Saturday, July 15, 2017

Summer Tunes (Pt. 2)

Last summer I made a playlist for all of my favorite summery songs. So many of my favorite artists have released new music lately, and I also discovered new songs that I thought it would be fun to make a second playlist of songs. So here are the songs that I have been listening to lately. - Jessica

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Books I Read in June

During the month of June, I read 9 novels and 2 novellas. I had a decent reading month, especially considering all the academic texts I read (that I unfortunately can't apply to my reading challenge). So here are the books I read and some of my thoughts on them.

The Prince's Rogue by Elise Kova - This is the second book in the Golden Guard trilogy, the prequel series to Air Awakens. The Air Awakens series is one of my all time favorites and I love the background that the Golden Guard provides, but these books are so short. I really love revisiting these characters, but I wish there was more from each book.

The Darkest Magic by Morgan Rhodes - This is the second book in the Spirit and Thieves trilogy, the prequel series to Falling Kingdoms. I liked the first book and I found this book on the same level as the first. I don't have as much of an emotional attachment to this series, as I do for the Falling Kingdoms books, but they're still really good. I really love the direction of this series, and I'm so disappointed that I have to wait over a year to see how it ends.  

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - This book centers around Cath, a huge fangirl and fanfiction writer, as she navigates her freshman year of college. This was a reread for me, as I first read this book almost three years ago and it became an instant favorite of mine. While rereading this book, I gained so much more perspective of Cath's story and how she dealt with her mental illness.

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell - This book centers around Simon Snow, the chosen one, who is destined to save his magical universe, even though he is terrible at normal magic. This book is heavily inspired by Harry Potter and draws from elements of Rowell's Fangirl. This was another reread for me, and it is also another one of my favorites. I absolutely loved rereading this book, and seeing all the tie ins to Fangirl. Simon and Baz are still one of my favorite ships and I still love everything about this book that I did before.

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West - This book centers around Lily after she finds a reply to her scribblings on her desk in class. Kasie West writes some of the cutest, lighthearted YA contemporaries and this one did not disapoint. I did find this book a bit predictable, but I still enjoyed it.

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia - This book centers around Eliza, the anonymous creator to a well-loved webcomic series, and how she deals with her identity being revealed. I received this book in the May Owlcrate, and I'm so glad that I did because I don't think I would have picked this up otherwise. I absolutely loved this book and I think it's on my list of favorites for this year. I loved Eliza's story and how she created something that she loved and felt the need to protect. I also loved the added illustrations that the author did for the comic, I would love to be able to read Monster Sea in real life now.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - This book takes place in a world, where every savage water horses appear on an island and people race them for reward, so Puck enters the race to save her family and meets Sean, the only person who can tame the horses. I have been interested in picking this book up for a while now, and compared to The Raven Cycle, I was a little disappointed by this book. I liked the plot of this book, but I wasn't a fan of the characters or the instalove element.

Crimson Dagger and Obsidian Blade by Morgan Rhodes - These are two novellas that take place in the Falling Kingdoms universe, that centers around Magnus, and then the latter also ties into the Spirit and Thieves trilogy with the addition of Maddox. Magnus is one of my favorite characters, so I was really excited to read more about him and learn more about his character. I really enjoyed these and now I want so much more from this series.

Vassa In the Night by Sarah Porter - This is a modern day retelling of Vasilisa the Beautiful. One of the classes I'm taking this summer is a course on Russian folk tales, and I've had this book on my shelf for ages, but I've been to hesitant to read it before because I didn't know the source material. I really like how this book adapted the fairy tale, but some of the plot elements are really confusing. I actually ended up using this book as a argument for how Russian folk tradition has translated into YA literature, and I'm hoping I get a good grade on it.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J.K. Rowling - This was another reread to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the publication of the book. I always jump at the chance to reread this book, because it's where my love for Harry Potter started, and I just love reading the story of my favorite characters. This time around I read the new Gryffindor special edition, and I absolutely loved the added content (I spend a long time drooling over the map).

So those are the books that I read in June. I'm hoping to read a lot in July and I'm really excited about the release of the last book in the Land of Stories series, and just catching up on my reading goal. - Jessica

Friday, June 30, 2017

June Snapshots

June was a pretty slow and uneventful month for me. It was mostly occupied with starting my summer session and the bright side of taking two literature classes, means that I'm always reading. Unfortunately that means that they consisted of a lot of scholarly texts, but I got to read some cool stuff about Russian folk lore and texts on Ancient Greece. Luckily it wasn't all serious reads, I decided to reread some of my favorite books this month, including Fangirl (pictured above) and Carry On. Since the summer session is almost over, I'll have plenty of time to resume reading for fun and blogging. 

I can't stop taking photos of my new 20th anniversary edition of the Philosopher's Stone. I recently decided to reread Harry Potter in its entirety, so I reread the first book this month and I'm really excited to move on to the Chamber of Secrets. - Jessica

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Magical Crate: Year Two

Last week I received the new Lit Joy Magical Edition crate, which is a one time special edition crate and each edition focuses on the events of a particular Harry Potter book. This is the second crate of the series and focuses on the Chamber of Secrets (I previously shared the first crate). I was extremely excited to unbox this crate, as the first edition was my absolute favorite crate I've ever received. I loved this edition as well, and I wanted to share some of my favorite items from the box. 

This little art print of Dobby is so cute, and and has all of the details of the box inside it. My all time favorite item in this box, is this exclusive mug with the quote "When in doubt go to the library." 

This crate has so many awesome bookmarks that I'm excited to add to my collection (creatures bookmark from Nerdy Girl Designs, rubber duck bookmark from Nerdy Post, and the basilisk fang is a Litjoy exclusive). The fan mail from Gilderoy Lockhart is a fun and cleaver touch. I also love this book sleeve from Sweet Sequels, which is currently housing my new copy of the Philosopher's Stone. 

I absolutely love these crates and how carefully put together each box is. I can't wait until they release the next one. - Jessica

Monday, June 26, 2017

20 Years of Magic

I recently got my copy of the Gryffindor edition of the first Harry Potter book for the 20 year anniversary edition (each house edition is available on Book Depository). As soon as I got the book, I knew I had to reread it. So I'm spending the 20th anniversary rereading the first book, for only the millionth time (the real number is probably closer to 25). It's been almost 6 years since I reread the Harry Potter series in its entirety, since I have a habit of rereading the books individually. But since the events of the epilogue take place in September, I really want to make my way through the rest of the books before then.

It's crazy to think that the first Harry Potter book was published 20 years ago, and even though I wasn't introduced to the series until later, that moment had a huge effect on my life. So here's to a happy 20 year Harry Potter anniversary and to an eternity more! - Jessica