Monday, February 17, 2020

Music Monday (104): Shannon, Abi Ocia, and Guustavv


   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: As I mentioned last week, I’m trying to add new artists to my playlist. One of my recent finds is Abi Ocia. The track that introduced me to her music is Running. It’s a fantastic song, and the music video is awesome—I like how it was filmed in black and white. Other than that, I’m not going to say too much about Ocia’s other music right now, because I’m writing a full post about it (which should be posted on the blog sometime in March).



Adri: I've really been into ambient music lately, so my pick for today is Neopolitin by Guustavv. 



Andrea: This week I'm stepping back in time as I listen to Let The Music Play and Give Me Tonight by Shannon





What are you listening to this week?

Friday, February 14, 2020

The Friday 56 (172) & Book Beginnings: Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

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.


36510722Synopsis from Goodreads...
The Mayan god of death sends a young woman on a harrowing, life-changing journey in this one-of-a-kind fairy tale inspired by Mexican folklore.... 
The Jazz Age is in full swing, but Casiopea Tun is too busy cleaning the floors of her wealthy grandfather’s house to listen to any fast tunes. Nevertheless, she dreams of a life far from her dusty small town in southern Mexico. A life she can call her own. Yet this new life seems as distant as the stars, until the day she finds a curious wooden box in her grandfather’s room. She opens it—and accidentally frees the spirit of the Mayan god of death, who requests her help in recovering his throne from his treacherous brother. Failure will mean Casiopea’s demise, but success could make her dreams come true. In the company of the strangely alluring god and armed with her wits, Casiopea begins an adventure that will take her on a cross-country odyssey from the jungles of Yucat√°n to the bright lights of Mexico City—and deep into the darkness of the Mayan underworld...


Beginning: "Some people are born under a lucky star, while others have their misfortune telegraphed by the position of the planets."

56: "Yes, it's magic and its blade were sharp. It would allow him to succeed a second time."


Comments: Gods of Jade and Shadow was the first book I read by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, and I really loved the story. What are you reading this week? 

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

I Watched Labyrinth (1986)

After finally watching The Dark Crystal—which I talked about HERE—I was more excited than ever to check out the other movie that I’ve heard a lot about. As the title of this post suggests, I watched Labyrinth in December 2019, and oh man, I totally get why this movie is mentioned so often. I certainly understand why it’s considered a fantasy classic. Narratively it was entertaining to watch, and combined with a great cast—David Bowie as Jereth the Goblin King, and Jennifer Connelly as Sarah Williams—excellent set and puppet design, there was a lot to like about Labyrinth. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Labyrinth is the kind of story that’s part coming-of-age tale and also one about being careful what you wish for. That’s the lesson Sarah learns after she wishes her baby brother away, and oops…because someone was listening and had the power to grant it. I like these types of magical adventure films. There’s something campy and whimsical about them that draws me to them. Being a musical, Labyrinth had the leg-up on some of my other favorite films since David Bowie sings most of the songs. With Jim Henson company productions, I’m always in it for the puppets. One of my favorite aspects about the movie was in fact the puppets. There were so many, but each one was as detailed and unique as the last. The puppeteer work was just as great as it was in The Dark Crystal, and some of my personal favorite characters—such as Hoggle, Ludo, and Sir Didymus—were done so well.

There were so many areas to the labyrinth itself. From the castle looming in the distance, to the entrance—which was more like a standard maze and was a little empty and desolate, but definitely not lacking in the glitter department. The labyrinth was an interesting and ever changing setting, and the overall design of the film was one that I liked. It was dark where it was needed and lighter (or should I say whimsical?) where it needed to be with humor mixed in to break up some of the more serious aspects about the story.

All-in-all, I’m glad that I finally gave this movie a try.

Do you have any favorite classic fantasy movies? If so, leave your recommendations in the comments down below.


Monday, February 10, 2020

Music Monday (103): Kelsey Lu, Cirque du Soliel, The Weeknd, The Black Eyed Peas & J Balvin


   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: Recently, I have been trying to find new music to listen to. One of the best new-to-me-artists that I’ve come across so far is Kelsey Lu. The first song I listened to by Lu was Due West, and I quickly moved on and listened to her full length album, Blood. One of my favorite songs from it is Atlantic.


Adri: Breana really got me into Cirque Du Soleil's Volta album, and for the past week, I've been listening to To the Stars on repeat. So that's my pick for today.


Andrea: This week I'm listening to Blinding Lights by The Weeknd.

I am also listening to  RITMO (Bad Boys for Life) by The Black Eyed Peas featuring J Balvin.




There is always new music that we end up missing. So what are you listening to this week?



Thursday, February 6, 2020

Review: Dragon's Bait by Vivian Vande Velde

372807Title: Dragon's Bait
Series: n/a
Author: Vivian Vande Velde
Source/Format: Borrowed from the library; Hardcover
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: HMH Books for Young Readers; April 1, 2003

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Fifteen-year-old Alys is not a witch. But that doesn't matter--the villagers think she is and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice to the local dragon. It's late, it's cold, and it's raining, and Alys can think of only one thing--revenge. But first she's got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone? Then the dragon arrives--a dragon that could quite possibly be the perfect ally. . . .
I first heard about Dragon’s Bait by Vivian Vande Velde when I read a review about it over on Purplereader’s blog. It sounded like an interesting story, and recently I was in the mood for a book featuring dragons and remembered this one. I liked Dragon’s Bait. The story was on the shorter side but it was an entertaining one; although, I will admit that I wish it had been a little longer. I would have liked to see more of the characters, more of the world…just more in general. That being said, Dragon’s Bait had a good amount of actual dragons present on the page, and I also liked the character arc of the main character, Alys. Alys was accused, tried, and convicted of being a witch. The charges were unfair and untrue, but Dragon’s Bait is a story about greed and revenge. I did enjoy how the book critiqued the trials as a whole, particularly about who would and wouldn’t be singled out with accusations of witchcraft. Overall, I liked Dragon’s Bait....

Monday, February 3, 2020

Music Monday (102): Brian King Joseph, Meghan Trainor, Nicki Minaj, Saweetie, & GALXARA


   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: My pick this week is Sway With Me by Saweetie and GALXARA. Every new song I hear from Birds of Prey has me more and more excited for the movie and the album.


Adri: My pick for today is Nice to Meet Ya by Meghan Trainor featuring Nicki Minaj. The last time I mentioned Trainor in Music Monday was when her new album Treat Myself was suppose to be released. Well, plot twist, it was delayed. But it's out now and I love the album. There is also a Target exclusive CD, which you can find here.


Andrea: I saw Brian King Joseph preform three times live at America's Got Talent. He's such a phenomenal performer who’s in a league of his own. I'm ecstatic that he's released his first original song. I highly recommend his music, so take a listen to Spark below.

I’m looking forward to discovering what you're listening to. Have an amazing week!


What are you listening to this week?



Friday, January 31, 2020

The Friday 56 (171) & Book Beginnings: Dragon's Bait by Vivian Vande Velde

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.


372807
Synopsis from Goodreads...
Fifteen-year-old Alys is not a witch. But that doesn't matter--the villagers think she is and have staked her out on a hillside as a sacrifice to the local dragon. It's late, it's cold, and it's raining, and Alys can think of only one thing--revenge. But first she's got to escape, and even if she does, how can one girl possibly take on an entire town alone? Then the dragon arrives--a dragon that could quite possibly be the perfect ally. . . 


Beginning: "The day Alys was accused of being a witch started out like any other."

56: "Again he didn't answer."


Comments: I liked Dragon's Bait. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Review: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

31409135. sy475 Title: The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women
Series: n/a
Author: Kate Moore
Source/Format: Purchased; Paperback
More Details: History; Nonfiction
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks; May 2, 2017

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository     Target

Synopsis from Goodreads...
The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger...
The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come. Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...

One of the books I read in December was The Radium Girls by Kate Moore. It was sitting on my shelf for a while, and I decided it was time to finally read it.

The Radium Girls is probably one of the most poignant, haunting, and sobering reads I’ve read in a while. The Radium Girls is nonfiction, and it tells the history of the women who worked in radium dial-painting factories around the 1920s. It was also about who knew about the dangers of radium, and those who were willing to ignore it in favor of monetary gain.

Sold on the premise of what first appeared to be a glamourous and high-paying job, it turned out to be a slowly unfolding nightmare with significant effects that lasted for years. The women, as documented in The Radium Girls, suffered from incurable (and fatal) health issues directly resulting from their work with the radium paint used to give the dials their luminous glow—more specifically the method used on the factory floor to fix brush ends, which led to the ingestion of radium paint: the “lip-dip-paint routine.” There were other factors as well, like all the details about how the paint got on skin and clothes, and how workers would eat in areas near the paint. The effects of the radium were, for lack of better words, gruesome. It was chilling to read about the women’s condition and how many people were willing to just brush the issue aside despite all the evidence. It was gross negligence and downright insidious at times.

The Radium Girls is a hard and at times an infuriating book to read. Nevertheless it’s an important history that’s worth reading about.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Music Monday (101): Retro Week with music by The S.O.S. Band and a-ha


   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 
This week, our Music Monday is retro themed. So tell us about all your favorite classic songs in the comments down below!
Breana: My pick for this week is Take On Me by a-ha. I really love the sound and the music video for this song, especially how all the animated portions complimented the rest of the video. The overall aesthetic is one of my favorites.


Adri: Lately, I found that I couldn't get the beat of Just Be Good To Me by The S.O.S Band out of my head. So, as you can imagine, I have been playing it over and over again, and I still can't get enough of it.



Friday, January 24, 2020

The Friday 56 (170) & Book Beginnings: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore

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.

31409135. sy475 Synopsis from Goodreads...
The incredible true story of the women who fought America's Undark danger...
The Curies' newly discovered element of radium makes gleaming headlines across the nation as the fresh face of beauty, and wonder drug of the medical community. From body lotion to tonic water, the popular new element shines bright in the otherwise dark years of the First World War. Meanwhile, hundreds of girls toil amidst the glowing dust of the radium-dial factories. The glittering chemical covers their bodies from head to toe; they light up the night like industrious fireflies. With such a coveted job, these "shining girls" are the luckiest alive — until they begin to fall mysteriously ill. But the factories that once offered golden opportunities are now ignoring all claims of the gruesome side effects, and the women's cries of corruption. And as the fatal poison of the radium takes hold, the brave shining girls find themselves embroiled in one of the biggest scandals of America's early 20th century, and in a groundbreaking battle for workers' rights that will echo for centuries to come. Written with a sparkling voice and breakneck pace, The Radium Girls fully illuminates the inspiring young women exposed to the "wonder" substance of radium, and their awe-inspiring strength in the face of almost impossible circumstances. Their courage and tenacity led to life-changing regulations, research into nuclear bombing, and ultimately saved hundreds of thousands of lives...


Beginning: "The scientist had forgotten all about the radium. It was tucked discreetly within the folds of his waistcoat pocket, enclosed in a slim glass tube in such a small quantity that he could not feel its weight."

56: "Peg held the dials in her hand as she carefully traced the numbers with the greenish-white paint, lipping and dipping her camel-hair brush as she had been taught."


Comments: The Radium Girls is my first nonfiction read for 2020, and it was a thought provoking book. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Review: The Case Study of Vanitas by Jun Mochizuki

30621341. sy475 Title: The Case Study of Vanitas
Series: The Case Study of Vanitas Volume #1
Author: Jun Mochizuki
Source/Format: Gift; Paperback
More Details: Manga, Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Yen Press; December 20, 2016 (First published April 22, 2016)

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Step once more into the imagination of Jun Mochizuki, creator of New York Times-bestselling PandoraHearts! A tale of vampires and curses set in a whimsical and dark steampunk Paris unfolds! On the streets, rumors abound of a clockwork grimoire said to sow curses among the vampires. Now, guided by the Book of Vanitas, the gears begun to turn, and the story of two men, Noe and Vanitas, takes shape...
I haven’t kept up with manga by Jun Mochizuki for a while, but I was curious about her latest series, The Case Study of Vanitas. The story so far seems fun and quirky, but there are also a number of hints and vague statements that are already strongly alluding to the tragedy that is going to take place in this series. Even so, I liked the first volume of this manga. It does a lot of heavy-lifting by introducing the main cast of characters, the alternative and steampunk version of Paris, as well as some of the history, lore, technology, and the magic system present in this world. There were several points that were particularly fascinating to me, such as some of the abilities that the vampires + others displayed throughout volume one—particularly the titular character (Vanitas) as well as the book of Vanitas (I really want to know what’s going on with that). The vampires here are interesting. It doesn’t appear that they’re affected by sunlight—although there could be a reason for that explained in later volumes, we’ll see—although they do have some of the more usual traits such as strength, quick healing, immortality, red eyes, etc.. It also seems that moons + astrology have some significance in the story, and I want to know more about it. Volume one also mostly wrapped up what appears to be the first arc of the series, and there were many hints of what’s to come. So I’m interested, and I want to see what goes on in volume 2.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Music Monday (100): Epic Music 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 
To ring in the New Year, we're starting with an epic music edition of Music Monday. It's also our 100th Music Monday post...

Breana: During my break from blogging, I finally watched King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017). I loved the movie, and I've been listening to the soundtrack. This is one of my favorite songs....



Adri: Of all the 163 hours of Horizon Zero Dawn I've played, the thing that hooked me the most was the soundtrack. Each track does exceptionally well for setting the various feelings/environments presented throughout the game. For example, when there are no machines present, the music sounds like all is calm but not yet out of danger. Other times it just sounds straight up like danger is on the horizon, which you'll hear in the song I selected for today. As much as I like all of the 103 songs (including the soundtrack for the DLC), I boiled it down to one: The Future By Its Throat by The Flight


Andrea: Okay, so we're talking about epic/theatrical music this week, and only one song came to mind--Chariots of Fire by Vangelis. Whenever I listen to this song, I feel that I am going to achieve something great like my exercise and reading goals for 2020. Enjoy!



What epic/theatrical music do you like or have listened to? 


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