Friday, 29 July 2016

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

+ Angharad's thoughts +
This book is a collection of poetry split into four parts: hurting, loving, breaking and healing. It is combined with beautiful illustrations that I just want tattooed all over my body. I must admit I'm not usually a huge fan of poetry. For me to like it, I need to connect with it and I connected to this book from its first poem. It hurt my heart in ways I didn't know a heart could hurt. I experienced everything with the author, every emotion, every revelation, every hurt. I hurt, I loved, I broke and I healed alongside her. Things got close to home but in a beautiful way. Rupi Kaur reminds us to love ourselves and love one another, to accept our femininity, to be okay with our broken parts. She encourages women to love one another but most importantly, for us to love ourselves. As she says 'you are your own soulmate.' A line so simple and yet something that we so often forget to remember. 
This book is important to me, I want to clutch it to my heart and thank it. It is honest and raw. It is eye-opening and it is addictive. I think every person, especially every woman should read this book. Rupi Kaur doesn't shy away from all the parts that make a woman. The miracles our bodies can perform, the pain that we can withstand. All the horribly beautiful things that make us. I'm happy a book of poetry like this exists, written by a woman who has known pain but has also known healing. 

we are all born so beautiful
the greatest tragedy is being convinced we are not.

+ Becky's thoughts +

I've been a fan of Rupi Kaur's work for a while now, after seeing many of her poems on Instagram and always being to relate to them in some way. I'm so glad that I finally decided to pick up Milk and Honey so I could read more of her work - although I can appreciate some poetry every now and then, I'm not the biggest fan of it and I've never read a poetry book until now. Despite that, I'm confident that this was the best possible book of poetry I could have read. I jumped straight into this book and read it in one sitting, and then went back and read the entire thing again. These poems made me feel so many things, and many of them felt like they'd been plucked right from my own thoughts.
Milk and Honey's overall theme is one of relationships; from how they begin to how they end, and all of the hurt and healing that happens in between and during those two defining moments. It focuses on mental health, feminism, and emotional and physical pain. It looks at relationships within families as well as with spouses, and how the ruination of one could affect the other throughout someone's life. 

“If you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise.” 

Have you read this book? If so, what were your thoughts?

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Top ten things books have made us want to do or learn about after reading them

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created by The Broke and the Bookish!

Becky's Choices:

1. Become a badass assassin.

I'm not saying here that I want to be paid to kill people or anything, just that I read books with assassins as main characters, and I think, how amazing would it be to be so stealthy you can run across rooftops and blend in with shadows? Plus, most assassins get a really cool suit and some knives. It'd be great to be an assassin.

2. Become High Lady of the Night Court.

I mean, I'm a redhead and I love painting, and I'd be pretty keen to learn archery, so I am basically just Feyre, right? All I need is Rhysand to complete this goal... 

3. Become Rebecca Stormborn of House Targaryen, the first of her name, the Unburnt, Queen of Mereen, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Lady of the Seven Kingdoms, Protector of the Realm, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea,  Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons.

Honestly, I think this one's pretty self explanatory.

4. Become a figure of Russian folklore. 

I recently noticed that the hardback edition of Deathless has a little tagline on the cover that says 'Child of the revolution, maiden of myth, bride of darkness.' I then added this to my twitter bio. I'm now considering getting business cards with it on.

5. Travel our world... and other worlds. 

Books have always made me want to travel, but none so much as Daughter of Smoke and Bone. I literally have a holiday booked to Prague in September purely because of this book. It'd be pretty cool to see Eretz too, though (once the war's over and all that).

Angharad's Choices:

1. Travel, travel and travel.

I must admit that I have always wanted to travel but since becoming a serious bibliophile, this want has definitely increased. Scotland, Prague, America, Eastern Europe. Yes, majority of the places I read about are in fantasy books so there's a few mythical creatures floating about but other than that, I want to book my plane tickets immediately.

2. Study literature.

English Literature was my favourite subject in school and being a bookworm definitely fuelled this love. I completed a course in literature after school. I love delving into the written word and having my own interpretations of what the author was thinking. If it wasn't for reading, I know my love for the subject wouldn't be as strong. It also encouraged me to read the classics.

3. Get literary-inspired tattoos

I can officially say I have ticked this off my list but only once. I rarely read a book without jotting down quotes as I go along. I live my life through quotes and would love to have some permanently on my body. For now, I store them in my journal alongside some associated imagery.

4. Writing a short story for my partner.

My boyfriend is not a reader so I would love him to be able to read something that I've wrote for him. He still supports my need for books and even lugs around my bags full of them so I would love to repay him. Luckily for me, he's handsome enough that I can at least get him to pose with books.

5. Run a successful book blog.

We have had this blog for a few months now and it is doing so much better than what I expected. We went into this without much of a clue but we both immediately found our love for it. It's a dream come true and was definitely something I've wanted to do for a long time. Thanks to all you guys!


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Asking For It by Louise O' Neill Review

Thank you to Netgalley for providing us with a digital copy.

Taking place in Ireland, Asking For It tells the story of Emma O'Donovan, an eighteen year old girl full of confidence and life. She is popular, beautiful and happy - and she knows it. One night there is a party and everyone is there but the next thing Emma remembers is waking up on her front porch with no memory of the night's events. What follows is a series of explicit photographs surfacing on social media of Emma and what happened to her. However, like many victims of sexual assault, Emma isn't believed and her community take the side of her attackers.
(TW: Sexual Assault)

Angharad's thoughts:
This book is important. This book is horrific. This book will make you angry. It deals with rape culture and the affects of social media. It shows us how much gets taken away from the victims and how half of the time, nobody believes them anyway. It makes you think of how many victims haven't made their voices heard because they are afraid. Most importantly, it shows that no matter what sort of person you are, no matter what gender, no matter what situation you are in, rape is rape and it is never your fault.

'I make my mind go blank. I am not that girl anymore. I am an It. I am a collection of doll parts, of pink flesh, of legs spread open for all to see.'

For obvious reasons I know that going into this book, I was going to spend majority of the time being angry. I wasn't wrong. The story starts with Emma being a very confident young girl. She's beautiful and she knows it. She has many friends, she's popular and she's sexually aware. I really love that Louise O'Neill wrote Emma like this. Yes, she was sexually active, confident and beautiful but does that mean she was asking to get raped? Absolutely not. The only complaint I have with the beginning of this book is that there are a lot of characters, who are all named. This made it difficult during the party scene because there were so many names floating about. I got quite confused but this was such a minor annoyance that I couldn't mark the book down. 

The second half of this book was heartbreaking, especially when the story continues a year after the event. Emma is a completely different person - she has been ostracised by all her friends and the entire community, she has stopped going to school, her family is falling apart and Emma herself is just an empty shell. She keeps having invasive thoughts, she still blames herself. This is not an easy book, it hasn't got a happy ending, it hasn't even got a 'satisfactory' ending but it's realistic. This is happening all over the world and whether it's in the media or not, it is too common. It makes me angry to read these books but I feel a need to so I can spread the word. 

'My body is not my own any more. They have stamped their names all over it.'

Becky's thoughts:
Honestly, I really struggled with this book.

I'm not saying that because I disliked it (as you can probably tell from the five stars that I gave it) but because it was just so painfully true to life that I really felt for Emma, the main character, and it hit me hard how the plot of this book could easily be the reality of so many girls around the world right now. 

Asking For It tells the story of Emma, a young, confident Irish girl, and what happens to her one night when she goes to a party. When she wakes up the next day with no memory of what happened or how she got home, photos from the night before begin to circulate the internet and accusations and rumours start to spread. Emma is the victim of the situation, but in the eyes of her community, she becomes the perpetrator. 
(How many boys?)
(What were you wearing?)
(How much did you have to drink?)

Asking For It is a must read. It delves into rape culture, slut shaming, and the dangers of social media in a way that I've rarely seen done in a novel before. I cannot emphasise the importance of this book. 

I thought it was intriguing how the author almost tries to turn the reader against Emma in the beginning of the book, emphasising her self confidence and her need to be the most beautiful girl in town, as well as bringing up her sex life. It brings up the question of, despite the way Emma acted or dressed, was she still asking to be raped? Of course she wasn't.
I had liked it before. I had encouraged them.
(Maybe I had been asking for it.)

I almost knocked a star off my rating for this book, purely because I was dissatisfied with the ending, but then I realised - that's not what this book is about. Despite using a fictional situation with fictional characters, this book tells a true story of possibly millions of girls, so many of whom would have been dissatisfied with the ending to the story of their trauma. 

As Louise O'Neill states in the afterword:
We need to talk about rape. We need to talk about consent. We need to talk about victim-blaming and slut shaming and the double standards we place upon our young men and women. We need to talk and talk and talk until the Emmas of this world feel supported and understood. Until they feel like they are believed.

Have you read this book? What were your thoughts? 
Let us know in the comments below!

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Top Ten Books Set in Europe

This week's Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by the Broke and Bookish, is ten books set outside of the US. Since we couldn't find ten books that we've read set in the UK (which is crazy) we chose to look at ten books set in Europe that we love!


Asking For It by Louise O'Neill 
Setting: Ireland

Asking For It is the story of Emma, and what happens when she wakes up one morning unable to remember what happened at a party she was at the night before. It's set in a small town in Ireland, and the rural small town mentality is a key plot point within this book.

We'll be reviewing Asking For It soon! 

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
Setting: Iceland

Burial Rites is based on the true story of Agnes Magnúsdóttir, a woman who was sentenced to death in Iceland for murder. This is an amazing crime thriller novel, and being set in Iceland, has such an interesting and unique setting. The author also included lots of letters and documents from the actual case, showing how crime and women were treated in the 1800's in Iceland.

The Ballroom by Anna Hope
Setting: Yorkshire, UK

The Ballroom takes place in the Yorkshire moors during 1911. It follows the story John and Ella, two people locked up in an insane asylum. We also hear from their doctor, Charles. However, once a week  the men and women are allowed to come together in the grand ballroom. It is here that John and Ella meet and their story begins.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein 
Setting: Stockport, UK 

So I may be exaggerating a bit here - Code Name Verity is set in a few parts of the UK and mainland Europe, but Maddie, one of the main characters, is from Stockport - and since that's my hometown, I'm gonna be proud of this book for including it! Code Name Verity is the story of two girls volunteering during WWII.

And I Darken by Kiersten White
Setting: Wallachia/Ottoman Empire (modern day Romania and Turkey)

And I Darken is a gender-swapped retelling of the story of Vlad the Impaler - with Vlad becoming Lada, possibly the most badass heroine in the world of historical fiction. 

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Setting: France

The Nightingale tells the story of two sisters during World War II - Vianne and Isabelle. It spans from 1939 and continues until the end of the war, documenting the events that occurred in a Nazi-occupied France.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Setting: Prague, Czech Republic

Daughter of Smoke and Bone is set in many places around the world (and there may be one scene set in the US, but shh, it's not the biggest scene) but anyway, the majority of this book is set in Prague - where Karou, the main character, lives. 

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak 
Setting: Munich, Germany

I think the entire world knows the plot of The Book Thief (and if you don't, go and read it) but it's a book about Liesel, a girl who is fostered during WWII. It's set in Germany, which is, naturally, an interesting perspective for a WWII based book.

Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Setting: Berlin, Germany

Wolf by Wolf spans a few countries, across from Europe into Asia, but is mostly set in Berlin. It's about Yael, and her mission to win the Axis Tour and assassinate Hitler - who, in this alternative history, survived and won the war.

Read our review of Wolf by Wolf here.

Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente
Setting: Russia

Marya is from Petrograd, or Leningrad, or St. Petersburg - depending on what time era you're visiting the city in. Deathless is the story of her and Koschei the Deathless, a dark character from Russian folklore. 


What are your favourite books set in Europe or outside the US? Let us know in the comments!

Friday, 15 July 2016

The Summer That Melted Everything Review & Interview

(We were kindly asked to give an honest review by the author, Tiffany McDaniel. Thank you to both her and Netgalley for providing us with a copy.)

'This is what I thought he'd be. A spectacular fright. I was wrong. I had made the mistake of hearing the word devil and immediately imagined horns. But did you know that in Wisconsin, there is a lake, a wondrous lake, called the Devil? In Wyoming, there is a magnificent intrusion of rock named after the same. There is even the most spectacular breed of praying mantis known as the devil's flower. And a flower, in the genus Crocosmia, known simply as Lucifer?

Why, upon hearing the word devil, did I just imagine the monster? Why did I fail to see a lake? A flower growing by that lake? A mantis praying on the very top of a rock?'

Becky's thoughts:
Wow. The Summer That Melted Everything is absolutely unlike anything I've read before - this book blew me away. You may see the title and immediately think that this is a warm, light-hearted YA contemporary. If you did think that, you probably couldn't be more wrong. The Summer That Melted Everything is deep, dark and gritty; it's filled with suspense and delves into some important issues (specifically religious extremism, racism and homophobia amongst others) which are still so relevant today despite the book mostly being set in the 1980's. 
The plot centres around Fielding Bliss's reminiscences of the summer of 1984 - the year when his Father invited the devil to their town of Breathed, Ohio. At the beginning of the summer, Sal turns up, claiming to have answered this invitation, and brings the blistering heat with him. He almost instantly becomes the fifth member of the Bliss family, but not all citizens of Breathed are as welcoming towards him. The heat begins to take it’s toll, and although the town may not have expected the devil to look like a thirteen year old boy, they begin to believe that appearances can be deceptive. 
So many mysteries surrounded this book whilst I was reading, and many still do - who was Sal, really? Could the events of summer 1984 in Breathed, Ohio have been avoided if he hadn’t turned up on the Bliss’s porch, or if Autopsy Bliss hadn’t invited the devil to the town in the first place? Last but not least, why was Sal so obsessed with ice cream? 
I thought that the way social issues were used, in comparison to the mindset of many in the 1980’s, worked so well. Sal is subjected to so much racism throughout this book, and the citizens of the small town of Breathed compare his race to his claims of being the devil from the very beginning. Despite the devil being a thirteen year old boy, the members of the growing cult within the community are able to demonise him because of the colour of his skin. 

'To them, Sal was just a black boy who by calling himself devil was personifying the white mans claim.'

I can’t express how perfectly this book was written. Not only the plot and the characters, but the writing itself flowed so well throughout the book, and I couldn't put it down. Each sentence was like it's own small poem and the metaphors worked so well. I feel like I've only scratched the surface of this book from reading it once, and I can't wait to read it over and over again to uncover more of the secrets that are hidden throughout it. Overall, The Summer That Melted Everything is such a darkly beautiful book - in my opinion, it's the perfect debut, and I feel so honoured to have been able to read it.

Angharad's thoughts:
I went into this book without having a clue what it was about. I usually hate doing that but in this case, it worked in my favour because it isn't usually a book I would think about picking up. This novel tells the story of Fielding Bliss as he reminisces and tells the story of his summer in Breathing, Ohio, 1984. That is the year he became friends with the devil. 
I wouldn't even know what genre to fit this book into. Adult fiction? Magic realism? Historical Fiction? All I know is that from the first page, I was hooked. It has some heavy themes such as racism, homophobia, religious extremism and mob mentality but it still entwines itself with some happy moments between family and also what it means to be family. The Bliss family accept the devil (A.K.A, Sal) as their own and this leaves us with the age old question, why do we assume the devil is the bad guy? What if he's just a young boy with a love for ice cream. Fielding tells his story as an old man, scared of letting people close to him, he tells the story of his brother Sal, the devil in dirty overalls. Grand, his brother struggling with his sexuality. His mother who is afraid of the rain and his father, Autopsy who invites the devil in the first place. The familial relationships in this book were perfect. Fielding who is as much in love with his big brother as it is possible for a young boy to be. Stella and Autopsy who protect and love Sal despite everything. Sal who helps Stella leave her house and to not be scared of the rain. It is so important to read a novel in which a love between a family is this strong.
What amazed me most whilst reading this is the writing itself. Tiffany McDaniel writes as though she was born with poetry in her veins. Everything flows, everything is a metaphor, she makes the horrible beautiful. Each chapter starts with an excerpt from Milton's Paradise Lost.Everything ties together through her beautiful writing. I would read anything written by her hand. Simple lines that cut you deep and make you wonder why you've never constructed a sentence like that yourself: 'Granny was my first loss, my first emptying.'
Fire burned throughout the entire novel, from start to finish. This is not a happy book and it certainly doesn't end happily. This is the story of a summer in which the heat took everything. Nobody left unscathed. It shows us that we are all capable of monstrous acts, sometimes monstrous acts which are necessary. My heart ached for some characters and my blood boiled because of others. I felt every emotion reading this book and I would recommend it to anybody. I've never read a book like this and I'm so glad that I was given the opportunity to. 
Overall, Tiffany McDaniel managed to write a book with such heavy themes that it could have failed but instead she wrote a book with a whimsical, yet dark feel and at the centre, this beautiful family who love each other, faults and all. The devil really is in the details of this book. I want to read it again. I want its words tattooed on my skin. Congratulations to Tiffany on this spectacular debut that will live with me for a very long time.

We also got the amazing opportunity to interview the brains behind this beautiful novel. 

The familial relationships in this novel were very strong, even to the point that the Bliss family immediately accepts Sal as one of their own. Did you purposefully set out to write a book with a family being at the heart of it?

When I wrote the first line in the novel, I didn’t think family would end up being the heart of the story.  I thought this is a story that is going to invite attachment from the town and beyond.  I thought it was going to be a story where the events were shaping people at a national, if not worldly stage.  But then it came back to the Bliss family.  The story really doesn’t exist without them and their bond.  The father, the mother, the sons, and Sal included in that.  Family became the answer to the opposing side.  Family became that which bore the brunt of the events, but it is also that which made the events matter.  Family is the universal statement of love, after all.  

What inspired you to write about the devil? More specifically, a devil who isn’t monstrous and goes against its stereotypes?
I always say the characters themselves inspire me.  They feel very real to me.  As if they exist and in some other plane or bend of the universe I may one day be able to touch them and feel them touch back.  So I didn’t have a plan to write about the devil.  Sal came along and really made that a reality.  I didn’t want a devil who was stereotypical.  We know that story already.  We know how that story begins and ends.  If I was going to write about the devil, that devil was going to be someone who broke the stereotypes.  We’ve seen the monster before.  It’s time to see what else there is.   

Unfortunately, I wasn’t born until the late 90s so I have no personal knowledge of this time and yet I felt nostalgic for a place I’ve never been. Was this story always going to take place in the 80s? 
When I thought of the time period this story would take place in, I immediately thought of the 1980s.  To me it always seems like the 80s were a decade-long summer with its neon colors, big hair, and big ambitions.  Maybe this is a stereotype of the decade.  I was born in 1985, so I can’t attest to how true this really is, but there really is no other time for the story to take place in.  The 1980s is that summer’s true home. 

Why did you choose to start each chapter with an excerpt from Paradise Lost? Did this work inspire the story or did you add it later?
I was thinking of how I wanted to begin my chapters, because I always title chapters in my novels.  And Milton’s epic poem immediately came to mind.  I had read it for the first time in my early twenties in college.  It’s one of the works I was immediately attracted to because it was about that which has always fascinated me, that being the fall and the balance between good and evil.  I can only hope that my inclusion of the quotes in my novel would make Milton proud.  I only hope I have done right by him and his words, which far surpass my own.

I love that Sal was a POC. Did you always see him as such? Do you think his story would have ended differently if he hadn’t of been?
I did always see Sal that way.  When he appeared in my mind, he did so incredibly clear in his overalls and with his bruises, his dark skin and green eyes.  I always say my characters are themselves.  I’d like to say I created Sal, but I feel like he just existed and I’m the vessel through which his story is brought into our world.  If Sal hadn’t of been who he was, his story and really everybody else’s story would have without a doubt ended differently.  Sal was what happens when we lose to our own ignorance and when racism wins.  

The one question we all want to know the answer to. Why did Sal want ice cream so much?
This is so difficult to answer without giving spoilers away, but a little hint: Think of Elohim and what he was doing.  Sal was not really asking for ice cream when he asked for ice cream.  He was saying something much bigger about the reasons for the melt, and the melt yet to come.

And finally, if your readers could take one thing away from this book, a message or a moral, what would it be?
That we are only as godly as the love we give.  We are only as devilish as the hate we spread.      

*This novel will be published on July 26th, 2016*

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Top Ten Bookish Facts About Us

  • When I was in primary school, I won a Harry Potter colouring competition and received a signed copy of Order of the Phoenix and some other goodies. That was the start of my love for the series.
  • I was always entering library reading competitions as a child that required you to read a certain amount of books in a certain amount of time. Being as competitive as I am, this trained me to become a fast reader which comes in handy now when you've got a TBR as long as your arm.

  • When I was eleven, a poem we had to write about recycling in school was published in a poetry book. My mother proceeded to carry the book around with her, showing it to everybody and anybody.
  • I always 'receive books' for special occasions but people never know which books to get me so what I actually get are gift cards. I don't mind because it gives me an excuse to hide in Waterstones for hours on end.
  • I recently got a book related tattoo! It was drawn up by Becky and it is a take on Rhysand's tattoo from A Court of Mist and Fury. 

  • I also have a tattoo inspired by A Court of Mist and Fury! After reading ACOMAF, we both fell in love with the book and rushed out to get almost matching tattoos inspired by Rhysand’s tattoos - of mountain peaks with three stars above them.
  • When I was eleven, I won a short story competition and got to meet Jacqueline Wilson. I’ve got to say, to an eleven year old, this was probably the best prize in the world. Since twelve years have passed since then, I honestly don’t remember much about what happened (and I have no clue what my short story was about) but I got this photo taken with Jacqueline Wilson and a signed, personalised copy of her book Love Lessons.

  • I did actually want to be a writer when I was younger. Most people who know me these days don’t seem to expect it, since I’m definitely more of a photographer than a writer now, but it’s true. The first “book” I remember writing when I was ten (by hand, stuck together with a glue stick, and with a 3D cover made from pieces of coloured card) was called “What Should I Do?” and was about a young teenage girl who had an abusive home life and well, wondered what she should do about it. Evidently, I was a pretty messed up child. Why I wasn’t writing about a girl getting a pet unicorn or something when I was ten years old is beyond me. Anyway, I’m no writer anymore, but my husband has wrote a couple of YA novels that he’s in the process of trying to get published!
  • When I was twelve, I was part of a book club in high school. We had to read three new releases and choose our favourites for a local book awards ceremony. One of these books was Sleepwalking by Nicola Morgan, and although I wouldn’t consider this book to be the greatest now, it massively impacted me at the time as it’s the book that got me into dystopian fiction. I think if I’d not been assigned this book to read, I would’ve never read The Hunger Games, and then most likely wouldn’t have been into reading as much as I am.
  • Probably one of my biggest reading achievements was reading Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince in a day, on it’s release day. Honestly, I’m not 100% sure how I did it - I don’t think I could manage it now. That book is a hefty 600+ pages and I must have been about eleven or twelve when it was released.

Tell us some interesting facts about you - bookish or not! Leave them in the comments below.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

July Fairyloot Unboxing

Another month, another Fairyloot box and in my opinion, this months blew June's out of the water (literally, because the theme was Pirates & Power!) Fairyloot is a UK-based book subscription box and each month contains a highly anticipated books and amazing bookish goodies. If you want to sign up, go here!
(It goes without saying but this post will contain spoilers so if you are still waiting for your box, we give you our full permission to click off this post.)

Here's what we received this month:

+ A Pirate Bounty lip balm made by Geeky Clean.
This lip balm will transport you straight to a tropical island. It smells of delicious coconut and is totally clear so it will not add colour to your lips.

+ A colour-in bookmark from Behind the Pages.
If you're a fan of colouring, you'll love this bookmark that reads 'Currently Reading.' This is the first time these have been released and I'm so happy to have got my own. Neither of us use bookmarks but being able to colour it yourself is really tempting.

+ A bookish tote bag by Alice in Wonderbookland.
The perfect thing to carry your books in. With an illustration of a ship and the tag, 'I Ship It,' this fits perfectly with this month's theme. It's a cute little size and very minimalist. Will definitely stop me from breaking my backs carrying too many books!

+ Frostblood and Fireblood bath bomb from Geeky Clean.
As soon as I got this, I rushed to run myself a bath. Upon placing it in the water, colours burst everywhere. I felt like Daenerys Targaryen as I stepped in. These are amazing products - they left no stains on either my skin or my bath.

+ A Funko keychain.
Probably one of my favourite things in this box. We received the Daenerys Targaryen version but Jon Snow versions were sent out also seeing as they are the song of ice and fire! Which did you get?

+ An ARC copy of Frostblood by Elly Blake.
This book isn't going to be released until 2017 but Fairyloot kindly sent out early copies - you will either receive the Fire or Frost cover. We both got Fire which fits us perfectly. We will post a full review of this book when we've both finished it.

+ A Treasure Island notebook by Museums & Galleries.
This beautiful gold foil notebook is the perfect notebook that you can fill with your adventures. It's the perfect size and even looks like the book itself by the cover.

The main book we received this month is a tale of folklore and pirates. It seems like the perfect new fantasy novel and we're excited to get into it. We also got a personalised letter and postcard from the author and each book is signed and dedicated. Definitely a book we will treasure (no pun intended.)


Next month's theme is 'Dark Deeds' and is perfect for those who love an antihero. Becky has ordered this box so look forward to another unboxing in August. 

Monday, 11 July 2016

Becky's June Reads

So apparently I beat my monthly record in June and read twelve books! I absolutely loved the majority of my June reads. Here's a quick look at what I read:

The Assassins Blade by Sarah J. Maas
5/5 stars

Although the Throne of Glass series is one of my favourites, I've always put off reading The Assassins Blade as I'm not the biggest fan of novellas. I'm so glad I decided to read it though - the five novellas in this book are all chronological, so play out more like a full novel, and it was so good to get more of an insight into the backstories of the characters (especially Sam!)

Unbecoming by Jenny Downham
4/5 stars

I wasn't expecting much from Unbecoming, but I ended up actually really enjoying it. Definitely a book I'd recommend!

Girl In Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
4/5 stars

Thanks to NetGalley/Penguin Random House for the ARC of Girl In Pieces! This book comes out on the 6th September and I would highly recommend it. See Angharad's full review of it here.

And I Darken by Kiersten White
5/5 stars

And I Darken has been a highly anticipated book on my to be read list for so long, and I was so happy to receive an ARC of it. I absolutely loved this book and if I say too much I'll just end up fangirling everywhere. Recommended if you love history, badass warrior princesses, and political court intrigue!
My full review of And I Darken can be found here.

The Grownup by Gillian Flynn
3/5 stars

I really enjoyed this short story by Gillian Flynn - I'm not the biggest fan of crime/thrillers, but I've always loved her books. I definitely think that The Grownup could've been a full novel, which is why I dropped it's rating a bit!

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

So I've not rated this yet as I'm still not 100% sure what to make of it. I did really like the book, however there are some controversial topics involved that I still need to get my head around. When we've worked it out though, we'll be reviewing it in full, so keep an eye out for that! 

Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
2/5 stars

Yeah, I'm sorry. I didn't get the hype about this book at all. I've enjoyed books by Jojo Moyes in the past but Me Before You just seemed so bland.

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
4/5 stars

I think everyone's already read this book, but if you haven't, you should definitely go and read it now!

Lips Touch by Laini Taylor
4/5 stars

I absolutely adore Laini Taylor, and Lips Touch, her book of three short stories that are essentially about first kisses, was no exception. Everything this woman writes is just so magical!

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
4/5 stars

I was a bit weary going into this book as I found Between Shades of Gray a bit disappointing, but Out of the Easy was perfect - definitely my favourite book by Ruta Sepetys. It's set in 1950's New Orleans and follows Josie, a girl desperate to get 'out of the easy', as the title implies.

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
4/5 stars

So this is one of those books I've been meaning to pick up for ages, but avoided because I'm always a bit unsure when it comes to the magical realism genre. However, Ava Lavender was a beautiful, strange and sorrowful novel, so it's pretty aptly named. I'm not even sure how to describe the plot but I'd definitely recommend it!


Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
5/5 stars

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC!
Asking For It sucked me in almost immediately and I'm still thinking about it a couple of weeks on. It's the story of Emma, and what happens to her when she wakes up after a party unable to remember what happened the night before. This book has such an important message and I would highly recommend it to everyone because of that.


What have you been reading throughout June? Let us know in the comments!