Monday, October 31, 2022

Happy Halloween! + #Peachtober22

Happy Halloween! I hope everyone has a fun (and safe) day. Now, onto the blog post. This year, I wanted to do more of the #Peachtober prompts. Adri is also joining me with a handful of her own illustrations. So, here’s everything we did for #peachtober.


Adri’s Comments: Unlike Breana, I didn't have a complete clear idea. I just wanted to go ahead and do it. I did get my colors together since I was using watercolor gouache. Plus it has been a minute since I've painted. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. I just need to draw something for the empty squares (which would be separate from this).

Prompts: Bow, Potion, Boulder, Boot, Plant, Sleepy


You can find more individual images on my blog or art Instagram, and on my blog.


Breana’s Comments: My idea for this year was mainly to keep it simple, but I also wanted to experiment with my color choices. I chose colored pencils as my medium, particularly because I upgraded my Prismacolor set from twenty-four to seventy-two.

Page 1 prompts: Trunk, Lantern, Snow & Globe, Trees, Sprout, Potion, Field, and Cave (I didn't end up posting it to Instagram, because it didn't fit with the rest).


Page 2 prompts: Bun, Boot & Plant, and Dandelion.


Page 3 prompts: Sleepy & Spaceship, Land & Sea, Bow, and Mask.


**Note: for a closer look at each illustration, visit my Instagram page HERE**




Friday, October 28, 2022

The Friday 56 (224) & Book Beginnings: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

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...
Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.


Beginning: "You will rejoice to hear that no disaster has accompanied the commencement of an enterprise which you have regarded with such evil forebodings."

56: "Oh! No mortal could support the horror of that countenance."


Comments: I'm glad to have this classic off my TBR list. Frankenstein was just as good as I thought it would be. What are you reading this week?


Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Title: Frankenstein
Series: n/a
Author: Mary Shelley
Source/Format: Purchased; Paperback
More Details: Science Fiction; Horror; Classic
Publisher/Publication Date: First published January 1, 1818

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Obsessed with creating life itself, Victor Frankenstein plunders graveyards for the material to fashion a new being, which he shocks into life with electricity. But his botched creature, rejected by Frankenstein and denied human companionship, sets out to destroy his maker and all that he holds dear. Mary Shelley's chilling Gothic tale was conceived when she was only eighteen, living with her lover Percy Shelley near Byron's villa on Lake Geneva. It would become the world's most famous work of horror fiction, and remains a devastating exploration of the limits of human creativity.
Frankenstein is one of those classic novels that I’ve known about, never got around to reading (for way too long), but have seen numerous adaptations and consumed media inspired by its story. After saying I’ve wanted to read it for years, I finally picked up the Signet Classics omnibus, which also contained Dracula and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

The framing of Victor Frankenstein’s story is like a cautionary tale for Captain Walton: the joy he once felt during childhood and early adulthood to the bitter anger and long-sought vengeance that consumed what remained of his life. There was something so melancholic about his perspective, and the feeling persisted all the way to the conclusion. After all, it was his scientific inclinations and ambition that were not only the early and compelling driving forces in the narrative, but also the whole cause of the majority of the book. And even though the exact methods Frankenstein used to create the creature were left purposely vague, they were implied.

Frankenstein is considered one of the earliest science fiction novels, and I see where that assertion came from. The story was a tragedy that leaned into the horror of its plot, and it does everything its synopsis promises. For lack of better words, I understand the hype.

Monday, October 24, 2022

Music Monday Halloween Edition: Lemon Demon, EARTHGANG, Korn, Christopher Lennertz

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: It's October 24th. So it's time for the Halloween edition of Music Monday! Today, my co-bloggers and I are talking about the music we've been listening to at the height of the spooky season.

Both of my picks come from an album called Spirit Phone by Lemon Demon. I discovered this band at the beginning of October, while assembling a playlist of songs I intended to use for Music Monday this month. My first pick is Lifetime Achievement Award. There's something kind of chaotic about this song, but I like it.

 

My second pick is called Touch-Tone Telephone. This is the song that introduced me to this band. Just like Lifetime Achievement Award, its busy (sound wise), but for some reason it works, especially when placed with the rest of the album.


Adri:  This week I'm sharing two of my favorite kinda creepy music videos. The first is Up by Earthgang. I like the museum setting, the costumes, makeup, and the aesthetic of it.
The second is You'll Never Find Me by Korn. First (spoiler) I thought it was interesting with what seems to be a time loop and how he was, apparently turning into plants. Second, I think that's the Invisible House in Joshua Tree, which I saw on Netflix's World's Most Amazing Vacation Rentals (season 2 episode 1). I thought that was cool. Anyway, Happy Halloween!



Andrea: Recently, I watched The Curse of Bridge Hollow on Netflix and am currently listening to the soundtrack. If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend checking it out. Its a funny Halloween movie, and I also love the music composed by Christopher Lennertz. Have a great week all!
     


Halloween is right around the corner. What spooky music are you listening to this week?

Friday, October 21, 2022

Empty Smiles by Katherine Arden

Title: Empty Smiles
Series: Small Spaces #4
Author: Katherine Arden
Source/Format: Purchased; Hardcover
More Details: Middle-Grade; Horror; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers;
 August 9, 2022

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...

New York Times bestselling author Katherine thrills once again in the finale to the critically acclaimed, spook-tacular quartet that began with Small Spaces.

It’s been three months since Ollie made a daring deal with the smiling man to save those she loved, and then vanished without a trace. The smiling man promised Coco, Brian and Phil, that they’d have a chance to save her, but as time goes by, they begin to worry that the smiling man has lied to them and Ollie is gone forever. But finally, a clue surfaces. A boy who went missing at a nearby traveling carnival appears at the town swimming hole, terrified and rambling. He tells anyone who'll listen about the mysterious man who took him. How the man agreed to let him go on one condition: that he deliver a message. Play if you dare. Game on! The smiling man has finally made his move. Now it’s Coco, Brian, and Phil’s turn to make theirs. And they know just where to start. The traveling carnival is coming to Evansburg. Meanwhile, Ollie is trapped in the world behind the mist, learning the horrifying secrets of the smiling man's carnival, trying everything to help her friends find her. Brian, Coco and Phil will risk everything to rescue Ollie—but they all soon realize this game is much more dangerous than the ones before. This time the smiling man is playing for keeps. The summer nights are short, and Ollie, Coco, Brian, and Phil have only until sunrise to beat him once and for all—or it’s game over for everyone.

**Note: since this is #4 there will be spoilers for the series, you have been warned!**

Small Spaces was a fun and delightful series. And with the highly anticipated release of Empty Smiles, one of my favorite spooky middle grades series has reached its conclusion. And with the cover pointing towards summertime and clowns, I was ready for Ollie, Brian, Coco, and Phil’s latest scary adventure beyond the mist.

A big theme of this series is how it plays on fears, while also dealing with heavy themes (like death of a loved one) through the eyes of its protagonists. Each character has grown since the beginning of the series, and Empty Smiles effectively brought their story arcs to a close.

I liked the way the Smiling Man’s latest game was structured. It was different from the other three books in the series, but I enjoyed the way it was written. It kept it from feeling too repetitive, while still offering the same suspense and scares as Small Spaces, Dead Voices, and Dark Waters. Except, it involved a creepy carnival and everything associated with it.

However, I was surprised by the way Empty Smiles handled the Smiling Man. The dynamics with the characters were different, considering the absolute cliffhanger at the end of Dark Waters. It fleshed out his character in a way the first three books didn’t, and by doing so it kind of lifted the veil a little bit. Despite it, there was still an air of mystery and danger surrounding him. You never knew if he was being helpful or deliberately tricky and malicious. But I appreciated the answers that were offered by Empty Smiles.

I’m going to miss this series. For a couple of years now, it’s been one of my go-to picks for September-October. But at the same time, it was a solid quartet of stories. All-in-all, I’ll be on the lookout for whatever Katherine Arden writes next.

Tuesday, October 18, 2022

Partners in Crime by Alisha Rai

Title: Partners in Crime
Series: n/a
Author: Alisha Rai
Source/Format: Publisher (Avon Books); Paperback ARC
More Details: Romantic Suspense
Publisher/Publication Date: Avon Books; October 18, 2022

Goodreads     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Book Depository

Synopsis from Goodreads...
Indian Matchmaking meets Date Night in this fun, romantic adventure by Alisha Rai — “One of the very brightest romance writers working right now.” (Entertainment Weekly)

Mira Patel’s got a solid accounting career, good friends, and a whole lot of distance between her and her dysfunctional family. All that’s missing is a stable romantic relationship. Armed with a spreadsheet and professional help, she sets out to find her partner in only legal activities, but much to her matchmaker’s dismay, no one is quite right. Including Naveen Desai, the very first match she unceremoniously rejected. Lately Naveen’s been too focused on keeping his sick grandfather’s law firm afloat to think about love, and he’s stunned when Mira walks back into his life to settle her aunt’s affairs. He’s determined to keep things professional…though it’s impossible not to be intrigued by all of the secrets piling up around Mira. If getting back together with an ex is a bad idea, getting kidnapped with one is even worse.... Suddenly, Naveen and Mira find themselves in a mad dash through Las Vegas to escape jewel thieves, evade crime bosses, and follow the clues to untangle the mess her family left behind. As her past comes back to haunt her, Mira despairs of ever finding someone who might understand her…but maybe, over the course of one wild night, she’ll find that he’s right by her side.

It’s been a minute since I’ve picked up a romantic suspense, and I’ve wanted to try one of Alisha Rai’s romances. Her latest book, Partners in Crime (which I received an ARC for), is sold as “Indian Matchmaker meets Date Night.” So it seemed right up my alley. And ultimately, I had a lot of fun reading this book.

Partners in Crime struck a good balance between the romance, suspense, and mystery. The cat-and-mouse situation was written in a way that gave a sense of constant danger, and it was exciting to read. It could have been over-the-top, considering the set-up with the matchmaker, jewel thieves, big family secrets, and relationship troubles. But the dynamic between Naveen and Mira added that personal aspect into the story, which made the whole scenario work for me by drawing all the threads of the story together and raising the stakes that much more. They were both complex and had secrets about themselves and their past they wished to hide, and because of it there was this constant tension between them that was delightful.

At the end of the day, Partners in Crime was excellent. I truly enjoyed the way Alisha Rai put these particular characters together, and the suspense/crime aspects offered all the risks I could want from this type of story. It was a great read.
About the author....
Alisha Rai pens award-winning contemporary romances. Her novels have been featured on the IndieNext and the LibraryReads lists, and been named Best Books of the Year by Washington Post, NPR, New York Public Library, Amazon, Entertainment Weekly, Reader’s Digest, Kirkus, “O” the Oprah Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine. When she’s not writing, Alisha is traveling or tweeting. To find out more about her books or to sign up for her newsletter, visit www.alisharai.com.
Goodreads     Website     Twitter     Instagram

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

Monday, October 17, 2022

Music Monday (219): Qveen Herby, Lou Hayter, Lone, Whodini

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 a song called Spoil Me from Qveen Herby's Ep, Mad Qveen. It reminds me of the Queen of Hearts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.


Adri: This week I'm listening to Lou Hayter. I need to listen to the rest of her album Private Sunshine. For now my favorite track is  What's a girl to do?, and the first version I heard, which is What's a girl to do? (Lone Remix).



Andrea: Hi all! This week I'm listening to Freaks Come Out at Night by Whodini. 



What are you listening to this week?

Friday, October 14, 2022

The Friday 56 (223) & Book Beginnings: Empty Smiles 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 thrills once again in the finale to the critically acclaimed, spook-tacular quartet that began with Small Spaces.

It’s been three months since Ollie made a daring deal with the smiling man to save those she loved, and then vanished without a trace. The smiling man promised Coco, Brian and Phil, that they’d have a chance to save her, but as time goes by, they begin to worry that the smiling man has lied to them and Ollie is gone forever. But finally, a clue surfaces. A boy who went missing at a nearby traveling carnival appears at the town swimming hole, terrified and rambling. He tells anyone who'll listen about the mysterious man who took him. How the man agreed to let him go on one condition: that he deliver a message. Play if you dare. Game on! The smiling man has finally made his move. Now it’s Coco, Brian, and Phil’s turn to make theirs. And they know just where to start. The traveling carnival is coming to Evansburg. Meanwhile, Ollie is trapped in the world behind the mist, learning the horrifying secrets of the smiling man's carnival, trying everything to help her friends find her. Brian, Coco and Phil will risk everything to rescue Ollie—but they all soon realize this game is much more dangerous than the ones before. This time the smiling man is playing for keeps. The summer nights are short, and Ollie, Coco, Brian, and Phil have only until sunrise to beat him once and for all—or it’s game over for everyone.

Beginning: "His friends said the carnival that year was special, but Tim Jenkins didn't believe it."

56: "Coco's head was spinning and her sunburns were just starting to ache when she and her mom and Mr. Adler finally got in the car."


Comments: Empty Smiles, the conclusion to the Small Spaces quartet , was one of my most anticipated releases of the year. I read the book last month, and I loved it. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

I Listened To: September Music Roundup


Some of the music that kept me entertained in September was Juno, Remi Wolf’s album, as well as the deluxe version of Magdalena Bay’s Mercurial World.

Juno is the October 2021 debut album by Remi Wolf. I came across it well after its release date, because the sixth song, Volkiano, crossed my feed. It was an instant hit for me, and I quickly went on to listen to the rest of Juno. This album is a strong debut for Remi Wolf. The songs were fun, and the execution of the lyrics and vocals was superb. I also liked the music videos that were released in support of Juno. They were colorful and retro—the filming had a soft grainy quality to it—which reminded me of old cartoons or shows from the 90s.

Magdalena Bay released a deluxe version of Mercurial World on September 23, almost a year after the original’s initial launch date of October 8, 2021. I’m always interested in special versions of albums, particularly to see what the artists decide to add. Mercurial World’s deluxe adds a couple of new songs, remixes, instrumental versions, and 15 “Secrets” divided between eight intermission-type tracks (which added to the immersion). Mercurial World was already a great album, and I thoroughly enjoyed the robust list of additions.

What have you been listening to lately?

Monday, October 10, 2022

Music Monday (218): The Dickies, Janelle Monae, Janet Jackson

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 Killer Klowns by The Dickies. This is the theme song for a 1988 science fiction horror comedy movie called Killer Klowns From Outer Space. I love this song! I couldn't find the band's official channel on Youtube, so you can check out the Spotify preview below.
  

Adri: This week I'm listening to one of my favorite songs by Janelle Monae, Many Moons.


Andrea: Hi all! This week I'm listening to Doesn't Really Matter by Janet Jackson. I hope everyone has an amazing week!


What are you listening to this week?


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