Monday, April 29, 2019

Music Monday (77): The Brothers Johnson, Kimbra, & Grace Jones

   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 
Adri: I first heard a Grace Jones song a long  time ago. Despite the fact that I've been listening to Hurricane, I only recent  stumbled on to the album of the same name. I love the entire album and wish I could find a CD. This is and Sunset Sunrise are among some of my favorites from the album....



Andrea: As you know by now I love to add those oldies to my playlist. This week I'm listening to Strawberry Letter 23 by The Brothers Johnson.

  

Breana: I’ve been listening to Primal Heart by Kimbra. It was one of the best 2018 albums I listened to last year. One of my favorite songs from it is Lightyears. I love this song so much, and almost a year since the album’s initial release date, there’s finally a music video for it....




What are you listening to this week?


Friday, April 26, 2019

The Friday 56 (152) & Book Beginnings: Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

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.


36118682
Synopsis from Goodreads...

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself. A prince in danger must decide who to trust. A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war. In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy....


Beginning: "The calming echo of a holy chant filtered down from the sanctuary and into the cellars."

56: "He held out a hand. The pain was already dissipating, ebbing away like a trickling stream."


Comments: Wicked Saints was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019. I liked the story. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Review: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

25667918Title: Binti
Series: Binti #1
Author: Nnedi Okorafor
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Paperback
More Details: Science Fiction; Fantasy; Novella
Publisher/Publication Date: Tor.com; September 22, 2015

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive....
I’ve read a couple of books by Nnedi Okorafor before—namely Akata Witch and its sequel, Akata Warrior. I liked both of them, and since then Binti has been on my TBR list. I liked Binti. It was a quick read, and a pretty unique take on a coming-of-age story. It was one girl’s journey to a university while struggling with the expectations placed on her by family. And while the story was an interesting one, I was conflicted about parts of the ending. It was good, but after everything that happened, there were aspects about it that were almost too neatly done. I did like the technology here, particularly the descriptions of the ship—“Third Fish”— which Binti boarded toward the beginning of the novella. I liked what Okorafor did with the Meduse, especially their unique appearance. I also liked Binti’s character, and that’s a good thing since the novella was from her perspective. Her hesitation and doubt about the decisions she was making were clearly illustrated in the narrative: she was chasing her dream while trying to maintain a feeling of being connected to the traditions of her family. At the same time she was going against their wishes while having to leave them behind on earth. Overall, Binti was an interesting read. I’m looking forward to eventually reading the rest of the trilogy.

Have you read Binti? If so, what did you think about it?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

I Listened to Cuz I Love You by Lizzo + The B Side by Dainá....

It’s been a hot minute since I did a post entirely dedicated to some of the music I’m currently listening to that’s not weekly meme related. And with the arrival of Lizzo’s Cuz I Love You and Dainá’s The B Side this past Friday, I suddenly had a lot to talk about.

Cuz I Love You

With singles like Juice, Tempo, and Cuz I Love You, the hype for Lizzo’s long awaited album seemed endless on my end. Well, it’s finally here, and it doesn’t disappoint. From the first track to the last—with songs featuring Gucci Mane and Missy Elliott—Cuz I Love You is an experience. Lizzo’s powerful vocals pairs perfectly with the deep, meaningful, and inspiring lyrics prevalent throughout the album. The beats are excellent and catchy, and there isn’t a song I don’t like. You can almost hear the work that went into this album, and I appreciated every minute of it. Besides the well-known singles, there are a number of other noteworthy songs as well. For example: Like a Girl is snazzy; Jerome and Crybaby are like two-peas-in-a-pod with smooth beats and strong vocals; and Heaven Help Me noticeably features flute music and has an upbeat sound. Overall, Cuz I Love You was worth the wait. It’s the best album I’ve listened to so far this year...
  • (Cuz I Love You was released on April 19, 2019.)

The B Side

Also out last Friday was The B Side by Dainá. I’ve listened to and liked music by this artist before, and was excited for what she would do next. I'm not going to lie, for me, as an EP with just five songs, The B Side was a surprise weekend hit. It’s stylish and entertaining with songs like Say My Name, Stacks, and Dainero—with the latter being one of my favorite tracks from the EP. Overall, The B Side is great, and it left me wanting more music from Dainá....
  • (The B Side was released on April 19, 2019)


Have you listened to any music by Lizzo or  Dainá? Do you plan to listen to Cuz I Love You or The B Side?


Monday, April 22, 2019

Music Monday (76): Lizzo

   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: Lizzo’s new album is finally here. I won’t say too much today, because I’m going to go more in depth about it on a different post. However, I wanted to mention the titular track, Cuz I Love You, because it’s one of my favorite songs from the album...



What are you listening to this week?


Monday, April 15, 2019

Music Monday (75): Tame Impala & Sarah Bareilles

   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 one of my favorite songs by Tame Impala: New Person, Same Old Mistakes. You might recognize the sound and lyrics from Same Ol’ Mistakes, and you would be right. Rihanna did a cover of the song for her Anti album. I like both versions of the song, but Tame Impala’s original is excellent.



Andrea: Last week, I had the opportunity to see Sara Bareilles perform Fire live on The Talk. I absolutely enjoyed her performance and have now added Fire to my playlist. Check out the video below!



What are you listening to this week?



Friday, April 12, 2019

The Friday 56 (151) & Book Beginnings: Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

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.


25667918Synopsis from Goodreads...
Her name is Binti, and she is the first of the Himba people ever to be offered a place at Oomza University, the finest institution of higher learning in the galaxy. But to accept the offer will mean giving up her place in her family to travel between the stars among strangers who do not share her ways or respect her customs. Knowledge comes at a cost, one that Binti is willing to pay, but her journey will not be easy. The world she seeks to enter has long warred with the Meduse, an alien race that has become the stuff of nightmares. Oomza University has wronged the Meduse, and Binti's stellar travel will bring her within their deadly reach. If Binti hopes to survive the legacy of a war not of her making, she will need both the gifts of her people and the wisdom enshrined within the University, itself - but first she has to make it there, alive....


Beginning: "I powered up the transporter and said a silent prayer."

56: "But they brought me food and water."


Comments: I can finally cross Binti off my TBR list. It was an interesting story, and I want to read the rest of the trilogy. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Review: The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

34942741Title: The Consuming Fire
Series: The Interdependency  #2
Author: John Scalzi
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Science Fiction; Space Opera
Publisher/Publication Date: Tor Books; October 16, 2018

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it—unless desperate measures can be taken. Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy. Arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or at the very least, an opportunity that can allow them to ascend to power. While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war, a war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will take place between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, but then so are her enemies. Nothing about this power struggle will be simple or easy... and all of humanity will be caught in its widening gyre....
So, The Consuming Fire picked up where The Collapsing Empire left off with the collapse of the Flow being an imminent threat to even the Interdependency itself. This was one sequel that lived up to my expectations, and answered some of the questions I had about the Flow, the Interdependency, and where the story would go after the revelations at the end of The Collapsing Empire.

Where do you go when easy and far-reaching space travel is on the verge of going away? What can you do when the forces of nature are actively working against you? The situation presented an interesting conundrum, and the characters—all across the board—reacted differently; sometimes for the greater good, or for wholly self-serving reasons. There was Grayland II who wanted to do what was best for the people of the Interdependency. Yet, there were others who were in it for selfish reasons, wanting to believe the collapse is—as the synopsis states—just a myth. At the heart of the story, there was a lot of political intrigue—full of betrayals, plays for power, and so on. It was expected because the main characters were dealing with the imminent collapse of the Flow, and whatever ramification came from it. That also included the fate of the central government of the Interdependency. The Consuming Fire also touched on some interesting topics, such as the subject of denial of actual facts, and those in power trying to maintain it during a time of crisis. It’s something that was done well.

There was also more information about the Flow, which specifically delved into more about the collapse. Even if it wasn’t specific about what the Flow is, or where it came from. That being said, it still presented some interesting questions about the history that predates the Interdependency's inception.

Overall, The Consuming Fire was great. I liked the characters, and the twists were unexpected and exciting. Now, I’m very excited about what could happen in the third book in the series, The Last Emperox....

Monday, April 8, 2019

Music Monday (74): Tayla Parx

   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 listening to music from Tayla Parx's 2019 album: We Need to Talk. Disconnected is one of my favorite songs. It’s so short, and I wish it was longer....




What are you listening to this week?


Friday, April 5, 2019

The Friday 56 (150) & Book Beginnings: The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

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.

34942741
Synopsis from Goodreads...
The Interdependency, humanity’s interstellar empire, is on the verge of collapse. The Flow, the extra-dimensional conduit that makes travel between the stars possible, is disappearing, leaving entire star systems stranded. When it goes, human civilization may go with it—unless desperate measures can be taken. Emperox Grayland II, the leader of the Interdependency, is ready to take those measures to help ensure the survival of billions. But nothing is ever that easy. Arrayed before her are those who believe the collapse of the Flow is a myth—or at the very least, an opportunity that can allow them to ascend to power. While Grayland prepares for disaster, others are preparing for a civil war, a war that will take place in the halls of power, the markets of business and the altars of worship as much as it will take place between spaceships and battlefields. The Emperox and her allies are smart and resourceful, but then so are her enemies. Nothing about this power struggle will be simple or easy... and all of humanity will be caught in its widening gyre....


Beginning: "Years later Lenson Ornill would reflect on the irony that his time as a religious man would be bracketed by a single and particular word."

56: "I understand the House of Nohamapetan--your house--is currently debating whether or not to ask the state to charge you with destruction of property."


Comments: I finally read The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi, and I loved it. I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, The Last Emperox. What are you reading this week?

Monday, April 1, 2019

Quarterly Recap: January-March

I find that I spend the first couple of months of the year just trying to get back on track with blogging, and it reflects whenever I look over what I’ve gotten done. So that means it’s time for the first quarterly recap of 2019. It doesn’t seem like three full months have already gone by, but according to the current date—April 2nd—it has. The next thing you know, it’ll be November and then it'll be time to break out the Christmas decorations, but I digress. Let’s get on to the review section of this recap….
January Reviews:
February Reviews:
March Reviews:
Other January Posts:
Other February Posts:
Other March Posts:
I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with Weekend Tidbits. At the beginning of January, I had a…somewhat solid plan of what I wanted to do; however, I’m not too sure about it now. In the coming months, I want to put more work into a Weekend Tidbits overhaul so it doesn’t end up being one of my blogging resolutions in 2020. I also want to do another post dedicated to colored pencils. Namely because I have a very old set of Crayola Colored Pencils in fairly good condition with some of them being mostly unused, because it’s easy to tell which colors were my favorite.

Also, there are two upcoming reviews I’m excited to share on the blog. The first is for The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi, which will be on the blog next Wednesday. And the other is for The Missing of Clairdelune by Christelle Dabos, translated by Hildegarde Serle—which will be posted closer to the release date...


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