Lit-Cube September Reveal!

Hi all! Its been a while.  My September was a whirlwind of activity and I didn’t have time to write.  But I am back now, and things should settle down for a bit!  I will write more about my whirlwind later, but I wanted to get started with this long overdue post.

Back in August I wrote a post about Book Subscription Boxes and at the end I decided to order from Lit-Cube.  As promised here is my big reveal! (And Yes, I know, its October and I am just revealing the September box, I will do better next time I promise)

September’s theme was:

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This theme does not make a great first impression.  It sounds weird and not book related at all.  What kind of book is going to fit in with “Apple Spice & Everything Nice”? A Cookbook? Better Not be.  Even though I am skeptical about the theme I am still super excited to find out what is in the box!

The box itself is mint green and very nice looking.  Though, honestly, I could care less what the box looks like,  (It will most likely end up in recycling)  I care more about whats on the inside.

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P.S. My cats refused to stay out of the pictures so meet Logan (Bottom Right) and Kaylee (Top Left).

Inside, the box is nicely packaged so the items aren’t crashing around.  There is a cute design on the lid that goes along with the theme.  (Again I don’t really care about the box.  I would rather the creator put more effort into what goes into the box rather than designing the box itself)

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And finally there were three items in the box:

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Item 1: Baked Crunchy Apple Chips by Bare.

Holy Cow these are delicious.  They taste more like apples then apples do! The only ingredient is apples, which is awesome.  I googled it and you can buy these at both Walmart and Target so I will definitely be buying more.

Item 2: Finger-less Gloves

At first I wasn’t too sure about these.  They are super cute, but most of my wardrobe is black based so they don’t match anything I own.  But, they are also super comfy, like little sweaters for your hands.  Not uncomfortable like most gloves.  I realized these are perfect for work.  My office building is FREEZING.  I wear extra layers and have a personal heater but my hands still get cold.  I can’t wear normal gloves because I type all day, so these should work perfect.  (Because I don’t care what I look like at work as long as I am warm!)

Item 3: The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert

Here is the back of the book, so you can see what it is about:

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This book sounds like the perfect book to curl up with on the couch and, drink some hot cider, while watching the leaves change.  Its got cozy written all over it.  I will start reading it just as soon as I am done with this post!

Overall I really liked all three items, but I was a bit disappointed that there were only 3.  Yes, they are all quality items, but I thought I would get more.  Plus I already knew I was getting the gloves because they were revealed in a “teaser” email.  I thought it was weird that they would reveal the gloves when the only other items are the book and apples, so I went back and re-read the e-mail.  I found this little tid-bit:

Included in this box will be:
1. Beautifully written women’s fiction book!
2. A pair of lovely fingerless gloves! Pictured below (you will receive a different colored pair, not the red ones pictured!)
3. Something scented & made exclusively by a wonderful small business!
4. Something exclusively made for Lit-Cube by a fabulous bath & body business!
5. Something yummy to snack on while you read!

So it seems that I didn’t get items 3 and 4.  I e-mailed Lit-Cube and within a couple hours I received a response saying that I was indeed missing 2 items, and that they would get them sent out pronto!  Lit cube gets an A++ for customer service, pending on me actually getting the missing items.

I will update you when I get the items and will post a review on the book soon.

Keep an eye out for next month’s reveal! The theme is:

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And this is the “Teaser:”

Featuring a brand new YA novel not even out yet. This book has a witchy “Picture of Dorian Gray” vibe! Unique, well-written, & an award-winning novel.
Included in the box will also be some fabulously “witchy” items
to enhance your reading experience!

I HATED The Picture of Dorian Gray, but I was pleasantly surprised by September’s box, so I am still looking forward to Octobers!

The Summer I Became a Nerd

***** (5 out of 5)

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

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I’m not gonna lie, I needed this book.  I have been soooo stressed and busy lately I could feel myself start to spiral.  Two weekends ago we went to Nebraska, last weekend we went to Oregon, this weekend we are going to Vegas, and 4 days after we get back, we leave for Germany.  Its an understatement to say we have a lot going on.  On top of that I am procrastinating writing a review for Lion Heart, because I don’t know what to say, and Astrologer’s Proof because I haven’t even read it yet.

Yesterday, while hiding from my to-do list, (i.e. procrastinating) I was skimming through some blogs when I found a post about The Summer I Became a Nerd by Book Princess Reviews.  I read the first paragraph of the synopsis, skipped the second (because they usually reveal too much) and then read Mandy’s first paragraph:

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I didn’t even bother reading the rest of her post.  Those two paragraphs were all it took to ensnare me.  I downloaded the book and started reading it immediately.  I was leaving work so I read for the two minutes it took me to get to my car then I had to wait till I got home.

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Its a good thing this book is short-ish because I could not put it down.  I stopped reading only for dinner and my softball game. I even read while we hung out in the parking lot, drinking beers before the game.  I read until 1 am, when I finished the book.  So I pretty much read from 4 to 1.  Its been a while since I binge-read that hard.

The Summer I Became a Nerd is about Maddie, who is a closet nerd.  She fears the rejection of her peers if they were to find out about her nerdiness.  On the outside she is your typical cheerleader dating the quarterback, but on the inside she is all about comics.  It makes me sad to think that there are girls that feel like they have to hide who they are because it isn’t socially acceptable, but I get it.  I have never completely hid that side of me, but I don’t usually flaunt it either.

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I have two groups of friends; my sports buddies and my nerd buddies.  With my nerd buddies I can be whoever I want.  We play D&D and they don’t care if I watch the big game at the same time.  They accept both sides of me.  But my sports buddies aren’t as open.  They know I’m nerdy but they don’t know the extent, and they tend to make fun of me if I get too intense about it.  They don’t make fun of me in a mean way, more of a big brother sort of teasing way.  They will watch all the new Marvel movies, but they don’t understand how people can enjoy reading.

This is why I LOVE e-readers.  For some reason it is socially acceptable to play on your phone and ignore everyone while watching the big game or getting beers before our league games, yet if I pull out a book, everyone accuses me of being anti-social and makes fun of me for reading.  But if I read on my phone no one says anything.  They just assume I am playing games, texting, or whatnot.  Its awesome!

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This book not only appealed to me because I was able to relate to it, but it appealed to me because it was a light, fun, easy read.  When I am spiraling I tend to gravitate toward romance novels and cliche teenage novels.  The Summer I Became a Nerd definitely falls into the later category.  Its got all the cheesy, classic, teenage-summer-love tropes you could ever want.  And I absolutely loved it! Like I said before, I could not put it down.  It was the absolute perfect book that I needed yesterday.  I can’t wait to read the sequel.

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Thank you Mandy for your post! I needed this book so much ❤ I can see why it is your favorite contemporary of ALL TIME. (and I did go back and finish reading your post after I finished the book)

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

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Lady Thief

***** (5 out of 5)

Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in my posts are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Scarlet Series:

I love Robin Hood.  Not specifically the Robin Hood in this book, but Robin Hood in general.  I have read a TON of Robin Hood related books and watched at least 7 of the Robin Hood movies plus the 2006 BBC TV series.  I don’t know what it is about the rapscallion, but I just can’t resist him.  As a result this review might be a little tiny bit biased.

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I liked this book almost as much as I liked Scarlet. I really enjoyed how the story is told through Scarlet’s POV.  You still get some of her slang and odd way of talking, but it isn’t as noticeable in this one.  For the most part she just replaces “was” with “were.”

Side story time! I accidentally said “were” instead of “was” in a sentence today when talking with my friend.  I corrected myself immediately, and I don’t think he noticed, but I was surprised and knew exactly where it came from.  Sometimes if I get super engrossed in a book I will catch myself talking like the character.  Thanks to Pinterest I actually have a name for it! Experience-taking:

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Since I don’t believe everything I read on the internet I googled it (yes I see the irony), and it seems to be an actual thing.  There is an article by Medical Daily that explains it really well and provides background into actual studies that have been conducted. It is not unusual for this phenomenon to happen to me, and its usually not concerning, but it sucks when the character’s grammar is so bad and I have to make an effort not to talk like her.

Alright, enough about me.  Back the the review:  Its a Robin Hood story so its awesome.  I love all the characters and I think its super clever to make Will Scarlet a girl.  (not a spoiler! Its in the synopsis of the first book)  The characters are so real and each have their own personalities and I even started to like one of the bad guys (gasp! I know its awful).  Though this bad guy has some irredeemable qualities, he isn’t 100% awful like you are originally led to believe.  Though it is a little frustrating to start to feel bad for someone you are sworn to hate! And then to top it off one of the good guys has some bad qualities too!  His aren’t his fault (PTSD) but the way Scarlet handles them is stupid and just puts herself in danger without actually fixing anything.  I didn’t like that.

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Since Robin Hood is such a well known story there isn’t a whole lot you can do to change up the plot.  There were some big things that happened that were totally predictable.

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But there were a lot of smaller things that were total surprises and there were still some large plot twists.  So it stayed captivating and exciting.

It did end on a cliff hanger and I HATE cliffhangers, but the third and final book has been published so at least I don’t have to wait long to find out what happens!

Overall this is a great book and I can’t wait to read the next one!

Bonus content:  I am definitely not a stickler for correct grammar and punctuation (I’m sure you could find tons of errors in my posts) but I get really excited and proud of myself when I find errors in books.  I don’t know what it is, maybe just knowing that I saw something that editors, and computers, and who knows how many other people missed.  Or maybe its those stupid memes where they hide duplicate words and I always fall for it.

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Drum-roll please … I would like to point out that location 2601 in the kindle edition says “but not the the dais”  The word “the” is written twice in a row!

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Yay me! Okay that was it.  Not super exciting bonus content but it made me happy.

The Beauty of Darkness

*** (3 out of 5)

The Beauty of Darkness by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles Book 2

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Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links. That means if you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in my posts are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

The Remnant Chronicles:

If you read my reviews of The Kiss of Deception and The Heart of Betrayal you may have gathered that I have a love/hate relationship with this series.  I love Lia but there are so many things that drive me nuts!

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Lets start with the good.  Lia is freakin awesome.  She is independent, strong, smart, and doesn’t take shit from anybody.  When the entire world is conspiring against her she doesn’t back down.  She risks everything to do what is right.  She would make a great role model for any girl.  Especially in today’s world when a lot of heroines put their love life before everything else, Lia is a breath of fresh air.

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While there is a lot of emphasis on the love aspect of the story, the rest of the plot is still very strong.  You could remove the love triangle and it would probably make the book better.  Lia fights for all the different Kingdoms, and she wins the hearts of the inhabitants wherever she goes.  She finds the good in every single place she visits.  You can’t help falling in love with the kingdoms who publicly denounce her and the inhabitants that support her.  Seriously Lia’s whole journey is an amazing story, all by itself.  It is the only reason I kept reading the series.

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Now for the bad: The love triangle

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I am not completely opposed to love triangles on principal but this one got tiring.  I really liked both men, and wanted them both to be happy.  At one point she makes her decision which I was glad of, but then, of course, circumstances conspired against her and we were right back where we started.  One of the classic tropes of love triangles is the “loser” finding someone else and living happily with them.  This happened here too but it was rushed and weird.  It just didn’t feel right.  It would have been so much better if Lia had made her choice earlier and then we could have seen the other romance bloom properly.

The other issue I had with the book was the ending.  The story dragged on right up until the very end and then it was super rushed.  It was so rushed I couldn’t even figure out what was happening.  I had to re-read a couple parts to figure out what was going on, and then I still didn’t understand.  It was awful.  All this build up is should have been great but it was just confusing.

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So overall this book had some really great parts, but others parts fell short.  I felt more frustrated with the book than anything else.  I didn’t get the closure I needed at the end of the series.  I debated giving the book only two stars, but I did like Lia and her Journey so I feel it deserved three.

 

Book Subscription Boxes

Deciding what book box to subscribe to is a surprisingly daunting task.  I seriously thought it would be easy. I didn’t realize how many different subscriptions existed.  Originally I was going to pick one and then just write an “unveiling” post every month when it arrived.  However, once I realized how hard this is going to be, I decided to write a post detailing how I picked one.  So here it goes:

Note: None of the links are affiliate links and the prices are for one box, without any discounts.

Step 1: Finding as many subscriptions as possible

First things first, I googled book subscription boxes and opened every single one I could find. (I ended up getting a lot of duplicates)

I opened so many tabs they turned into triangles.  I didn’t even know they did that!

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Step 2: Quick Rejects

Next I did a super quick sweep through, removing duplicates and closing any that I knew I wouldn’t like.

Here are the ones I closed with a brief explanation as to why:

Quarterly – I am too inpatient!  I  want a monthly subscription not a quarterly subscription.

Not my cup of tea – Literally they send you tea or coffee related items and I don’t like tea or coffee.

Children’s Books – I was surprised to find I had opened so many kids books boxes.  I just opened everything and really wasn’t paying attention.

No longer exists or not accepting new subscribers – A lot of the lists I was pulling from were old so some don’t exist anymore.

  • Blind Box Comics
  • LitKit
  • Storyed
  • Paper Street Books and Comics
  • Bethany Beach Books
  • Wonder Girl Box
  • BookUBox
  • The Bookworm Box
  • Bibliophile Crate
  • The Book Drop
  • Fairy Loot

Other

Step 3: Eliminating Genres

You would think that after eliminating 41 boxes I would be getting close.  Nope! I still have 21 left.  My browser is looking a lot better though:

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I still need to do some mass eliminations, and genre seems as good a way as any.

Romance – Romance is the first genre to go.  I love romance novels but they are a dime a dozen.  I own so many I haven’t read, and I can get them super cheap everywhere.

Indie – According to Wikipedia: The National Literary Awards defines independent or “indie” literature as “books published outside mainstream publishing.” The logical part of me knows that these books can be every bit as great as mainstream books, but the illogical part of me thinks there will be a lot of weird books in these boxes:

Boring – Yes, I know “Boring” isn’t a genre, but after looking more closely at these boxes I don’t think I will like the books

  • Hello Book Lover – “curated for the modern woman” – $28
  • Boxwalla – “potential Nobel Laureates as well as classics” – $30

Step 4: Cost

I’m not made out of money.  The box can’t be that expensive.  $37 a month is about as high as I can go.  It doesn’t matter how great the box if I can’t afford it.

Step 5: In Depth Eliminations

Down to the top 9!  I actually have to start making decisions here.

  • Fresh Fiction Box – $26
    • Contains 3-5 new release print books and 2-4 eBooks
    • That is a LOT of books.  It would take me the entire month to read them all and that wouldn’t leave me any time to read books of my choosing.  I just don’t need that many books.
  • Read Dog – $32
    • They select over a hundred books that fit their theme and then send you the one they think you will like best along with some other trinkets
    • I really like the idea of them customizing a book for me, but I don’t know how well that will work (reviews aren’t promising)
    • Looking at the past boxes the trinkets are not that great.  Puzzle Pieces, Bubbles, Tea, Seashells, etc.
  • Book of the Month – $16
    • They give you 5 books to choose from in your given genre. You pick one book then can add up to two more for $9.99 each
    • I want a surprise book, if I have to pick my own book I might as well do it from scratch instead of being limited to their five.
  • Parnassus Next – $?
    • They only charge you the cost of the book plus $6 shipping every month.
    • Also all the books are YA first edition signed hardcover books.
    • I like that they charge you only the cost of the book, but then you aren’t really getting a discount, and other than it being signed there is really nothing special about it.
  • BookCase.Club – $10
    • I really like the price of this one.  You get two books for $10 (plus $5 shipping)
    • They have a good selection of genres too. (I would pick the sci-fi/fantasy one)
    • This would be my #1 pick except I want “goodies” with my box, not just books.
  • Paige Habit – $30
    • This one has a YA box that looks pretty cool. It comes with a variety of goodies.
    • Books contain annotations from the author.  It pretty much has sticky notes throughout the book with notes from the author.
    • I really like the author annotations idea, but the rest of the box just doesn’t seem up to par with my top 3, though it was a close call.

Step 6: Top 3!!!

Yay! We are almost there!!! Here are my top 3:

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Urg!! I am so bad at making decisions.  This is soooo hard.  OwlCrate is the most well known.  OwlCrate and Lit Cube come with more stuff and tend towards fantasy.  Uppercase has a sweet interactive guide thing that sounds cool, but their book choices are iffy.   Lit Cube’s Sept theme sounds awful and OwlCrate’s sounds awesome. Uppercase doesn’t even have a theme.  No box is perfect but they are all so cool!

Which one would you choose? (don’t limit yourself to my top 3)  Are you already subscribed to a book Box? Do you love it? Did anyone even get this far in my post before losing interest? Let me know in the comments!

Now for my selection.  Drum Roll Please:



































!!!!!Lit Cube!!!!!

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I don’t really have any solid reasons why I picked Lit Cube over the others.  Its mostly just a gut feeling. If I don’t like it I can always change to another! Keep an eye out next month for the box reveal and review! I’m so excited!

 

The Heart of Betrayal

*** (3 out of 5)

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson

The Remnant Chronicles Book 2

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This is the sequel to The Kiss of Deception.

Urg I wanted to love this book, I really did, but it just didn’t do it for me.  It felt drawn out and got a bit tiring.  I got completely sucked in the first book, but it took me a while to get into this one.  It had sooo much potential yet it was just sort of flat.

I still love Lia.  She is amazingly strong despite all the bad things happening to her.  She does what she needs to survive.  She is resourceful and clever and everything a strong female character should be.  However, I am a little tired of the love triangle (or is it a love square? its kind of blurry where that one is headed)  I realize she needs to play certain games to survive, but does she really have to fall in love with them all?  Just because someone has a troubled past doesn’t excuse their current actions, even if their intent is sincere.

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I could have done with less interactions between Lia and the Komizar.  Or at least it would have been nice if the interactions had more variety.  They were very redundant.

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And what was his deal with obsessing over her hair and clothes?!? Oooooh maybe he is gay and in love with Kaden.  Haha that would be a cool twist.

I would have liked to know more about Rafe and his time as “emissary.”  For the most part you only see him when he is with Lia and that is not very often.  It would have been nice to learn more about who he is and what he thinks.  We did get a lot of insight into Kaden.

I also would have liked to know more about Pauline and her story.  There are only a handful of chapters where you see what she is doing.  I know that her actions will most likely come into play more in the next book, but it would have alleviated some of the monotony of Lia’s story, to see more of Pauline’s.

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This book is better than the first in the aspect that it actually has a conclusion of sorts.  It is still a huge cliffhanger but something big actually happens at the end of the book.  It was a slight improvement, but not enough to overcome all of its other shortcomings.

I am still very much invested in the story and am excited to start the third and final book.  Hopefully it isn’t slow (because there is a LOT that needs to happen).

Tattoo Update

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I love my tattoo so far! Its about half done. There are still some parts of the ship that need to be done and then the background.

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Apparently I am a big wuss when it comes to pain (I already knew that but this just reinforces that fact) I had a friend that sat for a 4 hour tattoo, but after 2 hours my leg was twitching so bad. Even if I wanted to continue, the artist wouldn’t let me because he didn’t want a twitch to mess it up.  It hurt so bad.  And your calf is supposed to be one of those places that doesn’t hurt as much.  I have an appointment on 8/23 to get the second half done.

If you have any cool book related tattoos, or just cool tattoos in general, I would love to see them!