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 décor or for a pin/bulletin board. April’s theme is Ruthless Rivals.
Each box includes different bookish goodies that fit the theme of the month and are connected to other books. This months items include the Et Cetera Card Game to play with friends, cinnamon hazelnut coffee, a Hamilton inspired phone wallet, a Nevernight inspired pillow case, and a chopstick set inspired by These Violent Delights.
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. Lately OwlCrate has also been getting other customizations which for this month are foiling on the hardback and artwork on the reverse of the dust jacket. This months book is Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart. The story follows two rival witches that end up working together to take down their common enemy and nothing but the lengths they will go to are certain.
Project Hail Mary is a new hard science fiction novel by Andy Weir the author of the Martian. I received an early copy through NetGalley. The story follows Ryland Grace the only survivor on a mission to save Earth and humanity and he is the worlds last hope. However, he doesn’t know that because he doesn’t remember his name or what he’s supposed to do on this mission. But its up to him and an unexpected ally to find the solution to an extinction level event that threatens all life on Earth.
Project Hail Mary is very had to talk about without spoiling some aspects of the plot and story. I really like book though most of the science went over my head. Ryland Grace is much more of a Mark Watney style character so if you liked the Martian I would recommend this book. At this point to say anything else I will be getting into spoilers so stop reading if you don’t want to know anything more.
The story is told through Ryland Grace’s perspective but switches between current events and the memories of his past that tells the read who he is and why he is on this mission. Because he doesn’t have his memories we are thrown into the story and learn with him what is going on. Through the flash backs we learn that something is causing the Sun of get dimmer and if not stopped then it will cause catastrophic problems on Earth. It is soon determined that this is happening because of an organism called Astrophage is feeding on the energy of the Sun. I’m not going to discuss any of the science of the book because that is one aspect that I had trouble understanding but I got the overall plot, relationships, and emotions of the characters. Grace determines that he is on this space ship because they were headed to the one location that the Astrophage do not seem to be affecting.
Shortly, after waking up and remembering what he is meant to do Grace sees another space craft that he knows can’t be from Earth. He ends up communicating with the other space craft and meets an alien life form that is very different from humans. Grace calls him Rocky. They learn how to talk to each other and together the figure out how the Astrophage work and how to stop them. As they figure out what they need to do Grace finally gets back all of his memories and why he is on the ship which he now knows is a suicide mission. I don’t want to spoil the whole ending but together Grace and Rocky save their planets and Grace gets to do what he’s best at in the end.
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. March’s theme is Frozen Fables.
The bookish items included this month are a mug inspired by The Winternight Trilogy, a Winterwood inspired phone ring holder, a pair of socks, a foiled notebook, a headband inspired by the Something Dark and Holy series, and the monthly tarot cards. There was also supposed to be a foiled art pint inspired by Spinning Silver but it was delayed getting to Fairyloot’s shipping partner and is going to be included in the April box.
All Fairyloot books come with exclusive covers and are signed by the author. The box also includes an author letter for each book and this editions also has shimmery sprayed edges, foil embossing of the hardcover, and artwork on the reverse of the dust jacket. This months book is The Bright and The Pale by Jessica Rubinkowski. Inspired by Russian folklore we follow Valeria, a young woman who is one of the only survivors of the magical freeze that was placed on her village. After finding out that her best friend who she thought was dead turns out to be alive but trapped, Valeria will lead a group of cutthroats and thieves to go back to the mountain her village is frozen on to help save her friend.
Obsidian Moon Crate is a newer book box based in the US that focuses on adults with interest in the darker elements of life and books. Each box comes with a new hardcover book, one crystal, one candle, and four to six other items. I ordered the March box because it looked interesting and because I wanted to try out the box before I order the special edition box for Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff that they are doing. Based on this March box the items are high quality and I like most of them.
The items included in this box where a gothic enamel pin, a red jasper crystal for protection, a lotion inspired by Mexican Gothic, a Carmilla inspired candle, classical gothic character art, a tumbler with a quote from Frankenstein on it, a wooden bookmark inspired by Lenore from Edgar Allan Poe’s work, a sticker, and the spoiler card with art. The one thing that I was not expecting was a hand written letter from the owner thanking me for my order.
The book included was a hardcover copy of Down Comes the Night by Allison Saft which also included an author letter and a signed book plate. Down Comes the Night follows Wren who has been dismissed from the Queen’s Guard for reckless use of magic but she in called to Colwick Hall to cure a servant of an illness. While there she learns that her patient is none other than Hall Cavendish, Wren’s countries sworn enemy. They must join together to try out the secrets of the estate and save both of their kingdoms.
Overall, if you are interested in a darker aesthetic or darker book this could be the book box for you. I do plan to order other boxes from them in the future.
Book Gizmo is a small independent business that mainly does book sleeves and accessories. I’ve ordered multiple times from Book Gizmo and have loved everything that I’ve ordered. The owner has been doing monthly boxes for a while now but I never order one until now. The March box theme sounded amazing and the knowledge that there where going to be Grisha verse items sold me on it. Especially since I’m very excited for the Netflix Shadow and Bone adaption coming out in April.
The items included where:
a new book “jacket” style book sleeve inspired by Shadow and Bone
a Lord of the Rings art print
a Fable inspired book band
a candle inspired by the Iron Fae series
a Lord of the Rings magnet
a face mask
a Witcher face mask
The Deluxe Box included three items that where not in the base box these where a Second Army T-shirt and mug with that you could chose which order of the second army you wanted. The last item is a soap dispenser inspired by Kaz Brekker.
Illumicrate did a mini box in celebration of the release of A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Mass. As a mini box it didn’t contain very much and Sarah doesn’t do special books for book boxes however all the items included are high quality.
I like Sarah J Mass’s books and though I need to catch up on this series I did want the items in the box. The main reason I purchased this is I absolutely hate the cover change for the series and they included a full set of matching dust jackets. The other items where a copy of A Court of Silver Flames and an enamel pin set.
Overall, I like all the items in this box and the dust jackets are amazing. I have no idea why the original covers where changed but at least there are other options.
In March I read five books and only watch a couple of documentaries. I’m also currently playing Persona 5 The Royal but I know that it will take me a while to finish it.
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz by Erik Larson is Larson’s newest nonfiction historical book. This time he focuses on Churchill during the first year as Prime Minster and the air attacks from Germany. Erik Larson is one of those historians that can write history like its fiction and he’s just telling a story which makes his book far easier to understand even if you don’t know much about the history he is writing about. Though this is very well written, to me it focuses on too many people at times which made me question why he was writing about them. Overall, a great book for anyone who loves history especially the history of World War II.
Chopping Spree by Angela Sylvaine is a short horror novel set in a 1980s style mall and is very reminiscent of the slasher movies from that time. I received a copy though NetGalley and have a full review posted. It very much reminded me of the teen horror books by R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike and I think that you would like it if you liked those. The main plot revolves around Penny and her friends as they run from a killer that they are trapped in a mall with but does have some twists. I only thing I wish is that it was a little longer as I think the twist would have worked better in a longer format.
A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture: Love at First Bite by Violet Fenn is exactly what it sounds like. This is a nonfiction book about vampires and how vampires are portrayed in popular culture. I received a copy through NetGalley and I have a full review posted. I’ve never read any books about vampires in popular culture but most of this information can be found in other places but as its newer there more focus on more recent movies and tv shows featuring vampires. I good book for those who love vampires and the many way that they are used in different mediums.
Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots by Seanan McGuire is McGuire’s take on superheroes in a world that when a kid finds out they have powers a cooperation that controls most of the hero’s lives gets them to join one of their groups. We follow Velma, who has the power to animate toys and used to be a hero by the name Velveteen, as she attempts to drive from California to Portland for a job interview. As she travels though California she needs up using her powers to help several people and get attention from the marketing department of The Super Patriots Inc who she is trying to stay away from and then agrees to be a superhero for Portland. An interesting take on superheroes and the image of being a hero. Though this is all one connected story each “chapter” is more like a short story but they need to be read in order to be understood. I liked this and plan to read the rest of the series but not my favorite of Seanan McGuire’s works.
Monstress volume five by Marjorie Lu and Sana Taked is the next volume in the graphic novel series Monstress. I love this seires and the amazing artwork. This volume we follow Maika as she helps defend the Arcanic city of Ravenna from the war that is starting. The only thing that I didn’t really like is the fact that Kippa can be an idiot though I understand her reasoning behind the actions she takes.
A History of the Vampire in Popular Culture by Violet Fenn is a nonfiction book about Vampires and how vampires are portrayed in popular culture through out history. As it comes out in May of 2021 there is a bit more focus on recent Dracula adaptations and other vampire stories in comparison to other books that discuss vampires and popular culture. I received a copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Unlike other nonfiction or historical books, this history of vampires doesn’t completely go in chronological order and focuses more on different types of popular culture, as well as the tropes and themes that the vampire represent or embody. This is the first book of this type that I’ve ever read so I’m not sure the best way to review it but my love of vampires and the different depictions of vampires throughout history is what intrigued me about this book.
This is a very well written and researched deep dive into many aspects of Vampires and how vampires are used in popular culture depictions. Personally, I loved both discussion on the historical vampire accounts and how vampires are used in movies and TV shows. The vampire mythos is constantly changing and there seems to be something for everyone even if you personally don’t agree with all of the depictions. I think this would be a great book for anyone that is fascinated by vampires and vampire fiction.