Review: The Waking Land by Callie Bates

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

Title: The Waking Land (The Waking Land, 1)
Author: Callie Bates
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton (29th June 2017)
Blurb:

It’s been fourteen years, since King Antoine took Elanna hostage. Fourteen years since her father’s rebellion failed. Fourteen years spent being raised by the man who condemned her people to misery. A man she’s come to love as a father.

Now 20, Elanna is about to be taken prisoner once again… but this time by her father’s mysterious righthand man.

Her father wants to reignite his rebellion, this time using Elanna as figurehead. He will tell his followers she is the legendary Wildegarde reborn, a sorceress who could make the very earth tremble.

But what no one knows is that magic really does flow through Elanna’s veins. Now she must decide which side she’s on, and whether she’ll use her powers for mercy… or revenge.

– blurb from Amazon.co.uk

Rating:⭐️ ⭐️ (2 stars)
Review:

THE WAKING LAND is Callie Bates’s debut novel. It tells the story of Lady Elanna Valtai who has lived in the court of King Antoine for fourteen years; a hostage in a foreign court because of her father’s failed rebellion. Elanna knows she does not belong in King Antoine’s Court, but at the same time it is the world she has known for most of her life and she wants nothing to do with her father. Still, rebellion is in the air and when events come to a head Elanna finds herself in the middle of them. Torn between two worlds Elanna must choose which path to follow forward.

Continue reading

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Illumicrate #11 – Hidden Talents | Unboxing

The May Illumicrate.

The May Illumicrate.

I’m back with a post on my regular schedule. I hope you enjoy this unboxing of the May Illumicrate – I will be posting the August one soon, but I wanted to get the May edition up first. If you don’t want to scroll through the pictures you can watch me talk about the items here.


The card contains a list of all the items included in the box.

Let’s have a closer look at the items.

This is an exclusive advanced reader copy edition of Light Years by Kass Morgan [goodreads]. It’s the first book in a new young adult sci-fi series.

This is a sample of Holly Bourne’s first adult contemporary novel How Do You Like Me Now? [goodreads]. I’ve never read any of Holly Bourne’s young adult fiction, but I think the blurb for this book sounds interesting.

The postcard and badge are for I was Born For This by Alice Oseman [goodreads].

This #preferfictionalworlds Box is beautifully illustrated by @aliceosemanart. I think it looks utterly gorgeous.

This Camp Half-Blood Enamel Pin is designed by @fableandblack and whilst it might not be my fandom, I do think it looks lovely.

All bookworms/bookdragons should have a book sleeve. This Black Panther inspired It’s Your Time Book Sleeve is designed by @risarodil and will be fantastic for protecting my current read.

This postcard celebrates the release of Reaper at the Gates by Sabaa Tahir [goodreads] , the third book in the Ember in the Ashes series.

This dagger bookmark celebrates the release of Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence [goodreads] the second book in the Book of the Ancestor series. An ARC of the first book was included in a previous Illumicrate.

A postcard celebrating the release of From Twinkle with Love by Sandhya Menon [goodreads].

Another fandom I’m not a part of, but these Infernal Devices Cards by @taratjah are absolutely gorgeous! 😍

The penultimate item of the box are these lovely Elements Page Markers designed by @anotherstudio_ inspired by avatar: the last airbender.

And the final items included in the May Illumicrate are all to do with this quarter’s book – A Thousand Perfect Notes by C. G. Drews [goodreads]. The book itself is exclusive to this box, with red sprayed edges. Also included are a bookmark, a signed book-plate, and a letter from the author which also includes bookstagram tips on the back.

So that is it for the May Illumicrate. Overall I am very pleased with this box, and I’m looking forward to discovering what is inside the August one. I’d love to know your thoughts.

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.

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.

Illumicrate Unboxing 9 – November 2017


Sorry this post is late, but I am looking forward to talking about the ninth box from Illumicrate. Illumicrate, for those who don’t know, is a quarterly book subscription box that I signed up to a couple of years ago. And I’ve really enjoyed all boxes I’ve received to date.

I actually got this box late November/early December and I did an unboxing video, but I wasn’t happy with it. So instead (a lot late) I’ve decided to do this blog post, I hope you enjoy it.


So this is what’s in the box, and I have to say I’m very pleased with it. The presentation of the box was lovely, as always. There’s also a huge variety of items, which I really love. It’s actually on of the reasons I choose to subscribe to this box.

The fist item I’m going to talk about is the Reading in Bed Candle by merakicandles which I think looks lovely. It’s exclusive to Illumicrate, and it smells really chocolatey. The candle itself is a pale yellow, with a sprinkle of pink glitter.

The next item is the gorgeous Moon and Stars Necklace by ohpandaeyes. It too is exclusive to Illumicrate. I think it looks really lovely, and I really like the little bag it comes in – they both look soooo pretty.

So this is a first for me. I’ve never actually seen this item included in a book box before, but I really like it. The Bookish Tea Towel is by evannaveillustration and it feels really nice.

This is a really pretty book quote. I think I might frame it. It’s  “The Right Book” Print by nutmegandarlo, and is exclusive to this box. I think the quote is probably very true too.

This journal is really quite clever, and I liked the fact that it was included in the last Illumicrate of the year – brilliant timing. The Unicorn Journal is by prismofstarlings and is exclusive to Illumicrate.

I think all fans of Pierce Brown’s Red Rising series would be pleased to get this in their box.

This sampler is great for a taste of This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada.

The penultimate item, this exclusive advanced reader copy of The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty, sounds like it is right up my alley. I’m really looking forward to diving into this.

Artemis by Andy Weir is the final item in this box. It’s an exclusive edition to this box with black sprayed edges, it also comes with a travel brochure and bookmark. Sci-fi is always pretty hit and miss with me, but I think this book sounds interesting.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post. It’s a little more image heavy than my usual Illumicrate posts, so I’d love to know what you think of this format. Thanks so much for reading.

Review: Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones (UK edition)

Title: Wintersong (Wintersong, 1)
Author: S. Jae-Jones
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Titan Books (7th February 2017)
Blurb:

All her life, Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, dangerous Goblin King. They’ve enraptured her spirit and inspired her musical compositions.  Now eighteen, Liesl can’t help but feel that her musical dreams and childhood fantasies are slipping away.

But when her sister is taken by the Goblin King, Liesl must journey to the Underground to save her. Drawn to the strange, captivating world she finds – and the mysterious man who rules it – she soon faces an impossible decision. With time and the old laws working against her, Liesl must discover who she truly is before her fate is sealed.

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Review:

WINTERSONG by S. Jae-Jones is at its heart a fairy story. Eighteen-year-old Liesl has heard stories of the stunning and perilous Goblin King all her life, she even played with him as a child. But as she grew older, she drew further and further away from his magic as she was forced to grow-up. Yet his influence still lingered in her music. When the Goblin King takes her sister, Liesl risks everything to follow her into the Underground to try and win her back. Despite the warnings, Liesl finds herself drawn to the Underground and the Goblin King. With time running out and the old laws against her, Liesl finds herself with an impossible choice.

Continue reading

Illumicrate Unboxing 8 – August 2017

The August 2017 Illumicrate.

As you can no doubt tell from the date, I am late (and not just a little) getting this post up on the blog. I was ill from mid-June to September, and then I just kept putting it off.  As we are edging ever closer to box 9, I thought I should probably get on with it and put up my thoughts about this quarter’s box. If you are thinking of signing up for a box you can find out more details on the Illumicrate website here.

I was pleasantly surprised by this quarter’s box. The book was actually one I had been thinking of buying anyway, and I almost asked for it for my birthday. So I am really looking forward to reading it. I also really liked all the items in the box, and I’m curious about the ARC.

The contents of the August 2017 Illumicrate.

Doesn’t it look pretty?! I’m also really happy with the packaging, as nothing broke in transit. The box may have been a little battered and bruised, but the contents themselves were fine.

The contents of the August 2017 Illumicrate (part 1).

  • The Red Church Tea by T-ology, which was exclusive to the box.
  • A Shakespeare Zip Bag with artwork by Miss Phi, which was exclusive to the box.
  • The Wisdom Journal designed by Hey Atlas Creative, which was exclusive to the box.
  • The Alethiometer Coaster with artwork by Hannah Hitchman Art, which was exclusive to the box.
  • The Book Money Jar and Sticky Bookmarks were by Blossom Books.
  • Ringer (Replica 2) by Lauren Oliver bookmark.
  • After the Fire by Will Hill bookmark.
  • Harper 360 autumn releases postcard.
  • The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden bookmark.
  • Moxie badges/pins.
  • A Wonder Woman pin/badge, which was exclusive to the box.

The contents of the August 2017 Illumicrate (part 2).

  • An exclusive edition (with red sprayed edges) of Wonder Woman: Warbringer (DC Icons, 1) by Leigh Bardugo (Goodreads)
  • An exclusive edition advanced reader copy of Nyxia (The Nyxia Triad, 1) by Scott Reintgen (Goodreads)

Congratulations for making it this far down the post. Let me know in the comments if you’re thinking of signing up for an Illumicrate (you can sign-up here), and what your favourite item from this quarter’s box is.

Review: The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

Title: The Diabolic (The Diabolic, 1)
Author: S. J. Kincaid
Genre: Dystopian, Science Fantasy, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (1st November 2016)
Blurb:

Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. The girl who has grown up by her side and who is as much a sister as a master. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the Empire . . .

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3 stars)
Review:

THE DIABOLIC is the first book in a new series by S. J. Kincaid. Diabolics are genetically engineered to protect an individual at all cost, and are considered too savage to be human. THE DIABOLIC follows the story of Nemesis, a Diabolic, as she tries to protect her charge Sidonia, the daughter of a galactic Senator. When the Emperor demands that Sidonia graces his court, Nemesis reluctantly takes the place of her master so that Sidonia does not become a hostage in galactic politics. The Emperor’s court is a deadly place, even for a Diabolic, and Nemesis must learn to navigate is quickly.

Continue reading

Illumicrate Unboxing 7 – May 2017

The May 2017 Illumicrate before I started.

This quarter’s Illumicrate didn’t arrive until the beginning of June, hence why this post is so late. I’m not sure why this quarter was a month late; it just was. If you are interested in signing up for an Illumicrate, the next is due out in August I think, then you can find more details on the website.

Too long, didn’t watch: Overall I was pleased with the box, a little disappointed that it sustained damage whilst in transit.

The contents of the May 2017 Illumicrate. There is a full list below with links where possible.

If you want to see more pictures of the contents of the box then be sure to check out my instagram.

Contents of this quarter’s box:

Illumicrate Unboxing 6 – February 2017

Just in case this is not obvious from the title: this post contains ‼️spoilers‼️ for the February 2017 Illumicrate!

You can find out what I thought of the February 2017 Illumicrate (which didn’t arrive until March as Illumicrate had some problems) by watching the video below.

Too long, didn’t watch: I’m really pleased with this quarter’s box. I really liked the content, and Wintersong by S. Jae Jones sounds like something I will enjoy reading.

If you want to see what I thought of previous boxes you can find the play list here. Or if you’re interested in checking Illumicrate out for yourself you can find details here.

Contents of this quarter’s box:

  • Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones + letter from the author, signed bookplate and a bookmark.
  • Bare Necessities Pouch by Literary Lifestyle Company [exclusive]
  • Magic and Mischief Balm by Bookish Serendipity Co [exclusive]
  • A Darker Shade of Magnets by Her Bookish Things [exclusive]
  • Newt Scamander Bookmark by Jane’s Tiny Things [exclusive]
  • Following Ophelia by Sophia Bennett bookmark
  • Flame in the Mist by Renée A Sampler
  • Gilded Cage by Vic James postcard
  • ARC of Red Sister by Mark Lawrence