December 10th 2017 // Snow Day

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So this morning my mother woke me up, gesturing excitedly to the snowfall going on outside my bedroom window. Despite now being in my 20s, I went into full kid mode as I went running downstairs and out into it with my two dogs (after convincing my siberian husky to get out of bed.) After that, the day seemed perfect to tackle our Christmas decorations and wrapping whilst listening to Christmas songs and watching the snow fall. Today was a good day and I wanted to remember and share it with you guys so here are some shots I took. If you want to know where I sourced any of the decorations, then let me know in the comments and I’ll point you in the right direction.  Continue reading “December 10th 2017 // Snow Day”

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Bloggers I’m Currently Loving Part I

So lately I’ve been doing a lot of blog-browsing – both of the book, lifestyle and interior variety. It’s nothing short of inspirational to see all of these people out there making the effort to share their words and photos with us. I’ve followed a lot more blogs, Instagram feeds and Twitters this week and I’ve decided to periodically list some bloggers that have really stood out for me. Go and show them some support as we all know how hard blogging can be and I hope you find a new favourite to browse through this winter!  Continue reading “Bloggers I’m Currently Loving Part I”

The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden

Disclaimer: This review will not contain spoilers for The Girl in the Tower, but will contain spoilers for The Bear and the Nightingale
Huge thank you to Tess at Ebury/Penguin Random House for sending us proofs of The Girl in the Tower!
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So I don’t on any level class myself as an expert on Russian mythology and folklore. However, I am a self confessed huge fan of it. Ever since stumbling upon my first Russian folklore inspired novel a few years ago, I’ve been desperately reaching for any and every book I can find that’s set in Russia, filled with domovoi and Slavic demons, and frankly, I love a good Firebird story. When I managed to get an e-ARC of The Bear and the Nightingale on NetGalley last year, I immediately fell in love with Katherine Arden’s writing and Vasya, her protagonist; I knew I’d do anything to have the sequel in my hands as soon as possible. I feel so privileged to have been able to get a proof of The Girl in the Tower, and before anything else I have to say that not only did it not disappoint, it far exceeded my expectations – and it’s probably one of those rare cases where I actually liked the sequel as much as, if not more than, the first book of the series. Continue reading “The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden”

The Grisha Edition by Illumicrate

grisha1.jpgSo when Illumicrate announced their special Grisha Edition box to coincide with the release of The Language of Thorns, I told myself I didn’t need it. When there were only a few boxes left, I told myself that if I bought it, I’d end up with three copies of TLOT – the signed edition I’d preordered months ago from Waterstones, and the Fairyloot exclusive edition. The boxes sold out, and I saw everyone else’s unboxings. “Yeah, the items are amazing, but oh well, it’s too late now” I said. That’s when Illumicrate added extra boxes to their store – and of course, I ordered one without hesitation.
Continue reading “The Grisha Edition by Illumicrate”

Tower of Dawn Event with Sarah J. Maas and Charlie Bowater

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Months after booking my ticket, and after a few weeks of planning and speculating, Thursday the 23rd November rolled around – the day of Sarah J. Maas’s event in Manchester. To make it even more special, it had recently been announced that Charlie Bowater, the artist behind the Tower of Dawn map (and some of my all time favourite ACOTAR series fan art) would be joining Sarah for the event.

As usual, I was heading to this event with my favourite Manchester based book bloggers, Amy, Lauren and Beth. The four of us decided to meet fairly early, anticipating crowds and long queues, and luckily we were the second group of people to arrive, so were right near the front of the queue!
Continue reading “Tower of Dawn Event with Sarah J. Maas and Charlie Bowater”

What I’ve Learned From Life // 21st Birthday Edition

So as this post goes live, I will be celebrating my 21st birthday. I must admit, I’m not looking forward to this ‘big’ birthday as my 20th birthday was bad enough and I’m scared getting older will only be more daunting for me. Having a rocky teenagehood has left me in the mindset that I’m not yet in my 20s. I feel like I didn’t get to be a teenager and I’m not the way ‘most’ 21 year olds are, especially the people I see online who I was in school with. Some have kids, some drive, some have careers or are at university and I’m just… here. Trying to get through every day but living in the world of mental illness, therapy etc. Anyway, I’m not old or experienced in any stretch of the imagination but I have still learned a few things about myself, and the world, since I was born in 1996 and I’d like to share them here. This post was also inspired by a blogging idol of mine, Grace!

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It’s ok to never stop grieving. Pain has no expiry date.

Coffee isn’t nice. I’m sorry. Have a cup of tea.
I recommend Twinings English Breakfast.

The people who care will learn to pronounce your name.
And it isn’t the end of the world if it’s pronounced incorrectly in public (my school years.)(Ang-ha-rud)

Sometimes buying presents for other people is better than receiving them.

Online friendships are 100% valid.
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

It’s okay to like dogs (or any animals) more than humans.

Lay on a forest floor, close your eyes and listen at least once in your life.

It’s ok to cry. Since birth, it’s a sign that you’re alive.
And I read it’s good for the skin.

Find your home within the pages of books.
But don’t judge people who don’t read for pleasure. Everybody has their thing.

Your voice will always be your loudest weapon.
And one voice can make all the difference.

Remember you’ll be ok. Even at your darkest times.
You’ve survived them all up until now and you can again.

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Your heart will always heal. It’s stronger than you think.

People will walk out of your life. But it’s ok.
Focus on the people that choose to stay. Or the people who wanted to stay but couldn’t.

It’s ok to be scared.
Whether it’s jumping out of a plane or going to the shops on your own. Your fear is a part of you and you are in control of it.

TREAT YO’ SELF.

Always keep nice letters and cards and notes.
Try and remember to read them when you’re sad.

Keep a compliment journal.
I recently read about it. Every time somebody compliments you, write it down and who said it and when it was and then go back and relive!

Don’t talk over people.

There’s nothing wrong with being very active on social media.
Don’t listen to the older generations that say differently. Social media can save lives.

Always support other women.

Remember to keep going. Remember to smile.
You – your mind and your body – can survive so much. It’s ok to fall down but always get back up, even with tears streaming down your face. You’re a badass. 

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So here’s to another year!
Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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The Forgotten Room by Ann Troup // Blog Tour

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Can the past ever be forgotten?

As soon as nurse Maura Lyle sets foot inside the foreboding Essen Grange, she feels shivers ripple down her spine. And the sense of unease only increases when she meets her new patient, Gordon Henderson.
Drawn into the Henderson family’s tangled web of secrets and betrayals, Maura can ignore the danger lurking behind every door no longer. Even the door she has been forbidden from opening…
Essen Grange is a house with dark and cruel intentions. But now that darkness has turned on her, can Maura escape before it’s too late?

 



First of all, a huge thank you to Anna Massardi at Harper Collins for sending me a digital copy in exchange for featuring this read on a book tour!
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I must admit that upon seeing this creepy cover, I just knew I had to choose this book to read. Creepy covers/mystery thrillers are my jam so I was more than happy to read and review this despite having read Ann Troup’s work before. As you can tell from the synopsis, we follow the story of Maura, a nurse dealing with depression after the death of her husband and betrayal of her sister but determined to carry on with life, she takes on the nursing job at the mysterious Essen Grange house despite knowing none of the details. What follows is a series of misfortune, horror and truth.
My biggest love from this book was definitely the atmospheric tension that Ann Troup created and kept throughout the entire novel. The beginning almost felt like you were reading a book about the supernatural or a haunted house and in many ways it is. The book is full of twists and turns… and a lot of dead bodies and it is our job as the reader to work out how all of these people are connected and who the actual killer is.
Another highlight was that there was a dog!! His name is Buster and he likes biscuits. Ok, this isn’t important to some people but I thought I’d add that. Feel free to message me to see if he lives or dies because if you’re like me, this will decide if you read the novel or not. Maura was a very realistic character, if not sometimes very un-nurse like in the way she treated Gordon at the start. She has quite a cold exterior and I must admit, there were times when I found her childish (the time she stuck her tongue out at the ‘house’ when she fixed a fuse) so I couldn’t connect and love her completely.Untitled_Panorama1Overall, this book definitely does what it says on the tin when it comes to being a mystery thriller. It’s very mysterious (even when you think you have everything solved) and it’s very thrilling and you never know which turn the story is going to take. There’s a vast array of characters (most dead) but we delve into their backstories as the main plot evolves. With the amount of crimes that are committed, the book could have turned silly but it manages to stay realistic all whilst keeping that edge of mystery by not revealing the ‘killer’ to us until the last minute. I’d definitely recommend this book if you are a fan of the spooky house trope, a good mystery thriller and an overall atmospheric, edge-of-your-seat novel.
Goodreads | Amazon


Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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Books By Women for Women

new-blog-title12.jpgSo we have done a post featuring books on feminist fiction that Becky and I actually put together when we were last together so now I thought I’d post an updated list, so to speak. These are all books, mostly non-fiction that were written by some amazing, diverse women so hopefully you find something you want to pick up this month!


 

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History
by Vashti Harrison

Essentially a children’s picture book, this non-fiction book tells the story of forty different black women in American history and how they broke boundaries and inspired change. Featuring some well-known people but focussing more on the lesser-known, Vashti Harrison gives these forgotten but inspirational women a voice. Released December 5th.

 

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Nasty Women
by 404 Ink

A collection of essays, interviews and accounts on what it is like to be a woman in the 21st century. Everything from people, politics, pressure and punk and most frighteningly, living in Trump’s America – women share their experiences on sexual assault, racism, pregnancy, contraception and everything in between.

 

 

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by Naomi Alderman

A sci-fi, dystopian novel that is based on a world in which women can inflict pain with a flick of their fingers. What would happen if the tables were turned? Would women use this power for good or evil? Based on the lives of four women, this thriller explores how their world changes with this newfound power and gender rolls being flipped on their head. Also delving into complicated discussions such as systemic oppression, power, rape culture, gender, and religion.

 

 

24611623In Order to Live: A North Korea Girl’s Journey to Freedom
by Yeonmi Park

Written by human rights activist, Yeonmi, her memoir tells the story of her escape from North Korea with her mother in 2007 at the age of thirteen. After two years, she arrived in South Korea and set on becoming ‘free’ but in order to do so, she had to face her past of being sold into slave marriages, finding her missing sister and bringing publicity to the horrors of her former home. This is her survival story.

 

 

25953369Hidden Figures
by Margot Lee Shetterly

Now a movie but originally a novel, this book tells the story of a group of female mathematicians known as the ‘human computers’ who by providing and calculating the right science and numbers, made astronauts able to enter space. These are the women who were forgotten when Neil Armstrong was made a hero. These African-American women were the brightest minds of their generation and this is their untold story.

 

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200 Women: Who Will Change The Way You See the
World
by Ruth Hobday

Two hundred everyday women are asked a series of questions in this non-fiction biography. All from different backgrounds, races, sexualities and gender identities, these women answer questions such as ‘what really matters to you?’ and ‘what would you change in the world if you could?’ Each interview is accompanied by a portrait of these inspirational women – human right activists, actors and advocates and the people behind the scenes.

 

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Why God is a Woman
by Nin Andrews

A collection of poetry written about a magical island where women rule (think Themyscira) and men are the lesser sex. It also tells the story of a young boy who after being exiled for not agreeing with their sexist laws, looks back with nostalgia for the place he called home.

 

 

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Red Clocks

by Leni Zumas

A sci-fi novel set in an America where abortion is once again illegal and IVF is banned. In a small town in Oregon, five very different women learn to live in a world with these restrictions surrounding motherhood, identity and freedom. One of the women, Gin, brings these women together when she is arrested and put on trial on a modern-day witch hunt.

 


So that’s our featured books and hopefully you’ll find something you like or maybe a gift for this Christmas.
Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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Christmas Gift Ideas // Bookish Edition

So now we’ve entered the month of November, we have been brainstorming on different kinds of blog posts we can do coming up to Christmas. Although I’ve got my birthday first, I’ve still got into the festive spirit by researching some bookish gift ideas for friends and family. Although the obvious thing to buy a bookworm would be an actual book, sometimes it’s hard to know which one so at least some of these gifts can cater to lovers of all genres.

1. For the Aspiring WritersUntitled-1.jpgOk, so technically these first two items would appeal more to the aspiring writer but seeing as this is also the month of NaNoWriMo, I thought I would definitely add these after seeing them in my local Waterstones. Ready, Set, Novel! is designed to help with the dreaded writer’s block. It guides you through the process of writing – everything from forming your novel’s plot and setting the scene and creating your characters. It is designed to include lists, Q+As and even mind maps so you can pick and choose what activities you complete. 642 Things to Write About is another list-style journal designed to help you find inspiration by writing down prompts such as ‘fixing the plot to the worst movie you’ve ever seen’ and ‘writing a love letter to the person you dislike.’ With a new prompt on each page, it is definitely designed to help you get ideas for your projects. 


2. For the Candle Lovers

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1. Two Candle Thieves  2. Meraki Candles  3. Hearth & Hammer
4. Book and Glow  5. Alchemy & Ink  6. Wick and Fable

So for those who didn’t know, as well as being book bloggers, Becky and I also own our own bookish candle business called Two Candle Thieves (nothing wrong with a bit of self-promotion.) However, we understand that our candles won’t be for everyone and you may be looking for some bookish candles this Christmas so we have decided to put together a list of our other favourite shops. Of course, there are many more out there but we’ve listed some based in the UK, USA and Europe. Some of these shops (as well as our own) are on a small hiatus but make sure you stay up to date with their products as I guarantee you won’t be disappointed. I do believe all of these candles are Soy based, making them vegan friendly.



3. For Between the Pages

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1. TemporaryPlaces  2. Hey Atlas  3. MyBookMark
4. FictionTeaDesigns  5. Ink & Wonder

We couldn’t make this post without including some bookmarks and yes, you can find them anywhere and everywhere but these are some shops that we come across often on social media and we think they deserve all the attention. These bookmarks cover all price ranges and once again, we’ve picked International shops so shipping won’t be a problem. The amount of work and detail these artists put in really do make all the difference and amongst these shops, you will find bookmarks for every fandom. So get marking!



4. For the Book Protectors

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Despite the fact I haven’t yet invested in one of these myself, I have seen them all over Instagram and seen people receive and love theirs so I had to include them. Meet Benita Botello, otherwise known as Book Beau, the designer that creates mini pockets to keep your books and eReaders safe on your travels. They come in so many different designs and are very affordable despite having high-quality materials. We believe these would make an excellent gift (also making it so your friends have no excuse for returning borrowed books in bad condition!)
Website | Instagram 



5. For the Bookish Statement Makers

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Recently I’ve started adding pins and badges to my leather bag and so of course, I’ve been on the hunt for some bookish ones. These are both UK based shops but they are very affordable. Although Punky Pins specialises in pins (hence the name!) Literary Emporium also sells a wide range of bookish items such as clothing, jewellery and much more.


6. For the Tea Drinkers

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Like I could be British and do any gift idea post without adding some tea but this isn’t just any tea, it’s bookish tea! Bookish Teas is a Literary Inspired Tea Shop based in Germany and its creator, Zilan focuses on organic and eco-friendly mixes. You can find tea based on books such as ACOTAR, Six of Crows, The Raven Cycle and many more. Also the blend is customisable – delicious both hot and cold! Riddles Tea Shoppe is a company based in the US and as well as selling tea blends, also creates pins, bookmarks and art prints! As you can tell from the name of the shop, you will find teas based on the magical world of Harry Potter as well as Game of Thrones and others!


And that is it! We hope you find something you like, either for yourself or for a friend and family and all that’s left to say is, happy spending!
Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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Mini Reviews // Contemporary Edition

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So it’s time for another set of mini reviews! This time we are focusing on contemporary because for some reason my last three reads have been in this genre despite me not normally visiting it a lot. These are all recent releases (bar one which isn’t released yet) so I’m sure everybody is talking about them but here are my thoughts anyway!


Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed

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When I was accepted for this on Netgalley, I must admit I shrieked before quickly downloading it and reading it in one sitting (until 2am!) It has all the features of a typical coming-of-age contemporary novel – our protagonist is wondering where to go in life and is also getting closer to her long-term crush. However, Maya Aziz is an Indian-American Muslim and this #ownvoices novel explores the horrific world of Islamophobia and the effect terrorists have on their community. After a local terrorist attack, it is revealed that the supposed bomber was a fellow Muslim with the same surname as Maya and her family – therefore, they are subjected to racism, abuse and violence despite not having any connections. It was shocking and uncomfortable but in all the right ways. It explored the act of terror attacks through the eyes of a teenage Muslim girl which is something I haven’t read before. Maya’s resilience really shone through in this novel, not just through the hate that she endures but also standing up against her parents to pursue her love of filmmaking. This book isn’t released until January 16th, 2018 but I’d definitely recommend picking it up as soon as you’re able to.


It Only Happens in the Movies by Holly Bourne

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It is no secret that I am a HUGE fan of Holly Bourne so as soon as I saw this book, I dived on it. Quite literally. Bourne’s previous series (The Spinster Club) remains in my all time top favourites and the one thing I concluded after reading them is that her books should be required reading in secondary schools and after reading her newest release, I stand by that statement even more. Holly takes the idea of a cliche, romance, contemporary novel and turns it on its head by being a brave author! She writes girls who talk about periods, she writes girls who are feminists and proud, she writes girls who don’t compete against each other. In this book, our main character, Audrey and her friend, Alice even have a discussion about losing your virginity and how it isn’t supposed to hurt (which it isn’t!) and how there shouldn’t be a lot of blood (there shouldn’t) and it should be pleasurable for the girl just as much as the guy! I will even admit now that I had no sex-ed classes in school (we had ten minutes of dildo throwing and that was it) so if I had come across this book when I was a young teen, it would have blown my mind because I didn’t know this stuff!! Adding to all this, the story was amazing, the humour was bang on as normal and I just think this is super important for younger teens!


Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

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I must admit that I wasn’t going to pick this book up but after seeing it getting a few high reviews (and it being half price in my local bookshop) I thought I’d give John Green another chance. I didn’t know anything about this book and I just hoped it wasn’t all about turtles (but of course the title is another ‘metaphor.’) Despite everything, this book for me was pretty run of the mill and as ever, John Green’s teenagers continue to have very unrealistic conversations. I’m not saying teenagers can’t have deep and meaningful conversations, but all of his characters speak the same and therefore, merge into one. Another disappointment was the ‘plot.’ It is pretty much a mystery/missing person case that gets forgotten about for most of the novel. Maybe it’s because I’m a huge fan of crime cases, both real and fictional, but it just all seemed unnecessary to me. However, the one thing that stood out to me was the mental illness rep. Our main character, Aza (yes there’s a meaning behind her name), has an OCD and anxiety disorder and also displays self-harm tendencies so beware of trigger warnings. Aza experiences a lot of invasive thoughts that I found to be very realistic as I live with mental illness myself. Overall, I have a lot more thoughts about this book but I’ll keep this to the mini review it is supposed to be.


Have you read any of these? If so, what were your thoughts?
Let us know in the comments!
Lots of Love,
Angharad @
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