Top Ten Tuesday – Best Books of 2017

Okay these are not in any particular order because it is hard enough to pick 10 great books I have read this year.

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses Series (I am going to lump these together so it doesn’t take up 3 spots…) DSC_0030.JPG
  2. My reread of The Fruits Basket Manga 20170411_174601
  3. Everything, Everything 20170520_120516
  4. Three Dark Crowns 
  5. Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover 
  6. King’s Cage 
  7. The Shack 
  8. Wicked Oz books
  9. The Hidden Oracle
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  10. Thirteen Reasons Why
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*Strangely I did not have any pictures I could find of these 4 books.

Society 6 and Etsy

So there are a billion things on Etsy that are bookish that I wish I had. At the top of my list is candles for sure.

I mean… have you seen A Court of Candles?

Court of Candles

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Anyways, My Etsy store has actually had some sales and I am so excited about it. Here is what is new in the store:

I am in love with the Rhysand bookmark

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I also discovered Society 6 today. So. much. book. merch.

Also if you are any good at graphic design you should look into selling on here. All you do is upload an image and they can apply it on a ton of stuff and then they print it on the items and ship it to the customers. All you do is upload your JPEG file and they do the rest and you make $$. Cool.

Here is the link to my store:

https://society6.com/erinthebookdragon 

 

 

Weekly Review Tuesday

Hello 2nd Mini Series for my blog!

I am new to the whole writing reviews for books thing. So I am going to make it a little simpler on myself. I want to write reviews. I want to be good at writing reviews. I want people to read my reviews. So I  am going to write short reviews for books I have managed to finish each week. So here we go…

From May 24- May 30 I managed to finish 4 books (4.. in a week!)

Go me! So in order from when each book was finished.

  1. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
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    A Court of Thorns and Roses is about a girl named Feyre who lives with her disabled father and 2 spoiled older sisters. After a bad investment her father had lost their family fortune and they fell from grace into poverty. Feyre is the only one who seems interested in helping her family survive the harsh winters of the land they live in. On the other side of “the wall” lives another kingdom of the faeries. These faeries have been known to hunt down and murder humans for sport, and so the humans have grown to fear and hate them. When Feyre is out hunting for her family’s survival she shoots a wolf in the head to protect the deer she is bringing home for supper. The wolf happened to be a faerie in disguise and soon his friends come knocking down Feyre’s door and wisk her away to the kingdom they live in. Here, her entire perspective on her life and theirs changes drastically.

    Sarah J. Maas brings to life this kingdom with rich metaphors and intricate details in her writing. She makes the reader feel as if they are living inside her world. Talk about a book hangover… I am surprised I moved on to other books this week.

    5/5 Stars and would recommend to any Fantasy lovers
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  2. We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler by Russell Freedman
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    We Will Not Be Silent is a short middle grade book stocked full of photographs about the family and their friends who started the White Rose propaganda movement during World War II. Their story starts during the beginning of Hitler’s reign and talks about how even as young children they would not conform to the Nazi groups the way Hitler wanted them to. They resisted all rules put in front of them.

    The research and time that was taken into finding the photos that were included in this book must have been difficult as many of them seem like private family photos. This book made me gain a deeper understanding of some of the Germans during WWII that resisted what was happening in their country.

    3/5 total stars – 4/5 for a children’s book

  3. When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffith
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    I think when Paul was writing this novel he said, “Hmm. What are the 5 worst things that can happen to a 12 year old kid?” and then he made all five of them happen to Ben, the main character in this story.
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    Ben is a middle school student who is a nerd and who is bullied heavily in this book. He loves reading science fiction and finds solace in the library (like most of us readers).  Ben spent a good amount of his childhood bouncing from foster home to foster home until he met his mom who is a widow. One day after leaving the library a small dog follows Ben home. He bonds with this dog instantly and the dog, Flip, helps him meet his best friend Hayley who happens to be the librarian’s daughter and his only source of comfort during the tough times he endures in the rest of the novel such as abuse, death of a parent, and homelessness.

    Disclaimer: I listened to this book on CD in the car on my way to and from work for the majority of the month of May (I live 10 minutes from work). By the end of this novel I had to pull over because I was crying so hard.
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    5/5 because this book is both sad and funny. I enjoyed it and I know middle grade students in my library will enjoy it as well.

  4. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by JK Rowling (The Screenplay)
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    Okay, if you have seen the movie then you know this story basically word for word. No surprises or extra side stories that were left out. Or entire plots – like in Harry Potter… The only thing that the book added to the movie for me were some clarifications behind some of the looks exchanged between characters and how they were truly feeling in that moment. JK Rowling creates a world of fantasy for us all to live in and I think the Fantastic Beasts franchise is really just adding to the Harry Potter world. I don’t think anything will ever replace the love I have for Harry Potter in my heart though.

    Props to the fun pictures throughout the book of the creatures made with repeated imagery.

    4/5 because its Rowling, and I love magic. A great movie but not my favorite read. Maybe I just don’t enjoy screenplays…

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#ShelfieSunday & Bookstagram &Bookmail This Week

Today I was looking at my bookshelves with affection and love and thought “Hmm. I should take some shelfies and share them online with annotations and captions.”

Shelfie 1

Ugh these pictures are super blurry and as soon as I get a new camera I will take new ones. My camera is 3 years old and point and shoot so I have to have PERFECT lighting to get a decent picture.

Shelfie 2

Ignore my messy desk.

Shelfie 3

So that is my mini office tour. I didn’t photograph my desk because it is so. messy. I have this problem where I clean it up completely and then start some project because its clean and I can and then I don’t clean up the project and I am back where I started. Maybe one day I can get a decent shot of that as well.

Bookstagram

Sundays are my photograph days. I am currently doing 3 challenges a month so that I can gain more followings on my account. (I want nothing more than to be a rep for some of those fantastic bookish companies.) Plus I love the photography and bookstagram community.

So this is what my hallway looks like during a photoshoot.

20170528_133100 I set up whatever I am photographing in front of my sliding doors where the light is good. You can see my box of props open in the background, and there are stacks of books I have already used up against the wall.

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Chandler likes to help. This is the box from my

BOOKISH MAIL

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Here is what I got from Bookoutlet this week. I stalked their clearance section and got these 14 books for less than $50. The Paper Towns is a signed copy as well which was not listed in the comments.

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Last thing –  I got my first Melting Library Subsription box. This had an “Edibles” theme. I recieved 6 candles from favorite books and a chapstick and this adorable bookmark.

Bibliophile Prints is Up and Running!

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I opened my bookmark store up last weekend officially. I am so excited to present BibliophilePrints on Etsy!! I am working on several bookmark designs and should have more items available this weekend.

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I was surprised (and honored) when I recieved a message on Sunday night from Ashley Fuhr from MarkMyWordsShop on Etsy. She is working on a bookmark subscription box to benefit the Koman 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer. She asked me if I would be willing to donate bookmarks for her boxes for July through October. I came up with 4 designs to send to her and they will be featured in her boxes. Look for those in her shop in the next couple months!

Bout of Books Readathon 19 Day 1 and 2

I am a day late! Ah. Oh well. I did read a lot yesterday even though I forgot I was part of this readathon.

So since I work and have finals this week my personal read-a-thon rules are simple. No electronics unless it is school work or work work, read instead! Oh and blogging. I can be on my laptop to blog.

Day One – Describe yourself #insixwords

TPT

#teacher #librarian #bibliophile #Aggie #reader #student

Day 2 – Not a Font

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This was an easy one for me because I finished this book on Monday and it was fantastic!! Review will come later.

 

Today is the last day if you want to sign up:

 

http://boutofbooks.blogspot.com/

Bout of Books 19 Official Sign- Up

Bookathon 19

This is my official post saying that I am joining this read-a-thon!

 

Here is a blurb about the event!

{The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team}

 

Click Here to sign up and join me on my first ever Read-a-thon!

Thirteen Reasons Why – Review and Thoughts

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*Spoilers are contained in this review* 

Thirteen Reasons Why is narrated by Clay Jensen as he follows the tapes that Hannah Baker left after her suicide. The narration flips between his thoughts in the first person and Hannah Bakers in the first person as he listens to the tapes she left to the people that caused her to commit suicide. Clay was in love with Hannah while she was alive and wasn’t sure how to tell her. He spends the first half of the story wondering why he of all people, caused her death.

At the beginning of the story Clay receives a mysterious package containing 7 cassette tapes. He listens to the first part of the first one in his parents’ garage and is surprised to hear Hannah’s voice on the tape. When his mother walks out into the garage he realizes he cannot listen to these tapes at home. He goes to his friend Tony’s house and steals Tony’s cassette Walkman to listen. He then continues to listen to the stories on Hannah’s tapes while traveling to the places Hannah mentions on her tapes. Clay soon learns the secrets of several of his classmates. When he comes to his tape (#9) Hannah tells him that he shouldn’t even be a reason, but his story is important to understanding the last couple reasons on the tapes. The last tape targets their high school counselor. Hannah takes the tape recorder into a meeting with him and Clay listens as their counselor does nothing to stop Hannah when she tells him how depressed she is, how she has nothing worth living for.  At the end of the novel Clay sends the tapes on to the next person and reaches out to an old friend who shows a lot of the same qualities of loneliness that Hannah did.

The book takes place in the places that Hannah has marked on the map as places that were part of her story including a coffee shop, her stalker’s home, the house of an infamous party, and her own home. Clay spends the story listening to the tapes and travels as Hannah refers to places on the map. He narrates his own feelings about the setting when he arrives and as Hannah’s story unravels.

The message in this book is to really look at the people around you, and to think about how even the smallest of actions can cause a person a lot of pain. Hannah refers to the butterfly effect in the novel: the idea that the beat of a butterfly’s wings can cause a tsunami on the other side of the world.

This book is part of the Young Adult genre and is aimed at high school students.

Jay Asher wrote Thirteen Reasons Why as well as three other novels: What Light, The Future of Us, and Piper (a graphic novel to be released in October of 2017). Jay Asher used a controversial way to promote Thirteen Reasons Why by releasing Hannah’s side of the story on “tapes” through Youtube. The website set up for Thirteen Reasons Why has many resources for teens who need to talk, who are depressed, or who are suicidal.

Thirteen Reasons Why was one of my favorite YA novels I have read in the last year. Jay Asher does a good job switching from Hannah to Clay’s stories and paralleling what is happening in each of their stories. You can really feel both characters’ depression, worry, frustration, and loneliness throughout the novel. There are not many stories that can portray teen emotions in a truly beautiful and terrifying light at the same time. After reading this novel I know I will be checking out Jay Asher’s other novels especially What Light, as this is his newest release and has some amazing reviews online. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves a good YA read. I also think that this book should be read by every teenager in high school. The story of Hannah Baker is devastating, but realistic, which should be known to all teens.

Bookmarks & Such

Cover Photo

There is nothing better than a new book than a new bookmark to go with it. And if you are an avid bookstagrammer there is nothing like a beautiful bookmark to accompany your books in a photo. Unless you are one of those people who dog ears books (monsters!) I love that there are so many people with creative talents who love books as much as I do and can design handmade bookmarks to sell on Etsy. I have no artistic talent. I am decent at designing things on my computer and I have learned a lot about creating files on the computer this past year as I ventured onto Teachers Pay Teachers and started my first online business. I have started creating some bookmarks on the computer that will be coming to an Etsy store near you soon. I set out to find some of the best bookmark stores on Etsy so you can find your next reading buddy with the click of a button (or two!) So in no particular order….

 

  1.  LalaDreamyLand

laladreamyland

Laladreamyland prints her bookmarks for you for the low price of $1.75! What a great price for bookmarks. Pluse you can add more than one to make better use of your shipping costs. She features lots of fun characters with their quotes from their books and movies. Here is one of my favorites featuring Newt Scamander from Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them.

2. behindthepages

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If you are a fan of YA fiction these bookmarks are perfect for you. behindthepages makes bookmarks with the title and author of your favorite YA books. They are all printed on high quality cardstock. These will be a hit on your bookstagram with their respective books.

3. ReadandWonderreadandwonder

ReadandWonder is known for her adorable little magnetic bookmarks. She also makes some beautiful printed bookmarks which have been featured on my Instagram a couple times. I also have ordered her stickers for my planner which are very high quality! Love these little guys.

4. CreateExploreRead

CreateExploreRead

CreateExploreRead is based in Ohio. This store has quickly been added to one of my favorites because of her beautiful and diverse bookmarks. AND get this – she has a bookish box made specifically for bookstagram photos! HELLO PROPS! Definitely will be needing this.

5. NerdyGrlDesigns 

NerdyGrlDesigns

Another new favorite shop. NerdyGrlDesigns seems to know how to make a bit of everything. She also has lovely magnetic bookmarks, regular bookmarks, and stickers. With nearly 10,000 sales, you know this store is a fan favorite.

 

Now about that first picture up at the top. This is one of the sets of bookmarks that you will see in my Etsy store coming soon. Keep looking for that here on the blog and on my Instagram @erindecker

I need some good recommendations for names for my shop!

A Journey through Oz

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This month I have been reading Wicked and simultaneously rereading The Wizard of Oz. L. Frank Baum left us this magical world in his children’s classics which has led to numerous other retellings of sorts.

Here are some of the best books to read if you loved the movie or the original The Wizard of Oz book.

  1. The rest of the original Land of Oz series 

oz box set

You are probably thinking – duh! Okay, I had no idea that there were so many books in this original series. 14 books to be exact. Since these are written for children and you probably are an adult, you will more than likely fly through this series. If you are a hardback book hoarder as I am this will cost you a pretty penny. However there are free versions of the entire series for free on Kindle. Find it here.

 

2. Dorothy Must Die Series

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This is a modern, punk retelling of the original series. Also this is in negotiation currently to be a series on The CW – so read these before the episodes are released. There are 4 main books in this series and 7 released novellas.

3. Spelled by Betsy Schow

Spelled

This YA retelling was released in 2015 and features a main character named Dorthea. Sound familiar? This Oz native’s parents go missing to a place called “Kansas” and its up to Dorthea to find the Wizard and return her parents to Oz. The sequel to this book was released this year and is called Wanted.

4. Bewitched in Oz by Laura J. Burns

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This book has new main characters and takes place in Oz. Some secondary characters included in this book are Glenda the Good and Princess Ozma who you will recognize from the original series.

5. Shadow of Oz Series

shadow of oz

This series takes place with the original character of Dorothy, all grown up. She has forgotten about her adventures in the land of Oz and now works a boring desk job. Meanwhile the land of Oz has been dying. Dorothy is the missing key to get Oz back up and running. This short trilogy of books is perfect if you have already read the Wicked series as the prequel to the OZ series as this seems to be the sequel series.

6. The Wicked Series

wicked

This series really should be up in spot number two, but I am currently reading the first book so I saved the best for last. I absolutely love Wicked and learning about Elphaba and how she really became so Wicked. This book takes you through the highs and lows of her life. I cannot wait to read more in the rest of the series.

 

What other Oz books have you read? Which is your favorite?