Gift Giving Hacks for Readers, Geeks and More

I kind of pride myself on being a really GREAT gift giver but this year I am drawing blanks. Thankfully Barnes & Noble has a ton of really cool tools that make gift giving super easy whether you’re looking to give a book or other great gift.

what to read next great tools for picking what book to read for all readers

I personally always believe books are one of the best gifts that you can get anyone regardless of age or interests. But, sometimes deciding WHICH book can be a bit tricky. Last week I was browsing the Barnes & Noble website and got giddy when I tried out the Book Graph for the first time. This little tool is brand new this holiday season and I’m keeping my fingers crossed they’ll keep it year around. It’s a little hidden but to find it click on “books” on the top of and “Book Graph” is the first option.

Basically you click on a book cover and it leads you down a trail of related books that you can follow to find something new and awesome. With every step there are tons of options and you can click on each image to learn more about the different titles. It was so fun seeing books that I love recommended in this way. They have combined all the knowledge from their book sellers and the wealth of data on which books people tend to buy with other and well, you can see how that would make for a power recommendation tool. I could see this being super addicting. Plus this would be great when shopping for someone who reads a ton or who reads different types of content than what you might be familiar with!

super hero gifts and books for boys girls and kids of all ages

Not only is there the Book Graph, -but there are TONS awesome curated book lists and gift guides.  I love how the guides are more than just gender and age based. Of course you can start there if you want, -but, there are really interesting list themes which you might not think to search for, but lead to some pretty fun present ideas. There’s a whole selection of Super Gifts for Superheroes (a peek at that above), gifts for Game of Thrones Fans, Creative Gifts for Scientist and Makers,  Gifts to Inspire Unstoppable Girls and more.

awesome tips and tools for buying gifts for readers and geeks. books and non-book present tricks and ideas

This my friends is how you get a unique and meaningful gift your love ones will be really excited to get! In addition to lists with both non-book gift ideas as well as fresh reading material there are tons of straight up book lists to guide your gift giving (even if it’s for yourself, I won’t judge) like “Thrilling Books for Teen Readers“. 

And as fun as it is to shop from the convenience of your own home in your jammies, you might want to throw on some clothes because I’m not sure if you are aware, -but in most Barnes & Noble locations this holiday season they have a super special Harry Potter aisle!

Tons of Harry POtter gifts from Barnes and Noble

It is jammed packed FULL of goodies, books, and tons of gift ideas all inspired by the J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World of Harry Potter. It’s got great goodies from the original series as well as from the Fantastic Beast movie and the Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Screenplay. You guys I wanted it all, scarves, wands, games of all sorts, stuffies, DVDs, there’s so many fun things!

I’m not sure if you’ve ever just wandered the non-book isles at Barnes & Noble, but they always have the most fun gifts for kiddos, geeks, and really anyone! I’m actually drooling over the FAO Schwarz Christmas decoration I saw there earlier this week.

star wars at barnes & noble

I’ll be doing a live walk through on Facebook this week if you want a little peek around and for you Star Wars fans they have a Star Wars aisle too!!!

So if you’re at a loss of what to give the special people in your life head over to Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble whether in person or online and you’re sure to find plenty of fun options!










Fandom Subscription Boxes for Harry Potter Fans

Looking for an amazing gift for a Harry Potter fan? Fandom subscription boxes are pretty much the best thing next to Owl Mail.

CrateJoy Fandom Subscription Boxes review

CrateJoy has a wealth of of amazing boxes perfect for Potterheads, book nerds, and all kinds of geek lovers. Every month my family members and I anxiously await the arrival our subscription boxes. Yup we each have our own! Teddy and I have our own respective bookish boxes (mine’s a YA fandom one and Teddy’s is a picture book one) and the husband has one full of snacks. My sister and the nieces have their own collection of boxes delivered too. Needless to say that we are BIG fans of happy mail.

Amazing fandom subscription boxes for harry potter fans

I’ve talked about some of my favorite bookish boxes before, but to celebrate Fandom month and of course Harry Potter’s birthday I thought it would be fun to share some more. These make amazing gifts and many offer single boxes and short subscriptions for those looking for less of a commitment, but really there’s just something magical about having a happy little surprise to open up every month!

Accio! Box

Accio! Box awesome Harry Potter subscription box for adults

I have to admit I’ve thought about subscribing to Accio! Box many many times. I’m so excited to finally have one in my hands. These boxes are specially curated for adult Harry Potter fans and when you sign up you tell them your Hogwarts House along with your T-shirt size. The Gryffindor print that came in this box is dreamy, the wooden light switch is so cool, and this month there was a pillowcase instead of a shirt how cool is that. Bed pillowcase not throw pillow which I think is even cooler. I have a feeling like a new box might be in my future.

Fizzy Fairy Apothecary Box

fizzy fairy fandom box a monthly subscription box with bathbombs and a geeky theme

There are few things better to me than sitting in a cozy bath with a great book. The Fizzy Fairy Apothecary Box is an monthly apothecary box with a fandom theme. Fun right? The one pictured above is based on The Last Unicorn. Freaking amazing I know. The bath bombs are huge and gorgeous but I think my favorite part of it is that there are 6 full sized fizzers in each box! And I love that even if you are not into the particular fandom of the month you can still really enjoy the box.

Shelflove Crate

Shelflove Crate bookish subscription box

Love to read but don’t know what to read next? Shelflove Crate makes things easy for you. Every month you get a newly released YA fantasy or sci-fi selection complete with an amazing assortment of goodies that fit the book theme taking you on an amazing literary journey. That thing in the cup is a mirror with a quote from one of my favorite book series. Ahhh love it soooo much! This one is jammed packed full of goodies I can’t wait to read the book and see how they relate!

Once Upon a Book Club

Once Upon a Book Club suprise presents that match up to a book as you read

If you’re someone who loves to just dive into a story (or know someone like that) Once Upon a Book Club box is perfect for literary immersion. Aside from the cutest packaging ever, this monthly subscription box sends you a book a long with themed wrapped presents. Each gift corresponds to a page number in the box and you’re supposed to wait to open the appropriate gift for when you get to that page in the box. SO fun right!? I know what I’m reading next! I’ll be sure to share what’s in each pack on my Instagram once I get through the story. As a fun bonus you can snag this one for 10% off if you use the code “CRATEJOY”.


Bookified Monthly Harry Potter letters

I have always said I want more. More stories, more of the Wizarding world, just more. That’s exactly what you get with these monthly letters from Bookified. Each month you receive a letter that fills in the gaps of the Harry Potter stories we all love. This one from James Potter (Harry’s father) is addressed to Sirius and talks all about baby Harry right before the events of the Wizarding War. I’d be lying if I said that my heart didn’t melt just a little bit. This is such a unique idea and would make for a crazy fun gift for die-hard Harry Potter fans. Bonus points that it comes in a simple envelope too.

These five are just a taste of the fun Fandom options that CrateJoy has to offer. I’ve had subscriptions to four of their other bookish boxes that I adored and I’ve scrolled their catalogue and can’t wait to check out even more! If you’re looking for an amazing gift for a book lover or geek I’m telling you happy mail in the form of a subscription box will be a hit.
hands down the best gift for a harry potter fan or book lover

Do you subscribe to any subscription boxes or have you thought about doing so? I’d love to hear about others I should check out!

Don’t forget about the giveaway!

unique must have gifts harry potter fans

Enter to win this amazing prize pack by using the widget below or click hereif the widget isn’t loading. Make sure to check back as new ways to enter will be added throughout the series!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

This year’s Happy Harry Potter giveaway winner will give a fun package including:

Want More? See hundreds of Harry Potter recipes, craft ideas and more from years of the series and more!

Crafty Harry Potter awesomeness. Hundreds of free tutorials, sewing patters, recipes, party ideas, book recommendations and more for Harry Potter fans.


Ultimate List of Christmas Books

Whether you want to do a book advent calendar or just love collecting holiday reads I’ve got a huge list of great Christmas Picture books as well as a couple of reads perfect for Mama too!

Great Christmas reading list. Board books and picture books as well as novels. Religious and santa and snowmen stories for kids to adults

I’ve always love the idea of wrapping up a book and opening one  up each day to read with the kids as a book advent calendar, but the book hoarder in me wants all the books to be read the whole season so for now I’ve got a huge pile of picture books and flap books and pop up books in a little basket by the tree. I love reading about the true meaning of Christmas with the manger stories as well as the fun celebrations that have become a part of the holiday for our American culture like Santa and Snowmen and all that. So here is a good mix of both religious and secular books to read for Christmas.

If you click on the title it will take you to my Amazon affiliate link and you can see pictures, reviews, and read more about each book.

Lots of great Christmas board books and picture books that teach the true meaning of Christmas. Fun and adorable nativity books and more for babies and kids.

Religious Picture and Board Books

Santa, Snowmen and other fun non-religious Christmas books for kids

Secular Picture and Board Books

Fabulous picture books for Christmas. Lots of religious and non-religious christmas books for babies and kids

Teen and Adult Fiction Great for Reading Around Christmas

Also join me tomorrow live on Facebook at 11 AM MST as my friend Debra from Housewife Eclectic and I compare our Christmas book lists and share what we love about our favorites. See her list here.

*I haven’t read these yet but I have friends that ADORE them!

Lots of great Christmas books for the whole family. Both nativity books and santa and snowman. From Board books for kids to novels for teens and adults.


Over 30 Young Adult Books Set in School

affiliate DISCLOSURE

One of my favorite settings for books are schools. Boarding schools are doubly fun. Today my sister and I are sharing our favorite Young Adult Books set in SCHOOL!

Back to school books for fun! Over 30 young adult novels that take place in schools. Run reading list.

As we do every month we are coordinating our reading list with the theme for this month’s Owlcrate (Fast Times at YA High) and we will be doing a live unboxing of our Owlcrates (a monthly bookish subscription box that BOTH my sister and I get, and pay for out of our own pockets because we love them so much and can’t share). Along with the unboxing we’ll be doing a book chat and talking about all the reasons why we loved reading these school themed books AND you should too! I hope you will join us this coming Monday evening 5PM MST on the Rae Gun Ramblings Facebook page and tell us what some of your favorite books set in school are!

Young adult reading list with books set in schools. Perfect for back to school reading

For more about each title click on the link to be taken to Amazon where you can read the official synopsis and other people’s reviews.

Contemporary (regular good old life as a school going teen)

Something More (regular good old life as a school going teen with powers, or who’s actually a spy, or some other fun twist)

Books with School settings. Fun back to school young adult reading list.

You also might like:

Totally agree the 9 books are fantastic and the 1 is SOOOOO awful I'm shocked it was published and marketed to teens!

Adding these to my reading list. So many great adventure books good for any mood.

20+ Royal Reads

affiliate disclosure

I’m a sucker for books with royalty in them. If the story takes place in a castle, has a fabulous prince or princess (even in disguise) it’s likely I’m gonna want to read it.

Great (most) YA reading list full of books with royalty and castle settings. SO fun!

When I heard that the theme for this month’s Owl Crate (bookish subscription box I get) was Royalty I got SUPER excited. My box came in the mail last week but I have been patiently waiting to open it because I want to do an unboxing live on my FB with my sister. So in conjunction with all that we decided it would be a blast to share our favorite Royalty books. You can watch the full video below just remember it was originally a FB live vid.

The royalty in these books are varied, some are main characters, some are formal royals, some are side characters but somewhere in each of these is a prominent prince or princes or queen or king, well you get what I mean. Each title to an Amazon so if you’re interested you can read the official synopses and of course see the title for each of them!

20+ Royalty reads. Lots of awesome YA books with royal characters, castle settings, etc. Some of my all time favs.
My sister and I pretty much agree that all of these books are awesome and have royalty aspects. We each picked our top 3 and I bolded them for you guys. But you’ll have to watch the live or replay video to see who said which ;) There are only a handful I personally haven’t read and I’m staring them (these are ones my sister loves though). Also all of these are YA except for the one’s that I’ve added the + sign too and these are still fun just intended for more mature readers! And make sure to like Rae Gun Ramblings facebook page so you can catch our next live book chat!
20+ YA books full of princess, princesses, castle life and other fun. Great royal reads

Let’s connect! You can also find me hanging out here.



The Books I’m Going to Read This Summer

Books I'm going to read this Summer

So yesterday I shared my fabric hoarding problem and I was going to say that’s the only thing but then I went to write this post and I realized I have a serious to be read book hoarding problem. Luckily most of these have been gifted or borrowed so it’s not quite as bad as the fabric but I’ve got a few more than 10 on the list this week. These are the books that have come off my library hold, appeared in my mailbox, or have just been sitting on my shelf for too long. Linking up with The Broke and the Bookish. So here are the books I’m going to read this Summer.

GIVEAWAY CLOSED! And in case you missed it last week there is just one day left to enter the super awesome huge Summer bookish giveaway that my friend Debra from Housewife Eclectic and I are hosting.

huge summer reading survival kit giveaway from Rae Gun Ramblings and Housewife Eclectic

What’s for Dinner and Going On: LA Girls Night Out Edition

Sewing GNO la

As you know I was in LA last week attending a super fun fabric shopping weekend. A few sewing bloggers and got together for a wonderful fabric shopping weekend. I’ll be sharing more of my fabric spoils, my favorite places to shop for fabric in LA and and awesome giveaway later this week but we closed out the weekend with a wonderful Girls Night Out hosted by Jessica of The Sewing Rabbit.

GNO Los Angelos

(picture from The Sewing Rabbit)

As with all her GNO’s Jess made up some awesome totes and filled them full of goodies from an amazing assortment of sponsors. We each got a bunch of fabric from Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores, awesome interfacing from PellonMichael Miller Fabrics gave us all fabric from their newly released Violet Craft line, there were also the cutest thread spools lined on ribbon and samples of Phoomph from Coats and Clark, a whole charm pack from Dear Stella Design, and 5 great patterns were from McCalls. See loads and loads of pictures from the La Girls Night Out at Jessica’s and also check out her Girl’s Night Out Giveaway that has 11 awesome prizes perfect for crafty girls.

In other news, I finished reading Eat to Live which preaches a diet high in plant based foods so while I’m not interested in following the plan to a tee (basically vegan-ism with 1-2 servings of animal based food a week) I am feeling very convicted to get more vegetables into our diet. If you’re interested in healthy eating or losing weight it is a very interesting read. So here goes.

On the menu for this week…

Day Main Meal Goals (Veggies, Whole Grain, Fish)
Sunday Asparagus and Wild Rice Soup Grains and nuts: pasta
Veggies: Zuccs, Salad
Fish: Shrimp
Monday Zucchini Lasagna
Tuesday Chicken Cauliflower and Cheese Sauce
Wednesday Eat Out
Thursday Hamburgers and Grilled Zucchini
Friday Pizza and Salad
Saturday Big Salad

Book Haul…

book haul invisibility s

It’s been a while since I shared the books I’ve purchased, received for review, and borrowed from the library but before that if you missed the super giant huge book giveaway I’m co-hosting be sure to check it out (13 books including Divergent and Matched plus a few bookish goodies).


  • Entwined
  • Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares


  • Witch World (audio)
  • Invisibility
  • The Elite
  • Eat to Live (audio)

For Review

  • Gameboard of the Gods (digital)
  • Better Nate than Ever (audio)
  • Runaway Queen (audio)

World’s Best Quick Biscuit Recipe and What’s for Dinner/Book Haul

My sister made the most amazing biscuits for Beautiful Creatures party and my mom made this super tasty fried chicken for part of our Chinese New Years feast (she dosed it in sweet and sour sauce) and I have been craving those two dishes like a crazy girl (minus the chicken sauce) and finally I got them to indulge me.

It turns out the biscuits are super fast and easy to make so took a few pictures while she whipped up a batch.

World’s Best Quick Biscuit Recipe

  • 2 C All Purpose Flour
  • 1 TBS Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 TBS sugar
  • 1/2 C shortening (chilled)
  • 1 C milk (chilled)

Preheat the oven to 425 F. Mix the dry ingredients. Cut in cold shortening. Slowly stir in milk. Press the dough into a rectable and then fold in thirds on top of itself and press into rectangle (try to transfer as little heat as you can so do it fast). Cut into shapes and back for 12-15 minutes.

On the menu for this week…

Day Main Meal Goals (Veggies, Whole Grain, Fish)
Sunday Corned Beef Sandwiches and Bacon wrapped potatoes Grains and nuts: pasta
Veggies: Zuccs, Salad
Fish: Shrimp
Monday Clam Fettuccine
Tuesday Cobb Salad
Wednesday Catfish Mediterranean Tacos
Thursday Cream of Mushroom Soup and Salad
Friday Eat Out
Saturday Cowboy Hamburgers and Grilled Zucchini

Here’s my latest book haul:


for review

And in case you missed it I’ve got a fun bookish photo challenge that is starting this week. Feel free to play on Instagram or Twitter and just follow me at @raegunramblings and tag your pictures #rgrphotoaday

What’s for Dinner and Book Haul Week 167

Last week was crazy fun! I spent the first part of the week doing last minute stuff for SNAP! the creative blogging conference and then Thursday through late Saturday at SNAP! I’ve already shared some pictures on my instagram but I have a bunch of other fun stuff to share from the conference.

Luckily I don’t have too endure too much blogger withdrawal since we have a connective circle class this Tuesday. If you’re a Utah blogger and want to learn more the connective circle offers awesome classes. This month it’s on SEO but they’ve  had ones on Pinterest, affiliate, links, taxes and more.

On the menu for this week…

Day Main Meal Goals (Veggies, Whole Grain, Fish)
Sunday Fried Chicken Biscuits and Cauliflower Grains and nuts: pasta
Veggies: Peas, Salad
Fish: Shrimp
Monday Chicken, Mushroom Risotto and Peas
Tuesday Big Salad
Wednesday Ravioli
Thursday Eat Out
Friday Creamy Enchiladas
Saturday Shrimp Alfredo

Here’s my latest book stack

For Review:

    The Bane Chronicles: What Really Happened in Peru (audio)

      I have a few books waiting for me at the library hopefully I’ll be able to grab them tomorrow.
      See what I’ve been reading on my Goodreads. Linking up to IMM and Stacking the Shelves.

      What’s for Dinner and Book Haul Week # 166

      It’s Snap! week. If you don’t know, Snap! is a crafty bloggers conference held here in Utah. I crashed it last year but this time I’ve got a legitimate ticket, hotel room, roommates (Kari and Vanessa) and everything. I.Am.So.Excited!

      I’ve been busy trying to catch up from my bug and get ahead before the conference but I had a crazy productive weekend I think my body and mind were just so really to be used again it was awesome. And just in case any one has been considering the Indian frozen meals at Trader Joe’s they are delicious. I didn’t eat for 3 days and then the next day I barely ate any thing. Daniel ate the frozen meals that I had overbought stocked up on and he was still a happy camper.

      On the menu for this week…

      Day Main Meal Goals (Veggies, Whole Grain, Fish)
      Sunday Broccoli Potato Soup and Biscuits Grains and nuts: granola bars
      Veggies: Peas, Broccoli
      Fish: Catfish
      Monday The Pie
      Tuesday Catfish Enchiladas
      Wednesday Baked Chicken and Fettuccine Alfredo
      Thursday Snap!
      Friday Snap!
      Saturday Snap!

      Here’s my latest book stack

      For Review:

      Bought (I bought these a while ago but I didn’t share and I for sure want to get to them next)

      I’m hoping to get caught up on my Goodreads today I’ve finished a bunch that  I haven’t gotten around to entering. Too many things going on I tell you! Linking up to IMM and Stacking the Shelves.