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.

 

 

Book Review: The Road Ahead is actually a field guide on how to pick an unsuspected winner in any election.

I was eager from page one to start reading The Road Ahead by Willie Handler because in high school, I fell in love with the subtle humor associated with the genre of satire from reading books like Candide by Voiltaire, etc.

Some who have read my own previously published novels could argue that they contain a satirical tone to romance.

Yet Willie’s book kept me reading from the beginning because his characters had definite quirks, flaws, and a sense of realism to them.

And even though this book was published in 2016 prior to the election of Donald Trump in America, a non-political guy getting elected to lead a nation sure seems like quite a joke based on our past history.

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but what I liked best about Willie’s book is the message that it gets across:

Just because a person didn’t study political science or has a background in politics or public service does not mean they aren’t going to take what they do know and surprise us all in the end.

You should never count anyone out. In politics or in life. People have a way of surprising you in good and bad ways.

In the meantime, I look forward to Handler’s next novel. I’m already anticipating the fits of giggles it will have me in.

To interact with Willie directly, use the information below.Willie Handler Press Graphic.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing Cookies For A Cause

 Started in 2016 to allow a freedom of expression for myself and others, and known by most as a book and music blog, I feel that it is time to launch my next initiative within the community.
The mission statement of The Smart Cookie Philes is ESPRESSO YOURSELF and as seen on these designs is the main logo for the site.
I wanted to raise awareness of causes I believe in that follow the same ethics as The Smart Cookie Philes which is why I designed the logo to be the first COOKIE FOR A CAUSE.
Each shirt with this main logo design will benefit Bess The Book Bus. To learn more about this great cause, please visit here:
Each mug with the logo benefits The Smart Cookie Philes.
Thank you for supporting my efforts to be the change within my community.
Signed,
The Smart Cookie
T-shirt
Shirts start at $21
Mug
Mugs start at $15
Sticker
Stickers start at $6

Shipping Info

For influencer opportunities and to be considered as the next cause, please email Chelsea at wittywriterpoet26@gmail.com

If you can’t buy anything at this time, please still share this with all your friends.

Auguilera makes pop music comeback by speaking her truth with eighth studio album Liberation #MusicReview

After a five and a half year hiatus since her last music album, Christina Aguilera is back with a strong message of self-truth after taking five years to focus on family and other projects. Aguliera is quoted as saying regarding the feel of Liberation comes from a place of pure freedom:

“I’m at the place, even musically, where it’s a liberating feeling to be able to strip it all back and appreciate who you are and your raw beauty.”

Liberation was released on June 15, 2018 and debuted on the Billboard Hot 200 at #6. Notable tracks include:

“Dreamers” featuring voices of little girls talking about what they hope to grow up to become or dream of being

“Fall In Line” Aguilera’s duet  with Demi Lovato, painting a strong lyrical picture relevant to the #MeToo movement that women and young girls should know their worth is more than their sex appeal or sexuality.

Other noteable tracks include Twice, Accelerate, Masochist, and Unless It’s With You.

Fall In Line Music Video

Shawn Mendes gets vulnerable on third album that bares his name and his heart #MusicReview

On May 25, 2018, Mendes let us in on his most personal album to date. The 19 year old released self-titled album, “Shawn Mendes,” with the first promotional single off the album being a song depicting feelings of panic, anxiety, and depression with “In My Blood.”

It debuted at #1 on the Billboard Hot 200 the first week it was released.

To listen to the entire album for free, please use this custom Youtube playlist.

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Song by Song Review

In My Blood: A very vulnerable and authentically written song about suffering from anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.

Though the speaker, no matter how hard it gets, knows it isn’t in their blood to give up.

Sometimes I feel like giving up but I just can’t. It isn’t in my blood.

Nervous: A kick drum keeps rhythm with this catchy pop track about how your heart rate picks up around the person you are crushing on.

Lost in Japan: Jazz piano and bass guitar chords give this a sultry musicality about surprising the person you are catching feelings for.

Where Were You in the Morning: Bluesy musicality sets the stage for a track about waking up to see your one-night stand left without leaving their number.

Like To Be You (ft. Julia Michaels): Guitar strums keep time while Mendes duets with Julia Michaels (“Issues”) about wanting to know everything about someone.

Fallin’ All In You: An acoustic guitar carries the heart of the track about fallin’ in love with someone after a one night stand.

Particular Taste: Co-written by Ryan Tedder, the fun and dancy musicality tell a story about a woman who knows what she wants, likes or dislikes. It has a Prince-like feel.

Why: Two people who won’t admit their true feelings which makes things weird and awkward between them, especially if they are friends.

Because I Had You: Short minor chords strummed pain the musicality of this song about giving yourself permission to love someone new.

Queen: A relatable track about a girl who is shallow, one-dimensional, and all about what’s currently cool. It’s my favorite track on the album because the lyrics are so well-written.

Youth (ft. Khalid): A song featuring Khalid (Young, Dumb & Broke) about all the current school shootings to raise awareness about gun violence.

Mutual: The musicality creates a push and pull sound which creates a soundtrack of someone who plays with your emotions to feel better about themselves.

Perfectly Wrong: Minor chords create an awkward cradle to realizing someone is wrong for you but you still hold a candle for them.

When You’re Ready: A soft acoustic sweet song about being willing to wait for a chance to be with that one person.

A soft heartfelt finale to a music album that showcases a singer-songwriter who is learning who he is as a young man, and isn’t afraid to share his beautiful soul.

 

 

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.