Monday, November 30, 2015

Music Monday: Chris Jones & The Night Drivers


Happy Monday everyone and welcome to my seventh Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately! If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

 Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up at the bottom of this post by sharing your post's url.

 Finally, have fun sharing and discovering new to you music!


This week I'm sharing two songs by a fantastic bluegrass band called Chris Jones & The Night Drivers and since it's almost December I'll be including a bonus Christmas song!

"Don't Blink" (2013) and "Bow Ties Are Cool" (2015) by Chris Jones & The Night Drivers - I have no idea how I've never heard of this group before now (they've been around for 20 years), but somehow I've missed them.  I "discovered" them on a bluegrass radio show.  These two songs happened to be played back to back - they're both great instrumental numbers and the titles are fantastic!  I laughed out loud when the show's host said he had no idea where the titles come from because I sure do!





On to the music!





"Snowy White Snow and Jingle Bells" (1952) by Vaughn Monroe & His Orchestra - I love listening to Christmas music, although I do think it's starting too early in the season.  Usually, the stations seem to pick a handful of songs to play over and over, but I actually got lucky and heard one that's completely new to me.  It sounds like something that should be on Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964).  I have no idea why it isn't a classic that's played over and over again!  You can listen to it here.  Here's another earlier version of it from 1950 by Dorothy Squires, if you're really interested.


Sunday, November 29, 2015

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson - Review


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Nimona, a reckless young shapeshifter, signs on as the sidekick of Lord Ballister Blackheart, a villain with a vendetta against Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics. Nimona and Blackheart are going to wreak major havoc and show the world that Goldenloin and the Institution aren't the heroes everyone thinks. As Blackheart sees that he has less control over Nimona than he thought and as small acts of villainy turn outright vicious, he realizes that Nimona's past is as murky as the extent of her abilities.

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson is so much fun and has the perfect sense of humor! I really enjoyed getting to know these characters and the world they inhabit. They're all so charming and make you want to like them regardless of what they've done, especially Nimona. She's so unique and utterly herself and not necessarily what you would expect of her. When it comes to Blackheart, while he has standards he's not exactly the villain and it's fantastic to watch him play off of Nimona.

The setting in this story is also pretty awesome. I love the traditional fantasy elements of knights and magic mixed with sci-fi and science! I didn't think this combination would work as well as it did, but it ended up being one of my favorite aspects. It really gives Stevenson and her characters so much more room to play.

Finally, I highly recommend this graphic novel. If you checked it out yet, you're really missing out on one of the best reads of the year! There's so much more I would love to see these characters do - maybe we'll get another full graphic novel featuring these awesome characters in the future.


I read this graphic novel on November 23, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu - Review


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Adelina Amouteru is bent on revenge after suffering at the hands of her family and friends. Now as the feared White Wolf, she and her sister leave Kenettra to find other Young Elites to build her own loyal army. Her goal is to wipe out the Kenettran Inquisition Axis. Unfortunately for Adelina, whose powers are fed by fear and hate, her powers are spiraling out of control. She doesn't trust her new Elite allies, the leader of the Inquisition wants her dead at any cost, and her old friends, Raffaele and the Daggers, want to end her quest for vengeance. Adelina's no hero, but she struggles to hold on what good she has left although her continued existence depends on the darkness.

Adelina is one of Marie Lu's most fascinating characters and one of the darkest YA characters I've read in awhile. She's not the hero, not by a long shot, and she's not all that likable either. For me, this is usually a deal breaker, but Adelina is a great exception. I couldn't bring myself to look away from her downward spiral. In this book, we also get a few new characters, the most interesting of which are Maeve and Magiano. I don't want to give away their powers and major plot points, Maeve's most of all but I will say this: she really takes it up to eleven.

Overall, if you loved the first installment of this series, you need to continue with it's action-packed sequel. If you are interested in the Renaissance era and the X-Men, you'll want to pick up this unique series told from the perspective of the villain. I cannot wait for the release of the third book in this series.




I read this novel from November 11 - 15, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Starting Sparks - November


Starting Sparks in a monthly writing prompt which is hosted by Emily @ Ink, Inc and Ashley G. @ [insert title here].  Basically, at the beginning of each month we're given a writing prompt that we can do whatever we want with it - create a short story, a scene, a poem, etc., that somehow ties in with the prompt.  Spark your imagination, if you will.  We then have until the end of that month to link up with the hosting blogs.

Here is this month's prompt:


I've been trying to think of something interesting to go with this prompt since the beginning of the month, but then today I saw something that really reminded me of this topic.  The following is my take on the scene:

I don't know if any of you go Black Friday shopping.  I'm not one to go out on Thanksgiving night or line up at the crack of dawn on Friday morning, but sometimes I'll head out in the afternoon to see if I can get any deals, especially when it comes to local stores.  Of course, I had to check out the local bookstore (they know me there!) and later made my way out to a Barnes & Noble where I was armed with my membership and coupons.  Finally, I decided to stop by the mall to visit a couple of the main shops where sales were going on all day.  It's always busy, but not nearly as crazy at that time in the afternoon so you don't have to deal with all of the nonsense.  The last store I set foot in was Sears and the situation was the stuff of nightmares, especially for the staff.

Now, as it turned out, the entire store system was down.  Not just at that particular location, but stores nationwide.  That meant that every single item purchased had to be entered manually because nothing would scan.  That also meant that every single discount and coupon had to be manually calculated for each purchase, and you can't forget to include the sales tax either.  Around each cash register was a group of employees prepared to write down the UPCs of each customer's purchase.  Then, if there were any discounts on that item they had to locate it in the store and get the percentages or exact amounts off.  While I was looking around at the shelves, I had one eye on all of this so I could be mildly prepared if I decided to make a purchase.  I could clearly see that the cashiers and those assisting them were living in a nightmare and walking through a minefield.  It's a crappy situation whenever something like that happens, but for it to have gone down today of all days - you can't get much worse than that.  I take that back, it could have gone down right when they opened and the hordes were pouring through the store, so it is lucky that it happened after the worst of the rush.

While I'm taking all of this in, a couple approaches the line to the register with a cart loaded down with lots of clothes.  Before they can get in line, one the of the store associates approaches them, pen and paper in hand, and begins to explain the current situation to them.  As soon as the words "our system is down" passed the associates lips, but before she could explain that they could still make their purchase, I could clearly see the couple's expressions darken like a switch being flipped off behind their eyes.

If you have retail experience, like me, you will know that this can be very dangerous.  Sometimes if you can't save the situation quickly enough, you'll swear the person you're just trying to help forgets to be human, or how to pretend to be human in some cases.  As soon as I noticed they began to react that way, I couldn't help but think of the ways that entire situation could have gone.  Everything from inhuman, upset, or willing to work with the associates, to everything in between.  Happily for the associate, she was able to save the situation and once the customers understood the situation in full they were willing to work with her and get the information needed to check out.


As soon as I witnessed that short interaction today, I immediately thought of this month's writing prompt.  I simply couldn't help myself.  I seriously considered dramatizing it or adding some fantastical elements, but for some reason I like how it turned out.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Storm (Elemental #1) by Brigid Kemmerer - Review


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Becca has had to deal with a lot of crap since her boyfriend started spreading malicious rumors about her because now she's getting attention from all the wrong kind. Then, she helps out Chris Merrick in the school parking lot when he's in a very tight spot. Turns out he's very different from the average guy - he can control and manipulate water. Just like his brothers can fire, earth, and wind. Each has the ability to control and element, which means they are quite powerful and dangerous with enemies just around the corner. Since Becca now knows the truth about her classmates that means she's in danger, too. She thinks she can trust Hunter, the new kid at school, but when he keeps showing up at the most inopportune moments and goes up against Chris she's not so sure. She does know one thing - there's a storm coming.

This series has been recommended to me so many times, so when it was available for free on Kindle I jumped at the chance and picked it up. For the most part, I really liked it and the mythology behind it. Even if it isn't exactly original it was still a lot of fun. I liked getting to know Becca, Hunter, and Chris and his family. There were moments when the love triangle aspect began to grate on my nerves, but it's reigned in pretty well. The same goes for the assault Becca deals with from her classmates. Overall, I'm really excited to continue the series because there are so many characters I want to know more about. If you liked Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout, Immortal City by Scott Speer, and fast paced paranormal or urban fantasy stories with a sharp sense of humor, you'll definitely enjoy Storm, the first novel in the Elemental series by Brigid Kemmerer.


I read this from September 29 - November 15, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Blur (Blur Trilogy #1) by Steven James - Review


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A small Wisconsin town is shocked when a high school freshman girl's body is found in the lake. Like everyone else, Daniel, a fellow student, thought her death was accidental, but at her funeral he sees a horrifying vision of her that leads him to believe that it wasn't. He's convinced her appearance wasn't just a hallucination and he quietly begins to look into her death, even though he's having an increasingly difficult time knowing what's real and what isn't in his new blurred reality.

One of my coworkers recommended this novel by Steven James. She had never read the author and was pleasantly surprised when she stumbled upon Blur. She said it was a mystery that would be right up my alley. And, she was right! I really enjoyed this first novel of a trilogy. This clever mystery novel is so filled with suspense that it kept me turning these pages non-stop. The best part is that the characters are so well-developed. Daniel and most of the supporting cast, like his best friend Kyle, seem so life-like and multifaceted. I liked getting an inside look at Daniel's thought process and observing his struggles as he's dealing with his new reality. Overall, if you like twisty-turny psychological thrillers with an engaging mystery and a great cast, Blur is for you.



I read this novel from November 8 - 11, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #3) by Ransom Riggs


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.



This week I'm spotlighting my current read, Library of Souls (Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children #3) by Ransom Riggs.  I'm only on page 35 right now, but I'm so excited after having devoured the first two installments!  I can't wait to see how it all ends!  It takes off with a bang almost immediately where Hollow City left off.

Book Beginning:

The monster stood not a tongue's length away, eyes fixed on our throats, shriveled brain crowded with fantasies of murder.

56:


[This is actually pages 56 and 57, but I enjoyed both pictures so much I thought I would share both the 56 and 57 with you.  As you can imagine, I really want to know what's going on here!  If you can't make out the text - on page 56 the ticket reads: Since 1693, Sharon's River Tours, See...Viking Siege Engines!  Famine N' Flame!  Devil's Acre, Smoking Street, Fever Ditch, and more, Only One gold piece.  And, the caption on page 57 reads: Another satisfied customer!]

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving


I hope everyone who celebrates it will have a Happy Thanksgiving!  May your day be filled with family, friends, and good food.


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Fictional Families I'd Love To Celebrate Thanksgiving With


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's theme is a Thanksgiving freebie, so today I'm sharing the families I'd love to celebrate Thanksgiving with.  You'll have to suspend disbelief because some of these families wouldn't celebrate the holiday.  Here we go, in no particular order:


The Weasley Family from the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


The Finch Family from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


The Bucket Family from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl


The Baggins Family from The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien


The Bluth Family from Arrested Development


The March Family from Little Women by Louisa May Alcott



The Quimby Family from the Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary


The Baudelaire Family from A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket


Peter Pan and the Lost Boys from Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie


The Bear Family from The Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain


What do you think of this week's list?  Would you like to have Thanksgiving with any of these families?  As always, thank you for stopping by and all comments are very much appreciated.  I hope everyone will have a safe and happy Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it, that is)!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Music Monday: Corrina, Corrina


Happy Monday everyone and welcome to my sixth Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately! If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

 Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up at the bottom of this post by sharing your post's url.

 Finally, have fun sharing and discovering new to you music!


This week I'm doing something a bit different again by spotlighting two (musically and lyrically) different covers of the same song called Corrina, Corrina (sometimes Corrine, Corrina).   The song was first recorded in 1928 and it's even been covered many times, even by the likes of Bob Dylan and Beck, but here I'm listing my favorite version and version I've discovered most recently.

"Corrine, Corrina" by Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys - This is my favorite cover of the song and it was released in 1940.  In case I haven't said this before, Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys are a great band.  I love their combination of old-time Western string band music and Big Band Swing.  You wouldn't think it would work, but it really does.  Bob Wills actually sings here and provides the "Ah ha!"s and band encouragement as usual.  My favorite vocalist from this band happens to be Tommy Duncan, who is absent from this recording.  Also one of my favorite steel guitarists ever has to be Leon McAuliffe, who can be heard in this song!



"Corrina, Corrina" by Ray Peterson - I recently discovered this particular cover of the song.  It's performed by Ray Peterson, a pop singer from the late 1950s and 1960s.  Peterson is also known for "Tell Laura I Love Her", a teen tragedy song which was also released in 1960.  Anyway, his cover of "Corrina, Corrina" is good, but it sounds so much different and you just can't go wrong with Bob Wills!



Friday, November 20, 2015

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis - Review


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Grace has an absolutely brilliant mind and an eye for detail. She knows terrible family secrets and has been shipped off to a brutal Boston insane asylum until the bulge in her belly is gone in nine months time. The only way she can deal with her situation is to shut down her mind and lock away her voice, but when it returns in a fit of violence she is relegated to the cellar where all of the worst patients are held. While down there she is discovered by a visiting doctor who also dabbles in the new techniques of criminal psychology, and he realizes she could potentially make a good assistant in the field. This doctor and a fellow patient help her escape with him to his ethical Ohio asylum, a place where she feels hope for the first time in a while and the hint of a life she could have had. While still considered "mad", she uses her position to be the doctor's eyes and ears while assisting him at crime scenes. They soon find themselves on the trail of a serial killer who preys on young women, and Grace soon realizes she'll have to face personal demons if she wants to stay sane.

A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis is a fantastic historical thriller. I love the fact that it's mostly set in my home state of Ohio. The progressive Ohio asylum that Grace goes to is pretty heavily based on the real Athens Lunatic Asylum in Athens, Ohio which is now part of Ohio University. Aside from setting, I greatly enjoyed getting to know our characters, Grace Mae especially. She is an interesting lead. She has very little personal agency, at first, to change the hand she's been dealt. She needs to rely heavily on others to ensure her safety and sanity. However, as she faces her demons and thinks of those who mean the world to her, as well on take on an entirely new role that suits her mind, she grows into herself and finds she's able to do what she never would have considered possible.

Overall, A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis comes with recommendations from me. This compellingly written, dark historical thriller is a must read of the season. If you like Sherlock and American Horror Story: Asylum, you will not want to miss this new novel.


I read this novel from November 4 - 9, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.



This week I'm spotlighting my next read, To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han.  Contemporary YA isn't really my genre of choice, but I've heard that this is one to pick up.  Maybe it'll surprise me and I'll love it like I did Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.  Based on the snippets I picked out, I am liking the tone and I definitely want to continue.  One thing's for sure, this will be be quite the change of pace!

Book Beginning:

I like to save things.  Not important things like whales or people or the environment.  Silly things.  Porcelain bells, the kind you get at souvenir shops.  Cookie cutters you'll never use, because who needs a cookie in the shape of a foot?  Ribbons for my hair.  Love letters.  Of all the things I save, I guess you could say my love letters are my most prized possession.

56:

we were all wearing hats, because I insisted.  "You have got to wear a hat to a tea party," I kept saying until Margot finally put hers on just so I'd stop.  She had on Mommy's straw gardening hat, and Kitty was wearing a tennis visor, ad I'd fancied up an old fur hat of Grandma's by pinning a few plastic flowers on top.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Wayward by Blake Crouch - Review


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Wayward Pines has a new sheriff, Ethan Burke. Ethan is one of the few that knows the truth about the town and the rest of the world. He has been beyond the fence and saw the reality behind what appears to be a modern Eden. For the most part, the townspeople have no idea. They don't know what's behind the fence, why they're in the town, why every action is dictated to them, why they shouldn't talk about the past. Some of them think it's a strange experiment. Some think they're all already dead. However, everyone wants to escape, and those that are brave enough to try are in for a horrific surprise.

Wayward, the second installment of the Wayward Pines series, does not suffer from middle book syndrome in the least. It starts off with a bang and doesn't slow down from there. If you thought you knew what was going on from the first book, prepare yourself for lots of twists and turns that may turn what you think you know on its head. While I've really been enjoying the novels, I actually enjoyed the tv adaptation more. I think I prefer onscreen Ethan to book Ethan - Matt Dillon's interpretation of the character seems more likable. Overall, I really looking forward to finishing the series with The Last Town. I'm excited to see how it all ends.



I read this novel from November 4 - 8, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

The Mavels by Brian Selznick - Review


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The Marvels features what seems to be two completely unrelated stories, one told fully in pictures the other told in text. The first illustrated one begins in 1766 and tells the story of Billy Marvel, a young shipwreck survivor, who begins a family acting dynasty in London that spans five generations. The second in prose opens in 1990 and tells the story of Joseph, a boy who has runaway to an uncle's home in London, who finds himself piecing together multiple mysteries revolving around the house and his family.

As soon as this arrived at the library, I knew I had to read it simply based on how much I enjoyed The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck. While I particularly enjoyed Selznicks's previous works, I didn't find myself quite as enamored with his latest outing. Like Wonderstruck, The Marvels is about what seems to be two complete stories that end up coming together in the end to make one cohesive story. Personally, I felt much more of a connection to the first fully illustrated story regarding young Billy Marvel and the generations of family after him. If I've never said it before, Selznick is one of my favorite illustrators; he is able to get so much across with one drawing. While Joseph story written in prose is interesting, I realized I wasn't nearly as invested with it as I was with Billy's. Not to say that I'm not interested in piecing together family history, like Joseph attempts, because I really am. And, I do usually enjoy when a story goes meta, but (view spoiler).

Overall, I enjoyed Brian Selznick's newest brand of graphic novel. It's not my favorite of his, but it is still pretty fantastic. I can't wait to see what he does next and I now want to visit the Dennis Severs House in London.


I read this novel on November 16, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Top Ten Tuesday: Quotes I Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So


Happy Tuesday everyone!  Welcome to Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week's topic is Quotes I've Loved From Books I Read In The Past Year Or So.  Here we go, in no particular order:

Jackaby leaned in and adopted the sort of hushed, secretive tones that one nearby cannot help but overhear. "Miss Rook, on a scale of one to pomegranate, how dangerous would you say this situation has become?"
-Beastly Bones by William Ritter

Not everyone has to be the Chosen One. Not everyone has to be the guy who saves the world. Most people just have to live their lives the best they can, doing things that are great for them, having great friends, trying to make their lives better, loving people properly. All the while knowing that the world makes no sense but trying to find a way to be happy anyway.
-The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Sometimes pain can bring about clarity and remind us we're still breathing.
-The Intern's Handbook by Shane Kuhn

Some of these things are true and some of them lies. But they are all good stories.
-Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

"I'd rather die on an adventure than live standing still."
-A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.
-The Martian by Andy Weir

Bloodlines and last names didn't make a man extraordinary — the extraordinary existed in what we did in life, not in who we were.
-Shutter by Courtney Alameda

I love that books allow us to experience other lives without us ever having to change where we live or who we are.
-The Cure for Dreaming by Cat Winters

"See, the world is full of things more powerful than us. But if you know how to catch a ride, you can go places."
-Snow Crash  by Neal Stephenson

Knowledge is dangerous. Once you know something, you can't get rid of it. You have to carry it. Always.
-The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

"Say no more," Leif interrupted. "I understand. I will simply have to kill them all myself."
"There he goes again. I’m telling you, Danny Elfman would love to get hold of those lines."
"Not John Williams?"
"If you've got some hopelessly overmatched heroes fighting evil and some Imperial types marching, John Williams is your guy. You need a song to make people reach for a box of Kleenex, talk to Randy Newman. But if you want creepy atmospherics and spine-shivering chords to back up your casual death threats, you gotta bring in Danny Elfman.”
-Hammered by Kevin Hearne


What you do you think of my quotes this week?  Do we happen to share any quotes or books?  Have any recommendations for me based off these?  As always, thanks for visiting my blog and I'm looking forward to your comments.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Music Monday: The Wombats


Happy Monday everyone and welcome to my fifth Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately! If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

 Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up at the bottom of this post by sharing your post's url.

 Finally, have fun sharing and discovering new to you music!


I'm doing something a little different this week.  I'm spotlighting The Wombats - the song that first got me into their music and their newest.

"Let's Dance to Joy Division" by The Wombats - This is first song I heard by this band.  I'm not sure when I first started listening to them (2010 or so), but I've been hooked since.



"Give Me a Try" by The Wombats - This is from their newest album, Glitterbug, and it definitely reminded me of how much I like this group.  The theme of the video/song seems to be don't judge a book by it's cover, especially where dating apps are concerned.



Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness - Review


❋ ❋ ❋  

What if you aren't the Chosen One in a fantasy or adventure story? If you're like Mikey and his friends, you just want to find a date to prom and attend graduation before the indie kids blow up the school, putting a stop to whatever monsters are out there. Again. Sometimes, there are more important things out there than this week's apocalypse. Sometimes you have to be able to find the extraordinary in your ordinary day-to-day life. Even if your best friend is worshiped by cats.

As soon as I heard about The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness I knew I had to pick it up. One, because Patrick Ness is one of the best author's out there, and, two, because it's set in a fantasy world where most of the fantastic elements take a back seat. The concept behind this novel is so cool and it hooked me right away. As it turns out, the execution of this concept is as good, or better than I expected. The group of four friends at the heart of the story, make the novel. Each is fully formed, with their own flaws, and entirely feel like they could walk right out of the pages of this novel. Mikey, our narrator, and his best friend, Jared, are my favorites of the group, although Mel and Henna are equally great. Did I mention they're also a pretty diverse group? While I was reading I didn't really notice it so much simply because the writing, as usual with Ness, flows so well and everything comes across as completely natural.

Mikey and his friends deal with very real issues from tough decisions to make regarding life after high school to living with and managing anxiety and OCD, all of which are handled in a thoughtful manner. The story also touches on the fantastic and magical, and I really like how it's done here. For the most part, that's not our core cast's story (although Jared is part god), but I especially enjoyed how the reader is kept apprised of the indie kids situation in one paragraph segments at the beginning of each chapter. We see how what's going on with them and the monsters they fight influence (or not) our core's lives. As a fan of that kind of fantasy, this little touch really makes the story, if you know what I mean.

Overall, The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness is a must-read for fans of both fantasy and contemporary, and possibly one of my favorite reads of the year. I'm looking forward to devouring anything Ness cares to write in the future.


I read this book from October 29 - November 4, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

The Friday 56 (With Book Beginnings): Sharps by K.J. Parker


Welcome to The Friday 56, a weekly meme hosted by Freda's Voice.

These are the rules:
1. Grab a book, any book.
2. Turn to page 56, or 56% on your eReader.
3. Find any sentence (or a few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you.
4. Post it.
5. Add the URL to your post in the link on Freda's most recent Friday 56 post.


I'm also taking part in Book Beginnings, a weekly meme hosted by Rose City Reader.  The rules are pretty simple - you share the first sentence or so and your initial thoughts, impressions, or whatever else it inspires.  Don't forget to link up your post's url with Rose City Reader.




This week I'm spotlighting my next read, Sharps by K.J. Parker.  I'm not familiar with this author, but I'm really looking forward to it because it sounds like it will an awesome fantasy novel featuring lots fencing!  I need more fencing in my life.  



Book Beginning:

Ever since she was a little girl, she'd had a recurring dream.  She was on top of the stupid pillar, looking down into a deep, still green pool, where the blurred outlines of huge fish drifted lazily just under the surface.  Then, quite suddenly, she was in the dried-up pool, looking up, as water poured out of a broad pipe twenty feet above.  In no time at all the pool was full - with water, with fish, with dead bodies drifting like the fish; a dead man floated past on his back, and she knew he was her husband.  But she neither sank nor drowned; the water lifted her, right up to the top of the pillar, where she'd come from.

56:

Eurid Aten was able to make a certain amount of play with the report in his speech to the Conclave of Lodges a week after the murder.  The dagger, he said, was, if honourable members would excuse the pun, a two-edged clue.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter - Review


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Abigail and her eccentric employer, a detective of the supernatural, Jackaby are back on the case! First, vicious shape-shifters disguise themselves as a litter of kittens and the next day their owner is found murdered with a single mysterious puncture wound. Second, in Gad's Valley, now home of Charlie Cane, dinosaur bones from a recent dig go missing and, third, a beast begins attacking animals and people leaving their mangled bodies behind. Charlie calls on Abigail and Rook for help and before they know it, they're on the hunt for a murderer, a thief, and a monster.

Beastly Bones by William Ritter, the sequel to Jackaby, is just as much fun as it's predecessor. It drew me right back into their world and I couldn't put it down. In this newest installment, we get to spend time with familiar favorites as well as meet some great new additions. Hank Hudson and Nellie Fuller are stand outs and I loved every second we had of them. Just as before I like Ritter's combination of fantasy, humor, and historical fiction. It has so many of the elements I love. If you like Sherlock and Doctor Who with a dash of Supernatural, you will most definitely enjoy Jackaby and it's wonderful sequel, Beastly Bones. This funny and fast-paced series ranks as one of my new favorites and I can't wait to see more of William Ritter and these great characters.


I read this novel from October 25 - 29, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

The Girl in the Spider's Web (The Millennium Series #4) by David Lagercrantz - Review


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One night Mikael Blomkvist gets a call from a source regarding important info to the US. The source also claims to have been in contact with a female hacker - one that Blomkvist knows well. In need of a story for his magazine, he turns to Salander for help, who like usual has her own agenda. The implications of the information are staggering and the secret they both end up chasing leads them into a web of spies, cybercriminals, and world governments. And, it looks like someone is willing to kill to protect this secret.

In the past, I greatly enjoyed The Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larrson. Even the Swedish movie adaptations were fantastic. When I first heard about this new installment being continued by a new author, I was most definitely intrigued regardless of the situation behind it's publication. Salander and Blomkvist rank as some of my favorite characters, so I couldn't wait to see what another author would make of them. As it turns out, The Girl in the Spider's Web is actually acts as a decent standalone mystery. I doubt you would be at much of a loss if you weren't already familiar with the previous novels. When I say it stands well on it's own, I mean there's pretty minimal use of the characters I know and love, but when they do appear they do so in full force. The only thing that could have made this better is if there were more Salander and Blomkvist. I am actually looking forward to seeing Lagercrantz continue this series.


I read this book from October 22 - 25, 2015 and my review is also on Goodreads.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Book To Movie Adaptations I'm Looking Forward To


Happy Tuesday!  This week's theme for Top Ten Tuesday, a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, is Book To Movie Adaptations I'm Looking Forward To.  Here we go, in order of release date:


The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Pt. 2 - November 20, 2015


Frankenstein - November 25, 2015


Macbeth - December 4, 2015


The 5th Wave - January 15, 2015


The Divergent Series: Allegiant - March 18, 2016


Pride and Prejudice and Zombies - February 5, 2016


Alice Through the Looking Glass - May 27, 2016

The BFG - July 1, 2016. No images or trailers seem to have been released yet, but the cast includes Mark Rylance, Rebecca Hall, and Bill Hader directed by Steven Spielberg with music by John Williams. It definitely sounds promising!

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - November 18, 2016. Have you seen the the pictures and information released about it yet?! And, how do you like that title design?


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children - December 25, 2016


Do you want to see any of these movies, too?  Any movies that I haven't included that should be on my radar for the coming year?

Music Monday: DNCE


Happy Monday everyone and welcome to my fourth Music Monday! Let's share some songs we've been enjoying lately! If you would like to play and I really hope you do, please see the rules and link up below.

Rules:

 Every Monday share one or two of songs you've been enjoying lately.  It doesn't have to be a specific genre, new, or one of your favorites - just something you'd like to share with others.  If possible, share a music or lyric video of the song and your thoughts on the song(s), artist(s), and/or music video(s).

If you would like to participate in Music Monday, please join the link up at the bottom of this post by sharing your post's url.

 Finally, have fun sharing and discovering new to you music!


"Cake by the Ocean" by DNCE - I've just started hearing this group's debut single and I must say it's a lot of fun.  And, the title is Cake by the Ocean - who doesn't like that?  Turns out that this group is actually fronted by Joe Jonas - I had no idea.  I've included the radio version (that I heard first), but if you would like to see the official lyric video explicit lyrics and all, you can see it here.



"Gone" by JR JR - This is one of the happiest sad songs I've heard in a while and I think the music video illustrates that very well.  By the way, this band used to go by the name of Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.



Saturday, November 7, 2015

Your Future Book Tag

I saw the Your Future Book Tag over at Books For Thought and I thought it looked pretty cool, so I've tagged myself to complete it.  

The Tag:

You need to choose five books right way.  These books will be used to answer the questions throughout the tag.  The five books I have chosen are the books I'm planning to read after I've worked my way through my library books:



1. Sharps by K.J. Parker


2. The Wrath & the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh


3. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han


4. Rook by Sharon Cameron


5. Gideon by Alex Gordon

The Questions:

1. Open book 1 to a random page. Look at the first word on the page. If it’s less than 5 letters, you will go to college. If it’s more than 5 letters, you won’t go to college (Sharps).


Page 294 - first word is three letters.  I went to college.  Good for me!

2. Open book 1 to a random page. The first name you see. Think of that persons job, that will be your job. Note: Is that person still in school? You will be a teacher. You don’t know that persons job? You will be unemployed (Sharps).

Page 264 - first name to appear is Giraut.  From what I can make out he is a perpetual student and an a greatly skilled member of a fencing guild.  I'm going to be a fencing teacher!!  I'd  like to learn how to fence...

3. Open book 2 to a random page. The first name you see will be the person you will marry (The Wrath & the Dawn).

Page 240 - first name to appear is Tariq.  Okay.

4. Open book 2 to a random page. The first name you see will be your best friend (The Wrath and the Dawn).

Page 70 - Shahrzad is the first name to come up on the page.  The two of us will be best pals!

5. Open book 3 to a random page. Look at the second word on the page. Count how many letters that word has, remove 2 letters. That’s how many children you will have (To All The Boys I've Loved Before).

Page 76 - the second word has 4 letters, so minus two equals 2.  Tariq and I will 2 children in this bookish future.

6. How many children did you have? Open the third book as many times to see who your children will be. If you have no children, open the book once. The first name you will see, will be something of your choice. A couple of examples: neighbor, father in law etc (To All The Boys I've Loved Before).

Page 38 and 81 - Peter and Josh are two of the names that appear on these pages -  we will have two darling little boys.

7. Book 4: Where does this book take place? This will be the place you will live (Rook).

This book is set in the Sunken City which was once Paris.  Hey, Paris - I'll take it!

8. Open book 4 to a random place, the first name you see, does this person have a car, bike etc.? That will be your transportation. Note: teleporting, broom etc. is allowed. If your character had no means of transportation that you know of, you will be using public transportation (Rook).

Page 1 - Sophia is the name of the first character to appear.  I'm not sure if she has a means of transportation or not, but she does seem to be using a tunnel system.  So I guess that means I'll be using public transportation, then.

9. Does this book have any animals in it? Pick your favorite animal, that will be your pet. No animals in the book? You will have no pet (Rook).

I'm not exactly sure, but there is the use of a red-tipped rook feather.  So, it sounds like I'll have a pet rook - I've just decided to go with this rather my personal favorite).  I've never had a pet bird before...

10. Open book 5 to a random page. The first name you see will be your enemy (Gideon).

Page 152 - The first name to appear is Lauren.  Hehehe - I feel so betrayed!

My Future:

As a perpetual college student with multiple degrees and a fantastic talent with a with a blade, I am a world-class fencing instructor with students coming from all over the world to be taught by me.  However, my studies come first, so I only teach these classes on a part-time basis.  Some of my students have waited nearly a year just to get a one-on-one session with me!


My husband, Tariq, and I have known each other for nearly as long as either one of us can remember.  We've been on all kinds of amazing adventures over the years.  He also helps coordinate the fencing lessons I give and he's a brilliant duelist in his own right.  Shahrzad is another one of my best friends.  I think I've known her for nearly as long as I've known Tariq, in fact.  She's stayed in touch with us over the years since we've been married and has been one of the best friends either of us could ask for.  Tariq and I have two darling boys - Peter is our oldest at 14 and Josh is 10.  Of course, Shahrzad is their favorite member of the family just going on how often they're over at her place for dinner.

We live in an amazing apartment in the Latin Quarter of Paris and it's so close to the Sorbonne where I study.  There are so many astounding landmarks and museums within walking distance.  It's crazy to think that there's so much to see in our own backyard.  Although I don't own a car, I can get by pretty easily by walking or utilizing the public transportation system.  Tariq and I grew up in the country where you needed a car to do anything, so although we've lived her for years we still surprised that everything is right here waiting for us.

When I put it like that everything sounds perfect, doesn't it?  Well, there are problems in my life - our lives - just like anyone else, but nothing we can't handle.  I guess my one real problem was Lauren - is Lauren.  Awhile back she betrayed me in a big way.  I don't like to talk about it because that means reliving what she did.  Eventually, I was able to send her packing and get her out of my life for good.  Sometimes, though, I catch myself thinking that she's going to pop back up in my life when I least expect it and ruin something I hold dear just like before....

I would say more, but I hear the family pet's trying to get my attention.  She's a rook, by the way.  Must be hungry, as usual.



Wow!  That was one of the best tags I've done in quite awhile.  Thanks for making it this far with me.  I might have to dig up more tags like this.

I tag anyone who would like to participate - have fun everyone!