Song/Book Association

This week’s playlist is sort of a work-in-progress. You know how people make YouTube videos for their favourite shows/couples and they spend ages coming up with the perfect song to describe that show or couple? I’ve been trying to do that with books. I’ve only come up with eight songs so far so it’s a short one.

Weekly Playlist #8: Wow, you’d think this was put together by a Florence fan or something

1. The book: A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

The song: “Howl” – Florence + The Machine

 

2. The book: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

The song: “Seven Devils” – Florence + The Machine

 

3. The book: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The song: “Valentine” – Xandria

 

4. The book: Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

The song: “Sisters of the Light” – Xandria

 

5. The book: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh

The songs: “Emily Not, Not Gone” – Cemetary Sighs and “Ravenheart” – Xandria

 

6. The book: Mercy by Rebecca Lim

The song: “Leave My Body” – Florence + The Machine

 

7. The book: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

The song: “Angels” – Within Temptation

 

It’s fun coming up with these. Hopefully next time I’ll use other artists besides Florence and Xandria.

 

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The Kat came back

Just one review for today.

Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter

Uncommon Criminals offers up another adventure for teenage catKat burglar Katarina Bishop and her band of loyal followers. Fans of the first book in the series, the excellently titled Heist Society will not be disappointed in this sequel. If anything, Ally Carter has made the second book better than the first. This time around, Kat isn’t after stolen paintings: she’s after a jewel that’s supposed to be cursed. But this time things get personal as we delve further into the network of criminal families when Kat is double-crossed and we learn some interesting info about Kat’s uncle Eddie. As with Heist Society, my only complaint is that it could have been a bit longer.

A sequel that will leave you wanting more – and fear not! The third book is due out next year!

Final Grade: B+

 

Weekly Playlist: Cats, Kats and other critters

1. “Love Cats” – The Cure

2. “Everybody Wants to be a Cat” – The Aristocats soundtrack

3. “Memory” – Cats soundtrack

4. “7 Days to the Wolves” – Nightwish

5. “Wild Bird” – Lyriel

6. “She Wolf (Falling to Pieces)” – Sia and David Guetta

7. “Dog New Tricks” – Garbage

8. “The Lionness” – Xandria

9. “Ravenheart” – Xandria

10. “Byrds of Prey” – Bertie Blackman

 

Angelic Encore

Today’s order of business: book review, latest purchases and weekly playlist.

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand.

Hallowed is the sequel to Unearthly, which I reviewed awhile backHallowed is a successful sequel (no sophomore slump here) that picks up where the previous entry left off and sets the scene for what’s to come in book three (due out next year.) It’s hard to review this one without giving away the plot of the first book, but I’ll just say this: if you liked Unearthly, you’ll like Hallowed too. There were some great moments that I did not see coming at all.

Tiny nitpick: I’m still not sure which boy Clara should end up with. What I’m looking forward to finding out more about in book three: Angela! What is her deal? I’m sure there’s more to her than meets the eye. And I’d like to learn more about Sam. And Clara’s dad! And her brother! Man, it’s hard not to give the whole plot away here. But it’s a worthy follow-up, that much I can vouch for.

Final grade: A-

I went to the bookstore yesterday but I only bought two:

Valkyrie Rising by Ingrid Paulson

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

See? I’m slowly learning restraint when it comes to book buying! Though I did buy Keith Oppel’s This Dark Endeavor last week too, so maybe I’m just learning to spread the buying out a little more…

And finally, the weekly playlist. This week’s playlist doesn’t have a theme, it’s just stuff I’ve been listening to lately.

Weekly Playlist #6: Hollywood Infected Your Brain

1. “Silence” – Lucia

2. “Teen Idle” – Marina & The Diamonds

3. “Brutal Hearts” – Bedouin Soundclash featuring Coeur De Pirate

4. “Only The Horses” – Scissor Sisters

5. “Little Talks” – Of Monsters and Men

6. “Been Better” – Kyla La Grange

7. “Sweet Nothing” – Calvin Harris featuring Florence Welch

8. “She’s Not Me” – Lana Del Ray

9. “Hollywood” – Marina & The Diamonds

10. “Let’s Have a Kiki” – Scissor Sisters

Unlimited

This was another great weekend for TV with two of my favourite shows, Merlin and Once Upon a Time both turning in solid episodes – Merlin in particular. I don’t want to spoil too much of it, but it was one of the best episodes the show has ever produced. The best part is when Merlin confronts Uther! It was a scene we’ve all been waiting for since the show started, tbh. Then over on Once we got to meet Captain Hook, who promises to be a worthy adversary for everyone’s favourite antihero Rumplestiltskin.

 All this great fiction softened the blow when reality became a bit of a let down at Skate America, where I saw a few of my favourite skaters falter (though there were rousing victories too.)

With that in mind, this week’s playlist will consist of songs that you should listen to when you need to be reminded of how much you’re capable of. Songs that make you feel… unlimited.

Weekly Playlist #5: On With the Show

1. “What You Want” – Evanescence: “I’m everything you can’t control”

2. “Die Another Day” – Madonna: “I’ll die another day, it’s not my time to go.”

3. “Defying Gravity” – Wicked soundtrack: “I’m through with playing by the rules of someone else’s game.”

4. “The Show Must Go On” – Queen: “Inside my heart is breaking, my makeup may be flaking but my smile still stays on.”

5. “Leverage” – Lyriel: “I will carry on to do what I must do.”

6. “April Rain” – Delain: “Count your blessings and prepare to change your point of view.”

7. “Gives You Hell” – All-American Rejects: “When you hear this song I hope that it will give you hell.”

8. “Sweet Sacrifice” – Evanescence: “Fear is only in our minds.”

9. “Stand My Ground” – Within Temptation: “I won’t give in, I won’t give up.”

10. “Shake It Out” – Florence + the Machine: “It’s hard to dance with the devil on your back, so shake him off.”

What kind of corset is this?

^ So quoth Princess Aurora on last night’s episode of Once, after which I, and the rest of the fandom, nearly died laughing. It was a good episode all in all. I enjoyed Lancelot. This week’s Merlin was good too (and next week’s preview promises the return of a deceased character and lots of drama!) It looks like Mordred isn’t going to be the new Agravaine after all (or is he?!) I also caught the pilot episode of Arrow and I think it shows promise. I’ll definitely be sticking around for more of that! Added bonus: Katie Cassidy is in it and she’s pretty badass, so I’ve got hopes.

Before doing this week’s playlist I have one book review for you:

Shards of Excalibur: Song of the Sword by Edward Willet

Genre: YA fantasy/adventure/Arthurian

Being the massive Merlin fan that I am, I like looking at other takes on the legend. For me the best YA take on the Arthurian legend that I’ve read so far is Meg Cabot’s Avalon High and that still stands – though Song of the Sword is a well-crafted effort. My biggest issues with this book stem from my own biases: I’m so used to seeing Merlin as a young man on the TV show that I have to readjust my brain to thinking that he’s an old guy again. This time around Merlin was the villain – an intriguing re-interpretation, though I’m not sure if he was the most convicing villain. I’m hoping future books in the series explore his backstory a little more because I think there’s more than can be done. I get what the author was going for though: I’m just so attached to seeing Merlin in a certain way that I couldn’t get past it. The problem is with me, not the text.

But the novel’s main protagonist is Ariane Forsythe, a teenager who discovers that she is descended from the Lady of the Lake and is the only one who can stop Merlin in his quest for power by finding the scattered shards of Arthur’s legendary sword before he does. Where I didn’t so much care for Merlin as the villain, I quite liked Ariane as the Lady of the Lake. Again I was reminded of Avalon High, but this interpretation is different from what Cabot did. So if you’re a fan of Arthurian legends and are looking for a new re-envisioning, be sure to check this series out.

Final grade: B

And now for that weekly playlist I promised:

Weekly Playlist #4: Visions are seldom all they seem

1. “Once Upon a Dream” – Sleeping Beauty soundtrack

In honour of Aurora, obviously.

2. “Shalott” – Emilie Autumn

Literary geek alert: Lancelot quoted Tennyson’s “The Lady of Shalott” when they were at the dried-up lake.

3. “Reflection” – Mulan soundtrack

I’m still a fan of Mulan on Once, but I’m going to run out of songs from the Mulan soundtrack if I keep this up…

4. “Defying Gravity” – Wicked soundtrack

But I haven’t run out of songs from Wicked yet!

5. “Abraham’s Daughter” – Arcade Fire

I was trying to think of a song to represent Arrow and this one from The Hunger Games soundtrack popped into my head because… archery, etc.

6. “Angels” – Within Temptation

Thinking about how Regina and Cora rip out people’s hearts on Once I thought this song was appropriate: “You took my heart, deceived me right from the start.”

7. “Slay Your Dragons” – The Dreamside

Morgana’s pet dragon is looking a little worse for wear, isn’t she? I wonder what’s going on there…

8. “Humanity in Motion” – Nathan Lanier

Weaver/Poje’s new freedance music.

9. “Shot in the Dark” – Within Temptation

I keep listening to this lately and it seems appropriate after Emma had that little mishap with her gun.

Chair makes the world go ’round

It’s been a good long weekend for TV.

First, this past Saturday, it was the Merlin series five premiere and the show is back with a bang: a bang that includes a new Mordred and the reign of QUEEN GWEN – a character who is finally living up to her full, very regal potential. But of course everyone still treats poor Merlin like crap. It can’t be easy being the unsung hero. But this premiere episode sets up what I can only hope will be some juicy storylines for the rest of the season…

Speaking of juicy storylines, we got some interesting backstory on the relationship between Regina and Rumple on this week’s Once Upon a Time. I loved that thing Regina said about needing to learn magic even if it turned her green (foreshadowing?! Let’s hope so!) and Rumple was as creepy/excellent as always. And Charming’s back in action! I can’t wait to see what happens next week when they bring in Lancelot. I’ve always liked him a lot.

Then last night was the sixth season Gossip Girl premiere – a show that I only watch because I love Chuck and Blair. And it looks like they’re finally gonna make it happen, so it’ll be worth the wait. But in the meantime we’ll be forced to put up with the icky subplot of Rufus and Ivy (WTF?!) and whatever shenanigans Serena gets up to before we see Chair ride off into the sunset together. But Georgina’s hanging around and that’s always fun. And Blair wore a very becoming chapeau, which was tres jolie.

And now without further ado, here is this week’s playlist:

Weekly Playlist #3: Chair, time travel and the land of what might have been

1. “The Time Warp” – Rocky Horror Picture Show soundtrack

I also saw Looper this weekend, so in honour of Joseph Gordon Levitt growing up to be Bruce Willis, I’m including the first song that popped into my head about TIME. And because doing the time warp is just plain FUN and you sholdn’t need an excuse to do it. After all, it’s just a jump to the left…

2. “Tonight” – Fun featuring Janelle Monae

So this song is old news now but it was used very effectively in last season’s Gossip Girl finale. I will forever associate this song with Chuck Bass and Blair Waldorf. Someday these two are gonna set the world on fire.

3. “I’m Not That Girl” – Wicked soundtrack

Because everyone can relate to being not that girl or not that boy at some point in their lives. *sniffle*

4. “Skyfall” – Adele

After the rather underwhelming “Another Way to Die” from Quantum of Solace, this new Bond theme is everything I was hoping for. I’m so excited for this movie! The trailers look amazing and I can’t wait to see what Mr. Bond has got up his sleeve this time around. And there’s a new Q!

5. “A Girl Worth Fighting For” – Mulan soundtrack

Still enjoying the Mulan character on Once. She’s so badass! How ’bout a girl who’s got a brain who always speaks her mind?

6. “What Have You Done?” – Within Temptation featuring Keith Caputo

Even despite everything that’s happened, I still ship Merlin/Morgana. This song pretty much sums up how I feel about the two of them. I feel like they could have had something, but destiny got in the way. Why does fate make us suffer?

7. “White Rabbit” – Jefferson Airplane

This one is dedicated to Jefferson: one of my favourite characters on Once. Did you catch that rabbit stuffed animal he had in his car? So cute and so heartbreaking. Off with his head!

8. “Un Amor” –  Gipsy Kings

Because I’m in love with Hubbell/Donohue’s new flamenco/Gipsy Kings free dance.

9. “Je Suis Malade” – Lara Fabian

And since we’re on the topic of free dances, my heart still belongs to Weaver/Poje’s “Je Suis Malade” from last season (though this season’s is going to be epic!)

10. “Alejandro” – Lady Gaga

I’ve had this stuck in my head again lately.

 

Dancing through life, skimming the surface

It’s Monday and we all know what that means: time for this week’s playlist!

Weekly Playlist #2:

1. “Dancing Through Life” – Wicked soundtrack

Clearly my obession with Wicked has not died down yet, nor do I expect it to any time soon. So take Fiyero’s advice and “learn to live the unexamined life.”

2. “Swanheart” – Nightwish

Who else thinks this would make great ice dance music? Seriously: if any dance team in the world does a free dance to Nightwish, I’ll be happy forever.

3. “Hey Big Spender” – Sweet Charity soundtrack

Has anyone been watching Over the Rainbow? They had the girls singing show tunes this week and this was one of them.

4. “Surrounded” – The Man in the Iron Mask soundtrack

Speaking of skating, does anyone remember Alexei Yagudin’s Olympic gold medal winning program to the Man in the Iron Mask soundtrack? It’s been ten years and it’s still one of the best free programs of all time.

5. “Rabbit Heart (Raise it Up)” – Florence + the Machine

This song makes be think of Once Upon a Time, which is appropriate, since the season premiere was last night. And what an episode it was! Season two is starting off with a bang, make no mistake.

6. “I’ll Make a Man Out of You” – Mulan soundtrack

Let’s get down to business: Mulan is now a character on Once Upon a Time and she’s already my new favourite. I hope we’ll be seeing more of her this season! In her honour I had to include a song from Mulan on  this week’s playlist.

7. “Our Farewell” – Within Temptation

Since we’re on the subject of television, Saturday’s mid-season finale of Doctor Who was a heart-wrencher. I don’t want to spoil it but OMG, it was so sad. So I thought a sad but beautiful song was appropriate here.

8. “When I’m Small” – Phantogram

I discovered this song about a year ago and I listened to it nonstop at the time, then I forgot about it for several months and now I can’t stop listening to it again. It’s got such a cool groove and catchy beat, you can’t help but sing/dance along.

9. “Popular” – Wicked soundtrack

This song is the definition of catchy. I dare you not to sing along. Just try it. It’s impossible. I know clandestinely you want to sing with Galinda. You’re gonna grin and bear it!