Friday, January 20, 2017

That's My Bag, Baby {1}

I'm always on the lookout for new ideas and fun posts for Fridays and after seeing Rachel's post 'What's in My Bag?', I knew I wanted to do something similar! She told me she's seen a lot of lifestyle bloggers do something like this and I am SO excited to add my bag into the ring. And if you were wondering why I titled this feature 'That's My Bag, Baby,' it's an homage to an Austin Powers quote and if you already got the reference, you are my people.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Travel Trinkets

One of the questions I got while doing my Q&A was what do I do with all the trinkets and ticket stubs I keep. There's a few things I've done with them so far, I'm sure there are a lot more creative ideas but I haven't delved into the Pinterest world to see what other people, this is what I've come up with so far.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Find Me A Man in a Kilt

"You're not falling for me, are you, Irish?"
--Karen Marie Moning, The Immortal Highlander

 
Genre
Adult Paranormal Romance
Publisher
Delacourte Press
Pages
288 // 394 
Publication Date
August 4, 2004 // August 28, 2007
Source
Library // Bought
Previous Books in Series
Beyond the Highland Mist & To Tame a Highland Warrior & The Highlander's Touch & Kiss of the Highlander & The Dark Highlander

I finally continued on with my Highlanders and I was SO happy to be back in this world. The Immortal Highlander is the story most readers, including myself, have been waiting for for quite awhile. Adam Black, the immortal Fae who loves to stir up trouble, is total. And falling in love. With a human. And she's the only one who can see him. It's freaking fantastic. Gabrielle is a sidhe-seer so she can see the Fae. When Adam realizes this and goes to her for help, she punches him in the face. It's fucking amazing. She's grown up avoiding them and has been taught to stay away from them by any means necessary, so obvi she doesn't trust him. Adam is smitten. Duh. There tete-a-tete is amazing. The quote at the top is one he says to her on the reg. He's charming but soulless and therein lies the problem. For Gabrielle, it has been ingrained into her that they are soulless shells and it takes her awhile to realize he's anything but soulless. After the disappointment that was The Dark Highlander for me, this book brought me right back to life and it was so romantic. I was super emotional at the end and couldn't help but shed a few tears. My heart, you guys, my heart.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Instalife {4}

Back for another Instalife! I love these posts because I love Instagram; taking photos, highlighting what I'm reading, where I am, where I've been, I just love it! So here's what I've been up to the last few weeks on Instagram...

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // From Page to Plane with Mariana

Anybody that knows me knows I'm obsessed with the UK. England has been a huge piece of my heart for a long time and reading Mariana has, yet again, inspired the wanderlust in me to go back to England. Why? Because the heroine in this story finds herself being drawn to the country town of Wiltshire, more specifically she's drawn to a house that coincidence or fate has made to cross her path on more than one occasion. The first time she saw the house she could feel it was hers. From there we get our story.
Mariana and Hever, England

Monday, January 9, 2017

Like A Bridge Over Troubled Waters


 

Books: Child of the Prophecy | Heir to Sevenwaters | Seer of Sevenwaters | Flame of Sevenwaters
Genre: Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: March 20, 2002 // November 4, 2008 // December 7, 2010 // November 6, 2012
Source: Borrowed from Library
Previous Books in Series: Daughter of the Forest & Son of Shadows
Child of the Prophecy
"Good and bad; shade and sunlight, there's but a hair's breath between them. It's all one in the end."

After finishing Daughter of the Forest and shortly after that Son of Shadows, I was on a Sevenwaters high. SoS was AMAZING! I couldn’t put it down and I wanted to binge read the rest of the series immediately! So I crack open Child of the Prophecy and…what is this? I did not jive with this book at all. Fainne is our main character, the daughter of Niamh, living with her father learning the art of magic. I won’t give too much away about the plot…mostly because nothing happens. The pain purpose of this book is Fianne is coerced into infiltrating Sevenwaters and trying to destroy them from the inside. This was what drove the entire book. While I find this storyline interesting, it really dragged and nothing really happened. We have a few major events occur but it was in between pages and pages of the same thing. Fianne questioning her mission, who to trust, what to do. It got boring and I did not look forward to reading this book. Add in the complete lack of romance and this does not a Kelly book make. I can love books with no romance. But when the rest of the book has almost zero plot progression throughout, it was a struggle. I trigged through finishing it because I know I wanted to read books 4, 5, and 6 but otherwise I would have put it down. I didn’t even really like the ending and how this part of the story concluded. I felt like it was a little forced and I expected more from the magic of the infamous Islands we’ve been fighting for for the past 1200 pages.

Ball Status
Denied at the Door

Heir to Sevenwaters
"What was between us would be as far above the ordinary congress between man and woman as the stars are above their pale reflections in the lake below."

Now THIS is what I’m talking about. Oh, my gosh! This fourth book in the Sevenwaters series is back on track with all the amazing. This book had it all. Plot, romance, intrigue, mystery. This book I did NOT want to put down. Our main heroine in this book is Clodagh, Sean and Aisling’s daughter. She is a twin to Deirdre who is about to be married. She is sad to see her sister go and during the festive her cousin Johnny and a few of his men arrive to celebrate and play security. Enter Aiden and Cathal. She has a crush on Aiden and Cathal is an asshole…you’ll have to see how the rest of this plays out. Aisling is pregnant, gives birth to a son, who is then taken by the Fair Folk. Clodagh is forced/takes it upon herself to go after him…and here our real story begins…

I LOVED this story. The journey through the land of the Fey, the romance….THE ROMANCE!!! Gah, I loooooved what Juliet Marillier did with Clodagh and *blank space*. It was snarky and hard-won and fought against and I just love love loved it! The rules of the Fey and how they can be one-upped was fantastic. The writing of this story brings the forest and the setting to life and I am so happy I continued with the series because I loved this book. It made up for the abysmal that is book 3. So worth it. Clodagh alone is one of the best heroines I've ever read. She is strong-willed, filled with love, and will go to whatever lengths necessary for her family. And she knows her heart. She knows what is right and what has to be done no matter what anybody else says, when you read the book you'll understand that a little bit more.

Ball Status
Backstage Pass

Seer of Sevenwaters
"We cannot know the future. All we can do is face it bravely. We should take heed of those we love and respect. But in the end, we make every decision alone." 

I really enjoyed this book overall. I loved being back with the familiar magic that is the Sevenwaters family. This book takes places--mostly--on Johnny's island of warriors. Sibeal is taking time there before she commits to the Druid life and there she rescues a shipwrecked sailor whose memory has vanished from the wreck. She has a connection to this man after saving him and helps nurse him back to health. I liked the dynamic between Felix, the man, and Sibeal. She struggles with her non-platonic feelings towards him and how they conflict with her desire and commitment to be a Druid. I loved the conversations she had with Clodagh. OMG and seeing Clodagh and Cathal! *hearts in eyes times a million* 

Overall I liked the book and the mystery of Felix's past and the shipwreck but the pacing was so off. The synopsis talks about a journey they must take but they don't take that until almost the end of the book. The pacing was just really wonky and I felt myself falling out of the story because it is very slow moving. MUCH better than Child of Prophecy but nowhere near the caliber that is books 1, 2 and 4. Still enjoyable and worth the read!

Ball Status
General Admission

Flame of Sevenwaters
"Our family has survived a long time. We’ve weathered battles and transformations, enchantments and floods and fires. We’ve endured being sent away, and we’ve coped with evildoers in our midst. If I were telling a story of Sevenwaters – and it would be a grand epic told over all the nights of a long winter – I would surely end it with a triumph. A happy ending, all well, puzzles solved, enemies defeated, the future stretching ahead bright and true. With new challenges and new adventures, certainly, because that’s the way things always are. But overall it would be a very satisfying story, one to give the listener heart." 

The final book of the Sevenwaters series has its ups and downs. I was super excited to get Maeve's story and get to know her. I really liked her characterization. I found her quiet strength amazing and her anger towards her mother refreshing. I know that sounds weird but Aisling has always annoyed me for some reason. And I, with Maeve, couldn't stand her stuttered response other daughter. Sean's reaction though, oh be still my heart. I adore Sean and think he is an amazing father. His first private interaction with Maeve gave me the warm fuzzies, as did when he saw her for the first time in 10 years. Love love love him. Speaking of love, Finbar plays a prominent role in this book and I loved him!!! He's so precious and smart but at the same time precocious and haunted. I loved getting to know him and seeing his relationship with Maeve bloom.

The magic of this book is another strong point. Mac Dara is causing mayhem and really causing problems for Lord Sean and his neighbors. I won't go into too much detail but know that the ending of this book and how the magic all fit together was unexpected and AMAZING! I didn't see the twists coming at all and the last 70 pages went by so fast and were so incredibly good. My criticism of this book is in the pacing. As I said, the last 70 pages were amazing, 5 star worthy, but the first 360 pages were SO slow. I struggled at multiple points to get into and stay in the story. As with Seer, editing and pacing correction would have seriously improved both books and made them on par with books 1, 2 and 4.
Ball Status
General Admission

Overall, this series is worth the read. 100% worth the read. It has its ups and downs but the setting and story Sevenwaters is fantasy at its best. 



Friday, January 6, 2017

Itinerary Update {4}

We are almost done with first week of the New Year, where has the time gone?! Haha. I hope you all had a fun and happy holidays and New Years! I spent most of my time with family and it was wonderful. I am super close with my cousins and grandmother and aunt and uncle so it was a great Christmas Eve and Day. My favorite part was my cousin and I had each other's names for our Secret Santa. Over the summer I recommend he read the Throne of Glass series and he read the whole thing in a few months and loved it! So i was able to get him a signed copy of Throne of Glass...and unbeknownst to me he had my name and ordered me a travel mug with the Rattle the Stars quote on it! It was awesome! Such a thoughtful and beautiful moment on Christmas it made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Adventures in the Great Wide Somewhere // Make Travel Dreams a Reality

With the New Year a few days behind us and 2017 a beautiful, blank sheet of paper in front of us, the optimistic resolutions people make sometimes seem overwhelming in the beginning. Especially if they've been longterm goals that have seemed unattainable in past years, it's hard to decide where to start. Travel more always seem to be on people's lists and Hannah gave me the great idea to make my first post of the new year about a few key tips in how to make travel a reality. I've come up with 3 simple things you can do today that can help you achieve your resolution and make your dreams of travel a reality.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Quick and Dirty Mini-Reviews {4}

Another round of mini-reviews from some books I've read over the past few weeks!


After my The Winter Sea high I was so excited to start this and while I liked it and enjoyed reading it, it was a very small letdown compared to The Winter Sea however I still couldn't put it down and find myself thinking about it even after finishing. Disappointment might be too harsh a word, it was just different than what I expected. Very minimal historical element which is something I wasn't anticipating and what really attracted me to these books in the first place. It was a bit difficult to get into a rhythm with this book even though I wanted to keep reading. I finished it quite quickly (over 2.5 days) but I didn't have that enveloping feeling as I did with her previous book I read. Positives? It takes place in Scotland. The imagery of writing takes your right to the Borderlands with the harbor in the distance and the beautiful fields of Scotland right in my mind's eye. The book was also extremely character-driven rather than plot-driven. I loved getting to know the motley crew of characters and it made up for the lack of Roman history I was expecting. Also, with the addition of a ghost, it was the perfect book to read around Halloween!
Reserved Seating

Friday, December 30, 2016

Best of the Year {2016}

This week I've been doing my favorite or bests of 2016. Monday was books, Wednesday was travel, and today I thought it would be fitting to do a year in reflection/what I've learned type post. What a year it's been! I remember ringing in the New Year and couldn't believe it was already 2016 and here we are a year later and I'm thinking where did 2016 go!? As I'm sure everyone can relate to, my year has had highs and lows and a lot in between. So I thought it was fitting for what I wanted to talk about to head each section with The Good, The Bad, or The Ugly...here we go.

The Good
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