Book Review: “A Touch of Darkness” by Scarlett St. Clair

Hello!

Man! It’s great to be back at writing these posts again.

Early December, I finally made the decision to stop reading for the rest of 2020, but two days before Christmas, I was on YouTube and this book and the rest of its series and they talked about what the story was about, and I just kind of thought “this is interesting” but I didn’t just get it right then and there mainly because I wanted to wait until the holidays were over to start on anything new and once I got the books I generally wanted to purchase, I was fine with waiting to get the first book, but then my gut was telling me to check to see if it’s available on Kindle Unlimited and there they were: the Hades x Persephone series and prequels too! So, I ended up getting just the first book in case I didn’t enjoy it off the bat, and I ended up finishing it in like two weeks!


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Persephone is the Goddess of Spring by title only. The truth is, since she was a little girl, flowers have shriveled at her touch. After moving to New Athens, she hopes to lead an unassuming life disguised as a mortal journalist.

Hades, God of the Dead, has built a gambling empire in the mortal world and his favorite bets are rumored to be impossible.

After a chance encounter with Hades, Persephone finds herself in a contract with the God of the Dead and the terms are impossible: Persephone must create life in the Underworld or lose her freedom forever.

The bet does more than expose Persephone’s failure as a Goddess, however. As she struggles to sow the seeds of her freedom, love for the God of the Dead grows—and it’s forbidden.

taken from Goodreads.

I didn’t really know what the series was about before putting it on my Kindle. I just kind of saw the cover on YouTube and was like, “oh, you are gorgeous! Gimme!” and really felt the need to get it. You also have to remember that I already had a small stack of books to keep me afloat for a while but I chose to get this one instead. A part of me feels bad but yet I was thrilled seeing on KU that I just gave in and didn’t bother to look back. I mean, I don’t regret it one bit because it was everything that I wanted it to be and more, so obviously after I get done writing this review, I’m diving deep into the second book!

When I was younger, I already had a growing obsession on Ancient Egypt and its mythology, but my only source to learn more about Greek mythology was the Disney version. It wasn’t until I was a sophomore in high school that I realized that a lot of information that they gave us kids was pretty wrong, such as Hera, the “mother” of Hercules is definitely untrue. In the research we did, it was actually said that Hera had a strong hatred for Hercules! Unfortunately we were only allowed to select few of Greek gods and goddesses, and after that, I kind of lost the interest to learn about their mythology altogether. I had already decided on this before I found these books but it really shocked me on how much Disney influenced me–this book is about Hades and all throughout the damn book my mind kept showing me Cheyenne Jackson from “Hades” on Descendants 3 film and everytime we were in the Underworld, I would have James Woods, who voiced the animated version of Hades in 1995 in my head during some of the very erotic scenes! Totally not recommended by the way.

Respect could build an empire. Trust could make it unbreakable. Love could make it last forever.

I do want to point out that while I was wrestling with my version of Hades, I have never particularity loved the name Persephone until now and even though she is described as a platinum blonde in the story, I kept seeing her with strawberry-blonde hair instead. The same goes with her mother Demeter too! So, my whole system was a bit out of wack but I made it happen anyways. I definitely saw myself quickly becoming a bit of a fan of Persephone. I think everything that is said to her towards the end is completely true om how I viewed her in the start of the book. I think she is the one, who made me want to continue reading, especially when I should be in bed asleep, but I really wanted to know how everything ended for her, not much about Hades though.

The story itself was, very intense from start to finish and I feel that’s the main reason why I was able to read it so quickly, because you didn’t have that much time in between chapters to basically refresh yourself from a certain scene and even though I loved reading at that speed, it was sometimes too much for me and I had to take many breaks throughout important moments. Thankfully, everything was described in almost perfect detail so I was able to map out everything from both the Upperworld and the Underworld. The only place I had some difficulty building in my mind was the glasshouse, everything else was pretty easy structurally and it was a good thing too because it evened out my outlook on the characters and the events taking place.

There is a chance that by the time this post is published that I have probably finished with “A Game Of Fate” which is in the point of view of Hades, by the time this post goes up.. I was on Scarlett’s Instagram page the other day and someone had made the comment that it is better to read it like this and just continue to switch from their POVs. However, if you just want to stick to Persephone’s version of events, that’s totally up to you.

So, have you read “A Touch of Darkness” yet? If you have, when did you start to explore the second series? For those who have read retellings like this, how do you turn off those childhood memories basically and create newer versions of these mythological gods and goddess?

Blogmas | Ultimate Christmas Playlist

Hello & Merry Christmas to everyone out there!

Whenever I have a post going up on a holiday, I try to have something easy and laidback for my readers. I can’t get myself to publish a long chatty type of post, although it looks like I can after looking at what I’ve written for this! I know it is a day to be around your family or friends and enjoy that time together, even in this COVID mess but I promised you a Christmas playlist though, so that’s what I am going to do today.

I’ve actually done a lot of Christmas playlist posts over the years, so I know I’ve discussed this many, many times on here but I love traditional, jazz and soul Christmas music more than anything else, but I seemed to have found a whole collection of classic holiday songs in the style that I hold dear to my heart: epic! And what gets me, is that I’ve tried it out before, but it never registered as much even when I reviewed Lindsey Stirling’s holiday album in 2018. There is just something about it all now, that I just think there is something about it that is totally different than what I’ve been listening in the last three years!

For me, epic music–also known as trailer and cinematic music–is all about powerful moments, and when its paired with action and sadness, it can manifest even more and I think that’s why I enjoy listening to it so much, because it can bring out all sorts of things in a person. Whereas Christmas music is pulling out memories of their childhood. Every single song is in one emotion and that is almost always happiness, unless it is playing loudly in the middle of August or September, then it’s just pure annoying to everyone who tries to keep the holiday season until the start of November or for us Americans, after Thanksgiving.

I have chosen a great selection of incredible music for you with my Spotify playlist but here are my Top 22 holiday tunes to explore right now. If you would like to check out the full listing, please click here!

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow by Vaughn Monroe
Somewhere In My Memory by John Williams
Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairy by Lindsey Stirling
Ding Dong Merrily On High by Celtic Woman
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Hugh Martin
Do You Want To Build A Snowman by Kristen Ball
O Holy Night by Anuna
Blame It On The Mistletoe by Ella Henderson featuring AJ Mitchell
Carol Of The Bells by Jennifer Thomas
The Joy Of Adventure by Amadeus Indetzki
Silent Night by Halocence
Epic Christmas by IMAscore
Santa Claus Is Coming To You by Alala
Rockin Around The Christmas Tree by Brenda Lee
Christmas Medley by Two Steps From Hell
Winterspell by Thomas Bergersen x Two Steps From Hell
Jingle Bells by Kaskade featuring Soran
New Fallen Snow by Philip Wesley
Jingle Bell Rock by Bobby Helms
That Spirit Of Christmas by Ray Charles
White Christmas by The Drifters
The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole

Well, I’ve definitely proved I was willing to listen to other genres when it comes to Christmas music. A lot of the songs are featured on my two favorite holiday films and that helped make it slightly more difficult to figure out what I wanted to share on this post because I know I’ve probably talked about them in the past too..

I tried to listen to Stan Kenton’s Christmas album on Spotify, but I couldn’t get through the one song I clicked to play the night I finished this. I can listen to his type of music, which was jazz and blues, but when it comes to Stan Kenton, I still have some issues with it. It’s nothing major, but I tend to cry about it later and I know he would be mad at me for doing that, because it gave him so much joy all throughout my childhood. I will listen to one song this morning just to show him how much I love and miss him on Christmas.

What is your favorite genre to listen to Christmas music? What about an individual song too?

snowflake

Blogmas | 12 Days Of Christmas Book Tag

Hello!

So, apparently I did not have a post ready for today when we started the week. Luckily for you, I have been sort of hoarding a few different tags in the past few months and thought I would give the only Christmas tag a go!

This tag was created by Lizzie Loves Books on her YouTube channel a few years ago. She didn’t have any rules that I thought I would share with you, so looks like we can just move on to the questions because personally, I don’t like tagging others, especially in the middle of the month where a good chunk of bloggers have probably finished their blogmas posts. If you do want to do the challenge, please link me to your post because I do like to read everybody’s answers.

A Partridge In A Pear Tree | What is your favorite stand-alone book?

It was really hard to chose my favorite; mainly because I don’t want to pick just one, but I did it anyways.

One of the first books I read after I graduated from high school ten years ago, was The Secret Diary of A Princess by Melanie Clegg. The reason why I brought up school is, I used to read so many historical fiction books in my teens. This one is about Marie Antoinette while she is making her way to France from her homeland Austria. It is very interesting to think about how these people were thinking at the time, and I tend to be drawn to them because I like thinking some parts could be exactly what they were doing while they were alive. This was my first book about Marie Antoinette and I was purely inspired by the film that came out in 2006, it is definitely one of my favorites ever, so this just added fuel to the fire basically.

Two Turtle Doves | Who is your favorite book ship?

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, boy!

This one was kind of easy, although I had the same issue with the previous on which one to choose, so I just ended up picking both of them because I loved both of them.

Okay, the first couple that came to me was Lara Jean Covey and Peter Kavinisky. I’m still not happy about how the third book went but that’s just my opinion. Anyways, they were the perfect couple set in high school. I think the real reason why I was so for them is because I still love the notion of high school sweethearts and the fact it is basically out of style now really hurts me internally.

The other bookship is a little awkward because in the review for it, I wasn’t for it in the beginning but now I can’t stop thinking about it. The book is The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham. It is set during the mist of WWII and the main character Anke is a midwife who is helping all women bring their babies into the world, this means Jewish and the offspring of Adolf Hitler. I’m just going to leave that there for now.


Three French Hens | What about your favorite trilogy?

Well, since I’ve only finished one so far, it would have to be All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. There is one other series that I am loving but I’m not done with it yet. I’m hoping in the new year, I can add the final book to my reading challenge. The series is Me Before You by JoJo Moyes. It has really surprised how much I am loving these books but honestly I am such a fan of Louisa though and I think I’m just plain nosey to find out what happens next to her story!


Four Calling Birds | What is your favorite beast and/or creature?

I still think reading Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets was the worst idea ever, because like Ron, I am also scared of spiders and was a nice warning to what you would experience in the next book, dealing with the Dementors. The thing is, my favorite creature(s) were featured in Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.


Five Golden Rings | Show us five golden books!

From left to right: The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham, Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone, After You by JoJo Moyes, To All Of The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han & Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


Six Geese a Laying | What is your least favorite book?

The only book that comes to mind for this question is, The Ring and The Crown by Melissa de la Cruz. It was just pure awful! Too many characters for me to follow at one time.


Seven Swans a Swimming | Show us a book with water on the cover

This is sort of embarrassing but you asked…

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The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister


Eight Maids a Milking | What fictional food do you wish you could taste?

Okay, for me, it is unlikely I would ever get to travel to Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Florida, especially if this COVID mess continues but I would love to try butterbeer and Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans. Despite the fear of getting a jelly bean flavored as tripe sounds disgusting, I’d still like to get one to snack on and the other to basically sit as a souvenir.


Nine Ladies Dancing | What is your favorite dancing couples?

I feel like the only book I’ve ever read that has dancing mentioned was the Stefan’s Diaries series. Since the first book takes place before he and Damon are turned into a vampire by Katherine, and is set in the 1800’s, I do believe there is some form of dancing involved in it.


Ten Lords a Leaping | What is your favorite book-to-movie adaption?

If you haven’t been following me for very long, this might shock you, because my favorite is Me Before You. I thought it was as close as you can get to mentioning everything that happens in the book. I still laughed and cried in the same places and I just felt they were one. While I read the second book in January, I still kept having the image of Emilia Clark as Louisa, Jenna Coleman as her sister Trina and Janet McTeer as Will’s mother,


Eleven Pipers Piping | What about your favorite book-to-film soundtrack too?

I know this might be a little bias but the soundtrack I made for Alias: Sister Spy by Laura Peyton Roberts is my favorite, and before anybody asks, no, you can’t hear it because I made it for a final in my freshman English class in 2007. It’s bad enough I still remember when my teacher played it in class.

I had a software for our computer that allowed me to create beats with pre-recorded sounds of various instruments for Christmas the year before. At the time, we couldn’t afford internet so I had found the app as we would call them now, as my lifeline that whole summer going into my high school years. I want to say I did a 20 song collection that was inspired by the book too, and what is really interesting is that, I wasn’t into rock music during this time but I had strong rock and heavy metal sounds within the score.

Twelve Drummers Drumming | What was your favorite ending?

Out of all the questions, this was the one I’ve been thinking about the most and I don’t know the answer…

The safest one would have to be Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han. It’s the final book of the series and I really felt it when I read it, and I totally wanted to cry because I just thought it was the most perfect end to this story.

Before I leave, I have to say, I really tried to pick books that I hadn’t read this year but I couldn’t help it. These are the books that still live on in my brain at the moment, so trying to push them out of the way seemed like a bad idea but I was proud of myself for going back to see all of the 100+ books I’ve read since 2006! Of course, there are a few missing but that’s still a HUGE number for one person I think!

If you would like to follow my journey next year, click here to be directed to my Goodreads account.

snowflake

Book Review: “Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban” by J.K. Rowling

Hello!

When I published my review of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children last month, I mentioned that there had only been one other book I have had issues with in the past and taken multiple tries to complete, and it was Prisoner of Azkaban. Well, I can officially cross it off my TBR as I gave it one more chance this fall and I am so unbelievably proud of myself to have read both of these books in the same year!

I originally started reading this book in 2016, and only got to the fourth chapter because my mind was so busy comparing the scenes I was reading with the film. If you didn’t know, Prisoner of Azkaban is actually my favorite film out of the entire collection, so I knew I would be very hard on myself there, so I stopped completely. I remember I had even asked my cousin Taylor, how much would I miss, if I just skipped it? His reaction told me a lot, so I waited and waited, until that’s all I really wanted to read in October.

We were already going up north to visit with family anyways, and so I asked Taylor, if I could borrow this book again. What I didn’t expect was that he decided to donate the whole series to me. So, I came home after three days with a whole stack of books! I am thrilled to have these books on my bookshelf but even more excited to get back into the wizardry world of Harry Potter too!

WARNING: If you have not read and/or watch the films, but would like to in the near future, be cautious as there are a lot of spoilers below. You may want to skip this post today!


Harry Potter’s third year at Hogwarts is full of new dangers. A convicted murderer, Sirius Black, has broken out of Azkaban prison, and it seems he’s after Harry. Now Hogwarts is being patrolled by the dementors, the Azkaban guards who are hunting Sirius. But Harry can’t imagine that Sirius or, for that matter, the evil Lord Voldemort could be more frightening than the dementors themselves, who have the terrible power to fill anyone they come across with aching loneliness and despair. Meanwhile, life continues as usual at Hogwarts. A top-of-the-line broom takes Harry’s success at Quidditch, the sport of the Wizarding world, to new heights. A cute fourth-year student catches his eye. And he becomes close with the new Defense of the Dark Arts teacher, who was a childhood friend of his father. Yet despite the relative safety of life at Hogwarts and the best efforts of the dementors, the threat of Sirius Black grows ever closer. But if Harry has learned anything from his education in wizardry, it is that things are often not what they seem. Tragic revelations, heartwarming surprises, and high-stakes magical adventures await the boy wizard in this funny and poignant third installment of the beloved series.

taken from Goodreads.

Now that I have finished reading, I am glad I didn’t skip it because it answered a lot of questions for me that I thought the film never answered for me, like the origin story of Professor Lupin and The Marauder’s Map, I feel like those explanations were heavily missed in the film, and as someone who only knew the series from the movies, I felt very puzzled by each section, but I think it was the driving force to want to read the books after all of these years too!

It also helped solve several other mysteries for me as well, like how and why Snape knew where Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Forbidden Forest. The other one that has always bugged me was Harry’s Patronus, why was it a stag? And now that I think about it, I feel like it was answered in the movie but I never managed to understand everything about it, so it makes so much sense now.

Another thing that I thought was interesting, is how much Quidditch was featured and I have to say, I loved it!

Everytime I read about the various matches against the other houses, they sound exciting! Quidditch is like my basketball I guess, it seems very intense and despite the fact that it’s not just about one thing going on, you have the beaters, quaffle, chasers, and the snitch all happening at once whereas in basketball you are basically going after the ball, but you’re busy guarding the rival team members away from your basketball too. Honestly, Quidditch sounds more interesting, and as I found out through Jeopardy! a couple of months ago, it does exist but unfortunately there are no flying on broomsticks but I still think it sounds cool!

I think that’s all I have to talk about, I talked about everything that was driving me crazy before and after reading so that’s a plus!

So, now it is up to you, what were your favorite parts of the book and/or film? Are there certain areas where you thought were left out of the film and should have made aware of in the movies?

snowflake

Writing Prompt | Taking The Leap

Hello!

Okay, I am doing something a little different today, but I’m pretty sure that everyone will like some part of it.

Back in late August, I went through the free Kindle books for story and general writing prompts. There was one book that I thought would help me generate a whole slew of ideas for the holidays. It is called Four Seasons Of Creative Writing by Bryan Cohen. I had plans to use one of the prompts about summer in September but I didn’t have enough time to get anything down so once I found this one I immediately got everything planned out in my head from the moment I read it and now that I’ve literally caught myself watching the leaves fall down our trees in our backyard, the more I have wanted to write about this prompt.

I based this story on Bill and Will from the film Happy Feet 2 and if you haven’t seen this one before, Bill and Will are krill living in the same area as Mumble and the rest of the colony of penguins. They go on an adventure to find themselves, out of their meaningless life as food for the whales, seals, etc in the ocean.


Create a conversation between two leaves that are about to fall from a tree. One is scared and the other is excited about the long trip to the ground. What do they talk about and why?


Ohhhh… I can’t do it. There’s just no way I can get through it. I’ll die, I just know it. Why doesn’t Leaf or the rest of the family understand my genuine fears of breaking ground? That’s it! I’m not going! I’m putting my wings down on this one.

Leaf can hear his brother Vere mutter to himself again. This has become a reoccurring issue the longer we stay up here among the tallest tree in the neighborhood. I’m pretty sure he’s the one who chased away all of the pretty girls who blossomed earlier this season. They couldn’t handle him having a panic attack at all hours about making the journey downward before the snow makes its first landfall.

Funny enough, he didn’t use to be this way. When we were first budding, he looked down at the ground below us and expressed his thoughts of what goes on down there. According to our grandfather Oak, it is essential for all of us to make it down at the end of autumn, but he forgot to mention that we need to be careful on which day we decide to let loose, because there are dangers when you finally make it down, and you are reminded by it almost every other day, thanks to the loud noise that radiates across the block.

“VERE! You’re waking up the rest of the crew! Shut up and let us sleep!” Aubrey yelled across the other side of the tree. Despite the rest of her family caving and disembark on their way a little earlier than planned because Vere had become even more annoying to any one who could hear him.

“You know Auburn, why don’t you go ahead and go down there, maybe you’ll find pieces of your family after the ugly statue ran over them a few weeks ago!” Vere snapped, knowing what he had hit a nerve on his childhood friend, but still went on his ranting anyway.

*groans*

“Nice going you jerk!” someone shouted opposite of them. “What is wrong with him Leaf? You know how sensitive Auburn is about what happened to her family!” Another person said and to make matters worse, twisted around enough to face Leaf and became unattached to his post at the same time. At least there wasn’t any wind around, so at least the landing will smooth for them.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know!” Leaf shouted at his neighbors and friends. “Aubs, you know what he’s saying shouldn’t believed with a grain of seedling.” as Leaf said in his sweetest voice before turning back to his brother with the prospect of just pushing his brother overboard so everyone could go in peace, but he knew he couldn’t do it. As much as he hated apologizing over and over because of his brother’s mouth, he also was a little afraid to make the jump too, he just wasn’t willing to let it show to anyone, including Verdant.

Unfortunately, I had a whole month to come up with this story but never quite made it through this scene in my head, so this is all of it. So, I’m really sorry this is so short, but I like it as a cliffhanger.

If you were a leaf on top of the tallest tree in your park, would you be frightened like Vere or be super annoyed like Leaf and Aubrey? I’d like to see your answers below!

snowflake