Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #262: Spooky book covers

Today's Topic: 
Spooky Book Covers

Happy Tuesday! Today is a Halloween freebie! Since I've spent several days this month talking about various Halloween topics, I decided that this week I'd go with super spooky book covers. Continue at your own risk!

Animorphs (all of them) by K.A. Applegate
Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes by Scott Cawthon & Kira Breed-Wrisley
Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk
Here There are Monsters by Amelinda Berube
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
The Reddening by Adam Nevill
The Ritual by Adam Nevill
Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

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

Monday, October 28, 2019

Blog Tour ARC Review: Songs From the Deep

Title: Songs From the Deep
Author: Kelly Powell
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 304
Add to Goodreads

//I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review//
A girl searches for a killer on an island where deadly sirens lurk just beneath the waves in this gripping, atmospheric debut novel.

The sea holds many secrets.

Moira Alexander has always been fascinated by the deadly sirens who lurk along the shores of her island town. Even though their haunting songs can lure anyone to a swift and watery grave, she gets as close to them as she can, playing her violin on the edge of the enchanted sea. When a young boy is found dead on the beach, the islanders assume that he's one of the sirens’ victims. Moira isn’t so sure.

Certain that someone has framed the boy’s death as a siren attack, Moira convinces her childhood friend, the lighthouse keeper Jude Osric, to help her find the real killer, rekindling their friendship in the process. With townspeople itching to hunt the sirens down, and their own secrets threatening to unravel their fragile new alliance, Moira and Jude must race against time to stop the killer before it’s too late—for humans and sirens alike. 

Songs from the Deep caught my eye with its gorgeous cover and the promise of sirens pulled me in completely. This book is a fascinating combination of historical fiction, fantasy, and mystery. I loved the way the author wove sirens into a story that seems so firmly rooted in reality without going fully into the world of magical fantasy. I'm not sure I've ever read a book entirely like it.

Moira is the heroine of this story. She prefers to play her violin on the cliffside where she can see the sirens so many others fear. When one of her students is found dead, supposedly at the hands of the sirens, she is the only one who feels something isn't quite right. Moira was such an interesting, strong character. I loved how she stood up to the authorities to fight for what she believed was right.

Jude is the keeper of the lighthouse and an old friend of Moira's. The death of Moira's student brings them back together and their relationship begins to grow into something a bit more and I was here for all of it! I loved the dynamic between these two. Moira was definitely the more headstrong of the two, while Jude was a bit more calm and collected. Their relationship was so organic and sweet, although not always easy, and I loved them.

The atmosphere of Songs from the Deep was wonderfully crafted and made me feel like I was on this little island that's haunted by sirens right along with the characters. The writing is lyrical and, while it was a bit slow at times, it did grow on me and I loved the mood the author brought to the story. It was the perfect environment for a murder mystery.

Speaking of mystery, this one certainly kept me guessing! I had some suspicions right away, but there were plenty of twists and turns that I didn't see coming. I loved that the sirens were not automatically the big bad in this book. Still, I did wish there had been a bit more of the murdery sirens that are mentioned so often on the page.

Overall, I really liked Songs from the Deep! I loved the characters and their romance and the mystery kept me guessing. I did wish there had been a bit more sirens and it was a bit more slow-paced than I'm used to, but that wasn't enough to detract from my enjoyment! I'll definitely be watching for what this author does next.


Kelly Powell writes fantasy for young adults and currently lives in Ontario, Canada. She has a bachelor’s degree in history and book & media studies from the University of Toronto.

Her YA debut, SONGS FROM THE DEEP, will release from Simon & Schuster in November 2019.


Monday, Oct 28 | Cornerfolds
Tuesday, Oct 29 | Adventures of a Book Junkie
Wednesday, Oct 30 | Hammock of Books
Thursday, Oct 31 | The Novel Knight
Friday, Nov 1 | 24 Hour YA Book Blog
Monday, Nov 4 | How Useful It Is
Tuesday, Nov 5 | Fiction Fare
Wednesday, Nov 6 | Awkwordly Emma
Thursday, Nov 7 | Devouring Books
Monday, Nov 11 | Literary Dust
Tuesday, Nov 12 | Lynn's Book Blog
Wednesday, Nov 13 | Let's Get Galactic!
Thursday, Nov 14 | Frayed Books
Friday, Nov 15 | Wonderfilled Reads

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Weekly Recap: 10/20 - 10/26


Hi everyone! It has been another wild and crazy week in our house and I've accomplished not very much around the blogosphere. We had appointments almost every day and next week is shaping up to be pretty much the same. I really, truly love and appreciate you guys for staying with me when I'm too overwhelmed to blog hop as much as I'd like to. I didn't get a ton of reading done this week either, but I did finally read Pan's Labyrinth and it was even better than I expected it to be! I can't wait to share my complete thoughts.

On the puppy front, my dog is already tired of his beef stew, so hurray. We're probably going to be making an appointment with his vet soon to discuss how to proceed with his extreme picky eating. Any suggestions?

In more exciting news, my husband and I ran a 5k (sort of) together yesterday! I say sort of because he's a foot taller than I am so we started together and met at the finish line. It was a family friendly spooky race and I had such a good time! If you'd told me a few years ago that I'd be enjoying races I'd have laughed. As it stands, I have another coming up on Friday! Woo! What do you do now that you'd never have expected in the past?





The topic was books that need new titles for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday ARC review of The Guinevere Deception
On Friday I talked about amazing TV villains



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Friday, October 25, 2019

The best villains in TV (recent) history

Let's continue spooky season with TV villains! I have a feeling that some people will disagree with my choices, so let me explain. To me, a favorite villain has to be one that I don't just hate. If a villain is 100% despicable with no redeeming qualities, I don't love them. They aren't a fave. They're just the worst. So, without further ado, here are my favorite villains on TV!


Klaus is now and will always be one of my favorite TV villains of all time! I love and hate him in equal measure and it changes based on the episode. He's so easy to sympathize with, but then he does something truly terrifying that makes you remember why you hated him to begin with.


My first villain love and forever my number one. I loved Spike pretty much from the first time he showed up on my TV screen, although I loved him more with every season. I know he's a controversial character (as is his relationship with Buffy), but I love him and I ship it!


Keeping it in the Buffyverse, I absolutely loved and despised Dark Willow. I especially enjoyed the first time we met her, but later on I was legitimately terrified. She was SO powerful and showed no remorse whatsoever. A truly terrifying combination.


Michael Langdon is one of my recent faves. I wasn't sure how to feel about him at first, but he always made me feel somewhat uneasy. There definitely came a point where I knew he would be one of my new favorite villains! I truly wish AHS Apocalypse had stuck with his villainous story instead of how it went.


I went back and forth between Lucifer and Crowley for this list, but Crowley is just too cuddly. Lucifer really made me feel for him in some seasons and I was completely not sure whether I loved or hated him in season 13. That being said, he's literally the worst.


One of my villainous female faves! Regina Mills was another villain I loved and hated and really she was one with fantastic character growth. I actually never finished the series but I definitely need to go watch the last couple seasons and see what became of her!

Do you see any favorites on this list?
What villains do you love and hate at the same time?
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, October 24, 2019

ARC Review: The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

Title: The Guinevere Deception (Camelot Rising #1)
Author: Kiersten White
Publication Date: November 5, 2019
Publisher: Delacorte Press
Pages: 352
Add to Goodreads

There was nothing in the world as magical and terrifying as a girl.

Princess Guinevere has come to Camelot to wed a stranger: the charismatic King Arthur. With magic clawing at the kingdom's borders, the great wizard Merlin conjured a solution--send in Guinevere to be Arthur's wife . . . and his protector from those who want to see the young king's idyllic city fail. The catch? Guinevere's real name--and her true identity--is a secret. She is a changeling, a girl who has given up everything to protect Camelot.

To keep Arthur safe, Guinevere must navigate a court in which the old--including Arthur's own family--demand things continue as they have been, and the new--those drawn by the dream of Camelot--fight for a better way to live. And always, in the green hearts of forests and the black depths of lakes, magic lies in wait to reclaim the land. Arthur's knights believe they are strong enough to face any threat, but Guinevere knows it will take more than swords to keep Camelot free.

Deadly jousts, duplicitous knights, and forbidden romances are nothing compared to the greatest threat of all: the girl with the long black hair, riding on horseback through the dark woods toward Arthur. Because when your whole existence is a lie, how can you trust even yourself?

As you may know if you have visited my blog in the past, I am obsessed with the And I Darken series by Kiersten White! When I saw she was writing a book based on the King Arthur legends I knew I had to have a copy! I didn't know much about this book going into it and I never could have prepared for what I got.

This story begins as Princess Guinevere is entering Camelot for the first time, only she isn't Guinevere at all. She has been placed in Camelot by Merlin to protect Arthur and his people, but from what she doesn't know. I loved Guinevere so much! If you're in search of a strong, empowered female lead, look no further! Much of the book is spent following her around as she navigates Camelot while having no idea how to be a princess, and trying to keep her magic under wraps while also keeping Arthur safe.

Speaking of Arthur, I really enjoyed him too, but he actually had a much smaller part in The Guinevere Deception than I expected. There was a bit of romance, but it certainly didn't overtake the plot. Lancelot was another character who I absolutely adored despite the fact that they were nothing like I expected! I loved how Kiersten White was able to take such familiar characters from a tale most of us already know and make them unique and exciting, as she did with the rest of this incredible book.

Like I said, a lot of The Guinevere Deception is focused on court life and Guinevere trying to keep her magic hidden, but there is still plenty of magic and mystery. I loved seeing Camelot through a new lens and the surrounding lore was fascinating. The Lady of the Lake was probably one of my favorite parts of the story. The mystery of who or what the threat to Camelot was also kept me guessing until the very last second. This might be the first time I've actually sat up in bed and audibly gasped at a twist.

If you're a fan of Arthurian legends or Kiersten White's other retellings, you'll definitely want to give this one a try. I cannot wait for the next book in this series! I have so many questions that I'm dying to know the answers to!

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #261: Books that need new titles

Today's Topic: 
Books I’d Give Different Titles To

Happy Tuesday! I was actually pretty intimidated by this week's topic, but I ended up having a lot of fun with it! I decided to go with ten books I really didn't love and give them titles I felt would be more fitting. I can't wait to see what all of you chose to do with this week!

How to Ruin a Series in 300 Pages
Kissing Siblings
Harry Potter and the Cursed Sequel
Toxic Disaster
Mare Barrow Complains It All
The Sirens Are Missing
The One Where Bella Needs Therapy
Plot Holes In Space
Jane, Unlimited Endings
Shatter Me Shatter Me Shatter Me Shatter Me

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

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Weekly Recap: 10/13 - 10/19


Hi everyone! It has certainly been one of those weeks - the busy kind that are so overwhelming you can't find the energy to do much else (you know, like reading, blogging, etc.). I've had appointments scheduled every single day this week and Saturday was crammed full of candle making and order packing. Not that I'm complaining about that! I'm so happy to be busy with pouring candles.

In case you were wondering about a dog update, my little special needs guy has officially decided he doesn't like his super expensive, fresh food from The Farmer's Dog anymore. He was SO excited about it for a few months, but here we are. This week my husband and I bought groceries and cooked a week's worth of meals for him. Now we just need the supplements to add in. I'm not sure what to do once he tires of that too. Anyone else with special needs pets? I feel like I need people to commiserate with.

We did find time to start watching AHS: Apocalypse this week and I am SO glad I'm finally watching it! This might be my favorite season after Murder House, but I guess it's still too early to say for sure. We also watched The Blair Witch Project and The Conjuring, so it's safe to say that Halloween is in full swing. Anyone else binge horror movies in October?


This week I got the Fairyloot and Bookish Box editions of Serpent & Dove!



The topic was extraordinarily weird titles for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday book review of Serpent & Dove
On Saturday I shared my top three favorite podcasts



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Saturday, October 19, 2019

My top three favorite podcasts

Early last year I shared my three favorite podcasts at the time. Since then some things have stayed the same, but some have changed. I thought a year and a half was plenty of time to share my updated top three list! As you will see, I definitely have a favorite kind of listen. 

I've talked about this one a few times on the blog and it's still my number one favorite! Last Podcast is a group of three guys who talk about everything from true crime to aliens to cults. It's one podcast that I can honestly say has taught me a lot, even if most of it is useless facts that my friends wish I'd stop sharing at dinner. I'm going to see them live tomorrow and I can't wait!

The West Memphis Three
H.H. Holmes
The Betty and Barney Hill Abduction

I stumbled upon Rosemary's Ladies through my candle business instagram account. Molly had purchased some of my candles and we started discussing horror movies, then she told me about her podcast. Rosemary's Ladies is two women who discuss horror movies and bad movies and it's amazing! They release new episodes every Sunday and often take listener suggestions. I always get excited when my phone notifies me that a new episode is available!

Hell House, L.L.C.
Paranormal Activity 2

This one is totally new to me! I found this show after watching The Blair Witch Project for the hundredth time and wanting to hear random strangers talk about it. I haven't listened to enough episodes so far to have favorites, but I did listen to the three about the Blair Witch franchise and really enjoyed them! I can't wait to dig into their huge backlog of episodes!

Do you listen to podcasts?
Which are your favorites?
Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Review: Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin

Title: Serpent & Dove (Serpent & Dove #1)
Author: Shelby Mahurin
Publication Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 528
Add to Goodreads

Bound as one to love, honor, or burn.

Two years ago, Louise le Blanc fled her coven and took shelter in the city of Cesarine, forsaking all magic and living off whatever she could steal. There, witches like Lou are hunted. They are feared. And they are burned.

Sworn to the Church as a Chasseur, Reid Diggory has lived his life by one principle: thou shalt not suffer a witch to live. His path was never meant to cross with Lou's, but a wicked stunt forces them into an impossible union—holy matrimony.

The war between witches and Church is an ancient one, and Lou's most dangerous enemies bring a fate worse than fire. Unable to ignore her growing feelings, yet powerless to change what she is, a choice must be made.

And love makes fools of us all.

I saw this book at ALA over the summer... and totally overlooked it. I'm not quite sure why, but Serpent & Dove just didn't catch my interest at all, even after I read the back. When I read it again though, shortly after it was published, I knew I HAD to have it! I've seen a bit of controversy about this one so this review will be a bit long since I want to share some of my own opinions where that's concerned. 

Louise is a witch in a world where magic isn't allowed and a witch is not permitted to live. She's also on the run from her coven. With her mother hot on her trail, finds herself accidentally married to a witch hunter, which happens to work in her favor. She spends her days attempting to hide her magic from everyone around her, husband included, while training to defend herself from her coven, should the need arise. She has no intention whatsoever of actually liking her husband who would want her dead if he knew what she really was. 

I did not expect to love Louise and Reid as much as I did. Louise is unapologetically crass and is constantly embarrassing her husband and his fellow Chasseurs because of it. At first I wasn't sure if like her, but she definitely grew on me and I loved them as a couple once they finally decided they could tolerate each other. 

Reid was also extremely frustrating through much of this book. Having been raised in the Church by the archbishop and trained as a witch hunter from childhood, Reid was undeniably a bigot. I've seen a lot of controversy over this character, but allow me to explain why I didn't hate it. I was raised in the American South surrounded by a lot of extremely bigoted people. (The internet also wasn't widely available in my childhood.) That was what I knew until I left my small town and started exploring the world. While Reid's behaviour was reprehensible, it was understandable because of the environment he was raised in. To me what mattered was that he changed when he was shown that he was wrong. 

Like I said, I wasn't sure about these two at first, but they grew on me until I adored them. Their romance was slow and swoon-worthy and I loved how much they grew together! If you're a fan of enemies to lovers, you'll probably enjoy this romance! That being said, the romance does take a turn in the direction of maybe-not-YA towards the end. 

This is another point I've seen controversy on and I'll jump on board with that one. The author has insisted that this book is YA despite the sex scene. All I'll say about that is, just because body parts are not named doesn't mean a scene isn't explicit. This sex scene is four pages long and doesn't leave much to the imagination. I was fine with it, but I'm also quite a bit older than the target demographic.

Controversy aside, I absolutely adored this book! I would have liked to know more about the larger world, but the town Serpent & Dove is set in was so well developed, I felt like I could see it. The Chasseurs were terrifying in their single-minded bigotry and I was constantly on edge for the witches. The magic was also fascinating and I loved the different factions of witches. I can't wait to learn more about the blood witches and maybe even others?? 

There's so much more I could say about this amazing book, but if I keep going this review will be ridiculously long. I loved it! I have the two special editions on their way to my shelves right now and I can't wait to hopefully snag an ARC of book two. I definitely recommend this if you're looking for a witchy romance that leans a bit older and darker. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday #260: Extraordinarily Weird Titles

Today's Topic: 
Extraordinarily Weird Book Titles

Happy Tuesday! I will admit up front that I legitimately had no idea what to do with today's topic. What does it mean? What constitutes extraordinary?? So I went with books from my read and TBR lists that have extraordinarily weird titles! 

The Beast Is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
Bright Smoke, Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge
Burying Water by K.A. Tucker
Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl
The Other Side Of Gravity by Shelly Crane
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
The Smell of Other People's Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

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

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Weekly Recap: 10/6 - 10/12


Hi everyone! Spooky season is in full swing and I have SO many horror movies to watch! Unfortunately things have been way too busy in my house to sit still for very long. My candle shop has been having a sale and I am overwhelmed. :) I can't wait to wrap up these orders and take a mini-break! On a different note, my dog's teeth cleaning went well. She was so mad she wouldn't look at me when I picked her up, but her breath doesn't stink (at least for awhile).





Monday ARC review of The Grace Year
The topic was spooky books (& a giveaway) for Top Ten Tuesday
On Wednesday I asked why the horror genre is so hard to pin down
Thursday book review of Teeth in the Mist



I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Thursday, October 10, 2019

Book Review: Teeth in the Mist by Dawn Kurtagich

Title: Teeth in the Mist
Author: Dawn Kurtagich
Publication Date: June 11, 2019
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Pages: 447
Add to Goodreads

Before the birth of time, a monk uncovers the Devil's Tongue and dares to speak it. The repercussions will be felt for generations...

Sixteen-year-old photography enthusiast Zoey has been fascinated by the haunted, burnt-out ruins of Medwyn Mill House for as long as she can remember--so she and her best friend, Poulton, run away from home to explore them. But are they really alone in the house? And who will know if something goes wrong?

In 1851, seventeen-year-old Roan arrives at the Mill House as a ward--one of three, all with something to hide from their new guardian. When Roan learns that she is connected to an ancient secret, she must escape the house before she is trapped forever.

1583. Hermione, a new young bride, accompanies her husband to the wilds of North Wales where he plans to build the largest water mill and mansion in the area. But rumors of unholy rituals lead to a tragic occurrence and she will need all her strength to defeat it.

Three women, centuries apart, drawn together by one Unholy Pact. A pact made by a man who, more than a thousand years later, may still be watching... 

This is the time of year when I usually start hunting for my next favorite horror book. The first Dawn Kurtagich book I read was And the Trees Crept in and it really wasn't for me. At first I was skeptical about picking up a second book by this author, but Teeth in the Mist sounded way too spooky to skip and I'm so glad I didn't!

Although this book is told in three different time periods following three different women, Roan is the main character and most of the story follows her. After the death of her father, Roan finds herself at the Mill House as a ward of its owner, alongside two others. The three of them don't know why they've been taken in, but accept the generosity nonetheless. Roan also has a secret she can't allow anyone to find out about, but she finds it harder and harder to keep it hidden as things spin more out of control.

Roan was an amazing, badass heroine and I absolutely loved the side characters as well! There is a bit of a romance in the second half of the book but it's very minor and doesn't overshadow the plot. Zoey from the present-day timeline was also fascinating and I loved the mystery in her part of the story. I didn't care a whole lot about Hermione, but definitely appreciated what her timeline added to the overarching plot.

The best thing about this book is the atmosphere. Mill House is a massive, centuries-old house set on a mountain that's often shrouded in storms and fog and it was chilling. The story is slow to unfold and was a bit confusing at the beginning, but the house itself made uneasy from the first page that it was introduced. By the time Roan arrives half the house is cordoned off and it's completely dilapidated in Zoey's timeline and it was so creepy! The house and the mountain itself with its caves and mist were almost characters on their own.

Like I said, Teeth in the Mist has a lot of layers and it can be confusing at times. I didn't realize until deep into the book that it was actually a retelling of a German legend and I immediately had to look it up upon finishing. This story is horrifying and absolutely gave me the chills I'm looking for in a good horror book.

If you're looking for something super spooky, but a bit more involved than your typical horror novel, you will probably love Teeth in the Mist! I have a feeling this will be a seasonal re-read for me and I can't wait to pick up some of Dawn Kurtagich's other books.