September 27, 2016

:: Small is Beautiful ::

Serena (from Poetree), featured my blog earlier this month. (Thanks, Serena! :) As the picture above states, this is a celebration of lesser-known blogs. Basically, if you have fewer than 100 followers, you are eligible to be tagged and hopefully find some new blogs to follow and get a few new followers yourself! What a sweet idea, yes? :)

My only trouble? Finding which of the blogs I follow regularly have a small amount of followers. What I also found is not everyone states how many followers they have, sooooo....I'm totally guessing on one of these. Still, I chose three ladies whose blogs I love to read. They all share posts that make me smile with happy! (Also, please forgive the terrible screenshots. I am NOT technologically savvy, so...I did the best I could. But please don't judge my bad screenshot skills with how awesome these bloggers are, okay?)

Hannah reads a mix of books and writes very insightful reviews. I credit her with introducing books to me that I wouldn't ordinarily pick out at the bookstore. Plus she just understands my love of stories. Even if we don't always read and enjoy the same things, we can still post looonngg comments about stories in general and completely understand one another.

But one of my very favorites of her posts? Is the one in the picture up there. Her Thornton Cupcake recipe (based on John Thornton from North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell) look mouth-wateringly good! And who wouldn't want to try recipes based on favorite stories? (She also has a more recent cookie recipe based on A Room With A View by E.M. Forster. Go, go! Check it out! You know you want to. :)

I love Birdie's period drama reviews! We have so many favorites in common and she keeps me updated on what's coming out. So many times her reviews have reminded me that a particular period drama is one I haven't watched yet and really want to. (What can I say? Life gets busy and I forget to keep up with these things. :) We have a mutual love of Jane Austen and other classics as well. Plus her book reviews are usually spot on for me!

Birdie is just awesome. She's learning sword fighting, people. Sword fighting! That alone makes her fabulous right there! :D

If you want to get bitten by the travel bug, just click over to Alyssa's blog. She has some fun stories and beautiful pictures to share. Not to mention lovely bookish fun now and again! She and I tend to like a lot of the same stories, she introduced me to several favorites actually! Don't you just love when a fellow reader will do that? :)

I can't forget that she also loves superhero movies and always gushes over the newest blockbusters out there. I haven't watched near as many as she has, but I do love to read her reviews. Basically? Alyssa is awesome, you should follow her blog!

Join in if you'd like! Here are the guidelines:

1. Feature 3-5 blogs with fewer than 100 followers.
2. Write 1-3 paragraphs about each blog, including information like what the blog is about, a brief bio of the blogger, and/or why you recommend their blog. Don't forget a link to their blog!
3. Include an image for each blog, whether it's a blog button, profile photo, header, or simply a screenshot of the blog.
4. Thank the blogger who featured you, and include a link to their blog. If you like, you can even include them as one of the blogs that you feature (especially if they joined the tag without having been featured by someone else).
5. Include the tag image somewhere in your post.

September 26, 2016

Review: The Thirteenth Chance by Amy Matayo

After being blown away by The End of the World earlier this year, I was excited to dive into another Amy Matayo novel. While this one didn't quite live up to all the FEELS of that one (I'm not sure any story could, at this point), I was still very delighted with it! After reading these two books by her, I've decided that Ms. Matayo excels at changing up her writing. Which is a compliment! Her stories all seem so distinct, and to have the ability to write completely different things is pretty amazing. It makes me excited to see where her next book will go!

The biggest thing I liked about this story was Olivia. She's all kinds of adorable with her quirky personality. Her mix of fears, confidence, doubts, insecurity, and OCD tendencies had potential to be too much for one character, but instead she comes across as endearing. (I want to be friends with Olivia! And Perry, her cat. :) She gets herself in so many embarrassing situations (without meaning to, of course!), which only made me like her more, because she always, always means well. I just don't think it's possible for anyone to meet her and not like her. Well, except for Will. But that's only because he's in denial about his attraction to her. ;)

Speaking of Will, he tends to be a bit impulsive and a lot arrogant, and of course this means he clashes with Olivia a great deal. Which I loved, because their bickering is one of my favorite parts of the book! Yet they both have baggage they need to work through, so it's not all fun and games. The fact that they support each other and help make the other a better person just adds to the genuine feel of their romance. They become a comfort for one another and provide a safe place where they can both shuck off their facades and just be their real selves. The moments they truly open up to one another are some of the sweetest. These proved to me how perfect they fit together and kept me turning pages determined to find their happy ending!

I did think some of the plot moved a tad quickly and a few conflicts were settled a little too easily, but I could overlook that due to the overall cuteness of Olivia and Will. They made me grin several times and swoon a few others! Plus all the baseball references (being the only sport that I can actually understand :) were fun. Definitely a keeper to add to your shelves, friends!

**I received a complimentary copy from the author via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

"Okay, you have yourself a deal. But I have two requirements."
My spine chills as the control I thought I had over the situation inches its way downward. This is my game. No one tells me how to play it. Not her. Not anyone.
Still, I force myself to ask, "Which are?"
"You can't try to kiss me, not once." She blows that stubborn strand of hair off her forehead again and looks at me like she wishes it would be so easy to remove me. "You might think you're cute and all, but baseball players aren't my thing. Especially not you."
With those words, I'm looking at what used to be that skyrocketing ego lying in small chunks all around my feet. I consider stepping on them myself just to watch the way they flatten. 

September 22, 2016

A Tolkien Blog Party :: 2016

I mentioned that this was happening soon and here it is! Yay! :) Also, I found out from Hamlette's post that today is Frodo and Bilbo's birthday. Clearly I'm still a newbie Tolkien fan, huh? But anyway! Cool news and all. Happy birthday, Bilbo and Frodo! :)

Let's get to the fun! {Check out the giveaway Hamlette has going on as well.}

How many books by J.R.R. Tolkien have you read?

I've read four of Tolkien's books: The Hobbit, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King.

Have you seen any movies based on them?

Yes! I've seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I loved them so much that I decided I wanted to read the books....then I actually looked at the books. And quickly gave up, deciding that I wouldn't be able to understand them. But yay for Hamlette and Jamie gushing over the stories to the point that I was convinced to try them again! :)

Are there any scenes/moments that make you cry?

Hmmm...I know I was sad several times, but I didn't actually cry at any point in the books. The movies on the other hand...I'm pretty sure I got teary-eyed at the end of Return of the King, especially when Sam realizes Frodo isn't going back home with him and they have to say goodbye. That bit for definite! *sniff*

Are there any scenes/moments that make you laugh?

I love all the competition between Gimli and Legolas! Their friendship is the sweetest and they constantly make me laugh. Both in the books and in the movies!

Have you ever chosen a Middle Earth name for yourself? If so, what is it?

Who would you want to party with/marry/fight to the death? (pick three characters)

I'd party with the Hobbits! So long as I was promised we wouldn't get in trouble. (Although it's pretty much guaranteed we would, isn't it? ;)

I'd marry Faramir, although I really don't want to take him away from Eowyn, so maybe if I were Eowyn (and who wouldn't want to be her anyway? The lady is awesome!) I'd marry Faramir. How about that?

And who would I fight to the death? Denethor because I did NOT like that man.

When was the last time you visited Middle Earth, via books or movies?

October/November 2015 when I was reading the trilogy for the first time. Or listening to it more like.

Do you consider Gollum to be a villain? Why or why not?

I think he's certainly portrayed as one. Especially in the beginning! But I also think Tolkien gave enough of his backstory for us to realize that while Gollum had villain tendencies, it's really the ring that amplified those and made him worse. So basically, Tolkien sets him up as a villain, but that's not where he leaves him.

How would you sum up what Tolkien's stories mean to you in one word?

Hope! In spite of all the bad, so many of my favorite characters never gave up on hope. Good will win! I think that's why the stories captivated me so. Well, that and all the awesome characters, of course! :)

List up to ten of your favorite lines/quotes from the books or movies.

(So I will be honest and say that I had to look up quotes from the books in order to find these. Except for the first one, because it's already on the wall by my door at home. But as I listened to the audiobooks, I had no quotes saved anywhere sadly. Thank goodness for goodreads!) (Also it's been ages since I watched the movies, so my memory is quite faulty.)

- "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to."

- "May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out."

- "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort."

- "His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom."

Four is good, right?

September 21, 2016

30 Days of Books :: Day 7

And another one! I'm on a roll this week, huh? ;)

{joining Jenni}

Day 7 :: Most underrated book

I don't know if this counts as underrated or not, but I'm choosing it. Underrated can mean underappreciated and this book certainly falls under that category. Definitely The Blue Castle! Because while I've seen this one around the blogosphere several places, I'd never heard of it until I started reading reviews. Anne (of Green Gables fame) is so widely known and poor Valancy just gets the short end of the stick. (Even in her own story!) As wonderfully good as this book is, I really can't figure out why more people don't seem to know about it. When I mention to friends how much I loved it, they have no idea what book I'm talking about. ( be honest this is typical as most of my real life friends don't read. But still! My point stands. *nods* Yes indeed.) Watching Valancy find her brave is so inspiring and I can attest that several rereads do not diminish her awesomeness!

Long story short? More people need to read this book! The end.


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