Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Uppercase Unboxing + Review

This isn't quite a book review, but it does involve books, so I thought it would be fun blog post to write up. And besides, I was just so excited about this that I couldn't help myself. (Spoiler: this involves pretty things and oohing and aahing)

Over the past weekend, I received a lovely package from Uppercase. It's my first book subscription  box that I've ordered, and I must say I'm very pleased at the result. Here's a snap shot of everything I received, which came in the lovely Uppercase cloth bag pictured on the side.

Note: I was very impressed by how quickly my items arrived since they shipped via Priority Mail and for me, it arrived two days after I was sent an email from Lisa that the Uppercase packages had been shipped.

And a closer look at everything I received:

First up, I received a very charming tin of mints that were Alice In Wonderland themed.

They are very cute and I may just keep the tin after I finish the mints because the packaging is too cute to throw away.

Next up, keeping in with the theme of Alice in Wonderland, there was a coin purse with the Mad Hatter, who is one of my favorite characters in the book.

 And on the back, there is a quote from the Mad Hatter himself, and I love it so much.

It's yellow and roomy enough that I could easily stash receipts and other things that I undoubtedly end up with when I go shopping, being a lazy being like myself.

Then there was a pleasant surprise in the form of book swag from Fierce Reads.

The Lunar Chronicles is a series that I adore, and these tattoos are so glitz and glam, and the shades of gold and silver are simply lovely. 

This also came with a bookplate signed by the author, which I promptly stuck in my book because it looks so nice doesn't it?

The actual book itself for this month's Uppercase was First & Then, which has the most charming cover I've ever seen. The rainbow raindrops are gorgeous, and the bonus is that when you take the dustjacket off, you get an even more lovely surprise. 

The book is embossed! With the same raindrop pattern forming hearts, and it's blue. Coincidentally, blue is my favorite color, so this book is perfectly packaged, with a cute premise to match.

Also pictured is a note written from Lisa, the founder of Uppercase, and the one who selects the books to send out every month. The handwritten note personally addressed to me was a very sweet touch and the premise that the book First & Then is Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights has my interest piqued.

In conclusion, I am a very happy girl and this was a very pleasant bright spot in the otherwise gloomy week, especially because midterms, which are quite intimidating and stressful. I'll get back to you all with updates when I read this book, but with a premise like this, I'm sure it won't disappoint! Sorry this is such a brief post, but how is everyone else's week going? I hope it's been well for you all, and I'll get back to you with an update on all of the wonderful books that I've been reading.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Flashback Friday #1: Cross My Heart and Hope to Spy (Gallagher Girls #2) by Ally Carter

Having taken up reading as a young child, I am in the dilemma where I have read far more books than I have ever taken the time to appreciate and write reviews for. Thus this corner is going to be where I take a moment to pick a book I've read when I was younger, reread it, and share my love and thoughts on it in an attempt to revisit some old gems.

Published: December 23rd 2008
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Purchase: Amazon / Barnes&Noble / Book Depository
After staking out, obtaining, and then being forced to give up her first boyfriend, Josh, all Cammie Morgan wants is a peaceful semester. But that's easier said than done when you're a CIA legacy and go to the premier school in the world . . . for spies. Cammie may have a genius I.Q., but there are still a lot of things she doesn't know. Like, will her ex-boyfriend even remember she exists? And how much trouble is she really in after what happened last semester? And most of all, why is her mother acting so strangely? Despite Cammie's best intentions to be a normal student, danger seems to follow her. She and her friends learn that their school is going to play host to some mysterious guests--code name: Blackthorne. Then she's blamed for a security breach that leaves the school's top secret status at risk. Soon, Cammie and her friends are crawling through walls and surveilling the school to learn the truth about Blackthorne and clear Cammie's name. Even though they have confidence in their spy skills, this time the targets are tougher (and hotter), and the stakes for Cammie's heart--and her beloved school--are higher than ever. - Goodreads

Reading this brought back all of the memories of why I love this series so much. Why despite having read this for the first time five years ago, I still push it up to the top of my favorite books list all the time.

This book is my comfort food, and without fail, it always make me smile and swoon and laugh and a tad sad at times.

Cammie is one of my favorite girls ever, perhaps because of her endearing awkwardness, something I relate to quite well, and her honestly entertaining commentary and thoughts. She's natural, despite her impressive skills as a spy-in-training, and a normal teenage girl suffering from the lingering effects of The Subject (to prevent spoilers).

She has her own loyal crew of her friends: the charmer Bex, genius Liz, and versed in real-world Macey (who is one of my favorites surprisingly. Plus introduce us to Preston soon please.)

Friendships are a strong part of Ally Carter's books and I love that about her books. From Bex with her kick-butt attitude and fierce loyalty, to Liz with her sweet and optimistic outlook that never fails to make me smile, to Macey and her much-needed boy translations and her grounded cool, they're the best friends a girl could ask for.
I started to protest, to hang back and buy a few more seconds, but Macey grasped my shoulders and spun me around to see Bex. And Liz. Both of them were smiling.
And we can never forget the romance aka the first meeting between Cammie and my true love Zach, the kind of boy that makes you lose your cool and looks good doing it. I'm infinitely biased in saying this, but despite his smirky-ness I ABSOLUTELY love this guy. (But then again, I may have been slightly irritated and frustrated by him at first when I read it before.) He's charming, handsome, and for Cammie, the girl who is still figuring out the mystery of boys, confusing. He's not without his moments though, and I loved seeing the different faces he seems to have.
"You're the Gallagher Girl. You figure it out."
One of the shining points in this series for me is the touch of serious, heartfelt moments that dot the pages of the books. While they can be a bit fluffy at times, and charming and more cutesy than you'd expect from a spy book, the moments when a character drops their guard(which rarely happens when you're a spy-in-training), and you see them.
Or maybe crying is like everything else we do—it's best if you don't get caught.
If you've never read this series, I highly recommend it, for the wonderful experience that is sure to follow and you'll be wishing you were a Gallagher Girl along with the rest of us. :)

My Rating: ★★★