FairyLoot October 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot October 2020: Wicked Hearts 

๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ: Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco

๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต๐—น๐˜† ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€: Crescent City inspired characters illustrated by @arz28

๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—๐—ถ๐—ด๐˜€๐—ฎ๐˜„ ๐—ฃ๐˜‚๐˜‡๐˜‡๐—น๐—ฒ: illustrated by @sallteas

๐—™๐—ผ๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€ featuring characters from ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐—•๐—ฒ๐˜๐˜„๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—จ๐˜€, ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜‚๐˜๐—ถ๐—ณ๐˜‚๐—น, ๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ฐ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜† ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ฟ๐—ป๐˜€, and ๐—˜๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐˜€๐˜ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜€: illustrated by @arz28

๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜๐—น๐—ฒ๐˜ƒ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ถ๐—ฎ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐˜€: designed by @jezhawk

๐—ฆ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜ & ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฆ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€: designed by @noverantale

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ป๐—ด ๐—˜๐—น๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ๐˜€ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐—ฃ๐—ถ๐—ป: designed by @alchemyandink

๐—ž๐˜†๐—น๐—ผ ๐—ฅ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ฐ๐—ธ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€: illustrated by @_saintdri

My Thoughts:


This is such a gorgeous box and upon opening this I actually gasped. Everything here was so gorgeous! ๐Ÿคฉโœจ I was completely blown away with how gorgeous and cohesive the items were in this box. I honestly can’t get over how beautifully curated this box is.

Cost & Value: I believe this box really was worth the cost just alone with the book. However, the items included are not only gorgeous but useful, too. I love every item but my favourite would be the playing cards and socks. I’ll definitely use all the items.

Design: I am in awe with every item in this box. Everything is so cohesive with the theme and overall aesthetic. Also, did I mention how gorgeous the book is? Because the book is so gorgeous.

My Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.



๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Have you read Kingdom of the Wicked? Otherwise, whatโ€™s your favourite romantic trope?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: I love enemies to lovers but I love it even more when they must work together begrudgingly ๐Ÿ˜ my absolute favourite is rival to lovers ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ’ž

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2021 Reading Goals | Thoughts and Rambles

My 2021 Reading Goals

  1. Be more intentional with reading

What does being intentional mean for me? It means to purposely take action that is important to me. Being intentional is a personal experience. For me, rather than focus on x number of books read per year, I want to consume more books that bring me joy, inform, and challenge me.

What does that mean? I want to be more conscious of the books I choose to read and spend time and money on.

Books that bring me joy: books that make me think and feel (both positive and negative)

Books that inform me: where I learn something new and/or build upon existing knowledge

Books that challenge me: books that confront me, or is from a perspective Iโ€™m not familiar with, or aspects Iโ€™m ignorant of.

  • I want to read more backlist books (books that arenโ€™t new releases)
  • I want to finish series I liked
  • I want to read more books I own

I donโ€™t want to read or purchase books due to the hype if it doesnโ€™t genuinely interest me. ย Life is too short to fill my time and energy on books Iโ€™m not keen on. Which leads me to my next point.

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  1. Develop a regular reading routine

My next point stems from being intentional, but it still stands on its own. Everyone is busy. Reading time is limited. Reading often takes our leisure time. And with todayโ€™s society, time is our most precious currency. Iโ€™m too broke to spend my time on things that donโ€™t serve a purpose or be wasteful with it. Therefore, developing a regular reading routine may be extremely beneficial.

  • I aim to read at least 10 minutes a day. Ten minutes. In the greater scheme of things, itโ€™s not something too big but itโ€™s a realistic goal with my schedule. I can easily read in my break/time off/commuting. Plus, ten minutes doesnโ€™t put a big pressure on me to achieve such things.

Shouting to the void that I want to have a regular reading routine is all fine and dandy but I need to have tools or an approach to ensure I achieve such goals. SooOoooโ€ฆ

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  1. Keep a consistent reading journal

Reading journals donโ€™t need to be aesthetic. There, I said it! And I must continuously remind myself of this: READING GOALS DONโ€™T NEED TO BE PERFECT AND PRETTY, DAMN IT. Iโ€™ve constantly struggled with keeping a reading journal due to me wanting to make it aesthetic rather than useful. And ugh I hate being a perfectionist, but Iโ€™m working on it.

What does a Reading Journal consist of? Anything you want. Reading journals are a testament of what you want in regards to reading and books.

What I will include in my reading journal:

    • Book Log (Information such as: Title, author, publisher, etc.)
    • Bookish thoughts
    • Book review or reading response
    • Reading Challenges
    • Book lists (bucket lists, books I love, TBR, etc.)

I want to incorporate a consistent reading journal because of the many benefits. Benefits of a reading journal include (but are not limited to):

  • Greater focus on reading and being intentional with my time and reading goals
  • More meaningful and better reflection on what I read and learned

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  1. Read owned books

Of the 115 books I own (not including duplicates), I have read 26 books. 26 out of 115. Meaning, if this was a test I would fail. My reading rate is 22% of the books I currently own. I have unread almost 80% of my owned books. I need to do better.

Last year, I fell down the rabbit hole of purchasing new releases and hyped books and bought the books before having a change to read them. Whilst I love supporting authors, it was unsustainable for both my shelf space and wallet.

I want to bring my reading rate of up to at least 50% of book I own. Meaning, whatever number of books I own I will aim to read at least half of that. I want to be intentional with what I purchase and own. A books true purpose is to be read and damn it, I will fulfil my books dream!

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  1. Declutter the books

I know thereโ€™s a saying โ€œyou can never have too many booksโ€. And thatโ€™s true. However, for myself, I donโ€™t like the idea of owning books I donโ€™t plan to read. Therefore, Iโ€™d like to keep that shelf space free for a book I would like rather than owning a book just for the sake of owning it. I want to consciously curate my shelf space with books I love and am genuinely interested in.

Itโ€™s already past the middle of January and Iโ€™ve already purged 7 books I donโ€™t plan to read or have already read and didn’t love. Yay! Progress, not perfection.

I know I canโ€™t speak for everyone, and different people enjoy books differently. Thatโ€™s okay. I just need to set realistic boundaries for myself and shelf space.

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Do you have any reading goals? If so, what are they? Let me know!

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People of Abandoned Character | Review


Title: People of Abandoned Character
Author: Clare Whitfield
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Genre: General Fiction (Adult), Mystery and Thriller, Historical Fiction
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction centring on Jack the Ripper or set in the Victorian era, fans of mystery and thrillers
CW: domestic abuse, violence, death, anti-Semitism*

*I did feel uncomfortable with the casual anti-Semitism (Jewish characters facing prejudice from other characters). Whilst I can understand the sentiments do not necessarily reflect the author or the protagonist, rather the common prejudices held at that time, Iโ€™d like to inform readers itโ€™s there. Also, this does not occur often and the protagonist questions the notions.

An absolute ripper of a book. What would you do if you suspected the man you loved and married was a serial killer?

People of Abandoned Character is a grim and brutal atmospheric thriller convoluted with abrupt twists and dark turns. Some twists I anticipated whilst others were unexpected. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the tumultuous ride and devoured this book in one sitting.

Set in 1880โ€™s Victorian England, this novel follows a young woman named Susannah, as she navigates her life from ward nurse to a newly wedded wife. Charmed by the enigmatic surgeon Thomas, Susannah is swept off her feet into a sudden advantageous marriage. The promise of a life of stability with a loving husband is new and exciting to Susannah. However, upon returning from their honeymoon their once sweet kisses turn sour as Thomasโ€™ endearing demeanour changes. Thomas who was once attentive, devoted, and charming becomes cold, surly, and volatile. With the rising coincidental spikes in crime and her husbandโ€™s erratic behaviour, Susannah grows suspicious. What if Thomas is the fearsome murderer?

First, I must mention the two major factors that made me thoroughly enjoy this book: the narration and the protagonist. Upon reading the first few pages, I instantly fell in love with the narration. Written in first-person, the voice is distinct and gripping yet humorous at times. The story is well-paced with an engaging protagonist. Susannah is an intriguing character who is both determined yet naรฏve and unconventional and I enjoyed witnessing the story unfurl from her perspective.

Originally from a lower social class and having little to no prospects, Susannah is no stranger to the poor, unfortunate circumstances and sometimes violent ends women face in that era. Despite that, we witness Susannah grapple societyโ€™s expectation using her quick wit and determination. Throughout the novel, you canโ€™t help but cheer for Susannah. Often berated by her grandmother of being a person of abandoned character, Susannah examines herself, questioning her morality and decisions. However, as the audience, we canโ€™t help but empathise with Susannah and her actions despite her flaws.

Also, this book explores aspects such as class and gender, presenting fascinating insight whilst drawing attention to the disparity between the rich and poor and the inequality between men and women. A sad tune that still rings true till this day.

Overall, this was a compelling read with great pacing and intriguing twists. I enjoyed this thoroughly (and was satisfied with the ending!) and would recommend this book. Now I cannot wait for my Goldsboro copy to arrive.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Head of Zeus) for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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OwlCrate October 2020 | Unboxing

OwlCrate October 2020: Legends and Lore

๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต๐—น๐˜† ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐—ฃ๐—ถ๐—ป: designed by @HeyAtlasCreative

๐—ช๐—ผ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐— ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—น๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต๐˜ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ช๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—–๐—ต๐—ถ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐˜€: from Team @OwlCrate

๐—ฆ๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ป ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐——๐—ฎ๐˜„๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ผ๐˜„๐—น ๐—–๐—ผ๐˜‡๐˜†: designed by Janine Lecour

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ-๐—ง๐—ผ๐˜‚๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ค๐˜‚๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ผ ๐—ฃ๐—ต๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ: designed by @LadyChubbLetters

๐—š๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—น๐˜€ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ฃ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—š๐—น๐—ฎ๐˜€๐˜€ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—น ๐—™๐—ถ๐—น๐—ฒ: by Team OwlCrate

๐—” ๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ด ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ช๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต๐˜€ ๐—ฎ๐—ป๐—ฑ ๐—ฅ๐˜‚๐—ถ๐—ป ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฆ๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐—ฝ ๐—•๐—ฎ๐—ฟ: created by @MotherlandEssentials

๐—ฅ๐—ฎ๐˜†๐—ฏ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—”๐˜‚๐—ฑ๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ฏ๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ: complimentary from Libro.FM

๐—ข๐˜„๐—น๐—–๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ฒ๐˜…๐—ฐ๐—น๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ ๐˜€๐—ป๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ธ ๐—ฝ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ๐—ธ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—ช๐—ฒ ๐—™๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฒ ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐˜€

 

My thoughts:

With the limited sneak peaks for that month I was so excited for this box. Not only due to the theme and the book in question, but also how it exclusively features BIPOC sellers and inspired books. However, upon opening the box, I couldn’t help but feel… disappointed. I feel like this theme could have been explored further and be more creative in terms of design and items. I’ll be honest, I feel cheated with this box. I am a POC myself, so naturally, I want to support BIPOC sellers but I feel like this box doesn’t showcase the theme well. Plus, with the lack of BIPOC sellers… I just… SIGH

In terms of the theme, designs, and items, I felt like there was no cohesiveness. I don’t know how the items and design relate to the the inspired books and overall theme. The items feel so randomly shoved together and I suppose this may be due to the fact that I haven’t read some of the books. However, for the books listed that I have read, I don’t understand the choice of items.  For example, I mean, one could do so much with Spin the Dawn. I feel like only the design relates the the book. And not to criticise the design or item–I do appreciate the item and design. The bowl cozy design is gorgeous and wonderfully made. However, I question how it relates to Spin the Dawn other than the cover of the book?  I don’t know.  Like, I do appreciate how useful the items are, but I don’t understand how they relate to each other and the theme?

Cost: I really do not feel like this box was worth my money. However, I am an international buyer so I understand that our currency is weaker than the USD plus shipping expenses, however, I feel like other than the soap, the items could be purchased on cheap websites like WISH and ALIEXPRESS for a fraction of the price. Friends, with the change of shipping, I pay approximately $77+ AUD for this box.  I just feel like slapping quotes on items and claiming it’s exclusive… I don’t think I can justify paying over $77 for that… Also, other than the soap, I would not purchase any of this items for myself. I wouldn’t go as far as say that I’m a minimalist, but I don’t really like to purchase items I don’t use nor need. It’s a shame because since discovering OwlCrate last year I’ve always loved them. I enjoy their monthly picks and loved their items. Perhaps this particular month wasn’t for me.

Conclusion: I’m not too fond of the items but I do love this month’s book. I accidentally slipped up my dates and purchased the November box, so, I will see how that box goes and will determine whether I would like to continue OwlCrate or not. Which is a huge bummer because I usually love OwlCrate book picks and their items.

What are your thoughts on this box?

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FairyLoot September 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot September 2020: Under the Sea

๐—™๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—•๐—ผ๐—ผ๐—ธ: Fable by Adrienne Young

Not the best picture, but the edges are sprayed a gorgeous glittery aquamarine colour
Authorโ€™s signature

๐— ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜๐—ต๐—น๐˜† ๐—–๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐—ฐ๐˜๐—ฒ๐—ฟ ๐—–๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ๐˜€: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt

๐—ง๐—ผ ๐—ž๐—ถ๐—น๐—น ๐—ฎ ๐—ž๐—ถ๐—ป๐—ด๐—ฑ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐— ๐˜‚๐—ด: designed by @gabrielleragusi

Quote: โ€œItโ€™s like holding a story rather than a poison she feels wild and infinite in my arms.โ€

๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ ๐—ช๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ต ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—ฃ๐—ฒ๐—ป๐—ฐ๐—ถ๐—น ๐—–๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ฒ: designed by Ink and Wonder

๐—›๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ฟ ๐—•๐—ฟ๐˜‚๐˜€๐—ต: with a nautical design

๐—ข๐—บ๐—ฏ๐—ฟรฉ ๐— ๐—ฒ๐˜๐—ฎ๐—น ๐—ฆ๐˜๐—ฟ๐—ฎ๐˜„๐˜€: with quotes โ€˜โ€™make wavesโ€ and โ€œbeach pleaseโ€

๐—จ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐˜‚๐—น๐—ฎ ๐—ถ๐—ป๐˜€๐—ฝ๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฑ ๐—˜๐—ป๐—ฎ๐—บ๐—ฒ๐—น ๐—ž๐—ฒ๐˜†๐—ฐ๐—ต๐—ฎ๐—ถ๐—ป: designed by Ink and Wonder

Quote: โ€œPoor Unfortunate Soulsโ€

๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐˜€๐˜๐—ฐ๐—ฎ๐—ฟ๐—ฑ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐—”๐˜๐—น๐—ฎ๐—ป๐˜๐—ถ๐˜€: illustrated by @taratjah

What are your thoughts on this box?

My thoughts: I absolutely love nautical themes and aesthetic, however, this didnโ€™t have the same oomph factor as last months for both items and design. For me, I believe itโ€™s due to the fact that there are so many avenues one can go with a nautical theme. It feels like this month has focused on the โ€˜Little Mermaidโ€™ rather than an overall sea setting or books with a sea setting. I guess this is reflective on the name of the theme. ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜…

In terms of items, I like how useful the mug, hairbrush, and reuseable straws are, but I usually prefer buy my own type of hairbrush. Also, this hairbrush may not be useful for all types of hair. However, I thought the resuseable straws were a great idea.

In terms of design, I love how cohesive this theme is for colour. I love the use of blue and aquamarine. However, the pencil case is not my favourite item nor do I feel like I have much use for the enamel keychain. Nevertheless, the items are gorgeous.

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Have you read Fabled? What are your thoughts on it? Otherwise, what did you think of this box?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Iโ€™m so excited to read Fable! Iโ€™ve heard so many great things about ๐Ÿ˜„ plus I absolutely love books with a sea setting ๐ŸŒŠ

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The Thursday Murder Club | Currently Reading

This year I decided to venture off to genres I donโ€™t often readโ€”thrillers, mystery, and sci-fi. And guess what? I love them. ๐Ÿฅฐ

The Thursday Murder Club is a Goldsboro Premier book pick and Iโ€™m really enjoying it so far. Here, we follow a group of retirees as they use their knowledge, skills, past connections, and perhaps dubious methods to solve cold cases. One day, thereโ€™s a murder close to home and who better to pick up the case than the Thursday Murder Club?

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: If you had to solve a murder with the protagonist of your last/current read, who is it and would you crack the case?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Iโ€™d be working with the unorthodox members of the Thursday Murder Club (Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, and Ron) and Iโ€™m sure weโ€™d crack the case ๐Ÿ˜

I wanted to showcase the gorgeous details of the stencilled edges.
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Library Haul | Book Haul

Growing up, my family always utilised the library. There’s something special about the library and I love them so much. The other day, I decided to ignore my unread books on my shelves and acquire more books without my wallet cursing and crying at me. As a result, I went to my local library.

One thing I love about my library is how it allows you to borrow ten books at a time. I tried to be realistic and borrow the maximum books I think I can read within two weeks, so I managed to pick five books. Here are my pics:

โ€ข ๐—ข๐—ฝ๐—ฝ๐—ผ๐˜€๐—ถ๐˜๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ณ ๐—”๐—น๐˜„๐—ฎ๐˜†๐˜€ by Justin A Reynolds

โ€ข ๐—ช๐—ถ๐˜๐—ต ๐˜๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—™๐—ถ๐—ฟ๐—ฒ ๐—ผ๐—ป ๐—›๐—ถ๐—ด๐—ต by Elizabeth Acevedo

โ€ข ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—ฃ๐—ผ๐—ฒ๐˜ ๐—ซ by Elizabeth Acevedo

โ€ข ๐——๐—ฟ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐—ฑ ๐—ก๐—ฎ๐˜๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป by Justina Ireland

โ€ข ๐—ง๐—ต๐—ฒ ๐—•๐—ผ๐—ป๐—ฒ ๐—ฆ๐—ฒ๐—ฎ๐˜€๐—ผ๐—ป by Samantha Shannon

A few of these books have book on my tbr for a while and now I can devour them to my hearts content ๐Ÿ˜ Iโ€™ve already started Dread Nation and omgggg I stayed up so late and now Iโ€™m hating/loving myself right now ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜‚

(Ps please ignore how I forgot to showcase The Bone Season ๐Ÿ™ˆ)

๐๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Have you read any of these books? Do you use the library? Whatโ€™s the last book you borrowed? Otherwise, whatโ€™s the last book you bought?

๐€๐จ๐ญ๐ƒ: Finally!!! There was some free Elizabeth Acevedo books at my library and you bet I swiped the books and ran out ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿƒ๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ’จ๐Ÿ’จ

I originally made this as a reel for Bookstagram, however, I can’t play the music I added with this so let’s just pretend I’m singing in the background *Cue off-pitch singing and cats crying*

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FairyLoot August 2020 | Unboxing

FairyLoot August 2020: Let the Games Begin

Featured Book: Star Daughter by Shveta Thakar

Monthly Character Cards: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt

An Ember in the Ashes inspired Book Sleeve (Laia & Elias): designed by @monolimeart

Hunting Prince Dracula inspired Hardcover Notebook: by @noverantale with artwork by @taratjah

Aurora Rising Enamel Pin: designed by @ironandinkdesigns

Nevernight (Mia & Mr Kindly) Metal Bookmark: designed by @taratjah

Golden Egg Bath Bomb: created by @littleheartgifts

Scythe inspired Magnet: by @tararjah

Upon opening my box I actually gasped. This box left me speechless. Iโ€™m so in love with everything ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿคฉ FairyLoot definitely spoiled us with this book. One could say everything here was out of this world ๐Ÿ˜โœจ

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The Midnight Bargain | Book Review

Title: The Midnight Bargain
Standalone
Author: C. L. Polk
Publisher: Erewhon Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†
Where can I get this? GoodReads | Book Depository | Booktopia | Barnes and Noble
Recommended for: fans of historical fiction set in Regency era, themes of politically arranged marriages, and feminism
CW: themes of misogyny (women wearing collars after marriage to subdue their magic and protect potential children)

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Check out the synopsis below!

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress who practices magic in secret, terrified of the day she will be locked into a marital collar that will cut off her powers to protect her unborn children. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus and pursuing magic as her calling as men do, but her family has staked everything to equip her for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means descend upon the city to negotiate the best marriages. The Clayborns are in severe debt, and only she can save them, by securing an advantageous match before their creditors come calling.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that contains the key to becoming a Magus, but before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a spirit to help her get it back, but her new ally exacts a price: Beatriceโ€™s first kiss . . . with her adversaryโ€™s brother, the handsome, compassionate, and fabulously wealthy Ianthe Lavan.

The more Beatrice is entangled with the Lavan siblings, the harder her decision becomes: If she casts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and lose the only man to ever see her for who she is; but if she marriesโ€”even for loveโ€”she will sacrifice her magic, her identity, and her dreams. But how can she choose just one, knowing she will forever regret the path not taken?

โ€œYou will dance. You will eat cake. You will see starlight. You will have a kiss by midnight, and then our bargain is done.โ€

I liked how this book explores and woven the themes of gender equality, womenโ€™s freedom, and independence into the novel. However, I felt like this novel lacked nuance in some areas. I appreciated the rhetoric regarding equality, however, at times it felt too heavy-handed and on the nose, thereby affecting my reading experience towards the 80% mark of the story. In saying that, I do agree that the discussion regarding equality and independence is crucial, and whilst I may find it a bit on the nose at times others may not find it so.

Also, I liked how driven and determined the protagonist (Beatrice) was throughout the story. My two favourite characters were Beatrice, Nadi, and Ysbeta. I particularly liked Beatrice and Nadiโ€™s dynamic. And I liked how Beatrice and Ysbeta grew together, fostering a great friendship.

However, unfortunately, I could not come to love the love interest (Ianthe). I felt like the romantic interest was too perfect in the sense that he was consistently understanding, open-minded despite living in and taking part in a world that constantly benefited him. It felt unrealistic. From the top of my head, I canโ€™t think of any flaws. I mean, the love interest is even good looking and rich.

Despite the constant focus on the romance, the romance felt underdeveloped and rushed. I didnโ€™t feel emotionally invested nor understood the romantic connection between the characters. I feel that there was no romantic build-up for me to really cheer for the two characters.

In terms of the world-building and magic system, I liked how intriguing the magic system was. However, this could be due to my lack of understanding, but I found the magic system vague. Despite that, I did find the magic system fascinating and enjoyed it.

Without getting spoiler-y, I both liked and not-so-liked the ending. I found it unrewarding in the sense of how it opposes certain themes presented throughout the novel regarding marriage, children, and Beatrice pursuing her passion. I felt the ending felt too convenient to be believable. Despite that, I did like how Beatrice chose and paved her own path for both career and family (Iโ€™m trying to be as vague as possible here).

GUSH:

  • ย Gripping, I devoured this book in one sitting –
  • Interesting world and magicย 
  • Determined protagonist wanting to pursue their passion and a strong sense of women empowerment

GRIPE:

  • I didnโ€™t feel too invested in the romance
  • Not enough information regarding the world-building and magic –
  • The ending felt too convenient

ย 

๐˜—๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ: ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ฒ๐˜ถ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ง๐˜ณ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ ๐˜ˆ๐˜ฅ๐˜ท๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ค๐˜ฆ ๐˜™๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜Š๐˜ฐ๐˜ฑ๐˜บ (๐˜ˆ๐˜™๐˜Š) ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜บ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ด๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ซ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ต๐˜ฐ ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜จ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ถ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ ๐˜ฑ๐˜ถ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ค๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher (Erewhon Books) for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


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Kingdom of Sea and Stone | Book Tour | Review

Hello and welcome to my stop. This stop includes a book review with favourite quotes.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

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BOOK INFO:

Title: Kingdom of Sea and Stone
Series: Crown of Coral and Pearl #2
Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher:
Release Date: October 6th 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble | Indigo

Check out the synopsis below!

Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sisterโ€™s place, sheโ€™s wanted nothing more than to return to the place and people she loves. But when her wish comes true, she soon finds herself cast out from both worlds, with a war on the horizon.
As an old enemy resurfaces more powerful than ever, Nor will have to keep the kingdom from falling apart with the help of Prince Talin and Norโ€™s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessedโ€”and theyโ€™ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer themโ€ฆ

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Review

Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†
Recommended for: fans of YA Fantasy, sea settings,

Writing:
Like the first novel, Kingdom of Sea and Stone was a delight to read. I found the writing style straightforward and engaging. Rutherford describes scenes well without weighing the narrative down with too many descriptions. I liked how I could read both books in a single sitting.

Characters:
First and foremost, this novel is solely told in first POV of Nor and I appreciated Norโ€™s character growth depicted here. As we journey through the story we witness as she takes action and courage whilst remaining the same empathetic and kind-hearted she was in the first book. This book takes a shift and explores themes such as freedom, purpose, and love.

However, akin to the first book I found Norโ€™s internal struggle to take centre stage (romance in the first book and self-discovery in the second). I appreciate it when books explore a characters internal struggle, however, I found the increased focus on that aspect to downplay other aspects (such as the war, etc.) in the book thereby affecting the pacing. Despite it being slower paced, I appreciate how this book went into great length into Norโ€™s journey both physically and mentally.

Also, one major aspect I loved in the first book was the twinโ€™s relationship. I adored their strong love for each other and I rejoiced to see them reunite here. Luckily, we get to witness more of Zadie and her interactions with Nor (as well as Zadie/Nor/Sami but the three best friend dynamic wasnโ€™t as depicted as I wouldโ€™ve liked it). I liked how

There were few recurring characters and some new faces. I quickly grew fond to a few of the new characters and liked how they spiced the story up. There were hidden agendas, unclear motivations, and unexpected twists and I was here for all of them.

Romance:
Whilst some may disagree with me, stating the romance was lacking in comparison to the predecessor, I preferred the romantic resolution presented in this novel. Perhaps I wasnโ€™t as invested in the romance due to it being a little too convenient for me in the first book. However, I did get frustrated at some parts of the book where I feel that a simple straightforward conversation wouldโ€™ve prevented certain situations but hey, I did enjoy the drama of it all so… ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Anyway, I canโ€™t complain with how the romance ended (but mind you some may find it lacking).

Setting & World-Building:
I liked how this book explores further than Varenia and Ilara, journeying to a land named Galeth. Rutherford described the scenery well, incorporating little details of the land and culture throughout the story which helped grounded me into this fantastical world. Galeth was refreshingly different to Varenia in various ways (ruling, customs, expectations, etc.). I initially fell in love with how Rutherford depicted Varenia so exploring different lands was quite fun (though I missed the sea).

Overall, this was a pleasant conclusion to the highly anticipated sequel. There is a different shift in terms of pacing and themes compared to the previous book and I did enjoy the thoughtfulness and depth that went behind it all. Be prepared to meet new faces, see new places, and a fun ride!

Recommend for: fans of YA fantasy with political intrigue, character growth depicted in first POV

CW: violence, death


Some of my favourite quotes:

Please note: the quotes listed here are cited from an Advance Reading Copy (ARC) and may be subjected to change upon publication.

Father kissed my forehead. โ€œMy girl, take heart. No journey worth taking was ever easy.โ€

I loved this. Iโ€™m a sucker for a good parent/child dynamic and this interaction highlighted a tender moment between Nor and her father. Little do we know how much this quote really sets our story!

โ€œHope is like a kite. Hold on to it tight enough, and even the fiercest storm canโ€™t claim it.โ€

A great nod to book one! I adored this!

โ€œBecause that was what it meant to be free: I could choose.โ€

โ€œCeren had said love was my weakness, once. But I knew now that love was the strength that would sustain me out there in the world, and it was the bond that would ensure I always came back.โ€

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MARA RUTHERFORD

Mara Rutherford began her writing career as a journalist but quickly discovered she far preferred fantasy to reality. Originally from California, Mara has since lived all over the world along with her Marine-turned-diplomat husband. A triplet born on Leap Day, Mara holds a Masterโ€™s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London. When sheโ€™s not writing or chasing after her two sons, she can usually be found pushing the boundaries of her comfort zone, whether at a traditional Russian banya or an Incan archaeological site. She is the author of CROWN OF CORAL AND PEARL (2019), its sequel, KINGDOM OF SEA AND STONE (2020), and LUMINOUS (2021).

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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Okay, the fun bit… the giveaway!

Prize: Finished copy of Kingdom of Sea and Stone (US Only)

Check out the giveaway here and GOOD LUCK! 

Again, please feel free to follow the next tour stops. The Tour Schedule can be found here.

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