Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Emma's July Non-Beauty Favourites

This month, even more than last month, I have many non-beauty favourites. These include books, music, TV and movies. I think this may simply be due to the terrible weather we're having in the UK at the moment.


Newton Faulkner 'Write It On Your Skin'

I have already reviewed this album but I have to include it in these favourites as I have continued to listen to it all this month and can conclusively say that every song on the album is amazing in its own way.


Lianne La Havas 

I discovered her this month through iTunes free song of the week. After listening to the track a couple of times I decided to purchase her whole debut album Is Your Love Big Enough? and I have not been disappointed by it.
  1. Don't Wake Me Up
  2. Is Your Love Big Enough?
  3. Lost & Found
  4. Au cinema
  5. No Room For Doubt (feat. Willy Mason)
  6. Forget
  7. Age
  8. Elusive
  9. Everything Everything
  10. Gone 
  11. Tease Me
  12. They Could Be Wrong
The whole album has a very alternative soulful vibe with many tracks also having an apparent folky edge to them also. Thought not overwhelmingly a standout album there is definitely a fresh quality to her voice which keeps you interested throughout.

Each track has a different vibe from the next so it is quite easy for me to pick out my favourites. The track which immediately stood out the most to me is Gone which is a beautifully simply arranged song that allows her amazing vocals to shine. I also really like the catchy title track Is Your Love Big Enough?

Overall this album displays a great potential for her to go far.



Oryx and Crake

This is the first book I have read by Margaret Atwood but it most certainly will not be the last.

Without giving too much away, this novel is set in an extremely bleak but scarily imaginable dystopian future. The main character is a complex man named Jimmy who somehow has survived the catastrophe and tells the tale of his life, in parts, from his childhood to the events leading up to his present situation.

Atwood's impeccable writing and clearly extensive research of the science involved in the ideas she poses are what made this book feel like a possible conception of the future of our planet. She is able to give Jimmy many less favourable traits yet keep the reader interested in his plight and understanding of all his actions.

After finishing this novel I immediately purchased The Year of the Flood which is set at a similar time to this novel but in a different situation. I am sure this will be in next months favourites.



Exodus Trilogy

This month, in just 2 days, I finally finished the last book in this series which I have been invested in since I was 12. The trilogy consists of Exodus, Zenith and Aurora, the novel I just finished, all written by Scottish author Julie Bertagna.

The trilogy basically follows a teenage girl through to adulthood on her quest to find a new home safe from the risen sea levels. It is a fairly under-rated dystopian series.
Exodus begins in 2099 when Mara and her people flee their island for refuge from rising sea levels caused by global warming. This is the start of her crazy adventure to a sky city and the strange underworlds beneath and a group of people who live in trees (the names of which are areas of the city of Glasgow near where I live). She is able to access this crazy cyber world, which really highlights the extent of the author's imagination, and meets a boy in the sky city (grandson of the leader) who she falls in love with.

He helps her in her overall quest to reach the island of Greenland, which he cannot go with her too, and without giving too much away is the central storyline of Zenith.

Aurora is set about 16 years after the start of the trilogy. It centers on the boy, Fox, now about 30 acting out his mass revolution against the sky cities and Lily, his daughter with Mara, who is 15 and just discovering that her father is Fox, who is unaware her and her mother survived. Initially Mara does not feature heavily in this book as it focuses heavily on the revolution and Lily's quest to find her real father but she does becomes a central presence by the end. Without getting too detailed about the plot, what I loved about this novel was the reference to previous characters presumed dead or otherwise which allowed the whole story to come together in a conclusion involving many of the characters.

I will say that the very end of the novel is not quite as I expected and has made me hope that there will be one more novel.



Falling Skies

The second season of this great sci-fi show started up again this month and has continued to be as enjoyable as the first.

It basically tells the story of the aftermath of a global invasion by aliens referred to as 'mechs' and 'skitters'. Within a few days the invaders neutralise the world's power grid and technology, destroy the militaries of all the world's countries, and  kill most of the human population. The aliens' objectives have still not been clearly explained, though they spent much of the first season rounding up children between the ages of 8 and 18 and attaching a device onto their spines, referred to as a "harness" which allows them to control the children.

In the first season the story picks up six months after the invasion and follows a group of survivors who band together to fight back. The group, known as the Second Massachusetts is led by retired Captain Weaver and a Boston University history professor Tom Mason.

The main focus of the first season was finding the professor's son who had been taken by the aliens to be harnessed. At the same time they try to figure out as much as they can about the aliens and their technology to try and fight back.

So far in the second season they are trying to make their way to Charleston where they have heard a large group of survivors have began reforming a government. On the way they are suffering an increasing number of casualties and are becoming involved in an apparent revolution by some of the aliens against the others.

Falling skies airs on TNT in the US and FX in the UK.



This comedy was really hilarious and definitely deserved its critical acclaim.



Rise of the Planet of the Apes

This film really was exceptionally better than I expected with impressive CGI and a really emotional, heartrenching story of apes desperate for freedom which is well executed at every turn.


The Help 

This is an emotional drama full of excellent acting performances, particularly by Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer, which will definitely require a whole box of tissues to get through it.



The Artist

I was so sceptical about watching this film since I'd never seen a silent movie before but this month my sister and I decided to take the plunge. All I can say is that this film definitely deserved all the awards it received.

The acting was impressive (considering the lack of speaking!) and the concept of making a silent movie about the period of time when such movies were dying out was genius.

The soundtrack was perfect and the crazily talented dog belonging to the main character deserves a mention as a complete scene stealer.

All in all, this film was a great one off revival of silent movies.


Would love to know if you have any recommendations for this month.

Thanks for reading! We'd love to know what you think of our blog.

Emma x

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