Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Author: 
Becky Albertalli
Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: April 7th, 2015
Pages: 320 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Balzer & Bray
Rating:
5 Star

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Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now Simon is actually being blackmailed: if he doesn’t play wingman for class clown Martin, his sexual identity will become everyone’s business. Worse, the privacy of Blue, the pen name of the boy he’s been emailing, will be compromised.

With some messy dynamics emerging in his once tight-knit group of friends, and his email correspondence with Blue growing more flirtatious every day, Simon’s junior year has suddenly gotten all kinds of complicated. Now, change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he’s pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he’s never met.

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You can find my spoiler free review of The Upside of Unrequited HERE!

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I honestly don’t like this cover, like at all. I like the cover of The Upside of Unrequited a bit more but still didn’t love it. The Simon cover just kinda looks cheap and basic and I just don’t like it.

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My opinion of Becky Albertalli’s writing is the same in this book as it was for The Upside of Unrequited! These books drag you in and you just get so invested in the lives of the characters in this book. I feel as invested in these characters in 300 pages as I would usually feel in the last book in a trilogy! These books are also really quick reads! Each I read easily in a day!

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I really enjoy that in Albertalli’s books there is the main plot, but also side plots going on, but they also feel like they are main plots too! I love that these books also deal with major topics but bring it into an awesome, funny and cute book! I just love everything about these books!

I’m not going to lie though, this book was a little predictable and I guessed who Blue was like half way through and was right.

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Again a pretty diverse range of characters! We had Gay, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Jews & Dark characters (I don’t believe it was actually stated what nationality Bran actually is, so I don’t want to make a guess). We also had people from divorced families, which I respect as being from a divorced family myself.

I really like Simon and being in his head for this story was hilarious. Just the way he thinks was so funny and a great perspective to read from! I feel like I can kinda relate to him too, but for the life of me, I don’t know how really as I haven’t been through any of these things myself!

There are a lot of characters I want to talk about, so I’m going to try and keep it to one or two paragraphs. And they are in no particular order of how much we see them in the book, I’m just writing it as I think of people.

Martin was an ass, I don’t care what happens throughout the rest of the book, I still don’t like him. He seemed genuinely upset at the end there though, so maybe he at least understands his mistake, even if it doens’t take back what he did.
I enjoyed Abby a lot, she was the cool best friend that you could do silly things with and there was never really an issue.
Nick, I was really excited to see as he was the one mentioned in The Upside of Unrequited that was with Simon at a certain thing, so when we meet him I was excited as! But also he is a cool character and I enjoy that nothing will get in the way for his love of both music and video games haha.
Leah was a little grumpy and annoying some times, but there was a reasoning behind it, but she was one of those characters that you just wanted to help feel better because even if she didn’t see ‘the thing’ coming, the rest of us totally knew how it would play out.
Garret, we don’t see too much of, he is just kinda in the back ground a lot of the time. Same with Bran, but I still thought Bran was the quiet and cute type.
I really liked their theatre teacher, she was awesome and passionate!
I also really liked Simon’s Sister Alice, she was understanding and caring, even though she wasn’t around. I also liked Simon’s Younger Sister Nora too, I don’t know how old she was but she seemed pretty mature for a younger sister and I liked that she was understanding as well. She was also caring enough to show Simon a certain thing rather than just ignore it and let him figure it out.

Those are all the ones I can think of right now, but I know there are more. But that is all I think!

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I really loved this book and from now on Becky Albertalli is an auto buy author. Even though I’m not a romance reader, I have a soft spot for LGBT+ romances. I think one of my main isues with romances in books as they are always so damn typical and over done! And it’s nearly always the same type of romance with similar characters. So for that reason, I don’t mind LGBT+ romances as they are usually more unique and also, being a bisexual myself, I like seeing these diverse characters!

Anyway, I love these books! They are fun, hilarious and cute books with amazingly diverse characters and great plots! I highly recommend them both!



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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#TheReadingQuest – Mid Way Update!

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So it is just after half way through #TheReadingQuest! It is actually day 17 and this is what I’m up to so far!

You can find my TBR HERE!



Here is the Challenge card!

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I started as a Knight, but I have completed all of those challenges, so I’m moving on to the Mage challenges tomorrow!



The books in bold are the ones I have completed!! XP points are in blue next to each completed books!

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Knight Challenges:

The First Book of a Series – Passenger by Alexandra Bracken (10)

A book with a verb in its title – When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon (20)

A book with a weapon on its cover – Graceling by Kristin Cashore (10)

A book with a red cover – This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab (10)

A book that has a TV/Movie adaptation – Coraline by Neil Gaiman (10)

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Mage Challenges:

The Mage challenges also cross over with the Knight challenge for ‘The First Book of the Series‘ challenge.

A book set in a different world – The School For Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

A book based on mythology – Wildefire by Karsten Knight

A book that contains magic – Half Wild by Sally Green

A book with a one word title – Nimona by Noelle Stevenson

Mini Quest Challenges:

Potions – A book concocted by 2+ authors – The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black (10)

Multiplayer – Buddy read a book – Shatter Me by Teherah Mafi

Grind – A book with 500+ pages – The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

Time Warp – A book set in either the past or the future – Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (10)

Open World – Read whatever you want – Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Respawn – Read a book you previously ‘DNF’ – Not Completing

Expansion – Read a companion novel or short story – Because You Love to Hate Me (20)

Mini-Game – Read a graphic novel, novella or poem collection – The Wicked + The Divine: Vol 4 by Kieron Gillen (10)

Animal Companion – Book referencing an animal in the title – Not Completing



Total Points: 120 XP (including 10 starting points)

Total Pages Read: 2,963 & 144 graphic novel pages (313 HP including 10 starting points)

Here is my updated Character card!

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Well, that is all for this update! I won’t do another update, just a wrap up after #TheReadingQuest finishes!

I will be picking up Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda next and also starting Half Wilf on audiobook tonight too!

How are you going with #TheReadingQuest?! What are you reading right now? Let me know in the comments!

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When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: 
Sandhya Menon
Genre: YA Diverse Contemporary
Publication Date: May 30th, 2017
Pages: 380 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Simon Pulse
Rating:
3 and a half star

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Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

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This is probably going to be the weirdest review you read. Even though I think this was a beautifully written book with a great diversity of characters, I also didn’t love it. I am quite simply not a romance reader and this book was just too much for me. But it is still a great book and I highly recommend it to everyone that does enjoy romance!

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Even though I don’t usually like covers with people on the front, I do really like this one as the person on the cover matches the description of the MC perfectly, same with the back cover with Rishi & Dimple on it! So often books with people on them don’t even match the MC description (just look at the multiple editions of the Anna and the French Kiss books). So I was really happy to see a book that matches! I also like the simplicity of the cover but it portrays the book perfectly.

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The writing of this book was great! My only problem was the combination of Hindi (I think) in the speech parts of the book. I don’t speak Hindi, so it was a tad confusing as even though some of it was explained/translated, there was a lot that wasn’t. At the beginning, I did try and google the translation, but it messed with the flow of the reading, so I stopped bothering and even though I didn’t feel like I missed anything not understanding those parts, but it was still a little annoying not knowing the meaning of them.

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The plot of this book was fine but like I said the main focus is the romance, so I wasn’t obsessed. But I did love the rest, the app designing was really interesting and I’m curious if anyone has actually created an app like that as I think it legitimately would be helpful. I also really enjoyed the comic side of things too! It was also interesting learning some things about their culture.

I did find the plot a little predictable at times, but there is very few contemporaries that I have read that I haven’t found predictable.

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I enjoyed that there was a fairly diverse bunch of characters. Not only did we have 2 Indian MCs but also Dimple’s room mate is, I am guessing, bisexual as she mentions have a girlfriend previously but is in a relationship with a male within the book, so just guessing the bisexual part.

I did enjoy Dimple as a character and I mostly enjoyed being in her head as I found it funny and similar to myself, her way of thinking, even if she didn’t say a lot of things out loud.

Rishi was a little annoying at times as he kinda went on and on in his head about Dimple and relationship/marriage things (Dimple did it too but not as often or as excessive). Besides that, he was pretty cool and I enjoyed his passion for comics even if he tried to down play it.

I enjoyed Celia at the start and at the end, in the middle though I wanted to slap some sense into her but she came round and figured it out for herself eventually anyway and then I was back to liking her but I just can’t stand the type of people that act like she was acting in the middle there.

Well, they were the main ones, but I also want to talk about a few others. Ashish, I did enjoy and I loved his development with his brother towards the end. Hari & Evan were just typical jerks. Isabelle, I didn’t like, even though she acted like she was the victim the same as Celia in that middle part, she still kept pretending afterwards.

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The book was okay. It’s a fun cutesy romance, but romances just aren’t for me. But I enjoyed the other elements of the story and most of the characters. The writing was really good and the so was everything else, just not a book for me.



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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Read-A-Thon Guide – September 2017

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This is my guide for the Read-A-Thons happening in September! I couldn’t find a tonne for September but if you know of any others happening please let me know and I will update the post!

At the moment I am only planning on doing the Duodecathon. If I am going to participate I will do a TBR before that ReadAThon before it starts.



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This ReadAThon occurs every month and each month there is a different focus on what to read.

So this ReadAThon has 2 parts, first, there is the theme. So the idea is to try and read books related to that theme and then there are the challenges, they are an extra challenge. I am not sure whether you have to try and find a challenge that fits into that month theme or whether you just read two separate books for each.

HERE is a link to their Goodreads page

This ReadAThon happens every month so here are all the future challenges in case you wanted to plan!

4-10 September: Standalones
Challenge: One Word Titles

2-8 October: LGBTQIA+ Books
Challenge: Read Poetry & Short Stories

6-12 November: New to you authors
Challenge: Read A Duology

4-10 December: 2017 Debuts
Read the last book (or books) you bought

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This ReadAThon also is every month. This one has 12 options for challenges that you can pick from and the idea of this is that you participate every month and by the end of the year you will have done them all.

You can find info and join the Goodreads group HERE.

For August there are 2 ReadAThon dates and I’m assuming that is because there wasn’t a ReadAThon date for January. I will only be participating in one and that will be the 11-17 one.

UPCOMING DATES:

September 18-24
October 7-13
November 22-28
December 25-31

CHALLENGES TO PICK FROM:

Read 1,200 pages
Start OR finish a series
A 2017 debut author
A short story
A Graphic Novel
A Non-Fiction book
A Book that has been on your TBR for 2+ years
A book with multiple authors
A book you picked up because of the cover
A book that has to do with travelling
Someone else’s favourite book
The first book on your shelf you have read

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This is a fairly chill ReadAThon! Firstly the only rule is that you have to read only fantasy books! There is reading challenges, however, you just choose however many you want to do, you can choose to do 1 or all 5! There is also photo challenges which you can post to Instagram, Twitter or Tumblr and possibly win a giveaway for doing so (each photo is one entry)!

You can find the creators Twitter HERE & the announcement post HERE.

Dates: 4th – 10th of September

Reading Challenges:

– Read a blue fantasy book. Any amount of blue will do!
– Read a swashbuckling fantasy novel! Think The Three Musketeers or The Princess Bride.
– Read a fantasy book that reminds you of Fall. Maybe this book gives you cosy Fall feelings, maybe the cover has Fall colours, or it could take place in the Fall…
– Read a classic fantasy book! Specifically, anything written before the 1980s. Think LOTR, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Once and Future King, The Earthsea Cycle, The Neverending Story, The Sword of Shannara, etc.
– Read a fantasy book with wings on the cover.

*copied from the ReadAThon announcement post*

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So as far as I can tell with this one the only rule is to read books that you wanted to read last year but never got to! I don’t think there is reading challenges!

Dates: 8th – 11th September

Find their Twitter HERE!

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*Firstly, yes I have slightly changed the graphic between when I originally made this post and this update*

This is a month long ReadAThon hosted by Books & Munches here on WordPress. So the only rule to this ReadAThon is to read sequels!

All you have to do to participate is make a blog post with the books that you will possibly read during Septemeber, so basically a list of the Sequels you own that you have already read the first book to. Make sure you link back to Books & Munches announcement post!

There isn’t a Twitter or any other social media for this ReadAThon but when talking about it on social medai use the hashtag #SequelSeptember !!



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Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Graceling
Author: 
Kristin Cashore
Series Name: Graceling Realm
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Oct 1st, 2008
Pages: 471 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Harcourt
Rating:
4 star

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Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.

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I like how simple and gorgeous this book cover is. I also enjoy that it matches the book really well. Especially with Kasta’s eye showing on the blade of the dagger. It’s unusual though, on my edition of the book the eye looks green but in the image above it looks bluer. Which is also cool because Kasta has one blue and one green eye.

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I really liked the writing in this book! I never had trouble understanding the world in this book. It is a high fantasy which can be a bit confusing when you first jump into it but I never had a problem with this book, everything was described really well. I loved that there was a map in the front of the book which made it easier to keep track of all the locations that were mentioned throughout the book.

This isn’t about the writing, or the plot really either so I don’t know where to put it exactly, so here will do. I love that when a new ruler (king or queen) is taken by the city, the city is renamed after than King or Queen. I thought it was a really unique and interesting idea.

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I really enjoyed the plot of this book, even though it was a little like the ‘basic YA fantasy’, it was also unique enough to be interesting. Even though this book kind of followed the basis of certain people are born unique, with unique powers or abilities, I also enjoyed that the abilities could literally be anything! They weren’t the typical kind of ‘Ya fantasy’ abilities, they could be things like swimming, archery, etc. but they could also be awesome things like mind reading and being able to tell where storms are. These abilities teamed up with a plot that is fairly action packed, it drags you in and you don’t want to put the book down.

This book does have a romance, but it was a different kind of romance. I won’t go into details as I don’t want to spoil anything but I actually didn’t mind the romance in this book. It never took over the plot and even though the characters were reluctant to separate and risk the other, they never made any completely stupid decisions like some characters do when they are in relationships in books and then they wonder why shit goes wrong and people get hurt…

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I liked Katsa, even though sometimes she was a bit stubborn and it annoyed me a little that she would never give a second thought to her own well being. I understand she was extremely tough and resilient but take a little bit of care so you don’t loose your toes from frostbite would be nice! I also enjoyed that Katsa turned something that originally was a burden to her into something that she could teach others.

Po was probably my second favourite. He was funny, witty and caring! He would always try and do what was right even if it risked himself, but he would never risk others if he could help it. I am really keen to see how both him and Katsa develop in the next book as it sounds like they are both at the start of separate adventures.

Bitterblue was a cool character. For a girl her age, she is one tough cookie. She barely ever complained considering everything that they went through. I also think she is mentally extremely strong too! She had to make some tough decisions, well beyond something someone her age should have to deal with. I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next two books!

I can’t really say anything about our ‘bad guy’ as it would totally spoil it! But he is a jackass.

I really liked Raffin, the little we saw of him! I really hope we get to see him more in the next book. He was so funny and sarcastic but also extremely caring. Giddon I didn’t really like, he was that kind of person that thinks he knows best and won’t take no for an answer. And he also wouldn’t take Katsa’s wants into account, all he thought of is what he wanted and thought was right.

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Overall I really enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t one of my absolute favourites. There was no problems or issues I had but it just didn’t blow my mind like others have! So that is the only reason I have given it 4 stars rather than higher. I really enjoy the world and the graceling idea! I can’t wait to continue this series, but I am going to have to wait till I have some extra cash so I can put in a ThriftBooks order as I can’t find this edition in hardcover anywhere else.



HAVE YOU READ THIS BOOK? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON IT?!
IF YOU ARE GOING TO SHARE SPOILERS IN THE COMMENTS THEN PLEASE WARN IT SO OTHERS DON’T GET SPOILED!

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Rainbow ReadAThon TBR

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I literally nearly forgot to post this! It starts in one day and 2 hours for me in Aus!!! I was just sitting here thinking that I will do a TBR for this ReadAThon on my InstaStory and then realised I hadn’t even posted one to my blog!

Dates: 25th – 31st August

For all the info you can find their Goodreads Group HERE, Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE.

So for this ReadAThon you are kinda meant to finish the challenges in order but I will not be. As I am doing #TheReadingQuest right now too I need to read When Dimple Met Rishi & Caroline before some of the other books as they are for the Knight Character Quest and I need to finish all 5 challenges for it before starting any of the Mage Quests. So I will be reading them first and then the other books don’t matter what order they are read in.



White Cover

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Cover that matches your Hogwarts house colour (Gryffindor)

I’m just choosing a red colour more than maroon.

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Orange Cover

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Green Cover

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Pink Cover

I had a real struggle finding a pink cover that wasn’t a contemporary romance. So I choose with kinda pink but mostly grey!

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Black Cover

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Purple Cover

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Okay so that is all for this TBR! There are also blog and Instagram challenges. I don’t know if I will do all of either of those challenges, but we will see!

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August 2017 OwlCrate Unboxing

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This is my second ever OwlCrate! I didn’t like this one as much as last month, mainly because there are just things I won’t get any use out of in this book.




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Here is a link to their website!

OWL CRATE:

Cost of the Box: $29.99 USD (Approx $37.50 AUD)
Shipping to Aus: $19.99 AUD (Approx $25.00 AUD)

OWL CRATE JR.:

Cost of the Box: $27.99 USD (Approx $35.00 AUD)
Shipping to Aus: $19.99 AUD (Approx $25.00 AUD)

YOU CAN ALSO PURCHASE PREVIOUS BOXES HERE!



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August – Something Wicked This Way Comes…

As always I will write under each photo what is written in the book next to it. I’m also going to add pricing or a guess at pricing so we can see if the box is worth the price tag!

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Edgar Allan Poe Socks

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Once upon a midnight while I pondered, weak and weary… These Edgar Allan Poe socks from Out of Print will keep you warm when you experience chills from your next scary read!

This item costs $10 USD which is about $12.50 AUD.

Happenstance Coffee

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Time to brush up on your unforgivable curses! Raise a mug to He Who Must Not Be Named witht his yummy Dark Arts inspired medium roast coffee made exclusively by Happenstance Coffee. Nagini Approved!

They don’t sell this exact one or this size on their website, but their normal coffee is 8oz for $12, so going by that, this bad of coffee is worth $3.

Fountain Pen

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Want to write the next great horror novel? When inspiration strikes, use your new fountain pen from Ooly. These gorgeous pens write so smoothly and come with extra ink cartridges so you can write long into the night.

This pen cost $5 Usd which in about $6.30 AUD!

Sleepy Hollow & Other Stories

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Author Washington Irving created one of the most iconic characters of all time (the infamous Headless Horsemen) when he wrote Sleepy Hollow. But did you know he wrote other spooky stories as well? We hope you enjoy diving into this exclusive edition of Sleep Hollows & Other Stories, published by our friends at Rock Paper Books.

The Penguin Classics edition of Sleep Hollow & Other Stories costs $15.08 on Book Depository, so I’m going to value this one the same. 

This Savage Song Sticker

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It’s no secret how much we adore Victoria Schwab here at OwlCrate. Her unique stories linger with you long after you turn the last page. To celebrate the conclusion of the Monsters of Verity duology, Evie Bookish has designed an exclusive This Savage Song sticker just for you!

So on her RedBubble her stickers about this size usually cost $2.87, so I’m going with that for this one too. 

Double-Sided Bookmark

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When thinking of wicked (yet lovable) characters, the gang from Ketterdam are at the top of our list! Treehouse of Books has designed an exclusive double-sided bookmark inspired by our favourite outcasts from Six of Crows.

So I can’t even find this Treehouse of Books store… But on average a double-sided bookmark will sell from between $3 & $5 on Etsy. This one is really nice quality so I will give it $5.

The Book!

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Would you ever be tempted to sell your soul? Dee gives up her heart and agrees to work for a demon in exchange for escaping a dangerous home life. But things quickly go awry, and Dee soon realises she’s dealing with much more than she bargained for. Alongside a group of other ‘heartless’ teens, Dee embarks on the fight of her life. Will they survive this chaotic nd otherworldly threat? Without a heart, will Dee ever be able to love again? The Hearts We Sold is a powerful, genre-blending story all about finding your inner strength, the power of friendship, and how important love is when the world goes dark. We also hope you enjoy the lapel pin (which will make sense once you read the story!).

On Book Depository this book is worth $22.40 and on QBD it costs $28.99. I’ll be using the Book Depository price. 



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So adding up all the pricing it ends up at $67.15 AUD. This box cost me $62.26 a month. For something worth $62 I expect a bit more value in the box. Last month was worth $84 which I was really happy with, this month was a bit below.

I don’t love this book as much as I did last months! In this months box I will not use the socks, one because I have no damn clue really who Edger Allan Poe besides that he is an American poet. Nor do I wear high socks like these. Also, I don’t drink coffee and neither does any of my friends or father and my Mum only drinks decaf unflavoured coffee… So that will probably go in the bin eventually. I’m not sure I will read Sleepy Hollows either.  I like the pen, sticker and bookmark a lot! I’m not sure on the book as it kinda sounds like a romance, which I’m not huge on, so I don’t know.



Well, that is all for this month’s OwlCrate unboxing! I didn’t get The YA Chronicles this month as I couldn’t afford both. As they usually have their boxes up for sale after the original shipment, so I will check out the spoilers and if I love the box then I will grab one! I will be really disappointed if The YA Chronicles is amazing as it’s the first one I haven’t got in months and I wasn’t obsessed with this months OwlCrate!

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