Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Thought Corner: Power Rangers (2017)

Title: Power Rangers (2017)
Produced by: Haim Saban; Brian Casentini; Marty Bowen; Wyck Godfrey
Directed by: Dean Israelite
Story by: Matt Sazama; Burk Sharpless; Michele Mulroney; Kieran Mulroney 
US Release Date: March 24, 2017
Viewing Format: Redbox DVD Rental
Going into Power Rangers (2017), I honestly didn’t know what to expect. All I remember of it was the old series I used to watch when I was a kid during—or was it after? Before?—the Saturday morning cartoon block. Still, I’ve heard nothing but good things about the film and was excited to watch it. And you know what? Power Rangers was actually really good. I was surprised by how much I liked the film.

I was prepared for a certain level of cheesiness. Instead, what I got was a well-thought out movie with aliens, superpowers, and Zords (cause you can’t forget about the Zords). But that wasn’t all. This movie also explored the complicated and often messy side of life from the perspectives of characters from different and diverse backgrounds. I liked how this film was made, and the action sequences and training scenes were interesting to watch. The characters are worth making mention of because they were my favorite part of the movie. They weren’t perfect, squeaky clean hero characters who never did or got anything wrong. No, they were allowed to make mistakes and grow from them, all the while learning how to be Power Rangers. The individual and collective character development was spot on. They were great individually, but I liked when they worked together as a team.

I didn’t think I’d say it, but this movie was pretty awesome. I’ve come to one conclusion: I need a sequel. I don’t know if there will be one, but hey, you never know.

What about you? Have you seen Power Rangers? If so, tell me what you thought about the movie in the comments down below.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Music Monday (29) Throwback To Way Back When

  • Music Monday is a weekly meme hosted by Lauren Stoolfire at Always Me that asks you to share one or two songs that you've recently enjoyed. For the rules, visit the page HERE 

Breana: It has been a couple of weeks since we last participated in Music Monday. However, today is a bit of a throwback to the early 2000s, since my picks this week actually come from an album I haven’t listened to in more than five years: Bratz Rock Angelz. Does anyone else remember Bratz? I used to have a lot of the dolls and still have the Rock Angelz game for the Gameboy Advance SP. Anyway, over the weekend I remembered that I once had a CD, but I’ve moved several times and can’t recall where it is. Anyway, listening to this album again takes me right back to my childhood. Seriously, it really does. I used to listen to Rock Angelz all the time. I kind of wish that I never lost the CD, but it is what it is. The most surprising thing is how much I still like the entire album. It’s on iTunes and I’ve seriously considered buying it again.

My first pick is It Could Be Yours. Oh man, after all theses years I still love this song.

And my second pick is Who I Am. I can’t even begin to count how many times I've listened to this song. I used to listen to it on repeat because its one of my favorites from the album. Even though its been so long, Who I Am hasn't lost its charm. 

Adri: I love this album too. I had a different one than Breana. Sadly, I won't mention what happened to the one I had, but just know that it's gooonnnneee. I don't have much to say about these tracks, but when I heard Breana listening to them again I had a mega flashback too.
What are you listening to this week?

Friday, August 11, 2017

ARC Review: The Library of Fates by Aditi Khorana

The Library of Fates
Title: The Library of Fates
Author: Aditi Khorana
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Razorbill; July 18, 2017

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

A romantic coming-of-age fantasy tale steeped in Indian folklore, perfect for fans of The Star-Touched Queen and The Wrath and the Dawn...

No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn't enough. The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them. Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life—and another love—await?
You guys know I loved The Star-Touched Queen (TSTQ) and its sequel, A Crown of Wishes. So, when I saw that The Library of Fates was being compared to TSTQ, I was just like “yes” and also “Where can I sign up for this one?” Low and behold, I got the chance to get an eARC of The Library of Fates and was beyond excited to start it. What makes this hard is that I do like this book, but there are some things that I was a little on-the fence about.

I’m going to start with what I liked about The Library of Fates. The beginning was very interesting. There was some world building going on and I loved all the details about the scenery, old myths, and creatures specific to the book. I also liked the initial direction of the story and was interested in seeing how the political conflicts would playout—especially concerning the main character, Amrita, her father, and the fate of their kingdom. There were a lot of scenes that I thought were interesting. They were creative and took full advantage of the previously established myths as well as the setting.

For the most part, I was a big fan of the characters. Amrita’s initial reaction to the sudden changes to her situation was great, and I enjoyed the fact that part of The Library of Fates focused on her journey. She was helped along the way, and the parts where she was forced to face her past, present, and the possibilities of her future were incredibly emotional and pretty awesome. Thala was pretty interesting. I liked her character mainly because of her strong motivation to be free of her own set of circumstances.

However, as the story progressed I began to notice some things that were kind of similar to TSTQ. Since TSTQ is one of my all-time favorite books, I remember a lot of how the story went down. I know that the synopsis for The Library of Fates makes the comparison, but there was a point when those similarities got a little uncomfortable. Mainly because I felt like I was reading parts of Maya, from TSTQ’s, story again.

That being said, there were a lot of things I still liked about this book. And overall, I basically enjoyed the story and will definitely check out more books by this author. (Actual rating is 3.5 out of 5)

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read (publisher) for this review.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

ARC Review: Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor

Akata Witch (Akata Witch, #1)Title: Akata Witch
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Speak; July 11, 2017

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Sunny Nwazue lives in Nigeria, but she was born in New York City. Her features are West African, but she's albino. She's a terrific athlete, but can't go out into the sun to play soccer. There seems to be no place where she fits in. And then she discovers something amazing—she is a "free agent" with latent magical power. And she has a lot of catching up to do. Soon she's part of a quartet of magic students, studying the visible and invisible, learning to change reality. But just as she's finding her footing, Sunny and her friends are asked by the magical authorities to help track down a career criminal who knows magic, too. Will their training be enough to help them against a threat whose powers greatly outnumber theirs?
I’ve been hearing about Akata Witch for a couple of years now and was excited to get a chance to read an eARC of it. On the surface, it appeared to have all the elements I look for in a fantasy. However, I had some reservations about approaching a book that had a substantial amount of hype. That being said, I really enjoyed Akata Witch. There was so much about the story that just clicked for me. So, I’ve seriously had to stop and wonder why I haven’t read any of Nnedi Okrafore’s novels before. Obviously, I’ve been missing out!

The synopsis of this book promises magic, and it fully delivers on that and more. I’d like to just say that I liked this book and you should read it too, but that doesn’t explain why. I’ll start with the story. The story of this book moves at its own pace, and honestly, I didn’t mind because there were a lot of details to take in. There was magic, lots of it actually. That being said, Okrafore put such a fresh and imaginative spin on it that the premise of the story felt entirely new. In that way, I enjoyed the world building a lot and found Okrafore’s version of a magically inclined society interesting and unique. It’s probably one of my favorites thanks to how the characters interacted with each other and the places around them. There were so many cool elements to the story and setting, and I can’t talk about them for fear of accidently spoiling the story. Just know that they were cool.

Before I end this review, I want to mention the characters. Let me just say that they were amazing, especially the main character, Sunny. From the start, I instantly loved how Okrafore portrayed her character. While the core of Akata Witch was arguably Sunny’s journey as she learned how to handle her abilities as a “free agent,” it was also about learning, teamwork, and friendship. The friendship between Sunny and her new friends was one of my favorite things about Akata Witch.

At the end of the day, I’m really looking forward to reading more books by Nnedi Okrafore, especially Akata Warrior. Also, I’ve heard a lot of praise for her Binti series. So I’ll eventually read those books too.

(Actual rating 4.5 out of 5 birdcages)

This copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review.
About the author...

Nnedi Okorafor is an international award-winning novelist of African-based science fiction, fantasy and magical realism for both children and adults. Born in the United States to two Nigerian immigrant parents, Nnedi is known for weaving African culture into creative evocative settings and memorable characters. In a profile of Nnedi’s work titled, “Weapons of Mass Creation”, The New York Times called Nnedi’s imagination “stunning”. Nnedi Okorafor’s books include Lagoon (a British Science Fiction Association Award finalist for Best Novel), Who Fears Death (a World Fantasy Award winner for Best Novel), Kabu Kabu (A Publisher's Weekly Best Book for Fall 2013), Akata Witch (an Best Book of the Year), Zahrah the Windseeker (winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature), and The Shadow Speaker (a CBS Parallax Award winner). Her latest works include her novel The Book of Phoenix and her novella Binti (a finalist for a Nebula and British Science Fiction Award). Nnedi is an associate professor at the University at Buffalo, New York (SUNY). Learn more at

Monday, August 7, 2017

That Time We Went To Coolirpa's 1 Million Subscriber Celebration...

It just occured to me now that I haven’t actually written any event recaps for this blog—Adri wrote briefly about when she went to see a live taping of a few upcoming episodes of Marlon. So, to keep it organized I’ve thought of a few questions for Adri and me to answer about the experience we had at the event.

For those of you who haven’t heard of her, Coolirpa is a youtuber who takes thrift store finds and literally gives them a new lease on life. Her designs are cool, and I highly recommend checking out her videos (Click here to get to her channel). You can also find her on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter. Recently, Coolirpa’s youtube channel reached 1 million subscribers, and she hosted an event to celebrate. Even though the event has been over for a while, you can still check out its webpage here: Coolirpax1Mil.
What were you overall thoughts about the experience you had at the event?

Breana: This was truly a family friendly event. I went with my mom and sister, and we had a great time. There was music provided by a DJ. There were also a couple of cool things to do like: getting a necklace made; and drawing fashion sketches and distressing denim with instruction.

Adri: It was pretty fun there, and I enjoyed the drawing station. Overall, this was one of the most positive events I have gone to.

What did you think about the venue?

Breana: I thought the venue was pretty nice. It was hot on Saturday, June 17th, but it was nice since you could step into the mall and cool down for a few minutes. Also, there were benches around the fountain, so there were plenty of places to sit. I thought the event was set up in a good way, because there was space to walk around and check out all the booths with enough places to stand and watch the fashion show from almost every angle. Adri, what did you think of it?

Adri: I agree with everything Breana said. I have to add, it was nice having an event like this in Temecula.

What about the food?

Breana: I loved the free samples. The salad samples they were giving out happened to be the perfect thing to eat on a hot day. There were also cupcakes from Truly Madly Sweetly being given out. I know that it’s a bakery in my area, but I’ve never actually been to it before. However, after tasting one of their cupcakes at the event (chocolate cupcake with chocolate and vanilla swirl frosting), I definitely want to go back and see what else the bakery has to offer. Another thing I thought was great were the drinks. There were a lot of them. Between samples and unlimited lemonade, there were plenty of options to stay hydrated. However, my favorite drink was actually the Suja Strawberry Balsamic Drinking Vinegar. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it, but I enjoyed it as much if not more than the lemonade. I think it had more to do with the fact that I don’t really like to drink sugary drinks when it’s hot like that, so, that’s probably why I found the drinking vinegar extremely refreshing.

I also tried the Drinking Vinegar. I wasn't sure about the taste, but now, I feel the need to buy more. The cupcake I had was like a vanilla cupcake that kind of tasted like cream cheese. I'm not sure which part of the cupcake the cream cheese taste came from—it could have been the cupcake or the frosting. The color of the frosting was pink and cream colored. I couldn't tell where the flavors were coming from, but it was the perfect combination between cream cheese, strawberry, and vanilla.

Breana: The cupcake you tried sounds delicious too.

What was your favorite part of the event?

Breana: The whole fashion show was a lot of fun to watch. There were so many cool and creative designs including prom dresses made by students from a local high school. However, I think my favorite part was to be getting to see Coolirpa’s designs on the runway. I’ve seen them in her videos, but they’re even prettier in person. My second favorite part was the people. They were super friendly, and the atmosphere was lively. And of course, I can’t forget the photo booth. The photo booth was also a lot of fun, and I thought it was cool that they printed the pictures with a cute border customized for the event. (Pictured to the left is a picture I took during the fashion show.)

Adri: My favorite part was Everything! Clothing transformations, giveaways, and food. What else can I say?

What are your thoughts about the T-shirt and swag bags?

Breana: To get this, you had to RSVP before the event, and I’m glad we did because this has to be one of my favorite swag bags, ever. The passion planner is probably my favorite thing—second only to the adorable Snoopy airplane snow globe. (Pictured to the right is what was in the swag bag including the T-shirt I got.) Adri, what did you think of the swag bags?

Adri: Although I liked everything in the swag bag I really like both the scissors and the nail polish. I like the scissors because they are easier to take my hand sewing on the go. As for the nail polish, it is LA Colors Color Craze, in the color cocktail (542) and is glittery. It is a little lighter than portrayed in the picture, but it dries well. Compared to other cheap glittery nail polish I have tried this one drives smooth rather than textured.

Breana: Oh, I almost forgot about the scissors. I occasionally do embroidery, and my current pair of scissors don't work well for anything other than paper. The ones we got in the swag bags actually cut the floss really well. So, I'm going to get a lot of use out of them.

Adri: Finally, I want to mention the Galaxy Lollipop by Sparko Sweets. Like the cupcake, I couldn't distinguish the flavor between the two sides of the lollipop. But, it tasted really good, it wasn't too sweet, and it had a really smooth texture and flavor.

Breana: I can't believe I forgot about the Galaxy Lollipop. I pretty much agree with everything you said about it and would consider buying more, since they have a lot of different flavors.
Have you gone to any interesting events this summer?

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