Tea & Book Chat: The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass #0.1 – #0.5)

The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas is a bind up of the five prequel novellas (The Assassin and the Pirate Lord, The Assassin and the Healer, The Assassin and the Desert, The Assassin and the Underworld and The Assassin and the Empire)  leading up to the events in Throne of Glass.  Overall I really enjoyed this collection and the insight it allowed into Celaena’s past.  Many of these events are casually mentioned throughout the books I’ve read (I’m currently up to Queen of Shadows and I was told to read the novellas prior to starting the fourth book) but I wanted to have a fuller understanding of everything before we get to the final two books.  There were definitely some novellas that I liked better than others and I was surprised that I didn’t like Celaena as much in certain stories as I do in the Throne of Glass series as a whole.  She’s very arrogant and a bit less likable but I appreciated seeing her past and the events that have slightly humbled her.

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The Assassin and the Pirate Lord

I love pirates so I knew going in that this would be a story for me.  In The Assassin and the Pirate Lord we really see the initial seeds of friendship and more between Celaena and Sam.  Their personal morals and the decisions they had to make played a huge role in why I enjoyed this tale so much.

Rating 5

The Assassin and the Healer

This was my least favorite of the novellas but by no means was it dissatisfying.  It shows another side of Celaena (sadly there’s no Sam) and how she cannot avoid helping innocent people.

Rating 3

The Assassin and the Desert

This is one of my favorite of the novellas.  Arobynn forces Celaena to leave Rifthold and travel to the Red Desert where she is to be trained by and get a letter of approval from the Mute Master who is sort like an Arobynn from the South.  Celaena is befriended by another female assassin in this story, her patience is majorly tested by the Mute Master, and she undergoes some unconventional training.  And there’s this one scene on horses that was such an excitement to read!

Rating 6

The Assassin and the Underworld

This novella was probably my second least favorite.  I loved that Celaena and Sam teamed up together and again, there’s a lot of growth between their characters but the ending is not my favorite.  I think Celaena should’ve known better at this point considering what a top notch assassin we are always reminded that she is.  I can’t say I ever liked Arobynn but this story really just put my loathing for him over the edge.

Rating 3

The Assassin and the Empire

This is the story. The one where the thing happens that’s talked about all the time in Throne of Glass. My heart shattered into a million pieces while reading this one.  SJ Maas, you are cruel.

Rating 5

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BookTube: 25 Bookish Facts About Me

I was tagged by Monica to do the 25 Bookish Facts About Me video and I’m really excited to be sharing mine today! I definitely lost count of the numbers in the midst of filming (like really close to the beginning!) but it all worked out.  I tagged several BookTubers in the description but I would love to see anyone do this video!  What are some Bookish Facts about you?

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Wish List Worthy: Funko Announces Rock Candy Line

Yet another Funko announcement at Toy Fair that had me jumping up and down is their new line of vinyl collectibles named Rock Candy.  My favorite thing about the Rock Candy line is that it spotlights female superheroes.  Right now the collection only includes the women of DC Comic but depending on the success of the line, I’m sure they would try to extend their license to Marvel too.  The figures are already up for preorder on Entertainment Earth and at $10.99 per figure, buying the whole line is completely affordable!  The two that I’m definitely preordering are Modern Batgirl and Classic Supergirl.  Which are your favorites?

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Comics With Kristin: Reading – Superboy: Smallville Attacks by Jeff Lemire, Pier Gallo & Marco Rudy

Comics with Kristin is a post series dedicated to rediscovering my love of comics.  I’ve felt rather disconnected from the industry for the past couple of years for a plethora of reasons, namely, being unable to separate some creators from their work after personal experiences and the way they’ve treated my friends.  I’ve always loved and felt a deep connection to comics so my distance from them has been a struggle but I feel far enough removed now that I’ll be able to start enjoying the medium I love so much once again.  In an effort to reconnect, I’ve decided to re-read my old favorite trades (and some new favorites!) and highlight them here on my blog.  There will be 1-3 posts per week all dedicated to the same trade- one will always be a reading post and one will always be an outfit of the day post.  I hope you enjoy this new feature!

I wanted to start my Comics With Kristin series by reading something by one of my favorite comics authors so I landed on Superboy: Smallville Attacks by Jeff Lemire with artwork by Pier Gallo and Marco Rudy.  It was so easy for me to fall back into the world and my experience this time around was even better than the first.  It’s been long enough that I had a general idea of what happens but I forgot most of the major plot points so it was almost as if I were reading a new story.  While I was reading I realized that Karl Kerschl did variant covers for Lemire’s Superboy which I found really exciting since I love Gotham Academy and I had really only known him for his work on Harley Quinn the first time I read this trade (GA hadn’t existed yet).  I have always loved Jeff Lemire’s writing style and I admire the way he was able to bring such beauty into panels with very few words.  A few of my favorite captions are seen below.  I also loved the Back to the Future and Harry Potter references but my favorite element of the book is all of the cameos throughout issues #1-#11.

My favorite issue is the one where Superboy and Kid Flash throw a race for charity to help the farmers of Smallville since their crops have been destroyed.  The race is televised and they map out a route that takes them around the entire globe.  My favorite panels in this issue are when they take a break near the pyramids in Egypt and Kid Flash tries to make Connor feel better about Wonder Girl since they’ve recently broken up and he seems distracted.  The end of the race made me laugh out loud and you’ll see why if you chose to read it!  The Teen Titans also show up in this issue to support their alum during the race.  Other cameos throughout the trade include Poison Ivy, Phantom Stranger and The Atom.

Superboy: Smallville Attacks is the perfect trade to have started getting back to my roots with because the story is heavily focused on the history within Smallville.  Strange things are afoot and as Mr. Lynch says, “history can hold many valuable secrets.”  Connor really makes Smallville his home and I love his relationship with Ma Kent and that Krypto is present for all of his adventures. I definitely recommend picking this story up if you’re into the teens in comics (full rating after my photos – also note the hilarious pose in the last photo) ^.^

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Superboy 2

Superboy 3

Superboy 4

Superboy 5

Superboy 6

Superboy 7

Superboy 8

Superboy 9

Superboy 10

Superboy 11

Superboy 12

Superboy 13

Superboy 14

Superboy 15

Superboy 18

Superboy 19

Superboy 20

Superboy 21

Superboy 22

Superboy 23

Superboy 24

Rating 5

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2016 Book Blogger #LoveAThon: Mini-challenge #1: Mix & Match

As I mentioned previously, this is the second year I’ll be participating in the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon.  This year, the event is being hosted by Alexa ofAlexa Loves Books, Hazel of Stay Bookish, Mel of The Daily Prophecy and Cee of the The Novel Hermit.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should) and the Love-A-Thon takes place from February 20th – 22nd.  It’s the perfect way to meet new book bloggers and make new friends<3

*Don’t forget to check out my #LoveAThon Bookshelf Challenge Video!

**And my Introduction Questionnaire!

The Challenge: We all love books, but there are other things we’re passionate about too! Mash-up a non-bookish hobby/passion/talent/fandom with your bookish life. Do it through photos, art, videos, etc. Get as creative as you’d like!

I’m a lover of all things fairytale related so for this challenge I chose to pair up each book in The Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer with some of my favorite Disney collectibles.  I especially love that we’re living in a time where Star Wars counts as part of the Disney family<3

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2016 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon: Introduction Questionnaire

As I mentioned previously, this is the second year I’ll be participating in the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon.  This year, the event is being hosted by Alexa ofAlexa Loves Books, Hazel of Stay Bookish, Mel of The Daily Prophecy and Cee of the The Novel Hermit.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should) and the Love-A-Thon takes place from February 20th – 22nd.  It’s the perfect way to meet new book bloggers and make new friends<3

*Don’t forget to check out my #LoveAThon Bookshelf Challenge Video!

The first event is the Introduction Questionnaire.  I’ve already answered some of these questions in last year’s post but I’ll reiterate them here for anyone who may be new to my blog!  Some of my answers have changed and some new questions were added to the mix this year!

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1. What’s your name?

Hello bookworms!  I’m Kristin and I’m a tea-addicted Ravenclaw.  It’s a pleasure to virtually meet you ^_^

2. Where in the world are you blogging from?

New York (aka the greatest place on Earth)

3. How did you get into blogging in the first place?

I’ve always enjoyed writing and I used to blog for a niche news site but I really wanted to have my own outlet to share my interests and connect with others on a more personal level and so, my blog was born!

4. How did you come up with your blog name?

I decided to use the same name as my Twitter handle so I could keep it streamlined and be easier to find in other places online.  I came up with the name by combining my love of superheroes with my love of space and added the chick part since I also blog about girly things like fashion, beauty, etc.

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5. What genre do you read and review the most on your blog?

I think there’s a solid mix of things here but I primarily focus on YA Fantasy, YA Contemporary, and Comics / Graphic Novels.

6. What other types of posts do you do on your blog, apart from reviews?

Apart from book reviews, I love to post about 1) (also book related) my BookTube channel, 2) new beauty finds and upcoming releases / collaborations, 2) 5 Fandom Friday which is a weekly link-up created by myself and The Nerdy Girlie (my favorite post so far is Fictional Couples I Ship), 3) Outfit of the day photos, 4) Life Lately which are general life updates about what I’ve been up to, and 5) wish list posts which usually consist of collectibles or other fandom related merchandise.

7. Best blogging experience so far?

This is tough because there have been so many positives that have come from blogging!  I can’t choose just one of the memories I’ve created by meeting and connecting with other people who share my interests and all of the opportunities I’ve had because of my site.  Since I’ve started blogging I’ve been able to attend a slew of conventions as press, be cast on a reality tv show, have conversations over dinner with some of my favorite authors and artists, travel extensively, take over as the host of a YouTube channel with almost 100,000 subscribers, but most importantly of all, I’ve met my absolute best friends<3.

8. Favorite thing about the blogging community?

I love that there are so many wonderful and supportive people who are just as excited to talk about books and fashion and life in general as I am!

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9. Name the 5 books you’re most excited for this 2016!

Some of my most anticipated releases already debuted so I’m going to spotlight the ones that have yet to be released (most of which, I’ve written about for Waiting on Wednesday posts!): 1) Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, 2) A Court of Mist and Fury, 3) The Shadow Hour, 4) Rebel Genius, and 5) The Raven King 

10. Name the 5 books you want to read this 2016 that you didn’t get to in previous years!

I made a video about this at the end of 2015 and I’ve already started widdling away at that list!  The next 5 I want to get to are 1) Graceling by Kristin Cashore 2) Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo 3) An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir 4) Uprooted by Naomi Novik and 5) The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch

11. What’s an underrated book or series that you think everyone should read?

The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey! I really loved Melissa’s first book and I cannot wait to get my hands on The Shadow Hour!

12. Which book boy or girl would be your book BFF?

My book BFF is totally Hermione Granger.  While she’s not my favorite Harry Potter character overall (I’m a hardcore Luna Lovegood fan!), I know that the two of us would get along really well.  I could just picture us grabbing tea and spending late nights in the library together or practicing magic while Hermione tells me stories about how silly Ron is acting.

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13. Which book boy or girl would be your book boyfriend/girlfriend?

Prince Maxon for sure!

14. Who would you recruit for your apocalypse squad (5 characters max)

1) Celaena Sardothien (Throne of Glass), 2) Rose (Vampire Academy), 3) Hermione Granger (Harry Potter) 4) Katniss Everdeen (The Hunger Games) and 5) Scarlet Witch (Marvel Comics)

15. Apart from reading, what are your other hobbies or interests?

I went to FIT for college so I’ve always been really interested in fashion (and by extension, shopping).  I also love learning about different brews of tea, reading book blogs and watching BookTubers, attending comic conventions, cosplay, eating cupcakes / ice cream / macarons, watching Netflix, and anything Disney and Harry Potter-related.

16. Apart from book shopping, what else do you like shopping for?

More than anything, I love shopping for new clothes, Disney collectibles and comic artwork.  I check ModCloth’s website every single day at 12PM when new items are added.  I also love looking for retro style home decor, and baking ware.  I also follow a ton of Disney blogs and I search their website for new merchandise every day! I’m sort of addicted to Disney mugs and Tsum Tsums.  As for comic art, I buy the bulk of that at conventions when I’m able to meet the artist and have whichever pieces I choose signed.

17. At a party, the DJ suddenly changes the song – and it’s your song. What song would you be playing?

I would congratulate the DJ for being awesome enough to play the Hamilton soundtrack at whatever event I happen to be at.

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18. Pick out either a book you want turned into a film/TV show, or a film/TV show you want turned into a book. 

I am so hesitant to chose anything for this question after the tragedy of The Shadowhunters movie and television show (which I’m still watching because how could I not?), but if it were to be done WELL I would love to see The Selection series.  It has such a high addiction factor and it would be so nice to see all of the dresses and food and inside the palace on screen.

19. What would your dream library look like?

Duh, Belle’s library.  My coworker and I were talking about buying two story houses solely so we could knock down the ceiling of the first floor and have REALLY tall libraries with ladders because that is the dream.

20. Author you want to meet and sit down to tea with?

I’ve already met her but I would love to have tea with Victoria Schwab! I really love her books and if you follow her Twitter account you’d know what a huge fangirl she is so we would totally get along!

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2016 Book Blogger Love-A-Thon: BookTuber’s Bookshelf Challenge

I often talk about how my favorite event I partook in last year was the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon which is spearheaded by Alexa Loves Books.  It’s where I met most the the book bloggers I’m friendly with today and I was able to meet so many new and lovely people!  My Feedly is basically overflowing with book blogs I discovered as a result of participating so when Alexa asked me if I would be a BookTube Ambassador for the 2016 event, I jumped at the chance!  This year, the Book Blogger’s Love-A-Thon is being hosted by Alexa of Alexa Loves Books, Hazel of Stay Bookish, Mel of The Daily Prophecy and Cee of the The Novel Hermit.  Sign-ups are still open so there’s time if you want to join in (and you should)! The Love-A-Thon takes place from February 20th – 22nd.  There are a ton of Twitter chats, mini-challenges, blog post prompts, and this year there’s even a Bookstagram challenge! I’m really looking forward to meeting more book bloggers and connecting with more people on multiple platforms!

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Kristin

Tea & Book Chat: The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace (The Keepers’ Chronicles #1)

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

The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace is the first book in a fantasy duology that follows multiple characters in an historical type setting with hints of magic.  I had been wanting to read this book ever since I had read some reviews and Simon and Schuster had sent me an unsolicited finished copy last year but for some reason it took me until now to pick it up.  Once the release date of book two crept closer, I felt the time was right to delve into The Storyspinner, especially since it’s a duology so there won’t be years of waiting between books which is a huge plus.  Overall, I found The Storyspinner to be a really fun read.  The world is a bit unconventional, the story is intriguing and the cast of characters are a hoot! I’m really looking forward to the sequel, The Skylighter.

The Storyspinner follows a large cast of characters and the narrative often switches between each of them, sometimes even mid-scene.  It took me a little while to get used to the constant jumps, but in the end, the story benefited from having so many POVs.  My favorite story to follow was that of Johanna and Rafi.  Rafi is a young duke who’s father died and is trying to do the best in his position despite missing out on years of training he believed he would have.  He relies heavily on his mother, a quick-witted master of the political games in their society, and he tries to set the best example for his younger, free-spirited and less mature brother Dom.  Johanna is the daughter of two performers and she herself is a Storyspinner, performing songs for audiences.  Her father Arlo tragically dies in the middle of a performance and while it seems accidental, there are some suspicions surrounding his accident.  Their narratives become interwoven with those of Jacaré, Pira and Leão, a traveling troupe seeking out the murderer of several victims, all matching Johanna’s description. Much mystery!

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As I read further, I got more comfortable in the world Becky Wallace set up and I found myself completely enjoying the lore.  I was expecting more of a fantasy world which I think fell short a bit in the beginning but the subtle hints of fantasy interspersed with the historical feel ultimately kept my interest.  Plus, the set up for The Skylighter is pretty incredible.  Other notables that contributed to my enjoyment were Johanna’s profession (I never thought of a story-teller as a Storyspinner but I love that word for her career path), the romance (especially the relationship that forms between Johanna and Rafi.  They start off hating each other but as we all know, there can be a fine line between love and hate) and the magic we’re introduced to.  By the end of the first book I was really hoping there were more pages left.  Also, here’s hoping the map is printed in The Skylighter!

Final Thoughts:  The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace is a strong first half of The Keepers’ Chronicles duology.  It follows a vast cast of characters and there are two main plots which eventually become interwoven.  The story is full of intrigue and mystery and while it is technically a fantasy, it reads similarly to an historical novel with some elements of magic.  Becky Wallace did such a fantastic job of world-building, developing each character, and crafting a plot that will more than hold your interest.  I’m definitely looking forward to The Skylighter later next month!

Rating 5

Drama and danger abound in this fantasy realm where dukes play a game for the throne, magical warriors race to find the missing heir, and romance blossoms where it is least expected.

In a world where dukes plot their way to the throne, a Performer’s life can get tricky. And in Johanna Von Arlo’s case, it can be fatal. Expelled from her troupe after her father’s death, Johanna is forced to work for the handsome Lord Rafael DeSilva. Too bad they don’t get along. But while Johanna’s father’s death was deemed an accident, the Keepers aren’t so sure.

The Keepers, a race of people with magical abilities, are on a quest to find the princess—the same princess who is supposed to be dead and whose throne the dukes are fighting over. But they aren’t the only ones looking for her. And in the wake of their search, murdered girls keep turning up—girls who look exactly like the princess, and exactly like Johanna.

With dukes, Keepers, and a killer all after the princess, Johanna finds herself caught up in political machinations for the throne, threats on her life, and an unexpected romance that could change everything. (via Goodreads)

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Kristin

Spider-Gwen Bishoujo Statue

I’ve always been a collector of the Kotobukiya Bishoujo statues but I always stuck with DC styles and hadn’t ventured into Marvel (with the exception of Scarlet Witch) but all of that is about to change.  My favorite non-hero comic book character, Gwen Stacy, was reimagined last year and given an alter-ego of her own.  Spider-Gwen was born out of the Spider-Verse storyline and my heart still melts every time I see her swinging through the pages of her very own ongoing title.  Now Kotobukiya is immortalizing her in statue form as part of their Bishoujo line.  Spider-Gwen is almost 9 inches tall and she comes with two head scultps so you can display her with or without her cowl.  Spider-Gwen will be released in October of 2016 and she can be preordered on Entertainment Earth for $74.99.

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Kristin

Fashion Find: Alice in Wonderland x Irregular Choice Shoe Collection

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Irregular Choice is combining forces with Disney to bring us a truly whimsical collection of footwear!  So far only one style has been released but it’s a MUST for any Alice in Wonderland fan.  The collection goes on sale on February 26th (I know I’ll have my quick-clicking-shopping-fingers ready!) and there will also be in store events worldwide.  The collection is limited edition and Irregular Choice promises that we can expect “glittery details, hidden characters, lighted elements, and heels in the shape of characters.”  The styles that have been revealed are called Flowers Can’t Talk, We’re All Mad Here, and I’m not sure of the the third style.

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Kristin

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