Friday, February 10, 2017

January Owlcrate Unboxing: Classic Remix

I love Owlcrate, this is my third box I have received and I love everything that comes in it. The theme for this month was Classic Remix and I loved everything in it. Here are all the items that were in this box:

On the bottom right hand corner is a picture of the spoiler card that comes with every box. The bottom middle picture is of the other side of the spoiler card.

In the bottom left hand corner is a loose-leaf tea that was inspired by The Little Prince. It is a mint and rose herbal tea that was made by the First Edition Tea Co., and I believe it might have been exclusively made for this Owlcrate box.

On the middle right I received a book-shaped soap and it has a white tea and berries scent. It was made by TeaSoapBooks and it was inspired by The Secret Garden.

In the middle of the middle row is a picture of the pin that now comes in each Owlcrate and it says "The Owlcrate Theater."

On the middle left is a Phantom of the Opera magnet that was designed and made by Sweet Sequels. It's so pretty!

On the top right hand corner was a desk calendar made and designed by Obvious State. Each month has a different image from a different children's classic and a quote from that book.

The top middle is a watercolor bookmark that was designed exclusively for this month's Owlcrate by Lexy Olivia. On it was a quote from Slaughterhouse Five, which I have not read, but it is a really pretty books mark. 
And finally, this month's book was RoseBlood by A.G. Howard, which is a Phantom of the Opera retelling. It also came with a letter from the author and a signed book plate. I don't know a whole lot about the book except that it is kind of an urban fantasy. Here is the summary from Goodreads: 

In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera. 

At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.

These are all the items I received in Janaury's Classic Remix Owlcrate, if you would like to know more about how Owlcrate works, click here

I hope you enjoyed this unboxing and I hope to do more in the future! 

Happy Reading, 
Janelle L. C. 

P.S. If you have any book recommendations let me know and I will check them out! :) 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Library Haul #5

Yesterday I went to the library with the hopes of picking up two or three books, instead I ended up checking out five books. I have no idea when I will get a chance to read them, but I will! :) Here are the books that I got:

1. The Battle for the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
This is the 4th book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I can't say too much about what it is about because it will spoil the ending of the third book, but I am really excited to finally pick this up and read it. I think I am going to finish this series by April. I am still trying to decide whether I want to start the Heroes of Olympus series this year, or wait until next year.

2. First & Then by Emma Mills
I've heard about this book several times on BookTube and the cover was really pretty and I was in the mood to pick up some more contemporary novels. First & Then is about a girl named Devon who is content to cheer on the football team from the bleachers and has a crush on her best friend. However her life is soon turned upside down when her cousin, Foster and the star running-back Ezra are in her P.E. class and soon they start ending up being apart of more aspects of her life. It sounds really interesting, especially since it sounds like it has a Pride and Prejudice kind of romance in it.

3. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Just Listen is about Annabel who is a model, but then she has a falling out with her best friend, Sophie, and some horrible rumors are spread about her. She then becomes friends with Owen who is obsessed with music and he is a former bad-boy. He isn't afraid to tell her the truth when she needs to hear it and he wants to help her face the facts about what ended her friendship with Sophie.

4. The Gilded Cage by Lucinda Gray
I picked this book up because it is set during the Victorian Age and it is supposed to be a Gothic novel, so I was intrigued. It tells the story of 16-year-old Katherine who has just moved from Virginia to England and she is loving her new life. However, her brother mysteriously drowns and she starts to suspect that it was not an accident. As she goes through the mourning period, several things take place that start to take a toll on her sanity and she might be in danger of being murdered. It looks like it will be a short read and it sounds interesting.

5. The Mermaid's Mirror by L. K. Madigan 
I had never heard of this book before, but I was looking for another book and this title just jumped out at me as I was scanning the shelves. Since one of the challenges for Around the Year in 52 books is to pick a random book, I think this definitely counts as random. But after I checked it out and read the summary, it also sounds very interesting. Lena wants to learn how to surf but her father doesn't want her to because he almost drowned several years before the novel. However, something draws Lena to the water and one day she see a woman with a tail. Lena does whatever she can to try and catch a glimpse of the mermaid again, even if it means putting her own life in danger. She also sees something in "the mermaid's mirror" that will change her life forever.

Those are all the books I checked out of the library this month and I am looking forward to reading each of these.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

Friday, February 3, 2017

What I Read in January

It has been a few weeks since my last post and that is partly due to school. This semester is going to be a busy one, especially until March, but I am determined to keep up with posting starting from this week.
This month was a pretty good reading month until school started and I have no idea how much I will be able to read in February (besides books for school), but I am going to try. Here are the books I read in January:

1. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
I buddy read this with my friend Allison and we both loved it! It was a really good book and there were several twists that happened that I wasn't expecting. The ending was heart-wrenching and I can't wait to read the rest of the series soon. 4/5 Stars.

2.  The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket 
I flew through this book and it was a great reread, especially since the TV series just came out. There were a couple of things that bugged me as an adult, but I still think it is a great series and I can't wait to read the next book. 3/5 Stars.

3.  Crimson Dagger by Morgan Rhodes 
This is a prequel story to Falling Kingdoms involving Magnus. I really enjoyed it and I am kind of hoping that it somehow the other characters end up in the series. 4/5 Stars.

4. Never Forget by Jody Hedlund 
I enjoyed this sweet romance that takes place against the backdrop of a lighthouse in Rhode Island. I do want to go back and read the rest of the books in this series, although they can be read as stand-alones. I was part of a blog tour a few weeks ago for this book, click here if you would like to read more of my thoughts. 3.5/ 5 Stars.

5.  Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh 
I had very high expectations for this book and they kind of fell flat, however once I got to the second half of the book I really enjoyed it! I loved looking for the Pride and Prejudice allusions against this interesting setting. I will have a longer review up soon. 3.75/5 Stars

6. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 
I read this because the group read for the Winter Biannual Bibliothon, and I love anything to do with the Victorian Age, especially since it is dealing with a female forensic scientist. However, this book was a let down and I am still kind of in a reading slump because of this book. I think I had to many expectations and they weren't met. 3/5 Stars.

7. The Inspiration and Authority of Scripture by Rene Pache 
I had to read this for a Theology class that I am taking and I liked, however I had skim through most of it because of deadlines, but the parts that I did read really good and I feel like he deals with a very important issue surrounding Scripture. 4/5 Stars.

8. A Study in Scarlet by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 
I read this for my Detective Fiction class and it was pretty good. There was one section where there is a major side story that ends up being connected to the case, but I feel like it could have been shorter. This was a great introduction to Sherlock Holmes (I have read some of the short stories) and I am looking forward to reading more of his stories. 4/5 Stars.

Those are all the books I read in January. I have no idea how many books I will read in February, but I am determined to read at least two books that aren't required for school.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Never Forget by Jody Hedlund

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Book

Book: Never Forget

Author: Jody Hedlund  

Genre: Historical Romance  

Release Date: January 4, 2017  

Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island  

June 1880  

Will she betray his trust to stay on the island she loves?

Abbie Wilson is content to spend her days clamming, crabbing, and tending Rose Island Lighthouse. Her grandpa is the head light keeper, but his senility may lead to their eviction. Since leaving the island would kill her beloved Gramps, Abbie will do anything to keep him in the one place he knows and loves.

Wealthy Nathaniel Winthrop III’s wild living has gained him a reputation as the ‘bad boy’ among the elite social circles of Newport. After a blow to the head in a yachting accident washes him up on Rose Island, Nathaniel has no memories of his past.

Abbie tends the wounded stranger in her home only to realize he assumes they’re married. Although she knows she needs to correct Nathaniel’s mistake, his presence calms Gramps and provides a way to prevent eviction from the lighthouse.

The longer the charade continues, the harder it gets for Abbie to tell Nathaniel the truth, more so as she begins to fall in love. Everyone she’s ever loved has abandoned her. Will Nathaniel leave her too, once he discovers he’s not really her husband?

My Thoughts 

Let me start by saying that I have only read the prequel novella to this series and I haven't had a chance to read any of the others, so this was the first book in the Beacons of Hope series that I read. I did enjoy it and the characters although there were a couple of things that happened towards the end of the book that I didn't like.

I loved Abbie and how she cares for her Gramps and the lighthouse. I also loved how she is willing to do anything in order to makre sure she can keep her Gramps on Rose Island, even it means deceiving someone. I also really liked Nathaniel, especially towards the end when he starts to grow as a character. It was also interesting to see how both characters have a past that they are afraid will haunt them for the rest of their lives. I also like how they both have to learn that it is only by God's grace that they are able to prevent themselves from spiraling downward and that they are not their parents.

While I liked the plot and the whole premise of it surrounding a lighthouse, there were a few things that I didn't like that happened in the last few chapters because I feel like they were added in to increase the number of pages and to cause more unnecessary drama. Although they made sense in the end, I felt like it still could have been left out. But I still liked it all the same, it was a cute romance and I am looking forward to checking out the rest of this series. I am giving this book 3.5/5 Stars. 

About the Author

Winner of the 2016 Christian Book Award and Christy Award, best-selling author Jody Hedlund writes inspirational historical romances for both youth and adults.

Jody lives in central Michigan with her husband, five busy children, and five spoiled cats. Although Jody prefers to experience daring and dangerous adventures through her characters rather than in real life, she’s learned that a calm existence is simply not meant to be (at least in this phase of her life!).

When she’s not penning another of her page-turning stories, she loves to spend her time reading, especially when it also involves consuming coffee and chocolate.

Guest Post from Jody Hedlund

Which Do You Prefer: Series or Standalones?

By Jody Hedlund

Readers usually have strong opinions about whether they like series or standalones.

Some readers refuse to read books that are inter-related. Others can’t get enough books about their favorite characters.

I see the pros and cons of both.

For series, I don’t like feeling lost as I try to wade through previous characters along with their backstory. I recently started a series by a well-known author and was disappointed to realize the first book was connected to a previous series she’d already published. From the get-go, I felt left out as though I didn’t quite know who all the characters were or their significance.

On the other hand, for standalones, I sometimes feel as though I would like the story to continue. I’ve invested in the setting and characters and so enjoy when I can return to that place and continue to glimpse the characters I’ve fallen in love with—even if from a distance.  

My favorites are books that fall in the middle between standalone and series. I like to think of them as standalones within a series. Becky Wade’s Porter brother series is like that. Each of the books centers around one of the brothers (and a tomboy sister). While characters from other books make an appearance in the stories, each plot is separate and complete without any reliance upon another book.

My Beacons of Hope lighthouse series falls in the middle too. The books are related in that they all take place at lighthouses and share a symbolic “cross of hope” that is passed on from one book to the next. A minor character in a previous book becomes the hero or heroine in the next book. But each book can be read by itself without having read any of the others.

In other words, readers can pick up my newest release, Never Forget, which is the fifth and final book in the series, and they wouldn’t be confused about who the characters are or what their history is. The plot starts with a bang and ends with a satisfying sigh. It is complete story unto itself.

And yet, for those who’ve read other books in the series, they’ll get to see the happily-ever-after of a character from a previous book. And they’ll also get to find out where the cross of hope finally ends.

If you’re not a fan of series, I encourage you to give the Beacons of Hope series a try. It might satisfy the need for standalones and series all in one neat little package.

To that end, I’m giving away all FIVE books in the series as part of the Celebrate Lit blog tour to one lucky winner!  

Tell us: What is your preference: Standalones, Series, or Standalones within a Series?

Blog Stops

January 10: Karen Sue Hadley
January 10: Bookworm Mama
January 11: Faithfully Bookish
January 12: Genesis 5020
January 13: The Scribbler
January 14: Daysong Reflections
January 14: Blogging With Carol
January 16: A Greater Yes
January 16: Bigreadersite
January 18: Book by Book
January 19: Carpe Diem
January 19: Splashes of Joy
January 20: Stuff and Nonsense
January 21: Radiant Light
January 21: cherylbbookblog
January 22: Neverending Stories
January 22: A Path of Joy
January 23: Henry Happens
January 23: Onceuponatime


To celebrate her tour, Jody is giving away the entire Beacons of Hope series. Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Library Haul #4

I went to the library last week and checked out a few books. I might be crazy and I have no idea if I will have a chance to read all of these, but here are the books that I checked out:

1. Sea Spell by Jennifer Donnelly
I finally got my hands on a copy of the final installment of the Waterfire Saga. I am excited to find out what happens next, but I am also sad to see these characters go. When I finish it I will be doing a series of reviews on each of these books.

2. The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket 

This is the second book in A Series of Unfortunate Events. I think I have read it before, but it has been a long time. Since I am planning on reading the whole series this year I decided to pick this up so I can read it as soon as I finish the first book.

3. Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen 

I decided to pick this book up because I wanted to read another Sarah Dessen book. It sounded really interesting because it is about a girl who lives under her brother's shadow but when he is arrested she is forced to become her own person. She also meets another family that she wishes to belong too. I've heard that the writing is beautiful and it is somewhat psychological so I am looking forward to giving it a try.

4. Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck 

I've had my eye on this book for a while because it deals with Indian mythology. It is set during the summer and the main character ends up in India and has to break a 300-year-old curse and her companion is a white tiger. It just sounds great and I am looking forward to picking it up soon!

5. The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

I have been wanting to read another one of Jennifer E. Smith's books every since I read This Is What Happy Looks Like last summer. Her books just seem to be cute, contemporary romances and something to read if you want something light and fluffy.

I am looking forward to giving each of these a try and I am looking forward to more trips to the library this year.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. Please feel free to like The Scribbler Facebook page, follow me on Twitter (@Jlc0904Janelle) and/or Instagram (jazzyjan101). 

Friday, January 6, 2017

Winter 2017 Biannual Bibliothon TBR

Last year I took part in a couple of read-a-thons and I really want try and take part in some more of them this year, so when the dates for the Winter 2017 Biannual Bibliothon I knew that this had to be the first read-a-thon that I take part in. The Bibliothon will be taking place from January 8th-14th.

1. Read the group read: Stalking Jack the Ripper
2. Read a 2016 new release
3. Read a book a BookTuber recommends
4. Read a book you were excited for but never picked up
5. Read a retelling
6. Read a diverse book
7. Throwback challenge from previous bibliothons - I decided to pick the Wildcard/ free book challenge from the Summer 2016 Biannual Bibliothon

1. Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco 
This is the group read for the Biannual Bibliothon and it sounds really interesting. It will also fulfill challenge #1.

2. Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh 

I'm already about 150 pages into this book, but I have put it aside to read a couple of other books. This will fulfill challenges 2 and 5.

3. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige 

I am using this to fulfill challenges 3 & 4. This was recommended by Hailey over at Hailey in Bookland in her Fairy tale retellings recommendations video.

4. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon

This will fulfill challenge number 6 because the lead character is a person of color as well as written by a person of color. And I've also just heard really good things about this book from friends that have already read it.

5. Never Forget by Jody Hedlund

This will be my wildcard book because I need to finish it before January 13th. I have already started it and plan on it being the first book I finish for the Bibliothon. 

These are the five books that I plan on reading for the Bibliothon, however I don't know if I will get through all of these.

Happy Reading,
Janelle L. C.

P.S. Please feel free to like The Scribbler Facebook page, follow me on Twitter (@Jlc0904Janelle) and/or Instagram (jazzyjan101).

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge

Image result for Around the Year in 52 Books
I found this image on Google, but I don't know who the owner is. 

Several days ago I heard about this challenge in which there are 52 categories and the goal is to read at least 52 books, each one fulfilling a different category. This sounds really cool, and it isn't as hard as I thought it would be, I already know most of the books I am going to read in order to fulfill various categories, but I don't want to put it down on this list because those might change. The categories are:
1. A book from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016 (link)
2. A book with at least 2 perspectives (multiple points of view)
3. A book you meant to read in 2016
4. A title that doesn't contain the letter "E" 
5. A historical fiction
6. A book being released as a movie in 2017 
7. A book with an animal on the cover or in the title
8. A book written by a person of color
9. A book in the middle of your To Be Read list
10. A dual-timeline novel
11. A category from another challenge
12. A book based on a myth
13. A book recommended by one of your favorite authors
14. A book with a strong female character
15. A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)
16. A mystery
17. A book with illustrations
18. A really long book (600+ pages)
19. A New York Times best-seller
20. A book that you've owned for a while but haven't gotten around to reading
21. A book that is a continuation of a book you've already read
22. A book by an author you haven't read before
23. A book from the BBC "The Big Read" list (link)
24. A book written by at least two authors
25. A book about a famous historical figure
26. An adventure book
27. A book by one of your favorite authors
28. A non-fiction
29. A book published outside the 4 major publishing houses (Simon & Schuster; HarperCollins; Penguin Random House; Hachette Livre) - check all the editions
30. A book from Goodreads Top 100 YA Books (link)
31. A book from a sub-genre of your favorite genre
32. A book with a long title (5+ words, excluding subtitle)
33. A magical realism novel
34. A book set in or by an author from the Southern Hemisphere
35. A book where one of the main characters is royalty
36. A Hugo Award winner or nominee (link)
37. A book you choose randomly
38. A novel inspired by a work of classic literature
39. An epistolary fiction
40. A book published in 2017
41. A book with an unreliable narrator
42. A best book of the 21st century (so far)
43. A book with a chilling atmosphere (scary, unsettling, cold)
44. A recommendation from "What Should I Read Next" (link)
45. A book with a one-word title
46. A time travel novel
47. A past suggestion that didn't win (link)
48. A banned book
49. A book from someone else's bookshelf
50. A Penguin Modern Classic - any edition
51. A collection (e.g. essays, short stories, poetry, plays) 
52. A book set in a fictional location

I think most of these challenges are doable and I am hoping to complete all of these challenges by the end of the year. At the end of June I will do an update as to how many of these challenges I have completed and which books I have used to complete them. 

If you would like to find out more about this challenge click here. 

Happy Reading,
Janelle L.C.

P.S. Please feel free to like The Scribbler Facebook page, follow me on Twitter (@Jlc0904Janelle) and/or Instagram (jazzyjan101)