January 2019 OWLCRATE Unboxing – SPOILERS

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Head’s up I didn’t love this box, I liked it.  I’m very honest with my review of the items and may have thrown a little shade in a couple places.  However, if you loved all the items than that is wonderful, that makes me happy.  If I don’t like something that you love, please remember it’s not a personal attack.  Just a difference of opinion.

Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi Exclusive Signed OC Edition – I’ve read this and loved it.  You can check out my non-spoiler review HERE  – The actual difference in the editions is very slight.  The decorative part is silver instead of gold and the flowers are blue instead of purple.  I think it looks beautiful.

 

Gilded Wolves Enamel Pin – OC has officially switched from the little buttons the give monthly to higher quality exclusive enamel pins.  I like the change a lot.  This one goes with Gilded Wolves and it looks beautiful.

Lord of the Rings Letter Opener – If I’m going to be honest, I hate this item.  I have a weird quirk about unfinished wood.  I HATEEE the feel of it – it freaks me right out.  I will pass this along to someone who can actually take it out of the package and use it (STOP JUDGING ME LOL).

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Golden Compass Wall Hanging – Another item that I don’t like at all.  I have never read the book but I really want to.  I was actually excited for this item but it looks like something that should’ve went into OC Jr – it’s just not something that I’d hang anywhere as an adult and if I’m going to get a little savage here – the illustration of the polar bear looks like a bad stock image – just saying…

Grishaverse Bracelet – This is very pretty, it’s supposed to be antlers but it looks very much like branches.  It goes REALLY well with the acorn necklace from The Wicked King limited box they did.

Harry Potter Deathly Hallows Socks – These are cute and they are nice and cozy warmer ones which I like.  I do have health issues and my feet swell because of it (TMI, I know – you’re welcome!), so hopefully these will fit nice.

Darker Shade of Magic Pouch – This is stunning.  It has a different quote on both sides and I really like the material.  It’s a canvas material but super soft, not that scratchy junk.  My only issue with this is – HOW MANY POUCHES DO WE NEED OWLCRATE? Like have you run out of ideas, so you just panic and say “Give them a pouch, yes a pouch will do.  Everyone loves a pouch!”  No! Chill out with these, we’ve gotten like four at least in the last year.

Overall, I liked most of the items but nothing blew me out of the water (book excluded).  It was kind of a meh box for me.   If they are starting to give us enamel pins then why haven’t they given us anything to display them on? They should’ve given us one forever ago for all the buttons they sent.  I guess they are too busy ordering pouches…. *side eye*

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Did you get the box this month? What did you think? Did you love everything? Hate everything? Let me know below!!

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ARC Review: Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi & Live Author Chat NEWS

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My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 388
Pacing: Average/Normal
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Published: January 15th, 2019

 

 

 

 

Set in a darkly glamorous world, The Gilded Wolves is full of mystery, decadence, and dangerous but thrilling adventure. Paris, 1889: The world is on the cusp of industry and power, and the Exposition Universelle has breathed new life into the streets and dredged up ancient secrets. In this city, no one keeps tabs on secrets better than treasure-hunter and wealthy hotelier, Séverin Montagnet-Alarie. But when the all-powerful society, the Order of Babel, seeks him out for help, Séverin is offered a treasure that he never imagined: his true inheritance. To find the ancient artifact the Order seeks, Séverin will need help from a band of experts: An engineer with a debt to pay. A historian who can’t yet go home. A dancer with a sinister past. And a brother in all but blood, who might care too much. Together, they’ll have to use their wits and knowledge to hunt the artifact through the dark and glittering heart of Paris. What they find might change the world, but only if they can stay alive. – Synopsis from Goodreads

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“Half of winning, my dear wallet, is simply looking victorious.”

Roshani blows me away yet again! This woman could write the phone book and I’d be enthralled.  These characters are seriously everything – I fell in love with this misfit gang almost immediately and missed them when the book ended.  I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book.

Gilded Wolves is a fantasy/historical fiction that centers around 1889 Paris, France – but in a fairly different society/culture than the one we know.  There are two types of magic in this setting and one deals with the mind and the other deals with more physical types of magic.  Both are really cool and interesting to learn about.  This story focuses a lot around this secret society that is composed for four different houses, although one is said to be dead and gone and another doesn’t hold any power anymore because they have denounced the supposed heir, which is where our story truly begins.

We have a very diverse and eclectic cast of characters in this story, who have formed a sort of group. Séverin (biracial), the leader, is a very driven guy who is determined to claim his inheritance of one of the four houses – it is what drives him to do most things.  He does care about his friends though deeply but sometimes puts his motivations above them.   Then we have Laila (Indian – ownvoice!)- a stunning dancer and happens to be able to read the history of any object – simply by touching it.  She also has MAD chemistry with Séverin and the sexual tension between them is off the charts.  Laila has def entered book girlfriend territory for me.  She’s just incredible.  Tristian is next up and he’s a precious, sensitive guy that idolizes his leader, Séverin but also worries the he might be leading them astray and into danger. He also happens to have a pet tarantula, that he adores and carts around everywhere like it’s a cat or dog *shudder*  Zofia (Autism spectrum, Jewish) is a badass, genius of a woman, there is no much this girl can’t do and her infinity to numbers is jaw dropping.  Hypnos (Black, Queer) is a bit of a grey area character, he is the only one that is not really in the group at first and sends the group on a crazy errand but he isn’t quite as uncaring as he comes off and is certainly the humor of the story.  I just loved him, even if I shouldn’t.  He just have this devilish charisma about him and I was totally charmed.  Last but not least, we have Enrique (biracial, queer), who is another brilliant character – a historian who basically lives for learning everything he can about the past and is a walking encyclopedia, to put it lightly.

26769532._sy540_ Photo credit of this incredible artwork to Nicole Deal 

I got this photo collage off the lovely Meltotheany’s review (with permission, of course).

Gilded Wolves is full of incredible characters, that really carry this story and an interesting heist.  The heist isn’t TOO in-depth and might be simple for some, but if you are like me and not a huge fan of heists then this is probably going to be fine for you.  It’s super accessible (maybe too much so at some points) and doesn’t stay on any puzzles for that long.  There are also drawings of the puzzles through-out the book, which I appreciated.  A lot of people have been calling this book a cross between The Davinci Code and Six of Crows, I haven’t read either of those but I know the jist of what they are about and that sounds about right.  There is a lot of representation and diversity in this one, and since I’m cis white female, it’s really hard for me to speak on if the representation was great or not but I have heard from ownvoice friends that it was well done.  I really liked the queer representation (which I can speak to) and it felt very respectful and authentic and I’m pretty excited that we might have a pansexual character and there were very small hints at a poly-amorous relationship *fingers crossed)* That would be incredible – it might actually bring tears to my eyes – not going to lie.

Overall, I was debating between four and five stars but I’m going to go the full five stars on this one because the characters are too precious to my heart to take any points off.  I think I would blindly follow these characters on any journey they wanted to take.  Highly recommend this one, but it is a bit of a slow burn at first so if that bothers you then it might be harder for you to to get into this one.

Buddy read with Kristi, Melanie, Amy, Caidyn, Lily and Alex.  It was my first time meeting some of these lovely ladies and it was such a pleasure.

Thank you to Wednesday Books for a physical advanced reader copy (ARC) of this book, in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

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My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: YA  Fantasy
Pages: 342
Pacing: Slower Pacing
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Published: April 26th, 2016

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of death and destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets—thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most…including herself.  – Synopsis by Goodreads

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“I know your soul. Everything else is just an ornament.”

I have no idea how to even begin to review such as this one.  It’s such a beautiful story and the writing is stunning.  I know I’ll never be able to do this one justice but I’ll take a stab at it.

TBR and Beyond is doing a group read on The Star-Touched Queen duology and I couldn’t be happier about it.  We are lucky enough to be having Roshani Chokshi visiting us for a live chat in January (I’m still fangirling about it) and the group is getting all ready for it.  The Star-Touched Queen is my second book that I’ve read of Roshani’s and this one is based around Indian mythology and I believe is slightly inspired by the Greek mythology  – Hades and Persephone.  I am loving all these new mythologies we have been getting lately – I was starting to feel like we’d only ever see Greek, so I couldn’t have been more excited to read this book.

We start off with our main protagonist, Princess Maya stalking around the castle, eaves dropping in on political dealings with her father that she is not allowed to participate in herself.  She’s been educating herself over the years, hoping for something better with her life than just being someone’s wife – she wants to rule like her father.  Her father announces that she will be married to someone from another country that they are at war with to secure an alliance.  The only catch, it’s a big scam and her father is actually asking that she kill herself that night and therefore starting an even bigger war.  Yes, we’ve seen these tropes all before and I wasn’t really sure where it was all going to go, but it takes a very unexpected twist early on that threw me for a bit of a loop but I loved every minute of it.  A stranger, Amar, rescues her and asks for her to come rule an unknown city called Akaran with him as his queen.

I don’t want to go into too great of detail on this story, so that you can watch it unfold for yourself but the romance between Maya and Amar is one of the most swoony, breath-taking romances. I could gush on and on about the love in this story and I’m not normally a romance person but you can’t help but be captivated by the words and actions of these characters.

The Star-Touched Queen is probably one of the most quotable stories I’ve eve read.  Sometimes it almost feels like the story is one big quote after another.  I know that can be a tricky thing and really verges on purple prose but I think Chokshi mostly manages to keep her beautiful lyrical writing while maintaining an interesting plot.  There are a few times where the writing does get a bit distracting and that is why I took one star off, but overall I thought it lent to the story, not took away from it.

This story also focuses a lot on fate, family, sisterhood, and trust.  The relationship between Maya and her younger sister is beautiful and felt very authentic.  I love seeing strong sibling relationships in YA novels, because it isn’t as common as it should be.

Can we also talk about the AMAZING flesh eating horse? Probably my favorite part in this whole book is that sassy, crazy but loyal horse.  The horse gave such a needed touch of humor to the story – I laughed out loud several times and I’m now determined to own a demon horse.  I’m really not sure what that says about my character but anyone know where I can get such a thing?

Overall, this story is stunning but somewhat polarizing.  It’s not the fastest-paced book and it’s certainly one that you need to take your time on and enjoy the writing.  If you like a faster pace, then this probably is going to be a harder read for you.  I personally loved it and can’t wait to read more of Roshani’s work.

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