Sunday, December 25, 2022

The Cookie Book Tag (Batch 5)


It's December 25th, so Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! I hope everyone has a great day. The year is almost over, and today we're going to do a book tag. (The only book tag we keep doing.) It has been a year to the day since Adri and I participated in the Cookie Book Tag for the fourth time. And today, we're going to do it again to see how our answers do and don't differ. Before we begin, here are the more technical details about the tag.

The Cookie Book Tag was created by Nicole @ Sorry, I’m Booked. And you can check out the original tag post here: Sorry, I’m Booked, The Cookie Book Tag.

The rules…
  • Link back to the person who tagged you + the creator of this tag 
  • Pick a book that corresponds with the cookies theme 
  • Have fun 
  • Tag 1-3 people

Chocolate Chip: A Classic Book That You Love or Really Enjoyed (interpret classic how you want, it can be a classic written 100 years ago or 20 years ago)

Breana: I have two books and one series as an answer to this question. There's Washington Square by Henry James, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and the entire Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (the John Ciardi translation).

Adri: My classic is really, what I assume to be, obscure. It's Tap Dance: A Beginners Guide by Trina Marx (1983).

Thin Mints: A Fandom That You Really Want to ‘Join’ AND/OR a Hyped-Up Book You Want To Read (your source(s) of a book being hyped can be from anywhere)

Breana: I'm going to go with The Keeper's Six by Kate Elliott. It comes out in January 2023, and I'm really excited for it.

Adri: I can't think of a fandom right now. As for hyped books, I’ve turned my attention to getting through books on my shelves.

Shortbread: An Author You Can’t Get Enough Of

Breana: I've read all of Katherine Arden's books (Winternight Trilogy & Small Spaces quartet), and Sarah Kuhn's Heroine Complex series is one of my favorites. For short fiction, some of my favorite authors are Eugenia Triantafyllou and Lavie Tidhar. 

Adri: Better Homes and Gardens Editors… Umm, does this count? I brought two used, old baking books, Complete Book of Baking, and Old-Fashioned Home Baking. I can't get enough of them! Actually I need try out more recipes, but I like the aesthetic.

Samoas/ Caramel DeLites: An Emotional Rollercoaster (this cookie was hard … so any book that made you feel more than one emotion, strongly. The choice of emotions is up to you)

Breana: Seanan McGuire's Middlegame. That book is the epitome of an emotional rollercoaster, and I was rooting for the main characters the entire time.

Adri: Sociology: Your Compass for a New World by Robert J. Brym and John Lie. It’s a bit older, but it was a ride.

Oreos: A Book Whose Cover Was Better Than The Story OR Vice Versa, Where The Story Was Better Than Its Cover

Breana: I don't really have a good answers for this question. I mean, the book cover for the US edition of A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross is kind of simple, but it's a perfect fit for the novel. I don't have any criticism about it, because the story was excellent. 

Adri: Inside Tap by Anita Feldman. I like the cover, and it fits, but it is simple. The inside is valuable. I like the layout and am having fun working with it.

Tagalongs/ Peanut Butter Patties: A Book That Wasn’t What You Expected (good, bad, or just different, interpret how you wish)

Breana: Meet Me by the Fountain An Inside History of the Mall by Alexandra Lange. It's one of my favorite nonfiction reads of the year, but, going into it, I wasn't sure what to expect. That being said, it provided a lot of information about the history of malls, much of it I wasn't aware of. 

Adri: Breana already read Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey, but I really didn't know what to expect when I got into for myself. Nonetheless I loved it.

Snickerdoodles: A Book You May Never Stop Rereading/ Loving

Breana: I don't have much time to reread anything right now, but, if I did, I would go with The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo and The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd.

Adri: Inside Tap, again, because it is a tutorial book after all. But like I said above, I love the layout.

Bonus: Choose a cookie I didn’t list and make up a question!

Our question from 2018: Monster Cookies have bold flavors and a long and varied list of ingredients such as M&Ms, chocolate chips, peanut butter, oats, and even sometimes raisins. It’s like a handful of cookie types mashed into one monster of a cookie. So… Monster cookie: name a book with a bold and whimsical title or a book title with four or more words.

Breana: This one is easy: When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain by Nghi Vo. The Singing Hills Cycle just has great titles.

Adri: Daybreak on Raven Island by Fleur Bradley.

That's it for today. We tag you to do the cookie book tag to see how your answers differ (if you've done it before). If you're curious about our original take on the tag and our second, third, and fourth try at it visit the posts HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE

Friday, December 23, 2022

Break Notice

It's time for our annual break from blogging. All weekly memes are on hold till January, and any posts that appear after this were scheduled at a prior date. We'll still be around on Instagram, Goodreads, etc. Also, you can now follow us again on Tumblr. Visit Our Thoughts Precisely (Extra). Until then, see you all in the New Year, and happy reading!


Wednesday, December 21, 2022

2022 Favorites Part 2: Movies, TV Shows, & Music

Welcome to the second part of my Favorites of 2022 post. Today, I’m going to talk about my favorite movies, TV shows, and albums of the year.

I’ve been enjoying a lot of older TV shows and movies in 2022. Murder She Wrote, Agatha Christie’s Marple, Hercule Poirot—weekly mystery staples. But, there’s also Svengoolie on Saturdays, which shows old science fiction and horror movies. On the other side, there’s stuff like the original Star Trek, MacGuyver, Knight Rider, Vega$, and Hawaii Five-O. I also watched The Matrix again, and I rediscovered how much I loved it.

Some other stuff includes the yearly cooking competitions, as well as Abbott Elementary. The latter is such a fun series to watch, and each episode usually gets a laugh out of me. I also finally saw Encanto, and that movie was just charming. Then there was Sonic 1 and 2, and they were just as good as I thought they were going to be.

Most of what I watched tended to be on Netflix though, but, in my defense, they had a lot of good series and movies come out in 2022. The Adam Project was an action flick with a strong science fiction element and great visuals. The Curse of Bridge Hollow was spooky and funny. Wendell & Wild was an easy favorite for me. And I loved the stop-motion animation, music, and story. I’m a little behind with The Cuphead Show!, but the first season was so charming and the visuals basically identical to the game, it’s easily one of my favorite shows of the year. Then I checked out Mr. Midnight: Beware the Monsters, and, wow, it was so good that I ended up binging all of the episodes. Lastly, I watched a romantic-comedy called Business Proposal. It was so funny, and the characters were fantastic.

Moving on to music, my top-favorites were: Renaissance by Beyoncé, Special by Lizzo, Caprisongs by FKA Twigs, Dawn FM by The Weeknd, Traumazine by Meghan Thee Stallion, and Dirt Femme by Tove Lo. Some pleasant surprises were Rina Swayama’s Hold The Girl, Taylor Swift’s Midnights, The Gods We Can Touch by Aurora, and Motordrome by MØ. Some other good ones were Harry’s House by Harry Styles, Hypnos by Ravyn Lenae, and Tierra Whacks three very short Eps (Rap?, Pop?, and R&B?). Then there was Remi Wolf’s 2021 debut album, Juno, which was fantastic. And, finally, Magdalena Bay released a deluxe version of their album, Mercurial World, which added a lot to the original.

**Note: I Listened To and What I’ve Been Watching posts can be found under the Thought Corner label.**

So that’s all on my end. What were some of your 2022 favorites?

Monday, December 19, 2022

Music Monday: Christmas Edition


  • 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: With our break from blogging and the end of the year approaching, it's time for the Christmas edition of Music Monday! Today, we're sharing more festive music.

My pick is I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm by Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald.

My second pick is one of my favorite songs from The Polar Express, also called The Polar Express performed by Tom Hanks. I love that movie. Happy Holidays!

Adri: This year I tried to find holiday music by artists that aren't already on my playlist. (Well, I think I did a decent job.) This week I'm listening to Let It Snow and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Oleta Adams. Happy holidays!

Andrea: Hi All! As you all know, this is my favorite time of the year. To get into the holiday spirit I'm listening to I Can Hardly Wait Till Christmas by The O'Jays, Silver Bells by A Few Good Men, and Give Love On Christmas Day by Johnny Gill. Until next time, have a wonderful Christmas! 



What are you listening to this holiday season?

Friday, December 16, 2022

Short Stories I Read In November

Since I’m going to be on break from blogging in the latter half of December, I decided to post my monthly short story post a bit early. So it’s time to talk about the short stories, miscellaneous posts, and podcast episodes I read or listened to in November.

Ineffective by Ken Poyner (Strange Horizons; Issue 17 October 2022)

The first thing I tackled in November was a piece of poetry on Strange Horizons called Ineffective by Ken Poyner. This poem feels very for-the-times, but I liked it. The way it was written was great with “light” as a metaphor in a poem that’s clear about its approach to climate and capitalism.

The Lonely Time Traveler of Kentish Town by Nadia Afifi (Clarkesworld; Issue 194—November 2022)

And my next (and last) short fiction read in November was a novelette called The Lonely Time Traveler of Kentish Town. This is the first story I’ve read by Nadia Afifi, and I was hooked by the first paragraph. It featured a pretty unique version of time travel, and I liked the way it was woven into the timely commentary at the center of the story. Overall, The Lonely Time Traveler of Kentish Town was an excellent read!

From around the web…

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

2022 Favorites Part 1: Books & Short Stories

As the year winds down, it’s finally the right time to do a favorites post for 2022. This year, I'm splitting the post into two parts, starting with books and short stories.

I read so many good books in 2022. While the number might not be as high as some years, the quality is what counts.

My favorite middle grade novels were Monsters In the Mist by Julianna Brandt, Shadow Grave by Mariana Cohen and Empty Smiles by Katherine Arden. As for romance, I didn’t really reach much this year besides Partners In Crime by Alisha Rai—a rom-com with an organized crime twist. (I had a lot of fun with that one!) Nonfiction was in the same boat, and my two main reads were Daughters of Chivalry by Kelcey Wilson-Lee—a book about Edward I’s daughters—and Meet Me by the Fountain by Alexandra Lange (a comprehensive look at the history of malls).The classics I tackled included Washington Square by Henry James (I had to read it after I saw the movie adaptation), A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, and the entire John Ciardi translation of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy.

Then there were the sequels. Holiday Heroine by Sarah Kuhn—the Heroine Complex books are always a delight. Another one was the second book in The Cambridge Bookshop series called A Treacherous Tale by Elizabeth Penny. It was one of two cozy mysteries I read and liked, with the second being Death by Bubble Tea by Jennifer J. Chow. And last, but certainly not least, I finally read We Free the Stars by Hafsah Faizal (it was a good end to one of my favorite duologies).

I also checked out Middle Game, which is one of my favorite Seanan McGuire novels to date.

But, most of my reads tended to be fantasy or fantasy adjacent (with some magical aspects) though. I expected it since it is my favorite genre. On the lighter side, there was the spectacular The Cartographers by Peng Shepherd and All The Horses of Iceland by Sarah Tolmie. A spooky and funny suburban paranormal comedy called Suburban Hell by Maureen Kilmer. The magical A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross, and its sequel A Fire Endless. And a pair of excellent novellas: The Empress of Salt and Fortune, and When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain.

Moving on, I wanted to list (and link to) my favorite short stories of the year. 
**Note: You can check out the Short Story tag at the bottom of the latest post to see my thoughts about them, or search "Short Stories" in the sidebar.**

So, that was just about all the books and short stories I read this year. In part 2, I’m going to go into my favorite albums, TV shows, and movies. See you then!

**Note: there are HarperCollins titles mentioned in this post. Be aware that their workers are currently on strike. And any outstanding reviews I have will be held until the strike is over. For more information about it, visit the strike's twitter page HERE** 

Monday, December 12, 2022

Music Monday (225): Tkay Maidza, Angela Lansbury, Luther Vandross


  • 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: Continuing with last week's theme, I picked another holiday song to share. This one is by one of my favorite artists, Tkay Maidza, and it's called Nights In December.

Adri: This week I'm listening to Mrs. Santa Clause by Angela Lansbury. It's from a film of the same name thats free to watch on Youtube right now. I've never heard of the movie before so I'm going to go check it out.

Andrea: Hi all! This week I'm listening to Every Year, Every Christmas by Luther Vandross. Have a great week!

What are you listening to this week?

Friday, December 9, 2022

What I've Been Watching

I wanted to do one more What I’ve Been Watching post before the year was over, because October and November were busy months in terms of TV and movie releases. Here’s everything I’ve watched.

Cooking Competitions
  • Every year, I really enjoy the holiday specific baking competitions that are aired on Food Network. The Halloween ones are a particular favorite of mine, but I also enjoy the Christmas ones too.
Wendell & Wild (Netflix, 2022)
  • I love stop-motion animation, and when I heard about this project (plus Henry Selick and Jordan Peele’s involvement with it), suffice it to say, I was hyped. Wendell & Wild was fantastic. The animation was stylish and fit the tone of the movie. It was spooky and fun, combined with serious and somber topics. It was also a coming of age tale, following Kat Elliott's turmoil and guilt after the death of her parents. Her issues were real and hard-hitting, while the supernatural aspects added the eerie imagery and a slight comedic element that broke up some of the tension—especially with the titular duo, Wendell and Wild. The voice performances were great as well, and I really enjoyed the music. All-in-all, I had a great time watching this movie. I know it’s easily going to be another Halloween favorite that I revisit every year, just like Coraline.
Heroes & Icons
  • There is a channel I’ve gotten into lately (thanks Adri!) called H&I. I’ve been watching shows like the original Hawaii Five-O, MacGyver, and Star Trek as well as Vega$ among others.
The Curse of Bridge Hollow (Netflix, 2022)
  • The Curse of Bridge Hollow arrived right on time for Halloween. I liked this one. The comedic moments arrived at the perfect times, and it made me laugh. The story—while simple with Halloween decorations brought to life by accident—was enjoyable, particularly because it had a great cast. I also liked the overall messaging.
Mr. Midnight: Beware the Monsters (Netflix, 2022)
  • I love stuff that incorporates folklore and magic as well as mystery, adventure, and comedy. And, Mr. Midnight checked all the boxes. It was so good! The supernatural occurrences were episodic with an overarching plot that continued till the end. The folklore and magic elements were pretty awesome. I loved the effects and the design of the spirits, other creatures, and the overall look and setting of the series. The characters were just as interesting too, and the connection developed between the main and reoccurring cast was one of the highlights. Everyone had a fully developed personality with their own goals, fears, and secrets—something that was embellished by the great performances of the actors. So even when the characters clashed, it made for interesting situations with a number of emotional and heartfelt moments. The dynamics between the core group—Tyar, Ling, Nat, and Zoe—who were collectively Mr. Midnight, was fun. There was plenty of camaraderie (and friendship) between them, which was also tied-up with the supernatural occurrences they ultimately got involved with. All-in-all, I really enjoyed this series, and I ended up binge watching all thirteen episodes.
Business Proposal
  • In November, I decided to check out a Korean romantic comedy called Business Proposal, which was in my Netflix recommendations. I haven't read the webtoon it's based on, but that didn't stop me from watching it. It's an office romance, and I loved this series! I laughed so much at the antics of the characters, the situations they found themselves in, and the bright and colorful comical effects that sometimes appeared in the background. It was ridiculous, heartwarming, and romantic. (Even the side characters had a lot going on.) I had a lot of fun watching this series!
So that’s some of what I’ve been watching. There’s even more stuff that came out, which I haven’t gotten around to yet. But, since my break from blogging is coming up, I expect to do another one of these posts early in 2023. What have you been watching?

Monday, December 5, 2022

Music Monday (224): Tinashe, Faith Hill, Stephanie Mills


  • 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 finally December, and I have an excuse to talk about holiday music. To start the month, I revisited one of my favorite Christmas-themed album: Comfort & Joy by Tinashe. Check out Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

Adri: Hey, this week I'm listening to White Christmas by Stephanie Mills.

Andrea: Hi all! This week I'm listening to Where Are You Christmas by Faith Hill. Have a great week!

What are you listening to this week?

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