January Fairyloot unboxing

Well after what has been a few crappy weeks at uni (but with a few good days in between) I was so excited for my Fairyloot box and it arrived so quickly to say it was delayed a little due to one of the products arriving a bit late. Fairyloot definitely perks up my month and OH MY GOD was this box the best yet!!! My flatmate had to get it from the post room at uni and when I got back home it was sat waiting outside my door!

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Seriously, this box has definitely been my favourite out of all the ones that I have bought and see through bookstagram and booktube – everything in it was AWESOME!

The theme this month was Mystery and Mischief so without further ado, here is what was in this fabulous book box:

I love everything!!!! Even the pop vinyl which I normally hate haha!

I especially loved this box because it included a design by Risa Rodil and I absolutely love her work.

In the box starting from the top left was:

  • How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes book by Daniel Smith
  • Alice In Wonderland bookmark by Read At Midnight
  • Passenger themed notebook
  • Crookshanks Funko Mystery Mini (surprise HP or GoT and I got HP – even better I got a cat!)
  • Come Back Yesterday candle by Meraki Candles
  • The Night Circus themed cushion cover by Risa Rodil
  • Rose necklace by Oh Panda Eyes

 

And the book this month which I just knew was going to be in the box because it’s been raved about so much was………

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CARAVAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I cannot WAIT to read this book by Stephanie Garber and my god is it BEAUTIFUL! Plus the hardcover under the jacket had one of four designs and I got the tent! As always, a hand written note from the author and signed bookplate was included, as well as a Caraval postcard artwork and bookmark. PLUS there was also an Alchemists of London bookmark and Jackaby free chapter download postcard – a great way to get books a bit more well known! I’ll definitely be checking out these books suggested since they were in the Fairyloot box πŸ˜€

I cannot express how much I love this January Fairyloot box – everything is just brilliant and I am so excited to start this book! Thanks so much Fairyloot!!!

A happy bookworm,

Jo x

Cruel Crown book review

by Victoria Aveyard (2016)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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Cruel Crown is a short book composed of two short stories set before Red Queen: Queen Song, focusing on Coriane and how she came to her death, and Steel Scars which features Farley and her rise through the ranks. Queen Song was quite short and was written in the third person whereas Steel Scars was longer and written from the viewpoint of Farley.

Queen Song
Coriane is a singer but not exceptional. An inharmonious family and ridiculed by her often absent father, Coriane has a troubled and bleak future ahead of her. But when the intriguing Tiberius enters her life, everything takes a turn down a brighter path; how long that remains depends on the strength of Coriane as Elara threatens to destroy everything Coriane holds dear.

Steel Scars
Farley has a strained relationship with her father but it doesn’t stop her ascending through the Scarlet Guard. She meets the audacious Shade and soon discovers his unique ability. But Farley doesn’t stick to orders and goes against her father – will she be able to continue with her mission or will the Scarlet Guard turn their back on Farley?

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Queen Song was definitely my favourite with Coriane being such a likeable character whereas I didn’t really care much for Farley and her story at the beginning of Steel Scars, though I did enjoy it more towards the end. It worked with Coriane’s story being told in the third person and I liked the brief accountΒ of her life as though it was being told in a memoir. It was over so quickly though! I would have loved to have read more about Coriane and her relationship with Tiberius, and see more of her time in the palace.

Steel Scars was very much a story of war as the Scarlet Guard set missions and relay coded messages to convey information in secret. Farley meets Shade – a character who was only briefly seen in Red Queen and it was great to see more of his ability and what it allows him to do. Together, they are unstoppable as they try to further the cause of the Scarlet Guard and free Reds everywhere from the clutches of Silvers. Though I preferred Coriane’s story, it was still interesting to find out more about this strong soldier and where she came from.

I loved this little Novella and getting the chance to see more of the Red Queen world!

 

6 of the most anticipated 2017 books

I am so looking forward to a number of books coming out this year – a lot of them are sequels but some debuts as well, and all of them look amazing! So here is one book for each month of the first half of the year that is highly anticipated (I’ve included two for February because that seems to be an AWESOME month for book releases and missed out April):

January

Caraval

by Stephanie Garber, release date 31st

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February

King’s Cage

by Victoria Aveyard, release date 7th February

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A Conjuring of Light

by V E Schwab, release date 21st February

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March

A Crown of Wishes

by Roshani Chokshi, release date 28th March

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May

A Court of Wings and Ruin

by S J Maas, release date May 2nd

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June

Our Dark Duet

by V E Schwab, release date 13th June

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Are any of these on your can’t-wait-to-buy-freaking-out-because-I-need-them-right-now list? They’re certainly on mine!!

 

Jo β™₯

Vassa In The Night book review

by Sarah Porter (2016)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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Vassa In The Night is a book set in the world as we know it, but something strange is occurring with the night – it’s lasting longer and longer but no one can prove it. Vassa and her magical talking doll, Erg, live in uncertain times but it doesn’t help that Vassa’s mother is dead and her father left. Vassa’s sisters don’t help situations either with their constant bickering and accusations of Vassa being a kleptomaniac. Only problem is that Vassa can’t prove she isn’t, so when she is sent out in the middle of the night to fetch some light bulbs from the local convenience store which bedheads any shoplifters, will she come out alive?

Because Brooklyn has magic (and not the good kind as the convenience store is run by Babs Yagg, a witch who has cursed the land) it makes things tricky for Vassa as she tries to pay her debt for a crime she didn’t commit. It soon becomes clear she has to be the one to break the curse though, but Babs isn’t one to play fair.

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I absolutely loved the strangeness of this book and the prelude at the start definitely had me capivated from the off. The premise that something has happened to night really captured the essence of this book that it’s all about night and Vassa is the one to save it.

Erg was a delightfully cunning character and her relationship with Vassa was quite amusing at times – I didn’t realise just how normal it could seem to have a talking wooden doll but I became accustomed to her little quips and quirks. She was probably my favourite character in the book overall.

For a short book, a lot of action is packed in but it was confusing to keep up at times with a few of the characters talking in riddles or alluding to ambiguity a lot of the time. The book was scattered with preludes which gives you an insight into another part of someone else’s life (since the majority of the book is written in the first person) and these were the best bits for me as it helped to understand more about what was happening and where things all started.

What makes this book is the writing. It is written so well that I wasn’t bored and it just suited me with the pace at which the story went. I probably wouldn’t read this book again for a long while at least but it was so good to read for Halloween with it’s slightly strange and creepy vibe at times with the casual beheadings of shoplifters by Babs and her gruesome ‘hands’ (remnants of previous shoplifters that guard the shop for her).

β€œWhy did it take me so many years to understand that Night is something you can talk to, something that might even decide to watch over you or kiss you just when you’re about to crumple from loneliness?” – Sarah Porter, Vassa In The Night

A unique story that I’m glad to have read. Now here come the spoilers because a few things happened in this book that I need to mention so look away to avoid being spoiled (there’s only a few).

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Night. I loved the concept of night being trapped inside bodies and kept under Babs’ control but when Vassa discovered that night had been blinded and she needed to pull stars out of ‘his’ eyes to free night, it conjured up a rather vivid image (especially when she actually tried to pull the stars out) which was a bit unsettling. It was such a unique idea and instantly had me drawn into the story – I needed to know if night was saved in the end!

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So even though we were told that Babs beheads any shoplifters (and sometimes innocents) I didn’t think she would actuallyΒ do it in the story. When Tomin died I was quite taken aback but what hit me harder was the loss of Erg. If I felt sad, then how did Vassa feel?

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Of course Tomin was brought back though I mean how could he not have been? It was just so strange reading about a convenience store and Vassa using cans of pop to bring Tomin’s body back together. But Erg wasn’t brought back and that made me feel sad. The actuality of Erg was that she was a part of Vassa that was grieving at the time of her mother’s death (so I got from the book) and that was a really strange addition to the story. Erg was a great character so it was sad to see her go in the end.

It was just a really strange and odd book but I enjoyed reading – prepare yourself for complete randomness and swans!

Neverwhere book review

by Neil Gaiman (1996)Β Image result for starImage result for starImage result for starImage result for star

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I’ve never read anything by Neil Gaiman before but I have seen some TV/film that he has written for and enjoyed it, so I gave Fragile Things a go which is a collection of his short stories. Some of them were really good but some of them I didn’t like at all, but I wanted to give his writing another go so I picked up Neverwhere full of optimism.

Neverwhere is a book set in an alternate London where there’s such a thing as ‘London Below’ which is home to the people that have fallen through the cracks of life and one in which the laws are different to the world we know. Richard Mayhew is an average man who has an average job and an average engagement to an average woman who he doesn’t even really love that much. He is just floating through life not really giving much thought to what he wants and so when a girl named Door falls into his life, everything changes and Richard finally has to have a serious think as to what he wants from life.

With nonsense and unexplainable happenings, this book is full of action and fantasy taking place in London Below. We follow Richard on his journey to just get back to his own London Above, but first he must help this mysterious Door at his own risk, but what does he have to lose?

I love the absolute strangeness that comes with Neil Gaiman which is just strange enough that it doesn’t need to be explained and you just except that this is normal for the world he has created. The array of characters he creates with their eccentricities and quirks are flipped between within each chapter so the pace is always enough to keep up with and interest hardly ever wavers.

Richard was actually quite an interesting character to read about – he is as average as can be so when his life is thrown into tumult, his laid back ‘just go with it’ attitude is hard to believe. There are a few creepy characters included and one or two that you can never be quite sure which side they’re on – good or evil – and I love this mystery and how it allows the reader to try and guess and speculate what’s going ot happen.

This is definitely a book that I would recommend to read and experience, and it has certainly made me want to try out another of his books purely for the imagination and creation of these unique characters and worlds!

β€œMind the gap!” – Neil Gaiman, Neverwhere

As always, I’ll be including some spoilers now so look away if you like the sound of this book and want to give it a go yourself before peeking back!

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The first thing that I notice with this book is how laid back and not bothered by everything Richard is so when Door fell to his feet in helplessness, his character is shocked into actually making a choice andΒ doing something. I couldn’t believe Jessica and how she couldn’t care less for Door and was actually giving an ultimatum to Richard that if he stayed to help the girl then the engagement was off – cruel!

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From here on in his life was changed and it was so eerie to read when people just looked straight past him and didn’t notice him – all because he had been in contact with people from London Below! It sounded awful and I could not imagine that happening in real life so it was creepy to read. Especially the bit where he was taking a bath and some strangers came in to look at the house to buy it and they didn’t even notice him – how horrible would it be if no one could see you and just looked straight past you?

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One of the most mysterious characters was the Marquis de Carabas (no idea how to pronounce his name and probably never will) because I had no idea whether he was good or bad, only until the end. He paid in favours and just seemed to not really care what happened to himself much. When I read about the box at the end I had completely forgotten about it and my friend had to explain that he keeps his soul in a box like a Horcrux – so that’s why he was so flippant with his life when he met up with Croup and Vandemar! It was an ingenious detail to the story and one of the best characters in the book actually.

One of the most shocking things that, I’ve got to say, I did not see coming was the evil angel.

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I totally did not expect the angel Islington to be evil and hire Croup and Vandemar to get Door for him – you expect angels to be angels! It was a brilliant twist to the story – I love plot twists, but when they are unexpected and completely take you by surprise most of all!

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One huge part of this book was the ending and just how brilliantly written it was. There’s Richard just living out his back-to-normal life again, going to work and meeting new people till he realises that he just can’t carry on like this, not after he’s seen what he’s seen.

So when he nearly begs for a door to take him back to London Below and the Marquis appears, it’s such an awesome way to end the book. You didn’t need anything more, no Richard meeting Door again or actually reaching London Below, just the knowing that he’s going back it totally enough and it was such a satisfying ending to this story.

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It was a great ending to a great book. I kept contemplating throughout the book whether I really was enjoying it or not, but though maybe the writing style was a little off for me sometimes (like when four flights of stairs are explained ???) the story made up for it and I liked the world-building in this book.

I would definitely recommend giving this book a go and I might just try out some more of Neil Gaiman’s work after reading Neverwhere!

Top 3 books of 2016

Happy new year bookworms! I hope everyone had a brilliant year and 2017 is even better for you. I read so many amazing books last year and discovered a load of new amazing authors thanks to other book blogs I follow and bookstagram, so here are my top three books I read in 2016:

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My absolute favourite read of 2016 was, of course, A Court of Mist and Fury by S J Maas which was just a truly stunning book and I am so excited for the sequel this year! A Gathering of Shadows by V E Schwab was an awesome sequel as well (the sequels this year have been even better than the first books!) and What’s A Girl Gotta Do? by Holly Bourne was a brilliant end to its trilogy and so full of empowering feminism.

Each book was full to the brim of superb and inspirational writing – these authors are three of my favourite authors and I can’t wait to see what they do this year!

2016 was the year I started this book blog and I’m so grateful for all of you following – I hope you like what I post! I also started taking Goodreads seriously with my record-keeping of books I’ve read and I love this little summary they sent me of my year:

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I’ve set my Goodreads reading challenge this year as 40 books since I’ve got a busy third year at uni so that’s less than one book a week so I should hopefully be able to reach it but we’ll see (I may have to lower it…). Did you see your little Goodreads summary for 2016? What was the shortest and longest book you read?

Sorry I’ve been a bit inactive – I’ve just seen that I only posted once in December! – but I plan to post at least once a week and I’ve changed the theme of my blog – what do you think?

Jo x