#WIPWednesday: 3/30/16

Hey everyone! So … this isn’t my usual #WIPWednesday/#WIPpet post because well, I don’t have much to report this week in terms of progress. But I still wanted to post a brief update, anyway.

Basically, I’ve decided I’m going to take a short break from editing I Chose the Monster. I haven’t been making much progress, and I feel like maybe I dove into revisions a little too soon. I think I need to put more focus on restructuring the plot and fleshing out the characters, and doing minor edits wasn’t helping me much––considering I probably won’t be keeping a lot of the scenes I had started to edit. It’s kind of a huge complicated mess, but that’s the gist of it! I will get back to revising it soon, but I need to rethink a few things first.

However, I’ve decided I’m going to attempt Camp NaNoWriMo! I haven’t officially signed up yet, and I’m not sure what my word goal is going to be. But, I just really miss writing and I think it might help me make a bit of progress after a long dry-spell. As for what I’m writing, I plan to keep working on The Resurrectionists a bit. I’ve been doing some brainstorming this past week, and I have a few ideas about how I’m going to continue it. So, fingers crossed that it will be fun!

Oh, and I still need to finish that BPL writer-in-residence application. *ducks* I’ve still barely started it so … I need to do that.

I’m not posting a WIPpet this week, but anyone who posted one: feel free to link me to it! 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Recent 5-Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. Check out their blog for upcoming TTT topics, and to link up to your post if you’ve written one!

Today’s theme is: 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads (Or Ten Of The Best Books I’ve Read Recently)

I’m a picky reader, so I don’t give out 5 stars easily! But these are the most recent 10 books I’ve given 5 stars on Goodreads. (A few of these are re-reads, but I’m going to count those anyway. :P) Ordered from least to most recent.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

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Through the Woods by Emily Carroll

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Lumberjanes, Vol. 1: Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevenson

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Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer

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Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling
(re-read)

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Unwind by Neal Shusterman
(re-read)

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The Abyss Surrounds Us by Emily Skrutskie

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Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling
(re-read)

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UnWholly (Unwind, #2) by Neal Shusterman
(re-read)

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As you can see, I’ve been doing a lot of re-reads lately. And I’ve also been on a bit of a graphic novel kick, since I’m trying to read more graphic novels/comic books this year (and I’m not super familiar with the genre––so if you have any recommendations, please let me know!). 🙂

How about you guys?

  • Do we share any 5-star/favorite books?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please link me to it! I’m always on the lookout for book recs. 😀

How To Title Your Story

You’ve come up with a beautiful idea. Characters, worlds, and dramatic scenes have started to blossom in your imagination. Yet, you’re missing one important thing: the title.

An eye-catching, intriguing title is a vital part of your story. After all, it’s one of the first things the reader is going to see (and if you’re trying to get a book published, that reader could be a literary agent or editor).

Picking the perfect title is a huge challenge for me. Often, I won’t start a story until I give it a title (even if it’s a temporary one). Somehow, working on an untitled story feels wrong to me. But of course, that’s just my own weird quirk! Many writers don’t title their books until midway through the process, or even not until they’ve finished writing the whole story.

What makes a good title?

There are no set rules for titling a story, but I think the key element is intrigue. It makes the reader want to know more. Whether it’s a lengthy title (i.e. The Knife of Never Letting Go, All The Light We Cannot See, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn), a single word (i.e. HolesUgliesUnwind), or somewhere in between, it should make the potential reader scratch their head. Why that title? How does it relate to the story? The only way to find out is to read it!

How do you come up with the right title?

As I said, there is no one way to pick a title––but personally, I have several key tactics to find a title if I’m stuck.

1. The name of a character, place, or other important name/term in the story

It may seem obvious, but you can always name your story after your main character, the name of the setting, or another term/phrase that is significant in the story.

Examples:

  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  • Mansfield Park by Jane Austen
  • David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (Bonus points for using a name AND a place!)

2. A significant quote/phrase from your story

This is the approach I took with titling I Chose The Monster (there’s a long-ish explanation about it here, if you’re curious)––although it was kind of an unusual circumstance for me, since I actually had the idea for the title (and the line it comes from) before I had a full story idea.

But anyway: If you’ve already started (or finished!) writing the story, and you’re still struggling to find a title, take a look at what you’ve written. Are there any lines or interesting/original phrases you’re particularly proud of? Does that line/phrase capture something important about the story? If so, it may be a great title!

Examples:

  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

3. A famous and/or literary quote from another source

This is how I got my title for The Waters and the Wild (it comes from the W.B. Yeats poem “The Stolen Child“). Years ago, I wrote a book called Walking Shadow (which came from a line in Macbeth).

If you can’t find to seem to find a fitting title within your story, you can always look for interesting lines/phrases elsewhere! Famous poems, plays, and other literature can provide great inspiration for titles.

Examples:

  • The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

 

These are just a few of the ways I’ve come up with titles in the past––and hopefully, if you struggle to pick titles (I know I do!), the above tips will help.

How about you guys?

  • When in the process do you choose a title? Before you start writing? After?
  • Do you find it challenging to title your stories? Why or why not?
  • How do you usually come up with titles?
  • What are some of your favorite book titles?

#WIPWednesday: 3/23/16

#WIPWednesday is a meme I started to post an update about how my WIP is going each week. Other writers are totally welcome to join!


 

WIP: I Chose the Monster

Writing or Revising: Revising

Progress Since Last Week: ….. UHHHH.

How It’s Going:

I … did not really get any work done this week. Basically, I’ve been thinking I need to change my approach to editing ICTM. This whole thing where I’m trying to do “light edits” while also juggling new ideas for the next draft is not working out all too well. At this point, I have several different versions of the story spinning around in my head, and I can’t seem to make up my mind about what I want to do. I think I might need a little distance from the story before I continue with revisions. Maybe I dove into editing too soon, and I’m not quite ready for it yet.

Camp NaNo might be a good break from editing, and all month I’ve been debating over whether or not I should participate. The question is: if I do participate, what should I work on? I’ve thought about using Camp to either work more on The Resurrectionists or The Waters and the Wild (or a little of both??), but I’m not sure yet. Guess I still have a week to decide! One thing I do know is that I really miss writing (rather than editing, that is), and I’d really love to get back to it.

In any case, I think I should prioritize applying to the BPL writer-in-residence program. The deadline is in less than a month and I still have to fill out the application form, as well as write a plot synopsis and a book proposal … so, I should probably start that!

Goals For Next Week:

  • Start that book proposal & synopsis (like I’ve been saying I would do for the past like three weeks)!
  • Decide whether or not I’m going to do Camp NaNo––and if so, I need to choose what the heck I’m going to write. 😛

WIPpet

#WIPpetWednesday is a meme started by Emily at A Keyboard and an Open Mind. The only rule: Every Wednesday, post a snippet of your WIP that is related to today’s date somehow.

3*23+20+16=105, so … I went to a random page of I Chose the Monster, and here are 105 words from it.

Now I can see there’s sweat breaking out on his forehead. “I don’t think it’s as bad as … it looks.”

“Shut up,” Juliet snaps, although I can hear the worry in her voice. “Enough with the hero act. We just need to get back to the motel, and I think it’s only a few minutes away. Do you think you can keep walking?”

Gavin says nothing for a second, but then he nods.

“Okay,” Juliet says. “Good.”

She keeps walking. I hang back, waiting for Gavin. “Are you sure?” I ask him.

He doesn’t look at me. “Yeah, yeah. It’s okay. Don’t worry about me.”

Spoiler: he’s not okay. 😈

*whistles innocently* ANYWAY. That’s it for WIPWednesday! Thanks for joining me.


How about you guys?

  • Tell me about what you’ve been working on this week!
  • If you also wrote a #WIPWednesday and/or #WIPpet post, please link me to it. I’d love to read it!

Music Monday: 3/21/16

Music Monday is a meme started by Lauren at Always Me. You can see her blog for the rules (don’t worry, they’re very simple!), and to link up to your own Music Monday post if you want to do one.

Happy Monday, everyone! Are your weeks off to a good start?

So it’s supposed to spring now, right? And yet this morning, IT SNOWED. UGH. *sobs* That’s right: a couple weeks ago it was literally 70˚ outside, and today it snows. What the hell, New England?!

Anyway, enough about the weather. It may be gross outside, but here are a couple of Music Monday suggestions to bring sunshine into all your hearts.


 

Bear’s Den – Above The Clouds of Pompeii

I randomly came across this song last week, and it captured my attention from the very beginning. I’d never heard of Bear’s Den, but they remind me a lot of Frightened Rabbit (another band I love) and I adore their sound. And the music video––oh goodness, get your tissues out. I love how simple it is, yet it still manages to pack a heavy emotional punch.

Matthew and the Atlas – To The North

I think I’d heard this song a year or two ago, but I found it again recently and fell in love with it. Unfortunately there’s no music video (not that I can find, anyway), but the song is lovely. I love the atmosphere of it; it has a mysterious and dreamy quality that makes me want to go explore the woods or something.

 


Thanks for joining me, and I hope you liked my music suggestions this week! Remember, you can check out my other Music Monday posts for more song recommendations. And if you have any songs to recommend to me, just let me know in the comments! 😀

UPCOMING: I know I haven’t done many writing advice posts recently, but I plan to do one this week. And the theme is … *drumroll* How To Title Your Story. Stay tuned!

Writer Q & A Tag

I was tagged by Sarah at Write It Anyway  to do the Writer Q & A Tag! Thanks Sarah. 🙂

The Rules: 

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog in your post.

2. Answer the questions that the blogger who nominated you has provided.

3. Nominate up to 10 other bloggers.

4. Create ten questions for your nominees and notify them of their nominations.

Sarah’s Questions (And My Answers!)

Do you keep a written list of goals? And if so, do you post them somewhere you’ll see them every day? Or do you prefer to keep it digital and stored in Evernote or something like that?

Yes and no. I tend to keep a mental list of goals (like, “okay, I’m going to try to edit at least one chapter this week”) and I tend to share my weekly/monthly goals in my WIPWednesday/WIPMarathon posts. I don’t have them hanging on my wall or anything, though––maybe that would help me actually reach them, haha.

If you could have a magic coffee maker or teapot that would make your favorite caffeinated (or herbal) drink any time you wished –without your ever having to buy ingredients for it, what would that drink be (doesn’t have to be the same exact drink every day. I’d get bored of the same thing, eventually), and how do you picture the actual coffee maker or teapot (For example, do you immediately think of the those food and drink makers on Star Trek TNG and Captain Picard saying, “Tea. Earl Gray. Hot”?)?

Lol! Well I’m a big coffee lover, so I’d have to say I would love a magic coffee pot. If it could dispense various flavors of coffee, that would be awesome. As for how I picture it … I don’t know, I’m kind of picturing it as a really big and fancy Keurig machine. 😀

As a general rule, when you’re working on the first draft of a novel or short story or nonfiction book, do you prefer to type or write by hand in a paper notebook or notepad?

Nowadays, I write almost exclusively on my laptop (on Scrivener), but I also have a notebook where I handwrite snippets/ideas. I entirely handwrote the first draft of my first novel, but it took forever (and the notebook fell apart like 20 times, lol).

Have you ever ruined a computer or electronic device by spilling something on it? (Full disclosure: I spilled wine on my laptop the other day, and my husband managed to get all the wine out of its insides, but he had to physically disconnect the permanently addled keyboard, so I’m typing this on an external keyboard plugged into one of the USB ports.)

Oh gosh––first of all, sorry about your laptop Sarah! Hope it’s okay. Does it smell really grape-y now? 😉

And to answer the question … yes. *bows head in shame* Last year, I spilled tea all over my laptop keyboard. I dried it off and it seemed fine for a while––and then about an hour later, a huge black splotch appeared in the corner of the screen and then quickly spread until the whole screen went black!

Understandably, I freaked out, especially because I was in the middle of doing my senior project for college and I was scared I’d lost a huge chunk of work. But then … a miracle happened. I left my laptop upside down over night (as per my mom’s advice––she’s a computer expert) and the next day it started working again! So I was extremely lucky. I have been extra careful with liquids around my laptop since then, though!

Are you a morning person or more of a night owl? What time of day is the best time for you to write?

Ugh, I’m definitely not a morning person. I love to sleep in! I’m more of a night owl––partly by choice, partly because I’m a terrible insomniac. I hardly ever write in the morning. Usually I write in the afternoon/evening, and sometimes I try to squeeze some words in late at night.

Do you need silence in the room where you write when you’re working? Or do you work better with music or white noise (anything but whining or sudden screams of “OW!!” which jolt you out of your writing zone and make you belt out something like, ‘What the hell?!” or “What?! What’s going on?”)?

Having grown up with a huge family in a small house, I really had no choice but to condition myself to work in noisy environments. I can tune out just about anything at this point. 😉 If I happen to be alone in the house while I’m writing (which is extremely rare, haha) I almost always put on some music. There are a lot of great instrumental playlists to write to on 8tracks.

What do you love most about blogging or about your own blog in particular?

Definitely the community of people I’ve met! Blogging has helped me meet so many wonderful writers and book bloggers. The blogging world is full of such supportive people, who are always so kind and encouraging. Plus I love reading everyone else’s posts and gaining inspiration from them. 😀

If you could live anywhere in the world (not necessarily for the rest of your life), where would it be?

I’m not sure where I would live specifically, but I always dream about living in a cute little old house somewhere near the ocean. That would be lovely!

If you had to choose between being able to communicate (and read) in any language instantly (without having to study the language) or being able to go anywhere at the speed of thought, which would you choose?

Oh, definitely travel anywhere at the speed of thought. I never travel because a) I can’t afford it and b) I have terrible travel anxiety, but I feel like being able to travel anywhere at will would help resolve those problems. 😉 I’d also love to learn every language, but honestly I love studying languages so I don’t really mind that it takes time, haha.

Would you rather be effortlessly persuasive or deeply empathetic? Or would you rather rid the universe of adverbs?

I’d like to think I’m already pretty empathetic, and I’m terrible at being persuasive––so I think I’d rather be effortlessly persuasive. 🙂 As for adverbs, they can be a pain, but I don’t want to get rid of them entirely!

Thanks again for tagging me, Sarah! These questions were so much fun to answer. 🙂


 

My Questions: 

  1. Who do you think is your greatest writing influence?
  2. Where is the strangest (or most unexpected) place you have ever gotten a story idea?
  3. Do you try to write a certain number of words per day/week/month, or do you just write as much as you feel like?
  4. What is your favorite genre to write, and why is it your favorite?
  5. What is the first book you remember reading?
  6. What is the first story you remember writing?
  7. Whenever you feel stuck in your writing, how do you get yourself unstuck?
  8. If you could meet any author, who would it be?
  9. Are you a planner or a pantser? (That is, do you plan out your stories, or do you make them up as you go?)
  10. Do you listen to music as you write? If so, what kind of music do you listen to?

I tag:

Sara Beth at Life, Love, Writing
Shanjeniah at Shanjeniah’s Lovely Chaos
A.E. Browne
creativewriter at Creative Writing For Me
Rachel at Rachel Also Writes

… And if anyone else wants to be tagged, just let me know!

 

 

#WIPWednesday: 3/16/16

Hey guys! I must admit, WIPWednesday almost totally slipped my mind today. I’m having kind of an off day––I have this weird cold/allergies (not sure which) thing going on. Basically I have a terrible cough and my throat has been killing me, and I barely got any sleep last night, so I feel a little scatterbrained. But anyway, enough with the excuses and on to the WIP stuff!

WIPWednesday is a weekly meme started by yours truly, which I use to update my progress on my WIP(s). Anyone is free to join, of course!

WIP: I Chose the Monster

Writing or Revising: Revising

Progress Since Last Week: … *crickets chirp* Did not get much done on ICTM. I did a little brainstorming for it, but that’s about it. I did, however, finish re-reading The Resurrectionists, and I started to outline my book proposal for my BPL writer-in-residence application!

How It’s Going: 

ICTM – *shrugs* Things are still kind of up in the air. I’m still doing some light edits and getting a bit of feedback from CPs, but at this point I’m still not sure what changes I want to make, especially the big ones.

The Resurrectionists – As I mentioned last week, I’m considering working on this one a bit for Camp NaNo, but I still haven’t really decided. I finished re-reading what I’ve written so far, and while it’s definitely all over the place right now, I think it has some interesting stuff going on and I look forward to returning to it.

 

Goals For Next Week:

  • Edit at least one chapter of ICTM.
  • At least start my book proposal for the BPL application. I also have to submit a short book synopsis, so I should probably work on my synopsis of The Waters and the Wild as well.

WIPpet

#WIPpetWednesday is a meme started by Emily at A Keyboard and an Open Mind. All you have to do to participate is share a snippet of your WIP––and the snippet has to be related to today’s date somehow.

So, since today is 3/16, here is 3 paragraphs from Chapter 16 of I Chose the Monster.

Just as I start to follow her, she reaches the edge of the platform––and jumps. I watch as she disappears over the edge, and a second later I hear the thump of her feet––hopefully––hitting the ground. “This way!” she calls out.

The sound of her voice echoes through the empty station, and I go tense as it disrupts the silence. I look quickly over my shoulder, even though I know there are no Morts behind me.

I approach the edge of the platform and see the tracks a few feet below me. Juliet is already running along them, towards the pitch black mouth of the tunnel. I hang back, shuddering. No way in hell am I going in there. … On the other hand, I don’t think I can let Juliet go in there by herself, either. I’ve already been responsible for one death, and I don’t think I could bear to have another on my conscience.

Thanks for joining me for another WIPWednesday! Feel free to link to your own WIPpet if you posted one. 🙂

Top Ten Tuesday: Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme started by The Broke and the Bookish. You can check out their blog for all the TTT themes and to find links to other TTT posts! This week’s theme is Ten Books On My Spring TBR.

Ah, spring! It has finally arrived! Or … it almost has, anyway. Lately the weather around here can’t seem to make up its mind. Last week it was 70˚ and sunny, and now it’s freezing cold and raining. *Sigh*

Anyway, it’s a good time to start spring-cleaning my TBR pile!

This year I’m on a bit of a re-read kick, since I have a lot of favorite books/series that I want to re-read. So, I’m going to divide my TTT into Re-Reads and First Time Reads. Here we go!


 

Re-Reads

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

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I made a goal to finally re-read the whole Harry Potter series this year! So far I’ve re-read the first two books, so I still have five to go. I probably won’t get to all of them this spring, but I’d like to finish re-reading another one or two of them.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

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In preparation for the fourth (and last) book finally coming out (*SCREAMS*), I really need to re-read the first three books to refresh my memory.

Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness

the_chaos_walking_trilogy

This is one of my favorite series in the world, and I’ve been meaning to re-read it for ages! Hopefully I’ll at least get around to re-reading the first book soon.

First-Time Reads

Willful Machines by Tim Floreen

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I saw this book at Barnes & Noble about a month ago and thought it looked really interesting, and recently I checked it out of the library. I’m really looking forward to reading it!

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

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I’ve been seeing this book everywhere recently, and I’m really curious about it! I adore the cover art, and synopsis is intriguing as well.

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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I feel like I’m really behind on the times with this one––I’ve been hearing about it for months and months, and I still haven’t read it yet! But it sounds really cool and I’ve heard nothing but good things about it, so I hope to give it a try soon.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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GAHHH I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOOK. The wait has been far too long, and I can’t wait to find out what happens to Blue and the raven boys. ❤ (But I am also terrified. DON’T HURT MY BABIES. *bites nails*)

UnSouled and UnDivided by Neal Shusterman

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Okay so here’s the thing: I’ve read the first two books in this series (Unwind and UnWholly) and they are both super amazing, but for some reason I just never got around to reading the last two books. But I felt like I should re-read the first two books since it’d been years since I read either one; so I’ve already re-read Unwind and I’m currently re-reading UnWholly, and then I’m finally going to finish this series!


How about you guys?

  • Have you read any of the books on my TBR? What did you think of them?
  • Do we have any spring TBR books in common?
  • If you also wrote a TTT post, please link me to it! I’d love to hear what you’re reading this spring. 🙂

The Playlist Shuffle Tag

Hello everyone! I know I already posted earlier today, but then Giovanna at Book Coma tagged me in the Playlist Shuffle Tag, and I figured: it’s still Music Monday, right? 😉 So, here we go!

The Rules:

  • Put your music on shuffle.
  • List the first 15 songs that come up (no cheating)!
  • Tag 10 others to do it as well.

My Shuffled Playlist

1. “All Eyes On Me” – Goo Goo Dolls

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2. “My Name Is Eustace” – Benjamin Dunn And The Animal Orchestra

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3. “Guns Out” – Young The Giant

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4. “Valtari” – Sigur Rós

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5. “Sleeping With A Friend” – Neon Trees

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6. “Young Lion” – Vampire Weekend

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7. “Drive” – Halsey

Press Pick-up Shoot

8. “Fight For Everyone” – The Leisure Society

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9. “If Then” – General Ghost

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10. “18 With A Bullet” – I Blame Coco

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11. “Consider The Sea” – VersaEmerge

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12. “New Earth” – Zerbin

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13. “Demons” – The National

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14. “Julian” – Say Lou Lou

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15. “Fire” – Jake Bugg

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Thanks again to Giovanna for tagging me––this was a lot of fun!

I am terrible at tagging people, but if anyone wants to do this then feel free to do so, and you can say I tagged you. 😉

Music Monday: 3/14/16

Happy Pi Day! π π π

And happy Monday! Who’s ready for some sweet new tunes?

Music Monday is a weekly meme started by Lauren at Always Me. You can check out her blog for more info, and to link up to your post if you decide to do one. The only rule is that you share a couple of music recommendations every Monday, and maybe a few thoughts about why you like the song/video.

So, here are my music recs of the week!


 

Magic Man – Paris

I first heard of Magic Man because they’re a local band, and it was love at first listen. I believe this was the first song of theirs I ever heard, and it became an instant favorite. I never get tired of it! Plus, the music video is visually stunning and has some cool dancing. What’s not to love? 🙂

Saint Raymond – Letting Go

I have been so addicted to this song lately! I’ve been really impressed with Saint Raymond since I heard his first EP, and his debut album, Young Blood, has a lot of very catchy tracks. This one is my favorite, though. It’s such a hopeful song, and I feel like I need that optimism in my life right now!


 

How about you guys?

  • What did you think of these two songs?
  • What songs/artists have you been listening to lately?

You can look through all my Music Monday posts here. Also, all the songs I have recommended this year are in this playlist!