Freebie Friday: Claim Your Unclaimed Baggage Giveaway

Hello Readers!

Because I’ve missed doing giveaways so much, I’ve decided to do yet another giveaway here on the blog! Today, I’m giving away a book that I am super excited about. One that I’m glad I received a second copy of so that I can share it with one lucky winner!

Up for grabs …

  • An advanced copy of Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll
  • A set of luggage tags (to ensure that you do EVER lose your luggage)
  • A fuzzy sleeping bunny mask

The fine print:

This giveaway is open to U.S. residents only, 18 years old and older. This giveaway will run from today (July 6th) until 11:59 pm on July 13th. One winner will be selected via random number generator and will be contacted via e-mail on July 14th. Winner will have until 11:59 pm on July 16th to reply to notification e-mail. If no reply is received another winner will be selected and notified. You also must be subscribed to The BookBandit Blog to enter this giveaway.

To enter, leave a comment on THIS blog post telling me one place you’d love to visit! When commenting, please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address as this will be the e-mail in which you will be notified by.

Good Luck!

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June Reading Wrap Up/July Monthly Reading Update

Hello Readers!

It finally happened … I broke my reading streak. I guess I got a bit ahead of myself. I guess I got a big over excited and over confident.

I went into the month of June with all of these lofty reading goals and dreams. I had planned to read SO MUCH! Going into June I said I would read a total of five books. The books I planned on reading were:

  • Warcross by Marie Lu
  • Odd One Out by Nic Stone
  • Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
  • Love Sugar Magic by Anna Meriano
  • City of Ghosts by Victoria Schwab

This isn’t an excuse – June was a very busy month. More often than not I found myself tired and stressed. Because of that I simply didn’t want to read. And I didn’t force myself to either. I knew if I did, I wouldn’t enjoy whatever book I was reading. And if I’m reading something and NOT enjoying it, is it worth reading?!

During the month of June, I didn’t read anything. Well, I take that back. I started Nic Stone’s upcoming Odd One Out. I read most of it at the beginning June, and then when life got busy, I put it down (let’s be clear, I didn’t put it down because I wasn’t enjoying it. I put it down because I wanted to fully enjoy it!)

So yeah, I didn’t finish a whole book in June. Sad but true.

But it’s a new month, and I have a new TBR list to conquer ….

July is promising to be another busy month, but I’ve missed reading. And I want to try to carve a little bit of time during each day for it. I cannot promise (myself) that I will read one or five books, but I can promise myself that I will read.

I’m setting a goal of five books. I’m hoping that I reach it, but am not being hard on myself if I don’t.  The books that I am hoping to read this month are:

  • (Finish) Odd One Out by Nic Stone
  • All Summer Long by Hope Larson
  • The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
  • Unclaimed Baggage by Jen Doll
  • Warcross by Marie Lu

So, there’s my TBR list. What’s on your July list? Please share in the comments!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2018

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above image was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.)

Hello Readers!

Even though I feel like I haven’t really read a whole lot so far, the truth is, I have. Admittedly, most of those books were Harry Potter books and picture books. But hey, everything counts!

Today I’m sharing with you my top reads of 2018 (so far!)

  • Heartless by Marissa Meyer
  • Simon vs. The Home Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
  • Aru Shah and The End of TIme by Roshani Chokshi
  • Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy
  • Broken Beautiful Hearts by Kami Garcia
  • Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
  • Odd One Out by Nic Stone
  • Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

I know that isn’t exactly ten books, but these were the best of the best. So what books have been your fave so far? Please share below!

Freebie Friday: June 2018 Pin Trading Monthly Review

Website: www.pintradingmonthly.com

Subscription Level Purchased: Signature Level. This level features a total of six (6) pins, one of which is a Limited Edition pin (limited edition size of five thousand or less). All of the pins in this subscription level are randomly selected for the individual box. The pins this level: “[…] Can include but is not limited to the following type of pins; Hidden Mickey, Mystery Pack, Disney Park, Disney Auctions, Disney Shopping, Soda Fountain or Limited Edition Disney Pins,” (from www.pintradingmonthly.com).

Shipping Time: Satisfactory! It took 5 days from the time I received the shipping notification e-mail to the actual day it was delivered.

June 2018 Pins Received:

  1. Star Wars Pin from The Last Jedi Booster Set – Resistance Bomber Pin
  2. Perry the Platypus (from Phineas & Ferb) Tsum Tsum Pin from Disney Tsum Tsum Mystery Pin Pack Series 2
  3. Simba from the Good vs. Evil Mystery Pack
  4. Bloat (from Finding Nemo) Find a Happy Place Pin
  5. Ellie & Carl (from Up) from the Through The Years Booster Set – Kids Only Pin
  6. Limited Edition (2500 Limited Edition Size) of Disney Vacation Club Camera Series featuring Mickey & Minnie

My Thoughts:

When I signed up for this subscription box I wasn’t sure what I’d get. I wasn’t sure whether or not I would even like it! I had watched many a Pin Trading Monthly unboxing video on YouTube. Most people were pleased. Some were somewhere in the middle.

Because this is a pin trading subscription box I went into this with the thought that even if I do not receive a single pin I like it’s totally okay because it could eventually be traded. With that, I also thought that if I do happen upon a pin that I love and want in my personal Disney pin collection it would be a total win.

Either way, I was excited.

When I opened the June 2018 box I was pleasantly surprised. As promised there were a total of six pins, one of which was a limited edition pin. The pins were shipped in a sturdy blue and white cardboard box that was sealed very well.  When I first opened the box I found Pin Trading Monthly’s information card (gave info about the subscription service and their social media accounts). Having subscribed to other boxes, and having seen many a subscription box unboxing video on YouTube I was a bit surprised to learn that this isn’t a spoiler card of sorts.

And that makes perfect sense to me. Because each of these pins were hand selected for the box that was sent to me, it wouldn’t be feasible for this subscription box business to provide individual spoiler cards. Underneath that card were the six pins wrapped securely in blue and white tissue paper.  The first layer contained pins from a booster and/or mystery pack, and the second layer contained two open edition pins (admittedly, I’m not sure if they are current or past open edition pins since I’m relatively new to the Disney pin world), and one limited edition Disney Vacation Club pin.

From the first look all the pins appeared to be in really great condition. Which was impressive since these pins are used pins. Upon further inspection though I found one pin had two very slight scratches on it. Personally, I didn’t feel that this was a big deal because I could really only see these scratches when I was looking at the pin up close and personally (and with a magnifying glass).  Honestly, if I hadn’t been using a magnifying glass I wouldn’t have even noticed this flaw. And personally, I don’t even consider it a flaw.

Because this subscription box focusing on the trading aspect I fully expected to want to trade them. However, what I found when I unboxed these pins was that there were three I wanted to trade, and there were three that I wanted to keep for my own collection.

Let’s start with the three pins that I plan on trading …

The first pin I found in this box was the Resistance Bomber pin from Star Wars: The Last Jedi Booster pin pack. If you know me than you know that I do NOT love Star Wars. Honestly, I barely like it. While I’ve seen the original movies, I haven’t seen any since. For that reason along I will not be keeping this pin. More than that, when I first started collecting, I promised myself I would only collect pins that I had some sort of attachment to – a Disney movie I loved, favorite characters, experiences/memories I made on a WDW trip, etc..

But let me be clear about this: this pin is a really nice pin. The colors are bold, and for a pin that is a part of a booster pack it is a decent size (slightly bigger than a quarter). If I was a Star Wars fan/collector, this would definitely be a keeper. Instead, I’m determined to trade and find a better suited home for this pin.

The second pin that I uncovered was a pin that, quite frankly, I was confused by.  Why? Because I had no clue who this Tsum Tsum pin was portraying. At first glance I knew two things: it was a Tsum Tsum and it was a green duck like creature.  It was definitely cute, but that’s really all I knew about it.

That is … until I posted about my new pins on Instagram. I was informed that this pin was a Tsum Tsum of Perry the Platypus. With a name I quickly found out (thanks Google!)  that he’s a character on Phineas and Ferb, a Disney cartoon I have never seen. In my book cuteness just isn’t enough to keep a pin. More than that though it feels weird to keep a random pin that is from a show and of a character I don’t know. I guess I would feel like a bit of a poser.

Because I know Phineas and Ferb is super popular, I know I can find a good home for this cutie. And with that, someone who will truly appreciate this pin.

The third pin I pulled out was the one pin I was seriously on the fence about. I loved it, but I knew if I kept it, it would be the start of a new side collection.  It was a pin from the Good vs. Evil Mystery Pack and featured adult Simba from The Lion King.

I LOVED The Lion King. I still consider it to be one of my most favorite Disney movies.  I loved the plot and all the animals, the music was catchy and fun, but more than anything I kinda loved Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the actor who voiced young Simba. So this pin is pure nostalgia for me.

But this would one and only Lion King pin in my collection. And while I loved it, my main collection doesn’t necessarily feature a lot pins portraying my favorite Disney flicks. Of course I have some, but I have other pins to accompany them. For example I have a beautiful pin that I got through a mystery pack. It features Jasmine and Aladdin sitting on the magic carpet, and there are beautiful fireworks going off in the distance. But to accompany this pin I also have three minie emoji pins of the Genie, Jasmine, and Aladdin. So even though I do not necessarily collect Aladdin pins, I feel it works in my general collection.

Besides that, I knew that if I keep this pin I would want to collect other Lion King themed pins. Pin collecting is an expensive hobby, and one that I’m fully invested in. But I don’t necessarily want to start another side collection … just yet.  In short, I’m planning on trading this pin to save a bit of money.

In regards to the pins that I will be keeping …

After I pulled out the first layer of pins, I pulled back the tissue paper to discover three more pins, one of which would be a limited edition pin.

The first pin I found was of Bloat from Finding Nemo. Bloat is a blow fish and he’s blown up to his full capacity. Within his big belly, it says “Find A Happy Place.” I don’t collect Finding Nemo/Dory pins. But this pin I feel would serve as a great reminder: to find the happy in every day. I sometimes forget that. And while (as strange as this may sound) my pins bring me joy, I now have a pin that will constantly and consistently remind me.

The second pin I dug out was a Disney Vacation Club pin from 2015. I am not a DVC member, and I am not too familiar with the DVC pins.  This pin looked like a camera and features a magnetic element: the lens opens and closes to reveal an image of Mickey and Minnie surfing.  I really like the fact that this pin is older (about three years old, give or take since I’m not exactly sure when it was released), and that because of that, it feels special.

Upon further inspection of this pin, the colors are vibrant, there seems to be no scratches or flaws, but the hinge/magnetic feature seems a tad bit loose, but not to the point of breaking. Flipping the pin over, I found out that this was my June boxes limited edition pin.

My main collection features a lot of Mickey and Minnie. I honestly find this strange since, even though Mickey has always been a favorite, Minnie wasn’t. That is up until recently. Minnie is awesome you guys!

I decided to keep this Limited Edition pin because it’s unique. Also, ultimately I feel like it truly fits into my main collection, and that I can provide a good home for it.

And then there’s the last pin of the box. This was a pin, that I’m breaking my own rules for. While I loved the movie Up, it’s not an all time favorite. I don’t collect Up or anything Up related. Admittedly though, the pins WDW sells for this beloved movie are always so, so pretty, I haven’t caved.

Until now. This pin features a young Ellie and Carl. It looks like a framed photograph, and is showing Ellie pinning what I am assuming is the grape soda bottle top to Carl’s vest. This pin is from the Ellie and Carl Through the Years pin set. It’s a good size, and it doesn’t feel flimsy. The colors are vivid, and the image is so, so cute. It also appears to be in great shape.

There’s something about this pin that I just love so much. I can’t explain what it is or why, I just do. I’ve decided to keep it for the time being, even though it really doesn’t fit in with my collection.

So there you have it, dear readers! My first (somewhat awkward and clunky) Pin Trading Monthly review. While I find the subscription as a whole a bit pricey ($35.00) I thought that the box was worth it as a whole, and because of that was worth the price. I’m looking forward to July’s box.

If you liked reading this kind of post, let me know! There could be more in the future!

Top Ten Tuesday: Red, White, and Blue Books!

(Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The above image was taken and altered by me for the purpose of this post.)

Hello Readers!

With the 4th of July being right around the corner (tomorrow!) this week’s theme is totally appropriate: books with red, white, and blue covers.  Because this week’s theme doesn’t need a whole lot of introducing I’m just going to jump right into the post.

Red:

Odd One Out by Nic Stone

Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake

Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

White

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Love and Other Perishable Items by Laura Buzo

Anything to Have You by Paige Harbison

Blue

Boy Meets Boy by David Levithan

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

***

Well there you have it! My red, white, and blue themed list!  Whatever your plans are tomorrow, dear readers I hope you have a very  ….

Undead Girl Gang

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

When high school witch Mila finds out that her best friend Riley has died by suicide, Mila is devastated. How is this possible? Riley isn’t, or rather wasn’t, the kind of girl who would kill herself, especially by drowning herself in the disgusting green lake.

But that’s what the police rule her death as.

Unable to accept it, and going with her gut instincts Mila turns to the one source that could help her crack the case of her friend’s murder: witchcraft.

With the help of an old spellbook, a tube of lipgloss, and the cover of night Mila somehow succeeds to bring back, not only Riley, but to also bring back two fellow classmates, June and Dayton, who died suspiciously just before Riley.

With a group of undead girls, and determination, Mila sets out to set the record straight. To prove that her best friend wouldn’t voluntarily leave her behind. But what she uncovers is more frightening than the three undead girls she’s harboring.

Will Mila crack the case? Or will she end up another victim?

Undead Girl Gang, written by author Lily Anderson, is a realistic read with a heavy paranormal/ghoulish twist. This book will have readers thinking deeply about friendships, and the lengths one will go to for said friendships.

Author Anderson’s writing is stunningly strong. It’s descriptive to the point where, as a reader, I was fully immersed and engaged in the plot that oftentimes it felt real to me. More than though, Anderson’s writing is real – from the dialog to the character interactions, everything felt organic and authentic.

Like her writing, I also found Anderson’s well crafted characters to be just as organic and authentic. Main character Mila is a true force to be reckoned one. She’s full of angst, girl power, and confidence. But those characteristics aren’t the only ones that make up this complex character. She’s also shy, vulnerable and emotional, and very aware of, not only who she is, but of the world and the people in the world around her. Even though she’s a flawed character, and even though sometimes as reader you won’t always understand her motives, the growth you will see in her is what makes her so likable and relatable.

I also love that author Anderson crafted a character like Mila and didn’t shy away from her being angry. She challenges the thought that girls and women shouldn’t be or get angry. And I love how she turned Mila’s anger into something constructive. More than that though, I love how she shows readers, especially female readers, that it is normal and it is okay to be angry.

But Mila isn’t the only great character to fill the pages of this book. Heck! She isn’t the only female character that oozes girl power. Though dead Riley, June, and Dayton are all fantastic representations of what girl power truly means – they believe in relying on themselves to solve the mystery of who is behind the female killing spree in Cross Creek, they stick together no matter what, and more than that they are capable of handling tough situations without the help of outsiders.

I loved all these aspects of these characters, but what I loved most is how, though the story, as a reader I had the chance to see their friendship go from complete and utter hatred of each other to loving and understanding.  And still, I loved how as I was reading it made me reflect on my own friendships, and the lengths I’d go to for my very own friends.

Moving on from the characters, as a person who doesn’t read a whole lot of mystery, I enjoyed trying to figure out what was going on in this small town alongside Mila and her undead girl gang. To say that there were so many twists and turns I didn’t see coming would be an understatement. Anderson has truly created a story that will keep readers guessing and terrified.

There is a whole lot to love about Anderson’s latest novel Undead Girl Gang. It was a five-star book for me, a feat that I feel is very rare for me. It was the perfect blend of realisticness and ghoulish horror. And it had a bit of something for everyone – from laugh out loud moments to downright scary ones.

Seriously, what more could you ask for in a book!?

(Cover image from Goodreads)