Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Madilyn Paige CD

Madilyn Paige CD (as seen on TV)

This stunning self-titled debut EP features a set of tunes notable for their raw emotion and beautiful soundscapes. Madilyn wrote or co-wrote every song on the album, drawin from her own struggles as a teenager and her heartfelt expressions of the joy she finds in life. The first track, "Irreplaceable," begins with aching introspection and soars to an assurance of self-worth; the folloring track, "Foolish Game," was written right after Madilyn left the TV show The Voice and gives insight into the inevitability of discouragement in life and the realization that you can rise above the games that people play. An epic movie score string section combines with powerful rhythms on "Undercover," a breathtaking song about overcoming sadness and seeking the light all around you. The final track, "Little Things," playfully reminds us that the little things in life are the source of true joy. 

Just in case you are not keeping up with NBC's The Voice, she chose Usher to be her coach (there's a spoiler!). Oh, she is a flawless performer that hits those high notes like they are as easy as middle C. Her songs are uplifting, beautiful, and relevant to youth today. Her melodious voice has an amazing range and her overall performances are humble with a huge stage presence due to raw talent.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes

The Distance Between Lost and FoundThe Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This may be my favorite YA book this year. In fact, in a long time. It's a simple read about a Christian youth camp that Hallelujah didn't want to go to because the preacher's boy told some lies and ruined her reputation. But she goes and meets Rachel, the new girl, and ends up on a trail with Rachel and a former friend, Jonah. They get lost. It's a bad lost. For days. The author details the lostness and the hunger, the lack of shelter and warmth. It's quite well written.

Within this story of being lost, getting injured, trying to be found, another story is taking shape. The lost and found is both physical and metaphorical. Hallie was a victim of bullying which led to mobbing. During the time she is lost and experiencing the things she experiences, she finds a different perspective. Having gone through an experience of this sort, I found a lot of deep meaning and truths in this process. Hallie's story is one of any of us who has felt helpless in a situation and eventually identified with the role of helpless victim. She examines her part of the problem and how she has contributed. Even though it is mostly a Christian fiction, the author examines the process and the solution much more deeply than simply turn the other cheek and forgive. She examines the damaged relationships from gossip, rumor, and how those relationships may be changed forever, particularly if the victim plays the victim role.

The book was empowering to me as I reviewed my own situation and found the silver linings, examined my silence where I needed to fight, yell, and make a scene but feared the mindset was already set. Maybe it was but what if it wasn't?

There were metaphors in the scenes with Jonah and the fish, the injured bird, and so many others. What could have been a simplistic "love your neighbor" story, took it deeper by examining the wounds, looking at the irritants that kept it infected, resolving to do differently, and loving yourself.

Clean read. I'll pass it onto my children.

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh

My Sunshine AwayMy Sunshine Away by M.O. Walsh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of the best written books I have read as the author is an amazing writer, segueing one scene into another with easy transitions. He remembers well the details of adolescent thinking patterns before the prefrontal lobes are developed and decisions are made based on a reaction.

With incredible clarity, the protagonist recalls the details of his childhood, explaining to the audience how and why things were the way they were due to the years in history. How phone calls were so important yet lacked real privacy. There was no internet so teenagers talked on the phone for hours if they could which was difficult. Others wanted their turn and call waiting had begun its ascent. Additionally, many phones were still tethered to the wall by cords of varying lengths.

The rape of Lindy Simpson begins the recollection and that and the protagonist's obsession of Lindy is the central theme of his adolescence. It is the years of his coming of age and the way Lindy and her rape impact him so deeply. His thoughts are deep and age appropriate and the reader watches the slight shifts and maturing of his thought processes as he becomes slightly less egocentric (he is just a teenage boy, remember) and finally to the present day when he realizes his part in Lindy's pain is his to carry unless it would lessen Lindy's.

The reading is, at times, somewhat laborious as the POV meanders through and explores side memories which often do play a part of the main mystery or aspects of those pivotal summers. I almost felt like I had to relive my own long and confusing adolescence via reading about his. Except that, with his obsession of loving Lindy, his own family tragedies, my own adolescence was much less complicated. Admittedly, the adolescence of those recalled in this book is what parents dread and fear. It is not a feel good read. It would most likely resemble a diary kept to cleanse a conscience. It is not a book I would suggest to a book club.