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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Review: The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord

The Names The Gave Us by Emery Lord (UK edition)

Title: The Names They Gave Us
Author: Emery Lord
Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books (1st June 2017)
Blurb:

Lucy has her perfect summer planned out: perfect boyfriend, perfect job and quality time with her perfect parents.

Then her mom’s cancer comes back, and suddenly life makes no sense.

Before she knows it, Lucy finds herself agreeing to volunteer as a counselor at a camp for troubled kids, where lives are more different from her own than she could have imagined possible. Here Lucy meets the dashing but mysterious fellow counselor Jones, who will change the way she sees the world forever.

With tragedy hovering at the edges of Lucy’s life, this summer she must find out who she really is and what it means to love.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

THE NAMES THEY GAVE US is the fourth book from Emery Lord. It’s a standalone young adult novel that tells the story of Lucy Hansson. The story takes place over several months – it starts in April and ends in August. When the book starts Lucy already has her summer planned out, but after she returns from prom she learns her mother’s cancer has come back and that changes everything. Her mom talks her into volunteering as a counsellor at a camp for troubled kids, that’s close enough for a weekly visits; hopefully allowing Lucy space to come to terms with everything. There, despite the tragedy hovering on the edges of her life, Lucy meets some great people and makes some wonderful friends.

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Review: Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff

Picture of the cover of the UK hardback edition of Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff.

Godsgrave by Jay Kristoff (UK edition)

Title: Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicles, 2)
Author: Jay Kristoff
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Harper Voyager (7th September 2017)
Blurb:

From the bestselling author, Jay Kristoff, comes the second book in the Nevernight Chronicle.

Mia Corvere, destroyer of empires, has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church ministry do not believe she has earned it.

Her position is precarious, and she’s still no closer to exacting revenge for the brutal death of her family. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to suspect the motives of the Red Church itself.

When it is announced the Consul Scaeva and Cardinal Duomo will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself into slavery for a chance to fulfill the promise she made on the day she lost everything.

Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold, secrets are revealed and the body count rises within the collegium walls, Mia will be forced to choose between her loyalties and her revenge.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5 stars)
Review:

GODSGRAVE is the second book in Jay Kristoff’s wonderful Nevernight Chronicles. It continues Mia Corvere’s story as she seeks revenge on those who slaughtered her family, when she was a child. After the events of the first book, NEVERNIGHT, Mia’s place within the Red Church is precarious; accepted not because of her skill, but because after the slaughter of their members they have need of her. After a confrontation with an old enemy, Mia begins to fear that there is more going on than she is aware of. After discovering an opportunity to gain her revenge on the men who killed her family, she decides to defy the Red Church.

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#LondonBookshopCrawl 2018 – The Book Haul!

Last week saw me talking about my experience with this year’s London Bookshop Crawl (if you missed that, you can find how my crawl went here), this week I’m going to talk about the books I bought along the way. As I was getting ready to write this I realised it’s been a long time since I did a book haul. I kind of miss it.

I’m going to organise this haul by the order in which I visited the shops. I actually only picked up seven books, which considering the size of my to be read pile is not bad at all. These are either books that were recently released (at the time of the crawl) that I wanted to get my sticky paws on, or ones I’ve had on one of my lists for a while. That’s good right?

So my first stop was Foyles. It was actually the place I picked up most of my haul, but we decided that a “buy ’em when you see ’em” approach was probably the best (that way there would be no backtracking).

The first book I’m going to talk about is this lovely signed copy of Hero at the Fall by Alwyn Hamilton. It is the final book in the Rebel of the Sands trilogy (you can find my thoughts on the first book here, and my thoughts on the second book here), and I’m really looking forward to it. If the first two books are anything to go by, I will be sucked straight back into this world!

The next book is actually a manga bound in hardback format. Wolf Children: Ame & Yuki by Mamoru Hosoda with art by Yu is something that intrigued me around Christmas time, and I’ve kept my eye out for it. There’s also apparently an anime? I think it sounds really cute, and the artwork is lovely.

The next book is The Cruel Prince by Holly Black, the first book in her new The Folk of the Air series. I have really enjoyed some of Holly Black’s books, including some of her other ventures into the faery realms so this book has me curious. Never a good thing around the fair folk.

And the final book I picked up at Foyles was Nucleus by Rory Clement, the second book in his Tom Wilde series. I read and loved his first book, and I also recently did a Q & A with Clement. So whilst it’s not a typical genre for me, I’m looking forward to diving into this book.

After Foyles, I picked up a book in the Forbidden Planet megastore. I think this is probably the smallest amount of things I’ve walked out of that shop with.

I picked up Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones, the second (and final?) book in the Wintersong duology. I got the first book in the sixth Illumicrate (you can see my unboxing here) and I really enjoyed it. So I’m curious to see what this book will bring.

I got my final couple of books from Orbital Comics. I almost thought I’d walk out without picking up anything, but then I spotted these two.

The first book I picked up is The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi, the first book in The Amulet series. This book has been on one of my list for a while, and it’s actually the first time I’ve seen it in the flesh. I really love the style of the artwork, and the whole premise sound interesting.

The final book I picked up is Glory to the Losers by Katsuyuki Sumizawa with artwork by Tomofumi Ogasawara, the fourth book in the Mobile Suit Gundam WING: Endless Waltz series. I watched, and fell in love with, the anime as a teen. So when I saw this series I had to start collecting it. I can’t say it’s dissappointed me so far – though it is basically the anime.

Those were the seven books I picked up this London Bookshop Crawl. I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out what I got. Next week I should be back with a new review. Until then.

#LondonBookshopCrawl 2018

Sorry this is a little late (this was scheduled to go live at midday, but for some reason didn’t); this is what I did during the London Bookshop Crawl back in February.

On Saturday the tenth of February we got up early, and caught the train down to London for the London Bookshop Crawl. This was my third year taking part, and my experience has been different every time as the Crawl has got bigger and bigger. Instead of it taking place on single day, as it did the previous years, this year it ran from Friday the ninth to Sunday the eleventh and there were activities people could sign up for every day.

Before we caught the train, we decided that we were going to complete one maybe two of the crawls based on underground lines. This way we could visit some familiar places, and also get to explore new areas of London. We thought we’d start with the Northern Line crawl, which was one of the routes created for the crawl (thanks for doing that!). There are quite a few bookshops you can visit

Once we arrived in London we caught the Northern Line to our furthest stop north, Hampstead, where we intended to visit West End Lane Books. We didn’t realise until we got there that the bookshop was a sixteen minute walk away which looked rather complicated on the A to Z; rather than catching the Northern Line we would have been closer catching the Jubilee Line or Thameslink. It was our first stop of the day, and we decided to get back on the Northern Line and head back towards central London.

We got off at Tottenham Court Road station and headed straight for Foyles’s flagship bookshop on Charing Cross Road. It’s a familiar site, and on previous Bookshop Crawls it was the starting point of the adventure. The first place we stopped off was the café on the fifth floor to grab a bite to eat and a drink.

Main entrance of Foyles Charing Cross Road.

Foyles is huge; it covers six floors, and has just about every section you could imagine in a bookstore. I really enjoyed having a look around through several different sections – if you’re a fan of young adult or middle grade books then this is definitely one shop you should check out – and I got several books.

Forbidden Planet Megastore

Once we escaped Foyles, we headed down Charing Cross Road and took a left onto Shaftesbury Avenue to go to the Forbidden Planet megastore. This is one of my favourite stores. There is just so much. It’s got everything from merch from films and TV, to comics, to manga and anime, to books. The only trouble with it is once you get inside there’s little/no phone signal.

Orbital Comics

Rather than hopping back on the Northern Line, we headed back to Charing Cross Road and walked down towards the next station Leicester Square. Before we reached the station we turned off onto Great Newport Street and visited Orbital Comics. A shop I first stumbled across on my first London Bookshop Crawl. If you’re a comic/graphic novel fan then this is well worth a visit particularly if you’re looking for something less mainstream (though it does have a lot of mainstream stuff).

View from National Theatre towards Waterloo Bridge and Somerset House.

View from National Theatre towards London Eye

Then we headed back to the Underground and caught the Northern Line to Waterloo, where we paid a visit to the National Theatre Bookshop. It was interesting getting to it, and it was also starting to rain after already being a bit damp (which is something of an understatement). We’d visited the Southbank before, but never actually gone inside the National Theatre. The bookshop has plenty of plays, and actually is an interesting place to visit if you’re interested in theatre craft.

Pizza and Heineken

Pizza and orange juice

By the time we left the National Theatre it was well past lunchtime, and we were both starving. There wasn’t anywhere between the National Theatre and Waterloo that we wanted to eat at or wasn’t packed so we decided to head to out next stop. So we caught the Northern Line to Clapham Common, and when we stumbled out of the station we came across Joe Public so we decided to stop for lunch there. It was lovely.

Clapham Books

After lunch we headed for our final stop on the Northern Line crawl, by this point in our journey it had really started to pour down with rain, Clapham Books. It’s a small, quirky little shop.

Having finished visiting all the bookshops on the Northern Line we wanted to see, we decided (perhaps foolishly) that we would make a start on the Piccadilly Line crawl. Our first destination was South Kensington because we wanted to have a look at the V&A bookstore. The Victoria and Albert Museum is one of the few museums that we both like, so we were both looking forward to visiting. Unfortunately when we arrived not only was the rain absolutely bucketing it down, the pedestrian tunnel to the museums was closed so we had to go out in it. And the museums themselves had really long queues, none of which looked like they were moving. At that point we decided to give it up for the day, and head back to catch the train home.

All in all, even with some mishaps, we had a really fab day. We definitely got to see some areas of London we’d never visisted before – both Hampstead and Clapham Common are really lovely looking places. I totally recommend joining the London Bookshop Crawl next year if you can make it, to find out more about it and future crawls you can find the sign-up to the mailing list on this page. Thank you so much for reading so far, and next week I will be showing the books I picked up so be sure to come back for that.

Illumicrate Unboxing 10 – Rise Up!

This box arrived on last Friday (2nd March), and I couldn’t wait to open it and share my thoughts on this quarter’s box. I’m sure you all know the drill by now, but for those of you who don’t: Illumicrate is a quarterly UK based subscription box. I signed up for the first box, and I’ve never looked back! And finally before we go any further just to be clear, if you read this post any further there WILL BE SPOILERS for this box.

This quarter’s box is late and in different packaging to normal because there is just so much stuff!!! I think this is the first time the box has a name – Rise Up! Which I have to admit did leave me super intrigued.

The first item I picked up is the Fight The Darkness Cushion Cover which is designed by @stellabookishart, and it’s exclusive to this box. I really like the colour of it, and it feels super soft.

The next item I picked up is the Phoenix Magnet which is designed by @hannahhitchmanart, it’s also exclusive to this box. The writing ties it to the Harry Potter fandom, but I also think it’s a lovely depiction of a phoenix all on its own. It’ll defo be added to the fridge.

The next item I picked up is a pocket mirror for The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr a young adult contemporary action and adventure that’s out now. The blurb sounds very intriguing.

The next item I picked up is a little notebook with pen for The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert which is the first book in a young adult fantasy that’s out now. You can find the blurb here.

Then I picked up this gorgeous Stranger than the Dreamer by Laini Taylor postcard.

Then I picked up a sampler for Restore Me, which is the fourth book in Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series.

The next item I picked up was also a sampler, this time for Clean by Juno Dawson which is out on the 5th April 2018. You can find the blurb here.

The next item I picked up is a Daggermark designed by @rdashjackdotcom, an exclusive to this box. A really neat looking bookmark.

I then picked up another bookmark, this time for Witchsign by Den Patrick the first in a new young adult fantasy trilogy out May 22nd 2018. You can find the blurb here.

Next I picked up the Lunar Lip Balm designed by @lovely_lip_balm, an exclusive to this box. I think it smells nice, and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

Then I picked up the Inimitable Mug designed by @abbieimagine, an exclusive to this box. This is a lovely mug that survived the post super well – Illumicrate have definitely improved their packaging since the last time they included a mug which I’m very thankful for!

The next item I picked up is A Rebel’s Command List designed by @howstoreofficial, an exclusive to this box. I think it looks cute and it should be super practical.

Now let’s move onto the book section of this unboxing.

The first book I picked up is an exclusive advanced reader copy of The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green, the first book in her new young adult fantasy series. Although you can’t see them in this photo, this book comes with lovely purple edged pages. This book will be published on the 3rd May 2018, and you can read the blurb here.

The main book of this Illumicrate is Blood and Sand by C. V. Wyk, the first book in a young adult historical series. The book came with a bookmark, pin, temporary tattoo and a signed bookplate. It’s actually a US edition, which really surprised me. You can read the blurb here.

This was another fantastic box by Illumicrate. I’m really pleased with it. I hope you enjoyed this image heavy post. Thanks for sticking around until the end, and I’ll see you next time.

Review: Rituals by Kelley Armstrong

Rituals by Kelley Armstrong (UK edition)

Title: Rituals (A Cainsville Novel, 5)
Author: Kelley Armstrong
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Urban Fantasy
Publisher: Sphere (15th August 2017)
Blurb:

Olivia Jones must make a choice.

Caught between two rival supernatural forces, she hs been given a brief period in which to make her decision. Now that time has run out.

Whichever side she chooses, someone she loves will pay. Her lover, Ricky. Gabriel Walsh, the man she knows she cannot, must not love. Her parents, already trapped in prison.

And how there is a new, terrifying power rising – one that doesn’t distinguish between good and evil intentions. It feeds on chaos and  destroys without mercy. Unless Liv acts fast, no one will survive.

In this gripping supernatural thriller, international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong brings the Cainsville series to a powerful, richly rewarding finale.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

RITUALS by Kelley Armstrong is the fifth and final book in the Cainsville series. Over the previous four books Olivia Taylor-Jones has had her world turned upside down. She has discovered the truth about her past, and her link to the mysterious Cainsville. Along the way she has grown close to Gabriel Walsh and to Ricky Gallagher. They negotiated a truce, but now the time has come and she must finally make a choice between the Twyelth Teg and the Cwn Annwn. Whichever side she picks someone she loves will pay. All the while a new power rises; one that doesn’t distinguish between good or evil, and that destroys without mercy.

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