Book Review: “The Ring And The Crown” by Melissa de la Cruz

17200974_1190394871070094_2385203544738160469_nBack in April, I got a chance to purchase a new book! I found it at Wal-Mart for about $8 and it was called “The Ring And The Crown” by the author Melissa de la Cruz. If she sounds familiar, she’s written the Blue Bloods and Witches Of East End series. I immediately recognized her name so my exceptions were already high to begin with, but it wasn’t long before this book wasn’t hitting that mark.

The book starts with Aewlyn and shows how much power she has and how she can control it since she’s been away to Avalon. The second character is Princess Marie-Victoria who is heir apparent to the Lily Throne, while her mother Queen Eleanor and her magical adviser Merlin (and Aewlyn’s father) at her side. Marie has been plagued with sickness throughout her life so she’s still quite frail but as heir she will do her duty to the people of London. However, she does not want to, plus she doesn’t even want to marry the Prussian Prince Leopold after he opened Pandora’s box to win the war – in an act to bring peace to both sides, these two will have to marry to secure the alliance.

However, there are more characters included into the story than besides these five people. You have Prince Wolf, who is Leo’s brother, Isabelle of Orleans, who was arranged to marry Leo as a child while her father was still alive to secure the family fortune and an American named Ronan who comes to the season searching for not only a husband but a title to help her secure her family name as well! And this is where the review turns a little sour. So if you haven’t read it yet, I don’t suggest you to continue reading this next section!

There are a lot of pros and cons to the story. I liked the outline of the ball, magic and the two main characters, but there were unfortunately too many cons in the story as well! The amount of characters and their roles with each other can be extremely confusing if you’re not careful. I think Isabelle could have been just a mistress to Leo and that’s it, but instead her story line is as big as Marie. And I felt Ronan and Wolf could have been a separate story altogether.

One of the biggest things with the plot that I had trouble wrapping my brain around was the time frame. It talks about London and the Prussian Empire but there is not a direct date and I know because it’s a fictionalized story it shouldn’t matter, but if you’re going to talk about King Henry VII in certain sections, you need to be more clear on where it is at that time for all of these characters. Melissa gives you more descriptions on the fashion and magic, but the most important part of the story is missing!

Despite the fact that I have written out this book review, I have not finished the book. I still know what chapter I left off on, but I cannot continue to read it. I actually gave it a 2 on the Goodreads rating. I know my mom will think I let the reviews I read about the book itself has helped in my judgement but all they did was help me realize that not all books deserve a full 5 stars and if I don’t think a book is up to par then I need to stop.

If you’ve read the book, what were your thoughts on it? Did you ever finish it?

snowflake

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The Wedding | Nails, Hair, & Dresses!

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Hello!

We start our adventure on Wednesday, we were supposed to have like a spa day with all of the bridesmaids but ultimately decided against that but Blondie did came to the house so dad could do her nails. He’s been doing nails since she was competing in beauty pageants! I went first and after spending about an hour on just trying to remove the old polish on my toes, he pulled out the clippers. For anybody who doesn’t know, I’m terrified of the clippers, like I break out in sweats that’s how bad my anxiety gets whenever they’re around. Anyways, I managed to tick off my dad enough that my mom had to paint both my finger and toe nails!

I hardly ever get my finger nails done, and now I know why. I had to smell nail polish for like two days straight! Every time I tried to put on my blanket at night, the smell would brush up on me! I had a stomachache every time I got a woof of it. I had mom put another shade of pink on my fingers–apparently both Blondie and I had the same baby pink polish and we didn’t even know it! I used this because I thought it would be as close to the shade of my dress and I was right! As far as my toes, Blondie brought down a silver and hot pink and I decided to do the opposite of what she was doing or vice versa. All of my toes are silver with the “ring toe” is just pink!

Poor dad had so much trouble getting the pink on her nails though. She has quite a few dents on her nails of where she’s smashed them at work! According to him, the polish was pretty thick too so he literally spent like five minutes of one hand alone! He didn’t have an issue with the silver thank god! Afterwards, he started on my mom’s nails! My nana had this light orange polish that my aunt grabbed on accident a few days before and we thought it was as close to her dress!


Now I have to talk about hair! Blondie and I chose a similar hairstyle. We both wanted loose curls and our hair braided! Poor Dyllanne had so much trouble trying to figure out how to do the braids, because the picture I gave her didn’t necessarily gave you instructions so she had to wing it. It took her about three tries before she finally cracked the code! Somehow I only needed four bobby pins after all of that! Once at the reception though, I had Jayde put it up in a ponytail because I figure it would all fall onto my plate if I didn’t!

 

I know I’ve talked about the dresses before, but as I found out through my friend Ania a couple of months ago, I never showed anyone what I looked like in the pink dress as I had to try on the ones in red and blue! Blondie bought me some fabric tape because my strap and around my right side were very loose, so we had to make sure that nothing came out. One of the bridesmaid’s Alli actually had to add another strip before we went out to do pictures because the one on my right side was coming off! The length was another thing. I was worried that if we went higher on the sizes that the length would get longer as well, because I wanted a short dress. Thankfully everything went fine and I had my “short” dress even if the ends were at my ankles! I’ve shared what Blondie’s wedding dress looked like back in January of 2016, but she had quite a few alterations done to it but the structure is still the same but it fit her a lot better than that first time!

 

As far as dad, Brandon and the rest of the groomsmen they had a silver tux with pink bow ties and vest and wore brown shoes, which at first nobody liked until you saw all of it on together and then it made the outfit that much better! And yes, my dad wore his gray bandana to walk her down the aisle. He honestly wanted to shave everything but Blondie said no! Hell, we all said no!

 

The next post(s) should be about the wedding itself, so keep an eye out of it! 

snowflake

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Life Lessons From “The Big Bang Theory”

Howdy!

We all have movies and/or television shows that we all know and love dearly, but have we ever been so inspired by them that we start to see life lessons within them? The answer is yes, but we’re not always open about it.

Sometime last year, The Big Bang Theory became one of the biggest shows for my family. My nana started watching it every once in a while, but it was when my mom started to watch it on accident. You know if one likes the show, the other will follow and he definitely did not disappoint. My dad loves this freaking show! It’s enough to actually creep somebody out too, because you could think he was in bed asleep until he hear him cackle up a storm! And sometime afterwards I followed suit and now I am making my way through the episodes on our DVR!

So I was wondering whether or not, if there are any life lessons with this exact show and surprisingly, there are a few of them! I hope you all enjoy this and if you have any more to add, let me know in the comments!

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1.) Patience Exists.

For anybody who believes that “patience is virtue” you know I’m right about this when it comes to the characters of The Big Bang Theory!

Crazy enough, every single character has experienced it throughout the lives on the show! For example, Leonard and Penny, hello! He asked her to marry him a total of four times (some in awkward situations!) but she always told him no and then finally they get married in Las Vegas! This also works for Howard and Bernadette as well, as Howard was always the creepy, sexual friend of the four of them! You did not think he’d be the first to be married off, but he was!

Another way this works is Raj, he could not talk to women in the beginning. Poor guy having to rely on Howard to voice his hilarious comments whenever Penny or any other woman was in the room.  Thankfully, he’s finally able to discuss things in front of women and even found a girlfriend or two, once at the same time!

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2.) Alcohol Is Always Needed!

To add to the last bit above, I watched the episode where Penny learns how to be a mixologist for her job at the Cheesecake Factory, and she makes drinks for all of the guys (except Sheldon of course!) and when she makes Raj a grasshopper, the poor man only has one sip before he just spills his emotions out to her which freaks everybody out, Penny included! I think she was more shocked than anything else!

I think there are a lot of people who hate how Penny is drinking in almost every episode but we also have to understand that if she didn’t have the alcohol she would have slugged Howard a long time ago!

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3.) Change Is Good (No matter what Sheldon thinks!)

This is also another biggie as Sheldon is known to hate change in all forms! However, I think overtime he’s slowly seen that “good” change exists as the idea for finding a possible mate for him could have been a hit and miss until he met Amy Farrah Fowler.

Once he realized he was in a relationship with her, I think you slowly see a change in him. He’s still pretty selfish when it comes to everything, but he does seem less annoying whenever she’s around! I mean, let’s be honest nobody thought he was going to have coitus or move in with her but those were good and necessary changes to be made for him as an individual.

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4.) You Are Not Ugly!

I think one of the biggest messages on the show is that people who are engineers, scientists, physicists, etc are just as attractive as anybody else! There’s more to them then they’re big paychecks.

I think besides the guys, both Bernie and Amy have very classic style compared to Penny. I’m still trying to figure out how Bernie’s choice of clothes isn’t as big of a topic than Amy. However, in defense of Bernadette, Amy does look like somebody in the 1950-60’s, which is totally fine. I mean, if it doesn’t bother Sheldon than everybody can go suck it!

5.) Nerds Rise!

Thanks to the never-aging characters of the show, anybody can be able to be a nerd freely. Unfortunately, I’m not into the comics but I love how much of the nerd community is represented. You hardly ever see comic book stores anymore and this show has them! You see how important some of these comics are to the characters. I still don’t think I’d ever risk one during a bet, ever! The reason why is it doesn’t matter who wins or loses, somebody will likely forget they even have it in their possession.

I love the episode where the girls go to the comic book store just to see why they’re significant others are so interested in them. I chose the gif above because Penny’s reaction to Thor is an equivalent’s to any man looking at a cover of a mutant woman with huge breasts.  Good luck telling me I’m wrong!

Are you a fan of The Big Bang Theory? Who are your favorite character(s)? Can you tell me a scene that makes you laugh every single time?

snowflake

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Album Review: “Evolve” by Imagine Dragons

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Imagine Dragons is back! They recently released their third album called Evolve and I was actually really excited to hear it, but I’ve been going back and forward on how I feel about them. They are one of those pop-rock bands that is really hard to categorize because they make their music so different. When played live they sound like a genuine rock band but studio versions it sounds totally out of the box; almost has an alternative sound going with it.

The band is made up of four members: Wayne Sermon on lead guitar, Ben McKee on bass, Daniel Plantzman on drums, and Dan Reynolds rounding it out on vocals. They also have touring members too, but I’ve decided not to include them on here.

The first song is titled “I Don’t Know Why” and it has a nice easy introduction, very electronic. It has the perfect ominous tone to be the starter of the album. It has a nice groove and sort of gives me an old school pop vibe to it as far as the popping sounds of the beat and how low Dan’s voice in the choruses. It’s very strange but in a good way! Next is a favorite of mine, it’s “Whatever It Takes” and Dan is very fast saying the verses, I always get kind of cringy whenever I hear singers do this, hell even rappers! It just makes me very nervous! Anyways, this gives me an urban feel. It’s mellow but the tempo builds at the choruses!

Third is their first single they released this year, “Believer” and since it has been played over and over again, I have been sort of dodging it on the radio. I do love the fact that it sounds like a regular ID song, but I will be honest when I say I was a bit bummed on how much it sounds like “Radioactive,” nobody seems to mind but me. Next is “Walking The Wire” and this is an interesting one, it has a slow start but they keep that beat going. I like the gentle guitar you can hear towards the second verse a lot. It’s another favorite of mine! The fifth track is “Rise Up” and I was expecting this one to be a heavier, but I was sadly mistaken. It’s okay though! I liked the stripped down sound in the beginning, again you have a nice guitar strumming in the background. I do like the drum beat throughout, so it was better than my exception!

Next is “I’ll Make It Up To You” and I’m happy to say this is as close to a ballad as we’re going to get with Imagine Dragons! I like the love I feel in the words and you guys know me, I don’t really pay attention to the lyrics! It’s not really that bad. “Yesterday” is the seventh track and this one kind of freaked me out a little bit. The first thing I thought of when I heard was, “are they drunk?” It also gives me a Beatles vibe too, so I was dumbfounded with this one! It totally has more of a pop sound despite the noticeable guitar towards the end of the second verse, but.. It’s a weird one let’s just leave it at that! Luckily after that one, you have a somewhat regular ID song again. It definitely has more of a rock sound to it with the addition of the piano it sounds like their normal tracks!

The last three tracks start with their second single they released called “Thunder” and it is my fourth favorite on the album! It is another that has a hip hop undertone to it. I love the drum beats in it and the high-pitched “thunder” throughout, ah it’s so good! I actually don’t have any complaints about it! Next is “Start Over” and this one gave me a tropical vibe, I know that sounds weird but it has an exotic sound and that was the first thing that popped into my head and that’s what I’m going with, but what’s more surprising is that I actually like it! The finale is “Dancing In The Dark” and it has a mysterious intro and leads into this electronic beat, it’s very airy and almost static-y since Dan’s voice keeps going in and out, but again I like it.

If I can be honest, I think it’s a good summer album. There are a few songs that I felt were meant to be played for the season. Despite calling the album “evolve” and it being their third album in general, their sound is generally the same. There’s nothing really different with it. I’m also finding myself comparing them to other bands in different songs. So even though I liked a few of the tracks I was kind of disappointed with it.

What do you think of Imagine Dragons new album? What were your likes and dislikes about it?

snowflake

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Wedding Playlist!

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Howdy!

Today I officially start the wedding posts!

I put a poll out on my Twitter the week before the wedding to see what everybody preferred, a regular playlist or the wedding playlist and it was pretty unanimous after like two days!

There were a couple of songs I knew were going to play as they had some significance to either Blondie or Brandon, like the song she walked down the aisle was “H.O.L.Y.” by Florida Georgia Line which was perfect, it went along being in a church and it was just slow enough. The song they used for their first dance was “Can I Have This Dance” by High School Musical 3 soundtrack. Blondie is obsessed with anything HSM and she really tried to get him to learn the dance moves but he never gave it to that! She basically sang to that whole song while they were dancing; I can’t make fun of her because so was I! The song she wanted to dance with dad was “My Little Girl” by Tim McGraw and that was her decision, she cried because I saw her flap her arms to her face when it began. Unfortunately, I don’t remember what the song was with Brandon and his mom, but if I remember to ask before this goes up I’ll update it!

I quickly realized throughout dancing on how little rap songs I know now! I had to ask Blondie for the songs that were on the list to be requested, because I honestly did not know what the actual song was called! I tried to compile the ones I could remember into a good sized playlist for you!

Drop It Low by Ester Dean feat. Chris Brown
With You by Chris Brown
Dance (A$$) by Big Sean
I’m The One by DJ Khaled feat Justin Bieber, Chance The Rapper, Quavo
Shots by LMFAO feat. Lil Jon
Yeah by Usher feat. Ludacris and Lil Jon
Wobble by V.I.C.
Wild For The Night by A$AP Rocky
Turn Down For What by DJ Snake feat Lil Jon
Low by Flo Rida feat T-Pain
Get Low by Lil Jon & The East Side Boyz
Wild Boy by MGK feat 2Chainz, Meek Mill and French Montana
Sexyback by Justin Timberlake
Same Drugs by Chance The Rapper
Congratulations by Post Malone feat. Quavo
Bend Ova by Lil Jon feat. Tyga

There were a few slower and country songs that played throughout, but I didn’t really pay any attention to them so I couldn’t tell you what I heard, because I was either busy talking or getting a drink and trying to catch my breath!

Hope you all liked this post. Next week I go into detail about our nails, hair and what we all wore (the guys are included too.)!

snowflake

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For The Love Of Documentaries!

It seems I’ve started a trend this year. .

Last year I was obsessed with trying to put a dent into my movie list. I was fairly proud of myself for doing that because I managed to cross off quite a bit. This year it’s a different story, the only films I’ve watched that I’ve added onto my 2016 and the first half of 2017 movie post. I’ve seen Morgan, Finding Dory, Beauty and The Beast, and Split. I know, the fact that even wanted to watch shocked a lot of my family!

Since February of this year, I’ve been more into little specials on PBS. If I want something to watch about history, this has been my #1 source until I fell back in love with using YouTube to chase that need for documentaries. I don’t have Netflix so I don’t have a great array of specials like I want like most of the general population, but I think this works just as good though! I wanted to do this post to share what all I’ve seen since the beginning of the year, in case anybody wanted to change their chances and watch them as well!

In January, PBS started on The Six Wives Of Henry VIII which was a three part series, they also premiered the first season of Victoria on the same weekend, I pretty much looked forward to Sundays for a good three weeks. I think Victoria ended in early March, but don’t count me on that!

Around February, I found Secrets Of The Dead but I only found like four episodes that I was able to watch off and on for about five months. The first episode was about the origins of both Frankenstein and Vampyre which you can learn more about in my Tune Tuesday post I did about Switzerland. The others were about Vincent Van Gogh’s missing ear, Nero’s Sunken City and Leonardo de Vinci (which I didn’t necessarily enjoy!). I found The Wonder Of Britain hosted by Julia Bradbury which was on at like four in the morning so I had to record it, however there were a few times that I could have watched it live since I was usually awake around that time! The third one was the Tales From The Bedchamber who was hosted by Lucy Worsley.

By the time April came around, I was using YouTube to watch my documentaries more frequently and as I started looking back at the ones I watched, I quickly realized I probably should have written down the ones I watched because trying to figure out each one made my brain hurt!

When my nana was going through her bad health spells, I used a series to keep me occupied throughout the rough times and I started watching The House Of Windsor which tells you of the origins of the current British monarch, like why King George V decided to change their family name of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha which was started at the time of Queen Victoria when she married Prince Albert. It also takes you behind the secrets stored in the archives of Windsor Castle. For explain, the real reason behind why the Russian Imperial family wasn’t allowed to take refuge at Buckingham Palace. I thought it was pretty neat!

I do remember starting the series King and Queens of England I only got to Normans, I watched the Decadence and Elegance: The Age Of Regency  which was about when the Prince Regent George IV – he’s regarded one of the most lavishes royals! It was also hosted by Lucy Worsley. I saw an hour long special called Inside The Court of King Henry VIII and I still feel like that should have been longer than an hour! The last one I vaguely remember watching before the start of June was Prince John: The Windsor Tragic Story. Prince John was the youngest of King George V and Queen Mary, he was different from the rest of his siblings, or in general a royal prince. He was diagnosed with epilepsy and was put away from the public and the rest of his family.

I started with Elizabeth I which talks about the life of Queen Elizabeth I, including the feud between her and her half sister Queen Mary I. How she was accused for helping the Protestant uprising against the Catholics, but she and the leader both denied her involvement. It also talked about she might’ve been sexually assaulted by her half brother’s adviser Thomas Seymour when she was living with her father’s sixth wife Catherine Parr after she married Thomas and became pregnant with his child. I had never heard of these accusations before so that was a new one for me! I have yet to finish the series!

There was a special on PBS about Mary Ann Cotton called Dark Angel, who was England’s first serial killer. It was said that she killed different members of her family, including her children with arsenic to collect their life insurances. It starred Joanne Fogett as Mary Ann Cotton, and I was in shocked but in awe of this woman. It was also said in total she killed over 20 people!

Recently there have been three separate specials I’ve seen on both TV and YouTube. The first was My Mother And Other Strangers on PBS, it has had a slow beginning but it has been very interesting too! It was set in Ireland around the time of World War II. You have these American soldiers living on base in this small town called Moybeg and the narrator is the older Francis, whereas he talks about the life of his family. He is like around seven years old in the actual series. It’s a nice story and kind of hoping for a second season but I don’t think I should hold my breath as like both Victoria and Dark Angel they premiered on BBC or ITV first before making its way to the US.

I watched a special about nuns, and that is what happens when you watch both Sister Act films in one week alone. It was called Young Nuns and it gave you a sense of these modern women becoming nuns for different reasons. I still haven’t finished it, but so far so good! I found one about Princess Alice of Bradenburg, called The Queen’s Mother In Law as she is the mother of Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. This was another sad one to watch, but it was nevertheless good though. The third was Richard III: The King Laid To Rest I have been very interested in King Richard III mostly of his disability and living with scoliosis around the the 15th Century. I had watched section of Mysteries At The Museum that talked about finding him in a parking lot in 2012. This was about finally putting his remains in the ground in a well-established church. I still think he should have been buried in a Catholic church since that was what he was at the time, but they didn’t. I thought it was a beautiful service and we may never see that ever again unless they finally find the Princes In The Tower or Henry I.

I’m not just into specials about Ireland and England, I also enjoy other parts of the world as well! PBS recently had a series called The Story Of China that I thoroughly enjoyed! It was hosted by Michael Wood and as I watched it while these people were talking to him in their native languages (and there are a lot!) but he never seemed to have a translator for himself, so in ways you kind of got the feeling he knew what they were saying but I can’t say for certain. They had like seven episodes in all, even through two were combined so there were two hours long. It was glorious! I’ve always been interested in China and it’s traditions so I figured I would really like it and I was right!

I’ve watched a few more in the last four weeks, but I’ve decided to not include them on this post.

Are you interested in documentaries or little specials or series of specific places around the world? What have you watched recently?

snowflake

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EP Review: “Songs Of The Whispering Things” by ANÚNA

18486126_10155276817287387_2195937333209615149_nIf the name of the group sounds very familiar I added them to this year’s Tune Tuesday for Ireland. I just didn’t know they were going to release a new EP before I put up that post, so I thought I should go ahead and review it on here.

ANÚNA are a choral group made up by Irish singers, including their director and composer Michael McGlynn. Their music is made up of traditional Irish songs and hymns, plus some are completely new written by Mr. McGlynn as well. They tend to have an a Capella sound, less music and more about the message of the song itself. However in this EP they are working with the Ulster Orchestra. The songs were inspired by Irish poet Francis Ledwidge.

The first track is simply titled “May” and you mostly hear the most eternal sound in the world. I love choirs so much, so this is technically a weakness of mine! In these types of songs you basically have to pay attention to the words, this is actually one of Francis’s poems. It is a beautiful start. You hear everybody – unfortunately I don’t know anybody in the group besides Michael so I apologize there! The second is “Midnight” which features the Ulsters Orchestra, there is a beautiful female soloist but I do not know her name. Surprisingly, I love a men’s choir than an all girl’s, don’t ask me why. I’ve always been more amazed in a man’s voice in these more controlled moments in a choral atmosphere! It starts like a very plain a Capella song but then you can slowly hear the symphony chime in and I sensed a more exotic sound, like Chinese than Irish! I still like it though!

Next is “August” is a lot shorter than the first one. It is less than two minutes long, but it is very beautiful! I kind of felt this had a dark but romantic tone. I really liked that and thought it was interesting. Fourth was a song called “Behind The Closed Eye” which features Kenneth Edge, who plays saxophone. Another weakness I have! Surprisingly, it is an interesting instrument to place into a song like this. You’re used to only hearing a sax in jazz and blues music, not something such as Celtic music! I thought it was very neat! The song sort of has a dark undertone, so I think it gave it a lighter vibe to it.

After is “My Songs Shall Rise” and it is another track that is uses the whole choir. I think it was hauntingly beautiful, especially around these high notes! The next one is “Where All Roses Go” and it features the Ulster Orchestra again. This one has Michael as the soloist. I think this is another one with a dark tone. It has a more traditional Irish sound, and you can tell right away. I don’t know why but it gives me like it belongs on the battlefield, just the vibe I’m getting from it while hearing it through my headphones. Last one, I added this onto my June Playlist as the group’s song to be featured. I thought it was gorgeous but didn’t even realize it was new until like a day later. Anyways, it is called “When The War Is Over” and this has a more somber vibe to it. I’m feeling the same way I did with the previous track.

I think this type of music makes you appericate what a person can do with just their voice, because you’re basically getting the essentials with three of the tracks having various of instruments playing within them too. I mostly go with how I feel afterwards, since I’m programmed to look at the lyrics in that anymore I basically let my mind flow, which is why with these darker and somber tracks were taking me to places like battlefields, I just go wherever the sound takes me.

Are you a fan of ANÚNA? What do you think of their newest extended play?

snowflake

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