Wednesday, July 31, 2019

My Hogwarts Story Tag

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

11 inch Spruce wood with a phoenix feather core.

3. Where did the Sorting Hat place you?


4. What house did you want to be in?

I'm a Hufflepuff through and through.

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

Owl, I just think that's easiest.

6. Which lessons are your favorite and least favorite?

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

7. The form your Patronus takes...

A Tonkinese cat. Still not sure what that is.

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

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

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

I'd want to learn wizard's chess.

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

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

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

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

12. What career do you want after leaving Hogwarts?

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

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

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Top 5- Seinfeld Quotes

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

OwlCrate July Review

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5

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

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

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Green Lantern Vol 1: Intergalactic Lawman Review

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Crashing the A-List Review

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Season of the Witch Review

Hello, all!

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

Pub Date: 7-9-19

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Dragonslayer Review

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5

Monday, July 1, 2019

This is Me Blog Tour: The Downstairs Girl Review

Hello, all!

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

Pub Date: 8-13-19

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

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

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

Rating: 5/5

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

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