Friday, November 29, 2019

The Friday 56 (167) & Book Beginnings: Beneath the Sugar Sky 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.


27366528Synopsis from Goodreads...
When Rini lands with a literal splash in the pond behind Eleanor West's Home for Wayward Children, the last thing she expects to find is that her mother, Sumi, died years before Rini was even conceived. But Rini can’t let Reality get in the way of her quest – not when she has an entire world to save! (Much more common than one would suppose.) If she can't find a way to restore her mother, Rini will have more than a world to save: she will never have been born in the first place. And in a world without magic, she doesn’t have long before Reality notices her existence and washes her away. Good thing the student body is well-acquainted with quests... A tale of friendship, baking, and derring-do. Warning: May contain nuts.

Beginning: "Children have always tumbled down rabbit holes, fallen through mirrors, been swept away by unseasonal floods or carried off by tornadoes. Children have always traveled, and because they are young and bright and full of contradictions, they haven't always restricted their travel to the possible."

56: "Somehow, when he said it, it wasn't a complaint, or even an observation: it was virtually a prayer, packed with hope and homecoming."


Comments: I'm almost caught up with the Wayward Children series. Beneath the Sugar Sky was fantastic, and I'm looking forward to the next novella in the series. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Review: Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

31450908Title: Down Among the Sticks and Bones
Series: Wayward Children #2
Author: Seanan McGuire
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Tor.com; June 13, 2017

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is the story of what happened first… 
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline. Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got. They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted. They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices...
Jacqueline and Jillian Wolcott, otherwise known as Jack and Jill, were two of my favorite characters from Every Heart a Doorway, especially Jack. The twin’s story wasn't completely unknown to me, especially since their history was explored as much as the other characters were in Every Heart a Doorway. One of the things I had wanted to see more of in the first novella was the worlds that the students of Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children had gone to before their stay at the school. Down Among the Sticks and Bones pretty much satisfied that curiosity. Since the story was about Jack and Jill’s history, there was an in-depth look at The Moors, as well as everything before and up to when they opened their door and walked through it.

One of themes explored throughout Down Among the Sticks and Bones was how the choices made by parents could positively, or in this case, negatively affect their children. The Wolcott’s, Serena and Chester, were inexperienced at parenting and they never bothered to try and learn to do better. The choices they made played such a prominent role in how—and who—the twin’s eventually grew up to be. It was sad how damaging it was, but without it there wouldn’t have been a story. I also liked getting to see the characters of The Moors, who were mentioned in passing in Every Heart a Doorway, on page. They were everything they were described to be, and I would take another story featuring them.

Overall, Down Among the Sticks and Bones was an excellent follow-up to Every Heart a Doorway. It might have been a prequel story, but it doesn’t even matter. This series just keeps getting better and better, and now more than ever I’m excited to start reading Beneath the Sugar Sky.

Friday, November 22, 2019

The Friday 56 (166) & Book Beginnings: Down Among the Sticks and Bones 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.


31450908Synopsis from Goodreads...
Twin sisters Jack and Jill were seventeen when they found their way home and were packed off to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. This is the story of what happened first… 
Jacqueline was her mother’s perfect daughter—polite and quiet, always dressed as a princess. If her mother was sometimes a little strict, it’s because crafting the perfect daughter takes discipline. Jillian was her father’s perfect daughter—adventurous, thrill-seeking, and a bit of a tom-boy. He really would have preferred a son, but you work with what you've got. They were five when they learned that grown-ups can’t be trusted. They were twelve when they walked down the impossible staircase and discovered that the pretense of love can never be enough to prepare you a life filled with magic in a land filled with mad scientists and death and choices...


Beginning: "People who knew Chester and Serena Wolcott socially would have placed money on the idea that the couple would never choose to have children."

56: "Jacqueline ran like she had been saving all of her running for this moment, for this place where no one could see her, or scold her, or tell her that ladies didn't behave that way, sit down, slow down, you'll rip your dress, you'll stain your tights, be good."


Comments: So far I'm really enjoying Seanan McGuire's Wayward Children series. Down Among the Sticks and Bones was great, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series, Beneath the Sugar Sky. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Review: A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney

42642065Title: A Dream So Dark
Series: The Nightmare-Verse #2
Author: L.L. McKinney
Source/Format: Borrowed from the Library; Hardcover
More Details: Fantasy; Young Adult; Retelling
Publisher/Publication Date: Imprint; September 24, 2019

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Still reeling from her recent battle (and grounded until she graduates), Alice must abandon her friends to complete her mission: find The Heart and prevent the Red Lady's rise. But the deeper she ventures into Wonderland, the more topsy-turvy everything becomes. It’s not until she’s at her wits end that she realizes—Wonderland is trying to save her. There’s a new player on the board; a poet capable of using Nightmares to not only influence the living but raise the dead. This Poet is looking to claim the Black Queen’s power—and Alice's budding abilities—as their own. Dreams have never been so dark in Wonderland, and if there is any hope of defeating this mystery poet’s magic, Alice must confront the worst in herself, in the people she loves, and in the very nature of fear itself.
The thing with sequels is they can go either way, good, bad, and anything in between. In the case of A Dream So Dark, it was the kind of sequel that got me excited for the next book in the series. I enjoyed it more than I did A Blade So Black. It was the kind of Alice in Wonderland retelling I’ve been looking for. I mean there was everything from a little bit of a mystery to interesting characters, Sailor Moon references, lots of scenes in McKinney’s version of Wonderland, plenty of action, and some pretty entertaining twists. That is to say, A Dream So Dark was worth the read.

From here on out, there may be minor spoilers for the first book. You have been warned.

The story picked up pretty much after the end of the first book, and it followed Alice as she dealt with the fallout of her most recent battle and about what happened to her friend, Chess. In a general sense, I liked the overall story. There was plenty of action to keep me turning the pages. And while I could guess some of what would likely happen, I didn’t know the full story—like the motivation behind the antagonists plots, and how it would all come together and playout in the end. So, I was thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

The setting was much more developed, and I liked that more of the story took place in Wonderland. It was such an interesting and colorful place, and I liked getting to see more of it—especially the people, the towns, the different kinds of creatures, and so on.

I loved the character development that happened in A Dream So Dark. At the end of A Blade So Black, I had a lot of questions about Alice’s character—and I still have a number of them—but I liked the direction the author took with her character. This time around, Alice was definitely more prepared. She had learned from her past mistakes, and she was ready for a fight. I thought it was great. Another thing I was a fan of was how much more present Alice’s family was. Like there was always the issue of her absences and her mother not being a fan of it or her lies, at all. So there were these really great scenes between her and her mother. There were also scenes with her grandmother as well (who, by the way, was an absolute delight and one of my favorite additions to the story; she’s a character that I want to see more of). I also liked Alice’s friend, Courtney (also known as Court). She was such a personality. She had some pretty entertaining one-liners, and I loved all the scenes she was in. There was also a little more about Addison Hatta’s history, which I liked.

All in all, I really enjoyed A Dream So Dark. It was a great addition to the series, and I’m looking forward to the next book.

Monday, November 18, 2019

Music Monday (96): Doja Cat, Deadmau5, Post Malone Featuring Ozzy Osbourne & Travis Scott

   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 Doja Cat's new album, Hot Pink. I liked all of the songs. One of my favorites is Say So.


Adri: Of course, I'm back to missing new music releases. This time I missed the release date for Deadmau5's new song SATRN. I enjoy most of his music. So if you've read my previous post, you already know I like my pick for today.


Andrea: This week I'm listening to music by Post Malone. Better Now is one of my favorite songs by this artist. I also like Post Malone's recent release Take What You Want featuring Ozzy Osbourne & Travis Scott. You can check out both of the songs below. I look forward to discovering what you're listening to, and although I didn't get a chance to comment I absolutely loved the 8 track music found on Fundinmental November 4, 2019. And as always have an amazing week.





Is there any new music you're listening to this week? If so, tell us about your favorite songs or albums in the comments down below.


Friday, November 15, 2019

The Friday 56 (165) & Book Beginnings: A Dream So Dark by L.L. McKinney

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.


42642065Synopsis from Goodreads...
Still reeling from her recent battle (and grounded until she graduates), Alice must abandon her friends to complete her mission: find The Heart and prevent the Red Lady's rise. But the deeper she ventures into Wonderland, the more topsy-turvy everything becomes. It’s not until she’s at her wits end that she realizes—Wonderland is trying to save her. There’s a new player on the board; a poet capable of using Nightmares to not only influence the living but raise the dead. This Poet is looking to claim the Black Queen’s power—and Alice's budding abilities—as their own. Dreams have never been so dark in Wonderland, and if there is any hope of defeating this mystery poet’s magic, Alice must confront the worst in herself, in the people she loves, and in the very nature of fear itself.


Beginning: "Alice couldn't run. She couldn't hide."

56: "Frozen, her hands still in the air, she nodded slowly. The way he said her name, like he wasn't certain it was her but desperately wanted to believe it was, sent a not-unfamiliar thrill through her."


Comments: I finally got around to reading the sequel to A Blade So Black, A Dream So Dark. I liked the story, and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Review: Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire

25526296Title: Every Heart A Doorway
Series: Wayward Children #1
Author: Seanan McGuire
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Tor.com; April 5, 2016

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis 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.
Lately, I’ve been reading some of the backlist titles that have been on my TBR list for a while, and Every Heart A Doorway was one of them. Portal fantasy is one of my favorite fantasy elements ever—stories like Coraline and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman, and Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida C√≥rdova—so Every Heart A Doorway was right up my alley. The story wasted none of its 173 pages, and by far, my favorite part was the very concept at the center of the novella: children returning from different fantasy worlds, and after going on such fantastical adventures (and often wanting to go back to the worlds that cast them out) a school that takes them in while they try to readjust to the people and the lives they left behind.

There were a lot of aspects about the novella that I absolutely loved. Such as the themes explored in the story and the setting, Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children. The introduction of the school not only introduced Eleanor West, it also set up the some of the basic rules about the Home for Wayward Children and magic that would later play a bigger role in the story. It turned out to be one of my favorite story beginnings that I’ve read so far this year. The characters were a unique bunch, and while some of their worlds could be called similar in some small way (in terms of the classifications used in the story), the traits that made them interesting were distinctive. Those traits were often shaped by the worlds they’d visited (and called home), for example Nancy and her “stillness.” There were a lot of different worlds needed to fill the story, and the ones that were talked about were unique and interesting. I almost wished those worlds would have appeared on the page (which is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward to reading the other books in the series).

All in all, Every Heart A Doorway was as excellent a read as it was the beginning of a series. The ending, while a satisfying conclusion to some points (and for some characters) in the story, it still left the door open for more. I’m looking forward to getting caught up with the series before Come Tumbling Down is released in 2020.

Have you read any of the Wayward Children series?

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. 

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