Monday, May 31, 2021

FairyLoot Unboxing - Hidden Identities (April Box)


 FairyLoot is a UK-based YA subscription box.

Each box contains a variety of objects and a book with an exclusive cover.  

 The April theme was
Hidden Identities




 Here's what was inside . . .

Foiled bookmarks inspired by The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, Blood Heir by Amelie When Zhao and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. These have artwork by @talia.nobel.

A bar of handmade soap inspired by The Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh. This is from Little Heart Gifts and has pink and white swirls, smelling like sakura flowers.

Tarot cards inspired by Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin. These are designed by @morgana0anagrom.

An enamel pin inspired by The Daevabad Trilogy by S.A. Chakraborty. This was designed by @_iceydesigns.

A tote bag inspired by the Blood and Ash series by Jennifer L. Armentrout. The artwork is by @arz28.

Metal bookends inspired by The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien. These were designed by @jezhawk.

The book of the month was The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni. 

This FairyLoot edition has an exclusive purple cover, is signed, has sprayed and stenciled edges, as well as artwork on the inside of the dust jacket, foiling on the naked hardback, and also has bonus content. This came with a letter from the author that has character art on the other side.

Here is everything all together . . .

This was a bit of a mixed box for me.

I love the pin, bookends and book, but the other items aren't ones that I love (mainly due to the fandoms).

What do you think of this box?

What's your favourite item?

Sunday, May 30, 2021

May Wrap-Up



 I didn't read as much as I hoped to this month, but I still managed to read quite a few books . . .



Emma by Jane Austen - audiobook - 3/5 stars

Brother's Keeper by Julie Lee - eARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.



Feminists Don't Wear Pink (and Other Lies) curated by Scarlett Curtis - hardback - 3.5/5 stars

Heartstopper: Volume 1 (Heartstopper, #1) by Alice Oseman - paperback - 4/5 stars



Tunnel of Bones (Cassidy Blake, #2) by Victoria Schwab - audiobook - 3/5 stars

Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve - ARC - 3/5 stars - read my review here.



One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London - eARC - 2.5/5 stars - read my review here.

Heartstopper: Volume 2 (Heartstopper, #2) by Alice Oseman - paperback - 3.5/5 stars



Physical books:

Project Hail Mary and Malibu Rising were signed pre-orders, and Blackheart Knights was sent to me by the publisher, Jo Fletcher Books.


 NetGalley ARCs:


My thanks to the publishers!

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Review - One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London



Title: One to Watch

Author: Kate Stayman-London

Pages: 424

Publisher: The Dial Press

Release Date: 7th July 2020


Blurb from Goodreads:

  Real seen on TV.

Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger who has amazing friends, a devoted family, legions of Insta followers--and a massively broken heart. Like the rest of America, Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Chad! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since when is being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Just when Bea has sworn off dating altogether, she gets an intriguing call: Main Squeeze wants her to be its next star, surrounded by men vying for her affections. Bea agrees, on one condition--under no circumstances will she actually fall in love. She's in this to supercharge her career, subvert harmful anti-fat beauty standards, inspire women across America, and get a free hot air balloon ride. That's it.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea realizes things are more complicated than she anticipated. She's in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Internet culture wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. In this joyful, razor-sharp debut, Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men--and herself--for a chance to live happily ever after.

 Goodreads | Amazon UK | Amazon US | Bookshop


My Review:

 *I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to John Murray Press and NetGalley*

A plus-size blogger, Bea Schumacher loves fashion and has a following on social media.

Bea is a fan of Main Squeeze, a reality show where the contestants aim to win the hand of the main star.

When Bea is offered the chance to be the next star of the show, she's reluctant to accept as she's nursing a broken heart. But Bea does agree to do the show and is determined not to fall in love with any of the contestants.

Can Bea make the most of being on the show?

Will Bea keep to her plan of not falling for any of the contestants?

I am not a big fan of romance reality shows, but I liked the premise of One to Watch and decided to give it a chance.

Bea was a mixed protagonist for me - there were times when I liked and felt sorry for her (I understood why she found it so hard to trust the contestants), but I also found her frustrating as well.

The plot was also mixed for me - I liked that a plus-size woman was the star of a reality show, and I did mostly enjoy reading as Bea got to know the contestants. However, I did get bored during the second half of the book and felt it dragged a bit. I was happy with how the book ended but wasn't a huge fan of the romance.

The writing style was easy to follow, but didn't grip me.

Overall, this was a mixed read.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Review - Blackheart Knights by Laure Eve



 Title: Blackheart Knights

Author: Laure Eve

Publisher: Jo Fletcher Books

Release Date: 27th April 2021


Blurb from Goodreads:

 Power always wins.

Imagine Camelot but in Gotham: a city where knights are the celebrities of the day, riding on motorbikes instead of horses and competing in televised fights for fame and money.

Imagine a city where a young, magic-touched bastard astonishes everyone by becoming king - albeit with extreme reluctance - and a girl with a secret past trains to become a knight for the sole purpose of vengeance.

Imagine a city where magic is illegal but everywhere, in its underground bars, its back-alley soothsayers - and in the people who have to hide what they are for fear of being tattooed and persecuted.

Imagine a city where electricity is money, power the only game worth playing, and violence the most fervently worshipped religion.

Welcome to a dark, chaotic, alluring place with a tumultuous history, where dreams come true if you want them hard enough - and are prepared to do some very, very bad things to get them . . .

Goodreads | Amazon UK | Waterstones | Bookshop




My Review:

 *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to Jo Fletcher Books*

It’s London, but not as we know it.

This is a London that has knights that ride on motorbikes and fight in arenas to end disputes.

This London has citizens with illegal magic and a reluctant young king.

This is a London with a young woman willing to do anything to become a knight in order to get revenge.

Welcome to the London of the Blackheart Knights.

Going into this novel, I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy it as I had mixed feelings about another book I’ve read by the same author. However, I liked the premise and so decided to give it a chance.

Art and Red were both interesting protagonists who were similar in some ways but also very different. I liked finding out more about them, but I’m left feeling that I still don’t know Art very well, despite half the book being about him. I also don’t feel that I fully connected with either of them.

The setting was interesting but there could have been more focus on world-building as I’m left with a lot of questions about the world of Blackheart Knights. For example, I would have liked a bit more detail about how Art ruled day-to-day and how the bikes worked.

I liked the idea of knights on motorbikes going around fighting as representatives for other people, and I thought the magic was interesting.

The theme of power was interesting, as was seeing how far Red was willing to go to get her revenge.

The plot was mixed for me. I did enjoy it, but I also got a bit bored once or twice towards the end of the book. There were some things I saw coming, but also some that I didn’t.

It took a while for me to get into the book, which I think was mostly to do with the writing style, which was not one of my favourites.

I really liked the premise for the novel, but for me, it didn’t quite live up to its potential. However, I can see a lot of other people loving this.

Overall, this was an enjoyable read.



Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday - The Bone Way


 Can't-Wait Wednesday is a feature hosted at Wishful Endings where people showcase an upcoming book they are looking forward to.


This week I'm anticipating . . .



Title: The Bone Way

Author: Holly J. Underhill

Publisher: Nyx Publishing

Release Date: 26th June 2021


Blurb from Goodreads:

 Teagan’s wife, Cressidae, is missing. She has left for the Shadow Realm, a kingdom of the dead filled with untold nightmares—and the only place that can save Teagan from a lethal poison that’s killing her slowly. It is ruled by a princess said to make powerful deals with those brave enough to find her, and Cressidae has gone to bargain for Teagan’s life. Cressidae has forgotten one very important thing: no one makes it out on their own.

Despite the risks to her own safety, Teagan is determined to save her wife—and perhaps even herself in the process. The princess of the Shadow Realm, however, doesn’t let mortals roam her territories without opposition. In this thrilling tale inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, Teagan and Cressidae must face both the horrors of the Shadow Realm as well as their own past.



 Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

This sounds so good!

Being inspired by the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice as well as F/F has me really intrigued to read this!



Thursday, May 20, 2021

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland

 Find the tour schedule here.



 It Goes Like This by Miel Moreland
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Publication date: May 18th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, LGBTQ+, Young Adult

In Miel Moreland’s heartfelt young adult debut, It Goes Like This, four queer teens realize that sometimes you have to risk hitting repeat on heartbreak.

Eva, Celeste, Gina, and Steph used to think their friendship was unbreakable. After all, they’ve been though a lot together, including the astronomical rise of Moonlight Overthrow, the world-famous queer pop band they formed in middle school, never expecting to headline anything bigger than the county fair.

But after a sudden falling out leads to the dissolution of the teens’ band, their friendship, and Eva and Celeste’s starry-eyed romance, nothing is the same. Gina and Celeste step further into the spotlight, Steph disappears completely, and Eva, heartbroken, takes refuge as a songwriter and secret online fangirl…of her own band. That is, until a storm devastates their hometown, bringing the four ex-best-friends back together. As they prepare for one last show, they’ll discover whether growing up always means growing apart.


Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo / Google Play

5 Things I Researched

1. The music industry.

That’s a given, right? I started my research on Tumblr, when it was just “being a fan” and not formal research at all. Of course, the elements I paid the most attention to—the “business corner of fandom,” in which Eva plants herself in the novel—became foundational. Then, for a year or so, every time I was on a plane I was assiduously taking notes while listening to music podcasts. Finally, I read books about the industry, most notably, All You Need to Know About the Music Business. My research spanned everything from record contracts and pop music history to fan charity efforts. I didn’t write off my 2018 Niall Horan ticket on my taxes, but there’s absolutely a moment in the book’s reunion concert that was inspired by a fan initiative during his tour.


2. Songwriting.

I didn’t want to assume I knew how to write a song just because I was a music fan, so I did some research here, too. I am by no means an expert songwriter now, but I learned some key tips along the way. The podcast Switched On Pop, along with the book Writing Better Lyrics, were go-to resources.

3. Previous flooding in Duluth.

This was far less enjoyable to research than Tumblr tagging conventions, but more important to get right. In the time between the initial idea and final edits, there was actually another significant flood in Duluth. Since the novel’s timeline was bumped from 2017 to 2021, I had to make a change to reflect this.

4. Minnesota driver’s license rules.

The band has Steph’s sixteen-year-old brother chauffeur them, and getting his personal timeline to match with the rules regarding non-family passengers was trickier than expected! The logistics of passengers vs. length of license was one part of my teenage life I had definitely forgotten.

5. California real estate.

Eva has a home in the Los Angeles area, and I needed to make sure her house and neighborhood felt accurate for her ex-pop-star status. (Yes, I have watched every season of Selling Sunset.)

Author Bio


 Miel Moreland was born and raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota. With time spent in California and France, she has a Midwestern heart but wandering feet. When not making pop music references and celebrating fandom, she is likely to be found drinking hot chocolate and making spreadsheets. She currently resides in Boston, where she works in higher education. It Goes Like This is her debut novel.


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Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Can't-Wait Wednesday - Six Crimson Cranes



 Can't-Wait Wednesday is a feature hosted at Wishful Endings where people showcase an upcoming book they are looking forward to.


This week I'm anticipating . . .



Title: Six Crimson Cranes (Six Crimson Cranes)

Author: Elizabeth Lim

Pages: 464

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Release Date: 8th July 2021


Blurb from Goodreads:

 Shiori, the only princess of Kiata, has a secret. Forbidden magic runs through her veins. Normally she conceals it well, but on the morning of her betrothal ceremony, Shiori loses control. At first, her mistake seems like a stroke of luck, forestalling the wedding she never wanted, but it also catches the attention of Raikama, her stepmother.

Raikama has dark magic of her own, and she banishes the young princess, turning her brothers into cranes, and warning Shiori that she must speak of it to no one: for with every word that escapes her lips, one of her brothers will die.

Peniless, voiceless, and alone, Shiori searches for her brothers, and, on her journey, uncovers a conspiracy to overtake the throne—a conspiracy more twisted and deceitful, more cunning and complex, than even Raikama's betrayal. Only Shiori can set the kingdom to rights, but to do so she must place her trust in the very boy she fought so hard not to marry. And she must embrace the magic she's been taught all her life to contain—no matter what it costs her.


Why I'm Anticipating This Book:

Forbidden magic and an evil stepmother? Yes, please!

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Book Blitz + Giveaway - The Midnight Lie by Marie Rutkoski



The Midnight Lie (The Midnight Lie, #1) by Marie Rutkoski
Publication date: May 11th 2021
Genres: Fantasy, LGBTQ+, Romance, Young Adult


Set in the world of the New York Times–bestselling Winner’s Trilogy, Marie Rutkoski’s The Midnight Lie is an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us―and the lies we tell ourselves.


Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colors. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.

Nirrim keeps her head down, and a dangerous secret close to her chest.

But then she encounters Sid, a rakish traveler from far away, who whispers rumors that the High Kith possess magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.


Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble

Author Bio


Marie Rutkoski is the New York Times bestselling author of several books for children and young adults, including The Winner's Curse. She holds a BA from The University of Iowa and a PhD from Harvard University. She is a professor of English literature at Brooklyn College and lives in Brooklyn with her two sons and two cats. Her most recent book is The Midnight Lie, which will be published in March 2020.


Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

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