Halloween Candy Book Tag

I love Halloween and I was looking for a tag that reflected by favorite piece of it: the candy! I found this one which I really enjoyed created by Book Adventures with Katie on Youtube. Personally my favorite is anything involving nougat, which doesn’t have a question on this tag but I felt it covered all the classics. What is your favorite Halloween candy?

Reese’s Cup: Classic YA book everyone loves

I feel like for this I am going to have to go with the Hunger Games. I reread these over the past year and it really holds up. From what I have seen it looks like it is going to continue to be a classic for a long time.

Sour Patch Kids: Grew on you over time

Mind of My Mind by Octavia E. Butler. I think that this book in general has very unsettling themes but it took me a while to get into. By the end, I was totally committed to the book.

Bubble Gum: Great at first but “lost its flavor” over time

For this I am going the the Throne of Glass series. The flavorful moments that were satisfying but were too few and far between as the series went on and unfortunately I lost my taste for it.

Candy Corn: Polarizing read

I genuinely do love candy corn and someone how ended up with the only other person my age I know who also likes it. However for this one I am going with a book that made me feel polarized by not liking it. That was The Maidens by Alex Michaelides. So many people love this author and I love the idea of dark academia but I did not like and I have found this tends to be a totally love or totally hate.

Laffy Taffy: Made you laugh

I should read more joyful books, I don’t really remember the last time a book made me laugh. The only thing that comes to mind recently is some of the short stories from Once Upon an Eid, an anthology edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed. In general the stories were beautiful and joyous but the special holiday chaos of “Yusuf and The Great Big Brownie Mistake” and “Eid and Pink Bubble Gum, Insha’ Allah”.

Sucker: Cliché but sucked you in

I’m not going to explain myself but the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson, or at least the original trilogy.

Fun-size: Short and sweet

Again, I need to read more positive books because I had to reach back to some of the classics. Coming in at 110 pages (or at least the version I have) I am hitting this off with The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. I know that not everyone would consider it “sweet” but I think it is heartwarming and you leave the book with a positive feeling.

King-size: Gave you more than you thought you needed

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi was one of my most surprising reads of the year in a really good way. I was expecting a darker coming of age story but I was really impressed by the complexity, the relationships: romantically, with family, and with herself.

York Peppermint Pattie: Refreshing read

I like to use graphic novels to refresh the brain. Lately I have been moving through the Orange volumes by Ichigo Takano and The 5 Worlds series by Mark and Alexis Siegel.

Krackel/Mr. Goodbar: Underrated read

I never know exactly what this is asking so I have prepared an answer for each option. A book I think people rated under its value is White Ivy by Susie Yang. An incredible contemporary thriller surrounding privilege. A book that I think not enough people have rated (read) is Each of Us a Desert.

Twix: Told from dual perspectives

We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal is a of the hyped-variety but a great dual perspectives. It absolutely deserves the hype it gets and the perspectives genuinely feel different and give you new insight to the story.

Twizzlers: A book you want to be made into a movie/show

My cheating answer is the Witchlands series by Susan Dennard, but that is already being developed for TV, so hooray! My non-cheating answer is The Song Below Water by Bethany C. Morrow. It is such an engaging and timely story. The world has already been expanded in The Chorus Rises and I would love to be able to continue to explore it on a show.

Dune (2021) – Movie Review

Dune has been one of the most hyped movies of the year with huge press and marketing leading up to its release. Now, it was a faithful adaption of the novel or at least the most faithful adaptation from a book that I have seen in recent years. However, it was not a good movie. It was a beautiful film, but it didn’t work.

When it comes to book to movie adaptations there is always a hope that the it is a detailed and exact translation from page to screen. In Dune, the book, so much in terms of the worlds themselves was left up to the imagination in visuals the function only was described. The movie did a beautiful job bringing the world, the people, and technology into a visual format. It did a great job maintaining the relationships especially between Paul and the main adults in his life (Leto, Jessica, and Duncan). Some of the dialogue was lifted straight out, which was very exciting.

However, so many of the genuine story elements felt compromised for the grand feelings and the world building visuals. There are three main story lines in the plot of Dune: the coming of the Kwisatz Haderach, the fall of the House of Atreides, and the control of Arrakis and the Spice there. Several of these plot points involve tension leading up to them because there is quite a lot conspiracy and tension. I found that we were largely missing that information and it let the tension go turning it from a political space drama to an adventure colonialism story. Now I really liked the explicit colonization framing, but I was really missing the intrigue of the Emperor’s plan, the foreshadowing of the betrayal, and the importance of the spice trade (they cannot give Arrakis up and still function as an empire). They also stopped the story half way through. None of the story arcs were complete! Only the fall of the house of Atreides hit it’s climax but everything else was unfinished. Not even to a clear transitional point, just stopped. I can understand that they want a sequel and to turn it to a film series, but it left a very unsatisfying taste in my mouth.

Ultimately, I do want more adaptions to get this budget and I think it is clear the filmmakers know Dune well. However, I was missing a lot of story elements that make watching movies engaging and make Dune specifically fun to be in.

The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo (Review)

Summary:

We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home.

In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all—for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why.

Review:

I have been a long time fan of Kate DiCamillo since “The Tale of Despereaux” and I was very excited to get my hands on this book. Mostly it is a story about stories and the power of words. It could definitely be a little corny, but overall I found the writing to mask many of the repeat tropes. It felt a little bit like floating through the tale. Most often we were peripheral to Beatryce moving tangentially or even back tracking before a character joined her group. This made a lot of the story feel more passive.

I felt like the characters in themselves were very morally good, but not as interesting or unique on paper as I have come to expect with DiCamillo. What I really liked though was that the acts of the generation before were incredibly important to the story. How Beatryce was raised and what she was taught to believe in value were integral not the page time and the story as a whole.

Overall I gave this book 4 star and had a pretty enjoyable time reading it. It was heartwarming and built at a comfortable pace. I would go to the ends of the earth for the “demon-goat” Answelica though.

Publication Date: September 2021

Publisher: Candewick Press

Read more reviews and content warnings here.

Presentations and Public Speaking

For my job I regularly have to talk to large groups of people, give presentations, and guide discussions. You probably couldn’t tell that public speaking is one of the things that I never want to do. I did not seek out a position that required this, but as positions grow and change more and more is expected of you. When I first started doing any kind of public speaking was not successful. My voice got really high pitched. I overcorrected and spoke so slow it wasn’t clear when a thought was ending.

To be clear, I still do not like public speaking. Often my face gets more red than I want to. I say “uh” or “umm” or “so…” throughout. . It is not my main skill though I have learned a couple things along the way. What is your biggest tip for speaking to a crowd?

  1. Don’t practice too much. If you practice ’til word perfect and then get mixed up during, it is incredibly hard to recover naturally.
  2. Keep 1-2 examples for what you are presenting in your back pocket (memorized) and out of your formal presentation. You can either use them as examples if you get questions or if not throw them out as extra examples at the end of the section. This will make you look like a content expert and like you can think on your feet.
  3. Look above eyeline. For virtual presentations for me this is the top edge of my computer. For in person, it may be a back door, the clock on the wall or a window.
  4. Talk at a speed where you can hear what you are stay. Use punctuation to take pauses and breathes. After each major ideas take a break, either to ask for questions or move on.
  5. This is the one I struggle most with: Stop talking once your point is made. Say what you mean to say and nothing more. Answer just the question that was asked. Give a chance for questions or requests for clarifications, but over-explaining can lead to rambling and more confusion than just letting the audience receive the initial point.

Halloween Watch Plans

Spooky Season is upon us and that means time to pull out all the movies that imbody the season. Honestly, these are some of my favorite vibes throughout the year. There is such a wide spectrum of Halloween content from trick-or-treating to the paranormal to pure gore. Here is what I am watching to celebrate the season! What is your favorite Halloween viewing?

Netflix

  • ParaNorman (2012) dir. Sam Fell and Chris Butler
  • A Babysitter’s Guide to Monster Hunting (2020) dir. Rachel Talalay
  • Labyrinth (1986) dir. Jim Henson

Hulu

  • Scream Queen Season 2
  • Over the Garden Wall (2014) – miniseries also available on HBO Max
  • The Final Girls (2015) dir.  Todd Strauss-Schulson
  • Black Swan (2010) dir, Darren Aronofsky

HBO Max

  • Scooby-Doo (2002) dir. Raja Gosnell/Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed (2004) dir. Raja Gosnell
  • The Witches (1990) dir. Nicolas Roeg/ The Witches (2020) dir. Robert Zemeckis
  • Corpse Bride (2005) dir. Tim Burton and Mike Johnson
  • Freaky (2020) dir. Christopher Landon

Owned

  • Halloweentown (1998) dir. Duwayne Dunham
    • Rest of the series available on Disney Plus dir. Mary Lambert/Mark A.Z. Dippé/David Jackson
  • Twitches (2005) dir. Stuart Gillard /Twitches Too (2007) dir. Stuart Gillard
  • Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) dir. Charles Barton

Finally Fall Book Tag

The season has finally started to change. The weather is getting cooler during the day and not just at night. The candy corn is back in the aisles. I found this awesome book tag that celebrates some of my favorite things about the season, plus I missed doing tags. Enjoy!

In fall, the air is crisp and clear: Name a book with a vivid setting!

For this one I am going with a historical fiction book: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah . This book made the dustbowl, migrant camps, and work fields come alive. The writing is so vivid and beautiful, even in this book that is largely heartbreak.

Nature is beautiful…but also dying: Name a book that is beautifully written, but also deals with a heavy topic like loss or grief.

Unfortunately for this question and perhaps myself I have read quite a few books that fit in this category. I would pick Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi and The Deep by Rivers Solomon but for very different reasons. Yolk is a contemporary that focuses on health, growing up, and food. The Deep is a fantasy that surrounds generational trauma, identity, and mermaids.

Fall is back to school season: Share a non-fiction book that taught you something new.

I have been reading a lot more non-fiction lately. One that really stuck with me was Pushout by Monique Morris. This focused on the criminalization of Black girls and the structures that work against them in the school systems, especially in the US.

In order to keep warm, it’s good to spend some time with the people we love: Name a fictional family/household/friend-group that you’d like to be a part of.

Even though i wasn’t a huge fan of the last book I would love to be a member of the Penderwick clan from the Penderwick series by Jeanne Birdsall. This passionate, loving, wild family is so endearing and cares for each other so deeply that I would just love to be another member of this ever growing family.

The colourful leaves are piling up on the ground: Show us a pile of fall-colored spines!

Fall is the perfect time for some storytelling by the fireside: Share a book wherein somebody is telling a story.

Definitely going with the classic The Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss for this one. This fantasy epic is Kvothe telling his own story to a biographer after years in hiding from his past.

The nights are getting darker: Share a dark, creepy read.

I am not a huge horror or gore fan but I do like a good mystery or suspense novel. The best creepy novel I have read recently is A Judgement in Stone by Ruth Rendell. This is the story of massacre, class, and coverup. This was brutal but not gorey or gross and definitely a great stay-up-all-night nervous book.

The days are getting colder: Name a short, heartwarming read that could warm up somebody’s cold and rainy day.

Eva Evergreen: Semi-Magical Witch by Julia Abe is an incredibly heartwarming book that also deals with an impending storm. I absolutely adore this book about a young witch going to find her talents and her place in the community (both magical and non).

Fall returns every year: Name an old favourite that you’d like to return to soon.

This is not a book but a world favorite. I absolutely love Avatar: The Last Airbender and Legends of Korra. I am super excited to return to the world with the Kyoshi duology by F.C. Yee and Suki, Alone by Faith Erin Hicks this fall.

Fall is the perfect time for cozy reading nights: Share your favourite cozy reading “accessories”!

I got a large mug with a hot beverage and cozy cat. I am all set to settle in for a long reading night.

The post Finally Fall Book Tag appeared first on Kristin Kraves Books.