Tuesday, November 5, 2019

October Wrap Up (2019)

This month I didn't read enough for two wrap ups, but I'm happy I read as much as I did! It was a little rough this month. Enjoy!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Why Practical Magic is the Perfect Halloween Movie (just perfect period)

There are very few movies I have watched more than a dozen times. Practical Magic easily beats out the Harry Potter and the Pirates of the Caribbean franchises for me. I simply loved this movie to bits then it got me through a tough fall where I was watching it almost every day. I have an ongoing love affair with this movie and if you didn't already know, it is simply perfect for Halloween. Here are some of the reasons I adore it.

First I want you to promise me you will not judge this movie based on its trailer because the trailer is awful.

Ok, now that we are all past that...let's get into some reasons I recommend this movie.

1) Mysterious Magic - For a good chunk of this movie magic is quite mysterious. Is is real? Is it just town gossip? This movie introduces its real magic slowly and lovingly. The girls perform little bits of magic when they are children, but the stronger stuff shows up later.

2) Sisterhood - The sisterhood in this movie is no just about biological sisters, but also about the sisterhood of women. As the Aunts' say, "There's a little witch in all of us." Even though the story centers on Gilly and Sally and the strength of their sisterly bond, we see there is strength in finding your coven too.

(Side note: This part makes me cry every single time)

3) Timeless- With limited special effects most of this movie is timeless. Other than the corded phone and the fashion, this movie stands the test of time fairly well. Maybe someone cast a spell on it?

3) Midnight Margaritas- Witches and booze. What more can I say?

4) Dark, but not too dark - In Practical Magic there are some dark parts. There are certainly some things I wouldn't suggest trying i.e. exchanging blood with others and trying to bring your dead abuser back to life. However there is a lot of humor and lightheartedness in this story as well. If you are looking for fun but adult Halloween, this is for you.

6) Sally Owens- I am a Sally Owens and I adore her so much. I love her big heart and identify with her desire to fit in. Sally Owens is a business owner, a single mom and a witch. I want to be her when I grow up.

7) This Quote:


...and the entire letter Sally writes containing it. 

Overall, this movie is great. It deals with a lot of tough topics like abuse, loss, and depression, but it also is humorous and full of hope. If you love this movie or watch it this season, let me know your favorite quote below. 

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Five TV or Movie Recommendations for Fall

In the fall I start to watch more shows and movies because I feel less guilty about spending my time inside. These are five recommendations that give me a fall vibe without being scary or gory!

1) Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries - This show has been a source of pure joy for me this fall. A lady detective hunts down murders all while collecting a found family full of amusing characters.  I love the lovely balance of this show and how they tackled serious topics. This has some of the best slow burn romance I've ever watched. It is right up there with North and South. I loved this show!

mad men television GIF

2) Stranger Things -I honestly thought nearly everyone had seen Stranger Things, but I learned neither of my co-workers have watched it. So, I'm here to tell you that you should watch Stranger Things. This show is a nice blend of suspense and friendship. It is spooky and a little bit violent and has some gore. If you can handle that you are all set!

3) Cold Cast Files - If you like true crime, this is one you should check out. I find true crime fascinating and find the way detectives and police have solved some of these cold cases. Throughout the show the producers are respectful to the families and no one is blamed for the case going cold. Instead everyone tells how this crime went cold and how the pieces came together.

4) Falling Inn Love - On a lighter note I recommend this Netflix movie about a down-on-her-luck American who wins an inn through an online contest. She just happens to need the help of a New Zealand handy man who is also hot. This is cheesy and there are moments that don't make a lot of sense. However, that's what I love about romantic comedies. It is also amusing and has a little bit of historical mystery to it that I enjoyed.

5) Holey Moley - A miniature golf competition style game show that makes me laugh. Watch as competitors try to master an absurd mini golf course to win money and an ugly golf jacket. I have been watching these when I feel anxious in the evening and the announcers really give me a kick.

At the end of the day there are a lot of shows out there are these are just a few of my recent favorites that I think would be perfect for fall. What are you watching this season?

Monday, October 14, 2019

Review - The Omega Objection by Gail Carriger

The Omega Objection (San Andreas Shifters, #2)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Paperback -
Source: Purchased

Rating: 4/5

A werewolf walks into a bar.

Tank is working as a bouncer when he notices something odd about the new sexy-as-sin bartender. He’s odorless, he’s amazingly popular with shifters, and he’s terrified.

A man without a smell.

Isaac is trying to escape his past. He hides in San Francisco because everyone knows that there are no werewolves in the Bay Area.

Until one walks into his bar.

Can Tank figure out Isaac’s secrets in time to save him? And can Isaac forgive Tank for being a wolf in time to learn how to love?

If I've said it once, I've said it a hundred times. Gail Carriger writes great little stories with a little bit of plot and a whole lot of heart. This adult gay romance is in her same style just written for adults rather than young adult readers. This second book worked better than the first. First of all, there was less info-dumping in regard to the world building. I really enjoyed how this was more balanced between worlding building and plot.

The pacing could still use some work. These stories read really fast, but they get confusing at the end when everything fit together. The solutions make sense, but they come together in one scene so it can be overwhelming.

I really liked Tank and Isaac. I liked how Carriger twisted the Omega lore to her purposes and I had fun following the attraction between Isaac and Tank. The two of them had great chemistry. The entire pack is full of personality. I appreciate how diverse the cast is in this series and Carrgier defines sexuality on page so there is clear representation.

I'm excited to read more in this world. The next book is about a pair I'm extremely curious about and I can't wait to see where Carriger goes next.

Friday, October 11, 2019

Review - Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy
Series: Shadowhunter Universe
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Group: YA
Hardcover- 655pgs
Source: Purchased
Published: November 2016

Rating: 4/5

Simon Lewis has been a human and a vampire, and now he is becoming a Shadowhunter. But the events of City of Heavenly Fire left him stripped of his memories, and Simon isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows he was friends with Clary, and that he convinced the total goddess Isabelle Lightwood to go out with him…but he doesn’t know how. And when Clary and Isabelle look at him, expecting him to be a man he doesn’t remember…Simon can’t take it.

So when the Shadowhunter Academy reopens, Simon throws himself into this new world of demon-hunting, determined to find himself again. His new self. Whomever this new Simon might be.

But the Academy is a Shadowhunter institution, which means it has some problems. Like the fact that non-Shadowhunter students have to live in the basement. And that differences—like being a former vampire—are greatly looked down upon. At least Simon is trained in weaponry—even if it’s only from hours of playing D&D.

Join Simon on his journey to become a Shadowhunter, and learn about the Academy’s illustrious history along the way, through guest lecturers such as Jace Herondale, Tessa Gray, and Magnus Bane. These ten short stories give an epilogue to the Mortal Instruments series and provide glimpses of what’s in store in the Dark Artifices. 

After being away from the Shadowhunter World for several years, I was afraid of trying this short story collection or starting the Dark Artifices Series. I was sure I would forget the tiny details that I enjoy connecting in a Cassandra Clare book. This turned out to be a great refresher and a great introduction. Cassandra Clare is not my favorite writer, but she writes compelling series that I can fly through. In the end these novellas aren't that different.

Since Simon has forgotten the details of his own life, each novella reacquaints him with someone or something from The Mortal Instruments Series. I really enjoyed most of these stories. There were ones that dragged, but this was a effective collection that kept me interested. I wasn't expecting to be emotionally connected to this book, especially since I wasn't attached to anyone in the Bane Chronicles collection, but this was different. I actually loved a lot of the characters that were introduced and even though these were short stories, the world was expanded upon quite a bit.

I was pleasantly surprised by this collection, and I appreciated the fact it refreshed my memory to make me ready to dive into the next series.

My Last Review - Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Thursday, October 10, 2019

September Wrap Up (2019)

How is October going by so quickly? Here we are in the second week and I'm only posting my September Wrap Up. The end of September was not the most successful reading stretch I've ever had. I seem to have a lot of trouble with reading when the seasons change especially into fall. I have a few books to tell you about, but I'm looking forward to October and some spooky reads!

Books Mentioned:
Sanditon by Jane Austen and Another Lady
Lady Mechanika, Vol. 3: The Lost Boys of West Abbey
 Read by Joe Benitez 
Windwitch by Susan Dennard
Sightwitch by Susan Dennard
Stranger Things Vol.1 by Judy Houser
My Brother's Husband Vol. 2 by by Gengoroh Tagame

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday - Character Traits I Love

Once again I am back for Top Ten Tuesday! This week we are discussing the traits we love most in our book characters! This was much more difficult than I expected, but I enjoyed thinking about all my favorite characters and picking apart which traits I love most about them. 

As always please visit That Artsy Reader Girl for topics and to check out other Top Ten Tuesday Posts. 

1) Patience and Caution - This may sound silly, but the longer I read, the longer I am convinced more characters need to be cautious! So many characters dash off into danger without a second thought. So I appreciate the character who has a solid plan. 

2) Loyalty - When characters are disloyal it drives me mad. I want a strong friendship group or a strong trio or a strong romantic relationship. Any kind of disloyalty is frustrating to me. 

3) Playful but not Rude - Banter is the starting point for so many relationships I love in my books. However, I love it when it is playful without going into cruel or rude remarks. 

4) Shy - I'm usually a shy person and I like to see genuinely shy people on page. Unlike so many characters who are described as shy and have a very different disposition once they are half way through the story. *eye roll here* 

5) Responsible - It might just be my personality creeping onto the page because along with Patience and Caution I want characters to be responsible. Please be sure to check we have all the ingredients for a spell before we start please and thank you. 

6) Loving - 🥰I honestly love it when characters show their affection for each other rather than the author telling us about how much they care. 

7) Not Afraid to Ask for Help - This is one I roll my eyes at all the time. Characters who think they need to do everything alone are frustrating. 

8) Clever - This goes for authors too. I love it when a reveal or plot twist is clever especially if there are clues. I want clever reveals balanced with things I could figure out. Is that too much to ask? 

9) Understanding - This could also be labeled compassion. True heartlessness isn't very interesting to me. Warm hearts under tough exteriors is actually the best. 

10) Communicative - USE YOUR WORDS.

My Last Top Ten Tuesday ⇒⇒ Most Anticipated Releases for Fall 2019

Friday, October 4, 2019

Review - Uprooted by Naomi Novik

Series: Standalone
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Hardcover - 435pgs
Source: Purchased
Published: May 2015

Rating: 5/5

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose. 

Even though this book sounded interesting to me, I never expected to fall head over heels for it the way that I did. This book kept me on my toes and was the perfect magical fantasy story with just a touch of romance. I was really impressed with the turns this story took. From the description I was expecting most of this story to take place in the tower, but the story was much more complex than a simple fairy tale retelling.

The world is expertly built. Not only is the magic rich and interesting, I loved watching Agnieszka learn the magic and how she brought her own personality to her magic. The world is stunning. I wish this story was a series to continue to explore the world and spend time with the characters except this story was perfect.

The best part of this book was Agnieszka and Kaisa's friendship. I was continually impressed how Novik changed this story and subverted my expectations. The one thing she never waivered from was their friendship. It was an essential and grounding part of the story for both characters.

To put it simply, I loved this book. I haven't felt the kind of whole hearted joy at the end of a book like I did for this one in a long time. I can't wait to read more from Novik and will be picking up more of her books in the future.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Mid-September Wrap Up (2019)

The first half of September was very successful for me! I got a lot of reading done and took quite a few of my oldest books from my TBR shelf read. I also read some new purchases and new releases. Let me know if you've tried any of these books and what you thought of them. I think my favorite so far this month was Reticence by Gail Carriger.

Books Mentioned: 
Stay Sexy and Don’t Get Murdered by Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff
Teen Titans: Raven by Kami Garcia
March Vol. 2 by John Lewis
Reticence by Gail Carriger
The BFG by Rauld Dahl
My Brother's Husband Vol. 1 by Gengoroh Tagame
Sanditon by Jane Austen and Another Lady

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Review - Mooncakes by Wendy XU and Suzanne Walker

Mooncakes by Suzanne  Walker

Series: n/a
Genre: Paranormal 
Age Group: Young Adult
Ebook - 256 pgs
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: October 15th, 2019

Rating: 4/5

Nova Huang knows more about magic than your average teen witch. She works at her grandmothers' bookshop, where she helps them loan out spell books and investigate any supernatural occurrences in their New England town.

One fateful night, she follows reports of a white wolf into the woods, and she comes across the unexpected: her childhood crush, Tam Lang, battling a horse demon in the woods. As a werewolf, Tam has been wandering from place to place for years, unable to call any town home.

Pursued by dark forces eager to claim the magic of wolves and out of options, Tam turns to Nova for help. Their latent feelings are rekindled against the backdrop of witchcraft, untested magic, occult rituals, and family ties both new and old in this enchanting tale of self-discovery.

This was the cutest story I've read all year. I really enjoyed the bright colorful art style and overall vibe of the story. It was nice to see multiple LGBT+ characters and relationships represented on page. The story is fun and fast paced. It is something you can easily read in one sitting like I did! 

The paranormal elements were really fun and I enjoyed the mix of werewolves and witches. The two main characters have a lovely relationship and there were a lot of great themes of family and friendship. I would love to read move adventures of Nova and Tam! 

*Digital copy provided by NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own*

Friday, September 13, 2019

Review- Read Bottom Up

Read Bottom Up
Series: Standalone
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Group: Adult
Paperback - 239 pgs
Source: Gifted
Published: April 2015

Rating: 5/5

Madeline and Elliot meet at a New York City restaurant opening. Flirtation—online—ensues. A romance, potentially eternal, possibly doomed, begins.

And, like most things in life today, their early exchanges are available to be scrutinized and interpreted by well-intentioned friends who are a mere click away.

Madeline and Elliot's relationship unfolds through a series of thrilling, confounding, and funny exchanges with each other, and, of course, with their best friends and dubious confidants (Emily and David). The result is a brand-new kind of modern romantic comedy, in format, in content, and even in creation—the authors exchanged e-mails in real time, blind to each other's side conversations. You will nod in appreciation and roll your eyes in recognition; you'll learn a thing or two about how the other half approaches a new relationship . . . and you will cheer for an unexpected ending that just might restore your faith in falling in love, twenty-first-century style.  

This little book came onto my radar thanks to an IRL friend and I’m so glad she told me about it. I think most of us can relate to the difficulties of dating over email and text. The interpretation is unpredictable! The waiting for a reply is intense. Using your friend to help you craft a reply is something I know I’ve done.

The story is fast paced since it is told in email format. The characters were relatable, but they didn’t have a lot of depth. I think this is partly to do with the length and the format. Overall, I found this story amusing and easy to read. It was a cute little romance that I appreciated and I thought the ending was realistic which I liked!

My Last Review ⇨ Becoming by Michelle Obama