Illumicrate November Unboxing!

Hi all!

I received my November Illumicrate box a few weeks ago and I finally have time to do a review of it. Overall I was quite pleased with everything inside, but I wish there was a feature that reminded you if you wanted to carry on subscribing or just have a one-time box, because I didn’t remember to cancel my subscription in time! However, all of the items inside the box were lovely and I think I would have loved them even more if I had actively subscribed to it.

 The Bookish Goodies:

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  •  An AIDEN Candle from Meraki Candles – This is my joint favourite item in the box! The candle is not only based on a book I love (Illuminae), but it smells really good too. I won’t be burning it anytime soon but I really like it.
  • An ‘Evil Plans’ notebook – This is so cute! I love notebooks, and this one seems to be of good quality and it’s perfect for my evil plans for all my characters!
  • A pair of stripy socks from Happy Socks – These will have to be another of my favourite items. They’re so comfy and I’ve never seen a subscription box that includes socks before, so it was a nice surprise.
  • A coffee warmer from Sparrow and Wolf – While this item is cute and well-made, I unfortunately don’t drink coffee! Or tea for that matter, so I don’t think I’ll be using this a lot. However, I know that a lot of bookworms love coffee so this will be perfect for them!
  • Various posters from books I haven’t read (yet), including a gorgeous print from Replica by Lauren Oliver.
  • A sampler of The One Memory of Flora Banks by Emily Barr – I had never heard of this book before I got this box, so now I’m going to keep a look out for it and see if it seems like something I’d like.

The Book:dsc03251

This month the book in the box was The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid! I’ve seen this all around bookstagram and Youtube, but I have to admit that I wasn’t that keen on picking it up. For that reason it’s not going to be at the top of my TBR list for 2017, but hopefully it’ll be one of those books that impresses me.

Did anyone else receive this Illumicrate? If so, what did you think of it? And has anyone read The Diabolic and think I need to read it right now?? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for reading (:

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Worlds Collide Tour!

Hi all!

On Friday I attended the Worlds Collide tour, which was the UK tour for Leigh Bardugo and Rainbow Rowell. It was so much fun, so I thought I would recap it in this probably overexcited post. The event was held at Manchester Central Library, which is beautiful.wp_20161028_20_32_06_pro

I arrived at the event half an hour early, but there was already a huge queue outside the library!  Luckily it wasn’t raining and the queue soon went down as more people were let into the building. Once I was inside, I went to collect the books I had bought and chose my exclusive poster (there was a choice between the poster and a T-shirt, but when I saw the poster I knew which one I wanted!). The artwork is gorgeous and it’s made of strong paper as well which I didn’t want to roll up, which made getting it home a challenge!dsc03212

There was loads more people than I had expected, but there were plenty of seats and even though I was sat near the back I had a great view. There was a small delay, which I think had more to do with the fact that there was so many people to get into the building rather than the authors, and then Leigh and Rainbow arrived!

They were so much fun, and you could tell that they were genuinely friends. They were open and honest about how they met and told us different stories about events they had been to, and then they re-enacted some scenes from Carry On and Crooked Kingdom which was hilarious. Leigh was brilliant as Baz!

Afterwards there was a Q&A session, where they offered some writing advice and talked about publishing as well as their books. One thing I really appreciated was the fact that they kept the talk spoiler-free, which was useful for me as I hadn’t read Fangirl yet! (I got my reading schedule mixed up; I finished Carry On on the train there!).

As there had been a fifteen-minuDSC03204.JPGte delay, I was really scared that I wouldn’t have the chance to get anything signed as I had a train to catch which was one of the last ones home, but luckily my row was one of the first to get signed! I first met Rainbow Rowell, who was really sweet and said she liked my shirt. I told her how much I enjoyed Carry On and how much I was looking forward to Fangirl, and she dedicated both of my copies of the books.

Then I met Leigh Bardugo, who was just as lovely! I said how thDSC03210.JPGe Six of Crows duology was one of my favourites and how I was very happy when a certain character emerged in Crooked Kingdom (those of you who have read it will know who I mean!), and she personalised both of my books for me. I picked up one of the Six of Crows cards and got Jesper, who looks as confident and teasing as he is in the books!

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The cute little badge I got with my books!

The event was so much fun and definitely worth the large amount of travelling it took me to get there! Thank you to Leigh Bardugo, Rainbow Rowell, and the people in Waterstones and the Manchester Central Library for putting on a great night!

 

Have you read any of these authors’ books? What did you think? And what was your favourite book signing that you’ve been to?

Thanks for reading (:

Fairyloot September Unboxing!

Hi all!

A few days ago I received some exciting mail and found my Fairyloot box had arrived! This is my first box from this company (I received the latest Illumicrate last month, and my review is here), and I have to say it didn’t disappoint in the slightest! I can honestly say I loved every item in the box, and the fact that they were all linked together by a theme really makes the box unique. This month’s theme was magic and mayhem, and I knew as soon as I heard it that it would be right up my street.

*There will be spoilers for the September Fairyloot box below, so if you haven’t received yours yet then beware!*

The Bookish Goodies:

A Russian Doll necklace from Pastel Clouds Jewellery – This might be my favourite item in the box. Seriously, I love it so much that I’ve been wearing it non-stop since my box arrived! The charm is tiny but elegant, and the clasp is sturdy and hasn’t broken so far.

An Etherealki candle from Castle of Fables – While I don’t use candles often (about 90% of my room is wood so I’m not taking any chances!) the smell of this one is gorgeous. It reminds me of fudge and sweetness, and it’s a decent size as well.

A Darker Shade of Magic themed badges – Unfortunately two of my badges had come away from the packaging, but luckily they weren’t damaged and I now have four badges from one of my favourite books! I love that so many of the items in here were exclusively designed for Fairyloot.

A Felix Felicis sticker from BookOtter – The design of this is really pretty, even if I haven’t read Harry Potter yet (*runs away from angry mobs*).

Postcards from Six of Crows & Crooked Kingdom, and a Grisha Second Army poster – I am so excited to read this series, and these postcards are really good quality, while the poster is very eye-catching.

A Grisha notebook designed by Literary Emporium – I love Rio’s work, and this notebook seems to be well-made and excellently designed.

 

The Book!

Now, all of the Grisha-related things in the box made me think that the book would be Crooked
Kingdoms, but instead it was Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter. I haven’t heard much about this book, but it seems really interesting and I ‘m intrigued to know more about the legend it was based on, ‘Vassilissa the Beautiful’. It also came with a signed bookplate, a letter from the author, and a beautiful bookmark from Behind the Pages.

Final Thoughts:

Overall I was very happy with my first Fairyloot box! I love the cohesion between each of the items
and the little bag the book is a really unique idea. My only complaint would be is that the book just fits in the box so it’s hard to take it out if it’s at the bottom of the box.

Did you receive this month’s Fairyloot? What did you think? Or if you’ve read Vassa in the Night what did you think of it?

Thanks for reading(:

5 Reasons Why You Should Absolutely Bookstagram!

Hi all!

I started off on bookstagram before I created my blog, and it has a special place in my heart. If you didn’t know what bookstagram is, it’s the book community on instagram that all post under the hashtag #bookstagram, and I thought I would try and convince you why you should definitely start a bookstagram account!

1. The community is one of the nicest you’ll find on the internet (in my experiences anyway). Everyone is supportive and nice, and there are people who have made lifelong friendships through bookstagram! And if you ever lack inspiration, there are amazing photo challenges you can take a part in that bookstagrammers create every month! (Because they’re incredibly creative and nice like that).

2. You can discover new hobbies! There are so many talented people on bookstagram that make me want to try drawing, calligraphy, and so many other new things.

3. You can connect with authors and publishers. I can’t tell you how rewarding it is when an author likes or comments on your photos. The other day I posted a photo saying how much I liked Radio Girls, and the author saw it and commented, and I was really happy; not only are my photos gaining recognition, but the author has received a compliment too!

4. You can discover your new favourite book! I have lost count of the amount of times I’ve read a book because I’ve seen it on bookstagram, and while there are a few that were flops most of them have been great. Some popular series on bookstagram include the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer (my review for Cinder, the first book in the series, can be found here) and the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (my review for the fourth book, Queen of Shadows, can be found here!).

5. You get to talk about books! No one minds if you ramble about your favourite series, no one minds if you squeal about a plot twist, and no one minds if you yell at them to beg them to read your favourite book EVER (and no one minds that actually you have ninety favourite books because they’re in the same boat!). My friends read, but not as much as me, so bookstagram has given me an outlet to discuss my love of books with people who understand.

My bookstagram account is @Bowlerhatgirl1 if you want to follow me (shameless self-promotion there!).

Have I convinced you to join bookstagram? Or if you already have a bookstagram account, what’s you’re favourite thing about it?
Thanks for reading (:

Queen of Shadows – Review!

Hi all!

I finished Queen of Shadows a few days ago, and it was EPIC. I know now why everyone loves this series! I’ve heard that this is the book that divides people; you either love it or you hate it. Personally this and Crown of Midnight (the first half anyway) are my favourites in the series, and I would say that if you weren’t too keen on Heir of Fire you might like Queen of Shadows more. I don’t know what it was with this book. I don’t know why I loved this book so much more than the others – but I did. My review will have minor spoilers in it but I don’t reveal any major plot points or characters.
So in case you didn’t know, Queen of Shadows is the fourth book in the Throne of Glass series, which means I can’t really say anything about the plot without spoilers, except that Aelin kicks ass as usual and the plot is pretty explosive!

The characters: I will admit that the Rowan in this book felt completely different to the Rowan in
Heir of Fire, but his character changed for the better so I actually finally liked him! The same goes to Aelin – I FINALLY LIKE HER GUYS. (It’s only taken me four books but shhh). Manon continues to be a badass witch, and I loved how we got to see more of Asterin, Sorrel and the Thirteen. The new characters like Nesryn and Elide were really great too, and Dorian broke my heart in Queen of Shadows!

And then there’s Chaol. For those of you who don’t know, he is basically my favourite character in this series. As in I love him a lot and worry about his safety. He’s complicated, tries to do what he thinks is right, and cares so much about Dorian. They’re friendship is one of my favourite things in the books. Before reading Queen of Shadows I read a few reviews, and they were negative about what happened towards him, so I was worried. I have to admit that the chapters in the start were a bit rough on my still recovering Chaoleana heart, but by the end of the book I was happy with how the plot played out (although the ending broke my heart!).

The Plot: I couldn’t not read this book, that was how riveting the plot was. Sarah J Maas linked everything together and foreshadowed events beautifully, and I loved what happened. I liked how Manon’s story finally linked in with the rest of the crew (or Aelin’s Squad as my friend calls them!) and Elide’s subplot was really interesting. The results of the events in Queen of Shadows are definitely going to have repercussions in Empire of Storms, and I’m both nervous and looking forward to seeing what happens next.

The Writing: As usual, Sarah J Maas’s writing style draws you in and doesn’t let you go! There was only two really minor things that bugged me – that everything Aelin does is with ‘feline grace’ and that there was a lot of ‘incarnates’  in there. But these were minor issues that didn’t stop me from enjoying the story.

Overall, I am really excited to see what happens in Empire of Storms and I am so pleased that I loved this book!

2016 is Nearly Over…And I Still Haven’t Read These Books!

Hi all!

So somehow it is already nearly September, and I am woefully behind on my Goodreads challenge.

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration; I’ve read 33 books this year, and my goal is to read 50. But the reason why I’m on track is because I read the Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy novellas which count as separate books, and there are so many books I want to read but haven’t done yet!

My Mid-Year Book Freak Out tag is coming out soon, but I thought I would tell you the 8 books I am desperate to read before the year is out!

1. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas – I have been determined to catch up on this series this year,
and so far I’m doing well! I finished Heir of Fire a few weeks ago, and while I’m not loving the direction the series is going in I do love the world and want to carry on with the story. I also want to read it before Empire of Storms comes out and be up to date for once!

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – Everyone adores this book. It’s all over Instagram and booktube, and I love love love the sound of it – thieves stealing something dangerous? Yes please! – but for some reason I’ve never picked it up. I have read Shadow and Bone and didn’t mind it, but I think I was worried that I had to finish that trilogy to read Six of Crows. Now that I know I don’t, I badly want to pick it up and find out why everyone loves Kaz so much!

3. The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye – Fantasy Russia? Two players in a game where one will die? What’s not to love about the premise of this book? I’ve heard people compare it to The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern which is my FAVOURITE books (review can be found here) so obviously I need to read The Crown’s Game.

4. Nevernight by Jay Kristoff – This was in my Illumicrate box (unboxing can be found here) and it looks STUNNING. The cover is so detailed, and there are two maps in it. As well as that, the story sounds amazing and various Instagrammers have raved about it! I feel like it’s going to be a good winter fantasy read too, so I’m very excited to read it.

5. A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab – How have I not read this yet?! I loved A Darker Shade of Magic, it was one of my favourite books of 2015 and I loved every part of it (mostly Kell ❤ My thoughts on ADSOM can be found here!). I want to find out what happens to Kell and Lila and Rhys, and I’ve heard that there’s a new character that people love introduced in this book, too.

6. This Savage Song by VE Schwab – Another probably marvellous VE Schwab book that I have yet to read! This Savage Song sounds incredible, and I think it has something to do with music and monsters which should be a great combination.

7. Unrivalled by Alyson Noel – Unrivalled is blurbed as being similar to Pretty Little Liars and
Gossip Girl, two of my favourite TV shows. I love scandal-filled contemporary books, they’re my guilty pleasure, so I am super excited to see how Unrivalled plays out.

8. Summer Days & Summer Nights, an anthology – Summer is nearly over, so I need to get my skates on if I want to read this soon! I read my True Love Gave to Me at Christmastime and I love how the season plays such an important part in the stories. Also some of my favourite authors – Cassandra Clare, Libba Bray, Stephanie Perkins – have contributed to the collection.

These are the eight books I’ll hopefully read before 2016 ends, but this next school year is going to be absolutely manic, so I don’t know how successful I’ll be! As well as this I would like to reread The Infernal Devices as I read them in winter last year and think it would be a nice tradition.

Do you see a book on this list that I need to read tomorrow? What book are you hoping to read before the year is over?
Thanks for reading (:

Beautiful People: August Edition

Hi all!

For the past few Beautiful People editions I’ve focused on my female main characters, but this time I’m going to show one of the men in my story! Thank you as always to the hosts, Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In !

There are two main male characters in my story (well, technically there’s three, but one isn’t as important in the first book!) and this time I’ll be looking at Henry Krendale, an exiled lord who also happens to be a psychic. As he is closely linked to Esme, I figured I’d include her in here too (also because she is my favourite character and she was the first one I created so I’m allowed to include her in everything!).


1. Give a brief overview of their looks. (Include a photo if you want!)

 Henry’s looks have changed since I started writing, mainly because of Pinterest! At first, he had dark brown hair and dark brown eyes, but then I realised that a) he would look too much like another character, and b) I had pinned Aaron Tveit and Max Irons, who don’t fit that initial description! So now he has light brown hair and green eyes, and is tall and a little gangly.

Esme for me has always been similar to Lily James looks-wise, as she has blonde hair that goes past her shoulders and brown eyes. She is quite curvy and average height.

2. Share a snippet that involves description of their appearance.

(This is when I realise I need more description!)
Henry: ‘his hair was slightly curled at the edges, and Esme noted with worry that he seemed more tired than usual, his eyes framed by glasses he usually only used to read.’
Esme: ‘touching the twist in her hair, she checked her reflection in the mirror and found it was already drooping. And she shouldn’t have worn this dress; the empire waist just drew attention to her hips.’


3. What is the first thing people might notice about them?

 The first thing people would notice about Henry would be his height, as he is tall and the fact that he’s pretty skinny emphasises this. People would probably notice Esme’s eyes first, because she nearly always maintains eye contact when holding a conversation.
 
4. What are their unique features? (Ex: freckles, big ears, birthmark, scars, etc.)
 Henry has freckles when he’s been out in the sun for a while and ears that stick out a little. Esme gains a unique feature (spoilers though guys, so I’m not telling! (; ) but when the series starts out she has a birthmark on the back of her leg.
 
5. How tall are they? What is their build (Ex: stocky, slender, petite, etc.)
 Given the fact that I can’t judge any sort of measurements for some reason, I don’t have an exact height for each of them. Basically: Henry=tall and slim, Esme=average and curvy.
 
6. What is their posture like? How do they usually carry themselves?
 Esme carries herself well, as her uncle taught her to make a strong first impression. She has a good posture which is mainly natural as she wants to always appear in control. Henry still keeps a relatively good posture from his days as a lord, but he stands quite defensively and often has his hands in his pockets or plays with the cuff of his shirt.
 
7. Your character has been seen on a “lazy day” (free from usual routine/expectations): what are they wearing and how do they look?
Esme would still wear a dress because she loves them, but it would probably be an old one that might not be in style or season. Henry would wear a plain shirt and trousers made from simple materials, forgoing a waistcoat or detailed designs.
 
8. Do they wear glasses, accessories, or jewelry on a regular basis? Do they have any article of clothing or accessory that could be considered their trademark? 
Henry needs glasses to read and often wears them if his eyes are tired, and he nearly always wears waistcoats over his shirts, but this is the fashion of the world so I don’t know whether this would count as a trademark. Esme often pins her hair up but other than that she doesn’t have a lot of accessories. As for her trademark, she always wears pretty dresses so maybe that’s what she’s known for.
 
9. Have they ever been bullied or shamed because of their looks? Explain!
Henry hasn’t been bullied because of his looks because people have always considered him fairly good-looking (that fact that he used to be very very rich also helped this). Esme has lead quite a sheltered life so she has never really been bullied, although there was a time when she was younger that a group of girls picked on her because her clothes weren’t in style.
 
10. Are they happy with how they look? If they could change anything about their appearance, what would it be?
 Henry is happy with how he looks as looks aren’t the most important thing to him, but if he could change something about his appearance he would probably change his ears as he thinks they stick out. Esme isn’t as confident in her appearance and she often feels insecure, especially about her figure, so she would change that if she could. (Although she becomes more confident as the series progresses).

So that’s my Beautiful People post for the month! Let me know if you liked it, and how is your work in progress going? What are your main characters called?
Thanks for reading(: