Watching: Noelle

The first Christmas movie I’ve decided to watch to kick off the beautiful season is Noelle. Due to a lovely friend and coworker being amazing I got the chance to watch this film off Disney plus and I was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed it for all that it was.

The story sets around Noelle and her brother Nick Kringle. Nick from a small child has been raised to become Santa. Noelle was raised with no expectation. She always wanted to do something important, but she was never taken seriously.

Santa passes away and it is time for Nick to fill Santa’s shoes, but he is terrible at it. Noelle tells him to take a break and so he does, but then he doesn’t want to come back.

Noelle then goes on a journey meeting a man named Jake and his son Alex. Together they set off to find her brother.

Overall, the movie is adorable. Obviously kid friendly. But, surprisingly not at all romance based which is unusual for Christmas films like this one, but I’m kinda happy that it isn’t.

Of course my favorite character was the little reindeer Snowball. I love adorable baby animals in films. They add a layer of cute that I cannot resist.

The movie is as it presents itself to be. It is un-complicated and there isn’t anything twisty about it. It has some very adorable moments as well as some good bits of humor. All in all, a great film for the season!

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The Forbidden Warriors: A Book Tour Review

The Forbidden Warriors by Moud Adel

Typically I would start off a Book Review with all the links and information and then get on with my thoughts. However, this is a Book Tour and it’s the first one I’ve actually done and committed to posting so I have a mini aside to ramble about here. I want to thank Breakeven Books for reaching out to me. They have put so much effort and love into this tour and Erik deserves all the praise for it.

Now that that is out of the way, on to the review!

My Rating: 3/5

Cover Rating: 8/10 I adore painted covers. This one is really pretty and I love the jungle vibes it has. The only thing is as adventurous as the book itself is, they don’t really go into a jungle that I recall at any point. It does cover the fantasy elements the book has.

Publisher: Mastoperia Books

Publish Date: November 15th, 2019

Number of Pages: 368 pages

Received: e-arc in exchange for a book tour review!

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Four teams, multiple power systems and mythical creatures, vast world, and there can only be one winner.
Mastoperia: A hidden continent with four factions divided and suspicious of each other, with a history of unresolved wars, each grounding themselves in their own unique culture, and magical power.

The Forbidden Warriors: The only force powerful enough to keep the factions from destroying one another. The secret to their power is a mystery, but the only way to hold on to it is by passing the power to a new generation every two and a half centuries.

As that time has arrived, each faction must offer a candidate to become the next generation of the Forbidden Warriors, but only one can be the leader. In a race for that leadership position, four candidates and their teams travel across a world mysterious to them, to hunt artifacts they know nothing about.

The mission is not easy, their goals are not aligned, and the truth is far bigger than they could have imagined. A challenge none were ready for.

Will they choose their own interests, their factions’ or defy all that they know for the sake of their world?

Opening Sentence: “Amarin wrapped his fingers around one of the hot, steel bars centering the massive gate.”

Musings:

The Forbidden Warriors is a high fantasy/sci-fi novel filled with a unique factions system and lots of unique magic. This multi-POV novel will take you on a journey with its many characters as they fight against each other to become the leader of The Forbidden Warriors.

What I enjoyed:

The second half. This book got better as it went along. The second half was pretty juicy with the elements it had going on. Including relationships between characters building and being strained and The Forbidden Warriors having their own alternate agenda for our characters.

The idea of the powers. There were many nuances to the various faction powers and they were all interesting to learn about. However, I felt like they were a little over explained in the beginning and I wanted to see the powers explained for themselves in more practical usage instead of just in telling.

The cultural differences between factions. I kinda wish this was highlighted more. I was interested in the history of the factions and a little bit more of the inner workings of them. I feel like there is a taste of that throughout the novel, but it wasn’t touched on as deeply as it could have been.

Some Criticism:

Too many pov’s: It took me much longer then I would have liked to get a sense of whose POV I was in, who was related to them, and what faction they were from. I think I was half way before I really got a sense of all the individual stories and that threw me off a lot of the novel.

All in all:

I enjoyed myself while reading this novel and that’s the most important thing. I don’t quite think the book reached the potential it could have, but it is interesting and fun to read as it is.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Egypt, living in France with a degree in ancient Egyptian history and a passion for writing. I developed my love for storytelling early on and was fascinated by the idea of deconstructing worlds and building new ones that fall under the laws of my imagination.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Passing Strange: A Review

Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

My Rating: 5 stars!

Cover Rating: 10/10 especially after finishing the novel this is the perfect cover for this book. It seamlessly ties into the story and it’s absolutely stunning!

Publisher: TOR

Publish Date: January 24th, 2017

Number of Pages: 131

Received: the Tor kindle book club!

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

Inspired by the pulps, film noir, and screwball comedy, Passing Strange is a story as unusual and complex as San Francisco itself from World Fantasy Award winning author Ellen Klages, and a finalist for the 2017 Nebula Award for Best Novella

San Francisco in 1940 is a haven for the unconventional. Tourists flock to the cities within the city: the Magic City of the World’s Fair on an island created of artifice and illusion; the forbidden city of Chinatown, a separate, alien world of exotic food and nightclubs that offer “authentic” experiences, straight from the pages of the pulps; and the twilight world of forbidden love, where outcasts from conventional society can meet.

Six women find their lives as tangled with each other’s as they are with the city they call home. They discover love and danger on the borders where magic, science, and art intersect.

Opening Sentence: “On the last Monday of her life, Helen Young returned from the doctor’s and made herself a cup of tea.”

Musings:

Passing Strange is short, but quite beautiful. There was an elegance to it and I also learned a few things about the 1940’s. I would have loved to live in the world of it a little longer, but it was a perfect length for the story told.

What I Loved:

The subtlety of magic. The magic in the book isn’t the most important thing. It’s a part of it, but deep down it’s a tool and nothing more. It’s unique and beautiful in its own way, but it isn’t what makes the novel and I love that!

What it is to be a woman who loves a woman in the 1940’s. I don’t know much about lgbt history. It’s not really taught in school or anything you have to look for it. I love the historical elements in this book. Women in a club entertaining as men. A small safe place for women to be themselves in a society that would never accept them. That regardless of time the lgbt community is as large as it always was. Not a phase. Not a trend. Something that always was and always will be.

Helen Young. Helen is a woman who is dying. She has one last task and at the beginning the reader doesn’t know exactly what that is. She is a witty woman and an all around interesting character and I liked her immediately.

Diego Rivera and his wife Frida. In the book, Haskel is casually friends with Diego Rivera and his wife Frida (yes THE Frida and Diego Rivera). She even slept with Frida once. Anyway, I didn’t know Frida and Diego were really married? I learned about both is school, but this was never told to me and I was shook!

Haskel. Haskel is an incredible pastel artist that gets paid to create horror pulp covers. Yeah those old ones with a very scantily clad women as the focal of it. She’s talented and full of surprises. She is also bisexual and has a husband who she never sees because he couldn’t take that she made more money then him and supported herself (which causes him to go into debt).

Emily. Emily is Haskel’s love interest and confidant. A singer at one of those safe clubs for women who perform as men. She performs as Spike and everyone loves her. Her attraction to Haskel is immediate and I loved their banter and ease with each other.

All in all:

This 1940’s snapshot of women’s friendships, relationships, and deep love is a story I will forever keep close to my heart. It was beautifully written and well researched. I loved every second of it!

About the Author:

Ellen Klages was born in Ohio, but has lived in San Francisco for more than forty years. Her first novel, The Green Glass Sea (2006), won the Scott O’Dell Award for Historical Fiction, the Lopez Award for Children’s Literature, and the New Mexico State Book Award for Young Adult Literature. It was a finalist for the Northern California Book Award, the Quills Award, and the Locus Award. A sequel, White Sands, Red Menace (2008), won the California and New Mexico Book awards in the Young Adult category.

Her novelette, “Basement Magic,” won the Nebula Award in 2005, and her novella, “Wakulla Springs,” (co-authored with Andy Duncan) was a finalist for the Hugo and Nebula awards and won the World Fantasy Award in 2014. Many of her other stories have been on the final ballots for numerous awards, and have been translated into Chinese, Czech, French, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, and Swedish. The first  collection of her short fiction, Portable Childhoods (2007), was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award.

In addition to her writing, she is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory, the Clarion South Workshop, and served for twenty years on the Motherboard of the James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award. She lives in a small house full of strange and wondrous things: lead civilians, odd toys, postcards, and other bits of whimsy that strike her fancy.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Dream Waters: A Review

Dream Waters by Erin A. Jensen

My Rating: 2/5 stars

Cover Rating: 5/10 stars, this kind of cover isn’t typically what attracts my attention. The color is pretty, but otherwise it’s a pretty standard cover. It’s also a little misleading. I thought this was a ya book when I first saw it and didn’t realize it was adult till a ways into the book.

Publisher: Dream Waters Publishing

Publish Date: April 4th, 2016

Number of Pages: 418

Received: Giveaway

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

A contemporary fantasy that blurs the lines between dream and reality, fairy tale and history, love and obsession, Dream Waters is the first book in the Dream Waters series. 

All his life, Charlie Oliver has watched the people around him morph into creatures that no one else sees. Unlike the rest of the world, Charlie remembers the Waters that transport him to the Dream World each night. And he sees glimpses of people’s Dream forms in the waking world. Condemned to spend his waking hours in a psychiatric facility because of his Dream Sight, Charlie doesn’t expect anything to change. But everything starts changing the day Emma Talbot walks through the door in the middle of a group therapy session. 

Haunted by memories of the events that led to her admission, Emma plans to end her life the first chance she gets. But something about Charlie stops her. From the moment they shake hands, his friendship feels safe and familiar. As Emma begins to let down her guard, Charlie catches a glimpse of the fiery-eyed dragon that lurks behind her Dream form. Each night, as Emma dreams of the man who’s been banned from visiting, Charlie searches the Dream World for the monster that shadows her. But when Emma’s suppressed memories begin to surface, Charlie finds more monsters than he bargained for.

Opening Sentence: If anyone had told me when I woke up that morning that my life was about to change forever, I’d have said they were crazy and considering the fact that I woke up in a psych ward, odds are I would’ve been right.

Musings:

So, there are a lot of things about this book that felt odd to me. The first being that I didn’t get the fact that this was an adult book until later as ages aren’t given till a bit into the book. The relationship between Emma and her husband which is one between a man who was an adult when she was a child and knew her all during that time and took her to his bed by the time she was 16. Which is something I’m not sure is properly reprimanded in this book. However, as I have not read any of the next books in the series I’m not sure how it will be handled in the future.

In general, while the concept was interesting, I felt it wasn’t fully realized in this book. It felt like an early draft of something that could have been much better, but never quite made it there.

The psych ward itself didn’t feel like a true representation of one, but more of a movie like idea of one with rules that made the plot fit.

Then there were the secrets that we never learn about Emma’s husband. Like, did he kill the girl that told Emma she was having an affair with him. Or why the hell no one went after him when Emma’s father found the two together before she was an adult.

There’s a lot of things in this book that makes me raise my eyebrow wondering why it’s even a thing. Especially after the ending. The ending made me question if they would ever properly reprimand the husband for grooming Emma to be his wife, because they give rights to have her under house arrest and then he gives Charlie a job.

I know this review is all over the place, but this book makes me go: ????

Charlie was the only thing I liked about this book and still even the way he was written still didn’t feel fully fledged.

All in all:

There are a lot of things I wish were different about this book. I wanted to like it, but I simply didn’t. It was entertaining at times, but there was too many things that felt unfinished and some things that was ended up completely up in the air. This book was not my cup of tea.

About the Author:

Erin Jensen is the Amazon International bestselling author of The Dream Waters Series. She was awarded the Bronze Medal for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Readers’ Favorite international book award competition. She also received Honorable Mention for fantasy fiction in the 2018 Writer’s Digest self-published e-book awards. A part-time pharmacist and a full-time daydreamer, she resides in upstate New York with her ridiculously supportive husband, two teenage sons–who are both taller than her–and a Yorkshire terrier who thinks he’s the family bodyguard.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Watching: Carnival Row

Carnival Row is one of the most beautiful and stunning new tv series I have seen in recent years.

This show is part historical, part romance, part fantasy, and part mystery in the best of ways. The setting makes for a darkly beautiful landscape where daily evils both familiar and unfamiliar in our time lurks in the shadows.

The Dark Asher is the main creature our handsome detective Philo is after, but there is a mastermind behind it all pulling the strings.

All the while the plot has two main stories going on, the one that is Philo’s and Vinette’s and the one that is between Imogen and the Puck Agregus. What I loved about the story that unfolded between Imogen and Agregus is the political tension and the very real racism that underlies it all. It’s not hidden by any means and it shows the mind that the upper class has in this film and how it wishes to ‘other’ all who do not share their look. Agregus is a rich puck. He purchases an expensive home and lives in finery. Imogen goes to him after learning her brother has done poorly with finances and she makes a deal with him to bring him into the fold of society in exchange for his financial help. I loved seeing the two realize they weren’t so different and their friendship quickly develop into something more. Especially after how much I began to hate Imogen in the beginning. Seeing her come into her own I started to see her in a new light.

Vinette and Philo’s story starts during war. A time where they came together and fell in love only to have Philo fake his death so that Vinette would not go back for him and potentially lose her life. When they see each other again years later their feelings remain, but Vinette is rightfully pissed at Philo for the choice that made her think she had lost him forever. Eventually, they end up working together as they realize the Dark Asher has a agenda that may have to do with them more then they previously thought.

All in all, what I loved about this show was how it mirrors politics today. The backstories to each character including Vinette being bi-sexual and having that being shown as simply part of her character was really cool. The majority of the show is actually very much politically based with characters making moves for power and the way certain people are accepted while others are not. It discusses immigration and what is done to protect certain identities. Carnival Row is rich and beautiful and at times dark and horrifying. It is everything I love in a good tv show.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below!

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 139

Wicked Saints: A Review

Wicked Saints (Book 1) by Emily A. Duncan

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 5/10 a standard book cover. I like the darkness of it. It just doesn’t give me a wow factor. I do like that the kingdom is in the cover though. That’s pretty cool.

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Publish Date: April 2nd, 2019

Number of Pages: 385

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review.

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis: An instant New York Times bestseller! 

“Prepare for a snow-frosted, blood-drenched fairy tale where the monsters steal your heart and love ends up being the nightmare.” – Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Gilded Wolves and The Star-Touched Queen

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings. 

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holytrilogy.

“This book destroyed me and I adored it.”- Stephanie Garber, New York Times bestselling author of Caraval

Opening Sentence: Death, magic, and winter. A bitter cycle that Marzenya spins with crimson threads around pale fingers. She is constant; she is unrelenting; she is eternal. She can grant any spell to those she has blessed, her reach is the fabric of magic itself.—Codex of the Divine, 2:18

The calming echo of a holy chant filtered down from the sanctuary and into the cellars.”

Musings:

This book reminds me of why I love fantasy. A whole world in your fingertips that can be as dark and magical as you dream it to be. Emily writes such a tale. Something where everyone has their own agenda and manipulation and truth within lies makes world views shatter and the fate of whole kingdoms lying in the balance of all of it.

What I Loved:

The writing. There were some chapters of this book where the writing was positively addicting. The reason I say some is only because certain chapters were written like dreams and the elegance of those chapters shown, while others served the purpose of showing action and furthering the plot and that isn’t a bad thing. It made the book very well balanced and thoroughly enjoyable.

Falling for the wrong guy. It’s nice to see a story that shows someone making a mistake about the person they fall for. It happens to all of us and in this story it had some dubious consequences. Although I loved the attraction between Nadya and Malachiasz. I think I have a thing for male characters with M names “cough Morpheus cough Mephistopheles cough” with a penchant for magic and very charismatic personalities. It’s a sad that Malachiasz would probably kill me before showing me any sort of interest.

The unwinding of truth and lies. Nadya has lived her life incredibly sheltered. She lives to serve the Gods and has practiced a perfection of being and devotion that is tested and bent completely as the book unfolds. She uncovers lie after lie. Something about the way everything is revealed to her was sort of grossly beautiful to me. Because it makes me think what sort of incredible fury she will unleash in the next book. I want to see this girl rise and I have a feeling she will and I can’t wait to see it happen.

The magic itself. There isn’t really much limitation to how the magic in this world manifests. It does have limits from person to person, but in general there is a lot of variety to the spells that are very personal to who is casting. This makes for some beautiful scenes where the magic manifests in very unique ways that I really enjoyed.

All in all:

This book is a great one! The way things enfolded has me very excited about what is to come and what adventures await Nadya in the future! I love a book with intensity and Wicked Saints had that aplenty.

About the Author:

emily / XXVI / 
—NYT & Indie bestselling author of WICKED SAINTS and RUTHLESS GODS from Wednesday Books/Macmillan 

— purchase Wicked Saints here! 

—preorder Ruthless Gods here! 

— YA fantasy writer rep’d by Thao Le of SDLA 
evil!boyfriends / villains / metal music / Goth Life /

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Yesterday’s Wordcount: 918

The Beholder: A Review

The Beholder by Anna Bright

My Rating: 4/5 Stars!

 

Cover Rating: 9/10: This cover is absolutely gorgeous! The boat is stunning and it gives the story it’s fantasy/romantic vibes in one beautiful piece of imagery. I love the copper and grey wash coloring of it. It’s beautifully done.

 

Publisher: HarperTeen

 

Publish Date: June 4th, 2019

 

Number of Pages: 435

 

Received: Random book mail from the publisher!!

 

Purchase: Amazon

 

Synopsis:

“Selah has waited her whole life for a happily ever after. As the only daughter of the leader of Potomac, she knows her duty is to find the perfect match.

But after an excruciatingly public rejection, Selah’s stepmother suggests an unthinkable solution: Selah must set sail across the Atlantic to visit a series of potential suitors—and if she doesn’t come home engaged, she shouldn’t come home at all.

From the gardens of England to the fjords of Norge, Selah’s quest will be the journey of a lifetime. But her stepmother’s schemes aren’t the only secrets hiding belowdecks…and the stakes of her voyage may be higher than any happy ending.

Lush landscapes, dazzling romance, and captivating intrigue await in this stunning alternate historical YA debut—perfect for fans of The Selection or Caraval.”

 

Opening Sentence: Once upon a time always began on nights like tonight.”

 

A Note Before my Review: I just want to say, the authors note before the start of this book is the sweetest thing ever. Anna Bright talks about why she became an author and what brought her to write “The Beholder” and it made me fall in love with her in an instant. I will read anything she writes because of it. (Also, because I loved “The Beholder” so much). One day I hope to meet this author in person because I just feel like she’s one of those authors that would be a genuine delight to meet.

 

Musings:

“The Beholder” completely surprised me. I expected it to go a certain way and it went in an entirely new direction and for that, I am so happy to have read this book. It was well written, engaging, and romantic. I need to know what’s up next in Selah’s world, but I know that will have to wait till Anna continues her story. I’m excited about it all the same!

What I Loved:

Selah is totally herself. This is a character who is herself at all times and doesn’t change for no one. She’s comfortable doing hard work and gardening. She’s bookish and values her time alone. She knows herself well and she stands up for her beliefs. She’s tough, but not in a physical way. I loved reading through her point of view.

Showcasing How fast falling in love can be. Her first love Peter was a slow burn (one we don’t see, but the had been friends for years). Nothing ever happened between them and he rejects her when she finally opens up and tells him how she feels. However, bachelor number 2 and 3 establish with her some real chemistry and things move quick with both. Sometimes you meet someone and even though time is short between you they change your life forever. There’s no rules to falling in love or what love should look like and as much as I love a slow burn, personally I have fallen in love with someone, at one point in my life, very quickly and it’s nice to have that feeling validated.

How all my expectations were subverted. I’m not going to talk about what happened with Bachelor #2 or #3 because discussing that ruins the book completely, but things went so much deeper then I expected. There was political stuff that surprised me. People had some ulterior motives that made my eyebrows raise. The ending was nothing like what I expected it to be. I have to know what happens next.. it’s too juicy.

Everything I want to talk about now is a spoiler. I just want to dive in and dish the details, but I’m not ruining this novel for no one. This book is barely fresh off the press and I’m dying to talk to someone about what happens, but I can’t.. this is going to be another instance of me having a bunch of strong opinions on little things (like I do with the splintered series) and I just want to talk about it left and right, but I won’t because I’m exercising some very minute self-control.

All in all:

This book is fantastic. It’s not what it seems. There’s some juicy drama. Great family dynamics. Interesting and unique ways of being in different places. This book is lush detailed and worth the read!

About the Author:

“I believe in woods, mountains, highways, cobblestones, roller coasters, dancing, concerts, cherry Pop Tarts, books, and magic.
When I’m not reading or writing on my couch, I’m dragging my husband off on an adventure, communing with Salem (my kitten/spiritual familiar), or causing trouble at One More Page Books, where I work.”

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Watching: Detective Pikachu!

Today was a fun day for me. I got invited to watch Detective Pikachu with two of my coworkers that I’ve become good friends with recently. It was a pleasant surprise for me because ever since I heard Ryan Reynolds was going to play Pikachu in the film I knew I absolutely had to watch it at some point.

This is one of the most beautifully animated films I’ve seen recently, but what I mean by that is that the way they added Pokémon into the physical reality was pretty seamless. Sometimes it’s hard to suspend your disbelief with a film like this, but with detective Pikachu it was a lot easier then you would expect.

I must’ve awwed a thousand times during this film. All the Pokémon were just so adorable! Many of them I knew from my glory days of collecting Pokémon cards obsessively and playing Pokémon on my Nintendo DS what feels like a very long time ago (And lets be real watching Pokémon as a cartoon as a kid was one of my go to jams). I felt like a kid again watching my favorite pet companions come to life before me on screen. The nostalgia of it was one of the best feelings in the world.

Plus, watching the film with friends was one of the biggest bonuses ever. Even if I might’ve decided to pour out some chips at the wrong time and silent laughed my way through a particularly sad scene… But, you all came here to hear about the film and not my somewhat awkward and possibly inappropriate antics that transpired during said film.

Anyway, I loved this movie. It was sweet, lighthearted, and with a believable storyline. The action parts were incredible to watch. The animation was so well done it made my jaw drop at times. My only issue comes with the actual ending and I can’t really talk about it without spoiling the whole thing so I’m not going to.

Honestly, I just wanna share some photos of Pokémon I loved just in appreciation for how well they animated everything:

Pikachu of course was adorable and I wanted to hug him every 5 seconds and was increasingly sad and irritated to know that that would be impossible.

Honestly, if the Mime was real this would be what he’d look like. Plus, the way they animated his movement and used his powers in his scene was so well done and it came out with a wonderful humorous flare. I loved it.

In motion the squirtles were some of the most adorable creatures ever. A photo doesn’t capture it in quite the right way.

Jigglypuff looks utterly adorable here and I will forever love her for the rest of my life!

As this snubull shows, I feel like realistic fur is one of the films biggest strong suits.

Then there is lickitung the one Pokémon that managed to gross me out, but also I still had appreciation for the animation.

Other then the amazingness of the animation and the wonderful nostalgia I had watching the film everything else I loved feels like a spoiler and I really want as many of you to watch this movie for yourselves. So I’m going to leave this here.

Thank you all for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

Ransacker: A Review

Ransacker (Berserker Book #2) by Emmy Laybourne

My Rating: 4/5 stars!

Cover Rating: 10/10 I love this cover. It’s so painterly and beautiful. I love how you can clearly tell the emotions on each of the characters faces. It also clearly mixes the Norse mythology and western roots the story has. All in all, it is beautifully and artistically done.

Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Publish Date: January 29th, 2019

Number of Pages: 448 pages

Received: Netgalley provided an e-arc in exchange for an honest review

Purchase: Amazon

Synopsis:

“The gripping, heart-wrenching companion novel to Emmy Laybourne’s much acclaimed historical fantasy Berserker.

Rare powers. Precious metals. A final showdown.

1886. The Hemstads possess supernatural powers bestowed upon their family by the ancient Norse gods. Now Sissel, the youngest at 16, discovers her gift: she is a Ransacker. She can find gold and other precious metals and pull them to her. Hers is an awesome and dangerous gift.

Sissel and her siblings have been living peacefully in a small town in Montana, trying to blend-in and escape the violent events that haunt them, but they’ve all been tricked―the handsome young man courting Sissel is secretly a Pinkerton spy, reporting to the man who wants to control them, the Baron Fjelstad.

Sissel’s beau is not the only one interested in her new talents. She’s also caught the attention of a local mine owner who’s convinced Sissel has a lucky touch when it comes to finding gold. With betrayal lurking around every corner, Sissel must tread carefully. Harnessing her powers could bring great fortune . . . or cause the powerful Baron to come hunting her and her siblings down for once and for all.”

Opening Sentence: “My dearest Stieg, I cannot tell you how glad I was to find your letter of June 10 waiting for me at the address of our contact in Årstad.

Musings:

Ransacker is the empowering sequel to one of my favorite reads of 2018 Berserker. The horror was dialed back in Ransacker to make way for a whole different sort of story. The story of Sissel. The sister who was known for being Nyette free and weak. But the sister who would not be set back by her perceived weaknesses any longer.

What I Loved:

Sissel’s strength. This is 100% Sissel’s story. She grows in this story. She finds her worth. She finds her strength. She decides for herself to take the path that she desires. Sissel shines in Ransacker and I’m all here for it.

The western feel. I am usually completely uninterested in western novels, but this one uses the western setting in a great way to tell a totally unique story and I’m all for it.

The Norse Mythology. I love a good fantasy with magic, but this sort of magic in particular is really intriguing to me. Using your powers eventually leading to some sort of physical punishment like the possibility of hearing loss is intriguing. Especially when the call to use these powers is always very strong.

Love beyond the flaws. McKray the mine owner is a swindler. He is fundamentally a flawed human being. He lied to increase his own wealth and yet Sissel saw more in him. Saw him in his totality and loved him for him completely. Though they did have their struggles love won out. That’s the kind of love that I’d like to share.

The other Beau. I may not hold any love for James, but I do love how Sissel grew from her courtship with him. Sissel knew that she didn’t want this boy. They had a friendship and James always acted like he wanted more (for not the best of reasons) and Sissel eventually chose for herself what she wanted and she did so with great respect for herself and I greatly admire that.

The continuation of Hanne’s story. I like that Hanne had her own little storyline within Sissel’s story. I loved seeing her and Owen together and seeing their relationship evolve more deeply. I always loved them together and seeing them live and grow together was a beautiful addition to the novel.

The imagery that the powers of a Ransacker creates. The way that Sissel connected with metals was so cool. They were characterized with different personalities and gold being of the most brilliance. It created this really beautiful and totally unique layer of description that I adored.

All in all:

Ransacker was brilliant and empowering and beautifully written. I am so grateful for the opportunity I had to read it. It’s a worthy sequel to Ransacker with its own very unique vibe. I enjoyed every moment of reading it.

About the Author:

EMMY LAYBOURNE is a Young Adult novelist best known for her Monument 14 series, an internationally best-selling trilogy that has been translated into 9 languages. Her standalone book Sweet won a Junior Library Guild Award, was a YALSA Quick Pick and got a Perfect Ten rating from VOYA. Her latest books, Berserker, and Ransacker tell the story of a family of Norwegian teens with ancient Viking powers and are currently being adapted for television.

Emmy is a former character actress, and is occasionally recognized from her role as Mary Katherine Gallagher’s best friend in the movie “Superstar.” She lives outside New York with her husband, two kids, faithful dog and a flock of seven nifty chickens. Visit her online at www.EmmyLaybourne.com.

Thanks for reading! It’s been ages since I have written a review. I am so glad that the first I write in a while is for such an awesome novel. Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

-Till next time!

My Goodreads Year In Books: 2018

I started off the year really strongly with all the books I’d been reading. Then as time went on life threw a bunch of changes at me and my reading suffered for it. In the new year, I hope to get back into reading again. In 2018, I did get to read some incredible books. As far as that goes it was a great year. I’m excited to share them with all of you.

I look forward to the new year and what books will be coming my way. It feels good to look back and remember how wonderful it was to read all these books when I got to read them.

Thanks for reading! Let me know your thoughts down in the comments below.

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-Till next time!