MULAN DREAM CRATE!!!






Lootcrate is a monthly subsciption box featuring awesome anime/tv/gaming/pop culture merchandise for any fan! The Dream Crate idea is absolutely genius because Lootcrate is giving fans the opportunity to fans to create their own crate with no restrictions and is totally based on what they would like to have in a subscription box. So if you're a fangirl/fanboy or you're involved in a fandom, Dream Crate is definitely for you!

You can subscribe right here :P https://www.lootcrate.com/subscription-crates/gaming

Lootcrate inspired me to create my own Dream Crate! I was immediately ecstatic about this since i've never ever gotten a subscription box and i've always wanted one! Trying to find and stick to one theme was absolute hell because there were so many things i wanted to do but i settled on YA retellings!

The crates could range from Beauty and The Beast inspired to Mythology retellings! Loads and loads of YA books are based on retellings  and mythology so imagine a monthly crate with one myth/fairy tale featuring corresponding books, art, jewelry and maybe a candle? There could be a Beauty and the Beast one with ACOTAR merchandise, Anna Shoemaker's art, and a Cruel beauty book maybe? 

I was thinking for days and days about which character i wanted to feature in the box and i settled on Mulan. A few things have inspired this Mulan Crate-firstly the fact that i recently got an ARC of Flame in the Mist -one of the most anticipated YA reads of 2017 by Renée Ahdieh that's inspired by Mulan! After reading that book (You can find my review here) i just remembered how much i LOVED this other series by Sara B Larson which has a lot of Mulan inspired facts though it's not set in China! More details about those books below!

So the Mulan trend in this crate-it's inspired by YA books where the main character has to basically go undercover as a spy/hide as a man and hide her identity.

Books -  Defy series by Sara B. Larson and Flame in the Mist by Renée Ahdieh. The books are pretty thin so they can fit in the box lol :P (Click the covers to get redirected to the Goodreads page).



           


These gorgeous sword earings!


    
                                                                                                                    








A Mulan Funko-Pop!





A tote bag inspired by Mulan from the Once Upon A Time series! (click the link to go to the shop)
 

This awesome mug with the MOST AWESOME quote ever!!!! (Click the link to go the shop).

Disney Mulan Quote Mug | Mushu Quote | Dishonor Quote | Disney Quote | Disney Funny Mug



That's it! Everyone is free to do their own Dream Crate!!! So come on bloggers make your own post and who knows it might actually get turned into an actual subscription box! Don't forget to share your post on twitter and tag Loot Crate so they can see your amazing creations! And as much as possible try and link back to any Dream Crate posts you saw on the net or appreciated from other bloggers so that everyone gets promoted as much as possible :)


So the rules are simple, choose a theme and make your crate! Be as imaginative as you want and make it as crazy as you want but try and make it ABOVE $50! There you go, enjoy and have fun :) Remember to drop down your links here if you decide to make your own post so we can all see it :)!


FLAME IN THE MIST ARC REVIEW

TITLE: Flame In The Mist
AUTHOR: Renée Ahdieh
SERIES: Flame In The Mist #1
PUBLICATION DATE: May 16 2017
PUBLISHER: Penguin
SOURCE: Netgalley ARC


The daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has long known her place—she may be an accomplished alchemist, whose cunning rivals that of her brother Kenshin, but because she is not a boy, her future has always been out of her hands. At just seventeen years old, Mariko is promised to Minamoto Raiden, the son of the emperor's favorite consort—a political marriage that will elevate her family's standing. But en route to the imperial city of Inako, Mariko narrowly escapes a bloody ambush by a dangerous gang of bandits known as the Black Clan, who she learns has been hired to kill her before she reaches the palace.
Dressed as a peasant boy, Mariko sets out to infiltrate the ranks of the Black Clan, determined to track down the person responsible for the target on her back. But she's quickly captured and taken to the Black Clan’s secret hideout, where she meets their leader, the rebel ronin Takeda Ranmaru, and his second-in-command, his best friend Okami. Still believing her to be a boy, Ranmaru and Okami eventually warm to Mariko, impressed by her intellect and ingenuity. As Mariko gets closer to the Black Clan, she uncovers a dark history of secrets, of betrayal and murder, which will force her to question everything she's ever known.




I requested this on Netgalley a few days ago and after a long day of watching television and stuffing myself with Easter chocolates i finally decide to check my mail. Seeing the mail from Netgalley i was just like-ugh probably got rejected. IMAGINE MY SURPRISE WHEN I WASN'T!!!! I still can't believe i got an ARC of this book-it's one of the most anticipated books of this year!!!! So a huge huge thanks to Penguin for this; it seriously made my week-but this in no way affects my review!

One thing that would be cool to clear up-this is not a Mulan retelling. Aside from the protagonist dressing up as a boy, a background of a war ridden Japan and the importance of honor permeating the whole book-that's where the similarities end!
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Mariko wasn't physically a warrior like Mulan but she was intellectually pretty smart and she kind of sets herself apart from her society because she's too curious. She tends to question things instead of just going along with them like women are expected to do. And unlike Mulan, dressing up as a man doesn't allow her to become a warrior like Mulan wanted to be but it just gets her the freedom which she craves . At least it's the first step to figuring out who she is without societal constraints. So while she went through an existentialist crisis at the beginning of the book i can really see her character start to take shape when she was given her freedom. She has  a super sharp mind and incredibly creative when it comes to custom weaponry!


"When Mariko had erred, it had usually been intentional. An attempt to push barriers. Or a desire to learn. Usually it was that. A wish to know more. As she grew from a curious child into an even more curious young woman, the word she most often overheard at her back was odd. Much too odd. Far too prone to asking questions.
Far too apt to linger in places she wasn’t meant to be.” 



Romance wise, going into this book i was absolutely terrified that a love triangle would erupt. And then i kept getting the feeling that a love triangle was gonna happen the more we got introduced to the characters  but thankfully it didn't! I think a love triangle would have totally ruined it so thank the YA gods the author didn't fall into that trap!

I'm not going to go too much in depth with who the love interest is cause it's better if you figure it out for yourself whenever you read it but he was awesome!!! The first few lines in which he was described was certainly...unique. But he is seriously amazing and his character develops from cold and untouchable to someone with a lot of vulnerabilities and secrets.

One of my favorite things in Ahdieh's books is her phenomenal word building! The World building was hands down absolutely FANTASTIC!!! It was a total immersion into the culture and the background down to the smallest details of food! Seriously spectacular!

I do wish we had a little more romance-i guess i was used to it from Wrath and the Dawn! Now this might make me totally crazy but i was imaging the whole book as an anime in my head-i watch way too much anime! And the fantasy elements weren't so prominent on this book so hopefully in book 2 we'll get more of that :P

I also have to mention that one of my favorite characters was Kenshin-Mariko's brother and the Dragon Of Kai. He was quite complex but from the very first chapter from his POV he was just oozing power and strength! And the mutual trust, love and dedication between Mariko and him was completely adorable! He never gave up on his sister no matter what anyone else said.

"Mariko was not dead. She was simply fighting a different kind of war. Though Kenshin had yet to understand her purpose, he believed in his younger sister. Supported her.
Just as he knew she believed in and supported him. They would always be there for each other. Whatever may come."

And the ending omigosh!!! There's just twist after twist after twist. I had to put my kindle down for a while after i finished and just process EVERYTHING.


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 And the villains in this book? Ahdieh will keep you guessing until the very last pages and then blow everything up with another twist!

  
Then there was the moment when there were no more pages to swipe on my kindle and i was so angry that i was glaring at my kindle like it could somehow magically make more pages appear.
*Me swearing at the ending*
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Whew once i calmed down and realized that it's not my kindle's fault i actually got around to writing a review :P Amazing side characters, amazing world building, amazing main characters, amazing plot and amazing setting! This book certainly lived up to all its hype!!!

What are your thoughts?? Have any of you read/planning to read this???

BLACKSOULS TOUR+ GIVEAWAY



Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2)
by Nicole Castroman
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 11th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Romance, Pirates, Adventure
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Nicole Castroman brings the dangerous pirate ports of the Caribbean to life in this vibrant sequel to Blackhearts—the reimagined origin story of history’s most infamous pirate, Blackbeard.
Edward “Teach” Drummond is setting sail to the Caribbean as first mate on the most celebrated merchant ship in the British fleet—until he rebels against his captain. Mutiny is a capital offense and Teach knows it could cost him his life, but he believes it worth the risk in order to save his crew from the attacking Spanish ships.
Sailing on the same blue waters, Anne barely avoids the Spanish attack, making it safely to Nassau. But lawless criminals, corrupt politics, and dangerous intentions fill the crowded streets of this Caribbean port. Soon, Anne discovers that the man entrusted to keep the peace is quite possibly the most treacherous of them all—and he just happens to hold Teach’s fate in his terrifying hands.
Life and death hang in the balance when Teach and Anne are given a dangerous mission. It’s a mission that will test their love, loyalty and devotion, forcing them down a path neither one could have ever imagined.








After being separated, Anne is sailing on The Providence to Nassau, hoping that Teach got her message and would come after her. She befriends a pair of siblings-Cara and Coyle-who take her under their wing. Teach is trying to keep his identity a secret on his father's ship, The Deliverance, so that he can go after Anne. But being First Mate leaves him to deal with a cowardly and stupid captain and it isn't long before he realizes that if he doesn't take charge of the ship; they could possibly all die. But after arriving in Nassau both characters find themselves trapped by a powerful man who could very well end Teach's life if he doesn't do what he's told.

FINALLY!!!! Though it wasn't as Pirate-y as i'd hoped we did start to see the focus shift to pirates with the setting and the characters. But YES THERE WERE PIRATES IN THIS BOOK!!! It feels like we're building up to that full pirate atmosphere i'm literally craving!


We get introduced to new characters- Cara, Coyle, Benjamin, John and many more! I really liked each of them but at the end of the book my heart literally broke at some point!!


Where book 1 was much more romance focused this one goes much more into story line and plot. There was quite a lot of action and naval battles *swoons*!!!. The author also did an amazing job at the setting-i felt like i was watching everything play out like a POTC movie in my mind, she really did put in a lot of research!

LOVED LOVED the ship setting. I think in book 1 the fact that the story took place in an English household mostly, kind of broke off the Pirate feel but in this book half of it was on a ship and the other half in a port-ish scenery so i was getting Pirate vibes:P 





The romance is really starting to get to me!!! They are such a swoony couple-( I made my own little edit with who i would cast-
Ruben Cortada as Teach and Alisha Boe from 13 Reasons Why-I used Photoshop to make her eyes blue :P)

"What Teach wanted most in life was to find Anne and build a quiet life together somewhere, away from the rest of the world. Only then would he truly be happy.
Only then wold he truly be free."

Even though he's super protective of Anne and always wants her to stay out of harm's way; he never makes her feel caged or entrapped. I think we're slowly working up to the changes that turned him into Blackbeard because so far he's been through A LOT and i guess i can start to see the subtle change. I can't wait to see what finally drives him off the edge COMPLETELY and turns him into Blackbeard because now he's starting to walk towards that edge but he hasn't reached it yet.

"He never wanted people to dread him or the sound of his name so much that the only emotion they felt at his death was relief." 

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My poor poor Teach, this is historically ironical (If that's even a thing).

Anne really stepped up in this book! She really wants to find a place where she can belong and no one will judge her for her mixed heritage and she thinks she finds that in Nassau but even though most people don't bat an eye at her, some still retain the cruelty of racism and prejudice. Though she came back as strong as ever and is as stubborn as ever!

I can't wait to get to the next book for more adventures and hopefully MORE PIRATES!!!



Nicole was lucky enough to come with her very own best friend...she has a twin sister who can read her mind and finish her sentences for her.

At the age of 13, she went to Europe for the first time and it changed her life. She loves learning about different people, languages and cultures and speaks fluent German. She knows enough Spanish to get herself into trouble and can still read the Cyrillic alphabet from when she studied Russian.

She received her B.A. from Brigham Young University and has lived in Germany, Austria and two different places called Georgia. One is located on the Black Sea. The other is the state of Georgia where she now lives with her handsome husband and two beautiful children who continue to amaze her.














  • 1 Finished Copy of Blacksouls (Blackhearts #2) by Nicole Castroman
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QUINSEY WOLFE'S GLASS VAULT ARC REVIEW

TITLE: Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault
AUTHOR: Candace Robinson
SERIES: ?
PUBLICATION DATE:May 16th 2017
PUBLISHER: Self Published

SOURCE: ARC from author





*sorry guys the cover hasn't been released yet but i did see it and it's GORGEOUS!!!*

Some see it... Some don't...
People in the town of Deer Park, Texas are vanishing. There is a strange museum, known as Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault, that appears overnight. Perrie Madeline's best friend and ex-boyfriend are among the missing. Perrie, along with her friend August, go on a pursuit to search for them in the mysterious museum. Could the elusive Quinsey Wolfe’s Glass Vault have anything to do with their disappearances?






WOW!!!

So the wonderful Candace from Literary Dust has finally released her first book!!!

The synopsis pretty much says everything. Perrie is still recovering from a break up and is trying to figure out if she has feelings for August, one of her friends. But one day the see a weird mansion on the road which they're pretty sure has never been there. As the people closest to Perrie start to disappear, it isn't long before her investigation leads her and August to Quinsey Wolfe's Glass Vault. And before she knows it, she and August are thrust into a dark world filled with terror and they uncover a plot far more sinister than they ever could  have imagined.
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Mystery meets horror meets twisted fairy tales meets tragedy!!! This book was so unusual and yet so unique!!!!



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I instantly connected with Perrie from the moment her cousin, Maisie, tapped her on the shoulder and she almost jumped out of her skin. I'm also pretty jumpy like if you just pat my shoulder and i don't see you, i will literally scream.  And the weird thing is Horror movies don't scare me at all! Anywho, Perrie was a tough and smart MC! I loved the realism of her thoughts-everything i was thinking i only had to read a few lines below and she'd echo my thoughts!

All the characters were unique and developed and that was a real bonus because normally the side characters are totally flat and neglected. I loved Maisie's uniqueness and her obsession with Eye Patches! She was a bright and bubbly character with a super big heart!

My only issue with this book would be that at the beginning, the writing felt a little bit awkward but then about 10% through, the writing really started flowing as the story came together!!!

This book had to have one of the best cliffhanger/surprise twist endings-I did not see it coming AT ALL. I was staring at my kindle for like a minute after i finished trying to figure out if i want a sequel or just be morbidly happy about the ending? GAH i don't know!!!! I just LOVED the ending. LOVED IT.

The villain, Vale, -we encounter him in the prologue-was extremely dark and creepy and yet there was this kind of allure to him. He was by far the my favorite character because i feel like there is so much more to him despite his thirst to destroy everything and everyone. The way he toys with people and manipulates them was genius-he reminded me of Iago from "Othello". He was a fantastic villain you can't help but love :P

 "This time he will make sure the world ends in flames."

It was just so much more sinister then i ever could have imagined!!! It was beautiful!!!!!!!!I had the privilege of reading the prologue for book 2 and i am EXCITED, The originality of the story was off the charts! 

Hope you guys have an awesome week!!!!!

BLACKHEARTS REVIEW

TITLE: Blackhearts
AUTHOR: Nicole Castroman
SERIES: Blackhearts #1
PUBLICATION DATE: February 9 2016
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
SOURCE: Bought


Blackbeard the pirate was known for striking fear in the hearts of the bravest of sailors. But once he was just a young man who dreamed of leaving his rigid life behind to chase adventure in faraway lands. Nothing could stop him—until he met the one girl who would change everything.
Edward "Teach" Drummond, son of one of Bristol's richest merchants, has just returned from a year-long journey on the high seas to find his life in shambles. Betrothed to a girl he doesn’t love and sick of the high society he was born into, Teach dreams only of returning to the vast ocean he’d begun to call home. There's just one problem: convincing his father to let him leave and never come back.
Following her parents' deaths, Anne Barrett is left penniless and soon to be homeless. Though she’s barely worked a day in her life, Anne is forced to take a job as a maid in the home of Master Drummond. Lonely days stretch into weeks, and Anne longs for escape. How will she ever realize her dream of sailing to Curaçao—where her mother was born—when she's stuck in England?
From the moment Teach and Anne meet, they set the world ablaze. Drawn to each other, they’re trapped by society and their own circumstances. Faced with an impossible choice, they must decide to chase their dreams and go, or follow their hearts and stay.





Anyone who knows me knows that i am OBSESSED with anything related to Pirates of the Caribbean-I literally started crying when the trailer for the fifth movie came out; which i cannot wait for btw! So since i signed up for the tour of book 2 i decided to finally read book 1 which i've had on my kindle forever.

I didn't hate the book, on the contrary, i actually liked it a lot and it kept pulling me in every time i put my kindle down! 

But at some point in the book i realized there was something lacking. Something severely lacking.

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THE BLOODY PIRATES. I WAS PROMISED PIRATES, MATES!!!! There were only a few mentions of the ones fated to a "short drop and a sudden stop" BUT THEY WERE NOT HERE. I NEEDED BLOODY PILFERAGE, STEALING, SCHEMING PIRATES WITH A THIRST TO RIDE THE SEAS ON SAILS OF FREEDOM.
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Hopefully in book 2 things will pick up and we'll really delve into the beauty that is PIRATES. And we know that the story isn't gonna end well since Blackbeard's ship was called Queen Anne's Revenge both historically and in the POTC movies so something has got to happen to Anne. I wonder how they will tackle the fact that Blackbeard had fourteen wives!?

But this book was a love story. It had the impacts of racism, slavery and the societal prejudice of that time so it did make a pretty interesting background. I loved that their connection both came from that need to be free from societal constraints and prejudice and just sail across the seas to find out where they belonged. I was totally gripped and sucked into their relationship that eventually grew into something totally sweet and adorable.

The characters were really well developed each with their own flaws which brings me to that awesome symbolical cover!!! Both wanting freedom and yet they find themselves trapped. It was definitely more character driven then plot driven and though i'm not totally in love with the characters, i do really like them. 

I was reading a few reviews on Goodreads and i realized that when this book came out, everyone thought it was gonna be a standalone which explains why a lot of people hated the ending. So despite the lack of pirates i understand that we need a build up to Teach's character that leads to him becoming one of the most feared Pirates in history and hopefully the sequels will not disappoint.

That being said, i'm so excited to finally start the sequel because i have big expectations! 

Hope everyone has a nice week :P!