Books

The Best Books I’ve Read in the Past Three Months

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So I fell super behind with my What I Read monthly posts, so to catch up I’m going to give you the highlights from the past three months. I’ve already reached my yearly reading goal (woohoo!) and I have read a lot of amazing books so far. The past three months included some good ones, here are my favorites:

Glass Sword and King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard: I’m including both of these, though truth be told, I was a little frustrated by King’s Cage (mostly because I thought it was the last book in the series and it is so not). As I mentioned on the podcast a couple of weeks ago, I am really over all these YA books that keep their main couple apart for the entire series. Just let them get together already. This series definitely falls into the trap, but it is so well-written and such a cool concept that I let it go. But I better get some solid couple action in the end!

             

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell: Okay, first of all, the cover of this book is to die for. I’m so glad I didn’t buy the hardcover version because the paperback cover kicks ass. I love Rainbow Rowell, and this book is kind of a spin off of Fangirl, which is amazing. In Fangirl, the main character writes fan fiction, and Carry On is the book that she ends up writing. It’s basically Harry Potter, if Harry and Draco fell in love and there was swearing and cell phones and modern technology. It’s amazing and I loved every second of reading this book.

Ember in the Ashes and Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir: You know a series is good if I read two of the books in the same month. I am really enjoying this series, though I am feeling the same frustration as I did with the Red Queen series (in fact these books inspired my podcast rant). But again, love the concept, love the characters and the writing is beautiful so I’m gonna give it its due.

              

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy: This was just a fun book to read, and it was a nice relief from some of the heavier, darker books I’ve been reading lately. This is the kind of book that makes you smile. I connected with the characters, I was interested in their plights, and I love seeing body image issues dealt with in an unassuming way. I breezed through this one, and loved every second.

How about you? Read any good books lately? Let me know what to pick up next!

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Owl Crate Subscription Box: July

Guys, I am soooooo behind on my monthly posts it’s not even funny. But I’m still going to post them anyway because that’s how I roll. So I received my July Owl Crate more than two weeks ago, and I had some high expectations for this box because the theme was Wanderlust, which I love. For the most part, I liked everything in the box, though it maybe wasn’t as pretty or cutesy as I expected it to be. But that’s okay, because I still scored some cool loot! Here’s what I got:

The book for this month is The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzie Lee. I have to say, this is maybe the best author letter I’ve ever seen in an Owl Crate. So cute and fun and it made me want to dive into the book. Which I haven’t yet, but hopefully will soon!

Two of the items I was kind of eh about were this owl luggage tag from Mudpuppy and this pocket mirror from Miss Phi. I haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic yet (it’s on my miles long list) so that one didn’t resonate with me personally. I did love this little notebook from Ooly. It reminds me of one of my favorite places, New York, and I am a sucker for tiny journals.

By far, my favorite item this month is the Newt Scamander Funko Pop keychain. I already have the Niffler one, so they make the perfect pair! I also really like the Lord of the Rings inspired backpack from the Owl Crate team, though it is probably not something I will use myself.

 

The book and the Newt keychain sold this month’s box for me because they are both so cool. The theme for next month is Something Wicked This Way Comes, which just happens to be one of my favorite quotes from one of my favorite plays, so suffice to say, I’m stoked for it! If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself, please use my affiliate link! Happy reading!

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What I Read: July

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So I legit just almost titled this post What I Read: June because that is how crazy the past couple of months have been. I mean, I knew wedding season would be zero weekend freedom, but I was not prepared for the onslaught of meetings, walk throughs, and rehearsals I would be faced with during the week. In short, summer has flown the eff by. And now Matt is back to school, which means my days are filled with attempting to work and hang with the kiddo, which is not always the easiest combo (shocker). So yeah. That’s my long-winded excuse for being so behind on posts ;o)

But now, onto the reads! I managed to knock out five books in July, which considering how busy I was, is pretty damn good. And they were all relatively enjoyable reads, so bonus!

The Return by Kelly St. Clare: I was provided with a free copy of this novel in exchange for my review. I previously read the first book in the series, The Retreat, and for the most part, enjoyed it. I didn’t love the sequel as much. The characters felt very forced and the dialogue was extremely cheesy and fake. I still loved the sci-fi concept behind the series, but this book was not as well executed as the first. Also, while I LOVE supporting independent authors who self-publish, I cannot handle the spelling/grammar/formatting issues that come along with most indie books. My English teacher brain shuts down.

The Program by Suzanne Young: I talked about this book on the podcast a few weeks ago. I really loved the entire concept overall, and it is very well written. I’m a sucker for a good futuristic/dystopian novel and this one was really interesting. It does deal with suicide, so I would urge everyone to check out the summary if you have any trigger issues. But definitely a thought-provoking read to say the least.

The Siren by Kiera Cass: I really only picked this one up because I enjoyed the Selection series so much. This was a good summer read: easy, fun, romantic, and light. Cass noted in her acknowledgements at the end of the book that she actually wrote Siren before the Selection series, but wasn’t able to find a publisher. It wasn’t until the popularity of her series that she was able to get this book published. It definitely reads like a first novel, but at the same time, Cass has such great style that it’s an enjoyable read.

Champion by Marie Lu: After struggling a little with Prodigy, I was so happy to read and love Champion. I loved the ending of the series, even though I cried my eyes out. It was such a moving and emotional end that it really cemented my love for the series as a whole. I highly recommend starting with Legend and reading the entire series.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: I LOVED this book. In fact, I finished the rest of the series already, though technically they were August reads. Such a great concept, and Aveyard’s writing is amazing. Her battle scenes are some of the best I have ever read and I was enthralled by the details in her writing. We talked about the final book in the series, King’s Cage, on the podcast last week so if you’ve already read the books, go listen to hear all my thoughts!

All in all, a pretty awesome month of reading! I’ve already knocked out three books this month, and I am aiming for three more, so come back next month to read all about them!

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Game of Thrones at Library Bar

This past weekend, Matt and I were invited by some friends to attend a viewing party at Library Bar in downtown Los Angeles. When you combine books, Game of Thrones, and booze, I am a happy camper, so we obviously jumped at the chance. I had never been to the bar before, mostly because it is downtown and getting there and parking is a pain in the ass. However, because it was Sunday, the drive was less awful than it normally is. As soon as we walked in, I fell in love. If I didn’t have a kid, and a job, I would spend every weekend hanging out at this bar. It’s the best, and I seriously wish it were closer to my house.

We arrived around 4:30 to get spots for the 6:00 Game of Thrones (they also show the episode at 9:00 and 10:30). While we were some of the first ones there, I’m glad we got there early because we got an awesome spot. For my first drink, I ordered the Tequila Mockingbird, for obvious reasons. It was super tasty, though the spicy “rim” that was actually all over the side of the glass was a little inconvenient. Next time I will ask for it as just a rim. But the drink itself was super yummy.

At around 5:00 they started serving their themed Game of Thrones drinks. Between everyone in our group, we tried them all, and they all got positive reviews.

This one is the Mother of Dragons. It tasted similar to a pina colada. It was good, but it wasn’t my favorite of all the ones I tried.

This one is the Blood and Fire. Epic failure on my part, I was not ready with my camera at the bar, because they actually light the sprig of rosemary on fire. I’m always down for a little spectacle with my cocktails, and as a bonus, it tasted great! I would definitely order this one again.

Matt and I split the fried chicken sandwich, which was very tasty. The fries were the best part though, they had a great seasoning. This is definitely the kind of bar that has good, but pricey snack type foods. We split the sandwich and then ate another snack when we got home.

They show Game of Thrones on one big main screen and one other smaller TV. We had a great spot since we got there so early, but it did seem like most people in the bar had a decent view of the show. They also showed the previous week’s episode, though they didn’t turn the sound on until the new episode started. I was a little worried about watching the show in a bar with a big group of people, but it was actually better than expected. A couple of people were talking, but for the most part, everyone paid attention and no one was too obnoxious. We did go home and watch the episode again, but I always do that so I can do my notes for the podcast.

I am so happy I discovered Library Bar. I will 100% visit there again, and I would definitely check out another Game of Thrones episode there in the future. How do you feel about viewing parties? Do they enhance your experience or take away from the show for you? Let me know!

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10 Things I’m Obsessed with Right Now

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It’s been a while since I have shared one of these posts, and I have a ton of new things that I am obsessing over that I want to share with you. From books to booze, these are the things I am seriously crushing on this summer!

A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: If you have listened to Down to Fangirl, or checked my bookstagram, or read any of my What I Read posts, chances are you have seen/heard me talk about ACOTAR. Guys. For real, this is my favorite series since Harry Potter. Book two, A Court of Mist and Fury, is one of the best books I have ever read. Period. If you like to read, or even if you hate to read, this series is a must. Go buy it and thank me later.

Soap and Glory beauty products: I have been using this face wash for most of the summer and I have seen a huge improvement in my skin. Even though I am now mid thirties, I still suffer from acne and I have had a lot of problems finding a cleanser that works consistently for me. This one has been awesome so far and I am loving it. Soap and Glory also has a ton of other great products, my other favorite being their lip glosses.

Rose: I know, I know, I’m basic AF. But nothing beats a yummy rose during the hot summer months. And it goes down so easy I can drink it all day long! (Not that I do that…often.)

Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew: This is my go to summer coffee drink from Starbucks and I have been consuming them almost every day over the past few months. I love them a little too much.

Supergirl: I just finished watching season two of Supergirl, and guys, I legit cried actual tears during the finale. My heart is aching just thinking about it. I have a huge crush on Chris Wood, who plays Supergirl’s boyfriend (and is gay in real life, of course) and I am ride or die with Jeremy Jordan. Plus, Calista Flockheart came back for the last two episodes, and the original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter plays the president. Binge it. And then come cry with me when it’s over.

Making buttons: Okay, this is weird, I know, but I started making some Disney inspired buttons a couple of weeks ago and I got so into it I bought a button maker. I will be posting a tutorial soon, suffice to say I am going to be doing a lot of giveaways because I only have room for so many buttons in my life.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard: I finished this book a couple of days ago, on my birthday, and then went to two different bookstores that day to try to find the sequel, Glass Sword. I LOVED this book and have been dying to start number two, but I had to order it online so I’ve had to wait a few days before being able to start it. I have a couple of books I need to review that are next on my list, but I might be diving into Glass Sword instead. Because it’s that good.

Podcasting: If you haven’t listened to Down to Fangirl yet, get on it! Brianna and I have recorded seven episodes now and I am so loving podcasting. Honestly, I’m enjoying the whole process way more than I thought I would, and I am hoping our little show continues to grow!

Champagne and Strawberry Lemonade: I feel like this is self-explanatory, but this combo has become my go to summer alcoholic beverage of choice. It’s a perfect combo and it also makes for a pretty pink drink.

Guardians of the Galaxy Mission Breakout: Okay, so as trepidatious as I was of the ride in the beginning, and as much of an eye sore as it is in the park, it is a damn good ride. Plus, I am loving discovering all of the different versions. I need to ride them all!

What have you been obsessing over this summer? Let me know so I can maybe share in your obsession!

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What I Read: June

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Hello fellow bookworms! It’s hard to believe it is the end of another month of reading! The books covered in this post will be on the light side–only four–because in addition to these four new reads, I also reread the entire A Court of Thorns and Roses series. Because I am obsessed. I am honestly thinking about going in for round three this month, but I’m trying to make myself read some new stuff! Aside from ACOTAR, here’s what I read this month:

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia: This book is one of the many reasons I love Owl Crate. I doubt I would have picked up this book on my own, because based on the cover, it is not something I would have been drawn to. However, I fucking loved this book. I wish this book had been around when I was a teenager because it spoke so much truth to my introverted self. If you have ever felt like the weird one, whether at school or in your family or in your job, this book is for you. I have so so much love for so many aspects of this novel. It obviously spoke to my introverted self, but also to my creative self, as it examined the pressure to create, and this weird balance of creating for you while also creating for your audience. It’s an interesting take on that relationship, one I only know from the audience side of things, but could someday end up struggling with as a writer. But I cannot say enough good things about this book. Read it. ASAP.

Alex and Eliza by Melissa de la Cruz: I’m not going to tell you my thoughts on this book here, since we discussed it in the latest episode of Down to Fangirl. So go download the podcast and hear all of Brianna’s and my thoughts!

Prodigy by Marie Lu: This is the second book in the Legends series. I really enjoyed Legend, but I struggled a bit with Prodigy. It could be ACOMAF interference–once I start reading that book, I don’t want to read anything else–but I didn’t love it as much as the first one. I did just buy Champion, the final in the trilogy, and I am hopeful I will enjoy it. The one thing I really liked about Prodigy is the shift in the Les Mis retelling. In the first book, the two main characters are modeled after Jean Val Jean and Javert. However, in this one, the love triangle very much resembles the Cosette-Eponine-Marius relationship, which is cool. It’s definitely worth a read, especially if you liked Legend.

Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson: This is the second book I’ve read by Morgan Matson after seeing her speak at the LA Times Festival of Books, and it was just as enjoyable as the first one. I don’t typically love contemporary YA literature, but Matson’s stories are such fun reads. In particular, her dialogue always rings so true (coming from someone who listened to teenagers for eight years). This is the perfect book to read during the summer: humorous, fun, romantic, and still touching and thought-provoking. I’m looking forward to reading more of her books!

Even though it was a light month of reading, it was a good one! I’m aiming for seven new books in July, so make sure you check back then, and follow my bookstagram to keep up with all my reads!


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Owl Crate Subscription Box: June

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It’s that time of month book-loving friends, aka my favorite day of the month, time to check out the latest offering from Owl Crate! If you are new to these parts and have never heard of Owl Crate, well suffice to say, it’s the shit. Owl Crate is a monthly subscription box designed for lovers of young adult literature. Each month’s box includes at least one book, plus several other bookish goodies that are always themed and super fun to unveil. This month’s theme was Make it Out Alive, which I loved, and the box had not one, but two amazing books! Here is a look at what we received this month!

Alright, I hate to start out with kind of a whimper, but one of the first things I saw was this zombie sleep mask from Archie McPhee. I’m so not into zombies so this one is kind of wasted on me. However, I am super stoked to use this Divergent themed bath bomb from Fizzy Fairy Apothecary (also, adorable shop name). Each bomb has a faction charm inside, can’t wait to see where I end up!

One of the first dystopian novels I ever read was The Giver by Lois Lowry, so I am mega into this patch from Laserbrain Patch Co. And if you have been paying attention to my bookstagram (@coffeebookswinerepeat) you know that I am now OBSESSED with A Court of Thorns and Roses, so I was beyond excited to see this bookmark from Hey Atlas Creative. We also got a sweet magnet from Little Inklings Design with a quote from An Ember in the Ashes, which I haven’t read, but have on my list.

And like I said, we got TWO books this month. The first is called New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson, and is about a girl trying to survive in her dystopian world (you can rarely go wrong with that premise in my book). We also got a special edition with an exclusive cover of The Sandcastle Empire by Kayla Olson, which I can’t wait to dive into.

Another awesome Owl Crate box! The theme for the July box is Wanderlust, which sounds amazing, and once again, I am counting down the days until it arrives. If you are interested in subscribing to Owl Crate, please use my referral link, right here! Thanks friends and happy reading!

 

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