Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Furies Review

Hello, all!

I distinctly remember the first time I ever saw the movie The Craft. I was 8 years old and my friend's mom took me and him to see it when it came out in theaters. We were definitely way too young to watch it, and by the time we left the theater, it was dark and it had started chucking down rain with thunder and lightning, the whole witchy-feeling she-bang. I remember we got to my house to drop me off, and I literally ran in because I was convinced Nancy Downs was going to jump out and start antagonizing me. Needless to say, I now love that movie, so when I heard about The Furies by Katie Lowe with its group of witchy girl vibes, I needed to pick it up. Thank you to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-8-10
Adult - Thriller
After a tragedy strikes her family, Violet seeks to start fresh at Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girl's boarding school on the outskirts of her quiet seaside town. A bit timid and unusual, Violet finds it hard to make friends. Desperate to fit in, she soon finds herself invited to join a secret advanced study group taught by her mysterious art teacher, Annabel. In these sessions, Violet, along with three other girls, Robin, Grace and Alex, delve into the strange history of the campus: everything from Greek and Celtic legends, to the founder of the school's "academic" interest in the occult, and even the witch trials that were held on the quad. Even about how the Furies of ancient Greece were reportedly summoned to enact justice upon those who were wronged. Annabel tries to convince the girls her advance class is just based upon speculation and that it's all just myth, but the more the girls learn the more they believe they can harness this power for themselves.

Violet soon finds herself completely wrapped up in this world of revenge magic and power. She also discovers that before she came to Elm Hollow, a young girl, who was also a part of the study group and friends with the three girls, disappeared and Violet bears a striking resemblance to her. It doesn't help that all the girls, especially Robin, get cagey whenever the subject is brought up. As her and her friends spiral deeper into the darkness, Violet begins to wonder who she can trust and just how far she's willing to go before she allows this power to destroy her completely.

I sort of went into this hoping it would give me all The Craft meets The Graces vibe, and while it did to some extent, I wanted a bit more. The spooky witchy vibes were there, but I just feel like it could've been ramped up slightly. I also wish the Furies themselves were highlighted just a bit more since they seem to be such a central part of the story. The group dynamic between the girls was good, I felt they all brought something different to the table. It definitely had an interesting premise, and I loved the boarding school setting, but I did think some bits dragged. Overall, I think it'll be a good eerie read, especially if you're a fan of darker themes.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for these copies!

Pub Date: 10-8-10
Adult - Fiction
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts-Kate Racculia: Tuesday Mooney likes to be alone. She doesn't have many friends, she doesn't leave her house much, and that's alright with her. But when an eccentric billionaire dies and leaves his fortune to whoever can beat his weird treasure hunt throughout Boston, puzzle-loving Tuesday joins up with a crew of misfits to ferret out the clues. With teams throughout the city vying for the prize, Tuesday and company must work quickly, but what they discover is way more dangerous than a silly little scavenger hunt. I have to admit, this book threw me. Based on the title, I went in thinking it was going to be one way--a woman who talks to ghosts--but really it was a woman getting to the bottom of a mystery, who occasionally believes she can talk to her dead best friend from childhood. I didn't find myself connecting to this story at all. I wasn't invested in any of the characters or even the plot itself. I was even skimming through parts because I was just bored. The premise could've been really cool, but I just don't think it was executed in the best way.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 10-15-19
Comics - Graphic Novels
Mooncakes- Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu: Nova Huang isn't your typical teen witch. She knows more about magic than most witches her age, and spends her time helping out in her grandma's book shop, lending out spell books and investigating supernatural occurrences in their small New England town. One of these occurrences, a rumor of a massive white wolf, leads her out to the woods one night where she comes across the last person she expected to see: her childhood friend, Tam, fighting a demon horse. As a great big wolf. Hunted by dark forces, Tam and Nova band together and find their feelings for one another might just be the spark their magics were missing. This was such an adorably charming story. In one word: magical. It was a heart-warming and cozy coming-of-age story, and Nova and Tam were so precious together. Everything from the artwork to the story was just so enjoyable.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 10-15-19
Sad Birds Still Sing- Faraway: This is a new collection of poems by the anonymous poet, Faraway, that touches upon everything from life to loss to heartbreak to fighting your own inner demons. Although, there are some heavy themes in this collection, the main thing holding it all together is an underlying message of hope. I really enjoyed these poems, and quickly flew through this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I found this relatable, inspiring, and so beautiful. I'll definitely be checking out more from him.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Library of the Unwritten Review

Hello, all!

As a self-proclaimed book addict, any stories that revolve around books and/or libraries are immediately added to my TBR. The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith was no exception. Big thank you to Ace Books for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-1-19
Adult- Fantasy
Have you ever wondered where all the unwritten novels go when their author's put them down? They end up residing in the Unwritten Wing in Hell, and Claire is the Head Librarian who takes care of them. Claire's main job duties include repairing and general upkeep of the books, and keeping a close eye to make sure the restless stories don't end up materializing straight out of their books and escaping the library. After one such incident, Claire, along with her cheerful apprentice and a naive demon messenger boy, must track down and capture a missing Hero who left his story in hopes of tracking down its author. What starts out as a routine rescue mission, soon turns topsy turvy when the group cross paths with a terrifying angel.

Ramiel was once an important figure in Heaven. He was one of the original Watchers, but is now stuck manning the check-in desk before the Gates of Heaven after falling from God's good graces. After a recent soul shows up waving a piece of the Devil's Bible, a text that would be a powerful weapon in the hands of either Heaven or Hell, Ramiel is sent out on a mission to find the rest before Hell's minions get it first. Ramiel has a lot riding on this mission, but the longer he's on the hunt for the pages, the more he begins to second guess whether or not he's truly on the righteous side.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. The entire premise was so solid and so well done. The characters are fully formed, interesting, and work well separately and together. Claire was headstrong and resilient, and watching her journey through literal Hell, was so fascinating. I also loved how there were twists I didn't expect, and even though the battle between Heaven and Hell can get a little heavy, there's a lightness and humor woven throughout that makes for the perfect balance. This was a clever, fast-paced adventure and a definite read for any book lover.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Imaginary Friend Review

Hello, all!

Like many, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was a huge book for me in high school. When I heard he was coming out with a new horror novel, Imaginary Friend, I was super interested. Big thank you to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-1-19
Adult - Horror
Kate Reese and her 7-year old son, Christopher, are on the run. After fleeing her abusive boyfriend in the middle of the night, the pair end up as far off the beaten path as they could find: Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. At first, everything seems to be going well, then Christopher vanishes for six days and emerges from the woods seemingly unharmed, but he soon finds not completely unchanged.

Christopher has no recollection of the days he spent lost in the woods. He has no idea how he got there, but he knows that a "nice man" helped him get out. After the local sheriff and police force scour the woods and find no trace of anyone, Christopher's claims are brushed aside as a hallucination. But someone did help Christopher, it's the same voice that's now in his head pushing him to complete a mission only he can pull off: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas or else his mother, and the entire town, will never be the same again.

This was...ambitious. The whole premise was definitely intriguing, but it's a bit hard to stay suspenseful at over 700 pages. I felt like it could've easily been at least 300 pages shorter and the story would've been way more effective. I didn't fully feel the horror aspects that I was expecting, but it was still eerie at times. I also didn't realize how big of a part religion would have in this. Overall, I thought it was just okay.

Rating: 2.75/5

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Well Met Review

Hello, all!

I've always wanted to go to the Renaissance Faire (seriously, it bums me out so much that I've never been to one), so when I heard about Well Met by Jen DeLuca, which is a rom-com set at the Ren Faire, I knew I needed to snag it.

Pub Date: 9-3-19
Adult - Contemporary
Emily knew that re-locating to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland for the summer to help her older sister out after her car accident would come with lots of responsibilities, but what she didn't expect was to spend her weekends working at the local Renaissance Faire alongside her niece. Especially as a tavern wench. There's also an annoyingly strict teacher in charge of the volunteers who Emily can't seem to stop thinking about.

The faire is Simon's family legacy, and he does not take kindly to Emily's laid back attitude, whether it's regarding her ridiculous Shakespeare conspiracies or her attempts at shaking up the acts. But something changes about Simon when he's in his faire persona, and he starts openly flirting with Emily while she's in her revealing wench's costume. As the summer continues, Emily starts to fantasize about a permanent life in Willow Creek with Simon, but is it all real or are they just swept up in their characters?

Let me tell you, I devoured this book because I just couldn't put it down. It was so charming and adorable. I loved Emily as a character, she's so witty and caring, the love she has for her family was so special. The sense of community in the town was also fun to read, and I loved every interaction between the Ren Faire performers. It's such a tight knit group and that feeling really comes across. My favorite aspect was, of course, Emily and Simon's relationship. I'm such a sucker for that sort of hate-to-love feel, and theirs was just so nicely done. The chemistry and angsty banter between the two was everything. I even found myself smiling throughout a lot of this book which is always a good sign. If you're a fan of witty rom-coms, I highly recommend checking this one out.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

OwlCrate September Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Fear the Night, and it was full of some great items, so let's get into it!

The first item was this caramel corn flavored coffee by Bones Coffee Company. I think the design on the packaging is so adorable, but I don't drink coffee, so I'll be passing this along.

Next up were these exclusive fingerless gloves created by the OwlCrate team. I'm really surprised with the quality of these, they're really thick and feel like they'll be pretty cozy for the colder months.

I absolutely love this Frankenstein trinket dish designed by Stella Bookish Art. This is one of my favorite quotes from that book, and I'm also a big fan of the typography and whole vibe of it.

Then we had this gorgeous art print by Anne Lamblet inspired by Something Wicked This Way Comes. I have a soft spot for that book since it's the first by Ray Bradbury I ever read. It goes so well with the theme of this box, and I'm super happy about it.

This month they actually included two books, which always makes me so hyped. The first was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This is part of the Penguin Horror Collection, and it's an exclusive paperback edition. I love this collection. I actually have the Frankenstein edition that I bought when I went to Salem last year. I'm really hoping to get more from this line because I'm obsessed with the designs.

The main book was The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Ryn is a gravedigger who has spent her life hearing about the magic held within the forest surrounding her small village. She's also well aware that the dead have a habit of not staying dead due to a legendary curse. Along with the help of a mapmaker named Ellis, Ryn will stop at nothing to protect her family, but neither one of them suspected what they would come to find within the deadly mountains along their journey.

I've heard so much buzz around this book. It's inspired by Welsh mythology, so that also definitely piques my interest. I also love the skull/flowers pin this month created by Lapels and Spells, especially since the flowers are glow in the dark!

Lemme know what you thought of the box!

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for these copies!

Pub Date: 8-22-19
Adult - Contemporary
To Be Your Girl-Rae Kennedy: Haley knew Cade Renner was trouble the very first moment she saw him-- half naked and tossing a random girl out of his bed. She knew moving in with her brother and his roommate wouldn't be easy, but when she starts falling for the tattooed ladies man despite having a seemingly perfect boyfriend, Haley has to decide if she's willing to put her heart on the line for what she really wants. I found this to be very middle of the road. I didn't love it but I didn't dislike it either, it was just very...meh. Some of the plot points of the story itself felt a bit juvenile and dialed up just for drama. I enjoyed the relationship Haley had with her brother and friend, Court, those interactions felt the most genuine and real. The chemistry between Haley and Cade was fine, and I particularly liked the character development they both went through. Overall, despite not finding this all too memorable, I did enjoy it for what is was.

Rating: 2.5/5

Pub Date: 9-24-19
Adult - Fantasy 
The Bone Ships- RJ Barker: For generations, the people of the Hundred Isles have used the bones of slain ancient dragons to build their ships to fight in an endless war. Although, the dragons have all disappeared, the battle for supremacy has raged on. Now, the first dragon in centuries has been spotted, and the race is on to capture it and turn the tide of power in their favor. For whoever can capture the dragon, not only wins the glory but the war as well. Despite such an interesting premise, I was bored throughout this entire book. Nothing about the plot, characters, or writing interested me at all. I just found it so dense and slow. There wasn't technically anything wrong with the book, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 9-30-19
Non-Fiction - True Crime
The Hidden Lives of Jack the Ripper's Victims- Dr. Robert Hume: Everyone knows the case of Jack the Ripper and how he terrorized London, but many might not know his victims. This book details the background and lives of all 5 of the Ripper's victims. Dr. Hume brings their histories into the forefront and tells you each of their stories, from as early as is recorded up until their brutal murders. Scattered throughout are also pictures and drawings from that time period, which really helps bring the facts to life. It's so interesting to read about these women and see what struggles they all had, from hard marriages to alcoholism. If you're a fan of true crime, or even just history itself, this is definitely something to check out. I will say though, if you're squeamish, this may not be for you as there are pictures of the victims from the crime scenes.

Rating: 3/5