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OwlCrate vs Uppercase

Posted by on Oct 1, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

Alright, the YA book subscription box showdown is here!

I decided to try out a couple of book subscription boxes last month and pick one of them. I went with Owlcrate and Uppercase (check out my unboxings here and here). So let’s get down to business and compare these two.

upercaseowlcrate
 

Presentation

owlcrate02Uppercase
The Uppercase “box” just comes in an envelope and then a little bag inside with all the goodies.

Owlcrate
The Owlcrate is an actual box that feels more like an actual experience when unboxing and pulling all of the goodies out.

Winner: OwlCrate – It’s a lot more fun to open and pull out all the loot.

 

Cost

Uppercase
Uppercase offers 2 different packages: The Expert Plan $23/month (plus $6.99 shipping) and the Book Exclusive Plan for $17/month (plus $6.99 shipping). The Book Exclusive Plan is currently on sale for $13.99, FYI.

OwlCrate
OwlCrate has just the one package at $29.99/month (plus $6.99 shipping). They also offer 3 month and 6 month prepay packages, but they only save you $1 for the 3 month and $2 for the 6 month, not really a great bargain.

Winner: Uppercase – It’s cheaper, and has different package options.

 

Content – Books

uppercasesept16-02Uppercase
While I hadn’t heard of the book I received, it was still one that I’m definitely excited to read. Looking at past months, Upperase has had a lot of books that I either want to read, or have read and loved. The book is also either signed by the author, or comes with a signed bookplate.

OwlCrate
I’ve been excited for “Three Dark Crowns”, and was thrilled to find it in this month’s box. In the past they’ve had a few good books, but most I haven’t heard of or aren’t interested in. This one came with a signed bookplate, but from what I’ve seen, they don’t often have signed books.

Winner: Uppercase – They have a history of really good books.

 

Content – Bookish Items

Uppercase
With the cheaper price, the Expert Plan comes with 1-2 bookish items. It also comes with exclusive reading content where you can go to the website with codes to see videos and other content throughout the book.

OwlCrate
This one comes with 3-5 bookish items and some promotion materials from authors and publishers.

Winner: OwlCrate – for $7 more a month it feels like you’re getting a lot more items, even though some of it is a bit of throwaway promotional items.

 

And the winner is…

Ok, so I’ve been going back and forth on this decision a lot. I believe the Uppercase Box has better books and I like that it’s cheaper, but the OwlCrate is so much fun to open and comes with so many bookish items and fun little extras. I honestly ended up signing up for another month of both and maybe then I can make a better decision. IF I had to choose right now, I’d probably end up going with Uppercase because of it’s history with great books. Also, because OwlCrate sells their previous boxes (if they have extra) so there’s a chance you can still grab them if you see an awesome box.
 

Let me know what you think! Are there any other YA Bobk subscription boxes out there? I know there’s a new one starting up called HootLoot, I’ll wait to see how that one turns out before I think about trying it out.

You can sign up for Uppercase here and OwlCrate here. If you sign up for OwlCrate, please use this referral link! For every 3 people who sign up, I get a free box! Yes please!

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OwlCrate Unboxing

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

Last week I shared my Uppercase Box unboxing, now it’s time to check out the OwlCrate!

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The Owlcrate comes in a fun little box, full of goodies. I can’t even tell you how fun it was to go through, it was the box that kept on giving. I really liked that it had lots of little things for various series, and the fact that I love most of the series included made it even more exciting. I mean, just look at all of this stuff!

owlcrate02

 

The Book

owlcrate03I was soo giddy when I saw that the book was “Three Dark Crowns” by Kendare Blake. I’d actually been hoping this book would be in one of my subscription boxes this month. It’s about triplets who are all magical and heirs to the throne. It also came with a signed bookplate.

 

The Goodies

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• “Celaena’s Cake” candle (Throne of Glass series) by The Melting Library
• Miss Peregrine’s Zip Pouch by Out of Print Clothing
• “Fortune Telling” bath bomb from Da Bomb
• “Crooked Kingdom” bookmark by Evie Bookish (OMG her stuff is sooo cute!)
• A written note from the author on the back of a map from the book
• “Remade” Vol 1 – a Serial by Mathew Cody, EC Myers, Carrie Harris, Kiersten White, Andrea Phillips and Genda Bond
• Booklet introducting PC Cast’s new book “Moon Chosen”
• A “Three Dark Crowns” Fortune Teller – I believe Americans call it a cootie catcher? I’m not sure what we called them in Australia.
• Sneak peak for next month’s box
 

So, is it worth it?

My answer is similar to my thoughts on the Uppercase Box (comparison of the two boxes coming soon). It all depends on what you’re value of money is. If you add up the retail of the book and the items, yes, you’re getting your money’s worth. A few of the little items I don’t care about and are just bonuses thrown in for the fun of it. I think the experience of opening this box was so much fun and I’m really happy with the book and a few of the items.

If you decide to get an Owlcrate please use this link! For every people who sign up I get a free box!!

Stay tuned for my OwlCrate VS Uppercase showdown!

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UPPERCASE unBOXing

Posted by on Sep 19, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 0 comments

I’ve always wanted to get in on the book subscription boxes. Whenever I see the unboxing videos/posts I drool with lust, but I just could never bring myself to pay for a book and not know what I was going to get. BUT I’m going to be paying off the last of my student loans in a few weeks so I’ll have more money coming in monthly and gosh do I deserve something shiny to celebrate.

uppercasesept16-01I ordered a one month subscription of both the Uppercase Box and the Owl Crate (referral link!) and plan to choose one of them to purchase a subscription.

The Uppercase Box arrived first. I was so silly excited and nervous. The previous month had been a contemporary, so I felt safe that this month would be scifi/fantasy. I also have a few ARCs from Book Con that recently published so I was worried about getting duplicates.

Anywho, here’s the pretty that was in the bag:

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The Book

uppercasesept16-03What a relief! Not only do I not own “The Forgetting” already, but it’s a dystopian novel and by Sharon Cameron who I’ve already read and enjoyed. I actually haven’t heard of this book before opening my bag, but it sounds really interesting, so it was a pleasant surprise. It is also signed be the author!
 

The Goodies

uppercasesept16-04
 

uppercasesept16-05I love the purple “This is how we roll zipper pouch” by Out of Print. Check out their site, they sell a lot of bookish merchandise including Pride and Prejudice!

Honestly, “The Forgetting” mini-notebook, while cute, is kinda pointless and I won’t really use it. But the book addict sticker by Nerdy Post is super cute and will make it’s way onto one of my pin-up boards. I also like the bag it all came in, it’s perfect to protect your book when you throw it in your purse (books are precious, they need protection!).
 

So, is it worth it?

Hmmm… ask me a year ago and I would’ve said no. I didn’t like the idea that I could easily buy the book on sale at a fraction of the cost of the box ($30 with shipping), I was worried that I wouldn’t like the book, and that I don’t really need the bookish items that come with it.

However, now I feel a little differently. It may have to do with having more money now that I’m going to be getting back almost half my paycheck when my student loans are paid off. I like the idea of getting a random book, it’s fun! And even if I don’t like all the additional little items, it’s still a fun little gift to myself.

As for whether or not I’ll continue with Uppercase and buy a subscription? My Owlcrate will be arriving this week, so I’m going to look at the pros and cons of each and choose which one to get. So stay tuned for my Owlcrate unboxing and my comparison of the two.

uppercasesept16-06

If you’re interested, check out the Uppercase Box website. You can see their past boxes and check out their plans. I got the Expert Plan which is $30 with shipping. They do have a cheaper plan that comes without the extra items which is $20 with shipping.

What do you think about subscription boxes? Anyone subscribed to Uppercase or Owlcrate?

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“Burning Bright” – Melissa McShane

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 4 comments

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“Burning Bright”

By Melissa McShane

Published August 15th 2016 by Curiosity Quills Press
Format: EBook
FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarHalfStar
Goodreads | Amazaon

I’ll be honest, I was browsing Netgalley when I saw this pretty, shiny cover, briefly browsed the summary, realized it was a regency involving ships and magic and I had to have it.

Elinor is the eldest daughter in a fairly wealthy family, but wants nothing to do with all the flair that comes with being a young, unmarried woman in society. But when she discovers she has an Extraordinary fire burning talent, her father thrusts her back into society to marry well and raise the family’s status. But when she finds herself with the option of marrying a total lech, or her being under her father’s miserable rule for the rest of her life, she takes the third option: join the Navy! Then the adventures begin.

I’ve found myself on a bit of a ship kick ever since I read “The Girl From Everywhere” by Heidi Heilig. And now I just want all the sail boats!

There are so many things that I adored about this book. Elinor is just awesomely tough and resourceful, the Captain is such a gentleman and resourceful leader (so dreamy!), and the magic is unique. I like all the different talents (especially Jumpers, what a cool concept!) and how the Navy has implemented them to their advantage.

Overall I think I just loved that it was an adventure, there are pirates, a girl putting misogynistic creeps in their place, sea battles, magic battles and a cute little romance to top it off.

The one downside is that I struggled a little in the beginning. I’m not sure if it was intentional, but I don’t like how the author revealed some of the magical elements of the world. Things were mentioned, but not explained for a little bit, and I felt myself wondering if I’d missed something, or was just dumb. An example would be the “Extraordinary” part of the talents. At first I assumed that was just what those with abilities were called, but then it’s revealed that it’s those with exceptional abilities, and I don’t think that was really properly explained because I still don’t know where the distinction is other than, they’re really good.

This also happened with a couple of characters with abilities where they did something magical, and I was confused, thinking I’d missed an explanation of their ability, but then it’s explained a little later ( I thought one character was a mover at first, then jumpers were explained). But once everything was established, everything flowed smoothly and it was easy to forgive the miscommunication in the beginning.

I’m really excited for this series. It sounds like each book will focus on a different female character in the world with an extraordinary talent.

Oh, the worst thing about this book? That it’s only available in ebook so I can’t buy a pretty hardcover to go on my bookshelf *pouts*

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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“The Crown’s Game” – Evelyn Skye

Posted by on Aug 16, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 3 comments

CrownsGame225


“The Crown’s Game”

By Evelyn Skye

Published May 17th 2016 by Balzer + Bray
Format: Audio Book
FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarEmpty Star
Goodreads | Amazon

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love… or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear… the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

This book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, and I’m delightfully pleased.

Magic
I thought the Crown’s Game contest would be a crazy, fiery, magic-filled battle for glory. But it ended up being more graceful and a contest of beauty. The two enchanters Nikolai and Vika each take turns performing a magical exhibition to impress the Tsar. But only one of them will make it out of the competition alive, the loser must give up using the magic of the world, and therefor their life.

Russia
I want to read all the Imperial Russia books. I loved the Russian reality in of “A Thousand Pieces of You” by Claudia Gray and I adored the setting of “The Crown’s Game”. Apparently the author took real historical figures and added a magical flare (another recurring them for me lately: My Lady Jane).

Characters
There are three main characters in this book: There are the two enchanters Vika and Nikolai who each have their own magical strengths. Vika has a strong control of natural elements, while Nikolai has a stronger grasp on fabricated materials. The third character Pasha, the heir to the Russian throne, is just a young man who wants to go on adventures, not rule an empire.

Yes there’s a love triangle, and I really liked it. It was actually well written. There’s a bit of insta-love, but hold the phone, it’s not on the girl’s side. Whaaaat? (in fact I think she’s the least invested in these relationships and I love her more for it) And I liked all sides of this triangle: Pasha/Vika, Vika/Nikolai and even the adorable friendship of Nikolai/Pasha, especially the romantic sides, as evident by my goodreads updates:
CrownsGameUpdate

But don’t worry triangle haters, It didn’t overwhelm the story, there’s plenty of magic and trying to kill each other.

Oh and that ending! I just don’t know where the next book will go and I can’t wait.

This book definitely deserves a prettier cover.

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My Lady Jane – Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

Posted by on Jul 20, 2016 in Books, Reviews | 5 comments

MyLadyJane225


“My Lady Jane”

By Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton & Jodi Meadows

Published June 7th 2016 by HarperTeen
Format: Audiobook
FullStarFullStarFullStarFullStarFullStar
Goodreads | Amazon

The comical, fantastical, romantical, (not) entirely true story of Lady Jane Grey. In My Lady Jane, coauthors Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows have created a one-of-a-kind fantasy in the tradition of The Princess Bride, featuring a reluctant king, an even more reluctant queen, a noble steed, and only a passing resemblance to actual history—because sometimes history needs a little help.  

At sixteen, Lady Jane Grey is about to be married off to a stranger and caught up in a conspiracy to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But those trifling problems aren’t for Jane to worry about. Jane gets to be Queen of England.

The dedication for “My Lady Jane” expertly sets the tone for this book: “For everyone who knows there was enough room for Leonardo DiCaprio on that door. And for England. We’re really sorry for what we’re about to do to your history”. From that page forward it’s an absolute riot.

This book takes the rather tragic real life story of Lady Jane Grey who was queen of England for only 9 days, and sort of flips it on its head. The three authors cleverly twist history and add a fantastical element where there are people who shape shift into animals (called Eðians) and a social tension between those who support them and those who don’t, which is clearly a parallel of the war between Catholics and Protestants of the period.

With three authors and three character POVs, I was a little worried about the flow of the book, but they seamlessly weave these characters and their stories together and keep the humour constant. If I didn’t know it was written by three authors, I wouldn’t have even noticed as there is no abrupt changes in the writing style at all.

It’s hard to express how humorous and clever this book is. Even though this is set in the 1500s, the authors still poke fun of the sexism and social etiquette of the time.

This is an absolute must-read… and re-read. I’ve been singing it’s praises since I finished it last week. If there’s only book you can read this year, I think this might be the one. Now go read it so we can love on it together.

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