books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #10 Rise Up!

My lovely local Hermes courier braved the freezing weather and snow to deliver my Illumicrate, bless her.

This is a big box, so big it doesn’t have the usual logo on it – but it is packed full of books and bookish treats.

The theme is Rise Up! and the items are all about rebellion.

The book is Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyck – a female centred retelling of Spartacus, which really intrigues me as a premise. I look forward to reading this and sharing my thoughts later. There’s also an exclusive bookmark, pin and temporary tattoo.

There’s also an ARC of Sally Green’s The Smoke Thieves. I read Half Bad and thought it was interesting so I’m curious about her new series, of which this is the first book.

Now we have the box exclusives.

Fight the Darkness cushion cover by @stellabookishart – my copy of Ember in the Ashes is somewhere in my flat – until it turns up I will console myself with this bright and cheerful cover.

A Rebel’s Command List by @howstoreofficial – handy for making my lists of what books to read next.

Inimitable mug by @abbieimagine – I haven’t read the box this is inspired by but I like the design.

Daggermark by @rdashjackdotcom – this is a nice quirky bookmark but too bulky for my preferred bookmark so I’ll add it to my collection. Yes, I collect bookmarks and have done for years (I have the Brownie badge to prove it šŸ˜).

Lunar Lip Balm by @lovely_lip_balm – a minty pot of lip balm, perfect for the current cold snap’s effect on my lips.

Phoenix magnet by @hannahhitchmanart – as I’m not a Potter fan I’ll be passing this on but it’s nice and colourful.

Bonus items are from Shatter Me, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, Strange the Dreamer, Witchsign, Clean, The Hazel Wood – all either recently published or upcoming books.

I think that this was a nice mix of items from different rebellion themed novels/fandoms. Nothing really leaped out at me this time.

The books both look interesting but I might not have picked them up in a bookshop.

A solid box but not the best one I’ve had so far.

books, Illumicrate, reviews

Book Review: City of Brass – S.A. Chakraborty

I received this as an ARC in the most recent Illumicrate, although it has now been published. 

I hadn’t read a huge amount about this book before receiving it although randomly I follow the author on Twitter so who knows. 

I read it in one sitting, it was that good. Compelling writing, interesting plot and characters, clever world building. I just thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Nahri is an orphan who makes her living selling cures and telling people’s futures in a Cairo market, until one day she’s asked to perform an exorcism and things become very weird. 

Using characters and creatures from Middle Eastern mythology, Chakraborty creates an incredibly vivid world where myth and magic collide with our world. 

I cannot wait for the next book. As I finished this one I was going “but no, more story, now please!” 

If you enjoy fantasy then this is a book for you. 

Anyone else read it? If so what did you think? 

books, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #9 November 2017

It’s here! I get a bit excited by this subscription box because, well, books. They’re not only my favourite thing but Illumicrate often has special editions and exclusives long before anyone else. 

This is no exception. 

Artemis by Andy Weir, exclusive edition. I didn’t read The Martian  (the one turned into a Matt Damon film I didn’t see either) but I have been getting a bit more into sci-fi recently and C loves it so this is definitely getting read. 

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, advanced reader copy (ARC). This book is published next year but subscribers get an ARC now. I’ve heard a lot about this book and I believe I follow the author on Twitter. Look out for a review soon (aka once I’ve read it!) 

Bookish Tea Towel designed by @evannaveillustration exclusive to the box. I like this, it’s fun, it’s bright. It’s just a nice thing to have really. 

“The Right Book” print designed by @nutmegandarlo exclusive to the box. It’s well documented that I don’t like J.K. Rowling much but I do agree with this sentiment. 

Unicorn Journal designed by @prismofstarlings exclusive to the box. This is lovely and brings the number of 2018 diaries/journals I have up to about 5. 

Reading in Bed candle designed by @merakicandles exclusive to the box. This smells so much like hot chocolate that I have to refrain from licking it. So good. 

Moon and Stars necklace designed by @ohpandaeyes exclusive to the box. Such a cute necklace that pairs excellently with Artemis. 

This Mortal Coil sampler by Emily Suvada 

Iron Gold sampler by Pierce Brown 

Artemis booklet & bookmark 

This is an excellent box and one I am happy to spend my money on. Really makes it up after a month of uninspiring beauty boxes – books ftw. 

I am really excited by these books. If you need me I’ll be reading and sniffing my candle (honestly I don’t know how I can avoid eating it!) 

books, Illumicrate, reviews

Book Review – Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

This book came in my recent Illumicrate and I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about it. I haven’t seen the Wonder Woman film for a variety of reasons. But this isn’t a novelization of the film or really part of that narrative. 
Bardugo wrote some of my favourite recent fantasy books (The Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom), which meant I knew she could write but working with existing characters is not always a good idea (see some of the many recent continuation novels from Sophie Hannah, Anthony Horowitz etc, a rather uneven territory). 

However I was pleasantly surprised by her treatment of the DC super hero. Starting on the secret island Wonder Woman hails from, the novel really gets going once she leaves Themyscria for our modern world. 

Having saved Alia from a sinking ship and broken one of the laws of the Amazons, Diana must leave or face banishment. An ancient bloodline is also in play – and the end of the world could be nigh. 

In the end I read this very quickly, it certainly made my commute fly by, and it was really enjoyable. I hope this isn’t the one off it seems, Bardugo is a great writer and I really like the voice she gives to Wonder Woman. 

Have you read this book? Seen the film? Have anything you want to share? The comments section is waiting for you. 

books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes

Illumicrate Summer BoxĀ 

Woohoo! Illumicrate is here. So many great bookish items and so many exclusive treats. 

There are so many good things in this box. I am almost too excited to know where to start! 

The book is Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer which is published soon and will be reviewed once I’ve read it. This is such a great book and Bardugo is one of my favourite writers. There’s also a super cool enamel badge which will go nicely with my Wonder Woman Converses. 

Wisdom Journal from Hey Atlas Creative – it’s dot to dot so perfect for doodling. 

ARC of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen – another interesting looking advanced reader copy – review to follow. 

The Red Church Tea (may contain the blood of your enemies) from T-ology. 

Shakespeare canvas pouch from Miss Phi. 

Alethiometer Coaster from Hannah Hitchman Art

Book Money Jar & Sticky Bookmarks from Blossom Books 

Extras; Ringer, After the Fire, Harper 360, The Bear and the Nightingale, Moxie. 

I genuinely can’t pick a favourite item so I will just be here reading and patting my lovely new book things….

books, fun stuff, hygge, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate ReviewĀ 

It’s Illumicrate time again, I am very excited. The box is huge. That means lots of goodies inside. 

This box taps into the current trend for the Danish concept of  hygge with this cute printed coffee cosy from Sparrow + Wolf, candle from Meraki Candles and funky socks from Happy Socks. 

This Evil Plans notebook designed by House of Wonderland taps into my secret desire to take over the world….

I love all the little bookish extras – my favourites are the cute Christmas gift tag and the Six of Crows Oyster holder. 

This month’s book is The Diabolic by S. J Kincaid. A dystopian fantasy set in a future where humanity is ruled over by the galactic empire. There’s a letter from the author, signed bookplate and bookmark. I’m looking forward to getting good stuck into this one. 

books, reviews

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

I got this in my last Illumicrate and for some reason put off reading it till now. I think I just wasn’t sure about it. Foolish me. This book is a right cracker. 

Mia Corvere was once a pampered daughter of a wealthy and important man, now she is a creature of death and shadows.  

She wants vengeance for the deaths of her family and will train in the ways of the Red Church to get there, if it doesn’t kill her. 

The writing is strong and the characters are fun, from a horse called Bastard to the shadow-cat only Mia can see, they’re richly drawn and as the plot thickens and gathers tempo I found it harder and harder to put it down. 

The first in a planned trilogy Nevernight is set in an alternate world, with three suns in the sky and warring gods whose squabbles are echoed by their believers.