Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Night of the Dragon Blog Tour

Hello, all!

I've been a huge fan of Julie Kagawa's Shadow of the Fox series since it first came out, so I'm incredibly excited to be a part of the blog tour for the final installment, Night of the Dragon. You can find my reviews for the other two books here and here. Big thank you to Inkyard Press for having me!

Pub Date: 3-31-20
YA - Fantasy

**Potential spoilers ahead**

Yumeko, a Kitsune shapeshifter, has given up the final piece of the sacred Scroll of a Thousand Prayers in order to save her friends from a terrible death at the hands of Genno, the Master of Demons. Now, Yumeko and her ragtag band of companions must journey to the Moon Islands in a desperate attempt to stop Genno from calling forth the Great Kami Dragon, and making a wish that will plunge the entire empire into chaos and destruction.

With so many obstacles standing in their way, one of the biggest hurdles the group must face comes from within. Kage Tatsumi was once the deadliest assassin in the Shadow Clan, now he's forced to share his body with a dangerous demon named Hakaimono. For the most part, Tatsumi has a grip on the demon inside, but there are moments when Hakaimono's blood rage is too much. The pair agree to work together, but they soon find out their combined power and skills may not be enough to help Yumeko overcome what's ahead. Especially when the group discover there's been a shadowy figure following their every move, and he has his own plans in store.

This was an action packed rollercoaster right from the jump. There wasn't any slow building, you were thrust right into the fray, and I loved it. I've always said this series plays out like an anime, and this was no exception. The character development and growth of Yumeko and Tatsumi was wonderful, and watching their relationship blossom was both heartwarming and heartbreaking. As I said, the action in this story was full throttle. Every time you turned the page, there was some evil to vanquish or some new obstacle the group needed to face. Whatever Kagawa threw out, Yumeko and gang met it with humor and heart. I sort of figured out the little twists before they happened, so that was the only reason why this wasn't a full 5 star read for me, but either way I enjoyed every minute and thought this was such a solid end to the series.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, March 27, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Most Beloved Disney Sidekicks

Hello, all!

This week's 5FF is dedicated to all the sidekicks out there. The ones who provide comedic relief, advice, or just a shoulder to lean on. There's so many great choices to pick from, so here are just a few of mine.

1. Timon and Pumbaa: How can you have a list like this and not include these two? Not only are they hilarious, but they gave the world the great mantra: Hakuna Matata.

2. Genie: Robin Williams had some amazing parts throughout his career, but I've always thought Genie was one of his best. Aladdin was already a great movie, but he just brought it to a whole other level.

3. Olaf: I have to admit, I'm not a huge Frozen fan. I just never really got the hype, but I did think that Olaf was the funniest part of the entire thing.

4. Mushu: Eddie Murphy as a sassy dragon? Yes, please.

5. Sebastian: I love how most sidekicks are really fun and upbeat, but Sebastian was always sort of annoyed. But he did give us the complete bangers "Under the Sea" and "Kiss the Girl", which automatically put him on my list.

Let me know some of your picks!

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

OwlCrate March Review

Hello, all!

This months theme was "Music of the Night", and although it wasn't my favorite box, there were some cool things. Let's get into it.

First up was this mint chocolate chip lip scrub by Fairytale Bath Company inspired by Twilight. I'm not a huge fan of the scent, but I've always wanted to try a lip scrub since I get really chapped lips.

I love when we get candles! This Wintersong inspired one was created by Flick the Wick and I'm obsessed. I've gotten a few candles by them in the past, and they're always so great. This smells a lot of peach, which I love, so I can't wait to light this up.

Just like candles, I'm a sucker for a pair of socks! These were an OwlCrate exclusive to celebrate their 5-year anniversary, and just like every other pair of socks they've sent, the quality is so nice and cozy.

Then we had these book plates by @Veresknatasia_art. The design is very Harry Potter-esque, which I love. I'm not sure if I'll actually use them though, since I kind of don't like the idea of defacing my books, but they're pretty cool.

This wooden art print was a new item they included. It was inspired by the Monsters of Verity series and designed by Emilee Rudd. I didn't actually like that series, but I think the print is nice.

We had this wireless speaker which was another OwlCrate exclusive. These are always convenient to have around, so I'm sure I'll get use out of it.

The last item was this The Phantom of the Opera art print by Anne Lambelet.  I've never seen this musical, and I also don't really have any desire to, but the artwork of the print itself is really nice.

The book this month was The Kingdom of Back by Marie Lu. Everyone knows Mozart, but not many know there was another. Nannerl Mozart is a brilliant musician in her own right, and she has only ever had one wish: to be remembered forever. Despite her talents, she knows her music will never be taken seriously especially since women composing music is forbidden in 18th century Europe. She may play music until she's reached marriageable age, but then she must give it up. With every year that passes, Nannerl's hope of playing music forever diminishes as the talent and word surrounding her brother, Wolfgang, grows. As his talents start to eclipse her own, a stranger approaches Nannerl with an interesting offer-- he can make all her wildest dreams come true but it may cost her everything.

I'm a big fan of historical fiction, especially if it's centered around someone who actually existed, so I'm interested to see how this plays out. Lemme know what you all thought of this box!

Friday, March 20, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- What I’ve been loving on Disney+

Hello, all!

The main reason I got Disney+ was all the amazing Star Wars and Marvel shows that'll be streaming, but once I got it and saw all the shows from my childhood I forgot, I was completely hooked. Here are just a few that I've been binging.

1. The Mandalorian: Not gonna lie, this was why I ended up caving and buying a subscription to Disney+. I absolutely loved this show, and obviously I would die for Baby Yoda (I know, I know he's not Yoda, he's The Child), and I can't wait to see what happens next season.

2. So Weird: You all know I've always been into the spookier things in life, and this show was The X-Files for kids. I used to think Fi had it all: she got to tour the country with her rockstar mom all the while investigating paranormal activity ranging from alien encounters to banshees. What a life!

3. X-Men: Animated Series: This is one of my favorite cartoons. I remember watching it every weekend when I was young, and I still love it just as much. I still can't get over Rogue's ridiculously over the top Southern accent though, but the theme intro alone makes up for it.

4. Recess: This was my jam when I was in middle school. It used to play in the mornings as well and I'd watch it then have to power walk to school so I wouldn't be late, but it was worth it.

5. Lizzie McGuire: Find me a young girl in the early 2000s who didn't love this show. I always wished I had a little cartoon version of myself to speak whatever was on my mind. I'm so bummed that the reboot of this doesn't seem to be happening because adult Lizzie would've been everything.

Lemme know what you've been watching!

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

The Honey-Don't List Review

Hello, all!

Last year I became absolutely obsessed with Christina Lauren books. When I saw that their latest, The Honey-Don't List, was available on Netgalley I jumped on it. Big thank you to them for the copy!

Pub Date: 3-24-20
Adult - Contemporary
Carey Douglas has spent the last ten years of her life working behind the scenes for America's favorite home renovating couple, Melissa and Rusty Tripp. In that time, Carey has gone from a 16 year old country girl working the register at their first store, to secretly helping them build their design empire. Now, as the Tripp's are about to embark on a book tour and launch a new TV series, Carey is facing her most challenging job yet: making sure no one figures out that these design darlings can't stand each other.

James McCann has been knocked down a few pegs on the employment totem pole. He went from working an engineering job to running errands as Rusty Tripp's assistant. So, after he and Carey find his boss in a very compromising position with someone who's not his wife, the last thing he wants to do is be forced into going along on a book tour to make sure things go smoothly. With the pair having their own reasons why they have to stick this job out, Carey and James vow to keep their bosses' secrets to themselves. But they soon realize that instead of trying to fix what's already broken, they could try building something new together.

As much as it pains me to say it, out of all the Christina Lauren books I've read, this was my least favorite. There wasn't anything necessarily wrong with it, it just lacked that signature magic the duo usually have. The story itself was alright, the relationship between Carey and James was fine but wasn't really anything to write home about. Honestly, it took me almost half the book to even really get into it. Despite not falling for this one as much as I have their others, I'd still recommend if you're a fan.

Rating: 3.5/5

Thursday, March 12, 2020

House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City #1) Review

Hello, all!

I'm a huge Sarah J. Maas fan. Her A Court of Thorns and Roses series is one of my favorites, and I think she's one of the best writers when it comes to Fae-centered fantasy. When I was strolling through BookCon last year and saw a massive banner for her newest adult series, Crescent City, I was counting down the days until I could get my hands on the first book, House of Earth and Blood. I'm so happy to report it didn't disappoint at all.

Pub Date: 3-3-20
New Adult - Fantasy
Bryce Quinlan, half-human half-Fae, once had it all: the perfect party life, the perfect circle of friends, but that all came crumbling down one night when a demon slaughtered all she held dear leaving Bryce broken and alone. When the accused was thrown in jail, Bryce thought her nightmare was over, but when murders start again in Lunathion in the same fashion as her friends, Bryce finds herself right in the middle of the investigation. And she'll do whatever it takes to avenge her friends.

Fallen angel, Hunt Athalar, is known for being a ruthless killer. Umbra Mortis, the Shadow of Death as he's know, was once a general in a coup to overthrown the Archangels, but now he's enslaved to them. Used as a weapon against their enemies, whoever Hunt is pointed at, he must take down, no questions asked. With a dangerous unknown demon running around the city, Hunt is given an irresistible deal: help Bryce find and defeat the murderer and his freedom could be within his reach. But as the pair dives deeper into the underbelly of the city, they discover an even greater darker conspiracy. One that could mean the end of all they know and everyone they love.

Holy. Cow. This book killed me in the best way. Everything about this story was brilliant. The world building was stunning, it really felt like Crescent City was a real place. The characters were so intriguing and interesting. Bryce had so many facets to her, some flawed but others endearing. Hunt was a brutal killer, yet vulnerable. The murder mystery was captivating and left me on the edge of my seat. There were twists that I never expected that literally left my jaw on the floor. Aside from Bryce and Hunt, this story is filled to the brim with fascinating characters, one of my favorites being the fire sprite, Lehabah. There was a moment towards the end with her that choked me up, and I'm notoriously unemotional when it comes to books. Love, friendship and loyalty is really at the core of this story and what ties it all together, and it was beautiful to read. I cannot wait to see what else Maas has in store with this one.

Rating: 5/5

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

A Murderous Relation Review (Veronica Speedwell #5)

Hello, all!

You all know by now how much I love the Veronica Speedwell series by Deanna Raybourn, right? Well, let me just reiterate: I love the Veronica Speedwell series 👏so 👏much. I want nothing more than for Netflix to make it into a show because I just need more of it in my life, but for now I'll settle for reading the books over and over. (You can read my reviews of the others here, and here). Needless to say, the newest installment, A Murderous Relation, was my most anticipated release of this year and I was so beyond excited to receive a copy from Berkley, so a massive thank you to them!

Pub Date: 3-10-20
Historical Fiction - Mystery

**Potential spoilers ahead**

There is no rest for Veronica Speedwell and her faithful companion Stoker. Fresh off a case which almost killed them, but which did lead to them finally professing their feelings for one another, the pair are thrust directly into another by Lady Wellingtonia, which is so scandalous it could potentially rock the monarchy to its core. Prince Albert Victor is a regular inhabitant of Club de l'Etoile, a rather exclusive club that caters to a more, ahem, interesting clientele, and he's given an expensive gift to the proprietress, Madame Aurore, that Lady Wellingtonia will do anything to make sure isn't traced back to the Prince. If that wasn't enough, London is currently in a frenzy over a string of murders by a man who calls himself Jack the Ripper, and Lady Wellie can't help but think maybe the prince has a hand in that as well.

Veronica and Stoker begrudgingly agree to help Lady Wellie by going undercover at Madame Aurore's brothel. While in the midst of their investigation, the pair come across Prince Albert, in drag and going by the name "Victoria" no less, and soon stumble upon a body of none other than the Madame herself. Forced to flee from the scene, the trio are then kidnapped and held captive by a shadow from Veronica's past. When secrets that were thought buried come swirling to the surface, Veronica and Stoker must puzzle together the truth before it's too late.

I knew that I was going to enjoy this regardless of how it turned out just because I'm such a fan, but I really did love this. I'm always immediately sucked into the story and whatever case Veronica and Stoker are working on. Raybourn is so amazing when it comes to fun dialogue, and there's never a shortage of witty banter. I love how the relationship between not just Veronica and Stoker, but Lady Wellie and other secondary characters, always feels so natural. We get to dive back into Veronica's murky past again, and I liked how it all unfolded with her and Prince Albert. I will say, my only small gripe was that I wish the Ripper murders played a little bit more into the story line. I'm a bit fascinated by that time and would've loved to see more of Raybourn's spin on it. Other than that, this was yet another brilliant installment to the series, and I can't recommend it enough if you're looking for a fast-paced action-packed historical fiction/mystery to fall in love with.

Rating: 4.5/5

Friday, March 6, 2020

5 Fandom Friday- Underrated Disney Movies

Hello, all!

Pretty much everyone has grown up watching and loving Disney movies. From frolicking under the sea with Ariel, to reading with Belle in the library, to flying a magical carpet around Agrabah, there's always some adventure waiting for you. Here are a few of my favorite Disney films that I think don't get as much love as they deserve.

1. The Black Cauldron: This movie goes to show even Disney went through a Goth phase, and I love it. It's so dark and I definitely did a double take when I first saw it because I couldn't believe it was from the House of Mouse.

2. The Great Mouse Detective: Take the story of Sherlock Holmes but make it with mice? Genius!

3. Hercules: This one may not be super underrated, but it's my favorite Disney movie so I just had to show it love. Plus, Hades just steals the show.

4. Aristocats: I forgot how dang catchy the songs in this one were. Also, let's be honest, Marie the kitten was such a sass queen and it was great.

5. A Goofy Movie: Still to this day, I'm incapable of not dancing/singing along to "Stand Out" by Powerline.

Let me know some of your picks!

Thursday, March 5, 2020

The Grace Kelly Dress Blog Tour

Hello, all!

You all know how much I love historical fiction, so I'm really excited to be a part of the blog tour for The Grace Kelly Dress by Brenda Janowitz. This is a beautiful sweeping story following three different women and a dress that brings their lives together in a surprising way. It's full of heartbreak, family, and confronting the past in order to embrace the future. For my part, I'll be giving you all a little excerpt. Big thanks to Harlequin for having me!

Pub Date: 3-3-20
Historical Fiction
"She loved the dress. She loved the veil that went with it, too, though she wasn’t sure if it could be salvaged. It was showing signs of age, its edges curling and tinged with brown. But that wouldn’t dull her excitement.
Today was the day she would be trying on her mother’s wedding dress. Even though Joanie had tried it on countless times as a child—it was a favorite rainy-day activity with her mother—today felt different. She was engaged, just like she’d dreamed about ever since she could remember. When she tried the dress on this time, it was for keeps. She was completely in love with the dress.
“Let me help you get it on,” Joanie’s mother said, her French accent coming through. It was always more pronounced when she was feeling emotional. With her American friends, Joanie noticed, her mother always tried to sound “American,” softening her accent and using American expressions. But when they were alone, she could be herself. Let her guard down. Joanie knew exactly who her mother was, and she loved her for it.
Her mother handed Joanie a pair of white cotton gloves and then put on her own set. The first step in trying the dress on, always, so that the oils in their hands wouldn’t defile the fabric. She laid the large box on her bed and nodded her head at her husband, her signal to give them privacy. The door closed to Joanie’s childhood bedroom, and she and her mother were alone.
The white cotton gloves were cool and smooth on her skin. Joanie opened the box slowly. So slowly. It was sealed with a special plastic that was supposed to keep it airtight so that the dress would not oxidize and turn yellow. She and her mother laughed as they struggled to set the dress free. The last time she tried the dress on was the summer before her sister died. It was after Michele’s death that her mother brought the dress into the city so that it might be cleaned properly and preserved for just this day. At the time, Joanie hadn’t understood the connection between her sister’s sudden death and her mother’s tight grip on family heirlooms, but now, a year into her psychology degree at NYC University, she understood. It was so hard to hold on to things that were important to you, things that mattered, and preserving her wedding dress, this memory, was her mother’s way of taking control of something. It was something she could save.
The dress was just as beautiful as she’d remembered. Crafted from rose point lace, the same lace used on Grace Kelly’s iconic wedding dress, it was delicate and classic and chic and a million other things Joanie couldn’t even articulate.
“Go on,” her mother said, holding the first part of the dress—the bodice with the attached underbodice, skirt support, and slip—out for her to take. As a child, it had thrilled Joanie to no end that the wedding dress her mother wore was actually made up of four separate pieces. It was like a secret that a bride could have on her special day, something that no one else knew.
“I couldn’t,” Joanie said, hands at her side. Knowing how carefully preserved the dress had been, what the dress had meant to her mother, it was hard for Joanie to touch it. She didn’t want to get it dirty, sully its memory. “It’s just so beautiful.”

“It’s yours now,” her mother said, smiling warmly. “The dress belongs to you. Put it on.”"

More info on the book can be found here:

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Mini Thoughts

Hello, all!

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

Pub Date: 3-2-20
Historical Fiction - Romance
Where the Stars Meet the Sea- Heidi Kimball: Juliet Graham is counting down the weeks until her twenty-first birthday, when she can gain full guardianship of her younger brother and finally get out from under the oppressive hand of her domineering aunt Agnes. When she's forced to accompany her family to a house party at Shaldorn Castle, Juliet tries to keep to herself, but a rather rude run in with the Duke causes a whirlwind of emotions to stir in her. After insulting the Duke, Juliet is fully prepared to be sent away and face the wrath of her aunt, but to her surprise, the reclusive Duke seems to take a shining to her. The more time they spend together, the deeper their feelings for one another grow, but after her scheming aunt threatens her with a cruel ultimatum, Juliet must finally decide if she's willing to put her happiness first. This is a little difficult for me because while I did like it, I felt like it was missing a little extra something. I think a lot of it had to do with other historical fiction romances usually tend to be quite steamy, but this one was more innocently sweet. I was slightly bored during the beginning, but by the end I was fully invested. This is also one that you can easily read in one sitting. So, while it may have fell slightly short for me, I'd still definitely recommend it.

Rating: 3.5/5

Pub Date: 3-17-20
Break Your Glass Slipper- Amanda Lovelace: Amanda Lovelace is known for baring her soul in her work, and her newest poetry collection is no exception. Each page is filled with heartbreak, empowerment, learning to love oneself, and moving on from things and those that have caused you pain. She has such a magical way of taking thoughts that each of us have had at some point and making them real to help you heal. This might be my favorite collection of hers thus far. I found myself highlighting quite a lot of passages that felt really relatable, and I also really liked the artwork throughout. I definitely recommend checking this out if you're a fan.

Rating: 4/5