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31 October 2019

My Halloween Plans

This time last year, I was sharing My Halloween Rituals, with all sorts of self-care and new beginnings. I am in a very different place this year so it's bit... Different.

I'll still be setting out my usual reflective to do list (it's very similar to last year) and doing a three card draw on Golden Thread Tarot.

My Halloween Plans

My Halloween Plans

Read A Book

I finally have my hands on The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh and it's going to be my Halloween read. I am so excited for Vampires and history and food, and I can't wait to get stuck in. After listening to the author talk about it at YALC earlier this year, I have a feeling that The Beautiful will make me hungry.

Visit a Castle and a Church

We're heading out for a wee drive and plan to stop off at Brancepeth Castle and St Brandon's Church and have a little wander. The church has been beautifully restored after it was all but destroyed by fire in 1998, the windows are breathtaking and I enjoy looking at the grave-markers and trying to figure out the stories of the people buried there based on the clues on the headstones.

St Brandon's Church, Brancepeth


Do a Face Mask

I have been saving up a Garnier Moisture Bomb Chamomile Hydrating Face Sheet Mask especially for Halloween, as my little self-care treat. Also, this autumn weather is taking its toll on my poor wee face, it needs some soothing hydration.

Watch a Film or Two

We have two films lined up for Halloween. We like to watch stuff that's a bit funny and almost parodies itself, especially when it comes to horror. This year we've added Hellbenders and Cannibals and Carpet Fitters to our Watch Lists on Amazon Prime Video.

Drink Some Wine

We call Co Op's California Rosé "Juice Wine" because it's so quaffable and it used to come in a box (juice box, anyone?). I'm being extra fruity and dropping some watermelon into my glass to make it extra tasty.

Eat Some Takeaway

We found a Lebanese takeaway that delivers super quick and does the most delicious Shawarma, lovely homemade chips, and fresh chili sauce. So we're going to treat ourselves while we're watching our films.




30 October 2019

What's In My Bag?

This is something I used to do a lot about ten years ago - share whatever was in my bag at the time on a roughly monthly basis, using it as a chance to get rid of the build up of receipts and show off whatever bag I'm using.

What's In My Bag?

This month I'm using the gorgeous tote bag from September's Witches Be Crazy Fairyloot box.

So...

What's In My Bag?

  • Book
    • I'm currently reading The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons and it's a bit of a beast at over 700 pages long.
  • Book Sleeve
    • I'm using a book sleeve from a previous Fairyloot box, it matches the vibes from my book and looks pretty good with the design on my bag.
  • Caramel Wafer
    • I always try to have a wee emergency snack in my bag, and it's currently this Tunnock's Caramel Wafer. You can take the girl out of Scotland...
  • Hand Cream
    • My current favourite is Co Op own brand Moisturising Hand Cream - it's really light and soaks in quickly, and doesn't leave my hands greasy.
  • Hand Sanitiser
    • I don't use this often as hand sanitisers sting my hands, but I'm using one from Aldi's Lacura range that doesn't dry me out too much.
  • Headphones
  • Keys
    • I feel like this should be obvious, but it's so I can get in and out of my home and work. I have a really cute Books Rule! enamel keyring that I got in a book subscription box and one with a picture of my nephew dressed as a penguin.
  • Kindle Paperwhite
    • I have my kindle on my at all times Just In Case. It's in a pretty battered Book of Spells case from Klever Case that I got in their pre-release years ago.
  • Lip Balm
    • Usually I have a Shimmer & Luxe lip balm from a Wildest Dreams box but I've used them up! I'm currently using Blistex as wait for payday so I can order more.
  • Notebook
    • This notebook is primarily for noting down where I go on adventures. It's gorgeous and small, and I won it in a giveaway.
  • Hufflepuff Pen
    • I bought this at the Platform 9 3/4 shop at Kings Cross one year on the way back from YA Shot, and it just feels lovely to write with.
  • Purse
    •  This one was a gift from my sister and I love the colour, it holds my membership cards for National Trust, English Heritage, Beamish Museum, and Alnwick Gardens.
  • Tissues
    • Gotta keep the sniffles at bay!
  • Water Bottle
    • I drink around three litres of water a day on top of my tea consumption, so this bottle is constantly by my side. I bought it in Primark earlier this year and it came with a removable infuser.
What's In My Bag?

I'm using quite a large tote bag at the moment, so I don't need to carry a reusable bag with me unless I know I'll be buying something substantial at the shops. Usually I just raid the reduced section at Co Op on my way home from work for dinner, and that tends to fit even in a handbag. I am good at handbag jenga.

What's in your bag?


29 October 2019

Top Ten Witchy Books

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

Top Ten Tuesday
This week is Top Ten 
Witchy Books
There's been a wee bit of a theme to my reading recently. I've apparently read A Lot of witchy books  over the years, and now I'm going to share my ten favourites and my five word descriptions for them. If the title is a link then click on it to go to my full review, they're in alphabetical order.
  • Crow Moon by Anna McKerrow
      • Magic, survival, family, love, responsibility.
  • Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C Dao
      • Family, power, magic, control, love.
  • Gemini Rising by Eleanor Wood
      • Magic, mystery, poison, realism, AMAZING.
  • Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew
      • Isolation, survival, magic, secrets, power.
  • Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
      • Family, love, sisterhood, childhood, magic.
  • Sanctuary by VV James
      • Family, community, secrets, belonging, magic.
  • The Forest Wife by Theresa Tomlinson
      • History, family, poverty, bravery, Robin-Hood.
  • The Witch's Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
      • Family, magic, expectations, evil, love.
  • Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson
      • Magic, friendship, power, justice, secrets.
  • Witchstruck by Victoria Lamb
      • Magic, history, power, control, danger.

What's your favourite witchy book?

28 October 2019

Q&A with Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

I recently reread The Witch's Kiss and The Witch's Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr, and I'm currently rereading the final book in the series, The Witch’s Blood. Rereading them has reminded me how excellent I think the whole series is, from the characters to the world building, the relationships to the lore.
Q&A with Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

Q&A with Katharine and Elizabeth Corr


Can you describe The Witch's Kiss (series) in five words?
Argh, that's hard! We think: siblings, witches, fairy-tales, family, sacrifice.


What inspired you to write the The Witch's Kiss, and about witches and curses in particular?
A mixture of things. We wanted to do a gender-reversed retelling of Sleeping Beauty, where it's a prince who gets saved. But we're also fascinated by the history of witchcraft, and particularly the way that 'witch' was used as label to attack any woman who didn't fit into societal norms. And we love that witches in fiction are so often powerful women who are challenging the patriarchy. So it made sense to have our Sleeping Beauty (Jack) saved by a witch.  In terms of curses, it's interesting how often as humans we trace our current day problems back to things in our childhood or even to things we've inherited from parents or grandparents; writing about an inherited curse seemed like an interesting way of considering that. Are we constrained by our past and our inheritance, or are we free to make our own choices and (as Merry discovers) our own mistakes?


Which of your characters would you most like to sit down and have a cuppa with?
We've been arguing about this. It would be nice to chat to Merry and find out what she's been up to since the end of the trilogy! Otherwise, we'd probably choose Gran (though she can be a bit scary), or Cormac, the healer and wizard who comes into Leo's life in The Witch's Blood. He's such a sweetie and we think he'd be a good listener. Definitely not Finn, because he probably makes terrible tea. 


Do you think that you would be able to survive in the world of your book?
It kind of depends who we meet first! Lacking any magical powers (sadly), we suspect our days might be numbered unless we lay low, though we would hope Merry would try and help us out; she and Leo are always looking out for their friends and family. One of us (not saying which one) is VERY clumsy, so accidently stumbling into some deadly black holly is a real possibility. Of course, the real question is what would happen if we were trapped by Gwydion or Ronan: go down together, or throw the slower sister under the metaphorical bus and do a runner???


Are you a planner or a pantser, and how does this come in to play when you write together?
Luckily we are both planners, or it would probably be quite hard to write together - we have to (literally) be on the same page. Having said that, our plans are never set in stone. They evolve and sometimes change quite radically as we write: plot points alter and characters refuse to behave as we expect them to...


What is your favourite thing about writing?
Escaping into a different world. Sometimes it's not always possible to physically escape from problems, but writing allows us to mentally escape, to be in a different space with different people and different issues to worry about or, hopefully, to inspire us. It's amazing.


Finally, what are you working on now? What can we expect from you in the future?
Our next book is A Throne of Swans, a YA fantasy inspired loosely by Swan Lake with hints of Hamlet and Game of Thrones; think mad kings, deadly revenge and nobles who can shape-shift into birds. It's going to be published by Hotkey on 9th January 2020, so not too long now! It's the start of a duology so the second part will be out in 2021. We're working on more YA to follow and also a couple of MG ideas, so lots in the pipeline hopefully!


The Witch's Kiss by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr cover  The Witch's Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr cover  The Witch’s Blood by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr cover


I am very excited for A Throne of Swans next year, as rereading The Witch's Kiss trilogy has reminded me what excellent story tellers Katharine and Elizabeth are. I can't wait for their Swan Lake inspired duology.


Have you read any of their books?



27 October 2019

I Found My Perfect Walking Boots

When I started going on more adventures, I knew I needed better walking boots. I'd been using a pair I'd bought reduced to £5.99 from Aldi about five years ago and while they were okay for shorter walks, they were starting to show their age and I needed thick socks and blister plasters on hand for anything over an hour. Don't get me wrong, they lasted me well, I just needed something a step up for full days exploring the landscape.

I Found My Perfect Walking Boots - Genuine Women's Vibram Walking Boots - Trespass


When I set out on the hunt for new walking boots I knew two things - I wanted leather boots and I had a budget of £150. I decided to hit up a local outlet park, as there are around five outdoors shops clustered together and a couple shoe shops, and I figured the odds would be in my favour. I pulled on my thickest pair of walking socks and set out.

Genuine Women's Vibram Walking Boots in Navy - Trespass

I think that Trespass was the third shop I tried, and when I saw the Genuine Women's Vibram Walking Boots in Navy I pretty much fell in love. I knew the second that I tried them on that they were The Ones. They fit like a glove, supported my ankles and high arches. I waited until I had been round every shop and tried every pair that fit my criteria, and after around two hours I came back and bought my boots. They were on sale, and I ended up combining deals in store to get them for less than £50 including some walking socks.

Bamburgh Castle, Bamburgh Beach, Northumberland

Since then, I have been putting them through their paces. They've been all over the North of England, from the castles of Northumbria to the sweeping Durham dales to a tiny island off the Cumbrian coast. I wear them every weekend when I'm exploring, and clean them with a damp cloth,  then oil them with golden mink oil once a month. They've been tested on pretty much every terrain by now and I am just as in love as when I first saw them. They haven't given me a single blister, even when I've worn a normal pair of ankle socks.

I am so tempted to buy another pair and keep them away for when I wear these out, although I know it will be a long time in the future.

Genuine Women's Vibram Walking Boots in Navy - Trespass

26 October 2019

Book Review: The Witch's Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr

I couldn't resist rereading The Witch's Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr straight after I finished The Witch's Kiss. It had been a long time since I read this story, and I think knowing how it all ends means I liked it even more. It's worth a read and definitely worth a reread, the story as a whole is excellent.

The Witch's Tears by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr coverAdd to Goodreads button

Can true love's kiss break your heart...? 

It's not easy being a teenage witch. Just ask Merry. She's drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven; drowning in heartbreak after the loss of Jack.

But Merry's not the only one whose fairy tale is over.

Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge.

So when strangers offering friendship show them a different path they'd be mad not to take it...

Some rules were made to be broken, right? 


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Family, magic, expectations, evil, love.

Is it a cop out using the same five words as I used for The Witch's Kiss? I'm going to go with no as The Witch's Tears explores a lot of the same themes but does it in a very different way.

I think if anything I love The Witch's Tears even more than the first book. The character development is amazing, and by the end they've changed so much it blows my mind.

I loved how a part of the story is Leo's coming out and acceptance and the exploration of first relationships and how teenage love can so quickly spiral and take over everything. I loved how this added an additional strain to Merry and Leo's relationship as siblings, there was something else to the jealousy and resentment - when your sibling starts a relationship you're kind of left behind and I loved how this was written so much.

In The Witch's Tears there is a lot more witchy drama and exploration of grief - because grief isn't just about death, it's also about the loss of relationships and what has been. I like how it delved deeper into this.

This book has An Ending. I loved how everything was building up to a shocking end, how even though I have read the whole story before I still forgot what happens and was taken by surprise and a left a bit shocked. I got so caught up in everything that happened.

Now on to The Witch’s Blood!


25 October 2019

Book Beginnings #83

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker.
Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker cover
I stand at the edge of the crowded square, watching the executioners light the pyres. The two men, dressed for work in dark red cloaks and charred leather gloves, circle the narrow wooden platforms, their lit torches held high. At the top of each pyre, four witches and three wizards stand chained to a stake, bundles of wood heaped around their feet. They stare into the crowd, determined looks on their faces.
I love this beginning. I love how dark and ominous and horrifying it is. You're dropped straight into a world filled with fear and persecution and you know it from the off. It's almost voyeuristic.

I like the cover, it reminds me of the creepy dolls we make from what we find on woodland walks, which... Yeah, we do it to scare people and leave them sitting by the sides of paths, we're weird. So pretty creepy cover, I like it.
I'm quiet for a moment, enchanted by the idea of something stealing over you, settling into you, telling you, with absolute certainty, who you are and what you're meant to do.
This bit from 56% through the ebook has me excited. I really love this author's writing style and although I'm about 40% through myself I can't wait to get to this point, it's during a real time of change and realisation for the main character.

What are you reading this week?

24 October 2019

Make A Story Tag

I was messing around with fantasy name generators trying to come up with a name for a new Guild Wars 2 character and I stumbled upon a book title generator. And then? I forgot all about creating a new character and instead  decided to create my own stories. From that, the Make A Story tag was born.

I have naturally gone a bit OTT with mine and also created a book cover, but that is definitely not necessary. If you want to be a bit extra too then the Canva is great and has ready-made templates.

Make A Story Tag

Make A Story Tag

Instructions

  • Link back to the creator Cora at Tea Party Princess
  • Open up Book Title Generator
  • Select your preferred genre and "Get Names"
  • Pick our your favourite title from the list of 10
  • Write a brief synopsis/blurb for your imaginary story
  • Tag someone else

The Titles

I went for Fantasy titles and here's what I got...

Lion Of Ice
Angel Of Secrets
Assassins Of Doom
Skeletons Of The Undead
Butchers And Animals
Knights And Warlocks
Extinction Of Hope
Crossbow Of Whispers
Vanishing Into Time
Raised By My Dreams

I think my favourite is Vanishing Into Time. It's giving me kind of Outlander vibes so I'm going to roll with it.

Make A Story

Vanishing Into Time

Lizzie only wanted to visit the Renaissance Fair to spy on her history geek crush and try to work up the courage to ask her out. She never in her wildest dreams wanted to end up stuck in the past. But when Saf pulls Lizzie out of the line of fire at the archery tournament and they take a tumble, that's exactly what happens.

Stuck in a time that only one of them understands, their position is precarious. Danger lurks around every corner in an unfamiliar world; the Witch Finder is in town and he has Lizzie in his sights.

As tempers fray and tensions build, Lizzie and Saf have to figure out how to survive and find their way home before they're condemned at witches.

Make A Story Tag: Tea Party Princess presents Vanishing Into Time cover

Tagging

I'm going to tag Pretty Purple Polka Dots, rosiefrecklereadsDiary of a Blue BeeThe Queens of Geekdom, and anyone else who wants to have a go.

Also feel free to tag me back in any time, because this was FUN and I need all of you to enable me.

23 October 2019

Book Box Review: High Stakes - Illumicrate September 2019

I have been getting Illumicrate boxes for a long time. I think my first one included Nevernight by Jay Kristoff, way back when they were still quarterly. So I've been getting them long enough to start reviewing them I think. Also I may be getting desperate for Blogtober content.

September's High Stakes Illumicrate box was a little bit of a let down for me. The past few boxes have been phenomenal and I just felt like this one didn't quite live up to them, even if it does have one of my favourite items that I've ever received in a book box.

Book Box Review: High Stakes - Illumicrate September 2019

What was in High Stakes - Illumicrate September 2019?


So what was in the High Stakes box? Well, it didn't feel like much after the past few Illumicrate boxes which have felt jam packed with goodies, but there was still plenty in there.
  • Now We Rise Ceramic Travel Mug
  • The End Is Nigh List Pad
  • Blackcliff Academy Wooden Postcard
  • Watford School of Magicks Scarf
  • DNA Lanyard
  • Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron
    • Stencilled sprayed edges
    • Signed by the author
  • Collectible Coin by Monolime
    • Katniss Everdeen
There we have it, the contents of September's Illumicrate box. Now, on to what I thought...

My Thoughts on High Stakes - Illumicrate September 2019


My favourite item was without a doubt the Now We Rise Ceramic Travel Mug, with artwork from Jess Taylor inspired by Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. It is breathtakingly beautiful, really well made, and I just want to use it for everything I'm drinking. I think I've already used it every day since I got it. The design is so gorgeous and bright and I can't help but gaze at it with love.

I really like The End Is Nigh List Pad, and it's going to be quite handy for me - on the run up to Christmas I write a lot of lists. I love the Good Omens inspired design on this one, how it's bright and colourful yet light enough to clearly see writing on. It's really well designed and the paper is decent quality.

The Blackcliff Academy Wooden Postcard is probably my least favourite item from the box, mostly because I haven't read An Ember In The Ashes. But I'm also not a fan of the execution of this item - the art work isn't very clear, the texture sets my teeth on edge, and it's so big I'm not sure how or where it could be displayed. It's definitely bigger than a postcard!


I know that a lot of people are huge fans of Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, but I'm just... Not. I read Eleanor and Park and didn't like it so I've never picked up anything else by the author unless it's a story in an anthology. So I think it's fair to say that I'm not a fan of the Watford School of Magicks Scarf. I think even if this had been a different fandom I still wouldn't have liked it much, it's a weird almost felted material that made my skin itch.

The DNA Lanyard is... A lanyard. And as I don't have to wear ID or carry keys or fobs with me all of the time I don't have much use for it. I do like the design though, even if I haven't read This Moral Coil. The colours are pretty striking yet subtle all at once.

When we get to the book, Kingdom of Souls by Rena Barron, I still haven't read it yet. Mostly because my TBR is a towering monster. But I have heard amazing things about it and it is definitely on my To Be Read One Day list. The stencilled sprayed edge is gorgeous and I love the design.

I really like the magnetic Collectible Coin that Illumicrate now include in each box. I've got them all (so I have the necklace they can attach to) but I currently have them stuck on the tebookends I got from Illumicrate earlier this year. I love the artwork, the designs, the colours, the takes on beloved characters.

Overall the September box was... OK. It wasn't what I hoped it would be and after so many amazing boxes in the past it was a let down. I've gotten so used to boxes that blow me away that I'm a little sad that I wasn't this time.

Blog Tour: The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco

Today I am spot-lighting The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco for the blog tour, a book I am very excited to read. I was supposed to be hosting a guestpost but there was an email mix up and I am sad, but it sounds excellent regardless and I'm happy to share the praise it's already received and a giveaway!
The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco blog tour banner

ISBN: 9780062821799
ISBN 10: 0062821792
Imprint: HarperTeen On Sale: 10/15/2019
BISAC1: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Fantasy / Wizards & Witches
BISAC2: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Family / Siblings
BISAC3: YOUNG ADULT FICTION / Romance / General


Praise for THE NEVER TILTING WORLD

“The Never Tilting World is what happens when Garth Nix meets Mad Max: Fury Road. It’s a dark, lovely, and even timely look at a world that’s fallen apart, with just the right blend of epic action and twisted magic.” Tara Sim, author of Timekeeper

“Visually vivid, magical, and exhilarating.” Kirkus Reviews

“Dark and richly drawn, The Never Tilting World is a lavish fantasy about sisterhood, sacrifice, and finding strength in a treacherous world. Chupeco’s writing is lushly descriptive, transporting me to the brink of the abyss; while reading it, I could swear the world stood still.” Heidi Heilig, author of For a Muse of Fire

“Multiple plot twists and a breathlessly cinematic tone will attract fantasy and romance fans alike.” Booklist

“Complex, brutal, romantic, and terrifying. With a phenomenal cast of characters who stick to your bones and vivid worldbuilding that shows up in your dreams, this is a book that demands to be experienced.” Dahlia Adler, author of Under the Lights and editor of His Hideous Heart

“This rich fantasy spotlights power’s corruptive influence, love’s redemptive nature, and the urgent concerns of climate change. The tale’s scope and creativity astound.” ―Publishers Weekly

“A great choice for fantasy shelves.” School Library Journal

The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco cover

Frozen meets Mad Max in this epic teen fantasy duology bursting with star-crossed romance, immortal heroines, and elemental magic, perfect for fans of Furyborn.


Generations of twin goddesses have long ruled Aeon. But seventeen years ago, one sister’s betrayal defied an ancient prophecy and split their world in two. The planet ceased to spin, and a Great Abyss now divides two realms: one cloaked in perpetual night, the other scorched by an unrelenting sun.

While one sister rules Aranth—a frozen city surrounded by a storm-wracked sea —her twin inhabits the sand-locked Golden City. Each goddess has raised a daughter, and each keeps her own secrets about her sister’s betrayal.

But when shadowy forces begin to call their daughters, Odessa and Haidee, back to the site of the Breaking, the two young goddesses —along with a powerful healer from Aranth, and a mouthy desert scavenger —set out on separate journeys across treacherous wastelands, desperate to heal their broken world. No matter the sacrifice it demands.

You can purchase The Never Tilting World at the following Retailers:

   Amazon  Barnes & Noble  Book Depository 


The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco blog tour

Photo Content Rin Chupeco


Rin Chupeco has written obscure manuals for complicated computer programs, talked people out of their money at event shows, and done many other terrible things. She now writes about ghosts and fantastic worlds but is still sometimes mistaken for a revenant. She is the author of The Girl from the Well, its sequel, The Suffering, and the Bone Witch trilogy.


Tour Schedule

WEEK ONE
OCTOBER 21st MONDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW
OCTOBER 22nd TUESDAY Bibliobibuli YA INTERVIEW
OCTOBER 22nd TUESDAY Insane About Books REVIEW
OCTOBER 23rd WEDNESDAY Tea Party Princess GUEST POST 
OCTOBER 23rd WEDNESDAY Tween 2 Teen Book Reviews REVIEW & FILL IN THE BLANKS 
OCTOBER 24th THURSDAY Starlight Reads REVIEW 
OCTOBER 24th THURSDAY Random Bookish Banter REVIEW 
OCTOBER 25th FRIDAY bookishaestha REVIEW 

WEEK TWO
OCTOBER 28th MONDAY A Dream Within A Dream REVIEW & INTERVIEW
OCTOBER 29th TUESDAY Nay's Pink Bookshelf REVIEW 
OCTOBER 30th WEDNESDAY A Bookish Dream REVIEW
OCTOBER 30th WEDNESDAY A Backwards Story REVIEW 
OCTOBER 31st THURSDAY A Court of Coffee and Books REVIEW
OCTOBER 31st THURSDAY BookHounds YA REVIEW
NOVEMBER 1st FRIDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW 
NOVEMBER 1st FRIDAY Life Within The Pages REVIEW

*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*

  • Giveaway is open to International.
  • Must be 13+ to Enter
  • 3 Winners will receive a Copy of The Never Tilting World by Rin Chupeco
  • Ends 11th November 2019


22 October 2019

Books I’d Give Different Titles To

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and is a chance for everyone to get to know fellow bloggers and share lists. I love lists. Every week is a different list.

Top Ten Tuesday
This week is Top Ten 
Books I’d Give Different Titles To

I'm keeping it short and sweet this week, but here we go! Ten books with titles that I think should be changed. Because although I'm a fan of the books I'm not a fan of the titles!

  • Marie Antoinette, Serial Killer by Katie Alender
    • I don't know what I'd change it to, but I'd change it. The story itself is as absurd as the title, but I don't think the title fits well.
  • Christmas At The Palace by Jeevani Charika
    • Does it count if it's already been changed? I feel like the title makes it seem like it's just a Christmas story when really it's not.
  • Lockwood & Co (series) by Jonathan Stroud
    • I just want some recognition for my girl Lucy, OK? She should be front and centre on the cover and the title you cowards.
  • Wait For Me by Caroline Leech
    • It just doesn't have much bearing on the story and I think something else would have been a better fit.
  • Fashionistas (series) by Sarra Manning
    • This series deserved so much more, and I have such incredible love for it. I think something that dragged it down a bit was the title - it makes it seem more superficial than it is, when it's actually an incredibly deep and significant series.
  • Shades of Milk and Honey by Mary Robinette Kowal
    • I just really dislike the title, OK?
  • Royals by Rachel Hawkins
    • I am so glad that this on has actually been renamed, I think that Prince Charming suits it much better!
  • Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Abertalli
    • Not gonna lie, part of the reason it took me so long to read this book is the title. Let's be honest, it sucks.
  • Mirror Mirror by Cara Delevingne
    • I just really don't like the title, and I'm not altogether sure why.
  • Internet Famous by Danika Stone 
    • I feel like the title is just a bit of a cop out, and it could have been much more creative and in line with the story itself.
Which books would you give different titles to?

21 October 2019

Book Review: Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman coverAdd to Goodreads button
The Owens sisters confront the challenges of life and love in this bewitching novel from New York Times bestselling author Alice Hoffman.

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back - almost as if by magic...


Source: Purchase

5 Words: Family, love, sisterhood, childhood, magic.

So here's the thing. Practical Magic is one of my favourite films. I absolutely love it, I watch it around once a month, I know the script by heart and I sing along to the soundtrack. And it's been that way since I first watched it when I was around ten. And I've always known that it was first a book, but I'd been afraid to pick it up. Because what if I just didn't love it?

So here's the thing. I was an idiot because I absolutely adored the book too. It's very very different from the film, but I liked the differences. In the book, magic is more of a background thing, hinted at but not really seen until well into the story. Practical Magic focuses a lot more on family themes than magic and witchcraft.

The difference between the sisters is so marked, and you know what? I still love Sally more. This book also looks a lot more at Antonia and Kylie which was something I wasn't expecting.

The writing is beautiful and I picked out so many quotes. It's charming and lyrical and magical and I was drawn quickly into the story. I loved the narrative voice and overall tone to the writing as the story was told, even if it felt like it jumped around a bit.

If it came down to book versus film I have to say that for me the film still wins - I engage with all of the characters on a much deeper level and it has a banging soundtrack. Practical Magic is a book I love, it's a book I will read again, and I will likely pick up the sequel too.

20 October 2019

Why I Love Autumn Walks

Autumn is my favourite season for many reasons, and one of my favourite things to do when the season hits and I'm not reading is to go outside and go for a walk.

Why I Love Autumn Walks

Colour

I love the drama of the changing leaves, the richness of the colours. I love the way the landscape turns from green to a thousand shades of red and gold and brown and everything in between, and when the sun peeks through the cloud's it's so vibrant.

Nature

Whenever I walk through woods in Autumn, I always try to catch falling leaves. I look up and watch for a breeze and run forward with my hands out. It's childish, but it brings me joy when I succeed. I also like to watch waterfalls, and they're so much more dramatic after rain.

Drama

Whether it's pounding rain or crashing waves or a light mist settling over the landscape, I love it all. I love the first frost as Autumn ends, I love being soaked through by a downpour. Everything seems dialled up a notch and I love it.

Weather

I don't do too well in the heat, so the cool of Autumn is always welcome, especially when we've had summers like this year's! I am so ready to wrap up warm and layer up, see my breath come out in little puffs, wring the rain from my hair. There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices.

Quiet

When the weather's not the best, it tends to be quieter outside. When it's cold I love finding somewhere secluded to drink a hot cup of tea, wrapped up in a blanket. I love walking in deserted woods and climbing up deserted hills and searching deserted beaches for treasure. The quiet means that the sounds of nature are clearer.


Do you love autumn?



19 October 2019

Book Review: Reign: The Haunting by Lily Blake

My name is Cora and I am trash for Reign. This review and even the synopsis for the story contains spoilers for season one of the TV show.

Reign: The Haunting by Lily Blake coverAdd to Goodreads button

It has been months since the death of King Henry II and the French court has grown accustomed to the rule of the newly-crowned King Francis.

But while the people are excited by the prospects of a new reign, Francis struggles with his new place on the throne.

Plagued by frequent nightmares of his father, he grapples with his guilt and grief. But as his visions become more threatening, Francis must wonder: Is his father's ghost trying to tell him something? Or is Francis, like Henry, slowly going mad?

This is an original short story based on the hit CW television show, Reign, starring Adelaide Kane.



Source: Purchase

5 Words: Perfect length for a cuppa.

This is another tiny novella to fit in with the TV series Reign, and The Haunting comes in at 64 pages. But it's 64 pages that are well worth the 99p I spent because as we've established I'm absolute Reign trash.

As a companion to the TV series I thought that this was excellent. We really get to see what's going on inside the head of Francis surrounding the season one finale and a bit into season two.

The writing style in Reign: The Haunting retains the fairytale feel of the other two stories, which I absolutely adore. It makes it such a pleasant reading experience.

Like the first novella, it's a good little read when you need to pass the time, it doesn't really give you anything much to invest in but it's a fantastic little extra if you're a fan of the show. And if you're not a fan then you really need to get on it and watch Reign.

18 October 2019

Book Beginnings #82

For Book Beginnings, Rose City Reader invites us to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.

For Friday 56, Freda's Voice asks you to turn to Page 56 in your book or 56% on your e-reader and pick a sentence.

I am currently reading Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew .
Impossible Causes by Julie Mayhew cover
Nine granite megaliths set in a perfect circle. On one of them sits Viola Kendrick, teeth chattering, lips smudged red. The wet of the stone has leached through the quilting of her mother's long coat. The fleece of her pyjamas beneath is damp against her skin.
I am starting to read this as I type and I am intrigued! I was kindly sent a review copy of Impossible Caused by Bloomsbury Raven and I have high expectations. It's been compared to The Craft and The Crucible and I can't wait for all of the drama and betrayal and isolation. I'm expecting a dark read.

I love this beginning, the solid setting rising up, the introduction of Viola and of the mystery. I can't wait to find out what happens. I love the cover too, the simple braid, the pale runes. There's something about it that makes me stare.

And this tag line? Wow. Everything on the island of Lark is good. Everything.
Viola Kendrick sits in the Customs House and waits, a musty, blue blanket draped across her shoulders. In her grip is the walkie-talkie, at her feet lies Dot - curled up, chin on paws, making a damp print of herself on the sanded boards.
I can't wait to get to this part as it seems to be when everything starts coming together into the story. As I scanned page 56 of my review copy to pick out my lines for Friday 56, I got really excited about what is to come.

What are you reading this week?

17 October 2019

Book Review: The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox *AD gifted

HQ sent me a free review copy of The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox ahead of the blog tour.

The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox coverAdd to Goodreads button
A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of murder. Who can save Pale Harbour from itself?

1846. Desperate to escape the ghosts of his past, Gabriel Stone takes a position as a minister in the remote Pale Harbour, but not all is as it seems in the sleepy town.

As soon as Gabriel steps foot in town, he can’t escape the rumours about the mysterious Sophy Carver, a young widow who lives in the eerie Castle Carver: whispers that she killed her husband, mutterings that she might even be a witch.

But as strange, unsettling events escalate into murder, Gabriel finds himself falling under Sophy’s spell. As clues start to point to Sophy as the next victim, Gabriel realises he must find answers before anyone else turns up dead.


Source: Review Copy

5 Words: Isolation, romance, belonging, belief, mystery.

When I first started reading The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox I was expecting full on witch vibes and magic and a dark story. And while the story was certainly dark, it wasn't as witchy as I hoped so I was a little disappointed. But it was still an excellent and atmospheric read.

The story is pretty dark, the setting is grim, the characters pretty entrancing. It's a chilling tale that gets quite dark.

I think out of the two main perspectives, I preferred Sophronia's the most. I enjoyed the voice of her narrative. Although I was quite relieved when her name was shorted to Sophy as her full name is a  bit of a mouthful.

There is a romance in the story that I was a bit wary of at first, but I thought it was really understandable in how it progresses given what the characters had been through. There was such urgency to it, and it helped a lot in driving the pace of the story. I liked watching it develop.

The Widow of Pale Harbour is an excellent read, especially for this time of year. I loved the way the setting almost came alive on the page. I will definitely read the author's debut Witch of Willow Hall.

16 October 2019

Book Box Review: Witches Be Crazy - Fairyloot September 2019

I have been getting Fairyloot for years, so I figured it was probably about time to start reviewing my boxes, as so far I've only reviewed the books like Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha NganFlame in the Mist by Renee AhdiehThe Beholder by Anna Bright and A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer.

September's Witches Be Crazy Fairyloot Box was a mostly fandom-neutral box centered around the general theme. I really enjoyed that it was more theme based than fandom based, as I find that a lot of book boxes do the same few fandoms over and over (I'm not a huge Sarah J Maas fan if I'm honest) and I'm not really interested. This more general approach felt more inclusive, and it means I'm even more likely to use the items. Although with a box this good I was going to use all of the items anyway.


Book Box Review: Witches Be Crazy - Fairyloot September 2019

What was in Witches Be Crazy - Fairyloot September 2019?


So what was in the Witches Be Crazy box? A whole lot of awesome and a book that's been on my TBR since it was announced!
  • Canvas Tote Bag
  • Deck of Cards with Silver Edges
    • Inspired by Charmed, Sabrina, Throne of Glass and Serpent & Dove
  • Fluffy Witch Socks
  • Not Your Basic Witch Enamel Pin
  • Cauldron Bath Bomb
  • Stainless Steel Witch Straws
  • Just As Sane As I Am Sticky Notes
  • Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
    • Signed by the author, with shimmery sprayed edges and artwork on reverse of dust jacket
  • Collectible Tarot Cards
    • The High Priestess and the Ace of Cups inspired by Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
  • Fairyscoop
    • Author Interview with Shelby Mahurin
    • Photo Challenge dates and prompts
    • Sneak peak at October's Love at First Bite theme
There we have it, the contents of September's Fairyloot box. Now, on to what I thought...


Book Box Review: Witches Be Crazy - Fairyloot September 2019


My Thoughts on Witches Be Crazy - Fairyloot September 2019


I think my favourite item was the tote bag, it's perfect for this time of year and I'm currently using it on the daily. It's a great size and well made, big enough for what I need at work and for any shopping I pick up on my way home. I absolutely love the design, it's so cute and quirky and Me.

The deck of cards is definitely coming with me next time I'm away for an evening or two - I do enjoy a game of cards. I'm also toying with using playing cards for tarot readings, although I think I need more time getting used to the cards in general.

The fluffy witch socks are so soft and cosy I can't even. They're super comfortable and cute and they photograph really well on my black and white instagram feed while keeping my toes warm.

The Not Your Basic Witch enamel pin is exactly the kind of pin I'd buy myself. I like the play on common conceptions and tropes, the design is pretty adorable, and it's a good size. It's definitely going into rotation for my denim jacket.

The cauldron bath bomb smells delightful, and although I am a little disappointed in the unnecessary plastic of the cauldron, I will put it to good use as a trinket holder and keep jewellery in it. I really enjoy Little Heart Gifts products and have received things from them before in boxes, and I appreciate their cruelty free ethics.

   

I really like the stainless steel straws, the design is lovely. The speckled spot design, the contrast, even the feel of them is great. They came in a little pouch with a straw cleaning brush and are perfect for keeping with you while you're on the move.

I think out of all of the items, I am least likely to use the Just As Sane As I Am sticky notes - I just don't generally have much use for them I am going to bring them in to work and keep them on my desk for notes and reminders. They are very pretty.

I'm only around half way through Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin and I am really enjoying it. I'm racing through and it's almost impossible to force myself to put it down. I love the design too, the gorgeous end pages, the shimmery sprayed egdes, the artwork on the reverse of the dust jacket - it's an exceptional book.

I'm not sure what I think of the collectible tarot cards - the art is gorgeous, I like how the fandoms change, but they're not consistently printed. I have them all so far and even the colours of the backs of the cards differ so even if I had a full oracle deck.

When it comes to the Fairy Scoop, I always find it an interesting read. I like the interview with the author, knowing the photo challenge prompts and dates ahead of time, and having a heads up of the dates for the readalong. It also starts my hype for the next month's box and I'm excited for October's Love at First Bite box, especially as it's going to be pretty fandom-neutral too.

Overall the September box was excellent. I loved pretty much everything in it, the way it didn't focus on fandoms especially much, and I love that I'm going to get a lot of use out of the items.