Litjoy Crate – April YA book box review: ‘Deception & Darlings’

LitJoy Crate is a book subscription box service that offers a quarterly Middle Grade box aimed at ages 8-13 and a monthly Young Adult box for ages 14 and older. This is a review for the April YA box, which includes one new release book and 2-3 themed bookish goodies.

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LitJoy Crate

Cost: $29.99 USD
Shipping Costs: $8.99 within the US, $14.99 to Canada and $24.99 internationally
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: 20th of each month

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Booked For The Weekend – April book box review: ‘Money, Magic & Muggles’

Booked For The Weekend is an Australian book subscription box that contains a newly released book and 3+ quality bookish items.

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Booked For The Weekend
Cost: $44.95 AUD
Shipping Costs: $9.95 within Australia | $12.50 to New Zealand | $25 to America, United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden & Denmark
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: from the 20th onward each month

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Review – ‘The Queen of Ieflaria’ by Effie Calvin

Title: The Queen of Ieflaria
Author: Effie Calvin
Genre:  Fantasy, LGBT, Romance
Date of Publication: 19th February, 2018
Page Count: 182 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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Princess Esofi of Rhodia and Crown Prince Albion of Ieflaria have been betrothed since they were children but have never met. At age seventeen, Esofi’s journey to Ieflaria is not for the wedding she always expected but instead to offer condolences on the death of her would-be husband.

But Ieflaria is desperately in need of help from Rhodia for their dragon problem, so Esofi is offered a new betrothal to Prince Albion’s younger sister, the new Crown Princess Adale. But Adale has no plans of taking the throne, leaving Esofi with more to battle than fire-breathing beasts.

This had a rough start and I put it aside for a long while because I wasn’t feeling it, but the allure of a f/f pairing in a fantasy setting was too much to give up on that easily, so I came back determined to continue with this and ended up really enjoying it! I’m so glad I persevered because The Queen of Ieflaria has such a good-natured humor and charm to it with an endearing ship, and I would’ve been sadly missing out.

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ARC Review – ‘A Devil of a Duke’ by Madeline Hunter

Title: A Devil of a Duke
Author: Madeline Hunter
Genre:  Romance, Historical
Date of Publication: 24th April, 2018
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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HE MAY BE A DEVIL

He’s infamous, debaucherous, and known all over town for his complete disregard for scandal, and positively irresistible seductions. Gabriel St. James, Duke of Langford, is obscenely wealthy, jaw-droppingly handsome, and used to getting exactly what he wants. Until his attention is utterly captured by a woman who refuses to tell him her name, but can’t help surrendering to his touch . . .

BUT SHE’S NO ANGEL EITHER . . .

Amanda Waverly is living two lives—one respectable existence as secretary to an upstanding lady, and one far more dangerous battle of wits—and willpower—with the devilish Duke. Langford may be the most tempting man she’s ever met, but Amanda’s got her hands full trying to escape the world of high-society crime into which she was born. And if he figures out who she really is, their sizzling passion will suddenly boil over into a much higher stakes affair . . .

This is a difficult review to write for me because my feelings towards the book are very tepid; it was a so-so read for me. If something is 1 or 2 stars, I have passionate dislike for it and usually many things to rant about; if something is 4 or 5 stars, I can write essays rhapsodizing over my love for it. But I found A Devil of a Duke to be firmly middle-of-the-road.

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Owlcrate: March 2018 – ‘Across The Galaxy’

OwlCrate is a monthly book subscription service that provides you with a newly released Young Adult novel plus other bookish extras, such as jewelry & accessories, bookmarks, stickers & prints, toys, etc.

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OwlCrate
Cost: $29.99 USD monthly, $86.98 for 3 months or $167.94 for 6 months.
Shipping Costs: $6.99 to US, $10.59 to Canada and $19.99 internationally.
Payment Method: Debit and Credit Cards.
Mailed Out: around the 20th of each month.

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Booked For The Weekend – March book box review: ‘Sea of Clones’

Booked For The Weekend is an Australian book subscription box that contains a newly released book and 3+ quality bookish items.

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Booked For The Weekend
Cost: $39.95 AUD for the book box or option of $25 AUD for the goodies with no book
Shipping Costs: $9.95 within Australia | $12.95 to New Zealand | $25 to America, United Kingdom, Canada, Sweden & Denmark
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: from the 20th onward each month

I was lucky enough to have been selected as a rep and received a complimentary box! If you like what you see, you can use my rep code Borg10 for a discount on book boxes at Booked For The Weekend.

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Shelflove Crate – March 2018: Fiery Redheads

Shelflove Crate is a YA book subscription box that is “specially assembled with a newly released Fantasy or Sci-Fi YA book and 3 or more theme-based items”

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Shelflove Crate
Cost: $29.99 USD
Shipping Costs: $7.99 for US, $14.99 for Canada and $22.99 worldwide
Payment Method: Credit Card
Mailed Out: from the 20th onward each month

I’m really impressed with how quickly this was delivered to me in Australia! It was shipped on the 19th and arrived a week later on the 26th! Considering how our own Australia Post takes a week just to ship something from one state to another, that’s ridiculously efficient. :O

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ARC Review – ‘The Duke of Ruin’ by Darcy Burke

Title: The Duke of Ruin
Author: Darcy Burke
Genre:  Romance, Historical
Date of Publication: 27th March, 2018
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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With her betrothal to a duke in tatters and scandal imminent, Diana Kingman has two choices: live in certain ignominy or flee into obscurity. Diana wants solitude. She never wished to wed in the first place. However, her father will stop at nothing to betroth her to one of the finest titles in the realm…no matter how loathsome the bearer. Escape is Diana’s only option, and she’ll pay any price to achieve freedom.

Universally blamed for the death of his wife and unborn child, Simon Hastings doesn’t dispute his guilt over an accident he cannot even remember. He hasn’t had a drink since, nor a moment’s peace. Determined to be a better man, Simon rescues a young woman in need—only to be accused of kidnapping. They must marry to save him from prison. But how can a man haunted by the love he lost and a woman afraid to get too close find happiness together?

After being unable to finish a different regency romance, this was a wonderful change! It’s the first book I’ve read by this author, but it certainly won’t be the last! I love this sub-genre, but sometimes I hit a streak of poorly written novels with shoddy characterization and think that maybe I need to move on, then I’m lucky enough to happen upon a gem like The Duke of Ruin that re-establishes my faith and optimism. I raced through this over the weekend due to the heartily entertaining story-line and endearing characters.

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Frankly Fictional – March 2018 Bookish Box: ‘Happily Ever After’

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Frankly Fictional is an Etsy shop that sells handmade soy candles and, starting in January this year, has been offering limited edition boxes that contain candles and assorted bookish goodies.

Frankly Fictional
Cost: $37
Shipping Costs: $17 within Australia
Payment Method: Credit Card or Paypal

Note: if you check them out on instagram and look up their reps, you can usually find a discount code for 10% off.

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Book Review – ‘The Queen’s Rising’ by Rebecca Ross

Title: The Queen’s Rising
Author: Rebecca Ross
Genre:  Fantasy, Young Adult
Date of Publication: 6th February, 2018
Page Count: 464 pages (hardcover edition)
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)

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When her seventeenth summer solstice arrives, Brienna desires only two things: to master her passion and to be chosen by a patron.

Growing up in the southern Kingdom of Valenia at the renowned Magnalia House should have prepared her for such a life. While some are born with an innate talent for one of the five passions—art, music, dramatics, wit, and knowledge—Brienna struggled to find hers until she belatedly chose to study knowledge. However, despite all her preparations, Brienna’s greatest fear comes true—the solstice does not go according to plan and she is left without a patron.

Months later, her life takes an unexpected turn when a disgraced lord offers her patronage. Suspicious of his intent, and with no other choices, she accepts. But there is much more to his story, and Brienna soon discovers that he has sought her out for his own vengeful gain. For there is a dangerous plot being planned to overthrow the king of Maevana—the archrival kingdom of Valenia—and restore the rightful queen, and her magic, to the northern throne. And others are involved—some closer to Brienna than she realizes.

With war brewing between the two lands, Brienna must choose whose side she will remain loyal to—passion or blood. Because a queen is destined to rise and lead the battle to reclaim the crown. The ultimate decision Brienna must determine is: Who will be that queen?

It’s only February, but The Queen’s Rising is already a contender for favorite read of the year! This book was an amazing nostalgic return to my youth – I used to binge on high fantasy that had inspiring female protagonists (most from modest backgrounds), journeys to defeat a corrupt ruler or great evil and perhaps a hint (or more!) of mentor/protege romance.

In more recent years, I haven’t come across many books that ticked all those boxes (The Queen of Blood is closest in feel, but doesn’t feature a romance) and I feel the market is more saturated with elves and assassins and love triangles and heroines with a bad attitude who are supposedly kickass but need their love interest to save them from their own follies. In that context, The Queen’s Rising felt like chicken soup for the soul. The story didn’t reinvent the wheel, but it was a delightful remix of tropes and themes I love, so it was perfectly suited to my tastes.

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