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!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Soul of the Sword (Shadow of the Fox #2) Review

Hello, all!

I read Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa last year and loved the anime vibes it had (review here), and I've been waiting to continue this story ever since. So big thank you to Netgalley for the copy of Soul of the Sword.

**Potential spoilers ahead**

Pub Date: 6-25-19 by
Harlequin Teen/Inkyard Press
Young Adult - Fantasy
The story picks up pretty much right where the first book ended: The powerful demon Hakaimono has broken free of the cursed sword, Kamigoroshi, which held his soul for thousands of years, and possessed the demonslayer, Kage Tatsumi. With her protector and friend now gone, half-Kitsune Yumeko, must continue her quest of delivering part of the ancient Dragon Scroll to the elusive Steel Feather temple in order to stop the summoning of  the great Kami Dragon who will grant the wish of whomever holds the Scroll of a Thousand Prayers.

While Yumeko and her band of merry misfits--including a noble samurai, a ronin, and a shrine maiden-- rush to deliver the scroll to the temple, Hakaimono joins forces with the Master of Demons in order to break the curse on the sword and finally set himself free for good. To do so, the pair must retrieve the Scroll first. As Yumeko and the possessed Tatsumi paths continue to cross, Yumeko vows to save Tatsumi's soul and banish Hakaimono before their land is plunged into darkness forever.

I really enjoy this whole story. The characters mesh and work so well together. The relationship between the group is by far my favorite thing, especially Okame and Daisuke, their banter is everything. I also really liked how you got to see a little bit more of Tatsumi's background and upbringing in the Shadow Clan. You really understand how he became the person he is and the true weight of the burden he carries. All the Japanese folklore influence is again very interesting. My only issue with this one was the same as the first, the pacing just seemed a little off. It took a bit of time before it really hit its stride, but once it did, I was fully hooked into the story. I can't wait to continue the journey and see where else the story goes from here.

Rating: 4/5

Friday, June 21, 2019

Top 5- Summer Movies

Hello, all!

As I stated in last year's post, I'm not a fan of summertime, but I am a fan of summertime movies. Here's 5 more films to get you through the season of the heatwave.

1. Wet Hot American Summer: What screams "summer" more than camp? Instead of following the kids though, it's all about a group of counselors who are all so weird and unlike any camp worker you've ever had. It also gave us probably one of the best insult/quotes: "You taste like a burger. I don't like you anymore."

2. Stand by Me: Summertime is always about hanging out with friends and going on adventures, I will admit none of my childhood outings included a dead body, though. It's also such a classic coming-of-age story, and I'll always love 80s Corey Feldman.

3. Summer School: Confession- I always wanted to go to summer school when I was younger. I didn't realize that you only really went to summer school if you didn't do well in your classes. I just wanted to do extra English work. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Luckily, I had this movie to live out my summer school fantasies. I also feel like it's a super underrated movie, so do yourself a favor and watch it cause it's so good.

4. I Know What You Did Last Summer: Ah, the summer staples: parties, beach days, accidentally killing a man and covering it up only to then get stalked and killed off by the person you thought you killed. Also, can we all agree that Sarah Michelle Gellar has an on point horror movie scream?

5. What About Bob?: Everyone needs a vacation once summer rolls around, especially a psychiatrist, but what happens when one of your obsessive-compulsive neurotic laden patients follows you on your quiet family trip? Hilarity, that's what. Bill Murray is in his prime here, and the first time I watched it I couldn't help but think how I am Bob and Bob is me.

Lemme know some of your favorite summertime movies!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Wicked Fox Review

Hello, all!

I've been reading a bit more Asian inspired fantasies lately and I'm loving it. The most recent was Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. I read an excerpt on Bookish First, and once I saw it was about a young girl who needs to feed on the energies of men to survive, I was hooked. So, thank you to them and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Dat: 6-25-19
Young Adult - Fantasy
Miyoung is a creature of legend: a gumiho, a nine-tailed fox who feeds on the energies of evil men to survive. Since no one believes in the old tales anymore, and with so many evil men that no one will miss, Seoul is the perfect place for Miyoung and her mother to hide in plain sight. That is, until one full moon while out feeding, Miyoung crosses paths with a human boy, Jihoon, as he's being attacked by a goblin. Unable to leave the boy, Miyoung violates every gumiho rule and saves the boy, losing her fox bead--her soul--in the process.

Jihoon knows what Miyoung is, his grandmother had told him stories of gumiho growing up, and he saw a wisp of her tails as she rescued him. Despite the danger she possesses, Jihoon is drawn to her anyway. He also might be the key to putting her soul bead back where it belongs. With a blossoming relationship between the two and evil forces lurking in the shadows, Miyoung must choose between her immortal life or Jihoon's.

I really enjoyed the premise of this book. It seemed really fresh and interesting, and I really liked learning a bit about Korean mythology. This was so action packed right from the beginning, and it had such anime vibes. I enjoyed seeing Miyoung grow and develop into her own and embrace relationships. There were also a lot of lightheartedness brought about by the secondary characters throughout which was a nice balance. All in all, it was a super quick fun fantasy read.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

The Girl in Red Review

Hello, all!

I've been a big fan of Christina Henry's retellings ever since I read Lost Boy, which was her take on Peter Pan and Captain Hook, and you all know how I feel about Peter Pan. I pretty much read that book in one sitting because I just couldn't put it down, and was hooked (pun intended) ever since. She has such a great way of reimagining these stories and characters that's so dark and interesting. Since I'm such a sucker for her work, I immediately started counting down to her newest installment, The Girl in Red. Big thank you to Berkley for the copy!

Pub Date: 6-18-19
Fiction - Retelling - Fantasy
After losing her family to a devastating disease that wiped out most of the population, and forced the other into quarantine camps, Red took to the woods. She has one purpose: make it to Grandma's house without getting killed, or picked up by the government teams sweeping the lands looking for stragglers. Red's mission seems simple enough, but she doesn't account for all the evil she might come across in the woods, both animal and human alike.

Red, who lost her leg in a car accident when she was 8, doesn't have the luxury of complaining. She knows there are people who are far more worse off than she is. She continuously pushes herself and perseveres through every obstacle she faces. And obstacles there are many. From road blocks, to evil men who try to take advantage of a lonely girl in the woods, to the weather itself. Red doesn't think of herself as a killer, but that doesn't mean she's going to let the woods eat her alive.

The Girl in Red takes the story of Little Red Riding Hood and completely flips it on its head. Instead of a meek little girl, Red is a woman who knows her strengths and how to navigate this world that is so unlike the one she grew up in. She's just trying to survive to get to her Grandma, who she's convinced is still alive. That blind faith is what propels her and keeps her going. Along the way she crosses paths with some truly evil men, but others who are kind and willing to help, and it's those moments where Red sees there's still some humanity left in this world.

Like all of Henry's other work, I flew through this because I was gripped right from the start. There's a lot of post-apocalyptic stories out there, but I felt this was different in its approach. Rather than a disease creating zombies, this sickness starts off with a cough and then progresses into something more Alien-like. There were a few bits that I wish were explored a little more, such as the character of Lieutenant Sirois and more of the disease itself. I also found myself getting a little confused by the timeline at some points. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and if you're a fan of retellings, definitely check out this.

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind Review

Hello, all!

The one superpower that I always wished I could have was telekinesis. I think it would be so cool to be able to move objects with my mind. The fact that it would also help me get things off high shelves because I am very small is just an added bonus. This is why I jumped at the chance to read The Girl Who Could Move Sh*t with Her Mind by Jackson Ford, so big thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 6-18-19 by
Fiction - Sci-Fi - Mystery
This story follows Teagan Frost, a young woman with telekinesis who scrapes by in life working jobs for the government that no ordinary human can manage. She pretty much has no choice in the matter because it's either do some break-ins for the higher ups or rot in a laboratory, and as much as Teagan may not love her job, it sure beats being experimented on.

Things were going pretty smoothly for Teagan, that is until a body turns up at the site of her team's last break-in killed in a way that could've only been done by someone with her powers. Now, Teagan has less than 24 hours to not only clear her name, but save the lives of her teammates as well. Teagan has gone her whole life thinking she was the only one of her kind, and now she must hunt down this stranger before her whole city goes up in flames.

I had really high hopes for this book, and while I did like it, I just felt it lacked something. Right from the get go it was jam packed with tons of action and the adrenaline only kept building the entire time. All the bits of Teagan using her powers were really cool, and they're very clear about how it's not magic but science that gave her her abilities which is a break from the typical superpower trope. I think my main issue was the dialogue. Most of the interactions between the group, for me, felt a bit forced. All of these characters come from tough backgrounds, and I almost felt the dialogue tried a little too hard to have that come across. Despite that, there were still enjoyable parts, but I'm not sure if I'll continue with the series if there is one.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

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

Pub Date: 6-25-19
Adult - Fiction
The Great Unexpected- Dan Mooney: Joel lives in a nursing home and wants to kill himself. Literally. After years of being told what to eat, where to go, when to sleep, and when to take his medication, Joel has decided he's going to take his own life. His plans get thrown for a loop when his new roommate, Frank, moves in. The two couldn't be more different: Joel is a cranky grump, and Frank is an over the top retired soap opera star. As the unlikely duo grow closer, Frank promises to help Joel find the perfect way to end his life, but along the way, the two end up discovering there may be more yet to life. I felt the premise of this book was interesting, and thought I'd be in for a bit of a tug on the old heartstrings, but I just didn't get into this. There were some touching moments, but even more that rubbed me a little wrong. Overall, I didn't feel connected to any of the characters, and just felt a bit bored throughout.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 6-13-19
Young Adult - Fantasy
Darkwood- Gabby Hutchinson Crouch: Magic is forbidden in the land of Myrsina, along with other abominations such as girls doing math and science. This doesn't bode well for Gretel Mudd, who isn't technically a witch, but does do a lot of math. When her inventions catch the attention of the sinister Huntsmen who want to try her for witchcraft, she has no choice but to flee her town into the Darkwood, the terrifying forest where all sorts of evil and beasties live. While fleeing for her life, she crosses path with a rag tag group of witches: Buttercup, who can't help but turn the things she touches into pastries; Jack Trott, who can make plants grow with a lift of his hand; The White Knight and her band of Dwarves, and a talking spider named Trevor. Gretel comes to learn these aren't the scary villains she's been taught to fear her whole life, and they all have a common enemy: the Huntsmen. The merry band of outcasts join together in order to not only save Gretel's village from the Head Huntsmen's wrath, but also to show people that the Darkwood isn't as terrifying as it seems. I knew I was going to like this based off the synopsis, but I wasn't expecting just how much. It's a smart, funny, witty take on the fairy tale trope, and was so entertaining. It gave me such Monty Python vibes with the humor and banter which hooked me right from the start. I really loved the characters, especially Trevor, their interaction as a group was a major highlight for me. It's a quick read, and a really solid start to this series, and I can't wait to see what's next.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

BookCon 2019

Hello, all!

So for the past 2 years, it's become a little tradition of mine and my mom's to go to BookCon. It's something I look forward to every year, but I have to admit, this year was a little underwhelming. There didn't seem to be as many vendors or even that much variety this year. I saw a few booths that were even shut down which surprised me.

I also felt some of the organization this year, especially in respect to the author signings, were incredibly poorly laid out. Last year, they had all the author signings in their own space, while this year it was at the back of the show floor, so all the lines were meshing into the vendor booths. I had a signing at 11am that didn't even start until 11:30 because they were still setting up. So it just seemed everything was a little bit of a mess this year.

Aside from that, I did still enjoy myself this. I got pretty much everything I set out for: I met Frank Miller (one of my favorite comic book artists) and Thomas Wheeler; got a chapter sampler for the last book in the Stalking Jack the Ripper series; listened to a panel with Leigh Bardugo; and met Sarah Dessen. Even though this year didn't blow me away like all the others, I'm still excited to attend next year.

Here are some pictures!

Thursday, May 30, 2019

LitJoy Crate May Review

Hello, all!

Let's jump right into this months "Darkness Calls" box.

First up was something I've never received in a box before: pot holders. I love the Hades/Greek mythology theme, since I'm a huge fan of that, and I can definitely get use out of these so it's a win-win.

Next up were these Harry Potter inspired magnets. I'm really surprised by how nice the quality is of these, they even have a bit of heft to them. You can never have too many magnets, so I put these right on my fridge.

You know how I mentioned I don't usually love the pillow covers in these boxes? This is one of them. I do like its inspiration, The Cruel Prince, but this isn't something I see myself using anytime soon.

The last item in the box was this Night Court stationery set. I'm a big fan of stationery, so I was excited about this. It almost looks like a ticket rather than a post card, but I really do like the design on these.

The book this month was Nocturna by Maya Motayne. Fin is a faceshifter who gets caught by a powerful mob boss who forces her to use her talent to steal a legendary treasure from the Castallan castle or be stripped of her magic forever. After the murder of his older brother, Prince Alfie is now first in line to inherit the Castallan throne. Feeling like he will never live up to his brother's legacy, Alfie will do anything to bring his brother back, including dabbling in forbidden dark magic. When Fin and Alfie's fates collide, they accidentally unleash a terrible ancient power, and must work together to contain it before it devours the world.

I haven't heard much about this story, but I'm definitely interested to see how it plays out. Also, the cover is gorgeous. Lemme know what you thought of this months box!

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Darkness on the Edge of Town Review

Hello, all!

I'm a huge Stranger Things fan, so I was really excited when I heard that they were going to start bringing out novels to expand the universe. Luckily, I received a copy of the newest addition, Darkness on the Edge of Town by Adam Christopher via Netgalley, so thank you to them!

Pub Date: 5-28-19
Young Adult - Fiction - Sci-Fi
It's Christmas 1984 in Hawkins, and all Chief Jim Hopper wants to do is have an easy quiet holiday with his new adopted daughter, Eleven, but she has other plans. After unearthing a box marked "New York" from the basement, Eleven starts asking questions about Hopper's past. Why did he leave Hawkins? And why has he never mentioned New York before? Hopper would rather face off against the Demogorgon again than open up about his past, but Eleven won't budge. Thus begins his tale of being a NYPD homicide detective in the summer of 1977.

After returning home from two tours in Vietnam, Jim Hopper is looking to start over with his wife and young daughter. He takes a job as a detective in New York, so the family packs up and leaves Indiana in hopes of starting fresh in the Big Apple. Soon, Hopper and his feisty partner Delgado are assigned a series of unsolved brutal killings that seem almost ritualistic. Their investigations are halted once a group of shadowy federal agents swoop in and seize all their files. Hopper, not one to let anyone take away his things, decides to take matters into his own hands by going undercover into one of New York's most dangerous gangs. Just as he seems to be closing in on the truth, a blackout hits and Hopper and the boroughs are plunged into a darkness the likes of which have never been seen before.

Jim Hopper is one of my favorite characters on Stranger Things, so I was immediately drawn to this story. Anything about his background and life before he became the grizzly grump we all know and love is right up my alley. It was so interesting reading about his life outside of Hawkins, and I would love it if the show touched upon it as well. What I loved most though were the little snippets in between the story of Hopper and Eleven. I absolutely love these two together. Their dynamic works so well, and you can really feel the fatherly love Hopper has for her. This was such a fast paced, action packed glimpse into Hopper's backstory and a must read for any fan of the show.

Rating: 4/5

Thursday, May 23, 2019

OwlCrate May Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Epic Adventures. Here we go!

Stardust is my favorite Neil Gaiman book, so this glass water bottle inspired by it was probably my favorite thing in the box. This was designed by KDP Letters and I love it. It's a really nice size, and not too bulky so it won't take up much room in my bag which is always a plus.

How adorable is this Howl's Moving Castle sticker by Naomi Lord? I really love the style of this, it's so cute. I've become way more obsessed with stickers lately, so I'll definitely be checking out this artist to see what else they've got.

I recently came back from a trip where I had to use my passport, and how I wish this had come sooner so I could've used it! This fun passport holder was designed by KitCronk Studio and it's based on The Hobbit.

Can we take a moment to appreciate how pretty this sleep mask by Bookworm Boutique is? You all know how I feel about the ACOTAR series, so this is great. I've tried sleep masks before and I didn't fully love them, but the quality of this feels so soft, so maybe I'll give them another go.

The last item was a pillowcase inspired by A Darker Shade of Magic designed by Stella Bookish Art. I'll admit, I don't usually love the pillowcases they send, but this design isn't too bad. I love the nautical pirate theme, and the quote/font is nice.

The book this month is We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal. Zafira is the Hunter, she disguises herself as a man and goes into the cursed forest of Arz in order to provide for her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, quick to assassinate any fool who would defy his father, the ruthless King. Both have to hide their true selves: if Zafira is outed as a girl, all her achievements will mean nothing; if Nasir shows his true compassion, his father will punish him in the most brutal way. Both are reluctant legends in their land. When the two are sent on missions that will cause their paths to cross, they stumble upon an ancient evil that poses a giant threat that neither the two could ever imagine.

The pin this month was also designed by IceyDesigns, who I've followed on Etsy for a while now, so I'm excited to add this one to my collection. Lemme know what you guys thought of this months box!

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Beetlejuice Review

Hello, all!

Beetlejuice has always been one of my favorite movies, so when it was announced that there was going to be a Broadway adaptation, I knew I needed to see it. I finally saw it over the weekend, and despite it being way different than its original source material, I really enjoyed it.

Basically, the show keeps some of the core details from the movie, but completely shakes up others. For example, rather than dying in a car accident, Barbara and Adam die from falling through the floor in their home. Delia isn't yet married to Charles Deetz, she's only a "life coach" for his weirdly obsessed with death daughter, Lydia. Also, Beetlejuice serves as the show's narrator so he's in the mix right from the get go.

Even though there were a lot of changes from screen to stage, the core of the story was still there. Beetlejuice is still a "bio-exorcist" trying to get the Deetz's out of the Maitland's house using his grossly wacky ways. Barbara and Adam are still two adorable nerds. Lydia is still an emo Hot Topic goth who's strange and unusual. There's even a huge sandworm that pops up throughout.

The musical numbers were funny (there's still the classic "Day-O" scene) and Beetlejuice was the raunchy ghost with the most we all know and love. The scenery kept the Tim Burton aesthetic that made the original film so loveably weird, and the score really paid tribute to the Danny Elfman classic.

Despite the few liberties the play took, I enjoyed it and I thought it was funny. The actor who played Beetlejuice was hilarious not only with his delivery, but even in his movements. He almost reminded me of Joey Fatone mixed with Fat Mike from NOFX. The young actress who played Lydia was ridiculously talented, and the two together really made the show shine.

If you're a fan of the movie, this is a show worth checking out. You can find all the info here.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Cuba, Day 3

Hello, all!

May 9th was our last full day in Havana since our flight home was super early the next morning, but we still managed to cram a lot of stuff in.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Cuba, Day 2

Hello, all!

Our second day in Havana was my absolute favorite. It ended up being way more emotional than we were expecting, and truly made the trip worth every second.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Cuba, Day 1

Hello, all!

My Grams is Cuban, and I grew up listening to all her stories and seeing pictures from her time there, dreaming about one day going myself. My cousin (his Grandma is mine's sister, but we still call each other cousin cause it's easier) and I have always been fascinated by our family history. We're obsessed with all the different ancestry and DNA sites, and delving into our past, so actually seeing Cuba has always been a goal of ours. We recently got to spend a few days there last week and it was so magical.

I'm going to break our trip up into different parts, so check back for more of our adventures!

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

The Unhoneymooners Review

Hello, all!

I've been reading a lot more "chick-lit" books lately, and I'm totally alright with it. The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren quickly became one of my favorite reads this year, so a massive thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the copy!

Pub Date: 5-14-19 by
Gallery Books
Adult - Fiction - Contemporary 
Olive and her twin sister Ami could not be more different. Whereas Olive has had a lifelong streak of bad luck, Ami has won every contest she's ever entered from coloring competitions to a free wedding buffet and honeymoon for her upcoming nuptials. Olive loves her twin more than anything, but she's dreading spending the entire day with her enemy, Ethan, who just so happens to be the groom's brother and best man.

The wedding goes off without a hitch, that is until the reception when every person, except for Olive and Ethan, get horribly sick off the tainted free seafood buffet. With a free all-included Hawaiian honeymoon up for grabs, Olive and Ethan put their hatred of each other aside and agree to go together posing as the happily married couple. While the two are determined to spend the entire vacation avoiding one another, Olive's little white lie after a run in with her future boss threatens to change everything. The pair have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, but what happens when they stop pretending?

This was the first book I've read by Christina Lauren and I loved it. It was so charming and adorable, and I found myself smiling throughout the whole thing. Doesn't hurt that I do love me a hate-to-love trope, and this one was just too good to put down. I also really loved the writing style of this book. It was chock full of one liners and so many pop culture references (there was even a Clue reference!) and I was so here for it. My favorite part was all the banter between Olive and Ethan, especially their running bit of addressing one another by the wrong names. The two of them together was so fun to read and you could really feel the chemistry building between them.

I also liked the character development in this. Olive starts out a bit downtrodden, quick to blame everything on bad luck and a bit pessimistic, but by the end she really blossoms into her own. I also loved how she wasn't afraid to stick to her convictions when a certain drama goes down even though every person doubted her.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was full of cute moments, funny interactions, and a relatable main character. Does it have a few predictable moments? Yes, but that's the case for most in this genre, but I don't necessarily mind so much. I'll definitely be checking out more from Christina Lauren because I just couldn't put this one down.

Rating: 5/5

Monday, May 6, 2019

Middlegame Review

Hello, all!

I've been a big fan of Seanan McGuire since I devoured her Wayward Children series, so huge thank you to the publisher,, for sending me a copy of her newest novel, Middlegame.

Pub Date: 5-7-19
Adult - Fantasy
Roger and Dodger are not your average twins. The pair were raised on separate coasts after being adopted into different families, neither actually knowing the other exists. Until one day, when Dodger speaks to Roger telepathically. The twins realize that not only can they speak to one another psychically, but they can also see through the others eyes. That isn't the only power the two seem to have either. Roger has always had a way with words, he's able to able to effortlessly learn languages and persuade people with the right turn of phrases, whereas Dodger has never met a math problem she hasn't been able to solve and can even go back to a fixed point in time and cause a re-do to their entire timeline. He understands the world through the power of word, and she through numbers. The two aren't human, but they're not necessarily gods either. Not yet, at least.

The two come to learn that they were created by a powerful alchemist named Reed who plans to use the twins as the physical embodiment of the Doctrine of Ethos, aka the highest power in the universe. Once the twins mature, they'll be able to bend all time and reality to their will, and Reed plans on ascending with them and claiming their authority as his own. The only problem is, once Roger and Dodger come to understand their true purpose, they turn the tables and work together with another rogue creation to take out Reed and dismantle his whole operation before the entire world implodes.

I really enjoyed delving into the relationship between Roger and Dodger. They're so linked in ways that you don't necessarily realize at first. If one dies, so does the other. If they use their powers together, they could literally destroy the world. The two of them are so unique, and so beyond flawed, but the love they have for one another transcends all the different timelines/lives they've witnessed.

From reading other work by McGuire, I knew I was in for a bit of a darker story, but holy cow, I was not prepared for just how much. The whole premise of Middlegame is incredibly complex and a bit twisted, it definitely makes you question pretty much everything you stand for. The whole issue of morality and science/alchemy is really fascinating to explore. Honestly, I'm not even sure I fully comprehended what I read, but it was compelling from the very first page. I couldn't help but get a bit of a Stranger Things/Umbrella Academy vibe while reading this as well, which I dug. If you're interested in a darker story that makes you think, check this one out.

Rating: 3/5

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Top 5- Star Wars Quotes

Hello, all and May the Fourth be With You!

Before getting into this post, I just want to touch upon the loss of Peter Mayhew earlier this week. I was lucky enough to meet him at a Wizard World convention once. It was my first ever con and I was so nervous, but he was incredibly kind and nice to everyone in line. The Force will be with you always, Chewie. 💓

Star Wars has been a huge part of my life ever since I first saw Return of the Jedi when I was 5. It has been my constant companion throughout the years, and one of my biggest sources of wisdom. That being said, this Top 5 is dedicated to some of my favorite quotes throughout the series.

1. "I've got a bad feeling about this" - Multiple characters: This is one of those phrases, like "May the Force be with you", that always wiggles its way into every movie, and I love it. It's so universal, and I can't help but say it in my best grumpy Harrison Ford voice whenever anything slightly goes wrong in my life.

2. "Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter" / "Do or do not. There is no try." - Yoda: I'm cheating a little on this one by having two, but they come from the same scene so I'm counting it as one! These are the two quotes that've really stuck with me throughout the years, and probably are my very favorites of the bunch.

3. "Why you stuck-up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder!"- Leia: Now, there are so many great sassy Leia quotes, but this one popped into my head first. It just makes me laugh and really is the perfect insult. Leia was the full package for me: smart, strong, independent and sassy as heck. Little Heather wanted nothing more than to grow up to be just like her, and honestly, still wish I could be her when I grow up.

4. "So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause"- Padme: Like many, I don't particularly love the prequels. They definitely have their fair share of flaws, but my thing is, they're still Star Wars movies so I'm still gonna like them despite all that. What I did enjoy about them, though, was Padme and whenever I think about the prequels, I always immediately go to this quote.

5. "Chewie, we're home." - Han Solo: Getting new Star Wars movies is always a thrill, and I vividly remember stopping everything at work to watch the trailer for The Force Awakens and getting so choked up at seeing Han and Chewie back on the Millennium Falcon. It was an emotional moment and just made me even more pumped for the new trilogy.

Let me know some of your favorites!

Thursday, May 2, 2019

The East End Blog Tour

Hello, all!

I'm so excited to be a part of the blog tour for Jason Allen's debut novel, The East End. Being a Long Islander, I'm always interested in stories that take place here, and this was written by a fellow Long Islander as well, so I was even more intrigued.

The East End follows Corey, a young kid from the Hamptons who gets his kicks by breaking into the neighboring mansions and playing pranks on their owners. One night, he decides to break into his employers house, but his boss, Leo Sheffield, turns up with a companion in tow. Unable to leave in fear of getting caught, Corey witnesses a horrible fatal accident by the pool and the lengths that Leo goes to in order to cover it up before the rest of his family and friends arrive. What Leo doesn't know is that Corey wasn't the only one who saw what happened, and he'll do whatever it takes for his secrets to stay hidden. I pretty much devoured this in about a day and a half because I just couldn't put it down, so I'm very happy to be able to share with you all an excerpt from the book.


"He stood still for a moment, looking between the bars of the tall iron gates crowned with spikes. Beginning tomorrow morning, and then all throughout Memorial Day weekend— just as he had the past few summers—he’d spend long days working there. Gina would be so pissed if she could see him now. She’d at least threaten to disown him if she ever found out he’d broken in, but that would be a hollow threat anyway, and he’d already convinced himself that she’d never know. The Sheffields should have paid her more to begin with, even if she didn’t have a deadbeat husband like Ray pissing her meager savings away on his court fees and gambling debts. But the memory that sealed Corey’s decision tonight had been replaying in his mind for almost a year—the dinner party last summer, when Sheila Sheffield yelled at his mom right in front of him and about ten guests, berating her for accidentally dropping a crystal chalice that she said cost more than Gina’s yearly salary. While Leo and the grown Sheffield kids looked on dumbly and didn’t bother to make a peep, Corey had followed Gina into the kitchen and stood a few feet away from her, unable to think of what to say to console her while she cried. Ever since then, he’d wanted to get back at them all.
Fuck these people, he thought.
He would rob them, and smash some windows on his way out so they wouldn’t suspect anyone who worked there. All he had to do was make sure not to leave any evidence behind, definitely no fingerprints, and he’d take the extra precaution of scaling the gates rather than punching in the code.

He wriggled his fingers into his gloves. Crickets chirped away in the shadows, his only witnesses as he looked over each shoulder and back through the bars. He let out a long breath. Then he gripped the wrought iron and started to climb."

Hope you all enjoyed this little sneak peak! You can find all the info on the book and author below. Definitely check it out if you're looking for a fast paced gripping read. It would also make a perfect beach read!

Pub Date: 5-7-19 by
Park Row
Adult - Fiction - Thriller 

Buy Links:

Social Links:
Twitter: @EathanJason

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

LitJoy Crate April Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was Born Rebel. Here we go!

I've said before that I love when subscription boxes give you something useful, and these make up brushes are so cool. They also give me such Taylor Swift-Reputation vibes, and I'm here for it.

Then there was this Shadowhunters inspired sticker. I'm actually not a fan of The Mortal Instruments series, I tried once to read it, but I just didn't get the hype.

I'm starting to get such a collection of magnetic bookmarks thanks to these boxes, but I'm not complaining. These Aladdin ones are super cute, and so on brand with the new movie coming out soon. Also, can we please talk about the fact that Rajah has a piece of underwear in his mouth from when he bit that prince's butt? So adorable.

The bracelet this month, inspired by the Percy Jackson series, was by far my favorite so far. I grew up obsessed with Greek mythology, so this is right up my alley.

Then we had this felt book sleeve by Nerdy Post. I get a ton of use out of my Book Beau sleeve that I received in another box, but sometimes I can't always fit a larger hardcover in it, but this looks like it would be a great size for those.

The book for this month was The Tiger at Midnight by Swati Teerdhala. Esha is known as the legendary Viper, a highly skilled assassin for a band of rebels. She has spent her entire life devoted to avenging what she's lost, and has now been tasked with her most dangerous mission: to take down the ruthless General Hotha. On this mission, Esha crosses paths with Kunal, nephew of the General and a soldier since birth, and the two are thrown into an unimaginable chain of events.

I don't know much about this one, but I really dig the cover. It's also a big'un, so that excites me cause I love a detailed high fantasy. Lemme know what you all thought of this box!