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Series Crackdown TBR

Series Crackdown TBR

Last week, I discovered a readathon called Series Crackdown. Running for ten days from the 9th to the 18th of February, the challenge is to read as many books from series as you physically can over the course of the readathon. The upcoming installment is […]

Review: Paramore – The O2 Arena, 12/01/2018

Review: Paramore – The O2 Arena, 12/01/2018

With last year’s intimate UK tour completely selling out, Paramore’s return to UK arenas was bound to be huge. The trio decided to use the opportunity to party with their friends – and frontwoman Hayley Williams’ favourite band – mewithoutYou. The Pennsylvanian four-piece have recently celebrated […]

Review: Fall Out Boy – Electric Brixton, 11/01/2018

Review: Fall Out Boy – Electric Brixton, 11/01/2018

When Fall Out Boy announced three intimate European shows, it was clear that they were going to sell out fast. Tickets to their show at Electric Brixton were snapped up within seconds of going on sale, hardcore fans desperate to see the Chicago quartet at their first UK show since they co-headlined Reading festival in 2016.

The excitement was palpable in the 1,800 capacity venue, the constant hum of voices building to an impatient roar as the band’s 8:30pm stage time came and went. As the clock ticked closer towards 9pm the crowd grew restless, but the extended wait didn’t dent the response they received. The four-piece sauntered onto the stage and the audience instantly erupted into movement, chanting the words to The Phoenix at the top of their lungs as they started warming up their dancing shoes.

With the release of seventh full-length album MANIA rapidly approaching it seemed obvious for the band to focus on their new material, but they played six songs from their back catalogue – including an unexpected appearance of Hum Hallelujah – before bassist Pete Wentz approached the microphone to make the first in a series of speeches centred around the recording process and meaning behind the songs on their new album.

Online, the overriding response to the band’s new songs has ranged from disinterest to downright hatred. However, the crowd in attendance at Electric Brixton embraced the tracks from MANIA. It was as though the album had been out for months as people chanted along to every word of The Last of the Real Ones and Champion. There was even an effort made to sing along to Wilson (Expensive Mistake), the video for which was released on the afternoon that this show took place.

The biggest surprise of the evening was the stripped back piano-driven version of Young and Menace, which frontman Patrick Stump performed alone. Ordinarily, the song is stuffed to the brim with synths and dubstep-esque remixes of Stump’s vocals, so it was a shock when he transformed into a human mixing machine and recreated the chorus to a tee. One of the complaints levelled at Fall Out Boy’s new material is that it won’t work in a live environment, but in just a couple of minutes Stump silenced anyone who questioned them. Don’t believe it’s possible? Just watch this video:

Patrick Stump performing that over-produced chorus vocally is a moment I’ll never forget.

Fall Out Boy are still experiencing this level of success thanks to their willingness to take risks. Taking a hiatus when everyone else pushed themselves to burnout, returning with a far more mainstream style… Not many bands would take chances like those, but they’ve both paid off in the case of Fall Out Boy. Despite the cry of “sell outs!” being thrown in their faces, the members seem happier than ever before. Drummer Andy Hurley enthusiastically stood up and chanted at multiple points throughout the night, while guitarist Joe Trohman – always a closed book – seemed far more relaxed playing on a smaller stage.

It’s impossible to accuse the band of forgetting their roots, particularly with breakout single Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy still pride of place towards the end of the setlist. Even though they’re a chart-topping, festival-headlining behemoth, Stump still looked ridiculously pleased when an unaccompanied crowd yelled every word of the chorus back to them.

Even if you dislike Fall Out Boy’s new material, you won’t leave one of their shows feeling disappointed. Each song catapults you into a different era – most noticeable during the triple-hitter of Sugar, We’re Goin Down, Centuries and Save Rock and Roll – and you’re reminded of exactly why you fell in love with the band continually throughout the evening. Yes, Fall Out Boy have changed, but they’re still the same people who released Take This To Your Grave. At a small show like this, that’s more apparent than ever. Development in a band is a good thing: it makes you all the more grateful for the music that came before, and Fall Out Boy boast an extensive and highly varied back catalogue.

Setlist: 

The Phoenix
Irresistible
Hum Hallelujah
Sugar, We’re Goin Down
Centuries
Save Rock and Roll
The Last of the Real Ones
Young and Menace
Dance, Dance
American Beauty/American Psycho
Wilson (Expensive Mistakes)
I Don’t Care
This Ain’t a Scene, It’s an Arms Race
Hold Me Tight or Don’t
Thnks Fr th Mmrs
Grand Theft Autumn/Where Is Your Boy
Champion

Uma Thurman
My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light ’em Up)
Saturday

 

Fall Out Boy return to the UK for an arena tour in March, before heading back to Europe in April. If you’re not convinced by the songs on MANIA, get a ticket for the sheer joy you’ll experience singing along to Dance, Dance and Thnks Fr th Mmrs surrounded by thousands of other fans.

 

Alyce

X

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish resolutions

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, but was recently relocated to That Artsy Reader Girl.  Welcome back to another Top Ten Tuesday! I had so much fun challenging myself to create some bookish resolutions, particularly because I didn’t make any […]

Review: A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

Review: A Map of the Dark by Karen Ellis

I was so close to giving A Map of the Dark one star, because it was the most predictable crime novel I’ve ever read. I expected a lot more. Karen Ellis is the pseudonym of established crime/thriller author Katia Lief, and I’ve heard a lot of good […]

Review: Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

Review: Bad Girls With Perfect Faces by Lynn Weingarten

‘A good girl would have played it different. Good Girls do not scheme or plot. Good Girls do not twist or sneak.

But Bad Girls know it’s never that simple. Bad Girls know everything is gray. Everything is messy and complicated. And sometimes you have to do some fucked-up stuff to make things okay.’

I wasn’t reading anything when I sat down on the bus to London yesterday, so on a whim I decided to start Bad Girls With Perfect Faces. I was not expecting to finish it on the bus home, but this story is far too gripping to take your time with.

Sasha is in love with her best friend, Xavier, but he doesn’t know it yet. She decides to tell him, but right when she’s about to open her mouth his ex-girlfriend Ivy comes sauntering back into his life. Despite the fact that Ivy cheated on him and broke his heart, Xavier is still head over heels for her, so when she arrives he abandons Sasha and goes off with her. Sasha is heartbroken. In a drunken state she makes a fake Instagram pretending to be a boy called Jake, desperate to follow Ivy and get definitive proof that her and Xavier are back together.

In the cold light of day, Sasha comes up with a plan. If she messages Ivy as Jake and gets proof that she’s intending to cheat on Xavier, she can break them up once and for all. Her and Xavier will finally get together, and she’ll make sure he’s happy. But things spiral rapidly out of control, and Sasha’s summer of revenge changes all of their lives forever.

The only reason I requested this book on NetGalley was because I’d heard great things about Weingarten’s debut novel, Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls. I enjoy YA thrillers but they don’t often impress me, so I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this novel. Told through alternating viewpoints, we follow Sasha in first person and Xavier in third person. The contrast was jarring and difficult to get used to at first, getting much harder towards the middle of the novel when Sasha’s chapters are briefly told in second person. There’s also a third viewpoint with an ambiguous owner: a clever red herring which put me off the scent, making it harder to see a big twist coming.

If you enjoy contemporary YA with a sting in its tail, this is the book for you. The ending isn’t too surprising – things are never going to get neatly resolved in a situation like this – but I still found myself satisfied. I’m hoping this will remain a standalone even though the ending is left open for a sequel, because it’s nice to be kept guessing about these characters after growing to care for them.

If you’re interested in learning more about Bad Girls With Perfect Faces, check it out on Goodreads. If you decide to buy a copy, please consider using my Amazon affiliate link: I’ll earn a few pennies from your purchase. Thank you!  

Alyce

X

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Review: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

“Nice things don’t happen in story books,” Taryn says. “Or when they do happen, something bad happens next. Because otherwise the story would be boring, and no one would read it.” I’ve read a lot of Holly Black’s novels, but The Cruel Prince has instantly become my […]

Review: The Fandom by Anna Day

Review: The Fandom by Anna Day

“It’s one of the unwritten rules of all dystopian novels – love interests must have stupid names.” Katie laughs. “And everything starts with a capital letter, even if it’s a normal word, just to make it sound scary.” I’ve had my copy of The Fandom since signing up […]

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2017

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish.

I should rename this topic ‘Ten times I was a bad book blogger’, because the majority of the books on this list are ones that I was sent by publishers and actually should have read. I’m not sure why I’ve gotten into the bad habit of procrastinating ARCs, but I think a big part of it is that I get worried in case I don’t like the book. I know, the whole point of being a book blogger is to express your opinion… But when we’re talking about hotly anticipated titles, that kind of scares me!

I’ve decided that I’m going to change my ways in 2018, though. This is the year in which I’m not only going to catch up on all my backlist ARCs, but I’m not going to skip any going forward, either. To put it politely, I’m going to read the shit out of 2018, and I’m going to start with these ten books.

10) Birdy by Jess Vallance

Birdy by Jess Vallance

I mentioned Jess on last week’s Top Ten Tuesday, so Birdy was at the forefront of my mind when it came to choosing this week’s titles.

9) The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

The Square Root of Summer was one of the #SundayYA book club picks, and it was the first (and potentially only?) that I missed. If any of the #SundayYA gang are reading this and can let me know if there’s been a book club since, I’d be eternally grateful – I’d managed to participate in all of them until this summer, when the great reading slump smacked me in the face.

8) Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Turtles All The Way Down by John Green

I’m dubious about Turtles All The Way Down, because when it comes to John Green’s books I either a) absolutely love them or b) want to throw them out of the window of a moving vehicle. I’ve heard good things about Turtles, but I’d heard good things about The Fault in Our Stars, and that made me want to tear my fucking hair out.

7) They Both Die at the Endby Adam Silvera

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

I borrowed my boyfriend’s copy of They Both Die at the End so that I could take it to university and read it during my downtime. Turns out, I was far too busy doing extra reading for the course… So I still have my boyfriend’s copy, unread in one of the many bags of books that I moved back from uni over Christmas. I have to read it sooner rather than later, because I need to give it back to him!

6) The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

I’ve been putting off The Upside of Unrequited because Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is one of my favourite books OF ALL TIME and I didn’t think anything would be able to live up to it. However, a lot of people have told me that Upside is just as good, if not better. I’m going to be brave and get this read before Leah on the Offbeat is released in April.

5) Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

I struggle to read fantasy novels, which is why I’ve yet to read any of Laini Taylor’s novels. I liked Lips Touch: Three Times – a collection of three short stories centred around kisses – but I didn’t love it, and Strange the Dreamer is a long book and a big commitment.

4) Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

I don’t feel as guilty for not reading Here We Are Now yet, because it was an unsolicited ARC. However, it sounds ABSOLUTELY AMAZING, and it’s also pretty short, so I don’t have any excuses for not reading this one.

3) Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval is similar to Strange the Dreamer, in that fantasy books scare me. Plus this was so over-hyped that I feel it’s impossible not to like, and that scares me more than anything else. I was hoping that the hype would die down so that I could get to this one pretty quickly, but with sequel Legendary releasing in May, it doesn’t look as though people are going to stop talking about Caraval anytime soon.

2) If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

If Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak

This debut novel was one of my most highly anticipated books of last year. It sounds like it’s going to become one of my favourite books, but it also feels like a book that I need to be in the perfect mood to read. I don’t want to judge it harshly because I pick it up when I’m not in the right head space for it, so I’m just going to keep putting this off until then.

1) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This was THE hottest YA debut of last year. The only reason I haven’t read it is because of the insane amount of hype that surrounded it, but with the movie adaptation currently being filmed this book is just going to get even bigger in 2018. My boyfriend and I have been considering buddy reading it, so hopefully I’ll be getting to this one within the next couple of months.

If you’re interested in purchasing any of these books, please consider using my Amazon Affiliate link (found in the book’s title). If you’d like to read more about each book, please click their cover: you’ll be redirected to their Goodreads page.

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday! Which books do you think you should have read last year?

Gig preview: Ginger Wildheart’s Ghost spooks Swindon

Gig preview: Ginger Wildheart’s Ghost spooks Swindon

Sheer Music are kicking off 2018 with a bang. You must have heard about that sold out Frank Turner show, but the next big event is already on the horizon. Circle March 8th on your calendars: Ginger Wildheart, frontman of The Wildhearts, is making a special solo appearance […]