The Cousins by Karen McManus is set on Gull Cove Island. Imagine the setting as being similar to the show Revenge but not quite as upscale as the Hamptons. There is a real Gull Island but no one lives there.
Three cousins – Aubrey, Milly and Jonah- from the Story family are invited to work at their grandmother’s summer resort on Gull Cove Island. Mildred Story disinherited her three children years ago without an explanation. She never saw them again. Then one day, the grandmother invites the grandchildren to Gull Cove Island.
Revenge may actually be on someone’s mind. I stayed up all night to find out who was behind all of the secrets. What else should I do when this mystery is keeping me awake?
There is a background story involving Kayla and Matt. Kayla and Matt were two young people from town. Kayla dated Anders Story, who is Jonah’s dad. Matt dated Allison Story, who is Milly’s mom. (There is a family tree at the beginning of the book, which is very helpful.) It didn’t end well for either Kayla or Matt. Both people met an untimely demise. Both deaths were ruled accidental but was that true?
The grandmother’s lawyer, Donald Camden, is a sneaky scumbag. I cannot shake that feeling. Call it intuition or whatever but he’s a creep. Was he involved with any of the reasons for the disinheritance or any other secrets? Apparently, he knows something. He wrote a letter to each of Mildred’s children stating that “You know what you did.”
The cousins are trying to put all of the pieces of their family puzzle together. They even have a few secrets of their own.
If you enjoys secrets and mysteries on top of more secrets, then you will love this book. Also, the scenery is probably like taking a little vacation. A mystery plus a beautiful setting. I call that a win.
If you are a scam artist or an impostor, then this book might hit too close to home for you. It is still worth reading.
I was supposed to get a copy of the ebook from The Write Reads. Things get confusing sometimes and I received a different book. Everything is cool. The Write Reads is still awesome! I got a copy from the library using the Libby App. It’s almost old-fashioned – getting a book from the library. Better return it or else I might get fined like I used to because I dislike returning books. I want to keep them forever and ever. (Honestly, I think Libby returns the book for you. So no worries . . . )
In October 2020, The Paranoias and Profesor Galactico released a joint album, Nightmare/Hope to See You Next Year.
The music is like if Jack Skellington joined a Latin ska fusion band. The music has some spooky carnival vibes combined with Latin ska and a hint of lots of other genres. I’ve been listening to the album for a few months but have delayed writing the review until now.
There wasn’t a reason but I’m glad that I waited. I needed to listen to some music for getting motivated. My favorite song on the album is probably “Move It or Lose It.” I’m not quite ready to conquer the world. Heck, I don’t even want to go out into the world. So if people are going to leave the house, The Paranoias and Profesor Galactico should be on their playlist. (Note to self: Make a conquer the world playlist. Put the Paranoias/Professor Galactico on the list.)
It could be fun to listen to this album on the way to conquer the world, like in a making a new friend or getting a promotion kind of way.
How do you guys feel about pirates? Personally, I don’t know if I will ever tire of pirate movies, pirate documentaries, pirate music. My favorite character in Spongebob is The Flying Dutchman.
Luckily, there is a band that shares my obsessive love of all things pirate. Storm Seeker of Germany could be just a regular symphonic metal band but they took the pirate route. They don’t look one bit sad about their life choices. Hmmm . . . . shouldn’t we all be a little bit pirate-like? Let’s steal less and live a life of no regrets on the high seas.
Who else could pull us out of our humdrum existence but Gentlemen Rogues? They have the right amount of rock, fun and mischievousness. What has the band been doing to stay out of trouble during all of the quarantining? Danny Dunlap of Gentlemen Rogues is here on the blog today to spill all of the tea.
Where have you been staying in 2020?
We (Gentlemen Rogues) all live in Austin, TX. Like most people, we’ve been staying home as much as possible. Most of us have shifted to working from home, so that’s made things easier and safer during these weirdo times we’re all trudging through.
What have you been doing during times of quarantine?
As thankful (and lucky) as I am to be able to work from home, I kinda feel like i’ve been working more than I usually do? During quarantine/a global pandemic that feels like a good problem to have, and I feel a bit guilty even remotely complaining about it. Other than that, just trying to stay optimistic about…life. As a band, we’ve been writing lots of new songs, and are hoping to record a brand new album in 2021. We have more song ideas brewing than we have time to work on them, which is another good problem to have. That beats having writer’s block any day of the week! I’m really loving the new tunes we are coming up with, and am super excited for people to hear them.
Have you found or re-found any hobbies?
I can’t think of any new hobbies that I’ve picked up? I’ve been listening to podcasts more than I normally do. Is that a hobby? I’m an avid trail runner, and tend to go running 3 or 4 days a week at a park near my house. Other than that, doing my usual obsessive hunting for records and left handed guitars.
What have you been listening to lately?
I think because i’ve been reflecting on happier times, I’ve found myself revisiting lots of music from when I was younger. I’ve been listening to lots of Adam and the Ants, as well as digging out records from some of the early 90’s era Lookout! Records roster like Operation Ivy, Mr. T Experience, Fifteen, and Tilt. That stuff has been fun to revisit. As far as new stuff goes, I’ve been loving the self-titled debut from, Spice. That’s one of Ross Farrar’s (singer from Ceremony) side bands. That might be my favorite record of 2020. The brand new one from The Cribs, Night Network, is also really great. I know lots of the guys in the band are really into the newest IDLES record.
Has your songwriting process changed this year?
At the risk of sounding up my own arse, I think I can write a pretty good song but I’m far from being prolific. This is a bad problem to have. Our songwriting process hasn’t necessarily changed, but we have been writing more (and a bit faster) than we normally do. We have half of a brand new record written, and enough new song ideas to flush out, to easily round out the other half of the album…and then some. Our songwriting process normally goes something like this. A song idea starts forming in my head at a very inopportune time, gets documented in my phone’s Voice Memos, and finally gets translated from voice memo to guitar. I’ll bang around on the guitar and work up the idea enough to where it resembles a decent song, and then i’ll show it to the band. We’ll all bang it around together in a loud room, and whip the song into a decent shape. That process results in a full band rough draft, and then we’ll spend a few weeks adding the bells and whistles.
Is there any message that you would like to convey to fans or soon-to-be fans?
Hmm? I don’t know. I’ve been describing Gentlemen Rogues as, Manchester by way of Minneapolis, so a message to potential, soon-to-be fans might be…if you like bands like The Smiths, the Replacements, or Husker Du/Sugar…maybe check us out? As far as current Gentlemen Rogues fans go…you already know what’s up! Ha! Thanks for liking us! But, for serious…thank you.
What is something positive that has happened to you during 2020?
We’ve all been staying safe and healthy, so far. So that’s positive. We recorded a new single back in February, about 3 weeks before the world shut down. Thinking all of this COVID stuff would blow over in a few weeks, we ended up sitting on the single for what eventually turned into several months. I started sending it out to record labels in hopes that someone would want to release it. To our shock, we had 3 labels interested in releasing it within 48 hours! So with that said, our new single “Do the Resurrection!” will be released by Snappy Little Numbers on Friday, December 4th. We’re really proud of the single and are really pumped for people to hear it. Thanks for reaching out!
Depression is a sneaky beast. You think everything is going as well as it can. Then depression sneaks in to flip the switch from Ok to Not Ok. I had a vision once and now it’s unclear.
I have asked myself a million times this week, “When did I become so unmotivated? Why don’t I want to do anything? When did I brush my hair last?” My mom said something about split milk. God bless my mom and her typos. She meant spilled milk but the split milk sounded kind of like it could be a thing. Also, if I don’t take a shower, I’m going to smell like sour milk and that is kind of gross.
Right now, I want to go back to bed and hide. When the thought of crawling into bed crosses my mind, I don’t think I’m hiding. I don’t even know what I’m hiding from exactly. There’s nothing in particular, yet it feels like everything. Every day for the last few weeks, I think I’ll be productive, do some reading or blogging. But in reality, I know I will fall asleep. Today my cat, Manny Pacquiemeow, and I stayed awake for about 3 hours in between naps.
I included an infographic that is accurate for me. Depression is different for everyone. Even the different depressive episodes that I have had are not exactly the same. Usually something major triggers my depression but not this time. I thought I was alright but then I realized that I was not alright at all.
So how do you flip the switch back to being motivated? Small steps. I definitely do not have the right answer but I’ve been trying to do the following things so I don’t fall down a never-ending rabbit hole of sadness.
Get out of bed
Eat something. Drink something.
Do one thing around the house, like the dishes or a load of laundry.
Take a shower.
Do something that you like. Maybe bake or make some art. I’m still working on this one. I was thinking of doing a photo challenge. It’s something that requires me to get out of bed.
Routine. It sounds boring but getting into the habit of doing stuff could be helpful. Does anyone have a routine that helped get you back on track?
If anyone has been or the edge or actually fallen down the rabbit hole, don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to talk to a therapist or a counselor of some sort.
Why: Fatality has recently released their latest single, “Saviour.”
Besides being in a metal band, the guys are also supportive of mental health organizations. So who can dislike people that rock and campaign for the well-being of others? No one that we need to associate with I guess. So check out Fatality at the links below!
Under a Gilded Moon by Joy Jordan-Lake is set in the Asheville, North Carolina area where the Biltmore Estate is located. If you have been to North Carolina, you already know that it is a beautiful, scenic area. In the book, the Biltmore Estate has almost been completed. The years of building the estate were from 1889 to 1895.
Kerry Macgregor is on her way home from college in New York to North Carolina. Her alcoholic father is dying and she needs to care for him, as well as her adolescent siblings. Kerry doesn’t to forgive her father for all of the shady stuff he has done in the past. However, she puts her education on hold to take care of her family.
When Kerry and her siblings arrive at the train station in North Carolina, a murder of a reporter occurs. Was it the young socialite, the fugitive or the conservationist? Trust me. They all have secrets that they want to protect.
There’s a handsome, intelligent man on the train because of course there is. John Cabot seems like the strong, silent type. What is his real story? Is he hiding something too? Why are people attracted to the strong, silent type? Is it because we can make up our own fairy tale about them? Kerry doesn’t know what to think of John either.
She’s got her hands full with the dying father and keeping her siblings from starving. Eventually, Kerry takes a job at the Biltmore Estate. She has to put her pride aside for the sake of keeping everyone in her family alive. She absolutely does not want to work for rich people who look down on the people from the mountains.
If you like historical fiction with a story based loosely on actual history, then you might find this book to be interesting.
On a side note, I thought that I visited Biltmore in the 90s but it was a different mansion. In reality, I visited the Moses Cone Manor/ Flat Top Manor in Blowing Rock, North Carolina. Flat Top Manor is about 2 hours away from the Biltmore Estate. If you are have time or want to take a road trip in North Carolina, both mansions are probably worth visiting. The view from Flat Top Manor is so beautiful. I still dream about it.
If you are a snob, a not-so-secret racist or a classist, then you either won’t like this book or it will teach you something. In either case, Under a Gilded Moon is definitely worth reading.
Most of us have probably seen at least one of Dani Donovan’s illustrations on the world wide web. Maybe we don’t know anything about the person behind the art. So I have found a little bit of information and many useful links about Dani Donovan and her webcomics.
Donovan’s about pages state: I create cathartic illustrations and a community of validation and solidarity for adults with ADHD.
She is devoting her time and energy to creating webcomics about ADHD. People who don’t have any issues with attention deficit don’t understand how aggravating and lonely it can be when no one comprehends why your brain functions the way that it does. One of my children has ADHD. The rest of the family has ADD in varying degrees. We understand the issues with focusing but the hyperactivity is kind of a puzzle that we are trying to piece together.
Every day is a new adventure with my kid. Currently, she is interested in baking so we have an over-abundance of baked goods in the house. Regular baking times 1000.
As a parent of someone with ADHD, I am totally on board with a community for those with ADHD. It is nice to know that there is someone out in the world that has similar issues. (inadvertent comic book joke, sorry again for the corny jokes) Plus, webcomics are awesome.
If you would like to support Donovan, visit any or all of the links below.
Phoenix-based singer/songwriter, Danielle Durack, will be releasing a new album, No Place, on January 15.
The songs sound like Durack is making peace with her heartache. The music is relaxing and reflective. If she can make peace with sadness, can we? I feel a bit more hopeful after listening to this album.
In the video for “Broken Wings,” Durack marries the red flag. Who hasn’t been involved with someone who might as well be a red flag? I married a red flag once.
People want to think about their heartache or how not to get hurt again. There’s a reason why we love sad songs. Love and loss of love is something most people have in common. So let’s listen to this album at a cool coffee shop that will let you light a candle in memory of heartbreak. Or maybe just make some coffee and light a candle in your living room for now. Can coffee shops do casual Zoom hangouts? How would a virtual coffeehouse work?
Durack’s music reminds me of singer/songwriters from the 90s, such as Jewel and Liz Phair. Durack isn’t quite as rock and roll as Phair but their lyrics share some similar sentiments. I don’t think that Durack’s music is stuck in the 90s. The music may be influenced by the 90s but still modern.
If I could travel back to 1996 and not date my own red flag, then I would take this album with me on the time machine. We could also play it in our virtual coffeehouse.