October Wrap-Up/November Goals

So this was definitely, definitely not my most successful October ever, unfortunately. I didn’t read and finish as many books as I had planned, I didn’t blog as many posts as I had hoped. I don’t know what happened but I just didn’t finish out the month quite where I wanted to. Let’s see what the results were….

– BOOKS READ –

The Last to Die … 10/3/19 … ★★☆☆☆
The Institute … 10/8/19 … ★★★★★
Pumpkinheads … 10/13/19 … ★★★★★
The Chestnut Man … 10/24/19 … ★★★★☆
Witches of East End … DNF … ☆☆☆☆☆

– BOOKS HAULED –

74348432_707135956451018_7844982637746716672_nSub Boxes
Into the Crooked Place
by Alexandra Christo
The Bone Houses by Emily Lloyd-Jones
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Swaps/Gifts
The Babysitters Coven by Kate Williams
BookOutlet Haul
Beware the Night by Jessika Fleck
Consumed by J.R. Ward
George and Lizzie by Nancy Perl
Girls With Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Pearl
Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before boxed trilogy
Digital Snags
Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
Invictus by Ryan Graudin
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

In my update last month, I mentioned that I was cleaning and rearranging my bookshelves a bit. Well I mostly did that. I haven’t gotten everything quite put back the way I’d like it yet–its still a work in progress but its close. It will happen soon enough. And so that will carry on into November. Also, since I didn’t get all of my posts finished and posted for the BookEnding Autumn event, a couple of those prompts just might carry over into this month as well. The ones that aren’t too spooky, that is. Just fall-ish ones. Plus I’m trying out the #thankfulathon on Instagram for the first time this year so I’m trying to reflect on books and habits and general life topics that I am thankful for.

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BEAutumn: Spicy Pumpkin Latte Book Tag

I am so excited to do this tag, created for BookEnding Autumn by Meegan Reads! Warm beverages are one of my favorite parts of autumn. Whether its apple cider, chai lattes, pumpkin spice….anything! I love it all!! Then put it with my soft socks, cozy blanket, a good book, and I am set! Let’s get to this tag!

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Rules:

  • Link back to the original post (hint, it’s this one!)
  • Thank the person who tagged you
  • Do the prompts below
  • Tag some friends
  • Most importantly – have fun!

Pumpkin Spice Latte: A book you didn’t think you’d love
Slayer by Kiersten White – I honestly don’t know why I picked this book up. I remember expecting this book to be super cheesy, being that this was centered around <i>Buffy</i>–a corny sitcom I never watched to begin with. Also, I was a little disappointed with the last K.White book I read so my expectations weren’t that high. However, I listened to the audiobook and I LOVED this one. One of my favorite reads of the year!

Hot Apple Cider: A book that got you a bit hot under the collar
No matter your sexual preferences, if you have a pulse, you probably felt some stirrings for the chemistry between our boys Alex and Henry in Red, White, and Royal Blue. This was a book that I know I will be reading again at some point. I decided to read it up because of all the hype and I am so glad I did. Definitely worth a read if you haven’t gotten to it yet!

Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate: A book that felt like a warm hug
Since the theme is autumn and we’re going through warm beverages and comfort things, my first thought for this one is Rainbow Rowell’s Pumpkinheads. The very first page in this book is a map of the pumpkin patch that the characters work in and I was in love right then and there. Throughout the story, the MC’s basically tour the patch and its just so fun to visit all of the attractions with them…I will be reading this book every. single. year.

Maple Pecan Latte: A book you enjoyed that was hard to get into
I’ll give this one to The Bear and the Nightingale. Yes, I know this is a book that I harbor an unpopular opinion on. It just was a slowburn for me. I still am blaming myself for listening to the audiobook version and I am going to be brave and try again at some point to read a hard copy. I think there is potential because I know I did like the ending and I felt a bit lost. I felt the fairy tale element and I liked it but again, I was only confused by it so I feel I need to give it another go. The beginning was only difficult for me to really get into.

London Fog: A vanilla character
Hannah in These Witches Don’t Burn. I wanted to like this book and I didn’t hate it. I just thought it was dull. I thought that for a book about witches, it could have been more witchy. Probably because the main character was (sorry to say but) lame.

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Hot Buttered Rum: A book that was velvety smoothe

Pumpkin Cream Cold Brew: A character whose temperament is icy cold
That would be Olive in The Unhoneymooners. From the very beginning, this girl has a cold “I’m unlucky” attitude and it lasts for the entire book. Even when she’s on this amazing vacation (a la ‘unhoneymoon’), she is still convinced it will go bad because of fate.

Salted Caramel Mocha: A book that you’re salty about
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. If anyone out there still hasn’t read the HP books or watched the movies, minor -SPOILER- ahead….I am still skeptical about the veil in the Department of Mysteries! I did recently re-read the book for the first time since my original read when the book first came out (maybe this was my third read? But I can’t say for sure–that’s not the point) and there is such little explanation for what is behind the veil or what happens if someone just casually falls in! But come on. I always thought Sirius was going to come back. Or Dumbledore was going to find a way. Or something! So yes. I’m still salty.

Honey Bee Latte: A character who is sweet
For this one I’m going to choose Millie Michalchuk from the book Puddin’. This is the second book to Julie Murphy’s Dumplin’. I preferred book 2 to book 1. Really they can each stand alone. Dumplin’ was made into a Netflix movie relatively recently and I hope they do the same with Puddin’ because, as I said, I preferred Puddin’. Millie is a fat girl who goes from enemies to besties with the head cheerleader of the school and the entire book is just really sweet and life lessons are learned and I just really enjoyed the whole thing. (Side note: I’ve never heard of a “honey bee latte”???)

Gingerbread Latte: A character you would take home for Christmas
So my typical non-villanous book boyfriend is Levi from Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl. However, I now have a new Rowell book boyfriend! (I still think Levi is my favorite though, but for the sake of entertainment, I’ll change it up here) Josiah from Pumpkinheads! This lady knows how to write some wholesome guys, let me tell you! They are the type I could just hang out and laugh with, joke around with, drink coffee with, be super easygoing around…I think they just seem super chill.

So those are my answers! Technically the full BookEnding Autumn event is over now and I am so late in posting these but my October got so flipped upside-down I’m just posting at my own leisure at this point. If you’d like to do this tag, go for it! Be sure to tag me so I can see your answers, and tag the creator too! Have fun!

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Tour + Giveway: The Light at the Bottom of the World

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The Light at the Bottom of the World (Light the Abyss #1)
by London Shah
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: October 29th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository Kobo

Synopsis:

Hope had abandoned them to the wrath of all the waters.
At the end of the twenty-first century, the world has changed dramatically, but life continues one thousand feet below the ocean’s surface. In Great Britain, sea creatures swim among the ruins of Big Ben and the Tower of London, and citizens waver between fear and hope; fear of what lurks in the abyss, and hope that humanity will soon discover a way to reclaim the Earth.
Meanwhile, sixteen-year-old Leyla McQueen has her own problems to deal with. Her father’s been arrested, accused of taking advantage of victims of the Seasickness-a debilitating malaise that consumes people,often claiming their lives. But Leyla knows he’s innocent, and all she’s interested in is getting him back so that their lives can return to normal.

When she’s picked to race in the action-packed London Submersible Marathon, Leyla gets the chance to secure his freedom; the Prime Minister promises the champion whatever their heart desires. The race takes an unexpected turn, though, and presents her with an opportunity she never wanted: Leyla must venture outside of London for the first time in her life, to find and rescue her father herself.

Now, she’ll have to brave the unfathomable waters and defy a corrupt government determined to keep its secrets, all the while dealing with a secretive, hotheaded companion she never asked for in the first place. If she fails, or falls prey to her own fears, she risks capture-and her father might be lost forever.

Review:

my2bcover2bhigh2bres2521I feel like that synopsis is extremely detailed so I don’t need to lay out too many details on the plot! However, as for my opinions….stunning for a debut novel! So get this: not only was this book a beautiful cover buy, it was also an incredibly unique, action-packed, futuristic, and an intriguing book. It was so neat to imagine the world we know all being underwater. I’m not from London, but can you imagine Sherlock Holmes or the Queen of England living underwater?? Yeah, who thinks of that??!! London Shah! Strong on imagination yet mild on romance, I loved that The Light on the Bottom of the Ocean also was relevant on current topics like diversity and the idea of questioning authority and voicing opinions, even though it has a futuristic setting. These concepts are timeless and ring true in this story and I found it refreshing to see it anchoring this book down. Overall, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it for anyone who enjoys YA fantasy!

About the Author:

authorAuthor London Shah is a British-born Muslim of Pashtun ethnicity. She has lived in Britain’s capital city for most of her life via England’s beautiful North. When she’s not busy re-imagining the past, plotting an alternate present or dreaming up a surreal future, then she’s most likely drinking copious amounts of tea, eating all the sweets and cakes, strolling through Richmond Park or along the Thames, getting lost on an evening in the city’s older, darker alleyways—preferably just after it’s rained—listening to punk rock, or losing herself in a fab SFF book or film. If she could have only one super power, it would be to breathe underwater. THE LIGHT AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD is her debut novel.

Giveaway:

Use the Rafflecopter link to enter to win a finished copy of The Light at the Bottom of the World.
Giveaway HERE
The Fine Print…
Giveaway is for US residents only.
False entries will result on the complete disqualification of the participant and this person won’t be eligible to receive a copy of the book. There are multiple giveaways currently live organised and promoted by The FFBC Tours, Disney and London Shah.
Participants may only claim 1 copy of the book regardless of the different platforms and blogs.
If more than one blogger contacts you as a winner, please accept only one prize and decline the other.
The winner will be notified via email and needs to answer within 48 hours letting us know if he/she accepts the prize and send us his/her full name and address.
Your personal information won’t be used or be seen by anyone unless you’re the winner of the giveaway. We won’t sell it or use it in a bad way.
Tour Hosts, the FFBC Tours and authors are not responsible for any lost or stolen items.
My Bookish Soundtrack:

Tour + Giveaway: Beyond the Black Door

42642042._sy475_Beyond the Black Door
Author: A.M. Strickland
Publisher: Imprint
Release Date: October 29th 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, LGBT

Synopsis

Kamai was warned never to open the black door, but she didn’t listen …
Everyone has a soul. Some are beautiful gardens, others are frightening dungeons. Soulwalkers―like Kamai and her mother―can journey into other people’s souls while they sleep.
But no matter where Kamai visits, she sees the black door. It follows her into every soul, and her mother has told her to never, ever open it.
When Kamai touches the door, it is warm and beating, like it has a pulse. When she puts her ear to it, she hears her own name whispered from the other side. And when tragedy strikes, Kamai does the unthinkable: she opens the door.
A.M. Strickland’s imaginative dark fantasy features court intrigue and romance, a main character coming to terms with her asexuality, and twists and turns as a seductive mystery unfolds that endangers not just Kamai’s own soul, but the entire kingdom…

Review

Hands down, Beyond the Black Door is among the most unique books I have read. Dark fantasy, spooky vibes (so perfect for this month!) and a dark fantasy plot, unique concept called Soulwalking which is rooted more or less in the mythology of the fantasy world, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ace + demi-biromantic MC. WOW.

Main character Kamai is a Soulwalker who can enter people’s souls, or Nehyn. Kamai is taught this skill by her mother, who has always warned her against opening the black door that follows her when she enters souls. Of course, its not just any door but it seems to be a warm, breathing thing and like any good fictional character, the more you tell her not to do something, the more she wants to do it. To be completely honest, I did find the book a little rough-going in the beginning. We are being introduced to Kamai’s fantasy world, plus her routine of soul walking, so there were two huge fantastical concepts battling for my attention at the same time. However, once things got rolling about 25% of the way in, once more characters were introduced, once the plot started to get a little deeper and a little darker I was hooked!

About the Author

authorAdriAnne Strickland was a bibliophile who wanted to be an author before she knew what either of those words meant. She shares a home base in Alaska with her husband, her pugs, and her piles and piles of books. She loves traveling, dancing, vests, tattoos, and every shade of teal in existence, but especially the darker ones. She is the coauthor of SHADOW RUN and SHADOW CALL (Delacorte/Penguin Random House) and author of the forthcoming BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR (Imprint/Macmillan).

Giveaway

Prize: Win a finished copy of BEYOND THE BLACK DOOR by A.M. Strickland. US/CAN only.

Starts: 23 October 2019
Ends: 6 November 2019

Click HERE TO ENTER VIA RAFFLECOPTER.

Check out the rest of the rest of the FFBC Tour schedule for more chances to win the giveaway.

Soundtrack

And of course, such is my personal signature, the song I choose to go with this book: Paint it Black by Clara

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Every Witch Needs A Familiar! What Would Yours Be?

Familiar

This post is part of the event BookEnding Autumn, which is facilitated quarterly by Sam & Clo. This prompt in particular was developed and hosted specifically by Jamsu, so if you wish, you can check out the original post here. But the ‘official’ prompt is as follows:

If you were a witch, which magical creatures would you want as your familiar?

Before I answer this, I wanted to do a little digging. Of course I know of  familiars but I really am not familiar with them (yeah, that’s right–witch humor!). So I consulted the oracle (Google) and the simplest answer I found was:

…familiar spirits (sometimes referred to simply as ‘familiars’ or ‘animal guides’) were believed to be supernatural entities that would assist witches and cunning folk in their practice of magic.

3686Historically, familiars were often small, ordinary-seeming creatures who were given common names. Reading further, I found some familiarity.  In European folk tales, familiars entered the story when the protagonist is in the most need of aid–perhaps a grinning, striped Cat (a la Cheshire) or a cricket named Jiminy. Then I found connections to a couple recent reads. Relative to this is a daemon (Latin for the Ancient Greek daimon) referring to a guiding spirit. This term goes all the way back to Greek religion, mythology, and philosophy which, honestly are not my topics to date although my high school teachers loved  them. What I really am driving at here is the His Dark Materials trilogy. It has been a while since I have visited this world, but I remember the daemons being connected to their humans until being physically killed. I know I have heard of/seen daemons in other books/stories but offhand I can’t remember what. Probably none as well-known as HDM. Plus, HDM has an epic TV series coming out this winter sometime and I am looking forward to it!

The other recent read that came to mind when I was researching this was The Bear and the Nightingale. Just a disclaimer: I have only read book 1 and admittedly, I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I think it was due to it being the audiobook version, I’m open to trying to read on. But anyway, the reason I thought of this book was Vasilisa’s belief and loyalty to a household diety and just basically the “old magic” in the book.

Two quick TV examples that I have watched recently which blatantly mention familiars and are super witchy, which I would recommend on this topic: Salem, which was an awesome show starring Shane West (think back to A Walk to Remember, ladies!) that is based on the Salem Witch trials and life in early Salem, Massachusetts. It is a horror show though and it gets pretty twisted at times, but if you’re looking for something to FontCandy (45)watch this October, jump on this train! The second show is, of course, Sabrina the Teenage Witch–either the New Adventures or the 90’s version. Of course Salem is her familiar. And while we’re at it, why don’t we throw Charmed in there too. I love this show and the Halliwell sisters are gifted a cat as a familiar as well.

On a final note, familiars are also said to reflect the personality. So to sum everything up I think my familiar would be a dog. More specifically, a golden retriever. Blonde, loyal, protective, friendly, curious, family-oriented, playful and fun…yep, I’m going with that.

What would your familiar take the form of? What books or movies come into your head when thinking of familiars? Share in the comments!

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September Wrap-up & October Goals

My favorite month is here! It seems like everyone is so excited and motivated to read all the books this month. Ok, its me–I’m everyone! But seriously, I am seeing epic TBR’s and readathon’s around every corner and it is so fun. Between it being cozy fall time and Halloween coming up AND all of the awesome book drops there is a lot of reading to be done!! So let’s hop to the good part.

– BOOKS READ –

Job Interview: Prepare to Get Hired … 9/11/19 … ★★★★☆
Well Met by Jen DeLuca … 9/14/19 … ★★★★☆
The Backstagers, Vol. I: Rebels Without Applause … 9/21/19 … ★★★★☆
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix … 9/29/19 … ★★★★★
The Whisper Man … 9/30/19 … ★★★★★

71832181_462512031029497_1066610146769108992_n– BOOKS HAULED –

Sub Boxes
Crown of Coral and Pearl
The Ten Thousand Doors of January
Barnes & Noble/Amazon
The Bloody Chamber
A Taste for Monsters
Tunnel of Bones
Community Buys/Trades
The Haunting of Hill House
Gifts
Ignite Me
Sorcery of Thorns (digital)

And that was my month! As for goals I am trying participating in a couple of challenges both reading and blog-related. I started a clean-up of my shelves wherein I moved several of the books I’m not very interested in anymore into another room so that the books I have bought more recently can actually have a spot on a shelf. From here the next move is to re-organize my merch on my shelves so that I am incorporating new and old items and if there are things I don’t like or use, I have rotated them out. So that’s about it! Do you ever do this with your books and/or merch as you get new things? Do you keep books long after you read them, or do you pass them along?

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OH MY GOSH, ITS OCTOBER!!

I can officially fangirl about fall now, right? I’ve been trying to keep it low key for about three months right now! There really is so much going on this month that I have pretty much lost track. The highlights that I know I will be jumping in on are as follows:

bookending2bautumnTo kick off the month, the prompt from Danielle @ PoetryBooksYA is “Sweater Weather.” We’re talking about books that make us feel warm and cozy like a nice, warm sweater.

One book I would choose for that is Little Women. I actually read this for the first time this year (gasp!). I always knew my mom loved this book and I think we read a middle grade edition when I was young. I just think it is such a kind and loving book–almost overly so, but it is certainly worth a read.

Second, The Light We Lost is a book you need to read curled up in a blanket. It is a touching story of deepest love lost and found. Just make sure the blanket is comfy!

Sleepy Hollow is probably one of my favorite autumn reads. This one has to make my list just because its a classic, I grew up watching the animated version, and as I said its just a fave.

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October is coming! Haunted books…Part I

Hello everyone! With October right around the corner, I am positive that I’m not the only one thinking ahead to my Spooktober 2019 TBR! In looking ahead, of course I’m also looking into what I have read in the past to work out what should go on my list for next month. Haunted books Part I will be a post about a handful of books I have read and enjoyed in Octobers past that maybe you either want to pick up or avoid this year. Part II will be my actual TBR/books I’m considering as the mood reader I am.

👍 City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab – This middle grade book comes in at 285 pages and it really flies by. I ended up claiming City of Ghosts as one of my top books of 2018, that’s how much I loved this one. You can check out my review here.

45287291_255832425107068_6695770026378526720_n👎 The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White – I realize that this may be an unpopular opinion, but this book just didn’t live up to the hype for me. Maybe I’ll try reading it again at some point in time but for now, I sit disappointed.

👍 The Wicked Deep by Shea Earnshaw – If the cover alone doesn’t draw you into this book, then Goodreads’ description of Hocus Pocus + Practical Magic will maybe give you a little extra push. This was a great ghost story built on hundreds of years of small town magic and once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down.

👎 The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay – I had high hopes for this one because many people rave about this author around this time of year. This book and A Head Full of Ghosts (which I have also read and did not completely enjoy) just aren’t my style for horror-thrillers. Great concepts but no action past a certain point, in my opinion. So I think I’m done trying PT at this point.

 

 

Face Lift!

Woo! Update! How do you like the face lift on my blog? Had to flip over to autumn, you know. Get that fall feel going! I was ready to do it in like, July but I refrained 😛 Anyway, I’ve been MIA for a little bit because…you know…life. But here is a little update before we resume with the bookish.

Quick life updates:
– My husband and I just celebrated our 1-year wedding anniversary!
– I’ve been a bit bummed because I applied for an amazing position within my workplace and unfortunately I didn’t get it. So I needed to take a little time for myself and breathe. I am still coping a little bit but time is healing.
– A big project is starting up in my Book sleeve shop and I have been weighing the pro’s and con’s before committing to anything. I finally decided to say yes so then came the prep work and that has been crazy!!!! 
– On top of that, our basement flooded and everything has been wet. And smelly. And moved around for the project. And wet. But on a brighter note….
– Fall is here and its my FAVORITE.

That is mostly what has been keeping me away from the blog. Things are leveling out now so my updates will be more regular and I am glad for that because–as I will soon introduce–big events are coming in October! Let’s do it!!

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The Sunday Review: Well Met by Jen DeLuca

43189874._sy475_Title: Well Met
Author: Jen DeLuca
Page Count: 336 pages – ebook edition
Release Date: September 3, 2019
Publisher: Berkley

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Have you ever been swooned? Well Captain Simon and the Bar Wench Emily are about to swoon your ass off in this romcom! I remember reading the synopsis for this book a month or two ago and seeing the Renaissance Faire aspect of it made it an automatic must-read for me. The thought of working a Ren Faire for a summer is like working a fantasy summer camp to me. Like, how amazing would it be? Dressing up, acting in-character, playing with the patrons…so fun! And then in this book, we layer in this romance and some comedy?! Its so much fun!!

Just to give you an idea…in Well Met, our main character is Emily, who moves to this small town after her older sister is in a car wreck and now needs some help around the house and getting her daughter around for the summer. Well, daughter Caitlin finally old enough and is now volunteering for the town’s summer event which is the Renaissance Faire and in order for her to volunteer, she needs to have an adult work with her. Obviously her mom can’t because of her injury so Emily is recruited to be a part of the fair as well and she is assigned the role of Tavern Wench. From the moment she enters orientation, the guy in charge (Simon) hassles her about everything right down to filling out her form incorrectly. When Simon is in costume though, he is a completely different person. He is handfast to Emma, delivers her red roses, and recites Shakespeare. Is this new swagger all pirate Simon? Or does real Simon swoon for Emily as well?

jerry-zhang-n9eVQoeGDQk-unsplashI read this book so fast, I just could not get enough. Well Met was incredibly charming and filled with many emotions. First of all, I loved the small town setting and just the idea that Emily moved to town to help her sister April and she slowly grew to be accepted and to get to know everyone’s stories. Even April started to open up to the small town atmosphere a little more by the end so that was good too. Second, speaking of stories, I thought the background story of Mitch and the Faire and Simon’s extreme attachment to it was pretty decent. Overall though, I love how Emily really got it and how she and Simon talked it out. I thought their scene at the tree was an amazing scene for a chick lit/contemporary book and the ending was really nice.

The reason I gave this book only 4 stars rather than 5 is because I felt that Emily is a character that just got too critical and nervous and questioned every single thing that Simon said to her. It just got to be too much and felt obsessive to me. “He gave me a rose! Am I important? How do I handle this? What do I do next?” I was always wondering “Haven’t you ever been in a relationship before?” It just dimmed the shine on the story a little bit for me at times. Other than this though, I really enjoyed this book and definitely recommend! (especially the audiobook)

Book Soundtrack: Small Town Boy by Dustin Lynch (I love this song)

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