between daemons: new year, old favorites?


Between Daemons is a discussion post series dealing in bookish and filmish topics. Inspired by the spiritual companions from the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, I chose that specific title to encourage comments and conversations grounded in the personal thoughts, feelings, and opinions you may not have the chance to share very often. While disagreement is welcome, disrespect is not. As always, please be polite to your fellow commenters!

A new year always brings on a fresh wave of resolutions. Since this is my first year month in the blogging community I'm learning a lot about what book bloggers like to focus on for improvement, which has in turn helped me starting out as a new blogger!

Sometimes their lists include things that are relevant to anyone building their online audience: attracting more followers and page hits, tweaking the function and appearance of their blog, and engaging more with the community. Then you see reading goals, whether it's the number of books or pages, certain genres they want to focus on, or building diversity in the authors and characters they pick to read.

Setting goals at the start of the year, no matter how big or how small, can help us grow in so many ways. But...do you ever find yourself in a rut after the holidays? More specifically, a reading rut?

down the tbr hole #3


As my Goodreads to-read shelf creeps closer to 500 books, I've been eyeing it with a growing feeling of apprehension. It would take forever to get through so many...and that's not counting all of the new books I hear about along the way. Thankfully I discovered Lost In A Story's series (by way of Boston Book Reader) at the end of last month and it sounds like a great way to trim down my TBR.

The guidelines, per Lost In A Story, are simple:
  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
I'll be going through 10 books every week, meaning it should take me almost the whole year to reach the end! If you'd like to do this yourself, be sure to visit Lost In A Story's original post and let her (and me!) know you'll be joining in the fun.

book review: the roanoke girls

The Roanoke Girls by Amy Engel
Broadway Books, 304 pp.
Published December 5, 2017

The Roanoke Girls

DISCLAIMER: I received a free finished copy of this book from Penguin Random House via Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads): "Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die."

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran...fast and far away.

Eleven years later, Lane is adrift in Los Angeles when her grandfather calls to tell her Allegra has gone missing. Did she run too? Or something worse? Unable to resist his pleas, Lane returns to help search, and to ease her guilt at having left Allegra behind. Her homecoming may mean a second chance with the boyfriend whose heart she broke that long ago summer. But it also means facing the devastating secret that made her flee, one she may not be strong enough to run from again.

As it weaves between Lane's first Roanoke summer and her return, The Roanoke Girls shocks and tantalizes, twisting its way through revelation after mesmerizing revelation, exploring the secrets families keep and the fierce and terrible love that both binds them together and rips them apart.

sunday post #1


The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Reviewer. It's a chance to recap posts from the past week and tease upcoming content, as well as share new books, reading challenge progress, and anything else you've come across in the last seven days.

For my first Sunday Post of 2018 (and ever!) I want to feel out the format and content that works best. It's been a busy start to the year with work grinding back to life while I try not to fall behind before I even start on my new blog. It's tiring at times, but I can feel a rhythm starting to settle in. January is also when 30 Days of Yoga kicks off on Yoga With Adriene. I discovered her YT channel in February of last year, which makes this my first time doing the challenge "live" and I'm proud to say I haven't missed a day yet! The daily break for myself, even if it's only 20 minutes, helps me recenter no matter how busy I've been.

And because these first few months will be full of firsts for me and my blog, I thought there was no better time to announce a new post series! I'm kicking off a series of discussion posts, which I'm titling "Between Daemons". I'm hoping to do at least one per month, provided I can keep coming up with topics y'all enjoying talking about! My "book vs. film" post series is also in the works; if you have requests for either type of post, let me know!

film review: inside

It’s a difficult task to evaluate the remake of a film without making comparisons to the original. Julien Maurey and Alexandre Bustillo’s 2007 French New Wave horror film À l'intérieur packed in some brutal scares in a refreshing take on the home invasion thriller. Considering the success it found with horror fans, an Americanized remake was all but inevitable. This Spanish/American co-production from director Miguel Ángel Vivas follows most of the same story beats (albeit with less bite) as its predecessor, then descends into a disappointing series of clichés for the final act.

Single mother-to-be Sarah (Rachel Nichols) is spending Christmas Eve alone, still mourning the death of her husband in a car accident several months prior. As night falls and a storm moves in, a stranger knocks at her door insisting to be let in. The unknown woman (Laura Harring) knows Sarah’s name and that her excuse of a sleeping husband is a lie. Rattled, Sarah calls the police, who find no one during their initial search but promise to return later on a wellness check. When the stranger reappears she manages to break into the house, terrorizing Sarah and a succession of concerned visitors as she fixates not on the mother, but the child she’s carrying.

Rachel Nichols as Sarah in Inside

film review: freak show

Bullies are omnivorous creatures. Not even kids who expend so much time and energy on blending in are exempt from their attention. They have a sinister intuition when it comes to pinpointing a victims deepest insecurities and a deadly accuracy in their attacks. And what about the classmates who don’t want to blend in? Who relish and amplify what makes them unique, daring the small-minded to frame their features as flaws? Unfortunately, that confidence can make them the most tempting targets of all.

Billy Bloom (Alex Lawther) has no shortage of confidence. From the first time he tried on her slingback pumps, Billy’s mother (Bette Midler) encouraged him to embrace what made him happy no matter what others thought. He loses that support system, though, when she heads to rehab and Billy goes to live with his wealthy, emotionally estranged father (Larry Pine) in Florida. From the first day at his new school, Billy’s flamboyant wardrobe, and accompanying attitude, earn scorn from his peers. The jocks and a gaggle of ultra-conservative Christians led by Lynette (Abigail Breslin) particularly relish the abuse. Only two students bother reaching out in friendship: a talkative girl (AnnaSophia Robb) whose name Billy never catches, and the star of last year’s football team, Flip (Ian Nelson).
Alex Lawther as Billy Bloom in Freak Show

book review: la belle sauvage (book of dust #1)

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman
Random House Children's UK, 560 pp.
Published October 19, 2017

La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)

Summary (via Goodreads): Philip Pullman returns to the world of His Dark Materials with this magnificent new novel, set ten years before Northern Lights and featuring his much-loved character, Lyra Belacqua.

Eleven-year-old Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford. Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live. Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua...

down the tbr hole #2


As my Goodreads to-read shelf creeps closer to 500 books, I've been eyeing it with a growing feeling of apprehension. It would take forever to get through so many...and that's not counting all of the new books I hear about along the way. Thankfully I discovered Lost In A Story's series (by way of Boston Book Reader) at the end of last month and it sounds like a great way to trim down my TBR.

The guidelines, per Lost In A Story, are simple:
  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
I'll be going through 10 books every week, meaning it should take me almost the whole year to reach the end! If you'd like to do this yourself, be sure to visit Lost In A Story's original post and let her (and me!) know you'll be joining in the fun.

film review: blame

With all its inherent drama, high school has proven a popular setting for the reimagining of classic literature. Some popular examples include Emma (Clueless), The Scarlet Letter (Easy A), and Twelfth Night (She’s the Man). On the decidedly darker—but no less enjoyable—side is Blame, the debut film from writer/director Quinn Shephard which draws heavily on Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible.

book review: the hazel wood

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert
Flatiron Books, 368 pp.
Published January 30, 2018

The Hazel Wood

DISCLAIMER: I received a free digital ARC of this book from Flatiron Books via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.

Summary (via Goodreads): Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: Her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

down the tbr hole #1


As my Goodreads to-read shelf creeps closer to 500 books, I've been eyeing it with a growing feeling of apprehension. It would take forever to get through so many...and that's not counting all of the new books I hear about along the way. Thankfully I discovered Lost In A Story's series (by way of Boston Book Reader) at the end of last month and it sounds like a great way to trim down my TBR.

The guidelines, per Lost In A Story, are simple:

  • Go to your Goodreads to-read shelf
  • Order on ascending date added
  • Take the first 5 (or 10 if you’re feeling adventurous) books
  • Read the synopses of the books
  • Decide: keep it or should it go?
I'll be going through 10 books every week, meaning it should take me almost the whole year to reach the end! If you'd like to do this yourself, be sure to visit Lost In A Story's original post and let her (and me!) know you'll be joining in the fun.

book review: the alienist

The Alienist by Caleb Carr
Random House, 496 pp.
Published March 15, 1994

The Alienist

Summary (via Goodreads): The year is 1896. The city is New York. Newspaper reporter John Schuyler Moore is summoned by his friend Dr. Laszlo Kreizler—a psychologist, or “alienist”—to view the horribly mutilated body of an adolescent boy abandoned on the unfinished Williamsburg Bridge. From there the two embark on a revolutionary effort in criminology: creating a psychological profile of the perpetrator based on the details of his crimes. Their dangerous quest takes them into the tortured past and twisted mind of a murderer who will kill again before their hunt is over.

Fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail, The Alienist conjures up Gilded Age New York, with its tenements and mansions, corrupt cops and flamboyant gangsters, shining opera houses and seamy gin mills. It is an age in which questioning society’s belief that all killers are born, not made, could have unexpected and fatal consequences.