Friday, December 30, 2016

Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Year: 2016
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA 13+

This is the 5th installement of the Throne of Glass series. There are 6 total books planned for the series & a colllection of novellas. I've listened to all of them on audio & the reader Elizabeth Evans is very good. She can do all of the voices & has a great energy. Because of this I do my best to spell all of the names right. I have really enjoyed all of the previous books in the series and this one especially hit home. There was many times while driving that I had to pull over because I was going through some VERY strong emotions. This book broke me & it was a truly beautiful experience.

The story begins with Aelin Ashryver Gaathynius & her court of misfits making the journey to Terrasen in order to take back her kingdom & raise & army. From there they hope to find all 3 wrydkeys to defeat the Valg King Erawan who resides in Morath. The group includes Rowan Whitethorn, Aeidon Ashryver Galathynius, Lysandra, a small girl named Evangeline, & the loyal Fleetfoot. Unfortunately when they get there their bretheran are not as excited by their arrival.

Dorian Haviilliard the King of Aderlan stayed behind to rule his new kingdom after the destruction of the beautiful glass castle. Meanwhile Manon Blackbeak, along with her flying 13, are awaiting orders from their leader Manon's grandmother who has allied with Erawan in Morath.

However things go downhill for the different groups very quickly. Aelin's group gets turned away immediatey after arriving in Terrasen then decides to reach out to old friends & call in some debts for help while making their way to Skull's Bay. Dorian escapes a Rifthold under seige by the witches with Rowan who comes to his rescue & Manon is having family issues as a result of the attack. Also while all that is going on Elide Lochan is wandering through the Oakwall Forest looking for the 13 unaware of what has happened. She eventually runs into one of Maeve's henchmen, Lorcan, & the pair start making their way North to try & find Aelin.

Eventually Aelin's group hooks up with Dorian & Rowan in Skull's Bay. There while making a deal with Captain Rolf they encounter two more of Maeve's thugs Gavirel & Fenrys. The pair are searching for Lorcan under orders from Maeve but in the meantime they decide to help the cause. It isn't long before they all hit the high seas on their way to the stone marshes & Manon "falls right into their path''. In the stone marshes they discover that the lock they seek is not what it seems & Elide & Lorcan join them.

Now armed with two of the three wyrdkeys necessary to complete the gate & banish Erawan to the otherside forever, plus a whole armada of ships & soilders thanks to some old friends & life debts Aelin is ready to go to Morath in search of the third & final key. Nameless is the price & Aelin is ready to pay it in order to use the lock but they run into a big problem...the Queen of the Fae-Maeve. Will they have enough magic & power to defeat her or will they get crushed in the darkness? 

Likes: This book like many of the others develops slowly then boom! Hits you when you least expect it, keeping you on the edge of your seat for the whole ride.

All the different characters come together to help Aelin & they unite for the greater good which is a hard & amazing task.

The concept of nameless is my price has been building since book one & once you know that will kill you!

Every individual bonds with a mate & the love that holds the group together is beautiful.



Monday, December 26, 2016

A Court of Thorns & Roses by Sarah J Maas

A Court of Thorns & Roses

***I'm posting this from my new tablet so we'll how it goes***

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's
Year: 2015
Genre: Fairytale Retelling/ Fantasy
Age: YA 13+

I originally read this book by listening to the audio when it first came out last year & fell instantly in love! I will go as far as saying this is my favorite book, even above Harry Potter...which is crazy but true. The second book might be a tie LOL. I've been having some trouble at work recently & needed something to cheer me up so I picked this one up & it worked wonders. I reread it within 2 days. It's been a long time since I've done that with a book!

In this first book of a trilogy we meet Feyre. She is a mortal hunter trying to provide for her family the best she can. She lives with her 2 sisters Elaine  & Nesta, & their father. Years ago their father lost all of the money & belongings through a bad business deal. Since then the family has lived in a hovel on the outskirts of town & are barely able to survive on the meat & money Feyre is able to get for them by hunting in the nearby woods. One day while she is out Feyre encounters a wolf that is way to big to just be a common woodland creature. She suspect that he crossed over from the nearby wall that separates the mortal realm from the realm of the fae.

The land containing the beautiful & immortal fae is called Prythian. In this realm there are 7 courts (Spring, Summer, Winter, Fall, Day, Dawn, & Night) & 2 other lands (The island of Hybern & a terrible place called Under the Mountain). Hundreds of years ago there was a great War between the humans & the fae. A result of that war is the wall protecting the human world as well as a treaty governing the two races. 

Several days after Feyre slaughtered the fae wolf, a great beast comes to the door demanding that a life debt be paid in exchange for the killing. Feyre willingly but unhappily goes with the beast to save her family. It isn't long before her & the beast are over the wall & she begins the remainder of her life living in the Spring Court of Prythian. The court is lead by a high fae named Tamlin. He resides there with his emissary Lucien & a large court.

While there Feyre learns that there is a curse upon all of Prythian caused by a terrible blight. It has been plaguing the land for the past 50 years! It effects each court differently, for example, in the Spring Court all its members have been stuck in animal masks since the night the curse was put upon them at a ball. Other consequences of the curse include diminished magical abilities of the people & a problem with the wards protecting each court. This means Feyre is seeing strange creatures in the woods & rose garden surrounding the manor.

Over time Feyre comes to enjoy Prythian, her companions, & especially the handsome high lord. The pair eventually fall in love, but because of the curse Tamlin must send Feyre back to the human realm before she becomes a pawn in this terrible game.

Feyre doesn't spend much time back on her side of the wall, she quickly senses something is wrong & returns to Prythian.  He love for Tamlin is to strong so she flees back over the wall & finally learns the truth. Tamlin's court has been taken by the blight. The terrible thing plaguing the land is actually a woman named Amarantha. She resides Under the Mountain & has ruled unjustly in Prythian for the past 50 years. She was sent to the realm from Hybern as an emissary & quickly took power into her own hands. She has a grudge against mortals because of a conflict during the war with her sister. Jealously for Tamlin also makes her hatred for Feyre even stronger.

Feyre alone has the power to break the curse & free Prythian from this long plague but can she live through Amarantha's trials? Or will she become worm food Under the Mountain? With the help of Lucien & a new dark enemy she must overcome the darkness to be with Tamlin again. The question is does love or evil conquer all?

Likes: This book has a great world! From the beautiful & interesting characters to the scenery it takes your breath away.

The story is very akin to the classic tale of Beauty & the Beast. But it has some new elements that keep you on the edge of your seat.

It could easily be a standalone book but it also leaves a little hint of what's to come next & makes you want more.

The story itself is magical & the love that drips from feyre & Tamlin is addictive. We should all want that kind of love!

Dislikes: ---


Thursday, December 22, 2016

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston

A Thousand Nights

Author: E.K. Johnston
Year: 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Retelling
Age: YA 13+

I want to start by saying that I only picked up this book because I received the second one (Spindle) on Netgalley not knowing that they were a duology. I plan on reading and reviewing the second book as well in the near future.

I have never read the book that inspired this one but I know a little bit about the tale. It’s inspired by the book One Thousand & One Nights or Arabian Nights depending on your country. It’s a collection of works featuring Arabic, Persian, Indian, & Egyptian stories. The main story that serves as the inspiration for this new book is about a king that discovers his wife is unfaithful, & has her executed. From then on he is of the mindset that all women are this way. So the king has the vizer help him marry a different virgin in succession only to kill them the next day. At some point all the virgin girls are gone so the vizer’s daughter offers herself to the king. On the night of their marriage the daughter begins to tell the king a story. But she does not finish it so she lives until the following night. This pattern continues for 1,001 nights. All the different variations of the story have different details but the ending always ensures that the girl lives.  

So in this retelling the main character is a nameless girl who goes with the king in place of her sister. The King, Lo-Melkhiin has killed thousands of girls already & the newest one intends to end this horrible practice. She lives through the nights by telling the King stories from her village. Back home her sister & the rest of her village all worry for her life, so they pray for her and to their smallgods so that she will live.

The girl that is the new Queen has a special gift. She can use something she calls “copper fire” to see things around her, in her village, & predict when things will happen. This combined with her skills in weaving makes her an interesting target for Lo-Melkhiin. It is said that the King has a demon inside of him and that makes him a bad man. When Lo-Melkhiin visits her each night she sends her copper fire to him & his cold demon suffocates it. But as time goes by she is becoming more & more useful to him because of her gift.

The girl believes that she can vanquish the demon but she will need the help of Lo-Melkhiin’s mother, her village, & some special animals to make it happen. Will she sacrifice her life & become a smallgod to her family, or will her knowledge of the desert & her fire overcome the darkness inside of Lo-Melkhiin?

At the end of each review I usually do likes & dislikes but this was one of the weirdest books I have ever read! I’m still on the fence about it overall. It wasn’t a bad book by any means. It was beautifully written, had great characters, an amazing setting & the description of the world around them, & had a mix of stories & dialogue. But that being said I felt that there was a little too much story telling about her village. There would be whole chapters about herding sheep or how they get water.  Intermixed with the stories were also small chapters that I think were supposed to be from the demon/Lo-Melkhiin’s point of view. I was pleased to see in the end that it had a happy outcome after all of the heartache. 


Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Top 75 Books or Series

I was recently asked to create a list of books I would recommend from things I had read. I have read a lot in my short life time & I plan on continuing for many years to come. But here is a short list in no particular order of books or series I have read & loved!

Now be aware some of these series are on going, I frequently check on Goodreads to see what's to come in the future!

The books with a * at the end are series or duologies.

      Matilda by Roald Dahl
   The BFG by Roald Dahl
James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Twits by Roald Dahl
The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl
Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson*
 Fablehaven by Brandon Mull*
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling*
Short Stories from Hogwarts by J.K Rowling*
Harry Potter & the Cursed Child by John Tiffany
Beautiful Creatures by  Kami Garcia*
Dangerous Creatures by Kami Garcia*
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead*
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer*
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas*
A Court of Thornes & Roses by Sarah J. Maas*
Janitors by Tyler Whitesides*
 Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard*
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede*
Shipwreck Island by S.A. Bodeen*
The Detour by S.A. Bodeen
The Gardener by S.A. Bodeen
The Raft by S.A Bodeen
The Compound by S.A. Bodeen
The Fallout by S.A. Bodeen
Floors by Patrick Carman*
Faithful by Alice Hoffman
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
Water Tales by Alice Hoffman*
 Green Heart by Alice Hoffman*
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The Summer by Sarah Dessen
The Moon & More by Sarah Dessen
 Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Dumplin by Julie Murphy
 The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Sweet by Emmy Laybourne
The Lone City by Amy Ewing*
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins*
Peter & the Starcatchers by Dave Barry*
Neverland by Dave Barry*
The Great Library by Rachel Caine*
The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull*
Robert Langdon by Dan Brown*
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult*
Once Upon a Time by Misc*
The Martian by Andy Weir
The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey*
Blackout by Robinson Wells*
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
The Maze Runner by James Dashner*
Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Holes by Louis Sachar
 Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
Wicked by Gregory Macguire*
Where the Heart Is by Billie Letts
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan*
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer*
Water For Elephants by Sara Gruen
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris*
1984 by George Orwell
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Landline by Rainbow Rowell
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum*

I have done some reviews or book trailers on quite a few of these so see my other blog posts for more info!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

 Image result for heartless book
Author: Marissa Meyer
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Year: 2016
Genre: Fairytale Retelling
Age: YA 13+

Marissa Meyer is the critically acclaimed NY Times Best Selling author of The Lunar Chronicles series. That series (also a fairytale retelling) is equally amazing and I throughly enjoyed it as much as this standalone gem.

We all know the story of Alice in Wonderland. All to familiar is the ruthless and evil Queen of Hearts. But how did she become the Queen? Was she always evil? In this story we get to find out!

Our main character is the young daughter of the Marquess & Marchioness of Rock Turtle Cove. Her name is Catherine "Cath" Pinkerton. Cath loves to bake more than anything & she dreams of opening her own bakery with her equally eager ladies maid Mary Ann. They live in a quaint little town by the ocean called Hearts. The storefront Mary Ann & Cath have their eye on is currently occupied by a cobbler named Mr. Caterpillar (we know him as Absolem). While Cath knows what she wants for her future, her mother has other plans.

Cath's mother wants her to capture the simple minded, giggling King's attention and become the new Queen of Hearts. Cath is not thrilled with this idea and plans to do everything in her power to keep it from becoming a reality.

The King's court has a new member, the joker, named Jest. He is from Chess, the town on the other side of the Looking Glass. Chess is home to the Red & White kingdoms that are at war & have been for so long no one can remember a time of peace. Jest has been sent to Hearts on a secret mission from the White Queen.

Before you know it Cath has a new love interest & it's not the King. Although it would be wildly inappropiate, her & Jest wish for a better life together in Chess. Little do they know about all the obstacles they must overcome to be together.

But unfortunately...

All of this love & whimsy is being interrupted by the Jabberwock. The Jabberwock is a mysterious mythical beast of legends past & it can only be slain by someone of noble blood whielding the Vorpal Sword. One big question is where did the beast come from? That answer lies behind the shiny, orange skin of a magical pumpkin.

So can Jest win Cath's heart? Will the slightly mad Hatta (Mad Hatter), the Haigha (March Hare), and his troop of unruly folk get eaten by the monster? Or can all the answers be found under the magic treacle well with the Sisters, through the Looking Glass?

Likes: All of the original characters that we know & love are in this story! And there are some delightful new ones like a pumpkin farmer named Peter (from the children's rhyme) & a cute turtle that suffers a terrible fate.

We all know the ending of the story obviously byt its the journey that makes it fun & worth while.

The story is full of love & whimsy & color which makes for a great fairytale!

Marissa Meyer is one of my favorite authors! I would recommend any of her books to fans of fairytale retellings or YA fantasy novels.

Dislikes: The idea of where the Jabberwock comes from is given away very early, but the story behind the beast still makes it interesting.

The reason Cath becomes the Queen is very sad but necessary to the development of the story.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

The Assassin’s Blade
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s
Year: 2014
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA 13+

***This review & book contain spoilers from the original series Throne of at your own risk!***

This is a book compilation of five Throne of Glass novellas previously only available on ebook. It contains The Assassin & the Pirate Lord, The Assassin & the Healer, The Assassin & the Desert, The Assassin & the Underworld, & The Assassin & the Empire.

In the first story The Assassin & the Pirate Lord we are introduced to Sam, the fellow assassin that Celaena loved & lost. They have been sent to a remote island called Skulls Bay that is infamous for a giant chain stretched across its bay called Ship Breaker that keeps out unwanted guests. Arobynn Hamel the leader of the ruthless Assassin’s Guild in Rifthold has sent Sam & Celaena to meet with the Lord of Pirates Captain Rolfe. They are to complete a deal between the two men to buy 100 slaves & bring them back to Rifthold. But Celaena has other plans & Sam is willing to help her no matter what…

In the second story The Assassin & the Healer Celaena has been punished after ruining the deal with Captain Rolfe. She is sent to The Red Desert to be trained by the Master of The Silent Assassin’s. But before she makes the journey she stays in the port town of Melisande at a fine establishment called the White Pig Inn. There she meets a barmaid whose ancestry runs deep with healer blood. The two strike up an unlikely friendship & Celaena teaches the young healer girl a thing or two about handing the unruly men in the bar.

In the third tale The Assassin & the Desert Celaena makes it to The Silent Assassin’s where she isn’t immediately welcomed by the master. But she does become friends with a girl named Ansel from the flatlands of Briarcliff. Ansel is there to learn skills from the Mute Master & get revenge from her family’s death. But it isn’t long before Celaena finds out what Ansel is really up to. Ansel has a deal with Lord Berick to attack the Silent Assassin’s in exchange for an army of men for her revenge. But Celanea has other plans.

In the fourth tale The Assassin & the Underworld we travel back to Rifthold & get to see Sam Courtland again. In exchange for her services to the Mute Master Celaena was given three giant trunks of gold. She uses the newly found wealth to buy freedom from Arobynn for Sam & herself. Sam & Celaena move out of the Assassin’s Keep & into an apartment above a warehouse in the slums.

In the final story The Assassin & the Empire we learn how Celaena ended up in the salt mines of Endovier as a slave which is where we first meet her in Throne of Glass. After separating themselves from Arobynn, Sam & Celeana have one more job to do before they leave the Guild & Rifthold behind the forever & move to the Southern continent. But thanks to a trick Arobynn has up his sleeve, driven by his jealously of Sam, neither of them will make it to a new life.

Likes: I think the compilation of books into one makes it easy for fans of the series to enjoy the previously only ebook stories.

The stories really enhance the background of Celaena & Sam’s story. You find out where she starts, how she ends up a slave, & how she & Sam fall in love.

We finally find out why Celaena has a burning hatred for the King of the Assassin’s.

Dislikes: This isn’t a bad aspect of the story beacause it’s good to finally know the truth, but it’s sad…Sam’s death & Arobynn’s involvement. 


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

December 2016 TBR

Since I already know what I want to read & I'm half way/almost done with 2 books already I think this final month in 2016 will be a little more successful! So here is what I plan to ready during the month of December...
The Assassin's Blade
Sarah J. Maas

This book is a compilation of 5 short stories previously not available in print featuring characters from the Throne of Glass world. We get to learn about Celaena's early days in the Assassin's Guild & how she freed herself from Arobynn & met Sam. 

Empire of Storms
Sarah J. Maas

This is book #5 in the series (not counting the novella book). There is supposed to be one more that comes out in September of 2017 & that will be the conclusion. 

Marissa Meyer

Marissa Meyer is the NY Times Bestselling author of The Lunar Chronicles Series that has 4 main books & 2 novella books. This new standalone book is a retelling of the Alice in Wonderland featuring the character The Queen of Hearts. 

A Thousand Nights
E.K. Johnston

E.K. Johnston

The Secret of the Sphinx 
Samuel Bavli

A.G. Howard

November 2016 Wrap Up

I had a pretty ambitious TBR for this month & I wasn't sure I was gonna accomplish much with Thanksgiving & the winter weather & guess what? I didn't LOL But that's ok! Here's what I did read/start reading

The City of Bones
Cassandra Clare

It took me longer than expected to finish this book & I think that's what set me off course. You can see my full review here. I also watched the movie & I plan on doing a comparison/review this week!
The next two books I started recently & plan to finish quickly but not this month since it's the last day of November!

The Assassin's Blade
Sarah J. Maas

I have "read" all of this series by listening to the audiobooks. It allows me to read another book but listen to this great series! Check out my review of Heir of Fire here. I don't have any other reviews because I hadn't started my blog until after I had read the first 2 books & for some reason skipped Queen of Shadows although I did read that one this summer. I'll definitely do a review on the next 2 books (including this one).

Marissa Meyer

She is one of my top 10 authors & I have read almost her entire Lunar Chronicles series. Once again I read them all before I started this blog but I plan on doing a re-read next year so stay tuned for that & the review of this one after I finish it. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

The City of Bones
Image result for the city of bones
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
Year: 2007
Genre: Fantasy
Age: YA 13+

This is my second time attempting to read this book. I tried several years ago when the movie was coming out and just couldn’t get past how annoying Clary is. But I was able to get through it this time & truthfully I’m not sure if I’m going to continue with the series. It was ok but it wasn’t earth shattering so we’ll see.

In this first book of a now complete series we meet Clarissa (Clary) Fray & her mother Jocelyn. They live in New York upstairs from a gypsy woman. Clary has had a pretty normal life so far. Her father was killed in a car accident when she was young so she has no memories of him. She has no other family that she knows of aside from her mother who is a brilliant artist. Simon is Clary’s best friend who is really geeky & also very in love with her. One night while the pair are out on the town trying to get into a club called Pandemonium Clary spots a trio of strange teenagers. The only problem is no one but she can see them. Getting mixed up with the group out of concern & curiosity she finds out that they are Shadowhunters who are there to kill a demon. Jace Wayland & Alec & Isabelle Lightwood all reside in a place they call The Institute. They live there with the Lightwoods who are currently away, a man named Hodge, & a very smart cat named Church.

It isn’t long before Clary realizes she’s in a little over her head. Her mother has been kidnapped by a group of Downworlders lead by an evil man that was thought to be dead named Valentine. He is after something called The Mortal Cup & will do anything to find it. Jace & the rest of the Shadowhunters plus a very scared Simon all band together to help Clary find her mother & stop Valentine. Along the way the group battles werewolves, almost gets eaten by vampires, falls through portals, fights demons, & encounters The High Warlock of Brooklyn. But after their journey will it be enough to save Clary’s mother & stop Valentine from using The Mortal Cup to destroy man kind?

Likes: This book was very fast paced & you get a broad understanding of the world & characters

They made this book into a movie several years ago & I enjoyed it although it was slightly different from the book

The world that is portrayed in this book is also connected to ours which makes it more believable

Dislikes: The world however is slightly confusing, there is a lot of back story that I’m sure we don’t get to hear all of just in this first book

Very long book, almost 500 pages!


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

November 2016 TBR

So I know it's already November 8th & I'm a little behind on posting something like this but here is what I'm hoping to read this month (It's pretty ambitious so we'll see)!

The City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
I had previously tried to read this book when the movie came out several years ago but Clary just annoyed me to no end, much like Bella in Twilight. So far I'm about 100 pages in & it's pretty good. If I can get through it I hope to read the whole series in the coming winter months.

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
This is book two in the Miss Peregrine trilogy & I really enjoyed the first one so I'm hoping this one doesn't suffer from second book syndrome. 

Library of Souls by Ransom Riggs
This is book three in the Miss Peregrine trilogy so theoretically if I make it through book #2 I will read this one next.

The Secret of the Sphinx by Samuel Bavli
This is a book that sounded interesting & had an eye catching cover. I got it as a digital ARC from Netgalley & plan to do a review.

Roseblood by A.G. Howard
This is another digital ARC that I received from Netgalley & I am so excited about. I had this book pre-ordered on my NOOK but now I have it! I also have the first book in this author's other series about Alice in Wonderland but have yet to read it. I have heard great things so far & I'm really excited to get to this one.

A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston
This is a book that I heard about & saw when it first came out & it looks interesting. It's a retelling of the classic story. I'm reading it because I received a digital ARC from Netgalley of the soon to come sequel. 

Spindle by E.K. Johnston
I received this book as a digital ARC from Netgalley & I'm hoping to get to it after I read the first one pictured about. Once again it's a fairy tale retelling of a classic story.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Faithful by Alice Hoffman

Image result for faithful by alice hoffman google
Author: Alice Hoffman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Year: 2016
Genre: Adult Fiction
Age: 18+

I received this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors. The first book I ever read by her was Practical Magic. I saw the movie as a kid, it was one of my Mom’s favorites. Then growing up in high school I realized the book and the movie were connected. They both give you a sense of hope and love. All of her books make you feel this way and this book was no exception. Hoffman writes in a very descriptive and real way that makes you feel like you are part of the story. All of her books (that I’ve read so far) also follow the same basic pattern. It always starts with a problem, either the sisters parents die, or there is a terrible accident, something tragic and awful is plaguing the main character. Then they go through a difficult and long struggle. This will be years of ups and downs, good and bad. But there is always a happy ending usually involving a guy, love, & fate. So here is a little bit about this newest story…

It all started that night of the accident. Shelby Richmond and her best friend Helene Boyd were out having fun when the car hits a patch of ice. Now every February little luminaries line that stretch of Route 110 in her honor. Helene will never wake up & she will never laugh of smile again because she is in a coma. Shelby was driving and now she suffers from survivor’s guilt.

After a three month stint in a mental hospital then two years of hiding in her parent’s basement Shelby is finally taking a step in the right direction. She’s moving to New York City with her drug dealer, future pharmacist boyfriend Ben Mink. He’s helped her since she returned from the hospital and he could be the one, maybe.

Shelby spends the next almost decade living in a tiny studio apartment with three dogs that she rescues from the streets. Ben is in and out of the picture along with a few other guys but none of them really know how Shelby feels. The only person that really understands is her angel. He was there the night of the crash, and he continues to send her postcards with inspirational messages on them.

Shelby is finally going down the right path after years of ups and downs including a few jobs, going back to school, two deaths, & some questionable moral acts. But before she can change her future she must forgive the past. 

Likes: I LOVE Alice Hoffman as an author! She has a writing style that is unique and beautiful. I am never disappointed by her books.

The storyline in all of Hoffman’s books is basically the same but she does throw in a few twists along the way. 

Shelby’s struggle is very real & believable. There are some genuine moments of shock & sadness along the way & it makes for a great story overall. At the end you are left with a feeling of love & hope!

Dislikes: The only part of this book I disliked was the rape. It happens early and ends quickly but it haunts Shelby the rest of the story. 


Friday, October 28, 2016

Winky Lux Flower Balm Review

I was finally able to get my hands on some of the coveted Winky Lux Flower Balm lipstick!
(Here's a picture from their website)

I ordered my product the first week of October & the estimated arrival was October 27th. It was so popular from being on Facebook, Woman's Day Magazine, & many other places that it was on back order!

But behold! I got mine on October 27th as promised when I ordered so I am very impressed. Right now the 3rd batch of the balm is expected to go out on November 29th, this seems like a long time from now but trust me it;s worth the wait. 

So here's a little bit more info about the product from Winky Lux's website:
We've added a new magic pill to our collection! This balm stain applies on clear then reacts with your skin's pH levels, uniquely creating the perfect shade of pink lips just for you. Each Flower Balm contains a real fairy-picked chrysanthemum in the color of your choice. Not to mention, it's coconut scented, giving it an aroma so enticing you'll want to wear it every day.

Everything advertised about this product is true! It goes on clear & after a few seconds turns into a beautiful, natural shade of pink. It's a "your lips but better" color. It also has a coconut scent that is not to strong & overwhelming that goes away after application. I'm not sure about fairies picking the flowers but I would believe it! (LOL)

I ordered a pink flower for me & a green one for my mom & I'm a little jealous of her's...
The yellow one is back for this 3rd launch and I might try to get my hands on that one in the future to see what it looks like in real life. 

I'm not really a stickler for ingredients or things like that but if you are here is a list of the ingredients in the product from the website:
INGREDIENTS: Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, C12-15 Alkyl Benzoate, Diisostearyl Malate, Octyldodecanol, Dibutyl Iauroylflutamide, Dibutyl Ethylhexanoyl, Thylhexanoyl Glutamide, Isononyl Isononanoate, CI 45410, Chrysanthemum.

Now here are some pictures of the product once I received & opened it:
(Here is a outside of the box...not sure why it's sideways because I took it facing straight on)

(Look at those pretty worms!)


(I really liked that the boxes were labeled on the outside so if this was a gift for someone you would also know which one was yours)

(It's upside down & I'm not sure why...but as you can see the tube itself is about 1/2 an inch smaller than a normal tube of lipstick)

(But...the product is the same size!)

(Here's a top view)

(TADA! It's so pretty!)

(Here's the green one I ordered for mom)

(And this is what it looks like on in natural sunlight)
Overall I really like the product so far. It goes on very smooth, the scent is awesome but doesn't linger & gag you like some products, the color is something wearable for every day casual or fancy, & the price wasn't awful. You have to think of it as a fun, unique product & not necessarily compare it to a normal lip product where you are paying for the color or the name. You are mainly buying this for the way it looks & you are going to LOVE it! On another note it is much like a balm stick or petroleum based lip balm it wears for 3 to 4 hours then drys down. So you will need to reapply it or use a regular balm on top to keep the color that lingers a little. 

I hope you've enjoyed this review! Let me know if you try it & like it too :) 

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

26 Books in 2016 Challenge

This is a challenge I'm participating in on Facebook! This is my second year in the group & I successfully completed last years challenge. One of my former coworkers was a member so she invited me to join in July of last year & I still made it which was great. So here is the info on the books I've read so far for this years challenge (I'm hoping to finish, soooo close!) 

***Also on a side note most of these book I have done a trailer &/or book review on here on my blog so check those out.***

Book Set in a Different Country 

Book with Non-Human Characters 
("The Others")

Book by One of Your Favorite Authors
(I went on to read the entire series & the spin-off series)

Book with a Q, X, or Z in the Title

Book with a 1 Word Title

Book Written by Someone Under 30 
(I went on to read the entire series)

Book with No Pictures on the Cover
(I technically listened to this book so there was no cover)

Book that was Banned in the U.S.

Book that Won a Major Book Award

Book You Finish in a Single Day
(I went on to finish this spin-off series)

Book with Antonyms in the Title
(Does this count? LOL I'm counting it either way)

Book Featuring a Religion or Religious Characters

Popular Author's First Book
(This was the first book she wrote with her daughter & I'd like to read the second)

Book That Came Out the Year You Were Born
(This is actually 4 books in one! The last book in the series was actually written first in 1991)

Book Categorized as a Memoir or Biography

Book Categorized as a Play, Musical, or Screenplay

Book Categorized as a Graphic Novel

Book Whose Author Has an Alliterative Name
(I'm currently reading the 2nd book & I plan to finish the series) 

Book That is Over 100 Years Old