Thursday, December 31, 2015

Book Review: Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons


Title: The Glass Arrow
Author: Kristen Simmons
Publisher: TorTeen
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Format Read: Hardback

Description from Goodreads: THE HANDMAID'S TALE meets BLOOD RED ROAD in GLASS ARROW, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year-old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya's luck runs out and she's caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

After winning THE GLASS ARROW in a giveaway, I started it the day after it came in the mail. What I expected from the prose was, sadly, not what I got.

From the prose, I expected a strong female character. The kind that doesn't need saving, because she can handle herself. After all, she's "Successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence". But that's not what I got-- in fact, it was the exact opposite. Aya relied on someone else to try to help her escape from the auctions, and for thinking about escaping so much, she didn't ever TRY to do anything.

Another thing is that this book is based heavily on sex and breeding, which the prose mentioned, but I didn't expect it to be quite the way it was. For a YA fantasy, GLASS ARROW was pretty sexual. At times, I felt like it should have been an adult novel instead of YA.

For me, THE GLASS SWORD was a single star book. It started out pretty great, and slowly teetered off from there. Though I read it fast, I didn't enjoy it anywhere near as much as I had hoped I would.

(Un)Happily,
Stephanie

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#10): The Crown


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that hilights upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.


****SPOILER ALERT****
If you haven't read THE HEIR, Do NoT read this WoW post. You will be spoiled.




Title: The Crown (The Selection #5)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 3, 2016

Description from Goodreads: Kiera Cass's bestselling Selection series has enchanted readers from the very first page. Now the end of the journey is here, in a wonderfully romantic series finale that will sweep you off your feet.

Twenty years have passed since the events of THE ONE, and America and Maxon's daughter is the first princess to hold a Selection of her own. Princess Eadlyn didn't think she would find a real partner among the Selection's thirty-five suitors, let alone true love. But sometimes the heart has a way of surprising you... and now Eadlyn must make a choice that feels more difficult-- and more important-- than she ever expected.

The Selection series has sold more than 3 million copies and captured the hearts of fans around the world. This swoonworthy final installment is the happily ever after they've all been waiting for.

Being a huge Selectioner, I cannot wait to get my hands on THE CROWN. I absolutely MuSt find out what happens, who Eadlyn chooses, what happens to America, and all of the other things that THE HEIR did not answer. It's three five months out, but I'm holding on! 

I have my predictions, though, for who I think Eady will choose... We'll have to see if I'm right.

Who do YOU think she'll choose?

Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Book Review: Return to the Dark House by Laurie Faria Stolarz


Title: Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2)
Author: Laurie Faria Stolarz
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Format Read: Hardback

Description from Goodreads: Ivy Jensen survived the Dark House once, but can she make it out a second time?

Two months have passed since Ivy Narrowly escaped the Nightmare Elf's grip, but the memories of Parker, Natalie, Shayla, Frankie, and Garth continue to haunt her. Their killer is still out there-- somewhere. The police trail has gone cold, though, and it's up to Ivy to piece together the clues to find him.

When a cryptic video arrives in her inbox, Ivy soon finds herself back on the spotlight, this time on a twisted scavenger hunt through the dark, ancient halls of a long-forgotten Gothic school building Ivy's not alone, either. Taylor Monroe has returned to the scene. But can Taylor be trusted? Or is she another pawn in the Nightmare Elf's deadly game?

Laurie Faria Stolarz crafts a mesmerizing thriller that will leave readers looking over their shoulders.

After reading and loving WELCOME TO THE DARK HOUSE, I went and picked up book two immediately. Like the first one, I devoured it within a day, and it left me wanting book three like crazy.

Book one was a bit creepy, but RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE was... well, I've got goosebumps just thinking about it. The horror and creepiness mixed together into a perfect cocktail, and while I still have suspicions about certain things, I think I'm starting to form a theory. About who's behind everything. Who the Nightmare Elf really is. 

These are not perfect books by no means. Like every novel, it has it's flaws. But the storyline is so enticing, it lures you right in and before you know it, you're at the last page. And there are plot holes that leave you confused at points, but for me the story arc outweighs the negatives, because this thriller really does leave you breathless. I had to put it down multiple times just to get up and take a breath, get my mind off of it.

If you like horror and all things creepy, then you'll love RETURN TO THE DARK HOUSE, which I think was considerably more heebie-jeebie earning. Five black stars... And Book three, I'm waiting on you.

Happily,
Stephanie 

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Wrap-Up for 2015




I can't believe it's already the last week of 2015. Where did this year even go? It feels like just yesterday I was welcoming the first day of 2015, and here I am writing a wrap up post for said year.

I know 2015 was a difficult year for a lot of people. Between the attacks in Paris, the flooding in parts of the US, and general personal issues, I saw many people struggling this year, myself included. But now 2016 is almost here, and I have a feeling that it's going to be an amazing year. I myself already have some plans cooking up, and I can't wait to see them play out.

Here's a look at my 2015 from my blogging pov...



Top Eleven Books of 2015

2015 was a pretty great year for YA, so this was a hard list to come up with.

Here are my top eleven books of 2015...



11.
Title: Return to the Dark House (Dark House #2)
Author: Laurie Stolarz
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: Tomorrow's Review!
Rating: 5 Stars


10.

Title: Nil Unlocked (NIL #20
Author: Lynne Matson
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: May 12, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 5 Stars

9.

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: Nicola Yoon
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 5 Stars

8.

Title: Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1)
Author: Heather W. Petty
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 15, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 4.5 Stars


7.

Title: Salt & Stone (Fire & Flood #2)
Author: Victoria Scott
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: February 24, 2015
Format Read: ARC
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 5 Stars

6.

Title: Vengeance Road
Author: Erin Bowman
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Format Read: ARC
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 5 Stars

5.

Title: Shutter (Shutter #1)
Author: Courtney Alameda
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Release Date: February 3, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 5 Stars

4.

Title: Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 5 Stars

3.

Title: The Heir (The Selection #4)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: No, I review The Selection in sets. 1-3 and then 4-5, and 5 hasn't come out yet
Rating: 5 Stars

2.

Title: The Last Time We Say Goodbye
Author: Cynthia Hand
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: February 10, 2015
Format Read: Hardback
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 4 Stars

1. 

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Reviewed: YES
Rating: 5 Stars




Authors Met in 2015

Victoria Aveyard
Cynthia Hand
 Jasmine Warga
Veronica Roth
Adi Alsaid
Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Heather Brewer
Patrick Carman
Lindsay Cummings
Elizabeth Eulberg
Tessa Gratton
A.G. Howard
Julie Kagawa
Shannon Messenger
Lauren Myracle
Natalie C. Parker
Stephanie Perkins
Carrie Ryan
Victoria Scott
Sherry Thomas
April Tucholke
Rachel Vincent
Alexandra Sirowy
Antony John
Colleen Houck
Danielle Vega
David Arnold
James Dashner
Emma Mills
Gary D. Schmidt
Heather Petty
Huntley Fitzpatrick
Jackie Lee Sommers
Josephine Angelini
Leila Sales
Marie Lu
Michael Grant
Michelle Falkoff
Morgan Rhodes
Nicola Yoon
Peter Kujawinski
Shaun David Hutchinson
Margaret Stohl
Demetria Lunetta
Kate Karyus Quinn
Mindy McGinnis
Kelly Fiore
Lydia Kang
Lenore Appelhans
Duff Goldman
Chris Van Allsburg


Major Events Attended in 2015

North Texas Teen Book Festival
Anderson's YA Literature Conference
Anderson's YA Fandom Frenzy


Books Read in 2015

This year, I won't take up a bunch of your time by listing them all (Mostly because I'm out of state and left my reading journal back home... #fail), but I will tell you that I branched out a bit this year. I discovered Percy Jackson, and Lena Duchannes, and even a few classics. I even discovered a love for YA Horror that I never knew I had.

And I did read more this year than last year. In 2014, I read 71 books, and if I had to estimate 2015's total, I'd say 80-85. 

I'll let you know when I get back home.


Giveaway

To usher in the New Year, I want to give you the chance to win my top two books of the year. Due to the size and weight, I won't be able to ship international on this one, so US Only, please!


Happily,
Stephanie

Monday, December 21, 2015

What Christmas Means to Me


Christmas is my favorite time of year. Most times, it's cold and snowy (Though, not this year) and there's a distinct change in the atmosphere and the attitudes of the people you meet. Each year, with December 1st, comes the joy and excitement of getting ready for Christmas Day.




First, of course, you trim the tree.
In our family, this is done the day after Thanksgiving, and it's one of my favorite experiences. It's one of the times of the year when we can just turn on the Christmas music, pull out the tree, make some hot chocolate, and get started. We go from Nat King Cole to Bing Crosby, Michael Buble and Kellie Pickler, and I sneak in some Trans-Siberian Orchestra for dramatic fun. 






At the end of the night we lounge around the tree and pop in Rudolph and start the season off with a bang. The movies can sometimes be the best parts of the season-- when you're watching beloved films with those you hold close, it can be a powerful experience. We watch movies all around the Christmas spectrum, whether it's Jack Frost, Elf, the Ultimate Gift, or my personal favorite, Rudolph: The Movie.







Then comes the hubbub of Christmas shopping. Finding the perfect gift for each and every person on your list, making sure everything is sent out on time, and getting all the wrapping done. Tying bows, making labels, putting small gifts in big boxes to throw off the person you bought for. The hurrying to get everything done so you don't have to be out during the week of Christmas and fighting the crowds in the malls. And then ending up forgetting something and having to rush out and grab it.






And of course, Christmas Eve arrives and last-minute plans are made. Any forgotten presents are slipped under the tree, letters to Santa are written, and Christmas movies are watched. Cookies and milk are set out, as well as carrots for the reindeer, and everyone falls asleep watching Christmas movies.






Finally, you wake up and it's Christmas morning. Everyone must be woken up immediately so we can start the day of fun and together-ness. For me, it's always a shock to see presents with my name on them under that tree-- even though I know they're there, it still comes as a surprise when I see them sat before me. In my family, we open our presents at our house and then head straight over to my Grandparents' house and spend the day with them, opening presents and spreading general cheer.






So, what does Christmas mean to me?

It's spending time with family, because one day you may not be able to have your Christmas with the ones you love.

It's taking time away from social media, as I am this week (No posts for the rest of the week!) because some day you'll wish you looked up from that phone a little more.

It's giving, not getting.

It's making sure that people don't go without; that you've done what you can, for who you can.

It's being selfless and kind and thoughtful towards everyone, no matter their background.

It's celebrating the birth of Christ, and acknowledging the blessings we've been given, no matter how small.

It's spreading love.

And joy.

And that is what Christmas means to me.

Happily,
Stephanie

Friday, December 18, 2015

Finally Friday! (#7): The Edge


Finally Friday! is a weekly post on Doodle's Book Reviews that hilights a recently acquired book that I've been waiting to get my hands on. Feel free to leave a comment!




I read PEAK as a sixth grader and was completely amazed by the story. In the years before, I loved staying up late at night on New Year's to watch the televised Everest climbs with my parents, and when I discovered this book, I devoured it whole.

Now, six years later, a sequel popped onto shelves, and my inner middle schooler screamed. Of course I waited so that I could put it on my Christmas list, but when I saw it on shelves at my local indie I just couldn't resist. The wait was too much.

I left with it in my hands, excitement at a Peak (See what I did there?), and am proud to see it sitting on my shelf and waiting for me to dive into it after the New Year. A review is definitely on the way, guys. And I can't wait to continue Peak's journey.

Happily,
Stephanie

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Book Review: All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven


Title: All the Bright Places
Author: Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Knopf
Release Date: January 6, 2015
Format Read: Hardback

Description from Goodreads: THE FAULT IN OUR STARS meets ELEANOR AND PARK in this exhilarating and heart-wrenching love story about a girl who learns to live from a boy who intends to die.

Soon to be a major motion picture starring Elle Fanning!

Theodore FInch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small. stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister's recent death.

When FInch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it's unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the "natural wonders" of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It's only with Violet that FInch can be himself-- a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who's not such a freak after all. And it's only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet's world grows, Finch's begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

It's taken me a particularly long time to write this review. I read ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES in October, and I've thought about reviewing it multiple times but just could not bring myself to do it. In fact, the only reason I'm doing it now is to let you guys know that I didn't like it. I won't be going into much detail at all for this review, so my apologies ahead of time.

Like Hazel and Augustus, I feel that there is a contract between author and reader. A contract that should always be stuck to, and that should be the baseline for each novel written. ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, I feel, was in major violation of said contract.

I loved this book until about halfway through. Near the midpoint, I could tell something just wasn't quite right, and that's when the heaviness started coming into play. And it was a dump, too. It wasn't just steady heavy until the climax, it was heavy-all-at-once-within-like-ten-chapters. Which was fine. Until it wasn't.

I have  very conflicted feelings about ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES, and I know after having seen it win and be nominated for all of these awards that I'm not on the side of the people, but... this one just struck me wrong. At one point, I had to put the book down and get my mind off of it-- this is when I had to decide whether I wanted to finish it or not. I ended up reading until the last page, which was probably the wrong decision, looking back, and now I'm here.

ALL THE BRIGHT PLACES earns a single solitary star from me, for reasons mentioned above and feelings I can't explain. 

Have any of you also disliked this one?

(Un)Happily,
Stephanie

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#9): This is Where it Ends




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that hilights upcoming releases that we're eagerly awaiting.





Title: This Is Where It Ends
Author: Marieke Nijkamp
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: January 5, 2016

Description from Goodreads: 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03 a.m.
The auditorium doors won't open.

10:05 a.m.
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

So. While this may be a pretty heavy topic, I'm hoping that THIS IS WHERE THE WORLD ENDS will be just as emotional and distressing as it sounds. I've been seeing mixed ARC reviews and comments in the book-o-sphere, but I'm still curious to see where Nijkamp takes this one. If executed correctly, I feel like TIWTWE could be one of the best books of the year.

I like reads that make me rethink things. The ones that give me a new perspective. The ones that really make me feel something. 

It is my hope that THIS IS WHERE THE WORLD ENDS will turn out to be a phenomenon of a book, and I can't wait until it hits shelves so I can find out whether my hope has been realized.

Happily,
Stephanie

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff


Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Authors: Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 20, 2015
Format Read: Hardcover

Description from Goodreads: This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she'd have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that's little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra-- who are barely even talking to one another-- are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what's really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents-- including emails. schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more-- ILLUMINAE is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.



Ever since ARCs came out, I've been dying to read ILLUMINAE. I tried my best to trade for an ARC, but that didn't happen, so I pre-ordered the book and waited, painstakingly, for release day. Except that I then remembered why I don't pre-order. It's the whole thing where books don't actually arrive on release date. 

BUT

I did eventually receive my copy, and I devoured it in hours.

ILLUMINAE is absolutely breathtaking. The way it's written, with the documents and IMs and interviews... it's definitely one of the most exceptional reading experiences I've ever had. The style kept you from getting too far inside the characters' heads, but also let you in just enough to grow attached to them all-- even the side characters. In fact, I hadn't even realized how attached I was until it came to a set of scenes and I found myself in tears.

If you follow my blog at all, you know that I'm not a big sci-fi fan, but ILLUMINAE is straight up based in the solar system, and it was easily one of my top reads of 2015. It's the most perfect combination of action, mystery, romance, and sci-fi, and I cannot recommend it enough. If you like sci-fi at all, you need to read this. If you don't like sci-fi at all, you still need to read it. Because this is one that will go down in my record books, and I need everyone to read it and support it. 

Though, I already mentioned it, I want to take a second to go back and touch on the subject of the writing style. I think one of the things that made this book so enjoyable was the way it was written. Not every page was full of writing. Some pages just had a few words. Some pages were full of code. Some pages were lists of casualties. But no matter what the page held, they were all unique and gave the story an amazing perspective. 

I loved ILLUMINAE so much, and I hope that you'll go out and pick up a copy of it. If you do, please tell me what you think. I know that not everyone likes the same books, but I also know that this one is worth the attempt, and though it may be 500-600 pages long, it's truly a pretty quick read, between page format and story building. 

Go out. Get it. Read it. Flail. And then report back to me.

Happily,
Stephaine

Monday, December 14, 2015

11 Gift Ideas for the Bookish Person In Your Life


For some, Christmas is not in their favor. If the perfect gift cannot be found, and time is short due to Christmas being only ELEVEN DAYS AWAY *parties* then it becomes stressful and nerve-wracking.

Maybe that's you this year.

And maybe the person you're trying to find a gift for is a super booknerd, but you don't know what to get them due to being uncertain about which books they do or do not have.

Maybe you don't know the person that well, because they're your Secret Santa.

If this is you, then welcome. You've come to the right place.


Bookish people may be considered the nerds of the world, but it's hard to find a place that doesn't carry some sort of book merch. Here, you'll find gift ideas and buy links, as well as
prices. Basically, you just need a credit card or paypal account, and you're golden.


Below are 11 Gift Ideas for the Bookish Person In Your Life, in no particular order.


1.

Redbubble-- Standard size $15.00

Most of us booknerds love a cup of coffee or tea to go with their current read. Mugs are a big hit for most readers, especially as the winter season is upon us. 

You can type in "bookish mugs" or something of the sort and get all kinds of results, but the one in the picture features many fandoms-- Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, The Fault In Our Stars, The Mortal Instruments/Infernal Devices, and Divergent-- and is sure to please those who are mega-YA readers.




2.

Society6-- Slim case $30.00, Tough case, $33.00

Phone cases are a great way for readers to show off quotes from their favorite books. If you know your giftee's favorite book, or series, or even author, you can find a case for them. All you need to know is the book/series/author, and the type of phone that you're looking to buy a case for.

The one shown above is a quote from John Green's PAPER TOWNS, which hit theaters early this summer, and is a "slim case". For this particular buy, you have the choice of a "slim case" or a "tough case". Of course, "slim case" will be the one that provides the lower amount of protection, though exactly how much protection the "tough case" will provide, is something you'd have to look into.

If you don't know specifics of what your giftee likes when it comes to books, a safe decision would be to go with a library card design!




3.

Society6-- 16x16 $17.00

If your giftee is a booknerd, they definitely use tote bags. We have to carry these books around in something, especially when we're bringing home a particularly large haul, and these totes are a fun and stylish way to do so.

The "Professional Bookworm" tote you see above is on sale right now for $17.00 at Society6. It's sure to please, but don't be afraid to customize and make it more personal!



4.

Etsy-- $45.00

Scarves are a great way to keep warm in the winter weather, and there's no better scarf than a bookish scarf. You can find all kinds of them on Etsy.com, for all different kinds of fandoms and all different kinds of styles and colors.

Above, you'll see a scarf displaying a list of banned books. Banned books are a huge deal to readers (We have a whole month to celebrate them) and this scarf makes for a fantastic way to show pride for banned books, and it makes for a great conversational piece.



5.

Amazon-- $15.00- $20.00

Personal library kits are a great idea for any book lover in your life. With a kit like this, your giftee can keep track of what books they've loaned out, who they've loaned them to, and when they did so. It's the exact emulation of the pockets and papers you used to see in the front covers of your library books as kids. I've given this as a gift myself, and I can vouch for its awesomeness.



6.

Etsy-- Rubber stamp with a knob mount, $14.95

Ownership stamps are another thing that help readers to keep track of their books. This stamp is customizable-- when you purchase it, you get to type your giftee's name in, and the stamp will be created with their name in it (Not Lucy B. Smith).

The one you see above is from Etsy.com, and is customizable in more ways than just the name. This particular stamp gives you the ability to choose what type of mount you want, whether it's wooden, knob, handle, or acrylic. You may also choose whether you want your stamp pre-inked, or self-inking.

"From the Library Of" Stamps are a great gift, and you can even combine them with the aforementioned Personal Library Kit to make a big, custom library set-up.



7.

IceyDesigns-- Book Lovers Pencil Set, $13.95

Bookish stationary is another gift idea that's sure to have readers falling in love with their presents. Whether it's a pencil set, a journal, or a planner, you can't go wrong, especially if you're buying with Hafsah at IceyDesigns. She has some amazing items on her shop.

The Book Lovers Pencil Set is one of many featured in the IceyDesigns shop. There, you can also find pencils themed with Alice in Wonderland, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and We Need Diverse Books, as well as many other themes. If you know your giftee likes these fandoms, or any classic literary novels, be sure to look here.

Also featured on IceyDesigns are gift sets, which often include a journal, pocket journal, and pencil set. They, too, are themed accordingly.



8.

Redbubble-- Shadowhunters Tee, $24.80

Everyone loves t-shirts, and when it comes to booknerds, showing off our book merch is sometimes best done in the form of a t-shirt. You can find them all over the internet, though I prefer Etsy.com, Redbubble.com, and CafePress.com when looking for tees. If the book you're looking for a shirt from happens to be one that's been made into a movie, you may find success (as well as merch options other than tshirts, such as other clothing items and backpacks) on Hottopic.com. All you have to do there is click the "Pop Culture" tab and locate the movie/book title you're looking for.

The shirt above is found on Redbubble, and it's from the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare. It's a quote from one of Clare's most beloved characters, Jace Wayland, and is a pleaser for any fans of the series.



9.

The Literary Gift Company-- So Many Books! $24.18

Bookshelves are never complete without the perfect pair of bookends. Not only do they keep books upright, but they make a statement. They represent a fandom. And you can't go wrong with them, whether you choose metal ends, ceramic ends, or even if you go with stone. There are many different themes and ideas to choose from, which helps you when it comes to looking for the perfect set for your giftee.

Above, you'll see the "So Many Books, So Little Time" set. It's a metal pair that comes from a shop in the UK, but don't fret! You can find bookends sold in the US as well. I just happened to like this set and wanted to show it to you.



10. 

Etsy-- GeekyPopPrints, $15.31

If your giftee is a girl, bookish jewelry is an option you should consider. Whether she prefers necklaces, rings, bracelets, or earrings, you can definitely find something for her. Etsy.com has a great selection of hand-made jewelry, and you can find virtually anything you want just by typing it in the searchbar. 

The Harry Potter necklace featured above is something that, if they're Harry Potter nerd, your giftee will absolutely adore. It's a reference to two of the best elements in the series, and it's 100% affordable.

If she doesn't like jewelry, have you thought about a keychain?



11.
OwlCrate-- One Box, $29.99

I saved OwlCrate for last because it is, quite possibly, the most interesting gift idea of this post. OwlCrate is a monthly subscription box that you can pay for in three ways-- month-by-month ($29.99+ shipping for as many months as you choose, paid monthly), tri-monthly ($28.99+ shipping, paid upfront), and half-year ($27.99+ shipping, paid upfront.). OwlCrate will send a box to your giftee for the month of your choosing, and it's basically a box meant for every YA fan. Inside each box comes a book, and things like swag, prints, stickers, jewelry, tote bags, etc. It's a fun and mysterious way to send a gift, without knowing exactly what your giftee will be receiving.

The box above is from September of this year, and the theme is Leading Ladies. It features a Divergent tote, Hermione Granger print, DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy and some swag, as well as a few other items.

I will let you know that I was gifted an OwlCrate for Christmas this year (premature discovery, oops) and I am stoked to see that puppy in the mail.





I hope this has been a helpful post for those of you who are having trouble finding gifts for your bookish friends/family/secret santa. While it didn't cover every bookish item you could buy, it covered the main ones, the most wanted ones, and some of my personal favorites. Have fun buying for your giftee, and be sure to let me know what you/your giftee thinks if you use any of my gift ideas.

Now hurry up! Go purchase! Only eleven days until Christmas!

Happily,
Stephanie

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Book Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews


Title: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
Author: Jesse Andrews
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: March 1, 2012
Format Read: Paperback, Movie tie-in Edition

Description from Goodreads: Greg Gaines is the last master of high school espionage, able to disappear at will into any social environment. He has only one friend, Earl, and together they spend their time making movies, their own incomprehensible versions of Coppola and Herzog cult classics.

Until Greg's mother forces him to rekindle his childhood friendship with Rachel.

Rachel has been diagnosed with leukemia-- cue extreme adolescent awkwardness-- but a parental mandate has been issued and must be obeyed. When Rachel stops treatment, Greg and Earl decide the thing to do is to make a film for her, which turns into the Worst Film Ever Made and becomes a turning point in each of their lives. 

And all at once, Greg must abandon invisibility and stand in the spotlight.



ME AND EARL was all the hype this year as the movie came to the big screen, and since one of my good friends read and loved it, I decided that I should probably give it a try, especially since I have a rule about not watching a movie before reading the book. So I did, I read the book, and finished very confused and displeased.

The way this book was written was interesting, but for me it was overrun by the crude humor. That, added to the fact that it didn't really feel like this book had an ending, made for... an odd experience. It felt like the author had been in the middle of writing the climax, got bored, and ended the story in a single chapter instead of sticking it out. 

While I started this book with an open mind, I ended it feeling like I'd wasted those hours it took me to read the novel. I would give ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL a single star, and sadly wouldn't recommend it to anyone.

What did you think of this one?

(Un)Happily,
Stephanie

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