Friday, 30 November 2018

Books I'm Squeeing About in December

Another year almost done, and one last month of bookish releases before the 2019 beauties start arriving. It's been a truly excellent year for books, but it's not over yet!
Here are some of the December releases I'm really excited about, including quite a few fresh discoveries that I know almost nothing about, but just look super intriguing!

Queen of Air and Darkness by Cassandra Clare
December 4th 2018
What if damnation is the price of true love?
Innocent blood has been spilled on the steps of the Council Hall, the sacred stronghold of the Shadowhunters. In the wake of the tragic death of Livia Blackthorn, the Clave teeters on the brink of civil war. One fragment of the Blackthorn family flees to Los Angeles, seeking to discover the source of the blight that is destroying the race of warlocks. 

Meanwhile, Julian and Emma take desperate measures to put their forbidden love aside and undertake a perilous mission to Faerie to retrieve the Black Volume of the Dead. What they find in the Courts is a secret that may tear the Shadow World asunder and open a dark path into a future they could never have imagined. Caught in a race against time, Emma and Julian must save the world of Shadowhunters before the deadly power of the parabatai curse destroys them and everyone they love. 

I realise that the fact that I haven't read the first two books in this series yet is a slight hinderance... But I'm looking forward to getting the final book in my hands and then just binge reading the entire series. Sometimes I like the suspense waiting for the next book, sometimes I just need a good binge.

Fire & Heist by Sarah Beth Durst
December 4th 2018
In Sky Hawkins's family, leading your first heist is a major milestone--even more so than learning to talk, walk, or do long division. It's a chance to gain power and acceptance within your family, and within society. But stealing your first treasure can be complicated, especially when you're a wyvern--a human capable of turning into a dragon.
Embarking on a life of crime is never easy, and Sky discovers secrets about her mother, who recently went missing, the real reason her boyfriend broke up with her, and a valuable jewel that could restore her family's wealth and rank in their community
With a handpicked crew by her side, Sky knows she has everything she needs to complete her first heist, and get her boyfriend and mother back in the process. But then she uncovers a dark truth about were-dragon society--a truth more valuable and dangerous than gold or jewels could ever be. 

Now I love a good heist book. I'm a little bit thrown by the fact that she's a wyvern... But I'm imagining something akin to Abraxos, so WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? I'll report back when I've read it.

Strange Days by Constantine J Singer
December 4th 2018
Alex Mata doesn’t want to worry about rumors of alien incursions – he’d rather just skate and tag and play guitar. But when he comes home to find an alien has murdered his parents, he’s forced to confront a new reality: Aliens are real, his parents are dead, and nobody will believe him if he says what he saw. On the run, Alex finds himself led to the compound of tech guru Jeffrey Sabazios, the only public figure who stands firm in his belief that aliens are coming.
At Sabazios’ invitation, Alex becomes a “Witness”—one of a special group of teens gifted with an ability that could save the Earth: they can glide through time and witness futures. When a Witness sees a future it guarantees that it will happen the way it’s been seen, making their work humanity’s best hope for controlling what happens next and stopping the alien threat. Guided by Sabazios, befriended by his fellow time travelers, and maybe even falling in love, Alex begins to find a new home at the compound -- until a rogue glide shows him the dangerous truth about his new situation. 

Now in a race against time, Alex must make a terrible choice: save the people he loves or save the world instead.

I'll admit, I nearly was put off by the alien incursions (I'm not a big fan of aliens) BUT the rest of the blurb is super weird and crazy awesome sounding. Intrigued? Definitely.

An Assassin's Guide to Love & Treason by Virginia Boecker
December 6th 2018
When Lady Katharine's father is killed for being a practicing Catholic, she discovers that wasn't the only secret he'd been hiding. He'd also been involved in a plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth. With nothing left to lose, Katherine disguises herself as a boy and travels to London to fulfill her father's mission, and take it one step further--she'll kill the queen herself.Katherine's opportunity comes in the form of William Shakespeare's newest play, Twelfth Night, which is to be specially performed in front of Her Majesty. But what she doesn't know is that the play is not just a play. It's a plot to root out Catholic insurrectionists and destroy the rebellion once and for all.The mastermind behind this ruse is Toby Ellis, a young spy for the queen with secrets of his own. When Toby and Katharine are cast opposite each other as the play's leads, they find themselves inexplicably drawn to one another. But the closer they grow, the more precarious their positions become. And soon they learn that star-crossed love, mistaken identity, and betrayal are far more dangerous off the stage than on.
Intriguing title? Check. Intriguing blurb? Check. I am very much on board for this one, despite knowing next to nothing about it. This looks like it's going to tick a lot of my favourite bookish boxes.

The Cursed Sea by Lauren DeStefano
December 18th 2018
Wilhemina Heidle, the exiled princess of Northern Arrod, the girl thought dead by her family and friends, must return home. The only way to save Loom, the cursed prince of the Southern Isles, is to revisit the castle and discover the origins of her own curse.
But home is very different from how she left it—Wil’s unstable elder brother is now king, leading a war against the Southern Isles. And the rest of her family must reckon with the truth of what happened to lead to Wil’s exile. With time running out, Wil must navigate the dangerous secrets within her family if she’s going to find the truth and save the boy she loves.
When she’s finally able to reach Pahn, nothing goes as planned, and suddenly Wil and her allies are fighting for their lives, again and again, as the Southern King is out to punish his children for all they’ve done. Traveling across cursed seas and treacherous kingdoms, Wil, Loom—and his ruthless sister Espel—have to work to make peace with their own struggles if they hope to secure the future of their kingdoms.
But when their plans lead them right back to evil marveler Pahn, and to Baren—who is more dangerous than ever—can Wil and her friends outsmart their enemies, this time, for good?

Yes, yes, this is for the kindle version, the physical copy doesn't come out until next year, but I want this book so badly that I just don't care. Expect much shrieking when I get the physical copy as well though because I adore that cover. Basically anything by Lauren is a guaranteed buy for me, and also a guaranteed brilliant read.

So those are my last few books of the year, what are some of yours? Have any of these made it onto your wishlist?

Thursday, 29 November 2018

Five Bookstagram accounts you should be following

Instagram has become one of the pillars of the book world. It's got so much going for it: an easy way to connect with authors and reviewers and bloggers, yes! Beautiful creative outpourings, definitely yes. A great way to generate buzz on new books, always. An awesome community, for sure.

It's a huge rabbit hole to fall in to, one that I heartily recommend, particularly if you enjoy taking photos of books and fancy joining in. But it's also great just to lurk and enjoy other people's photos and get a heads up on new and exciting books - it's a winning situation for everyone!

So here are five of my favourite Instagram profiles that I love catching up with!

She's sassy, a brilliant writer, incredibly creative, and has the most colourful set up I have ever seen. Plus she isn't afraid to get crushed by a teetering pile of books in pursuit of the perfect photo! I adore Cait's pictures and they never fail to brighten my day.

Gorgeously creative, Xenatine's photos never fail to inspire me. They truly are stunning, and her style has evolved over time into some of the most incredible set ups.

You cannot go wrong with the combo bonus of beautiful photos, a truly gorgeous cat, and some Hufflepuff pride. Michelle's photos always make me smile.

Becky's flatlays are truly gorgeous, I love seeing new photos from her pop up on my feed. Plus I've been introduced to some really fantastic books through her posts, which always makes me happy.

These photos are gorgeous. Inventive, filled with awesome props, and I love reading the captions.
She's put me onto some really great books through her pictures, and they're always so thoughtfully crafted - it was really tough to pick just one!

You can also check out my Instagram profile here!

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: My favourite book relationships that don't involve shirtless hugging

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the fabulous Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl. You can join in with future topics here!

Whilst I adore the spark, the thrill, the excitement of those amazing crushes that develop into relationships - the first kiss! The longing! There's also something wonderful about the relationships that develop between friends and family. Here are ten of my favourite relationships in fiction that involve no pining/sexytimes/swooning whatsoever.

Finn & Puck
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

The first of several sibling pairings that make this list, I love Finn and Puck so much. I love the entirety of this book to be honest, but I love the strange little family unit that these two have made for themselves. The little moments of kindness (hot chocolate making: “You made this?' Finn looks at me. 'No, Saint Anthony brought it to me in the night. He was very put out I didn't give it to you right then.” ) the unity (dragging a mattress in to sleep in the same room) and the sass. I love them.

Harry & Hermione
The Harry Potter series by J K Rowling
I love the friendship between these two. I love that there's never any consideration of it being anything other than friendship. I love how they support each other, become like family to each other (with Ron, obviously, but there's definitely some romantic feelings on one pairing here) and become their own little unit - never so obvious as when it's just the two of them horcrux hunting. I adore the friendship between Harry and Ron as well, but pairings of a guy and a girl where there's no romance to speak of is super refreshing so I wanted to focus on this side of the triangle.

Aelin & Lysandra
The Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas

These two may as well be renamed Sassy and SassyPants. I love their friendship, I love the snark, the sass, the utter ridiculousness of some of their conversations. There are too few female friendships, and I love that this one is born out of hatred and rivalry as the two actually get to know each other and work out that they don't have to tear each other down to be awesome individuals.

Beck & Joey
A Thousand Perfect Notes by C G Drews
In this completely broken family unit Beck and Joey cling to each other with startling ferocity. I love how bright Joey burns. How fierce and angry she is. I love how Beck tries desperately to protect and look after her. They are such an odd pair, but I adore them.

Julia & Portia

The Lady Julia Grey mysteries by Deanna Raybourn
I love these sisters. They snark and snipe at each other, but at the heart of it all they love each other. They are there for each other, supporting them when needed. It's a wonderful sibling relationship, and my favourite pairing of sisters in fiction.
“No, Julia, you need adventure. You need a lover, a holiday abroad. You need to cut your hair and swim naked in a river. You need to eat things you have never even seen before and speak languages you do not know. You need to kiss a man who makes you feel like your knees have turned to water and makes your heart feel as though it would spring from your chest.”

Blue & Ronan
The Raven Cycle quartet by Maggie Stiefvater
The snark between these two. There's never even a whiff of romance, although they both love each other it is entirely platonic. Plus I love the way they bounce off each other.
“It was amazing that she and Ronan didn’t get along better, because they were different brands of the same impossible stuff.”

Raf & Katsa
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
As close as siblings, we are given a criminally tiny amount of time where Raffin and Katsa are together, but they more than make up for it when they are.
“Sit, Your High Majestic Lord Princes," she said. She yanked a chair from the table and sat herself down.
"You're in fine temper," Raffin said."Your hair is blue," Katsa snapped back.”

Inej & Nina
The Six of Crows Duology by Leah Bardugo

Another instance of the ladies in a group deciding to stick together and help and support each other instead of tearing each other down. I think we're hitting a new phase in fiction where we do get refreshing supportive relationships instead of ladies always having to compete. In a group of guys, the friendship and love between these two sassy waffle eating ladies is fantastic.

Alan & Nick
The Demon trilogy by Sarah Rees Brennan

Oh these two. My heart breaks for them. I adore them. I adore their twisty complicated relationship. The love and heart break and convoluted history between them.
“The cut in Nick's arm was starting to throb dully with the pressure he was putting on it. He kept looking at Alan. 'How many times have you lied to me?' he asked in a soft voice.
Alan replied, equally softly, 'I've lost count.”

Sarah Rees Brennan is insanely talented at crafting real characters who are multifaceted shades of grey, and that is never more evident than with these two brothers.

Alanna & Myles
The Song of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce
The relationship that builds between these two over the four books is beautiful. They're two slightly lost souls who develop a wonderful friendship, at first with Myles as 'Alan's' mentor, and later as more of a father figure to Alanna. It's something I haven't come across often in young adult fiction, so it was really wonderful to see their relationship evolve over time.
“Myles hugged her tightly, taking care not to bump her wounded arm. “You’re a good lad, Alan of Trebond,” he whispered. “You give an old man hope.” “Nonsense,” Alanna growled, pleased and embarrassed by the unexpected praise. “You aren’t that old. And I’m not that good a lad.”

So there you have ten of my favourite non-romantic pairings! Talk to me about some of yours!

Monday, 26 November 2018

Review: The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

Publication date: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 561

Bringing the magic and suspense of the All Souls Trilogy to a deeply satisfying conclusion, this highly anticipated finale went straight to #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. In The Book of Life, Diana and Matthew time-travel back from Elizabethan London to make a dramatic return to the present—facing new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home, Sept-Tours, they reunite with the beloved cast of characters from A Discovery of Witches—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its missing pages takes on even more urgency.

This trilogy has been a see-saw of feelings for me. I loved the first one, struggled horribly to push through the second, and then rocked back to thorough enjoyment for this final instalment.
Back in the present seems to suit the story telling for this series, because I no longer had to force myself to wade through whole sections, instead I flew through it.

We finally got to spend time with the cast of characters I loved so much from the first book. We finally got answers to some questions - like the whole Emily thing, although I'm still cranky about that because it felt really poorly done and didn't really work. We also got to combine favourite characters from both books and see everyone interacting, which was awesome. This book truly sings when the whole cast of characters are together. 

I have to admit, at times it did feel a little bit like fan-fiction for the first book - here we have our hero and heroine being smushy and romantic and making a family! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed it, but I did have a few moments where I wanted it to be something more.

I'd also like to take a moment of silence for Gallowglass, my poor under appreciated baby - you deserved so much better.

I'll be honest, this is not the best book in the world. However it was exactly what I needed at this moment in time, so it kinda worked. It's definitely an improvement on the second book which was a slog, and I think because of the core ensemble of characters being involved throughout this one I may even prefer it to the first book. All told this is an interesting trilogy, with a really great plot and some fun elements and characters. Does it have really problematic issues with an overly possessive and controlling love interest? Sure. And if I go back and re-read the series I may find that that actually puts me off entirely. However right now, this was what I needed.

I'm now experiencing a terrible book hangover, where I want nothing more than to go back and revisit these characters and spend more time with them. What's that? A new book about Marcus and Phoebe, let me get my wallet...

Friday, 23 November 2018

TV Review: La Casa de Papel

There's been a lot of TV bingeing going on in our house over the last few months, as now that the stresses of the first half of the year have died down, we've been catching up with shows that we started and loved and never quite finished. La Casa de Papel is a fine example of this - brilliant, complex, utterly engrossing, and requiring a little more brain cells as you keep up with the subtitles which doesn't make it good TV viewing whilst you're trying to fold paper cranes...

But I digress.
This is a show that almost everyone seems to have watched/be in the process of watching/have heard amazing things about and are planning to watch. It's crept in everywhere. It's been one of Netflix's most binged shows for months. And it deserves every single bit of hype and more, because this is a case of a genuinely brilliant show.

It's the kind of show that is best unspoiled, so I'll keep this vague. Suffice to say this is one of the best shows I've seen this year. It's clever, it's slick, brilliantly plotted and filmed, and it keeps you guessing right up until the final moment.
It is genuinely worth the time invested in it, and is filled with breathless anticipation, pulse racing moments, and a suffocating sense of dread that permeates every scene the longer the group are trapped inside.

The heist formula is one we've seen many times before -a group of eight misfits with slightly illegal talents are rounded up by a mysterious figure known only as the Professor, to undertake a heist that he has spent years planning. So far so cliché. Yet once we get beyond that original idea, the entire thing soars. The character's are fleshed out into eight individual real people. Everyone is morally grey. There are no 'good guys' and 'bad guys' as the con-artists work on the inside in a truly brilliantly intricate plotted scheme, and the police work outside to try and foil them.
Every time you think the police are about to win, some additional layer to the scheme comes to light, and it is glorious to behold.

But the longer the heist goes on, the more the cabin fever sets in, the sleep deprivation gets the better of people, and tempers start to fray and schemes unravel. It's a claustrophobic look at a curious group of people, as tensions mount and you genuinely don't know who you want to come out on top. The Professor works from the outside to try and keep his plan afloat, but all throughout his brilliant scheme he didn't really consider the variable reality of having eight people living and breathing this heist. Those individuals add new dimensions and layers, and he's often scrambling to keep up.

It's a truly brilliant show. Compelling, with some of the best plotting I've seen on a show in some time, and a truly stellar cast. Whilst the series is narrated by Tokyo, it is a truly ensemble piece as every character has time invested in their development, and you find yourself caring, or at least sympathising, with almost everyone you've spent this claustrophobic and tense time with. Now I've finished I feel somewhat bereft, I'm going to miss this oddball bunch.I cannot recommend it enough.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

TV Review: The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina

The nights are getting darker, there's more than a little chill in the air, and Netflix have unleashed the first ten episodes of their much hyped new series (just in time for Halloween no less) with a further Christmas special on the way. What have we done to deserve this?!

I've been excited ever since this show was first announced. I was a huge fan of the 90s "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" series (it's glorious) and I am a huge fan of Riverdale. Plus, you know, the series released on my birthday, so it's an all round win.

With all those expectations I settled in with the first episode and felt... curious, but not entirely enthralled. This could be in part due to the truly terrifying spider sequence that should come with a trigger warning, and basically involved me hiding behind a cushion and waiting to be told when it was safe again.

I left it for a week, mulled over my feelings for it, and then started in on the second episode, at which point I was hooked.

This is not a remake of the 90s-laugh-track-sassy-Salem-one-liners Sabrina. This is dark and twisted, and at times absolutely horrifying. Yet for all that I adored it. I'm not a fan of horror by any stretch, yet this somehow works brilliantly.
A lot of that is in how overblown and melodramatic it is. One particularly squicky episode (episode 5, complete nightmare fuel) left me struggling to sleep. Yet once I explained the plot to my husband, within moments we both found ourselves laughing at how insanely ridiculous it was. The writers had captured the twisty horrifying elements of nightmares, wrapped them up in the insanity that comes with it, and delivered a genuinely diverting hour of television.

The writing is brilliant, the cinematography curiously bizarre, and the cast, oh the cast. These characters are so good. I want to spend more time with them. I just want a normal day in the life of the Spellman household, never mind all the dark fun things that go off in the series. They start off as fairly average stereotypes, and gradually over the course of the series are unpacked into layered, nuanced and thoughtful people. Everytime I thought I had my feelings sorted for them, they'd go and upend my feelings again and make me fall in love with new facets of their characters.

Plus, diversity in television! Not only is Ambrose openly gay and has a super cute date, but we also have some truly amazing mortal friends surrounding Sabrina. Roz - fighting for banned books, suffering from degenerating eyesight. And Susie, a non-binary character who suffers hideous bullying and abuse but keeps on fighting and discovering themselves, played by a non-binary actor. I had several moments of fist punchy happiness watching this series for those characters alone. 

Once I was hooked, I couldn't help but binge the rest of the series. It wasn't what I expected, but it ended up becoming so much more, and ultimately being a really important series to me for the representation, the storylines, and these wonderful characters.

I can't wait to see where they go next.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Thankfuls

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the fabulous Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl. You can join in with future topics here!

We've all got bookish things we're thankful for, a lot of them we take for granted, and since now is the time to express thankfulness, this seemed like the perfect time to mention some of mine.

My kindle
Sure I love the look and feel and smell of a real book, but my kindle is such an incredibly useful tool and I don't know what I'd do without it. Late night reading without wanting to disturb anyone with the light on? No problem! Can't decide what book I want to take on holiday but really don't have space for all six hardbacks I'd like to take? Easy solution. I feel so spoiled with it, and I can't do without it now.

Authors putting out content so frequently
There's always a lot of griping between books that the wait is far too long, but honestly, the amount of time and work that goes into each book, the fact that we get new novels so frequently from our favourite authors is incredible.

Random things as bookmarks
Anything can and will be used as a bookmark in my house. And a lot of them end up making me smile every time I open the book and see it again. Pictures of loved ones, receipts for special things, train tickets that remind me of trips away, ribbons from my wedding bouquet. If it's flat enough to go in the book, I'll use it.

Beautiful covers
We are so spoiled with gorgeous covers, and there are so many that I absolutely adore. Whilst I'd still love books and reading without the pretty covers, I am thankful for the extra happiness they bring when I pick up a book.

Access to so many books
I am incredibly lucky that I have really easy access to a lot of books. Sure I gripe sometimes when books come out in the US but there's a long wait before they reach the UK, but in the grand scheme of things that isn't really a problem. I have libraries and book stores and kindle books and I know I'm very lucky to have all of that.

Social Media
Sure social media has its downsides too, but the access and insights it offers for authors is incredible. Instead of admiring someone's work from afar, it has never been easier to contact them to say what an impact their work has had on you. To see their writing process and day to day lives. It's a privilege and I'm really thankful for it.

Book bloggers
There's a really amazing community built up around book blogging, and I feel really lucky and thankful that I'm a part of it. I've made some amazing friends through it, and discovered so many books that otherwise might have passed me by.

Books introducing me to new places
A lot of my travel is fuelled from reading about a place in a book first. Visiting Prague? Thanks "Daughter of Smoke and Bone" by Laini Taylor! Most of my European exploring? The Drina series by Jean Estoril. My desperate longing to go to Capri? Entirely on "I Love Capri" by Belinda Jones. Books open up windows into new and exciting places, and if it's written well I'm pretty much guaranteed to want to visit.

Books that help me through difficult times
Whether it's a chicken soup read that helps give me something fluffy to escape into when life gets tough, or a book with a heroine who suffers from depression fighting her way through to happiness, books can come to you at exactly the right moment and offer a hug, a helping hand, or a window to peep through - something I will always be grateful for.

Sometimes adaptations of books fall way short of the mark (I'm looking at you film version of City of Bones) but sometimes they're awesome and provide a whole new way to escape the real world for a bit. Often they end up deviating from the source material, but it's always fun to see how things unfold in this new medium. Notable tv examples of this are The Vampire Diaries, Gossip Girl, Shadowhunters, Game of Thrones, and Outlander.

There you have ten things that I'm thankful for, now tell me some of yours in the comments!

Monday, 19 November 2018

Film Review: Fantastic Beasts - The Crimes of Grindelwald

I loved Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them - it was a fresh and fun filled romp, in a way that the Potter films hadn't been allowed to be in some time. We got a sense of playfulness! We got to see more of the wizarding world! We got fantastic beasts! But most importantly we got Newt, and my love for Newt deserves its own epic post. (later)

So armed with a fresh re-watch the night before, I went into the cinema excited to see the second instalment. Unfortunately that didn't last long. Even now, several days after watching, I'm still reeling, and not in a good way.

I have a lot of feelings, and a good portion of them are spoiler filled, so be warned, spoilers galore beneath the cut.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Review: Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Publication date: March 6th 2018
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
Pages: 531

They killed my mother.
They took our magic.
They tried to bury us.
Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls.
But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good.
Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.

I'll admit to putting off picking this one up because it was so adored when it first hit shelves that I was terrified it wouldn't live up to the hype. Not so. When I finally did start it I found myself immersed in an incredible, vivid, fantasy world.

The world building and character development is staggering, and really grounds the action and provides a solid base to build on. Quite often I become frustrated with fantasy books that have a base of prophecy to spring board the action from, but in this instance it worked incredibly well.

Adeyemi creates a truly complex world with deft strokes, drawing the reader into the story, flinging them headlong into a masterful narrative, and then keeping the pacing balanced on a knife edge. I flew through the novel. At no point does it become bogged down in exposition, instead the construction of the world is so vividly done that the story practically sings as it comes to life around you.

It's an astonishing debut. A staggeringly exciting story. It hums with life, with magic, and sweeps the reader up in the incredible story. I adored this book, and was on the edge of my seat for the climax. Now if it only it can be 2019 so I can get lost in the second book...

Thursday, 15 November 2018

Review: A Thousand Perfect Notes by C G Drews

Publication date: June 7th 2018
Publisher: Orchard Books
Pages: 282

Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music - because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Discovering one of your favourite social media bookstagrammer people is releasing their debut novel, is a bit like Christmas. But with more cake. I've followed Cait on her blog, twitter and instagram (go find her @paperfury) for some time, and her humour has always been absolutely glorious. So going into this novel I was expecting a lot. NO PRESSURE OR ANYTHING!

Luckily though, Cait's debut novel not only lived up to all my many expectations, it exceeded them thoroughly.

This is a stunningly beautiful debut novel. It's dark and beautiful, with moments of sharp humour and gut wrenching emotional punches. Her writing has a lyrical quality that weaves its spellbinding web around you, and then tightens throughout the story until at the climax I was feverishly ripping through the pages to find out how it would all end.

The characters are complex and fascinating to unravel. Beck's mother is a particular delight (read: dark and horrible but also incredibly nuanced and complex so you end up feeling super conflicted!) and I adored Joey and the relationship between her and Beck. A* for glorious sibling relationships.

This is an incredible debut, that shows a truly formidable talent at the start of what is sure to be an incredible journey. If this is the quality we get on Cait's first published work, I cannot wait to see what she gifts us with next. 

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: Bookish Merch I'd Love to Own

Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by the fabulous Jana at The Artsy Reader Girl. You can join in with future topics here!

With the explosion of Bookstagram, bookish merch has become a whole new beast as people seek more items related to their favourite books. There are so many gorgeous items out there, but I've managed to narrow down ten that I would love to get my hands on.

This fabulous A Court of Mist and Fury Feyre mug was in one of the Illumicrate boxes, and I am gutted that I missed out on it. Maybe one day they'll release them again and I can get my mitts on one! Picture by the brilliant Kath Reads, original artwork on the mug by Merwild.

These are official merchandise, but DEAR LORD THEY ARE EXPENSIVE. That doesn't stop me wanting one. Or four. Basically these official Harry Potter house jumpers are everything to me, and even though I'm a Ravenclaw I want ALL OF THEM.
You can buy the jumpers here.

One day I will save up for this gorgeous "Throne of Glass" t-shirt. I adore these, so much, and the idea of having the book to wear is pretty awesome. I'm also pretty taken with the Outlander one as well Also Dragonfly in Amber. Also The Princess Bride. TAKE ALL MY MONEY.
You can buy the t-shirt here.

Keeping with the t-shirts for a moment, I absolutely adore this one for "The Raven Cycle" by Maggie Stiefvater. I've always been a fan of this style, and the boys and Blue seem to fit it perfectly.
The t-shirt is designed and sold by Blissfully Bookish on Etsy.
You can buy the t-shirt here.

I have a bit of an unhealthy obsession with mugs, and frequently have to have a clear out to make room for all the gorgeous new ones I want to get. This is one I've got my eye on and will eventually make room for. Designed and sold on Etsy by Verge of Wisteria.
You can buy the mug here.

I already have a few of Stella Bookish Art's designs - both in mug and print form - but there are still several I'd really like, because I adore her designs.

First up, this beautiful quote from Emily Bronte, in print format. I love this quote, and the design is so beautiful I want to have it on my walls to admire forevermore. 
You can buy the print here.

Next, this beautiful mug for The Night Circus. There are so few merchandise items out there for The Night Circus, so that alone was enough to get me excited that I'd finally found something for this book. However the design is beautiful and captures so much of the essence of the book - I adore it.
You can buy the mug here.

I think this might be my favourite of all her designs. It's so beautiful. The colours, the light, I love it, and I need it.
Possibly in multiple formats.
But for now you can buy the print here.

Now these last two are a little bit cheaty, but I REGRET NOTHING...
For my wedding my husband and I cut, folded, and dyed 3,300 paper cranes made from favourite book pages... Which has given me a bit of a taste for origami book pages! So my final two pieces of bookish merch are these.

A rainbow paper crane mobile, made with pages from "A Court of Mist and Fury" by Sarah J Maas.
I absolutely adore this, and whilst I've made a few for other people I've yet to make one for myself. I can't wait to start though!
You can buy one here!

And finally, with Christmas coming up, these gorgeous "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" origami crane baubles! The perfect way for any bookish fan to decorate their Christmas tree this year!
You can buy them here!

So there you have ten bookish merchandise items that I really need to save up for. Have any of these caught your eye?