My Dream Crate: Creating the Ultimate Loot Crate Subscription Box

Last week I received a super exciting email from Loot Crate asking if I would like to participate in creating content inspired by their subscription boxes and I’ve been obsessing over this post ever since! For those of you who don’t know, Loot Crate is a subscription box service for “geeks and gamers”. They have boxes for anime, video games, movies, and much more!

By partnering with the largest movie studios, game companies, comic publishers and pop culture talent, we deliver the best and most exclusive merchandise and goods to fans around the world.

-Loot Crate

Definitely go check out their website, I guarantee that you’ll find something you’ll love. I personally am yearning over their Wizarding World of Harry Potter crate.

I’ve always wanted a subscription box, but always hesitated because I’m afraid that I won’t like any of the items that came with the box. When Loot Crate approached me with the opportunity to create my dream crate I knew that it was too great of an opportunity to pass on. So without any further adieu, I present my dream crate:

Theme: Classic Remix – A refreshing mix of old fan favorites and their reboots/spin-offs

Items:

hp-magnetic-bookmarks

Harry Potter Magnetic Bookmarks by BeyondthePages19 (Etsy)

niffler

Niffler Pop! Funko

Merchandise Shot in studio

Slytherin Sweatshirt by Universal Orlando

botanic-wars-bags

‘Botanic Wars’ Tote Bag by Josh Ln (Society6)

star-wars-bujo

Star Wars Planner Stickers by Sticker Sensations (Etsy)

finn-pin

Refuse/Resist (Force Awakens) pin by NoMoreIndustries (Etsy)

I feel like this crate neatly encompasses all the things I need with the fandoms I love. I can already myself using the bookmarks on my current reads before I head out in my Slytherin sweatshirt and Botanic wars tote bag to run some errands. The niffler Pop! Funko will be right at home on my bookshelf, right next to my small collection of fandom pins, which now includes the Refuse/Resist pin from Force Awakens. The Star Wars planner stickers will help keep my bullet journal geeky and organized as well as keep me smiling!

I hope you guys enjoyed this post. Thank you to Carly Jones from Loot Crate for reaching out and inviting me to participate in creating a dream crate!

Let me know in the comments below what you would include in your dream crate!

Cover Reveal: Black Bird of the Gallows

“A simple but forgotten truth: Where harbingers of death appear, the morgues will soon be full.”

Today I am excited to help reveal the cover of Black Bird of the Gallows by Meg Kassel, a debut published by Entangled Teen! The novel is set to release September of 2017, so be sure to add it on Goodreads!

You can check out this book on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. Be sure to connect with Meg Kassel on her website, Twitter, and Goodreads!

And now the moment we’ve all been waiting for….the cover!!!

black-bird-of-the-gallows

So what do you think? I think this cover is stunning and definitely matches the mysterious aura that the synopsis gives off. I especially love the blue, black, and purple tones throughout the image, leading the eye to different aspects of the cover. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Announcing: Diverse Reads Subscription Box!

diverse-reads-banner

I am excited to help announce the debut of the Diverse Reads subscription box, brought to you by the amazingly talented Angel! 2017 will be the year of diverse books, which is a long time coming. If you want some diversity in your reading pallet (I mean, who doesn’t?), I highly recommend checking out this box! But I’ll let Angel break it down for you:

So, Diverse Reads is a subscription box meant to celebrate people’s different experiences and thoughts! I wanted to create the box because I am an Egyptian-American Muslim woman and, unfortunately, until I was halfway through 11th grade, I never read a book that accurately represented Muslims. To be honest, I’d never read one that even had a Muslim in it but I’d seen so many TV shows and movies that misrepresented my religion so many times over and that was really disappointing.

That was three years ago and though the literary world has gotten more diverse, it’s still hard to find books that represent my religion and culture well without quite a bit of researching.

As I look back on how long it took for me to find myself in a world I so dearly love, as well as how much research it’s taken to just read diverse books, I find myself hopeful that, through ‘Diverse Reads’, I can help someone much younger than me find themselves in literature much sooner than I did.

Now, every month you’ll get a new, diverse young adult novel and 3 -5 awesallegedlyome, handpicked goodies based on the themes of the book! The book of the month for January is Allegedly by Tiffany D Jackson!
So, how does it work?

Well, it works in three easy ways:

1. You take your pick of a 1 month, 3 month. or 6 month subscription plan! One month is $20 excl. shipping & taxes! Then you get to sit back and relax while you wait!
2. I gather all the supplies needed to make your fabulous subscription come to life then begin packing and sending it on its way!
3. Diverse Reads is delivered right to your doorstep! Now you can enjoy the book & goodies, and share what you got on social media using #DiverseReads!

Guess what, though? You can get 10% off your first order of a 3 month or a 6 month subscription with ‘JOIN10‘!!! Just click here to get started and begin your awesome diversity adventure!!! You can only get January’s box by Tuesday, January 17th so hurry now to get your order in!!!

box

Shop Feature: Mockinbae on RedBubble!

Today’s post is different than my usual posts for a very exciting reason, I will be featuring a shop for the first time! If you are not aware- RedBubble is an online shop where designers upload their work for people to buy. You can purchase these designs as phone cases, pillows, shirts, stickers and so much more courtesy of RedBubble! It is an amazing website full of creative designers and today I will be featuring Mockinbae! Mockinbae is a fairly new shop that opened November of 2015. The designer behind the shop, Brianna, creates fandom designs and shares her photography for people to buy. She’s extremely talented!

MOCKINBAE PHONE CASE

Brianna has graciously agreed to share her favorite designs on her shop as well as talk briefly on her origin story! So be sure to check out her shop and purchase anything that catches your eye!

MOCKINBAE PHOTO SHIRT

I started my Redbubble because I liked editing and wanted to see if I could create things other people wanted. I mainly started with Scream Queen quotes because that was a current obsession, but I also started to post more nerd related stuff like Percy Jackson, and The Hunger Games. It’s really fun to continually challenge myself and see where I can go next with this shop. Right now I’m putting my drawing and photography skills to the test. I’m really excited to see this shop grow as I begin to hone my skills more. I hope more people will enjoy my work as I continue (:

MOCKINBAE HODIE

You can find Brianna on Instagram and Twitter!

MOCKINBAE PILLOW

Discussion + Review: The Elementals Series

If you’ve been following my blog, or even my social media, for a few months than you know just how much I love Michelle Madow’s books! My love for them is so strong that I decided to write an entire post all about her latest series: Elementals! If you’re a fan of the Percy Jackson or Secret Circle series then you’re in for a treat. This series is the perfect blend of the two plus so much more! Read on if you want to know more about this fascinating series!

elementals cover Elementals: The Prophecy of Shadows

Book 1

You can read my full review here!

Freebie Alert: Get this book for free by visiting www.michellemadow.com

Nicole Cassidy is a witch descended from the Greek gods… but she doesn’t know it until she moves to a new town and discovers a dangerous world of magic and monsters that she never knew existed.

When the Olympian Comet shoots through the sky for the first time in three thousand years, Nicole and four others — including mysterious bad-boy Blake — are gifted with elemental powers. But the comet has another effect — it opens the portal to another dimension that has imprisoned the Titans for centuries. After an ancient monster escapes, it’s up to Nicole and the others to follow a cryptic prophecy in time to save the town… and possibly the world.

 Blood of hydraElementals: The Blood of Hydra

Book 2

A demigod who can kill with a touch. It’s an ability that must be kept secret from everyone—even from those trusted most.

Finding out that she was a witch was strange enough, but now Nicole must face the realization that she has the rare power to kill with just a touch. No one can know her secret — not even Blake, who she’s had undeniable chemistry with since first moving to town.

Now Nicole, Blake, and the three others with elemental powers must journey abroad to stop a series of monsters that they previously believed to be dead from rising once again and destroying the mortal world. Will they all survive the quest? And how long will it be until Nicole is forced to use her ability to kill in front of everyone, revealing the true darkness of her powers?

Mini Review:

I actually was lucky enough to receive an extremely early copy of this novel because Michelle was awesome enough to let me refer to it for a presentation and paper for my Mythology class! I’ve been holding off on my review so my teacher won’t accuse me of plagiarism :/

Things heat up very quickly in The Blood of the Hydra! If you thought The Prophecy of Shadows was action packed just wait until you dive into this. The Elementals embark on a journey after they learn more about the portal and the monsters coming out of it. Readers are taken on an epic journey that parallels The Odyssey but with a unique modern twist! Between monsters, gods, and boy troubles, this book will keep you at the edge of your seat wondering what’s going to happen next.

head of medusaElementals: The Head of Medusa

Book 3

Release Date: June 29, 2016

When Nicole Cassidy moved to a new town, she discovered that she was a witch descended from gods. But that was nothing compared to learning that it was up to her and four others with mysterious elemental powers to help save the world from the Titans, who would soon return to Earth.

Now her relationship with Blake — the fire Elemental — is finally heating up. But she must remain focused, because Typhon, one of the deadliest creatures in history, has escaped from the weakening prison world. Only one object can destroy him — the head of Medusa herself.

Follow the Elementals as they journey to the end of the Earth, facing choices that will put their lives and the entire world at risk. Will they all survive the mission? Find out in the riveting third book in the Elementals series, The Head of Medusa.

I am beyond excited to continue this series! First of all- look at this cover, it’s stunning. I cannot wait to see where Michelle is going to take us next, but I know it’s going to be fantastic. Michelle never disappoints (:

Elementals: The Portal to Kerberos 

Title Reveal

The title for the 4th installment was released last week and I am soooooo excited! There will be a cover reveal in June but I think that this piece has clouds, so the air elemental may take this cover. But we’ll find out! If I’m not mistaken, Michelle mentioned on Twitter that this book will parallel Dante’s Inferno– which sounds absolutely amazing.


Why should you read Elementals?

 Elementals is a really fun series that is packed full of action, adventure, and drama! If you love Greek mythology, witches, and magic than this series is absolutely perfect for you. Pick up your copy today and dive into the magical world of the Elementals!

Guest Post: Alex Sees Sarah J. Maas!

I am thrilled to present an extremely exciting guest post courtesy of my friend and neighbor Alex! A couple of weeks ago Sarah J Maas (author of the Throne of Glass series and ACOTR) had a tour stop in Miami to promote her latest release: A Court of Mist and Fury! Unfortunately I was unable to go but Alex went with a friend and agreed to share his experience with us. So without further adieu, here’s Alex!

Hello my name is Alex and this is my very first attempt to blog. I knew I was hooked when I read Heir of Fire and from there, Throne of Glass is a favorite.  ACOTAR is the beginning of another great series by Sarah J. Maas. Thank you Sarah, your dedicated team, and publisher for giving the fans the opportunity to meet with you.

When I learned of the event coming to Coral Gables I knew it was a must go. Not the easiest place to travel to from my area due to day of week and time of event. Let the journey begin. From the time I learned of the event, six long weeks had to pass. Ugh!  Thankfully my friend Tammy, a huge fan of Sarah as well, agreed to go under the condition that I drive. The day of the event arrived and we were on our way. It’s a 50 mile journey and we were about half way there when I check the GPS.  In that most familiar electronic voice, we hear the route is clear and that we will arrive on time. We both stared in amazement at each other as the road ahead of us is now a log jam of traffic. Siri was wrong. Blinkers and horns blazing I decide to make move, I have no intention of being late to this event. I abandoned the GPS route and decide I can make it on my own. We get off the intestate and we are at an inter

alex at actors plathousesection with 23 traffic signals of which half are not work. We immediately burst out laughing. I asked Tammy, “What time did you tell hubby we would be home?” I’m totally lost at this point.

We get back on the interstate and dealt with the traffic. We are on a mission and nothing is going to stop us. A few more traffic jams, express lane only and viola we were there.  Now for the second part of the mission. Find parking. After a few more wrong turns the car is parked and we are at Artist Playhouse.
I was so happy to be there.  Just give me my ticket and show me the book! My freshly printed, 1st edition, soon to be signed by New York Times bestselling author, Sarah J Maas!  Woohoo!  When we arrived we had an hour to spare, there was less than 25 people milling around the lobby. That didn’t last long- before we knew it, the lobby was teeming with fans. The line at Will Call was out the door and spilling out onto the sidewalk.  Everyone always wants to be the first in line, sit closest to the stage, and have the best view. Why not? I did too.
will call
Suddenly the doors open and like the vacuum of space, the crowd is hurtled into the theater. Whoosh!  My friend and I decide to hang back and sit towards the back thinking this will allow us to be one of the first to be signed.  More and more fans are filling the seats and you can feel the excitement in the air. It was electric. Suddenly, I saw a tall, slender fan dressed all in black walk by.  She wore a long red cape that flowed behind her as she walked down the aisle. She walked back up the aisle and entered a row near me. I said “Nice cape,” and she turned and smiled. In my mind, I heard, “Yes my Lord, Rifthold offers only the finest.” [A reference to the Throne of Glass series] Lol. Now I know I’m dreaming.
Two minutes later Sarah is on stage and the theater roars with excitement. Tammy and I are giddy with laughter and anticipation. We both had long hard weeks filled with stress and this wass just what we needed to ground us. I must admit, she is truly awesome, very receptive to the fans and questions as well as the moderator, Ursula. The two paired up complemented each other. Ursula presented the formatted questions and the dialogue that followed left us only wanting more. Next thing I know we are at the Q&A part of the evening. I assure you I’m not totally shy and in this type of situation I am usually like the clam. My mind is racing with the idea that I’m going to do it. I’m going to ask a question. I have no idea what to ask and am just going to wing it. Yeah right, not me. I poke Tammy and tell her do it. Do it now. She balls up in her seat and looks at me, “Are you crazy? I can’t do that , you do it.”  Next thing I know the mic is in my hand and I am asking about the Bogge, Puca and Suriel and how important the mystical creatures are to the story and what can we expect in ACOMAF ? No spoiler here. alex and sarahRead on my friends and let’s see where this journey ends.
Booking signing time!
Looks like our strategy paid off. We were one of the first ten to get our books signed and I got a few pics of Sarah signing my book. What a blast. I’m glad I went and hope to attend future events.  As an added bonus Sarah gave us the opportunity to sign her copy of Heir of Fire. How cool is that?
Thank you so much Alex for sharing your experience of the Sarah J. Maas event with us! And thank you also for being awesome enough to get me a signed copy of A Court of Mist and Fury! You’re the best (:

My BEA & BookCon Tips!

It’s that time of year again! The days are getting longer and the anticipation for BEA and BookCon is almost tangible. This time last year I was a book convention newbie and was scouring the internet for any advice I could find to ensure a great experience. Most of the posts really helped me, so I decided to share some of my own this year. Please note that I am basing my tips on my experience last year in New York, Chicago may be different. Hope this helps!

⇒Wear comfortable clothes

• This is a popular, yet important, tip that I saw a million times during my search last year. Since both events are pretty much all-day occasions you must be able to stand and walk for long periods of time.

• BEA is a more professional event, geared towards people who work in publishing and bookish industries so I would suggest that you wear business casual clothing. I wore comfortable dresses on these days!

• BookCon is more relaxed since it’s open to the public, so I wore jeans and nice shirts.

• Last year, at the Javits Center, I ended up bringing a sweater most of the days for the moments that I wasn’t running around the show floor.  If you have a light sweater I would definitely recommend that you bring it- just in case.

• Bring a bag big enough to carry all of your essentials but small enough to have on you at all times!

⇒Bring snacks and water

• Keep your body happy and fuel it from time to time throughout the day! Running around, meeting people, and seeing your favorite authors takes more energy than you think. Pack your favorite snacks, like nuts or granola bars, and some water in your essentials bag for easy access.

⇒Schedule ahead of time

• If I’m not mistaken the autographing schedule is already up and the panels should be up soon (if not already). Use these resources to set up a schedule for your day(s).

• Your schedule doesn’t have to be fancy (mine was literally a list of names and times), just make sure it’s set up in chronological order and highlight the things you MUST go to.

• Sometimes the unexpected happens- last year someone canceled last minute and one of the signings went by quicker than I thought. In case of a scenario like this you should have a few ‘back-up’ signings/panels that you are interested in included in your schedule.

• For big authors and panels try to get in line about 45 minutes to an hour before the scheduled time so you can ensure that you get a good spot. You can also use this time to snack and re-hydrate (;

• One of the best things you can do for yourself is give yourself some time to just walk around for an hour with no panels or signings scheduled. Give an empty booth or signing line some love, see what books are being given away, and enjoy the fact that you are simply there.

• Make multiple copies of your schedule OR take pictures/save it on your phone so you don’t have to worry about losing it.

⇒Utilize Twitter and BookCon app

• The BookCon app was a great resource to see what others are doing as well as get access to the panel and signing schedules. The only downfall is that is gets a bit flooded during the day and hard to keep up with.

• Twitter was my best friend and will be yours too. If you know a group of Twitter peeps going to BEA/BookCon try and see if they’ll join a group DM where everyone can share info throughout the day. I found out about so many ARC drops and books because of the group I was in!

• Something I wished I did was turn on my Twitter notifications for my favorite authors and publishing companies. They would randomly tweet about code words and ARC drops and I missed so many because I kept forgetting to check my timeline. Don’t make the same mistakes as me!

⇒Choose wisely

• Walking into the convention center will be like being in one of the best dreams ever. (Especially in BEA) there will be books everywhere! One of the hardest, but necessary, things you have to remember is to choose wisely. Trust me, it’s not easy. My family ended up with over 350 books after 5 days (110 of which were mine), so take this advice.

• Be honest with yourself, is this book something you’re interested in? If not put it down, the last thing you need is another book you probably won’t read on your never ending TBR pile.

• In New York there was a luggage area where you could store your suit case for a small cost and dump your books throughout the day. They also offered mailing services to ship your books straight home. Check with the convention center and see if these services are offered in Chicago (:

⇒Talk to people

• These are your people! Don’t be afraid to turn to the person by you in line and strike up a conversation or walk up to a publisher’s booth and talk to one of the people working there. Mostly everyone there is nice and are just as excited as you. Who knows? You might even meet your new blogger/bookish bestie!

And most importantly: HAVE FUN!

IMG_6156