Tuesday, November 12, 2019

5 Star Books In 5 Words

It has been a long time since I participated in any kind of book tag, and recently I was tagged by Ronnie @Paradise Found for the 5 Star Books in 5 Words book tag. It looked like something fun and easy to do. So I decided to go ahead and participate. Before I begin, I need to quickly go over some of the technical details. This tag was originally created by Matthew Sciarappa over on Youtube. Check out the original video HERE.

The rules
  • Pick 5 five-star reads 
  • And Pick five words that best describe what it is about the books that made me like them as much as I did
And thank you to Ronnie @ Paradise Found for tagging me. Make sure to visit the blog post over there at this link: 5 Star Books in Five Words Halloween Edition. Let's begin!


43069601. sy475 Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

Spooky; Ghosts; Lodge; Isolated; Snowstorm









42642065A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney

Retelling; Action; Wonderland; Nightmares; Knights









36896898. sy475 Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Wintry; Atmospheric; Gold; Fire; Mountain

25526296





Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Portals; Fantasy; Mystery; Home; Magic









40969531. sx318 A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos, translated by Hildegarde Serle

Mirrors; Arrangements; Scarf; Danger; Cold


That’s about it for today. I’m not tagging anyone specific, because I hardly ever do. So if this seems like something you want to participate in, then you can consider yourself tagged!


Friday, November 8, 2019

The Friday 56 (164) & Book Beginnings: Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

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.


25526296Synopsis from Goodreads...
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children....No Solicitations....No Visitors....No Quests...
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere... else. But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children. Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced... they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world. But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter. No matter the cost.


Beginning: "The girls were never present for the entrance interviews. Only their parents, their guardians, their confused siblings, who wanted so much to help them but didn't know how."

56: ""Finally, silence fell, and Nancy realized everyone was looking at her. She shrank back in her seat. "I don't know if the place I went was wicked or not," she said."


Comments: I have been reading some of the backlist titles on my TBR list, and Every Heart A Doorway was one of them. I loved the story and the world McGuire created. What are you reading this week?

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Toile, Think, Go: The Making of a Salt-N-Pepa Costume

We said that we were going to talk more about the construction of the Salt-N-Papa outfit. So, here it is. You can find it on Toile, Think, Go, where we originally posted it.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

I Watched Netflix's Raising Dion

Raising Dion is one of Netflix’s new series that came out in October, and I pretty much binge-watched all the episodes in two different sittings. This show took me by surprise. Before I saw some mention of it on my twitter timeline, I’d never actually heard of it, and boy I am glad that I gave it a try. Raising Dion was a great show. It had a great diverse cast of endearing characters. And while it had superpowers and supernatural elements, it was well balanced with the everyday aspects of a single mother trying to raise her young son in modern times with a villain who always seemed to be lurking at the edge of the next storm.

From the beginning, there was the mystery of how Dion got his powers. They were extraordinary, but they were also somewhat wild and hard for him to control. But I actually liked the angle they took with Dion’s character. He was allowed to be just a kid, and it is part of what made his character so engaging. It also set him apart from characters like Eleven from Stranger Things (there were a couple of references to Stranger Things in Raising Dion; I see what you did there, Netflix). By contrast his mother, Nicole Warren, had to be mature. She had to take the lead, because she didn’t have a choice. She was a widow after the death of her husband, Mark, and the show handled that quite well. It was never portrayed as being easy, even though Nicole had family and friends in the area. She dealt with things like trying to find and maintain a job—when scheduling interfered with things she needed to do for her son—as well as putting her son into a new school. Those little details of the ordinary day-to-day stuff, was a great contrast to the supernatural elements in the show.

Speaking of the supernatural elements, I liked how they were done in the show. Most of the setting where the show took place was urban, kind of city-like but also like a suburb, nothing really special about it. So when the supernatural aspects came in to play, it contrasted sharply with everyday life for the characters, which is part of what made it memorable. There were also limitations to what Dion could do, and since he was a kid, it sometimes manifested in childish and impulsive ways. But since he was a kid, and the show established that from the first episode, it was in-line with his character.

However that wasn’t all Raising Dion had to offer. As the show progressed, a few more mysteries cropped up here and there. Some of them had to do with what happened before the current timeline of the show—like what really happened to Mark—and I liked how it was all incorporated together.

Overall, Raising Dion is probably one of my favorite shows on Netflix to date. The end of the first season was satisfying enough…for now. I won’t reveal much about it, but I will say that the end posed some interesting questions about what would be ahead for the characters—so there was definitely enough potential for at least another season.

Have you watched Raising Dion? If so, let us know what you thought about it in the comments below. If not, does it seem like something you’d watch?

Monday, November 4, 2019

Music Monday (95): My Chemical Romance, Blanco Brown, and Birocratic

   Rules:
  • 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: Suddenly My Chemical Romance is back, and I’m not complaining. Since the announcement, I’ve been listening to all of their old music again, and I thought it was the right time to talk about one of my favorite songs by them: Famous Last Words from their Black Parade album. The Black Parade has a special place in my heart, since My Chemical Romance was one of the bands that pretty much defined what my music taste was when I was a kid (and still is to this day). That is to say, I love this song.



Adri: I got a Spotify account a couple of months ago, and you could imagine my excitement when I found out  my PS4 had it too. I've been jamming, gaming, and finding a lot of new music.  I eventually stumbled onto the RetroWave/Outrun playlist by Spotify, which is my favorite, and found my pick for today. It is Extra Fresh by Birocratic.



Andrea: I first heard The Git Up by Blanco Brown when I attended a taping of Broke. I absolutely fell in love with this song. It's just that upbeat type of song that will have everyone getting up and moving to the beat. I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out that he would be performing at the taping of The Talk that I was scheduled to attend. And his live performance was absolutely amazing. Well, that's all for now. It's time for me to "git up" and learn the dance to this song. I hope you all have an amazing week and am excited to hear what you're listening to.




What are some of your favorite artists/bands? Let us know in the comments down below. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Happy Halloween + Pencil #3


Today is October 31st. So before I begin I just have to say Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has a great day.


The last pencil artwork I specifically worked on for October was this one. It was, of course, inspired by a cupcake, and I’m calling it Be Careful with the Cookie. In the earliest sketch, I was planning to do a pretty basic cupcake with sprinkles. However when I started playing around with the composition, I noticed that it was kind of plain—which was the same issue I initially had with Halloween in a bottle for $5.99—which wasn’t what I was going for since I wanted the eye to be drawn to the cupcake.
Ultimately I kept the bat-shaped sprinkles, although they’re very small, but I added a cookie to the very top, as well as curls of smoke rising from the eyes and forming a skull. I like this one much better that way. The rest of my process mainly dealt with deciding what the cookie should be shaped like, and if I should add any color to it (you can see some of my thought process in the sketches). Being prepared allowed me to streamline the actual drawing process. Be Careful with the Cookie ended up being one of my favorite pieces to work on.


Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Review: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

248596Title: Something Wicked This Way Comes
Series: n/a
Author: Ray Bradbury
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; hardback
More Details: Fantasy  
Publisher/Publication Date: First published in 1962

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show's smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes - and the stuff of nightmare.
Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of those classic books that I’ve been meaning to read for a long time. I wanted to read it before the year was over, and now I can mark it off my TBR list. Something Wicked This Way Comes was good. I liked the story and the characters, especially the friendship between Jim and Will. While it wasn’t exactly a ghost story like Dead Voices by Katherine Arden, it did deal with powerful and mysterious forces, as well as the consequences of what someone would do to remain young forever. There was the carnival, Cooger & Dark’s Pandemonium Shadow Show, so there were some scenes where the characters interacted with the rides and games. However, there was never a moment when there wasn’t something odd about the newcomers to the town, like the carnival and the way it arrived in the middle of the night. As the very first page of Something Wicked This Way Comes says, “One year Halloween came on October 24, three hours after midnight.” It led to the increasingly dangerous and nefarious situations that seemed to touch every corner of the story. I liked what I read. So Something Wicked This Way Comes was the perfect October read.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Music Monday (94): Halloween Edition

   Rules:
  • 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 

Halloween is literally right around the corner. So it’s finally time for the Halloween Edition of Music Monday. To make it fun and different this year, we’re going to pick costumes (it doesn’t necessarily have to be related to what we’re dressing up as for Halloween, but it can be), and then we’re going to choose a song (or songs) that we think best represents our choices.
Breana: I’m not really dressing up this year, but if I was my costume would be a witch. So obviously, I had to pick I Put A Spell On You by Nina Simone as the song to go with it. I like the Hocus Pocus version, but Simone’s is one of my favorites.



Adri: My costume pick is a Hollywood Glamour tap dancer. I'm talking about one of those long, elaborate, glitzy dresses. Something like what Ginger Rogers would wear while dancing with Fred Astair. So my picks for today are Bambous by Caravan Palace and Swing Fever by Alice Francis. 




Andrea: I had to dress up as a pop star to attend a taping of a talk show recently. I chose to dress up as Pepa from Salt-N-Pepa. I've always loved the song Push It by this group and have spent many hours dancing to it. I will talk about how I constructed the costume in a later post.



So those are our picks. What is your Halloween costume? And what song do you think represents it? Let us know in the comments down below.



Friday, October 25, 2019

The Friday 56 (163) & Book Beginnings: Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

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.


248596Synopsis from Goodreads...
A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery. And two inquisitive boys standing precariously on the brink of adulthood will soon discover the secret of the satanic raree-show's smoke, mazes, and mirrors, as they learn all too well the heavy cost of wishes - and the stuff of nightmare.


Beginning: "First of all, it was October, a rare month for boys. Not that all months aren't rare."

56: "But this was like old movies, the silent theater haunted with black-and-white ghosts, silvery mouths opening to let moonlight smoke out, gestures made in silence so hushed you could hear the wind fizz the hair on your cheeks."


Comments: One of the books I wanted to read before the year was over was Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury. I read it. I liked the story. It was the perfect October read. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

15783514. sy475 Title:The Ocean at the End of the Lane
Series: n/a
Author: Neil Gaiman
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Fantasy; Horror
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow Books; June 18, 2013

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.
When I first started reading Neil Gaiman books again, I had a list of stories I really wanted to read. The Ocean at the end of the Lane was one of them. It was good, but it wasn’t my favorite book by this author. So while there were some parts I genuinely liked about the book—like the Hempstock’s and the fantasy elements (namely the duck pond that’s also an ocean)—the story, unfortunately, was one that didn’t click all the way with me.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a story about a middle-aged man recounting memories of his childhood from a time when he was about seven. I didn’t realize at first that the character remained nameless throughout the whole story, and looking back, I didn’t carefully read the synopsis. However, the main character not having a name didn’t bother me in the slightest, due in part to the writing, which was excellent. There was a somber tone to much of the story, because the pivotal events were always somewhat sad and definitely frightening. It was a story about memories, and there was horror and fantasy.

I think my main problem with this one was parts of the story itself. Given that the events are being recounted by the character when he’s older—and how short the book was—the stakes in the story sometimes seemed low. Because I always knew, in the back of my mind, that everything would turn out okay.

Other than that, The Ocean at the End of the Lane was an interesting tale. I liked it, and I will likely read other books by Gaiman in the future.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Friday 56 (162) & Book Beginnings: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

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.

15783514. sy475 Synopsis from Goodreads...
Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn't thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she'd claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.


Beginning: "I wore a black suit and a white shirt, a black tie and black shoes, all polished and shiny: clothes that normally would make me uncomfortable, as if I were in a stolen uniform, or pretending to be an adult."

56: "My laboratory--that was what I called it--was a green-painted shed as far away from the house as you could get, built up against the side of the house's huge old garage."

Comments: I finally read The Ocean at the End of the Lane. I liked the story. What are you reading this week?

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