Sunday, January 7, 2018

Litjoy Magical Crate: Year 3

I recently 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 third crate which focuses on the Prisoner of Azkaban. I previously shared the first and second crates on my blog. I look forward to the release of these boxes each time they're announced, because they are the most creatively put together boxes I've received. This box had 14 items and 12 are exclusive to this crate (so it is well worth the $75 price tag), and it was so hard to pick my favorite items, but here are some of them:

I've wanted a bookmark from My Bookmark for ages, and I was so happy when I heard that one was included in this crate. The shop usually designs 3D foot bookmarks, but this design features hands holding up Sirius' prison sign. The box also features a book sleeve from Sweet Sequels, that mimics the cover of the Monster Book of Monsters. I constantly use the sleeve included in the last box, so I was happy that I have another one. I also love that the backside is made of a furry fabric, so it acts like the spine of the book.

I loved the Dementor Repellant Kit, which features a lip plumper from Literary Apothecary Shop, a patronus pin designed by Sarah Condradsen, and of course chocolate. I love how clever each item is to the kit. I also loved the copy of Sirius' letter to Harry and the Buckbeak feather that was included.

The bookmarks from Nerdy Girl Designs are adorable, I especially love the Fat Lady portrait. One of my all time favorite from this box is the tote bag featuring art from the Imaginative Illustrator. I absolutely love the design and I can't wait to use it. The box also featured a set of Marauder's portraits by Rob Bruno (sorry I didn't really want to take a full photo of the Wormtail one). 

My other all time favorite item is this Hogsmead candle from Wick and Fable. The candle spells amazing and I love that it sparkles while it burns. I honestly really loved this crate, and I'm already anticipating the fourth one. - Jessica 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Books I Read In December

During December, I read 10 books and one comic, which meant that I exactly finished my reading goal of 140 books! It was a fairly decent reading month for me, considering I had finals and I was working a lot for the holiday season. So here are the books I read and some of my opinions on them...

Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy - This book follows Ramona, who starts to question her sexuality, after she meets a boy. This book originally received a ton of backlash for seeming to have a character turn straight after meeting a boy, but that's not true in the slightest. This book really handled the subject matter well. I really enjoyed reading this book, and I can definitely see myself rereading in the future.

Anna and the French Kiss Trilogy by Stephanie Perkins - This was a reread for me, after going to San Fransisco recently, I started thinking about this series again, and I thought it would be fun to give it a read through. I had the same opinions while reading the first two books, as I did the first time I read them, because they're great and the romances are adorable. But this time around, I really struggled through reading the last book, and I kept comparing it to the first two books. I still really love this series, and I especially love Cricket Bell.

The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden - This is a Russian fairytale inspired novel. I had heard great things about this book, so I was looking forward to picking it up and ultimately I was a little disappointed. I decided to listen to the audiobook, but because there are so many characters and the plot is really detailed, the format did not work for me.

Skin & Earth (Issue 6) by Lights - This is the concluding comic in Light's Skin & Earth verse, that ties into her album of the same name. I absolutely loved this ending, I was absolutely blown away with the story that Lights has created. I also did a complete read through of this series after finishing this issue (while listening to the songs of course) and the story building is incredible. Light's teased on twitter that this is an origin story, so I'm really hoping that she ends up writing more to this series, because I think there's so many different directions that this project this could lead to.

The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano - This book follows the fourth heir in her family line, after she discovers her touch can turn living things to gemstones. I really enjoyed this book, it is a solid start to a series. This book has great elements of political intrigue and a hint of developing romance. I'm looking forward to picking up the sequel, when it comes out. 

Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills - This book follows Claudia, who becomes involved in her school's production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and finds new friends from the experience. I really love Emma Mill's books, they're well written coming of age stories, with great romances. This book was no exception, I really enjoyed it and I ended up reading it all in one sitting. I also love that one of the characters is named after a Harry Potter character. 

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell - This book follows Esta, who travels back in time to save magic in her own time. I absolutely loved this book, I feel like I haven't been able to find many great fantasy novels lately and this book was exactly what I was looking for. I also haven't read a ton of good slowburn novels in a while, so this was a great read to stumble upon. I can't wait for the sequel to come out, because I need more from this verse.

Rebels of Gold by Elise Kova - This is the final book in the Alchemist of Loom Trilogy. I really enjoyed the other books in the series, but this one was my favorite. It definitely took some time for me to get back into this world again, but once I did, I was fully immersed. There was one minor detail that bothered me, but other than that I absolutely loved how this book wrapped up.

A List of Cages by Robin Roe - This book follows Adam and Julien, two former, foster brothers who meet again in high school. I really enjoyed this book, and I like how it dealt with some series issues that I had never read about. I really liked the dynamic of Adam and Julien's friendship, and that was probably my favorite part of this book. I really wish that this book had a better representation of female characters, but other than that it was a solid read.

And those are the books I read in December. I'm really looking forward to so many releases this year, and I'm really happy to star the year feeling optimistic about reading. - Jessica

Thursday, December 28, 2017

2017 Reading Review

There are only 4 days left in 2017 and I wanted to share my progress on my reading goals for the year. I'm currently at 137/140 books for the year and I'm so close to reaching my goal. I'm currently reading two books, so that I can reach the goal. I also made a list of books at the beginning of the year that I wanted to read, and I managed to read 4/6, which is good enough for me.

And finally, I wanted to share my top 10 books of the year (in no particular order):

1. A Court of War and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
2. Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
3. Geekerella by Ashley Poston
4. Skin & Earth by Lights (cheating and counting this as 1, because the graphic novel will be out in May)
5. They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
6. Warcross by Marie Lu
7. Renegades by Marissa Meyer
8. Turtles All the Way Down by John Green
9. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
10. Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

And that's a quick wrap up of my reading in 2017. If you're curious about the specifics of all the books I read this year, my Goodreads page has all the information. - Jessica

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Here's a quick post with some photo's of this year's Trail of Lights. I wasn't able to get a ton of photos this year because my sister was more concerned with getting to the section of food trucks, but anyways I still really liked the above shots. - Jessica

Monday, December 18, 2017

Snow Day

It snowed in Austin for the first time in almost 4 years, earlier this month. Usually when it snows in Austin, it happens over night, but this time there were actual snow flurries falling down from the sky in the middle of the day. Unfortunately I didn't get to go outside and play while it was snowing, because I was working (booo!) but I did spend a good chunk of time crying on my way home, because everything looked so pretty. All of these pictures are from the next day, unfortunately all the snow was melting, but I still got some good shots.

And as usual, I had to take a lot of corgi shots. Fawkes and McCoy really liked playing in the snow, but they were not in the mood to take pictures.

So it was really only like an inch of snow and it had melted by noon, but as someone who has lived their whole life in an area that rarely snows, I get really excited by just a little bit. - Jessica