Saturday, November 11, 2017

Weekend Update



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date


Posting a little early for me, but tomorrow (Sunday) we are going to be out, visiting my stepmom. Billy is going to do a few chores for her, while she teaches me how to felt stuff. I am looking forward to it!

This past week was pretty much, just you know, life. Routine. But it was a good week nonetheless. I read another amazing book - two five star books in a row! 

Read Last Week:


Omgilovedthisbook! It was just so so good. I loved all the things about it. And, it was so perfectly autumn on top of it all. Except now, I want ooey gooey appley desserts and I want to eat them up while drinking some ice cold tart cider. Goals, right? 

Reading This Week:

I kind of have book hangover. Two great books in a row - how to follow that up?? I'm going with a Christmas romance! 


Watching:

We just finished up Stranger Things, and have moved on to Alias, Grace and Grace and Frankie. (weird, all that Grace). Plus, Riverdale! 

How about you guys? 

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

A Few Quick Reviews

I waited very impatiently for this to come in from my library holds, and it was very much worth the wait. I absolutely loved this book! It was one I couldn't put down. I wanted to read it for the setting - the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, near the Seney Wildlife Refuge, one of my favorite spots in all Michigan. If you have ever been there, you are familiar with the Seney stretch, and just how far you are from cities and well, other people.

The characters are amazing, and I loved how this story is told. It begins in the now, present day, with Helena as a married woman with two daughters. Her father, who had kidnapped her mother and held her prisoner for fourteen years or so, has escaped from prison. And Helena, raised by the Marsh King himself, knows his ways better than anyone, and has the skill set to match his. She knows she is the one who will have to catch him, that no one will be able to beat him on his own turf. As the chase wears on, the reader learns about the years in captivity through Helena's memories - and while her mother was a true prisoner, Helena's experience was different. The Marsh King is her father, and while he was not a good man, she spent twelve years of her life learning from him, and trying to impress him. She wanted to follow in his footsteps, and was starving for any affection from him. While he was abusive, callous, and a kidnapper, he did seem to care about Helena, as much as he was able to care about another human being, or at least that is my opinion, as he did take the time to teach her the things important to him. And when Helena and her mother were free, Helena had to adjust to an entirely different world, one that was confusing and had many rules - and people. This whole book was fascinating, riveting, and fast paced; as I said, I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it.


Caraval was another great read - entirely different, but definitely worth reading. It was fun, like a crazy mixed up Alice in Wonderland meets Willy Wonka meets...something not so nice. While this crazy kaleidoscope of magic and fantasy and game play is all supposed to be part of the show, with everyone either a player or an actor, there is maybe a bit more going on than meets the eye. Scarlett is a little annoying at first, but she grows on you, as the game takes over and she is further from her horrible father, who is a perfect villain. I loved all the magic and color and imagery in this imaginative story; I loved the setting and the characters, and I really enjoyed every bit .

 I can't wait for the second book in the series, Legendary, to come out - I am looking forward to reading more in this world, and about these characters.


Sunday, November 5, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

We spent Halloween trick or treating with Wyatt's little cousin (my niece) and we had a blast! The sidewalks were filled with costumed children, parents, people outside. It was festive and and friendly and reminded me of the 1980s, when kids were always trick or treating. We even had to wait sometimes to get on porches, it was such a busy night. I loved it, and I know everyone else did too.

After the franticness of our October, we are easing into November slowly. And from all appearances, it looks like we will stay in this mode for quite a while. But that is ok - November is the perfect time to start hibernating at home all cozylike. 


Read Last Week:


I picked this up on a whim from my review pile, and then found I couldn't put it down! It was so addictively good! I read way past my bedtime with this one. So good I actually gave it five stars on Goodreads. It caught me off guard with how good it was. 



Reading This Week:


So far, I am in love. I have a thing for apples though. Lol.  

I am also slow reading this one:


Wildwood by Roger Deakin I am occasionally in the mood for these nature nonfiction reads. I loved Meadowland last year, and this is reminiscent. 

Watching:

Stranger Things, Outlander, Riverdale, and rewatching the Great British Bake Off.

How about all of you? How have you been?

Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?




It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date

Yesterday was a rough day, as we memorialized my grandmother who passed away last week. It was a very emotionally draining day, but also one filled with stories of her life, about her wit and independence and artistic. We were surrounded by her artwork, reminders of her life and all that she had done. It was a perfect memorial for the life of my spirited grandma.

Last week was about Halloween and preparing for the memorial - when you have a toddler, life still moves on. We went to the Greenfield Village haunted village trick or treat thing with my brother and his family, and had a great time seeing our kiddos together. And they got us some great candy! :) Lol.

Read Last Week:


Caraval by Stephanie Garber - I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced read. It was the perfect distraction!

Reading This Week:

I can't make up my mind. I keep bouncing all over the place. I think I will finish up my October reads with these two. I have been wanting to read Ghostland for ages!



Watching:

We finished up Miss Fisher and are feeling sad about it. We miss crazy Miss Fisher and the straight laced Jack. I am definitely going to have to read the books now. We are also watching Stranger Things, and lots and lots of Halloween cartoons - including Curious George Boofest, over and over...lol. We watched my favorite, Disney's Headless Horseman, and also Charlie Brown's Great Pumpkin. I am sure we will watch that again tomorrow. Finally, I have been watching a lot of book vloggers do book hauls. 

I also found this great Jack Skellington/Headless Horseman theory! I love it because it combines the Disney movie I love with Nightmare Before Christmas, another favorite of mine!







Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Book Review: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman

Title: The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
Source: NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads Summary:

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man.

Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy.


My Thoughts:

So earlier this week I said I didn't like this book, that I was disappointed in it. Which is true, and I will go into that further in a moment. First, let me say that  I was stupid excited over this book. I love Hoffman's work, I love Practical Magic, I love stories about witches - so the stars were aligned for me to love this book.

This book was beautifully written. The descriptions were rich and wonderful, magical even. I loved the characters, their evolutions, their backstory, if you read Practical Magic. I love Vincent. How could you not love a character so charming he was stolen  for a few hours by his nurse at birth? He was the anti-hero and the hero all in one. The imagery, the sprinkling of folklore and superstition and herbal magics, I loved all of it. I loved the little surprise of Vincent's. However, I didn't love this book. It was just too sad for me. I felt like there was such little joy in this book, in their lives in general. I understand it was the curse surrounding them, but I guess it was too much for me. I don't need a story to be all sunshine and rainbows, but I guess I do need some happiness. And there were small pockets of happy tucked in here, but overall, it made me depressed. It was a very slow going read for me as well - over three weeks which is crazy for me. I kept getting distracted by other reads, then I realized the truth - I didn't want to go back to this book. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood for it when I read it, but it just didn't do it for me.

Overall, I would say this book is beautifully written and crafted, as all of Hoffman's books are, it was just a little too gray and sad for me.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?



Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday! What Are You Reading is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date


I managed to get some reading done!

Read Last Week:


So. I was so excited for The Rules of Magic. I love Alice Hoffman, I loved Practical Magic. But Rules of Magic was a bit disappointing. :( Review soon. 

However, I loved The Marsh King's Daughter. Wow. So so so good, I could not put it down. I am hoping to review both of these books this week!

Reading This Week:


I am not sure which one will get the nod first - both look really good!

Watching:

We are watching Phryne Fisher still - Mrs. Fisher's Murder Mysteries. We finished off Lore on Amazon Prime - it was amazing! I loved it. We plan on squeezing in some Halloween movies for Wyatt and some scarier ones or at least campy, horror movies for us this week. 

Listening to: 

I love podcasts! That is how I found Lore in the first place. I am also listening to Unsolved Mysteries, and Thinking Sideways. They are pretty interesting.


So, how about you? How has your week been?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Book Review: The Witches of New York

Goodreads Summary:

The year is 1880. Two hundred years after the trials in Salem, Adelaide Thom ('Moth' from The Virgin Cure) has left her life in the sideshow to open a tea shop with another young woman who feels it's finally safe enough to describe herself as a witch: a former medical student and "gardien de sorts" (keeper of spells), Eleanor St. Clair. Together they cater to Manhattan's high society ladies, specializing in cures, palmistry and potions--and in guarding the secrets of their clients. 

All is well until one bright September afternoon, when an enchanting young woman named Beatrice Dunn arrives at their door seeking employment. Beatrice soon becomes indispensable as Eleanor's apprentice, but her new life with the witches is marred by strange occurrences. She sees things no one else can see. She hears voices no one else can hear. Objects appear out of thin air, as if gifts from the dead. Has she been touched by magic or is she simply losing her mind? 

Eleanor wants to tread lightly and respect the magic manifest in the girl, but Adelaide sees a business opportunity. Working with Dr. Quinn Brody, a talented alienist, she submits Beatrice to a series of tests to see if she truly can talk to spirits. Amidst the witches' tug-of-war over what's best for her, Beatrice disappears, leaving them to wonder whether it was by choice or by force. 

As Adelaide and Eleanor begin the desperate search for Beatrice, they're confronted by accusations and spectres from their own pasts. In a time when women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds, were any of them safe?



My Thoughts:

I love this cover.  And all things witchy. I love reading books with witches, ever since I read Anne Rice's Witching Hour (I still love that book!). 

This book was amazing, but terrifying. Not necessarily terrifying in a horror genre way, but more in a crimes against women way. I am not intending to be political by saying this either, I am referring only to the time period in which this book is set. As the description states, it is a time when "women were corseted, confined and committed for merely speaking their minds" which is a true fact, albeit a sad one. It is horrifying in the same way that The Handmaid's Tale is- for women of today, modern women, with all of our rights and freedoms, to imagine what life was like for our ancestors, who were not allowed to read newspapers even. A time when women were always being sized up and judged, and if found to be different, sometimes labeled a witch. 

There were some pretty scary parts in this book - zealots of any brand are pretty darn scary, and this book has one or two. But the scary is outweighed by the beauty of the writing, the way the story unfolds, the characters themselves- Beatrice, Adelaide, Eleanor, and Quinn. Add in a raven (who is more than meets the eye) and I am sold on this story. The magic shop, the tea, the fortunes, the time frame, the ghosts - I loved it all.  I became immersed in this world and could have kept reading. 

These three women are tough and resourceful, strong and smart, and despite the problems and evils they encounter, are able to survive and bloom, maybe even stronger and better off than where they began. These characters are strong women, in a time that was tough on women. I definitely enjoyed this book, with these wonderful witchy women characters.