Current Favorites: Music Edition

Hi everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these Current Favorites posts and I realized I’ve never done one talking about music I listen to. I did do a writing playlist post before but I wanted to talk about individual artists I love. I’m not a huge music nerd. My taste in music is incredibly eclectic. I wanted to share my favorites, though, with you all. Feel free to leave me any suggestions in the comments as I’m always looking for new music to listen to. (Also, trust me when I say, this list is only the tip of the music iceberg.)

Florence + the Machine: I’ve been listening to Florence since I was in middle school. Her dreamy vocals and poetic lyrics are a truly a musical experience. Her music is just so imaginative and dynamic. If you are looking for a unique and powerful singer, I would highly recommend Florence + the Machine.

Panic! at the Disco: Some of you true blue emo kids from the ’00s have very distinct memories of jamming out to “I Write Sins, Not Tragedies.” Let me tell you that your emo dreams don’t have to die because Panic! at the Disco is still an amazing band. Brendon Urie has an amazingly powerful voice. The songs are so powerful and fun. The slower songs are still just as amazing. If you are not a Panic! fan, you ought to be because anybody can enjoy their music.

Billie Eilish: I love music that doesn’t conform to genre. Billie Eilish is one of those artists that just cares about the music. With breezy vocals and surprisingly dark lyrics, Eilish is absolutely an artist to look out for. I already love her music and can’t urge you more to go listen to her.

Hozier: If you like Florence, then I can guarantee that you will love Hozier. This Irish folk musician captured my attention with “Take Me to Church” and, after quite a long hiatus, is coming back with meaningful and soulful music. He always has this mischief in his lyrics that I love to read into. If you’re interested in folk music, go listen to Hozier.

Hayley Kiyoko: Lovingly referred to as “lesbian Jesus,” Kiyoko has brought a fresh new take on pop music that is as fun as it is powerful. She is completely unafraid to express her true self in her music. I love her pride as well as her vulnerability. I’m not a huge fan of pop music but Hayley definitely makes it so much more enjoyable.

Twenty One Pilots: Yet another band that can’t be boxed in with genre, Twenty One Pilots still has an indie feel while being so mainstream. Their lyrics are incredibly quotable and their music comes together to tell epic stories. Go beyond their mainstream stuff and listen to their albums. The way the combine multiple music styles is awesome.

Pop Culture Trends I’m So Over

Hi everyone! Let’s begin 2019 with a rant, shall we? I’ve been noticing some patterns in various areas of popular culture and, boy, do I have some thoughts. Some of you may disagree with me while others may agree completely. Either way, I’d like to hear your opinions as well.

Disney Remakes: I get why the live action-remakes of Disney movies are being made but just because we can doesn’t mean we should. It’s not like any of these movies, like The Lion King or Aladdin, are outdated necessarily. I’m pretty sure a child of today can watch the original movies and appreciate them. I don’t need flashy special effects or new songs. Just leave my childhood alone please.

Movie to Musical Adaptations: If you’re a musical theater fan, then you can understand this one. The next musical season is going to be flooded with musical adaptations of movies like Mrs. Doubtfire and The Notebook. Again, I see the market and the reason for this but there are sooooo many to the point that any original musicals or revivals are going to get absolutely buried. I’m not saying I think these musicals are going to be bad. I’m just saying that the originality factor has gone out the door and I blame Mean Girls (even though I do love the musical adaptation).

“Trendy” Horror Movies: You’ve got to stay hip with the kids, right? So that means making technology the center of your horror movie. I’m going to included Internet urban legends (i.e Slenderman) into this category. It’s honestly just so cheesy. It never turns out meaningful. This whole “what if your phone is possessed?” thing feels like it’s written by parents who are tired of their kids being on their phones.

Overly Dramatic Teen Shows/Movies: I’m specifically calling out “Riverdale” for this one because it started the trend. There’s a fine line between escapism and just being unrealistic. Netflix also recently had an influx of teen-centric movies that just strike me as being way too dramatic for the wrong reasons. I understand that I am not the target audience but I would still like to appreciate shows like this. Back in my day, you got some vampires and that was enough. (Also, to anyone who watches Riverdale, how do you classify the show? Is it supernatural? Is it horror? Is it a drama? I don’t get it). (Please read this in an old man voice).

Gender Swapped Remakes: Obviously, we need more female led movies but simply remaking a movie but with a woman instead of a man is just soooo lazy. There’s so much material out there with female leads that could be adapted to the screen and that should be adapted to the screen. There’s also probably plenty of people with completely original ideas out there. Though this trend is starting to die down, I’m afraid it’s not going to stay down.

Favorites of 2018

Hi everyone! Now that Christmas has passed and I have a little bit of time off, I thought that I would share my favorite things of 2018. (Note: Some of these didn’t premier in 2018 but I discovered them in 2018 so that’s why they are included on the list)

Favorite Books of 2018 

  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin
  • Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
  • Vicious by VE Schwab
  • Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi
  • Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
  • The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
  • The Poe Shadow by Matthew Pearl
  • Bonfire by Krysten Ritter

Favorite Movies of 2018

  • Black Panther
  • Avengers: Infinity War
  • Ant-Man and the Wasp
  • Deadpool 2
  • Venom
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Mary Poppins Returns
  • Aquaman

Favorite Music of 2018

  • God Save Our Young Blood by BORNS feat. Lana Del Rey (song)
  • To Imagine – EP by The Neighbourhood
  • M A N I A by Fall Out Boy (album)
  • Sick Boy by The Chainsmokers (song)
  • Sober Up by AJR (song)
  • Black Panther: The Album by Kendrick Lamar
  • Nation of Two by Vance Joy (album)
  • White Noise by PVRIS (album)
  • The Neighbourhood by The Neighborhood (album)
  • Found/Tonight by Ben Platt feat. Lin- Manuel Miranda (song)
  • Expectations by Hayley Kiyoko (album)
  • My Dear Melancholy by The Weekend (EP)
  • No Roots by Alice Merton (song)
  • Paper Love by Allie X (song)
  • don’t smile at me by Billie Eilish (album)
  • Tranquility Base Hotel and Casino by Arctic Monkeys (album)
  • Love is Dead by CHVRCHES (album)
  • so sad so sexy by Lykke Li (album)
  • Holy by King Princess (song)
  • Pray for the Wicked by Panic! At the Disco (album)
  • High as Hope by Florence + the Machine (album)
  • Love Monster by Amy Shark (album)
  • Take Me to the Disco by Meg Myers (album)
  • The Pines by Roses and Revolutions (song)
  • talk is overrated by Jeremy Zucker (song)
  • Nina Cried Power – EP by Hozier
  • Venice Bitch by Lana Del Rey (song)
  • Outsiders by Au/Ra (EP)
  • Trench by Twenty One Pilots (album)
  • Delta by Mumford and Sons (album)
  • Cheering For Me Now by John Kander feat Lin-Manuel Miranda (song)

Favorite TV Show of 2018

  • Supernatural, Season 14
  • Gotham, Season 5
  • John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous at Radio City
  • The Flash, Season 5
  • Arrow, Season 7
  • Supergirl, Season 4
  • Legends of Tomorrow, Season 4
  • Luke Cage, Season 2
  • Black Lightning, Season 2
  • Daredevil, Season 3
  • Iron Fist, Season 2
  • Queer Eye, Seasons 1 and 2
  • Jessica Jones, Season 2
  • Doctor Who, Series 11
  • The Walking Dead, Season 9

How I Pick My Novels

Hi everyone! I’m both glad (and not so glad) to be back home. I had spend this past weekend in New Jersey and New York. One of my college graduation presents was tickets to see Phantom of the Opera on Broadway so I was beyond excited. I also got to visit Sleepy Hollow. Overall, it was a very exciting weekend. Now that I’m back, I decided to do a blog inspired by a author/Youtuber I follow, Jenna Moreci. Some of you may have heard of her as she has recently released her debut novel, The Savior’s Champion. She is very funny so I definitely recommend you look up her channel. She recently did a video called “How I Choose My Novels.” Naturally, I’m copying her. All credit goes to Jenna Moreci for this.

Genre: Like the rest of you, I have preferred genres. All of them fall under the fiction category. Within that, I like to see which genre I haven’t read recently so I can mix it up. I also like to see novels that break genre. I want to give myself a variety, as well as you who read my blogs.

Author: Normally, I don’t concern myself with authors too much but, obviously, I do gravitate towards my favorite author. I also like to know which authors are up-and-coming so I can hop on a bandwagon. I like being a part of fandom, as do a lot of you.

Reviews: There are many books I’ve picked up solely because I heard many people enjoyed it. Reviews really do have an impact on which books I choose. In fact, your reviews have helped me pick books. I prefer to read book by average readers rather than professional critics. I feel like professional critics can be “too” judgmental at times. I just want to know if a book was good or not. I don’t want an analysis.

Book Length: As much as I would love to read super long books, I don’t always have the time or the patience. I tend to have a short attention span so I’ll avoid thicker books. I would love to buckle down and read something like Les Miserables or War and Peace but, let’s be real, my last three brain cells wouldn’t be able to handle that.

The Blurb: Ah yes, the might blurb! I must read the blurb of every book in the store before I make a decision. A vague blurb isn’t going to interest me and a long blurb is going to lose my attention. I need a nice sized-blurb with just enough detail. The blurb is what’s going to sell your book.

The Cover: Unlike the popular phrase, I do judge books by their cover. I even did a post where I talked about book covers. A nice, eye-catching cover is the first thing that makes me pick up a book. I’m not going to gravitate toward something with a bland cover or a cover with too much happening. I will most definitely avoid a book with a movie poster as the cover. (I think it’s tacky but that’s just me.) We do judge books by their covers and we can all admit it.

 

How I Learned To Love My Writing (And You Can Learn Too)

Hi everyone! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted anything. I keep telling myself I’m going to finish my TBR pile soon but then I just want to watch Avengers: Infinity War on repeat until Loki is alive again (spoiler). Also, let’s face it, part of the writing process is just opening your Word document and then your just end up watching YouTube videos for five hours straight. Don’t act like you’re not guilty of doing that. Anyways, I wanted to talk to you about how I learned to eventually learned to love what I write. I made a previous post about my crappy writing habits and I mentioned how I don’t always like what I write. While that is true, I’ve learned more about how to appreciate what I write. I’ve decided to share with you all some of the things that keep me loving being a writer.

  • Accept that it’s not going to be perfect the first time around. We all wish that we could have a brilliant idea during the first draft. That, however, is not true. Chances are that you aren’t going to like how your plot sounds on paper. As someone who has studied editing and publishing, I can tell you that the process to “perfect” a book takes a very long time. The writing process itself may take along time and it may not be perfect even then. As long as you have the commitment and patience, you can accomplish it.
  • Don’t write hoping to impress others. In my sophomore year of college, I decided to start to pursue a minor in Writing. This made sense since I was (and still am) and English major. Once I got into the classes, however, I realized I was trying way too hard to impress my professors and classmates. It got to the point where I would spend way too long even thinking about the story then I would end up writing at the last minute. Most of those stories didn’t turn out great. Don’t forget that your writing is for yourself, first and foremost. Enjoy the solitude that comes with the writing process because plenty of people will come along to go over every detail of your work. Make yourself proud by just fulfilling your accomplishment.
  • Let your imagination run wild. It’s easy to get caught up in the genres. We all want to fit into one specific genre because we love certain authors so much. This, however, shouldn’t limit you. Your ideas are going to sound silly sometimes. Your worlds and characters are going to raise eyebrows but that’s perfectly fine. Get weird with it. Don’t settle for ordinary, regardless of your preferred genre. Let loose once in a while and that might be how you strike gold.
  • Tap into your emotional side. The best stories are the ones that move us emotionally. It’s hard to communicate your emotions. I still have a hard time with it. Don’t let this hold you back, though. Make your story sad. Make your story angry. Make your story joyful. Don’t be afraid to put a healthy dose of “the feels” into your writing. I’ve learned I feel more in tune with my emotions once I put them on paper.
  • Congratulate yourself every so often. If you’re a person with a day job, like me, then you can have a hard time finding time to sit down and just write. You might be too tired or just not in the mood. When you do find the time, make sure to give yourself a nice little pat on the back. It doesn’t matter if you get one page or ten pages done, you still made progress. So give yourself a round of applause for hitting your goals because you deserve it.

So those are the ways I have learned to love my writing. Let me know about how you learned to love your writing as well. I can’t wait to hear from you all.

The Best (and Worst) Books I Read in High School

Hello everyone! While I would prefer to have a book review by now, I feel like I just haven’t had the time or energy to continue reading. Closing shifts are the worst. Anyone who has worked retail can relate to how I feel. I mentioned in my last post that I wanted to do something like this. I thought about making this about my required reading in grade school but I really don’t remember much of what I read back then. I do, however, have very distinct memories of my Honors English classes in high school. I had some very interesting teachers who had some interesting teaching methods. I can get more into that in another post if you want. (Note: I’m also going to be including plays I read on this list).

The best books I read:

  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Sophomore Year)
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Junior Year)
  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare (Sophomore Year)
  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Junior Year)
  • Dracula by Bram Stoker (Senior Year)
  • The Color of Water by James McBride (Sophomore Year)
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Freshman Year)
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding (Senior Year)
  • Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare (Freshman Year)
  • Fences by August Wilson (Junior Year)

The worst books I read (with explanations):

  • Anthem by Ayn Rand: I know a lot of people of Rand but I just couldn’t bring myself to enjoy her writing. This book, in particular, is very confusing as it is written without singular pronouns. That is an important aspect of the book as it is a dystopian novel but it doesn’t make it any less confusing.
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom: I just found this book to be way too sappy for my tastes. I understand the sentiment behind the story but it was just too depressing, even for me.
  • Black Boy by Richard Wright: It always sounds bad when I tell people I didn’t like this book but it’s not because of the subject matter. This book is his autobiography and the first half of the book is incredibly interesting. The second half of the book, however, is all about Communism and it just gets super preachy. The end just felt like a let down.
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros: I’m not a huge fan of poetry but I can always appreciate. This book, however, was too abstract for my tastes. Again, I understand the subject matter but I just thought it was so vague.
  • Seven Events that Made America America by Larry Scheikwart: This book was so bad that my teacher decided to not have us even finish it. It’s written from a very Conservative standpoint and also the events weren’t even that important. The entire book is just this guy ranting about the “liberal media.” It was not something that I cared for in high school and not something I care for now.

Let me know if you read any of these books in high school or tell me your favorites or least favorites. I had some odd experiences in high school English so my experience is probably very different that yours. I’d love to hear about it though.

 

Books I Grew Up With

Hello everyone! I’m not going to begin this post with an apology about not having a book review. You’ll get that when you get that. Since I have moved back home, I have had to do some sorting in my room. My book obsession started early so I had to sort through the years of books I had accumulated. As I was going through all of them, I couldn’t help but reflect on how much some of these series or stand alone-novels piqued my interest in writing. I decided to create a list of some of the most important books that got me through the confusing and whimsical time of childhood. (Note: I am talking about the books I read up to eighth grade. I think I might make another post about the best and worst books I read in high school.)

  • Where would I be without the Harry Potter series? It was the first full length novel I ever read on my own. It was my first real “fandom.” It was the first book that showed me a character like myself. I was Hermione for more than one Halloween. I even had a Harry Potter quote on my graduation cap. To this day, my dedication to this series knows no bounds.
  • One thing a lot of people don’t know about me is that I am fascinated with the paranormal. My interest for this topic began when I started reading R.L. Stein’s Goosebumps series. I read so many of these books. I even wrote book reports about some of the novels. Along with this series, I also read the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. I still remember being terrified and thrilled by both of these series and I still remember a good portion of what I read.
  • As I got older and entered middle school, the vampire craze swept the nation. I soon fell in love with the Twilight series and the Vampire Diaries series. As cheesy as these books are, I loved the romantic aspect of vampires. The books were more “grown up” than Goosebumps and really played into my romantic side. I give these books credit into easing me into more mature books that I read nowadays.
  • As a lot of you know, I’m a big fan of crime/mystery novels. Obviously, this had to come from somewhere and it came from the Nancy Drew series and A Series of Unfortunate Events. I used to love the Nancy Drew computer games. Much like with Hermione Granger, I saw similarities between myself and Nancy Drew. Lemony Snicket, on the other hand, offered such an interesting writing style full of cynicism, tragedy, and intelligence that most people don’t expect to see in a children’s book. I definitely connected with his writing style. (Note: I highly recommend the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.)
  • Another genre I do love is sci-fi. Scott Westerfield’s The Uglies series only fueled my fascination with the genre. In fact, I am excited to say that Westerfield is releasing another book in the series called Impostors. I am very excited to read it as it takes me way back. I was also a huge fan of James Patterson’s Maximum Ride series. I was incredibly dedicated to that series for a long time. I’m almost sad I lost track of that one. I still own a chunk of the series and have fond memories about them.
  • Going back to the fantasy genre, another book series that I loved (and still love) is the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan. It was a natural progression from reading Harry Potter. I was always interested in mythology, particularly Greek mythology. I might even go so far as to say that Riordan might have inspired me to eventually study Latin. (In case you didn’t know, I actually took Latin classes in high school and have a minor in Latin.)
  • I’d be silly not to mention some early childhood staples, such as the Judy Moody series and the Junie B. Jones series. I feel like a good majority of girls latched onto those books in grade school. I was certainly no exception as I lived vicariously through these outspoken characters. Looking back, I might think of Junie and Judy as being kind of bratty but, I have to give them credit where credit is due. I was (and still am) way too nice to be as bold as either of them.
  • I distinctly remember reading the Wayside School series as a child. I feel like this series is somewhat obscure but it was essentially about this grade school that was built like a giant tower and all of the students and teachers would get into wacky adventures in the bizarre building that had no 13th floor. I really hope some of you remember this series because I loved how weird it was.

That is the end of my list. There were a bunch of books I didn’t mention, such as the Magic Treehouse series and A Wrinkle in Time. Let me know what kind of book you read as a kid. Maybe there were some I forgot or some I didn’t read fully. Either way, I’d love to know about your favorite childhood books.

The Princess, the Damsel, the Queen, and You: Reviewing The Princess Saves Herself in this One by Amanda Lovelace

Hello everyone! I know I had promised another book review to you earlier but (of course) I get sidetracked with other books because I have no self control. Back to the topic at hand, I am excited to talk to you about Amanda Lovelace’s first collection of poetry, the princess saves herself in this one. I may have mentioned that I’m really not a diehard poetry fan but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to explore the territory. You can read my reviews on Rupi Kaur’s poetry collections. Before that, please read this review of the princess saves herself in this one. 

In her debut collection of poetry, Lovelace does not hold back from exploring the difficulties that she has faced in her life. Her whole narrative is beautifully tied together with her fairytale metaphors, that help the reader to better understand the situations she is describing. Personally, I felt a deep connection to Lovelace through her poems. She often describes herself as “bookmad” and I think that is a wonderful term. Though the book does cover very heavy topics, such as abuse, self-harm, death, and bullying among others, there is still a message of hope. Modern poets, such as Lovelace, are unafraid to express their fears and hopes, which makes such an impact on the reader. If you are a fan of Rupi Kaur, I highly recommend Amanda Lovelace to you.

Note: Lovelace recently released her second collection of poetry, the witch doesn’t burn in this one. Stay tuned for that review.

Current Favorites: Music Edition (aka What’s On My Writing Playlist?)

Hello everyone! I’m really glad a lot of you enjoyed my review of Children of Blood and Bone. I’m actually still in the process of finishing it and, once I’m done, I’m going to work on reading V.E. Schwab’s Vicious. In between all of that, I’m also working on my writing. I’ve finally settled on an idea and committed to it. I’m feeling pretty confident so I might give you all updated in the future. In the meanwhile, I decided to do another Current Favorites but about some of my favorite musical artists. My taste in music has a pretty large range but I do mostly stick to indie and alt-rock. I have to have music playing while I’m writing in order to focus. I’ll leave links to some of my favorite songs by these artists if you are interested.

I’m going to stop my list there before I just end up giving you all my entire Spotify playlist. I hope that you check out some of this music. I always appreciate when you all take an interest in my opinions. Feel free to leave me some suggestions in the comments.

 

I need advice from editors and publishers!

Hello everyone! In case you didn’t know, I recently graduated college with a BA in English. One of my main goals is to get into the editing and publishing business. Preferably, I would like to start with some freelance work. The problem is that I’m overwhelmed with all of the information online. I knew it wouldn’t be easy but I do have a general idea of how the business works and I have had practice with editing.

The question I am posing to all of the freelance editors that are on this website is: how did you get started? Maybe you took some online classes. Maybe you found a website you use to get your business going. Either way, I would love to know what has worked for you. Feel free to leave any links in the comments below if you have any on hand. You can even advertise yourself on this post. I’m encouraging you this time.

I can’t wait to hear back from you all. I’ll also be happy to take some regular old advice.