T10T: Backlist Books I Want to Read

T10T: Backlist Books I Want to Read

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

It’s always so hard to love so many books. I also have a book buying problem, which creates an even bigger never-ending TBR pile. But hopefully in 2019 and I finally get through some of these Backlist titles…..


Monsters of Verity by V.E. Schwab

Image result for Monsters of verity

One day, I will knock these out

The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare

Image result for lady midnight

I’m starting my Cassandra Clare reread month just in time for Queen of Air and Darkness. I’ve read all of her books just not The Dark Artifices, so I’m really excited 🙂

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Image result for legendary stephanie garber

Caraval was one of my favorite reads in 2017 and I just never got around to starting Legendary. I hope I can read it before 2019

Renegades by Marissa Meyer

Image result for renegades marissa meyer

I literally bought this book last year at YallFest with the intention of reading it when I got home. It’s not been almost a year, and I still haven’t read it. Hopefully soon though.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

Another book that I bought with the intention of reading right away. But I’m still in a Russian fairytale mood after The Winternight Trilogy so Hopefully for the winter.

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Image result for doctor sleep

Every time I see this cover I forget this is the sequel to The Shining. I need to read this soon.

Bill Hodges Trilogy by Stephen King

Now that this is complete I can’t wait to binge these books! 

Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir

Image result for torch against the night

This is just one of those books that just fell through the cracks. I know Reaper at the Gates is out. So I think I might just reread all three books at once, because I honestly don’t remember Ember.

The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater

I just met Maggie maybe 2 months ago at my Barnes and I felt so bad, I’ve never read any of her books. So this is one of my book resolutions of 2019.


T10T: Favorite Halloween Movies

T10T: Favorite Halloween Movies

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018!

Hey Friends! Halloween is almost upon us. How excited are you? I’m a little upset with myself for picking up a small shift at work. At my old job at the Barnes and Noble, I loved working Halloween because you were allowed to dress up. I don’t think I’ll be able to dress up in the ER though. Lol. So while I can’t dress up for work, I’m going to share with you some of my favorite Halloween movies. Halloween is my favorite time of year and I think it has some seriously fantastic movies that I watch every year, religiously. Here’s just a few 🙂

Image result for halloweentownI can’t believe I was 6 when this movie first came out. Man, do I feel old. Halloweentown is one my most cherished childhood memories. My sister and I were OBSESSED with these movies. Not so much with the 4th one. (You can’t just put Sara Paxton as Marnie and expect me not to notice, Disney) I remember one year they liked didn’t really play the movies on Disney Channel and me and Sis were ready to riot. I’m so happy they are on DVD now so I can forever have the movies 🙂

Image result for twitchesAnother DCOM movie that I adored. I grew up watching Sister, Sister and I thought the Mowery twins were just the best. Such a good movie. I’m always sad it doesn’t show as much as some of the other Halloween movies on Disney Channel.

Image result for hocus pocusIs there really any other way to celebrate Halloween than watching Hocus Pocus? This is peak Halloween movies. I’m obsessed with the Sanderson sisters. For me celebrating Halloween is watching Hocus Pocus. When The Wicked Deep came out and I heard it was like Hocus Pocus I immediately devoured it. Another great watch with my sister J

Image result for casper movieCasper is another great movie that brings me super joy. Bill Pullman and baby Christina Ricci. What else do you need in life? “Can I keep you” *sigh*

 Image result for nightmare before christmasIt’s hard to pick one when I pretty much love all of his creepy movies. Nightmare Before Christmas is probably my fave, but I really do enjoy them all. Sleepy Hollow, Edward Scissorhands, Beetlejuice, Frankenweenie, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Corpse Bride. I love them all J

Image result for practical magicAnother great movie with some seriously great actresses. And it’s like a cute like Romantic Comedy that also has witches. Please go watch this movie

Image result for the shining imdbI’m not a big horror fan, I don’t do well with stress. But I absolutely love The Shining. Maybe it’s because I read the book or because it’s directed by Stanley Kubrick. But I freaking love this movie. My dad and I used to watch this all the time together.

Image result for young frankenstein movieOne of my favorite movies of all time. I remember seeing this on Broadway and falling in love even more. My dad loved Mel Brooks and Young Frankenstein was one of his favorites. The great Gene Wilder was fantastic in it. If you ever want to laugh listen to the soundtrack of the musical. And just think of a group of Catholic school music department kids going to see this on Broadway. That was my freshman year experience seeing this.

Image result for a quiet place imdbProbably one of the most thrilling movies I’ve ever seen in my life. I haven’t watched in my home, but I saw it in theaters and it was an experience. I don’t think I breathed at all watching it. If you haven’t seen this. Know your senses are going to be a mess after it. A truly surreal experience


Image result for psych halloween collectionEvery Halloween episode on Psych: I’ve said before that Psych is one of my favorite shows ever to air. And one of the best things were their Halloween/ Creepy episodes. This whole show was a homage to the 80s, so you can imagine what kind of episodes they’ve done. They even have a DVD collection to their Halloween episodes. There are 11 episodes total and it’s truly the best thing. Click here for the list of the episodes in the collection.

As you can see I’m clearly a 90s kid. But these are just some of my many favorite Halloween movies that I try to watch every year. What are some of your favorite Halloween Movies/TV episodes?

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Thoughtful Thursday: Fall/Winter Movies 2018

Thoughtful Thursday: Fall/Winter Movies 2018

Hey Friends! It’s Thursday and time for another Thoughtful Thursday post. I know I’m not the most consistent on posting but I’m working on it. My work schedule should be a little more consistent so that will help. This week’s topic is all about Movies. Specifically the movies I can’t wait for from now until December. We are getting into award season movies, so I’m really excited.

Image result for bohemian rhapsody movie poster                                                       → Release Date: November 2

I’m so beyond ready for this. I love Queen and Freddie Mercury. Plus Rami Malek is such a great actor, that I think this will be fantastic.

                                                       → Release Date: November 2

I’m the biggest Christmas fan, but the Nutcracker is one my favorite Christmas plays. The cinematography looks absolutely beautiful and it’s by the same people who did The Beauty and the Beast 🙂

Image result for widows movie poster                                                     → Release Date: November 16

I will watch anything with Viola Davis. I’m ready. Everyone in this cast is a powerhouse so I think this will be a great thriller/heist film.

Image result for robin hood movie poster                                                    → Release Date: November 21

Have you seen the Behind the Scenes video where Taron Egerton is practicing his archery. *swoons* I can’t wait. Seriously, I’m glad Taron is getting the spotlight he deserves. Kingsman: The Secret Service was the first step to this guy’s amazing career.

Image result for creed 2 movie poster                                                       → Release Date: November 21

I am still hella bitter Michael B. Jordan was nominated at the Golden Globes and the Oscars for his role. A damn shame. Creed was one of my favorite movies of 2015 so I expect great things for Creed II

Image result for aquaman movie poster                                                       → Release Date: December 14

Ya’ll know I’m a Marvel movie gal. And while I love DC comics, the DCEU needs to get it’s shit together. Justice League makes me angry thinking about it, Suicide Squad made absolutely no sense. Batman v Superman was just blah. Seriously, it’s a freaking mess. Wonder Woman was good. So while I love Jason Momoa and I’ll of course be going to see this movie, I’m keeping my expectations low. I will say I’m hoping Aquaman makes way more money than Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald just so Amber Heard can get paid more than Johnny Depp.

Image result for spider man into the spider verse movie poster                                                       →  Release Date: December 14

I AM FREAKING EXCITED! 1. I love SpiderMan. 2. It’s my man Miles Morales movies 3. SPIDER-GWEN IS IN IT! 4. The voice cast is supreme. Shameik Moore, Brian Tyree Henry, John Mulaney, Jake Johnson, Mahershala Ali, and Liev Schreiber. This is going to be lit, I can feel it.

                                                         →Release Date: December 19

LIN-MANUEL MIRANDA IS GOING TO BE IN A MOVIE! I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway, my senior year of high school, and I adore the movie. This will be a super fun movie and I can’t wait.

Image result for destroyer 2018 movie poster                                                         → Release Date: December 25

I mean I’d probably see it anyway. But like, Sebastian Stan is my favorite so I’m really going for him. But…. I did see the new trailer and Nicole Kidman looks like she’s about to kick some major ass.


Any movies you can’t wait for this year? Look out for some movie reviews when I see these great picks 🙂

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The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden


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“Will you tell her? asked the mare. “Everything?” the demon said. “Of bears and sorcerers, spells made of sapphire and a witch that lost her daughter? No, of course not. I shall tell her as little as possible. And hope that it is enough.” 

I have loved many books in my life. I’ve loved books that tell of fantasy, friendship, and adventure, but I have never loved a book liked I love The Bear and the Nightingale. One of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read, it reached deep into my soul fall truly in love with this book. Bear and the Nightingale is on the list of books I wish I could reread over for the first time. I could talk all day about how beautiful this book is to me.

Where does one begin describing their favorite book? This book is magical. The writing is lyrical, it is everything I could ever want in a book. This book is truly a centuries-old fairytale. Russian fairy tales are intertwined to make for a brand new fairytale. A story about family dynamics, gender roles in society, and faith vs tradition are wrapped up in beautiful prose.

“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god. I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.”

The Bear and the Nightingale tells the story of a girl named Vasya and her bravery in keeping her family safe from horrors that seem to be right out of the stories her nursemaid would tell her. Vasya has the special ability to talk with some of the magical creatures from her nursemaid, Dunya, stories. She befriends these creatures and in turn, they befriend her and teach Vasya the secrets of the magical world.

Vasya’s wild and care-free nature is strained when her father takes a new bride who also can see the creatures. While both Vasya and Anna can both see the creatures, Anna considers them to be demons and treats Vasya cruelly for acknowledging them.

“It is a cruel task, to frighten people in God’s name.”

Then an arrogant priest is sent to the village dreaming of a higher calling.  But after talking to Anna about the old ways of honoring the magical creatures, he decides he is the village’s salvation. Fearing demons are everywhere, the priest uses fear and intimidation in the village. Frightened for their souls, the village slowly follows the priest’s crooked ways and turn away from past tradition.

With the priest and Anna’s own cruelty, Vasya finds herself even more of an outcast. But a frost-demon has taken an interest in her wild heart. He tells her stories of the old ways and of his wicked brother. Thus begins the tale of a girl, a frost-demon, a bear and the nightingale.

“Solovey will take me to the ends of the earth if I ask it. I am going into the world, Alyosha. I will be no one’s bride, neither of man nor of God. I am going to Kiev and Sarai and Tsargrad, and I will look upon the sun on the sea.”

I love many things about The Bear and the Nightingale, but a few things really connected me to the story: the character arcs, the setting, and the deeper themes of the story.

Vasya is probably one of my favorite female characters of all time. She is a very strong-willed, compassionate, care-free protagonist and it’s easy to fall in love with her. We get to see Vasya grow from a child loved by her family for her antics to a young girl who is desperate to stay free. Her need for independence is probably the compelling part of this book.

“Wild birds die in cages.”

The antagonists of this story are very complex because while the main villain is the Bear, the villains in Vasya’s immediate life are her stepmother and the foreign priest.  The stepmother is a perfect foil for Vasya because she can also see the magical creatures but to her, these creatures are not friends but demons who need to be purged. She takes her anger out on Vasya and her cruelty towards her stepdaughter was really the true villain to Vasya’s life. I even consider the priest a villain in the way he strokes animosity and anger toward Vasya. His hatred for her masks underlining feelings he can’t define towards her. Instead of confronting his own arrogance, he blames all of his problems and the problems in the village on Vasya.

Katherine Arden has absolutely stunning writing. I keep forgetting this is a debut because the visuals the reader can get is astounding. You really feel a part of the story. 

The setting for this book has everything:

*wintery setting

*magical forest


* Characters who are good, bad and somewhere in-between

*mythology and folklore

If you’re looking for a great wintery read or dark fantasy with great themes, and even better character arcs, The Bear and the Nightingale is for you. The audiobook is also beautiful because you actually feel like you are listening to one of Dunya’s stories.

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Thoughtful Thursday: The Music I listen to when I read

Thoughtful Thursday: The Music I listen to when I read

Happy Thursday Friends!! It’s time for another Thoughtful Thursday post and today I’m going to be talking about music. Music is honestly my favorite thing in the world. I listen to almost anything except for country and heavy metal. I literally listen to music all the time, when I shower, when I’m driving, cooking, any activity there is I’d probably be listening to music. Last year I listened to 83,088 minutes of music according to Spotify. I have three lyrical tattoos and have plans for more. Music has just always been a big part of my life.

One of the weirdest musical habits I have is listening to music while reading.  I know what you’re thinking, how do you concentrate on your books while listening to music? For me, it’s all about background noise. I just read better and faster if I’m listening to music. My mom thinks it’s the weirdest thing, but hey I love it. So I thought I would share some of the music I listen to while I’m reading. I do have a reading playlist on my Spotify and I’ll add a link to it if you ever felt like checking it out

Image result for captain america the winter soldier score

Captain America: The Winter Soldier by Henry Jackman

I know. Mel, you talk about this all the time, but it’s true. This is my favorite movie score probably of all time. The thing I love most is Jackman’s unique use of percussion. This is a movie with quiet moments but it also has some of the best fight scenes in a Marvel movie and this score really emphasizes the high risks of it all. I listen to this score at least once a day. I also use some of the more upbeat songs in my workout playlist.

Image result for game of thrones vinyl                                                Game of Thrones by Ramin Djawadi

“Light of the Seven” is a freaking masterpiece. The organ, the piano, the two soloists. Ugh, this is just so well done. Even if you don’t watch the show, you could appreciate this piece. I don’t listen to all of the scores for the show because most of the themes are similar. But the Daenerys pieces are fab and I absolutely love the score for the 7th season. I’m also really mad at myself for not buying a ticket to see the GOT concert experience.

Image result for legend of korra album

Legend of Korra by Jeremy Zuckerman

This soundtrack is so mellow and peaceful. Heavy strings in most of the songs, it’s always a great listen when I need a peaceful atmosphere while I’m reading. I wish there was more music for this show but alas, it’s only season 1 that’s out.

Image result for leon bridges album cover.                                                                    Leon Bridges

I don’t normally listen to music with words when I’m reading, but Leon Bridges is like listening to jazz so it’s always on my go to. His new album is more of a 70s vibe so the songs fit better when I’m listening while laying in bed reading.

Image result for josh groban album                                                                       Josh Groban

I remember being in 6th grade and disliking him immensely, but here we are. His voice is definitely something I can listen to in the background. Most of the songs are average around 115 bpm but his older stuff can get down to like 78 and that’s perfect for a reading experience.

Image result for john williams and hans zimmer                                                   John Williams and Hans Zimmer

The Godfathers of movie scores. You can never go wrong listening to any of these brilliant men albums. Some of the best movies had one of these guys as the composer.  I add my favorites to my Reading playlist but the “This is John Williams” or “This is Hans Zimmer” playlists is fab also.

Image result for how to train your dragon john powell                                          How to Train Your Dragon by John Powell

These scores are some of my favorites of all time. I have them on vinyl too.lol. Test Drive is a Horn section’s dream. But seriously, without getting to music theory. The motifs in these two albums are amazing. I can’t wait to see how the music lends itself to the third movie. When I bawl my eyes out forever.

Image result for black panther soundtrack                                              Black Panther by Ludwig Goransson

I can’t believe this guy is newer to the movie composing world. Okay so if you didn’t know for the BP movie Goransson studied in Senegal to research traditional African music and the instruments used. Like what a dude. I freaking love this score. Ancestral Plane is fire. Seriously the violin section is superb. And it’s perfect for that scene in the movie. (It’s when T’Challa goes to talks to his father in the ancestral plane, hahaha)


So this is just some of the songs I listened to while reading. I also have two other playlists for different reading experiences, including my musical playlist. Do you listen to music when you read? I’m always looking for more songs to add. If you wanna check out my Spotify playlist for reading you can find it HERE.

Mel 🙂


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Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass #3) by Sarah J. Maas

Did you ever watch the Legend of Korra? If the answer is yes, then we should probably be best friends. If the answer is no, you should watch it so we can then be best friends. One of my favorite quotes from that entire show is “When we reach our lowest point, we are opened to the greatest change.” What am I talking about Legend of Korra in an Heir of Fire review? Because that quote perfectly encapsulates my feelings on why Heir of Fire is my favorite novel in the Throne of Glass series.

 Fireheart – why do you cry? “Because I am lost,” she whispered onto the earth. “And I do not know the way.”


The Throne of Glass series has always been Aelin Ashryver Galathynius’ story. Heir of Fire is special because this is the story of Celaena’s lowest point. We finally get to fully see broken Celaena. Up until this point, Celaena has been a strong, badass woman who sasses the hell out of everyone. But after the ending of Crown of Midnight, we are left with a Celaena who is still grieving the loss of her dear friend, Nehemia. Heir of Fire is a different type of a strong, badass woman; we see a woman who is grieving.

“Because she is dead!” She screamed the last word so loudly it burned in her throat. “Because she is dead, and I am left with my worthless life!”

Celaena is grieving the loss of her friend, her lost love, and the past she tries so desperately to hide. For a good chunk of Heir of Fire, Celaena is in such a state of self-loathing and guilt. It’s heartbreaking to see a character so down, but it helped me really connect with Celaena as a character. Seeing her struggles, I was able to relate way more to Celaena than I did before. She hits rock bottom, but she builds herself back up to becoming Aelin. And that’s why she’s such a strong character. Because even when she hit rock bottom, Aelin found a way to come out on top, and be a stronger person for it.

But where there is darkness there is also light. And SJM does a wonderful job of truly giving Celaena the best character development. Celaena is finally confronted with her past and she’s a better person for it. She chose the future instead of looking at the past. And she finally is beginning to lean on others for help.

I could talk for 100 years about the Heir of Fire being the best character development for Celaena, but there are other people who really make me love this book too soooo…….

“Their hands clasped between them, he whispered into her ear, “I claim you, too, Aelin Galathynius.”

ROWAN…. My fae prince. I absolutely love that grumpy old man. Seriously, one of my favorite book boyfriends. I love me some rough around the edges-broken men, hide their heart of gold under a thick skin of asshole. He fits right in.  Rowan was just as broken as Celaena but in his own way, and they learned to be better together. They became good friends who were able to lean on each other for strength.


MANON…. Finally some witches. This was such a great addition to this story. I loved how she was death incarnate but her wyvern loved to roll around in wildflowers. I think Abraxos was really the start of her slowly becoming less ruthless. Asterin is also fantastic and Book 4 is where she really shines.


CHAOL….. Unpopular opinion, I’m not a fan of Chaol. I never really was until like the very end of Queen of Shadows. I don’t know he just isn’t my cup of tea. But I did like seeing him be unsure of everything. He made a bunch of mistakes and he’s learning from them. He doesn’t know who to trust. But he’ll get there, he’s just going through some stuff.


“You cannot pick and choose what parts of her to love.”

DORIAN….. I loved how Dorian had the most character growth after Celaena in Heir of Fire. He really has the worst luck, but he’s always willing to be a good person. I love Dorian staying true to himself. But man this guy cannot catch a break.


This is an emotional rollercoaster, but if you stick with it the end of this book is simply amazing. We are finally getting to the true plot of the series and how it all fits together. I could talk about this forever, but don’t want to give too much away!

“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.” 



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October 2018 TBR

Book Friends this is the month I’ve been waiting for…. OCTOBER! Fall weather, Oktoberfest, cheesy horror films, I love it all. It’s finally reasonable for me to watch Hocus Pocus and Hallowentown 85 times. I spent a week going over my plans for this month. Not going to lie I spent quite some time on Youtube watching other bloggers talking about annotating books and setting up an editorial calendar. I think I finally figured it out, or at least I hope I do.

This month I made a plan for literally everything I want to do here but most importantly I’ve got my TBR for this month. I swear I’m going to stick with it this time (If I don’t feel free to send me a reminder)

Image result for queen of shadows Image result for empire of storms Image result for tower of dawn Image result for kingdom of ash Image result for the boneless mercies Image result for the darkest star

Image result for blanca and roja Image result for the brilliant death Image result for the iron queen Image result for the iron knight Image result for the deepest roots Image result for empress of all seasons

Image result for girls of paper and fireImage result for vengeful ve schwabImage result for the coldest girl in coldtown Image result for dark descent of elizabeth frankenstein

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas

Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass #6) by Sarah J. Maas

Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass #7) by Sarah J. Maas  (AHH!!!! )

Release Date: October 23

The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke

Release Date: October 2

The Darkest Star by Jennifer Armentrout

Release Date: October 30

Blanca &Roja by Anna Marie McLemore

Release Date: October 30

The Brilliant Death by Amy Rose Capetta

Release Date: October 30

The Iron Queen (The Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey #4) by Julie Kagawa

The Deepest Roots by Miranda Asebedo

Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean

Release Date: November 6

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

Release Date: November 6

My Halloween Reads

Vengeful by V.E Schwab

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White