In My Mailbox Monday

In My Mailbox Monday

June 28th – July 4th

Happy Monday! We had another great week of new books showing up on my front porch! One book is one that I have been waiting for forever, and I’m so happy it’s finally here!

The first thing I got during the week was my Book of the Month box! I decided to go a thriller/mystery route this month, hence the three books I chose! My main book was 56 Days by Catherine Ryan Howard. I was intrigued by the synopsis and thought “why not?”. I’ve been anticipating the release of Riley Sager’s new book, Survive the Night, and could not pass up on the $10 addition to my cart! The last book, Pretty Little Wife, sounded good, so I also added it. I’m excited to read each of these and can’t wait to see what they’re all about!

This stack is a conglomeration of books I read via Kindle and wanted paper copies, and ones I just wanted. I read the Wicked Trilogy last month and needed it on my shelves! I was hoping to get it when the JLA Shop opened last week, but there were issues and by the time I could get on, everything was literally sold out. The Blood is Love is the second book in a duology and it was released July 1st. I wanted the physical copy to go with the first book. While I waited impatiently for delivery, I ended up reading it on my Kindle. It did not disappoint! Bright Midnight was released earlier in the year and I bought the ebook, but then it got pushed down my list by all the other books I’ve bought. I’ll get to it eventually, but wanted the physical copy to add to my Karina Halle shelf!

THIS IS THE ONE I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!!!!! I read an ARC of this book before it was released last year and I LOVED it. It’s a fun YA fantasy that has great food imagery in it and made me fall in love with one of the deadly sins. The second book comes out later this year and is going to be New Adult and I am stoked for it! Anyway…This is the Fairyloot edition and when it first dropped, I wasn’t part of the Fairyloot club yet as I was on the waitlist. December 2020 I got an email saying January 21 I will be part of Fairyloot’s monthly boxes and I was ecstatic. FL said that early 2021, they would have this in their Fairy Trove restock and I waited and waited; thinking that FL and I had different ideas of what “early 2021” meant. Then, an announcement finally came and this was going to be the first day of the restock! I set an alarm and many reminders on my phone, waited for the email, and then finally bought it! Fast forward to July 1 and it finally came! I am blown away by how beautiful it is. The black edges, the stencils, the cover (not pictured is a foiled image on the hard cover under the sleeve). FL is doing a similar thing with the second book when it releases and you can bet I will buy it!

I’m very pleased with the goodies I got this week! I don’t know what I’ll get this coming week, as I don’t have anything planned, but who knows! The 13th I go to Vegas and then San Diego and plan on hitting up the Little Free Libraries in the areas…I may need a new suitcase just for books. Yikes!

Wrap-Ups

2020 Reading Wrap-Up

A book is a dream that you hold in your hands”.

Overview!

This year has been quite the reading year for me! I have ended 2020 with 108 books added to my “read” list! Technically it’s 97 different books with 11 being rereads (some are multiple). Never did I imagine that I would read 20 books this year…let alone over 100! Quarantine has been good for something!

I also started a book inventory the other day so I can keep track of all the books I own. I finished the two shelves in my craft room/ library room and am just over 300 books…I still have about 100 more scattered throughout the house to log (plus ones I have pre-ordered/yet to come in the mail). Before quarantine, I didn’t own enough books to fill a full row on my bookshelf….needless to say, I’ve spent A LOT of money on books and I don’t regret any of it!

Subscription Boxes

A lot of my money has also gone to book themed subscription boxes. I do the YA version of each and am obsessed. However…I think I may need to cancel some of the subscriptions (I already cancelled two). Below are the ones I’ve tried/still do.

  • Owlcrate: I love OC so much. They usually have great books/dust jackets and the authors write notes and sign the books. I haven’t loved all the merch that OC chooses, but most of the time they’re okay. I would like to see more small business support in their bookish goodies.
  • Bookish Box: This was the first one I subscribed to. It’s very similar to Owlcrate. I enjoy it a lot, but when compared with some of the other boxes, I don’t know if it’s worth the money.
  • Once Upon a Book Club Box: I only got two of these books. They’re formatted so that the goodies you get are hidden and tell you to open them when you get to certain pages. I am not patient enough for that…I also didn’t enjoy a majority of the items in these boxes and ended up cancelling.
  • Fae Crate: I only got one Fae Crate before cancelling. It wasn’t really my style. I’m glad I tried it out though.
  • Illumicrate: I’ve gotten two so far (I just got off the waitlist!). I LOVE Illumicrate! They have great items and great books. I’m a sucker for sprayed edges and they do them often! Highly recommend.
  • Fairyloot: I haven’t gotten one yet because I just got off the waitlist. My first box will be coming in January and I am SO excited. I have heard AMAZING things about FL and can’t wait to see what the first box I get is like. Their books are GORGEOUS and I know they do a lot of sprayed edges as well!

Overall, I think Fairyloot and Illumicrate may kick Owlcrate, Bookishbox, or both out of the running. I really shouldn’t be spending all that money for four subscription boxes a month anyway…oops…don’t tell my husband!

Favorite Books of the Year!

I have had quite a lot of five star reads. I’m going to list all of them and then figure it out from there!

  • Getting Down by Helena Hunting
  • Handle with Care by Helena Hunting
  • Shacking Up by Helena Hunting
  • Lingus by Mariana Zapata
  • House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
  • Empire of Storms by Sarah J Maas
  • Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J Maas
  • A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
  • Smut by Karina Halle
  • A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J Maas
  • Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
  • A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas
  • With This Heart by R.S. Grey
  • A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J Maas
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  • Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
  • The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire by Jennifer L. Armentrout
  • Gifting Me to His Best Friend by Katee Robert
  • The Mindfuck Series by S.T. Abby
  • Book 2-10 of the Experiment in Terror Series by Karina Halle

I obviously love each of these books for many different reasons! My top three are actually entire series and I hold each of them dear to my heart.

In third place for the year (and maybe ever) I have the From Blood and Ash Series. AKOFAF threw me into a rough reading slump after I finished it. I was so drawn into this world that JLA created and was in love with the characters, that when I finished I couldn’t pick up another book without wanting to read about Poppy and Cas. I am so excited for the new book coming in 2021!

In second place is the Experiment in Terror Series. I have never read nine books so fast in my life. I read a book a day and couldn’t stop until I devoured all of Karina Halle’s words. I became obsessed with this series in November and was SO stoked to hear that a new book was coming out December 11…well it came out a day early and you bet your booty that I bought it and read it that day! I was struggling in November with picking up books and this series sucked me out of that slump and threw me head first into an amazing paranormal realm with beautiful and enticing characters. I am so happy I came across this series!

In first place we have the ACOTAR series. My dear friend Sophie recommended me these books in January and I ended up finding them on clearance in Target. I tried the first chapter of ACOTAR and wasn’t feeling it. Fast forward a few month and add a bored, quarantined Allison, and I picked up the book again. This time I was intrigued. I got passed chapter one and was really vibing with the feeling of the book. I then became enamoured by Tamlin (ugh, ew) and couldn’t put the book down. Once I finished the first one I just had to dive into book two (which is my favorite of the series…I read it 5 times so far). I finished the series and all I wanted to do was read more SJM books….no, all I wanted to do was read. This series made me fall in love with reading again and I am so thankful that Sophie recommended them to me almost a year ago! I have my SJM shrine on my bookshelf and currently own 54 SJM books (a lot of duplicates and special editions….don’t judge).

2021 Reading Goals

For 2021 I plan to go with the flow and read whatever my heart desires. I don’t want to stress over my ever growing TBR list. I do have a handful of books that I will read when they’re released, but other than that, I want to freely roam my shelves and enjoy each page I read. I also want to become more comfortable with DNFing books. I struggle with this because I feel like if I paid for a book, I should read it. But…why read something I’m not enjoying? I plan to keep up with blogging and booktube more but we’ll see about that. Overall, I want reading to be fun and not a job (which some people I follow make it seem like one…). I read for me and no one else and that’s that!

So, thanks Sophie and SJM for helping me find something I’m passionate about this year! I’ve really gotten to visit some amazing realms and worlds through books and can’t wait to see where 2021 takes me!

Wrap-Ups

October Reading Wrap-Up

October was a much better reading month than September was (I read three books in September and didn’t even do a wrap-up). I was in a reading slump because life hit me full force for a bit, but October did me well. I was happy to have been able to read any books, so to have read what I did made me really grateful! So, without any more wasted time, let’s see what I read this month!

Stats:

  • Number of Books: 12
  • Genres: Fantasy, Romance/Contemporary/Erotica, Mystery/Thriller/Romance
  • Pages Read: 2,851
  • Authors Read: 5

What Did She Read?

All the books AND authors were new to me this month, so I was excited to dive into that. None of these books were on my TBR (oops) and all were read in the Kindle format. I tried picking up physical books to read and couldn’t do it for some reason. Below you will find the 12 books I read, their ratings, and a few thoughts (since I didn’t do many book review this month). Let’s get to it!

4/5 Stars

This book was an eARC that I read and I fell in love with it instantly. The characters and plot were intriguing and it was very well written. I ended up getting a signed copy in my October Bookish Box, which I was SO happy for! I can’t wait to read more by this author!

5/5 Stars for all 5 books. These books are super quick reads (literally…each is a little over 100 pages) and had my attention from the first page. They’re gruesome, dark, and disturbing, while adding a twisted love in the mix. I couldn’t put these down!
Each of these books earned 4/5 stars. I really enjoyed Callie and Des as well as their plots. Some of the fantasy themed aspects were familiar from other stories, but I was so invested I didn’t really mind. Book one and three were my favorites. I enjoyed the second one, but that one reminded me a lot of SJM books (some parts too similar…but I still liked the book). The steam in these books is also *chef’s kiss*.
4/5 Stars This is a novella to the Rhapsodic series that falls between books one and two. The beginning dragged, but I enjoyed the different POV and the second half enough to bump it to 4 stars.
5/5 Stars I don’t usually read straight erotica, but this was something else. Usually sex scenes make me giggle but I was so invested in the “plot” (ha!) that I didn’t have time to giggle.
4/5 Stars. This book was amazing. Some of the writing was iffy, but the characters, plot, and romance was amazing. I read the sequel in one sitting. Highly recommend if you like sexy, blue-eyed, mob men..I didn’t know I did until I met Tristan Caine!

It was a great month! All my books were four or five stars and I enjoyed each of them for different reasons. I flew threw some series, read some stand-alones, and even dipped into my first full erotica book (I regret nothing). To say it was a successful October is an understatement!

I like to end by sharing some other accomplishments from the month, so here it goes!

  • I got married! We had to revise our plans because of covid, but it happened and it was beautiful!
  • I researched resin and am thinking about expanding my Etsy shop.
  • I started Christmas shopping (oops).
  • I’m surviving…that’s what’s most important in these crazy times!

Thanks for hanging in there with me. I hope you’re well wherever you are in the world. I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these books! Find me on instagram: @the_crafty_reader or Twitter @thecraftyreader to chat! Hopefully I’ll be more active in November!

Book Reviews

Kingdom of the Wicked Book Review

4/5 Candles (stars)

This book hasn’t been published yet and I am SO thankful to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read an ARC for an honest review! So, this review is going to look a little different than normal!

Synopsis

Kingdom of the Wicked follows Emilia, a young witch, on her journey to avenge her twin sister’s death. Her sister, Vittoria, never came home for dinner at her family’s restaurant one night, and Emilia stumbled across her dead body. Emilia doesn’t know who killed her sister, or why they did it, but her new purpose is to find out. She will do ANYTHING to set her sister to rest and get back at her murderer…so much so that Emilia ends up summoning Wrath, one of the seven Wicked princes of Hell.

For her entire life, Emilia had been warned to NEVER trust anyone from Hell, but Emilia thought the warnings were just an overreaction to keep her safe. On her journey, she partners with Wrath and ends up meeting his brothers, and quickly realizes they can’t be trusted and that they are very, very dangerous. Wrath has told Emilia that he is going to help her because they both want to understand and figure out who is murdering young witches. But, as she was warned for years, the Wicked aren’t always what they appear to be on the surface.

Thoughts

This is the first book that I’ve read by this author, and I loved it! I’ve been wanting to read her book Stalking Jack the Ripper, so I was very happy to read a book by her!

First, I really loved that a fantasy took place in a real location…for this book it was Sicily. KM did a great job describing the setting, from the food people sold to the vendors and booths on the street. I’ve never been to Sicily, but know people who have, and this sounds like what they experienced! I enjoyed that I didn’t have to wrap my head around a made-up world like we have to in most fantasy novels! Don’t get me wrong though! I do enjoy made-up worlds!

Emilia had moments when I wanted to strangle her, but she was a good character. I don’t think I could have read a book with a main character named Vittoria for almost 400 pages…so Emilia will do! Nonna was a favorite for me..I love a badass grandmother..especially when magic is involved! Then there’s Wrath…ugh I love him. I’m always drawn to the dark, brooding, villains. Speaking of Wrath, huge kudos to KM for the personification of the 7 deadly sins. I was so intrigued by the concept and loved how they were each portrayed. We didn’t get to meet all of them in this book, but I hope in future books that they’ll be around!

Overall, I appreciated the concept of this book. I was engaged and really into the plot and characters. I liked the bit of mystery feel that it had, as we tried to solve Vittoria’s murder. KM weaved magic and other fantasy beings into the story really well, too. The whole idea of Hell and the Wicked princes reminded me a bit of Supernatural (which I love) and really kept my interest. I may or may not have envisioned demon Dean Winchester as Wrath a few times. The main reason this didn’t get four stars for me is because it was young adult. We get some ‘innocent’ moments (I won’t spoil with who) between some characters, but I was hoping for more detailed scene (I like what I like). For a young adult book though, I still think there could have been a few more spicy moments…nothing crazy though. But, overall, I really enjoyed myself. As soon as I read the last sentence, the first thing I thought was “I hope there’s a book 2”!

So, if you like YA Fantasy novels, catch Kingdom of the Wicked, out October 27th!