Favorites · Middle Grade · Sci-Fi · Television

Strange Things, Indeed (Season 3 Review)

SPOILER ALERT. DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED WATCHING SEASON 3! 

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Eleven and the gang are back for another season, only this time around there’s way more hair and bad outfits to go around. Everyone’s been busy since we last saw them: Eleven and Mike have been busy sucking face, Dustin has been off at summer camp, and Steve landed a job slinging ice cream at the brand spanking new mall, Starcourt.

Everyone is ready to have a normal summer, filled with teen love and angst when shit gets weird…again. Russian communists have infiltrated Hawkins and are trying to re-open the portal to the Upside Down, which had been closed by Eleven last season. On top of that, Max’s big brother Billy seems to be acting more douche-y than usual…

This season was amazing. I was worried that it was going to be lame, with all the teenage drama and whatnot, but I actually ended up liking this season better than the previous one. Despite the weird and sometimes horrific stuff going on, the writers managed to add comedy and lightness to this season that hadn’t been there before. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just watch any scene with Steve and Dustin.) The younger characters were a little more mature (except Mike, he was whiny and kind of annoying) and complex this time around, dealing with real-life issues that all teens experience: romance, strained friendships, boundaries, standing up for your friends, etc. There were some great new characters thrown into the mix, as well, like smart and sarcastic Robin. Of all the relationships we’ve seen evolve on the show, the big brother/little brother relationship between Steve and Dustin is by far my favorite. They are absolutely hilarious together and I just love them.

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The girls were more front and center this time around, too, which I really liked. Eleven finally gets to have a somewhat “normal” life and figure out who she is. It was fun to watch the friendship blooming between Eleven and Max and see how much Eleven changes throughout the course of the season.

Overall, this season was a huge win for me. I have some theories on that last scene we saw and what it all means, but I guess we’ll  have to wait and see if there is going to be another season.

Are you a Stranger Things fan? What did you think of season 3? 

 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Middle Grade

ARC Review: City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Cassidy Blake’s parents are The Inspectres, a (somewhat inept) ghost-hunting team. But Cass herself can REALLY see ghosts. In fact, her best friend, Jacob, just happens to be one.

When The Inspectres head to ultra-haunted Edinburgh, Scotland, for their new TV show, Cass—and Jacob—come along. In Scotland, Cass is surrounded by ghosts, not all of them friendly. Then she meets Lara, a girl who can also see the dead. But Lara tells Cassidy that as an In-betweener, their job is to send ghosts permanently beyond the Veil. Cass isn’t sure about her new mission, but she does know the sinister Red Raven haunting the city doesn’t belong in her world. Cassidy’s powers will draw her into an epic fight that stretches through the worlds of the living and the dead, in order to save herself.

via Goodreads

I obtained this ARC when I met Victoria/V.E. Schwab last weekend at BookCon. (Side note: It’s been a whole week since BookCon 2018. So many more weeks to go until the next one. *sigh*)

This one is actually a middle grade book, which I didn’t realize at first, as I read somewhere online that it was a YA novel. Either way, it doesn’t matter to me. A good story is a good story. And Ms. Schwab sure knows how to tell good stories.

This was a fun modern-meets-historical ghost story. I’ll be honest, in the very beginning it felt like it was going to be a little cliche – girl almost dies, doesn’t die, can now see and talk to ghosts. We’ve heard that one before. After a few chapters, however, the story becomes a little more unique.

I really enjoyed the Scottish imagery and the historical background that was incorporated. There’s a lot of creepy elements, which is good for kids who like darker stories. My only complaint is that I would have liked a little more character development, but I suppose there’s more room for that in the sequel.

I’m not sure if fans of the author’s adult books will like this, but if you’re a fan of middle grade literature, I’d recommend this one.

Adult · Books · Fiction · Middle Grade · Young Adult

Top Ten Tues: Books I Could Re-Read Forever

It’s time for Top Ten Tuesday again! (TTT is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl) This week’s theme is “Books I Could Re-Read Forever.”

I like this category because I am a huge fan of re-reading my favorite books. I don’t know if I will necessarily be re-reading these forever (because, let’s face it, our tastes change sometimes), but these are some of the ones that I’ve re-read the most over the last few years. (Yes, I cheated and listed whole serieses as one book. But how can you just pick one book in a great series?)

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman –  I cannot praise this book or Mr. Gaiman enough.

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The Harry Potter series  by J.K. Rowling – These are definitely my most re-read books, by far. It’s amazing that my copies haven’t fallen apart yet.

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The Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien – It’s been ages since I’ve re-read the LOTR books. I am way overdue. (Fun fact: I am not a big fan of the movie versions.)

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The Queen of Hearts series by Colleen Oakes – This is a most deliciously unique re-telling of Alice in Wonderland. Probably one of my favorite re-tellings period.

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Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier – “Last night I dreamt I went to Manderlay again.” *swoons*

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Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson – I only discovered this one a few months ago, but since then I’ve already re-read half of the chapters. This book is turning out to be immensely helpful when I am in a funk and need a laugh or something to relate to. Jenny Lawson holds a permanent spot on my nightstand.

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The Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West – This series is so adorable. It ties my love of art, magic, and animals together nicely.

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Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman – This was the book that popped my Gaiman cherry. I am eternally grateful.

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Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Oh Jane, you’re so awesome. (Fun fact #2: I have a Jane Eyre quote tattooed on my arm.)

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – This is just a fun one to re-read every now and then. It’s perfect for anyone who loves books and a little mystery.

 

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What are your favorite books to re-read? Are any of these on your list? 

Adult · Books · Fantasy · Middle Grade

3 Days, 3 Quotes Tag (Day 2)

It’s Monday…

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It’s also day 2 of the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge. To see which quote I chose for day one, check out yesterday’s post.

The Rules

  • Thank the person who nominated you (Thank you, again Mandy!)
  • Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day)
  • Nominate three new bloggers each day

For day 2 I am choosing one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. (Did you get all that?) I love this one because it’s a great life lesson. Sometimes we are quick to blame others for our unhappiness, but perhaps we should spend more time looking inside ourselves for the source.

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Tag, You’re It! 

Another Book in the Wall

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What are some of your favorite book quotes? 

Books · Classics · Favorites · Fiction · Middle Grade

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Think Children Should Read

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is “Books I Want My Future Children to Read.” Now, I don’t expect to have my own children in the future, so I am making these recommendations based on what I think all children should read at some point in their lives. I chose books that have taught me valuable lessons about life, the world, and growing up.

…To avoid overthinking this whole thing (What age group are we talking about? Technically they’re still children if they are under the age of 18. But wait. are they?) I’m going to make my recommendations for children under the age of 12.

  1. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  5. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco
  6. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  7. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  8. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  9. Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
  10. Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel

 

Do you agree with any of these? Which of these are your favorites? 

Book Reviews · Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Middle Grade

Book Review: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

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My rating: 3 out 5 stars

When Farah, Essie, and Alex stumble across “The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand” they think it’s just an ordinary board game. Much to their surprise, the game is anything but. The trio get trapped inside the game and become pawns of the mastermind, referred to as The Architect. The only way out is to play the game and win the challenges, lest they want to remain there forever. 

This was a fun middle grade read, reminiscent of Jumanji and The Hunger Games. Farah was an interesting main character. It was refreshing to see a main character with a different ethnic (Indian) background, for once. I don’t typically feel like you see a lot of diversity in middle grade fiction, so this was pretty cool. I also enjoyed the close, albeit complicated, relationship between her and her little brother, Ahmad.

The game itself brings the characters to the clockwork city of Paheli, which again was brimming with Indian culture. The game and it’s rules were pretty simple. I would have liked for it to be a little more complicated than it was, but I imagine that may have made things too confusing for young readers. The city was really interesting, as it was laid out in layers rather than being flat and horizontal. Again, I wouldn’t have minded reading more about Paheli itself.

The supporting characters were entertaining and unique, I particularly liked Henrietta Peel, leader of the lizard Resistance.

Overall, the book didn’t blow me away. It was a nice way to kill a few hours though. I’d definitely recommend it to younger readers and anyone who appreciates games.

 

Books · Fantasy · Fiction · Middle Grade

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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I picked up The Gauntlet a few weeks ago at Barnes & Noble on a whim. It’s a fun read, reminiscent of Jumanji and The Hunger Games. I’m about halfway through this one already. I didn’t want to dive into anything too lengthy this week, as I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of a book I pre-ordered and I want to be able to read it right away.

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What are you currently reading?