Update

I’ve realized that when I’m too tired, or uninspired, I write update posts. My room makeover is kicking my butt, BUT the end is in sight. My room is painted, all that left (paint-wise) is to do the trim and the doors – which will be done tomorrow! Then its the furniture, and then i have to put all my books back on my shelves.

You have no idea how happy I am that I can see the finish line. I’m. So. Tired.

Also, I somehow managed to get paint in my hair today, and I’m pretty sure even after my shower (where I scrubbed the crap out of my hair) there is still paint in it. I’m kind of just going with it right now. Too tired to really care.

I’m in the middle of a Parks and Recreation rewatch. I wanted something that didn’t require my full attention while redoing my room, and I honestly forgot how funny this show is! It has me dying and laughing. It’s been a few years since I watched it.

Though, on Saturday I’m heading into Baltimore for the Baltimore Book Fest, where I’m going to listen to Brigid Kemmerer talk on her panel, and I’m excited! (Though not really thrilled about driving into the city – not a fan – but I will survive). I love going to the Bmore Book Fest and in the (I think) eight years I’ve been going, I’ve only had to miss it once. It’ll be fun to hang out in the Inner Harbor for a bit – hopefully the weather is decent. Last year it started off cool, and turned into a scorcher.

The Festival actually starts tomorrow, but there aren’t any panels I’m interested in listening to, so I’m going to spend the day, hopefully making a dent in what’s left of putting my room back together.

Well, I think that’s it for the little update. I’m going to go crawl onto the sofa in the basement, since I currently have no real bed to sleep in. Pray for my back, because it’s messed up.

 

Book Review: Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)

Royally EndowedTitle: Royally Endowed (Royally, #3)

Author: Emma Chase

Pub. Date: August 14, 2017

Rating: ♥♥♥


Logan St. James is a smoldering, sexy beast. Sure, he can be a little broody at times—but Ellie Hammond’s willing to overlook that. Because, have you seen him?? 

Sexy. As. Hell.

And Ellie’s perky enough for both of them.

For years, she’s had a crush on the intense, gorgeous royal security guard—but she doesn’t think he ever saw her, not really.

To Logan, Ellie was just part of the job—a relative of the royal family he’d sworn to protect. Now, at 22 years old and fresh out of college, she’s determined to put aside her X-rated dreams of pat-downs and pillow talk, and find a real life happily ever after.

The Queen of Wessco encourages Ellie to follow in her sister’s footsteps and settle down with a prince of her own. Or a duke, a marquis…a viscount would also do nicely.

But in the pursuit of a fairy tale ending, Ellie learns that the sweetest crushes can be the hardest to let go.
***
Logan St. James grew up on the wrong side of the tracks, in a family on the wrong side of the law. But these days, he covers his tattoos and scars with a respectable suit. He’s handsome, loyal, brave, skilled with his hands and…other body parts.

Any woman would be proud to call him hers.

But there’s only one woman he wants.

For years he’s watched over her, protected her, held her hair back when she was sick, taught her how to throw a punch, and spot a liar.

He dreams of her. Would lay down his life for her.

But beautiful Ellie Hammond’s off-limits.

Everybody knows the bodyguard rules: Never lose focus, never let them out of your sight, and never, ever fall in love.


This will be a spoiler free review.

I enjoyed this final book in the Royally Series by Emma Chase, but it wasn’t my favorite. Royally Matched was the one I liked the most – I have a review here as well as for Royally Screwed here. While I did like the book, I thought it was kind of redundant in the first half.

The first half consists of nothing but recaps of the first two books, since both main characters in this one were featured heavily in one and two. The second half was the actual story, and it felt a little rushed and short. While I wasn’t a huge fan of the first half, there were moments that I did like, and found Logan to be really cute and charming.

I really liked Ellie and Logan together and how well they worked as a pair. There weren’t moments I wasn’t rooting for them, and from the very first book I knew Logan was sunk when he first met her. Ellie is strong willed and loves to live life to the fullest, whereas Logan has been trained to be more cautious and wary of his surroundings. They balanced each other out very well in my opinion. Neither of them are perfect and they make mistakes, but without fail, they always find their way back to each other.

One other thing that annoyed me a little about this book was how heavily it featured the couples from the previous books. I didn’t mind that they were in it, because it was nice reading about them, but it felt more like a book about all of them rather than just Ellie and Logan. The other books were more just about the couple. I guess overall, this book probably could have been a novella, or integrated into the other two books as a side romance.

Overall, I did enjoy the book, but my favorite is still Royally Matched, and if you’ve read the first two, then you should read this one. And there’s a novella Royally Raised – which takes place some years later following the children.

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Fire in You (Wait for You #6)

Fire In YouTitle: Fire in You (Wait for You #6)

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Pub. Date: November, 28, 2016

Rating: ♥♥♥


 Jillian Lima’s whole world was destroyed in a span of a few hours. The same night her childhood love, Brock ‘the Beast’ Mitchell, broke her heart, her life was irrevocably altered by the hand of a stranger with a gun. It takes six years to slowly glue together the shattered pieces of her life, but Jillian is finally ready to stop existing in a past full of pain and regret. She takes a job at her father’s martial arts Academy and she’s going out on her first date since a failed relationship that was more yuck than yum. Jillian is determined to start living.

She just never expected Brock to be a part of her life again. But he’s firmly back in her life before she knows it, and not only is he older, he’s impossibly more handsome, more teasing and more everything. And when he sees Jillian, he’s no longer capable of thinking of her as the little girl who was his shadow growing up or the daughter of the man who gave him a second chance at life. He sees the woman who’d always been there for him, the one person who believed in him no matter what.

Brock knows she’s the one he should’ve made his, and what begins as a tentative friendship quickly turns to red-hot chemistry that sparks a flame that burns brighter than lust. Falling for Brock again risks more than her heart, because when the past sorrow-filled and guilt-ridden past resurfaces, and a web of lies threatens to rip them apart, the fallout could lay waste to everything they’ve fought to build together, and destroy the dreams of those they care most about.


This will be a spoiler free review.

It’s a little bittersweet that this is the last book in the Wait for You Series, and Jen didn’t disappoint. While it wasn’t my favorite book out of the series, that title belongs to Stay with Me, I did enjoy it.

I bought this book within days of it being released and I’m not really sure why it took me so long to pick it up. I do remember picking it up a few times, but I have to be in a mood for Contemporary and/or New Adult Romances. Though, oddly enough, I didn’t pick this book up because I was in either of those moods. I was on a Jennifer Armentrout binge, so I pretty much read everything on my shelf of hers that I hadn’t read yet. I have one left.

This book was pretty much exactly what you expect from a Jennifer L. Armentrout New Adult – especially in this series. Once you pick it up, you suddenly find yourself at the end of the book, having inhaled it in one sitting. I love that her books are like comfort foods to me. I pick it up knowing that I’m going to enjoy it.

Jillian and Brock are sweet together and neither of them are perfect. They have to learn how to be around each other again. Reforming their connection takes a little time and it’s got some ups and downs, but you know it’s going to work out in the end. (If you’ve read any of the other books in this series, that’s not a spoiler.

If you’re looking for a contemporary New Adult Romance, then you definitely want to check this series out. You can read them in order, but they are all stand-alone novels, but past characters show up – the books are all set in the same universe. So, read them in order, or out of order – hell, start with my favorite Stay with Me – you do you!


Which of these books is your favorite? Least favorite? Let me know!

My First Story

My First Story

This is not the post I had planned for Friday, but after two long days of working to clean my room and pack up books (I’m making over my room) I’m exhausted – physically and mentally. You never know how many books you own until you have to pack them all up.

I’m now a believer of you can have too many books. I see another purge in my future and this time I’m not going to let the books just sit in my house for months. Once they are off the shelves, they are being sold or donated. I can’t wait for this whole process to be done with. Two days in, and there are probably another two or three until the painting and furniture/shelf building is done and then I have to put all the books back on the shelves.

To be honest, I’m not looking forward to it. I’m already tired of all of this.

Not to mention that we’re also down a bathroom (it’s getting a facelift).

I’m done ranting. Let’s get into what this post is supposed to be about. Writing.


I’ve done a lot of little updates on what I’ve been working on currently, but we’re going to take it way back. To the first thing I remember serious sticking with and writing. No, there won’t be any visuals. I’m absolutely embarrassed by this story. Even only a few people I completely trust have ever seen it. It’s awful, but we all start somewhere.

My somewhere was a very exaggerated and fictional high school setting. It was the kind of high school setting that you see in movies – the kind that (at least in my experience) doesn’t exist. I was in seventh grade at the time, going to school on RAF Alconbury in England. I didn’t even really know what middle school was, let alone high school. Seventh – twelfth were all in one building on Alconbury, and kindergarten – sixth were in another. So my idea of what high school was really only based on what I saw in movies.

We know how they’re depicted and the actors are never actually high school age, so that ended up heavily influencing this story. It’s currently sitting on the floor in my closet due this makeover, and the 5-subject notebook that it’s written in is falling apart, and since I wrote it in pencil some of the words are disappearing. I know I should probably copy it into the computer or type it up, but it actually hurts to read.

Trust me. If you could read it, you’d want to gouge your eyes out if you read it. It’s that bad.

I can’t remember specifics now, but the MC’s name was Cassie – wait, maybe it wasn’t, I’m not actually sure. I’m definitely too lazy to go find out.

There is this one scene that is seared into my brain though. I’m probably going to regret paraphrasing it for the internet, but – ugh, I’m embarrassed – but my girl MC was storming through the halls of the school, because of whatever reason, and my guy MC was chasing after her, and when he catches her he kisses her.

Then dot, dot, dot. (Taking a page out of the Mama Mia playbook).

Right there. In the middle of the hallway. Why I thought that was logical or feasible I DON’T KNOW.

This story isn’t even something I look back on with fond memories of it being my first * serious * attempt at writing. I just cringe. It’s like a bad memory that plagues you for the rest of your life. When you’re lying in bed at night, and your brain won’t turn off, so it starts replaying all your most regrettable moments. That’s what this story is to me – a regrettable moment.

I can appreciate it enough for being my first attempt at writing, and I can be beyond thankful that everything after it has been significantly better. I still hate it though.


Jumping back to the present, I’ve taken about a four day break at this point on working on my SF WIP – I’d rather not be taking a break, but everything has become a little crazy this last week. On a good note, I finally figured out my Prologue issues and I have a prologue now!

I’ve also re-written the first attack scene in the SF WIP, and it makes so much more sense now and flows better. It’s definitely more realistic now. It’s a little more brutal than the original, and I’m sure McKenna would punch me if she could, but it makes for a better scene.

My biggest hurdle right now (minus editing the whole thing) is condensing the first three chapters. They are way too wordy, and I probably need to cut about another 1700 words. That will put me around 3000 words cut from those chapters. I think they’ll end up flowing better. Already with 1500 words gone the first two chapters sound much better.

I won’t lie, cutting and condensing this novel sucks. As it stands it’s the story I’ve always wanted to tell, but it’s also way too long. I’m hoping to have edits done by the start of NaNoWriMo – that’s the deadline I’ve given myself.


I’m not sure what I’m going to work on for NaNo this year. I have three options – I’ll do a dedicated post closer to NaNo time. I can either work on the contemporary I was working on right after my beach vacation, this other summer camp contemporary that’s been nibbling quietly in my mind (this one is in last place) or my fantasy that I worked on last year for NaNo. I love the fantasy story, and going to Scotland has made me want to work on something fantastical, but I don’t know if I want to work on the same story two years in a row. I like NaNo as a way for me to play with shiny new story ideas. Like I said, I’ll do a dedicated post closer to November and hopefully I’ll have decided by then.


I’ve decided that I’m going to start putting my “Currents” at the end of posts.

Currently Reading – Part of Your World: Liz Braswell

Music Obsession – Head Above Water: Avril Lavigne / Come From Away Soundtrack

Currently Watching – The Vampire Diaries (rewatch)


If you write, do you remember what your first project was? Are your memories fond or do they make you cringe? If you don’t write, what’s the first book you remember reading that made you cringe – whether it was due to bad writing/story/scene/wasn’t your thing?

Book Review: Damsel

damselTitle: Damsel

Author: Elana K. Arnold

Pub. Date: October 2, 2018

Rating: ♥♥♥ – 3.5


The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.

When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.

However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.


This will be a spoiler free review.

Before I start, this book contains some pretty graphic content that may, or may not be triggers for some – take that in mind if you’re interested in picking up this book.

I was able to acquire this ARC through #booksfortrade on Twitter.

With that being said, I actually really enjoyed the story. I wasn’t a huge fan of the writing style in the beginning, but ultimately ended up loving it. The way Elana writes made it very easy for me to picture everything – which ended up being a blessing and a curse. I also figured out the twist of this book really early on, and had a sneaking suspicion of how it would end. I haven’t read anything else by Elana, but I’m going to look up some of her other works, but I make no promises.

This is a very dark, twisted version of the damsel in distress story, and Elana had me roiling with rage at the bad person and rooting for the good person. I find that there are actually very few books I’ve read that make me genuinely loathe the antagonist, and this book makes that list.

There’s the Prince Charming character – Emory, who isn’t the guy you’d want to bring home to meet the parents. Then there is Ama, the damsel, and a girl with no recollection of her past. She’s whatever Emory says she is, because how would she know?

The book starts from Emory’s POV and I actually liked him. He comes across as intelligent and honest, but some of his internal narration was a little crass. He reminded me of the Prince Charming from Into the Woods. Though, I think I prefer the Prince from Into the Woods more.

I really liked Ama as a character – she was so much more than what Emory views her to be, which is basically his creation. A lot of her inner narration was beautiful and I truly felt for her. She was fierce and confrontational, and not the damsel in distress that the world wanted her to be. Even in her darkest moments, I felt like she still kept a semblance of who she was, and by the end of the book, it all comes together.

Going into this book, I knew it wasn’t going to be the typical Young Adult fantasy where everything ends with sunshine, rainbows and butterflies. I knew that this was going to be a dark, twisted take on a story everyone knows. Though, with that being said, there were aspects of this book that left me very uncomfortable. Not so much with the story, but there were some descriptions that I could have definitely done without. Props to Elana though, because as uncomfortable as those scenes were, they were [unfortunately] easy to picture, and her writing had me feeling everything – which I mentioned earlier. I can appreciate the detail and skill that went into crafting this book and still one) loathe Emory and two) hate some the descriptions.

Is this a book I think should be marketed as Young Adult – no, not really. I wouldn’t want my younger (pre)teen cousins (who are avid readers) picking this up and reading it. When I was looking up this book on Amazon and Goodreads, the only place I saw any kind of content warning was in GR reviews, though Amazon did have it listed in a Sexual Abuse list – but that’s after scrolling down the site page.

I do think that this book send a strong message, about fighting for yourself when no one else will, not conforming if your instincts tell you otherwise – basically not taking shit from anyone. The graphic content she uses (triggers for some) have a purpose, and aren’t just in the book to be there. I think the goal of this book is to make you (the reader) acutely aware how something so seemingly innocent can twist and turn into something much darker and much deadlier.

I’d love to give this book a higher rating, but some of the descriptions (mainly the food comparison ones/tusks/horns – if you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m referring to) made me so uncomfortable. I don’t want to say they made me more uncomfortable than the other graphic content, but I make a disgusted face anytime I have to think about it. I honestly believe that’s my biggest draw back of this book.

Overall, I enjoyed this book for the story, and while I do recommend checking it out, definitely do some review searching if you’re concerned about whether or not this book is for you. The writing is lovely, and the story is compelling, but it’s dark and twisted. It is not your standard Young Adult Fantasy.

**As a final note, to end happier – sort of – how utterly gorgeous is the cover of this book though? I absolutely love how it practically glows.

 

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Give the Dark My Love

Give the Dark my LoveTitle: Give the Dark My Love (Give the Dark My Love #1)

Author: Beth Revis

Pub. Date: September 25, 2018

Rating: ♥♥♥ – 3.5


When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her. 

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague. 

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 


This will be a spoiler free review.

Thanks to Penguin’s First to Read program I was able to read Give the Dark My Love early.

Weirdly enough this was my first time reading any of Beth Revis’s work – not sure why I never picked up Across the Universe. I didn’t really know what to expect from this novel. I knew the synopsis sounded like something I would ultimately like, so I took a chance and I ended up enjoying this book. It was definitely darker than I anticipated it being.

It took me a little while to get into it, but a little over half way through I found that I couldn’t put it down. I just kept turning the page, desperate to find out what happened next. What I thought was going to happen didn’t play out, but the twist at the end had my mouth gaping.

If you’re looking for your typical YA fantasy, this isn’t it. This is darker, grittier, and gorier than any typical YA fantasy I’ve read. Nedra suffers a lot and quickly spirals down into anti-heroine territory.

I think Beth Revis did a fantastic job at bringing the world to life – I had no issues picturing what everything looked like. I liked her writing style, and how she brought the characters to life, so I’m hoping they are further explained and evolved in the later books. I’m super interested in seeing if Nedra ends up corrupted by the power she creates or is able to retain who she is. She goes through so much in this first book, suffering so much grief, it’s kind of amazing she’s still standing. I think that’s my biggest draw for the second book – is Nedra going to make it to the other side in one piece or is playing with darkness going to cost her more than it already has.

While there were some things I had issues with – personal preference issues – I did like how this book handled grief and explored the topic. It felt genuine in the sense that not everyone can rise above it and be the ‘hero’ everyone might expect the main character to be. It was definitely a darker book that takes a look at how emotions can be internalized and how that can affect a person.

Overall, I did like this book, and I’m so thankful I got the chance to read it early. If you like dark, anti-heroine thrillers, with a touch of necromancy, then you want to check this book out.

My Trip to Scotland!

img_0421It started with a save the date.

A few months later the wedding invite arrived, and a decision had to be made – go to Scotland for the wedding or to not go.

We chose to go.

Then all the other choices that go along with planning a trip started popping up. How long would we be there? What would we do while there? Would we go anywhere else?


I’ve wanted to go to the Isle of Skye for a few years now, and somehow I thankfully managed to convince my parents of spending a few days in Skye.

People, a few days were not long enough. More specifically 2.5 days wasn’t long enough. There is so much to do and see on Skye, that I think you could spend a lifetime and not see it all. But let me back up just a bit before I jump into all we did in Skye.


Let me first start off by saying that you can check out highlights from my whole trip on my Instagram Highlights – here 

We left Dulles International Sunday night – not a red eye, but by the time we left it felt like it. About 7 hours later we were landing in Edinburgh. I hadn’t been back overseas since moving back to the U.S. in 2007, so needless to say I was so excited, and more so, I hadn’t been back to Scotland since 2006.

Now, because it had been so long since I’d seen that side of my family – some since 2006, others since 2009 – I did think it was going to be a little awkward seeing them all. Though social media is a weirdly wonderful thing sometimes. Even though it had been so long since I’d seen everyone, it wasn’t nearly as awkward as I thought it would be. I think that’s because even though we haven’t physically seen each other, we were still connected via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter…making it almost feel like no time had passed. It was great getting to see everyone again, but that was pretty short lived. We were in Edinburgh – well right outside the city – for half a day, and then we left for Skye.

img_0419We probably should have done a little more research about the area, because nothing prepared us for Single Track Roads with passing spots. Not to mention that our rental car, really didn’t have the clearance to handle the conditions of some of the roads.


Our trip to Skye started early that next morning. The great thing about the drive from Edinburgh to Skye – everywhere you look, everything you pass, is worthy of stopping to take pictures. Of course, we didn’t stop for every opportunity, but we stopped for a quite a few. We even stopped for coffee and chips (weird combination, but it works) and that was a picture moment as well.

A little while later, we crossed the bridge into Skye! After stopping at our hotel – the Bosville – we headed for our first location – The Old Man of Storr. One of the more iconic landmarks of Skye.

img_0328On a clear good weather day, it would’ve been a decent hike, but that wasn’t our experience. It was a pretty miserable morning on Skye, and when you’re up a mountain, it’s even worse. Sleeting rain, 40-50 mph winds, and muddy. Overall, it was a crap hike, and we didn’t even see The Storr. When you’re doing the hike, you get to this place where the trail kind of disappears up a muddy rock wall, and already soaked and tired, we weren’t going to attempt it. Though, I’m not sure if we would have been able to see anything anyways, with how foggy and gross it was. So we headed down, and I had to walk the rocky, wet path glasses-less.

img_0333We were bundled in rain gear, and I was beyond hot, and unable to take anything off due to the wind. So my internal temp was significantly higher than the air around me, and my glasses fogged up so badly, and I couldn’t see out of them even if I wanted too – I’m sure other glasses wearers understand. If we had, had more time on Skye, I might have tried to do the hike again when it was nicer. It just gives me another reason to go back.

With The Storr a bust, we headed back into Portree – the capital of Skye – to our hotel, to chill out before the Evening Light and Whisky tour was supposed to start.


Shameless plug – If you’re planning a trip to Skye, to Portree, you definitely want to check out the Evening Light and Whisky Tour, or any of these other tours.

https://www.portreetours.com/

David MacDonald – who was our tour guide – was fantastic and the information he provided was interesting, and overall it was a great night.

We start this tour with a couple from Pennsylvania of all places, and David takes us around Portree. One of the first questions he asked was “Have any of you watched Game of Thrones or Outlander?” He told us that Outlander was generating a lot of tourism for Skye – the opening song is actually about Bonnie Prince Charlie’s escape to Skye. David also informed us that parts of the prequel GoT series would be filmed in Skye, so the show will feature some big landmarks. Game of Thrones became this sort of anchor throughout the tour. David then told us that George R. R. Martian has talked about how a lot of what happens in his series is what actually happened in the highlands history.

He took us to places that I don’t think we would have found on our own.

img_0407First he took us to the Watchtower – which isn’t really a watchtower, but an apothecary tower. He told us about how back in the day (a long time ago) if ships that came into Portree Harbor (or any harbor) and saw the tower, they would know that a Doctor, or someone who practiced medicine was in the immediate vicinity. They would then come to shore to have their sick/injured looked at.

David took us up the tower and from there you could see The Storr, which are lava plugs that have been slowly pushed up from the ground over time – creating these rocky pillars. (The above picture was taken from the top of the tower.)

img_0352From there he took us through little paths and past a house that Clan MacDonald owns and told us that Princess Anne still occasionally stays in when she comes to Portree. He said that she could occasionally be seen walking around in town.

Then he took us through some more little paths to give us a better look at Loch Portree and the iconic colorful houses on the bay. He told us a lot about the history of the clans and the highlands.img_0404

Coming back to the Game of Throne reference from early, David was very easily able to paint a picture of who the Clans were as people. His comparisons were Clan MacNeacail (Clan Nicolson) were the Starks, while Clan MacDonald were the Lannisters. If you know anything about Game of Thrones, then you’ll understand the comparisons. For those who may not understand them – the Starks are loyal, willing to fight for what’s right, will show up for the fight, don’t have to be bribed to do what’s right, whereas the Lannister’s will fight if you can pay them enough, they only look out for themselves, and are disloyal.

So,

Clan MacNeacail – showed up to every fight, protected Bonnie Prince Charlie

Clan MacDonald – only showed up to fight if the money was good, were too arrogant and disloyal.

img_0400You might be asking who Bonnie Prince Charlie is since I’ve mentioned him twice now. He’s a whole other history lesson, but in short his grandfather was removed from the English throne, and when Charlie (Prince Charles Edward Stuart) came of age, he claimed that he was the rightful heir to the throne of England. He hoped to gain support from France and when they declined any more support than the offering of two ships, he found himself in the highlands. He managed to convince some of the clans to join his cause, but it doesn’t have a happy ending. When people tell the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie, it’s usually tied to his role in the 1745 uprising and defeat at Culloden in April 1746, which ended the Stuart cause, and any other attempts at their claim to the throne. Charlie escaped from Scotland to Skye after the uprising.

I’m going to link the Wiki page – here –  if you want to know more, but I could do an entire blog post about Bonnie Prince Charlie. If you’re interested, you’ll also want to look up Flora MacDonald, because her story is pretty epic as well.

Another figure David told us about was Somerled, who only existed for about 10 years in history – he kind of just appeared. He ended up being the King (for lack of a better term) of the Isles, who vanquished the Viking invaders. He’s often imagined as a Celtic Hero, but not that much is known about him. David said that he could trace his ancestry back through Clan MacDonald, and therefor to Somerled.

I’m going to link the Wiki Page for him as well – here

Whew, I feel like I was just back in school doing research for a paper, but that’s also one of the coolest thing about Skye – the sheer amount of history, of the Clans and the highlands. It’s no wonder it constantly inspires people.

img_0039As the last stop before the Whisky portion of the tour, David took us out to this little secluded spot, where all you could hear was the water on the rocks, and the occasional bird flying by. It was so quiet and the weather finally broke, and the sun decided to make it’s appearance right at sunset. We got to see the golden orange glow on the mountains – which didn’t really come across in photos, but some things you just have to live and experience and put the camera away. There were a lot of moments like that on this trip. I could have taken a million photos, but I didn’t. For some of it, I just stared at it, took it in, let the magic that was Skye imprint itself in my brain.


While we were out here in the middle of nowhere, David told us about the oldest man at 96 still living in Portree and had lived there for his whole life, except for during WWII. He told us two stories that this man had told him. (Both of these stories are in my Scotland Highlights on my Instagram page.) The first being this one –

About 60 years ago, one of the man’s friends decided to go fishing past this point, since just on the other side there is a rock shelf that makes for the perfect fishing spot. So the friend threw out his net, and when he drew it back in, he found that he caught something that wasn’t a fish. Instead of fish, he pulled in a bag of Spanish Galleons, a really pleasant surprise. He took them back into town and told everyone about what he found. The area was quickly dubbed Gold Point.img_0363

Fast-forward a few years. The 96-year-old man decides to go fishing in that same area. He throws his net out, and when it’s time to drag it in, he finds that it’s caught on something. He pulls and pulls and it doesn’t budge. Thinking that he’s going to have to forfeit the net, he finally gets it free, but it’s heavy. He has no idea what he’s dragging towards him, but when he finally gets the net back onto his boat, he finds that he’s caught a plank of wood. There are words carved into it. (The above photo is a picture of Gold Point.)

So a long time ago, it was said that a Spanish ship got lost somewhere up near Portree, but no one was really sure where, or if it had actually even been in the area, but with the find of the Galleons and the plank of wood, a team is being put together to dive in the area to see if they can find the ship.

The second story is one of the coolest things I’ve heard, and if David ever gets his wish of having enough money to recreate the scene, I totally want to be there for it. This story takes place right where we were standing at David told it to us.

img_0383The man was standing out in this middle of nowhere point, when he heard an engine. This was right around WWII time. Coming around the point, a German Bomber plane was flying at low altitude followed by an English Spitfire plane. The Spitfire was firing and chasing the Bomber. The whizzed past him and back over the mountain that stood behind him – heading towards The Old Man of Storr. The man hears a boom, and a crash, and suddenly there is an engine heading back his way. The Spitfire is flying at such a low altitude that he can clearly see the pilot and the pilot can see him, so he tips his wings – the sign of victory. (The above photo is where the planes would have flown.)

To this day, people can still find little bits of the bomber plane.

Honestly, I could probably sit and listen to the man’s stories all day, because it sounds like he’s lived a very eventful life.


As the final tour stop, we went to the Portree Hotel and sat in the bar. As part of the tour, we’d be getting a dram of Whisky – my first ever.

David got us all a different kind, some sweet others smoky. He told us that most people like either the sweeter whiskies, or the smoky ones, and once you figure out which ones you don’t like, you’ve knocked out about 200 kinds. Before he let us try our whisky, he told us to pour a tiny amount into the palm of our hand and then rub them together until the liquid dried. This would give us an idea of what the flavors in our drams would be. I got a sweet caramel whisky, though David did say he tasted bananas…I didn’t. I tasted more of a canned peaches flavor. Since I had a sweet whisky, he gave me his to try – pretty much the smokiest whisky you can get, and while I didn’t hate it, it wasn’t my favorite. I don’t think I’ll really ever be a whisky drinker, but who knows.

He gave me a list of what he gave us

  • Caol Ila 12 yr. Islay – very smoky         ß this is the one I tried that David had.
  • Talisker 10 yr. Skye – lighter smoky
  • Auchentoshan 12 yr. Glasgow – clean
  • Old Pultengy 10 yr. Wick – fruity         ß this is the one I had.

Do with this what you will. Talisker is distilled on Skye, and we totally brought a bottle home.


Another shameless plug – this time on David’s behalf, here’s his YouTube channel – here 

Check him out!


Onto day two of Skye!

I knew from the beginning that I wanted to get out to Neist Point – about the furthest point West from Portree. It’s the home of an old lighthouse, and it was on my list of “Must See This Trip” so we set out early, and tried putting “Neist Point” into the GPS and our car didn’t like that. None of the maps we had with us, had roads listed, so we kind of just had to guess. Now, we could’ve used Google Maps, but that international phone plan isn’t cheap, and we didn’t want any of our phones triggering it.

We knew we could get to Dunvegan castle – about half way between Neist Point and Portree, so we set off.

img_0435When we arrived at Dunvegan, we got a road map, and could kind of figure out where we needed to go. Initially we weren’t actually going to stop at the castle, but we figured that since we were here, we would. We bought tickets, and toured the castle that is still the home of Clan MacLeod and has been their home for the last 800 years. 800 years of history is in the castle, and I would be lying if I said I wasn’t super envious of the library. All cloth bound books, in seemingly perfect condition. I’d die if I were able to just peruse through them. Serious collectors items. Serious book envy.

If you’re in Skye, you should check out Dunvegan.


Now onto Neist Point – the whole reason we woke up early. The fun…or terrifying thing about Skye (depending on how you look at it) is the Single Track Roads. Something might be ten miles away, and take over an hour to get to. Neist Point is one of those places. After we left the castle, finding Neist Point was journey. Every sign for it was about six inches big underneath all the signs for various towns. If you missed it, you were finding somewhere to turn around.

img_0448And finally, we parked, and we were here! Only…the lighthouse was nowhere to be seen, so I was instantly confused. What the Internet didn’t tell me when I did my research was the intensity of the hike was that allows you to reach the lighthouse. I hate the hike. It sucked…well heading down to the lighthouse wasn’t too bad, except I kept thinking that the wind would blow my glasses straight off my face.

Neist Point is utterly gorgeous. So green, so blue, so…windy, but just crystal clear. We got lucky, we had a perfect few hours wandering around, and could just barely see the Outer Herbrides. It rained for about five minutes as we started our trek back up to where we parked the car.img_0060

This is the part that sucked so much. What was just a steep decline coming down, felt like an even steeper incline going up. It was about a 30-35 degree incline, with wind. My legs and butt were killing me by the time we got to the top. I ended up in my t-shirt by the time I reached the top. The views were so worth it though, I’d do it again.img_0462


With every intention of heading to The Quiraing – a scenic 2 hour hike, we ended up opting out, making it another reason to go back. Tired, and hungry, we headed back into Portree to do some exploring, take some photos, and do a little shopping. I needed Band-Aids for my heels – stupid hiking boots.

Then it was time for dinner, and after not having lunch, and having eaten breakfast at 7:30AM I was starving. Well, the restaurant we ended up in, was classy af, with classy af food. I liked 2/3 of the courses, so it wasn’t all a loss, but I figured that I was going to be running to the little corner store for an after dinner, dinner.


img_0498The next day was our final day in Skye and I was not ready to leave by any means. I would have happily stayed for another week. We knew we were heading to the Fairy Pools on our way out, and I was excited. This was another place on my “Must Visit” list, and this one was easier to find. We parked and started the hike down to the “pools”. Really the Fairy Pools are a collect of pools and rivers, and you hike up along side them.

img_0552I saw magic that day. There is just no way that it wasn’t magic. Fairies could easily live there, no problem. I do wish there hadn’t been as many people (* cough * rude people * cough *) but it was just utterly beautiful. The Cuillin Mountains acted as the backdrop for the pools, and they just looked like a scene right out of a fantasy. We finally had to tear ourselves away from the Fairy Pools, away from Skye, and head back towards Edinburgh. It was a painful goodbye.img_0584

 

We were going to stop at the Glenfinnan Viaduct…or the Harry Potter Bridge in the second movie, with the Ford Anglia. Unfortunately our schedule didn’t allow for that, so again, just another reason to come back! (At this point, everything is a reason to go back.)


Back in Edinburgh, we went out that night for dinner with the family, and then Friday was spent relaxing and getting ready for the wedding on Saturday.

Yeah, I bet you forgot that’s how this whole trip started.

Then it was wedding day! The ceremony was beautiful, my cousin was gorgeous and I couldn’t be happier for her and her new husband. The reception was so much fun, and I definitely had too much Champagne, but hey, it’s a wedding.

I’m not going to post any photos from the wedding, but it was magical, and beautiful and it didn’t end when 1AM came rolling around. I was done; I was tired and wanted to go home to bed.

The next day was recovery day; everyone slept in, and then just sat around talking.


We were down to our last two full days in Scotland. It was kind of crazy how quickly time passed.

img_0624Monday we headed out to Dunans Castle. It’s an old castle needed renovated. It has a long and storied past, and in order to raise funds to renovate it, square feet of land can be purchased, which gives the buyer the honorary title of Laird or Lady. My dad was gifted the square foot, so he got to stand on his square foot of land, on * his * castle. It was a perfect day and seeing the castle was cool.

img_0644After the tour we headed home, but stopped at a local Inn for lunch. We got to stare out at Loch Fyne while we ate. When we left, we planned on stopping at Loch Lomond – the most photographable loch in all of Scotland. I mean, all of Scotland is a giant photo opportunity, but okay. It was gorgeous.


Then we were back at the house and then it was Tuesday.

img_0688We headed into the city. I wanted to go to the elephant house – the birthplace of Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling spent time in this café writing one of my favorite series, so I knew we needed to stop by.

Unfortunately it’s a pretty big tourist destination now, and whatever ambiance she would have had writing, from what I could tell was gone. It was cool nonetheless.

img_0699Walking through Edinburgh it was easy to tell how she was inspired. Just looking at Edinburgh Castle from Prince’s street is Hogwarts.

We walked the Royal Mile (Castle – Palace) and did some shopping along the way. It was an enjoyable afternoon, but walking was starting to get a little old, and it was getting late, so we caught the bus back to the house.

img_0696Then it was time to pack and the next day we caught our flight home.


I enjoyed the whole trip, but I really wish we had more time in Skye. I’m already dying to go back, and know I’m spending at least a week there. The desire and the draw will eat at me until I can get back over. There are a few places that claw at me like that and Skye has joined that small list. One of these days I’ll get back over there, and I’ll see everything I did and more.

img_0434If you’re looking for somewhere magical to go to, put Skye on your list. Just be prepared to hike and for Single Track Roads.


Have you been to the Isle of Skye? If so, what was your favorite thing you did/saw?

 

***All photos in this post are taken by me. Please don’t repost without credit! Thank you!

August

August

Well, this is going to be a short post. Not really sure what happened, but by the look of my reading log, August was a crap reading month for me. It’s surprising right now as I’m sitting down to write this post, and looking at my log, but in reality this is usually how I read. One month I’ll read handfuls of books, and the next I’ll barely read any or none at all. It’s like I’m an all or none kind of a reader.

So, I read three books in August, with the intention of reading a lot more. Granted I was in Scotland for a week and half. You might ask why I didn’t read anything during that time. I’ll answer that. I didn’t read because I was too busy. That’s not an excuse, we were legit busy from the time we woke up, until the time we went to bed. If I had an hour or so of downtime, I was usually too tired to want to pick up a book, so I’d just scroll through social media on my phone, or watch a movie.

Hopefully September will be a better reading month – so many books came out last month that now I should read them and not let them sit on my shelves unread for years. Right? I know that the moment Escaping from Houdini by Kerri Maniscalco, I’ll be dropping whatever I’m currently reading to read that, so I’m excited!


With that being said, let’s get into the three books I read in August.

ImpostersImposters (Uglies #5) – Scott Westerfeld – 3.5/5

ARC Finished – August 3, 2018

Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . but very few people have ever seen them together. This is because Frey is Rafi’s double, raised in the shadow’s of their rich father’s fortress. While Rafi has been taught to charm, Frey has been taught to kill. Frey only exists to protect her sister. There is no other part of her life. Frey has never been out in the world on her own – until her father sends her in Rafi’s place to act as collateral for a dangerous deal. Everyone thinks she’s her sister – but Col, the son of a rival leader, is starting to get close enough to tell the difference. As the stakes grow higher and higher, Frey must decide whether she can trust him – or anyone in her life.

 I have a full spoiler free review already posted for this book – here, so I won’t go into much detail here. It was fun being back in the Uglies world. I enjoyed this book and the ending left me dying for the next one. If you were a fan of Tally Youngblood and the Uglies world, then you’re definitely going to want to check this book out.

Though if you haven’t read the original series in a while, and if you’re like me and you don’t retain everything you’ve ever read, you might want to reread the original series, including Extras before reading Imposters.


the natural history of usThe Natural History of Us – Rachel Harris – 4/5

Paperback Finished: August 6, 2018

One class assignment. One second chance at love. The school player is all in. Now he needs to win back the sweet commitment girl who’s forever owned his heart. 

Justin Carter has a secret. He’s not the total player Fairfield Academy believes him to be. Not really. In fact, he used to be a one-woman guy…and his feelings for her never went away. Too bad he broke her heart three years ago and made sure to ruin any chance she’d ever forgive him.

Peyton Williams is a liar. She pretends to be whole, counting down the days until graduation and helping her parents at the family ranch. But the truth is, she’s done everything she can to get over Justin, and salvation is just around the corner. With graduation one short month away, she’ll soon break free from the painful memories and start her life fresh. Of course, she has to get through working with him on one last assignment first.

For Justin, nothing ever felt as right as being with Peyton, and now that fate’s given him a shot at redemption, he’s determined to make the most of it. And for Peyton…well, Justin Carter has always been her kryptonite.

 I loved The Fine Art of Pretending and this book was no exception. I loved every minute of it. I don’t have a full review for this book up yet, but I do give my thoughts on it in my Beach Reads / July Wrap Up Pt. 2 post – here – where I talk about it briefly when my feelings were still strong. I loved this book, and if you haven’t checked it out or the first one, then you definitely should.


Give the Dark my LoveGive the Dark My Love – Beth Revis – 3.5/5

eARC Finished: August 25, 2018

When seventeen-year-old Nedra Brysstain leaves her home in the rural, northern territories of Lunar Island to attend the prestigious Yugen Academy, she has only one goal in mind: learn the trade of medicinal alchemy. A scholarship student matriculating with the children of Lunar Island’s wealthiest and most powerful families, Nedra doesn’t quite fit in with the other kids at Yugen, who all look down on her.

All, except for Greggori “Grey” Astor. Grey is immediately taken by the brilliant and stubborn Nedra, who he notices is especially invested in her studies. And that’s for a good reason: a deadly plague has been sweeping through the North, and it’s making its way toward the cities. With her family’s life–and the lives of all of Lunar Island’s citizens–on the line, Nedra is determined to find a cure for the plague.

Grey and Nedra continue to grow closer, but as the sickness spreads and the body count rises, Nedra becomes desperate to find a cure. Soon, she finds herself diving into alchemy’s most dangerous corners–and when she turns to the most forbidden practice of all, necromancy, even Grey might not be able to pull her from the darkness. 

I’ll have a full spoiler free review of this book going up closer to the release, but I enjoyed it overall. It was my first Beth Revis book, and I can tell why people love her as a writer. I thought the story was interesting and dark, but it did take a while to get into. Though, once I was into the book, I couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I’m definitely looking forward to the second one!


Well, that’s it for my August Wrap Up. It feels weird that there are only three books. Even though I know I didn’t read more than that, it feels like I did. Then again, I can’t believe it’s already September and I think my days, weeks and months are all starting to morph together.

 

I know one of these books just came out yesterday, and one has yet to come out, but are you looking forward to reading any of these books? If so which ones? And if you have already read any of these, did you have a favorite? Least favorite? Let me know!

Book Review: Imposters (Uglies #5)

ImpostersTitle: Imposters (Uglies #5)

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Pub. Date: September 11, 2018

Rating: ♥♥♥ – 3.5


Frey and Rafi are inseparable…but very few people have ever seen them together. This is because Frey is Rafi’s double, raised in the shadows of their rich father’s fortress. While Rafi has been taught to charm, Frey has been taught to kill. Frey only exists to protect her sister. There is no other part of her life. Frey has never been out in the world on her own – until her father sends her in Rafi’s place to act as collateral for a dangerous deal. Everyone thinks she’s her sister – but Col, the son of a rival leader, is starting to get close enough to tell the difference. As the stakes grown higher and higher, Frey must decide whether she can trust him – or anyone in her life.


 This will be a spoiler free review.

It’s bee a while since I read the initial three Uglies books – Uglies, Pretties and Specials – I never touched Extras. I loved the original three, and due to most people not liking Extras I avoided it.

Unfortunately I think I might have to go back and reread the whole series.

I enjoyed this book, and was happy to be back in this world, as Tally Youngblood’s world was one of my first YA dystopian worlds I read about. It felt comfortable and familiar, but also changed. Why wouldn’t it feel slight different, especially with how Specials ends.

I think Imposters stand well enough on it’s own, but I think the story would greatly benefit a direct reading after having finished the original series. Since it had been so long since I’d read any of the original books, I struggled a little big to remember what all had happened. If you have a better memory than me, you probably wouldn’t need to do this step. I also think that Extras probably bridges the gap between the end of Specials and the start of Imposters. I think I’m going to have to finally suck it up and read it.

Overall though, I really enjoyed this book. It felt like coming home and I really liked the new set of characters. Scott Westerfeld was able to keep the familiarity of the world, but also make it entirely new. It changed after the end of Specials, and this book, I feel, accurately reflected that, but was still recognizable.

While I liked the majority of the new cast of characters, I wasn’t particularly fond of Frey and Rafi’s father – though I don’t know who would be – but as the bad guy in the series, I think he’ll be a good one. He adds an interesting, almost self serving element to the book, and the way he uses his daughters, it has you rooting for the good guys early on.

It’s wonderful being back in the Uglies world, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the next book – I’m already dying to find out.

If you loved Tally in Uglies you’re going to love Frey, Rafi and Col and their journey to fight for what’s right and everyone’s future.


Have you read Uglies? Did you read Extras? If you, what are your thoughts? Is it worth reading, or will it ruin the first three books – which is most people’s claims. Let me know!

 

 

 

August Book Haul

Somehow I managed to haul quite a few books in August – though I’m not sure this post will contain all of them…

Let me explain why I say that. Last Wednesday I flew home from Edinburgh, Scotland to Maryland. (My Scotland post will be up Friday! So stay tuned!) Anyways, and I still don’t know how it happened – my sealed water bottle decided it was somehow going to leak in my backpack. My Mac was in my backpack. You can guess how my mac has faired.

No, I don’t understand how a sealed bottle leaks, but it did.

It’s sitting in a bag of rice unable to be charged.

So I’m dying inside.

I was able to get all my writing files and blog posts off of it before it died completely, but I forgot to grab the list of hauled books off my desktop before it died. I thought I was being so smart by keeping the list on my computer. Fate is laughing at me right now. This month I’ll keep the list of hauled books and read books in my journal – hopefully nothing happens to it.


So, now that, that is out of the way, let’s get into the haul. 4 of these books I got while in Scotland – 2 I bought, and 2 my Aunt bought for me. The rest are books I bought here either in store or preordered. Thirteen books in total – which is a lot for me, but we are coming into release season, and I think my hauls might get bigger. My wallet and shelves will hate me, but I’ll be happy.

img_1129Going down the line –

The Towering Sky ­– Katharine McGee

Welcome back to New York, 2119. A skyscraper city, fueled by impossible dreams, where the lives of five teenagers have become intertwined in ways that no one could have imagined.
Leda just wants to move on from what happened in Dubai. Until a new investigation forces her to seek help—from the person she’s spent all year trying to forget.
Rylin is back in her old life, reunited with an old flame. But when she starts seeing Cord again, she finds herself torn: between two worlds, and two very different boys.
Calliope feels trapped, playing a long con that costs more than she bargained for. What happens when all her lies catch up with her?
Watt is still desperately in love with Leda. He’ll do anything to win her back—even dig up secrets that are better left buried.
And now that Avery is home from England—with a new boyfriend, Max—her life seems more picture-perfect than ever. So why does she feel like she would rather be anything but perfect?

This is going to sound bad, but I’ve only read the first book in this trilogy, I know, shameful. But I’m excited to pick up the second one, and now I can read the rest without having to wait! I loved the first book, and didn’t actually have any idea that there was going to be more than one.


The Prince: Novella – Jennifer L. Armentrout

She’s everything he wants….
Cold. Heartless. Deadly. Whispers of his name alone bring fear to fae and mortals alike. The Prince. There is nothing in the mortal world more dangerous than him. Haunted by a past he couldn’t control, all Caden desires is revenge against those who’d wronged him, trapping him in never-ending nightmare. And there is one person he knows can help him.
She’s everything he can’t have…
Raised within the Order, Brighton Jussier knows just how dangerous the Prince is, reformed or not. She’d seen firsthand what atrocities he could be capable of. The last thing she wants to do is help him, but he leaves her little choice. Forced to work alongside him, she begins to see the man under the bitter ice. Yearning for him feels like the definition of insanity, but there’s no denying the heat in his touch and the wicked promise is his stare.
She’s everything he’ll take….
But there’s someone out there who wants to return the Prince to his former self. A walking, breathing nightmare that is hell bent on destroying the world and everyone close to him. The last thing either of them needs is a distraction, but with the attraction growing between them each now, the one thing he wants more than anything may be the one thing that will be his undoing.
She’s everything he’d die for….

I finished the main trilogy earlier this summer, and forgot how much I loved it, but felt that it was a little open ended. So when I found out that there was going to be a novella I instantly ordered it, and had to wait for it to be published. I haven’t read it yet, but I know when I do, I’m going to want more. Good thing there is another novella coming out next year – I only have to wait that long for it.


These Rebel Waves – Sara Raasch

Adeluna is a soldier. Five years ago, she helped the magic-rich island of Grace Loray overthrow its oppressor, Argrid, a country ruled by religion. But adjusting to postwar life has not been easy. When an Argridian delegate vanishes during peace talks with Grace Loray’s new Council, Argrid demands brutal justice—but Lu suspects something more dangerous is at work.
Devereux is a pirate. As one of the outlaws called stream raiders who run rampant on Grace Loray, he pirates the island’s magic plants and sells them on the black market. But after Argrid accuses raiders of the diplomat’s abduction, Vex becomes a target. An expert navigator, he agrees to help Lu find the Argridian—but the truth they uncover could be deadlier than any war.
Benat is a heretic. The crown prince of Argrid, he harbors a secret obsession with Grace Loray’s forbidden magic. When Ben’s father, the king, gives him the shocking task of reversing Argrid’s fear of magic, Ben has to decide if one prince can change a devout country—or if he’s building his own pyre.
As conspiracies arise, Lu, Vex, and Ben will have to decide who they really are . . . and what they are willing to become for peace.

Sara Raasch’s Snow Like Ashes trilogy is one of my all time favorite Fantasy trilogies I’ve ever read, so when I found out she was writing another series, but focused on pirates, I was Here. For. It. I can’t wait until I sit down and read this! I know I’m going to love it.


Seafire – Natalie C. Parker

After her family is killed by corrupt warlord Aric Athair and his bloodthirsty army of Bullets, Caledonia Styx is left to chart her own course on the dangerous and deadly seas. She captains her ship, the Mors Navis, with a crew of girls and women just like her, whose lives have been turned upside down by Aric and his men. The crew has one misson: stay alive, and take down Aric’s armed and armored fleet.
But when Caledonia’s best friend and second-in-command just barely survives an attack thanks to help from a Bullet looking to defect, Caledonia finds herself questioning whether or not to let him join their crew. Is this boy the key to taking down Aric Athair once and for all…or will he threaten everything the women of the Mors Navis have worked for?

If this is the season of pirates and mermaid stories, I will read them all. I’m excited to read this, and I don’t think it’s going to disappoint.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix – J. K. Rowling

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince – J. K. Rowling

Since most people have either read or seen the movies, I’m not putting the synopsis for either of the books on here.

These are just other editions to add to my collection of Harry Potter novels. These are the UK “adult” editions of the fifth book and sixth book. Unfortunately Order of the Pheonix doesn’t have the dust jacket, but I appreciate that my Aunt in Scotland is keeping an eye out for the books.


Broken Prince – Erin Watt

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.
What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.
Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.
SHE MIGHT BE RIGHT.

These books have become a guilty pleasure, and such easily bingeable series. Once I’ve finished all the books, I’m planning on dedicating a week to reviewing each book a day, so I won’t say too much here, but the ending of this book left me in shock. Like, mouth gaping, shock.


Twisted Palace – Erin Watt

From mortal enemies to unexpected allies, two teenagers try to protect everything that matters most.
Ella Harper has met every challenge that life has thrown her way. She’s tough, resilient, and willing to do whatever it takes to defend the people she loves, but the challenge of a long-lost father and a boyfriend whose life is on the line might be too much for even Ella to overcome.
Reed Royal has a quick temper and even faster fists. But his tendency to meet every obstacle with violence has finally caught up with him. If he wants to save himself and the girl he loves, he’ll need to rise above his tortured past and tarnished reputation.
No one believes Ella can survive the Royals. Everyone is sure Reed will destroy them all.
They may be right.
With everything and everyone conspiring to keep them apart, Ella and Reed must find a way to beat the law, save their families, and unravel all the secrets in their Twisted Palace.

I haven’t read this one yet, but I plan on doing so once I buy the next books in the series. I don’t want to have to wait to read them.


Damsel (ARC)– Elana K. Arnold

The rite has existed for as long as anyone can remember: when the prince-who-will-be-king comes of age, he must venture out into the gray lands, slay a fierce dragon, and rescue a damsel to be his bride. This is the way things have always been.
When Ama wakes in the arms of Prince Emory, however, she knows none of this. She has no memory of what came before she was captured by the dragon, or what horrors she has faced in its lair. She knows only this handsome prince, the story he tells of her rescue, and her destiny to sit on the throne beside him. Ama comes with Emory back to the kingdom of Harding, hailed as the new princess, welcomed to the court.
However, as soon as her first night falls, she begins to realize that not all is as it seems, that there is more to the legends of the dragons and the damsels than anyone knows–and that the greatest threats to her life may not be behind her, but here, in front of her.

I was able to trade a book for this one, and I’m already planning on it being my next read. What originally drew me to it was the cover, which if you haven’t seen it yet; you should definitely go look it up. I think this book is going to be an interesting take on the whole “damsel in distress” trope and I’m honestly so excited to read it!


The Beginning of Everything (ARC) – Robyn Schneider

Varsity tennis captain Ezra Faulkner was supposed to be homecoming king, but that was before—before his girlfriend cheated on him, before a car accident shattered his leg, and before he fell in love with unpredictable new girl Cassidy Thorpe.

I feel like all my posts somehow feature Robyn Schneider – I’m not complaining. But I managed to complete my collection of her contemporary books through #booksfortrade on Twitter, and I’m so happy!


Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer

Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.
Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.
When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Yes, I bought another copy of one of my all time favorite contemporary novels. I think this makes number 5. Again, not complaining. This is the Zoella bookclub edition, with the yellow cover, so when I was in Scotland and saw it, I knew I needed to buy it.


Heir of Fire – Sarah J. Maas

Celaena has survived deadly contests and shattering heartbreak―but at an unspeakable cost. Now, she must travel to a new land to confront her darkest truth . . . a truth about her heritage that could change her life―and her future―forever. Meanwhile, brutal and monstrous forces are gathering on the horizon, intent on enslaving her world. Will Celaena find the strength to not only fight her inner demons, but to take on the evil that is about to be unleashed?

Since I was in Scotland I knew I needed to get some UK covers of books – but I only had limited room. I opted to get this one because I have the first two and eventually I’ll complete my UK collection. I’ve started my reread of the TOG series in preparation of Kingdom of Ash and I’m starting COM after Damsel.


Question time!

Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts? Are any of these books favorites? Let me know!