Booked til Tuesday

Life, Law & Libros

Book Tag from Down Under

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Thanks to Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight for letting me steal this tag! I've never been to Australia (someday!), but I thought this looked like a blast. I mean, the first category is "Koala." How can you resist that?



I don't really do cuddles.
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Maybe if it were a baby dragon or something?


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How to Make a DIY Book Subscription Box

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How many of us stare and drool at all the beautiful photos of the latest subscription box? Between Fairy Loot, OwlCrate, Uppercase, Once Upon a Book Club, BookLoot, LitJoy Crate, Whimsify, SpearCraft, Book Boyfriend Box, Unicorn Crate, Shelflove Crate, My YA Reading Club, LitCube, HootLoot, and more, they're everywhere. It's all the excitement of opening your Happy Meal toy, but, you know, for teens/adults. ;) And they're so pretty!

But, they're pricey. Most of these boxes are around $30 plus shipping. Yikes! Between those numbers and my general pickiness with books, I probably won't be getting one of these preciouses unless I win a giveaway or something.

BUT, that doesn't mean I can't hack the anatomy of these boxes and make cheaper versions for myself and others. I just signed up for #OTSPsecretsister for the first time and, while my budget won't afford big productions, I'm looking forward to being creative and putting together some cheer-filled packages and letters! :)

Without further ado . . .

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June 2017 Wrap-Up

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A monthly recap of books I've read, posts I've written, things of interest from the blogosphere, and life.

June Reads:


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Cinderella Retellings for Fairy Tale Lovers

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I wanted to give my bookshelves and backlist a little attention, and I love fairy tale retellings, so why not combine the two to form Captain Planet? Or, when that doesn't work, a blog post about Cinderella retellings I've read. ;)



Cinder by Marissa Meyer - Cinderella meets cyberpunk, aliens (kind of), plagues, and a quest to save the world.

What Is Hidden by Lauren Skidmore - Cinderella in a fantasy Venice where everyone (literally) wears a mask and a killer is on the loose.

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine - This Cinderella has a good excuse for being so obedient: she's cursed! But that doesn't stop her from taking matters into her own hands.

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Series I'm Loving in 2017

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This week's Top 10 Tuesday topic is "best books you've read in 2017 so far." I've read 24 books this year. About half of those were not great. A number of the good ones are from series, so today we'll talk about . . .

Series I'm Loving in 2017



The Others by Anne Bishop - I didn't realize I was reading the last book until the very end, but it closed out nicely. I'm really sad to leave these guys behind. I could totally read another five books just about daily life in the Courtyard. It's been a great series (which I'll likely reread many times), and even though this story is done, the author has a new book set in this world out next spring. I don't know if it'll be an auto-buy like these were, but I'm definitely checking it out.

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Series I've Been Meaning to Start

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

We all have a TBR list a mile long. I don't stick with a ton of series, but I'm always adding new ones to my list. Here are a few I added . . . uh, "recently." ;)



Ashes trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick - Honestly, this has been on the list so long I've forgotten what it's about. I read another book by this author and wasn't thrilled, but apparently I liked the idea enough to keep this title in the running.

Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty - I have high hopes of reading this soon. I forget why I didn't before. The library didn't have it? Anyway, it's "Summer of Deception" on Riveted right now, and I think/hope this will make an appearance.

Silver Blackthorn trilogy by Kerry Wilkinson - I have a vague memory of this being something British? Yeah, that'll do.



Glass Sentence trilogy by S.E. Grove - Something about continents locked in different time periods? I picked up the second book at a bargain outlet and now need to get hold of the first.

Serafina series by Robert Beatty - I just picked this up at the library and hope to start it this week!

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The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber (2 stars)

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More like 2.5 stars. There are some really strong points and great ideas, but other things didn't work as well for me personally.

This eARC was provided through NetGalley for review. Some things may have changed in the final version.
The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber
Series: The Evaporation of Sofi Snow #1
Genres: YA, Sci-fi
Published on June 6, 2017
Published by Thomas Nelson
Final Rating: 2 stars
Synopsis:
Ever since the Delonese ice-planet arrived eleven years ago, Sofi's dreams have been vivid. Alien. In a system where Earth's corporations rule in place of governments and the humanoid race orbiting the moon are allies, her only constant has been her younger brother, Shilo. As an online gamer, Sofi battles behind the scenes of Earth's Fantasy Fighting arena where Shilo is forced to compete in a mix of real and virtual blood sport. But when a bomb takes out a quarter of the arena, Sofi's the only one who believes Shilo survived. She has dreams of him. And she's convinced he's been taken to the ice-planet.

Except no one but ambassadors are allowed there.

For Miguel, Earth's charming young playboy, the games are of a different sort. As Ambassador to the Delonese, his career has been built on trading secrets and seduction. Until the Fantasy Fight's bomb goes off. Now the tables have turned and he's a target for blackmail. The game is simple: Help the blackmailers, or lose more than anyone can fathom, or Earth can afford.

Review:
I love a lot of the ideas woven throughout The Evaporation of Sofi Snow, and I'm a sci-fi movie geek, so yay for aliens and space and strange tech! The plot structure and pacing weren't my favorite, but some of that is due to personal preference.

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The Magic of Book Swag

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Book swag seems more popular than ever. Book subscription boxes and Etsy are full of graphic prints, bookmarks, candles, pins, Funko figures, jewelry, mugs, t-shirts, totes, and more.

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I totally get the obsession with it. There are so many options and so much cool stuff to choose from!

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Books I Simultaneously Love and Hate

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There are books I love, books I hate, books I hate to love, and books I love to hate. This is about a strange crossover of books I both love and hate at the same time, for various reasons.

Books I Simultaneously Love and Hate:


Pegasus by Robin McKinley

I loved this book! Flying, talking horses with a whole civilization and culture and a princess who can talk to them. It's wonderful! :)

It also ended on a cliffhanger and will never be continued. >:(

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Books to Fill the Rest of 2017

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When asked to think about the rest of 2017, I want to say:

"I never make plans that far ahead."
- Rick, Casablanca

But life (and law school) don't really allow that. My fall classes are all picked, but applications (for jobs starting next August) are due in a few weeks. It's crazy. Still, despite being a mood reader, I like to plan at least a little with books. Mostly so I don't forget about all the unread pretties on my shelves.

Today's Top 10 Tuesday topic is "most anticipated books for the second half of 2017." A lot of other bloggers have done a brilliant job of covering 2017 new releases (It Starts at Midnight, Midwestern Book Nerd, and Kelly in Hali for starters), so I'm going to give the backlist a little love. Also, guilt myself into reading books I've had for a while. ;)

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Discussion: Finding Books I Love is Hard

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I love books. I love finding stories that pull me in and take me on a journey. But I realized something: I have a hard time finding books I really love. :(

Quick review: my rating system is tied to the following types of reactions

1 star - Did NOT like

2 stars - Okay

3 stars - Liked

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May Book Reviews: The Short Version

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The semester is over! I'm still waiting on one grade, I start a new job on Monday, and I need to get clerkship applications out the door soon, but I'm finally reading for fun again. And I'd like to keep reading for fun as much as possible while the summer lasts. (I technically read some of these in March, but close enough.)

So, let's talk about those books I've been reading!

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There is too much. So we're going to do reviews -- the short versions. Right to the point. All the important stuff in one small paragraph. Like a magic towel that doesn't expand. Compact. Words.

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Ahem. Yes. Mini-reviews ahead!


May Book Reviews
The Short (Short) Version


Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Series: Castle Glower #1
Genres: MG, Fantasy
Published on October 1, 2011
Published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Final Rating: 4 stars
Synopsis:
Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celia's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing to itself. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one - other than Celia, that is - takes time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and reportedly killed, it's up to Celia with her secret knowledge of the Castle's many twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom.
Review:
I really, really liked this! Celie and her siblings are wonderful. The magic castle is surprising and mischievous. The villains are fun to hate. The story picks you up and doesn't let go until the last page. Despite some seriously dangerous and dark situations, Tuesdays at the Castle remains a fun, lighthearted read perfect for middle graders and adults alike. I'm looking forward to continuing this series.

A big thank you to Nicole for including this in my #TBTBSanta package!

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Where to Shop for Bargain Books

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I wrote about how to make money while buying books online a couple months ago. But there's nothing like the excitement of digging through a stack of physical books.


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Or you just don't want to pay shipping. Either way, here are a few places to check out on your next book hunting adventure!

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Book Covers by Imprint

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I've been labeling the books I read by publisher/imprint for a few years now. I think Goodreads should have an option for this, but considering how long it took to get the reread feature added, I'm not holding my breath.

Today's Top 10 Tuesday topic is "cover theme freebie," so I thought it would interesting to compare sets of book covers from different imprints! I pulled from my Goodreads "read" list and publisher labels and saw some interesting trends in the process. Turns out, I read imprint hop a LOT. I've only read more than five or six from a select few. I also tended to stick with an imprint when I found an author or series I liked.

Harper Teen

Margaret K. McElderry

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Beauty and the Beast Movies & Book Recs

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I loved Beauty and the Beast as a kid! It had a bookworm, magic, fantastic music and beautiful animation.
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I watched it again recently and still loved it, despite the Stockholm syndrome issues.

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I finally saw the new live-action Beauty and the Beast yesterday. I thought it was really entertaining! Best part of the film, hands down: Gaston. He was absolutely brilliant.

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Finals Week: May the Course Be With You

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It's that joyous time of the semester again: final exams.


It is a little stressful.


Okay, maybe a LOT stressful.

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Geekerella by Ashley Poston (3 stars)

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I'm a nerd. Liking superheroes, space explorers, etc. is more "mainstream" these days, but it's still fun to see books dive into full blown geekery!

I received a copy from the publisher for review. Thank you, Quirk Books!
Geekerella by Ashley Poston
Series: n/a
Genres: YA, Contemporary, Fairy tale retelling
Published on April 4, 2017
Published by Quirk Books
Final Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis:
Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.

Review:
Geekerella is readily recognizable as both a Cinderella retelling and a paradise for nerd references. The geek in me loved being in on the secret code and reading about characters who love genres I do.

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