Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Eurovision wrap up

Yes, friends, it's that time of year again! I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights live tweeting up a storm. Live blogging on top of that was a little too much to ask, so as with last year you're getting a wrap up post instead.

Sadly, there wasn't a whole lot of crazy this year. There weren't even many songs that stand out as being particularly awful. There WERE a bunch that were just kind of...odd??...so we'll talk about those instead.

MY FAVOURITES

Guy Sebastian - Tonight Again (Australia)

Okay, I'll admit: I'm a little biased here. Yes, Australia (inexplicably) competed for the first time, and I absolutely loved Guy Sebastian's song.

Bojana Stamenov - Beauty Never Lies (Serbia)

This is FREAKING AMAZING. On stage costume changes, a super sparkly Adele-esque lead singer, a catchy tune, and fabulous lyrics. A big fat A+ from me.

Mans Zelmerlow - Heroes (Sweden)

This was the favourite, and there's a good reason why it won: those visuals are STUNNING. I was a little afraid that it wouldn't stand up without the visuals behind it, but I've been pleasantly surprised by how catchy it is with just the audio.

Loic Nottet - Rhythm Inside (Belgium)

In the semi-final, all I could focus on was the over the top lighting and how it feels like it belongs on the Orphan Black soundtrack. But by the time the final rolled around, I was really excited when they turned up on stage.

Nadav Guedj - Golden Boy (Israel)

It pains me to put this on this list. Because let's face it - this song is pretty terrible. But it's a TOTAL earworm that warrants chair dancing whenever you hear it. AND HIS SHOES!!!! What even. Dammit, Israel.

Nina Sublatti - Warrior (Georgia)

If anything at Eurovision screamed "girl power anthem", it's this. Fabulous.

THE ONES THAT ARE GROWING ON ME

Ann Sophie - Black Smoke (Germany)

I didn't love this in performance. But I've listened to it a few times since downloading the album, and I enjoy it more and more each time.

Electro Velvet - Still in Love With You (United Kingdom)

I think when I saw this on TV, I was so ridiculously overwhelmed by the set and the outfits and EVERYTHING LIGHTING UP that I couldn't really pay attention to the song. It's definitely better without the visuals.

Lisa Angell - N'oubliez Pas (France)

SBS added subtitles for the non-English songs, and it meant that I knew just how depressing this song really is. The beige-dressed Les Miserables wanna-bes at the end didn't help. But without the visuals and the subtitles, it's pretty good.

Maraaya - Here For You (Slovenia) 

Another one that suffered from distracting visuals. I mean, her headphones and the interpretive dancer with one leg glued to the floor playing an invisible violin? What the eff. But I think I've listened to it four times today, and it grows on me more each time.

Voltaj - De La Capat (Romania)

So this song is about kids who've been left behind when their parents moved internationally for work. Essentially, it's depression central. But it's a surprisingly good song. And, you know, it helps that it's in Romanian so you have no idea what the words are...

JUST STOP

BOGGIE - Wars for Nothing (Hungary)

Every time I hear this song, it sends me to sleep. Sorry not sorry.

Edurne - Amanecer (Spain)

Look, it's not a terrible song. But the staging just made it hilarious.

Elina Born and Stig Rästa - Goodbye to Yesterday (Estonia)

They stared at each other so intently when they were singing that I can't hear the song without seeing it in my head, and...yeah. Plus, the lyrics are kind of creepy...

Elnur Huseynov - Hour of the Wolf (Azerbaijan)

Dude. No. Ditch the interpretive dancers, and stop singing about wolves, yeah?

Genealogy - Face the Shadow (Armenia)

This whole thing came across as a coven of witches trying to recruit new members.

The Makemakes - I Am Yours (Austria)

WHAT DID THAT PIANO EVER DO TO YOU??? And what the hell is your guitarist wearing ohgod my eyes.

Trijntje Ooserhuis - Walk Along (The Netherlands)

Girl. You are wearing the love child of a bin bag and an academic gown. WHY.

Did you watch Eurovision this year? Who were your favourites?

K xx

Friday, May 22, 2015

Emma - Jane Austen

Totally not the edition that I read, but OH WELL.
I have a confession to make, friends. Emma is my least favourite Jane Austen book. By, like, a lot. There's just something about the character of Emma Woodhouse that perpetually rubs me up the wrong way. I felt this the first time I read the book way back in 1996, and unfortunately it still rings true today despite several rereads in the past 20 years. I'm aware that this is rather odd because Cher Horowitz is one of my favourite characters to ever grace the teen movie screen, but there you have it.

I can't even pinpoint exactly what it is about Emma that makes me dislike her so much. She means well, yes, but that doesn't fix the fact that she's often condescending and snobbish. She's so bored by her own life that she feels the need to meddle in the lives of others, with potentially disastrous circumstances. She pushes Harriet towards Mr. Elton, who's obviously never going to marry the daughter of nobody-in-particular, she's generally awful to Miss Bates, and she behaves horrifically towards Jane Fairfax time and time again.

Admittedly, she's not the only guilty party where this last one is concerned. Frank Churchill is equally abhorrent to me. I mean, DUDE. You're madly in love with Jane, but you're badmouthing her to Emma whenever all three of you are in the same room to hide the fact that you're madly in love? What the hell?! Nothing about that is okay.

Look, don't get me wrong. It's full of humour and wit - I think my favourite line that I came across was this: "Emma's very good opinion of Frank Churchill was a little shaken the following day, by hearing that he was gone off to London, merely to have his hair cut." It's utterly ridiculous and reminds the reader that if Frank Churchill lived in the twenty first century, he'd be an obnoxious hipster who trekked half way across the city on his fixed gear bike to get a bag of that stupid coffee that's been pooped out by a civet.

At the end of the day, it's Austen. And that means fabulous writing and fun characters and a happily ever after. But when I didn't like Emma herself, and I found Mr Knightly as interesting as watching paint dry, this book was never really going to be a hit with me...

Maybe I'll reread it AGAIN in a couple of years and find a new appreciation for it. But given that my meh-tastic feelings about this book have been around for nearly 20 years, I'm not so sure. Maybe I'll just stick to watching Clueless...

Have you read Emma? What did you think?

K xx

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Libraries are important, okay?

Um, hi. Eventually, I'll get a chance to breathe for more than five minutes and hopefully then I'll get around to telling you guys about the rest of my trip to England. You know, the one from last SEPTEMBER.

But for now, I wanted to share a video that I made last week. There was a lot of discussion in the Booktube community about libraries and whether they're still relevant in society now that we have Google and ebooks.

And obviously, being a librarian, I had a lot of thoughts on the topic.



I totally meant to post this last week when I posted it on Youtube. But...adulting is hard, yo.

What do you think? Are libraries still useful? Or should we replace them with something new?

K xx

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Currently...

Um. Hi. Remember me?

Yeah. There are times when I miss the days of unemployment, and blogging is a big part of that. Although given that I got my first full time pay cheque today, I can safely say that the money makes up for my lack of time to blog these days!!

So, rather than just disappear into a black hole due to lack of time and topics, I figured I'd do a "currently" post to give you guys a bit of an update on life in general...

Watching:
Essentially, the stuff I'm watching for Snark Squad - Dawson's Creek, Doctor Who, Supernatural - and occasional episodes of Criminal Minds and Bones. I desperately want to get back to watching Daredevil, but that means giving up something else, and...yeah. It just hasn't happened yet.

Listening to:
Shut Up and Dance by Walk the Moon is on INCREDIBLY high rotation. It's basically my time-to-start-my-90-minute-commute song, so I listen to it twice a day, minimum. And a hell of a lot of stuff that makes up Body Combat and Body Pump set lists, because I'm doing about three or four classes a week online.

Planning:
A trip to Dymocks tomorrow after work. WHEEEEEEEE, BOOKS!! Also planning a trip to Canberra during the July school holidays. Because, you know, the middle of winter is totally the best time to go to Canberra...

Thinking about:
How I should really be going to bed, but I really want to finish this episode of Criminal Minds. The fact that tomorrow's Friday. Little Miss A's birthday party on Saturday. How I really wish the vlog that's been uploading since 9pm would hurry up and finish so that I can go to bed when Criminal Minds ends.

Looking forward to:
Sleeping in on Saturday morning OMG IT WILL BE AMAZING. My little brother coming home for a visit at the end of the month. Orange Is the New Black season 3, although God knows when I'll have time to watch it. Going to Canberra, even though it's forever away.

Reading:
ALL THE THINGS, just for a change. I'm nearly done with Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and it's pretty damned fabulous. And this weekend, I'm planning on diving into the first volume of Matt Fraction's Hawkeye, which a friend very sweetly sent me for my birthday.

Making me happy:
The fact that I've lost over 6kg on the 12WBT. That it's casual clothes day at school tomorrow so I get to wear jeans to work. That there's a Lego game of Jurassic Park coming out. The forthcoming Jurassic World movie. The new display that I put up at work today. And my nightly hot chocolate. Sure, it's not as healthy as Greek yoghurt and a teaspoon of honey. But it's way too cold for yoghurt at the moment, so hot chocolate it is!

What's new with you guys?

K xx

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Review - A Court of Thorns and Roses


A Court of Thorns and Roses
Sarah J. Maas
2015
Bloomsbury Australia

3 stars


This book has been hype central on the book blogosphere since it was first announced last year, so I was ridiculously excited when I got an unsolicited ARC from Bloomsbury back in February. Unfortunately, I have a confession to make, you guys: it really didn't live up to the hype for me. 
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Don't get me wrong, I still enjoyed it a lot. And I feel like my attitude towards it was more about me than it was about the book?? But it just... It wasn't great. And it wasn't what I was expecting from a Sarah J. Maas book. 

This book tells the story of Feyre. She's strong and independent and quite a lot like Celaena Sardothian but with a family, you know? While out hunting for food one day, Feyre (pronounced Fay-ruh, apparently) shoots a wolf. Except it turns out that the wolf wasn't really a wolf so much as it was a faerie in disguise. All of that stuff was pretty great. It was fast paced, and full of interesting characters, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

But then things changed. As a result of killing the faerie, Feyre ends up getting kidnapped by the Fae and taken over the wall to their kingdom. So...she's a prisoner. But they feed her really well and give her pretty clothes to wear and are generally really nice to her?? All the people in the land she's taken to have fancy masks stuck to their faces, but that doesn't even remotely disguise how totally hot the guys are??? The story took a massive turn for the romantic, and while I liked the individual characters, I had zero fucks to give about the romantic subplot. It wasn't swoony, it wasn't cute, it wasn't hot. It was just...there, being slow paced and not very interesting. I know, this totally makes me a terrible fangirl. But it just wasn't my thing. 
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Somewhere along the way, Feyre finds herself facing a series of challenges. That, for me, was where the story finally picked up again. But that was about two thirds of the way through the book, so it was almost too little, too late. The last third of the book was action central, and given that I'd finally gotten into the story for real, the ending seemed all too sudden. 

Look, it's probably not entirely surprising that this wasn't a huge success with me. While I adore Sarah J. Maas' writing and her characters as a general rule, the Fae are basically my least favourite paranormal creature to read about. I bailed on the Sookie Stackhouse series when fairies turned up. I read a couple of Laurell K. Hamilton's Merry Gentry books, and they were kind of squicky. Same goes for Karen Marie Moning. So when I dove into this and found Fae waiting for me, I may have cried a little inside. 
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It's still got great characters and fabulous action scenes and I'll probably read the other books in the trilogy when they come out. But frankly? I'm a little afraid that it's going to turn out exactly like a Nora Roberts trilogy, where there's an overarching story but each individual book focuses on one of three sisters/cousins/best friends falling in love with a guy who's somehow involved in the overarching story. They fall into bed together more or less instantly, and get engaged after dating for like two weeks. 

So yeah. I feel terrible saying it. But Fae-centric + heavy on the romance = not really the book for me. 

Have you read it? What did you think??

K xx

Disclaimer: I received an unsolicited ARC from the publisher. A Court of Thorns and Roses is available now. 

Saturday, May 2, 2015

April reading wrap up

Okay, I'm going to need the year to stop going so fast. Because this is starting to get RIDICULOUS.

Books read: 29. But considering I started working full time part way through the month, it's not exactly surprising that it's less than the first three months of this year!
New vs rereads: 17 new books and 12 rereads. In my defence, I reread some enormous books this month!
Most read genre: Contemporary. Again. But paranormal and graphic novels weren't far behind!

Favourite book: Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. It was seriously cute, and though there were things about it that were pretty gross (namely, anything to do with Martin), it was handled so thoughtfully and so well in the end that I couldn't help but give it five stars.
Least favourite book: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. I actually DNFed this one, which I've only done seven times in my life. I tried really REALLY hard to like it because I know so many people who think it's amazing. But...ugh. I didn't like the characters, the world made no sense, and I was bored. It just wasn't for me.
Favourite cover: There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake. Which is funny, because one of the first things my new boss said to me when I started was "Ugh, this cover is awful. Why would you make a book cover yellow??". I, for somewhat inexplicable reasons, really like it.


Diverse Books Project: Now that I have a full time job and less reading time, I feel like I'm a little bit behind the eight ball on this. I feel like I should start the next diverse book as soon as I close the one before it, just so that I don't end up behind schedule, but then I have so many other things to read and ARGH.

Still, I haven't missed a week yet, so I guess it's still going well!








In April, I ended up reading 4 graphic novels, 2 non-fiction books, and 23 novels. There are links to all my Goodreads reviews below!

Deadpool: Dead Head RedemptionSimon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
5 stars: Deadpool: Dead Head Redemption | Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda

Burial Rites
4.5 stars: Burial Rites

TimelineWe All Looked UpThe Royal WeThere Will Be LiesStormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)
4 stars: Timeline | We All Looked Up | The Royal We | There Will Be Lies | Turning Pointe | Second Position | Stormdancer

Made to Be Broken (Nadia Stafford #2)Captain Marvel, Vol. 2: DownRuin and Rising (The Grisha, #3)The Truth (Discworld, #25)Prudence (The Custard Protocol, #1)The Princess Bride
3.5 stars: Made to be Broken | Captain Marvel: Down | Ruin and Rising | The Truth | Prudence | The Princess Bride

For a Few Demons More (The Hollows, #5)The Plague RaceRelic (Pendergast, #1)Serenity: Better Days (Serenity, #2)Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld, #11)Omens (Cainsville, #1)The HistorianThe Dreadful Judgement: The True Story of the Great Fire of LondonTwitterature: The World's Greatest Books Retold Through Twitter
3 stars: For a Few Demons More | The Plague Race | Relic | Serenity: Better Days | Waking the Witch | Omens | The Historian | The Dreadful Judgement | Twitterature

Black Widow: Kiss or Kill
2.5 stars: Black Widow: Kiss or Kill

Love OverboardVampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)
2 stars: Love Overboard | Vampire Academy (DNF)

What did you read in April?

K xx
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