Saturday, 25 November 2017

Bookish Subscription Boxes || OwlCrate Unboxing


A couple of months ago I decided it would be fun to order a bookish subscription box and after many twitter polls (because that's how I make all important decisions in my life) I decided to order Octobers OwlCrate. The theme for October was Find Me in the Forest and I thought I'd share what I got with all of you so you can decide whether you want to buy one of the future boxes.

Of course each month has a different themed box with different contents, but this post will give you an idea on what sort of items to expect and whether it's worth it or not.

The Book(s)


In this OwlCrate box I received a hardcover (limited edition!!) copy of Wild Beauty, by Anne-Marie McLemore. This edition was exclusive to OwlCrate so that was a pretty cool surprise! Not only that, but it also came with a signed bookplate and a letter from the author.

I believe I read somewhere on the OwlCrate website that one hardcover book is always included and they try to make it a new release so that the majority of people haven't already got it. It would suck to receive a book that you already own.

I haven't read Wild Beauty yet, but it's next up on my TBR.


The Goodies

The OwlCrate box came crammed full of exciting goodies! All to do with the theme of the month and I was very happy with everything I received. I think I got seven (or eight?) goodies overall which seemed worth it to me. And the box really was packed.


My favourite thing was definitely the Harry Potter themed mug.. and the tea... and also the candle.... can I say everything was my favourite? I can't wait to try the tea and light the candle. (although part of me doesn't want to ruin anything by using it which is a little dumb).


Also check out this amazing print!


In the OwlCrate box you get a card with a description of everything on it (the print in the last picture is from Princess Mononoke btw) and also a little magazine with wee activities and tidbits of information related to the books and the items in the box which I thought was a really nice touch!


The Cost (30USD + Shipping)

Owlcrate is 30USD and shipping to New Zealand is 20USD (ouch). To be honest 50USD is probably a little bit much for what you receive and I definitely could not afford to do it every month, but I understand that international shipping is expensive so that's my fault for living all the way out in New Zealand. Shipping within the US is only 6.99USD so that's more reasonable and if that was all it cost for me I would definitely do this way more often!

It's also worth having a look around for discount codes. When I subscribed you got 15 percent off your first box which was a major relief to both me and my wallet so keep an eye out for things like that.

Would I repurchase?

Yes! I definitely couldn't do it every month because of the cost of shipping, but every now and then when I see a theme that looks particularly interesting I will definitely go on the hunt for discount codes and then repurchase. Although I want to give some other subscription boxes a go first to see what else is out there.

I think the cat liked it too. Or maybe she could smell the candle?


Would you purchase OwlCrate? Or have you ever received any bookish subscription boxes? I'm thinking about doing more posts like this if you're interested so which box should I try next?

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Saturday, 18 November 2017

I Binged All of Renee Ahdieh's Books (And Here are My Mini Reviews)

The Wrath and the Dawn
One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?


You know when you put of reading a book because of the hype? And then you read it a year later and suddenly realise what all the hype was all about... Yeah, that's exactly what happened here. And after reading The Wrath and the Dawn I NEEDED more which is why I read two other books by Renee Ahdieh in the next week.

If you were like me and put The Wrath and the Dawn off because of all the mixed reviews then here are a couple of reasons why you definitely SHOULD read it now.

  1. It was so unique! I loved the cultural aspect of The Wrath and the Dawn with the caliphs and the Arabian desert vibe. Why is there not more of this in YA?
  2. I am a sucker for the good old enemies to lovers trope. It's not for everyone, but I love it.
  3. The writing!! Such a beautiful style of writing that I wanted more and more of (and still need more of)

“What are you doing to me, you plague of a girl?” he whispered.
“If I’m a plague, then you should keep your distance, unless you plan on being destroyed.” The weapons still in her grasp, she shoved against his chest.
“No.” His hands dropped to her waist. “Destroy me.”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


  The Rose And The Dagger
The darker the sky, the brighter the stars.

In a land on the brink of war, Shahrzad is forced from the arms of her beloved husband, the Caliph of Khorasan. She once thought Khalid a monster—a merciless killer of wives, responsible for immeasurable heartache and pain—but as she unraveled his secrets, she found instead an extraordinary man and a love she could not deny. Still, a curse threatens to keep Shazi and Khalid apart forever.

Now she’s reunited with her family, who have found refuge in the desert, where a deadly force is gathering against Khalid—a force set on destroying his empire and commanded by Shazi’s spurned childhood sweetheart. Trapped between loyalties to those she loves, the only thing Shazi can do is act. Using the burgeoning magic within her as a guide, she strikes out on her own to end both this terrible curse and the brewing war once and for all. But to do it, she must evade enemies of her own to stay alive.

The saga that began with The Wrath and the Dawn takes its final turn as Shahrzad risks everything to find her way back to her one true love again.
 


Sequels are never as good as the first book. I still loved this sequel to The Wrath and the Dawn, but it definitely wasn't quite as good. Still worth a read if you liked book one. It was a really good book, I just wanted more Shazi and Khalid scenes... I love a fluffy romantic scene, but they spent the majority of this book apart so that's all that let it down for me.

I would advise tissues as well.

ALSO! Exciting side note, there are three novellas which are free eBooks on Amazon so if you do want more of Shazi and Khalid then there is more out there and it's FREEEEE!

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


  Flame In The Mist
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.


I finished Flame in the Mist less than five minutes ago and I am still reeling. This was easily the best book I've read in 2017 and I hate that I have to wait until June next year to read the sequel... After reading The Wrath and the Dawn books last week I honestly did not think Renee Ahdieh could get any better, but she did.

If the pretty cover isn't enough to convince you to read this then let me give you a few more reasons.

  1. One VERY badass girl who's seen as odd, but really she's just too smart for everyone else around her. Mariko kicks butt in every single way possible and I love it.
  2. Samurai. So many badass Samurai warriors.... 
  3. The culture. That is something that Renee Ahdieh has done an amazing job of in every single one of her books, including a cultures that I've never read about before in YA, but now I want more.

“Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain. And you can do anything...”

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆


Have you ever loved an author so much that you had to read all of their books straight away? I don't know what to read next... Someone help!!

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Friday, 10 November 2017

My Audiobook Experience || Yay or Nay?

For a long time I've wanted to give audiobooks a go, but I haven't known enough about them or how to get them and how all the subscription services work so I just never did it. Recently though, Ayla from Books and Babbles wrote an in depth series on everything audiobooks that finally gave me the motivation to go ahead and give audiobooks a go!

I signed up to Audible (not sponsored... lol I wish) and listened to To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han. Overall it was a pretty good experience and I'm going to continue paying for my subscription, but I thought I'd also list the pros and cons of my experience with Audible and audiobooks in general to help you decide if you want to try it.

Pros

  • On Audible the first month is free! Yay, we love free things! So if you hate it you can cancel after a month and never have to pay a cent.
Cat Don't Touch My Money GIF - Money DontTouch Mine GIFs
  • The audiobooks stays in your library. You don't lose them when the month is over which is super cool because it means you can listen to them again and let's be honest, some months I'm gonna be super busy and I just won't have the time to listen to an entire audiobook.
  • No more boring trips. Catching public transport? Listen to a book. Driving alone? Listen to a book. Can't sleep? Listen to a book.
Cat Headphones GIF - Cat Headphones Listening GIFs

Cons

  • Sometimes you just won't click with the narrator. And that happens. I tried listening to audiobooks a long time ago and HATED the narrator for the book I was listening to. She just really really irritated me. That's why the samples are so important.
Eyeroll GIF - GrumpyCat Cat GIFs
  • You can't purchase the audiobooks through the Audible app. This is a little thing but it annoys me. You can browse audiobooks and add them to your Wishlist on the Audible app but then you have to pop online to actually download the audiobook and it will then get sent to the app.

I don't know where to put this one

  • The price? Audible is 14.95AUD (12USD). I think that's pretty good, but I guess it depends on your budget and whether you'll use it or not. You also get discounts on all of audibles audiobooks if you wanted to purchase an extra book within the month and you've already used your credit.

(Also I feel like I've said Audible and audiobook in my head so many times that they don't sound like real words anymore... Weird!)

Ayla's Series: A Beginners Guide to Audiobooks

  1. The Basics
  2. Subscription Comparison
  3. Narrators and Sound Effects
  4. Listening Experiences
  5. Activities and Audiobooks
  6. Favourites and Recommendations

What do you think about audiobooks? Do you listen to them? And if not do you think you ever will? Audiobooks aren't for everyone, but if you're interested in giving them a go then I highly recommend checking out Ayla's series!

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