A Guide to Crafty Magic: Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Show Notes for Episode 2.10

Check out the episode below:

Quick points from the episode:

  • Want a copy of Woven in Moonlight for yourself? Support the podcast and local bookstores by purchasing a copy from our Bookshop store:
  • Paige finished up her Inktober challenge, and also made the bombshell announcement that she will be making an Instagram for her art! Don’t worry, Jennifer will plaster that link everywhere once Paige gets it up and running.
  • Jennifer is currently in the throes of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), hoping third time is a charm. Will she get to 50k words by the end of the month? Tune in to our episodes or follow us on social media to find out.
  • Folio Facts: Paige presents the amazing mysteries of Saint Catherine’s Monastery in Sinai, Egypt. If you’d like to learn more, there is an article in Smithsonian Magazine, but the tl;dr of this story is that advanced imaging techniques have revealed hidden texts in extremely rare languages hiding underneath more mundane writings in many of the monastery’s books. It also happens to be one of the world’s oldest continuously run libraries, so definitely worth reading more about. While you’re at it, subscribe to Smithsonian Magazine’s newsletter because it is free and it is awesome.
  • Isabel Ibañez is our author this week. Born to Bolivian immigrants, Ibañez is a Florida native and has lived in several areas across the state over her lifetime. Apparently we are on a [unplanned] Florida author kick! Also an extremely talented graphic designer, Ibañez was actually chosen to design her own cover which turned out absolutely amazing (pictured above). Ibañez has talked extensively about her influences/inspiration for this book, much of which was drawn from current events in her family’s home country. Interested in learning more? Visit her author website.
  • BBE Bookstore: Binti, by Nnedi Okorafor. Once again, Paige has pulled a spectacular science fiction novella for us. Binti is the first of a series of novellas following the title character, Binti, and her quest for knowledge. Don’t just listen to us, either. Binti won the Nebula Award and Hugo Award for science fiction novella. Interested in getting your own copy and supporting the podcast? Visit our Bookshop store:
  • Critiques of Woven in Moonlight mentioned in the episode:
  • Creatives’ Corner: So this is actually not exactly a creative account…but Jennifer wanted to take some time to talk about Story Graph. This was a book database recommended by the Artisan Geek that was started by a friend of hers. It is still in beta currently, but you can make an account. Basically this is a better Goodreads, the Goodreads you didn’t know you needed. On Story Graph you can filter books by mood, page length, pace, diverse characters, if character development is the focus of the plot, and numerous other parameters. You can import your reads from Goodreads, if you’re worried about starting from scratch, and upon creating an account, you can complete a survey that will produce recommendations for your TBR. As if you needed help with that. Overall, Jennifer is really pleased with her experience so far, and would highly recommend for book nerds to check it out.

Why is it so hard to believe that even enemies may want the same things?

Isabel Ibañez, Woven in Moonlight

Coming up next time, Paige’s last Books We Love pick of the season: The White Plague, by Frank Herbert. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media (links above). If you’d like to support the podcast, head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

Entering the New Weird: BBE Discusses Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 2.4

Check out the free version of the episode below:

If you want access to the full version of this episode, visit our Patreon!

Quick links from the episode:

  • Want a copy of Annihilation to call your own? Follow the button below to support the podcast, independent booksellers, and get an awesome book all at once!
  • Learn more about Annihilation and Jeff VanderMeer by visiting his author website, or his Wikipedia page.
  • To learn more about the New Weird genre, check out VanderMeer’s interview with Book Riot.
  • Interested in seeing what St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge looks like? Check out the photos at the end of the post – taken during Jennifer’s trip last year – or visit the park’s website and Google. St. Mark’s is a beautiful and wonderful place, and if you live in Florida you should definitely give it a visit.
  • Paige Presents Fun with Comics: Paige tried her best this month to find a lighter pick for this segment and she….somewhat succeeded? Check out I Hate Fairyland on Image comics for more dark humor and sarcasm but in a more colorful setting!
    • Learn more about the writer and artist, Skottie Young.
    • Interested in getting a copy of your own? Visit our Bookshop store:

Nothing that lived and breathed was truly objective—even in a vacuum, even if all that possessed the brain was a self-immolating desire for the truth.

Jeff VanderMeer, Annihilation

Coming up next time, Jennifer’s last Books We Love pick of the season: Woven in Moonlight, by Isabel Ibañez. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media (links above). If you’d like to support the podcast, head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

The Final Countdown: BBE’s Last Picks of Season Two

November Sneak Peek

Time is absolutely flying by this year, or is it just us? Spooky season has just about passed (we hope everyone has a fun & safe Halloween, if you celebrate!) and Thanksgiving in the US will be here before we know it. November is also the last month of Season Two. Somehow. Already. We will be wrapping up the season on November 27th and will be returning in January 2021 for Season Three. Keep scrolling to see what BBE has lined up for our last Books We Love and Movie Magic picks.

Isabel Ibanez’s debut novel, Woven in Moonlight, is a more recent discovery for Jennifer, but it is absolutely a must-read for anyone interested in YA Fantasy. With a charming magic system, characters overcoming prejudices and dealing with trauma, this book was a refreshing change of pace.

Bringing it home for Books We Love this season is Frank Herbert’s The White Plague. Paige has long been a huge fan of Frank Herbert because of Dune. So when she saw a book by Herbert that also involved plague, genetics, AND Ireland, she was sold.

And finally, our last bonus Movie Magic pick of Season Two is a real classic: William Goldman’s The Princess Bride. Both Paige and Jennifer have seen (and loved) the classic movie adaptation, but will the book hold up to such greatness? We’ve heard it is…different from the movie, but will that be good or bad? Tune in to find out!

And that is a wrap for our November Sneak Peek. To keep up with BBE this month, be sure to follow us on social media (linked above). If you are enjoying the podcast so far, we would dearly appreciate a review or you can send us an email (also linked above). And finally, if you’d like to support the podcast, you can check out our Bookshop store, or our Patreon to get access to our full bonus episodes. Stay nerdy, bookish peeps!

The Book of Paige’s Nightmares: House of Leaves

Show Notes for Episode 2.9

Check out the episode below:

Quick links from the episode:

  • Interested in getting your own copy of House of Leaves? Check out the link to our Bookshop store below:
  • Folio Facts: Did you know Agatha Christie inadvertently solved some murders after writing The Pale Horse? Christie used the poison thallium sulfate as the murder weapon in this book, and this led some of her readers to recognize the signs of poisoning in those around them! HOWEVER, the original article that Jennifer referenced stated a doctor reading The Pale Horse led to the arrest of serial killer, Graham Young. Upon further research, this assertion seems to be unsubstantiated, if not entirely false.
  • Creatives’ Corner: At the end of this week’s episode, Paige did her best to relieve some tension by sharing one of her favorite decompressing YouTube channels: Watercolor by Shibasaki. If you are ready for an Asian Bob Ross who is not only adorable, but also super talented, this is definitely a channel for you! Plus tons of chill vibes to help you relax after reading all these scary books this month!
  • BBE Bookstore: This episode, Jennifer plugs the latest book that she actually bought: Brandon Stanton’s Humans. If you are unfamiliar with Stanton’s project which has been underway for ten years now, Jennifer would highly recommend checking out his Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook page. This is Stanton’s fourth book and Jennifer found it to be just as inspiring and thought-provoking as his social media accounts. Grab your own copy of Humans below from our Bookshop store:

Scars are the paler pain of survival received unwillingly and displayed in the language of injury

Mark Z. Danielewski, House of Leaves

Coming up later this week is our October Bonus Episode on Jeff VanderMeer’s Annihilation. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media (links above). If you’d like to support the podcast, head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

True Crime Tales: The Devil in the White City

Show Notes for Episode 2.8

Check out the episode below:

His weakness was his belief that evil had boundaries

Erik Larson, The Devil in the White City

Quick links from the episode:

  • Folio Facts: This week Paige presents the world’s oldest novel, The Tale of Genji. Written in the earliest years of the eleventh century, this story is a classic of Japanese literature and it also happens to be written by a woman! To learn more, check out the Wikipedia article on the author, Murasaki Shikibu.
  • The Devil in the White City was published in 2002.
  • BBE Bookstore: Paige’s Bookstore pick for this week is Njal’s Saga, an Icelandic saga in which blood feuds and other shenanigans abound. The saga is believed to be describing events in the tenth and eleventh centuries.
  • Creatives’ Corner: This week Jennifer presents Bookish Realm, a bookish YouTube channel. Ashley is a librarian, which is awesome, and even has a series videos on being a librarian!
  • Can’t get enough true crime? Want to know more about H.H. Holmes? You’re in luck! Below are some documentaries available on streaming services right now:

The slideshow below was created using images from the Digital Public Library of America.

Coming up next time is the truly terrifying House of Leaves. Tune in October 26th if you dare. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media (links above). If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

Unpopular Opinion: Why The Silmarillion is the Best of Tolkien

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 1.5

Check out the free version of the episode below:

To get access to full-length bonus episodes, head over to our Patreon.

Quick links from the episode:

  • First thoughts:
    • This book is very much like the book of Genesis, and this was a conscious effort on the part of Tolkien.
    • Why are so many grown-ass elves, angels, men just absolute spoiled brats in this book?? Was Tolkien making some kind of commentary? Good thing there are some absolute gems like Beren and Eärendil.
    • Overall, this book is our favorite Tolkien offering. Both Paige and Jennifer really appreciate seeing the elves as badasses, rather than the apathetic emo kids they are in the Lord of the Rings. It’s because they’re tired okay?!
    • Plus, how sweet is it that Tolkien used his own love story as inspiration for the story of Beren and Luthien?
  • Family Trees:
    • Hung up on the insanely complicated family trees in The Silmarillion and Lord of the Rings? You’re not alone! Thankfully most, if not all, editions will include genealogical charts. However, if you are away from your books, the LOTR Project *may* be able to help you.
      • We say may because this huge tree is not super browser friendly and takes some work to scroll through. However, it is extremely detailed and the LOTR Project has embarked on several other projects that you might find interesting.

Among the tales of sorrow and of ruin that came down to us from the darkness of those days there are yet some in which amid weeping there is joy and under the shadow of death light that endures

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Silmarillion

If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast head on over to our Patreon for bonus content or our Bookshop store to purchase your own copy of The Silmarillion. Until next time, cheers!

You Had Me at Archives: The Power of the Written Word in The Bloodprint

Show Notes for Episode 2.7

Check out the episode below:

Quick links from the episode:

  • Folio Facts: Jennifer delves into the shady world of rare book heists this week, discussing the Carnegie Library heist. To learn more about this incredible story, listen to our episode above, or check out this wonderful article in Smithsonian Magazine.
  • BBE Bookstore: Jennifer’s extra read for this month was Meik Wiking’s The Little Book of Hygge, which is all about – you guess it – the Dutch concept of hygge. While it doesn’t have a direct translation into English, we’ll go with the word ‘cozy’, and essentially Wiking credits the Danish obsession with it as the main reason for their happiness.
  • Creatives’ Corner: Paige presents a YouTube channel this week, Biographics. This channel creates video biographies about the great and terrible figures from history. Paige likes to put a video on while eating dinner, and considering they make four a week, there is plenty of material for you to consume!
  • Below is a quote from Khan’s latest interview, read it in full on The Portalist to learn more about how Khan sees writing as an outlet for exploring human rights. Unsurprising given her background in human rights law.
  • Also, Khan’s last installment of the Khorasan Archives series is coming out like…now! Actually it comes out October 6th, but you can check it out in our affiliate shop.

The Khorasan Archives were to some extent, a commentary on ideology as a tool of oppression.

Ausma Zehanat Khan
This beautiful piece serves as the cover art for the American edition of The Bloodprint. The cover included earlier in the post is from the UK edition.

Coming up next time is our first spooky season pick: Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. Tune in October 12th for magic, murder, and mayhem. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media (links above). If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

A Bookish Lineup For Spooky Season

BBE’s October Sneak Peek

October is finally here, and with it, the start of spooky season! Bring on the pumpkins, the apple cider, the black cats, and copious amounts of candy. Here at BBE, we have tried our very best to reflect the scary and supernatural in our book picks for this month. This is all with the caveat that Jennifer literally *cannot* handle any kind of horror or even suspense, so you won’t be seeing The Shining or Rosemary’s Baby down below – though there is one exception. What you can expect is some true crime, serial killers, haunted houses that draw the reader into their own madness, and finally, some mind-bending sci-fi thrill. Hold on to your butts!

This month, Jennifer is bringing in the big guns, one of her favorite books of all time: The Devil in the White City, by Erik Larson. A beautifully written historical account about the building of the World’s Fair of 1893 in Chicago, this story is also intertwined with that of one of the most sinister serial killers of them all.

Our exception to the tame scary books requirement, Paige’s pick for this month is Mark Z. Danielewski’s horrifying House of Leaves. Look any list of all-time scariest books, guarantee this one will make the cut. Hopefully our mere discussion won’t give Jennifer nightmares.

Finally, our bonus Movie Magic episode for this month will be on Jeff Vandermeer’s Annihilation, recently turned blockbuster film starring Natalie Portman among others. One part sci-fi, one part thriller, one part mystery, one part horror, this book really does it all. Tune in to find out which one wins: book or movie.

And that is a wrap for our October Sneak Peek. To keep up with BBE this month, be sure to follow us on social media (linked above). If you are enjoying the podcast so far, we would dearly appreciate a review or you can send us an email. And finally, if you’d like to support the podcast, you can check out our Bookshop store, or our Patreon to get access to our full bonus episodes. Stay nerdy, bookish peeps!

The Women Behind the Curtain: Uncovering NASA’s Hidden Figures

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 2.3

Check out the free version of the episode below:

If you are interested in hearing the full version of this episode, head on over to our Patreon and sign up for the Book Ninja or Book Mage tiers!

Main Points from the Episode:

Hidden Figures, by Margot Lee Shetterly (2016)
  • Learn more about our author of the week, Margot Lee Shetterly by visiting her website.
  • Paige Presents Fun with Comics: an exciting deep-cut pick that isn’t for everyone, Paige introduced Injection this month. A mix of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror, this comic focuses on a government project gone wrong: mixing magic and technology together to produce one killer machine.
  • The Wikipedia article on the film has a section that addresses historical accuracy as well as some of the comments screenwriter Theodore Melfi made that Jennifer referenced in the episode. However, take this section with a grain of salt as some of the sources are blogs which may or may not have accurate information.
  • Surprisingly, we would actually prefer the movie over the book on this one. However, we still recommend giving the book a read because it has so much good contextual & historical information.

Coming up next time is our September bonus Movie Magic episode! This month we will be comparing the book and film adaptation of Hidden Figures. If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast, you can buy books mentioned in this episode from our Bookshop store, or head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!

That Witch King Juju: Tolkien’s The Return of the King

Show Notes for Bonus Episode 1.4

Check out a sample of the full-length episode below!

To get access to full-length bonus episodes, head over to our Patreon.

Quick Links from the Episode:

  • What did Jennifer read in the past month? Check out the links below for our Bookshop affiliate store:
  • For fans of Gilmore Girls, you may already be familiar with PBS’s iconic documentary series, Joseph Campbell & The Power of Myth. Campbell later published a book by the same name. If you want to watch the series, unfortunately you’ll have to pay for the privilege. It is available on Amazon for purchase.
  • It was Campbell that inspired Christopher Vogler to write The Writer’s Journey, combined with his years of experience reading stories at Disney. In this episode, Jennifer and Paige discuss several of the character archetypes that Vogler discusses in his book and how they can be applied in Lord of the Rings.
  • Keep scrolling to see some choice clips from the movie!

It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
The charge of the Rohirrim during the battle for Minas Tirith (Battle of the Pelennor Fields) is as heartwarming as killing a bunch of orcs could possibly be.
Moments later, Eowyn shows what a badass she is by beating the sh*t out of the Witch King of Angmar.
Finally, the final battle against Sauron, with Aragorn’s iconic “For Frodo.”

If you are enjoying the podcast, please consider leaving us a review or following us on social media. If you’d like to support the podcast head on over to our Patreon for bonus content. Until next time, cheers!