October 2020 OwlCrate

Owl Crate is a young adult book subscription box where every month you receive one new hardcover book and an assortment of bookish goodies connected to the monthly theme. Some of these items are very practical and some are better suited as decor or for a pin/bulletin board. October’s theme is Legends and Lore.

Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include a bowl cozy, a soap bar, a bamboo phone stand, a set of moon and stars wind chimes, a glass nail files, and an audio book copy of Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko. I love the boxes that have practical items in them as I feel like I get more use out of these items. My favorite are the wind chimes and the phone stand. I also like the idea of being able to try a new audio book and one that is not the same as the hardback book.

Every month Owl Crate has a new young adult hardback book that has an exclusive cover, is signed and comes with a letter from the author. The enamel pin that is in every box is also inspired by that months book. This months book is Legendborn by Tracy Deonn which also have a reversible art cover. Legendborn is a modern day twist on Arthurian legends where a young woman finds that she has a mysterious connection to a secret society of magic users and that her mothers death might not have what was reported.

November’s theme is Growing Wild.

Book Review: Death Masks by Jim Butcher (Dresden Files #5)

Death Masks is the fifth book in the Dresden Files an urban fantasy series following Harry Dresden a wizard working in Chicago who helps those that get involved in the supernatural. Death Masks sees Harry being contacted by a vampire of the Red Court for a duel to end the war between wizards and vampires while also being contacted by a priest to find the stolen Shroud of Turin.

At this point in my reviews of this series I feel like I have to talk about major plot points was which will include spoilers so if you don’t want spoilers just know that I like the Dresden Files books and each one is better than the last.

This story has multiple plots but all of them connect and have consequences for the future of the series I feel. At the beginning of the book Dresden is contacted by a vampire for a duel which could end the war at the same time the Shroud of Turin has been stolen and Harry agrees to find it. While all of this is going on the police have found a body missing its head and hands but contains some of the worst diseases know to man.

The Shroud is the main plot with the duel working as extra conflict for the story. The Knights of the Cross are attempting to find the Shroud while fighting different groups of daemons who also want it. But they also don’t want Dresden involved at all.

Harry ends up wining the duel but the vampires attempt to kill him anyways say they were just trying to make things work more in their favor. The main plot comes to a head when Harry realizes that the priest that contacted him to find the Shroud is really a demon that has taken on the priest form and the plan is to use the Shroud to spread multiple diseases across the would using modern transportation. They end up getting the Shroud back but the demons disappear. Though one shows up at the very end to hint that they will be back and are watching Harry.

Personally, I like the Dresden Files but I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with the series. I read these as audio book and James Marsters is an amazing narrator. However, I often find myself bored for about the first third to half of the book in the set of each books plot and then loving it when everything stars to come together. I do plan to continue with the series and I hope they will just get better from here.

Book Shelf Organization

There are plenty of ways to organize book shelves. Some include by color, alphabetical, read vs unread, and many others. I’ve had many different book shelves and organization systems but the ones I’ve used the most are read and unread both keeping series together and keeping only the ones I’ve read together.

Currently, due to everything going on in the world I’m living with my parents so I’m able to have most of my book collection on shelves. During college I had one tall shelf and everything else was just stacked next to the shelf. Now days most of my books are on shelfs with some staked on the front of the shelfs. However, I do have some book mainly childhood favorites and college research text that I wanted to keep are in storage.

I’ve used different shelves and cases from different companies mostly from Ikea. Earlier this year some of the Ikea shelves started to fall apart and I purchased new bookcases from the furniture store, Havertys. I bought four in total, two taller with plenty of space to decorate and two that were smaller which fit better in the space but don’t have as much space on each shelf after books have been placed there.

My organization system works for me but I don’t think that it would work for many others. I first have separated all of my comics, manga, and lager coffee table type books from everything else. After that I organize by author and series so that all the books that I have by the same author and same series are together. If I don’t have enough books by one author for their own shelf I put other books or series that I feel fit best with them. Finally, all the books that I don’t have the next in the series or others from that author are organized by height starting with hardback and going to paperbacks. The only exception is that most of my mass-market books are on the same shelf.

This system works for me as I have a tendency to read all the books from authors I love and I get rid of books on a fairly regular bases. Because I go through everything at least once a year I would say that the organization changes a little bit every year and sometimes books are put where they fit.

September 2020 Fairyloot

Fairyloot is a Young Adult book subscription box focusing on fantasy based out of the UK. Each month you receive a new Young Adult hardback book and 5-6 bookish goodies. Like most book boxes the hardback are special editions and the items are a combination of both practical things and more decorative items. September’s theme is Under the Sea.

The bookish items included this month are a To Kill a Kingdom mug, an unfortunate souls keychain, a pencil case with a quote from the book Sea Witch, a hair detangling brush, a set of metal straws and a postcard.

All Fairyloot books come with exclusive covers and are signed by the author. The box also includes and author letter for each book. This months book is Fable by Adrienne Young and it also has sparkly light blue sprayed edges. Fable is about a young woman who was left on a island of thieves by her father. She enlists the help of the young trader West to get her off the island and find her father but the must work together if they are going to survive.

October’s theme is Wicked Hearts.

September 2020 Wrap Up

September was a fairly good reading month for me having read nine books. My physical To Be Read pile is pretty big and is always changing but I have started to work my way through the eBooks that I have as well.


Final Girls by Mira Grant is a horror novella about a therapy treatment where dreams are created and shared to deal with past trauma. When the technology get hijacked while a reported and the creator of the technology they must try to survive together. I love Mira Grant’s work and this was no exception. Though I do wish this was a longer novel what we are given is just the right amount and a great horror story.

The Last Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff is a short story set in the Lotus Wars series. This short story is a prequel to the rest of the series and gives some of the back story to the world that is introduced in the first novel. While I liked this story I would have enjoyed it more if I had read it around the same time as the other books in the series. There has just been too much time between each book for me to really connect to the series or story at the moment.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is an adult historical fiction novel following the life of Hollywood star Evelyn Hugo and her relationships with her seven husbands. I really liked this book as Evelyn changed as a person and found her own way through the world. The twist near the end surprised me but I loved the characters and it speaks to the fact that you should live your life the way you want to as you never know what could happen.

The Hallow Places by T. Kingfisher is a horror novel about a young woman who finds a path to a world full of willow trees that might connect to other worlds from a hole in the wall of her grandfathers museum. However, there is something in the trees of this world that will find and hurt you it you think about them. Very creepy and unsettling but perfect for the Halloween season. I have a full review for this book as well.

Five Nights at Freddy’s Fazbear Frights vols. 3, 4, and 5 by Scott Cawthon are the next three volumes in the FNAF’s short story collections. Several years ago I got pulled into the lore of the video games and then the books so while they are not the best I still read them when new books come out. Each volume contains three short stories that connect different characters to the animatronics and other creations of Fazebear Entertainment. Great for those already interested in the series thought some stories are much more gruesome and confusing than others they are all creepy horror stories aimed at young adults.

Praying for Rain by Jay Kristoff is the last short story connected to the Louts Wars series that I needed to read. Very short story focusing on a Miho, a girl living in Kigen, and the boy she starts to fall in love with. However, when he finds out her secret her life is put in danger. This story adds a little more to the world and the people that are affected by the war. But once again if I had read this when I read the rest of the series I would have liked it more.

Labyrinth Coronation vol.1 is a graphic novel that tells the story about how Jareth become the Goblin King that we see in the movie. The story parallels Sarah’s journey in the movie with Jareth being wished away and his mother trying to get him back. Very good art and I plan to continue on with the series.