Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Bookish Resolutions of 2016

I'll be honest. While I'm very good at coming up with New Year resolutions, sticking to them is an entirely different story. Still, I thought I would dedicate my last post of the year to those bookish resolutions I really, really, mean to see through. 

Oh and I just realized what I wrote just now. This is my last post of the year. Wow... Just, wow! 

2015 has been a special year for me. I turned 22, graduated from uni, recovered from a one-year long reading slump and got back into reading again and most importantly, I created this blog ^^ Yep, Of Stacks and Cups isn't even one year yet and still, it feels like I've been doing this for years.

And so, before I start with my resolutions, I wanted to thank all of you guys for visiting my blog and making this whole blogging thing such a fun venture. I've made a bunch of new friends here on the blogsphere and I only hope to get to know even more of you next year. It's been a great year guys ^^

And now with my resolutions. No more stalling now :D

Read all the unread books on my shelves


At the time I was writing this post, I had a total of 29 unread books on my shelves. I know that it's not an impossibly huge TBR and I'm hoping to get through most of them in the first half in the coming year.

Participate in a Read-a-Thon


I love reading blog posts about them, I love watching videos about them and yet, for some reason, I've never participated in one before. If you have one you think I would enjoy participating in, feel free to let me know.

Read 100 books in 2016

Normally, I would say that it's fairly easy for me to get through 100 books in a year. In 2016 though, I'll be starting my Masters degree and I know I'll have less free time than I had this year. In 2015, I managed to complete my Goodreads challenge of reading 120 books by reading a total of 170+ books. I want to take things a little more easy in 2016 and cut that count down to 100.

Read a Shakespeare play


I've been meaning to read a Shakespeare play for ages now but never got around to doing so because the language felt a little daunting to me. I do wish to remedy to that in 2016 and I'm thinking I might start with A Midsummer Night's Dream. If you've read other plays by Shakespeare, feel free to recommend me one to start with.

Read the Lord of the Rings


The first time I tried reading The Fellowship of the Ring I couldn't really get into the story and had to put it down. My sister has since then read the whole trilogy and has gushed about it so many times that I feel like I simply have to give these books another go. 

Give Neil Gaiman another chance


I seem to be one of the few people on the planet who's not completely in love with Neil Gaiman's books and honestly, I can't really explain it. I do admire Neil Gaiman as a person and love reading his blog posts. Yet I can never really seem to fully enjoy his books. In 2016 I'm planning to read another of his books and see if I like it. I'm thinking of going with Neverwhere. What do you think?

So that's it for my bookish resolutions of 2016 guys. Comment down below and tell me what your resolutions are! I wish you all a Happy New Year and hope you all have a blast. See you all in 2016 ^^


Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo   

Sunday, December 27, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2015

Hi guys. I hope you all had a great time for Christmas! 2016 is almost here and so, today I thought I would share with you some of the books I loved best in 2015. For this post, I am going to include books that may not have necessarily been published in 2015 but rather that I've read this year. If you've read any of these books too, do let me know what you thought about them in the comments below.

These are in no particular order and are all books I would absolutely recommend. To avoid making this post too long, I've put links to each book's Goodreads page rather than write full blurbs for all of them. To know more about them, just click on the title. 

Source 1 & Source 2

1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the illustrated edition
This book's release almost came as a surprise and was certainly one of the highlights of the year for fellow Potterheads. The story was already a well beloved one before this edition came out but the illustrations it comes with make reading Harry Potter more magical than other. 

2. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
This trilogy was superbly written with a story and prose that stays with you long after you've closed the book. This is children literature at its best and is a perfect choice for Christmas time.

Source 1 & Source 2

3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
This book simply blew me away! I was rather late to this party but once I started the book, I was hooked. I listened to it on audiobook and really, really enjoyed it. In fact, I would suggest you try the audiobook version because it definitely brings the virtual game universe of this book to life in a most vivid way. The narrator also did a superb job and was amazing with portraying different characters.

4. Winter by Marissa Meyer
The Lunar Chronicles have finally come to an end and while this saddens me a little, the more than satisfying conclusion delivered in Winter made ride entirely worth it. Marissa Meyer definitely knows how to wrap up a series! Now I can't wait to read her other books that are coming out in 2016. 

Source 1 & Source 2

5. Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
I've gushed a lot about this book on my blog in various post but for old times' sake, I'll say it again: I freaking love this book! It's a adult Cinderella retelling told from the perspective of one of her 'ugly' stepsisters and is step in 17th century Holland. The setting is unique, the characters are multidimensional and nicely portrayed and the prose is simply stunning. 

6. The Magic Toyshop by Angela Carter
This was my first Angela Carter book and I adored it. It feels like magical realism although nothing supernatural actually ever happen. It does retain a certain magical vibe, which is a nice contract to the book's often dark moments.

Source 1 & Source 2

7. Fables Vol. 4: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham
Fables is a comic book series that follows the stories of fairytale characters after they are forced to flee their world and hide among regular humans in our world. These books are sometimes gory, sometimes sexy but always witty and really well written. While the first 3 volumes were fairly enjoyable, it was the 4th volume that really made this one of my favorite graphic novel/comic book series. 

8. The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly
This is best described as a fairytale for adults. While our main character is a young boy, this book definitely has its dark moments, not to mention a fair share of gore. Beyond that though, the book reads as a fairytale, the prose both enchanting and witty. 

Source 1 & Source 2

9. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
Another book by Gregory Maguire, yep. This is again an adult retelling, this time focusing on the Wizard of Oz and with the Wicked Witch of the West as main character. Elphaba, the titular Wicked Witch is my favorite female character of all time. You can't help but fall in love with her as she struggles between good and evil in a world that is slowly coming apart as intolerance, sexism and racism begin to spread throughout the land. This Wicked Witch is a feminist. You might even say that she's a rebel. And as she makes her journey into becoming the legendary Wicked Witch, you will unavoidably find yourself rooting for her.

10. Dubliners by James Joyce
This is a short story collection set in 20th century Dublin focusing on the lives of different people of various social classes and age. This was the book that seriously got me into classics and I loved it so much and can say without hesitation that I'll be definitely re-reading this one at some point.

Source 1 & Source 2

11. Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino
Last Christmas I bought the two box sets of the entire Vampire Knight series as a little end of year treat and these mangas were the first books I spent the first days of January reading. Vampire Knight was both my first anime and my first manga and because of that, I can't help be a little bias towards it. I just really love this story. The last few volumes of the manga were not the best in the series but I did enjoy the ending. If you enjoy supernatural stories with a healthy dose of drama and well written romance, I would recommend you pick up this manga. You might also watch to check out the anime because it's really beautiful. 

So that's it for this post guys. What were your favorite books of 2015? Let me know in the comments ^^


Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Joy of Christmas Book Tag

It's finally Christmas Eve people! Today, I thought I would do the Christmas Book Tag. This lovely tag was created by YouTuber Samantha from the channel Novels and Nonsense and you can watch her original video here.

Let's begin!

Anticipation: The Christmas excitement is real, what book release(s) are you most anticipating?

Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare. This will be the first book in the a new Shadowhunter series called Dark Artifices and is coming out early March 2016. I love the Mortal Instruments and Infernal Devices series, also by Clare, and I can't wait to dive back in the Shadowhunter world.

Christmas Songs & Carols: What book or author can you not help but sing it's praises?

I'm going with Gregory Maguire. He writes mainly adult fairytale retellings and his prose is both descriptive and lyrical, making his stories poetic despite their often dark themes. I read two of his books including Wicked, the book which inspired the musical, and Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister, which is a Cinderella retelling from the POV of one of her 'ugly' stepsisters. I would absolutely recommend this author and these two books to everyone. I'm hoping to read more of his books in the coming year.  

Gingerbread Houses: What book or series has wonderful world building?

The Lunar Chronicles, by Marissa Meyer, has one of the most unique and best described fictional universe I've come across. It is set in an distant future in a world where androids, advanced technologies and cities on the moon are absolutely normal. Meyer does a great job bringing this universe to life with her vivid descriptions and beautiful prose. As someone who normally don't enjoy sci-fi, I found myself falling in love with this love within the first few chapters of the first book and it's now a fictional universe I'll be revisiting from time to time. 

A Christmas Carol: Favorite classic or one that you want to read

My favorite classic is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë. I haven't read it in years but I recently bought a new edition of the book and hope to read it very soon.

Christmas Sweets: What book would you love to receive for Christmas?

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas. I recently bought Throne of Glass and am planning to buy the other books in the series before I finally start it. The plan is to marathon the whole thing before the next book comes out. I honestly don't know what took me so long to get into this series, lol.

Candles in the Window: What book gives you that warm fuzzy feeling ?

The illustrated edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone definitely gives me those warm fuzzy feelings. Not only is Harry Potter my book of choice for Christmas, but the illustrated version also brings everything I love about this book to life through an even more magical experience. I'm glad I kept this book for Christmas and I have a feeling I might be taking it out of my bookshelf next Christmas too. 

Christmas Trees & Decorations: What are some of your favorite book covers?


I really love the cover of the illustrated edition of Harry Potter. It really conveys the magic concealed between the pages of the book. Another cover I really love is that of the Puffin Chalk edition of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie. All the books in this edition are equally stunning but my favorite is definitely this one. 

Christmas Joy: What are some of your favorite things about Christmas and/or some of your favorite Christmas memories?
I have two favorite Christmas memories. The first one was when I was eleven. That Christmas morning, I opened my presents to discover my first Harry Potter book. Even now, as I remember that day, I can still feel how magical it was to open the book for the first time. That Christmas morning was magical and because of it, I'll always associate Harry Potter with Christmas. 


My second favorite memory was of my trip to Hong Kong last year to spend Christmas there with my family. On the night before Christmas, we went to watch The Nutcracker performed by the Hong Kong Ballet. It was my first time watching ballet performed in an actual theater and by a professional dance company. We just don't have these things here in Mauritius. I loved every moment of it. The ballet itself was amazing, of course. But what made that evening so special was also the beauty of the actual theater and the mere fact that I was there. I kept glancing at the ceiling and the people sitting around me, almost giddy at the realization that this was actually happening. I suppose there are much grander theaters elsewhere but for me, that night, that was truly the most beautiful of places. 

If you enjoyed this tag, consider yourself tagged and...

Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Friday, December 18, 2015

'Tis The Season Book Tag!

Christmas is fast approaching guys! So today, I thought I would do a Christmassy book tag. The 'Tis The Season Book Tag was created by BookTuber Richard Denney and I do recommend you check out his channel because his videos are always hilarious and painfully on point. You can watch his original video here.

Before we start, I'd like to remind you that I am currently hosting a Christmas Giveaway, which you can enter for a chance to win any free book of your choice. Click here to check out this giveaway ^^

Okay, let's start!

1. Do you have a favorite winter read?

I don't have a specific title but I really enjoy children books in winter. I guess it's because of the warm memories attached to many of these books, especially my Enid Blyton books. Plus. with their wickedly good descriptions of food and candy, these books are perfect to be enjoyed with some biscuits and tea while it's cold and windy outside.

2. Find a book with blue on the cover!

My pick for this one is The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton. Although there is nothing particularly Christmassy about this book, I do associate it with the holiday season because it was last December, while I was in Hong Kong with my family, that I read it. It was raining outside and we were stuck at the hotel and to pass the time, I began to read this book. It took me the whole trip to get through it so now I associate it to that December spent in Hong Kong.

3. Find a book you’d use as the star on a Christmas tree!

Without question, the pick for this one has to be my bind-up edition of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. It has tiny silver stars strewn across the cover and is simply stunning on my shelf. It's also one of the books I've been most anticipating to read this Christmas and so far I'm really enjoying it. 

4. Pick one fictional place that would be perfect for a winter vacation!

Hogsmeade, hands down! Okay, any place in the Harry Potter universe would work too but I feel Hogsmeade is really the best place to pick because of all the amazing shops you could visit there. Like Honeydukes?! 

5. Pick one fictional character you’d take with you on your winter vacation! 


I would pick the Weasley twins, again from the HP universe. No one knows how to have fun better than these two. Now just imagine a trip to Hogsmeade with them. Imagine the snowball fights! Yep, the Weasley twins would definitely be my vacation buddies.

6. Name one book on your wish list this year!


The Marvels by Brian Selznick. This book not only looks gorgeous but it also sounds like it's going to be a beautiful read. It's a little pricey though, being in hardback and having illustrations for almost half of it. I might buy it as a little end of year treat to myself. We'll see :)

7. Favorite holiday drink, treat, & movie?


I don't have a specific favorite holiday drink but my favorite Christmas treat has to be cookies. I think no other treat says Christmas more than some cute cookies. My favorite Christmas movie is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Also, while I'm not usually a fan of romantic movies, there is something about the holiday season which just make me want to watch something sweet and romantic. So, if I had to pick a second movie, it would be Love Actually ^^ 

And that's it for this tag guys. If you enjoyed it, consider yourself tagged! If ever you do the tag, feel free to send me a link to your blog post or video. 

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Cover art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Christmas Giveaway Hop: Enter to win a book of your choice!

Christmas is almost here guys ^^ Enter today's Christmas giveaway for a chance to win any book of your choice! Once you've entered the giveaway, check out the list of the other blogs hosting Christmas giveaways as part of this hop for more chances to win other cool stuff. Good luck everyone!

  • I'll be giving away one book worth $12 or less to one of you. 
  • This giveaway is open internationally, so long the Book Depository ships to your country.
  • The giveaway will last until the 24th of December.
  • Once the giveaway ends, I will randomly choose a winner and email them to let them know they won and see which book they wish to receive.

Now you can hop on to the other blogs participating in this Giveaway Hop by clicking on any of the following links. Good luck ^^

Monday, December 7, 2015

Gift ideas for book lovers

Hi guys! Have you done with your Christmas shopping yet? If you're still figuring out what to get your friends and relatives, this post might give you some ideas. Whether it's to find something sweet for the book lovers in your life, or to simply treat yourself to a little bookish goody, you'll here find some fun gift ideas that will certainly please book lovers.

To make things easier for you, I've added links to the different stores and products mentioned here. 

Please also note that this month I'm also hosting a Christmas Giveaway Hop. If you want to participate, you can click here to sign up in the hop :)

Bookish jewelry

I'm a huge fan of those, especially since you can find them for pretty cheap if you know where to look for. Ebay offers a wide range of necklaces and other jewelry inspired by popular fandoms like Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Peter Pan, The Hunger Games, among others. 

Etsy stores also offer really beautiful necklaces and jewelry designed after your favorite books. Novel Reveries, which featured on my blog in a past giveaway post, makes jewelry with miniature book charms. She sells custom versions of her bracelets and necklaces, meaning you get to choose which book(s) you want her to make miniatures of. 


Bookish accessories

From scarves, to leggings, hats and dresses, there are tons of fashion accessories inspired by well loved books. My sister and I own Gryffindor and Slytherin scarves. These make great gifts for Harry Potter fans, especially in this winter season. 

The Etsy store Novel Reveries goes one step further and offers gorgeous upcycled bags which actually look like books. This Jane Eyre one has to be my favorite.



Some book lovers enjoy collecting bookmarks and there is a variety of types you get to choose from if you want to give them one as a gift. The magnetic ones are among my favorites. Not only are they super cute, but they also won't fall through your book even if you put it in a bag or something. 

The metal bookmarks also make really nice gifts. They look classy and some even come with a little hole where you can add a charm to it to customize it to your liking.


Bookish candles

I don't know about you, but I just love candles. Light up one and your room instantly looks a little more magical. Etsy stores such as From The Page and blabla offer a wide range of pretty candles inspired by fictional worlds and characters. From Peeta's cakes to Christmas at Hogwarts, you're sure to find something for your bookish friends.


Gift cards

You want to give your friend a book but aren't sure that they have or haven't read? Simply give them a gift card and let them choose. You're basically giving them free reign to indulge in some extra book shopping and trust me, they'll love you for it. You can give them a gift card to either their favorite bookstore or to websites you know they like to buy books.


I hope this post has given you some ideas on what to get your bookish loved ones this year. Enjoy your Christmas shopping!

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Cover design by Of Stacks of Cups vis Pagemodo

Friday, December 4, 2015

Christmas Giveaway: Enter to win a set of Christmas themed candles!

Hi guys! So December is finally here and with Christmas soon upon us, I have a special giveaway for you today. For this giveaway I'm working with Lorie, the owner of the Etsy store Scentsational Memory

Enter today's giveaway to win a set of Christmas themed soy candles! Below you'll find the giveaway, followed by my interview with Lorie.

Please also note that this month I'm also hosting a Christmas Giveaway Hop. If you want to participate, you can click here to sign up in the hop :)

The Giveaway

The winner will get two Christmas candles including:

Christmas Cookies Scented (Santa's Favorite) 4 ounce Soy Candle

Christmas Cookies Scented Santa's Favorite Soy Candle has the aroma of freshly baked, buttery Christmas cookies with frosting. A delicious favorite of Santa's and many others as well!

Christmas Cabin Scented (Christmas Memories) 4 ounce Soy Candle

Christmas Memories Christmas Cabin Scented Soy Candle has a wonderful aroma that is a combination of bayberries, cranberries, cinnamon, and a hint of orange zest. It's a delightful holiday fragrance that helps bring back lovely memories of the holidays past and thoughts of holidays to come.

This giveaway is open to the US only and will end on the 20th of December. The winner will be email within the next 48 hours.

Interview with Lorie

Tell us a little about you.
My name is Lorie Feingold, I am 38 years old and live in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania area.

Tell us about your craft. 
I make hand-poured scented soy wax candles.

How did you start?
I taught myself how to make candles. I wanted to learn a craft that might enable me to work from home while I stay at home with my children. I started making candles about 2-3 years ago and learned by doing a lot of online research and experimenting.

What was the first thing you ever crafted? How was the experience like?
When I was a child I used to do latch hook rugs and make potholders with those looms with the rubber band like pieces. I always enjoyed making crafts and my mother is extremely crafty.

What is the favorite craft you’ve ever made? Can it still be found in your store?
My favorite craft is my Grandma's Yum Yum Jelly Wild Elderberry scented candle and it can be found in my Etsy shop. My Grandmother used to make the most wonderful homemade elderberry jelly which my Grandfather nicknamed "Yum Yum Jelly" and this candle brings back sweet memories.

What is your next project? Are you working on something in particular at the moment?
I am considering adding wax melts and/or tealight sample packs to my Etsy shop within the next year.

Do you have other interests apart from crafting? 
I have a fascination with the paranormal and I really enjoy baking.

What would you say to an aspiring artist or crafter who wishes to commercialize his or her creations? 
I would advise taking time to really learn about the business side of things such as keeping records and taxes.

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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

My Graduation Book Haul (11 Books!)

Hey guys! So last month, I finally graduated from the university after my three years of studies. I did a Bachelor degree in Marketing Management at the University of Mauritius. Now, there are perks to finally become a university graduate, the first of my family in my case. I'm not talking just about being able to wear a funny black hat which won't even fit your head or an awesome graduation dress. Nope, I'm talking about the shameless book haul I was able to indulge in last month with, for once, no one asking me whether I was seriously going to buy all those books. 

So today I'm going to show you all the 11 books I got for my graduation, including some I bought myself and others I got as gifts from my family. I'll include links to the Goodreads pages of all those books, so that you can read more about them if you're interested.

Please also note that this month I'm also hosting a Christmas Giveaway Hop. If you want to participate, you can click here to sign up in the hop :)

Okay let's start with the haul!

The Books I Got As Gifts

My sister got me the beautiful, illustrated edition of Harry Potter. It's been a month now since I own this book and I still can't quite believe I actually own it. I keep taking it out of my bookshelf to flip through it. I want to save it for Christmas but I'm not really sure if I'll be able to hold that long before devouring it. It's possibly my favorite book from my collection.

The next book was a gift from my parents and it's this gorgeous bind-up of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. This is in the Everyman Library edition, which is my favorite edition. I own only one so far but I did read quite a bunch of them back when I was still at uni because the library had lots of books in this edition. I don't know much about His Dark Materials other that it's a children classic with magic, witches and talking polar bears. I saw the movie they did a few years ago but other than that, I will be going into these books pretty much without not knowing a lot. I want to save this one as well for Christmas time but again, I might just read it before then. 

The Books I Bought Myself

I had previously already books 1 through 3 on my Kindle but with Winter coming out this month, I thought I would buy the books in physical format to re-read them. While Cinder, Scarlet and Cress will be re-reads for me, I will be reading Fairest for the first time. I've heard mixed things about Fairest but I love this series so I'm really excited to marathon it soon.

This edition of Peter Pan is simply stunning. It has deckle edges and one of the most beautiful cover design I've ever seen. I was so excited to read this book that I made a bookmark to use with it. I designed it myself using Peter Pan artwork I found online. 

This is the book that inspired the famous musical by the same name and it's written by an author who's quickly becoming one of my favorites. Gregory Maguire basically writes adult fairy tale retellings and his writing is both witty and very beautiful. My edition of Wicked, despite being a mass market paperback, had a surprisingly elaborated design, including an inner colored illustrated of Elphaba, the titular Wicked Witch, and... green edges! Yep, this book has green edges. How cool is that?!

I'm probably the last person in the blogsphere to get into this series, lol. I figured it was about time I picked this one up. I've heard the first book isn't the best in the series so I'm thinking of getting the other books and marathoning them instead of reading this one right away.

The Dumb House by John Burnside
This is one heck of a creepy book and yet, I found myself struggling to put it down. I read it in less than two days and really enjoyed it. I would absolutely recommend it to those who enjoy dark, creepy stories. 

Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan
This was one of my most anticipated new releases of the year and I really, really enjoyed it. I wrote a full review of it so if you want to know more about my thoughts on this book, you can click here.

Post Graduation Plans

So what are my plans now? Well, I'll be doing my Masters next year in Communication. It's still too early for me to have concrete details but basically, class should start around May next year. For the moment I'm enjoying some long awaited me time. I've got blog posts to write, places to see and books to read. Lots and lots of them. So for the moment, I'm just content with the slow and the quiet. 

Seriously though, I do need to get through all those books...

Cover Art by Of Stacks and Cups via Pagemodo
Gif found here