Now Listening

There has been a bit of an explosion of new album releases that I had been anticipating. Here are a few I’ve been listening to:

Pale Horses – mewithoutYou
If there is one thing you should know about me it’s that I LOVE mewithoutYou. They’re from Philly and genius. Also very weird so I understand they’re not everyone’s cup of tea. It even took me some time to warm up to them. (Spotify)

Coming Home – Leon Bridges
The long awaited debut from Leon Bridges is finally here and it’s as wonderful as expected. (Spotify)

My Love Is Cool – Wolf Alice
Another debut I am happy is finally out. I was lucky enough to get to see them at T in the Park last year and they were so great live. Loving this album and excited to see them when they play here. (Spotify)

Tiny Rewards – Admiral Fallow
Boots Met My Face will likely always be my favorite album of theirs but this new one is lovely. (Spotify)

Breathe In. Breathe Out. – Hilary Duff
Yes, Hilary Duff has a new album. I will always love her for how great Lizzie McGuire was for preteen me and she has some solid pop albums. I didn’t enjoy the first single she released for this, so was worried about the album but that song ended up not making the cut and the album is a lot of upbeat fun. (Spotify)

The Desired Effect – Brandon Flowers
Brandon Flowers loves the 80s and I’m okay with it because 80s synth pop in 2015 works for him. (Spotify)

Wild Nights – PINS
I’m all about girl bands. They’re playing Philly next week and I’m more than ready to hear some of these live. (Spotify)

Before We Forget How to Dream – SOAK
So many great debuts! Also someone else playing a Philly show soon. (Spotify)

I’m overwhelmed by all the great releases this year and could likely list a ton more albums, but these are some of the most recent ones I’ve been listening to. Hope you find something you like!

P.S. That roundup of book recs from this year I keep promising is coming! I decided since it’s just about the 6 month mark of this year (how????) I’ll have it coincide with that so the list is almost ready to go. This has been a strong reading year so far so it had been difficult figuring out how I wanted to do a list, but I think I’ve got it.


Shadowshaper by Daniel José Older

shadowshaperShadowshaper by Daniel José Older
Release Date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Format: Paperback
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural
Ratingsbadass characters


The Basics
Sierra Santiago, a teen artist, notices the murals around Brooklyn are fading. And then one sheds a tear. Her grandfather who recently had a stroke finally says something coherent, except Sierra can’t figure out the meaning. Piece by piece she starts to uncover a family secret about shadowshapers and what it all has to do with the murals.

I had been looking forward to this book and was lucky enough to pick up an advanced copy at BookCon.

This book is refreshing in that the supernatural elements are so grounded in reality. The magical elements in this are cool, but it isn’t the fantasy that carries it; it’s the realistic characters running around the very real Brooklyn. There’s also a lot of Spanish and other cultural aspects that give the characters and story more life.

The characters feel like actual teens. Sometimes teenagers in books take on a very poetic nature, which definitely works when done right. But I appreciated the kids in this book being so realistic. Sierra and her friends each have distinctive personalities and Older does this without having to describe her friends all that much. How they talk and act felt more natural than in anything I’ve read in a while.

Then of course there is Sierra herself who is a wonderful heroine trying to learn something about family that was kept from her, which is relatable despite the secrets having to do with spiritual powers. She’s curious and frustrated and keeps fighting for the information she wants.

I also can’t ignore how beautiful this cover is. Not just aesthetically, but to have a WoC on the cover of a YA novel. And at that, a full faced girl that isn’t in a pretty dress.

If you can’t tell, I really enjoyed this book. The plot didn’t have quite shocking twist and turns. You could probably predict a few bits of it. However, I loved Sierra and shadowshaping world. This book had a lot of little things that were more important than the story itself.