The Bookish Things

What is Self-Control?

I have a book haul today, because I have no self-control! I recently made a few trips to some bookstores, and I wanted to share everything that I have acquired! You see, I recently joined TikTok, and found BookTok on my first day of scrolling, and it has done absolutely nothing but enable my lack of self-control!

Let’s start with what I picked up from Barnes and Noble last Tuesday!

First up is Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin. This book follows the story of Louise de Blanc, a witch who has forsaken her magic and went into hiding, and Reid Diggory, a witch hunter. Forced to marry each other, Louise will ultimately be faced with an impossible choice.

I have been eyeballing this one for quite a while, but I never found myself with enough want to purchase it. That was BBT…Before BookTok. Now, I can hardly keep up with all the books that are being recommended by everyone on my “For You” page. After seeing this one pop up in recommendation videos so many times, I took it as a sign to finally pick this one up.

Next up is A Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair. This is a Hades and Persephone re-telling, with ALL the spice. Let me be honest here. I love, love, LOVE YA Fantasy. But, I’m getting to the point where I need something a bit more…adult in my life. Not necessarily spicy, but the spice is (sometimes) a welcome addition to the story. A Touch of Darkness is another one I am seeing on BookTok almost constantly, so I absolutely had to see what all of the fuss was about.

And then, we decided to visit our families in Arizona as a surprise for Father’s Day last weekend. We drove down Friday night, and surprised Manoans’ family, my family, and my best friend. In Arizona, there’s a thrift bookstore that I adore called Bookman’s. I decided on Saturday that my best friend and I should go, as we both have an infinite love for reading and books, AND I was desperately anxious to see if they had A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury in the original cover art.

I failed in my mission to find the original ACOTAR covers. I did succeed, however, in demonstrating my lack of self-control by purchasing seven more books. The upside to this, besides having more books to eventually read, was that it was literally the same price for seven books and a Funko Pop for Manoans, that it would have been at Barnes and Noble for two or three books. Don’t sleep on thrift bookstores, guys, they are treasures!

First up from Bookman’s is The Selection by Kiera Cass. In this book, America Singer is one of thirty-five girls to be Selected to compete for the hand of Prince Maxon. For her, it’s the worst thing that could possibly happen, as she’ll have to leave her family, her life, and her secret lover Aspen behind to compete for a crown that she really doesn’t want. Until she meets the Prince.

Yet another one that I’ve seen literally everywhere on my “For You” page, and in a Facebook group my best friend added me to! Honestly, this one doesn’t sound like it will be anywhere close to my kind of story. But that’s exactly why I picked it up. My cousin has nothing but praises for this book, so I thought I would give it a try. I’m also beyond nervous, though, because the reviews on this are SO mixed, it’s almost terrifying!

Beastly by Alex Flinn is a fairly popular Beauty and the Beast retelling that follows all around popular guy, Kyle Kingsbury, who is cursed by a witch in his school to become a beast that prowls the streets at night. I’m going to admit to a bookish crime — I watched the movie before I read the book. I still haven’t read the book, and honestly didn’t know about it until a few years after the movie came out. It needs to be mentioned that I’m an absolute sucker for anything Beauty and the Beast. But I adored the movie, so I am excited for this find. Now, if only I could have found it in a different cover, other than the movie cover…

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl is the second installment of the Beautiful Creatures series that follows Ethan and Lena, who are drawn to each other mysteriously and must navigate magic and secrets in a sleepy Georgia town that never has any surprises to offer. I have actually already read this series, and I loved it. The writing and worldbuilding was rich, and I couldn’t get enough of Ethan and Lena. I lent my copy of Beautiful Darkness out a few years ago, and the coworker I lent it to was let go soon after that, and never returned it. I’ve been meaning to replace my copy for years, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to do so. My only qualm is that the covers I have are fairly glossy, where this one is matte.

This is another one where I have seen and loved the movie, but have yet to read the book. Stardust by Neil Gaiman follows the story of Tristan Thorn, who lives in the town of Wall, named after the wall that separates the town itself from a meadow. Tristan has fallen in love with Victoria Forester, and, in exchange for her hand, promises to bring her a fallen star; a journey that takes him over the wall. This is definitely one I’m excited to read. I have yet to ready any of Neil Gaiman’s books, but I loved the movie version of Stardust, as well as the show American Gods, and Good Omens, and the movie Corraline left me scarred for years. I think it’s high time I actually read his books.

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor is another series that I’ve already read in its entirety, and I’m still bitter that it has yet to be turned into a movie or TV show, because it was phenomenal. This is a trilogy that follows Alyss Heart, heir to the throne of Wonderland, who has fled from her insane Aunt Redd and escaped into another world through the Pool of Tears. In this new world, she meets and tells her story to one Lewis Carroll, in the hopes that he will tell the story, correctly, and someone from Wonderland will find her and bring her home. Her royal bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, has been searching for her since she escaped, so she could be trained and be returned to Wonderland to battle her Aunt Redd for the throne. I’m also a sucker for all things Alice in Wonderland, and this series was a fantastic retelling.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor follows the story of Karou, who is prone to drawing monsters in her sketchbook, disappearing on “errands,” and speaking languages that aren’t human. And her hair is naturally blue in color. When she meets mysterious Akiva in Marrakesh, her world is turned upside-down. You guessed it! This is another case of “BookTok made me buy it.” I keep seeing this one online, and I know I’m late to the party here, but I’m hoping it’ll be a good story. The reviews are fantastic, for the most part, and two of my all-time favorite authors gave it a five-star rating, which gives me hope!

And now, on to the book that I purchased from Barnes and Noble…the same day I purchased the six books from Bookman’s! I’m so glad my bestie and I ended leaving Barnes and Noble when we did, because who knows what destruction I would have wrought on our bank account if we hadn’t.

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward follows the story of Wrath, the only purebred vampire left on Earth, and his need for revenge against the slayers that murdered his parents centuries ago. Beth Randall, a half-breed, is orphaned when Wrath’s most trusted fighter is murdered, and Wrath must tell her all about her heritage and bloodline, as well as protect her from harm. This one was recommended to me by my bestie, because I’ve been searching for more…umm…adult books. I might be testing the waters with some smut, guys, don’t judge me too harshly. This one sounds amazing and steamy, and I cannot resist a good vampire story. Let’s hope it lives up to the hype!

And then, I went to Target with my sister-in-law on Wednesday night. And we ended up in the book aisle somehow! And, again because I have literally no self-control, I ended up purchasing two more books that I have been eyeballing for awhile now!

This is one I have not seen on BookTok or on Facebook, but I found it at Barnes and Noble. For those that still don’t know, I’m a Celtic Pagan, and in love with all things Celtic Mythology. Curse of the Specter Queen by Jenny Elder Moke follows the story of Samantha Knox, who lost her father in the Great War. Her peaceful world is shattered when a package containing a damaged diary makes its way to the antique bookshop she works at. Chased through Dublin, Ireland by men who want the diary, Samantha discovers an ancient order whose sole purpose is to bring about the Specter Queen — the Celtic Goddess of death, war, and vengeance — to bring about a war, the likes of which has never been seen. This book is being toted as an Indiana Jones-style story with a strong female lead, set in the early 1920s. Indiana Jones meets Celtic Mythology? Um, yes, please!

Finally, we’ve made it to the last book of this haul. Last, but certainly not least. May I just say, that whoever thought sticking stickers on books was a good idea must be EVIL. It drives me absolutely insane.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin follows the story of Clara, a rare Everwitch, whose powers are tied with every season. In this world, witches have maintained the climate for centuries, but their power is beginning to falter, and all hope lies with Clara. Clara, who wants nothing to do with her powers because of the toll they exact, and their volatile nature. Over the course of the seasons, Clara must accept her responsibility in brining the climate back under control, and choose between her duty and her people, or her own happiness. The Nature of Witches is being marketed as Practical Magic meets Twister. One of my favorite witchy movies meets one of my favorite (okay, probably my only favorite) disaster movie. The reviews on this one have me a little worried, but I cannot pass up what is potentially an engaging and well-told witch story. Fingers crossed that it’s as amazing as its cover!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this one, lovelies, and maybe have seen something you either love, or would love to try! Have you read any of these books? Let’s discuss them in the comments! Catch you in the next one!

3d book display image of Touch of Darkness by Scarlett St. Clair

Hallowe's Cauldron Recommends

A modern Hades and Persephone retelling! Persephone, Goddess of Spring, kills the plants that she touches. Hades, God of the Dead, gambles for peoples' souls. After a chance encounter, Persephone is tasked with creating life in the Underworld, or become a permanent resident there. Can she accomplish this impossible task? And can she do it without losing her heart?

Get Your Copy Today>>