Book Haul: June 2014

I've been trying to be extra conscious with everything I've been buying lately and that's crossing over into my book buying as well. I'm trying to make going to the library a habit, that way I'll be sure before I commit to a new book/series to add to my collection. 

It's been way, way too long since I've last been to a bookstore. All the nearby ones have closed and my independent bookstore is still pretty far. Amazon has become my friend lately, but I want to try and make an effort to support my local indy more in the coming months. 

-Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass 1) by Sarah J. Maas
-Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass 2) by Sarah J. Maas

-X-Men: First Class

I had only heard a few things about the Throne of Glass series and decided to pick up the first book at my local library. It's a little different than what I normally read, I mean it's still young adult, but I can't even remember the last time I read a true fantasy book. I loved it so much I bought it and book two, Crown of Midnight! You can check out my review for book one, Throne of Glass, here.

My mom and I are huge fans of the superhero/ Marvel universe, but had never seen X-Men so we rented it for a Friday movie night. I seriously loved it, but my mom is still on the fence. I love the cast, story and can't wait to see the second one! (Also, James McAvoy is Professor X and ya'll know how I love him!)

-Glasses c/o Firmoo. 
A huge thank you to Firmoo for sending me a beautiful pair of glasses to review. I've had them for about a week and love them already! Be sure to keep an eye out for a review this coming week!

Cover Reveal & Giveaway: Love & Other Theories by Alexis Bass

If you want more, you have to give less.
That’s the secret to dating in high school. By giving as little as they expect to get in return, seventeen-year-old Aubrey Housing and her three best friends have made it to the second semester of their senior year heartbreak-free. And it’s all thanks to a few simple rules: don’t commit, don’t be needy, and don’t give away your heart.
So when smoking-hot Nathan Diggs transfers to Lincoln High, it shouldn’t be a big deal. At least that’s what Aubrey tells herself. But Nathan’s new-boy charm, his kindness, and his disarming honesty throw Aubrey off her game and put her in danger of breaking the most important rule of all: Don’t fall in love.

I seriously cannot wait to read this young adult debut by Alexis Bass! I'm really curious to see how Audrey's heartbreak-free year goes and Nathan sounds oh so swoon worthy! I've been wanting to read more realistic fiction and I think this is going to be perfect for that!

Also, how absolutely awesome is the cover?! I love the heart with all the pins in it, so perfect for the summary too!

Love and Other Theories will be out on December 31, 2014. 

Get to know Alexis Bass:

Alexis Bass grew up in Washington, went to college in Arizona, and spent her early twenties in Seattle. She currently lives in Northern California with Dylan McKay, her gorgeous and rambunctious golden retriever. She loves good fashion and good TV as much as a good book, and is a huge advocate of the three C’s: coffee, chocolate, and cheese. LOVE AND OTHER THEORIES is her first novel.

Be sure to check out Alexis' website: or Twitter: @alexisbasswrite

A big thank you to the author for hosting this awesome giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to add Love and Other Theories to your goodreads shelf!
You can also pre-order it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble too!

I was contacted by the author to help promote the cover reveal. I am not compensated in any way and all opinions expressed are my own. 

Dwight-like Memories

I was painting yesterday when a randomly happy memory from high school came back to me.

It was one of my freshman English classroom. We had a fairly young and extremely bubbly teacher who seriously had to drink like eight cups of coffee before coming to our class at 7:30 in the morning because honestly no one could possibly be that awake that early in the morning.

Anyway, she had a huge poster of Dwight Schrute’s face on the back wall. Every morning I’d stumble into class half asleep and be met with Dwight’s hilariously intense look.

I couldn't find the exact poster, but this is kind of close. The one from the classroom had one half with a close up of his face and the other half was the Dwight poem from above.

Back then, I didn’t watch the television show, The Office, so I didn’t fully understand how awesome her design choice was at the time. I’m pretty sure if this was present day I would have laughed my head off the first time I saw it. I mean come on, a giant poster of Dwight’s face with a freaking acrostic poem in the back of a classroom!? That’s amazing!

I probably can laugh at this now because I’m out of the whole ‘high school situation’, but at the time I feel like all I could focus on was all the bad things that high school had to offer me. Yeah, the majority of my memories of school are totally horrible, but this Dwight memory kicks ass.

I really want to challenge myself to think of some more good memories. I know it will be difficult considering I’ve taken up so much space in my head with the bad stuff, but maybe I can replace them with more fun, Dwight-like memories.

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Borrowed from library.
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Published: August 7, 2012
Series: Throne of Glass #1
Amazon - Goodreads

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king's council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she'll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she's bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her... but it's the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead... quickly followed by another.

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

I heard about this series through various BookTubers and when I saw it at my local library I couldn't resist picking it up. It took me quite a few chapters to really get invested in the story and for it to capture me, but once it got my attention it seriously didn't let go! 

Celaena is was a badass assassin and everyone knows of her literally killer skills. before she was captured and punished to work in the Salt Mines. The story starts off with Celaena being asked if she'd like to take part in a competition in order to become the King's Assassin, which means she would escape the Salt Mines and, in the future, earn her freedom. 

I loved how Celaena's past slowly unfolded as the story progressed, you don't get to know her completely all at once, which I thought was pretty awesome. Like I mentioned above, she's a total badass. She's witty, independent and well can kill a man with her bare hands, intense huh?

There's, of course, two guys vying for her attention: The Crown Prince, Dorian, and The Captain of the Guard, Chaol, both equally swoon-worthy and loyal. However, I really found Celaena and the plot to be the stand outs from this story. Maas' story telling skills are amazing, I loved the mixture of magic and legends along with Celaena training for the competition. 

There's only the two books that have been released in the Throne of Glass series, but according to goodreads there will be six books in the series. I can already tell it's going to be difficult having to wait for the future release dates, I'm addicted! I'm not really a fan of the covers, the new or old ones, but if you're like me, don't let that discourage you from picking it up!

I can't remember the last time I read a fantasy novel, but I'm really happy this was the book that brought me back into the genre. It's the perfect combination of mystery, strong female characters, swoon-worthy boys and an incredible plot. I've already gone back to my library to pick up book number two, Crown of Midnight, and am already saving up to add them to my own bookshelves!  Throne of Glass is one killer book that I couldn't help but love!

Katie Gardens

Every Summer that I can remember I have wanted to start a garden. 
I even remember one Summer when my parents asked me if I wanted a bigger blow-up-pool or if I wanted a little garden. Of course, being the nature-loving kid that I was, I said garden!

It's an ongoing joke in our house that our genes lack the green thumb characteristic. 
I mean I remember planting flowers with my parents when I was younger and then watering them a couple times, but then I remember them dying by the time July rolled around. 

So trying to forget about our anti-green thumbs, a few years ago my parents and I made a flower bed in our backyard and planted orange lily's and a tomato plant. The tomato plant died, but the lily's have come back every year since! Other than the terrible fate of the tomato plant, I haven't really given a go at trying to grow vegetables. 

This year I decided to start a small vegetable garden!
Key word being small, but I feel like with only four plants I can learn and focus more on each of them; like their growing habits and you know, keeping them alive and all. 

About two weeks ago my mom and I went to our local gardening center to pick up some plants! 
I know I wanted to grow raspberries and strawberries (for smoothies!) and then I thought I'd try two different kinds of peppers and randomly picked up a thing of broccoli too, because why not?

I decided to list the names of the plant and the brand/company that they're from. That way incase I lose the tag later on and like/ didn't like how they grew I'll be able to remember for next year and of course in case you guys want to get in on the gardening bug too!
 I bought them all from my local gardening place, but I'll list the title and name from the tags below! 

I forgot to take a picture of my strawberries (their in a hanging pot and are just leaves at the moment) but they're called Chef Jeff's Strawberry: 'Everbearing Berries Galore."

Here are my peppers! 
There's two different types in the pot: a Sweet Pepper (Costa Rican Sweet Hybrid) and a Cajun Belle Pepper. (Both I think are from 'Burpee'.) Now, I'm not quite sure which one is which. I gave my memory too much credit at remembering which side I planted what on! I think the Cajun Belle is on the right, but that's only like 22% sure on that so I have a feeling it'll just be a surprise later this Summer once they grow more! 

Do you see that little-bitty green blob there?! 
Yeah, I grew that and I'm so proud! ;) 

Now onto the raspberries! 
They're from a brand called Brazel Berries and it's a dwarf thornless bush-thing called Raspberry Shortcake or it's fancy name rubus idaeus. (Which kind of reminded me of Rubeus Hagrid, but I'm assuming that this won't sprout giant and friendly groundskeepers..)

When I was little, my best friend's mom grew raspberries in their backyard. I remember stepping on the hot stones and the squish of mud under my toes just trying to get a handful of the fresh goodness! I'm so excited to be creating more memories with these little plants! 

It also has the most beautiful leaves with reddish-brown stripes! 
Now, I'm not sure if this is good or if it means it's dying or something, but it seems to be doing okay! 

Here's the Broccoli Packman also from Burpee!
If I'm being honest, I think I'm killing the poor thing. I don't think the cute flowered pot from Michael's is going to save it. It keeps getting more brown everyday. I think it needs to be in a bigger pot and that I need to do some research on how not to kill it. 

My mom and I saw this and knew we had to buy it! 
It's different kinds of lettuce planted in a colander that you just cut off, clean and eat. This photo was after I'd taken some off for a mini salad (ah! I actually grew something and ate it!) but I can see it growing back so quickly, like within two days there's a huge difference. 
It's called Chef Jeff's Lettuce Bowl: Snip 'N' Go. 
I really like it and I feel like I have a good chance at not killing it! Woo!

These two beauties are the newest addition to my plant-family as of Sunday! 
It all started with finding that adorable table on sale at Michael's for ten dollars and the bright yellow tin for something like two dollars! 
So we went to Home Depot and picked up seriously the coolest flowers/plants I've ever seen! 

These cuties are called Betty Whites, seriously how awesome is that?! I love how it has the white flowers, but it still has a vine-like feel to it with how the stems are traveling off the pot. 
We had this terra-cotta pot already at home. I'm thinking about spicing it up with some paint, but I do like how it looks with the white flowers, so I'll have to see! 

If you know me, you know I love pink! I saw these and immediately knew we had to get them! 
It's called (another super awesome name) the Polka Dot Plant
I love it's dark green and pink leaves and how it pops off the orange table! 

So far I'm loving spending my evenings watering my plants and am looking forward to harvesting some goodies later on this Summer! I'm thinking about buying another flower-type plant to add by the others, but first I want to make sure the ones I have are doing well.

I'm thinking about doing a monthly update on the blog about how my gardening adventure is going. I'm kind of already documenting it on my instagram if you want to check that out too! 

So, I want to know, do you grow anything? 
Also, if anyone has any tips at how to keep these guys alive, I'd love to hear them!

The Lowdown: The Selection Trilogy by Kiera Cass

Ever want to know just the quick, simple details of a book? The Lowdown is just that: just the gist, just an overview. Let me know in the comments if you'd like to join in on The Lowdown fun! If so, I'll create a linky for next week's Lowdown!

Series and Author: 
The Selection Trilogy by Kiera Cass

Books in Series: 

(from goodreads)
"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."


Point of View: 
First person (America)

Illea: A future America that's run by a monarchy.

3 Words/Phrases to Describe the the Book: 
Regal. Relatable. Romantic.

Main Character: 


Top Supporting Characters:
The girls of the Selection
America's maids

The Rebels
The Competition; both the girls and the situation as a whole.
(and someone else, but I don't want to spoil it!)

The Lowdown: 
The Selection Trilogy was close to impossible to put down. I read one book after the other and just got completely sucked into America's world. Before I started reading, I heard the books described as a mixture of The Bachelor and The Hunger Games; after reading them I kind of have to agree. Even though it didn't feel like something completely new, I still really enjoyed the dystopian world that America lived in and adored the unique supporting characters.

I loved that the competition took place in a castle and that their was that air of royal-ness to it all. I was surprised the process of the Selection took place throughout all three of the books. Sometimes I felt like the same problems were continually revisited when it could just be solved if they would just talk to each other! If you're a fan of  romantic-like dystopians, swoon worthy guys and strong female characters then I'd definitely recommend Kiera Cass' trilogy! I found it seriously addicting and know it's something I'll be rereading again!