Teaser Tuesday: The Wreath

tuesteas

Hosted by A Daily Rhythm, Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme meant to highlight passages from books you are currently reading.

Here are the rules (as described by A Daily Rhythm):

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week’s teasers come from this month’s book club selection Kristin Lavransdatter: The Wreath by Sigrid Undset. It’s set in fourteenth century Norway and was originally published in Norwegian in 1920. So far I’m liking it so check out these snippets!

On the other side of the river a bridle path led straight up into the heights, so the men got down from their horses and walked, but Lavrans lifted Kristin forward into his saddle so she could hold on to the saddlebow, and then she was allowed to ride Guldsvein alone.

And another:

“And look how you ride Guldsvein, sitting as straight as a king’s courtier…”

Sound intriguing? Have you read The Wreath?

Let me know in the comments below!

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ARC Review: Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft

Toil&TroubleToil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women & Witchcraft edited by Tess Sharpe and Jessica Spotswood

Published by Harlequin Teen on August 28, 2018

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Anthology, Short Stories

Pages: 304 Format: eARC Source: NG

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

I acquired this ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. This does not impact my thoughts and opinions in any way.

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

Glinda the Good Witch. Elphaba the Wicked Witch. Willow. Sabrina. Gemma Doyle. The Mayfair Witches. Ursula the Sea Witch. Morgan le Fey. The three weird sisters from Macbeth.

History tells us women accused of witchcraft were often outsiders: educated, independent, unmarried, unwilling to fall in line with traditional societal expectations.

Bold. Powerful. Rebellious.

A bruja’s traditional love spell has unexpected results. A witch’s healing hands begin to take life instead of giving it when she ignores her attraction to a fellow witch. In a terrifying future, women are captured by a cabal of men crying witchcraft and the one true witch among them must fight to free them all. In a desolate past, three orphaned sisters prophesize for a murderous king. Somewhere in the present, a teen girl just wants to kiss a boy without causing a hurricane.

From good witches to bad witches, to witches who are a bit of both, this is an anthology of diverse witchy tales from a collection of diverse, feminist authors. The collective strength of women working together—magically or mundanely–has long frightened society, to the point that women’s rights are challenged, legislated against, and denied all over the world. Toil & Trouble delves deep into the truly diverse mythology of witchcraft from many cultures and feminist points of view, to create modern and unique tales of witchery that have yet to be explored.


Anthologies and short stories never truly capture my interest like novels do but I appreciate the change of pace. Plus I get to read more from my favorite authors as well as discover new to me writers which is always a win. Toil & Trouble though has the added bonus of focusing on women and witchcraft so it actually passed the four star threshold that most other collections I read get stuck at.

While I enjoyed must of the stories and I did have some prominent favorites that I am absolutely head over heels for. The first two come from authors I know and love. Love Spell by Anna-Marie McLemore wove religion and magical realism into a gorgeous tale and I will shout my adoration for her always. Zoraida Córdova’s Divine are the Stars was another magical realism story focus on family, belief, and the messiness that ensues.

Other faves include Tess’ Sharpe’s The Heart in Her Hands which deals with being controlled, making your own choices, and openly loving; The Gherin Girls by Emery Lord was much more slice of life, sisterhood, and dealing with emotional abuse; and Elizabeth May’s Why They Watch Us Burn was a powerful declaration of womanhood and truth that was utterly gripping.

Overall Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of of Women & Witchcraft was an incredible compilation of authors and stories. With a dynamic and diverse cast of characters and settings, this collection delved into a whole host of issues, lessons, and morals that left me reeling from all the emotion. Without a doubt this anthology is a must read especially as autumn approaches.

Are you excited for Toil & Trouble? A fan of anthologies?

Let me know in the comments below!

Mini Reviews: A Duke By Default & Untouchable

It’s time for another round of romance mini reviews! Check out my brief thoughts on Alyssa Cole’s A Duke by Default and Talia Hibbert’s Untouchable below.


ADukeByDefaultA Duke By Default by Alyssa Cole

Published by Avon on July 31, 2018

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 374 Format: Paperback Source: Library

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

New York City socialite and perpetual hot mess Portia Hobbs is tired of disappointing her family, friends, and—most importantly—herself. An apprenticeship with a struggling swordmaker in Scotland is a chance to use her expertise and discover what she’s capable of. Turns out she excels at aggravating her gruff silver fox boss…when she’s not having inappropriate fantasies about his sexy Scottish burr.

Tavish McKenzie doesn’t need a rich, spoiled American telling him how to run his armory…even if she is infuriatingly good at it. Tav tries to rebuff his apprentice, and his attraction to her, but when Portia accidentally discovers that he’s the secret son of a duke, rough-around-the-edges Tav becomes her newest makeover project.

Forging metal into weapons and armor is one thing, but when desire burns out of control and the media spotlight gets too hot to bear, can a commoner turned duke and his posh apprentice find lasting love?

With Alyssa Cole and royals, there was no possible way this reading experience could go wrong. Especially when there was a striking Scottish swordmaker in play. Honestly I’m still swooning over Tavish but Portia’s journey made the narrative all the more fascinating. Her attention to detail and passion for almost all things was so compelling and her struggles softened her edges. I would have liked more interactions between Portia and Tavish in the build up since their chemistry was fire. I’m anxiously awaiting the next installment in the Reluctant Royals series especially after that ending. Definitely worth the read!


UntouchableUntouchable by Talia Hibbert

Published by Nixon House on August 11, 2018

Genres: Adult, Fiction, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 249 Format: eBook Source: Purchased

4.5/5 Stars

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

What happens when a bad boy becomes a man? 

Nate Davis didn’t plan on returning to his hateful hometown. But then, he didn’t plan on being widowed in his twenties, or on his mother getting sick, either. Turns out, life doesn’t give a f$*k about plans.  

Hannah Kabbah thought her career in childcare was over. After all, no-one wants a woman with a criminal damage conviction watching their kids. But when her high school crush returns to Ravenswood with two kids in tow, she gets the second chance she never dreamed of.  

She also gets to know Nate – the real Nate. The one whose stony exterior hides aching vulnerability. Who makes her smile when she wants to fall apart. Who is way, way more than the bad boy persona he earned so long ago, and way too noble to ever sleep with the nanny. 

So it’s a good thing she’s completely over that teenage crush, right? 

Untouchable is a steamy, small town interracial romance. Warning: this book is 80,000 words of intense romance with a happy ending. There are NO cliffhangers and NO cheating. Enjoy responsibly!

Please note: this book contains discussion and depiction of depression and anxiety that may trigger certain audiences.

I didn’t have to wait long to get the next Ravenswood installment and Hannah and Nate’s story was oh so wonderful. Hannah is such a mess but tough as nails while Nate has a calming presence even when his mind gets stuck on so much guilt. While there was a significant power dynamic at play, the characters talk at length about it and it’s never swept aside. The child care and home aspects though make this book truly something unique. Honestly I cannot recommend Talia Hibbert’s books enough so definitely pick this series up!


Have you read either of these titles? Enjoy romance?

Let me know in the comments below!

Summer Shenanigans: Highlights of the Season

1B399E0C-C1BE-474C-8B05-6D1F995F4314This summer, especially the end of July/beginning of August, has provided some truly awesome life experiences for me and I just wanted to share my excitement. The two big events were the Liverpool v. Manchester United match in Michigan and the Hamilton tour in Cleveland.

First up was the Liverpool match and I got to take my mom for this freaking wonderful day! The game was in Ann Arbor with the sun shining and a nice breeze. Thankfully it wasn’t outrageously hot and we were in the shade for most of the match. The last time I got to see Liverpool play in person was when I studied abroad there in 2009 and I couldn’t be happier that this one was against are biggest rivals. Unfortunately we ended up in a predominately United heavy area of the stadium but that didn’t deter our passion.

Since it was the last pre-season match in the U.S., a lot of the star players took center stage. We were ridiculously close to the field (as my legs can attest from walking seventy stairs) and Mo Salah and Sadio Mane’s brilliance was just a couple of yards away.

We went up 1-0 in the first half on a penalty kick but United responded with an amazing free kick to put it 1-1 at half time. The second half was even more exciting with us netting three more goals with one that was so stunning (a bicycle kick from Xherdan Shaqiri) that even the United fans were impressed. This whole day was an absolute dream and I’ll be thriving off this 4-1 win for a while.

The week after was a moment I’ve been waiting ages for and it was absolutely worth the wait. I finally got to see and experience Hamilton with my own eyes! The whole production was a work of art from set to costumes to vocals, etc. While not the original Broadway cast, the company on tour was exceptional and brought their own quirks and talent to the stage. I was honestly just blown away by the caliber of talent and storytelling on display. I wish that everyone had to opportunity to witness Hamilton in all it’s glory.

Did you do anything fun this summer? Any trips or staycations?

Let me know in the comments below!

Waiting on Wednesday: A Blade So Black

“Waiting on” Wednesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that highlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating.


ABladeSoBlackA Blade So Black by L.L. McKinney

Publisher: Imprint

Expected Date: September 25, 2018

Image and Description Credit: Goodreads

The first time the Nightmares came, it nearly cost Alice her life. Now she’s trained to battle monstrous creatures in the dark dream realm known as Wonderland with magic weapons and hardcore fighting skills. Yet even warriors have a curfew.

Life in real-world Atlanta isn’t always so simple, as Alice juggles an overprotective mom, a high-maintenance best friend, and a slipping GPA. Keeping the Nightmares at bay is turning into a full-time job. But when Alice’s handsome and mysterious mentor is poisoned, she has to find the antidote by venturing deeper into Wonderland than she’s ever gone before. And she’ll need to use everything she’s learned in both worlds to keep from losing her head . . . literally.


I’m always here for a good retelling and I’m super looking forward to L.L. McKinney’s A Blade So Black. Wonderland provides incredibly imaginative source material and this one sounds like such a fascinating tale.

Are you excited for A Blade So Black? A fan of retellings?

Let me know in the comments below!

Teaser Tuesday: Toil & Trouble

tuesteas

Hosted by A Daily Rhythm, Teaser Tuesday is a bookish meme meant to highlight passages from books you are currently reading.

Here are the rules (as described by A Daily Rhythm):

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

As I’ve got quite a few ARCs to get through this week’s teasers come from Toil & Trouble: 15 Tales of Women and Witchcraft, an anthology perfect for the upcoming autumn season. Just be aware these words may not make the final cut.

“You can’t go through there,” a voice whispered. It took me a minute to realize the sound wasn’t coming from inside my head this time.

~

It was the path I’d seen from the greenhouse roof that night. The path that led to Mary.

Have these quotes got you intrigued? Enjoy reading about witchcraft?

Let me know in the comments below!

Series Review: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
by Jenny Han

 

4.5 Stars

What if all the crushes you ever had found out how you felt about them… all at once? 

Sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Song keeps her love letters in a hatbox her mother gave her. They aren’t love letters that anyone else wrote for her; these are ones she’s written. One for every boy she’s ever loved—five in all. When she writes, she pours out her heart and soul and says all the things she would never say in real life, because her letters are for her eyes only. Until the day her secret letters are mailed, and suddenly, Lara Jean’s love life goes from imaginary to out of control.


Why did I never read this series before now?

With the imminent arrival of the Netflix adaptation and some truly compelling trailers I wanted to read To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before first. Needless to say I was hooked from the start and I immediately ran to the library to pick up the rest of the series so I could binge read to my heart’s content. Clearly I fell head over heels in love for these adorable YA contemporary romances!

So the premise of this story is terrifying and hilarious all at the same time. I mean, can you imagine that happening in real life? I’d die! Thankfully it turns into an endearing narrative about being yourself, opening up, and falling in love. This series also takes on changing friendship dynamics, college application fears, and so much more. Plus it’s got epic sibling/familial relationships.

Lara Jean is such a joy with her passions for baking, scrapbooking, reading, and living the quiet life. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and has wit to match the best of them. Sure there’s some love triangle moments but it actually works for the story. Peter Kavinsky though is the biggest sweetheart and he reigns supreme. Honestly I couldn’t get enough of him.

Overall the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before series is a new favorite and Jenny Han has crafted something truly fantastic within theses pages. From all the foodie moments to high school hi-jinks as well as an incredibly dynamic family life, these books seriously rock! Lara Jean and Peter now hold a special place in my heart and I’m so pumped to see their story on screen.

Have you read the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before series? Excited for the movie?

Let me know in the comments below!