December 6, 2015

The Sunday Mix (20)

It's roughly three weeks until we bid 2015 goodbye, and say hello to 2016. How. Crazy. Is. That. I honestly feel torn about it. I'm excited about the prospect of a fresh new year, and the chance to dream bigger, work harder, do more and be better. But I've also had a pretty epic year and it makes it hard to let go. Still, time will move with or without my consent, and so I suppose, I've just got to accept it. Anyway... I've been enjoying prepping for the holiday season! We have a real tree for the first time in years, we've rearranged our living room (a post on the new arrangement to come) and it's been fun wrapping up gifts. Hope everyone else is enjoying the preparations and festivity of the holiday season!

  • Perfect responses to many of life's problems can be found in Harry Potter books. I'm particularly fond of the one about waking up early in the morning; it really is the sink or swim moment of the day for me, and now I'm going to think of this quote and battle on.
  • Ready to do some Christmas shopping? Signed up to be part of #TBTBSanta or #OTSPSecretSister and need some bookish presents? Here are a few gift guides:
  • If you want a more literary take on bookish gifts, why not check out this interesting infographic? It features a lot of memorable presents included in literature. Who could forget Peeta giving Katniss a loaf of bread? Or Dobby receiving a sock? Or Charlie and his chocolate bar?
  • Dahlia Adler puts together a list of recommendations for the Sweet Valley gang. My personal favorite is the Lila Fowler / Firecracker one, just because (a) I always found Lila fascinating and (b) I now want to read Firecracker. What's your favorite? (And who was your favorite Sweet Valley character? I was always an Elizabeth girl.)
  • Jamie has released the 6th Annual End of Year Survey! I'm a little obsessed with filling this survey out, just so I can talk about all the books I fell in love with during the year. You should all check it out and start filling it in for your blogs too!
  • Briana shares five reasons to read middle grade, and I have to say, I appreciate her logic. I do love indulging in middle grade reads now and again. They're a great change of pace, and the stories are always charming and smart.
  • Estelle shares the ten movies you must watch this December. I love her list! I'm particularly fond of Love Actually (which I watch multiple times a year, because why the hell shouldn't I?) and Serendipity (which I watch just about every Christmas). What are your favorite holiday films?
  • There are two days left (including today) to vote for your favorite book covers! Cee has done a bang-up job of putting these posts together, and you should definitely see what books made it into the finals. I know who I'm hoping will win!
  • Hannah talks about how she's recovering from a blogging slump. Her tips are such great ways to jumpstart your blog or blogging habits, and I really think I'm going to be taking some of them to heart, particularly as the new year comes.
  • Are you ready to sign up for some 2016 reading challenges? Here are a few that I've heard of:
  • I'm a big fan of Jen's 'Tis the Season: Authors Talk Holidays feature! Authors share their feelings towards Christmas, traditions they have or their own memories, and it's lovely. It's always a wonderful way for me to feel connected to authors, and to celebrate even more holiday spirit - from different perspectives!
  • Josephine wonders if you really need a DSLR for book photography. While I occasionally borrow my sister's camera to take blog photos, majority of the photos I share with you guys are taken via my iPhone 5S. It's actually pretty decent quality, and I've always been happy with it!
  • Cassie gives advice on how to avoid overspending this holiday season. I'm very guilty of buying lots of presents for the people I love. I can't seem to help myself! I definitely plan to keep Cassie's post bookmarked so I don't overspend next year.
  • Grace and a few of her friends from Lit Up Review actually started an entire conversation revolving around #RealYA. I thought it was so fascinating to see all these different teen experiences/memories flooding my Twitter timeline, and I think it was a great idea for them to really start discussing all these different things about actual young adults.
  • Are you a fan of the Grisha trilogy? You should check out Judith's Ruin & Rising wallpaper, because it's stunning. I love that she used the same font and colors as the actual book!
  • I hope you guys are going to nominate couples for the Shippy Awards! If you've been reading this blog for a while, you know I love a good ship. And Gillian putting together awards that celebrate those ships? YES. PLEASE.
  • It's really interesting to think about how social media has changed the way we read books. I love that I can now chat with my favorite authors about their stories, and that there's a platform for them to share their extra facts and tidbits about the story, the characters or the process.

gifted by Lena: The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

from St. Martin's Press: The Good Sister by Jamie Kain, Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Kain • from Penguin Random House: The Radiant Road by Katherine Catmull • from Signet: Blood Kiss by J.R. Ward

from my BFF: Uprooted (UK ed.) by Naomi Novik, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (UK adult ed.) by J.K. Rowling + London goodies • from my #OTSPSecretSister: Harry Potter Coloring Book + assorted Harry Potter goodies

I also received two different subscription boxes during the last two weeks, and I wanted to share my thoughts on both of them here. They're both lovely packages, as you can see, and hopefully, thoughts will help you decide if you want to subscribe to them yourself!

Illumicrate • My friend Daphne of Winged Reviews started up her own bookish subscription box, and I'm honored to be a part of the first batch of recipients. I love the bright yellow she used for the packaging design. Upon opening the box, I was pleased to discover a variety of goodies! I got a UK copy of Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin, a SkinnyHues bookmark, a Clockwork Princess Hunger Games necklace, a Raspberry Finch mirror, and a beautifully designed Harry Potter covers poster. I liked how the package was full of things I personally really like, and it makes me optimistic that I'd still get another package to love when I subscribe next! It's a little bit on the pricier side, especially because I'm in the US and it ships from the UK, but it is only a quarterly box.

Fandom of the Month Club Oh, man, I'm a fangirl through and through! Once I decide to become part of a fandom, I take it seriously. I don't wear jewelry a lot but almost all the pieces in constant rotation are fandom ones! This box is adorably tiny, and it included goodies inspired by The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and more since they were celebrating their one year anniversary. I love the variety of goodies, love the price point and definitely would stay subscribed to this one.


  1. Alexa hey long time no chat! Thank god for your wrap ups and mentioning other people's posts because I would have missed the 6th Annual EOY Survey! I just clicked through a bunch of those links and discovered some new blogs yay! I completely agree about not needing a DSLR for book photography. I really cannot be bothered taking my camera out every time, taking a bunch of photos and then uploading them via SD card. I use my phone camera and whatever goes on Instagram is the photo I use for my blog haha.
    I love Twitter for chatting to authors. People always seem so shocked when I talk about how I chat to authors and I'm like "nah just go on Twitter they're all on there"!
    The UK Uprooted is GORGEOUS. Have you read it yet? I wish I got the hardback.

  2. I'm also the type of person who goes all out when it comes to buying presents. I just love to spoil the people around me, but luckily I have a boyfriend who keeps me in check too :p I'm so excited for all the new reading challenges. I love starting with a clean slate, although it's scary how fast 2015 flew by.. It has been an epic year for me as well and I have a feeling 2016 is going to be even more epic! That edition from The snow queen and other tales is so gorgeous, it's on my wish list. I also like that edition from Uprooted, it was really hard to pick one. I want both, hehe. Harry Potter colouring book! The moment I wanted to order it here in The Netherlands, I found out it was sold out.. darn. Look at all those goodies, love it! :)

  3. Thank you for sharing my challenge!

    I joined Fandom of the Month club a few months ago, and I only got items for fandoms I wasn't really a part of, but seeing those Harry Potter goodies is making me reaaaally tempted to sign up again. *sigh* And I just love that HP coloring book. I bought it for myself and it's just been sitting there untouched because it's just. so. pretty. I don't want to mess it up with my terrible coloring skills.

    I used to be so starstruck by authors on twitter when I first joined the blogging community. But over the years, it's been so easy to just see them as normal people. Friends and family are always so interested in hearing about me talking to authors, though, it's hilarious. Like, nope, they're just regular people like us! Using twitter to chat with friends, just like us "normals."

  4. I'm so excited about the challenges I'm doing this year! Rock My TBR, Series, Debut, and Contemporary. :)
    I voted for the Shippy Awards yesterday - I'm excited to see who the finalists will be!
    I hope you enjoy your new reads, Alexa. :)


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