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!