Review Rave: OwlCrate’s ‘Find Me in the Forest’ via Cratejoy

Review Rave: OwlCrate’s ‘Find Me in the Forest’ via Cratejoy

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OwlCrate has been on my Cratejoy wishlist for ages and I finally got to subscribe to this awesome monthly box! Let’s dig into the ‘Find Me in the Forest’ OwlCrate for the month of October!

Overview: OwlCrate is a monthly subscription box that contains a newly published hardcover Young Adult book with a special cover, 3-5 other items, as well as exclusive goodies from publishers and authors. Each box also has a unique theme every month!

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Review: I was super excited to receive this box! With the raves I’ve heard about OwlCrate, I knew it was time to give them a go. The box came one day after I got my tracking number.

The small postcard on top goes into detail about each item inside the box.  There is also a booklet with an author interview, word search, suggested reads if you liked the book, an interview with an artist, photo challenge, and next month’s theme!

But let’s get to the good stuff…

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The book in this month’s box was Wild Beauty by Anna-Marie McLemore. After opening the book, I found an autographed bookplate, flower seeds, and a note from the author!

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Next we have two adorable magnet bookmarks from Craftedvan starring Where the Wild Things Are, one of my favorite childhood books! There’s also this cute fox coaster (don’t you remember how much I love foxes??!!) from artist Kristin Askland that says ‘All good things are wild and free.’

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Check out the moss and mint candle from In The Wick of Time that’s strong but so nice. I really liked that it played into the theme and was a scent I wouldn’t normally pick for myself. There’s a small pin featuring artwork on the postcard. Then there is this BEAUTIFUL art print from Studio Ghibili’s Princess Mononoke by artist Audra Auclair. I have plans for this print and a few others I have bought. Keep your eyes peeled for that post.

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Drum roll please for my favorite item in the box… a Harry Potter mug! Featuring the Forbidden Forest and the creatures that inhabit it by artist Cara Kozik! We see Hagrid’s house, a unicorn, a centaur, and the Weasley’s car with Aragog the giant spider! The loose leaf tea in a cute resealable pouch from Riddle’s Tea Shoppe that tastes like blueberry pie is geek-approved! Spolier: it’s delicious….

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I did purchase my subscription through Cratejoy which is an awesome site for all kinds of monthly boxes for anyone! If you’re interested, you should totally use my code and get five bucks. I get five bucks too, but what you get out of it is way more important, right?!

Bottom Line: Love Young Adult reads? Love bookish items from your favorite fandoms? You’ll love OwlCrate!

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

Would you like to see a video of next month’s OwlCrate unboxing? Leave me a comment if you prefer the blog style review or if you wanna see a Youtube unboxing! Or both?!

**Coasters were not included in OwlCrate.

Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Plastic Memories

Break out the tissues for this one! Every episode will have you tearing up!

Brief intro: Enter a future world where humanoid robots called Giftia have memories, human tendencies, and emotions. Special task forces are meant to retrieve them before their lifespan of 9 years and 4 months is over. Once a Giftia’s life expires, they lose their memories and become violent, losing their “human-like” levels of strength and speed, rendering them almost impossible to stop.

Our main characters are paired as Marksman (Giftia) and Spotter (human) in a small task force to recover these expiring Giftia. Tsukasa is an 18-year-old human boy who had no idea what kind of job he was taking on after his interview. He is paired with Isla, a veteran Giftia. Together, they must recover Giftias whose lives are about to expire before they lose their memories. There’s a problem though… Tsukasa has fallen for Isla, but how much time does Isla have left with her lifespan steadily ticking away?

Review: Fans of Chobits, rejoice! If you love Chobits, this anime is a must watch.

Much like Chobits, Plastic Memories centers around a humanoid robot with emotions and feelings. Isla, a veteran Giftia who has had a partner in the past, is paired with Tsukasa, a teenager who has no idea what he’s doing.

The first episode had me snot-crying so bring the tissues. If you thought from the first episode that this anime will be about the Giftias and Terminal Service One, it’s not. It’s all – and I mean ALL – about Tsukasa and Isla. Supporting characters also get their time to shine a little too, though I’m left wondering what the hell is going on with Kazuki? Her character is a little all over the place.

The writers have spiced this anime perfectly with a dash of humor, a sprinkling of science fiction, a little slice of life and a whole lot of bittersweet sadness. It doesn’t take long to empathize with the characters and the job they have to do. You immediately start rooting for Tsukasa to win Isla’s heart.

A heartbreaking twist is the bow on this bittersweet package, and it’ll leave you empty for days.

Bottom Line: All aboard the feels trip.

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, Sci-Fi, Slice of Life

Geeky Gal’s Score: 5 out of 5 stars!

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Saturday Suggestion – Anime: Say I Love You

Say I Love You

Say I Love You is a classic school romance-drama anime.

Brief intro: Mei Tachibana is a plain, socially awkward schoolgirl whose idea of friendship was changed forever after being bullied by her so-called friends. To save herself the pain and heartache from this ever happening again, Mei vows to never make friends again. That is until Yamato Kurosawa—one of the most popular boys in high school. Now Mei can’t help but question her choices.

Yamato makes the effort time and time again to be her friend, even freely giving her his number. As their relationship slowly develops, and is marked with an unexpected kiss, Mei is finding it very hard to express her true feelings towards Yamato. Sukitte Ii na yo. follows their developing relationship, as well as their frequent disagreements, to portray how difficult it can really be to say “I love you.”

Review: This romance anime is basically the standard formula of socially awkward girl + hot guy + well-placed drama = love story. What makes this anime stand out that is how well it’s done. The story is so believable and accurate about the first time falling in love. You might tear up so bring some tissues!

I really like this anime as I can identify with Mei: socially awkward, introverted, little to no friends. And even if I couldn’t identify with her, the emotions, feelings, and situations Mei and Yamato go through are so accurate when you first fall in love. I could easily remember back when I had felt those things too.

The anime is also a bit frustrating at times and transparent. You can usually guess what is about to happen, and there’s a lot of misunderstandings from miscommunication or the lack of communication. I still enjoyed watching the story unfold and a lot of the supporting characters have their own backstory that adds to the selling points of this series.

The artwork is beautiful and well done as is the music which is light and sweet. The music adds to the atmosphere which is realistic and in the realm of possibility.

At the end of the day, “Say I Love You” is a sweet romance that tugs at your heart strings even with its basic plot and almost stereotypical characters. It’s well done and beautiful with light music and the right amount of romance.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a sweet, classic school love and (a little) tearful romance, try “Say I Love You.”

Official Rating: PG-13

Genre(s): Romance, Drama, School

Geeky Gal’s Score: 4 out of 5 stars!

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Review Rave: June 2014 TRANSFORM Loot Crate

Review Rave: June 2014 TRANSFORM Loot Crate

It’s that time again! Loot Crate #2, and man, did they deliver this time! I love this month’s loot crate!

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Just a little summary about my Loot Crate Reviews: I have signed up for the three month subscription. I didn’t want to commit to it if I didn’t like it so I opted for the 3 month subscription rather than the year subscription. Also, I used coupons to get my subscription even cheaper! Don’t worry though, you can sign up for a one month subscription if you want to give it a go. If you want to try it out, you can follow my link here.

This month’s theme was transform. I made this video going over the goodies I got!

I took pictures and have put together this little rundown for you so you can see what exactly you’re getting. Some of these items are/will be unique to Loot Crate and not sold anywhere else so the prices are my own estimates to just give you an idea of what you’re getting from Loot Crate each month. I kind of took some of my prices from last month’s review since this month’s crate contained some unique (similar) items. All prices that I could get from reputable site are still “estimates.” Disclaimer. Disclaimer. Disclaimer.

June Shirt

Unique Transformers/Back to the Future Mash Up T-Shirt

Value: $15

Vinyl Action Figure

Action Vinyl Figurine: Thundercracker

Value: $10

Hexbug Nano Transformer

HexBug Nano Transformer: Optimus Prime

Value: $10

Wristband & Pin

Major League Gaming Wrist Band & June Loot Crate Pin

MLG Wristband Value: $5

Pin Value: $1.99

Mag, Voucher, & Candies

June Loot Crate Mini-Mag, Warheads Candy (3 [I ate one]),

& MLG Voucher for GameBattles Premium Access

Mini Mag Value: $0

Candy: $0.20

MLG Voucher: $5

Stickers

Stickers!

Total Value: $3

In all, my June Loot Crate is valued at about $50 (see disclaimer about prices). $50 versus the advertised $13.37 plus shipping per month is pretty amazing!

Review: I was surprised this month! May’s Loot Crate was not exactly ideal so this month definitely blew me away!

From the top: I love this shirt! It’s super comfy and I got compliments on it. It’s exclusive to Loot Crate subscribers so no one can walk into a store and get this awesome shirt. My most favorite item of all this month was the cute vinyl action figure. I’m IN LOVE with these cute things. I’ve decided I’m going to collect them! The only complaint I have with this *certain* one is that they sent wings that snap on the back, which is awesome except one doesn’t fit. It’s exactly the same as the left wing. Big sad face, but it’s still really cute.

Next is the little nano transformer. My brother used to love these when he was younger. While it’s something most would enjoy, I do not much care for it. It’s still cool. I might open it and add it to my things on my desk. After that is June’s pin which is much like May’s. A simple unique design that is just a reminder of this month’s loot crate.

The MLG wristband is something else that I really like! While I may not be into Major League Gaming as a part of a team, it’s still really cool to see people who are and watch the tournaments. Then there is Loot Crate’s mini magazine. It’s a nice short read and even has a little comic. Usually Loot Crate sends a link to the magazine so I was pleased to get a paper copy with my crate this month!

I ate one of the warheads. Reminds me of childhood…. Anyway, it’s also a nice change up to send treats rather than another set of stickers! Bonus points for candy! They also sent a voucher worth $5 for a month of GameBattles Premium access. This gives you a Loot Crate exclusive badge, Premium Ladder Support, access to Members only Forum, access to 1 Premium Online Tournament a month, and much more.

Last but not least are the stickers! The Transformers sticker has clear backing so you can really stick it on whatever you want. The other stickers are names of big MLG teams. Recognize any of those? Curse just moved to Huntsville, AL! Can you imagine?… Sorry, I’m totally fangirling over here (and contemplating putting in a job application).

Bottom Line: Overall, I loved this month’s crate! Can’t wait for next month’s!

If my review convinced you to try Loot Crate, follow my link right here!

Review Rant: May 2014 Loot Crate

Review Rant: May 2014 Loot Crate

I was pretty excited to get this little black box in the mail. This is the very first time I’ve ever signed up for a monthly box of goodies, and Loot Crate sounded like it was right up my alley.

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I have signed up for the three month subscription. I didn’t want to commit to it if I didn’t like it so I opted for the 3 month subscription rather than the year subscription. Also, I used coupons to get my subscription even cheaper! Don’t worry though, you can sign up for a one month subscription if you want to give it a go. If you want to try it out, you can follow my link: http://mbsy.co/lootcrate/5112615

This month’s theme was adventure. I actually made a video of myself opening the box!

After opening the box and doing some research, I took pictures and have put together this little rundown for you. Some of these items are/will be unique to Loot Crate and not sold anywhere else so the prices are my own estimates to just give you an idea of what you’re getting from Loot Crate each month.

Link T-Shirt

Unique Link T-Shirt

Value: $15

Adventure Time Tin & Figurine

Adventure Time Finn Tin with Zombie Finn

Value: $8

MineCraft Hanger & Loot Crate Pin

Minecraft Skeleton Hanger & Loot Crate May Adventure Pin

Hanger Value: $5.99

Pin Value: $1.99

Legend of Zelda Keychain

Legend of Zelda Keychain & Bottle Opener

“It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this.”

Value: $5

Friend Zone Soundtrack

The Friend Zone Soundtrack

Value: $5

Stickers & Tats

Stickers and Temporary Tattoos

Total Value: $4

In all, my May Loot Crate is valued at about $45. Like I said before, I guessed at some of the items prices so this may not be the same for you; each crate has similar items though. The value, about $45, versus the advertised $13.37 plus shipping per month is not bad at all! So overall, pretty awesome value for May’s Loot Crate.

Review: I was honestly disappointed with this month’s first box. Most of the items I received I was not interested in but others may have really enjoyed. However, I love, love, love the Link shirt. It’s probably my favorite thing from this month’s box.

I don’t watch Adventure Time; just not a fan, but the tin is kind of cute. The little 3 inch Minecraft Skeleton hanger is cool. I’ve hung it up in my room for the time being, but it’s not exactly something I could care about. The small button pin is basically a token from this month’s crate. For me, it’s just a reminder of what month this box is from, even though the artwork is nice.

The Legend of Zelda key chain/bottle opener is already on my key chain. It has a nice weight, and I’ll find a reason to use it. The CD of The Friend Zone’s soundtrack surprised me. It’s like video game music which is pretty awesome, but I didn’t know where it came from. After a little research, I found their youtube channel which is pretty cool. They do a lot of geeky things like playing games and dressing up. Finally, the stickers and tattoos… I don’t see myself using these but I really like the artwork. It’s a little too kiddish for me.

Bottom Line: Overall, everything was “okay,” just not things I liked. I’m ready for June’s Loot Crate already!

If my review convinced you to try Loot Crate anyway, follow my link!

Review Rant & Rave: Online School Plus Tips

Review Rant & Rave: Online School Plus Tips

As as online student, I feel like there is never an “after homework” moment to spend with family or friends. I’m always working on something and there’s never a point to “shut off” my school brain. Thankfully, I graduate soon! I can’t name the school I attend for legal reasons, and I’m not saying EVERY online school is the same, but I thought I could break down some common points, good and bad, for you if you are considering online school or have just started online school. If you’re already in online school or have been to online school, I’m sure you’re going to get a kick out of this list.

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The Good

  • Go to class ALMOST whenever you want to.
  • Go to class ALMOST wherever you want to.
  • Do school work when you want to.
  • Wear what you want to class. (I do most of my school work in pajamas!)
  • All work is home work.
  • You can hold a part time or full time job while getting a degree.
  • Sometimes, it takes less time (I am getting a 4-year degree in 3 years).
  • If you don’t like interacting with people in person, this is a nice option.
  • Work in your comfort zone.
  • No crazy dorm mates.
  • No crazy college parties downstairs while you’re trying to study.
  • You get to stay at home; no moving!
  • No commuting.
  • Tuition can be cheaper (this all depends on the school and where you live, etc.).
  • Usually, you’re able to work at your own pace.
  • Make your own schedule.

The Bad

  • Most communication is by computer so there is little to no face-to-face interaction with the teacher or your classmates which could be hard on some people.
  • One word: miscommunication. All the time.
  • The power goes out, and you have to make a trek to your friend’s house or McDonald’s to bum some internet to do a test or finish a big project.
  • That above point being said, “no internet” is never an excuse in online school. It’s the equivalent to “the dog ate my homework.”
  • If you work, you come straight home to work some more on the computer.
  • You must be self-motivated. There is no one around to make you get on your computer and do school work.
  • Having so much freedom can cause procrastination.
  • You must have excellent time management skills.
  • You can feel isolated.
  • Your teacher sucks and waits until the day before a big project is due to finally answer your question that is detrimental to said project.
  • Your teacher still sucks and never answers your emails so you resort to filing a complaint on them. Your questions still go unanswered, and your grade might suffer from this.
  • You are responsible for your own learning.

So some of these things may even go with going to a college campus, but as an online student, you will run into these things. Just make sure you’re making the right decision for yourself. If you can handle the pressure, then do some research on attending an online college in your field. Take into account what kind of learner you are and your time management skills. Be honest. My time management skills were never that great but classes have whipped me into shape because I simply refuse to fail.

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Some Tips for New Students

  • Be professional in every email, text, phone call, and interaction you have with anyone concerning your school. Your questions and requests will most likely be answered in a swift manner if you are being polite. Also, it will prepare you for any and all work environments.
  • Back up your files. I repeat: BACK UP YOUR FILES! The worst part about working on a computer is that sometimes your stuff gets lost, deleted, corrupted, etc. Anything can happen so invest in a USB drive or external hard drive.
  • Have a Plan B. The internet goes out: whose house will you go to? Things can and will happen so it’s always best to have things sorted out to save yourself time and stress.
  • Do work in intervals. Work for an hour, take a ten minute break. This is good for you and good for your eyes. Plus it should cut down on procrastinating.
  • Make yourself a schedule. If you make yourself a schedule, you’ll be more likely to put in more hours on your school work.
  • You can always try to make friends on the online platform but students are in different places and different time zones. It’s an excellent way to network but not always a good way to make friends. Instead, make time to socialize with your friends at home.
  • Teachers work at their own pace too. I suggest follow-up emails if they don’t answer within a 24 to 36-hour period. Google is a good place to go searching for answers. Your school may have Facebook groups as well. Utilize these tools to help you find your answers.
  •  Take time for yourself, but push yourself as well!

Do you have any tips to add? What was your online school experience like? Tell me in the comments!