Friday, October 22, 2021

The Friday 56 (208) & Book Beginnings: Dark Waters by Katherine Arden

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.


Synopsis from Goodreads...
New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices.

Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he'll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they've steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie's dad and Coco's mom plan a "fun" boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven't had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn't just any island though. It's hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won't survive long.



Beginning: "Spring in East Evansburg, and the rain poured down like someone had turned on a hose in the sky."

56: "In the second of confusion that followed, they heard Mr. Dimmond's voice from he wheel."


Comments: This is a series that keeps getting better and better. Dark Waters was just good. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Thought Corner: Dead Voices by Katherine Arden (Reread)

Why hello there. It’s October 20th, and today I’m continuing my reread of the first two books of the Small Spaces series by Katherine Arden. The goal is to refresh my memory of the books before reading Dark Waters, the third installment of the series.

I had a great reading experience with my Small Spaces reread—which I detailed HERE—and was eager to dive into the second book.

A bit of history…

I read Dead Voices not long after Small Spaces, as I started the series a few months shy of when the second book was due to release. As a consequence, I read them both in 2019, and I did go and check my Goodreads to be sure I had the dates right. Of the two, I recalled the least about Dead Voices. I knew it was one of my favorite reads of 2019 and that it had something to do with a mountain, and an isolated ski resort during a winter storm. It was definitely time for a reread.

The rundown…

Small Spaces ends at a place of so much potential. This was due to a couple of unresolved mysteries and an offhanded comment made by the smiling man. And Dead Voices is a fitting sequel for it. The perspective branches out beyond just Ollie’s, to Coco’s too, though the trio is together again and headed off to a vacation at a ski resort on Mount Hemlock that’s yet to open to the public. It’s the perfect sort of isolated set up to get the story rolling toward the inevitably creepy adventure later on. It was all thanks to a bit of luck (?) on Ollie’s dad’s part, though given the context of the series, coincidences are suspicious.

Since this was the second book, there was less time spent introducing the characters, though the story does do a little recap of the events of Small Spaces in an abbreviated fashion. I would still read the books in order though. And getting the second perspective afforded another look at the story outside of Ollie’s view of it, as well as more information about Coco. There was more about her fears and her hobbies and other interests.

Much like Small Spaces, I came away with a greater appreciation for the story, the characters, and the detailed world. It felt lived in, with its own stories within the story—think urban legends, local ghost stories, and unsolved disappearances—that were wrapped up with the clues about the history of the area and the ski resort.

A highlight of the book was the friendship between Ollie, Coco, and Brian. It was a bond that was tested. But there was never any doubt that the three were great friends. They trusted each other. And they often tended to try and stick together to solve their problems, which was just great to see.

Let’s get spooky…

Whether it’s just an ordinary place filled with interesting items, or a bona fide haunting, I love a good house story. These stories can include other places besides homes, of course. But some of my favorites centered on the people while also exploring the places as their own sort of characters—as well as sometimes unraveling a mystery of what haunts the walls. The ski resort finds itself somewhere in there with its long and tragic history. Its story—and that of the people who once and currently know it—was just as relevant as that of Ollie, Coco, and Brian.

Games really took a high stakes and terrifying twist in Dead Voices, where being too trusting and ignoring or misinterpreting warnings could have consequences. It was like a game of chess at times, with the trio having to trust in their skills and in each other. It was far from fun for the characters, but it was such a good story.

In conclusion…

I’m glad I did this reread. I’m prepared for Dark Waters, and I look forward to reading it soon. Until then, happy reading!


Monday, October 18, 2021

Music Monday (177): Kim Petras, India Arie, Leela James

  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 really like this song by Kim Petras. It's called Future Starts Now. Give it a listen! 


Andrea: Hi All! This week I'm listening to Ready For LoveSteady Love by India Arie and Fall For You by Leela James.




As always, have an amazing week!


What are you listening to this week?



Sunday, October 17, 2021

Thought Corner: I Watched Nightbooks (2021)

Released on September 15, 2021, Nightbooks (Netflix, 2021), is a dark fantasy film that follows Alex Mosher (played by Winslow Fegley), after he inadvertently finds himself trapped in the apartment of a witch and forced to tell scary stories each night. It was a race against time. It was an interesting set up, and I approached the movie with an open mind, since I wasn’t familiar with the book it’s based on. But I was really excited for it, based on the trailer.

I really enjoyed this movie, I was surprised by the direction they went with it. Much of what Alex’s day-to-day life was like was a mystery. It was due to the start of the movie. In the beginning, we don’t spend much time with Alex or his parents in his ordinary environment. Instead, Nightbooks offers up a small but tantalizing offering, enough to get the viewer interested in what could have possibly happened to cause Alex to tear posters from his walls and shove books into his backpack before leaving in a hurry. The questions of “why” is part of what propels the narrative forward and provided another mystery outside of the apartment and the witch.

From there, the most threatening and magical aspects of Nightbooks were quick to be known. Characters introductions were sort of brief, but it was well acted. Natacha, the witch, is played by Krysten Ritter. She was menacing, and her motivation was largely unknown for a long time. Given that the setting was limited to the confines of the apartment’s many but strange rooms, there was only one other prominent character besides the cat. Yazmin, played by Lidya Jewett, was a highlight of Nightbooks.

The movie had a far moodier atmosphere and more horror/jump scare instances than I thought it would have. There was danger, but despite the brooding tone, there was still an element of whimsy and a lot of Grimm’s Fairy Tales references. I also enjoyed how the movie told stories within the story, the titular Nightbooks. Those scenes were fantastic.

The ending, while a satisfying conclusion for Alex and Yazmin, ultimately leaves room for another movie. I would definitely watch it.

All-in-all, Nightbooks was a fun film. It had the kind of spooky viewing experience perfect for October. And if you saw Netflix’s A Babysitters Guide to Monster Hunting, released October of 2020, then this one is a must watch.


Check out the Nightbooks trailer...
 


Friday, October 15, 2021

The Friday 56 (207) & Book Beginnings: Dead Voices by Katherine Arden

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.


Synopsis from Goodreads...
Bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces.

Having survived sinister scarecrows and the malevolent smiling man in Small Spaces, newly minted best friends Ollie, Coco, and Brian are ready to spend a relaxing winter break skiing together with their parents at Mount Hemlock Resort. But when a snowstorm sets in, causing the power to flicker out and the cold to creep closer and closer, the three are forced to settle for hot chocolate and board games by the fire. Ollie, Coco, and Brian are determined to make the best of being snowed in, but odd things keep happening. Coco is convinced she has seen a ghost, and Ollie is having nightmares about frostbitten girls pleading for help. Then Mr. Voland, a mysterious ghost hunter, arrives in the midst of the storm to investigate the hauntings at Hemlock Lodge. Ollie, Coco, and Brian want to trust him, but Ollie's watch, which once saved them from the smiling man, has a new cautionary message: BEWARE. With Mr. Voland's help, Ollie, Coco, and Brian reach out to the dead voices at Mount Hemlock. Maybe the ghosts need their help–or maybe not all ghosts can or should be trusted. Dead Voices is a terrifying follow-up to Small Spaces with thrills and chills galore and the captive foreboding of a classic ghost story.


Beginning: "Snow and road salt flew up from their tires as they got on the highway heading north."

56: "Mr. Adler popped back in from the kitchen. A few yards away, Mrs. Wilson and Coco's mom were attacking the fireplace with mops and shovels and buckets."


Comments: I'm done with my reread of Small Spaces and Dead Voices, and I'm excited to finally start Dark Waters. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Thought Corner: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden (Reread)


Dark Waters was finally released in August. It’s been a few years since I read the first two books, and to prepare for it, I decided to do a reread of Small Spaces and Dead Voices. I figured there was no better time to do it than in October.

A bit of history…

When I picked up the series, I originally read them from the library. It’s been one of my backburner goals to add to my collection of Arden books, and since I liked the series so much, I knew I would eventually end up with copies for my shelf. I didn’t get around to it until August of 2021. But better late than never, right? So it’s been quite some time since I read Small Spaces.

The rundown…


Small Spaces is one of my favorite books, and I wanted to see if my memory of what the story was is actually how it reads. I remember having a lukewarm reaction to the first few chapters. However, upon my reread, I have a much better appreciation for the characters and details. I also noticed how atmospheric the story is. The October scenery in the town, Evansburg, fit well with the earlier chapters, which—initially—seemed quite ordinary, if not a touch eerie with the title incorporated into a warning for Olivia “Ollie” Adler.

In the beginning, Ollie comes off as kind of brash, but I get what’s being portrayed here. I picked up on all the little clues sprinkled in about her character (some of which I missed or just forgot about), and I found her actions—like quitting her clubs and pulling away from people who were just trying to reach out to her—to be refreshingly frank for such a tough topic, but handled in a way that would fit for the target audience. There’s so much I could say about Ollie, but since it’s not alluded to in the synopsis, it would be massive spoiler.

Let’s get spooky….

One of the places where Small Spaces shines is how it creates its own local legends, and ties them into the current spooky happening in the story. Arden submersed the characters in situations where the past (which couldn’t rest both literally and figuratively) and the present collided. The story within the story, also titled Small Spaces, almost acted like a bridge. It was part memoir and part cautionary tale, which also contained some of the much needed answers to the big mystery of the book.

The scares are unique, to say the least. “The world behind the mist,” with the smiling man and his scarecrows, could be downright terrifying. And one of the best parts was how Ollie, Coco, and Brian navigated these challenges while having to face their own fears during a seemingly impossible situation.

In conclusion…

Small Spaces is still one of my favorite stories, and it’s a great read for this time of year. I came away from my second foray into this story with a greater appreciation for it. And now, I’m looking forward to my reread of Dead Voices. Until next time, happy reading!



Monday, October 11, 2021

Music Monday (176): Mariah the Scientist, Temptations, Smokey Robinson, Elton John, & Dua Lipa

 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've been listening to music by Mariah the Scientist. One of my favorite songs is All For Me.


Andrea: Hi all! This week I'm listening to some new music by familiar artists. I was surprised to find that The Temptations who are known for hits such as My Girl  (Lyric video featured below) & Papa Was A Rolling Stone are celebrating their 60th anniversary. I'm so excited that The Temptations have teamed up with Smokey Robinson to bring us their new song, Is It Gonna Be Yes or No. Elton John known for  a host of great songs including  I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues also has new music on the Horizon.  Elton John  & Dua Lipa's new release is Cold Heart (PNAU Remix). I love the sound of  both groups' collaborations and would love to know your thoughts below. As Always, thanks for visiting Our Thoughts Precisely. Have an amazing week!






What are you listening to this week?



Sunday, October 10, 2021

Thought Corner: Halloween Art #1

Breana’s Comments: While brainstorming ideas for what to do on the blog in October, I decided on something art related since it’s been awhile. And I knew from the start that I wanted to do something fun and colorful. I gave myself two prompts to fulfil on the second and last Sunday of October. Adri is joining me for this mini challenge as well.

Today’s prompt: Candy corn but make it lunch or an appetizer


Breana’s Comments:
I wanted to lean into the whole idea of candy as food. I actually like candy corn, and I envisioned it here as part of a salad, taking the place of cherry tomatoes or some other kind of vegetable. I wanted to keep my color choices bright. And honestly, I like Prismacolor colored pencils True Blue and Light Cerulean Blue. I've also included my sketch page, where I was deciding whether or not I was going to use crayon, crayon + marker, or Prismacolor colored pencils.


Adri’s Comments: It’s been a minute since I pulled out my Reeves watercolor gouache and I felt it was time to do so. I too opted for a salad, but with giant candy corn strawberry… Stracornberry? Sorry. I was originally going to have a previous character I drew holding a plate. Instead, I ended up with something like what you see above. I tried to add some of my gold acrylic, but it’s not that visible in the photo.

Stay tuned for our second and final prompt challenge on the 31st! Until then, thanks for stopping by and happy reading!


Friday, October 8, 2021

The Friday 56 (206) & Book Beginnings: Small Spaces by Katherine Arden

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.


Synopsis from Goodreads...
New York Times bestselling adult author of The Bear and the Nightingale makes her middle grade debut with a creepy, spellbinding ghost story destined to become a classic

After suffering a tragic loss, eleven-year-old Ollie only finds solace in books. So when she happens upon a crazed woman at the river threatening to throw a book into the water, Ollie doesn't think—she just acts, stealing the book and running away. As she begins to read the slender volume, Ollie discovers a chilling story about a girl named Beth, the two brothers who both loved her, and a peculiar deal made with "the smiling man," a sinister specter who grants your most tightly held wish, but only for the ultimate price. Ollie is captivated by the tale until her school trip the next day to Smoke Hollow, a local farm with a haunting history all its own. There she stumbles upon the graves of the very people she's been reading about. Could it be the story about the smiling man is true? Ollie doesn't have too long to think about the answer to that. On the way home, the school bus breaks down, sending their teacher back to the farm for help. But the strange bus driver has some advice for the kids left behind in his care: "Best get moving. At nightfall they'll come for the rest of you." Nightfall is, indeed, fast descending when Ollie's previously broken digital wristwatch, a keepsake reminder of better times, begins a startling countdown and delivers a terrifying message: RUN. Only Ollie and two of her classmates heed the bus driver's warning. As the trio head out into the woods--bordered by a field of scarecrows that seem to be watching them--the bus driver has just one final piece of advice for Ollie and her friends: "Avoid large places. Keep to small." And with that, a deliciously creepy and hair-raising adventure begins.


Beginning: "She wished she were on the other side of the glass. You don't waste October sunshine."

56: "Brian snorted and the strange tension broke." 


Comments: Small Spaces is still one of my favorite tales. I'm doing a reread of the first two books of the series this October. I wanted to refresh my memory of the story before picking up Dark Waters. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Spooky Books to Read This October

Welcome! Today, Adri and I are going to share a list of some of our favorite spooky books we’ve read this year. Also, check out our list from last year HERE.


Breana: My first pick is What Lives in the Woods by Lindsay Currie (find the review HERE). I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book, and it was an excellent story with a few genuinely creepy moments. The setting, an old and isolated museum, Woodmoor Manor, was the perfect location for a ghost story. It was a spooky read that also had a heartwarming resolution.

Adri: My first pick is The Shadows by Jacqueline West (find the review HERE). It was a reread, and I was excited to get back into The Books of Elsewhere series with Olive, three wise cats, and paintings in a creepy house.

Breana: My next one is Small Town Monsters by Diana Rodriguez-Wallach (find the review HERE). This book was one of my favorite reads so far this year. It had a lot of references to the conjuring universe (specifically Ed and Lorraine Warren), and Wallach’s use of paranormal aspects amongst an every-day and almost cheerful idyllic kind of setting only heightened the spooky happenings surrounding the story.

Adri: My second and last pick (because I need to step up my spooky reading game) is Spellbound by Jacqueline West. In terms of pacing between both books, the first in the series was like moving into the house, where as the second is like settling into the house—especially for Olive. It was kind of wild, and I can’t wait to get into The Second Spy, The Books of Elsewhere #3.

Breana: I have two more books to add to this list. The first is Mine by Delilah S. Dawson (find the review HERE). Mine was probably one of the eeriest books on my end of the list. From growing up to dealing with a frightening haunting in a house she didn’t want to be in—with parents who she was at odds with—the character, Lily, went through it. And my last pick is Dark Waters by Katherine Arden. My review for Dark Waters will be posted later this month. It was one of my favorite reads of the year so far, and it’s a fitting continuation of the story set up by Small Spaces and Dead Voices.

 
So that’s what we read this year. Thanks for stopping by. Happy reading!

Monday, October 4, 2021

Music Monday (175): Rina Sawayama, Tyler The Creator, Teezo Touchdown, V.I.C., Cupid, The Slide Man, Los Del Rio, Marcia Griffiths

 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 still listening to Sawayama. It's such a good album, and I wanted to share another one of my favorite songs. This one is called Who's Gonna Save U Now?.

 

Adri: Hello, I've been listening to Tyler, The Creator lately. My picks for today are Earfquake featuring Playboi Carti, Charlie Wilson, and Jessy Wilson, and Runitup featuring Teezo Touchdown. Anyway see you later.



Andrea: Hi all! This week, I'm line dancing. There are so many songs great for line dancing, and I am currently listening/dancing to some of my favorites: Wobble by V.I.C (2008), Cupid Shuffle by Cupid (2007), The Cha Cha Slide by The Slide Man (2000), Macarana by Los Del Rio (1993), and Electric Boogie by Marcia Griffiths (1990).

 




Until next time, have an amazing week!


What are you listening to this week?



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