2019 Reading Challenge

Before I start this post, let’s address the elephant in the … blogging community. If you are a blogger you already know all about SEO, Moz and other alphabetical terms I’m sure I’m supposed to know. Recently Moz Domain Authority algorithms got updated and we all dropped and I honestly felt quite discouraged to continue blogging. It’s heartbreaking to see your two years worth of word vomit -Posts Rei, it’s called posts- not really going anywhere. I took some time away from my blog, and I was thinking to delete my whole blog and restart. The idea is still there but for now, I’ll try to slowly return to blogging, and for this so-called comeback I chose my favorite topic “Books”

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By the end of last year, I bought a Kindle and it’s been my favorite device. It immensely increased my time spent in reading which I’ve been doing in work, in a salon, even while breastfeeding. I’ve set the number 20 as my reading challenge goal for 2019 and I’ve read 18 so far, so I’m almost there which feels great of course.

Libby Miller has always been an unwavering optimist – but when her husband drops a bomb on their marriage the same day a doctor delivers devastating news, she realizes her rose-colored glasses have actually been blinding her.

With nothing left to lose, she abandons her life in Chicago for the clear waters and bright beaches of the Caribbean for what might be her last hurrah. Despite her new sunny locale, her plans go awry when she finds that she can’t quite outrun the past or bring herself to face an unknowable future. Every day of tropical bliss may be an invitation to disaster, but with her twin brother on her trail and a new relationship on the horizon, Libby is determined to forget about fate. Will she risk it all to live – and love – a little longer?

The first book I finished would be Life and Other Near-Death Experiences by Camille Pagán. I remember getting this book on my Kindle because it was free by that time and I wanted a light read (It’s still free for Kindle). Not sure if I would consider “cancer” as a light material for a book but it gave some explanation to the behavior of the characters, while I would say the story seem a bit predictable. I was listening to this book on my way to work and I have to say the narrator (Amy McFadden) made it very enjoyable, she portrayed the main character (Libby) attitude in talking and thinking perfectly. The writing style is very raw and it’s injected with humor which the author is known for, I did enjoy the book but I thought some parts didn’t make sense to me like how she was dealing with her husband when he was clearly going through a lot already.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Kate Harker is a girl who isn’t afraid of the dark. She’s a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. No matter how much he once yearned for it. He has a part to play. And he will play it, no matter the cost.

Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows—one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons—it lures Kate home, where she finds more than she bargained for. She’ll face a monster she thought she killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own.

“Because she knew a secret: there were two kinds of monsters, the kind that hunted the streets and the kind that lived in your head. She could fight the first, but the second was more dangerous. It was always, always, always a step ahead.”

Our Dark Duet is the sequel and conclusion of the first book “This Savage Song” which I got a couple of years ago in OwlCrate. I absolutely loved the first book so I was very excited to read the second, it was much lengthier and I loved every minute of it. I went through a rollercoaster of emotions with these two books, the ending left me breathless and I want to say not fair but I could understand why it happened. I’m definitely calling this story as my favorite and it made the author Victoria Schwab my favorite as well, I would love to read more of her books.

My Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more―and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about―maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.

“Not everyone gets a true ending. There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. only those who persevere can find their true ending.”

I didn’t think I would enjoy the second book more than the first one, and it’s like the previous book I mentioned, I got the first book in OwlCrate before and I liked it to the point I purchased the second book. I loved Tella’s personality more than Scarlett’s and as reckless as she is, she actually makes better decisions than her sister – In the first book, I meant. One of my guilty pleasures is the description of the gowns and dresses they’ve been wearing, I would love to see them in real life and probably wear some – definitely all, not some-. I instantly pre-ordered the third book the moment I finished reading it and I can’t wait to see how the ending will play out, quite literally.

My Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wow, it’s been a while since I wrote such a long post, it feels great to return to blogging. I’ll stop with three books in this post and I’ll write three more in the upcoming posts for sure. Let me know what are your favorite books you’ve been reading lately.

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OwlCrate – Find Me In The Forest

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I’m very sad to write this review because this is my last OwlCrate and it hurts that I had to cancel. I was considering donating some of my books so I could have more room for books on my shelves and then I could probably reactivate my subscription since it’s honestly my favorite subscription box. Anyway let’s get into this post, so October theme was Find Me In The Woods.

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Cabeswater Candle from In the Wick of Time

I’ll never say no to candles, I love collecting them for some reason. This candle is inspired by The Raven Cycle and it smells absolutely amazing, I didn’t think moss and mint would smell this good together.

Exclusive Harry Potter Mug from Cara Kozik

This is the first time OwlCrate sends a mug in their boxes and it’s gorgeous. I’m a Harry Potter fan so this made me so happy, the design illustrates the forbidden forest from Hagrid’s cottage with Buckbeak in the pumpkin fields then unicorn and the centaur, finally the Weasley’s flying car and Aragog the Arachnid. I’m in love with this and I instantly took it to my office so I can have my morning coffee with it.

Princess Mononoke Art Print by Audra Auclair

I’m so happy they included a Ghibli related item, this print looks so amazing. I was so impressed by the designs of Audra Auclair, they are so beautiful so please if you have time just check them.

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Sherwood Forest Loose Tea from Riddle’s Tea Shop

Robin Hood was one the first anime I watched in Arabic dub, reading the name of this tea made me happy for some reason. I’m not a tea blend fan but Earl Grey would be my favorite tea so I don’t mind trying this blend.

Magnetic Bookmarks From Craftedvan

I love Craftedvan designs, they are always too cute and adorable. These bookmarks are from Where the Wild Things Are and they are so cute.

Coaster Illustrated from Kristin Askland

A Mug, tea and a coaster in one box, thank you OwlCrate. This coaster is so beautiful, it goes well with the new mug and it’s a great addition for my office desk.

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As usual the book came with a lovely letter from the author and also a signed bookplate. Also a pack of seeds, it didn’t specify what sort of plants it’ll grow so it’s all a mystery.

and finally book of the month …

For nearly a century, the Nomeolvides women have tended the grounds of La Pradera, the lush estate gardens that enchant guests from around the world. They’ve also hidden a tragic legacy: if they fall in love too deeply, their lovers vanish. But then, after generations of vanishings, a strange boy appears in the gardens.

The boy is a mystery to Estrella, the Nomeolvides girl who finds him, and to her family, but he’s even more a mystery to himself; he knows nothing more about who he is or where he came from than his first name. As Estrella tries to help Fel piece together his unknown past, La Pradera leads them to secrets as dangerous as they are magical in this stunning exploration of love, loss, and family.

I actually love OwlCrate exclusive cover more than the original. The summary sounds so interesting and obviously I’m all about the magic part, I’ve read some reviews of this book to be a slow-burner so we’ll see how it goes when I start reading it.

Overall, this would be my favorite box in 2017 from OwlCrate. Everything in this box is perfect and I love it.

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OwlCrate – Mythical Creatures

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I’ve been getting tons of messages and emails from aramex to pick up my OwlCrate box when I was away, I finally had time to get it and it has a very cool theme “Mythical Creatures

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Dragon Coin Purse by OwlCrate

It’s a lovely canvas bag with dragon design. I don’t normally keep coins in my wallet, I usually donate them to those charity boxes that are kept near the cashiers so I might give this to my younger sister.

Son of Poseidon Bath Salts by The Soap Librarian

I love bath bombs and salts so this was a nice find. The ingredients gave a beauty to the colors in the container, I’m excited to try it.

Hagrid Sticker by Susanne Draws

As a Harry Potter fan, I’m in love with this. I think this is third time OwlCrate sent an item by Susanne Draws, I remember seeing in Epic and Fast Time at YA High boxes.

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Mother of Dragons Bookmark by Ink and Wonder Designs

This bookmark is made out of thin wood and it’s gorgeous, it’s definitely my favorite item in this box. It looks so beautiful even though I’m not a Game of Thrones fan.

Book Sleeve from Book Beau

I’ve never had a book sleeve so this is something new to me. The fabric is quite thick so I can be sure that my book would be protected, it has such a beautiful design as well.

The box also included a small brochure that has few fun facts and an interview with the author.

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As usual the book came with a signed bookplate and also a handwritten letter from the author using golden ink that fits the book cover.

Now finally book of the month …

Mira has always been a symbol of hope for the Fallen Isles, perfect and beautiful—or at least that’s how she’s forced to appear. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret, Mira is betrayed by those closest to her and sentenced to the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles.

Except Mira is over being a pawn. Fighting to survive against outer threats and inner demons of mental illness, Mira must find her inner fire and the scorching truth about her own endangered magic—before her very world collapses.

And that’s all before she ignites.

The more I read about it in the reviews, the more I got excited to start reading it. Apparently the story includes new worlds, dragons and magic which are all my weakness in a fantasy book.

Overall, I love the theme and I was hoping for more but I would say it’s a decent box. Unfortunately I cancelled my subscription because I don’t have space for more books, I need to organize my shelves before I reactivate again so October box will be my last for now. I hope you enjoyed this post and have a nice day.

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OwlCrate – Something Wicked This Way Comes

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I’ve been scheduling posts in the past week as I’m writing this on last two days of August, I really missed blogging like this. I was busy in the past two months working on a project at my work place and because of that I didn’t have time to focus on my blog as before so my posting times were a bit inconsistent, I’m planning to get right back to a posting schedule and hopefully commit to it. Anyway to the main point of this post, OwlCrate my favorite subscription box. This month the theme was quite interesting and I was hoping it would be as good as Darkness box.

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Dark Arts Roast by Happenstance Coffee

I think this is the first time OwlCrate sends coffee in their boxes and let me just take my time to admire the packaging. I’m a Harry Potter fan so this definitely excited me, it’s a medium blend roast of orange, almond and dark chocolate. I posted on my Snapchat about it and a friend almost begged me for it so I gave it to him.

Ooly Fountain Pen

My handwriting is bad and according to my mother “Like a chicken passing on a paper” because it’s too tiny, well as long as I can understand my own handwriting I should be fine, right ? Anyway I can’t wait to start writing with this and hopefully don’t stain my hands with ink since I’m quite a clumsy person.

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Edgar Allen Poe Socks by Out of Print

Let me just say that I love Edgar Allen Poe because my first reading experience was his story The Tell-Tale Heart when I was in the third grade. These socks are hilariously creepy in my opinion and I love them.

Six of Crows inspired bookmark from Treehouse of Books

I love getting those bookmarks specially ones that include a quote from a great book, this bookmark is double sided and I really loved how detailed the feathers are.

This Savage Song inspired sticker from Evie Bookish

I really enjoyed This Savage Song, it’s one of my favorite books in fact so I was so happy seeing this sticker. It’s so pretty and I still don’t know where to put it, I was thinking somewhere at my office or my laptop. Also anything from Evie Bookish is amazing, period.

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Sleepy Hollow and other short stories by Washington Irving 

My eyes lit up when I saw this book, I love Sleepy Hollow. I’ve watched the movie and I was planning to start watching the series that recently ended, so this made me so happy to see this book in the box and I absolutely love the cover.

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As usual the book came with a signed bookplate which looks really cute, also a handwritten letter from the author.

Now finally book of the month …

The Hearts We Sold by Emily Lloyd-Jone

When Dee Moreno makes a deal with a devil–her heart in exchange for an escape from a disastrous home life–she finds her trade may be more than she bargained for. And becoming “heartless” is only the beginning. What lies ahead is a nightmare far bigger, far more monstrous than anything she ever could have imagined.

With reality turned on its head, Dee has only a group of other deal-making teens to keep her grounded, including the charming but secretive James Lancer. And as something like love grows between them amidst an otherworldly ordeal, Dee begins to wonder: can she give James her heart when it’s no longer hers to give?

The Hearts We Sold is a Faustian tale for the modern age that will steal your heart and break it, and leave you begging for more.

This is a very interesting summary and somehow reminded me of Kingdom Hearts for some reason, probably from the Hearts mention. It sounds very interesting and I can’t wait to start reading it.

Overall, I loved this box. Everything in it fits perfectly with the theme and I love every item, obviously Sleepy Hollow book mostly. Hope you enjoyed this post and have a great day.

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OwlCrate – Wanderlust

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I miss having many subscription boxes delivered to me, it felt like getting presents … That I pay for? Anyway I got OwlCrate recently and finally had the time to write this post, July’s theme was “Wanderlust”

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Art Print by Shailey Ann Designs

Lovely print, I love the map background and quote on it.

Owl Bag Tag by Mudpuppy

This is just too adorable, I love Owl designs. It’s too brightly colorful and well-stitched, I gave it to my sister since school is starting soon.

Newt Scamander Keychain from Funko Pop

I’m a Funko Pop collecter, not going to lie. I’m also a fan of Fantastic Beasts so I was really happy to see this in the box and I instantly used it for my car keys.

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SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE >.<

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Lord of The Rings Backbag

I assume this is an exclusive item because it’s not mentioned from whom or by who, it’s a really nice backbag as I’m a fan of Lord of The Rings. I love the quote written on it as well, it’s good enough to be a gym bag or going to the beach.

A Darker Shade of Magic inspired Mirror by Miss Phi

This is such a pretty mirror. It’s always good to keep such mirrors in your bag, I know I keep telling myself that so I would stop using Snapchat camera as my mirror when I need to.

Pocket Journal from Ooly

I love pocket journals, I feel they aren’t used as before since everyone depends on their phones more. This one is small enough to be kept in your bag, and has a nice design as it’s one of 8 designs sent out in the boxes so yours may vary.

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As usual the book comes with a letter from the author as well as the signed bookplate, the letter is more colorful than the previous ones.

And finally book of the month …

The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee

A young bisexual British lord embarks on an unforgettable Grand Tour of Europe with his best friend/secret crush. An 18th-century romantic adventure for the modern age written by This Monstrous Thing author Mackenzi Lee—Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda meets the 1700s.

Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

It sounds like a fun summer read, I think this is the second time OwlCrate sends a book with a bisexual storyline. I can’t wait to read it since I’m always been interested in the 18th Century era, reading the roadtrip part in the summary gives it a little modern twist perhaps. I could be wrong but I’m reading it anyway.

Overall, I love how the items in this box give a summery vibe and more of a travelling related items. It makes me feel bad because I’m not exactly going anywhere this summer and I hate seeing my Snapchat nowadays since everyone is somewhere in Europe or Asia. Hopefully I’ll travel somewhere if I got the chance to do so.

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OwlCrate – Make It Out Alive

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My subscription boxes list is decreasing again, MerLady box has left the list. I got an email that it got cancelled for no reason really which made me confused, it included a link to resubscribe but I think I’ll hold it off for awhile. OwlCrate is the only box left that I’m subscribed to, don’t know if I’ll cancel it anytime soon. Anyway on to the unboxing of OwlCrate June’s box “Make It Out Alive” and let me just say … It’s definitely green.

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Bookmark inspired by A Court of Thornes and Roses from Hey Atlas Creative

I love collecting bookmarks specially ones that have book quotes. This bookmark is double sided and I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture of the other side but it’s written “You do not fear … You do not falter. You do not yeild.

Magnet inspired by An Ember in the Ashes created from Little Inklings Design

I’m so in love with this magnet because the quote written on it “‘Fear is only your enemy if you allow it to be” 

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Archie McPhee Zombie Sleep Mask 

This mask is both scary and funny at the same time. I don’t use sleeping masks nor do I know someone who does so … I’ll probably give it to my son to play with.

Divergent inspired Bathbomb from Fizzy Fairy Apothecary

If you know me, you’ll know how obsessed I am with bathbombs so I was excited to see this item. Love the colors, I didn’t use it yet but I saw from others that the bathbomb got a charm hidden within which sorts you in your faction. Wonder which one I’ll get.

Patch inspired by The Giver from Laserbrain Patch Co

It looks cool, I’d love to iron it somewhere but I don’t really have clothing or something that fits to have patches sadly.

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To my surprise, OwlCrate sent out two books this time which honestly made me happy.

New World Rising by Jennifer Wilson

Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words- to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls- outside of The Sanctuary- is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world. But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself.

It’s the first book from a 3 book series and judging from the summary it seems pretty intense and I’m excited to start reading it.

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Finally the main book of this month, as usual came with a bookplate and also a letter from the author.

The SandCastle Empire by Kayla Olson

Before the war, Eden’s life was easy. Then the revolution happened, and everything changed.

Now a powerful group called the Wolfpack controls the earth and its resources. And even though Eden has lost everything to them, she refuses to die by their hands. She knows the coordinates to the only neutral ground left in the world, a place called Sanctuary Island, and she is desperate to escape to its shores.

Eden finally reaches the island and meets others resistant to the Wolves. But the solace is short-lived when one of Eden’s new friends goes missing. Braving the jungle in search of their lost ally, they quickly discover Sanctuary is filled with lethal traps and an enemy they never expected.

This island might be deadlier than the world Eden left behind, but surviving it is the only thing that stands between her and freedom.

Like the previous book, it also sounds pretty intense and exciting. I like the dystopia theme going in this box, I definitely enjoyed the items and the whole green theme.

Hope you enjoyed this post and have a great day.

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OwlCrate – Comic Explosion

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I totally forgot about OwlCrate till I saw unboxing pictures on Instagram and I remembered I didn’t receive any notification from Aramex about it while it showed in the tracking number that it arrived two weeks ago so I had to sort it out with them and thankfully they found it and here it is. May theme was Comic Explosion and to be honest I’m not exactly a fan of comics so I wasn’t that excited for this box.

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Funko POP – Loki

As far as I know 7 comic POPs were sent out in each box, I got Loki. As you know I love collecting Funko POPs so I wouldn’t mind an addition to my ever growing collection.

Wonder Woman Candle by DioCandleCompany

First of all, the words “Adorable Size” just grabbed my attention. The candle scent is inspired by Wonder Woman’s tropical home which smells quite sweet and fruity, I like it.

OwlCrate Zipper Pull and Pin

Both items are exclusive for OwlCrate, both got comic-ish design. Again not exactly my type but they look cool.

Comic Attack Multi Color Pen by Ooly Pen

This pen gave me a nostalgic feeling because I was in love with these pens when I was in school, they made my life easier back then. I love the design of it but I’m going to give it to my sister who studies in college, obviously need it more than me.

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AFAR by Leila Del Duca and Kit Seaton

Boetema suddenly develops the ability to astrally project to other worlds, unintentionally possessing the bodies of people light years away. Inotu, her inquisitive brother with a pension for trouble, finds himself on the run after he’s caught eavesdropping on an illegal business deal between small town business tycoons and their cyborg bodyguard. When Boetema accidentally gets someone hurt while in another girl’s body, the siblings are forced to work together to solve the problems they’ve created on their planet and others.

AFAR is a coming-of age fantasy tale about two siblings. Boetema can astrally project, and her brother, Inotu, is forced to grow up when their reckless parents leave to work as salt shepherds. Boetema is tasked with figuring out why she dreams she’s in other people’s bodies, and in doing so, makes matters worse on a planet hundreds of light years away. Inotu struggles to become a confident and supportive brother while they’ve been left alone by their parents. Poor, sleep-deprived, and on the run from a cyborg, the siblings work together to overcome their own personal obstacles, making their way across the desert to the thriving metropolis, Yopan.

So this is an interesting comic, I did’t mind reading it probably going to check the rest of the story but I love the graphics of it.

käfe Organic Coffee Candy

I think this is the first time I receive a food item in a subscription box. I like these candies that you can munch on while watching something or working so I was excited to try them out, they are not as sweet as the coffee candy I’m more used to Kopiko. They are bitter as coffee but sweet at the same time so I enjoyed it.

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and finally book of the month …

Eliza and Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

Eighteen-year-old Eliza Mirk is the anonymous creator of Monstrous Sea, a wildly popular webcomic, but when a new boy at school tempts her to live a life offline, everything she’s worked for begins to crumble.

Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds meets Nimona in this novel about art, fandom, and finding the courage to be yourself. Features illustrations by the author throughout. Perfect for readers of Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, this is the second novel by the acclaimed author of Made You Up.

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, smart, and friendless. Online, Eliza is LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of a popular webcomic called Monstrous Sea. With millions of followers and fans throughout the world, Eliza’s persona is popular. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves her digital community. Then Wallace Warland transfers to her school, and Eliza begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile. But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart. With pages from Eliza’s webcomic, as well as screenshots from Eliza’s online forums, this uniquely formatted book will appeal to fans of Noelle Stevenson’s Nimona and Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl.

I’m already in love with the book from reading the summary, also the cover is beautiful. It has illustrations throughout the book and they are just gorgeous. I can’t wait to start reading this book because I feel it’s going to be my favorite.

As usual it came with a signed bookplate and also a letter from the author, as well as exclusive book-inspired art print which looks amazing.

Overall, yes I’m not a comic fan but I did like some items in this box obviously. I really want to start reading the book right away. Hope you enjoyed this post and have a nice day.

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