Blogging · Books

Where’s that Damned Ball?

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One of the things I always envy about other bloggers is how they always seem to be able to keep track of things. Weekly memes, tags, comments, and, of course, their blogiversaries. I’ve totally dropped the ball this year. I dropped it and then it rolled away and is probably in the middle of the highway somewhere. I’ve been waiting to do my two-year blogiversary post because I thought the date wasn’t until the end of February. Welp, it turns out I was a bit off…by¬†a month. Apparently my blogiversary was back in January and I totally missed it.

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In honor of my belated blog anniversary, I’m not going to toot my own horn or anything. I’m not going to talk about my blogging or writing achievements, how many followers I have, or blog awards I’ve gotten. Instead, I’m going to say thank you. Thank you to all my readers – the ones who comment on my posts and the ones who silently lurk. Blogging is fun because I get to talk about books and other things that I love, but none of it would quite be the same without you guys. I’ve met some truly awesome people through this blog, people who I have come to consider friends. Thank you for all that you guys are doing in the blogging community. Even if I don’t always leave comments, I love reading your posts and seeing what you guys are doing with your own blogs. The book blogging community is such a fun, creative, and embracing place and I am incredibly happy to be a part of it.

Here’s to another year of blogging, for myself and all of you. ‚̧

Books · food · Life · travel

How YOU Doin’?

I realized the other day that it’s been quite a while since I’ve done one of my Monday How You Doin’? posts. For a while I didn’t feel like I really had that much to share, so I just put HYD on the back burner for a little bit.

A Beautiful Escape

This past weekend I drove to Asheville. I’ve been experiencing a ton of kidney pain lately and it’s been making me one cranky bitch, so I figured a visit to one of my favorite places would cheer me up. And it did. I paid a visit to my favorite bookstore, ate soup dumplings, and had fun wandering around all the other funky shops and art galleries. Driving through the mountains always gives me inspiration and helps me to clear my head. How can such a beautiful view lead to anything but feelings of contentment?

 

Cat Yoga

In an effort to improve my physical and mental health I’ve gone and done something out of the ordinary. I signed up for yoga. *horror movie scream* There’s nothing wrong with yoga, but it’s never really been my thing. I appreciate it as a form of exercise, but it’s always looked somewhat boring to me. That and I really don’t like the spiritual side of it that often gets shoved at you. In the last few months I recognized how much my flexibility and strength has decreased now that I can’t do my pole exercises as much. I’ve been stretching a little at home to try to improve this, but I don’t feel like it’ll be enough. About a week ago I saw that the local cat cafe does yoga classes once a week. You get to do yoga and socialize with kitties at the same time. Perfect. Even if I’m a little bored with yoga, at least I’ll have the cats as a motivator to keep showing up.

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I must confess that I am not the most graceful person. My first cat yoga class will be this evening and I am expecting to fall over and embarrass myself a few times.

What I’m currently reading

 

So…how¬†you¬†doin’?

Books · Favorites

Will you be my villaintine?

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Or Thursday, if you want to just pretend this whole made up holiday doesn’t exist.¬†I’m sure there will be lots of posts about everyone’s favorite book couples today. I believe I did one last year. This year I’m mixing it up a little and doing something a little less cliche.

Forget romance. Today we’re talking about villains. *evil laugh*

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Moriarty¬†– What has always made Moriarty such an interesting villain is that he could just as easily have been the protagonist of the Sherlock story. He’s every bit as clever and cunning as his counterpart. Sometimes I wonder what could have happened if Sherlock and Moriarty teamed up instead of becoming enemies.

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Cersei Lannister РJust try to name a more ruthless female villain. I dare you.

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Eli Ever and Victor Vale¬†– I suppose you could argue that both Victor¬†and Eli are the villains of Schwab’s series. Both are fabulously complex characters. At times, I found myself sympathizing¬† rather than hating them, because despite their abnormal abilities, at the end of the day they’re still human like the rest of us.

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The Master¬†– Similar to Sherlock and Moriarty, The Master is the evil counterpart to the Doctor’s character. I love the dynamic between the two, especially the latest version (aka Missy).

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Dorothy Gale¬†(from the¬†Dorothy Must Die¬†series) – Dorothy is not the lost little girl from Kansas in this story. She’s been in Oz a long time and rules the place, like the straight up bitch that she is. This iteration of her character is definitely one of the more unique ones. There’s just something I love about an overdressed villain in rhinestone heels.

 

Who are some of your all-time favorite villains? 

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Young Adult

Series I Still Need to Finish

I took a look at my bookshelves the other day and had a slight moment of panic when I realized how many series I started last year and have yet to finish. Typically, when I find a series I like I binge my way through it, but there were just too many good books to read last year that I couldn’t squeeze them all in. #bookwormproblems

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The Books of Babel series by Josiah Bancroft – I’ve already purchased my copy of¬†Arm of the Sphinx¬†(the second book) and will probably be reading it next. At least I’m getting close…

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The Mortal Instruments¬†series by Cassandra Clare – I’m not going to lie, I’ve had mixed feelings about finishing this one. I really enjoyed the first three books in the series, but after reading the fourth I’m wondering if this one should have remained a trilogy. The fourth book felt more like a spin off to me than a continuation of the story I had come to know. That being said, I’m still somewhat curious to know what happens, so I’m probably going to finish this one.

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The Monsters of Verity duo by Victoria Schwab РNo Schwab book/series must go unfinished!

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The Farseer Trilogy¬†by Robin Hobb – Oh Fitz, I need to know if at least one good thing finally happens to you. After the ending of the second book I almost went out and immediately purchased the final book in the series,¬†Assassin’s Quest. I have enough other books that I should probably get to first though…*whispers* for now.

Adult · Books · Fantasy

First Impression Friday: The Gutter Prayer by Gareth Hanrahan

First Impression Friday is a weekly meme created by J.W. Martin. The goal is to talk about a book you recently started reading. Share you impressions, predict what you think will happen, say whether you think you’ll enjoy it, etc.

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When three thieves – an orphan, a ghoul, and a cursed man – are betrayed by the master of the thieves guild, their quest for revenge uncovers dark truths about their city and exposes a dangerous conspiracy, the seeds of which were sown long before they were born.

Cari is a drifter whose past and future are darker than she can know. Rat is a Ghoul, whose people haunt the city’s underworld. Spar is a Stone Man, subject to a terrible disease that is slowly petrifying his flesh.

Chance has brought them together, but their friendship could be all that stands in the way of total armageddon.

Having read nothing but positive reviews of this one, The Gutter Prayer was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019.

Right off the bat I was intrigued by the story – the world that it takes place in is one quote different than the human world as we know it. There are men made of wax, alchemical rivalries, men turned to living stone, and all sorts of creatures you wouldn’t want to encounter down a dark alley.

The farther into the book I get I am starting to lose interest. I’m not feeling any sort of connection to the characters, despite the interesting concept of them. I also feel like I was just plopped into the middle of a story and am struggling to make sense of it all. For now I’m trying to keep trudging along, in the hopes that things will pick up a little bit and I can get more into it.

 

Books · Life · travel

Wanderlusting: Bookstores Around the World (Part 1)

It’s been a little while since I’ve done a wanderlust post. Don’t worry, it’s not because I’m losing my sense of adventure or desire to travel. I’ve actually been planning and researching for the upcoming trips I’ll be going on this year.

There are two things I look for first when considering a place to visit: the culinary scene and how many bookstores they have. As a proclaimed foodie and bibliophile, these are the things that speak most to me. They call me late in the evening and whisper in my ear whilst I’m asleep. “Come to me!” they say. And I listen.

Perhaps I will do a future series of posts about all the foodie destinations I plan to visit someday, but for now, since this is primarily a book blog, I’ll focus on the bookstores.

Eliot Bay Books (Seattle, Washington)¬†– There isn’t much history to this one, but I’ve heard it’s the best bookstore in Seattle.

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Shakespeare and Company (Paris, France) РThis one has been around since 1919. The apartment upstairs housed several famous authors over the years, like F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway. Boyfriend and I will definitely be visiting this one when we visit Paris in the Fall.

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Livraia Lello (Porto, Portugal)¬†– One of the most stunning bookstores in the world, the neo-Gothic building was said to have been the source of inspiration for J.K. Rowling’s depiction of Hogwarts.

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The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, California)¬†– Lots of quirky character packed into this store, in addition to a quarter-million new and used titles. I can’t even imagine how many people go here every year just to take pictures under the tunnel of books.

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Favorites · Young Adult

Book Review: The Wicked King by Holly Black

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My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

You must be strong enough to strike and strike and strike again without tiring.

After the jaw-dropping revelation that Oak is the heir to Faerie, Jude must keep her younger brother safe. To do so, she has bound the wicked king, Cardan, to her, and made herself the power behind the throne. Navigating the constantly shifting political alliances of Faerie would be difficult enough if Cardan were easy to control. But he does everything in his power to humiliate and undermine her even as his fascination with her remains undiminished.

When it becomes all too clear that someone close to Jude means to betray her, threatening her own life and the lives of everyone she loves, Jude must uncover the traitor and fight her own complicated feelings for Cardan to maintain control as a mortal in a Faerie world.

I enjoyed¬†The Cruel¬†Prince when I read it last year. Now, having read¬†The Wicked King, I feel like first book pales in comparison. Jude’s grows from an angry, mistreated mortal living in the faerie world to a scheming, manipulative, powerful player in the fight over the throne. She’s not only determined to seize power from those who wish to steal it from her brother, but she’s determined to use every and anyone in the process. Jude is a freaking badass. (Although, I admit, I was still doubting her at the end of the first book.)

Not only do we begin to understand Jude better, but we see a different side of Cardan, as well. I liked him much better this time around than I did in the first book. While I’m normally indifferent to most hate-to-love relationships in YA books, I was totally on board with Jude and Cardan’s blossoming romance. Or hate-mance. Or whatever the hell it is. It’s a perfect mess.

We got to see a bit more of Taryn this time around, but never enough that I really developed much of an opinion of her. Throughout both books she’s kinda just felt like she was there as filler, which is weird, considering she’s the protagonist’s twin. That’s the only real complaint I have.

I loved every little twist and turn Black threw at her readers. By the end of the book, it’s clear that you can’t trust anyone. It’s faerie versus faerie. Human versus faerie. Faerie versus the sea. Sibling versus sibling. Father versus daughter. WHO IS GOING TO WIN!?!

I have no idea, but I want more!