So finally after months of taking about it, my first Fairyloot box arrived today! To say I have been excited would be a massive understatement, I just hoped that the box would live up to the hype!
To start with, even the box is cute, it has the Fairyloot logo on top and as you open the box there is an awesome Gaiman quote “Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten” I don’t know if that is the same quote they always have or because this months featured book has dragons in it. (I’ll find out next month!) This months theme is “Ladies that Slay” and feature many of our favourite kick ass heroines!
The first thing inside is a “spoiler card” which is an odd way to describe something that explains to you what everything is, where it is from and importantly which fandom it relates to. My first item was a bookish candle from Flick the Wick, it is named “Brightest Witch” and is based on Playground favourite Hermione Granger. This is a small 2oz tin and it smells gorgeous. I’m not usually a big vanilla fan when it comes to candles but this is balanced out with raspberry and musk – which sounds weird but it really does work! I just have to be careful that my own little brightest witch doesn’t pinch this for herself.
The next item I came to was a tea. This is from Bookish Teas and called “Blue’s Brew” based on Blue Sargent from The Raven Cycle. This is a fandom which is new to me, but they are books which are now on my radar thanks to an awesome article by its author Maggie Stiefvater about piracy – if you have not yet read it check it out here. Anyway back to the tea, it’s loose fruit tea, which I probably should have put in some sort of vessel, that I don’t have, so I just added it to a mug with hot water and drank round the fruit. I don’t usually drink fruit teas as i’m more of a caffeine in my tea kinda gal and also I’ve only had fruit teas in a tea bag in the past – trust me this is a whole new fruit tea experience. Whilst I’m far from converted this is a tea that I will go back to. The aroma filled my house, with the smell of spices and currants, perfect for this time of year.
Smaller items which came in the box are an iron on patch based on Katniss Everdeen from the Literary Emporium and a Fight the Darkness sticker based on Ember in the Ashes (which is a book series which I hadn’t heard of before) by Reverie and Ink. I was a bit disappointed that the sticker was crumpled as the packers were obviously struggling to fit the huge amount of stuff from this month in the box. Also included was a Fairyloot bookmark matching in with their theme artwork, Fairyscoop which contains a short interview with their featured author and also a reading buddy card which apparently matches you up with 5 other people (who have the same code) so you can read and talk about the book together.
The next item was a bookish goody that I have been wanting to get for a while and this is a book sleeve! It’s themed with “slay” and features swords and books and comes from Aunjuli Art. This is a great item and would fit a fair sized paperback without issue. One of the things I particularly like about it is that the inner layer is waterproof. This is super handy for me because I tent to carry books in a tote (as my handbag is tiny) so this is a massive win!
Now I have to come clean and be honest that I was disappointed in the next item, not through any fault of anyone but myself as I had made an incorrect assumption about what the book would be (I was hoping for the next ACOTAR instalment but then I remembered that Fairyloot don’t have books in the middle of a series in their boxes – stupid me.) What I did get though was an ARC of Furyborn by Claire Legrand, another new to me author. Now this book is huge and touted as an Epic Fantasy Adventure and I can well believe the epic part. I have to say that I feel very privileged, as always, to receive ARC copies of books. This is the first time that I have ever had a physical copy and I’m excited to be part of what is a huge launch campaign for this title.
Big reveal time! – the book of the Month this month is The Last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli. This came neatly concealed in a Fairyloot drawstring bag to keep it safe, which added a little more magic to the reveal. I have to say that I was hoping that this would be the book, I have been coveting it for a little while but I didn’t buy it as I was mindful that it might be in this box. As is custom for Fairyloot, it is a hardback edition and this has a cover exclusive to them. The foiling on the cover is silver rather than the gold of the usual print run (although it isn’t clear on my photo) and it also came with a signed book plate. The final little pieces were swag related to this book, a small badge and postcard – again sadly the postcard was crumpled and I didn’t understand why it wasn’t put in the actual book bag to keep it flat, but never mind as it was a bonus item and is currently sitting under a few heavy books to try and flatten it back out again.
So all in all I was very happy with my Fairyloot box, 2 books and lots of fab bookish goodies that are actually useful. Also, each item in this box was exclusive to Fairyloot so they can’t be purchased outside of the box. I have a rolling subscription so my December box is secured and I’m so glad it is, because I can’t wait to get next months!
Every so often a book will come along which will make you re-evaluate all the 5 star reviews you have given in the past. Six of Crows for me is that book. Set in Leigh Bardugo’s “Grishaverse” it is the tale of an impossible heist where the rewards far outweigh the risk. Our main protagonist Kaz Brekker is fast becoming a legend in the bowels of the Barrel, the criminal underworld of Ketterdam. He is young, but a driven and ruthless trickster, with a team to match. They are tasked with breaching the heavily fortified Ice Court to rescue a scientist held hostage. It’s a feat which has never been achieved, but with the promise of a reward that will take Kaz and his team out of the bottom of the Barrel it’s risk he’s willing to take, after all, just how many things could go wrong?
Six of Crows is told in multiple points of view, which can sometimes be confusing for me but there were only a couple of occasions that I found myself flipping back to the start of the chapter to remind myself who in the limelight. I felt that this was a style that worked really well with this story as the main six often found themselves in different places with different tasks and this way of storytelling allowed it all to come seamlessly together. Whilst it does majorly involve the Grisha, I found it was a world that I easily fell into pace with, without having read the Grisha Trilogy first. I’m told there are a number of nods which are present but I never felt lost or like I was missing out.
The characters are fantastic, my favourite by far was Inej, the wraith. Rescued from the oldest profession by Kaz, she is a force to be reckoned with, a silent assassin. There are no walls she can’t climb or secrets she can’t glean. I felt most for her, what she had been through before joining with Kaz and how it had driven her to become who she now was. I loved the sense of purpose that grew within her throughout the story. The others too though all have their stories to tell, a proper band of misfits all with their secrets and terrible histories that have shaped them. It’s hard to remember that they are all teenagers, but then that makes them easier to underestimate.
The audacity behind Kaz’s plan is immeasurable and it is through this that I am just in awe of the writing. At just shy of 500 pages there was not a single moment of rest for the reader, I felt on edge every step of the way. I felt fear for these characters, trepidation but also the good humour that only a rag tag bunch of forgotten teenagers could have in the circumstances they faced. I simply did not want to put this down, at all. The last of the six sections I tried to slow down as I knew it was coming to an end but it pulled me in and wouldn’t let go. It’s rare for a book to leave me breathless, but this one really did. It’s the first of a duology and I can’t wait for pay day to roll round so I can pick up Crooked Kingdom. If I could give this six stars I would, It’s a truly amazing read and If you’re a YA fantasy fan you will not be disappointed!
After all the fun of the fair last week, I have had my joy come crashing down this weekend with what can only be described as a “freak accident” I’m currently sat here with my left leg raised and heavily dressed and bandaged following a horrific hot water bottle incident. Trust me when I say that it’s not a pretty sight. As a result I don’t have many fun things to talk to you about today but it has got me thinking back to something I used to do all the time on the blog but have stepped back from in recent time, I would love your views as to whether it’s something to start up again.
When I first became involved in the Indie book community nearly 3 years ago it was down to just one author that I loved, I quickly became involved in their “street team” in order to help get their name out there. For those of you alien to Street Teaming (as I was) it pretty much involved the ugly word of “pimping” by entering contests on facebook blogs. This would afford the winner promo such as the blog updating their profile picture or cover photo to promote their works. All well and good, however, the same authors were winning all the time and it often felt like a thankless task.
When I set up my blog it was a very different beast to what it is now. I saw that there was, in my view, very little in the way of blog contest opportunities for the sci-fi, dystopian and fantasy genres and I started this as a way to offer those contests to those authors, I was resolute that I would not be catering to the contemporary romance crowd. However, within a week one of my contests got shared in a general pimping group and I was descended on by the romance street team masses. Friends tried to help by telling people that it wasn’t that sort of blog and I kind of lost my rag in the end. I ended up with private messages having a go at me for not being inclusive, people trying to argue with me that heavily romanticised urban fantasy fulfilled the “fantasy requirement element” – in essence what I had started had become twisted out of all recognition because of one careless post share. The damage had been done, I had been bad mouthed around the street team community, I had lost page likes and I wanted to throw the towel in. I never realised that strangers en masses could be so cruel in private messages.
However, I then realised that these weren’t the people I started the blog for anyway and their loss wasn’t really a huge loss in the scheme of things. Yes, it was a shame, but what sensible person looks at a blog called “post-apocalyptic playground” and thinks that it’s isn’t genre specific? I carried on with the contests (I added the word “high” before fantasy) and I had a small but loyal crowd entering blog appropriate authors into the mix but as they filtered out so did my enthusiasm and I haven’t posted a contest since June. I just don’t know whether to start them up again, whether the glory days of street teams have gone and really whether I have the heart for it. I have 569 likes on my sister facebook page which is small fry in comparison to the thousands some blogs have and I wonder whether my reach is enough to get to the authors that matter to me. As you know I have tried to make this blog more personal over the past months but maybe it’s time to find a balance?
If you’re still with me this far (wow it really is a ramble today) what are you thought on this phenomenon? Did/do you ever enter these types of contest? If you are author would you like to see more of them? Would anyone want me to start them up again? I would love your feedback so please don’t be shy!
Until next time, when I hope my leg isn’t such a mangled mess and I have some fun stuff to talk about again – after all it must nearly be time for my fairyloot box to be dispatched 🙂
Well it’s been a fun week in the playground again (I’m not quite sure what to do with all this happiness in a post-apocalyptic world!) with the arrival of my Occamy Funko Pop! Honestly I love this little guy, I know it sounds a little weird but he’s just one of those things I just knew I had to have. I slightly curse Instagram for this because until I got involved with that I had no idea these guys existed as they are a San Diego ComicCon exclusive. Yes, I may have sacrificed food for the family as a result of my spends, but he’s such a lovely little chappy that he’s worth every penny! I do fear for my bank account though, earlier in the week I was saying to Mr Apocalypse that some pops were selling for hundreds of pounds and how I could never spend such an amount; however I think I could easily sink that now, but I shall show some restraint for the time being – and that’s only because i’m hoping for funkofest for my birthday next month!
In other news, Sarah J Maas announced yesterday the title for the next book in the ACOTAR series, it’s meant to be a novella, but given how Tower of Dawn turned out I’m hoping for a full length book. Titled A Court of Frost and Starlight, I have to say I’m beyond intrigued. I would say that the Starlight element is representative of Velaris, the Court of Dreams and a throwback to Starfall, but the Frost element has me head scratching. The winter court in the first 3 books has been a bit of a minor player in terms of visibility. Kallias, of course instrumental in the turning of Feyre into High Fae in ACOTAR, has been present and more so in ACOWAR but not a lot is known of the winter court – of course I’m just speculating that the Frost element refers to the winter court but it will be a nice change of pace to find out more about this court. I’m still secretly hoping that the ARC in this months Fairyloot box will be this but i’m trying to not get overly excited as the clues are vague! Either way, this is an epic announcement and I can’t even begin to wait to April 2018 for this!
Reading wise, I have now finished book 1 in the Maze runner series and I hate to say that I am feeling underwhelmed. It was quite the endurance read for me which was a shame. I have 3 more in the series on my shelf, so I hope that the series picks up. I am currently reading Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo and true to my thoughts after Wonderwoman, Bardugo’s writing style is a hit with me, although lengthy chapters are never my friend! It’s so far a great story, so watch this space for my review!
Bad news is that I am behind on my goodreads challenge – I have 11 books to go to reach my 75 target by the end of the year, I still hope to do it, but i’m not convinced!
Are any of you doing the GR challenge? How are you getting on?
Well after all the downer from Instagram last week I have had some fun things come my way since. The first is that my good friend, the awesome Jo Michaels, has invited me to be part of her ARC group for her NA Fantasy, Utterances. This is due for release month and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon for just .99! The greatest part is that I have also had the honour of being asked to host a read-a-long so I have been excitedly mapping out talking points. I am 6 chapters in and it’s amazing, I can’t wait to share my review with you on release day!
The other great thing that has happened is that there are tentative steps in place for me to join a panel of bloggers at Chapter.con in 2019. I had the most amazing time there in August and I can’t wait to do it all again! Watch this space for more details hopefully coming soon.
My new Funko Pop obsession is getting ridiculous, after coveting them for so long, I finally ordered myself a special edition Occamy from Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find them, these are beautiful and I have seen them in a ton of bookstagrams, I can’t wait for it to arrive. The downside, I have now joined a ton of Funko groups on facebook and keep seeing LOADS that I want to get. My birthday next month will likely exclusively involve Funko gifts and I have also been living my Funko dreams vicariously through my daughter who has a larger collection than me at 4:1 so far lol. Next on my list are Sarah and Worm from Labyrinth and the highly sought after Luna with Spectrespecs – we’ll see how the search for that goes.
In bookstagram news I have, as I promised myself, carried on doing it just for me. It’s amazing how when you stop putting pressure on yourself that things fall into place – I included Truth, by the wonderful Christina Benjamin on one of my photos this week and excitingly she shared the photo to her Facebook Book Series Page. I was really overwhelmed and so happy that she liked it so much!
(whispers for fear of jinxing myself – but I have reached 100 followers again – I know I promised I wouldn’t check but I couldn’t help it – and it brings me all the happy!)
Anyway – thank you for reading as always – I realise that today’s post has perhaps sounded a little full of myself, that really isn’t my intention. I have so few that I can share my love of all things book with so it all tends to come out as word vomit on here. I would love to hear from some of you, what great things have happened to you this week? Or is there something amazing coming up that you just cant wait for?
Until next time!
I don’t think there is a single thing I don’t like about this series! One of my favourites of the past year I have been holding off on this little novella as I’m not sure when the next main book in the series is out. When I saw that the full length books had had a gorgeous cover makeover last week I couldn’t put this off any longer!
Set in retrospect, Lily and Sebastian recount to a curious Kipling the story of how their unlikely friendship was forged; in an effort to break up the tedium of the long overdue clean up operation in Sebastian’s apartment. The reference to the Bog of Eternal Stench raised a little smile for me as it’s one of my favourite parts of Labyrinth! Lily is collecting books from an auction house and Sebastian arrives taking far too much of an interest in her quarry. When Lily fails to be swayed by his charms he must take action to show her that he boxes are in fact lacking in a certain degree of bookish goodness and the unlikely pair set off together on their first little adventure.
I loved the immediate ease that they fell into, like it was an inevitable partnership. Each of them having more than one proverbial trick up their sleeve, filling the gaps for each other. There are glimpses of future books in little Easter Eggs for those who have read the main series, like Sebastian’s unorthodox way of travelling and hints at issues from their past that shape them, but not enough to spoil. It’s almost as though as much is revealed to the reader as Lily and Sebastian would have revealed to each other at that stage. There is a lot of comedy packed into the pages and I found myself smiling throughout as if back with old friends. My only issue with this is that it was over too soon!
It’s free to download from Amazon and it’s the perfect introduction to the characters (although there is a spoiler in respect of Kipling if you haven’t read the first couple of books.) It’s a truly scrumptious little addition to this great series.
So after a slightly morose rambling at the weekend I’m trying to get back to my usual self, I have carried on with a new IG post for today picking up with a book challenge yay! I’ve gone back to adding toys in with my posts, which was my signature at the start and I have had a positive comment already which is making me feel happy to have continued!
Reading wise, I have recently finished Caraval and you can check out my review of it here I am glad that I went in with an open mind, you may remember that a couple of friends who had read it, hadn’t really enjoyed it but I’m glad that I didn’t let that cloud my view as I really could hardly put it down! I’m aware that the follow up, Legendary, is in the pipeline so I’m excited for that release too. I did, as part of my payday book buy pick up Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo but I have decided next to go to a series which has been on my shelf for a while and I keep promising to start – so tonight I will start on The Maze Runner by James Dashner.
Those of you who follow me on other platforms will know that my mini me is a massive reader too and we have just finished Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball by Laura Ellen Anderson. This looks to be a new children’s series and it is a wonderful read. If you have children between 6-10 years I think they would adore this book. It’s not only wonderfully written, with just the right amount of childhood grossness (not too much to make it puerile) the illustrations inside are fabulous as well. Images that snake through the page and around the words, every page is different and great for keeping young minds captivated. The story is enough to keep parents, who are reading it as a bed time story, entertained and also challenging enough for older children reading alone, I would really recommend it!
I’ve had confirmation too that my fairyloot box for November is being prepared, I honestly cannot wait to receive this later on in the month, I hope it’s all I have built it up to be lol. I have also found out that today 2 of my friends have managed to get the December box so I will hopefully have reading buddies for when that box arrives.
I’m feeling positive about this week and now I’m going to settle down with a nice cup of tea from my Marvin the Martian mug and get engrossed in the world of The Maze Runner 🙂