Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Spider Bride...

It’s finally October 31st. So, to start off this post I just have to say Happy Halloween! I actually planned ahead for once, and as such, had this post in mind as far back as the middle of September. And today, I’m finally going to talk about the second October related watercolor project I tackled: the Spider Bride. This is the other painting that I mentioned briefly on my Watercolor post for the witch redo. And I’m so excited to finally talk about this one. There’s no history behind this piece, and it came about kind of spontaneously.
The Process...
Around the time I was working on the witch painting, I did a quick sketch of another idea that I got out of the blue. I didn’t put too much effort into it, because at the time, I was just trying to parse out a general idea of it before I forgot. And ultimately, it didn’t fit with what I was trying to do with the Witch. So the idea landed on a different page, and that’s where it stayed until I decided that I also wanted to paint it. The Spider Bride is one of those sketches that happened to be good to go without too many alterations from the original version. Off to the side of the initial sketch, I played around with the option of doing a gothic cathedral inspired background. However, I ultimately abandoned that idea early on, because I didn’t like how it even appeared alongside the initial sketch for the Spider Bride.
When I mentioned on the Witch post that the color combinations for both paintings complimented each other, I honestly wasn’t kidding. I don’t know why, but I just didn’t go very dark with my color scheme. And the same thing applies for the Spider Bride. Once I started painting, my original warm/dark tones were tossed out the window in favor of the cooler tones I’m currently a fan of.

The final painting…

A couple of close ups...

The Witch and the Spider Bride side by side. From this view, it’s easier to see how the colors complement each other...

So, that’s about it for today. As for my next art related post, I’m planning to share some of the pages from my current sketchbook; although, I don’t know when that’ll appear on the blog—because I want to amass more pages so it’s not a post with one or two things. Anyway, I hope everyone has a great Halloween!

 Supply List...

Sakura Koi Watercolors
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils
Artist Loft Level 2 140lb watercolor paper
Gelly Roll white gel pen

Monday, October 29, 2018

Music Monday (62) Halloween Edition: Bobby (Boris) Pickett & Flyleaf

  • 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’s time for the Halloween edition of Music Monday! So my first pick for today is Monster Mash by Bobby (Boris) Pickett. It's a classic. And I had to mention it before October was over.…

My second pick is What’s This performed by Flyleaf for the Nightmare Revisited album. I’ll always love the original soundtrack for the Nightmare Before Christmas, but the Revisited side is pretty cool too. I love Flyleaf’s cover of What's This. Of course, the lyrics are the same, but the way the sound was rearranged to suit Flyleaf’s style is awesome….

What are you listening to this week?

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Friday 56 (141) & Book Beginnings: Why We Sleep by Matthew Walker

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.

34466963Synopsis from Goodreads...

Sleep is one of the most important but least understood aspects of our life, wellness, and longevity. Until very recently, science had no answer to the question of why we sleep, or what good it served, or why we suffer such devastating health consequences when we don't sleep. Compared to the other basic drives in life—eating, drinking, and reproducing—the purpose of sleep remained elusive. An explosion of scientific discoveries in the last twenty years has shed new light on this fundamental aspect of our lives. Now, preeminent neuroscientist and sleep expert Matthew Walker gives us a new understanding of the vital importance of sleep and dreaming. Within the brain, sleep enriches our ability to learn, memorize, and make logical decisions. It recalibrates our emotions, restocks our immune system, fine-tunes our metabolism, and regulates our appetite. Dreaming mollifies painful memories and creates a virtual reality space in which the brain melds past and present knowledge to inspire creativity. Walker answers important questions about sleep: how do caffeine and alcohol affect sleep? What really happens during REM sleep? Why do our sleep patterns change across a lifetime? How do common sleep aids affect us and can they do long-term damage? Charting cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs, and synthesizing decades of research and clinical practice, Walker explains how we can harness sleep to improve learning, mood, and energy levels; regulate hormones; prevent cancer, Alzheimer’s, and diabetes; slow the effects of aging; increase longevity; enhance the education and lifespan of our children, and boost the efficiency, success, and productivity of our businesses. Clear-eyed, fascinating, and accessible, Why We Sleepis a crucial and illuminating book

Beginning: "Do you think you got enough sleep this past week? Can you recall the last time you woke up without an alarm clock feeling refreshed, not needing caffeine? If the answer to either of these questions is "no," you are not alone."

56: "When did life start sleeping?"

Comments: Why We Sleep is one of the books I recently checked out from the library. I'm not done reading it yet, but so far, it's a thoroughly fascinating look at some of the science behind, well, sleep. 

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, October 25, 2018

ARC Review: The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory

37584991Title: The Proposal
Series: n/a
Author: Jasmine Guillory
Source/Format: First to Read; eARC
More Details: Contemporary; Romance
Publisher/Publication Date: Berkley Books; October 30, 2018
Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

The author of The Wedding Date serves up a novel about what happens when a public proposal doesn't turn into a happy ending, thanks to a woman who knows exactly how to make one on her own. When someone asks you to spend your life with him, it shouldn't come as a surprise--or happen in front of 45,000 people....

When freelance writer Nikole Paterson goes to a Dodgers game with her actor boyfriend, his man bun, and his bros, the last thing she expects is a scoreboard proposal. Saying no isn't the hard part--they've only been dating for five months, and he can't even spell her name correctly. The hard part is having to face a stadium full of disappointed fans...

At the game with his sister, Carlos Ibarra comes to Nik's rescue and rushes her away from a camera crew. He's even there for her when the video goes viral and Nik's social media blows up--in a bad way. Nik knows that in the wilds of LA, a handsome doctor like Carlos can't be looking for anything serious, so she embarks on an epic rebound with him, filled with food, fun, and fantastic sex. But when their glorified hookups start breaking the rules, one of them has to be smart enough to put on the brakes...
The Proposal by Jasmine Guillory is another cute romance with an excellent cast of diverse characters, and a heroine who finds herself on the wrong side of a story gone viral. And while a public proposal can seem like a sweet idea, The Proposal showed all the ways it could go wrong. Right off the bat—no pun intended—the inciting incident provided the perfect foundation for the rest of the story by adding some early conflict to the plot. And I liked it.

Carlos was one of my favorite characters from The Wedding Date. However, he was only in a supporting role as the best friend of Drew. Here, he’s the main guy, and Guillory fleshed-out his character by adding his backstory and showing more of his family—like his sister, mother, and cousin. I liked Carlos’s family. They were wonderful characters.

Nik was also interesting. She was sassy at times, smart, and had a number of great friends who were willing to back her up—whether that was a much needed cupcake, relationship advice, dinner, or simply getting together to talk things over.

The Proposal was more of a slow burn kind of romance. The characters spent a lot of talking and hanging out together. This was a nice touch to the story because it introduced the main characters of The Proposal to me, as the reader, and to each other on page without slowing down the story. The beginning was excellent. However, some of descriptions and dialogue seemed a little repetitive at times. That being said, I didn’t have the same problem with the second half of the story, and since this was an ARC, it may be changed in the final version of the book.

All-in-all, The Proposal was a pretty great read. And I’m looking forward to whatever Guillory writes next....

About the author...

Jasmine Guillory is a graduate of Wellesley College and Stanford Law School. She is a Bay Area native who has towering stacks of books in her living room, a cake recipe for every occasion, and upwards of 50 lipsticks....

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

Monday, October 22, 2018

Music Monday (61): Tears for Fears

  • 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: This week, I’m currently listening to one of my all-time favorite songs: Everybody Wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears. I’ve listened to Lorde’s cover of this song, and while I’m a fan of it, the version I’m talking about today is my favorite….

What are you listening to this week?

Friday, October 19, 2018


I've been waiting for Netflix’s Hilda to come out since I first heard about it on Twitter a while ago. And, this show was delightful. I loved it. I got through most of the series in one day, because once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. Hilda is a show filled with a number of shining qualities. At times, Hilda dealt with serious topics—like the fear of moving to new places, etc.—while also maintaining a balance with lighthearted and fun moments. It was full of charm and whit with excellent dialogue, good animation, and characters I can’t help but want to see more of. Cough, clears throat…Netflix, I need a season two…cough-cough….

One of my favorite things is when fantasy elements—like magic or creatures—sits side by side with the ordinary, and I saw that a lot in this show. Hilda also had some major Gravity Falls vibes going on. And don’t get me wrong, the shows are their own separate things. What I mean by the comparison is the way the fantastical elements were integrated right into seemingly ordinary settings. With Hilda, the attitude toward those elements was a sort of general acceptance with those aspects being just another part of the world at large. And that mindset was more evident the farther into the series I got.

Speaking of the show design, I have to talk about it. It worked so well with the character design—particularly for the elves and giants, etc—as well as the background environments in each scene. And I like the fact that when the characters were small on screen, they were just miniaturized and simplified versions of themselves while maintaining the original integrity of the designs.

Another thing I enjoyed was the overall story. I liked each episode and the lessons Hilda learned through the adventures she went on and the other characters she met. While the focus was on Hilda, the relationship she had with her mother was one of the best things about the show. I liked how involved her mother was—that she knew about Hilda’s “friends” and accepted that—as well as her ability to listen to her daughter when she needed to talk/how they worked through their issues. I was also a huge fan of the secondary characters as well as the elves. They—the elves—were cute and reminded me of stick figures in clothes. I also enjoyed the occasional moments of fourth wall comedy.

Overall, Hilda was a great show. And if you haven’t watched it yet, I highly recommend that you do. And, you know, it’s October. And Hilda is a fall-ish kind of show with supernatural themes perfect to watch during this time of year....

Have you watched Hilda? If so, what are some of your favorite moments? And, if not, would you give the show a try?

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Release Day Spotlight: In the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard

Today, I'm spotlighting In the Vanishers' Palace by Aliette de Bodard. Check out the gorgeous cover and find out more about the book below....

About the book...

Title: In the Vanishers' Palace
Author: Aliette de Bodard
Series: n/a
More Details: Fantasy
Publisher/ Release Date: JABberwocky Literary Agency; October 16, 2018
Cover art by/cover design by: Kelsey Liggett; Rhiannon Rasmussen-Silverstein and Melanie Ujimori

Synopsis from Goodreads...

From the award-winning author of the Dominion of the Fallen series comes a dark retelling of Beauty and the Beast...

In a ruined, devastated world, where the earth is poisoned and beings of nightmares roam the land... A woman, betrayed, terrified, sold into indenture to pay her village's debts and struggling to survive in a spirit world. A dragon, among the last of her kind, cold and aloof but desperately trying to make a difference. When failed scholar Yên is sold to Vu Côn, one of the last dragons walking the earth, she expects to be tortured or killed for Vu Côn's amusement. But Vu Côn, it turns out, has a use for Yên: she needs a scholar to tutor her two unruly children. She takes Yên back to her home, a vast, vertiginous palace-prison where every door can lead to death. Vu Côn seems stern and unbending, but as the days pass Yên comes to see her kinder and caring side. She finds herself dangerously attracted to the dragon who is her master and jailer. In the end, Yên will have to decide where her own happiness lies—and whether it will survive the revelation of Vu Côn’s dark, unspeakable secrets....

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Google Play

Early Praise....

“Another stellar offering by Bodard. Her signature intensity is on display in this tale of people (and dragons) struggling to survive in the ruins of an alien conquest. Emotionally complex relationships interweave with richly drawn and deftly nuanced world-building.” —Kate Elliott, author of the Court of Fives series

“A transformative experience. With dragons.” —Fran Wilde, Hugo and Nebula nominated author of The Bone Universe and The Gemworld series

"Gorgeously atmospheric queer fantasy (…) Like Jane Eyre if Rochester was a woman plus a dragon."—Zen Cho, author of The Terracotta Bride and Sorcerer to the Crown

About the author...

Aliette de Bodard writes speculative fiction: her short stories have garnered her two Nebula Awards, a Locus Award and two British Science Fiction Association Awards. She is the author of the Xuya continuity, set in a galactic empire inspired by Vietnamese culture (The Tea Master and the Detective, The Citadel of Weeping Pearls, gOn a Red Station, Drifting), and of the Dominion of the Fallen series, set in a turn-of-the-century Paris devastated by a magical war, which comprises The House of Shattered Wings (2015 British Science Fiction Association Award, Locus Award finalist), and its standalone sequel The House of Binding Thorns (2017 European Science Fiction Society Achievement Award, Locus Award finalist). She lives in Paris....

Photo credit:  Lou Abercrombie.


Friday, October 12, 2018

The Witch 2018 Repaint...

At the beginning of the month, I mentioned that I wanted to get back into making art related posts again. So, one of the things I wanted to do this October was redo some of the art I posted around this time last year. And the one that stood out to me first was the witch watercolor painting I did. I know I can do better now, and that’s the main reason why I wanted to tackle this project. Before I get into the process behind my updated version of this painting, I want to show the old one for comparison.

It’s not bad, but I can see all the places I went wrong on this painting. My layers were too dark too soon, and the colored pencils didn’t blend well at all unlike the Prismacolor ones I’m currently using.

The process…

Going into this project, I knew I wanted to take my time before I put paint to paper. I usually do some planning, but for this one I did more sketches before making a decision on which direction I wanted to go. I’ve been trying to change my process for more detailed pieces. So, I started out by looking at the original version + the old sketches and determining what I liked about them. From there, I made some new sketches for it while keeping in mind that I wanted to keep some of the key features including: the hat, the dress, and the two-tone hair. Once I was happy with the overall look, I started playing around with some of the other aspects of the sketch such as: the hat, and if I wanted to change the position of the arm and add a bird or not. However, I ended up scrapping the latter idea because I wanted to maintain some of the simplicity found in the original. I’d also decided to stick with watercolor and colored pencil instead of using a different medium like digital or acrylic paint.

Once I’d figured everything out, next was my favorite part: the actual painting part of the whole process. I enjoyed this part a lot. I had a loose idea of the colors I wanted to use, and in the end, I didn’t end up using as many darker tones as I thought I would. The purples, blues, oranges, pinks, and reds looked better when side by side with the other painting I’m going to be talking about later this month. After I was fine with where the color was at, I finished the painting off with colored pencil, bronze Sharpie, and little hints of white gel pen….

The finished painting…

Here’s a closer look at it....

Up next, I’m going to be talking about a different painting I worked on that I’ve nicknamed the Spider Bride….

Supply List...

Sakura Koi Watercolors 
Prismacolor Premier Colored Pencils 
Artist Loft Level 2 140lb watercolor paper 
Bronze Metallic Sharpie 
Gelly Roll white gel pen

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Review: Mem by Bethany C. Morrow

36211478Title: Mem
Series: n/a
Author: Bethany C Morrow
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; hardcover
More Details: Science Fiction; Historical
Publisher/Publication Date:

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

Set in the glittering art deco world of a century ago, MEM makes one slight alteration to history: a scientist in Montreal discovers a method allowing people to have their memories extracted from their minds, whole and complete. The Mems exist as mirror-images of their source ― zombie-like creatures destined to experience that singular memory over and over, until they expire in the cavernous Vault where they are kept. And then there is Dolores Extract #1, the first Mem capable of creating her own memories. An ageless beauty shrouded in mystery, she is allowed to live on her own, and create her own existence, until one day she is summoned back to the Vault....
I was immediately fascinated by the concept of Mem by Bethany C. Morrow. It’s a story that’s centered around extracting memories that become Mems, which linger for months or even years. The Mems are trapped in a single moment of time—often the reason for being extracted in the first place. Sounds terrible, right? Well, from the perspective of a Mem, it is. The case of the narrator differs from other Mems because she was capable of creating her own memories. And that was the greatest aspect of the book. Elsie is Delores Extract #1, and her story was as intriguing as it was, at times, heartbreaking. The circumstances she had to endure because of what she was—through no fault of her own—raised a lot of interesting questions about rights and control of one’s body when others don’t recognize your agency as a person. There was also a mixture of science fiction elements—the memory extractions, and the care of the Mems—as well as historical aspects that had to do with the art deco-esque setting. Overall, Mem left quite an impression for such a short novel. And it’s likely that I’ll end up reading Morrow’s next book....

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