Friday, December 30, 2016

Review - If You Feel to Much by Jamie Tworkowski

If You Feel Too Much: Thoughts on Things Found and Lost and Hoped For
Series: Standalone
Genre: Nonfiction/Memoir 
Source: Purchased 
Published - May 2015 
Hardcover - 208pgs

Rating: 5/5

If You Feel Too Much is a celebration of hope, wonder, and what it means to be human. From personal stories of struggling on days most people celebrate to words of strength and encouragement in moments of loss, the essays in this book invite readers to believe that it’s okay to admit to pain and okay to ask for help. If You Feel Too Much is an important book from one of this generation’s most important voices.

I'm a beginner when it comes to poetry, but I think that works well for this book since it isn't strictly poetry or memoir. It’s a little bit of everything. Jamie is experimenting with writing, essays and poetry. Really he just writes down his thoughts and tries to make sense of the world and it is often quite moving. He recounts many instances of love and loss from the past ten years throughout this collection. He is a light in the darkness and I need that sometimes.

In 2016 I saw Jamie speak twice in person and I watched a broadcast of one of his talks online. He is a warm lovely person which he conveys so well through this work. I love it. I cried. I laughed. My heart was heavy and my spirit was uplifted. Jamie's words just speak to my soul and helped me a lot over the past year.

I'm biased because TWOLHA is an organization I love and one which Jamie helped form. I really enjoyed this book. The writing can be incoherent if you don't know what prompted the particular essay which is my only complaint. Overall, I would highly recommend this book. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

#Booktubeathon & #BoutofBooks TBR

Whether you are hurrying to finish your 2016 reading goals like me, or you are ready to start your 2017 reading off right (also like me), there are readathons coming up that will satisfy you. Check the details in my video!

Readathon Links:

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Top Ten Surprise Books Of 2016

This year I finally tried a lot of books and authors I've had my eye on for

1) Soulless by Gail Carriger - This entire series knocked my socks off during the first half of this year. I have dubbed this year the year of Gail Carriger since I've read and or purchased nearly all of her books this year.

2) Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - After hearing about this series for literally years, I finally picked the first two books up and adored them. This series is seriously underrated and more people should pick it up!

3) Fruits Baskets Collector's Editions by Natsuki Takaya - Earlier this year I heard Yin Press was rereleasing this series in collector's editions and was pleasantly surprised. While I have read this before, I had no thought of ever having a set of my own!

4) My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, Jodi Meadows - This wasn't on my anticipated releases. I hadn't even heard about it until about a month before its released. I'm so glad I picked it up! This is a hilarious story that entertained me this summer.

5) Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews - Talk about surprises! My best friend introduced me to this series in October and I've sped through the eight volumes in record time. The writing is addictive and I love the characters in this series so much.

6) A Court of  Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas - After some distance from ACOTAR and hearing several different views on that book, I wasn't sure I wanted to read this sequel. It completely blew me out of the water. I was so pleased with this one and am excited for the wrap up of this series.

7) Hamilton: The Revolution by Lin-Manuel Miranda, Jeremy McCarter - Last year I never would have imagined Hamilton at all let alone this very interesting book.

8) Darcy's Tale by Stanley Michael Hurd - As I have only read a few Austen retelling this year, I didn't have many to choose from. However, this one surprised me a lot. It was a really interesting take on

9) If You Feel Too Much by Jamie Tworkowski - Lovely book from a lovely man who does amazing work. I guess I shouldn't be surprised how much I loved this book, but I was!

10) Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout - I was surprised twice by this book. First that it existed and we got a whole book from Daemon's POV. Second that there were two versions and the first three books were written in Daemon's POV. I died. I love him.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The Long Lost Fall Book Haul (2016)

So blog life got a little jumbled when I came back from my hiatus and this book haul was lost in the mix. This is my first book haul since September which is actually really good since I bought A LOT of books in September. I considered refilming this after Christmas, but what if I get a lot of books for Christmas?

Books Mentioned:

Friday, December 23, 2016

Review - Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Magic Rises (Kate Daniels, #6)
Series: Kate Daniels #6
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Source: Purchased
Published: July 2013
Mass Market - 327 pgs

Rating - 4/5

Mercenary Kate Daniels and her mate, Curran, the Beast Lord, are struggling to solve a heartbreaking crisis. Unable to control their beasts, many of the Pack’s shapeshifting children fail to survive to adulthood. While there is a medicine that can help, the secret to its making is closely guarded by the European packs, and there’s little available in Atlanta.

Kate can’t bear to watch innocents suffer, but the solution she and Curran have found threatens to be even more painful. The European shapeshifters who once outmaneuvered the Beast Lord have asked him to arbitrate a dispute—and they’ll pay him in medicine. With the young people’s survival and the Pack’s future at stake, Kate and Curran know they must accept the offer—but they have little doubt that they’re heading straight into a trap…

This book hurt me. It hurt me a lot. I'm fairly sure I rated this five stars in my wrap up, but the longer I think about it the more I think I need to drop it a star.

First of all, there is something that happens in this book that makes me a little less enchanted with Kate and Curran's relationship. The events of this installment made their relationship more problematic. They have some serious trust issues and, while I have loved their ability to forgive each other, it goes to far in this novel. There are some things that have been set up as SERIOUS issues for shapeshifter relationships in past novels that are trivialized in this book. It just did not make sense to me. My other issue was with the way Kate's identity was handled. Throughout the series Kate's heritage has been a big secret, but many things were revealed too casually in this book. It was anticlimactic.

While I had some issues with Kate and Curran's relationship, I loved how Kate's relationship with the other pack members and her enemies was written. She continues to be tough and fight for what is right even when the odds are stacked against her. The authors use a variety of mythologies and represent so many cultures in the books. It amazes me how they continue to incorporate more. The storyline was so heart wrenching though! There were many tears. The beginning and ending of this particular book ripped my heart out.

Next book please!

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Series I Finished in 2016

Today we follow up on the video I posted earlier in the week in which I listed all the series I started in 2016. These are all the series I've finished or caught up on in 2016. It has been a wild year and I have finished a few series. Next year my goal is to finish even more because some of these have been going on for a long time.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review - Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews

Gunmetal Magic (Kate Daniels, #5.5)
Series: Kate Daniels #5.5
Genre: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: July 2012
Mass Market - 326 pgs

Rating - 4/5

After eviction from the Knights of Merciful Aid, Andrea is a wreck. She starts work for best pal PI Kate Daniels. Shapeshifters under Raphael Medrano — Clan Bouda male alpha, Andrea’s ex-lover — die suddenly at a dig site. With Raphael, she seeks killer in deep dark Atlanta. Her feelings for him may take a back seat to saving the world…

There is something that always appeals to me about reading a series from another point of view. This story especially appealed since Andrea is one of my favorite character in the Kate Daniels Series.  When I started Magic Rises, something was missing. I knew there had to be a short story that would fill in the gaps so I quickly checked Goodreads, found out about this entire book, and visited Barnes and Noble to pick this up.

Basically, Andrea has become an investigator alongside Kate and we follow her as she tackles a new case. She goes at it at a different angle than Kate would which was a nice change of pace for me in the middle of this series. While I adore Kate, I like Andrea's police/military training and how she approached this situation.  Andrews had established Andrea as a strong character before, but I loved having a whole book to see her in action. It was also very interesting to get her story from her own point of view. Her backstory isn't something that would be easy to share so getting it in her own words seemed right.

We get even more background, characters and monsters in this story. I loved it. It's a fantastic add on to this series. The romantic elements are important to the series and help explain a few things in the next books. However, it doesn't dominate the story. There are plenty of other threads in this story. It's obviously the authors don't enjoy writing the sexy scenes, but I've known that for several books. I didn't expect it to change in this one.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, but I am anxious to get back to Kate and Curran.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Ten Books I Wouldn't Mind Santa Leaving Under My Tree

Every year I wish for a lot of books all year round not just at Christmas. However I always put a few on my Christmas list. These are the ten I am crossing my fingers and toes for this Christmas. Check out the topics for Top Ten Tuesday at the Broke and the Bookish.

I really really want these ten. Even though some of them of the aren't published yet, I bet Santa could them for me. What books are on your list?

Labyrinth Lost (Brooklyn Brujas, #1)  



My Last Top Ten ----> Top Ten New Authors I Read in 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Series I Started in 2016

There are some years when I look back at my year and I think "What I did I even read this year?" Today I'm looking back at the series I started this year in hopes I can keep better track of my progress through series each year. I will have a follow up to this video at the end of the week about the series I have finished in 2016.

Monday, December 12, 2016

#Cramathon and End of 2016 TBR

Once again I'm slightly bending the rules of a readathon. I'm just not made to follow strict guidelines, not that many readathons have strict guidelines, but I need to get some books finished for the end of the year! So these are the ones I'll be reading up until December 30th.

Books Mentioned:

Friday, December 9, 2016

Review- Soulless Manga Series Review

Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 1 (The Parasol Protectorate Manga) Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 2 Soulless: The Manga, Vol. 3

Genre: Paranormal Historical Fiction
Source: Purchased 
Paperback - Total Pages 682

Series Rating: 5/5 
Initially, I meant to read one of these a month so I could draw them out and enjoy them slowly. That plan went out the window rather quickly when I actually sat down and read the first volume. This books are fast paced and beautifully drawn. The story itself is adapted extremely well. I didn't feel like pieces of the story were missing and Carriger's wonderful flow and pacing were preserved in this adaptation to manga style. 

Since finishing The Parasol Protectorate Series in July, I have missed Alexia so much. I was so excited to follow her adventures again in this series. The first three books are adapted and stop at an appropriate point in the series. While Carriger has posted that it is doubtful we will see more than these three adaptations, I will harbor hopes that someday we will see the last two books adapted. For me, the adaptations were absolutely perfect and I enjoyed them so much. 
After seeing what a disjointed and jumbled mess a manga adaptation can be, I am so glad to know one of my favorite series was done so well. Kudos to Gail Carriger and REM for translating the story so well. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

T5W - Books to Read in 2016

It has been a hot minute since I posted a Top Five Wednesday video. This week's topic really intrigued me though. I'm anxious, I think like many people, to leave 2016 behind and move on to 2017. Next year I want to focus on these books in hope I will finally(!) read them.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Top Five New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016

Thus far this year I have done a fair mix of reading new books and authors as well as rereading. However, because I've reread so many of my books this year, I don't have a ton of new authors to share this year for Top Ten Tuesday! I've also read a lot of series from new authors I've read so I feel like that cut down on my number of new authors. I only have five to share this time!

1) Ilona Andrews- Have you heard me gush about the Kate Daniels series? No? You are missing out. Ilona Andrews is actually a pseudonym for a married duo who write together. Their books are awesome and I've read eight of their books in the past few months. Go check them out!

2) Gail Carriger - I've had Gail on my radar for years. Luckily, she is publishing and working on many things at the moment so there is plenty of content for me to devour. Her books are awesome and diverse.

3) Melina Marchetta - So many people raved about Marchetta and I ignored them for a long time. However, this year I finally checked out Finnikin of the Rock which I loved. It was fantastic and I can't wait to read more than just her fantasy books.

4) Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff - These two have a small collection of Sci-Fi books out. This year I read Illuminae and it was amazing. I'm anxious to get my hands on book two and to check out their individual works as well.

5) Rainbow Rowell - I have finally jumped on the Rainbow Rowell bandwagon. I read Fangirl this year and plan on checking out several more of her books. I'm anxious to read one of her adult stories.

Magic Bites (Kate Daniels, #1) Soulless (Parasol Protectorate, #1) Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles, #1) Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1) Fangirl

My Last Top Ten Tuesday ---> Ten Books I've Added to My TBR

Sunday, December 4, 2016

November Wrap Up and Catch Up

Hello Internet!

I've been out of the blogging world for a few weeks and, while it has been glorious, I have missed it! So here I am back again. The first thing to do is catch you up on what I've been up to in November. This month was a bit dismal as far as finishing books, but I did read a lot of pieces of books so hopefully I can finish those in December.

What I actually did on my blogging break was watch a lot of Netflix and play a lot of Assassins Creed. What I realized was I wasn't taking enough time to relax generally at the beginning of the month. I'll be honest and say I had some post-election blues that made it hard to open my computer let alone write blog posts.

However, as always, in the new year one of my goals will be balance and moderation. I hope to do a better job balancing work and play, but things always spiral out of control one way or another. Let me know how your November was! I'd love to hear what kind of adventures you've been on (physically or while reading) over the past month!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Taking a Break

Well folks,

Today I'm making it official. I'm taking a break. This blog is a big part of my life. I love running it and talking about books and meeting other people on it. However, it is stressing me out. For the past year or longer I've been posting almost five days a week on this blog. Each day I've posted either a video or a typed post about my favorite (and least favorite) books, but I am tired. My creative juices are completely drained and I feel like I've reduced my reading so I can work on the blog posts. That was never the goal. This was supposed to be all fun.

So I'm taking November off. I might even take more time off. I want to focus on my reading goals for the end of the year and focus on enjoying the books I'm reading. I also want to spend more time with my friends and family since that's what this time of year is all about. You might see an occasional post from me. Actually, you'll see at least one because I'm participating in the Tome Topple Readathon so watch for that. Other than that event though it will be radio silence for a little while. I might get the itch, but I'll be off the radar for about a month. The plan is to start back up on December 1st for some end of year fun! I'll keep you posted if any of that could change.

I cooked up this plan while I was traveling for work. You may have noticed I didn't post much in this first week or so of November. I was considering this plan while I was gone. I still had a few days without my laptop and camera so I really thought a lot about it. I think I need this. I need to step away and let my mind work for a while without this blog. As much as I love it, the drain is really taking its toll on me.

So if you want to see what I'm up to, check out this post to find more of my social media profiles. I will be limiting myself on those as well, but I'll be around if you want to chat. Next week the 14th - 18th I plan to be offline for the most part. I'm giving myself permission to be completely useless for a few weeks and enjoy some other parts of my life rather than the productive/blogging parts.

I'll see you soon! Happy Reading


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ten Books I've Added To My To-Be-Read List Lately

This week is easy peasy. I've added a lot of amazing looking books to my TBR recently. Some are purchases and some are upcoming releases. Some are very old, but I want to read them very much!

Romancing the Inventor (Supernatural Society, #1) Breaking Legacies Hunted

Scythe Norse Mythology Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded

Kindred A Study in Scarlet Women (Lady Sherlock, #1) The Queen of Blood (The Queens of Renthia, #1)

Daughter of the Pirate King

Thursday, October 27, 2016

#AllHallowsWeek Review - Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake

Three Dark Crowns

Series: Three Dark Crowns  #1
Genre: Fantasy 
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: October 2016
Hardcover - 398pgs

Rating- 4/5

In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born—three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.

But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.

The last queen standing gets the crown.

Kendare Blake continues her string of dark and gritty stories with this foray into fantasy. Unsurprisingly this story had just the right mix of dark elemental magic and awesome writing.

If I had one word to describe this book, it would be solid. It started as an intriguing synopsis which I was very excited to check out. The foundation for this new duology is well set. An interesting set of characters is introduced and the world building is slowly starting to take shape. I honestly loved all the sisters, which I wasn't expecting, and am eager to have the next book in my hands.

Most of the characters, especially the strong main characters, are ladies. All of them are fierce and brave throughout the book and romance took a back seat to the main storyline which I really enjoyed. The story really focused on the three sisters' lives and their preparations for this year when they would try to kill each other. The romance is there, but for a majority of the book it is low key and in the background. 

Overall I only had two issues with this story which all relate back to the very short chapters. Throughout the book the chapters are short and we switch between the three sisters' lives. For the first part of this book this constant switching made it difficult to distinguish the many side characters. It was also difficult to feel connected to any of the sisters since we constantly jumped from one to the other. These short chapters also made the pace drag. It took a long time for the story to build and not  much happens in the middle of the book. The ending is quite exciting and action packed, which really saved the book, but I would have liked more action throughout.

Like I mentioned, I am still really excited about the next book. There will be a lot of ground to cover and a lot of strings to tie up, but I am sure Blake is up to the task. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

My Ten Halloweenish/Spooky TV Episodes

Last year I wanted to put together a list of my favorite Halloween movies and episodes. I've done a little better this year and actually gotten together a few of my favorites! Before we jump into the best single episodes, I would recommend any of the episodes in the first season of Supernatural, Sleepy Hollow or Buffy like I mentioned yesterday in my Top Ten Tuesday post. Many of these episodes are stand alones and don't have season long story arcs. Supernatural especially is dark and spooky in the early episodes when we are just hunting monsters. Sleepy Hollow is very Halloween appropriate since its all about the Headless Horseman and Ichabod Crane. Everyone knows Buffy is excellent, but a reminder never hurt! Anyway lets jump into my favorites.

We start with the best of the best! 

Mummy in the Maze (Bones Season 3, Episode 5) The discovery of two mummified girls has Booth and Bones checking a fun house, a Halloween maze and a church charity for clues that may lead them to a missing girl whose parents believe she's dead.

This episode is great for so many reasons including that Rider Strong makes an appearance as one of the murder suspects! Also the whole team is decked out for Halloween which is quite funny while they try to solve a grisly murder. This is my favorite Bones episode of all time as well as a great themed episode.

Image result for bones mummy in the maze

#AllHallowsWeek Review - Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews

Magic Slays (Kate Daniels, #5)
Series: Kate Daniels #5
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Age Group: Adult
Source: Purchased.
Paperback - 308 pgs
Published: June 2008

Rating - 4/5

Kate Daniels may have quit the Order of Merciful Aid, but she’s still knee-deep in paranormal problems. Or she would be if she could get someone to hire her. Starting her own business has been more challenging than she thought it would be—now that the Order is disparaging her good name. Plus, many potential clients are afraid of getting on the bad side of the Beast Lord, who just happens to be Kate’s mate. 

So when Atlanta’s premier Master of the Dead calls to ask for help with a vampire on the loose, Kate leaps at the chance of some paying work. But it turns out that this is not an isolated incident. Kate needs to get to the bottom of it—and fast, or the city and everyone dear to her might pay the ultimate price…

When I'm reading a series, I typically write a review for each installment before starting the next book so I keep all my facts straight. The Kate Daniels Series isn't the typical series and I've been tearing through the books. Sadly this mean I have read another book in this series from a different point of view since finishing this one and I am having trouble remembering the finer points of this story.

While you hear it all the time, it holds true for this series. The books continue to get better with each installment. You could really see improvement starting in book three, Magic Strikes, and each book gets better. This book exemplifies how much Kate has grown, changed, and learned in the first four books. The ratio of sword battles and poltical battles has balanced out quite nicely in these last few books. I love both. I also love the new characters we've acquired in recent books. Each addition makes the story more diverse and interesting.

Kate continues to kick ass and take names now that she is the Beast Lord's mate. She and Curran have a nice balanced relationship and I think their communication skills reflect having a husband and wife duo writing this series. However, there were times when I wanted to strangle the two of them for being so stubborn.

I do want to mention I think the synopsis available for this book is awful. There is a lot more going on than Kate helping Ghastek with a vampire problem. It is an insult to the book that it is boiled down to that. Describing the first scene of the book and describing the plot is not the same thing.

As I say at the end of each review of this series, I can't wait for the next book!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

#AllHallowsWeek Review - Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor

  Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #3)

Series: Daughter of Smoke and Bone #3 (Finale)
Genre: Fantasy
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: April 2014
Hardcover - 613 pgs

Rating 3/5

By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her, if there can even be a future for the chimaera in war-ravaged Eretz.

When Jael's brutal seraph army trespasses into the human world, the unthinkable becomes essential, and Karou and Akiva must ally their enemy armies against the threat. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people.

And, perhaps, for themselves. Toward a new way of living, and maybe even love. But there are bigger threats than Jael in the offing. A vicious queen is hunting Akiva, and, in the skies of Eretz ... something is happening. Massive stains are spreading like bruises from horizon to horizon; the great winged stormhunters are gathering as if summoned, ceaselessly circling, and a deep sense of wrong pervades the world.

What power can bruise the sky? From the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond, humans, chimaera and seraphim will fight, strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy. 

At the very barriers of space and time, what do gods and monsters dream of? And does anything else matter? 

At the end of this series I am conflicted. While the first two books were stellar, I struggled with this final book. There were moments of greatness and I loved following our main characters to the end of the story. However there were some things that majorly affected my view of the book and ultimately lowered my rating of it. 

First the good. Many of the characters are full fleshed out and beautifully written. Like I mentioned, I loved diving back into this story and seeing what their fates would be. I was surprised and impressed by the new characters and fell in love with the old ones all over again. The relationships are intricate and both new and old grow and change throughout the book. The characters were my absolute favorite part. I was so connected and engaged with the characters we knew from the previous two books.

 There were emotional scenes that brought me to tears and the writing continues to impress. It is beautiful and Taylor writes descriptions like no one else. It is stunning to read and to listen to. The themes of Us versus Them play out beautifully. Those themes are easy to relate to the world today and I was thinking about this book for a long time after finishing it. 

Now for the things that didn't work as well. To start this 600+ page tome didn't have enough space to fit in the whole story. There were too many plot lines and the story became unwieldy. In this final book we follow more characters than ever before. We travel between Eretz and Earth while following a multitude of different POVs. It simply became too much and I never felt like we spent a sufficient amount of time with any one character. Instead throughout the book it felt like each change in POV was meant to be a cliffhanger instead of a complete scene with a character. It kept me engaged in the story, but it also caused the plot to move very slowly.

Quite a few new ideas and characters were introduced and they all feel rushed. Instead of feeling like essential parts of the plot of this story, there were moments when it felt like a new story was starting. They were introduced too little too late. The initial two books in this trilogy set up a lot of back story for everyone involved. Karou and Akiva have lived a long time. They have a lot of past and so do the other Angels and Chimera from Eretz. While the new characters received a lot of page time in the third book, I still wasn't connected to them as strongly.

Also the climax of this final book fell flat to me. The story built for hundreds of pages up to the climax of the book and series, but it fizzled. Quite a few events fell into place very easily after so many things going wrong. This finale essentially felt different than books one and two. It became its own story rather than a completion of the larger story. I was disappointed, but overall this is still a good book.

Top Ten Things I Do to Get in the Halloween Spirit #AllHallowsWeek

Halloween is one of my favorites times of year and the lead up is almost as exciting as the lead up to Christmas. These are ten things I do to really get myself into the Halloween and fall spirit.

1) Listen to the Legend of Sleepy Hollow - A few years ago I downloaded a reading of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow which is completely appropriate for this time of year. Tom Mison reads the story and the reading is so atmospheric. I love it!

2) Watch Hocus Pocus and Practical Magic -These two movies are two of my favorites of all time as well as my favorite Halloween movies. They are fun and have so much fall and Halloween spirit!

3) Drink Cider and Pumpkin Beer - Not at the same time! I've loved cider for years, but this year I've finally found the pumpkin beer craze. PSL isn't for me but this spin on pumpkin is delicious.

4) Take a scenic drive - I live in Pennsylvania and this time of year is perfect for taking the long way home to enjoy the sunny afternoons filled with fall color!

5) Bring out the sweaters and high boots - Who doesn't have a favorite pair of brown boots that scream fall when you pull them out of the back of your closet? I've already worn my favorite sweater from last year once.

 Image result for pumpkin

6) Go to Target and stock up on candy - For me! Who cares about Trick-or-Treaters when I have three bags of assorted candies at my house? If only they put Nutrageous bars in the mixed bags...

7) Pop Sleepy Hollow into the DVD player - I have permanently abandoned this show (side eyes so hard at you directors of season three), but season one is full of ghosts and ghouls which I will be very happy to see again. This really applies to any of my favorite shows. I could watch X-Files, Buffy or Supernatural too.

8) Shop for a costume - Sadly this year I am traveling for a conference and will not be able to go to any parties OR hand out candy. Usually I wait until the very last moment, try to scrounge up a costume the day of the party, then end up at the store shopping for something simple and warm. I think my brain does this to me on purpose since most costumes go on sale in the days leading up to Halloween. I usually find a steal!

9) Read half a dozen spooky supernatural books - This should be higher on the list right? Of course I'll read a few scary books just to spook myself into the mood. This year I have some great ones that will be featured over the next few days! Watch out for those.

10) Bake my favorite pumpkin chocolate chip cookies -I haven't done this yet and I'm dying about it!

Happy Reading! and Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Creatures of the Night Tag #AllHallowsWeek

Happy All Hollows Week! Its time to talk about spooky creatures of the night that I've found in some of my favorite series. This tag was created by the lovely Katytastic a few years ago. When I searched through my videos to see the last time I did this tag, I was very surprised to find I never did it!

Creatures of the Night Tag Created by Katytastic

1. Vampire
2. Werewolf/Shapeshifter
3. Zombie -
4. Ghost -
5. Witch/Warlock/Spellcaster
6. Fairy/Fae
7. Demon
8. Angel
9. Alien
10. Superpowered human

#AllHallowsWeek Review - The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd

 The Madman’s Daughter (The Madman’s Daughter, #1)
Series: Madman's Daughter #1
Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror
Age Group: Young Adult
Published -January 2013
Hardcover-420 pgs

My Rating - 3/5

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

At the beginning of this story I was very hopeful about this book. We had an headstrong female protagonist and I was very interested to see how the interpretation of such a creepy classic would play out. However, the promising pieces just did not gel well together and I didn't love this one.

Honestly I think part of the problem with this book is something outside of the author's control. The source material, the original Island of Dr. Moreau, is quite short and doesn't have a lot of details. The original is quite mysterious and gruesome which translates well, but Shepherd had a lot to fill in and smooth over to make this an interesting and engaging story for young adults. She does a fair job, but engagement is where this book struggled.

After a strong first few chapters, this book took a bit of a nose dive. The pacing is extremely slow especially in the beginning. As soon as the story hits its stride, we get on a ship and it feels like the story hit the horse latitudes. Not only that, but that headstrong narrator I mentioned, seemed to disappear in the face of a love interest. Juliet seemed to shift her focus entirely from the dark themes of the story and her father's past to the two men she is flirting with.

Like I mentioned there is a love triangle which never sits well with me. Juliet swings wildly between the two love interests in an unbelievable way. I wasn't convinced she was interested in either one of the men because she constantly changed her mind (sometimes in the same paragraph!)

HOWEVER, the last 100 pages of this book salvaged it. The pace picked up and some of the true madness crept into the story. The darkness finally appeared and I was tearing through the pages to find out what would happen to Juliet.  Her father's madness and the revelations at the end of the story were what I was looking for throughout and I'm glad we got there even though it took a while. Even though I struggled with this book, I'm looking forward to the next one and I will continue on with this series.

All Hallows Week Kick Off

Friday, October 21, 2016

Rreview - Burn for Burn by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivan

Burn for Burn (Burn for Burn, #1)

Series: Burn for Burn #1
Genre: Contemporary
Age Group: Young Adult
Source - Purchased
Published - September 2012
Hardcover - 356 pgs.

Rating: 3/5

Postcard-perfect Jar Island is home to charming tourist shops, pristine beaches, amazing oceanfront homes—and three girls secretly plotting revenge.

KAT is sick and tired of being bullied by her former best friend.

LILLIA has always looked out for her little sister, so when she discovers that one of her guy friends has been secretly hooking up with her, she’s going to put a stop to it.

MARY is perpetually haunted by a traumatic event from years past, and the boy who’s responsible has yet to get what’s coming to him.

None of the girls can act on their revenge fantasies alone without being suspected. But together…anything is possible.

After hearing a multitude of good things about this series, I decided to check out what all the fuss was about. The story starts out interesting, but the plot is very slow. Throughout the book I thought the story would have benefited from more action in the present and fewer flashbacks. There is a lot of backstory for each character and it slowed down the plot a lot. It was very hard for me to go back to this book even when the revenge plot line really started to take shape. Overall I didn't feel connected to any of the girls and because their personalities were so stereotypical they were like cardboard cut outs. 

The revenge itself felt out of control and over the top. These girls actually started to freak me out towards the end. Their individual thoughts about it were relatively calm, but when the three of them joined forces it became an extreme version of John Tucker Must Die with high schoolers. Just like in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, there was a strange paranormal element that popped up when it was convenient. Honestly, this seemed to make everything too easy for the girls and didn't fit with the rest of the story.

I'll pick up the next book in the series because I already own it, but I wasn't very impressed.

Happy Reading!