Wednesday, October 31, 2018

LitJoy Crate October Review

Hello, all!

Another bookish subscription box, another unboxing. I only recently heard about LitJoy Crate, so I figured I'd check it out. The theme was Dark Fairytales, so let's take a look.

The first thing I pulled out was this packet of notecards. I'm not too sure what it had to do with the box's theme, but I can always use more stationery.

Yaaaaas, I can never have enough bookmarks and this one by Drawn to the Pages is gorgeous. I love the design and the quote is from Stardust, which is one of my favorite Neil Gaiman books.

I was really excited to see this LitJoy exclusive Labyrinth inspired pouch. You don't see much Labyrinth items in bookish subscription boxes, and I love that movie so much, so this was a really nice touch.

You can't have a box about dark things without including witches, and who're better than the Sanderson sisters? This design by EvieBookish is so colorful and has just the right amount of spooky touches. I love it and the quality is really nice as well.

The book they sent was Grim Lovelies by Megan Shepherd. Seventeen year old Anouk is a Beastie, enchanted to change form between human an animal. Due to this, Anouk can only watch in envy at the lavish lives of the people known as Pretties. While they're out in high fashion and fast cars, she is trapped within her Parisian prison, destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is until one day Anouk finds her master dead in a pool of blood, and that she is accused of the crime. Anouk and her other Beastie friends only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades and they'll stay beasts forever.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

The Flash: Starting Line Review

Hello, all!

I have to admit, I don't read as much DC Comics as I used to. When I was younger, I was all about Batman and Wonder Woman, but over time I just sort of strayed away from them. I still read things here and there, but I mostly fizzled out. Then a few years back, I noticed that DC started bringing out DC Essentials which were volumes broken down by character that showcased every issue of that character from the very start. I bought as many of these as I could find because they were such a great way to not only brush up on your favorite characters, but also get you started on a character you've always been interested in. I actually have a few Flash ones, but I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick up The Flash: Starting Line that just came out. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the copy!

The Flash: Starting Line, part of the DC Essential Edition's, features a collaborative story line from creators Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, and includes The Flash #0-12 and The Flash Annual #1. This edition features brand-new cover art (which are beautiful) and is such a great kicking off point to get into this fun character. Not only is it perfect for new fans who want to get into comics but aren't really sure where to start, but it's also a really nice collection for longtime readers as well.

Aside from a great story line, fans can expect to see some of Barry Allen's best foes from the Rogue's Gallery in this. You've got everyone from Captain Cold to Mirror Master to the Trickster who have joined together in their hatred of the Scarlet Speedster and will stop at nothing to bring him down.

I really enjoyed this collection. The artwork was great, especially all the little details like the lightning crackles around Barry as he runs, and it really was a good starting point for fans. However, the only minor issue I had was that some of the panels were a bit crooked and didn't line up that well, so at times it was a little hard to tell which dialogue went where. I'm not sure if maybe this was due to reading a digital version, but I read the majority of my comics digitally and usually never have that problem. Aside from that, I think it's a great release, especially with how popular the CW show is and The Flash recently being introduced in the movie universe (maybe one day we'll get his stand alone move), it gives people even more of a reason to bridge the gap into the comics world. Overall, I'd definitely recommend picking this volume up if you're a fan or looking to start!

Monday, October 29, 2018

OwlCrate October Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Lost in the Bookstore, and I was so pumped about it because for the first time OwlCrate was including not one but two hardcover books. Two books?! Yes, please! So let's get to it.

I love socks, and these exclusive Out of Print/Underlined Book Nerd socks are just the thing to keep my forever frozen feet cozy! I realized after I opened them that both feet say "Book" instead of "Book" and "Nerd", and that OwlCrate did say they would send new ones to whoever had the misprint, but I don't mind it too much.

Who doesn't love receiving new tea to try? This one by The Tea Spot is choco mint truffle favor and that just sounds like it'll be delicious. Like a warm Peppermint Patty on a winters day. Mmm.

I'm assuming the tea must be loose leaf tea since they included this OwlCrate exclusive tea strainer. Either way, it's super cute. I already have a Death Star shaped tea infuser, but it's stainless steel and I actually really like that this one is silicone.

How perfect is this Mirror of Erised print by Michelle Gray? Give me a stack of books, a cuppa and some fairy lights and I'm a happy gal.

This little clutch purse, designed by Bookworm Boutique, is the perfect size to carry a small book or even a e-reader around in. I actually just recently had to buy a new Kindle cause mine finally died, so this will come in handy since I forgot to buy myself a case for it!

Now onto the books--

The first book included was Pride by Ibi Zoboi. This is actually a reimagining of Pride and Prejudice set in Brooklyn, and follows our Afro-Latina main character, Zuri, who has a lot of pride for where she comes from. When a wealthy family moves in across the street, and her sister falls for one of the sons, Zuri must learn to find some common ground with them and eventually her judgements begin to shift.

The other book this month was Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. This story follows Yumeko, a half-human half-kitsune, as she flees from the only home she's even known after a demon attack, and who is sworn to protect part of the ancient Dragon Scroll. While running for her life, fate intervenes and thrusts Yumeko together with the dangerous samurai, Tatsumi. The two form an unlikely alliance as they embark on a quest to gather the other pieces of the scroll. I was so excited to get this one! I actually read an e-ARC of this at the beginning of the month (review here), and I loved it so much so I'm really glad to have a physical copy.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Salem, Day 3

Hello, all!

Monday was my last full day in Salem, so I tried to go to a few of the shops I liked for last minute purchases, and crossed off a few last places on my list I wanted to see, so let's get into it.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Salem, Day 2

Hello, all!

Day 2 of my trip was just as jam-packed as the first, so let's get straight into it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Salem, Day 1

Hello, all!

I've always been interested in history and spooky things, so my dream trip has always been to go to Salem, MA. Now, I'm super happy to report that I just spent three wonderful days exploring the Witch City and it was just as great as I imagined.

My 30th birthday is coming up very soon (way sooner than I'd like to admit) and my lovely mom planned this back in January as my present, and it was the best gift I could've received. I'm going to break the trip down into multiple posts, just so it's not super overwhelming, and so that way I can put things into day order. So, without any further ado, let's start with the first day!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Let's Talk: Comics

Hello, all!

I'm so behind on all my comics, but I recently got a big ol' order from Midtown Comics and these were four I received and immediately loved, so I figured I'd share.

Blackbird #1 (Image Comics): Nina Rodriguez is convinced there's a secret world full of magic hidden beneath Los Angeles, but everyone thinks she's crazy. The crazier part? She might just be right, and she needs to unravel the mystery before the Great Beast catches up with her. I mainly picked this up because Jen Bartel is the artist and I'm obsessed with her artwork, but it turned out to be such an interesting story. It sort of has this noir-Harry Potter vibe and I really dug it. I can't wait for more. I actually picked this one up from Comic Con, so it has an exclusive holographic cover which I'm pretty pumped on as well.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark #1 (Dynamite Comics): Elvira finds herself thrown back in time to crash Mary Shelley's monster weekend get-away, and thus begins a journey through horror history. All the while, Elvira is being stalked by the most evil nightmare to ever walk the earth *cue Vincent Price laughter*. I love Elvira, she's my campy horror idol queen, so I obviously had to pick this up. It's so funny and has that Elvira wit I love so much, and I love the storyline so far.

Nancy Drew, #1 (Dynamite Comics): Seventeen year old Nancy Drew is really great at one thing: solving crimes. So when a threatening letter shows up on her doorstep, she has no choice but to return to the hometown she left behind. While there, she'll have to figure out who's friend, who's foe and who's trying to kill her. I grew up reading Nancy Drew, but this ain't my old school Nancy and I really like it. It's refreshing and modern, and I think it has all the makings of being a cool little detective comic.

Stranger Things, #1 (Dark Horse Comics): Whereas the smash hit Netflix show follows Will's family and friends trying to solve his disappearance, this comic features Will's time in the Upside Down. You get to follow his journey into all the decay, and see how he used his wit and determination to evade the Demogorgon and escape the Upside Down. I absolutely love Stranger Things so I needed to pick this up. I think it's such a cool concept to follow Will's journey instead of just re-writing the whole first season into comic form. We already know what Joyce and Mike and the gang were doing during this time, but we never got to really see what Will experienced, so I can't wait to see what else this brings to the table.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Shadow of The Fox Review

Hello, all!

I love me a good fantasy novel, but I've never really read any that had a Japanese influence, so I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of Shadow of The Fox by Julie Kagawa. Huge thank you to Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-2-18 by
Harlequin Teen
YA - Fantasy
The story follows Yumeko, a young girl who has lived a sheltered life raised by monks in the Silent Wind temple, who has trained her whole life to hide her yokai abilities. Half-human, half-kitsune (fox), Yumeko has a knack for mischief and bending the rules, but all that changes when her temple gets attacked by demons and burned down and her adoptive family slain. Before his death, her Master tasks Yumeko with protecting part of the ancient Dragon Scroll, which when put together with the other pieces will summon the great Kami Dragon who will grant one person's wish.

While fleeing from the only home she's ever known, Yumeko runs into Kage Tatsumi, a dangerous samurai of the mysterious Shadow Clan. What she doesn't know is that Tatsumi has been sent to her temple to retrieve the very scroll she's smuggling, by any means necessary. Yumeko enlists the protection of the samurai in exchange for "helping" him find the scroll. An uneasy alliance forms between the two, and the longer they are together, the more complicated their relationship becomes. As underlying feelings begin to grow between the two, the deception and secrets both are hiding threaten to tear them apart.

It initially took me a bit to get into the groove of this story, but once I did I read the entire thing in one day. I really enjoyed the atmosphere and world that Kagawa created; it gave me total anime vibes and I loved it. I could almost picture it as Avatar: The Last Airbender mixed with some Studio Ghibli. Yumeko is such a nice main character because you can tell she's so naive, and hasn't seen much of the world or how cruel people can be, but she seems to always see the hope and good in things. I also liked the group of companions Yumeko and Tatsumi end up with. Okame was probably my favorite, his sarcasm and wit was just the right amount of comedic lightheartedness the book needed. And the ending! Holy cow, talk about action packed. I can't wait to see where the story and characters go from here.

If you're a fan of anime or fantasy, I'd definitely recommend checking this one out.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Last Fan Standing

Hello, all!

Man, has my October been jam packed so far! On Tuesday night, I saw Elton John on his farewell tour (which was ah-mazing), then last night I got to do one of my favorite things-- play some trivia! I think if you've read this blog for awhile, you'll know how obsessed I am with Bruce Campbell. What I didn't know was that he just so happens to host a little sci-fi/horror/fantasy trivia show called Last Fan Standing. Luckily, my friend had gotten an email about the show, so me, her and her husband went and it was so much fun.

Basically, the premise is to be the last fan standing at the end of the show. I wasn't sure what to expect going in since I had never heard of this event before, but what they did was give everyone in the audience a clicker, then Bruce asked a series of multiple choice questions and at the end the four people who had the highest number of correct answers with the fastest time were called up to play the actual game on stage. Then once you got to the stage, there were more rounds to whittle it down to only one person. Once that was done, they took a little break and started the process all over again with the audience participating to get another 4 people up on stage. Once that person won, they went head to head with the winner of the first round to become the last fan standing.

Turns out, I was really good when it came to answering the questions, but I just wasn't fast enough on the clicker to get up on the stage portion. I'm tellin' ya, me and that clicker just did not click! Although, maybe it was a blessing cause I know I would've been way too nervous if I did get picked and probably would have had the biggest brain fart ever. Which some people did once they got up there and it was hilarious, especially cause Bruce was ragging on people the entire time. There was one guy who went up wearing an Army of Darkness shirt, told Bruce about how much he loved The Evil Dead movies, then proceeded to get an Army of Darkness question wrong. The shame that this man will now have to live with.

I did think it was slightly unfair because the same girl got picked for both rounds, and actually ending up winning, but as Bruce said "it's his show and he'll do as he pleases!" I thought it was also fun that they let the crowd answer the question if no one on the stage got it right, and handed out Bruce Bucks (signed paper money with Bruce's face on it) to whoever got the answer. Bruce also started handing out real dollar bills to people in the audience when they got the answers as well which was such a Bruce Campbell thing to do. I tried raising my hand for a few questions, but never got picked. I think they had something against our row, or maybe I'm just a tad bitter cause I wanted those Bruce Bucks!

The show was so great, and Bruce is just so hilariously charming. Ever the showman, he was telling jokes and stories during the entire thing, and of course, ragging on Long Island as well. I'll have to work on my reflexes so that way if they ever come around again, I'll be ready!

Are you all any good at trivia? Lemme know!

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

I always love a nice spooky story, especially around this time of year, and I recently received two via Netgalley, so let's get right into them. As always, thank you to them and the publishers for the e-copies.

Pub date: 10-9-18 by
Houghton Mifflin
Adult - Fantasy - Horror
Received from pub via Netgalley
In the Night Wood- Dale Bailey: This story centers around Charles, a failed husband, father, and scholar who has a slight obsession with a Victorian children's fantasy author named Caedmon Hollow. Charles' wife is a long distant relative of Hollow, and after the death of their young child, they leave the States to stay at Hollow's remote English estate which his wife has just inherited. While there, Charles digs deeper into Hollow's life on the grounds of writing a biography. What he finds is an eerie link to another world that may prove to be more than they bargained for. I really enjoyed the concept of this story. I felt the writing was very atmospheric and that you could really picture being in this small Yorkshire village, but overall I felt it was very slow. The bits that had to do with Hollow and the supernatural were interesting, but it just took a lot of time to get there. I felt like I had read the majority of the story before anything really happened. I was hoping for a dark, engaging Victorian-inspired story, but it left me wanting just a little bit more.

Pub date: 10-2-18 by
Graydon House
Adult - Fantasy - Historical Fiction
Received from pub via Netgalley
The Witch of Willow Hall- Hester Fox: Holy cow, did I love this book! I was initially drawn in just by the tagline, "Two centuries after the Salem witch trials, there's still one witch left in Massachusetts. But she doesn't even know it." and I'm happy to say that this book is more than just a great tagline. After a scandal forces Lydia Montrose and her family to flee Boston for their new country home, Willow Hall, she notices strange occurrences cropping up in the seemingly charming estate. Lydia feels a growing sense of terror and unease in her new home, which only worsens after the death of her younger sister. After one such encounter with the supernatural, Lydia discovers there is a power within her that she must learn to harness if she wants to protect herself and her loved ones. I can't say enough how much I loved this book. It was beautifully written (so hard to believe this was Fox's first novel!) and the witchy-ness wasn't too overpowering and in your face. It was subtle and allowed for the story to become so much more. I cannot recommend this one enough.

Monday, October 8, 2018

NY Comic Con 2018

Hello, all!

It's that time of year again, folks-- Comic Con time! This was only my third time at NYCC, but it's something I look forward to all year long. Usually, I only go on the Saturday but this year, thanks to my brother, I also got to go on Sunday (and for free!)

I had so much fun this year. On Saturday, it was my friends first time going and I loved seeing her get excited for things and geeking out over everything with me. I honestly feel like Comic Con is something everyone should experience at least once. I got to see so many cool things, bought so many cool things, saw a few interesting panels and even got to meet two of my favorite comic book artists/writers-- Jen Bartel, who is the sweetest person ever, and Chris Claremont, who is one of my absolute favorite writers, seriously he created pretty much all of my favorite X-Men (namely, my #1, Kitty Pryde).

Here's a little recap of the two days, and I tried to make sure to take more pictures this year cause I usually fail at doing that, I hope you enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2018

White Stag Review

Hello, all!

I received a copy of White Stag by Kara Barbieri through NetGalley (huge thank you to them!) and what first drew me to this was that it was described as being a bit of a twist on the monster-turns-human trope, and instead was a story of a human girl turning into a monster, and her learning to accept her place and power in the world. Unfortunately, it seemed to have missed the mark a bit for me.

Pub Date: 1-8-19 by
Wednesday Books
Young Adult- Fantasy
Received from pub via Netgalley

Janneke, who was the last born daughter in her family, was raised to be her father's heir: she was taught to hunt, to fight, and to survive. One day, her village is burnt to the ground and all of her people, including her family, were murdered by the vicious goblin, Lydian. As the sole survivor of this raid, Janneke is taken captive and continuously tortured within an inch of her life. Once Lydian had his fill, he passed Janneke off as a cruel joke to work for his nephew, Soren. He, unlike his uncle, is good-natured and treats Janneke with kindness and protects her, and soon the two form a bond and friendship. When the Goblin King's death sparks an ancient hunt for the next king of the Permafrost, Janneke must learn to trust that not all goblins are cruel and that Soren may have the answers to her very being, and that those answers hold the key to saving both the goblin world she now resides in and the human world she was taken from.

I found this story very intriguing. I felt there were bits that were really interesting and I loved the Norse myth references that were littered throughout. I also really enjoyed the banter between Janneke and Seppo, those were probably my favorite parts of the whole story, but I felt there was something missing. I think it was possibly because I felt like Soren as a character was a tad underdeveloped. At the start of the story, Janneke has been in the goblin world for almost a century, so I wish we could've gotten a bit more backstory into Soren's life and time with Janneke during that period, especially to make the relationship aspect more believable.

I would've also loved to delve more into the realm of Permafrost because you can tell just by the little glimpses that there's a wealth of other creatures besides the goblins that inhabit this brutal land, and I think it'd be nice to touch upon them. There were interesting dynamics woven throughout, however, such as the question what exactly makes a monster? As well as the struggle Janneke goes through as she feels herself changing into a goblin, yet desperately tries to cling to her humanity. Despite this being a fast-paced, action-packed fantasy, and having all the makings of a story I would absolutely love, nothing really resonated with me and I felt it was just okay.

Monday, October 1, 2018

Top 5: Halloween Songs

Hello, all and Happy October!

This is my absolute favorite time of the year. I spent my weekend decorating my entire house for Halloween while blasting/having a solo dance party to Halloween music, so I figured why not share the fun? So here are just 5 spooky little jams to get you into the ghostly spirit.

1. Werewolves of London- Warren Zevon: This song is constantly stuck in my head this time of year, it's just so dang catchy. This is also the song my neighbor saw me dancin' my brains out through our open front window. I have no regrets.

2. Monster Mash- Bobby Pickett: My parents used to own a bar when I was little, and my brother and I used to karaoke this song there all. the. time. Didn't even matter if it wasn't Halloween time, we would just grab the mic and go to town. I'm sure all the patrons really loved us.

3. Dead Man's Party- Oingo Boingo: I worked at Party City for almost 6 years while I was in school, and this was always played at least 10 times a day during October, and I loved it. Just try not to shimmy when this comes on.

4. Nightmare on My Street- Will Smith & DJ Jazzy Jeff: I've always said that if I could be any horror movie character I'd probably be Freddy Krueger cause I may be a nightmare, but I keep it sassy. This song is so fun which is just what Halloween should be.

5. Thriller- Michael Jackson: C'mon, like I could really make a Top 5 and leave this one off. This is the OG Halloween song; everyone loves it, everyone knows at least one part of the iconic dance. It's just all around great. And who can forget the great Vincent Price's monologue as he evilly laughs, "For no mere mortal can resist, the evil of the thriller!"So good.

What're some of your favorites? Lemme know!