Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Review: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

Title: I Shall Wear Midnight 
Series: Discworld #38 (Tiffany Aching #4)
Author: Terry Pratchett
Source/Format: Purchased; Paperback
More Details: Young Adult; Fantasy
Publisher/Publication Date: Harper Collins; September 1, 2015 (first published on January 1, 2010)
The fourth in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching...

As the witch of the Chalk, Tiffany Aching performs the distinctly unglamorous work of caring for the needy. But someone—or something—is inciting fear, generating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Tiffany must find the source of unrest and defeat the evil at its root. Aided by the tiny-but-tough Wee Free Men, Tiffany faces a dire challenge, for if she falls, the whole Chalk falls with her. . . .
For the longest time, I have said I wanted to continue reading the Tiffany Aching series, since Wintersmith is one of my all-time favorite books. I have yet to read the first two books in the series, but I had no trouble stepping back into the somewhat silly but also serious/dangerous and magical world of Tiffany Aching. I was always curious to know what happened after the business with winter was over. So I have finally read Wintersmith’s sequel, I Shall Wear Midnight, and it was a fantastic read.

The beginning of I Shall Wear Midnight was almost calm by comparison to the later part of the story. Sure it was chaotic and busy, but it was all typical to witches in the Tiffany Aching series. That being so, once the fear, rumors, and anger towards the witches started, that calm vanished. There was a gradual build to the tension, which was only heightened as more and more of the twists—and ultimately the villain of the story—was revealed.

There is something so immersive and engrossing about this story. Part of it was the characters—or rather Tiffany Aching herself—as well as the role magic occupied within the story. Pratchett’s take on witchcraft can at times be pragmatic, but it’s one of my favorite versions. In Wintersmith, Tiffany was still learning how to be a witch, and as a consequence she was around other witches a lot more than she was here. In I Shall Wear Midnight, she was mostly on her own, in her “steading”—which is essentially the geological area a witch looks after. She had big shoes to fill, and as the story stresses: witches handle the unglamorous work, i.e. the tasks that may go unnoticed otherwise.

Tiffany is such a wonderful character. She went through quite a bit in this story, as relationships she had relied on and cherished were tested as often as they changed. In that way, I Shall Wear Midnight felt more like a coming of age tale, as Tiffany really stepped into her own and fortified her confidence and pride as a witch. It was great to see, and it kept me turning the pages. As always, Tiffany’s bond with the Nac Mac Feegle (Wee Free Men) was great. Some of their antics served as some much needed comedic moments in a story that was otherwise quite serious in tone.

I Shall Wear Midnight was a fitting sequel to Wintersmith. I’m glad I can finally mark this one off my TBR list, and I look forward to read more of Pratchett’s Discworld series.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Music Monday (142): Twenty One Pilots, Thundercat,

 
   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: Twenty One Pilots released a Christmas song last week called Christmas Saves The Year. I kind of want them to make a full holiday album, but I'll take what I can get. Anyway, I really like this song.


Adri: Recently, Thundercat released his album, It Is What It Is. It included my favorite song, Dragonball Durag, which is my first pick. 


My second pick became a new favorite when I first listened to it. It's called Innerstellar Love. I think it's too short, but I can't stop listening to it! 



What holiday music are you listening to this week? If you have any recommendations, leave them in the comments.

Friday, December 11, 2020

The Friday 56 (191) & Book Beginnings: I Shall Wear Midnight by Terry Pratchett

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...
The fourth in a series of Discworld novels starring the young witch Tiffany Aching...

As the witch of the Chalk, Tiffany Aching performs the distinctly unglamorous work of caring for the needy. But someone—or something—is inciting fear, generating dark thoughts and angry murmurs against witches. Tiffany must find the source of unrest and defeat the evil at its root. Aided by the tiny-but-tough Wee Free Men, Tiffany faces a dire challenge, for if she falls, the whole Chalk falls with her. . . .

Beginning: "Why was it, Tiffany Aching wondered, that people liked noise so much?"

56: "Jeannie sat down by her husband and watched the brawling for a while." 


Comments: I can finally mark I Shall Wear Midnight off my TBR list. I really loved the fourth installment in the Tiffany Aching series. What are you reading this week?

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Favorite Recipe: Chocolate Chip Cookie + Round-Up


Hello, I hope everyone is doing well. Today, I'm here to talk about a new favorite tried-and-true recipe.  Breana recently came across a great cookie recipe. It is The Most Amazing Chocolate Chip Cookies by Laura from her website Joy Food Sunshine. For the longest time, I have been looking for cookies that remain chewy after baking. Most of the recipes tasted good. However, they were chewy when warm and crispy when cooled. This one is, kind of, the opposite. Breana described it to me as being slightly crispy (but still soft) out of the oven, and chewy once cooled.

After Breana made a half batch, we discovered how good they were. So, she made a whole batch soon after. When I made them, I used white chocolate chips (pictured). However, I didn't have enough brown sugar at the time. One commenter, Gulshan Naqvee (on October 6th) mentioned they used all white sugar. So, I just used 1 ½ cups of white sugar. These ones were really rich. To be fair it could have been the difference in sugar, but I’ll eventually remake them with the proper measurements.

We also tried other add-ins besides chocolate chips. Some of the combinations we tried were chocolate chips and raisins, chocolate chips and peppermint chunks*, and just peppermint chunks. Speaking of which, I totally recommend Ghirardelli Peppermint chunks, it taste just like their peppermint squares, without the chocolate.

*With chocolate chips and raisins/peppermint chunks, I used 1 cup of each one. 

And with that, let’s get to the Round up. It’s holiday baking season, so I thought I would re-share some desserts (except for one).

Brownies

In our experience, you can throw everything in the bowl without separating it. However, following the directions exact is what guarantees that top layer.

Our thoughts about the recipe: HERE

Original Recipe by Sarah: HERE 

Waffle cones/ bowls

I preferred making waffle bowls because it was easier than trying to roll it into a cone…

Our thoughts about the recipe: HERE

Original Recipe (chocolate) by Sara Wells: HERE

Original Recipe by Williams-Sonoma: HERE 

Pie crust and pumpkin cheesecake pie

This is a mix-match post. The crust is flakey, and the pumpkin cheesecake pie was delicious.

Our thoughts about the recipe: HERE

Original Recipe by Melissa Stadler: HERE 

Stadler includes both a single and double pie crust recipe.

Original Recipe by Lyuba Brooke: HERE 

Dark chocolate sour cream cake

I love sour cream cakes because most of the time they come out moist.

Our thoughts about the recipe: HERE 

Original Recipe by Tami Baity: HERE 

Biscuits

I know I said desserts, but biscuits occasionally end up part of our end of the year baking, so I have to include them. Plus this recipe has been forgiving when I’ve been lazy about making it.

Our thoughts about the recipe: HERE 

Original Recipe by Amber: HERE 

Eggless Sugar cookies

I’m including this last because of some technicalities. Some of the amounts called for are different than when we first found this recipe. The main difference is that we use only ½ cup of butter and 1 cup of flour + any extra needed. Everything else is the same. 

Our thoughts about the recipe: HERE

Original Recipe: HERE 


That’s all for now. Thanks for reading. What's your favorite recipe to make around the holidays? And do you prefer crispy or chewy cookies? We would love to know.


Monday, December 7, 2020

Music Monday (141): Pentatonix, Stevie Wonder, Duke Ellington, Lil Nas X, John Legend, Carrie Underwood

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 Pentatonix's new holiday album, We Need A Little Christmas. I enjoyed all of the songs, but then again I should have expected it. Pentatonix's holiday albums are always a perfect way to set a festive mood. One of my favorite songs from it is Once Upon A December. This song is just lovely.  

  

Adri: I'm listening to Sugar Rum Cherry by Duke Ellington and Holiday by Lil Nas X.



Andrea: This week I'm listening to Hallelujah by Carrie Underwood and John Legend and Ave Maria by Stevie Wonder.




What are you listening to this week?

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