• Beyond Books

    FairyLoot Unboxing – March 2018

    Well, hey! I had so many other ideas for blog posts but I never got around to writing them. I’m torn, to be honest. I used to love blogging, and I think I still do, only I feel like I use instagram way more to quickly blog/photo blog, that I rarely open up the dashboard here to write anything. Hmm. I had wanted to write so many more things. But here we are a month after my last video post, with another one. And nothing in between. So if you’re here to watch my video – enjoy! If you want to see photos of my dogs, cat, and bullet journal, just follow me on instagram while I try to figure out my blogging future. 🙂 This was the Second Anniversary of FairyLoot and the box was purple! Yay! And it had a lot of food-themed items inside it.

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    Fairy Loot Unboxing – February 2018

    Sub-title: In which I record a video of myself geeking out over a book box subscription box as I open it. This is a thing all the young people do. Really. It’s fun to watch. I made one myself. I like getting fun stuff in the mail. Even if I have to pay for it myself. 😉     So, FairyLoot is a book box subscription service out of the UK. It’s  YA Fantasy-themed box, which is totally up my alley. I told my husband he was getting me a three month subscription for my birthday – because the first box I got arrived just around my birthday. I took photos of the box o’ goodies last month. I’ll find those photos somewhere on my hard drive, though if you follow me on IG you’ll have seen them already. 🙂

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    what i read: january 2018

    I did a lot of reading this month. I have surprised myself with the number of books I read in January. I haven’t read like this in a long time. It’s nice to enjoy reading again. I have no idea if this amount of reading will continue through the year, but I’ve happily carved out a good chunk of my goal of 50 books read in 2018. 😉 I read a lot of suspence/mystery this month. I go through phases in what I like to read, and it’s been a while since I had a mystery/suspense phase. It’s been nice! Total number of books read in January 2018: 14! Picture Book (3-5) Chewie and the Porgs – Kevin Shinick, Fiona Hsieh (Illustrations) Middle Grade (9-12) Goth Girl and the Sinister Symphony (Goth Girl #4) – Chris Riddell Ghost of a Chance (100 Dresses #2) – Susan Maupin Schmid The Serpent’s Secret (Kiranmala and the Kingdom Beyond #1) – Sayantani DasGupta Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Book 1) – J.K. Rowling (re-reading the series this year!) Young Adult (12+) Ready Player One – Ernest Cline (also Sci-Fi-ish) A Line in the Dark – Malinda Lo (also suspense) Fiction The Witches of New York – Ami McKay The Perfect Nanny – Leïla Slimani (also suspense…SOOOOO GOOD!!) The Alice Network – Kate Quinn   Mystery/Suspense Pretty Girls – Karin Slaughter (AMAZING!!) The Good Daughter – Karin Slaughter Beyond Reach (Grant County #6) – Karin Slaughter All the Missing Girls – Megan Miranda

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    tackling Mount TBR in 2018

    I tend to hoard books.  I don’t do it on purpose, but it happens. I see a book  I want to read, and  I get it. The past couple of years I have tried to rely more heavily on borrowing books from the library, though it’s  more  difficult  where I live because the number of English books available are  limited.  It’s gotten better at my local  library, but it’s still a limited number. I tried  to cut down on buying books for a few reasons, one  of  which was the fact that I was NOT reading very much and these books did nothing but exist in piles  all over the house. Why buy a book and then not read it for a year, or longer? This just clutters everything up! I have a lot of books, but few bookshelves. This year I would like to focus on the books I own that still need to be read. With the exception of a handful of  books  I know I want to buy this year (not released yet), I am  going to try my best to go through the books I own first. I may not even like some of them,  so they will be crossed off quickly. Some may be my new favourite read! Who knows!? The possibilities are endless! In fact, I finally got around to reading a book at the end of December that I bought in January 2017 -and loved it SO much, I bought the sequel on…

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    my favourite reads of 2017

    I surpassed my reading goal of 50 books this year. As  of writing this post I have read  94. Granted some of those were picture books (early in the year), I did read a lot more than I have in the last couple of years. Less stress, more time, and a  job that reminds  me how much I love books, has helped with this number. My Goodreads stats tell me: I read 18,723 pages in total. My shortest book was I Need a Hug by Aaron Blabey (24  pages) My longest book was Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb (853 pages) There have been a few books that stood out to me this year. Thought I’d list them here for  posterity’s sake. (And maybe to make it look like I update my blog more than once every 2 months…) Favourite Fiction Novel Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret… Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up. After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her. Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape. Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right… (goodreads.com) You probably all  remember how much love I had for this novel.…

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    Let’s Pretend we Never Met [a book review of sorts]

    [Yeegads!! I started this post on June 13…Like, almost two months ago! I didn’t realize I hadn’t finished it. Totally a cheat post for Blogust. HAHAH!] Let’s Pretend We Never Met by Melissa Walker If it were up to Mattie Markham, there would be a law that said your family wasn’t allowed to move in the middle of the school year. After all, sixth grade is hard enough without wondering if you’ll be able to make new friends or worrying that the kids in Pennsylvania won’t like your North Carolina accent. But when Mattie meets her next-door neighbor and classmate, she begins to think maybe she was silly to fear being the “new girl.” Agnes is like no one Mattie has ever met—she’s curious, hilarious, smart, and makes up the best games. If winter break is anything to go by, the rest of the school year should be a breeze. Only it isn’t, because when vacation ends and school starts, Mattie realizes something: At school Agnes is known as the weird girl who no one likes. All Mattie wants is to fit in (okay, and maybe be a little popular too), but is that worth ending her friendship with Agnes? (goodreads.com) First things first: I work at a bookstore. We sell this book. I know the author. We met because of my (now defunct) book blog. I am unable to be passionate or excited about anything that I do not actually love. No poker face. Second things second: In the…

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    Ginny Moon [book review]

    Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig Meet Ginny. She’s fourteen, autistic, and has a heart-breaking secret… Ginny Moon is trying to make sense of a world that just doesn’t seem to add up. After years in foster care, Ginny is in her fourth forever family, finally with parents who will love her. Everyone tells her that she should feel happy, but she has never stopped crafting her Big Secret Plan of Escape. Because something happened, a long time ago – something that only Ginny knows – and nothing will stop her going back to put it right… (goodreads.com) I read this book over a month ago. I finished it in two evenings. I asked at work if calling in sick to finish the book would be a legitimate sick call. After all, I do work in a bookstore. Shouldn’t we get reading days? heh I have been wanting to write about Ginny Moon since I finished it, but I couldn’t. This novel left me so breathless and in a state of, I don’t know, frozen in place sort of thing. It was an amazing book. I fell completely in love with Ginny’s voice as she told her story. I was turning pages like my life depended on reading this book to stay alive. I laughed. I was scared at times. I didn’t know who to trust. I switched between loving, and disliking, Ginny so often, but in the end, I always came back to love. I first found out about this book…

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    The Rest of Us Just Live Here [book review]

    The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness What if you aren’t the Chosen One? The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death? What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again. Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life. Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions. (goodreads.com) I am going to try my best to blog about the books I read this year. I miss writing about books. My course last semester on Editing for Children and Teen books, and my being back at the bookstore has made me excited for reading once more. I might not write about every book I read (and here’s hoping I read MANY in 2017!) but I want to write about those that I enjoyed. I like starting off the year with a book that makes me happy. And I like starting the year by reading – and finishing – a book. Makes me feel all accomplished (and is a lovely way to relax!) The Rest of Us Just Live Here is an interesting sort of book. I discovered it while showing a customer something…

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    I *heart* books

    Currently on my piano: one of my many piles of books TBR! It’s no secret that I love books. I love the feel of them, the look of them, the smell of them. I love to read them. Books are like candy to me. Granted, with everything that’s gone on in my life the last few years, my reading progress has been scattered, and little. But that doesn’t stop me from buying books, borrowing books, collecting books, or staring at the piles of books I have in the house wishing I could read one of them from cover to cover. I’ve done a little better with reading this year, well in the fall anyhow. I read way more once I made the decision to quit my job an official, final decision. I read a lot in October, even though I was still working, and in school. I didn’t read much at all in November though I was home. I was finding it difficult to sit still and focus on a book for any period of time. I did buy a bunch of new books, and I received some as gifts, but I have been so full of nervous energy that I couldn’t get into many books at all. I even took some of my regular comfort-food books back to the library without finishing them! *gasp* I’m at 34 books read, out of the 50 I challenged myself to read for the year (both on Goodreads, and the 50 Book Pledge).…

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    The Third Lie’s the Charm [a book review of sorts]

    The Third Lie’s the Charm (The Liar Society, #3) by Lisa & Laura Roecker Katie Lowry knows she could’ve stopped Alistair from doing something stupid if only she’d picked up the phone. Now she has to live with the guilt. She’s sick of the lies, sick of the secret societies that rule life at Pemberly Brown Academy. But there’s only one way to take them down: from the inside… (goodreads.com) Ok, so maybe it’s been three years since I read the first two books in this series. And maybe I spent a good chunk of that time checking to see if my local library had this third, and final book. (It never did.) And maybe, just maybe, I had zero recollection that I had BOUGHT this book on my Kobo at some point in time. And maybe, hypothetically speaking of course, I discovered I had this book on my Kobo after about a year of not even knowing where my Kobo was, or having it charged. And finally, maybe I noticed I had this book on my Kobo when I was trying to load some library books onto it before a flight out East to visit my cousin, and those library books didn’t actually work on my Kobo but I had this here Liar Society book all loaded up on there and ready to read. And maybe (yeah, I lied about the finally part) even though I read this book at the end of September, I am still thinking about it enough…

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    The Other Alice [a book review of sorts]

    The Other Alice by Michelle Harrison What happens when a tale with real magic, that was supposed to be finished, never was? This is a story about one of those stories . . . Midge loves riddles, his cat, Twitch, and ? most of all ? stories. Especially because he’s grown up being read to by his sister Alice, a brilliant writer. When Alice goes missing and a talking cat turns up in her bedroom, Midge searches Alice’s stories for a clue. Soon he discovers that her secret book, The Museum of Unfinished Stories, is much more than just a story. In fact, he finds two of its characters wandering around town. But every tale has its villains ? and with them leaping off the page, Midge, Gypsy and Piper must use all their wits and cunning to work out how the story ends and find Alice. If they fail, a more sinister finale threatens them all . . . (goodreads.com) Oh, internet. How can I express how much love I have for this novel? I have all of the feelings but I cannot find the words. So let me first tell you a bit about why I read this book – I read the book because it was written by Michelle Harrison, an author whose books have filled me with such joy and wonder that I need to read EVERY! STORY! SHE! EVER! WRITES! I kid you not. Her first book was about faeries. If you know me, you…

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    All Fall Down [a mini book review of sorts]

    All Fall Down by Ally Carter Grace Blakely is absolutely certain of three things: 1. She is not crazy. 2. Her mother was murdered. 3. Someday she is going to find the killer and make him pay. As certain as Grace is about these facts, nobody else believes her — so there’s no one she can completely trust. Not her grandfather, a powerful ambassador. Not her new friends, who all live on Embassy Row. Not Alexei, the Russian boy next door, who is keeping his eye on Grace for reasons she neither likes nor understands. Everybody wants Grace to put on a pretty dress and a pretty smile, blocking out all her unpretty thoughts. But they can’t control Grace — no more than Grace can control what she knows or what she needs to do. Her past has come back to hunt her . . . and if she doesn’t stop it, Grace isn’t the only one who will get hurt. Because on Embassy Row, the countries of the world stand like dominoes, and one wrong move can make them all fall down. (goodreads.com) I didn’t know about this new series from Ally Carter until I saw it mentioned on a friend’s blog. I was thrilled when I discovered my library actually had it in stock. I don’t think anything else Ally Carter will write will ever compare to the Gallagher Girls series in my mind, but it’s a fun mystery. What I missed in this story, that I loved…

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    fancy some fantasy? [an assortment of mini-(sort of)-book reviews]

    Those of you who still happen to read my blog should recall that I have not been able to sit and read for over a year now. Reading is always my main form of escape and relaxation, so frustration levels have been high. Where I would once reach close to 150 books read a year, I was struggling to read a book a month for way too long. Nothing captured my attention very long. Everything seemed so… trivial, and unoriginal. But recently I have been on a big reading kick. I devoured book after book as if I was just handed a bottle of water after having been lost in a desert for months. I have read 16 books since the end of February and 14 of those were Fantasy novels. Fourteen. In a row. The bulk of which were read from the end of April until just this past week. The two other books weren’t typical fantasy, but they were middle grade books with a magical element. So here are some of the fantasy novels I really enjoyed over the last 3 months! (And it appears something broke in an update and now italics doesn’t work on my blog. I can’t recall how to fix this problem, so just trust me that I have properly italicized the book titles as I should until I can fix the broken thing.) Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) Maria V. Snyder I had completely forgotten that Maria V. Snyder had begun a new series with…

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    The Truth About Alice [a book review of sorts]

    The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. But did you know Alice was sexting Brandon when he crashed his car? It’s true. Ask ANYBODY. Rumor has it that Alice Franklin is a slut. It’s written all over the bathroom stall at Healy High for everyone to see. And after star quarterback Brandon Fitzsimmons dies in a car accident, the rumors start to spiral out of control. (goodreads.com) Look at me! Two books read so far this year! And just yesterday, my Goodreads challenge widget was yelling at me; telling me I was already behind schedule to reach my goal of 50 books read for the year. That challenge widget is a bully. It needs to chill out a little. I mean, I get most of my reading done in the summer, so two weeks into the new year, it shouldn’t be all “WHY AREN’T YOU DOING ANYTHING BUT READING RIGHT NOW? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?” Chill out, widget. Chill. Ok, so I am going to admit that I thought this was a suicide book. You know, a book about suicide. Or depression and stuff. And since I have a (healthy) obsession with mental illness novels, I was very interested in reading it. I have been wanting to read The Truth About Alice for a while now, but since I wasn’t really buying books last year, I didn’t. My library did not have it in their system. But then I got gift…

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    Belzhar [a book review of sorts]

    Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer I stopped blogging about books last year. I wasn’t reading many books as it was, and the thought of having to find time to write about what I just read (and edit the cover images the way I do) was way too overwhelming. I was broken for a while; I was healing for a while. I think I am still healing, and always will be. And although I am still not reading nearly as much as I used to, I have rediscovered the desire to blog about the occasional book I have read. So, to start things off well for my OCD… I am going to tell you about the first book I read, and finished, in 2015. Belzhar is a young adult novel about a girl named Jam who experiences a bit of a breakdown and is sent away to a school in Vermont called The Wooden Barn. This school helps teens heal from their problems without medication and without having to go to a psychiatric hospital. It’s a sort of half-way house in a way. I thought this book was going to be a lot more like a retelling of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar because that book is one of the topics in this story. I was surprised with the turn the story took and the way everything unfolded. It wasn’t what I thought the book was going to be and I liked that a lot. Jam is selected for an “elite” Special Topics…