Friday, August 16, 2019

The Friday 56 (158) & Book Beginnings: Welcome to Night Vale by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

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.


23129410. sy475 Synopsis from Goodreads...
From the creators of the wildly popular Welcome to Night Vale podcast comes an imaginative mystery of appearances and disappearances that is also a poignant look at the ways in which we all struggle to find ourselves...no matter where we live. 
Located in a nameless desert somewhere in the great American Southwest, Night Vale is a small town where ghosts, angels, aliens, and government conspiracies are all commonplace parts of everyday life. It is here that the lives of two women, with two mysteries, will converge. 
Nineteen-year-old Night Vale pawn shop owner Jackie Fierro is given a paper marked "King City" by a mysterious man in a tan jacket holding a deer skin suitcase. Everything about him and his paper unsettles her, especially the fact that she can't seem to get the paper to leave her hand, and that no one who meets this man can remember anything about him. Jackie is determined to uncover the mystery of King City and the man in the tan jacket before she herself unravels. Night Vale PTA treasurer Diane Crayton's son, Josh, is moody and also a shape shifter. And lately Diane's started to see her son's father everywhere she goes, looking the same as the day he left years earlier, when they were both teenagers. Josh, looking different every time Diane sees him, shows a stronger and stronger interest in his estranged father, leading to a disaster Diane can see coming, even as she is helpless to prevent it. Diane's search to reconnect with her son and Jackie's search for her former routine life collide as they find themselves coming back to two words: "King City". It is King City that holds the key to both of their mysteries, and their futures...if they can ever find it.

Beginning: "Pawnshops in Night Vale work like this. First you need an item to pawn."

56: "He stared at her with what was probably a normal amount of eyes." 


Comments: I enjoyed Welcome to Night Vale, and I'm excited more than ever for the third book in the series. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Review: It Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

28208687. sy475 Title: It Devours 
Series: Welcome to Night Vale #2
Author: Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardback
More Details: Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Collins; October 17, 2017

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a mystery exploring the intersections of faith and science, the growing relationship between two young people who want desperately to trust each other, and the terrifying, toothy power of the Smiling God. 
Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret

“Not everyone believes in mountains, yet there they are, in plain sight.”

I’ve listened to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast on and off over the years, and I don’t know why I put off reading the novels for so long. I enjoyed It Devours!. It’s just like an episode of the podcast. There were a number of familiar faces—like Cecil Palmer, Carlos, and others. And while It Devours! is a book (with some illustrations, but it isn’t mixed-media; no interviews or transcripts, etc.), it’s told in a similar tone as the podcast that makes the weirder aspects of the town seem like normal, everyday occurrences—which for Night Vale it is. However, that’s part of Welcome to Night Vale’s charm, and I’m glad It Devours! captured some of that.

This book was something else. From the very first page, it starts out by saying not everyone believes in mountains, which is a pretty accurate example of the kind of logic that exists in Night Vale. Time behaved oddly. There were helicopters that didn’t run on fuel. And there’s even a house that’s there, but everyone says it doesn’t exist anyway. What’s causing the massive holes that are steadily devouring Night Vale? Who is Darryl? What is the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God? Those are just some of the questions that needed to be answered, and how they were eventually explained was what I liked most about the book. As such, the mystery was great. I was drawn into the story from the very first chapter, and the villains were sufficiently creepy—yet unassuming at times—with the means and motivation to do what they did.

The majority of the story is told from the perspective of Nilanjana Sikdar. She has a job at Carlos’s lab, and most of her acquaintances are from said establishment. She’s competent in situations when she needs to be, and despite all that happens, she returns to habits from her daily life whenever she needs to solve something. Nilanjana pretty much embodied the feeling of moving to a new place, feeling like you don’t belong, and trying to find out where you fit anyway. I liked the moments when she began to accept Night Vale for the way it was, as well as how she navigated the situation with the mysterious holes.

I truly enjoyed It Devours!. I don’t think the series has to be read in order, especially if you’ve already listened to the podcast. That being said, I’m definitely going to read the first book in the series, Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Music Monday (87): Silversun Pickups

   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: Today, I wanted to talk about a band I started listening to over the weekend: Silversun Pickups. I’d never heard of them before I came across their song, It Doesn’t Matter Why, while listening to a random alternative music playlist. I loved it right away. Since then, I’ve been listening to more of their music.



What are you listening to this week?


Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The Perks Of Watching The Movie And Reading The Book + Some Thoughts About Howl's Moving Castle...

2294528The other day, I was rereading one of my favorite novels (Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones) in an attempt to get out of a reading slump. I still love the story, and while I was reading it, it got me thinking about the perks of watching the movie or tv show and reading the book. All versions have something to offer, because it could mean seeing the story from slightly or drastically different ways (and I admit that it’s always nice to see a group of favorite characters come to life). It’s the differences that make the effort of finding all the adaptations worth it.

We used to occasionally do something like that as a feature on the blog called Movie-Book-Or-Both; although, the focus was on whether or not we liked the book as much as the movie or vice-versa, and less to do with the details that got lost in the adaptation process. In April of 2015, I first talked about Howl’s Moving Castle for that feature. And upon my reread of the book 4 years later, I found that I appreciated the story a whole lot more than I originally did.

I don’t need to explain Ghibli films. They’re well-known for their storytelling, gorgeous animation (in particular the scenery, character design, and the food). The films are memorable, and the characters are endearing. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of the first Ghibli films I ever watched as a kid (the very first was Spirited Away), and the adaptation captures the feel of the story as well as much of the plot. But, there are some differences. For instance, in the movie version of Howl’s Moving Castle, some characters underwent changes. Such as Michael Fisher, Howl’s 15 year old apprentice in the book, being a child named Markl in the movie instead. Then there’s Sophie’s other younger sister, Martha, who wasn’t included at all. The sisters' story  is one of my favorite aspects of the book, and if I hadn’t gone beyond the movie, I would have never known I was missing anything to begin with. The changes aren’t bad, because they worked for the movie.

Another instance I can think of, just off the top of my head, is Ready Player One. I enjoyed the book, but the changes made to the narrative made for a great movie. I talked about this when I reviewed the movie HERE. Some of the things I said on that post can also be applied to my thoughts about Howl’s Moving Castle. Actually, it could likely be applied to most instances concerning this subject. However, I also have to look at the other side of this too, because I do acknowledge that some adaptations just aren’t as good as they could have been. In those cases, the changes—if there were any—and other factors, unfortunately worked against the story in whatever way.

Of course, what makes a good adaptation and a bad one is all subjective. What I like, someone else might absolutely hate. And you know what? That’s perfectly fine.

So, I haven’t always been good about reading the book to go along with those adaptations. However, the ones I have gotten around to have mostly turned out to be great reads. Have you read Howl’s Moving Castle or seen the movie? If so, what did you like about it?

Monday, August 5, 2019

Music Monday (86): Tove Lo

   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: Tove Lo released the second single from her upcoming album, Sunshine Kitty, as well as information regarding when it’ll be available to buy. I like Bad As The Boys. And now, I’m more excited than ever for the album. Sunshine Kitty will be released on September 20th.



What are you listening to this week?


Friday, August 2, 2019

The Friday 56 (157) & Book Beginnings: It Devours! by Joseph Fink & Jeffrey Cranor

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.


28208687. sy475 About the book...
From the authors of the New York Times bestselling novel Welcome to Night Vale and the creators of the #1 international podcast of the same name, comes a mystery exploring the intersections of faith and science, the growing relationship between two young people who want desperately to trust each other, and the terrifying, toothy power of the Smiling God. 
Nilanjana Sikdar is an outsider to the town of Night Vale. Working for Carlos, the town’s top scientist, she relies on fact and logic as her guiding principles. But all of that is put into question when Carlos gives her a special assignment investigating a mysterious rumbling in the desert wasteland outside of town. This investigation leads her to the Joyous Congregation of the Smiling God, and to Darryl, one of its most committed members. Caught between her beliefs in the ultimate power of science and her growing attraction to Darryl, she begins to suspect the Congregation is planning a ritual that could threaten the lives of everyone in town. Nilanjana and Darryl must search for common ground between their very different world views as they are faced with the Congregation’s darkest and most terrible secret....
 

Beginning: "Not everyone believes in mountains, yet there they are, in plain sight."

56: "For the second time that day, Nilanjana has come across this person known as Wordsmith. This solidified it for her. The strongest hypothesis for this situation was active malice, rather than a coincidence of natural events." 


Comments: I finally read one of the Welcome to Night Vale novels. I enjoyed It Devours!, and I'm looking forward to reading the first book in the series. What are you reading this week?

Monday, July 29, 2019

Music Monday (85): Rico Nasty

   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: A lot of good music came out last week. Jidenna released two songs and announced a new album. And Rico Nasty released a new single called Time Flies. I've listened to music by Rico Nasty for a few years, like her mixtape: Anger Management (with Kenny Beats). Time Flies is such a catchy song. I love it a lot. I also like the illustration for the official audio. It's bright and eye-catching....



I've talked at length about all the music I'm waiting for. But I'm curious, what new music are you looking forward to? Or, what are you listening to this week?


Friday, July 26, 2019

Watercolor: Return of the Puffins

It’s been a hot minute since I last talked about the art I was working on over here on the main blog. So, I wanted to do that today.

Lately, I’ve been drawing a lot in my sketchbook, and I haven’t worked on as many paintings as I did toward the beginning of the year. However, on the 5th of June, I went back through some of my older pieces—the ones I did when I was just getting back into watercolor painting— and I came across the page of birds (I believe I mentioned it sometime in 2017?). I was in the mood to paint something different—not a portrait or one of my usual landscapes. I really just wanted to paint a puffin again. So, on the 5th, I worked on this painting.

The composition is a little off. That's mainly because I picked a few random plants I wanted to include, and I unfortunately didn't pay as much attention to the placement. However, this was just a practice piece. If I did it again, I would give more attention to where I wanted the eye to be drawn and would tie the elements in so that it didn’t look so odd next to the puffin. However, I did this for the process, and I accomplished what I set out to do. So, I’m happy with it. (Here's a closeup.)

Now, as far as Mermay...well, I thought about participating this year. However, I didn’t do as many individual pieces as I would have liked. I did a couple of marker sketches (not shown here), but the only completed ones are both in pencil. And the one in the corner is just a landscape I scribbled in because I had a sudden idea for it. However, after that, I got bored with the subject and went on to work on other things. It's a reoccurring theme on my end, which is often why I don't participate in month-long challenges. Since, I don’t have that much to show for Mermay, I thought I would share them here instead of on an individual post…

What have you been working on lately? Did you participate in Mermay?


Monday, July 22, 2019

Music Monday (84): Banks, Moonchild

   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: I’m currently listening to Banks’s new album, III. One of my favorite songs from it is The Fall.


Adri: I just want to share one of the songs I'm currently listening to, The List by Moonchild.


What are you listening to this week?

Monday, July 15, 2019

Music Monday (83): Chloe X Halle, Phony Ppl

   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: Chloe x Halle released new music in June, and I like both of the tracks. Of the two songs, Who Knew is my favorite.



Adri: I'm listening to Way Too Far by Phony Ppl. I listen to this song way too much.



What are you listening to this week?

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Quarterly Recap: April-June

It’s time for another Quarterly Recap. It feels like this year is flying by, but what can you do about it? Tell “time” not to go forward? I don’t think so. Besides, I have some upcoming posts—including a couple of reviews—that I’m excited to share on the blog. Plus, the release dates for some of the albums and fall books I’m looking forward to are approaching.

Looking back, I noticed that I didn’t get around to working on another colored pencil post. However, I’ve decided to hold onto that idea and use it at a later date. I was also largely inactive on the blog during the month of June. I needed the break, and it gave me some time to just read and create without feeling like I was running out of time. That being said, I read a lot of good books during the last 3 months. Among my favorites being: the entire Binti trilogy, Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey, and The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos. So, as usual, I’m starting off with reviews….
April Reviews

May Reviews

June Reviews
Other April Posts

Other May Posts

Other June Posts
  • n/a
Looking ahead, I have watercolor and music related posts that I will put on the blog sometime in July. And in September I will be talking about Word to the Wise (book #10 in the Library Lover’s Mystery series), as well as one of my new favorite romance novels: Well Met by Jen DeLuca. Word to the Wise is an excellent addition to the series. Well Met involves a Renaissance Faire and banter between the characters while they’re in costume. However, that’s all I’m going to say about those books until August and September. 
What’s a recent read that you really enjoyed?

Friday, July 12, 2019

The Friday 56 (156) & Book Beginnings: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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.


2294528Synopsis from Goodreads...
Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl's castle. To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there's far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

Beginning: "In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three."

56: "It would be a thin blue face,: she murmured, "very long and thin, with a thin blue nose. But those curly green flames on top are most definitely your hair."


Comments: I've talked about Howl's Moving Castle for the Friday 56 before, but I'm sharing it again because I recently reread it. I also used this book as an example in an upcoming blog post. I love this book. It's been four years since I first read it, and it's such a great story. It was nice to reread it. Have you read Howl's Moving Castle or seen the movie adaptation?

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