Wednesday 31 August 2016

August Wrap-Up.

This month didn't turn out to be so great, as I only managed 4 of the 7 chosen reads. However, I very much put this down to moving into my new flat, work, and the huge amount of social events I had going on! I'm not very annoyed at myself, because I'm trying to become more relaxed about how many books I get to read in a month.

  1. 'City Of Bones'; Cassandra Clare. This book has been a pretty big source of contention for a lot of readers, with accusations of plagiarism and bad writing flying all around the Goodreads review list, as well as sentiments of love and devotion for the series too. Casting all of that out of my mind, I found I enjoyed this book and see great potential, though couldn't really get into Clare's character work (Magnus Bane aside). 3.5/5 Stars.
  2. 'The Book Of Lost Things'; John Connolly. I had high hopes for this book, especially as it came so highly recommended by a lot of bloggers. It turned out to be a hugely enjoyable read too, with clever, dark twists on classic Fairy Tales. I love symbolism and hidden meanings, so enjoyed deciphering what everything meant. I wish that MC David had been a bit more likeable so that I could truly root for him but all in all, a great read. 4/5 Stars.
  3. 'The Girl With All The Gifts'; M.R. Carey. This is my favourite read of the month without a doubt, and a strong contender for the 2016 top spot! Wow! Carey wrote well and crafted not only an engrossing, heart-pounding story but some interesting characters, each with their own sense of morality and what is right. I loved the multiple POVs and look forward to reading more work from Carey in the future! 5/5 Stars.
  4. 'Burial Rites'; Hannah Kent. This was the perfect end to a pretty hectic reading month, and as the first Historical Standalone I've read in a while, I loved it! Well-researched, a hauntingly beautiful story, and multiple characters that are both well-crafted and multi-faceted, the only complaint I had were the similar names that left me wondering who was who at a couple of points in the book. 4.5/5 Stars.

This month I have read four books for Pretty Deadly Review's Backlist Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to thirty two. This month's reads were:

- 'City Of Bones' by Cassandra Clare
- 'The Book Of Lost Things' by John Connolly
- 'The Girl With All The Gifts' by M.R. Carey
- 'Burial Rites' by Hannah Kent.

This month I have read zero books for Falling For YA's Netgalley & Edelweiss Challenge bringing my yearly total so far to twelve

This month I have gained zero points for Novel Heartbeat and Writer Grrl Reads' Prequel & Sequel Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to forty four

This month I have read zero books for [un]Conventional Reviews' New Releases Challenge, bringing my yearly total so far to ten.

This month I have read one book for Daily Prophecy's Retelling Challenge, bringing my yearly total to seven. The book I read was:

- 'The Book Of Lost Things' by John Connolly.

I've also finished my Bookish Bingo card and updated my Story Sprites board!

Name In Title: The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Conan Doyle.
Aussie Author: Burial Rites; Hannah Kent.
Magic: Crow Moon; Anna McKerrow.
Historical Setting 1900s - 1950s: Salt To The Sea; Ruta Sepetys.
June, July or August Release: Notes On Being Teenage; Rosalind Jana.
Red Cover: Sisters Red; Jackson Pearce.
Part Of A 4+ Book Series: City Of Bones; Cassandra Clare.
Freebie: The Girl On The Train; Paula Hawkins.
POC MC: The Jungle Books; Rudyard Kipling.
A Book About Books: The Book Of Lost Things; John Connolly.
Over 500 Pages: Angels & Demons; Dan Brown.
Mental Health: All The Bright Places; Jennifer Niven.
Yellow Cover: The Girl With All The Gifts; M.R. Carey.
Outdoors: Thin Air; Michelle Paver.
Food In Title Or Cover: The Rosie Effect; Graeme Simsion.
Monsters: The Girl Of Ink & Stars; Kiran Millwood Hargrave

2016 Fantasy: The Girl Of Ink & Stars; Kiran Millwood Hargrave.
Fairytale Retelling: The Book Of Lost Things; John Connolly.
Historical Standalone: Burial Rites; Hannah Kent.
Setting - 19th Century: The Jungle Books; Rudyard Kipling.
Villain Turned Good: The Girl With All The Gifts; M.R. Carey.
Book By Deceased Author: The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes; Arthur Conan Doyle.
Character With Physical Deformity: Sisters Red; Jackson Pearce.
Book With Vampires: City Of Bones; Cassandra Clare.

Tuesday 30 August 2016

Book Review: Burial Rites; Hannah Kent.

I'm having a really good run of books right now, which has really lifted my spirits after a stressful month. Just like with 'The Girl With All The Gifts', I instinctively felt like I was going to really enjoy this book, so I'm pleased that I managed to get round to it.

SOURCE: Borrowed
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: Burial Rites
AUTHOR: Hannah Kent
PAGES: 355
GENRE: Adult, Historical Fiction, Mystery

RATING: 4.5/5 Stars

Set against Iceland's stark landscape, Hannah Kent brings to vivid life the story of Agnes, who, charged with the brutal murder of her former master, is sent to an isolated farm to await execution. 

Horrified at the prospect of housing a convicted murderer, the family at first avoids Agnes. Only Tóti, a priest Agnes has mysteriously chosen to be her spiritual guardian, seeks to understand her. But as Agnes's death looms, the farmer's wife and their daughters learn there is another side to the sensational story they've heard.

What I Liked:
  • Kent's writing was probably my favourite thing about the entire story. The prose in this novel was penned beautifully, and she made great use of visual imagery and metaphors that were not excessive, but still struck home. That coupled with the pacing of the plot itself and the multiple POVs helped to create an interesting and articulate account of a small piece of historic Iceland.
  • The world-building was just phenomenal. Kent's isolated, desolate tone was one thing but in terms of the story details, she had it down! Everything from the landscape to the mundane details of day to day Icelandic life during the time period. Icelandic words were well incorporated to give a much better feel for the setting and reading the Author's notes and interview at the end of the book was so interesting! We hear so much about huge, worldwide historic events but sometimes the most interesting tales are the smaller ones that happen in local communities.
  • The characters were just as engaging as the plot, world and writing. The story was told from multiple POVs and each voice was distinct, filled with personality and contributed to the plot well. Agnes was obviously the star of the show, and while it was clear that her story would not end happily, I enjoyed slowly learning about her life and the events leading up to her imprisonment and execution. I found the family forced to take her in, and the Assistant Reverend desperate to save her soul equally as intriguing.
What I Disliked:
  • This is really just a minor annoyance because it's really to be expected of a book set in both a different culture and time period. There were a lot of characters in this book, some of which had very similar or the same names and coupled with a confusing surname system (that is, in fairness, explained very well at the beginning of the book) meant that I would, every so often, get a little confused as to who was who.
Overall Conclusion:
What a gorgeous book! Make no mistake, you won't find a happy ending here and for those that are easily upset this could be a tough read. I myself in the latter portion of the book felt an almost constant anxiety as the plot progressed toward it's inevitable conclusion.But there were so many great things about this book that I really feel that a petty wide range of people would enjoy this story, even if Historical Fiction is not your thing. 

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Book Pairs For Classroom Classics'.

I struggled a little with this topic because while I really feel passionately that children should be exposed to other books alongside the great classics, I had to think hard about my choices. I loved reading books like 'Pride & Prejudice' or 'To Kill A Mockingbird', but not everyone I know did and I think it's important that a more diverse genre list is introduced to young people so they don't class reading as 'boring' just because they don't like classics.

1) 'The Invention Of Wings' by Sue Monk Kidd.

Classic Pair: 'To Kill A Mockingbird' by Lee Harper.

Books like 'To Kill A Mockingbird' deserve their classic status because it does such a great job of portraying prejudice and racism of the 1920s despite the abolition of slavery previously. 'The Invention Of Wings' is set before the abolition of slavery and I think reading the two side by side will provoke a lot of discussion about whether things had really changed one hundred years later, despite the law stating so. 2020 is almost upon us, is racism an issue even now?

 ...paired with... 

2) 'Noughts & Crosses' by Malorie Blackman.

Classic Pair: 'Romeo & Juliet' by William Shakespeare.

I was originally going to pick 'The Fault In Our Stars' by John Green to pair with Shakespeare's tragic tale of two star-crossed lovers destined to die, for obvious reasons. In the end however, I felt Blackman's race reversal a more appropriate choice. In fact, I think this book generally needs to be studied by more people, because Blackman so masterfully executes an ironic twist to racism as a whole and really brings the stupidity of judging someone by the colour of their skin to attention.

 ...paired with... 

3) 'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins.

Classic Pair: 'Lord Of The Flies' by William Golding.

While there are obvious differences between Collins' hit YA Dystopian, and an obvious classic choice for this one could also be George Orwell's 1984 due to the inclusion of Government control, surveillance and rebellion, what really struck me about this book was the Games themselves, and the brutality of reading about children fighting and killing each other. Golding's horrifying read creates a Dystopian story in it's own right, wherein a plane crash lands on an Island leaving only a group of children as survivors, and becoming progressively darker as the children split off into savage tribes. There are so many parallels to be drawn with these two books especially as both make comment on 'civilised' society and what it really means.

 ...paired with... 

4) 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky.

Classic Pair: 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Not an obvious choice perhaps, but when I read 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower', it somehow reminded me of this well-loved children's classic. 'The Secret Garden' tells the tale of three children who, in the unlikeliest of circumstances, become friends. They face many battles and uncertainties, are exposed to bereavement, anger and to a degree mental health issues, and provide a wonderful 'coming of age' tale as they grow up. 'The Perks Of Being A Wallflower' also does these things though in a modern setting with teenagers. I loved both stories and felt like a lot of comparisons could be made.

 ...paired with... 

5) 'The Dark Days Club' by Alison Goodman.

Classic Pair: 'Pride & Prejudice' by Jane Austen.

'The Dark Days Club' is actually a straight-up retelling of 'Pride & Prejudice' which is why I chose it. Like the popular choice for this book, 'Pride & Prejudice & Zombies' there is a paranormal element to it. But I chose this 2016 release because I felt it gave the story a different spin and plenty of interesting twists to keep readers interested. I loved the original, but plenty of people find Austen's work a little difficult to get into so they may appreciate Goodman's attempt to inject some fun into it.

 ...paired with... 

6) 'Let The Right One In' by John Ajvide Lindqvist.

Classic Pair: 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker.

It's true to say that Vampires have changed over time in the media from bloodsucking, terrifying creatures to sexy, sometimes sparkly guys trying to 'be normal'. When I read 'Dracula' I welcomed the classic vampire back into my life with great enthusiasm, as while the sexual intonations were there, Dracula was still the bad guy. The only other book to really get me excited about vampires again was 'Let The Right One In' by Swedish author John Ajvide Lindqvist. I was originally going to pair 'Dracula' with 'The Historian', Elizabeth Kostova's tantalising, loose sequel to Stoker's masterpiece, but I felt like 'Let The Right One In' is a far more enjoyable read for a wider audience.

 ...paired with... 

7) 'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman.

Classic Pair: 'The Jungle Book' by Rudyard Kipling.

It took me a while to make the connection that 'The Graveyard Book' was an adaptation of Kipling's classic, but I really liked this re-imagining. The animals found in 'The Jungle Book' are transformed into ghosts, desperate to hide a small child from a man this time, but with Shere Khan's cruel tendencies and stubbornness. It's so easy to see the character archetypes for Bagheera, the wolves, etc. and I think that a lot of young teens would enjoy comparing the two. Gaiman has a real way of inspiring the imagination too!

 ...paired with... 

8) 'The Bees' by Laline Paull.

Classic Pair: 'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood.

Most people I know have at least heard of 'The Handmaid's Tale' and are aware of it's basic plot-line, even without reading it. A Dystopian in it's own right, I really like the idea of using Laline Paull's 'The Bees' for comparison. Paull's book is interesting because as the title suggests, it is literally told from the POV of a young bee who, despite her given role in life as a worker, cannot stop herself from laying eggs which is a role taken only by the queen. Paull examines how beehives work very well and I love the idea of a 'hive mind', a hierarchy, and even some slightly religious undertones thrown in for good measure.

 ...paired with... 

9) 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak.

Classic Pair: 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury.

I have never read 'Fahrenheit 451', but I do know it's basic premise: book burning and censorship. When someone was describing the plot to me, the book that instantly came to mind was 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak, and that is why I've chosen these as a duo. There is not a single person I know who has read 'The Book Thief' and didn't enjoy it, it is in fact my favourite book of all time. In terms of a classroom setting, while Bradbury's world is purely fictional, I think it would be interesting to discuss Hitler's regime and book-burning as a real-life event that directly aligns with 'Fahrenheit 451's world.

 ...paired with... 

10) 'The Bloody Chamber' by Angela Carter.

Classic Pair: 'The Book Of Lost Things' by John Connolly.

I really would like to give Angela Carter's work a try, but thanks to a friend of mine studying A-Level English, I did get to read a couple of the stories in this book. I have to say I was distinctly impressed by Carter's style and the dark tone that she cast upon each classic tale. A recent read of mine, 'The Book Of Lost Things' gave me exactly the same feeling and it's for that reason that I've paired the two together. Fairy Tales are the root of all stories so a class on darker adaptations would not only be a lot of fun, but would provide for some interesting analysis.

 ...paired with... 

Monday 29 August 2016

Last Week's Shenanigans (22nd August - 28th August)...

This week has been much busier for me because I've spent a lot of time working after my lovely, relaxing week off. In fact it is pretty much all I've been doing, and yet it's been strangely wonderful adjusting to our brand new flat and creating new routines. It's the first place that Mat and I have shared together alone and I've really enjoyed spending so much quality time with him outside of work. On Friday, Mat and I went to see our friends at another regular 'Games Night' and had a really nice time. Tabletop/Board Games are very quickly becoming an addiction of mine, so I've been looking around to buy some of my own. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Sunday was quite a sad day for us however, as Mat and I journeyed back to our old flat for the last time in order to clean and tidy it while sorting out those few bits and bobs. We didn't stay long but it was very bizarre to find it so empty and move everything back to it's original place. Mat's parents journeyed up to give us a hand with things, and then we all went out to 'Sweet', the local Dessert Cafe that I love, before driving back to our new flat. Mat and I spent the evening doing other things and resting, which was a blessing as I had begun to feel very unwell at this point. We watched another movie (Sunday night is now 'movie night') and Mat's choice was 'Pokemon: The First Movie (Mewtwo Strikes Back)' which was a very fitting choice because we've been re-watching old Pokemon episodes.

I Read:

I Received:

- 'Stealing Snow' by Danielle Paige: Approved By Netgalley (23/08/16)


Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Have Been On My TBR Since I Started Blogging

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Book Review: The Girl With All The Gifts; M.R. Carey.

There are some books that I only have to look at the cover and synopsis, and I get the instinctual feeling that it will be a five star read that will blow me away. This was one of those books and I was completely right, because it did! I'm also entering this into the 'Monthly Motif' challenge, because books about zombies are not my usual jam.

SOURCE: Bought
TYPE: Paperback

TITLE: The Girl With All The Gifts
AUTHOR: M.R. Carey
PAGES: 435
GENRE: Adult, Horror, Thriller, Dystopian

RATING: 5/5 Stars

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius." 

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favourite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

What I Liked:
  • Where to begin? Well I think the setting and book's focus was the most interesting part, so I'll start there. Set during a 'zombie' apocalypse (they're called 'hungries' in the book), Carey really gave very careful thought as to exactly what caused the fungal infection that overpowered humanity to such a degree, and how the world would function afterwards (especially for the survivors). I thought that the hungries themselves were pretty terrifying too in their behaviour and how they came about. But of course, the book wasn't really about them, and that's what I really loved about it. It's focus was morality and ethics when it comes to ensuring the survival of the human race, and what really makes us 'human'.
  • The small cast in this book really made it special because every POV was interesting. I loved Melanie, the main character, whose innocence was matched only by her observational skills and it was wonderful to watch her develop, if a little sad. Miss Justineau was a great heroine to root for also, though what was really interesting about the way that Carey styled the story is that the obvious villains and heroes blurred as the plot proceeded. While reading, I began to understand the motivations of characters who had seemed cold and heartless previously, and understood why those characters didn't get along with people like Miss Justineau.
  • Carey's writing was just glorious. Her style just really resonated with me as a reader, and there were so many quotable passages that I re-read a few times smiling before moving on. In terms of the plot, it was easy to follow and never even got slightly boring for me. Carey paced herself really nicely, making sure that something was always happening and keeping the thrills coming thick and fast, without overwhelming me. While reading, I was hooked, and when I wasn't reading I was desperate to get back to it!
What I Disliked:
  • I think the biggest problem with this book, for me, was the ending. It wasn't really a bad one, but it was very ambiguous and left me with a lot of questions (as well as a slightly broken heart). I'm not a fan of endings that are vague and mysterious, I prefer things to be wrapped up well and not to be left wondering. It wasn't really a happy ending either (I feel like only one of the characters was really very happy with it) so I wish it had been different and I could have left the book feeling happier with the result.
Overall Conclusion:
This book was a real treat to encounter, and I'm relieved I got round to it at last! I adored reading it from start to finish and could list so many great qualities that it has. Even though the ended disappointed me in some ways, I can see why coming up with a clearer or happier ending could be tough considering the story's build-up. I didn't like it, but I didn't hate it. It's down to personal preference rather than any lack of skill and while reading I was distinctly reminded of Emily St. John Mandel's 'Station Eleven', another post-apocalyptic book that I adored and took a unique stance on a setting that in today's book market feels a little overdone. I'll definitely be checking out more of Carey's work in the future!

Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for 'Books That Have Been On My TBR Since I Started Blogging'.

Oh man, I could definitely fill this topic with a lot more than ten books. I'll only include ten though because I'd probably die of shame if I included them all...

1) 'The Wise Man's Fear' by Patrick Rothfuss.

Wow, I've definitely talked about my constant failure with starting this book before. I adored 'The Name Of The Wind'. I mean really loved it. It's one of the few books I've actually reread and at this rate, I'm definitely going to have to reread it again! I bought book two a long time ago and just never got to it. Life got in the way, and now I'm at the stage where I'm putting it off more and more, despite the fact that Rothfuss has also released 'The Slow Regard Of Silent Things' at this point. I really want to get back into this series!

2) 'Inheritance' by Christopher Paolini.

Honestly, this series is my biggest shame for the same reason as Rothfuss'. I pre-ordered and bought 'Eldest' and 'Brisingr' after reading 'Eragon' because they were all so good, and I definitely read them straight away. When it came to the last book however (which I also pre-ordered) I bought it and on the shelf it stayed, waiting for that moment I would finally get round to reading it. Sadly, I aven't yet and I'm definitely going to have to reread the first three books in order to appreciate it properly. That's probably why it's taking me so long...

3) 'Angela Carter's Book Of Fairy Tales' by Angela Carter.

Angela Carter came heavily recommended to me throughout my A-Levels because so many people studying English A-Level got to read 'The Bloody  Chamber' and thought it was so good! I really wanted to start with something a little different however, and I fell in love with this book as soon as I saw it. I thought I'd manage to get round to it straight away, but sadly I never did. I'll hopefully get round to this one soon enough though.

4) 'Dodger' by Terry Pratchett.

I was given this book as a birthday present because of my own love for 'Oliver Twist' and Fantasy books. This is a re-working of the tale written by the late Terry Pratchett, an author whose books I remember being prominent in the literary world, even if I haven't read them myself. The Artful Dodger is my favourite character from Dicken's classic (which I've also not read, only seen...ouch I'm terrible) so I think this is a great read in the making!

5) 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse.

Now, I did manage to read a Kate Mosse book kind of recently so I'm not totally awful but this was the original that I owned and never read. It's part of a historical series that I think is going to need a little bit of dedication because it's pretty long. Mosse's book of short stories was an enjoyable read though a little lengthy on the descriptions so I feel like I might have to be in a certain type of mood to read this one, but I will get round to it...eventually.

6) 'The Sight' by David-Clement Davies.

I got this book ages ago, back when I was barely into my teens. So long ago in fact, that I can't even remember how I got hold of it! I think I bought it for myself! I don't know much about the book either other than the fact that it involves wolves, and they are animals that I really love to read about, especially in Fantasy settings. It looks like such a great read nevertheless, I can't wait!

7)  'The Help' by Kathryn Stockett.

This is a very famous book that I've heard a lot about, so I bought it when I first started this blog in the hopes of reading it. I still haven't managed that, though considering the fact that I've enjoyed books such as 'To Kill A Mockingbird' and 'The Invention Of Wings', I have really high hopes for this book and refuse to watch the critically-acclaimed movie until I've got through the book!

8) 'The Final Empire' by Brandon Sanderson.

I don't know how to express my disappointment in the fact that I've never read a Brandon Sanderson book in my life. It's shameful. I just know that his work is going to be exactly the kind of thing I enjoy reading, and this book was such a lovely gift for my birthday! I wish I'd made time for it before, but sadly other books have just got in the way. Also, I love the covers for this book!

9) 'Stardust' by Neil Gaiman.

I watched this film a really long time ago and absolutely adored it. It had all my favourite Fantasy elements and was my first introduction into the wacky world of Neil Gaiman. I was certain it would be my first read by the same author, but instead I read 'Coraline', 'The Ocean At The End Of The Lane', 'The Sleeper & The Spindle' and 'The Graveyard Book'. All great books but I'm still upset that I didn't get round to the one I originally wanted to read.

10) 'Temeraire' by Naomi Novik.

I actually received this book for free when I pre-ordered 'Inheritance' (see above) and I thought it looked really good! I love books with dragons in them and the Waterstones bookseller really recommended it! Unfortunately it has ended up sitting on my shelf and waiting for me to actually get to it. It still appeals to me as an interesting enough read, with a gorgeous cover!

Monday 22 August 2016

Last Week's Shenanigans (15th August - 21st August)...

This was the week that I booked most of on holiday at work, but I could hardly call it relaxing because I had so much to do! Monday was probably the busies day of all, as it was the day that Mat's friend's van bought over most of our stuff from our old flat to the new one! It involved a lot of waiting around and travelling up and down in the lift (which was a nauseating experience I have to say) but it was also so exciting to see everything that we owned move, bit by bot, into our new place! I'm going to miss the old flat of course, but I really adore the new one and it's our first home together, just us! Our friend George was also there to help though I think I mentioned before that he had fractured his wrist so there was very little that he could do.

Tuesday I worked (I hadn't booked the whole week off sadly) and Wednesday was furniture assembling day. IKEA dropped our ordered bits round very early in the morning so that gave us the whole day to make a go of getting everything together. We managed most of it, though sadly the bookshelves had to be postponed a little (I was outraged, they're obviously far more important than anything else)! In the evening, we went to visit Tash & Meg for another Games Night, and this was a lot of fun, though ha to be cut short due to everyone having work or other commitments the next day. Their new flat is really nice though, and I enjoyed having a nose around! On Thursday my parents came up to visit, providing the means to bring those last few bits from the old flat and also to see the new place and have a lovely catch-up with us! Other than that, there wasn't a whole lot for us to do as Mat had work and so George and I just did a few smaller bits followed by a lot of catching up on sleep!

Friday was another furniture assembly day (bookshelves, yay!) followed by a lot of unpacking! I organised books, games and a few DVDs, as well as the ornaments and other miscellaneous bits and bobs while Mat sorted some of the bigger things. I'm very happy with our bookshelves and all of our books fit, so no more crates! Saturday involved a trip down to Ashford to visit Mat's family and after a trip to the town centre and a catch-up at their house, in the evening we all went out for a lovely meal at a nearby pub. The food was delicious, and it was nice to get away from moving stresses for a bit. After the meal, Mat's Mum dropped me off at my parents and I stayed the night there, ready to once again return to London the next morning. This time my sister came with us to see the new place as well, and we had a walk around the nearby area to see what was around. They left mid-afternoon and allowed Mat and I time to finish the last few bits and bobs before settling down for the evening to have our first flat 'movie night'. I chose the film, 'The Little Prince', and we both adored it! The perfect end to a hectic week!

I Read...

I Received...

- 'The Star-Touched Queen' by Roshani Chokshi: Prize from Great Imaginations 'Story Sprites' Challenge (18/08/16)


Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set In Europe

I Posted...

Illumicrate Unboxing (Box 4)

Saturday 20 August 2016

Illumicrate Unboxing! (Box 4)

Wow, is it really time for the fourth Illumicrate box already? The last few months have been so hectic that time has really flown for me, but Daphne has dropped so many wonderful hints about this box that I was really excited to open it! The Unboxing post itself is coming very late. I actually received this box on the 9th August but I've been so busy thanks to the fact that I've moved to a new flat, and my stuff has been boxed away for a long time. The time has come to finally do this month's, even if it is late.

Once again the Illumicrate box design remained the same so I won't worry about putting a picture up. It's a great design, and I'm glad Daphne stuck with it. One of the things that really added to the anticipation with this book was Daphne's big reveal that there would be two books this month! I couldn't believe my luck, and hoped with all my might that I hadn't already got hold of one of them. Luckily, I needn't have worried!

Without further ado, I'll start with the part that everyone wants to hear about first: the books! This is by far my favourite box of the four I've had so far, and the two books played a huge part towards this!

BOOK ONE: 'Nevernight' by Jay Kristoff (Hardcover). Wowee! I requested this book on Netgalley a while back and was approved, but couldn't help but feel a small pang as I desperately wanted to own a copy. Well now I do! I so wasn't expecting this pick and I was so happy to find it waiting for me inside. It's now sitting pride of place in my brand new bookshelves, and boy am I pleased! I hope to get round to this read soon enough as it's high on my TBR. This book also came with a signed Book Plate, Art Card, bookmark and a hilarious exclusive video recorded by the author himself, Jay Kristoff! 'Nevernight' is a fairly recent release actually and that tends to be the pattern I'm finding with Daphne's picks when opening these boxes, which is good because it means I'm much less likely to own a copy myself. All in all an awesome start to the unpacking that had me really excited for what Book Two could be...

BOOK TWO: 'The Graces'; Laure Eve (Paperback). Honestly, there are no words to describe the noise that I made when I saw the second book. You all know that I recently attended YALC, and Laure Eve's 'The Graces' was probably one of the books that I came out of it feeling most excited about! Mystery and intrigue are definitely going to play a big part of it and I have seen so many great reviews from other readers that loved this book! What really made me go crazy when I saw this though? Probably the fact that I now own a gorgeous copy about a month before release date. As if that's not the greatest thing ever! I hope I can get round to reading this soon, I'm so excited! There were some wonderful extras with this book too: a signed bookplate, temporary tattoos for each of the elements and a lovely letter from the author that proved a very entertaining and enlightening read.

Trio Coasters: How weird that mere days before I received this box, my lovely boyfriend and I were talking about things we'd need for the new flat (coasters being one of the things we mentioned). Then, as if by magic, these two wonderful coasters appeared and now they have pride of place on my coffee table. I love the 'then and now' style they have, showing Harry, Ron & Hermione when they were younger (Books 1-7) and also much later in honour of the new play which I'm going to see very soon, 'Harry Potter & The Cursed Child'. Taratjah Art is responsible for the wonderful designs found on these coasters, so check out her page!

'Drink Me' Strawberry Tea: Inspiring visions of the much beloved 'Alice In Wonderland', 'Drink Me' tea looks nothing short of delicious. It combines one of my favourite tales with tea and strawberries. What could possibly be better? I'm looking forward to trying this loose leaf blend out, and I'm particularly excited because it can be made into Iced Tea too, which will be delicious as the weather here gets hotter. Check out Post Tea here, their website is so enticing and the have an Etsy page too!

In Omnia Paratus Tote Bag: I've not read or watched, or even deeply researched into the Gilmore Girls, but those that are a fan would love this Tote Bag! It came in handy when we were moving homes that's for sure and I really like it's colour and message. 'Prepared For All Things'. Colourful Geekiness are responsible for this lovely design and they do a huge variety of items that relate to a lot of different Fandoms.

There were a few extra additions for this box:

Colouring Quotes, designed by Ashley Poston that are being used for a separate, Illumicrate inspired competition. They are really nice quotes and I look forward to having the time to get my pens and pencils out! Thee was also a code for 40% off of her brand new book, 'We Own The Night'.

Some beautiful 'Red Rising' posters that really blew me away with how pretty they were. For those that are fans of Pierce Brown's space-set series, this is a gorgeous addition to any bookshelf or library. I'm totally desperate to frame them!

A sampler for the book 'A Torch Against The Night' which dutifully reminded me how much I wanted to read book one of Sabaa Tahir's series, 'An Ember In The Ashes'. Also, a code for Non Pratt's new book that's being released, 'Unboxed', which I'm very excited for!