Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Some Thoughts On Ready Player One (2018)

I finally watched Ready Player One. Before that, I read the book—my review—and was surprised by how much I liked it. And based off the trailers and feedback from my sister—who saw the movie before I did—I was expecting to like it. I don’t know why I was so worried, because I did enjoy the movie. And now I have a confession to make: I liked the movie more than the book. Usually, the book and movie are on equal footing, but in this case, I’m leaning more toward the latter. It was due to the changes. There were a lot of noticeable changes between the book and the movie adaptation, particularly the challenges and how the keys were found. However, I liked those changes. It had more of an emotional impact later on, because it put the some of the characters together sooner than the events in the book allowed. Even so, the 2018 movie adaptation remains true to the basic premise of the book.

The visual effects were on point. It was one of the aspects I liked best about Ready Player One as demonstrated by the transition from a more real-world setting to the virtual one, and one of the first major scenes to take place in the OASIS. There was no background track except for the noise to match what was happening on-screen. It was pure, fast-paced, chaotic adrenaline. And I loved it. There was a lot of action and a heaping dose of pop culture references with everything from the Iron Giant, Overwatch, Halo, and even a Batmobile just to name a few. For a movie of its kind—one that basically takes place in a virtual reality, video game-esque world—the references from other media franchises just sort of worked.

So, there was a lot I liked about Ready Player One movie. It managed to balance the story with narrative changes, good acting, and spectacular visual effects. It made for an enjoyable movie. And while the end is pretty complete—just like the book—I would be open to a Ready Player One 2 book or movie. Or should I say Ready Player Two?

Have you read Ready Player One or seen the movie? If so, what are your thoughts about it?

Monday, August 13, 2018

Music Monday (53): Twenty One Pilots

  • 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: Originally, I wasn’t going to participate in Music Monday this week. However, I realized that Twenty One Pilots had released three new songs that's part of their next album, Trench, which is supposed to come out on October 5th. I must have missed that announcement. Needless it to say, the hype train is already rolling and I’m more than excited to see what else Trench has to offer. So far, my favorite song is Nico And The Niners....

Are you a fan of Twenty One Pilots? Are you looking forward to Trench?

Monday, August 6, 2018

ARC Review: Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi

36396341Title: Star-Touched Stories
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #2.5
Author: Roshani Chokshi
Source/Format: Netgalley; eARC
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: St. Martin's Press; August 7, 2018

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Three lush and adventurous stories in the Star-Touched world.

Death and Night...

He was Lord of Death, cursed never to love. She was Night incarnate, destined to stay alone. After a chance meeting, they wonder if, perhaps, they could be meant for more. But danger crouches in their paths, and the choices they make will set them on a journey that will span lifetimes.

Poison and Gold..,

Now that her wish for a choice has come true, Aasha struggles to control her powers. But when an opportunity to help Queen Gauri and King Vikram's new reign presents itself, she is thrown into the path of the fearsome yet enchanting Spy Mistress. To help her friends, Aasha will have to battle her insecurities and perhaps, along the way, find love.

Rose and Sword...

There is a tale whispered in the dark of the Empire of Bharat-Jain. A tale of a bride who loses her bridegroom on the eve of her wedding. But is it a tale or a truth?
Star-Touched Stories by Roshani Chokshi was gorgeous. Written in the same lyrical prose as the author's other books, these stories returned to the world of The Star-Touched Queen. There was happiness and new adventures; lost and found love; and bittersweet beginnings and endings. This is probably one of my top favorite collections of stories. In Death and Night, there’s the love story that tells a clearer history between the characters of The Star-Touched Queen. In Poison and Gold, Aasha got her own adventure and it was great. And in the Rose and Sword, the story is a little bittersweet but still as good as the other two in the collection. What worked for me is that this collection visited a lot of familiar character, places, and stories. The overall world building was excellent and rife with vivid detail that made for an immersive read. So, if you’ve read and enjoyed The Star-Touched Queen and A Crown of Wishes, then Star-Touched Stories need to be on your TBR list....
About the author...

Roshani Chokshi is the New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen and A CROWN OF WISHES. Her middle grade debut, ARU SHAH AND THE END OF TIME, will release April 3, 2018 with Disney/Rick Riordan Presents. Her next young adult novel, THE GILDED WOLVES, is slated for Winter 2019. Chokshi's work has appeared in Strange Horizons, Shimmer, and Book Smugglers. She was a finalist in the 2016 Andre Norton Award and the Locus Top Ten for Best First Novel. Her short story, "The Star Maiden," was longlisted for the British Fantasy Science Award...

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by St. Martin's Press via netgalley for this review, thank you!

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Friday 56 (136) & Book Beginnings: Uprooted by Naomi Novik

The Friday 56 is a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice where every Friday you pick a book and turn to page 56 or 56%, and select a sentence or a few, as long as it's not a spoiler. For the full rules, visit the the page HERE

Book Beginnings is a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader that asks you to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you're reading.

22544764Synopsis from Goodreads...

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life. Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood. The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her. But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose....

Beginning: "My feelings didn't change on that last night. Kasia and I ate our chestnuts. The sun went down and our fire went out, but we lingered in the clearing as long as the embers lasted."

56: "But it wasn't Midwinter dinner. There was no eager ache of hunger in my belly from the long day of cooking and cleaning without a pause; there was no joyful noise of too many people crammed in around the table, laughing and reaching for platters."

Comments: I haven't read anything new this week. So I figured I might as well share some quotes from a book I read awhile ago: Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I liked this book. There were things I really loved about it, namely the world building. It was done so well. Since Uprooted has been out for a long time, I skipped over the opening sentence because it's already pretty well known. My beginning comes from page 10 instead. What are you reading this week?

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Watercolor: Places #3

Comments: This is the third watercolor painting I worked on, and I wanted to try something a little different from the others. It came out how I wanted it to—particularly the background behind the city. However, I almost wish I’d reversed the colors and made the sky darker while reserving the lighter shades for the city itself. It’s too late to go back and change it for this one, but I may incorporate the idea into a different painting....

Monday, July 30, 2018

Music Monday (52): Evelyn King and Daryl Hall & John Oats

  • 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: I haven’t been listening to anything new. Instead, I’m still listening to old favorites. My first pick is Love Come Down by Evelyn “Champagne” King. I love this song, and each time I hear it, I just want to sing along….

My second pick is I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do) by Daryl Hall & John Oates. It’s one of my favorite songs by them.

Have you listened to any music by Evelyn King or Daryl Hall & John Oates? If so, what are your favorite songs?

Monday, July 23, 2018

Music Monday (51) The Ting Tings, Ziggy Marley, & En Vogue

  • 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: Last week, I didn’t listen to any new music. Instead, I alternated between playlists comprised of my old favorites. One song I listened to was Wrong Club by The Ting Tings. Gosh, I still love this song a lot. It’s hard to believe that it’s already been four years since it first came out, but it is what it is….

Andrea & Adri: Hey all, it's Andrea and Adri. We just wanted to drop in to share new music we've been listening to over the past several weeks. Last week we had the opportunity to attend an En Vogue performance. We've always loved their music and didn't realize they released a new album this year. Needless to say, their new music is amazing, and we've loved their song Rocket since we saw them perform it. Now we need to purchase their album, so we can add their music to the songs we listen to on repeat. You can check out their video below:

Andrea: I was always a big fan of Bob Marley's music and recently saw his son, Ziggy Marley, perform live on The Talk. As an audience member, I received a copy of his latest album, Rebellion Rises, and instantly fell in love with his music. His music is now on my workout playlist. :-) 

What are you listening to this week?

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Watercolor: Places #2

Comments:This is another watercolor painting I worked on only because I wanted to paint a potted plant. My original idea for it involved the tree with a blank space in the background and maybe a shadow. However, the more I sketched it, the more I liked the idea of the tree being in front of a wall with a single window. I didn’t record the process for it since I only spent about an hour on it from start to finish. I like the colors, and my favorite part is still the tree...

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Review: Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott

957447Title: Flatland
Series: n/a
Author: Edwin A. Abbott
Source/Format: Borrowed from my sister; Hardcover
More Details: Science Fiction
Publisher/Publication Date: First published in 1884

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

A satiric look at another planet which gives us a fresh look at our own...

I read Flatland by Edwin A Abbott simply because my sister enjoyed it so much and told me about it. It was just as great as she said it was going to be. Flatland is a satirical look at some outdated etiquette; perception of self and others; dimensions and class systems among other subjects. And it was told from the perspective of a square forced to question everything about, well, everything. Yes, I do mean a literal square. As odd as it sounds, the narrator worked for a story like Flatland. Abbott created a truly fascinating and intricate history and society. Parts of it were funny. Other parts were serious. And some of the descriptions made it sound like personified geometry homework. Flatland was kind of a ridiculous story but also a really good one. You'd  have to read it to fully understand what I mean....

Monday, July 16, 2018

Music Monday (50) Dainá, CHVRCHES

  • 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: I’ve been listening to more of CHVRCHES music. Never Say Die is another one of my favorite songs from their latest album.

I'm also listening to music by Dainá. Recently, she released her EP: Chapter 28.  There are nine tracks including a remix of one of her earlier songs. There are gems like Yeah Yeah, 1st Lady, Shook, and remiX featuring Paigey Cakey, Tokyo Diiva, & Nya Lee. As a whole, I love the sound and vibe of the EP a lot. Now, let’s talk about that remix for a second. The original was called X (you can watch the music video HERE) which was already a great song with a catchy beat. RemiX ramps it up a notch, which is why it’s one of my favorite songs from Chapter 28. You can find the songs on Dainá's channel: HERE

What are you listening to?

Sunday, July 15, 2018


The more I work in my sketchbook the more I’ve thought about the ways I’m currently using it. And I realized that I haven’t blogged about my process, shared any pictures of my favorite pages, or anything like that. It’s mainly due to the fact that I’ve spent more time creating art and haven’t stopped to consider if it would make a good blog post, instagram picture, or some other kind of content. I’ve essentially been enjoying the process and learning as much as I can from it. In my sketchbook, I can be as messy or composition-conscious as I want to be. It doesn’t have to be one or the other, because it’s my sketchbook.

What I’m saying is that I use my sketchbook to experiment. I bounce around between realism and cartoonish styles, even going as far as to combine elements that I like if it seems right for whatever I'm working on. I have a lot of pages that are unfinished, some dedicated to pose/anatomy practice; concepts for watercolor, acrylic, or digital paintings; and random bits and pieces of landscape and buildings. I’ve tried out a few different things that I might otherwise have never gotten around to because I didn’t want to spend the time doing them digitally. Ironically enough, this whole discovery process involved a box of crayons.

While organizing my room I found an old box of ordinary Crayloa Crayons—the basic 24 color set—in a bin of art supplies I haven’t looked at in years. Crayons, just like ballpoint pens, are another art supply that I like to sketch with. It challenges me since I can’t go back and erase all of the lines I just made. So, even if there’s something I don’t like, I’ll have to incorporate it into the sketch anyway. Also, it’s a lot of fun to work with all the different colors. Having more options encourages me to take more risks. After a while, I wasn’t satisfied with just the basic 24 set. I wanted more. And the great thing about crayons is that they’re cheap, like, really cheap. I bought a 120 count set for about 6-7 dollars from Michaels with a coupon, because drawing with crayon is



And I can save my more expensive supplies.

So, my sketchbook is just that: my sketchbook. There doesn’t need to be any stress. There doesn’t need to be any pressure to create content for the blog or twitter or anywhere else. I may share some more pages, or I might not. I’m just going to make art.

What are your thoughts on sketchbooks? Do you have one? Are you planning to start one?

Friday, July 13, 2018

Watercolor: Places #1

Comments: Lately, I’ve been trying to reduce the amount of fuss I go through while preparing to start another a painting. That means no tape at the edges, perfect lines, or overthinking. I’ve essentially been adding color to sketches without worrying if my pencil lines show through, and it’s been a lot of fun. I’m getting more done, and I’m generally happy with the results. One of the pieces I worked on was this street. I liked the shape of the structures and the simplicity. I was also experimenting with colors, which is something I need to do more often....

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: Art Deco by Victoria Charles & Klaus H. Carl

8879754Title: Art Deco
Series: n/a
Author: Victoria Charles, Klaus H. Carl
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; hardcover
More Details: Nonfiction; Art
Publisher/Publication Date: Parkstone Press; March 1, 2013

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Synopsis from Goodreads...

Art Deco style was established on the ashes of a disappeared world, the one from before the First World War, and on the foundation stone of a world yet to become, opened to the most undisclosed promises. Forgetting herself in the whirl of Jazz Age and the euphoria of the “Années Folles”, the Garçonne with her linear shape reflects the architectural style of Art Deco: to the rounded curves succeed the simple and plain androgynous straight line… Architecture, painting, furniture and sculpture, dissected by the author, proclaim the druthers for sharp lines and broken angles. Although ephemeral, this movement keeps on influencing contemporary design.

I’ve always been kind of interested in Art Deco. Not for architectural reasons, because I’m not an architect. Instead, I was interested in the look of it, for the aesthetics. I decided to pick up this book because I was going to do some art inspired by Art Deco and wanted to know more about it before I dove into a long, time consuming project. This book wasn’t very long. It was more of a technical read that delved into a lot of the history about the subject. Despite that, I liked this book a lot. It was divided into three primary sections: Architecture, Painted and Sculpted Décor; Furniture and Furniture Sets; and Jewelry. I liked all three, but my favorite one was the section on jewelry even though it was the smallest with the least amount of pages.

This book went over things I already knew about and other facts I wasn’t familiar with. It covered some of the influences and work that went into making Art Deco what it is. There was a lot of information accompanied by photo examples of work by noteworthy architects and industrial designers—such as Donald Deskey—that I hadn’t heard of before. There was one quote that seemed to best represent what most of the book is trying to explain:

“They did not in any way disavow tradition, but rather reconnected with it, reuniting art with functionality and developing a contemporary expression which is the obvious result of previous expressions” (p.120).

Even now, there’s such a contemporary feel to some of the furniture and buildings. And I found it interesting to read about how a broader range of building materials and techniques contributed to its creation. Those things attributed to the freedom to create a style that was both a work of art and practical because it was functional in daily life. There were paragraphs that talked about light weight/ reinforced concrete and how “marble panels can be fixed more firmly to it than brick” (p.24). There were pages that further delved into the finer details that explained the many painted and sculpted décor, ironwork, and panels among other things.

“Art Deco no longer sought to please through unnecessary ornamentation, but rather through moderation: balanced forms, harmony of proportions and tones, and a contrast of lights and shades—such are its essential principals” (p.113).

I have a better understanding of Art Deco, and I’ve really come to appreciate it . It was fascinating how buildings became art, and furniture became fixtures in a room in the same way someone would hang an art print. Needless to say, this book was good...

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