Friday, July 20, 2018

Spinning The Yarn: Harry Potter Edition Part 1

10:42 AM 0 Comments

Hello my dear bookish lovers and welcome to today's edition of Spinning The Yarn, which is going to be all about Harry Potter.

I'll admit, I started getting back in the habit of knitting and crochet because of a pattern inspired by Luna Lovegood, that I'll get back to in a little bit. So I thought I'd start this feature with the most obvious choice, because who doesn't want more Harry Potter nerdy stuff in their life? So without further ado, let's get started!

Thursday, July 19, 2018

ARC August 2018: Sign-Up Post

7:30 AM 3 Comments

Can you believe it's already time for the annual ARC August challenge? I can't believe how fast time has flown. Also, this is my 5th year participating! 5 YEARS!! Wow! In case you don't know what ARC August is (HOW?), it's basically a month-long reading challenge where you commit to reading ARCs. It's a challenge hosted by the wonderful girls from Read.Sleep.Repeat. There are also a few surprises planned, like two readathons AND a bingo card that I am very excited about. For more information, rules and how to sign up, check out the original sign-up post here.

This year I'm looking at making a dent in my shame pile, meaning those ARCs that are long overdue. So without further ado, here's my reading list for this year:









I've settled on just 10 books this time, which seems doable to me. If I manage to read all of these books *fingers crossed* and there's still time, I might add a few more older ARCs. We'll see. I am so excited for August to start!!

What about you guys? Are you participating in ARC August? 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: Siren Beloved by Lexi Blake

2:42 PM 0 Comments

Author: Lexi Blake
Series: Texas Sirens #4
Audience: +18
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Publisher: DLZ Entertainment, LLC
Release Date: July 17th 2018
My Rating: 5 Cups
Source: InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Aidan O’Malley walked away from his fiancée, Lexi, and their best friend, Lucas, after a night of passion left him shaken to his core. Years later, Aidan returns home from Iraq haunted by all he has lost. The enemy broke his body, destroying his dreams of a career in music. Worse still, he lost Lexi and Lucas. That damage he’d done all by himself. While he can’t restore what combat took from him, he’s determined to reclaim the two loves of his life.

Lucas Cameron is a changed man. After connecting with his brother, he found the discipline to get his life on track. His legal career is flourishing, but his love life is a train wreck. The woman he loves is spiraling out of control. After Aidan abandoned them, Lucas and Lexi clung together but no matter how hard he tries, Lucas can’t find a way to heal the wounds that Lexi carries.

Lexi Moore feels like a jigsaw puzzle with too many missing pieces. Losing Aidan was hard, but the true reason for her shattered spirit is a secret she only shares with her beloved Lucas. She knows she is drowning and the time has come to heal, but the holes in her heart hold her back from moving on. Shedding the burden she carries is her only hope for a happy future, but she fears she will never have the strength to reveal her secret.

When Aidan walks back into their lives, Lucas and Lexi know everything is about to change. But as they fight to reconcile their past and reclaim what they lost, a vicious predator stalks Lexi. In order to stop the killer, all three must confront the secrets they’ve carried…before they’re buried by them.
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC of this book from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature adult. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.


Wednesday Chatter: Why Blog Tours Rock

4:30 AM 2 Comments

Wednesday Chatter is a weekly feature at Ruby's Books where we'll be talking about anything and everything related to books and reading. Click here if you want to see what we talked about in the previous weeks

WARNING: Some bad words might be used in the following post. Don't say I didn't warn you!



Hello my fellow book lovers! Today's mini-rant post was inspired by Vicky's post on Privilege in the bookish community. If you haven't read it yet, do yourselves a favor and go read it. Go on! I'll wait here.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: 5 Favorite Novellas & 5 Novellas I Want To Read

8:04 AM 6 Comments
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Hello book lovers! Today's Top Ten Tuesday topic is all about novellas and short stories. While I do read novellas and I like them, it takes a special kind of story to make me love it and give it a 5-cup rating, because usually I don't feel that there's enough page-time to get to that potential. That being said, there have been a few short stories that I adored enough to get to that high rating. Because of that, I'm going to split today's Top Ten list into two sub-lists: one for my top five favorite novellas, and one for my top five novellas I want to read. So without further ado, here are my

Top Five Favorite Novellas/Short Stories


     


  1. Flame's Dawn (+18) is the prequel to the Hell To Pay trilogy by Jillian David and let me tell you, it is as beautiful as it is heartbreaking. Beautiful, because you get to see how Barnaby and Jane met. Heartbreaking, because since this prequel is listed as the fourth story, and I read it last, I know how their story ends. Read my review here
  2. Fish Out Of Water (+18) tells the story of Harlow and her road to regaining her old self and overcoming the trauma of being kidnapped and tortured by the serial killer Charybdis. I have nothing else to say, except for the fact that this is Hailey Edwards, and y'all know I love basically everything I've read by her. Read my review here
  3. Another author that can do no wrong is Larissa Ione. I don't think I've ever been disappointed by anything this author has written, and I don't think I ever will. Her Guardian Angel (+18) is one of the 6 novellas part of the Lexi Blake Crossover Collection, and it continues Ione's collection of Demonica Underground of short stories. It's hard to pick a favorite in the D.U. collection, because each and every short story that has come out so far have provided both a way for me to calm my impatience until the first book in the Demonica spin-off is published AND a way to expand the universe of the Demonica as a whole. I ultimately settled for the latest novella, because out of all of the short stories, I feel like this one was the biggest game changer ever and I can't help but wonder if past events were similarly affected, the readers just never knew about it. And that's all I'm going to say, otherwise I'll start giving out spoilers and I don't want that. Read my review here
  4. Blood Red Kiss (+18) is an anthology that includes three of my favorite paranormal/urban fantasy writers on the planet: Kresley Cole, Larissa Ione, and Gena Showalter. Out of all the three short stories, I've only previously read The Warlord Wants Forever, by Kresley Cole. Rereading it has reminded me how much I actually enjoyed reading the Immortals After Dark series, and the added short stories by Ione and Showalter has made me want to try out the series these short stories are a part of. Read My Review Here
  5. Shade's Lady (+18) is a great short story about the National President of the Reapers MC, Shade, and how he found his perfect lady. It's a great story that I've read and reread many times, and each time I fall in love more and more with Wylde's characters. Read my review here


  6. Top Five Novellas/Short Stories I Want To Read



  7. It's no secret that I love the Caster Chronicles series, so it really shouldn't be a big surprise that Dangerous Dream is on this list. I'm really curious to see everything involving Lena, Ethan, Link and Ridley, so even a short story will be enough for me. Of course, I'm planning a reread of the entire series before I can read the spin-off duology later this year, because why not?
  8. Although I wasn't the biggest fan of Partials, I am curious to read this prequel story, Isolation, if only because maybe this will give me a little bit of extra knowledge that may offer some incentive to keep reading the series. I still am curious to see what happens in the series, but not quite enough to make me want to find out right away.
  9. I talked about the fact that I loved Mila 2.0 in a previous edition of Top Ten Tuesday, so of course I'll do it again now. I'm very curious about Origins: The Fire, especially because I'm curious to see if and what will Mila and the readers discover in this novella. Very curious indeed.
  10. I seem to be more and more attracted to stories about villains lately and I've been interested in reading Fairest ever since I first heard about it. Hopefully I'll get to it sooner rather than later.
  11. The Dead House is my favorite psychological thriller/horror ever. I still can't make up my mind if it's the scariest paranormal horror ever or the most tragic psychological thriller ever, but either way I loved it. I feel like The Nadia Tapes can either answer my questions or have me question the book even more. I want to read this novella, but at the same time I am so, so, so scared of doing it. But I will read it!
***
So this is it, guys, my Top 5 Favorite Novellas and my Top 5 Novellas I Want To Read. What about you? What are your favorite short stories? What about the short stories you want to read?

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Friday, July 13, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: Ullr's Fangs by Katharine E. Wibell

2:10 PM 0 Comments
Ullr's Fangs banner

This is my stop during the blog tour for Ullr’s Fangs by Katharine E. Wibell. This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours. The blog tour runs from 25 June till 15 July. See the tour schedule here.

Ullr's FangsAuthor: Katharine E. Wibell
Series: The Incarn Saga #2
Audience: +16
Genre: Epic Fantasy
Publisher: Phaesporia Press
Release Date: 29 April 2018
My Rating: 4 Cups 
Source: Lola's Blog Tours
Blurb (from Goodreads):
According to legend, when the world was young, two gods of war — one male, one female — were destined for each other. Yet Ullr, forever unfaithful, lost the love of Issaura, his true match, and was forsworn. His violent anger and bitter rage grew and intensified, poisoning all creation and humanity.

Now that the Raiders’ long ships have faded from sight, the kingdom of Elysia is beginning to recover from the summer’s war with the brutal invaders from across the sea. Yet darker forces have taken root, forces that can alter the future of the land and its people in unthinkable ways. Seventeen-year-old Lluava must discover the means to prevent her world from collapsing. But in doing so, will she succumb to that darkness?
*Disclaimer: I received an e-copy of this book from Lola's Blog Tours in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Spinning The Yarn: An Introduction

4:54 AM 2 Comments

Hello my dear bookish lovers and welcome to my new feature dedicated to bookish yarn crafts!

You might not know this about me, but another hobby of mine is knitting and crocheting. I may not be particularly good at it and I'm still finding things to learn, but I really enjoy it. Especially in the winter because all that yarn and the project I'm working on basically works as a blanket and keeps me toasty warm.

I learned how to knit before I even knew how to read and write, at the tender age of 5, and although most of the things I made are still in the WIP state, I was very happy whenever I could finish something. Most of the time that something was blankets for my dolls, because who wants their Barbies to get cold????

7 years or so ago I saw a gorgeous scarf pattern that I fell in love with and I wanted to make it, but woe is me, it was in crochet, which up until then I had never learned how to do. After a lot of tears and sweat I managed to do not one, but two items with that pattern, and I'm actually thinking of a third one because why not? And, if I'm being honest, I kinda love crochet more than knitting, even if I find crochet to be a little bit more restrictive in a way.

There are many reasons why I wanted to make this feature: one, because I love knitting and crocheting and I love seeing all the beautiful patterns people make; two, because I am a fangirl at heart and I love hand-made crafty stuff more than I do the same old stuff that are so insanely popular, like toys or action figures (I do like the video games though... keep 'em coming!); three, and most importantly, because I'm on a budget and that means I don't have the luxury to spend money on collectible stuff, and I will definitely not spend money on collectible items such as clothes. If I can make it, cool, if not... I'll try until I can make it, if I really want it.

I have to give Ruthstic @ YA On My Mind a shout-out, because she was the one who suggested Spinning The Yarn as the title for this feature. THANK YOU SO MUCH!!!

Basically this new feature of mine will be all about nerdy yarn crafts, be they crochet or knitting. Most of the time I'll share some of my favorite free patterns, although I will probably include some paid patterns as well if the patterns are super duper cute and fun. I'll try to keep it book related at first, and then I'll probably show some of my favorite patterns inspired by movies and TV shows. If you have any suggestions or fandom requests leave me a comment and I'll try to find as many patterns as possible (if there are any). Also, if you know any cool patterns that I should look at for any fandom (bookish or otherwise), you can go over Twitter and DM me and I'll share that pattern and credit you.

I hope you're as excited as I am about this new feature. In the meantime, happy reading! 

Monday, July 9, 2018

Movie Review: The Hobbit Trilogy

2:20 PM 0 Comments

Hello my dear book lovers! I finally did the thing, guys! I finally got up the courage to watch all three Hobbit movies and I have a lot of feelings! I previously reviewed the first Hobbit movie, so if you want, you can go check out that review. Today I'll be sharing my thoughts about the entire trilogy, so don't worry, I'm not re-reviewing the first movie. 

I'm going to be honest and say there were a lot of things I liked and enjoyed about the trilogy. Peter Jackson is really a genius in bringing out the magic and wonder of Tolkien's world and putting it together to make a fantastic story and incredibly stunning visuals. At the same time, however, there were a few things I didn't quite enjoy as much, and they play a huge part in what I feel about the trilogy as a whole.

ATTENTION: SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE MOVIE

Let's start with what I liked.

As I said in the previous review, I really enjoyed the opening scene, with Bilbo starting to write the book for Frodo. Not only it was a great Easter egg for those who've seen the LOTR trilogy, it's also a great reminder of the fact that Bilbo truly had an important part to play in the final part of history of the One Ring. I liked seeing Frodo hanging up the "No Admittance" sign on the gate, I liked seeing him leave Bag End to meet up with Gandalf, and I liked seeing Bilbo look over old maps and documents.

I liked Tauriel. I probably am in the minority, but I really enjoyed seeing her, and I thought Evangeline Lilly did a great job at portraying her. Tauriel is badass, strong, feisty and opinionated. She kind of reminded me of Éowyn in a way.

Smaug was exactly what I imagined him to be, at least in the first part where he talks to Bilbo. He is just as scary, ruthless, cunning and evil as I hoped he would turn out to be. Although, to be fair, he is also one of the reasons I was exasperated with the movie and I'll tell you later on why that is.

Thranduil is probably my favorite departure from the books. I liked seeing a morally ambiguous elf, one that isn't as ethereal and good as Elrond. I don't really remember much about him from the books, but I enjoyed what Jackson did with his character.
Source: Giphy.com

The little Easter Eggs were amazing. I am yet again in the minority, but everything from the shards of the sword Narsil to how Thranduil tells Legolas to go find the rangers, even how Gloin tells Legolas about his "wee lad" Gimli, all of those little details tying up together the two movie trilogies were fantastic and I absolutely loved seeing them there. The last scene in the third movie was fantastic and it kind of made my heart race a little bit, because it was such a good way to end things.

What I didn't like

The first thing I truly didn't like about the trilogy is that they turned a children's book into a bloody, violent story. The Hobbit is intended towards younger audiences and while I understand the need to bring a lot of people to the cinema and have them want to see your movie, I do believe it could have been done in a much better way than basically having the third movie be a war movie. 

Changing the story to make it attractive to a more mature audience also brings in a few strange decisions in cinematography. Towards the end of the second movie and about 95% of the last movie, I felt as if every color suddenly was lost. And I do mean the fact that the color was muted altogether, and the preferred shades were greys, blacks and some dirty whites. I really, really didn't like that. Because while LOTR is a pretty intense story, the movies didn't really have a complete lack of color in them. Yes, there were scenes where the story kind of required more muted colors and greys, but not as much as what happened with The Hobbit. 

Another thing I didn't enjoy was the way the filmmakers divided the story. They basically had about two thirds of the book in the first movie and then the rest was stretched over the last two movies, with a ton of stuff added in that wasn't in the source material, in order to justify an extra 6 hours of screen time. Now, I'm not sure if the things they added in were part of the history of Middle Earth - it's been years since I last read The Silmarillion, and I haven't read the rest of the books detailing the history of Middle Earth, so I'm not commenting on if the events they added in were something Tolkien wrote or not. What I do know is that the added scenes and subplots turned a rather simple story into a complex part of the history that, ultimately, I didn't understand. To make matters worse, a few of these changes are in contrast to what happened in the Lord Of The Rings movie trilogy. 

Case in point: Gandalf supposedly finds out about the return of Sauron during The Hobbit. How then is he surprised by the fact that Sauron has "returned" in The Fellowship of the Ring? It makes absolutely no sense to me. And yes, one could argue the fact that he left the task of finding how to defeat the Dark Lord to Saruman, but Gandalf isn't one to let others do something he can do for himself. We know he loves to meddle in things, so why would he not meddle in this important, dangerous mission? Or even forget about it??
Source: Giphy.com

Another continuity error in my mind is the fact that Legolas seems to be completely different than what I remembered from LOTR. I remember a socially awkward elf, one who didn't seem familiar with alcoholic beverages, one who didn't talk unless talked to, one who is so clueless at times he is insanely funny, one who uses sarcasm as much as he uses his bow, who then went on to become best friends with a dwarf.
Source: Giphy.com
This is the Legolas I remember and love. The Hobbit Legolas in an asshole and I don't like him at all!

The Legolas we meet here though seems to be quite the opposite. He's not socially inept, he can have a conversation, and he is what we would now call a racist. How this Legolas goes on to become the Legolas I remember from more than ten years ago, I'm not sure, but I wouldn't put my money on his time with the Rangers. If anything, that would be the perfect way for him to stop being socially awkward. It makes no sense. And let's not forget about his eye color!!!

Much like Legolas suffered a pretty drastic change, Galadriel also went through a pretty big scene that might seem like a small thing, but to me it was important and so confusing. Remember this scene in The Fellowship of the Ring?

Source: Giphy.com

Well... At the time, the movie made it seem like such a big deal for Galadriel, like a once-in-a-life-time event that was a sort of test for her (a test of what, I do not know). But it was shown as a pretty big deal, and I saw it as such. Now, in one of the movies from the Hobbit trilogy (I am honest and I'll say I don't remember which one) a similar scene happens. So I wonder... If she took on her badass, warrior elf queen face 60 years prior to Frodo coming to Lothlorien, what exactly makes the scene with Frodo in front of her mirror a test? What makes it so important?

Another thing I didn't quite enjoy was the overdoing of special effects. Peter Jackson did such an amazing job in the LOTR trilogy with this side of the movie, I remember being in awe over the fact that everything looked almost real. Something was lost, however, through the years, and that childlike wonder I was expecting to feel wasn't there. In fact, I could pinpoint exactly which scenes were CGI, and I hated that. I understand wanting to use technology to make your job easier, but this went from "let's use CGI because we have no other way" and into ridiculous territory.

I said I liked Tauriel, and I did. But if you're going to add a female character in order to balance the dominantly male story, at least make her be her own woman. I didn't like the fact that she played a love interest for not one, but two male characters. And while normally I can ignore that element, I was especially disappointed over the fact that, in the end, neither of those romantic interests end up having a happy ending, because Legolas is told by his father to leave, and Kili dies. So not only does Tauriel serves the simple purpose of being the hot "elf maiden" that two men fall for, she doesn't even get the chance of a happy ending. Aaaand that serves whom, exactly?

Last but not least, Smaug was... Look. He is the ultimate evil. The psychotic, gold-hungry fire-breathing creature that killed thousands of dwarves and feared by men, elves and dwarves alike. Why then have him die at the start of the third movie? And yes, I know that the focus of that movie was the Battle of the Five Armies. But if you're going to have a movie focused solely on this insane quest of reclaiming the stolen treasure from the mad dragon, at least make his death memorable. Instead, he died... It wasn't spectacular, let's just put it like that. And I expected it to be spectacular and worthy of his evilness.

***

Source: Giphy.com

Overall, I think I would have been less critical of this trilogy had I not read the book and had I not watched the LOTR trilogy. I admit that I had insanely high expectations, because I loved the original trilogy, faults and all. While it might seem that I didn't fully enjoy these movies, I did kind of liked them. But if I'm going to be honest with you, I don't expect to have a movie marathon of The Hobbit anytime soon. To quote Bilbo, "In fact I mean not to".

Friday, July 6, 2018

Blog Tour Book Review: The Darkest Warrior by Gena Showalter

2:37 PM 1 Comments
   

The Queen of Paranormal Romance, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Gena Showalter, returns with THE DARKEST WARRIOR, a searing Lords of the Underworld tale featuring a beastly prince and the wife he will wage war to keep. THE DARKEST WARRIOR is now available where all fine books are sold. Grab your copy today!

Author: Gena Showalter
Series: Lords of the Underworld #14
Audience: +18
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: June 26th 2018
My Rating:4.5 Cups
Source:InkSlinger PR
Blurb (from Goodreads):
He is ice…

Puck the Undefeated, host of the demon of Indifference, cannot experience emotion without punishment, so he allows himself to feel nothing. Until her. According to ancient prophecy, she is the key to avenging his past, saving his realm and ruling as king. All he must do? Steal her from the man she loves—and marry her.

She is fire…

Gillian Shaw has suffered many tragedies in her too-short life, but nothing could have prepared the fragile human for her transition into immortality. To survive, she must wed a horned monster who both intrigues and frightens her…and become the warrior queen she was born to be.

Together they burn.

As a rising sense of possession and obsession overtake Puck, so does insatiable lust. The more he learns about his clever, resourceful wife, the more he craves her. And the more time Gillian spends with her protective husband, the more she aches for him. But the prophecy also predicts an unhappily-ever-after. Can Puck defeat fate itself to keep the woman who brought his deadened heart back to life? Or will they succumb to destiny, losing each other…and everything they’ve been fighting for?
*Disclaimer: I received an eARC from InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my rating or the content of my review in any way.

**Disclaimer: This book contains mature adult. As a result, my review may contain references to content intended for mature audiences only.

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