Blogmas #11: Christmas Songs

blogmas 11

I love Christmas songs, I love listening to old favourites as well as hearing new ones, and listening to new takes on old classics. As soon as it’s socially acceptable, I put on Christmas music and listen to some great songs when I can – when writing and in the shower, mostly. Below are some of my current favourites for this year, and I’ve tried to mix it up as much as I could, rather than just include the standard set of Christmas songs we all know and love.

Fair warning: quite a lot of these are Disney, because Disney Christmas music is awesome.

Christmas is Here – Disneyland Paris Christmas Parade

 

I love this song so much. It’s catchy, and joyful, and just conveys exactly what Christmas should be about. I’m so glad we got to experience it this year, even if we watched the parade while queuing for Stitch, but it’s the last year they’re using it, apparently. Still, it’ll likely be one I listen to every year from now on.

Twelve Days of Christmas – Straight No Chaser

I absolutely love this version of Twelve Days, which I actually only heard for the fast time last year. It’s now an absolute must at Christmas – fun and original, and the kind of song you can entertain family members with when they hear it for the first time.

I Believe In Father Christmas – Greg Lake

 

I couldn’t do a list of Christmas songs and not include this. Did anyone else listen to this as a kid and, like, NOT pick up on the actual meaning? It’s my dad’s favourite Christmas song, so whenever it came on – on the radio, originally, then on TV when we got music channels – it gets turned way up, and anyone currently in the household sings along. I love this song – it’s one of those that sounds really happy and cheerful, until you actually, properly listen to it.

It Feels Like Christmas – Muppets Christmas Carol

 

To pick just one song from the whole film was a struggle – if you haven’t already, I definitely suggest listening to the complete soundtrack over the festive period. Muppets Christmas Carol is not only the best version of Christmas Carol, but the best Christmas film, period. It’s fantastic and heart-warming and with some amazing songs. Can’t go wrong with this one at all, and it’s a real shame I don’t have time now for a Christmas Films blog because this would have definitely been on there.

As Long As There’s Christmas – Beauty & The Beast: Enchanted Christmas

 

I really need to watch this filma gain. And I warned you there’d be a lot of Disney. This song is from the sequel to Beauty and the Beast, a film I really should watch again. Like Christmas is Here, it’s just a joyful song, and it’s less about all the extra stuff around Christmas, and more about making do with what you have around you, because it’s not the tree that makes Christmas, is it? It’s the people you spend it with, the memories you make, the magic feel in the air. The sneaking around behind a cursed beast’s back and – oh, wait, that’s kind of specific, isn’t it?

 

This will actually be my last Blogmas post, as I am going to Margate tomorrow to spend Christmas with my brother. I hope you’ve enjoyed these Christmas themed blog posts, and I would love to hear your thoughts on the songs I’ve picked, and if you have any particular Christmas song favourites, especially if they’re not the usual ones we often hear!

To all my followers –

Merry Christmas!

Whatever you do over the next week, I hope you have an absolutely lovely time, doing what you enjoy best, whatever that may be, and spending it with the people you want to spend it with. Have a good one!

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer [Review]

a curse so darkI read this book immediately after The Queen of Nothing, hoping it would fill the hole left by Holly Black’s fantastic end to an amazing trilogy. And it did…but after finishing it, that hole now feels twice as big. Luckily, this series is still ongoing, and the sequel is out in January, so seems like I read it at the right time.

A Curse So Dark and Lonely  is a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a slight modern twist. Prince Rhen is cursed to repeat the same season, over and over, transforming into a beast at the end and slaughtering everyone in his path, unless he can find a girl to fall in love with him. By the time we meet him, he barely knows of anything happening outside his cursed castle, and the only person left at his side is the commander of his Royal Guard, Grey.

After trying to find a woman among his own people, Rhen turns to Grey, and Grey is granted the ability – from the same enchantress who cursed them – to cross to the ‘other side’ at the start of every season.

Mistakes and errors lead Grey to taking Harper from Washington, DC to Emberfall. Harper doesn’t want to be there, she doesn’t want to deal with princes and guards and enchanted instruments – she wants to know her brother and her mother are safe, with her brother working for a loan shark to pay off their father’s debts, and her mother suffering from cancer.

I was completely and utterly gripped by the story, right from the very first page. The world painted is vivid, though it is dark and dangerous there are spots of warmth to be found, even with an eerie, empty castle. The characters are complex and interesting, each with their own issues to work through and trying to cope with the situations they find themselves in.

To me, Harper felt like a really strong character, one determined to do the right thing, even at risk to herself, and as she maneuvers through this world, learning about politics and royalty and other things she’s never had to think about before, she shows herself to be kind and endearing, considerate and strong-willed, and those aspects combined endear her to everyone around her.

There’s a very slight almost love triangle, but it never really grows into anything. There’s the potential of feelings between Harper and Grey, but that aspect is more played on when it comes to Rhen, watching them interact and seeing something deeper than what’s happening before him.

The aspect of Rhen being a beast some of the time, and the beast never being the same twice, was one I really liked – it added tension and uncertainty, as there was never any way to plan for what could happen.

I also really liked the interactions between him and Harper. Although she is kidnapped and forced to remain in Emberfall, so much of what happens between her and Rhen is about trust. There’s no insta-love here, but two wounded, defensive people trying to work around one another, approaching each other slowly and carefully, each as like as the other to take simple words or gestures the wrong way.

Although it is a retelling, there is little too predictable about the book, and it brings together elements of the fairytale well, while also mixing things up so nothing here feels overly familiar or overdone.

I really enjoyed the slow burn aspect to their relationship, and loved the way it unfolded. Overall, this is a really strong novel, one I could barely put down, and definitely worth checking out if you haven’t done so already.