Category: Books/Writing

Jun 25

Review: June 2016 OwlCrate

Books/Writing, Reviews 4

Now for the pictures and all the awesome details of the amazing OwlCrate box! As I mentioned, I’ve been a subscriber for quite some time, and while I’ve posted some unboxing photos on my Instagram, I’ve never written a full review of the box! Shame on me. So here we go!

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It comes to your mailbox looking like this. I practically do a happy dance in the mailroom every time I pick one up!

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Dun-dun-dun! Isn’t it pretty? My cat really appreciates all the crinkly paper, by the way. He photobombed the first attempt at this photo trying to get to it.

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The full contents! Now, here is what made me realize that I really, really don’t want to ever unsubscribe: the book they chose for this month, was one that I had added to my TBR list just a little over a week ago. And? This is the second time OwlCrate has managed to do this to me. They’re that good.

List of contents:

Book (most important, right?): My Lady Jane, by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows. I’ll have to confess I’ve not read anything by any of these ladies, but the premise of My Lady Jane sounded so fascinated it went on my list straight away. One of my (many) favorite things about the OwlCrate box is the author’s note that they always include with the books. It makes it feel so special, and I really like hearing the author’s thoughts on the book and whatever else they decide to add. I read the note and keep it inside the book on my shelf.

Such nice touch!

Such a nice touch!

Extras (because they are always awesome!):

A Funko Pop Mystery Mini! From the Disney Princess collection. I love Funko Pops so much. Disney I’m not quite as crazy about, but somehow I managed to get the mini from what has to be my favorite recent Disney movie (btw, if anyone got Merida and doesn’t want her…*hinthint*):

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“Brave,” if you were wondering. Because who doesn’t love a fiery Scottish princess turning her mum and 3 little brothers (of which this is one) into bears?

A bee-yoo-ti-ful bracelet from the very talented Jami Butler at RichLoveShoppe.

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Yes. Be jealous.

Awesomely adorable bookmarks from Crafted Van. I really need the coffee set. Also the cats. All the cats. But can you please add orange or orange and white kitties? 😀

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So stinkin’ cute!

In something of a departure from what they’ve done in the past, also included was a $10 off coupon to My Bookmark…which, I will be completely honest – I’m using as soon as I get done writing this review. Because OMG. I need one.

Look. At. These. (photo from the My Bookmark site)

Also with (no individual pics, but they are all in the contents photo) a cute little paper crown, which I think was a great touch for those with eager young readers that aren’t quite of age for a box of their own. The Red Queen quote print is beautifully done on a heavy cardstock, suitable for framing or hanging however you like. As usual, there were coupons from all the contributors to the box and a sneak-peek at the next OwlCrate (the card almost hidden under everything on the right in the full content picture). The awesome book choice and the sneak-peek for next month together just sent me over the edge. I’ll be subscribing to OwlCrate for a long time to come!

Now if you want to get yours  – and there is still time to sign up for the July box, which reportedly includes another Funko (squee!) and is themed Good or Evil – click through here and sign up! The referral will get me a discount on my subscription, hehe.

This box was bought by me and this review is completely honest and unsolicited – I received no compensation whatsoever, just wanted to share my favorite subscription box!

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Jun 23

Coming Soon: OwlCrate!

Books/Writing 0

I got my June OwlCrate box today! And let’s just say…I’ve been subscribing for 6 months, and loved every single month. However, after the May box (which was great!) I decided to cancel in June because I wanted to try another sub box.

Um. No. After this box, and the teaser insert for NEXT month’s box, my happy little self went right back to the OwlCrate website and resubscribed. Full review coming in a few days, after I’m pretty certain of not spoiling it for anyone.

If this is enough to tempt you into subscribing, please use my referral code…I think it means I get a discount on my next box!

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^This is me. Looking at this box.

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Jun 19

Custard Protocol Giveaway!

Books/Writing 0

As you may be aware, Gail Carriger’s new novella, Poison or Protect, is coming out in ebook format on Tuesday (June 21). If you subscribe to her lovely monthly newsletter there was a little bit in there about being entered to win a giveaway if you pre-order. So if you missed it in your Chirrup, go back and look and make sure you pre-order, and then enter the giveaway. A big, beautiful, chock-full of goodies Prudence-themed giveaway. Insert heart-eyes smiley here.

I’m always so excited to read anything new Gail comes out with, I’m almost counting the hours for this one. Of course, I’m also dizzy with anticipation for Imprudence, releasing on July 19. I love the Tarabotti/Maccon family and always go into withdrawal after finishing a book!

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Jun 15

Books and More Books

Books/Writing, Life, Musings 0

This year, I’m really rediscovering my love not only of books (never doubted that one) but of writing. More on that later, but in the meantime it’s long overdue an update on my Reading Challenges for 2016! I just updated the “Books to Read 2016” page, which is my list of owned-but-never-read books that I am attempting to finish this year. I’m very bad at staying focused, so while I have read a total of 45 books for the year, I’m only at 15/45 from that list. Yikes! Need to work on that. But, while I do have reading goals, I am trying to follow the advice of my new mug and read what I love!

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Lovely mug courtesy of the Bookworm Boutique. Besides the shop, she has a beautiful Instagram @bookwormboutique and a book review blog.

Squirrel! Anyway, back to the reading challenges…

The challenge I wrote about doing with some friends is still going strong! Out of 50 categories (my original goal was 12, I’ve since raised it to 36) I’m at 26. Some of them are kind of stretches for me, but it’s fun. We’re not making the list public at this point, but it’s kind of like the PopSugar 2016 Reading Challenge.

I’m going to get back into doing book reviews. For the above challenge, in order to be able to officially list a book we had to write at least a brief review of it on GoodReads, and writing those has motivated me to write more detailed ones. I’ll be posting them here, and on GoodReads, and some on LibraryThing. I’ve been pretty lucky to be selected for a few ARCs from the Early Reviewers group this year, and it seems to be a fun, easy way to score a free book. And since free books don’t feel like failing at my book-buying ban…score! Besides the ER group, I’m expecting my first book from Blogging for Books soon (soon being a relative term  – overseas media mail shipping takes almost 6 weeks, usually) and can’t wait to get on reviewing from them too!

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May 25

Time for a Change?

Books/Writing, Crafting, Reviews, travel 0

I feel like I cover too many topics on this blog. From creative pursuits, to books, to travel and hiking, to pets…too much. I think I’m going to try to focus on one of those things, and maybe keep my other ramblings on another (or more than one other) blog.

Heads up for a change in the near future. Hopefully near, anyway. Hehe.

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May 08

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Books/Writing, Life, Uncategorized 0

Apparently, yesterday was my 10 year blogging anniversary on WordPress.

Holy cow. Has it possibly been that long? Let’s not talk about how long I was on Xanga before that…haha.

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Mar 15

That Feeling

Books/Writing 2

I’m currently experiencing a massive book (series?) hangover, thanks to Melissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. I tore through them all in exactly a week, and, well, yeah.

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Feb 22

Good Monday

Animals, Books/Writing, Cats, Crafting, Pets 2

Normally, this is me on a Monday.

from http://funnyand.tumblr.com

But I had a truly lovely weekend, just hanging out with my husband. We didn’t really do anything (does laundry count?), but I got to work on a lot of projects and we watched some movies.

I wrote a few letters, and practiced making wax seals.


I worked on the never-ending quilt, and determined I’m 90% sure I’m going to run out of red thread. Ugh.


I finally picked up my Tree People socks again, and am almost to the heel now.


I spun two plies of this lovely Fat Cat Knits gradient (superwash merino/sparkle), and am with  difficulty waiting about 24 hours before plying because my singles don’t seem to be as twisty then. Ideally, I’d wait about 3 days but I just don’t have the patience. At all.

I finished “The Likeness,” by Tana French. Also my 15th book for this year, whoohoo! I am absolutely in love with this series and if you like mystery/police procedural books at all you really really MUST go start it. First one is “In the Woods.” Now go. Get it. Read it. Then come back and tell me thank you.

And of course, lots of snuggles with this little guy. The big guy too, but no pics of him.

All ready for St. Patrick’s Day!

 

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Jan 04

Reading Life

Books/Writing, Life, Musings, Uncategorized 1

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New year, new goals! I knocked my 2015 reading goal out of the park, the first year I’ve ever actually reached my number goal, which was 25. I read 69. Sure, the goal was low for the speed at which I normally read, but considering that in 2013 I only read 13 books (for real), and 2015 was going to entail some MAJOR life changes like moving to the other side of the world, I thought it was reasonable. Then I had more free time on my hands then I anticipated, and wham. Almost triple. Whoohoo!

So this year, my number goal is 50. I don’t anticipate moving this year, but we do plan on doing as much traveling as possible, and I have all these other hobbies that intrude on my reading time. My other goal is to finish every book I’ve bought and not read. Towards that end I’ve created a new page with that list. Enjoy my extremely random library (the whole thing is cataloged here…still working on the audiobooks and ebooks). This goal was inspired by my husband wincing over a new box of books arriving in the mail not too long ago, and the reminder that when we DO move back to the States they are the biggest contributor to our moving weight limit. Eeep. So I either read them, or give them away. And, I am going to attempt – key word – to go on a book-buying diet until I have finished the ones I have. All 45 of them (since I already went through and cleared out the 10 or so that I decided I didn’t want to read anymore). I am allowing myself a subscription to OwlCrate…I’ve enjoyed quite a few YA reads in the last year, and I am in absolute love with the literary goodies I’ve seen in pictures of boxes. And I’m just a sucker for subscription boxes in general.

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I’m really kind of bummed I missed out on the Poe zipper pouch.

My last reading goal is a challenge I’m doing with a bunch of pen-pal friends. I’m choosing 12 challenges out of a list to stretch my reading horizons. Books a little out of my comfort zone.

Will I go over 50? I sure hope so! But I wanted to set myself up for success. What are your reading goals for 2016?

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Jun 20

Swapping Stuffs

Books/Writing, Crafting, Life, Random 3

I started doing some swaps on Swap-bot again, after a long absence of ANY kind of swapping. I’ve received some postcards (yay for my collection…still at home…sigh), and then this week I got some awesome packages of notecards and stationery stuffs! I’m slowly building up to bigger swaps (as most of them have requirement of completing smaller ones before you’re allowed to participate). Here are some pics…most of the swappers I’ve experienced have been lovely, generous people that sent awesome stuff.

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A beautiful collection of notecards from Debbie as part of the Note Card Lovers swap . I really want to know where she found some of these!

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An awesome postcard, delicious tea, and beautiful papers from Cindy in the Pick 3 Things swap. And look at the amazing handmade card she sent! I wish I was that creative.

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Then my other package from the Note Card Lovers Swap arrived today! From Charlie. Owls are my favorite, and I love the colors in the square cards. The card on the right was made from an old book.


I’m trying my hand at ATCs, mostly through Zentangling. Here is the one Zentangle ATC I’ve received so far. Isn’t it pretty? I’ve stuck to patterns only on mine so far, not tried to make a picture of anything.

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These are the two ATCs I’ve made so far. Really simple, but I’ve had fun playing with watercolor paint (my first time ever) and different inks.

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Here are some of the packages and letters I’ve sent out, all ready to go on their journey! I hope the people getting my swaps are as happy with them as I’ve been about the ones I’ve received.

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