Saturday, February 29, 2020

Saturday Screen Time #41: Oops, I watched too much

Happy Saturday, everyone! So I'm actually embarrassed at how much I watched this month but I have an excuse! I was out of commission for a solid week after my wisdom teeth removal and really didn't have anything else to do. Of course that meant watching movies. Then my dog got sick TWICE and I spent quite a lot of time just sitting with him and making sure he was okay. So that's that. Don't judge me.


I Am Dragon - I finally got around to watching I Am Dragon after seeing multiple authors talk about how amazing it was for months. I have to say, they were right! I immediately tried to force everyone I know to watch it. This is a Beauty and the Beast style story about a girl who is stolen away by a dragon and finds out there's more to him than meets the eye. I was so in love with this one that I bought the blu ray! (5/5 stars)

Beast - Beast had been on my Shudder watchlist since I first got it and after I Am Dragon seemed like a great time to watch it! This is really nothing like Beauty and the Beast. A woman does learn there's more to the man she falls in love with that meets the eye, but it's much more sinister than Belle and her Beast. This is the kind of movie I love - it gave me a lot of conflicting feelings! I need more like this! (4/5 stars)

In the Tall Grass - I read the short story this was based on not that long ago. In fact, that short story collection only came out last year so this movie got made very quickly! Unfortunately it was fleshed out way too much and it lost some of the creepiness in my opinion. I've very rarely come across a full length movie based on a short story that was better than the source material. (2/5 stars)

The Danish Girl - I guess I'm behind on this one but I love Eddie Redmayne and have been meaning to get around to watching The Danish Girl. While I did enjoy this, I felt that it meandered a bit too much. Lili was also extremely hard to connect with. I loved seeing her learn to accept herself, but she was not very easy to like. (3/5 stars)

Ready or Not - I had seen SO many great things about this movie that I knew I needed to get a copy ASAP. While recovering from surgery I decided to go ahead and pick this one up and it was fantastic! Horror Comedy is a genre I've been enjoying more as the years go by and this was no exception. The combination of terror and laughs was wonderful and I have a feeling I'll be watching this over and over. (5/5 stars)

Parasite - Parasite has been everywhere lately and I honestly wasn't interested in it. I'd heard a lot of mixed things about whether or not it was horror and I was just planning to wait for it to come to Netflix. Then my fried bought it and made me watch it and I'm so glad I did! The story of this family is a car accident you can't look away from. I would not classify this as horror in any way, but it definitely had some tense moments. This is another one I picked up on blu ray after watching! (5/5 stars)

Knives Out - The same friend who made me watch Parasite also told me to watch Knives Out. Once again, she was right because this was absolutely my kind of movie! I love a good whodunnit and I adored every single actor in their role, although Chris Evans was especially good. I had some idea about the culprit although I never fully figured it out. I'll definitely be watching this again to look for clues! (5/5 stars)

Mandy - This is another movie I've had on my Shudder list forever and just now got around to watching. Unfortunately, it just was not the movie for me. I love indie and arthouse films, but this was just too much. The story was interesting and I enjoy Crazy Nic Cage anytime, but the art of this movie was over my head. I've heard it's great if you're on high! Alas, I was not. (2.5/5 stars)

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark - I picked this up on sale since I'd been wanting to watch it for awhile. I have not read the stories it's based on, but I love del Toro and knew I needed to see Scary Stories. I liked the way the movie brought all the stories together and there were some genuinely creepy moments. The monster design was incredible! I wish it had been a bit less teen drama, but overall I definitely enjoyed it! (3.5/5 stars)

Rosemary's Baby - I read Rosemary's Baby a couple years ago for a Halloween read-a-thon but I know that the movie is a classic and wanted to give it a try too! I don't watch a ton of older movies, but I felt this one held up. I think not showing the supernatural elements definitely helped it to feel a bit more timeless. I didn't love the original story and this one seemed to follow that extremely closely. I wouldn't watch it again, but I'm glad I saw it once. (3/5 stars)

47 Meters Down: Uncaged - Shark movies are my guilty pleasure. I watched 47 Meters Down when it came out and liked it well enough so I decided to give the sequel a try. Sadly, this just wasn't it. The teen girls were painfully dumb and the science behind the sharks gave me a headache. I recommend The Shallows if you're looking for a recent shark movie that doesn't suck. (1.5/5 stars)

Color Out of Space - My second Crazy Nic Cage movie of the month! I adore how Nicolas Cage has fully committed to doing the wildest indie projects he can find. Thankfully, this one was a whole lot better than Mandy! While there were still a lot of out there moments, the story was much more coherent and easy to follow. This story is based on the short story of the same name by Lovecraft so it's about what you would expect. I read that the author will be making a trilogy set in the same universe and I am here for it! (4.5/5 stars)

Girl on the Third Floor - I kept seeing Girl on the Third Floor recommended around Twitter and Reddit and decided to give it a watch when it showed up on Netflix. Meh. I appreciated what they were trying to do, but nothing about this movie worked for me. The characters were awful, the horror didn't make sense, and things were generally not explained well. (1/5 stars)

The Blackcoat's Daughter - This movie has been compared to The VVitch and maybe that's why I just didn't care for it. The acting was actually great and the story could have worked, but some of the choices made by the filmmakers were not great. (1.5/5 stars)

Backcountry - In addition to shark movies, I love creature horror and survival stories, so it's not surprising that this found its way onto my screen. Backcountry is about a couple who go on a camping trip, get lost, and struggle to survive after coming face to face with a bear. The tension was great and there were some genuinely horrifying moments, but I honestly expected more bears in this bear movie. (3/5 stars)


Beyond the Walls - I wanted to watch this on Shudder but it disappeared so my lovely husband bought it for me on iTunes since that was the only place it was available. This miniseries was absolutely gorgeous and haunting. Beyond the Walls is about a girl who finds herself lost within the walls of the house she inherits. It had a very dreamlike quality and reminded me a bit of Pan's Labyrinth. I definitely recommend this if you're looking for something different and a little spooky! (4/5 stars)

Shameless Season 10 - I really wasn't sure how this show was going to work without Fiona, but I'm happy to report it was fine! The first few episodes were a bit of a drag, but it picked up halfway through and now I can't wait to see what happens in the final season! It was a bit weird that there was hardly any mention of Fiona but it was amazing to have Ian and Mickey back together! (4/5 stars)

Love is Blind - Yes, I was also caught up in this show. It's absolute trash but it's the most entertaining kind! I honestly like this more than The Bachelor, which I've entirely given up on at this point. I am now waiting impatiently for the reunion show! (4.5/5 stars)




Do you ever binge watch movies?
What's on your movie watchlist?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday, February 28, 2020

Book Blogger Hop #1: A book I'm skipping

This week's topic:
Tomorrow is Leap Year. Name one book being 
released in 2020 that you would prefer to skip.

Happy Friday, bookworms! This week is my first ever time participating in Book Blogger Hop hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. As you may have noticed, things have been a bit quiet around here lately as I've struggled to keep up while life has gone completely insane. Because of this I've decided to get back into the meme game, at least for a little while! So, without further ado... 

I try not to write any books off right away (with the exception of authors I already don't enjoy). That being said, I think I'll probably be skipping Star Daughter for 2020. 

I was SO excited when I heard of Star Daughter at first, but then I learned from the author that it's actually more of a contemporary fantasy and not high fantasy as the cover and synopsis suggest. This really isn't my genre and, while I may get around to reading it eventually, it's certainly not at the top of my list. 

Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer.

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Down the TBR Hole #18

Hi everyone! It's been awhile since I've done one of these and I think it's about time to jump back into cleaning up my TBR shelves. Goodness knows I've added more than enough to make up for the ones I already purged!

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?



Okay, first of all, this is a sequel. How did this end up on my TBR? I checked out the first book and apparently it's a "sweeping thriller" that time jumps so... VERDICT: PASS


I've been intrigued by The Fire Sermon for years but somehow I never knew that it was YA. Huh. The synopsis actually sounds really similar to other more recent YA dystopian and science fiction books. Interesting. There's really just nothing jumping out at me that says I NEED to read this. VERDICT: PASS


I actually own a physical copy of this book and I pick it up every now and then, but haven't actually read it. I know tons of people who love this series and I definitely do plan to read it eventually! VERDICT: KEEP


I've never met a Dan Brown book I didn't like! Keep your judgments to yourself. I'm not sure why I haven't read this one yet, but it's the only one I still need to get to. Maybe I'm keeping it around for when the mood strikes and there's not a new book yet because he takes TEN DECADES between them. VERDICT: KEEP


Hey, a retelling! This does sound cute. Unfortunately middle grade and I really don't get along these days. VERDICT: PASS

Who is your guilty pleasure author?
Ever find a random sequel in your TBR?
Let me know in the comments!

Monday, February 24, 2020

ARC Review: The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller

Title: The Shadow Between Us
Author: Tricia Levenseller
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Pages: 336
Add to Goodreads

Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:

1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.

No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.

But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen? 

Last year I read and loved Warrior of the Wild by Tricia Levenseller! When I read the description of this book, it sounded like something I would love and I felt that this author could definitely do it well! Unfortunately, I think I set my expectations a bit too high because this didn't turn out to be quite as good as I'd anticipated.

First thing's first, Alessandra was just not a character I loved or could even really enjoy. Her "Slytherin" side was a bit too over the top in the beginning for me to enjoy. The Big Bad things she'd done, while shocking, were overlooked too easily and I really couldn't forgive them. I love a good antihero and morally gray characters are my thing, but I just could not connect with Alessandra at all. Her initial plan was fun, but that's the only positive thing I really have to say about her and even that fell apart pretty quickly.

The Shadow King was a bit more tolerable, although I didn't quite love him either. His shadow abilities were fascinating and unique. I definitely liked that his shadows created an obstacle for the romance and added a little bit of extra (not too ridiculous) angst. Speaking of romance, this one wasn't bad. Although I couldn't stand Alessandra, the relationship between her and Kallias was mostly enjoyable, if a bit quick.

One thing I would have liked more of in this story is world building. The shadow abilities Kallias had were so interesting! I would have enjoyed knowing more about that and what else could exist in this world we saw and heard so little about.

Much of The Shadows Between Us was, predictably, about Alessandra inserting herself into the Shadow King's world. Some of this was interesting, but a lot of the first half of the book was a bit repetitive and I did find myself getting a bit bored. So many parties and dresses and dances and meals. There were, at least, some fun plot twists that made the second half of the book more fun.

I just found this book to be really disappointing and I know it's one of those "it's not you, it's me" situations. It seems that the vast majority of readers have loved this story, so chances are you probably will too! I will probably give Tricia Levenseller another chance since I loved the last book I read by her, but this just wasn't it.

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Weekly Recap: 2/16 - 2/22


Hi everyone! I did the thing! I ran the 10K at Disney World! I was (sadly) awake at 2:45am yesterday, on the bus at 3:30am, and at the event at 4:00. Literally what even is 4am? It was also absolutely FREEZING! My corral wasn't let out until 6:10, so it was quite a long morning, but once we took off I started to warm up a tiny bit and the race was magical! (Now I'm exhausted.) I always do so much better than I think I'm going to. I can't wait for the Star Wars event in April!

In puppy news, my dog's hearing has mostly come back! The steroids have been making him behave strangely, but at least he can hear and the steroids are over halfway done. He did have a bit of a fever yesterday but that seems to have resolved also. He turned three this weekend, so here's hoping he makes it to four!





The topic was book hangovers for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday book review of The Kingdom of Copper


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Book Review: The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Title: The Kingdom of Copper (The Daevabad Trilogy#2)
Author: S.A. Chakraborty
Publication Date: January 22, 2019
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 621
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 1

Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.

Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..

Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.

And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad's towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve. 

The City of Brass was one of my most unexpected favorites of 2019! I waited for YEARS to read this series because, honestly, I was a little intimidated by it. I finally did though, and I absolutely loved it. I couldn't wait to get back into the world of Daevabad and see what had become of the characters!

The Kingdom of Copper is set quite a few years after the end of book one, which was quite jarring at first. It took me awhile to settle into Nahri, Ali, and Dara in their new, separate lives. Although I loved the characters interacting and was a little worried a book where they're mostly apart wouldn't be as good, I really enjoyed getting to know them in their individual storylines.

Nahri especially was wonderful and strong, especially considering what she had to work with! Much of the story is about Nahri coming into her own as a healer and learning about her heritage. I loved how motivated she was and how hard she worked to do what she thought was right for her people. I did wish she had more time with Dara, but I'm eager to see what happens next between them.

Although I did love it, this book definitely does suffer a bit from middle book syndrome. There's a lot of focus on everyday life and politics, getting from book one to book three. I will admit that this one took me longer to read, just because I did find myself zoning out from time to time. It felt like The Kingdom of Copper replaced much of the magic with even more political intrigue. Don't get me wrong - there was still a lot of action! But this book was over 600 pages and not much of it was terribly exciting.

So yes, there were things that weren't perfect, but I still cannot wait to read The Empire of Gold! The Kingdom of Copper set up so much and I am so excited to see what happens!

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday #273: Book hangovers

Today's Topic: 
The Last Ten Books That
Gave Me a Book Hangover

Happy Tuesday! This week's topic is book hangovers. For me that means that I feel completely unable to pick up another book for awhile. I may pick a book up, read three pages, switch to something else, repeat. I don't know what causes it exactly, but it's definitely A Thing. 

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer
The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White
A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Wild Savage Stars by Kristina Perez
Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Weekly Recap: 2/8 - 2/15


Hi everyone! Well, the last two weeks have been a mess. I had my wisdom teeth out on February 3rd and I guess it was fine? I didn't have any complications, it just really sucked. One of the teeth was a lot more impacted so the recovery was a bit more difficult, but I'm mostly healed! The real WTF of the last two weeks is (shockingly) related to my dog. He went to the vet Thursday and we found out out had a double ear infection. He was given a 30 day medication at the office since we can't give him ear drops. Yesterday I took him back because he was acting really strange, even for him. Apparently he had a reaction to the drops and literally cannot hear now. So yay. His hearing isn't 100% gone and the vet says there's a good chance he will recover it, but I am mentally preparing myself in case he doesn't. *sigh* I'm supposed to run a 10k on Saturday and I just. I'm stressed. So all of that is why I've been a bit MIA lately - I just haven't had the motivation or energy to be particularly active on the blog. I'm trying my best!






The topic was YA fantasy ships for Top Ten Tuesday
Thursday ARC review of Girls With Razor Hearts


I'm linking up to Stacking the Shelves & The Sunday Post!
Thursday, February 13, 2020

ARC Review: Girls With Razor Hearts by Suzanne Young

Title: Girls With Razor Hearts (Girls With Sharp Sticks #2)
Author: Suzanne Young
Publication Date: March 17, 2020
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 400
Add to Goodreads

Review for book 1

It’s time to fight back in this second novel in a thrilling, subversive near future series from New York Times bestselling author Suzanne Young about a girls-only private high school that is far more than it appears to be.

Make me a girl with a razor heart…

It’s been weeks since Mena and the other girls of Innovations Academy escaped their elite boarding school. Although traumatized by the violence and experimentations that occurred there, Mena quickly discovers that the outside world can be just as unwelcoming and cruel. With no one else to turn to, the girls only have each other—and the revenge-fueled desire to shut down the corporation that imprisoned them.

The girls enroll in Stoneridge Prep, a private school with suspect connections to Innovations, to identify the son of an investor and take down the corporation from the inside. But with pressure from Leandra, who revealed herself to be a double-agent, and Winston Weeks, an academy investor gone rogue, Mena wonders if she and her friends are simply trading one form of control for another. Not to mention the woman who is quite literally invading Mena’s thoughts—a woman with extreme ideas that both frighten and intrigue Mena.

And as the girls fight for freedom from their past—and freedom for the girls still at Innovations—they must also face new questions about their existence…and what it means to be girls with razor hearts.

Last year, Girls With Sharp Sticks became one of my unanticipated favorite reads! The mystery and dystopian aspects were enough to keep me constantly on the edge of my seat. I was so excited when I found out there would be a sequel that I couldn't wait to get my hands on it and I jumped right in!

Girls With Razor Hearts picks up immediately after the events of the first book. Mena and the other girls have escaped the school and have plans to bring down the corporation. This book was set entirely away from the school and, since the big mystery has already been found out, it had an entirely different feel.

Where Girls With Sharp Sticks kept me constantly engaged, this one was a bit less my speed. A big reason for this is the setting. Most of the book takes place in an average public school with two of the girls attending high school and navigating every day life. Mena doesn't understand why sexism is so prevalent in the school and immediately goes to work trying to change it.

On the one hand I really enjoyed this and probably would have even more as a teen. On the other, it was extremely on the nose. Nearly every man the characters come in contact with is essentially evil and it quickly became exhausting. As a woman who worked in a male dominated field for several years and, you know, exists in the world, I have encountered my fair share of misogyny and harassment. However, it was coming from literally every angle in Mena's world and it was a bit much.

While two of the girls are in school, the rest spend their time researching ways to bring down Innovations Academy. Although the huge reveal of the girls being AI has already come out, there are still a couple enjoyable twists and turns in this book. I do wish that a bit more was learned and more progress was made, but this was by no means a bad read.

If you enjoyed Girls With Sharp Sticks, you'll probably enjoy this one too. You'll enjoy it even more if contemporary YA is your genre! I'm excited to see what happens in the final book!

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday #272: YA Fantasy Ships

Today's Topic: 
Favorite YA Fantasy Ships

Happy Tuesday! It's Valentine's week! Although I don't read many romance books, I do LOVE a great romance in fantasy. This week I'm sharing ten of my favorite romantic relationships in YA Fantasy (that aren't ACOTAR or Folk of the Air, you're welcome)! 

Radu and Cyprius | The Conqueror's Saga by Kiersten White
Scarlett and Julian | Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Nyx and Ignifex | Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
Lou and Reid | Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
Alina and the Darkling | The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo (don't @ me)

Elisabeth and Nathaniel | Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Lilac and Tarver | These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner
Alyssa and Morpheus | Splintered by A.G. Howard
Kestrel and Arin | The Winner's Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
Liesl and the Goblin King | Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

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

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday #271: 5 star predictions

Today's Topic: 
Books On My TBR I 
Predict Will Be 5-Star Reads

Happy Tuesday! This week we're talking about 5 star predictions! These are always a bit dangerous because sometimes I'm just sooooo far off. Most of these are by authors I've previous loved though, so I feel a little more confident about making a prediction. I am SO excited for every single one of these!

A Peculiar Peril by Jeff VanderMeer
Bright Raven Skies by Kristina Perez
Ember Queen by Laura Sebastian
The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty
The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence

Master of Sorrows by Justin Call
The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski
Seven Endless Forests by April Genevieve Tucholke
What Monstrous Gods by Rosamund Hodge

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