Monday, 27 February 2017


So I'm back with another FairyLoot unboxing. Every month I legit set an alarm to make sure I'm in time to order the new box, and then I obsessively watch the shipping tracker for the few days before it is delivered. I just love these boxes so much; they never fail to disappoint! The February box was no different, and this time I had no idea what to expect which made it all the more exciting. Warning: this post is a little photo heavy but everything was just so pretty...

FairyLoot is a "fantasy focused monthly subscription box containing a Young Adult book and some hand selected bookish goodies" as described on their website. You can commit to six or twelve month subscriptions or if you're fast enough, you can get your hands on their single purchase boxes! The February theme was "Emperors and Fugitives".
I'm so excited for this month's book, Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza. I mean that beautiful cover alone is enough for it to sail straight to the top of your TBR! A combination of fantasy and sci-fi, described as "a saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy", I'm already pretty sure I'm going to love this book. Ok so *deep breath*. This double sided art print of my queen Manon and the lovely Prince Dorian from The Throne of Glass series by Taratjah. I was kind of expecting this after seeing a couple of FairyLoot's tweets but I still squealed when I saw it. Now the only hard part is trying to decide which side to have showing!
Next is this Funko Pocket Pop! Keychain mini little cutie baby Dancing Groot JUST LOOK AT HIM. I'm so happy to finally own my own Groot Funko Pop, even if he is a miniature one. Whenever I'm feeling a bit down, a sure fire way to cheer myself up is to do the little Groot dance, so now I have my own personal one to carry around with me! I love a good bath with a book, so this Celestial Gunpowder bath bomb from Bathing Beauties is perfect for me. And it smells like cupcakes - yay! This Illuminae Quote Coaster by Read At Midnight will look perfect on my bedside table and will hopefully give me that kick up the arse to finally get around to reading Illuminae. I've also got another gorgeous bookmark to add to my collection: Space Girl by Till and Dill. So pretty!
The next item is this Rebel of the Sands Pouch by Alisse Courter. I read Rebel of the Sands earlier this year and oh man I loved it, so naturally I love this pouch too! And if you follow me on any other social media channel you'll know that I have a slight obsession with bookish candles, so to receive another one in February's FairyLoot box was just fab. The Kalusian Sunset Candle (which is huge!) by Happy Piranha not only looks super cute, but was named by this month's author AND smells absolutely delicious.

There were a couple of bonus items included too, like a Secret Sampler of The One Memory of Flora Banks and a discount for MyBookmark. I'm so pleased with this month's FairyLoot box (as usual!) and can't wait to get using all of the items and get reading! Seriously, if you're uhmming and aaahing about buying a FairyLoot box, just do it,.You won't regret it - promise!


*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017


Last night I went to my first ever book signing at Waterstones in Manchester, and oh my it was amazing. It felt very fitting for my first event to be in celebration of the only book I've given five stars to this year so far (and has the loveliest author!), Caraval by Stephanie Garber! I was super nervous, not only because it was my first bookish event, but also because I'd planned to go alone. After posting on Twitter about my nerves, and both Stephanie and the staff at the Waterstones store sending lovely replies, myself and fellow book blogger Lauren at Northern Plunder decided to meet up before making our way to the event.
Upon arrival, we settled down in the upstairs cafe whilst we waited for the event to begin. Once the doors were opened we managed to bag some seats on the second row, so we had a fab view of the mini stage, and were then joined by Lily from I Am Book Mad. The three of us discussed our favourites books, our thoughts on Caraval and they very graciously listened to me complaining about my university stresses, before Stephanie took to the stage and the book talk began! 

We heard all about about Stephanie's writing process (she writes six days out of seven each week and creates several paths that each character could take so even Stephanie didn't know how Caraval was going to end!), where the ideas for Caraval came from (mainly music and films such as Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby), how she took inspiration from Pinterest for the clothingand Stephanie's one piece of writing advice is to "write the book you want to read". I absolutely love this; if you're passionate about the story line and you would love to read it, chances are other people will love it too! And looking at the response Caraval has received, as in being on bestseller lists, it's clear that a lot of people, me included, do love it. Also, did you know that the film rights for Caraval have been bought?! I am SO excited. This book is going to translate into a film so well and be an absolute treat for the eyes, I just hope that they stick to the story in the book.
Stephanie is literally one of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met, and her positive attitude and happy manner are so infectious, I couldn't help but smile along to everything she was saying. At the end of the talk we could get our books signed and pictures taken, and Stephanie very kindly signed all four copies of her book that I had taken with me. I think the coolest part of the night had to be when she recognised me from our conversations on Twitter - total fangirl moment! I had such an amazing night, and I'm so thankful that Stephanie took the time to visit Manchester on her tour and have a little chat with us all whilst signing books and taking pictures. I also had a fab time getting to know Lauren and Lily too; it's always so nice to meet fellow bloggers, especially those who don't live too far away and like the same kind of books! 

My next book event is in a couple of weeks, again at the Waterstones store in Manchester, with Samantha Shannon, author of The Bone Season series. I can't wait! Check out my review of Caraval here.


*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Monday, 20 February 2017


Over the past couple of months I kept seeing a certain book popping up all over the bookish Twitter accounts I follow, and when I came across the opportunity to review Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones, I absolutely count not turn it down - thank you Titan Books! Taking inspiration from 19th century German fairytales with a subtle nod to David Bowie's Labyrinth, I was automatically drawn to this story; I'd never read anything like this before. Also I just have to say, just look at that beautiful cover. It also fits in nicely with my bedroom aesthetic which is a nice added bonus.I hope that I can put into words just how much I did enjoy this book!

From the cover:
Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

Something that doesn't happen too often, I actually really liked our main character Liesl. She had human, relatable traits and faults. She wasn't society at that time's definition of beautiful, but throughout the story it is reinforced that what is inside of you is more important than your external looks which is something I wish we saw more of in YA. There was no "magic makeover" where suddenly everybody thought she was the most stunning person they had ever seen after only a good bath and a change of clothes, and I loved that. She was normal, just like most of us. She also broke the confines of the historical female stereotype; she stood up for herself, she knew what she wanted and she took it, or she did a pretty good job of trying. Yes girl. She also made a lot of sacrifices, and I really admire this about Liesl.

Some aspects of the main character's romance did feel a little off to me, though after reading the book I discovered that Wintersong was initially written as an adult novel, and had most of the romantic scenes between the two main characters stripped out and made more 'YA appropriate' which may provide some explanation for why I wasn't really into it. Though I did love the gay bi-racial romance that Wintersong features! 

The Goblin King. Ohhh, the Goblin King. He was a constant source of confusion for me. For most of the story I was questioning myself: did I hate him, did I love him, did I feel sorry for him? It was kind of all three. I imagine that he was constantly fighting an internal battle asking the exact same things about himself, though the more his backstory was revealed, the more I began to understand him and eventually, care about him. The history between himself and Liesl was so strong, and was a prominent force throughout the book; the resulting emotion felt as though it was bleeding off the page and my heartstrings were definitely tugged more than once or twice.

Music featured very heavily throughout Wintersong; almost on every page there was one reference or another to a musical piece, an instrument or how music influenced their lives. Whilst I can appreciate the beauty of the writing, and I do admit that the style was mesmerising and I felt as though I was being swept up in a song through it. I would probably have felt a deeper connection to the story if I were a classical music lover.

The world building in Wintersong was definitely one of my favourite things about the book. Each change of scene was described carefully and in detail, but not so much that you feel like a whole load of information has been dumped on you. I frequently felt tense and uneasy, but also excited, which made me flick through the pages faster and faster each chapter. There was just enough description for you to be able to create a picture in your head, quite dreamlike actually, and because of this I would have loved to have seen more of the Underground and the goblin living areas!

I definitely enjoyed the ending of this book, but be warned, it's no happy ever after fairytale ending. Despite this, it wrapped up nicely and left room for not only a sequel but for your imagination to go wild with possibilies, whilst breaking my heart. Wintersong was addictive and enthralling. It was a dark, mythical and magical story, filled with poetic writing, stunning scenes and an antagonist you just love to hate. It is completely different than anything I've ever read before, and I'm almost convinced I won't read anything like it again any time soon. I raced through Wintersong in only a couple of days, totally engrossed in the fantastical word, so it receives a well deserved 4/5 stars.

Monday, 13 February 2017


I fear that this will be a post full of nonsense while I fangirl my butt off, but I will try my best to make this resemble a logical review. The majority of my review will be non-spoiler, but I do want to throw in a couple of my favourite quotes from the book so I'll give you a heads up before I get to those in case you don't want to read them! This was also the first book that I "tabbed" using different coloured arrow post its to help with my review and to mark my favourite parts (there's a hell of a lot of tabs). I received Caraval by Stephanie Garber in the January FairyLoot box (check out what else was inside here). I had actually pre-ordered the book months ago as it was one of my most anticipated releases for 2017, so when I managed to get my hands on it a couple of days earlier than the publication date through FairyLoot I was SO excited.
On the cover:

"Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever."

My thoughts:

I have to start by mentioning the absolutely stunning covers. The dust jacket is simply beautiful, but there are four variations of the actual hardback: a tent, a rose, a dress and a clock. I received the tent and I'm in love with it! I did a bit of digging online and came across the US hardback and well, I could hardly resist could I (the last two pictures). And now I hear that a special edition is being released in Tesco and I'm going to have to buy that too! (Update: I bought it).

I read 10% on the day I received the book but sadly had to put it down to get on with some uni work *booo*. So. yesterday (when writing this) I made sure that I put some time aside to settle down with the book and dive back in. I'd planned to have an early night and catch up on some sleep, I could fit in a few chapters of Caraval right? Wrong. I could fit in the entire rest of the book. I absolutely could not put this book down. At one point, I declared (internally) that it was time for bed. So I got ready, set my alarms, got under the covers ready to get some sleep... and picked Caraval up again. There was no way I could sleep until I finished the book.

Possibly my absolute favourite things about this book are the world building and descriptions - they're frickin' amazing. I was enthralled from the first couple of pages, it is full of absolutely stunning sentences. In fact, while Face-timing my boyfriend I actually made him shut up for a minute so that I could read a few out to him and his response was "you look very happy with that" and I was. So happy. I felt like I was experiencing Caraval right along with Scarlett - I could feel the mystery and magic of it as if it were pouring off the page. The writing was absolutely stunning and I could visualise each and every scene as if I were standing right there. There was just so magic and fantasy in Caraval, from the ever changing dress, to portals, to the time moving quicker there than anywhere else, they all worked together to create a perfectly bewitching environment.

I fell in love with (most of) the characters too. The bond between the sisters in Caraval was so strong and clear, it was as if their love for each other was tangible. Their father however, I did not like. Without spoiling anything, the fact his gloves are described as "plum coloured... the shade of dark bruises and power" should say more than enough. I really appreciated that each character was different, they were individuals with their own mind and really helped to propel the story forward as opposed to being a "side character" just for the sake of it. I could feel Scarlett's frustration through the whole book which only added to the intensity and urgency of the plot. I also found the fact that Scarlett has synesthesia really interesting; she sees emotions and thoughts in colour and it's something I haven't read about before!

I'm pretty sure I fell in love with Julian from the first scene (sidenote: Stephanie actually said in an interview that she never really intended to keep him in the story after the first chapter or so which makes him all the more intriguing)! Also, Caraval included one of my all time favourite YA tropes, even if just for a short while: the fake husband and wife scenario with lots of playful flirting. Yesss.

Throughout the story there were tonnes of character development which I really enjoyed, but was this just to help "the game"? I loved that  as the story went on, Scarlett decided to do what is right for her and not just what is right for everyone else, but I was constantly changing my mind on the other characters. Were they genuine? Were they real? What is going on!?

I truly felt as though no one and nothing could be trusted. The cover says "Remember, it's only a game", and it definitely lived up to that. My mind raced from one possibility to another, while my eyes frantically took in each word as I flipped through the pages. I had a constant feelings of unease, dread and nervousness but I was thoroughly excited too - I guess this is how the real players felt! My heart broke over and over, I actually found myself saying "oh my god" several times, particularly in the last 1/4 of the book but I loved every part of it. I'm quite content with the ending and how it was (or wasn't) wrapped up, though I'm pretty sure there is a sequel and I need it now!

I actually have the opportunity to meet Stephanie at an upcoming event at my local Waterstones and I'm so excited! Caraval was a magical, stunning and thoroughly enjoyable read that twisted, turned and shocked at every opportunity. I truly loved it, so I gave it a well deserved 5/5 stars - I'd give more if I could! Keep reading for some awesome quotes...

Some of my favourite quotes:

"Lovely seeing you Scarlett." Julian smiled, as cool and seductive as a slice of shade in the Hot Season - One of Julian's first lines

The hazy glow of a lantern caught the metallic edges of the paper, making them blaze a shimmery gold, the colour of magic and wishes and promises of things to come - The invitation to Caraval

Glittering mist swirled around vibrant green mountains - all covered in trees - that rose toward the sky as if they were massive emeralds. From the top of the largest peak an iridescent blue waterfall streamed down like melted peacock feathers, disappearing into the ring of sunrise-tinted clouds that pirouetted around the surreal isle - Isla de los Suenos

The sky was black, the moon visiting some other part of the world, as Scarlett took her first step into Caraval. Only a few rebel stars held posts above, watching as she and Julian crossed the threshold of the wrought-iron gate, into a realm that for some would only ever exist in wild stories - The first step into Caraval

She remembered her first impression of him, tall, roughly handsome, and dangerous, like poison dressed up in an attractive bottle - Scarlett thinks of Julian

"Crimson," Julian murmured as his eyes flickered back open. Light brown, the colour of caramel and liquid amber lust

Everything on pages 208 - 212. So much loveliness and swooning.

There are so many more awesome quotes and lines throughout the rest of the book, but I don't want to include anything from the last half of the book because - spoilers!

*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Monday, 6 February 2017


Back in November I bought my first ever FairyLoot box (check out what was inside here), and I was hooked from the second I opened it. Sadly I missed out on the December box, so when I saw that the January box was up for single purchase on Christmas Day, I treated myself to a little Christmas present and bought it straight away. Oh man, this box is incredible. I wanted to wait a little while to share my unboxing as I know that a few people oversees may only have recently received theirs and I didn't want to spoil anything, but I'm so excited to finally talk about it!

FairyLoot is a "fantasy focused monthly subscription box containing a Young Adult book and some hand selected bookish goodies" as described on their website. You can commit to six or twelve month subscriptions or if you're fast enough, you can get your hands on their single purchase boxes! The January theme was "Mystery and Mischief" which sounded right up my street.
I don't think it's possible for me to choose just one favourite this month; the whole box was totally gorgeous. Alongside the main contents, we received the usual favourites: the Fairyscoop including interviews with the author of this month's book and YouTuber emmmabooks and the FairyLoot book bag which is so handy for carrying your book around in.

There were so many exclusive items this month that I'm super excited about. The first exclusive item is the lovely Come Back Yesterday candle by Meraki Candles, which is themed after the book in this month's box! It smells of cocoa, berries and musk, and even says FairyLoot on the tin. It's a gorgeous pink colour and smells even more delicious every time I open the lid.

The next is this absolutely stunning Night Circus Pillowcase designed by Risa Rodil. I haven't read The Night Circus yet, though it is sat waiting patiently on both my TBR and my bookcase, but I'm still in love with this cover. Who can have too many cushions on their bed? Not me.

FairyLoot really spoiled us this month, with yet another exclusive: the super pretty rose necklace by Oh Panda Eyes. It's so intricate and well designed, I'm almost scared to wear it for fear of breaking it! I love the little "admit one" FairyLoot ticket attached to the clasp, which only adds to the overall charm. The final exclusive is the Alice in Wonderland bookmark by Read At Midnight: it's lovely and thick, which means if I can bring myself to use it (it's just so cute!) I won't be scared of it bending or creasing. 

In keeping with the 'mystery' theme, a Funko Mystery Mini toy was included in each box, and you were surprised with either a Harry Potter or a Game of Thrones mini. While I hoped for a Harry Potter mini, I received one from Game of Thrones. Sadly I've only seen season one and that was a long time ago (I know, I'm so behind!) so I'm not actually sure who this little guy is, but he's still sat at the top of my bookcase!

Not content with giving us lots of exclusives this month, Anisa and the guys at FairyLoot treated us to not one but two books. The first, How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Oh my, I love Sherlock Holmes, so I'm so happy to have received this. My boyfriend has actually reserved it for our upcoming holiday in June!

So last, but oh my gosh, by no means least is this month's book. I had been anticipating this book for months, ever since I'd heard it's plot, and I had a sneaky suspicion that this was the January FairyLoot book of the month so in good faith I cancelled my pre order. I totally made the right call! The highly anticipated YA debut Caraval by Stephanie Garber was included this month and I LOVE IT. I read it within days of receiving the book and it's already become one of my favourite ever books. Out of the four alternative covers underneath the dustjacket that you could receive, I got my hands on the tent design and it's oh so beautiful. In fact, the whole book is. So much so that I recently ordered the US edition too! We also received a signed bookplate which is sitting proudly inside the book cover (and will be joined by Stephanie's signature that I will receive in person at an upcoming event!), a Caraval postcard and a super interesting map of Caraval too with a letter from Stephanie on the reverse, which now I've read the book I can't wait to pore over. My review for Caraval will be up later this week, but it's a definite 5/5 stars from me!

A couple of bonus items were also included which was a nice little touch, like the Passenger notebook, Alchemists of Loom bookmark and the Jackaby free chapter download postcard. Phew. That was a lot of stuff. I feel truly spoiled this month; my love for FairyLoot just grows with every box, I can't wait for next month!

*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Ok sooo... I read a lot of books this month. I absolutely never thought I would read ELEVEN BOOKS this month, especially as I had a couple of assignment deadlines and a whole load of uni work to do. Maybe being motivated to do uni work has helped me get in the zone to read and write more? Who knew. Annoyingly I can only photograph three as the rest were ebooks, which is a change for me!
The first book I finished this month was Ruin and Rising, the third in The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, on my Kindle. I can't say too much about the story without ruining the entire series, but I can tell you that just like the first two stories, the team are trying to stop a terrible evil from destroying the land, with very drastic consequences. I really loved the characters, even though it took me a little while to warm up to the protagonist. The side characters were also super interesting too! The book wasn't super fast paced but I loved being able to see the plans being made and then put into action. You can find out what I thought of The Grisha Trilogy in my upcoming review!

Next, I read two e-books my Colleen Hoover (in the same day... it seems that when I say I'm "taking a day off uni work" what I actually mean is "I'm going to sit and read all day"). I read It Ends With Us and Confess. Apparently these are the 'better of Colleen's books', or so I read online. Both were captivating and fast paced, and covered some seriously important issues - especially It Ends With Us. While I couldn't help but notice a few problematic tropes in both books, they were full of emotion, inspiration and love, and I devoured them both.

One of my favourite books I read this month is Frostblood, the debut novel and first in a fantasy saga by Elly Blake. Wow. It absolutely blew me away, everything about this book was perfect, from the writing style, to the world building, to the character development, to the pace. I absolutely loved it and you can check out my full review (and even read a sneaky little excerpt) here.

I finished the audio book of The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a F*ck this month too. I started it months ago, but I've found myself preferring the radio (and definitely CD's over the festive period, particularly Now That's What I Call Christmas...), so I'm glad to have finally gotten around to finishing this. I think that, had I read it as a book, I would have found it repetitive and would definitely have skipped a few chapters, like those on children as it's not relevant to me. However listening to it in chunks whilst driving before work and university, it definitely made me feel motivated and have found myself taking on Sarah's advice and generally I just give less of a f*ck about things that I've put up with for too long.

My other favourite book from this month is Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton. I know, I know, it came out like a year ago right? I can't believe I waited so long to read this book, because man it's great. A Middle Eastern fantasy with a western vibe and a kickass female lead - what's not to love? Read my full review here.

With all the uni work I've been doing, I've found myself reaching for an easy read, contemporary to be specific. Years ago I read the Perfect Chemistry trilogy by Simone Elkeles and loved it. I recently heard about it again on booktube and decided that as I still had the ebooks on my phone, I'd give them another go. I know that this time around, I didn't love them as much as I once had. I found some of the language a little cringey and some of the storylines jarring and like they came from nowhere, but overall they were great little pick me up books, despite the somewhat heavy storylines, and I'm glad to have read them again.

Another contemporary e-book: The Roommate by Kendall Ryan. I saw a tweet containing the synopsis of this book and thought it sounded interesting and a pretty light read. Unfortunately I felt like not much happened, it was predictable and didn't really grip me at all. However, I enjoyed Ryan's writing style, and have to say that the character descriptions were spot on and I had a pretty strong image of them in my head throughout.

I had to sneak another one in here as I unexpectedly finished another book on January 30th, and I'd written this in advance thinking it wouldn't happen! So the last book I read this month was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Oh my god. This is now one of my all time favourite books. I read the last 90% of the book on Monday night, I literally could not put it down. The writing was amazing; the way that Stephanie describes the scenes and the characters, I literally felt like I was a part of Caraval too. It's full of shocks and definitely makes you re-think everything you thought you had figured out, and my heart even broke a couple of times. A totally magical and stunning book that I will highly recommend to absolutely anyone! I feel like these words don't do the book justice and don't get across just how much I LOVED this book and how incredible it is, so make you sure to check out my full review which will be up soon for more ramblings on this awesome book. Brb while I go swoon over the US edition which I will most likely end up buying.

So January was a mixed month of reading; I read some amazing books, and I read some not that amazing books, and for once I read more e-books than physical copies. Overall I'm pretty chuffed with the number I read, and while I'm sure this will decrease as my work load at university increases, I hope to keep up with my reading challenge!

*Book depository affiliate links used. I get a small commission if you purchase through them, and you get free delivery!
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