“Wildwood Dancing” by Juliet Marillier

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About The Book :

 An awesome retelling of the fairy tale, “The Twelve Dancing Princesses.” Seriously.

My Review:

  I had my eye on “Wildwood Dancing” for a over year.  I mean, just look at the magnificence of its cover! It’s so whimsical and intricately detailed. But of course we all know that no matter how fabulous a cover is, what makes the book fully grip our hearts is whether or not the words inside touch us. Well, thankfully, the words inside this book were just as lovely as the cover upon it.

Going into a “Twelve Dancing Princess” retelling, I was somewhat wary that there would be dull scene after scene of just dancing. Do not get me wrong— dancing isn’t something I disapprove in books— but I prefer the story around it to flow and swirl just as smoothly as dancing should be done, and not just be focused on complicated steps and what not. And that is the case with this book. The author gave a story with sisters who visit a most magical world and dance, yet it is not dull and every dancing moment was far from putting me to sleep. *applause*

I found it rather interesting that this book takes place in Transylvania, a place we all associate with… well, monsters some people would rather not meet up with. And of course, vampires are the creatures that I speak of. And as weird as it sounds, this book does have these creatures, though they’re called Night People. Their use in the realm of magical creatures we are more familiar with in fairy tales (like fairies and dwarfs) was different, but a pretty neat idea to me. While there is mention of a supposed vampire attack on one person and some animals, it was never squeamishly gory, and so the inclusion of these creatures was well done. *more applause*

As for the characters, most of them were so likable. Jena is one of the more quiet literary heroines who doesn’t have to wield a sword to be cool. And I just love her little frog companion, Gogu. Her sisters were also very well developed, and they seemed very real. I actually liked that this particular Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling had only 5 sisters, so there were less characters to keep up with. But the few characters in them were awesome— save the villains — and I’d like to read more about them. (I have read the sequel to this book, but there NEEDS to be another…) *loudest applause*

Negatives for this book for me are few.  First, there were a couple uses of God’s name as exclamations (not in my copy now, mwahahaha…).

Next, while there were parts I didn’t see coming, I guessed early on about one thing thing and was right, and I wished I could have been more surprised. But my Sherlock moment wasn’t enough to ruin my overall enjoyment of this tale.

Lastly, I wasn’t very comfortable with the inclusion of a witch character. It is a fantasy, though, so I just took her as another fantasy type, such as a fairy.

In the end, with sweetness, adventure, and cutest little ending, I closed the book and hugged it because it was such a lovely tale for me. No, it wasn’t one hundred percent perfect, but over all I really enjoyed it and do plan to try some more by this author. Her storytelling is beautiful, and I find myself wanting more. I give “Wildwood Dancing” by Juliette Marillier a rating of four and a half (since it’s not quite a five because some of the content, but I overall like it quite a bit.).

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

Drama Wednesday (12): “Circle: Two Worlds Connected” Review

The following post may include some fangirl screaming. Readers are cautioned to continue only if they can can handle such a reaction:

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Um.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

You guys. YOU GUYS! Oh wow, this drama. THIS DRAMA!

I saw this drama listed a little over a month ago. It looked so cool, and I decided that I needed wanted to watch it. I mean, alien? Futuristic world that is divided into two parts? Not really hard to say no.  So here are my (more coherent) thoughts on this drama after having finished this drama this morning (we’re talking midnight, people.).

What I Liked:

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The surprise factor was just about the best I’ve seen in a K-Drama. I mean, I would think I know what was going on, but then BAM! Turned out that I did not know everything. Even when the series was coming to a close in the last episodes, and it seemed like there could not possibly be any more surprises, another one hit me like an awesome dart.

The  execution of the overall story line seemed so unique in the K-Drama Universe, and I loved it to bits. The whole idea of having two stories being told in most of the episodes, one containing either the past or present, and the other taking place twenty years in the future? It might sound confusing, but it was not. In fact, it just made the surprise factor all the better.

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The brother relationship between Woo Jin and Bum Gyun. I eventually had tears falling from under my eyeballs because of them, ya’ll. They’re just so cute, and it is sad how their lives kept parting them.

This story was not just anther romance. I love romantic comedy K-dramas, but this drama was a breath of fresh air in the romance area. It does not contain all of the usual tropes that are on the Korean Drama Check List. There isn’t even a kiss between anyone. Yet I’m okay with it because the romances were just so perfectly light, blended in to give an extra bit of heart to the tale.

A nice amount of humor. This is a serious drama for the most part, containing some pretty heavy stuff. Yet there was some funny moments to off set the bleakness of the story.

What I Wasn’t So Fond Of:

*thinks*

*thinks some more…*

  Um, the fact that there was some swearing used in the subtitles?  Other than that, honestly, the story was just so epic that I do not have any major dislikes. Except, maybe the ending, which left an opening for more to happen. *hopes there will be more* Please? Thank you.

So, are you looking for a new drama? Good, stop this instant and go check out “Circle: Two Worlds Connected.” Now. Go. Bal-lee! (quickly!)

 

Now for me to go and try and not be in a watching slump…. *I can do this*

“Rules of Murder” by Julianna Deering — Book Review

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About The Book (From Publisher’s Website):

  “From The Tip of his black Homburg to the crease in his stylish cheviot trousers, he’s the epitome of a stylish 1930s English gentleman. His only problem? The body he just discovered. 

  Drew Farthering loves a good mystery, although he generally expects to find it in the pages of a novel, not on the grounds of his country estate. 

  With the help of beautiful and whip-smart Madeline Parker, a guest from America, Drew proposes to use the lessons he’s learned reading his mysteries to solve the crime. Before long, he realizes this is no lark, and no one at Farthering Place is who he or she appears to be–not the butler nor blackmailer, the chauffeur nor embezzler. Trying hard to remain one step ahead of the killer–and trying harder to impress Madeline–Drew must decide how far to take this dangerous game.”

My Review:

  This mystery book had been on my TBR list for a long while before I read it. I’m not as big of a mystery reader as I was when I was younger (the Nancy Drew and Mandie Mystery days…), but something about the vintage-looking cover caught my eye (seriously, isn’t it awesome?!). Then there was the praise I read about Drew Farthering (hero of this series) that made me a tad more curious… It took me awhile, but now I can say yes, I’ve met Mr. Drew Farthering. And my opinion of  him is…

He’s one of my favorite kind of characters, He has a sarcastic sense of humor that may have amused me too much. Also, he likes reading, so that’s a bonus brownie added to his score board. I’ve read quite a few books with ladies who enjoy a good fictional tale, but it hasn’t as often happened that a story’s male lead is a reader. Thanks to the author for making the hero all the more awesome by his love of books!

But he’s not the only character that added to my enjoyment of this book. The heroine, Madeline, is a perfect blend of spunk and femininity.  She’s a pretty tough character, but not so tough that she comes across as not having feelings I think the average lady has when under stressful situations.

And then there’s Drew’s best friend, Nick, a character that I liked just as much as Drew. I like the friendship between the two, and how the author made me feel the strength of their relationship from years of said friendship.

Obviously, as this book is a mystery, you’re probably curious on how this book did in the actual mystery department? I’ll say it certainly kept me guessing up until the near end. I felt pretty sleuth-like myself when some of my guesses were correct, but I was not sure until they unfolded, so that was pretty cool. I often love to be surprised and shocked in reading, and this book definitely held some unexpected moments.

Now, while overall  this book was an enjoyable read, there were a couple of parts that I personally did not like. One, the romance was too instantaneous for me. It felt almost forced to me for a while. Yet I suppose that, while I certainly would have preferred a little less speed in the attraction, I was able to feel all right about it when the book was over. Even began to think some of the romance was kind of sweet… The other thing is that this book got somewhat gruesome in spaces. This is a murder mystery, so it is no surprise, but it still gave me a squeamish feeling.

This cozy mystery transported me to another time and place. The 1930’s are not a time I often visit in fiction, and this tale was an interesting trip into the period. Plus, the setting was England, and that just made it all the more better.

Overall, I did like this book, and therefore I’m giving “Rules of Murder” by Julianna Deering a rating of four. I recommend it to mature teens and adults.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

“Stalking Jack The Ripper” by Kerri Maniscalco — Book Review

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About The Book:

  Audrey Rose Wadsworth is a young lady who has a different sort of hobby than most ladies in nineteenth century England have. The hobby? Well, she likes to assist her uncle in performing autopsies. It is because of this unique past time that she gets involved with the victims of Jack the Ripper, and therefore decides that she wants to find him. Only, doing so will test her heart in ways she may never have imagined…

My Review:

  The cover of this book is gorgeous (Doesn’t it just call out for those who pass by it to pick it up?). I myself have seen this book, but ignored it for some time despite the lovely cover. Then I listened to a sample of the audio book version, and, my interest piqued even more, I decided to give the full thing a listen.

The story is dark. There are a lot of sad happenstances, and gory details add to the grayish mood. Nonetheless, it was fascinating. It is one of the few stories I have recently read where I really was not sure what was going to happen. When I thought the story was having a lagging moment, something would happen to keep my interest. I love it when a story can keep me guessing for fair amounts of time. Otherwise, I can grow a little bored.

Another thing I like is that the author really painted her story world well without overwhelming me with too long descriptions. It’s almost as if I truly visited White Chapel, The Wadsworths’ Residence, laboratories, and even a mental asylum. 😛

As for characters, I liked the heroine, and found  some of her sense of humor entertaining. Some of the other characters were interesting, like Thomas and Audrey’s uncle. I liked her relationship with her brother, and I found the fact that her father was an extreme germ-a-phobe amusing (Probably should not have…). As for Jack the Ripper— well, I won’t tell you who he was in the story, but…just, why? WHY?

Since I listened to this book instead of reading it, I thought I would mention that I found the narrator’s voice to be perfectly chilly. She does a pleasant job of bringing the characters to life, and her tone really sets a mysterious atmosphere.

Negatives…. Hm, there were some curse words, and there were some negative references to God that I found off-putting.

Except for the negative stuff, I did really like this book, and am looking forward to its sequel’s release. I give “Stalking Jack The Ripper” by Kerri Maniscalco a rating of four.

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

 

 

Drama Wednesday (11) — What I’m Watching

Today for Drama Wednesday, I’m sharing some stuff about dramas I’m watching.

 

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“Circle: Two Worlds Connected” (2017)— Oh. my. Oh. my. OH MY! This drama. You guys, THIS DRAMA IS AWESOME!!! (+a gazillion more exclamation points)

I have not seen a drama quite like it. It’s a sci-fi tale that has an alien, a futuristic world with a “perfect” city, cool technology…. Yet the thing that just makes it so stinking amazing is the plot. Sooo good, ya’ll. I’m on episode 7, and I think they have up through episode 10 available on Dramafever . It’s supposed to only have 12 episodes, so I think the last two air next week. Which is bad, because if I finish what is available before then, I might suffer some show withdrawals. #thesearenotgood

 

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“Sweet Stranger and Me” (2016)— This drama is one I’m taking my time getting through, though not because it is a bad drama. I like it thus far, but it sadly pales in comparison to some of the other dramas I’m watching at this time. However, it is enjoyable, and does make me smile. Also, can I just mention the theme song? I LOVE it. On episode 8.

 

 

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“My Sassy Girl” (2017)— I was not too sure about this drama when I was first started watching it. It was funny, yes, but (for me) it was also sometimes confusing ,and maybe a little slow in parts of it.  However, I decided to push through the first episode and a half that had me questioning it, and I’m glad I did because it is turning out to be an entertaining show. A nice amount of funny mixed with some mystery and palace politics? Um, YES. I’ve made it to episode 7, but only eight episodes are currently available since this is a currently airing show.

 

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“The Best Hit” (2017)— Last, but not least, I am watching “The Best Hit.” This show about a 90’s pop star who travels to the future is hilarious. It is probably even funnier than “My Sassy Girl.” The episodes are shorter than most K-Dramas, less than 45 minutes long. This is the only one of all the dramas I’m watching that I have watched all of the currently available episodes. I kind of need more now, but the next episodes aren’t available until Friday. #whyyy? #needthemnowdramfever

If you like comedy, you should try this series. I think episode one was probably the slowest of the available episodes, so be sure not to judge the show by just watching one episode, okay? Okay. 😀

 

What Dramas Are You Watching? Please share.

You Might Be A Bookworm If…

You might be a bookworm if…

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1. You spend more money on books than on clothes, shoes, hair products, etc. ( Who needs to look good when there are books? 😉 )


2. You get  freakishly excited when a book store comes into your sights when you are out. (Also, you get looks from whoever is with you because they strangely dread wandering the halls of a bookstore. #why?)

3. Half-Price = Double Happy!


4. You’re running out of shelf space. Again. Maybe even bookcase space.

5. You have to force yourself to smile at someone who just said “reading is boring.” It might  look like this: (>_<)                           

dreamstimefree_1220416. You have at least twenty books that you own, but have not read. Plus, there are all of those books you are planning to buy. #noregretspeople.

 

 

7. Extra money! *goes to book store* Well, there went that.

 

8. Random Individual: “What do you want for your Birthday?” Bookworm: “Books!” Random Individual: “Here’s a gift card. I can’t keep up with all the books you have read.”


9. “Have you read this?” *book worm looks at book, then sighs in disappointment because they momentarily thought they found a new book to add to their TBR pile(s)* “Yes.” 

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10. You see a person with a book you have read , want to go up and talk about book, but you don’t know them 😦


11. Book Sales are your Black Friday.


12. *sees cheap book and reaches for it* “Don’t do it. You already have-” *ignores voice in head and buys the book*


13. Bookworm: “Yay! I have been waiting for this book for so long. Now I can read it.” Books on shelf: “We’ve been waiting to be read longer!” Bookworm: “Hee hee.” * proceeds to read new book*


14. A non-book lover: “Why do you own so many books?” Bookworm: “That question is invalid. Please try again.”

 

*Images by Dmitry BomshteinDaniel Gilbey, and Jody Vrugteveen.

“Immortal Fire” by Annette Marie— Book Review

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About:

Emi and the gang are on the final parts of their journey to save the world from the earth Kami. Time is running out, and for them to succeed, a too-soon-death is a possibility for one of them.

This is the third and final book in Annette Marie’s Japanese Urban Fantasy, “The Red Winter Trilogy.”

My Review:

I loved the first two books in this series. They were different than my usual reads, and I appreciated the unique quality they had for me. The characters were also awesome, and the endings each contained a cliff-hanger (*sings* Hanging from a cliff…. and that’s while he’s called CLIFF HANGERRR! *stops singing* *hopes someone understands this* ).

How did book number three compare? Well, there is not a whole lot I can say without spoiling the book/series, so I will simply say that…

A lot of it was still pretty. darn. cool. Just about all of the things that happened were a perfect blend for a series’ finale. All the questions I wanted answered were answered. There was action, sweet romantic moments, heart tearing tragedy… (What? I like a bit of drama, all right? All right.) Oh, and unexpectedness. When I read a book and things happen that I do not see coming, it always makes the book a hundred times better. (Yes, sometimes even if it is sad.)

Yet there was a big downer in this book for me. *sniffles*

I won’t  go into vivid detail, but there was a long, intimate romantic scene between two characters. I liked that the previous two books were cleaner in the romance department, yet this book crossed my border of comfort-ability with the scene. So yeah, I did a bit of skim reading and skipping over this part. 😛

Aside from that one scene though, I really did enjoy reading this final book in the series, and am a touch sad that it is over. It was a lovely time, and I terribly wish there would be future books with these characters in the works for the future. Alas, I know of no such thing.

I give “Immortal Fire” by Annette Marie a rating of four. If you plan to read this book, I recommend you read the previous two because you would seriously be missing a lot of important stuff.

 

Book Review Ratings:

5. Great Book!

4. I  liked it!

3. Okay.

2. Did not like it.

1. Did not finish.

 

*Thanks to Xpresso Blog Tours for a free e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.