Thursday, October 17, 2019

Twice in a Blue Moon Review

Hello, all!

I fell in love with Christina Lauren after I read The Unhoneymooners, so I was dying to read their newest release, Twice in a Blue Moon. Huge thank you to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-22-19
Adult - Contemprary

Tate Jones was eighteen when her whole world changed. During a vacation abroad in London with her grandma, Tate met Sam Brandis, a charming 21-year old who just so happened to be staying at the same hotel. Tate and Sam spent every moment they could together, learning about one another, sharing their hopes, dreams, and in Tate's case, their biggest secrets. Tate is the daughter of one of the worlds most famous actors, who hasn't been publicly seen since her parent's messy divorce. She's spent her life since being someone else and only a handful of people know who she truly is. Sam is the first person she's ever felt comfortable enough to let in on her big secret. She was very wrong. Sam was Tate's first everything: first love, first time, and first heartbreak.

Now, fourteen years later, Tate, a big up-and-coming actress, just landed a major break out role and doesn't have time to dwell on her lost love. When she arrives on set, Sam Brandis is the very last person she expected to see. Tate is shocked to discover that Sam happens to be the screenwriter for the film, and he's just as handsome and charismatic as he was all those years ago. Tate is now forced to confront his betrayal head on, and must ask herself if doing something bad for the right reason is enough to put the past behind her, especially when old feelings start to stir up.

Christina Lauren just have a way of making me swoon. Seriously, I would love to just live in one of their worlds. Tate feels so real and relatable, and her actions seem genuine. Sam, despite his mistakes, never stopped loving Tate and does everything he can to make her see the error of his ways. I will say that I do think Tate seemed to forgive him a bit quicker than I thought she should've, but hey, it's fictional and all. My other issue was that I didn't feel any resolution when it came to the drama at the end. I feel if we saw that conclusion this would've been a full 5 star read for me. Other than that, I loved this and flew through it. I loved the setting, both London and the movie set in the woods. The humor and dialogue were spot on. I also really enjoyed how you got little excerpts from the movie script as they were shooting the film. I thought that was a nice touch. All in all, another great story by this dynamic duo.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Top 5: Fictional Witches

Hello, all!

'Tis the witchy season, so I figured what better way to celebrate than to dedicate this Top 5 to some of my favorite witches.


1. Sabrina Spellman: My love of this sassy teenage witch started way back when I was a kid. My mom would take my brother and I to the local comic book store, and I would get the mystery bag comics (basically, a paper bag filled with about 5 comics that you never knew what they were until you opened them). They were almost always filled with Archie comics, and the Sabrina ones were my favorite. From there, I was an avid watcher of the 90s show, which later turned to the darker Netflix adaptation. Even though she's a witch, she's also just trying to be a regular teenager and that always made for the most ridiculous antics.


2. Willow Rosenberg: Ok, so Willow once tried to destroy the whole word, but she did it for love, so at least her intentions were sorta honorable? Dark Willow aside, she is probably my favorite part of the Scooby gang and I loved watching her growth throughout the series.


3. Hermione Granger: As if I could have a list of witches and not include the brightest witch of her age. Hermione has all the qualities I admire in a character: she's smart, loyal, compassionate and not afraid to stand her ground. I would just love to hang with her in the Hogwarts library and roll our eyes at Harry and Ron over our massive book piles.


4. Piper Halliwell: The Halliwell sisters may have been stronger as the Power of Three, but I always loved Piper the most. She always seemed like the most level-headed out of the sisters, and she's the only one who not only grew more powerful throughout the series, but who also had a family of her own. Plus, I just wish I could've had the power to freeze and blow things up.


5. The Sanderson Sisters: You can't have Halloween without these witchy sisters. While Winnie is obviously the most powerful (and smartest), I think all three of them really round each other out. And who can resist calling out "Booo-ooook" or "AMUCK! AMUCK! AMUCK!" at any given opportunity?

Let me know who your picks would be!

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
Poetry
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