Happy Birthday to The Smart Cookie Philes!

Today, we are two years old. Wow, how fast time flies!

Some people are unaware of the origins of this site and how it came to be so I figured it was appropriate to share the birth story of The Smart Cookie.

Not being able to find a job once out of college was part of it.

Not being able to find a job that was my dream job and also accepted all of my idiosyncrasies was also part of it.

The Smart Cookie Philes was born on MLK day 2016 because like the GREAT changemaker, I too had a dream, and it wasn’t one dimensional or going to be abc-123 easy to achieve.

So I decided that the right opportunity doesn’t wait for no man, so I created the opportunity for me and many others.

To the untrained eye, this looks like a simple book blog and that was the original intention behind it.

Yet, I am a vivacious reader who also loves everything that music does for it’s listener. How it soothes the soul, makes you feel less alone, and connects people.

I realized then that books and music both connect people in similar ways even though they are entirely different mediums, they both start from the same origin: out of the heart and mind of a creative soul who wants to affect change some how some way in a wave, in a ripple, in a surge of hope.

Yet, I also wanted this to be a site where all people not just writers and musicians could feel welcome because society really provides a heavy load with it’s labels and pressures if you don’t exactly mirror every other person that has gone before you.

So this is a community for the rejects, for the weirdos, for the over-caffeinated writer who grew up too shy to do anything but vivaciously read and learn all the lyrics to their favorite songs and yet, had trouble finding solace and acceptance among those in their peer group.

This is a community for those who decide to dare to be different and are unafraid and unashamed to walk a path not yet walked so that by chance, they can lead the way for others who come after who feel the same way.

This is a community for those who become a part of it to ESPRESSO THEMSELVES however that looks no matter what because we only get one life and we should live it in the most genuine and authentic way we know.

Here at The Smart Cookie Philes we are all smart, strong, and enough. After all, when it comes to cookies, flavors and variety always makes for a more delicious experience overall.

THANK YOU for your continued support of my dream and the beautiful works of others.

Here’s to more years being exactly who you were meant to be and expressing yourself authentically.

So much love,

Chelsea DeVries

Creator of The Smart Cookie Philes

Never miss a crumb of the action by subscribing to my email newsletter That’s The Way The Cookie Crumbles.

 

 

Illuminate by @shawnmendes will light up your heart, soul, and your playlist.

Although this album was released in 2016, I finally got around to listening to it recently in anticipation of Mendes third studio album which also happens to be self-titled.

Illuminate in a nutshell has Mendes looking like the pop version of Jonny Lang with it’s musicality and rock and blues elements.

It peaked at #22 on the Billboard Hot 200 chart.

Of all three Mendes works, this is by far my fave because Mendes voice matured from his last album, and so did his songwriting style and use of musicality. All songs on this album were co-written with Teddy Geiger.

Listen to the entire album via this custom Youtube playlist.

Song by Song Review

There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back: A fun pop dance track that is played up with dancy guitar chords about being with someone who inspires you to face your fears, and feel free to be yourself. My favorite song off this album for sure, although the rest of the album compliments this first track so nicely.

Ruin: A slow jam about a love that went wrong but you can’t let go of because you still believe you were meant to be with that person.

Mercy: A piano ballad that grips the listener like a siren song that begs for mercy because this person keeps tearing you up with the distorted way they show & give love.

Treat You Better: A strong pop anthem about a guy who can see a girl is in a toxic relationship, and believes he’s the better suitor because he can see her full potential & worth.

Three Empty Words: An acoustic guitar and soft vocals create an authentic ballad about a relationship that is empty & unfulfilling.

Don’t Be A Fool:  An R&B bluesy track that bears the bad news that he’s not the right guy for this girl, and wants to prevent her from looking a fool by encouraging her to move on.

Like This: Another piano ballad where the vocalist carries pain in his voice. Musically, it reminds me of Nick Jonas’s song “Vesper’s Goodbye,” because of the similar sorrowful singing, soft acoustics, and lyrical content.

No Promises: With this track, it shares casual views on love to avoid consequences of heartache and pain.

“I’ve been living only for this moment and I don’t want to let it slip away.”

Lights On: A sultry song that has sexy undertones that describe the act of making love to someone with the lights on.

Honest: The rhythmic musicality of this track is infectious and is something that will stick in your head much like the topic of this track: the final break-up conversation.

Patience: A clever take on an on-and-off relationship that leaves you with withdrawal symptoms and distraught over all when it is all said and done.

Bad Reputation: A sultry, bluesy, I-want-her-so-bad type jam about a person with a reputation you can’t seem to stop thinking about.

Understand: Gospel-style musicality paints this track about wanting to understand who you are and where your life will take you.

Hold On: A slow jam encouraging those fighting life’s battles and that they must “hold on.”

Roses: A metaphor using a rose as a visual image of whether the love between you and this person, asking:

“Will you let it die or let it grow?”

Mercy (Acoustic): A cut-down, simple version of the crooner-tortured heart pop anthem.A definite fireworks finale for this musical masterpiece.

 

 

 

 

 

.@ShawnMendes Releases Something Big with Debut Album #Handwritten

Released on April 14, 2015 by Island Records is the Debut Album by Shawn Mendes. Ask me two weeks ago who Shawn Mendes was and I wouldn’t have been able to fully tell you other than that he was a singer who became famous from Youtube. Despite his cliché Justin Bieber road to fame, he may be able to give Justin Bieber a run for his money. From the Life of the Party, I instantly fell in love with Shawn’s voice and songwriting style. His songwriting style can be compared to that of Ed Sheeran and his vocal talent could be likened to that of Gavin Degraw. Every song on this album is worth a listen, and Shawn Mendes is definitely meant for something big.

 

#VoiceNotes by @CharliePuth is an obvious note to his creative genius

Charlie Puth’s back and stronger than ever with his new album, Voice Notes.

Inspired by recordings via the app of the same name, all songs on this album were created and produced by Charlie himself.

Listen to the entire album by clicking here to follow an exclusive playlist I made via Youtube.

Song by Song Review

The Way I Am: Starting out the album strong with pop musicality this is my favorite track because it has the musical genius of a Michael Jackson song but beside the overall unapologetic message but the rocking guitar chords in the background of the entire song.

The first time I heard it it had instant Tom Cruise in Risky Business vibes:

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Attention: Bass guitar chords carry the pop musicality of this track and the catchy lyrics of one of those attention seeking exes who can’t seem to get that you are over them.

L.A. Girls: A song about losing focus on the one girl who’s important because you fooled around with girls from Los Angeles. My favorite part of this track is the breakdown.

How Long: A song about the confrontation when a girl realizes her man was creeping but told from the guy’s perspective. Musically, it’s fun and dancy with jazz elements.

Done For Me ft. Kehlani: An R&B track about the unfair plight of one-sided love

Patient: A slow jam that Charlie is famous for, asking for his lover to be generous with their patience.

If You Leave Me Now: This album has amazing collaborations stacked up, and Boys II Men add an incredible vocal layering, and harmonies to this song which helps to give it that heart and soul r&b musiciality

Boy: An electropop musicality creates the atmosphere of a song discussing a relationship where someone older or more experienced makes you feel innocent and juvenile.

Slow It Down: A track about not wanting to take advantage of a girl because you don’t have true feelings for her.

Change ft. James Taylor: An acoustic guitar gives this a street performer feel, and a timely message:

Why can’t we just get along?

Somebody Told Me: A fun and dancy musicality contrasts the lyrics discussing the heartbreak of the one you love being in love with someone else.

Empty Cups: Sultry sythesized bass guitar chords hint at things heating up between you and someone at a party

Through It All: A gospel-like musicality with an encouraging message

God only knows I’ve been through it all

Overall, this music video accurately depicts how I look while listening to this album. It’s such a well put together piece of music, I truly hope Puth gets accolades this year for this album.

Press Release: Award-winning Author Returns with Sequel book, ​Call Me Charlotte​, set in Anna Maria Island

For Immediate Release
May 24, 2018
Contact: Chelsea DeVries, Publicist
smartcookiepr26@gmail.com

Winner of the President’s Book Award from the Florida Authors & Publishers
Association Lottie Loser returns for another adventurous shot at true love
Call Me Charlotte is the second book in Brown’s Anna Maria Island Series and is
officially out for readers anxiously awaiting the fate of Nick Greyson and Charlotte Luce
on May 11, 2018.
Charlotte Luce is tall, brainy and beautiful, and her heart has been broken in two. She
lost her job, and then the man who was her childhood love and best friend, FBI Special Agent
Nick Greyson, is shot, and she doesn’t know if she’ll ever have the opportunity to tell him
something that’s been weighing on her for over twelve years. That she’s in love with him;
always has been and always will be. Call Me Charlotte is the continuation of Book I of the AMI
Series, Lottie Loser, and picks up where Lottie leaves off. It’s the story of love, friendship and
the empowerment of forgiveness, and will make you yearn for Book III, The Greysons.
Dana L Brown went from banks to books with Lottie Loser. A long-time banker and graduate
of the American Bankers Association School of Bank Marketing and Management, where she
earned the distinction of Certified Financial Marketing Professional. She attended Ball State
University, and majored in business.The mother of three daughters, she lives with her husband
in Indiana, but loves traveling to the laid-back lifestyles on the beaches of Florida.

Dana can be reached via her site DanaLBrownBooks.com or for scheduling or press inquiries,
be sure to contact her publicist, Chelsea DeVries at smartcookiepr@gmail.com.

You can buy Call Me Charlotte here

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The above photos are from Dana’s Book Release events for her sequel to her award-winning novel, Lottie Loser, Call Me Charlotte. As you can see, it was a fun time had by all!

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#BookReview: Taste of Revenge by Mercy Jane Ballesteros

This book had me hooked from page one. I wanted to know what happened to the main character Sofia and why she was hellbent on revenge but it was easy to see that betrayal, sabotage, and utter adultery were just a few themes that left Sofia on the path to give all those who wronged her a pure unfiltered taste of revenge.

Also enjoyed how it was told in first person perspective so you could see everything from Sofia’s point of view. Great read from a young talent.

Bright Ones debut album from Bethel Music Kids Shines a bright star from talent so young

Bethel Music is a household name in worship music but they also have a group of nine kids that write and produce worship music relaunching as Bright Ones but still with the same magnified amount of talent.

Hard to believe the kids featured are only between the ages of 12 and 16.

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Young or old, Bright Ones will remind you of the light within you, who you reflect, and cause to dance and sing in reverent worship.

 

Song by Song Review

Bright Ones:  EDM-musicality mixed with lyrics that remind the listener that God’s love shines from within us.

 

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Get Your Hopes Up:  Based on Psalm 30:5, reminding all who believe that they are living in the goodness that he brings

 

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You’re Gonna Be OK: A strong musical letter to all those going through various battles reminding those facing feelings of depression and anxiety who goes before them, and you’re gonna be ok.

No Longer Slaves: An EDM style to the popular acoustic Bethel Music worship song.

We Dance: My favorite song on the album because it’s got a dancy feel to it, and it creates an image of the worshipper dancing with the Lord instead of just dancing for our Great King.

Let My Life: A worship piano ballad that switches to an EDM dance jam that cries for the believer’s life always be a reflection of your love, Lord.

Never Gonna Stop: A worship song about God’s love chases after our hearts relentlessly, and even through the wild parts of our life story.

Spirit Move: A worship song making the listener aware of the Holy Spirit’s presence in the midst of their day to day life.

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Magnetic: An in-depth musical moment that uses imagery of God’s love being a magnet pulling us closer to him the more we believe in it

He Loves Me All The Time: A song that revels in the fact of God’s unconditional Romans 8:38-39 love for each of his children, and nothing can change that fact for all time.

Who You Are: Based on Isaiah 9:6, we can thank God for all he is in our lives through Jesus.

For The One: A song that reminds the believer they are a beacon of light pointing others to God & His relentless love for them.

Tell The Nations: A great conclusion to a strong debut from young people who are wholeheartedly passionate about spreading the good news about how Jesus saves.

 

#NationalPoetryMonth .@langleav’s poetry is a siren song for good in #Lullabies

Lang Leav returns with a second book of poetry that is made to sit beside your bed on the nightstand almost like a sort of dream-catcher to sing you to sleep when sleep is hard to come by.

Lullabies showcases a stronger writer as Leav’s poetry in this collection is very melancholy but highly emotive.

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One of my favorites in this collection is Her Words because it is a poem about a girl who writes, need I say more.

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#NationalPoetryMonth .@LangLeav ‘s #loveandmisadventure is a siren song for love lost and the hope of a future love that lasts

When I was a junior in college, I finally had my own room for the first time in my life.

Naturally, I was excited for how I would decorate my sacred dwelling since the choice was solely mine.

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I decided I wanted to have a poetry wall in one corner of my room and who’s poetry was showcased along the long wall near my door but the Tumblr poet, Lang Leav. Soon after this, I found out she was publishing her first poetry book and I was totally stoked for her as I had followed her literary career from the ground up.

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Boasting hand-drawn artwork and poetry from the author, Love & Misadventure is a book anyone who is hopeful for love despite all their misadventures and mistakes in love should own, and wants to reminisce every emotion that entails.

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#NationalPoetryMonth: Don’t Resist the Rebellion that engulfs you while reading Nikita Gill’s #WildEmbers

I admit to Instagram stalking Nikita Gill and her poetry.

The first time I ever read a poem by Ms. Gill I was in awe.

Then, a few months later, NetGalley sent me an email blast to tease new books

Normally, I delete them without reading because I have a queue of 80 books, do I really need anymore books?

The voice in my head always whispers, “Yes!”

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This time I was glad I opened it as I had the chance to read Nikita Gill’s book Wild Embers.

Since this National Poetry Month, I figured this was the perfect time to share my review and reaction to Wild Embers.

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Basically, it is a well-rounded book of poetry. There was only like five poems I did not read but skim so that to me says that the sparks I was ingesting lit a fire within me that I felt the burn within each sinew of my bones.

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And I remembered my identity: a supernova burning bright to discover pathways and planets uncharted, in order to make a new way for those that come after me.

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My absolute favorite poem in the collection was this one because it made me cry which sometimes leads to a clearer perspective:

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