Posted in book tags/memes

Book Blogger Hop: January 17th-23rd

The Book Blogger Hop was created by, and is hosted by, Billy over at Coffee Addicted Writer. Each Friday, there’s a new question, and you have the whole week to post and add your link.

This week’s question is…

17th – 23rd – Do you think that readers make better employees, as opposed to non-readers? Why or why not? (submitted by Maria @ A Night’s Dream of Books)

My answer:

I don’t think so, but my experience is a bit limited. I haven’t had a real job in a while, but taking my own experiences and what I’ve heard from other people I know, I don’t think it matters much, for the most part. When I was working, only a few of us were readers at all, and some of our nicest and hardest working co-workers were not readers. It really didn’t seem to make a difference.

I do think it’s possible that readers could make better employees/co-workers, depending on the job, but in general I don’t think there’s a noticeable difference.


What do you think?

Posted in book review

Review: The Spindlers by Lauren Oliver

My first book of 2020! (Well, the first book I both started and finished in 2020, because I did finish one 2019 read after the first of the year.)

This book reminded me of a lot of things, from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to Labyrinth, with a hint of Coraline (which I didn’t italicize as a book because I’m not actually sure if I’m referring to the book or movie haha), and I’m here for it.


The Spindlers

Genres/Descriptors: middle grade; fantasy>portal fantasy
Publication: 2012
Pages: 246
Check it out on Goodreads

What’s it about?

One day, Liza wakes up to find that her brother, Patrick, might not really be her brother. He can answer her questions, things only Patrick would know, but something about him is just off. Her suspicion? In the night, his soul was whisked away by the Spindlers (spider-like creatures with human faces and hands) their old babysitter warned them about.

Of course her parents don’t believe her, so it’s up to Liza to venture into the world Below (armed with a broom) to find Patrick’s soul and save him. Below, Liza meets a lot of interesting characters and creatures, most notable, a rat named Mirabella who offers to act as Liza’s guide to the Spindlers. Along the way, she faces many challenges and plenty of dangers, but the biggest of all comes when she faces the queen of the Spindlers and finds that it isn’t only Patrick’s soul in danger, but also her own.


Review

I’ve read a couple of Lauren Oliver’s YA books, and I liked them at the time, but it’s been a while. The Spindlers has been on my shelf for ages, but I kept putting it off because I wasn’t really reading middle grade very often, and honestly, I just kept kind of overlooking it. But, it was a shorter read for a reading challenge, so I finally picked it up, and I’m so glad!

Lauren Oliver can write very well, but I haven’t read enough of her books to say whether I prefer her middle grade or young adult books. I can say that I will definitely be looking out for more middle grade from her. The world Below really came to life for me as I read, and I almost finished this in one sitting because I was so engrossed. (I probably would have read it in one sitting if I hadn’t gotten hungry halfway through haha.)

I could really “see” the world and the characters, even the ones we didn’t spend as much time with. Mirabella was particularly clear in my mind, with her paper skirt, a wig, and lipstick. One of my favorite things about this was how there were creatures we know (like rats, but in this book they can talk) as well as ones I haven’t come across anything quite like before (like the spindlers, or the nocturni).

One thing I’m learning about middle grade, now that I’m reading more of it, is that there are much higher stakes than I used to think. I spent a fair portion of this book genuinely concerned for Liza and the things she was facing. The tension was definitely there, even as an adult reader.

The spindlers and other scarier creatures were sufficiently creepy, but there was also some humor sprinkled in, as well as nicer creatures, to balance things out. I really loved the concept of the nocturni, in particular, and I would love to learn more about them. They were probably my favorite creatures from this book.

Liza was brave, smart, and didn’t lose sight of her end goal, even when things were really hard. She kept pushing forward, in spite of her fear and the obstacles she faced. She was a bit naive, which is understandable because she is still quite young, but she was also a fairly quick thinker and used her brain more than anything else to navigate the challenges in the world Below. I just adored her, honestly.

My least favorite part of this book was almost certainly the parents. I don’t think Liza and Patrick’s parents were the absolute worst ever, but they weren’t great. That, I feel, is a trend in a lot of YA and middle grade books, and I’m not a fan. I know firsthand that not everyone has pleasant childhoods with loving, encouraging, understanding guardians/parents/etc., but I wish we had more books with parents who are like that. (Think Sally from the Percy Jackson books.) The way things ended, with the parents, was also not my favorite. I won’t go into more details on that so I don’t spoil anything, but I feel like there needed to be a step between when the parents were introduced, and how the book ended with them.

Overall, I really liked this book and gave it 4 out of 5 stars. If you like middle grade and portal fantasy (Narnia, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Coraline, Oz, Inkheart, etc.), and you haven’t read this one yet, I would definitely recommend it.

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆


Challenges this book counted for:

The Winter Magical Readathon– Read a book that starts with the letter S, for Slytherin

Beat the Backlist– published before 2020

Posted in book tags/memes

Top Ten Tuesday: 2019 Bookish Discoveries

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Every week, there’s a theme and you choose ten books that fit it. Check out upcoming topics here.


This week, it’s a little open to interpretation, and I kind of struggled haha. I couldn’t think of ten for any one category, so I’m just going to break up a list of ten total discoveries into different categories.

In no particular order, as usual…


Booktubers

The Naughty Librarian (Inspired me to try some romance novels)

Becca and The Books (I just love her personality, and her Bookopoly board inspired mine)

Codie’s Book Corner (I was drawn in by the TBR wheel and now I watch everything she posts)

How to Train Your Gavin (Inspired me to read more middle grade, and gave me a good laugh on some bad days)

New Favorite Authors

(Author names link to Goodreads)

Tessa Dare (love her historical romances, which got me hooked on romace last year)

Alyssa Cole (I am obsessed with the Reluctant Royals series omg)

Claire Legrand (I only read Sawkill Girls but I’m reading more ASAP)

My Reading Preferences/Choices

I actually do like romance, I’m just not into all romance.

I can listen to audiobooks (hurrah!), but I usually have to listen to them at 2x speed (sometimes 1.5 or 1.75, depending on the narrator and the specific book) or I can’t focus on them.

Other

CAWPILE, a rating system created by G (BookRoast) on YouTube! I found her original video about this about a year ago and I used it all year. I think I only skipped rating maybe 4-5 books by this method, and I absolutely love it! I actually had a similar rating system a few years ago, but I think mine only had five categories and I abandoned it pretty quickly because I never worked out a set range for each star rating.


I really wanted to include bloggers, but… I can not keep track of when I followed blogs :/ I just get so used to seeing them that I forget if I’ve been following them for a month or for years. With YouTube, I’m subscribed to so few channels, and I watch so little on there, that it’s easier for me to remember when I subscribed to someone. (I think I only watch videos from maybe a dozen channels with any regularity at all, but I’m following many more blogs.)


Did you make any bookish discoveries in 2019?

Posted in Uncategorized

OwlCrate: Tales of Trickery (December 2019) Review

I’m not sure if I should call this a review or a gush haha. I feel like OwlCrate boxes just keep getting better, I’ve loved September through December’s boxes, and I have a feeling I’m going to love the January 2020 box as well.


From the OwlCrate team, we had these Caraval by Stephanie Garber inspired, rose patterned earmuffs. It’s not secret that I did not like Caraval, but I do like a lot of the merch I see, and I really like these earmuffs. There’s no way you’d know they’re inspired by Caraval just by looking at them, and I think they’re so pretty and soft.

It hasn’t been cold enough for me to wear them yet, but I’m glad I have them. They’re comfortable, even with my glasses, which is something I had a problem with in the past with other earmuffs I’ve used.

The red is much more vibrant in person, but it’s been really rainy here so my lighting was not always great :/

I think I’m way too excited about the hand warmer haha. This is such a simple item (created by KitCronkStudio), but I don’t think I’ve seen anything like this in a book box before. I use things like this all the time in the winter (we seriously have almost a dozen of these kinds of things), and I love the little cozy it came with. This item has a phrase from Adrienne Young’s Sky in the Deep on it: “Qnd eldr. Breathe Fire.” I was so excited to see a Sky in the Deep item because I really enjoyed that book, and I feel like I’ve only seen maybe one other item in a book box inspired by it.

There was a bookish candle with a wood wick, from Novelly Yours, and I am pumped! This is my second bookish candle (the only other one I have was also from an OwlCrate box), and it was my first wood wick candle. It smells like cinnamon, and I love it. It’s not super overpowering or chemical-y like some cinnamon candles I’ve had in the past. This candle was inspired by Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart, which I haven’t read yet. I think wood wick candles might become my next obsession. I’m not sure what the throw of the scent is, but that’s not something I pay much attention to unless the scent is overpowering, which this one hasn’t been.

Then we had the item I was losing my mind over when they posted the sneak peak: a book sleeve! I’ve been looking at book sleeves for years, and I think this one that Chatty Nora designed is gorgeous. It was inspired by Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson (which I haven’t read yet), and I’m delighted to have it. The sleeve is quite spacious, and I think any of my regular hardcovers will easily fit inside it. I think it might fit two standard paperbacks, if they’re not too chunky. I do wish it had a closure at the top, but that’s just me nitpicking. I can’t really say how well padded it is in comparison to other sleeves, since this is my first, but it does feel like it will protect my books.

The OwlCrate team also designed an awesome little coloring book and set of colored pencils. The coloring book features all of their enamel pins from 2019, and the pencils all have bookish hashtags on them like #bibliophile, #currentlyreading, and #booksandcoffee. I really like these, and I feel like they’re pretty unique. I have seen pencils or pens in book boxes before, but I don’t think I’ve seen a coloring book. I definitely haven’t seen one like this, that features the art of the box’s pins.

I’ve only used the pencils once so far, so I haven’t really tested them out a ton, but I don’t think I’ll really use them for coloring books. They’re fine, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like I need to press down quite hard to get much color payoff. However, I think they’ll be perfect for my bullet journal because of that (I like pencils for when I want a lighter wash of color than I can get from my markers, but I don’t want to break out my watercolors).

I knew what the book was as soon as I started reading the theme announcement, and I was so excited. Kiersten White’s The Guinevere Deception has been on my TBR since early 2019, and I’m looking forward to reading it. I love a good Arhurian story, and I can’t wait to see what this one is like.

I don’t actually remember much from the synopsis (and I want to keep it that way), but I’m pretty sure it’s from Guinevere’s perspective. She’s gone to Camelot to protect Arthur, or save him from something, but she might not be who she seems to be, and that’s all I remember.

Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate how pretty the naked hardcover is?!

Finally, there’s this month’s enamel pin, which was designed by Read and Wonder. I love this pin! I don’t know what else to say about it. I love castles, I love Arthurian legend, and I think this pin is so pretty.


I really enjoyed this box, overall. There was nothing in it I disliked, and I love it when there are useful items in book boxes, which most of these items were. I think my favorite item is probably the candle. It’s a scent I like a lot, it was my first wood wick, and now I have a tiny collection of bookish candles started ❤ But really, I loved it all.

Posted in Uncategorized

The Bookish Community and Australian Relief Efforts

As you probably know, things are really bad in Australia right now. “Really bad” honestly doesn’t even come close to describing the current situation, but I don’t have words to adequately capture just how horrible it is. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by trying to figure out where to donate, because I know I’ll only be able to make one or two quite small donations, but I feel like I have to do something to try to help.

I haven’t decided exactly how/where I’ll donate, but I have discovered that some members of the bookish community are going to be donating fairy large portions of sales from January 15-25 to some charities for firefighters, other people in need, and wildlife. Some shops also have items for which all profits will be donated to relief efforts.

It looks like donations will be going to:

  • Community Enterprise Foundation
  • Australian Red Cross
  • Port Macquarie Koala Hospital

I’m pretty sure that for the following shops, you use the code AUSRELIEF to indicate that you would like your purchase to go towards the charities.


I heard about this first from the Instagram page for Uplugged Book Box. (I highly recommend clicking that link so you can see the shops currently participating, linked in their post, then click around to see if others have added their names in the comments.) They have stated that between the 15th and 25th of January, 20% of profits from new subscriptions will be donated, and you DO NOT need to use a code for that to apply.

If you don’t want to subscribe, but you do find something in their shop that you want to buy, if you use the code AUSRELIEF, that will give you a 20% off discount, and they will be donating 50% of all shop order profits.

Belle’s Book Sleeves has designed a koala print book sleeve, for which all profits will be donated to charity. (I think the AUSRELIEF code still works to donate a portion of all other profits, but that print specifically will have all sales donated.)

ClockworkHeart Co. also has a koala print (at the time of writing, I’m not seeing it in their shop yet) for which all profits will be donated.

Additionally, 50% of profits from all of their made to order book sleeves will be donated, and they have a donation listing in their shop if you want to do that instead of buying something.

Bookish Signs is donating 50% of all sales from the 15th-25th.

StrangetheBookmark has designed some new bookmarks for which all proceeds will be going to the Australian Red Cross (and they’re offering a free bookmark of your choice with the purchase of a set for charity).

Fablebands will be donating 30% of all net profits to the relief funds. They have also included a donation listing in their shop if you don’t want to buy something but still want to make a contribution to relief efforts.

TheBookishCreations will be donating 30% of profits from the 15th-25th.

Get Fictional currently has a sale going on through the 12th. During this time, you can receive 15% off your order with the code HELPAUSTRALIA. Profits from this time period will go to WIRES (a wildlife rescue organization), but from the 15th-25th you can use the code AUSRELIEF for profits to be donated to the other charities.


OwlCrate has also stated on their Instagram that 20% of all shop sales (NOT subscription sales) will be donated to WIRES. They also have a sale going on right now for past books (through the 15th), no code required.

Also! If you already made a purchase during the sale (from January 1st onward), they have decided to include those purchases for funds raised for WIRES. They also currently have a listing to donate, if you don’t want to make a purchase.


This is not a complete list of all shops raising funds for Australia at this time, but these are the ones I could find that had stated on their Instagram that they were participating in this. If you know of other bookish shops who are donating, let me know!

Lastly, if you don’t want to donate through any of these shops, or make purchases, but you do still want to donate to relief efforts, here’s a link to a New York Times article about how you can help. That article has a bunch of links to organizations you can donate to, and if I don’t end up buying something from the bookish community, I’ll probably donate to a couple of those.