Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Sorcery of Thorns Review

Hello, all!

I've sort of always wished that I was a librarian. I grew up spending most of my time at my local library, I still go there almost every other week. There's something about walking into a library and getting hit with the smell of all those books that instantly calms me. So when I saw Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson was about a girl who works and lives in a magical library, I was completely sold.

Pub Date: 6-4-19
YA - Fantasy
Elisabeth has spent her entire life in one of Austermeer's Great Libraries. After being taken in as an orphan, Elisabeth has grown up around magical grimoire's that rattle the shelves and whisper things to passer-bys, and turn into grotesque monsters spewing ink and leather if provoked. Despite growing up surrounded by magical artifacts, Elisabeth has been told that all sorcerers are evil and to stay far away from magic. With hopes of becoming a warden of the library in order to help protect the lands, Elisabeth's whole world turns upside down when she uncovers an act of magical sabotage that release's one of the libraries most dangerous grimoire's.

After being wrongfully accused of treason, Elisabeth is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. While there, she unravels more of the conspiracy against the Great Libraries, and the only one who believes her is Nathaniel Thorn, a young sorcerer who takes Elisabeth in. Elisabeth has no choice but to put aside her prejudices against sorcerers and allow Nathaniel, and his demonic servant Silas, to help her get to the bottom of this treason before not only the libraries, but the entire world, goes up in flames. As her relationship between Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth begins to question everything she's ever been taught--about sorcerers, magic, the libraries and even about herself. With each step closer to the truth, Elisabeth learns there's a power inside herself that she never could've imagined.

I absolutely loved this. I was hooked from the very first page. I loved learning about Elisabeth and life at the library, and especially about all the magical grimoire's and how they interact with her. Aside from Elisabeth, I adored Nathaniel and Silas. The whole dynamic between the three characters was everything, and definitely tugs at your heartstrings at times. Even Elisabeth's relationship with her best friend Katrien was so relatable and fun. Rogerson does such a lovely job developing this world and the entire magical system. The only thing that knocked this down a peg for me was I did guess at some of the plot points, but nonetheless, I really enjoyed this.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The Starless Sea Review

Hello, all!

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is one of my favorite books, and I've been looking forward to sinking back into her magical mind ever since I heard about The Starless Sea. The wait was definitely worth it.

Pub Date: 11-5-19
Adult - Fantasy
Deep in the stacks of his university library, Zachary Ezra Rawlins stumbles across a mysterious book. Flipping through the pages, he sees all these fantastical stories of pirates, key collectors and mute acolytes. Then he spots something strange: a story from his own childhood. A story about him. Determined to unlock this mystery, Zachary follows a series of clues-- a bee, a key, and a sword-- to a masquerade party in New York City, a secret club, and ultimately to a hidden doorway that leads to a vast library hidden far underground.

Zachary soon learns that there are many doors like the one he stumbled upon. Doors that lead to the past; doors that lead to places he's only read about in fairy tales; doors that lead to anywhere you can imagine and many more you cannot. Along with Mirabel, a protector of this otherworldly place, and Dorian, a handsome man with blurry allegiances, Zachary traverses everything from burned out tunnels to star-soaked beaches looking for the answers to not only this book, but his own life as well. All the while trying in vain to outrun and outsmart those who will stop at nothing to make sure the doors into this world remain shut forever.

Morgenstern has such an atmospheric way about her writing that completely transports you into her stories. I was captivated right from the start, and right there next to Zachary as he discovers this strange new world. I loved how there were the actual tales from the book Zachary finds incorporated into the actual story. It really added this fantastical element to an already magical story, and they were all just so good. I especially loved the one about the inn at the end of the world, and the moon who fell in love with its innkeeper. I think the pace of the story is good, and even though it's big, it never felt long. There was just the right amount of action to where you're never bored. All in all, this was such a whimsical, imaginative ode to storytelling that will have you searching for your own hidden door to journey through.

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Would Like to Meet Review

Hello, all!

Is it obvious by now how much I love a rom-com book? Big thank you to Putnam for sending me Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters!

Pub Date: 12-3-19
Adult - Contemporary
Evie Summers is in a rut. After spending the last seven years as an assistant at a film agency, the now 29-year old wants more. There's a few problems standing in the way of Evie's much deserved promotion: 1. The agency she's been basically running by herself is going under, 2. The only way she can save it is by getting the arrogant screenwriter, Ezra Chester, to finally finish the romantic comedy screenplay he's been contracted to write. A bit of a cynic with writer's block to boot, Ezra only agrees to start writing again if Evie can prove to him people can actually fall in love like they do in the movies. Desperate to save her agency, Evie sets out to find her own meet cute.

From spilling drinks on unsuspecting cafe patrons, to planning the perfect Holiday-esque romance, Evie is determined to try anything to inspire Ezra to write, no matter how humiliating it is for her. Along the way, she meets a father and daughter duo who always seems to be around during her most embarrassing moments, but who will help her open her eyes to what really matters most.

This was such a cute and quick read. It was fun to see Evie play out these famous rom-com moments, and even funnier to see how disastrous they tend to turn out. Evie wasn't the perfect leading character; she was insecure, not always the best friend, and selfish at times, but I think that all made her a bit more real and relatable. I really enjoyed Ben and Annette, the little family Evie meets at the coffee shop. Although, it did annoy me slightly that Annette is supposed to be 7, but the way she was written made her seem way more mature and it just didn't always feel believable. There was an almost love triangle brewing, and there's a moment when you think Evie will go one way, and I was so happy when that didn't pan out. All in all, I didn't find any major moments that really blew me away, but it was cute for what it was.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

OwlCrate November Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was "Through the Enchanted Forest", let's get into it!

First was this pretty woodcut ornament inspired by The Raven Boys designed by Juniper and Ivy Designs. I've not read this series yet, but I'm really diggin' this.

This metal bookmark was created by Her Paper World and has a quote from Uprooted on it. I've received a lot of bookmarks in these boxes, but this was the first metal one I've ever gotten, and I'm really impressed with the quality of it.

Next, we had this gorgeous reading planner by Blue Star Press. OwlCrate has been doing these planners for the last few years, and I love them. I usually keep my own reading journal, but I love these because you can do so much: plan out your weeks and months, keep a list of new releases broken down by month, and even write reviews for what you've read. I really love this design of this years, and they've added so many cool features (like whether what you read was audio/e-book/physical), I'm obsessed.

You can't have a planner without some fun stickers to put in it. These whimsical forest stickers were designed by Pipsticks, and fit the theme so well. There's also another bookish sheet underneath, which I can't wait to use.

The final item was this blanket designed by Bookmark'd Tattoos inspired by The Cruel Prince. I'm such a sucker for a cozy blanket, and this one's no exception! It's ridiculously soft, but my only slight complaint is that I wish it was just a little bit longer to get the full snuggly effect.

This months book was Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw. The woods around Fir Haven have a dark reputation for being haunted. Only rumored witch, Nora Walker, knows the truth. The Walker women have always had a close connection with the woods, and it's this connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman, the boy who went missing from the Camp for Wayward Boys. Stuck for weeks in a snowstorm, Oliver should be dead, but instead he has no recollection of the time he's been gone. Nora feels an uneasy shift in the woods with Oliver's presence, so she decides to get to the bottom of this strange boy. What she discovers is she's not the only one with secrets she'd do anything to keep hidden.

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews of this, so I'm interested to see what I think. I didn't fully love Shea Ernshaw's other release, The Wicked Deep, but she sure does have a way with atmosphere. If any of you have read this, let me know what you thought!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Funko/NYCC Exclusive Haul

Hello, all!

I was so bummed over missing NY Comic Con this year, mainly because Funko was releasing some great Pops, but I'm happy to say I was able to track them down!

1. Daria: The second I saw they were releasing this, I knew it needed to be mine. I was obsessed with Daria when I was younger (still am), and I've spent most of my life being compared to her, so I was so pumped to be able to snag this one.

2. Slim (Killer Klowns from Outer Space): I've been saying for years how I wished Funko would do Killer Klowns Pops, and now they have! This is one of my favorite horror movies (I even have a tattoo of it), and I really hope they do the rest of the gang because I'd love a Shorty one.

3. Huntress: I used to be a huge fan of Birds of Prey, both the comics and the tragically underrated early 2000s TV show, and Huntress was always my favorite of the bunch. Helena's such a badass, and this also makes me excited to see her newest incarnation in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie.

4. Beetlejuice: So, this technically isn't a Funko release, but it was still an NYCC Entertainment Earth exclusive. Beetlejuice is one of my favorite movies, so once I saw this little wooden guy, I had to snag it. It's one of those things where you push a button on the base and it flops around. I get such a kick out of its little flailing hammer arms, and I just can't help but channel my inner Michael Keaton going "Come on a little closaaaaa. Step right up!"

Let me know if you've picked up any fun figures lately!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Last Affair Blog Tour

Hello, all!

I've gotten way more into mystery/thrillers recently, so I'm very excited to be included in the blog tour for The Last Affair by Margot Hunt. This is a gripping story of a love affair turn murder that will have you guessing until the very end. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt (just a little taste, I don't wanna spoil too much!), and big thank you to Mira Books for letting me be apart of the tour!

Adult - Thriller

"Other than the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass, it could have been any typical upscale Floridian backyard. 
There was the ubiquitous pool with a water fountain feature, a patio furnished with both a dining set and outdoor sectional couch, and an enormous gas grill capable of cooking hamburgers by the dozen. A large pergola with a tropical vine trained over it covered part of the patio. The dining area was shaded by a black-and-white-striped awning. It was the very picture of suburban domestic bliss. It could have been the set for a commercial advertising anything from laundry detergent to allergy medicine. 
Again, except for the dead body. 
The area had already been taped off. The first officers on the scene appeared with an ambulance in response to a frantic 911 call placed by the woman’s daughter. The paramedics had assessed the situation, and quickly determined that the woman was dead. The fact that the back of her head had been bashed in with what looked like a paving stone, conveniently dropped next to her prone body, made it immediately clear that it had not been a natural death."

If you're interested in more, The Last Affair hits stores 11/26. For more info on the author and where to buy your own copy, check out the links below.

TWITTER: @HuntAuthor


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Ninth House Review

Hello, all!

Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorite authors. She has such a way with characters and world building that just fully pulls you in and makes you feel like you're actually watching these events unfold. Her newest, and first adult release, Ninth House, was one of my most anticipated reads for this year, and it was interesting to say the least.

Pub Date: 10-8-19
Adult - Fantasy
Galaxy "Alex" Stern has seen more hardships in her life than most. Raised by a hippie mom, by her early teens, Alex had dropped out of school and started running around with drug dealers. By the age of twenty, she was the sole survivor of a vicious unsolved homicide. Some, including her own mother, say she threw her life away, but she's given a second chance in the form of a full ride to Yale University. The only catch? She has to monitor the numerous secret societies littered throughout the campus. And they may prove to be more dangerous than the life she's leaving behind.

Recruited for her ability to see ghosts, called Grays, an ability she's spent her whole life running from, Alex now uses it during the rituals and rites performed by each of the secret Houses to make sure everything goes smoothly. As a member of Lethe House, she's tasked with reporting back to the Dean of the goings on of each society, and maintaining some sort of balance. Surrounded by the future rich and powerful elite, Alex learns there's nothing money and influence can't buy you. Soon, she uncovers that under all their occult activities lies an even more sinister plot and the closer she is to finding out the truth, the more her life is put in danger.

Let me first just say, I did actually really love this book. The characters, especially Alex, were so complex and interesting. The plot itself was captivating and I'm such a sucker for a school setting, and was getting all these The Magicians/Dead Poets Society vibes. I loved the way magic worked and how Alex interacted with it. I think it deals with dark, intense themes in a very respectful and truthful manner. Bardugo's writing is top notch, as always. She managed to take the real world we know and flip it in a way that is so eerie and unsettling. That being said, I found this to be a bit too long. I feel like it easily could've been 50+ pages shorter and the effect would've hit harder. I just felt that it took a long time for not a lot to happen. It was a lot of back story and a lot of setting the scene for what's to come in this series (which is a lot more Darlington, I'm hoping.) Despite that, this is a really solid read for those who are into a darker fantasy and I'll just forever be a fan of anything Bardugo puts out. I'm just hoping for the next one to have a bit more action in it.

Rating: 4/5