Sunday, October 21, 2018

Weekly Recap: 10/14 - 10/20


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Well, it has been another hectic week! First, a puppy update. He did well all week and then threw up on Friday, which immediately sent everyone into panic mode. His vet said we would try another treatment on Monday. BUT then my other dog also got sick. They didn't eat anything else Friday and they've all been fine since then. I'm hoping that they just got into something (which would account for them both being sick) instead of my little guy actually being legitimately ill. Good vibes my way, please! In other news, I finally got to meet Jessica from A Great Read! We met up on Monday at Animal Kingdom, went on a ride in Pandora, and had lunch. After years of just missing each other, it was fun to finally meet in person!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK



THIS WEEK I READ

    


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was bookshops and libraries I'd like to visit for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday book review of The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy
On Friday I shared 7 YA books for non-YA readers
I binged found footage horror movies for Saturday Screen Time


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, October 20, 2018

Saturday Screen Time #25: Found footage


Happy Saturday, everyone! You may remember that I shared my Halloween movie watchlist a couple weeks ago. Well, not surprisingly, I haven't stuck to it at all. Instead, I've been on a found footage horror kick! I've watched some great movies and some awful ones, but here they are!


THIS WEEK IN SCREEN TIME


Hell House LLC - I spotted this movie while browsing Amazon Prime's horror section and was immediately intrigued by the found footage aspect. I'd never heard of Hell House LLC, but the blurb promised of a crew of people setting up a haunted house in an actual haunted hotel! Going in totally blind, I was SO impressed with this movie! It was genuinely spooky with what appeared to be all practical effects. The actors were also genuinely good. I highly recommend this one if you're a fan of found footage! (4/5 stars)

Leaving D.C. - After finishing Hell House, I headed over to find some lists of great found footage movies. Leaving D.C. was on a lot of lists, so I was very excited to watch it. This is a film with one actor through most of it, although another woman makes a brief appearance. Leaving D.C. follows a man setting up his life in the middle of nowhere and the spooky(?) stuff that happens around him. Unfortunately, the scares weren't as good as I'd hoped and the ending is extremely unsatisfying. Luckily it's a pretty short film so I don't feel like I wasted too much time. (1.5/5 stars)

Man Vs. - This one was also on several lists of good found footage horror. Unfortunately, I couldn't even finish this one because I was so bored. It's about a man filming a reality show alone in the woods. He starts hearing weird noises, but it got a little too sci-fi for me. If you're more into science fiction than horror, you may enjoy this one! (DNF)




Grave Encounters - I discovered this movie a few years ago and it is hands down one of my top horror movies of all time. This one is about a crew of reality show ghost hunters who don't really believe in ghosts. Filming an episode in a haunted asylum changes that though, as everything begins to get strange. Time doesn't make sense and the building shifts around them. It's a wild, terrifying ride that I definitely recommend to horror fans who love found footage. (5/5 stars)

Hell House LLC II: The Abaddon Hotel - You know, the internet warned me about this movie, but I did it anyway. Everything that made Hell House LLC amazing is missing in this one. The actors are awful, the effects are awful, and the story tries too hard to build on lore that didn't need to be expanded. It's just a mess. (1/5 stars)



Have you seen any of these? What did you think?
What are your favorite found footage movies?
Let me know in the comments!



Friday, October 19, 2018

7 YA books for people who don't read YA


Recently my brother asked me for book recommendations. He wanted a medieval inspired historical fiction or fantasy book, but specified that he really didn't want to read YA. Of course, being the person that I am, I had a really hard time suggesting literally anything in the realm of adult fiction. This got me thinking, what books are out there that a YA hater might still enjoy?

While it's true that there are a lot of young adult books that lean very young and make me want to slap the heroine, there are also a lot that seem to read much older despite the ages of the characters. Today I'm sharing my top seven YA reads for people who don't read YA books.


Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...

Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.

I'm starting the list with an obvious choice (which happens to come first in alphabetical order too): A Court of Thorns and Roses. This book is probably one of the weird books on this list because, while it does read young at times, there are most definitely themes and scenes that are not for young readers. This series contains graphic violence and sexual content, but also a story that will rip your heart out and leave you with the worst book hangover ever.


Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Next, the book that inspired this list. An Ember In the Ashes is easily one of my top five favorite reads of all time. While it's technically YA, it's a dense book packed full of world building and mythology, incredibly complex characters, and gritty details. This series is heavily inspired by the world of Ancient Rome, so it's no wonder that there are definitely parts of this book that might be disturbing to those on the younger end of the young adult spectrum. This is one I recommend to lovers of fantasy and historical fiction alike.


No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwlya likes it that way. Ever since she and her gentle younger brother, Radu, were wrenched from their homeland of Wallachia and abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman courts, Lada has known that being ruthless is the key to survival. She and Radu are doomed to act as pawns in a vicious game, an unseen sword hovering over their every move. For the lineage that makes them special also makes them targets.

Lada despises the Ottomans and bides her time, planning her vengeance for the day when she can return to Wallachia and claim her birthright. Radu longs only for a place where he feels safe. And when they meet Mehmed, the defiant and lonely son of the sultan, Radu feels that he’s made a true friend—and Lada wonders if she’s finally found someone worthy of her passion.

But Mehmed is heir to the very empire that Lada has sworn to fight against—and that Radu now considers home. Together, Lada, Radu, and Mehmed form a toxic triangle that strains the bonds of love and loyalty to the breaking point. 

Another of my all-time favorites, And I Darken is another series that is sometimes really dark and brutal. Lada is a genderbent version of Vlad the Impaler and she definitely lives up to her name. This series spans empires and decades and the characters definitely act more like war hardened adults than your average teenager. This series is bloody and incredibly and now I need to do a re-read.


Of course I want to be like them. They’re beautiful as blades forged in some divine fire. They will live forever.

And Cardan is even more beautiful than the rest. I hate him more than all the others. I hate him so much that sometimes when I look at him, I can hardly breathe.

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself. 

The Cruel Prince is a book that I didn't expect to love, but found myself blown away by. This isn't your average fairy tale, despite being set in Faerie. Cardan is the prince and he is cruel, but Jude can hold her own. As the synopsis suggests, there is violence, bloodshed, and betrayal in this book. Holly Black weaves an intricate web that will probably leave you reeling.


The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself. 

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a book that I read solely because I'm fascinated by cults and their effects on people. This book was gritty and uncomfortable, following Minnow on her journey out of the cult and to healing. Although it could be read by younger teens, I definitely think this is one that can be appreciated by adults as well.


World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

Just when it seems freedom is within their grasp, tragedy strikes. Not country, nor culture, nor status matter as all ten thousand people—adults and children alike—aboard must fight for the same thing: survival.

Here is a book of survival in World War II that will teach you something and break your heart. This was my first Ruta Sepety's book and it definitely put her on my auto buy author list. Although the characters of this book are children and teenagers, they're forced to grow up in order to make it through the harsh conditions they're forced to live in.


Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price–and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Six of Crows isn't my favorite, but it deserves a place on this list. My absolute favorite series is The Grisha Trilogy, but I must admit it reads younger than Bardugo's second series. Six of Crows is an complex story with a huge cast of characters that will make you feel some kind of way about all sorts of unsavory people. If you're into heist books, this is the one for you.



Do you agree with the 7 I chose?
Which would you add to the list?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Book Review: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy by Mackenzi Lee

Title: The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings #2)
Author: Mackenzi Lee
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 450
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 1

In this highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Felicity Montague must use all her womanly wits and wiles to achieve her dreams of becoming a doctor—even if she has to scheme her way across Europe to do it. A must-have for fans of Mackenzi Lee’s extraordinary and Stonewall Honor-winning novel.

A year after an accidentally whirlwind grand tour with her brother Monty, Felicity Montague has returned to England with two goals in mind—avoid the marriage proposal of a lovestruck suitor from Edinburgh and enroll in medical school. However, her intellect and passion will never be enough in the eyes of the administrators, who see men as the sole guardians of science.

But then a window of opportunity opens—a doctor she idolizes is marrying an old friend of hers in Germany. Felicity believes if she could meet this man he could change her future, but she has no money of her own to make the trip. Luckily, a mysterious young woman is willing to pay Felicity’s way, so long as she’s allowed to travel with Felicity disguised as her maid.

In spite of her suspicions, Felicity agrees, but once the girl’s true motives are revealed, Felicity becomes part of a perilous quest that leads them from the German countryside to the promenades of Zurich to secrets lurking beneath the Atlantic.

Last year I read The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue and absolutely fell in love! I loved Monty and Percy and their romance together. I loved Felicity and the adventures the trio went on. Every single thing about Gentleman's Guide was amazing and I was over the moon when I found out there would be a second book! I was so thrilled to get my hands on an ARC and immediately dug in... then found myself putting it down until the audiobook was available.

As everything about this book suggests, this time we get to follow Felicity's story. Felicity dreams of being a doctor but finds herself thwarted at every opportunity. Men laugh at her and her friends act as if they're indulging a fantasy. When she's given the chance to meet and possibly work with her favorite doctor, she immediately boards a ship with some questionable people in order to make her dreams come true.

Sadly, Felicity just couldn't quite win me over. She is okay as a character and I appreciated the asexuality rep, but in the end I found her a bit boring. Felicity spent the entire book lamenting how she would never be a doctor, but beyond talking to one group of men and chasing around one other man, not much happened in the way of pursuing that particular dreams. Instead, Lady's Guide is mostly Felicity running around after other people. In a way, this really didn't feel like Felicity's story at all.

The other two main characters in this book are Johanna and Sim and they were both fantastic! This book is really all about girl power and these two really helped drive the point home. All three women have distinct aspirations, but all three go about getting them in different ways. While I loved the feminist tone of the book, it was also a bit exhausting after awhile. Lady's Guide really is just a book about three women doing women things and damn the men. Which is mostly fun, but seems a bit heavy handed.

There were many parts of this I enjoyed, of course! My favorite bits were the ones with Monty and Percy and sadly there weren't many of them. I loved their banter and humor and romance and kind of wish we could have a second book of their adventures together. I also loved the pirate parts when they actually did come up, which didn't happen until nearly the end of the book. I will say that the fantasy elements of this book was weird and didn't really work for me. I'm not sure why it needed to be included and I don't think it added anything.

I thought that Lady's Guide was an okay second book, but frankly it paled in comparison to Gentleman's Guide and that's a shame. The plot dragged a bit and I do wish Felicity had been a bit more engaging, but I loved all the other characters and the piracy! If you enjoyed The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, you'll probably enjoy this one as well.


Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #209: Bookish places to visit


Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Libraries and 
Bookstores I'd Love To Visit

This week took a bit of digging! I had a couple in mind as soon as I saw this week's prompt, but I honestly am not well traveled enough to know of all ten of these. Now I have a lot more places on my to-see list!  


LIBRARIES

Klementinum Baroque Library, Prague, Czech Republic


George Peabody Library, Baltimore, USA


Tianjin Binhai LibraryTianjin, China




Stuttgart City Library, Stuttgart, Germany


BOOKSTORES

El Ateneo Grand Splendid, Buenos Aires, Argentina


The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, USA


Zhongshuge Bookstore, Hangzhou, China


Livraria Lello, Porto, Portugal


Strand Bookstore, New York City, USA


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Weekly Recap: 10/7 - 10/13


HAPPENINGS OFF THE BLOG

Hi everyone! This week has been a bit less busy than the last few, but honestly I haven't had such an anxiety-filled few days in awhile. Over the weekend my youngest dog (problem child) had been sick again. On Tuesday he went in to see his vet and on Thursday he was having tests done on his liver. I also took my oldest dog in on Thursday to get her teeth cleaned, so it was just me and the middle child hanging out and anxiously awaiting results. The good news is, his liver seems to be fine! The bad news is we still have no idea why he keeps getting sick. The other good news is he has been fine since Monday. We've switched his food to a low protein/vegetarian canned food, which sounds really gross, but he likes it and the vet thinks it'll be good for his sensitive digestive system. Oh, and old girl's teeth are shiny again!

Outside of dogs, it has been horror week!! Fraterfest has started and I've been reading and listening to horror books and graphic novels. I'm currently in the middle of three books, so I haven't actually finished any yet, but I'm getting there! I've also been on a found footage horror movie kick and can't wait to share some of the ones I've loved with you next week! I found a coupon code for a 60 day free trial of Shudder and I'm super excited to see some great horror movies are on it! Let the movie watching begin!


NEW BOOKS THIS WEEK

   
   



THIS WEEK I READ



IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

The topic was very long books for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday ARC review of A Very Large Expanse of Sea
On Friday I talked about books that actually terrified me
Saturday book review of Only Human


UPCOMING REVIEWS

 


We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!