Hello people of the internet!!! On today`s `Monday Memos` we have another book review of a young adult novel you might want to add to your TBR (to be read) pile. Today`s book is ‘In The Hope of Memories` by Olivia Rivers, which was provided for review by Red Sparrow Press. As always this will be a spoiler-free review, but I will add some trigger warnings that you should be aware of before reading this book. If the following topics will trigger you then please proceed with caution: anorexia, bulimia, self-harm, school violence, death, and domestic terrorism. So now let`s get to the review! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
`In The Hope of Memories` is about a high school senior named Hope who has recently died from a heart complication. Before Hope died she set up a scavenger hunt around New York City for her friends Erik, Kali, Aiden, & Sam, in order for them to meet each other. Each character has their own history with Hope, as well as their own individual issues they are facing. Throughout the book we get to see them face their personal demons, learn about each other, & maybe even start to see themselves the way Hope saw them.
I`m going to start by saying this is definitely a 5 smiley face book. It had an intriguing plot, interesting characters, & twists that will definitely keep you interested. Another thing that I really loved about this book was the various ethnic, gender, and sexual diversity that we see throughout this book. I enjoyed the fact that this book had a large amount of diversity, but it was weaved into the novel in an organic way that really added to the characters. Lastly, I absolutely loved how by the end of the book, you feel as if you know Hope even though she is already dead at the start of the book. The author does an incredible job of using the various characters` relationship with Hope, as well as her scavenger hunt to make us completely fall in love with the character. If your looking for a beautifully written, incredibly touching book to read this fall, then ‘In The Hope of Memories’ should top your list!
You can keep up with everything Olivia is doing here:
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.
You can keep up with everything Victoria is doing here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday’ we’re going to talk about an AMAZING musician that you need in your life. If you’ve never heard of Matt Bloyd then you need to sit down, grab you a snack, & get ready to have your mind blown! Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video we’re going to discuss is Matt’s ‘Have You Ever?- Brandy cover by Matt Bloyd, Mario Jose, and Vincint Cannady’, which was uploaded on April 22nd, 2016. In this video we not only get to see Matt’s phenomenal vocals, but also his amazing ability to perfectly harmonize with anybody. Next up we’re going to check out Matt’s ‘I Have Nothing – Whitney Houston cover’ video, which was uploaded on August 9th, 2016 (you can check out this video below). Honestly every time I listen to this cover I am left speechless. The tone, pitch, & pure musical ability that is shown in this cover is just mind blowing. This is a cover that you just need to hear to believe, so please do yourself the biggest favor ever & listen to it right now.
Now we’re going to talk about Matt’s ‘Too Good at Goodbyes – Sam Smith’ cover which was uploaded on September 9th, 2017. Once again we get to see just how insanely talented of a vocalist Matt is. In this song we really get to see how well Matt can handle an emotionally charged song like this one. He will seriously give you all the feels with this cover, & honestly make you ugly cry for hours. The last video we’re going to talk about is Matt’s ‘Bless the Broken Road’ cover which was uploaded on August 30th, 2018 (you can check out the cover below). Again this is a cover that will leave you completely speechless. Honestly I’ve listen to a lot of cover by a lot of artists over the years & Matt is by far one of the best vocalists I’ve very heard on YouTube. The way he can take a song like this one, make it his own but still keep the emotional depth of the song intact is nothing short of spectacular. Seriously as soon as this guy’s voice hits the radio he will be one of the biggest male artist in the music industry. DO NOT sleep on this guy y’all because he will definitely make music history one day & you’ll want to say you heard about him first.
You can keep up with everything Matt is doing here:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘Monday Memos’ I have a new book review for y’all! Today we will be discussing ‘Noteworthy’ by Riley Redgate, which was provided for review by Amulet Books. This book was released on May 2nd, 2017, & I will put a trigger warning about the amount of profanity in this book (because there’s a lot) so if this bothers you this might be one you wanna skip. We have a lot to talk about today so let’s get to the review. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
‘Noteworthy’ is about a high school junior Chinese-American girl named Jordan Sun who goes to a very expensive, very exclusive school called Kensington-Blaine Academy for the Performing Arts. Due to the fact that Jordan has a voice type that is lower than most girls, she has a difficult time booking roles in her school’s productions. When an opportunity to join Kensington’s premier all-male A Capella group the Sharpshooters arises, Jordan decides to masquerade as a boy for a chance to join the group & compete in an upcoming contest the Sharpshooters are in to win the opportunity to travel on a tour with a professional A Capella group called Aural Fixation. Due to the fact that Jordan is a scholarship student & her family is doing worst & worst financially, she feels that if she is able to go in this tour that her parents will finally see that her education at Kensington is worth the high price tag they have to pay for books & travel to & from the school every year. She also feels that her parents don’t support her dream of becoming an entertainer, so she hopes that they will fully support her dream if she wins a spot on this tour.
Ok now let’s dive into the review. I really wanted to like this book. I tried you guys, I really tried to like it, but I just couldn’t. This book had so much going for it: diverse characters, some funny dialogue between the characters that really made you love them, & show choir. I’m all about show choir you guys, I was in show choir for a little while in high school, so believe me when I say that I will always pick up a book that centers around music or musical theater. Unfortunately for this book, the problem was that it’s just so boring! The plot is super slow, Jordan is really annoying at times, & about half way through the book I wanted to drop it (and honestly if this hadn’t had been a review copy I would’ve dropped this book). I kept skimming through the last half of the book because I just wanted it to be over so I could move on to something else. Because of this I have to give this book a 1 smiley face review & will probably never read anything from this author again because her writing style just did not click for me.
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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!
Keep up with everything A.V. is doing here:
“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.
Keep up with everything Kyla 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: