Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (109)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. Here's this week's WOW pick:

The last few weeks I've been not exactly in a reading slump, but definitely in a reviewing slump. I don't want to think about and analyze what I'm reading, I just want to enjoy it. So I went on a Paige Tyler binge, starting with Hungry Like the Wolf, the first book in the SWAT series. (Book 1 is currently free and book 4 is 99 cents if you're thinking of starting the series. But since today is the last day of the month, I think it's also be the last day of the sale.)

The series centers on the Dallas SWAT team which, in the books, is made up entirely of Alpha werewolves. It's only been a week or two since I ran out of SWAT books but there's another coming out next week. Yay!  (I also read and enjoyed Tyler's X-Ops series in which a variety of shifters work for a covert government agency.)

29155101Wolf Unleashed
(SWAT #5)
Paige Tyler
Release: December 6, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
Wolf shifter Alex Trevino has fallen hard for veterinarian Lacey Barton. Getting her to agree to a date is a lot of work—and winning her heart proves even harder.

Lacey can’t deny her crazy attraction to Alex, but she has no intention of letting herself fall for him. In her less than stellar experience, men don’t stick around.

When Lacey’s sister is kidnapped, it’s up to Alex to crack the case—and prove to Lacey that he isn’t going anywhere.

What book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Quarterly Literary YA Subscription Box | October 2016

Literary Young Adult Box

This is only my second time receiving the Quarterly Lit YA box since it only arrives once every three months (Quarterly...get it?) and I've been super excited to get this month's box! This one is curated by author S.J. Kincaid and the focus book the box is but around is:

S.J. Kincaid

The Diabolic

I'm unboxing the Quarterly box and all its bookish goodies in the video below!

Quarterly Lit YA Unboxing | October 2016

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Monday, November 28, 2016

Bookish Product Review and Giveaway: Novelly Yours

Happy Cyber Monday everyone!
We're working on a few posts this week to help out with your Cyberweek shopping, though this one's more a review than a gift guide. Stick around til the end, because there's also a giveaway.

So a few weeks ago Rose Red asked me if I'd like to review some wax melts from Novelly Yours for the blog. And we all love free stuff, right? I have one candle from the shop which I got as a gift, but hadn't actually ordered anything before. I was somewhat familiar with the products though, having seen them so many times on Instagram, and I was pretty excited to try them out. Which is a long way of saying that I received these products for free for review, albeit indirectly.

Novelly Yours creates candles and wax tarts inspired (mostly) by books and movies. The shop has scents inspired by Harry Potter, Disney Princesses, The Lunar Chronicles, and lots of other popular YA books. Here are some of the ones I tried: 

Night Triumphant, inspired by A Court of Mist and Fury smells of citrus, seamist, and jasmine. I really liked this one in the package! I love citrus scents, but when burning it smells more like soap. I think that's the jasmine that overpowers the other notes. It has a nice clean scent, just not what I expected.

Beast's Library, inspired by Beauty and the Beast, smells of leather, books, and fireplace. For me it had a sandalwood-y, masculine scent that lasted long after it stopped burning.

Villainous, inspired by Disney villains, smells of storms, forest, and fire. It had a strong woodsy scent that reminded me of Christmas at first, but turned more smoky after a while. I burned it for 2-3 hours at night and could still smell it in the morning. This one was probably my favorite of the scents I tried.

I've Put a Spell on You is a seasonal scent inspired by Hocus Pocus that smells of leather, fire, leaves, and storms. It smells similar to Villainous but much more subtle. I felt like the scent was stronger when it wasn't burning, but this is only one of the scents I tried that did that.

Thoughts on the product

In general, what impressed me most is the complexity of the scents, the way different notes come out once burning like the way perfume smells different after you've worn it for a while. Most of the candles I've purchased in the past have one scent that stays the same whether lit or not. 

I also like how long the fragrance lasted after I blew out the candle. In one case, I could still smell it the next morning. For comparison, I burned a Bath and Body Works candle for the same amount of time. The candle's fragrance permeated farther, but it's a big, 3 wick candle. And the scent faded almost as soon as I blew it out.

Because I didn't pick the scents I sampled, I'm not sure I'd buy any of them for myself. But I was impressed enough that I ordered some candles for Cyber Monday. I got Harry Potter-inspired Fred & George and Wizards Pub, and the seasonal Swirly Twirly Gumdrops.

Thoughts on candles vs. wax tarts

I've mostly burned candles in the past, but I can certainly see the appeal of an electric warmer if you have small children or cats. (I used a cheap tea light warmer so there was still a flame involved. My kid is finally old enough to understand "fire bad.") The problem I had was changing scents. It's much easier to blow out one candle and light another than it is to scrape wax out of the warmer. I think if you plan to stick with a favorite fragrance or a few similar ones, the wax melts will work fine. I wanted to try several different scents for this review so it was kind of a pain to switch them out.

We've got a few extra wax melts to share! The giveaway includes Gansey, Manibus, and Cabeswater, all from the Raven Cycle collection and Jasmine's Garden. (The warmer is not included.)

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Friday, November 25, 2016

Black Friday Book Bonanza

Happy Thanksgiving weekend everyone!
Welcome to our stop on the Black Friday Book Bonanza. This giveaway hop is hosted by Reading Reality and the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Links to the rest of the participating blogs are at the bottom of the post!

Black Friday Hop

A few years ago I started doing a stocking for my niece at Christmas. She's too big for Santa but it's so much fun to pick up little things throughout the year. They're usually Harry Potter things because it's her favorite and because even though I love them, I wouldn't buy most of them for myself. This year I realized I may have gone a bit overboard and there's no way all this stuff will fit in a stocking. So in the spirit of Thanksgiving leftovers. . . 

I've got a Fantastic Beasts calendar, a deck of Harry Potter cards, 4 buttons, and a Funko Pop pen that shall not be named, plus 2 Hogwarts house inspired wax melts from Novelly Yours, Slytherin socks, a chocolate frog, and a box of Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans. (This giveaway is U.S. only because shipping.)

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Check out the rest of the blogs participating in the Black Friday Book bonanza:

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (108)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. So here's this week's WOW pick:

I recently got caught up on the Black Dagger Brotherhood series and started this Black Dagger Legacy spin-off. I forgot how addicting J.R. Ward's book are and I'm loving the direction the spin-off is taking. I'm intrigued by all the new recruits the Brotherhood is now training but I must admit that I'm interested in Axe the most. I want to know more about him. Plus, we get more Rhage and Mary in this book which in my mind is always a win! I really can't wait to get my hands on this book! I need to know what's going to happen next!

Blood Vow
(Black Dagger Legacy #2)
J.R. Ward
Release: December 6, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
#1 New York Times bestselling author J. R. Ward returns with an all-new tale of paranormal passion in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood.
For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe’s dangerous appeal is enticing—and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin’s death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart.

Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary’s new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear.

As Axe’s past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep—and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.
The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter—and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he’s unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect.
What book are you waiting on?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Heroines We Need Right Now: Book Recommendations

Heroines We Need Right Now

I've been feeling a little down the last two weeks...anybody with me? I could really use some inspiring. And then while in my office where my bookshelves are I started looking at book covers and thinking how it would be great if some of these strong, smart, kickass female characters existed in real life because we could certainly use them right now.

SO, I compiled a list of some of my favorite series that have strong heroines. There are certainly many more that could be added to this group. If you have suggestions for badass book heroines we should check out let us know in the comments!

Heroines We Need Right Now | Book Recommendations

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Promo and Giveaway: The Phoebe Meadows Series by Amanda Carlson

We've been fans of Amanda Carlson for years. Her books are action packed and always have an original take on familiar paranormal creatures. Her latest series features a Valkyrie heroine, Fenrir, and some interesting twists on Norse mythology. Here's a little bit about the first book in the series, Struck:

(Phoebe Meadows #1)
Amanda Carlson
Release: May 26, 2016
When Phoebe Meadows gets struck by a strange light in the stockroom of Macy’s, life as she knows it flies out the window. As if being hit by lightning isn’t bad enough, she’s accosted in the subway by a man with a missing hand, arrives home to find a raven on her kitchen counter, and her neighbor, Ingrid, shows up dressed like a gladiator hell-bent on protecting her.

Before Ingrid can shuttle her to safety, Phoebe is kidnapped and tossed into one of the Nine Worlds where she’s quickly forced to come to terms with what she is: A valkyrie. The only problem is, she has no idea what that means.

After a narrow escape, she finds an unlikely ally in Loki’s son, Fenrir. Together the valkyrie and the wolf must battle their way back to New York City and reach the valkyrie stronghold where Ingrid is waiting for her. But with danger and obstacles at every turn, she might not live long enough to learn the full truth about who and what she really is…

Book 2 in the series was recently released and I'm pretty excited to see what the Valkyries and their friends get up to next. Check out Freed:

(Phoebe Meadows #2)
Amanda Carlson
Release: September 20, 2016
Phoebe Meadows has one thing on her mind: Free her mother. 

For the last month, Phoebe has been training in the Valkyrie stronghold readying for battle. But when she stumbles into a secluded valley after a day of grueling practice, she’s given a dire prediction. Phoebe must leave the stronghold immediately with the aid of the giant, Junnal, to rescue her mother from the dark elves. If Phoebe fails, Leela will be transported to a place that can no longer be reached. 

Leaving Fen behind threatens to undo her, but Phoebe stays true to the mission. Along the way, she allies with the god Baldur and an old white elf mage. Together, they storm the realm, and with the help of an angry wolf and her Valkyrie sisters, they just might stand a chance to free the valiant shieldmaiden. 

But Phoebe soon learns that in order to save her mother, she might lose something too precious to sacrifice… 

To get you started on the series, we've got an audiobook copy of Struck to give away. (Winner will receive a download code for

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Waiting on Wednesday (107)

For most of the day yesterday, I thought it was Tuesday. It happens to all of us occasionally, right? I guess that's why I completely forgot to schedule this WoW post. But there's nothing wrong with waiting on Thursday, other than the lack of alliteration.

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. So here's this week's belated WOW pick:

I've been working on Best of 2016 lists lately. (It's just about that time!) Truthwitch was one of the first books I read this year, but it might wind up being the only one I gave 5 stars. I loved the characters and the world and the girl power vibes! To see me gush about it some more, check out my Read This F@!%ing Book post.

One good thing about looking back on how much I loved Truthwitch was realizing that the sequel is almost here. I can't wait for Windwitch! I loved Prince Merik and his magic! There's also an awesome preorder promo from Tor right now.

(The Witchlands #2)
Susan Dennard
Release: January 10, 2016
Goodreads Amazon
The follow-up to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, next in a breathtaking YA fantasy series hailed by Alexandra Bracken as "a world you will want to inhabit forever."

On a continent ruled by three empires, some are born with a "witchery," a magical skill that sets them apart from others.

In this follow-up to New York Times bestselling Truthwitch, a shadow man haunts the Nubrevnan streets, leaving corpses in his wake—and then raising those corpses from the dead. Windwitch continues the tale of Merik—cunning privateer, prince, and windwitch.

What book are you waiting on?

Really Short Reviews: The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

I've become a mostly digital reader but for this series I cannot recommend enough getting the physical books. The format of these books lend to reading the physical copy. They are seriously works of art. The design team as well as the authors deserve a slow clap for how well they turned out. Seriously.

(The Illuminae Files #1)
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release: October 20, 2015
Goodreads Amazon
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 each other—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 only 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.
Last year, this book had so much hype around it. Bloggers and booktubers couldn't praise it enough and it got starred reviews everywhere. When it kept getting a lot of buzz months after it's release, I couldn't not pick it up. And I'm so glad I did.

It was brilliant. Emotional and creepy as hell in parts but brilliant. I read it towards the end of December and it usurped every other book I had read last year to take the number one spot for my most favorite book of 2015. Bloody hell. It made me cry several times and had me on the edge of my seat. Like literally on the edge of my seat. I kept having to get up to walk off my anxiety for the characters. It killed me half a dozen times and brought me back each time to give me another heart attack.  

Seriously. This book broke me in all of the best ways. I was an emotional mess reading it and couldn't put it down. It is one of the best YA sci-fi books I had read in forever. I highly, highly recommend picking it up. And if you're an audiobook person, I can't recommend the audio enough. I got it for my reread before Gemina came out. It was amazing with a full cast and sound effects! Really just go pick this book up. You won't regret it!

  5 / 5 Stars!

(The Illuminae Files #2)
Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Release: October 18, 2016
Moving to a space station at the edge of the galaxy was always going to be the death of Hanna’s social life. Nobody said it might actually get her killed.

The sci-fi saga that began with the breakout bestseller Illuminae continues on board the Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of the BeiTech assault.

Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy's most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.

When an elite BeiTech strike team invades the station, Hanna and Nik are thrown together to defend their home. But alien predators are picking off the station residents one by one, and a malfunction in the station's wormhole means the space-time continuum might be ripped in two before dinner. Soon Hanna and Nik aren’t just fighting for their own survival; the fate of everyone on the Hypatia—and possibly the known universe—is in their hands.

But relax. They've totally got this. They hope.

Once again told through a compelling dossier of emails, IMs, classified files, transcripts, and schematics, Gemina raises the stakes of the Illuminae Files, hurling readers into an enthralling new story that will leave them breathless.
When I finished Illuminae my first thought was "Holy hell! How do we wait for book two?". My second was "How the hell are they going to top this?".
Well... they did what I thought was impossible. This book is just as good as the first one in its own way. Not only did I have about five different heart attacks reading it, they topped the design of the first book! There are designs/art in this book we didn't see in Illuminae. Choosing Marie Lu to draw the illustrations in this book was A++ decision making. The whole book is gorgeous and unique but those drawings just put it over the top.

The story was full of non-stop action and drama. And parts of this book were creepier than the creepy parts of the first one. How the heck did they pull that off? I really did not see that coming. I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading. It is definitely one of my favorite books of this year. But I can tell you now that the wait for the next book may kill me. I have no idea what to expect in the last book of the series but I'm so there for it! If you have not read this series yet, go do so. You can thank me later.

  5 / 5 Stars!

Check out our Read This F@!%ing Book Post:
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Nerdy Bookworm Unboxing (October 2016): Dopplegangers!

It's time for another Nerdy Bookworm box! These boxes include a young adult book and lots of bookish goodies and are fantasy/sci-fi in nature. This month's Nerdy Bookworm theme is DOPPLEGANGERS! Watch the unboxing in the video below! I was super into this particular box this month. OMG THE SOCKS!

Do you subscribe to any bookish subscription boxes? Let us known the comments below!

Nerdy Bookworm Unboxing | Dopplegangers | October 2016

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Review and Book Chat: Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas

Empire of Storms
(Throne of Glass #5)
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Narrator: Elizabeth Evans
Release: September 6, 2016
Goodreads  Amazon
Book Depository

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don't.
As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.
Aelin's journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?


Empire of Storms is the fifth installment in the Throne of Glass series and the newest release in that series. I've been reading this series for the past couple of months and now I'm caught up and waiting patiently impatiently for the final book - due out next year! Empire of Storms was quite the wild ride and full of craziness like all the other books, however I still think the previous installment, Queen of Shadows was a more enjoyable read. Check out my spoiler-free thoughts on the book, followed by a spoilery chart session, in the video below! Did you read Empire of Storms yet?


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  4.5 / 5 stars

Friday, November 11, 2016

Subscription Box Review #6: October Fairy Loot Box

Goldilox and I have been sharing our unboxings and reviews of a handful of bookish subscription boxes in the recent weeks. (We are purchasing all subscription boxes ourselves and are in no way sponsored by any of these services)

Today, I am unboxing and reviewing:
The October Fairy Loot Box!

I'm a big fan of Steampunk so I was really excited about this Steampunk Rebellion box. And overall I was pretty happy with it. Here's what's inside:

• This is the first time I've guessed the book correctly. It's METALTOWN by Kristen Simmons. I'm really looking forward to reading it! I've heard good things. It came with a signed bookplate and a button. I also really like the drawstring pouch the book came in. This is a new feature since I last ordered from Fairy Loot. It keeps all the swag with the book and protects it during shipping.

• I was a little disappointed that the last box I got didn't have any jewelry. This box has 2 (!) pieces: a clockwork ring from Cogs and Curiosities, and a mechanical butterfly necklace.
• It also has an item I haven't seen in any box before, a tea towel by Read at Midnight. It features a quote from The Infernal Devices: "One must always be careful of books and what is inside them, for words have the power to change us."
• The Elias lip balm by Behind the Pages is gold and glittery and smells like cookies. I didn't actually know what book Elias was from until I saw it on someone's Instagram though.

• The Divergent candle from Meraki Candles came in 6 scents, one for each faction. I got Divergent which smells of woods and amber. I haven't even lit the candle, but I'm loving the fragrance. It's also appeared in a few bookstagram pics this week.
• The Infernal Devices bookmark from Happy Hello came in 2 versions. Mine is Jem. I love these bookmarks - I have a few others in my V.E. Schwab swag collection.
• Finally, there's clock washi tape. I have no idea what I'm going to do with this yet, but it's pretty.

What do you think of the box?
How does it compare to the boxes you've tried?

Book Subscription Boxes We've Tried So Far:
July OwlCrate Unboxing
Quarterly Literary YA Box Unboxing
July Fairy Loot Unboxing
October OwlCrate

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