September 29, 2016

Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog by Ralph Hardy Review

Title: Argos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog
Author: Ralph Hardy
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Middle Grade, Retelling
Release Date: May 31st 2016
Source: NightOwl Reviews
Purchase: Amazon

From a compelling new voice in middle grade comes a reimagination of The Odyssey told from the point of view of Odysseus’s loyal dog—a thrilling tale of loyalty, determination, and adventure.

For twenty years, the great hero Odysseus struggles to return to Ithaka. After ten years beneath the walls of Troy, he begins the long journey back home. He defeats monsters. He outsmarts the Cyclops. He battles the gods. He struggles to survive and do whatever it takes to reunite with his family.

And what of that family—his devoted wife, Penelope; his young son, Telemachos; his dog, Argos? For those twenty years, they wait, unsure if they will ever see Odysseus again. But Argos has found a way to track his master. Any animal who sets foot or wing on Ithaka brings him news of Odysseus’s voyage—and hope that one day his master will return. Meanwhile, Argos watches over his master’s family and protects them from the dangers that surround a throne without its king.


I absolutely loved this book. I will admit at first it was strange reading from a dogs POV, but once I started getting further into the book the more and more I enjoyed it. I actually found myself looking up some of the gods online to see who they were.

The characters were highly likable and Argos was one character you couldn't help falling in love with. He had such devotion and loyalty to his master Odysseus, even after the 20+ years he had been gone. The tales he learned from fellow animals such as birds and sea turtles was incredible. 

I highly recommend this book to ages 8 and up.





Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.



Ralph Hardy graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in English and received his MFA from Columbia College, Chicago. He now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina with his wife and children and a dog named Harvey, who is nothing like Argos. He is the author of The Cheetah Diaries, Lefty, and a number of short stories.
Find Ralph: Website | Facebook



September 28, 2016

Rose and the Silver Ghost by Holly Webb Review

Title: Rose and the Silver Ghost
Author: Holly Webb
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Genre: Fantasy, Middle Grade
Release Date: March 3rd 2015
Source: Publisher for Review
Purchase: Amazon

Time has flown since Rose left the orphanage behind for her new family at Mr. Fountain's magical house. But when the stern Miss Fell comes to stay at the mansion, Rose can't help but notice the extra attention Miss Fell gives her. When Rose sees the flash of a face in Miss Fell's mirror-a face that's familiar and foreign at the same time-her suspicions are confirmed that Miss Fell might know more about Rose's past than she's letting on...

Can a hidden picture, a silver mirror, and a timid ghost lead Rose to the truth about her family?



This was a wonderful book from start to end. It did take some time for me to get back in the swing of things with Rose and the others, but once I did, it was a constant struggle to put this book down.

The characters were wonderful and had some great depth. I especially liked the new characters that were introduced, such as Miranda, Eliza and Miss Fell. We even got to see Bella's magic put to the test in this one.

Not only were we introduced to some great new characters but we got to see the roles these characters played in Rose's past as the past was brought to light and rekindled.

I highly recommend the final installment in the Rose series as this final book brings all the books together and ties everything up nicely.





Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.



Holly Webb is a best-selling author in the UK with her books Lost in the Snow and Lost in the Storm. She was born and grew up in southeast London. She worked for five years as a children’s fiction editor, before deciding to become a writer. The Rose books stem from a childhood love of historical novels, and the wish that animals really could talk. She lives in Reading with her husband and three small children.
Find Holly: Website | Facebook | Twitter

September 26, 2016

The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes Review

Title: The Fall of Butterflies
Author: Andrea Portes
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Release Date: May 10th 2016
Source: NightOwl Reviews
Purchase: Amazon

Willa Parker, 646th and least popular resident of What Cheer, Iowa, is headed east to start a new life.

Did she choose this new life? No, because that would be too easy—and nothing in Willa’s life is easy. It’s her famous genius mother’s idea to send her to ultra-expensive, ultra-exclusive Pembroke Prep, and it’s only the strength of her name that got Willa accepted in the first place.

But Willa has no intentions of fitting in at Pembroke. She’s not staying long, she decides. Not at this school—and not on this planet. But when she meets peculiar, glittering Remy Taft, the richest, most mysterious girl on campus, she starts to see a foothold in this foreign world—a place where she could maybe, possibly, sort of fit.

When Willa looks at Remy, she sees a girl who has everything. But for Remy, having everything comes at a price. And as she spirals out of control, Willa can feel her spinning right out of her grasp.

In Willa’s secret heart, all she’s ever wanted is to belong. But if Remy, the girl who gave her this world, is slip-sliding away, is Willa meant to follow her down?

Andrea Portes’s incandescent, heartfelt novel explores the meaning of friendship, new beginnings, and the precarious joy and devastating pain of finding home in a place—a person—with wings.


Ok, so I really don't know where to start on this one. I don't normally read contemporary but when I saw this I was instantly intrigued so I gave it a go. Not so sure that was such a good idea.

I have never read anything by this author before, but when she starts off a book by nicknaming people by their illness, that was the first red flag for me. It was almost as if she was in some small way defining people and picking on them for their illness.

The other problem I have with this is that the main character is constantly talking about how ugly she is, how she doesn't have any family except her dad, yet she is leaving him to go across country, and that she is going to kill herself. Talk about depressing.

I finally had to put this book aside to either A) try again and finish at a later date or B) never pick up again. I just could not finish this book.





Disclaimer: *I received a copy of this book for free to review, this in no way influenced my review, all opinions are 100% honest and my own.



Andrea Portes is the bestselling novelist of two critically lauded adult novels, Hick, her debut, which was made into a feature film starring ChloĆ« Grace Moretz, Alec Baldwin, Blake Lively, Eddie Redmayne, and Juliette Lewis, and Bury This. Her first novel for young adult readers, Anatomy of a Misfit, was called “perfection in book form” by Teen Vogue.

Currently, she lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Sandy Tolan, their son, Wyatt, and their dog, Rascal.

Find Andrea: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

September 25, 2016

Subscription Box Review: September #UppercaseBox



Have you discovered Uppercase Box yet? Well if you haven't discovered Uppercase, it's a Young Adult book subscription box/package that is delivered to your doorstep or PO Box monthly. With two types of subscription plans a month, it makes it easy to pick which best suits you.

Here's a look inside the September box.



While I must confess, due to social media, I was not at all surprised when I opened it this month. I unfortunately am one of those unlucky people that have the joys of having a PO Box and live in a small town so when we get mail and packages on a Saturday, we have to wait until the next postal day to get said packages. Not my idea of fun.

But anyways, back to the review. 

This package I was really excited for. I really want to read The Forgetting, plus I really liked all the cool things with this months package. I really liked the little bag from Out of Print and the Certified Book Addict sticker.


Verdict:
I really enjoyed this months box. I really can't wait to get to read this book either.


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September 24, 2016

Subscription Box Review: September #Owlcrate



Owlcrate is a monthly book box that deals mainly in young adult books and bookish awesomeness. Every month they have a different theme, i.e. Dystopia, Steampunk, fantasy, etc. They pick out a new release book and pair it with 3-5 bookish items that match that months theme. Owlcrate starts at $29.99 plus shipping. You can also skip months if you don't feel as if the theme is right for you, and if you miss a month you can go to their shop to purchase past months.


Here's a look inside this months box...


Inside this box...

  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  • Letter from the author
  • fortune teller card
  • signed bookplate
  • Celaena's Cake candle from The Melting Library
  • Miss Peregrine's canvas pouch from Out of Print
  • Bath Fizzer's Bath Bomb from Da Bomb
  • exclusive Six of Crow's bookmark from Evie Bookish
  • plus a few extras such as a passport, owl button and a short story book, Remade.



Verdict:
While I was actually not surprised as to what was going to be in this box, thanks to social media and having to wait until someone was at my local post office to get me my packages, I was actually very happy with this months box. Everything was amazing, I really loved the candle (the smell was amazing! I wanted cake as soon as I smelled it) and the canvas pouch while my daughter loved the bath fizzer's bath bomb. The book has been on my TBR for a while now and I absolutely love the author. Very surprised by the signed bookplate.

This month's box was definitely a hit!


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October's box is Once Upon A Dream theme, don't miss out!




September 23, 2016

App Review: #Boxed



I'm not sure if you have ever heard of BOXED, but with the BOXED app (you can even shop from your computer) you can order bulk items and have them shipped via UPS straight to your home. It's something like shopping at Sam's Club or Costco right at your own home or wherever you are. You can buy from a variety of different items, except of course, fresh items.

In my first order, I purchased laundry detergent, Red Lobster Cheddar biscuits, a huge snack pack box for my daughters school lunches and even a double pack of Axe body wash for my husband. Within 3 days of ordering it was delivered straight to my door.

My most recent order I had purchased all my paper products in bulk. Since my nearest Sam's Club is about an hour away, this makes it really convenient. Here is a look at my most recent order.






I even got a free surprise item inside....



Sometimes they offer a free item with your paid order, but you need to act fast, those go extremely quick, Last week it was free ziploc baggies from Prince & Spring, by the time I got them in my cart and checked out they were already gone.

But you can order from a multitude of different items, anywhere between groceries to household to baby. 


Verdict:

This is a good deal. For those of you that live away from the bigger cities where shopping is hugely convenient, this is the next best thing. And for those of you who are too busy to wait in lines to shop, I would definitely check this out!


Sign Up:

Sign up with my link and get $15 off your first order of $60 or more





September 22, 2016

Subscription Box Review: #CharmWithMeClub



I caved! I really did. I totally didn't think that I would want this subscription, but then I saw all the cool geekiness and I knew that I needed to have this box!

Charm With Me Club is a monthly charm subscription box. As your starter box, you receive the bracelet of your choice, whether it be a black rope style or the classic silver charm bracelet. Each month they send you at least 2 charms tailored to a specific theme. You can choose to opt out of that theme and get the "Surprise Me" option. Charm With Me is $19.99 per month plus shipping and they do ship internationally.

Here is my September box (my very first box!)








I absolutely LOVED this! The bracelet seems very sturdy, as does the clasp (trust me, I struggled to open it, so I know those charms aren't going anywhere), the beads were just so adorable, I loved the theme too. 


Verdict:

This is a must for anyone's jewelry collection. With reasonable prices and amazing charms, this is just an absolute must! With Christmas coming up this would make a wonderful gift and you can shop their store to buy past items as well.



Sign Up:

Save 10% on your subscription with coupon HELLO10
October theme is Disney Princess




September 21, 2016

Subscription Box Review: #NerdBlockJr



Nerd Block is a specially designed and curated box delivered to your door or PO Box monthly. They offer a month to month, 3, 6, and 12 month subscription plans starting at $19.99 plus shipping. Nerd Block also has different kinds of blocks to suit almost everyone in your family. They range from the Classic, Sci-Fi, Horror, Arcade, Comic, Jr Boys, Jr Girls and they even have a T-Shirt block.

I chose the Jr Girls for my daughter and we went with the 3 month plan, the total was $53.97 plus shipping and we were billed the first of the month. Keep in mind that these are recurring subscription plans and you will be charged once your cycle is over.

Here is a look at what she received in her boxes...






She absolutely loved these boxes and actually played with everything in them. These boxes inspired her to start her very own Funko Pop! collection and now she has more than I do!


Verdict:

We were very pleased with this subscription service and plan to hopefully go back to them in the near future. Plus we hope to try out the other blocks as well.


Sign Up:

Use code EARLYBIRD20 to get 20% off your first block.



September 20, 2016

Subscription Box Review: #Owlcrate



Most everyone by now has heard of Owlcrate. In the event that you haven't, let me give you a little rundown of who they are and how they work.

Owlcrate is a monthly book box that deals mainly in young adult books and bookish awesomeness. Every month they have a different theme, i.e. Dystopia, Steampunk, fantasy, etc. They pick out a new release book and pair it with 3-5 bookish items that match that months theme. Owlcrate starts at $29.99 plus shipping. You can also skip months if you don't feel as if the theme is right for you, and if you miss a month you can go to their shop to purchase past months.

Here are a look at some of the past boxes that I opted in for plus my thoughts on each box.


April 2016: Dystopia

Owlcrate subscribers ended up getting a copy of Flawed by Cecelia Ahern, a mini Flawed poster and a Flawed temporary tattoo, a Maze Runner decal, Shatter Me coaster, 1984 mini notebook, Mockingjay Bracelet, quote picture and a Hunger Games magnet. 

While I have not read the book as of yet due to my massive TBR, it's definitely in my sights for the near future. Aside from the book my most favorite pieces in this box were definitely the bracelet and the coaster.


December 2015: Get Inspired

This box was pretty cool. It came with a copy of Da Vinci's Tiger by L.M. Elliott, which had been on my TBR for a while. It also came with Da Vinci's Tiger magnets, "What I Read" journal, To-Do List notepad, mini candle and another magnet (not pictured).

The book was amazing. I couldn't put it down and gave it a 4-star rating (review to come later). I really enjoyed the notebook and journal as well. The candle was something I could have lived without, and that was mainly for the strong coffee scent of it. The second magnet that was not pictured was a prince magnet which did not make it to my box, so it might have slipped through the cracks, so to speak. But that's alright, because my daughter probably would have taken it from me anyway.


September 2015: Leading Ladies

In September subscribers received a copy of Dumplin' by Julie Murphy, a Hermione art print, Game of Thrones Daenerys Targaryen mini Funko Pop!, Dauntless totebag, Katniss arrow necklace and a letter and sticker from the author.

I have not read the book yet but have heard wonderful things about it. I really loved the totebag and the necklace. My daughter loved the art prints.



Not Pictured:

May 2016: Steampunk box - Everland by Wendy Spinale
February 2016: Sci-Fi Love - The Love That Split the World by Emily Henry
November 2015: Myths & Legends - Soundless by Richelle Mead


Verdict:
Owlcrate has not let me down as of yet. With the option to skip a month or two or three at a time, this makes this box a win in my book. With bookish awesomeness each month and really good books, its sure to please just about anyone. And now, if you get the same book in another subscription box, just take a picture of the two boxes side by side and send your photo to Owlcrate support and they will refund you half the cost of the book by Amazon price standards.


Sign Up:
October's box is Once Upon A Dream theme, don't miss out!




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