Illumicrate is a UK based fantasy and science fiction book box that has monthly boxes or just a monthly book only subscription. Each box also includes a selection of bookish goodies some more practical, others more decorative set around a monthly theme. July’s theme is Never Enough.
The items included in this box are a mug with characters from the Poppy War series, an acrylic frame with a character print from Red Rising, a pocket mirror, a hand fan, and a bust of Lila Bard. I don’t understand the bust at all and I find it creepy.
Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and often a letter from the author. Illumicrate also does monthly enamel pin inspired by the book. Other exclusive detail for the book include sprayed and stenciled edges, art on the reverse of the dust jacket, and foiling on the hardback. This months book She Who Became The Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan. Set in 1345 China the Zhu family’s eight son is given a great fate but when he is killed his sister takes on his identity. She enters a monastery but when her sanctuary is destroyed she decides to see if she can fulfill her brothers fate.
Fairyloot is a Young Adult book subscription box focusing on fantasy based out of the UK. Each month you receive a new Young Adult hardback book and 5-6 bookish goodies. Like most book boxes the hardback are special editions and the items are a combination of both practical things and more decorative items. July’s theme is Tales Retold.
The bookish items included this month are a bookish umbrella, a book sleeve featuring characters from the Blood of Stars duology, a bookish tin inspired by A Court of Thorns and Roses, a foiled print with a character from The Star-Touched Queen, socks, and the monthly tarot cards.
All Fairyloot books come with exclusive covers, signed by the author and include a letter from the author. This month the book also has sprayed and stenciled edges, artwork on the reverse of the dust jacket, and foiling on the hardback. This months book is Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim. Shiori is a princess with forbidden magic in her veins but when her stepmother finds out Shiori is banished and her brothers are turned into cranes. Now to stop a conspiracy to seize the throne Shiori must embrace her magic and trust those she didn’t before.
In July I read four books but I also watched a couple movies and finished Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. So overall, this was a good month for me.
Fan Fiction: A Mem-Noir: Inspired by True Events by Brent Spiner is a novel that fictionalizes Brent Spiner’s life with an added murder mystery/stalker plot during the time that he played Data on Star Trek: The Next Generation. The plot follows the mystery around someone who is obsessed with Data and is sending Brent threating letters which cause many hijinks to ensue. As someone who has been in different fandoms and has a history of reading fanfiction I thought that I would really like this. However, I didn’t connect to any of the humor as it was fairly crude and I’ve never been a fan of Real Person Fanfiction which this very much reminded me of. You can tell the Brent Spiner does love the Star Trek fandom and I feel like this book in no way makes fun of that but I don’t think he understands completely. For major Star Trek fans some might like this more than I did but I can also see some people hating it.
The Real Valkyrie: The Hidden History of Viking Warrior Women by Nancy Marie Brown is a nonfiction historical book that focuses on the fact that new DNA evidence shows that the high status Viking warrior grave in Birka in fact belonged to a woman and many women during the Viking age where warriors. Brown weaves together archaeology, history, and literature to tell the possible story of this woman’s life and the other women who lived during this time. Viking history has never been a topic that I’ve read much about and most of the knowledge is more from popular culture. However, I loved how Brown wrote about these warrior women and what we can learn from both the archaeological/historical evidence as well as information pass down through literature and oral traditions.
Pomes for the End of the World by Katie Wismer is Wismer’s second poetry collection which has many of the same themes as The Sweetest Kind of Poison but also breaks away from relationships into becoming the person that you want to be. I’m not a huge poetry fan but I follow Katie Wismer on other platforms and want read both of her poetry collections. Overall, I like her approach and the topics that she focuses on.
The Night Country by Melissa Albert is the second book in the Hazel Wood series. This is a direct sequel that starts several months after the end of The Hazel Wood. Alice is back in the normal world and others from the Hinterland are here too. When something or someone starts killing people from the Hinterland, Alice must find a way to stop it and reconnect with Ellery who stayed in the Hinterland. Together they learn that often time worlds don’t end with a whimper. I almost considered not finishing this book for about the first half or so. I found the story very boring and I disliked most of the character this time. I liked the ending but overall did not enjoy reading this book.
I’ve started watching more shows and movies lately but haven’t finished much yet. The first movie that I’ve watched in a long time was Deep Blue Sea 3. This is the second direct to video sequel for this series. It’s a shark killing/eating people movie that would fit very well on the SyFy channel. In Deep Blue Sea 2, a pharmaceutical billionaire is genetically enhancing Bull sharks and making them smarter. Bella the main shark is found to be pregnant and has serval babies. At the end of Deep Blue Sea 2, most of them are killed but Bella and a few other escape. In Deep Blue Sea 3, we follow a group of scientist that are studying the effects on climate change on Great White Sharks when another group appears trying to find the remaining sharks that escaped in the last movie. From their is mostly bad guys trying to kill everyone and all the sharks and the sharks eat most of the characters. These are not very good movies however I like to watch these types of movies when I want something mindless where I don’t have to focus on a plot.
Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness is one of the animated Resident Evil movies that are connected to the events of the video game series. Though this was released on Netflix as a four part series it seem to me that it was originally intended as a movie. We follow Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield after a zombie attack on the White House while the investigate who is behind the attack. I don’t want to go much more into the story as the show is fairly short. While not the best Resident Evil story, if your a fan its something that you should at least check out.
The only game I finished this month was Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order which I also have a full review already posted. Set five years after Revenge of the Sith and the rise of the empire the story follows Cal Kestis a Jedi Padawan who has been hiding from the empire. At the beginning of the game he is found and must travel through the galaxy while being hunted by the Inquisitors while also trying to complete his training and possibly rebuild the Jedi Order. Overall, I had fun playing this game but there are still a lot glitches in the PlayStation 4 version of the game.
Owl Crate is a young adult book subscription box where every month you receive one new hardcover book and an assortment of bookish goodies connected to the monthly theme. Some of these items are very practical and some are better suited as décor or for a pin/bulletin board. July’s theme is Potions and Poisons.
Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include an Owlcrate TBR Jar, a popsicle mold, a bottle keychain that can be filled with hand sanitizer or lotion, a tea towel with art of different poisonous plants, a bubble bath inspired by The Midnight Lie, and an enamel bookmark inspired by Alice in Wonderland.
Every month Owl Crate has a new young adult hardback book that has an exclusive cover, is signed and comes with a letter from the author. The enamel pin that is in every box is also inspired by that months book. This months book is The Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron which also has foiling on the hardback and art on the reverse of the dust jacket. The story follows Briseis who has the power to grow plants with a single touch. When she and her parent move into a new house they’ve just inherited they hope that Briseis can learn to control her gift. However, the house holds many secrets and Briseis wants to uncover them all.
Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is an action adventure game from Respawn Entertainment and EA. Set five years after Revenge of the Sith and the rise of the empire the story follows Cal Kestis a Jedi Padawan who has been hiding from the empire. At the beginning of the game he is found and must travel through the galaxy while being hunted by the Inquisitors while also trying to complete his training and possibly rebuild the Jedi Order.
As someone who is a fan of Star Wars when I saw the trailer I new that I had to play it at some point. I loved the world and the characters but I did sometimes get frustrated with the game play. The game is very exploration heavy and has no fast travel system. While I liked the initial exploration all the back tracking and multiple visits to the same location did become a little tedious. However, though all the exploration and fighting I felt like I gained a better understanding for combat. The combat style has been compared to Dark Soul, a series that I have no interest in, but with the focus on timing attacks and parrying I can understand the comparison.
I will admit that I played on easy because I could tell early on that I would not be very good at this game and most of my frustration I think came down to taking a while to get used to combat and the timing of the platforming sections.
The one thing that I do feel need major fixing is all of the bugs and glitches that are still in the game. I played on the PlayStation 4 so I don’t know if things are better or worse on other system. The game came out in late 2019 and I played it in June/July 2021 and had far too many issues. Their where a bunch of small things like textures loading in wrong however the worst was the fact that the game crashed twice during my play through. If bug and glitches really bug you, you might want to just watch a play through to get the story.
Overall, I love the characters and story but I feel like the game could have been polished a bit more.
Illumicrate is a UK based fantasy and science fiction book box that has monthly boxes or just a monthly book only subscription. Each box also includes a selection of bookish goodies some more practical, others more decorative set around a monthly theme. June’s theme is Out of the Woods.
The items included in this box are a Lord of the Rings puzzle, an art banner featuring the characters from The Darkest Part of the Forest, a water bottle with a bookish quote on it, a wooden bookmark, and a wooden pin inspired by We Hunt the Flame.
Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and has a letter from the author. This months book is The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid. This edition also come with an exclusive cover, art on the reverse of the dust jacket, foiling on the hardback, and stenciled edges. The story follows Evike the only woman without powers in her pagan village who is given to the Holy Order of Woodsmen as a sacrifice. But when the group get attacked Evike must work with the Woodsman Gaspar Barany who happens to be a disgraced prince. Together they must stop Gaspar’ evil brother and determine where their loyalties lie.