“…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.
Keep up with everything Kellie is doing here:
“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.
Keep up with everything Kerry is doing here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to talk about an AMAZING singer that I’m sure you’ve all heard about! If you’ve never heard the out of this world vocal talent of 10 year old Celine Tam, then hold on to your headphones (unless you don’t have headphones right now. You can go grab them I’ll wait. Ready? Cool). Celine has already competed in numerous competitions around the world including: America & Britain’s Got Talent, & has been featured on Steve Harvey’s ‘Little Big Shots’ & ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’, among others. So now let’s get to the awesome music. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The 1st video we’re going to talk about is Celine’s cover of ‘That’s The Way It Is’ by Celine Dion, which was uploaded on February 10th, 2017 (you can check out the video below). I had to start with this cover because Celine has stated previously that her parent’s named her Celine after the iconic singer (her little sister is named Dion btw, which is the cutest thing ever). What I really love about this cover is not only the incredible vocal talent & control that this young girl has, but also the personality & stage presence you see. This definitely shows the type of entertainer she will grow to be someday. Next up we’re going to discuss is Celine’s duet with fellow child star in the making Jeffrey Li of ‘You Raise Me Up’ Secret Garden (however most people are probably more familiar with the cover version by Josh Groban), which was uploaded on February 1st, 2018. I’m honestly SOOOO excited to talk about this cover because this duo has performed this song for years, and every time I hear it, I’m left speechless.
Next up we have Celine’s cover of ‘A Moment Like This’ by Kelly Clarkson, which was uploaded on June 15th, 2018 (you can check out the video below). This is another phenomenal cover that truly shows what a talent vocalist Celine is. This is a very difficult song for most adults to sing, so it’s truly remarkable what a special talent Celine has. It’s really fun to see Celine cover artists known for having BIG voices, because it shows you the foundation she has to become the next big voice in pop music. Lastly we have Celine’s cover of ‘Havana’ by Camila Cabello, which was uploaded on July 14th, 2018. This is a really fun video to watch because not only do we get to hear Celine sing a snippet of the song (which is an interesting style change for her, & really shows what a versatile vocalist she is), but it also features very cute dancing from her sister Dion. In this video you once again get to see Celine’s bubbly personality shine through, which shows what a likeable performer she is. It’s really fun when you feel like you know your favorite singers on a personal level, so Celine definitely proves in this video that she has an equally big personality to go with AMAZING voice.
Keep up with everything Celine is doing here:
Other YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/karaoketutor
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!
Keep up with everything Chris is doing here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to talk about something a little different. Today, July 19th, is the 7 year anniversary of Rebecca Black’s second single ‘My Moment’ (which followed her viral internet hit ‘Friday’). Why am I talking about this you ask? Well because Rebecca Black honestly has a very interesting story that is a HUGE part of YouTube history as a whole (also we did previously discuss the ‘Rebecca Black Effect’ that was a trend for a little while a few years ago, you can check out that post here: http://celindareyesblog.com/2014/06/youtube-wednesday-the-rebecca-black-effect/). Just like TV or film teen stars, Rebecca spent her entire teen years in the spotlight. Now being a teenager can either be the best or worst time of your life, but it’s definitely harder when your attempt at making your dreams come true get turned into a giant worldwide joke. Honestly I never (and still don’t) understand why everyone gave her such a hard time. However what I’ve always liked about this story is how Rebecca was able to use this ridicule & turn it into a career doing exactly what she wanted to do. So today we’re going to talk about how Rebecca Black’s song ‘My Moment’ actually predicted her future. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
Now as we know it all began when Rebecca’s parents paid Clarence Jey & Patrice Wilson of Ark Music Factory $4,000 to write & produce a song for Rebecca, & record a music video for her. I couldn’t find an exact number in regards to how much money Rebecca has made from ‘Friday’ (although I’m sure we can all guess). What we do know is that this song led to A LOT of opportunities for her. Katy Perry (who was honestly having the best year of her career, at least at the time this post is being written) immediately came to Rebecca’s defense by not only inviting her to perform ‘Friday’ at various upcoming shows she had, but also giving Rebecca a lead role in her ‘T.G.I.F’ music video which premiered in June 2011. Other high profiled celebrities such as: Miley Cyrus, Chris Brown, Simon Cowell, & Lady Gaga also came to Rebecca’s defense, and the song was covered on the 2nd season of the hit Fox show ‘Glee’. Rebecca continued to ride this fame by uploading more original music, as well as beauty/fashion videos on her YouTube channel. Throughout the rest of her teen years, Rebecca hosted the 2011 ‘YouTube Rewind’ as well as the 1st MTV ‘O Music Awards’ Fan Army Party’, has appeared at VidCon (one of the biggest annual YouTube conventions), had her own Go90 (an online streaming site) show called ‘Life After Friday’, as appeared on the reality show ‘The Four’, is an ambassador for anti-bullying campaigns, and so much more!
So now back to your original question, why are we talking about ‘My Moment’? Well although ‘Friday’ is what made Rebecca Black famous, ‘My Moment’ is what showed that she had staying power. Most of us have dealt with some sort of bullying in our lives, but nothing compares to the worldwide ridicule that Rebecca faced. To go through that throughout your teen years & still pursue in a career in the entertainment industry is not only admirable, but also very brave. However, personal strength & determination alone don’t make a successful career. Rebecca could’ve easily become just a forgettable part of internet history, but instead has been able to hold our attention all these years later. If you think about it, there have been other “internet sensations” that have quickly burned out, and now are never mentioned. Even though internet fame can come quickly, it can also disappear even more quickly. In the opening lines of ‘My Moment’, Rebecca says, “Weren’t you the one who said that I would be nothing, well I’m about to prove you wrong”, and it looks like she was right.
Check out Rebecca here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss an amazing beauty/fashion/life guru named Natalie Barbu. Natalie is a recent college graduate who is now beginning her career as an Industrial Engineer. The reason why I decided to focus on Natalie’s channel today is not only due to her vast knowledge on beauty & fashion, but also because of how interesting & unique her channel is. Trust me as soon as you watch one of Natalie’s video you’ll be so immersed that you’ll instantly want to subscribe (which you should do because why miss out right? Right!). So now let’s get to the videos. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The 1st video we’re going to talk about is Natalie’s ‘My First Dorm Room Tour!’, which was uploaded on December 4, 2014 (you can check out the video below). I know, I know it’s summer & nobody wants to think about school, but it will be time to go back before we know it & you gotta be ready (stop booing!). Now what’s one of the most important things about starting college? You got it, shopping! If you’re gonna live in a dorm/apartment or just want to update your room then this video will offer you some GREAT inspiration about cool things you can buy/make in order to make your space uniquely you. So now that we’ve covered the future, let’s talk about a video that will help you right now! Let’s discuss Natalie’s ‘Healthy Summer Snacks | Quick And Easy’ video, which was uploaded on July 15, 2015. Now if you made a New Year Resolution to eat healthier but haven’t started (so basically all of us), this is a MUST SEE for you! In this video Natalie shows how to make easy, inexpensive snacks that everyone can enjoy all summer long. Also, as an added bonus you can also transition these snacks into your fall routine as a good after school snack (so you can be as lazy as you want & only memorize a few recipes while being able to snack healthily. Everyone wins!).
Now we’re going to look at Natalie’s ‘DAD TAKES OVER MY TINDER ACCOUNT Inspired by Why Him?’ video, which was uploaded on April 7th, 2017. In this video we definitely get to see more of Natalie’s fun, bubbly personality, as well as how funny her dad is. It’s hilarious to see Natalie’s dad swipe through her Tinder profile, and to hear his reasons why certain guys don’t make the cut. It’s a really fun video that we can definitely all relate to. Lastly we have her ‘BEING A GIRL IN ENGINEERING + Why More Girls Need to go into STEM’ video, which was uploaded on June 26th, 2018 (you can check out the video below). This is a very interesting video in which Natalie tells us about her experiences as a women pursuing a career as an engineer. She also goes into detail about the doubts & offensive questions she’s encounter while pursing her degree. It’s amazing to see YouTubers who are not only knowledgeable about the skills they showcase on their channels, but also take the time to talk about their own experiences/hardships with their viewers.
Keep up with everything Natalie is doing:
“There was something so tragic about the acts of desperate girls. My helpless heart wished that I could write a different ending to the story, that I could have kept Chloe from disappearing and delivered Helen safely home. But trusting the wrong person wasn’t the only kind of desperate act. Wishing for the impossible could break you just as swiftly.Whether you wanted someone to love you or someone to protect you, it was hard to be a girl in need.” – Jenny Parker ‘The Lives of Desperate Girls’.
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to discuss a new Booktube channel that you need to follow RIGHT NOW!!! If you’ve never heard of Robby Reads then you’re not only missing out on a great Booktube channel, but also an AMAZING Bookstagram page (seriously his bookish pictures are so beautiful that you’ll wonder how your Instagram feed lived without them). Although Robby gained a lot of fame in the book community through his Bookstagram, he is quickly proving that he is also an incredibly interesting online personality that you will want to watch over and over again. So now Let’s get to the fun part…the videos! Ready? Ok, Let’s go!!!
The first video we’re going to discuss is Robby’s ‘…Ready For It?’ video, which was uploaded on September 3, 2017 (you can check out this video below). In this video he answers bookish questions that are themed after Taylor Swift songs such as: the book you are never ever getting back together with…like ever (sorry I couldn’t help it), a red book, a forbidden “love story” book, etc. In this video we’re not only able to learn more about Robby based off of his choices, but we’re also able to see what a fun & bubbly personality he has. This video is the perfect mix for book & Taylor Swift fans that will give you all the feels. The next video we’re going to talk about is his ‘DIY Harry Potter Starbucks Drinks’, which was uploaded on March 12, 2018. This is definitely the perfect DIY project to do this summer whether you want a refreshing drink or even a cool Instagram picture. In this video Robby shows us how to make variations on popular Harry Potter themed Starbucks Drinks that are simple to make & low cost enough to make over and over again. This will definitely bring a little magic to your day!
Next up we have Robby’s ‘How I Take And Edit My Bookstagram Pictures’, which was uploaded on April 7, 2018 (you can check out the video below). This is definitely one of my favorite videos because it’s very interesting to see a popular Bookstagrammer explain his process. In this video Robby not only explains how he sets up his shots, but also which photo editing apps he uses, as well as tips & tricks in order to make the most out of these apps. The last video we’re going to discuss is his ‘Huge BEA, Bookcon, & NYC Book Haul’, which was uploaded on June 12, 2018. Now we all have to admit that we love book hauls (because honestly it’s like shopping without having to spend money), but the best hauls of the year are definitely the Bea & Bookcon Hauls. In these hauls we get to see cool new arcs so we can prepare for all of the new upcoming releases. Again we get to not only see Robby demonstrate his vast knowledge of books, but also the winning personality that has made people fall in love with him.
Keep up with everything Robby is doing here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ we’re going to discuss a new book by author Jessica Park called ‘180 Seconds’, which was provided by ‘Skyscape’ and ‘Two Lions’ for review. Jessica Park grew up in the Boston area and attended Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has also previously written several books entitled ‘Clear, ‘Relatively Famous’, as well as the series ‘Left Drowning’ and ‘Flat-out Love’. This review will be spoiler free, so if you’re ready let’s find out whether you should add this book to your summer TBR or if 180 seconds of your time is more than this book deserves. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!