Midnight Magic by Michelle Harrison and Elissa Elwick
Midnight Magic is all about magic and black cats born at midnight.
It is also one of those books that as a child you love and will read over nad over again and keep thinking it would be amazing to have a cat like Midnight and be so lucky to have magic around. I remember feeling like this with The Little Leftover Witch, and I got the same little hope of magic and things just coming to happen with a pinch of magic in them.
Midnight is born exactly at midnight on a stable and she is a very lucky cat but also, it means a lot of trouble, but she will soon find her way around life.
I had a lot of joy reading this book, the illustrations make it even nicer to read and the rhyming verses to go through the story are delightful. I can highly recommend this book to read, both for your own enjoyment or for your childre, or your niece/nephew, or if you’re a teacher, then for your classroom. There will be a lot of fun and imagining how life would be if you had Midnight come to your house and you adopted her. I cant wait to see if there will be more adventures for Midnight and her family.
Overall, great read for all ages, and full of magic. Highly recommended.
This year has been challenging, but who says you can’t find other ways to travel? I do know it is hard and it is not the same, but having this box arrive and add some sunshine to my day does help. Starting from the bottom left corner and going clockwise:
Grown sampler, this looks like a tough but very good read and I am intrigued by it.
A South Korea mug which I love the artwork for and I have been using it a lot, it makes me smile.
A list of books to read that may give you adventures and travel feelings.
Once and Future Witches promotional items
A tea towel to match the main book. Tea towels are usually a great addition to book boxes and I end up using them a lot, plus this one is a generous size.
Exclsuive clubhouse invite, personalised.
The theme card, vibrant and showing off the world.
The Deep Blue Between, book of the month.
A Chai hot chocolate mix, which I havent tried because I have a few other hot chocolates open, but love the fact that we had a mug and a hot chocolate in it!
A room spray which smells very delicious and inviitng.
Overall the box makes me feel like I subscribed to one of those travel around the world in items boxes but with a bookish twist. Since I didn’t travel this year and a lot of plans got changed, it was nice to have a lot of colour and variety in it and just feel like maybe in the future things can happen again.
This book was provided to me as a gift from the publisher. It was one I requested since I wanted to be able to review it. The fact that the book was provided by the publisher doesn’t inform my review of the book. All views here my own.
I picked the Truth Project since I have been reading a lot of fantasy and middle grade or graphic novels, so this felt like a good palate cleanser of a read and it was the perfect book to read while in a cosy bath. If you like The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo, then this is definitely a book to read as it is also in verse style.
Cordelia is aceing high school and ready to go to university, she just needs to get her project sorted which she chooses to tackle a genetic test and the concept of identity through poetry. For that, she is paired up wiht the troubled boy Kodiak. It should be an easy project writing about what makes you you and what effect genetics have on it, or at least that is what she thinks will happen. But when the test results come through, her truth isn’t exactly what she thought it was, the person she calls Father isn’t her biological father.
This defintiely throws Cordelia in for a spin and her perfect record suddenly doesn’t matter as much, when it feels like everything she knws is a lie. We get the story shown as she grapples with her identity, trying to decide if she wants to meet her biological father and figuring out what she thinks about who she is and who her family is. Through her poetry, text conversations with her best friend and Kodiak, and a few email exchanges, we get a very dynamic story.
I really liked the format this was being worked with, it isnt just poetry/verse but also texts and emails, with different language depending on who Cordelia is talking to. And it was interesting to see how she tries to navigate her new truth and what it means for her, and the lies she wants to believe or the ones she starts making up to cope with the truth.
As you may know, I am not big on contemporary, usually quite picky on it, but this one won a space in my reading due to how it explores identity, family, being troubled, making mistakes and the concept of what is true and what lies one can believe or deal with.
Also, bonus points because her family is there and not just thrown around conveniently. I also could see glimpses of what her parents are actually discussing but that she doesn’t realise where things are going or how they are happening and instead interprets differently. But it was fascinating to see the layers of thigns even through her verses.
Because I generally enjoy V. E. Schwabs books, I decided to buy Owlcrates special edition box. Sadly, I was not blown away by the book, but that is more on the book and contents than on the box and contents. So lets put aside the fact the book was underwhelming and go for the box contents which were not. Starting with the book since it is the main piece:
The exclusive edition of the book, it has a quote and design on the back of the book in rose gold. And the cover is subtle but nice.
The Darkness candle, meant to be about the gods that come after dark smells delicious!
A pin, since Owlcrate usually sends a pin and has a lot of gorgeous detail.
A wooden book holder, it is meant to help you hold your book one-handed and read through the page, and as much as they do their job I tend to read fast and it becomes more of a nuisance to move the holder around than to figure out a way without it. Still, this one is very beautiful and detailed.
A perpetual calendar, like a reminder of time passing for Addie, it is again in rose gold and I actually like the design a lot. My only dislike is that it is rose gold and that the quote disappears once you actually put the date up, so I would’ve preferred if it was at the back or something.
A gorgeous flask to keep your drink warm, which is very welcome since I had to throw out one that was too damaged recently, so this is perfect timing for this one. Subtle and gorgeous.
A three year journal, very very beautiful and felt like the right type of item to have in the box.
Overall I really liked the contents since they tie well with the book, which is nice to see. I am not keen on rose gold at all which puts me off a few items, it is like cheap gold, and even then I am not fond of gold so rose gold is a bit meh to me. The perpetual calendar was a cool idea as is the journal, and the items are all useful so it was nice to have the box come through and feel like it was well done. Still, it probably wasnt worth the shipping and potential custom charges for it, so I will know better next time a very special edition comes through to think very carefully about it before purchasing. If I was located in the US then it wouldn’t be such an issue.
Sera and the Royal Stars by Tsuki, Mok, Angulo & Campbell
I can’t remember why I chose this book at some point but it obviously caught my eye and I had it just gathering dust somewhere (I put aside my graphic novels those moments of the year when my brain just cannot engage with a novel and needs the pictures and not as many words).
Thinking for some odd reason that this was a single volume kind of graphic novel I set to read it, and I have to say I like the artwork, reminds me a lot of old, or should I say traditional, comic style, with the colouring and the artwork, in a nice way. It is like the art was given a new lease in life keeping all the good of old styles but making the art better and just nicer to read through, a good middle ground between old fashioned and modern.
As for the story, it is really interesting, with a lot of myth, a lot of heroics and great characters making this something to sink your teeth into. Not superheroes but with a grander than just you storyline, gods, constellations, big stakes and more, it has all the elements of a big saga to happen and Sera is well fleshed to be the main heroine of the story with her own personal goals, but also being swept into needing to do more for the world and trying to figure out what is right and what the right things to do are when there are many paths but technically only one that will suceed.
Now, I do admit, this didn’t make grab me so much that as soon as I finished I wanted the next volume, but I think if I found the volumes in the library I’d try to get them and read through the whole series. But I did not feel like I wanted to buy all the volumes as it was not hitting me as much as other books have. I do know I am less into grand sweeping arcs that are too close to traditional superhero stories and I think that is where the fault is for me with this book, which is more of a palate one than of the story or execution.
Still, if you like traditional comic superhero stories but want a more fantasy view with gods and other interesting items, this may be the series for you, and it has a very interesting main character, so I can recommend you to look into Sera and the Royal Stars.
Still behind on my unboxing posts, but will hopefully catch up soon on it. For today I am unboxing Book Box Club’s Once “Upon A Story” box, which does have a distinct fairytale vibe with all that was included. So what was inside? Starting from bottom left corner and going clockwise:
Personalised clubhouse invite, this is for a chat with the author which is pretty fun as you get to aks questions and interact with other people who get the box.
Fairytale Sparrow + Wolf designed cushion cover, which is super cute and big fairytale book vibes. It feels right for a kids room or a reading room for sure.
The main book, which has a middle grade feel to it but looks stunning here, D: A Tale of Two Worlds by Michel Faber.
A Weekly Book Planner all lovingly decorated with magical beings and lots of ways to record what you’ve read. I like the concept of these but I am terrible at the execution of it, somehow this blog and Goodreads are as good as it gets with my reading tracking and I don’t plan much what I read or set specific goals because then that takes the fun out of reading sadly.
No Place Like Home candle, I have generally no complaints abut candles since they’re usually nicely scented and I use them when I am working so all good.
Postcards to promote another book but also they are very dance and circus-like which I like a lot given I train aerial arts in my free time.
Theme card, which on the other side has the contents detailed and why alongside links to the makers.
A multiuse scarf with a fantasy story/fairytale vibe. I have to admit I haven’t used any of the ones they send but they are quite fun as a multiuse thing and I think if I put my head to it I would use them more, but I end up not doing much with my hair or neck, so this goes unused.
An Auryn pin, which is very stunning.
Overall the items look amazing together and outside of the fact I am not very good at making use of two of them I like them, they fit the theme and are generally useful rather than just clutter generating. I do wish I was more into making notes and organising things. I can still highly recommend their boxes as they bring me a lot of joy!
I can’t remember how exactly I stumbled upon Mary Oliver’s poetry but what I can remember is that it caught my eye and that artistic par tof me wanted to read more, to have some more poems to munch and mull over for a lazy read if I could. I had a hard time choosing which one of her books to buy, but ended up settling for A Thousand Mornings since it felt like it had the right kind of poems for me and what I would like to read.
I was not wrong, and I enjoyed the poetry, it is old style, and it has a lot of story, some of it is simpler than other pieces but overall it is cohesive and it speaks well. The way Mary Oliver uses language reminded me of mornings and cups of coffee and just being awake slowly and sometimes abruptly.
So I guess the best review I can give is to say that the poetry and poems spoke to me, and the words were beautiful and charming, lyrical and magical, and I couldn’t escape them so I read until I came to the end of the book and felt like this was the book to read one poem every morning until they run out to savour it.
If you like poetry and just reading pretty phrases that stir your heart I can recommend reading this, it is quite short and concise but still good reading.
For September, Owlcrate tends to send their “spooky” box through rather than October (makes sense given international shipping and that October is to come soon after shipping date), so here is their Glorious Haunting box, starting on the top right with the spoiler card and going clockwise:
Theme card, I love the artwork style they use for the art cards and this does look creepy and haunted.
A Sleepy Hollow lip balm which is pumpkin spice flavoured/scented.
“Death before DNF”, a very strong opinion, bookmark, which is a cool concept, I have used similar bookmarks but with thread or ribbon, so curious how it’ll work out if it is enamel/chain.
The monthly pin which matches the main book.
Three skull spoons, I already have two at home one in silver and one in black) because they’re pretty good fun dessert spoons and glorious as a fun prop for cakes and things like that.
Soft flannel blanket inspired by Poe’s Raven, and I can totally vouch it is super soft, the only downside is that it is white so it shows how dirty it is too soon, sadly, but still lovely cosy blanket.
Author letter, and the main book, Horrid, which I had had my eyes on for a while, so really looking forward to reading it.
Finally, a candle inspired by Hocus Pocus (here is where I admit I haven’t watched it and don’t really intend to do so anytime soon) but a candle is a candle and I like having nice smelling candles around, so no complaints there (as a reminder, candles need the wick trimmed and should be burnt only for a certain period of time and only to a certain minimum level, so worth checking what the label says here to avoid accidents).
Overall, the haunting vibes, and the spooky are nice, particularly because it isn’t just Halloween or some other holiday geared but more trying to capture the feeling of being haunted and some creepiness to it and I think it hit the right notes with the content to match the book included.
My Neighbor Hayao by Spoke Art Gallery (Compilation)
I have a weakness for Ghibli themed books, and well, this was all about art, so it was utterly irresistible when I saw it and preordered. It is curated by the Spoke Art Gallery, featuring artwork from a huge variety of artists to celebrate Hayao Miyazaki and the impact he has had in filmmaking and animation.
The curation is beautiful and you can see that they made a huge effort to chose significant pieces there, some of my favourite ones are lantern shadow cuttings for the films, or film poster style reimaginings for each of the films but to reduce the content of the book into just those pieces would be to do it a huge injustice.
What this book does is bring the art exhibition, the gallery, into your home.
I poured over the book and kept coming back as the pieces and interpretations, the tributes left a mark on me. Some stay quite close to the source whereas others reinterpret the artwork and make a newer or very unique piece matching the artists’ style and mindset, and yet they all have a little of the magic that a Ghibli film has. The beauty of the simplicity of life infused by magic and Hayao Miyazaki’s life experience.
It is utterly fascinating how his life experiences have fueled the films in such a way that war makes an appearance or his family history, but also you can see the love for food and Japanese culture, the day to day living, in a Ghibli film, it is the little details against the huge things happening, and this collection of artwork showcases how different artists have been influenced, or have immortalised even further into their work.
If you are a fan of Studio Ghibli films and Hayao Miyazaki’s work, I would suggest adding this book to your collection and enriching it. It also has a lovely ribbon and bookmark feature that meant I could stop and come back to it or highlight my most favourite piece it is a difficult choice).
Wow, I definitely have a backlog of unboxings to catch up on. I think part of the problem is I haven’t been taking pictures as often as I should and then with the blog changes, totally got that delay, but here we are, slowly catching up! So lets now see last month’s Illumicrate, which was all about sinister surroundings.
Reviewing the contents, starting from the book on the bottom left and going clockwise as I tend to go:
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik. Apparently this book has caused a bit of issues, I am not too crazy about reading because I loved Temeraire but didn’t love anything after it, so I now read Naomi’s books wondering if they’ll hit that Temeraire high or not.
Death Conquers All pouch, I admit a while ago I used to complain we got a lot of pouches but nowadays I use them to store stationery or small items and they are so useful!
Monthly collectable pin, I like pins way better than the magnetic coin
A Caraval inspired cushion cover, which gives me mixed feelings because I’d never use this cushion cover and do not like Caraval, but the quality was very nice and I wish it was something I’d actually display in my home.
A tumbler with a straw and can’t remember the fandom. I kept it becuase my husband steals my tumblers and that kind of water bottles often enough but I dont use them much or at all.
Probably my favourite item from the box, a mug isnpired by Uprooted. I actually don’t care about the fandom but I do love the artwork on the mug and the autumn vibes it has are perfect
A Red Rising or something necklace, not particularly into neckalces or charms, so this one is nice but also not that amazing.
A cute bookmark.
Overall I wasn’t as impressed with this box but I also know that boxes that have mugs usually aren’t as good, but I do like the mugs so still probably worth it the ideal would be to be able to choose which items you get and which you don’t, but I get that it is hard to sort a box like that).