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