Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Midnight Reading

I love to read. So naturally, I try to fit in as much reading as I can throughout the day. But let me tell you, nothing beats reading at night, from the comfort of my own bed, while the rest of the world sleeps.

In fact, let me see if I can persuade you to come over to the dark (literally!) side:

  • I have always been a  night owl. I feel like I do my best work and am at my most productive as soon as the sun sets and the moon comes out to play. Because of this, it is so easy to slip into the world of whatever book I'm reading at the moment and get completely absorbed. Be prepared for some really late nights/early mornings because you won't realize how much time has passed until you finish the last chapter, put the book down, and notice that you have two hours left to sleep until your alarm goes off.

  • No distractions! It's late, you guys. Everyone is asleep and there is no one to interrupt you while you get in the zone and read to your hearts content. Plus, there is blessed silence (if you're into that, you can totally play some music if that's your thing).

  • Ahhhhh..... This is the sound I make as I lay back on my soft bed and pillows while in my comfy pajamas as I pull up the covers and grab my current read. Let the relaxation begin!

  • Book hangover, be gone! Reading at midnight is perfect for whenever I finish a really great book and I feel like a need a moment before I can start a new one. I can go to sleep relishing in the feels of the story and wake up ready to start a new one.

Have I convinced you try out midnight reading? Let me know in the comments below!

-Kristen ♥

Monday, October 5, 2015

Book Spotlight: The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan & Sol Linero (South Carolina)

Title: The 50 States
Author: Gabrielle Balkan
Illustrator: Sol Linero
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
Publication Date: October 1, 2015

Synopsis: Explore 50 illustrated maps, each featuring state capitals, famous residents and key historical moments. Also includes a guide to the state flags and presidents of the USA.

Be inspired by the inventiveness, beauty and diversity of the United States in this curious collection of fact­-filled maps. Explore thousands of wondrous locations and be awed by the achievements of hundreds of people who helped make America what it is today. Celebrate, explore, enjoy!

About: Author GABRIELLE BALKAN has written over 20 books for children, including the Mr Presidents series for Scholastic. She lives and works in New York.

Illustrator SOL LINERO lives and works in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her clients include Scholastic, Oprah magazine, Jamie Oliver Magazine, and Wired.


When they asked me which state I wanted to represent, I of course had to choose my home state of South Carolina!

South Carolina Fun Facts:

  • 1698: The first public library in the nation is established in Charleston.

  • 2054: Myrtle Beach residents will open a time capsule that Horry County Elementary School students buried in 2004! 

  • ANGEL OAK: This 65-foot-tall, 1,500-year old tree has survived hurricanes, floods, and earthquakes.

  • MYRTLE BEACH: In 2007 the Guinness World Record for the Tallest Sand Castle was awarded to Myrtle Beach!

  • THE CAROLINA CUP is an annual horse race held in Camden. 

  • TOPIARY GARDEN: Pearl Fryar’s 3-acre garden has some 300 shrubs trimmed into amazing shapes 

  • WILD TURKEYS: The official state game bird can outrun a galloping horse!

To learn more interesting facts about South Carolina and the other 49 states, be sure to check out The 50 States.

-Kristen ♥

Friday, October 2, 2015

Dream Book Collection: Invaluable Edition

The awesome peeps at Invaluable asked me to make my dream book collection from their awesome website. The chance to look at books all day? Obviously, I accepted.

The first book that caught my eye was this first edition of The Martian Chronicles signed by Ray Bradbury (Lot 915). For one, I think it's absolutely beautiful.

Second, Ray Bradbury wrote one of my favorite poems, There Will Soft Rains, so I imagine this book will be fantastic and what better way to read it, than with the first edition that Ray Bradbury himself has touched!

I love fairy tales! So when I saw this pretty gold embossed hardcover 1911 edition of The Big Book of Fairy Tales (Lot 333), I just had to add it to the list!

One of the most surreal things about owning a book over a hundred years old, is all the history it has and it would be unbelievably cool to add something like this to my collection.

Shakespeare is what you our teachers forced us to read in High School, but it's such a classic and I actually enjoyed some of his plays that I would love to own my own special edition, especially if it's this one.

The Plays of Shakespeare Vol. 1 (Lot 206) is GORGEOUS! Look at the details on the cover and the gold lettering and the spine and I really think it wants to come home with me.

Last, but certainty not least, is this 1889 cloth-bound first edition of Australian Wonderland (Lot 312A). I have no idea what it is about, but I want to find out.

This book caught my eye because of how utterly strange and wonderful it sounds. I always thought that the only thing Wonderland was missing were a few kangaroos.


I'd like to give another shout-out to Invaluable for asking me to put this post together, I had a lot of fun looking through their awesome collection of vintage and first edition books and you should definitely check them out! :)

Belle approves!

-Kristen ♥

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mini Book Review: The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
Publication Date: August 18, 2015

Synopsis: It's the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom. 

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara's life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara's family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items - but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

Mini Review: The Accident Season is a hauntingly beautiful debut. It's atmospheric and addictive. The characters are interesting and unique. The story is mysterious and sad and sometimes sweet. This book had be under a spell and I could not put it down!

Rating: 5/5 stars

-Kristen ♥

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cover Reveal: Oblivion by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Title: Oblivion
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Series: Lux #1.5
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: December 1, 2015

Synopsis: Experience the epic love story of OBSIDIAN as told by its hero, Daemon Black… 

I knew the moment Katy Swartz moved in next door, there was going to be trouble. Lots of it.

And trouble’s the last thing I need, since I’m not exactly from around here. My people arrived on Earth from Lux, a planet thirteen billion light years away. Plus, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that humans can’t be trusted. We scare them. We can do things they only dream about, and honestly, we make them look weak as hell. ‘Cuz they are.

But Kat is getting to me in ways no one else has, and I can't stop myself from wanting her—or wanting to use my powers to protect her. She makes me weak, and I’m the strongest of our kind, tasked with protecting us all. So this one simple girl…she can mean the end for us. Because the Luxen have an even bigger enemy—the Arum, and I need to stay on my game.

Falling for Katy—a human—won't just place her in danger. It could get us all killed, and that’s one thing I’ll never let happen...

Author PhotoAbout the Author: # 1 New York Times and # 1 International Bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing, she spends her time reading, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV. Her young adult romantic suspense novel DON’T LOOK BACK was a 2014 nominated Best in Young Adult Fiction by YALSA. She also writes Adult and New Adult contemporary and paranormal romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.

AND NOW, for the beautiful cover....

-Kristen ♥

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Top 5 Travel Destinations

I absolutely love to travel! And there are tons of places I want to visit, but I've managed to narrow it down to my top five!

#1: Scotland

Scotland is so breathtakingly beautiful and mystical and I cannot wait for the day I get to see it in person! Literally every time I see pictures of Scotland I just sigh with longing.

#2: England

I've been wanting to visit England for as long as I can remember. I want to see the city of London and the English countryside and listen to those glorious accents all day long.

#3: Norway

Norway is the most recent addition to my list but it's another stunningly beautiful place that I cannot wait to visit. Plus, you can see the Northern Lights from there.  :)

#4: Ireland 

My grandmother was part Irish and the country looks amazing. So Ireland easily made it to my top five.

#5: United States

I thought long and hard about what my number five should be. There's still still so many amazing places I want to visit, like Australia, Paris, Greece, Rome, Amsterdam, etc. But then I realized that even though I live in the US, there's still so much of it I haven't seen and I'm really looking forward to exploring what every state has to offer.

-Kristen ♥

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Release Day Blitz: The Foxglove Killings by Tara Kelly (Excerpt + Giveaway)

Title: The Foxglove Killings
Author: Tara Kelly 
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Publication Date: September 1, 2015

Synopsis: Gramps always said that when the crickets were quiet, something bad was coming. And the crickets have been as silent as the dead. It started with the murdered deer in the playground with the unmistakable purple of a foxglove in its mouth. But in the dying boondock town of Emerald Cove, life goes on.

I work at Gramps's diner, and the cakes―the entitled rich kids who vacation here―make our lives hell. My best friend, Alex Pace, is the one person who gets me. Only Alex has changed. He's almost like a stranger now. I can't figure it out...or why I'm having distinctly more-than-friend feelings for him. Ones I shouldn't be having.

Then one of the cakes disappears.

When she turns up murdered, a foxglove in her mouth, a rumor goes around that Alex was the last person seen with her—and everyone but me believes it. Well, everyone except my worst enemy, Jenika Shaw. When Alex goes missing, it's up to us to prove his innocence and uncover the true killer. But the truth will shatter everything I've ever known about myself—and Alex.

About the Author: Tara Kelly adores variety in her life. She’s an author, one-girl-band, graphic designer, editor, and photographer. She lives in Sin City with her beloved guitars, sound design master husband, and a fluffy cat named Maestro.


Alex saw it first.

We were cutting through Neahkahnie Park, the morning sun warm on our backs. I was telling him we should take his grandpa’s El Camino SS and drive down the coast to California for the summer.

“He left that car to you,” I said. “You know he did.” I reached over to muss his light brown hair. It always stood straight up afterward, as if he’d been electrocuted.

“We can’t, Nova. I—” He stopped walking, his eyes widening at the playground.

Clumps of fur blew across the grass, like the cotton blooms did in July. I didn’t think it was real at first. Some kid’s stuffed animal, maybe.

But the stench was unmistakable. I’d practically been raised in my grandpa’s diner. I knew the smell of meat past its prime. Raw. Metallic. Even a little sweet.

A deer’s carcass was a twisted heap in the playground, its legs jutting out like winter branches. Bits of flesh, ranging in color from pink to dark red, were strewn across the wood chips. The head of the deer sat on the middle bucket swing. A misty film covered its eyes, and its mouth was open, as if it were gasping for air.

My stomach muscles began to knot.

I saw a dog get hit by a semi once. The scene replayed in my mind for months. The thud of the impact, the way he’d yelped. The last second of that dog’s life seemed to echo forever.

This was worse. Someone planned this. Put it on display, like it was entertainment.

“What the hell…” Alex said, his voice barely above a whisper.

“Don’t look.”

Alex had been on an animal-saving crusade since birth. He’d tried to bring a rabbit back to life the day I met him.

In fifth grade he’d called the police on his neighbor for yelling at her cat.

This wasn’t something he could handle. Especially not now.

“There’s nothing you can do,” I said, the words slipping out automatically.

“I know. I’m not nine anymore.” He glanced down at his busted Vans. Years of skateboarding had turned them from black to gray.

“I didn’t mean it like that.”

“Yeah, you did.” He held my gaze this time. His eyes looked almost yellow in dull light. Usually they were green.

I knew whatever came out of my mouth wouldn’t be the right thing to say. He’d been so weird since his grandpa died last month. Happy one minute. Pissed off the next. Sometimes he didn’t talk at all.

I slowly moved toward the deer, wishing I could ignore its vacant eyes, the drone of the flies pecking at its belly. My gramps used to clean up crime scenes back in the day. He swore by downing a few dozen peppermint Tic Tacs, claiming it obliterated his sense of smell. He was also a chain smoker…

A handful of mints wouldn’t take this image out of my head. Nothing would.

“We should call someone,” Alex said behind me.

Neither of us had a cell phone. He couldn’t afford one, and my mom thought they caused brain cancer.

I held my breath, trying not to gag. If I wanted to be a detective one day, this was the crazy shit I’d be dealing with. Too bad I’d inherited my mom’s weak stomach.

Something bright purple sat on top of the deer’s limp tongue. Darker spots peppered the inside, like a rash.

As I leaned closer, I realized it was a wilted foxglove. Or deadmen’s bells, as Mom called them. They were bell-shaped flowers that grew all over coastal Oregon. When I was little, she told me not to eat them or I’d end up like Sleeping Beauty. I used to think they belonged to the fairies. The evil ones, anyway.

A chill swept across my skin, the kind that came from inside.


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-Kristen ♥
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