Book Review: The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

17684323The Break-Up Artist by Philip Siegel

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 29, 2014

Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

good good

 Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples.


After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

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

What I would give to have someone like Becca at my school. Someone who is annoyed with people who absolutely find everything romantic and crank it to a disgusting level. It’s annoying how everyone in high school (and I’m sure this happens in all high schools) expect to find the love of their life at such a young age. The Break Up Artist is a reality check for most teenagers. It goes right up to some of the most loved movies of all time and pokes them in the eye and starts yelling at them that they’re stupid. I loved every second of it. This story made me laugh and had me reeling and ready to spit fire at many people. Overall, it’s a fun ride that many people will enjoy and agree with.

The bad thing about novels that have a serious underlining yet a light-hearted demeanour is that they often aren’t realistic at times and although I wanted to overlook some of these incidents in this one, there seems to be too many for me to do that. Becca is the Break Up Artist and leaves her email in quite a public place yet throughout the novel, she only gets two couples to break up in the span of months. Other couples are mentioned in passing but that’s it, it’s hard to believe that such a business would only have  one costumer at a time when a lot of people at this high school are getting dumped by their best friends for their relationships. I also had a problem for how the break ups are done, since after the couples break up, that’s it. There’s no more mention on how they’re doing or follow-up. It’s as if the author was too eager to get to the better parts and not describe these littles ones and I felt let down by it.

Becca is great. She’s realistic and understands that romance isn’t everything, especially when it comes to friendship. I instantly liked her and her snarky attitude towards most things like school and her ex-best friend. It was pretty hard not to enjoy reading about her.  I loved how Becca fought with her inner self at many times during the story, especially when a boy came in between her and her friend with Val. It’s done well and I was very excited and angry once Becca realized a few things to make up what she believed was more important to her. The relationship between Val and Becca is well done, I really liked that they’re relationship isn’t always strong, that they had a few obstacles because this made it really realistic and fun to read about although it is at times sad.

The Break-Up Artist is a great novel not only for young adults. With strong, funny characters and a serious message about living past the love, this story will appeals to almost everyone. I had so much reading it and I can’t wait to see what Siegel has next. I recommend this to everyone, especially if you’re looking for a light-hearted novel with a few clichés in it.

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

3.5 Dreamy Clouds

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Album Review: Profanity by Sinai Vessel

a2358356391_10Profanity by Sinai Vessel

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Pop Punk

Release Date: March 12, 2014

Songs: 6
good good

Sinai Vessel is: Caleb Cordes (vocals/guitar), Daniel Hernandez (bass), and Joshua Herron (drums). They are from Charlotte, NC / Chattanooga, TN and formed in 2009. 

  One night after his band Sinai Vessel had finished playing a set, a newly won fan came up to Caleb Cordes and described his band as “punk for sissies.” For some reason, it’s stuck. “I don’t know why that’s resonated with me so much,” he laughs, “but it really has.”

Really, Sinai Vessel isn’t as sissy as they seem. After all, their 2013 EP Profanity is full of honest, overwrought moments—verses that climb into clamoring melodies, trickling lows interrupted by turbulent and gushing highs. It happens on “Cuckhold,” where veering chords  crash into each chorus, and on “Drown Around,” as Cordes’s husky voice floats on whirling guitars before they shatter, becoming jagged, jangling shards above which he must roar.

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

 

opinion

It’s a funny thing the way the mind interprets sounds. It’s all just noise at first, you can’t decipher anything and then somehow, with some effort (or a lot, depending on what you’re listening to) everything starts to make sense little by little until it’s not just noise anymore. It’s art. It’s music and it’s amazing. Profanity is an example of this. It starts off as just noise with nothing making sense at all but Sinai Vessel quickly organizes themselves and throughout the album, it shows that they understand their music yet are still trying new things and will hopefully work on a few of their flaws. Overall, I am definitely digging this album.

What bugs me the most might have to be a part in my favourite song, Cats at about the bridge where it’s so soft and quiet and then it stops just to start-up again in a very rushed, sloppily done way. Changing from slow and quiet to fast and loud in roughly two beats is always tricky to do and almost never works out well and it really doesn’t here. Another problem that sticks out is the screaming and how raspy it is. I’m all for mixing clean vocals with rough vocals however in Drown Around it’s all over the place. It’s obvious that the vocalist, Caleb Cordes isn’t very comfortable with his range and this needs to be worked on as well the weaving in and out of both clean and rough vocals in a way that they’re smooth without any disjunct motions.

Nonetheless, I love Cats and I’m not saying that just because I have one. The song in general is slow but builds up well, they prolong it as long as possible and I really like that, I also love the volume of the vocals, how it starts off quietly, barely louder than a whisper all the way to half yelling half singing. Daniel Hernandez does a great number on this track as well, with the bass riffs sticking out at just the right time to add that really nice deep sound. Cuckhold is different from the rest because it has a rougher feel to it and this element will reside well with many listeners as well as the fast pacing drumming from Joshua Herron that’s steady. Moreover, my favourite thing about Flannery is the lyrics. They’re simple and catchy, light yet dark at the same time, I always love songs that have double meanings because the meaning can change every time you listen to it. The lyrics that are stuck in my head are: “Just good country people with bad city hearts/white wool for our charm and a wolf’s bite marks .” There are a few ways to interpret this phrase and it’s one of my favourite lyrics this year.

Profanity is a great EP for fans to gets used to and prepare for great things to come which is pretty much all that should be expected from a band that understand the power in quick drumming and beautiful lyrics that somehow ties everything together with a nice ribbon on top. My favourite songs are Cats, Cuckold, and Flannery although listeners will pretty much love this whole EP. If you’re a fan of Citizen, Weatherbox, or Dear and the Headlights, then Sinai Vessel is a band to check out.

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

 

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

1. Cats-4:44

2. Greatham-0:40

3. Cuckold-2:37

4. Drown Around-2:58

5. Flannery-4:47

6. Index of the Oval-5:24

Song of the Week#39-Born to Love You by Skylight (The Bonus Interview Edition)

song of the week

This is a weekly meme that’s for the most part, the same as Song Of The Day except each week there will be a different ‘edition’ and it’s going to be updated once a week. This week’s edition is: The bonus interview! Interviews are not my strong point, they make me nervous and I always try to come up with fun questions but never do. However, with Skylight and more importantly, their publicist, Genevieve for being so kind about it! I had fun reading their answers and listening to Made for More and album you should all go check out!

wpid-Skylight-Cover.jpg

Skylight’s roots can be traced back to 2009 when three like-minded musos – Greg Jorden (vocals and guitar), Peter Klein (bass) and Bradley Cumming (drums) and later Wesley Ayliffe (guitar and back-up vocals) – joined forces after performing at a music event. The trio soon began writing music together, the chemistry instantaneous, and their individual visions started to take form.

Skylight are such a great band and I love their music, truly. It’s so soothing and warm and I can’t get enough! Born to Love You might be your favourite song come this summer. It’s so light and sweet and just screams not only summer but happiness which I think, is what everyone is going to need this summer.

My favourite part of the song is:

My heart has seen where I am free

Where you are walking next to me

Lungs filled with life feeling like new Yeah, I was born to love you

The sun is breaking through

Breaking through this storm

Yeah, I feel better now

Skies are turning blue

I’m coming home to you

Yeah, I feel better now

To listen to Born to Love You click here.

Lyrics are here.

 

Now, it’s time for the Q and A that I did with the band! They are so nice and some of their answers are quite funny like Greg losing his capo before a gig. Hopefully you all like their answers as well!

1. What’s the story behind your band’s name?

Greg: We wanted a name that captured what we want to do with our music… let some light in.

Brad: We believe there is a message of hope that we need to get out. A Skylight lets light in where it is dark, I guess we are trying to do the same.

2. I know a lot of musicians have tattoos dedicated to albums and songs, ect. I was wondering if any of you have tattoos dedicated to something music related. If so what do they say?

Greg: I don’t have one, but if I did I’d love ‘free’ tattooed on my arm. That’s how I feel when I play music.

Wesley:  No tattoos… I can never make up my mind what I want! When I do, it’ll definitely be music related.

Brad: I have a pair of drum sticks on my right shoulder. No words but I would like to add to it sometime.

3. Funniest moment of musical career?

Greg: Losing my capo before a song that needed it and asking the rest of the band to look for it in front of a high school audience

Wesley:  Hitting myself in the face with my guitar while trying to do a guitar sling (flipping it right around my neck). It wasn’t very funny at the time, and I looked like a complete idiot! I’ve definitely matured, along with my taste in music! 

Peter: Definitely Greg losing his capo on stage and asking us to look for it. 

Brad: Funniest or awkward? We had a Capo go missing on stage during a Highschool gig, I don’t think Greg will ever live this one down. It was on His music stand behind some music notes…

4. Best moment of musical career?

Greg: The best moments in my musical career are the ones that not many get to see – the jokes, the prayers, hanging out, jamming, and just doing life together with the band… that’s the best part about being in Skylight.

Wesley:  We’re all very close friends in the band – for me there is nothing better than getting to play music with three of my best friends; even if it’s just a rehearsal. That’s what making music is about. 

Peter: Playing at Joburg day back in 2010.

Brad: I’m tempted to say it was when we played at Joburg Day in front of 18000 people but the truth is when we’ve played a gig for 15 people it’s been as much fun. It comes down to being able to play music with amazing friends.

5. Since I’m a high school student, I was just wondering what type of high schooler you guys were like? (Eg. The jock, the writer, the nerd, the roamer, ect.)

Greg: The guy who didn’t fit in.

Wesley:  I was the coolest kid in school! (I was also homeschooled).

Peter: The NERD…still am!

Brad: The guy who got along with everyone.

Book Review: Talker 25 (Talker 25#1) by Joshua McCune

17339959Talker 25 by Joshua McCune

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Genre: Fantasy and Young Adult

Release Date: April 22, 2014

Pages: 432 (Hardcover)

good good

 

It’s a high school prank gone horribly wrong-sneaking onto the rez to pose next to a sleeping dragon-and now senior Melissa Callahan has become an unsuspecting pawn in a war between Man and Monster, between family and friends and the dragons she has despised her whole life. Chilling, epic, and wholly original, this debut novel imagines a North America where dragons are kept on reservations, where strict blackout rules are obeyed no matter the cost, where the highly weaponized military operates in chilling secret, and where a gruesome television show called Kissing Dragons unites the population. Joshua McCune’s debut novel offers action, adventure, fantasy, and a reimagining of popular dragon lore.

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

opinion

 

Close your eyes (do it.) Now, imagine a mythical creature that terrifies you, it’s okay you don’t have to tell anyone what it is. Got it? Good. Keep that creature in your head, think of how scary and fucked up it is, now turn it into a fluffy adorable version of itself. Disney-fy the shit out of it if you have to. That, is what you get in Talker 25. You get these badass creatures lying around sleeping and then getting ridden like some kind of pet. That’s pretty much it and I’m sad to say it never gets any better.

Melissa, Mel, Callahan, whatever you want to call our protagonist is an idiot who thinks she’s brave and has a lot of spunk. She doesn’t. She’s just stupid and naive. Half the time, she doesn’t make sense. She has spent the better of three years fearing and hating dragons because of what they did to her mother, yet at the first chance she gets, she rides them. Why? Did I miss something in this sudden change? It makes no sense, if something killed my mother I would not under ant circumstance befriend it/them. On top of that, nothing is well explained. There are three types of dragons yet all I really understand about the green ones are that they’re the most military like. The other two are lost causes to me nor do I care about them. The romance is also very pathetic and annoying since we have the protagonist be a snotty brat one second and then worried about the way she looks the next when a complete stranger who was following her knows her name. It’s so forced and I really didn’t see what the love interest saw in her.  To make matters worse is the military, the US can make these insane weapons yet can’t keep some teenagers out of a dangerous compound? The military in the book is a complete joke, maybe worse than the protagonist and the romance combined. They do nothing, think of nothing, and just allow these teenagers into the compound with fucking Dragons and don’t even send these kids to jail because, “they were just having some fun.” What the hell is this book? I believe in having fun and taking chances but this is a damn dragon compound. These kids could get killed and it seems that the military would still sit on their asses. *Shakes head*.

What did I like about this big joke of a novel? Believe it or not, despite the super cheesy summary, I was expecting something exciting and I liked what I thought was the concept of this story. Turns out that was a joke too.

Talker 25 is just bad, from every angle. From the first page, I was confused. Dragons aren’t some kind of side plot, they are the plot or at least should be, so I would like to know about them before the 30% mark other than they’re red or blue or green and the red and blue can mate. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that information? It also doesn’t help that no one can make up their fucking minds on what the fuck to call our protagonist and I’m aware that this is silly but it’s not. One sentence her friends are calling her Callahan, and then the next they’re calling her Mel. Why? No reason, it’s not to show anger or anything. I don’t recommend this one to anyone because it is absolutely horrid and stupid and bad and you will either get really angry or really sleepy reading it.

1 Lonely Cloud

1 Lonely Cloud

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

Album Review: Musicassette/Magnetic Memory by Night WIndows

Musicassette Magnetic Memory - Album ArtworkMusicassette/Magnetic Memory by Night WIndows

Record Label: Black Road Records

Genre: Indie

Release Date: April 15, 2014

Songs: 12
good good

Night Windows is a project started by Benjamin Hughes. His self- engineered/produced album (Musicassette/Magnetic Memory) was crafted from the perspective of a young man facing a reality far different from the one promised him in his youth.

A 26 year-old with a bachelor’s degree worth of debt and a series of unrelated day jobs to pay it back, Hughes is a poster boy for the bursted-bubble millennial generation. He sings about being part of a downtrodden blue-collar work force, helping loved ones through hard times, and clinging desperately to his musician dreams which ebb to the margins of his days. With his acoustic guitar, a hand-me-down drum kit, and an array of gritty lo-fi instruments and effects, Hughes shaped this seamless 12-track debut album in his bedroom; creating an album with an authentic tone and a personal character you only get with quality lo-fi music.

First of all, I would like to thank Audiodaft PR for giving me an advance copy of this cd to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Sometimes in life, you just need to relax and have fun. You need you look around you and say to yourself, “You know what? Fuck this. I need to take a break.” But then there’s always that quiet voice in the back of your mind saying, “Yeah but will you have enough time to finish your task?” Although no one really knows how much time we have left, Night Windows covers the need to relax fairly well in Time, the first song off of the album. As a whole, I think Musicassette covers all the things a person wants in life–to have more time and be happy in Time, to love and be there for family members in Brothers, find something to believe in, in I Believe in the Wind, and to say Fuck you as well as don’t be sad in Green Shirt. At least these are the things I want in my life.

As a person with a limited attention span and very limited fucks to give per thing, I expect the music that I listen to, to move me. I don’t want it to be too repetitive and too predictable. I hate songs that are these things, despite how well done they might be, they’re boring and annoying and I can’t help but get annoyed with the oh so repetitive, Home that only has the lyrics, “I just wanna go home. Hoooommmeeeee.” I got the message the first time, I don’t need to listen to almost 2 minutes of you repeating this.

The first half of the album is fairly energized and I really enjoy that. There’s a Friend of Mine and Life’s a Spinning Wheel both start off fast and carry that energy to the very end. However, right at Human Shell things get fairly slow and quiet. The change isn’t too sudden since listeners will get a heads up from Brothers which is actually a sweet song that has great build-up and a lovely message about always being there for family. I also like I Believe in the Wind and how fast it is, the vocals are so smooth and strong and full of talent and experience. Songs about not caring what people think as well as songs about finding happiness are always songs that young adults will enjoy which might be partially why I love Green Shirt. The beginning of the songs is solely talking, a mini monologue that leads into a slow guitar riff and steady vocals.

Musicassette is an album with a message. My favourite songs on the album are Time, Brother, There’s a friend of Mine, and Green Shirt although most songs sing to people and I recommend this album to everyone because Night Windows is band that will help listeners relax. With exams coming up for many people and all those hectic deadlines that everyone else has, many people just need a break even though they don’t have much time to spare because if you don’t take a break now, when will you?

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

4 Awesome Treble Clefs

Book Review: Noggin by John Corey Whaley

18051349Noggin by John Corey Whaley

Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: April 8, 2014

Pages: 342 (Hardcover)

good good

 

Listen — Travis Coates was alive once and then he wasn’t.

Now he’s alive again.

Simple as that.

The in between part is still a little fuzzy, but he can tell you that, at some point or another, his head got chopped off and shoved into a freezer in Denver, Colorado. Five years later, it was reattached to some other guy’s body, and well, here he is. Despite all logic, he’s still 16 and everything and everyone around him has changed. That includes his bedroom, his parents, his best friend, and his girlfriend. Or maybe she’s not his girlfriend anymore? That’s a bit fuzzy too.

Looks like if the new Travis and the old Travis are ever going to find a way to exist together, then there are going to be a few more scars.

Oh well, you only live twice.

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

opinion

Noggin is a story full of bad jokes, awkward situations, and horrible puns. And I loved every second of it. I didn’t feel like I was reading a work of fiction, instead, I felt as if I were reading a story, my story and my life of how I was brought back to life and forced to live in the present when I’m barely understanding the past. It’s weird, confusing, and such a fun ride. John Corey Whaley is an author  that I’ve been waiting for a long time and this will not be the last novel I’ve read by him.

Unfortunately, there are some downsides to this story. First of all, this whole situation is just too unbelievable and it took me some time before I could really wrap my head around it. No way did a dude get his head chopped off and then come back to life! That’s too insane. I understood that Travis is really confused about this whole concept as well yet I still would have liked it if Travis was just as curious about the scientific aspect as I was and other readers will be. It’s interesting yet not at all explained which sucked for me.

Nonetheless, I still loved this book. Noggin is full of great, complex characters that are extremely easy to like and relate to. Travis’s relationship with Kyle is so heartfelt and awkward. I could easily relate to it and the struggles that Kyle faces to understand everything that’s happening not only to him, but also to his best friend. I also liked the writing style. Holy shit, this is the writing that I have been craving for in young adult books. It’s so relaxed and casual and makes everything seem like it’s happening to the reader and just being told to the reader. I really do need more books written like this because they usually end up to be books that I really enjoy. The best part about Noggin has to be Travis’s last holiday before his surgery. It’s beautifully described and captivating. Imagine celebrating every single holiday in one day with a group of people you love most in the world? I would want that as my last day alive because it sounds absolutely amazing.

Overall, Noggin is great. Although there are a few unbelievable parts and too little information, the good certainly outshines the bad. I recommend this novel to everyone, especially if you’re looking for something light to read with a serious undertone and don’t mind a lot of jokes and puns. I envy those people who can easily make jokes out of anything, especially when they don’t take life too seriously and can make anyone smile and for me, John Corey Whaley might just be one of those people.

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.