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

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Tea Dragon Festival Review

Hello, all!

Last year, I read the adorable graphic novel, The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O'Neill and immediately fell in love with this wholesome, heartwarming story of tea dragons and the people who care for them. When I heard there was going to be a continuation of the story, I knew I had to read it. Big thank you to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 9-17-19
Comics - Graphic Novel
Rinn has always cared for the Tea Dragons that live in her quaint little mountain village. One day, while out gathering bits of food, she stumbles upon a real dragon who had been asleep for 80 years. Aedhan had been tasked with protecting Rinn's village and can't seem to remember how or why he fell asleep for so long. With the help of Rinn's uncle Erik and his partner Hesekiel, the group set out to get to the bottom of the enchanted sleep, but Rinn must also help Aedhan come to terms with all the time he's lost.

I absolutely adored The Tea Dragon Festival. I was so excited to read this one, and it made me just as happy as the first. Katie O'Neill's artwork and storytelling is so whimsical and never fails to put a smile on my face. There's just something about her work that instantly makes you feel cozy. It's such an adorable story, and I don't feel like you necessarily need to read the first one to understand what's going on. What I also love about these it that after the story, which reads so quickly, there's little tidbits on each Tea Dragon and it just adds that extra element to the story. I dare anyone to read this and not fall in love and wish they had their own Tea Dragon.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Let's Talk: The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance

Hello, all!

If you've been following this blog for a while, you'll know that I'm a huge Jim Henson fan. I grew up on his work, and I can still vividly remember the first time I ever saw The Dark Crystal, and to this day, I'm still completely creeped out by the Skesis. But I put my fear of the vulture/lizard/turtle/straight up nightmare fuel creatures aside to binge Netflix's new show The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and it made me so happy.

The show is a prequel story set before the events of the original Dark Crystal movie. It follows three Gelfling-- Rian, Brea, and Deet-- who have discovered a nefarious plot laid out by the Skesis which puts all the lives in Thra in grave danger.

The Skesis are lords who rule over the world of Thra and who seemingly have the best interests of the Gelflings at heart, but they harbor a dark secret: they are draining the life force of Gelfling in order to prolong their own lives. (Side note: Why anyone would trust anything that looks like them in the first place is beyond me, but I digress.) After Rian, a guard at the castle of the Crystal, stumbles upon their ritual, he is forced to flee for his life. The Skesis twist the minds of all the other Gelfling into believing that Rian is a traitor who must be stopped at all costs.

While fleeing, Rian joins forces with Brea, a princess of the Vapra clan, and Deet, a mild-mannered Gelfling from the underground Grottan clan, both of whom have also begun to suspect the Skesis of evil-doing. The three, along with a rag-tag group of friends (Hup đź’›), journey across Thra hoping to inspire other Gelflings to rise up against the Skesis before it's too late.

Prequels can either go two ways: they can either be very good, or very bad. Luckily, I loved this. I think Netflix did this in such a smart, beautiful way and really did right by the original source material. Not only was the story line great, but the world of Thra itself was amazingly done. Everything from the visuals (the scenery! the Dreamfasting! the puppet show within a puppet show!) to the puppets themselves was gorgeous. Speaking of the puppets, I especially loved how you could almost make out the actors in them (you cannot tell me that Brea didn't look like Anna Taylor-Joy.) I also think the casting was so on point. Mark Hamill is made for creepy villain voices, and Andy Samberg was peak Andy Samberg as the Heretic, but my favorites were Deet and Gurjin. Those two brought such a light and humor to the show, and made for a perfect balance. I'm so interested and excited to see where they take the story from here.

Have any of you watched? What'd you think?

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

One Word Kill Review

Hello, all!

I love a fun sci-fi story that takes place in the 80s. Not really sure why, but something about that sort of setting always appeals to me. That's why I knew I needed to get my hands on One Word Kill by Mark Lawrence.

Pub Date: 5-1-19
Adult - Fantasy/Sci-fi

One Word Kill follows a young boy named Nick right as he discovers he's dying of leukemia. All Nick wants to do is play Dungeons & Dragons with his friends and get closer to the new girl in the group, Mia, before his time is up. But Nick soon finds out a mysterious stranger has other plans for him.

Nick is being followed. He can't tell by who, all he knows is this man seems oddly familiar to him, and he has abilities that just don't exist outside of the fantasy worlds he frequents. A run in with this stranger leaves Nick with one mission: protect Mia from danger at all costs. She doesn't know it yet, but her life is at stake, and it's up to Nick to stop what's coming. This leads to Nick racing to unravel the mystery and save the girl--terminal illness, machete-wielding psychopaths, and the general laws of physics be damned.

I had slightly different expectations going into this book because I had read it was a bit Ready Player One-ish, and that's one of my favorite books, but I did not get that vibe at all. I did enjoy the setting of the story, and the relationship between the group of friends, but I will say it took me a while to actually get into the story. I think I was about a third of the way through before I really felt it hit its stride. Even then, I did feel some bits were predictable and just didn't impact me as much as I was hoping for. Overall, it's a quick story but I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series.

Rating: 2.5/5

Thursday, September 5, 2019

A Question of Us Review

Hello, all!

I'm a sucker for trivia, so a rom-com based around a group of friend's trivia team? Sign me up! Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy of A Question of Us by Mary Jayne Baker.

Pub Date: 9-5-19
Adult - Contemporary
Clarrie Midwinter may be an adult, but she's not a proper adult. At 26, she's eternally strapped for cash, lives off beer and cigarettes, and hasn't had a date in years. The only constants in her life is her friends, their quiz league and her best friend, Simon, asking her out at every opportunity.

Despite having some hidden feelings for Simon, Clarrie refuses every advance because she doesn't believe a guy as handsome and as put together as Simon would ever want a complete mess of a person as Clarrie. But Simon has a plan. He bets her that if their team wins the quiz league she has to go out with him, and if they lose he'll never ask her out ever again. As the weeks go by, and their team is somehow holding on in the top 2, Clarrie must decided what she really wants out of life and confront feelings she's long since kept buried.

This book was so cute and relatable. I saw a lot of myself in Clarrie, especially in the way she approaches relationships. Her and Simon had such palpable chemistry, but also an amazing friendship. The dynamic between them and the rest of their friend group was so great, and all the banter really felt like my own group of friends. That was definitely a major highlight for me. The only tiny aspect of the book I had an issue with was since I'm not British, some of the phrases Baker used I didn't fully understand, but that didn't detract me from the story all that much. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this and definitely recommend for any rom-com fan.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Massive Book Haul

Hello, all!

It's been quite a bit of time since I did a book haul, so let me just preface this by saying this is about 4-5 months of books, and that's why it's so huge. As always, let me know if you have any recommendations!

1. The Little Prince- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
2. Planting Gardens in Graves, Vol. 3- RH Sin
3. Whiskey, Words, & a Shovel Vol. 1- RH Sin
4. Silver in the Wood- Emily Tesh
5. The Witches- Roald Dahl
6. Josh & Hazel's Guide to Not Dating- Christina Lauren
7. Roomies- Christina Lauren
8. How to Stop Time- Matt Haig
9. Witch Hat Atelier, Vol. 1- Kamome Shirahama
10. These Old Shades- Georgette Heyer
11. Unnatural Creatures- Neil Gaiman
12. The Haunted- Danielle Vega
13. The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna- Juliet Grames
14. Thrawn: Treason- Timothy Zahn
15. Soul of the Sword- Julie Kagawa
16. Well Met- Jen DeLuca
17. X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills
18. Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir
19. Star Wars: Thrawn
20. Silk: Sinister
21/22. All New Wolverine, Immune / Orphans of X
23. Stranger Things: The Other Side
24. Blackbird, Vol. 1
25. Firefly: The Unification War
26. Peter Pan: Arcturus clothbound edition

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

OwlCrate August Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Storms and Seas, and I really enjoyed the items they picked, so let's get to it.

First up was this wooden bookmark inspired by Daughter of the Pirate King created by Juniper and Ivy Designs. I really love how this is a bit thinner than normal book marks we receive. I also love the whole design with the lettering and the octopus tentacles.

How cute is this little tea light candle lantern? It reminds me of the little lanterns we were given on a ghost walk when I went to Salem, so I dig it. I don't usually burn a lot of tea candles, but it'll be a cute decoration piece regardless.

Then we had this pencil case created by Stella Bookish Art based off The Scorpio Races. I don't fully love the design, but it'll definitely come in handy for all my bullet journal pens.

Can you really have a box about the ocean without including something Little Mermaid related? These bath salts were made by The Soap Librarian, and while I do like the coconut-sunscreen-y smell, there's bits of flowers and things mixed in, and I'm not a fan of things floating in my bath.

The last item was this Sea Witch tea from Riddle's Tea Shoppe. I always love when we get tea, and this earl gray and hazelnut spice sounds perfect for fall. I also like how this is decaf because I try to stay away from caffeinated teas. I can't wait to try this one out.

The book this month was House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig. This is a story of a family who lives in a manor by the sea on a secluded island. There were once 12 daughters, but tragedy struck four of them and leaves the rest thinking there's a curse picking them off. One daughter, Annaleigh, takes it upon herself to get to the bottom of this mystery before the darkness comes for her.

I actually received an ARC of this book, and reviewed it earlier this month. I enjoyed this. The whole vibe was a bit dark and twisted, and I just loved the entire atmosphere. I'm also a fan of the pin this month designed by Laserbrain Patch Co inspired by the Thaumas family crest. If you're a fan of murder mysteries, check this one out!

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Steamy Hallows/The Strand

Hello, all!

A few months ago, I heard that there was a Harry Potter themed pop-up coffee shop in the City called Steamy Hallows. Naturally, I needed to check it out, so the other day I played hooky at work to go in for a visit.

While I did think it was cool, I felt it was a bit underwhelming. There weren't too many Harry Potter references aside from the names of the coffee and a few bits of decoration. It had a way more just witchy vibe than Harry Potter. The decor was really cool and definitely my aesthetic, just didn't really give me all the HP feels that I was expecting.

Since I don't drink coffee I just went for a tea, and I had read the menu before going that said there were pastries and cookies, but there wasn't any food when I went which was a slight let down. If you're interested in checking it out yourself, it's located at 514 E 6th Street. They don't have a website, but they do have a Facebook page. The place itself is also incredibly small, so I would suggest going once they first open or else it'd probably be a long wait to get in.

After getting our teas, we walked the 20 minutes or so to one of my favorite places, The Strand bookstore. If you're unfamiliar with The Strand, it's a huge bookstore in the City that has pretty much everything you can think of: from new releases to rare first editions. It's literally 18 miles of books, and I love everything about it. I roamed the stacks for a bit and I'm really proud of myself that I didn't buy everything I saw.

I definitely needed a little mental health day, and drinking tea and book shopping was absolutely the answer! Here are some of the pictures I took throughout the day;

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

On the Corner of Love and Hate Review

Hello, all!

Big thank you to the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 8-20-19
Adult - Fiction - Contemporary
Emma Peroni has spent her whole life in politics. From her dad being the Mayor of their small town, to dedicating her adult life to helping bettering the town for the future. With her father's retirement looming, it's time for the town to choose a new Mayor. Emma will do anything for her town, but when her father asks her to be the campaign manager for Cooper Endicott, Emma's life-long friend and notorious Casanova, she's horrified. Knowing she can't say no without delving into their messy past, Emma reluctantly agrees. First on the agenda: finding a nice girl for Cooper to settle down with to lose his womanizing reputation which isn't helping the polls.

Cooper has politics in his blood: his mother is the Governor and his family founded their town generations ago. He's always known he wanted to run for Mayor, he just wasn't prepared for the drama that comes along with it. With his opponent playing dirty and digging up every skeleton from his closet, Cooper has no choice but to go along with Emma's crazy plans. The only problem? He's falling for the one person he shouldn't: the Mayor's off-limits daughter and his best friend.

This was an adorable political rom-com and I really enjoyed it. I thought Emma and Cooper's relationship was so relatable for anyone who's been in that weird "Will they? Won't they?" stage with someone. Their dynamic, especially with their two other best friends Nick and Henry, was such a highlight for me. I really liked the setting of this small Pennsylvania town that felt so cozy, and the humor was really witty and felt like real bickering, but loving, friends. The only downside for me was some scenes, especially that plot point where the main character gets sick so the potential love interest drops by to take care of them, I've seen numerous times before and in slightly better ways. Other than that, I liked this and felt myself rooting for not only Emma and Cooper's relationship, but the election itself. If you're looking for a sweet fun read, then check this one out.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Real Neat Blog Award

Hello, all!

I want to give a huge thank you to Michelle over at A Geek Girls Guide for nominating me for the Real Neat Blog Award. I always think these things are so fun, and Michelle came up with some great questions, so let's get into them!

1. What one item from a video game would you want to own in real life?

The 1-up mushrooms from Super Mario would come in handy.

2. What magical creature would you want to have as a pet?

SO MANY. But probably a Bowtruckle cause I could just pop him in my pocket and take him around everywhere.

3. What fictional world would you want to go on vacation?

It's not technically a "world", but I'd love to visit Stars Hollow and just sit in Luke's Diner and people watch all the different wacky characters.

4. What is your favorite geeky memory?

Probably the first time I ever saw Star Wars. My dad took me and my brother to a showing of Return of the Jedi for its 10 year anniversary, and my little 5 year old mind was completely blown. I remember walking out of the theater knowing I'd just seen the coolest thing ever.

5. What is the most recent new geeky thing you’ve tried?

I started a bullet journal for all the books I read.

6. If you could trade lives with a fictional character, who would it be?

Luna Lovegood. I'd love to have even a thimble-full of her carefree attitude.

7. What is something on your geeky bucket list?

I really want to go to see the new Star Wars park in Disney.

Now for my nominations/questions! It seems like a lot of people have already done this, but I tag Katy and Monica!

Here are my questions:

1. What it your go-to comfort film?
2. What underrated superpower would you want?
3. Is there any fandom people specifically associate with you?
4. What other non-geeky hobbies do you have?
5. What 3 fictional characters describe you the best?
6. Is there any fandom trope that you find overrated?
7. If you could bring back one cancelled fandom, which would it be?

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

House of Salt and Sorrows Review

Hello, all!

We're coming into that time of year where all I want is all the spooky vibes. When I heard that House of Salt and Sorrows by Erin A. Craig was basically a murder mystery taking place on a secluded island, I was all about it. Thank you to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 8-6-19
YA - Fantasy
Annaleigh Thaumas lives a sheltered life on Highmoor, a secluded manor by the sea with her sisters, father and stepmother. There were once twelve Thaumas girls, but tragic events took the lives of 4 of Annaleigh's sisters leaving the rest to mourn the losses. With each death happening in a more gruesome way than the others, the girls are convinced there's a curse picking them off one by one.

Soon, Annaleigh becomes plagued by increasingly disturbing visions and begins to believe the deaths were not a coincidence-- her sister's were murdered. While the rest of her sisters are sneaking out night after night to attend balls and dance their troubles away, Annaleigh seeks to get to the bottom of these haunted happenings surrounding their home and family. With the help of a mysterious stranger with secrets of his own, the pair set off on a whirlwind adventure to uncover who--or what-- is behind the darkness before it claims Annaleigh next.

I was really intrigued by the premise of this story. The idea of family full of daughters who die in these tragic circumstances seemingly from some strange curse seemed really interesting to me. I only found out after reading this that it's supposed to be a re-telling of the fairy tale, Twelve Dancing Princesses, which I'm actually not familiar with. I think that was in my favor because I wasn't really comparing this to anything else while reading.

I did enjoy the thriller/mystery vibe with a dash of horror elements that were sprinkled throughout. My only issue with the story was at times, especially around the middle, it seemed to lag a bit. It felt a tad sluggish and almost like it was trying to find its footing, but it really amped itself up at the end. I also liked the writing style; it was eerie and atmospheric, you could almost feel the sea spraying your face. I feel like this would make a nice Fall read. If you're a fan of a darker fantasy this stand alone might be worth checking out.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

My Hogwarts Story Tag

Hello, all!

Seeing as how it's Harry Potter's birthday, I thought it would be fun to celebrate by doing the My Hogwarts Story tag I saw on Michelle's blog over at A Geek Girl's Guide. Here we go!

1. Are you Pure Blood, Half Blood or Muggle born?

Me Dad's a Muggle, Mam's a witch. Bitofanastyshockforhimwhenhefoundout.

2. Which wand chose you (What is it made of)?

11 inch Spruce wood with a phoenix feather core.

3. Where did the Sorting Hat place you?


4. What house did you want to be in?

I'm a Hufflepuff through and through.

5. Did you take an Owl, Cat, Toad or Rat with you?

Owl, I just think that's easiest.

6. Which lessons are your favorite and least favorite?

Favorites: Transfiguration and Care of Magical Creatures. Least favorite: Potions (I was always bad at science.)

7. The form your Patronus takes...

A Tonkinese cat. Still not sure what that is.

8. When confronted by a Boggart, what does it look like to you?

Oh gosh, I have so many irrational fears. Maybe any bug that's body is mostly comprised of legs.

9. Do you partake in any school sports or magical hobbies?

I'd want to learn wizard's chess.

10. If you have free time, where would you be found hanging out?

Either my house's common room, the Great Hall or the library.

11. You are most likely to get detention for what?

Literally nothing. I'm way too paranoid to break any rules, haha.

12. What career do you want after leaving Hogwarts?

I'd probably want to stay at Hogwarts as either a professor or a librarian.

Want to do this tag? Here are the prompts!
  1. Are you Pure Blood, Half Blood or Muggle Born?
  2. Which wand chose you (what is it made of)?
  3. Where did the Sorting Hat place you?
  4. What house did you want to be in?
  5. Did you take an Owl, Cat, Toad or Rat with you?
  6. Which lessons are your favorite and least favorite?
  7. The form your Patronus takes is…
  8. When confronted with a Boggart, what does it look like to you?
  9. Do you partake in any school sports or magical hobbies?
  10. If you have free time, where would you be found hanging out?
  11. You are most likely to get detention for what?
  12. What career do you want after leaving Hogwarts?

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Top 5- Seinfeld Quotes

Hello, all!

My favorite TV show is Seinfeld (I even recently got a puffy shirt tattoo in its honor), and this month marks the shows 30th anniversary. Since my supervisor and I spend the majority of the work day quoting episodes back and forth, I thought I'd dedicate this Top 5 to the best one-liners. There's so many great quotes from this show, and really something for everything, making this very hard to narrow down to just 5!

1. "The jerk store called, they're running out of you."- George: George has some of my favorite quotes throughout the series, and this is definitely up there. It's the best nonsense insult to throw at someone and I love it.

2. "These pretzels are making me thirsty." - Kramer: I vividly remember me and a group of friends sitting at a table in our college cafeteria one day during break just yelling this over and over again. Everything that came out of Kramer's mouth the entire series was just gold. I also love how all the gang takes their shot at delivering this line, and George just really goes for it.

3. "Serenity now!"- Frank Costanza: This is my go-to whenever I'm stressing out. In fact, my supervisor even printed this out for me to hang in my cube after a very ridiculous week of work.

4. "The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli."- George: George had quite a few fake jobs during the show (who can forget Art Vandelay, importer/exporter?), but I think my favorite was when he pretended to be a marine biologist and then needed to help a whale who got a golf ball stuck in its blowhole.

5. "STELLA!" - Elaine: Although I regularly use "GET OUT!" while pushing people, even just thinking about this scene cracks me up. All it is is a heavily medicated Elaine channeling her inner Marlon Brando at Jerry's aunt, but it's so hilarious.

Are you all fans of the show? Lemme know some of your favorite quotes!

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

OwlCrate July Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Tournaments and Trials, let's get into it.

First up was their newest addition in the Harry Potter mugs, this one is for Goblet of Fire. I absolutely love these mugs, Cara Kozik just nails it every time with the artwork. This one depicts all three trials in the Triwizard Tournament, and I just can't get over how pretty it is. And also the design on the box is so adorable.

I feel like The Hunger Games is having a moment right now, it's like every time I turn on my TV one of the movies are on. This little coin purse was designed by KitCronk Studios, and while I do like the simplistic design, I don't really find myself using these little pouches all that much.

I've been really into puzzles lately, so anytime I get a new one is A-ok in my book. Especially if that one is The Night Circus related. This 300-piece puzzle was designed by Holly Dunn Design, and I really like how the pieces came in a little OwlCrate pouch rather than a box because I feel like that'll be way easier to keep it all together.

Then we had this lanyard by Four Seasons Fox inspired by The Selection. I've never read that, and to be honest, not a huge fan of the design of this either, so this isn't really something I'd use.

The last item was this beautiful deck of cards inspired by A Gathering of Shadows which was co-created by Nicole Deal, Gina Hilton, Marianne Martin, Diana Dworak and Michelle Gray. I recently read A Darker Shade of Magic and instantly loved it, so I was really excited to get these. And who doesn't need a deck of cards?

The book this month was Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim. Maia Tamarin has lofty dreams of being the best tailor in the land, but being a girl, the most she can hope for is an advantageous marriage. When a royal messenger summons her ailing father, once a noted tailor, to court, Maia poses as a boy and goes in his place. If discovered, Maia's life is forfeit, but she's willing to take the risk if it means she'll be able to live her dream and provide for her family. There's one catch: Maia is one of 12 tailors vying for the job. Thrust into a cut-throat competition, Maia's talents are pushed to their limits and she soon finds herself on a journey throughout the kingdom while desperately trying to shake the attentions of the court magician who seems to be the only one to see through Maia's disguise.

I've heard this described as being Project Runway meets Mulan, so I'm a bit intrigued. Lemme know what you thought of this months box!

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

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

Pub Date: 7-2-19
Comics - Graphic Novels
Teen Titans: Raven- Kami Garcia: When a tragic car accident takes the life of 17 year old Raven's foster mother-- along with her memory--Raven is sent to live with her foster mother's family in New Orleans. While there, Raven starts experiencing strange occurrences of hearing the thoughts of those around her and being able to cause injury to bullies with the slightest thought. She starts to think maybe it's best that she doesn't remember who she used to be, and maybe she needs this clean slate. With the help of her foster cousin, Max, and the charming Tommy Torres, Raven must decide whether to stand up to the darkness inside her or let it consume her completely.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel. It was such an interesting take on Raven, and the story itself played out really well. I flew through it because I was just completely sucked into Raven coming into her own and discovering who she is and the powers she possesses. The whole take on voodoo magic was also cool to see. My favorite thing though was the art style, it was so fresh and made the story that much better. Definitely check this out if you're a DC fan!

Rating: 3/5

Pub Date: 7-10-19
Comics - Graphic Novels
The Magician's: Alice's Story- Lilah Sturges: Alice Quinn is at the top of her class at Brakebills, a prestigious school for those with magical abilities. Everything seems to be going well: she falls in love with Quentin Coldwater, she has friends, but all that flips on its head when a horrifying magical creature breaches their dimension. The resulting events bring Alice and friends on a whirlwind adventure to the land of Fillory, where they're quick to learn that magic isn't always what it seems, and it's in the darkness where Alice finds her true calling.

I really liked this. I'm a huge fan of The Magicians series, and I'm super glad to have something from Alice's perspective. She's such a strong, complicated character, and this really shows a different side to her power that the original material didn't fully touch upon. I also liked how it seemed to follow the books a bit more than the TV show. Aside from being a great story, the artwork is really nice and lush. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who's a fan of the series because it's a wonderful addition to the story.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Green Lantern Vol 1: Intergalactic Lawman Review

Hello, all!

Green Lantern was always one of my brother's favorite comic book characters. Growing up, I used to sneak into his room whenever he wasn't home and read his comics, and that's where I first discovered Hal Jordan. This normal fighter pilot turned intergalactic policeman. I used to chant along with him as he spoke his Green Lantern oath, so I was super excited when I received a copy of Green Lantern Vol 1: Intergalactic Lawman from Netgalley. Big thank you to them!

Pub Date: 7-16-19
Comics - Graphic Novels
This volume follows Hal Jordan, Earth's Green Lantern protector, as he stumbles upon a mysterious alien hiding in plain sight, and his discovery sets off a disastrous chain of events that will shake the very foundation of the Green Lantern Corps.

There are many difficulties ahead for Jordan, including an intergalactic conspiracy and a traitor in the Green Lantern Corps ranks. Earth rules don't apply in space, so Hal must do whatever it takes to catch this mysterious stranger. He has spent years battling for what he believes in, but could that belief cost him everything?

Grant Morrison does a really great job showcasing the ins and outs of Hal Jordan: what makes him tick, what motivates him, what his goals are, and most importantly, his dedication to protecting Earth, and his loyalties to the Green Lantern Corps. That being said, I did find the actual story line to be a little...meh. I can't pinpoint exactly what didn't grab me, but I just wasn't super invested in it. Maybe my expectations were a little too high, but it just fell short.

While I enjoyed some aspects of the story, "Blackstar at Zenith" being my favorite, the artwork is really what stood out for me. Liam Sharp's artwork is superb, down to the very smallest detail. I found myself mesmerized by every single panel, so it really helped propelled the story to the next level and keep me interested. If you're a huge Green Lantern fan, I'd say give this a go, but if you're only a casual fan, you're not missing much.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Crashing the A-List Review

Hello, all!

You know what I love almost as much as a hate-to-love trope? A good ol' fake relationship-turned something more! Crashing the A-List by Summer Heacock has all that and more, plus a dash of a swoony British male lead. Big thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 7-9-19
Adult - Contemporary 
Clara Montgomery is down on her luck. After losing her job as a book editor, she moves onto her little brother's couch, and takes a job cleaning abandoned storage units. It seems luck is finally on her side when she stumbles upon a unit previously owned by an escort service. While digging through files of former employees of the service, Clara finds the "resume" of a younger Caspian Tiddleswitch, the massively famous British actor. Clara's best friend thinks she should sell it to the tabloids, but instead Clara tracks down Caspian's contact info to ensure him that his secret is in good hands. Unfortunately, Caspian misunderstands and seeks Clara out accusing her of blackmail.

After paparazzi pictures of the two are plastered all over the news, Caspian's PR people see it as an opportunity to promote his new film. In order to "atone" for her crimes, Clara must pretend to be in a loving relationship with the big British brute. That doesn't seem too hard for Clara, until her acting turns into something real.

I really loved the humor in this book. Clara's wit and banter really made the story for me, but I felt everything else fell a bit flat. I didn't feel much of a connection between her and Caspian, so I wasn't fully invested in the relationship itself. I could also tell where the story was heading before it got there which made it less exciting. It didn't feel fully formed to me. It was almost like a made-for-TV movie; it had all the right elements, but just needed that extra something to make it big league. Even though I was hoping for a bit more, I did enjoy this, but it just missed the mark slightly.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Season of the Witch Review

Hello, all!

As I've mentioned a few times before, I have a real soft spot in my heart for Sabrina the Teenage Witch. They were some of the very first comic books I ever read, and I never missed an episode of the 90s show with Melissa Joan Hart. So it was a bit of a no brainer that I would love The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. I was obsessed with it from the very first issue, and was so excited when Netflix came out with the adaptation. Now, I have one more Sabrina thing to gush over: Season of the Witch by Sarah Rees Brennan. Big thank you to Scholastic for the copy!

Pub Date: 7-9-19

This is a prequel novel so it takes place right before the show during the summer before Sabrina's sixteenth birthday. Sabrina knows that her whole life is going to change very soon, so she's trying to spend as much time as possible living a normal life with her friends, Roz and Susie, and boyfriend, Harvey. But as time is starting to run out, Sabrina realizes leaving her mortal world behind for her witch one might be harder than she expected.

Sabrina always dabbled with magic with her aunts, but it isn't until she performs a spell with her cousin, Ambrose, that she really feels the full effect of her witchcraft. What starts out as a harmless little spell to show Sabrina Harvey's true feelings for her, snowballs into a dangerous cat and mouse game with an evil river demon who's set on possessing Sabrina for its own gain. Sabrina has always felt a pull towards her witch side, but now she's starting to worry that maybe it's leading her down a dark path she may not be ready for.

I was a little wary going into this book just because despite my love of Sabrina, I did have a few issues with the Netflix show, but all worries went out the window within the first few pages. I loved this. Brennan did such a wonderful job immersing you into Greendale and Sabrina's world. There were also snippets following the other characters as well, such as Harvey, Ambrose, and even Harvey's brother, Tommy, which was a really nice addition. I especially enjoyed getting to learn a bit more about Ambrose because I don't feel like the show has fully touched upon his story just yet. I did feel there were some clunky bits at times, but the story as a whole outweighed that. This was a super quick, fun tie-in to the show that I think any fan would enjoy.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Dragonslayer Review

Hello, all!

One movie I used to wear out playing when I was younger was DragonHeart. It had Dennis Quaid as a disgruntled knight and Sean Connery voiced the dragon. It was terrible and I loved it. Ever since I've had a soft spot for medieval set stories that feature dragons. So, Dragonslayer by Duncan M. Hamilton was a no brainer. Thank you to Tor Books for the copy!

Pub Date: 7-2-19
Adult - Fantasy 
Guillot dal Villevaurais was once a highly decorated soldier in the King's personal guard, but now he's a washed up drunk mourning the loss of his wife and child. To his surprise, the Prince Bishop calls upon him to help save the kingdom from a dragon that's woken up from centuries of sleep. After being run out of the capitol in disgrace years earlier, Gill isn't quick to jump up and protect the people who turned their backs on him. He's also wary to believe in the existence of a dragon, since the whole race was hunted to extinction by the ancient Chevaliers of the Seventh Circle thousands of years before Gill was even born. That is, until he witnesses the dragon ravage his lands and people.

On his journey to the capitol, Gill rescues a young woman named Solène who was about to be burned at the stake for being a sorceress. He believes her to be innocent, but soon finds out this woman actually is brimming with raw, unbridled magic. Fearing for her life, Gill tries to get her to run away, but the Prince Bishop has other plans for her. Believing that her power is the only way to destroy the dragon, he inducts her into his ranks. While there, Solène learns of a devious plan to overthrow the King which starts with Gill's death. Solène rushes to Gill's aid, and the two must use his rusty swordsmanship and her unstable magic to not only kill a dragon, but stop the Prince Bishop's plan before it's too late.

Dragonslayer definitely had all the elements that make for a great fantasy: magic, ancient beasts, knights, underlying danger and betrayal. I was hooked from the start and flew through this. I loved the subtle humor and sarcasm that Gill had. I was instantly drawn to Solène and this massive power she tried so hard to hide, but in the end embraces and lets empower her. I also enjoyed the little bits we got to see from the dragon's perspective, which you bet I read in Sean Connery's voice. My only issue was that for a book titled Dragonslayer, I expect more...slaying. I went in thinking that the whole story would revolve around killing this dragon, and while that is always the endgame, the story was more geared toward court politics and setting the scene for this plot of the Prince Bishop's. While the big confrontation between Gill and the dragon was satisfying, I just wish there were more of it. Despite that, I really enjoyed this and can't wait to see where else this series goes.

Rating: 4/5

Monday, July 1, 2019

This is Me Blog Tour: The Downstairs Girl Review

Hello, all!

I love historical fiction, so I'm beyond excited to be a part of Penguin Teen's This is Me Blog Tour for The Downstairs Girl by Stacey Lee.

Pub Date: 8-13-19

It's the turn of the 19th Century and Jo Kuan is a young girl just trying to get by in life as undetected as possible. She and her surrogate father, Old Gin, are one of few Chinese living in Atlanta in a sort of in-between state: not treated as badly as the African-Americans but certainly nowhere near the privilege of whites. After unjustly losing her job making hats, Jo is taken on as a lady's maid for the vicious daughter of one of the wealthiest men in town. While she spends her days being berated, she spends her nights pseudonymously penning the wildly popular newspaper advice column, "Dear Miss Sweetie", where she tackles the hot topics of societal norms.

After coming across a mysterious letter, Jo embarks on another quest: uncovering the family who abandoned her and discovering who she really is. When her investigation puts her in the sights of a notorious criminal, and the fevered backlash from her articles causes everyone to seek out who the real Miss Sweetie is, Jo must decide if she's strong enough to finally step out of the shadows and into the light.

I absolutely adored this book. It was insightful and brilliantly written, and I appreciated how Lee didn't sugarcoat anything so it felt very true to the time period. Jo was such a confident (even a bit mouthy at times), determined character and I really felt for her. I found myself getting mad or celebrating her small victories along with her. The arc that her character goes on throughout the story is so powerful. By the end, she really knows who she is and is secure in it. I also really enjoyed the side characters, especially Noemi and Nathan and even Bear. There were also twists in this book that I didn't see coming, which I always love. This was a book that I started recommending to people before I even finished it. If you're a fan of historical fiction or strong female leads, definitely check this one out.

Rating: 5/5

Also, check out the rest of the tour below!:

July 2 – YA Wednesdays – Creative Instagram Picture
July 3 – Awkwordly Emma – Author Guest Post: Her Research Process
July 4 – It Starts at Midnight – Moodboard
July 5 – The Reading Corner for All – Book Aesthetic

Thursday, June 27, 2019

LitJoy Crate June Review

Hello, all!

I recently cancelled my LitJoy subscription, so this'll most likely be the last box I get, but it was a pretty nice way to end off. The theme was Restricted Section, so let's get into it.

I've been craving a puzzle recently, so this was perfect. Plus, it has all my favorite bookworms on it: Matilda, Belle and Hermione. I can't wait to jump into this.

How adorable are these niffler book plates by Catarina Book Designs? I think these are so cute, and remind me of when I would borrow a book from my brother when we were young and he would legit make me sign it out like a library.

Can you have a restricted theme without something belonging to the Dark Lord? This replica from The Chamber of Secrets will go nicely in my notebook collection.

This tote bag is so fun. It's such a good size, really good quality, and I'm loving the design especially with the black and gold.

The book this month was Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. This was actually the same book we received in the OwlCrate box, so I'm not gonna go into the whole plot of the story again, but if you're a fan of magical libraries check this one out!

Lemme know what you all thought of this box!

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

OwlCrate June Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Libraries of Wonder, and it was one of my favorites that OwlCrate has sent in a while, so let's get to it.

First up was this adorable key gel pen. I always love stationery, and the fact that it matches perfectly with my bullet journal is a massive plus.

You can't have a box about libraries without including everyone's dream library. This Beauty and the Beast coffee was created by Book Beau, but since I'm not a coffee drinker I'll be passing this on to a friend.

Then we had these super cute literary inspired coasters created by KDP Letters. I also really enjoy the design on the packaging they came in.

Can we take a moment to appreciate how pretty these bookends by Hey Atlas Designs are? I've never gotten something like this in a box before, and I really dig them. The design is based on The Chronicles of Narnia and they are just so so nice.

The last item was this beautiful Strange the Dreamer inspired tote bag by Stella Bookish Art. I just love all the colors and the size is perfect.

The book this month was Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson. All throughout her life, Elisabeth has been taught that all sorcerers are evil. Raised as an apprentice in one of the Great Libraries of Austermeer, Elisabeth has always been surrounded by dangerous magical grimoires, and hopes to become a Warden and protect the kingdom from their power. After she unwittingly stumbles into a plot to sabotage the Library, Elisabeth has no option but to team up with Nathaniel, a sorcerer, and his demonic servant to clear her name. As the alliance between the two begins to grow stronger, Elisabeth discovers a power inside herself that makes her start to question everything she's believed in her whole life.

It also came with this nice sticker and this months pin designed by Brio and Brandish. This is definitely my favorite pin so far. I'm also really excited to dive into this book cause I've heard such great things about it, and I always wanted to be a librarian (especially at a magical library!), so it checks all my boxes.

Let me know what you all thought about this months box!