#TTT: Top Ten Christmas Books

Hey everyone! This week’s prompt is all about books I want for Christmas… I can’t belive that IT’S IN THREE DAYS! The tag was originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. What books do you want for Christmas (or, if you don’t celebrate it, what books




That was this week’s TTT! How did you do?

‘How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories’ (review and my fav. art)

*cue fangirl screaming*

Name: How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories

Author: Holly Black

Illustrator: Rovina Cai

Published: 2020

I can’t find a good blurb for this book – none of them properly express just how gorgeous this book is. I’m worried this post won’t be able to either.

(Another reason I’m worried is because I can’t find any of my notes, but I’m sure I’ll manage haha).

In case you’re confused, How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories is a (heavily) illustrated novella to accompany the Folk Of The Air series by Holly Black. I’d recommend that you check out my review of the first book, ‘The Cruel Prince’, here and read the book! or this might not make much sense! It’s one of my favourite fantasy series and I highly recommend them.

Anyway, this book gives the unheard narrative of Cardan’s side of the series. The stories are taken from before, during and after the Folk Of The Air but they had similarities running through them that made it feel more like a novella than a collection of stories. Plus, it describes Fairyland from the perspective of someone who couldn’t be more accustomed to its ways. Jude, the narrator of the other books, is brought into the world by her parents’ murderer aged seven (I know), yet Cardan has been raised there since birth as the son of the King. It meant an slightly different interpretation of the world that he calls home, compared to one Jude grew to hate.

Some might think of him as a strong draught, burning the back of one’s throat, but invigorating all the same. 

You might beg to differ. 

So long as you’re begging, he doesn’t mind a bit.

ITS SO GOOOOOOOOD

I loved watching Jude and Cardan fall in love all over again. Their relationship is so messy and complicated and gorgeous; this book reminded me why they’re one of my OTPs. But, it wasn’t just the first book from the perspective of the love interest (*cough* MIDNIGHT SUN *cough*). Maybe I should have read the series again before reading this, as there were a few characters I had to think back to remember? But the main thread through the stories was that of Cardan meeting with this troll woman, and learning to hate stories. Obviously. There was a sense of repetition throughout these meetings that made it feel fairy tale-esque (as I’m sure was the point ha), and the illustrations that accompanied it changed subtly with every addition to the story, which made me smile.

THE ILLUSTRATIONS!

Gold and royalty and cruelty, the rich fantasy of the Folk of the Air trilogy was captured so well. Often I find books with illustrations childish… and the other times I think that they look good, the characters look nothing like in my head. Heh, nOt tHiS TiMe! it was the attention to detail that made it: I’d think one was okay, look more closely and find my favourite yet. All the illustrations were quietly gorgeous, the colour schemes quite muted, but little things all added together to create a vibrant painting of this world.

The troll woman was actually terrifying (look right) and Jude wansn’t too glamourous which I liked. Often in fanart, I think that she looks too perfect – you can’t forget that SHE’S A WOMAN WITH A SWORD. Cardan was his hauty self (they’re the textbook definition of a bisexual’s worst nightmare haha) and I like how a small tilt of his body could change his whole demeanour. Rovina Cai is infinitely talented. So without further ado, here are my favourites!

They aren’t spoiling anything, but if you want to save the illustrations for your first read, skip this next bit.

Zoom in, you can see the arrogance splashed across his face. And she has a sworddddd

I love how absorbed Cardan is in the book (maybe he doesn’t hate stories after all…)

In my head all the palaces were quite cramped and underground (I don’t know why either) but the sheer size and elegance of this room messed with my head.

Nobody:
Cardan in the human world: what ees dees strange piece of dough

Which one is your favourite?


Honestly, I don’t want this world to end. I haven’t read The Modern Fairy Stories (know what I’m asking for for Christmas) and I think that there is an ebook novella somewhere? If anyone could clear that up in the comments I would be very thankful 🙂 How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories was a beautiful addition to this world and perfect for fans of fantasy.

And fans of sword wielding girls and their angsty boyfriends 🙂

Rating: 5 out of 5.

YA Books Christmas Present Ideas (That Aren’t Hunger Games)

Merry Christmas GIFs | Tenor

Hey everyone! As it’s Christmas (yay!) I thought I’d share some Young Adult books that would make great Christmas presents. I’m a teen, and I have to admit I’d prefer not to have a old copy of someone’s favourite book when they were ten. Because, whilst I’m sure they enjoyed it… that doesn’t mean I will. I’d recommend not buying books that are too young for teens, ie the characters are younger than the person you’re buying it for.

Obviously, it isn’t always the case that younger MC means a younger age category (THE EXORCIST) but it can sometimes feel like you and the fact you read older books aren’t not being taken seriously. Although, stay in an appropriate age category!

Also, I tried out some book photography for the first time. Let me know if you have any tips on how to photograph books… because I spent about half an hour trying to find some decent lighting that didn’t show all the creases in the spines. Because I’ve read these books a lot. Because I really enjoyed them! And anyone you’re buying YA books for this Christmas will as well 🙂

Have you read amy of these? Got any other YA books that would make great presents, or want to let me know what books you want for Christmas? let me know in the comments!


YA Fantasy

More YA Fantasy (I just really liked this photo)

YA Romance

Classics

For more info on these books, check out my reviews of them 🙂

#TTT: Books I Want To Reread

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Hey everyone! Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly tag originally created by The Broke and the Bookish but is now hosted over at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s prompt is all about books I want to reread. Most of these are books I think I read too young, and could appreciate more now I’m a bit older… but I can never be bothered haha. It’s so much effort rereading series, especially when you know what’s going to happen? So here are the top books I want to reread – what are yours?


1. Harry Potter Series

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I like to say I’m a big Harry Potter fan, even though I’ve only read the full series once 😬 Definitely need to try again!

Plus I love these 20th edition covers

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2. The Seven Deaths Of Evelyn Hardcastle

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I have a feeling I would understand this book a lot better now than when I was 13. But even when I was 13, it was amazing, would 1000% recommend.

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3. The Maze Runner

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I’ve actually bought the fifth book in the series, so it looks like I will be rereading them all again

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4. The Percy Jackson Series

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All of them! These books are hilarious and I’d love to see if all the Tumbr memes I hadn’t heard of when I was 11 are actually in the books haha

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5. The Power Of Five

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I want to reread these because they’re so goooood

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That was this week’s Top Ten Tuesday – keep an eye out for next week’s (it’s going to be a Christmas game!). What books do you want to reread?

This Is Not A Romance Book: ‘Letters To The Lost’

Not even in a this isn’t a love story. This is a story about love. It just wasn’t a romance book.

Also, this is my 100th post! It’s only taken 2 and a bit years haha. Thankyou so much for everyone who’ve encouraged me to do this blog, and to keep going when my posts don’t even make sense to myself. Also, my favourite part of blogging is getting to chat to you guys, so thanks for that. I love every comment (sort of. I could do without the spam ones trying to get me to buy paracetamol. You’d think they’d have realised by now it’s not going to happen). 🙂


Name: Letters To The Lost

Author: Brigid Kemmerer

Published: 2017

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Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother’s death, she leaves letters at her grave. It’s the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn’t the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he’s trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can’t resist writing back. Soon, he’s opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they’re not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

Do you recognise the author? Brigid Kemmerer wrote ‘A Curse So Dark And Lonely’ (it shocked me too). It only occurred to me that they were one and the same when I saw her list of books on the inside cover. It felt very coincidental there was two Brigid Kemmerer’s who are both accomplished YA authors. Oops! I’d been thinking of reading ACSDAL for a while, but I’ve seen so many conflicting reviews – have you read it? Is it any good? I’d think so – ‘Letters to the Lost’ wasn’t bad.

Although it wasn’t great.

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The book opens with Declan finding a letter addressed to someone’s dead mum on their grave, so he just… ya know… reads it. As you do. What really bugged me though, what that he assumed it’s a girl by the handwriting, because it just wouldn’t do if he was talking to a boy. It’s not really a big deal, but Juliet (her name, I kid you not) also assumes that he’s male when he replies to her letter. That one addressed to her dead mother, he replies to it! But I guess they had to somehow make it cute and romantic that they were talking to absolute strangers in a graveyard.

Plus, Declan and Juliet didn’t actually write that many letters! They swap paper and pen for email pretty quickly, certainly quick enough not to equivalent the name of the book. OKAY. Just read that back. From now on I’m going to stop being so cynical and talk about why I enjoyed the book. Because on most levels, I did. ‘Simon vs the Homo sapiens Agenda’ is one of my favourite books, and living proof that the sending-anonymous-emails trope could work for Letters to the Lost. Even if it’s not gay. And has far less Elliot Smith references. And was really giving me Wattpad vibes?

less cynical starting now

The first time Juliet meets Declan in real life, she bUmPs iNtO hIm and her coffee flies everywhere. His reputation around school is that he’s a real bad boy (of course ) and she calls him a ‘douchebag’. Which sets off this feud between them (did you see that coming? Not being cynical. I mean, it made cuter when they finally figured out who each other was. It did!). And that made me wonder, how bad is douchebag? Isn’t it like… a part of a hoover… I’ll probably get hate for this, but in America what scale of an insult is douchebag? Should I not be saying it on here?

“We’re all united by grief, but somehow divided by the same thing”

LETTERS TIO THE LOST

TW suicide mentions – just skip this paragraph

But, in all seriousness, ‘Letters to the Lost’ covered some quite heavy themes. There was a large focus on dysfunctional families and thoughts of death. How nobody is as great – or terrible – as you might think. I have conflicting thoughts on whether it was romanticising suicide. It’s a subject you can’t just throw into a book for the sake of character development and it was only mentioned a few times, not gone into depth. Not going into it kept the tone lighter but it felt a bit like it was glossing over the topic.

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Near the end, the book got so much better. It turned into a sort of murder mystery, which I both didn’t see coming and loved simultaneously. Both Declan and Juliet resolved things with their families (yay)… now all that was left was to resolve things with each otherrrr!

Oh god.

Whatever colour the cover is, it always screams ‘THE DARKEST SECRETS. THE FIERCEST LOVE’. You’d have thought by the third time they rethought the cover, they’d have changed it to something that was actually true. I just don’t think that if they only fully meet in person, that they can be in love. They don’t even say they love each other! One of my favourite parts of the book was watching their relationship grow, but their was their PLATONIC RELATIONSHIP. I think it would have worked if they were friends (can you tell).

To conclude, this was a pretty decent book. That may not be the impression you’ve got from this review, but it was a nice break after Dune (find my review here. Gotta plug it every chance I get haha 🙂 ). If you’re looking for a straight Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda crossed with All The Bright Places look no further! I’m interested what happens to Juliet and Declan next, so I’m going to treat myself to the sequel for Christmas. you know it’s good if I’m actually spending money on a sequel. Lastly, this book has taught me two things: 1) That love and friendship can get you through dark times. And two…

THAT REPLYING TO LETTERS ON GRAVES IS REALLY CREEPY I mean romantic!

I’m not a cynic 🙂

2 Tags And A Whole Lot Of Gifs

Does what it says on the tin 🙂

Sunshine Blogger Award

I was nominated by Cherry Blossom Books (find a link to their site here). Check it out – they write great book reviews!

The Rules

•Thank the blogger who nominated you. Do this in your blog post and include a link to their site.

•Answer the 11 questions that the nominator asked you.

•Nominate 11 new bloggers to receive the award. Write 11 new questions for them. Notify them by commenting on one of their posts.

•Within your blog post, include these rules and the Sunshine Blogger Award logo.

The Questions (some of them are really fun)

What is your favourite book?
My most consistent favourite is Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo, although honestly it changes every couple of months.

What is your dream job?
This is something I’m still figuring out, but I think it would be interesting to edit books

What is your most anticipated release of 2021?
ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS BY RAINBOW ROWELL

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Who is your favourite fictional character?
Ooo I’m not sure. No characters are perfect, but I’ve read enough fanfic to love Baz Pitch from Carry On

Favourite food?
I couldn’t be British if I didn’t love a good fish and chips

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Where do you want to travel?
I really want to go to cultural places, places with loads of history. And Venice – I want to go to Venice!

Where do you want to live?
Not permanently, but I’d like to live in France for 6 months (just to see if my french GCSE could actually get me anywhere!)

What is your favourite aesthetic?
I’d like to describe my style as wanna be emo but staying comfy haha

I Nominate

Check out the links to their websites!

And you! Feel free to do this tag – consider yourself nominated 🙂

My Questions

  1. Opinion on JK Rowling?
  2. Favourite author?
  3. Longest book you’ve ever read?
  4. Favourite desert?
  5. What’s your clothing style?
  6. Least favourite character?
  7. Unpopular Opinion?
  8. Do you like David Bowie?
  9. Top bands/artists?
  10. What would be your ideal pair of shoes?
  11. Favourite television show?

Now for the next tag 😅 I haven’t done two tags before, it’s a lot of work!


The Talents Tag

I was nominated by Krisha’s Kozy Korner (find a link to their site here). Check it out – they’re graphics are always perfect. They were nominated by the tag’s creator Evin.

Rules

  1. Thank the person who tagged you.
  2. Mention the creator of the tag and provide a link to their blog.
  3. Use the tag’s logo.
  4. Answer the 7 questions you were asked.
  5. Create 7 new questions or pass on the same questions.
  6. Tag 7 bloggers and notify them by commenting on their blog.
  7. What’s your talent? It can be anything you’re good at.
  8. Add your favorite quote!
  9. Finally…just have fun with it!

The Questions

Favourite or most comfortable outfit?
I just bought a leather jacket, which I’ve wanted forever and I really love it

The next book on your TBR?
A Language of Thorns and Roses by Leigh Bardugo

A painting you admire?
This probably isn’t a very original answer, but I like the symbolism in the adam and God painting from the roof of the Sistine Chapel. I’m not religious, but I think it’s really beautiful (um #Sistine Chapel?).

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What inspires you to write a blog post?
Trying not to be too cringey here, but I really like the idea that people all over the world can see my posts – and the permanence that they have? Digital posts are going to be out there forever, in a tiny corner of the internet, but if even one person is inspired by my posts I’m more than happy.

Plus, I love talking with you guys! You could not even speak the same language as someone, but you share the love of a book, and I think that’s pretty cool.

Finally, strawberry or blueberry?
Strawberry pancakes are DELICIOUS (also featuring our hero and saviour Gordon Ramsey)

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Most commonly used bookmark?
Don’t know if you have one but the Book Depository give out these free bookmarks with their products wiht book ouns on them. They make me very happy 🙂

My talent
Um, I’m trying to teach myself how to crosstitch. Check out some of my creations of book characters here:

I have a few but one of my favourite book quotes is:

People are like houses with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing we never stop surprising each other.

– Simon vs the homospaiens agenda.

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH – click HERE for my review. But there were so many I could have chosen honestlyyyy.

Guess The Book From The Quotes

What’s your favourite quote?

My Questions

  • Favourite song?
  • What’s your favourite quotes?
  • Unpopular opinion on an author?
  • What’s your dream house? (I’m running out of inspiration ha)
  • How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
  • Favourite character from a film?
  • What’s a gif that describes your relationship with books?
  • How old are you?

I Nominate:

  • Stargazing For Words
  • Nerdy And Wordy
  • A Book Place
  • Rachel Writes
  • Just A Lit Nerd (sameee)
  • Little Red Writing Whitney
  • Book reviews From Canada

And you! If you’ve got this far, I feel like you should at least take part in one tag 😉 Consider yourself nominated!

IM DONEEEEE

*Attempting* To Crosstitch ‘Floored’ Book Cover

Key word is attempting…

Even though I must have read it 3 times, Floored is a book that I’ve never got round to reviewing. I love it. It tells the story of 7 strangers who get into a lift – and only 6 get out. The teenagers are brought together by that incident; the book is told from each of their perspectives as they meet each year on its anniversary of (I’m trying hard not to spoil it!)

Floored is actually written by seven different authors, including Holly Black, Non Pratt and Melinda Salisbury, so you know it’s going to be good! The music is brilliant, the relationships are gorgeous and the character developments are realistic, but still make me smile.

Google Reviews proclaimed it as One Day meets The Breakfast Club. One of the few times I agree with Google Reviews, but I couldn’t put it better. Read Floored!

As I said in my last Crosstitch Attempt © (it was a quote from Good Omens, find it here 🙂 ), I got into cross-stitch over my isolation. It’s so time consuming (and fiddly ugh) it was perfect!

How do you think I did? Let me know if you have any ideas for quotes/ patterns to try next! Any tips would also be excitedly accepted haha.

When The Fear Is Gone Only I Will Remain.

Guessed the book yet?

That wasn’t a quote that particularly stood out to me whilst reading, but read by Timothee Chalamet it sounds so poignant…

Name: Dune

Author: Frank Herbert

Published: 1965 (!)

Dune by Frank Herbert | Waterstones

When the Emperor transfers stewardship of Arrakis from the noble House Harkonnen to House Atreides, the Harkonnens fight back, murdering Duke Leto Atreides. Paul, his son, and Lady Jessica, his concubine, flee into the desert. On the point of death, they are rescued by a band for Fremen, the native people of Arrakis, who control Arrakis’ second great resource: the giant worms that burrow beneath the burning desert sands.

In order to avenge his father and retake Arrakis from the Harkonnens, Paul must earn the trust of the Fremen and lead a tiny army against the innumerable forces aligned against them. And his journey will change the universe.

That cover is burned into my head. Have you ever had that? I’ve seen it so much late at night that my eyes begin to hurt (this also happens for the GCSE Edition of Macbeth) and my hands feel like they’re holding its 500 pages. However, I wouldn’t have survived so many pages if it wasn’t so good.

Photo by Ian Beckley on Pexels.com

The worst thing about Adult Fantasy is having to get your head around a whole new set of rules and politics (and there was a lot of politics). SO MANY made up words. I thought it was quite funny how Frank Herbert had put so much effort into thinking up names for everything… but then called his legendary warrior ‘Paul’?

As you’d expect from a book with 20 times the amount of pages than characters, they were all well fleshed out. A good amount of teen angst from Paul to keep him teen. The book spanned about 15 years, and he had an interesting character development where he became sort of power-hungry by the end that made me dislike him. But to be honest, I didn’t have an emotional connection to any characters. There was hints towards the Baron liking men – which was good for a book published in the 60’s – but he did it in a way that made me feel uncomfortable. He was the villain. And really creepy. So maybe not too progressive after all; what do you think?

Dune had an interesting way of showing everyone’s ulterior motives in a world of politics and espionage (ie. nobody means what they say!). Instead of having hundreds of different perspective switches, Frank Herbert gave Paul and his mother the ability to see through lies – it was quite satisfying to discover what they were actually thinking. When they weren’t around, the narration flew between different perspectives which layered this rich world of social injustice and (you’ve guessed it) spacey politics.

Photo by Louis on Pexels.com

Quotations from this textbook about Paul split up the chapters and sort of foreshadowed what would happen. Scenes were often discontinued at the pivotal moment, so the quotations gave the book a good pace… but the were from a textbook. So. I thought they would become important but nothing really came of them. Although I don’t know for sure as I didn’t exactly finish Dune…

The main reason I’m going with 4 stars is because of the flipping 40 pages of nonfiction -esque writing about Arrakis at the back. I was surprised I’d finished Dune because I thought I still had 40 pages to go (plus it was an unsatisfying ending). I took one look at the scientific analysis of the waterways of Arrakis and thought… I think I’ve finished it!

To finish, the cover boasted that it was the best sci fi epic ever written (bigheaded much). Which I wouldn’t agree with, but it was an enjoyable read. No set plot, just documenting this struggle for power on Arrakis which I’m excited to see how it can be adapted for the 2021 film. As that’s the reason I read the book in the first place (couldn’t see an adaptation without reading the book! 🙄). There was echoes in it of other science-ficiton books, but it’s more likely that this was what they echo. This is the original. The 1965 original science fiction that I’d highly recommend for fans of Star Wars, J.R Tolkien and spacey politics. Or if you go into lockdown and have enough time on your hands!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Synopsis and image of Dune from Waterstones (a great alternative for book buying from Amazon!)

Have you read this book? Got a recommendation or any opinions on Dune? Let me know in the comments!

#WWW Wednesday – 18/11/20

I’VE BEEN READING THE SAME BOOK FOR 4 WEEKS

Hi guys! So, this is a tag I’ve wanted to do for a while now, even though I can’t for the life of me think what it stands for? I know I’m being stupid but I’m so confused 😂 What I’m Reading Wednesdays? What Worth Wreading Wednesday?

I’m very sorry.

Anyway, this is a weekly tag hosted over at Taking On A World Of Words, I’d recommend you check out their site 🙂 If you’ve had a go at this tag, feel free to link in your post in the comments. And without further adieu, here’s what I’ve been to this week!

A Book I’m Currently Reading

I haven’t done a book review for a few because I’ve been reading Dune forever. But, I’m enjoying it and that’s what counts… even if it is nearly 600 pages!

I’m hoping to have finished it by Friday so keep an eye out for the review 🙂

A Book I Finished Recently

‘Love Frankie’ was the last book I read. I had such high expectations from my favourite childhood author that it didn’t quite live up to.

Check out my review of ‘Love Frankie’

A Book I Want To Read Next

As I’m sure you can tell from the cover, this book is an absolute opposite from the heavy sci fi political drama that is ‘Dune’. I’m looking forward to reading it as a bit of an break…

What are you reading at the moment? Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments!

To Peel Or Not To Peel?

Are you supposed to peel the stickers off your books? I’m so confused.

So, I don’t normally get books that would qualify for a waterstones special edition sticker but last week, I bought the got the limited edition version of How The King Of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories 😎. Let me just say…. this might be something I need to do more often!

Anyway, I was showing off to my friend about the cover and he was disgusted that I’d peeled the ‘special edition’ sticker off.Which left me VERY CONFUSED.

So, are you supposed to peel stickers like that off? My life is a lie. I don’t want to keep price tag stickers or ones saying buy one get one half price but what about fancy edition stickers? One of my pet hates is when it looks like a deal sticker can be peeled off but then it’s ACTUALLY PRINTED ONTO THE BOOK. Very annoying 😦

This isn’t normally a problem I have to worry about haha but what do you think? Do you peel the stickers off your books? Or do I have to try and glue the limited edition edition sticker back on!