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

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Serpent & Dove Review

Hello, all!

I've heard a ton of hype surrounding Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin, and I have to say, it more than lived up to it.

Pub Date: 9-3-19
Young Adult - Fantasy
Louise "Lou" le Blanc fled her coven and has been living a life of petty crime in the city of Cesarine. Forsaking any magic, Lou has tried to fly as under the radar as possible since there especially, witches are not only feared, but hunted and burned by the militant Chasseurs.

Reid Diggory, fiercely loyal Chasseur, has lived his whole life by one creed: Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. He was never meant to cross paths with Lou, but after a wicked (and very public) prank, the two are forced to marry. Lou's reluctant new husband has sworn to protect her, but will his vows still hold true when he finds out what she really is? Unable to ignore her growing feelings, Lou is soon forced to choose a side as the battle between the church and the witches escalates to dangerous levels.

The second I heard "witch and witch-hunter forced to marry", I was sold. I was hooked right from the very first page. Lou is so sassy and doesn't bat an eye at pushing people's buttons. The tension between her and Reid was everything. I loved seeing them gradually open up to one another and eventually come to an understanding. I also loved the way magic worked in this world. It's all based off give and take, which was a really cool concept. There were so many interesting aspects to this book. Aside from the slow burn romance (we all know I love me one of those), the friendships between the characters was lovely, and there was just the right amount of action. Overall, this was such a fun start to this series, and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Songs from the Deep Review

Hello, all!

I'm a sucker for a story set on a secluded island, and when you add sirens to that mix, it's a no brainer that I'd want to read it. So big thank you to Netgalley for the copy of Songs from the Deep by Kelly Powell.

Pub Date: 11-5-19
Young Adult - Fantasy
Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the sirens that surround her small island home. While most villagers steer clear of the danger, Moira relishes in it. In fact, she spends most of her time on the sea cliffs, playing her violin to the sirens that gather at the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, everyone is quick to blame the sirens, but Moira is unconvinced. She believes the boy was murdered.

Moira enlists the help of Jude Osric, keeper of the lighthouse and her estranged childhood best friend, to help her get to the bottom of this mystery before anyone else, human or siren, gets hurt. But with unhelpful police detectives, townspeople calling for siren blood, and even their own deep-seeded secrets, the pair have many obstacles to overcome. When another body turns up on the beach, and threats start coming their way, it's a race against time to uncover the true killer and bring justice to the island.

I really enjoyed this. I was so engrossed in the story from the very first page, and I flew through this cause I just didn't want to put it down. I loved the whole setting, and especially Moira and Jude's relationship. They complimented each other so well, and I loved their whole dynamic. The mystery was solid enough to where I was never bored, and despite having my own guesses as to who the killer was, I was still pleasantly surprised at the end. Powell did such a great job of balancing out the fantastical siren element with a really well thought out murder mystery.  I'd definitely recommend this if you're a fan of either genre.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Unnatural Magic Review

Hello, all!

I'm always looking for more stories led by independent, strong females and Unnatural Magic by C.M. Waggoner checked all my boxes. Big thank you to Ace Books for the copy!

Pub Date: 11-5-19
Adult - Fantasy
Onna is a genius when it comes to writing parameters for spells, and can do so better than any young man in her small village school. Despite her talents, she's denied admission to the nation's leading arcane academy. Onna doesn't let this setback stop her, and she sets sail for the bustling city of Hexos, hoping to earn a place at a university that doesn't frown upon women in magical education. However, she soon finds herself swept up in investigating the recent string of troll murders that've been plaguing the land.

Tsira is a troll, who despite being the daughter of a clan-leader, never truly fit in so she decides to strike out on her own. On her way, she crosses paths with an injured human soldier in the snow and nurses him back to health. The pair form an unlikely bond which is quickly tested as an unknown mage threatens Tsira's life. After tragedy strikes her family, Tsira swears to uncover who's behind the troll deaths before she's next.

This one is a little interesting for me because even though I enjoyed it, I found it a little hard to get through. It wasn't so much the characters or plot, but more the the pacing. There were a lot of dense parts, especially in the beginning due to all the world building, so it is slow going for a while. Despite that, I did end up liking the different cultures and places Waggoner created, and I also enjoyed the way her magic system works more mathematically than you usually see in fantasy. Telling the story through both Onna and Tsira worked well, but personally, I liked Tsira's perspective a little more because she came across way more dynamic, and I enjoyed her relationship with Jeckran. I do wish their paths would've come together a bit quicker because I think they worked well together. Overall, slowness aside, this was a fresh, imaginative and interesting debut, but I was just hoping for a smidge more.

Rating: 3/5

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

OwlCrate October Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was "Dawn of a New World" and it was chock full of sci-fi goodies.

I love stickers and this Warcross inspired one by Blanca Montiel is no exception! I love the holographic effect and the quote as well.

I'm not a huge fan of magnetic bookmarks, but I love these Saga ones by Craftedvan. I only got into Saga within the last year, so I have a ton to catch up on, and these will be perfect for that.

Then we had this lovely crescent moon necklace which has a bunch of wiring throughout by Iron and Ink Designs inspired by The Lunar Chronicles series. I'd like this more if it was a little bit smaller just cause I'm not a fan of larger jewelry, but it's cute.

The last item was this book tin created by Stella Bookish Art inspired by the Illuminae Files. We've gotten one of these tins before, and they're so convenient to hold pins and little bits in.

OwlCrate included two books again this month, and the first was I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi. This story follows Adeem, a coder and radio enthusiast; Cate, a young girl determined to track down the father she's never met; and Jesse, who constantly watches his mother try to make ends meet. After it's revealed that an alien planet may end life as we know it in just seven days, the trio's lives begin to cross and intersect in ways they never would've imagined.

The second book was Crier's War by Nina Varela. In a world where perfect andriods, called Automae, are enslaved by their human creators, Lady Crier, an Automae and daughter of the King, is terrified people will discover she isn't as perfect as she pretends to be. Ayla, Lady Crier's human handmaiden, has been biding her time and waiting for the best moment to take her revenge on the King for murdering her family. Her plan? Murder Lady Crier. But her plans take a turn after her and Crier begin spending more and more time together. Can their feelings for one another survive a world on the brink of war?

I don't usually read a lot of sci-fi, so I'm interested to dive into these. Lemme know what you thought of this months box!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Sleepy Hollow

Hello, all!

This time last year I was in Salem, MA and I knew I wanted to do another spooky-ish trip for my birthday, so my mom and I stayed a bit local and went to Sleepy Hollow. The whole thing came about in a funny way; I had mentioned how I wanted to do a day trip up there, and literally the next day, there was an ad for an overnight trip with our local library which we jumped on.

I had never done a library trip before (I actually never even knew they were a thing), so I wasn't sure what to expect, but it turned out to be pretty cool. It was a two day trip, and jam packed with stuff, so I'm going to break it down by day. Here we go!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

The Halloween Tag

Hello, all!

In honor of my favorite holiday, I decided to do The Halloween Tag created by Michelle over at A Geek Girl's Guide. (Make sure you go check out her answers as well!) Let's get spooky 🔮🎃

1. When does the Halloween season start for you?

Mid-September because I can't help myself.

2. Do you have any Halloween traditions?

I always try to watch as many horror, or just Halloween-y, movies as I can throughout the month.

3. What is your favorite Halloween memory?

Maybe not my favorite, but just the first one that came to mind-- My friends and I were heading to our other friends Halloween party and we got stuck on the LIRR for hours and everyone in the train car eventually just became friends and we had our own little train party.

4. Do you decorate for Halloween?

YES! Luckily, my roommate is as Halloween obsessed as I am, and we even have one of those projector lights out front that make it look like our house is encased in hellfire.

5. What has been your favorite Halloween costume you’ve worn?

After working at Party City for so many years, I refuse to buy costumes, so I usually make all mine and my favorite was Elliot and ET.

6. If you could be in a Halloween movie (horror or not), which would you choose?

The Monster Squad. I just wanna hang out in the tree house and help save the town from dollar store rip off Universal monsters.

7. How do you plan on celebrating Halloween this year?

Most likely just handing out candy at home while watching Halloween.

8. Have you ever carved a Jack-O-Lantern?

Yep! My best one was one that looked like it was throwing up.

9. What is something you want to do to celebrate Halloween one year?

Probably just throw a big Halloween party.

10. What is your Halloween costume this year? If you don’t have one, what would you like to be?

For work we went with a witch theme, so I'll be Hermione.

11. Do you enjoy a super scary Halloween or a more lighthearted spooky Halloween?

A nice mix of both! 

12. How would you spend a Halloween at home versus going out?

Watching Halloween, it's a given.

13. Why do you love Halloween?

I've just always been a fan of supernatural or spooky things. And because my birthday's the next day, so it was always fun to eat all the candy I got.

Here's all the questions if you wanna join in!

When does the Halloween season start for you?
Do you have any Halloween traditions?
What is your favorite Halloween memory?
Do you decorate for Halloween?
What has been your favorite Halloween costume you’ve worn?
If you could be in a Halloween movie (horror or not), which would you choose?
How do you plan on celebrating Halloween this year?
Have you ever carved a Jack-O-Lantern?
What is something you want to do to celebrate Halloween one year?
What is your Halloween costume this year? If you don’t have one, what would you like to be?
Do you enjoy a super scary Halloween or a more lighthearted spooky Halloween?
How would you spend a Halloween at home versus going out?
Why do you love Halloween?

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Twice in a Blue Moon Review

Hello, all!

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

Pub Date: 10-22-19
Adult - Contemprary

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Top 5: Fictional Witches

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let me know who your picks would be!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Furies Review

Hello, all!

I distinctly remember the first time I ever saw the movie The Craft. I was 8 years old and my friend's mom took me and him to see it when it came out in theaters. We were definitely way too young to watch it, and by the time we left the theater, it was dark and it had started chucking down rain with thunder and lightning, the whole witchy-feeling she-bang. I remember we got to my house to drop me off, and I literally ran in because I was convinced Nancy Downs was going to jump out and start antagonizing me. Needless to say, I now love that movie, so when I heard about The Furies by Katie Lowe with its group of witchy girl vibes, I needed to pick it up. Thank you to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-8-10
Adult - Thriller
After a tragedy strikes her family, Violet seeks to start fresh at Elm Hollow Academy, an all-girl's boarding school on the outskirts of her quiet seaside town. A bit timid and unusual, Violet finds it hard to make friends. Desperate to fit in, she soon finds herself invited to join a secret advanced study group taught by her mysterious art teacher, Annabel. In these sessions, Violet, along with three other girls, Robin, Grace and Alex, delve into the strange history of the campus: everything from Greek and Celtic legends, to the founder of the school's "academic" interest in the occult, and even the witch trials that were held on the quad. Even about how the Furies of ancient Greece were reportedly summoned to enact justice upon those who were wronged. Annabel tries to convince the girls her advance class is just based upon speculation and that it's all just myth, but the more the girls learn the more they believe they can harness this power for themselves.

Violet soon finds herself completely wrapped up in this world of revenge magic and power. She also discovers that before she came to Elm Hollow, a young girl, who was also a part of the study group and friends with the three girls, disappeared and Violet bears a striking resemblance to her. It doesn't help that all the girls, especially Robin, get cagey whenever the subject is brought up. As her and her friends spiral deeper into the darkness, Violet begins to wonder who she can trust and just how far she's willing to go before she allows this power to destroy her completely.

I sort of went into this hoping it would give me all The Craft meets The Graces vibe, and while it did to some extent, I wanted a bit more. The spooky witchy vibes were there, but I just feel like it could've been ramped up slightly. I also wish the Furies themselves were highlighted just a bit more since they seem to be such a central part of the story. The group dynamic between the girls was good, I felt they all brought something different to the table. It definitely had an interesting premise, and I loved the boarding school setting, but I did think some bits dragged. Overall, I think it'll be a good eerie read, especially if you're a fan of darker themes.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

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

Pub Date: 10-8-10
Adult - Fiction
Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts-Kate Racculia: Tuesday Mooney likes to be alone. She doesn't have many friends, she doesn't leave her house much, and that's alright with her. But when an eccentric billionaire dies and leaves his fortune to whoever can beat his weird treasure hunt throughout Boston, puzzle-loving Tuesday joins up with a crew of misfits to ferret out the clues. With teams throughout the city vying for the prize, Tuesday and company must work quickly, but what they discover is way more dangerous than a silly little scavenger hunt. I have to admit, this book threw me. Based on the title, I went in thinking it was going to be one way--a woman who talks to ghosts--but really it was a woman getting to the bottom of a mystery, who occasionally believes she can talk to her dead best friend from childhood. I didn't find myself connecting to this story at all. I wasn't invested in any of the characters or even the plot itself. I was even skimming through parts because I was just bored. The premise could've been really cool, but I just don't think it was executed in the best way.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 10-15-19
Comics - Graphic Novels
Mooncakes- Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu: Nova Huang isn't your typical teen witch. She knows more about magic than most witches her age, and spends her time helping out in her grandma's book shop, lending out spell books and investigating supernatural occurrences in their small New England town. One of these occurrences, a rumor of a massive white wolf, leads her out to the woods one night where she comes across the last person she expected to see: her childhood friend, Tam, fighting a demon horse. As a great big wolf. Hunted by dark forces, Tam and Nova band together and find their feelings for one another might just be the spark their magics were missing. This was such an adorably charming story. In one word: magical. It was a heart-warming and cozy coming-of-age story, and Nova and Tam were so precious together. Everything from the artwork to the story was just so enjoyable.

Rating: 4/5

Pub Date: 10-15-19
Sad Birds Still Sing- Faraway: This is a new collection of poems by the anonymous poet, Faraway, that touches upon everything from life to loss to heartbreak to fighting your own inner demons. Although, there are some heavy themes in this collection, the main thing holding it all together is an underlying message of hope. I really enjoyed these poems, and quickly flew through this in one sitting because I couldn't put it down. I found this relatable, inspiring, and so beautiful. I'll definitely be checking out more from him.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Library of the Unwritten Review

Hello, all!

As a self-proclaimed book addict, any stories that revolve around books and/or libraries are immediately added to my TBR. The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith was no exception. Big thank you to Ace Books for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-1-19
Adult- Fantasy
Have you ever wondered where all the unwritten novels go when their author's put them down? They end up residing in the Unwritten Wing in Hell, and Claire is the Head Librarian who takes care of them. Claire's main job duties include repairing and general upkeep of the books, and keeping a close eye to make sure the restless stories don't end up materializing straight out of their books and escaping the library. After one such incident, Claire, along with her cheerful apprentice and a naive demon messenger boy, must track down and capture a missing Hero who left his story in hopes of tracking down its author. What starts out as a routine rescue mission, soon turns topsy turvy when the group cross paths with a terrifying angel.

Ramiel was once an important figure in Heaven. He was one of the original Watchers, but is now stuck manning the check-in desk before the Gates of Heaven after falling from God's good graces. After a recent soul shows up waving a piece of the Devil's Bible, a text that would be a powerful weapon in the hands of either Heaven or Hell, Ramiel is sent out on a mission to find the rest before Hell's minions get it first. Ramiel has a lot riding on this mission, but the longer he's on the hunt for the pages, the more he begins to second guess whether or not he's truly on the righteous side.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. The entire premise was so solid and so well done. The characters are fully formed, interesting, and work well separately and together. Claire was headstrong and resilient, and watching her journey through literal Hell, was so fascinating. I also loved how there were twists I didn't expect, and even though the battle between Heaven and Hell can get a little heavy, there's a lightness and humor woven throughout that makes for the perfect balance. This was a clever, fast-paced adventure and a definite read for any book lover.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Imaginary Friend Review

Hello, all!

Like many, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was a huge book for me in high school. When I heard he was coming out with a new horror novel, Imaginary Friend, I was super interested. Big thank you to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-1-19
Adult - Horror
Kate Reese and her 7-year old son, Christopher, are on the run. After fleeing her abusive boyfriend in the middle of the night, the pair end up as far off the beaten path as they could find: Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. At first, everything seems to be going well, then Christopher vanishes for six days and emerges from the woods seemingly unharmed, but he soon finds not completely unchanged.

Christopher has no recollection of the days he spent lost in the woods. He has no idea how he got there, but he knows that a "nice man" helped him get out. After the local sheriff and police force scour the woods and find no trace of anyone, Christopher's claims are brushed aside as a hallucination. But someone did help Christopher, it's the same voice that's now in his head pushing him to complete a mission only he can pull off: Build a tree house in the woods by Christmas or else his mother, and the entire town, will never be the same again.

This was...ambitious. The whole premise was definitely intriguing, but it's a bit hard to stay suspenseful at over 700 pages. I felt like it could've easily been at least 300 pages shorter and the story would've been way more effective. I didn't fully feel the horror aspects that I was expecting, but it was still eerie at times. I also didn't realize how big of a part religion would have in this. Overall, I thought it was just okay.

Rating: 2.75/5

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Well Met Review

Hello, all!

I've always wanted to go to the Renaissance Faire (seriously, it bums me out so much that I've never been to one), so when I heard about Well Met by Jen DeLuca, which is a rom-com set at the Ren Faire, I knew I needed to snag it.

Pub Date: 9-3-19
Adult - Contemporary
Emily knew that re-locating to the small town of Willow Creek, Maryland for the summer to help her older sister out after her car accident would come with lots of responsibilities, but what she didn't expect was to spend her weekends working at the local Renaissance Faire alongside her niece. Especially as a tavern wench. There's also an annoyingly strict teacher in charge of the volunteers who Emily can't seem to stop thinking about.

The faire is Simon's family legacy, and he does not take kindly to Emily's laid back attitude, whether it's regarding her ridiculous Shakespeare conspiracies or her attempts at shaking up the acts. But something changes about Simon when he's in his faire persona, and he starts openly flirting with Emily while she's in her revealing wench's costume. As the summer continues, Emily starts to fantasize about a permanent life in Willow Creek with Simon, but is it all real or are they just swept up in their characters?

Let me tell you, I devoured this book because I just couldn't put it down. It was so charming and adorable. I loved Emily as a character, she's so witty and caring, the love she has for her family was so special. The sense of community in the town was also fun to read, and I loved every interaction between the Ren Faire performers. It's such a tight knit group and that feeling really comes across. My favorite aspect was, of course, Emily and Simon's relationship. I'm such a sucker for that sort of hate-to-love feel, and theirs was just so nicely done. The chemistry and angsty banter between the two was everything. I even found myself smiling throughout a lot of this book which is always a good sign. If you're a fan of witty rom-coms, I highly recommend checking this one out.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

OwlCrate September Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Fear the Night, and it was full of some great items, so let's get into it!

The first item was this caramel corn flavored coffee by Bones Coffee Company. I think the design on the packaging is so adorable, but I don't drink coffee, so I'll be passing this along.

Next up were these exclusive fingerless gloves created by the OwlCrate team. I'm really surprised with the quality of these, they're really thick and feel like they'll be pretty cozy for the colder months.

I absolutely love this Frankenstein trinket dish designed by Stella Bookish Art. This is one of my favorite quotes from that book, and I'm also a big fan of the typography and whole vibe of it.

Then we had this gorgeous art print by Anne Lamblet inspired by Something Wicked This Way Comes. I have a soft spot for that book since it's the first by Ray Bradbury I ever read. It goes so well with the theme of this box, and I'm super happy about it.

This month they actually included two books, which always makes me so hyped. The first was The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. This is part of the Penguin Horror Collection, and it's an exclusive paperback edition. I love this collection. I actually have the Frankenstein edition that I bought when I went to Salem last year. I'm really hoping to get more from this line because I'm obsessed with the designs.

The main book was The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones. Ryn is a gravedigger who has spent her life hearing about the magic held within the forest surrounding her small village. She's also well aware that the dead have a habit of not staying dead due to a legendary curse. Along with the help of a mapmaker named Ellis, Ryn will stop at nothing to protect her family, but neither one of them suspected what they would come to find within the deadly mountains along their journey.

I've heard so much buzz around this book. It's inspired by Welsh mythology, so that also definitely piques my interest. I also love the skull/flowers pin this month created by Lapels and Spells, especially since the flowers are glow in the dark!

Lemme know what you thought of the box!

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 💛), 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!