Monday, April 24, 2017

Book Review: The Dressmaker's Secret by Kellyn Roth

Media Type: Ebook
Title: The Dressmaker's Secret
   *Series: The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Book I
Author: Kellyn Roth
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: Kindle; 205
Release Date: January 9, 2016
Source: Author
Content Screening: Nothing of note.

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who are looking for a historically based read, with a little romance.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
London, England, 1870

It comes to the attention of curious eight-year-old Alice Chattoway that her father is seemingly nonexistent. After realizing that his absence is making her mother unhappy, Alice becomes determined to find him and pull her family together. But Miss Chattoway’s answers to her daughter’s questions are vague at best and Alice begins to wonder if she will ever discover her mother’s secret.
Reading more historical fiction was something that I promised myself I'd tackle this year, and so I was very pleased with Kellyn Roth asked me to read The Dressmaker's Secret. I love all things with a classic feel, and this book seemed to fall within that realm. As it stands, both the premise of the story and the mystery woven into it were wonderful. I only had a few qualms, which I'll address below.

First off, I must give credit to Kellyn Roth for excellent character building. Although I felt like there could have been a bit less characters introduced, without affecting the overall story, she did succeed quite well in making sure that all of them felt realistic. I felt like I actually knew them, by the time I'd reached the ending. As a reader who always wants to feel invested, I genuinely appreciated that. I also very much enjoyed the atmosphere of this novel.Roth pays homage to the time period excellently. The Chattoways felt perfectly placed in the story that surrounded them.

My biggest issues with this story were fairly simple, the first being the large amount of dialogue that takes place in this book. Although it definitely assisted with my getting to know the characters, I felt like it hampered forward movement. There were large portions of the middle that felt dragged on, due to the dialogue between the characters. The other issue I had was that the plot seemed to rush to resolve itself in the latter half of the book. Things were going rather well at first, but the events that lead to the ending of this book were a bit frustrating to be honest. I felt like the ending was abrupt, and possibly not the best choice for the Chattoway's story. I had enjoyed following them enough that I felt a little let down.

Despite that though, I would definitely recommend this book to readers who are looking for historical fiction that is on the lighter side. There is a good message underlying all of this and, although the time period would dictate otherwise, this book doesn't have much scandal in it at all. It's a rather clean, and quick, read overall. I think Kellyn Roth is just cutting her teeth here, and that's a hopeful thought. I'd love to see what she writes next.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Book Review: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepard

Media Type: Audiobook
Title: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill
Author: Megan Shepard
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 240
Release Date: October 13, 2016
Source: Library Borrow
Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Young readers who enjoy magical realism and amazing characters.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
There are winged horses that live in the mirrors of Briar Hill hospital. In the mirrors that line its grand hallways, which once belonged to a princess. In those that reflect the elegant rooms, now filled with sick children. It is her secret.

One morning, when Emmaline climbs over the wall of the hospital’s abandoned gardens, she discovers something incredible: a white horse with broken wings has left the mirror-world and entered her own. 

Tucked into the garden’s once-gleaming sundial, Emmaline finds a letter from the Horse Lord. He is hiding the wounded white horse, named Foxfire, from a dark and sinister force—a Black Horse who hunts by colorless moonlight. If Emmaline is to keep the Black Horse from finding her new friend, she must collect colorful objects with which to blind him. But where can Emmaline find color when her world is filled with gray?
Oh, this book. I borrowed this on a whim from the library, and I'm so very glad that I did. Megan Shepard has woven a beautiful tale in The Secret Horses of Briar Hill. One that manages to mix fantasy and reality in a way that is both heartbreaking and sweet. I fell in love with Emmaline from page one, and I honestly wish that her story had gone on a little longer.

The writing in this book felt so familiar. Like an old friend, that I hadn't picked up in a while. I'd most easily compare this to something like The Secret Garden, with its rambling estate and precocious young characters. There was just enough magic patchworked into this story as well, with Emmaline's winged horses taking center stage. Which was perfection, to be honest. While there are definitely sad undertones, since this takes place during wartime, the magic here helps keep things on an even keel. I don't know if Middle Grade readers will get the layers here, but even with just the winged horses it's an excellent story.

As for the audiobook, I an attest that Fiona Hardingham is the perfect narrator for Emmaline's story. She brings the otherwordly place on the other side of the mirror, with its winged inhabitants, to life. I honestly think it gave me an even better experience than I could have hoped for. If you have an older MG reader, who is in love with simple magic, this is a book that you need to put in their hands. It was a gorgeous read.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Book Spotlight + Playlist - Fairy Lights by Edward Lorn

He's baaaaaaaack! Yes friends, Edward Lorn is once again a feature on my blog and I honestly couldn't be more pleased about it. If you haven't already met E., as we all fondly call him, I highly recommend you check out these posts:

You can also scroll up to that review portal up there, and find his last name, for some reviews of his books! Spoiler alert, they're great and also deliciously creepy.

Anyway, I'll stop babbling and let you know that the reason E. is here this time is to promote his newest book, Fairy Lights. I'm not going to lie, I auto-bought this as soon as it popped up. Here's the synopsis.

Available online now at DarkFuse Magazine!

On Palomar Mountain, there hides a creature capable of unspeakable malice. A monster hungry for flesh. A being capable of manipulating those it allows to live.

Tony and his mother, Brenda, have plans to vacation on Palomar Mountain and intend to bring Tony’s buddy with them. The party of three ascend the mountain for three days of camping without the aid of technology. But when the boys get lost in the woods, things escalate from bad to deadly in the blink of an eye. Because they’re not alone, and the creature in the cave is not the only thing they have to worry about.
Find it on: DarkFuse | Amazon | Goodreads

Intrigued? I was too! I'll be reading and reviewing this soon. Now, before you run off to go and purchase this (as I know you will), take some time to check out the playlist that E. put together for this book!

Edward Lorn here, but you can call me E. I had no idea how hard it would be to create a playlist for a book and explain how each song connects with the story without spoilers. But I think I succeeded. 

First and foremost, many thanks to Jessica (Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile) for having me. I'm a huge fan of her reviews. Always a pleasure to see her in my inbox, so when she asked me to come over and share the playlist I concocted for my new book, Fairy Lights, with her followers, I was honored and jumped at the chance. 

Without further ado... 


Track #1: "Kowarete iku Sekai", by Girugämesh. If Fairy Lights were a movie, this would be the music playing over the opening credits. So, before you even crack the book open, give this Japanese band's best song (in my opinion, anyway) a listen.

Track #2: "Closer", by Nine Inch Nails. Let this classic piece of electronic rock play loud as hell during Chapter 2 and why I picked it should be abundantly clear.

Track #3: "Stressed Out", by Twenty One Pilots. I feel this song works best during Tony and Bobby's introductions. Getting to know these two young men and their Odd-Couple-esque friendship to this song just feel right.

Track #4: "A Little Piece of Heaven", by Avenged Sevenfold. All I'll say is, "Poor Ralph." 

Track #5: "Freak on a Leash", by Korn. This song should accompany you as Moss leads us into the Handy's cave for the first time. Not only do the lyrics fit, but the music sets the tone for the eeriness of the scene to come.

Track #6: "What If it Was Me?", by Tech N9ne. Much of the book deals with race relations and racial tensions. The book is meant to be a modern-day lost-in-the-woods parable set firmly in the horror genre. While writing it, I wanted the book would be as violent and disturbing as possible, but at the same time I wanted to tackle some important questions. I think the biggest of these questions was "Is anyone really colorblind?" If I say "I don't see color" am I ignoring the bigger problem, and by default, does that make me part of the problem? Tony's mother Brenda asks herself the same questions.

Track #7: "Wait and Bleed", by Slipknot. My reasoning for this one is simple. If Moss had an anthem, this song would be it.

Track #8: "Prison Sex", by Tool. Put this one on repeat and let it play while Blake and Charlie are checking out the observatory.

Track #9: "Heart-Shaped Box", by Nirvana. I imagine this song working best while Brenda is playing with her son's phone. I actually had this song and the next one on repeat during the writing of Fairy Lights.

Track #10: "Lucretia", by Megadeth. Probably the weirdest song on the entire list is this classic from Megadeth's fourth album, Rust in Peace. I knew this was going to be an adult version of stories like Hansel and Gretel and Snow White with modern topics and social issues but I didn't want the typical witch character. The monster in the book, without spoiling anything, is probably the closest I will ever come to writing about the type of witch that cackled through some of the best fables ever written. Every time the Handy is on the page, this song was playing. 

Track #11: The final three chapters of the book (15, 16, and 17) should be read in complete silence. And then...

Track #12: "Come on Up to the House", by Tom Waits. If Fairy Lights were a film, this would be the song that played over the ending credits. I think it speak very well to the book as a whole. 


And that's where I'll leave you. Thanks again to Jessica for having me. If you like your horror to make you think and enjoy being disturbed on a visceral level, please give my newest release Fairy Lights a try.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Book Review: The Forbidden Garden by Ellen Herrick

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Forbidden Garden
Author: Ellen Herrick
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Pages: Paperback; 400
Release Date: April 4, 2017
Source: Harper Collins / TLC Book Tours
Genre: Mystery / Contemporary

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who enjoy vividly descriptive writing, with characters who are easy to love.

Add it on: HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble
“Captivating [...] Herrick weaves a rich tapestry of family lore, dark secrets, and love.” —Brunonia Barry, New York Times bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Fifth Petal

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Jio, comes a lush imaginative novel that takes readers into the heart of a mysterious English country garden, waiting to spring to life.

Every garden is a story, waiting to be told…

At the nursery she runs with her sisters on the New England coast, Sorrel Sparrow has honed her rare gift for nurturing plants and flowers. Now that reputation, and a stroke of good timing, lands Sorrel an unexpected opportunity: reviving a long-dormant Shakespearean garden on an English country estate.

Arriving at Kirkwood Hall, ancestral home of Sir Graham Kirkwood and his wife Stella, Sorrel is shocked by the desolate state of the walled garden. Generations have tried—and failed—to bring it back to glory. Sorrel senses heartbreak and betrayal here, perhaps even enchantment. Intrigued by the house’s history—especially the haunting tapestries that grace its walls—and increasingly drawn to Stella’s enigmatic brother, Sorrel sets to work. And though she knows her true home is across the sea with her sisters, instinct tells her that the English garden’s destiny is entwined with her own, if she can only unravel its secrets…

First off, let me say that The Forbidden Garden is both an absolutely enchanting and effortless read. It's the type of story that a reader can easily sink into, and wile away the hours with. To me, it would be the perfect outdoor read. Something to spend those beach days, hammock days, or even camping days with. Ellen Herrick has made something beautiful here, and it's honestly rather intoxicating.

As a reader, I tend to gravitate towards character who feel genuine. If the people I'm reading about attract me, I want to keep reading. Herrick has accomplished that handily. Sorrel and her sisters, despite the fact that I hadn't yet read the book they are featured in, stole my heart. Their love was evident, as was the heartache that Sorrel still harbored. When Sorrel, and I at the same time, met the Kirkwoods I was head over heels in love. This family, despite their secrets kept, were just delightful. The romance that bloomed between Andrew and Sorrel especially stole my heart. It felt genuine, sweet, and honest, which is hard to do.

The story itself, that is the plot portion of it, started out really strong in my opinion. The rambling estate of Kirkwood Manor was just as charming as the people in it, and as the history began to unfold I was intrigued. However, as the book neared the mid-point, I felt like everything was being rushed to the conclusion. I would have loved to see more about the research that Stella was performing into the past, and possibly more about the whole mystery itself. The ending just felt anti-climactic, after all the tension leading up to it.

For a beautifully written setting, wonderful characters, and a rather interesting plot, I'll happily offer this book three stars. As I mentioned, it was an effortless and honestly enjoyable read. If you're looking for something light and airy, with characters who will make you fall in love, this is your next read.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Friday, April 14, 2017

On Reading the Tough Stuff

I'm nearly through the end of We Are the Ants by Shaun David Hutchinson as I type this. It's late at night, I'm in bed, and I can't stop thinking about all the things that this book has wrapped up in it. Like most good books I've found lately, I stumbled upon this entirely by accident. The library had it available as an audiobook, it has excellent ratings on Goodreads, and the rest is history.

As a young reader, I wasn't really policed in what I read. My mom would give the synopsis on the back a cursory glance, but mostly she trusted me to know if something was out of my league for the moment. That freedom gave me access to so many things as a kid. Whole worlds were opened to me, and I learned what empathy and understanding were on a whole new level. These people in my books weren't me, but I could put myself in their shoes. I learned to love that.

Which brings me to the point of this post, and that's reading about the tough stuff. I've been lucky enough to lead a pretty normal and pleasant life so far. You'd think that would mean that I'd stay away from discussions of suicide, harmful relationships, eating disorders, and anything of an uncomfortable nature. In fact, those books seem to be the ones that keep drawing me back in. Not all of them mind you. Any time an author deals with anything of this sensitivity, they have to do it right. I've seen it done wrong many a time. When a book deals with anything tough in a realistic, fair, and honest way though, I find myself wanting to read it. I want to feel empathy towards those characters. I want to understand their loss, their hurt, and their confusion. It seems silly to say, but being able to do that has actually made me a person who has better skills in real life with dealing with people who cross my path going through the same things.

That's why I honestly believe reading the tough stuff is so important, on so many levels. Even if the people that we're learning to understand are fictional, we're gaining real life skills to empathize with actual people in our universes. Is it hard to read? Most times, yes. Is it uncomfortable? Sometimes, yes. I truly believe it's a necessary part of becoming a whole person though, and you won't ever get me to change my mind on that.

Books like We Are the Ants are special, and should be appreciated. This book has gracefully navigated dealing with loss, suicide, harmful relationships, self-worth, and anger issues. It's beautifully addressed the idea that we never "get over" the death of someone that we really love, and that the acceptance of that fact is what keeps us moving forward. The quotes in this book touch on dreams, living a full life, and feeling tiny in a giant world. I've cried more than a few times reading this, and I've kept reading. Because that's what is so important. To understand where this fictional boy is at, and where he's headed. To feel real empathy.

If you've listened to me ramble to this point, thank you! Now I'm asking for recommendation. Do you have a book like this that you recommend? One that you've fallen head over heels for?

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday (4/12/17)

You've made it to Wednesday, bookish friends! Congratulations!

Apologies for things being a bit slow this week. Last weekend was the hubby's birthday, and his birthday party, and I was pretty wrapped up in all of that. So, although I still got a fair amount of reading done, not very much blogging happened over the weekend. Whenever I forget to plan ahead, things tend to slow down a bit :). That's the blogger life.

Now, on to my pick for this Wednesday!

I'm eagerly waiting on Grit by Gillian French.

His presence beside me is like heat, like weight, something I’ve carried around on my back too long.

Raw and moving, this contemporary realistic debut novel will leave readers of E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman breathless as it unflinchingly unfolds the tragic secrets being kept in a small, deceptively idyllic Maine town.

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.

But if anyone were to look closer at Darcy, they’d realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Staying out late, hooking up, and telling lies is what Darcy does to forget. Forget about the mysterious disappearance of her friend. Forget about the dark secret she and her cousin Nell share. Forget about that hazy Fourth of July night. So when someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel act only someone with a score to settle would make—all of the things that Darcy wants to keep hidden threaten to erupt in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

I have been excited about this book since I first saw the description for it, and I honestly can't wait for it to come out! It sounds amazing.

What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, April 10, 2017

Book Review: Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton

Media Type: Ebook (ARC)
Title: Gardenia
Author: Kelsey Sutton
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Pages: Paperback; 260
Release Date: February 28, 2017
Source: Publisher / NetGalley
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers who are looking for a dark and gritty YA mystery.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Ever since she was a child, Ivy has been able to see countdown clocks over everyone's heads indicating how long before they will die. She can't do anything about anyone else’s, nor can she do anything about her own, which will hit the zero hour before she even graduates high school.

A life cut short is tragic, but Ivy does her best to make the most of it. She struggles emotionally with her deep love for on-again, off-again boyfriend Myers Patripski. She struggles financially, working outside of school to help her mom and her sister. And she struggles to cope with the murder of her best friend, another life she couldn't save. Vanessa Donovan was killed in the woods, and everyone in town believes Ivy had something to do with it.

Then more girls start disappearing. Ivy tries to put her own life in order as she pieces together the truth of who ended Vanessa's. To save lives and for her own sanity.

The clock is always ticking. And Ivy's only hope is to expose the truth before it runs out completely.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again, Kelsey Sutton's writing never ceases to amaze me. I don't know whether it's the melancholy way that she writes, or the vividly imperfect characters that she creates, but her writing just gets me every single time. There's a reason why she's an auto-read author for me, and so you'll have to pardon my excitement over Gardenia. While it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, it was still pretty spot on.

Ivy is one of those characters that you have to take with a grain of salt. I say this only because I can see people becoming frustrated with her at the beginning of this story. Trust me when I say that her morose demeanor, and her deeply ingrained inability to let people get close to her, is all for a reason. Imagine that you knew how long you had left. Imagine that you also knew how hard it was on the people you leave behind, when there are loose ends. That should easily give you a glimpse at the person that is Ivy Erickson. Someone who wants but, with good reason, is afraid to want. I honestly felt so much for her, and that's half the reason why I adored this story so much.

The other half of the reason was that Sutton quickly wove together a mystery that even I, the master of figuring out things much too quickly, couldn't decode. As Ivy inched ever closer to what she believed was the truth, I kept second guessing whether we were headed the right way. As it turns out, everything I thought I knew was completely wrong. In the best way possible, the ending of this book completely threw me for a loop. I was both amused, and totally impressed.

If you're looking for a happy and lighthearted story, I'd recommend that you look elsewhere. If, instead, you're looking for a story that stares death straight in the face, and manages to wrap a pretty stellar mystery up in that, you've found your book. True to Kelsey Sutton's form, this isn't quite what you'd consider a feel good story. This book will make you take another look at your own life, and what you plan to do with the time you have left. I can tell you, it's well worth the journey.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Book Review: Jake the Fake Keeps it Real by Craig Robinson and Adam Mansbach

Media Type: Print Book (ARC)
Title: Jake the Fake Keeps It Real
Author(s): Craig Robinson / Adam Mansbach
Illustrator: Keith Knight
Publisher: Crown Books for Young Readers
Pages: Hardcover; 144
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Source: Publisher
Content Screening: Nothing of note

HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Middle School readers who love stories with lots of heart, and tons of laughs!

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
For fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Big Nate comes a new side-splitting series from comedian and film star Craig Robinson, #1 New York Times bestselling author Adam Mansbach, and NAACP History Maker recipient and cartoonist Keith Knight. 

Jake can barely play an instrument, not even a kazoo. And his art? It's better suited for Pictionary than Picasso. Which is a real problem because Jake just faked his way into the Music and Art Academy for the gifted and talented (and Jake is pretty sure he is neither). More jokester than composer, Jake will have to think of something quick before the last laugh is on him.

Featuring more than 160 illustrations, Jake the Fake is sure to bring the laughs with his hilarious high jinks!
Okay, this book was adorable! I admit I was kind of wondering how Craig Robinson was going to tackle a Middle Grade book, since his humor is usually more on the adult side, but I shouldn't have worried at all. Jake the Fake Keeps it Real manages to fit some real life middle school hardships and lesson in, while still being utterly hilarious. Impressive sirs. Thoroughly impressive.

See, Jake feels like a fake in his new magnet music and art school. Kids who excel at everything from peanut stacking (yes, I cracked up at that too) to singing opera are all around him, and he has no idea where he really fits in. Sound like a normal middle school experience? Yup, I thought so too. What sets Jake apart is that he's lucky enough to have a best friend who tells him like it is. Lo and behold, when Jake starts listening and stops trying so hard, he actually starts having a lot of fun!

It would be totally unfair not to mention Keith Knight's illustrations in this book. They are on practically every page and they really bring the humor home. Sure, hearing about an eccentric teacher is a lot of fun. Seeing him illustrated in a hilarious manner though? Way more fun! Plus the thoughts in Jake's head are illustrated in all their glory (and randomness), making this so much more amusing than I expected. If your young reader loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, they'll love this!

Funny, heartfelt, and with a great message, Jake the Fake Keeps it Real stole my heart! I'm now eagerly waiting for more, and I know that your young reader will be too.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Small Business Spotlight - Members of the AABOCB!

It's time for another edition of Small Business Spotlight here on HDB, and this time I'm very proud to present my AABOCB (we're the Anti-Anxiety Book Obsessed Coffee Brigade) ladies!

My hope is that, like I did, you'll fall in love with the amazing items that they create. I'm hoping some of them will also be by again later in the year, with their own individual spotlights, but for now let me give you a peek at what they're up to!


First up is Erin from The Bookshelf Quest shop!

Her claim to fame is her origami jewelry, which is one of the first things I fell in love with when I first visited her shop. Just look at this necklace!

Each one is made to order, which means your item is made with extra love and care.

You'll also find bookmarks and earrings in this shop. Keep an eye out too, because Erin's new project is custom book sleeves. I was lucky enough to be one of her first customers to test out this new endeavor, and just look what came of it! My books have their own purse which, rest assured, is travelling with me on my public transit commute EVERY SINGLE DAY.

Find Erin on Instagram and Etsy.


Next up is Amanda, and her bookish beauty shop called Typewriter Hearts!

She creates the most gorgeously packaged, and equally gorgeously scented, beauty products. Need some soap, sugar scrub or lip balm? Typewriter Hearts has you covered. In fact, they just announced a monthly subscription box with the chance to get exclusive new scents!

This shop is currently closed, while a large order for a sub box is filled, but will open again at the end of April!

Find Amanda on Instagram and Etsy.


Lastly, but definitely not to be missed, is Delaney and All Of The Book Things.

Have you ever wanted to wash yourself with Rhysand? Well, guess what? NOW YOU CAN!

Delaney's shop also contains incredible bath bombs and pillow cases! It's pretty much a one stop shop for all of your A Court of Thorns and Roses obsession. So please, do yourself a favor and go treat yo' self!

Find Delaney on Instagram and Etsy.


So there you have it! The talented ladies from the AABOCB! All creating wonderful items just for us bookish nerds. Make sure to give them a visit, and maybe make a purchase or two!

Also, in case you missed it earlier, I featured Bookmarks For Kindness as our first spotlight. Sam is also part of our little group, and her charity bookmark program is stellar! Go read her write up!

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (4/3/17)

Is it truly Monday again already? I tell you, I need a vacation.

The bright side of it all is that, despite not having a vacation, I've actually been getting a fair amount of reading done! I'm well ahead of my reading goal, and actually feeling really good about the way this year is shaping up. I've had a lot of great reads, and that's just too amazing for words.

I've actually been binge reading graphic novels lately, but here are three of the books that I've finished most recently. The Redemption of Brian O'Connor ended up well worth the time I spent on it. The ending was pretty amazing, and I'm hoping for more! In the same vein, Mississippi Blood totally surprised me as well. It was full of action, intrigue, and all manner of character growth. I fell in love. Better still, Shadow Run ended up being one of the first Sci Fi books that I've really loved lately. All three garnered at least 4 stars from me, and that's feat!

I'm finishing up Royally Roma this week, and absolutely loving how sweet of a read this is so far. I needed something a little lighter, after all the death and destruction in the books above. I'm also reading Gardenia by Kelsey Sutton right now. She is an auto-read/buy author for me, and I'm not sorry about that. True to form, this book is totally blowing me away.

Regolith is still sitting on the pile, waiting patiently for me. I'd actually planned to start it today, but managed to leave my Kindle at home. So, soon my pretty. Soon.

That's it for me! What are YOU reading this week? Don't forget to leave a link so I can go and visit you too!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Subscription Box Review: March Owl Crate Jr.

Hello bookish friends! How many of you have heard of OwlCrate out there? You may know that it is a monthly subscription box filled with all sorts of bookish goodies! What you may not know, is that OwlCrate has expanded their line to include Middle Grade readers! Please welcome, OwlCrate Jr.

This box is carefully curated for kids of all genders, ages 8-12! Honestly though, if you're a big kid at heart, you're going to love this. I'm a perfect example of this! 

Each box contains a Middle Grade friendly book that is published within 45 days of the ship date, which means you'll always receive a new release! If that wasn't enough of a reason to get your hands on this box, each OwlCrate Jr. also contains 3-5 goodies that are expertly selected for the monthly theme, with at least one usable activity and one item directly related to the story. In other words, magic. MAGIC.

March's OwlCrate Theme was Unlikely Friends.

Without further ado, here's the unboxing!

Let me say, I'm a 32 year old woman and when I opened this I literally squealed with delight. I can only imagine what a young reader's reaction would be! So many goodies!

A Harry Potter 100 piece puzzle was the first thing that caught my eye. The picture on this is absolutely adorable!

Next up was a Toothless magnetic bookmark from Beedoo's Etsy shop! He's so darn cute. Plus each crate comes with a collectible button that matches that month's theme. Dragon and Unicorn are definitely unlikely friends, but look how happy they are!

Finally, a set of unlikely animal friends stickers (can we PLEASE gush over the bunny and turtle?), and a vintage skipping rope! Did I take that out and play with it as soon as I finished taking these pictures? Yes, yes I did.

The book in the Unlikely Friends box was Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly. This is the story of four children who, with a little help from the universe, end up as friends. Featuring luck, smarts, bravery, and a guinea pig, this book is sure to enchant your young reader!


Ready to get your own OwlCrate Jr. box?

Boxes are available as a monthly subscription, and there is the option to gift a subscription if you'd like as well. Shipping for these amazing boxes is available worldwide, with the exception of Mexico and Peru.

Head over to the OwlCrate Jr. site, and sign up now!

You can even use code Biblio10 for 10% off of your subscription.


April's theme is Written in the Stars!

If you subscribe now, you'll get April's box! I can't wait to see what comes in it!

Disclosure: I received this box for free, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.


Related Posts with Thumbnails