“Romanov” by Nadine Brandes— Book Review

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About: What if Anastasia Romanov had magic? How would her story have ended then…?

What I Enjoyed:

It was an intriguing mix of simplicity and complication that entranced me. The story has its fair share of magical jaunts that I’m sure have engrossed more readers than just my self. BUT there were also plenty of normal times where the characters are doing average things as they fight to keep morale in such harsh circumstances. Made for a balanced, well paced tale.

Sure it was sad at times, but so much made me happy. Because while there was so much of a mucky mess surrounding her life, Nastya and most of her family managed to keep a sense of humor. I really appreciated Nastya’s impish ways. And then there’s Alexei, her brother. Honestly, I liked him more than all of the other characters. Even when *inserts really horrible situation that’s a spoiler* he could still crack a joke and he is really just an awesome kid who you all need to meet.

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You know what trope I ADORE? Enemies to lovers. And this one in particular was filled with a lot of emotion, pain, and strong forgiveness. Y’all, I gobbled it up.

Zash. He’s not your average YA hero. His layers of character made him seem seem less like a book character and more of an authentic real live person. He made me feel a myriad of emotions. I loved him. He baffled me. I kind of wanted to throw a bottle of spell ink at his head at times. But his part in this tale was another star that put me in awe of the author’s writing.

Made me want to adopt the Romanov family. Oh wow, I just… Nadine breathed life into these characters, and their familial bond was just so heartwarming. Seeing all the bad things they suffered made me want to give them all a hug and refuge. *tears*

Also, can I just sing sonnets about how awesome the audio book is?! I switched back and forth between the book and audio (preformed by Jessica Ball), and when I was listening I was struck with chills at how great the narration was. (THE ACCENTS. *claps*)

Negatives?

IT GETS SO STINKING SAD SO PLEASE HAVE A BOX OF TISSUES WITH YOU. Okay, I’m done.

You know a book is good when you close it and your heart is all wonky. Plus you simply miss it. I truly enjoyed this tale, and will certainly be trying more of Brandes’ works asap. “Romanov” by Nadine Brandes is getting a five star rating, and I recommend it to all my fellow fantasy loving book nerds. ❤

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I Liked It!

3. Okay.

2. Did Not Like It Very Much

1. Did Not Finish.

 

My Top Spooky K-Dramas 👻🎃👻🎃👻

There’s so much to ADORE about romantic comedy Korean dramas, but one of my guilty pleasures in K-Drama’s are the ones that are borderline (if not fully) horror… And since the creepiest time of the year is here, today’s post is a mish-mash of ramblings on some of the creepy dramas I have watched. Mwhahaha… 👻

 

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1.) The Master’s Sun— Probably my favorite in the “Horror Romantic” genre, this one’s about a woman who can see ghosts and does not sleep well because they are always asking her to help them settle matters they left behind before they passed.  But then she meets a guy who, just by touching his arm, makes the bothersome ghosts disappear. It is kind of freaky (cause, you know, GHOSTS), but it’s mostly just funny and heart warming. Well, just as long as you get over the fact that every now and again you’ll feel chills going up your spine. 😉

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2.) Blood— This is a vampire drama, of which there are very few (*wishes there were more vampire K-dramas*). This show steals the vampire legend and gives it a twist by making being a vampire a type of disease.  The main vampire in this story is a doctor who struggles with blood-thirst if he doesn’t take the medicine his mother invented to help contain the disease’s effects. So its basically a medical drama meets romance meets thriller? It’s not a perfect drama—the ending isn’t all sparkles and such— but I found it pretty entertaining.

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3.) Let’s Fight Ghost— Another one where a human can see ghosts, this time it’s a college boy who earns money by fighting ghosts because he has the ability to physically touch spirits. My brother bought the DVD set for my birthday, and I loved it! I did have some content issues, but otherwise it was just a lot of fun. Again, this one takes something that could be scary and makes it more comedic.

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4.)  Arang and the Magistrate— If your guess is that this one stars a guy who can see ghosts, you are correct! (I love this trend, okay?) This time it’s during the Joseon era, and the guy finds himself bothered with a ghost who can’t remember how she died, or even who she is (that’s got to be super confusing).  When he realizes the ghost girl has in her possession his missing mother’s hair pin, he agrees to help the ghost find out who she was so he can find his mother. While humorous, it has some particularly eerie scenes. So it’s ambiance screams “Autumn watch-list!”

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5.) The Scholar Who Walks The Night— Starring Lee Jun Ki (yes, the same guy in “Arang and the Magistrate a.k.a. one of my FAVORITE ACTORS! *cough*) Another vampire one, it’s about a bookseller who meets a vampire trying to defeat a scary vampire—I mean S-C-A-R-Y— who rules the country using puppet kings. This one is probably one of the moodier ones, and it does get dark. But no more than most historical fantasies usually get. O_o Just don’t go in expecting everyone gets a happily ever after and your emotions should be fine. Like mine.

I’m totally fine.(<— LIES)

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6. Lovely Horribly— The romance story of a screenwriter who’s had an extreme amount of bad luck, and the actor who has everything going for him. It’s a melting pot of ghosts, writing, and murder mystery. One that I found to be one of my favorite—if not FAVORITE— 2018 dramas. Also, it has shorter episodes which I think makes it great for some people with busy schedules.

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7. Chicago Typewriter— CT is about a popular author who ends up in possession of a typewriter that contains something more than keys and ink. Fyi, it isn’t what one could call a horror drama. It does have a ghost, but the vibe is more cozy than any of the others. But not all cozy, because there is mystery and action. Plus some historical 1930’s bits that were pretty cool. It’s one of my top K-Dramas of all time, and sure to be a perfect watch for those who just want to curl up with  soft blanket, a cup of tea (cocoa/coffee) and watch a chilling good tale. (Also, they added it to Netflix recently!!!)

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8.) Hotel Del Luna— The tale of a woman cursed to be the manager of a hotel for ghosts. (An EPIC looking hotel). It’s a tad scary/dark in parts, but it also has some seriously whimsical visuals. And can we all just say how GORGEOUS the female lead’s wardrobe is??? *needs*

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9.) Train to Busan— Techincally not a K-Drama, but it is a Korean movie, so close enough. 😁 It’s about a man who gets stuck on a train during a zombie outbreak with his young daughter, and how he does everything to keep her safe. Not for the faint of heart because it has some fairly FRIGHTENING moments. 😬

And… that’s all I have. There are others I’ve tried but didn’t care for because they were just TOO DARK. 🙈🙈🙈

Have you seen any of these? Have any spooky K-Drama recommendations?

“Diamond in the Rough” by Jen Turano— Book Review

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What happens when the (accident prone) daughter of a horse farmer is blackmailed by her grandmother into having a New York City season in Gilded Age America?

LOVED:

It’s funny. I feel like I’ve said this about every one of this author’s books, but it is a fact of truth. You want to smile like a maniac and forget all of the unpleasantness of reality? Okay,  do yourself a favor and please—PLEASE—pick up a Jen Turano book. (Pleassse?)

(As you may have guessed) I’ve loved all of Jen Turano’s books, but I loved this one just as much as “The Ladies of Distinction” series, which is basically my favorite series of books EVER. Something about this book brought me back to that series’ feel, and it made me SOOOO happy.

Two words: Murray Middleton.  There really isn’t a lot of books I’ve come across where the heroine ends up striking a heartwarming male friendship that doesn’t lead to fluttery feelings, and (eventually) love. Poppy’s relationship with Mr.Middleton was a delight to read.  The poor man was a rather humorous addition to the cast of characters, even if it was because he suffered some mishaps here and there. :-/ He’s definitely my new favorite cinnamon roll character.

The heroine is unintentionally clumsy, and it made for some sublime reading. How Turano keeps coming up with all of these outlandishly hysterical situations for her characters time and time AMAZES me. (I particularly liked the elevator scene *snorts*)

There was a “villainous” character from a previous book that’s shown mending their ways. A-D-O–R-E-D this! Redemption is one of my favorite concepts to read, and I liked how this book took a hard to like character and made me cheer him on.

Did Not Like So Much

I do find the endings predictable. But Turano is a queen of comedy, so I one shouldn’t expect the feel of a suspenseful thriller. So I’m not UPSET. I just wish that the endings of her books didn’t always end with a similar element. (Which I can’t really expound without spoiling those who haven’t read her books…)

Overall, it is a new favorite. Definitely the cup of cheery tea I needed. I give “Diamond in the Rough” by Jen Turano a rating of four and a half, and recommend to every soul who desires a book that will at least make them crack a tiny grin on their face.

 

*Thanks to the author and publisher for a complementary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Autumn 2019 TBR Pile

You know what’s better than a pile of leaves? *grins like the corny soul she truly is*

I’m STOKED for Autumn’s dazzling arrival. I need cooler weather. Apple cider and pumpkin spice. Fair rides and adventures through mazes made of flimsy stalks. 😍 And of course, chilly piles of books that take me away to other worlds.

2019 Autumn TBR Pile

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“Romanov” by Nadine Brandes— Doesn’t it have a lovely Fall looking color? Hope it’s as good as I’ve heard it is.

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“Sorcery of Thorns” by Margaret Rogerson— This book is so popular and I’m reallllly excited for it. Please don’t let me down. Please please please.

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“Hocus Pocus & The All New Sequel” — When I was a little girl, I loved watching Hocus Pocus. So I’m intrigued by the idea of reading it in book form AND getting to read a sequel.

“Lady of Dreams” and “Lady of Weeds” by W.R. Gingell— A dear friend recommended I read these, and I have moved them quite high on my tbr despite the glares of books that have been there much longer. 😉

These are the ones I WANT to get to, but I do hope to read more than them. I’ve been having a lot of anxiety/depression issues (*a thousand sighs*), so my focus has not been the best. Which ha resulted in me reallllllly struggling to read of late. So if you have any AMAZING/FANTASTIC/EPIC/YOU-MUST-READ-NOW books recommendations that help with slumps, please send them my way.

Hidden Dagger E-Book Winner

Thanks to all who entered to win their choice of one of the novels in The Hidden Dagger trilogy. The winner is…

Brie Donning!

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Congrats, Brie!! You won an e-copy of the first book, “Secrets Kept.” I really hope you’ll LOVE it. ❤ Just comment your email below so I can get the book sent to you ASAP.

Drama Saturdays (3)— Thoughts On A Warrior Girl & Ghostly Hotel

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“Mulan” (2020)— While I know this is technically not a drama, I want to briefly talk about it… Anywho, Disney dropped the first teaser for their upcoming live-action Mulan, and I can say I’m pretty dang excited. I mean, yes, I will miss the catchy music and Mushu. But you guys, IT LOOKS EPIC. (At least the little they showed.) And if it is a slightly dark, depressing thing like others are worried about, I’m okay with it. Because it means they might make it like a Chinese drama, eeeek! And because I watch Chinese dramas, I’ve come to terms that their overall awesomeness is worth a touch (or punch) of sadness. Looking forward to a full length trailer. *waits impatiently*

 

 

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“Hotel Del Luna” (2019)— I watched the trailer for this drama and GAHHHHH! This in the newest from the Hong Sisters, and it looks like the perfect mix of ghosts and whimsy. It’s about a woman who’s been cursed as the manager of a hotel (I think for ghosts?) because of a crime she committed, and she must stay there until she finds someone whose done a crime worse than hers. Only she doesn’t remember what she did. I haven’t been this excited for a K-drama in awhile, and I cannot wait until it releases to one of the streaming sites. Seriously y’all, it looks STUNNING. And also humorous. 😀 (So I highly recommend you go watch the trailer so you can be just as thrilled as I am.)

Edit: Um, hello. So I was on Viki and about to watch another drama when I SAW IT HAS THE FIRST THREE EPISODES OF THIS DRAMA. How did I miss this??? *happily skips away to watch*

 

“Curse Bound” by J.L Mbewe—- Blog Tour+Giveaway!

Oh my word. Y’all! Today I am here to share about J.L. Mbewe’s newest book, “Curse Bound.” Have to say it has the most GEORGEOUS COVER. 😍 And I’m sure it will be just as beautiful on the inside. Definetly high on my TBR (once this stupid reading slump goes away, I will get to you. ❤)  So please visit all the awesome blogs on the tour,  and seriously consider giving The Hidden Dagger trilogy a try. (But start with the awesome book 1, “Secrets Kept” so you don’t get confused. 😉)

And as a bonus, I’m personally giving away your choice of a Kindle copy of one of the novels from The Hidden Dagger Triolgy. Just comment on this post letting me know which one you want, and I will choose the winner on August 1. Open internationally, as long as you are able to recieve Kindle books.

 

About the Book

Kael’s worse fears have come true. Betrayal has shaken the Guardian Circle, the High Guardian is dead, and Ayianna and Prince Vian are in the hands of the Sorceress, but he and his companions must finish their quest, before they can attempt a rescue mission. Unfortunately, Desmond’s parting gift left them stranded on the western cliffs of Nälu.

Jathil, once heir to the throne of Arashel, believes her father will aid them, but first she must face the crimes of her past. When she does, she could never believe the outcome, nor the rippling effect it would have on the nations.

Meanwhile the Alliance braces for war, but division threatens to undermine their efforts. When Nerissa returns from Ganya with the dragon regiment, she discovers a bigger problem. The curse bound are waking.

As the quest nears completion, Kael is forced to choose between his heart and duty, and neither choice bodes well with him. Either way, he will face the Sorceress and her armies sooner or later. The battle for Nälu has begun and there can be only one victor.

Purchase on Amazon

 

About the Author

Writing as J. L. Mbewe, Jennette is an author, artist, mother, wife, but not always in that order. Born and raised in Minnesota, she now braves the heat of Texas, but pines for the Northern Lights and the lakes of home every autumn. She loves trying to capture the abstract and make it concrete. She is currently living her second childhood with her wonderful husband and two precious children who don’t seem to mind her eclectic collections of rocks, shells, and swords, among other things. Here, between reality and dreams, you will find her busily creating worlds inhabited by all sorts of fantasy creatures and characters, all questing about and discovering true love amid lots of peril.

Her debut novel, Secrets Kept, was nominated for the 2014 Clive Staples Award. Her second novel, Darkened Hope was a semi-finalist for the 2017 Alliance Award.

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Party Time!

Curse Bound is coming soon! Join us as we celebrate its release on July 11th, 2019 at 7pm – 10pm CST. There will be plenty of bookish fun, games, and giveaways. AND we have special guests Kyle Robert Shultz, Lindsay A. Franklin, and Jenelle Leanne Schmidt who will be joining us and sharing about their books.

RSVP Here

 

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, July 8th

Tuesday, July 9th

Wednesday, July 10th

Thursday, July 11th

Friday, July 12th

Saturday, July 13th

Sunday, July 14th