June OwlCrate + Nerdy Post Review

I love subscription boxes, everyone. They are my new obsession. I only wish I had more money, so I could buy more of them! Today, I will briefly cover this month’s OwlCrate as usual, but also want to introduce you to a brand spanking new subscription service called Nerdy Post!

The theme of this month’s OwlCrate is Royalty. Which is pretty cool. Unfortunately for me, I haven’t read most of the popular books that this crate featured. But if you’ve read The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer or Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard (both of which I’m dying to read), you would’ve loved this box! I still enjoyed it, despite not having read these. The box included:

  • IMG_0418An awesome mini poster featuring a quote from Red Queen
  • A  metal bracelet (which I love) inspired by The Lunar Chronicles.
  • Cute, mini magnetic bookmarks. I am always ecstatic when my boxes included bookmarks because they are one thing I just kind of forget to buy or can’t justify spending money on.
  • Speaking of bookmarks, the box also included a discount to this bookmark shop, which has the coolest bookmarks I’ve ever seen! I will be using this!
  • A mystery Funko Pop Disney Mini. I got Ariel. I’m glad I did because I don’t have her in my Funko collection.

IMG_0416

 

Pretty fancy! The book in OwlCrate this month was My Lady Jane, a historical retelling of Lady Jane Grey with a fantasy element. I’m super excited about this! I hadn’t heard of this book, but Lady Grey is one of my favorite historical icons. I give my endorsement to OwlCrate, and I am excited for next month’s! The theme: Good vs. Evil, and everyone will either receive a Good or an Evil box. Personally, I’m hoping for the Evil one!

This month, I also received a package from Nerdy Post! Nerdy Post is a newborn baby amongst subscription services. This was there first month in the running. While there are some growing pains apparently, this first package was great!

Nerdy Post is by the talented Alexis Lampley, who is both a published writer and typographer. Each month features products that she created and designed herself, featuring bookish typography! I must say I’m impressed! That is a ton of work. In fact, I’m pleased to announce that Alexis was kind enough to indulge me, and I will post an interview with her later this week.

IMG_0419The theme this month was Hogwarts. Each piece was unique and beautifully crafted. Since it’s mostly paper products, the service is relatively cheaper than most literary subscription  services. Nerdy Post this month included:

  • A handy little Mischief Managed notepad, which I’m already putting to good use
  • A Lumos/Nox bookmark. I loved the design on this with all my heart! It’s probably my favorite item in the box.
  • A cute “Prefect” pin. I collect pins so I’ll take it!
  • A Nerdy Post postcard that we can color in. Each box will feature its own unique color yourself postcard. I think that’s clever
  • This amazing poster using the spells from the books to create the Hogwarts crest! Okay, this might be my favorite item in the box too.

Apparently, one other small item was supposed to be included in the box. Alexis has already said to email with any issues. Like I said, growing pains. But honestly, even without that item, I feel that I got my money’s worth. So if you like bookmarks and fancy writing, check out Nerdy Post for sure! Next month’s theme is Game of Thrones. The book has been sitting on my shelf for sometime so I think I’m going to read it to be prepared for the box.

IMG_0420

Anyone else have subscription boxes that they just love? Share them with me! Please feed my addiction.

Hope and Red by Jon Skovron

25804214Publisher: Orbit

Publication Date: June 28th, 2016

Series: Empire of Storms, #1

Genre: Fantasy, Sci-fi, YA

Rating: 4/5

I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this book, and I was even less sure when I started reading. It took me a while to get settled into the world, and here’s why: this book is Pirates of the Caribbean meets the Godfather meets Elektra meets I-don’t-even-know-what.

original

This book is the ultimate combination of pirates and ninjas with a fantastical, slightly sci-fi twist. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work out. But to Skovron’s credit, it totally did.

As a young child, a girl witnesses the horrifying massacre at the hands of the Empire’s biomancers, mages capable of manipulating living materials. Traumatized and orphaned, she is taken in by a group of warrior monks called Vinchen and secretly trained in their ways despite females being forbidden from the Vinchen order. Unable to recall her own name, the monks give her the name Bleak Hope in honor of her destroyed village.

In another part of the empire, an eight year old boy finds himself orphaned by drugs and illnesses, forcing him out into the slums. He is discovered by the criminal Sadie the Goat, who recognizes his cleverness. takes him aboard her crew and calls him Red for his red eyes as a result of his mother’s drug use during his pregnancy. Sadie teaches Red the ways of a wag, to fight, steal, and throw knives. Red grows up, esteeming to be the greatest thief in Paradise Circle.

We follow Hope and Red’s individual stories till they converge when the two are older. They’re both interesting characters, but follow familiar archetypes. Bleak Hope is the perfect name for our female heroine. She is stoic, solemn, and honorable. She’s obsessed with the vow she’s taken to avenge her village. Some might find her a bit lackluster since she’s not your typical saucy, sarcastic woman that we often see in the warrior female lead roles. Personally, I’m a such a softie when it comes to stories about women taking on men’s roles. And let’s remember that she is a ninja after all: you know, quiet but deadly. Red, on the other hand, is the charismatic thief with a heart of gold. He’s definitely the funnier one of the pair, but they end up complementing each other and making a great dynamic duo. Naturally, there’s also a romance element between the two, but it wasn’t all soppy and gross, thank goodness.

While the pair can at times come off as “Mary and Gary Stu” with their mad skills and ability to overcome insurmountable tasks, I think what sells it was the world building. With the crazy mix of plot elements and tropes, Jon Skovron is able to pull it off by building a world that neatly connects them together and makes it believable. He creates rich cultures, social classes, and even an impressive vocabulary of unique lingo and curses; though be warned, crude references to genitalia are common in the dialogue.

The real reason I rated this a 4 star as opposed to a 5 was that the plot structure seemed a bit wonky to me, like the book almost should’ve been split into two parts. The plot structure I was always taught in English was: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution. This seemed to happen a few times within the book.

025c5a9a2c7357d8dc616cd812318382455a58f89302b71ea53312c1df10f50cI’d be reading along and something crazy would be happening. I’m staring at my Kindle screen, saying to myself, “Oh my gosh, this is crazy, this has to be the climax of the story! Oh wait, I’m only 57% through the book…” This may have happened a few times, which drove me a little nuts. I feel that perhaps emotionally I might’ve felt a deeper connection to the Hope and Red if the book had been split in half.

But, I will say the ending note that the book left off on was surprising, totally unexpected, and left me anxious to see what happens next.

All in all, I call that a success! The book is being released on Tuesday, so go out and get it!

Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review! 

Are Disney Princesses Harmful? – A Response

Of course, Mulan is harmful. Have you seen her with a sword?!

Just kidding.

Daily Mail recently released this article entitled Could Disney princesses Harm Your Child?   It included research from several prominent universities, including Brigham Young University; Taylor is a BYU alumni, and I, as a former student of Brigham Young University-Hawaii, was interested in what the article had to say. The article suggested that girls who spend regular time watching Disney princess movies and playing with Disney princess merchandise are prone to more female-stereotypical behavior, which becomes a problem when they avoid experiences that aren’t seen as “feminine.” It also points out that the Disney princesses perpetuate skinny culture, indoctrinating toddlers into thinking they need to be skinny.

I can see where the article is coming from, but let me go nerdy and analytical on you, and tell you why I have some problems with this article.  Continue reading “Are Disney Princesses Harmful? – A Response”

Bookish Candles and the Power of Scent

Once upon a time, when I was President of the Honors Program to be exact, I was sitting during in a fascinating, Honors-exclusive lecture by a psychology professor on the psychology of scent. Apparently, scent is a more powerful factor than I had ever realized. It was during this lecture that I learned:

  • Aside from lifestyle factors, scent is the number one indicator of compatibility in romantic relationships.
  • If someone of the opposite sex smells bad to you, it may just be because your immune systems are too similar. Genetic diversity is a good thing so your body is saying, “Hey there! Don’t fornicate with this individual because you’ll probably produce immunity compromised babies!”
  • Birth control, however, negates this bodily function. So often times, when women go off birth control to get pregnant and are having fertility issues, their partner suddenly smells bad to them.
  • The amount of tips a stripper or pole dancer receives when she is ovulating usually goes up by 200% because of the pheromones she’s giving off and entering the noses of on lookers. On the flip side, they go down when she is menstruating. For the record, I don’t endorse this kind of behavior but I do find it to be an interesting statistic.

Continue reading “Bookish Candles and the Power of Scent”

Top Five Worst Father Figures

Happy Father’s Day, everyone! I hope everyone is able to spend some quality time with their family and appreciate the dads and men in their life. I did my best to spoil my hubby, who is truly the greatest father to our son that I could ask for. He’s amazing. Continue reading “Top Five Worst Father Figures”

First World Problems

Ugh…SO, Taylor and I found a place and have spent the week moving in. Great, right?! Yeah, actually for the most part. However, the internet service won’t be starting until June 27th. Ugh! *insert irked emoticons here*

funny-first-world-problems-04

Thus I’ve been rendered out of commission for the time being as far as blogging goes. I will try to get in a few blog posts here and there when I do have internet.

In the meantime, enjoy these funny videos!

And I Darken by Kiersten White

Okay, the blog might be a hit or miss this week because I am apartment searching again, and it’s a real pain in the butt; the place we’re looking to move is a 40 minute drive away. Thus I may not be home much to do the things I want to do. Please pray for me, everyone, that we find a place because I need to get out of here. I am getting desperate!!!

But let’s get back to the subject at hand.

My tribulations notwithstanding, I had the time this weekend to read this book by Kiersten White called And I Darken. It’s being released at the end of the month.

And. Oh. My. Gosh.

Continue reading “And I Darken by Kiersten White”