Posted in Music, Sunday Songs

Sunday Songs: 2/5/23

Happy Sunday, everyone!

It’s February now, and what better way to start the month off than with an excess of Super Furry Animals? I hereby claim no responsibility for any damages caused by any bipedal, masked, bear-like demon-creatures that may cross your path. They’re best deterred by repeated screaming, if you want my advice. And look out for the chupacabras while you’re at it.

Enjoy this week’s songs!

SUNDAY SONGS: 2/5/23

“The International Language of Screaming” – Super Furry Animals

I finally listened to all of Radiator (which I seriously think boasts one of my favorite album covers…ever, really. You really won with this one, Pete Fowler.) earlier in the week, and it just felt like pure fun all the way through. I know how vague of a description that is, but listening to almost every track (save for the downer “Download”) gives me the sense that Gruff Rhys and company had a blast recording every single song. Knowing that this comes an album or two before the masterpiece that is Rings Around the World, Radiator feels like the band keeping the cheerful, carefree spirit that they’ve always maintained, but just starting to get weird with it—they haven’t quite gotten into the flat-out experimental territory of Rings just yet, but you can see it peering through the cracks just as well. My only criticism that I can think of for Radiator is that some of the songs blend together a bit, but it’s not a complaint if they all sound almost as good as this one. “The International Language of Screaming” is a clear standout—it’s a concentrated shot of Britpop fun straight to the heart, pure and simple. Maybe it isn’t as weird as some of my other SFA favorites, but I can’t help but nodding my head to every “la la la la” and ecstatic “WOO!” every time it comes around on shuffle. It’s joy with a side of popping colors and punchy guitars.

“By the Sea” – Wendy & Bonnie

Apologies for the whiplash from going straight from “The International Language of Screaming” to this eeriness. But, as with far too much with this post, there’s an inevitable Super Furry Animals connection.

I first found out that this song existed because of “Hello Sunshine”; I distinctly remembered a part at the beginning that creeped me out as a kid, so, naturally, I set out to find it. Sure enough, it was a sample of this song (0:00-0:47 in the video), and the rest of the song is…just as creepy. Recorded when Wendy and Bonnie Flowers were 17 and 13, respectively, it’s a chilling, atmospheric song that feels just as gray as a cold, churning sea crashing against a rocky shore. Punctuated by seemingly random fills of soft drums and out-of-sync guitar strums, there’s a strange discordance about it. It’s clear that the vocals were intended to be the main attraction here, their lilting harmonies shining through the cloudy fog of the rest of the song. It’s a great listen, but at the same time, it’s strangely comforting to think that I’m still creeped out now by the same thing that I was creeped out at when I was 5. I still don’t get why I was freaked out by some random clip from Baby Einstein, but this is understandable. There’s really something about Wendy & Bonnie, huh?

“Everyday Sunshine” – Fishbone

“Everyday Sunshine” takes on a whole new meaning when you wake up on Monday morning and see that it’s -6° outside. Anybody else sick of winter? No? Just me?

Aaaaaaaand another whiplash-inducing left turn, but we’re back to happy songs, don’t worry! We’re back to what’s close to the epitome of happy songs, as a matter of fact. I found this one courtesy of my amazing mom, and I haven’t stopped nodding my head ever since. If Super Furry Animals tried to embody joy, this is inches away from the pinnacle of the feeling itself. Just like the colorful murals and fields of blue and orange wildflowers in the music video, “Everyday Sunshine” is a sunburst (no pun intended) of carefree ska happiness. Every note from the brass section and every drumbeat brings armfuls of hope, and you can’t help but look out at the cloudy skies and try and find that tiny sliver of sunshine poking through. It’s the perfect bandaid for every mood: happy? Play this song. Neutral? Play this song. Sad? Play it and dance by yourself until your troubles are but motes of pollen drifting away from the aforementioned field of wildflowers. Again, a big thank you to my mom for this one. ☀️

“True Blue” – boygenius

With that, we’re…back on the sadgirl train, but…this one’s at least not nearly as heartbreaking as “Emily I’m Sorry,” so…

The harmonies of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus obviously fit together like it was written in the stars, but even so, you can see whose songs are whose—and this is Lucy’s song, without question, even if the handwritten in the lyric video didn’t give it away. It has their signature melancholy written all over it, but somehow, it feels more on the tender side, like learning to love somebody after you’ve only just started to heal yourself. Dacus’ voice is a soft but pushing force, gently letting the song form itself around her as it swirls into the night sky, while the higher harmonies of Baker and Bridgers seamlessly flow through to the chorus and the bridge—I particularly love how Baker’s high notes come through on the bridge—”Because it doesn’t matter anymore/Who won the fight?/I’m not keeping score.” Songs like this really display the two sides of boygenius—it’s a song where one member takes the lead, but they still come together as a single, cohesive force of nature.

“The Man Don’t Give a Fuck” – Super Furry Animals

“Out of focus ideology/Keep the masses from majority/Head space brainwashed, tumble dried/Left to bleed whilst vultures glide…”

…oh, so they just went and gave the GOP their own theme song, huh? On second thought…no. The GOP doesn’t deserve such a monumental banger.

I hate to double up here, but the Super Furry Animals train has left the station, and it’ll be an eternity before it reaches its destination. This song has quickly risen to become one of my favorites of theirs; it may not be as weird or experimental as some of my other favorites, but it’s a tight, four-minute burst of head-banging. From the deceptively slow build of the first minute, the music cascades into pure fuzz and drumbeats, and though the music drops out for short intervals, it never once loses its unstoppable momentum. It’s easy to see why this was one of their most popular songs: even though the chorus dominates almost the entire song, you can’t help but get up on your feet the minute the drums kick in. The slow creep of the vocals and jingle bells that starts at around the 2:30 mark builds suspense with a gradual layering of harmonies, building to a raucous screams that pushes right back into the ecstasy of the chorus. Almost 5 minutes of the same line (“you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else”), and it never gets tiring—on the contrary, it’s already my second-most played song of the year, according to Apple Music. That’s an earworm for you.

Since this post consists entirely of songs, consider all of them to be today’s song.

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

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Posted in Music, Sunday Songs

Sunday Songs: 1/29/23

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

We’re reaching the end of the month now, and it’s shaping up to be another great year for music already! Also, we’re not even a month into this year and I’m already on another relentless Super Furry Animals kick, so…do with that what you will. It’s fine. Bring on the (Welsh) Britpop craziness.

Enjoy this week’s songs!

SUNDAY SONGS: 1/29/23

“$20” – boygenius

Just to check in…gays, are we all okay after this? Are you okay? Are you sure? Take a deep breath.

Breathe in…

…breathe out. This is really happening. Finally.

the glorious Rolling Stone cover, an homage to an older cover featuring Nirvana
PINS PINS PINS!!

To the elation of the girls and the gays (and to the dismay of a bunch of butthurt boomers in the comments of Rolling Stone’s instagram account, apparently), boygenius are back, and they’re already coming out swinging with three fantastic singles. Although all three showcase the joint talents of Julien Baker, Phoebe Bridgers, and Lucy Dacus, “$20” is the true powerhouse of the trio. Baker’s vocals, from most of her solo work, tend to be restrained at worst, but she lets loose on this single, filled with punchy guitars and equally punchy lyrics. It never slows down, feeling more like riding a wave, thinking that you’re safe in the current, and then getting hit with a powerful mouthful of saltwater with what may be the best Phoebe Bridgers scream yet. More than ever, the harmonies of Baker, Bridgers, and Dacus fit each other like chiseled puzzle pieces, as though they were always destined to work together in near-perfect unison. Needless to say, I doubt I’ll come down from the boygenius high for a while here. I KNOW YOU’VE GOT $20.

“Ice Hockey Hair” – Super Furry Animals

If you described the bare elements of “Ice Hockey Hair” to me—nearly 7 minutes long, heavy on autotune, a minute-long outro with almost nothing but random beep-boops strung together—I doubt I’d be immediately sold. But that’s the magic of Super Furry Animals; they can take any number of weird, outlandish elements and string them into something that’s not only cohesive, but an instant earworm at that. Laden with heavy guitars and drums and backed by a consistent fuzz and an effortless vocal harmony, “Ice Hockey Hair” never makes me lose interest through all 7 minutes, going above just keeping a steady pace and making for the perfect, prolonged Britpop song. I barely ever like autotune, but what sells me about the way that Super Furry Animals use it is that they just embrace the weirdness of it—it’s not to make their voices sound better, it’s just to make it sound weirder, to make it blend into all the screeching static and beeping faintly humming in the background. They’re masters of making their voices into instruments, and not just that, but making them into something just as weird as what’s going on in the rest of the song.

“Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood” – St. Vincent

Added bonus: the gloriously awkward Portlandia music video (“I could stick around for another song if you guys want” “no ❤️”)

Along with Super Furry Animals, I’ve stumbled into another St. Vincent kick as of late, and although I’ve always loved her work, I’m reminded of how rarely she misses (we don’t talk about MASSEDUCTION) in any aspect of her artistry. Actor is only her second album, and already, she’s showcasing her clear virtuosity—lyrically and musically. Even before her rightfully famous electric guitar shredding became an essential part of her music, Annie Clark’s complex, acoustic guitar pickings create an atmosphere that always feels alive, and with the added brass and driving drums, “Laughing With A Mouth of Blood” is a poignant landscape of a song that you can’t help but lose yourself in. St. Vincent’s music never loses its quality with the passage of time, and every listen feels like the wonder and joy of listening to it for the first time.

“Burning Airlines Give You So Much More” – Brian Eno

I was so used to seeing the album cover of Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy (now that’s a title) from really far away, so…am I the only one who thought that Brian Eno was wearing a beret, and it wasn’t just his hand patting him on the head? Is the hand about to give him the Gary Oldman cheek stroke, or is it just to cover up the pseudo-Riff Raff haircut?

…okay, I really shouldn’t be roasting the guy. He’s just doing his wonderful art-pop thing, and I love him for it. So much. Songs like “Cindy Tells Me” have further convinced me that I should listen to more Brian Eno, and this one I like almost as much (though it’s hard, considering how long I had the former on repeat back in October). For a song loosely written about one of the deadliest plane crashes of all time, it’s strangely laid-back, meandering along with bright, jangly guitars and synths in the similar tone. It’s a song to gently sway your head to, one to revel in the multi-layered composition of it as the guitars slowly climb up and down the scale. Brian Eno’s just doing his Brian Eno thing, and I’m so glad he’s doing it.

“Purple Haze” (Jimi Hendrix cover) – The Cure

It’s hard to take a cover and put a spin on it that feels completely new—especially if it’s Jimi Hendrix that you’re covering. But Robert Smith and company make it look easy, putting their signature goth touch on a rock n’ roll classic. Smith pulls the meaning of “haze” to an entirely different direction, layering the song with an eerie, synth-laden atmosphere and distorted vocals. It really does give the song the feel of a haze, like some kind of cloud or curtain that you’re walking through to try and find the heart of the song.Different pieces of instrumentation fade in and out, as though you’re losing consciousness. The guitars are understated, but I think it’s rightfully so—you really can’t touch Jimi Hendrix in that regard, for one, but it’s the fog of distortion and synths that make this cover so memorable. It’s a cover that wouldn’t be out of place at some kind of shady Halloween party (as most of the Cure fits anyway), a musical fog machine that transports you to another realm where you can’t seem to differentiate which way is up or down.

Since this post is all songs, consider this post to be today’s song.

That’s it for this week’s Sunday Songs! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

July 2022 Wrap-Up 🫠

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles!

As you can see above, the melting emoji represents my slow melting, a la the Wicked Witch of the West, because July in Colorado always threatens to melt me into a slushy puddle. At least we got some rain. (And hail, one time? got enough that it looked like snow in certain parts of the yard…)

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Hot as it was, I’d say that July was another good month of summer. I’ve had tons more time to read and relax, and even though college is always on my mind nowadays, the time off has been good to collect my thoughts. I’ve gone hiking a few times, seen some fun movies, and tried to exercise a little more.

I got to read tons this month, and although it was generally a mixed bag (a lot more books in the 3-star range than usual), I still found some gems in the mix. For Disability Pride Month, I tried to focus on books with disabled characters, and I’ve found some reads with great disability rep—including the first book I’ve ever read with SPD rep! (Thanks, Carolyn Mackler!!) Camp NanoWriMo is nearly over—it’s had its ups and downs (couldn’t find the stats page for a while and fell behind on my word count, hit command v instead of command b and accidentally pasted the whole Pinnochio trailer into my document), but I’m so close to 45,000 words now!!

Other than that, I’ve just been playing my guitar, recovering from the last two episodes of Stranger Things (OW), seeing Thor: Love and Thunder (pure Taika Waititi fun), drawing, and listening to an excess of Peter Gabriel.

Also, I figured I’d give everybody an update on Ringo, since I haven’t posted about him much since we got him; he’s 7 months old now and even more of a menace to society, but he has the sweetest face…

the face of a serial foot biter

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 25 books this month! This is probably gonna be the most books I’ll be able to read in a month, since it’s the middle of summer. It was a mixed bag, as always, but I found a few amazing 5-star reads in the bunch.

1 – 1.75 stars:

Among Thieves

2 – 2.75 stars:

Fortune Favors the Dead

3 – 3.75 stars:

Breathe and Count Back from Ten

4 – 4.75 stars:

Not If I Can Help It

5 stars:

The Reckless Kind

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects – 5 stars

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects

POSTS I’M PROUD OF :

POSTS FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE THAT I ENJOYED:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I ENJOYED:

yeah spoiler alert I did listen to more Peter Gabriel
Kate Bush is hit or miss for me but when she hits it for me she HITS it
going through an 80’s period this month I guess??
HOOOOOOOOOOOWEE time go to back to my sad girl roots
I haven’t listened to much Japanese Breakfast but I fell in love with this one INSTANTLY
MORE PETER GABRIEL BC I LOVED SO
I really need to listen to more IDLES bc I’ve loved every song I’ve heard of theirs

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JULY GOALS?

  • Read at least 20 books: 25!
  • Get through Camp NaNoWriMo: We’ll see about that later tonight…

GOALS FOR AUGUST:

  • Get through the first few weeks of college (AAAAAA)
  • Enjoy my birthday (which also happens to be on the first day of classes…yeehaw😀)

Today’s song:

That’s it for this month in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

December 2021 Wrap-Up 🎄

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

Whew. It’s hard to believe that 2022 starts tomorrow, but I’m more than ready to start over. It’s been a Year™️.

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

Rodulph The Red Nosed Reindeer GIFs - Get the best GIF on GIPHY

December was rough at times, but I’m glad I got through it. What with that big AP Gov project and finals, I was exhausted by the time winter break rolled around, but I’m so glad to have some time off to myself. And we didn’t get the snow we wanted on Christmas, but we got…one or two snows here in Colorado, so at least there’s a little moisture. We’re supposed to get a big storm…right about now, though, so…

I took some time off from writing after finishing NaNoWriMo up so I could a) get some rest and b) focus on schoolwork, but after finals ended, I started looking back through the second draft of my main sci-fi WIP! It’s so strange how different the experience has already become from when I did this for draft 1; I’m relieved to say that I’ve improved a whole lot as a writer since then.

Other than that, I’ve been listening to the Beatles and Blur (well…more than usual), playing Minecraft, watching Hawkeye (eh, probably my least favorite Marvel show but the disability rep is nice to see), and going to see Nightmare Alley (is it really a Guillermo del Toro movie without babies in jars?) and Spiderman: No Way Home (AAAAAAAAAA). Christmas was lovely too, and I had a wonderful time spending a day with my family.

Hello Peter Spiderman GIF - Hello Peter Spiderman No Way Home - Discover &  Share GIFs
I lost it at this scene even though I’d seen the trailer skdjhfskjhf

READING AND BLOGGING

I read 21 books this month! I probably only got there because I re-read Madman all over again—most of the month leading up to break felt a lot slower, reading-wise. However, I passed my Goodreads goal of 250 and read 258 books this year!

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Grimrose Girls: Dark Academia Fairytale eBook : Pohl, Laura: Kindle  Store - Amazon.com
The Grimrose Girls

3 – 3.75 stars:

The Secret History: Tartt, Donna: 9781400031702: Amazon.com: Books
The Secret History

4 – 4.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Squad: 9780062943149: Tokuda-Hall, Maggie, Sterle, Lisa: Books
Squad

5 stars:

Amazon.com: Madman Comics, Volume 1: Yearbook 95: 9781569711491: Allred,  Mike: Books
Madman Comics Yearbook ’95

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Zen in the Art of Writing4.5 stars

Zen in the Art of Writing: Essays on Creativity: Bradbury, Ray:  9718777410946: Amazon.com: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS I’VE ENJOYED:

such a wonderfully catchy little song!
no idea how I hadn’t listened to this whole album until now but here we are…fantastic
I haven’t heard the original, but this is such a beautiful cover!
HI WHAT NEW GIRLPOOL
this is one of those songs that (almost) makes me regret quitting piano
THIS ALBUM

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY DECEMBER GOALS?

I cant believe it i cant believe tim burton GIF - Find on GIFER
  • Read 20 books: 21!
  • Survive that AP Gov project [heavy breathing]: I DID IT! Got a great grade, too!
  • End 2021 on a good note: well, I’m sitting comfortably and watching snow fall outside my window right now, so I’ll call that good.

JANUARY 2022 (!) GOALS:

Happy New Year Celebration GIF - Happy New Year Celebration New Year -  Discover & Share GIFs
  • Set a reasonable Goodreads goal
  • Start 2022 on a good note!

2021 was a tough year for me. Online learning, grieving, the pandemic, applying to college…all of it got to me. But what matters is that I’m still here, all in one piece. And that’s what matters most for all of us. I imagine that 2021 was tough for each and every one of us on some level, but what matters most is that we all got through it. We’re beaten-up and bruised, but we’re here. And that, to me, is the purest form of resilience, of resistance. And if we got through 2020 and 2021, we can get through next year too.

There were good things about 2021 for me too—I went to Glacier National Park, I got straight A’s for the first time in high school, I had a super fun birthday, and I discovered some great books, music, and movies! This is the light that always burns in the darkness—the little things that make us happy. And as long as we have each other, the light will never go out.

And with that, there are only hours left to go in 2021. Good riddance.

Wear your masks, get vaccinated (and get that booster!), don’t spread hate and fear, love each other.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this month—and this year—in blogging! Have a wonderful last day of the year, and take care of yourselves.

See you in 2022!

all my love,

Madeline

Posted in Weekly Updates

Weekly Update: September 6-12, 2021

Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.

I’d say it’s been a pretty fantastic week! Things are definitely looking up…I just wish that I could travel back a few months and tell my January-May self that everything would turn out okay in math after all.

Reading-wise, I got a great haul from the library! There was only one book that didn’t do it for me, and I enjoyed the rest. I couldn’t visit the library this week because it happened to be on the same day that I took my senior pictures (which were also lots of fun!!), so I’ll probably just mooch off the Kindle library this week. (And maybe re-read The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea…SHH I know it’ll be two re-reads in less than a month BUT IT’S FOR BOOK CLUB I SWEAR)

Writing’s been great too – I FINISHED MY SECOND DRAFT OF MY SCI-FI WIP!! It ended up at about 105,000 words and just under 400 pages! I’ll let it sit for a few months before I go ahead and edit it again, but I’m pretty proud of myself. Two drafts. Good for you, self.

I SAID HEYYEYAAEYAAAEYAEYAA - Album on Imgur

Problem is, now I don’t know what to write now…I have at least three unfinished drafts of other projects and dozens more unwritten story ideas…

Same As It Ever Was David Byrne GIF - Same As It Ever Was David Byrne Once  In A Life Time - Discover & Share GIFs
now look where my hand was

Other than that, I’ve just been getting my drawing inspiration back, eating ice cream, and watching more What We Do in the Shadows. Also, I saw Spoon live on Tuesday night!! Such a fantastic show, Spoon is an amazing live band

Oh, and I also had the experience of seeing a spider descend from the ceiling of my car while I was driving to school at 6:50 am…needless to say, that woke me up.

guh…

WHAT I READ THIS WEEK:

Tell the Machine Goodnight – Katie Williams (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Tell the Machine Goodnight by Katie Williams

Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home – Adi Alsaid et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Amazon.com: Come On In: 15 Stories about Immigration and Finding Home:  9781335146496: Alsaid, Adi, Bajaj, Varsha, Andreu, Maria E., Morse, Sharon,  Sugiura, Misa, Azad, Nafiza, Goo, Maurene, Charaipotra, Sona, Méndez,  Yamile Saied,

Kindred – Octavia Butler (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Kindred: 0046442083690: Octavia E. Butler: Books

The Taking of Jake Livingston – Ryan Douglass (⭐️⭐️)

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

Harley in the Sky – Akemi Dawn Bowman (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Amazon.com: Harley in the Sky: 9781534437128: Bowman, Akemi Dawn: Books

POSTS AND SUCH:

SONGS:

CURRENTLY READING/TO READ NEXT WEEK:

Utopia – Sir Thomas Moore (for school)

Utopia (Dover Thrift Editions) by Thomas More (1997) Paperback: Amazon.com:  Books

Lagoon – Nnedi Okorafor

Lagoon | Book by Nnedi Okorafor | Official Publisher Page | Simon & Schuster

The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea – Maggie Tokuda-Hall (re-read FOR BOOK CLUB SHH)

Amazon.com: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea: 9781536204315:  Tokuda-Hall, Maggie: Books

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Review Tuesday

Book Review Tuesday (8/10/21) – The Darkness Outside Us

Happy Tuesday, bibliophiles!

Last week, before my trip, I trawled the Kindle library for books to read to tide me over until I could get to the books I bought. I’d had it on hold at the library for a bit, but I realized that it was available on the ebook library, so I checked it out immediately. I was initially excited for it, but I had no idea what I was truly in for; The Darkness Outside Us is more than just a thriller or a sci-fi romance – it’s a heartrending and harrowing exploration of love and grief on a cosmic scale.

Enjoy this week’s review!

The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer

The Darkness Outside Us – Eliot Schrefer

After waking up from a strange, deep sleep, Ambrose finds himself on a spaceship with a critical mission – rescuing his older sister, Minerva, who is trapped on a base on Titan. His ship, the Coordinated Endeavor, holds infinite mysteries – it has the voice of his mother, robots with minds of their own, and secrets hidden in every corner. But the most enigmatic of all is Kodiak, his isolated shipmate from a rival country on Earth. Kodiak is bent on keeping distance between them, but when the mission’s true nature becomes clearer, their only choice is to work together.

Quiz: Ripley, Our Lady of Survival | Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

TW/CW: grief, loss of loved ones, violence, descriptions of illness, death

What can I say other than the fact that I’m truly in awe of this book?

The Darkness Outside Us started out like any other sci-fi thriller. We find Ambrose waking up and slowly realizing his surroundings, and figuring out that things about the Coordinated Endeavor are not what they seem. We witness his developing romance with Kodiak, and all the puzzle pieces seem to come together.

But trust me. Once you hit the halfway mark of the book, you may think you’ve predicted all the plots twists (I thought I did…), BUT YOU WON’T. Just as quickly as everything seems to go disastrously wrong, the real plot starts to come together. I don’t want to spoil anything for this novel, but it’s hard to say anything about what happens next without revealing the last half of the plot, but I’ll try my best. It’s better if you go in blind about this one.

For the first half of the book, I thought that I’d give it a 3-3.5 star rating; the characters were decent, the queer enemies-to-lovers romance was well-done, and the mounting tension was well-written. But the further I got on, the surer I became of my 5-star rating. The Darkness Outside Us is far more than what it was marketed as; yes, there’s romance, and yes, there’s a mystery to be solved in ✨space✨, but there is truly so much more than meets the eye. It’s not every day that I truly feel like a novel is a work of art, but this one was. It’s a testament to life itself, appreciating every minute of it while you still can, and the power of love that binds us and shapes us.

We don’t get enough sci-fi/fantasy novels that delve into these core human emotions quite like The Darkness Outside Us did. And if I’m being honest, I think sci-fi can sometimes be an even better vehicle to explore these kinds of themes. With the dizzyingly cosmic scale that this novel takes place over, there’s a unique opportunity to show the transcendental power that love can span over many years. There’s a bleakness to everything, and most of the last half was heartbreaking to read, what with all the grains of hope that were spread throughout being overturned and crushed in seconds, but Schrefer leaves us with a hopeful ending that nearly brought me to tears.

I’ve said several times that part of what makes a good sci-fi is that it makes you think. The Darkness Outside Us fits the bill in every sense of the word. I had…well [ahem] several existential crises over the course of the last half, but in all seriousness, this novel is deeply introspective and philosophical. It’s all about reckoning with our past choices and the choices of others, of breaking free of cycles that have controlled you for millennia (literally), and the enduring power of love and the complicated nature of relationships. I ended up staying up a *little bit later* than I intended to because I just HAD to see what happened, but all that time, I had the space to ruminate about life. Needless to say, this one had me staring at the ceiling and pondering the meaning of life until I fell asleep, despite my attempts to distract myself.

In short, I don’t use the word “masterpiece” lightly, but The Darkness Outside Us truly is one. It’s an ode to love to light the way in the darkness and a musing on the nature of love, relationships, grief, and choices. It’s haunting, heartbreaking, and nothing short of immense in its scale, and will surely leave you thinking about all manner of things after reading it. It’s the book equivalent of Spiritualized’s “Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space” – “I will love you ’till I die/And I will love you all the time/So please put your sweet hand in mine/We’ll float in space and drift in time.” Books like this don’t come around often, so pick this one up. You won’t regret it. 5 stars!

cyber-black | Cyberpunk, Cyberpunk anime, Cyberpunk art

The Darkness Outside Us is a standalone, but Eliot Schrefer is also the author of the Ape Quarter (Endangered, Threatened, Rescued, and Orphaned), The School for Dangerous Girls, The Deadly Sister, Glamorous Disasters, and many more novels for young adults and children.

Today’s song:

That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

July 2021 Wrap-Up ☀️

Happy Saturday, bibliophiles!

Second month of summer? Hotter than I would’ve liked for it to be, but summer is summer. And this July was a good one, so I’m not complaining. (Except for when it’s 80 degrees in my room, even with the fan on and all the windows open…)

GENERAL THOUGHTS:

It’s been a fairly productive July for me, I’d say! I have nearly all of my summer homework done, and I had a lot of time to blog and do the things I like to do.

I got back into Camp NaNoWriMo this month as well! After a little trouble with fixing up my word count goal, I got back on track and reached my goal a few days ago! As far as that WIP goes, I’m nearing 250 pages, and I’m just past 66,000 words! It’s already a lot shorter than my first draft, which is…most certainly a good thing, because my first draft was nearly 600 pages long, and a good portion of it was filler. Guess I’ve learned from that…

writing a letter to you on We Heart It

This is also the first July that I had any idea that it was disability pride month! I looked around my TBR for some books with disability rep to read (and I’ll continue to look – always on the hunt for good disability rep!), and I’ve found some fantastic books as a result. And as always: AMPLIFY DISABLED VOICES 24/7/365. 💗

Other than that, I’ve just been drawing, watching Loki (AAAAAAAH) and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, going to the movies for the first time in ages, doing a little hiking, and attempting to cool down my room before I go to sleep. Also, after several years and at least 3-4 people begging that I watch it, I finally started watching Gravity Falls! Good stuff so far, I’m only about a quarter of the way through season 1, but I’m liking it, for the most part.

And it’s nearly August now! Leo season…

Leo GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Also, I finally watched Yellow Submarine last night, and I LOVED IT! My eyes kinda hurt, but it was worth it for all the Beatles goodness.

Thebeatles Yellowsubmarine GIF - Thebeatles Beatles Yellowsubmarine -  Discover & Share GIFs

READING AND BLOGGING:

I read 25 books this month! I think July has been my best reading month of the year, but at the cost of the first two DNFs of the year being among the ranks. At least I got to write a rant review about one of them. That was fun.

I also reached 450 followers recently, so thank you all!! 💗

1 – 1.75 stars:

Amazon.com: Off Balance (Aunare Chronicles Book 2) eBook: Erin, Aileen:  Kindle Store
Off Balance (Aunare Chronicles, #2)

Miss Benson’s Beetle – Rachel Joyce (DNF – ⭐️)

Off Balance (Aunare Chronicles, #2) – Aileen Erin (DNF – ⭐️)

2 – 2.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Gilded Ones (9781984848697): Forna, Namina: Books
The Gilded Ones

A Dark and Hollow Star – Ashley Shuttleworth (⭐️⭐️.5)

Circe – Madeline Miller (⭐️⭐️.5)

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1) – Namina Forna (⭐️⭐️.75)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Never Tilting World (Never Tilting World, 1)  (9780062821799): Chupeco, Rin: Books
The Never Tilting World

Earth Abides – George R. Stewart (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Iron Giant – Ted Hughes (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

It’s My Life – Stacie Ramey (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Iron Woman – Ted Hughes (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fable (Fable, #1) – Adrienne Young (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Invincible: Compendium One – Robert Kirtman, Cory Walker, Ryan Ottley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

In Deeper Waters – F.T. Lukens (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Boy Who Steals Houses – C.G. Drews (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Never Tilting World (The Never Tilting World, #1) – Rin Chupeco (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

Gearbreakers (Gearbreakers, #1) by Zoe Hana Mikuta
Gearbreakers

Bookish and the Beast (Once Upon a Con, #3) – Ashley Poston (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Forest of Souls – Lori M. Lee (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Native Son – Richard Wright (for my school summer reading) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

When You Were Everything – Ashley Woodfolk (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Magic Fish – Trung Le Nguyen (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Sorrowland – Rivers Solomon (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

What’s Your Pronoun?: Beyond He and She – Dennis Baron (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Spellhacker – M.K. England (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Gearbreakers (Gearbreakers, #1) – Zoe Hana Mikuta (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Sick Kids in Love – Hannah Moskowitz (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH: Sick Kids in Love4.5 stars

Amazon.com: Sick Kids In Love (9781640637320): Moskowitz, Hannah: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

SONGS/ALBUMS THAT I’VE ENJOYED:

This is a fantastic album
pretty solid for a debut EP!
CREEP 2 CREEP 2 CREEP 2
Soccer Mommy turning into a Mii wasn’t on my 2021 bingo card but here we are
✨transcendent✨

DID I FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY JULY GOALS?

exactly how i feel... | Funny gif, Chibird, Cute gif
  • Read at least 20 books: 25!
  • Get into Camp NaNoWriMo for the sci-fi WIP: did it, and I reached my goal!
  • Don’t melt into a puddle from the heat: …uh, debatable…

GOALS FOR AUGUST:

Star Wars Birthday GIFs | Tenor
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Enjoy the last few weeks of summer!
  • Start the school year off on a good note!
  • ENJOY MY BIRTHDAY (I mean, I never don’t enjoy my birthdays, but yeah, my birthday’s in August so)

Today’s song:

That’s it for this month in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Book Tags

Count to 10 With Me Book Tag 🔟

Happy Friday, bibliophiles!

I figured it would be fun to do a tag today, so I decided on this one that’s been sitting in my blog sticky note for a while. I found it over at One Book More, and the tag was originally created by Alyce on Booktube. It sounded so cute, so I figured I’d give it a try!

Let’s begin, shall we?

🔟COUNT TO 10 WITH ME BOOK TAG🔟

  1. FIRST BOOK IN A SERIES
Gearbreakers eBook: Mikuta, Zoe Hana: Kindle Store - Amazon.com

Gearbreakers is set to be the first book in a series, but I don’t know how many books there will be…I LOVED this one, though!

2. TWO OR MORE COPIES OF THE SAME BOOK

Amazon.com: Six of Crows eBook: Bardugo, Leigh: Kindle Store

I bought Six of Crows on my Kindle, and then I got a paperback copy from the library (they’d gotten some extra copies), so I have two copies of this one. I normally don’t get several physical copies of the same book, but I have a few duplicates on physical and Kindle.

3. THREE COLORS ON THE COVER

Spellhacker by M.K. England

Spellhacker has blue, purple, and yellow on the cover! This one’s super underrated.

4. FOUR OR MORE PERSPECTIVES

Amazon.com: A Dark and Hollow Star (9781534453678): Shuttleworth, Ashley:  Books

A Dark and Hollow Star has four perspectives, but they were…a little imbalanced for me. I feel like Aurelian didn’t get as much page time than the other POVs. I just finished this one yesterday, and it was a bit of a disappointment…

5. A FIVE STAR READ

Before the Fall by Noah Hawley

Before the Fall was my first five-star read of this year! Noah Hawley is an incredible writer.

6. SIX (OR MORE) SHORT STORIES

Amazon.com: Color outside the Lines: Stories about Love (9781641290463):  Mandanna, Sangu, Ahmed, Samira, Silvera, Adam, Smith, Eric, McLemore,  Anna-Marie: Books

Color Outside the Lines has 6+ short stories, and they’re all about interracial relationships. Highly recommended!

7. A SEVEN ON THE COVER OR THE SPINE

The League of Seven - Alan Gratz

It’s been YEARS since I read The League of Seven, but I remember it being a lot of fun in late elementary school/middle school. I couldn’t think of anything else with a seven in the title…

8. EIGHT LETTERS IN THE TITLE

Salvaged by Madeleine Roux: 9780451491831 | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books

Oof, this took a bit of trawling through my Read shelf on Goodreads, but Salvaged has eight letters!

9. BOOK ENDS ON A PAGE ENDING IN A NINE

These Violent Delights (These Violent Delights, #1) by Chloe Gong

These Violent Delights clocks in at 449 pages!

10. TEN BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Best Nope GIFs | Gfycat

Yeah, I’m drawing a blank for this one…I rarely read series that are longer than 4-5 books these days…

I TAG:

Pin on Marvel

Today’s song:

GAH, this might be my new favorite Julien Baker song…

That’s it for this little book tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Music

Zodiac Music Tag 🎧

Hi again, bibliophiles!

As promised, here’s the sequel to the Zodiac Book Tag, the music tag. I love music almost as much as I love books, so this is a perfect fit for me! As with the book tag, this was created by Swift Walker @ Just Dreamland.

RULES:

  • Link back to the creator, Just Dreamland
  • Link back to the person who tagged you!
  • Answer all the prompts.
  • Use the original graphics and credit the creator 
  • Tag at least 5 bloggers and provide links to their blogs.
  • Name your Zodiac sign!
  • Don’t forget to add #ItsAZodiacThing tag.
  • You can either do the zodiac book tag /the zodiac music tag or both of them. Graphics for separate tags should be given at the end.
  • Enjoy!

As I mentioned in the book tag, I’m (barely) a Leo. 🙂 ♌️

Your Leo Monthly Horoscope - Leo Astrology Monthly Overview

So let’s begin, shall we?

The Love Club — Legion S01E06.

(EDIT: I had to take some of the graphics out bc they were disappearing…)

🎼ZODIAC MUSIC TAG🎼

ARIES: the song that got your blood pumping and heart beating fast

I can’t think of this song without thinking of this video of a Björk concert where she said something like “and here’s a little song to help you go to sleep 🙃” and then started playing this –

TAURUS: A song to celebrate your love when you’re in a commitment with someone

There’s a more recent version of this one but I like this one better :,)

I mean, the last two minutes (or thereabouts) of the song being “don’t worry/you and me won’t be alone no more” sums it up pretty well, right? :,)

GEMINI: A song to listen to when you get tongue-tied and miscommunicate your feelings

I’M FINE, I’M FINE, I SWEAR I’M FINE –

CANCER: A song that motivated you to take a chance and open yourself up to love

Uh? This prompt was really hard for me for some reason, but…I guess it fits? Haven’t really had a song that’s had that effect on me? Not really sure, but I love it.

LEO: A song that shows affection

This is…I think this is the least depressing of Montreal song, and that’s definitely saying something…

VIRGO: A song with a sentiment that made you feel beautiful inside and out

This was my comfort song a few years ago, and it’s still my comfort song now… :,)

LIBRA: A song that shows a person is truly and madly in love

I still think that this is one of the sweetest, softest love songs…the Soccer Mommy cover is incredible too 🥺

SCORPIO: A song which is unapologetically pledging their undying affection to their crush

Whoops, doubled up on the Björk songs…

But again, a whole string of “I love him, I love him/(she loves him, she loves him)” at the very end sums it all up, doesn’t it?

SAGITTARIUS: An exciting, spontaneous song

[BLEEPITY BLOOP INTENSIFIES]

If you could describe Jonny's style in three words... : radiohead

CAPRICORN: A song that promotes self-love

The chorus is certainly a weirdo anthem of sorts…gotta love Sidney Gish’s lyrics

AQUARIUS: A song that has more to do with friendship than being in a relationship

…whoops, here’s the most predictable answer…

This one’s a childhood favorite, though. Classic.

PISCES: A song that’s all about unconditional love

THIS VIDEO 🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺🥺

Even though October isn’t Pisces season I had to stick this one in here

I TAG:

Lenny Busker from Legion | Aubrey plaza, Legion, Headphones

Since this post is full of songs, just consider everything in here today’s song.

That’s it for this music tag! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!

Posted in Monthly Wrap-Ups

March 2021 Wrap-Up 🧦

Happy Wednesday my dudes bibliophiles!

I refuse to believe that it’s almost April…one year since the original quarantine, nope…

GENERAL THOUGHTS

March has been…an interesting month, I guess. Definitely had its ups and downs, and it was super cold. It’s usually a really snowy month here in Colorado, and we got dumped on in the middle of the month…not quite the #Snowmageddon that everybody was saying it was going to be, but we got about two feet at my house. A lot, but we’ve had worse…

School’s been a bit rough, but I’m at least glad that everything had time to wind down before Spring Break. I have my SAT test coming up in April and my AP exams in May, so heads up, I’ll probably be less active in the next two months.

Other than that, I’ve definitely made some great progress! Mostly with my writing; I wrote my short story for the writing contest, shared it with family and close friends, got some feedback, AND I SUBMITTED IT ON MONDAY! AAAAAAAAAAAH

Screaming Cowboy GIF by Jason Clarke - Find & Share on GIPHY

I also started on Falcon & The Winter Soldier (I didn’t like episode 1 very much, but 2 got better), watched the Snyder Cut, and drank lots of tea and hot chocolate. Here’s hoping that April will be a bit better. Not that March was awful, but I could’ve done without…y’know, precalc. I’ve been listening to the new Julien Baker a lot too, as well as more Mother Mother, thanks to a playlist my friend made for me.

Also, I rewatched Fargo in its entirety. I’ll admit to curling into the fetal position and sobbing several times.

Rabbi Milligan | Explore Tumblr Posts and Blogs | Tumgir
[aggressive tissue-blowing intensifies]

And I’m SO CLOSE to 400 followers! I LOVE YOU ALL 🥺

READING AND BLOGGING:

I managed to read 23 books this month! (24, if you count reading a certain B.P.R.D. twice.) I’ve definitely had a great reading month; I re-read a few favorites, and I discovered several awesome reads! And I had very few books that I didn’t like, so that’s a plus. Here’s everything…

2 – 2.75 stars:

The Absolute Book: A Novel: Knox, Elizabeth: 9780593296738: Amazon.com:  Books
The Absolute Book

The Absolute Book – Elizabeth Knox (⭐️⭐️)

3 – 3.75 stars:

Amazon.com: The Future Is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by  Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin: A Library of America  Special Publication (9781598535808): Yaszek, Lisa: Books
The Future is Female!

Sisters of the Wolf – Patricia Miller-Schroeder (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Roman + Jewel – Dana L. Davis (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Girl, Serpent, Thorn – Melissa Bashardoust (⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Hellboy: Oddest Jobs – Christopher Golden, Mike Mignola et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Chlorine Sky – Mahogany L. Browne (⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

The Good Father – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers, #2) – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss, #1) – London Shah (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

The Future is Female! 25 Classic Science Fiction Stories by Women, from Pulp Pioneers to Ursula K. Le Guin – Lisa Yaszek (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

4 – 4.75 stars:

I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness: Channing  Brown, Austin: 9781524760854: Amazon.com: Books
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness

A Phoenix Must First Burn – Patrice Caldwell et. al. (anthology) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

B.P.R.D., vol. 3: Plague of Frogs – Mike Mignola, Guy Davis (read twice) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Remote Control – Nnedi Okorafor (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. – Colleen Nelson (eARC) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Desolations of Devil’s Acre (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children, #6) – Ransom Riggs (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Things They Carried – Tim O’Brien (read for school) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

The Black Flamingo – Dean Atta (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

To Be Taught, If Fortunate – Becky Chambers (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Other People’s Weddings – Noah Hawley (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

Fox 8 – George Saunders (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness – Austin Channing Brown (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5)

Once & Future – A.R. Capetta and Cori McCarthy (re-read for book club) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.75)

5 stars:

Looks from Books: Fashion Inspired by Frankenstein - College Fashion
Frankenstein

Frankenstein – Mary Shelley (re-read) (⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

FAVORITE BOOK OF THE MONTH (not counting re-reads): Fox 8 4.5 stars

Amazon.com: Fox 8: A Story (9781984818027): Saunders, George, Cardinal,  Chelsea: Books

SOME POSTS I’M PROUD OF:

POSTS I ENJOYED FROM OTHER WONDERFUL PEOPLE:

DID I ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH ON MY MARCH GOALS?

You betcha - GIF on Imgur
  • Finish my short story for the writing contest (since the deadline is early April…): done! Shaking, but done.
  • ACTUALLY review Little Oblivions: done! Click here to read it.
  • Read at least 20 books: read 23!
  • Review all of the eARCs sitting on my Kindle: all done! Here are my reviews for Sisters of the Wolf and The Life and Deaths of Frankie D.

GOALS FOR APRIL:

How to Prepare for Exam Season Before It Even Starts | TalentEgg Career  Incubator
  • Read at least 20 books
  • Take some time to study for the SAT (you got this!)

So let’s hope that April won’t be so chaotic.

Today’s song:

That’s it for my March in blogging! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!