Music CD Review Foxlore by The Crane Wives

Band: The Crane Wives


A collection of folk, indie music. I’m not well-versed in the genre, but the music is pleasant sounding, even if not all the stories are cheery.

Individual Songs:

Nothing at All – Kind of a reflective piece. Maybe a little bit about meaning of life.

I Talk in My Sleep – Maybe about miscommunication in relationships?

Down the River – Faster tempo than first two on the CD. About aftermath of somebody else’s actions. Kind of a reminder how many lives we affect.

Ribs – Feel like there are some deep meanings in here. Sounds like something written by someone who came through a lot of pain.

Can’t Go Back – A song about moving on.

Curses – Sounds like a jazz piece from the 1940s. Might be one of my favorites from the CD.

Turn Out The Lights – Sometimes you just need to stop thinking.

Pretty Little Things – Nice intro. Very soothing. Another favorites. “Don’t buy me flowers. It pains me to watch pretty little things wilt away.” Sounds like there are deeper meanings to this song. Like it was built on the speaker’s pain. (I think this may be my favorite song overall.)

Know How – Dunno if I get this song, but it sounds cool. “Just because I know what I am, I am supposed to do now, doesn’t mean I know, doesn’t mean I know how.” – It’s one of those I think I know then it slips away.

Now the Ghost – Fear of disappointment can weigh you down.

The Garden – Dunno if I get this song either. Still sounded pretty.


A lively nice collection of folk songs. Solid vocals and sweet background music. (They have some awesome covers on their CDs too.)


The Crane Wives digital store.

Follow the band on Spotify.

Music CD Review: Coyote Stories by The Crane Wives

Coyote Stories (Physical CD) — The Crane Wives

Band: The Crane Wives


Another collection of folk, indie music. Vocalists have nice, smooth voices. Lyrics are a tad hard to understand to one more used to instrumental. (I tend to tune stuff out if I’m doing anything but listening to the words). As with most music, not always a happy tale but heartfelt.

Note: the CDs come with a lovely little booklet that contains the lyrics.

Individual Songs:

Keep You Safe – Story about not taking risks. “Time is not your friend. Time is not your enemy.” Fav line: “No amount of fear will keep you safe.”

The Moon Will Sing – Has really nice background music. “I shine only with the light you give me.”

Allies or Enemies – Very nice chorus. “Are we allies or enemies? This will be the death of me.” Social scenes are sometimes hard to navicate.

Unraveling – multiple loves found and lost?

Hard Sell – Nice beat. I can relate to the lyrics.

Rockslide – Fast-paced.

Metaphor – long intro. Kinda haunting melody.

The Hand That Feeds – Kind of grim, but nicely delivered.

Little Soldiers – Mini story of love lost?

Sleeping Giants – sweet vocalizations; might be my fav on the album

Of Everlong – Sounds kinda of sad, melancholy, and reflective.

Never Love an Anchor – Definitely a metaphor. Pretty straightforward at first but kind of sounds like a parent to child kind of thing. Would have to listen to it a few more times to interpret properly. Cool thing about music, diff people can get different messages.

New Discovery – Kind of a typical story of longing. Beautiful as usual.


Bet they’re awesome in person.


Buy the CD here.

Follow The Crane Wives on Spotify.

2020 Pandemic/ Innova Playlist Explanations

The pic was created by Spotify from the covers to the first 4 songs.


Things may be starting to normalize but the world had a pretty major meltdown in the switch between 2019 and 2020. Didn’t hit hard in the United States until around March. I started making playlists to capture certain book themes and events a while ago, so I figured I’d collect a few for the pandemic too.

You can find the whole playlist here.

Side note: It’s also labeled for Innova, which is a Christian dystopia short story. A lot of the songs have a good dystopia feel to them.

Wave One:

The world goes from plugging along like normal to full panic mode in a very short time.

Future Club by Alex Yarmak – Exciting and weird

Bad Guy by Simply Three – Fun and but kinda creepy and ominous

Light is Green by Kazuma Jinnouchi – This song has a very slow buildup but then ramps up pretty quickly as you reach the middle. It’s from the Halo series, so there’s a good sense of “gearing up for war” contained within the song.

Epic China (War Thunder Trailer) by Jamie Salisbury aka Jonas West – Beautiful and haunting.

Heart of Vengeance Gothic Storm, Christopher Haigh – Things start moving along right away. Kind of indicative of an epic struggle that began before and is continuing on.

Wave Two:

Best themes for the beginning of the lockdowns. I don’t think anybody ever truly loved the idea, but I think there was some unity and acceptance of the necessity early on.

A Matter of Time by Marcus Warner – This song has a very slow build. It sounds almost like a ticking clock mixed with a little orchestra music for about a minute. Quarantines continue around the country.

The New Earth by Audiomachine – Semi-slow build but light-hearted and engaging. Probably best fits the “let’s just work together and get through this” phase of this thing if there ever was one.

Be the Adam and Eve of This Stone World by Hiroaki Tsutsumi – Pretty, light, fun. Things might be difficult now, but there’s hope for better tomorrows.

When You Believe (with Maren Morris) by Pentatonix, Maren Morris – A great version of an awesome song. It’s the only one with lyrics on this list. That’s unusual for me. I don’t agree with every lyric, but it’s got a nice overall message. We don’t need to believe for miracles to happen, but believing is good for us. I recommend the youtube video over the spotify version because it’s great to see the faces behind the music.

Wave Three:

People don’t like being shut in. They start to go stir crazy. These are soothing and inspiring pieces of music.

Throw Off the Bowlines by James Paget – I’ve included this in other lists. It’s not my all-time favorite, but a steady, lovely theme.

Believe by Two Steps from Hell, Thomas Bergersen – Soft start but moves to inspirational. Aspects of this will be difficult for many people, but try not to forget the good things in the world.

Driven by Marika Takeuchi – Sounds like a better version of something that would be played while you wait for customer service. I like it. Waiting’s not easy, but it’s worth doing. Not sure what the composer meant by the title, but it sounds like the driven as in determination.

Tokyo Rain by Marcus Warner – Sometimes, you’ll find people 2-3 or more times on the same list. This second entry is very different than the first. This has become one of my favorites. The general beat is great for waiting, but it’s also moving and lovely. Feels like a good theme for wanting to break out of lockdowns and let lift blossom again.

Wave Four:

Why is this such a long road?

Miracles by Two Steps from Hell – Very slow build up but it holds promises of good things to come.

Concept 2 by 2Cellos – People can endure almost anything. Hang in there. This won’t last forever.

Remember by Simon Wester – Mourn the people, places, and things lost. The world collectively lost a sense of invincibility. Healing will take time. No matter how long it takes, healing will happen. This theme is soft and reflective.

Beyond the Horizon by Kari Sigurdsson (sorry, there should be accents in the name) – Back to epic. Loud, sort of a “hero prepares for the climatic last stand” song. Also fits a “hey, this fight may seem hopeless, but it’ll be worth it, promise.” The world will bounce back, hopefully for the better with lessons learned about compassion and kindness.

Octavia by Marcus Warner and Brione Jackson – End with beautiful.


Hope you enjoyed the list. No matter where you are on the spectrum of this music “let’s do this” to “please, please let it be over soon” there’s something for you. Disease is a tough thing to fight because we don’t understand it, and that’s scary. Music can match almost any mood. If today’s good, enjoy the moment. If today is terrible, hang on to hope that tomorrow will be better. Hope itself is very therapeutic.

Other Playlists to Try:
See the Spirit Move
Musicscapes (all instrumental this is long)
Songs for 2020

Audiobook Promotions:

33 of my 34 audible titles are listed on Audiobooks Unleashed.
Whether you’re looking for mystery or suspense or fantasy, I’ve got a title for you. Never Again (mystery, suspense) and Reshner’s Royal Ranger (epic sci-fi) just made it there.
Note: Filter by US if you’re looking for those codes as many titles are out.
Ones I think may still have US codes: Reshner’s Royal Ranger, Never Again, Innova, The Golden City Captives, The Holy War, Reclaim the Darklands, Eagle Eyes, Treachery Makes it Tense, Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts, The Dark Side of Science, Ashlynn’s Dreams, Nadia’s Tears, Malia’s Miracles, and Varick’s Quest

Devya’s Children Series Links:

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian.
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift.
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma.
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother.
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble.

Songs for 2020 Playlist Summary and Review

cover image made by Spotify

Run time: 1 hr, 40 minutes


The song list for 2020 is still growing. This year, I put most of the instrumental pieces first so you can listen as you do work. There’s roughly half instrumental and half lyric songs. It opens with 4 strong, encouraging songs before moving into a new phase.

Opening Instrumental Songs:

Gambling with Fate by Tommee Profitt

Both epic and moving, this song could mean many things. Challenge yourself to gamble with fate (take risks) and live life to the fullest.

Here to Win by Alexander Hitchens

Another good “fight for it” theme. I put this one on my list for students this year. Rousing and enthusiastic, this song celebrates the seriousness and joy of striving to win/ succeed at whatever you do.

Possibilities by James Paget

Beautiful and slightly haunting, this is a good song for exploring whatever comes your way.

A Taste of Freedom by Antti Martikainen

Exciting and triumphant, this is another song that moves one to get up and do something.

Phase Two Instrumental Songs:

Magic of Love by Thomas Bergersen, Two Steps from Hell

A light, pretty piece. I’ve used before on a playlist I made for my epic scifi series (Anotech Chronicles).

Invincible by Two Steps from Hell

And we’re back to fight scene music.

The Hero Within by James Paget

Don’t know the history of this song, but it sounds like it was on a video game. I love that this song has several sections to it. There’s enough movement and mood shifting to include an entire hero’s journey.

Friendship is Magic by Marcus Warner

Apparently, many positive human feelings are magic. This is a beautiful song that speaks of adventures being more fun when shared.

Phase Three Instrumental Songs:

Back in Action by Alexander Hitchens; Mark Petrie

Very similar to “Here to Win,” the song is another one meant to pump people up for something.

Tell the World by Really Slow Motion

The adventure continues. Fits with the first wave of songs as well. Figured the list could use a jolt of rousing by this time.

Your Soul is Beautiful by Christoffer Johansson

I put this song on the Kindred Spirits list because it’s lovely and fitting for the story, which centers on a pair of guardian angels.

Believe by James Paget

Another pretty song from James Paget. I’m surprised they’re not more widely viewed on YouTube. I like the contemplative strains of this one. As with all song interpretations, I’m sure it can mean a dozen things, but I like to think it has to do with the overcoming struggles.

Leap of Faith by Sham Stalin

Epic. Not quite fight music but certain one that challenges a hero to keep moving after his or her goals.

A Tale of Sea Dragons by Marcus Warner

Beautiful and light-hearted, this song celebrates mystery and magic. I figured this was a nice note to end the instrumental section on.

Phase Four (Challenge 1) Lyric Songs:

He Mele No Lilo – From “Lilo and Stitch” Soundtrack

I’m in the midst of writing about an FBI agent who lives in Hawaii. Found this song while searching for appropriate music to get in the mood to write. Cute movie. If I ever make a sound track for that series, this will certainly be on it.

Time Has Come by Wildwood Kin

Favorite lines:

“We are heroes. Each of us is born a fighter.”

“The war’s not over… it’s just begun.”

Wake Up World by Unsecret, Ruelle

Pretty sure this ended up on the Redeemer Chronicles: Awakening soundtrack made for me by a friend. It’s a good reminder not to just let life float by.

Showdown by Svrcina

Probably wouldn’t feel like one of my playlists without a song by Svrcina. Once again, I’m shocked that it’s not more widely known. Only about 12K views on YouTube. She’s got an awesome voice and her songs are usually unique in a great way.

“I will. I will stand my ground.”

Be A Witness by Unsecret, Fleurie

Another “don’t stand by while things happen” sort of theme. Guess that’s a thing for me this year. I think this also showed up on that Awakening soundtrack.

“If you want to watch the war break out.

If you want to let your silence shout

You can, but I won’t just be a witness.

I’ll stand.”

Phase Five (Challenge 2) Lyric Songs:

Satan, We’re Gonna Tear Your Kingdom Down by Sunday Service Choir

A tad repetitive, but a solid reminder of what kingdom warriors should be doing. (Praying and tearing down Satan’s kingdom here.)

Crowns by Cass

This ended up on an earlier playlist. This is going to be a year about stepping out and doing things I haven’t dared to do before. More details to come.

“Letting go of what the world thinks of me”

Beauty in Your Brokenness by Wildwood Kin

Although most songs on my lists are chosen because of what they mean to me, sometimes, I pick things that are beautiful, have a great message, or might be helpful to somebody I care about.

“It’s okay to make mistakes.

When you let go, you’ll see it differently.”

Wide Open by Austin French, Matthew West

If I had to pick one theme song for the year, I’d probably choose this one, although it’s more a wish at this point, a hope that I’ll have this sort of courage to pursue what I’m called to do.

This is My Time by Carrollton

“Every time I take one step forward

Seems like I fall two steps back.”

“No regrets. Never say die.

Gonna give it all in this fight.”

“This is my time.

Won’t quit I’ve just begun.”

Lyrics are pretty powerful. You’ll probably guess I’ve got a thing for this kind of message this year.

Phase Six (Winddown) Mostly Lyric Songs:

Carry You by Ruelle, Fleurie

Both women have beautiful voices. Another song included for sheer beauty and the reminder somebody else might need. I am sure there will be a time in my life when I need this reminder, but thankfully, it’s not right now.

Never Alone by Wildwood Kin

No matter what you face in life, you’re never alone, even if it feels that way. Once again, not a reminder I currently need, but something that’s been on my heart for those around me.

Freedom Hymn by Austin French

First time I listened to this, I don’t think I really liked it, but it’s currently one of my favorites from this artist.

“I push, I pull, go back and forth

finding myself pounding on a locked door”

“I can never be free without you”

“I can never be me without you”

Climb Higher by Pinkzebra, Benji Jackson

And we’re back to motivational stuffs.

“To reach the top you’ve got to keep on moving”

“You’ve gotta climb higher”

“Let the fire burn brighter”

To the Sky (Moderate) by Dirk Maassen (Piano music, No lyrics)

Could probably end with Climb Higher, but I figured the end (so far) is a good place to put a contemplative, pretty piano piece. It’s kind of a “hey, you’ve just heard a lot of challenges, take some time to process” theme.


Hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about the songs I’ve chosen to represent 2020. Life is full of challenges. Music is a wonderful way to process the things that come your way or psych yourself up to do what needs doing.

Audiobook Promotions …

Feb Promos on Audiobook (requires email sign in):
5 Steps to Surviving Chemistry
Spirit’s Bane (Guardian Angel Files Book 1)
Kindred Spirits (Guardian Angel Files Book 2)
Violence in Vegas (Eagle Eyes Book 1)
Rescue in Reno (Eagle Eyes Book 2)
Danger in Dallas (Eagle Eyes Book 3)

Devya’s Children Series Links:

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – short stories featuring Jillian.
The Dark Side of Science – official prequel to Devya’s Children; Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.
Ashlynn’s Dreams – Genetically altered Dream Shaper learns her gift.
Nadia’s Tears – Jillian tries to awaken her sister, Nadia, from a coma.
Malia’s Miracles – Jillian and her siblings try to save a friend’s mother.
Varick’s Quest – Jillian and Danielle get kidnapped. Nadia’s also in trouble.

Check out my other titles available on Audiobooks Unleashed:

Beyond Broken Pencils – contemporary, literary
Shadow Council Combo (Books 1-4)
(Alternately, the individual titles can be found on Audiobook Crave
SC 1: Money Makes it Deadlier
SC 2: Revenge Makes it Sweeter
SC 3: Christmas Makes it Chaos
SC 4: Treachery Makes it Tense)

Eagle Eyes – mystery thriller

Scratched Off – mystery, thriller; FBI agent vs serial killer, more intense than Shadow Council/Eagle Eyes

Awakening – Redeemer Chronicles Book 1, MG fantasy
The Holy War – Redeemer Chronicles Book 2, MG fantasy
Reclaim the Darklands – Redeemer Chronicles Book 3, MG fantasy

The Collins Case – Heartfelt Cases Book 1, Christian mystery
The Kiverson Case – Heartfelt Cases Book 2, Christian mystery
The Davidson Case – Heartfelt Cases Book 3, Christian mystery

Other titles on Audiobook Crave (but buried deep):
5 Steps to Better Blurbs – for authors
Innova – Christian Dystopia
The Golden City Captives – short fantasy
Fatal Interest – short mystery/thriller

Kindred Spirits Playlist

covers picked out from Spotify

*The descriptions will contain spoilers for the book Kindred Spirits. If spoilers bother you, come back after checking the book out. If you’ve no intention of ever reading the book, enjoy the list. There’s some great music in here.


Every medium (movie, music, book) has the potential to capture emotions. Movies are often enhanced by their soundtracks. It follows that the same can happen for books. This list is for both book lovers and music lovers. The explanations are more of a companion guide.

I like a lot of the playlists I make, but for some reason, this has been my favorite for a while now.

What is Kindred Spirits?

It’s a sequel to Spirit’s Bane, a book about two guardian angels in training. This book picks up after the young angels have earned their commission. The stories are meant to be read in order, but there’s a brief summary in the front if you want to dive right in.

Link to the Kindred Spirits Playlist on Spotify. (I may try to link a few of the YouTube videos for certain songs.)

Songs on the Kindred Spirits Playlist w/ Explanations:

Till I See You Again by Unsecret; The Powder Room

Beginning. I think this song accurately captures some of the heartache Mina must be feeling while being forced to stay on Earth while her friend, Allister is confined to the Heavens. 

Driven by Marika Takeuchi

Shows the passage of time. Good theme for Allister cooling his heels in Heaven.

Hold Her by for King & Country

Allister’s thoughts about being trapped in the Heavens while Mina’s kept on Earth. I imagine he’d pray something like this, asking the King to protect his friend. He’s finally admitting to himself anyway that he loves her.

Holy Ground by Austin French

A turning point for Mina when she stops trying to hide and do her job at the same time. She becomes frustrated with the lack of progress. I imagine she reaches a point where she gets fed up and decides to fight for her charges with all she’s worth.

Soul Searcher by Tom Player

Mina continues her work on Earth.

The Road to Evil by Angels

A good theme for Paige’s hunt for Mina.

Angel’s Flight by Sound Adventures

I think this would make another good theme for Allister’s search for his friend. It kind of captures the essence of longing and determination.

Desolation by Tommee Profitt

A theme for the chase. Mina’s train trip through Pennsylvania and her fight with the demons on the train.

Bravestone by Two Steps from Hell

A song for Allister and Roy’s pursuit of Mina. They’re in a race against the demons to find her first. (Could also fit when they fight back.)

Your Soul is Beautiful by Christoffer Johansson Hylander

I think this fits Mina’s thoughts for Paige as she finally submits to being a captive.

Though the Valley (from The Last of US Part II Trailer) by The Marcus Hedges Trend Orchestra

A quiet, contemplative theme for the dark point where both Allister and Mina are captured.

Rescue by Lauren Daigle

God’s promise to protect Mina and Paige.

Leap of Faith by Audiomachine

Paige’s turning point. She must decide whether to stand with her Masters or her parents and new friends.

Fractions – I the AI Remix by Juniper Vale, I The AI

A theme for the soul plane and Paige being renewed.

The Hunter and the Prey by Halocene

Paige is committed now. She turns on her cruel Masters. I initially thought this would be great for Paige’s pursuit of Mina, but the more I thought about the lyrics, it actually makes sense for Paige’s new passion for justice.

Back in Action by Alexander Hitchens, Mark Petrie

I can see this being for the moment when Allister and Mina finally reunite.

Dragonshield by Epic Score

The fight to save Master Josiah’s body and spirit.

We Are Energy by Giovanni Puocci

Not sure about placement but this theme would be for when the kindred spirits finally work together.

Sound of War by Tommee Profitt and Fleurie

The final clash with Satan, Hadeon, and the demons.

No Escape: Genesis (Instrumental) by Tommee Profitt

The heroes realize the only way out is through the demons. A good follow up for Sound of War. (Yikes, the video itself might make ya dizzy… but the music is still awesome.)

A New Dawn by Myuu

Mina and Allister appear before the Council of Light to explain the situation.

Angels by Sarah Reeves

After the fight, Paige coming to terms with her decision. Theme for the conversation with the Glorious King.

Freedom Hymn by Austin French

After talking with the King, Paige’s theme for being set free.

Two Souls by Peter Crowley

Something to capture the end of this tale and the promise of more adventures to come together for Allister and Mina.

Grizzly Caterpillar by Alan Gogoll

A lighthearted theme to start the beginning of the end. If it was a movie, this would be the song after the lyric one or two as the credits keep on rolling. Angels and Freedom Hymn would be good wrap-ups. It’s also just fine piano music.

Endless by Elijah Bossenbroek and William J. Winchester

Another lighthearted score to end the tale. I like how it has a sense of this is over but life’s full of more adventures.

Here to Win by Alexander Hitchens, Mark Petrie

A rather triumphant score and a good way to end. The forces of good are ready to face evil again.


Whether you read the book or not, I hope you enjoyed this mini-tour through some fabulous music. It’s a nice list to study or work with. It’s arranged for the story though, so the instrumental stuff is kind of scattered. You may want to try musicscapes 1, which doesn’t have lyrics if you’re looking for work music.  

Associate links to follow…

Available Audiobooks: I have free codes for almost everything.

New Release: The Shadow Council Series 1: Money Makes it Deadlier – An FBI agent gets caught up in a robbery gone wrong.

Shadow Council Book 2: Revenge Makes it Sweeter – A midnight summons calls FBI Special Agent Megan Luchek into a fight for a young girl’s life.

Shadow Council Book 3: Christmas Makes it Chaos – The FBI agent gets a strange ally in the quest to prevent chaos from rocking a lot of people’s holiday season.

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.

Beyond Broken Pencils – Contemporary literary tale of a school shooting. Ian unleashes his inner demons on his classmates and teachers…

Scratched Off – FBI agent vs a serial killer. When Sam Kerman sets out to hunt a serial killer, he has no idea how personal the case will become.

5 Steps to Surviving Chemistry – A primer for chemistry students. Breaks down concepts into simple terms. 

5 Steps to Better Blurbs – A book for writers looking to improve their book descriptions

1819 Songs for Students Explained Part 2

This is the graphic made by Spotify for the list


Introduction to Part II:


Thanks for checking out the second half of my explanations for the songs on the 1819 Songs for Students playlist. This half starts off pretty strong with a song about not letting life knock you down.


The Middle Songs …

Higher The Score (Atlas)

“Scraped my knees, bruised my heart
It’s where you end, not where you start”

All my life
I have been fighting, I have been fighting for this
Dream in my soul
And I won’t let it go”

Strength to Believe (Epic Score)

Another song you could believe playing during a moment where all heck breaks loose in a situation.

Never Give Up on Your Dreams by Thomas Bergersen (Two Steps from Hell Unleashed)

Thomas Bergersen does some amazing movie trailer type music. I love the title of this one. There are a lot of fantasy themes in this piece. In this case, I like that it’s long. It’s kind of a miniature epic tale. It just makes you feel: wow, this might be hard but I can make it.

Revolution by The Score (Atlas)

Fear is a natural part of life, but don’t let it conquer you. I don’t know exactly what you’re dealing with, but odds are good that others have been where you are and can help you.

“Can’t let time keep passing me by
Run down what I’ve always been chasing
Black out every fear I’ve been facing”

The Insurgency by Henry Jackman (Uncharted: The Lost Legacy)

This is more a “hey, danger is coming” theme. Facing unknown dangers seems to be the prevailing message behind what’s here. It’s also just a fun song.

See What I’ve Become by Zach Hemsey (The Way)

This song offers a significant slow down from the previous one before moving into a rousing marching type section in the middle.


Climax Songs …

Light That Fire by Oh The Larceny

I really just discovered this band on Spotify. Much of their music sounds the same. There seems to be a good theme of not giving up in there. Not a fan of the word “ain’t” but it has its uses.

“If I am beaten, I’m not defeated
I fight back to the top
Ain’t backin’ down no, we goin’ big
Ain’t stoppin’ now, we get after it”

Free produced by Tommee Profitt (features Svrcina)

The singer’s amazing. Check out the 1718 list if you want to hear more of her.

“Secrets tell a million lies

But the night still has a thousand nights

And when the truth is brought to light

You and I

Will be free, free, free.”


Be honest with yourself and others.


End Songs …

Light is Green by Kazuma Jinnoichi (from Halo 5)

This song has a very slow build, but when you pass the midpoint, it turns into something filled with profound conviction. The last minute is gorgeous.

Wallrunner by Stephen Barton (Titanfall)

Never played any of these games, but the music is pretty. It works very well with the previous song. Sort of like the extended credits score.

Flight of the Silverbird by Thomas Bergersen (Two Steps from Hell; Battlecry)

A soft, moving way to end. This song promises that there’s more to come yet this portion has ended. Hopefully, we’ll all make it through to the end and come out triumphant. There are portions ~1:21 that speak of great victory and parts about a continuing fight (~1:45).



This list is definitely a work in progress. I’m happy with most of it, but there’s probably also undiscovered music. Every class has a character. I’m still getting to know the current batch of students, but if these music choices are any indication, I want to encourage them to not give up on finding their way in life.

Pacing Note:

I tried to mix in contemplative themes and upbeat ones. The few songs at the very end might be relocated because they were added very recently.

Associate links to follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.


1819 Songs for Students Playlist Explained Part 1

This is the graphic that pops up when you see the spotify list


The tradition started last year. One of my friends got me into making Spotify lists, so it seemed natural to create a list for my current students. As we approach the end of the first quarter, I feel like I know them well enough to at least attempt putting the list together. It won’t be done until June 2019, but this is what’s currently here. The post is going to focus on the first 1/3 or ½, depending on how much I gotta say. I’m probably going to be adding random commentary as I go. The lyrics pasted in are my favorites. Sometimes, I include them because they just sound cool and sometimes, they have deep meaning.


Find the full list to the 1819 Songs for Students here.

(Links should go to Youtube. I will try to embed a few as well.)

Opening Songs …

Game of Survival by Ruelle (album = Madness)

Sometimes I pick songs for the lyrics, and other times, I go for the whole feel or even just the title. This song has a little bit of everything. Life in general is a game of survival. You’ve got to learn to balance work and play. Being a teenager’s not easy, and I definitely don’t envy those who have to grow up now.


Ready Set Let’s Go by Sam Tinnesz (from Ready Set Let’s Go)

I love this upbeat song. It could totally be used for a cheerleading squad’s routine.

“We’re death defyin’
Coming in like lightnin’
Look out, we’re strikin’
Ready set, ready set, let’s go”

Stand Strong, Stand Together by Christopher Lennertz (from Mass Effect 3)

A beautiful and sweeping score that conveys the idea of solidarity. Some people might discount or dislike video game music, but in the past few decades, some of the most moving themes have been featured on games. You don’t have to play the games to appreciate the emotions being conveyed. I forget where exactly this song pops up in ME3. I think it’s near the very end before you head into the final confrontation. Video games are rather violent in many cases. Ones like this usually reach a do or die moment where winning is the only option.

Still Breathing by Veridia (Still Breathing)

Some events in life hit harder than others. If you’re still breathing, you can make it through to a better moment in time. Life’s full of darkness and light, but you are never truly alone in any of your struggles. I hope you remember that.

“Every moment every day is a gift you gave

And I can’t believe I’m still breathing.”


“Let the monsters come

Not gonna be afraid

Cause I know that I’m not alone

I’ve got giants on my side.”


Unstoppable by The Score

The basic message of the song is great: always strive for the very best. As mentioned previously, there are things in life that hit you very hard, but in the end, you’re unstoppable (if you don’t give up.)

“Keep your silver, give me that gold
You’ll remember when I say
We can be heroes everywhere we go
Keeping us down is impossible
Cause we’re unstoppable”


First Class by Henry Jackman (X-Men: First Class)

Another score that conveys ideas of solidarity and drawing together to face hardship. My class is NOT hardship, but there are times where I expect you to work together to overcome the challenges you’re faced with.


Elements by Lindsey Stirling

This woman has one of the most unique sound qualities I’ve ever heard. Besides, how could I turn down the opportunity to insert a song with such a fitting title for us in chemistry? It’s also lovely, if a tad on the long side. It would make a great soundtrack to viewing something at the microscopic/atomic level. The geometric shapes you’d see if you got down that small would be amazing. There’s order to matter, but chemical reactions and matter interactions have a chaotic quality to them.


Never Give Up by Sia (from “Lion” Soundtrack)

Probably not most of our stories, but the sentiments in the song ring true. I really don’t expect bad things to happen right now, but that’s just the nature of some of life’s nasty surprises. Never give up is a pretty straightforward message. You can overcome anything. I also like that this song is all about finding one’s way home. Family can be a huge support and comfort in all times.

“I’ll keep gettin’ up when I hit the ground
Oh, never give up, no, never give up no, no, oh”


Never Going Back by The Score

“I’ve already hit the low, oh, oh, oh, oh
I’ve already felt the cold, oh, oh, oh, oh
So I’m never giving up, never gonna crack
Never giving in, never going back”


Taking a Stand by Henry Jackman (given the cover, I’m gonna guess it’s from Captain America: The Winter Soldier)

Score time. Never give up on your friends. Certainly, don’t let them lead you down a dark path, but stand by them when you can. Cap doesn’t give up on Bucky.


Can’t Stop Me Now by Oh the Larceny

This song is so clear with its message it actually comes across as arrogant. Not sure I agree with quite everything here, but the sentiment of never stopping is still applicable.

“Ain’t afraid to bare my soul, ain’t afraid to walk on coals
Hear the thunder when I step, you know where to place your bet”


Take Flight by Lindsey Stirling

Parts of this song soar high while others dip. There’s a lot of movement here. Like Elements, this music feels like a great representation of what we do. Chemistry is about studying matter and its interactions. There’s a great deal of mystery and excitement. Ha, I can tell I haven’t convinced you all of that quite yet, but maybe one day.

Conclusion to Part I:

That’s as good a stopping point as any. Lindsey’s a gem. Lots more to come. To get the full effect, hear the whole list start to finish. The placement of each song was something I messed with for quite some time.



Associate links to follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)

Amazon Prime

The Collins Case – 2 FBI agents track down a kidnapped family. Kid friendly.

If fantasy’s more your thing, go Redeemer Chronicles. The first, Awakening, is available as an audiobook.

Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts – a kid deals with her parents’ divorce, bullies, and the wonder of discovery.

Try The Dark Side of Science – Genetically altered kids fight for the right to live.


Movie Reviews 4/5: Sing

I don’t own the pic.


A producer struggles to create a show that will save his crumbling theater. His grand plan is a talent show. As typical of these types of movies, the events spiral downward until they hit rock bottom and the characters have to fight back for what they believe in (redemptive power of music.)

Additional Comments:

  • Good show overall.
  • Star studded cast.
  • I liked the credits with the squid lighting up, but it would have been cooler to see which character went with which voice.
  • Cute but not exactly a kid’s movie.
  • Characters 4/5: The koala was a tad annoying, but the mouse takes the prize for most annoying character. I know that’s what they wanted, but still, there’s always a fine line between creating a great antagonist and creating a jerk everybody hates just because.
  • Not sure exactly what moral messages the movie carries. Believe in yourself; just sing; music can make a community come together.


Worth watching once.

Associate links to follow…

(If you click through and buy something, there’s the chance I’ll earn like $0.04 … not kidding, that’s basically it.)

Amazon Prime


Try Ashlynn’s Dreams Shorts.


1718 Songs for Students Playlist Explanation

This is the lovely cover shot that Spotify made, so I’ma go with it.

Link to the 1718 Songs for Students Spotify Playlist.

Dear students,


If you have no idea what I’m taking about, you either missed class when I talked about this, you weren’t paying attention, or you’re not one of my current students. All sound possibilities. No matter how you got here, welcome. I hope if you are one of my students you’ve received your personal letter. Not sure how that tradition got started, but it’s something I’ve done each year since starting teaching. Personal letters are a rarity. Also, it gives me a chance to address each of you individually, something that doesn’t always happen in wider school settings. A friend, former student actually, got me started on making playlists. So naturally, I decided to compile one specifically for the students from the 2017-2018 school year. (Random people are welcomed too. I hope you find something to love. There’s some great music here.)

Disclaimer: I own none of the music. All opinions and meanings/interpretations are just that … opinions.

A Note About Flow (List Order):

The song order probably isn’t perfect, but I feel like this is the journey we’ve been on this year. Also, all of us are somewhere here in terms of finding out who we are, what we stand for, and what we believe. I truly hope you each find peace. Generally speaking, the songs start out with ones about longing and confusion then move on to hope and growth. Next comes endurance and strength and finally, victory. (The links should go to Youtube.)

Song List and Their Meanings:

Breath of Life by Florence + The Machine

“I was looking for a breath of life
A little touch of heavenly light
But all the choirs in my head sang no
To get a dream of life again
A little of vision of the start and the end
But all the choirs in my head sang no”

“Whose side am I on?”

In some way, we’re all looking for that breath of life, “a little touch of heavenly light,” but the “choirs” in our heads are saying no. Sometimes we’re our own worst enemy. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen students struggle not just with the chemistry, but with much bigger life issues. It’s hard to turn off the choirs in our head that whisper doubts to us.

Up Down by Boy Epic

Besides being a neat, epic sounding song. I feel like this speaks very well to a general sense of lostness and confusion. “And I’m barely breathing, but I’ll fight on” … “Still fighting my demons”

Strength to Believe by Epic Score

Nothing like a solid, sweeping score to gear up for a fight. If this were a video game, this is about the part where all the bad guys start coming out of the walls and you gotta fight fast or die. I love the title. It’s very uplifting. Sometimes, belief is really hard to come by. This goes deeper than a Hallmark-y “just believe in yourself and everything turns to puppies and rainbows.” Still, there’s some truth to the song. Just listen to it. Music often transcends words. The beginning chords are very inspirational, yet there’s a sense of danger and a promise of a good, rousing fight.

Breath and Life by Audiomachine

Okay, so you probably don’t need the extended version. But it had a safer picture than the other one. Different take on the ideal of time passing and gearing up for life.

Who Are You by Svrcina

At first, I didn’t really like this song, but it became one of my favorites. This is how I feel sometimes. “You’re not such an easy target. One minute I know you, then I don’t. Hello. Who are you?” Students (people in general) are very good at putting on masks. Only when chaos is breaking out do I realize that there are things beyond the here and now that are fighting me. Guessing the same holds true for others. Other times, we just have to ask ourselves the question: who are you?

Even if it Hurts by Sam Tinnesz

I actually didn’t pick this song for you, the artist did. See, I wasn’t very tech savvy about my Facebook app. In trying to find and like Sam Tinnesz’s Facebook page, my phone decided I should just PM the man. So my thumbs up like went directly to him. Later, I got a reply thumbs up (’cause what else can one do?). Anyway, so I told him what happened and then remembered I was compiling this list. I asked him to recommend one of his songs to you guys and this is what he chose because it’s about sacrificial love. There are some beautiful friendships in the classes. Friendship’s about more than goofing around in class. It’s about being there for your friends during the good, the bad, and the ugly.

We Will All Be Changed by Seryn

I originally had the song at the beginning of the list, but I like it much better here. It’s really a turning point song. After realizing you’re looking for a breath of life, preparing to enter a struggle, and drawing closer to friends, you’re ready for change. Life’s all about change. I think I put that in many of the personal letters. But it’s a message for everybody, regardless of if you actually got those words written to you.

Undefeated (feat. Beacon Light) by Tommee Profitt, Beacon Light

Not my typical fare for music, I can assure you. Still, this song is awesome. Listen very carefully to the lyrics. “We undefeated.” “rising back up from the ground” “we rising” “never back down.”

The Hate Inside (feat. Sam Tinnesz) by Tommee Profitt, Sam Tinnesz

This song stands as a beautiful, poignant warning. Holding on to negative emotions, including hate, it’s going to eat you alive. “Like liquid poison, it takes its toll.”

Dragonland by Thomas Bergersen

Besides being great music to study for finals (hint, hint), this is good “wait time” music. The Hate Inside is pretty weighty. This is lighter. There are ominous sections to it, but at the heart, the score’s got great buildup to another fight. It’s very inspirational.

Invincible by Two Steps from Hell

Similar in style to Dragonland. This is good musical encouragement to keep struggling against the things that challenge you. Giving up is the most painful thing to watch. Fight on. Life can be very difficult. Turn to family and friends. People can be difficult, but they make life worth living. Seek to take care of each other. This does not include cheating. Ha, sometimes, it means standing up to a friend and saying, you’re going to have to do this yourself because it’s good for you in the long run.

Something Can Grow by Tony Anderson

The direct result of most struggles is growth. This song is occasionally too slow for my tastes, but it captures the idea of waiting, watching, and growth very well.

Fight Club by Lorne Balfe

I partly needed to get back to rousing themes. Also, the song is great for continuing the idea of battle on as well as introducing the theme of endurance. There are notes in the background that are reminiscent of a ticking clock. To me, that says passage of time.

Trouble in Town by Lorne Balfe

This song throws you right in the middle of a fight. It’s like the previous song set you up then BOOM fight.

Roots by Swingin Hammers

Hands down, one of the hardest videos for me to watch. I refuse. It makes me nauseous, but the music is lovely. The lyrics are powerful too. “I’m tired of running, running, running into the things that kill my soul” “tired of always swinging hammers at the love that makes me whole.” Again, we have the idea that we’re occasionally our own worst enemy. “bout time to start kicking, screaming, got to get out of here fast” Okay, so those last lyrics might be every student and teacher come the end of the school year, but metaphorically, run away from the things that kill your soul. Oh, that applies to many self-destructive tendencies people have.

Heart of Courage by Thomas Bergersen

One of my favorite processing songs. This minibreak should give you time to take in the heavy-hitting lyrics from “Roots.” It’s also a great song for embodying the idea of endurance and carrying on through hard things. Much of life requires a heart of courage to wade through well.

Never Give Up by UNSECRET, feat. Rose Cousins

The central message is present in the title. “Never give up.” “Never ever ever ever, ever ever ever. Never give up …” “It’ll take all of us to make this right” Generally, I’m not a fan of repetition, but the idea that you have to repeat never giving up is important. You have to continually fight the urge to just throw your hands up and quit hard things. Growth comes from struggling through things that hurt. That’s not to say go seek tough things to overcome. Enough hard stuff will roll your way just as a part of life. When they do come, never give up.

For This You Were Born UNSECRET, Fleurie

“Silence the doubt in your mind. You were by design a victor.” I love those lyrics. A lot of people go throughout life thinking “what’s the point?” and “I’m just not good enough” You were born to be a victor. Silencing doubt in your head is a great place to start.

“Know in your heart you’re alive. Destiny is on your side.” Pretty. Not quite sure I grasp the full implication of the words, but I like the sentiment.

Who Are You (Russ Macklin Remix) by Svrcina, Russ Macklin

Some questions are worth repeating. Besides, this is a nice remix. Surprising how much changing the tempo can change quite a bit about a song. Still, I figured near the end is a great place to revisit the question: who are you?

Guardians At the Gate by Audiomachine

Actually, the video montage here is decent too. Beautiful music to again remind you that life is a struggle, but a beautiful one.

Empire of Angels by Thomas Bergersen

Finally, time to slow down. Again, great studying music. Can’t tell you how many lesson plans got written to music like this. I think this has a lot more gentle themes to it. We’re back to contemplative, softer, still epic music.

Victory by Two Steps from Hell

As I hear this for the umpteenth time, I think I probably should have switched Victory and Empire of Angels, but title wise, I like how it goes now. There’s something nice with ending a year on a note of victory. For some of us, just passing is our victory.


There will be many things for you to face this summer and the years beyond. Music can’t fix everything, but I hope this list has given you something to think about. Success doesn’t automatically mean money and fame. It means living life well, not just for yourself, but for others in your life. Take responsibility for who you are, what you believe, what you will become. It’s been a pleasure to work with each of you. Come visit in future years (um, just not when you’re supposed to be in a different class, even if there’s a sub there…). I have enjoyed getting to know you as you are now and look forward to seeing where life takes each of you in the future.



Julie C. Gilbert





Companion Playlist for Reclaim the Darklands



Everybody knows that music can hit a whole lot of emotions. People have used it to enhance movies and television shows for ages. Recently, I’ve asked a friend whose taste in music ranges very far and wide to select songs for themes, characters, and situations in some of my book series. What follows is my commentary for a selection of the songs. I will share her thoughts later in the week. This kind of project is very collaborative. I focused a lot on the story tie-ins and my friend did that plus paid attention to the flow of music.

Here’s the link to the ebook connected to this music. You can receive the first in the series by joining my mailing list. (There are also a lot of opportunities to win free paperback versions.)

Reclaim the Darkland Playlist

Select Character Themes:

Right Where You Want Me – Victoria Saveron (beginning)

“If I’m a target for the enemy, then I’m exactly where you want me.” It captures the idea that no world changing ever happens in complete peace. There’s conflict. There’s hardship. There’s war.

For This You Were Born – Victoria Saveron (end; she’s half Arkonai/ half Saroth)

The song kind of sums up the whole series. I don’t think the lyrics particularly contain spoilers but there are several parts that connect very well to Vic’s journey to understand who she is and what she’s always been destined to accomplish. “Silence the doubt in you mind. You were by design a victor”

Born to Bring the Light – Katrina Polani (Saroth)

Katrina’s always been very comfortable supporting Vic’s quest, but there’s also a time when she’s asked to step up even more. “I wasn’t looking for a fight, but the fight found me.” “I was born to bring the light. To chase the dark and face the night.”

On My Side – Sara Andari (Bereft)

Sara’s always had very, very strong faith. Even though she’s Bereft, meaning she has no connection to magic, she trusts the One completely. “You go before me. You stand behind. You tell my fear to run. Always and forever I am loved.” (Could also be for Vic, but more than half the songs have some connection to her.)

Devil’s Got No Hold – Shadow (Arkonai)

This is for his turning point. Most characters have one. There’s a particular point late in the book where Shadow needs to pick a side once and for all. “He can’t have the best of me. The devil’s got no hold on me”

My Favorites:

With 57 songs, it’s inevitable that any listener will be able to find a few favorites and a few they have trouble connecting to. I’m no exception. Here are a few of my personal favorites.

Who Are You and the Who Are You remix:

They’re both gorgeous pieces of music. I argued strongly to keep both in the list, but I’m pretty sure I didn’t have to twist my friend’s arm too hard. They ended up at different parts of the list because the differences in their tempos facilitated different moods. I feel like the lyrics fit the Dark Man (bad guy) questioning Vic. “You’re not such an easy target. One minute I know you then I don’t.”

Be A Witness: This song is pretty convicting. The whole of Redeemer Chronicles has some strong themes of racial tensions and unrest. “If you want to watch the war break out. If you want to let your silence shout. You can, but I won’t just be a witness.” This is the crux of the declaration the main characters are making at the beginning of the story.

Roots: This is beautiful and poignant song about breaking free. Different context than the video, but there’s a chapter in the book that lines up with the ideas pretty closely. “I’m tired of running, running running into the things that kill my soul.”

Chapter Alignments (Work in Progress):

This is a slightly outdated list, but it shows you some of my initial processing of the list of music. Question marks mean I wasn’t certain of the placement. There might be a few songs that were removed from the list, but I “think” I got them all.

Chapter 1: Rise of the Redeemers – We will All Be Changed; Be A Witness (Wow, powerful song)

Chapter 2: Hostage Negotiation – Watch Your Back

Chapter 3: Two Visitors – Right Where You Want Me

Chapter 4: Search for the Sage – Heart of Courage

Chapter 5: Resolute Rule – The Hate Inside; Free

Chapter 6: Kaltan City Fires – Hero

Chapter 7: Redeemer’s Gift – On my Side (Sara)

Chapter 8: Special Election – Let the Light Come In

Chapter 9: Prison Break – Free??; Fight On

Chapter 10: Unlikely Healers – Salt of the Earth

Chapter 11: Control Spells – Never Give up?

Chapter 12: Messengers – Find You

Chapter 13: Into the Darklands – Madness (entry); Wake Up World (Vic’s pov – as Vic steps into the Darklands) Running for Your Life (Dark Man’s pov); Closing In; Never give up?

Chapter 14: Special Guests – Game of Survival

Chapter 15: The Black Dragon’s Army – Turning Tides; Legends are Made; Sound Off the Sirens

Chapter 16: Renew and Restore – Conquer; Cover the Earth; Wake Me

Chapter 17: Four Corners –  Ready Set Let’s Go; Devil’s Got No Hold

Chapter 18: Trail of Tears – Never Surrender; Heart of Courage;

Chapter 19: Perfect Prison – Song of the Beyond; Dreamer; Roots

Chapter 20: The Dead Find Rest – Recover; Breathe; Something can Grow; Let the Light Come In

Chapter 21: Fourth Form – Dragonland;

Chapter 22: Most Desperate Hour – I Know Your Secrets; Who Are You (Remix)

Chapter 23: Family Affair – Darkness (Dina’s theme)

Chapter 24: Soul Keeper – Born to Bring the Light (Katrina’s Theme)

Chapter 25: Campfire and Crossroads – Blood and Tears; Never Give Up; Into the White Light


Whether you get to read the book or not, you should totally check out this fabulous list of music. Then go follow all those artists and support them on their journeys. Thanks for reading.


Associate links to follow…

Amazon Prime


Audible – If you’d like some free codes, please email me at [email protected] with requests for any of my works.