Friday, August 17, 2018

Weres Wanna Know: What are your favorite things to receive in subscription boxes?

If you’ve been on Twitter this week, you probably know what inspired this post. I’ve been doing the book box thing for about a year and a half and I’ve gotten some great stuff. I thought it might be nice to call out something positive instead of letting one person's poor judgment dominate the conversation.

Of course there have been a few things that are just not for me along the way as well. For example, even without the soap-related controversy, I’m not a fan of bath products. I just don’t take baths. Though on the plus side, they usually make the box smell good when you open it.

But here are some of my favorite types of things to find in a box:

Candles are easy to store on bookshelves, which is a big point in their favor. I try to keep them with the matching books when I can. The mini ones even fit on top of the books and fill some of that negative space that I hate in my shelfies.

The Red London candle came from Whimsify Box. I ordered the others from their website.

Mugs also sit on bookshelves well, though I'm kind of afraid of knocking them over when I take the books out. I have one that holds bookmarks and two that hold my bookish pens and pencils. If I get too many more, I might have to start drinking out of them. Last month's Whimsify box had a travel mug that I forgot to include in the picture but I'm definitely going to use.

Illuminae Files mug from Whimsify, Harry Potter, Lunar Chronicles and Book Worm mugs from Owlcrate.

This may seem like an odd choice. I just happen to actually need new coasters. I'd like to wind up with four of these round cork-bottomed ones. If they could be in coordinating colors, that would be nice too. The square one I usually use as a mouse pad.

HP and Nyxia coasters from Whimsify, Fox from Owlcrate.

Office Supplies
I love getting pens and notebooks because I know I’ll use them even if I don’t follow the fandom they feature. But my all-time fave is probably the thumb tacks from last month’s Owlcrate.

Notepads, pen and pencils from Owlcrate and Whimsify.

 I would love to get a pillow cover or a throw in a future box. I've seen them on Instagram, but haven't received any myself. Like with the coasters, this is motivated by the fact that I want new ones anyway. But that means that if I got them I know I would use them.

What are your favorite things to get in a subscription box?

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Blog Tour: Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

We're always excited for a new release from Chloe Neill. Today we're celebrating the start of a new series too. Wild Hunger kicks of the Heirs of Chicagoland series, which follows the next generation of characters in the Chicagoland Vampires world. Here's a little bit about the book:

Wild Hunger
(Heirs of Chicagoland #1)
Chloe Neill
Release: August 14, 2018
As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she’s a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he’s prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of an ambassador brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

Check out Rose Red's review of Wild Hunger.

We've got a great prize pack to give away:
Wild Hunger bag (it's the wide bottom style you use for groceries, which is also great for books)
Plush Conner keychain/ bag charm
Cadogan House lanyard
Chicagoland Vampires pen
Signed UK edition of Blood Games
10 assorted Chloe Neill bookmarks
Because of shipping costs, this is U.S. only. See our About page for giveaway policy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
You can also enter the Wild Hunger Grand Prize Giveaway, which runs August 6 through August 17 on Chloe’s web site:
A Wild Hunger tote bag and bookmark
A Stuffed “Connor Keene” Wolf  Keychain
A gorgeous box of LadurĂ©e French Macarons (You’ll find out why in WILD HUNGER!)
Amazon Kindle
$50 Amazon gift card
Bookmarks and swag

Each stop on the blog tour has its own giveaway so make sure you stop by all the blogs:
Monday, August 6 – The Consummate Reader
Tuesday, August 7 – Moonlight Rendezvous | Books of My Heart
Wednesday, August 8 – Book Dragons 24/7
Thursday, August 9 – MeliH
Friday, August 10 – A Book Fanatic Obsession | Silence is Read

Monday, August 13 – Loves Great Reads
Tuesday, August 14 (Release Day) – Snoopydoo’s Book Review
Wednesday, August 15 – A Great Read | Book Nook Nuts
Thursday, August 16 – Urban Fantasy Investigations | Goldilox and the Three Weres
Friday, August 17 – Dawn’s Reading Nook | Besties & Books

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

We Love Lists: The Lowest Rated Books on My TBR

Do you ever look at your TBR's book stats on Goodreads? Recently, I've seen a lot of Booktube videos where people go and look at their most/least rated books on their TBR. I'll admit that I haven't done it very often but every once in a while I like to look to see which books on my shelves are currently popular or unpopular. Last week, I shared the most popular unread books on my shelves based on their Goodreads ratings. This week I'll be sharing the lowest rated books on my physical TBR. I've arranged my list by each book's average rating on Goodreads counting down from number 10 to 1.

 10. Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente
Number of Ratings: 2,943
Average Rating: 3.63 Stars

9. The Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton
Number of Ratings: 916
Average Rating: 3.60 Stars

8. Copperhead by Tina Connolly
Series: Ironskin #2
Number of Ratings: 482
Average Rating: 3.58 Stars

7. Stolen Magic by Gail Carson Levine
Series: A Tale of Two Castles #2
Number of Ratings: 856
Average Rating: 3.57 Stars

6. Updraft by Fran Wilde
Series: Bone Universe #1
Number of Ratings: 2652
Average Rating: 3.57 Stars

5. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi
Series: The Star-Touched Queen #1
Number of Ratings: 17,059
Average Rating: 3.57 Stars

4. Murder, Magic and What We Wore by Kelly Jones
Number of Ratings: 574
Average Rating: 3.57 Stars

3. Delia's Shadow by Jaime Lee Moyer
Series: Delia Martin #1
Number of Ratings: 1,355
Average Rating: 3.55 Stars

2. Ever by Gail Carson Levine
Number of Ratings: 18, 745
Average Rating: 3.44 Stars

1. Ironskin by Tina Connolly
Series: Ironskin #1
Number of Ratings: 3,291
Average Rating: 3.33 Stars

What book on your TBR is the lowest rated?

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Review: Wild Hunger by Chloe Neill

Wild Hunger
(Heirs of Chicagoland #1)
Chloe Neill
Release: August 14, 2018
Goodreads Amazon
In the first thrilling installment of Chloe Neill's spinoff to the New York Times bestselling Chicagoland Vampires series, a new vampire will find out just how deep blood ties run.

As the only vampire child ever born, some believed Elisa Sullivan had all the luck. But the magic that helped bring her into the world left her with a dark secret. Shifter Connor Keene, the only son of North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene, is the only one she trusts with it. But she's a vampire and the daughter of a Master and a Sentinel, and he's prince of the Pack and its future king.

When the assassination of a diplomat brings old feuds to the fore again, Elisa and Connor must choose between love and family, between honor and obligation, before Chicago disappears forever.

You know those times when you really want to love a book but you just don't? That was me with this book. I haven't been able to pinpoint exactly why because all things considered I should have loved this. As someone who loved the original series a lot, maybe I had too high of expectations. I think I was expecting this to be like another Chicagoland book and that's something this wasn't even though there are a lot of similarities to the original series. Overall, I thought it was okay.

Elisa is not Merit. She's more serious and prone to angst than her mother without the delightful snarkiness that made me love her. And that missing snark really changes the tone of the story. One thing that bothered me and it was probably just me but Elisa's pop culture references were a bit... dated. The book is set twenty years after the epilogue of Blade Bound and she's making Seinfeld references that I had to ask someone to explain to me. Maybe it comes from growing up with a bunch of immortals but a lot of the pop culture referenced in the book felt old by today's standard let alone in the future. Although, it did make my heart happy to see that people were still sorting themselves into Hogwarts Houses.

I will say that I liked Elisa even though the excess angst got on my nerves at times. She's really a perfect blend of her parents. I will say that the overall character arc for Elisa is really similar to Merit's arc in the first couple Chicagoland books with how they both characterize themselves as "monsters" and try to hide that something is different about their supernatural side. With Elisa having to hunt down a killer during the peace talks and figure out the new big bad's plan before it's too late, it felt like the plot was very similar to the original series'. And while that's not a bad thing, it would have been nice to see some variation in the plot.

What I did love of was Elisa's friendship with Lulu, Mallory and Catcher's daughter! Lulu was probably my favorite part of the story along with the new Ombuddies team. They were seriously a delight to read about. I'm still on the fence about Connor as a love interest. I can see the romance is slowly starting to build but I feel like we didn't get to learn enough about him. Then again, I wasn't sold on Ethan until like the fourth book of the original series. I will say I was really hoping we'd see more of the shifter world with Connor as a main character. There's still a chance since we will get more of that as the series continues though.

One thing that I will forever applaud Chloe Neill for is her ability to write action-packed books with some very excellent fight scenes. And I loved that she did give us some updates on characters from the previous series even though most of them didn't make an actual appearance in the story. Like Gretl said in her review at VBC, I wish Neill had written something else first and come back to this idea a few years from now. I too would have really liked to have seen her write some novellas exploring some of the minor characters from the original series like the necromancer, Annabelle.

Honestly, I think the series will get better as it continues on but this one definitely suffered from UF first book syndrome. If you're looking at picking this up, I would recommend reading the Chicagoland Vampires series first but know that you don't have to understand what's going on. Neill does a good job at giving us all the necessary backstory. Ultimately, I'm interested in reading the next book. I just didn't enjoy this one as much as I wanted to.

ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley.


Friday, August 10, 2018

Four Spring 2018 Anime You Need to Watch

The end of the Spring 2018 anime season has come and gone and it blessed us with a ton of great anime! So I am here to tell you about the shows I thought were the gems of this last season. I started out watching fifteen shows and by the end I was still watching nine of them. That is unheard of for me! This last season has been one of the best anime seasons I've seen in many years. And while I can go on and on about all the shows you should be watching like the third season of My Hero Academia (OMG! MY FEELS!), I want to discuss these four new first season anime and why you should go binge them all right now.


Kakuriyo- Bed and Breakfast for Spirits
 Kakuriyo is the only two cour anime that made this list so the second half of the season is still airing throughout the summer. THIS SHOW IS AMAZING! To quote my friend, Nikki: "it's like a mix between Natsume's Book of Friends, Kamisama Kiss, and a comfy cafe anime". And I haven't heard a better description yet! I've been captivated each week watching Aoi work hard to find her place at Tenjin-ya while paying off her Grandfather's debt without marrying the Master Innkeeper, Odanna. What really sets this anime apart is the large cast of characters that run the inn and their interactions with each other. We learn about a new character each week as we slowly see Aoi come into her own and it is glorious! The plot isn't too shabby either and has kept me on the edge of my seat this whole season. I love what this show is doing with the "arranged marriage to pay off x family member's debt" trope! And I'll be honest, I totally ship Aoi and Odanna! Kakuriyo will definitely be one of my favorite animes of 2018.

Watch on Crunchyroll.


Yotsuiro Biyori
Yotsuiro Biyori was this last season's surprise gem and it was a goddamn delight! I had my heart stolen by it and it earned a permanent spot on my Animes I'll Perpetually Rewatch for Comfort list. Who would have thought my favorite anime of the Spring would be about four guys running a tea shop? It's the most chill anime ever! The premise sounds too simple to be an engaging anime but it's SO good! It's a very character driven show about people who get a lot of joy and satisfaction from pleasing their customers. And I found it super relaxing to watch! Although, it made me super hungry with all the anime food porn. I seriously don't think there was an episode I watched that I didn't come out of it hungry for Japanese food. It's also a show that will leave you all happy and smiley after watching an episode.

Watch on Crunchyroll.

 OMG! Guys! Hinamatsuri surprised the hell out of me with how good it was! I never knew I needed an anime about a Yakuza becoming the caregiver of a girl with telekinetic powers and the shenanigans they get into with other psychic girls. It sounds weird but it's SO good! And funny! And oddly heart-warming! It's very much a character-driven anime and I loved the characters so much! Each psychic girl has their own personalities and part of why the show is so funny and endearing is because of how they interact and play off of each other. Hina is great and Anzu has my heart! I can't recommend this one enough!

Watch on Crunchyroll.

Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku
Wotakoi: Love is Hard for Otaku was one of my most anticipated animes of the spring season and it did not disappoint! It gave me serious Recovery of an MMO Junkie vibes but with different kinds of otaku and not just gamer otaku. I loved it! It was also great to see a romance anime set outside of high school and I found so much about it super relatable. And I laughed so much while watching it! The characters are great and loved their interactions with each other and how they tried to hide their otaku side from people outside of their little group! And I totally ship all of the established couples in this plus the one pairing that hasn't been confirmed yet. Plus, the opening credits were glorious! I NEED A SEASON TWO!!! I want to see more otaku shenanigans and learn more about the characters espcially Kou and Nao!

Watch on Amazon Prime

Thursday, August 9, 2018

#BeattheBacklist Review: A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

A Closed and Common Orbit
(Wayfarers #2)
Becky Chambers
Release: October 20, 2016
Goodreads Amazon

Lovelace was once merely a ship's artificial intelligence. When she wakes up in an new body, following a total system shut-down and reboot, she has no memory of what came before. As Lovelace learns to negotiate the universe and discover who she is, she makes friends with Pepper, an excitable engineer, who's determined to help her learn and grow.

Together, Pepper and Lovey will discover that no matter how vast space is, two people can fill it together.

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet
introduced readers to the incredible world of Rosemary Harper, a young woman with a restless soul and secrets to keep. When she joined the crew of the Wayfarer, an intergalactic ship, she got more than she bargained for - and learned to live with, and love, her rag-tag collection of crewmates.

A Closed and Common Orbit
is the stand-alone sequel to Becky Chambers' beloved debut novel The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet and is perfect for fans of Firefly, Joss Whedon, Mass Effect and Star Wars.

You all know how much I adored Becky Chambers' first book, The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. Her companion sequel, A Closed and Common Orbit, is just as amazing! It's set in the same universe as Long Way and follows directly after the events of that book. While this book is the second book in the series, it's a companion novel so you don't need to have read the first one to enjoy this one. It has a couple of shared characters, but it’s entirely a standalone. I do think that you'd get more out of it if you read Long Way first though.

When I sat down to read this book, I was a bit nervous. I loved the first book so much so I was so afraid that this sequel was going to let me down. But I loved this book just as much as the first one! It was so good but in a different way than Long Way was.

With Becky Chambers' books, I've found that I come for the space opera, but I keep reading for the characters in whatever form they take. And with each book we get to actively take part in conversations about important topics. For A Closed and Common Orbit that conversation is all about what it means to be a person, to be part of a family, and to have purpose. I loved how it touched on how being a "manufactured" person affects how one emerges as a person. I finished this awhile ago and haven't been able to stop thinking about it.

Just like the first book, this one has that same hopefulness and positivity that feels like a hug in book form and leaves you feeling strangely optimistic when you finish. That doesn't mean that there isn't any high stakes or conflict in this book. In fact, there is some disturbing stuff in here and all of the characters have some difficult things to deal with. But as harsh as the world Chamber's has created here can be, it's also filled with hope and kindness and compassion.

Becky Chambers is a master at developing her known universe both physically and culturally and it just continues to grow. I loved that we got to see more of Port Coriol in this book! While the worldbuilding is absolutely fantastic, what Chambers really excels at is writing characters. They all just fit the story. Each character feels fully realized and their relationships with the other characters feels true to life. Plus, she writes some truly excellent dialogue.

I loved learning more about the tech head, Pepper, and her struggles and how her experiences growing up contribute to her ability to help Lovelace as she navigates her new reality. Actually, I adored so many of the new characters in this book. I just want to keep Blue safe from everything! The diversity in this universe is so completely wonderful and is what makes this series stand out from the rest. The Wayfarers Verse shows us a universe in which empathy is the default expectation and where chauvinism is almost universally condemned, and it does so without ever being preachy or overbearing.

All in all I found this book to very uplifting. I can't even begin to tell you how happy this book made me. Add to that wonderful characters and a deeply engaging plot and it made a thoroughly enjoyable addition to the Wayfarer series. I just need you all to go and buy Becky's books so we can keep getting more stories set in this excellent universe!

Audiobook Note: I actually listened to this whole book on audio and it was amazing! The narrator does an excellent job! I'd highly recommend it if you're into audiobooks!

  5 / 5 Stars!

My reviews of other books in this series:
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

We Love Lists: The Highest Rated Books on My TBR

Do you ever look at your TBR's book stats on Goodreads? Recently, I've seen a lot of Booktube videos where people go and look at their most/least rated books on their TBR. I'll admit that I haven't done it very often but every once in a while I like to look to see which books on my shelves are currently popular or unpopular. Since I've recently looked up my TBR's stats I though it would be fun to share what the most popular books on my shelves are based on their Goodreads ratings. I'll be doing a least rated version of this list probably next week. For today's list, I'm counting down from number 10 to the most popular book on my TBR according to the average Goodreads rating.

 10. Four Roads Cross by Max Gladstone
Series: Craft Sequence #4
Ratings: 1,676
Average Rating:  4.38 Stars

9. In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
Ratings: 3,410
Average Rating: 4.39 Stars

8. The Burning Maze by Rick Riordan
Series: The Trials of Apollo #3
Ratings: 10,452
Average Rating: 4.42 Stars

7. Rogue Protocol
Series: The Murderbot Diaries #3
Ratings: 187
Average Rating: 4.43 Stars

6. City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett
Series: The Divine Cities #3
Ratings: 4,749
Average Rating: 4.44 Stars 

5. The Disappearance of Winter's Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Riyria Chronicles #4
Ratings: 2,163
Average Rating: 4.45 Stars 

4. The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal
Series: Lady Astronaut #1
Ratings: 645
Average Rating: 4.47 Stars

3. Heir of Novron by Michael J. Sullivan
Series: The Riyria Revelations #5-6
Ratings: 32,553
Average Rating: 4.47 Stars 

2. Winter by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Ratings: 137, 541
Average Rating: 4.48 Stars

1. Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson
Series: The Stormlight Archive #3
Ratings: 52,945
Average Rating: 4.64 Stars

What is the most popular book on your TBR based on its rating?

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