Wednesday, 31 August 2016

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers

“No sapient could sustain happiness all of the time, just as no one could live permanently within anger, or boredom, or grief.”     

The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is an adult science-fiction novel that follows the story of a crew aboard the Wayfarer, a ship whose job it is to tunnel through space. This isn't your average sci-fi novel - it doesn't consist of twists and turns and epic space battles but focuses more on the crew and their characterisation. This may put some people off but this book was everything and more, in my opinion and has definitely become an all-time favourite of mine. 
This book is definitely not plot-driven. It centres more on the characters separately and also as a whole. It is the story of their journey and our journey as we are welcomed into their world. We see their world as Rosemary does, with fresh eyes. We learn with her and eventually, we even feel accepted into the family alongside her. 
One of my favourite dynamics in any book is family dynamics and this book had it. You have this crew of very different people, not just their species but their backgrounds, their beliefs, their genders, their sexualities and yet they form this beautiful space family. Rosemary, a Martian woman trying to escape her past. Sissix, an Aandrisk pilot and the only one of her kind on the ship. Ashby, the Captain of the Wayfarer and also a pacifist dealing with his distant love. Ohan, a Sianat pair who can navigate the stars. Dr Chef, a Grum who basically feeds and looks after the crew. Kizzy and Jenks, the ship's version of mechanics and even Lovey, a sentient AI who runs the ship and dreams of having a human body. Together, they are the space version of misfits but their relationships transcend the planets they travel through.
Gender pronouns are not only important in this world but they are also normalised. A person/species isn't labelled a gender until they confirm it and some species even identify as both a male and a female during their lifespan. Ohan is referred to as 'they' due to being a Sianat pair without question. I was beaming like an idiot! This is a sci-fi book that not only deals with the intergalactic but also with modern-day subjects without preaching. Even racial slurs are touched upon as this world has their own version of them. In one of the very first chapters, a crew member is shut down by the Captain after using a slur.
We find out about the history of every species in this world without info-dumping!! We find out everything from their diets, religions, how they raise children, how family dynamics work even their individual languages. I've never known a book to include so much information without it being in big, boring chunks. I was so invested in each species and their differences. Something else I loved is that humans are probably the least common species in this book and they are the ones who are often questioned. This was such an interesting touch to any other book ever, for once humans aren't at the centre. Overall, in no way do I wish this book could have had more of a plot and that surprises me. Discovering the Wayfarer in this book was kind of like discovering Hogwarts, you just wish it was real and the people were real because it feels like home. I was emotionally connected to the family that lived within its walls and am so desperately excited for the sequel. 

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

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye

Imagine, and it shall be.
There are no limits.

In an alternate Imperialist Russia of 1825, the Tsar has been surrounded by threats from all sides. Facing the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs, he decides to begin the Crown's Game - a fight to the death between Russia's two enchanters, with the winner receiving the title of Imperial Enchanter, as well as their life.

Enchanter One, Nikolai, has grown up in Saint Petersburg and is best friends with the Tsarevich, Pasha. He has ultimate control over mechanical objects. Enchanter Two, Vika, can manipulate and control the elements around her. When both Pasha and Nikolai find themselves falling for Vika, they both have decisions to make - can Pasha go against his Father's and his country's expectations by courting a mysterious girl who isn't royalty? Can Nikolai save her life, only to condemn his own?


3.5/5 stars.

Lately, all that I've been in the mood for is books that are set in Russia or inspired by Russian culture, so needless to say, The Crown's Game was perfect for me in that aspect. I loved the setting - I've read a few novels set in Russia recently, but none from this time period. It was really interesting to see the beginnings of rebellion hinted at throughout the novel after Russia's victory over Napoleon, and the Tsar failing to live up to his promises of equality to the common people. In the authors note, Evelyn Skye mentions that she has studied Russian culture and Slavic languages for years, and you can really tell - she pays attention to all of the little details, and I could easily picture the historical based world that she was building.

I also liked the characters - Vika's character was really interesting and I'm hoping to learn more of her back story in The Crown's Heir. I loved Pasha - he was so feisty and adventurous, and I couldn't help but be drawn to him. Nikolai was definitely my least favourite of the trio, and I do think that I would have connected with him a lot more if his story had been built on and he wasn't so melancholy when it came to Vika; he often chastised Pasha for barely knowing her yet claiming to love her, yet he had had even less interactions with her and was claiming the exact same thing. 
Since the blurb of the book makes it clear that there will be a love triangle, I was expecting it, and it definitely wasn't the worst love triangle I've ever seen (hello, Twilight). However, it was more of a love-square or something - Pasha and Nikolai are both after Vika, and a servant girl is also madly in love with Nikolai. I didn't care much for either of Nikolai's possible relationships, and if I had to pick a ship, it would definitely be Pasha and Vika who I'd want to end up together.

Anyway, less on love, more on magic. This book truly was enchanting, and I loved watching the way that the competition played out between Vika and Nikolai. I loved how the magic was infused into what I assume to be average daily life in Saint Petersburg in 1825, and the way that the city was used in the magic. 

I was very surprised by the ending, but not in a bad way at all. I couldn't say much about it without giving away the entire plot, but I will say, it is not typical of a YA ending, and I was so happy about that!

So, onto the reasons why I knocked a few stars off my rating. 
Firstly, this book was very slow-paced. I'd find myself reading it, wondering when it would start to pick up from the initial slowness that many novels have, and realised I was already over halfway through. The pace didn't ruin the book for me in any way, I just wasn't expecting it.
Secondly, the antagonist. I won't say much about this to avoid spoilers, but I do think there was a missed opportunity here. There's a character in the book that I thought would definitely end up being after revenge, but then they just didn't really do anything? That might happen in the sequel, though.

Overall, I really enjoyed The Crown's Game - it was a lovely debut, with only a couple of small things that I would have liked to have been different, and I'm looking forward to reading the sequel.


Have you read The Crown's Game? Let us know what you thought of it in the comments!


Thursday, 18 August 2016

Mental Health Fiction

Mental illness is becoming more and more common in fiction, especially YA. Many books, such as contemporaries, feature characters suffering with their mental health and they are even hinted at in some fantasy novels (Feyre's PTSD in A Court of Mist and Fury, etc) As the stigma is slowly being removed in real life, it is creeping into our books too. Whereas some authors romanticise mental illness or portray it incorrectly and disrespectfully, these are some that we think are the exception. More importantly, these characters make us remember that we are not alone in this.

Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
(TW: Self Harm)

Girl in Pieces tells the story of seventeen-year-old Charlie, a girl who is no stranger to pain and loss. In order to cope, she self-harms to the point that we meet her at a rehabilitation centre where she is on her way to recovering. She shares her experience with a bunch of other, complex females and it all seems to be on the right track until Charlie is told that she is being released. Faced with the reality of living on the outside again, she must find her way alone but is she ready to let people back in?
Kathleen Glasgow isn't afraid of delving into the dark world of mental illness. She doesn't skirt over Charlie's self-harm, Riley's addiction or Linus' alcoholism. Although these aren't light-hearted subjects in themselves, she still manages to maintain a layer of hope throughout the novel. She makes you root for Charlie and the other characters, hoping that they can heal and keep going. Nothing is romanticised in this novel and I am so grateful for that. It is evidently clear that Kathleen Glasgow put her heart and soul into this book. 
This novel reminds me that we need to extinguish the stigma that is attached to mental illness. It should not be a taboo subject and it's heartbreaking that it is something that is so common and I include myself in that. Charlie is a young girl who lost her father and her best friend, has an abusive and distant mother, is almost the victim of sexual assault, experiences homelessness and hunger but keeps going. She survives it and although her journey to recovery is far from over, she shows that you can do it. You can pull yourself out of it and I think that is such an important message, especially to the younger generation. 

Falling into Place by Amy Zhang
(TW: Suicide)

This book tells the story of Liz Emerson as we find out why she chose to drive her Mercedes off the road and try to kill herself. The story is arranged in 'snippets' from Liz herself, her friends, her teachers and other people but overall, much like 'The Book Thief' by Markus Zusak, it is narrated by an omniscient presence. The book is non-linear which may confuse a few people but in my opinion, everything came together and it was very easy to follow.
I want to first talk about Liz herself. She is by no means your typical, kind YA character. She is the most popular girl in school and has used that to her advantage, such as bullying people. One of the main reasons she tries to kill herself is because she realises what sort of person she is and regrets everything she has done. The book displays her depression and will to die so frighteningly well. She feels as though she can't redeem herself and take back all the pain she has caused. She's angry that she has got away with everything. I found that so powerful and really felt like Liz was such a real character which made it all the more heartbreaking.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
(TW: Eating Disorders)

Wintergirls follows the story of Lia, a girl who suffers from severe eating disorders. It is written in a diary style, which, although not unique to this book, works incredibly well. It allows you to truly get into Lia's head, and feel what she is experiencing. With Lia being portrayed as the author of the book, you also are able to understand her character a lot more than if it had been written in a different style.
Alongside the insight into the mind of someone with serious anorexia and body dysmorphia, Wintergirls highlights the drastic need for improvement in todays mental health services. Lia is beyond underweight, and yet she has been declared as stable. It isn't until things begin to turn even worse that her illnesses are finally given the attention they need. 
I'm not sure that saying I enjoyed this book would exactly be the right way to describe how I felt during and after reading it. I think, instead, saying that I found it a powerful experience and learned a lot would be a far better way to put it.

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne
(TW: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Am I Normal Yet? follows the story of Evie, a sixteen year old girl suffering from OCD and an anxiety disorder. We meet her as she is starting her recovery after hitting rock bottom and all Evie wants is to be normal and to do normal things. This is a coming-of-age story, mixed with her recovery. It is raw and honest. It deals with mental health scarily well. I don't suffer with OCD but I do have an anxiety disorder like Evie and it really hit close to home in some moments but that is how it's supposed to be. If you have a mental health issue and you read a book about mental health, it is supposed to be relatable. 
If I could, I would stand in front of secondary school doors and hand this book out to everyone I saw. It is a book I wish I had in my early teens, it's a book I wish existed more and it's a book I would recommend to anyone.
Often the text was split up whenever Evie had a 'bad thought.' I know some would find this distracting but suffering with anxiety and unwelcome thoughts myself, this is realistic! These thoughts do invade your mind at unwanted and random moments. I loved that, especially when we see Evie trying to turn them into 'good thoughts.' Her mental illness is never sugar-coated, there are some moments towards the end of the book that are really difficult to read but this is reality. 

Asking For It by Louise O'Neill
(TW: Rape)

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. 
Honestly, I really struggled with this book. I'm not saying that because I disliked 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. 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. 
Emma becomes 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. 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. 

Are there any books you guys would recommend that portray mental illness respectfully? If so, let us know in the comments!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

August Fairyloot Unboxing

So it's that time of the month again - time for the latest Fairyloot to be unboxed! I was so excited about this month's box as the theme was dark deeds, and anyone knows me knows that I love villains just a little bit too much. As always, this post will contain basically all of the spoilers for this month's box, so if you're still waiting for your box and want the contents to be a surprise, don't look below this photo!

Here's what I received in August's Fairyloot box:

The Dark Side Candle by Geeky Clean
Ok, so I could write a whole essay on how misunderstood Darth Vader is. Every time I watch any Star Wars film, I just have to point out that everything Vader did, he did for love. Yeah, Anakin was acting like a bit of a moody teenager in Revenge of the Sith, but he was still acting purely out of love! Anyway... This candle, strangely enough, has a very fruity smell - who knew that the dark side would smell so good?

Malfoy Quote Coaster by Book Otter
This coaster, with the infamous quote "you must be a Weasley" is an exclusive item in this Fairyloot box and I absolutely love it! Perfect for all Draco fans, like myself.

Rhysand Book Boyfriend Soap by Behind the Pages
I've been ogling these book boyfriend soaps since they were released, especially the Rhysand one, so I was so happy to receive one in this box! I haven't used it yet, but it smells amazing inside it's packaging.

Assassin Nail Art by House of Wonderland
These nail stickers are another exclusive item for this box, designed by the amazing House of Wonderland. I haven't had a chance to use them yet as I can't wear nail varnish for work (sob) but I'm looking forward to testing them out and having badass dagger-nails!

Animorphia Notebook by Michael O'Mara Books
I absolutely love this gorgeous notebook - it's filled with all sorts of unique illustrations of animals and matches this month's book so well! It's also got lots of space for planning evil schemes, as the Fairyloot team pointed out.

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Nevernight bookmark, art print, letter from the author and signed bookplate
This month's book was the absolutely beautiful Nevernight by Jay Kristoff! Both Angharad and I received this book in ARC form a few months ago, but since I gave it five stars and proclaimed it one of the best books I've read this year, I was really happy to receive a hardback copy of it, as well as the extra goodies that were included in this month's box. 


This is definitely one of my favourite Fairyloot boxes so far, and I'm really excited for September's box! What did you think of it?


Sunday, 7 August 2016

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

(Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book.)

“If there are infinite worlds, how do I find the one that is uniquely, specifically mine?”

My main thought after reading this book is that nothing is real. It creeped me out extremely but not because it's a horror but because it gives off such a desolate feel, you feel as desperate as the main character, as scared as him, as alone as him. This book made me feel tiny, it made my head explode and I'm still recovering. Yes, it is based around science and therefore there are quite a few scientific monologues but they are short and to the point so even someone with a very average scientific mind, such as myself, found it very easy to follow. 
Dark Matter is a sci-fi novel following Jason Dessen, an ordinary college physics professor. He's happily married to his wife, Daniela and they have a teenage son, Charlie. Everything is perfectly normal until one night he is kidnapped, drugged and wakes up strapped to a gurney with people smiling down at him - people who call him 'friend.' He has no idea where he is or who these people are but in this universe he is a famous scientist who has achieved the impossible. This book deals with the idea of multiple universes - that every choice we make makes a fork in the road, where another version of us exists that made that choice. Our universe is just one of many, we are just one of many. 
In terms of characters, Jason was a real breath of fresh air for me. It's rare that I read a book with a male protagonist I actually enjoy. I felt his every emotion, I felt his despair - everything felt as real to me as it did to him. His love for his wife and son allows him to find them, even when it should be impossible: they are his driving force. He doesn't want the world in which he's a scientific genius, he wants the world where he's happy with his family. My main problem, and the reason I didn't give this book the full five stars, is Daniela. Not because I didn't like her but because there wasn't enough of her and at one point, I felt as though her character was mistreated to the point Jason makes her sound like a prize in a raffle. I wish she had more of a role other than just to exist in multiple universes for Jason.
The writing was very simple but as a whole, this novel read like a movie. Not surprising seeing as Blake Crouch is a screenwriter. If this was ever put on the big screen, everybody would leave the cinema with exploded brains. It would be amazing. The book was very fast-paced and although the chapters were relatively long, it is addictive enough to speed through. This is the one word I would sum up Dark Matter - addictive. Every time I attempted to put it down, I immediately picked it back up again. Just as you start to think you know what's happening, you get hit around the face again.  
I have always semi believed in the idea of multiple or parallel universes and this book just made it all the more interesting. In this vast universe, how can we be the only ones? What happens when we make a life-changing choice? How much would our paths have changed? This book does not have a 'satisfactory' ending, it is left very open, especially when it comes to some characters. To some, they may want answers, but isn't that the point of this book? There is no ending, this universe is infinite, nothing is ever tied up into a little bow. I think this is the type of book that couldn't have ended any differently than it did.
Overall, I truly loved this book. It is like nothing I've ever read before and I'd recommend it to anyone, not just the scientifically minded. It will blow your mind, confuse you, excite you and hook you. It will make you question your entire existence so, you know, nothing big. 


Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone is a prehistoric fantasy with allusions to Pride and Prejudice. It's Kol's story of how he met Mya - both heirs to their individual clans. However, their two clans have an uneasy history, and when Lo arrives with her clan, Mya's distain towards Kol grows - as does Kol's interest in Mya. 

2/5 stars


Unfortunately, I couldn't get into Ivory and Bone. To begin with, I really struggled with the writing style - this book is written in second person, so it's written from Kol's point of view, but he is addressing "you" throughout (aka Mya). I've never read a book written from second person before, and now that I have, I definitely don't have any plans to pick up another anytime soon. I also found that the plot just didn't pull me in at all - it definitely picked up after the first third of the book, but by then I was very much just trying to get through it (I almost considered stopping reading after the first 30 pages or so, but I can rarely bring myself to not finish a book once I'm a few chapters in).

The characters didn't seem to do much at all, and the misunderstanding between Kol and Mya towards the beginning of the book that set the pace for the way that their relationship played out seemed very petty in my opinion. Kol's favourite thing to do in life was collect honey - which I suppose may have been accurate considering the books Neolithic era setting, but I'm sure they did more exciting things back then (plus I was very disappointed that no one had a pet mammoth, or at least rode a mammoth, or something like that). I imagine it must be a challenge to any author to write a novel set in this era, but I think a bit of artistic licence in order to make the plot better would have been fine. However, the one thing that didn't stick with the era - and that really got to me - was the frequent use of the word parka. Everyone in this book is described as wearing parkas - and from the description given of them, this obviously meant some sort of fur hood or cloak. This is not a parka. Heck, I own a parka and it is green, made from manmade fabrics, and has zips and pockets. I'm sure what Kol and Mya wore could have been described in a better way, even if it was just "furs". I'm sorry if this is a bit of a pet peeve but I just couldn't cope with it. Anyway...

Overall, I think this was a very ambitious idea for a novel, and it just didn't quite cut it for me.


Has anyone else read Ivory and Bone? What were your thoughts? 
Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Becky's July Reads

So despite July being an incredibly busy month for me (what with moving house, spending almost a week in Scarborough, and shooting three weddings amongst other things) I somehow managed to read nineteen books! I'll keep each synopsis brief so that this doesn't win a world record for the longest blog post in the history of forever.

A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
5/5 stars

Thanks to HarperVoyager for the ARC! This was one of my highly anticipated releases of 2016 so I was so happy to be able to get hold of an ARC of it. It's the continuation of Laia, Elias and Helene's stories in An Ember in the Ashes - definitely a must read if you enjoyed the first book. Without giving anything away, I'd say this book was definitely mostly about Helene's story, and that's something that I would never complain about.
Read our full review here.

My Favourite Manson Girl by Alison Umminger
4/5 stars

My Favourite Manson Girl follows Anna as she researches the Manson family during a stay with her sister in Los Angeles. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this book a lot more than I expected to. I'd recommend it for those looking for a light contemporary read but with a twist to it!
Read our full review here.

Uprooted by Naomi Novik
4/5 stars

I've put off reading Uprooted for a long time as I was scared of disliking it - luckily, I loved it. All I will say is, if you're looking for a slow building fantasy with perfect character development and with allusions to Robin Hobb's Farseer Trilogy, this is the book for you.

Frostblood by Elly Blake
3.5/5 stars

We received ARC's of Frostblood in the July Fairyloot box. Ruby is a fireblood living in a world controlled by frostblood's, taken in by the rebels to learn how to control and use her power for good. I enjoyed Frostblood, and it reminded me a lot of the Snow Like Ashes series. The story and characters were compelling, however I didn't find that anything about it specifically stuck in my mind - I'm looking forward to seeing if the sequel is different in this aspect!

The Summer That Melted Everything by Tiffany McDaniel
5/5 stars

We were incredibly privileged to receive an ARC of this book from the author. This is Tiffany McDaniel's debut, and we both loved it beyond words. It's the story of Fielding Bliss, and what happens when his Father invites the devil to come to town, and he accepts the invitation. It's a story of racism, homophobia and religious extremism. It is a must read.
Read our full review here.

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
5/5 stars

After reading Gone Girl last year, I've been meaning to read the rest of Gillian Flynn's books ever since. I'm so glad I finally got around to it over the past couple of months, and I can easily say that Sharp Objects is my favourite.

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
3/5 stars 

Although I didn't like Dark Places as much as Sharp Objects or Gone Girl, it was still an enjoyable (if that's the right word to use) read, and the mystery was perfect as always with Gillian Flynn's books.

The Crown and the Arrow by Renee Ahdieh
2/5 stars 

One of the short stories in The Wrath and the Dawn series, The Crown and the Arrow didn't quite do it for me. I didn't feel as though it added much to the story, although it did give a nice insight into how Jalal and Despina met. 

The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
4/5 stars 

This has been on my shelf for a while now, and I was pleasantly surprised by it. The Walled City tells the stories of Jin Ling, Mei and Dai - three teenagers trapped within the walled city, a dystopian-esque place based on a real neighbourhood that used to exist in Hong Kong. I've gone off dystopians recently but I really enjoyed the world and the characters of The Walled City, and thought that the multiple points of view managed to work together really well.

The Moth and the Flame by Renee Ahdieh
2/5 stars 

Another Wrath and the Dawn short story, and once again, I didn't feel as though it was necessary to the overall plot of the series.

Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
2/5 stars

We received Ivory and Bone in the June Fairyloot box. I put off reading this as I wasn't sure whether I'd enjoy it or not, and as you can see, I was disappointed by it. I didn't feel as though the plot or the characters did anything for me - I didn't really care about what happened to them and felt very disconnected from the storyline.
Read our full review here.

The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon
2/5 stars 

The Bone Sparrow is the story of Subhi, a refugee born in an Australian detention centre. This book was beautifully written and very informative - I'd never heard of the Rohingya people and their plight until I read it - but I felt as though it was aimed at a much younger audience, and therefore, I couldn't get into it.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
5/5 stars 

If you read only one book of poetry in your life, make sure it is this one.
Read our full review here.

Vengeance Road by Erin Bowman
5/5 stars 

I was a bit weary of reading Vengeance Road as I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy the Cowboy dialect used throughout, but I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It's a book about Kate and her quest for revenge when she finds her Father murdered, and what she discovers about him and her family along the way.

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedwick
3/5 stars

Midwinterblood is almost like seven short stories put together into one full story - it's the story of two souls searching for each other across lifetimes when they are torn apart in each one. I enjoyed this book, but strangely felt as though it was aimed at a younger audience, despite it's almost scary undertones.

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
3/5 stars

I think probably everyone know's what Shiver is about, as I'm very late to the party here. I didn't really like or dislike this book - it did remind me far too much of Twilight, and I do think I would have enjoyed it more had I read it ten years ago.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
2/5 stars 

The popular opinion seemed to be that Linger was better than Shiver, but I found this book even stranger than the first. Despite that, I'm still probably going to read the sequel as I'm too invested by now.

The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick
3/5 stars

As with Midwinterblood, I enjoyed this book but felt as though the writing style was too simplistic for me. It's set during WWI and is about Sasha Fox, a girl who can see visions of the future, but only when that future involves death.

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
5/5 stars

Yeah, I re-read ACOMAF this month. So this is obviously 5 stars, as always, and no explanation is needed.


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

Thursday, 4 August 2016

Weekly Feature V - Custom Feyre Funko

A few weeks ago, I decided to have a go at customising a Funko POP figure. Naturally, I wanted to try and paint one so that it looked like Feyre from A Court of Mist and Fury. For this weeks Weekly Feature, I'm going to give a quick overview of how I did it!

To start off with, I bought a Margaery Tyrell Funko POP as I thought she would be the most appropriate base for Feyre (sorry Margaery, I do love you, but Feyre's just more important). I chose Margaery because of her hair colour being similar to Feyre's, because her arms were bare (and I wanted to make sure Feyre had her arm tattoo on show) and because the shape and cut of her dress could be easily made into my interpretation of a Night Court dress.

Here's the stages of the transformation from Margaery to Feyre (excuse the photo quality - I was in such a rush to get started that I almost forgot to take some before photos!):

To start off, I painted all of her hair a slightly redder shade - Margaery has light brown hair, and Feyre's has a red tint to it. I then painted the black swirls up her arm for the tattoo that represented her and Rhys's bond in A Court of Thorns and Roses, and pained the whole dress a dark blue. Once the dress was dry, I went over parts of it with gold paint and a very thin brush to add a bit of detail to the dress and make it just a bit more magical looking. Sharpies work surprisingly well on Funkos, so once all the paint was dry, I went over the tattoo a bit with a black sharpie to neaten it up, and did the same with a blue sharpie around the neckline of the dress. 

Here's a few more shots of the finished Feyre (the print behind her in the photos is by Charlie Bowater):

Hope you enjoyed this weeks feature - I absolutely love my little Feyre figure! I'm planning on making Rhysand to go with her, as soon as I can find the right Funkos for him.

Is there anything you would have done differently? Let us know what you think!


Monday, 1 August 2016

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

I really wanted to love this book. I have always had huge admiration for Megan Abbott and I have read all of her books. If it's one thing Megan Abbott can do, as she still accomplished in this book, is understand teenage girls. She knows that they are multi-layered, complex, capable of extreme cruelty and jealousy and so much more than face value. You Will Know Me is told by Katie, the mother of gymnast prodigy, Devon. Devon Knox is the centre of not just the family, but the entire community since being extraordinary from a child. Katie must juggle life between her family, gymnastics and also the shocking tragedy that hits the community. A young man is killed during a hit and run and rumours are started over what actually happened that night. Katie finds herself right in the middle but how far is she willing to go to protect her family?
My one stand out in this book is Devon Knox. I understand 100% why Megan Abbott chose Katie to narrate the story but I just wish we had been able to see more into Devon's head. She was such a complex and wonderful character. She is the type of character that the author does best - a teenage girl with layers upon layers of complexity. All her life, she has been a star and high expectation comes with that. Even Katie thinks she knows her daughter, knows her body and her mind, and yet Devon remains a mystery throughout the book. Although I've given this book quite a low rating, Devon Knox is probably one of my all time favourite characters. I would love to see what went on in her head. 

Don't get me wrong, other than Devon's father, Eric, I did enjoy the Knox family. I loved Katie who was capable of anything in order to protect her children. Who gave up everything to help Devon achieve her game. Although, her youngest son, Drew often gets neglected and yet he remains such a bright light in this novel. He's obsessed with nature and animals and his little observations being metaphors for what's happening in the story were some of my favourite moments. Eric for me was just a character I didn't care much about. He loves his daughter fiercely but hides a lot from his wife.
The reason I gave this book quite a low rating is because the mystery/thriller aspect just didn't captivate me. I've read a lot of books in these genres and I've also read a lot of Megan Abbott's books, when you combine them, the mystery became kind of predictable. I'm not saying it was bad writing, I just wish it had been more mystery and twists and turns. I loved that it was based around gymnastics, I loved that it showed the life of these young girls who worship the sport and all the pain that comes with it. 
Overall, I did enjoy reading this book but I wished for more. Maybe my expectations were too high but I just wish I could take Devon Knox and delve inside her head and that didn't happen in this book, other than through Katie's observations. The writing, as always, was spot on and the author's understanding of teenage girls has not wavered. One of my least favourites from Megan Abbott but still an enjoyable book all the same.

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