Song of the Week (Revamped) #11-The Distance by Cake

song of the week revamped

Song of the Week is a weekly meme of some of my current favourite songs or songs that I can’t get out of my head. Leave your favourite songs and I’ll be sure to check them out.

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Cake is an American alternative rock band from Sacramento, California.

All alone (All alone!!!) Cake is one of the best bands ever. Known for their talking rather than singing vocals and heavy trumpet pieces, what’s not to like? The song really makes you want to ‘go the distance’ for whatever it may be.

Favourite part:

The fans get up and they get out of town.
The arena is empty except for one man,
Still driving and striving as fast as he can.
The sun has gone down and the moon has come up,
And long ago somebody left with the cup.
But he’s driving and striving and hugging the turns.
And thinking of someone for whom he still burns.

He’s going the distance.
He’s going for speed.
She’s all alone
In her time of need.
Because he’s racing and pacing and plotting the course,
He’s fighting and biting and riding on his horse,
He’s going the distance.

Listen to the song here.

Lyrics are here.

Book Review: Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

18285437Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: September 9, 2014

Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

good good

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she’s not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She’s even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won’t risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty…no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time’s running short. Sam must decide who she can trust…and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

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

When I started this book, I really believed that I would hate it. I believed that the main character would be a huge brat and do a shit ton of stupid crap that would irritate me and the romance would suck on a whole new level. I trusted in my knowledge of YA books to know a crappy book when I saw one. But boy, WAS I SURPRISED! Rites of Passage is so solid. It blew my mind, guys. It really did. Like, I was surprised left and right.


The only things that I didn’t like about the book are mostly minor things now that I think about it. The romance, at the very beginning is pretty cliché and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at it and how the author set it up. I would have also liked more information on the dares. It says that Sam never backs down from a dare, (she’s a badass, I’m telling you!) yet there’s only once or twice when a few dares are mentioned. I wanted to know what the first dare was and how it played out and how she became addicted to doing them. In addition, there are two pretty major flaws in the book and they’re related to her family. I wanted to know a lot more about Amos than what’s actually given. There aren’t very many flashbacks about how close they were and how they used to do things. They’re more Sam remembering the day he passed away and I wanted to know about her family as a whole. It’s all after Amos died no past flashbacks about the good ol’ days or when they growing up really. It’s all just lightly touched.

Still, I loved it. I loved almost everything about this Rites of Passage. If I read this book on a school day, I truly believe that I would have read it while I was in class. That’s how addicted I was to this book. The romance that once annoyed me had me squealing. legit SQUEALING (I almost never do this!). The characters are very unique and surprising with their originality and strengths. I believed them all and when their true sides came out I was pretty shocked and happy but also a  little angry. Same especially is a very realistic character that I easily rooted for because she’s so strong when many of us would have broken and gave in to the countless demands that are being shoved at us from every angle. I was soooo tense that last few chapters. I didn’t know what was going to happen which rarely happens in books and that’s why I love it even more. I was so in the dark about it all.

I need more books like this, ones that will leave me wanting more and completely boosting my faith in YA books again. Rites of Passage is that kind of book that makes you want to fight to equality and become a badass. The writing is beyond addicting which really helped in the beginning when I was skeptical about so many things. I recommend this to everyone to read! READ THIS BOOK! YOU WILL LOVE IT!!!!!

4 Dreamy Clouds

4 Dreamy Clouds

Book Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

16068910The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

Publisher: HarperTeen

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: May 20, 2014

Pages: 384 (Paperback)

good good

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they’re sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few “dates”, it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What’s a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you’re meant to be with if you’re still figuring out the person you’re meant to be?

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

The Art of Lainey isn’t a book for everyone. Sure, for some,  it’s cute and light and a great book to read in between heavy novels but for others, it’ll be annoying and unrealistic. This novel has both good and bad qualities and although I liked it, I wished I could have liked it more. Hopefully Paula Stokes fixes these problems with her next novel.

Like I said before, Lainey is a hit or miss kind of character yet I found myself in the middle with her. She’s refreshing with her sense of light humour but she only thinks about Jason and soccer. It’s like nothing else exists to this girl except these two things which isn’t very realistic and really annoying. Another thing that I had a problem with is the lack of history the characters have. Because of this everything felt very forced and fake to me, there are only a few examples of how things were with characters before they got dumped like the relationship that Jason and Lainey had before. It’s pretty non-existent to the reader because there aren’t many examples of how much fun they had together or many flashbacks. The book mostly consists of Lainey telling readers how much she loves him and nothing more.

Every chapter in the book starts off with a quote from The Art of War which I thought was really good because it summed up some of the chapters. I liked how Paula Stokes decided to use a quote and then write a chapter surrounding that quote, it’s well done. What I love most about cute books like this one are the relationships between the characters, the way they interact and make each other laugh, cry, scream, etc. With Lainey and Micah, it’s so much fun! Their bickering and sarcastic banter is light-hearted and cute and my favourite thing about The Art of Lainey. Moreover, I just adored Micah! I loved his whole tough guy personality because it’s actually meaningful. He’s not doing t because he’s dying to fit in, or because he’s mad. He’s the way he is because he’s comfortable with himself despite the world and I loved that. I also loved his sarcasm and how realistic he is. The ending is fairly well done, I liked how things aren’t straightforward and the many obstacles that stand in Lainey’s way of happiness.

All in all, I still found this book to be really cute. Lainey learns a few things and I liked how her character grows throughout the story, understanding the views of her friends instead of just blindly following. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys cute books with a plan to get an ex back.

3 Clouds

3 Clouds

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

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.

Book Review: Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock

17934644

Before My Eyes by Caroline Bock

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

Genre: Contemporary and Young Adult

Release Date: February 11, 2014

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

good good

Dreamy, poetic Claire, seventeen, has spent the last few months taking care of her six-year-old sister, Izzy, as their mother lies in a hospital bed recovering from a stroke. Claire believes she has everything under control until she meets “Brent” online. Brent appears to be a kindred spirit, and Claire is initially flattered by his attention. But when she meets Max, the awkward state senator’s son, her feelings become complicated.

Max, also seventeen, has been working the worst summer job ever at the beachside Snack Shack. He’s also been popping painkillers. His parents—more involved in his father’s re-election than in their son’s life—fail to see what’s going on with him.

Working alongside Max is Barkley, twenty-one. Lonely and obsessive, Barkley has been hearing a voice in his head. No one—not his parents, not his co-workers—realizes that Barkley is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. Until the voice in his head orders him to take out his gun.

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

opinion

Ever since that tragic incident that happened in Connecticut, I’ve been intrigued, no, obsessed with shootings and massacres of any sorts. So, of course when I found out that Before My Eyes has a shooting I knew that I HAD TO GET MY HANDS ON IT. So far, after reading quite a few novels about shootings I’ve been left with huge disappointment after huge disappointment

Caroline Bock is an author that tries too hard. It was sad reading about something that could have been so great fail so miserably. The writing for almost all of the story is very stiff and annoying. I couldn’t connect with any of the characters partially because of this as well as the fact that they all suck ass. Another thing that I had a problem with is the summary of the book since it says that Barkley hears a voice in his head. Where the hell is this voice?! It makes a millisecond appearance only twice where it says one word. Everything about the voice inside of his head is flimsy and pathetic.

Before My Eyes starts off great. It’s extremely creepy and odd, the writing is really proper and by that I mean there aren’t any contractions. I was instantly hooked after the first chapter which is told from Barkley’s perspective. This first chapter is intriguing and it’s the best part of the novel. I wish I were kidding but I’m not. However, the best character is the dog, King, who’s blind. Near the end of the story, King becomes braver than anyone and blindly risks his life to save others. Reading about him alone got this book one cloud out of me because he’s amazing.

Overall, don’t read this. If you’re like me and are looking for a well executed story about teenagers and a shooting you’ll have to look elsewhere. Before My Eyes is a sloppily done novel that has left me close to no hope that I’ll ever find a great teen story about a shooting.

1.5 Odd Clouds

1.5 Odd Clouds

 

For quotes from this book, click here.

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