Memories Fairyloot Unboxing

April’s Fairyloot arrived quitelate this time, so it felt as if it was the May box rather than the April one. Oh well, this is the oen for April, and it left me with some opinions. Let’s unbox starting from the top right and going clockwise:

  • Tote bag, this is a thick quality one which is nice but the deisgn is very much quotes and small reading so it doesn’t shine much.
  • Emoji sticky tabs which is very much NOT my thing. Starting by it being emojis and then sticky tabs.
  • Theme bookmark
  • An enamel pin for a Memory Vial.
  • Wahsi tape for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though it could be for many thing, however it is cute and blue so I like it.
  • A Secret Book Volume 3. I like the idea but it does look quite “fake” (whereas I already have a few other secret books that look more like books), so shall compare but I like the idea.
  • Theme card.
  • Tarot cards, not been collecting them so a bit meh about them.
  • A pin banner thing, which I am not keeping but I know of some people who would love it.
  • The main book, Incendiary which I am intrigued by it and looking forward to reading.

All in all it felt a bit not cohesive, and some items felt like fillers and add ons just to pad it rather than to really want ot be in theme and with the book. But shall compare later on to the other box doing the same book and we can decide…

Break the Curse Fairyloot Unboxing

So, after a long delay due to COVID19 issues, and the parcel being sent to the wrong address despite replying of needing address changes to all book boxes *sigh*, I have the March Fairyloot.

Starting on the top right and going clockwise:

  • Postcard about bieng in tough times.
  • Break the Curse theme card
  • A hard headband (not an elastic one) with a Raven Cycle print. The print is nice, but I will never use the headband because those hurt the hell out of my head and give me an instant headache, which is a shame.
  • Passport cover, again, nice idea, but most airports don’t like passport covers and ask you to take it out and then it is one more thing to try to balance and not loose, so yeah, just not happening (plus, I don’t think a lot of people are going to be travelling soon).
  • A list notepad.
  • Zippered booksleeve. It is cushioned and has a zipper on top and it is gorgeous, so I really like it.
  • A lankyard for Caraval. The lankyard is nice, but I am fed up of Caraval everything.
  • Tarot cards. Nice art, do not collect them.
  • A Holly Black tumbler, which is nice but I don’t really use this type of tumblers so won’t be used at all.
  • Bone Crier’s Moon, with gorgeous shimmering green edges. I am excited for it.

All in all an interesting box. The items are nice but most of them I won’t use which is a bit of a waste and sad. The book is definitely gorgeous, specially the subtle shimmering on the edges. Not a bad box, just a little less useful/less to keep for myself.

Woven in Moonlight Review

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px MoonKestrel Logo2 20px

A book based on Bolivian history with moon magic? yes please! And that is just the short premise of it. We have Ximena who has been the Condesa’s decoy for most of her life, to the point she’d die for her. But she doesn’t have to die, only marry the enemy King who is intent on destroying the few leftover Illustrians and has taken over the country.

But King Atoc is corrupt and obsessed with a drug and using it to make money while makignthe population addicted to it and slowly destroying what he built after de-throning the Illustrians.

At first I was incredibly annoyed by Ximena and Catalina (the true Condesa), but the plot was what kept me wanting to find out. I could see bits of where the inspiration for the made up things in the story came from and it made it richer and more interesting.

I never really ended up caring too much about Ximena, though she does grow a lot through the book which helped as she realises not everything she has been told and knows is actually the full truth.

We get a lot about food, weaving and clothes but not enough about the politics, history or the magic. Moon magic, come on! I was dying to know more about it, but we only really find the weaving magic and what Catalina is meant to do via the stars. Not much more is mentioned other than some healing abilities and hiding things, but not detailed enough and it is almost as if magic is an afterthought and yet it is incredibly significant to the story, so it didn’t sit well in my head the disconnect between the importance of the magic and how easily it was brished off to the side unless it was plot important. Or got Ximena out of a pickle.

The animals were cute and having El Lobo be this kind of Robin Hood/Zorro figure was fun but it was easy to guess who was behind it and it felt a bit frustrating that his part in the story is only to prompt Ximena to do things or challenge her when she’s out doing the things. We only know of him as folk hero, and again, the book feels like it only birngs certain things in as needed without any concept, and given how Ximena is that felt not right that she wouldn’t do more about it before she’s “forced” to do something about it.

A few other choices of actions for some of the characters felt odd but otherwise it was interesting and I enjoyed the story and the ideas behind it. It was fun to read and it went by fast (it didn’t feel like a drag or a struggle to read).

Rulebreakers Fairyloot Unboxing

After the Moon & Stars box, I did my best to not keep ym hopes up for this box. The previous one was SO good I wasn’t sure how the follow up box would be. But surprisingly it wasn’t a huge difference. It isn’t as good as Moon & Stars, but it isn’t a sad box or one that made me think “oh noes, not worth it”.

So let’s unbox the contents, starting from the theme card in the middle top and going clockwise:

  • Theme card.
  • A foiled scarf based on Sorcery of Thorns. I was like “oh this is gorgeous” and it still stands. It is stunning.
  • A Serpent and Dove mug. I did not really like the book, but this mug, pure gold(en snake).
  • Tarot collectible cards (not bothered but I can appreciate the art).
  • A We Hunt the Flame print, the artwork is nice and I did recognise it despite still having the book on my TBR.
  • This one made me giggle with the Mordor luggage tag and it is absolutely going on one of our suitcases because it is pretty cool and good pun.
  • On top of the luggage tag is a sticker and there are also some foil booksmarks inspired by Nevernight series and I they fit the series well plus are a good design.
  • A print for the book and the theme bookmark.
  • The book, which is The Shadows Between Us by Tricia Levenseller. I don’t think I know much about it except that it had caught my eye and so I am looking forward to reading it.
  • Artwork of the characters from the book (I am not sure yet who they are).
  • There was also a lipbalm that is isnpired by The Wicked Saints and smells very yummy. Good tiing for winter and my husband starting to steal all of my lipbalms!

As you can see, this box had several stunning items and it still feels like a lot of care was going into it to make it so I am glad it didn’t fall flat. Looking forward to the March box!

Moon & Stars Fairyloot Unboxing

Fairyloot announced this box and I knew I needed to have it. And I have to say, I do not regret it at all. I know I’ve been complaining about the contents of book boxes recently, but this box is exactly what I want to talk about.

You can see the effort and care that was put into it to make it a stunning box. The amount of items is great (I even missed one and had to add the picture at the end of this post) and they are varied, decent or good quality. The whole thing screams “we care, we love the theme, we put effort into this”. And this is what I find lacking recently. If you can do it for this one box, if I can see how much you care by the contents of your box, then why aren’t you all doing this all the time? I wouldn’t be umming and erring about keeping the subscription if the boxes were always this good!

I mean, even this box has items I am not keeping, but I feel way less sad about it because there are a lot of items I like and because there’s so mcuh awesome useful stuff, that I am okay with it.

But now let’s do a full unboxing, starting on the bottom left corner and going clockwise:

  • Theme card.
  • A print for the book that has the author letter on the other side.
  • Stickers that are around the book. I love this, give me more fun stickers.
  • Star fairy lights. Cute, tiny and just a great thing in general.
  • Moon trinket dish. This is one of the ones I am not keeping but it is mostly because I already have two trinket dishes I prefer but I can still appreciate this one.
  • Cushion cover. On one side it has a moon and reader illustration, on the other a quote. It went straight into my favourite cushion. Cushion covers that aren’t just a quote are 100 times better than the same print on both sides and it being a quote.
  • Notebook with shiny foil and quote.
  • Theme bookmark.
  • Even the Darkest Stars keyring. First, yay because it is a look back at a previous book included, and second, it looks like Spyros and yeah, loved it.
  • Moon and star paperclips. You can’t see it in the picture but the other side of the paperclip has a crescent moon. I adore them!
  • Tarot cards. Not bothered since I am not collecting them.
  • The book which is Woven in Moonlight.
  • Also, pictured below rather than on the full picture, a moon phases neckalce that I am adoring.

As you can see, the quality and care shows. Also, to note, they had paper bags instead of plastic for most of the items (there is still some plastic, but it is minimal) so I am loving the choice on that too. I understand they will struggle to get rid of it all but the small change was something I liked too.

The only problem is that now I have high expectations for the next box and I don’t want ot ahve the hopes broken.

Defying the Odds Fairyloot Unboxing

I fell for it, because of the proof to be included in the box. And I am giving them 6 months to convince me to stay or not. I am still unsure about liking the full box. But we shall see.

Starting on the theme card on the bottom left and going clockwise, we have:

  • Theme card and theme art bookmark.
  • Magnetic bookmarks inspired by Skyward, my fave is the middle one. It’s so cute. But I am not crazy about magnetic bookmarks so they may go unused.
  • Tarot cards. Not my thing (I have a deck, it is just this set isn’t my thing).
  • A Fire Breathing Queen pin, which did for interesting reading of what it says.
  • A pair of socks, they’re soft and cosy.
  • Microfiber cloth with a quote. Now, this was abit confusing, because it is super cheap quality and basically doesn’t clean much and the printing will wash out easily. I would’ve rather liked a glasses cleaning cloth or something that can be used more.
  • Proof copy of Wicked As You Wish, really excited about it!
  • Game of Thrones pencils. I don’t need many pencils (unless they were proper drawing pencils sets, that’d be nice) so this isn’t being kept either.
  • Tea, in eco friendly packaging, which is nice.
  • A nice pouch, with a quote from Red Rising.
  • The main event book, Eight Will Fall. I hand’t heard of the book before this but I am very curious!

All in all, I am still unsure. There is the books and maybe one item I like, but the rest isn’t too great and could be better. But let’s see how January goes and the next few months…

Favourites Fairyloot Unboxing

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I bit the bullet for March’s Fairyloot because I wanted both book that would be in it, and a theme of Favourites should be pretty spectacular, right? Sadly, this box confirmed that I am not that into their boxes.

But let’s see what was inside, starting from the top left corner and going clockwise:

  • Three prints. The only one I recognised was the Warcross one. Apparently the other two are from The Cruel Prince and An Ember in the Ashes. The artwork is nice, but 3 paper items aren’t really winning me over for this box.
  • A golden metal bookmark that is embossed and inspired by Strange The Dreamer. I liked it but it’s not that amazing and the design gets lost in the metal.
  • Theme postcard.
  • Alice in Wonderland socks, probably one of the best items as I do like socks. But also, nothing special about them. I can easily buy socks like this just going to Oxford for the day and visiting the Alice shop.
  • Bookworm Page Tabs. I like page tabs and have loved the potion ones they sent in a previous box, but this ones are less striking. Still not too bad, not too good, or rather, not a favourite.
  • Theme bookmark
  • Tarot cards, not collecting them  so neither here nor there for me. The artwork was very nice which at least was a bonus here.
  • Viper by Bex Hogan. That cover is gorgeous and I am so happy with this!
  • Author letter with artwork (for To Best the Boys)
  • To Best the Boys by Mary Weber, also another book I am looking forward to reading!
  • A purple Fairyloot pin. I wasn’t crazy about it, it is a bit “blurry” so not really stunning or striking.
  • And finally, underneath it all, a scarf with “favourite” books. It has spelling errors (I proof and proof my artwork if it has text, and when I “interpret” titles, I change to other words, not just omit letters), it is too translucent to actually show the books as books when you wear it, just looks like blots of colour, so not impressed. The artwork in itself has mmostly titles I don’t care about and that aren’t favourites.

All in all I was underwhelmed by the box. My favourite items were the books only, nothing else really made me think “oh yes, my favourites”, so for me the theme missed the mark. I am sure others loved it, but since I buy too many boxes and preorder too many books I have to be picky with what I get and sadly Fairyloot isn’t for me.

 

Dragons Fairyloot Unboxing

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I broke my “no more Fairyloot” ban because who can resist dragons, right? But somehow, despite it being a nice box, I didn’t feel like it was as great as could be. Let’s have a look at the items, starting fromt he left and going towards the right:

  • Theme postcard, this one I liked, but we already knew what the artwork was going to be.
  • Fire & Heistby Sarah Beth Durst. I had this one on my list of preorders so definite win here.
  • A Reading Journal, this one is less fancy than the one in Owlcrate, so even less excited about it than I was by Owlcrate’s. I already use Goodreads and blog about what I read. And I’ve never been good at keeping journals and sticking to it.
  • The Storm Crow ARC. My favourite item of this box, because I really want to read this book and it was great to get a proof so early for it!
  • A Gringotts Escape Dragon book sleeve. The artwork is nice, but the sleeve is bulky and not as good as most of the ones I already have (I understand that mass produced sleeves can’t compare to handmade ones, but I prefer the handmade ones much more). This is one of those items I am not keeping.
  • At the top, is a hidden “pin banner”, which is literally a piece of fabric on a stick. Mine came loose from the stick so I had to reattach it and I saw it and just went “why did you include this?!” Single banners are a bit meh already, but this one doesn’t even have any print or something on it. You could’ve added a title of “my pin/badge collection” or “bookdragon treasures/shinies” and make it a lot more attractive. This felt like a cheap item just added to pad up the box.
  • First two cards of their trading cards, I think they’re tarot based. And they’re quite big and heavy.
  • Double sided print with Toothless and Manon (why do you do double sided prints? It means I have to choose one side to display and the other to damage with whatever I use to glue/stick it to whatever way I display it?).
  • Second favourite item, a glow in the dark dragon necklace (it glows in the dark, the child in me loves this part of it and has extra points). This is also the most “dragon” item of the box.

So, half of the items or more are things I didn’t like, which means I had made the right choice to not buy more Fairyloot boxes because I wasn’t happy with the items. (I know other people may like them, but because I subscribe and try so many book boxes, I am picky with the ones I stick to).

I also felt it wasn’t as full of dragons as it could’ve been. Toothless was fun but maybe it’d be great for it to not just be a print (plus an item was missing!). I just wish the box would include a lot less paper items, and focus to keep the theme really into theme. The focus on big items is also making the rest of the box pay for it, which is kind sad.

August Fairyloot Unboxing

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This is sadly my last Fairyloot box for now, I have had to umm and err a lot about it, the contents just haven’t been wowing me and I try to only keep book boxes that give me joy when I open them. Anyway, starting from the book and going clockwise:

  • These Rebel Waves (loved the colour of the sprayed edges!)
  • Author letter and character art.
  • Sweet Pea magical scrub from Geeky Clean.
  • Banner flag, with a slight error in spelling but the phrase is good.
  • Tiny magnet.
  • Why is the Rum Always Gone water bottle (I liked this item and it made me smile).
  • Candle, this one had a too subtle scent it was really hard to actually get any scent from it which made a bit sad, I love candles).
  • Pirate Wax Seal, woot!!!! This was a great addition to the box and it made me smile to see it there.
  • Theme card and bookmark.

It wasn’t a bad box to end this with, and I hope that they can entince me with further themes.

The Power Within Fairyloot Unboxing

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A mixed box of feelings for me. Some items were very good but the rest were not enough. Let’s do the unboxing starting from the book and going clockwise:

  • Heart of Thorns by Bree Barton. It has red sprayed edges (beautiful) and expect a review soon (like in two days).
  • Sweet Black Waves postcard.
  • Author letter/character art print.
  • Fairyscope hidden underneath.
  • Children of Blood and Bone print (one of my favourite things from this box).
  • Theme card.
  • Witchy broomstick with a quote referencing Quidditch.
  • Colour changing mug. Sadly it is just a quote in colours, it isn’t a wonderful picture or some fun effect, which is a shame as Ink & Wonder designs are usually delightful and lovely.
  • Wrongly printed tea towel (they are sending one that isn’t reversed, no one thoguht to check this before printing sadly).
  • A room spray from Geeky Clean.

 

Rebels in Ballgowns Fairyloot Unboxing

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This sounded like an exciting theme so I kept my subscription and here we are, starting from the theme card on the top right and moving clockwise:

  • Theme/Spoiler card.
  • Nevernight/Godsgrave inspired  by Geeky Clean. It smells qutie enticing and it is lovely in a glass jar.
  • Reading Journal, which looks quite interesting and I hope I will use it, though I admit I suck at journalling 😦
  • Cushion Cover, I do like some of them but there have been too many recently in Fairyloot so I wasn’t too keen to receive yet another one (and specially if it is mostly just a quote).
  • Grace & Fury, with author letter, signed bookplate, postcard and theme bookmark.
  • Mask necklace, which was my absolute favourite item from this box.
  • Sea Witch sampler poster from publisher.
  • Ink and Wonder patch, their designs are always so lovely and it was interesting to see them in a patch (but seriously, why patches, I never use patches!)
  • Shatter Me magnetic bookmarks, they are surprisingly heavy and detailed.

It was a nice box but I have to say I was a little sad to see another cushion cover in it and a patch (even if it is Ink and Wonder). But I am looking forward to reading the book.

Save The Kingdom FairyLoot Unboxing

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This was a very epic theme and I was looking forward to the book so I was very happy to see it in this box (Also I have to say I loved the artwork and for some odd reason it made me think of Joan d’Arc. So let’s unbox it starting from the book and going clockwise:

  • Onyx & Ivory by Mindee Arnett. Again really looking forward to reading this.
  • Castle shaped bath bomb by Little Hearts Gifts.
  • Throne of Glass Quote Markers/Page Markers, the sticky kind, by FictionTea Designs..
  • Theme postcard, very epic indeed.
  • Smoke in the Sun and Legendary publisher’s goodies.
  • Coaster by Evie Bookish (they had sent a similar one that I really liked and I loved it so I am happy about this one)
  • Wake Up Tea from the Tea Leaf Co.
  • Dalbreck (Remnant) Lip Scrub by GeekyClean. Mine is Melon flavoured and though I haven’t tried it yet I really like it!
  • Quote book sleeve by Reverie & Ink, this is cute but not my favourite book sleeve (I am not big on quotes in stuff except maybe coasters).
  • Artwork and author letter.
  • Theme bookmark.

All in all it was a good box and I wonder how the next one will be.

 

Whimsical Journeys Fairyloot Unboxing

When I saw the theme and that it had a unicorn I couldn’t resist this box from Fairyloot.

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Starting from the theme card and going clockwise, let’s unbox this!:

  • Theme card, with a unicorn so win for me!
  • Artwork and authors letter (the letter is on the other side)
  • Ace of shades badge
  • Magical Beasts luggage tag by Lovely Owls Books, which I found to be a fun item and useful (part of me doesn’t want to use it because I don’t it to be stolen!)
  • Themed bookmark
  • Blackjack Enamel Pin by Taratjah.
  • Beyond A Darkened Shore by Jessica Leake. This looks right up my street and I am eager to read it!
  • Fictional Places Print by Fiction Tea Designs.
  • Narnia Reusable Travel Mug by Ink and Wonder. I was so pleased with this because I only have one now and had been looking into getting a new one. 🙂
  • Carpe Diem notepad, this was a bit odd and I haven’t read The Darkest Minds, but it is a pad so it will be used/
  • Leif’s Ship Candle by Flick The Wick, smells delicious and I totally want to burn it forever.

 

Furyborn Review

This book was provided through a Fairyloot box as an advance copy

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Furyborn by Claire Legrand

Follows two fiercely independent young women, centuries apart, who hold the power to save their world…or doom it.

When assassins ambush her best friend, the crown prince, Rielle Dardenne risks everything to save him, exposing her ability to perform all seven kinds of elemental magic. The only people who should possess this extraordinary power are a pair of prophesied queens: a queen of light and salvation and a queen of blood and destruction. To prove she is the Sun Queen, Rielle must endure seven trials to test her magic. If she fails, she will be executed…unless the trials kill her first.

A thousand years later, the legend of Queen Rielle is a mere fairy tale to bounty hunter Eliana Ferracora. When the Undying Empire conquered her kingdom, she embraced violence to keep her family alive. Now, she believes herself untouchable–until her mother vanishes without a trace, along with countless other women in their city. To find her, Eliana joins a rebel captain on a dangerous mission and discovers that the evil at the heart of the empire is more terrible than she ever imagined.

As Rielle and Eliana fight in a cosmic war that spans millennia, their stories intersect, and the shocking connections between them ultimately determine the fate of their world–and of each other.

Rating:MoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

There was a lot of hype for this book so I was looking forward to reading it. It has an intense start where you find Rielle so interesting, and then you get Eliana. I struggled a lot to get into Eliana’s chapters, and even when it finally got better (around page 350), I still didn’t care very much for her. The reason I was reading her chapters was because of Simon, or Remy (definitely one of my favourite characters of the book!), or Navi or another character in there. I couldn’t feel for her and I just couldn’t immerse myself properly into her world view. Rielle’s chapters on the contrary where much more interesting, and that never helped poor Eliana’s one as they contrasted too much with hers.

I loved the elements and the strange empirium which made me think of atoms making up everything in the world (except empirium is golden here and I don’t think atoms are exactly a certain colour).

But it bugged me that there is a lot of explanations and reasons missing that just don’t make sense. Who decides who is the Sun or Blood Queen? Why is Rielle so powerful and so special? What does Corien want with her and if he so much needs her, why kill her? Most of it doesn’t make sense, and despite the “joining” of the plots, it still has too many gaps.

The writing itself is immersive and I did enjoy the flow of the writing and I had no problems with it or the style, all good there. So i look forward to reading the next book and to read more books from her, but I just feel an overhype for this sadly.

Moon recommends

Preorder Furyborn if you like stories that have two separate generations (by however many generations in between but you know, a past and a present or a present and a future views) and fantasy that has a dark tinge to it.

 

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns Review

This was one of the books that came in a FairyLoot box a while ago, and I had also had an ARC copy of it.

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Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Rating: MoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20pxMoonKestrel Logo2 20px Grey

This is a difficult rating and review decision, mostly because I loved the writing, world building and ambience of the book. However, I did not actually love the story. And I just couldn’t get to feel for Xifeng. So to be clear, the “low rating” in this case is more of a “this kind of story/MC doesn’t agree with me, rather than a “this is bad writing” because seriously, that is the furthest away from the truth it could get.

Julie does a masterful work at setting the story in East Asia, and I was hooked with the world, however, the shift of Xifeng never really clicked. She felt a bit like she was being mostly manipulated and never actually made choices, her choices were basically motivated by a “prophecy” of “destiny” and when it shows that she can’t have her cake and eat it, she goes completely against herself because of the Serpent God. That I just couldn’t understand, and Wei perfectly describes her in their last meeting.

All in all, I was fond of Shiro, Wei and the ladies in general, and it was really interesting to read it. Sadly, I knew where the story was going and that it would not be a happy story/ending. I am curious to see the next book and see what goes on with Jade, but then, I think I will prefer Jade as MC than Xifeng, we shall see.

Moon recommends

I am not an antihero reader in general. It’s not that I dislike good villains, but rather than I like villains that either have a good motive or antiheroes that just are in their way of being. The only books that come to mind is And I Darken and the Reckoners series by Brandon Sanderson. And of course, this one 🙂