‘My Sister’s Bones’ spoiler-free review!

Today, I’m delighted to be taking part in the book tour for My Sister’s Bones by Nuala Ellwood! I’ve been really in the mood for thrillers recently so when the lovely Elke reached out on Instagram, I jumped at the chance. Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

 

Kate Rafter has spent her life running from her past. But when her mother dies, she’s forced to return to Herne Bay – a place her sister Sally never left.

But something isn’t right in the old family home. On her first night Kate is woken by terrifying screams. And then she sees a shadowy figure in the garden…

Who is crying for help?
What does it have to do with Kate’s past?
And why does no one – not even her sister – believe her?

 

It’s actually hard to believe this is a debut. Ellwood’s writing is of a superb quality and she has crafted a brilliantly multi-faceted story. The book tackles a LOT of heavy subjects (you can see trigger warnings at the end of this post) but it does so sensitively; Ellwood’s portrayal of PTSD in particular was very well done. I will admit that it’s a bit depressing at times and there were a couple of moments when I was on the verge of tears, so I wouldn’t advise reading this if you’re not feeling mentally strong. Thankfully, I’ve been feeling good recently so I was able to handle this without feeling completely drained of hope!

The author expertly created an atmospheric read, with the coastal setting adding to the sense of danger and uncertainty. There is a constant undercurrent of tension that hooks you in and really adds to the thrilling nature of the read! The descriptions of war zones felt accurate and they, too, added to the feelings of danger and suspense.

Ellwood’s characters were all really well-developed, even if they only had a minor role in the story. I felt like I was reading about real people and was rooting for Kate the entire time.

I absolutely flew through this book – the short chapters make it really easy to read and Kate’s emotional journey is so compelling that it stays with you even when you put the book down. I read the last 80 pages open-mouthed! Ellwood has the reader constantly doubting themselves and questioning whether what Kate is ‘seeing’ is real or a hallucination. I was completely gripped from start to finish; I was actually reading this on a break at work and the break ended right at the point of a big twist! It was unbearable having to put the book down!!

Overall, this is a compulsively readable book that I would definitely recommend, especially to fans of more literary thrillers. Ellwood has created a refreshing addition to the genre and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her next book!

[Trigger warnings: horrors of war, ptsd, dementia, domestic violence, child abuse, alcoholism and substance misuse, miscarriage, rape, death, and mental illness in general. So, as you can see, quite a lot that could potentially upset the reader. Just some things to bear in mind if you’re thinking of picking this one up!]

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Has anyone else read this one? Or has my review maybe tempted you to pick it up? Can you recommend me some more thrillers?

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‘Warcross’ spoiler-free review!

Hey everyone! Today, I’m reviewing Warcross by Marie Lu which was sent to me by the lovely people at Penguin UK. The only Marie Lu book I’d read before this was The Young Elites and this book is definitely different in tone!

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The book is based around the virtual reality game ‘Warcross’ and follows hacker and bounty hunter, Emika Chen, who glitches into the opening ceremony of the year’s championships. From there, she is set on a path she would never have expected, travelling to Tokyo to meet the game’s founder and joining the tournament itself.

The first thing I have to say is: what an imaginative book! The virtual reality elements in this allowed Marie Lu to be incredibly creative and it made for a really fun read. I really enjoyed the different game worlds that were presented and I can imagine Lu had a lot of fun writing them. There were also lots of really cool gaming references that made my little nerd heart very happy.

Emika is a feisty character and I was glad to see Marie Lu showing us what she was capable of, rather than just telling us. The challenges within the game forced Emika to be resourceful and it was great to watch her dealing with different situations.

I don’t know if I’ve just been really lucky in the books I’ve been reading recently but I feel like young adult books are getting a lot more inclusive? There was so much diversity in this book! There were characters of all different nationalities, as well as gay characters and a character in a wheelchair. YAY Marie Lu. It’s so much nicer to read about diverse groups.

I’m really pleased with this book, especially as I was initially concerned; the wicked-smart hacker girl trope down on her luck felt a little overused to me. However, the story felt original enough that what I thought would be an issue for me was actually not too bad. I would like to know how Emika kept her rainbow hair looking so good all the time, considering how difficult the upkeep of dyed hair is! (Pretty sure she had the rainbow hair in real life, not just the virtual game world but someone please correct me if I’m wrong?) I suppose roots and fading hair dye are insignificant things when there is so much plotting and scheming going on!!

Overall, this was a fun, twisty, read, and it will be interesting to see where the story goes from here!

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Warcross was released on September 14th and is definitely worth a read if you’re a fan of YA or anything nerdy.

Has anyone else read this one? What did you think? Do you think YA books are getting more diverse?

Alex’s Alphabeticals! ‘A’

Hey everyone! Today, I’m starting a new series of blog posts where I will be exploring my favourite books, authors and characters beginning with each letter of the alphabet! I have charmingly titled this ‘Alex’s Alphabeticals’ (because who doesn’t like alliteration?) I hope you’ll join me on this fun exploration of my bookshelves!

In the words of the inimitable Julie Andrews, “let’s start at the very beginning…”

Authors beginning with ‘A’

Jane Austen: I couldn’t compile a list for the letter ‘A’ and not include Jane Austen! I’ve now read three of her books and it’s no wonder she is so revered. Of course, everyone loves Pride and Prejudice but I actually think I liked Northanger Abbey just slightly more! I’ve also read Emma but I don’t think I fully appreciated it at the time, and may be due a reread.

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Katherine Arden: Arden’s debut novel The Bear and the Nightingale came out in January this year and is one of my favourite books of 2017! It is set in magical Russia and it has a gorgeous wintery aesthetic, so it’s basically everything I live for in a book. The sequel, The Girl in the Tower, comes out in January 2018 and I am dying from the anticipation over here.

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Books beginning with ‘A’

Anne of Green Gables: I only read this for the first time this year but I loved it! It’s such a heart-warming story full of wonderful characters and featuring some of the loveliest quotes in all of literature.

The Ask and the Answer: This is the second book in Patrick Ness’ Chaos Walking trilogy and it is SO good. The whole trilogy is utterly brilliant and there is no second book slump as we usually see with trilogies. Set in a world where everyone can hear what you are thinking, it’s a really gripping dystopian story that got its claws in me and would not let go!

 

Characters beginning with ‘A’

August Flynn: August is one of the main characters in V. E. Schwab’s Monsters of Verity duology and he is one of the sweetest cinnamon rolls to ever exist on the pages. He’s a monster who can steal your soul by playing his violin but he’s morally conflicted about the whole situation and just wants everyone to get along. Precious creature.

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Alex Woods: The protagonist of one of my favourite under-rated books, The Universe Versus Alex Woods, is another precious soul. He forms a friendship with his elderly neighbour and the two embark on some pretty crazy adventures together. There are some serious issues at the heart of Alex’s story but it’s ultimately one of hope. I can’t recommend it enough!

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Anne Shirley: I know I’ve already mentioned the book, but Anne herself gets her own special place on this list. She is one of the most endearing characters in literature and it’s no wonder she is beloved by so many readers. Anne’s outlook on life is so lovely and reading about her put the biggest smile on my face. If you haven’t yet read this book, go do it!

Auggie Pullman: There’s a theme developing here… I definitely have a thing for precious boys who need wrapping up in blankets and feeding mac ‘n’ cheese. The protagonist of R. J. Palacio’s Wonder is an adorable young boy with a facial disfigurement who is entering the mainstream school system for the first time. Auggie’s story made me laugh and cry, and was one of my favourite reads of 2016.

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Amani: The heroine of the Rebel of the Sands trilogy is feisty and sassy, and really holds her own in a male-dominated world. I can’t wait for the final instalment in this trilogy next year!

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Aragorn: Another person without whom no ‘A’ list would be complete! Aragorn is an absolute stud. I love his ‘rising from the ashes’ story and just root for him the whole time. He can join any fellowship of mine.

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Well, there you have it – the first in (what I hope is) a fun new series of slightly different posts! There will undoubtedly be books, authors or characters I’ve forgotten but in the interest of keeping things rounded, I’m sticking with 10! I really enjoyed creating this post and I hope you all enjoyed exploring my bookshelves with me. Tune in soon for the next instalment!

Mini reviews: Classics I’ve read recently!

Since getting my new job, I’ve been getting through a lot more classics – the reason being, I listen to audiobooks as I’m driving to and from work! I wanted to use my commuting time better so I went looking for audiobook apps and discovered that there are quite a few free ones with classic books read by volunteers. Depending on the book, I’m able to get in one or two chapters on my commute which has been adding up to an extra three or four books each month! Finally, I’m getting through some of those classics on my shelves that I really ‘should’ have read by now. Here are my thoughts on some of my recent audiobook adventures!

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Unfortunately, this one didn’t really do anything for me. Despite the vivid world-building, I found the whole thing to be a bit juvenile. Obstacles were overcome far too easily; the second there was a hint of danger, the author would write one sentence and it would be dealt with. There was literally no peril and it didn’t make me very invested.

While it was nice to get a bit of backstory on the characters, it was also a little ridiculous. I really struggled to suspend my disbelief. And can I just say, Dorothy is completely dull and does absolutely nothing for the entire book. The scarecrow, lion and tin man were far more interesting characters.

It was also really violent? I found this strange considering what Baum said in his introduction about wanting to remove the nightmares from his fairytale – I wouldn’t exactly call it a success given the first thing Dorothy does in Oz is kill someone (albeit accidentally) and then sets out to kill again!

Overall, I’m glad to be able to say I’ve read this but it’s definitely not a new favourite. 3/5 stars.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

This one was epically ambiguous and I liked it!

I love a good ghost story and when you add in the question of whether the ghosts are actually there or your narrator is just psychotic, it certainly makes for interesting reading! Apart from the sometimes labyrinthine sentences, I really enjoyed James’ style. And it’s impossible to discuss the ending without spoilers so all I will say is WOW. Didn’t see it coming.

A great read that raises some very interesting questions and which I will possibly return to in the future. 4/5 stars.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

This is the third Jane Austen book I have read and (dare I say it?) it might be my favourite one yet! I really enjoyed the tongue-in-cheek humour and loved that it didn’t take itself too seriously.

Austen’s work transcends time and the friendships/rivalries especially are very realistic. I could totally imagine modern-day teenagers behaving in exactly the same way as Catherine and Isabella! This is 19th century young adult literature at its finest.

I also loved discovering that this book is the source of one of my favourite quotes! The assertion that “the person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid” has cemented Henry Tilney firmly in my list of favourite fictional males.

My only slight complaint is that the abbey itself wasn’t even mentioned until over halfway through, so don’t go in expecting it to be all action from the word go! However, I found the writing and the opening plot enjoyable enough that I wasn’t too bothered. It just got even better when the abbey was finally introduced! 4/5 stars.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Sorry Alice fans but this one just didn’t work for me at all. Don’t get me wrong, I like weird – but there was no point to it?! There was literally zero plot so the weirdness was just kind of THERE and I just wanted it to be over. The whole thing was just super dull. Plus, the ending was downright lazy. I can’t even.

Also, Alice is not likeable at all! She has to be one of the most arrogant little girls in all of literature and I felt no connection with her whatsoever.

Maybe if I’d read this as a child, I might have enjoyed it more but as it stands, I’m really disappointed by this ‘classic’. 2/5 stars.

Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

I’ve always had a soft spot for the magic of Peter Pan and was pleased to see that a lot of the movie adaptations have stayed fairly true to the book. The characters were just as I’d imagined them/seen them on TV – except Tinkerbell whose catchphrase in this book was not one I particularly liked! Foul-mouthed little fairy. (Upon reflection, I get that she was using the term ‘ass’ as in ‘donkey’, but I still didn’t find it particularly becoming and it was repeated far too often!)

I liked the writing style, the way the author spoke directly to the reader, and I found the ending surprisingly sad! A sweet read that I’m glad I finally made time for. 3.75/5 stars.

Silas Marner by George Eliot

There’s a sweet story here. Somewhere. It’s just buried under a lot of waffle and useless information I wasn’t interested in! I was 100% here for Silas.

I will admit that a lot of the character back-stories tied together more towards the end. However, at the start, I couldn’t understand why I was being told so much about these minor people! There were times when I found my concentration wandering and had to go back to check who was being talked about and for what reason (though in some cases, I’m still a little bewildered!)

I did like the story of Silas’ redemption and his growing relationship with Eppie, and the ending made my heart really happy (though obviously I can’t say what happened!) 3.5/5 stars.

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Can anyone spot what’s wrong with this picture?! 

Does anyone else listen to audiobooks? Or have you read any of these classics? What do you recommend I read/listen to next?!

‘Nyxia’ spoiler-free review!

Happy release day to Nyxia by Scott Reintgen! I received an ARC of this book last month and it was a fast and gripping read. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

 

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden-a planet that Babel has kept hidden-where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.  

 

Firstly, a disclaimer: I don’t read a lot of sci-fi. Shock and horror. However, whenever I do read a science fiction book, I end up questioning my life choices because I always seem to really enjoy them?! I love the boundless imagination you can get within this genre.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot in Nyxia that we have seen before. The comparisons to other big name YA books are accurate. There’s all the violence and competition of Divergent and The Hunger Games, as well as the suspicious corporation in charge of things like we see in The Maze Runner. So don’t go in expecting something hugely original. However! There are clear reasons why those books are so popular, there is no denying. And this one is no different. It was gripping from start to finish.

One of the best things this book has going for it is the level of diversity! Never have I read about such a diverse group of people in a YA book and I think it’s completely fabulous. The characters were all well developed and not just stereotypical cardboard cut-outs.

And again, one of my favourite things in a book: moral greyness! Everyone was complex and had both good and bad within them. I love this. The main character in particular, Emmett, was a fascinating character study. I really enjoyed seeing his internal struggles and reading about his motivations for his actions. I can’t wait to read more of his story in book two.

I do have a minor gripe and that is the repetition of the phrase “I file it away under…”; read the book and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Though I did like when the author explained the meaning behind it and I found that it became less irritating after that!

Overall, I’m giving this 4/5 stars as it was an exciting, fast-paced read with some shocking twists. I already can’t wait for the sequel!

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Did anyone else get an ARC of this one? Or if not, has my review tempted you to pick it up?!

 

 

August FairyLoot Unboxing!

It’s FairyLoot unboxing time again! Always the most fun time of the month. August’s theme was ‘Otherworlds’ and, as always, it was fantastic!

August’s featured book (as I happily predicted) was Wicked like A Wildfire by Lana Popovic. Once again, FairyLoot has provided me with one of my most anticipated reads of the year; it’s about magical sisters who can manipulate beauty, and it sounds amazing!

There were seven items included in this month’s box! Read on to find out what they were…

Peter Pan notebook by T. J. Lubrano

This has to be the most adorable notebook I’ve ever owned. I’m notorious for hoarding stationery but I think when my current reading journal is full, I’ll be able to bring myself to use this one!

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Witchsoul candle by Book and Nook

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Bella’s candles. (For an unboxing of her recent Disney box, click here.) Apparently, FairyLoot and Book & Nook worked directly with the author of this month’s book to create 5 exclusive candles. Mine smells like lemon verbena, vanilla and pear, and I love it!

Velaris necklace by Oh Panda Eyes

No ‘Otherworlds’ box would be complete without an item based on the works of Sarah J. Maas. This cameo style necklace features one of the YA community’s favourite fictional locations.

Westeros Tea Strainer

Well, this is just the coolest thing ever. I’m constantly drinking tea and now I can feel like the queen of Westeros while I do it. What more could a girl want?

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Sleep mask by FairyLoot

I love when FairyLoot send out useful items! This eye mask will come in really handy when I have to do sleepover shifts at work and need to block out the light coming through the too-thin curtains!

Northern Lights art print by Adelaydeart

This print inspired by His Dark Materials is gorgeous! Northern Lights was my favourite book of Pullman’s trilogy and this print captures what I loved about it so well. Beautiful!

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Aragorn and Arwen magnetic bookmarks by Paperly&Co.

These magnetic bookmarks are super cute! There were three different sets sent out and I’m really pleased I got this one because Aragorn is an absolute stud. Arwen’s ok too, I guess.

 

As well as all these awesome goodies, this box was packed with extras including samplers from Blackwing and Godsgrave (which folds out into a poster!) And of course, there was the usual signed bookplate, letter from the author and bookmark featuring the monthly FairyLoot artwork.

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Once again, FairyLoot knocked it out of the park! I’m really excited for September’s ‘All That Sass’ box (though I have no idea what the book could be). October’s theme was recently revealed as ‘Villainous’ and I’m fairly certain I know what that book is; of course, it’s another of my highly anticipated reads. It was also revealed that the box is going to contain an exclusive edition of The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo!! No wonder it sold out in 48 hours.

So who else got this box? Have you read Wicked like a Wildfire yet? Remember to check back here around the same time each month to see more unboxings!

 

‘They Both Die At The End’ spoiler-free review!

Happy release day to Adam Silvera’s They Both Die at the End! I was lucky to be able to read an ARC of this book last month. It was the first book I’ve read by Silvera and I’m pleased to say I liked it!

The book is based on the concept of ‘Death-Cast’ which is a new technology able to tell you the day you will die. Mateo receives the dreaded phonecall and then signs up to the ‘Last Friend’ app in order to find someone with whom to spend his last day on Earth. Here, he connects with Rufus who pushes Mateo to get out of his comfort zone and make some memories he can be proud of before he runs out of time.

This all sounds very depressing and it’s impossible to go into this book expecting a happy ending, however, it wasn’t all doom and gloom! Silvera’s writing was actually quite funny at times and I appreciated the light relief from the morbid subject matter. From what I can tell, Silvera is a pro at writing contemporary YA and I’d definitely like to read more from him.

The characters in They Both Die at the End are 100% three-dimensional and I really related to precious cinnamon roll Mateo. Even Rufus, who I didn’t initially think I would like because he was a bit rougher around the edges, turned out to be wonderfully well-rounded and human. I also liked the additional perspectives Silvera chose to add which showed how everyone is inter-connected and how you can touch someone’s life even in the tiniest of ways.

There were some really unique and interesting concepts in this book. I loved the idea of the travel arena and totally wish that was a real thing! The concept of ‘Death-Cast’ itself was a little bit out there and I would have liked more information on exactly how, in 2017, we can tell what day someone is going to die. But then, I guess that wasn’t the point of the book. The sci-fi elements were confined to the background and the real focus was on people.

The book did make me feel guilty at times for my own introverted-ness and for not pushing myself more to ‘get out there’. However, I’m sure this wasn’t Silvera’s intention; after all, everyone lives their own version of their best life. When I was able to stop beating myself up about the way my anxiety can hold me back, I did find the story to be genuinely moving. The ending didn’t affect me quite as much as I expected it to – obviously, I still had some feelings, I’m not made of stone, but I wasn’t a puddle on the floor the way I thought I would be! I think maybe because it didn’t take me by surprise? But it definitely had real heart.

They Both Die at the End was quite a stressful read, naturally, and quite triggering for me, so I’m glad it was quick to get through. But overall, I would say I enjoyed it and would be interested in reading more of Silvera’s work!

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So who is planning to read this one? Has anyone read any of Adam Silvera’s previous books?

 

 

‘Prisoner of Ice and Snow’ spoiler-free review!

Last month, I was able to read an arc of Prisoner of Ice and Snow and I really enjoyed it! It was a fun, fast-paced middle grade read and had so many elements I loved.

The book follows Valor, who is sent to a maximum-security prison for attempting to murder a member of the royal family. Yet this is all part of her master plan to break out her sister who is also imprisoned. Intriguing, right?!

Valor is a plucky young heroine who shows incredible resilience and resourcefulness no matter what is thrown at her. Her determination to rescue her sister has made comparisons to Disney’s Frozen inevitable, but this is no bad thing. After all, the sisterly bond is part of what made that movie so great! It’s the same in this book. I was rooting for Valor the whole time and desperately wanted her to succeed in her every endeavour.

The supporting characters were also great. In such a short book, you would think it would be hard to create three-dimensional characters but Ruth Lauren did a fantastic job! There was a lot of moral greyness; I always love when books aren’t straight up black or white. It reminded me a lot of the tv show Prison Break (which you NEED to watch if you haven’t already!)

The book was set in a Russian-inspired fantasy world (further brownie points awarded as I love anything to do with Russia). I would have liked to have seen a tiny bit more world-building but then I suppose it wouldn’t have been as fast-paced and exciting if it was full of description! It just depends what you want from a book. Usually, I prefer slower books that favour lush world-building, but occasionally it’s nice to get a fast, action-packed read, even at the expense of some of the atmosphere.

I really enjoyed the story of Valor’s attempts to rescue her sister (of course, I’m not going to say whether she was successful or not!) The plot absolutely raced along, so I was completely gripped the whole time and ended up reading the book in one sitting. I would say this is one of the better MG books I’ve read and I definitely recommend it for fans of fast, exciting reads or anything inspired by Russia! I look forward to reading the sequel.

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Prisoner of Ice and Snow comes out in the UK tomorrow (September 7th) and you should definitely grab a copy! It will be a perfect read now that the weather is getting cooler!

August Book and Nook unboxing: ‘Disney Wonders’!

So in August, I decided to try my first Book and Nook monthly candle box – the theme was ‘Disney Wonders’ and obviously, as a huge Disney fan, I couldn’t pass that up! Keep reading for my full unboxing…

I hadn’t actually realised but every Book and Nook box comes with a themed bookmark! I’m complete trash for a nice bookmark and this one is DOUBLE-SIDED!! Excuse me, I need to calm down.

As well as the bookmark and the candles themselves, the monthly boxes also feature a mystery item! This month, it was this gorgeous charm bracelet inspired by Beauty and the Beast. It features 5 charms: a book, a castle, a snowflake, a rose, and a shiny red loveheart. It’s so pretty!

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When you’ve recovered from the sight of my blindingly white arm, read on to check out the candles!

Aladdin’s Magic Carpet

This is one of the prettiest candles I’ve ever seen – it’s a beautiful sunshine-y yellow with gold and purple glitter. It is scented with spices, magic and frankincense and has a strong, spicy fragrance that transports you straight to Agrabah!

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Beast’s Library

Isn’t it refreshing to hear it referred to as Beast’s library instead of Belle’s!? A minor quibble, I know. This candle is a lovely blue colour and smells like old books, roses and cedarwood. And of course, it’s topped with the signature Book and Nook glitter!

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Elsa’s Ice Palace

I have serious heart eyes (heart nose??) for this candle! It’s white with purple and turquoise glitter that sparkles like Elsa’s dress. The scent is snow, winter berries and ice, and it’s GORGEOUS. Delicate and lovely.

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Rapunzel’s Tower

This is my absolute favourite candle in this box! It smells of waterfalls, peach and linen, and I can’t convey accurately how beautiful it is! The peach is not overpowering and the subtle undertones of crisp linen really complement it. And look how stunning it is! Beautifully blue just like the view of the sky from Rapunzel’s tower, with gold glitter hinting at that magical golden flower. I just love it.

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Ariel’s Secret Grotto

Finally, we have Ariel’s secret grotto which smells like coral, sea breeze and treasures. This candle is a beautiful sea glass colour and really conjures visions of beachy days.

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I couldn’t be happier with this box! Everything about the candles is beautiful, even down to the labels. The only issue now will be whether I can bring myself to light them!!

Here’s my full unboxing!

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Did anyone else get this box? Which was your favourite candle? And does anyone else have an internal struggle when it comes to lighting their candles?!

August wrap-up!

August was a spectacular reading month for me – I managed to read 16 books! I just tried really hard to grab as many extra reading hours as possible and I feel like it really helped me to log more pages. So thrilled!

 

Classics

I was on quite a classics kick this month; there are so many of these books that I feel like I ‘should’ have read by now so I decided to try and knock a few smaller ones off my list.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The first classic I read was The Wonderful Wizard of Oz! Apart from seeing the movie when I was younger (and being traumatised by those flying monkeys), I have never picked up this book. And my overall verdict is that I didn’t miss much! I didn’t hate it, it just didn’t really do anything for me. It felt very juvenile, with obstacles being overcome far too easily.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

This is the third Jane Austen novel I’ve read and it might be my favourite so far! I loved the tongue-in-cheek humour as Austen poked fun at Gothic novels. Her works transcend time and I could picture modern-day teenagers behaving in exactly the same way as Catherine and Isabella! 19th century young adult literature at its finest.

The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

One of the most ambiguous books I’ve ever read but deliciously so! Presented as your not-so-typical ghost story, this one raises some excellent questions to which you will never know the answers! Make of it what you will mwahaha.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Oh dear. Sorry Alice fans but I didn’t enjoy this one! I get that it’s a children’s story but it was just weird and I don’t think I would even have liked it as a child! Not for me at all.

 

ARCs

I was very lucky to get my hands on a few advanced release copies this month! Thank you kind universe.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

One of the most anticipated releases of 2017, I still can’t believe I managed to grab an early copy of this one! And I am yet to hear a bad word about it. Leigh Bardugo’s writing is fantastic and I loved the abundance of snark in this one. This one released yesterday – you can read my full spoiler-free review here.

SweetFreak by Sophie McKenzie

This YA thriller came out on August 24th and it was an enjoyable read with a guilty-until-proven-innocent plot. The author successfully captured the protagonist’s frustration at being falsely accused of cyber bullying her best friend. Check out my full review here!

Prisoner of Ice and Snow by Ruth Lauren

This was a fun MG read that comes out early September. It’s set in a Russia-inspired fantasy world with a thrilling prison-break plot. It was a fast-paced and exciting read – full review coming soon!

They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

This is the first book I’ve read of Adam Silvera’s and I liked it! The characters were incredibly three-dimensional and the concepts in the book were unique and intriguing. It’s a bit of a stressful read (obvious, given the title) but I recommend it if you like character-driven books. It releases on September 7th and you can read my full review nearer the time!

 

Other reads

 

The Crowns of Croswald by D. E. Night

I was sent a super fun package by the author through Instagram. This was a fun MG with clear comparisons to Harry Potter but enough originality to keep things interesting. My full spoiler-free review is here.

Widdershins by Helen Steadman

This historical fiction debut really impressed me! Based on the Newcastle witch trials, this was an engrossing read with a very compelling storyline. I highly recommend this one! For more information, you can read my full spoiler-free review here.

The Dinner by Herman Koch

This was the next book I chose to read for the Around the World in 80 Books challenge. It was a buddy read with the lovely @ab_reads on Instagram but sadly, we were both a little disappointed. While this was an intriguing exploration of family dynamics and the length a mother will go to to protect her child, the execution wasn’t great and we agreed that this seemed like a poor man’s version of We Need To Talk About Kevin! So maybe save yourself some time and just read that one.

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

I received this book in the July FairyLoot box and it was one of my most anticipated reads of the year. I was not disappointed! I love circus books and this was no exception, especially as it had a quirky twist and wasn’t a straightforward fantasy but a murder mystery as well. My full review is here.

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

I have now read three books by Matt Haig and I have loved them all. His ability to capture humanity is outstanding and he never fails to make me feel uplifted. This one is a really fun journey through history and I definitely recommend it.

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire

This was my book club’s pick for the month and it was a really fun read! It had all the elements of a classic fairytale, plus it was set in Russia! That’s always a winner with me. It was a tiny bit wordy but really funny at times, and very enjoyable.

The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook by Joyce Lankester Brisley

I got a bit nostalgic with this one. Milly Molly Mandy was one of my favourites as a child and I recently found a gorgeous edition of this book – never let it be said that I buy a book solely because it’s pretty, I do actually read them! This was a lovely blast from the past and MMM was every bit as charming as I remembered.

Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid by Lemony Snicket

Any Lemony Snicket fans out there? This collection of wisdom from the man himself definitely gave me a giggle or two. It’s not your typical collection of inspiring quotes; in fact, it’s a bit doom and gloom! However, take it with a pinch of salt and you should find something that speaks to you.

 

So there you have it! My August wrap-up. I’m so proud of me! And if you made it through this whole post, I’m proud of you too! You deserve cake.

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How many books did you read in August? Are you aiming for a similar number in September? And speaking of, who’s excited for Autumn?!