Top 10 Songs For A ‘These Broken Stars’ Soundtrack

Despite having read ‘These Broken Stars’ in the summer holidays, I still can’t stop thinking about the unbelievable world that Meagan Spooner and Amie Kaufman have created for their YA readers. The story has everything: action, adventure, romance, sci-fi, fantasy… and it’s beautifully narrated by the main characters, Tarver and Lilac LaRoux (such a fabulous name). As I enjoyed reading this book so much, I decided to put together a playlist to accompany the story (in chronological order) as if I were adapting it for the big screen.

  1. Icarus by Bastille: Icarus is the name of the space ship on which the first few scenes take place. The lyric “Icarus is flying too close to the sun” acts as foreshadowing for the catastrophe that is about to occur.
  2. Roads by Lawson: Tarver and Lilac keep crossing paths onboard the Icarus. As much as she tries to ignore him and push him away, they are drawn to each other by coincidence (which we later discover…is fate).
  3. Unsustainable by Muse: I can imagine this song complementing the scene when Tarver and Lilac are thrust into space in the escape pod. They are forced out of their comfort zone and into a world void of luxury or even simple communication. The word unsustainable is a reflection on the unstable escape pod itself and the protagonists’ future, as they will have limited resources when cut off from the Icarus.
  4. Hold My Hand by Michael Jackson ft. Akon: Lilac is very determined not to be helped at all by Tarver. She does not want to depend on him, and even though he offers to make hiking on the foreign planet more bearable, she refuses to take off her green ballgown, heels, or hold his hand when crossing the rocky terrain. This song shows the conflict between Tarver’s kindness and Lilac’s stubbornness.
  5. If These Sheets Were States by All Time Low: In order to keep warm, Tarver suggests that Lilac should sleep next to him when they are camping outside. The tension is high as Lilac seems to repulse him and will not resort to such sleeping arrangements. This song reflects the protagonists’ yearning to be close to one another before Lilac finally caves in to her feelings.
  6. Staring At The Sun by Mika: Tarver and Lilac constantly look out for rescue space ships in the atmosphere, and they both miss their family, who could be anywhere in space. This song highlights their loneliness, despite having each other for company; they are truly isolated.
  7. Bleeding Out by Imagine Dragons: Tarver develops a sickness and Lilac must gather medical resources from the crashed Icarus. If she loses Tarver then she loses everything. For them, it’s practically the end of the world, and as Tarver bleeds out, so does Lilac’s hope.
  8. Final Goodbye by Rihanna: Now that the protagonists have been rescued, it’s unlikely that they will be able to see each other again. Lilac’s father is the most powerful man known to the whole galaxy and it is unacceptable for her to socialise with someone as low-ranking as Tarver, despite his reputation as a fighter. They say a final, heart-breaking goodbye, as they are both sure that Tarver will be punished in the same way as Lilac’s previous boyfriend…by death.
  9. Neutron Star Collision by Muse: I don’t think this song fits into the plot of the story in any way; it’s more of a general commentary on the protagonists’ romantic feelings. The title of the song seems like a perfect metaphor for the way in which Tarver and Lilac’s hearts collided (as it explains in the lyrics). I found it hard to include only 2 Muse songs in this soundtrack because they use an impressive amount of space/physics jargon that could not be more suited to sci-fi and fantasy.
  10. Atlas by Coldplay: I would use this song alongside the credits rolling. I can imagine the audience in the cinema remaining in their seats, stunned by the incredible cinematography and poignant, heart-warming story of the film as ‘Atlas’ haunts them before leaving this fantasy world. I get chills every time I listen to this song – it just resonates with me for some reason, and I think it would be the perfect end to a ‘These Broken Stars’ movie.

Top Ten Summer Reads 2015

The weather may be dire at the moment, but it’s still summer! For some reason I associate books with seasons, depending on where/when they’re set and how they make me feel. Sometimes I save books for the winter simply because they have either a darker, more ominous cover or a pale blue, icy looking cover – reflecting the darkness and coldness of harsh winters. Likewise, books with covers that are brighter and have a floral design I tend to save for the summer, and books that I know are ‘ChickLit’ I take on holiday with me (because lying in the sun with a heavy 400-page psychological thriller makes me feel uneasy at the thought of it)! I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but who actually follows that rule?!

Here are (in no particular order) my top 10 light reads for the summer time – perfect for reading whilst lounging about in the sun, in the park, or shut away in your bedroom (if it rains nearly as much in your area as it does here).

1 – Ink by Amanda Sun ink-by-amanda-sun

Katie has recently moved to Shizuoka, Japan, to live with her aunt. She is clumsy, socially awkward and is still adjusting to the new culture. She encounters a seemingly dangerous boy, Yuu Tomohiro, and as the spring flowers blossom, so does their relationship. Katie is desperate to find out Tomo’s secret, and finds herself somehow linked to a magical power originally from ancient Japanese mythology. When Katie has the opportunity to move in with her grandparents in Canada, will she leave behind her new friends, Tomo, and the living ink sketches, in order to escape the gang eager to stamp out Tomo’s destiny?

I absolutely loved this book – how the fantastical elements are so smoothly incorporated into Katie’s story. Despite it being a fictional story, it really opened my eyes to Japanese culture and daily life, and there is even a glossary at the back so that you can pick up some of the conversational Japanese used by the characters. I also enjoyed the outdoor descriptions and learning about the tradition of having a picnic under the blossom trees. Finally, the illustrations throughout the book are a lovely accompaniment to the story and really bring the sketches to life for the reader. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in fantasy, world culture, and art.

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2 – Meet Me At The Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan

A typically British summer, a typically awful boyfriend and a typically awkward woman trying to recover from losing her typically boring day job. When her amazing cupcakes save the day, everything turns around and life begins to pick up again. Read this if you enjoy romance and cake (who wouldn’t?)

PaperTowns2009_6A-198x3003 & 4 – Paper Towns by John Green and Life Of Pi by Yan Martel Life-of-Pi

These books are bursting with colour and adventure. The Paper Towns characters are on a mission to find Margo, who has mysteriously disappeared, leaving clues everywhere. Q’s friends are lively and hilarious, each with their own quirks. They are now high school graduates and decide to go on a big journey to retrieve their friend. In Life Of Pi, Pi finds himself alone on a lifeboat with a tiger and a zebra, bound for the great unknown. This is a wild and imaginative journey where Pi learns to tame Richard Parker (the tiger) and provide for himself whilst hopelessly traveling in the ocean. I love both Pi’s insightful commentary on his life story and Q’s witty narration. I would recommend these books to readers who have an inner explorer and love escaping to other worlds not too dissimilar from their own. Click here to read my post about Paper Towns.

FangirlWIP5 – Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell is perhaps my favourite author to date. I am so excited to read Attachments (which I have been saving until after my exams) and Landline (when it’s out in paperback). Fangirl is quite relevant to me at the moment because, as well as being a huge fangirl, I am also starting university in September like Cath and Wren. This is such a wonderful novel, and I would highly recommend it (along with Rowell’s other books). Click here to read my brief review.

Book-delirium6 – Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Yet another dystopian novel that I love, where each 16 year old has surgery to remove ‘love’ and is forbidden to have particular feelings. Lena realises that she does not want to participate in the government’s scheme, and finds a way to escape and live as a nomad beyond the borders. This is a coming-of-age story about first love and brave acts of rebellion.

161433477 – We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

This book is all about family politics and one girl’s experiences of the past few summer holidays spent on a private island. It’s poetic and exciting, and there is a huge plot twist at the end (so make sure you avoid spoilers)! Click here to read my brief review.

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8 – The Other Life by Suzanne Winnacker

In the suburbs of Los Angeles, Sherry’s family are in hiding until the Military tells them it’s safe to come out of their shelter. They have been waiting for 5 years, and their food has now run out, so Sherry and her dad decide to venture out to find food, even though they risk their lives. When Sherry’s dad is captured by mutilated creatures, she has no choice but to run away with Joshua, a hunter who is lurking nearby. How will she find her family again before they die of starvation, and how will she rescue her dad? I have just read this post-apocalyptic novel and although there aren’t many aspects that differ from other current books of this genre, it was a really good read. The action is gripping and exciting, and the characters are all interesting in their own way. I liked that there is a focus on developing the character of each family member so that the reader gets to learn about their personality and what makes them tick. I would recommend it to any fan of dystopian fiction (the cover says that it’s appropriate for fans of The Hunger Games, which I can partially agree with).

9 – The Selection by Kiera Cass 10507293

Potential princesses and pretty dresses – need I say more?

10 – Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur5982448

This book is aimed at younger teenagers, but I enjoyed it all the same because of the heart warming and uplifting story of the young protagonist. The story centres on Aubrey, who is recently orphaned and decides to try and survive by herself during the summer. If you like stories about families and young children finding their way in the world, this book is for you.

Bonus:

Ask The Passengers by A.S. King, Anna And The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, and Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson are three books that I would love to add to this list… but I haven’t read them yet! They’re just sitting on my shelf, begging to be read this summer.

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Top Ten Christmas Songs

Just as Halloween is another name for October, Christmas is practically another name for December. I don’t actually celebrate Christmas, but when this time of year comes around, I can’t help but absorb the festive spirit. Everyone is very excitable, the streets look so pretty, and all I want to do is snuggle up on the sofa in my onesie with a mug of hot chocolate! So without further ado, here are ten songs (in alphabetical order) that I enjoy listening to during the Christmas period. And no, this is not the soundtrack to Frozen!

The Giving Tree by Plain White T’s

Christmas is all about giving and being with loved ones, right?

I Belong To You (Mon Ceur S’ouvre A Ta Voix) by Muse

In My Veins by Andrew Belle

Mary, Did You Know? by Pentatonix

I am obsessed with Pentatonix at the moment! They have just released their new Christmas album called ‘That’s Christmas To Me’, and I decided to buy it (this being my only Christmas album ever purchased). It’s truly wonderful and I urge you to at least watch White Winter Hymnal on YouTube because the way they create the beat is really awesome (you’ll have to see for yourself). Anyway, this song is just one of the beautiful arrangements you can find in their new album. (I would include all of them in this list but then I’d have no space for any other songs!) Enjoy!

The Mighty Fall by Fall Out Boy (feat. Big Sean)

To me, just listening to the introduction of the song puts me in a festive mood – I think it’s the combination of jingly bell sounds and the “na na na na”s.

Roads Untraveled by Linkin Park

I find this song quite haunting, and the chimes in the background make me think of clanging icicles or something.

Saviour by Black Veil Brides

I’m pretty certain that they’re not referring to Jesus as the saviour here, but it’s still quite fitting!

Tongue Tied by the Glee Cast

I first heard this is in a Hollister shop when I was doing some Christmas shopping a few years ago, and it’s stuck with me ever since! I love the energy of the song, and Glee makes everything sound brilliant.

Tuning Out by Bastille

The harmonies in this one give me shivers down my spine!

Violet Hill by Coldplay

“It was a long and dark December / From the rooftops I remember / There was snow, white snow”

Question of the day: which songs put you in a wintry mood and why? I’d love to know (and receive some recommendations) 😉

Top Ten Summer Tracks For 2014

Let’s kick off this holiday with some music to get us in a summery mood. Here are ten songs to brighten up your days spent having fun in the sun (whilst I’m stuck at home writing essays)…

1) Bamboleo by Gipsy Kings

2) Holiday by Green Day

3) Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet

4) Hit And Run by LOLO

5) Na Na Na by My Chemical Romance

6) The Calender by Panic! At The Disco

7) Our Time Now by Plain White T’s

8) Lightning In A Bottle by The Summer Set

9) Drive By by Train

10) To The Sky by Owl City

Which songs should I add to the list? Let me know what you will be listening to this summer.

The Fault In Our Stars: Top Ten Songs & General Hype

There’s no doubt that The Fault In Our Stars (AKA: TFiOS) by John Green is taking the world by storm. Along with the millions of other readers enthralled by this heartwarming novel, I believe that the story of Hazel Grace and Augustus is one that needs to be told.

To summarise in a sentence… TFiOS is about two teenagers with cancer, but the story is NOT about cancer – it’s about two normal teenagers falling in love. For a more detailed description, read this page. I don’t want to give any spoilers, in case you haven’t read the book. And if you’re one of those people, you’re missing out, so get on it!

Although TFiOS is the only book of John Green’s that I have read as yet, I can’t deny that he is my favourite author. He is such a fantastic person! Out of all the authors of books that I have read, John has made the biggest impact on his readers’ lives through his interaction with the community known as Nerdfighteria (definition here). The aim of Nerdfighteria is to ‘fight for awesome’ and ‘decrease world suck’. Anyone can become a ‘Nerdfighter’, as long as they are willing to help fulfil this criteria, to make the world a better place. Last week, I came across a Facebook group for Nerdfighters (link here), which is absolutely amazing. It sounds sad, but I’ve finally found a place where I belong. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive, and we all have so much in common, despite the socio-cultural diversity.

The reason I am so in touch with this community is mainly because of John’s YouTube channel, which he shares with his brother, Hank. The pair are known as the VlogBrothers (link to their channel is here), and each of them posts a video addressed to the other, every week. I know little about Hank, other than the fact that he has a band called Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers. However, I do know that he and John have been very successful in various projects: they created VidCon, founded DFTBA Records and started up Project For Awesome (to name a few)! They are also content creators for many channels aside from vlogbrothers, including Mental Floss and my personal favourite, The Art Assignment (which I would strongly recommend to anybody with an interest in art and design).

Back to TFiOS… If you haven’t already heard, I’m telling you now that TFiOS is being released as a film adaptation in cinemas next month. I, for one, am extremely excited. In fact, I can barely contain my excitement. The other week, I saw a girl in my form reading a book – and I could instantly tell from seeing a sliver of the inside front cover behind a wad of pages that it was exactly the same blue as what I would call ‘TFiOS blue’. I freaked out.

Since The Hunger Games, I tried to suppress my excitement for book-to-film adaptations because the first film left me feeling very disappointed. For example, with Divergent, even though I followed every single part of the filming process (from the drawn-out search in casting Four to sneak previews of the Faction symbol designs), I had low expectations. So when the movie turned out to be a genuinely good representation of the book, it exceeded my expectations, and I was not disappointed at all. However, this film has already been screened exclusively for some lucky fans (so jealous!) and everyone so far has agreed (between sobbing into a handful of tissues) that “the film is the book”. What more could I hope for?

I have seen the trailer(s) and all of the preview clips, and I just know that this film will be a huge success. The lead characters look perfect and the tone seems to be completely as John had intended. When I first saw the trailer, I thought, “Wow, this is actually happening. How cool!” But then I saw the extended trailer… and I got so emotional that I was halfway between crying and squealing (gutturally, which sounded very queer). Oh, the feels! If I’m like this for the trailer, I can’t imagine myself in the cinema screen!

It’s a metaphor, see: You put the killing thing right between your teeth, but you don’t give it the power to do its killing.

If you also need to prepare yourself for the copious amount of feels in the cinema, check out this TFiOS survival pack, which is full of limited edition TFiOS goodies, including a much needed pack of tissues! Also on the website, you will find a treasure chest of the ultimate Nerdfighter merchandise, including products from DFTBA Records’ artists. Another useful link is for PageToPremiere, the best website ever. Here, you will find everything you need to know about all of the popular, upcoming book-to-film adaptations. The TFiOS section will bring you updates and exclusive material, so make sure you add it to your bookmarks!

In the mean time, allow me to introduce you to our wonderful movie cast…

There’s the beautiful, down-to-earth Shailene Woodley, AKA: Tris from Divergent (among other characters). There’s the gob-smackingly-gorgeous-and-totally-my-future-husband Ansel Elgort, AKA: Caleb from Divergent and Tommy Ross from Carrie).  Don’t be surprised if my next Top Ten Tuesday post is ‘Top Ten Reasons To Fall In Love With Ansel Elgort’. Oh, and there’s also Nat Wolff, who you may or may not remember from Nickelodeon’s The Naked Brothers Band.

Shailene Woodley Ansel Elgort Nat Wolff

And now it’s time for the original Top Ten Tuesday part of the post – 10 songs (in no particular order) that I think would make the perfect soundtrack for the story (I realised that I actually had quite a lot to say about TFiOS, hence all the extra bits and pieces above). My reasons for the choice of songs are pretty obvious, if you listen to the songs’ lyrics.

Amsterdam – Imagine Dragons

Hurricane – Panic! At The Disco

Just One Yesterday – Fall Out Boy

Oblivion – Bastille

Oh, Calamity! – All Time Low

Say You Like Me – We The Kings

Sun – Two Door Cinema Club

This Is It – Michael Jackson

Young Volcanoes – Fall Out Boy

Youth – Foxes

Here is a link to the real movie soundtrack. I think that ‘Boom Clap’ and ‘What You Wanted’ are really catchy and will be popular among the fans. Enjoy!

Before I sign off, I would like to leave you with the names of 4 inspirational cancer warriors:

  • Esther Earl (link to her book)
  • Josh Sundquist (link to his website)
  • Zach Sobiech – today marks exactly a year since his death (link to a video about his life)
  • Talia Castellano (link to a website in her honour)

And finally, here are some TFiOS related images that I want to share with you…

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Thank you for reading this super-long post! If you are new here, don’t forget to ‘follow’ my blog. And if you were brought here via the Nerdfighter Facebook group, please comment below to tell me! 🙂

DFTBA xxx

Divergent Premiere: Top Ten Soundtrack Songs

When I first read Divergent, about 4 years ago, I fell in love with the story. When I found out that Neil Burger was going to direct a film adaptation of the dystopian novel, I couldn’t have been more excited about the project. No matter how mainstream this franchise has become, it’s still MY THING.

Divergent hit the cinemas in the US on 21st March, and finally it’s the UK’s turn to welcome the film to our box offices, this Friday! In honour of this, I have decided to create my own playlist of songs that I would use in the Divergent soundtrack.

I have not heard the real film soundtrack*, so this is purely based on my own imagination and ideas about themes and moments from the book. I know it’s subjective, but to me, these songs have lyrics that are relevant to the story, and so I look forward to sharing them with you. The order in which I have compiled this list reflects loosely the chronological structure of the plot.

1) Map of The World – Plain White T’s

Tris has yet to discover her true identity. She struggles to find out where she fits in, not just faction-wise, but in the grand scheme of things. She feels insignificant, especially as she’s Abnegation-born, and has no sense of freedom until joining Dauntless. She has never had the opportunity to think for herself or about what she wants. This song is about Tris asking herself what matters to her and where her priorities lie. Where does she fit in?

2) Welcome To The Black Parade – My Chemical Romance

The title of this song is like symbol for Dauntless members; they are like a parade of black-clad soldiers. As well as the black clothing and tattoos, the ‘black parade’ represents the display of confidence that comes along with a Dauntless attitude, and the darker side of society. To me, this song is all about Tris realising her responsibilities and the implications of choosing Dauntless over Abnegation (which would have been more acceptable). It’s like Tris’ calling to the faction and a ‘welcom[ing]’ once she has been initiated.

3) What Are You So Scared Of? – Tonight Alive

Four is a very strict instructor, and taunts Tris at first for being a Stiff. This challenging voice is prominent throughout the song, although it could also be an internal voice in Tris’ head, forcing her to conquer her fears when she lacks confidence. This could be a fitting song for the moment when Tris decides to be the first jumper, to prove herself worthy. She needs to realise the consequences following her choosing ceremony, and that with bravery comes selflessness. Also, everyone is scared of something.

4) On Top Of The World – Imagine Dragons

Tris starts to develop early on in her Dauntless training, as a person and as a fighter. She knows that she can’t give up and become Factionless, so she tries her best to fit in and make Four proud of her. On the ferris wheel, Tris feels quite literally ‘on top of the world’ and it’s nothing like she’s ever experienced before. She encourages Four when he admits that he’s afraid of heights, and enjoys the thrill of learning who she truly is.

5) Undisclosed Desires – Muse

Tris is not a confident and head-strong character when she starts off in Dauntless, but now she knows how she feels about Four. In this song, I feel like there are two voices: Tris’ and Four’s. Tris explores her thoughts about her love for Four, and admits her passion to herself, which scares her. Four wants to make Tris feel safe, secure, and above all, beautiful. They forgive each other for being ruthless and accept each other for who they are, as they can’t be defined solely by society.

6) Guts – All Time Low

Tris becomes more confident and learns to take risks and what the meaning of freedom (within the oppressive society) means. She realises that she has power and strength. She is brave and bold, and it feels amazing to have ‘the guts to say anything’.

7) Uprising – Muse

This song reflects the corrupt society that keeps secrets from all of its citizens. Everyone is manipulated and kept under Jeanine’s control. However, the end of the novel sets up for an uprising, whereby the people feel they can’t live like this anymore; they feel like the truth is being kept from them and they want to overrule the system.

8) You Know What They Do To Guys Like Us In Prison – My Chemical Romance

In the end, Four is brainwashed by Jeanine’s programme, turning him into some kind of robot. He loses his identity completely and is degraded. Tris is insane and wants him back desperately because she loves him so much. Four is trapped in his own internal prison, and Tris is the only one who can save him.

9) The Reckless And The Brave – All Time Low

In the beginning, Tris doesn’t fit in anywhere because she’s Divergent, and so choosing a faction is a major issue. Even in in the Dauntless compound, the training is too intense, and she worries that this lifestyle is not for her. Tris finally feels like she belongs, and she’s not ready to leave until she’s initiated; her determination prevails. She comes to realise that she can be selfless and brave simultaneously, and that’s what makes her special. She has fled from her Abnegation roots and become her own person. This song celebrates her recklessness and bravery, and how it has helped her in her initiation among other things.

10) In The End – Black Veil Brides (BONUS: Allegiant)

Regretfully, I couldn’t pick the ideal 10th song for Divergent! So I skipped to Allegiant, because this song pretty much sums up the ending of the trilogy. I don’t want to say much else because that would force me to give spoilers, and I’m strongly against Allegiant spoilers! Just listen to the lyrics and see if you can relate it to the story – whatever you come up with is probably what I’m thinking as well.

Did I pick the right songs? How does this compare to your ideal Divergent soundtrack? Let me know in the comments!

 

*I reluctantly saw the music video to Ellie Goulding’s Divergent song, and I hated everything about it. So I decided not to listen to any of the other music from the soundtrack, and I wanted to create my own.

Valentine’s Day: Top Ten Love Songs

As Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, I sifted through my iTunes library to compile a list of my 10 favourite love songs. They make me smile, feel all warm and fuzzy inside, and sometimes give me chills*! Here’s the selection (in reverse alphabetical order, to jazz things up a bit), as well as links to the videos on YouTube, and a quote I like from the lyrics. Enjoy!

 

1) We’ll Be A Dream – We The Kings ft. Demi Lovato

“We’ll take control of the world like it’s all we have to hold onto and we’ll be a dream”

 

2) Vanilla Twilight – Owl City

“The stars lean down to kiss you and I lie awake and miss you”

 

3) Sarah Smiles – Panic! At The Disco

“Velvet lips and the eyes to pull me in – we both know you’d already win”

 

4) Rhythm Of Love – Plain White T’s

“My heart beats like a drum, a guitar string to the strum: a beautiful song to be sung”

 

5) Rescue – The Summer Set

“When you need me I’ll be there, a friend in the eye of a storm”

 

6) I Want Crazy – Hunter Hayes

“I’m booking myself a one-way flight – I gotta see the colour in your eyes”

 

7) Fever* – Michael Bublé cover

“Thou givest fever (when he kisseth) – fever with thy flaming youth”

 

8) Everything – Michael Bublé

“You’re the swimming pool on an August day, and you’re the perfect thing to say”

 

9) Be Your Everything – Boys Like Girls

“I’ll be your shelter, I’ll be your storm, I’ll make you shiver, I’ll keep you warm”

 

10) Backseat Serenade – All Time Low

“Lazy lover, find a place for me again”