Saturday, August 27, 2016

Musical Musings: August 2016

Musical Musings is a new feature where I'll be talking about music! There'll be two posts a month---the first of which will be about some random musical topic, and the second post of the month (like this one!) will be a recap of my month in music. To learn more about this feature and whatnot, click here to check out my introduction post! :)

August Overall

I wish I had more to say about my month in music but as I said in my Discover Weekly post, I've still been so hung up on Hamilton. Plus, everything that can go wrong HAS been going wrong for my family and me lately, so I've been so busy. I learned that my 2 year-old nephew likes Hamilton, though! I was babysitting him and played a song (Burn) and he was so enthralled by it. So then I played him more and it actually held his attention well enough for a few songs. I'm sure you can imagine my utter joy at this discovery!

Anyway, I did make a playlist for this month. It's called Wolf (because I've been reading Scarlet by Marissa Meyer this month). It's a mix of things: Hamilton songs I've been especially fond of this month, songs that have been put on (or BACK on) my radar thanks to Discover Weekly, a whole lot of Fall Out Boy (because one of their songs was in one of my Discover Weekly playlists and it put me in a mood to binge a bunch of FOB music), and a few songs from a musical called Spring Awakening (more on that later).

Though my pickings are much smaller than I'd like for this month, I do still have some top songs from this month to talk about...

My Top Five Songs of August 2016

The Room Where It Happens - Leslie Odom Jr. (& more)

This is the first time in my entire obsession with Hamilton that I've been stuck on this song. Like, I've known it's existed. I've listened to it. But I never paid much attention to it. I never randomly quoted it or even loved this one particular song. Which seemed odd to me because this was one of the first songs that I heard talked about from the music before I listened to it myself. But then for whatever reason, I got this random urge to listen to this song earlier this month...and I've been listening to it incessantly ever since. (And I'm not complaining. Not even a little.)

Ever the Same - Rob Thomas

This song! I've loved it for so long. So, so long. And it's been on my mind every now and then this year---like at my nephew's birthday party where it played in a bowling alley. But I hadn't properly sat down and listened to it in A WHILE. Until, wonder of wonders, it showed up in my Discover Weekly playlist. Now I listen to it regularly.

All That's Known - Jonathan Groff

I was listening to my Hamilton playlist on my phone (SHOCKER) when Spotify decided to play a recommended song (something that generally grinds my gears). I planned to skip over it until two things happened: 1) I realized the song playing actually wasn't bad, and 2) Jonathan Groff was singing. In case you are unaware (though I'm sure you already know), Jonathan Groff plays King George in Hamilton. So of course I was more than willing to listen to the end of this song he sang. And of course, after I enjoyed the song, it made sense that I sat down and listened to the entire cast album for Spring Awakening---the play this song is from. There are so many good songs there! This was a good life choice.

Young Volcanoes - Fall Out Boy

This song is the reason there's so much Fall Out Boy on this month's playlist. What a Catch, Donnie was the song in my Discover Weekly playlist that brought FOB to mind, but this song is the one I was desperate to listen to when I began my binge. It's so catchy and I love it and I could listen to it on repeat for basically forever. So, so good. And especially great for summer! Lighthearted and fun. Ahhhh I love it.

Teenagers - My Chemical Romance

This gem popped up in my Discover Weekly playlist for this week and oh, the nostalgia! This was the first MCR song I ever listened to---I've since listened to A LOT more of their music and can honestly say I adore them. I remember hearing it for the first time at my friend Brittany's house. I thought it was so cool and, like, edgy or something because there's a curse word so prominent in the lyrics. I'm over that now (obviously...this is especially funny if you check out the full cast album for Spring Awakening---curse words abound), but I still enjoy this song. And I'll always be especially fond of it even though it's not my favorite by MCR. (Don't ask me which is, I need to think about it...)

That's what my month in music was like! Now I'd LOVE to hear from you! What have you been into? Any new obsessions? Favorite songs? What do you think of the songs and artists I've been into? Let me know your thoughts! :)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Blog Tour: Scary Out There by Jonathan Maberry (review + giveaway)

Horror, Short Stories, Anthology 
Publication.Date  August 30th 2016
Published By:  Simon and Schuster Books For Young Readers
AuthorJonathan Maberry

Scary Out There on Goodreads
My review copy:Received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Where to get:,%20Inc_2227948_NA&sourceId=AFFGoodreads,%20IncM000004

Multiple Bram Stoker Award–winning author Jonathan Maberry compiles more than twenty stories and poems—written by members of the Horror Writers Association—in this terrifying collection about worst fears.

What scares you? Things that go bump in the night? Being irreversibly different? A brutal early death? The unknown?

This collection contains stories and poetry by renowned writers such as R. L. Stine, Neal and Brendan Shusterman, and Ellen Hopkins—all members of the Horror Writers Association—about what they fear most. The stories include mermaids, ghosts, and personal demons, and are edited by Jonathan Maberry, multiple Bram Stoker award winner and author of the Rot & Ruin series.

You're only as good
as your word. 
"All of you. Every one of you who takes a razor to your wrist or swallows too many pills. Every one of you who jumps in front of a bus. Every one of you who stands on a bridge and thinks about jumping." The boy shook his head again, his features filled with disgust. "You don't know shit about what's waiting at the bottom of that river. And if you think it means peace, then you know less than shit about it." 
He likes to peer his head around the corner of doorways, make a face at you. 

     Why is it that the most incredible books are the hardest ones to review? I've been sitting here, at my desk, for a little over two hours now, trying to find just the right words to describe this phenomenal, heart-pounding and profoundly affecting anthology, but every sentence I write falls flat and I feel like no matter what I say, I can never do this book justice. It's just one of those books that every one has to experience for themselves, for just like Jonathan Maberry said in his introduction to the collection, fear is very personal and everyone is afraid of something different.

   To me, this book is more than just a collection of exquisite horror stories. It's a beautiful reminder that we all have our demons to fight and that it's perfectly fine to be scared. Fear is very human and nothing to be ashamed of. It's there to warn us, it's there to motivate us, and as long as we don't let it control us, we can get through everything.

    The SCARY OUT THERE anthology contains 21 hand-picked horror stories written by some of the most talented authors of our times. Take a look at the contents list and you'll see names like Brenna Yovanoff, Madeleine Roux, Ellen Hopkins, Carrie Ryan, R.L Stine, Kendare Blake and more. If you'd ask me about my favorite stories from this collection, I would tell you that I loved them all (and that would be true), but the ones that  got to me the most were: Danny by Josh Malerman (I was seriously pissing my pants while reading this one-- alone, at night), The Old Radio by R.L.Stine (I grew up with the Fear Street, and this story was a quintessence of Stine's ability to thoroughly creep you out and leave you on edge), The Invisible Girl by Rachel Tafoya (such a powerful and meaningful story about self-harm and depression, and fear of being invisible, unimportant, forgotten..), Kendare Blakes story about bloody revenge (it can seriously turn your stomach inside out) and the so very Stephen King-ish The Boyfriend by Steve Rasnic Tem (for obvious reasons).
     But to tell you the truth, each and every single one of these stories has something incredible and meaningful to offer. Some of them are pure fear-fests - like Danny! Boy oh boy, was I sweating profusely while reading this one! I even took little breaks freaking out on Twitter about it, totally stalling and not wanting to find out what happens next - or rather wanting, but not being brave enough to. It's such an intense piece of fiction, I actually went ahead and ordered the author's novel (The Bird Box) right after finishing it. I'm still trying to find it in me to crack it open, though...

    At the same time, there are also stories in this collection that are more subtle and poetic, yet very powerful and important. Take Death and Twinkies. It's a story about a boy whose life is so miserable, he decides to end it, because he believes death will bring him peace. How absolutely heart-breaking, especially if you consider the fact that there are actual real teenagers and kids out there who really feel this way.

    Some of these stories end on a hopeful note, some are as dark as their character's black souls, but they all have something important to say, and they were all included in this collection for a good reason. I really believe that this anthology is a must, and not only for every self-respecting horror fan, but simply for anyone who enjoys good writing, interesting stories and food-for-thought kind of reads. This is a particularly delicious box of chocolates, my friends.

About the author:

JONATHAN MABERRY is a New York Times best-selling and multiple Bram Stoker Award-winning horror and thriller author, magazine feature writer, playwright, content creator and writing teacher/lecturer. His books have been sold to more than a dozen countries. 
LINKS: Website | Twitter


3 Finished Copies of SCARY OUT THERE (US Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Tour Schedule:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Throwback Thursday Book Review: Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Some of you may know that I originally had my own blog, Beauty but a Funny Girl, prior to joining Bookish (now Bookish Lifestyle). I was thinking the other day about all those reviews I left behind when I transferred and thought they should get some love too - no matter how badly written and newbie they come off! So I present to you: Throwback Thursday Reviews! Every once in a while I'll post an old review from Beauty but a Funny Girl, unedited in terms of content, with the exception of any spelling or grammatical mistakes. It's definitely going to be fun and interesting to see how my tastes and writing style have changed over the years!

The Infernal Devices #2
Young Adult, Steampunk, Romance, Historical Fiction
Publication.Date:December 6, 2011
Pages:502 (Hardcover)
Published By:  Margaret K. McElderry Books
Website:Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince on Goodreads
My review copy:

Where to get:

True love is shrouded in secrets and lies in the #1 New York Times bestselling second book of the Infernal Devices trilogy.

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.


Originally posted July 23, 2013 on Beauty but a Funny Girl

Bad move on my part. I read Clockwork Princess - and wrote the review - before starting on this one. I know, I know. But I jumped right into Clockwork Princess once I finished this book and... the feels!

But back to Clockwork Prince...

I really liked Clockwork Angel and started Clockwork Prince as soon as my schedule allowed me to do so. It was a good follow up novel that answered some questions from Clockwork Angel, but also asked a lot more that were answered with Clockwork Princess.

One of my favorite things about this novel is all the plot twists! There were so many that it made it obnoxious, but there were a few where I had a "whoa, hold on there!" moment. There was also a lot of plot development going on, which really helped move the story along and keep me fully interested. 

Sophie was much more involved in this novel and I grew to love her more, if possible. Henry and Charlotte finally had a breakthrough, which was especially nice as you could see Charlotte becoming frustrated with him and his scatterbrainedness. Yes, it's a word. Now. Also, Charlotte really stands on her feet against the Council and you have to admire her strength and determination.

Also, we finally get to see our love triangle between Tessa, Jem, and Will. It's a very well done triangle and it's obvious that Tessa does love both of them in their own way. However, it's the last few chapters of the book where things really heat up. It hurts to read it as for one of these characters things are suddenly looking up, only to have it all come crashing down.

Can we just talk about the balcony scene for a minute though. Oh. My. God. I get all squealy just thinking about it! It was definitely a turning point in the novel, relationship wise, and was just this mixture of pure passion and straight up romance. *sigh*

The narration was very well done and I think having the series told in third person was a smart idea. The plot in depth and involved, if a little cliche, but Clare does make it her own. This is definitely a series not to miss out on and one that became a quick favorite of mine!

Note: I know this isn't the best review, but I'm writing this after writing my review for Clockwork Princess and two weeks after finishing the book. I know I really slacked on this one, but I was having trouble putting it into words for some reason. And of course because I flew through the novel I didn't exactly take the best notes. Please don't hate me!

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