winter wrap-up

Books Read in Winter 2017

  • Heart of the Fae by Emma Hamm
  • Veins of Magic (#2) by Emma Hamm [series rating 4/5]
  • Circe by Madeline Miller [4/5]
  • Flux by Orion Vanessa [3/5]
  • The Sun & her Flowers by Rupi Kaur [5/5]
  • Pond by Claire-Louise Bennett [4/5]
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott [3/5]
  • Cry of the Firebird by Amy Kuivalainen
  • Ashes of the Firebird (#2) by Amy Kuivalainen
  • Rise of the Firebird (#3) by Amy Kuivalainen [series rating 3.5/5]
  • Shadowsong (#2) by S. Jae-Jones [3.5/5]
  • The Faerie Queen by Edmund Spenser [5/5]
  • Stolen Songbird by Danielle L. Jensen [3/5]
  • The Changeling Sea by Patricia A. McKillip [5/5]
  • A Taste of Honey by Kai Ashante Wilson [4/5]

—All in total, I’d say winter 2017 was a decent reading season. I tried to read some books I’ve never heard of before I stumbled upon them, and even a few sequels here and there. The Faerie Queen was thrust upon me in my Renaissance Literature class, but I loved it enough (and the book is large enough) to warrant a place on this list! Flux and The Sun & Her Flowers are both poetry, while Pond is an autobiography. The rest are fiction, and I believe out of all of them I enjoyed Circe the most, no matter the 4 star rating. I hope spring brings just as many positive reads as winter did! (You can find reviews for all of these books on the homepage.)

Movies Seen

  • It, (dir.) Andy Muschietti
  • Mother! (dir.) Darren Aronofsky
  • Captain Fantastic (dir.) Matt Ross
  • The Lure (dir.) Agnieszka Smoczynska
  • Lady Bird (dir.) Greta Gerwig
  • Very Good Girls (dir.) Naomi Foner Gyllenhaal
  • Call Me by Your Name (dir.) Luca Guadagnino

—I’ve been watching reruns of my favorite show, Vikings, for the most part of winter, but in the meantime these amazing movies found their ways into my heart…especially Captain Fantastic. Lady Bird and Call Me by Your Name were amazing as well, and I cried during both. I’m going to see Black Panther this weekend and I have a feeling it’ll be another winter hit to add to the list! The Lure is a Polish rock-opera type film with mermaids who work in a strip club. Yeah, you just read that.

New Favorite Music

  • gun shy / widowspeak
  • portuguese knife fight / cage the elephant
  • fountain of youth / local natives
  • sure as spring / la luz
  • in the aeroplane over the sea / neutral milk hotel
  • i’m writing a novel / father john misty
  • the spell / naomi punk
  • deer creek canyon / sera cahoone
  • always forever / cults
  • so says i / the shins
  • all apologies / nirvana
  • ancient names (part 1) / lord huron
  • sister / the black keys
  • miracle mile / cold war kids
  • congratulations / MGMT
  • tangible intangible / fly golden eagle
  • happiest man on earth / broken back
  • ruby carol / dan sartain
  • silver lining / guards
  • fire in the sky / palace
  • st.walker / young the giant
  • black beak / young blood hawke
  • so what / the mowgli’s
  • the deep end / hurricane bells

—A bunch of these are fairly old but it’s my first time really getting into the vibe of them. The rest are all recent hits that I’ve been subjected to listen to while working at Free People… and needless to say they’ve grown on me. I really love Widowspeak and Cage the Elephant. You can listen to this playlist here on my Spotify.

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Everything You Need Before Reading: AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS by Margaret Rogerson

Processed with VSCO with p5 presetWith the release of Margaret Rogerson’s debut novel, AN ENCHANTMENT OF RAVENS, burning down to a little over a month’s wait, I figured now would be a wonderful time to talk a bit more about why this book has become so dear to me. Of course, before even reading the book I knew I would end up loving it because it embodied aspects which I enjoy most in any story: faeries and autumn. However, I really didn’t anticipate becoming so enraptured by this tale. I highly encourage you to pre-order this book and join me in the count down to its publication date: September 26th, 2017. And what better way to make you want to read this book than to provide you with fan-casted character inspiration and a playlist to accompany your future read?

This book has brilliant writing, imagery, diverse representation, and an empowering love that will soften the toughest of hearts. Its everything I wanted it to be and everything I needed it to be; all wrapped up in autumn foliage. You won’t forget where you are for even a second, and these characters will demand your attention at every moment. It’s equal parts dark and poetic, with humor and often tenderness that I hadn’t been expecting but welcomed with an open heart. Simply put: it blew my mind.

You can read my full review here, or on my goodreads.

Without further ado, here are my choices for a fanciest! *Note that below I quote directly from the ARC (Advanced Readers Copy). These sentences are subject to change upon the official publication. Also, I avoided incorporating anything I deemed a potential spoiler, but please read at your own risk. 

Rook— “With his head ducked before me I only saw his hair, which was unruly—wavy, not quite curly, and dark, with just the slightest red tint in the sun. Its fierce unkemptness reminded me of a hawk’s or raven’s feathers blown the wrong way in a stong wind. And like Gadfly, I could smell him: the spice of crisp dry leaves, of cool nights under a clear moon, a wildness, a longing. […] There was his flaw: the color of his eyes, a peculiar shade of amethyst, striking against his golden-brown complexion, which put me in mind of late-afternoon sunlight dappling fallen leaves.”

Model: Vito Basso

 

Isobel— “Her (Aunt Emma) eyes squinted open. They were the same dark brown, almost black, like mine—large and intense. She had the same freckles spattered across her fair skin and the same thick, wheat-colored hair.”

Model: Beth Fanshawe

 

 

Gadfly— “Gadfly appeared to be a man in his thirties. Like every example of his kind, he was tall, slim, and beautiful. His eyes were the clear crystal blue of the sky after rain has washed away the summer heat, his complexion as pale and flawless as porcelain, and his hair the radiant silver-gold of dew illuminated by sunrise.”

Model: Ton Heukels

 

Foxglove— “A woman with arresting hazel eyes emerged victorious. She adjusted her hat back into place with a queenly smile as she swept forward, placing her hand in Gadfly’s. She wore a lilac dress with a high lace collar that strangled her slender neck, and the flaw in her glamour, unnaturally sharp cheekbones, was more subtle than most. Like many of the other fair folk present, she was fair-skinned—a common spring court characteristic, whereas the autumn and summer courts tended towards richer completions like Rook’s, ever shade of sunlight-gold and acorn-brown and deep umber.”

Model: Jessica Brown Findlay 

 

Lark— “…her long blond hair flying, the many layers of her periwinkle-blue gown frothing up an down like waves. When she reached us, she startled me by seizing both my hands. Her skin was cold and flawless as china. Were she human I would have guessed her age at around fourteen.”

Model: Helena McKelvie

 

Aster— “She was perhaps a little less tall, but not remarkably so (than the Fair Folk). Flowers were woven into her wavy, waist-length black hair. Her skin looked starkly pale in contrast, which only accentuated her glamour’s flaw; she was inhumanly gaunt. Her collarbones and ribs protruded frothier chest above her gown’s neckline, and her shoulders looked as fragile as a bird’s bones. She watched me closely with brown eyes nearly as dark as mine.”

Model: Amelia Zadro

 


 

Another thing I love to have while reading a new book is a playlist to accompany me. Often times I’ll just listen to my favorite film scores– like Game of Thrones and even music from Skyrim— on repeat. Adrian Von Ziegler is a wonderful composer for when you’re in the mood for Celtic vibes and fairytale hymnals. Below I’ve listed all of the songs for my An Enchantment of Ravens inspired playlist, but you can also click on the links to my Spotify and 8tracks accounts to view them there!

Prologue, Keaton Henson
Billie Holiday, Warpaint
End of the Affair, Ben Howard
Brighter Than the Sun, Dustin Tebbutt
Dawn, Jeremy Soule

Sparks, Jesse Woods
Arrival of the Birds, Cinematic Orchestra
Cinder and Smoke, Iron and Wine
Death Favors No Man, James Newton Howard

The City Gates, Jeremy Soule
Dance with the Trees, Adrian Von Ziegler
What the Water Gave Me, Florence Welch
Deeper Than Shallow, Roo Panes

For the Realm, Salim Daïma
Oliver Dalston Browning, Keaton Henson
In the Wind, Lord Huron
Shades of Gold, Sea Aleena
West, Sleeping At Last
Sitting Room, Beta Radio
Tiger Mountain Peasant Song, Fleet Foxes
Where’s My Love (acoustic), Syml

The Wolves and the Ravens, Rouge Valley


 

And to top everything off, you might as well enjoy a treat while reading this book. I am, by no means, a chef of any kind (unless you count occasionally baking brownies.) The recipe below is one I’ve tried a few times and found to be fairly easy to recreate! All credit goes to Amy Lee Scott! You can click here to find more of her recipes.

 

 

Garden Party: a spring playlist.

cozy readsThis beautiful cover design is from artist Júlia Sardà.
You can check out her other pieces here

Garden Party is a combination of songs that make me want to stroll through meadows, find the sunniest patch of grass, plant flowers, eat pretty pastries like lemon bread or French food I cannot pronounce. It also makes me want to read, but honestly what doesn’t? In other words, you might have heard these songs if you’ve ever shopped in Anthropologie. Enjoy!

 

tracklist.

i. what’s a girl to do / Bat for Lashes
ii. paper bag / Fiona Apple
iii. queen of peace / Florence & the Machine
iv. wild fire / Laura Marling
v. wild horses (acoustic) / Bishop Briggs
vi. pierre / Ryn Weaver
vii. all my tears / Ane Burn
viii. all I want / Sarah Blasko
ix. metal heart / Cat Power
x. wish you were here / Florence Welch
xi. aventine / Agnes Obel
xii. 1234 / Feist

Listen on 8tracks here.

Soundtracks to Literature: How a Reader Becomes a Composer

Soundtracks to Literature: How a Reader Becomes a Composer

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’ve finally gotten the time to myself that I so desperately needed and deserved, and what better way to use that time than to write another blog post? I’ve got many fun things planned for autumn, but since we still have about a month to go, I’ve decided to write about something I think hasn’t been given proper attention lately (or ever, really). Book playlists.

This sounds strange, as do most of my posts, but it’s strange for a reason—it’s unusual in it’s awesomeness. How many times do you watch a film or a T.V. show and stop paying attention to the plot when suddenly you hear a heart-pounding music sequence in the background? I do it constantly whenever I get the chance, even during the gymnastics floor routines of the recent Rio 2016 Olympics. I believe my obsession for compiling literature-centric playlists started around the same time the Twilight movie soundtrack was born. You don’t have to love those books or those movies to fall in love with their OSTs and playlists. It’s that good.

When I read, I’m directing the scenes of a movie in my mind. The author is my screenwriter, her/his words shape the character’s mouths and move their bodies into battles, but the colors, the tones, the feeling of being near a fireplace or stranded on a shipwrecked island of sirens..those are mine to create. As is the music being played in the background.

Perhaps I’m talking in circles now, but if you don’t understand what I’m typing, just try listening to one of my playlists (preferably one that coincides with a book you’ve read so)! Just follow these links here for whichever series you’ve read, and close your eyes, turn up the volume, and let your mind walk wonders….

(Of course, this is better on the 8tracks free APP)

Uprooted by Naomi Novik

1. x

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

1. x

A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas

  1.  x
  2.  x Lucien
  3.  x Rhysand
  4.  
  5.  x Feyre
  6. x

The Star Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

  1. x

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

  1. x Gansey
  2. x Noah
  3. x Adam
  4. x Ronan
  5. x

The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo

  1. x Nikolai 
  2. x
  3. x

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

  1. x
  2. x Kaltain
  3. x Aelin 
  4. x The Thirteen
  5. x

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

  1. x

Shadowhunter Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

  1. x
  2. x
  3. x
  4. x

 

Not only can you create a playlist dedicated to a book series, but you can also compose one made just for an individual character. Theoretically, you can do whatever you want. But these are just a few ideas for beginner composers! I know a lot of my friends use Spotify, but I don’t particularly feel like paying monthly to create playlists when I could use other APPs that are free…like 8tracks. Now before you get any ideas, I’m not a sponsor for 8tracks. I just really love the APP…aside from the fact that they now have a few commercials popping up every now and again. That I could gladly do without.

But aside from it being free and easy to use, you get to create your own cover for the playlists, your own tags for the playlists, and you can follow other composers who share similar music taste! My account is under the username SeelieKnight. Feel free to hit me up whenever!

I’m always saving song ideas for when I have enough to compose a playlist. Music comes hand in hand with literature for me, as does the strong sense of imagery from both creations. There’s plot in both, but enough freedom to find your own stories. I hope I could persuade you to try making your own playlists, or to listen to them the next time you need a little extra initiative to read. Let me know if you already have some book inspired tunes, I’d love to listen to them!

Forthcoming Features

Forthcoming Features

In this new blog segment I recently came up with around three-forty in the morning after stubbing my toe on a pile of books on my way into the kitchen for a large glass of my beloved orange juice…(deep breath)…I’ll be talking about all the new books, movies, bands, etc that I’ve been wanting to read, watch, and listen to! Essentially this will be a monthly update on my current preferences in regards to..well—everything. As noted before, this idea came to me at a peculiar time and I’m typing it up at an even odder hour of the night. I hope you enjoy!


B O O K S

When is my #TBR not stock full of books? Never. It never is.

Currently I’m making my way through a few books at once, but it’s been a struggle to stick to one story with my awful work schedule, wayward friends, and recently moved into new home. My top three books of the month are strange in their own unique ways, but that’s exactly how I love my books.

1.           Before the Feast by Saša Stanišić is a German book that was recently translated to English. After work one day I was browsing through the literature section with one of my coworkers when we both spotted this beautiful book cover and grabbed two copies off the shelf. We wound up both buying them, although I believe he has already finished the book while I’m only a few chapters in. Regardless, this is definitely not your average novel.

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Goodreads Synopsis: It’s the night before the feast in the village of Fürstenfelde (population: an odd number). The village is asleep. Except for the ferryman – he’s dead. And Mrs Kranz, the night-blind painter, who wants to depict her village for the first time at night. A bell-ringer and his apprentice want to ring the bells – the only problem is that the bells have gone. A vixen is looking for eggs for her young, and Mr Schramm is discovering more reasons to quit life than smoking.

Someone has opened the doors to the Village Archive, but what drives the sleepless out of their houses is not that which was stolen, but that which has escaped. Old stories, myths and fairy tales are wandering about the streets with the people. They come together in a novel about a long night, a mosaic of village life, in which the long-established and newcomers, the dead and the living, craftsmen, pensioners and noble robbers in football shirts bump into each other. They all want to bring something to a close, in this night before the feast.

2.           The Architect’s Apprentice by Elif Shafak reminds me of a few books I’ve read and loved, yet also sounds unlike most of the things I read. It was a win-win situation.

Goodreads Synopsis: In her latest novel, Turkey’s preeminent female writer spins an epic tale spaProcessed with VSCO with a6 presetnning nearly a century in the life of the Ottoman Empire. In 1540, twelve-year-old Jahan arrives in Istanbul. As an animal tamer in the sultan’s menagerie, he looks after the exceptionally smart elephant Chota and befriends (and falls for) the sultan’s beautiful daughter, Princess Mihrimah. A palace education leads Jahan to Mimar Sinan, the empire’s chief architect, who takes Jahan under his wing as they construct (with Chota’s help) some of the most magnificent buildings in history.

Yet even as they build Sinan’s triumphant masterpieces—the incredible Suleymaniye and Selimiye mosques—dangerous undercurrents begin to emerge, with jealousy erupting among Sinan’s four apprentices. A memorable story of artistic freedom, creativity, and the clash between science and fundamentalism, Shafak’s intricate novel brims with vibrant characters, intriguing adventure, and the lavish backdrop of the Ottoman court, where love and loyalty are no match for raw power.

3.           Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman. Pratchett’s hilarity mixed with Gaiman’s weirdness couldn’t have birthed a more Tim Burton-esuq type of novel. This sounds incredible, and unique (esepcially when it comes to what I often read…which isn’t this, but how could I have resisted such a synopsis?)Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Goodreads Synopsis: According to The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch (the world’s only completely accurate book of prophecies, written in 1655, before she exploded), the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just before dinner.

So the armies of Good and Evil are amassing, Atlantis is rising, frogs are falling, tempers are flaring. Everything appears to be going according to Divine Plan. Except a somewhat fussy angel and a fast-living demon—both of whom have lived amongst Earth’s mortals since

The Beginning and have grown rather fond of the lifestyle—are not actually looking forward to the coming Rapture. And someone seems to have misplaced the Antichrist.

M U S I C

My music taste is a mix between indie, alternative, and folk. Recently I’ve been listening to bands like Cold War Kids, Lord Huron, and Wild Nothing. Yu can find all of my playlists on 8tracks under the username: SeelieKnight. For now, check out these songs that have helped me get through this hectic month of July!

Cold War Kid: Miracle Mile

Lord Huron: Meet Me In the Woods

Wild Nothing: Summer Holiday

M O V I E S — T V 

Queuing on my Netflix is the recently acclaimed short series Stranger Things. One of my coworkers mentioned this show to me a week ago and told me he believed I would like it because I also enjoy American Horror Story and generally anything involving an eerie, somewhat ambiguous plot. He and I would often rave about Game of Thrones (still not over this seasons finale) and so he told me I needed to watch Stranger Things so that we could obsess over another show to pass time at work. I promised him I would look into it…but naturally I forgot about the show an hour later. It wasn’t until Maggie Stiefvater, author of The Raven Cycle, started tweeting about it that I remembered what my friend had said. And to top it off, the following week I hung out with a very asocial friend of mine who doesn’t typically like mainstream things but was exuberant about this new Netflix series. Okay. All those things sold me. I had to see what the hype was about…and damn, was it worth it. I freaking love this show! I’m currently on episode three, but I can tell it’s going to be amazing just from a cinematography view point alone. (Bonus: Winona Ryder plays the mother!)
Stranger Things Synopsis: When a young boy disappears, his mother, a police chief, and his friends must confront terrifying forces in order to get him back.

Another film that I’m interested in seeing is Captain Fantastic. First, just look up this movie and watch one of the trailers (preferably on the IMDB website). It certainly does look fantastic—especially since it takes place in the Pacific Northwest, where—if you’ve been following me on twitter or somehow visiting my dreams—is the #1 place in the entire world I want to visit the most. Forget saving up for a new car, I’m saving up for gas money to haul my crapy Honda across the US to get tho the PNW and see sequoia trees for the first time.

This movie looks very nostalgic, melancholy, and witty. The cinematography from the trailer alone seems spot on, and I love the casting choices. This somewhat reminds me of a Wes Anderson type of movie: aesthetically pleasing, uplifting, yet uses humor and whit to disguise pain and suffering.

Captain Fantastic Synopsis: In the forests of the Pacific Northwest, a father devoted to raising his six kids with a rigorous physical and intellectual education is forced to leave his paradise and enter the world, challenging his idea of what it means to be a parent.

F O O D

Suddenly I really love avocado? 10/10 would recommend. (Oh, and if you ever find yourself in NYC and you also happen to love avocado, try the Australian brunch restaurant Bluestone Lane! Everything on that menu has some avocado in it.)


 

That’s it for this month! I’ll have another FF up near the end of August!