November 2021 Illumicrate

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. November’s theme is Death and Fortune.

The items included in this box are a fabric book jacket, the next Greek Mythology teacup inspired by Nemesis, a Scorpio Races inspired book tin, a She Who Became the Sun metal bookmark, and a hanging ornament.

Illumicrate, like other book boxes, include a new hard cover each month and most months a letter from the author. This months book is Little Thieves by Margaret Owen. This edition of this book has an exclusive cover, a full color printing on the hardback, sprayed and stenciled edges, and a signed bookplate. Little Thieves is a retelling of The Goose Girl where Vanja is the adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune who plans to steal back her future by killing the Princess. However, as she leads this double life she crosses the wrong god and could loose not just her freedom but her life as well.

December’s theme is Cursed.

Book Review: Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse (Between Earth and Sky #1)

Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse is an adult fantasy inspired by Pre-Columbian Americas and the different civilizations that existed during that time. Roanhorse weaves a tale of prophecies, politics, and magic to create a unique fantasy world that is wonderfully realized and set the backdrop for a set of characters that paths will all intertwine.

In the city of Tova, the winter solstice is a time for celebration but when it coincides with a solar eclipse what is expected is in jeopardy. Xiala, a ship captain and Teek (women who can control the sea), is tasked to bring Serapio, a blind young man, to Tvoa before the solstice to face his destiny. Narapa, the young Sun Priest, who many don’t think deserves her position as she came from the slums is also tied into what ever fate Serapio brings. While Okoa, a member of the worshipers of the Crow God, attempts to find out why his mother died and if it was murder.

I loved the premise of the story and liked most of the book. However, the story is told through the perspectives of our four main characters and I only was interested in two of the perspectives. I love Serapio’s story as we start with how he became blind and believes himself to be the avatar for the Crow God that will destroy the Sun Priest. Xiala is a badass sea captain who happens to have magical powers and I just want more of her story. I also enjoyed her growing relationship with Serapio and the tragedy that it seems to be.

I found Narapa’s sections to be boring and I found myself not wanting to read her chapter’s which in the end caused me to skim read them. I understand why her perspective is used and given the ending I excited to see where her story will go. Okoa had the fewest chapters and not well developed but I feel like he will grown in the next book.

Though the book starts out slow when the plot ramps up its a race to the end. And that ending took me by surprise and left me wanting so much more. I can’t wait for the next book to come out.

October 2020 OwlCrate

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 decor or for a pin/bulletin board. October’s theme is Legends and Lore.

Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include a bowl cozy, a soap bar, a bamboo phone stand, a set of moon and stars wind chimes, a glass nail files, and an audio book copy of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. I love the boxes that have practical items in them as I feel like I get more use out of these items. My favorite are the wind chimes and the phone stand. I also like the idea of being able to try a new audio book and one that is not the same as the hardback book.

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 Legendborn by Tracy Deonn which also have a reversible art cover. Legendborn is a modern day twist on Arthurian legends where a young woman finds that she has a mysterious connection to a secret society of magic users and that her mothers death might not have what was reported.

November’s theme is Growing Wild.

Book Review: Gideon The Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) by Tamsyn Muir

42036538Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir is an Adult Scifi/Fantasy novel. The story is very hard to explain but its amazing. What I heard about the book was that it was lesbian necromancers in space and that was all I needed to know to pick it up but its much more than that.

The world is set up where there are nine houses on nine different planets with each house focusing on aspect/power of necromancy. The Emperor has invited each houses main necromancer and their swordsman to join in a competition to become an elite member of the Emperors court. The story starts out with Gideon who is an orphan raised in the Ninth House attempting to leave and join the army. However, when Harrowhark Nonagesimus, Reverend Daughter of the Ninth House kicks her ass Gideon must help Harrow win or the Ninth House will die.

The story drops you straight in and you pick up what really going on as you read. For me there was a lot of things that I didn’t get or understand initially but the relationship between Gideon and Harrow keeps the story flowing and convinces you to read on.Though I feel like this is one of those books that you will understand more with each reading.

I love the banter between them as a times they just seem to hate each other but you know there is more to it. The ending was shocking and amazing and felt like my heart was being ripped out. This is one of my new favorite books and I can’t wait to read the sequel.

FaeCrate Thorns and All Hangover Recovery Kit

IMG_1202For different books FaeCrate do Hangover Recovery kits for the book hangover you will have after finishing the book. They never had a chance to do one for The Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J Mass so in conjunction with the anniversary edition of the first book they did a mini recover kit call Thorns and All.IMG_1193

This kit did not come with a book just bookish items so it is perfect for those who love the series and want merch connected to the books and series as a whole. The bookish items included were a Rhysand plushie which is a staple for FaeCrate Hangover kits. I personally don’t care for the plushies so I will probably end up selling it at some point. A Being of light and fire print, a collectible coin, a starfall necklace was also included. Sadly, the necklace feels cheep and is very short. I needed to add two different two inch extenders to the necklace to wear it. Also included where a patch set, a book mark set, a foil poster, and a makeup brush set and roll. The makeup brushes are not bad but the roll case smells very strong plastic.

Some of the biggest items where the Acrylic bookends and the shawl which are the items that I will get the most use out of. All in all I liked this box but it is for those who are fans of the series as if your not that big of a fan most of these items won’t appeal to you. Though I wish less cheep and paper item had be included.

November 2018 Wrap Up

November was a very busy and stressful month for me as at the end of October, I found out that I had a kidney stone and my sister had her baby. That being said I did get though four fairly short books. In this wrap up I will also be including the last book I read in October as I read the last books in the series in November. I also didn’t really watch anything besides some reality TV and YouTube videos. Game wise, I’m slowly making my though the first Kingdom Hearts.

Books:

Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones and Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Fourth Closet by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley. These are the 2nd and 3rd books in the FNAF book series following Charlie and the events around Freddy Fazbear’s that cause the pizzerias animatronics to become haunted. I have a full review discussing all the books in this series. Overall, they’re good for those interested in a more clear version of the events in the games/the lore of the games but as a stand alone story they’re not that good. The books are not badly written but the twists are very easy to predict and the story feels like it was written for a very young audience which is surprising given the fact that part of the main plot is the murder of children. 3/5 for the Twisted Ones but 2/5 for The Fourth Closet because I had stopped caring about the story and all of the characters at that point.

All the other books I read in November were part of the Wayward Children’s series by Seanan McGuire. These are Every Hart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, and Beneath the Sugar Sky. This series follows kids and teenagers who have traveled into fantasy worlds, have returned home, and how they cope or not cope with being brought back to a world that is now not really home.

Every Heart a Doorway follows Nancy a new student at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children who traveled to the Halls of the Dead. She is now back home and her parents want her to be the way she was before she left. Shortly after Nancy arrives at the school another student is murder and the plot revolves around who is killing the students and why. This book introduces multiple characters that we gain more information about both in this book as well through out the series and how these other worlds work on a scale of Nonsense/Logic and Virtue/Wickedness though it becomes clear that world can present themselves one way while their rule don’t seem the same. Every Heart is a great introduction to the world and series and I give it 5/5 stars.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones follows Jack and Jill, twin sisters that we met in book one, and tells the story of before they arrived at school and the world that they went to. Jack and Jill’s parents treated their daughters as one being a tomboy and the other a girly girl regardless of how they felt about it and that caused them to resent each other. When they arrive at the Moors, a world much like Universal’s classic horror movies, they finally chooses who they are for them selves with Jack working for a mad scientist and Jill becoming the favorite of the Vampire that ruled the town which changes everything forever. A great second book with I give 4.5/5 stars.

Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third book in the series and the blurb has spoilers for book one so I will only talk about it briefly. This book follows Rini, the daughter of one of Eleanor’s students, who has come to the past to get help in saving her mother and her world. Though the plot revolves around Rini the main narrator of the book is a new student Cora, who I really didn’t like so Beneath was a big let down for me and makes this book only a 2.5/5 stars for me. I will have a full review of the series posted soon.

FNAF Books#2 & #3

Five Nights at Freddy’s better know as FNAF to fans started out in 2014 as an indy survival horror game by game designer Scott Cawthon. It became a huge hit on YouTube with creators such as Markiplier and MatPat of GameTheory played and created video’s about the game. The game quickly became a sensation spawning multiple sequels and hundreds of videos on YouTube. In the game you play as a night security guard at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza which unbeknownst to you the animatronics that move around at night are attempting to kill you as they contain the souls of the children the went missing/were murder at the pizzeria years ago. The goal of the game is just to survive the night as the game get progressively harder.tenor

In 2015 Five Nights at Freddy’s The Silver Eyes was released as the first book of the new FNAF book series which I will need to briefly talk about to review books 2 and 3, so there will be some spoilers as this review goes on. Also the books tell the events of the game in a different way so you don’t have to know much about the game series to understand the books but you will catch things faster if you have.

28233096The Silver Eyes starts out in 1995 when our main protagonist Charlotte “Charlie” returns to her home town of Hurricane, Utah to attend a ceremony about a scholarship created in the honor of her childhood friend Michael who along with four others were murdered at Freddy’s, the business that Charlie’s father helped run. Charlie with her friends Jon, Jessica, and Carlton decide to visit the old pizzeria and find that an abandoned shopping mall was built around it. From there its murderous animatronics and finding out what really happened at Freddy’s all those years ago. Overall, book one is not the best written book but the story is solid and it can be read as a stand alone. It would be a good introduction to kids or younger teens that are interested in both the books and the games without the jump scares and horror more prevalent in the games.

To review books two and three, I will have to spoil somethings from book one and the ending of book two. If you want my overall thoughts to the series please skip to the second break at the end of this post.

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33917881Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Twisted Ones starts a year after the end of book one with Charlie now at college and taking classes on artificial intelligence and robotics. After the events of the previous year that happened at the old pizzeria and the death of William Afton, Charlie is experiencing nightmares about the animatronics and the kidnapping of her twin brother, Sammy. When a body shows up with the same attach marks as previous victims of the animatronics Charlie, Jon, and their friends are drawn back into the world of Freddy’s. It turns out that Afton Robotics created other animatronics that were not the same as the originals from Freddy’s and they can change one’s perception of them. While finding out what is going on with these different robotics companies it turns out that William Afton is not as dead as everyone thought he was and confesses that he didn’t take Sammy but Charlie. The book ends with Jon believing Charlie is dead but then she shows back up on the very last page.

Book two is much more gory than book one and is intended for an older audience but the writing still felt younger to me. This is really where the books started to lose me. I love the lore behind this series but this book took some of the worst and most confusing elements of the games and did them worse as they take the forefront of the story.

36127329Finally, book three Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Fourth Closet. Book three is much more Jon’s story than Charlie’s as we start off a few months from the end of book two with Jon still believing that he witnessed Charlie die that night but there’s someone who looks like Charlie and isn’t really acting like her is around. The entire story focuses on Jon and the others attempting to find out what really happen to Charlie and putting to rest everything about Freddy’s. It become very clear early on that Charlie is not really Charlie and we are given more of her families back story. Somehow, once again Afton is not actually dead and he mainly wants to find out how Henry, Charlie’s father, was able to essentially give a soul to an animatronic. The plot twist, which is very predictable, is that Afton killed Charlie years ago and that the Charlie in the story is a robot. The ending creates a clean slate as all the animatronics are destroyed and Afton is finally, truly killed but the story is very confusing and looses any emotional connection. I only finished these books because I like the lore of the games.

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As for my thoughts on whole series I feel like it’s very average. I give the series three out of five stars only for the fact that I like watching people play the games and I enjoy the lore. However, as a book series the first one is the best as the story is fairly simple. As the series continues it takes some of the most confusing elements from the games and doesn’t do well explaining things or making a cohesive story. I would only recommend these books for fans of the games or those wanting to know the base story of the games without either watching and playing the games.

October 2018 OwlCrate

DSCN1191OwlCrate 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. October’s theme was Lost in the Bookstore and was the first time two books were included in the box.IMG_0125_Moment

The October box would be my third box from OwlCrate and is my favorite so far. Besides the book every box includes a spoiler card explaining each item in the box, a booklet with more information about the book and items chosen, a collectible pin, and an announcement card for the next months theme.

The items in the October box included a Choco-mint Truffle Tea from the Tea Spot and a heart-shaped tea strainer to brew the tea with. A pair of book nerd socks from Out of Print and Underlined. A small canvas clutch purse designed to fit most small books to protect books during travel and a Harry Potter themed art print. For subscription boxes the items that I prefer to get are practical items that can be useful or things that I would like the look of but could never justify buying myself.

The October box included two books Pride by Ibi Zoboi and Shadow of the Fox by Julie Kagawa. Owlcrate always gets exclusive signed versions of the books and letters from the authors. This month the books also came with matching bookmarks.

Pride is a contemporary modern retelling of  Pride and Prejudice set in Brooklyn. Honestly, I have no interest in this book because I have never read Pride and Prejudiced nor am I a big fan of contemporary books. But since it was included in the box I will try it out to see if there is anything that I would enjoy.

In comparison, Shadow of the Fox is a book that I’ve been considering buying anyways. The story follows Yumeko, a kitsune shape shifter who is on the hunt for an ancient scroll that will grant one wish at the end of each millennium.  Based on Japanese folklore and culture it sounds like a great fantasy adventure.

At the bottom of each months box there is a sneak peek at what the next months theme so November’s theme is Rise from the Ashes.

From Here to Eternity Review

34068481From Here to Eternity is the second book by Caitlin Doughty where she travels the world to find the good death and what a good death means in different cultures. As a mortician Doughty uses her want to educate the public about the death industry and death care to show case how other cultures practice death care and mourning. The book takes the reader from rural Indonesia, to the a glowing-Buddha columbarium in Japan, and locations in America, among many others.

As I’ve mentioned before when discussing Doughty’s books death is not an easy topic to talk or write about and it feels a little weird to say I enjoyed reading a book about death. However, Doughty never intends to cause the reader shock or horror just to tell the truth and showcase the reality of death. From Here to Eternity takes the reader all across the United States and the world to show different death practices and the cultures that have these death practices. Much of the world has not removed its self from death and death care as much as the United States has and maybe those of us in the West could learn something from other death practices.

Overall, From Here to Eternity is a great book for those interested in death practices from across the world or those who have read other works about the death industry. Those who have read Doughty’s other book Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and her Ask A Mortician series on YouTube will find the same candid information and morbid humor. I give From Here to Eternity 4 out of 5 stars.

 

October 2018 Wrap Up

Every month I intent to do a monthly wrap up of every thing that I’ve read, watched, and played. This type of post will be because I sometimes don’t have much to say about everything I’ve consumed in a month. Not all media impacts me enough to want to do a review or feel like I have enough to say for a dedicated review. I will also leave links to any full review I’ve done through out the month. Currently, I have gotten behind on posts as I have been sick and very busy lately.

Books:

Rise by Mira Grant: Rise is a collection of short stories and novellas connect to the Newsflesh series. I would recommend to read the entirety of the Newsflesh series before touching this collection as many of the stories will not make sense other wise or spoil parts of the story. I absolutely love this series and have a full review on this book here. 5/5 stars.

Heir of Fire by Sarah J Maas: This is the third book in the Throne of Glass series. I really liked Heir of Fire in comparison to Crown of Midnight which mostly bored me. I’m glad that we’re getting more information about the world and Celina’s back story. The introduction of new characters was great and Manon and the Witches are everything. 5/5 Stars.

The Art of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children: This book is described as a “visual tour” of the film set for Miss Peregrine’s. While it’s a beautiful book filled with pictures from the set and a decent amount of information about the film and film process including interviews, there are times that the text felt like it was talking down to the reader. Information and terms that could have been easily understood are stated blankly where I feel those who would read such a book would understand these things already. Overall, a good coffee table book form those fans of the series and movie or those interested in film making. 4/5 stars.

Storm Front by Jim Butcher: Storm Front is the first book of the Dresden Files. A decent murder mystery book with magic and other supernatural elements add.  This one I read on audio book which I’m not a huge fan of that way of reading. Overall, an okay book but I might not continue with the rest of the series. 3/5 stars. Full review here.

Spark Joy by Marie Kondo: Spark Joy is Marie Kondo’s second book and is a companion to the Life-Changing of Tidying Up. This book goes more into how to organize and exactly what joy is to keep items. Good for those interested in more information on the Konmari method or those currently decluttering. For me it was an okay read but didn’t really add anything to how I’m decluttering. 3/5 Stars.

From Here to Eternity by Caitlin Doughty: Form Here to Eternity is Doughty’s second book where she travels the world to find what different cultures consider a good death. She interacts with death practices across cultures and discusses new death care practices and innovations. While a hard topic Doughty is always very respectful of the different cultures and only wants to educate. Overall, a great book about how the people all over the world deal with death. I will have a full review posted soon. 4/5 stars.

Movies:

This month I only reviewed two movies Venom and The Witch. Both which I like though Venom was my favorite of the two. I have full reviews for both movies and I hope to do more movie reviews in the future.