Tuesday, October 20, 2020

The Sun Down Motel Review

Hello, all!

Do you like multiple POVs/timelines when it comes to thrillers? I think it can be very hit or miss, but if done well, can really add another element to the story. In the case of The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James, it definitely worked in its favor.

Pub Date: 2-18-20
Adult - Thriller

It's 1982 and Viv Delaney is a night shift worker at the rundown Sun Down Motel in the rural upstate New York town of Fell. Viv has always felt uneasy at her job, and she has good reason. Shady customers, lights that flicker and go out on their own, cigarette smoke filling the air when no one's around, and phone calls with nothing but heavy breathing on the end of the line are the norm around the Sun Down. Then, Viv mysteriously vanishes in the middle of a shift and is never seen or heard from again. Did she stumble upon a secret she was never meant to know? Did she succumb to whatever lurks in the shadows of the Sun Down? No one knew until now.

Carly is a young woman who grew up hearing about the aunt that was kidnapped. She never met her Aunt Viv, but she knew her mother grieved for her lost sister her entire life. When Carly's mom passes away, she makes it her mission to find out what truly happened to Viv. She decides to move to Fell and in doing so, ends up taking the same job that her aunt once had. Carly soon starts experiencing the same strange occurrences that plagued Viv, and she can't help but feel like she may be out of her depth. With the help of some locals, Carly uncovers the truth behind what happened that fateful night back in '82, and she can't help but wonder if the past is better left buried.

This hooked me from the very first page. I was immediately sucked into this mystery and the whole atmosphere of the book. I think the dual timeline/POVs worked so well and made it even more fascinating. Viv and Carly were both interesting characters to follow and it was cool to see how similar their journeys were despite being in two different times. Both were very strong-willed and refused to let anything deter them from their investigations, even when it threatened their safety. The whole mystery was so intricate and gripping, and I kept holding my breath waiting for what was going to happen next. There were small bits I figured out, but the overall mystery was a shock and I thought very well done. The supernatural elements were just right and never felt too cheesy or out of place. If you're looking for a thriller that'll keep you on the edge of your seat, pick this up.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, October 16, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite Spoopy Movies

Hello, all!

You all know I love me some horror movies during October, but sometimes it's nice to break up all the blood and guts with something more cutsey. So, today's list is all about those Halloween movies that aren't so much as "spooky," but rather the more family-friendly "spoopy."

1. Practical Magic: Oh, how I wish I were an Owens. Except without all the curse business. While this still has some dark moments in it, it's overall a fun movie. I mean, who didn't wish they were dancing around the kitchen making margaritas with those ladies?

2. Addams Family Values: I may get some flack for this, but I actually like this one better than the original Addams Family movie. I love the camp aspect and Joan Cusack is fabulous. I've also spent the majority of my life being compared to Wednesday, so I had to include her on here.

3. Beetlejuice: This is one of my favorite movies of all time. Fun fact: After 10+ years of getting tattooed, I finally started on my arms (I've always gotten my legs/sides) and a Beetlejuice inspired one was the one that broke the ice. I also think this is and Batman are Michael Keaton's best roles, and you cannot tell me otherwise.

4. Hocus Pocus: I mean, obviously this was gonna be on here. It's not the Halloween season if I don't watch this movie multiple times. I've never met someone who didn't love this movie. It's become so iconic, and it's well deserved. Plus, Thackery Binx is fiiine.

5. The Mummy: My love of this movie knows no bounds. Anytime it's on TV, I have to drop everything to watch it. It's just so good and so so funny. Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz are just *chefs kiss*

Lemme know some of your picks!

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

Big thanks to Netgalley for these copies!

Pub Date: 10-1-20
YA - Anthology

The Midnight Circus- Jane Yolen:  This is an anthology chock full of dark twisted fairy tales. It's more Grimm than Disney, full of monsters, both man and beast. These sixteen stories have something for everyone: from people turning into wild animals and running free in Central Park, a seal maiden falling in love with a fisherman, and even a dark secret below the snow in the South Pole.

Anthology stories tend to be very hit or miss for me, and unfortunately, this one missed the mark. As with these types of books, there are always stories that are better than others. I did enjoy one or two, namely "The White Seal Maid", but most of the others just didn't capture my attention. Some felt like they dragged on a little too long, and I ended up finding myself wander and I had to force myself to finish. I think the majority had a lot of promise, but in the end, just fell flat. I also was a bit confused because, from the title, I expected the stories to have a circus element or something that ultimately tied them all together, but that wasn't the case. Sadly, this isn't going to a memorable one for me.

Rating: 2/5

Pub Date: 10-13-20

Any Rogue Will Do- Bethany Bennett: Lady Charlotte "Lottie" Wentworth spent exactly one season playing the perfect demure debutante and all it got her was mockery splattered all over the gossip rags. After being dubbed the "Paper Doll Princess" by Ethan Amesbury, a dashing new viscount who causes his own stir in society, Lottie decides to leave London for a quiet life in the country. Now, five years after her humiliating debut, all she wants is a home of her own to manage the way she sees fit, but her father has other plans. He's arranged engagement to a most unpleasant man, but Lottie can't be engaged to one if she's already engaged to another. Ethan has made loads of mistakes in his life, one of the biggest being ruining Lady Charlotte's reputation. He'll do whatever it takes to get back into her good graces, even if that means pretending to be engaged. He may have agreed to this ridiculous plan in order to win back her favor, but when feelings start to grow more complicated, could he win her affections for real?

I've become a big fan of historical romances lately, so I was immediately drawn to this. There were a lot of things I enjoyed: I liked how determined Lottie was, though she could be a bit too headstrong at times, Ethan was extremely swoon-worthy and I liked how he really did care for Lottie, and I'm always here for any time of fake dating situation. The secondary characters in this also shined, and I loved Aunt Agatha, Darling, and Cal. My only issues with this were it felt too long on occasion and slightly repetitive. We get that Lottie is torn between life on her own and Ethan, it doesn't need to be repeated every other page. Aside from that, I did enjoy this and it wrapped up in a satisfying way. I'm not sure if this will be one that sticks with me and is super memorable, but I'm still interested to see what the next one brings.

Rating: 3.5/5

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Blog Tour: A Golden Fury Review

Hello, all!

I love fantasy and historical fiction, so when you mesh the two together, it's an automatic add to my TBR. Big thank you to Wednesday Books for having me as part of the blog tour for A Golden Fury by Samantha Cohoe!

Pub Date: 10-13-20
YA - Fantasy

Thea Hope wants nothing more than to step out of her mother’s shadow and make a name for her own in the alchemy world. The pair have been working together to create the elusive Philosopher’s Stone, but just as they were getting close, Thea’s mother banished her from their lab. Thea is convinced her mother just wants all the fame and glory for herself, but when she becomes ill and starts lashing out, Thea starts to believe there’s something more sinister going on. Then one night in a fit of rage, her mother destroys the stone, attempting to kill Thea in the process.

After this encounter, armed with her mother’s notes, Thea flees France for England to seek shelter and help from a father who doesn’t even know she exists. When she arrives in Oxford, Thea finds her father and a group of fellow alchemists are also trying to create the stone, and they refuse to heed her warnings on how dangerous it is. Instead, they steal her notes and are not above pulling out all the stops to force Thea into helping them, even if that means torturing the ones closest to her. Thea must face a difficult decision: either make the stone and most likely lose her mind in the process, or forsake the lives of those she loves.

I was very much drawn in by the premise of this. The practice of alchemy is so fascinating and complex and I enjoyed seeing how it was portrayed. The entire story is very plot-driven and action-packed right from the get-go. Every single character has a motive for wanting to create the stone and will do whatever it takes no matter the consequences. Especially Thea. She was such a capable strong-willed character and I liked how she never seemed afraid of conflict and did what needed to be done. That being said, my issue with this was that I felt not as much time and effort went into the overall character development as the actual storyline. All the characters felt very one-note so I had a hard time connecting to them, and ultimately, I wasn’t that invested in what happened to them. I definitely think this had a ton of potential, and there are some interesting moments, so I would still recommend if you’re a fan of historical fiction/fantasy.

Rating: 3/5

Friday, October 9, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Villains That Messed You Up as a Kid

Hello, all!

Everyone has those very specific characters or moments in movies that completely scared the daylights out of them growing up. I mean, the boat scene in Willy Wonka? Straight up nightmare fuel. I have no problem admitting that these characters still haunt me to this day. 

1. Judge Doom (Who Framed Roger Rabbit?): I hate everything about him, from the bulging eyes to dipping the innocent little cartoon shoe into the Dip. As if he wasn't terrible on his own, he had the gang of annoying weasels who always spoke as if they were 1930's mobsters.

2. Hexxus (Fern Gully): When I tell you I used to RUN behind my couch whenever "Toxic Love" started playing on the screen. A giant sludge monster could terrify any kid, but then you grow up and realize it was a representation of humans destroying the earth and it makes it even worse.

3. Ms. Trunchbull (Matilda): Did anyone else have nightmares about being thrown in the Chokey? Or being tossed by your pigtails? She was definitely not someone who should've been in early education. Side note: if someone could please show me how to wear a bun without looking like her, I'd be forever grateful.

4. Other Mother (Coraline): How could any kid not be traumatized if a creature posed as their mom only to sew buttons on their eyes and steal their soul? Not today, Satan. My Mama is off limits.

5. The Grand High Witch (The Witches): Abso-freakin'-lutely no, thank you.

What're some of your picks? Lemme know!

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Magic Lessons Review

Hello, all!

When I think of October and the spooky season, my mind goes straight to witches. I've always had a soft spot for witches ever since I was young, and I find stories about them fascinating. I'm also a big fan of Practical Magic, so obviously when I heard about Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman taking us back to the very beginning of the Owen's family line and their curse, I was sold. Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-6-20
Adult - Fantasy

The Owens' women weren't always cursed when it comes to love, so how did it begin? Back in 1600's England, Maria is abandoned as a baby in a snowy field and taken in by a woman named Hannah Owens. Hannah does her best to raise the child and recognizes a certain power in Maria so she begins to teach her the ways of the Unnamed Arts. During this time, Maria is taught many things, with the most important lesson being to always love someone who will love you back. After Hannah's death, Maria is sent to live on a faraway island as a maid to a wealthy family. Here, she falls for John Hathorne, a man that she believes truly loves her, but one day, he abandons her, too.

When Maria finds herself with child, she decides to cross the seas to follow this man to Salem, Massachusetts. On her journey, she meets Samuel Dias, a man unlike any other, but despite the feelings they both share, Maria refuses to give in. When she gets to Salem, she discovers that John had a family of his own and wants nothing to do with Maria or their child. Heartbroken and with no one to turn to, Maria seeks shelter in an old cabin and sets about making a home there for her and her daughter, making remedies and helping the local women who come to her door at night. Soon, Maria is charged with witchcraft and sentenced to hang by none other than John himself. On the morning of her hanging, thinking her life is over, Maria calls out a curse that will change the lives of all Owens women to come. But when she's rescued by Samuel, her true love, she must face the consequences of her rash decision.

Ever since watching Practical Magic for the first time, I've always been intrigued by the curse on the Owens family. Why does something terrible and tragic always happen to the men they fall in love with? Well, this beautifully lush story finally answered all my questions. Maria is such an interesting character to follow. She goes through so many ups and downs and betrayals, but she never truly lets the darkness engulf her. As fascinating as Maria is, her daughter, Faith, is even more so. Both women go through many hardships, and the way they each handle those trials and tribulations take them down vastly different paths, but they always come back to one another. Hoffman blends love, revenge, family, and the wonders of magic to make a completely captivating story. This is a very dense book, and there were moments where I found myself thinking, "Man, this is LONG," but overall, I really enjoyed it.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Let's Talk: Moose Springs, Alaska Series

Hello, all!

Have you ever just fallen completely head over heels for a series? That's how I feel with the Moose Springs books by Sarah Morgenthaler. She has quickly stolen my heart with these characters and stories, and I'm so here for it. I picked up the first book on a whim, devoured it in a day, and then immediately requested the second from Netgalley, so big thanks to them for the copy. Now, I'm impatiently waiting for the third because I can't get enough!

Let's get onto the books.

Pub Date: 5-5-20
Adult - Contemporary

The Tourist Attraction: Zoey Caldwell has always dreamed of going to Alaska. After finally saving enough money to join her friend on a two-week trip, she's beyond thrilled. Their first stop? The Tourist Trap diner, which has become quite a staple in Moose Springs for its reindeer dogs, Growly Bears, and its grumpy owner, Graham Barnett. Graham is well-known for his intolerance of the endless string of resort visitors, but he can't stop himself from being drawn to the tiny, bespectacled, overly-enthusiastic Zoey. When the pair start spending time together, it's clear to see that the scenery isn't the only thing about Moose Springs that has Zoey smitten. But with Zoey's vacation timeline dwindling fast, the pair must decide if this is just a fling or if the feelings they both share are something more.

I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I loved this! It was so sweet and fun. Zoey had that charmingly quirky appeal (without being too over the top), and Graham had that grump with a heart of gold demeanor that is my absolute favorite. He also has a dog that he dresses up and treats like his child, which I mean, could he be any more of my dream guy? The pair balanced each other out so well, and it was a joy watching their relationship grow and develop into something more. The banter in this was also top-notch and kept me fully entertained. I loved the Alaskan setting, it lent so much to the atmosphere of the story. There were some moments that felt repetitive in regards to the drama that the end of Zoey's trip presents, but it wasn't enough to lessen my overall enjoyment. If you're looking for a cute, less ~steamy~ rom-com, pick this up.

Rating: 5/5

Pub Date: 10-6-20
Adult - Contemporary

Mistletoe & Mr. Right: Lana Montgomery is everything the people of Moose Springs dislikes: she's rich, comes across a tad stuck-up, and oh yeah... she bought their entire town to build upscale condominiums to bring even more tourists to the already packed small town. But if Lana is anything it's determined. She refuses to let the town's collective unease towards her bring her down. She'll do anything to prove to them that she has their best interests at heart-- even if that means tracking down the elusive Santa Moose that stalks the town at night destroying any holiday decorations in its path. After accidentally shooting Rick Harding, the handsome pool hall owner, with a tranquilizer gun, Lana concedes to the fact that she may need a little help in her endeavor. With Rick on her side, Lana is sure the town will warm up to her, she just didn't count on Rick stirring up warm feelings inside herself as well.

Thanks to the first book, we already have an idea who Lana is and why the town isn't her biggest fan. She has all these big dreams for this small town that she loves so much, so it's a bit sad to see how little regard the people have for her. We also got a small taste of Rick, but this one dives more into his backstory and I enjoyed learning about him and all that he's been through. He and Lana balanced each other well, and I loved seeing their relationship grow. It was just so cute. There were so many funny moments in this (I mean, if the accidental tranq gun shooting wasn't enough, there's a scene at a creepy B&B filled with taxidermy squirrels), but also tons of heartwarming ones as well. Again, Morgenthaler mixes humor and heart in such a lovely way. Of course, it had its predictable moments, but I for one am so sold on this series, that it doesn't even phase me. If you're looking for a cute holiday read, pick this up.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, October 2, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite Scary Movies

Hello, all!

It's my favorite month of the year! I’m a big fan of horror movies. From slasher to B-movie, I love them all. I have this little tradition of watching as many as I can throughout October, so this was a fun prompt for me. Let’s get to it.

1. Scream:
I love a final girl in horror, and Sidney Prescott is one of my favorites. This is one of those movies that I just automatically think everyone has seen, and I was mind blown when a friend of mine told me he hadn't. I think this is also a good starting point for the genre since it isn’t too over the top or scary.

2. Halloween: Speaking of final girls, is there a more iconic one than Laurie Strode? I feel like it’s a law that you have to watch this movie on Halloween night. I may not be a huge fan of most of the movies in this series, but this one will always be a fave.

3. Army of Darkness: Let’s be real, most of the time horror movies can be a bit much. That’s why I like to lighten things up with some horror-comedy. The Evil Dead movies are some of my absolute favorites because they don’t take themselves too seriously. They blend horror and humor so well, and a lot of that I think is down to Bruce Campbell and just how animated he is. While the first two movies have a bit more of a horror element, the third, Army of Darkness, amps up the humor to eleven and it’s just so ridiculous that I can’t help but love every minute of it.

4. A Nightmare on Elm Street: I can never get over how much of a sass pot Freddy Krueger is. To me, a lot of ‘80s horror icons had some element of cheese to them, and I think Freddy is at the top of that list. He always had some sort of snappy comeback or one-liner that added a bit of lightness. Also, it has a young Johnny Depp who is a babe.

5. Creature from the Black Lagoon: My love of horror movies started when I was young thanks to the Universal Monster movies. Frankenstein and Creature were always my favorites, but the latter is a smidge higher up for the simple reason that things in the water terrify me. I hate the idea of not knowing what’s lurking beneath you, and I chalk that up to this movie and Jaws for why I will never go into any body of water higher than my ankles.

Do you like scary movies? If so, which is your favorite?

Thursday, October 1, 2020

In a Holidaze Review

Hello, all!

You all know about my love of Christina Lauren, so I was counting down the days until their latest release, In a Holidaze, came out. I'm not normally a fan of holiday books, but this one warmed my heart. Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 10-6-20
Adult - Contemporary

Ever since she was a child, Maelyn Jones and her family have spent their Christmas holiday in Utah in a cabin along with their closest family friends. She lives for this time of year: the cozy cabin, the snow, the food, but most importantly, spending time with Andrew, her crush for the last thirteen years. On the very last day of their holiday, Maelyn learns that the cabin is being sold and to say that she's devastated is an understatement. On the way to the airport, Maelyn throws a desperate plea to the universe to help show her what will make her happy. Then everything goes black, and she wakes up in her plane seat heading to Utah to start her holiday all over again.

Maelyn is the only one who seems to remember the first version of their vacation, so she knows that she was sent back for a reason. The only problem is, she can't figure out what that reason is. After a few missteps send her back to that plane seat and reset the time loop, she knows she needs to figure it out quickly. The more she relives her holiday, the more confident she becomes in herself and what she wants out of life--namely, Andrew. It takes a few tries, but eventually, Maelyn discovers that if she plays her cards right, she might just get everything she's ever wished for this Christmas.

I was all about this Groundhog's Day scenario from the get-go, and I'm so happy that it lived up to all my expectations. Everything from the characters to the story to the dialogue was spot on. Maelyn is instantly likable and relatable, and Andrew is charming and sweet. They already had such a fun friendship (Mandrew and Maisie are adorable) that when it finally progressed to something more it was so satisfying. This wasn't as steamy as some of their other books, but I actually felt it fit the vibe way more. This was such a cozy cute read that had all the humor and heart that this dynamic duo is known for, and would be perfect for fans of Hallmark holiday movies.

Rating: 4/5

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Blog Tour: The Code for Love and Heartbreak Review

Hello, all!

Big thanks to Inkyard Press for having me as part of the blog tour for The Code for Love and Heartbreak by Jillian Cantor!

Pub Date: 10-6-20
YA - Contemporary

Emma Woodhouse is a whiz at math, but utterly clueless when it comes to human interactions. People can be unreliable, but numbers will never let you down. When her older sister heads to college leaving Emma completely friendless, she plans to dedicate all her time to the coding club she's co-president of. With the national competition looming, the club must brainstorm an idea that will take them to the top, and Emma has a rather unconventional project in mind: an app that will mathematically match students up with their perfect partners within the school called The Code for Love.

The rest of the coding club, especially George, Emma's co-president, is hesitant, to say the least. They believe nothing good can come from meddling in people's love lives, but the more excited the student body gets about the matches, the more they have to admit maybe Emma is on to something. But when couples start breaking up, and George is matched with someone else in the club causing certain feelings to stir in Emma, she has to face the facts that maybe math can't solve everything.

I'm always a fan of a Jane Austen retelling, and while I did enjoy this, it felt a little young. There was all the typical high school drama you'd find in a YA, so I do think it'd be well-suited for someone who is actually in the age bracket of the characters. Like the original material, Emma is headstrong, stubborn, and a bit childish at times. She is dead set on the fact that math is the answer to everything that she gets very defensive and lashes out when things don't go her way. I did like her and George and felt he brought out a nice balance to her, and they were cute together. I did also have a few issues with the writing itself. There were times where Cantor felt very repetitive and wordy. The highlight for me was all the actual coding references. I know nothing about that, so it was interesting to see how in-depth and complex it all is. Despite not fully clicking with this, it was a quick read and kept my attention for the most part, and I'd recommend if you're into retellings and YA contemporaries.

Rating: 3/5

More info about the book can be found here!

Friday, September 25, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Sci-Fi Series That Make You Nostalgic

Hello, all!

There are so many sci-fi shows that I love, but here are just the first few that came into my head.

1. Star Trek: The Next Generation: I’ve always had issues falling asleep ever since I was young, and so I would usually just watch TV, and I vividly remember spending lots of late nights with this and The Late Show with Arsenio Hall.

2. Buffy the Vampire Slayer: This show was my everything growing up! I mean, I even have a tattoo for it for cryin’ out loud. Buffy taught me all about Girl Power, and to this day, I still wish I were part of the Scooby Gang.

3. The X-Files: I was definitely far too young when I started watching this, but it’s fine. This is probably the only show that I’ll go back to that still creeps me out so many years later.

4. Red Dwarf: I don’t think this show is that well-known which is a shame because it’s so good. It was a British show from the 80s/90s that I originally started watching because the main characters reminded me of some of my friends (literally, Lister looks exactly like a friend of mine, it’s creepy), but it’s so cheesy and hilarious and it reminds me of being back in college.

5. The Twilight Zone: Every year since I can remember, I’ve spent New Years’ day binging the Twilight Zone and Honeymooners marathons on TV. It’s my little tradition and I can’t ring in a new year without it.

Lemme know some of your favorites!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

September OwlCrate Review

Hello, all!

The theme for this month was "A Glorious Haunting," and it did a pretty good job of getting you in the spooky mood.

First up was this pumpkin spice flavored Sleepy Hollow chapstick by Fiction Bath Co. I actually have super sensitive lips and they get chapped very quickly if I use anything other than Carmex, so I can never actually use lip balms when we get them. I also don't like pumpkin anything (I'm more of an apple girl when it comes to fall!), so this isn't my cup of tea.

Next we had a Hocus Pocus Black Flame Candle by Novelly Yours. This is slightly too strong from my tastes, so I'm not sure how much use I'll get out of this, but I just love anything Hocus Pocus related.

My absolute favorite item in this box was this gorgeous bookmark by Lapels and Spells. I don't have any bookmarks that look like this, so right off the bat it's a standout for me, and I just can't get over the design. 

Then we had these little skull coffee spoons by Team OwlCrate. I'm not a coffee drinker, but I'll find some other use for these cause they're just so fun.

The last item was this The Raven blanket by Michelle Gray. On one hand, I love how soft and cozy these blankets are, but the size always throws me cause they're never long enough to cover you fully.

The book for this month was Horrid by Katrina Leno. After her father's death, Jane and her mother move from sunny California to the dreary Maine house of her mother's childhood. As Jane tries to settle into her new surroundings, she seeks solace in old books and memories, especially after dealing with bullying and her mother's emotional spiraling. When exploring the old house, Jane stumbles upon a locked room that her mother says was for storage, but Jane soon discovers that it's actually a young girls bedroom-- and it doesn't seem to be as empty as it looks.

I've actually never heard of this book before, but it sounds intriguing and it definitely gives off the creepy vibes. Lemme know what you thought of this box!

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Museum of Ice Cream

Hello, all!

Like most lactose intolerant people, when it comes to ice cream, I pretend I'm not lactose intolerant. So when I heard about the pop-up Museum of Ice Cream in NYC, I knew I needed to go. The tickets were originally for April, but due to Covid, the date kept getting pushed back, but finally Saturday was the day! 

Obviously, the exhibit drastically changed due to the virus and wasn't as interactive as it once was, but it was still so much fun. I didn't know what to expect, but there were tons of installations and everything was really well done. There were little bits of ice cream history which were littered throughout, and the staff give you a fun scavenger hunt to play in all the different rooms. It was a quirky way to spend an afternoon.

You can check out all the pictures below! More info about the museum can be found here

Friday, September 18, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Top 5 Sci-fi Movies

Hello, all!

Let’s talk sci-fi movies!

1. Serenity: I’ve already mentioned my love of Firefly, so this was a no brainer. It was such a great way to end the show after it was canceled, and who could ever forget that iconic shot of River standing over all the Reavers she killed singlehandedly?

2. E.T. The Extra Terrestrial: This movie just warms my heart. I love the relationship between Elliot and E.T. so much that I actually went as them for Halloween a few years ago (I even built a tiny bike handle/basket for my E.T. doll). It’s also fun to say “phone homeeee” in my best E.T. voice.

3. Spaceballs: Can this be considered sci-fi? I’m gonna count it. This is one of my favorite movies, and I can pretty much quote it from beginning to end. It’s so hilarious and never fails to make me smile.

4. The Fifth Element: I can sum up my love for this movie in one phrase: Leeloo Dallas multipass.

5. The Thing: ‘80s Kurt Russell, am I right? Whatta babe. Also, there are some scenes in this movie that still gross me out and that’s always a sign of a good movie.

What're some of your favorites?

Thursday, September 17, 2020

The House in the Cerulean Sea Review

Hello, all!

Have you ever read a book and known within the first few pages that it was something magical? That's how I felt with The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune. It quickly became one of my favorite books of all time.

Pub Date: 3-17-20
YA - Fantasy

Linus Baker is as quiet and unassuming as they come. Not one to ruffle any feathers, he keeps his head down and does what he's told. Especially when it comes to his job as a caseworker at the Department in Charge of Magical Youth, where he evaluates the well-being of special children at government-sanctioned orphanages. So when Linus is unexpectedly called up to meet with the Extremely Upper Management, he's as shocked as anyone. He's sure he's about to get sacked for something, but instead, he gets chosen for a very classified job: investigating the Marsyas Island Orphanage to determine whether or not the place is safe to hold the dangerous children that live there. When he arrives at the island, Linus finds he was totally unprepared for what he meets.

The children housed here are unlike any he's ever encountered before: there's Theodore, the wyvern with an affinity for treasure; Chauncey, a tentacled species of unknown origins who desperately wishes to become a bellhop; Talia, a cranky but lovable gnome; Phee, a feisty sprite; Sal, a quiet anxious boy who turns into a Pomeranian when startled; and Lucy, a precocious 6-year old who loves belting along to oldies records who also just so happens to be the Antichrist. And at the helm is Zoe, the sprite guardian of the island, and the master of the orphanage, Arthur Parnassus, a charming man who keeps throwing Linus off-kilter. At first, the kids unsettled Linus, but as he spends more time around them, he starts to see these "dangerous" charges for who they truly are: special kids who are just trying to make the best out of what they were given. Soon, everything Linus has come to know, all his rules and regulations he's spent his whole life following down to the T, get thrown to the wind and for once in his life, Linus finally learns what it means to be alive.

Oh. My. God. This didn't just pull at my heartstrings but instead made it burst into a million little pieces. It was the most charming, whimsical, enchanting, beautifully written/crafted stories I've read in a while. While I adored Linus and Arthur and how entirely sweet they were, the kids are what truly shine. They are the heart of this story and it's so lovely. Each one is so different, but they all blend to make this adorable little family. If I had to pick, my favorites were Lucy and Chauncey because anytime they opened their mouths, I was either smiling or laughing. This is really a story about found family and never letting the prejudices of others cloud how you see yourself. It's so hilarious, heartwarming, and wholesome, and I can't recommend it enough.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Blog Tour: Smash It! Review

Hello, all!

Big thanks to Inkyard Press for having me as part of the blog tour for Smash It! by Francina Simone.

Pub Date: 9-22-20
YA - Contemporary

Olivia "Liv" James has never been one for the spotlight. While her two best friends, Eli and Dré, make girls swoon with their cover band, Liv dissolves into the background. After one embarrassing show, Liv decides she's had enough. She's through letting her insecurities run her life, so she takes a cue from Shonda Rhimes and drafts a F*ck It List.

Soon, Liv is living her life like never before. She has new-found confidence, new friends, and even a part in the school's production of Othello. Liv's checking off items on her list one after another and having the time of her life. What could possibly go wrong? But when she gains the attention of three different guys, two being her best friends, Liv quickly finds out the answer is way more than she bargained for.

I have to admit, it took me a while to get into this. I was probably about thirty percent of the way through before I felt it all clicked and the story began to hit its stride. I liked Liv and felt she was very relatable and was rooting for her on her journey of self-discovery. I did think she fumbled the ball a bit at times, but it was a nice learning experience for her and I felt it helped her grow by the end. Her relationship with Dré was sweet and ended in a way more mature manner than I would've thought, but I was definitely rooting for her and Eli the whole time. I also loved the little glimpses into the script for the play. I thought that was a nice touch since so much of the plot revolved around the show. Despite not fully vibing with the writing at first, I thought this was a cute quick story that would be good for fans of all those messy love triangles teen dramas are famous for.

Rating: 3/5

Thursday, September 10, 2020

Fable Review

Hello, all!

Have you ever seen a book cover that just immediately sucked you in? That's how I felt about Fable by Adrienne Young. Big thanks to Netgalley for the copy!

Pub Date: 9-1-20
YA - Fantasy

Seventeen-year-old Fable has only known one home: the sea. As the daughter of a notorious and powerful trader, she grew up on ships-- being lulled to sleep by the waves, diving for treasures with her mother. However, four years ago, a storm destroyed her father's ship the Lark, killing her mother, and forcing her father to abandon her on a remote island full of cutthroats and thieves. Fable had to quickly learn that the only person she could count on was herself. For four years, she's only had one goal: get off the island, find her father and demand that he gives her her rightful spot by his side. To fulfill this plan, Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West and his reluctant crew.

Fable soon discovers just how far her father's reach has grown, and how dangerous it is to be associated with him and his enterprise. She also learns that West isn't exactly who he seems to be. If the pair hope to survive not just the storms that plague the Narrow sea, they'll both need to learn to trust one another with secrets that every other trader would kill to know.

I really enjoyed Young's other novel, Sky in the Deep, so I was hoping to be immediately sucked into this story and world. While I did enjoy this, it fell slightly short for me. I did like Fable and admired how strong and self-sufficient she was. I thought the whole crew of the Marigold was fun and each brought something interesting to the table. The relationship between Fable and West was fine, but nothing to write home about. The merchant politics and trading was intriguing with just how cutthroat it all is. The story had many good parts to it, yet I just felt like something was missing. It just didn't grab me as much as I was expecting it to. Despite that, I'm still interested to see where the story goes from here.

Rating: 3/5

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Blog Tour: The Orphan of Cemetery Hill Review and Excerpt

Hello, all!

Hester Fox has quickly become one of my favorite authors. She has such an atmospheric writing style and the way she weaves supernatural elements into her stories is always done so well. That's why I jumped at the chance to be a part of the blog tour for her newest release, The Orphan of Cemetery Hill. Big thanks to Graydon House for having me! For my part, I'll be giving you a little review as well as an excerpt. Enjoy!

Pub Date: 9-15-20
Historical Mystery

Young orphaned Tabby has a peculiar gift: she can commune with the dead. While fleeing from her oppressive aunt and uncle who exploited her for her gifts, Tabby and her sister are tragically separated. With no family left, Tabby seeks shelter in a crypt and is soon taken in by Eli, the kind caretaker of the local cemetery. For years, Tabby has lived a quiet life hiding her dangerous secret, but when a string of grave robberies start cropping up around Boston and her gift is uncovered, Tabby finds herself running for her life yet again. Soon, she's taken by a shady group called the "Resurrection Men" who have high hopes that her gift will help them on their quest for reanimating the recently deceased. Tabby must trust in her powers, as well as her small group of friends including the frustratingly handsome Caleb if she hopes to make it out alive.

I absolutely loved Fox's other novels, so I had high expectations for this, but it ended up falling a bit flat for me. While it had all the elements I've loved from her previous work--an interesting historical setting, a mystery that kept you on your toes, and writing so atmospheric it felt like a movie playing in your head--it just didn't capture me as fully as I was hoping. I think part of that reason was the characters themselves. I really liked Tabby and this strange power she had, and the little family she created with Eli and Mary-Ruth, but I just couldn't get behind Caleb. I didn't think he had many redeeming qualities and he treated Tabby so poorly time and time again. Yeah, he may have had a change of heart towards the end, but it was too little too late in my opinion. I also felt the plot was a bit slow, but it came to a satisfying end. Despite a few bumps in the road, I'd still recommend if you're looking for a Gothic mystery and think this would make a great read for Autumn.

Rating: 3.5/5

Friday, September 4, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Favorite Sci-Fi Universes

Hello, all!

It’s been quite some time since I did a 5FF, and I figured it was time to rectify that! This topic was really fun for me because I’m constantly thinking about what it would be like to live in the worlds of my favorite fandoms. Here are just a few of my picks.

1. Star Wars:
Let’s get the most obvious one out of the way first. If you know me, you know my undying love for the galaxy far, far away, so this shouldn’t be a surprise. I’ve always been fascinated by all the different planets, and would love to explore around Endor with some Ewoks or bask in the beauty of Naboo.

2. MCU: Again, obvious. Aside from the Battle of New York (I’d rather not have my house crushed by falling Chitauri debris), any universe where Captain America's butt is plastered everywhere is one I'd like to be in.

3. Firefly: I love Firefly with every fiber of my being, and still get so emotional thinking of Wash’s death. There’s tons of interesting planets to see and fun new slang to learn, just try to stay away from the Reavers. Plus, I’d just really like to be part of Mal’s crew.

4. Farscape: Two words: John. Crichton. *Swoon*

5. Doctor Who: If you tell me that you wouldn’t jump at the chance to be the Doctor’s companion and travel all throughout time and space in the TARDIS, I would call you a liar.

What’re some of your favorites? Lemme know!