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