SOME MUSIC : Talking is Hard by Walk the Moon

B L O G M A S   D A Y   11

Talking is Hard is Walk the Moon’s second full album after their self-titled release in 2012. Throwing together 80’s pop with today’s indie rock, the band (formed in Ohio- Midwest for the win!) has created this album of just pure awesomeness. As a big fan of their first album, I had high hopes and man. Those high hopes were met for me!

I am just going to go track by track.

1. Different Colors- this opening song pretty much exemplifies what the entire album will be. It has that expansive opening song feel, the beat is upbeat, calm, but sure. They pretty much tell their mission for the rest of the album.

“We keep cranking the music up
Driving through our towns
But they don’t want to hear
They want us to turn it down
So come on lovers, come on haters
Tonight we raise the fire
Cause when the people get to dancing
They forget about taking sides”

2. Sidekick- THIS IS MY FAVORITE. It has a lot of words thrown into the song and has a fun play on the word “do” (d-d-d-d-d-d-d-do you wanna be my sidekick?). Plus, I find oversimplificatication of really big things pretty much the best thing ever. Not do you want to be my girlfriend or possibly fall in love with me, but do you want to be my sidekick?

3. Shut Up and Dance- Two words sums this song up: Discotheque Juliet!

4. Up 2 U- Starts off pretty smooth and nice sounding, but this turns out to have more rockish elements rather than straight pop.

5. Avalanche- This has one of my favorite follow through with a song lyric. It’s just fun to sing. “One glance and the avalanche (pause- low voice) drops. One look and my heart beat (pause) stops.”

6. Portugal- This song is a little more synthesizer-y and it has more of a summer feel.

7. Down in the Dumps- Definitely more of an 80’s song, and has a really cool background sound that starts like about 30 seconds in. It has another lyric I really love: “Scared of heights like I’m scared of falling in love.”

8. Work This Body- Another song with a whole bunch of lyrics smooshed in=I AM HAPPY. This has a very fun melody to it and is very inspiring! Definitely a good one to sing to in the car.

9. Spend Your $$$- This has more of an industrial sound to it and because of that it feels a little separate than the other songs. It has a lot of the same characteristics- upbeat sound, catchy chorus, and vocals going up and down. This is also one of the songs that doesn’t really reference relationship/friendships.

10. We Are the Kids- This track sounds more like an anthem of a generation. “We take that old school fashion, shape it into something new.”

11. Come Under the Covers- A song for the end of the summer, this is more of a luurrrrrvvvveeeee  song if you can’t tell by the title ;)

12. Aquaman- is pretty much pure 80’s. When I am driving and listening to it I have to work hard to keep my hands on the wheel and not start swaying back and forth and snapping my fingers. It is a smooooooth song. Pretty much the calmest on the album.

Last minute album thoughts:

-Talking is Hard is similar, yet soooo different from their first album. I love that they are exploring and growing musically to different things, yet it appears to be very organic.

-The songs themselves are pretty different from each other, yet again they have a cohesive sound to them.

-All of the songs totally promote some sort of dancing around.

-There are threads of positivity sewn into pretty much every. song.

-If you ever have the opportunity to see them, DO IT. You will be in for a fun positive show.

-The lyric booklet features handwritten song lyrics and a ton of fun doodles.

If you decide to listen to them (or already do), let me know! I would love to know what you think!

Follow my blog on Bloglovin!

Waiting on Wednesday: The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

B L O G M A S  D A Y   10

The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

Summary:

There’s death all around us.

We just don’t pay attention.
Until we do.

The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn’t look at her like she might break down at any moment.

Now she’s just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that’s all she’ll ever be.

As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there’s a secret she hasn’t told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything.

Lex’s brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn’t have to be real to keep you from moving on.

I usually am very particular about angels and paranormal romance in my reading, but Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly series completely won me over. Her ability to tell a story that I am really picky about and win me over so quickly has put her newest book The Last Time We Say Goodbye immediately on my to-read list. This soon to be released novel has nothing to do with her previous series and looks to be more contemporary rather than paranormal.

This sounds terribly depressing, and based on a few of the reviews people have already written it sounds like Hand delivers that grief. Plus, what the heck is that text message referenced in the summary? Basically? I can’t wait!

The Last Time We Say Goodbye comes out February 10, 2015. Add it to your tbr shelf on Goodreads!

Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

B L O G M A S   D A Y  9

Every Tuesday The Broke and the Bookish hosts Top Ten Tuesday in which they ask a question and you list your top ten answers.

  Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

1. Sarah Combs. As a debut author she only has the one book out right now, Breakfast Served Anytime, but I loved what she covered emotionally and how she did it. I can’t wait to see what else she tackles!

2Caitlin Moran. This woman is deliciously funny and talks about things that I believe need to be talked about.

3. Meg Wolizter. Wolitzer is an author that it just seemed I would like, and wha-la! I did. For me she has been one of those “some day I will read from her” authors for a while, but this year the reading stars aligned and I have finally read from her.

4. Liane MoriartyShe was a super happy surprise for me. Moriarty mixes humor and interesting daily life tidbits with surprisingly heavy themes, and after this year an author I want to work through reading everything she has written.

5. Brandy Colbert. Another debut author that I am eagerly awaiting a new book to be released from. Pointe was gritty and beautiful and pretty much everything I want out of a book.

6. Anne Bishop. I started reading The Others series by her, and I enjoyed her world-building skills. At some point I really want to branch out to other books by her.

7. Paul Hornscheimer. He was another happy surprise for me, as I randomly chose a book of his to read. It seemed like Hornscheimer cut a page out of daily life in Life With Mr. Dangerous and then added his own touches to it, which I am definitely a fan of.

8. Bryan Lee O’Malley. I’ve only read Seconds by him, but at some point I am really hoping to dig into his Scott Pilgrim series. I loved the writing in Seconds and I do really like his art style.

9. Anne Fortier. In my brain I put her in the same camp as Deborah Harkness because she seems to usually have a youngerish adult woman as her main character and they go on a scholarly adventure/quest. I have only read Juliet, but have heard great things about The Lost Sisterhood also by Fortier.

10. Gillian Flynn. This year I finally broke down and tackled Gone Girl, and my interest has definitely been peaked in her other books, especially since I have heard they are a lot darker.

A BOOK : We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

B L O G M A S   D A Y   8

We Were Liars
by E. Lockhart

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
 
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE

I am joining the ranks of everyone going all “ishddfiubwfiub” over this one. Because seriously. ;ibgikubrgiebng.

The writing style used in this book is pretty much one of my favorite all time writing styles. Lockhart gives her main character, Cadence, a very distinct voice and the story is told completely from Cadence’s perspective. As a result we get to experience the roller coaster Cadence is on. I love how poetic everything sounds. I love how because of the way this is written, it feels very raw.

There is also a little bit of a play with fairy tales, and it was interesting to see how those fairy tales progressed and how they connect to reality.

This book is just one big puzzle, and it does it in a way where the answer to the puzzle is hinted at and hinted at a lot, but it is still super unreachable. Because I’ve read so much, I tend to at least have ideas that are in the right ballpark as to what will come next, but my reading sleuthing skills completely missed the mark on this one.

On the front cover John Green uses the word blisteringly, and I have to say that word hits the feel of this story right on.

If you haven’t yet, add We Were Liars to your tbr shelf on Goodreads! It was this year’s reader’s choice winner for teen fiction, which is pretty neat :).

Warning: Spoilers in comments!

Currently Watching/Listening/Reading:

B L O G M A S    D A Y   7

I am really excited right now about the balance I have going on in what I have been reading, watching, and listening to, so I thought for today I would share what I am currently enjoying. It is a good mix of different feels. I have definitely not been bored recently!

Watching:

The Office (U.S.). The show has ended, and I still haven’t seen the last season, so I have been making my way through. I always forget how funny this show is until I am watching it.

Sprinkle of Glitter’s Vlogmas videos. While there are many YouTube channels I like to watch, I have particularly been enjoying Louise’s daily vlogs for Vlogmas! They have just been very laid back and chill.

Listening:

Talking is Hard by Walk the Moon. This is their second album and it came out this last week. It has a touch of the 80s to it and is a lot of fun! My favorite song is “Sidekick” with “Work This Body” coming up as a close second. I also just went to a concert of theirs, and it was funnntastic.

(Actively) Reading:

Corregidora by Gayl Jones. I read this in college and it tore me apart emotionally. I have been craving it since, so I thought I would pick it up! I will definitely be writing a blog post about it once I am finished re-reading.

Save the Date by  Mary Kay Andrews. I am using my phone to borrow this as an audiobook from my library using the Overdrive app. The main character is a florist, which I find interesting to listen to!

I am wishing everyone a week filled with books or music or movies or whatever to get super excited about!

A BOOK : The Beautiful and Dammed by F. Scott Fitzgerald

B L O G M A S   D A Y   6

The Beautiful and Damned
by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Published 1922 The Beautiful and Damned is the story of Anthony Patch and his wife, Gloria. Harvard-educated and an aspiring aesthete, Patch is waiting for his inheritance upon his grandfather’s death. His reckless marriage to Gloria is fueled by alcohol and destroyed by greed. The Patches race through a series of alcohol-induced fiascoes – first in hilarity, then in despair. The Beautiful and Damned, a devastating portrait of the nouveaux riches, New York nightlife, a reckless ambition, an squandered talent, was published in 1922 on the heels of Fitzgerald’s first novel, This Side of Paradise. It signaled his maturity as a storyteller and confirmed his enormous talent as a novelist

Image and summary from Goodreads.com

 

If I am going to be perfectly honest, the reason why I started to read The Beautiful and Damned was because of Taylor Swift. In my head she had quoted this book by Fitzgerald on her instagram or somewhere, and I was curious about it. It turns out she did NOT quote The Beautiful and Damned, and instead quoted This Side of Paradise. Even though I got the wrong book, at first I found myself really enjoying this classic. I think it’s left over from high school, but in my mind it always seems like classics will always be more challenging than they actually are. Yes, they require more brain power than other books sometimes, but before I start reading something I make it out to be the biggest challenge EVER.

Classics musings aside, let’s move on to the book:

Honestly, my experience of reading The Beautiful and Damned feels split into two. At first I really fell into the book and found myself enjoying it. And then, well. It started to loose me.

It starts off with characters that I really didn’t like acting (or not acting) in ways that drove me nuts. It’s like a train wreck and you can’t stop watching. What isn’t a train wreck though, is the writing. It’s easy to sink into and there are several lines that are so quotable. I am going to share a few of my favorites at the end.

The thing with this Fitzgerald novel, is it keeps going. And going. And going. We follow Anthony and Gloria from when they are about 25 and 22 (I THINK. I can’t find their ages now) until they are about 32 and 29, and in this time you’re pretty much witnessing the slow and painful downfall of two people.

I started off thinking this is a more of a coming of age for those that are trying to answer that “what do I do after graduation?” question, and it kind of is, but in the sense where the main characters don’t ever even remotely “come of age.” It is more of a cautionary tale:

Work. Don’t drink too much. Listen to your friends’ advice especially when they are all saying the same thing.

The title of this book is REALLY accurate. Ha!

You should read The Beautiful and Damned if you…

…really like character studies.

…want to read about aristocratic beautiful people partying in 1910

…are in a mood for something more depressing

…want to read pretty writing.

Some of my favorite quotes:

It worried him that he was, after all, a facile mediocrity… It seemed a tragedy to want nothing- and yet he wanted something, something.

“So he built hope desperately and tenaciously out of the stuff of his dream, a hope flimsy enough, to be sure, a hope that was cracked and dissipated a dozen times a day, a hope mothered by mockery, but nevertheless, a hope that would be brawn and sinew to his self-respect.”

“What am I going to do?” he began at breakfast. “Here we’ve been married a year and we’ve just worried around without even being efficient people of leisure.”  (this just cracked me up)

“He was wondering at the unreality of his ideas, at the fading radiance of existence, and at the little absorptions that were creeping avidly into his life, like rats into a ruined house.”

On Listening and Stories

B L O G M A S   D A Y   5

In United States news, this week brought the verdict that the police officer Daniel Pantaleo will not be indicted for using a choke-hold on Eric Gardner, an unarmed non-violent black man, and killing him. This is right after the similar news that police officer Darren Wilson will also not be indicted for killing Michael Brown, an unarmed black man. Something about me continuing to merrily post on my way has really been weighing on my mind, so today’s Blogmas post is going to be a lot more harrowing and somber than normal.

I’ve thought about where my role and voice fits in in this situation, and truthfully? My voice doesn’t really fit in this. I am a white baby-faced woman who cannot even begin to understand how it feels to not be a white baby-faced woman and not treated as such.

But what is my role, especially here at Jenny Likes Books where I spend a lot of time talking about things I like and/or I think other people might like? It is to continue what I am doing: reading a lot and talking about what I read.

BUT.

I need to be more expansive in my reading.

Reading is important for a WHOLE bunch of reasons, but one of these reasons is that reading gives people an avenue to see life from a different perspective. The problem I find with MY reading though, is I unintentionally tend to gravitate toward just white, younger woman writers in America. Guess who I am? A white younger woman in America. As a whole, the experiences I live and the experiences I read originate from a very narrow frame of reference.

Through social media, talks with a friend, and branching out a TEENY bit more with my reading, I feel like this year I have grown to understand just *how much* my interpretations of the world and the life around me is based upon my own experiences. I’ve known this on a surface level, but this understanding is finally starting to seep into every part of me. What a limited view of the world. What a limited understanding of the people around me. What a limited understanding of social issues and just daily life. I am not comfortable with that. I am not comfortable with that at all.

So right now? What can I do? I can’t change who I am, but I can read. I can listen. I can seek out stories different than mine.

For the rest of this post, I wanted to share a few of the twitter feeds/tumblrs/blogs that I have been reading the last few months. This is by no means meant to be some sort of exhaustive where to get your information from or who to follow list. These are just a few individuals in a very large conversation voicing their experiences and shining light on other people’s experiences.

Franchesca Ramsey’s Blog

Ryan Reilly’s Twitter

Atane Ofiaja’s Tumblr 

Shaun King’s Twitter

Antonio French’s Twitter

Zeba Blay’s Twitter