned before, I don't feel that reading should be a competition. However, I haven't read as many books that I've disliked this year. Normally I would have fallen into the trap of buying super cheap thrillers that are always half price following their super hyped release. I'm talking books like Girl on the Train and similar psychological crime thrillers. The kind of novel that always follows the same path as the previous psychological crime thriller but with a heroine with a slightly different emotional crutch. This year I made the bold move to stop myself being taken in by the hype marketing that surrounds certain books. I just can't do it to myself any more. I've done quite well on the whole so, when I was reviewing the books I've read in the last 12 months, I was shocked to find so many books that I'd enjoyed reading. There were a few glaring errors though and I thought it only right to highlight these to prevent anyone else making the mistakes I did.

Friday, 29 December 2017

My Top 10 Books of 2017

It's nearly the end of 2017 and, as is customary at this time, I am looking back over my literary year. I can't say that I've read a great deal this year but, having never set a reading goal for myself, I consider every book finished to be a victory in itself. 2017 has been a year of great reading slumps and hard slogs through difficult books. If we're talking stats, I finished 26 book at this point but, fingers crossed, I'll get another one out of the way before midnight on December 31st. I managed to read 4 of the 17 books on my Most Anticipated Books of 2017 list. I own less than I did from my 2016 list at this point but, more importantly, I actually one more of them. I guess that's a step in the right direction. Anyway, as I was looking back over the past 12 months, I was faced with an Instagram prompt that demanded I pick my top 5 books of the year. It wasn't as tough as I expected. I've read a lot of good books this year but only a handful of great ones. Almost exactly 10 as it turns out. What a happy, happy coincidence.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

TBT - A Christmas Story (1983)

Everyone has their own favourite Christmas film. It's a deeply personal and, often, confusing thing. I, personally, don't understand why anyone would say anything other than The Muppets' Christmas Carol but there are some weirdos out there. Love Actually is one of the those films that genuinely baffles me. There is so much love for that film but, when you really look at it, it's just awful. I know people who willingly watch it repeatedly throughout December. Who would do that to themselves? Netflix should stop trying to shame fans of A Christmas Prince and starting calling out the people who are watching Love Actually again and again. They're the real worries. Alongside the more contemporary Christmas viewing there are the real classic Christmas films that people just adore. Although, not all of them seem to be as popular over here as they are in America. I don't know why but it feels like A Christmas Story hasn't really translated to the UK market in the same way that most other Christmas films have. Every year I see and hear loads about it but, up until recently, I'd never seen the film myself. I knew quotes from it but had no context for them. After a recent prompt for an Instagram challenge I'm doing this month referenced the film, I decided it was finally time to watch it. After all, people seem to bloody love this film. Why else would it be played over and over for 24 straight hours? Oh god, imagine a world where somebody starts doing that for Love Actually? I couldn't cope.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

The Christmas Song Book Tag

Christmas is only 5 days away and I've only got 3 days at work until I have a whopping 2 days holiday. Woo! Yep, I'm on the late shift on Christmas Eve and then back in work at 6am on 27th December. I never get a Christmas break as I'm always called upon to do this gem of a shift. It sucks but my manager's aren't willing to change their ways. Still, I am desperately trying to get in the festive spirit by watching Christmas movies, wearing Christmas jumpers, and endlessly listening to festive jingles. It works some of the time but, as anyone who works in any kind of retail/hospitality job this time of year knows, it's hard to not let the season of good will break your spirit. No matter how many times I play my favourite Christmas song on repeat. Speaking of, what is your favourite Christmas song? I read an article recently that made the bold claim that the best was officially All I want for Christmas is you by Mariah Carey. I really doubt the validity of their statement because I, for one, wasn't asked my opinion. I fucking hate that song and, whilst I'm at it, I hate Fairytale of New York too. It's not cool to like it because it promotes alcoholism and includes swearing. It's a shit song that doesn't promote the festive spirit. My number one? Christmas Wrapping by the Waitresses or anything featuring the Muppets. I've got simple tastes. As you'll see in yet another Christmassy book tag.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - Christmas Inheritance (2017)

There's a thing with Christmas movies that mean the expectations regarding quality shift. I mean there's got to be a reason so many people love the film Love Actually when it is, clearly, the worst thing ever made. I mean it's a horrible mix of plots that are offensive and irritating and really not very romantic. I have a complicated enough relationship with Richard Curtis without this affront being played a million times every December. But there is a genre of Christmas films that really scrape the bottom of the barrel. The kind of unoriginal TV movies that are churned out in amazing quantities by the likes of Hallmark. And, apparently, Netflix have been trying to get in on the act. Last week I reviewed the film that the Christmas film of 2017: Netflix's original A Christmas Prince. I watched it and, to my surprise, didn't totally hate it. I mean I mostly did but I still found some festive pleasure watching it. Still, I was happily done with the "genre" until I was shown the trailer for Netflix's second big holiday production: Christmas Inheritance. I'm starting to worry about the inevitable increase in the number of recommendations I'll get from the age 12-14 film category because of these films. Ah, what the heck, my recommendations are already pretty fucked up thanks to all of the 90s gross-out comedies that I've watched.

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Sunday Rundown - That's What She Read

Are you ready for Christmas? The big day is only about 7 days away and I still haven't got my sister's main present. To be fair, her birthday was only 2 days ago so I was more focused on that than her Christmas present. I have also got her a few small bits so I'm not doing too badly... right? Plus, there's the added stress of waiting for everything to be delivered. I love getting all of my shopping done online but that does mean relying on Royal Mail to get it here in time. Plus, the desire to buy stuff for myself. I can't even talk about the number of Christmas jumpers that I've nearly bought over the last few days. I'd probably have had enough for every day of advent if I'd let myself go crazy. I, at least, have been pretty good at not buying books. If it weren't for having to buy a secret Santa present for someone at work then I wouldn't have had anything to discuss this week.

Thursday, 14 December 2017

TBT - Angel of Christmas (2015)

After I watched A Christmas Prince the other day I went on a bit of a Christmassy binge and watched a few films. Not all of them good. As anyone who has read my lists of the best and the worst Christmas films ever made will know, there is a huge variety when it comes to the quality of Christmas films. Now, I've watched a lot of shit ones in my time but usually only indulge in my favourites. It never really feels like Christmas until I've seen A Muppet Christmas Carol and, obviously, I really fucking love Die Hard. I tend to stick to a select group of tried and tested classics throughout December so newer Christmas films aren't really on my radar. Still, the terrible A Christmas Prince hadn't made me want to vomit quite as much as I thought so I went back to Netflix for today's TBT post. I picked the first film that sounded remotely similar but, let's face it, all of these TV Christmas movies are basically the same premise. Young girl, media job, carefree young man, festive magic, romance, the end. How bad could this really be? Spoiler alert: really fucking bad!


Wednesday, 13 December 2017

12 Days of Christmas Book Tag

So Christmas is officially on 12 days away. I think I've got/bought most of my presents but I still need a few bits. I'm not nearly as concerned as I should be though. I'll just find something online and hope for the best as always. But the 12 days thing has got me thinking about something that bugs me. It might just be me but I get incredibly irritated when people use the phrase 12 days of Christmas incorrectly. I see so many online sales pre-December 25th called the 12 days of Christmas and it makes me crazy. We all know the 12 days of Christmas starts on the day itself and goes on until 5th January. Stop misappropriating it. Advent is advent. We don't need another thing that's only half the length. If it's just because you like the song then we'll write a fucking advent song for you. Now, you may be sitting there think "why don't you just chill out with a mulled wine?" Well, I'd love to but I can't help it. It's just not right. Plus, it would mean I didn't have a convenient link into today's bookish post. I don't have anything to review or rant about (other than the my mini rant above) so I'm doing another tag. As it's that time of year, I'll do the 12 Days of Christmas tag... even though it's before December 25th.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - A Christmas Prince (2017)

You gotta love Netflix. I mean the platform has revolutionised how we all consume television and film. It's made our lives all so much easier for such a small price. I'm waiting for the day they get their own version of the cinema where you can pay to watch current film releases from the comfort of you own home for a small fee. But until that day Netflix is on hand to provide its own original programming. Let's be honest, what with Stranger Things and everything Marvel related, the site is nailing the television element. Although, they haven't exactly found their niche when it comes to films. They've done some great things and some truly horrendous things. Something that it is more than willing to admit. Yesterday, 11th December, the twitter account tweeted the following:

To the 53 people who've watched A Christmas Prince every day for the past 18 days: Who hurt you?
You gotta admit that that's a bold move on behalf of their social media person. Not only are they openly calling their newest Christmas release shit but they're making it seem as though they use their stats to mock their members. I know that, supposedly, there's no such thing as bad publicity but this might be one of the exceptions. This tweet didn't really get me thinking about Netflix and their use of my viewing data. I assumed they'd be doing all sorts of shit with that anyway. No, it got me thinking, just how bad is A Christmas Prince?

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Sunday Rundown - That's What She Read

Up here in the good old North of England we were promised a snow storm to end all snow storms. Okay, nothing that dramatic but if Ned Stark had been here he would have forever been saying "Winter is coming". It was getting so bad that everyone I work with was starting to panic about how they would get to work. Except me, obviously. It's just a bit of snow. The other night, as I was putting the bins out after work, I stepped I felt super Christmassy as the snow fell gently around me. Snow is too magical to be a pain in the arse. I love the way British people react so strongly to changes in weather. Our weather is hardly extreme but suddenly, at the mere mention of a blizzard, society starts to collapse. Imagine if we did start experiencing the kind of freak weather that other countries face so often? It'd be like Lord of the Flies or some shit. Take public transport, for example: you get a slight snow fall and suddenly the trains are all running super late. It's not like we're dealing with The Day After Tomorrow levels of snowfall here. I mean, we don't need to be start sending Gerard Butler into space anytime soon. Other countries manage to get by with more snow than we do. How is it so hard here? It makes me laugh every time we get to December. People start treating the word "snow" like it's Macbeth and they're all about to go onstage. We should just get it over with and start calling it "the white weather".

Friday, 8 December 2017

FBF - Spectre (2015)

So, you may have noticed that this week's Throwback Thursday post has actually become a Frowback Friday post. Last night was my work's Christmas party so I was a little too busy to be posting. It also means, considering I started work at 7 am this morning, that I had no fucking sleep so I'm totally exhausted. So, I imagine this is going to be a pretty dire review of Spectre. I meant to write it as soon as I got home but, because I'm such a pathetic individual, I fell asleep instead. I'm not even 30 yet and I can longer cope with a night of shenanigans without every muscle in my body aching. It's not as if I was even hungover. At least that would make sense. I'm just pathetic. Anyway, I'm here to review Spectre, which I watched for the first time this week. I loved Skyfall so was really interested in seeing how the follow up would work out. There was a time when it was believed to be Daniel Craig's final time in the role so it was kind of bittersweet. I wasn't entirely convinced that Craig would make a good Bond but he's really grown on me. I think he's perfect so it's hard to imagine anyone else in the role. I love T Hiddle but really don't think he should get it. Equally, I think Tom Hardy is amazing in every way but I have my doubts. My top choice? Idris Elba. Do I think it's likely? Well, he's getting on in age a bit so who knows. Anyway, Spectre has a lot to live up to for many fans. Skyfall had done so many wonderful things and we all felt Craig deserved a decent farewell. Plus, it was the first film for ages without Judy Dench. I bloody love that woman and everything she did within this franchise. I know The Grand Budapest Hotel really turned me around on Ralph Fiennes but I still wasn't sure he could live up to the Dench. I mean she doesn't give a shit about the CIA. Her role as M was phenomenal. But I digress and I really do need to get to bed asap.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Book Review: The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

Anyone paying attention to my weekly reading rundowns of late will know that October and November weren't exactly stellar reading months. I can't even remember when I started The Underground Railroad but it was at least the beginning of October. I only finished it last week. Admittedly, I took a quick beak in between so I could read And Then There Were None but still. It took me fucking ages. Not because I didn't enjoy the book but because I'm such a terrible reader. It's been a couple of months of work madness and illness. The kind of nights when I'd settle down to read only for my eyes to immediately start to droop. I genuinely never thought I was going to get through it. But I persevered. I mean I had to. This was 'THE' book of 2016 and we're nearing the end of 2017. I couldn't leave it any longer. Although, having still not read loads of my most anticipated reads of the last 2 years, I guess I could have guessed it was going to be a struggle. One day I'll learn how real book bloggers do it and get through multiple books a week. Though, I suspect to do that I'd have to give up work. Although, after the day I've had, I wouldn't be dead against that idea.

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Tuesday's Reviews - Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)



I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed the first Kingsman movie. It was an insane but really enjoyable spy film that even managed to make Colin Firth seem edgy and cool. I never would have thought it was possible but I guess Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman did the same thing with Nicolas Cage in Kickass. Kingsman is one of those weird films that everyone seems to love. Even my mother watched it when it was on Netflix. It had the benefit of being batshit crazy, incredibly funny, and well-made. It was perfectly over-the-top and a perfect antidote for the decreasingly self-aware Bond franchise. In recent years, James Bond has gone from being a camp British icon to something of a Hollywood bad boy. He no longer feels the need for insane and unnecessary gadgetry and, instead, uses her sheer muscle mass and martial arts skills to get the job done. Kickass took us back to a time when spies were gentlemen carrying umbrella guns and exploding pens. It was great. So, I was pretty gosh darn excited by the prospect of the second one. Especially when it was announced that Channing Tatum, Jeff Bridges and Halle Berry were all joining the cast as an American version of the UK's Kingsman organisation. All 3 of those actors are, in their own way, incredibly talented. As you probably know if you've read some of my stuff before, I have developed a love of Channing Tatum since I discovered he has a sense of humour about himself and now I long to see all of his films. I swear it's all about his comic timing... there's definitely nothing of interest to me underneath his shirt. No way. Never.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Monday Rundown - That's What She Read

So, eagle-eyed readers out there will realise that I'm a day late with my weekly rundown. That's because I only got back from London today. I've had a lovely but busy weekend visiting my friend so decided to leave this until tonight. The weekend has been great. I watched a terribly Christmas classic in Jingle All the Way on Saturday night but balanced it out by watching A Muppet Christmas Carol immediately after. I listened to some poetry, visited the design museum and went round an incredibly patronising exhibition about the North. As two Northerners we couldn't help but cringe about the awful way the Somerset House exhibition portrayed Northerners. It was totally misjudged in tone and, really, only helped strengthen unhelpful stereotypes about the North/South divide. But I don't want to get into that right now. On with the rundown.
 
BLOG DESIGN BY DESIGNER BLOGS