Review: Extraordinary Ordinary Moments by Jorey Hurley

31at9kcffklExtraordinary Ordinary Moments: A Journal Diary
by Jorey Hurley

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


A journal for appreciating the beautiful, the quirky, the surprising, and the overlooked.

Throughout the hustle and bustle every day, we must remember to slow down, unplug, and take in our surroundings. Illustrator Jorey Hurley has made the quest for mindfulness easy. Her gentle prompts, paired with bright but delicate illustrations, will encourage you to reflect on those seemingly mundane moments and find what makes them worthy of holding on to. Maybe your watermelon at breakfast was perfectly crisp, or the brake lights of traffic formed a beautiful pattern. Each page offers a new opportunity to jot down a story, paste in a picture, or doodle something from your imagination. As the days go by, you’ll discover how this one small ritual will put you more in tune with yourself and the world around you.

My Review:

5 of 5 Stars

I’ve recently been pretty obsessed with finding new and different journals which offer prompts or focus on specific things like mindfulness. The first thing that surprised me about this journal was the size. It’s about 368 pages in length and almost entirely consists of journaling pages. Unlike some other journals that I’ve gotten with mindfulness themes, this only contains a two-page spread briefly introducing the journal and some ideas as to how to get the best out of your experience. What further impresses me is that each page has a completely different drawing which varies in size from adorably small to pieces that seem to take over the page while keeping a balance of offering plenty of room to journal. Most journals that have artwork tend to have repetitive patterns which are okay but after so far into the journal can stop being inspiring. With this journal each prompt has its own artwork that correlates to that idea. For example, the prompt “something that feels good to break” has a small square depiction of bubble wrap in the upper left corner. Other prompts like “something vast” depicts an entire darkened page with dotted stars which I can tell will be great fun to write or draw on with gel pens. My favorite part of this journal is the ability to use it in a way that works best for you. I tend to like to write or doodle depending on how I’m feeling and different prompts might inspire me in alternative directions. The blank pages of this journal really lend themselves to exploring both writing and drawing on each page. The binding also lends itself to this kind of expression as the book lays open without having to push on the spine too much. While fairly thick the book is a comfortable size and will be easy to carry with in either a purse or backpack.

Overall I highly recommend this journal to anyone who likes a little bit of prompt but not too much. If you appreciate adorable artwork this is definitely something that will work for you. Those that want something more guided might not get as much out of this journal but I still recommend giving it a try.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. This did not affect my opinion or thoughts in any way and I was compensated in no other manner.



Graphic Novels, Animation, and Art Inspiration for Inktober

I’ve been taking part in Inktober this month and to gather some inspiration I’ve been exploring graphic novels and animation as well as following a few YouTubers who are also participating in the festivities. The following are some things that have caught my eye and are really helping with giving me all kinds of new ideas as well as motivation to get into my sketchbook. For more information on Inktober visit the official website here.

lightLight by Rob Cham

Goodreads Synopsis:

This wordless comic book follows the exploits of a backpack-toting adventurer in a quest to find a mysterious treasure. Framed in black, the illustrations offer delightful bursts of color and are sure to entertain readers of any age.

My Review: 5 of 5 Stars

While the story is adorable for this graphic novel the artwork is what really catches my attention. Each scene has a full page spread which really lets you explore some of the details with the environment. The drawing style is a bit sketchy and the majority of the book takes place in a dark cave which is demonstrated incredibly well with a dark background. As much as I love the artwork, the biggest reason this story gets five stars from me is how much it’s pushing me to go grab my sketch book and get drawing. I loved the perspective in many of the scenes, especially those when they are leaving the cave. I’m also looking forward to attempting some of my drawings on black paper with gel pens – a technique that’s never excited me much before. I highly recommend this novel for anyone who appreciates this kind of art style. While I reviewed an ebook version I’m for sure adding this to a list of art books and graphic novels that I’d like to own.

The Tale Teller by Draw with Jazza

This is an adorable short animation created by one of my favorite YouTubers. I absolutely love his art style and this story is pretty nifty. The whole clip is just under nine minutes long and well worth a watch (or five..). I love the idea of the old man traveling around sharing his tales at just the perfect moments. I will warn you though, you may need tissues by the end of it. While heart warming, this tiny little glimpse into an old story tellers life is also a possible tear jerker.

by Son Jae Ho, Lee Gwang Su (Illustrator)

Goodreads Synopsis:

He awakens. For 820 years he has slumbered with no knowledge of mankind’s advancements and scientific achievements. The land which he once knew has become an unfamiliar place with new technologies, attitudes, and lifestyles.
Cadis Etrama Di Raizel, Rai, while seeking to familiarize himself with this era, somehow locates a loyal servant of his, Frankenstein, who is currently the principal of a South Korean high school. Rai decides that this high school would be the perfect place to help him learn about the new world. He enrolls, and suddenly becomes the friend of Shinwoo, an immature teenager who is also a master martial artist. But this new world is no safer than the old, and the dignified, bewildered, technologically illiterate Rai finds himself caught up in adventures both ridiculous and dangerous.

My Review: 

3.5 of 5 Stars

I have some seriously weird feelings about this comic. On one hand, it’s incredibly engaging with a mix of action, suspense, and humor. On the other hand the artwork never felt truly consistant. I could definitely see the progression from the start of the series to the point I’m at now. The style doesn’t change drastically but I do think it improves in small ways over time which is nice to see. I was a little bored for probably the first twenty or so chapters but quickly became completely immersed in the story after that point. I love the various characters that are portrayed and am really enjoying where the story is going. I got so into the story I ended up staying up until around 4 am finishing the first season. What I love even more about this comic series is that it’s ongoing so we’ll hopefully be able to travel with this crew for quite some time to come on whatever adventures await them.

by Brian K. Vaughan (Writer), Fiona Staples (Artist)

When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe. From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.

My Review:

5 of 5 Stars

I’ve been hearing about this graphic novel for a while now and have been pretty curious so when I found it at my library I decided to grab the first volume. I was a little worried it wouldn’t live up to the hype I’ve heard about it but it completely did. The story line is amazing and is a lot more immersive than some other graphic novels I’ve read. If anything I’d like to delve even deeper into the backstory and history of all the different races. In the first volume you get introduced to quite a few different cultures all of which are pretty fascinating. I’m especially intrigued by the race of robots but my curiosity is piqued on every page just about. The artwork is also amazing and has me incredibly inspired to try my hand at some of my own interesting and alternative character creation. I’m looking forward to continuing with this series to see where it goes in the future!

Thanks to Netgalley for giving me a copy of Lights in exchange for my honest review. This exchange did not affect my opinion or review at all and I was compensated in no other manner.



Review: My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix

bestfriendsexorcismMy Best Friend’s Exorcism
by Grady Hendrix

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis :

Abby and Gretchen have been best friends since fifth grade, when they bonded over a shared love of E.T., roller-skating parties, and scratch-and-sniff stickers. But when they arrive at high school, things change. Gretchen begins to act . . . different. And as the strange coincidences and bizarre behavior start to pile up, Abby realizes there’s only one possible explanation: Gretchen, her favorite person in the world, has a demon living inside her. And Abby is not about to let anyone or anything come between her and her best friend. With help from some unlikely allies, Abby embarks on a quest to save Gretchen. But is their friendship powerful enough to beat the devil?

My Review:

2.5 of 5 Stars

I was really hoping for something to inspire my mood for the spooky during Halloween season but this just left me slightly disappointed in that area. It reads much more like a contemporary with some elements that could be horror. I also wouldn’t quite call it young adult even though it’s cast with high schoolers for the majority of the book. I probably could have gotten past this if I’d ever connected more with any of the characters. I could understand why Abby and Gretchen became best friends but found them both sort of annoying in various ways which made it difficult to care all that much what happened to them. Specifically with Abby who made a lot of poor choices and assumptions that never really made sense to me. When it actually came to the creepier scenes it felt a little forced but this could just be due to the fact I wasn’t able to get immersed into the story. I was engaged enough to want to know how things got solved but not enough to really delve into it deeply. I’d recommend this book to fans of young adult or even adult contemporary who want just a little bit of horror thrown in to celebrate the season. Overall it’s an okay book but probably not the right fit for me.

I received this book free through NetGalley from the publishers at Quirk Books in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion in any way and I was compensated in no other manner.

Review: Ready Player One by by Ernest Cline

ready-player-oneReady Player One
by Ernest Cline

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble | Website

Goodreads Synopsis:

A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

It’s the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.

And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune—and remarkable power—to whoever can unlock them.

For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday’s riddles are based in the pop culture he loved—that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday’s icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes’s oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.

And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.

Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt—among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life—and love—in the real world he’s always been so desperate to escape.

My Review: 

5+ of 5 Stars

I’d heard about this book quite a while ago and it kept popping up on my radar on occasion but it was perpetually pushed back on my TBR for other things (not that I remember why now). I admit I was a little hesitant because I’d heard SO much hype about the book and was a bit skeptical . Once I started, I devoured this book and it’s left me with book bliss. I really can’t express exactly how much I enjoyed this book. The things I liked about the book are some of the things that seem to have thrown other readers off.

  • The book is full of massive trivia and info dump chunks of reading that got me reminiscing. I didn’t mind this because I knew quite a lot of it and the stuff I wasn’t as knowledgeable about was still interesting. That being said, I can see how it’s a turn off for some readers to get through some of the longer parts filled with endless trivia.
  • The book is basically a massive treasure hunt but the reader doesn’t really get to take part in it. I personally didn’t mind this because I’m quite horrible at riddles and the types of puzzles that the hunt was focused on. I enjoyed following along with Wade as he figured things out without feeling like I needed to solve something myself.
  • I’m not a massive fan of the 80’s and didn’t really experience them since I was born in ’84. The creator of Oasis, James Halliday, is completely obsessed with the 80’s era and culture to an extremely bizarre level. I can see how some people didn’t appreciate this because if you don’t understand or appreciate a good chunk of the references it will be hard to enjoy the book as it’s made up almost entirely with nostalgia from those years. I admit right up front, quite a lot of this wasn’t stuff I knew that well or at all. I didn’t mind it though because I felt like I got enough to still keep going through the book at a decent pace and it helped to understand some of the characters more. I think it also helped when I began to see Halliday as most likely somewhere on the autism spectrum due to his obsessive behavior and almost nonexistent social skills.
  • Diversity is well featured in this book in a variety of ways. Not only are there multiple races featured but the reality of white male privilege is touched on as well. I also enjoyed the diversity with sexual orientation and the probable though unconfirmed autism on the part of James Halliday.
  • Virtual reality has been something I’ve been interested in for years and I spent a lot of hours in a virtual world called Second Life which Oasis reminded me of in some ways. I’ve also spent quite a lot of time as an avid gamer. I’m definitely not as dedicated as any of the characters in this story but I could appreciate the thrill of a good quest as well as the rare prize drop at the end.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to everyone. I can’t say enough about it. I admit there are some that won’t enjoy it because of some of the things I mentioned above. No book is going to please all the people. I do think this one is worth trying to see if it’s right for you though. If like me, you can’t get enough of this book you are in luck as it’s being turned into a movie which according to IMDB will be released sometime in 2018! You can check those details here. You can also check out an assortment of photos and items found in the book at the tumblr page located here.


Review: A Call to Mercy by Mother Teresa

a-call-to-mercyA Call to Mercy: Hearts to Love, Hands to Serve
by Mother Teresa, Brian Kolodiejchuk

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

Goodreads Synopsis: 

For millions of people from all walks of life, Mother Teresa’s canonization is providentially taking place during Pope Francis’s Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. This is entirely fitting since she is seen both inside and outside of the Church as an icon of God’s mercy to those in need.

Compiled and edited by Brian Kolodiejckuk, M.C., the postulator of Mother Teresa’s cause for sainthood, A Call to Mercy presents deep yet accessible wisdom on how we can show compassion in our everyday lives. In her own words, Mother Teresa discusses such topics
the need for us to visit the sick and the imprisoned
the importance of honoring the dead and informing the ignorant
the necessity to bear our burdens patiently and forgive willingly
the purpose to feed the poor and pray for all
the greatness of creating a “civilization of love” through personal service to others

Featuring never before published testimonials by people close to Mother Teresa as well as prayers and suggestions for putting these ideas into practice, A Call to Mercy is not only a lovely keepsake, but a living testament to the teachings of a saint whose ideas are important, relevant and very necessary in the 21st century.

My Review:

3 of 5 Stars

I’m not even sure how to rate this book because it was so completely different than what I expected. I was incredibly excited when I got the book in the mail but in retrospect, I had kind of geared myself toward a narrative or perhaps a series of shorter pieces that would be easier to read in whole. The book is comprised of many short paragraphs and anecdotes all directed toward that chapter’s theme which isn’t necessarily bad. I wanted something a bit more engaging to keep me interested. It was easy to read a paragraph and then get lost in thought about it rather than continuing to read. I  completely agree with the description calling it a keepsake. The book itself is beautiful and would be a lovely addition to a coffee table or bookshelf. The pages are deckled and you can tell that some time and effort went into the binding. The issue I had was that I wanted something I could sit down and read cover to cover or at least chapter to chapter like short stories and this felt more like something I’d pick up and read sections of depending on what’s going on in my life.

The parts I enjoyed the most were actually stories from others about Mother Teresa both because these were longer but I felt like they gave more context and perspective to her story. The reason I have a hard time rating it is that even though it didn’t meet my hopes it’s a good book in its own right. I just don’t think I’m the target audience for the style and layout. I do plan on keeping it out and re-reading it and if you enjoy coffee table books or if you have any interest in Mother Teresa herself I highly encourage you to try this book out.

I received this book free from Blogging For Books in exchange for my review. This in no way affected my opinion or review of the book and I was compensated in no other manner.

Netgalley Review Pile Up

The following are a few reviews of books I’ve read over the past few months. I’ve procrastinated reviewing them for a while and figured I’d get them done all at once.

the-invisible-life-of-ivan-isaenkoThe Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
by Scott Stambach

5 of 5 stars

I really adore this book which actually surprised me a little. I expected to enjoy it based on the premise but it’s not a genre I normally find myself wandering into. The book is very character driven but remains incredibly interesting. Ivan is a fascinating character who I fell in love with gradually over time. Polina is equally charming, especially through his eyes. I admit some of the sexuality made me slightly uncomfortable but unlike some books it felt like it had a place. Instead of just being graphic or shocking for the sake of it, this was used to round out the characters and make them all that much more real. I had a suspicion that this book was going to make me cry and I was right. I found the ending to be perfect. I don’t think this book is for everyone but I do highly recommend it if you want a book that will completely immerse you in all sorts of emotion.

menagerieMenagerie (Menagerie #1)
by Rachel Vincent

4 of 5 Stars

I admit right off the bat that I went through some strange back and forth with this book At first I was really excited by the premise and jumped at the chance to read it but then seemed to grow hesitant and put off actually reading it for quite a while. I’m really glad I finally decided to jump in though as it’s truly a magical story. I love any story that really features oppression of any kind. The story line with Menagerie focuses on a battle between ‘monsters’ and regular humans. The entire book I couldn’t help but be reminded of the similarity to real class war and racism that happens every down around the world. I felt like these topics were handled incredibly well. There were a few weird bits that never felt exactly right to me but I liked anyway. The only thing that holds me back from a five-star rating is perhaps the pacing of the book. I felt like the majority of the book was almost slow and then all of a sudden at the end all sorts of things happen all at once. I’d prefer some more gradual building though I did appreciate the lack of cliff hanger since the next book in the series isn’t available until May of 2017 according to GoodReads.  I am feeling the pain even without the suspenseful ending though.

with-maliceWith Malice
by Eileen Cook

3 of 5 Stars

I’m extremely conflicted when it comes to this book. The writing itself was good though at times confusing with the unreliable narrator that we are provided. It’s not a fault of the book, it’s simply the reality that Jill has with the huge gap in her memory. That aside the book just gave me a very uncomfortable feeling which I believe was part of the point. I appreciate where the author chose to go with the story as it’s not something I see very often in YA but I don’t think I’m the target audience for this type of book. It held it’s own in terms of being an intense thriller that kept me guessing for sure. Often I had no clue how things might turn out though there were a few things I was able to at least speculate on in advance. If you are wanting a really good YA thriller or mystery novel I highly recomend this. Don’t go in expecting warm and fuzzy though, you won’t get it for sure.

by Natasha Preston

2.5 of 5 Stars

I liked the premise of this book so much and then I began reading it. The relationship between the characters never made much sense to me, and the romance never felt quite right. I don’t mind instalove on occasion but this felt like a much more boring tamed down version of the cliche that’s so popular in YA books. This wasn’t the only emotional connection that just didn’t quite work – her friendships felt wrong. Even the family dynamic she has with her parents just felt very off. The first half of the book is a bit slow and the only thing that kept me reading was how it picked up after that. I chose to purposefully ignore the fact that a key part of the story (her not remembering anything before the age of 4) was scientifically .. lacking. In my own head I sort of upped that age a bit just to have it make sense. Very few people remember much of anything significant before the age of five so this element just had to be overlooked or it would drive me crazy. What I would have appreciated was a bit more reason to have empathy for the cult members. Not much is ever truly explained as to why this cult is so charismatic. To get to the point they do in the story with Scarlett they’d have to be pretty convincing and charming right? I just never saw it. If anything they come across as creepy and somehow lacking in rounded character formation – specifically the leaders. I never really understood why anyone was following them, what the pull was. The action itself was interesting and curiosity kept me going through the book but I really had hoped for more out of such a promising premise. If you are able to look past quite a few of these issues you’ll probably enjoy this book a lot more than I did.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing these titles in exchange for my review. This did not affect my opinion in any way and I was compensated in no other manner.


Mindfulness: A Journal by Catherine Price

mindfulnessMindfulness: A Journal

by Catherine Price

Amazon | Barnes & Noble


Featuring a sleek, modern design in a toteable, giftable package, Mindfulness: A Journal provides the user with a series of simple journaling prompts designed to nurture a positive, calming framework to approach the day. Each of the writing prompts provides the user with space to examine one’s self and ponder some of the basic tenets of mindfulness. The journal can be completed at whatever pace the user prefers to work at (daily, weekly, etc) and features inspirational quotes sprinkled throughout, as well as introductory material on the practice of mindfulness and a list of resources for further reading.

My Review:

Through my struggle with mental health issues I’ve gone through a number of classes that either focus on mindfulness or at the very least include it as a core component. I admit I’m not at all skilled with this practice but have always found it interesting and helpful when I do use it in my life. I also love to try out new journals so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try this one out.

My first response was just the physical aspect of the book. I was expecting a rather simplistic cover as in the pictures. I’m pleasantly surprised to find that the photo’s really don’t do the book justice at all. It is simplistic but rather than being boring it’s just enough to not be overly distracting and elegant enough to have out on your desk or table. On the front, the flowers are slightly indented and slightly silvery in color – just enough to grab your attention. The copy I have is somewhere between a hardcover and softcover with a flexible front and back. I’m on the fence with the binding itself. It’s possible to get the book to lay flat but in doing so over time you’ll probably need to break the spine which I’m not overly fond of doing with any book – even journals. I’d prefer something that laid flat on its own for easier writing in the journal itself. This is hardly a deal breaker though as I’ve come across journals in the past with much tighter binding that have been far harder to write in.

The prompts themselves are a mixture of quotes and what I’d refer to as guided instructions. I found myself liking the guided instructions far more than the quotes as it felt easier to stay ‘mindful’ with a goal oriented prompt. The quotes are also good but my mind wanders a bit more freely when doing this kind of writing than something that feels more ‘task’ focused. One thing I really do like about the journal is how the author encourages you to skip around. You can go in order of the pages but you don’t have to. I appreciated how this created a sense of making the experience entirely my own rather than following some predetermined course someone else had created.

Overall I think it’s a worthwhile purchase for anyone who loves to journal and is interested in mindfulness. Or if you are interested in journaling but have a difficult time figuring out what to actually write without guided prompts. Mindfulness is something I think everyone could benefit from (even though, as the author admits, it’s become a bit cliche). If you are at all curious about mindfulness I think this is a great starting point to see if it’s something that you’d like to find out more about. It’s also a great tool for those already involved in mindfulness to keep up the practice in daily life or as an addition to therapy or any classes.

I received this book free in exchange for my honest review from Blogging for Books. This did not change my opinion of the material in any way and I was compensated in no other manner.



Series Review : Vampire Acadamy

vampireacadamyVampire Acadamy Series ( Six Books )

by Richelle Mead

Goodreads Synopsis:

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with a rare gift for harnessing the earth’s magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest vampires – the ones who never die. The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa’s best friend, makes her a dhampir. Rose is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making Lissa one of them.

After two years of freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for vampire royalty and their guardians-to-be, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. But inside the iron gates, life is even more fraught with danger . . . and the Strigoi are always close by.

Rose and Lissa must navigate their dangerous world, confront the temptations of forbidden love, and never once let their guard down, lest the evil undead make Lissa one of them forever . . .

Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Noble

My Review: 

4 of 5 Stars

I pretty much devoured these books once I started reading them. I like to think of them sort of as ‘junk food for my brain’. Especially toward the beginning of the series I was able to predict a lot of the twists and turns though it still kept me interested in spite of this. As the series progressed I really appreciated how most common cliche’s found in young adult were avoided. For example, while there is some idealized romance it’s not (in my own opinion) the ‘instalove’ that I’ve come to dread in young adult literature. The only real issue I had was how much it focused on the romantic side of the story. If you aren’t into that kind of a premise this probably isn’t the book for you.

What really kept me going was how involved I got with the various characters – which there seem to be plenty of. We read the entire story from Rose’s perspective but because of the connection they share we also are able to get a peek from Lissa’s point of view. I absolutely loved this because it gave us a way to find out information we wouldn’t have had any other way. Most books I’ve read fix this by having an alternating point of view narration which is okay when done correctly but I found this to be a quite refreshing change from the ordinary. Rose herself is an okay character but I admit I frequently grew frustrated with her. All of her flaws made sense but I was repeatedly sighing and muttering under my breath in her direction. Lissa was an okay character as well but to be honest not my favorite. I did appreciate her growth through the series but always felt she was just a bit shallow.

The characters I really fell for first however was Dimitri who through the series remained my favorite. If anything he’s probably too good and somewhat unrealistic because of that. This brings me to my other favorite character who is almost the opposite of Dimitri and perhaps a little overly flawed. Adrian is the bad boy that could potentially be a great guy under the right circumstances. He’s got a lot of growth potential but often falls back to drinking and self-pitying sarcasm to get by.

Overall I really enjoyed the series which I didn’t completely expect to happen. It’s not the best series of books I’ve ever read but it was incredibly fun and suspenseful. If you enjoy romance and vampires I highly recommend giving this series a try. It’s an easy and fairly quick read that will definitely immerse you in an interesting and unique world. If you finish this series and still want more of the world you are in luck as well as there is a spinoff series – Bloodlines which takes a few of the characters from this series on a whole new adventure!


Review : Just Add Watercolor by Helen Birch

JustADDwatercolorJust Add Watercolor by Helen Birch

Goodreads Synopsis: 

A beautifully illustrated, easy-to-navigate guide to creating contemporary watercolors, pairing full-page paintings with insights and tips for artists.
Featuring 200 of the best works of young, modern watercolor painters, paired with bite-sized painting tips and art instruction, Just Add Watercolor gives aspiring artists access to information about–and examples of–top work in the medium. Artist and instructor Helen Birch breaks down each painting by techniques, subject matter, and tools, providing art enthusiasts and painters with a one-stop resource and gallery of the best that modern watercolor has to offer. Its small trim size with one painting per spread provides a bold, but user-friendly alternative to traditional, process-heavy painting instruction texts. Just Add Watercolor shines the spotlight on featured paintings, while still giving readers all the insights needed to get started painting in this popular medium.

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

My Review:

I’ve put this review off for quite a while simply because I am having such mixed thoughts about it. If I hadn’t gone into the book with the expectation of learning I’d probably not be at all disappointed. The size and style of the book are great for a coffee table book or quick page through when looking for inspiration. That being said while I got some tips, I didn’t get anywhere near the tutorial level I’d wanted in a watercolor book. I love the idea of watercolor and have been experimenting when I have free time and to be honest, this book didn’t help at all as a beginner. It’s a great piece in terms of fanning the creative flame and I’ll most likely use it for such in the future. I love the artwork and highly recommend the book as long as you aren’t looking for tutorials or anything that will be teaching you how to achieve the styles represented within.

I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review. This had no impact on my thoughts or feelings about the book and I received no other compensation.

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1)
by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads Synopsis:

A thrilling, seductive new series from New York Timesbestselling author Sarah J. Maas, blending Beauty and the Beast with faerie lore.

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

Perfect for fans of Kristin Cashore and George R. R. Martin, this first book in a sexy and action-packed new series is impossible to put down!

Goodreads | Amazon | B&N

My Review:

4 of 5 Stars

Beauty and the Beast has to be my favorite fairy tale in existence. Because of this I had some high hopes for this book. While it still doesn’t quite measure up to the wonderful Disney movie of my childhood, it was a really enjoyable read and I’m painfully anticipating the sequel!

The Glorious

  • This fairy tale actually has faeries! I loved this aspect especially since these aren’t just the ordinary cliche fae that appear in a number of books. They are a race and a culture all their own and I appreciated the level of detail I got in knowing them.
  • The world building was amazing as well as the background story and history with the war. I’ve read some other books recently where I really wanted this added information but didn’t get it. The really special part of this world building however was that it didn’t feel like it dragged on forever. I didn’t feel like I was reading to ‘catch up’ to current events. I don’t necessarily mind this but it’s nice when a plot keeps moving while I’m learning.
  • I fully believe that all villains need a backstory. I need to know why they are evil, what drove them to where they are, all of that heart breaking stuff. The Glorious side of this is that we get a bit of this, and yes – it broke my heart. The nice balance though is that while I knew the villains story to a degree, I still could glorify in hating her.

The Somewhat Glorious

  • Feyre kind of drove me crazy through the book. I wanted to just shake her to get her out of her own  head. That being said, her behavior was completely normal given her circumstances and history. I did find it amazing how much she really grew by the end of the book and how her new knowledge, wisdom and experience will work in the continuing story.

The Not so Glorious (for me)

  • I am not a big romance person. I tend to shy away from anything that involves too much mushy, lovey-dovey, googley eyed, maidens in distress, swooning under the moonlit sky.. stuff. With this it’s not that I didn’t like it but at times it just felt a little over the top. In some moments it pushed me a bit away from the story because I was just rolling my eyes. Again, this is really just a personal preference. If you enjoy the romance with the electric arms touching, breath gasping across a crowded room.. thing, you will completely adore this.