Book Review Tuesday (11/6/18)-The Looking Glass (PLUS a bonus apology!)

Hi, everyone, and welcome to the first Book Review Tuesday of November 2018! (Dang, this year has simultaneously gone by so slowly and flown by…)

First and foremost, my apologies for not only forgetting last week’s BRT (caught up in Halloween preparation and homework.,,), and forgetting to acknowledge this before today. So, sorry about that, one less review this year. 😦

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But hey, I’ve got a great book to review today!

 

I honestly forget where I first found out about The Looking Glass. All I can remember is that I had it on hold at the library for a while, and when it was finally available, I just…flat out forgot what it was about. So my expectations were semi-low. Fast-forward to when I actually got to reading it, and I must say, The Looking Glass exceeded all expectations!

 

Enjoy the review!

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The Looking Glass

Sylvie has looked up to her older sister, Julia, for as long as she can remember. They shared a love of ballet, went to the same prestigious ballet school, and treasured a shared book of fairy tales, which Julia renamed “Girls in Trouble”. That was before Julia disappeared.

A grieving Sylvie knows that her disappearance was no coincidence, and is determined to find her and bring her back home. She begins her search with a package, sent to her by Julia, with “Girls in Trouble” inside. But written in the back of the book is a sort of map, drawn by Julia herself, with clues that will lead Sylvie to her. With the help of an unlikely ally (and a playlist of nothing but Fleetwood Mac), will Sylvie find out the truth about her missing sister?

 

I expected to be intrigued by this book, but nothing more. But man, I’m glad to say that I was AMAZED! Such a beautifully written, powerful book about the forces of love and sisterhood. Realistic fiction, imbued with a little bit of magic, combined with characters so well written that I felt as though I could meet them in real life, made for an unforgettable read. Plus, I loved all of the music refereces scatterered throughout the novel-besides Fleetwood Mac (who I’ve never really listened to, but have heard from a person or two that they’re worth it), David Bowie, St. Vincent, and a few other quality artists. I highly recommend it to all of you. 🙂

 

 

Well, that’s it for this week’s BRT! Again, sorry about the absence of a review last week, and I hope that this one made up for it. Have a great rest of your day!

 

 

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My 5 Favorite Songs of 2018 (so far)

Hi, everyone! I hope you’re all having a good Monday! (Well, as good as a Monday can get. Hopefully that’s better than my standards for Mondays.)

Let me just start off by saying that boy, this has been a pretty fantastic year for music.

I’ve already reviewed two albums that came out this year (See Twin Fantasy Re-Release and Lush), but now, there’s even more awesomeness out there to listen to! Also, I did end up seeing BOTH of the artists whose albums I’ve reviewed this year (Snail Mail and Car Seat Headrest. Best nights of my life. I met Lindsey Jordan, who was incredibly sweet, and Will Toledo said that we were the best crowd he’d seen on this tour 😭), which has further increased my appreciation for those bands. Some of my opinions have stayed the same, but others have grown on me since I first listened to them. But I’ll get to that later; here are my five favorite songs so far!

 

1. “Bodys”, Car Seat Headrest 

Nobody can match Will’s moves. Really.

 

My original rating for this song was about a 7/10. But it has grown on my a significant amount, not only from increased listening, but from this performance as well. That, and the fact that I found out that the “need-to-know-basis” thing at the end was Andrew Katz. Hysterical. 

This is my go to feel good song, one that you can bop to no matter what mood you’re in. And I won’t deny that when Car Seat Headrest played this when I saw them, I danced so much that I feared that my new glasses would fall right of my nose and plummet from the balcony. I sang myself hoarse, too. But it was totally, 100% worth it. ❤

 

2. “Heat Wave”, Snail Mail 

After watching this video, there’s basically no need for an explanation. 10/10. Five stars. ALWAYS YES. Also, this was the first song that they played when I saw them, and THEY ABSOLUTELY NAILED IT. I WAS SO HAPPY!!!

 

3. “Everybody Thinks They Know (But No One Really Knows)”, Naked Giants

(The video’s just as weird and fun as the song. Trust me.)

I first got introduced to Naked Giants through Car Seat Headrest. They opened about an hour before CSH, and they were INSANELY TALENTED. Spectacular job.

We bought a few of their songs a few weeks after that performance, and this is the one I fell in love with the most. The perfect balance between light, dancey pop and alt-rock, that isn’t so cringey that you immediately switch the station. (Also, I’ll admit to listening to it on repeat in the first week of high school to remind myself that the other freshmen were just as confused as I was.)

 

4. “No Going Back”, Yuno

(Cute little video as well. Simple, but somehow perfect for the song.)

I first heard this song through Sirius XMU, and even though the DJ made a terrible pun about the artist in question, I couldn’t get the song out of my head. Kind of like #3, where it struck the perfect balance between pop and rock. A bit like the child of Tame Impala and…something I can’t quite place. Either way, such a fantastic little song. 🙂

 

5. “Valley of the Dolls”, Santigold 

I swear, Santigold has become the ultimate “blast-this-song-out-the-car-window-at-full-volume” artist. No matter what, her music has the uncanny ability to make you dance, no matter what mood you’re in. (Or, at the very least, nod your head or tap your foot.) “Valley of the Dolls” was no exception. Out of I Don’t Want: The Gold Fire Sessions, this was my favorite. The perfect balance, the goldilocks. Also, it just brings back this funny memory of my family talking about a completely different, really depressing album (Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, if you’re dying to know 👌), and this happened to be playing in the background.

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Well, I hope I exposed you to some new music through this post! Enjoy the rest of your day, and stay tuned for the next BRT tomorrow!

Yer a Fan Art, Harry…

I’m glad to say that I’ve had a lot of time to draw this summer, and I feel that I’ve been improving. Though I don’t have any HP related fan arts for today (sorry), I’ve got lots to show to you guys. Enjoy the fan arts!

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Nightcrawler (Kurt Wagner) (X-Men-Apocalypse)

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Alright, sorry, this is out of order, but about a month after finishing Nightcrawler, I decided to touch him up a little bit. The marker dried out as I was coloring in the streaks in his hair, which was slowly starting to bother me (a lot), so I filled those in, and filled in a little more of his face and lips. Nightcrawler’s definitely my favorite of the X-Men.

 

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Loki, God of Mischief! (Marvel)

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K-2SO (Rogue One)

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The Darkling (the Grisha Trilogy)

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Alina Starkov, Sun Summoner (the Grisha Trilogy)

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This poor little porg, who is permanently traumatized because his brethren were roasted and eaten by Chewbacca. (Hello, darkness, my old friend…) (The Last Jedi)

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Annie Clark (St. Vincent). I recently re-listened to Marry Me and St. Vincent (Deluxe Edition), and rediscovered how much I liked her older music. Let’s not mention MASSEDUCTION. 

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Santigold!

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Viv, daughter of the Vision (Vision)

 

Well, I hope you enjoyed the *onslaught* of fan arts! I’ll try to get in some HP fan arts soon for this glorious occasion. Until next time, everyone!

Again, I’m out of clever ways to say that I’ve got a bunch more fan arts

Ah! I forgot to mention in my last post…

Despite my lack of a Book Review Tuesday this week, I do have LOADS of fan arts for you guys! I’m so happy to share them all with you, and I hope you enjoy…as well as survive the tidal wave of nerdiness, of course.

Without further ado, behold…fan arts.

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Sally Hawkins. I was inspired to draw this after a wonderful dream I had about meeting her in a bookstore.

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Will Toledo. I apologize for my inability to draw guitars.

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The Vision, my personal favorite Avenger. 😭 (Avengers: Infinity War)

 

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Batgirl of Burnside.

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Will Toledo(s?). The quote is a line from “Bodys”.

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Enfys Nest (Solo: A Star Wars Story)

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Courtney Crumrin. I almost cosplayed her at Comic Con last Friday, but I didn’t have time to throw together a good cosplay, much less dye my hair blonde.

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David Bowie (from the 1973 “Life On Mars?” music video).

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Toothless (How to Train Your Dragon)

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Lindsey Jordan (Snail Mail).

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Hermione Granger (Harry Potter)

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Johann Krauss (B.P.R.D.). I barely managed to draw him from memory. He’s really fun to doodle.

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Baz Grimm-Pitch (Carry On). I drew this last night after re-reading “Carry On”.

 

Well, that’s it for this batch of fan arts! This summer holds endless possibilities, and I hope to fill my sketchbook up with more and more art! Until next time!

 

Lush Album Review

I don’t think I’ve mentioned my new obsession with Snail Mail.

 

I initially got into them in April, when I saw an article about them on Pitchfork. After listening to Habit on iTunes, I decided to buy it (along with “Pristine”). And I LOVED it. Snail Mail has now earned their place in my top three favorite bands: in no particular order, David Bowie, Car Seat Headrest, and SNAIL MAIL.

Slowly, more songs were pre-released for Lush, and I got more and more excited. Two days ago, it finally came out.

I’m going to do what I’ve done for my other two album reviews (Masseduction and Twin Fantasy): my thoughts for each track, then my overall thoughts afterwards. Enjoy the review!

 

TRACK 1: “Intro”: 8.5/10

The first track of the album feels like a dream; a strange fantasy mixed with nighttime worries that keep you staring at your ceiling. It also provides a little foreshadowing for the last song. “Intro” is something of a smooth transition from the fuzzy, angsty musings of Habit to the raw lyrics of Lush. It’s only a little over one minute long, but I love it!

 

TRACK 2: “Pristine”: 9/10

“It just feels like the same party every weekend, doesn’t it?”

 

This was the first song that was pre-released off of the album, and the one that got me initially excited for Lush. It’s a song full of musings, longing, and unanswered questions. “Don’t you like me for me?” On some level, I feel like “Pristine” could speak to all of us. We make friends, we feel loved, but deep down, there’s that possibility that haunts us: are we really loved? So thank you, Lindsey. This is beautiful.

 

TRACK 3: “Speaking Terms”: 7/10

This song wasn’t my favorite on the album, but it still has that raw, melancholy quality. It almost feels a little restrained as far as the music goes, but if it were a little harder or louder, I might have liked it more.

Dang, I don’t think I ever would have imagined myself saying that.

 

TRACK 4: “Heat Wave”: 10/10

This. Is. The. Best. Video.

“Heat Wave” is, without a doubt, my favorite song on this album. Lindsey Jordan’s voice brings me so much joy, the guitar is spectacular, and plus, it’s the perfect song to blare out of the car with the windows down. (My mom and I did this once. It was REALLY fun.) Unlike “Speaking Terms”, this song feels like Lindsey Jordan truly poured her heart and soul into everything, and I enjoyed it immensely.

 

TRACK 5: “Stick”: 9/10

”Stick” was originally the final song off of Habit, a melancholy, heartfelt song. On Lush, it’s taken to the next level with the volume turned up all the way. We now have similar guitar to ”Heat Wave” and drums, making it more emotional and resonant. Needless to say, I loved Habit “Stick”, but Lush ”Stick” is truly memorable.

 

TRACK 6: “Let’s Find an Out”: 8/10

This was the last of the pre-releases for Lush. At first, I wasn’t really blown away, but it slowly grew on me. Like “Intro”, it’s a very dreamlike song, filled with longing. For some reason, it always brings to mind very peaceful images; people lying down in a field, dandelion seeds blowing in the wind, meadows, etc. Yellow flowers, too.

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Why not?

 

TRACK 7: “Golden Dream”: 7/10

I have similar feelings about “Golden Dream” and “Speaking Terms” (see track three). Though I like how catchy it is while still having depth and emotion, it still didn’t blow it out of the water for me. I liked the last minute or so a lot, though.

 

TRACK 8: “Full Control”: 8.5/10

If you listen to this album back to back, it would be a little tricky to distinguish this song from its predecessor, “Golden Dream”. But once the chorus arrives, I assure you, the two are now two different songs. It’s like Lindsey Jordan took “Golden Dream”, pumped in more emotion, awesome guitar, and resonant, beautiful vocals. “Full Control” is a bit like the baby of “Golden Dream” and “Pristine”, and it’s one of my favorites on the album.

 

TRACK 9: “Deep Sea”: 8.5/10

At this point, the album begins its transition into a beautiful finale, bringing out the best, somber qualities from some of the material off of Habit. This song radiates images of darkness, but not necessarily negative ones. Starry skies, a descent to the bottom of the ocean, and a mind on the brink of sleep come to mind for me. This is, without a doubt, some of Lindsey Jordan’s best work.

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TRACK 10: “Anytime”: 9.5/10

Out of the songs that weren’t pre-released, this has to be my favorite song on the album. If I include the pre-released songs, this is a close second to “Heat Wave”. This is what we’ve all been waiting for, hinted at by “Intro” and mimicked by “Deep Sea”. Like “Pristine”, it’s a song of raising questions, longing. The absence of almost all other instruments give it a more emotional quality, as though it was recorded in the dark, in a moment of intense emotion and secrecy. Beautiful finish to a beautiful album. Encore.

“They don’t love you, do they?”

 

Alright, I’ve averaged out all of my ratings for each song, and it’s a solid 8.5! That’s pretty great, in my book. Lush was, unfortunately one of those instances where they released some of the best songs first and left the others until last, but despite that, I loved this album overall. It’s so crazy how Lindsey Jordan just graduated HIGH SCHOOL, and released Lush soon after. So, in conclusion, bravo, Lindsey! Thank you for a remarkable first full-length album. 😊

 

 

 

 

HARRY POTTER! Did you put your name in the Goblet of Fan Arts?!?!?

Yep, that’s right-I’ve got lots more fan arts!

Most of these are HP related, as I did them soon after my Pottermore sorting. I also got some new, more skin-tone color pens on Wednesday, so I’ve been testing those out a bit. Enjoy!

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Elisa Esposito (The Shape of Water)

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Lindsey Jordan, a.k.a. Snail Mail

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Hufflepuff, based off of a European badger (Harry Potter)

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Ravenclaw, based off of Golden eagle (Harry Potter)

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Gryffindor, based off of African lion (Harry Potter)

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Slytherin, based off of Black Rat snake (a bit too derpy and cute, perhaps?) (Harry Potter)

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Princess Nuala (Hellboy II)

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The Amphibian Man (The Shape of Water)

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Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter)

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Rey (The Force Awakens)

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Abe Sapien (Hellboy)

 

I hope you liked my fan arts! I’ll be back tomorrow with the first Book Review Tuesday of May 2018! See you later, and have a great rest of your day!

 

RELEASE THE FAN ARTS! *Maniacal Laughter*

Spring Break (and the brief time before) has been fairly productive as far as fan arts go. I’ve filled up a sketchbook and have already begun filling up another one that I got for Christmas. (So far, there’s three drawings in that one.) Hope you enjoy! *more maniacal laughter ensues*

 

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Baz Grimm-Pitch (Carry On)

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Okoye (Black Panther)

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Eva Nine (The Battle for WondLa)

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Gen Pryde (dunno which one…) (A Hero for WondLa)

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The Amphibian Man (The Shape of Water)

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Elisa Esposito (The Shape of Water)

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David Bowie

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Will Toledo

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Liz Sherman (Hellboy, B.P.R.D.)

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Eva Nine, Hailey Turner, Eva Eight, Rovender, Nadeau, and Huxley (A Hero for WondLa)

 

Welp, I hope you enjoyed (or should I say tolerated?) all of my fan arts! See you soon!