5 stars · alternative music · music · Music Reviews

Anna’s Favourites Day 1: Amber Run

Remember how I posted yesterday about the music challenge? Well, I’m starting that today.

Looking through all my music artists in iTunes who start with the letter A, I knew pretty quickly that Amber Run would easily be my favourite out of all of them.

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  1. What draws me to this particular artist’s music? Which is my favourite album or EP?

I’m a big fan of alternative music because most pop(ular) music drives me nuts. I’ve always had slightly different tastes that tend to be on the lines of… well, not of the mainstream. Amber Run’s music has a calming effect on me without sending me off to sleep since it still has a beat. I also really love their lyrics – when I first discovered “For A Moment, I Was Lost,” I jumped on it immediately as being an album to which I could relate in its entirety. While that isn’t as true anymore, I still think the album is pretty amazing because the music is great and the lyrics are deep and meaningful.

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5 stars · Book Reviews · Books · Uncategorized

Top Ten Reads of 2016

Most books I read aren’t new releases, but I thought I’d do my own list of my favourite books that I read this year. Some are new, others not. I decided to stick to books that I read for the first time this year, so that rules out favourites like Hamlet and The Lord of the Rings. I chose books that made me fall in love with them because they are clever, well-written, and just add to the literary discourse of the human heart.

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5 stars · Book Reviews · Christian/Catholic · Uncategorized · woman's fertility · Womanhood

Cycles & Spirituality {Book Review}

(This is my fifth review in exchange for a free book. You can find the other books I have reviewed here on my old reviews blog.)

Disclaimer: All material that follows is much more woman-friendly than for the men (sorry guys!), but men are welcome to learn as well.

 

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Anna’s rating: 5 stars

When Alison approached me about reviewing her book, I was quite excited to find someone else who knows about the world of charting. Her book did not disappoint! While there was much information that I already knew (as a person with pcos who started charting in an attempt to reach fertility), I still learned quite a bit and this book also refreshed everything that I had learned before.

This book is specifically directed to Christian girls who are not sexually active; however, I think any woman could benefit from reading this book. Not only does one learn how to chart her cycles (and why it is wonderful to be able to do so), but also multiple ways of lessoning the symptoms of PMS, and why the Pill is so harmful. I loved how Alison Protz tied the woman’s cycle into Christianity and the way she described charting your cycles as really a way embracing womanhood.

All in all, it was a delightful read and a book that I would definitely recommend to any girls (or women!).

You can read more about the book here.

5 stars · Book Reviews · Books · Dan Vyleta · Hope in Darkness · Literature Analysis · Uncategorized

Smoke {Book Review}

 

 

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Wow. Magnificent. Oh my goodness gracious me. I was blown away by the utter magnificence of this book – I think it could even replace my beloved The Lord of the Rings as my favourite book of all time?? I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to completely process everything, but then a good book is one that captivates you every time you read, for years to come, isn’t it?

Anna’s rating: 5 stars

 

Summary

Thomas Argyle, Charlie Cooper, and Livia Naylor live in a world not unlike Dicken’s Victorian England. In fact, Dan Vyleta begins with a quote from the Master Author’s novel Dombey and Son:

“Those who study the physical sciences, and bring them to bear upon the health of Man, tell us that if the noxious particles that rise from vitiated air were palpable to the sight, we should see them lowering in a dense black cloud above such haunts, and rolling slowly on to corrupt the better portion of a town. But if the moral pestilence that rises with them … could be made discernible too, how terrible the revelation!”

(Beginning a section of a book with a quote from Dickens or Dostoevsky or Dante or one of those other great authors is my new favourite thing.)

That quote really summarizes the setting of the novel. In this world, any baser emotion, whether that be lust or anger (or even joy), causes a human being to emit Smoke. The Smoke is seen as a sign of one’s fallen state – therefore, the common people live in Smoke, the aristocracy using Smokelessness as a sign of their right to rule. (Of course, they are just able to hide their Smoke because they have the money to do so – nothing to do with morality.) The Smoke is therefore highly entangled with both religion and politics. In the boarding school which Thomas and Charlie attend, the slightest sign of Smoke brings great punishment upon the unfortunate boy whose clothes are found stained with the soot which will not disappear. However, the two boys soon begin to learn that everything they have been taught is a lie and there are deeper, darker secrets to be found in the streets of London.

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4 stars · 5 stars · Anna's Life · Book Reviews · Books · Maggie Stiefvater · Music Reviews · on writing · The Lumineers · Thoughts · Troye Sivan · TV Shows · Uncategorized

(I’m not gone, I promise.)

I’ve got a bad cold, so it looks like it’s going to be a lazy day. Perfect time for a blog post, eh? I thought so, too.

Reading

I just finished reading The Anatomy of Curiosity by Maggie Stiefvater, Tessa Gratton, and Brenna Yovanoff. It’s a book that teaches writing by showing examples of writing, a technique of which I most heartily approve. I put this book on hold at the library because after reading The Raven Cycle, I am absolutely spellbound by Maggie Stiefvater. Her writing has such magic to it, and she makes me fall in love with writing in a way that only my friend Gina (author of the recent The Rose and the Sword) has been able to do before.

This was such a great read not only because I got writing advice from my beloved Maggie (if I was born in the time of Homer, I’d probably offer sacrifices to beg her to be my Muse), but because I discovered a new favourite – Brenna Yovanoff (now I have to go look for books she’s written). Not only was her story right up my alley (modern YA with a twist of the Gothic), but she showed her writing process in a very different way from Maggie and Tessa (just the short story with comments here and there). Brenna first told a story from her childhood of a drowning that stuck with her the rest of her life before showing the short story as well as a very different earlier draft. While I wasn’t a big fan of Tessa and her world-building, her story at least kept my interest. The book also had a few sections of words from the author s – for example, how to gain ideas and the overwhelming doubt that plagues readers.

Anna’s rating: 5 stars (note to self: need to buy a copy of this book to have forever)

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5 stars · Book Reviews · Books · gina marinello-sweeney · Reviews · Uncategorized · YA Literature

The Rose and the Sword {Book Review}

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Anna’s rating: 5 stars

Rebecca Veritas is excited to be beginning her psychology internship. She’s made a few new friends and found a delightful bookstore. However, not all is butterflies and sunshine – an old dear friend seems to be drifting away and Dr. Yin, the psychologist Rebecca is studying under, uses many methods that make Rebecca uneasy. As time passes, a growing sense of unease quickly transitions into more disturbing events that make her question if all is as it seems. When circumstances take an eerie turn, Rebecca will find herself a player on a larger scale than she had ever anticipated, a scale that could cause one to pay the ultimate price.

I was so excited to hear that my friend Gina had published her second book of the Veritas Chronicles!  And while I thought I Thirst was amazing, I was absolutely blown away by The Rose and the Sword. (Those who follow me on tumblr will attest to this – I was live blogging about this book all night.) I finished the entire 373 pages in a few hours – I didn’t even know I could read that fast?? I guess it’s just because I was just so captivated and had to find out what happened next. Some of my thoughts that I sent out last night…

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