Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday #306: Fall TBR

Today's Topic: 
Books on My Fall 2021 TBR

Happy Tuesday! This week it's one of my favorite topics again: seasonal TBR lists that I absolutely will not stick to. Regardless, these are ten books that I am dying to get ahold of! I didn't include the Fall releases I've already read, but you can find all of the books I'm excited for this Fall on my Bookshop profile!

Skin of the Sea by Natasha Bowen
Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
The Hollow Heart by Marie Rutkoski
Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone
Iron Widow by Xiran Jay Zhao
All of Us Villains by Amanda Foody & Christine Lynn Herman
A Psalm of Storms and Silence by Rosanne A. Brown
Vesptertine by Margaret Rogerson
Jade Fire Gold by June CL Tan
Gilded by Marissa Meyer

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

Monday, September 20, 2021

Fraterfest 2021 TBR

IT'S SPOOKY SEASON!!! I'm so excited for this time of year and one of my favorite annual events (even though I always fail miserably)! Fraterfest is a yearly spooky read-a-thon and you can sign up HERE! Today I'm sharing my (extremely) tentative TBR, which consists entirely of books already on my shelf or Kindle.

This most certainly is not a definitive list since most years I don't even remotely stick to it, but these are some scary, spooky, and gothic books I can't wait to get to! Here's hoping I finish at least one of them. 

What spooky book are you looking forward to?
Will you be participating in Fraterfest?
Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Saturday Screen Time #45: Eight months later


Happy Saturday, everyone! It has been a LONG time since I've done one of these. Actually, it has been over eight months! Honestly though, I really wasn't watching a whole lot during that time. I went quite a few months only watching reality TV because my brain couldn't handle much more than that. Thankfully, I've been feeling a bit back to my old self recently so it's time for another one! I'll be back soon with my Halloween watches, I'm sure!



West of Memphis - I have been obsessed with this case for years and I've been wanting to watch this documentary for awhile. Peter Jackson's West of Memphis is such a fantastic, comprehensive account of The West Memphis Three and I knew that he would do a great job making it an engaging viewing experience. It isn't available for free anywhere, but it's only $2.99 to rent and I highly recommend it whether you're new to the case or not. (5/5 stars)

Raya and the Last Dragon - I have no issue saying that I was skeptical of this film. My husband is so bored since Covid started that he'll watch pretty much anything that's new, so we paid $30 to watch this as soon as it came out. I was pleasantly surprised with this story! I love that the newer Disney movies don't all center on a princess and how she ends up falling in love and getting married. Raya was a fantastic protagonist and I loved the mythology of the dragons and the world they inhabited! You should definitely check this out, especially since it's free on Disney+ now! (4/5 stars)

Willy's Wonderland - I literally preordered a blu ray of this and also spent $20 to rent it as soon as it dropped. This movie is silent Nicolas Cage meets Five Nights at Freddy's and it was just as off the rails as you'd expect it to be. I definitely won't call it a quality film, but if you want to watch Nicolas Cage do his thing on a bunch of evil animatronics for an hour and a half, you won't be disappointed. (3.5/5 stars)

Jungle Cruise - Oh look, another movie my husband spent $30 to watch and I was roped into watching. I'll watch just about anything with The Rock, but I wasn't eager to see this. While it wasn't amazing, it was a lot of fun and I will definitely watch the sequel. I enjoyed the nods to the ride as well as all the new world building. I need to go read the backstory for The Jungle Cruise ride and see if they stuck to that at all. (3.5/5 stars)


The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It - If I had to pick my most disappointing movie of the year, this one would be it. I loved The Conjuring and the second movie is one of my all-time favorites, so I was super excited to watch this as soon as it came out. Imagine my surprise when I realized it was a movie that took the Satanic Panic seriously and made it into a horror movie. This installment was infinitely less scary than the first two and I really didn't understand the choice of villain. It's not surprising that this one is the lowest rated in the trilogy by a full star on IMDB. (2.5/5 stars)

Primer - If The Conjuring was my most disappointing of the year, Primer is the most disappointing of the past five. I have been dying to see this movie ever since I got into timey wimey movies a few years ago. After waiting forever for it to be free to stream, I finally spent money to rent it and... meh. I was honestly bored out of my mind wit this one. I cannot believe the hype this gets online. If you're looking for a quality time bending thriller, definitely check out Triangle or Coherence. (1.5/5 stars)

Black Mountain Side - My husband let me pick the movie the other night. Big mistake. Huge! We actually gave up on this one 15 minutes from the end because it became so ridiculous. When I tell you there's a taxidermy deer monster god creature with a bad imitation Vin Diesel voice... This movie is not it. RIP the $2.99 I spent on this. (1/5 stars)




WandaVision - I finally got around to watching WandaVision and I am SO GLAD I finally did it. The first couple episodes really didn't do it for me, but once things started getting weird, I was hooked. I loved it so much! I can't really say anything without spoiling it for the five people who still haven't watched, but you want to watch this if you haven't already! (4/5 stars)

Bridgerton - I've actually seen this twice. The first time I watched by myself when it first came out, then I watched it with my mom when she visited over the summer. It isn't often that a show can capture my attention enough for me to sit through it more than once, but this one did! Honestly, I'm a little bitter that the Duke won't be back in season two, but I'm still here for Anthony's season. (4/5 stars)

Shadow and Bone - Of course I absolutely binged Shadow and Bone the second it hit my Netflix account! I was extremely skeptical of how they would be able to combine Six of Crows with the original trilogy and, although I didn't love the way the Crows fit in, I enjoyed the show so much anyway. I absolutely adored the Darkling and Alina! I'm aggravated that the people who only watch the show will never understand why so many people hate Mal, but at least he isn't a complete piece of soggy bread anymore. (4/5 stars)


What have you been watching lately?
Any Halloween recs?
Let me know in the comments!

Friday, September 10, 2021

Book Review: You by Caroline Kepnes

Title: You (You #1)
Author: Caroline Kepnes
Publication Date: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 424
Add to Goodreads

When a beautiful aspiring writer strides into the East Village bookstore where Joe Goldberg works, he does what anyone would do: he Googles the name on her credit card.

There is only one Guinevere Beck in New York City. She has a public Facebook account and Tweets incessantly, telling Joe everything he needs to know: she is simply Beck to her friends, she went to Brown University, she lives on Bank Street, and she’ll be at a bar in Brooklyn tonight—the perfect place for a “chance” meeting.

As Joe invisibly and obsessively takes control of Beck’s life, he orchestrates a series of events to ensure Beck finds herself in his waiting arms. Moving from stalker to boyfriend, Joe transforms himself into Beck’s perfect man, all while quietly removing the obstacles that stand in their way—even if it means murder.

A terrifying exploration of how vulnerable we all are to stalking and manipulation, debut author Caroline Kepnes delivers a razor-sharp novel for our hyper-connected digital age.

Last year, my husband and I started the show “You” but we only made it through the first season. We couldn’t go any further. Since I’ve become a fan of thrillers, I decided to read You by Caroline Kepnes. I don’t know what was more disturbing: watching the show, reading the words, or listening to the audiobook. This book was disturbing on SO many levels. And yet, I still rate it 5 out of 5.

Joe works at a bookstore and one day, he has a customer named Guinevere Beck. He found her attractive and to him, her smile, laughter, and banter meant she was flirting with him and since she paid by credit card, of course she wanted him to see her name and look her up online later. This encounter quickly spins into an obsession Joe develops for Beck. He stalks her and he even starts to control her life without her being the wiser.

Firstly, this is book is an excellent honey pot for ruling our future romantic and platonic relationships. Any person who finds Joe romantic is a walking red flag.

Secondly, as crazy, manipulative, and psycho as Joe was, there was some beautiful prose in his narration. One of my favorite quotes from the book is “You grow through love. You don’t postpone love until you stop growing.” Some pieces of his narration were just enough to ALMOST make you feel bad for him but it never quite reaches that point.

Thirdly, this book is a huge statement on living in the digital age. It’s scary how easy it can be for someone to stalk you. This book made me want to lock down every social media site I have and change all of my email passwords.

I love that this book was written by a woman. If I’m being honest, I would have never touched it or watched the show had it been written by a man. I would have felt even more gross if it had been. I don’t know if I’ll read the next book in this series, but I know I’ll never, ever, EVER forget You. 

Monday, September 6, 2021

ARC Review: Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber

Title: Once Upon a Broken Heart (OUABH #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 416
Add to Goodreads

Evangeline Fox was raised in her beloved father’s curiosity shop, where she grew up on legends about immortals, like the tragic Prince of Hearts. She knows his powers are mythic, his kiss is worth dying for, and that bargains with him rarely end well.

But when Evangeline learns that the love of her life is about to marry another, she becomes desperate enough to offer the Prince of Hearts whatever he wants in exchange for his help to stop the wedding. The prince only asks for three kisses. But after Evangeline’s first promised kiss, she learns that the Prince of Hearts wants far more from her than she’s pledged. And he has plans for Evangeline that will either end in the greatest happily ever after, or the most exquisite tragedy…

It's no mystery around my blog that Caraval is one of my all-time favorite series! Despite not loving book three, it's a trilogy I don't hesitate to recommend and I've read the first two books multiple times. Of course, I was ecstatic when I found out Stephanie Garber would be writing Jacks's story next and couldn't wait to start reading once I got my hands on an ARC! 

Once Upon a Broken Heart feels like a direct sequel to Finale, which I didn't quite realize. The author has said that it could be read independently, but it definitely spoils the ending of the Caraval series and features characters from it as well. I also don't know that it's entirely fair to call this Jack's story. When I first heard about it (and until recently) I mistakenly thought it would be from his point of view. Instead, this book is told entirely from Evangeline's POV and, while Jacks does feature heavily, he is not the main character. 

Luckily, I really enjoyed Evangeline as a protagonist, although not quite as much as Scarlett and Tella. I felt for her struggle over trusting her stepsister and wanting to be loved deeply by someone. There are multiple love interest options for Evangeline in this story and, surprisingly, Jacks really isn't one of them. I did love their interactions and watching their friendship (or is it?) develop over the course of the book. Jacks is still one of the most intriguing characters in YA and I especially enjoyed reading more about his role as a Fate. It's never quite clear how much Jacks can be trusted or what his goals are. 

As for the plot and world building, it did all feel very similar to Finale (which felt very different than Caraval to me). Stephanie Garber's writing is just as whimsical and fantastic as it has always been and I flew through the pages to see what would happen next! I loved exploring the North and its fairy tale lore and was glad to see more of this world explored. Like in her previous series, everything was shrouded in mystery. What did feel different was that each plot point felt a bit spoon fed and I wish there had been a bit less hand holding. There's also a lot of flip flopping on who and what can be trusted, which was a little frustrating at times. 

Although this wasn't a perfect read for me, I absolutely cannot wait for the next book in this series! I'm hopeful that now that all the mysteries have been set in motion, things will start to make sense and fall into place. I'm also really hoping to get some POV chapters from Jacks! I am dying to know more about his thoughts and motivations. If you enjoyed Caraval like I did, you're not going to want to miss this story! 

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Mood reading is the worst

Being a mood reader is absolutely wild. I can go from reading adult high fantasy to only wanting to read middle grade graphic novels. From reading YA fantasy exclusively to nothing but the best dark spicy romance.

I wish SO MUCH that I could sit down and pull a book title from a jar and read it. I have so many incredible books on my shelves that I preordered because I really wanted to read them. I even have access to ARCs of some of my most anticipated 2021 releases! And what have I been reading? Kindle unlimited romance. Thanks, brain. 

To illustrate this I decided to grab screenshots from my handy dandy reading spreadsheets from 2020 and 2021. Although last year was rough in terms of reading, my habits did stay pretty on par with years prior. This year has been completely wild though! 



As you can see, in 2020 I read mainly YA fantasy, which makes sense when you look at my blog's history. My header even used to include "a mostly YA blog" and nearly every review was for a fantasy book. I did read quite a bit of adult, although those were mostly thrillers, horror, and mystery. Now let's look at my 2021 extreme mood reading stats!


Who's reading stats are these because they can't be mine? How does one go from reading 57% YA books to 76% adult? How does one go from reading 2.3% romance to 23.7% romance? Who even am I? I think a year and a half of watching how morons respond to COVID has changed something in my brain. Why can't I enjoy YA fantasy anymore?? 

Are you a mood reader or do you have a TBR?
Can you read anything at any time? 
Let me know in the comments!