Uncategorized

Welcome, come right in, enjoy!

If you like a good love story, if you love to travel the world, if you love discussing new things to watch and read well then settle in. This is the place I intend to bring all of my thoughts and feelings on what shows and movies I’m watching, the books I’m reading, and the places I’m visiting these days. I plan on reviewing books, movies, tv shows, and maybe writing about exploring the world from time to time. I hope you might like to enjoy coming along for the ride!

 

Advertisements
books · Review · Uncategorized

February 2019 Wrap Up

February may just be my least favorite month of the year…but disregarding that I still managed to escape into some wonderful books! Here is what I read in February!

shadow.jpg
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
3.5 stars
This was a re-read for me. I initially read this first novel in the Grisha trilogy many years ago. I planned to read through the whole series so I could move on to her new release, which features a secondary character of this trilogy as it’s protagonist. I love Bardugo’s world building, but the characters of this series can just not compare to her Six of Crows duology. I still do have a demented crush on the Darkling, and I am unashamed. Tall, dark, and maybe evil? Count me in. Hopefully I will get to the next books in March!

buffy volBuffy the Vampire Slayer #1 by Jordie Bellaire
4 stars
Because how can I not? Favorite show of all time, I love these characters. The art was an absolutely amazing twist of modern day style and retro throw backs. There was no way I couldn’t love this.

act like
Act Like It by Lucy Parker
4 stars
As a through and true theatre kid who has always been obsessed with British pop culture, this book may have been written for me. I adored the characters and their gradual, effortlessly written romance. Lainie was a down to earth heroine, filled with both self love and self doubt. Richard was a grumpy but truly honorable hero. I really loved what they brought out in each other. The backdrop of London’s West End was delightful and I can’t wait to read more from this author.

again the magic
Again the Magic by Lisa Kleypas
3.5 stars (just because her others get so much better!)
Another re-read for February! As I mentioned I hate February, I always get kind of down towards the end of winter when I just need to see the sun and wake up to birds chirping again. So I decided to turn to one of my first and favorite romance authors for comfort. Lisa Kleypas, I’ll love you forever! Why not re-read her Wallflowers series first right? I love the class differences explored in this first novel, and the angst is top tier when Lady Aline and her estate’s stable boy fall in love as young teens. This book is all about their clash of love and will as they reunite as adults. I also love the side plot romance between Aline’s sister and McKenna’s business partner. Delicious.

american
American Prince by Sierra Simone
4 stars
Wow this series is so effin’ good! I have read nothing like this story and it only gets better the further you read. The way Sierra Simone weaves her characters and their narratives together to form a story of love, loss, bravery and fear, is truly flawless. I loved hearing from Embry through this second book and I think he may be my favorite character of our main three. I knocked the book down a star just because one of our villains got a little melodramatic towards the end, and it jarred me just a bit from the realistic force of the epic love story (or stories!).

for the duke
For the Duke’s Eyes Only by Lenora Bell
4 stars
I really LOVED the unique features of this historical romance. The fact that our heroine, Lady India, was a fearless archaeologist was so fascinating! I mean how could you not love a historical, gender bending of Indiana Jones? Amazing. I loved reading about artifacts they would discuss and hunt. I also enjoyed the hero, Ravenwood, and all his mystery and secret keeping. One of my favorite romantic tropes is the ‘they grew up together’ one! I think it allows for such cute and complex bonds between the characters involved!

tycoon
Tycoon by Joanna Shupe
3 stars
This was such a fun and exciting little novella! The romantic setting of two strangers meeting on a train platform, as the heroine tries to escape after witnessing a crime, is such a fantastic premise for a story. I loved the chase and the thrill of two people just learning so quickly that they can give themselves to another person so fully. It was a very endearing love story and I will definitely be looking into more books by Shupe!

wicked deeds
Wicked Deeds on a Winter’s Night by Kresley Cole
3.5 stars
I finished another Immortals After Dark book! Yay! I’m getting more and more into this series with each book I read. Bowen is a Lykae (werewolf) who is looking for a way to undo the death of his mate from centuries ago. Mariketa is a witch on the cusp of her immortal change waiting for her prophecy to unfurl. So what happens when Bowen and Mariketa begin to feel the mating bond lock in between them? Oh and did I mention they also despise one another This one was a wild ride and there were some twists towards the end that actually really got me! Cole begins to show here how freely she can write and diversify a paranormal plot line. I can’t wait to swallow the rest of this series whole!

heiress
The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan
5 stars
This book is absolutely stunning. Everything about the way Courtney Milan writes her historicals is absolutely swoon-worthy. I always find myself highlighting passages as I move through her books because she is just such a god damn beautiful writer. She just gets so deep into the heart of her characters emotions and it makes them so authentic and tangible. She never misses a beat when it comes to showing how a love story is an altering experience for both people involved–I just love reading the gorgeous transformations she paints across the page. This story is about loud and poisonous heiress Jane, who puts people off to avoid being married off for her money, and Oliver, whose aspirations of Parliament make boisterous Jane the last person he should fall in love with. Of course they do. And they are all the better for it. Gorgeous!!!

books · Review · Uncategorized

Verity by Colleen Hoover

verity

4.25 stars 

Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish. 
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity’s notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn’t expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity’s recollection of the night their family was forever altered.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents would devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen’s feelings for Jeremy begin to intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife’s words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue to love her. 
Due to graphic scenes and mature content, this book is recommended for readers 18+.
This new and independently published novel by Colleen Hoover is a diversion from her still heavy but less thriller centric love stories. I was excited by the prospect of reading a book by Colleen Hoover that people were comparing and paralleling to the sinister work of her bad ass best friend Tarryn Fischer. To me Verity is Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, meets Misery, meets Gone Girl. It was pretty cool to watch the trend of the haunting wife in a modern setting. I actually liked both Jeremy and Lowen as our hero and heroine and Hoover wrote their connection to be easily believable.
The manuscript portions were truly disturbing and had me wondering even about other members of the family such as the unfortunate twin Harper, and the surviving baby Crew. The portions in the book when Lowen is paranoid about Verity resonated in my own body and at one point I myself thought I was hearing things in my own apartment. But nobody else was home!
I was waiting through out the book for Jeremy to be revealed as the author of the heinous “autobiographical” manuscript, but Hoover really took her twist in a less obvious and garish direction. The twist at the end of this tale is not one that leaves you gasping, but one that makes your stomach free fall out of your actual body.
This book has re-peaked my interest in Colleen Hoover’s writing, which has disinterested me in everything she has written since It Ends With Us, which I loved. I would really be ecstatic to see her release another thriller title, and I congratulate her on independently publishing such a great book.

 

Review · TV · Uncategorized

The Haunting of Hill House : Season One

the-haunting-of-hill-house-season-2

*****
5 stars

The hype around this show was something I was keenly aware of for weeks before I pressed play. I don’t know why but I have always been the type of person who put off watching beloved and acclaimed shows and films. Maybe the pressure of loving something scares me off? I have no idea.

One day I was getting ready to go out and socialize somewhere with someone, and I pressed play. One episode in and I have never wanted so badly to drop everything, crawl into bed, and let these characters consume me.

The Haunting of Hill House follows the then and now story of the Crain family–mother, father, and their five children–who spend a summer at the old Hill House and come out forever effected and changed.

This show is ,yes, about ghosts and death, about hauntings and scares. But more than anything it is about people, family, relationships, guilt, life, love and loss. It’s about everything, and I truly can say I had never before watched something so eloquently written and artfully shot. The acting was dazzling and you could see the devotion each person put into every word. There are more than a couple award worthy performances to be seen here. (Older Nellie is a strong contender, and younger Luke needs an award for simply being the most endearing child ever.) I also want to give a huge shout out to their costuming and set dressing teams because their input truly painted the show in such a way that sometimes had my mouth hanging open. The scenes of Hill House in later days was so, well the only word I can even think of is haunting. Every episode, in my opinion, was a masterpiece.

Some plot points will stay with me for a long time. Three words: Bent Neck Lady. Oh crap, I just got chills.

After I finished the series and was missing it with my whole heart I went online to hear other people’s thoughts on it and learned some amazing facts: the hidden ghosts placed in shots throughout each episode, episode six was shot in something like five takes, each of the five Crain siblings was written with the intent to symbolize each stage of grief. The beauty and details of this shows creation are endless and I want more, more, more.

Although in my opinion this season concluded with a strong ending for the Crain family, I yearn desperately to see more from these creators in this world. I strongly urge you to let this show take hold of you, the hype has never been more right. If you love truly gorgeous, layered storytelling you must watch this show.

books · Uncategorized

American Queen by Sierra Simone

51-yJpX2tmL

4.5 stars

I really had no idea what was going to happen when I picked this up, but I knew by the second page that this was an excellently book. Now I am a romance reader through and through, but I never read erotica, so the only brush I’ve had with a book this truly *filthy* (filthy is not a bad word I promise) was 50 Shades of Grey. And I must say a book with deeply erotic scenes but truly eloquent writing, interesting and deep characters, as well as an actual rounded plot–AMAZING. Who knew?! (everyone but me…)

The story is told to us through Greer’s prospective, she is a literature professor who specializes in Arthurian legend and it just so happens that the grandfather who raised her was also once the Vice President of the United States. When she is sixteen she has an encounter with a soldier that can only be described as love at first understanding. They just reach toward one another completely unnaturally, with soul and all. But the soldier leaves and she grows up. Five years later she encounters him with a resulting heartbreak and a searing connection with another man, who puts her heart back together if only for one night. A man who happens to be her soldier’s closest friend, and one day the Vice President to his President.

The rest of this book follows the complicated nature in which these three people fall deeply into love, with each other. It was more than interesting to read, it was gut wrenching. Sierra Simone is not only gifted at writing the erotic part of erotic romance, but she crafts the romance part in a way that is beautiful. She truly has a way with depicting the swirl of emotions that amp into a hurricane within the walls of these three peoples lives.

Only the smallest of unrealistic qualms about what the Presidential life would be, took me out of this enthralling love story for the blink of an eye. And the way in which our Greer wholly loves her villainous cousin was blatantly without reason. These two things are the only flaws I could find in an otherwise excellent erotic romance.

This first book was utterly gripping and if you’ve read it you know, there is no way you can’t continue reading the series. I’ll be moving on to the Embry centric sequel, American Prince as soon as I can get my dirty hands on it.

 

books · Uncategorized

November TBR/Goals

calendar-silocerativo-2017-november

Hello, it’s one of the most beautiful months of the year! Thanksgiving month—bring on the turkey and the stuffing, I’m ready. Let’s be real October through December is the best time of the year and we are still in the midst of all the holiday coziness. This month I moved back to DC and began flying out of the base my airline has there, and it is an exciting time. I have never worked and lived out of a place where so many of my friends and family were close by. I get to casually go out and spend free time with my loved ones, so the world is looking bright. I’m going to jump into all the gorgeous books I want to read this month, and list out some of the things I’d like to do in November.

grim lovelies
Grim Lovelies
by Megan Shepard
I have actually just started this book and so far I’m loving the setting of Paris so much. It’s making me want to back a little back pack and fly there right now to just explore and take in everything the city has to offer. The mythology of the world is interesting, and our main character is endearing. The idea of beasties is not one I’ve read anything similar to so I’m exciting to see what conflict arrises from the changes between human and animal forms.

Seventeen-year-old Anouk envies the human world, where people known as Pretties lavish themselves in fast cars, high fashion, and have the freedom to fall in love. But Anouk can never have those things, because she is not really human. Enchanted from animal to human girl and forbidden to venture beyond her familiar Parisian prison, Anouk is a Beastie: destined for a life surrounded by dust bunnies and cinders serving Mada Vittora, the evil witch who spelled her into existence. That is, until one day she finds her mistress murdered in a pool of blood—and Anouk is accused of the crime.
Now, the world she always dreamed of is rife with danger. Pursued through Paris by the underground magical society known as the Haute, Anouk and her fellow Beasties only have three days to find the real killer before the spell keeping them human fades away. If they fail, they will lose the only lives they’ve ever known…but if they succeed, they could be more powerful than anyone ever bargained for.

boneless mercies

Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke
This one is led by a full (kick ass) female cast. I could do with a little feminine rage at the moment, I think a lot of you would agree. I think a book about a coven of women assassins probably could not be more perfect.

Frey, Ovie, Juniper, and Runa are the Boneless Mercies—girls hired to kill quickly, quietly, and mercifully. But Frey is weary of the death trade and, having been raised on the heroic sagas of her people, dreams of a bigger life.
When she hears of an unstoppable monster ravaging a nearby town, Frey decides this is the Mercies’ one chance out. The fame and fortune of bringing down such a beast would ensure a new future for all the Mercies. In fact, her actions may change the story arc of women everywhere.

strange grace
Strange Grace
by Tessa Gratton
This was another book that was very popular last month, especially as it seems spooky. The premise of this book is actually very similar to the story I am currently writing which makes me pretty nervous to read it. But I’ve heard too many wonderful things to ignore. If it starts picking into my brain and my book, I’ll set it aside, but hopefully it’ll just entertain me and give me a little scare.

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.
Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.
Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.

vengeful
Vengeful
by V.E. Schwab
I read Vicious last month and it rocked my world, so I immediately bough the newest release of it’s sequel. I think I did it the right way by waiting to read this first book. Some people have had to wait years for this follow, but I’m ready to cruise right through into the continuation of Eli and Victors story of villainy.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there’s Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn’t know about his most recent act of vengeance.
Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

This month I also want to read a good helping of romance. The genre is something that presents such a wide spectrum of different stories. I love spending a lot of time just diving into it and consuming lots of different books by new to me authors. I’ve recently started listening to The Wicked Wallflowers Club podcast and these ladies are so thoughtful, fun, and intelligent in their discussions of what the genre has to offer, it’s inspired me to try and read even more towards the end of this year. Heres a few titles I know I want to pick up:
-The Ones that Got Away by Roni Loren
-Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout
-Speakeasy by Sarina Bowen
-American Queen by Sierra Simone

In terms of November Goals, I pretty much just want to do the things that make me feel the most happy. I want to read a lot, write when the inspiration strikes, hang out with all of the friends I now live close to, and hopefully cook some holiday food. If I complete all of these things the month will be a success!

Until next time,

Em Xx

books · Uncategorized

October Wrap Up

db44705b716b7de4a51d16789b65c800-e1410787959998

October was both a busy month and a month where I kind of laid around with my face in a book a lot. The first three weeks were pretty full of work and travel, sleepless and stressful days where I just didn’t have the time to relax and enjoy the time of year. But I had the last full week of the month off and got to spend a lot of my time finishing up some books I wanted to get to! I read so much that week it really kicked off the start to a very full fall/winter reading season. Here are the books I read last month:

learn-about-loss-1
Learn About Loss by Cassandra Clare and Kelly Link
3 stars
Not my favorite of the novellas so far, honestly it was a little forgetful. I like learning about new characters and wonder if maybe we will see this Iron Sister again but mostly I look to these novellas to flesh out the characters we are already so invested in.

LordDashwoodMissedOut-400x646
Lord Dashwood Missed Out by Tessa Dare
5 stars
My favorite Tessa Dare novella ever. I love an authoress heroine, and I also adore the trope where the hero and heroine grew up together and either one or both always had feelings for the other. Nora and Dash were really electric on the page and I could have read a whole novel about them.

51gsbf1AIYL
Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare
3 stars
Starting off the Castles Ever After series, I liked this novel but it didn’t blow me away. I don’t like a grumpy, moody hero and this duke was the epitome of that trope. They were sweet together and I loved the depictions of historic fandoms. Overall it was a sweet start to a series.

9781405266116
A Series of Unfortunate Events 5-7 by Lemony Snickett
3 stars
Decided to re read this series when the adaption came out a while back, just continuing on with that so I could watch season two. These books are as clever as ever.

y648
Sawkill Girls by Claire Legrand
5 stars
Started a scribd subscription, randomly selected this novel, and wow it blew me away. Some of the imagery in this book was just insane, guiding moths and horses running off cliffs. It was eerie and original and it had a lot of rep for LGBTQ+ as well as asexual individuals. Not only that, but the story and the lore in the book was fascinating and had me reading late into the night.

SayYesToTheMarquess-400x646
Say Yes to the Marquess
by Tessa Dare
3 stars
Continuing on with the series, this is the second book which tells the story of Cleo and Rafe, who is the brother of her estranged betrothed Marquess. Again, I liked this one, but it wasn’t the most dazzling romance I’ve ever read. There is a moment where the heroine slams a drawbridge in her sisters face like it was a door and that made me pretty happy!

411h5t91y4L
Vicious by V.E. Schwab
5 stars
A book I’d always wanted to read but never got around to, a new favorite. This twisted tale is so beautifully crafted. Victoria Schwab is clearly a naturally gifted writer. Her voice made the story, which was brilliantly invented, truly glimmer off the page with all kinds of dark mystery and lyric villainy. I have the sequel ready to be devoured.

518K7cbTmNL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_
Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
5 stars
Chaol got his freaking dues and it makes my heart so warm just thinking about it. I was uncertain if this new world and unknown characters would grip me, but I truly did fall for them. Yrene is actually now a favorite of Sarah J Maas heroines in my eyes, and she really made this book and the whole of the TOG story kind of turn on it’s head. A great fantasy read.

y648 (1)
Broken Things by Lauren Oliver
3 stars
Something about Lauren Oliver’s writing is so off to me, I just can never truly connect to it although I find the premise for some of her books interesting. It hurts me to say it, because the books are quite easy to read from (beautiful) cover to cover, but it’s the kind of writing you can tell the author was thinking about what the readers may be thinking the whole time. Creates a surface level story in my opinion. It was okay but I couldn’t find myself invested.

51XOLhXdrOL
A Deeper Love by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson
4 stars
Seeing Tessa and Jem in this setting and time is heartbreaking enough, but watching them struggle through mourning their best loved Will Herondale was pretty shattering to say the least. I love these characters and will never tire reading about them.

517fhcCDjUL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_
Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas
5 freaking stars
This final installment of one of my most loved series was an emotional rollercoaster. I cried, I cheered, I gasped, I swooned. I was so worried something would happen, one of my characters would be betrayed, and the series in total would be ruined for me. That didn’t happen at all. This was a just ending to such an amazing tale about strength, and fighting towards becoming who you are meant to be, and putting love before power. I loved every choice Sarah made, and I will re-read this story time and time again. These characters have my heart wholly, and I will carry this saga and it’s themes with me throughout my life ~ “To whatever end.”

I’m ready to read some more amazing books in November so be sure to check out my TBR! Let me know if you read any great books last month, or if you just need to talk out your Throne of Glass feels!

Thanks for reading,
Em Xx

books · journal

October TBR/Goals

As someone who lives for Autumn all year round, October is my favorite of all the months. The air transfers over from hot to crisp, the trees turn from blazing green to a vibrant kaleidoscope of reds, yellows, oranges, and browns. There are bonfires, and pumpkin patches, warm coffee and baked goods, the best seasonal fashion of tights and boots and sweaters. Autumn is my happy place. This month I plan to to do and read and watch some wonderful things.

October TBR

Tower of Dawn by Sarah J Maas
518K7cbTmNL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_
Nothing feels more Autumn than reading an installment of one of my all time favorite series. I first read Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, and Heir of Fire all in a row right when the third book hit the shelves. That is such a happy time in my life. I remember going to visit my mother at what was her new house in the mountains and relaxing, reading these books over a long weekend while drinking coffee, taking my dog for a walk, and eating Chinese food. That reading experience has me reaching for a Throne of Glass book (more like books, can you really only read one?) every time the weather starts to gradually move into the fall chill. Plus there is always a new release for the series this time of year. I plan on reading Chaol’s story so I am ready for when Kingdom of Ash comes out later this month. (I’m not ready!!!!)

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
51nN137lNpL
I have no promises to finish this bad boy, but nothing screams October like witches and vampires. Also libraries and studying? Cozy me up! I’ve started reading this book a couple of times but my ADD kept getting in the way of completing it. But lately I’ve been in the swing of finishing a lot of big books I’ve previously gotten stuck on, so I am hopeful that will be the case with this tome as well.

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
41iqc0VZEvL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_
Yes, another massive book. I read 600 pages of this in September, and feel good about getting around to the last 300 next month. Foggy Scottish highlands and pages filled with historical plot and romantic gestures. I really do love this series, all of the greatness lies in the details and the devotion between Clare and Jamie. I’m hoping  I will end this second novel in the series on a high and look forward to devouring the third one soon too.

So those are the books I am hoping to finish this month. Since they are all on the heaftier side I don’t plan on putting anything else down as a goal to finish, but I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t pick up other mood reads along the way! The plan is to listen to my heart when it comes to what I’m wanting to read, but I hope I can dedicate the time to finishing these big ole books this month.

As far as some October Goals

  1. Dedicate time to writing my WIP ~ I have started writing again and honestly it feels so good. I never feel more zen and myself when I am working on a story. I really love what I have so far and the planning has been coming naturally. I definitely want to keep up the habit of writing 1,000 words every day and dedicating time to crafting this world and these characters.
  2. Cook some autumn dishes ~ so far I know I really want to make white chicken chili, chicken pot pie, and butternut squash and spinach lasagna.
  3. Spend time in Virginia ~ I moved up to the Philadelphia area for my job in June and ever since I’ve been missing the farm roads and mountains of my home state like a little baby. Mostly I want to visit home so I can walk my dogs in the mountains when the leaves change over.
  4. Building good habits ~ this month I’m focusing on journaling and exercise, two things that make me feel so peaceful. I bullet journal and free write in two respective notebooks. And for exercise I bike and hula hoop, I’m hoping to work in yoga this month as well!

If it isn’t already obvious I’m so excited for the true beginning of fall and hopeful for all that this month will bring. I always tend to get depressed in the winter, hopeful in spring, anxious in the summer, and finally peaceful in autumn–so I am just grateful to be working my way into a good mood season. I will definitely work to write a concluding October wrap up when the month has come and gone, summarizing all of the things I did in October!