OwlCrate November 2019 unboxing/Through the Enchanted Forest

Hi everyone, I’m very excited to show you what I received from OwlCrate this month! I received my OwlCrate last night (such a pleasant surprise to find my package sitting by the door)!

There are spoilers in this post, but if you still would like to see what I received in my OwlCrate, feel free to keep scrolling!

–Spoiler Card for this month’s theme: Through the Enchanted Forest

–officially licensed throw blanket, designed by Bookmark’d Tattoos (artwork copyright Holly Black)
Quote on blanket is from The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
(this blanket is in my favorite color, Purple)!

–Planner Stickers created by Pipsticks
–Wooden ornament inspired by The Raven Boys. Designed by Juniper and Ivy Designs

–Metal tassel bookmark, inspired by Uprooted. Designed by Her Paper World
–Annual Reading Planner, designed by Blue Star Press
(I’m so happy to have a new planner to write down all of my recent reads)!

–Preview card for Diamond & Dawn, Book 2 in the Amber & Dusk series, by Lyra Selene
–Collectable enamel pin, designed by Four Seasons Fox

OwlCrate exclusive signed edition of Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw, along with a letter from the author!

These are all the wonderful items in my OwlCrate! I know that I’ll put all these items into good use!

Three Books I Meant to Read Last Year/Blogtober Day 12

Well, it’s time to look at the books I meant to read last year!

There are soooo many books that I wanted to read, but it either:

A) fell to the wayside, or

B) I fell in love with another book lol

Here are three books out of my TBR pile that I meant to get to last year, but never did!

‘Nevernight’ by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight is a story I hope to get around to reading soon! Everything I hear (about all three novels in the series) sounds thrilling. I recently got the Kindle edition for it, so that’s one more step to jumping in!

‘Twelfth Grade Kills’ by Z. Brewer

I’ve read all of the Vladimir Tod stories, except this one. Why? Your guess is as good as mine, since all the books are so good!

‘On the Meldon Plain’ by Pam Brondos

This is Book Two of the Fourline trilogy. Natalie is a struggling college student who agrees to assist a shopkeeper who is really a gatekeeper to a magical world called Fourline. Book One ended with so many questions unanswered, and I can’t wait to find out what’s next…if only I can finally pick it up and read it!

What are some books you meant to read last year, but haven’t? Feel free to share in the comments!

Note: I’m participating in The Library Looter and Anniek’s Blogtober Challenge.

February 9, 2019: ‘The Oyster Thief’ by Sonia Faruqi/A Review

‘The Oyster Thief’ is Sonia Faruqi’s debut novel concerning the value of marine life, and what could happen if huge corporations violate precious underwater commodities. It’s a story spoken through two main characters. Coralline, a young mermaid living in the underwater world of Meristem, who is engaged to be married. Izar Eridan is the son of Antares, head of Ocean Dominion, a corporation that seeks to destroy the ocean’s beloved coral reefs and precious marine life. Coralline has passions in life, yet feels bound to rules and restrictions within her controlling mother. This pull toward normalcy is disrupted as a tragic oil spill, triggered from one of Izar’s ships, wreaks havoc in Coralline’s world, sickening her younger brother Naiadium. She then goes on an adventure to seek out a legendary elixir to heal him.

Izar, meanwhile, discovers suspicious events leading up to the oil spill disaster. These events seem to lead to the answers of his personal origins. His journey leads to a shocking revelation, yet he abruptly awakens in the ocean as a merman, suffering what he feels is a vicious attack. He then runs into Coralline, and he learns about her quest for the legendary elixir. He then joins Coralline to claim the cure (secretly for himself) in order to restore his human nature.

I deeply enjoyed reading The Oyster Thief. The character development with Coralline was quite significant. She grows from a woman who fears breaking rules due to the opinions of many into a strong person who ventures out to claim what is rightfully hers. She endures quite a change in character, as great obstacles get thrown into her path. Izar goes through quite a change in character himself, as his mindset as a big corporate conglomerate shifts dramatically as his mindset of the underwater world shifts dramatically due to Coralline sharing with him the ways of ocean life.
I also enjoyed reading about the underwater would of Meristem. Sonia Faruqi beautifully wrote about an ocean world that co-existed beautifully with the land of Menkar. Since there were two parallel perspectives throughout the novel, we have a dual viewpoint of Coralline’s life of these ocean communities, and Izar’s life above ground and his ocean ‘quests’.

It was also quite lovely to read about the relationship between Coralline and Izar. Their origin stories were destined for their paths to never cross: Izar was raised to run Ocean Dominion; and Coralline, a mermaid, represents everything that Izar stands against. It takes Izar’s transformation as a merman, combing the waters with Coralline and her muses (known as bonded sea animals), that opens Izar’s mind to the beauty of ocean life and its inhabitants. As the book progresses, their friendship deepens, creating a love triangle that sends both Coralline and Izar into their own personal conflicts. I will say that the third part of this novel was filled with many emotional scenes, as Coralline and Izar’s quests lead to their dramatic conclusions.

Sonia Faruqi wrote a very captivating debut novel, and I look forward to reading more tales from her in the future.

(5/5 stars)

Trigger warning: ‘The Oyster Thief’ contains a scene describing sexual assault.

Professional Reader

December 29, 2018: Wedding Colors/Flower Girls

My David’s Bridal color swatches shipped out today. I’m looking forward to their arrival…I need to discover which shade of yellow could work with the purple I selected for my color scheme. This yellow shade will be paired with the other color in the reception area.

Next year will be a busy one, since the wedding will now be eight months away. I need to search for flower girl dress ideas, for when Ana and Nadia go for their outfits. I’m hoping for the best.

Blogmas Day 22: Viewing Christmas Decorations

One of the things I enjoy most about the Christmas season is checking out the Christmas displays in different neighborhoods. While Andy and I were in South Jersey today, we took some time to view Christmas lights/decorations. Since I’m a huge Snoopy fan, we went searching for homes with Snoopy/Peanuts displays. We managed to locate some Snoopy Christmas displays, including the one pictured in Delaney’s, a restaurant in downtown Cape May. Of course, many homes featured an array of lights and decorations filled with holiday cheer. I never grow tired of seeing them!

December 15, 2018: Birthday Outings, and Wildwood Memories

Some thoughts as I relax on Saturday morning:

  • Today is my friend Carmen’s birthday. I hope she’ll have a nice day to herself in Puerto Rico. Her favorite thing to do is spend a few hours at the casino. She doesn’t spend a lot, but she enjoys her time there.
  • It’s such an unseasonable day. It feels like the time Andy and I went to Wildwood and Cape May three years ago. It was such a breezy day. So warm that I could wear my jacket on the boardwalk and not freeze. If it wasn’t raining today, we would be on our way down right now.
  • This weekend I need to pick up the rest of my Secret Santa gifts. Most of my co-workers shopped for their gifts, but I usually wait. I’ll write a bit more about this in my Blogmas post this evening.

Blogmas Day 8: Christmas Images, and More Items

This afternoon I came across some festive displays while hanging out with friends. I came across this cheery display while at a Starbucks in West Caldwell, NJ. The staff was featuring their newest drink for the holiday season, the Juniper Latte. I enjoy drinking the Gingerbread Latte during the month of December, yet I couldn’t resist taking a photo of the Juniper Latte. I also love the new cups for the season!


At home I finally was able to take a photo of my Christmas window clings. Since I was home during the daylight hours, I got a perfect view of just Snoopy and Woodstock displaying the Christmas spirit. I also brought out my fun Snoopy Christmas mug. Seeing Snoopy walking around the snowy outdoors is everything!

Santa Snoopy!
Snoopy and Woodstock decorating the Christmas tree
My Charlie Brown & Snoopy Christmas mug!

Blogmas Day 1: Favorite Christmas Specials

     It’s the beginning of December, so in the vein of experimenting with new blogging ideas, I decided to finally give Blogmas a try! I’ve always viewed the ‘Vlogmas’ specials on YouTube throughout the month of December, yet the idea of getting in front of a camera is pretty unnerving. Since I enjoy writing, doing Blogmas sounds more suitable for me. So here I am, ready for December! 

     For those who don’t know what Blogmas is all about, it means that bloggers create Christmas-related content from December 1-25. It can center on anything Christmasy: DIY ideas, crafting, favorite Christmas carols, fun Christmas stories/poems, or a favorite Christmas memory. I decided to jump right into it and talk about favorite Christmas specials that I enjoy watching. 

  • A Charlie Brown Christmas: I absolutely enjoy anything Peanuts related, and I make sure to watch this heartfelt special every year. The story follows Charlie Brown not being so thrilled about the upcoming Christmas season. His friend Lucy invites him to direct the school Christmas play, yet he feels discouraged by the group’s lack of interest in following the goals of the project. A valuable lesson in the special, and helpful advice from his good friend Linus, guides us all to learn about the true meaning of Christmas. 
  • It’s Christmastime Again, Charlie Brown: This Peanuts special began airing on 1992. The show featured several stories instead of one ongoing story that the original showed decades earlier. It’s still very endearing to watch. I enjoy watching Santa Snoopy the most!
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This special has been remade into a movie (another reboot was released a few weeks ago), yet I still love watching the animated special on television. It follows the Grinch as he schemes a plot to steal Christmas from families. Along the way, he comes across Cindy Lou Who, who guides the Grinch towards a change of heart. 
  • Frosty the Snowman: This special features the lovable Frosty as a group of children build him on Christmas Eve, and he magically comes to life. When the children discover that Frosty needs to stay constantly cold and protected, they head to the North Pole to keep him whole. 

     There are a few other Christmas special that I enjoy watching, yet these are the four Christmas animated specials that I enjoy watching. Lately my schedule gets hectic, so I do my best to watch at least one of these beloved specials every year. At the very least, I have the Charlie Brown Christmas DVD, so I definitely catch that one.

     What is your favorite Christmas special? Feel free to share in the comments below! 

December 1, 2018: Remembering Her Birthday

The beginning of December is always bittersweet. My mom would have been 66 on this day, yet she is no longer with me. I wish I could say to her ‘Happy Birthday’, and have one more conversation with her. To hear her voice one more time. Mom would always take things in stride, and I know that right now she would want me to live my life, not think about many negative things to keep me down. She was always a low-key type of person. Today is definitely a moment to connect with family. It’s a Saturday, which means that I give my family a call to check in. Hopefully my grandparents are in good spirits.

November 24, 2018: Rest After Tasks/Jersey Gardens

I’m writing this a couple hours after I intended to, but it’s okay. I had a well-deserved rest after heading to the lab this morning. It’s kinda rough getting up early on a Saturday, but it’s also nice that this lab has hours that accomodate my work schedule. So early Saturday appointment it is. It also helps that the phlebotomist was an easy going person, makes the process quicker. Anyway, this is my routine every 3 months, in order to stay on top of my health. Now it’s waiting until early next week for the results.

It’s crazy hearing about the Black Friday shooting in Jersey Gardens. I’m just happy that there were no fatalities, and the one person who got shot was treated quickly (nj.com reported that one person was shot in the wrist). I really don’t understand how people can act so foolishly in a public place, and bring weapons with them. Hopefully it will a peaceful, uneventful weekend.