NetGalley, Uncategorized

Thoughts on JK Rowling.

It seems like forever since I’ve sat down and written a post here. Probably because it has. I have meant to post sooner, but my depression has not been kind to me, and given the state of things, I wasn’t sure that it was the time. However, I find I needed a release from all the bad news and so…here I am. My first post and I am going to touch on JK Rowling. It’s not a secret that I absolutely love Harry Potter. Nor will it ever change. Now, before you get to thinking that I’m about to defend Jo’s comments, I assure you that I am not.

I am an open person. I accept people for who they are. Black, white, blue, green with yellow spots, LGBTQ+, able-bodied, disabled, et cetera. I believe people need to live their truth. Thus, I stand with Transgender people. It isn’t cliche, it isn’t a person just changing themselves because they can. They suffer greatly and I don’t imagine anyone would choose a life where they’d have all the vitriol thrown at them. As Daniel Radcliffe said in his piece of the The Trevor Project, there are many more educated people on the topic and I highly recommend you looking them up. It’s not just a phase.

According to The Trevor Project, 78% of transgender and nonbinary youth reported being the subject of discrimination due to their gender identity. It’s clear that we need to do more to support transgender and nonbinary people, not invalidate their identities, and not cause further harm.

To you, Jo Rowling, you are someone I used to admire. Your imagination is a thing of legend and I do thank you for sharing it with the world. I am forever appreciative of that. However, that is where my admiration ends. Because you have a cruel streak in you that would make Voldemort proud.  

I am disappointed. That word seems so useless in my trying to properly articulate how I feel, what I think. I don’t understand how you can be so willfully ignorant to all the information that is available for you to read. We live in a digital age. Research! That you keep your mind so closed and one tracked is (again, this word) disappointing, to put it mildly. It’s also disgusting that you are being ignorant to the pain that your words are causing. Millions of us took you at your word that Hogwarts would always be there to welcome us home…yet the more you show your ignorance and cruelty, Hogwarts no longer feels welcome to many. 

I take back the Voldemort remark. You’re more Umbridge. Thinking you’re right, not hearing the voices of your fans. You believe your way to be the truth and you won’t hear reason.  You’re an intelligent woman.  Get your head out of the days of pearl clutching. We’re all trying to survive but for persecuted people,  its 24/7. There’s no break. 

I’m not transgender and I personally find it devastating that you’re saying such dreadful things.  Your saying that you have trans friends is the equivalent to a racist saying, “but I have black friends.”  It’s never a good look.

Whilst Jo did write and create the Wizarding World, what it has become is because of the love and passion we have for it. She may be a bigot, but the experience we have had is ours. She can’t take that away.  Daniel, again, said it best. 

To all the people who now feel that their experience of the books has been tarnished or diminished, I am deeply sorry for the pain these comments have caused you. I really hope that you don’t entirely lose what was valuable in these stories to you. If these books taught you that love is the strongest force in the universe, capable of overcoming anything; if they taught you that strength is found in diversity, and that dogmatic ideas of pureness lead to the oppression of vulnerable groups; if you believe that a particular character is trans, nonbinary, or gender fluid, or that they are gay or bisexual; if you found anything in these stories that resonated with you and helped you at any time in your life — then that is between you and the book that you read, and it is sacred. And in my opinion nobody can touch that. It means to you what it means to you and I hope that these comments will not taint that too much.

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Perhaps she ought to read her own books. Learn empathy and also to remember that people are different.  Our hearts do beat as one. But we all live differently. Our experiences make us unique, and that should be celebrated. I love everything that makes us different. I am forever in awe. Please keep being YOU. Don’t allow ignorant people to ruin things for you.

To my trans, LGBTQ followers, I am sorry you suffer as you do. But I am an ALLY. I am here for you. You are not alone. 

 

What are your thoughts? Let me know! Stay safe and I missed you! 💋

 

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I’ve got (2020) vision.

It’s 1.09 am and I’m wide awake.

My brain won’t shut off and as I look at my kindle, I’m struck by how many ARCs I have and how many I never actually got to. It is very disappointing but it also made me realize that this could be a factor in why I get “blogger burnout”, of which I am in the midst of now, thus explaining my lack of posts. I think the pressure of deadlines gets to me, as well as realizing that I have plenty of books that I haven’t even touched yet. There are many ‘old’ (but still very loved) books that I just never found time for because I was reading ARCs or I just didn’t feel like reading. I hate that I get to that point, where reading feels like a chore. It should never feel that way. I had made a promise to myself that the minute this wasn’t fun anymore, I’d walk away. I’m at that point and I have stepped away. (Not walked. Simply…stepped.)

The problem (it’s not a problem, per se) is that I love blogging. I do love reading and I love talking to you guys about things I’m excited about. It’s quite addicting, to say the least. Thus, I stepped away. I tried to post. But I didn’t post what I wrote because it is blatantly obvious that I was phoning it in, as they say. (Who is ‘they’? Anyone out there know?)  I’m a firm believer in giving all or nothing.

So, what is the point here?

The point is….I’m going to focus on whatever books I want. Some will be new. Some will be old. But they’ll be my choices. No deadlines, no bullshitting, no any of that. This is the year I take back my pleasure.

Will I still promote new books?

Absolutely! Spotlights, guest posts, by all means! But I may forego reading them right away because there’s a lot I want to catch up on.

At the moment, I’m reading the third book in The Dresden Files series. Pretty sure it came out in the early 2000’s but who cares? A good book is good whenever you get to it. I’m looking forward to sharing my review. As bloggers, we get so caught up in things that are new that I feel well do a disservice to ourselves and authors. I won’t do that anymore. It’s also why I chose to only pick 15 books on my Goodreads Challenge. Not aiming too high. That way if I reach my goal, anything else is an added bonus.

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I’m going to say that I have joined some book tours and I admit, I’ve been very choosey about them. Still, very excited about them and I hope you will be too. Also aiming to get more into audiobooks! As you can see, I’ve got plenty to choose from. Even though I’ve read Ribbons of Scarlet, I think I’ll probably start with that one because if you’re like me, you’ll pronounce something one way, and you’re about a thousand miles off. I love French words, but my pronunciation leaves much to be desired. After that, I think The Stuart Vampire (as read by Andrea Zuvich herself alongside her husband!) and then The Picture of Dorian Gray, as read by Ben Barnes. (Anyone who knows me knows that I love me some Ben. So yes, that was a lot of fun to grab up. He’s an excellent reader too. I listened to a sample and found myself being drawn off to another world, which was exactly what I hoped for. Also, speaking of Ben–can’t wait to see him in Shadow and Bone later this year. That’s another series I need to finish.) 

Another series I’d like to read this year is The Witcher. (Toss a coin to your witcher…) I had no idea there was a series of books! I knew there were games, of which I am playing on Xbox actually. Very fun thus far. (SpockSocks86, if anyone plays. <3) Big fan of Henry Cavill; I have been since he was in The Tudors. I am quite looking forward to reading the books. There’s something about fantasy that I love. Perhaps I’m looking for something to take the place of Game of Thrones…or even Harry Potter. Just something…gritty and full of action and fantastic beasts. Have any of you read the books? Or just watched the series and would like to talk about it? I enjoyed the series, hate waiting until 2021…but c’est la vie. Let’s hope the wait doesn’t disappoint. (Looking at you, season 8 of GOT.)

Speaking of someone who should read audiobooks…

And on this note, I leave you. Enjoy!

 

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In Need of Book Recs.

xxI have always been something of a conundrum.

250263_10150315950259428_231415_n141914658.jpgI am putting this post out into the world because I am desperately in search of some diverse reads that I can really connect with. I am mixed race. I have the distinct disadvantage of only knowing that my biological mother was white. I have no idea if my father was hispanic or black or some other ethnicity with a darker tone. I will never get that answer given that my biological mother died in 2011 and because she didn’t know. (It’s complicated.)

All of my life, I have struggled to dig out an identity for myself yet there’s always one person who can send me reeling by asking, “what are you?” I know I am Irish, Italian, and German. But I don’t know the other half. I suppose I could do a DNA test and find out. Yet, I have no idea how indepth they go and I don’t want a general idea of something, I want to know that am half black or half Latinx or whatever. I am tired of staring at the boxes of ethnicities and wondering which to mark. Caucasian? Hispanic? Black? Or the dreaded ‘other.’ I am also tired of not being able to fully connect with a character in a book. I want someone like me.

“To describe something as being black and white means it is clearly defined. Yet when your ethnicity is black and white, the dichotomy is not that clear. In fact, it creates a grey area. Being biracial paints a blurred line that is equal parts staggering and illuminating.” —Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex.

So, my question to you, readers. Can you recommend something? I thought that if I reached out to you on this lovely Wednesday, you might help me out. I’d love some books with biracial leads. I am open to different genres as well.

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I realise that at age 32, these may feel like silly questions and irrational feelings. Or a grab for more readers and writers of color to follow. But it is not as I welcome everyone to join me here. What truly sparked this was that I was reading something about the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle. I am a huge fan of the British Royal Family and for me, I felt this kinship with Meghan. As I read, I discovered she had written a post about being biracial. You can see I’ve quoted her here, using the passages that seemed to reach out and punch me.

Just as black and white, when mixed, make grey, in many ways that’s what it did to my self-identity: it created a murky area of who I was, a haze around how people connected with me. I was grey. And who wants to be this indifferent colour, devoid of depth and stuck in the middle?

Thus, you can imagine why labeling myself as ‘other‘ feels like an insult. I have been told that I look too white or I’m too dark. White folks think I’m too dark to be white, black folks think I’m too light to be one of them. Everyone else says to let it go but..I don’t want to. I want to be more than other. I don’t fit in one box, clearly.

So, I want to relate to a character fully, which I don’t think is an odd request. Maybe it is. But I hope you guys can help. Representation matters and there really hasn’t been any, at least, that I’ve found. The only character I somewhat relate to is Kate Pearson on This Is Us. (Love to you, Chrissy Metz, if you ever read this!) So, with this all said…

What are some books you’d recommend? 

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me…

Even though today is my birthday, I went to Books-A-Million on Thursday, the 6th. I wanted to go before my card expired, which apparently it had anyway. (The website said the 15th but they said in-store that it was expired. Okay, whatever. Still, I was there.) I’m glad I saved up; this was my gift to myself. I didn’t get anything from anyone else; which was a bit of a bummer. The only card I got was a generic one from my insurance company. It was a crappy birthday, to be honest, but next year will be better, I hope. That’s always the hope.

I think I did pretty good here though, guys! As usual, my list kind of went out the window and I forgot what I wanted on it, lol. But that didn’t stop me! I think I did really good. I have a list of what I did grab below. Save for a few, maybe three or four, the rest are from the Bargain Bin. I always try to express the wonder of a Bargain section. You never know what you’ll find in there. I was disappointed that Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard wasn’t available but as you can see, I clearly found what I was looking for. I was also bummed that the newest Kendare Blake book wasn’t available, but I will grab that when I get paid. I did pick up the second one and the novellas. So yay!  The same for Kerri Maniscalo’s new book in her ‘Stalking’ series. I will reread the first two to get ready for the next one.

I love Books-a-Million. They’re such fantastic stores though I wish they would build one near my house so I could go with more frequently. Probably not a good thing, haha. But I’ve included a list of what I got. I am nearly done with Joe Biden’s ‘Promise Me, Dad.’ It’s quite the read, but I didn’t expect anything less from him. He writes like he speaks, there’s a warmth there and a candor that is inviting. It’s a sad read yet…uplifting.

Have you guys read any of these? Let me know what you have and what you thought. I also picked up two bookmarks and the Slytherin Box Sign. I love my house! Haha.

Anywho, thank you to those of you who’ve popped in to say ‘happy birthday’ and who continue to read my blog, even though I’m kind of inconsistent.

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  • IMG_20180907_001447108Crazy Rich Asians.
  • One Dark Throne.
  • Queens of Fennbirn.
  • Dread Nation.
  • Circling The Sun
  • Silver Sparrow.
  • Sing Unburied Sing.
  • The Last Tudor.
  • Catwoman
  • Mirror, Mirror.
  • Pride, Prejudice, and Mistletoe.
  • Obama.
  • Seventh Son.
  • A Court of Frost and Starlight.
  • Legendary.
  • Replica.
  • Promise Me, Dad.
  • The Forgotten Room.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four.
  • The Paying Guests.
  • A Simple Favor.
  • The Dark Days Club.

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You guys! It’s my birthday on Sunday! I’ll be 32(!!!!) this year and I thought I’d do a fun list today. This particular one is going to do with the books I may get this weekend when I hit up Books-A-Million. I also have a wishlist on Amazon, not that I think anyone will send anything, but it’s goals. =)

Of course, I may abandon this list–because I will see something else that I want more. But we’ll see!

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I’m starting with this because I absolutely adore Pooh Bear. My nickname is actually Rissy-The-Pooh. I have no shame in it because as the bear himself says, “I am short, fat, and ok with that.” I’ve never read the original Pooh stories and I want to correct that and…I just really can’t let go of some childhood loves.  What is adulthood anyway? To quote Walt Disney, “Adults are only kids grown up, anyway.” 

So hell yes to Pooh Bear! ❤

 

 

Most people know I love comics and Catwoman is one of my favorites. I even liked the 2004 movie with Halle Berry. I know I’m in the rarity there, but I didn’t hate it. So needless to say, I was very excited to see this book coming out. I have the Diana/Wonder Woman one in this series, so I’m excited for this one. And hello, Sarah J. Maas! 

Sizzling with action and suspense, #1 New York Times bestselling author SARAH J. MAAS delivers a coming-of-age Selina Kyle who will steal readers’ hearts in a new, highly anticipated YA blockbuster: CATWOMAN

When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has.

Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Gotham City looks ripe for the taking.

Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove that as Batwing he has what it takes to help people. He targets a new thief on the prowl who has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn. Together, they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman is clever–she may be Batwing’s undoing.

In this third DC Icons book, Selina is playing a desperate game of cat and mouse, forming unexpected friendships and entangling herself with Batwing by night and her devilishly handsome neighbor Luke Fox by day. But with a dangerous threat from the past on her tail, will she be able to pull off the heist that’s closest to her heart?

I have a special place in my heart for The Little Mermaid. Why is that? Because The Little Mermaid was the first movie I ever saw in theatres. My mom says I was in my booster seat, a little bag of popcorn and I sat in awe the whole time. If I wanted more popcorn, I just held my bag out towards them cause my family were sharing a bucket. My eyes did not leave the screen, even though I was afraid of Ursula, lol. So, I definitely love the story. The classic version, the Disney version, retellings. 

 

Think you know the story of The Little Mermaid? Think again… This is a book with the darkest of undercurrents, full of rage and rallying cries: storytelling at its most spellbinding. Deep beneath the sea, off the cold Irish coast, Gaia is a young mermaid who dreams of freedom from her controlling father. On her first swim to the surface, she is drawn towards a human boy. She longs to join his carefree world, but how much will she have to sacrifice? What will it take for the little mermaid to find her voice? Hans Christian Andersen’s original fairy tale is reimagined through a searing feminist lens, with the stunning, scalpel-sharp writing and world-building that has won Louise her legions of devoted fans.


I’ve been dying to get my hands on this one, but I haven’t been able to grab it thus far. The wait list at my library is obscene and I’m kind of done waiting. Historical Fiction AND zombies? Hell yeah, let’s go!

At once provocative, terrifying, and darkly subversive, Dread Nation is Justina Ireland’s stunning vision of an America both foreign and familiar–a country on the brink, at the explosive crossroads where race, humanity, and survival meet.

Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania–derailing the War Between the States and changing the nation forever.

In this new America, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Education Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead.

But there are also opportunities–and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.

But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose.

But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies.

And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.


I’m keeping my thoughts on the current administration off of here (though, if you look at my Twitter, you’ll get a good view), but I can say I loved Obama and Biden. Even if you don’t like their politics, their bromance is the stuff of legend. So, here they are and I am definitely picking this one up. It looks like one that’ll have me cheering them on, laughing and just loving them more than I already do. 

For everyone nostalgic for the Obama/Biden administration, HOPE NEVER DIES re-casts the president and vice-president as amateur sleuths in a quirky mystery-adventure.

He’s an honest man in a city of thieves. He has no patience for guff, foolishness, or malarkey. He is United States Vice President Joe Biden. And when his favorite railroad conductor dies in a suspicious accident–leaving behind an ailing wife and a trail of clues–“Amtrak Joe” unwittingly finds himself in the role of a private investigator. To crack the case (and uncover a drug-smuggling ring hiding in plain sight), he’ll team up with the only man he’s ever fully trusted–the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama. Together they’ll plumb the darkest corners of Wilmington, Delaware, where enemies lurk around every corner. And if they’re not careful, the blood on the tracks may be their own.

This quirky, comic mystery begins six months after the 2016 presidential election, as Obama and Biden are struggling to define their post-White House identities–and question what truly remains of their legendary bromance. Published as a trade paperback original and designed to echo tough-guy thrillers (think JACK REACHER, LETHAL WEAPON, TRUE DETECTIVE), HOPE NEVER DIES is essentially the first published work of Obama/Biden fanfiction–and a terrific beach read for anyone distressed by the current state of affairs in Washington, DC.


I’m pretty certain that most people are surprised when I say I want to read a biography since I don’t read them all that frequently. However, Tiffany Haddish makes me laugh and I think it’s time I pick up this book!

From stand-up comedian, actress, and breakout star of Girls Trip, Tiffany Haddish, comes The Last Black Unicorn, a sidesplitting, hysterical, edgy, and unflinching collection of (extremely) personal essays, as fearless as the author herself.

Growing up in one of the poorest neighborhoods of South Central Los Angeles, Tiffany learned to survive by making people laugh. If she could do that, then her classmates would let her copy their homework, the other foster kids she lived with wouldn’t beat her up, and she might even get a boyfriend. Or at least she could make enough money–as the paid school mascot and in-demand Bar Mitzvah hype woman–to get her hair and nails done, so then she might get a boyfriend.

None of that worked (and she’s still single), but it allowed Tiffany to imagine a place for herself where she could do something she loved for a living: comedy.

Tiffany can’t avoid being funny–it’s just who she is, whether she’s plotting shocking, jaw-dropping revenge on an ex-boyfriend or learning how to handle her newfound fame despite still having a broke person’s mind-set. Finally poised to become a household name, she recounts with heart and humor how she came from nothing and nowhere to achieve her dreams by owning, sharing, and using her pain to heal others.

By turns hilarious, filthy, and brutally honest, The Last Black Unicorn shows the world who Tiffany Haddish really is–humble, grateful, down-to-earth, and funny as hell. And now, she’s ready to inspire others through the power of laughter.

Because it’s a boxed set, I’m marking this as just one item, lol. I’ve heard about this series for quite some time and I admit, I am very curious about it. So, I’ll be checking it out for sure. I hear it’s witchcraft and history and I love both of those themes.

Book one of the New York Times-bestselling All Souls trilogy–“a wonderfully imaginative grown-up fantasy with all the magic of Harry Potter and Twilight” (People)

Deborah Harkness’s sparkling debut, A Discovery of Witches, has brought her into the spotlight and galvanized fans around the world. In this tale of passion and obsession, Diana Bishop, a young scholar and a descendant of witches, discovers a long-lost and enchanted alchemical manuscript, Ashmole 782, deep in Oxford’s Bodleian Library. Its reappearance summons a fantastical underworld, which she navigates with her leading man, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont.

Harkness has created a universe to rival those of Anne Rice, Diana Gabaldon, and Elizabeth Kostova, and she adds a scholar’s depth to this riveting tale of magic and suspense. The story continues in book two, Shadow of Night, and concludes with The Book of Life.

The #1 New York Times-bestselling sequel to A Discovery of Witches, book two of the All Souls Trilogy–“as enchanting, engrossing, and impossible to put down as its predecessor” (Miami Herald)

J. K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer, Anne Rice–only a few writers capture the imagination the way that Deborah Harkness has with her New York Times-bestselling All Souls trilogy. A Discovery of Witches introduces reluctant witch Diana Bishop, vampire geneticist Matthew Clairmont, and the battle for a lost, enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782.

Picking up from A Discovery of Witches‘ cliffhanger ending, Shadow of Night takes Diana and Matthew on a trip through time to Elizabethan London, where they are plunged into a world of spies, magic, and a coterie of Matthew’s old friends, the School of Night. As the search for Ashmole 782 deepens and Diana seeks out a witch to tutor her in magic, the net of Matthew’s past tightens around them, and they embark on a very different–and vastly more dangerous–journey.

The #1 New York Times bestselling series finale and sequel to A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night

Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. In The Book of Life,  Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present–facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches–with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

This isn’t available as a boxed set yet, but I plan to pick up the paperbacks if I can. I’ve been intrigued for awhile and after reading reviews and hearing friends flail over them, I think it’s time I join the fandom.

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC:

Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. Officially he serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador. Unofficially he’s a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

A GATHERING OF SHADOWS:

Four months have passed since the events of Darker Shade. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games-an extravagant international competition of magic, meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries-a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port. But while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life, and those who were thought to be forever gone have returned—meaning that another London must fall.

A CONJURING OF LIGHT:

The precarious equilibrium among four Londons has reached its breaking point. Once brimming with the red vivacity of magic, darkness casts a shadow over the Maresh Empire. Who will crumble? Who will rise? And who will take control?

 

Narrated by Feyre and Rhysand, this story bridges the events in A Court of Wings and Ruin and the upcoming novels in the series.

Feyre, Rhys, and their close-knit circle of friends are still busy rebuilding the Night Court and the vastly-changed world beyond. But Winter Solstice is finally near, and with it, a hard-earned reprieve. Yet even the festive atmosphere can’t keep the shadows of the past from looming. As Feyre navigates her first Winter Solstice as High Lady, she finds that those dearest to her have more wounds than she anticipated–scars that will have far-reaching impact on the future of their Court.

 

And lastly…(Because I don’t have nearly enough Harry Potter things!)

Discover the wands of your favorite Harry Potter characters.

In the Harry Potter films, each wand is as unique as the witch or wizard who wields it. From Hermione Granger’s elegant, vine-wrapped wand to the bone-inlaid wands of the Death Eaters, each was designed and crafted by the filmmakers to reflect its owner’s identity.

Harry Potter: The Wand Collection is a visual guide to these magical wands, their makers, and the characters who mastered them. Profiles of each wand feature stunning new photography of the original props, wand statistics, insights from the cast and crew, and other filmmaking secrets from the Warner Bros. archive.

This collectible volume is an ideal resource for both wand-wielding veteran fans seeking to learn the history behind these beloved items and a new generation just beginning their journey into the wizarding world.

Do you guys have any suggestions for me? Let me know in comments! xx

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Clarissa Explains It All: Blogging.

Cue the cheesy theme music.

I’ve officially sold out. I swore I’d never write a post like this, where I would use the name of that show.

My gym teacher in 7th grade and assistant principal in high school, Ms. Mulroy, still calls me that. She’s the only one I really don’t complain about because she’s awesome and she was my teacher, so I’m not going to be rude, haha. Anyway, this is going out to the new bloggers and some of us who need reminding.

I saw a few posts where several of you were being really hard on yourselves about how your pictures weren’t so great or your posts suck or…blah blah.

Stop. Stop! Seriously. Cut it out. [Have another 90’s reference! ;)]

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Let’s talk posts. There are no wrong, world ending ways to do things. You have to do them in your unique style. That’s what is going to draw people in. Be yourself. Be unique. Even if we are all doing similar memes, your unique style is what keeps people reading. Use your creativity. What would keep you coming back? Think about that and apply it to your blog. Make it something that you’d want to read.

Don’t be afraid to be honest. Say how you feel about something. If you didn’t like ‘x’ about a book, say so. But say why. Constructive criticism is a good thing. If you love it? Say so. Flail. Use pictures, use gifs, whatever! Get your point out in a comfortable, fun manner. Don’t be rude to be rude.

For your photos, if you want to edit them and you don’t have PhotoShop, Photofiltre and GIMP are free alternatives. Time and patience are great teachers. You will make mistakes. It’s OK though. Nobody is perfect. We have all been there. I’m still learning!

Often if I don’t know how to do something in PS, I look on DeviantArt because firstly, they have free resources that can help you to make things pop. And secondly, some have posted out thorough tutorials. Help is out there. I also recommend looking at other blogs to see what people have. It might strike your creative muse and hatch an idea.

Pixlr, PicMonkey, and Lunapic are three sites for quick, easy fixes. I love Pixlr. It’s my go to. I even have the app on my phone.

Don’t be afraid to laugh at your mistakes. Been there, done that. Some mistakes are funny! Don’t react like I did the first time, which wasn’t too amusing. I admit, I cried, when I saw that I had made a huge error. But now, you laugh at yourself, you fix it, you move on. Don’t let it effect you to the point that you quit or think you’re not good good enough. No one is perfect. Don’t add that pressure to yourself.

I don’t think I can add more to this than just remember to have a lot of fun. The moment this becomes a chore, go on a break. Come back if you want to. You just have to have a lot of fun because that’s what this is about.

 

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Help Is Out There.

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I hope you’re all doing well.

I wanted to take a moment to say, in light of the news about Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, that if you guys have moments where life seems to be too much, please, please reach out for help. There is help out there. Here are some numbers if you need them. Or you can reach out to me and I will talk to you. I know I’ve said this before, but I am here for you guys.


It saddens me that so many people feel that they have no other choice. I am more than just a voice on a website; I’m a real person. I’m happy to talk to you guys. I struggle with mental illness myself. I’m in therapy; I see a psychiatrist. I understand. I do. So please, if you have thoughts like this…reach out.

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Mailbox, chattering and thoughts.

collage Mailbox and a catch up.

Hey, I did a thing, check me out. So as you can see, my Book of the Month order came in. I skipped May and went to June. My friend Cody told me that I had to read The Seven Husbands of  Evelyn Hugo.

“Hey, have you read ‘The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo’? It’s AMAZING! Set in 50s/60s/70s Hollywood. I finished it hours ago, and my jaw is still on the floor. I can’t even describe what a literary marvel it is. It cracked my soul open. It challenged me as a reader, a thinker, a woman. I thought of you the whole time I was reading.”

When you get a PM like that, it gets you thinking, ‘maybe I need to check this out’.  I aim to do precisely that once I finish up C.W Gortner’s new triumph, ‘The Romanov Empress’. I can’t wait to write my review and to post my interview with him. Seriously, he is one of my favorite people. I have him as a friend on Facebook and I love how he speaks his mind, is quick with his wit and of course, his love of animals. His cats are precious. If ever he ever does a tour that brings him to Tampa, I will be there, lol. Anyway, here is the synopsis for Evelyn.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Speaking of triumphs. Holy hell balls. Guys, I know I have been vocal about ‘Dracul’. But I read it and my soul was snatched. I did not see the story going the way it did. It is an unbelievable, tour de force. If you are looking for true (un-sparkly) vampires? You’ve got them. They are evil, with the exception of three, but I suggest. They have powers and weaknesses, they are cruel and savage. This is a gothic horror, thriller, and masterpiece. I plan to do a reread right around release day and/or around Halloween along with other tales of horror. Frankenstein, Dracula, Grimm’s fairy tales. Maybe even IT, by Stephen King. Recommendations are welcome!

My main choice for my June BotM was The Book of Essie, which is a debut. This is the synopsis.

Esther Ann Hicks—Essie—is the youngest child on Six for Hicks, a reality television phenomenon. She’s grown up in the spotlight, both idolized and despised for her family’s fire-and-brimstone brand of faith. When Essie’s mother, Celia, discovers that Essie is pregnant, she arranges an emergency meeting with the show’s producers: Do they sneak Essie out of the country for an abortion? Do they pass the child off as Celia’s? Or do they try to arrange a marriage—and a ratings-blockbuster wedding? Meanwhile, Essie is quietly pairing herself up with Roarke Richards, a senior at her school with a secret of his own to protect. As the newly formed couple attempt to sell their fabricated love story to the media—through exclusive interviews with an infamously conservative reporter named Liberty Bell—Essie finds she has questions of her own: What was the real reason for her older sister leaving home? Who can she trust with the truth about her family? And how much is she willing to sacrifice to win her own freedom?

This isn’t usually my type of book but I felt very intrigued by this. So, here we are. I think it’s because I genuinely despise shows like this, The Duggars, for example. Like..they’re just creepy. The parents are bigoted tools. They protected their pedophile son but kind of left his sisters on their own. They also just seem annoyed by all their kids, who seems to be pawned off on their older siblings.

I don’t love Bringing Up Bates but they at least seem warm and affectionate towards one another. The kids help out but the parents are very hands on.

Anyway, my last pick was Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward.

As to the other books pictured, I owe my thanks to William Morrow Paperbacks (Harper Collins) for Midnight Blue (unpictured), The Daisy Children and When the Men Were Gone. To Thomas Dunne Books (MacMillan) for The Lost for Words Bookshop, St. Martin’s Press for The Little Shop of Found Things and Graydon House (Harlequin) for The Lost Letters of William Wolfe. The reason there are no synopsis’ provided is because spotlights are to follow this post.
I hope you guys have been doing well, I’m sorry I haven’t been posting that much as of late. I haven’t felt my best (yay cramps and all that) and I’ve just been kind of quiet. I’ve been reflecting on things and also have been reading a lot; so I do have posts to share.

What are you guys reading? 😀 

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Wednesday’s Wisdom: Why I Became A Blogger.

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I’ve been blogging for several years now and most people will tell you, I get bored with things relatively quickly. I don’t stick with things. But my love of books is something I have had all my life. Now, that begs the question, ‘why did you become a book blogger? How did that come about?’

I became one because I wanted a place to share my opinions about books I’ve read and find out about books I want to read.

I didn’t quite know how to begin. So, I began with a simple review of a book I was then reading, The Emancipator’s Wife. That book…I didn’t enjoy it. At all. And I was rather…visceral. I was in several different reviews, actually. I hadn’t quite mastered the art of being tactful. I was rude because I was rude, simply put. But as I went on, I learned how to be better at expressing how I thought and felt about a book.

When Susan Elia MacNeal pointed me towards NetGalley, I was fascinated at getting books there. My kindle was constantly full and I did my best to review as possible. My first blog tour was with Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and four years later, I still work with them, joining authors on tours. I have quite a few I’m quite enthralled to be part of and I can’t wait for you to read about the new books. I even have an interview with C.W Gortner coming up in July. (SO excited about that!)

tumblr_m52rmwkptx1rxnrovo1_500 I suppose I always wanted to be Belle from Beauty and the Beast; having a place to talk about my love of books; to have people understand that it wasn’t just a passing fad for me as many people seem to think that it is. I love my books; they are very often the portals to places I’ve never been and may never visit. They’re old friends, they’re new friends. They are conversation starters, which is lovely when you’re shy like I am. (Shocking, I know, but yes, I’m very shy!) They’re many things and I don’t take that for granted. They’ve led me to have this blog for near four years now. Granted, I have taken breaks here and there because I lose focus or I’m in a rut, which happens.

I could say that I began to do so because I was tired of judgemental family members asking ‘what do you do?’ and having nothing to say in reply. I could also say that I began because there’s no bookstore near me and it was nice to have a way to ply myself with new books in exchange for my honesty. Those are two terrible reasons, aren’t they? I honestly just began because I wanted to share my love with people and I wanted to meet some like-minded people. I don’t have any friends nearby and very few of my friends from back in Pennsylvania, where I grew up, liked to read. That I also got books is an added bonus. The first time I received an ARC, I kind of flailed, admittedly. It meant a publisher wanted my opinion. Good or bad. They were trusting me–me!–to help them get the word out.

This is something I’ve never taken lightly. I am always happy to receive a book andgiphy happy to give my thoughts. I keep them and I feel offended if I see them on sale on eBay. It’s hard enough to be approved for an ARC and then to see them for sale? It’s disappointing and it really makes it harder to be approved. (At least I feel that way.) It clearly says on the book ‘not for resale’. So I can’t help but wonder why people feel the need to do that.

I think I summed it up though, why I do this. Because I love it. That’s the baseline of it all.

 

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Villianous Retellings.

It’s kind of funny to me when I was a little girl, Ursula the Sea Witch terrified me. I would quite literally scream and cry if I saw her. Yet, I’ve come to love villains as I’ve gotten older. I don’t think it’s because I’m a villain myself, but I just love the darkness that surrounds them. (My friends tease me that I’m a villain at heart. Haters gonna hate cause that just means I’m a bad ass.) Some aren’t actually villains, some are just misunderstood. (Like Loki and Bucky Barnes in the Avengers and the Winter Soldier respectively.) I think it’s fun when a villain gets their happy ending, which is why I thoroughly enjoy when there’s a book or movie told from their point of view.

It was when the show Once Upon A Time came out, that I really got into it. Lana Parilla’s Evil Queen/Regina Mills won me over and in season two, Colin O’Donoghue’s Hook/Killian Jones. (Don’t get me started on how that show now annoys me to no end. Both are AMAZING villains and they made Hook into a lovesick puppy and they keep screwing Regina out of her redemption, damn it.) I remember watching the first episode with my mother and Lana barges in and I was like O_O “YASSS QUEEN.”

Evil Queen fan born here. It made me rewatch Disney movies and I began to appreciate villains more. Ursula, Maleficent, the Evil Queen, Gaston, Frollo. The last time I was at Disney World, I was looking through one of the many stores and I found a curious thing. ‘Fairest of Them All’. (Cue my fangirling, because I’d just bought an Evil Queen shirt and met her (no, not Lana) at Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party.) I was intrigued and I picked it up, a retelling of Snow White from the Evil Queen’s point of view? I was in love. The cast member was eyeballing me but hey, zero poisoned apples given. (See what I did there? Lol.)

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As you can see, it’s a series as written by Serena Valentino. I think there’s going to be another one later this year. I think it’s pretty inventive to have the villain’s tell their side of things. Maybe I’m peculiar because I find most of the stories to be biased in their telling. You see one perspective; I want to hear the other one. A villain is a subjective thing. A ‘hero’ may be a villain to some and vice versa. The Beast to me, was never a villain and I haven’t read his book yet, but I will. (Because Beauty and the Beast…you guys already know how obsessed I am.) actual-angelGaston was the villain to me and even in the live action version, he was though they gave him a more comical side. (Although I have a crush on Luke Evans, so I was a little more forgiving..lmao. Yes, I’m shallow. But he was perfect! Is he not the physical embodiment of the animated version?)

phantomsusankayI think Susan Kay’s retelling of Phantom is a brilliant example of a ‘villain’ retelling his story. We learn what made him the way he was; we get inside of his mind and it’s such a delicious tale. He seems less the terrible person that people think he is. I see him as a tragic figure, made bitter by the world and its treatment of him for things beyond his control. Would I have chosen him? No. But I understood him and his motives more. I always enjoyed the original story, I love the Andrew Lloyd Webber version but this is right up there. I also wanted to mention this because I didn’t want you guys to think that I was just limiting it to just Disney villains. Don’t get me wrong, some are beyond redemption, but some really are just misunderstood. I suppose it depends on one’s point of view.

“A dark and towering shadow, rising like the phoenix from the ashes… malevolent… omnipotent…The Phantom of the Opera!”

How do you guys feel about it? Do you like retellings of stories? Do you like to hear villains point of views or are you a purist when it comes to stories? Sound off below! ❤

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