Horror or Rom-Com? || The house on foster hill: Review

The House on Foster Hill by Jamie Jo Wright

Genres: Mystery, Lite-Horror, Romance, Historical Fiction

One Two sentence book summary: After the death of her husband, Kane moves to the middle of nowhere to restore a dilapidated old house, but the ghost of her past refuse to die. A hundred years prior another woman, Ivy, is caught up in the mystery when a dead girl appears in a hollowed out tree outside of the house on Foster Hill.

One sentence review: The author tries to fit every genre into one story and fails at doing any of it justice; she goes for shock value over authenticity and there are better books out there.

Let me explain! ((Get ready for a lot of caps because I have ALL the FEELINGS))

The biggest fault I found with this book is its oscillating and unstable tone. The author can't figure out what type of book she wants to write. Romance? Horror? Murder mystery? She tries her hand at all of them at once and the result is a splattered mess with rom-com lines that follow horror scenes. The genres crash together like dissonant notes as she struggles to find her voice.

Instead of crafting a story it feels more like the author is throwing SUPER SAD things in to make it a SUPER SAD story because it's SAD couldn't you tell by the SAD THINGS? It felt like I was being hit over the head with the SADNESS and not actually getting to know the characters in an authentic manner.

The plot is a little sketchy and at times pretty unbelievable. Once again I felt like the author was going for shock value as opposed to something authentic. One thing that I did like was how seamlessly the author melded the character's faith into the story. Often times if a character is Christian then once they pray EVERYTHING works out PERFECTLY because GOD and while yes, that is a possibility, there is also the possibility that your prayers will go unanswered and that is where the true test of faith lies.

This romance iS ~pRoBlaMatIc~. The author wants it to be cute but it is NOT HEALTHY. Basically you have this super traumatized woman dating her therapist (who, by the way is a PERFECT character who does EVERYTHING RIGHT all the time and could we be more boring) and that's supposed to be okay? Also we're dealing with some love at first sight and personally that always bugs me. Like. No.

At this point you might be wondering "wait...why did you keep reading it?" and yes, this novel has its flaws, but that doesn't mean it was a horrible reading experience. The writing felt choppy and sometimes read like the first draft of my novel-- lots of telling with no showing, if you've ever received that writing advice it is the HARDEST and most important piece of advice ever.

And yes the romance was PROBLEMATIC but also like, it had its cute moments. And the plot was a bit eye-roll inducing, but hey, I did want to figure out what explanation she was going to pull at the end (even if I knew it wouldn't be satisfying).

Overall: This was an okay book. It wasn't a bad reading experience but...it wasn't a great one either. If you love murder mysteries or lite-horror then maybe give this a go? I hate to say don't read a book because this is just my opinion but honestly there are better books out there.

What about you? Have you read this book? Do you also hate it when the author tries to fit every genre into one story?

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Novella/Short Stories

This post brought to you by the Top Ten Tuesday series over at That Artsy Reader Girl

Happy Top Ten Tuesday on a Wednesday! This week's post will be full of little rebellions as I'm trying something new-- asking YOU about YOUR favorite novellas and short stories.

Weird right? You see I don't really read novellas and short stories-- but not because I carry some weird bias against them. I never hear about them, they never pop up on my Goodreads, they never make it onto my ever-growing TBR list and so...I never read them.

So let me start by mentioning my two favorite books that fit this week's category and then go on to plead you for your recommendations.


This books are amazing which is a stroke of luck for me because they also happen to be the only novellas/short-stories on my 'read' Goodreads bookshelf....

Which brings me to the next part of this post: help me add some diversity to the books I read by telling me about your favorite novella or short story/anthology. 

I know with book blogs we tend to gleefully shout our opinion into the void of the internet but my goal for this post is to do less shouting and do more listening. Did you write a whole post for this week's prompt? Comment below with the link! Do you have a favorite novella you want to recommend? Please do! Have you read Binti or Conservation and want to fangirl over how amazing they are? ME TOO.

Dear Sunday: The Move

Dear Sunday is my weekly post participating in the Caffeinated Book Reviewer series.

It's (almost) happening! Logistical complications mean that I don't actually get to move into my new apartment today, as planned, but rather tomorrow. Silly lady booking every silly trailer in the silly U-haul store... 

But that's alright! What's one more day? I'm not gonna lie, the hotel life is pretty suite (yeah no I regret writing that almost as much as you probably regret reading that). 

I was at the library yesterday to get some grading done (oh the glamorous life of a grad student) and I wandered down the aisles looking for my next read but couldn't find it. Have you ever been in the mood where you want to read but then nothing sounds like what you want but then you don't know what you even want? That's currently my reading life. Any suggestions for a book to get me out of this funk?

I took things a little slow last week to ease myself back into the swing of things!
Hopefully this will all happen even with the move...*fingers crossed*
  • Top Ten Tuesday: short stories/novellas
    • I'm going to attempt a different spin on this topic this week.....stay tuned!
  • Horror or Rom-com? || Review: House on Foster Hill
    • yeah. get ready for this review. 

That's it for me! I hope you are having a great, relaxing weekend :) 

Top 5 books in 2018 (thus far)

This post brought to you by the Top Ten Tuesday series over at That Artsy Reader Girl

When I saw the prompt for this week I wasn't sure how many books I would be able to rummage up. My reading life took a huge dip recently and I wasn't sure if I had read that many amazing books in 2018. A quick trip through my Goodreads shelves showed me just how wrong I was! Here are five 5-star reads I discovered this year.

Lyrical Masterpieces

The Witches of New York by Ami Mckay || Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

click on the images to go the reviews and read my ravings

Innovative Sci-Fic


Sleeping Giants by Sylvian Neuvel

I somehow forgot to write a review for this book?? Let's just say on page one I wanted to put it down because it has such an unusual format-- told almost exclusively in interviews and that's not really my thing. However I'm really glad I stuck with it, as it was a brilliantly thought out sci-fic novel. 



The Lost City of Z by David Gramm || 52 Loaves by William Alexander

Can we take a second to appreciate the fact that two non-fiction books made it on my best reads list?!
Who am I.
I'm telling you, this nonfiction reading challenge has completely changed my reading life. I started 2018 feeling like reading nonfiction books was this massive chore I never wanted to do. But then I discovered that nonfiction can actually be pretty great?!

Whew! That's it for me. What about you? What are some of your top 2018 reads thus far?

Dear Sunday: Why I took a hiatus

Dear friends:

It's been a while. How does this thing even work again? *taps on microphone*

Ah yes. Okay. So in case you haven't noticed, I took a little, ehm long break from blogging and the real surprise is that it had nothing to do with blogging. I didn't get tired or uninspired or anything like that.

 In order to understand my absence let me tell you a bit about myself: I hate spiders. As in can't-stand-always-find-someone-else-to-kill-them, hate spiders. Small spiders I can deal with, but when the get to be the size of my palm (or a little smaller) well, then, I'm out.

In light of this fact let me tell you something else that happened: I had a (minor) brown recluse infestation in my apartment. They would appear on my living room wall, on the wall near my bed, on the other wall in my bedroom-- well, you get the picture.

Twelve giant poisonous spiders in 4-5 weeks. Did I mention that brown recluses are poisonous spiders that are really hard to spray for? Ah, well, yes.

After a few weeks it became apparent that this spider issue was going to be an ongoing issue until winter and after trying to just live with it for a few weeks I made the decision to move apartments. It became impossible to enjoy my apartment knowing that it wasn't a question if I would have to kill another giant spider but when and where.

And while some people could totally live with that situation, I decided discretion was indeed the better part of valor, and made the decision to move.

So that move has been consuming most of my time-- I forgot all the annoying laundry list of tasks moving entails. Renter's insurance, forwarding addresses, utilities-- it's been busy over here. Add to that the yearly family reunion which takes place around July 4th and I have not had a spare moment to devote to blogging.

But all of that is about to change! Well, I mean, I still am dealing with the minutia of moving, that won't change. But the lack of time (will hopefully) change soon. The new complex I'm moving into is, well, actually certifiably new in that they aren't finished building it yet. While I'm waiting for the construction to be done, the complex is putting me up in the hotel they own. It's a super fancy (to me) long-stay hotel with a little kitchenette and maid service and free breakfast and I may never want to leave.

Being stuck in a hotel should give me ample time to get back into the swing of things around here! I'm really excited to blog again-- not only did my blogging suffer during the anxiety-filled-spider-filled-time my reading life also took a huge hit. (I didn't finish one book the entire month of June??)

Anyway that is my short  explanation of my sudden, rather long complete absence from the blogging world. I hope you all are well and I hope you don't have spiders ;)

:Thanks for reading!

Dear Sunday is my weekly post participating in the Caffeinated Book Reviewer series

TTT: 5 Atmospheric Books with Rich Worlds

This post brought to you by the Top Ten Tuesday series over at That Artsy Reader Girl

The prompt for this week was 'bookish worlds you would want/hate to live in'. After browsing my Goodreads bookshelf for inspiration I realized that there weren't many book worlds that I wanted to live in, or didn't want to live in. And lukewarm list posts are never any fun, so I keep digging.

As I searched, I started to compile a list of books that created rich, detailed worlds within their pages. Worlds vastly different from ours; worlds just a little bit skewed from ours-- these books do a beautiful job painting a massive canvas of a world, and then showing you a tiny corner of it.

Let's get to the books!

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Ahhh this beautiful magical realism novel excels at creating a magical, mirror-image of our world and does so effortlessly.

Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The world in this book isn't /too/ different from our own, but the writing in this book is so atmospheric and lyrical I had to put it on the list.

The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

What list would be complete without at least one Becky Chambers reference?? This sci-fi novel creates such a detailed world and really thinks about all the nitty-gritty realities of cross-species interactions.
Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

Beautiful. Innovative. Imaginative. And under 100 pages. Literally there is no reason why you shouldn't be reading this book right now.

2113260Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde is a wizard with words and the ideas that pop out of his head are so interesting and unique it borders on the absurd. And so does this dystopian novel! Absurd and dark, he weaves together an alternate world no one would want to visit.

That's it for me! What about you? What are your favorite bookish worlds? 

Dear Sunday: Summer Heat

Dear Sunday is my weekly post participating in the Caffeinated Book Reviewer series.This week I'm also doing a brief Stacking the Shelves and have also linked up with tyngas reviews.

Ah yes, the summer heat. Nevermind that it is merely May; the high for today is a whooping 95 degrees. Not that I am in any way complaining! I much prefer this heat to the cold never-ending winter we saw.

This past week I've gotten back into playing Zelda: Breath of the Wild which is a game I started /months/ ago (a year ago? more?) but then didn't have time for it until recently! So that has been nice.

Onto the books!

                                                                 click on the covers to check the books out on Goodreads!

351339229748332 My hold on Educated finally came in! I haven't started it yet but I am excited to.

I finally went to my library in person which meant I was able to pick up Abundant Beauty, a book I've been meaning to read for a while but I've been busy with all the e-book options my library offers.

  • Top Ten Tuesday: Book Worlds I want to live in 
  • ARC Review: A Defense of Honor by Kristi Hunter

That's it for this late edition of my Sunday post! I got caught up this morning playing the aforementioned Zelda game and forgot to write this post in a more timely manner.

Thanks for reading! I hope the weather is pleasant for your holiday weekend! 

How To Hobby || Watercolor-inspired Greeting Cards

This is my second installment in my series How To Hobby, dedicated to one of my friends who always says she wants more hobbies. So I decided to do a series covering all of my extensive and random hobbies with the hope of one of them catching her fancy. Check out my first post in this series!

Welcome back to my favorite non-book series here on my blog! This week I want to share a really fun watercolor-esque technique I've learned that I use to make almost all of the postcards I send out to friends.

Originally I was going to do a MASSIVE post on watercoloring in general but I decided to break it into two: this one is more watercolor-inspired, and the next one will be more traditional watercolor.

The final product is on the left! It is a super easy but still cool looking way to make artwork/thank you cards/postcards/whatever you want.

What you'll need:
markers of any sort
pen of any sort
plastic ziplock bag (generic will not work)
haha jk of course a generic ziplock bag will work
water spritzer (not necessary, but helpful)
and some paper

  1. Pick out two (or more) colors to use in your card. I used Tombrow brush markers because I had a long lasting love of bullet journaling but really Crayola markers would work really well.
  2. With no precision, draw several large patches of color with your markers. I tend to keep the colors separate because I want to keep my markers clean but it doesn't really matter. 
  3. Don't worry if the colors don't look very vibrant-- just scribble some color onto the ziplock bag
  4. Now you want to sprinkle some water over the ziplock bag. This can be achieved with a brief, diffuse spray of a water bottle BUT if you don't have one (I have one that I use to teach my cat that defacing the furniture with his claws is not acceptable) you don't need one. Use a cup of water and a brush-- or your fingers-- to flick water onto the ziplock bag. 
    1. here's the trick: too much water and your paper will pill (small lumps everywhere; not the end of the world) too little water and the colors won't blend well
  5. Place your paper on top of the bag and run your hand over the paper to distribute the color. Flip the paper over, peel off the ziplock bag and you're done! 

Et voila! 

That's it! Now you should have a loose blended tie-die/watercolor background to write your message on. If there are pools of water on your paper you might want to blot them off. I'm impatient so I dried the paper off with a heat gun (just a super powered hair dryer) and then wrote on my message.

Here's another card I made using this technique-- this one is a bit fancier because I used an pen full of embossing ink to draw the little graduation hat/champagne and then put some embossing powder over it and used a heat gun to get those raised edges.

Have I inspired you to use what you probably have laying around to make some fun art?? If so, I have a couple of cool sites that you should check out.

Little Coffee Fox primarily talks about artistic bullet journaling but I find that she is great for overall artistic inspiration!

This is a YouTube channel by an artist and I just love all of her videos! She is fun, the techniques are approachable, and she has inspired me a lot. 

Let me know if you try this technique! Tag me on Instagram, leave a comment here, send out some smoke signals-- anything to get my attention. :)

Traveling through time Austen-style || The Jane Austen Project

I'm a sucker for time travel novels. I love watching characters get thrown into a completely new world; struggling to understand how daily life actually occurred in a time so drastically different than their own.

So when I heard of The Jane Austen Project, a novel that promised to combine both Jane Austen and time travel, I knew I had to give it a try.

The Jane Austen Project is an interesting, fast paced novel about two people who are sent back in time with one goal: to meet Jane Austen. In the present time, a unfinished novel of hers was just discovered, and the time travelers are tasked with the difficult prospect of befriending Jane Austen and discovering how the book ended.

The narration was precise and almost clinical at times-- and seeing how the narrator was a doctor, that made sense. It was interesting to watch the characters struggle to blend in, worrying that with any misstep they would be exposed as frauds.

The way the author dealt with the subject every time traveler writer fears-- paradoxes-- was...interesting but not really logical. The way she dealt with the possibility of paradoxes was a paradox in and of itself.

But that didn't really detract from the book itself. Overall, the novel was a fun, easy read perfect for fans of Jane Austen. 

What about you? Have you ever read The Jane Austen Project? 

Dear Sunday: Spring Showers

Dear Sunday is my weekly post participating in the Caffeinated Book Reviewer series.This week I'm also doing a brief Stacking the Shelves and have also linked up with tyngas reviews.

This picture is from a walk I took last night in the forest that lies right behind my apartment. Luckily it turned out on my first try-- I was going to try more angles but some very persistent bees were buzzing over my head and I was forced to retreat.

Today is full of stormy clouds and threatening thunder so my nightly walk may not happen.

This past week was a busy one at work, as we had a collaborator come visit us. It was fun to have a different person-- and different perspective-- in the lab but it will be nice to get back to normal.

Speaking of getting back to normal I am hoping to finding a blogging routine again! Fingers crossed I can get back to following some sort of schedule.

click on the covers to check the books out on Goodreads!


 The theme of this week's Stacking the Shelves is ARCs I have no recollection of requesting appearing magically in my account. 

  • Am I the only one who just isn't feeling the top ten Tuesday prompts? 
    • this week is favorite character names but I don't have anything really come to mind so! I'll skip out on this week
  • Traveling through time Austen-styled || Review: The Jane Austen Project
  • How To Hobby : Watercolor
    • this will be the second installment of my How To Hobby series, a series I started mainly as an instructional manual for my friend who wants to pick up more hobbies
    • for this post I'll show some of my favorite super easy watercolor techniques that I use to make postcards! 

That's it for me! Thanks for stopping by :) 

Getting Lost in the Amazon || Review: The Lost City of Z

Even before my resolution earlier this year to read more nonfiction, there were always certain subjects that caught my eye. Ancient Egyptian life. Lost cities. Civilizations lost to history. The search to find them.

The Lost City of Z has almost all of the above. It is an enthralling tale of one of the last classic early 20th century explorers as he, through sheer force and will, explored the forest that claimed many of his colleagues' lives. The Amazon.  

This book was fascinating, every page held my interest. The author, a journalist, weaves together three different stories of men who foolishly or bravely headed into one of the deadliest places on Earth in search of answers.

Fawcett who believed in the existence of a massive civilization, tucked away from history beneath the impenetrable Amazonian jungle. A father son duo who, years after the mysterious disappearance of Fawcett believed that they could find the clues to his demise. And the journalist himself, who is compelled to journey along many of the same paths as Fawcett once trod.

A side effect of this gripping tale is that now, more than ever, I wish to never set foot anywhere close to the Amazon. Seriously. Final Destination could do an entire SERIES on the many ways that you can die in the jungle.

This nonfiction tale read like an Indiana Jones adventure; I never forced myself to keep going, I only had to force myself to put the book down now and then to do things like, you know, eat, go to work, etc.

Personally I loved how well researched the book was-- in almost every other paragraph the author is quoting from actual correspondence or meeting notes or books; he easily crafts a detailed picture of what happened. 

If you are craving a real life tale of adventure and exploration then look no further than The Lost City of Z!

Let me know! Have you read this? Seen the movie?