Where’s My Bookmark? Best Books Of 2016

Today’s post is inspired by the Broke and the Bookish‘ Top Ten Tuesday prompt. For more info, be sure to check out their blog.

It’s the final week and the final Top Ten Tuesday of 2016. This year was a whirlwind and I can’t believe we’ll be ringing in the new year so soon. I’ve read around 80+ books this year and have had my share of good and not so good reads. I shared an end of the year wrap-up last week where I shared some books I liked, some posts I liked the best, and what I’m looking forward to in 2017.

Today, I’ll be sharing some of the best books I read this year.

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Holiday Gift Guide: Shops & Creatives

Disclaimer: This is not sponsored and there are no affiliate links contained in this post. I just really like these stores and hope I’ve inspired you to check them out. 

Today’s post is inspired by the Broke and the Bookish‘ Top Ten Tuesday prompt. For more info, be sure to check out their blog.

Happy Tuesday! Today’s post will hopefully be the first in a series of Holiday Gift Guides, because I’m oh so great at recommending gifts (I’m not, but I try).

This week, I wanted to highlight some shops and creative people to consider for your holiday (and everyday life) shopping. This way, not only will you be supporting small businesses, but you’re also buying super bookish content.

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Novel Reveries // Etsy

My first recommendation is definitely Deneé from Novel Reveries. All her items are handmade, so each item is unique. She makes bracelets, necklaces, rings, and charms. Custom tablet pillows. You name it, she can probably do it. I have my eye on these bracelets (link, link).

Books & Cupcakes // Redbubble

A familiar sight on booklr, their Redbubble shop is filled with bookish content including the option of ordering mugs, home decor & prints, stickers, apparel, and notebooks and more.

Mason’s Bookish Funkos // Etsy

The most custom of custom items, Mason (The Amazing Bookshelf) creates and sells custom Funko figures to quench our bookish and fandom needs. Be sure to check out their shop and contact them if you have a figure in mind.

Olivia – Bookdragon // Redbubble & Stories for Coffee // Etsy

Lovely Olivia has two places for you to shop. Her Redbubble and Etsy stores have different items and both worth checking out. I recently bought a ton of stickers from her Redbubble store for my new reading journal.

Evie Seo // Redbubble // Society 6

It felt weird not including Evie Seo in this guide. Although I haven’t shopped at her stores personally, her designs are incredible and worth sharing (and more). She has bookish and book inspired merch, but also has Disney and original designs as well. Look at this one, it’s to die for!

Stores to Consider: 

I wanted to highlight small businesses and the creatives that are in our own bookish community. But I know that sometimes, it might be harder to purchase through those means. It’s totally okay and reasonable to hit up corporate. But, I’d also ask to hit up some indie shops, you’ll never know what you’ll find.

  • Local Indie Stores: Whether it’s a bookstore, farmer’s market, or other local small businesses, take a gander inside, you’ll never know what kind of hidden treasures you’ll find.
  • Barnes & Noble: The ultimate destination for book-lovers and non-book-lovers. There’s something for everyone here.
  • Amazon: It’s okay! It’s easier on the wallet and if you’re like me (and you’re crying every month at the sight of your student loan bill), by all means use this resource to make sure you’re still financially in the clear.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to check out some of these shops. If you have your own shop (through Redbubble, Society 6, Etsy, etc) and would like to be featured here or on a future post (I’m considering writing up a new one) send me a link to your shop via Twitter!

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Ten of My All-Time Favorite Movies

Today’s post is inspired by the Broke and the Bookish‘ Top Ten Tuesday prompt. For more info, be sure to check out their blog.

I love stories. I also love the various ways in which stories are told. One of my favorite modes of storytelling are movies.

I love this week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt because it allows me to share a little bit more about myself. So, let’s get to it!

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Number 1 on my list is – Mulan (Disney, 1998)

It has great voice actors, great musical numbers, and the animation and lines are seamless, and beautiful.

Lilo & Stitch (Disney, 2002)

The position for number 1 fluctuates week by week, but it’s usually Mulan or Lilo & Stitch that vy for the top spot of ALL TIME FAVORITE. There are a lot of reasons why I love this movie. It’s one of Disney’s most original feature-length film, it’s well researched and has musical numbers in Hawaiian and infuses Hawaiian culture. Sisters! Aliens! Plus, it’s not a conventional love story. It’s all about family.

The Land Before Time (Universal Studios, 1998)

This was my favorite movie as a kid. I rewatched it with the nieces a few weeks ago and it totally broke my heart. The Land Before Time is probably one of the reasons why I love animation and animated movies so much.

Princess Mononoke (Studio Ghibli, 1997)

I don’t know if Princess Mononoke gets as much recognition as maybe Spirited Away, but Princess Mononoke ranks as my top favorite movie and animated movie (honestly at this point that list is probably one and the same). It’s truly a fantastical story on the big screen. It does have a different tone compared to Ghibli’s other films, but I’d highly recommend if you want to venture into Japanese cinema and animation.

The Incredibles (Pixar, 2004)

Can anyone even name one film as their favorite Pixar film? It’s definitely hard. Mine fluctuate between this one, Finding Nemo, and Monsters Inc. It’s hard. But there’s no denying Pixar animation studios’ creativity in writing and their skills with 3D animation.

ParaNorman (Laika, 2012)

Don’t get me started on stop-motion animation. You’ve probably heard or seen some of Laika’s work. Coraline and The Corpse Bride are part of their filmography. ParaNorman is a great story. The lines are amazing. Also, I learned that 3D color printers were used for their faces and was the second stop-motion film to be shot in 3D. It also has the first openly gay character in a mainstream animated film. It’s a really good film all around.

Spirited Away (Studio Ghibli, 2001)

Spirited Away might be one of the best animated films of all time. Highly original, beautiful artwork, color palette, and background work. The story of a listless Chihiro, I’m sure is relatable to all of us. I feel as if this film is pretty universal.

Howl’s Moving Castle (Studio Ghibli, 2004)

I love this film’s art and I also like that it’s an adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones wonderful book by the same name. Is it the best adaptation? No, but it captures the character’s spirits well-enough and even imbues them with a new story.

Tangled (Disney, 2010)

Even though it’s based on the fairy tale, Rapunzel, Tangled is pretty original and it’s a great introduction to Disney’s own 3D animation. The songs are probably my favorite in any Disney film. Plus, Mandy Moore ❤

Pride & Prejudice (Focus Features, 2005)

There was too much animation in this list so I decided to include my favorite live-action film. I absolutely adore this adaptation of P&P and I just love this movie overall. Joe Wright’s direction and the cinematography is wonderful. The score really brings the whole movie together as well.

Other films I want to include are:

  • How to Train Your Dragon 1 & 2
  • Rise of the Guardians
  • Jurassic Park
  • I, Robot
  • Wolf Children

As you can tell, I have a thing for animated films. They are the best. They’re really my preferred format of film. Let me tell you, if the Harry Potter series were to ever get remade – hello, animated movies, please and thank you.

I know many of these films are from the last 20 years or so, but I do like a few 20th century films (Back to The Future to name one)…sort of.

What are some of your favorite films? Are some of them on the list?

Ten Books I Recently Added To My TBR

Today’s post is inspired by the Broke and the Bookish‘ Top Ten Tuesday prompt. For more info, be sure to check out their blog.

Over the last few years I haven’t been that eager to add books on my TBR (on Goodreads at least), mostly because I’m not able to get books as soon as I want to. I don’t buy books often either so my owned TBR isn’t that hard to tackle either.

Over the summer and into the fall though, I’ve been more open to add books onto my TBR and the thought of reading them makes me excited. So, here are the ten books (plus some extra mentions) that I recently added to my TBR.

Want by Cindy Pon // Goodreads

Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.

With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.

Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?

Saving Hamlet by Molly Booth // Goodreads 

Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.

One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.

It’s London, 1601, and with her awesome new pixie cut, everyone thinks Emma’s a boy–even Will Shakespeare himself. With no clue how to get home, Emma gamely plays her role as backstage assistant to the original production of Hamlet, learning a thing or two about the theater, and meeting an incredibly hot actor named Alex who finds Emma as intriguing as she finds him. But once Emma starts traveling back and forth through time, things get really confusing. Which boy is the one for her? In which reality does she belong? Will Lulu ever forgive her? And can she possibly save two disastrous productions of Hamlet before time runs out?

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers // Goodreads

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Ever The Hunted by Erin Summerill // Goodreads

Seventeen year-old Britta Flannery is at ease only in the woods with her dagger and bow. She spends her days tracking criminals alongside her father, the legendary bounty hunter for the King of Malam—that is, until her father is murdered. Now outcast and alone and having no rights to her father’s land or inheritance, she seeks refuge where she feels most safe: the Ever Woods. When Britta is caught poaching by the royal guard, instead of facing the noose she is offered a deal: her freedom in exchange for her father’s killer.

However, it’s not so simple.

The alleged killer is none other than Cohen McKay, her father’s former apprentice. The only friend she’s ever known. The boy she once loved who broke her heart. She must go on a dangerous quest in a world of warring kingdoms, mad kings, and dark magic to find the real killer. But Britta wields more power than she knows. And soon she will learn what has always made her different will make her a daunting and dangerous force.

The Blazing Star by Imani Josey // Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home.

Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder // Goodreads

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…

The Young Elites by Marie Lu // Goodreads 

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima // Goodreads

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana‘Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Something In Between by Melissa de la Cruz // Goodreads

Jasmine de los Santos has always done what’s expected of her. Pretty and popular, she’s studied hard, made her Filipino immigrant parents proud and is ready to reap the rewards in the form of a full college scholarship.

And then everything shatters. A national scholar award invitation compels her parents to reveal the truth: their visas expired years ago. Her entire family is illegal. That means no scholarships, maybe no college at all and the very real threat of deportation.

For the first time, Jasmine rebels, trying all those teen things she never had time for in the past. Even as she’s trying to make sense of her new world, it’s turned upside down by Royce Blakely, the charming son of a high-ranking congressman. Jasmine no longer has any idea where—or if—she fits into the American Dream. All she knows is that she’s not giving up. Because when the rules you lived by no longer apply, the only thing to do is make up your own.

How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez // Goodreads

Moving to Vermont after his parents split, Miguel has plenty to worry about! Tía Lola, his quirky, carismática, and maybe magical aunt makes his life even more unpredictable when she arrives from the Dominican Republic to help out his Mami. Like her stories for adults, Julia Alvarez’s first middle-grade book sparkles with magic as it illuminates a child’s experiences living in two cultures.

Extra Mentions:

  • Under a Painted Sky Stacey Lee // Goodreads
  • A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman // Goodreads
  • Obsidian & Blood by Aliette de Bodard // Goodreads
  • Summer of the Mariposas by Guadalupe Garcia McCall // Goodreads

Do you have any of these books on your radar? Also, I’ll add photos and maybe reasons why they’re on my TBR soon, but it’s election night and my attention is divided between the TV, this post, and my NaNo project that I need to get back too.