Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016 + (Flights of Fantasy August Linky)

Honestly, I feel like I blinked and my birthday month was over! I'm a little sad that this month of celebration (and yes, I celebrate in many different ways all month) is coming to an end. But I'm really looking forward to autumn! It's possibly my favorite season (I can never choose between summer and autumn - and you can't make me), and I can't wait to have cooler weather, holiday drinks and sweaters+tights+boots!

WHAT I DID
This month was pretty much all go, go, go for me. I basically had things booked for nearly every single day - though I honestly can't complain because it was all so much fun! Highlights of the month include visiting the Museum of Ice Cream, my Harry Potter-themed birthday celebration, Boston Comic Con, seeing Jana Kramer again, rediscovering my love for swimming, wedding sessions and seeing An American in Paris. (If you guys thought I was over meeting some of my favorites at Boston Comic Con... You'd be wrong.)


WHAT I READ
I think my brain was a little undecided about how this reading month would look. The first half of the month was fairly slow, as I barely managed to finish five books. But the second half? I read like a madwoman, tearing through stories and pages like nobody's business and finishing a lot of books. Yay for reading more of the books I've got! Here are my favorite reads from this month:


WHAT I POSTED


Hello fellow fantasy lovers! How is your reading for the Flights of Fantasy challenge coming along? I haven't stopped reading fantasies as the days of this year roll by. I've read 3 new fantasy novels this month (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Kushiel's Dart, Labyrinth Lost) and reread 2 fantasy novels as well (The Queen of the Tearling and The Invasion of the Tearling). Let us know how you've been doing, and link up to your updates, recaps and reviews below! (And if you still want to sign up, please feel free to do so. It's a no pressure reading challenge where you set your own goals and we'd love to have you.)

August 2016 End of the Month Recap

I managed to read a lot of review books in the second half of August! I was falling behind on reading September releases before they came out, but I managed to catch up a fair bit. Here's to hoping I somehow magically manage to read a ton of books during the upcoming long weekend so I catch up even more! Anyway, if you wanted to see brief thoughts on all the books I finished reading, you can check out today's video.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Magical, Mysterious Circumstances • Fear the Drowning Deep + The Gilded Cage

Fear the Drowning Deep book cover
Fear the Drowning Deep by Sarah Glenn Marsh
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Publication Date: October 4, 2016
Source: ARC received from the author (Thanks!)

Fear the Drowning Deep centers around Bridey, a girl who has harbored a deep hatred of the sea since she saw her grandfather leap to his death and drown as a child. When a dead girl washes up with the tide, and villagers start to go missing, Bridey suspects that whatever fantastical being lured her grandfather to his death has returned to wreak havoc on their town. Together with the aid of the only two people who believe her – the island witch, who she is apprenticed to, and the boy she rescues from drowning, who steals her heart – Bridey must face her fear of the ocean and uncover the truth about its depths to stop further tragedies from happening once and for all.

Haunting. Magical. Eerie. If I were to condense my thoughts on Fear the Drowning Deep into a few choice words, those would be the three that top my list. I had an idea of what I was getting into after checking out the synopsis, but nothing could have prepared me for this story. The writing is lovely, with just enough flourish in the descriptions and the right amount of simplicity in word choices to form a piece of work that is compelling and easy to fly through. The integration of culture and history and magic is well done, and I’m fascinated particularly by the fantastical mythology that the author tapped on when writing her tale. While I didn’t necessarily find myself 100% invested in these characters, I did quite like reading about Bridey, her family, her friends and their town because it was portrayed so realistically that I felt like I was a part of their community. It does take a little while to get fully interested in this story, particularly because the first few chapters are definitely there to set things up, but it does pay off in the end. All in all, this novel is a great debut from Marsh, and I definitely look forward to seeing what she writes next.



The Gilded Cage book cover
The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Source: ARC from the publisher (Thanks!)

In The Gilded Cage, Katherine Randolph’s life changes completely when she and her brother learn that they are heirs to Walthingham Hall. The transition from Virginia to England is not without its difficulties, but for the most part, it is a wonderful change in fortune… until her brother mysteriously drowns. Though she is told it is an accident, Katherine refuses to accept that explanation and is determined to figure out the truth for herself – even if that means putting herself in a dangerous position. 

When I first heard of The Gilded Cage, it came across as a historical fiction novel that was steeped in mystery and romance, set against the backdrop of the 1820s. Here’s the thing: it is that. Mystery, as Katherine is determined to investigate the circumstances of her brother’s death. Romance, though I personally didn’t find it to be one that I would absolutely root for. And yet, this novel fell short of my expectations. The plot itself was nothing new, nor was it executed in a particularly refreshing manner. The characters didn’t invite any sort of connection with the reader, dire though their circumstances got. The only thing that really kept me turning the pages at all is that I was mildly curious how the story would end – and it wasn’t particularly noteworthy, if I’m being blunt. In summary, sadly, it was an unimpressive read.

Friday, August 26, 2016

25 Bookish Facts About Me

Early this year, Kristin of Super Space Chick tagged me to share twenty-five bookish facts about me. It took me a while to come up with my answers, but I'm pretty pleased with the array of (random) facts that I'll be sharing with you all. Hope you enjoy getting to know me a little bit better!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Tunes & Tales: Christina Aguilera

Today's featured album is a major throwback for me. And when I say major, I mean that I was probably in the fifth or sixth grade when I first heard of Christina Aguilera and fell hard for her debut album. What in the world made me think of this album? Well, when Rachel & I embarked on a road trip to see Kelly in Cape Cod, we started adding a few older tunes to our road trip playlist. And Come On Over (All I Want Is You) was one of those songs! Once I started listening to her stuff again, I just knew I had to highlight this album in particular to start with.

VIBE: old school 90s pop
WHY: I just really liked Christina Aguilera back in the day.
TRY: Come On Over is the obvious choice, but I also really like What A Girl Wants.


Genie in a Bottle / The Forbidden Wish
If you wanna be with me
Baby, there's a price to pay
I'm a genie in a bottle
You gotta rub me the right way
If you wanna be with me
I can make your wish come true
You gotta make a big impression (Oh yeah)
Gotta like what you do

What A Girl Wants / Last Will and Testament
Like a rock you waited so patiently 
While I got it together 
While I figured it out, yeah yeah
I only looked but I never touched 
'Cause in my heart was a picture of us 
Holdin' hands, makin' plans and it's lucky for me you understand

I Turn To You / Open Road Summer
When I'm lost in the rain,
In your eyes I know I'll find the light
To light my way.
And when I'm scared,
And losing ground,
When my world is going crazy,
You can turn it all around.
And when I'm down you're there
- pushing me to the top.
You're always there,
giving me all you've got.
For a shield from the storm,
For a friend, for a love
to keep me safe and warm
I turn to you.

So Emotional / Onyx
You take me high or low, you know 
I'm never sure which way you're gonna go 
You're such a mystery to me 
But baby hot or cold, you got a hold 
Of my imagination 
I think you know what I mean 
You make me feel so emotional

Come On Over (All I Want Is You) / The Score
I want you to know you could be the one for me (Yes, you could)
You've got all I'm looking for
You've got personality
I know, you know, I'm gonna give you more
But boy, you know, I never felt this way before
So, boy, won't you come? Won't you come
And open the door? Listen to me.
All I want is you (Come over here, baby)
All I want is you (You make me go crazy)

Reflection / Every Last Word
Look at me 
You may think you see 
Who I really am 
But you'll never know me 
Every day 
It's as if I play a part 
Now I see 
If I wear a mask 
I can fool the world 
But I cannot fool my heart 
Who is that girl I see 
Staring straight back at me? 
When will my reflection show 
Who I am inside?


Love for All Seasons / The Bronze Horseman
I'll be there for you
Keepin you warm 
Through the storm
I'll guide you
Stand by you until the stars
Fall from the sky
When you call me
I never hesitate 
Makin you wait for my love
Never lie love
It's something that I just can't deny
I'll read your each and every feelin
When you need me to
So now I gotta let you know
This love's for you

Somebody's Somebody / Isla and the Happily Ever After
I want a love to call my own 
I want someone that I can hold 
Want someone wanting me 
Wanna feel how it feels to be 
Somebody's somebody

When You Put Your Hands on Me / A Court of Mist and Fury
I just know 
When you put your hands on me 
I feel sexy 
And my body turns to gold 
I just know 
When you put your hands on me 
I feel ready 
And I lose my self-control 
When you put your hands on me

Blessed / Wait For You
When I think how life used to be, 
Always walking in my shadows. 
Then I look at what you've given me,
I feel like dancing on my tip-toes. 
I must say everyday I wake
And realize you're by my side; 
I know I'm truly... 
Blessed for everything you've given me
Blessed for all the tenderness you show

Love Will Find A Way / Infinite
No one ever said that
Love was gonna be easy 
Gotta take the ups and downs
The in-betweens 
If you take this journey
Gotta give yourself completely 
Never let nobody ever step on our dreams

Obvious / Shuffle, Repeat
Can you hear it in my voice?
Was it something I let slip?
Does the whole world know?
Isn't it obvious? 
I'm the one who's in control 
Now Im acting like a fool 
Do my feelings show? 
Is my face aglow? 
Isn't it obvious?

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