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, I feel like other than the soap, the items could be purchased on cheap websites like WISHand 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.
𝗠𝗼𝗻𝘁𝗵𝗹𝘆 𝗖𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝗲𝗿 𝗖𝗮𝗿𝗱𝘀: Nevernight inspired characters illustrated by Katherine Britt
𝗧𝗼 𝗞𝗶𝗹𝗹 𝗮 𝗞𝗶𝗻𝗴𝗱𝗼𝗺 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗠𝘂𝗴: designed by @gabrielleragusi
𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗦𝗲𝗮 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗰𝗵 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗣𝗲𝗻𝗰𝗶𝗹 𝗖𝗮𝘀𝗲: designed by Ink and Wonder
𝗛𝗮𝗶𝗿 𝗕𝗿𝘂𝘀𝗵: with a nautical design
𝗢𝗺𝗯𝗿é 𝗠𝗲𝘁𝗮𝗹 𝗦𝘁𝗿𝗮𝘄𝘀: with quotes ‘’make waves” and “beach please”
𝗨𝗿𝘀𝘂𝗹𝗮 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗱 𝗘𝗻𝗮𝗺𝗲𝗹 𝗞𝗲𝘆𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗶𝗻: designed by Ink and Wonder
𝗣𝗼𝘀𝘁𝗰𝗮𝗿𝗱 𝗳𝗿𝗼𝗺 𝗔𝘁𝗹𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗶𝘀: illustrated by @taratjah
What are your thoughts on this box?
My thoughts: I absolutely love nautical themes and aesthetic, however, this didn’t have the same oomph factor as last months for both items and design. For me, I believe it’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 ‘Little Mermaid’ rather than an overall sea setting or books with a sea setting. I guess this is reflective on the name of the theme. 🙈😅
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.
𝐐𝐨𝐭𝐃: Have you read Fabled? What are your thoughts on it? Otherwise, what did you think of this box?
𝐀𝐨𝐭𝐃: I’m so excited to read Fable! I’ve heard so many great things about 😄 plus I absolutely love books with a sea setting 🌊
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:
• 𝗢𝗽𝗽𝗼𝘀𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗔𝗹𝘄𝗮𝘆𝘀 by Justin A Reynolds
• 𝗪𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗙𝗶𝗿𝗲 𝗼𝗻 𝗛𝗶𝗴𝗵 by Elizabeth Acevedo
• 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗣𝗼𝗲𝘁 𝗫 by Elizabeth Acevedo
• 𝗗𝗿𝗲𝗮𝗱 𝗡𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 by Justina Ireland
• 𝗧𝗵𝗲 𝗕𝗼𝗻𝗲 𝗦𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗼𝗻 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 😁 I’ve already started Dread Nation and omgggg I stayed up so late and now I’m hating/loving myself right now 😅😭😂
(Ps please ignore how I forgot to showcase The Bone Season 🙈)
𝐐𝐨𝐭𝐃: Have you read any of these books? Do you use the library? What’s the last book you borrowed? Otherwise, what’s the last book you bought?
𝐀𝐨𝐭𝐃: Finally!!! There was some free Elizabeth Acevedo books at my library and you bet I swiped the books and ran out 😂🏃🏻♀️💨💨💨
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*
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. I’m so in love with everything 😭🤩 FairyLoot definitely spoiled us with this book. One could say everything here was out of this world 😁✨
Ever since Nor was forced to go to a nearby kingdom in her sister’s place, she’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 Nor’s twin sister, Zadie. There are forces within the world more mysterious than any of them ever guessed—and they’ll need to stay alive long enough to conquer them…
Rating: ★★★★☆ 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 Nor’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 Nor’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 Nor’s journey both physically and mentally.
Also, one major aspect I loved in the first book was the twin’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 wasn’t as depicted as I would’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 wasn’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 would’ve prevented certain situations but hey, I did enjoy the drama of it all so… 😂😂 Anyway, I can’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.
I loved this. I’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!
A great nod to book one! I adored this!
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 Master’s degree in Cultural Studies from the University of London. When she’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).
After reading on-and-off for a few weeks, I decided to be much more intentional with my reading. And what better way than to join a read-along? FairyLoot holds monthly read-alongs and despite the shipping delays, I received my May book just before the cut-off date to join.
My current read, a YA fantasy
So far, I’m really enjoying it. It’s great to be back into reading.
I’ll be honest, the cover sucked me right in. The characters look intriguing and deadly. And the premise is promising! However, upon reading this, I discovered this was going to be difficult to rate because whilst I can appreciate this book for what it is, it wasn’t for me.