News

News: I moved the keyboard to my room and now I feel strongly inclined to tell the world that I adore Phantom of the Opera. Everything is perfectly normal and no, I don't have access to any secret underground labyrinth...yet.

--12 August 2017 --

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

June 27, 2014

Ultraviolet by Owl City - EP Review

Some of you may or may not be aware of exactly how much I love Adam Young (aka. Owl City). He's best known for his big hits Fireflies and Good Time, the latter of which featured Carly Rae Jepsen. That's beside the point though - the reason I write to you is because Adam just freshly released his new EP, titled Ultraviolet, and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it!

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  • Beautiful Times
    • The first song on the album features violinist Lindsey Stirling (she's amazing). It's a wonderful tale epitomized by this part of the bridge: 
When did the sky turn black? And when will the light come back? 
    • Beautiful Times brings us the story of reality. Life is hard and it will cause us hurt and pain along the way. However, no matter what our struggle might be, it is our instinctive human desire to fight for life - at the end of every night there is morning, and so it is with suffering. Every hardship is followed by a "beautiful time", no matter how small or insignificant that moment might appear. 
    • The music is upbeat, followed by calmer points of musing. The violin blends in so well that I barely noticed it. The part that drew me the most (with this song and with Wolf Bite) is the glorious bass - I adore the bass...it's what can make or break a piece for me, and this song has definitely been made. 
    • Overall, I give this song 4/5 stars

  • Up All Night
    • This was the song I most anticipated on the album (followed by Wolf Bite). It makes me think of Adam's old music...like his albums Ocean Eyes and All Things Bright and Beautiful. The start of the chorus is definitely the attraction for me, mainly because his voice sound so crisp and epic: 
You were my clarity, I swear - all alone in a daydream. Yeah there was magic in the air, and you were right here beside me. Held down like an angel with no wings, I want to fly again; I just can't get you off my mind, and now I'm gonna be up all night.

    •  Up All Night is so unique and crisp sounding. It makes me think of biting into a fresh apple straight off an orchard tree. Knowing that Adam has a soft side, I believe this song is about falling in love with the idea of someone. Perhaps that someone doesn't even know you love them, but you think about them at night, often enough that it's almost as though they're present with you...but you're only disappointed when you emerge from your daydreams. Or perhaps it is a song about loving someone that's no longer around to receive your love (someone that moved far away, or maybe a friend that passed on). In any case, it's a fascinating little unrequited love song. I really like it :D mostly because Adam's voice just sounds amazing
    • The music is perfect for this track. It's sparkly, vibrant, crisp (how many times can I use that word and get away with it?); it's everything I was hoping for this EP. The harmony is edgy and the drums and bass are absolutely delightful - and the piano is wonderfully enchanting. This is by far my favourite song on the album (although, really, Wolf Bite is amazing too). 
    • Overall, this song definitely gets 5/5 stars!

  • This Isn't the End
    • This is the only genuinely sad song on the EP - I knew it was coming, but when I finally heard it for real, I was wowed by the story Adam tells. 
When the rain falls down, when it all turns around - when the light goes out, this isn't the end.
    • He first starts off with a heart-wrenching story of an 8 yr old girl who has a panic attack because her dad leaves - on the outside she tries to appear happy, but inside she's breaking down. At first I wasn't certain if the other two verses were connected with this one, but the more I look at it, it seems they are. So, the story goes on to say that the father of this girl was a really nice guy; everyone liked him, but he struggled with depression. Despite ensuring his family he'd be fine, he only sank deeper and deeper into darkness, until he took his own life with a gun.
      Next, Adam sings that this man didn't deserve to be a father because he left his little girl, never to come back again. Over the years, the daughter suffered intense pain, but she eventually was able to forgive her dad for taking his own life, and that's marked the point she was able to start healing.
      Adam closes the song by reminding us that we don't know when the end will be - none of us can determine when one of our friends or family members might pass away and so we need to make the best of each moment we are given. We need to stop taking life for granted. He concludes that we need to fight to survive; just when we think we're at the end of the rope and we can't go on, we need to remind ourselves that this is simply a beginning to something greater, not the end. 
    • The music accompanying this sad song starts off by reminding me of a horse plodding along down a road (that would be the drums) - this effect continues throughout the song. The chord progressions are generally minor in nature; however, I was amused to see that Adam strategically placed certain sombre sentence ends over major chords, resulting in a generation of hope. I thought it was very well written :)
    • Overall, I give this track 5/5 stars

  • Wolf Bite
    • This is the song you've heard me mention a few times now - it's wonderful and I can't exactly decide whether it's my first or second favourite...so let's just say it ties with Up All Night :P
It's another bad dream, poison in my bloodstream. I'm dying but I can't scream; will you show me the way? 
    • As the title suggests, this song is laced with metaphors that relate to wolves. The chorus appears to be a plea for direction and guidance, no matter what the circumstance might be. I know Adam is a Christian (he expresses that without reservation on his blog) and while most of the songs he writes are a little vague when it comes to his beliefs, I can definitely see connections in this one. So, from that perspective, I believe this is a call out to God, asking him to be the guide in the middle of a world full of wolves (temptations?). I also particularly enjoyed his modernization of the Biblical passage about wolves in sheep's wool; Adam sings: 
It's another werewolf, all dressed up in sheep's wool - changing when the moon's full, will you show me the way?

    • Here he seems to be asking God to guide him, because somewhere out there, a werewolf dressed in sheep's wool (thus a two time over impersonator) is prowling about, interested in taking advantage of those that don't have a guide. I was rather awed at how Adam fit such a strong message into a catchy song. 
    • The music is delightful, upbeat, and, as I've mentioned already, very catchy. I've listened to this song at least 30 times since it was released - it's amazing. Adam's voice is amazing and everything just fits together wonderfully. I also see he's fit in a few mock-drops that give the song an almost dubstep-esque feel to it :P *claps*
    • Overall, I give this song 5/5 stars :D
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I hope you guys have enjoyed this review :D If you're interested, I've posted a couple links below that you can check out!

To look at (and potentially purchase) Ultraviolet check out this link: Ultraviolet on iTunes 

Check out Adam Young's blog here: ayoungblog

Follow Adam on Twitter: @owlcity


I hope you guys have a superb day! 
Signed with daffodils,

Squeaks.

June 24, 2014

The Word Changers by Ashlee Willis - A Review

Greetings, Reader;


I'm listening to some lovely music right now (the soft, melodic type that you'd associate with candle-light, soft conversation, and fantastic far-away worlds). I've finally had a moment to put aside the bustle of life and write to you concerning a lovely tale by Ashlee Willis, titled The Word Changers.

I stumbled across this story when I saw a Facebook notification from Anne Elisabeth Stengl that explained how Ashlee was looking for pre-publication reviewers; I was blessed to receive a go-ahead from Ashlee regarding my inquiry into the matter. Over the last few days, I've spent my free moments reading The Word Changers. First let's take a look at the back-cover blurb, then I'll share my thoughts :) 



Her parent's marriage is falling apart. Fifteen-year-old Posy feels like her life is falling apart with it. Retreating to an old library down the street, she selects a mysterious book in a secluded corner and is magically drawn into its story...
Posy finds herself in a kingdom ruled by a cruel and manipulative king and queen who have attempted to usurp the role that belongs only to the Author of their story. The princess has fled and the kingdom is teetering toward rebellion. Posy is joined by the Prince Kyran as they fight with the characters of the story against their slavery to the Plot.
Posy and the prince search beyond the borders of the story for the runaway princess. They visit mysterious places, face horrifying monsters, and fight fierce battles. They make both friends and enemies as their journey leads them into many dangers. But some of the worst dangers, Posy soon finds, lie deep within her own heart.
Now Posy must find the courage and forgiveness needed to save the story and, most important, heal the heartache she knew in her own world.

The first thing about The Word Changers that caught my attention was its Narnia-esque qualities - and let me say, I am a huge fan of all things Narnia! In this story, Posy is magically drawn into a storybook world when she stumbles across a curious tome in her local library. We don't get to see much of Posy's daily life other than what she chooses to share in small asides - from Chapter 1 on out she's strictly within the tug-of-war battle between The Plot and The True Story.

The Characters
Posy & Prince Kyran were the main characters of this novel; they were joined by many other unique individuals as well, all of which added a vibrant tone to the various settings. Emotion and personality shone through both dialogue and prose; there were moments I found several of the characters a little shallow, but I believe this is easily forgiven by the reader in light of the unique story Ashlee spins.

The main characters deal with their own flaws throughout the tale; this provides a prime platform for the delivery of Ashlee's own moral beliefs to shine through - she discusses forgiveness, love, and mercy all within reason. I found her implied arguments well voiced and I believe they, hidden within the guise of the overall story, can provide excellent learning material for a young reader.

There was also plenty of variety aside from the human characters - centaurs, ipotanes, nymphs (mainly dryads, I believe), and owls. Perhaps this is why I found myself recalling the world of Narnia so often. My personal favourites were the owls, by far - especially this one little guy called Nocturne; I honestly wish he had a bigger role in the story because he was really quite adorable! Anyway, that's all I'll say on that matter :P

The Plot
The plot was great - I love good, solid Christian literature, even when it's entirely allegorical, which was the case with The Word Changers.

There was plenty of variety within the story, yet it clung to the underlying truth of the Author. This character is the God-figure of the story; he knows each character by name and (as implied by his name) has written the entire story. However, despite this, he only appears to the main characters when they have earnestly sought him (albeit unbeknownst to the characters), and he refuses to tell them how the story will end. Rather, he explains how he gives his characters a free will to write their own story, thereby providing his creations with a true and purpose-filled life.

The symbolism within the plot was delightful; the undertones of the conversations are riddled with double-meanings that speak to both the believing Christian and the eager young writer. Overall, I was impressed with the easy way Ashlee conveyed her faith in a unique setting.

The Dark Side
It is often every middle-aged Christian mother's fear that her children will inadvertently pick up a book that focuses all too entirely on the evil rather than the good, thereby subconsciously imparting dangerous knowledge to the youthful mind. I know this because my own mother falls into the category. In any case, I am pleased to assure you that the dark side of this book is even less dark than what we read of in C.S. Lewis' Narnia series. Yes, there are the 'bad guys', and yes, those bad guys are truly interested in bringing down the plot...but the story does not put its spotlight on them. They're present (sometimes terribly present) within the scenes, but I was happy to read that their evil manipulations only added to the realization of how powerful the good side truly was - even in the most dire circumstance.

The Romance
Then, of course, there is the beautiful romantic sub-plot between Posy and Prince Kyran - I had been forewarned of it when I read up about The Word Changers on Ashlee's blog; part of me felt a little hesitant, because many romantic sub-plots become overly cheesy and meaningless. I'm happy to say that's not the case in this tale - yes, there are moments of cheesiness (sometimes the endearing terms passed between characters felt a little off-kilter), but the meaning of their relationship delved deeper than a simple kiss. Within this sub-plot we see expressions of self-sacrifice, the rearrangement of priorities, and forgiveness.

I found myself rather attached to the secondary tale of the young couple; in fact, it was because of their relationship that I teared up at the end of the novel - I truly would love to explain why, but I'm afraid if I did I would ruin the story. So, you'll just have to buy the novel, read it, and find out for yourself :)

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Overall, The Word Changers is a story of love, forgiveness, mercy, and faith. I would highly recommend this book to anyone - both young and old. It's a clean read and it's a beautiful tale that I believe will stick in the minds of young kids and teens. I give it 5/5 stars (an extra half star just because of Nocturne :P).

To learn more about Ashlee Willis, visit her blog: Finding the True Fairy Tale.
To buy The Word Changers, check it out over at Amazon.

Signed with edelweiss,

Squeaks.

June 19, 2014

Lupus: The Cynosure (a poem) || Wolf Bite

If any of my readers are fans of Owl City, they'll be aware that Adam released the full track Wolf Bite just the other day (for his new EP, Ultraviolet). I've been quite enraptured by it and as a result it's been on repeat. Have a listen!




I love it! The beat is catchy and the music is peppy, despite the dark lyrics. In fact, to quote Adam, 
Spoiler: Owl City is 95% sad lyrics over uplifting chords. (Source)
 Needless to say, I love Wolf Bite - as my auto-replay button on Youtube can attest :P Now, from the pattern of my previous posts, if you've read here often, you'll recall I sometimes like to write poems to accompany the songs I listen to; I'm a bit hesitant to write to Wolf Bite though, simply because in my opinion the song is so beautiful I don't know if I can do it justice. However, for the sake of my own curiosity, I will attempt to do just that and I hope I do not grievously err (but really, how much worse can my poetry get? :P).

With all that being said, I present to you my poetry :D

ayoungblog


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Lupus: The Cynosure

The wall is white, and I am still
My hands are ghosts beneath the sky,
I look ahead and breathe my fill
And watch the wind exhale a sigh.

This paint I stir is thick and green
Its colours match my thoughts unseen
And still I hold my passion in,
Its waves unfold beneath my skin.

My mind is lost among the stars
I cannot comprehend my path
And so my dreams are stirred to scars,
The empty wall devoid of wrath.

Oh Lupus how you ran unseen,
From end to end, so strong and lean.
The ancients thought you simple prey
For Centaurus', his spear to slay.

Yet I know different, here above -
For sharper teeth have bitten clean;
And so you leapt, still undreampt of,
Your sparkling eyes with knowledge gleam.

My path is lost among the stars,
Will Lupus show me not the way?
How must I go and why so far
Cannot the ancients hear me pray?

And so I trekked between the clouds
My eyes now dim, with sadness shroud;
My hope of somewhere finding light
Had been extinguished in this night.

And Lupus answered not my call,
For all I knew, no All in All -
Perhaps the world went stiffly blind
And I, now lost, among my kind.

In my despair, my angel called -
His voice throughout the heavens rang,
And then I knew without a doubt
This was the one to face the fang.

My arms were chained to Lupus' feet
My legs enslaved by starry heat
Yet look, my saving grace arose
And swung His blade as Lupus froze.

With solemn pace I followed, free,
His footsteps, till they reached the sea
And there I stood, my paint-stained hands,
Now dripping from my heart's demands.

My back and thighs, they burned with pain
And looking down, I gasped with shame.
For underneath my bloodstained clothes,
Were Lupus' bites from Lupus' woes.

My eyes upturned to saving grace,
And, quaking, dared my voice to ask,
"Will you appear then, to this place
If Lupus fells the cosmos' mask?

And plunges all we know to dark,
Will I be left to seek my mark?
Won't you proclaim a firm decree,
And send your hope to set me free?"

Then, softly there came His reply
At first, less ardent than a sigh,
Until it swelled and overwhelmed
Each universe and earthly realm.

The skies roiled, violent with their load
And stars outstretched and darkness slowed
Till softly split the night in half
And summits glowed with strains of wrath.

And shaking now, I stood once more,
Calm, before my wall of white.
Paint dripped softly to the floor
Yet no more was I plagued with fright.

There reaching out, my fingers fell
Upon the wall that was my hell,
And swiftly they erased the pain,
As swift as hope had severed chains.

And now my masterpiece remains,
Thickly coating what was dry,
With strains of grief from opened veins,
Now scarring over back and thigh.

It was so fierce, this nightmare dark
And choked through with despair,
But now what's left is but a mark -
My saving grace was truly there.

---

Signed with starflowers,

Squeaks.

June 12, 2014

The Thingy That Does So Much For You

There's a thingy that does a lot for you in your house (now, I should point out, not all people have it). Many of us probably take this thingy for granted... Let me explain in detail:

Definition of the Thingy: Aka. ~2.45GHz Self-contained electromagnetic radiation bombardment chamber. Appropriate for dielectrically heating polarized dihydrogen monoxide molecules by means of passing non-ionizing microwave radiation through organic, non-metallic substrate within the ~122mm wavelength range. 
More Commonly Referred to As: A microwave
Loch Chon Gold by Ian Cameron on 500px


Have you ever really thought about the glory that is the microwave? It came to my mind recently when our microwave of about 7 years decided to abruptly give up its ghost and die. We were able to get another one within a few days, but until then I found myself realizing how convenient it is to have a microwave.

The Things I Couldn't Do

  • Reheat old coffee (gack, who even does this anymore!)
  • Melt cheese - this required the stove-top and a pan 

Those are really the two main things I use the microwave for, aside from heating up odd bits and ends of strange food items. Needless to say, I could live without a microwave in the house - it's just convenient...especially when it comes to left over coffee (I'm not really one to let a cup go to waste if it's luke-warm or cold). 

That being said, I conclude my PSA on microwaves. I hope you take the time to appreciate the little things in life today :) 

Signed with a leaf, 

Squeaks.

June 11, 2014

Five Glass Slippers - A Review

Five Glass Slippers is a collection of Cinderella-esque stories written by young authors from all over the place - several of these ladies have never before been published! I received an e-copy of the book in exchange for my honest review - so here we go :)



Despite my excitement, I was a little hesitant about reading some of these stories, simply because I knew all the submissions had been for a contest and (as I mentioned) some of the authors had never been published. However, by the time I finished, I was thoroughly impressed and realized my fears had all been for nothing. The stories are charming, unique, and well crafted. Several had plot twists I didn't expect and left me feeling quite comforted with the various happy-endings. Let me give you a bit more detail.

What Eyes Can See - by Elizabeth Brown
This short romance brings us into the world of an introverted, shy Cinderella who wants nothing to do with royalty. You'll be surprised! Of the five, What Eyes Can See is the most similar to the original Cinderella story...but at the same time, while maintaining all of its similarity, it is vastly different. Brown leads us through the normal paces of the tale, but alters the character of each player in a special way to bring a new feel to the reader. It was a superb start to the collection.

Broken Glass - by Emma Clifton
As the comedy out of the collection, Broken Glass does a good job of maintaining familiarity while flipping everyone's expectations upside down. It's a page-turning, prank-riddled pot magical of fun. The characters are outrageous and funny - but beware! The slipper fits the wrong girl, and things could very well all go up in smoke!

The Windy Side of Care - by Rachel Heffington
As a follower of Rachel's blog, I looked forward to reading this piece - it did not disappoint. In a battle of character, we discover that the prince and the princess have essentially switched dispositions. Here, the Cinderella player (Alisandra) is the true heir to the throne and (from my point of view) plays the part of the hero, while the prince is an imposter. I loved Alisandra for her strong, demanding character - it was truly a unique twist on the story and it still managed to have a delightful happy ending.

A Cinder's Tale - by Stephanie Ricker
Out of the five shorts, this one was the most displaced from the original Cinderella story, yet it managed to captivate my utter attention and fascination. A Cinder's Tale is the sci/fi twist that takes us to the edge of the space frontier where mining cendrillion proves to be a well-paying, albeit dangerous job for the brave cinder. Elsa (our Cinderella-like character) works together with her companions to save her mining station from disaster. Her happy ending differs drastically from the rest, yet by the end I left the story with a satisfied sensation - it was a wonderfully different tale to experience!

The Moon Master's Ball - by Clara Diane Thompson
This short was my absolute favourite out the five - I thought it was well placed to end the collection. Wreathed in mystery and magic, The Moon Master's Ball delivers a chilling, spellbinding tale of sacrifice and enchantment, in which Tilly (our Cinderella-like character) must overcome her greatest fear. It seems that everyone hides behind a mask, and only until the end is their true character revealed. If you are a fan of magic, mystery, and masquerades...this is definitely the story for you!

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All in all, Five Glass Slippers is a wonderful collection. The stories are neither too long nor too short - they're just right for a mid-afternoon break, accompanied with a cup of tea, some biscuits, and a cozy spot on the couch. If you're a fan of fairytales, happy endings, and well-written characters, then I think you'll really enjoy reading these tales.

My rating: 5/5


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Signed with periwinkle,

Squeaks.
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