February Book Roundup 4

So! As a reminder, “e” means ebook and “p” means physical book. “l” is a library book and “o” is a book I own. This month, I added “f” to the category, which means the story was posted for free online. (I have some free kindle books, but I’m listing those as owned, since they’re on my Kindle to keep. Free ones are the ones I have to read online.)

Battle books are for YA/MG Book Battle, which starts Monday!!! Anyway, I didn’t rate any of those since I don’t want to give away any judging decisions I might make.

To the lists!

Middle Grade


Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt (p, o) 3 stars
The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine (e, l) 4 stars
Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis (p, l) battle book


The School Story by Andrew Clements (p, l) battle book
The View From Saturday by EL Konigsburg (p, l) battle book

Young Adult


Hold Still by Nina LaCour (p, o) 5 stars
The Cardturner: A Novel About a King, a Queen, and a Joker by Louis Sachar (e, l) battle book
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan (e, l) 3 stars


Love Me by Rachel Shukert (e, o) 5 stars

Sci Fi

Cinder by Marissa Meyer (e, l) 4 stars
“The Little Android” by Marissa Meyer (short story) (e, f) 3 stars


The Fierce Reads Anthology (e, o) 2 stars
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (e, l) 5 stars
Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith (e, o) battle book
Court Duel by Sherwood Smith (e, o) battle book
A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge (e, o) battle book
The Floating Islands by Rachel Neumeier (p, o) battle book
Year of the Griffin by Diana Wynne Jones (e, l) battle book


Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (p, o) 4 stars
The Wedding of Antanasia Jessica Packwood and Lucius Valeriu Vladescu (novella) by Beth Fantaskey (e, f) 5 stars

New Adult

Deeper by Robin York (e, o) 4 stars
Losing It by Cora Carmack (e, l) 4 stars
Keeping Her by Cora Carmack (e, l) 4 stars
The Road Home by Ellen Emerson White (p, o) battle book



War for the Oaks by Emma Bull (p, o) 4 stars
The Riddle-Master of Hed by Patricia A. McKillip (p, o) battle book

General Fiction

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie (p, l) 4 stars

Category Romance

Doukaski’s Apprentice by Sarah Morgan (e, l) 4 stars

Historical Romance

Sylvester by Georgette Heyer (e, o) 4 stars

Paranormal Romance

Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh (reread) (e, o) 5 stars


When Maidens Mourn by CS Harris (e, l) 4 stars
What Darkness Brings by CS Harris (e, l) 4 stars


I re-read 1 book and 31 were new (I think. There were a couple I think I might’ve read a long time ago). I read 5 middle grade, 15 young adult, 5 new adult (yeah, I listed the Ellen Emerson as NA; WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?) and 8 adult books. 11 were physical books and 21 were ebooks. 15 were from the library and 15 were ones I owned. 2 were free. I read in 14 different genres. (Oh, and as you can see on the list, some were novellas or short stories.)

I think I’m most surprised by the genre spread! Since I read so much for the book battle, I thought I wouldn’t have that this year. But then, according to my system (which isn’t a system so much as what I feel like in the moment), the battle books I read are in 6 different genres.

I do think I might’ve read more adult books if I hadn’t been focused on the battle books. Or maybe not! I’ve been having fun with the young adult lately, so maybe I’d have stayed in that groove.

Highlights of the month (not including my secret opinions on battle books) were Cruel Beauty, a wonderful Beauty & the Beast retelling that feels pretty original, Love Me, which is full of old Hollywood glamour and scandal, and Doukaski’s Apprentice, which I thought about a lot when I wasn’t reading it. If you want to know about anything else, let me know!

Books I Read in January! 2

The middle of the month is the perfect time to talk about what I read last month, right? RIGHT!

Middle Grade Supernatural

King of Shadows by Susan Cooper (p, l) 5/5 stars

Young Adult Supernatural

The Outside by Laura Bickle (p, l) 3/5 stars
Pivot Point by Kasie West (e, l) 4/5 stars
In the Age of Love and Chocolate by Gabrille Zevin (p, l) 4/5 stars

Young Adult Fantasy

Sorrow’s Knot by Erin Bow (p, l) 4/5 stars

Young Adult Contemporary

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill (e, l) 4/5 stars
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (e, l) 4/5 stars

Adult Paranormal

Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake (e, l) 3/5 stars
Dawnbreaker by Jocelynn Drake (e, l) 3/5 stars
The Darkest Edge of Dawn by Kelly Gay (p, l) 4/5 stars
Bitter Spirits by Jenn Bennett (e, o) 3/5 stars

Adult Thriller

Now You See Me by SJ Bolton (e, l) 3/5 stars
If Snow Hadn’t Fallen by SJ Bolton (novella) (e, o) 4/5 stars
Dead Scared by SJ Bolton (e, l) 4/5 stars
Lost by SJ Bolton (p, l) 4/5 stars

Contemporary Romance

Some Like It Royal by Heather Long (e, o) 3/5 stars
Blitzing Emily by Julie Brannah (e, o) 2/5 stars
A January Bride by Deborah Raney (novella) (e, o) 4/5 stars
Lost to the Desert Warrior by Sarah Morgan (e, l) 4/5 stars
The Winning Season by Alison Packard (e, o) 2/5 stars

Historical Romance

Marci’s Desire by Sara Luck (p, l) 3/5 stars

Adult Mystery

What Angels Fear by CS Harris (e, l) 4/5 stars
When Gods Die by CS Harris (e, l) 4/5 stars
Why Mermaids Sing by CS Harris (p, l) 4/5 stars
Where Serpents Sleep by CS Harris (e, l) 4/5 stars
What Remains of Heaven by CS Harris (e, l) 4/5 stars
Where Shadows Dance by CS Harris (e, l) 4/5 stars

Adult Fiction

Lost Lake by Sara Addison Allen (e, o) 4/5 stars

P means it was a physical book. E means it was an ebook. L means it was a library book and O means I own it. (I just thought that would be fun to keep track of.)

So, assuming I counted everything correctly, I read 28 books this month, in 10 different genres. I read 21 adult books and 7 adult books. 21 were library books and 7 were books I owned. 20 were ebooks and 6 were physical books, which is a good thing because the 21′s and 7′s were freaking me out.

That’s probably about normal for me. I usually ignore the many unread books I own (in both physical and ebook form) and find new things to try. Which I look for first as library ebooks and then as physical library books. If I can’t find it there, then I’ll buy it.

So I’m surprised at the amount of variety I have here. I do read lots of different genres, but I feel like I usually don’t read this many different ones in a short period of time (but maybe I’ll prove myself wrong!).

And I guess I’ll come up with some scattered thought on what I read:

King of Shadows was really good! I’m enjoying Kasie West a lot. She only has two books out so far–wait, 3! One just came out–but her YA is GREAT. In the Age of Love and Chocolate was a great finish to the Zevin trilogy. The Outside wasn’t great for me.

Sorrow’s Knot has already faded from my memory a lot, but both the YA contemporaries were pretty solid.

In the paranormal genre, well, the Jenn Bennett book was a big disappointment, as she has a series I love a LOT. And then I’m working on a Jocelynn Drake and a Kelly Gay series. I’m liking the Gay series more, but I need to know what happen in the Drake one, too!

I had fun with the SJ Bolton thrillers, but they didn’t really stick with me, so I’m not sure if I’ll read the next one.

I’m a bit sour on the romance lately (hahahaha, this isn’t a Valentine’s Day reference). Not sure if I need a good book to break me out of it or to just avoid the genre for the moment. That said, I really liked the Sarah Morgan. (Spoilers) I read another one of hers this month and it was great, too!

The CS Harris mysteries were a lot of fun!

And, finally, I really liked the new Sarah Addison Allen.

Feel free to ask me more about any of these!

Look! It’s that Book Subscription Box! 2

Hey all! Sorry for taking so long to post about the book subscription box. I know a lot of people were interested in how it turned out!

So let’s take a look!

The First Book Riot Box

It came in a really big box! The shipping of these boxes was delayed due to weather and then my shipping notification landed in my spam, so I didn’t even know what the box was when it arrived! (Then I remembered and got really excited!)

Book Riot Box 1 - Max Barry's Lexicon

So this was the book the first box came with. It’s Lexicon by Max Barry. I hadn’t heard of it, but it sounds pretty interesting! Here’s the description:

At an exclusive school somewhere outside of Arlington, Virginia, students aren’t taught history, geography, or mathematics–at least not in the usual ways. Instead, they are taught to persuade. Here the art of coercion has been raised to a science. Students harness the hidden power of language to manipulate the mind and learn to break down individuals by psychographic markers in order to take control of their thoughts. The very best will graduate as “poets”, adept wielders of language who belong to a nameless organization that is as influential as it is secretive.

Whip-smart orphan Emily Ruff is making a living running a three-card Monte game on the streets of San Francisco when she attracts the attention of the organization’s recruiters. She is flown across the country for the school’s strange and rigorous entrance exams, where, once admitted, she will be taught the fundamentals of persuasion by Bronte, Eliot, and Lowell–who have adopted the names of famous poets to conceal their true identities. For in the organization, nothing is more dangerous than revealing who you are: Poets must never expose their feelings lest they be manipulated. Emily becomes the school’s most talented prodigy until she makes a catastrophic mistake: She falls in love.

Meanwhile, a seemingly innocent man named Wil Jamieson is brutally ambushed by two strange men in an airport bathroom. Although he has no recollection of anything they claim he’s done, it turns out Wil is the key to a secret war between rival factions of poets and is quickly caught in their increasingly deadly crossfire. Pursued relentlessly by people with powers he can barely comprehend and protected by the very man who first attacked him, Wil discovers that everything he thought he knew about his past was fiction. In order to survive, must journey to the toxically decimated town of Broken Hill, Australia, to discover who he is and why an entire town was blown off the map.

As the two narratives converge, the shocking work of the poets is fully revealed, the body count rises, and the world crashes toward a Tower of Babel event which would leave all language meaningless. Max Barry’s most spellbinding and ambitious novel yet, Lexicon is a brilliant thriller that explores language, power, identity, and our capacity to love–whatever the cost

And something cool is that the book comes with sticky notes from the author in it!

And here are the book related goodies each box comes with:

Book Riot Box 1 - Book Lover's Calendar

A Book Lover’s Calendar! So this is basically a calendar of book recs, which seems like a cruel thing to send bookworms, as most of us seem to have pretty huge to read lists as it is!

Book Riot Box 1 - Katie Heaney excerpt

So this is an excerpt from Kate Heaney’s memoir, Never Have I Ever. I think that’s a really cool idea! I like to check out Kindle samples before I buy a book, so I’d love a box stuffed with book excerpts! Especially for upcoming books (which this was when I got the box).

Book Riot Box 1 - Notebook

A blank notebook with a nice quote on it! I don’t use notebooks a lot these days, but they’re still nice to have.

Book Riot Box 1 - Pencils

Pencils! I don’t use these much anymore either, but, again, nice to have around.

Book Riot Box 1 - Shakespeare's Star Wars Poster

And a poster for “William Shakespeare’s Star Wars”! I like! (Some people got one for The Geek’s Guide to Dating.)

So there it is!

So. Is it worth $50? I’m not sure. While these are all nice products, they’re not items I’m likely to use much. Getting a book is awesome, but I know it’ll probably take me a while to get to it, especially since I’ve gotten so used to reading ebooks.

I think I’ll stay subscribed to the next box, but I’m not sure if I’ll continue my subscription past that.

Anyway, if you want to try this out, here’s some more info:

The box is put out by Book Riot through Quarterly.com. Quartely.co is a quartely subscribiton service, which means you get a box every 3 months. They have a variety of contributors who curate subscriptions. Quarterly.com is especially awesome because they ship anywhere in the world for an extra shipping cost. (Info: $25/35 mailings: Canada +$10; rest of world +$15. (These legacy rates also apply to ALL contributors launched before 4/16/13.) $50 mailings: Canada +$20; rest of world +$30 $100 mailings: Canada +$30; rest of world +$40.)

And here’s the Book Riot box page. Next book ships in two months!

2013 Books Broken Down By Genre

I could probably have come up with a catchier title, but it’s a descriptive one! I mentioned that I’d like to do a genre breakdown of the books I read in 2013, so here it is:

45 contemporary romances
21 historical romances (3 of which were re-reads)
56 paranormal romance/urban fantasy (4 of which were re-reads)
17 mysteries
13 general fiction
1 historical fiction
4 sci fi
11 middle grade
58 young adult (18 of which were re-reads)
26 new adult
2 thrillers
5 fantasy
5 nonfiction


This includes short stories and novellas and individual portions of serial novels. So page counts vary a lot!

I didn’t keep track of books I read more than once in the same year

New adult is the genre covering ages from 18-25 or so. The stuff in between young adult and adult fiction.

Things that were interesting to me:

Okay, so the number is clearly helped by re-reads, but I read more young adult than I thought! Actually, I probably would’ve guessed the new adult number to be a little lower, too.

I thought I read more nonfiction, but then I realized I was remembering stuff I read in 2012. HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG?

Totally surprised by the 11 middle grade books! (Those are aimed at about middle schoolers.) It’s a genre that hasn’t worked for me for a long time. Maybe that’s changing.

I would’ve guessed I read more historical fiction, but I listed Susanna Kearsley and Lauren Willig under general fiction and those take place about half in the past. And, of course, the historical romances are, well, historical! (I knew I’d read fewer of those this year, but that seems low.)

The paranormal romance/urban fantasy category makes me happy! I’d wanted to read more of them and I guess I did!

The contemporary romance number is kind of surprising, since I get mad at a lot of the genre, but then that’s a big shorter fiction category for me.

So, I haven’t decided if I want to make this an “official” goal because sometimes I find it too distracting, but I might try to keep a better list of what I read this year. Keep track of the genres, the novellas and short stories, etc.

And I already said I want to read more fantasy, but this first month of the year is about clearing out library books! I’d also like to keep on top of the new releases by my favorite authors this year. I did okay with this last year, but slipped as the year went by. I’d also like to be more selective with the new releases by unfamiliar authors.

Or huh. I just took another look at my list and I guess I did okay there. Maybe I need to say just be more selective in general. Remember to look at the (many, many) unread books I own and/or read the books my friends have been telling me to read!

Books! And that cute cat! 6

Today, in cute animals pictures, Hope figured out what blinds do:


Then I lost her for a while:


And here’s a nice book meme that my friend, Jess, posted. According to GoodReads, I read 263 books this year, 240 of which were new. I might finish something before midnight, but I might not!

The last book you finished this year: The book I finished most recently was a re-read of Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. The last new-to-me book was Married for Christmas by Noelle Adams.

But! I’d like to start Sylvester by Georgette Heyer soon, so that could be the winner!

The first book you will finish in the new year: Sylvester might be a more realistic answer for this question. Otherwise, I don’t know. Maybe Dayhunter by Jocelynn Drake.

Your favorite “classic” you read this year: I don’t think I read anything I enjoyed enough to mention.

The book series you read the most volumes of this year: Huh. I was going to say Kate Daniels by Ilona Andrews, but it looks like Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs wins by a book! Kate if we include novellas.

WAIT. The Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries series by Julia Spencer-Fleming has eight books, so that, I guess.

The genre you read the most this year: I don’t know. Maybe romance. Maybe fantasy-type books. I might do a genre breakdown at some point.

The book that disappointed you: I like to forget disappointing books. But yeah, Allegiant by Veronica Roth was disappointing.

The book you liked better than you expected to: Maybe Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie. It was a highly recommended book in a genre that doesn’t always work for me, so I was nervous! But I loved it to pieces.

The hardest book you read this year (topic or writing style): Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. It was literally hard to read because the characters have to stop using various letter of the alphabet as the book goes on!

Funniest book you read this year: Bet Me, for sure.

The saddest book you read this year: Hmm, well, the Rev. Clare Fergusson & Russ Van Alstyne Mysteries series was pretty heartwrenching at times. The latest Kate Daniels was, too.

The shortest book you read this year: I read a bunch of short stories and novellas! I don’t know which was the shortest.

The longest book you read this year: A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan Brandon Sanderson.

A book that you discovered this year that you will definitely read again: I already re-read Kate Daniels and Devil in Winter by Lisa Kleypas and How to Misbehave by Ruthie Knox! I will probably re-read Bet Me. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. The Luckiest Lady in London by Sherry Thomas. Julie James. The Story Guy by Mary Ann Rivers. Rush Me by Allison Parr. Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh.

A book that you never want to read again: Lots of them.

A favorite new author you discovered this year: Ilona Andrews. Julie James. Sarah Morgan.

A book that was out of your comfort zone or was a new genre for you: I never know how to answer this question. I read lots of different books!

And finally, make a New Year’s Resolution: I’d like to get back to more traditional fantasy. It’s one of my favorites that I just don’t read a lot of us anymore.

Hello There 2

Ohhh, I apologize for the neglect of my poor little blog here. Work and Christmas have kept me busy.

I offer you cute animal pictures as compensation for my terrible absence:


“I’m very cute! Don’t you think?


“Shh, the other cat doesn’t know I’m here!”


Cody’s fashion statement


“Christmas is fun!”


And this would be Hope stealing my boot out of my room and dragging it down the hallways and into the living room.

December ipsy Bag 2

December ipsy Bag

It’s ipsy time! This really is such a great subscription. It’s $10 a month and ships to the US and Canada. But! If you’re interested in getting it in your country, let them know here to help with future expansion plans.

December - ipsy Bag

I love the bag this month!

December - ipsy Bag - Mirabella Eye Blender Brush
Mirabella Eye Blender Brush

I’m really excited to try this out. I could certainly stand to blend my eyshadows more.

December - ipsy Bag - NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Fusion
NYX Extra Creamy Round Lipstick in Fusion

I actually just bought some of these lipsticks! Fortunately not in this color. I don’t think it’s my favorite lipstick, but it’s okay. And I like this color more than I expected! Seems to look nice on me.

December - ipsy Bag - Nicka K New York Nail Color in Classic Taupe
Nicka K New York Nail Color in Classic Taupe

I finally (just now) told ipsy I wasn’t interested in nail polish. I love nail polish, but I have enough! That said, I’m curious to see how this color looks. Seems interesting.

December - ipsy Bag - POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio in Naturally Bare
POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eye Shadow Trio in Naturally Bare

Love these colors! I think I will get a lot of use out of this.

December - ipsy Bag - Be a Bombshell The One Stick in Flustered
Be a Bombshell The One Stick in Flustered

Now. What is a one stick? This is the ipsy description, “An all-in-one multiple stick with a smooth texture. Apply to eyelids, cheeks or lips for the perfect pop of color anywhere!”

This color is awfully bright, but I put it on my cheeks and then swiped foundation over it and that seemed to give me just the right amount of color!

So, overall, a pretty solid bag. I think I’ll get some use out of everything.

Want to sign up for ipsy? I’d love it if you used my referral code. There’s a wait list, but you can skip it if you’re willing to link up your Facebook account.

Twistband Club Subscription!

So I stumbled across a twistband subscription and thought it sounded pretty awesome. If you’re not familiar with twistbands, well, keep going and look at the pictures! It costs $10/month, but, unlike most subscription plans I’ve seen, you have to sign up for either 3 months ($30), 6 months ($60) or 12 months ($112.50–you get a discount). I went with 3 months. Shipping is free to the US. I’m not sure about shipping prices for other countries, but they teamed up with Bongo International for international shipping, so you should be able to get it anywhere.

Each month, you get hairbands, but maybe also maybe “include headbands, shoelaces or fun new products.”


Twist Band Club

It comes in a cute little box!

Twistband Club - Skinny Solid Jessica Hair Tie 6-pack

My hair ties! These are, I think, the Skinny Solid Jessica Hair Tie 6-pack.

So, basically, twistbands are elasticized ribbon. Not ribbon covering elastic. The ribbon itself is elastic. They’re pretty great.

This is what the back looks like:

Twistband Club - Skinny Solid Jessica Hair Tie 6-pack

So pretty!

And these are very much my colors, so that’s just awesome.

Here’s what else I got!


Headbands! I didn’t see these exact products on the website, but there’s this sparkle set.

Anyway, I am really happy with this subscription! I usually wear my hair down, but these are so much better than regular hair ties. If you’re interested in signing up, I’d love it if you used my referral link.

December Wantable Accessaries Box + Cyber Monday Sale! 2

So I decided it was time to give the Wantable Accessaries Box a try! Like the other Wantable boxes, you have the choice between paying $40 for one box or $36/month for a subscription and it ships to the US, Canada and Australia (free shipping for the US, $5 for Canada and $9 for Australia). Also like the other boxes, you take a pretty detailed survey of your likes and dislikes. You get 3-4 accessories in each box.

Let’s take a look!

Wantable Accessories Box - December

At first, I thought I only got 2 pieces and I was very sad! But there’s another one underneath the first layer.

Wantable Accessories Box - December - Nora Earrings
Wantable says, “The Nora Earrings feature triple textured chevrons in both silver and gold tone” and tells me the retail is $18.

These aren’t something I’d pick out for myself, but they’re really growing on me!

Wantable Accessories Box - December - Joella Ring

And the back of the ring:

Wantable Accessories Box - December - Joella Ring
Wantable says: “The Joella Ring has fun feathery details!” Retail is listed as $22.

I like rings! This is a fun one.

Wantable Accessories Box - December - Fanny Necklace
Wantable description: “The Fanny Necklace features a sleek onyx, Art Deco inspired design with smoky gray rhinestone accents.” Retail listed at $36.

This one is my favorite! Just my style.

The only thing is I’m not sure I’m in love with how it hangs on me:

Wantable Accessories Box - December - Fanny Necklace

So, overall, I’m really impressed! I wasn’t sure if I wanted to try the accessories box because I’ve gotten into making my own jewelry, so I don’t feel the need to buy much, but I’m happy with this box! I’d like to order another box someday.

If you’re interested to subscribing to any of the Wantable boxes (accessories, intimates or makeup), DO IT NOW, DO IT NOW. No, really. Wantable is running a Cyber Monday special through 12/3 at 6pm CST. New subscribers get their second box free! Details here. If you’d like to get an idea of what their other boxes are like, check my Wantable tag. And, as always, I’d love it if you used my referral link.

Seahawks Ombré Nails 4

There’s a big Seahawks game tomorrow, so I decided it was time to try more Seahawks nail art! Lately, ombré nails have been catching my eye. There are some very pretty ones under the “ombre nails” tumblr tag.

It seemed like something that would be very hard to achieve, but I started googling and found all kinds of tutorials. A lot of them advised using a sponge, which I didn’t want to do, so I ended up following this video’s advice and using an eyeshadow brush.

So! First I gathered up my supplies:

Ombre supplies

I used Zoya nail polish in Giovanna from my October ipsy bag and Julep’s Tracy. I often skip on the top coat, but the ombré technique leaves you with a bumpy surface, so the top coat help smooths it out. So I used a Sephora by OPI top coat I’ve had for a while. I also used Sally Hansen’s Salon Manicure Dry & Go Drops. I’m not yet convinced the drops really dry my nails faster, but it doesn’t hurt!

First I painted my nails with the green polish:

Zoya in Giovanna

I let it dry and then it was time to create the ombré effect!

Getting ready to create my Seahawks ombré nails

I poured out some of the blue nail polish onto a piece of paper, then dipped my eyeshadow brush into it and pressed the brush against the top of my nails.

Ombré nails

I used several coats near the top of my nails and then less polish towards the middle of my nails. Then I put on the top coat and . . .

. . . the finished product:

Seahawks Ombré Nails

I don’t think I quite achieved the complete ombré look. I probably either shouldn’t have used glitter nail polish at all or else used it as the base coat. And I’m not sure I have the Seahawks colors right either. The green looked right on its own, but, combined with the blue, it just doesn’t scream “Seahawks!” to me.

Stuff to consider for next time! For now, I think these are still quite pretty.