“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 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.
You can keep up with everything Amanda is doing here:
“…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:
Hello people of the internet!!! On today’s ‘YouTube Wednesday we’re going to talk about an AMAZING YouTuber that you need in your life! If you haven’t heard of Super Space Chick (aka Kristin) then you are missing out on one of the best emerging BookTube channels on the internet! So now let’s get to the videos. Ready? Ok, let’s go!!!
The first video that we’re going to talk about is Kristin’s ‘Nail Art Tutorial Inspired By A Darker Shade of Magic’, which was uploaded on March 9th, 2015. In this video Kristin is joined by author Melissa Grey of the ‘novelnails’ Tumblr page. This is a very cool video that will show you easy, interesting ways to make beautiful nail art using a lot of inexpensive products, as well as things you may already have at home. Such a fun DIY project that you can try alone or with friends! The next video we’re going to talk about is her ‘Sailor Moon Book Tag’, which was uploaded on June 29th, 2016 (you can check out the video below). Personally I LOVE this tag because Sailor Moon is life (it’s a fact…just trust me on this). This is a very cute tag that asks bookish questions set to a theme involving numerous characters from the anime/manga. Also on a side note, Kristin cosplays as Sailor Moon in this video which adds the perfect touch and really shows what a fun personality she has.
Now we’re going to discuss Kristin’s ‘Books That Help Me Find My Way’ video, which was uploaded on March 19th, 2018 (you can check out the video below). This video was made in honor of Gayle Forman’s new book ‘I Have Lost My Way’, and features some of the books that have personally shaped Kristin which include: ‘Harry Potter’, ‘The Perks of Being A Wallflower’, ‘The Book Thief’, and many others. I really feel that this video shares such an important message of how the things we love shape who we become. Whether your hobbies include books, video games, sports, or academics, the things that we hold close to our hearts really determine the values we hold dear, as well as how we relate to the world. The final video we’re going to discuss is Kristin’s ‘Anime Wrap Up #3- Orange, Your Name, No Game No Life, Rose of Versailles’, video which was uploaded on July 20th, 2018. This is a really interesting video because it shows the diversity present on Kristin’s channel, and really helps you relate to her. On he channel, you can find book/manga/graphic novel reviews, anime reviews, various tags, and so many other interesting videos, that you will never be bored. These type of channels are always my favorite, because if we’re being honest, usually if you’re a book nerd you’re also a nerd in other areas of your life so it’s fun to see a YouTuber who’s not afraid to release their inner nerd.
You can keep up with everything Kristin 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: