Subscription Boxes

Into the Jungle, Wildest Dreams Unboxing

If you haven’t heard of Wildest Dreams Box yet, it is created by Zoe and the aim is to be more affordable than the bigger book boxes (it is at the moment, the second cheapest box in my list of over 50 book boxes I have compiled).

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As you can see it is a more frugal box than the main boxes out there, but you can also see the love put into each one. Starting with the book and going clockwise, here we go:

  • The Extinction Trials by Susam Wilson. I had been looking forward to this book and once I saw the theme for this box I refrained myself from preordering the book as I was already subscribed. (I am all for supporting small businesses).
  • Personalised Note exclusive for us subscribers from the author!
  • A Tea-Rex room/fabric spray from Geeky Clean, it is a charming green tea jungle like smell, with an earthy tone to it.
  • Two chocolate coins, which show how much thought Zoe puts into her boxes and adds little extras.
  • A test tube Dino DNA tea, which I am loving. Also, absolute kudos (you’re my favourite) to Zoe for adding tea bags! I am always complaining that most people don’t have as many loose leaf tea props as I do so it is hard for them to use the lovely teas included in boxes, but both of WDB have had tea bags included.
  • Also we had a signed bookplate and a print out of the contents. Hopefully we will see a theme artwork postcard at some point once this grows more (Hint: I am an artist…)

All in all it is a lovely box, with lots of care put into it and I definitely recommend it. It is the cheapest “YA” box out there (Leafer Box does not have a YA genre).

 

 

 

Wrap-ups and Tags

2018 “Goals”

Hi everyone,

Not late to the party because you know me, but I finally decided to post my goals for the year.  As a caveat, I don’t usually have goals for the year except my reading challenge (2017 was 100 books and I barely made it, woops), so this is a bit new to me.

1. Reading Challenge of 85 books. As I mentioned above, I struggled to read a 100 so I decided to make this goal a little smaller. I am also aware that last year I had a lot of new things going on that meant I had less time to read. Did you set yourself a number of books to read per year?

My boyfriend says that I read books for myself, him and all the street.

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2. Eat more vegetarian/vegan (not become either, but just do more veg). It’s not too hard since we don’t do much red meat, just chicken and fish, but we need the vegetables. At the moment we are doing relatively well. Last week was mostly vegetarian and even though this week will have meat there are more vegetables in the menu. Go me!

(I have to say I love my slow cooker and adapting recipes for it.)

3. Try to create a bookmark design per month minimum. This one is going a little not so well. I have two designs in the works but they haven’t come out yet. Hopefully I can finish at least one before the end of January. (And of course, we need a colouring bookmark for Valentine’s in February, right?)

4. Collaborate with more book boxes ( is on the dream list, one can dream). Last year I collaborated with Book Box Club and Leafer Box. This year I am already doing well as I have another collaboration with Book Box Club for this month’s box. Fingers crossed other boxes will notice me, right?

5. Go back to drawing and/or writing almost daily. Already failing epically on this one. I haven’t drawn daily or written daily, but I do try, oh well.

6. Write my novel ( didn’t go too well last time). The thing is I have the story plot done and I have a very old (over 10 years) version of it but I want to clear all those plot holes and all the issues and write it “properly”. I also have a few other novels completed but most of them are not in English so they need translation/editing.

 Those are all my loose goals for the year. Did you make any?

Book Review

The Art Of Horizon Zero Dawn Review

It is no secret I am a gamer. Not the sexy-lick-a-controller kind, but the “oh my gosh I will scream at the screen because Lara Croft just fell off a cliff after the 12th attempt to do that part”.

I am also a stupidly loyal one, I fell in love with Bethesda’s games (Dishonored and Fallout 3) so now I have all of the Dishonored games on my computer, XBox360 and PS4 (just so I can play them whenever, I’d probably have them on my mobile if it was possible).

Trust me, I can rave about any Bioshock game or one of the previously named ones (also Alice Madness Returns, Batman games, Lego games, etc). But I am also careful of trying new games from developers I have never played a game from before.

However, my love for Horizon Zero Dawn blossomed not because I saw adverts for it as a game, but rather because Loish (Lois Van Baarle) released some of the “concept art” she had done for the design of Aloy.

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I have been following Loish’s work for over 10 years, so I knew that if she had contributed to this game, I would have to play it, even if it was JUST for the artwork. I bought a PS4 just so I could play HZD, my birthday present was buying a bundle of console and game. That much I love her artwork (and gaming).

Needless to say, I LOVE this game. If you haven’t played, you have to. The story poses some very interesting technological questions (and about humanity), the gameplay is interesting and has an “Open World” feel. And of course, the artwork and design are stunning.

(I know this is the weirdest review of a book I have ever made, I promise there is a book review somewhere in here!)

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So much I love this game I preordered Funko’s (Aloy and a Watcher), bought licensed pins of Aloy and a Thunderjaw (they are awesome!), and bought the soundtrack CD for it.

The only thing missing was this book. And I couldn’t have that, so I got the book too.

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The Art of Horizon Zero Dawn by Paul Davies

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I have several “Art Of” books and I have to say that the quality of this one is stunning. It does NOT lack artwork (sometimes some of the books say too much and have very little art or nothing new). This is full of artwork and details but also explanations about why they chose to do certain things.

It made me want to draw all the characters + creatures there and then as I was reading it. And it also made me want to play the game again. (And of course, it has some of the sketches/pieces Loish did, so win win).

I just have to say that is one of the best “Art Of” books I have ever had. Blown away by it.

Moon recommends

You play Horizon Zero Dawn, and maybe follow Loish. She has two artwork books (she started them on Kickstarter and the second one is just coming out in March). And of course, if you like books about the art of, buy this one.

 

 

 

Book Review

Here We Are Now Review

This lovely book was provided to me through bookbridgr. So here is my honest review.

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Here We Are Now by Jasmine Warga

Despite sending him letters ever since she was thirteen, Taliah Abdallat never thought she’d ever really meet Julian Oliver. But one day, while her mother is out of the country, the famed rock star from Staring Into the Abyss shows up on her doorstep. This makes sense – kinda – because Julian Oliver is Taliah’s father, even though her mother would never admit it to her.

Julian asks if Taliah if she will drop everything and go with him to his hometown of Oak Falls, Indiana, to meet his father – her grandfather – who is nearing the end of his life. Taliah, torn between betraying her mother’s trust and meeting the family she has never known, goes.

With her best friend Harlow by her side, Taliah embarks on a three-day journey to find out everything about her ‘father’ and her family. But Julian isn’t the father Taliah always hoped for, and revelations about her mother’s past are seriously shaking her foundation. Through all these new experiences, Taliah will have to find new ways to be true to herself, honoring her past and her future.

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The premise of this book is relationships. And in that aspect it excels. It touches on friendships (between Taliah and Harlow), f/f (Harlow and Quinn), what happens when your best and only friend has a girlfriend, mother/daughter (both for Taliah and for Lena, Taliah’s mother), father/son (Julian and Tom, and in a smaller way Toby), father/daughter (Julian/Taliah). It is all in all packed full of the complexity of family and friends, and it is fun to read but also emotional.

However, it starts full of questions, and ends full of questions (different ones to the ones at the beginning) which was not great. The reveals made the ending feel rushed and too open. It left you with more questions than you started with and it isn’t exactly like this is planned as a series.

It was a quick read and I loved the music aspect of it and the whole “dreams and who you are” exploration too.

Moon recommends

I am not a big reader of contemporary mostly because I’d rather escape to another world, but in a way this reminded me a tiny bit of Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, so I’d suggest you read that one and if you have, why not read Here We Are Now?

PS. The props used are not sponsored, they just are the ones I had nearest to me when I took this picture.

 

 

 

Art

Moon Draws: Inktober 2017

Because I am never late to the party, right?

So the first year I did Inktober was 2016 and I decided to do it last year (it feels so odd to say this about 2017). So here’s my round up of artwork (I did NOT complete the 31 days, but I am pleased with the ones I did do).

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A swiftly jumping Moire Fox (this is kind of a rework of a previous sketch I had made but with a little more detail.

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A cosy fox sleeping and enjoying time off.

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Underwater kiss between Dalv Le Wot and Rose Vered. I had fun drawing this…

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Long stretch of a fox.

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I have been on a Horizon Zero Dawn loving rampage and so it took 3 days to actually finish this one (you can see the work in progress) but it was absolutely a pleasure to do it. The only thing is that I drew it in an A5 piece of paper, so the details are tiny!

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This was an easy prompt to play with, Inej from Six of Crows/Crooked Kingdom.

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Another two day videogame inspired piece, this time it is about bioshock and it included several prompts. As you can see I enjoy steampunk/mechanical/techie bits as part of the challenge. (You can also see how small it is by comparing to the pens on the side).

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This was the first videogame (not PC game) that spurred my love for them. Alice Madness Returns (there is a lot of violence, and difficult topics so it is for rated M/R).

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This was a piece I had sketched in 2014 after some difficult events in my life, and it took a few days to complete too. It is meant to be me surrounded by my characters, the creations and stories that helped me stay sane and keep going.

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See if you can name all of the characters found in this piece. A prize for the person that does.

Book Review

The Memory Trees Review

This book was part of November’s Book Box Club and we just had the Clubhouse meeting last week.

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The Memory Trees by Kali Wallace

 

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I struggled with this book. It was a slow-burn, the prose was beautiful but it left me with so many questions and the ending just made me wonder what happened next. I don’t mind books that leave me some questions, but this one left me wanting to know so much more as if there was a next book and I don’t think there is meant to be another one.

However, the way it portrays mental illness is impressive and it was a wonderful thing to read in that sense. And it has a very ethereal feel to it that makes it hard to place.

Also, one of my favourite things is that there isn’t a “forced” romance between characters. It was very refreshing to not have to deal with that aspect of a book when it wasn’t necessary.

Moon recommends

This book has a very distinctive feel like The Disappearances. So if you liked this one, then definitely recommend you read The Disappearances or the other way around. The orchard was a delightful place, even if there was a lot going on.

 

Subscription Boxes

December’s LitJoy Crate Unboxing

This was delayed due to me being a silly person and having it sent to work address so it arrived while I was on holiday so the unboxing was very delayeed, woops!

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I kinda guessed what book would be in this box as I follow the author on Twitter, but let’s go in order on the contents of this box, starting with the book of course:

  • Kat and Meg Conquer the World by Anna Priemaza.
  • Signed book plate and author letter.
  • Happy holidays postcard from the team.
  • Kat & Meg spoiler card (it includes all the items and why they were chosen).
  • Parabatai rune pin.
  • Spoiler card for January’s box (Batman!)
  • Epic Reads Look Book which is kinda like a fun activity book about books.
  • Inej and Nina print by Katherine Butler.
  • Lavender sleep mask which is a nice relaxing bit and quite unexpected.
  • Kindred Spirits candle by The Muggle Library. It smells nice and friendly.
  • Harry Potter Golden Trio tote bag by Sarah Conradsen, and I love the illustration on it.
  • Calm Yo Self anxiety roller by the Literary Apothecary. I tested it the day it arrived and have been using it at work and it is quite interesting, even when I am not the most fond of the lavender smell. It may be my favourite item from the box.

Now I can’t wait for this month’s box to arrive as it is curated by Marie Lu!

 

Book Review

This Mortal Coil Review

This one of those books I had been eyeing for a while and then stumbled upon a preorder incentive and I am very glad I bought it. You can see my attempt at making the Origami DNA that was part of the incentive, the letter, bookmark (and there was also a signed personalised bookplate).

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This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada

When a lone soldier, Cole, arrives with news of Lachlan Agatta’s death, all hope seems lost for Catarina. Her father was the world’s leading geneticist, and humanity’s best hope of beating a devastating virus. Then, hidden beneath Cole’s genehacked enhancements she finds a message of hope: Lachlan created a vaccine.

Only she can find and decrypt it, if she can unravel the clues he left for her. The closer she gets, the more she finds herself at risk from Cartaxus, a shadowy organization with a stranglehold on the world’s genetic tech. But it’s too late to turn back.

There are three billion lives at stake, two people who can save them, and one final secret that Cat must unlock. A secret that will change everything.

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I loved the concept of this book. The whole idea of being able to “hack” and code DNA was amazing and then there is the whole actual story. It is hard to review without giving too much away, as there are SO many things going on (which usually is a bad thing in a book as it is confusing but in this one it all fits the story and adds to it, so it is very neat).

The plot twists were unexpected (or at least the main one, I did guess the ones relating to Cat’s father) and were done quite well so that once it happened you were like “oh of course” but before it happened you couldn’t guess it.

Now I want the next book because there is so much to learn and Emily’s letter included some secrets that just make me want to read the next book more. Why?!

Moon recommends

I don’t think I’ve read a book like this before. It isn’t exactly distopyian yet it is in a way. And it introduces such a new concept that it is hard to class. It is full of science but it is futuristic since it technically doesn’t exist yet but it makes sense. The protein coating idea makes sense as something like that is what causes dementia, so it is very very interesting. I just think you need to read This Mortal Coil.

 

 

Book Review

The Language of Thorns Review

First review of the year even if I read this book in 2017 (and it was book 99 out of 100 I read in the year, woot!).

For this particular book, I have the special Fairyloot edition whcih I have to say pleases me more than the actual original cover.

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The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid’s voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy’s bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread 

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I will be brutally honest and say I am not the biggest fan of the Grishaverse. I did not like the first trilogy, and Six of Crows was better and nicer but I am not a proper fan. So this gorgeous book was a very lovely surprise.

I guess the best way to put it is that it is a reimagining of fables and fairytales. And Leigh does this in such an amazing way. every story kept me wanting to know more even when I already knew the heart of the story and more or less the way it’d go, but the little twists and the writing won me.

I just have to say, Leigh has definitely grown as a writer and I absolutely appreciate this. And of course, the gorgeous growing illustrations on each page had we swooning as I read and matched the artwork with the story.

Moon recommends

I am not sure what to recommend here, usually I suggest books this reminded me of, but this time it is all about fables and fairytales and there are too many variants, editions and options of collections of them that it’d be a disservice to choose just one to recommend to you. I just have to say I recommend digging into fairytale stories and fables and enjoying those.

 

 

Subscription Boxes

Accio! Holiday Box (Ravenclaw)

Accio! is a box based in the US. They sell Harry Potter Universe merchandise, usually from superior quality (I tried them out for 3 months when they first opened up for international subscriptions, and the only reason I stopped my subscription is that the customs were making it too expensive for me, otherwise I’d get it more often!).

Anyway, they made a special Holiday Box, and I had to get one (Ravenclaw).

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As you can see it was packed full of stuff (and the cracker had also goodies inside, see picture below) and I am utterly in love with it. Contents are listed this time in the picture so I won’t list them again.

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The cracker had the list of items inside, a paper crown, a mini lotion bar and a joke.

Of course, the ornament went directly to my tree, the mug has become one of my favourites (it is quite sturdy and big and it is so gorgeous!) and all in all it really is an amazing box and I was extremely pleased with the contents.

So if you are a HP fan, do please try them out, they are absolutely worth it.