Owl Crate Subscription Box: December

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Well folks, it’s that time again, my favorite time of the month (or time to talk about my favorite time of the month because the holidays kicked my butt and I am way behind on posting…but anyways…). Time to reveal the full contents of my Owl Crate subscription box. If you are new to these parts (welcome!) Owl Crate is a monthly subscription box designed especially for lovers of young adult literature. I signed up about eight months ago and I have not been disappointed with the contents of my boxes! December’s theme was EPIC, and this box was the shizz. I loved November’s box, but this month’s was basically made for me (though it did not contain either Richard Madden or Orlando Bloom, so there’s that). But on to the goods! Here’s what we received in the December Owl Crate box:

These Game of Thrones coasters from Dark Horse Comics are the best. Probably my favorite item I’ve ever gotten in an Owl Crate. I am still halfway through book two in the Song of Ice and Fire series (as I have been for about six months), but I am hoping these coasters will encourage me to actually finish reading them soon. If nothing else, they will be a sweet addition to my Season 7 Game of Thrones premiere party (though it may be hard to top the last one, I’m going to try!).

This month’s book is Of Fire and Stars by Audrey Coulthurst. I am really excited to read this one because it seems like a unique take on fantasy and I am in love with the fact that there is an LGBTQ teen in the novel. It has been bumped up on my TBR list because I am so excited for it.

Obvs I love me some Harry Potter so I was sooooo excited to add to my HP Funko collection. I have to say, I think I like the minis better than the full size, however since I already had a full size Harry, it looks a little funny next to my mini Hagrid (Harry is double the size of Hagrid, which just ain’t right). But this is the cutest Hagrid ever and I love it!

I have loved Jane Mount’s pins from Ideal Bookshelf for a while (please make a Romeo and Juliet pin Jane!!!) so I was stoked to see the Lord of the Rings pin in the box. Not gonna lie, never read the books and I have no intention to, but I loved the movies (I know how that makes me sound, no judging….also I may or may not have had an unhealthy Orlando Bloom obsession back in the day).

Also in the box was this amazing Narnia themed greeting card from Susanne Draws (her artwork has been in the boxes in the past and it’s always so beautiful!) and this Darker Shade of Magic sticker from Miss Phi, along with the monthly pin illustrating the theme.

Honestly, I probably would have been happy with this box with just the coasters and my Hagrid mini Funko, so all the other awesomeness was just a bonus! The January theme is Classic Remix, which should be interesting because despite the fact that I have an English degree and taught English for six years, I haven’t read the majority of classics in the literature canon. So we’ll see what happens! If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself (and you should!) please use my referral link and help a sista out!

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Book Review: Girl in Pieces

This post contains affiliate links. In addition, I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ugh, you guys. This book was soooooo good. Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow is about a seventeen year old girl named Charlie who is a cutter. She is sent to an inpatient clinic, but is released after just a few weeks because she can’t pay the fees (so many thoughts on that subject). She ends up traveling to Arizona to meet up with an old friend and she starts to get her life on track. She gets a job, finds a place to live, and seems to be doing okay. Then she meets Riley West, a former one hit wonder rocker with a serious drug and alcohol problem and things start to take a dangerous turn. Charlie has to figure out what kind of life she wants to lead and what kind of person she wants to be (and think about how hard that is to do as a teenager, now couple it with a mental health issue).

I loved this book for so many reasons. One, the writing is beautiful. This is Glasgow’s debut novel, which is actually hard to believe because the writing is so powerful and well-crafted. Two, this is such an important topic and I am so glad that so many young adult literature authors are handling it in such an authentic way (see my review on All the Bright Places if you want another awesome book on teen mental health). I spent eight years of my life working in junior highs and high schools and I can personally attest to the fact that there are so many teens struggling with self harm and the majority of them do a really good job of hiding it. When books like this come out and gain popularity it can have such a tremendous impact on kids who are in a similar situation. It makes my heart happy to think that there are kids out there reading this book and seeing themselves in Charlie. If nothing else, they know that they are not alone.

The main reason I think this book resonated so much with me is that all of the characters are so real. Charlie is the kind of character that makes the reader feel her pain along with her. When Charlie struggles, you want her to be okay. When she succeeds, you cheer on her achievements like you would your best friend’s. The supporting characters are equally as strong and well-developed, and are a diverse and interesting group of people who seem real and authentic.

Whether you are a young adult literature fan or not, Girl in Pieces is the kind of book that everyone should read. Mental health issues are a huge problem in our country (mainly due to the serious stigma that goes along with them) and we need to start the conversation, especially with teens. Books like this can do so much to help that conversation along and I truly hope you will take the time to read it soon.

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The Best Books I Read in 2016

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2016 was an interesting year to say the least. I could say many things about the year in general, but I don’t want to be a downer. Instead, I thought I would share with you some of the best books I read this year because reading is always a good thing. This year I was really able to get back in the swing of things book-reading wise and I am so happy to finally have some time for one of my favorite passions. I hope to read even more books next year, and I think I am going to need to start keeping track because I had a hard time remembering everything I read. But these are the books that stood out the most to me in 2016.

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: You can read my full review here. This is one of the best books I have ever read and I feel like this is such an important story to tell. Everyone should read this book ASAP.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell: Not going to lie, I only picked up this book because my version has a pink cover and it’s so pretty. But I really enjoyed reading Fangirl and I’m definitely going to add the companion book, Carry On, to my 2017 reading list.

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell: So I guess I discovered this year that I really like Rainbow Rowell! I picked up Eleanor and Park because there was a piece in one of my Owl Crate boxes designed around it and I was so happy I did. Definitely a fun and easy read, but also one with a lot of substance.

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas: I actually read the first four books in the Throne of Glass series this year (still waiting for the last one to come out in paperback), but Throne of Glass was my favorite. I haven’t loved the other three as much as I did the first one.

Cress by Marissa Meyer: So the Lunar Chronicles series is one of the few series where I think I equally enjoyed all four books. I read them all this year (if you haven’t read the series yet, make sure you start with Cinder) and I LOVED them. It was hard to pick a favorite, but Cress and her love interest were my favorite couple so I decided to go with her story as my choice.

Flawed by Cecelia Ahern: Flawed was in my first Owl Crate subscription box and it is one of my favorite books I have gotten from Owl Crate so far. I loved this dystopian novel and I really enjoyed Ahern’s writing style. Can’t wait for the sequel!

Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: Look, I read adult books too! So at first I had mixed feelings about Night Circus, but really the writing is just so beautiful that I had to put it on my list. This is one I really want to go back and reread, so I just need to make it through my TBR list so I have time!

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins: OMG, another adult book! So Girl on the Train is not in my normal vein of what I like to read, but it was one of those books that everyone was talking about so I figured I had to check it out. It was a fast read for me, and it was entertaining. And even though it was kind of weird and creepy, it didn’t give me nightmares, which I appreciate.

Overall, 2016 was a great year for books in my opinion. I’m currently working on my reading list for 2017. Any recommendations for me to add to my list? Let me know!

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Read, Reading, Up Next

This post contains affiliate links. I was provided with a free copy of some or all of these books in exchange for my opinion. All thoughts are my own.

Hello book-loving friends! I have been doing a lot of reading lately and I have read some really great books that I want to share with you! Here is a look at what I recently read, what I am currently reading, and what is coming up next.

Read: I recently finished reading Winter, which is the fourth and final book in the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer. This was bittersweet for me because I loved reading this series and I was so sad to see it come to an end. However, I really enjoyed Winter and I thought it was an awesome ending to the series. No spoilers, but I really, really liked how this ending differed from a lot of other YA series. I’ll leave it at that. If you haven’t read the series, get all four books because you are going to want to read them all!

Reading: Shylock is My Name by Howard Jacobson is a little more serious than what I usually like to read, but I was drawn to it because it is a Shakespeare adaptation and I am all about my main man Wills. This book is part of a collection of novels based on Shakespeare plays. This one takes the Merchant of Venice and gives it a bit of a modern spin. I love how the author has made the characters relatable for a modern audience and his spin on the plot is interesting. Definitely not as light and fun as many of my reads, but I’m enjoying it nonetheless.

Up Next: Today I posted some of my to be reads on my bookstagram account (@coffeebookswinerepeat) and asked my followers what I should read next. It was a pretty close vote between Red Queen and The Raven Boys, but TRB won out. I’m excited to start a new YA series and see what this one is all about!

What are you currently reading and what’s up next for you? 

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Owl Crate Subscription Box: November

Hello fellow bookworms and welcome to another Owl Crate reveal! In last month’s box we got a teaser for the next box letting us know the theme for November would be Wonderland. Not going to lie, I was kind of eh about the theme because Alice in Wonderland is not my favorite. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with the contents of this month’s box! It might actually be my favorite one so far! There were some really cool individual items, and all together the themeing of the box was really well done. Here’s what we got this month!

The book for this month is Heartless by Marissa Meyer (author of the Lunar Chronicles series). This might be the first time I had actually heard of the book before getting it in the box, so that was exciting! I am just about to start the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series and I am loving them so far so I am really excited to read Heartless.

Riddle’s Tea Shoppe created this blend just for the Owl Crate box. I don’t drink tea (give me all the coffee) but the tin it came in is so cute I was excited for it anyway! I handed off the tea to my friend and kept the tin for myself!

I am a big fan of Authored Adornments so I was super psyched to see this gorgeous bookmark in the box this month. I also really love this magnet from Evie Bookish. I really love the quote used on the magnet!

In addition to our copy of Heartless, we also got this adorable version of Alice in Wonderland, designed by Rock Paper Books (who has a collection of Shakespeare covers that I am seriously coveting). The book and the matching bookmark are just too cute for words. I actually haven’t ever read Alice in Wonderland, but I am thinking I have to now!

I am so excited about the contents of the November box from Owl Crate. Everything is so beautiful and I think the themeing of this box was completely spot on. Next month the Owl Crate theme is Epic, and we have been promised goodies inspired by Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, and Lord of the Rings (hello all my favorites!). What are the chances Richard Madden and Orlando Bloom will be wrapped in my box? No? Well, if you would like to check out Owl Crate for yourself, please use this referral link right here and help a sista out! Happy reading!

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Owl Crate Subscription Box: October

Hello bookworm friends! I received my October Owl Crate a couple of weeks ago, and I have been waiting for the motivation to write about it to come, but it’s taking awhile. While this month’s box contained a lot of cool pieces, it wasn’t as appealing to me personally as some of the other recent boxes so it was kind of an eh month for me. But I do love Owl Crate and I want to continue to share these boxes with you so you are hopefully inspired to check it out for yourself! Here’s what was in this month’s box:

This polka dot paper clip from My Heart My Tribe is perfect for my planner because it is so big. I love the pattern and it’s a really useful piece, so this is one that I was excited for.

This Sleeping Beauty inspired bracelet by The Geeky Cauldron was my favorite item from the October box, and one of my favorites from any of my Owl Crates. I love Sleeping Beauty so I was super excited for this piece and I will definitely wear it all the time, especially at Disneyland.

I also really loved this Wizard of Oz passport notebook from The Unemployed Philosopher’s Guild, partially because I am a notebook hoarder. I can never seem to get enough little notebooks!

The other main item in this month’s box was a Peter Pan inspired beanie from Whosits and Whatsits. It seems to be a popular item with other Owl Crate subscribers, but I am not a beanie person so this is one that doesn’t do much for me. This month’s book is Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter, which is a retelling of a classic Russian folktale. I don’t know anything about the story itself, but it looks like a really interesting (and kind of dark and creepy) read. I am really behind on my Owl Crate reading, so I gotta find some time to get to my TBR list! The theme for the November box is Wonderland, and I am really excited to see what Owl Crate has in store for next month. If you are interested in checking out Owl Crate for yourself, please use my referral link!

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Read, Reading, Next Up: October

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Hello fellow bookworms! I have seen a few of these types of posts floating around blogland and decided to try it out for myself. I have a feeling this will become a sporadic series here, so I hope you like it! The basic premise is I tell you a little about the book I most recently finished, what I am currently reading, and what is next up on my TBR (to be read) list. And I’ll give you my opinion on them because I like to pretend you care about what I think. Lolz.

Read: Okay, first is the book I just finished reading, which is Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. This is the first book I received from Blogging for Books and I was super excited to read this one. I heard good things about Mindy’s first book, and from what I know of her TV career, she seems like a gal who is funny and smart. I really enjoyed Mindy’s writing style, she is certainly humorous and knows how to entertain her audience. She comes off as very relateable and real, which I appreciate in a memoir writer. It definitely had that “we could be friends” in real life vibe (which given my close proximity to where her show shoots, could actually happen one day!). I had no idea she is a graduate of Dartmouth, which clearly speaks volumes about her intelligence level. There were several chapters in the book that I truly enjoyed reading, but my favorite was the breakdown of a typical day in the life of Mindy Kaling. It was really cool and interesting to see what goes on in her standard day (spoiler alert: it’s a lot). As a writer myself, I particularly liked the glimpse at her writing process for The Mindy Project and what goes into an episode script.

The main thing I found lacking in Why Not Me? was some sort of through-line. The individual chapters and sections tied together, but there was no tangible overall theme to the book. I think that leaves it a little lacking in terms of being a “memoir”–I don’t feel there is a defined purpose to the book as a whole. It was entertaining and enjoyable, but not a book I would say made any sort of lasting impact. Why Not Me? would be great for a day at the beach, or if you are looking for something that is fun and doesn’t require a lot of brain power.

Reading: I know I am way late to the game on the Lunar Chronicles series (what else is new), but I finally picked up Cinder by Marissa Meyer and just started reading it last weekend. So far I am really enjoying it. As you can probably discern from the title and cover, Cinder¬†is loosely based on Cinderella, but this is definitely not your standard re-telling. Cinder is way more sci fi than fairy tale, and it also includes a lot of elements I would associate with dystopian young adult novels. If you have read any of my other book themed posts, you know I am a huge fan of YA lit, in particular YA series, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to read this one. I am about halfway through and I can’t wait to keep on reading!

Next Up: I took Squirt to Barnes and Noble today and was SO EXCITED¬†to see Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas is finally available in paperback. I finished the previous book in her series over the summer, but didn’t want to buy book four in hardback when I had the other three in paperback (my series books need to match, people!). This is definitely next up on my list, though I might have to go back and scan through Heir of Fire to make sure I remember everything that happened. As I stated in my previous review, Heir of Fire was not my fave in the Throne of Glass series, and I am hoping Queen of Shadows gets back on track.

Have you read any of my Read, Reading, or Next Ups? Tell me your thoughts (no spoilers!) and let me know if there is something you think I should add to my TBR list!

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