Bookshelf + Life Update!

There’s no place like home<3.  Andrew and I have been exceptionally busy the past few weekends so I took full advantage of our first weekend back home in our lovely apartment.  I spent the majority of Saturday morning reorganizing my bookshelves (after watching 3 hours of BookTube in the AM) and while it’s not perfect yet, I’m quite pleased with my favorites shelf.  I decided to mix genres and keep my absolute-cannot live-without novels together (it’s the two shelves with The Raven Cycle, Fangirl (4 copies lol!), Lunar Chronicles, Anna / Lola / Isla etc).  I also shifted some things to allow for a fourth Harry Potter shelf since there are so many new Funkos coming out and I obviously preordered them all.  My favorite new addition to my shelf is that I hung up all of my Happy Hello Co. bookmarks since I rarely ever use them while reading anyway and I used washi tape that Melissa sent me for my birthday to decorate.  I also love how cute the bows are but sadly they’ve fallen about 5 times since I hung them and no matter how much tape I use to hold them up, they just seem to be too heavy so this photo will forever immortalize what could have been if my bows weren’t being so stubborn.

Also, I apologize that I’ve been a bit MIA from blogging lately.  I think I really needed a break because between work, commuting and some personal stuff I’ve been quite burnt out.   I would really appreciate if everyone could send their positive thoughts and vibes to my mom since sadly, her cancer has returned which is a huge part of why I haven’t felt like doing much lately.  She’s been battling it for 5 years and this is the second time she’s had to go for chemo but it’s affecting her much more than it ever has in the past and it’s really upsetting to me because my mom has always been the strongest person in my life and I’ve always been incredibly close with her.  I’ve talked to her on the phone every single day since I moved out a couple of years ago in addition to seeing her in person pretty often (I’m lucky that we live close to each other) but I just wish I could do something to take her pain away.  Sorry, that was more than I was planning on sharing but sometimes once you get typing the words just flow!

But anyway, having this wonderful weekend at home has helped me to evaluate some things and I realized how much I miss being creative and blogging and taking photos and the happiness that comes along with it.  I had a realllllly long bookstagram photoshoot session just before I sat down to write this post and I cannot wait to share all my photos!  So basically, I’m thrilled to be getting back into the swing of things right in time for my favorite season, CHRISTMAS.

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Waiting on Wednesday: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting.  This week I’m choosing Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman because I love me some Neil Gaiman!  I’ve always been interested in Norse mythology and Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors so the fact that he’s going to be retelling these myths in his own prose is like music to my ears.  The stunning cover was released earlier last week and I absolutely love the design.  It prominently features Thor’s hammer against a cosmic backdrop.  Serious heart eyes.

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Neil Gaiman has long been inspired by ancient mythology in creating the fantastical realms of his fiction. Now he turns his attention back to the source, presenting a bravura rendition of the great northern tales. In Norse Mythology, Gaiman fashions primeval stories into a novelistic arc that begins with the genesis of the legendary nine worlds; delves into the exploits of the deities, dwarves, and giants; and culminates in Ragnarok, the twilight of the gods and the rebirth of a new time and people. Gaiman stays true to the myths while vividly reincarnating Odin, the highest of the high, wise, daring, and cunning; Thor, Odin’s son, incredibly strong yet not the wisest of gods; and Loki, the son of a giant, a trickster and unsurpassable manipulator. From Gaiman’s deft and witty prose emerge the gods with their fiercely competitive natures, their susceptibility to being duped and to dupe others, and their tendency to let passion ignite their actions, making these long-ago myths breathe pungent life again. (via Goodreads)

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Baltimore Comic Con: Vlog & Haul

Over Labor Day weekend, Andrew and I woke up at 3 AM to start our journey to Baltimore to attend my all time favorite convention, Baltimore Comic Con.  It’s been two years since I’ve been able to go and it was so great to be back!  The reason I love Baltimore so very much is that the main emphasis of the show is on comics and it’s evident of that focus when you look at the guest list each year.  They always manage to book the top writers and artists in the industry and it’s a pleasure to spend time on their show floor.  It’s not like SDCC or NYCC where walking from one end of the convention to the other end is an unbearable feat that requires you to set aside at least 30 minutes for.  And on the day of the costume contest, they always have some amazing cosplayers!  Admittedly, the show was a bit quieter this year after having been moved to Labor Day Weekend because Baltimore Comic Con was competing with 8 other conventions.  I still had a wonderful time and I fully expect to attend again next year when the date gets pushed back later in the month.  A major plus of the convention is that it’s right near the beautiful Barnes & Noble in the inner harbor which is totally worth a trip to.  Anyway, here’s the footage of our trip and my video of the treasures I acquired.

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BookTube: August Wrap Up + September TBR

Hello bookworms! Here are two of my three monthly wrap up videos (my book haul will be coming later in the week).  I had a really great reading month in August- I read 9 books total which might not sound like  ton but almost all of the books I read were quite long.  I would be interested in going back through my spreadsheet of book stats and figuring out how many pages I read in August because I would bet that it’s my highest page count yet in 2016.  I’m so excited to get into September reading because I have such a wonderful TBR to enjoy this month! I’m going to begin reading some spooky books and have them get increasingly scarier as we lead into October.  Also Empire of Storms is finally out today and I cannot wait for more of that story!

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Furthermore Book Look OOTD + GIVEAWAY!

Hi Bookworms! I have another exciting giveaway to share with you today! I partnered with Penguin Teen to give one lucky reader a copy of Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi as well as some of Tahereh’s favorite things which include Rifle Paper Co journals (MY FAVORITE) and a super cute letter opener!  Tahereh’s new book has major Alice in Wonderland vibes so I was really happy to have been chosen to work on this.  In honor of Furthermore‘s release, I put together a Book Look in which I wore the brightest colors I could find in my closet.  This is the first book look that I’ve ever filmed for my YouTube channel but you can see the rest of my Book Look photos here. Good luck and below is a synopsis of the book!!

The bestselling author of the Shatter Me series takes readers beyond the limits of their imagination in this captivating new middle grade adventure where color is currency, adventure is inevitable, and friendship is found in the most unexpected places. 

There are only three things that matter to twelve-year-old Alice Alexis Queensmeadow: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her; magic and color, which seem to elude her; and Father, who always loved her. The day Father disappears from Ferenwood he takes nothing but a ruler with him. But it’s been almost three years since then, and Alice is determined to find him. She loves her father even more than she loves adventure, and she’s about to embark on one to find the other.

But bringing Father home is no small matter. In order to find him she’ll have to travel through the mythical, dangerous land of Furthermore, where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be both right and very, very wrong. Her only companion is a boy named Oliver whose own magical ability is based in lies and deceit–and with a liar by her side in a land where nothing is as it seems, it will take all of Alice’s wits (and every limb she’s got) to find Father and return home to Ferenwood in one piece. On her quest to find Father, Alice must first find herself–and hold fast to the magic of love in the face of loss.

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Books I Can’t Live Without + GIVEAWAY!

Hello bookworms! Today I have an exciting giveaway to share with you! I partnered with Penguin Teen to giveaway a copy of the upcoming YA fantasy novel, The Reader by Traci Chee which is the first book in the Sea of Ink and Gold series, as well as an adorable tote bag!  The Reader follows a girl named Safi who lives in a world without books which is something that I never could / would ever want to imagine.  What would even be the point of anything? There would be no learning, no internet, and everything would be extremely primitive.  Books provide such a wonderful escape into other worlds.  They force us to see things from perspectives different than our own and I truly believe that they help to make us more tolerant and accepting of other cultures and allow us to have empathy for people in situations different than our own.  They’re also a wonderful way to experience other parts of the world that you may not be able to afford to travel to and they teach important lessons.  There’s a quote I’ve seen online that essentially says that books are the only purchase that make you richer and I fully stand behind that sentiment.  That’s why when Penguin contacted me about celebrating books and sharing The Reader I jumped at the chance! Below is a synopsis of the book, my video about the books I couldn’t live without and the rafflecopter form to enter the giveaway!  Good luck and even if you don’t win, the book comes out on September 13th so you should definitely look for it at your local bookstore!  If you want to get a taste for the book, you can read the first two chapters here.

Sefia knows what it means to survive. After her father is brutally murdered, she flees into the wilderness with her aunt Nin, who teaches her to hunt, track, and steal. But when Nin is kidnapped, leaving Sefia completely alone, none of her survival skills can help her discover where Nin’s been taken, or if she’s even alive. The only clue to both her aunt’s disappearance and her father’s murder is the odd rectangular object her father left behind, an object she comes to realize is a book—a marvelous item unheard of in her otherwise illiterate society. With the help of this book, and the aid of a mysterious stranger with dark secrets of his own, Sefia sets out to rescue her aunt and find out what really happened the day her father was killed—and punish the people responsible.

With overlapping stories of swashbuckling pirates and merciless assassins, The Reader is a brilliantly told adventure from an extraordinary new talent.

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Waiting on Wednesday: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly series hosted by Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases we’re eagerly awaiting.  This week I’m choosing The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon.  I adored her debut novel Everything, Everything so I’ve been anticipating her follow up since last year.  This book is a love story between Natasha and Daniel who meet on a crowded street in NYC only hours before Natasha’s family is getting deported to Jamaica and the description leads me to believe that we’ll see multiple futures play out until we know which one comes true.  I really hope Nicola’s husband will be illustrating this book as well!

The Sun is Also a Star

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true? (via Goodreads)

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Pokemon, PotterCon & Book Shopping Vlog ft. Jordandene, Geekscape & More!

I’ve been having a really fun time getting into vlogging! It’s really weird and awkward at first if you’re filming in public so I’m still adjusting to that but I love having the footage to look back on afterward so I’ve been making a concerted effort to vlog whenever I’m on the go.  Two weekends ago, I had a really exciting string of days so I combined footage from Jonathan of Geekscape’s Pokemon Go meetup, PotterCon at Irving Plaza in NYC and National Book Lover’s Day at Barnes and Noble with Monica.  At PotterCon I finally got to meet Jordandene who is a super lovely person and she filmed a little clip with me for my video!  There’s also a ton of Harry Potter cosplay (the winner of the contest’s cosplay is one of my favorite I’ve ever seen) and a mini book haul.

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BookTube: Pokemon Go Book Tag

Judging by my Pokemon addiction, it was only a matter of time until I found a book tag to go along with it!  I have to say that my interest has been tapering off a bit lately because I’ve caught *most* of what’s out there and I get bored seeing the same things over and over again.  I think my interest will be renewed when the game is updated with trading or the addition of my Sylveon<3 But as you’ll see in my video, I’m pretty excited about my Gengar!  Thanks again to Aentee of Read at Midnight for creating such a wonderful tag and amazing graphics to go along with it!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir (An Ember in the Ashes #2)

*This book was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.  This is no way swayed my opinions.*

**Warning! If you haven’t read An Ember in the Ashes which is the first book in the series by Sabaa Tahir, there will be spoilers ahead.  You can watch my review of the first book instead if you haven’t started the series yet!**

A Torch Against the Night is the second book in the An Ember in the Ashes series by Sabaa Tahir.  We read the first installment last month for the Spines With Wines book club and the minute I finished reading I could not have been more thankful that I already had an ARC copy of A Torch Against the Night that I picked up at BEA in May.  If I’m being completely honest it was a huge struggle not to immediately dive into this one because I didn’t want to accidentally spoil anything in theAn Ember in the Ashes live show (I am the worst liar in the world).  This is one series that I can’t believe I waited so long to read because I love it to pieces / sort of wished I had waited longer to read it because WHY AND HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO WAIT ANOTHER YEAR FOR BOOK THREE?!

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A Torch Against the Night continues Laia and Elias’s stories and picks up with the pair journeying across the Empire to fulfill Elias’s promise of helping Laia break her brother Darin out of Kauf (without any certainty that he’s still alive) and all of the very many struggles they face along the way.  My favorite addition to this installment is Helene’s perspective.  Now that Elias and Laia are outside Blackcliff and on the run, we can rely of Helene’s perspective to keep tabs on the Emperor Marcus and Elias’s awful mother, the Commandant.  One of the major plot points I was hoping to hit upon more in this book is that concerning the Nightbringer and boy did we ever get some answers there!  I loved the continued infusion of fantastical beings such as efrits, wraiths and jinn and the world-building which was largely established in the first book continued to develop further.  There’s a lot of build up in the first half of the novel but the overwhelming second half is pure action and adventure.  You will actually find yourself incapable of putting this book down or stopping reading for any interruptions.  Seriously, clear your schedule.  Also get ready to feel ALL kinds of things.

Final Thoughts:  I don’t think anyone who read An Ember in the Ashes could possibly need a review to tell them that it’s worth continuing the series but alas I’ll reiterate it anyway.  READ THIS BOOK.  The characters continue to show growth on their personal journeys and those who’ve already left an impression on your heart will dig themselves in deeper.  Villains will push even more limits, characters will be unmade and reborn, and the everything is the highest of stakes.  I cannot wait to see how everything plays out in book three and I never thought I would end up loving this series as much as I do.

Rating 6

A Torch Against the Night takes readers into the heart of the Empire as Laia and Elias fight their way north to liberate Laia’s brother from the horrors of Kauf Prison. Hunted by Empire soldiers, manipulated by the Commandant, and haunted by their pasts, Laia and Elias must outfox their enemies and confront the treacherousness of their own hearts.

In the city of Serra, Helene Aquilla finds herself bound to the will of the Empire’s twisted new leader, Marcus. When her loyalty is questioned, Helene finds herself taking on a mission to prove herself—a mission that might destroy her, instead. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

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