Category Archives: books

Owlcrate January Unboxing: Classic Remix

I’m finally getting to share the January Owlcrate @owlcrate box! Last month we received a lot of goodies (as always!) The theme was classic remix, so the goodies all related to a classic novel and being a former Lit. major in college, this was so much fun to receive! 

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There was a lovely mint and rose tea from First Edition Tea Co @firsteditiontea that was inspired by the Little Prince. To complement the mint scent, Tea Soap Books @teasoapbooks crafted a white tea and berries hand soap inspired by The Secret Garden. I love bookmarks and I’m so thrilled to have received a bookmark by Lexy Olivia @lexyolivia that was inspired by Slaughterhouse Five. I’ve seen her work all over my feed and was happy to finally get my hands on one of her bookmarks. We also received a Phantom of the Opera inspired fridge magnet from @sweetsequels.

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My stationery-planner girl heart just about flipped when I saw this wall calendar inspired by children’s classics from Obvious State @obviousstate. I kid you not friends, I was despairing over finding a wall calendar that was both simple and functional. This was perfect and the illustrations of various children’s books characters was absolutely perfect.

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The book for the month of January was Roseblood by AG Howard. I haven’t read any of her other books, so I’m really excited to read this one. It’s a modern day retelling of The Phantom of the Opera! 

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Did you guys hear that Owlcrate has a photo challenge #classicowl for the January box? The pictures are amazing. Also, there’s going to be an #owlcrateathon from February 11-25. There will be three mini-challenges to help knock down your Owlcrate TBR. I’m actually buddy reading Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake with Sierra @lookingthroughthepages which was in the September box! I’m so excited for these challenges. Check out their profile for more details! February’s theme is “Run away with the circus” and I can not wait!

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My husband was able to swap out my old phone battery for a new one (a delicate procedure that he handled like no big deal). Can I get a 🙌🏽 for awesome husbands? How’s your Thursday going? 

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Book Challenge: Debut book by a favorite author

For #grimdragon Debut Books by Favorite Authors–An Ember in the Ashes is one of my favorite books and Sabaa Tahir is one of my favorite authors. I love her world building and writing style. I also love her characters Elias Veturius and Laia. I was lucky to have met her last year and she’s so nice! I highly recommend her books!

For #squeakybookishlibrary 💃🏼This emoji cracks me up!! Whenever I see it, I think of sass and grace. Helene Aquila is a graceful warrior. Izzi is a sassy kitchen girl. 

For #watermelanerdsfebruary “The circus arrives without warning.” What would your circus act be? Hmm. Taming the effrits from AEITA! 

For #bibliophilelove2017 Books and Maps! Here’s a map of The Empire from AEITA that I got at a signing for ATATN.  

For #bookishfriendsfeb17 Prince–Marcus Farrar became A Very Important Person (Trying not to spoil it), but let’s be honest, if we’re talking Prince in the dreamy, sighing way, Elias Veturius is it! 

So if you saw my InstaStory, you saw that my umbrella lights for photography came in. They are amazing. 😁 This is my first picture using the umbrella lights and I’m pleased with the final take. It’s changed my bookstagramming life! It rained today and I was like BRING IT! I’ve got UMBRELLAS… umbrella lights. I was going to take more pictures tonight but I’m solo parenting this weekend. (Husband got invited to go to the Super Bowl.) But I’m exhausted! 😩 Mad respect for single parents out there who do this full time! 

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What are your plans this weekend? If you use lighting for your pictures, what kind do you use? 

Book Challenge: I love…

For #bibliophilelove2017 I love…the bookstagram community! I’m so grateful to have found this place and also for the friends I have made here. I’m so glad to have an outlet to share my love for books and also share it with other people who completely understand! (You all know who you are!!) 😊.

For #squeakybookishlibrary 🦄—Unicorns remind me of my #booktwin Amy @ladyofthelibrary. Not just because it’s one of her favorite animals, but she’s got a beautiful soul and brings joy and light into your life. This Snape-Always key chain, made by @whenmelissareads, was given to me as a Friendaversary gift. It’s been one year since me and Amy became friends through bookstagram and I will always be grateful she found me! She’s been a constant source of support and positivity from BG prop advice to talking about what kind of shenanigans our kids are up to, she’s put up with my messaging and texting with patience and kindness. If you haven’t met Amy yet, make sure to stop by her account. 

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Who’s a friend that after all this time, you’ll always be grateful for? Comment below to spread the love!

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I’m a day late for these prompts. I didn’t post last night because I was helping my husband pack. He’s going away to attend the Super Bowl with a friend which means me, alone with our four kids. 😳 But my umbrella lights came in and FRIENDS it has changed my life! Check out my InstaStory to see them! Happy Friday! 

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Book Challenge: Shadows in Literature 

I had this book on my TBR for the longest time! I actually received an ARC last year at Y’all West which I didn’t get a chance to read. 😅 Then I received a final copy in the June Owlcrate @owlcrate later in the year. It was a sign from the book gods for me to read This Savage Song. But I didn’t listen. I don’t know why. I love Victoria Schwab. She’s pretty much one of my role models on being a writer. I finally got that kick in the behind when my audio book request from the library became available last month. I didn’t want to miss the opportunity, so I made sure to listen and read it. (It took forever to get my request!).

The reason why I’m telling you this is because I don’t want you to make the same mistake I did and put off reading this book. I don’t know how Victoria Schwab does it, but she manages to create worlds where magic exists plausible (as in the ADSOM series), but in this case monsters. Set in a dystopian setting, Verity city is plagued with monsters. These monsters are created from the violence committed by humans. They are the embodiment of sins that move in the shadows. The two main characters August Flynn and Kate Harker are embroiled in this reality. I highly recommend this, but note that this is geared toward a YA audience. Her ADSOM fantasy series is adult, so the difference in storytelling style is noticeable, but still compelling.

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Did you guys see on my InstaStory that there’s a preorder incentive for A Conjuring of Light (the third book in the ADSOM series). If you submit your receipt for a preorder of ACOL to MacMillan, you can get a book hugger for the series. I’m dying to get one!

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Everyone in North City pays for protection from the monsters and wears a medallion to show they are under Harker’s protection. Medallion featured is the Allomantic alphabet from Mistborn by @badalijewelry. 

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Anyone else a Victoria Schwab fan? Which of her books have you read? I think my next Victoria Schwab book will be Vicious.
#watermelanerdsfebruary “All beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.” Shadows in Literature (Groundhog day)

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Book Challenge: February TBR

My February TBR consists mostly of books that I was reading from January that I’m planning to finish this month and I have a few buddy reads. Yay! I’m continuing Heartless, The Sun is Also a Star, All the Light We Cannot See, Lady Midnight, Prince of Thorns, and Before They are Hanged. I accidentally finished reading The Son of Neptune today! (See previous post). .

I will be buddy reading The Thirteen Tales with my friend Vicky @bijoux, Three Dark Crowns with my first buddy read friend Sierra @lookingthroughthepages, and Furthermore for a group read along with Sadie @devourer.of.books, Sam @_sklevy, and Ruthie @paperbackparamour. I’m excited to start these books with these ladies!

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I’ve started the first day of the month with a finished book—Son of Neptune—so I feel really good and optimistic that I can get through most of my TBR.

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Have you guys read any of these? What did you think? Also, Melanie @watermelanies was so very kind to let me send manic DMs about Lady Midnight because OMG the feels! I’m looking for more support, i.e. more people to manically message about LM. 

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Wooden bookmark by the lovely Mary @markedbymary.

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February TBR

#grimdragon 

#squeakybookishlibrary

#watermelanerdsfebruary 

#bibliophilelove2017

#bookishfriendsfeb17

Reading Habits 

Okay. So when I took this picture I kind of didn’t realize that I should’ve posted it sooner rather then later because WHOA it’s February already! Where has the time gone? .

If you check my previous post, you’ll see that This Savage Song was part of my January Wrap-up. You can see mini-reviews of other books I finished in January by scrolling down to the previous post. 

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So let’s talk about what kind of reader you are. One of my daily habits I want to keep up is to read for at least 20 minutes a day. To help me stay on track, I’ve created this current reads tracker. It’s helped me so much by helping me see my reading progress on my books. I also update my Goodreads status to also keep me accountable. Also, since I read multiple books at a time, I can see which ones have grabbed my attention and which ones need more of it. 

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How do you guys track your reading? What are some reading goals you’ve set for yourself?

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I stayed up way too late watching a Korean drama Playful Kiss and then accidentally finished reading Son of Neptune. I’m listening to SON with my kids, but I wanted to see how much we had left and accidentally read the rest of it. 😅 How’s your Wednesday going so far? 

Book Challenge: January Wrap-Up 

For #planwithmechallenge Sections and lessons, I decided to try the TUL discbound notebook for my collections. This meant slicing pages out of my Leuchtturm 1917 to put into my TUL. I actually had been on the fence for weeks about it because taking pages out was a scary thought! With my Christmas money, I decided to go for it and I’m so glad I did! Featured here in my TUL is the reading section that contains my Genre Tracker. Lesson learned: You won’t know if you like something until you try! .

For #bookishfriendsJanuary17 Favorite read of January–I can’t decide! I can honestly say I enjoyed each and everyone of these books. From following Demi-gods on a quest to following a young girl who can sense gold to gold rush California, I enjoyed every minute of it! 

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For #squeakybookishlibrary Favorite New Author, he’s not new, but he’s new to me: Joe Abercrombie!

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For #livelaughbooksjanuary and #watermelanerdsjanuary January Wrap-Up–In addition to these novels, I also completed several graphic novels: Ms. Marvel volumes 2 and 3; A Silent Voice (manga); and Through the Woods. For my mini-reviews, please scroll down. ⬇️

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Phew! Six novels and four graphic book collections for January! Is it just me? Or has this month flown by so fast?! What were some of your favorites this month? Did you reach your reading goal?

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My January 2017 Reading Wrap-Up
📚Ms. Marvel Volumes 3 and 4–4.5/5 stars. I really enjoy this series because Kamala is so easy to identify with. Between keeping true to her cultural heritage and living in the Bronx and dealing with her super hero powers, she’s got her hands full but it’s entertaining and poignant at times too. 
📚A Silent Voice by Yoshitoki Ooima (manga)–3.5/5 stars. The premise is about a boy Shoya who bullied a deaf female student Shoka in elementary school. Shoka transfers out because the bullying gets out of hand, but then Shoya’s classmates turn on him, putting all the blame on him. Years later, scared from the experience, he enters high school and is a loner and prepares to kill himself. On the day he’s supposed to do it, he encounters Shoka, the girl he bullied in elementary, and tries to make amends for his wrong doing. Overall, I thought the story was compelling and the characters’ emotions were raw from the hurt and betrayal, but I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. It was the type that left it slightly open ended which I’m okay with if it’s done well. I needed a little more reassurance that things would get better and in some ways it looked like it would. These characters went through a lot, so I had hoped for an ending that was a little more definitive. 
📚 Through the Woods by Emily Carroll is a collection of illustrated Gothic short stories. I initially checked this book out for Halloween but finally read it for the New Year. It’s definitely a book perfect for the Halloween season or if you enjoy Gothic stories. The stores are very much like Edgar Alan Poe’s–haunting with a twisted lesson. The illustrations went so well with the stories and were nicely detailed. 5/5 stars
📚Tales from the Shadow Hunter Academy by Cassandra Clare–5/5 stars. I didn’t know if I’d enjoy this collection because Simon Lewis was a good character, but I didn’t think I’d enjoy reading short stories about him. I checked it out if the library as a safe way to read them without commuting to buying it, in case I didn’t enjoy them. I’m so glad I gave these stories a try! I enjoyed not only reading Simon’s journey toward becoming a shadow hunter, but I also enjoyed the backstories of the minor characters from The Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices. It was so neat learning about what happened to the characters and also how they were connected to the present characters. My favorites were The White Chapel Fiend, Nothing but Shadows, Born to Endless Night, and Angels Twice Descending. I highly recommend this if you’re a big fan of the shadow hunter series. 
📚Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson– 5/5 stars. Rae Carson is an auto-buy author for me. I loved her series Girl of Fire and Thorns and was thrilled to see she started a new series. It’s so different from her previous one–set in the gold rush era, but still retained a fantasy element. The main character Lee Westfall can sense gold. Lee is from Georgia and after a set of tragic events, she flees to California disguised as a girl, in hopes of finding gold and her best friend Jefferson McCaully. Sounds amazing already, right?! What I also loved about this story was how subtle Rae Carson touched on themes of diversity–mixed race identity and being a freed slave during a post civil war era; what being a confirmed bachelor of that time meant; and the restrictions on women’s roles based on society’s expectations. It’s so skillfully weaved into the story that it’s seamless. Highly recommend it! 
📚The Blade Itself by Joe Ambercrombie– 5/5 stars. I’m new to high/epic fantasy. My point of references are Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, so Joe Ambercrombie was different from what I had read. His writing is a lot more physically descriptive. The opening of the book shows a character falling off a cliff. There’s also a roughness to his characters that become endearing later–Im looking at you San Dan Glokta. I really enjoyed this and my only hang-up was not having the next book when I finished the first! 5/5 stars
📚The Lost Hero: Book 1 of the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan–5/5 stars. If you enjoyed the Percy Jackson and The Olympians series, you’ll love this. This was actually a reread with my older boys. It’s had been such a long time since I read it that it was almost new to me. I love the introduction of the new characters Leo, Piper, and Jason. I can’t wait to see how they all come together in the rest of the series. 
📚The Novice by Taran Matharu–4/5 stars. This was a fun fantasy read. The main character Fletcher was likeable and I also like his friends Othello (dwarf) and Syre (elf). The story was a great adventure story and enjoyable. Although I didn’t find any problems with it, I also wasn’t attached to the characters as I usually get. It could be because I had to stop for long periods of time to read it because I was buddy reading it, but I am curious to see how the story turns out, so will probably read the next one. 
📚This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab–5/5 stars. I’m already a big fan of her Darker Shade of Magic series so I was excited to read this one. I loved it so much! It’s an urban fantasy where monsters are real. They come into being through violence and tragedy–a kind of evolution of negative human emotions. Even though this is a YA book, Victoria Schwab still delivers! I loved her characters August Flynn and Kate Harker. I also enjoyed the history behind how the monsters are created–so unique but also cleverly done. I can’t wait until Our Dark Duet comes out this summer!