Album Review: South of the Mountain by Bears and Company

mnt treeSouth of the Mountain by Bears and Company

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Indie Rock

Release Date: April 27, 2013

Songs: 10
good good

Bears and Company is a progressive/indie rock band out of Kansas City, Missouri. Each member comes from different musical backgrounds and collectively they craft a unique taste for those with open mouths. They are a band that share a story worth listening to, and paint a constant raging tone to illustrate such. This quintuplet is a band that gets in your face and will have you screaming every word in company. They create sound for honest connection, and work restlessly to break any and all resistance. The Bears started when songwriters, Alexander McClain (Guitar/Vocals) and Logan Tyler (Vocals/Bass) got together in the winter of their first and last year of college and began working on the songs and ideas of Bears and Company. Not long after McClain’s long time friend and past bandmate, Allan Latini (Drums) joined the band out of great desire to be a part of a hard hitting project. As a Trio the band played multiple shows, wrote, and recorded an unreleased E.P. and in time decided that it was time to step up their song direction and guitar section. Zach Knoll (Guitar) became the missing piece of the puzzle after a couple sessions. Charisma came completely natural for the four piece and things took off immediately. They began writing their full length record titled, South of the Mountain, in the fall of 2011 and started tracking it in the birth of the new year with producer Aaron Crawford (The Beautiful Bodies, We Are Voices, Flee the Seen, Now Now Sleepyhead). After a long summer of touring and hard work they returned to the studio to record their debut album “South of The Mountain”.

First of all, I would like to thank the band, Bears and Company for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Bears and Company have a unique sound for a genre like Indie Rock. It’s too dark for indie, but then it’s too light for rock. It’s mysterious but oh so enchanting and saying that these guys are great would be an understatement. But I’m at a loss of words for how to explain them well. Still, I think everyone should check them out. Good music is getting harder and harder to find these days and Bears and Company portray their experience and love for music well on this work of art.

Unfortunately, When the Sky Opened and Moskstraumen are both quiet but fast songs that hold listeners’ attention and I do like them but I don’t like the bridges because they both don’t go well with the song, it sounds too out of place and upbeat for what the band is trying to accomplish with the songs.

South of the Mountain shows their talent and skills creating memorable lyrics and even more so choruses. The guitar solos in Occurrence in the Wildwood and After the Quake are great They really create a mood that goes well with the lyrics.. The vocals in Susannah and the Elders and Carroll A. Deering have a lovely range that’s really strong. Carroll A. Deering is also a slow song but it’s a lot more calm with a smooth build-up and transition that I barely noticed until the ending of the song that the tempo changes. Something that I’m learning to appreciate more and more in music and in bands are the drums. Although they’re not as unnoticed, they still tend to get overlooked. I’m still reeling over the drumming in South Side of the Mountain is super tight and skilled.

The best thing about this band is their confidence in themselves and their talent. All their songs are easy to distinguish with their slight differences that keep everything new and fresh. Their transitions between verses and choruses are close to flawless with lyrics holding so much meaning. Even more so in We Were Brothers and the short monologue that’s captivating and lyrically beautiful. Choosing my top three songs for an album as wonderful as South of the Mountain is pretty tough. Nonetheless, I have to go with Carroll A. Deering, After the Quake, and We Were Brothers. But actually, everyone, go give this album a listen, it’s so worth it.

4 awesome Treble Clefs

4 awesome Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. I Dreamt I Destroyed the World-3:55

2. Occurrence in the Wildwood-4:21

3. Susannah and the Elders-4:26

4. Carroll A. Deering-4:50

5. When the Sky Opened-5:00

6. Return of the Hunters-4:28

7. After the Quake-3:02

8. South of the Mountain-2:11

9. We Were Brothers-4:22

10. Moskstraumen-5:20

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Book Review: The Queen’s Choice by Cayla Kluver

18168636The Queen’s Choice by Cayla Kluver

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: January 28, 2014

Pages: 512 (Hardcover)

good good

Magic was seeping out of me, black and agonizing. I could see it drifting away. The magic that would let me pass the Road to reach home again.

When sixteen-year-old Anya learns that her aunt, Queen of the Faerie Kingdom of Chrior, will soon die, her grief is equalled only by her despair for the future of the kingdom. Her young cousin, Illumina, is unfit to rule, and Anya is determined not to take up the queen’s mantle herself.

Convinced that the only solution is to find Prince Zabriel, who long ago disappeared into the human realm of Warckum, and persuade him to take up his rightful crown, Anya journeys into the Warckum Territory to bring him home. But her journey is doomed to be more harrowing than she ever could have imagined.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Harlequin Teen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

That first chapter had me at the edge of my seat. I was ready for some action-packed, romance filled, excitement. Instead, what I got is a lot of travelling…and boredom..with only a few dashes of excitement. However, the ending ends with a bang, just like how the beginning of the story starts. Fingers crossed that the second book is better and more exciting.

What I didn’t like about The Queen’s Choice is the middle of it. With all the travelling and adventure going on, I wasn’t expecting myself to doze off a few times yet I did. A lot. There’s just too much of it, too much travelling and searching and whatnot. I found it boring after a while and I barely cared once they found Zabriel. It didn’t help that the writing is extremely stiff and awkward at times.

The Queen’s Choice has such a beautifully creepy beginning. It’s captivating and awesome. I also loved the world building and how the faery world is described, it’s mythical and enchanting and will definitely reel readers in. As far as main characters go, Anya is amazing. She’s quite flawed and she doesn’t give up despite the fact that she can never go home ever again. She’s so strong and badass that I got excited whenever she’s forced to fight. The beginning and the ending are both so creepy and exciting. I seriously cannot wait for the next book.

Although it does get extremely boring in the middle this is still a fun story and I really loved the beginning. It’s an interesting take of the faery world and I can’t wait to go back to it. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy novels, mythical creatures, and don’t mind a lot of travelling.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Book Review: And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

17797364And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard

Publisher: Delacorte Press

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: January 28, 2014

Pages: 240 (Hardcover)

good good

When high school senior Paul Wagoner walks into his school library with a stolen gun, he threatens his girlfriend Emily Beam, then takes his own life. In the wake of the tragedy, an angry and guilt-ridden Emily is shipped off to boarding school in Amherst, Massachusetts, where she encounters a ghostly presence who shares her name. The spirit of Emily Dickinson and two quirky girls offer helping hands, but it is up to Emily to heal her own damaged self.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Delacorte Press  for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

 

When I read a novel where the main character has gone through some serious shit, I expect a few things. I expect a relatable/likeable character who has quite a few flaws. I expect a lot of emotion and confusion and above all, a lot of sympathy. I expect to love this book and feel as if I am apart of the story, that, this horrible thing that happened to the protagonist actually happened to me. I want to be in their shoes. And We Stay gives me a narration that left me more tired than anything.

And We Stay is written in the worst possible way. It’s third person present tense for crying out loud! It’s so simple and detached, the events that Emily goes through didn’t feel real to me in any way. Everything is told instead of shown and I couldn’t feel anything towards Emily and her life, even when she has sudden flashback about Paul, Albeit beautifully done, felt too simple and boring for me to care about too much.

Jenny Hubbard does know how to write beautiful poetry though. At the end of each chapter, readers are left with a beautiful poem that’s probably the most touching thing about the novel. The idea for this story is also very creative and intriguing. It was the mention of a shooting that initially drew me to the story and I enjoyed the few flashbacks where Paul is mentioned and the shooting because they are so very interesting.

Overall, Emily’s life is horrible. And my biggest problem with the novel isn’t the actual story idea but the execution of it. If the story was told in first person and maybe if it was all told in verse, it could have a great novel. I absolutely love gritty novels about horrible events that happen to teens. The story idea is awesome but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone because I felt so apathetic towards most of it.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: Picture Me by Lori Weber

picture mePicture Me by Lori Weber

Publisher: James Lorimer & Company

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: March 1, 2014

Pages: 168 (Hardcover)

good good

When a well-meaning English teacher has overweight student Krista read aloud a poem about body image titled “Barbie Doll” in class, she ignites a simmering bullying event based on Krista’s appearance. Krista’s best friend, and witness to the event, Tessa, is suspended for fighting to defend her friend. The girl who bullies Krista seems unaffected by the incident at school and more concerned with what an older guy thinks of her. But as the three characters’ paths intersect, their inner lives are revealed. Each emerges as a much more complicated individual than their simple bully, target, and witness labels.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, James Lorimer & Company for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

This isn’t a bad book. In fact, I think I would make my class read this if I were a teacher. The reasons why I’m giving it such a low rating is because of how short it is and the audience. Some of the events that occur in here are more high school than middle school and I found some things a little too hard to believe.

Picture Me is less than 200 pages. It’s hard to create a memorable story with in such a short time and unfortunately, Lori Weber doesn’t succeed. Since the story is so painfully short, the characters are feel rushed and one-sided. Their situations are only touched on and then that’s it, there’s not enough depth for me to feel anything but apathetic towards them.  I also felt that the audience for the book is wrong. Most events that go on in this lean towards high school students and I felt really weird thinking about thirteen year olds doing all of these mindlessly harsh things.

The only thing about this novel is that it’s great for reluctant readers in the sense that this novel could be finished in an hour, two at most.It touches on how bullying affects the victim and how sometimes, bullies are victims themselves. Overall, this book is a disappointment. I was looking for something that read more like a story rather than a pamphlet with realistic characters. I do recommend this to teachers but not to people who are looking for something heart-felt and touching.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

Book Review: Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

17258743Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: January 28, 2014

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Life. Death. And…Love?

Emma would give anything to talk to her mother one last time. Tell her about her slipping grades, her anger with her stepfather, and the boy with the bad reputation who might be the only one Emma can be herself with.

But Emma can’t tell her mother anything. Because her mother is brain-dead and being kept alive by machines for the baby growing inside her.

Meeting bad-boy Caleb Harrison wouldn’t have interested Old Emma. But New Emma-the one who exists in a fog of grief, who no longer cares about school, whose only social outlet is her best friend Olivia-New Emma is startled by the connection she and Caleb forge.

Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death-and maybe, for love?

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, Harlequin Teen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

The title of this novel fits with the story. The heartbeat of Emma’s unborn brother’s heart. But the thing that made my heart stop was Emma and her mean self. I understand that she’s grieving and that this novel is very sad but the amount of anger and just plain apathy I felt towards this book makes it a bad one and if I could go back, I wouldn’t read it.

From beginning to end, Emma is a complete bitch to her stepfather. Time and time again, he is nothing but nice to her but she treats him as if he is a disgusting monster because of his choice. Although I don’t agree with his choice, I also don’t agree with Emma and her constantly telling him, “you don’t love me or mom. You only used her,” etc. I also had a problem with the romance since it felt forced to me and I had a hard time believing it. This could have been because of the very simple and detached writing style or because of Emma herself. I’m not quite sure.

However, the only thing that I really enjoyed about heartbeat is Olivia and her unique personality. She hates technology (for the most part) and lives without it, something that many people couldn’t never do. Her characterization is refreshing and interesting and I enjoyed the story more whenever she’s around.

Heartbeat could have been great. Albeit it’s a very typical story, Elizabeth Scott adds a nice twist to it with the unborn born child and I found that part very interesting. Unfortunately, because of how dislikeable the main character is, I couldn’t really enjoy this. I only recommend this to people who don’t mind mean main characters, a forced romance, and a typical story.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

Book Review: Perfect Lies (Mind Games#2) by Kiersten White

perfect lies

Perfect Lies (Mind Games#2) by Kiersten White

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 18, 2014

Pages: 232 (Hardcover)

good good

Annie and Fia are ready to fight back.

The sisters have been manipulated and controlled by the Keane Foundation for years, trapped in a never ending battle for survival. Now they have found allies who can help them truly escape. After faking her own death, Annie has joined a group that is plotting to destroy the Foundation. And Fia is working with James Keane to bring his father down from the inside.

But Annie’s visions of the future can’t show her who to trust in the present. And though James is Fia’s first love, Fia knows he’s hiding something. The sisters can rely only on each other – but that may not be enough to save them.

First of all, I would like to thank the publisher, HarperTeen for giving me an ARC of this book to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

I don’t know what I was expecting from this. More action? Less romance? More assassinations? Less whining about having to save each other? Whatever it was, I didn’t get it. What I didn’t get in Mind Games are almost all here in this one. And I don’t mean that in a good way. The relationship between Kiersten White and I is so iffy that I’m scared to read her other series for the sake that I will hate it more than I do this one.

In Perfect Lies Fia’s once odd yet exciting mind turns for the worst. Instead of sounding unique and enticing, I found that Kiersten White tried too hard and made her extremely unstable and even worse, annoying. Three taps is fine, it sticks and things usually go better in three but four sounds awkward and I found myself having to slow down while reading one of Fia’s repetitions just so that I got it right (It was annoying annoying annoying ANNOYING to do so.) On another note, I still had a hard time with the characters except for Annie. The rest felt flimsy and pathetic, not adding anything to story but take up space. A relationship that I used to enjoy (Fia’s and Adam’s) is completely disregarded and is just non-existent in this one.

The only that stayed the same for the best are the short chapters. I flew through this novel in less than a day. And I actually liked the idea of the setting because it’s exotic and dangerous and a little intense unfortunately, the execution of it is sloppy at best. Like I said before, Annie is the only character that I liked. I liked her because, even though she’s still a whiny little brat, she’s grows a little and her chapters are well described and I had a much easier time connecting to her than I would have imagined. While reading, I found myself skimming Fia’s chapters just to read about Annie and her life.

All in all, Perfect Lies is an odd book. Hell, this series is odd and definitely not in a good way. I don’t recommend this to anyone unless you don’t mind a series that doesn’t make too much sense, weirdly entertaining but too annoying to care writing, and sloppily done execution for just about everything then maybe you’ll enjoy this novel. If not, stay far far far FAR away from this series. Just stare at the beautiful covers from a distance.

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

2.5 Mess Up Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Favourite Book Quotes of the Week#49

favourite

A list of my favourite quotes from books I’ve read in the past week. Leave a comment/link telling me what your favourite quotes are! I’ll be sure to check your post out too!

Maybe One Day by Melissa Kantor

18053047Favourite quotes:

1. Words like fag and homo are totally unacceptable whether or not people are gay, but my point is that trying particular behaviors and interests to a particular gender seems to be the major reason guys who like dance get called names.

2. “If you realize life is short, you break up with your gay boyfriend and get a real boyfriend.”

3. “Sometimes it’s hard to hear when we’ve done something wrong. But we can learn from our mistakes.”

4. Time does not care how precious it is, how hard you are working not to squander it.

Time passes.

5. And suddenly I started to cry. Serious sobs, the kind where your stomach hurts and you can’t breathe and there’s snot running down your face. I was crying so hard I couldn’t even mute the sounds I was making, and Luke put his hand on my back and I thought about how everyone would think that I was crying because of Stacy’s fucking speech and I wanted to kill someone. I wanted to kill someone and I wanted to die and I wanted to run as far and as fast as I could.

Perfect Lies (Mind Games#2) by Kiersten White

12578370Favourite quotes:

1. “Silly man, doesn’t he know money is imaginary?” It’s paper that turns into numbers on screens, after all. It’s there, then it’s gone. I put it places, I take it out, I move it someplace else. Imaginary. Most things are imaginary, when you think about it.

Sometimes I think I’m imaginary.

2. “She told me only people we love the most can destroy us, because no one else has that kind of power.”

3. “Oh, baby sister. We all want things we shouldn’t have. Even you. Just because you love him doesn’t mean you should. Love is a choice, like anything else.

4. Once upon a time, I was a little girl with a mom and a dad and a sister, and the only monsters in the world were imaginary.

Then I became one of the monsters.