Featured

Welcome to the Flock!

This is the post excerpt.

Advertisements

I’m so glad to have you here!  My name is Gabby Hyde, I am 21 years old, and I run a Youtube channel called TheCuriousOwl.  On there, I do a variety of videos, spanning from video games to book reviews.  I created this blog in addition to the book review side of my channel, to give me something a little different for viewers who may like the reviews, but want a little more than what I say in the videos.  I have seen many other Book Youtubers, or as they more known as “BookTubers”, have their own blogs, and I thought it was a very interesting change in perspective when sharing the thoughts and ideas that one has on a book.  Many times, it is easier to write out one’s thoughts than to verbally express them, as we can sometimes get tripped over our own tongues and ramble for much longer than we intend.

The reviews that will be posted here will be much more in depth as my personal thoughts on each book that is read, and they will also have a link to the book itself on Amazon, and a link to the original video that is posted on the channel.

Along with reviews posted to this blog, I will be doing random check-ins with things like upcoming book conventions, new releases, and other bookish things that I want to share!  I will also be leaving my Goodreads profile so that you may follow me on there if you so wish.

I hope that you all will enjoy the content that I am offering, and as always, happy reading!

IMG_4843[1]

Contemporary-a-thon Round 4 Wrap-Up

mini red hearts wallpaper
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

Hello there everyone!  I hope everyone has had a great few weeks and had a wonderful Galentine’s/Valentine’s Day!  I just finished my week of Contemporary-a-thon here on Sunday, and I thought I would share the results of the week!  This was the first time that I participated in the readathon, and for my first attempt it was not too shabby!

So along with my audiobook (that was not a part of Contemporary-a-thon), I finished 2/4 books that were on my TBR.  While that would disappoint some, I am not because both of the books I did not finish are on my monthly TBR anyway to help me with the BookTube Games that has been happening so far this month and will continue until March 1st.  At the time of writing this, I have already finished the third book out of the 4, and am working on the fourth which will be finished tomorrow!

So here are the books I finished:

“People Kill People” by Ellen Hopkins: 5 stars

Challenge(s) met: Most Recent Contemporary Purchase

 

“If You Come Softly” by Jacqueline Woodson: 4 stars

Challenge(s) met: Diverse Contemporary (Interracial Couple)

 

The other books were “The Inexplicable Logic of My Life” by Benjamin Alire Saenz (finished-5 stars) and “Where She Went” by Gayle Forman (currently reading as of this post).

I also entered all of the giveaways for the readathon and did all of the Instagram challenges for the week, so I am very proud of myself this week!  Let me know if you were a part of the Contemporary-a-thon this year and how you did!

“Cloaked in Shadow” (“The Dragori Series” #1) by Ben Alderson (E-Book Review)

CiS

Hello there everyone!  Today I want to share my thoughts on the novel “Cloaked in Shadow”.  This is the first novel in the “Dragori series”, which has elves, magic, and a slow-burning M/M romance that I fell head over feet for from the beginning.

This story follows an elf named Zachariah, who is taken with several different elves to the kingdom of Olderim. Many of the the elves that are taken to the castle are known as Shifters, who can use magic to change into various animals.  The king declares that he needs these Shifters to help in a war that is brewing between the Niraen elves and the Morthi, who have been accused of killing and burning several villages.  The catch: Zachariah is not a Shifter, but everyone thinks he is.  Zachariah’s abilities are a secret from everyone, especially his ex-boyfriend Petrer, because his powers could land him in some trouble if anyone was to find out about it.  But when the Prince, Hadrian, takes an interest in Zachariah, he must find a way to control and conceal his powers from everyone, even if it means making a fool of himself.  But when secrets in the kingdom are revealed, Zachriah’s inability to shift becomes the least of his worries.

Long story short, I LOVED THIS BOOK.  I think one of the things that made this book so compelling and interesting was the writing and language that was crafted by Alderson.  It was flowery and honestly felt like magic as I was reading.  I have had very few fantasy books feel like that in my life, and I don’t exactly know what it was that Alderson did, but he is a WONDERFUL writer.

The M/M romance was also absolutely beautiful.  It was slow-burning but adorable and is one of the only books with this kind of a romance that made me truly excited for the characters to get together and express their feelings for each other.  This is my first experience with a M/M romance in fantasy, and was exactly what I wanted: cute and little steamy at times, but felt real.

While the world building and magic systems were not extensive for this first novel in the series, I was fine with that since neither of them were the primary focus of the story until towards the end of the book.  There was not much that was needed since the majority of the story took place at the castle of Olderim, and most of the magic discussions had to deal with the Shifters.  I will say, I appreciated that each Shifters shifted into a different animal or species of animal.  I really hate that when their is a magic system there is usually only one form of it or everyone has a similar power, so I was happy to see that there was a variety within this world.

Overall, I ended up giving this novel a 5/5 stars because it was absolutely a joy to read and was a great start to a series that I cannot wait to continue in the future.

“Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz (Review)

aristotle and dante pic

Hello there everyone!  Today I want to share my thoughts on “Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe” by Benjamin Alire Saenz.  This was my December 2018 TBR Pick (I am all caught up now on my TBR jar picks!), and overall I found it enjoyable.  I did not love it nearly as much as I wanted to, due to some problems that I had with the overall structure and pacing of the novel.

To briefly explain the story: This is a character-driven novel about the friendship that blossoms between Aristotle and Dante.  Both are Mexican-American (OwnVoices for this), but live completely different lives during the year 1987.  Ari is from a poor family, and struggles dealing with his quiet, PTSD ridden Vietnam vet father, and the fact that his older brother, who was sent to prison when Ari was four, is never discussed in his house.  Dante comes from a more privileged family, with an English Lit professor and psychologist (or psychiatrist, I’m not quite sure) for parents.  But this unlikely friendship is something that neither of them will be able avoid.

My overall thoughts on this were that it was cute and fun to read, but it took a long time for me to get to the reason as to why I should care about this friendship.  Typically I love character-driven stories, but only when I see that there is a reason for me to know more about the character than the plot.  This novel for the majority of it did not give me a great reason as to why I should have cared for Ari and Dante.  It was not until the last 20 pages of the book that I realized why I was learning about them, and I think that it WAY too late.  There were some really great scenes that developed the friendship and showed how Ari felt about Dante, but nothing really gave me a clear idea as to what his story was.

I also thought that in tandem with that, the pacing overall was slow.  Because I was spending so much time trying to figure out what the story between Ari and Dante was, I felt that I was just trudging through the book.  I didn’t think that there was really any point to knowing about these guys.

Thankfully, the ending kind of saved the story for me.  I say “kind of” because I was still confused as to why I did not learn about the reason why I was reading about Ari and Dante until the end.  It would have made more sense to me to have the reasoning at the beginning of the story, so that the reader could enjoy the story and the blossoming friendship of Ari and Dante more.  But overall, I really enjoyed the ending and it made me feel warm and fuzzy by the end of it.

Overall, I ended up giving this book 4/5 stars because I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as I had hoped to, due to the structure and pacing of the novel.

 

 

“Revival” by Stephen King (Review)

revival

Hello there!  Today I am going to be discussing my thoughts on the novel “Revival” by Stephen King.  This was my random TBR pick for November 2018, and I finally got around to finishing it this month.

Here’s my best attempt at a synopsis for the book, as it is difficult to find the best way to talk about it:

From the time that he was 5 years old, Jaime Morton has been obsessed with his former preacher Charles Jacobs.  After helping Jaime’s older brother, Conrad, revive his voice after suffering an accident, Jaime sees Charles’ fascination with electricity, and becomes almost as obsessed with it as well.  After Charles’ family is killed in a horrific accident, however, Jaime witnesses Charles denounce his faith and leaves his small Maine town.  Years later, after Jaime has become a semi-successful guitarist and has become addicted to heroin, he meets Charles again, and starts to realize that his boyhood hero may not be as great as he once was.  Even later, when Jaime is in his early fifties, he begins to understand that Charles’ obsession with electricity is bringing an entire new meaning to the word “revival”.

 

This is a story told in a linear fashion, from Jaime at age 5 to early fifties, from the mid 1960’s-early 2010’s.  While I love reading about character’s lives with nearly no other plot, this novel had such an obscure plot that it was almost difficult to even understand the point of learning about Jaime’s life and Charles as a person in his eyes.  Along with that, because the majority of the novel was about Jaime growing up, there were some pacing problems that I think hindered the novel in a lot of ways, as it made the story seem to drag on in places.  However, the novel was still fairly easy to move through because of it being told so linearly.

There are some classic Stephen King tactics used here that I thoroughly enjoyed: extraordinary paranormal phenomenon, suspense, and interesting discussions about things like faith, God, and life after death.  However, the ending of this novel (without spoiling anything) left me feeling unsatisfied.  This is because while I could see how some of the paranormal events worked to bring about the reasoning as to why Charles became obsessed with electricity, there was an event that happened at the end of the book that threw everything I understood out the window.  I felt confused at the end of all of it, and did not understand how things could go from here, and how Charles had exactly come to this point in the first place.  Some may say that his grief had something to do with it, and while I would agree on that front, I am still left with many more questions than answers.

I feel like I missed a huge point within the novel that would have made things so much clearer for me, so if you have read this and have some answers, please let me know, as I am incredibly confused.  Overall, I ended up giving this a 3/5 stars.  I did not hate it, but did not love it either.

Winter 2019 Biannual Bibliothon: Challenge 7: Winter Bookish Tag

abstract art background blue sky
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Hello there everyone!  Today is the final day for the Winter 2019 Biannual Bibliothon!  So far this week, I have read 1 full book (yikes!), should finish 1 tonight if I’m lucky, uploaded all 7 of the video challenges, done all but one of the Instagram challenges (today’s has not been posted as of writing this post), and this is my last blog challenge post for the week!  I hope you all have enjoyed seeing these challenges, as I have had so much fun doing them, and it has helped me launch back my blog that has been so unfortunately neglected over the last several months.

Today’s challenge is to do the Winter Bookish Tag, and boy am I excited for this!  I love doing tag videos on my channel, and I haven’t done one yet on my blog, so I’m really happy to finally do one!

 

Question 1: Walking in a bookish wonderland-Name a character you want to walk through the falling snow with.

This is a tough one, but I think I’d have to go with my go-to Hermione. I know I’ve used her for almost every challenge this week, but I just want her to be real so she can be my friend, okay?

Question 2: Do you wanna build a snowman?-Pick 3 white books or white spined books you would want to build a snowman with.

 

Question 3: Baby it’s cold outside-Winter gets pretty chilly so name a big book you would like to snuggle up by the fire with

Okay, so I constitute a “big book” as something over 450 pages, so I am going to go with my beloved “Beautiful Creatures” (563 pages in the paperback).  This book always gives me the warm-fuzzies when I think about it.

Question 4: Let it snow-Each snowflake that falls is beautiful and unique.  Pick a book that is beautiful and unique to you (a book that stands out)!

To try and pick different answers that have not been used yet, I am going to go with “The Goldfinch” by Donna Tartt.  This was such a heartbreaking story that was so deep and gut-wrenching that it left me spiraling after finishing it.  I don’t think that I have had any book hurt me like this one did, and still love it with a burning passion.

Question 5: The fire is slowly dying-Oh no!  Your fire is slowly burning out!  Pick a book you wouldn’t mind throwing into the fire to keep it going (a book you dislike).

“Insomnia” by Stephen King.

Question 6: Underneath the mistletoe-Name a character you wouldn’t mind getting caught under the mistletoe with.

Ethan Wate.  But I might have to fend off Lena, which would not be ideal, so it would be a one-time thing.

Question 7: What’s this?-What book would you hope to find wrapped up as a gift?

Anything by Ellen Hopkins or Agatha Christie, as I am trying to build a collection for both.

Question 8: A Weasley family Christmas-What bookish family would you want to spend the winter season with?

Weasley’s of course.

Question 9: Freeze!-What character(s) would you want to have on your team for a snowball fight?

Link, for his Incubus strength; either Harry or Hermione for their magic; and Alina Starkov (Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo) so she can blind the other team momentarily.

Question 10: Hot Butterbeer-What fictional hot drink would you like to have to keep you warm while you read?

Butterbeer, duh.

 

I hope you guys like these answers!  Let me know how you would answer!

Winter 2019 Biannual Bibliothon: Challenge 6: Cozy Fire Reads

Hello there everyone!  For today’s challenge, I am going to tell you some stories that I think would be perfect to read next to a winter fireplace.  I don’t have a fireplace at my house, but I have always wanted one.  My room, for instance, has very little heat at any point, so a personal fireplace would be great.  But my room is also super tiny, so it may not even be able to work.

Also, I am not a seasonal reader, so this makes this challenge extra hard for me, because honestly I would just go with whatever I’m currently reading or have been thinking about for a while.

 

Anyway, here are the books I would pick to read by the fire:

 

  1. Any of the “Harry Potter” books

Does this really need an explanation?

2. Any mystery novels

Honestly, I don’t know why this would be something I would read next to a fire.  Just sounds like a good time to me.  But honestly, I think I’m going through a crime novel withdrawl, so I think I need to get to reading another one soon.

3. A “Game of Thrones” book

Again, I don’t know why, but if I was trapped inside, this sounds like it would at least keep me entertained, and it is something that I enjoy so far (only having read the first book at this point).

Those are all of the ones that I can think of at the moment, especially since I don’t really read seasonally.  Hope you guys like my list!

adult beverage breakfast celebration
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Winter 2019 Biannual Bibliothon: Challenge 5: 5 Characters on a Winter Trip

snow nature sky night
Photo by Stefan Stefancik on Pexels.com

Hello there everyone!  Today I want to share with you all the 5 characters that I would take on a winter trip into the woods to stay in a nice cozy cabin.  I love this idea for a winter vacation, mostly because I’ve never done that myself.  Usually in Michigan, the winters can get so brutal that it makes it difficult to leave the house let alone go to a cabin.  That and the fact that my family doesn’t own a log cabin in the middle of nowhere.

Regardless, here are the 5 characters I would bring with me and what we would do at the cabin if they were there!

Character 1: Hermione Granger

Yes, I know, I’ve used her for every challenge this week, but I can’t help the fact that I think she’d be one of my best friends.  Also, with her magic, we can do so much stuff around the cabin!  She can help me decorate, help me cook, and even maybe help me win a snowball fight without ever having to touch the cold snow.

Character 2: Wesley “Link” Lincoln

I need a strong Incubus to go cut down some trees and haul some wood back to the cabin for cozy fires.  Also someone to scare off the bears if they get too close.  But he needs to leave the music at home.

Character 3: Amma Treadeau

While she may not care so much for the cold, I know that Amma would bring some good vibes to the cabin.  And may some great food to keep us warmed up during the cold nights.

Character 4: Katniss Everdeen

Definitely would want a hunter/gatherer that can help keep the place safe and secure from animals, and maybe provide some grub here and there if we run low on food.

Character 5: Buckbeak

Don’t squint your eyes at me like that.  He needs a vacation too!  All that flying around is tiring.  At least here he could romp through the woods without a care.

 

Hope you guys like this list!  Let me know who you would take on a winter trip!