January Reading List

January Reading List


Books Read

Four – Veronica Roth

Flamecaster – Cinda Williams Chima

Shadowcaster – Cinda Williams Chima

Glass Sword – Victoria Aveyard

King’s Cage – Victoria Aveyard

Poetry Collections Read

Leaves of Grass – Walt Whitman

the princess saves herself in this one – amanda lovelace

Words That Kill – Vivid Vega

Starcrossed Swoons: Fairy Loot Box

Starcrossed Swoons: Fairy Loot Box

This was my first Fairy Loot Box, and it’s theme was: Starcrossed Swoons.

What was inside?

  • Customary Spoiler Card, with September’s Art
  • Art for the book with Letter from the Author
  • Customary September Edition Insider Scoop booklet
  • Bella and Edward Candle by Nerd Poured Candles
  • Mal and Alina Shea Butter
  • Prythian Shoelaces designed by Fictiontea Designs based on A Court of Thorns of Roses by Sarah J. Maas
  • Dreamer Apron designed by Literary Life Co. with a quote from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor
  • Love Rune Enamel Pin for Shadowhunters by Fictiontea Designs
  • Angelic Fire Candle Matches by Fictiontea Designs
  • Bookmarks: Fairy Loot September Bookmark, Tempests and Slaughter Bookmark, Mirage Bookmark
  • Swoon-worthy Postcard Set with art from various artists based on various titles
  • Muse of Nightmares postcard
  • Constellation Notebook with a quote from The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
  • Queen of Air and Darkness sampler
  • Book of the Month: Mirage by Somaiya Daud with exclusive cover, sprayed edges, and signed.

Image: (I would retake for the Shea Butter but I did not)


The book this month is Mirage by Somaiya Daud, which I find hilarious. Before I opened this box, I had listed it down on my “books to buy” list because I wanted to read it. Surprise! I got the book. Cue happy dance.

Will I love the book? That is yet to be known. The recent YA novels that I’ve read haven’t really been making me giddy. This is not to say they are bad, just that there is little “hype.” I still look forward to the read, and when I do, I’ll post my review.

Things in this box I can’t use: candles. My father has an allergy to scents (candles, perfumes, body lotions) and since I am still living at home, this makes candle usage difficult. It’s okay, I got an apron as well and a journal.  One can never have too many journals, after all.

Will I buy a Fairy Loot Box again? I want to, but they are expensive for what I do get. Plus I’m shipping from the UK to the USA so even more expensive. I will buy again in the future for a theme that I just must have. Until then, I’ll collect the book titles and keep a look out on where to find them.

Monthly Reading Lists

Monthly Reading Lists


From now on, I’ll be posting a reading list of all that have I read over the course of each month. I plan to start from what I read in January until now (individual posts). Keep in mind that I already keep track of most things that I read, but I’m not going to touch on the things I read daily, weekly, and the likes (manga, webnovels, etc.). Otherwise, these lists will include: poetry,  novels, short stories, and plays.

Master List

January 2018

February 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

September 2018

Pennedcon Review

Pennedcon Review


Over this last weekend (9-21 to 9-23) I was in St. Louis, MO for the fifth annual Penned Con. Penned Con is a convention dedicated for authors and readers to communicate where all proceeds from the event are donated to Auction for Autism.

What I knew going into the con (about the con specifically): Zero.

What I know coming out of the con:

  • Penned Con is a con for self published authors.
  • Penned Con is small but was a great  way to learn of new stories and authors.
  • Many tips of the trade for self publishing
  • A Plethora of new reads, and authors to look into.
  • A newfound inspiration for myself in regards to writing.
  • How saturated the writing field is


This con was not my cup of tea.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The fact that this con was about self published authors was not what threw me off.

It is true; I don’t have much experience with them as authors. The few books I have read by self  published authors have been good, but I do not have much experience with them.

As such, was I shocked to learn the convention was focused on self publishing? Utterly. Was I impressed? Truly. A convention for self publishing, and a pride of self publishing? I was stunned in happiness. These people didn’t see Self Publishing as Vanity Publishing. I was ecstatic. I also learned a lot about things I didn’t know for self publishing.

So it was not the self publish aspect, despite the fact that I personally lean more towards traditional publishing.

It was not all the new things I learned, because I did learn a lot. I truly realized how everyone’s process is different. I learned more information of why cover art is decided the way it is. I learned interesting facts on how Amazon publishing is different than traditional publishing. The con reaffirmed my belief that self publishing is not vanity publishing. (This is necessary for me to repeat a second time.)

Most importantly the con reminded me how important it is to write reviews for the books I read (and to star the book on Good Reads or Amazon). I learned of how even the smallest review of a book, good or bad, can help the author out. I saw how much more important it is, and really reaffirmed that my voice matters.

And I? I read a lot.


The reason this con was not my cup of tea, was mostly due to it being the first con I’ve been to of it’s type. (I have been to plenty of anime and game conventions.) There were fandom panels that I’d never heard of, and plenty of books I’d never catch myself dead reading. Not because the books were bad, but because they weren’t the books I’d like to read. It was a small con, and like all small cons I’ve been to: I got bored.

I got bored real quick, after scanning the rooms, buying books, sitting in on panels, and talking to authors. It was a two day event, and by the early morning of day two I was itching for something new. I’d already come to see what I wanted to see, and from the attendance rate that I saw on the second day? Perhaps many people had as well.

I don’t think this is an issue at all. In fact I think the con being a small con is probably more efficient for the authors and the readers to connect. This one on one connection was highly appreciated and something I really enjoyed. Hearing the passion in author’s voices about their books? It was wonderful. This distaste was just a personal thing, and, that is to say, perhaps something to keep in mind if you, the readers, plan to attend.


On the second day, my best friend took me to one of the Arts districts in St. Louis to visit her favorite book shop.  Low and behold, Bookfest was going on. It was there that I bought more books, and talked to magazine editors for poetry and short story publication magazines. It was a vastly different experience, with more panels.  From what I could tell there was fascinating stuff, but I did not stay long for it either.


Will I return to Penned con? Perhaps in the future. The tickets my best friend and I had, were given to her as a gift and in truth, I’ve avoided looking at the price tag of these tickets. I really loved the atmosphere and the exposure to authors I hadn’t heard of before. I’ll be better prepared next time.

Do I regret going? Never. I bought so many books and have so many more authors to check out.

Do I want to check out Bookfest again? Definitely, when my best friend and I aren’t hopping from place to place for her gaming stuff. There were so many different panels I was interested in, but was unable to listen to. Plus it’s free, so that’s an added bonus.


In total I had a lot of fun. I got a lot of books and if anything I decided on two things:

  1. Write more reviews (and star books)
  2. Create this website

Both of which I am doing. But now, it is time for the moment you have been waiting for…


From Penned Con

Return of the Elves Series – Bethany Adams



Exiled (Novella)



Soul Collectors Series – Tara Benham




Going Down in Flames – Chris Cannon (Must buy the rest of series if I like the first book)

Misadventures of a Virgin – Meredith Wild

Golden Curse – M. Lynn  *

Phrophecy of Darkness – Michelle Bryan & M. Lynn *

Two really cute journals by the designer Regina Wamba

*I need to email M.Lynn to get the other four books from her (2 of each series)


From Bookstore Later

To Make Monsters Out of Girls – Amanda Lovelace

The Sun and Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Mem – Bethany C. Morrow

The Lost Queen – Signe Pike (I actually got this book in a near blind book selection, so it was free with a donation to charity.)






The Journey Begins

The Journey Begins

After many a month and weeks of preparation, I have finally decided to make this website for myself. I will be using this website in conjunction to my Instagram (themarlenamarie) for updates on my life in regards to books that I have read, am reading, or any other book related news.

So a bit about me, which will be found in the about me section later. My name is Marlena Marie and I am an active reader and writer. While I doubt that this site will have any of my personal writings, or if any a few, I will be reviewing and talking about that which I read. This is to say: I read a lot.

I am from the United States, West Coast but I have been to nearly all the states in the Union (missing Hawaii and Alaska). I have been reading since I was a child, like most American children, but my favorite genres are Fantasy and Sci-Fi.

Thank you for joining me on this journey. Let us begin.