Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Teaser Tuesday: My True Love Gave to Me

Hi everyone! If you aren't familiar with Teaser Tuesdays, it's a bookish meme hosted by MizB of Books and a Beat. All you  have to do to participate is grab one of your current reads, flip to a random page, and share a sentence or two. It's super fun and easy! Head over to Books and a Beat for more info and a linkup.

My teaser is from My True Love Gave to Me, an adorable holiday anthology.


Not even trying to sound casual about it, Miranda says, "It's going to snow. It has to snow. And if it doesn't snow, we're going to do something about it. We'll make it snow."

She feels quite gratified when Lillian looks at her her as if Miranda is insane, possibly dangerous.

- page 43; My True Love Gave to Me, "The Lady and the Fox" by Kelly Link.

Feel free to comment below so I can visit your posts!

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Movie Review: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
Rating: PG-13
Minutes: 133
Categories: Action, Adventure, Fantasy, Family
Released: November 18th, 2016
Director: David Yates
Writer: J.K. Rowling
Main Actors: Eddie Redmayne, Colin Farrell, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, and Dan Fogler

Me when I first heard about Fantastic Beasts:

Me after the movie, knowing that there will be five more of these magical things:

Guys, I was a little nervous about this movie. The wizarding world is very very precious to me and I was really unsure about how a new movie would ever compare to the original Harry Potter saga. I think the solution is simple, and something many people who are disappointed in this movie might consider: don't get into it expecting Harry Potter. The week before I saw Fantastic Beasts, some coworkers of mine were saying how disappointed in it they were, which you definitely would be if you were expecting a pseudo-sequel. But on its own merits, Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them is a wonderful foray back into the world we love, with new and interesting characters to boot.

Okay, can we talk about Eddie Redmayne? 

He was the perfect casting choice, and so darn cute, honestly. I love that's he's a Hufflepuff, it's about time that house got some recognition for the heroes it produces (I'm a Ravenclaw myself, but most of my best friends are Hufflepuffs). Also, if you haven't seen Eddie's PSA for the Hufflepuff house, you need to. 

I really liked the other characters, although they weren't quite as engaging as Newt. I also appreciate that the film doesn't try to rush romance. There are two budding romances in Fantastic Beasts, but they both grow naturally and at their own pace. The plotting was a tad bit slow in the beginning for my tastes, but I did enjoy getting to know the 1920's New York wizarding world, including some of it's less than ideal parts, such as no-majs (Muggles) and wizards being unable to be married or even friends.

Newt is basically a magical biologist, which, as an ecology major, is so up my alley it's insane. The CGI was amazing, and really brought the creatures to life in a way that wouldn't have been possible just a few years ago. If you've read J.K. Rowling's mini-book, also called Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, you may find some of the magical critters familiar. If not, they'll all be brand new to you. 

Finally, that ending.
It set up the next movies perfectly and I am PUMPED. There's also an intriguing romance in Newt's past that I can't wait to hear more about! Also, here's hoping that we get to see Dumbledore in the sequels!


Saturday, December 3, 2016

Stacking the Shelves (12.3.16)

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a wonderful weekend. I'm participating in Stacking the Shelves, hosted by Tynga Reviews, today! This is a weekly meme where we share the book goodies we got this week, whether physical books that we bought, ebooks, library books, borrowed books, etc.

I don't normally buy a ton of books, but there have been so many great deals lately that I've really stacked up! 


I'm super excited about all of these! Three Dark Crowns and This Savage Song are book club reads on one of my Goodreads groups, and Rebel Angels and Killer are both part of series that I started forever ago and never finished.


These were all on sale for 2.99 or less - which is an amazing deal for the four book Jennifer Estep bundle! I've heard great things about all of these.

Print Books

Again with the amazing deals - everything except for Heartless I got for four dollars or less. I've already started reading My True Love Gave to Me and it's so adorable I want to marry it. Heartless came in November's Owlcrate, along with some amazing Alice in Wonderland items!

That's it for me this week! I might have to take a break after all this book-buying, because I definitely don't have a bookshelf right now... Not to mention I brought two bags full of books back from Thanksgiving at my parent's house! Wish me luck in my search for a big enough (cheap enough) bookshelf. :)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Book Review: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater, or, What To Do With My Life Now

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #4)
Pages: 400
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: April 26th, 2016
Author Website: Maggie Stiefvater

Cover Comments: I really love the cover, and it matches the other covers perfectly of course. However, the deer is just a bit out of the blue.

First Line: “Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness.”

The fourth and final installment in the spellbinding series from the irrepressible, #1 New York Times bestselling author Maggie Stiefvater.

All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love's death. She doesn't believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.



“He was a book, and he was holding his final pages, and he wanted to get to the end to find out how it went, and he didn't want it to be over.”

Once again, Queen Stiefvater leaves me feeling so happy that there are books and series like this in the world, and devastated that this one is over. Maggie is so so good at creating unique characters that you just have to care about. They're flawed, hilarious, brave, and feel very real. Over the course of the series, each character has been fleshed out and explored, and while there are many new things to discover about the characters in this book, (some surprising to me) all the revelations feel very right given what we already know.

I assume if you're reading this, then you've already read the first three books in the series. If not, GO NOW DO IT. Ahem. One of the other unique things that I enjoy about this series is the family dynamics. Often in YA, especially fantasy, parents are conveniently never around, and can't interfere with any supernatural havoc or teen romance. However, each of the main characters in the Raven Cycle have very different home lives, and rather than being brushed under the rug, their families are highlighted as an integral part of themselves, as it should be. Blue's mom knows all about the fantastical adventures her daughter is having, and they have an open and honest, if a bit terse, line of communication about Blue's love life: 

"Do you love him?" Maura asked curiously.
"I'd rather not," Blue replied.
"He has lots of negative qualities I can help you hone in on," her mother offered.

Gansey's family, on the other hand, knows that he is searching for an ancient king, but brushes it off as a historical quest, ignoring any magical element. Even though Gansey's family is not a huge part of the books, Stiefvater shows how Gansey's single-minded quest affects his relationships with his family.

Now, to the romance. I am SO HAPPY about the romances that bloom in The Raven King. One I expected, and one I only suspected, but they both ended up feeling so perfect. Romance is still not the central focus in the story, but it does take up significantly more space than it has in the previous books, which I am not complaining about.

One comment I've seen about this book/series/Stiefvater in general, is that some aren't a fan of her pacing. Sometimes it seems like the plot takes forever to progress and then runs at a breakneck pace. Maybe I'm just so in love with Stiefvater's writing that she could write about laundry and I would be interested, but this has never proven to be a problem for me. It's true that  A LOT happens near the end of the book, and not a ton in the beginning/middle, but I think this was necessary to set up the end.

And the end. I definitely didn't see everything happening the way it did, but it was utterly perfect. I'm very satisfied with the ending and I'm already planning my next dive into Stiefvater's books.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts: Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Thirsty Thursday and Hungry Hearts - (un)Conventional Bookviews

This Thursday, I'm participating in Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts, a weekly meme hosted by (un)Conventional Book Views. I'll be sharing a food quote from Heartless by Marissa Meyer this week!

"Three luscious lemon tarts glistened up at Catherine. She reached her towel-wrapped hands into the oven, ignoring the heat that enveloped her arms and pressed against her cheeks, and lifted the tray from the hearth. The tarts' sunshine filling quivered, as if glad to be freed from the stone chamber."

These were actually the first few lines from the book, and since the main character is a baker, I  know I can look forward to many more delicious lines like this. Actually, this sort of inspired me to do a feature here on the blog, tentatively titled Book Cooking. I've read so many books where amazing meals were described, and I've been trying to learn to cook, so why not actually make some of the book meals? Have y'all heard of a feature like that already or do you think it's something you'd be interested in reading? It would most likely also involve pictures of kitchen disasters and me covered in flour so there's that! 

Tangent aside, I'm loving Heartless so far!

Have a happy Thursday!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Book Beginnings: The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Happy Friday! Hope you're recovering from all the turkey and sweet potatoes from yesterday, and/or stuffing the leftovers into a crescent roll and beginning the process anew.

Book Beginnings is hosted over at Rose City Reader, and the instructions are simple: take the first sentence or so from a current read, post it, and let us know what your first impressions and thoughts on the quote are!

My Book Beginning


The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

"Richard Gansey III had forgotten how many times he had been told he was destined for greatness. He was bred for it: nobility and purposed coded in both sides of his pedigree."

 Honestly, I really don't think that this quote represents The Raven King, or Maggie Stiefvater's writing, all that well. The Raven King is the third in the Raven Cycle, so I know the characters intimately. This sentence and the following prologue set up Gansey's character's drive for accomplishment before his inevitable death (not a spoiler; they've been saying since first book, first paragraph that he's going to die. I'll believe it when I see (read) it, which I haven't yet!). However, the sentences I love in The Raven King are simply lyrical - if you haven't read Maggie yet, PLEASE do!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Shelf Control (11.16.16): Lament

Shelves final

Shelf Control is a weekly feature over at Bookshelf Fantasies that invites you to pick a book to read that you already own. This is desperately needed for me since I haven't read 98% of the books I own!

This Week's Pick:


Lament by Maggie Stiefvater

How I got it: It's honestly been so long since I got this that I barely remember! I know I won it, so I think this was a giveaway where you got to choose a book to be given.
When I got it: According to Goodreads, I got this on July 5th, 2011. Only 5 years waiting!
Why I want to read it: I love love love Maggie Stiefvater and I think everything she writes is gold. This series was written before the Shiver series, Scorpio Races, or the Raven Cycle, so I'd love to see how young Maggie was as a writer.

If you'd like to participate in Shelf Control, go to Bookshelf Fantasies for info & linky!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Review: Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, or, A Book Where a Talking Doll Doesn't Scare the Heck Out of Me


Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Pages: 296
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Publisher: Tor Teen
Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Cover Comments: I'm utterly in love with this cover. The fonts, the red and black color scheme, and the symbolism of the city skyline, the swan, and the stars, all just fit the book so beautifully. One of my favorite covers, possibly ever.

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…


Vassa in the Night is one of the most entrancing and unique young adults novels I've read in quite some time, possibly years. I've been on a bit of a reading hiatus, but this book sucked me in immediately. Vassa in the Night is set in an alternate-reality Brooklyn in which magic is present, but ignored by most human residents. One alarming show of otherworldly presence in the "real" world is BY's, a convenience store that dances on chicken legs and beheads shoplifters, displaying their heads on spikes outside the store. When Vassa and her talking wooden doll, Erg, make a seemingly innocent trip to BY's, Vassa becomes ensnared in a magical world that seems to know more about her and Erg than she is expecting.

Vassa in the Night is a retelling of the Russian folk story Vasilisa the Beautiful. While reading the tale isn't necessary for enjoying the retelling, I would highly recommend it so you can catch some of the parallels and differences. The novel definitely has that dark fairy tale feel - more Brothers Grimm than Disney. The atmosphere of the novel was one of my favorite parts - mysterious and dangerous, but with moments of levity from the wooden doll, Erg or Vassa's sense of humor and snark. The task-oriented plotline at the beginning of the novel definitely stirred up more of that fairy tale/folk tale feeling as well, reminiscent of a quest or three-part adventure.

I loved the characters dominating the novel. I liked that Vassa wasn't constantly an optimistic and determined heroine; she really, really, really wanted to give up at times, but with the help of Erg and other side characters, continues on. Her sidekick Erg was hilarious and heart-warmingly loyal, but Vassa and Erg's relationship wasn't shallow, instead showing moments of doubt and ups and downs. The love between the doll and Vassa was definitely part of why they're my favorite relationship in the novel. There is a bit of romantic love action in Vassa as well, but it's hardly at center stage, and appropriately so. One of the elements of the book that I didn't enjoy or understand at first was the unlikely romance between Vassa and another character. There seemed to be little to no basis for it, which Vassa admits several times, but I just didn't buy it. However, after getting further into the book, it makes a little more sense. Without that background up front though, I still didn't much like that relationship.

The plotline definitely kept me interested, and twists and turns were surprising and, at times, shocking. This is one of those novels where at some points you can't tell what is real and what is just happening in Vassa's head. I would normally be a little frustrated by that, but it just added to the hazy and daydream-like feel of the entire novel, so I can't complain. I do wish some plotlines had been tied up a bit more, like things involving Vassa's father, but the foremost plot lines were finished off nicely.

My only caveat in recommending this book would be to readers who are squeamish - there is a good amount of decapitation and blood, and no description is spared. In sum, Vassa in the Night is a dazzling novel that made me cry, gasp, and feel my heart grow two sizes. I would recommend to anyone who likes dark fantasy, dancing convenience stores, or vivacious wooden dolls.


I received this book through OwlCrate, a monthly book subscription box. The review above is my honest opinion and I am not receiving any compensation for said review.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

WWW Wednesday (11.9.16)


WWW Wednesdays is a bookish meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words. The three W's stand for:

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

Click on the book covers to jump to the Goodreads book page!

Currently Reading:


Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter

This was the book in October's OwlCrate, which I am newly obsessed with. I love the book so far - it's just the right touch of spooky with a wonderful fairy tale feel. I read the Russian folk tale it's based on, Vasilisa the Beautiful, before starting Vassa in the Night and it's been really fun noting the similarities & differences between the original and the retelling.


The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

I love, love, love Maggie Stiefvater and everything she does, so it's no surprise that I'm also in love with this series. It's been a bit slow getting started in this book but I'm sure things will pick up soon. In the meantime, I can bask in Maggie's beautiful prose and the cover art on this book.


Wicked by Sara Shepard

I've recently gotten back into the Pretty Little Liars TV show, so when I saw this one on a library bookshelf I couldn't resist getting back into the series as well. I have sporadically read Pretty Little Liars books over the past couple years; they're such a guilty pleasure. I'm a little embarrassed to read them in public sometimes, but these books are honestly so engrossing and fun. 


Black Water by D.J. MacHale

This book is part of my quest to conquer my TBR list on Goodreads from beginning to the end. I started this series in 2009, and added this book in 2010, so you can see how far I've come along. I might not pick this book up today, but I am enjoying finishing out the series and seeing complexities build in the main character's life as he grows older and the series grows darker.

Recently Finished:


Slaughter-House Five by Kurt Vonnegut

I really didn't enjoy this one as much as I had hoped I would. I picked it up because it's a well-loved classic, but it's really not my "type" of book. I don't particularly like war books, and while Slaughter-House Five isn't strictly that, it did involve a lot of war scenes. There were a few passages that were particularly striking & poignant, and I can see the effect that the out of order in time format was supposed to have, it just didn't happen for me.


The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara M. Zeises

Another one from my dusty TBR list from the year 2010! This novel was super quick & cute, but with a surprising amount of depth. From the cover and description, I was expecting romance with a side of gourmet cooking and meals. I did get those things, but also a complicated family situation and a main character who becomes self-aware of how she handles life and strives to change it. I do wish the internship portion of the book came about earlier, but overall it's worth a read.

Next Reads:


Sunshine by Robin McKinley

And the next read on my quest to conquer the TBR Goodreads list! I'm much more excited about this book than some others on my old books challenge. I love Robin McKinley, and I'm really excited to see how she takes on a vampire story. It definitely seems like a unique spin on a done-to-death mini-genre.


If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I've had this on my to-be-read list for quite some time and the recent movie just makes me want to read it even more!


City of Stars by Mary Hoffman

Another series I started forever ago and am picking back up. What can I say? I'm a finisher (slightly compulsively in the case of series like House of Night, for example).

Thanks for reading! I'd love to read your WWW Wednesday posts, just leave a link in the comments!

Sunday, November 6, 2016


You may notice that the last time I posted was four years ago which is, not coincidentally, also when I started college. I thought I had enough writing in those four years to last me a life time, but surprisingly I've missed it. I'm finally getting back to being the kind of reader I wanted to be but never had time for. It's bliss. Heck, I even signed up for a monthly book box.

I missed the book blog community almost as much as I missed being a daily reader. My blog was never particularly popular, but it makes me happy to participate in bookish memes and get my opinion out there with reviews, as well as just be up to date on what's new in the bookish community. I'm making a point to start doing the things that make me happy too, even when it doesn't contribute to a better GRE score or a promotion at work. Thus this revival!

I hope anyone reading enjoys this; but most importantly, I know I will.