2017-love-a-thon · introduction

2017 Love-a-thon Introduction Post

2017-love-a-thon-graphic

So I am joining the Love-a-thon event this year! Here is my introduction post for it. This is also for the long-time readers of this blog who know Kate, but not Meg.

An Introduction to You and Your Blog

1. What’s your name? Where in the world are you blogging from?
Hello, I’m Meg. I am 1/2 of Spills and Spoils. Actually, more like 1/6235467523674 since I have only joined this blog recently.
I grew up in the Philippines but I now live in the American South.

2. Tell us your history with reading. Were you always a reader? Were you a reluctant reader? Was there a book that convinced you to become a reader?
I’ve been reading for as long as I remember. In fact, I think I got bad eyesight from reading too much, without even caring about the lighting. I had to start wearing eyeglasses when I was around eleven.

I don’t think there was a particular book that influenced me to become a reader. I do remember my mother reading to us bedtime stories. 😀

3. How did you get involved in the online book community?
It’s actually Kate who got me into joining Goodreads. She started a private blog just to keep tracks of books she read. She recently approached me with the suggestion of joining her on this blog, so, I’m pretty new still.

4. How did you choose your primary platform (blog, Instagram, YouTube, etc)? How did you come up with your blog name?
Well, I most certainly am not comfortable BookTubing… *nervous laugh* I remember I started a YouTube account only for posting song covers, but that did not go so well. Writing is the best option for me.

And this is why it’s named as such according to Kate: “spills” because it’s spilling our thoughts as we write about what we’re reviewing, and “spoils” because when it comes to books, we overindulge. 😀

5. What’s your favorite thing about the online book community?
From what I’ve seen, so far, readers don’t judge each other based on their book preferences. I’ve seen some pretty harsh book reviews, but people never bash each other. (I hope I’m correct with this assumption, since I’m still pretty new…)

6. What sort of posts can readers expect from you?
Well, as it says on the About page, this is a book and movie review blog. But I, Meg, will only write about books. I’m not very creative when it comes to writing reviews but I do tend to spill my feels all over the place.

7. What book genres do you talk about most?
I’ve only got a couple of posts on here so far and they are all in the fantasy genre. I read other genres too, but Kate is the explorer.

Favorites

1. Favorite food? Beverage?
Food: Chicken
Beverage: Root beer, pink lemonade

2. Favorite color?
Green, blue, purple, and I’m really starting to like soft pink, haha.

3. Favorite things to do apart from reading?
Most definitely: learning languages. I am a polyglot as well as a linguist. I also like to draw and sing.

4. Favorite TV shows?
I don’t really watch TV, but I did enjoy watching these series: Castle, Criminal Minds, Drop Dead Diva, Pushing Daisies

5. Favorite movies?
The Lord of the Rings, Star Wars. I like a lot of rom-com and Disney.

6. Favorite musical artists?
As of right now, I love listening to Jesse & Joy.

7. Favorite places to shop?
Sephora, Books-A-Million, Michael’s.

Book Talk

1. Favorite childhood books?
The Ramona Quimby books, The Babysitters Club, of course, Harry Potter.

2. Favorite books/series read in the last five years?
– The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen
– Royal Circle series ( Gilt, Tarnish, Brazen) by Katherine Longshore
– Legend trilogy by Marie Lu
– Lethal Dispatch by Max Tomlinson
– The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien (I’m really proud of myself for this accomplishment)

3. Favorite genres?
Fantasy, you already know that. I also like looking at historical fiction (I’m a little picky about time periods though), cookbooks, some children’s books, and science fiction.

4. Underrated book, series or author you love?
I like Max Tomlinson. His book “Lethal Dispatch” blew me away.

5. A book you want to see made into a film or tv show?
I think I’d like The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo to be made into a movie, so far.

6. Book boyfriend/girlfriend? Book BFF? Book family?
Book boyfriend: Leo Valdez from the Heroes of Olympus Series.
Book BFF: Luna Lovegood!
Book family: Definitely Katarina Bishop’s family in the “Heist Society” novels!

7. Books you want to read in 2017?
My to-read list is ever-growing, but I think:
– Some Rainbow Rowell since I haven’t read any books yet
– “Bloodline” and The Firebird series by Claudia Gray
– Divergent series by Veronica Roth
– Finish the Lorien Legacies (I am stuck in the penultimate book, I think!)
– The Lord of the Rings (been my goal for… lots of years now.)

fantasy · romance · series · Uncategorized · young adult

Review: Throne of Glass

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: Throne of Glass

Summary from Goodreads:

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her … but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead … quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Comments:

Okay, okay. Maybe I thought I was going to fizzle out near the beginning because I didn’t read continuously as I could have. I was quick to judge. Suddenly, things got more interesting. A lot of the books I had read recently have a “from extreme hardship to comfort and wealth but there’s something dark and scary in exchange” theme.

This story feels like a Hunger Games, complete with the one obvious rival and of course, a love triangle. HAHA. I love it. (My ship? Chaol/Celaena. ♥)

Celaena Sardothien… I don’t know how I feel about her. She is a feared assassin well-versed in a wide array of weaponry. She is a voracious reader (I’ve never really met an assassin like this). She likes playing the piano. She also loves wearing pretty dresses. She eats A LOT. She’s funnier than the main character in the last book I read but she is so… multi-faceted that I don’t know whether to like her or not.

But I think the way the mystery of the deaths of the Champions unfolds nicely. I was trying to guess who is behind all of that. It’s a tad bit predictable but not-quite-so-expected either. So it was brilliant, I would say.

Well, I hear this series has a lot of novellas and, I think, six (!) main books. I shall see if I can read the entire thing. I will definitely read the next book, because it might reveal more of Celaena’s past.

Oh, also, I should warn you: this is not a book for you if you like eating while reading. Or if you just have a weak stomach like I do.

“When she awoke every morning, she repeated the same words: I will not be afraid.”

My Rating: ★★★☆ (3.5)

fantasy · romance · series · young adult

Review: Shadow and Bone

Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Series: The Grisha

Summary from Goodreads:

Surrounded by enemies, the once-great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.

Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.

Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha . . . and the secrets of her heart.

Shadow and Bone is the first installment in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Trilogy.

Comments:

I’ve been seeing the hype over the Six of Crows series by Leigh Bardugo, so I’ve been really curious. I was looking around and saw that there was a trilogy before that, though, so I decided to read the previous one first. I was chatting with the librarian at the school I work at and she let me borrow the book. Yay!

I guess, many readers would feel that this is somewhat your clichéd YA with a love triangle and a somewhat Mary Sue main character. But while reading I admit I was thinking, “This is my type of YA: the perfect blend of magic and romance.” To me, the first book in a fantasy series is important because most of the world building would be in it. And it didn’t disappoint: I love all the different kinds of powers the Grisha possessed and the hierarchy that comes with them. I also like the school setting (reminded me a little bit of Bloor’s Academy, and yes, even Hogwarts), though I wish they wrote a bit more about it.

I’m not quite a fan of childhood-friends-turned-into-more-than-friends stories, so when The Darkling started interacting with the main character Alina, I latched onto the ship. Somehow in my head The Darkling resembles Kylo Ren, except with “quartz gray” eyes. And the feels, oh the feels. Perfect.

Bardugo’s writing is great and I absolutely adored the Russian flavor of this universe. The pacing in the narration is a little off, though, so I docked half a star in my rating. Yes, I am going to read the next book, maybe even finish the trilogy before I pick up Six of Crows.

“What is infinite? The universe and the greed of men.”

My Rating: ★★★★☆ (4.5 actually)

chick lit · romance

Review: Remember Me?

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Chick Lit, Romance

Summary from Goodreads:

When twenty-eight-year-old Lexi Smart wakes up in a London hospital, she’s in for a big surprise. Her teeth are perfect. Her body is toned. Her handbag is Vuitton. Having survived a car accident—in a Mercedes no less—Lexi has lost a big chunk of her memory, three years to be exact, and she’s about to find out just how much things have changed.

Somehow Lexi went from a twenty-five-year-old working girl to a corporate big shot with a sleek new loft, a personal assistant, a carb-free diet, and a set of glamorous new friends. And who is this gorgeous husband—who also happens to be a multimillionaire? With her mind still stuck three years in reverse, Lexi greets this brave new world determined to be the person she…well, seems to be. That is, until an adorably disheveled architect drops the biggest bombshell of all.

Suddenly Lexi is scrambling to catch her balance. Her new life, it turns out, comes complete with secrets, schemes, and intrigue. How on earth did all this happen? Will she ever remember? And what will happen when she does?

Comments:

Oh yay! My first Sophie Kinsella book! Can I just say that I actually like the simplicity of the cover which looks really cheery and matches the humor of the book? I thought it was something random, but somewhere in the story, there’s actually an explanation behind the sunflower.

So imagine having to wake up to a life that’s completely different from what you remember…

At least that’s how I imagined Lexi Smart felt after being confronted that it’s year 2007, instead of 2004. From loser to boss, there has been a total change of how things are going for her. The problem is, she can’t remember what happened in the past 3 years. Why do I look different? How was I able to afford such expensive things? I know how to drive? And…. I’m married? She may have been living a perfect life, or so she thinks.

Although there were some instances where I was a bit annoyed with Lexi, I liked her personality. She’s funny, loyal, and was willing step up especially for her family. There isn’t much information about the other characters; it was mostly Lexi’s struggle living at the present even though she had no idea how she got there. Yes, she made mistakes and I didn’t really like the part where it seemed very convenient that things went her way – breaking up with Eric, reconciling with friends, getting that good deal for business. I had to keep in mind that it’s just fiction.

The air of mystery kept it interesting, but of course you could very much predict most of the things that happened. I did feel it was a bit prejudiced at some parts, like the richer people being more shallow than Lexi’s old friends, the seemingly perfect, modelesque husband, and the wayward sister who is a product of negligence. Again, all of these would conveniently end well.

I’m looking forward to reading more of Kinsella’s books!

“All this time, I wasn’t hungry for success, I was hungry.”

My Rating: ★★★★ (4)

fantasy · ghosts · paranormal

Review: The Ghost and the Goth

Author: Stacey Kade
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal
Series: The Ghost and the Goth

Summary from Goodreads:

After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit (DON’T call her a ghost) in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast who despises the social elite. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.

Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust—and the weird attraction between them—to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?

AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | BOOK DEPOSITORY

Comments:

I’m glad I enjoyed this book even though it’s a genre that I’m hesitant to read. I might be a bit biased with my rating but this book totally deserved it because it helped me get out of a slump.

Alona Dare, the most popular girl in high school got hit by a bus and died unexpectedly. Problem was, she never got “into the light” and was stuck in the in-between. Little did she know that Will Killian, resident loser and goth, is able to see dead people. She needed answers on how she could move on and the only way to do that is through Will, who also has enough problems of his own.

The story featured a typical high setting – popular kids are the cheerleaders and jocks, different cliques depending on your intellect, talents, sense of fashion, losers get bullied.. You know the drill. I enjoyed the premise of having to make Alona and Will work together although they come from so different worlds. Of course, Alona would eventually bring out that good side of her, while Will had to break through stereotypes that he isn’t really a goth. Although some would agree that the characters are a bit shallow, I did like the part where we understand more of Alona’s background and that she has not led the perfect life everybody thinks. I thought there should have been more focus on the reconciliation part with her mom because that scene seemed rushed just so the rift would be over.

I’m not sure if I’m totally digging this couple’s love story. I mean, it would be impossible to work out, right? I thought about the parts where they kiss and how a normal person would look at Will and just see him kissing the air. It was cool that the story somewhat took the ghost part lightly, considering most people would find it scary to be able to see them all the time.

I liked the writing style which was funny and light, perfect for someone who just wants to enjoy the story without having to overthink. Cute story indeed. Recommended for anyone who needs a quick and fun read.

“Trust me, you see the dead walking around, you learn not to scream, laugh, or piss yourself pretty quickly.”

My Rating: ★★★★ (4)

fiction · horror

Review: Tales of the Lost

Author: Richard Howard

Publisher: Matador

Genre: Horror, General Fiction

Summary from Netgalley:

“Something in that magical atmosphere had subtly changed as if the previous stillness had been merely a portent to some mysterious event… He tilted his head to catch whatever sound it was that suddenly made him feel that someone, or something, was watching him.”

Tales of the Lost is a book of short stories for adults, ranging from realms of fantasy to modern-day settings. Richard Howard’s stories are born out of a lifelong love of ghost stories and ‘curious tales’, which he read as a child. Some are ghost stories, others are simply scary, and most have a twist in the tail. In each story, there is a character who, one way or another, feels lost.

One story, Flora’s Return, takes its main character from Henry James’ novella The Turn of the Screw, which was filmed in 1960 as The Innocents. Richard takes this story, which he believes is one of the finest ghost stories ever written, and continues it with an exciting new twist.

Richard’s stories are based on his experiences of growing up in a house with its own ghosts during his childhood. Ghosts created by the author M.R.James, the many aspects of horror and disquiet by William Hope Hodgson, the dark humour of Saki and the relationship between man and the forces of nature in Arthur Machen and Algernon Blackwood have all inspired the author to contribute to the short story genre.

From science fiction to fairy tales, stories have been written that allow us to enjoy feeling scared in a safe environment. This collection will not disappoint.

Comments:

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

I don’t usually read a book of short stories so this was a welcome change. I got to admit that I also was drawn to this because of the pretty book cover. After finishing the book, I think the cover could be more interesting and could perhaps be more connected with the stories.

The short stories in this collection varies in length and introduces different creatures from ghosts, to folklore, to even Greek mythology. I enjoy the horror genre, but not particularly some of those which were presented in this book. Still, it was an enjoyable read. I did have a couple of favorites – Flora’s Return and Outrage. There was an air of mystery on both accounts and although they were predictable, still made me excited to have the whole plot revealed.

Overall, I would recommend this to those who would delight in short and easy reads, mostly on fantasy-horror.

My Rating: ★★★ (3)

adventure · historical fiction · retellings

Review: Cleo


Author: Lucy Coats
Publisher: Orchard Books
Genre: Historical Fiction, Retelling

Summary from Goodreads:

Her precious mother is dead – and it isn’t an accident! The young Cleopatra – Pharaoh’s illegitimate daughter – must flee the royal palace at Alexandria or die too. As her evil half-sisters usurp the throne, Cleo finds sanctuary at the sacred temple of Isis, where years later she becomes initiated into the secret Sisters of the Living Knot. But now Isis’s power is failing, Egypt is in danger, and Cleo must prove her loyalty to her goddess by returning to the Alexandria she hates. She must seek out the hidden map which is the key to returning Isis’s power – on pain of death. But will she be able to evade her horrible sisters? And will she find dreamy Khai, the über-hot Librarian boy she met as she fled Alexandria years before? Cleo’s powerful destiny is about to unfold…

Gorgeous and evocative, this captivating new YA novel imagines the life of the teenage Cleopatra before she became the icon we think we know.

Comments:

I received a free digital copy from the author/publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest feedback.

I wanted to like this book so bad! After all, it’s ancient Egypt and it’s Cleopatra! Unfortunately, all I could settle for is 2.5 stars.

I want to start off by congratulating the author for such a wonderful idea of retelling Cleo’s life. The cover looks awesome and catchy. I also loved all the references to ancient Egypt (and Greece) incorporated in the story – the gods, the pharaoh, even the embalming process! After all, Egyptians are well-known for embalming the dead and mummification. That list located at the end was helpful because Egyptians names and terms weren’t easy to remember.

The characters were a different story. Maybe they were destined to be interesting characters but there was nothing striking about them that would make them unforgettable. Cleo was a bit whiny. Yes, she put a lot of trust into the goddess Iris through her silent pleas for help, she was stubborn and childish. She claimed that she wanted to serve Iris, but when told of what was expected of her, she wasn’t willing. I did like the portrayals of loyalty. It was a very admirable trait for those who wanted to protect Cleo.

The major hurdle for me was the copy I received. It somehow omitted some letters, e.g. finger became nger, the was e, left was ft, and it was harder to read! I would have given up at some point but decided against it since the book deserved a chance and it wasn’t the author’s fault. I hope this gets fixed.

My Rating: ★★ (2.5)