Blogmas | Top 7 Books of 2022!

Hello!

In the beginning of 2022, I created my yearly challenge on Goodreads, where I set the goal to read 40-45 books. The reason why I added on another five onto the list was because I wasn’t just doing one challenge, I decided to mix it up with keeping track of the books that had a movie and/or show out in the world. As of 12/18, I’m still trying to complete the 20 books I allowed for myself for this, and honestly, I really enjoyed having both of them going on at the same time. I’m very proud of myself on these successes, but I haven’t exactly made my decision to continue it once the new year comes, but I’ll be letting you know my plans soon!

When I was getting ready to write this post, I was going to discuss my top 12 books, but I wasn’t sure on the time allotted for this week, so I just broke down and made it the top 7 like I did for the last two years.


1. The Best of Us by Kennedy Fox

This is the second year in a row where the authors of Kennedy Fox have claimed first place.

I truly loved this story of these characters, and as I mentioned in the review, I am not much into male characters, especially in the romance genre. I’m quite picky but I think the fact he seemed more relatable than Kendall. The story itself takes place after COVID-19 hits, which I think is what drew me into Ryan more because my mom is a registered nurse and worked her butt off in those early intense days. My heart went out for him and his selflessness and struggles during that time.

Besides all of this, it is also set around Christmastime, so it is literally perfect for this time of year. I wish anyone who is still looking for a steamy holiday themed book, this is what you should be getting into next.

Sidenote: I recently found the first and third books in the series for free on Amazon, so when I get in a mood for a little Kennedy Fox, I’ve got these babies to keep me company!

2. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

This year I wanted to explore children’s books because I still feel the sting of my own struggles with books as a child and it cost me a lot of great stories in the end, so I felt like I needed to explore my horizons and then I found this little gem.

I felt really conflicted to make this #1 because I fell in love with this story of a young girl, who becomes a refugee with her mother after violence in Syria begins. It wasn’t just Jude and her new world that got me, but I also fell in love with the writing style too. It was in verse, and I had never read poetry before, and I liked how the author was able to bring them together like this. It was a magical experience!

3. The Raven and The Dove by K.M. Butler

When I began reading this one, I didn’t really know what I was doing because at the start of the year, I wasn’t into books about the Vikings. I’d tried in the past, but nothing could grab me as inviting until I found K.M.’s debut scrolling through Kindle Unlimited back in January.

The Raven and The Dove is the story about a group of Vikings raiding on small villages in what is now Normandy, France. A shieldmaiden by the name of Halla is a part of the crew and the best way to describe her is restless. She is a warrior, but she doesn’t just want to be that, and while she and a small party go to scope out a village that could be a great way to trade goods, she finds herself put into an odd situation.

She actually volunteers to stay and wed a Christian, Taurien. He is a very conflicting character as he was raised to hate these Northmen, but he also wants to protect his home and its people from any other raids, so he does what any desperate man would do, he decides to wed Halla. Halla oversees her fellow Vikings and attempt to keep the will of the Gods of her people, but that becomes very difficult with their Christian neighbors.

I am all about seeing how the other one lives type of person, and this reflects in the books I read of course, and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these two characters fight their feelings of right and wrong; their faiths and trust for one another are tested many times, but it was still enjoyable as a reader because we still have issues seeing past the other person’s origins and religions. I definitely recommend anyone who loves to be a little nosy at times.

4. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

While I was wanting to explore more classics, I knew Little Women would pop up some time, the book is very popular on Jeopardy, and I think that’s why I wanted to just devout myself to it and the best way I did that was through audiobook on YouTube. I had actually found a channel on there that had multiple people acting out the various characters and I loved this type of reading; it reminded me of how they use to tell stories on the radio before television was invented.

This book was lovely and honestly perfect in the springtime. This truly made me happy and excited to see what would happen to these characters–until that chapter about Beth though, boy, did I cry like crazy! After I had completed it, and that was another sad night, because I had grown to dig into it after my mom put me to bed, I tried to read “Little Men” but unfortunately, it didn’t have the same magic as the first but I am willing to give it another try in 2023 because I loved the character Jo so much, I want to see what happens in the later years.

5. Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder

After I finished with “Other Words for Home” I dove into other children’s books, but my focus was generally on classics. I had read Little Women, the Harry Potter series, and a few by Roald Dahl, so my plan was stay in that lane for a while longer and I ended up reading three and half books of the “Little House On The Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My favorite among them was the one about her future husband, Alonzo Wilder.

I found this story unique compared to the ones written about Laura and her life. “Farmer Boy” was set in Alonzo’s point of view and even though it was fictionalized, I was still amazed by how this little boy lived in these times; readers get a chance to look into the differences between boys and girls on the prairie. My favorite scene was Christmas, they would spend it with one another in absolute silence and eat apples and popcorn with warm apple cider. I’m not much on any kind of cider but I found this interesting and peaceful.

6. Shield-Maiden: Under the Howling Moon by Melanie Karsak

Apparently, it’s not a book list without a book by Kennedy Fox or Melanie Karsak. This year alone, I read 8 books by Melanie. but only three of them were written by Kennedy Fox.

Anyways, as a couple of months since I had finished The Raven and The Dove, I was itching for another book that discussed the Viking world, but I was still a bit hesitant because I didn’t think I would find anything that could hit that bar and then I went through Melanie’s work and found out she had two series about shield-maidens, so I thought about it a bit, but ultimately went for it.

The story of the shield-maiden Hervor was everything I needed at that time. I love a good badass heroine and Melanie makes a lot of strong but relatable female characters. I was very upset once I was done with the final book, and then I did something totally stupid, I decided to dive headfirst into the sequel “The Shadows of Valhalla” which focuses on Princess Blomma’s children Prince Loptr and Princess Hervor aka Ervie. I was bawling my eyes from the events that happened in “Under the Dark Moon” and then I went into “Gambit of Blood” where they were talking about characters previously featured in the other books and I began crying again. I was truly a mess, and my mom laughed at me! I’m currently waiting on the four and final book in the series as I just finished the most recent installment and I’m already semi depressed about leaving these people for good.

7. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and J.K. Rowling

I am very happy to say I have finally read all of the Harry Potter books. I did believe I would actually do this because before I went on this journey, I was just a fan of the films, and I was too afraid I wouldn’t enjoy watching them if I read the series. I was forced to read “The Sorcerer’s Stone” back in 2006, and my teacher had us watch the movie a few days after so everything was still fresh in our minds to do comparisons between these formats, so you can understand why I was hesitant going into it in the beginning.

When this book came out, there were a lot of mixed comments about it, the most significant was it isn’t written in the same way J.K. wrote the original seven books. This is a screenplay of the play that appeared in 2016 by John Tiffany It still has the spirit of Rowling with familiar characters jumping in here and there. I found this way of writing better oddly enough. It is different, but after coming out of reading “If We Were Villains” by M.L. Rio, I was able to picture the entire thing in the same way I did when they were doing Shakespeare’s work. I didn’t like this book unfortunately, but I thought it was a lot of help while I was into this one instead.

When I finished “Deathly Hallows” back in July, I felt the epilogue wasn’t that satisfying for me. I wanted to know how Harry and the gang were doing in their lives after the Battle at Hogwarts, and so when I went into this story about Harry’s middle son Albus Serveus Potter and how he deals with being a son of this hero of the Wizarding World, Harry is an adult and father now, so as much as he doesn’t feel like it, his children are faced with making their own legacies or in Albus’s case, attempting to fix a wrong and that in itself was absolutely amazing! It was heartbreaking, between the scene Albus meeting Professor Snape and the final scene at Godric’s Hollow will break you whole, that is, if you weren’t in the first place!


If I hadn’t waited majority of the month to write this post, I would have made it longer. My original plan was to do Top 12, but I didn’t want to rush getting everything done in a short number of days, so I went with seven books total, and I’m still shocked I was able to shrink it down enough for today.

I am excited on what kind of books I discover in the new year. I do hope to get started on my Goodreads Challenge on the first of January and after that, I will type up my goals for 2023 because I know everyone is wondering on how many books I want to read, if I am truly doing two challenges again, and honestly, I enjoy writing those posts for you too, so be on the lookout for that, okay?

How many books did you read this year? Did you hit your intended goal or not? What are your Top 3 books for 2022 as well?

snowflake

Blogmas | December Playlist

Hello!

Can you believe Christmas is on Sunday?! I can’t honestly, and I’m sure there are a lot of people who are feeling the exact same way.

I usually post my monthly playlists at the end, but since I will be taking my mini hiatus directly after Christmas, it just makes sense to release it as part of my Blogmas content. I’ll actually give you the list now and share some of the stuff going on in the past few weeks below.

Here are my Top 20 favorite songs for December 2022! If you want to check out the full playlist, click here.

Skinny Little Missy by Nickelback
Diseased by Icon For Hire
Bye Bye by Gryffin featuring Ivy Adara
Met Him Last Night by Demi Lovato featuring Ariana Grande
Have Mercy by Chloe
It’s Been Awhile by VCTRYS
The Way I Are (Dance With Somebody) by Bebe Rexha featuring Lil Wayne
What A Man Gotta Do by Jonas Brothers
Running For Your Life by UNSECRET featuring Butterfly Boucher
Ghost Town by Layto featuring Neoni
DICE by NMIXX
Revolution by Bishop Briggs
Reinvented by Ad Infinitum
Fly Away by Lenny Kravitz
Dangerous by Aviva
The Assault by ADIEAUX x Justin Starling
Wild by Effsio Cross
Bones by wens
May It Be by Anuna featuring Sara Weeda
O Holy Night by Lindsey Stirling
Medley by Michael W. Smith
Nordlys by Myrkur
Silent Souls by Moya Brennan featuring Cormac De Barra
Carols of the Bells by Jennifer Thomas
Turn Off All The Christmas Songs by Sam Tinnesz


As I mentioned in last Friday’s post, I was really sick throughout the early part of the month, but I will say, I have had a lot of fun hanging out with my family lately. Our dog Rumer has really enjoyed playing again. She didn’t like it not being able to come around me in those few weeks. However, when I did come out, we’d play ball so much that she would literally jump up on the couch and fall asleep. One day she’ll do this when mom and I are watching Jeopardy in the living room. She tends to be active while we’re watching it, and you’d think her craziness would slow me down at all, but I have found I do better when I’m multitasking and playing with her.

Rumer does not know a lot of commands, we had plans to teach her a lot of different things when she was a puppy, but that takes a lot of time that none of us had a lot of patience for it, and now she’s full of energy and whines quite a bit. She does not do well away from my parents, mostly my dad, and she’s fiercely protective over us on top of that. Anyways, I’ve been trying to teach her some simple things, one is sitting (or lie down) before I roll her green ball to her. I don’t know what made me do this, but I point my big toe at her while leaving my right foot shielding the ball at the same time. She is starting to realize when I point downward, it means she needs to sit. She’s been doing great for this but recently, she’s been learning to go all the way down now. It was just bowing, and they’ve turned into fully calm, cooled and on the ground and everytime she succeeds in this task, I reward her with the ball.

For those of you who are asking about our Christmas tree though, she does pretty good with it considering she doesn’t usually care for the plants in the house. My dad was way too excited to bring our big plant we call “Sally” into the master bedroom for the month, because she can’t really mess with her and Sally has really blossomed in there as well.

If anybody has advice on how to help her anxiety being away from us and/or with the cats, we’ll gladly take it now!

Let’s talk about actual Christmas things now.

I wasn’t going to put up my tree this year. We recently switched my bed, have a new bedside light and other furniture around in the room and it’s been sort of a struggle figuring out where everything can go now, so I just figured I wasn’t going to have any space for it. And then we got the advent calendar which consists of mini ornaments, and it would make better sense to use my tree compared to the family tree and being around Rumer who eats anything and everything she’s not supposed to, so we managed to arrange it next to the TV and I have two very beloved musical Santa Clauses and we put them at the sides of my tree, and it really looks so good together.

These were the day one and two of our advent calendar ornaments. My nephew absolutely loves to do it as I mentioned in my post last Wednesday. I feel bad it’ll end on Christmas Eve though because it is literally the first thing he goes for when he comes over. Maybe I can find an activity for us to do at the start of 2023. If anybody has any ideas about this too, let me know in the comments.

One of Nolan’s favorite things to do lately is coloring, he really cherishes coloring with me and using my markers even though he has his own. We did a series of holiday characters, and he claimed all of them but one, the Dasher reindeer as it was for Mimi or my mom; unfortunately for Pawpaw Nolan decided his reindeer is for someone else, which really made him sad about it. At the same time we did this, Nolan introduced me to a movie on Disney+ and it’s called Prep and Landing, it is about the elves helping Santa navigate throughout Christmas night and it is so cute and hilarious! I’ve actually watched the other two and I figured out why the voice of Wayne sounded so familiar is because it’s the same actor who did Flik in A Bug’s Life: Dave Foley! Anyways, if you haven’t seen any of the movies yet, you should as they are perfect for toddlers and kids at heart obviously!

Here are the end results of our pages.

We have already finalized our plans for Christmas morning, and I get to play Santa this year! I’m not going to lie; this is good karma for me in a way. Nolan will be spending the night, so we have cookies and carrots for Rudolph and the gang, as per to Nolan’s instructions. We don’t want to offend any of the other reindeer of course! I am hoping when Nolan is officially asleep, we can put a couple of presents underneath my tree as he’s been such a good boy making my tree all pretty that I feel he needs to see some holiday magic for all of his good work this past month.

Okay, I think that is it for me today. I hope you have enjoyed all of the Christmas-y stuff going on and maybe found some good tunes to round out the rest of 2022.

snowflake

Blogmas | Our Advent Calendars

Hello!

Even though I am an American, I thoroughly enjoy advent calendars! I like the fact that every day you get a little something to do or eat, depending on your preferred calendar!

What is an Advent Calendar?

An advent calendar is a special way to countdown to Christmas. It is originally celebrated and made with candles and wreaths in Germany, but as with everything in the modern world, it exploded into the mainstream, and we’ve added candy to the mix.

I think I was introduced to them around 2014. It would have been the first time I’d watch Zoe Sugg’s vlogmas on YouTube. Honestly, by that time I had been introduced to the bulk of the blogging community, so they could have helped me along the way as well. Anyways, I thought it was an interesting way to get ready for the holiday festivities.

Afterwards, my nana received a simple advent calendar from one of the charities she supports, and they sent a naked tree, and your job was to decorate the scene from the first of December to Christmas day. She would put it up on the refrigerator and anytime I came over to visit, it would be the first thing I’d do, but on the days when I didn’t, my nana would say papaw did it for me and that sounds like something he’d do. I think the longer we did it, he started to enjoy it just as much too!

The day I wrote this post, this picture popped up on my Facebook Memories and I’ve never been happier!

Fast forward to 2021, I wanted to get my own advent calendar. It had been some time since I did one and I thought it was time to bring it back. I had also hoped I could persuade my parents to do it with me, and within four days they became as excited as I was on what would be inside the little envelopes. I managed to find a very affordable Harry Potter calendar that opens up like a giant book and considering neither one of my parents know anything about Harry Potter, I think they enjoyed learning more about it through the various memorabilia. and they definitely understand my love for everything Harry Potter now.

Our 2022 Advent Calendar!

I can’t deny to you, I’ve been searching for this year’s advent calendar since May, and I feel absolutely no shame for it either.

Originally, I wanted to get either a calendar dedicated to puzzles or socks. I watched Alexandra Roselyn on YouTube last year and she had two different calendars, one for tea and the other was for jigsaw puzzles. I was kind of curious about whether I’d have enough patience to do a puzzle with my parents, and honestly, I doubt they’d last long with it. Now, about the socks, my mom has a lot of various socks and I point them out to her all of the time because they rarely go with her outfits or seasons, so I figured this would be a winner for us but the prices for these kinds of calendars can be expensive. When I looked through Amazon back in August, the prices stayed around $40 and as much as I knew we’d have fun and get use out of them, I just didn’t believe at the time it was worth it.

I actually told my mom about the sock advent calendar, and she was very stunned, and told me next year we need to get one together… I told you, she likes her socks!

Anyways, my mom ended up finding this year’s advent calendars. The first is a red box with little holiday scene and you have to look for whatever day(s) you are on and your job is to break the cardboard door to find a little treasure. A mini ornament. When my mom took these pictures below, we had missed the first two days, so we have a set of golden bells with a red bow in the middle of them, and a little snowman decorated with mittens, a scarf and Santa hat on top. We really love this calendar the most, it is absolutely adorable and since my Christmas tree is on a medium size, it is better to decorate it with mini ornaments so these prizes will be very well-loved with me once we are finished with it.

In each photo of the calendars, I’ve included the link, so if you’d like to purchase or put them in a folder for next year’s Christmas season you can.

For the second calendar, my mom thought this would be an interesting because we both enjoy watching crime dramas–she’s currently on a Scandal kick whereas I am watching FBI. The crimes you get to try and solve are based on Sir Arthur Cohen Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes, it is all with a British theme, which isn’t quite ideal, I’ve had to help mom as she didn’t understand some of the names and phrases. The “crimes” themselves are mostly rated PG. This calendar is set up like one of those calendars you flip over to the next and it just sits on your desk. As you’ve might’ve guessed, this isn’t our favorite, but it’s still technically early so we’ll really see if we change our tune after Christmas.

Maybe next year I can do a little list of advent calendars that seem like they could be fun to do with your family. It would also be nice to give you something around a reasonable budget too! If this is something you would like to see in next year’s Blogmas content, please let me know down in the comments.

Are you and your family doing an advent calendar this year? If so, what is the theme behind it? If you’ve done an advent calendar since you were young, what do you look for when you go to purchase them?

snowflake

Blogmas | The Christmas Tag (2022)

Hello!

I’ve done this tag before; I probably have three years’ worth of this exact tag on my blog.

I consider this to be a good thing as that should mean I enjoy it the most, right?

Anyways, I actually went back to my first time I did it, which was 2014, and wrote out the questions from that post and I was smart and didn’t even look back at my original answers, but once I’m done, I would like to compare the two and see what’s changed or not. If you would like to see my other answers, click here.


What would be your dream place to visit for the holiday season?

I’ve always wanted to visit a Christmas market, like ones they have in Germany. I think that would be a lovely way to visit my ancestral home, by rolling around in the older markets and enjoy the comfort of good company, food, and Christmas cheer.

If I couldn’t make it to Germany though, I’d like to visit the second popular destination in Burges, Belgium. I’ve seen way too many photos and vlogs about the beauty that is Burges around November to the end of December. It always looks very majestic and romantic at the same time, so I know I’m not alone with how I feel about them in general.

Favorite Christmas film(s)

I am very hard on myself when it comes to Christmas movies, I’ve never been interested in the cheesy or cliche types, I like the heartwarming but hilarious ones. I am also into the classics too, so they have truly set the standard for me as a whole and if they can’t hold up to these four below then they’re out. Simple as that.

Are you on the Naughty or Nice list?

I hope I’m on the Nice list, but that all depends on which parent you ask at this point. I’m pretty sure my dad would have something to say about that! I fear I may be on the same list as my nephew and that’s the nice but on the very edge of it. 😂

Have you ever had a white Christmas?

Yes, we’ve had several over the years.

For the most part, we can get a couple inches of snow either Christmas Eve or Christmas night, but last year was weird as it was like a comfortable 75 degrees and I could literally spend my entire day outside with my cats and honestly, I want that to happen again because that was really nice! And I absolutely love having snow on the ground for Christmas, but I also enjoyed hanging out with my cats more than 10 minutes at a time.

Where do you usually spend your Christmas?

I spend it at home with my folks. I don’t think we’ll ever get used to having the three of us Christmas morning, but I still have that excitement to open presents at 5-6am, which again depending on which parent is awake, is usually about the same too. I feel like my dad would like it if I slept in a bit, but when I can hear him cooking breakfast around that time, I will always get up at that time.

Do you open any presents on Christmas Eve?

In the past, yes, but not in a long time.

Out of everyone in my family, I can wait one more day to open them. Now, my nephew might be a totally different story, but he’s four years old so you can’t blame him too much there!

Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?

Uhhhh…

I can get Rudolph, Comet, Cupid, Dasher and Vixen but figuring out anybody else is like trying to name all of Snow White’s seven dwarves and I definitely can’t do that either!

What holiday tradition are you looking forward to most this year?

I’m really hoping we are able to do cookies this year.

Last year, mom and I made the cookies, which was nice, but it is one tradition I’d like to continue doing with Nolan. He was around two years old when he was allowed to decorate them with us, so it’ll probably be just as long until Kimber will be able to participate in the activity too.

I love making cookies for the holidays, even though we only ever do sugar cookies. One day I will be able to talk my mom into doing a gingerbread because I absolutely love the smell of them but unfortunately, my mom is not a fan of ginger. I’ve also tried to get her approval on doing a gingerbread house but still not getting anywhere with that.

I really envy people who do cookie parties or surprise people with them as gifts like that is so sweet (no pun intended) and one day I would like to convince my parents into doing this for our neighborhood, it’s always been my dream to do something like this, but I haven’t been able to make it happen yet. I’m still hopeful for everything I’ve mentioned in these last paragraphs to work out for me.

Is your Christmas tree fake or real?

We currently have two trees in our house.

The family tree is 32 years old, and its age is really showing because we have multiple things like the actual stand is on its last legs, one is actually broken halfway and it’s top heavy even without the ornaments on it…My parents say that we need to get a new one every year, but it never happens. They’ve been saying this for the past four or five years now, and like I said, it never gets thrown out at the end of the year.

And then we have my tree, and it’s very unique and my gal pals at the nursing home would probably freak out as it is black. In my defense, I’d like to bring it out for Halloween and decorate it with pumpkins and skulls and then switch it up for Christmas. My tree is also smaller compared so it can fit comfortably on top of my mini bookshelf next to my bed and that’s just perfect for me at the moment.

Hands down, what is your favorite all-time favorite Christmas food and/or sweet treat?

I love candy canes, the traditional peppermint and the fruity ones too. My dad and I go a little crazy trying to find the best and slightly different canes. One year we tried the Oreo canes, and they were awful! We were in agreement that you couldn’t tell it was make with real Oreos. Our absolute favorites are the Jolly Rancher and Starburst canes. They are so good and very potent too; you have to be careful with the sour apple ones sometimes/

Be honest: do you like giving gifts or recieving gifts better?

I love giving gifts the most. I love seeing a person light up while they see something they wanted, especially with children. Nolan is still at that age where I can create my little craft ornaments and it’ll be enough to him because his Aunt Meg made it for him. I think that’s why I enjoy doing them each year because I know everyone who receives them in the mail will know how much they’re loved and appreciated to me.

Does your family have a special Christmas recipe you like to help make?

We don’t really have anything we specifically make homemade for Christmas. We purchase premade cookies from the store and dad rarely allows mom to help him in the kitchen for our annual Christmas breakfast, so that’s definitely out of the question, but I’m okay with it though.

Are you a pro-wrapper or do you fail miserably?

I think after a little practice I am not bad with it and honestly, it really depends on what I’m supposed to wrap in the first place. When mom and I were wrapping up Nolan’s presents last year, I was pretty good with the books but once I moved on to a certain toy, I just sat there wondering the best way to attack it and just gave it to my mom as she has done this longer than I have of course.

Most memorable Christmas moment

When Nolan was a year old and just able to walk around without making too many falls, he found one of the wrapping paper rollers and proceeded to treat it like it was his personal saber and at one point we had four of these large rolls swinging around the living room, probably a little too close to the tree itself but the look on Nolan’s face was priceless. Afterwards, he figured out there was an opening on both sides of it and started to scream into it. It was adorable but once this happened though it was time to put them away.

What made you question the truth about Santa?

I feel like this is not the best answer, but this was my way of finding out the truth.

As someone who writes with their feet, you have a weird interest in watching other people’s penmanship and I had a few Christmases where I would look at the tags and the writing on them looked an awful lot like my mom’s or nana’s handwriting, and they both have distinct ways to write things and that’s when I started to realize something was a little fishy here.

What makes Christmas special for you?

Christmas was always a fun occasion to spend with family, even though we hung out together all of the time growing up, it just felt completely different after Thanksgiving. It’s something that continues to happen in my little family, as we see Blondie and the kids most of the time, but when these holidays get closer and closer, my need to share new traditions with my nephew intensifies and I hope as my niece Kimber grows up, she will understand Aunt Meg’s need to celebrate every part of the holidays.

I think being able to see everything through a child’s eyes is so special. They don’t quite understand the dangers of the world–at least they shouldn’t but for some, that’s all they’ve ever known and that bothers me the most because this season should be about good things, but that’s the world we live in now. It doesn’t have to be this way though. I think being able to ignore the ugly for a moment and showcasing the beauty of Christmas is important for everyone and their mental health.

I know not a lot of people will agree with this mindset but that’s how I choose to be for my own sanity but trust me when I say I know about what’s going on in the world. It never leaves my mind completely. The war between Russia and Ukraine, the protestors’ mission in Iran, and the homeless and hungry in the world. I just want a few moments to see the good in my life and hope for peace always.


Well, that is it for this year’s tag and I hope you enjoyed my answers to the questions. If you’d like to participate, you can certainly list them below in the comments and I will personally read each one and maybe even reply back to you too. For the bloggers out there, checking out this post, if you decide to do this tag on your site, I’d also like to see what you had to say too; just leave me a link to that post so it makes the job easier for both of us.

snowflake

Blogmas | Album Review: “Snow Waltz” by Lindsey Stirling

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It has been a long time since I’ve actually done a proper album review. I had plans on changing that this year, but I couldn’t find the right album to make my comeback, that is, until I found out Lindsey Stirling had released a brand-new holiday album.

In 2018, I watched the music video of her version to “Carol Of The Bells” and I still love that reedition of that song. I have found one other cover that could rival it by the artist Ashnikko. I like the symphonic way that Lindsey brought while I also enjoy how creepy Ashnikko was able to do with hers. Anyways, after I heard that song in general, I ended up doing a first impression album review of “Warmer In The Winter” as part of that year’s blogmas content.

Last month, Lindsey unleashed her second album called, “Snow Waltz” and I was smitten. When I saw it on Spotify, I immediately stopped listening to the title track and saved the album so I could do a review of the whole thing you guys. I ended up watching the music video for it, and I absolutely loved how it felt like a live action of the film, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’ as that’s the perfect way to explain how the music video looked like to me. I’ll share it with you later in the post, so you can check it out for yourselves.

For this album, we have 14 songs, and it features two other artists, which is interesting as the previous album had more than that, so I’m hoping this means the rest of the songs are instrumentals. I like hearing Lindsey’s creativity and personality with those types of songs, so I’m hoping I don’t become too disappointed this early in the post.

So, let’s begin with the first track, “Sleigh Ride” and this is a popular tune for many people in the world. If you’ve never listened to anything by Lindsey Stirling, it probably would be strange to only hear a bubbly violin, but this is what I enjoy about her music. It’s usually happy sounds, and I’ve always thought this was a sweet song, and I’m glad the violin sounds don’t take away that tone of the song. What I wasn’t expecting was the way the next song sounded like, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” was so strange at first. Don’t get me wrong, I like it. I tend to enjoy the “weirder” versions of songs, but this sort of had a tiny bit of hip hop throughout and I liked the fact that there were vocals but not a lot of them though.

“Crazy For Christmas” is the first to feature another singer, Bonnie McKee. They have written songs for many, many pop artists and released her own music too. I think they have a beautiful voice, full of sass. This song in particular most be an original as I’ve never heard of it before; I like it though. It gives me Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman” vibes. It has a nice 1940’s flair to it, but it was still very mellow too. It was cute! Next, there’s “Feliz Navidad” which is “Merry Christmas” in Spanish and this one is full of holiday tones but in a faster tempo with Lindsey and the violin on full display.

You don’t see too many artists doing little introductions like these anymore but it’s an interesting way to breaking down part of the album and giving it something else. Honestly, the intro brought me back to her song “Roundabout Rival” with those bold and intense sounds that would go absolutely great with an even powerful Paso Dable choreography! Afterwards, we finally have the title track and I mostly like the fact that it does sound a tiny bit like “Carol Of The Bells” but it also doesn’t sound a true Christmas song either, it can be enjoyed in any season.

Next, there’s “Christmas Time With You” with an artist by the name of Frawley. I have never heard of them, but that’s okay though. I feel like with Frawley’s voice, the entire song has a country vibe. You could do the Charleston to this one honestly! It’s bobby enough to consider with a row of dancers kicking their feet out, kind of like the Rockettes! Okay, let’s move on to our ninth track, “Little Drummer Boy” and since this is essentially about and made for the drums, I loved this route of exchanging the drumming effects to a slow and subtle violin beat instead. I like when overtime a song such as this one with its traditional roots can be turned into something else for the next generation to enjoy.

Another well-known tune to the lineup is, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” and this has a beautiful introduction with an almost ethereal way about it. We have a mysterious singer that fades in and out majority of the song, but I’ve found over the years that Lindsey has sang in a lot of her songs, now whether or not this is her is unknown. Other than that, the song itself reminds me of beloved tune of hers, “Crystalize” as it sort of has the same vibe and it’s very pop forward too. Next, we have “O Holy Night” and this one definitely has a cinematic approach to it, which made me really happy because I love anything with some excitement and this rendition definitely has everything I usually enjoy when it comes to that subgenre.

We now come to our final three tracks of the album; and this one is probably an original because I’ve never quite heard of it before, but this wasn’t the oddest part of it. Well, “oddest” is probably the worst word to use here but I couldn’t figure out a better way to describe my surprise when hearing David Achuleta’s voice after all of these years. “Magic” is very bubbly in the best way, and despite David has grown up since his days on Americal Idol, I still liked how sweet his voice was able to mesh with Lindsey’s melody. The thirteenth track is, “Deck The Halls” and I really liked the pop sound mixed with symphonic notes throughout, it was very lovely. And finally, the last song is, “Ice Storm” and again, it’s another original by Lindsey herself and it has a faster and harder tempo, but it could keep up a holiday cheer about it too. I thought it was a great way to end the album.

Well, now we are done with Lindsey Stirling’s second holiday album, and I can’t say I was surprised I enjoyed it because I tend to love the majority of her work anyways, but I also don’t want to seem biased either. My only problem with this collection of songs is that there weren’t any shockers anywhere, whereas with “Warmer In the Winter” had many familiar artists and interesting ways to transform these oldies (but still great!) into something other people would adopt into their family get-togethers every year, and I’m not saying people won’t do this with this album, it was just a tiny bit plain for me that’s all.

Have you listened to “Snow Waltz” by Lindsey Stirling yet? What were your thoughts about it? Any favorites?

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