Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Short Stories I Read In February


It’s the twenty-ninth of March. So it’s time to talk about the short stories, miscellaneous posts, and podcast episodes I read or listened to in February.

My Double, My Brother by Averi Kurth (Strange Horizons; Issue: 24 January 2022)

To start this month, I read some poetry over on Strange Horizons. One of my favorites from the bunch was My Double, My Brother by Averi Kurth. I liked the way it was written, as well as the way Kurth handled the theme.

Sestina For A friend Misplaced and Recovered by Katy Bond (Strange Horizons; Issue: 24 January 2022)

This was another good piece of poetry. I really liked what Bond did with it. It was lyrical and emotive, and a treat from beginning to end.

Gentle Dragon Fires by T.K. Rex and Lezlie Kinyon (Strange Horizons; Issue: 17 January 2022)

And finally, the short story I read on Strange Horizons was Gentle Dragon Fires. This story was excellent. The writing had me from the first sentence, and the narrator, Let, was one of my favorite aspects about the story besides the fantastical elements. In a lot of ways, the story felt close and personal, emphasizing things that are forgotten—knowledge, memories, traditions, and etc. that fall through the cracks—it was the changing times and the cost of modernization and the consequences of greed that painted the smoky imagery of Gentle Dragon Fires.

From Around the Web...

Monday, March 28, 2022

Music Monday (193): Charli XCX, Beyoncé

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 Charli XCX's new album, CRASH. Move Me is a phenomenal song, and it's one of the best from the album.


Andrea: Hi all! This week I'm listening to the King Richard soundtrack. Check out Be Alive by Beyoncé. Have an amazing week!



What are you listening to this week?


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

Title: Journey to the Center of the Earth
Series: n/a
Author: Jules Verne
Source/Format: Purchased; Paperback
More Details: Classic; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: First published November 25, 1864

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
This high-tension odyssey follows three men in an awesome search for the mysterious center of the earth-as they risk their chances of ever returning to the surface alive.


I’ll admit it: I actually forgot that Jules Verne wrote a book called Journey to the Center of the Earth. But once I came across it while making a different purchase, I knew I had to get it too. While thinking about the movie that came out in 2008 (the one with Brendan Fraser in it)—which adapted the book but didn’t follow it exactly (as I realized later)—the more I got excited about reading Verne’s story.

This book was kind of great. The beginning was a little slow, but there was the initial discovery and a lot of preparation as well as travel involved before the titular journey to the center of the earth could actually begin. I didn’t mind the pace though, as it gave a chance to see the characters in their normal lives and get a feel for their personalities (as well as two others in the side cast that are otherwise uninvolved with the main story) before plunging them—literally and figuratively—into the unknown. It was a travel book through and through, but it was also a fantastical and perilous journey.

Monday, March 21, 2022

Music Monday (192): Banks, Saweetie, H.E.R., Mary J Blige

 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: Banks released a new single from her upcoming album, Serpentina. It's called Holding You Back, and I love it.


Andrea: Hi all! I've been busy spring cleaning while listening to Closer by Saweetie featuring H.E.R. and Rent Money by Mary J. Blige featuring Dave East. Have an amazing week!

 



What are you listening to this week?

Friday, March 18, 2022

The Friday 56 (214) & Book Beginnings: A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne

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...
This high-tension odyssey follows three men in an awesome search for the mysterious center of the earth-as they risk their chances of ever returning to the surface alive.


Beginning: "Looking back to all that has occurred to me since that eventful day, I am scarcely able to believe in the reality of my adventures."

56: "All this while we were advancing at a rapid pace."


Comments: I really liked A Journey to the Center of the Earth. What are you reading this week?

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Upcoming Music I'm Waiting For Part 2 (2022)

Since its March (already three months into 2022), I thought I would revisit the subject of upcoming music. Some more stuff has been announced, and a couple of the albums I’m very excited for.  

Today is also the 15th of March, which is Our Thoughts Precisely's blogiversary. The blog is officially 9 years old! I never have anything specifically planned for this day, but I thought I would mention it here. Thanks again to all the people who have stopped by, read our posts, and left blog comments. 

Now, onto the list....
 
  • Serpentina by Banks (April 8, 2022): Recently, there has been a trickle of singles coming out from Banks. Serpentina has finally been announced, and I like what I’ve heard so far. So I’m very excited to see what’s in store from the follow-up to 2019’s III.
  • Back From the Dead by Halestorm (May 6, 2022): It’s been a while since I regularly followed Halestorm’s music, but I’m anticipating their next album, Back From the Dead.
  • Explosions by Three Days Grace (May 6, 2022): Three Days Grace was a band I used to listen to when I was younger. I’ve been listening to some of their recent stuff, and I’m excited for this album.
  • Palaces by Flume (Mary 20, 2022): I liked Flume’s 2016 album, Skin, so I had to add Palaces to this list.
  • Other albums with limited information (TBA; To Be Announced): Saweetie, Rina Sawayama, Kimbra, Cardi B.


That’s it for now. As always, my lists are ever changing. So who knows, maybe there will be part three of "upcoming music I’m waiting for" later in the year. We’ll see.

What upcoming albums are you waiting for?

Monday, March 14, 2022

Music Monday (191): MØ, Oleksa Lozowchuk, Lovisa Bergdahl, Ariana Gillis

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 Motordrome. Another one of my favorite songs is Wheelspin. It's one of the best tracks from the album.


Adri: I have been playing Horizon: Forbidden West, and I adore the soundtrack so much. One of the earliest cutscenes played the song In The Flood by Oleksa Lozowchuk and Lovisa Bergdahl featuring Ariana Gillis. And my second pick is Lovisa's version of In The Flood. 




What are you listening to this week?



Friday, March 11, 2022

I Listened to Motordrome by MØ

 

It’s been a while since MØ’s last album (Forever Neverland came out in 2018). So, another one of my most anticipated albums of the first part of 2022 was Motordrome. I didn’t closely follow the singles leading up to the January 28th release date, but I was still eager to dive into this album.

Motordrome is MØ’s third studio album. There were no features, but honestly it wasn’t needed. Motordrome was a solid foray into pop music, with touches of electronic and a few beats that felt like a brief reference to the sound of MØ’s first studio album, No Mythologies to Follow. It was so good. Some of my favorites included Live to Survive, Wheelspin, New Moon, Goosebumps, and Hip Bones.

Don’t get me wrong though, Motordrome is its own thing. MØ clearly had something to say, and the album feels as if it’s telling a story to its listeners and is, overall, carried by a different tone in a lot of aspects. It was still markedly a MØ album, and there was a lot to enjoy about Motordrome.

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

A Thousand Steps Into Night by Traci Chee

Title: A Thousand Steps Into Night
Series: n/a
Author: Traci Chee
Source/Format: NetGalley (Publisher); eARC
More Details: Fantasy; Young Adult
Publisher/Publication Date: Clarion Books; March 1, 2022

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
In the realm of Awara, where gods, monsters, and humans exist side by side, Miuko is an ordinary girl resigned to a safe, if uneventful, existence as an innkeeper’s daughter. But when Miuko is cursed and begins to transform into a demon with a deadly touch, she embarks on a quest to reverse the curse and return to her normal life. Aided by a thieving magpie spirit and continuously thwarted by a demon prince, Miuko must outfox tricksters, escape demon hunters, and negotiate with feral gods if she wants to make it home again. But with her transformation comes power and freedom she never even dreamed of, and she’ll have to decide if saving her soul is worth trying to cram herself back into an ordinary life that no longer fits her… and perhaps never did.

It’s been a while since I last read anything by Traci Chee, but I was eager to check out her latest young adult novel: A Thousand Steps Into Night. Books that deal with curses are sometimes my favorite thing. There are many ways to interpret what constitutes as a curse. In one of Traci Chee’s newsletters, she talked about some of the work that went into A Thousand Steps Into Night, and I was interested in seeing how that would come in to play.

As a standalone, I liked this story. There were a lot of strong aspects about it including the endearing characters—Miuko as well as some surprising allies—to the world building and the major turning points that culminated in an excellent and satisfying conclusion.

The opening chapters got the ball rolling at a fast pace, but it was an effective opener for a story that barely had time to slow down and breath. There was a lot of ground to cover though, and so traveling made up a good chunk of the story. However, those bits were good, as it showed the setting through Miuko’s eyes as she experienced it. At times, the outward factors seemed to work against the characters, and there was literally danger around every corner from the ordinary and the supernatural. There were a few comical moments, but the tension (from the race against time and the ensuing chase) was the defining tone of A Thousand Steps Into Night.

So the characters: I liked them. The secondary cast, as well as the villain, were detailed and complex. The villain in particular had a clear motive, and his actions were a foil to Miuko’s ultimate quest.

All the hallmarks of a coming of age tale were present with Miuko (the sole POV) having to figure out who she wanted to be after being cursed. Awara was a society that was restrictive to women, and that was one of the big themes of the story. Add in a curse, and you’re pretty much everything they don’t want. So with her banishment from the only places and family she’s ever known, she was left in a difficult situation. Her endurance was admirable, but I also liked when she finally got some support and built those friendships she’d craved for. In the end, I appreciated Miuko’s characterization, and her story was so satisfying to watch playout.

A Thousand Steps Into Night was an interesting and enjoyable read.

About the author....
Traci Chee is a New York Times best-selling author and National Book Award Finalist. An all-around word geek, she loves book arts and art books, poetry and paper crafts, though she also dabbles at bonsai gardening, egg painting, and hosting potluck game nights for family and friends. She studied literature and creative writing at UC Santa Cruz and earned a master of arts degree from San Francisco State University. Traci grew up in a small town with more cows than people, and now feels most at home in the mountains, scaling switchbacks and happening upon hidden highland lakes. She lives in California with her fast-fast dog.
Goodreads     Website     Twitter     Instagram

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by the publisher (Clarion Books) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you! 

Monday, March 7, 2022

Music Monday (190): MØ, Ralf GUM, Mike Avery, Diamondancer, & Madonna

 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 MØ's new album, Motordrome. I'll have a full post about it later this month, but I wanted to mention one of my favorite songs: New Moon. I love the music video for it. 

 

Adri: This week I'm listening to Ralf Gum. It's Searching (Full Mix) featuring Mike Avery and All This Love For You (Original Mix) featuring Diamondancer.



Andrea: Hi all! I hope everyone is having a great week. I've always loved Frozen by Madonna, and now there's a remix... You can listen to both versions below. Which one do you like the best?




What are you listening to this week?



Friday, March 4, 2022

The Friday 56 (213) & Book Beginnings: Inferno by Dante Alighieri

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...
Belonging in the company of the works of Homer and Virgil, The Inferno is a moving human drama, a journey through the torment of Hell, an expression of the Middle Ages, and a protest against the ways in which men have thwarted the divine plan.

Beginning: "Midway in our life's journey, I went astray
from the straight road and woke to find myself 
alone in a dark wood."

56: "And he to me: "Your own city, so rife
with hatred that the bitter cup flowers over
was mine to in that other, clearer life."


Comments: One of my blogging goals of 2022 is to read The Divine Comedy. I started at the beginning with Inferno, and I liked it. I'm really looking forward to The Purgatorio. What are you reading this week?


Tuesday, March 1, 2022

All the Horses of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie

Title: All the Horses of Iceland
Series: n/a
Author: Sarah Tolmie
Source/Format: Netgalley; eARC
More Details: Historical-Fiction; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: TorDotcom; March 1, 2022

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
A hypnotic historical fantasy with gorgeous and unusual literary prose, from the captivating author of The Fourth Island.

Everyone knows of the horses of Iceland, wild, and small, and free, but few have heard their story. Sarah Tolmie’s All the Horses of Iceland weaves their mystical origin into a saga for the modern age. Filled with the magic and darkened whispers of a people on the cusp of major cultural change, All the Horses of Iceland tells the tale of a Norse trader, his travels through Central Asia, and the ghostly magic that followed him home to the land of fire, stone, and ice. His search for riches will take him from Helmgard, through Khazaria, to the steppes of Mongolia, where he will barter for horses and return with much, much more.

All the Horses of Iceland is a delve into the secret, imagined history of Iceland's unusual horses, brought to life by an expert storyteller.


One of my most anticipated books of 2022 was All the Horses of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie. When I first heard about it last year, I was instantly intrigued by it.

The narrative style of All the Horses of Iceland reminded me of a nonfiction book I read earlier this year called Daughters of Chivalry by Kelcey Wilson-Lee. That book followed the lives of Edward I’s five daughters. In this book, there was a clear narrator, and it was basically written as an autobiography of a fictional historical figure. The story followed a man during his travels and chronicled the people he met, the places he went, the magic he encountered, and ultimately the horses that would give context to the title of the story.

I’m not very familiar with the sources Tolmie used for some aspects of the story. So, I found the author’s note in the back helpful for clarifying a few details I was unsure about after I finished reading.

All that to say:  All the Horses of Iceland was a slow and contemplative story, but I enjoyed reading it.
 
About the author....
Sarah Tolmie is the author of the 120-sonnet sequence Trio, published by McGill-Queen’s University Press (release date 1 April 2015) and the chapbook Sonnet in a Blue Dress and Other Poems (Baseline Press, 2014). She has also published a novel, The Stone Boatmen, and a short fiction collection, NoFood, with Aqueduct Press (both 2014). She is a medievalist trained at the University of Toronto and Cambridge and is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Waterloo.

Disclaimer: this copy of the book was provided by the publisher (TorDotCom) via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you! 
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