Sunday, September 22, 2019

Weekly Recap: 9/15 - 9/21


Hi everyone! This has been a somewhat busy week mostly because I've been dog sitting. I have three more dogs to look out for in addition to my three, although I only have to check on them at their house. It has been a lot but they're such sweet pups! In my dog's neverending health saga, we got an air purifier. The little guy has always had a cough that seems to get worse depending on the season and lately it has been terrible! I ordered the purifier and we'll see what happens. Cross your fingers for us! I didn't do much reading this week because my audiobook game was lacking - I had a bit of a podcast binge week instead. Any podcasts that you recommend?





On Monday I discussed Carnival Row
The topic was eating & drinking while reading for Top Ten Tuesday
Wednesday audiobook review of Dreams Come to Life
On Friday I went back Down the TBR Hole
Saturday review of One of Us Is Lying



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, September 21, 2019

Book Review: One of Us Is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Title: One of Us Is Lying (One of Us Is Lying #1) 
Author: Karen M. McManus
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 361
Add to Goodreads

The Breakfast Club meets Pretty Little Liars, One of Us Is Lying is the story of what happens when five strangers walk into detention and only four walk out alive. Everyone is a suspect, and everyone has something to hide.

Pay close attention and you might solve this.

On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention.

Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule.

Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess.

Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing.

Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher.

And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High's notorious gossip app.

Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention, Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn't an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he'd planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who's still on the loose?

Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

I've recently been in the mood to read YA mysteries. I have no idea where this desire came from. I'm usually a YA fantasy or adult horor kind of girl. But when I decided to search out a good mystery to start with, One of Us Is Lying was on every single "best of" list I looked at and I knew I needed to read it!

Five high school students go into detention together, but one never makes it out alive. While in detention, something outside the window distracts Bronwyn, Addy, Nate, Cooper, and the teacher long enough for something terrible to happen to Simon and everyone is a suspect.

I immediately worried that I'd have trouble telling the characters apart, but the author actually did a pretty good job of making them all distinct. Admittedly, it took me until halfway through the book to be sure of who was who, but it's possible I wasn't paying close enough attention.

The characters, while distinct, were my least favorite part of this book. I didn't care much for Addy or Cooper. There was a bit of a romance between Bronwyn and Nate which I did grow to like, but honestly the story would have been fine without it. Nate was by far my favorite character even without the romance. Bronwyn was fine, but I probably would have been much more bored if she hadn't had the relationship with Nate.

Of course the mystery is the most important thing in a mystery novel and I definitely didn't guess the ending! I'm sure the clues were there for a better sleuth to pick up on, but I was surprised by who actually killed Simon. Every character was a suspect and I was suspicious of (almost) all of them at least once.

Overall, while One of Us Is Lying did have an interesting mystery that kept me guessing, I didn't love it as much as I'd hoped. I think this has a lot to do with the fact that it's contemporary YA in a high school setting and that's just not my genre. If you don't mind contemporary YA romance and are in search of a good mystery, this is definitely the book for you!

Friday, September 20, 2019

Down the TBR Hole #17

Hi everyone! It's time for another edition of Down the TBR Hole! My list is sadly getting longer and longer so I desperately need to keep this feature going and probably more often. Today I have books I totally forgot about and books I can't figure out how they even got there. Let's see how I do!

The Down the TBR Hole meme was started by Lost In a Story and it is the most perfect tool for cleaning off shelves that I've come across. Here's how it works:
  • Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
  • Order on ascending date added.
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?



I honestly could not even begin to explain what this book is doing on my TBR list. It's a zombie book and I do not enjoy zombie books. I don't think I've enjoyed one since I began this blog, in fact. Add to that that this book is adult fiction and, yeah, no idea what this is doing here. VERDICT: PASS


At least this one makes more sense! I went through a dystopian phase just like everyone else in the YA community and I'm actually coming back around to it. Reading the reviews though, it seems like this one might have a little more religion in it for my taste. Oh well. VERDICT: PASS


Anyone shocked to see a retelling on my list? No? Me either. I've actually never read anything by Alex Flinn, even Beastly. I'm not too sure that this is the one I should start with either based on its pretty low reviews. I actually don't think I've ever read a GOOD Rapunzel retelling. Any suggestions? VERDICT: PASS


YA horror!! I somehow have completely forgotten about this book since the time I added to to my TBR list. Do you see that cover? I am getting all the creepy vibes! Several reviews talk about how scary it is so I may just have to pick this up for Halloween. VERDICT: KEEP


Oh look at that, another dystopian book. This one involves aliens instead of the biblical end times and actually sounds like it could be interesting. Too bad it looks like the series was never finished. VERDICT: PASS

What genres have you never enjoyed?
Have there been any genres you've grown out of?
Let me know in the comments!

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Audiobook Review: Dreams Come to Life by Adrienne Kress

Title: Dreams Come to Life (Bendy & the Ink Machine #1)
Author: Adrienne Kress
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 304
Add to Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Buddy has spent most of his life trying to escape the Lower East Side slums of New York City. Working as a delivery boy to support his family, Buddy wants to become an artist, a dream he's sure will never be realized. But that all changes when a delivery job puts him face-to-face with Mister Joey Drew, the eccentric owner of an animation studio.

Mister Drew takes Buddy under his wing as an apprentice, thrusting him into a world unlike anything Buddy has ever seen before. There's the colorful cast of the studio, from the cranky, yet driven composer Sammy Lawrence to Dot, the writing intern and Buddy's counterpart. Working for Mister Drew, Buddy starts to think that maybe it's really as simple as Mister Drew says: Dreams do come true. But not everything at the studio is as picture-perfect as it seems . . .

Something is going bump in the night at Joey Drew Studios, something that leaves behind trails of thick, dark ink. While the studio frantically works toward their latest deadline, Buddy and Dot team up to find out just what is tormenting the studio after-hours, even if it means tracking the trail to Mister Drew himself.

Don't miss this official, original, pulse-pounding story from award-winning author Adrienne Kress, developed with theMeatly, Mike Mood, and Bookpast!

I first saw Bendy and the Ink machine at Target. It was a Bendy doll and I had no idea what it was, but I had a hunch that he was from a video game. I googled it and ended up watching a full playthrough on YouTube, which is my preferred method of (not) gaming. I love seeing the story and gameplay, but I suck at playing the games myself. Bendy quickly became one of my favorites of all time so I couldn't wait to read this book!

Dreams Come to Life is a prequel to the game and revolves around Buddy. Buddy hates his job as a delivery boy but desperately needs the money, so when he's given the opportunity to work for Joey Drew Studios for double the salary he jumps at the chance. It doesn't take long before things start to seem a little off and continue to spiral from there.

I really enjoyed Buddy's character and experiencing the studio through his eyes before its demise. I also loved his relationship with Dot and found her to be a fun original character. Joey Drew was also a lot like how I imagined him from the video game, although a bit less sinister than I expected. Honestly, everyone in the studio made me feel just the right amount of uneasy, sometimes for no reason I could put my finger on.

Obviously, the best part of this book was seeing the studio from a different angle before it was covered in ink. I loved following Buddy around as he found each location from the game and figured out what was really happening. Dreams Come to Life definitely maintains the same creepy atmosphere you'd expect from Bendy and the Ink Machine.

Although this is a media tie in I do think it could be enjoyed by someone who's never played (or watched) the game. This is a super creepy mystery set in an animation studio that's reminiscent of Walt Disney Studios and anyone who is into horror or mystery would be able to enjoy it for those elements. It could also be a really fun introduction to the world for someone who might decide to delve deeper later. I'm not sure if more books are planned in this series but I really hope there are!

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #256: Eating & drinking while reading

Today's Topic: 
Favorite Things to 
Eat/Drink While Reading

Happy Tuesday! So this is a weird one for me because I straight up do not eat while reading. Like, ever. I'm not sure why this is exactly. I never really thought about it until this week's topic popped up and I started trying to think of what to include. Literally the only thing I EVER consume while reading (aside from water) is one particular flavor of tea by one particular brand. I present to you: 

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

Monday, September 16, 2019

What did I just watch? A Carnival Row discussion

Happy Monday! Normally a review of a TV show would be included in my monthly Saturday Screen Time feature, but this one felt like it needed a bit more room for discussion. I recently finished Carnival Row and was... underwhelmed. This post will be split into a non-spoiler review and a spoilery discussion in case you haven't watched yet!


At the end of August Carnival Row was released on Amazon Prime. I'd been hearing buzz about this show for months so of course I was intrigued when it finally popped up as available to watch! I didn't have much in the way of expectations. I haven't enjoyed Cara Delevingne in anything I've seen her in (and I was surprised she was a main character in this show) and I haven't seen Orlando Bloom in much since the mid-2000s, but have always enjoyed him. All that to say I went in not expecting much, but hoping to be impressed.

Right off the bat I had a hard time getting into this show. The first episode was extremely slow and, while (mostly) pretty to look at, there didn't seem to be much substance. Still, I gave it one more episode, then one more. Everyone said that the third episode was the best of the bunch and would absolutely hook me! Episode three did show the backstory, but it was rushed through and didn't seem to lend much to the overall story beyond setting up the relationship between Philo (Bloom) and Vignette (Delevingne).

Carnival Row is a rare example of a show that is trying to do way too much while also not accomplishing a whole lot. Philo is a police officer living in the Burge who had a previous relationship with Vignette, a fae, during the war seven years prior. Philo faked his death to keep Vignette safe, which she discovers when she arrives in the Burge after she's chased away from her home. Their relationship doesn't have much to it, having ended years earlier, but they try to convince the viewer for eight episodes that they actually still love each other. Their chemistry is non-existent and their romance doesn't add anything to the story, which, despite the show's marketing, is all about Philo.

This is really a murder mystery at its core. There's also tons of infighting between politicians, bickering amongst a few families, extreme racism against the fae by literally everyone except Philo, Lovecraftian monsters, steampunk technology, magic, and a random Pride and Prejudice retelling between characters with nothing else to do with the plot. It's a lot. And yet it's unbearably slow until the last two episodes. At that point everything happens so fast that I have to wonder why this wasn't spread a bit more evenly. I actually feel that this season could have been split in two with much more backstory about the war between the fae and humans.

I wanted to love this show, even if I didn't expect to, but I definitely didn't expect to dislike it as much as I did. There was a ton of promise, but Carnival Row was simultaneously too much and too little. This is definitely a case of style over substance and I truly wish Guillermo del Toro had been the one at the helm as he was rumored to be originally.


The random werewolves in episode three seemed to be setting up something bigger but never was mentioned again.

The Pact - what even is it? Who are they? They're there in episode three as the Big Bad that bring Philo and Vignette together, but then what? Apparently they weren't a big obstacle considering the library was recovered.

The romance between Imogen and Agreus happened entirely too quickly to be believable. Someone figured out that the story must have taken place over about ten days (excluding episode three). In that time, Imogen went from being extremely racist against pucks to having an affair with him, to leaving her home and family behind to sail off with him into the sunset. This plot line didn't seem to fit within the bigger story, but if it was going to exist I wish it had had more time to develop.

Piety's motivations - what were they exactly? Was it just that she wanted her son to do great things? How does that tie into kidnapping her own son and killing a bunch of people related to Philo, as well as her husband? It was so over the top and unbelievable.

Who even is Sophie?

The sex and violence in this show were probably the most gratuitous and unnecessary I've ever seen. I have no issue with sex and violence in television, but the scenes in Carnival Row seem to have been put there for shock value or to keep up with other popular shows. Did we really need to see a man with goat legs having sex with a woman against a wall? Did we really need to see intestines pulled out of literally every murder victim (there were several)? Was there any reason we needed to see Vignette awkwardly balancing to sit on top of Philo in a cave? Does ANYONE in this universe own a bed?


I just don't understand the whole thing. There were parts that I liked, of course. I enjoyed the backstory of the war between the races like most everyone else, but I wish the rest of the show had been a little more cohesive. Is it a murder mystery? Is it a period romance? Is it steampunk? Is it Lovecraftian horror? Is it a political drama? What is this show??

My hope is that season two will be more polished, but at this point I'm honestly not sure I'll watch it.

Have you seen Carnival Row yet?
Did you love or hate it?
Let me know in the comments!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Weekly Recap: 9/8 - 9/14


Hi everyone! This week has been SO MUCH less stressful than the last few. We had a tiny storm scare that ended up being an off the coast tropical storm, so just another breezy day here in Central Florida. The temperature actually stayed below 90 for a full day and I couldn't believe it! In other non-stressful news, all of my tests came back normal from the doctor! I don't have an autoimmune disease and she doesn't know what caused the original abnormal ANA result, but now it's down to a reasonable level. That's a huge weight lifted!

My mystery binge continued this week with Neverworld Wake and now Capturing the Devil as well as an adult mystery by C.J. Tudor, who I've never read before. I'm not sure what's gotten into me as I've taken a step away from fantasy and towards mysteries. I'm attributing it to Halloween getting nearer. I did take some time for fantasy though and watched the first two Lord of the Rings movies (extended, of course) for the first time in a few years. I'm definitely planning on watching Return of the King this coming week!






Monday review of Needing to Love You
The topic was TBR books I'm avoiding for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday ARC review of Rules For Vanishing
On Saturday I did the Fall Book Tag



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Fall Book Tag

Happy weekend! This weekend it's below 90 degrees and I even felt a little breeze. There are pumpkin spice snacks out and Halloween decorations are going up at Target. All of this must mean it's almost fall! What a wonderful time for a fun new book tag! The Fall Book Tag was created by Bionic Bookworm.

Wilder Girls has been one of my favorite reads of the year! It's dark and bleak and totally unique. I definitely hope to see more spooky and weird, fresh books in the years to come.

The endings of both books in the Sweet Black Waves series have both blown me away! This author knows how to write a twist ending that will absolutely break your heart and keep you dying for more. 

I don't read a lot of warm, fuzzy books, but The Selection series definitely was on the light and fluffy side. America and Maxon, while they have their issues, are one of the most warm and fuzzy couples I've ever read about! 

This book didn't get nearly enough hype! Dry is an amazing read and it also happens to have a lovely red-orange cover that perfectly fits this prompt.

Not many books are truly non-stop, but Dark Matter was close. This story kept me on the edge of my seat and now I'm reminded that I very much need to pick up Blake Crouch's most recent book!

Is anyone shocked? I am dying to read the next book in this series to see what happens with Cardan and Jude! Not much longer to wait now!

What's your favorite part of Fall?
Have you had your first pumpkin spice latte yet?
Let me know in the comments!