Sunday, November 19, 2017

Book Haul

Hello, all!

It's been quite some time since I did a book haul, and I recently picked up some new ones, so I figured now's as good a time as any to bring it back. Also, it's starting to get really chilly here now, so it's the perfect time to stay inside, curl up under the blankets with a cuppa tea and good book, so here we go!

Lost Boy: The True Story of Captain Hook- Christina Henry: Peter Pan is one of my favorite stories, and this take on it seemed right up my alley. I had never really read anything that revolved around Captain Hook and how he came to be Peter's most hated foe, so this was an instant stand out for me. Henry paints a great picture of two friends who once meant the world to each other, and the lies and secrets that slowly tore them apart.

Turtles All The Way Down- John Green: I'm a fan of John Green; I haven't read anything of his that I haven't liked. I just feel like the way he approaches his characters seems genuine, and always seem relatable. This story follows 16-year old Aza and her best friend Daisy as they try to uncover clues about the disappearance of the fugitive billionaire, Russell Pickett. All the while, Aza has to try to fight the ever tightening spiral of her own thoughts and anxieties.

Murder on the Orient Express- Agatha Christie: My job has this little book fair about twice a year (which totally lets me re-live my Scholastic Book Fair high of when I was young), and I picked this up since: A. I had never actually read anything by Agatha Christie and B. I wanted to read it in case I saw the movie. Plus, who doesn't like a good murder mystery every now and again?

The Winter People- Jennifer McMahon: Keeping with the sort of mystery vibe, I picked up this by Jennifer McMahon. There was a quote on the back from a review from USA Today which called this, "Crisp, mysterious and scary... Reminiscent of Stephen King." How could you go wrong with that?! The story starts off in 1908 in West Hall, Vermont, where a woman named Sara was found dead in a field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter. Then the story jumps to present day where a family lives in Sara's old farmhouse and one morning they wake to find their mother has disappeared, and in her search for clues, 19-year old Ruthie stumbles upon Sara's hidden diary which might unlock the mystery unfolding around her.

Anyone read anything good lately? Lemme know!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Owl Crate October Review

Hello, all!

I realized I never put up a review of last months Owl Crate box, but hey, better late than never, right? The theme for the month was "Find Me in the Forest" and it had a lovely variety of goodies, so let's jump right in.

The first thing I pulled out was this cute little candle, which was exclusive to Owl Crate members, by In The Wick of Time inspired by the series, The Raven Cycle. I haven't read the series, but I have heard very good things about the candle company, so I'm excited to try it. And it smells like mint with a hint of forest, and usually I don't like woodsy scents, but I kinda like it.

Next up, is the cutest little packet of tea by Riddle's Tea Shoppe. I don't think you could have a forest theme without having something to do with Robin Hood and his band of merry men, and who doesn't love a good cuppa tea? This is also an exclusive for the box and tastes just like a slice of blueberry pie.

This is my favorite item that came last month. It's a Harry Potter mug! You all know my love of Harry Potter, but I also am slightly obsessed with mugs, so this feels like it was made just for me. The design of Hagrid's hut and the Forbidden Forest is just beautiful, and there's even a little Buckbeak on it. I love it so much.

And here we have yet another exclusive (this box was just filled with them!), a pretty little woodland coaster. The design is so simple, but so pretty and I love the quote as well. It's such a nice little addition to go along with the mug.

Next up were these adorable little magnetic bookmarks inspired by Where the Wild Things Are from Craftedvan. I've never had magnetic bookmarks before, so I'm really excited about these. Plus, I just think they're adorable.

And keeping with the exclusive trend, they also included this print of San from Princess Mononoke created by Audra Auclair. It's just so pretty and a good reminder to be as kind and as fierce as the Wolf Girl is when it comes to the place we call home.

And finally we get to the book for the month, Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. The story centers around the Nomeolvides family, who are a group of women who tend to the beautiful garden estate of La Pradera. The Nomeolvides women have been blessed with the ability to grow stunning flowers whenever they desire, but that ability comes with a cost. They can never leave the ground of La Pradera, and anytime they fall deeply in love, their lovers mysteriously vanish. One day, a strange boy appears from the soil and the women begin to question everything.

The book also came with a cute little packet of Forget-me-not seeds, which I thought was such a nice touch and definitely on theme. Has anyone read the book yet? If so, lemme know what you thought!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Top 5: Scary Moments from Kids Movies

Hello, all!

So, sticking to the Halloween vibe, I decided to dedicate this Top 5 to scary moments from movies. And not just any movies—kids movies. Normally, kids movies are light-hearted and fun, but every so often you get one that just straight up traumatizes you. Here are some moments that scared the bajeezus outta me when I was younger:

1. The Tunnel Scene- Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory: Who didn’t get freaked out by this scene, that’s what I wanna know. The background whizzing by, the flashes of light, Gene Wilder’s voice growing more and more manic as he deadpans “There’s no earthly way of knowing, which direction we are going.” It’s like, “Hey kids, hope you’re enjoying my lovely chocolate factory where everything is edible and fun, now let’s take a ride on this boat of nightmares that’ll make you feel like you’re having a bad acid trip!” Keep your Golden Ticket, I don’t want it.

2. The Dip- Who Framed Roger Rabbit?: You would think an entire movie based around cartoon characters would be super family friendly, but lemme tell you, that ain’t the case. I never thought that I would get so upset over the death of a cartoon shoe, but I did and still do. Poor little guy. And Christopher Lloyd is terrifying as Judge Doom, I was so glad when he and his little gangster weasel squad got their comeuppance.

3. Artax’s Death- The NeverEnding Story: If an animal dies in ANY movie, I’m gonna be heartbroken, but this one hits harder than most because of the way Artax dies. His handler, Atreyu’s, quest took them through the Swamps of Sadness, and while they’re trudging through the muck, Artax ends up succumbing to the swamp. So basically, the horse got way too sad and then got sucked into the swamp forever. No, I’m not crying, I just have something in my eye.

4. Large Marge- Pee-wee’s Big Adventure: If you’re a parent and you want to teach your kids the dangers of hitchhiking, just show them this scene. They’ll be convinced that every strange person in a car will tell them a creepy story and then turn into a shriveled head with large bulbous eyes.

5. Skeksis- The Dark Crystal: Usually, when you think of Jim Henson, you think of cuddly, cute Muppets like Fozzy Bear or Beaker, but what The Dark Crystal gives you is nightmare fuel.  The Skeksis are a race of shuffling, heavy robe clad, bony bird lookin’ things. Seriously, they look like a cross between a baby bird and a snapping turtle. I was actually a bit older when I first saw this movie and if the Skeksis could creep me out when I was in my teens, just imagine what it could do to children.

Are there any scenes from films that creep you out? Lemme know!

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Top 5: Spooky Stories

Hello, all!

Halloween is my favorite time of the year. Christmas time is a close second, but for me, nothing quite beats the crisp spooky feelings October brings. I can never get enough of the shows about ghost hunting or haunted places, and don't even get me started on Halloween decorations. If my roommates would let me, I'd keep our howling skeletal animals and projector lights that make our house look like it's on fire out all year round.

I figured I would dedicate this Top 5 to two of my favorite things: Halloween time and books. So, here are just a few stories that'll help get you into the spooky vibe.

1. Frankenstein- Mary Shelley: First and foremost, we have to start out with this classic, widely considered to be one of the first works of science fiction. I've always loved Frankenstein ever since I was young. Something about the story always drew me in, and out of all monster stories, this has always been one of my favorites. Also, I kinda hate to say it, but I am one of those people who fight the urge to correct people when they call the monster "Frankenstein" when that was the doctor. And great writing aside, Mary Shelley kept her dead husband's heart wrapped in silk in her desk drawer, and I just think that's badass.

2. Dracula- Bram Stoker: I feel like you can't have Frankenstein without Dracula. For me, both of these stories just go hand in hand. There's been a lot of great takes on Dracula throughout the years (one of my favorites being The Monster Squad and the ever underestimated Dracula: Dead and Loving It), but no one has ever encapsulated the feeling of the story as well as the iconic Bela Lugosi. If you're looking for a vampire story to really get you into the spirit of Halloween, this is definitely it.

3. Annabel Lee- Edgar Allan Poe: Sure, you could argue that there are other works that are a bit more nail bitting than this one, but nothing makes me think of Poe quicker than this poem. Anytime I read it, I can vividly picture it playing out; a man grieving over the loss of the woman he loved so dear in a kingdom by the sea.

4. The Call of Cthulhu- H.P. Lovecraft: Everyone loves a good sci-fi monster, and what better than the octopus faced Old One. This was one of the first horror/sci-fi stories I ever read and it creeped me out so much. It also made it impossible for me to eat any sort of noodles without pretending that I'm Cthulhu, Elder God of the Noodle.

5. The Witches of BlackBrook- Tish Thawer: Everyone loves a good witch story around Halloween, and this is one of my recent favorites. It's a story of three sisters during the Salem Witch Trials and in order to escape persecution, the eldest sister casts a spell which flings them forward in time and they have to find one another and defeat an evil from their past.

Do any of you have a certain book you like to read to get into the Halloween spirit? Lemme know!

Sunday, October 8, 2017

NY Comic Con 2017

Hello, all!

It's that wonderful time of year when all the nerds and geeks descend on the Javits Center in the city for four days and rejoice in all that Comic Con has to offer. I've been to a few smaller cons, but this was only my second time going to the NYC one, and man, was I in my glory the entire time.

I opted out of going to the panels this year, only because there wasn't too many yesterday that I wanted to see, and to be honest, the whole to-do of even getting into the panels is enough to make my head spin. I had just as much fun going around to all the booths all day as I would've sitting in one of the panel rooms anyways, so it didn't matter much to me.

One of my favorite parts of Comic Con is that at any given moment anywhere you look, there's something to do or something to see. Whether it's someone in a ridiculously amazing cosplay or a chance to win crazy prizes. All the artists and exhibitors are always so nice and friendly whenever you go up to their booths, and seem genuinely excited that you took the time to stop by. I got to see Chris Claremont, who created some of my favorite X-Men, just signing comic books; I got Scott C., who does the cutest pop culture drawings, to draw a portrait of me and he didn't even charge me for it; I got to see some of my other favorite comic book artists just hanging out; I got to take a picture with BB-8 and see tons of movie props; I even found a booth that sold tea based on Hogwarts and Doctor Who and so much more; I got some really great art prints and shirts. All in all, it was a great day.

Like the last time I went, I didn't take too many pictures because I just walk around in awe most of the time and forget to, haha, but here are a few. Enjoy!

Friday, September 29, 2017

The Bookish Box: Stranger Things Review

Hello, all!

If my last post wasn't indication enough, I love myself a subscription box. I also love Stranger Things, so when I saw a post on Instagram about a company doing a whole themed box around the Netflix show, I knew I just had to get it.

Let's get into it!

The first thing I pulled out was this Eleven's Waffles candle by Whiskey Diamond Candle Co. Naturally, it smells just like a stack of waffles doused in maple syrup. It also has a cute cassette tape charm bracelet as well as the alphabet and string lights Joyce uses to communicate with Will in the Upside Down. I have to admit, I wasn't too psyched on this only because I'm not a fan of the smell of maple, but the candle itself is really nice.

I may not be a fan of maple, but I am a fan of patches and this one was right up my alley. The patch is by Two Ghouls Press (which is also one of my favorite shops for patches/pins, by the way) and reminds me of old school traditional tattoos and I'm all about it. Justice for Barb, always. She deserved better.

Ohhhhhh, maaaaaaaaaaan. I was hyped on this Eleven print by Davis Ride Prints. Again, I'm totally into traditional tattoo flash style artwork and Eleven is just so badass. This was definitely my favorite thing in the whole box and I can't wait to frame it and hang it on my wall.

Next up was this tumbler designed by the Bookish Shop featuring the oh so relatable quote from Chief Hopper. I was really impressed with the quality of this tumbler; it's a decent size and a nice sturdy ceramic. It has one of those lids that you just push down into place, and usually those make me really nervous because I've had my fair share of hot beverages down the front of the shirt when the lids aren't fully closed, but this one seems like it may not have any issues (fingers crossed.)

Lastly, was this shirt again designed by the Bookish Shop including a sort of quote by Dustin. I say sort of because the quote is wrong-- he says "locked" rather than "unlocked." I thought maybe it was a misprint, so I reached out to the company but they say that it was intentional and something to do with their take on the Upside Down. I don't like it. I don't remember seeing anything in the promotions of this box that stated they were going to be misprinting anything, and there wasn't a disclaimer or anything in the box to let you know the shirt is intentionally wrong, so I really didn't get it. Call me crazy, but I don't like wearing things if they're wrong, so this isn't something I'll be using.

I had really high hopes for this box, but when I received it, it just left me kinda meh. That's not to say that I didn't like the items, in fact I did love 3 out of the 5 products in the box, it's just the candle and the shirt aren't really my taste. But you better believe I'll be curled up with that tumbler binging the whole second season when it comes back to Netflix next month.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Owl Crate September Review

Hello, all!

So a few months ago, I started getting the Owl Crate subscription box, and I have to say I haven't been disappointed yet. I love the idea of getting a book delivered to my door every month and all the little extra bits that they give as well are always so fun to see.

This month's box was Mythical Creatures themed and I was just all about it. I've been obsessed with myths and legends ever since I was young, so I was definitely interested in what they were going to send. So, let's get to it!

The first thing I pulled out was this little tub of bath salts by The Soap Librarian called Son of Poseidon, based off the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. Greek mythology has always been my favorite, and I've been such a fan of the Percy Jackson books (and really all of Riordan's books) since they came out, so needless to say I was pretty pumped on getting something related to it. It has a really lovely bright blue color with dried up flower pieces inside, along with a nice calm, relaxing scent which isn't too overpowering so I'm excited to try this little baby out.

Next up was this cute little coin purse with dragons on it. Now, I'm one of those people who keep a crap ton of things in their bag each in their own little bag, so this is perfect for me. It's not terribly big, so you wouldn't really be able to fit larger items in it, but it's pretty dang adorable.

Sticking with the dragon theme, and quite possibly my favorite thing in the whole box, was this wooden bookmark with the Mother of Dragons herself, Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones and her three little (who aren't so little in the show anymore) dragon babies. The artwork is beautiful and the bookmark itself is really high quality, and I just love it.

You can't have a mythical creatures theme without having the Care of Magical Creatures professor himself, Mr. Rubeus Hagrid and his ol'pal Buckbeak. How freakin' cute is this sticker?! Harry Potter is forever my Number 1 and I'm so happy about this.

The last little extra in the box was this book sleeve created by Book Beau that has this lovely little unicorn/mermaid/flower/bird print on it, which for some reason reminds me of the '70s, but I think it's just the color scheme. I had never heard of this company before, and to be honest, when I read "book sleeve" all I could picture was those little stretchy fabrics everyone used to put over their textbooks in middle school, but this is way nicer than I pictured. I like the idea of putting a book into this so it doesn't get ruined in your bag or anywhere, so I'm a bit intrigued by this one.

Now onto this month's book!

Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows is a story about a girl named Mira who is very well known in her kingdom not just for being the most beautiful, but because she was the namesake for a peace treaty which united the seven islands against their common foe. She's always been told that she's perfect and special, but she suffers from compulsive counting and crippling anxiety and has an affinity for dragons. Mira uncovers a massive secret about the treaty and is betrayed by those closest to her, and sentenced to the Pit which is the deadliest prison on the Fallen Isles. With a prison guard ready to kill her for the information she knows, Mira must learn to survive on her own and learn the truth about her home before everything collapses.

I'm really excited for this book. I love fantasy, I love dragons, and like many others, I also suffer from anxiety, so I'm super interested to see how this story will play out. Has anyone read it yet? If so, lemme know what you thought!