The Rules of Magic & Practical Magic

Happy day bookworms!  I hope everyone is having a productive Tuesday!  This past Friday, I finished up reading, The Rules of Magic by the infinitely talented, Alice Hoffman. As with many books that I fall completely in love with, it takes me a while before I am able to sit down and put my thoughts of a book down in words.  This book is no exception to that!

I borrowed The Rules of Magic from a friend – after I lent her my copy of Practical Magic she went right out and bought and read Rules.  I knew from her raving about it that it was equal in stature to PM. The Rules of Magic, the prequel book to Hoffman’s super successful, Practical Magic, leads readers through a coming of age tale starring everyone’s favorite Aunts: Jet & Franny Owens. Unbeknownst to me, they also have a brother, Vincent, who is equally vibrant and naughty.

Starting very early, this lyrical book weaves together so many different aspects of the Owens history and lives that pieces of Practical Magic start to fit a little better into place. Hoffman’s style is flowing and beautiful, you cannot help but be swept up into the story. I cried, I laughed and I left a bit of me behind as I closed the final page but I also took something with me: hope & love – that’s what a story should do to us. I would give this book all the stars if I could – it certainly deserves it!

If you are curious about Practical Magic as well, I finished it last October and wrote the following thoughts upon completion: I absolutely adored this- read it in a weekend. The writing is beautiful. It is quite different from the movie version but stands really strong in its own right. I did picture Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman in my head though the whole time I was reading it- which really made it come alive. If you haven’t read this, you should!

Have any of you read these books? or any of Alice Hoffman’s writing? I would definitely like to read more of her books – if they are anywhere near as captivating as these two, I know I will love them!

Review: The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty

Expected Publication: March 13, 2018

“It’s like my mother’s death made this huge noise a long time ago. And this murder is the echo of it”

(3.5-stars rounded up to 4) The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty is an adult thriller following female protagonist, Harper McClain, who is a crime reporter in the city of Savannah. As female leads go, I really liked Harper; I found her to be smart and believable. Although haunted by a past trauma where she stumbled across the crime scene of her murdered mother, we learn how Harper’s whole life was shaped by that one event; how she used it to fuel her passions for writing and reporting. For me, the book didn’t really pick up until about 30% into the story. The introductory phase of the characters, the city and Harper’s early life seemed just a little too drawn out for my taste before ever getting into the main point of our story – the murder and subsequent investigation of a woman by the name of Marie Whitney. Once Harper started looking into Ms. Whitney’s death, and coming to the conclusion that there was more to the story than her police friends were letting on, the action really started to pick up. Overall, I enjoyed this story and would definitely be interested in reading the next book in the series!

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press/Minotaur for providing me with an early copy of this book – I am excited for the release date to see what other readers think of it!


Review: Ugly As Sin by James Newman

Ohhhh, this book! Lovingly classified as ‘White Trash Noir’ this story shook feelings from me I didn’t know I could experience whilst reading! The story follows our protagonist, Nick ‘The Widowmaker’ Bullman, after he hits rock bottom.

Firstly, you may ask, what is white trash noir? That is a solid question and one I am not fully sure I can answer correctly. To me, ‘White Trash Noir’ is more of a feeling than a thing; if you read it, you will know it. I would describe it as gritty and tragic but oddly full of hope and humor as well. It feels real.

The story of Nick Bullman is beautifully moving – I felt such sympathy for him – he’s pretty much a good guy who had his outward ‘humanity’ stripped away from him due to an event completely outside of his control. Because of this horrific event his entire life is turned upside down and when we meet him, he is at the bottom of it all. I feel at its core this is a story of love, redemption and reconciliation. The writing style is fluid and compelling; it kept me glued to the pages. Ultimately, what I took from this book is if you can salvage anything from the ashes of your past mistakes, do it. Our relationships we form in life are what truly matter. They are what make life worth living. Well done, Mr. Newman, all the stars to you!


2018 – the year of the book!

Today’s post is simply an excitement post about how great 2018 is going to be for all things books!  Fellow worms, it is only January and we have seen some great new books released already this year.

As you may know, if you follow my posts at all, one of my new faves just had its official release day yesterday – so Happy Book Birthday to Reign of the Fallen -and a big congratulations to the author, Sarah Glenn Marsh! This book is a dark and dreamy YA-fantasy that had me hooked within the first few pages.  If you are looking for an exciting new fantasy series with all the bells and whistles, please do yourself a favor and pick this one up.  I mean, the cover love alone -it’s gorgeous!

Yesterday I also received my hard copy of The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.  If you are not familiar with Holly Black’s writing, it is YA-fantasy generally involving the fae-folk and this book is no different.  The official release date for The Cruel Prince was January 2nd – I have been looking forward to it for so long and can’t wait to get to it! Early reviews of it are pretty solid, many calling it lovely and magical….yeah, I could use some of that in my life, so planning to start this one as soon as I can.

There are way to many more exciting new releases this year to possibly list here but the following are some of the ones I am really anticipating and that I will most likely be getting hard copies of: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, The Hazel Wood by Melissa Alpert, Untitled (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu, Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons #3) by Sarah J. Maas (!!!!), Throne of Glass #7 by Sarah J. Maas, and Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amy Kaufman.

What books are you most looking forward to seeing released this year!? I really want to hear, that way I can add any I am missing to my tbr list!

As always, happy reading bookworms!


Status Update: The Serpent King

Hi bookworms! Happy Tuesday to you! Today I wanted to write a little bit about my current audiobook – The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner. Originally published in March of 2016, this is a YA-contemporary coming-of-age story set in a small town in Tennessee.  It follows the POV of 3 main characters: Dill, Lydia and Travis.

I went into this book with no real expectations. I had heard a lot of buzz about it through bookish social media channels last year and really had heard nothing but good things. This being said, YA-contemporary is not my go-to genre – I generally prefer sci-fi/fantasy books. I am about 75% through this  now and to say that I am enjoying it would be a vast understatement. This book is legitimately rocking my soul to its core. The characters are so real, so innocent, I feel what they are feeling. True Story: This morning, while walking my dog and listening to the audiobook, I was crying. Actual tears! While walking down the road at 7:30 a.m. listening to this book.

The three main characters are high school kids, in their senior year, all on the verge of adulthood. Trying to navigate that transition and only one of them has the family support to make it a smooth transition.  The other two, oh the other two, I want to hug them, help them and tell them it will all work out. I haven’t done too much research on the author, Mr. Jeff Zentner, but the writing in this is so real it makes me pause to think whether or not this could classify as an ‘own voices’ narrative – the emotional depth and experiences in this book seem so important – it’s like these characters are actually alive. How much of this can be traced directly from Mr. Zentner’s life? I do not know the answer to that, and may never know, but it makes me feel such a swelling in my heart for this book and all it is about.

If you ever have the chance to read this book, or listen to the audio, I could not recommend it more highly. I am so glad that I stepped out of my comfort zone and read this one. It was worth every moment and every tear!

Cheers to emotionally charged books!


Review: NOS4A2 by Joe Hill

Happy Saturday bookish loves!  Today I finally feel ready to discuss NOS4A2. I finished NOS4A2, by Joe Hill, almost a week ago and still do not think that I have a truly cogent way of explaining my love for this book. However, one of my 2018 book goals is to review every book I finish so here we go….
This book was so unique, so dark and amusing, so full of references to King works, so replete with character and world development, I find myself still pondering it days after completion. Halfway through I ordered a copy for my sister and had it sent to her because I just needed to share this with someone. This book tests the line between the world around us and the world we create with our minds.
Our villain, Charles Talent Manx (the III, I believe), is a vampire of sorts and so devilishly charming that he almost fooled me into developing a soft spot for him. He was all kinds of evil and powerful and wonderfully creative.
Next comes Victoria McQueen – Vic is our heroine. She was powerful in her own right – using her powers to ‘find’ things that had been lost – losing a little of herself every time she used her gift. The loving, yet apprehensive mother of Bruce Wayne Carmody, Vic’s strength (both mental and physical) are pushed to the limits numerous times during the story, all on account of Manx. Unfortunately, her little Wayne feels the pull of Christmasland and we watch his soul go on one hell of a dangerous ride!
Then we have our minor characters, who were so well drawn and complete – my favorites, Maggie & Lou, were so important to this story and in my opinion, two of the most likable people in the action. Both misfits, they were real, engaging, loyal and brave.
This book is long, really long, but worth the ride if you put in the time. I may read it again next year around Christmas – making it a sort of tradition. After all, once you go to Christmasland, you never want to leave!

Review: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire

Yesterday I finished up listening to the audiobook of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.  This book is the first of The Wayward Children series – the 3rd book, Beneath the Sugar Sky, was just released on January 9th so there has been a lot of buzz on bookish media outlets regarding this series. After listening to a few different booktubers proclaim their love of these books, and their excitement for the final book, I knew I needed to check it out for myself! (and I’m glad I did)

I decided to give this 3.5-stars but rounded up to 4 on Goodreads because for me it was closer to a 4-star than a 3-star read. My favorite aspect of the book was the incredibly bizarre cast of well-drawn characters. This is definitely a character piece. The setting for the book is Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children.  Magical and dark, I loved hearing the different stories of each character’s times and travels prior to moving to the Home. There is a lot of great rep in this book and it just seems like a fun and comforting story for any young person who has ever felt misunderstood (which is probably all of us!).

I will continue with the series, as from what I have read, the books get better and better. I definitely enjoyed the author’s style, there just wasn’t as much action as I normally enjoy.

Cheers to the weekend everyone – this week has been exhausting! So ready for a book-filled next few days. What’s everyone reading this weekend?

Review: Reign of the Fallen by Sarah Glenn Marsh

Expected Publication: January 23, 2018

Oh my goodness did I love this book! I just finished my e-ARC this morning and am so excited about the fact that I have already completed one book this year that is an early contender for ‘my favorite book of 2018’! Reign follows the story of a strong, independent female protagonist named Odessa who is a master necromancer in the kingdom of Karthia.

This books starts out quickly and in my opinion really never lets up. I read it so fast, racing to the conclusion – throughout the course of the story my pulse was raised many times, my heart crushed and my spirits soared over a full range of emotions. The magic system is very cool – I loved the necromancers, healers, beast masters, royals, etc. – and the world creation was vivid and believable. The characters were very likable (I have a few different faves) and the Shades (the monsters of our tale) scary enough to keep you glued to the pages. I would recommend this book all day long to anyone who loves YA fantasy and look forward to seeing what new horizons will await us in Book 2!!! A big thank you to the publisher, Razorbill, for giving me the opportunity to read this book early!

Has anyone else finished any fabulous new books this year? I have a strong feeling 2018 will be a great year in all things book!

Happy reading friends  : )

*Please note, I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Review: The Hearts We Sold

Happy Monday bookworms! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend – it is always a little sad to head off to work on a Monday morning – back to the grind! I had a great bookish weekend – I finished up three books, organized my living room bookshelves and started two new books! For new books, I started The Rules of Magic, by Alice Hoffman (the prequel book to Practical Magic) and The Echo Killing, by Christi Daugherty, which is an e-ARC I received from the publisher, Minotaur Books, in exchange for an honest review.

Today I wanted to review The Hearts We Sold which is one of the books that I finished up this weekend.  The author for this book is Emily Lloyd-Jones and I received this book as part of one of my OwlCrate boxes. If you have never heard of OwlCrate, it is a YA book subscription box that you receive monthly that has one new release hardcover YA book along with a host of other bookish goodies and merch. It is a super fun way to bring new, surprise books into your life every month!

Okay, so back to THWS, this book surprised me! It is a very fun, quick YA fantasy book set in an ‘our world’ Portland, Oregon, where demons have shown themselves to exist and now make ‘deals’ with humans for a variety of different purposes. I really enjoyed the main character, Dee, who had some struggles but was on the way to finding her freedom and herself. She feels compelled to make a deal with a Daemon and trades away her heart – hence becoming one of the ‘heartless’.

My favorite character was her roommate, Gremma, who I could totally relate to and who added a bit of humor to the sometimes dark and desperate storyline. I found this book to be fast-paced with some interesting fantasy/science fiction elements weaved nicely into the plot. I would recommend this to anyone just looking to forget about life for a while and have a fun time doing so. Below is a passage from the book that I think sums up the mood of the story nicely:

“She had walked willingly into a fairy tale, into a world where she could trade her heart for her freedom. She may as well have donned a red cloak and strode into a darkened forest.
She had always known there would be wolves.
I chose this.”

Do you read YA fantasy books? If so, what are some that you would recommend? I would love to hear!

Happy Reading!

Review: Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)

Happy Sunday book loves! I hope everyone has been having a productive, yet relaxing, weekend! I have finished two books so far this weekend -the first being, Clockwork Angel, by Cassandra Clare. This is the first book in The Infernal Devices series originally published in August of 2010.

I was taken aback by how much I loved this book. I have never read any books by Cassandra Clare but after hearing of her everywhere I turned (GR, Bookstagram and Booktube) I decided I needed to try one out for myself. I chose to begin with this series, the prequel to her super popular Mortal Instruments series, because I tend to gravitate towards anything set in Victorian London – a setting I absolutely prefer to urban fantasy (I believe Mortal Instruments could be classified as an urban fantasy). I was immediately swept up into the world of Shadowhunters & Downworlders!  Truthfully, in the beginning I was apprehensive about being able to follow it all (she has created quite the world here) but once the story got into a groove I didn’t find that to be a problem. I got way more wrapped up in the characters than I anticipated and have already bought the box set because I know I could read this whole series again (one of my parameters for judging fiction as 5-stars is if I would ever read it again). I am so excited to get going with the second book….I just need it to arrive! So glad I finally decided to give this one a go!
Have you ever been surprised by how much you enjoyed a book? If so, what was is? I would love to hear!
Happy reading!