Time for a break

Hello.

This isn’t a normal post for me both in terms of content and the fact that it’s going live on a Monday. There have been a few things going on behind the scenes recently, and I’ve been struggling to read books (even ones I’m enjoying) for the last couple of months – so much so that I have been struggling to schedule posts, which is why I’ve been late and missed a couple of weeks. Thank you for sticking with me. In light of this I’ve decided to take a break from the blog until July.

I hope you have a really good June, and I look forward to seeing you in July with more book reviews.

A view from Falmouth, taken in early June.

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Review: The Good Mother by Sinéad Moriarty

The Good Mother by Sinéad Moriarty

Title: The Good Mother
Author: Sinéad Moriarty
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK (2nd November 2017)
Source: The publisher
Blurb:

Kate has been through the fire with her three children . . .

Having been left devastated and homeless after her husband’s affair and the break-up of their family, somehow Kate has pulled through. Though times are still tough, she’s beginning to see the start of a new life.

But when twelve-year-old Jess is diagnosed with cancer, Kate’s resilience is put to the ultimate test. She has an eighteen-year-old son consumed with hatred of his father, a seven-year-old who is bewildered and acting up, and an ex-husband who won’t face his responsibilities. And in the middle of it a beloved child who is trying to be brave, but is getting sicker by the day.

Kate knows she must put to one side her own fear and heartbreak and do right by her children, particularly Jess. But maybe doing the right thing means doing the unthinkable?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

In THE GOOD MOTHER Sinéad Moriarty takes us on a rollercoaster of emotion. The story follows Kate, a mum of three children – 18, 12 and 7 – in Ireland. Her ex-husband Nick had an affair and left her and their children. The story start with Kate and her children moving out of their home as since Nick left they can no longer afford to live there. Kate sees it as the chance for a new beginning. When 12 year-old Jess is diagnosed with cancer everything changes, especially when she seems to be getting sicker by the day. Kate is determined to do the right thing by her family.

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Illumicrate – The Starfall Edition | Unboxing

As those of you who follow my blog will know I’m an Illumicrate subscriber, but I have never purchased one of their special edition boxes until now. The Starfall Edition celebrates the release of the latest book in Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses series – A Court of Frost and Starlight. It was originally available in two editions hardback and paperback (and priced accordingly). I chose to go with the paperback edition so it matched the rest of my series.

I was also lucky enough to acquire one of the boxes in the first batch (there was such a high demand for this box that after they sold out Illumicrate created a second batch that did not contain all the items from the original, but I believe had some new ones too). At the time of posting all editions of this box have sold out. It should be obvious but, from this point there will be spoilers.  So stop scrolling now if you don’t want to find out what’s inside, otherwise continue scrolling to see the brilliant content of this box.

Seriously, stop if you don’t want to see what’s inside.

At first glance inside this box I am pleased with the contents. Although the box is by no means bursting, there looks like there are a reasonable amount of items and from what you can see in this picture they look, at least in my opinion, promising.

By the way, items are posted in the order I removed them from the box.

So the first item I pulled out from the box is this lovely Prythian inspired constellation book sleeve by Sparrow + Wolf.

I think both the front and the back look amazing – the colours are absolutely gorgeous! It feels incredibly soft and squishy, so it will be great for protecting my books when I carry them in my bag. It’s a reasonable size and is holding the book well, as well as several more items.

This stunning illustration is by Kat Adara (you can find her stop here) and it is of Rhys and Feyre during Starfall. I think it looks absolutely lovely. Really magical.

So this is the edition of A Court of Frost and Starlight I chose – the UK paperback edition – it comes hand-stamped with an exclusive ink stamp (which I totally forgot to take a picture of – sorry). There is also this cute note from Sarah J. Maas.

And because it didn’t really pick up in the first image, I wanted to show you some of the gorgeous filigree on the cover.

The final item hidden in the book sleeve was this shiny exclusive bookmark from Bloomsbury.

Both front and back look lovely, and it was interesting trying to take a photo of it without accidentally appearing in the bookmark. I don’t think I quite managed it in the above photo, but oh well.

So, the first item that caught my attention was this Stars Eternal and Night Triumphant enamel pin set by  Fable & Black. I like the fact that it offers you the option of wearing it as one badge, or two.

This box intrigued me, so of course I had to pick it up and have a closer look at it.

According to the card these cards were designed by Keeper of the Suns’ and feature favourite characters and items from the series. This item really surprised me. I don’t think a deck of cards has been included in a box before. I actually think it’s really neat.

This is perhaps one of the smallest items in the box, and I really like it.

It’s called Truth-teller and it’s by Lovely Lip Balm. It’s inspired by Morrigan’s red lips and Azriel’s magic knife. It smells absolutely gorgeous – the scent of roses just wafts from it.

This is a Illyrian wingspan inspired necklace made of mirrored enamel by Mirror Image Accessories.

This is a lovely, almost delicate looking necklace. I like the fact that it’s quite subtle about what it’s referencing.

What is a book subscription box without a candle?

This gorgeous smelling candle is a layered glass candle from Two Candle Thieves inspired by Feyre and Rhys, and by how stars look against the night sky.

It’s a bit warm now for this (at the time of writing), but I still think it’s a great addition to the box.  It’s a lightweight double-sided summer scarf by Evannave that proudly depicts the symbols of the seven courts.

This gorgeous set of six cards is by Monolime and depicts the Inner Court in tarot style cards.

These bright socks were designed by Illumicrate and show Feyre’s tattoos. I think they will look wonderful on.

This is an absolutely gorgeous tote bag. The artwork is by Ink & Wonder, and the colours are amazing. I like the fact that they tied it together with one of the favourite quotes from this series.

And last but not least we have this enamel mug.

As Illumicrate say in the card, “No Starfall Edition would be complete without featuring something from Charlie Bowater!” For me (and a lot of others) Charlie Bowater’s artwork is really tied to this series, and is actually one of the reasons I decided to pick up the first book.

And the card which lists all the items contained in this book was designed by Hey Atlas Creative.

So that’s it. We’ve reached the end of this unboxing.

I am really pleased with this box. It might have cost more than Illumicrate’s quarterly boxes, but I think it was well worth it. I’m really pleased I decided to give it a try. If you liked this box then be sure to follow Illumicrate on Instagram and Twitter to keep track of their new boxes – and to keep an eye out for special edition ones.

Review: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda

Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda, Illustrated by Yu

Title: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki
Author: Mamoru Hosoda
Illustrator: Yu
Character Design: Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel, Magical Realism, Manga, Young Adult
Publisher: Yen Press (7th April 2014)
Blurb:

When Hana falls in love with a young interloper she encounters in her college class, the last thing she expects to learn is that he is part wolf. Instead of rejecting her lover upon learning his secret, she accepts him with open arms. Soon, the couple is expecting their first child, and a cozy picture of family life unfolds. But after what feels like a mere moment of bliss to Hana,  the father of her children is tragically taken from her. Life as a single mother is hard in any situation, but when your children walk a fine line between man and beast, the rules of parenting all but go out the window. With no one to turn to how will Hana survive?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

WOLF CHILDREN AME & YUKI by Mamoru Hosoda, with art by Yu, is a magical story about love and choices. It is a beautifully illustrated story that follows Hana from college, where she meets a mysterious young man in one of her classes. She is immediately taken with him, and after offering to share her textbook with him the pair grow closer. When he reveals his secret, that he is part wolf, to her Hana is quick to accept him. They soon start a family together and are very happy, until tragedy strikes and Hana is forced to face the future with two small children alone.

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Review: Nucleus by Rory Clements

Nucleus by Rory Clements (UK edition)

Title: Nucleus (Tom Wilde, 2)
Author: Rory Clements
Genre: Crime, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
Publisher: Bonnier Zaffre (25th January 2018)
Blurb:

June 1939. England is partying like there is no tomorrow, gas masks at the ready . . . but the good times won’t last. In Europe, the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, and in Germany Jewish persecution is rife. Closer to home, the IRA has embarked in a bombing campaign throughout Britain.

But the most far-reaching event of all goes largely unreported: in Germany, Otto Hahn has made the atomic bomb possible. German High Command fears that Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory could be close behind; they must discover its secrets before it is safe to wage war.

When one of the Cavendish’s finest brains is murdered, Professor Tom Wilde is drawn into the investigation. He unveils a conspiracy in which the fate of the world rests on the discovery of a kidnapped child. Can Tom Wilde discover the truth before it is too late?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

NUCLEUS by Rory Clements is the second book in his wonderful Tom Wilde series. The story is set in Cambridge during the summer of 1939 and tensions are running high. War has not yet been declared, but the Nazis have invaded Czechoslovakia, in Germany Jewish persecution is rife, and the IRA are active in Britain. Within this in Germany Otto Hahn has made the atomic bomb something possible, no longer relegated to the world of fiction. The German High Command fear that Britain might not be far behind and wants to know exactly what is going on in Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory; a world that Professor Tom Wilde finds himself drawn into.

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Bout of Books 22 | Sign-up & Progress

I’m back, and taking part in the twenty-second Bout of Books. Fingers crossed this will help me get ahead with my review schedule – sorry about missing last week, there will definitely be a review up this week.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly Rubidoux Apple. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 14th and runs through Sunday, May 20th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 22 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

– From the Bout of Books team

I’m hoping this Bout of Books will be better than my previous one in terms of the amount of reading I get done. With that in mind, here are my goals:

  • Read 700 pages
  • Read for 10 hours
  • Take part in the Saturday Twitter Chat
  • Complete 2 challenges
  • Keep up with updating my progress.

Most of all I want to have fun.

My progress:

Monday, 14 May 2018
Book(s) I’m Reading: None
Number of Pages Read Today: None
Time Spent Reading: None
Book(s) I’ve Completed: None
Challenge I’ve Participated In: introduce yourself #insixwords, show my TBR pile
Notes: As usual I’m running a little late, but I managed to sign up in time. I introduced myself in six words, and I showed my TBR pile. Unfortunately I didn’t get any reading time in. Ah well.

My physical To-Be-Read pile.

Tuesday, 15 May 2018
Book(s) I’m Reading: None
Number of Pages Read Today: None
Number of Pages Read Total: None
Time Spent Reading: None
Total Time Spent Reading: None
Book(s) I’ve Completed: None
Challenge I’ve Participated In: None
Notes: Today was more than a bit of a fail.

Wednesday, 16 May 2018
Book(s) I’m Reading:None
Number of Pages Read Today:
None
Number of Pages Read Total:
None
Time Spent Reading:
None
Total Time Spent Reading:
None
Book(s) I’ve Completed:
None
Challenge I’ve Participated In:
None
Notes: Today I realised how far behind I was with my Bout of Books goals, and still didn’t manage to get any reading in. Instead I buckled down and wrote the review meaning I will have no excuse tomorrow.

Thursday, 17 May 2018
Book(s) I’m Reading: None
Number of Pages Read Today: None
Number of Pages Read Total: None
Time Spent Reading: None
Total Time Spent Reading: None
Book(s) I’ve Completed: None
Challenge I’ve Participated In: None
Notes: Another day of procrastination. Oops.

Friday, 18 May 2018
Book(s) I’m Reading: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda with art by Yu
Number of Pages Read Today: 550
Number of Pages Read Total: 550
Time Spent Reading: 42 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading: 42 minutes
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda with art by Yu
Challenge I’ve Participated In: None
Notes: So there was reading…

Saturday, 19 May 2018
Book(s) I’m Reading: None
Number of Pages Read Today: 0
Number of Pages Read Total: 550
Time Spent Reading: 0 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading: 42 minutes
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda with art by Yu
Challenge I’ve Participated In: None
Notes: So I was going to take part in today’s Twitter chat, but I totally missed it. Fail.

Sunday, 20 May 2018
Book(s) I’m Reading: None
Number of Pages Read Today: 0
Number of Pages Read Total: 550
Time Spent Reading: 0 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading: 42 minutes
Book(s) I’ve Completed: Wolf Children Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda with art by Yu
Challenge I’ve Participated In: None
Notes: I just didn’t feel like reading again today.

Please let me know if you’re taking part in this Bout of Books.

Good luck to everyone taking part!!

Wrap-up: So as far as my goals went, this Bout of Books was an almost complete fail. I did manage to take part in two challenges (although both were on day one) but everything else was a miss. However, I did manage to start and finish a book so I’m pretty happy. Thank you for all your support.

Review: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi

Title: The Stonekeeper (Amulet, 1)
Author: Kazu Kibuishi
Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Middle Grade
Publisher: Scholastic (11th May 2017)
Blurb:

THERE’S SOMETHING STRANGE BEHIND THE BASEMENT DOOR . . .

After a family tragedy, Emily, Navin, and their mother mover to an ancestral home to start a new life. On the family’s very first night in the mysterious house, Em and Navin’s mom is kidnapped by a tentacled creature. Now it’s up to Em and Navin to figure out how to set things right and save their mother’s life!

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

THE STONEKEEPER is the first book in Kazu Kibuishi’s series Amulet. It follows the story of Emily and Navin, who move into their ancestral home with their mother after a family tragedy. All three of them struggle to come to terms with their new circumstances. The move to their ancestral home is supposed to be a fresh start for the three of them, but Emily and Navin’s mum is kidnapped by a tentacled creature during their first night in the house. Determined to get her back, Emily and Navin set out on an adventure to rescue their mother and save her life.

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Review: Our Dark Duet by V. E. Schwab

Our Dark Duet by V. E. Schwab (UK edition)

Title: Our Dark Duet (A Monsters of Verity Novel, 2)
Author: V. E. Schwab
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Titan Books (13th June 2017)
Blurb:

Kate Harker is a girl who hunts monsters. And she’s good at it. August Flynn is a monster who can never be human. Nearly six months after Kate and August were first thrown together, the war between the monsters and the humans is a terrifying reality. In Verity, August has become the leader he never wished to be, and in Prosperity, Kate has become the ruthless hunter she knew she could be. When a new monster emerges from the shadows – one who feeds on chaos and brings out its victim’s inner demons – Kate must face a monster she thought she’d killed, a boy she thought she knew, and a demon all her own . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

OUR DARK DUET is the second and final book in V. E. Schwab’s Monsters of Verity series. It continues the stories of Kate Harker and August Flynn nearly six months after the events of THIS SAVAGE SONG, still very much apart. Kate has left Verity behind and become a ruthless hunter of monsters. August has become the leader he never wanted to be. There seems no chance that their paths will cross again. A new monster emerges from the shadows, one that is nothing like any monster seen before – it feeds on chaos, bringing people’s inner demons to the surface. All paths lead back to Verity.

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Review: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

Truth or Dare by Non Pratt (UK edition; front cover)

Title: Truth or Dare
Author: Non Pratt
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Walker Books (1st June 2017)
Blurb:

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love?

Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you’re willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

TRUTH OR DARE by Non Pratt is a contemporary young adult book set in the UK. It tells the stories of Claire and Sef, who get together and create a YouTube channel designed to raise money for their friend who was very badly injured. They do this by creating alter egos who play a version of truth or dare. The story follows them as they become friends and try to help. The book itself is split into three sections. The first tells the story from Claire’s point of view; the second from Sef’s; and the third section is split between them.

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Review: The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman

The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (UK edition)

Title: The View from the Cheap Seats
Author: Neil Gaiman
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: HEADLINE PUBLISHING GROUP (11th April 2017)
Blurb:

‘Literature does not occur in a vacuum.
It cannot be a monologue. It has to be a conversation’

This collection will draw you in to exchanges on making good art and Syrian refugees, the power of a single word and playing the kazoo with Stephen King, writing about books, comics and the imagination of friends, being sad at the Oscars and telling lies for a living. Here Neil Gaiman opens our minds to the people he admires and the things he believes might just mean something – and welcomes us to the conversation too.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

In THE VIEW FROM THE CHEAP SEATS Neil Gaiman dips his toe into the non-fiction genre with a series of essays on a variety of topics. It is hard to sum up this collection, as the topics covered are so varied and different; they have also been written at various stages of the author’s life. To try and create some form of cohesion within the book the eighty-seven (if I haven’t miscounted) articles are split into ten loosely themed sections, but even those are chaotic in nature. It is, despite being non-fiction, very “Gaiman-esq” in theme and style – by which I mean, a hodgepodge of non-connected ideas that somehow mesh and form a solid and entertaining whole.

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