Review – The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware

Rating: 4/5

Goodreads synopsis: When she stumbles across the ad, she’s looking for something else completely. But it seems like too good an opportunity to miss—a live-in nannying post, with a staggeringly generous salary. And when Rowan Caine arrives at Heatherbrae House, she is smitten—by the luxurious “smart” home fitted out with all modern conveniences, by the beautiful Scottish Highlands, and by this picture-perfect family.
What she doesn’t know is that she’s stepping into a nightmare—one that will end with a child dead and herself in prison awaiting trial for murder.
Writing to her lawyer from prison, she struggles to explain the unravelling events that led to her incarceration. It wasn’t just the constant surveillance from the cameras installed around the house, or the malfunctioning technology that woke the household with booming music, or turned the lights off at the worst possible time. It wasn’t just the girls, who turned out to be a far cry from the immaculately behaved model children she met at her interview. It wasn’t even the way she was left alone for weeks at a time, with no adults around apart from the enigmatic handyman, Jack Grant.
It was everything.
She knows she’s made mistakes. She admits that she lied to obtain the post, and that her behavior toward the children wasn’t always ideal. She’s not innocent, by any means. But, she maintains, she’s not guilty—at least not of murder. Which means someone else is.

What I liked:
How the story is told: The story is told through letters from a nanny sitting in jail writing to a potential solicitor, recalling the events leading up to her incarceration. There are definitely some surprises that pop up at the end.
Immediate build up: At the start of the story you find out that the house has previously had 4 nannies in less than a year and all of them left due to claims about the house being haunted!
Horror aspects: There are parts of this story where it feels like you’re reading a horror novel instead and personally, I believe THAT is when the story really shines.
Characters: Even the supporting characters are intriguing and interesting – just as much as the main protagonist.

What I didn’t like:
This mystery doesn’t leave a whole lot to be desired and I feel guessing the ending is pretty easy. There are some twists I didn’t see coming, but that doesn’t save the overall mystery.
Unnecessary Plot Points: The one plot twist that I didn’t see coming I also found to be completely unnecessary and not add a lot to the story. It was almost so unneeded that it distracted more than anything else.

Overall, if you’re looking for a creepy, horror-esque, psychological thriller that is sure to bring you chills then definitely add The Turn of the Key to your must read list!

Review – The End of October by Lawrence Wright

Disclaimer: As someone with a severe anxiety disorder, especially regaridng all things surrounding the pandemic I picked a HORRIBLE HORRIBLE time to read this book. It took several days of self reflection after to get myself back on track. But anyway:

Rating: 2/5

Goodreads Synopsis: At an internment camp in Indonesia, forty-seven people are pronounced dead with acute hemorrhagic fever. When Henry Parsons–microbiologist, epidemiologist–travels there on behalf of the World Health Organization to investigate, what he finds will soon have staggering repercussions across the globe: an infected man is on his way to join the millions of worshippers in the annual Hajj to Mecca. Now, Henry joins forces with a Saudi prince and doctor in an attempt to quarantine the entire host of pilgrims in the holy city… A Russian émigré, a woman who has risen to deputy director of U.S. Homeland Security, scrambles to mount a response to what may be an act of biowarfare… already-fraying global relations begin to snap, one by one, in the face of a pandemic… Henry’s wife Jill and their children face diminishing odds of survival in Atlanta… and the disease slashes across the United States, dismantling institutions–scientific, religious, governmental–and decimating the population. As packed with suspense as it is with the fascinating history of viral diseases, Lawrence Wright has given us a full-tilt, electrifying, one-of-a-kind thriller.

What I liked/Appreciated:
Research: It is VERY clear that a lot of work/research went into this book, it’s clear the author wanted to appear the expert on the topic and definitely came off that way.
Author’s predictions: So, this book was written well before the pandemic, and I’m honestly really surprised how much he got right. What makes this novel truly terrifying is what we’re watching unfold around us!

What I didn’t like:
Feel of the book:
This one reads as non fiction. It doesn’t come across as a fictional story and I do think that’s in large part everything going on in the world but also the level of information that went into it! It does feel like you’re reading a textbook at times, which I did not love.
Characters Struggles: There are characters in this novel that are supposed to be these super important people, yet the things that aren’t done/can’t be done for them are a little over the top and ridiculous. I understand they were put in as plot devices more than likely; however, they’re completely unbelievable. That being said, if I had read this book before the pandemic I might not have believed this.
Changing POV: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, but I HATE this in novels – ESPECIALLY when none of the characters are developed right away, like in this novel here. I didn’t feel a connection or need/reason to care about the characters even though I was experiencing this story will them.

Honestly, this one was a HUGE miss for me because I feel like I couldn’t enjoy it! It was boring, textbook like, and the characters lacked depth. I would not recommend this for anyone to pick up, unfortunately.

Review – House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

Rating: 3.5/4

House of Dragons is the start of a new Young Adult Fantasy duology by Jessica Cluess. Described as Three Dark Crowns meets The Breakfast Club with dragons – this concept had me hooked from the very beginning and I immediately added this book to my MUST buy list! However, lucky for me this book ended up being included in my June 2020 Beacon Book Box!

Goodreads Synopsis:
Five royal houses will hear the call to compete in the Trial for the dragon throne. A liar, a soldier, a servant, a thief, and a murderer will answer it. Who will win?
When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call….
THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death.
THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again.
THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game.
THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants.
THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne. 

What I liked:
The changing POV: Okay, I HATE changing points of view constantly as a story device. It just doesn’t work for me, I usually find one character super boring and don’t get enough of the ones I care about. Here that wasn’t the case. House of Dragons is told between FIVE different POVs, each one as entertaining and compelling as the other. I loved that each character truly brought something different to the table.
Hyperia: I know. You’re supposed to hate her. (Read the book to see why), but I can’t help it! I LOVED her. I wanted to read more from her and I wanted her to win – don’t ask me why!
DRAGONS: FINALLY a book with dragons.
Character Development: The characters develop and evolve in front of you as you read the different POVs and this is done flawlessly, in a way that doesn’t feel as though it’s being shoved in your face – instead that it is genuine.
World Building: I want to be inside this world, I want to live in it and thrive and be alive in it. Jessica Cluess brings this world to life flawlessly and I LOVE that it isn’t done in a way that it feels like the author is throwing a textbook at you, but rather gradually as you learn about the main characters.

What I didn’t like:
Predictable: While I enjoyed the story the plot twists felt predictable and I did see the ending coming from afar. I would have preferred more surprising twists instead of the predictable.
Slow Start: The book is very very slow in the beginning – if not for Hyperia there in the start I honestly may not have finished the book. I wish there was more progression/more going on towards the start of the book.
The Stakes weren’t High Enough: This bugs me. The stakes should have been high, but it didn’t feel like there was enough to lose for the chracters.

Overall, I really enjoyed House of Dragons. Personally for me it didn’t live up to the hype of what I expected, but I genuinely feel as though I went in with too high of expectations. House of Dragons is a great start to this new duology and I’m very intrigued to see where the story goes and how it ends! I highly recommend this for fans of Three Dark Crowns and Game of Thrones!

Book Box Guesses – August 2020

Hi all! Happy Friday – here are my book box guesses and all the info I found for the month of August! Huge shout out to my very dear friend, Eleni who came over and spent an evening with my scouring the internet and helping me figure all this out. She is the friend we all need!

Theme: Let the games begin:
Book: Star Daughter

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We are so excited to reveal the August theme for our monthly box and it is… LET THE GAMES BEGIN! 🖤 The stakes are high and the games are on – make sure you come prepared! This month is all about games; whether they are physical or mental, magical or non-magical. These games will test your mettle and have your adrenaline soaring! 🖤 You can expect items inspired by An Ember in the Ashes, Hunting Prince Dracula, Nevernight, Scythe, Aurora Rising and Harry Potter. This box features a great variety of items, some of which we are so proud of and just cannot wait for you to see! For now, we are revealing that there will be a booksleeve featuring beautiful art by @monolimeart. 🖤 Our featured book of the month is a contemporary fantasy that is a magical blend of Stardust by Neil Gaiman and Hindu mythology. We were hooked from page one of this unique story and were constantly in awe of all of the celestial settings. This FairyLoot exclusive edition will have SHIMMERY SPRAYED EDGES, ARTWORK ON THE REVERSE OF THE DUST JACKET by @bxromance and will be SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR. 🖤 Spots for new subscriptions are currently CLOSED, but you can sign up to the waiting list: We plan our boxes many months in advance so unfortunately we won’t have a lot of spots for new subscribers until October. The best way to get a subscription at the moment is to sign up to the waiting list. 🖤 If you already have a subscription you can sit back and relax – you will automatically get this box! 😎 🖤 Gorgeous theme art by Official FairyLoot Artist @taratjah #FairyLoot #shelfie #bookstagram #bookish #booknerd #subscriptionbox #bookbox

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Book Box Club
Theme: Moonlit Melodies
Book: Ghost Wood Song

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🌌Introducing our theme for August 2020: MOONLIT MELODIES!🌌 . Night has fallen. The sky is ablaze with moonlight.🌙 A gentle breeze carries the soft eerie notes of a lone guitar 🎸… This August prepare to celebrate midnight musical meet-ups and celestial symphonies!🎶🌠 . 🌙Our featured read for August is a magically gothic novel set in the deep pinewoods of Florida. It tells the story of a young girl with music in her soul and a dangerous secret; her melodies have the power to call ghosts out of the shadows🎻👻. This haunting gift may help her to solve an age-old family mystery or compel her to follow her past further into the darkness.😱 . 🌙With beautifully atmospheric writing, musical twists and a wonderfully-flawed friendship group, this book is perfect for fans of The Sawkill Girls, The Raven Cycle and Beautiful Creatures. We can't wait for you all to read it!😊🌌 . 🌙Our August read is a stunning hardback, which will arrive beautifully gift-wrapped alongside a signed book-plate from the author. 💙 . 🌙Our August box will be jam-packed full of items inspired by Moonlit Melodies. Whether you are musical, bookish or both – you will love the collection of exclusive goodies we've included in this box. 🎼📚Standby for a supplier reveal soon… . 🌙All members will be invited to join us for a book group in our online Clubhouse. You'll get the chance to chat with the author of our featured read, ask your questions and make new bookish friends!  Let's just say; this book is begging to be discussed!🤫 . 🌙August MOONLIT MELODIES boxes and Purely Books memberships are available from our Subscriptions Page now👍. We only have a limited number of boxes available so get yours before they all disappear! 😊 . Who else is excited for our MOONLIT MELODIES theme?🌙🌌🎼🎻 . A big thanks goes out to our resident artist @aliciajoart for creating the gorgeous theme artwork!😍😍 . Love, Libby and Kate xx😘 . #bookstagram #bookish #booknerd #subscriptionbox #bookbox

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Fox and Wit YA
Theme: Star light, star bright. The first star I see tonight
Star Daughter

Spearcraft Book Box
Theme: Eternal Twilight: Midnight Sun
Book: Midnight Sun

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Only 50 new subscription spots are left for August!!! Be sure to grab yours soon. . Our August regular monthly box will be Eternal Twilight! Featuring a signed bookplate from the author for new subscribers!! . Ways to get this box: . *For our NEW subscribers from June 10 on a special treat, you will be able to subscribe for $29.99 which includes the book that retails for $27.99 and a signed bookplate. . *If you are interested in just a one time box no subscription they are on sale now in the shop section for $39.99 and come with the bookplate. . *If you purchased your box a few weeks ago or were already a subscriber with us you do not need to purchase this box. Your account will renew on August 1st for this box. . *Please remember you are signing up for our August box. I repeat the boxes on sale on our website are for August so it will be a bit of a wait until they ship. . The box will come with the book (signed bookplate) 🎉🎉 and a fantastic mixture of Twilight inspired items. We worked with many artists and our rep team to really collaborate on this as Twilight fans and I am very proud of what we all came up with. . All sales are final for this box. Please remember a subscription today is to the August box! If you have questions please ask in advance. For more information on how our subscription works and shipping schedules please checkout our website . Photo design by @readthewriteact and @readthewriteart 🥰🎉❤️ . . #spearcraftbookbox #twilightsaga #twilight #edwardcullen #bellaswan #kristenstewart #robertpattinson #twilightedits #bellacullen #thetwilightsaga #twilightforever #newmoon #eclipse #vampire #alicecullen #twilightedit #breakingdawnpart #bellward #twilightbreakingdawnpart #jacobblack #breakingdawn #rosaliehale #esmecullen #cullens #midnightsunbox #bellaswancullen #nikkireed #midnightsun #twilightfan #twilightnewmoon

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Becacon Book Box
Theme: Adventure Awaits
Book: Set Fire to the Gods

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ATTENTION BOOKWORMS! It is time to announce our August box theme… ADVENTURE AWAITS! 🔥 Our August box pays tribute to some epic, fan-favorite novels that deal with adventure, quests and a common enemy to take down. 🔥 Our August book of the month will transport you to a Greco-Roman inspired fantasy world filled with gladiators, war, elemental powers and mythical gods. Here, some individuals are blessed with powers – gladiators – who fight to settle wars and disputes on behalf of their countries. But, when two gladiators on opposing sides of a war come to learn more about themselves and the tyrannical gods that control their existence, trouble starts to brew. 🔥 The book will be SIGNED BY THE AUTHORS! You can expect an author letter to accompany it ☺️. 🔥 This epic book is perfect for fans of THE HUNGER GAMES, THE CRUEL PRINCE and AVATAR! 🔥 This box will also include TWO BONUS E-BOOKS, both which fit the adventurous theme perfectly. More hints to come! 🔥 Please note due to Papa Beacon's arm/shoulder surgery our August box will not include a booksleeve. These will return in October! 🔥 Fandoms being represented include LORD OF THE RINGS, NARNIA, ERAGON, THE HUNGER GAMES and THE INFERNAL DEVICES! With all of these epic fandoms, this box will truly be one not to miss. 🔥 This box will include our eighth 2020 monthly collectible item, glass ornaments! This months’ ornament is inspired by THE HUNGER GAMES and is seriously stunning!! 🔥 August boxes are available NOW for subscriptions and single purchases! We do not have many subscription spots open and urge customers to purchase as soon as possible. We are SO excited for this box!! ⚫️⚫️⚫️⚫️ Tag some of your bookish friends down in the comments if you think this box is up their alley! ⚫️⚫️⚫️⚫️ Stunning artwork designed by @riddleandravens – thanks for the easter eggs 😉

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Theme: Identity Crisis
Book: The Space Between Worlds

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Our August theme is IDENTITY CRISIS! Our book this month is a science fiction debut set in a world where the secret of travelling to parallel universes has been discovered, but you can only travel to worlds where you’re already dead, and about a girl who is dead in all but eight of them. There’s multiverses to traverse, and doppelgangers to avenge. We were totally gripped by the author's voice from the very first chapter! 💛 Our edition has an exclusive cover, exclusive sprayed edges and is signed by the author! Both the full box & book only subscriptions will come with a matching pin designed by @fableandblack! 💛 Our featured fandoms for August are The Illuminae Files, We Hunt the Flame, Mistborn, The Lunar Chronicles, and Percy Jackson! We revealed when we launched our August preorder that the Percy Jackson item is one of our book tins, and the design by @chattynora is stunninnggggggg! We love this set of items & can't wait to bring you some more reveals! 💛 Our subscriptions are currently sold out. The best way to get a spot for August is join the waitlist – the link is in our Linktree. Anyone left on the waitlist will then be given advance access to subscriptions starting with September! 💛 Thanks as ever to @chattynora for our theme graphic! 💛 [ #illumicrate #illumicratethemereveal #identitycrisis #theilluminaefiles #mistborn #wehunttheflame #thelunarchronicles #percyjackson #percyjacksonandtheolympians #amiekaufman #jaykristoff #illuminae #brandsonsanderson #hafsahfaizal #rickriordan ]

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Once Upon A Book Box YA
Theme: Child of loyalty
Book: Raybearer

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Our August Young Adult hint is HERE!. ​. ​Nothing is more important than loyalty. But what if you’ve sworn to protect the one you were born to destroy?. . Raised in isolation by a mysterious, often absent mother, she is sent to the capital of the global empire to compete with other children to be chosen as one of the Crown Prince’s Council of 11. If she’s picked, she’ll be joined with the other Council members through a bond deeper than blood. . That closeness is irresistible to her, who has always wanted to belong somewhere. But her mother has other ideas, including a magical wish that her daughter is compelled to obey: kill the Crown Prince once she gains his trust. She won’t stand by and become someone’s pawn—but is she strong enough to choose a different path for herself?. . An absolutely beautiful Nigerian fantasy, this novel is for fans of Children of Blood and Bone as well as City of Brass, bringing powerful and flawed characters to life before your eyes from the flawless imagination of a brand-new, debut author. . Striking a lovely balance between using familiar elements of YA fantasy while still incorporating things that are new and rarely seen in recent writing, you'll be taken on a journey unlike any other. . Paired with some stunning gifts that work seamlessly to bring this book to life, we cannot wait for you to experience this riveting adventure alongside characters we absolutely loved. ​. ​Head to to subscribe to our August Young Adult box before they're gone!. ​. ​. ​. ​#onceuponabookclubbox #bookclubbox #bookstagram #childofloyalty #augustya #bookhint #subscriptionhint #subbox #subscriptionbox

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Once Upon A Book Box Adult
Theme: The Manor of Secrets
Book: The Daughters of Foxcote Manor

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We are so pleased to share our August Adult hint – The Manor of Secrets!. ​. An isolated forest estate. A family with a terrible secret. The discovery that changes everything. . England, 1970. On the one-year anniversary of a family's darkest night, their beautiful London home goes up in flames. Relocating to an old English Manor, ostensibly to recuperate. But the creeping forest, where lost things have a way of coming back, is not as restful as it seems. When the thirteen-year-old daughter discovers a baby girl abandoned just beyond their garden gate, this tiniest, most wondrous of secrets brings a much-needed sunlit peace, until a visitor detonates the family's tenuous happiness. All too soon a body lies dead in the woods. . Forty years later, a London-based woman is an expert at looking the other way. It's how she stayed married to her unfaithful husband for more than twenty years. But she's turned over a new leaf, having left him for a fresh start. She buried her own origin story decades ago, never imagining her teenage daughter would have a shocking reason to dig the past up–and to ask her to finally face the secrets that lead her back to that eerie English Manor she had tried to forget. . In this gripping, evocative, and beautifully-imagined tale full of mystery and intrigue, you will find that the pages seem to turn themselves. Filled with a cast of intriguing and well-developed characters, discover a richly drawn sense of place that gave the novel a mysterious, eerie and haunting ambience. . A novel that is all at once gothic, timeless and of the Brothers Grimm variety, experience a riveting story about deep, dark family secrets that hold the key to the truth of a mystery that has lingered for almost fifty years. . Told in dual timelines, the author slowly weaves together the mysterious and tragic events of 1971 with those in the present day. An enthralling, dark, and twisting mystery and one of Bustle's and PopSugar’s Most Anticipated Books for Summer 2020, this is a novel you never forget!. . Sign-ups are open from now through August 14th or until we sell out, so be sure to grab a box before they're gone!. ​. ​

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Litjoy Crate
Theme: Elemental Magic
Book: Set Fire to the Gods

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Announcing August’s theme!!! 🌿🌬ELEMENTAL MAGIC🔥🌊! . . . Watch closely, the elements are alive with magic! This August, LitJoy asks you to bend your imagination like the gods of Weep bend Mesarthim. Our beloved Sun Summon will shine light upon you, but The Darkling’s shadowed powers may threaten to consume you whole! When you step into the Night Court, will it be a court of Dreams, or Nightmares? Perhaps you may join Sophie as she faces a fire demon, friend of foe? Like an Avatar, you master of all four elements in your August adventure here at LitJoy! . 🌿 About the Book: Welcome to the arena, where elemental magic is the weapon of choice! In this gladiator tale, our two protagonists face impossible odds—a battle against the gods. When forgotten magic, mysterious love, and family loyalties come into play, there is no telling who will be the victor in our August title! . 🌬 This LitJoy Crate custom edition book is SIGNED by the author! It also features a REVERSIBLE DUST JACKET, TIP-IN ARTWORK IN THE BOOK, and a separate AUTHOR LETTER. . 🔥 Fandoms in this Crate: Strange the Dreamer, Shadow and Bone, ACOTAR, Avatar the Last Airbender, Howl's Moving Castle, and Disney Princesses! . 🌊 Sneak Peeks to come: – Dust Jacket Artist – Trading Cards – 2 Items – Fandom Highlight . 🖌 Theme art by! . 📦🛒 August subscriptions are currently sold out on our website. Please join the WAITLIST for a chance to get the August crate, book-only or item-only option. We will contact the waitlist if/when crates become available starting July 11th, and then once more on August 3rd after renewals process. Thank you for you patience 😘! . . #litjoycrate #bookboxsubscription #elementalmagic #strangethedreamer #shadowandbone #howlsmovingcastle #avatar #lastairbender #acotar #disney #princesses

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Theme: Crescent Moons and Songs of Starlight
Book: Star Daughter

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Our August YA box theme is :Crescent Moons & Songs of Starlight 🌙⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ​⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Boxes are live & on sale NOW! This box will bring some of your favorite books featuring stars and space 💫 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Lux Series⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The Host⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Lunar Chronicles⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Illuminae⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Our August YA book is Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar. This gorgeously imagined YA debut blends shades of Neil Gaiman's Stardust and a breathtaking landscape of Hindu mythology into a radiant contemporary fantasy. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ↳ Our edition will feature an exclusive foiling on the naked cover & signed bookplate! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ We're thrilled to announce that this box will feature gorgeous items with gold foiling and starlight inspired goods. The entire esthetic of this box is breathtaking & includes useable items that have been highly requested. We have a new pin designer we are featuring that we will announce soon!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ​⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ↠ For those wanting our adult book option: Stay tuned for the theme announcement this week! Hint: 🌝 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ↠ Shirt design upgrades available in: Slouchy tee, drapey tank and hoodie!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ *Please note, your plan must include a shirt to get a shirt upgrade. Current Bookish Box subscribers to not need to sign up again. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ​⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ———————————⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Theme announcement photo: @lookin_abook⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #yabooks #youngadultbooks #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #bookishbox #bookishshop #booknerdigans #booksbooksbooks #bookboyfriend #yafantasy #tbrlist #thehost #stardaughter #luxseries #jla

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Fae Crate
Theme: Transcendence
Book: Things That Should Stay Buried

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August “Transcendence” Book Reveal! . . We are SO beyond excited to be including Things That Should Stay Buried by @authorcaseybond 😍😍. This was such a unique, romantic and nail biting book to read and we cannot wait to share it with you all! Our editions are going to be exclusive hardback editions with custom emboss design by @noverantale. Boxes are currently sold out because you’re all amazing but if we have any extras after renewals go through we will send a newsletter to our newsletter subscribers first when they are listed. More about the book: . Some destinies are written in the stars. Others must be bought with blood… The Zodia are real. Clawing their way from a long-forgotten tomb, they emerge, ravenous to claim everyone born under their star signs. Plotting to resurrect kingdoms no human knew existed, they are driven by a hunger for vengeance against the one who buried them: Aries. Larken is a natural born sprinter, but even she can't outrun the darkness closing in. A shelter-in-place order has been issued, causing widespread panic. Some brush the alarm off as a drill, until people begin to disappear… vanishing without a trace. Left with only one option, Larken's brother does what he must to save her life… and calls forth Aries. Considered a traitor by his own kind, only Aries has the power to stand against the Zodia. But he can't do it alone. Mystically bonded to Larken, the pair must band together for the fight to come if either hope to make it out alive. Neither anticipated the passion that would ignite between them. Yet, in a world suddenly thrust into chaos, it may be the key to their survival. The Zodia are out for blood with their attentions inexplicably focused on Larken. When long buried truths finally come to light, will their love be their salvation or their curse?

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Bae Crate
Books: A Heart of Blood and Ashes, A Touch of Stone and Snow

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BOOK REVEALS! August “I Got This” crates will be including both A Heart of Blood and Ashes AND A Touch of Stone and Snow by @authormillavane !! Both will come with signed bookplates and couple art on the back of the letter from the author. These crates are all about being the best you and reminding you you can handle everything thrown at you. More about the first book to avoid spoilers of the second: . A generation past, the western realms were embroiled in endless war. Then the Destroyer came. From the blood and ashes he left behind, a tenuous alliance rose between the barbarian riders of Parsathe and the walled kingdoms of the south. That alliance is all that stands against the return of an ancient evil—until the barbarian king and queen are slain in an act of bloody betrayal. Though forbidden by the alliance council to kill the corrupt king responsible for his parents’ murders, Maddek vows to avenge them, even if it costs him the Parsathean crown. But when he learns it was the king’s daughter who lured his parents to their deaths, the barbarian warrior is determined to make her pay. Yet the woman Maddek captures is not what he expected. Though the last in a line of legendary warrior-queens, Yvenne is small and weak, and the sharpest weapons she wields are her mind and her tongue. Even more surprising is the marriage she proposes to unite them in their goals and to claim their thrones—because her desire for vengeance against her father burns even hotter than his own…

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Blog posts coming next week! 7/19/2020 – 7/25/2020

Sunday: Review – The End of October
Monday: Upcoming releases for 7/21/2020
Tuesday: Review – The Turn of the Key
Wednesday: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets reread – what I noticed, Part 2
Thursday: Review – These Witches Don’t Burn
Friday: Bookish Vendor Spotlight
Saturday: Review – Sky Without Stars

Review: Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria

Rating: 4/5

Alright! Here we are for the review of the second book in the Elandrian Chronicles – the series that features protagonist Thomas Wildus as he learns to navigate his new and challenging life. So, here we are again journeying along side Thomas and co. three months after the events of the last book. Without further ado –

Goodreads Synopsis:
A boy discovering his destiny. An ancient object of unspeakable power. An impenetrable web of deception.
Three months ago Thomas and his friends faced off against the enigmatic Arius Strong in a fight to determine the future of humanity. When they defeated the billionaire-magician and his two most powerful allies, they thought the war was over. It was only just beginning.
Now, with a mysterious message from an unknown hacker, the action starts again. This time the stakes are higher, the enemies stronger, and the future more uncertain. Will Thomas and his friends see through the lies in time to stop the forces of evil and prevent a global catastrophe?

What I liked:
– So often in sequels we see the author put world building on the back burner but the author did the opposite here and I LOVE that! I love that the world around us continued to grow and expand and because of this I again felt like I was right there in the middle of the story – very well done!
Relationships – I loved how the friendships were portrayed in this story – very realistic and feels right to the age of the characters. I also love that Thomas’s relationship with his mother is not immediately perfect and that they must learn to trust each other again.
Representation – I love that there are characters of all different cultural backgrounds represented in the story and I think it’s really cool/important to include those characters.
Plot – this one is definitely more action packed and doesn’t take as long to get going as the first book! I love and appreciate that!

What I didn’t like:
Twist – There is a plot twist, a pretty big one – but I saw it coming from super far away and it was way too predictable. I wish that it would have been done a little bit differently so as to leave you guessing a little bit more, if that makes sense?
Representation – I LOVE that so many cultures and backgrounds are represented but again I ask WHY are they so stereotyped?! I hate that every character feels like what a white person pictures as a poster child for that race/culture. I also don’t appreciate that the girls aren’t represented as capable and more so as background characters.

All in all this was an enjoyable read and I’m definitely hooked in the story and cannot wait to see where Thomas and his friends go from here!

Rereading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – What I noticed (Part 1)

As I shared earlier this year, and on my readings challenge page I am rereading all of the Harry Potter books this year to revisit the magical world that made me fall in love with reading initially. Earlier this year I shared what I noticed in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and now we’re on to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

If you missed the previous post you can find that here, but in case you just want to read this one instead here’s the deal – here are the things I didn’t notice when I originally read the books and the other little things that I’ve caught on to during a reread! Now, because I’ve had some sort of crazy awakening and noticed so much I’m going to split this one into multiple parts – with part 2 at least coming out next Wednesday — I’m unsure how many parts this will take, but once I’m done The Chamber of Secrets I’ll move on to the Prisoner of Azkaban, which I also have a lot to say about it!

Okay, first – the Dursleys aren’t JUST horrible people, but they’re racist as well! I probably didn’t catch on to Uncle Vernon’s racists jokes due to my age, but wow that just made me hate them so much more than I did previously!

Let’s talk about Dobby. Dobby is the first real look at how normalized some evils are in the wizarding world, because like, y’all…. DOBBY IS A SLAVE. He is so used to being mistreated that he goes so far as punishing himself for trying to help Harry.

I do question some things about Harry’s encounter with Dobby though – He mentions that he’s heard great things about Harry, but where has he heard these great things? Dobby works for the Malfoy family and I highly doubt they’re running around talking about how great Harry is. Someone is obviously telling Dobby something very compelling about Harry in order for him to risk his life/safety to make sure that Harry does not go to Hogwarts.

While I’m already on the topic of the mistreatment of creatures in the wizarding world – let’s talk about the de-gnoming of the garden – how is this okay? It seems abusive, literally throwing them out of the garden. Abuse of creatures like this in the wizarding world seems to be so normal that literally the sweetest family in the world (minus Percy) – the Weasleys have a desire for a house elf! That’s so crazy to me as an adult, but as a child when I read this they were just these cute little creatures!

There are so many transportation options in the wizarding world so why is something like Floo Powder such a commonly used one? It’s unstable and dangerous! You say a word incorrectly and you end up in a wrong place! What if you cough when speaking, or sneeze because of the powder you’re throwing on the ground? I feel like there are much better (and SAFER) means of travel than this!

So, speaking of the whole Floo Powder incident – I didn’t even realize when I was a child that Hagrid finding Harry in Knockturn Alley was actually supposed to make us suspect him later on! I assume that I’m the only one who just now is noticing this, so that’s all I have to say about it lol.

Small pause here to appreciate Hermione and her love/slight obsession with Lockhart! I know, Lockhart is smug, annoying, and scummy – BUT Hermione is all of us when it comes to our favorite authors! I know I’ve had my moments and freak outs – there’s something about meeting the person who makes the words come alive that is warm and amazing! Also, on that same note – Hermione’s experience with Lockhart is a prime example of why you should never meet your heroes.

Now – who remembers the train incident? We all do, right. Harry and Ron are unable to get to platform 9 3/4 so they steal the car blah blah blah. I don’t want to talk about that so much as when the family had to turn around and go back to the Burrow because Ginny forgot her diary – we all assume that during the whole dad fight scene in Flourish and Blotts Draco’s father Lucius slipped Ginny Tom Riddle’s diary – that means if they hadn’t turned around the entire plot could have never happened! Am I crazy? Did that not make sense? Not sure if I’m crazy.

Small appreciation for The Howler! This is the first real instance we see of a wizarding child getting actually called out for being in trouble! Mrs. Weasley wasn’t thrilled with the boys for stealing the car, but we haven’t seen anything to this extent before.

Did anyone else find it odd that Justin introduces himself during Herbology? How have they not met each other before if they’re in the same year. At the very least they would know of each other, right? Their class year seemed to be around 50-60 kids, which is fairly small. I could also be assuming all of this as well. While we’re speaking about students, did anyone else notice or question that the Slytherin team has no girls on it? No? Just me? Because I feel like the Slytherin girls are tough enough to play with the boys.

With that , I’m going to leave this post here and pick up part 2 next Wednesday! Did you notice any of these things? Is there anything I missed?

Review: Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows by J.M. Bergen

Rating: 4/5

Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is the first book in a newer middle grade (MG) fantasy series by J.M. Bergen. This new series centers around a boy who is just turning 13 years old. Thomas was raised by his mother after his fathers unexplained disappearance when he was five. This new service brings about everything you would want in a MG fantasy novel.

Goodreads Synopsis: Thomas thinks he’s an ordinary twelve year old, but when a strange little man with gold-flecked eyes gives him an ancient text called The Book of Sorrows, the world he knows is turned upside down. Suddenly he’s faced with a secret family legacy, powers he can hardly begin to understand, and an enemy bent on destroying everything he holds dear. The more he reads and discovers, the deeper the danger to himself and the people he loves. As the race to the final showdown unfolds, Thomas must turn to trusted friends and uncertain allies as he seeks to prevent destruction at an epic scale.

What I liked:
Appropriate and fun read for anyone:
Sometimes MG/YA novels can be written in a way that makes an older reader feel bored or uninterested in this story. Thankfully, that is not the case here, even though I am an older reader I found the book intriguing and hard to put down.
“chosen one” trope: I love it. I know it isn’t for everyone, but it’s done so well here and I’m a sucker for it normally anyway. Think along the lines of Percy Jackson or Harry Potter.
Choices/Decisions: The choices and decisions that the main character makes are age appropriate and never seem to push the character out of the comfort field of a typical 13 year old! This is so important and something I feel a lot of authors do incorrectly, which results in somewhat mentally aging up the character to the reader and thus isolating your younger readers – in this case the target audience.
World building: The world the story takes place in is built up perfectly and detailed enough that you feel like you’ve stepped into it and are seeing it unfold around you.

What I didn’t like:
Slow: The first half of the book is incredibly slow; however, I think this is due to the necessary world building being done in the early parts of the book. That being said, I still wish more happened early on. I feel as though sometimes MG books suffer because readers get bored, as young readers aren’t always able to focus.
Sterotypes: While I only have two things I didn’t like in this book – this one is a BIG one. If anyone remembers my “One of Us is Lying” review but this is something I cannot stand in books, especially in 2020 when we are facing issues of this sort all the time. I loved the characters and found their unique skill sets useful and entertaining, I just wish they were not as sterotyped so I maybe could have enjoyed the characters a little more.

Overall, Thomas Wildus and the Book of Sorrows is a cute MG series started, packed with magic, wonder, and mystery that is a perfect escape from the every day world around us (especially right now). I would suggest this book for fans of Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, and Eye of Zeus!

**Reminder: The sequel Thomas Wildus and the Wizard of Sumeria will be reviewed here on the blog Thursday!**

So much book news lately – Top 5 I’m excited about!

  1. Blood and Honey pre-order campaign – Shelby Mahurin announced the preorder campaign for Blood & Honey – and it is EPIC. First, can we just appreciate that it includes book boxes? There’s so many preorder campaigns I’ve been left out of because I prefer to order from book boxes to get the extra goodies. But let’s talk about the real gem in the preorder bonus AN EXCERPT FROM S&D 3! That right there is worth the preorder alone!
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Thank you so so much to everyone who tuned into my live yesterday! I had a blast reading about Lou, Ansel, and Beau—and a terrible hair mishap that happens to be one of my worst nightmares. 😆 If you missed it, the video is still available through IGTV on my page! I also officially revealed my preorder campaign at the end of the video and offered an art print giveaway. Those art prints have officially been claimed, but the preorder campaign is still running until September 8th at 11:59pm EST. Here are all the details: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This campaign is open internationally. Email proof of your BLOOD & HONEY purchase from anywhere (bookstores, book boxes, Amazon, etc.) and in any medium (hard covers, ebooks, audiobooks, etc.) to Library requests also count! Your receipt will guarantee you the following digital goodies: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • annotated first chapter of BLOOD & HONEY • the full and stylized version of THE LEGEND OF TARASQUE, which is a tale told within B&H by a mysterious traveling troupe • character art of Lou and Reid’s wanted posters drawn by @gabriella.bujdoso • my official B&H playlist And…this is the really exciting one… • AN EXCERPT FROM S&D 3!!! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Again, these are DIGITAL goodies. They’ll be emailed to you around a week or so after B&H’s publication. There will be spoilers abound, so I want to give everyone the chance to finish the book before receiving them. Now on to the grand prize! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ONE winner will be mailed the following physical goodies (swipe to see them in better detail): ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ • signed and personalized copy of SERPENT & DOVE • custom B&H mug from @clayplantroad (because of the gold glaze, this mug is not microwaveable!) • gorgeous wooden Major Arcana cards by @lumengrave • enamel “thou shalt not suffer a sticky bun” pin from @acobaf • golden waxing moon candle from @skeemdesign • an art print of Lou (after her hair fiasco!!!) drawn by @morgana0anagrom ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If I could shout THANK YOU!!! for every preorder from all the mountains in the world, I would, but for now, please accept my eternal gratitude and shouty capitals. You guys are truly incredible. Sept 1 is less than two months away!

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2. GrishaVerse news – Fierce reads announced The Lives of Saints and the Shadow & Bone Collectors edition – they’re gorgeous! and I pre-ordered both! (yes, I already own Shadow and Bone, but this edition is gorgeous and I LOVE Leigh Bardugo so I had to have it!

3. A Court of Silver Flames – Sara J. Maas announced the title of the next book in the ACOTAR series due out in January 2021!

4. The Box in the Woods – This one is probably old news, but it’s news to me! The series I thought was over with The Hand on the Wall is continuing – In April 2021 we’re getting a fourth book in the series titled The Box in the Woods. The Box in the Woods will follow Stevie as she tries to solve her first case away from school! Very interesting and I just really hope there’s no David! lol
(No instagram post for this one but you can see the goodreads page here, that is where the picture is from).

5. Ghost Wood Song – Epic reads shared a sneak peak of Ghost Wood Song – This is a super anticipated read of mine and I was SO excited to see that they were sharing a sneak peek of it! The cover is stunning and the sneak peek has be HOOKED. You can see the sneak peek here! This epic story comes out on July 14th – TOMORROW! (Cover is pulled from the goodreads page).

So there we have it! The five big book news pieces that I’m most excited for in the coming months – what are you most excited about? Anything on here? Something different? Let me know in the comments!

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