Underrated Gems: LOREEN

Hello lovelies!Loreen-loreen-30971883-533-800

For this Underrated Gems post, I wanted to spotlight a musician who I feel deserves more exposure. This week I want to introduce you to the fabulous and unique, Loreen. If you watch Eurovision then you may be familiar with Loreen since she won the competition in 2012. But for those who may not be familiar, Eurovision is essentially the Olympics of the Music Industry in which nations across the world choose musical artists to perform and represent their countries in the race to win the competition. It’s an incredibly cool thing to watch and was recently broadcast in the US for the first time!


Loreen (born Lorine Zineb Nora Talhaoui)  is a Swedish singer who first gained exposure as a contestant on Swedish Idol 2004. She went far in the competition, placing fourth in the series before being eliminated in the eighth week. Immediately after her appearance on the show, she released a promotional single titled, “The Snake” alongside the group Rob’n’Raz and became a presenter for the TV show, Lyssna. Loreen then took a hiatus from the music industry and took less visible work behind the scenes as a segment producer and director for reality TV for several years. She returned to the public eye sometime later after taking part in Melodifestivalen 2011 with her song, “My Heart is Refusing Me.” She did not make it to the finals of that competition, which Sweden uses as a platform to farm talent to represent their country in Eurovision, but came back better and stronger than ever the following year with her immediate smash hit, “Euphoria.” Loreen swept the 2012 Melodifestivalen contest and went on to represent Sweden in Eurovision 2012 which was hosted in Baku, Azerbaijan that year. Loreen went on to win Eurovision and release her debut album, Heal. She has since released singles in preparation for the release of her second album and continues to tour around the world to share her talent and music with fans all across the world.*


MY HEART IS REFUSING ME is a hybrid dance ballad that is full of heartbreak that captures the torment of seeing a different side of someone you love and trying to let them go after breakup but having doubts and residual feelings for them that prevents you from moving on with your life. “Me for you, you for me/It was us against them all/But slowly it came to me/What was underneath it all” coos Loreen with her signature euphoric voice. “Now I wanna leave but I’m lost/So now I can’t break away/Although I’ve made up my mind/My heart is refusing me.” It’s one of my favorites off of her album, HEAL.

I’M IN IT WITH YOU is one of her newest songs to be released. It’s an ethereal track that nixes her usual dance vibes for a more dark, serious tone. The song tells the story of being there for someone in need and them not reciprocating it or returning the same sentiments as much as you hoped. “If you ever fall, I’d lift you up/If you lose your way, I’ll pick you up/And I’m in it with you.”

Paper Light (Revisited) is more of an experimental song that is a remixed, more edgy version of her originally light, Paper Light. I prefer the revisited version, only because I feel it adds a necessary drama and mystique that compliments the theme of embracing your inner strength and capabilities and ascending to your higher forms or elevating your relationship with someone. “We’re born to be higher.”


 You can buy or stream Loreen’s music on:

Underrated Gems is a weekly spotlight on products, books, movies, music, television shows, collectibles, websites or blogs or other entities I feel deserve more exposure. These posts, unless otherwise noted, are not sponsored in any way and are my own personal selections that I choose to spotlight, discuss, and promote each week.

*artist bio sourced through her wikipedia page. It has been rewritten for clarity and to be more concise to better fit this article.


KUBO AND THE TWO STRINGSkubo-and-the-two-strings-poster

Director: Travis Knight
Release Date: August 19, 2016
Studio: Laika/Focus Features

A young boy named Kubo must locate a magical suit of armor worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.

*This review may contain minor spoilers of the film*





I was fortunate enough to receive advanced screening passes to see Kubo and The Two Strings earlier this week. The film, which is in theaters now, is among the other iconic stop animation films produced by Laika, whose notable work includes Coraline, Paranorman, and The Boxtrolls.

Kubo is a film that is both rich in its stunning visuals and a strong story that is often seen in Laika’s growing library of stop-animation films. It features the theme of overcoming any obstacles, ascending to your highest form, learning to let go of the ones you love, and forgiving those who have done you wrong. Kubo has to be one of my favorite children’s films of the year so far. Its message and core elements are not only positive and carefully put together, but also relate-able.

The film sees Kubo—a gifted musician whos talent brings paper origami to life—setting off on a quest alongside the aid of a guardian monkey and samurai beetle as they search for the three missing parts of a legendary set of armor while being tormented and chased by Kubo’s less than friendly Aunties and Kubo’s harsh, misguided grandfather. Whereas one’s aunt may pinch their cheeks a little to hard, Kubo’s aunts want something more dire, which I can’t say because it is a part of the more spoily info of the movie. While his aunts are a little creepy, their actual aesthetic is insanely cool.*

  • I should note that if you watch this film and wonder why their mouths aren’t moving, know that it is because their “face” is actually a mask. This wasn’t as clear in the beginning, leading me to think they spoke through telepathy or other “witchy-ways” until it is revealed to be a mask later on.

Kubo, while being family-friendly, is a little dark in its tone—but not some much that would disturb the young viewers this film was geared to. It’s rather more of a realistic film, with a realistic ending, for supernatural circumstances. I really enjoyed it and could easily watch it again, leaving me waiting for the release of a DVD/Blu-Ray combo pack whenever one should be released. Laika has continued to make stellar animated films, and I’m looking forward to watching more of their work as they continue to prove why they are one of the newest and best leading stop-motion animators in the industry, and rightfully so.


DISCLAIMER: I attended a free advance screening of this film courtesy of Focus Features, Laika and BackstageOL in exchange for the possibility of a review or feedback. I have not been compensated in any way to write this review, these are my own honest and authentic opinions of the film.

Book Spotlight: Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole (Available Now!)

Arcana Rising 2 - Larger

Now Available!


Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestseller Kresley Cole.

When the battle is done . . .
The Emperor unleashed hell and annihilated an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind–but Circe struck back. The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

And all hope is lost . . .
With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter’s reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her. Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

Vengeance becomes everything.
To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future–and her chilling past–will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter’s ashes, stronger than ever before?

Arcana Rising 2 - LargerAVAILABLE TO BUY NOW!

kresley-portrait-card-236x300ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 Kresley Cole is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the electrifying Immortals After Dark paranormal series, the young adult Arcana Chronicles series, the erotic Gamemakers Series, and five award-winning historical romances.

A master’s grad and former athlete, she has traveled over much of the world and draws from those experiences to create her memorable characters and settings.Her books have been translated into twenty foreign languages, garnered three RITA awards, and consistently appear on the bestseller lists, in the U.S. and abroad.

You can learn more about her and her work at www.kresleycole.com or www.facebook.com/KresleyCole

Connect with Kresley Cole:
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Note: I would like to thank Caroline Laird and Kelsea Woods of Sullivan + Partners for contacting me about this book spotlight and providing me with all of the materials needed for this post. Author photo retrieved via Author website.

Read my review on Poison Princess, the first book in The Arcana Chronicles series: HERE