Saturday, August 1, 2015

July 2015 Wrap-Up | SO. MANY. THINGS.

If you're not following me on any of my social media accounts, you may not know that I went to the #BNBookBash in Orange County where I got to meet nearly every BookTuber I've adore and avidly watch. However before that, I made friends with the girls over at Book Temperament who are the most lovely people ever and I finally met my internet BFF of many months Bella McNally! 

1. #BNBookBash | My visit to California landed during the weekend of Vidcon so even though I wasn't able to attend, I was able to go to the Booksplosion Meet-Up that kicked off the Vidicon weekend for everyone else. It was an absolutely fabulous experience where I met nearly all of my favorite BookTubers as well as made and met with real life bookish humans [pictured above]. I have both a recap video of the event as well as most of the Q&A coming soon to My Channel.

2. STEM Sleep-a-way Camp | So basically I went to go nerd out for a week at Syracuse University whilst surrounded by some of the most intelligent teenage girls I've ever met that will probably dominate the engineering field in a decade. I had to apply for the program (and obviously got in) and the experience was extremely different from what I expected it to be but an unforgettable one.

3. Visiting my Homeland | I had a really nice stay with my father in Orange County where life was easy, consisting of tennis, swimming, golf, and eating for a straight week. The change of pace was enjoyable for a time 

4. Met Up With Bookish Friends | After tweeting, interacting in the comments, and texting each other for more than half a year, my friend Bella and I finally met in real life at the #BNBookBash. It was an incredible experience meeting up with her in real life and we were both so startled at first to see that we were real. I also met up with my friend Thomas from fiction class at a Barnes and Nobles to chat about books which was a blast because I don't have anyone else to completely fan person out with and discuss writing with. Plus we've been discussing filming a few collabs for you guys which may be coming soon... ;)

5. I'm Writing a Novel!I don't know if I can possibly express to you how excited I am to say that. Mid-July I came up with the premise for a brand new story and I've thoroughly outlined around half of it, been developing characters, and generally having a ball in the beginning stages. My hope is to finish the roughest of the rough drafts by November so I can spend NaNoWriMo revising. Wish me luck :)

Running Again! For the month of July I've slacked off because of traveling as well as it not being under 90 degrees every day. Nevertheless I have to whip myself back into shape because I'm going to a week of running camp in the mountains and then straight into Cross Country practice which is a daunting and exciting experience to look forward to.

[July Reading Wrap-Up TO COME! Check Loving the Language of Literacy the YouTube Channel]

 What I'm most proud of this month is how I've dealt with life. July started off with a lot of things going on / happening in my personal life which included running a 10 mile race on the 4th of July after not running consistently since May which I am quite proud of myself for. My boyfriend of the past nearly six months and I decided to break up and remain friends because he and his family are moving halfway across the country. I decided on Fiction for the Young Author's Academy and have begun writing a novel. Overall it was an event filled month :)

This video got 180 views within the first 48 hours which - hands down - makes it my most popular video of all time and there's a reason for that. As you read above, I went to the #BNBookBash and filmed the entire Q&A with BookTubers PolandBananasBOOKS, Katytastic, and Jessethereader, as well as debut author and entertainment journalist Valerie Tejeda.

I got the idea for this video because of Hank Green and my then-boyfriend Gavin. I turned on the camera, started to speak, and ended up with this discussion. I'm honestly dying to know your opinion because of how much media glorifies things but if you think, on a smaller scale, if that's okay.

Coincidentally, this BookTuber's name is also Sofia and she got her friends tighter to play the Backwords Book Title Challenge and it had me laughing hysterically the entire time. They made valiant efforts and have probably gotten closer than anyone I have ever seen make this video before. The dynamic between the three of them is awesome and you should definitely give this video a watch.

The past week at Vidicon, BookTube did one of their famous lip syncing videos and this one was for BookTube's favorite artist - Taylor Swift. Just watch this and tell me it isn't the most fabulous video you've ever seen. 

I discovered the Lizzie Bennet Diaries this month which may be what I have been looking for all my life in a YouTube channel. It's a modern day rendition of Pride and Prejudice done in 3 minute vlog style clips that the entire internet has been buzzing about for ages but I just began watching two days ago... and I'm already halfway through the series. Yeah, I haven't been the most productive lately, but that's okay because it's perfection and now I'm determined to read the book.



If you could meet any BookTuber, which would it be?

Friday, July 31, 2015

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe: Benjamin Alire Saenz | BookTalk w/ @sslluvsbooks

Rating: 98%
Series: None
Genre: Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Romance, LGBT, Ficiton, Young Adult,
Publication Date: February 21, 2012
Page Count: 368
Format: Paperback
Source: Barnes & Nobles

Goodreads Synopsis: A lyrical novel about family and friendship from critically acclaimed author Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

Aristotle is an angry teen with a brother in prison. Dante is a know-it-all who has an unusual way of looking at the world. When the two meet at the swimming pool, they seem to have nothing in common. But as the loners start spending time together, they discover that they share a special friendship—the kind that changes lives and lasts a lifetime. And it is through this friendship that Ari and Dante will learn the most important truths about themselves and the kind of people they want to be.

Disclaimer: At Loving the Language of Literacy, "Book Review" means a spoiler-free overview of my opinions versus a "BookTalk" where there's a spoiler-free synopsis section with my general thoughts and then I distinctly tell you to go away when there will be spoilers.

Who Would I Recommend This Book To?
For anyone struggling with or wanting to be informed about being LGBT
For anyone wanting a diverse, well written Young Adult novel where parents are alive
For anyone wanting to see themes like race being debated about by the Main Character.

Would I Buy It?
I already did and so should you!!!

What Was My Reaction Upon Finishing?
Sweet baby Jesus! That was absolutely incredible, give me ALL of the Benjamin Alire Saenz books!

How Likely Is It That I Will Re-Read This Novel?
I need to revisit this one every few years because I think it will just get better and better.

How Likely Is It That I Will Read Another Book By This Author?
The only question is... how soon?

Conclusion: Featuring a completely unique, well developed main character with a voice entirely his own, a plot that delivers on the premise, a romance able to remind everyone what it's like to be in love, and the need for a "Feels Warning" on the cover. 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Our World | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ Sorrys, Social Issues & Sappiness

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)

Our World

It’s a world everyone has heard of
But seldom want to discuss
Too heavy to be the centerpiece
For another gathering of plastic well wishers

A constant stream of white noise
Assaulting condemned ears
That we have all seemed
To lock out of consideration

Constant attention is required
For those who have invalid claims
Brought to light when the
Ones we thought we were protecting
End up being our guardians

It’s so easy to stay standing on the front line
For a cause we don’t actually have to believe in

Until it is brought to our attention
That this is our world.

Prompt : Write a poem addressing a social issue you feel passionate about.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What social issue would you address? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Cognizance | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ Social Issues, Sorrys & Sappiness

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)


Bound together by chains and nails,
The last ditch efforts of super glue
Look at them
As basic hardware
Cogs and wheel spokes
Sustain binding contracts and forced commitment
The most minute of details
Soldered together from affections
The naked threads
Too tangled from being used to each other
Whether it’s the two children
Made to socialize or
The reluctant peers begrudgingly collaborating
Exchanged hatred or lovelorn glances
Make no difference
Time impresses upon the skin
Of who you wouldn't be otherwise
Maybe that’s why we can’t help but fall in love.

Prompt : Write a poem describing or somehow incorporating an old pocket watch.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What do you think of the poem’s message? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Friday, July 24, 2015

To those who miss what can't be home | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ Anthems, Shoutouts & Being Away from Home

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)

To those who miss what can’t be home

Day by day you feel the same
Sometimes those days are wretched,
Sometimes exalted
But that is the way it has always been.

It is only when you are reunited
With the sly grins and remembered references
That you know you have finally “moved on”
A phrase you never believed in.

There will always be
The scent of stale water on fighting-to-be-green grass
The euphoria of nighttime air clinging onto skin
As heads are stuck out of car windows
Like the dogs you are missing.

It is only when you are reunited
Does the gossip of transience become relevant.

When dragged back into the currents
Of what you thought you would always know,
You realize sanctuary under the surface was an incubator
Accompanied by the baby blanket of routine familiarity.

Though you left on terms not your own,
Being reunited serves as confirmation
That being catapulted through the rose colored glass
Could have been the best thing that ever happened.

Look back,
It’s not the same,
It can’t be.

Because home is what you left to come back to.

Prompt : Write a letter to any object in the room from another object’s perspective.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What do you think of the last line? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Conversation Traveler | My Journey to Dark Side ~ Underpants, Perception, and Imitating Sofia

My Journey to the Dark Side is a 5 Part Mini-Series featuring the poetry I have featured in that week’s corresponding YouTube video. If you’ve wanted to reread a poem I read, look no further :)

Conversation Traveler

Round. Symmetrical in shape. 
Picked up a yard sale for only a dollar.
What could have been a 
Cold, Unreachable, Unaffecting museum display,
Has instead piqued curiosity,
Thus sending life from one side to
Meet with its potential from the other.
Upon experiencing the stone, 
It is merely a time capsule. 
A flawless finish hastily plastered
On the uneraseable mars, cracks, and possibility.
Serving as a creator’s attempt to 
Cover up a history
As one last effort to hide the truth.
That worth is not defined by a price tag
But by the ongoing miles it gains through conversation.

Prompt : Write a poem describing or somehow incorporating this (dubbed) indescribably stone.

Other Poems in the Series ~
What do you think of my description? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dear Orange Sharpie | My Journey to the Dark Side ~ What is Poetry?

*squints at bright blogging light* Yes, yes, I know it has been forever since I swept out the cracks of my keyboard and posted anything on my blog. Today I’m here to present you with the first of a 5 part series of posts which will hopefully be the start of something new. So long, Loving the Language of Literacy has been a book blog but now I want to expand it into writing as well.

My own writing.

This is an extremely daunting thing for me to do considering how judgmental the internet can be but assuming the only people who will come here will want to see the writing I’ve already read aloud in my YouTube video, then it shouldn’t be that scary. We’re all friends here, right?

If you watch my BookTube channel eponymously named Loving the Language of Literacy, you might know I go to writing class and for all five weeks worth of videos, I have shared my work. For the first time ever, you’ll have a post to refer back to you if you want to read my original work.
Without further ado, I present the first poem I EVER shared on my YouTube Channel.

Dear Orange Sharpie

Dear Orange Sharpie,
What is the meaning of life?
I bet this has never been an issue for you
In the realm of writing instruments
You are so obviously the king
Because you do only what I have longed for all my life.
You. Are. Permanent.
Day after day. Week after week,
I am used on that relentlessly white board,
Serving my purpose as the instruction writer or doodler
Don’t get me wrong, I love my job
Getting people to where they’re supposed to go
Is my life’s pleasure
But no matter what I write,
No matter how helpful I am,
My work always disappears.
For once could Eraser let my markings stay?
For once, could people step back and appreciate
Everything I have written
Without erasing it 2 seconds later?
All I ask is to be recognized as
More than something disposable.
Why work countless hours if only to be
Abandoned at the end of the day?
What is the meaning of life
If I am only to leave a
Temporary mark on the world?
Sincerely your friend,
The Bitter Purple Dry Erase Marker

Prompt : Write a letter to any object in the room from another object’s perspective.

Other Poems in the Series ~

What do you think of my prosetry? Are you looking forward to reading the rest of my poems? What else do you want to see on the blog?

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

June 2015 Wrap-Up | European Shenanigans With My Best Friend.... What Could Go Wrong?

I've been blasting this a lot on my social media, but if you don't know, I spent 2 weeks in Stockholm, the Archipelago, Helsinki, and London - and made an entire vlog of the experience. This photo is from my first day in Sweden at Lake Brunnswikken.


1. It's Summer! | I actually got out of school early actually to go to Europe for my parents work and actually spent the first day of summer with some close family friends in the Archipelago. Before I left, I got to spend a day with my boyfriend and his family at their lake house which was an incredibly fun kick-off the summer. We kayaked, I met his relatives, and of course, because we're us, we went exploring in the woods and I got a grand total of 18 bug bites. But as anyone knows, you wouldn't give up the experience for anything.... even being eaten alive.

2. I made Emma go on a 10 miles detour!
Anyone whose stuck around on Loving the Language of Literacy since 2015 will know I love exploring and wandering which most of the time ends with me getting lost. Originally, Emma and I were just going to go on a 7 mile run around Lake Brunnswikken but we ended up not even making it entirely around the lake and ended up walking/running for 10 freaking miles after going down trails and coming back to exactly where we started. Nevertheless, we got home and it was a fun bonding experience. Although if Emma told her perspective, she would probably have a different story... 

3. I've made my triumphant return to Photography!Obviously, I couldn't have gone traipsing around Europe without taking a ton of photos (more like 300). *promises while clinging to the cliff she's been thrown off* I will do a Frames of Existence soon! I'm considering creating a photography Instagram even because I enjoy taking and editing photos just so darn much.  

4. Adventures in London | We spent the last two days of our trip in London and they were probably my favorite days of the entire trip because we stayed with close family friends who are absolutely the best humans on the planet. They're ridiculously funny and nice and I'm so glad we got to stay with them. *Hint* If you ever go to the UK, never say "toss" *laughs hysterically at inside joke* We also got to meet up with other family friends for dinner which was so much fun. British people trying to sound American are always hilarious. Of course, we also went to the London Eye - pictured on left.

5. Rosendals Trädgård | This is where I made my huge photography return and I swear it was the longest I've been willingly near bees in my entire life. I took a bunch hot pictures and it was an absolutely gorgeous place you most definitely should go to if you're ever in Stockholm.

4th of July!
I've honestly never been so happy for fourth of July than this year because of all the festivities and activities going on. On the 3rd I'm going back to my boyfriend's grandparent's lake house to celebrate  which I'm ecstatic about because it's astoundingly gorgeous. On the 4th, I'm participating in the 4th of July footrace which is 10 miles of running.... in 80 degrees. (We'll see if I drop dead from heat exhaustion) Then my family and I are going to watch fireworks.





I mentioned Stitchers in my May Wrap-Up but I just had to mention it in June again because even though it's not the most high-quality of shows, it is absolutely hilarious, gripping, and the characters are awesome. 

I saw all the promos for the Astronaut Wives Club and knew I had to at least check it out because I'm a complete sucker for shows that revolve around people's lives and the dynamics between them. the premise is something I never thought ABC would try to make a show out of but I enjoyed the first episode and will keep watching.

Yes, I admit, I watch Mistresses. It's a complete guilty pleasure and I love watching all the shenanigans these four women get into and I really like the mystery this season has.

We saw Jurassic World on opening night and the fam and I really enjoyed it. I sincerely think it was the best Jurassic Park of them all with just the right amount of action, dinosaurs, and character dynamics.


What was the most exciting/interesting thing that you've done/happened to you so far?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pageant Material: @KaceyMusgraves | Album Review w/ @sslluvsbooks

Rating: 95%
Artist: Kacey Musgraves
Genre: Country
Release Date: June 23, 2015
Label: Mercury Records
Track Count: 14 (on iTunes)

Track Listing:
1. High Time
2. Dime Store Cowgirl
3. Late To The Party
4. Pageant Material
5. This Town
6. Biscuits
7. Somebody To Love
8. Miserable
9. Die Fun
10. Family Is Family
11. Good Ol Boys Club
12. Cup Of Tea
13. Fine
14. Are You Sure (Hidden Track) feat. Willie Nelson

The first thing you should know about me is - I have been a Kacey Musgraves fan since the very beginning. While my taste in music has changed and diversified since then, if I were to name an album that I have consistently listened to the past three years, it would have to be Musgraves' debut Same Trailer Different Park. There's something about Kacey's relatable, witty lyrics, broad subject matter, and acoustic, homey sound that allow me to listen to her on repeat. Unlike all other albums I listen to, there isn't a single song on STDP I dislike and each have a special, nostalgic place in my heart as their easy sound has accompanied me on many a late night of poetry writing.  

The big question remained until yesterday upon Pageant Material's release. 
Will Pageant Material come anywhere near Same Trailer Different Park

Give her another Grammy!
What critics have been both praising and criticizing is the fact that it has been more than three years since Same Trailer Different Park. In that time, she has become internationally recognized, won two Grammys, toured with Katy Perry, and been exposed to the music industry, love, and life. People have assumed that Musgraves sound and style would be changed due to the demands of what's "hot," following the country-pop trend most female artists are sounding like nowadays. If there's one thing fans know about Kacey is that does not conform to societal expectations. Her sound is raw, acoustic, authentic country, and generally nothing like what's currently riding the airwaves. Each and every one of her songs have a story to tell and an underlying message that most certainly does not stay underlying. Kacey Musgraves was one of - if not the first - major country artist to recognize the LGBT community in her music. Country originated in the south, and often the perception is that everyone is a right-wing, conservative redneck with their John Deers, glasses of various alcoholic beverages, and shotguns. 

Title/Cover | While Same Trailer Different Park spoke directly to Musgraves' country roots, Pageant Material is a physical marker of her evolution as an artist. While the majority of her lyrics could have ben her sophomore record's signature, Pageant Material speaks to the glamorous glitter and sparkles Kacey loves to adorn her sets and costumes in, giving a Random a slightly different impression than who she is. However the title and cover art are their own inside joke with Kacey Musgrave's loyal listeners and upon listening to the title track, one learns that the line goes "I ain't pageant material."

What sets Musgraves apart from not only country artists, but artists in general is the fact that most of her songs aren't about love. I can't tell you how many times I'm annoyed by hearing the same thing on the radio about breaking up and making up and falling in love in between. Even though it's an extremely relatable subject, you would think that someone would be able to come up with another topic to sing about and that someone is Kacey Musgraves. The songs with *stars* next to them are the ones NOT about love.

*Die Fun* | 99% | From the very first note I was completely and utterly obsessed with this song. There is a "we" that could be directed towards a partner, but my own interpretation of the song is directed to the general "we" of society and the young generation of people growing up and attempting to find their place in the world before becoming old, decrepit, and cynical. There's so much pressure on teenagers going into high school and college to take the safe route that will make them the most secure and the most money but this song is really just a message into the void that we don't have to grow up and we should take the chances we can while we have them. So the gist of this is that this would be the poster song for any John Green novel.

"Do we really have to grow up? // If we never do then so what // Before we get to heaven, baby let's give 'em hell // We might as well // Cause we don't know when we're done"

Somebody to Love | 95% | When I first heard of this song, I had hoped Kacey had done a country cover of Queen which we all know would have been incredible. Regardless, Musgraves dabbles in string instruments throughout the track which gives it a unique feel. This is obviously about love, but somehow gives it a new perspective on how lost humanity is. While I'd like to play devil's advocate and say you don't need someone else to complete you, as someone who is in love, I can't deny that having someone by your side just makes everything better, in both romantic and non-romantic contexts.

"We're all hoping, we're all hopeless //We're all flawed and we're all perfect // We're all lost and we're all hurting // We're all happy, we're all hatin' // We're all patiently impatient // We're all good, but we ain't angels // We all sin, but we ain't devils // We're all pots and we're all kettles // But we can't see it in ourselves // We're all livin' 'til we're dying // We all wrangle with religion // We all talk, but we don't listen // We're all starving for attention then we'll run // We'll miss a dime to grab a nickel // We're all little kids just looking for love //Yeah, don't we all just want somebody to love?"

*This Town* | 94% | Soundwise, This Town feels a lot like the Blowin' Smoke of Pageant Material while painting a picture of this community that is well on its way to becoming what urban city-folk would call more "civilized," but it's still a small town where neighbors are all up in each other's businesses and everyone is family. The chorus goes into a neat riff of rhythm and overall, the song seems like it should be sung through cigar smoke by the town gossips.

"You'll end up in the paper, wreck your family name // What goes around comes back around by Friday's football game // We only got one sheriff, but we all know how to keep the peace"

*Dime Store Cowgirl * | 93% | This was the other pre-released track and a great song overall. There's some quality about it that makes me want to jump up and dance as Kacey sings about still being a country girl and its proof that she hasn't changed, just grown since her previous album.

"I'm happy with what I got, cause what I got is all I need // Just cause it don't cost a lot, don't cost a lot, don't mean it's cheap"

*Family is Family* | 92% | Family is Family is one of the tracks released before the entire album and it gets featured during Musgraves' series of behind-the-scenes for making the album. Luke Laird admitted that it's the most cleverly written, witty song on the album and I would have to agree. If you need to hold a particular song up to credit Kacey's skill, it would be this one because the song is just so much fun to listen to.

"Can't live with or without 'em; you might talk about 'em // But if someone else does, well, then you'll knock 'em out cause // You might look just like 'em; that don't mean you're like 'em //But you love 'em"

*Miserable* | 90% | This is the signature Kacey Musgraves song that confronts what she thinks about society and basically tells society to shove it up their you-know-what because there are more important things to spend your time on. Miserable could be subtly directed to a lost love who screwed things up, but it's more likely that it's just directed to the pessimists of the world. As always, she crafts this narrative of things we do on a daily basis that have trapped us into this negative mindset --- "Your neighbor's dirty laundry's cleaner // And the wolf at your door's always meaner // The sky's still grey when the sun's around // But you can't set sail if your anchor's down"

*Biscuits | *86% | This was the debut single off of Pageant Material and personally, I think that was both a good and a bad decision. Good because of its catchy tune, strong message, and the truth it delivers. Simultaneously, Biscuits is what dubbed her sophomore album as another country album and while I like the song, it definitely doesn't atone to Musgraves' skill as a song writer or diverse sound.

"Nobody's perfect, we've all lost and we've all lied // Most of us have cheated, the rest of us have tried // The holiest of holies even slip from time to time // We've all got dirty laundry hangin' on the line"

Fine | 80% | Something about the instruments used in this song are what bumped the rating down for me, but I do love the message. So commonly, the response we use is "I'm fine" when we're really not, and Fine is just another person's story and struggle with putting a good face on after a hard break.

"I pick those tomatoes we grew off the vine // They look out the window just in time // I reach for the phone just to make sure it's on // And I'm fine // I put on my makeup for no one at all // My heels on the hardwood echo down the hall // I open the wardrobe, put my face in your clothes"

*Pageant Material* |  77% | It's quite clear from the beginning of the song why this became the title track and lyrically feels a lot like Blowin' Smoke. The chorus itself isn't one that fits my preferences but the lyrics themselves are quite hilarious.

"And it ain't that I don't care about world peace // But I don't see how I can fix it in a swimsuit on a stage // I ain't exactly Ms. Congenial"

Late to the Party | 75% | While this song could apply to a close friend, I'm assuming it's meant for a lover. It's my own taste that doesn't makes this track my favorite. The thought, while endearing, is one that doesn't make as much sense as some of Musgraves' previous songs. Or it just peeves off my slightly OCD behavior because I never want to be late to parties :)

"Oh, who needs confetti? // We're already falling into the groove // And who needs a crowd when you're happy at a party for two? //The world can wait"

*High Time* | 72% | This is the kind of song I feel like my opera-singer parent would sing to me if she was a country artist because it talks about taking a step back to re-evalute your needs and the flashiness of life which she loves to do when I'm on my phone constantly.

"Been missing my roots // I'm getting rid of the flash // Nobody needs a thousand-dollar suit just to take out the trash // Ain't gotta be alone to feel lonely // I'm gonna turn off my phone, start catching up with the old me"

*Cup of Tea* | 70% | This song has more of a down-home feel to it and I can picture a signature Kacey Musgraves music video fitting this song. It has a nice message to it about independence and not giving a crap about who people think you are. And I would seriously pay money to have some of these lyrics on a t-shirt.

"You can't be everybody's cup of tea // Some like it bitter, some like it sweet // Nobody's everybody's favorite // So you might as well just make it how you please"

*Good Ol' Boys Club* | 68% | When I first heard this song, I was a bit skeptical because it rang faintly of Another Sunday in the South by Miranda Lambert with the beginning chords and lyrically when the song began there were definitely some similarities. By the time the chorus rolls around, it's clear this is a Kacey Musgraves song speaking against the stereotypical boys clubs of the south and there are speculations of a little wink to Big Machine Records which is known for making Taylor Swift famous.

"Cigars and handshakes, appreciate you but no thanks // Another gear in a big machine don't sound like fun to me // Don't wanna be a part of the good ol' boys club"

*Are You Sure* | 67% | This track is only available on iTunes and features the one and only Willie Nelson. Because of this, it follows the lulling guitar playing Willie is known for and sounds like Are You Sure could fit right in with his 2013 album To All The Girls where he sang with prominent female country artists both new and old. It's certainly not my favorite Kacey Musgraves song but I like the message of wondering whether you're happy with the way things are and where your life is heading.

"Please don't let my tears persuade you // I'd hoped I wouldn't cry // Although lately teardrops seem a part of me"

Conclusion | Kacey Musgrave's sophomore album most certainly does not disappoint and marks a young artist's progression through life in unique narratives and acoustic sound that takes us back to guitars and campfires that make country feel like it did in the beginning. If I like Pageant Material this much on the first few listens, it will only get better with time.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Extraordinary Means: @robynschneider | BookTalk w/ @sslluvsbooks

Rating: 90%
Series: None
Genre: Social Issues, Romance, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Fiction, Young Adult,
Publisher: Katherine Tegan Books
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Page Count: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Barnes & Nobles

Goodreads Synopsis: From the author of The Beginning of Everything: two teens with a deadly disease fall in love on the brink of a cure.

At seventeen, overachieving Lane finds himself at Latham House, a sanatorium for teens suffering from an incurable strain of tuberculosis. Part hospital and part boarding school, Latham is a place of endless rules and confusing rituals, where it's easier to fail breakfast than it is to flunk French.

There, Lane encounters a girl he knew years ago. Instead of the shy loner he remembers, Sadie has transformed. At Latham, she is sarcastic, fearless, and utterly compelling. Her friends, a group of eccentric troublemakers, fascinate Lane, who has never stepped out of bounds his whole life. And as he gradually becomes one of them, Sadie shows him their secrets: how to steal internet, how to sneak into town, and how to disable the med sensors they must wear at all times.

But there are consequences to having secrets, particularly at Latham House. And as Lane and Sadie begin to fall in love and their group begins to fall sicker, their insular world threatens to come crashing down.

Told in alternating points of view, Extraordinary Means is a darkly funny story about doomed friendships, first love, and the rare miracle of second chances.

Disclaimer: On Loving the Language of Literacy, the term "BookTalk" means that there will be both a spoilery and non-spoilery section of the Review.

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