January/February Book Subscription Boxes – Kids & Middle Grade

Lately I’ve been trying random book subscription boxes just to try to figure out which one I want to get on a regular basis. For January/February, I tried the following two boxes:

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This first box was the January Book Drop subscription. I picked the middle grade option, although I was torn between that and the young adult option. This subscription box sends you one book per month (along with a card about the book and little extras like bookmarks) and is pretty cheap (about $10 including S&H for this shipment). The Book Drop is run by an independent bookstore, which makes buying it even better since I like to support small businesses.

The book they sent this month was Winterhouse by Ben Guterson. I really enjoyed this mystery novel! The main character is a book nerd and loves to do puzzles, just like me! I did figure out the plot of the book pretty early on though, so the mystery wasn’t all that hard for me.

Here is the second box I received, this one in early February:

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This box was from Kids Bookcase Club. It cost $9.99 plus S&H. You get three kids books a month. This was the 7-8 year old box. Out of the three books they sent, my favorite by far was Terrific by Jon Agee. This picture book is sarcastic and hilarious! I love the grumpy old man who is the main character! The Very Fairy Princess was a cute picture book, but not exactly my taste. The Animal Planet Dolphin Rescue book was a young reader chapter book and it was cute and interesting, but obviously a simple read. For next month’s box, I decided to up the age to the preteen box to see what kind of middle grade books they send.

For the upcoming month I am also trying out the Scribbler subscription box for writers and the SpearCraft Book Box (which comes with all kinds of cool reader goodies)! So stay tuned!!!

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January 2019 Magickal Folk Meditation Kit Subscription Box Review

This month I decided to try a different pagan-themed subscription box through Cratejoy. This is the Magickal Folk Meditation Kit subscription box that is only $7 + S&H. One thing I love about the Magickal Folk series is that they have a wide selection of boxes to choose from at different prices, so if you simply want Ritual Teas, Crystals, Meditation Rituals, or bigger combo boxes, you can get exactly what you want without paying for more.

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The kit I chose is a small kit that comes with a specific meditation and ritual to perform each month, with a few little magickal tools to perform the ritual. This month’s theme was Brigid’s Blessing and came with a winter-themed meditation card, two beautiful tumbled milk quartz stones in a pretty little maroon pouch, a white satin spell ribbon that says “As it is” and “So it will be” at opposite ends, and a large packet of Goddess Blessing Salts made with dandelion root powder & cut leaf, blessed thistle herb, and sea salt.

The ritual suggests you take the ribbon out to a natural place and tie it to a tree, but right now I can’t bring myself to part from it, so I am using it as a decoration on my altar:

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One thing I especially love about the meditation card is that it comes with a few journaling prompts for further reflection. So far I love this subscription box and will stay subscribed. It is a good price for a small monthly reminder to take the time to meditate and celebrate my connection to the earth and nature.

Poetry – Malice

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This little poem was inspired by a middle grade book series called “Malice” by Chris Wooding. I liked the world that was created, and decided to capture just a bit of it in poetry (my favorite line is the “mushroom lamps” one):

Malice
By: Maranda Russell

Take the evening train
into the cavernous abyss.
Light up the darkness
with your mushroom lamps
and a fist full
of round trip tickets.

Water is Back! 800+ Blog Followers! Awesome Book Series!

Hey everyone! There were a few random things I wanted to share today. First, an update about my water heater situation….we now have hot water again! I can shower, I can brush my teeth, and I can flush the toilet again! Woo-wee!!! We are out almost $2,000 though, so that part really sucks.

Secondly, I want to thank you all so much for getting my blog to over 800 followers!!! That is awesome. I set a personal goal a while back to hopefully reach 1,000 followers by the end of the year and I might not exactly reach that, but I’m getting close and I appreciate all the support! You guys are awesome! You have no idea how much having communication with you all helps my mood and my attitude in general. You make me feel less alone and like I do have people in this world that care about me other than my immediate family.

Lastly, I want to share this awesome series of books with you all. If you are like me and you enjoy the children’s picture book format, but also have a sarcastic, wacky sense of humor, and a love for philosophy, I’m sure you will love this series just as much as I did!

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The series is called the Animalosophy series (written by Eric Kesselman and illustrated by Erica Missey) and includes the following books:

#1 The Existential Giraffe
#2 The Moribund Mouse
#3 The Perspicacious Penguin
#4 The Nihilistic Sea Otter

Free Reviews for Indie Authors!

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Lately I’ve missed reviewing indie books, which is something I used to do frequently and even did as a paid gig for a while. That is why I am offering the opportunity for any indie authors to contact me for a review if they are interested. Why indie authors? Because I myself am one, and I know how much reviews and promotion of any sort matter to an indie author’s success. Types of books I am most likely to consider reviewing are art, poetry, nonfiction, and children’s indie books.

Here are the specifics if you are interested:

  • I DO prefer a physical copy of the book, especially if it is heavy on text. Partly because I am not big on reading ebooks, and partly because having the physical copy is great for sharing a pic on social media!
  • I will review the books on Amazon and Goodreads (if the book is listed on both sites), and will also share links or photos of the books on social media (all together I have nearly 8,000 followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook).
  • I may or may not share about the book here on my blog, depending on whether the subject matter fits my blog themes.
  • I DO NOT charge for reviews, although donations are accepted if the author is so inclined. Any donations will be used to help finance this blog or for social media promotional purposes. Donations of any amount can easily be made on this blog via the “Support My Blog” page, or donations can be sent via snail mail with the book being reviewed.

If you have any questions or would like to submit your book for review, please contact me at Shojobeatgirl@live.com. If you know an indie author who would be interested, please share the link to this post!

October 2018 House of Rituals Pagan Subscription Box

I received my October Mini House of Rituals subscription box a few weeks ago and have already used the stuff from it, but I wanted to show you all what I got anyhow. Here is what came in the box:

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The theme this month was Samhain & Diving with Spirits. The package included a 3-card spread tarot reading cloth, 3 tarot cards chosen individually for each subscriber (I got The Lovers, The High Priestess, and the 3 of Wands cards), a tarot card reading guide, a book about various kinds of spirits and how to work with them, 2 silver candles, full moon incense, an old-fashioned pocketwatch, an antique photo, a sun/moon decorative tile, a chunk of rose quartz, and instructions.

When I do rituals I tend to kind of disregard the instructions and just do what feels right, so I used the materials to do a small altar spread honoring the spirit of Samhain and The Day of the Dead. I did keep the theme of past, present, and future and did feel that the 3 cards they sent me fit well! Here is an image of my finished altar spread:

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My personal interpretation of the 3 cards is as follows:

Past – The Lovers: Duality in my past spills over into my present.

Present – The High Priestess: A need for my subconscious to heal from the pain of the past so I can move on.

Future – 3 of Wands: Harmonious prosperity (hopefully a good result to my upcoming SSDI hearing?)

I mostly consider the Tarot a system that is fun and helps you get in touch with your own inner thoughts, feelings, desires, and needs through meditation, so I don’t necessarily try to use it to “predict the future”, but if it wants to tell me the future looks good, I will accept that!

Review of Netflix’s “The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina”

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Last night I watched the first episode of the new Netflix series The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, based on the comic books that also inspired the 90’s tv show Sabrina the Teenage Witch. I was a big fan of the 90’s show, so I have been waiting with excitement to check out the new series, however, after watching the first episode, it is clear that this new version is much, much darker and less light-hearted than the older tv show!

I do like the new show so far, so I am not necessarily complaining, but I want to warn everyone that if you are looking for something similar to the Melissa Joan Hart Sabrina, you will not find that! I was initially a little bummed that Salem doesn’t really talk in this version, but I think it actually fits better into the show considering how somber this show is compared to the previous one.

I do like the actress they cast as Sabrina (Kiernan Shipka). I’m not huge on Ross Lynch playing Harvey, but maybe that is just because every time I see him I still see Austin from Austin & Ally. I felt like they did try to find actresses who resembled the 90’s versions of Aunt Hilda and Aunt Zelda, although Zelda is not nearly as likeable and is kind of mean instead of just serious and scholarly like the older adaptation. I do enjoy the character of Ambrose quite a bit and feel it was a good addition.

I have seen some viewers complain about the satanism elements included in this new show, and I can see why some people would find that upsetting, although it doesn’t bother me personally. Although, as someone interested in paganism and Wicca, I hope that viewers of this show don’t start thinking everyone into witchcraft is into satanism – a stereotype that has already existed far too long.

I do plan to watch the rest of the series and enjoy it, but as more of a horror/dark fantasy series than a comedy or silly teenage drama.

October 2018 Cryptid Crate & Halloween Swap Box!

I wanted to share a few fun things I got in the mail yesterday. First, is the October Cryptid Crate Lite subscription box. This is actually the last month I will be getting this box because I had to choose only 2 at a time and there are two others that I have been enjoying even more. I still love Cryptid Crate though and wish I could subscribe to all the boxes I want! Here is what I got this month:

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I was happy to get a Bigfoot t-shirt! I was hoping to get one from the subscription box! This Bigfoot Xing shirt is a special edition only available from Cryptid Crate. They also sent a Sasquatch Field Guide which helps you identify signs of Sasquatch activity in the wild, a little bottle of Big Foot Hair (supposedly from real live Bigfoots lol), and some handmade, pumpkin spice scented Bigfoot soap.

I also received another package yesterday, which was a Halloween swap box I have been doing for years with my friends and fun, creepy YouTubers, JekyllHydeClub. We share a passion for all things dark and creepy and especially for Halloween! Here is what they sent:

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I love everything they sent, but some of my favorites are the little spiderweb pet costume, the black bird skeleton, the socks, and all the jewelry. I know the jewelry is a little hard to see in the photo above, so here is a little bit of a closer view:

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I think my favorites of the jewelry are the unique pink ring that looks almost like a crystal ball with liquid in it, the black cat ring, the cat/witch’s broom necklace, and the red bracelet with the black crow and skull. The little charms will be fun to make my own unique jewelry with too!

YA Book Review: “Without Tess” by Marcella Pixley

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“Without Tess”, written by Marcella Pixley, is one of the best YA novels I have read in a while. I rarely give books five stars when rating them, but this one I did. The story revolves around the main character (Lizzie), and her dead sister (Tess). Lizzie is the younger sister by a couple years and was only 10 when her older sister tragically passed away.

The real star of the novel is Tess. As you read through the book and relive vibrant memories Lizzie shared with Tess, you come to both love and sometimes dislike Tess. Tess was a true believer in magic. She was creative and passionate. She was both loving and loyal, but at times cruel and violent. She was mentally ill, and at times downright psychotic. This novel is a lifelike retelling of what it is like to grow up with an extremely mentally ill sibling. It addresses the love, the hate, the sadness, the pain, the rage, the guilt, and all the other emotions that come along with such a disturbing family dynamic.

I had a deeply personal connection with this book, both as someone who grew up with a mentally ill sibling, and someone who eventually lost that sibling, mostly due to that mental illness. At one point the book even made me tear up, which is extremely rare for any book to do. Definitely recommended!