Last updateWed, 21 Apr 2021 3pm


Book Review: The Couple Next Door

Book ReviewWith Halloween comes spooky ghost stories, and suspenseful, mystery thrillers that will make your stomach churn or teeth grit. This year is a little different. Instead of going out to parties or handing out candy on your front porch, you may find yourself stuck inside, looking for a way to pass some time. Interested in a book that will have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page? Sunday Times Bestseller, The Couple Next Door, by Shari Lapena, was labeled as, “The most talked-about thriller of the year [2016]”, and it was for her ingenious array of motives stemming from each character within the heart-wrenching reality.

Fundamentally, the novel follows a loving relationship between couple Marco and Anne Conti. They have a wholesome bond, wonderful home, and a beautiful baby, Cora. One night, when the couple is at a dinner party next door, grief-stricken panic sets in when their baby is kidnapped. Detective Rasbach is a key factor in the case; setting suspicion upon every party involved, not leaving even the most innocent out.

The main characters of Lapena’s story grapple with the continuously-revealed secrets among the pair, and the magnitude of one decision. Leaving their baby home alone has now unraveled their family. Lapena’s tale is a one of chilling turns of events, deception, unfaithfulness, and incredibly unexpected moments you need to read to believe.

Read more ...

Best Halloween Flicks For a Spooky Night In

Halloween FlicksIt’s that time of year again—Thirty-one nights of Halloween. There are many options for TV shows and movies to watch for a spooky night in the weekend of Oct. 31.

First, there are the classic Halloween movies that I consider a must watch. There’s Hocus Pocus, a movie full of surprise, comedy and drama. The audience gets to watch as Max and his sister Dani who just moved to Salem, explore the legend of the town witches with Allison, a local girl, and what happens when they learn that the legend is actually true.

Another classic, the Halloweentown series, is one that we all remember from when we were kids. The four films were released on Disney Channel in the late 90s and early 2000s, so we were able to grow up with the Cromwell siblings we watched through our TV screens.

In the first Halloweentown movie, we are introduced to the main characters and are taken on a journey of discovering their powers. These powers are then used to save Halloweentown, an alternate realm for creatures like vampires, werewolves, ghosts, etc.

Read more ...

Alumni Perform at the Center for the Arts’ Virtual Concert Series

AlumuniMonmouth University’s Center for the Arts premiered a special alumni edition of the Virtual Living Room Concert Series on YouTube on Friday, Oct. 23, as a part of Homecoming weekend.

In conjunction with the University’s Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving, the concert included pre-recorded performances by Taylor Hope ‘16, Carlos Morales ‘10, Gianna Cusanelli ‘17, Zach Gindi ‘19, Sharon Laster ‘81, Kellie Shane ‘09, Zack Sandler ‘20, and Natalie Imani ‘04.

“As soon as we knew we weren’t going to be able to host a traditional in-person Homecoming event, the staff on the Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving team put our heads together to brainstorm ways to engage our alumni and friends from the comfort of their homes,” said Laura MacDonald, Director Of Alumni Engagement. “We put a call out to alumni via social media and email and collected submissions.”

“We were thrilled to partner with eight talented alumni artists to put on this virtual showcase,” added Kristin Waring, Assistant Director of Recent Alumni and Student Programs.

Read more ...

Book Review: Before I Fall

Book Review 2Have you ever made a mistake one day that haunts you when you go to bed that night? You think to yourself, “Why would I say that” or “I should’ve chosen to go somewhere else” or even “That wasn’t the right decision and I knew that.”

The thought of a decision you made aches in the back of your head, unable to shut off the persistent and lingering judgment you’re giving to yourself. Or maybe you didn’t even realize the impact of what you had done or said to outside parties.

Déja vu is defined as a feeling of having already experienced the present situation. It is the internal motion that one has lived through the specific situation and has “already seen” what is currently occurring. Popular high school senior Samantha Kingston knows this surreal experience all too well in Lauren Oliver’s young adult novel, Before I Fall.

Feb. 12, “Cupid Day,” was supposed to be a day of partying, roses and privilege for the ranking queen of the social pyramid, Samantha. However, that is until she dies that very night in a devastating accident. Darkness. Until the sound of the rhythmic alarm tone is heard in the background. She wakes up the next morning. And it’s Cupid Day. Again.

It continues to be this same day seven times over again, forcing Kingston to relive her last day until she realizes the faults she’s putting out into the world around her, the worth she didn’t know she embodied and the wrongs that she has the potential to make right, at her very fingertips.

Read more ...

Books That Will Get You in the Spooky Spirit

Spooky SpiritWith Halloween just around the corner, we could all use some great horror reads to get us in the spooky spirit. Here are a selection of novels I’ve read that are the perfect combination of eerie and suspenseful.

Extremities: Stories of Death, Murder, and Revenge by David Lubar: This collection of short stories is a hidden gem in the horror department. This page-turner includes 13 thrilling tales: there’s the story of a tragic train ride, one about a group of students who get revenge on their cruel gym teacher, and one about a group of kids who stay in a haunted house overnight for a cash prize (we all know nothing good can come out of this).

Spooky Spirit 2

The beauty of this collection is that each story begins seemingly normal, but soon takes a dark twist. It’s such a quick, chilling read that you can breeze through all 197 pages in one day. The most frightening part of this book is the quote, “The pain you can feel in your flesh is nothing compared to the pain that rises from a horror you can’t escape.”

There’s The Dead Boyfriend, about a girl whose boyfriend keeps dying and then coming back to life; there’s Give Me a K-I-L-L, about cheerleading tryouts that end in murder; and there’s Can You Keep a Secret, about a couple who goes on a camping trip that ends in—you’ve guessed it—murder. Stine has been publishing these novels since 1989, so you’ll never run out of Fear Street novels to enjoy this October.R.L Stine’s Fear Street Series: The author of the popular Goosebumps series we all loved as children also publishes a series of young adult horror novels for older audiences. Each book centers around the same eerie setting, Fear Street, the hub for paranormal activity in the fictionalized town of Shadyside.

Read more ...

Book Review: Pillow Thoughts

Pillow TalksWe are all humans, and we all feel a variety of emotions depending on what life is throwing at us at different times. Whether it is excruciating lows or sky-rocketing highs, we’ve all been there. And sometimes, it’s comforting to know someone else understands the pain or joy, the excitement or depression, you feel as well.

Courtney Peppernell, the Australian, LGBT author of Pillow Thoughts, captures the raw truth behind human emotions.

Pillow Thoughts is a collection of poetry and prose about heartbreak, love, loss, and self-worth. Peppernell divided this into ten sections, making it so simple to skip to the parts where you want to feel the most.

She submerges her words into all the aspects that come along when falling in love with somebody. She acknowledges the butterflies you may feel at first glance, the comfortableness and safety you feel within the companionship, the heart-wrenching sadness when things deteriorate, and the aching sadness when you can’t let go of memories you once clutched on to. 

Electronic musical duo The Chainsmokers said, “As songwriters, poetry has always played a special role in our lives. We discovered Pillow Thoughts, and it has been one of the most enjoyable books we have read in a long time”.

Read more ...

Blue Hawk Records Prepare 17th Compilation Album

17th AlbumEven though the outside world is anything but normal these days, the show must still go on.

Monmouth University’s Blue Hawks Records is hard at work creating their 17th compilation album. Being a part of this year’s team, I can tell you first hand that it is going to be a good one.

We have assembled artists who vary widely in genres. We have a few full bands, solo singers, and rappers, so be prepared to switch up your vibe while listening to this album.

Last week, we hosted virtual and socially distanced auditions. Our students presented us with an abundance of talent and it was hard to narrow down to just six. Allow me to introduce you to our artists this semester: Nick Garrecht, Abby Garcia, Justine Ume, Hasan Chambers, Charlie Krause, and Gabe Garza.

Nick Garrecht has been playing guitar for five years and piano for three. Having been influenced by Led Zeppelin, Simon and Garfunkel, the Beatles, and Harry Styles, Nick and his band White Wing have written over 40 songs. Writing and playing professionally is their dream, and they aim to aid as many of their listeners as they can through their music.

Read more ...

Bella and Edward Return In Midnight Sun

Bella Edward 1The year of 2005 created a divide between who was Team Edward and who was Team Jacob, thanks to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight series. The borderline between teen romance and obsession was tested. The fandom around a vampire-human love story blossomed.

Now, 15 years later, Stephanie Meyer has returned, publishing the fifth novel of the Twilight saga, coined Midnight Sun.

However, this book has a little twist that many die-hard fans may not be expecting.

Despite the four previous books in the series, Midnight Sun is now told from Edward’s perspective rather than Bella’s. Meyer did an incredible job of retelling a story that fans have been encapsulated with, without making it seem drawnout or overdone.

Readers and fans see a more intimate side of Edward and his infatuation with Bella than they ever have before. From first glance, to the first words spoken to one another, Edward’s internal feelings are both invigorating and unnerving, all same time.

Read more ...

Are Livestreams the New Concert Experience?

Livestreams 1Since March of this year, the whole world has been turned upside down. So many of the things we love to do are now changed, maybe forever. Restaurants were only allowing people to eat outside. This was great in the summer, but now as we reach fall and winter, it may not be as desirable.

Concerts were all canceled and small venues were closed. Another option for concerts has been the livestreaming option. Artists can use social media or other streaming services to broadcast their shows to a big audience, but everyone can stay right in their homes- maybe even in their pajamas. Will this become the new “normal?” Do people even have interest in watching livestreams of concerts, let alone paying for these?

The New York Times wrote a story in July, examining the changing world of concerts. At this time, there were many examples of artists who had used the Instagram platform and the “live” feature to broadcast some music to their fans. It was a more casual feel, where artists were just strumming a guitar and singing. After more casual broadcasts, though, there is the question of concerts in a more traditional way- big stage, lots of lights, back up dancers, the works.

Read more ...

Eighty Sixing The Kardashians

Kardashians 1Keeping Up With The Kardashians is officially wrapping up after 14 years on the air.

Kim Kardashian announced through Instagram earlier this month that her family has decided to end their extremely successful reality television series. The final episodes are to air in 2021, concluding the series after 20 seasons. 

A source told Entertainment Tonight that there is no particular reason for the show ending. The family is continuously growing, with each sister (besides supermodel Kendall Jenner) having families of their own. It is becoming increasingly difficult for the family to film as a whole or get enough footage separately. 

Kris Jenner recently sat down with Ellen DeGeneres, being one of the first guests to appear on The Ellen Show following the controversy behind Ellen mistreating her staff.

Jenner revealed, “It was kind of sudden. I think we were talking about signing up for another couple of years with our network, and suddenly just all came to the decision as a group that the whole family felt it was just time. It just sort of came to us, and we thought, 20 seasons, 14 years, hundreds of episodes and lots of spinoffs.” 

Read more ...

Artists vs. Spotify: CEO Encourages More Music from Artists

Artists SpotifySpotify has been in the spotlight continually this month. From employees trying to get complete editorial control over podcasts to CEO’s angering artists, there has been quite some backlash toward the company as a whole. Is said backlash justified? You decide.

Daniel Ek, co-founder and CEO the music streaming service Spotify, stirred up the discussion of changing the pay formula for artists. He gave an interview with the website Music Ally, discussing the impact COVID-19 has had on the music industry. With a large portion of incomes coming from live touring and shows, there has obviously been a decrease in the money being brought in, especially for artists themselves. 

Because of this lack of revenue, artists have had to turn almost entirely to streaming services to profit off their music.

Ek states in his interview, “I feel, really, that the ones that aren’t doing well in streaming are predominantly people who want to release music the way it used to be released.” He goes on to say, “You can’t record music once every three to four years and think that’s going to be enough.”

Read more ...

Contact Information

The Outlook
Jules L. Plangere Jr. Center for Communication
and Instructional Technology (CCIT)
Room 260, 2nd floor

The Outlook
Monmouth University
400 Cedar Ave, West Long Branch, New Jersey

Phone: (732) 571-3481 | Fax: (732) 263-5151