Everyone Should Read Paper Princess by Erin Watt, Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick

It has been a while since I posted anything but I just had to share about my latest read, mostly because it was so amazing I think everyone should read it but also because I am having the most epic of book hangovers and feel like I need to talk to someone, anyone about it before I can even consider starting something else.

The book is Paper Princess by Erin Watt, Elle Kennedy and Jen Frederick and when I first heard about it and decided to purchase it from Amazon it was partly because it was cheap (I think around $4.99) and partly because I had seen a couple posts about it on different book Instagram accounts I follow and figured if that many people are reading it than it can’t be that horrible.

For those who haven’t heard of it here’s the official blurb:

“From strip clubs and truck stops to southern coast mansions and prep schools, one girl tries to stay true to herself.
These Royals will ruin you…
Ella Harper is a survivor—a pragmatic optimist. She’s spent her whole life moving from town to town with her flighty mother, struggling to make ends meet and believing that someday she’ll climb out of the gutter. After her mother’s death, Ella is truly alone. 
Until Callum Royal appears, plucking Ella out of poverty and tossing her into his posh mansion among his five sons who all hate her. Each Royal boy is more magnetic than the last, but none as captivating as Reed Royal, the boy who is determined to send her back to the slums she came from.
Reed doesn’t want her. He says she doesn’t belong with the Royals.
He might be right.
Wealth. Excess. Deception. It’s like nothing Ella has ever experienced, and if she’s going to survive her time in the Royal palace, she’ll need to learn to issue her own Royal decrees.”

Immediately I think it’s another teen angsty, I don’t fit in but I do fit in story, so I didn’t have high hopes for it to go beyond the cliché rags to riches plot. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find while yes at it’s very core it is a little cliché and predictable, it is also so addicting and new.

I instantly feel in love with Ella from the first page. She’s tough and resilient and doesn’t let her hard life or crappy circumstances keep her down. Even when she is offered this supposedly amazing opportunity she doesn’t just jump right in but questions everything and makes sure that this is something perfect and fitting for her because as she says “My life is mine.”

Reed is definitely the stereotypical bad boy with a good heart. You can practically feel the heat coming from every interaction between him and Ella and even though you know where it is going to eventually end up (this is a teen-ish novel after all so there has to be a love story/interest in there somewhere) the journey is so amazingly funny and heartbreaking.

Their banter is fabulous and I love that no matter what Ella doesn’t back down. These guys, and the girls at her school are complete buttheads, but she never let’s it get to her. She is comfortable with who she is and doesn’t let other people’s thoughts or opinions bring her down.

I will point out that this book does get a little racy, especially towards the end. So if you aren’t comfortable with sexual scenes or descriptions this is probably not the book for you. It was a little shocking just how sexual some of the moments got but at the same time I was so happy for them. Here is a book that shows a girl/woman can be sexual. They have wants, desires, needs and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It even delves into the issues of consent just a smidge without being preachy or making it seem like something out of the ordinary. It’s just a natural part of being with someone, which is what it should be.

There is also a major cliffhanger ending so be prepared to ache for the second novel (which is released in July *happy dance*). I won’t give anything away, but I will say that I started this novel after dinner and ended up staying up till 1 AM until I had read every word, then I spent the next two hours agonizing over the ending and needing to know what happens. So be prepared to become completed absorbed and addicted.Picture1

 

 

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Because New T-Shirts Are Fun!

Lately I have found myself spending a lot of my free time reading and less of my time crafting, so this weekend I decided to complete a couple of projects that I had on my to do list. It also helps that all of these projects enjoyed using my heat press, that I have owned for several months now but haven’t actually used.

Luckily I had a lot of blanks shirts and sweatshirts laying around from other projects so I had plenty of materials to work with. I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut all of the heat transfer vinyl in the designs that I wanted and then pressed it using a heat press that I bought in November off of Ebay!

I started with a red tank and printed Aztec vinyl from HeatTransferWarehouse.com. I knew I wanted to make something to show my support for my boyfriends Fraternity so I decided to keep it simple and did Love TKE in a Freshman font. The vinyl for this was a little tricky because it requires a lower temperature on the press (I used 350) and a shorter press time.

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Next I wanted to continue my tank trend but make it more tailored towards me, so of course of a witty workout tank about reading was just what I needed.

I had this gorgeous blue Bella tank that I bought on impulse a while ago but never really used so I figured it was time to make it useful. After I quick Google/Pinterest search I came up with two sayings that I really liked. The first was reading is my cardio and I decided that would be perfect for my tank.

I used plain white vinyl so that the words would pop. For the words Reading and Cardio I used the Cooper Black font and is my is Lucida Calligraphy.

Overall I was super happy with how it turned out and can’t wait to wear it once the weather warms up!

IMG_5837The last tank I made was one that my boyfriend and I have been joking about for a while. He found something similar to this a couple years back and it pretty much describes by life, so I decided to make it! It reads “Feed me and tell me I’m pretty” and I don’t remember what the fonts are.

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Since it is technically still winter I decided to spruce up one of my plain sweatshirts. My favorite time to wear a sweatshirt is when I am cuddled up inside reading and enjoying a cup of hot chocolate, so I figured this sweatshirt would be the perfect place to put the other book saying that I found entertaining.

Lately I have been spending a lot more time alone in my apartment reading books and not going out partying or hanging out with my friends, so I decided to relay that lazy lifestyle with my comfy sweatshirt! I used the Market Deco font for I like to and by party I mean read books. The large word Party is the Vibur font.

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My last creation is a spirit jersey for St. Patrick’s Day! the front has a simple shamrock and I replaced the O in Love with a shamrock to keep the theme going. This one got a little burnt in the middle because I had the temperature a little to high and I had to press it multiple times since the image was larger than my press, but I tell myself it’s an ombre look.

Overall I’m really happy with all the shirts I was able to create and so excited that my heat press made it a super simple process.

 

 

 

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

Guys it’s finally here…Glass Sword release day!

If you were a fan of the first book I promise that the second does not disappoint. Sure it starts off a little slower and it’s more about what the characters are feeling, but that doesn’t make the book any less amazing.

I will say prepare for a ton of emotion while reading this (or you know maybe I’m the only person who is so emotionally attached to characters that I get all the feels while reading).

In Glass Sword you get a lot of Mare questioning her ability to do what needs to be done while still keeping a hold of herself. It’s heartbreaking to read because she just wants to do the right thing but the right thing is so hard to actually figure out. Should she risk the lives of her friends to save more people? Can she trust anyone after Maven’s betrayal? Will her and Cal ever realize they are perfect together? Not all of these are ever answered fully and I’m not upset about it.

I think this book closely resembles real life in a way the first one didn’t. Sure we don’t have people with Silver blood and abilities walking around (at least to my knowledge), but I think everyone can relate to the question of who can be trusted and how to move on after someone you loved hurt and betrayed you. Again prolly not in the same way since I don’t know many people trying to overthrow a king but it’s the sign of a great character when you can relate to them even when their circumstances are completely different because basic human emotions are still the same.

So if you haven’t already purchased your copy of Glass Sword I highly recommend doing so ASAP because this one sequel you don’t want to miss.

And I’ll just be here anxiously awaiting news about book three…

Random Items You Never Expected to Need When Attending Mardi Gras in St. Louis

St. Louis Mardi Gras, while maybe not as famous and huge as it’s New Orleans counterpart, is still a ton of fun! You not only see crazy people walking around, but the whole atmosphere is one of fun and excitement. Sure you have your drunks puking in the alley and the bathroom situation is always a mess but if you go in with a positive attitude it’s always a good time.

With that said, there are some things that you never expected to need but are completely essential to make your day 1 million times easier.

Hand Sanitizer

Remember your main bathroom of choice is going to be a port-a-potty and those don’t come equipped with built in bathrooms. Sure some of them have a hand washing station close by, but I promise that especially by the middle of the day those things will be out of water and soap. Not to mention you will have to walk through multiple puddles of water (because that’s where it all ends up, on the ground, not your hands) just to get to the sink. SO instead of battling the flood and leaving disappointed just clean your hands using hand sanitizer and give them an extra good scrub when you get home.

Plus there are some weird things going down during Mardi Gras so you might end up using it in-between bathroom breaks as well.

Hand Lotion

Sure this might not be a necessity to everyone, but after all that sanitizer use your hands are going to be DRY! So why not take care of them a little bit and use a little lotion. It definitely can’t hurt, unless you try to hold a drink right after and it slips. So you know avoid that because no one wants to see you cry over spilled Hurricane.

 

Ziplock of Toilet Paper

Now lets go back to the fact that your main bathroom source is Port-O-Potty’s. Those things don’t have an endless supply of toilet paper and they aren’t being refilled as the day goes on, so having your own little stash will be a lifesaver! Plus while waiting in line if you are the girl with toilet paper you will instantly become everyone’s best friend so don’t forget to bring extra so that you can spare a square.

External Charger

While this is not really a necessity, it really doesn’t hurt to bring this along. Your phone will not have great service so it will spend way more time searching and sucking up your battery. Plus if you are anything like me, you will probably be taking a ton of pictures so it won’t hurt to have a backup just in case your phone decides to die. Trust me, you don’t want to be the person at the end of the day asking strangers to use their phone so that you can call your ride to pick you up. .

Snacks

Again not a necessity, especially with all the awesome food stands around, but it never hurts to keep an extra protein bar or something with you just in case.

This definitely isn’t everything that you will need for the day (things like an id, money and warm clothing are also a must), they are some small things most people don’t think of that can save you a lot of hassle and issues.

What are some items that you make sure you have for different events?

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye

CrownsGameOne book I am super excited for in 2016 is The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye. For those who aren’t familiar with the book, here is the description straight from the author at EvelynSkye.com

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I don’t know about you guys but this sounds like an amazing book. I haven’t ever really delved into anything concerning Russia or Russian culture (unless watching the animated movie of Anastasia counts) so I am beyond excited to read more about it.

If the books intrigues you as much as it does me, I recommend visiting EvelynSkye.com and learning more about the book and characters. She has this really neat page dedicated just to character descriptions so that you can understand them before even reading the book!

Also while you are there, join the Tsar’s Guard so that you can get the heads up about fun events, news and even receive a few surprise gifts from Evelyn! It’s fast, easy and best of all FUN! http://www.evelynskye.com/the-tsars-guard/

Don’t forget while you are checking out the character descriptions to enter her giveaway! This week you get to learn more about Sergei and enter for the chance to win a faux fur hat and an advanced copy of The Crown’s Game! The Crown’s Game Giveaway

And don’t forget to pre-order The Crown’s Game which is coming May 17, 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Books I Can’t Wait to Read

I feel like 2016 is going to be a great year for books. In fact, I have started a spreadsheet to help me keep track of books release dates so that I never miss one, but I wanted to share the book love, so here are the books that will be released this month that I hope to finish before March. *finger crossed*

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – I was so happy to receive an ARC of this in the gorgeous clear box that I started to read it right away, only to realize that she wastes no time jumping right into the story and my memory of Red Queens details were not as great as I thought. So I decided to re-read Red Queen before I got too involved in Glass Sword. I will say that I thought Red Queen was phenomenal so it didn’t take me long to zip through that. I am only about a quarter of the way through Glass Sword and so far it’s pretty great. I’ll leave a complete review once I have finished but if you were a fan of Red Queen I highly recommend continuing Mare’s tale and giving Glass Sword a try. Also, I am eagerly awaiting February 9 (Glass Sword’s release date) because Victoria Aveyard will be at my local library so I actually get to meet her!

You can all be jealous of me now as I do my happy dance as that date gets closer and closer. And just in case you haven’t seen it, here is my copy of Glass Sword in the amazing clear box. I mean seriously? This is one of the prettiest things I have seen in a while.

I am so excited to get an advanced copy of #glasssword in the collectors box. This just went to the top of my TBR pile #scarletguard #rqhiddengem
If you are as big of a fan of Victoria Aveyard and all she does as I am, I highly recommend joining the Scarlet Guard. You get all the early access information to the world of Mare Barrow and fun emails keeping you updated on all of the Red Queen goings on. Join here http://www.epicreads.com/features/red-queen-series/signup.html
I promise you won’t regret it.
The Siren by Kiera Cass – I read the Selection series on a whim and loved them, so when I found out Kiera Cass was coming out with a standalone novel to tide me over until the Crown I was hyped. It also helped that the reading group (The Court of Books and Readers) choose this as their February read. I’m sure that I will fall equally in love with these characters as I have all of her others. If you are interested in joining the group read (because really the only thing better than reading books is talking to people who love reading as much as you do) you can find them on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/thecourtofbooksandreaders/ or join the Good Reads group https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/178375-the-court-of-books-and-readers

Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell – This is a book that I stumbled across because I happen to follow a lot of authors on Twitter and Instagram and Good Reads because well I’m a #booknerd. Its a retelling of Peter Pan but definitely sounds a lot more badass. I mean there is a roguish pirate promising to keep the main character safe. That alone makes me want to read this book ASAP. Plus it doesn’t hurt that after reading that all I can think about is…

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Pretty sure I could stare at him all day long. It was released today (and yes I did another little happy dance when I got the notice from Amazon that my pre-order was delivered and yes all my coworkers think I am crazy) so go pick up your own copy and give this one a shot. I’m pretty sure you won’t be disappointed.

Kingdom of Ashes By Rhiannon Thomas – I’m not gonna lie the only reason I read A Wicked Thing was because it was $1.99 on Amazon and I figured for $1.99 even if it is awful (which considering it was a Sleeping Beauty retelling is entirely possible) I wouldn’t feel cheated because hey it was less than $2. But that story surprised me! I loved that it didn’t have the happily ever after Disney ending (not saying that still couldn’t come but at least we have to wait for it) and that Aurora acted like an actual person. I mean you have been asleep for 100 years, you don’t just instantly jump up and love the first guy you meet just because his kiss apparently woke you up. Also she wasn’t instantly against the establishment. She acted like a real person (yes I do realize she is fictional, I am not that crazy), and was scared and took time to figure out where she was, what was happening and what she needed to make her life work. Sure maybe at the beginning she was little weak and let everyone push her around and bully her into doing what they wanted, but in her situation she didn’t really have much of a choice.

Anyways, enough with my crazy Aurora rant. A Wicked Thing left the book at such a cliff hanger that I can’t wait to get my hands on part two, which in case you didn’t know is released on February 23. So if you are a fan of the fairytale retellings like I am, read A Wicked Thing and mark your calendars for Kingdom of Ashes. I have a feeling it’s going to be a good one.

 

Please know this is not everything that is on my TBR list, which is currently sitting at over 50 books long not including the items on my library wish list but I hope that everyone is as excited for these as I am!

I’ll try my best to do individual reviews for each of these as a I finish them.

 

Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius

This past Sunday, I started and finished Anne & Henry by Dawn Ius. I picked up this book mostly because I am a huge Tudor junkie. It all started when I discovered Phillip Gregory and from then on I couldn’t get enough books about that time period. Anne Boleyn and her daughter Elizabeth became icons to me, so when I heard about a modern retelling I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it!

Let’s start by saying this book is not for the faint of heart. It sticks pretty close to the actual story of Henry and Anne so there are plenty of moments where my heart was ripped out of chest, stomped on, then promptly returned.

Dawn does an amazing job of reimagining their lives as modern teenagers. I was a little concerned at first because really beyond peer pressure, what power and influence does  a teenager actually have, but she answer’s it beautifully by setting up a Code of Conduct that gives an elected body of students all the power.

I will say that reading about Anne’s downfall was hard. Not only because it just shows how horrible people can be and how people’s actions can be altered and deeds misconstrued based upon who is telling the story, but the things that Anne has overcome in her past made me want her to get everything she ever wanted. It made Henry’s betrayal and everyone’s cruelty that much more real once it is taken out of the 1500s and inserted into our cell phone obsessed lifestyle.

Even though I knew how the story would end, I knew that Henry would abandon Anne and would listen to his friends without even giving her a second thought I really wanted the story to change. Reading historical fiction or actual history texts about that time I don’t ever consider them lasting. I know that he leaves Anne and that she is beheaded. I know that ending so I never even think that any other ending could happen, but with Dawn’s retelling I wanted more. I wanted them to have that Happily Ever After. I wanted Henry to grow a spine and tell his friends and family to back off and take Anne far away so that they could live together in peace, but of course that doesn’t happen. Henry allows Anne to be berated with doctored evidence showing just how awful of a person she is while all of the actual awful people attack her. He doesn’t defend her, he doesn’t listen to her side, he gives up which at first made me really angry, but after he pulls the picture on the tack and “beheads” her (which was perhaps one of my favorite ways she incorporates actual history with the modern age) I just wanted Anne to get out, get one with her life and be stronger.

I also have to add that incorporating a budding flirtation with Jane the waitress right after seeing the “evidence” showing Anne’s wild night was just brilliant!

Overall, if you are a fan of Henry the 8th and his second wife and love high drama stories I would say this book is for you!