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Let's Talk Candles: Part II

2.14.2017
Last year, I posted about a few bookish candle shops that I thought looked really interesting. And now I'm back because THERE ARE JUST SO MANY. (I won't be mentioning the ones I previously mentioned, but you can definitely check out the first post for more options!)

Disclaimer: I haven't bought from most of these shops. The reality is that fandom candles are usually expensive. Add in shipping and it's just like, not smart for me to buy them. Which I understand! People are putting a lot of time and effort into this and SHIPPING IS AN EXPENSIVE THING. I'm basically just showing you pretty candles I WOULD buy and probably only would buy as gifts for birthdays and stuff like that because I'm irresponsible enough at Target, I don't need to be buying myself 10 candles from Etsy, too. (Also, all photos besides the one above are from the shops themselves, not me!)

Obviously I'm going to start with Hafsah's shop, IceyDesigns, just in case you haven't heard of it. Her shop has plenty of stuff that's perfect for book lovers, really - journals, including a Six of Crows one, cute pins, pencils. But for candles, there's one for Caraval, one for Windwitch, one for An Ember in the Ashes, and more! They all look BEAUTIFUL, and the candle for The Star Touched Queen sounds particularly awesome. Candles are 8oz jars for $18 (without shipping - ships from USA).



Best of 2016 & Looking Ahead

12.31.2016
2016 has been long. I'm not a very optimistic person, so I don't really see the light at the end of the tunnel for 2017, but I'm glad we'll get a clean slate, in a way.

I got a new job in 2016 working with monkeys and kind of maybe sorted out what I want to do with my life? Who knows. But my grandpa died in October, too, and he was a huge part of my life. I've lived with him since I was born, he owned the house I grew up in, and now we're cleaning out his stuff and mine and my dad's and getting ready to sell and it's hard. Everything is changing and the uncertainty of next year is really scary.

But I also got a cat! She has a genetic condition that makes her kneecaps constantly pop out of their sockets, and we've had to take her to the vet way too many times already for things unrelated to her knees, but she's soft and adorable and so sweet and I love her. She's also OBSESSED with drinking out of the sink.



I didn't read very much in 2016. I tried, but I've been getting so bored and distracted so easily lately. But of what I DID read, here are my favorites from 2016.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows


The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

This book made me laugh out loud so many times. These three authors just work so well and cohesively and it was so nice to read such a cute and fun book that wasn't all dark and heavy and depressing. I got to see them in Chicago (I was super awkward and embarrassing and wish I had said more) and their reenactment was hilarious.

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.


Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.
I connected with Sloane SO MUCH in this book and recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary. (There's also a ton of sarcasm and banter that I think you will LOVE.)

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes


Maguire is bad luck.
No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.
It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.
From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.
Maguire made my heart hurt because Paula Stokes CAN WRITE EMOTIONS SO WELL. What I love about this book the most is that it has such a positive portrayal of therapy and of mental illness in a way that wasn't super dark and depressing which is what I personally need to read.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?


Whoops, another contemporary. There are dogs. Adorable dogs. Adorable people. Basically, in 2016 I liked light and happy books because everything else sucked. 


Looking Ahead

In 2017, my main goal is obviously: READ MORE. I'm going to be busier and busier so I'm not sure what's going to happen, but I'm going to try. 

I also want to get back into fantasy. It was really hard for me this year because fantasies are longer and more in depth usually, and so it requires way more focus for me, and I just couldn't. It would take me weeks. It took me over two months to finish A Court of Mist and Fury. Contemporaries, on the other hand, I could breeze through. 

I need to finish some series, particularly Crooked Kingdom and The Raven King

Here are some of the other books I really want to read in 2017, some old, some new. 


I would love to hear what you're most excited to read in 2017! (Not included in this is Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows which was DRAGONS and I AM IN DIRE NEED OF IT.)

Waiting on Wednesday: October

10.05.2016
Ah, yes. It's that time again. The first Wednesday of the month, where I overload my blog with books that don't come out for forever and basically TORTURE MYSELF. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

To recap: In September, I selected The Book Jumper by By Your Side by Kaisie WestIt Started With Goodbye by Christina June, and Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher for my WoW! 

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda
Expected Publication: June 27th, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends

Tuck Durante is a shipraider, combing space for Earth artifacts from a war that ended 500 years ago. When his parents' ship crashes in the dead zone and the crew goes missing, Tuck hires a ragtag rescue team.

Meanwhile, curator Lana Gray is fighting to keep the US PANAMJohn Muir—and the remnants of its crew—alive. Their space capsule housing Yosemite National Park was hijacked. The hijacking turned ninety-five percent of her crew into nightmarish creatures called mourners who flay, dismember, or decapitate with nothing more than sharp-pitched shrieks.

Now, despite their differences, Lana, Tuck, and their crews must work together to save the John Muir. In space, nobody can hear you scream...but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.
Okay, first of all, that cover gives me definite Halloween vibes so I'm kind of sad this is going to be published in June. But also: SPACE. SPACE PIRATES, BASICALLY. SPACE PIRATES FIGHTING SCARY MONSTERS AND FALLING IN LOVE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. (But also ohmygod I'm going to need to have my life together by June 2017) 

Lucky in Love by Kaisie West
Expected Publication: July 25th, 2017 by Scholastic
Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment -- She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.
 
Is this real life? Are we really getting two Kasie West books within four months? IS THIS A DREAM??

Witchtown by Cory Putnam Oakes
Expected Publication: July 18th, 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 

When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.
Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.
Secrets have their own power.
 
YET ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR AN OCTOBER PUB DATE BUT WHATEVER. Witches, my friends. WITCHES. I love it. I want it. Immediately. 

The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier 
Expected Publication: April 11th, 2017 by HarperCollins
The Outlander series for the YA audience—a debut, full of romance and intrigue, set in early eighteenth-century Scotland.

Saying good-bye to Scotland is the hardest thing that Jenna MacDuff has had to do—until she meets Lord Pembroke. Jenna’s small clan has risked their lives traveling the countryside as masons, secretly drumming up support and arms for the exiled King James Stuart to retake the British throne. But their next job brings them into enemy territory: England.

Jenna’s father repeatedly warns her to trust no one, but when the Duke of Keswick hires the clan to build a garrison on his estate, it seems she cannot hide her capable mind from the duke’s inquisitive son, Lord Alex Pembroke—nor mask her growing attraction to him. But there’s a covert plan behind the building of the garrison, and soon Jenna must struggle not only to keep her newfound friendship with Alex from her father, but also to keep her father’s treason from Alex. 

Will Jenna decide to keep her family’s mutinous secrets and assist her clan’s cause, or protect the life of the young noble she’s falling for? 

In Shelley Sackier’s lush, vivid historical debut, someone will pay a deadly price no matter which choice Jenna makes.
Okay, don't eat me, but I haven't actually watched Outlander. I watched two episodes my freshmen year of college but then exam week hit and I just never went back, and now I'm too afraid to go back because IT SOUNDS LIKE THERE'S SO MUCH ANGST. But this sounds really intriguing and I'm excited to read it! 

And there you have it! Are you excited about any of these? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

There's No Shame in Happy Endings

10.03.2016

Some of you who follow me on Twitter might know that I'm really into happy books right now. Heartwarming books where no one dies, where every page isn't full of angst, where the chances of me crying are slim. (But not zero, because I can cry at pretty much anything if I'm in a mood.) This typically means contemporaries. And not contemporaries about super serious topics.

And these books? They typically have happy endings. AND I LOVE THAT.

I hate when a series ends super open-ended. I hate when characters die and IT DOESN'T EVEN SERVE A PURPOSE. At least one that I can see. And I get it - everything in life doesn't get wrapped up in a neat and pretty bow. An unarmed man waiting for his child gets shot and just no longer exists. That's reality.

But I don't read books for reality, is the thing. Sure, I get annoyed when certain things aren't realistic, even in fantasy - the author has to write in a convincing matter. And I do like certain things to be open-ended. If the main character's mom or dad left her when she was little, I don't except them to be a family again by the end of the book. I don't think every detail needs closure. But most of them? Yes. That's what I like. I can see the other side, I get it. I just don't feel that way. If it's too open-ended, I just feel like there was no point, like I've wasted my time.

But more importantly: character death. 

2.14.2017

Let's Talk Candles: Part II

Last year, I posted about a few bookish candle shops that I thought looked really interesting. And now I'm back because THERE ARE JUST SO MANY. (I won't be mentioning the ones I previously mentioned, but you can definitely check out the first post for more options!)

Disclaimer: I haven't bought from most of these shops. The reality is that fandom candles are usually expensive. Add in shipping and it's just like, not smart for me to buy them. Which I understand! People are putting a lot of time and effort into this and SHIPPING IS AN EXPENSIVE THING. I'm basically just showing you pretty candles I WOULD buy and probably only would buy as gifts for birthdays and stuff like that because I'm irresponsible enough at Target, I don't need to be buying myself 10 candles from Etsy, too. (Also, all photos besides the one above are from the shops themselves, not me!)

Obviously I'm going to start with Hafsah's shop, IceyDesigns, just in case you haven't heard of it. Her shop has plenty of stuff that's perfect for book lovers, really - journals, including a Six of Crows one, cute pins, pencils. But for candles, there's one for Caraval, one for Windwitch, one for An Ember in the Ashes, and more! They all look BEAUTIFUL, and the candle for The Star Touched Queen sounds particularly awesome. Candles are 8oz jars for $18 (without shipping - ships from USA).



12.31.2016

Best of 2016 & Looking Ahead

2016 has been long. I'm not a very optimistic person, so I don't really see the light at the end of the tunnel for 2017, but I'm glad we'll get a clean slate, in a way.

I got a new job in 2016 working with monkeys and kind of maybe sorted out what I want to do with my life? Who knows. But my grandpa died in October, too, and he was a huge part of my life. I've lived with him since I was born, he owned the house I grew up in, and now we're cleaning out his stuff and mine and my dad's and getting ready to sell and it's hard. Everything is changing and the uncertainty of next year is really scary.

But I also got a cat! She has a genetic condition that makes her kneecaps constantly pop out of their sockets, and we've had to take her to the vet way too many times already for things unrelated to her knees, but she's soft and adorable and so sweet and I love her. She's also OBSESSED with drinking out of the sink.



I didn't read very much in 2016. I tried, but I've been getting so bored and distracted so easily lately. But of what I DID read, here are my favorites from 2016.

My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows


The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane is about to become the Queen of England.

This book made me laugh out loud so many times. These three authors just work so well and cohesively and it was so nice to read such a cute and fun book that wasn't all dark and heavy and depressing. I got to see them in Chicago (I was super awkward and embarrassing and wish I had said more) and their reenactment was hilarious.

This Adventure Ends by Emma Mills

Sloane isn't expecting to fall in with a group of friends when she moves from New York to Florida—especially not a group of friends so intense, so in love, so all-consuming. Yet that's exactly what happens.

Sloane becomes closest to Vera, a social-media star who lights up any room, and Gabe, Vera's twin brother and the most serious person Sloane's ever met. When a beloved painting by the twins' late mother goes missing, Sloane takes on the responsibility of tracking it down, a journey that takes her across state lines—and ever deeper into the twins' lives.


Filled with intense and important friendships, a wonderful warts-and-all family, shiveringly good romantic developments, and sharp, witty dialogue, this story is about finding the people you never knew you needed.
I connected with Sloane SO MUCH in this book and recommend it to anyone who likes contemporary. (There's also a ton of sarcasm and banter that I think you will LOVE.)

Girl Against the Universe by Paula Stokes


Maguire is bad luck.
No matter how many charms she buys off the internet or good luck rituals she performs each morning, horrible things happen when Maguire is around. Like that time the rollercoaster jumped off its tracks. Or the time the house next door caught on fire. Or that time her brother, father, and uncle were all killed in a car crash—and Maguire walked away with barely a scratch.
It’s safest for Maguire to hide out in her room, where she can cause less damage and avoid meeting new people who she could hurt. But then she meets Jordy, an aspiring tennis star. Jordy is confident, talented, and lucky, and he’s convinced he can help Maguire break her unlucky streak. Maguire knows that the best thing she can do for Jordy is to stay away. But it turns out staying away is harder than she thought.
From author Paula Stokes comes a funny and poignant novel about accepting the past, embracing the future, and learning to make your own luck.
Maguire made my heart hurt because Paula Stokes CAN WRITE EMOTIONS SO WELL. What I love about this book the most is that it has such a positive portrayal of therapy and of mental illness in a way that wasn't super dark and depressing which is what I personally need to read.

The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future. Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check. Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks).

But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing—if everything’s planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?


Whoops, another contemporary. There are dogs. Adorable dogs. Adorable people. Basically, in 2016 I liked light and happy books because everything else sucked. 


Looking Ahead

In 2017, my main goal is obviously: READ MORE. I'm going to be busier and busier so I'm not sure what's going to happen, but I'm going to try. 

I also want to get back into fantasy. It was really hard for me this year because fantasies are longer and more in depth usually, and so it requires way more focus for me, and I just couldn't. It would take me weeks. It took me over two months to finish A Court of Mist and Fury. Contemporaries, on the other hand, I could breeze through. 

I need to finish some series, particularly Crooked Kingdom and The Raven King

Here are some of the other books I really want to read in 2017, some old, some new. 


I would love to hear what you're most excited to read in 2017! (Not included in this is Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows which was DRAGONS and I AM IN DIRE NEED OF IT.)

10.05.2016

Waiting on Wednesday: October

Ah, yes. It's that time again. The first Wednesday of the month, where I overload my blog with books that don't come out for forever and basically TORTURE MYSELF. Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine!

To recap: In September, I selected The Book Jumper by By Your Side by Kaisie WestIt Started With Goodbye by Christina June, and Lessons in Falling by Diana Gallagher for my WoW! 

Pitch Dark by Courtney Alameda
Expected Publication: June 27th, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends

Tuck Durante is a shipraider, combing space for Earth artifacts from a war that ended 500 years ago. When his parents' ship crashes in the dead zone and the crew goes missing, Tuck hires a ragtag rescue team.

Meanwhile, curator Lana Gray is fighting to keep the US PANAMJohn Muir—and the remnants of its crew—alive. Their space capsule housing Yosemite National Park was hijacked. The hijacking turned ninety-five percent of her crew into nightmarish creatures called mourners who flay, dismember, or decapitate with nothing more than sharp-pitched shrieks.

Now, despite their differences, Lana, Tuck, and their crews must work together to save the John Muir. In space, nobody can hear you scream...but on the John Muir, the screams are the last thing you'll hear.
Okay, first of all, that cover gives me definite Halloween vibes so I'm kind of sad this is going to be published in June. But also: SPACE. SPACE PIRATES, BASICALLY. SPACE PIRATES FIGHTING SCARY MONSTERS AND FALLING IN LOVE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. (But also ohmygod I'm going to need to have my life together by June 2017) 

Lucky in Love by Kaisie West
Expected Publication: July 25th, 2017 by Scholastic
Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment -- She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.
 
Is this real life? Are we really getting two Kasie West books within four months? IS THIS A DREAM??

Witchtown by Cory Putnam Oakes
Expected Publication: July 18th, 2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 

When sixteen-year-old Macie O’Sullivan and her masterfully manipulative mother Aubra arrive at the gates of Witchtown—the most famous and mysterious witch-only haven in the world—they have one goal in mind: to rob it for all it’s worth.

But that plan derails when Macie and Aubra start to dig deeper into Witchtown’s history and uncover that there is more to the quirky haven than meets the eye.
Exploring the haven by herself, Macie finds that secrets are worth more than money in Witchtown.
Secrets have their own power.
 
YET ANOTHER MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR AN OCTOBER PUB DATE BUT WHATEVER. Witches, my friends. WITCHES. I love it. I want it. Immediately. 

The Freemason's Daughter by Shelley Sackier 
Expected Publication: April 11th, 2017 by HarperCollins
The Outlander series for the YA audience—a debut, full of romance and intrigue, set in early eighteenth-century Scotland.

Saying good-bye to Scotland is the hardest thing that Jenna MacDuff has had to do—until she meets Lord Pembroke. Jenna’s small clan has risked their lives traveling the countryside as masons, secretly drumming up support and arms for the exiled King James Stuart to retake the British throne. But their next job brings them into enemy territory: England.

Jenna’s father repeatedly warns her to trust no one, but when the Duke of Keswick hires the clan to build a garrison on his estate, it seems she cannot hide her capable mind from the duke’s inquisitive son, Lord Alex Pembroke—nor mask her growing attraction to him. But there’s a covert plan behind the building of the garrison, and soon Jenna must struggle not only to keep her newfound friendship with Alex from her father, but also to keep her father’s treason from Alex. 

Will Jenna decide to keep her family’s mutinous secrets and assist her clan’s cause, or protect the life of the young noble she’s falling for? 

In Shelley Sackier’s lush, vivid historical debut, someone will pay a deadly price no matter which choice Jenna makes.
Okay, don't eat me, but I haven't actually watched Outlander. I watched two episodes my freshmen year of college but then exam week hit and I just never went back, and now I'm too afraid to go back because IT SOUNDS LIKE THERE'S SO MUCH ANGST. But this sounds really intriguing and I'm excited to read it! 

And there you have it! Are you excited about any of these? What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

10.03.2016

There's No Shame in Happy Endings


Some of you who follow me on Twitter might know that I'm really into happy books right now. Heartwarming books where no one dies, where every page isn't full of angst, where the chances of me crying are slim. (But not zero, because I can cry at pretty much anything if I'm in a mood.) This typically means contemporaries. And not contemporaries about super serious topics.

And these books? They typically have happy endings. AND I LOVE THAT.

I hate when a series ends super open-ended. I hate when characters die and IT DOESN'T EVEN SERVE A PURPOSE. At least one that I can see. And I get it - everything in life doesn't get wrapped up in a neat and pretty bow. An unarmed man waiting for his child gets shot and just no longer exists. That's reality.

But I don't read books for reality, is the thing. Sure, I get annoyed when certain things aren't realistic, even in fantasy - the author has to write in a convincing matter. And I do like certain things to be open-ended. If the main character's mom or dad left her when she was little, I don't except them to be a family again by the end of the book. I don't think every detail needs closure. But most of them? Yes. That's what I like. I can see the other side, I get it. I just don't feel that way. If it's too open-ended, I just feel like there was no point, like I've wasted my time.

But more importantly: character death.