Illumicrate December 2021

If it’s not obvious this post will be a spoiler for anyone who has not received their December Illumicrate box yet.

December 2021 Box Theme is Cursed


Firebird Pin Banner

Designed by Abigail Spence (@ aspenceart Instagram)

Display your enamel pin collection on this pin banner inspired by Girl, Serpent, Thorn.

I love collecting pins, so one can never have enough pin banners. Alas, Illumicrate will no longer be featuring their monthly book pin after this month, I believe?


Survive This World Bookmark Tin

Designed by: Chattynora (@ Chattynora on Instagram)

Our officially licensed Ninth House bookmark tin features one of our favourite quotes from the book.

I do hoard a ridiculous amount of stationary, so I can make use of this! If I didn’t keep this for myself, this could also make a cool stocking filler for someone. I’ve yet to read Ninth House – the quote is very intriguing (the book has been on my shelf for a while now).


Nevermoor Sticker Sheet

Artwork by: Moehrenkunst (@ Moehrenkunstshop on Instagram)

Decorate your journal with these cute stickers inspired by Nevermoor

My least favourite item from this month’s box. Whilst the stickers are fun, they’re not something I have any use for and will probably end up in the little one’s craft box.


Starcrossed Lovers Calender

Artwork by: Sallteas & Frostbite Studios (@ Sallteas and @ Frostbite.studios on Instagram) Designed by: Chattynora ( @ Chattynora on Instagram)

This 2022 calendar features favourite fictional star-crossed couples.

Sneak Peek at January’s couple

This is a very useful item, I believe Fairyloot and Illumicrate usually include a calendar towards the end of the year. Sallteas is one of my fave artists, so I’m happy that I have a calendar with lots of their art. The couples are diverse throughout too!


The Road Through Midnight Mug

Artwork by: Rosiethorns88 (@ Rosiethorns88 on Instagram)

Our latest mug features a papercraft design by Rosie inspired by The Winternight Trilogy, perfect for this time of year.

I’ve always loved Rosie’s mugs and I absolutely adore The Bear and the Nightingale – so this is my favourite item in this month’s box! What do you do with your mugs if you collect?


Monthly Collectors Pin

Designed by: Stacey McEvoy-Caunt (@ Stacey.mcevoy.caunt on Instagram

Inspired by the magic Edwin performs in the book.

Alas, the pins are coming to an end for Illumicrate. Following customer feedback and the increase of cost to produce them. It’s a shame, but ultimately, I understand. I’ve always loved that their pins match the featured book. The silver lining is that if/when they do include a pin from now on, they should be awesome.


Featured Book: A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske

Synopsis:

Young baronet Robin Blyth thought he was taking up a minor governmental post. However, he’s actually been appointed parliamentary liaison to a secret magical society. If it weren’t for this administrative error, he’d never have discovered the incredible magic underlying his world.

Cursed by mysterious attackers and plagued by visions, Robin becomes determined to drag answers from his missing predecessor – but he’ll need the help of Edwin Courcey, his hostile magical-society counterpart. Unwillingly thrown together, Robin and Edwin will discover a plot that threatens every magician in the British Isles.

Illumicrate Edition features:

Exclusive cover with a transparent overlay jacket. Digitally printed edges and is signed by the author.

Publisher: Tor Published date: 9th December 2021

Author’s Website: https://freyamarske.com/

Oh wow, look at the edges! This is a beautiful book and the story sounds great too! Do you display your sprayed or stencilled edges on your book shelves?


Verdict:

The mug and this month’s book are beautiful, and I’m glad I received the box for those items alone. However,  following November’s  awesome box, December’s is a little underwhelming. The monthly pins are coming to an end, and this was a result of customer feedback. I think it’s great that Illumicrate take action on their feedback and also enable the boxes to stay at an affordable price. I mostly subscribe because I love the quality of books and the occasional bookish item. That said, some items I just don’t have use for and they end up stuffed in a drawer or re-gifted where possible. That’s not to say the items aren’t well thought out and cater to as many readers as possible, but for me, I might just go for the book only subs down the line.

Do you subscribe to a book box?

What do you think of this one?

For more information on Illumicrate visit their website: https://illumicrate.com/


NaNoWriMo update

NaNoWriMo winner banner

What is NaNoWriMo?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is basically a writing challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel during November.

More information can be found on the official website

Update

I am pleased to say, that I’ve not only reached my personal target of 50k, I hit 68,581 words of my first draft!

I’m not finished by any means. This is a bare bones first draft and I know I have a long way to go.

For a few years now, I have sat on the sidelines of twitter, peeking in at NaNo but never quite getting the courage to bite the bullet. Last year, I even went as far as entering, but I didn’t write a single word in that November. I could give a million excuses, but I think we can all agree 2020 was a complete nightmare. The biggest reason, though, was that I found out I was pregnant, and honestly, I couldn’t focus on my own life at that point, let alone all the people in my head’s lives.

I’m so proud that I’ve almost finished this draft. I completed NaNo on my laptop and on my phone whilst quietly typing away, knowing my baby could wake up at any moment.

This is the first time in a long time that I’m passionate about moving forward with this story.

Sneak peak at my WIP:

It will come as no surprise to my Instagram or Twitter followers that I’m writing a Romance. And what’s better than a Romance? A Fantasy Romance.

Waking the Siren


💫 Fantasy Romance
🍎 very loosely inspired by Snow White
🧜‍♀️ Siren
🔥 Fire Demon
💀 Evil King
💘 Enemies to Lovers
💙 Found Family
🏴‍☠️ Pirates

Aesthetic for my WIP (sources on Pinterest link below)

If interested links to my Pinterest board and Spotify for this WIP below *TW playlist features a few songs from Harry Potter movie soundtracks:

My tips for completing NaNo or starting that WIP you keep thinking about:

Read, read, read and read some more – read the books you love. Read the books in the genre of your WIP. Learn from them, what did you love about them?

Targets – set yourself a reasonable target, one that will push you but also one that is manageable to prevent burnout.

Writer Friends – writing buddies are so important. They help boost morale and give you valuable feedback. I’ve been incredibly lucky and have found a couple of like-minded people. You want someone who will give you honest feedback, not someone to blow smoke up your ass and gaslight you. For me, that’s incredibly important. Also, being able to vent to someone who knows what it feels like to lay awake at night thinking over your plot and writing scenes down at random parts of the day for fear of forgetting them.

Take time for you – this may seem counterproductive, but it’s so important to let yourself breathe. You don’t want to burn yourself out, be preemptive and give yourself some ‘me time.’

A tidy workspace

My writing space

I just can’t write in a messy area. It’s like my brain won’t focus on anything else but that mess. So my advice it to create a little haven for yourself to write in. Another favourite place for me to write, in sat in bed with plenty of pillows and no distractions.

I hope these tips help. From a fellow amateur writer to another!

Let me know how you did if you took part in NaNo or if you’re working on something!

Illumicrate November 2021

If it’s not obvious – this post will be a spoiler for anyone who has not received their November Illumicrate box yet.

November 2021 Theme is Death and Fortune

Goddess of Retribution Teacup and Saucer

Art work by Neil Grant Instagram Link

Our second greek mythology inspired teacup features Nemesis. Nemesis was against undeserved good fortune and is the perfect deity for your Death and Fortune Box.

The packaging for this tea cup and saucer is almost as pretty as the set itself. I wish I had managed to come off of the waiting list before now, so that I could have the full set. This is such a useful item, I can’t decide whether to use it for tea, to use as a plant pot for my ever growing collection of succulents or to make one of my candles using the cup.

She Who Became the Sun Metal Bookmark

Designed by Danielle Instagram Link

Our stunning metal bookmark features Zhu from She Who Became the Sun.

One can never have too many bookmarks!

You Share Tea Hanging Ornament

Designed by Renata Krawczyk Instagram Link

This ornament is perfect as a festive decoration or to hang on door and drawer handles.

If like me, you have to have everything a certain way on your Christmas tree, this cute little hanging ornament will probably end up hanging from a handle. I will most likely add this to a hook in my reading room.

Smaug’s Hoard Fabric Book Jacket

Front cover of book Jacket

Artwork by Pauhami Instagram Link

This Fabric book jacket is perfect for every book dragon who wants to protect their books while reading.

Back cover of book jacket

Again, this is another useful item! Going by the size, this will hold a standard UK hardback (I used the hardback edition of Sabriel by Garth Nix and it was a snug fit). I think you would struggle to fit the chunkier hardbacks in this.

Moments You Remember Book Tin

Designed by Jez Hawk Instagram Link

Store your bits and bobs in the Scorpio Races inspired Book Tin.

The art on this tin is beautiful. Its purple too – and if you have read through my previous Fairyloot spoiler post, you will know that its my favourite colour and will go perfectly in my reading room!

Monthly Collectors Pin

Designed by: Stacey McEvoy-Caunt Instagram Link

Inspired by the red penny Vanja leaves when she steals from the rich.

I’m a collector of book pins, and this one is defiantly one I’ll keep!

Enjoy your Illumicrate edition with all exclusive: cover, full colour printing on the hardback, stencilled and sprayed edges and a signed bookplate.

Front cover of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen
Front cover of book hidden under dust jacket
Hidden back cover under dust jacket

Synopsis:

Vanja Schmidt knows that no gift is freely given, not even a mother’s love. The adopted goddaughter of Death and Fortune, Vanja has long made her own way in the world as the dutiful servant of Princess Gisele. Until a year ago, when her otherworldly mothers demanded payment for their care, and Vanja decided to steal her future back . . . by stealing Gisele’s life.

With the help of an enchanted string of pearls, Vanja transformed into her former mistress and took her place, leaving the real Gisele a penniless nobody. Now, Vanja leads a lonely but lucrative double life as princess and jewel thief, charming the nobility while emptying their coffers to fund her great escape. Until, one heist away from freedom, Vanja crosses the wrong god and is cursed to turn into jewels, stone by stone.

With a feral guardian half-god, Gisele’s sinister fiancé, and an overeager junior detective on her tail, Vanja has just two weeks to pull off her biggest grift yet, or she risks losing more than her freedom – she could lose her life.

Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton Published Date: 19th October 2021

Author’s Website: https://margaret-owen.com

Sprayed edges of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

I can’t wait to read this book! The read along starts on 15th December, so hopefully my reading schedule will be clear for then.

The naked book cover is so vibrant. It looks like I’ll have to rotate how I display this little gem on my shelves!

Stencilled edges of Little Thieves by Margaret Owen

All items from Death and Fortune Illumicrate box

Verdict:

This is the first Illumicrate box I’ve received since coming off of the waitlist (previous subscriber but cancelled subscription earlier this year). I must say, I think this is one of my favourite boxes to date. Each item is something I can use rather than clutter my shelves. As a huge LoTR fan I love the Smaug Book Jacket and the Saucer and Tea Cup set is adorable and something I can make use of in multiple ways! So, overall this box is a hit for me!

Do you subscribe to a book box?

What do you think of this one?

For more information on Illumicrate visit their website: https://illumicrate.com/


Book Review: Terciel & Elinor (The Old Kingdom Series) by Garth Nix

Synopsis:

In a land where the dead will not stay dead, eighteen-year-old orphan Terciel is learning to wield a mighty and terrible power: necromancy.

For he is the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, the latest in a ancient line of necromancers tasked with protecting the Old Kingdom and preventing the Dead from crossing over to the realm of the living.

Across the Wall in Ancelstierre, where magic does not usually work, Elinor, nineteen, lives a secluded life. But when destiny intervenes, she finds herself on a path to love, danger, and an adventure into the dominion of the dead…

She does not know that she is deeply connected to the Old Kingdom until destiny places her on a path of magic, romance and a fight against the Dead who will not stay dead.

Publisher: Hot Key Books Published date: 2nd November 2021

Author’s Website: http://www.garthnix.com/

UK kindle cover for Terciel & Elinor

Review:

I have been a huge fan of The Old Kingdom Series, ever since I discovered a well read copy of Sabriel at my local library around 15 years ago! I remember starting it, and sitting on one of the old leather reading sofas in the library. I remember that rush of feeling I had from realising after only a few chapters I couldn’t put the book down!

The nostalgia of reading Terciel and Elinor was wonderful. I could smell the leather from that old sofa in the library, I could even picture the day I went back to check out Lirael and Abhorsen.

Thank you to NetGalley & Bonnier Books for providing me with an ebook arc.

This book is a prequel to Sabriel, so, if you’re new to the series, you could start with it – but personally I prefer to read in order of publication for the full reader experience.

It’s going to be hard for me to review this book without comparing to the rest of the series, but I will keep it spoiler free!

For me, Terciel & Elinor was much slower than the rest of the series. Nix takes his time setting the foundations for the climax. I had hoped to read more of Sabriel’s parents time together, and although the story isn’t quite how I imagined – it had the perfect balance of new beginnings, romance, fantasy and of course death.

The magic system (Charter Marks / free magic) is explained again, and yet, it still felt new to me. It is a very complex system, so I welcomed the deeper insight.

The luxury of knowing the back story, for me, it was easy to pick out the foreshadowing of what was to come. So much so, half way through I started listening to Sabriel on Audible (Tim Curry narrating is simply magical). There are bittersweet moments in T&E and without spoiling, it created a burning hope in me that I knew would turn to ash:

“She wouldn’t be the main character herself,  Elinor thought. But an important supporting one.”

***

“You delay me, annoy me, that is all. And one day you will pay the price.”

The foreshadowing gave me goosebumps.

Elinor is very likeable, she’s naive but embraces her new life, she isn’t foolish enough to not be afraid but she shows plenty of courage. One thing Nix never let’s me down on, is a great female lead.

Terciel is more studious than I imagined him to be. He’s gentle but defiant and much more cautious – which brings out a protective side of him towards Elinor. It’s an interesting contrast to how he appears in Sabriel (initially).

Forbidden Planet special signed edition of Terciel & Elinor

Their romance isn’t subtle. They’re thrown together and then separated, but it’s clear they have chemistry from their very first meeting. I would love to know more of their tale from the ending of T&E to the beginning of Sabriel. This is the prequel of how they came to be and although the ending is the same, there is still so much to tell!

One of the things I love about this series is how believable it is. It is a wonderful fantasy, with magic and necromancy, but it feels like it could be the norm. It’s not something I feel I can explain very well, but the way Nix writes, I can really emerse myself into the story. T & E was no exception. It’s all in the detail, as they say, and I could picture everything so vividly!

T&E compliments the series, and over all I feel like it has brought back that spark from the original trilogy.

It was incredibly nostalgic being back in the Old Kingdom. The Abhorsen’s house is always a fascinating location, Mogget’s cameo, the journey through the Gates of death, the hints of what’s to come left me feeling fulfilled. I’m certainly going to complete my reread this year.

This will be a comfort read for previous readers of The Old Kingdom… especially if you started it way back when. Sabriel just had its 25th Anniversary!  I also hope it brings more readers to the series!

My humble collection of Garth Nix Hardbacks including Newt’s Emerald on the end!

Book Review: These Hollow Vows by Lexi Ryan

Synopsis:

Brie hates the Fae and refuses to have anything to do with them, even if that means starving on the street. But when her sister is sold to the sadistic king of the Unseelie court to pay a debt, she’ll do whatever it takes to get her back—including making a deal with the king himself to steal three magical relics from the Seelie court.

Gaining unfettered access to the Seelie court is easier said than done. Brie’s only choice is to pose as a potential bride for Prince Ronan, and she soon finds herself falling for him. Unwilling to let her heart distract her, she accepts help from a band of Unseelie misfits with their own secret agenda. As Brie spends time with their mysterious leader, Finn, she struggles to resist his seductive charm.

Caught between two dangerous courts, Brie must decide who to trust with her loyalty. And with her heart.

Review:

I have a love / hate relationship with YA. I’ve always found it a little hard to review the ones I didn’t enjoy because obviously I’m not the target audience!

However,  I fell in love with These Hollow Vows as it has everything I enjoy most about YA fantasy.

It has been compared to The Cruel Prince and also A Court of Thorns and Roses – so obviously I had to read it. I can see the reason for the comparison, but to be honest THV is a typical YA and I’m sure others will pick out similarities to other books too. It has the predictability of the genre, but its very compelling and certainly one of the best YA books I’ve read since, well, The Cruel Prince.

In the first chapter I also had a Six of Crows vibe, however that was fleeting and I feel like the opening chapters had more of a Cinderella feel.

The main plot is overshadowed by the love triangle, but I didn’t enjoy it any the less. I’m a sucker for romance heavy stories at the moment and the angsty young torturous love in this hits the spot.

The swift scene changes were something else I liked too… I hate the faff with transition scenes and nonsequential fillers. THV cuts to the chase each time and its easy to flip through the pages as the story moves along very quickly.

There was limited world building as its very character driven so I would love to see more of Faerie in the next installment.

I feel like all the characters are morally grey, they will stop at nothing to get what they want and their actions and manipulations entwine right up to the climax – long after the reader suspects what’s going on. I was still surprised at the slight twist at the end and I should have known right along with Brie.

I couldn’t put this book down and wanted to savour it at the same time. After reading the final page I *need* the next book ASAP!

Although YA, this does have some older themes. Considering the target age audience – trigger warnings can be found here

Thank you to NetGalley and Hodder & Stroughton for the E-arc for an honest review.

Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton Published Date: 20/07/21

Author’s Website: https://lexiryan.com/

Book Review: The Witch Collector by Charissa Weaks

Synopsis:

Raina Bloodgood has one desire: kill the Frost King and the Witch Collector who stole her sister. On Collecting Day, she means to exact murderous revenge, but a more sinister threat sets fire to her world. Rising from the ashes is the Collector, Alexus Thibault, the man she vowed to slay and the only person who can help save her sister.

Thrust into an age-old story of ice, fire, and ancient gods, Raina must abandon vengeance and aid the Witch Collector or let their empire—and her sister—fall into enemy hands. But the lines between good and evil blur, and Raina has more to lose than she imagined. What is she to do when the Witch Collector is no longer the villain who stole her sister, but the hero who’s stealing her heart?

The Witch Collector by Charissa Weaks on Kindle Oasis

Review:

Thank you to NetGalley and City Owl Press for granting my request to review this book.

The cover hooked me in and encouraged me to request this book to review – and I’m so happy I did.

The Witch Collector is a romantic fantasy that lures you in from the first page.

The main character Raina, is a wonderful strong heroine. A diverse and a refreshingly capable lead, despite not being able to speak.

The Witch Collector, Alexus, has the dark and mysterious vibe that adds to the tension of the inevitable enemies to lovers arc.

The villain of the story, is a brutal antagonist and I hope we discover more about him in the follow up book. His origins are unclear to me and I hope the intrigue is the foundation of his arc in the rest of the series.

As the story unfolded, the expanse of the world is revealed and the politics between the Gods became clearer to me. Though, for me it was sidelined by the chemistry between Raina and Alexus through most of the book.

The pace is steady throughout, with a few adrenaline filled scenes that keep you invested overall. The slow burn between Raina and Alexus has a satisfying conclusion and thankfully doesn’t end on the cliff hanger I expected.

Overall, this was a sweet ‘Romantasy’ with intriguing side characters and a great start to the series – I can’t wait to read more!

This book is out next week!

Publisher: City Owl Press Published date: 02/11/2021

Author’s Website: https://charissaweaks.com/

Book Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Synopsis:

Darrow is a Helldiver. A pioneer of Mars.

Born to slave beneath the earth so that one day, future generations might live above it.

He is a Red – humankind’s lowest caste. But he has something the Golds – the ruthless ruling class – will never understand.

He has a wife he worships, a family who give him strength. He has love.

And when they take that from him, all that remains is revenge . . .

Red Rising on Kindle Oasis

Review:

This is a tricky one to review. I loved the book, but found myself more invested in the side characters than Darrow – the main character.

He was arrogant to the point that my eyes were rolling.

“See. That’s what I don’t get. If I am a good man, then why do I want to do bad things?”

Yet, as the story developed, (his ability to be brilliant at everything aside), his demeanor crumbled and allowed his vulnerability and conflicting empathy towards everyone shine through. It made me realise he’s quite a complex character. I feel like this is the first decent morally grey character I’ve read in a long time.

This book has a brutal way of getting its point across. The author doesn’t shy away from the brutality of war and it can be easy to forget that these characters are 17 – 18 years old. 

My favourite of these characters is Sevro!

“He likes his curved knives too much. I think he whispers to them.”

He gets his hands dirty more than once and shadows Darrow to the point of my frustration (I’m certain he could slit his throat in the middle of the night). Yet, he seems to be the most loyal and quite frankly disturbing friend Darrow could hope for. I honestly don’t know if Darrow deserves him.

And I guess that’s the point? The good guy doesn’t *feel* like a good guy. There is so much to digest and so many ripple affects to everyone’s actions and how they react in the aftermath. Nothing is cut and dry.

Those that loved The Hunger Games will enjoy Red Rising. The opening felt a little slow for me, but looking back, it was the perfect set up for what was to come. The world building is very complex and it was only a brief glimpse in the first book. I know it is the foundation of an epic series.

My conflicted issues with Darrow aside – the last few chapters were brilliant. I couldn’t put my kindle down once the final wheel was in motion! I can’t wait to start the next book – even if I hear it is even more brutal than the first!!

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Published Date: 28/1/2014

Author’s Website: http://www.piercebrown.com/

Reads for Halloween

As a genre reader who needs romance in her books, picking a few reads for Halloween is hard! Is there such a thing as horror romance with a happy ever after?!

Last year I read The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell and it seriously creeped me out. I couldn’t find any that fit the creepy romance vibe – so, I’ve narrowed it down to three random books. I’ll post a review for the one I end up reading and who knows maybe I’ll end up reading all three?

I’ll be honest, my spooky read knowledge is weak! I prefer books with a little fantasy and magic – so if you have a spooky rec you’d think I’d enjoy, let me know in the comments.


Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan

Synopsis:

Sixteen-year-old twins Madeline and Catlin move to a new life in Ballyfrann, a strange isolated Irish town, a place where the earth is littered with small corpses and unspoken truths. A place where, for generations, teenage girls have gone missing in the surrounding mountains. As distance grows between the twins – as Catlin falls in love, and Madeline begins to understand her own nascent witchcraft – Madeline discovers that Ballyfrann is a place full of predators. And when Catlin falls into the gravest danger of all, Madeline must ask herself who she really is, and who she wants to be – or rather, who she might have to become to save her sister.

Publisher: Hot Key Books

Author’s Website: http://deirdresullivanbooks.com/ (not currently active)


Dark Matter a Ghost Story by Michelle Paver

Synopsis:

A terrifying 1930s ghost story set in the haunting wilderness of the far north.

January 1937. Clouds of war are gathering over a fogbound London. Twenty-eight year old Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life. So when he’s offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway: five men and eight huskies, crossing the Barents Sea by the light of the midnight sun. At last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year. Gruhuken.

But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. He faces a stark choice. Stay or go. Soon he will see the last of the sun, as the polar night engulfs the camp in months of darkness. Soon he will reach the point of no return – when the sea will freeze, making escape impossible.

And Gruhuken is not uninhabited. Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark…

Publisher: UK edition Orion

Author’s Website: https://www.michellepaver.com/


Hocus Pocus the sequel By: A. W. Jantha Illustrated By: Matt Griffin

Synopsis:

Shortly after moving from California to Salem, Massachusetts, Max Dennison finds himself in hot water when he accidentally releases a coven of witches, the Sanderson sisters, from the afterlife. Max, his sister, and his new friends (human and otherwise) must find a way to stop the witches from carrying out their evil plan and remaining on earth to torment Salem for all eternity.

Twenty-five years later, Max and Allison’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Poppy, finds herself face-to-face with the Sanderson sisters in all their sinister glory. When Halloween celebrations don’t quite go as planned, it’s a race against time as Poppy and her friends fight to save her family and all of Salem from the witches’ latest vile scheme.

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Author’s Website: N/A

Fairyloot September 2021

Just incase it’s not obvious – this post will be a spoiler for anyone who has not received their September Fairyloot box yet.

September 2021 Theme is Uprising

Details from the spoiler card *to jump straight to the item you’re interested in click their links*

Looking for a new home for your library card? Look no further! Your new card holder designed by Jezhawk (link to Instagram page), is inspired by our exclusive cover of The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni!

In preparation for peak sock season, we’re delighted to include this beautiful pair inspired by Six Crimson Cranes by Elizabeth Lim, with cute little crane details by the amazing catarinabookdesigns (link to Instagram page).

Decorate your new reading space with your new tapestry inspired by Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, staring Karou and Akiva locked in a starry embrace. The stunning artwork is by the one and only sallteas (link to Instagram page).

We absolutely had to include an enamel pin inspired by one of our favourite series, An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. It was designed by the amazing Jezhawk (link to Instagram page).

Your eyes do not deceive you, there are, once again, two books in your box – score! Your special edition of Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray comes with an exclusive cover and a digital signature! In this stunning pan-African inspired fantasy, fate binds two teenagers together as they strike a dangerous alliance to hunt down the ancient creature menacing their home.

This month’s collectable tarot cards are the Three & Four of Pentacles. They are designed by morgana0anagrom (link to Instagram page) and feature Jacks and the Fallen Star from the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber

Our featured book of the month is Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer. A richly imagined fantasy novel centred around the balances of power, elixir magic and the overthrowing of a corruption kingdom, this is a book that will definitely keep you hooked! Your Fairyloot exclusive edition has an exclusive cover, sprayed edges, foil on the case, artwork on the reverse of the dust jacket by lizzart_zardonicz (link to Instagram page) a ribbon bookmark and is signed by the author. As always be sure to check the author letter and the Beautiful artwork on the reverse side also by lizzart_zardonicz

Card Holder

This is such a useful item! I rarely use cash when I’m out and about. Its compact and fits in my coat pocket – so no need for a bag on those days I’d like to leave with minimum effort. I love purple, so this goes with a few of my outfits too.

Six Crimson Cranes Inspired Socks

These are super cute pastel colour socks. I don’t have the book unfortunately, but these match the cover aesthetic. Always handy to have plenty of socks.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone Inspired Tapestry

Again, unfortunately I haven’t read the book. It has been on my TBR for a while though. I do love purple, so I can make this work in my reading room. I’ll probably hang it so that it falls along the back of my reading chair or down the side of my bookshelves. I love this artist and glad I finally have something created by them!

An Ember in the Ashes Inspired Enamel Pin

Hmm. This is another book that has been on my TBR (it is never ending). I’m a collector of book pins and this pin will have a place amongst my collection!

Beasts of Prey by Ayana Gray

Wow. This cover is stunning. The original cover is lovely too from what I’ve seen online, but this cover really pops. I can’t wait to read it! It’s out in February 2022!

Synopsis:

Magic doesn’t exist in the broken city of Lkossa anymore, especially for girls like sixteen-year-old Koffi. Indentured to the notorious Night Zoo, she cares for its fearsome mythical creatures to pay off her family’s debts. But when they are threatened by the Zoo’s cruel master, Koffi unleashes a power she doesn’t fully understand.

As the son of a decorated hero, Ekon destined to become an elite warrior. Until a fire at the Night Zoo upends his future and, on the brink of his final rite of passage, Ekon is cast out – his reputation left in tatters.

For Koffi and Ekon, the outlook is bleak – unless they can capture the Shetani, the vicious monster that plagues their city. As Koffi and Ekon enter the Greater Jungle, a world steeped in wild magic and danger, the tentative alliance between them is tested to the extreme.

The hunt begins – but are they the hunters or the hunted?

Publisher: Penguin Published date: 03/02/2022

Author’s Website: https://www.ayanagray.com/

Three & Four of Pentacles Tarot Cards

These are currently Fairloot’ collectable items. The art is fab!

Defy the Night by Brigid Kemmerer

Remember when I said I loved purple? This book is a dream! Look at the sprayed edges!

Synopsis:

A spark of rebellion is all it takes to DEFY THE NIGHT.

In a kingdom where sickness stalks the streets and only the richest can afford a cure, King Harristan and his brother Prince Corrick are forced to rule with an iron fist.

Tessa Cade is a masked outlaw marked for death, but she likes it that way. Together with the mysterious, handsome Weston, she robs from the rich to help the poor, distributing food and medicine to those who need it most.

As it becomes clear that the only way to save her people is to assassinate the King, Tessa must face a deadly mission that will take her to the dark heart of the kingdom . and force her to work with the very people she intended to destroy.

Publisher: Bloomsbyry YA Published Date: 14/09/2021

Author’s Website: https://brigidkemmerer.com/


Overall this was a lovely box – especially for purple loving lil ol’ me. Each item can be used and the books are ridiculously stunning and I can’t wait to add them to my shelves! Are you subscribed to any book boxes? Which one is your favourite?

Disclosure:

I have been on the waitlist for Fairloot for a while now and I actually managed to purchase this box from a private seller on Facebook for retail. I have also recently come off the wait list for Illumicrate, so future boxes will be Illumicrate until I move up the Fairyloot wait list! Both boxes are about to start an Adult Book only option in the new year and I’m so excited for that!

Book Review: For The Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Synopsis:

THE FIRST DAUGHTER IS FOR THE THRONE.
THE SECOND DAUGHTER IS FOR THE WOLF.

As the only Second Daughter born in centuries, Red has one purpose – to be sacrificed to the Wolf in the Wood in order to save her kingdom. Red is almost relieved to go. Plagued by a dangerous power she can’t control, at least she knows that in the Wilderwood, she can’t hurt those she loves. Again.

But the legends lie. The Wolf is a man, not a monster. Her magic is a calling, not a curse. And if she doesn’t learn how to use it, the Wilderwood – and her world – will be lost forever.

For the Wolf by Hannah Whitten

Review:

One of the things about being a new parent, is that I have very limited time to myself. This means when I pick up a new book it HAS to grip me from the very beginning. For The Wolf did not disappoint – and the snatched moments of a chapter here and there, were something I looked forward to each day for the last week or so (pre baby I would have binged this in a day easily).

From the very first page, the prose wraps itself around you, demanding you read on making it easy to flow through the opening. Although this is a Red Riding Hood retelling there were also Beauty and the Beast vibes. Red is instantly likeable. The bond between her and her sister Neve, is evident without feeling forced as is sometimes the case. The stifling responsibilities that each of them have to face, defines their character and it was so easy to relate to both of their actions.

The interludes from Neve’s perspective have a way of creeping up on you. Considering Red was the one sacrificed to the Wilderwood, Neve’s chapters are considerably more darker and full of a foreboding atmosphere that lures you in enough to keep you guessing what will happen next.

The foreshadowing taunts you throughout the entire book. Towards the end my fingers were twitching to read the last page just so my heart could handle whatever was about to go down. The tension that rises over the last few chapters was completely nerve wracking, but, the slither of hope seeping through the anguish keeps you invested.

Slight spoiler below:

Bath time reading

The slow burn between Red and Eammon was a delicious yet torturous build up. The chemistry between them is evident from their first (or technically second meeting) and it’s palpable in their scenes together. It’s so well orchestrated that the satisfaction of them FINALLY giving in was one of the highlights of the book, for me.

The angst; not just with the main characters but the side characters too – compliment the deep mysterious fog that lingers on each page.

It was wonderfully dark and had such a rich gothic feel – that this book would be a perfect read under a blanket, by the fire on a rainy day. The ending will leave you clutching at the possibilities to come for many of the characters in For the Throne – which is released in June 2022.

Publisher: Orbit Published date: 01/06/21

Author’s website (includes content warnings for For the Wolf): https://hannahfwhitten.com/