Blog tour, Book Excerpt, book review, bookish, coming of age, contemporary, Teen Readers, Young Adult

BLOG TOUR } Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices

Welcome to the book blog tour for Girlhood: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices by. Masuma Ahuja!

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Title: GIRLHOOD: Teens Around the World in Their Own Voices

Author: Masuma Ahuja

Format: ebook (NetGalley)

Pages: 256

Publication Date: 2/9/21

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Categories: Non Fiction, Girls

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

What does a teenage girl dream about in Nigeria or New York? How does she spend her days in Mongolia, the Midwest, and the Middle East? 

All around the world, girls are going to school, working, dreaming up big futures—they are soccer players and surfers, ballerinas and chess champions. Yet we know so little about their daily lives. We often hear about challenges and catastrophes in the news, and about exceptional girls who make headlines. But even though the health, education, and success of girls so often determines the future of a community, we don’t know more about what life is like for the ordinary girls, the ones living outside the headlines.

From the Americas to Europe to Africa to Asia to the South Pacific, the thirty teens from twenty-seven countries in Girlhood share their own stories of growing up through diary entries and photographs, and the girls’ stories are put in context with reporting and research that helps us understand the circumstances and communities they live in. This full-color, exuberantly designed volume is a portrait of ordinary girlhood around the world, and of the world, as seen through girls’ eyes.

  • It is wonderfully multi-cultural! So many different girls from around the world are featured in this book. I love the full color pages of the girls, it’s wonderful to see their smiles.
  • I love the diary entry format and scrapbook style of the book. This is the kind of book I would have loved to read when I was a teenager. It’s inspiring and makes me want to travel to experience the different cultures out there.
  • Showcasing different girls around the world and their own thoughts makes one feel not alone. Though the girls come from different places and live unique lives, there is something relatable about each girl whether it’s how they feel about school, friends, their family and the future.

This is a wonderful collection of stories and thoughts from girls all over the world. It is inspiring and relatable and perfect for young girls to add to their book collection!

📚 ~ Yolanda

Author: Masuma Ahuja

Blog tour, book review, bookish, coming of age, contemporary, E-book, romance, Young Adult

BLOG TOUR | How to Build a Heart by. Maria Padian

Welcome to the blog tour for How to Build a Heart by Maria Padian!

My rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Title: How to Build a Heart

Author: Maria Padian

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 1/28/21

Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers

Categories: Young Adult, Coming of Age, Contemporary, Family, Friendship, Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

One young woman’s journey to find her place in the world as the carefully separated strands of her life — family, money, school, and love — begin to overlap and tangle.  

All sixteen-year-old Izzy Crawford wants is to feel like she really belongs somewhere. Her father, a marine, died in Iraq six years ago, and Izzy’s moved to a new town nearly every year since, far from the help of her extended family in North Carolina and Puerto Rico. When Izzy’s hardworking mom moves their small family to Virginia, all her dreams start clicking into place. She likes her new school—even if Izzy is careful to keep her scholarship-student status hidden from her well-to-do classmates and her new athletic and popular boyfriend. And best of all: Izzy’s family has been selected by Habitat for Humanity to build and move into a brand-new house. Izzy is this close to the community and permanence she’s been searching for, until all the secret pieces of her life begin to collide.

How to Build a Heart is the story of Izzy’s journey to find her place in the world and her discovery that the choices we make and the people we love ultimately define us and bring us home.

  • Izzy is going through a lot as a teenager. She lost her dad, her best friend is in a rough situation at home, her mom is working as hard as she can to make ends meet, she meets a boy and her family has a chance to have their own home through Habitat for Humanity. We see Izzy navigate life, making a mess of things by lying and just trying to cope and find her way.
  • I learned a lot about Habitat for Humanity and how someone earns their own home through reading this book. I always thought the organization was amazing, but I didn’t know about earning hours and such, so that was eye opening.
  • Izzy is bi-racial, half white, half Puerto Rican, but takes after her white father the most. In the story she deals with certain situations like racism within her own family, from her Crawford’s side.
  • Izzy isn’t perfect but I give her credit for trying in the end to sort of make it right.
  • My favorite part of this book is when her cousin Mark comes into the picture because Izzy desperately needs that connection to her father’s side. When Roz, her best friend, reaches out to her cousin for her – it helps her deal with some questions she had about her Crawford’s side. Mark helps her open up and calls her out on running away from her problems and lying. I also love Izzy’s mom who is a good person (she helps protect Roz as best she can), and works so hard for her family.
  • Izzy’s relationship with her best friend Roz was just not okay to me. They were tight in the beginning, best friends, and then Izzy goes for the guy Roz likes and doesn’t even bother mentioning any of it to Roz. Izzy comes off opportunistic to me because she doesn’t even mention running into Sam at all…I’d tell my “best friend”. I know she’s a teenager and she’s making mistakes, but I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t even just mention it…it really felt like Izzy was throwing Roz away for a new set of friends and life. Roz has her issues though and one of them being she almost physically hurts Izzy in anger. Obviously Roz needs a lot of help because of her the scars of her upbringing and it was awesome to see some people in the end help her out. I think what bothered me was that Izzy was about to just end their friendship and here was Mark and Betts willing to help Roz and they barely knew her.

How to Build a Heart is a journey of a teenage girl trying to find her bi-racial identity, deal with the loss of her father, searching for her place in the community, and also finding family and love. If you like stories that have romance, family and coming of age themes, you will definitely enjoy this one. In the end, we are all as imperfect as Izzy but we try to do the best we can.

💕 ~ Yolanda


MOST ANTICIPATED / BEST OF LISTS:

Children’s Book Council: “Hot Off the Press: February 2020”

Latinos in Publishing: “January 2020 Latinx Releases”

Kirkus Reviews: “11 Early Books We Love”

Kirkus Reviews: “16 Books We Can’t Wait For in 2020”

“A Pretty In Pink story about grief, family, class, and first love.”

Bustle

“This is not a polemic about racism but an exploration of what identity means… The force of Padian’s storytelling, the pain of watching Izzy’s worlds collide, moved me to tears more than once.”

Portland Press Herald

“Padian creates a world that the reader can easily dive into. Anyone who’s ever been a self-conscious teen will see themselves in Izzy.”

Book Riot

“A balance of vivid description and witty, discerning storytelling [gives] a refreshing zeal to Izzy’s first-person narrative… Padian’s How to Build a Heart encourages us to embrace our authentic selves by letting go, not only of secrets, but of the desire to hide parts of ourselves in hopes that others will accept us.”

Cleaver Magazine

“A sensitively rendered story, but also a fun read, brisk and engaging… Padian’s book demonstrates the importance of home as a source of support and identity for teens.”

BookPage

“Complex, heartrending, and beautifully explored, How to Build a Heart is a deeply poignant read that is not only deep enough to move you, but wonderfully engaging and quirky.”

The Young Folks

How to Build A Heart is, at its core, a contemporary romance. But it also strives to be more than that. It’s a story of family, friendship, and the bonds that get us through… The novel is simple, sweet, and bursting with hope.”

The Fandom

“A potent coming-of-age story about the courage often required for pulling together multiple threads of a life to create an authentic self.”

BookBrowse

“Padian’s latest book delivers an enjoyable story about how Izzy eventually finds her place in her ever-changing world… This book effectively captured the chaos that can sometimes come with being a young adult.”

The Daily Free Press (Boston University Student Paper)

“Padian shows again and again that a story is always more complicated and more ordinary than it seems.”
The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Padian masterfully portrays the internal struggles Izzy goes through in her Catholic faith… An absolutely enthralling depiction of family and self-discovery.”

Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)

“Padian creates a compelling world with relatable characters and deals with serious issues without feeling heavy-handed…An excellent classroom or book discussion starter. Hand this to readers who are ready to tackle these issues with a lighter touch.”

School Library Journal

“Padian takes a familiar theme—a girl hiding her background from others—and makes it fresh with her protagonist, Izzy Crawford… The characters around her are well-defined and support Izzy and the plot well. Throughout the novel, Izzy’s strength, candor, and humanity shine through.”

Booklist

Blog tour, book review, bookish, fantasy, Young Adult

BLOG TOUR } This Golden Flame by. Emily Victoria

Welcome to the blog tour for This Golden Flame by. Emily Victoria!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: This Golden Flame

Author: Emily Victoria

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 384

Publication Date: 2/2/21

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Buy Links: Amazon | B & N | Kobo |IndieBound | Powell’s | Bookshop.org

Categories: Fantasy, Young Adult, LGBTQIA+, Pirates

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Orphaned and forced to serve her country’s ruling group of scribes, Karis wants nothing more than to find her brother, long ago shipped away. But family bonds don’t matter to the Scriptorium, whose sole focus is unlocking the magic of an ancient automaton army.

In her search for her brother, Karis does the seemingly impossible—she awakens a hidden automaton. Intelligent, with a conscience of his own, Alix has no idea why he was made. Or why his father—their nation’s greatest traitor—once tried to destroy the automatons.

Suddenly, the Scriptorium isn’t just trying to control Karis; it’s hunting her. Together with Alix, Karis must find her brother…and the secret that’s held her country in its power for centuries.

  • World Building ~ I thought this world of Scriptorium and scribes was very creative and fascinating. I also enjoyed the history of the automatons. Runes are used as their magic system in this story and I thought it was interesting how it was used to control the deadly automatons in the past.
  • Characters ~ This story is told between Karis and Alix but Alix really stood out for me more than Karis. Karis has walls, understandably so after being orphaned and separated away from her only family. Alix is also in a tough situation but for someone who should be untrusting of everyone around him, he was willing to help strangers. There was growth for Karis though and that was nice to see. The secondary characters are great, I think they were all varied and added something to the story.
  • Representation ~ I knew Karis was asexual but this is the first time I’ve heard of Aro which stands for aromantic. But I’m learning! So aromantic would be people who experience little to no romantic attraction. According to what the author said in reply to a question on Goodreads, Karis is both Ace and Aro. Yay for learning something new and for more of these representations in books so I can learn. Also there is a m/m relationship.
  • Themes ~ story explored what family and friendship is (biological & chosen) and how far you would go to protect the ones you care about. Another subject that is explored is that of being controlled by others, enslaved by others by use of magic runes. Whoever had Alix’s tome could control him and I felt for him even though he was just an automaton.
  • If you love romance in your story – this may not be for you. I usually NEED romance in a story to enjoy it. This one didn’t have any and I still enjoyed it, so you may want to give it a shot.
  • Karis’ goal in life was to find her brother, but I felt when she found him…he wasn’t as focused on finding her. I was a little bummed about that. I was hoping for this amazing reunion but, Matthias had his own life going on – I know he probably did that to cope with being torn away from Karis but I guess I was hoping for more.

This story starts off with Karis, but in the end Alix’s journey won me over. This is a wonderful story about an unconventional friendship set in a fascinating world of magic runes, a history of automatons and the Scriptorium who wields a lot of power. Oh and there are pirates too…did I mention that?

🧡 ~ Yolanda

About the Author:

Emily Victoria lives on the Canadian prairies with her Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, works at her public library, and has just finished her Masters of Library and Information Studies.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author website: https://www.avictoriantale.com/

Twitter: @avictoriantale

Instagram: @avictoriantale

Book Tags, bookish

Books Under the Tree Book Tag

I saw this on AceReader‘s blog and thought it was a fun Christmas theme post to do since I don’t think I did any holiday posts yet – and with Christmas a day away…let’s try this one out!

1. What book would you like to find under the tree this year?

I don’t usually get book gifts under the tree but this would make a great collection to my Cruel Prince series!

2. What is the best book you have ever received for Christmas?

Like I said, I don’t get many book gifts so I’ll say…the book my mother-in-law got me…

3. What book gives you all the Christmas feels?

I read this last year and it was super cute – lots of family Christmas vibes and romance of course.🥰

4. What book do you plan on reading to put you in the Christmas spirit this year?

I honestly have no plans to read a book to put me in the Christmas spirit this year…lol…I did read the In a Holidaze arc but that was months ago. And I didn’t join any winter blog tours this year, just didn’t have the energy!

5. What book have you read this year that you would like to throw out with the Christmas tree after the holidays?

I have a fake tree so I don’t toss a tree out after the holidays 😅 but this one right now is trying my patience and might end up a DNF, which is rare for me! I love the cover but I think I expected something else? It’s not for me.

6. What is a book from this year that you would like to place under a friend’s tree?

I would gift this to a few people ~ it’s an inspiring story!

7. Challenge: Create a stack of books in which the spines alternate green and red! Share the titles.

I’m tagging whoever wants to do this tag! Well here we are, one more day until Christmas and I hope those of you who do get books under the tree get all the ones you have been wishing for. 😘

Happy Holidays! 🎄 ~ Yolanda

book review, bookish, E-book, fantasy, kindle unlimited, New adult, romance

Light Singer | Book Review

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Title: Light Singer (Kingdom of Runes, #4)

Author: Audrey Grey

Format: eBook (Kindle Unlimited)

Pages: 476

Categories: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Haven escaped the clutches of the new Sun Sovereign and found solace in Shadoria, but for how long? 

Now that the extent of her powers is known, Solis, Noctis, and mortals all hunt her. Meanwhile, chaos reigns across the land. The immortal realm is ruled by a depraved King who will stop at nothing to reclaim Haven as a weapon, while the mortal lands must choose between serving a tyrant or following Prince Bell, the Kinslayer. 

And below, in the Netherworld, a great evil awaits, amassing an army of untold powers. 

Hunted, plagued by doubt, and torn between duty and love, Haven must find a way to broker peace between the nations before it’s too late. 

  • World Building ~ we are back in the world of A Kingdom of Runes, and Haven is trying to assert her role as the Goddess born. She is trying to win allies but has to prove herself along the way.
  • Stolas ~ the thing I loved about this book was Stolas and Haven trying to figure out where they stand with one another. Plus things are always so heated between them, in a steamy way. For the most part, their friendship grows as he helps her control her shadow “beast”. Stolas has a vulnerable moment in the book on his mother’s death anniversary and it was so emotional. For me their relationship was the best part of the book! Give me more of Stolas and Haven.
  • I liked how the ending brought Stolas and Haven into a new adventure – a darker one, and yes I love that he’s this vampire, shifter, fae character – he’s pretty much everything haha. But their new adventure to make her immortal…will it happen? I’m eager to read the next book to find out.
  • Archeron is so evil ugh…glad Haven is finally over him!
  • It was nice to see Bell and the rest of Haven’s friends.

If you like fantasy romance books like ACOTAR, then you may enjoy this one because it has so many similar vibes. This is my favorite book of the series so far and I can’t wait to read the next one ~ I hope we get it soon!

🖤 ~ Yolanda

book review, bookish, E-book, fantasy, netgalley, romance, Young Adult

Warmaidens | ARC Review

My Review: 3/5 Stars

Title: Warmaidens (Gravemaidens, #2)

Author: Kelly Coon

Format: eBook (NetGalley)

Pages: 352

Publication Date: 12/15/20

Publisher: Random House Children’s

Categories: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Disclaimer: **I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.**

Warmaidens is the dark, action-packed conclusion to the heartwrenching Gravemaidens fantasy duology. Kammani and the maidens are now going to war against the ruler who tried to entomb them.

In the refuge city-state of Manzazu, Kammani has built a thriving healing practice and a life she’s proud of with her siblings, the maidens, and her love, Dagan. 

But when an assassin murders a healer he believes is Kammani and attempts to kill Arwia, the displaced queen of Alu, they realize they’re not safe in their safe little haven anymore. Uruku, the usurper to Alu’s throne, has found out they escaped the tomb and must kill them to protect his newly acquired power.

Burning for retribution, the ruler of Manzazu wants to unleash her fiercest weapons on Alu–her warmaidens. But when Kammani’s best friend, Iltani, is captured, Kammani must use her intuition and her heart to restore Arwia to the throne before the life she’s built–and a future with Dagan–burn up in the flames of war. 

Thank you to Random House Children’s and NetGalley for giving me a chance to read this eARC.

My Attention: read in five days

World Building: scenery is written wonderfully as in Gravemaidens

Writing Style: easy to read

Crazy in Love: Kammani and Dagan are already in love, Kammani just doesn’t want to be a “wife”

Creativity: Kammani’s life is in danger and they have to get Uruku off the throne

Triggers: violence, grief, misogyny

My Takeaway: You don’t have to give up your dreams when you fall in love with someone.

  • Iltani was my favorite in the first book, Gravemaidens and she comes back again with her sassy, wild self. She has the most personality out of all the characters. The women power vibes of Kammani and her crew were present in this book which is great.
  • Dagan is still trying to get Kammani to marry him but she’s worried about balancing her dreams, life and love. What if she doesn’t want children? What if she doesn’t want marriage? I like that the author let Kammani be happy without these things. The message I got was that it was okay to be independent and in love too.
  • A lot of things go wrong in this book, but I like that no matter what, the friends/families work together to achieve their goal.
  • I liked Gravemaidens more than this one because it was darker and more mysterious than Warmaidens. This is described as a dark story, but it didn’t feel that way at all.
  • Other than Iltani, I felt no connection to anyone else.
  • The way the characters planned out how to take down Uruku felt naive or amateurish, and it was – considering none of them were cold blooded killers, but I lost interest many times when it felt like their plans didn’t feel well thought out.

Though it’s not my favorite book in the duology, I think Warmaidens is a solid conclusion to this series. My favorite character Iltani really came through in personality, and she made the book fun to read. Kammani’s internal questions about how to be in love and not lose her independence really resonated with me and I’m glad to see her make her own choices. If you like stories about family, sisterhood, women power and romance, then you would enjoy this series.

💗 ~ Yolanda

book review, bookish, horror, paranormal, romance, Young Adult

Book Review | Sawkill Girls

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Title: Sawkill Girls

Author: Claire Legrand

Format: Hardcover (own)

Pages: 447

Categories: Horror, Romance, Young Adult, Paranormal

Beware of the woods and the dark, dank deep.

He’ll follow you home, and he won’t let you sleep.

Who are the Sawkill Girls?

Marion: the new girl. Awkward and plain, steady and dependable. Weighed down by tragedy and hungry for love she’s sure she’ll never find.

Zoey: the pariah. Luckless and lonely, hurting but hiding it. Aching with grief and dreaming of vanished girls. Maybe she’s broken—or maybe everyone else is.

Val: the queen bee. Gorgeous and privileged, ruthless and regal. Words like silk and eyes like knives, a heart made of secrets and a mouth full of lies.

Their stories come together on the island of Sawkill Rock, where gleaming horses graze in rolling pastures and cold waves crash against black cliffs. Where kids whisper the legend of an insidious monster at parties and around campfires.

Where girls have been disappearing for decades, stolen away by a ravenous evil no one has dared to fight… until now.

I read this book last night and got halfway through before going to bed. I woke up with a nightmare because of a scene in the book that kinda grossed me out and took on an even more disgusting form in my dreams. 😫 I didn’t think this book would be creepy but the more I read I got sucked into this place called Sawkill Rock and the events happening there.

Girls have gone missing on Sawkill Rock and three girls share an interesting fate there. Marion is new to the island, she and her family are grieving the death of her father so this is a new start. Zoey moved there awhile ago to live with her father but things haven’t going so well there. And Val is queen bee of the island, gorgeous and popular with a hidden agenda.

Surrounding this place is an urban legend about the Collector. Is he real or just an urban legend with no substance to the stories? Will they figure out what is going before more girls disappear?

  • Creepy! The atmosphere of Sawkill was perfect for a chilling story. There things that definitely go bump in the night on Sawkill Rock, especially in the Mortimer household. There is a lot of mystery about Val and her family but we ultimately find out what their purpose is.
  • So much LGBTQIA+ representation! The asexual relationship between Zoey and Grayson was really well done for someone like me who is trying to learn more about people who identify as asexual. I don’t find a lot of books with asexual relationships.
  • This is a superhero story – that was surprising! There was woman power all over this book, mostly at the end. At first the girls are struggling, Val is abused/controlled, Zoey is bullied – Val does the bullying, Marion comes off as strange but they have powers within them and that was cool to see them work together.
  • The Collector was creepy as hell and disgusting. He is a killer, manipulator, abuser, he’s gross and at times I felt uncomfortable about the things he did. Like am I the only who thought it was sketchy that at times he was in the form of a “boy child” and then meet he was a doctor seducing Val…like…what was I reading?! Eww, I mean he was straight evil.
  • It’s quite atmospheric so if you don’t like that type of story, this one might not be for you. I mean at times moths would speak to the girls and I couldn’t tell if that was a good or bad thing haha. The beginning was a bit slow going as we try to figure out what in hell is happening on this crazy island with Marion hearing things, Zoey seeing things and Val…doing things. 😒
  • Though the story starts off like a mysterious paranormal story, the second half is like a superhero movie, maybe more like X-Men. It was an interesting turn and direction that worked for the most part – but it also threw me off at times. I just went with the flow. 🤷🏻‍♀️
  • There is insta-love. More like…insta-lust?
  • Triggers: abuse, murder

This story was atmospheric, creepy and at times strange – the Collector is a vile villain. The message of women empowerment came through hard and the LGBTQIA+ reps were awesome. Overall, this one definitely caught my curiosity, I could’ve done without some of the horror aspects but that’s just me, since I don’t read much horror.

bookish, Musings

Bookish Items | PastelrainCreations

Hi everyone! Pastelrain Creations is an account I follow on my bookstagram and I finally made a purchase on her Etsy shop. Bianca, the owner, has a good sale going on right now so definitely check her shop out!

She is based out of Canada, so I know there is a little wait with the shipping time, but it came right on time! It took only less than two weeks. Yay! 😍

The thought that went into the packaging (as a former Etsy shop owner myself) is so awesome. My packaging was not as pretty for my shop haha – I love how everything was so feminine and cute, all the way down to the thank you note!

Most of these I am gifting to friends and family that read a lot but I kept the pineapple cord bookmark for myself because I’m an island girl, pineapples are my thing! This was my first purchase but certainly not my last.

bookish, Musings

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

Aloha everyone! It’s not just the end of a year, it’s the end of a decade. 😲

When I think about all the big things that happened in a decade this is what I came up with:

  1. I got engaged and remarried.
  2. Went to Europe on my honeymoon.
  3. Bought a house, twice.
  4. Had 2 kids.
  5. I had my own Etsy shop for 5 years making hand-stamped metal jewelry.
  6. Started a book review blog.

I definitely tried to do a lot in 10 years for sure! For 2020, I’m looking forward to taking my first trip off this island since giving birth to my son almost 8 years ago. We are doing a big family trip (with parents, sister and her fam) – we are going on a Disney Alaska Cruise. It will be my first cruise and honestly, the first time I am traveling with my two kids. We shall see how that goes, but I’m excited!

As for reading books and blogging – the blog will still be here but I won’t be reading 200 books in one year like I did for 2019. It was overkill for me and started becoming like a chore back in November. I’m much happier reading my usual 60-70 books a year, so I will pace myself accordingly. I want to have a nice balance of NetGalley arcs to read and library books so I control my book spending. I have no more room on my shelves. 😔

And for other hobby news – I miss crafting. I miss my Etsy shop, it’s been closed because when my daughter was a baby it was a lot for me to juggle, so I closed it temporarily. But I think I’ll be opening it up again in 2020. My gift to myself this Christmas was a Cricut Explore Air 2 – it’s a cutting machine. I used to hand stamp metal keychains and other accessories, but now with the Cricut I’ve been playing with acrylic keychains with adhesive vinyl stickers/decals and glitter. Lots of glitter…and glue. 😂 I’m in love with it. Here’s a few starter projects I made:

I’m still learning how to design and weed the vinyl stickers. I’m testing out different fonts that work better with cutting certain words and phrases. It’s so different from hand stamping, where I just picked up a stamp, centered it and banged it with a hammer. I like how with the Cricut I can design the phrase in one go and I can add color with the different types of adhesive vinyl available to me. Hand stamping is basically metal and black ink but it has it’s charm too.

I miss hand stamping because I loved pounding with the hammer. 😆 It was a stress reliever I think, but the pounding can wear on your joints. One time I had an order of 300+ metal tags! I was pregnant at the time doing it and I remember my wrists hurt so much after that week. With the Cricut, it does the cutting work, all I have to do is stick it on acrylic blanks. I love both mediums but for now with my daughter still not in kindergarten, I think the Cricut machine is the way to go. So I am excited! I’d love to add some bookish accessories to my Etsy shop. 😍

So these are my main things for 2020:

  • Disney Cruise Trip
  • Open Etsy shop again
  • Maintain book review blog

Of course it sounds simple and in between these main things are all my kids activities, holiday parties/events, birthdays, a few concerts and broadway shows (got tickets to Mariah Carey and Jersey Boys already haha) – basically life happens. 🤷🏻‍♀️

New Year’s Eve in Hawaii is a BIG thing. So many people light fireworks and as a kid, I loved it, but now that I’m older, my allergies cannot handle all the smoke the fireworks give up. It’s like the whole island is on fire that night. I’m staying in and going to wait until midnight when the whole island goes off with fireworks and watch through my window. How do you celebrate the New Year in your town, city, country?

I hope ALL of you have had an awesome decade, a good 2019 and let’s have an AMAZING 2020! Happy New Year everyone! 🎉🍾🎊 And as we say in Hawaii, Hau’oli Makahiki Hou!

Book Crates Unboxing, bookish

Unboxing | ShelfLove Crate | November Box 2019

It came in! My November box from Shelflove Crate, that I totally forgot about – came in today. So this was my first box from Shelflove Crate and probably my last unless that have some amazing book I want in 2020. This box is clearly very late – according to their instagram page, they’ve had a lot of problems with shipping. Instead of getting mad or annoyed, I basically forgot about it. Today when I checked the mail, I was like…what did I order?

Unlike the other book crate boxes I have subscribed from, this one came in a plain white box which left me even more confused. It was a pleasant surprise to see if was my Shelflove Crate order. So let’s see what’s in it!

The theme for the November box is called Reading the Restricted Section. I wanted this box mostly because of the book selection, plus I had never tried Shelflove Crate and wanted to see how good their boxes were.

Here is a Moste Potente Potions storage book. It’s from Harry Potter and I think it’s cool because it’s a storage book and you can put things in it. Not sure what I’d slip in there, but I’ll think of something.

Here is a Banned Books Bin which is collapsible because it is made from fabric. But it’s a cool design with the spines of banned books displayed.

In this photo is the leaflet that comes with the box explaining what all the items are plus a few bookmarks.

The Handmaid’s Tale Inspired Grocery Bag is a nice size reusable bag. Not sure if I’ll keep this or give it away but I always love a good reusable bag.

I see you Edward! Haha – this is a Twilight inspired pocket mirror. I think the design is cute and I can’t believe I don’t already have a pocket mirror in my purse.

Since this is my first Shelflove Crate, I will admit these acrylic chess pieces are SO super cute! This is Lazlo and Sarai from Strange the Dreamer. It makes me want to collect all the chess pieces from Shelflove Crate!

Here is the November BOTM – Blood Heir by Amelie Wen Zhao. I look forward to reading this book very soon!

And I think this might be a bonus item because the boxes were late? Not sure, but this wasn’t listed in the leaflet. It’s a mini poster for A Court of Mist and Fury.

You know despite all the shipping problems and the wait, this was a really cute box with useful items like the bag and the bin. I really love the chess pieces.

And that’s all the boxes I’ve been waiting on for 2019! I think it was fun subscribing to different boxes but I don’t have the space to really collect and store this stuff. So in 2020 I’ll pick and chose which boxes to get based on the book. If you are a book crate subscriber – what is your favorite company?