I was so excited when I got a text on Saturday while I was at the NYALitFest letting me know that my FairyLoot box for this month had arrived.
I've been seriously looking forward to this box after the phenomenal box we received last month, it was my favourite box so far and I couldn't wait to find out what the July box held, especially after reading the teaser info:
We are so excited to reveal that the July theme is ‘The Power Within’!
🖤 This box is inspired by stories where characters are powerful within, whether it’s from magic or just strength and determination.
🖤 The book we are featuring is a brilliant fantasy book where there are women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood. We adored this story so much! It’s action packed from the start to finish, with a dash of humour. We’re so excited to reveal that the edition we will be including will be a FairyLoot exclusive as it will have SPRAYED PAGES and will actually be SIGNED BY THE AUTHOR! We cannot wait for you guys to see these stunning unique copies in person!
🖤 This box will have items inspired by Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes, Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch, Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling, And I Darken by Kiersten White, Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young and Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi. Even if you haven’t read any of these books you can still enjoy all of these stunning items - promise!
🖤 For the moment all we can reveal is that this box will contain a ✨ MAGIC CERAMIC MUG ✨ … we’ve been so excited to include this item!
Let's open it up!
I'm always super excited for the FairyLoot boxes - these boxes are so well put together that each month seems to be the best box ever and honestly, this month is no exception.
The June 'Rebels in Ballgowns' themed box has blown me away, I can't get over how much I love it!
What I think I love most about FairyLoot is how much effort they put into their presentation. The box screams of value and it's brilliant for taking photos. The box is stunning, both inside and out, each exclusive item is well-made, gorgeous and featuring the FairyLoot logo and the book comes in a really handy FairyLoot bag each and every time.
Receiving this box for the past three months has been so much fun and even now, I'm looking forward to the next one!
Here's a quick re-cap of what FairyLoot told us about this box before we dive in:
🎭 We are so excited to reveal that the June theme is ‘Rebels in Ballgowns’! This box is inspired by stories where there are rebels dressed in ballgowns - we love books where the main character is on a secret mission but has to dress up, particularly if it involves a masquerade party!
🎭 The book we are featuring won’t be out until the end of July, so you’ll be getting it a whole month before everyone else! It will also be an exclusive hardcover edition (the standard UK edition is paperback) and it is stunning! It’s an addictive feminist fantasy read with immersive descriptions - we can’t wait for you to read this wonderful book! It will also come with a signed bookplate, letter from the author and other goodies.
🎭 In this box you will find items inspired by Legendary, Shatter Me, The Selection and Nevernight. There is an item in this box that we have never ever included in any of our previous boxes and we are SUPER excited for it! We’ve spent months working on this item and we think you guys are going to love it!
I'm so ridiculously excited to share this box with you, let's open it up!
As always, we're presented with incredible FairyLoot artwork designed by my favourite artist Tara Spruit!
I spy a candle, and something red that looks too big to be a booksleeve...
Let's check out the book of the month!
This month's YA Fantasy novel is Grace & Fury by Tracy Banghart. It promises a feminist story line full of fierce females, rebellion and a ball! The synopsis reminds me a little of The Hunger Games, but for royalty. It sounds good and I can't wait to dig in!
It's a lot shorter than the books from the two previous boxes, which I'm happy about as I might actually get chance to read it before the next FairyChat, unlike last month! 🙈
The cover has gorgeous gold foiling on the front and back, with a gorgeous fiery design. It's also a FairyLoot exclusive as this book cover is only printed in paperback in the UK but FairyLoot subscribers are lucky enough to receive the hardcover! As an added bonus, the book doesn't release until the end of July, making this even more special!
It also features a very special hidden cover on both the front and back of the book! Just check out the pics below, it's stunning!! 😍😍
Isn't it beautiful?!? 😍🤩😍
As always, there's a signed bookplate from the author, along with another gorgeous print that doubles as a lovely letter from the author (with a positive feminist message) and a lovely postcard print!
Oh, and let's not forget the trusty FairyLoot drawstring bag to keep the book safe! I love these bags they're super practical, and pretty too!
I'm done, this box just destroyed me!!
LEGENDARY CUSHION COVER!! 😍😱😍
This exclusive cushion cover designed by the incredibly talented Miss Phi is so beautiful I want to scream. The quote from Legendary by Stephanie Garber, the tarot cards, the roses - it's all amazing! I'm so in love with this that I've already bought a cushion so that I can appreciate it in all it's squishy glory.
As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I love how much effort goes into the packaging and design of these exclusive items!
First up is a collection of magnetic bookmarks designed again by Tara! Isn't her work beautiful?
I haven't yet read the Shatter Me series by Tahereh Mafi, but it's been on my radar for a while and I now need to buy the books simply to use these gorgeous bookmarks!
I've never had an iron-on patch before, and my first thought upon seeing this exclusive design by Ink and Wonder, was that I really need to buy a denim jacket, just for this patch, so I'll be on the lookout for one the next time I brave going clothes shopping *shudders visibly*.
I've saved the best for last here because I am in LOVE with this exclusive reading journal!! I've never had a reading journal before and it's incredible! I don't even want to write in it because my handwriting sucks and I don't want to tarnish it! The journal was designed exclusively for FairyLoot members by FictionTea Designs and the inside is stunning. The sections are coloured (a little like the Hogwarts houses but with a few extra colours) and it's packed full of gorgeous book quotes by Stella's Bookish Art!
It's absolutely gorgeous, and practical and I'm in love with it! 😍😍😍
Arrgghhh!! This box is AMAZING!!
I'm currently reading (and loving) Nevernight by Jay Kristoff so I am so happy about this exclusive 'Corvere' candle by the wonderful folks at Geeky Clean! It smells wonderful (of strawberries and pepper) and I love the design on the side.
One reason I love this month's theme so much is the 'masquerade' feel (I'm a huge fan of balls (um, of the party variety 😂) i.e Pride and Prejudice, Phantom of the Opera, Legendary and Ash Princess to name but a few) and this exclusive masquerade necklace designed by the FairyLoot team is simply stunning! It's absolutely gorgeous and even better, it's nickel-free! I can't wait to wear this, but first to find a ball I can crash...
Last, but most certainly not least, we have a few bookish extras including the matching 'Rebels in Ballgowns' bookmark, the FairyScoop interview with this months featured author, Tracy Banghart and an expert/poster for Sea Witch by Sarah Henning.
Overall, I can't get over how much I absolutely love the June Fairy Loot Box! It's probably my favourite so far since I received my first box in April this year. I love these boxes so much and can't wait for the Fairy Loot, July, 'Power Within' theme!
Feel free to check out all of my unboxing photos in the slideshow below and let me know what you think in the comments!
It's time to unbox the June 'Bad Girls' box from Book Box Club!
I won't ramble on this week, let's just jump right in!
Here's a quick recap of the June theme and the info provided by Book Box Club when ordering:
Our June theme will be.... BAD GIRLS and we can’t wait to share it with you because...
💄Our June featured read is amazing and follows a group of book-loving teenagers united by their shared obsession that will lead them to question the blurred lines between reality and fiction and pull them deep into a world of privilege, notoriety and manipulation. You can be sure of one thing when reading this book... you can't trust anyone! This addictive read is a stunning contemporary paperback perfect for fans of (previous Book Box Club read) One of Us is Lying, We Were Liars and After the Fire.
💄Our June BAD GIRLS boxes will also contain A BONUS BOOK! We are thrilled to have the chance to share a hotly anticipated ARC that won't be published until October (!). Our bonus book tells the story of a badass band of female monster hunters who are bad girls at their most blood-thirsty! *The bonus book will be included in Book Box Club boxes only and not Purely Books parcels.☺️
💄Book Box Club members will receive a whole bundle of bookish goodies inspired by some of our favourite ferocious females in fiction and created by talented crafty people! Stand by in the coming weeks for some very exciting supplier reveals...
💄Our featured read will be accompanied by a signed bookplate from the author and will arrive beautifully gift-wrapped in silver paper and string. And of course, a Book Box Club parcel just wouldn’t be complete without an invitation to our members-only online book group! We are already so hyped to discuss our June book with you all!
I'm getting a little addicted to having two books in one box lately!
Let's look inside! Here's the main book:
I've seen this book circulating social media a lot lately and it sounds intriguing. I loved One of Us Is Lying and I can't lie and say I didn't enjoy the few episodes of Pretty Little Liars that I watched, so I'm really excited to read this book!
Have you read All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Penaflor?
The book comes with a signed bookplate which is always nice and a pretty cool postcard print from Bloomsbury.
Is it wrong though that I'm WAAAY more excited about the ARC book this month? I've had my eye on this for a while and it's so pretty I could scream!! 😍😍😍
The Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke is a YA fantasy about four female mercenaries and I am so there for this! #girlpower 👭👭
The first bookish item in this weeks box is this Bellatrix Lestrange pencil tin designed by Kristin Askland and filled full of jelly beans! The design is absolutely gorgeous and the jelly beans inside look and smell delicious!
I mean, how pretty do they look?!?
The second item this month is a coconut-scented shower gel that's been created exclusively for Book Box Club by Soul and Soap and is inspired by the lead character in this month's featured read.
I couldn't resist using this already because it smells divine!
Up next we have three 'bad girl' inspired items!
First up is this funky, Queen of Hearts quote print designed by Kate Louise Copsey - I love how bright and eye-catching this is!
I absolutely love the Maleficent inspired pencil and will definitely be storing this inside the Bellatrix tin once the jelly beans have been gobbled up. This item was created specially by Book Box Club.
Last, but not least, we have another item created by Book Box Club, exclusively for this box. It's inspired by the And I Darken Series by Kiersten White, which I haven't read yet, and features a quote from the series.
There were also a couple of bookish extras from Macmillan and Scholastic which were a nice little bonus. You can see these and more unboxing photos in the slideshow below!
Thanks for reading 😊 Which item do you like the look of the most? Let me in the comments!
I was so excited to finally receive my first every Illumicrate box this morning, I feel like I've been waiting for this one forever!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Illumicrate, they offer quarterly book boxes alongside special edition one-off boxes.
The quarterly book boxes are £29.99 including free UK shipping, which makes it the most affordable of the three boxes that I'm currently subscribed to.
I've heard so many good things about Illumicrate and so I subscribed to the May box at the beginning of May. There was a slight delay of approximately 10 days due to a supplier issue but the box finally arrived this morning - a welcome sight on such an overcast day!
As always, here's a quick recap of what Illumicrate told us about the May 2018 box:
It’s time! I’m so pleased to announce that our May theme is HIDDEN TALENTS!
The featured book is one of the best debuts I’ve read in a long time. It’s a stand-alone, with friendship and music at its heart, and it deals with a difficult topic beautifully. The book will be an exclusive edition with sprayed edges!
The items in the box are inspired by Fangirl, Shadowhunters, Percy Jackson, Black Panther and Avatar: The Last Airbender! We’re including some really unique items we’ve never included before, and I’m so excited for you all to see them!
And, as you’ve come to expect from us, we are including an advanced reader copy. It’s the start of a new series by a bestselling author, and its not out until October 2018!
TWO BOOKS!?! I'M SO EXCITED FOR THIS BOX!
First impressions: If you're looking for a comparison, this box is almost exactly the same size as the Book Box Club box. The box arrived the day after I had my tracking via Royal Mail and was in perfect condition with all items intact.
On to the book of the month...
OMG!! I'm so excited that A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews is this months featured book! I have seen this book quite literally all over social media and I'm so excited to dig in!
The book is an exclusive paperback with red sprayed edges (photo at the end). It's glossy and stunning and oh, so pretty! 😍😍😍
It comes with a signed bookplate, bookmark and a super-sweet note from the author. For those of you who don't know, C.G. Drews also goes by the handle @paperfury and she's been running an incredible Instagram account for a really long time. Her letter also doubles as a really handy guide to making the most of your #bookstagram channel!
Sidenote: She's also a rep for Illumicrate so just head to @paperfury on Instagram for a 10% discount if you choose to sign up - I really wish I'd have used that one myself - doh!
As mentioned above, this book box included an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) of a novel that hasn't yet been published. The book is Light Years by Kass Morgan - it doesn't release in the UK until October 9th which means we got it a whole 4 months before everyone else!!
I haven't heard of this before, and admittedly haven't read The 100 (a bestselling series by the same author) as it doesn't really grab my attention, but this book sounds fab and it has LGBT representation!! YAY!! *Does a happy dance!* 🤗🌈🤗🌈🤗
Now, we move onto the bookish goodies!
First up, we have three items inspired/created by the wonderful Alice Oseman!
I fell in love with Alice's work when I stumbled across Heartstopper. If you haven't heard of it, Heartstopper is an online LGBT comic series. It's cute, fun and amazing and I urge you to check it out - I don't ever read comics but I love this ongoing series!
Alice also recently released her new novel, I Was Born For This, which I desperately need to get my hands on. I love the little pin inspired by the book that has already found it's way onto one of my four tote book bags. (I HAVE AN ADDICTION!!)
Alice also created this really cute #prefersfictionalworlds box. It's probably a bit too small to put lunch in, but I'm sure I'll find a use for it. It's currently storing a few of my previous book box items that I'd left lying around with nowhere to keep them safe.
Next up were some really gorgeous items.
First of all, a Camp Half-Blood Enamel Pin designed by the fabulous Fable and Black - I have a few of her pins and I can honestly say that I've never been disappointed. This gorgeous pin is no different and is already in residence on my enamel pin tote bag.
The wonderful Tara Spruit is one of my favourite artists and I love finding her work in various book boxes. These Infernal Devices cards are gorgeous, they look like super fancy tarot cards and whilst I haven't yet read the series, I can appreciate how stunning these cards are! 😱😍
HOLY S*** YOU GUYS! This box just took it to a whole new level!
BLACK PANTHER BOOK SLEEVE!!!! 🤯🤯🤯
Do I even need to say anymore? This exclusive sleeve designed by Risa Rodil is incredible and I freaking LOVE that it features Okoye, Nakia and Shuri in all their badass glory!
Alongside the sleeve is an exclusive set of Elemental Page Markers created by Another Studio! The markers are simply gorgeous, each one representing one of the four elements and inspired by The Last Airbender.
Last, but certainly not least, there are a few bookish extras from Grey Sister, A Reaper at the Gates, From Twinkle with Love and How Do You Like Me Now?
Overall, this box was most definitely worth the wait! I loved the double books (twice the reading fun!), especially the sprayed page design on the main book and the LGBT rep in the other. The book sleeve is without a doubt my favourite item in this box but I also love everything else in equal measure.
I cannot wait for August's instalment!
Let me know what you think in the comments!
A quick note before I dig into the un-boxing, there's a slight problem with my blog today that's preventing some of you from adding comments. I've contacted Weebly, who host the blog, and fingers crossed they'll have this fixed soon.
In the meantime, feel free to leave comments on my Twitter and Instagram! You can do this for the giveaway also and they will count as your blog entries!
Anyway, onto more exciting news, my FairyLoot May box arrived late last night. I completely wasn't expecting it to arrive until today at the earliest, so I ditched my other half (sorry Jess!) and our plans to watch Westworld to go and take the photos for this unboxing!
This month, the theme is 'Save the Kingdom' and here's what FairyLoot told us about this box when ordering:
🏰 This box is inspired by stories that involve saving the kingdom (all in a day’s work, right?). You’ll find stunning items inspired by An Ember in the Ashes, The Winners Trilogy, The Remnant Chronicles and Throne of Glass.
🏰 The book we are featuring is a fantastic new release where the main character is a traitor with secret magic powers and has to save the kingdom. It’s the perfect blend of magic, romance and epic fantasy - we cannot wait for you to read it! It will come with a signed bookplate, a letter from the author and other goodies.
🏰 We are so thrilled to reveal that the copy we will be featuring in this box is a FairyLoot exclusive and will have special SPRAYED PAGES! This means that the pages will have a special colour (like the hardcover copy of Six of Crows and our special edition copy of Strange The Dreamer). It is seriously stunning and we are so excited for you to see it!
🏰 We are working with a variety of artists and creators this month and they have created some truly fantastic items for you guys. For now, all we are going to say is this box will have an exclusive BOOK SLEEVE! We love using book sleeves because they keep books in perfect condition, and the design on this book sleeve is divine! Stay tuned for more reveals on our social media platforms.
First impressions: Have I mentioned how gorgeous the FairyLoot boxes themselves are? They're perfect for taking unboxing photos, as there's no nasty label on the top and everything always arrives gorgeously packaged. The box arrived quickly via My Hermes, just a day after receiving my tracking number.
As always, let's start with the book!
It's another chunky (512 page) YA, fantasy hardback this month, Onyx and Ivory by Mindee Arnett. It's the first in a series and the book is stunning. If you peel back the dust cover, the book beneath is a stunning white with black sprayed pages (I've included another pic below so that you can fully appreciate this book) which is a FairyLoot exclusive! The standard edition of this book won't feature sprayed pages, which makes it feel even more special.
This book was packaged in the customary FairyLoot bag, which I absolutely love - they're so cute and make opening the box an even bigger reveal. The book came with a signed bookplate from the author, a sticker and a gorgeous print of the two main characters from the book by Emily Haynes, which doubles as a cute introductory letter from the author.
Alongside this, is this month's issue of Fairy Scoop, a FairyLoot exclusive interview with the author.
I'm a little surprised that I haven't actually heard of this book before but it sounds intriguing and I've added it to my TBR. If you want to do the same, just click the photo above to visit Goodreads.
Up next, we have the exclusive FairyLoot book sleeve that was hinted at in the description for this month's box alongside a useful reading item inspired by Throne of Glass.
The book sleeve was created by Reverie & Ink (sadly, I couldn't find the link to the creator for this item) and features a quote from An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (yet another book series I need to read!)
I've never had a book sleeve before so I really didn't know what to expect, it's actually a lot bigger than I imagined it would be, possibly that's to accommodate this month's book, as it would bury some of my smaller books. It's a nice design though and well padded, so I'll definitely be trying it out!
I've also never used page flags before. These were designed by Fictiontea Designs and are really cute - I love the wyrdmarks! I'm interested to see if these will help with my book reviews. I currently write down my notes and pages for quotes in a separate notebook, but these might make things a little easier on that front, especially if they don't damage the page.
Next up is a selection of smaller bookish items from the box including:
Finally, this box also included a few additional bookish items.
I love the gorgeous prints by Tara Spruit that come in each FairyLoot box, I've made a cute little space above my desk where all of my prints are hanging on display, and the matching bookmark, which I've made a habit of leaving inside the particular month's book.
In this box there's also a Smoke in the Sun bookmark and a really cool little Legendary tarot card! I can't wait for Legendary to come out next week and this is probably going to act as my bookmark.
Which is your favourite item from this month's FairyLoot box?
One thing I truly love about these book boxes is how many books I end up adding to my TBR at the end of the unboxing lol it's never just the featured book, but also a range of other books that the items were inspired by. My current TBR is 928 books - what's yours?
Right, I'm off to read (sadly, this isn't true, I've got to work instead 😩)!
On a parting note, you can view a slideshow of all the photos from this unboxing below. Also, don't forget that you have until midnight tonight to enter my International Book Giveaway and stay tuned for my review of Sea Witch by Sarah Henning coming soon!
I hope everyone's having a great Friday!
Today, I received the first of the three box boxes I ordered for this month. It's the May 'Stargazers' box from Book Box Club!
Here's the info Book Box Club provided when ordering this months' box:
Prepare for a box about the power of the night sky and destinies mapped out by the constellations. Our featured read for May is a sweeping fantasy story about a doomed royal family, whose fates are already sealed by the sky... unless they can change what is written in the stars. Steeped in ancient magic, with strong female characters and a diverse cast, we think you'll love this age-old epic re-imagined.🌟🎆✨👑
The book will be a gorgeous hardback, which might just be our chunkiest read yet. It will arrive with a signed book-plate from the author and with that all-important invitation to our Clubhouse book group, where you'll get to chat to the author and to our other lovely members. 😀
If you consider yourself a bit of a Daenerys Targaryen, or are a fan of ACOTAR or Three Dark Crowns this is the box for you.🎆⭐️👑✨
Alongside our featured read, Book Box Club members will receive a galaxy of goodies inspired by the night sky and some of our favourite stargazing characters. We can't wait to share what we've been planning with you all!
Let's dive in shall we?
First impressions: As always, the box arrived pretty quickly via Royal Mail. It also felt SUPER heavy so I was excited to find out what's inside!
OMG!! I've been desperately wanting to read this book! It sounds amazing. You can find the synopsis on Goodreads by clicking the photo above. How pretty is this hardback and it's seriously big too (568 pages)! Hence why the box was so heavy!
I love how pretty it is, and whilst the book itself isn't signed (boo!), it does come with a signed bookplate.
How do you feel about bookplates? Love/hate?
To fit with the 'Stargazers' theme there are some funky starry items including these really cool Constellation Socks by Joe Cool - they look really thick and cosy, great for nights sitting outside reading by candlelight (Note to self: buy some outdoor candles!) and this A Court of Thorns and Roses inspired pouch by Catarina Book Designs which I'm sure I'll find a bookish related use for. I'm sure it'd make a great makeup bag if you're into that sort of thing...
Besides the book, these are my two favourite items from this box. The little Felis Constellation Pin from Tumble and Rose is seriously cute but it's the Professor Trelawney Magnetic Bookmark by Magic Bookmarks that I love the most. This is my first Magic Bookmark and now I want more!
Last, but not least, there are a few bookish extras from Bloomsbury and Penguin - I love the Smoke Thieves bookmark - and there's a special item in the form of a Shakespeare inspired mirror created by Book Box Club.
There are some pretty cool items in this box and I cannot wait to dig into the book! Which item do you like the look of best?
I have a feeling it's going to be hard to narrow down my monthly book boxes to just one at the end of this month!
Check out the slideshow below for more unboxing photos and feel free to let me know what you think in the comments!
Rating: 3.5/4 STARS
How I got this book: FairyLoot April 'Whimsical Journeys'
The ancient land of Éirinn is mired in war. Ciara, Princess of Mide, has never known a time when Éirinn’s kingdoms were not battling for power, or Northmen were not plundering their shores.
The people of Mide have thankfully always been safe because of Ciara’s unearthly ability to control her enemies’ minds and actions. But lately, a mysterious crow has been appearing to Ciara, whispering warnings of an even darker threat. Although her clansmen dismiss her visions as pagan nonsense, Ciara fears this coming evil will destroy not just Éirinn, but the entire world.
Then the crow leads Ciara to Leif, a young Northman leader. Leif should be Ciara’s enemy, but when Ciara discovers that he, too, shares her prophetic visions, she knows he’s something more. Leif is mounting an impressive army, and with Ciara’s strength in battle the two might have a chance to save their world.
With evil rising around them, they’ll do what it takes to defend the land they love…even if it means making the greatest sacrifice of all.
I received this book as part of the April ‘Whimsical Journey’s box from FairyLoot, it’s quite a chunky book compared to a lot of the YA I’ve read recently, and I’m a big lover of mythology, so I was really excited to dive in and lose myself in the world that Jessica Leake has created.
First impressions were great, the book itself has a gorgeous cover. The first chapter was immersive. It was mysterious and tense and made me want answers to a lot of questions, which drove my need to keep reading.
I love the medieval period and the Irish landscape is stunning to imagine.
The first chapter presents us with Ciara, Princess of Mide, who isn’t an ordinary princess at all. She’s a battle-honed warrior, currently overseeing her father’s keep and tasked with protecting her people from Northman raiders.
Ciara at first seems strong, determined and gifted, although how isn’t immediately clear, except that people seem to fear or shun her. She loves her sisters more than anything, hates the Northmen with a passion and we learn of the great loss that fuels her hatred.
Even this early in the book there’s a very epic, almost Game of Thrones like feel and that only increases through the symbolism used and the very graphic, bloody battle sequences.
“I'd been in many people's heads, seen their darkest thoughts, been in battles that were gruesome and violent, but nothing was as soul-crushingly terrible as the Morrigan's vision.”
As you can gather from the synopsis, Ciara is forced to ally with her enemy, a young Northman warrior, Leif.
I love the circumstances behind their meeting, which successfully flips the usual gender roles.
Leif is almost the typical YA hero with his smouldering good looks, impossibly perfect hair, and his skill in battle. Yet he is also on a path of revenge, fuelled by his own hatred and suffering, and he hides a few secrets of his own.
I really enjoyed the mythical creatures portrayed in this book and there are quite a few to discover from mythical horse creatures to gods, sea creatures and ancient queens, and so many more in between.
So much happens in this book that, even though it is quite large at 421 pages, I was never once bored. I never once drifted away or lost interest in the story finding myself wrapped up in the journey and all that they must face and overcome.
As well as the mythology, there’s a lot of pretty cool magic in Beyond A Darkened Shore. I loved the symbolism and imagery behind the magic, particularly in a very striking ‘resurrection scene’.
There are three main reasons that I’m rating this book 3.5-4 instead of 5 stars (I kept going back and forth between 3.5 and 4...), and they’re just things that I personally had a problem with. (I still hugely encourage you to read the book and form your own opinions. If you already have, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!)
First is the relationship between Ciara and Leif, which at times felt a little ‘forced’ and lacking in chemistry. The relationship just jumped a little too quickly for me, and in places, I felt that it overshadowed Ciara’s better qualities. I guess I was just more invested in the mythology and adventure.
Secondly was that Ciara doesn’t seem to learn what I feel is the most important message in this book; that no one benefits from war. There will always be innocent people who suffer, and I felt that after everything the characters had suffered by the end of their journey, that this almost obvious message would have been received a little harder.
Last of all, I found that whilst both characters had motives for revenge there was some hypocrisy behind how each was handled, and whilst I don’t want to give anything away by going into too much detail, I personally just felt that this was quite contradicting and could have been explored a bit better.
Overall though, I did thoroughly enjoy this story. I enjoyed the characters, I absolutely loved the Norse and Celtic mythology, the creatures, the magic and the gorgeous Ireland landscape, and I’d highly recommend this book to other lovers of epic fantasy who want to be swept away on a quest of gigantic proportions.
Beyond a Darkened Shore is officially released in the UK tomorrow (17th May 2018), just click the photo above to add it to your Goodreads TBR.
If you read my unboxing of Book Box Club's April Theme, you'll know that I'd planned on buying a couple of different UK boxes to see which I preferred.
I already mentioned the pricing differences in my previous blog so feel free to check that out at the link above. Since then, I've also stumbled across Illumicrate, another UK book subscription box, the only difference is that this one ships every 3 months instead of every month, so...can you keep a secret? I may have also purchased the May Illumicrate to see what that's like. 🙊 Oops...
On the positive side, that means I'll have 3 book boxes to share with you in May!
Anyway, the FairyLoot box is finally here, and I'm super excited to dig into the 'Whimsical Journeys' theme.
This is the info FairyLoot provided about this box when ordering:
Who's ready to lift the lid?
First impressions: This box usually ships on the 20th of each month but was delayed for 10 days due to a 3rd party supplier issue. I completely understand that, these things happen and seriously it was soooo worth the wait!!
It was delivered by My Hermes and arrived 3 days after shipping so not bad and the box had no damage. Another point to note is that the box itself is so freaking cool! I want to keep it just so that I can stare at the wonderful design both inside and out. The label is also underneath which makes for a nicer unboxing photo.
I am so overwhelmed by how amazing this box is, so let's get started!
The first thing you'll notice upon opening is a spoiler card listing all of the items in the box, which is super helpful so that you can track down the suppliers on Instagram, Etsy etc.
What's in the box:
Overall, this box is absolutely incredible. It far exceeded my expectations and I cannot wait for next month's box to arrive since the book features SPRAYED PAGES and a BOOK SLEEVE!! I'll be posting the unboxing as soon as I get it, so watch this space.
If you're interested in finding out more just head over to the FairyLoot website.
P.S: You'll notice in the photos that there are a couple of comparison photos between the two book boxes I've received so far, just to show you the difference in size. There was also a lot less packaging in the FairyLoot box and absolutely no wiggle room - it was jam packed!
Rating: 3 STARS
How I got this book: April 'Book Box Club' Subscription
Ten days after Jaya Mackenzie’s mum dies, angels start falling from the sky. Smashing down to earth at extraordinary speeds, wings bent, faces contorted, not a single one has survived.
Hysteria mounting with every Being that drops, Jaya’s father uproots the family to Edinburgh intent on catching one alive. But Jaya can’t stand this obsession and, struggling to make sense of her mother’s sudden death and her own role on that fateful day, she’s determined to stay out of it.
When her best friend disappears and her father’s mania spirals, things hit rock bottom and it’s at that moment something extraordinary happens: An angel lands right at Jaya’s feet, and it’s alive. Finally she is forced to acknowledge just how significant these celestial beings are.
Set against the backdrop of the frenzied Edinburgh festival, OUT OF THE BLUE tackles questions of grief and guilt and fear over who we really are. But it’s also about love and acceptance and finding your place in this world as angels drop out of another.
There were one or two things in this book that didn't sit well with me, so I'm going to talk about the things that I did like first.
This book was a 'surprise' book as it was part of the April 'Fallen Angels' book box subscription from Book Box Club. You can check out my unboxing to find out what angel related goodies were inside this months' box.
I was really intrigued by this fantasy-esque story that takes place in Edinburgh. I liked the setting, I think the backdrop of the Fringe festival was really well explored and works well alongside the fantasy elements of this story, and I enjoyed the Scottish narrative.
This book is very diverse, and I love that it was both culturally and sexually inclusive. It features a lesbian character, a bi character (yay!), characters of colour, and disability.
I think the author does an excellent job of tackling quite a lot of difficult subjects in such a short novel (279 pages) including; loss, grief, abuse, disability, mental illness, and faith, and yet it still remains a very teenage YA novel full of teenage antics, plenty of junk food, new friendships, and self-discovery.
Jaya is a great protagonist. She's strong-willed, gay and not ashamed to be who she is. She's struggling to come to terms with her mother's death and blames herself. At the same time, she's juggling with a father who's channelled his grief into an obsession, almost leaving his children to care for themselves, a younger sister she can't face after the loss of their mother and the mysterious disappearance of her secretive ex-girlfriend. All the while, mysterious 'Beings' that look like angels are falling from the sky.
Jaya's character comes on in leaps and bounds during this book as she deals with difficult situations and her own grief and pain exceptionally well. I truly wanted her to find peace.
The friends she makes along the way are colourful, complex and beautiful, making the underlying story really beautiful.
I really enjoyed the description of the 'Beings' - they were beautiful to imagine.
The main issue that I had with this book was the ending. It felt rushed and in a way, incomplete. I just don't feel as though this was properly resolved. In my opinion, a lot of things were also left unexplained and, to me at least, it seemed to take away from the book by leaving so many unanswered questions that it almost felt like the book just ended accidentally with a missing chapter/epilogue which would have been helpful. The last line is the most confusing.
There was so much crammed into this story that I felt a little more resolution at the end would have been nice to avoid the unsatisfied feeling I had when I put this book down.
There were a couple of other things I struggled with but I don't want to give anything away as I'd still recommend this book to fellow lovers of YA/Fantasy looking for more LGBT representation.
But, that's just my opinion. Read the book and let me know what you think!
Tunnocks teacake anyone?
This month I decided to give monthly book boxes a try. I've never tried one of these before but it always looked like a really cool idea. Books and book inspired knick-knacks...what's not to like?
I figured, like with how hard it is to find book-related goodies on Etsy for those of us who live in the UK and don't want to (or can't) pay ridiculous international shipping fees, that there wouldn't be anything like this in the UK, so I was happily surprised to find two that looked really great.
I decided to order from both Book Box Club and Fairyloot to see what they were like, and what you can expect from a box. Book Box Club is marginally cheaper at £27 per month, Fairyloot a little more at £32.95 (both include shipping to mainland UK).
Fairyloot offers a single purchase, monthly, 3-month and 6-month subscription plan. Book Box Club offers two different boxes 'regular' and 'books only' (for anyone who doesn't want the goodies). The prices for the regular boxes are monthly, 3-month and 6-month subscriptions, but I suppose if you wanted a single purchase you could cancel after paying for the first month.
Both are YA and Fantasy themed boxes which is absolutely perfect for me.
So, the first box to arrive is the April 'Fallen Angels' Theme box from Book Box Club, the Fairyloot box is delayed slightly due to a supplier issue so I'll be reviewing that later in the month.
This is the info Book Box Club provided about this box when ordering:
From our Fallen Angles boxes you can expect...
😇A fantastic UKYA read set in the contemporary real world where celestial beings start falling from the heavens! It sparks wild theories, extreme cults and real teen crises and features one of the sweetest LGBT romances we’ve read.
😇Our April boxes will be jam packed with items inspired by literary angels from some of our fave fandoms. We are working on some awesome goodies so stand by for supplier reveals coming your way very soon.😀
😇All members will receive the all important invitation to our members-only online book group meeting with the author of our featured read and there is SO MUCH to discuss in this book! You guys won’t want to miss it!
Who's ready to dive in?
First impressions: The box arrived 2 days after it was shipped and looks really neat and tidy. No damage to the box (kudos to Royal Mail) and upon opening I'm really excited to get past all that blue tissue paper!!
The first thing you get is an index card (I advise you not to turn this over until the end) that gives you a run-down of the box contents. I'm guessing this is to help you if anything is missing but also includes handy information to help you find the seller/creator of each item.
What's in the box:
Overall, this is a nice little book box with cute, quirky items from three different popular fandoms and a nice-looking YA paperback, all centred around the 'Fallen Angels' theme. I'm not yet sure if I'll be ordering next month's box as I'm going to wait for the Fairy Loot box and probably stick with whichever is my favourite of the two since I'm sadly not made of money.
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Book addict, film mad, music lover, business owner, aspiring writer and mum (not necessarily in that order), living in the UK.
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