..a lot of YA.
— Kim Townend (@kimlovesstuff) December 28, 2015
I don’t know whether it’s arrested development in full force, or the fact that so many of the ‘adult’ books by female writers I’ve read are studies in marriage or parenting, but YA books (especially the ones written with the adult end of the spectrum in mind) are just more fun. Full of the ‘what ifs?’ rather than the ‘oh no’s
And if like me, you’re keen on anything supernatural based, the YA variery are generally loads better. (Mostly because you don’t have to read embarrassing vampire sex scenes).
So, on the off chance thay you’re interested, stand out books of 2015 for me included:
I really loved this. It’s not YA (officially), but it is a coming-of-age tale/thriller. Think Jawbreaker (movie, not band) meets The OC meets School Ties but with a way darker edge (the narrative is kicked off by a murder) Excited to see what Lili Anolik does next.
If you’re old enough to have grown up on 80s movies and understand their majesty and excellence, and also are a feminist, and also live to read books of critical essays, then you are going to love this. You’re probably also going to get really annoyed about the state of Hollywood today and maybe you’ll wander around talking shit about ‘foreign markets’ for a while too.
Maggie Stiefvater – The Raven Boys (first 3 books in quadrilogy)
Bit late to the game on this one. Had this on my Kindle for the better part of a year before I got around to reading it and then absorbed the first 3 books in the series in the space of a month or two. Southern Gothic YA obsessed with dead Welsh kings? Muscle cars? Elite prep schools? YA written as if the reader is actually aware of the things that teenagers do? I’m dying that I have to wait until April to read the final book. Also, I have a huge crush on Gansey, which is totally cool because he’s fictional.
I’m going to start this by explaining that I am not a Harry Potter fan. In the slightest, and I never really understood Potter fanfic. I’ll take Narnia over anything Rowling creates, any day of the week. However, I am a huge nerd for anything that Rainbow Rowell puts out, and I fell in love with Simon and Baz back when they were just written in italics in Fangirl. I WISH THEY WOULD ADAPT THIS FOR TV.
Part study on post Katrina New Orleans, part Originals-esque vampiric monster thriller. Alys Arden proves herself to be a worthy sucessor (if a slightly less subversive one) to Poppy Z Brite’s New Orleans gothic throne. If you really liked The Craft way back when, then you’ll probably really like this now.
I haven’t posted here for a whole year. Turns out 2015 got really busy. But in an effort to start blogging-for-fun-and-not-for-work again, I made a mixtape for when it’s Christmas but you’re sick of Christmas songs.
It’s got some Death Cab, some David Bazan, bit of Ryan Adams, some Sharon Jones. It might come in handy after you’ve listened to the Low Christmas Album for the hundredth time.
Until 2016, guys!
Or rather, I made a mix for late November days.
Deciding what to listen to in November is always a dilemma for me. After Halloween it’s the one month of the year that I’m not really interested in hearing punk rock songs/songs with monsters in. Couple that with the fact that it’s still way too early to start with the Christmas theme, and you’ll see the problem.
Round this time of year I always return to slightly dreamy indie, americana stuff. Like the last wave of melancholy before festivities set in.
So, here’s what I’m listening to this year:
I haven’t been writing much over here because I’ve been busy with a) a course in writing Young Adult fiction and b) my new project London TV Club which is having it’s first ever meeting this week.
On the off chance that you haven’t heard me blathering on about it, London TV Club is like a book club, but for TV shows and the first meeting is (seasonal aptly) a discussion about Halloween Specials.
Anyway, here’s all the info – I’m very excited about it – and it would be lovely to see you there.
Here they are. Went with a supernatural/dead theme.
I feel like I’ve really begun to embrace my gothiness.
It’s that time of year again.
Here’s a mix that’s better for staying in and watching the leaves fall, than going outside and stomping them.
Mostly composed of late 90s/early 00s indie rock and emo, it’s best served with the first hot chocolate of the season and a good book.
Last Friday, I decided to see if I could get last minute tickets to a screening of Dead Snow 2, Red or Dead at this years Film 4 Frightfest. As it turns out I could, so on Friday afternoon we showed up to the Vue cinema in Leicester Square just in time to see Robert Englund hanging around the foyer.
I love the idea of Frightfest, but I’m never bothered about enough of the screenings to get a weekend pass. (Plus, I miss the days when it was small enough to be at the Prince Charles instead of a multiplex)
Anyway. Lets talk about the movie.
The sequel picks up right where Dead Snow left us, with Martin in the car, missing half an arm at the bottom of the mountain. (I like when horror sequels do this, apart from the obvious exception of Halloween II) Things happen, Martin ends up wrecking his car, wakes up in hospital to find that as the only survivor with a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing to him he is the prime suspect in the murder of all his friends/girlfriend. To make matters worse, the doctor has unknowingly attached a zombie arm to him, mistakenly believing it was lost in the car wreck.
Clearly, no one believes Martin and his crazy nazi zombie tales, apart from a small american child also in the hospital. He alerts Martin to the existence of the zombie squad. I won’t talk about anything that happens next, as it would ruin your enjoyment of the plot unfolding.
I will say though, that Dead Snow 2 is in no way a horror movie, it’s an incredible blood soaked, un- PC gorefest and it’s all the better for it. Martin Starr ( I know, right, Martin Starr!)’s zombie squad add a consistently comedic, english speaking element to the proceedings (Tommy Wirkola was obviously considering international dollars this time around) the gore is gross out at it’s finest and it’s actually laugh out loud funny (and smart). On a number of occasions during the screening I enjoyed the ripple of laughter travel through the audience as more people began to get the joke.
If you like horror, or zombies, or nazi movies, or scandinavia, or laughing or anything genre based – this movie delivers.
See it as soon as you can.
As promised, this week I’m writing about the returning shows I’ll be watching as hoodie and scarf weather approaches.
First up, is
Parenthood returns to NBC for it’s sixth and final (13 episode) season. This is the show I’m most excited/sad about getting to watch. Unlike Katim’s last beloved outing Friday Night Lights, Parenthood hasn’t tailed off at all in it’s later seasons – and I’m not ready to give the Braverman’s up quite yet.
I’m not even that concerned with what’s going to happen, although there are multiple theories as to what the “huge new challenge” Katims talked about in an interview (but I’m hoping they don’t kill Zeke). If you haven’t give Parenthood a go yet, then you should catch up on Netflix before this season starts. It’s easily my favourite show on TV, and I am not a person who loves family activities.
Parenthood returns to NBC on September 25th
There are those that think Supernatural jumped the shark around season 6, and they’d be right, but that doesn’t mean that it’s still not a massively enjoyable show, at least some of the time. Sure, season 9 had a lot more filler than stand-out episodes, but I’m seeing the Winchester Bros quest through to the bitter end. And (spoiler alert) Dean being a demon is going to add an interesting dimension to the show. Oh, and Crowley is now a “series regular” alongside Cas, so that should keep Josh happy at least.
I’ve been a bit harsh here, I love Supernatural and this year marks a decade that I’ve been watching it. I hope it goes out on a high note, because that spin off pilot was one of the worst things I’ve ever seen.
Here’s the terribly shot Season 10 trailer from Comicon.
Supernatural returns to the CW on October 7th
I started watching The Originals last season as a guilty gothy pleasure to watch on my iPad while in the bath. I didn’t expect to like it anywhere near as much as I did. I stopped watching The Vampire Diaries 2 seasons in, which makes my enjoyment of it’s spin-off all the more odd…
The Originals is set in New Orleans, but more like one imagined by Poppy Z Brite than the one we see in Treme. The French Quarter in The Originals is populated with witches, werewolves and vampires with some voodoo thrown in for good measure. Everyone is painfully hot, with impeccable make-up and hair and there are candles everywhere. I love The Originals.
The Originals is back on The CW on October 6th.
AMERICAN HORROR STORY – FREAKSHOW
American Horror stories standalone seasons have ALL been good, it’s hard for me to pick between Murder House and Coven when it comes to favourites, which is why I’m super excited for Freakshow. It’s not going to be the third season of Carnivale that we all wanted, but I’m reasonably sure that it’s going to be great. And Wes Bentley is in the Halloween episodes. All the spoilers/info/rumours can be found here. The official trailer is below.
American Horror Story airs on FX on October 8th
I felt like Homeland really lost direction after they killed off Brody, but I’m still interested to see what they do with it now they’re a central character down. Also, it’s been months since I’ve seen Claire Danes cry face, and I sort of miss it. Also, I’m hoping that they give Saul a bigger role this season, as I could watch Mandy Patinkin forever (remember how Criminal Minds turned terrible as soon as he left?)
Homeland is back on Showtime on October 5th
And that really is it. Told you everything good was happening midseason. At least it’s not too long to wait for new Hannibal, Archer, Bob’s Burgers, Broad City and Girls….
The final weeks of Summer are here, it’s getting cooler and it’s raining more. This can mean only one thing, it’s almost time for Autumn. My annual pre September excitement has begun – a large part of the reason I love this time of year (apart from leaf stomping, warm booze, sweaters and scarves) is that there’s stuff to watch.
Are upon us.
Spring is just around the corner and soon everything will stop being so grey and cold and start being green and fresh and we’ll want to go outside again. Instead of wishing the last month or two of Winter away, I suggest we savour it before it’s time to pack away the extra blankets and casserole dishes.
The only logical thing to do was to make a mixtape.
It’s a heady mix of indie rock/americana/alt country type stuff and perfect for falling asleep wrapped in goose down (I tested this out)
I took the picture on Hampstead Heath during some rare London snowfall.