Wednesday, November 27, 2019

OwlCrate November Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was "Through the Enchanted Forest", let's get into it!

First was this pretty woodcut ornament inspired by The Raven Boys designed by Juniper and Ivy Designs. I've not read this series yet, but I'm really diggin' this.

This metal bookmark was created by Her Paper World and has a quote from Uprooted on it. I've received a lot of bookmarks in these boxes, but this was the first metal one I've ever gotten, and I'm really impressed with the quality of it.

Next, we had this gorgeous reading planner by Blue Star Press. OwlCrate has been doing these planners for the last few years, and I love them. I usually keep my own reading journal, but I love these because you can do so much: plan out your weeks and months, keep a list of new releases broken down by month, and even write reviews for what you've read. I really love this design of this years, and they've added so many cool features (like whether what you read was audio/e-book/physical), I'm obsessed.

You can't have a planner without some fun stickers to put in it. These whimsical forest stickers were designed by Pipsticks, and fit the theme so well. There's also another bookish sheet underneath, which I can't wait to use.

The final item was this blanket designed by Bookmark'd Tattoos inspired by The Cruel Prince. I'm such a sucker for a cozy blanket, and this one's no exception! It's ridiculously soft, but my only slight complaint is that I wish it was just a little bit longer to get the full snuggly effect.

This months book was Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw. The woods around Fir Haven have a dark reputation for being haunted. Only rumored witch, Nora Walker, knows the truth. The Walker women have always had a close connection with the woods, and it's this connection that leads Nora to Oliver Huntsman, the boy who went missing from the Camp for Wayward Boys. Stuck for weeks in a snowstorm, Oliver should be dead, but instead he has no recollection of the time he's been gone. Nora feels an uneasy shift in the woods with Oliver's presence, so she decides to get to the bottom of this strange boy. What she discovers is she's not the only one with secrets she'd do anything to keep hidden.

I've heard a lot of mixed reviews of this, so I'm interested to see what I think. I didn't fully love Shea Ernshaw's other release, The Wicked Deep, but she sure does have a way with atmosphere. If any of you have read this, let me know what you thought!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Funko/NYCC Exclusive Haul

Hello, all!

I was so bummed over missing NY Comic Con this year, mainly because Funko was releasing some great Pops, but I'm happy to say I was able to track them down!

1. Daria: The second I saw they were releasing this, I knew it needed to be mine. I was obsessed with Daria when I was younger (still am), and I've spent most of my life being compared to her, so I was so pumped to be able to snag this one.

2. Slim (Killer Klowns from Outer Space): I've been saying for years how I wished Funko would do Killer Klowns Pops, and now they have! This is one of my favorite horror movies (I even have a tattoo of it), and I really hope they do the rest of the gang because I'd love a Shorty one.

3. Huntress: I used to be a huge fan of Birds of Prey, both the comics and the tragically underrated early 2000s TV show, and Huntress was always my favorite of the bunch. Helena's such a badass, and this also makes me excited to see her newest incarnation in the upcoming Birds of Prey movie.

4. Beetlejuice: So, this technically isn't a Funko release, but it was still an NYCC Entertainment Earth exclusive. Beetlejuice is one of my favorite movies, so once I saw this little wooden guy, I had to snag it. It's one of those things where you push a button on the base and it flops around. I get such a kick out of its little flailing hammer arms, and I just can't help but channel my inner Michael Keaton going "Come on a little closaaaaa. Step right up!"

Let me know if you've picked up any fun figures lately!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Last Affair Blog Tour

Hello, all!

I've gotten way more into mystery/thrillers recently, so I'm very excited to be included in the blog tour for The Last Affair by Margot Hunt. This is a gripping story of a love affair turn murder that will have you guessing until the very end. I hope you enjoy this little excerpt (just a little taste, I don't wanna spoil too much!), and big thank you to Mira Books for letting me be apart of the tour!

Adult - Thriller

"Other than the woman’s blood-covered body splayed facedown in the grass, it could have been any typical upscale Floridian backyard. 
There was the ubiquitous pool with a water fountain feature, a patio furnished with both a dining set and outdoor sectional couch, and an enormous gas grill capable of cooking hamburgers by the dozen. A large pergola with a tropical vine trained over it covered part of the patio. The dining area was shaded by a black-and-white-striped awning. It was the very picture of suburban domestic bliss. It could have been the set for a commercial advertising anything from laundry detergent to allergy medicine. 
Again, except for the dead body. 
The area had already been taped off. The first officers on the scene appeared with an ambulance in response to a frantic 911 call placed by the woman’s daughter. The paramedics had assessed the situation, and quickly determined that the woman was dead. The fact that the back of her head had been bashed in with what looked like a paving stone, conveniently dropped next to her prone body, made it immediately clear that it had not been a natural death."

If you're interested in more, The Last Affair hits stores 11/26. For more info on the author and where to buy your own copy, check out the links below.

TWITTER: @HuntAuthor


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Ninth House Review

Hello, all!

Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorite authors. She has such a way with characters and world building that just fully pulls you in and makes you feel like you're actually watching these events unfold. Her newest, and first adult release, Ninth House, was one of my most anticipated reads for this year, and it was interesting to say the least.

Pub Date: 10-8-19
Adult - Fantasy
Galaxy "Alex" Stern has seen more hardships in her life than most. Raised by a hippie mom, by her early teens, Alex had dropped out of school and started running around with drug dealers. By the age of twenty, she was the sole survivor of a vicious unsolved homicide. Some, including her own mother, say she threw her life away, but she's given a second chance in the form of a full ride to Yale University. The only catch? She has to monitor the numerous secret societies littered throughout the campus. And they may prove to be more dangerous than the life she's leaving behind.

Recruited for her ability to see ghosts, called Grays, an ability she's spent her whole life running from, Alex now uses it during the rituals and rites performed by each of the secret Houses to make sure everything goes smoothly. As a member of Lethe House, she's tasked with reporting back to the Dean of the goings on of each society, and maintaining some sort of balance. Surrounded by the future rich and powerful elite, Alex learns there's nothing money and influence can't buy you. Soon, she uncovers that under all their occult activities lies an even more sinister plot and the closer she is to finding out the truth, the more her life is put in danger.

Let me first just say, I did actually really love this book. The characters, especially Alex, were so complex and interesting. The plot itself was captivating and I'm such a sucker for a school setting, and was getting all these The Magicians/Dead Poets Society vibes. I loved the way magic worked and how Alex interacted with it. I think it deals with dark, intense themes in a very respectful and truthful manner. Bardugo's writing is top notch, as always. She managed to take the real world we know and flip it in a way that is so eerie and unsettling. That being said, I found this to be a bit too long. I feel like it easily could've been 50+ pages shorter and the effect would've hit harder. I just felt that it took a long time for not a lot to happen. It was a lot of back story and a lot of setting the scene for what's to come in this series (which is a lot more Darlington, I'm hoping.) Despite that, this is a really solid read for those who are into a darker fantasy and I'll just forever be a fan of anything Bardugo puts out. I'm just hoping for the next one to have a bit more action in it.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Serpent & Dove Review

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4.5/5

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Songs from the Deep Review

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Unnatural Magic Review

Hello, all!

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

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

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

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

Rating: 3/5