Friday, 30 November 2018

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls


Hello Readers,
I picked up this book after seeing it being promoted at YALC two years ago.

Things A Bright Girl Can Do takes us back to the 1910s and is an account of the Suffragette movement, the build-up to WW1 and its consequences on ordinary people. I honestly love how the book doesn’t evade the tough subjects like socialism, suffrage and internationalism vs the war effort.

The book is divided into seven parts the first part is set in February 1914 and the last part is February 1918 and is told from the perspectives of three teenage girls.

The three protagonists Evelyn, May and Nell and they all represent the different sides of British society at the time and are united by the cause of gaining votes for women. Moving away from the main characters for a second the book made me think about what life must have been like for people during the war and while the woman was trying to get the vote something, something I now think we kind of take for granted. You get the sense of belonging and how they all would unite together and it honestly makes me so proud to be a woman, I would like to believe that I would have done something to help.

Back to our three protagonists
Evelyn
Evelyn is the first character that we are introduced to. she is seventeen, and despite being from a privileged background, she may never be allowed to go to a university. She is ambitious and unquestionably angered by the fact that, as a woman, she is not expected to go onto University or better her education. sadly, this would have been a situation that many girls from a similar background would be in. There were certainly parts of Evelyn’s journey that made me feel quite emotional and she certainly sacrificed a lot at a young age.

May
May is fifteen and already sworn to the cause, though she and her fellow Suffragists refuse violence. May lives in one of the most respectable streets in the East End of London with her mother and they are pretty well off. May happened to be a Quaker, and doesn’t believe in violence or killing even when Britain is at war.  I absolutely loved the conflict between how passionate May was about the right to vote but that she called into question some of the more violent actions of the Suffragettes.

Nell
Nell, a girl who's grown up in hardship and lives in just two rooms with her whole family. Nell is incredibly fiery, passionate, protective and driven. I couldn’t believe how far she would go to help support her family, no matter the cost. I liked how different she was from the other two girls and as a reader I feel we gained a completely different insight into what life was like as she is from a much lower social class. How Nell and her family struggled when the war was declared was just heart-breaking it made me get a lump in my throat knowing that this happened to so, so many families. At the time transgender wasn't a known thing and there are some clear signs that Nell is coming to terms with not fitting into her "gender roles" with how she is supposed to act and dress and as a result, has been made an outcast from her part of society.

Aside from suffrage, this book had great diversity threaded through it and its many themes. There’s a sweetly written romance between May and Nell which is particularly endearing because Nell always thought she was alone in the way she felt.  The description of the marches, the excitement, the feeling of being part of something big and beautiful conveyed well. The romance and friendships are the only light in a book filled with injustices, violence, a hunger strike and illness. But all three characters grow and mature and learn from the hardships they experience through an incredible journey

I honestly cannot recommend this book enough! I really did enjoy this book, it brings light to what happened all those years ago and will hopefully introduce a whole new generation to the women’s suffrage movement. The book made me feel proud and empowered to be a woman and will hopefully see a new generation continuing to honour the women who sacrificed so much. The book also works as a reminder to be grateful to all those women who fought for suffrage in such times.

Lx


Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Vox by Christina Dalcher


Hello Readers,

As a symbol of purity and devotion to their family a woman now only has 100 words a day. Just one word over 100 and the wrist counter will send 1,000 volts through your body. Women have become an asset to be managed, a homemaker, cleaner and carer. Ideal for those who like dystopian books with a political aspect like The Handmaids Tale but with a muzzle.  However, unlike the outcome of The Handmaids Tale, you are left satisfied rather than with more questions. Well written and executed in a believable way.

L x



Monday, 26 November 2018

Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and Other Lies) by Scarlett Curtis


Hello Readers,
I picked up a sample of this at YALC this year and I instantly knew I needed the book and I read around 80% of this in one sitting. The full title is Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and Other Lies): Amazing Women on What the F-Word Means to them.  The book is also linked to The Girl Up organisation that empowers and trains women around the world to help promote gender equality and human rights.

I’m guessing most people are going to see this book and think it’s a guide to burning your bra and other feminist stereotypes. There are beautiful essays about motherhood.  It's honestly a down-to-earth, funny, inclusive and non-judgmental exploration of what feminism means to many different people.

There is no man-bashing but a simple message: women should be able to do anything they want without being judged and they shouldn't be ashamed of the things that go hand-in-hand with womanhood. This book teaches that feminism is a lot, but one thing it definitely isn't is a dirty word that describes man-hating women and every other stereotype you can think of. There was even some section I even where funny like full on laugh out loud funny, especially Kat Dennings and Jodie Whittaker sections ( There is something about the new doctor drinking wine tickled my funny bone).

It is clear that there is no one route to feminism, and there is no "right way" to do it - people find their own path in their own way. This book brings together essays from a number of women from diverse backgrounds, with an acknowledgement of experiences of feminism; black feminism/identity, ableism, trans-women. This book has many interesting stories in it and truths you may be interested in hearing about such as the 17 truths about Muslim women.  It covers sexism, the patriarchy, periods, and answers the most asked questions about feminism. All women and even men can join and help promote a fairer and more peaceful world.

This is an inspirational and powerful book in the time of #MeToo and protests surrounding gender equality. Feminists Don't Wear Pink isn't an academic collection of feminist essays, but a collection of essays, thoughts, poetry, etc. on all kinds of topics by all kinds of badass women. Some of my favourite contributors in the book include:
Keira Knightly
Kat Denning
Jodie Whittaker
Bridget Jones (The wonderful Helen Feilding)

Honestly this book is worth a read at least once even if you only read the sections by people you know

Lx

Friday, 23 November 2018

Distortion by Victor Dixen - Blog Tour Launch and Spotlight


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Ellen for the invite onto the blog tour for Distortion: A Phobos Novel
by Victor Dixen

Thank you for joining me on the opening day of the blog tour for Distortion: A Phobos Novel grab a biscuit and a cuppa and get comfy. I have a spotlight for you and then I am going to let the wonderful Cora who writes on her own blog Tea Party Princess take over for the review Distortion as she has beaten me to reading Distortion and has given me permission to use her review. Then I have a little bonus for you guys.

Spotlight
Title: Distortion: A Phobos Novel
Author: Victor Dixen
Genre: Science Fiction
Books in the series:
Ascension
Distortion
Collision (18/04/2019)
Release Date: 18 October 2018
Publisher:
Cover Image:



Synopsis:
After a speed-dating show that is literally out of this world, twelve young astronauts are set to become the first humans to colonise Mars. They are also the victims of the cruellest of plots.
LĂ©onor thought she was a pioneer on an extraordinary mission. She thought she had left all regrets behind her on Earth. But when memories are this painful, there can be no forgetting.

Links to Buy:

Author Biography from Victor's website:
My father is Danish and my mother is French. When I was a kid, I travelled throughout Europe with them, it was fantastic. Now an adult, I still have a taste for travels and stories. I once lived in Denver, Colorado, at the edge of the Rocky Mountains. Later I moved to Dublin, Ireland, and then to Singapore. Today, I live in New York City with my family and my two inquisitive cats.
Oh yes, I almost forgot to tell you: I am a very light sleeper, and have always been. No treatment was ever able to cure my insomnia, but I think that's for the best. With time, my sleepless nights have become very good friends. I even dare say that they are my muses!

Now I am going to leave you in the hand of the delightful Cora for a miniature review of Distortion, Cora’s full review can be found here.

I had been eagerly awaiting Distortion since I finished Ascension, so I couldn't help but jump straight in as soon as I got it. And I was absolutely not disappointed.

I loved the further scrutiny of reality TV and human greed, control and manipulation.

This series is commonly referred to as Love Island in Space and although that is a fair and excellent comparison, I feel like it sells it short. Because the Phobos books are so much more. Yes, there are the intense relationships brought on by living in such close quarters, the coupling up, the cameras everywhere... But there is so much more to the story. There is drama and a fight to stay alive, secrets and subterfuge, a possible betrayal hovering ready to strike at any moment.



Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour
24th November - The Becca Fowell
25th November - Mike Reads
26th November - Phoenix Faie
27th November - Queen of Geekdom
28th November - Book After Book
29th November - Tea Party Princess
30th November - A Cat, A Book, A Cup of Tea
1st December - A Cascade of Books
2nd December - Library Looter
3rd December - Chrikaru Reads
4th December - Pow is Amy

Here is the little bonus surprise the opening of the first book in series Ascension


L x

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers by Doug Naylor and Rob Grant Narrated by: Chris Barrie


Hello readers,

This is the third or fourth time I’ve listened to Red Dwarf: Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers and I’m finally going to review it as it still makes me laugh. I loved the series, I can’t recall when I started watching it but I remember having a reading week at university and I watched it all from the beginning.
For me Red Dwarf never really went for the cheap gag the effects may be a little off but the humour was there. Even now I will re-watch episodes as it the right mix of humour and science fiction for me. Grant Naylor has used the novel format to explore the characters' backstory more than possible in the half-hour. In fact, I think it adds to it and delivers a more in-depth exploration of the characters. 

Chris Barrie makes this book his own. Chris Barrie narrates this novel with skill and vocal dexterity and has an amazing knack of impersonating the whole team. His character voices are spot on faithful to the TV series. Obviously, his Rimmer is first class but his depictions of Lister, Holly, Cat and Kryten are all spot on.

Infinity Welcomes Careful Drivers is basically the novelisation of the first two seasons of Red Dwarf, though it is drafted in a way that creates a much more seamless story. Whilst this might distort the listener's expectations slightly it in no way lessens the quality of the story. The book might be a condensed version of stories from the first and second series but there is so much detail and backstory added.

Here is a quick roundup for anyone who hasn’t heard or seen any of the series. The main setting is the mining spaceship Red Dwarf. An onboard radiation leak kills everyone except lowest-ranking technician Dave Lister, who is in suspended animation at the time, and his pregnant cat, Frankenstein, who is safe in the cargo hold.

Following the accident, the ship's computer Holly keeps Lister in stasis until the radiation levels return to normal – a process that takes three million years. Lister emerges as the last human being in the universe. His former bunkmate and immediate superior Arnold Rimmer is resurrected by Holly as a hologram to keep Lister sane. They are joined by a creature known only as Cat, the last member of a race of humanoid felines that evolved in the ship's hold from Lister's pregnant cat during the 3 million years that Lister was in stasis. In Series III, the computer Holly changes from male to female and the mechanoid Kryten the crew and becomes a regular character.

The crew encounters phenomena such as time distortions, faster-than-light travel, mutant diseases and strange lifeforms had developed in the intervening millions of years.

I believe fans of the show will enjoy this and I think it will appeal to those who enjoy similar works like "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". I would recommend to any SMEG head!!

L x


Monday, 19 November 2018

Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Lana for sending me a copy of your book Happier Thinking in return for free in exchange for an honest review.

Happier Thinking is a really cute little book  at 52 pages and Lana makes it very clear that she is not a trained professional. This book is a wonderful reminder that life has an upside. Lana shares things that has led her to think happier and She notes that a single negative event can ruin your whole day  if you let it.  It's a book i think everyone needs to read once and this book is packed full of interesting and funny examples of how to think happier. 

Lana reiterates that conscious thought is the key to a happier lifestyle.

When I started reading the book, I was struck at how much I liked the writing style it is very casual and inviting. Lana promotes her points, but not in an off-putting way and remains very conversational and easy going. In each chapter Lana give's helpful tip's with scenario's so, the reader can clearly understand. Lana does make it clear that what works for her may not work for everyone. it teaches really important things like how to think about the things that matter, or how to not be hard on yourself and how her tips can be adapted to suit the individual person. Lana also explains there is 'no quick fix' because you are trying to change your thinking pattern which takes time. If you are feeling down, Happier Thinking may be a good reminder that there is always a rainbow after a storm. Lana emphasises at multiple points in the book that this is not a cure for depression, however, I believe that this can be a great accompaniment to other treatments.

I found Happier Thinking to be a handy read and I have picked it up when I have needed a little nudge to remind myself to think happier. My favourite chapter is don't compare your life to imagined others I find myself at the ripe old age of 25 reminding myself I am on my own timeline and I do not need to compare myself to others or to how I planned my life when I was younger.

L x

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Spotlight: Athena's Champion by Cath Mayo and David Hair


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Ellie and Canelo for sending me a copy of Athena's Champion by Cath Mayo and David Hair for free in exchange for an honest review.

Thank you for joining me on my day of the blog tour for Athena's Champion grab a biscuit and a cuppa, I’ve got a Spotlight and then a review (here) just for you.

Spotlight
Title: Athena’s Champion
Author Name: David Hair & Cath Mayo
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Release Date: 8th November 2018
Publisher: Canelo
Cover Image:

Synopsis:
The first in a thrilling new historical fantasy series; Odysseus must embrace his secret heritage and outwit the vengeful Gods who would control or destroy him…
Prince Odysseus of Ithaca is about to have his world torn apart. He’s travelled to the oracle at Pytho to be anointed as heir to his island kingdom; but instead the Pythia reveals a terrible secret, one that tears down every pillar of his life, and marks him out for death.
Outcast by his family, hunted by the vengeful gods, Odysseus is offered sanctuary by Athena, goddess of wisdom, and thrust into the secret war between the Olympians for domination and survival. Only his wits, and his skill as a warrior, can keep him ahead of their power games – and alive.
When one of Athena’s schemes goes drastically wrong, and the young Helen of Sparta is kidnapped, Odysseus must journey past the gates of Hades to save her. Falling in love with a Trojan princess, a bewitching woman who poses a deadly threat to both his homeland and Athena, won’t make his task any easier…
Drawing from classic Greek mythology, Athena's Champion, first in the epic Olympus series, is perfect for fans of Madeline Miller and David Gemmell

Links to buy Athena's Champion:

Author Bio:
David Hair
David Hair is an award-winning New Zealand YA and Adult fantasy writer, and the author of sixteen novels.  He’s joined his considerable skill and expertise with Cath Mayo to create the Olympus Series, an adult historical fantasy drawing on ancient Greek Mythology, following the adventures of Odysseus as he navigates the dangerous world of the Greek Gods.
@DHairauthor





Cath Mayo
Cath Mayo is a New Zealand YA, Children and Adult fiction author. Her two published YA historical novels are both set in Ancient Greece and her first novel received a Storylines Notable Book Award for Young Adult Fiction in 2014. She’s joined her considerable skill and expertise with David Hair to create the Olympus Series, an adult historical fantasy drawing on ancient Greek Mythology, following the adventures of Odysseus as he navigates the dangerous world of the Greek Gods. @cathmayoauthor





L x

Athena's Champion by Cath Mayo and David Hair

Hello Readers,
Thank you, Ellie and Canelo for sending me a copy of Athena's Champion by Cath Mayo and David Hair for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoilers
Thank you for joining me on my day of the blog tour for Athena's Champion grab a biscuit and a cuppa, I’ve got a Spotlight (Here) and then a mini review (possible spoilers) just for you.


This book fills my inner mythological Greek history geek with excitement and joy that I haven’t experienced in this genre for a while looking at you Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan and Arrowheart by Rebecca SkyAny book that has Greek gods and mythology I’m going to be slightly bias.
Athena’s Champion tells the story of Odysseus as a young man the young Prince Odysseus has his world torn apart when the oracle at Pytho reveals a secret that leads to his being outcast from his family. Odysseus has long been a favourite hero of mine and when I saw this book and read the blurb did I just knew that I had to read the book. Odysseus is offered sanctuary by the Goddess Athena and is swiftly drawn into a war between the Olympians.

This retelling, however, deals with the events that lead up to the Trojan War and explains why the Greeks were so quarrelsome. It’s apparent that the authors did their research as they told of the events and arguments amongst the Gods that lead up to the Trojan War. I really liked this new take on Odysseus life and how he learns more about the world and about the Gods. The authors created a plausible young Odysseus, it doesn’t feel out of place or character and they expand on the idea in Greek mythology that the Gods and Goddesses constantly meddled in the lives of mortals, and used them as pawns, to win favour with Zeus, start wars, gain worshippers, etc. Odysseus is a theios, “god-touched” awakened by Athena that offered him her protection and Once Odysseus has sworn his allegiance to Athena, he is automatically regarded with enmity by other members of the Olympian family.

When young Odysseus no longer even has the safety of his own family, he is forced to spend far more time than he’d like with Athena’s other champion, the mighty Theseus. I like how the myth of Prometheus is added to the story and the struggle between the Gods for power. You might think a story about Odysseus would be hard to breathe new life into, but Athena’s Champion uses Theseus’ abduction of Helen as a template. I like the fact that the events leading up to the Trojan War are not just explained by the gods’ insecurities, but also by Troy’s economic growth. There were several references, such as Jason and the Argonauts and the Battle of Thermopylae between Sparta and the Persian Empire. Think of this book as a prequel to the infamous Iliad by Homer.

As a big fantasy fan historical fiction fan was this book a real winner for me. The authors brought Ancient Greece back to life and I can’t wait to read the next book in the Olympus Series. The writing style was very direct and just focused on the action and dialogue, Hair and Mayo craft an imaginative conflict that tangibly threatens both the Gods and those sworn to their service. The development of characters, that you'll recognize from Greek myths and legends. David Hair and Cath Mayo have written a great book that makes me eager to get the next book in the series however Sometimes I felt it went its own way with Homer’s original story, nevertheless, the authors always manage to bring the story back to the original. Overall the descriptions of characters, events and places were well executed.
 L x

Friday, 16 November 2018

Girl Squads by Sam Maggs Illustrated by Jenn Woodall


Hello Readers,

Thank you, Jamie and Quirk Books for sending me a copy of Girl Squads: 20 Female Friendships That Changed History, Reviews by Sam Maggs Illustrated by Jenn Woodall for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoilers

Girl Squads tells the story of twenty historically female friendships through five distinctive categories: athlete squads; political & activist squads; warrior squads; scientist squads and artist squads. It's also incredibly diverse: from 90-year-old mermaids in Jeju to the first all-female orchestra in Afghanistan, this book covers it all. One of the other keynote that needs to be noted about this book is that it focuses on women not only through time but strong women from all over the world.

The stories of women whose friendships and contributions have impacted their community, culture, or the world. I am ashamed to say out of all the incredible groups of women in this book, there were only a few I was familiar with beforehand but i was only really knew a great deal about the ladies from Hidden Figures because I’ve read the book and seen the movie.

 The true story of Three brilliant African-American women named Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson who worked at NASA and served as the brains behind the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, restoring the nation's confidence in NASA and turned around the Space Race. Read the book then watch the movie! But each and every one of them led fascinating and incredible lives that deserve to be told. I'm so glad that Sam Maggs is telling their stories for people to hear.

I love any book that wants to bring a bright light to women who have impacted history. I adore how Sam explores the connection between the women who were actively friends and women who teamed up to fight for a common cause, even if their relationships wasn’t well-known. Sam points out that women have always been active participants and change-makers, but their contributions have often been overlooked, erased, or ignored and are so often left out of history books. 

Girl Squads highlights the power women can have when they stand united rather than divided. This book was extraordinary, I loved the way this book was structured. It means that you can find a section you are interested in and start there or easily find your favourite stories after finishing the book. Also, side note look how stunning this book is without its dust jacket!

Sam writing style is casual and conversational and helps brings the stories to life. I love that this book while being quite compact, contains a lot of information which is presented concisely. The pacing of this book is absolutely fabulous; Sam writes as if she’s telling you a story at a party and I honestly didn’t want to put this book down.

L x


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne


Hello Readers,

Thank you, Jamie and Pan MacMillan for sending me a copy of A Time of Dread by John Gwynne for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoilers

This post marks my 100th blog post since I started on the 15th of April and I want to say thank you to every single person who reads my posts, retweets my post and just for the support I have received since I started.  

This is the first book I have read by John Gwynne and I now have his previous series Faithful and the Fallen on my to buy pile (Larger than my TBR pile).  For me personally, I don't think it really mattered that I hadn’t read Johns previous series but once I buy them I’ll probably read them back to back to see if there are any Easter eggs. However, I am extremely grateful I was able to read A Time of Dread, the start of Johns new trilogy called Of Blood and Bone and get introduced into Johns style of writing and worlds.

Set little over 100 years after the events of the last series, the story follows four new characters in the same world but altered from the results of the last book. Many years ago, the Kadoshim, demons of the Otherworld, broke free from their spirit world to inflicted chaos and destruction upon mankind.  Fortunately, their immortal foe, the Ben-Elim, warrior angels, followed them into the Banished Lands. A ferocious battle followed but an alliance among the Ben-Elim, humans and giants lead to victory. The Ben-Elim now rule the land now from their base at the fortress of Drassil, even partnering with a fighting force of humans known as the White Wings as they purge the last of the Kadoshim from the lands. The Ben Elim have banned any conflict between the human factions, enforcing the ruling with an iron hand. The Kadoshim's leader, Asroth is encased in iron within the Ben-Elim's stronghold but his faithful Kadoshim are growing in strength and they’re making plans hoping that their side will one day rise again.

A Time of Dread is told through the perspectives of four characters, with the book focusing on the four characters perspectives we get to know the characters very well without it affecting the storytelling. I loved experiencing Johns world from the different points of view, it is also easy making the switch between characters and it makes the chapters all that more enjoyable.

The story explores what happens to those in a position of unchecked power, focusing on the morally grey areas and shifts stereotypical fantasy tropes of a clearly defined line between good and evil. Of course, we all know it’s not quite as simple as that. The book starts slowly as the characters and the history of the world are gently and cleverly explored.The history John has created is impressive when describing events from 120 years before elders explain the history to younger characters.

 As the book continues there are a number of underlying sinister hints building a dark foreboding in fitting with the title. One thing I particularly enjoyed was the lack of any prophecy that could have been invented or changed. It is honestly just a mess out there. The characters are amazing and the tension that John creates positively grows into a monster that makes you hold your breath.

John points out in such a brilliant way that time has a way of making people forget and become complacent.  People no longer remember the lessons that the war taught them and indeed some have even begun to doubt that such evil exists.

L x

*The bookmark in the photo I picked up at YALC and is for Mark Lawrence Book of Ancestors book two Grey Sister

Monday, 12 November 2018

Buffy The Vampire Slayer: A picture book by Kim Smith


Hello Readers,

Thank you, Jamie and Quirk Books for sending me a copy of Buffy The Vampire Slayer by Kim Smith for free in exchange for an honest review.
Spoilers 


When I was growing up I was huge Buffy fan but I did jump straight over to Angel. When I was offered a copy of a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Picture Book I couldn't resist and I may have used this book as an excuse for multiple playdates. This really is the cutest little picture book and is a brilliant introduction to the characters for children who may have heard of but not yet got to know who Buffy is. 

this picture book is brought to life with enchanting illustrations, we are introduced to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and told that before she knew she was the Chosen One of her generation, a slayer, Buffy was afraid of the dark. We also get to see cuter younger versions of Willow and Xander and Giles makes an appearance which should thrill fans of the series. I loved looking for the little details that would make any Buffy fan smile in delight, you see familiar faces of the things that go bump in the night. There is the cutest bit where the pronunciation of Xander was explained by willow.

At bedtime, after Buffy's mum turns out the light, young Buffy hears scratches and thumps coming from her closet. She invites her friends Willow and Xander to sleep over. They have a great night—but can’t bring themselves to open the door to the noisy closet. The next day they ask school librarian good old Giles for help, and he tells Buffy that she must appear brave even when she doesn’t feel it and the monsters will be scared. She must face her fears. Xander and Willow stay over again, and the trio, behaving like the character developed in the TV series, enter the closet after dark to find a closet full of smiling monsters (Buffy fans will recognize some faces if not all). Buffy attacks and the monsters are intimidated and they soon everyone learns that kindness can lead to unusual alliances and the monsters join the party.

I have seen some reviews where people are criticizing the fact that Buffy didn’t know Willow or Xander as a child. Or that all the monsters that try to kill Buffy just end up partying with her as a child. this is meant for children the audience has changed and so the principle has to be slightly changed; it is the cute, innocent version of Buffy. Also, it’s a children’s book!!!!

The illustrations by Kim Smith are so adorable. The pictures are clear and bright with just the necessary words to move the story along. This sweet, silly, and not-so-scary book makes a perfect bedtime story. It offers a fine introduction to Buffy for the next generation.

L x

Sunday, 11 November 2018

Remembrance Sunday

Hello Readers, 

I wore no uniforms, no blue or army greens.
But I was in the Military, the ranks rarely seen.
I had no rank upon my shoulders, salutes I did not give. 
But the military world is the place where I once lived. 
I wasn’t in the chain of command, orders I did not get. 
But my dad is the one who did, and this I cannot forget. 
I was not the one who fired the weapon, who put my life on the line. 
But my job was just as tough. 
I'm the one that was left behind. 
My dad is a veteran, a brave and proud man. 
And the call to serve his country not a all can understand. 
Behind the lines I’ve seen the things needed to keep this country free. 
My dad made the sacrifice... but so did the rest of our family.


I love the man I call Dad. Soldiering was all he had. But I stand among the silent ranks known as the Pad Brat 


Friday, 9 November 2018

The Gift of the Quoxxel by Richard Titus


Hello Readers,

Thank you, Richard Titus for the chance to read this ebook of free in exchange for an honest review

This book  by Richard Titus is  peculiar, whimsical, light-hearted and fun to read, and gives off a slight Alice in Wonderland vibe, but with pirates ( I mean who doesn’t love a good pirate tale).

This book is about King Norr, ruler of the island Nibb, a lonesome island in the middle of nowhere. The King yearns to discover the world, unfortunately almost every ship that approached the island decides to turn back without a reason.Why is that? The king has to know. 

I loved the King in this book in the politest possible way he is just off in his own world, careless, and oblivious. Ruling over a tropical paradise might suit some people, but King Norr isn’t happy and would like to leave. It was a brilliant change from the stereotypical fantasy king and was a intriguing character.

This story is quite humorous, as you expect from a book written for children. The book is a mixture of folk-tale with a hint of Dr Seuss, this is imaginative, nonsensical and wonderful made up words. There are two plot threads, the one that follows King Norr and the one that follows the pirates of the ship.

The book is filled with funny replies, smart dialogues and the sarcasm between some of the characters is entertaining and adds to the whimsical nature of the book. It had some awkward moments, but overall, it was a breath of fresh air.

The world Richard has created hasn’t got a single strain of normality that we are used to, even in other fantasy books. Richard Titus is also an amazing illustrator! It adds to the unconventional and quirky side of the book. The illustrations suite the story and are a great addition.

L x

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

GeekyMelts


Hello Readers,

I was generous sent a free complimentary sample box of wax melts from Geeky Melts to try out in return for an honest review. I have so much love and respect for Laura because she is fitting her business around being a Mum which I think is fantastic. Here is a link to Lauras Etsy shop 

Geeky Melts are made from biodegradable soy wax and high-quality vegan fragrance oil and no additives so occasionally there may be a little frosting on the melt. Laura only uses biodegradable glitter. Also, most of Geeky Melts wax packaging is plastic free and compostable,

I was so excited when my box arrived and I was greeted with colourful tissue paper and three individual packages and a little note about Geeky Melts.
My first sample was the Melon and cucumber brittle honestly this smelled amazing before it even got close to melting it also has little pieces of blue and white wax with biodegradable glitter.

The second was a heart, skull and cactus medley that was Fresh Linen, A powdery musky floral accord with violet, orange blossom along with refreshing green hints, jasmine and lily.

The third was Mer-Brain – which smells of rock salt and driftwood
I have enjoyed trying out Geeky Melts and look forward to continuing using them I have my wishlist ready to order on payday and all I will hint at is Star Wars.

Geeky Melts has some unique designs including Star Wars, An Anatomical Heart and some Harry Potter inspired melts. I definitely highly recommend Geeky Melts that much here is another link

L x


Monday, 5 November 2018

Empress of all seasons by Emiko Jean


Hello Readers,

Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers
Due to be released: 6th November 2018


The concept of this book drew me to it right away. I mean who doesn’t love a fantasy novel inspired by Japanese culture where the human Emperor is determined to enslave and destroy magical creatures, supernatural monsters and spirits. also the fact that Empress of All Seasons is inspired by the Emiko’s own Japanese heritage adds to the beauty of this book. Each generation, a competition is held to find the next Empress of Honoku. The rules are simple. Survive the Imperial Palace’s enchanted seasonal rooms. Conquer Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. Marry the prince. Even though everyone is eligible to compete to marry the price Yokai are an exception, Yokai, look human but they have the ability to transform into a monster because of this the Yokai are feared. It just so happens the main character, Mari is Yokai which means she is able to partially shapeshift.

Mari comes from an all-woman clan where they trick human men into marrying them and make off with their treasure. Mari has spent her whole life training to enter the competition to win the honour of marrying the prince of Honoku. Mari has been tasked by her mother to win the highest prize of all, become the prince's wife by defeating the four seasonal rooms to become the Empress of All Seasons. If Mari is discovered as being Yokai, her life will be forfeit. As she struggles to keep her true identity hidden, Mari’s fate collides with that of Taro, the prince and Akira, a half-human and half-Yokai outcast.  Taro, the prince, however, doesn’t like being a prize to be won and doesn’t agree with his father on how Honoku should be run.

The story is told from changing the point of view between three characters: first, we have Mari who is a brilliantly snarky female lead that pushes back when she needs to. Then we have Akira who is part human and part Yokai and is Mari best friend. Finally, we have Taro the Prince who also goes against what is expected of him but he’s a bit presumptuous about it.

This bit might be a little wordy but I loved the world building by Emiko It's vivid and gorgeous. I will be honest I did give me slight Hunger Games vibes with the different rooms being treacherous seasons that the contestants have to fight through.

 I knew relatively quickly Emiko’s vibrantly expressive writing style would completely suck me into the world of Honoku. Emiko doesn't shove the scenery in your face, but rather it's a good accompaniment to the story there were intermissions about the gods' lives, and those were fascinating. The setting and descriptions are so well written that I felt like I was actually there first hand, especially when it came to the season rooms. The writing style gives you that feeling when somebody is telling a story and you're lulled by the sound of it. The idea of the competition in which girls have to survive deadly magical rooms, one for each season, to marry the prince didn't feel like a stereotypical YA dystopian.

If you're interested in Japanese culture, folklore, and mythology I would recommend giving Emiko Jean's newest richly atmospheric release a try.

L x

Friday, 2 November 2018

Saving Death by R L Endean


Hello Readers,
Thank you, Oftomes Publishing for the chance to read this ebook for free in exchange for an honest review
Spoilers
Due to be released: 5th November

I originally saw this book teased and cover reveal at YALC. Saving Death is R L Endean’s debut novel, a beautiful gothic romance dealing with loss, love and death. This will be more of a spotlight with a little review and synopsis to be updated after the release date, saying that there is one rather big spoiler in the review.
Synopsis
Two tortured souls. One unthinkable love. 
Ava is already trying to navigate the dark depths of grief when she meets a curious stranger who knows too much. In a desperate need to feel anything other than pain, she is drawn to him, intrigued by the rush he invokes in her. Soon, she finds herself hurled into a shattered world of dangerous emotions, black magic and primal loyalties; and it is here that she begins to unlock truths that might have been better left alone.

Review
Ava is not in a good place at the start of her story, having survived something she can't remember that left her mother dead but, the strange part is the dreams she keeps having. To make things worse Ava is sent to live with her father on his farm, away from old friends and the home she knew, she must try to start over. When she goes to live with her dad, she meets Sam a young man hired by her father to work on his farm.

Sam is the mysterious and handsome guy that somehow is present in her life and keeps saying secretive things to her which spikes her interest in him. Sam is and seemingly close in age, so it seems only natural that Ava is attracted to him. But in the midst of all of that she fears life, she fears this feeling and most of all, she is afraid of trusting Sam because she doesn’t know him that well. Getting closer to Sam not only brings a rush of emotions to young Ava's heart but also plunges her into a strange world lurking just beneath the surface. Ava soon discovers that she might not know him that well but maybe she can trust him. But Sam seems to have his own secrets and there is more to him than meets the eye.  I loved the dynamic they have throughout the story and development as the story processes and I thought I was believable.  SPOILERS - Sam is not completely human, and the take on what he is very interesting. I loved the reveal, and the mythology and politics around him and his kind.

Ava is a young woman dealing with serious depression while this is not stated outright, it is obvious when you realise why she has gone to live with her father at his farm and her subsequent actions. Ava is grieving and the Endean does a very job of showing that, wanting to just move on, fit in with her new situation, and sleep a night without nightmares. Endean does not gloss over feelings of grief Ava’s grief plays a very prominent role in this story and I think the way it was handled was accurate and real. The opening is particularly good at revealing that sense of unease of everyone tiptoeing around Ava.


I will be looking forward to more of Endean’s works in the future, and I hope there’s more of Sam and Ava.


L x