Books: February Reads

FebReads

I know, I know… February Reads and here it is almost mid March…. The fact is, I fell into a reading slump, that and the last book I read took far longer than I anticipated it would.

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – This story is one of fantasy, action, and romance.  The story starts out with Feyre, a young woman who kills a wolf that turns out to be a faerie.  When the King of that land where this faerie was sent discovers that she was the one who killed him, he sets out to either kill her or bring her back to his court to live forever.  Feyre goes into this arrangement with utter disgust, because she has been told to fear and hate faeries, and cannot understand how she could live with one for the rest of her life.  She spends time looking for a way to break the agreement and escape.  With time she learns to admire Tamlin, the High Faerie, and it is her relationship with him that determines his fate.  So with that….Where do I even start with this one?! I loved everything about this book! The description of the story is one that I would not necessarily gravitate towards on my own, I don’t typically really a lot of fantasy-fairy type genres, so this was one I wasn’t not anticipating enjoying as much as I did.  I’m not going to lie, I did think the story was almost two separate stories.  It starts off sweet and almost Beauty and the Beast-like, and then transforms into almost a Hunger Games-esk ending.  But I loved it… I loved reading about Feyre and Tamlin, their relationship blossoming and the lengths Feyre would go to for him.  After finishing this book I immediately ordered the next one! I know I’m late to this series, but if you haven’t read it I highly recommend! I gave this story ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick – This story is a dark romantic/comedy that centers primarily around the main character Pat and his mental wellbeing.  Pat had been in a mental hospital for quiet some time and when he was finally able to come home he does not accept the reality he is in.  He is told he cannot have contact with his wife, but he doesn’t understand why and because of that he spent his time trying to become the man he thinks she would want him to be (kinder, more physically fit, well read).  His beloved Philadelphia Eagles are no longer playing in the stadium he once knew, his best friend has a child that Pat could have sworn was just born but is now a toddler.  The premise of the story was Pat trying to win his wife back, knowing that once he is what she wants him to be she will call their timeout off. He speaks of a silver lining, and that his life is like a movie that will have a happy ending (he even stops watching movies just because he is living his own movie).  What he learns is that the world never stopped moving forward, that what he wanted he cannot have, and that what he wanted may not be what he needs or even wants going forward. I will say I have never seen the movie, so I went into reading this having no idea what it was about or what to expect.  In the first few chapters I was a little turned off by the speech and manner in which the book was written, but I also didn’t even recognize that the book was being voiced through the main character Pat.  The further I got into the book the more it just kind of spoke to me, the pain and frustration in which he wishes he could just have this perfect life.  The story was so dark, but it was so beautiful and real! What I loved most about it was that Pat was fixated on this movie quality life, that everything was leading up to this big perfect moment where everything would fall into place and that as long as he lived up to his end of the deal he would get what he wanted, but he doesn’t get what he thought he wanted.  Instead he gets almost a fresh start to do things over with someone who understands what he is going through.  We don’t always get the happy endings that we hope for or want, but that doesn’t mean happy endings aren’t possible. I highly recommend!  I gave this story ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

The Cinderella Rules by Donna Kauffman – This story was a romantic/comedy about a woman named Darby who is an outcast DC socialite, who is talked into returning home by her little sister to help her in a moment of need by escorting around one of their fathers business partners.  Much to Darby’s dismay, she agrees to not only returning home and playing host to some business partner of her estranged fathers, but to also attend a Cinderella bootcamp that will get her into shape for the task at hand.  While embarking on this Cinderella bootcamp, Darby meets the ever-charming Shane who is the only refreezing part of this whole process.  Naturally, they take a liking to one another and attempt to spend as much time together as they can get.  Thrown into this story is a gem heist/spy mission that creates a dramatic backdrop for this budding romance.  This was a book I wasn’t sure I would finish because I felt the story to be hard to get into.   This was definitely a romance/love story, but the whole CIA/FBI type twist that was thrown in was kind of odd.  I liked the story line between Shane and Darby, and I found myself wanting to read more about them then about the rest of the story.  The storyline was okay, the love/romance aspect was cute but totally unrealistic.  I gave this story ⭐⭐.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern – Another Paige from Creating & Co book club recommendation.  This story is a fantasy/magical one, centering on two students Marco and Celia, who are bound to each other through a competition.  The story spans several years and covers many illusions that these two magician/illusionists perform and the characters that are intertwined within their competition, all cumulating through a Circus that just shows up.  Within this circus there is magic at every turn, illusions, charms, and magic.  Marco and Celia are students of great illusionists that bound these two together for a competition to see who can win.  Neither of them know who the other is, nor do they know or understand what the competition entails.  Throughout the years, after discovering each other, a love blossoms that they know they must figure out a way to protect.  This book took me longer to read that I anticipated, but I really enjoyed it! I was not a fan of the constant change of narrative, it was a little hard to follow and it would span from future occurrences to past.  But I loved the story, I loved how descriptive the story was and how you could almost taste the popcorn and smell the caramel.  The story was so beautifully descriptive, I highly recommend! I just caution, it is a slow build.  I gave this story a ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

 

Those are my reads for February, it took me longer than I anticipated to get through The Night Circus, but hopefully I can break out of my reading slump and get back on track for March.

Until next time!

Ashley

 

Books: My first OwlCrate Unboxing

owlcrate-feb

I’ve seen so many book related subscription services popping up over the last few months, and I’ve been dying to try them out! Initially I was hesitant just because I wasn’t sure if the subscription would be worth it… if I would like the products that come in it, etc. etc.  But… I decided to give OwlCrate a shot this month, purchasing my first ever subscription! Here are my thoughts:

  • Night Circus inspired Tote Bag created exclusively by Evie Bookish – This is so adorable, I will definitely get some use out of this! This is also perfect because the book I am currently reading is Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern.
  • Circus inspired Page Flags from Girl of all Work – I’m a planner girl at heart, so seeing something planner related makes my heart happy! Can’t wait to use these.
  • Mini Doughnut Lip Balm by Geek Fire Labs – I am also a beauty girl at heart, so lip balm… yes please! It smells delicious and I can’t wait to try it!
  • Casino Cards Notepad by Attic Journals – Okay… these are too adorable! I love the fact that these are recycled products, and they’re the perfect size to just through in your bag, or even keep in your car.
  • Le Cirque des Reves inspired Candle by Frostbeard Studio – This smells so heavenly, like cinnamon and popcorn… it definitely makes you think of a circus. Definitely a warmer scent, so I think I’ll hold off to use this until it gets cooler. Again… loving the Night Circus inspiration!
  • Caraval by Stephanie Garber, a letter from the author, signed bookplate, exclusive quote card, and sneak peak of the audio book – I have heard so many good things about this book, I’m excited to read it! I’ve heard it is similar to Night Circus.  The description/synopsis of the book sounds so captivating, I have a feeling this will be one I cannot put down!

All in all, I’m so excited and happy about this box! I kind of knew going into it what the book was going to be so it was spoiled a little bit but I was excited nonetheless.  In addition to the goodies, there is also a sneak peak for next months box which is “Sailors, Ships & Seas”, I can’t wait to see what adventure is awaiting with that one!

 

Ashley

Books: January Reads

Beauty is not my only love, reading is also something I absolutely love to do in my spare time, and have created a challenge for myself to read 52 books this year (1 book a week).  To start the challenge off, the books pictured I have read during the month of January.

Bare Bones: I’m Not Lonely If You’re Reading This Book, by Bobby Bones is a memoir/biography.  I loved this book, it was so honest and relatable, which who doesn’t love being able to relate to an author?? The book is written by radio dj Bobby Bones, and covers his life and the experiences he has had so far.  I love reading biographies, there is just something about reading about someones life and learning things you didn’t know about them… it’s one of my favorite types of books to read.  This one did not disappoint.  Bobby (after reading this book I definitely feel like we’re on a first name basis) discusses his childhood, college, his first job, love, and everything in between.  I don’t want to give too much away, so I won’t go into detail, but I hands down recommend this book and give it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ .

Matched by Ally Condie is a young adult-dystopian style book.  The idea is that Cassia lives in a perfect society where everything is chosen for you, from occupation to life expectancy, to love.  At 16 everyone is put into a Matched Ceremony where they are shown who their perfect match is.  For Cassia she is Matched with a good friend of hers, Xander, but then she sees another face flash on the screen, Ky’s.  The book goes through her emotions of trying to fall in love with Xander knowing the practicality of the match, but wanting to explore her own feelings on love with Ky and life as someone who gets to choose her own destiny instead of one being chosen for her.  I thought it was a good book, but I found myself disengaged from the concept and storyline.  I liked it, but I definitely won’t finish out the trilogy by reading the other books.  If you like the dystopian style books I would recommend it, but I only gave it ⭐⭐⭐.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith is a historical-horror/fiction book.  The book follows Abraham Lincoln and his encounters throughout history, including how it impacted his grandfather, mother, and former girlfriend.  As a young man he embarks on a journey to rid the world of vampires and after paring with Henry, a vampire himself, he does just that.  The book follows Lincoln’s political life, inserting vampire excursions throughout, up until his death.  This was honestly a book I would normally not choose and I’m not sure why I picked it up to begin with, but I loved it! It was so entertaining and kept me pulled into the story throughout, it was a good surprise.  The only thing I did not like was that the story jumps from Lincoln’s personal journal to the authors interpretation, it made it hard to read for myself personally.  However, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical-ficton type stories, I gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

The Time-Traveling Fashionista On Board the Titanic by Bianca Turetsky is a youth fiction.  The book centers around Louisa, a young fashionista, as she traverses through time thanks to a vintage dress.  She finds herself on board the Titanic in the body of one of more glamorous first class passengers.  Upon learning that she is onboard the Titanic she attempts to divert the tragedy, so the majority of the story follows her attempts to thwart the sinking.  I’m not even going to lie, this book I picked solely because of the cover, it’s beautiful and sparkly.  That said, while this was a cute story, it was way too young for me, and I found myself bored.  I am definitely passing this on to my young nieces, who are more age appropriate for this story.  I gave this story a ⭐⭐⭐.

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco is a historical teen fiction book.  It follows Audrey Rose, a Lord’s daughter, who is fascinated with forensic medicine, and despite a disapproving father joins her uncle in the morbid hobby.  The story quickly picks up on similarities in a few murdered women that have come into her uncles lab.  While trying to figure out the motives behind these disturbing murders, Audrey Rose and her love-interest Thomas decide to follow suspects and women to see if they can solve the murders.  All-the-while, Audrey Roses’ family members are falling victim, while not in life-ending terms, to the Jack the Ripper character.  In attempt to fix her family and solve this murder Audrey Rose makes it her mission to figure out how her family and these cases are connected.  I honestly LOVED this story! It was so captivating and enchanting.  I don’t normally like historical/time-period type stories (despite having read two this month), but this book was amazing.  It was a pick from Paige from Creating & Co (the etsy shop) for her book club/monthly reading, which is why I read it.  It did not disappoint and I highly highly recommend it! I gave it ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.

Those were my reads for the month of January.  Feel free to follow me in this challenge through Goodreads (Ashley Torres).

Happy Reading!

Ashley