2019 Inspiration Round-Up

Hello readers!

Welcome to another installment of our semi-regular-ish Reading Round-Up where we gush over what we’re currently reading and loving, and what we’re looking forward to reading. This time we’re also sharing our favorite movies and music of 2019! Let us know what you’re currently diving into in the comments!

 

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JOYCE:

Favourite Book of the Year

The Memory Police, by Yoko Ogawa

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I’m not usually a fan of sci-fi/dystopian fiction, but this one was atmospheric, haunting, and emotional. It completely blew me away and changed my mind about this genre.

Favourite Movie of the Year

Knives Out

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I can’t rave enough about this movie. Brilliant storytelling, clever unexpected plot, and #ChrisEvansinasweater is the delicious cherry on top.

Favourite Music Discovery of the Year

Hollow Coves

I love everything about their vibe – it’s perfect for long car rides, quiet evenings, and everything in between.

Special Mention

Before We Go

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This movie is criminally under-rated. It might be Chris Evans’s directorial debut, but I really love his directorial style. I love how simple the story is, about two people who fall for each other in the big city due to a chance encounter, and they work through their personal baggage with each other’s help. I love the soundtrack, the unpretentious, honest vibe of the movie, and I love seeing Chris Evans basically act as himself irl.

 

MEREDITH:

Favourite Book of the Year

This year I didn’t set myself an exact number of books to read, all I wanted was to read more than last year, and I did! It was a tough year emotionally, but I found books that helped me through it all, and that inspired me in my writing as well. My favorite book this year was:

SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young

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This book blew me away. It’s a tale set in an alternate Viking world, with Norse-inspired names, languages, and deities, and I was hooked from page one. It’s brutal and beautiful and I was still thinking about the characters long after I finished. Sprinkle in a slow-burn romance and some Wonder Woman vibes and I’m one happy reader.

A close runner-up:

THE FAMILIARS by Stacey Halls

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This book ticked all the boxes for this historical fiction geek. Rarely-portrayed time period? Check. Witchcraft, or at least a hint of it? Check. Sympathetic characters? Check. A gorgeous hardcover?? CHECK. (Ok I admit, I found out about this book from the posters on the London Underground. . .sometimes you can judge a book by its stunning cover.) I’m querying my first novel HONORS again, and I’m so excited to use this book as a comp title. I can’t wait to see what else Stacey Halls writes!

I also FINALLY read SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo this year, which was incredible, and the sequel, CROOKED KINGDOM, which was also good, but I liked the first one better. I also liked THE GILDED WOLVES by Roshani Chokshi. Her world-building and evocative turns of phrase made me want to get lost in the alternate fantasy version of Paris she conjured up, but I found myself a bit lost sometimes in all the clues in the treasure hunt. I definitely felt for the characters by the end though, and the ending has me looking forward to the next book,THE SILVERED SERPENTS! This and Bardugo’s work have inspired me to keep brainstorming a heist novel I’ve had in the back of my mind for years. . .

This year I’m hoping to keep up my goal of reading more than the previous year, and expanding the genres I read, especially more sci-fi and romance.

Favourite Movie of the Year

Avengers: Endgame

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Aghh this one is tough, as I didn’t watch as many movies as I would have liked to this year. I saw a few in cinemas where it was a really fun or emotional movie-going experience, so I’d say my most memorable one was seeing Endgame. Whether you love or hate Marvel movies, I loved seeing how all the threads were interwoven and tied up by the end of this (admittedly long) film. I didn’t necessarily love all the character arcs, and some of the time travel plot points got a bit tangled, but overall it was an incredible film to see on the big screen, and it was satisfying to reach the end of the emotional journey of these characters I’ve come to love over the last ten years. (SPOILER ALERT: Ok I totally cried when Tony died, and when Steve and Peggy FINALLY got their dance!) This film is definitely meant to be seen on the big screen, so I’m glad I got to see it that way.

Favourite Music Discovery of the Year

Blanco White – I’ve written about his songs in some of our Music Monday posts, so I won’t go on and on about him here, but his music has gotten me through late nights, early mornings, lazy afternoons, and even panic attacks this year. I love when a song (or book, or movie) absolutely transports me, and his music never fails to do that. My favorites are Nocturne, and Papillon.

 

NICOLE:

Favorite Book of the Year: Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes

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I wasn’t expecting one of my first reads of the year last year to be one of my favorites of the entire year, but Sykes swept me away and didn’t let go. I fell in love with Sal the Cacophany and was ensnared by her story. I loved the intricate way in which it was written and the ending was just like…shit.

Let’s just say the sequel is one of my most anticipated reads this year, please and thank you.

Favorite Movie of the Year: How To Train Your Dragon 3

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I don’t watch a ton of movies to begin with, but this one was my most anticipated and though it broke my heart in so many ways and I bawled like a child, it was absolutely perfect. I haven’t been brave enough to watch it again since I saw it in theatres, but I absolutely loved it.

Favorite Music Discovery of the Year: SKÁLD

No one told me how good this band was. I also didn’t realize how much I needed Viking-inspired Old Norse in my life, but HOLY SHIT, it’s like a void has been filled and I am blessed. I have listened to them on repeat for a few months now and I have no intention of stopping and now have a desire to see them live, so…yeah, that’s a thing.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to? Share your recommendations with us!


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