Friday, August 31, 2018

The Friday 56 (137) & Book Beginnings: Farming and the Food Supply by Debra A. Miller

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.

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Outlines how global warming is effecting agriculture and the steps that are being taken to remedy those effects...

Beginning: "Earth's climate is a complex system of interacting natural components."

56: "The negative impacts of climate change on agriculture will be felt differently in different parts of the world."

Comments: I'm currently reading Farming and the Food Supply by Debra A. Miller. It's one of the books I recently checked out from the library, and so far it's an interesting read. The beginning is from the foreword and the 56 is from page 53. What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

ARC Review: Seafire by Natalie C. Parker

37822534Title: Seafire
Series: Seafire #1
Author: Natalie C. Parker
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Razorbill; August 28, 2018

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric's armed and armored fleet. But when Caledonia's best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all...or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?
The synopsis for Seafire by Natalie C. Parker doesn’t reveal much about the book, but I was still interested in it because I was looking to read something by this author. For the most part, I liked this book with a few minor exceptions. There were a lot of interesting ideas here and they were done well. Seafire was a fast paced story brimming with action. There was danger around every corner, and the Mors Navis was commanded by an all-female crew.

If you know anything about Mad Max: Fury Road, then you’ll probably like this book since Seafire was kind of like that movie. There was an almost dystopia feel to the story, because of how the world was described. There were hints of advanced technology—like some of the systems that kept the Mors Navis running—but it was hard to place a time period because some of those things were presented without much context about their origins. And instead of a harsh desert climate, this book takes place on a ship, and the setting was mostly open waters with few exceptions. Despite that, Parker made the story exciting with plenty of action and mostly memorable characters.

Caledonia Styx was fairly interesting. She had a tragic past and was determined to fight back against Aric Athair’s army. But at times, it seemed like she was too consumed by what happened and made decisions that put herself, Mors Navis, and her crew at risk. In the first third of the book, I didn’t mind that as much. However, the middle of the book was where I struggled with reading the story. I mean, for all her talk of trust and family and sisterhood, Caledonia seemed to almost use that to avoid having her actions and decisions questioned. Still, she wasn’t a bad character. As for the supporting characters, I liked how they were characterized. As a crew, they were skilled and worked well together. And it was interesting to see the character development happen while they were experienced harsh circumstances.

I was a little conflicted about the ending. On one hand, there were parts that I really loved. In the last few chapters the story picked up. The pace of the action and the revelations were on point. I liked that a lot. On the other hand, there was this one thing that happened that seemed to throw away some of the character development that Caledonia went through. That being said, it didn’t change how I felt about the rest of the book.

Since Seafire is the first book in a new trilogy, there’s more to the story, and I want to see where it goes. So, I’m definitely looking forward to the sequel....

About the author...

Natalie wears many hats: author, editor, entrepreneur. She is the author of Southern Gothic duology Beware the Wild (a Junior Library Guild Selection) and Behold the Bones (both available from HarperTeen) as well as the forthcoming Seafire Trilogy (Razorbill, 2018). Her first anthology, Three Sides of a Heart, is an exploration of the love triangle (HarperTeen, 19 Dec 2017). Parker is the founder of Madcap Retreats, an organization offering a yearly calendar of workshops and retreats for aspiring and established writers. Though she earned her BA in English literature from the University of Southern Mississippi and her MA in gender studies from the University of Cincinnati, she now lives on the Kansas prairie with her wife...

Website     Twitter     Goodreads     Instagram     Tumblr

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by First to Read for this review, thank you!

Monday, August 27, 2018

Music Monday (54): Res, RL Grime, Delta Heavy, & Meghan Trainor

  • 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 some newer music—like Nicki Minaj's album, Queen—but instead I wanted to mention one of my all-time favorite songs. So, today, I’m talking about Ice King by Res. I don’t recall when I first heard this song. I just know that it was a while ago. I like Res’s style, but Ice King is extra fantastic and it also happens to be the song that introduced me to her music...

Adri: Lately I've  practically been listening to the same group of songs, so here's two of them. Reminder (feat. How To Dress Well) (Jonah Baseball Remix) By RL Grime, and Ghost (Infuze Remix) by Delta Heavy. With both of these songs I adore the originals, but these remixes really stood out to me.

Andrea: On August 6th, Adri and I attended Meghan Trainor’s Jimmy Kimmel Live performance. Her live performance was amazing, and I absolutely fell in love with her new song, Treat Myself. You can check out the video below. It is available for pre-order now and will be released on August 31st, which is this Friday. Needless to say, I’ll be purchasing a copy of her new album, Treat Myself, and adding it to my playlist.

What are you listening to this week?

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Cookie Book Tag

It’s been a very long time since I last participated in a book tag, and I kind of missed doing this type of post. Recently, I saw someone do The Cookie Book Tag, and even though I wasn’t tagged, I really wanted to do this one since the questions looked fun. So today, Adri and I are going to do The Cookie Book Tag. This is going to be a long post. However, before we get started, there are some technical details that need to be listed.

The Cookie Book Tag was created by Nicole @ Sorry, I’m Booked. And you can check out the original tag post here: Sorry, I’m Booked, The Cookie Book Tag.

The rules…
  • Link back to the person who tagged you + the creator of this tag 
  • Pick a book that corresponds with the cookies theme 
  • Have fun 
  • Tag 1-3 people

Chocolate Chip: A Classic Book That You Love or Really Enjoyed (interpret classic how you want, it can be a classic written 100 years ago or 20 years ago)

Breana: I’m going to go with Flatland by Edwin A. Abbott. It’s one of my recent classic reads, and it also happens to be one of the best stories I’ve read so far this year. It’s such a great story. The unusual narrator and setting are just two things I enjoyed about Flatland.

Adri: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is absolutely one of my favorite classics.

Thin Mints: A Fandom That You Really Want to ‘Join’ AND/OR a Hyped-Up Book You Want To Read (your source(s) of a book being hyped can be from anywhere)

Breana: There’s no particular fandom that I’m looking to be a part of right now. So, I’m going with a hyped book I want to read. This one is easy: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. I really enjoyed Uprooted for the world building. I read an excerpt of Spinning Silver and was immediately interested.

Adri: I'm actually looking forward to the sequel to the Dragon with the Chocolate Heart, The Girl with the Dragon Heart By Stephanie Burgis. As for fandom, I'm also not eyeing any.

Shortbread: An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

Breana: Holly Black. I read The Spiderwick Chronicles when I was a kid, and since then, I’ve been hooked on her stories that focus on fairies. I love her interpretation of them since, more often than not, they’re tricksters that have a cruel streak.

Adri: Connie Amaden-Crawford. I’ve only read two of her books, but I’m looking forward to reading more of them to expand my sewing/design knowledge.

Samoas/ Caramel DeLites: An Emotional Rollercoaster (this cookie was hard … so any book that made you feel more than one emotion, strongly. The choice of emotions is up to you)

Breana: There was one book that had me on the verge of tears, the third and final book of The Divine Cities trilogy: City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett. There was no shortage of tragedies in this trilogy, but the finale book was on a whole other level. This book was a rollercoaster of emotions. The ending was incredibly bittersweet—so freaking sad—but I was also happy because it was a fitting end to one of my all-time favorite trilogies.

Adri: One of the most emotional books I’ve read is the Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury. The ending hit me in the feels once I started thinking about it.

Oreos: A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story OR Vice Versa, Where The Story Was Better Than Its Cover

Breana: There are a number of books that fit the bill for the first half of this question, but I’m going to go with Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix. I really wanted to like this book. The premise was interesting and I loved the cover + how much it resembled an IKEA catalogue on the inside. But, I didn’t really enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

Adri: I find the cover for The Time Travelers: Book One in the Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer (and the other two books) absolutely gorgeous. Though interesting, the story wasn't my favorite.

Tagalongs/ Peanut Butter Patties: A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected (good, bad, or just different, interpret how you wish)

Breana: The Bone Witch by Rin Chupeco was so unexpected. I mean that in a good way. The synopsis doesn’t do the book justice. It’s a slower paced fantasy, but I loved the magic system + the past and present storylines were fantastic. I need to get caught up on this series.

Adri: My most unexpected read was The Book of Elsewhere: the Shadows, by Jacqueline West. First of all, I never expected paintings to be so evil. Second I didn’t know I’d like it as much as I did (and I really need to finish reading the series).

Snickerdoodles: A Book You May Never Stop Rereading/ Loving

Breana: I’m going to go with Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. I loved the rest of the series, but Ancillary Justice will always be my favorite.

Adri: Can I add an s to book? Because I absolutely adore the Wondla Trilogy By Tony Diterlizzi. I don’t feel like I could read one without the other two! I love the art, the story, the characters. I feel like I could read the series forever and never get bored. However, if I must pick one, I'm going with the Search for Wondla.

Bonus: Choose a cookie I didn’t list and make up a question!

Monster Cookies have bold flavors and a long and varied list of ingredients such as M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanut butter, oats, and even sometimes raisins. It’s like a handful of cookie types mashed into one monster of a cookie. So… Monster cookie: name a book with a bold and whimsical title or a book title with four or more words.

Breana: The Hate U Give; The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet; and The House of Shattered Wings....

Adri: I’ve probably read more books with titles more than four words but I’m going with
 Leading Lady: Sherry Lansing and the Making of a Hollywood Groundbreaker by Stephen Galloway, and Dork Diaries: Tales from a not-so-glam TV Star by Rachel Renee Russell.

And that’s about it for today. We’re not tagging anyone specific. If you want to participate, then we tag you! Also, if you answer our Monster Cookie question, let us know in the comments down below.

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

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

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....

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