Saturday, December 10, 2016

My First Subscription Box Experiences

I've always wanted to get some subscription boxes, but they ARE fairly expensive (which is fair given how many items you get), so I wasn't able to afford any before I started working at the printing company. And not many themes had really jumped out at me and made me go OMG YES I NEED THIS. Lately I've been paying close attention on Instagram when themes and hints drop, so when LitCube announced that their October box was Beauty and the Beast inspired, I HAD to get it. And when OwlCrate's November theme was Wonderland with an exclusive cover of the book inside, I knew I needed that. And while I'm happy I got them both, one was so much better than the other.

*****

LitCube unfortunately did not give me a very good impression, which I'm sad about given how much their October theme meant to me. Beauty and the Beast is one of my forever favorite things. But overall, I was not a fan of this box.

*Beauty by Caroline Lee with a letter from the author printed inside
*Metal bookmark
*Rose necklace
*Jewelry box
*Pretzel and icing

 Honestly, my favorite item in the box was the pretty metal bookmark. I do love the necklace, but I'd already had something similar from Hot Topic (though I do like this one better). I didn't mind getting a book from an indie author, I love finding gems in the self-published world! It's even cooler that this was a limited printing specifically for LitCube subscribers. And I'm excited to read it! I really want to love it, and I feel like if I do, it'll make me feel better about getting this box. (I'm only half-joking).

Because.
(idk how well you can see it, but that whole side is open, which it shouldn't be)

MY JEWELRY BOX BROKE. I'M SO UPSET. It's so pretty and it could've been a good box to use for bookish things. But IT'S NO GOOD. I didn't contact LitCube because what could they have done? These were made specifically for the box, so I didn't think they'd had extras made. And I just didn't really want to bother with it. I could probably try to glue the side back on, but I don't know how well that will work. So yeah, pretty disappointed with this one, even more so after how much I loved OwlCrate.

*****

By and large, OwlCrate is one of the best subscription boxes out there. I've always been impressed by the quality of their items and how good they are at creating a theme around a specific book. In the past, I would've loved to have gotten a few of theirs before. But so freaking happy I started with the Wonderland box, because I'm amazed at the quality of the items and how awesome they did with this theme.

I have a hard time picking my favorite item from this box, but this EXCLUSIVE cover of Heartless probably takes the top. I honestly love it more than the original cover! The white background works so much better, because it makes the colors pop. And it's just so freaking pretty. With the book, there was a letter from Marissa Meyer and a quote card that says, "Sometimes your heart is the only thing worth listening to."

I'm in love with this edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. I FINALLY HAVE MY OWN COPY SO NO MORE EXCUSES AS TO WHY I HAVEN'T READ IT YET. I have always loved Alice and Wonderland, even though I've never read the actual story, so it's a must now. The cover and the bookmark were designed by Risa Rodil and printed by Rock Paper Books. I've eyed some of Rock Paper Books' classics for awhile now, so I'm super excited to have this one in my collection. IT IS ADORABLE. (I just bought 3 more of their editions too, and I can't wait to get them. Seriously check out their work, guys!)

The Alice button and the curiouser and curiouser bookmark from Authored Adornments were my two favorite non-book items!

There was also this super awesome tea tin and blend from Riddle's Tea Shoppe and Adagio. There were 15 bags inside, and unfortunately I was not a fan of the tea. I tried it twice, once with sugar and once without, and will not be drinking it again. But that's okay! I was already not a tea person, definitely not adventurous when it comes to tea. And I still adore this tin that it came in. #keepingitforever

Last item included: a magnet designed by the lovely Evie. Overall, like wow, Owlcrate's box was AMAZING. I'm so impressed by it. 10/10 would recommend. December's theme is EPIC, and since I'm 99% sure of the book, I won't be getting it because I didn't love it. But it sounds like an epic box, so you should check it out!

*****

This month, I'll be receiving The Bookish Box's December theme (Yule Ball). I'm both excited and nervous. I don't online shop for clothes because it's hard to determine the fit. I bought a few of their past shirts during their Black Friday sale but they haven't arrived yet so I still don't know the fit. That makes me nervous as I wait for their box to come! But I'm also excited because it's a Harry Potter theme and I think they do a super good job with their boxes. Their January theme is book to musicals, and a hint has been Hamilton, so I'm *really* thinking about buying it. BUT I'm gonna wait until I get their shirts so I know for sure what size/fit I need. I'd LOVE to someday get Fairyloot, but that's even more expensive because it's not US-based. I also think Uppercase is pretty cool. Basically, I think I'm becoming a bit addicted to these subscription boxes, and this is a bad idea ;)


Have you guys ever tried a subscription box? If so, which one and did you love it? I want opinions for future references!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Cover Reveal: Until It Fades by K.A. Tucker

YAY ANOTHER KA TUCKER BOOK. She's one of my faaaves, and I'm so excited for this. Check out the cover below!

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About UNTIL IT FADES:

A sexy new romance about a small-town woman who saves the life of a mysterious man, and finds herself unexpectedly thrown into a whirlwind love affair, featuring bestselling author K. A. Tucker’s signature “well-constructed, pulse-pounding suspense” (USA TODAY).

Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population three thousand outside of tourist season.

And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling.

Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage. So she hides her identity. It works.

For a time.

But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust.

Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?







*****

About K.A. Tucker:
K.A. Tucker writes captivating stories with an edge.

She is the USA Today bestselling author of 14 books, including Ten Tiny Breaths and Burying Water, and her latest Adult Suspense novel, He Will Be My Ruin. Her books have been featured in national publications including USA Today, Globe & Mail, Suspense Magazine, and Publisher's Weekly.

K.A. Tucker currently resides in a quaint town outside of Toronto with her husband, two beautiful girls, and a Chug.


Links:

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

From the Den: November Edition

From the Den is a feature to showcase the books that I don't post reviews for on the blog, whether I liked them or not. I read so many books that never make it onto The Fox's Hideaway, so I wanted a feature where I could still tell y'all about them. :)

Oh man, November was a... fucking month. I fell into a hard reading slump after the election. That completely derailed me, and I was left grasping for comfort. So I reread one of my all-time favorite series, The Lumatere Chronicles, which made me feel a hell of a lot better (and now I'm missing the characters AGAIN). But that was pretty much it. However, I WAS able to finish these two books before the election stole a month of my life away.

*****

As I Descended by Robin Talley
This was certainly a page-turner, a little intense at times. And though I haven't read Macbeth, it definitely had the feel of Shakespeare. But I didn't love it, which has more to do with the type of story it was (it's not really my thing and I didn't find it be like THRILLING) and not the characters or the writing. I enjoyed the read, and I found the relationships between the many characters so complex and intriguing to watch unfold. And that ending? WOW. I can tell you that I was not expecting the direction it went or what happened. As I Descended was a fast read and something that had my attention from the first chapter.
Rating: 3.5 Paw Prints!


A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare
 I'm basically gonna be reading a Tessa Dare novel a month. LOL. I just adore these historical romances. And this one was no exception. It was, again, a fun and sexy and heartwarming story with a teddy bear of a love interest and a feminist woman who refuses to conform to society's expectations of her. The spitfire Susanna and the stubborn Bram clashed more than once, and it made the story so banterific, and the romance so shippable. I can't wait for more in this series!
Rating: 4 Paw Prints!

*****

I hope you guys had a better month in reading I did!   

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

(65) Top Ten New-to-Me Authors in 2016

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's topic:  Top Ten New-To-Me Authors I Read For The First Time In 2016
****in no particular order****
 
1. Roshani Chokshi
I think Roshani is my favorite author discovery of this year (yes I know she was a 2016 debut-er, but shhhh). I was fortunate enough to get an eARC of A Crown of Wishes, so I've read both her books now, and I absolutely LOVE her writing. She's a word goddess/magician, and I need everything she writes. Asap.
 
2. Stephanie Garber 
I was able to snare a copy of Caraval when I went to BEA in May, and I tried to wait as long as I could to read it, but it still was so early! BUT I DON'T CARE. The book is so freaking good, ahhh. It's deserving of the hype it's receiving, and I'm so damn excited for the sequel, wherever it shall go! I NEED MORE.

3. Tessa Dare
omg Tessa is another fave discovery of 2016. I'm not a historical fiction person, even hist romance, but HER BOOOOOKS MAN. They are so fucking funny and sexy and shippy and banterific. I'm so glad I have a huge backlist to go through because I can't get enough of her books.

4. Emma Mills
While everyone was raving about her First and Then last year, I ended up reading This Adventure Ends first. And it was SO GOOD omg. 

5. Claire Legrand
I'm not an MG person, but surprisingly Claire's MG above was where I started. The portrayal of anxiety and depression through Finley's story was one of the realest and honest I've read in books. I'm so happy kids especially have this book. I hope it reaches those who need it so badly. I hope it makes them feel heard and understood and that I hope it helps those who don't know and those who do.p
 
6. Cori McCarthy
oh, my heart. This book was everything to me. The way it was written was so creative and engaging, the ship was beyond shippable, and I could relate so well to the MC and the loss she was going through. Her grief was visceral, and I felt every part of it.

7. Destiny Soria
Iron Cast was probably the biggest surprise for me this year. I loved it SO. MUCH. The beautiful friendship between the two MCs was probably my favorite part, but everything about it was so good. It's a slower-paced novel, but one that I found intriguing from the very beginning. Get it, guys!

8. Anna-Marie McLemore
I can't believe I haven't read her debut yet because I felt like I heard never-ending praise for it. And with good reason, because Anna-Marie's writing is one of a kind and so gorgeous. Reading WTMWO was like a dream, and one that I was sad about when I finished. I didn't want the story to end! I'm even more excited to read her first book now, and I'm planning to do that during the #DAReadathon in January. :D
 
9. Elizabeth May
I binge-read these books back in April, and I am full of regret because it's going to be awhile before the 3rd one is out and I NEED IT SO BADLY I CAN'T STAND IT. The Falconer was another big surprise for me, and I wasn't expecting to love it so much. But oh, how I do. This series is one of my absolute favorites! I will definitely be reading whatever Elizabeth writes next.
 
10. Traci Chee 
What a debut! So original and unique and with stories within the story. I was so entranced with this book, and I read it so fast that I'm sure I missed important things. A reread of this before the sequel comes out will be a necessity. And I have no doubt I'm going to love it a after a second time, too. So beautiful. I can't wait for more!

Honorable Mentions: Caleb Roehrig and Stacey Lee (who was on this list at first but since I STILL haven't finished Outrun the Moon yet [not because it's terrible, more because I'm still feeling a little slumpy with reading] I decided to add her to the honorable mention list instead. And Caleb's here because his book was awesome and I'd definitely read more from him the future!

*****

What authors did YOU discover for the first time this year? Did any of these lovely people make your list? Let's talk! :D 

Monday, December 5, 2016

Review of Bad Boy

Title: Bad Boy
Author: Elliot Wake
Publisher: Atria
Release Date: December 6th, 2016!
*eARC kindly provided by Atria Books via NetGalley*

From Goodreads...
Vlog star Renard Grant has nothing to prove: he’s got a pretty face, chiseled body, and two million adoring video subscribers. Plus the scars on his chest and a prescription for testosterone. Because Ren is transgender: assigned female at birth, living now as male. He films his transition and shares it bravely with the world; his fans love his honesty and positivity.

But Ren has been living a double life.

Off-camera, he’s Cane, the muscle-bound enforcer for social justice vigilante group Black Iris. As Cane, he lets his dark side loose. Hurts those who prey on the disempowered. Indulges in the ugly side of masculinity. And his new partner, Tamsin Baylor, is a girl as rough and relentless as him. Together, they terrorize the trolls into silence.

But when a routine Black Iris job goes south, Ren is put in the crosshairs. Someone is out to ruin his life. He’s a bad boy, they say, guilty of what he punishes others for.

Just like every other guy: at heart, he’s a monster, too.

Now Ren’s got everything to prove. He has to clear his name, and show the world he’s a good man. But that requires facing demons he’s locked away for years. And it might mean discovering he’s not such a good guy after all.



My Review!
I’m such a fan of Elliot Wake’s books (even though I hated Unteachable). He has such an honest, unflinching writing style that is also steeped in beautiful prose. And I loved Bad Boy; it might have even been my favorite of his books yet. I still haven’t read Cam Girl; I had meant to before this. But when I received an eARC of BB, I did not have the patience so I just dived right into it. I think I ruined CG’s twist for myself, and a few other things, but I don’t think it’ll hurt my reading experience. Just as well, I’m waiting a bit to read Cam Girl. I’m also not quite ready to have no more Elliot books to read. So yeah, anyway, this book was super, super good and I wouldn’t mind more stories with these characters, tbh.

Bad Boy is told in the POV of Renard Grant. Ren is transgender, and he started a web series to share his journey with other people. I really loved the in-depth look at Ren’s transition. This is not the first book I’ve read with a transgender MC, but it’s the first that taught me so much more than I can find out through the internet. Because Elliot is transgender himself, it gave this book a depth and realness the story wouldn't get from a cis author. It was so great. And I loved Ren himself. He’s still dealing with the fallout from his transition, from his roommate and ex-lover and his family. And he’s still trying to figure out who he is. He’s charming, kind, and he is so brave to go after what he wants, even if people can’t understand it.

I loved the scenes with everyone in them. Blythe, Lainy, Armin. Ellis, who I’m glad I met. I cannot wait to read their story after meeting them. And then the addition of Tasmin Baylor, a mystery wrapped up in a package that Ren cannot seem to ignore or stay away from. They form a connection, and one that made Ren finally feel loved for who he is. With all of them together, they have formed a vigilante group that goes after assholes. Men who have done people wrong and men who have hurt women. It’s a social justice group and one that had a super dark start. And everyone who is in it are not… exactly good people. But they have good hearts; they just have an agenda that will not be thrown out no matter what.

I also loved that the book (and really all Elliot’s books) tackled head-on society’s ideas about gender and sexuality. Ren’s got an understanding of the world that not many men can say they have. He was assigned female at birth, so he has so much more respect and compassion for women, and he knows what it’s like in their shoes. So throughout this book, it dug deep into gender and society and the differences between men and women. Not the obvious, but the ones society has warped throughout history. Through Ren’s POV, the author brought up a lot of questions about what it means to be female or male. And it dug into rape culture and toxic masculinity and privilege and how people view transgender people, which definitely isn’t always positive.

From the small synopsis that had been on Goodreads, I was expecting this to be darker than Black Iris had been. But it wasn’t! Not to say that did anything to mess with my enjoyment of the book. Not at all. I was pleasantly surprised with it, and I was so intrigued to find out who the fuck is messing with precious Ren. I was reading it so fast, I hit like 60%, and was like how in the world did I get here? It was such a quick, emotional, and addicting read. I would love it if Elliot continued writing stories revolving around the Black Iris vigilante group. But I don’t know if he has any plans to. Even if he doesn’t, I’m looking forward to more of his stories. Bad Boy was such a good book, and an important one at that!

RATING:

Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 2016 Releases

Oh man, there are not a lot of books being published this month! I feel like this is always normal of December, but it still feels weird. But perhaps a good thing given our overwhelming TBRs and our screaming wallets/bank accounts? :p

December 1st

December 2nd

December 6th

December 10th 

December 13th

 December 27th


I've already read: Bad Boy, which I *think* is the only one. But it was AMAZING. I'm a huge fan of Elliot, and I loved this one!

For review: Ever the Hunted. I've heard REALLY mixed things about this one, so I'm a little nervous. I hope I at least enjoy it because it's one that I've been really excited to read. Aaaand, that is it! Plenty of time for catching up on earlier releases I missed!

My most anticipated: The Secret of a Heart Note and The Blazing Star! I'm currently reading Stacey's Outroon the Moon and am enjoying it immensely, so I can't wait for more from her. And TBS was a surprising gem I found while scrolling through Twitter. It sounds SO good, and I'm so excited to read it. And ahhh, of course Nora Roberts' new one! Island of Glass is the final book in her Guardians Trilogy. It's not my fave of hers, but I really enjoy it and I'm looking forward to completing another series of hers.


What December releases are YOU excited about? Any I missed that should be on my radar? Let's talk!