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˜€

ย 

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 and seeing the items… 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 together. 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. 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, however,ย 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. 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. I do not have a need for anything in this box other than the book and soap.

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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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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How to Break and Evil Curse | Review

Title: How to Break an Evil Curse
Series: Chronicles of Fritillary #1
Author: Laura Morrison
Publisher: Black Spot Books
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble
Rating: โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†
Recommended for: people looking for a different take on fairy-tales, fans of satire, fantasy parodies, and snarky narrators

If youโ€™re looking for a fairy-tale parody, this may be for you.


In โ€˜How to Break an Evil Curseโ€™, the Kingโ€™s firstborn is cursed to die if touched by sunlight. Princess Julianna, the unfortunate firstborn to the King of Fritillary is confined in darkness and dreams of a life of freedom. Disgruntled but also determined, Julianna decides to fight fate and live her life by escaping the somewhat nicely redecorated dungeon.

But first, how does one break an evil curse? Simple, really. The evil Wizard Farland admits there is a cure. All Julianna needs is to fall in love with a person that:
1. spent their whole life at sea,
2. whose parents are part of a travelling theatre troupe,
3. said person can play the banjo, accordion, and harpsichord, and
4. is allergic to asparagus.

โ€œIt is not impossible for such a person to exist, only improbable.โ€

Writing:
Firstly, I must state this: approach this with a light-hearted mind. The narration style may not be for everyone. Rather, it may come across as sarcastic to some, with fourth wall breaks, witty comments, and interesting footnotes. However, I feel the narration is a stylistic choice to add to the humorous tone and I find that it works well with the story.

Characters:
There is a large cast of characters in this book, however, they add to the story and itโ€™s quite easy to follow. Although one may find certain characters to be shallow and two-dimensional, I feel like this story doesnโ€™t take itself too seriously for you to do so.ย  Although I must say, I appreciate how Julianna has initiative. Once she wants something, she goes after it.

Enjoyment:
I can appreciate this book for what it offersโ€”a unique take on classic fairy tales. The humour may not be for everyone as itโ€™s sarcastic and sometimes nonsensical. However, if you enjoy such humour, you may thoroughly enjoy this.

This book may serve well as a โ€˜palate-cleanserโ€™โ€”when youโ€™re looking for a book that is light-hearted, entertaining, and easy to read. Iโ€™d recommend those who pick this up to not take it seriously, and enjoy for what it is. Overall, I find this book to be a quirky and amusing read.

Recommended for: people looking for a different take on fairy-tales, fans of satire, fantasy parodies, and snarky narrators

Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers 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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The Faithless Hawk | Blog Tour | Author Interview

Faithless Hawk tour banner

Hello Everyone and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen hosted by TBR and Beyond. This stop includes an exclusive Q&A with the author and I am so excited to share it with you.

You can check out the Tour Schedule here.

ABTB-MO

The Faithless Hawk cover

BOOK INFO:

Title: The Faithless Hawk
Series: The Merciful Crow #2
Author: Margaret Owen
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Release Date: August 18th 2020
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Where can I get this? Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble |Indigo

Check out the synopsis below!

Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owenโ€™s The Merciful Crow.
As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still sheโ€™s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusanaโ€™s merciless bid for the throne.
With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crowsโ€”and add numbers to her monstrous armyโ€”Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, theyโ€™re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.
A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusanaโ€™s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crowsโ€”secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.

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Can you share with us something about The Faithless Hawk that isnโ€™t in the blurb?

Margaret: There is a DRASTIC increase in the number of cats involved!

Without revealing too much, what was your favourite scene or moment to write in The Faithless Hawk,ย and why?

Margaret: I always enjoy writing the endings, the big final clashes and the dust settling. It’s when all the dominos you’ve set up get to fall, and the pattern you’ve been building finally reveals itself!

What song would you choose as the theme song for The Faithless Hawk?

Margaret: “The Bleeding of Mercy” by the Telepathic Teddy Bears! The first time I listened to it, I was really captivated by the mournful yet hopeful tone. In particular, the line,ย “Don’t mourn the setting sun, for it will rise again”ย struck me as particularly close to home for this book.

I adored your charactersโ€”especially how Fie is so unapologetic, unafraid, and full of grit and determination. How did you choose the names for your characters?

Margaret: Thank you so much! For Fie, I wanted her name to evoke a sense of both spite and mischief, and the word “fie” seemed perfect. I wound up compiling a list of old-timey insults for the other Crow names, according to their customs, and I tried to match them up with their personalities the best. The rest of the names I made up, though there’s a bit of a naming convention for the ruling families to adhere to, where the firstborn child’s name is based on the name of one of their parents. (For example, Jasimir’s mother was named Jasindra, and we learn Rhusana’s son is named Rhusomir.)

Looking back, what was the most difficult and what was the most enjoyable part of the whole process of writing and publishing your books?

Margaret: There was a period of time last year when I felt like if I wasn’t making everyone happy, I was failing. That meant if people didn’t like my book, or if I wasn’t able to deliver things on time, or if I wasn’t able to provide cool incentives to preorder my book, I was going to fail as an author, and my career would be over. Needless to say, I was struggling quite a bit to write at that point. There’s a phrase I wound up writing on masking tape and pasting on my desk, which isย “The only way out is through,”ย which was true but a little bleak, so underneath I added,ย “but you can make it.” And I did!

I’d say the most enjoyable part has been seeing howย The Merciful Crowย andย The Faithless Hawkย have touched people, especially when it inspires them to create something themselves. When people reach out to me to say “I loved this part!” or “those monsters were so gross!” or “I HATE this character so much!”, it’s a similar feeling as when your friend texts you as they watch a movie you really love, and they’re super into it. But it’s even better, because I made that movie! (Kind of.)

The Merciful Crow was such an intense and enthralling read. What can fans expect from you in the future? Can you tell us about any future projects?

Margaret: Thank you so much!ย The Faithless Hawkย wraps up the duology, so there aren’t any plans for more books in that universe at the moment, but I never say never. However, I do have a third book due out, likely sometime next year. It’s a loose retelling ofย The Goose Girl,ย from the perspective of the fairytale’s villain, a wicked maidservant who stole the princess heroine’s identity. When we meet our narrator, she’s spent the last year or so using the princess’s identity to make it into high society parties and pull off a string of jewelry heists. Then she steals from the wrong family, crosses a local deity, and winds up cursed to turn into jewels herself… unless she can make up for everything she’s taken. It’s a lot of weird magic, scammers scamming scammers, and unorthodox uses of breakfast foods, so all in all a good time! Well, for everyone but our narrator.

Quick-fire questions:

Thereโ€™s a zombie apocalypse! Which four YA protagonists would be on your team and why?

  1. Katniss from The Hunger Games, she’s got all the outdoor survival knowledge of a Girl Scout on steroids, plus she’s killed before and will kill again.
  2. Jane McKeene from Dread Nation,ย she isย literallyย trained to kill zombies.
  3. Amaya from Scavenge the Stars,ย because she can sail a boat, and honestly zombies are less of a problem at sea, I feel.
  4. Nina Zenik, so someone can help me hold down the waffle situation. (And heal the wounded, and possibly control the zombies? But waffles first.)

What would be your supervillain name and powers?

Margaret: Margaret Owen, and making people cry, probably.

Okay, okay, it would probably be something like Her Majesty, because I would 100% be down to do a hivemind-type situation and make people do things like recycle and wear masks and, if we can rope Bezos into this, donate their massive amounts of money to charity.

And finally, whilst there is an endless amount of writing resources online, if you could share one unique piece of advice to aspiring writers, what would it be?

Margaret: I would say a lot of the time you hear “eyes on your own paper”, and to a certain extent, that’s solid adviceโ€”everyone’s publishing journey is different, and you really can only control your own work. That said, I would say don’t be afraid to look around the room, actually. Don’t be afraid to compare notes with people you trust. I can guarantee that the discrepancies revealed by #PublishingPaidMe are neither the first nor the last, and that opacity is not for your benefit, but for that of the publishing industry. The only way that changes is by making informed decisions, so don’t be afraid to seek out that information yourself.

A huge thank you to Margaret for your time!

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ATA-MO

Margaret Owen

Born and raised at the end of the Oregon Trail, Margaret Owen first encountered an author in the wild in fourth grade. Roughly twenty seconds later, she decided she too would be an author, the first of many well-thought-out life decisions.

The career plan shifted frequently as Margaret spent her childhood haunting the halls of Powellโ€™s Books. After earning her degree in Japanese, her love of espresso called her north to Seattle, where she worked in everything from thrift stores to presidential campaigns. The common thread between every job can be summed up as: lessons were learned.

Fortunately, it turned out that fourth-grade Margaret was onto something. She now spends her days wrestling disgruntled characters onto the page, and negotiating a long-term hostage situation with her two monstrous cats. (There is surprisingly little difference between the two.) In her free time, she enjoys exploring ill-advised travel destinations, and raising money for social justice nonprofits through her illustrations.

MARGARET OWEN

Websiteย | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Tumblr

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Okay, the fun bit… the giveaway!

Prize: Finished copies of The Merciful Crow and The Faithless Hawk (US and Canada Only)

Start date: August 23rd, 2020

End date: August 29th, 2020

Check out the giveaway here and GOOD LUCK!ย 

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

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#ARCAugust Attempt |Book Thoughts

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Oh no. I think I developed a new bad habit and it’s in the form of constantly requesting titles on Netgalley. What’s Netgalley? Netgalley is a website where you can request Advanced Reader Copies (ARC) of books in exchange for reviews and raising awareness/sharing the love. My little eager heart has been requesting all these amazing books and I know there are various posts recommending you to NOT request away. And yet, here I am…

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I am unsurprised and unimpressed with myself haha. (Why am I like this?)

Does anyone have any specific criteria as to what they do and don’t request? Because I need an adult.ย How do I control myself?

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I like to read broadly as much as I can, so I’m always open with genres but I can see myself falling into a hole of continuously requesting for books (and I kind of am already?). There are so many great books out there! I don’t want to overwhelm myself with all these commitments (but let’s be honest, I’m always overwhelmed haha). Also, I like to keep my ratio above 80% because lol it tells you to and my vanity likes the badge.

Anyway, I’m a temperamental mood reader, so here’s the plan: I’m going to join #ARCAugust. Or at least, attempt to.

In actuality, I had been planned to binge read all my ARCs and I happened to see a friend post they’re taking part in #ARCAugust so why not join?

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BANNER

Chosen Ones โ€” April (the publishers threw a wishbone at me???? thank you??)

The Girl and the Stars โ€” 30 April (currently reading)

Dark Skiesย โ€” 5 May (writing review help)

Santiago’s Road Home โ€” 20 June *date changed (writing review help)

The Midnight Bargain โ€” 13 October (just go accepted??? wow thank you)

The Tea Dragon Tapestry โ€” 13 October (currently reading)

How to Break an Evil Curse โ€” 13 October (currently reading)

The Stitcher and the Mute โ€” 12 November (my foolish self didn’t realise this was a SEQUEL; currently reading the first one)

The City of Zirdai โ€” 21 June 2021 (AGAIN my foolish self didn’t realise this was a SEQUEL; currently reading the first one)

 

TO DO LIST:

โ˜’ Read book โ˜ write review โ˜ post review close to the published date

There are three steps!! Three!ย Yet why is this so difficult? Why am I like this???

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Anyway, how’s your reading going? Do you read any ARCs? Otherwise, how do you organise your reading?

 

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Unboxing: May FairyLoot 2020

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May FairyLoot 2020: Desert Dreams

I was pleasantly surprised upon seeing a FairyLoot box on my doorstep. And this month did not disappoint! This was such a gorgeous box and I’m so glad to be subscribed to FairyLoot. And now, for the unboxing…

Featured Book: Girl, Serpent, Thorn: by Melissa Bashardoust

A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, itโ€™s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brotherโ€™s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if sheโ€™s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isnโ€™t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

Blurb from Goodreads

With an exclusive pink cover, green sprayed edges, reverse artwork in the dust jacket illustrated by @orikye, and signed by the author, this book is my favourite cover change yet from FairyLoot! This edition is absolutely gorgeous.

Monthly Character Cards: Throne of Glass inspired characters designed by @Gabriella.bujdoso

City of Brass inspired Tea Towel: designed by @eviebookish

Dessert Bath Salts: made by Little Heart Gifts

An Ember in the Ashes inspired Tribal Desert Candle: by Wick and Fable

The Forbidden Wish inspired Sunglasses Pouch: designed by @kitstercronk

Hero of the Fall inspired Wooden Spoon: designed by @kdpletters

We Hunt the Flame inspired Bookish Tin: designed by @chattynora

This box arrived earlier than my other boxes so I was surprised when it turned up. Also, my tracking wasn’t updated. Yes, my boxes had been shipped with Hermes…

Anyway! Other than the book, I absolutely loved the Bookish Tin! I love the design and how useful it can be. I’m not sure what I’d put in the tin right now (probably tea, or something) but I’ve already placed it on my shelf. Overall, this was a gorgeous box and again, I was thoroughly impressed.

What are your thoughts on this box? Like any of the items?

 

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Bookstaversary (Bookstagram Anniversary)

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Like many people, I’ve always enjoyed reading and then stumbled a little corner of the internet filled with fellow book lovers. I discovered Bookstagram, Booktube, and later, Book twitter and loved the concept of it. After many hours (possibly hours) of perusing Bookstagram and binge-watching Booktube, I decided to join the Book community. One year later, and who knows how much dollars spent, I’ve joined a beautiful community and filled the spaces of both my bookshelf and heart with amazing friends and books.ย 

I’ve made many book friends in the book community and they spark so much joy in my life. Not only do they hold bookish chats, readathons, but also go above and beyond and somehow sent me bookish candles for my birthday. How sweet and thoughtful!ย 

The candles my beautiful bookish friends gifted me included two candlesโ€”’Cardan’ and ‘Jude’. The two candles are inspired by the characters in The Folk in the Air trilogy (The Cruel Prince). The Cardan candle has a fruity aroma and smells so delicious! On the other hand, the Jude candle smells of cinnamon. Also, not only do these candles smell amazing, they are also gorgeous to look at!

Anyway, the past year has been truly amazing and I am so glad to have joined the online book community.

Bookstagram made me do it. Cruel Prince was the first book Bookstagram influenced me to read. This book is Illumicrate’s edition of The Cruel Prince. Also, look at the gorgeous candles my Bookstagram fam gifted meโ€”aren’t they so pretty?

 

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