Thursday, October 22, 2020

October OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for this month was "Legends and Lore," and if I'm being honest, this was actually my least favorite box we've gotten so far, but let's still get into it.

First, we had this glass nail file with a quote from Girls of Paper and Fire on it. I read that and thought it was okay, but I'm happy to have another nail file since those are always useful.


We've gotten oven mitts and holders before, but this is the first time a bowl cozy has been in the box. I didn't even know these were a thing! The Spin the Dawn inspired pattern, designed by Janine Lecour, also gives me such 90s wallpaper flashbacks.


Then we had this soap inspired by A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Motherland Essentials. It has a very strong musky earthy scent, which is slightly too potent for my tastes, so I probably won't get much use out of this.


Next up was this bamboo phone stand designed by Lady Chubb Letters and inspired by The Star-Touched Queen. Not gonna lie, it took me a minute to figure out how to put this together, but it's cute and handy.


The last item was another first-- wind chimes. I like the design, though it took me ages to untangle! Wind chimes aren't something I usually use either, so not sure if I'll put them up, but I like how OwlCrate thought outside the box.


The book for this month was Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. After the death of her mother, Bree wants nothing to do with family memories or her childhood home. Her perfect escape comes in the form of a residential program for bright high school students at UNC-Chapel Hill. When Bree stumbles upon a magical attack on her first night and a secret campus society of monster hunters called the "Legendborns," she quickly realizes not everything is as it seems. After a mysterious teenage mage tries to wipe Bree's memory of what she witnessed, Bree recruits a self-exiled Legendborn to help her get to the bottom of what's really going on around campus. But she wasn't prepared to discover the descendants of King Arthur's knights, or that there's a magical war heading their way, or that she may hold the power to help stop it.

I've heard a lot of hype surrounding this book, so I'm interested to see how it is. Lemme know what you thought of this box!

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Sun Down Motel Review

Hello, all!

Do you like multiple POVs/timelines when it comes to thrillers? I think it can be very hit or miss, but if done well, can really add another element to the story. In the case of The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James, it definitely worked in its favor.

Pub Date: 2-18-20
Adult - Thriller

It's 1982 and Viv Delaney is a night shift worker at the rundown Sun Down Motel in the rural upstate New York town of Fell. Viv has always felt uneasy at her job, and she has good reason. Shady customers, lights that flicker and go out on their own, cigarette smoke filling the air when no one's around, and phone calls with nothing but heavy breathing on the end of the line are the norm around the Sun Down. Then, Viv mysteriously vanishes in the middle of a shift and is never seen or heard from again. Did she stumble upon a secret she was never meant to know? Did she succumb to whatever lurks in the shadows of the Sun Down? No one knew until now.

Carly is a young woman who grew up hearing about the aunt that was kidnapped. She never met her Aunt Viv, but she knew her mother grieved for her lost sister her entire life. When Carly's mom passes away, she makes it her mission to find out what truly happened to Viv. She decides to move to Fell and in doing so, ends up taking the same job that her aunt once had. Carly soon starts experiencing the same strange occurrences that plagued Viv, and she can't help but feel like she may be out of her depth. With the help of some locals, Carly uncovers the truth behind what happened that fateful night back in '82, and she can't help but wonder if the past is better left buried.

This hooked me from the very first page. I was immediately sucked into this mystery and the whole atmosphere of the book. I think the dual timeline/POVs worked so well and made it even more fascinating. Viv and Carly were both interesting characters to follow and it was cool to see how similar their journeys were despite being in two different times. Both were very strong-willed and refused to let anything deter them from their investigations, even when it threatened their safety. The whole mystery was so intricate and gripping, and I kept holding my breath waiting for what was going to happen next. There were small bits I figured out, but the overall mystery was a shock and I thought very well done. The supernatural elements were just right and never felt too cheesy or out of place. If you're looking for a thriller that'll keep you on the edge of your seat, pick this up.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, October 16, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite Spoopy Movies

Hello, all!

You all know I love me some horror movies during October, but sometimes it's nice to break up all the blood and guts with something more cutsey. So, today's list is all about those Halloween movies that aren't so much as "spooky," but rather the more family-friendly "spoopy."


1. Practical Magic: Oh, how I wish I were an Owens. Except without all the curse business. While this still has some dark moments in it, it's overall a fun movie. I mean, who didn't wish they were dancing around the kitchen making margaritas with those ladies?

2. Addams Family Values: I may get some flack for this, but I actually like this one better than the original Addams Family movie. I love the camp aspect and Joan Cusack is fabulous. I've also spent the majority of my life being compared to Wednesday, so I had to include her on here.

3. Beetlejuice: This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Fun fact: After 10+ years of getting tattooed, I finally started on my arms (I've always gotten my legs/sides) and a Beetlejuice inspired one was the one that broke the ice. I also think this is and Batman are Michael Keaton's best roles, and you cannot tell me otherwise.

4. Hocus Pocus: I mean, obviously this was gonna be on here. It's not the Halloween season if I don't watch this movie multiple times. I've never met someone who didn't love this movie. It's become so iconic, and it's well deserved. Plus, Thackery Binx is fiiine.

5. The Mummy: My love of this movie knows no bounds. Anytime it's on TV, I have to drop everything to watch it. It's just so good and so so funny. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are just *chefs kiss*

Lemme know some of your picks!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thanks to Netgalley for these copies!


Pub Date: 10-1-20
YA - Anthology

The Midnight Circus- Jane Yolen:  This is an anthology chock full of dark twisted fairy tales. It's more Grimm than Disney, full of monsters, both man and beast. These sixteen stories have something for everyone: from people turning into wild animals and running free in Central Park, a seal maiden falling in love with a fisherman, and even a dark secret below the snow in the South Pole.


Anthology stories tend to be very hit or miss for me, and unfortunately, this one missed the mark. As with these types of books, there are always stories that are better than others. I did enjoy one or two, namely "The White Seal Maid", but most of the others just didn't capture my attention. Some felt like they dragged on a little too long, and I ended up finding myself wander and I had to force myself to finish. I think the majority had a lot of promise, but in the end, just fell flat. I also was a bit confused because, from the title, I expected the stories to have a circus element or something that ultimately tied them all together, but that wasn't the case. Sadly, this isn't going to a memorable one for me.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 10-13-20
Romance

Any Rogue Will Do- Bethany Bennett: Lady Charlotte "Lottie" Wentworth spent exactly one season playing the perfect demure debutante and all it got her was mockery splattered all over the gossip rags. After being dubbed the "Paper Doll Princess" by Ethan Amesbury, a dashing new viscount who causes his own stir in society, Lottie decides to leave London for a quiet life in the country. Now, five years after her humiliating debut, all she wants is a home of her own to manage the way she sees fit, but her father has other plans. He's arranged engagement to a most unpleasant man, but Lottie can't be engaged to one if she's already engaged to another. Ethan has made loads of mistakes in his life, one of the biggest being ruining Lady Charlotte's reputation. He'll do whatever it takes to get back into her good graces, even if that means pretending to be engaged. He may have agreed to this ridiculous plan in order to win back her favor, but when feelings start to grow more complicated, could he win her affections for real?


I've become a big fan of historical romances lately, so I was immediately drawn to this. There were a lot of things I enjoyed: I liked how determined Lottie was, though she could be a bit too headstrong at times, Ethan was extremely swoon-worthy and I liked how he really did care for Lottie, and I'm always here for any time of fake dating situation. The secondary characters in this also shined, and I loved Aunt Agatha, Darling, and Cal. My only issues with this were it felt too long on occasion and slightly repetitive. We get that Lottie is torn between life on her own and Ethan, it doesn't need to be repeated every other page. Aside from that, I did enjoy this and it wrapped up in a satisfying way. I'm not sure if this will be one that sticks with me and is super memorable, but I'm still interested to see what the next one brings.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Blog Tour: A Golden Fury Review

Hello, all!

I love fantasy and historical fiction, so when you mesh the two together, it's an automatic add to my TBR. Big thank you to Wednesday Books for having me as part of the blog tour for A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe!

Pub Date: 10-13-20
YA - Fantasy

Thea Hope wants nothing more than to step out of her mother’s shadow and make a name for her own in the alchemy world. The pair have been working together to create the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, but just as they were getting close, Thea’s mother banished her from their lab. Thea is convinced her mother just wants all the fame and glory for herself, but when she becomes ill and starts lashing out, Thea starts to believe there’s something more sinister going on. Then one night in a fit of rage, her mother destroys the stone, attempting to kill Thea in the process.

After this encounter, armed with her mother’s notes, Thea flees France for England to seek shelter and help from a father who doesn’t even know she exists. When she arrives in Oxford, Thea finds her father and a group of fellow alchemists are also trying to create the stone, and they refuse to heed her warnings on how dangerous it is. Instead, they steal her notes and are not above pulling out all the stops to force Thea into helping them, even if that means torturing the ones closest to her. Thea must face a difficult decision: either make the stone and most likely lose her mind in the process, or forsake the lives of those she loves.

I was very much drawn in by the premise of this. The practice of alchemy is so fascinating and complex and I enjoyed seeing how it was portrayed. The entire story is very plot-driven and action-packed right from the get-go. Every single character has a motive for wanting to create the stone and will do whatever it takes no matter the consequences. Especially Thea. She was such a capable strong-willed character and I liked how she never seemed afraid of conflict and did what needed to be done. That being said, my issue with this was that I felt not as much time and effort went into the overall character development as the actual storyline. All the characters felt very one-note so I had a hard time connecting to them, and ultimately, I wasn’t that invested in what happened to them. I definitely think this had a ton of potential, and there are some interesting moments, so I would still recommend if you’re a fan of historical fiction/fantasy.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, October 9, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Villains That Messed You Up as a Kid

Hello, all!

Everyone has those very specific characters or moments in movies that completely scared the daylights out of them growing up. I mean, the boat scene in Willy Wonka? Straight up nightmare fuel. I have no problem admitting that these characters still haunt me to this day. 

1. Judge Doom (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?): I hate everything about him, from the bulging eyes to dipping the innocent little cartoon shoe into the Dip. As if he wasn't terrible on his own, he had the gang of annoying weasels who always spoke as if they were 1930's mobsters.

2. Hexxus (Fern Gully): When I tell you I used to RUN behind my couch whenever "Toxic Love" started playing on the screen. A giant sludge monster could terrify any kid, but then you grow up and realize it was a representation of humans destroying the earth and it makes it even worse.

3. Ms. Trunchbull (Matilda): Did anyone else have nightmares about being thrown in the Chokey? Or being tossed by your pigtails? She was definitely not someone who should've been in early education. Side note: if someone could please show me how to wear a bun without looking like her, I'd be forever grateful.

4. Other Mother (Coraline): How could any kid not be traumatized if a creature posed as their mom only to sew buttons on their eyes and steal their soul? Not today, Satan. My Mama is off limits.

5. The Grand High Witch (The Witches): Abso-freakin'-lutely no, thank you.

What're some of your picks? Lemme know!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Magic Lessons Review

Hello, all!

When I think of October and the spooky season, my mind goes straight to witches. I've always had a soft spot for witches ever since I was young, and I find stories about them fascinating. I'm also a big fan of Practical Magic, so obviously when I heard about Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman taking us back to the very beginning of the Owen's family line and their curse, I was sold. Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-6-20
Adult - Fantasy

The Owens' women weren't always cursed when it comes to love, so how did it begin? Back in 1600's England, Maria is abandoned as a baby in a snowy field and taken in by a woman named Hannah Owens. Hannah does her best to raise the child and recognizes a certain power in Maria so she begins to teach her the ways of the Unnamed Arts. During this time, Maria is taught many things, with the most important lesson being to always love someone who will love you back. After Hannah's death, Maria is sent to live on a faraway island as a maid to a wealthy family. Here, she falls for John Hathorne, a man that she believes truly loves her, but one day, he abandons her, too.

When Maria finds herself with child, she decides to cross the seas to follow this man to Salem, Massachusetts. On her journey, she meets Samuel Dias, a man unlike any other, but despite the feelings they both share, Maria refuses to give in. When she gets to Salem, she discovers that John had a family of his own and wants nothing to do with Maria or their child. Heartbroken and with no one to turn to, Maria seeks shelter in an old cabin and sets about making a home there for her and her daughter, making remedies and helping the local women who come to her door at night. Soon, Maria is charged with witchcraft and sentenced to hang by none other than John himself. On the morning of her hanging, thinking her life is over, Maria calls out a curse that will change the lives of all Owens women to come. But when she's rescued by Samuel, her true love, she must face the consequences of her rash decision.

Ever since watching Practical Magic for the first time, I've always been intrigued by the curse on the Owens family. Why does something terrible and tragic always happen to the men they fall in love with? Well, this beautifully lush story finally answered all my questions. Maria is such an interesting character to follow. She goes through so many ups and downs and betrayals, but she never truly lets the darkness engulf her. As fascinating as Maria is, her daughter, Faith, is even more so. Both women go through many hardships, and the way they each handle those trials and tribulations take them down vastly different paths, but they always come back to one another. Hoffman blends love, revenge, family, and the wonders of magic to make a completely captivating story. This is a very dense book, and there were moments where I found myself thinking, "Man, this is LONG," but overall, I really enjoyed it.

Rating: 4/5