Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss an AMAZING artist that y’all NEED to check out immediately. Who am I talking about you ask? Excellent question everybody. Today you’re going to learn all about Victoria Skie, an incredible singer/songwriter from New York that you’re about to become completely obsessed with. So now please allow me to explain exactly why Victoria will be your new favorite artist. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video we’re going to talk about is Victoria’s ‘Sorry- Justin Bieber (Cover)’ video, which was uploaded on November 21, 2015. This video is the perfect example of how Victoria can take a song and truly make it her own. This honestly doesn’t even feel like a cover, but more like what this song would’ve sounded like if Victoria was the original artist. The next video we’re going to discuss is her ‘Havana -Camila Cabello ft. Young Thug’ cover video which was uploaded on November 16, 2017 (you can check out this video below). Once again Victoria puts her own unique twist on this cover, which continues to show us how she is growing not only as a vocalist, but as an artist. In this video we get to see how Victoria would handle a more high tempo song which shows her diversity as an artist.
Next up we have the music video for Victoria’s original song ‘Arrow’, which was uploaded on May 8, 2018 (you can check out this video below). This is such a beautiful song y’all! The music video uses black & white tones, as well as beautiful framing to really help you feel the emotional impact of the lyrics of ‘Arrow’. After listening to this song you’ll see that Victoria is not only an exceptionally talented vocalist, but she is also a talented songwriter. So basically she can do it all! The last video we’re going to discuss is Victoria’s ‘Don’t Matter To Me – Drake ft. Michael Jackson’ cover video which was uploaded on July 13, 2018. I was really interested to see how Victoria was going to handle this song, because of the unique mix of both Drake & Michael Jackson’s musical styles in ‘Don’t Matter To Me’. Although we did not hear Victoria rapping in this cover, I thought she did a great job of combining these two songs into a very cool cover. One thing I definitely learned after listening to this cover was just when you think you know what Victoria is capable of, she does something to show her listeners that she is truly an artist who knows no boundaries.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we have a review of the novel ‘Silence Interrupted’ by Sania Shaikh, which was released on November 14th, 2016, & was provided for review by Lanier Press. Now I do want to issue a trigger warning for the following topics: suicide, cutting, Depression, alcoholism, spousal/child abuse, profanity, slut shaming, & homophobic slurs, so if any of these topics are triggering to you this is probably not the book for you. I can honestly say I have a lot to say about this one so let’s jump into the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Silence Interrupted’ is a young adult novel about a group of four friends in their senior year of high school named: Troye, Adelaide, Arabella, & Zaidan. The four form a group after Troye moves from his hometown in Florida, to Georgia. On Troye’s 1st day of school, he is quickly intrigued by Adelaide outgoing nature, & the two quickly form a strong bond. At a school event Troye meets Arabella & Zaidan (who have been a couple for several years), & the four share a year of fun, friendship, & learning how to help each other conquer their darkest inner demons.
First of all I want to start off with what I really enjoyed about this book. I really loved all the topics that were tackled throughout this novel. The topics of cutting & child/spousal abuse in regards to Troye & Arabella were particularly well developed, which made these characters more engaging. I also really enjoyed the adults in this book. I thought that the author did a really good job of making us feel love, empathy, & hate towards the various adult characters in this book, which gave them more character depth. Unfortunately where ‘Silence Interrupted’ falls a bit short in my opinion is in the pacing of the book & the use of multiple perspectives. I often felt as if I didn’t know how much time passed throughout the book, which made it hard to believe the bond between the group because in one chapter they meet & by the next they’ve known each other for some time. The book often felt like it went by to slow during some parts of the book, & then speed up to much during other parts of the book. Lastly, I often wasn’t sure whose perspective I was listening to (since we got to see all 4 perspectives throughout the book). I often had to go back to the beginning of the chapter in order to know who was telling the story, which distracted me from what was happening in the story. Because of this, my enjoyment of the book definitely suffered despite the fact that the plot was a very interesting concept. I definitely would have loved it if the author just stuck with Troye & Adelaide’s perspectives instead of using all four characters, because I think this would have helped focus the writing a bit more which would have allowed the reader to stay immersed in the plot. Due to these reasons, I do have to give this book a 1 out of 5 smiley faces.
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“I never meant for it to go the way it did. I swear. I just wanted to talk to someone. I didn’t mean to fall in love.”- Eric from ‘Follow Me Back’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘ Monday Memos’ we’re going to discuss a book called ‘Follow Me Back’, a psychological thriller that will definitely find a place among your TBR pile (or To Be Read for those of you who don’t speak BookTube) very soon. ‘Follow Me Back’ is the debut book from A.V. Geiger, one of the latest superstars to come out of the writing website Wattpad, and was provided for review by Sourcebooks Fire. On the outside this book seems like your typical Young Adult contemporary novel, but it quickly evolves into a story that will keep you mesmerized until the end. So now that you’re excited, let’s begin the review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Follow Me Back’ is a dual perspective novel that tells the story of 18 year old Tessa Hart who is a super fan of musician Eric Thorne. Tessa become famous within the Eric Thorne fandom when her fanfiction ‘Eric Thorne Obsessed’ goes viral. Due to her newfound internet fame, Tessa grabs the attention of fellow super fan MET (a screen name that stands for Mrs. Eric Thorne), as well as Eric’s management team. However, Tessa is harboring a deep secret that will eventually change her life forever. We also get insight into 18 year old superstar Eric’s deep resentment of his extreme fame, due to the fact that his fans seem to be more interested in his body than his music. When Eric creates a catfish Twitter account in order to ruin his own image, he sets off a series of events that will expose the dark sides of fame & obsession.
I feel like I have to start off this section by saying that not only is this a 5 smiley face book, but it broke the smiley face scale. Luckily the last few books I’ve reviewed have been very good reads, but this is undoubtedly the best book I’ll read this year. The characters are incredibly well developed & interesting, the plot grips you from the first word & never lets you go, & the twists and turns not only make perfect sense, but actually surprise you. Lastly, I really have to commend A.V. Geiger on her talent as a writer. She is able to perfectly jump between the perspectives of Tessa & Eric, while making their characters feel distinct and interesting. She is also able to use the tool of flashbacks through police reports to help her story become even more compelling. Needless to say I am so excited to not only read the sequel to this book, but to also add A.V. Geiger to my list of auto-buy authors. I am so excited to see where her career goes, & encourage all of you to invest in this duology TODAY!
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“It’s all frivolous, meaningless. The only things that matter are already gone or almost gone. Already put aside in my safe, tidy compartment of lost things.”- Lena from ‘Who We Are Instead’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a new book called ‘Who We Are Instead’ by Kyla Stone, which was provided by for review by ‘Paper Moon Press’. This is a very interesting book that touches on themes of loss, love, family, & finding your purpose in life. Fair warning this book does discuss mental illness, child abuse/neglect, drug/alcohol use, undetermined rape self-harm, & suicide, so if these issues are triggering to you, please don’t read this book, or proceed with caution. Now let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Who We Are Instead’ follows the dual perspectives of sisters Lena & Lux McKenna as they are forced to confront their individual personal demons when their father has a heart attack & is given a very small window of time to live. Lena must return home from her arts college where she is studying photography, & take on her role as “the responsible one”, while trying to resolve her issues with 18 year old “wild child” Lux. As we learn more about Lena, we see that issues from her childhood have cause her to become a more guarded & introverted person. Contrary to Lena, Lux has no desire to succeed in school, likes to party, smoke, do drugs, & drink a lot, & also leaves home for weeks at a time without informing anyone as to where she’s going.
So now we’ve reached the big question, is this book worth your time? Honestly the answer is a very loud yes! In this book we not only get to experience both girls perspectives, but also get a very strong sense of who they are as people, what has shaped them, & what’s important to them. We also get romance plots for both girls, & get introduced to Lux’s AMAZING childhood friends. I also really like that all of the characters we meet are flawed in some way of another, & the author does not attempt to redeem each of them which unfortunately does often mirror our own world very closely. With Lena & Lux’s stories we see how similar past experiences can cause different reactions in each person. We see that some people fight the past they are given to create the future they desire, while others run from their past in order to numb the pain & protect themselves. ‘Who We Are Instead’ gives us a very realistic & gripping tale of what can happen when a fractured family finally shatters, while also leaving the ending as ambiguous & open to promise as Lena & Lux themselves are. Definitely a 5 star read that’s will give you all the feels, but as also make you think about these very important issues.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to review a very cool musician, who has found a way to merge her love of anime, with her love of music. If you haven’t heard of Amanda Lee (aka ‘LeeandLie` on YouTube), then you’re missing out on a uniquely talented singer/songwriter/voice actress. At the time of this blog post Amanda has over 1.2 million YouTube subscribers, & has worked on numerous anime/video game titles such as: Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, Overlord II, One Piece, Anonymous Noise, Dragon Ball: Xenoverse 2, Yandere Simulator, & many more. In 2017 she also released her debut EP which included 5 original songs co-written by Amanda. Needless to say she has become a rising star both online & in the voice acting industry, so now let’s catch all of y’all up with the amazingness that is Amanda Lee. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video we’re going to talk about is Amanda’s ‘Sword Art Online- Crossing Field (Opening) [English ver]’ cover video, which was uploaded on September 2, 2012 (you can check out this video below). This is a very interesting video that really shows a unique take on this song. It’s very cool to see Amanda change the original Japanese lyrics into original English lyrics that still fit the beat of the music, but show her original take on the song. This skill shows that Amanda was a true artist even towards the beginning of her career. The next video we’re going to talk about is her ‘Dango Daikazoku (Ending) |English ver |’ cover video which was uploaded on February 22, 2014. Just in the 1 year & 5 months between this video & the Sword Art Online video, you can see a vast improvement in Amanda’s vocals, which shows just how dedicated she is to her craft. This cover is also a great example of how well Amanda can project the emotional undertones of a song, & really make her listener understand what the lyrics are trying to convey.
Next up we have Amanda’s ‘Pokemon – Pokemon Theme (Full Opening)’ video which features Natewantstobattle, which was uploaded on December 12, 2016 (you can check out this video below). This is definitely one of my favorite videos because it shows such a growth in Amanda’s artistry & video production skills. This video features revolving animation from all of the Pokemon generations from the 90s until present day which so unique & cool. This video shows the amount of thought Amanda puts into her videos, which proves how much she cares about her subscribers having a great experience on her channel. Lastly we have her ‘Debut EP Hourglass – Digital + Physical copies [Pre-Order NOW] video’, which was uploaded on August 14, 2017. This video features snippets of all 5 original songs on the ‘Hourglass’ EP, & really gives you a sense of Amanda’s personal musical style. In this EP the musical styles range from Pop, to Rock, to even EDM based. It definitely shows that Amanda is very comfortable as an artist, & that she will continue to impress us all as her career continues to grow.
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“…it feels a little like it was during those days and weeks after we were born— like we’re all still part of one greater whole. The older we get, the more we all stretch into our own identities, but I still love the reminder that we started out together”. -Reagan from ‘Four Of A Kind’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we have a new book review courtesy of Patchwork Press. Today we’re going to change things up a little bit by reviewing 2 books in 1 blog post. I was given the AMAZING opportunity to not only review the 1st book in a new series, but also the prequel novella. Because of how the books are written, it just makes more sense to give you all of my thoughts in 1 review so you can truly know if this series is for you. So 1st up we’re briefly discuss the novella entitled ‘Where We Were’, followed up by the 1st main book in the series called ‘Four Of A Kind’, both written by Kellie Sheridan. So now on to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
In ‘Where We Were’ we meet our 4 central characters: 14 year old quadruplets Reagan, Reece, Reilly, & Rhiannon Donovan who are in the process of moving from their home in Richmond, Virginia to a small town in another state called Fairview. Throughout the book we get alternating chapters in which each girl narrates what’s going on in each of their lives in the final weeks before their move. This novella does a really great job of showing us each girl’s individual personality, as well as what their sister’s think of them through the use of a quote before each chapter begins. ‘Where We Were’ perfectly sets the stage for the beginning of ‘Four Of A Kind’, which is told from Reagan’s perspective & begins once the girls have moved to Fairview. We immediately see that the entire town has such a fascination with the girls’ birth, that they are minor celebrities in town. The story follows the girls (through Reagan’s eyes) as they deal with typical teenage drama such as friend & relationship issues, as well as trying to find their own identities in a town that watches their every move.
So now that you know the plot, let’s look at the book a little closer. First of all , Reagan is one of my new favorite protagonists. She is relatable, interesting, and most of all someone who you don’t mind spending the entire book with. She wasn’t a perfect character, but she was the kind of person that you can definitely see yourself befriending in real life. Now let’s move on to the love interest Kent, the son of a local reporter. Thank goodness for Kent! It is SOOOO hard to find a love interest in young adult literature that is loveable. They do exist, but they’re hard to find. I know that we are all tired of the bad-boy, the rebel with a heart of gold, the emotionally/physically abusive guy that our protagonist falls for because they’re “wounded inside”, basically the ‘you should never actually date this guy trope’. With Kent we don’t see any of this, instead we get a nice, friendly guy from beginning to end, he respects Reagan & honestly always seems to want what’s best for her. I thought that at some point he would turn on Reagan to help his mother write a scandalous story about her & her sisters but he never did. Needless to say there is definitely a great need for more characters like Kent in young adult literature. Next I really want to compliment the author on her awesome writing style. Although the story is told from Reagan’s point of view, you really feel like you get a sense of each sister’s personality. In both stories each sister is instantly identifiable, & none of them feel as if they get lost in the plot. We also get some diversity through the character of Reilly when we find out that she’s a lesbian. Although this is not thoroughly explored, it also doesn’t feel like a tacked on label in order to check the diversity box, but instead a real part of who the character is. Honestly there is so much that I can & do want to say about this book, but I would have you here all week. This is one of those truly great books that you instantly know will be one of your favs as soon as you finish it, & this definitely made this author an auto-buy author for me. With all that said I HAVE to give these books a 5 smiley face rating because I will DEFINITELY be re-reading them again this year, & look forward to reading the sequels that are already out, & any additional books in the series that are released in the future.
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“Us adults are frequently suspicious of the young. You see it all the time on the news, hear the whispers on the streets. It’s always seen as such a terrible thing that young people are gathering with their friends, wearing strange clothes, saying words we’ve never heard, listening to music we don’t like. We forget so quickly that you’re us and we’re you.” – Poppy’s mom from ‘Ten Birthdays’
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to review a very interesting new book by author Kerry Wilkinson called ‘Ten Birthdays’, which was provided for review by Bookouture. This book was released in May of 2017, and is a coming of age story about a British teenager. So let’s get to why you’re all here, the book review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Ten Birthdays’ follows the life of Poppy Kinsey as she evolves from a 16 year old teenager, into a 25 year old woman. On her birthday, Poppy receives one of 10 letters her mother wrote for her before her death on Poppy’s 15th birthday. At first Poppy is not sure if she wants to open the letters because it brings painful feelings to the forefront of her mind however, she eventually does read the 1st letter, and for the next 9 birthdays reads one letter a year. Throughout the story we see Poppy’s life change as she deals with friendships, relationships, and finding her purpose in life. Along the way poppy’s mother gives her life advice and tells her stories through the letters she wrote, and thus is able to stay a constant force in Poppy’s life.
Although you would think that this story would be very sad, it is actually more of a coming of age story, than a story of loss. Anyone who has had someone close to them pass away can relate to Poppy’s mixed feelings of love and sadness in regards to the letters her mother left her. Also, I really enjoyed the fact that Poppy is not your stereotypical happy protagonist, and because of this faces struggles and consequences for questionable decisions throughout the course of the book. You find yourself constantly rooting for Poppy, and interested to know what the next year of her life will bring her. I also like that the book shows the difficulties Poppy and her two childhood best friends Mark & Freya face as they grow older and make decisions that determine who the kind of people they will grow up to be. Lastly, although there is not a lot of diversity in this book, Freya is bi-racial (her mother is Jamaican and although the book does not actually describe her father, it does allude to the fact that he is white). Because of all of these factors, I would definitely give this book a 4 smiley face rating. It is a very enjoyable novel that you will not want to put down, and I definitely hope that we will get a sequel one day because I would love to continue to see how these amazing charterers’ lives turn out.
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Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we have a book review of the first book in a new series called ‘Songs About a Girl’ by Chris Russell. This book was provided for review by Flatiron Books (a division of Macmillan Publishers), and was released on July 28th, 2016. Just so y’all know this will be a spoiler-free review so let’s get to the fun part of this blog, the book! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
This is a story about a 15 year old girl named Charlie who is given the opportunity to photograph the biggest pop band in the world Fire&Lights. Although Charlie is a quiet, shy girl, she is quickly is pushed into the spotlight after a photo of her with one of the guys from the band is leaked. At 1st Charlie decides to distances herself from the band, but when she finds a connection between their new lead single and poetry in her deceased mother’s old journal she can’t ignore investigating a possible connection. The harder Charlie looks for answers about her own past, the more she experiences the dark side of fame and fandom.
I’m going to start off by saying that the premise of this book was super interesting. We live in a time where reality & gossip shows allow us to feel closer to our favorite stars than even before. Also, with the addition of social media we’re able to join fandoms & feel a community around our admiration. Although ‘Songs About a Girl’ is marketed (rightfully so) as a One Direction fan-fiction, it really does speak to the current celebrity-centric culture we all live in. Although this isn’t a new topic, I really liked the way Chris Russell showed his love for fandoms in this story, but also showed the consequences of what can happen when they cross the line. I also really liked the characters he created. Charlie is a relatable protagonist, her bff Melissa is the fangirl in us all, the guys in the band are interesting and fun to read about, even the “villains” & more minor characters serve their roles well. The problem however, lies in how all of this comes together. In the end this story is a One Direction fan-fiction at its core which can either be a good thing or a not do good thing. If you really like romance & One Direction then you’ll probably love this book, but only if you really really love both of those things. Personally I’m a fan of both but this story just didn’t click with me. The whole time I kept getting distracted by who inspired which character and it took me out of the story too much. The big twist was very predictable (and I’m horrible at predicting this stuff so that tells you a lot), and the love triangle was solved to quickly (I know, I know, a lot of us have asked for this but a little more tension is always nice). Also, the mystery surrounding Charlie’s mom felt unnecessary & ultimately seemed like it could potential get in the way of the romance between her & the guy she chooses at the end of the book. I feel like this book serves a very niche market which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but because of this forces me to give it 2 smiley faces. This is definitely a quick, light summer read that you can try out if it sounds interesting, but because it doesn’t have a very vast market appeal I can’t recommend it for everyone. However if you do read it & love it, then book 2 is already out, and book 3 will be released later this year!
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