Ministry of Magic – Books n Beyond Box unboxing

Hola ! I’m so sorry for taking my blog for granted. I got slammed with too much work and I couldn’t read even a single book in May. I have pending e-galley reviews and book box unboxing posts. This one in particular is the Harry Potter special edition – Ministry of Magic box from BooksnBeyond Box. You might have come across their name in my list of Indian subscription boxes.

So the bookings for this box was opened in February and I jumped right in after seeing the words ‘Harry Potter’. There was so much suspense and sneak peaks given for this amazing box that it drove everyone CRAZY!!

So first things first was the Sorting Hat email that was sent out to all subscribers. We were at a liberty to choose the House we wanted and i chose Gryffindor.

The box promptly arrived in Mid May as promised and in came a world of magic n surprises.

The first thing that bowled me over was the – Acceptance Letter from Hogwarts… signed by Prof. Minerva McGonagall. It was a detailed letter printed on beautiful vintage paper giving it even more rustic look. The next thing that surprised my husband was the magic wand from Blithering Cannon. I was equally stunned after seeing the Gryffindor fact sheet and the customized House Notebook in addition to my first mini FUNKO POP!!!!!. There was a time turner pendant as well which was the most difficult thing for me to capture in a pic 😛

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Hermione’s Time Turner 

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Acceptance letter

The entire box contents are as follows :

  1. Customized Hogwarts acceptance letter detailing the things that we need to get before school starts.
  2. Hermione’s Time turner pendant
  3. Magic wand (pencil) from Blithering Cannon
  4. Mini Harry Potter FUNKO POP keychain
  5. Customized Harry Potter quote mugIMG_4212
  6. Gryffindor House facts card and customized House notebook
  7. Customized Map of Marauder/HP quote (double sided) bookmark
  8. Customized Daily Prophet bookmark
  9. One way ticket from Platform 9 3/4
  10. Diary Milk Lickables
  11. BOTM – Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

 

Suffice to say, Books n Beyond Box did justice to the theme and the cost of the box. I totally recommend this book subscription service for Indian bibliophiles.

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THE LIBRARIAN Cover Reveal & GIVEAWAY (US only)

Today Christy Sloat and Rockstar Book Tours are revealing the cover for THE LIBRARIAN, which releases June 17, 2017!
Check out the gorgeous cover and enter to win some awesome swag!

On to the reveal!

 

Title: THE
LIBRARIAN
Author: Christy Sloat
Pub. Date: June 17, 2017
Publisher: CHBB Publishing
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 230
Find it: Goodreads
He’s from 1892 England, she’s in a small library in 2017. And that’s just the start of
their troubles.
Emme never meant to stay in Maine. She’d come only to find a librarian for her Gram’s library, a custodian for the collection of mysterious books she’d promised to protect. On a dark, wintery night, alone in the library, she takes her first glance into one of the antique
novels and finds herself transported to 1892 England staring into the eyes of handsome and dashing hero Jack Ridgewell. As each chapter passes she learns you can truly fall in love with a character in a book, that book boyfriends are real and Emme must choose between the real world, and his.
When the last page is read he’s gone and Emme feels the cold loneliness of lost love. Will she find Jack again, or will their love be forever lost? The answer lies within the pages…
 ANNNNDDDDDD!!!!!
Exclusive Excerpt!
The Librarian excerpt
© Christy Sloat
I bent down on my hands and knees and felt along the floor hoping not to touch anything gross. My hands grazed something odd. I felt along its edges. It was hard and didn’t seem to belong there. Now my curiosity had me crouching in the dark trying to figure out what
this was. Finally I found the flashlight and clicked it on. Focusing the light, I saw the odd thing sticking up like a broken piano key. It was a floorboard upended. I pushed it to get it back into place, but all that did was make it fly up further and then completely out of the floor.
 
“Well, that’s just great,” I told myself.
I was here in the dark talking to myself. I dared to take a look into the floor, hoping not to find a rat family living inside or a web housing a large spider. I did find something, but it wasn’t sinister; it was a set of books in a case covered in plastic wrap. Reaching
in, I pulled them out. The dust on it was at least three inches thick. This must be the special book collection Gram told me to read and to keep safe. Anything that was precious to her, she hid—like the money I found pinned to her clothing in her closet, or the other jewelry she had taped to the back of her dresser.
 
I brushed the dust off and opened the plastic to find four books inside. They were pretty good in size and looked to be in great condition. They didn’t have traditional covers that you’d see in a bookstore. Instead they were covered in a thick material to keep the books
clean and the binding solid. I pulled the first book from the case and placed the others back into the hole. Covering it back with the loose board was easier than taking it out. I held the book close, and instead of going upstairs I went to my book nook. I had just washed the blankets the day before. Cozied up in the nook, I stared out the window one last time before opening the book. I decided I would only read for a little while before going up to bed. Gram did want me to read them after all.
I opened the first page to the title page; it was blank. I flipped the page and snuggled deeper into the blankets preparing to read the first chapter and that’s when things changed. 
About Christy: 
I am Southern California native, now living in New Jersey! How did that happen? I am married and
have  two beautiful little girls who love to read just like Mommy. I have had a passion for books since I was a little girl and an imagination for just as long. I hope my books can inspire others to read and to write too.
Website | Twitter | Facebook| Instagram | Goodreads
Giveaway Details:

5 winners will receive a THE LIBRARIAN Magnet, US Only. Please click on the link below to enter the giveway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Waiting on Wednesdays

I cant stop waiting !! One part of the world has already got its hands on their copy of ACOWAR!. Mine is coming in this month’s Story Trunk book subscription box and since its India, there is always delay from books being released by publishers :/

ACOWAR – Book Blurb

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series. A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.

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Also I had pre-ordered a copy of Windfall by Jennifer E.Smith in March !!! I tracked the order today in Amazon only to find that the release (here) has been postponed to May 17th .

Windfall Book blurb

Alice doesn’t believe in luck—at least, not the good kind. But she does believe in love, and for some time now, she’s been pining for her best friend, Teddy. On his eighteenth birthday—just when it seems they might be on the brink of something—she buys him a lottery ticket on a lark. To their astonishment, he wins $140 million, and in an instant, everything changes.

At first, it seems like a dream come true, especially since the two of them are no strangers to misfortune. As a kid, Alice won the worst kind of lottery possible when her parents died just over a year apart from each other. And Teddy’s father abandoned his family not long after that, leaving them to grapple with his gambling debts. Through it all, Teddy and Alice have leaned on each other. But now, as they negotiate the ripple effects of Teddy’s newfound wealth, a gulf opens between them. And soon, the money starts to feel like more of a curse than a windfall.

As they try to find their way back to each other, Alice learns more about herself than she ever could have imagined . . . and about the unexpected ways in which luck and love sometimes intersect.

Hopefully, these two beauties will be in my hands by next Wednesday ! What books are you waiting for this week?

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The Boy is Back – Book Review

Author : Meg Cabot

Publishers : William Morrow Paperbacks (HarperCollins)

Pub Date : 18 Oct 2016

Source: Purchased online from Amazon.in

Get the book from Amazon.in, Amazon.com.

Book blurb:

Reed Stewart thought he’d left all his small-town troubles—including a broken heartThe Boy Is Back (Boy, #4)—behind when he ditched tiny Bloomville, Indiana, ten years ago to become rich and famous on the professional golf circuit.  Then one tiny post on the Internet causes all of those troubles to return . . . with a vengeance.
Becky Flowers has worked hard to build her successful senior-relocation business, but she’s worked even harder to forget Reed Stewart ever existed. She has absolutely no intention of seeing him when he returns—until his family hires her to save his parents.

Now Reed and Becky can’t avoid one another—or the memories of that one fateful night. And soon everything they thought they knew about themselves (and each other) has been turned upside down, and they—and the entire town of Bloomville—might never be the same, all because The Boy Is Back.

My thoughts:

This book is the last of the Boy series by Meg Cabot although you can read it as a standalone. This is about Becky Flowers and Reed Stewart who dated during high school but after a small ‘incident’ involving his father’s golf truck on his prom night and cops , Reed leaves Bloomville without another word to his girlfriend and never returns. Fate however has a different plan now that after ten years he is ‘forced’ to revisit the place. Becky is now a strong independent woman leading her father’s business to success and is somewhat grateful for a boyfriend who has a ‘cheese and wine’ boutique in town!

Things get interesting when Reed and Becky’s lives are intersecting again. This isn’t a new story line but what is new and makes the book sooo interesting is the fact that it is told entirely through text messages, emails and newspaper articles. Yes, the plot is pretty much predictable but try telling a story through texts, at the same time introducing many characters, but still keeping the readers engaged.

Its the return of the Meg Cabot that i loved and worshipped !! 😛 I was so taken aback after reading the finale of Princess Diaries – Royal Wedding. But this book !! Its everything i love about Meg Cabot’s writing style, the funny narration and lovable characters.

I so loved Marshal and Carly Stewart, Reed’s brother and sis-in-law. These people are couple goals, really! Not the dying for each other love, but typical tom-and-jerry bickering but all the same loving and being funny couple.

I’ve always wondered how difficult it is to write a novel in epistolary format and this book just does it with texts and emails and you get the complete picture without big descriptions and paragraphs.

And there’s one too many Jane Austen references and quotes 😉

Fans of chick-lit, Meg Cabot, Sophie Kinsella.. this book will not disappoint you!

I give 4/5 stars 🙂

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Court of Lions – Book Review

Author : Jane Johnson

Publishers : Head of Zeus

Pub Date : May 2017/July 2017

Source: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. (Thank you!)

Get the book from Amazon

Book Blurb

Sometimes at the lowest points in your life, fate will gift you chance. A golden thread of love links the fifteenth and twenty-first centuries.

Kate Fordham, escaping terrible trauma, has fled to the beautiful sunlit city of Granada, the ancient capital of the Moors in Spain, where she is scraping by with an unfulfilling job in a busy bar. One day in the glorious gardens of the Alhambra, once home to Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, also known as Boabdil, Kate finds a scrap of paper hidden in one of the ancient walls. Upon it, in strange symbols, has been inscribed a message from another age. It has lain undiscovered since before the Fall of Granada in 1492, when the city was surrendered to Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand. Born of love, in a time of danger and desperation, the fragment will be the catalyst that changes Kate’s life forever.

An epic saga of romance and redemption, Court of Lions brings one of the great turning-points in history to life, telling the stories of a modern woman and the last Moorish sultan of Granada, as they both move towards their cataclysmic destinies.

My thoughts:

This is almost 500 pages and was a very long read for me as I had to shuffle between reading time and work. I finally finished it after a week 🙂

The story is about Kate Fordham, who has a disastrous past and flies away from it to the Province of Granada. She is broken, thanks to her past, and she just manages to survive in a foreign country living each day in guilt and fear. She finds solace in the gardens of Alhambra and one day when she takes a stroll, she finds this note hidden in the walls. She is intrigued by it and in an attempt to find what the note actually means, she meets new people and finds friendship and finally the courage to let someone else in her life.

There is also a parallel narration, from the point of view of Blessings, the (fictional) royal companion of Sultan Abu Abdullah Mohammed, the last Nasrid ruler of Granada (Also called as Momo by Blessings) . This narration explains the unrequited love that Blessings had for Momo, the war that led to the fall of the Nasrid dynasty and the Spanish Inquisition. This was quite tough to follow, because of various historical references and me not being very good at World history.

Kate’s part was easy to follow and I was expecting something more along the lines of the ‘note’ she finds. Blessings’ narration was little difficult and I was confused from the beginning whether its a girl or a boy. So this was explained towards the end of the book and that made sense. I liked the way the chapters were set, one suspense from Kate and the next chapter begins with Blessings narration or the vice versa.

There was so much love in the eyes of Blessings for Momo, even though the Sultan loved his royal companion, it was clearly a ‘Friend Zoned’ relationship.

All those religious wars.. 😦 I hate to think about it and this suppression/oppression makes me stand with Momo who loves nothing but peace for his people and decides to give up everything for them. And this is still happening!! One day everything is peaceful and next day they are gassing or bombing people. 😦

Moors and Hews and Castilians mingling in souks and markets to buy and sell and exchange news and gossip. Until, of course, the ambitions of the powerful set one against the other.

The author’s note explained why she had written this book around the Sultan. History has it that the Sultan wept after giving away the keys of his Kingdom to King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. But this is debated as a story made up, and so the author decided to give the story from his closest ally’s point of view recounting the events that led to the fall of his kingdom. A chance to celebrate him, for what he truly is.

It was beautifully detailed and leaves you with so much pain. I wasn’t that much hooked to Kate’s life and how the story progresses there.

And hey, Christopher Columbus makes guest appearance 😉

I give 4/5 stars. A tragic historical fiction with a little suspense.

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Incriminating Dating – Book Review

Author: Rebekah L.Purdy

Publishers : Entangled Publishing

Pub date: 10 Apr 2017

Source: I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blurb :

Ayla Hawkins is ready to stand up for change in her high school. But winning the election for class president against popular Jenna Lee will be impossible without a miracle.

When she stumbles upon Mr. Perfect Luke Pressler defacing public property and catches it on camera: cue miracle. Ayla’s got the dirt she needs to get Luke on Team Ayla—in the form of her new fake boyfriend.

One mistake. All Luke wanted was a night to goof off, to blow off steam. The pressure of maintaining the perfect facade when his reality was crumbling around him had become too much, and next thing he knew, he was pretending to date Ayla Hawkins. But his little blackmailer turns out to be kind. Honorable. Opinionated. And just the breath of fresh air he didn’t even realize he was suffocating for. But Luke and Ayla come from different worlds, and once the election is over, their fauxmance will be, too.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book features adult language, sexual situations, and plenty of girl power. Reading may result in swooning, laughing, and looking for a Luke of your own.

Okay, the story is simple and it follows the standard formula – Geek blackmails Jock -Fake Relationship – Falling for each other -Some twist – All is well that ends well.

The author has followed the formula to the T.

So about the characters – Ayla Hawkins – a geek who runs the school paper as well as a main part of drama club is outraged that the school has cut off funds to art clubs and instead increases funding to sports. She comes off like a geek-rebel but she keeps saying she is just a bystander who normally doesn’t talk much. She says she hates the rich families and their kids who act like everything is under their disposal, but she isn’t poor, mind you! She has tree (boat?!) house that looks bigger than Luke Pressler’s house. So I found it hard connecting to her.

Luke Pressler – popular jock, putting up a pretense in school that he is still rich and lives in big mansions. But inside he is raging and trying to cool off his hatred towards his dad for forsaking them, and in a moment of rage vandalizes public property. But otherwise, he is responsible big brother to Landon, takes care of him and helps his mom in paying bills.

The fauxmance turning to romance is predictable but I did enjoy it. All through the book, I was waiting for the video to go into the wrong hands. Because, duh the formula!

I’m being honest here and will list out the things that I liked and disliked.

  • I liked that Ayla stood for many causes but resorting to blackmail was beneath her. Like she should have just asked Luke to help with her campaign , why particularly to be a boyfriend.
  • There’s a confusion to most of the characters – Luke’s mom is first portrayed differently, so I’m not able to digest how things turn out eventually.
  • The number of times the characters repeat something about themselves. Like Luke, stressing so many times that he is paying the bills or how Ayla stresses multiple times about jocks and all popular kids being judgmental jerks. Or Jack and Jenna’s “you’re going down!”
  • I liked that Ayla was curvy and was confident about her appearance, and doesn’t mind stuffing herself with pizza.
  • I loved Landon ❤
  • Andddd, i loved the book cover !! I usually like headless couples on the cover of a book ❤ 😛

I’ve read other Entangled Teen Crush books that have a similar story, but if you haven’t read any of them, you can give this a try, because its cute, high-school romance with some swooning. My rating is 3/5.

Buy the book from Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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The Last thing you said – Book review

Author : Sara Biren

Publisher : Abrams Kids

Pub Date : 04 Apr 2017

Source : I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blurb

Last summer, Lucy’s and Ben’s lives changed in an instant.

One moment, they were shyly flirting on a lake raft, finally about to admit their feelings to each other after years of yearning. In the next, Trixie—Lucy’s best friend and Ben’s sister—was gone, her heart giving out during a routine swim. And just like that, the idyllic world they knew turned upside down, and the would-be couple drifted apart, swallowed up by their grief. Now it’s a year later in their small lake town, and as the anniversary of Trixie’s death looms, Lucy and Ben’s undeniable connection pulls them back together. They can’t change what happened the day they lost Trixie, but the summer might finally bring them closer to healing—and to each other.

My thoughts :

This book by debut author Sarah Biren is about loss of a loved one, the grief that follows and the toll it takes on relationships. It is narrated in alternate point of views – Lucy and Ben’s. The author adds a note to readers at the beginning of the book, that it is meant for anyone who has suffered loss. 😦

Trixie and Lucy are best friends right from their kindergarten days and are glued to each other. At the age of 12, Lucy realizes that she has a crush on Ben, Trixie’s brother and when she blurts it out to her best friend, she is surprised by the fact that Trixie is overjoyed that one day they will be married and the two of them will become sisters. For the next three years, she silently yearns for Ben while he shifts from one girl to another. The summer which changes her life, the summer where Trixie decides to bid goodbye to them forerver, is the summer Ben starts falling for Lucy. Minutes before his sister’s death, he is about to ask Lulu to be his girlfriend when Lucy’s brother Clayton cries for help and interrupts his question. While both Lucy and Ben grieve for Trixie, Ben kisses her just after the funeral, which turns Lucy into a fireball of emotions and pushes him off. Ben is ashamed of what he did and guilt takes over him that makes him react in the stupidest way possible. He blames Lucy for Trixie’s death. That he couldn’t save his sister, because he was distracted by Lucy.. Total douche bag move!

Fast forward to the present, its been one year since Trixie’s funeral and Ben and Lucy are not talking to each other, let alone be in a relationship. Both the families are trying to recover from the loss of the loved one – Trixie’s mom takes up gardening and keeping herself busy, her dad ends up drinking while Ben turns cold, insensitive, alcoholic and angry, round the year. The summer after her death, Lucy is still trying to get over her first love and her neighbor’s summer renter Simon turns to be a distraction. Only when something is lost we do realize its worth and Ben soon finds himself jealous of Simon and though he wants Lulu back he is not helping it because of his dumb moves. He couldnt save Trixie, but could he save himself from getting deep into trouble and winning back Lucy’s love?

This book is a totally an emotional journey through loss and broken relationships. I have lost my best friend too, not to death but to circumstances and I can imagine how much it would hurt when he/she is no more. But I did not like that their lives are still stuck with the past summer and that 80% of the book is about grieving. I mean, i think that okay, this is the point he is going to make up for his behavior, but no ! again he goes  and breaks her heart.

Though the book is about how Lucy is unable to get over Trixie’s death,  she is atleast trying to live. She tries to be a rebel, sneaks out and goes to the rodeo with Hannah and Simon. For this, she turns out to be my favorite character in the book. You mourn with her, you ache along with her, you feel her…

The book reminded me a little of Twenty Boy Summer, by Sarah Ockler. Sea glasses in that book, while it was agates in here. Both books are about the grief caused by the death of an important character.

Be really brave, Lulu..

Sadly, i do not have a quote that i like from this book, even though there’s so much stress on the Book of Quotes that Trixie and Lulu have. I’m not sure whether I will re-read it because its little sad, tragic and emotional, but definitely recommend anyone going through the final stages of mourning a lost love to read this. My rating is 4/5.

You can get this book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble

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