Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #198: Books that lived up to the hype

Today's Topic: 
Top Ten Popular Books
that Lived Up to the Hype

It's always a hard call, whether or not to read a super hyped book. Every now and then I actually give in and give them a try. I'd say loving vs. hating them is about 50/50, and these are ten super hyped that I absolutely adored!

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Heartless by Marissa Meyer
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The Selection by Kiera Cass
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski

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

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Weekly Recap: 7/22 - 7/28


Hi everyone! My brother is visiting for the next week and I'm so excited! He flew in yesterday and we have a few things planned for his time here. So far we've just gone to the gym and watched Hellboy for the first time - real exciting stuff! XD He's now forcing me to watch Rick and Morty. This week Cornerfolds Candles announced our Darkest Minds themed August exclusive candles. You can find out more on our Instagram!





Hi everyone!  Nothing like coming home from a vacation and working nonstop. It’s been such a long and tough week. We had two horses put down at the barn I work at so it’s been hard on all of the people there. That and my dog passed away as well. To say it’s been a tough week is totally an understatement. On the plus side, I’m really glad I have a long tail ride with friends to look forward to after work today. Hopefully next week will be better.






The topic was sensory reading memories for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday ARC review of Sea Witch
On Thursday Chelcie did the reading habits book tag
Friday book review of The Beauty of Darkness
It was a sci-fi mixed bag for Saturday Screen Time



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, July 28, 2018

Saturday Screen Time #22: A mixed sci fi bag

Again, I only saw two movies this week, and it was really a mixed bag. The one I was iffy on turned out to be as bad as I thought it would be, and the one I really hoped to like was fantastic! I definitely need to check out more movies by the writer of Annihilation! 


Tau - My husband and I decided to watch this Netflix original on a rainy day last weekend. We piled on the couch with all of our dogs and started watching, with no real idea of what we were getting into and... yikes. It turned into one of those situations where we both hated it about 30 minutes in, but neither of us said anything. Let me tell you, it doesn't get better. This is a weird AI story with a ton of plot holes and bad CGI. If you're super into any and all AI movies, watch this! Otherwise, skip it. (1/5 stars)

Annihilation - On the other end of the spectrum is Annihilation! I've been wanting to see this since it was in theaters, but hadn't had the chance until it came in from Netflix DVD. My husband had said, "It's weird, so you'll probably like it," and that turned out to be the case. This is definitely a weird movie and the pacing is very slow, but it's beautiful and the story is intriguing on many levels. There are also some grade A scares and effects! This is one I'd not only recommend watching, but getting in 4K. I definitely will be once the 4K disc goes on sale. (4.5/5 stars)

Have you seen any of these? What did you think?
What movies have you watched lately?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Book Review: The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Beauty of Darkness (The Remnant Chronicles #3)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Pages: 679
Add to Goodreads

Reviews for book 1 & book 2
Tracy's Review

Lia has survived Venda—but so has a great evil bent on the destruction of Morrighan. And only Lia can stop it.

With war on the horizon, Lia has no choice but to assume her role as First Daughter, as soldier—as leader. While she struggles to reach Morrighan and warn them, she finds herself at cross-purposes with Rafe and suspicious of Kaden, who has hunted her down.

In this conclusion to the Remnant Chronicles trilogy, traitors must be rooted out, sacrifices must be made, and impossible odds must be overcome as the future of every kingdom hangs in the balance.

To say I was a little disappointed in this book is an understatement.  After flying through the first two books and loving every moment of them, everything came to a screeching halt with this book.  I'm just going to mention that I cannot stand when series end like this.  It feels like complete and utter betrayal from the author and everyone who made this book possible.

First off, let's talk about the romance.  I kinda liked how the romance was going in the first two books.  I was desperately hoping that maybe there would be a twist at the end, but NOPE.  Lia was horrible to Rafe just about the whole entire book.  If I were Rafe I would've walked away long ago just from how she acted.  She didn't care about their relationship or bring up major things that they should have discussed before she just went off and did them.  That is so not how a relationship works.  I feel like the romance with Kaden was a bit forced.  If he couldn't have one girl he'd take the other.  I guess it gives him a happy ending, but not the ended I really hoped for him.

Lia's attitude throughout this whole book just plain sucks.  Not only is she a jerk to Rafe, but she has to act all high and mighty like everyone is out to get her just because she's a girl.  I get that girls can do somethings a guy does, but there is no need to have to prove yourself better than a man.

Her "gift" also ticked me off.  That was the only way this book moved forward.  Lia saw something or heard something and expected others to follow her completely blind.  I would've hopped off that crazy train long ago!  You have to have some other type of events to move the plot forward or it just gets so horribly redundant and boring for readers.  And just because she has this "gift" it does not make her infinitely smarter and better than everyone else.  That's cause right there for a butt-whooping, at least in my family.  You don't treat people like trash just because you can do something they can't.

Also because she has this "gift" she blindly follows it herself.  Does she not have any regard for her future at all?  I guess not cause there she goes head first into danger because her "gift" told her to...  It's like as soon as she found that book about the history of Venda she has to make sure that every prophecies comes true.

I listened to a good majority of this book on audiobook, but after about 55%-60% I had to stop listening for almost a week because I just couldn't deal with this book.  I was so close to almost DNFing this book, but I figured I was that far I might as well stick it out and complete it.  In a way I wish I had just left it at the second book.

This book is massive!  I was expecting a really long and epic final battle, but that only took place in the last 10% of the book.  A few pages was all it took to defeat the enemy and wrap things up.  Plus her whole "speech" to get them to lay down their arms did not make a lick of sense.  People just dropped their weapons and followed her? I'm surprised she wasn't shot with an arrow first.  This book definitely could have been cut down and the fight could've been written to be more believable.  I mean, come on, they have been prepping for a battle of the centuries and it is but a blip in the book.  We could've done without all of the whiney Lia in the beginning as well.

Overall, I just have to shake my head at this book.  I wanted to love it so much, but it seems like you either love this book or you hate it.  I hate to say it, but I'm leaning towards the latter.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

My Reading Habits Book Tag

While scouring the deep recesses of the book blog portion of the inter-web, I found this tag and thought it would be a great idea for you to get to know who I am as a reader. Not to mention all the strange things I do for books.


I have many spots at my house where I read. I do a lot of my reading on my bed especially when the weather is bad. But when the weather is nice you most likely can find me out on the porch swing or on my blow up lounger. And if I'm at my boyfriend's house I can be found curled up in my fluffy papasan chair with my soft blankets.


Bookmark for sure!  I have a plethora of bookmarks ranging from ones I get at events or wooden ones or duct tape ones that I hand make for myself.


I can stop whenever, but I almost always reread a few paragraphs to remember where I am. I probably should stop at each chapter, but I can get so distracted so easily or get called by a family member to do something.


A lot!  Probably more than I should as I worry that I may ruin a book or two. I try to nibble on non crumbly snacks like gummies or dried fruit so I don't get any on the pages. I also mostly drink water, but I do occasionally drink tea or coffee to keep myself awake.


I love making playlists that go along with the book that I am currently reading. When it comes to reading while watching tv, not so much. I may be able to sneak in a few sentences during the commercials, but I get way too distracted to read much more than that.


I have at least two going at a time. One physical copy and one audiobook. I read the physical book whenever I'm home or at my boyfriend's. I listen to the audiobook while driving and working just so I can keep reading. I have so many books to read that I need to do whatever I can to finish them.


Everywhere!  I hardly go anywhere without a book in my hand. And, heaven forbid I forget my book at home, I still have a few downloaded onto my phone just in case.


Definitely silently in my head!  I read a ton of fantasy and I don't think my parents would appreciate me talking about blood and gore all the time lol.


No way!  I need to read every since glorious word on those pages!


This question made me cringe. I always keep my spine looking their best as I take a ton of pictures for Instagram. I don't even loan out my paperbacks for fear of getting them back with the spine broken.

I hope these questions gave you a little more insight to me as a reader! 
What are some of your reading habits?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

ARC Review: Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Title: Sea Witch
Author: Sarah Henning
Publication Date: July 31, 2018
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Pages: 368
Add to Goodreads

Everyone knows what happens in the end.
A mermaid, a prince, a true love’s kiss.
But before that young siren’s tale, there were three friends.
One feared, one royal, and one already dead.


Ever since her best friend, Anna, drowned, Evie has been an outcast in her small fishing town. A freak. A curse. A witch.

A girl with an uncanny resemblance to Anna appears offshore and, though the girl denies it, Evie is convinced that her best friend actually survived. That her own magic wasn’t so powerless after all. And, as the two girls catch the eyes—and hearts—of two charming princes, Evie believes that she might finally have a chance at her own happily ever after.

But her new friend has secrets of her own. She can’t stay in Havnestad, or on two legs, unless Evie finds a way to help her. Now Evie will do anything to save her friend’s humanity, along with her prince’s heart—harnessing the power of her magic, her ocean, and her love until she discovers, too late, the truth of her bargain.

The rise of Hans Christian Andersen’s iconic villainess is a heart-wrenching story of friendship, betrayal, and a girl pushed beyond her limits—to become a monster. 

I dove headfirst into Sea Witch as soon as I had it in my hands. I LOVE retellings and The Little Mermaid is one of my favorite stories. I knew going in that this was more about, well, the Sea Witch. Still, I went in with not much of an idea about the book itself. I didn't read reviews and I only skimmed the synopsis.

The main character of this story is Evie. She's best friends with the prince, Nik, and their mutual friend, Anna, drowned years before. Evie also has magic that is outlawed in her town, meaning she has to hide it or risk being punished for it. I thought Evie was a fun character and I really enjoyed reading her story. I enjoyed her relationships with the prince and his cousin, along with the new girl, Annemette. While reading this book, there was always a feeling that not everyone was being completely honest and I liked trying to figure out what everyone was really thinking.

I loved the friendship between Nik and Evie! There was an interesting layer caused by the public's perception of these two together. While Nik is a prince, Evie's family is not nobility. They are friends solely because Evie's grandmother is an amazing healer who the royal family trusts. The rest of the town only believes the worst of Evie, while she has loved Nik (as a friend) since childhood. Enter Annemette, the Little Mermaid character in the story. I thought the way her situation with Nik was handled was just different enough from the story we already know to make it interesting.

This is the main issue I have with Sea Witch, actually. The story, while a little different from The Little Mermaid, is also very, very similar. There were bits that kept me guessing, but on the whole it hits all the main points you would expect. It was also a bit slow at times and, honestly, the story was a bit forgettable.

There were glimpses of the undersea world, but I would have loved more! The world above did come off as a very generic fairytale kingdom, while the ocean world seemed much more intriguing. I understand that this was about the Sea Witch's origins, but I'd have preferred a lot more of actual Sea Witchery than what we got.

I didn't dislike this book by any means! I love villain origin stories, but I just wasn't completely sold on this one. I can't say much more without spoilers, but the more I think about it, the more reasons I find for not loving Sea Witch. If you're looking for a lighter Little Mermaid retelling that's pretty straightforward, this is the one for you. Just don't go into it looking for something super new and unique.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday #197: Sensory reading memories

Today's Topic: 
Ten Books with Sensory
Reading Memories

Apparently I remember a lot of what I read while I'm sick. I also tend to remember what I'm reading if I'm doing it where I'm embarrassed that someone might catch it and judge me. Some I remember for no reason in particular, but can recall the exact place I was sitting when I read them. Basically, I just scrolled through Goodreads and clicked the covers when I could remember where I was/what I was doing when I was reading! I was really surprised to find that I associate memories with way more books than I thought. 

  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas- I bought this in 2015 to read while on vacation at Disney World and on a Disney Cruise. I ended up getting really sick at Disney and read this on the couch while my husband enjoyed the parks (I told him to go, don't hate him). Side note: I ended up in the ER that night because I wouldn't have been able to go on the cruise without a lot of meds.
  • The Arrangement by H.M. Ward - I specifically remember reading this as an audiobook and being SO worried that someone at a stoplight or, worse, my dad would hear me listening to it in the car. Spoiler: it is not YA romance.
  • The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty by Anne Rice - I don't know what to say. I have no excuses for reading this series, but I did what I did. I read them in US Air Force tech school, strictly while my roommate wasn't around. I was so embarrassed to even own them that I refused to take them to my next base and ended up leaving them hidden in the top of the closet of my dorm room.  
  • Fragments by Dan Wells - This was one of the very first audiobooks that I ever read. I  remember it mostly because I listened to it while doing another family's laundry to make extra money while I was in school for my associate's degree. 
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown - I bought this book on Amazon while I was in Afghanistan. I remember binge reading it on a day off. I had the whole room to myself because we had different days off most of the time. I spent most of the day in my top bunk reading and probably eating something unhealthy. 

  • The One by Kiera Cass - This was one of the books I took with me to Disney World when I went with my mom for her first trip in 2014. I remember it so clearly because, shockingly, I got sick with the flu and ended up reading in bed for a lot of hours. I've learned to use A LOT of hand sanitizer while at Disney World.
  • There's Wild, Then There's You by M. Leighton - I won this book while living with my husband in a hotel full of sailors in Maryland. He was there for work training and I stayed with him for a few months and everyone knew everyone. I often went to read in a common area to escape my room and I remember being so worried that one of the guys would notice the cover and make fun of me! 
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer - My friend and co-worker convinced me to read this series and it was actually the only buddy read I think I've ever done. We sat in big comfy chairs by the window at lunch every day to read and discuss. I remember so clearly because it was winter in Alaska and that window was the only sun we got every day!
  • Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel - So, anxiety is a thing that I have to deal with and it always comes up when I travel. Any time I sleep in a strange place, I have a lot of trouble sleeping. When I went to ALA in January 2017 and stayed in a house full of other women, I definitely didn't get much sleep. I got approved for Waking Gods on Netgalley while there and stayed up a couple nights reading it while failing to sleep. 
  • Warrior's Song by Catherine Coulter - I fell in love with Catherine Coulter's historical romance novels as a teenager and definitely remember reading Warrior's Song in my bedroom and being terrified my parents would walk in and ask what it was. I was SO glad that the covers didn't look like your typical romance book.

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

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Weekly Recap: 7/15 - 7/21


Hi everyone! Not much to report this week, thankfully! I did a bit of work, a bit of play, and saw the new Ant-Man at the theater. I also delved into a new adult mystery series, which I saw recommended over at Greg's Book Haven, and am really enjoying it so far! I also got to add the final UK cover in the And I Darken series to my collection! Did everyone see that there's a Buffy reboot in the works? I think that most people agree that we DO NOT WANT! I would love to see a continuation of the Slayer story in the same universe though! Hopefully the Powers That Be hear our pleas and give us something good!





Hi everyone!  Today is my last full day in New York City which is so bitter sweet, but I can’t wait to be home with my fur babies again. Epic Reads Day was amazing!  Both my boyfriend and I loved getting to sit in on the panels and getting our goody bags. If they do this event in the future I highly recommend that y’all go to it if you can!  I definitely will!  We also got to go to the top of the Empire State Building and walk around Times Square. I also got to check off eating a rainbow bagel off my bucket list. I’m so not looking forward to going back to work, but my wallet is a little empty after this trip lol.




Nothing read this week!


Monday ARC review of Contagion
The topic was books under 250 pages for Top Ten Tuesday
On Thursday Chelcie discussed e-books vs. physical copies
Friday book review of The Heart of Betrayal
I saw Ant-Man & the Wasp (and Not-Black Widow) for Saturday Screen Time



We're linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, July 21, 2018

Saturday Screen Time #21: Ant-Man, The Wasp, & Not-Black Widow

I saw a couple movies this week and I'm happy to say there's nothing I absolutely hated! While I loved one of this week's picks, the other was okay, but definitely had some flaws. 


Ant-Man and the Wasp - I waited to watch Ant-Man until it had been out on blu-ray for probably over a year. I just wasn't super interested in seeing it. When I finally did watch it, I loved it so much that I knew I'd have to see part two in theaters! I loved that this movie wasn't about saving the world. It was about one man's issues and how he resolved them. Again, I loved Paul Rudd as Ant-Man, and I LOVED Evangeline Lilly as the Wasp! This movie was action packed and heartwarming and almost made me forget about the heaviness of Infinity War... almost. (4.5/5 stars)

Red Sparrow - I've heard this movie talked about as the Not-Black Widow movie and, well, it's definitely not Black Widow. There also isn't very much actual spying going on. Red Sparrow is a very slow paced movie, which I don't mind. I actually did think it was okay, but there were some issues. First of all, this film needs major content warnings for sexual assault, rape, and torture, to name a few. I guess these things shouldn't be surprising in an R-rated spy film, but I found the first half to be really uncomfortable and difficult to watch. Once Dominika came into her own, I enjoyed her story much more. (3/5 stars)

Have you seen any of these? What did you think?
What movies have you watched lately?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday, July 20, 2018

Book Review: The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2)
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. 

Pages: 470
Add to Goodreads
Review for book 1
Tracy's Review

Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I absolutely love when a series starts out with a bang and continues to reverberate in the next book.  This series is definitely following that!  I regret that it took me so long to start this series.  Although I am grateful that I can binge them all and not have to wait for them to come out.

This book starts off right where Kiss of Deception left off.  Rafe and Lia are now Venda's first ever prisoners and must come up with a way to get out.  Rafe is trying to lay low and wait for his soldiers to come, but Lia has some other plans as she doesn't believe they'll make it.  As they stay there longer and longer, Lia is paraded around Venda and learns so much about its people and what the Komizar is up to.

Ah, the Komizar.  I really loved to hate him.  He is ruthless, but oh so calculating in why he does what he does.  I get frustrated right there along with Lia when he tells her to do or not do something, yet get nervous if she tries to defy him.  At some points I do understand why he is the way he is, which makes me want to strangle him more.

After the first book, I thought that it was a given who Lia was going to go for, but as I got deeper into this book I couldn't quite say what was going on.  There were fights and make-ups and more fights.  Honestly, it doesn't matter to me who she ends up with, but after this book I'm a bit torn on who she may choose.

As this series gets further along I fall more and more in love with Lia's character.  She has so much growth from when she first arrived in Teravin until the end of this book.  Her strength is astounding!  She becomes such a cool and calculating character even when she just wants to enact her revenge.  I don't know if I could even muster as much self-control that she did at some points.

Again, the world building in this book is extraordinary!  Not only do we get to see the ruins that Venda is built upon but also the mythology that comes out of those ruins.  I have to give Mary props because this world is so intricate.  It must have taken her forever to piece together every single detail in this book. I desperately need to take lessons from her!

And finally, the ending of this book!  OMG!  I did kind of see it coming with all the tension building and building, but I did not anticipate that much of a cliff-hanger.  Man am I glad that I have the third book and can start reading it right away!  Don't mind me as I now slip away to start the next book!