Saturday, June 16, 2018

Blog Tour: Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian

Links to buy are Affiliate Links.
ARC clearly defined in accordance with Review Policy here

I'm delighted to be hosting the penultimate stop on the UK/Ireland blog tour for Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian.

Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess - a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.

For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.

Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the  unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield. 

For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here. 

I received a copy of this to review via NetGalley. Sometimes when I'm approved for books they could sit there for weeks (okay, okay, months) before I read them, but I started this immediately based on that blurb. I'm a sucker for a fantasy, especially ones involving strong female leads, and this was exactly the kind of book I love to read. Theo is a fantastic character, and the world building got off to a great start. This is going to be a trilogy (according to Goodreads) and I can't wait to see what happens next. Yes, it's gory in parts, and there are pretty awful instances of abuse (as happens regularly with this genre) but it's hard to believe that this is a debut novel - it holds its own against any other fantasy book I've read. It's miles ahead of many. 

I loved the concept of the Spirit Gems - these are beautiful stones that are mined by the Astreans, the former rulers of the land. For Astreans, the stones hold great power, but for the Kalovaxians (the ones who have taken control of Astrea) they are little more than trinkets.

Although I received a copy for review, I've also bought my own paperback copy. Now sadly it didn't arrive in time for this post, so please excuse my poor image editing, but I'm really looking forward to re-reading it and I can't wait for the next installment. 

In honour of Theodosia, who is most definitely a trailblazer, I wanted to mention three other women in fantasy who really broke the mold when it came to doing things their way. 

Buffy Summers
I will not let the whole Joss-Whedon-is-actually-not-a-feminist-ally-after-all revelation spoil my enjoyment of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy was an amazing character played by a wonderful actress and she was one of my ultimate heroes growing up. She did the right thing at the expense of her own happiness many, many times for the greater good.

Piper Halliwell
Piper was always my favourite sister in Charmed, mostly because she was the one I related to the most. She really wanted everything she was told she couldn't have - she wanted a loving relationship, and kids, and she found a way to make that work for her while repeatedly kicking ass, looking out for her sisters, running a business, being a brilliant mother and staying true to herself. 

Ursula the Sea Witch
Hear me out. As a child, I loved Disney movies. I still do. But, I always found myself rooting for the villain, hoping they'd win sometimes. Yes, Ursula was evil, but she was also just a smoky-eye- wearing, plus-sized woman irritated by mermaids who thought the world owed them a favour. I love her. Did you know that she was based on the iconic drag performer Divine?

I really recommend Ash Princess if you're looking for a fresh YA fantasy book that you won't be able to put down. 

You can buy Ash Princess at:

You can check out the other stops on the blog tour below: 

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Saturday, June 2, 2018

Monthly Reads: April & May 2018

Links under books are affiliate links. ARCs are clearly defined in accordance with review policy here


Long time, no see, eh?

As many of you who follow me elsewhere will know, every spare minute of time I had over the past number of weeks was taken up by trying to help Repeal the 8th Amendment (which we did) so I had to sacrifice the blog for a while. I still read a fair amount in the evenings when I could, so this is a joint April/May Reads post.

Over the two months, I read 16 books. About half of those were free ones that I picked up via BookBub, I needed light escapes from reality on days where I'd been out canvassing or speaking with people online.

Click on any individual cover to go to my full Goodreads review.

Young Adult


The Truth and Lies of Ella Black by Emily Barr
Having enjoyed The One Memory of Flora Banks by the same author, I picked this up in the library via Borrowbox. It's about Ella, who has a very dark side to her in the form of Bella, or Bad Ella. Ella's parents have been keeping a huge secret from her, and their years of secrecy culminate in a last-minute dash to Rio. Here's where it fell apart for me, I felt like the whole Bella angle was dropped and the plot got messy. This just wasn't for me.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

A Court of Frost and Starlight  by Sarah J Maas
Fans of the series will know that this is the fourth installment of the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. It's a novella, and the sole purpose is to wind up Feyre & Rhysand's story in order to focus on different characters for the rest of the series. Not a lot happens bar a Solstice and a truly gross sex scene, but it's a nice teaser for the next book, which will more than likely feature Feyre's sister Nesta as the main character.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Every day, people receive calls from Death Cast, informing them that they are due to die that day. There's an app called Last Friend where people can message each other, and this is how Rufus and Mateo end up meeting. Rufus is a foster kid in trouble for beating a guy up, while Mateo lives alone because his Dad is in a coma. Together, they have the best last day - doing things they've always wanted to do. This sounded so good, but my cynical little heart didn't buy it. I found it so hard to care about either of them, I didn't feel like I knew them well at all and I didn't like the chapters from other people. Thousands vehemently disagree with me going by the Goodreads reviews, so I'd say give it a go if the premise interests you.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository


Out of the Blue by Sophie Cameron
This was the Book Box Club pick for May, and I really enjoyed it. I read it pretty much in one sitting. All over the world, Angels, or "Beings" are falling from the sky. They're usually dead by the time they land, but Jaya's Dad is convinced that he knows where the next one will fall and it's only a matter of time before one survives the fall. One does - but it's Jaya who finds her. 
This was unique, lovely, and touching. I'd have loved to know more about the beings themselves, but it was a really fresh take on grieving and letting go.

The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw
This was another Book Box Club pick, and it's by far my favourite book that they've featured so far. The Swan Sisters were put to death for enchanting local men centuries ago, but every Summer they rise from the ocean and inhabit the bodies of local women to exact their revenge. There's a lighthouse, a mysterious stranger, a curse, a beach party - all the things I love in a Summer read. I loved this one. Think Practical Magic meets We Were Liars and you're about halfway there. 



Calypso by David Sedaris
David's latest collection of stories features his family and how they deal with getting older, the death of their mother, and the death of David's sister Tiffany. At times very sad but mostly witty and warm, I enjoyed this - but not quite as much as some of his previous works.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Cornflakes for Dinner by Aidan Comerford
Comedian Aidan Comerford has written a very touching, honest book about his family and the stress that comes with having two children on the autism spectrum in Ireland. He chats about his wife Martha, their marriage, their daughters, their family outings in a frank, friendly way. There is sadness, but there is also hope. Really enjoyed this, it was a Rick O'Shea Book Club pick earlier in the year.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

The Woman Who Fooled the World by Beau Donnelly & Nick Toscano
This is an account of how Belle Gibson grew a following on social media as a wellness influencer, gaining lucrative sponsorship and publishing deals after she documented her journey with cancer and how she treated it with diet and alternative therapies. Only - she never had cancer in the first place. A fascinating read, really gripping, and there's a Fair City fact towards the end that Irish readers may find interesting!
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Books I Received for Review


One Click by Andrea Mara
This is Andrea's second novel, her first being The Other Side of the Wall which I read last Summer on holiday. This is about the dangers of Social Media and what happens when a woman takes a photo of a stranger and uploads it to Instagram. It goes viral and both women are put into unimaginable danger. I liked this a lot, I liked how the storyline showed both the positives and negatives of being active online. This would make an excellent holiday read.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Stalker by Lisa Stone (published June 14th)
This is Lisa's second crime thriller, having previously published non-fiction books about fostering under the pseudonym Cathy Glass. In this book, loner Derek Flint is a middle-aged man who lives at home with his mother. Derek runs a security firm, providing cameras for clients - but the clients are unaware that Derek can, and does, watch their every move. However, someone is watching Derek - and he's about to be dragged into a web of crime.
I received an e-mail about this and downloaded it from NetGalley - I was only going to read the first chapter to see what it was like and I got completely sucked in. It read like a really gripping TV crime drama, I think fans of things like Prime Suspect or Happy Valley would really like it.
Pre-Order: Kindle | Book Depository



Play by Piper Lawson
Payton works at a bank. She needs to land game designer Max Donovan as a client in order to nab herself a promotion - but Max isn't being entirely honest about his finances. Payton and Max are both solid, decent characters - likeable, sexy, with great chemistry. The plot is decent, this was one of the better contemporary romance books that I read in May.
Buy: Kindle

Bet Me by Lila Monroe
Lizzie works at a museum and needs help with finding rare Old Hollywood merchandise for an upcoming event. Jake is drafted in, and Lizzie realises that they've met before - they had a very saucy encounter that didn't end well. This is a typical will-they-won't-they-when-will-they type of read, it's not one for the faint of heart (think Samantha Jones) and leaving the awful side plot of someone betting on a woman's sex life aside, this was enjoyable enough. I really liked the museum setting and the wittiness of the characters.
Buy: Kindle

Nashville Heat by Bethany Michaels
Sydney is a singer songwriter with a dream. Dex Wylder is a rising country star. The chemistry between them is instant, and they end up having a one-night-stand. Roll on a couple of years, they haven't seen each other since that night, but Sydney is still trying to make it and Dex is a big star. This one dragged a lot for me - I felt like Sydney needed a kick in the ass, she didn't know what she wanted but kept arsing about going back to Dex then dropping him then going back then dropping - etc. This took me the guts of a week to finish and I was sick of them both by the end.
Buy: Kindle


Shy Girls Write it Better by May Sage
Cassandra Franklin is a shy, quiet accountant by day - but by night she's Cassie Frank, writer of erotic novels. There's just one problem - her next novel will feature BDSM but she has no experience. When her manuscript ends up in the hands of her sexy boss, Carter, he offers to teach Cassie everything she needs to know.
This is blatantly based on that other famous BDSM sexy boss/quiet woman series, but it's actually hilarious - the sex scenes alone are worth a read if only for the term "nether lips". I found it cheesy and predictable, but I knew exactly what I was letting myself in for so I couldn't complain. I almost bought the sequel purely on the fact that it's called "Scrooge McFuck" - I mean, COME ON.
Buy: Kindle

Tempted by Her Boss by Karen Erickson
Paige takes a job as a Nanny to the young son of a wealthy Italian single Dad. Matteo is pretty moody and boring, but Paige inexplicably develops a huge crush on him. I didn't enjoy this - I felt like it romanticized being a total dickhead, and that Paige as an employee was treated horribly. At the beginning of the story there's a revelation about why she left her previous job, and I felt like based on that alone the events that followed with Matteo weren't appropriate or believable. I also thought he had zero redeeming qualities and really didn't like him.
Buy: Kindle

The Cowboy's Runaway Bride by Laurie LeClair
Elizabeth Eve Barrington is due to be married. On the morning of her wedding, she overhears her fiancée making his intentions clear - he's only doing it to gain control of her father's business. She flees, hides in a truck, and feigns amnesia when she's discovered by a handsome cowboy. It's a pretty tame romance after that, it's wholesome enough (aka no sex) and is more of a ranchy, horsey, cowboy type thing full of kisses and chemistry and secrets. It verged into very twee territory towards the end but it was a light, pleasant read and by no means the worst of the month.
Buy: Kindle

So - there we are, I've lots of posts to catch up on and a few new things in the pipeline for the next few months. If you've any reading recommendations or there's anything you'd like to see me cover, please shout!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #5: Dawn and the Impossible Three

Nothing to Disclose.


This week almost didn't happen because Polyvore shut down without warning and took all my outfit sets with it - if you also used it, you can retrieve your data before May 28th by signing in to your account here:

We're up to Book Five - and it's the turn of California girl Dawn Schafer.

The book starts with a little recap of who everyone is, and what has happened so far. Dawn has recently moved to Stoneybrook with her little brother Jeff and their mother, Sharon (a former flame of Richard Spier, Mary-Anne's Dad). Dawn is a super-healthy avocado-loving all-natural girl that would be bang on trend in 2018 - I'm fairly sure this was my first introduction to tofu. And probably avocados. 

Mary-Anne has become a new woman since Book 4 - her Dad has now relaxed a little and let her stay out later, plus she has contact lenses and JEANS. Jeans! The ever-stylish Claudia Kishi and Stacey McGill have a discussion in this book about using egg rinse and lemon in their hair to keep it shiny - I too used lemon in my hair at school, because one of my friends told me it'd lighten it. See also: household bleach, Sun-In....none of which worked on my hair (thankfully). The more I read these books the more I realise how much of an impact they had on me as a child - I remember buying a pair of dice earrings purely because I knew they were the type of thing Claudia would have worn. 

Anyway - I'm rambling. Back to the plot of this book. Dawn books a job sitting for the Barrett kids. Their mother is a young, really stylish woman - I've included her iconic outfit in this weeks collage - but their house is an absolute shit hole. Here's what Dawn encounters when she first walks in:

I noticed that Suzi's jumper was coming unbuttoned, and that Mamie's diapers were drooping and the hem was falling out of her overalls. A grubby bandage was wrapped around one of Buddy's fingers. All three kids needed to have their hair brushed.
I looked in the living room. It was a sight. Newspapers and toys were scattered everywhere. A plateful of crumbs sat under a lamp. Something red had been spilled on the coffee table and was never wiped up. Our house might have been disorganized, but the Barretts' house was a pigsty.
I dared to glance in the kitchen. What a mistake. The sink was overflowing with pots and dishes, napkins and Popsicle wrappers, and about a million TV dinner trays. The breakfast dishes were still on the table. I could tell exactly what Mrs. Barrett had served because the remains were in plain view. Soft-boiled eggs (the yolks, now crusty, glued to the plates); orange juice (dried pulp in the glasses), bananas (peels on the table), and Pop-Tarts (crusts stuck in a glass).
Yick. Ew, ew, ew.

Dawn sorts the house and the kids, Mrs. Barrett is delighted, and then comes to rely a little too much on Dawn (WHO IS TWELVE) to keep doing it. And not only the cleaning and childminding - fielding calls from her ex-husband and landing her in the middle of a fairly toxic custody situation. Dawn puts her foot down, says no, and makes Mrs. Barrett realise how unfair she is being. 

Speaking of unfair, Kristy is being a wagon as per because Mary-Anne and Dawn are becoming close friends, and Kristy is jealous. When is she ever not jealous?

Here are the notable outfits: 

Stacey: A simple pink t-shirt under a baggy jumpsuit with big pink and red flowers all over it.
Dawn: Blue jean shorts and a white t-shirt that said 'genius inside'.
Mrs. Barrett: A silk blouse, sleek linen suit, brown heels and gold jewellery.

The special mention this week goes to Puff, the Magic Dragon - not actually a song about marijuana, but a really bloody sad tune about the end of childhood. I cried.

Gummi Worms hidden in her desk drawer
How does Claudia have any teeth left? Gummi worms are gelatin-based worm shaped jellies made almost entirely from sugar. 

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Monthly Reads: March 2018

Links under books are Affiliate links. ARCs clearly defined in accordance with review policy here


I read 12 books in March (some were much shorter than others), so as always I'll dive right in.

The covers below are all clickable and should take you directly to my longer review on Goodreads. 

Books I Recieved for Review


Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian (Published June 14th)
Described as "Sarah J Maas meets Game of Thrones", this is a YA fantasy about a young woman who has been denied her rightful title, Queen of Astrea. She has a decision to make - will she escape in search of a better life, or will she stay and try to get her throne back from the inside? I really enjoyed this, I'm almost gutted that I read it so early because I've over a year to wait until the next installment. 
Pre-Order: Kindle | Book Depository

Elefant by Martin Suter (Published May 31st)
Originally published in German, this is a really unique story about a homeless man living in Zurich. Naturally, when he sees a tiny glowing pink elephant in the cave where he sleeps, he thinks it's down to the alcohol he consumes regularly. In fact, she's the result of genetic engineering and a guy determined to gain infamy as the creator of "pets for people who have everything". Sweet, engaging, and unlike anything I've read before. Loved it. 
Pre-Order: Kindle | Book Depository 

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne (Published June 14th)
Holly's first adult novel follows Tori Bailey, a woman who has become successful by telling women they don't need to have it all. She has a perfect relationship, she has a great life, she has scores of fans online - but could she do with taking some of her own advice? I've read most of Holly's YA books and enjoyed them, but I think this is my favourite of hers so far. Fans of Dawn O'Porter would enjoy, this is witty and sharp and fresh. 
Pre-Order: Kindle | Book Depository 


Almost Love by Louise O'Neill (Available Now)
This is Louise's first book aimed at adults. It's about how an obsessive relationship can change and form you as a person, having an impact on all future relationships. This wasn't what I expected (nothing Louise writes ever is) - it made me feel uncomfortable and shaken. It's very realistic and sad, like both of Louise's other books. I received a copy of this from Netgalley but I had already bought one myself. This was also a ROSBC pick for March.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

The Dead Ex by Jane Corry (Published June 21st)
I'll have a full review of this book nearer to publication. Vicki, the main character, is a really interesting one - her ex husband is missing, presumed dead. Vicki has a condition that means she may not be 100% reliable about events, and we also have chapters from a very troubled young girl in foster care in 2007. If you like a very twisty, dark novel you may like this one.
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Books I Borrowed

Ireland's Arctic Siege: The Big Freeze of 1947 by Kevin C. Kearns
I saw this mentioned somewhere around the time of Storm Emma so requested it at the library to learn a little more about one of our most talked about weather events. Unfortunately this book was almost entirely focused on the Dublin area - I wouldn't have requested it had I known that. For Dubliners, this will be a nostalgic visit to a city from times long gone - from mentions of the Adelphi and Switzers to anecdotes from people who still remember the freeze. Other counties are very briefly mentioned but I lost interest fairly soon after I realised it was mainly centered around the capital.



Clean Break by Tammy Cohen
I did a blog post about the 2018 Quick Reads - they're specially commissioned every year and aimed at people who feel intimidated by longer books or those who haven't as much time as they'd like. This one was good, it was a domestic thriller about a couple who are divorcing, but one of them is not going to give up easily. 

The Great Cornish Getaway by Fern Britton
This features a very famous actor who walks off set and ends up in a small, quiet Cornish town. I didn't enjoy this, I felt the use of a real actor cheesy and rather than add to the enjoyment of the story, I felt like I was reading fan fiction. Which is fine if that's what you're into - I'm not.



The Baby Sitter by Sheryl Browne
I had pre-ordered this and forgotten about it. It's about a woman who suddenly becomes a huge part of the life of a family when she agrees to be their babysitter in return for letting her stay with them after her home is damaged in a fire. It was a quick read, nothing spectacular, I found a lot of the situations a little unbelievable. It might make a good holiday read unless you're saturated by books with "gripping psychological thriller" - I think I'm reaching my limit, unfortunately.

The Liar's Girl by Catherine Ryan Howard
Having read and loved this authors previous book Distress Signals, I was really looking forward to the release of this book. A decade ago, Alison left Ireland after her boyfriend confessed to a series of grim murders. Now, there are crimes happening that bear remarkable similarities to the ones Will committed - and he may know something. Unfortunately, the only person he'll talk to is Alison, who has made a new life for herself in the Netherlands. I really liked this - there was only one character I was a little iffy about, but overall this was fast paced, full of action, and had a great story. Loved it. 



A Cowboy to Remember by Barbara Ankrum
This was free for Kindle via the Bookbub daily email - I've mentioned before that I'm a sucker for a few different cheesy romance tropes, especially "The Childhood Pact". Olivia and Jake were High School sweethearts that drifted apart. But will sparks fly when they see each other after so long? This was predictable, cheesy, saccharin, and exactly what I needed in between thrillers. I really liked the characters, they had a little more depth than I expected.
Buy: Kindle

The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober by Catherine Gray
I'm always a bit wary of approaching books about alcohol, having grown up with someone dealing (or not dealing) with an addiction. This was a Rick O'Shea Book Club pick (for February, I think) so I said I'd give it a go - it's Catherine Grays own story, in her own words, about how she came to stop drinking alcohol. It's not preachy, it's not clinical, it's warm and witty and has great life advice. I took a lot from it and I'm glad I read it, if only to take a closer look at my own relationship with alcohol and why/when I choose to have a drink. 
Buy: Kindle | Book Depository

Have you read anything good lately that you'd like to share? Let me know!

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #4: Mary Anne Saves the Day

Nothing to Declare


We're up to book four, and it's Mary Anne Spier's turn.

Mary Anne lives alone with her overprotective Dad, Richard. Her mother died when Mary Anne was very young, and her Dad has some incredibly strict rules. Mary Anne must wear her hair in braids (okay, Richard), dress very conservatively (penny loafers, sweater vests and corduroy skirts) and be home at 6pm sharp. She can't stay out as late as the others when she's babysitting, and she is forbidden to wear trousers to school because........I have no idea. Luckily, she's close to Claudia's Grandmother, Mimi, who is teaching her how to knit.

Mary Anne feels like her Dad is infanilizing her, to the point where her bedroom still looks like a nursery, with pink ruffles everywhere and childish pictures on the wall. All she wants is to paint her walls navy and yellow and hang posters of kittens and New York, dammit Richard!! At one point she does stand up to him and call him "her jailer", which doesn't go down too well.

As a kid, I'm sure I just detested Richard and had no interest in his uber-conservative ways, but in this one, we get a LOT of back story. He's an overworked lawyer, he's a single parent, his wife died from cancer over a decade ago, and he wrote poetry to his high school girlfriend who had awfully disapproving parents. I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt.

In this book, we are introduced to Dawn Schafer, California girl. Dawn has recently moved to the neighbourhood with her mother Sharon, and becomes friendly with Mary Anne after the BSC have a massive falling out with each other. With the girls not speaking, Dawn proves to be a godsend - least of all when Mary Anne has an emergency while babysitting little Jenny Prezzioso. The way Mary Anne deals with Jenny convinces her father to loosen the reins a little, plus his old high school girlfriend may be closer than he thinks...

The main outfit mention in this book goes to the one Mary Anne says she'd love to wear if she had control over her own clothing choices - I also had to put Stacey's "one is a dog and one is a bone" earrings in there too.

"Just once, I'd like to go to school wearing skintight turquoise pants, Stacey's "island" shirt with the flamingos and toucans all over it, and maybe bright red, high-top sneakers." 

A special mention to the extra-juvenile/absolute dire unprofessionalism of going to Jamie Newton's 5th birthday party and spilling punch on each other, stepping on each others toes, and throwing wet paper towels at each other. Yes, girls, yes. Please, mind my newborn child. How Mrs. Newton didn't throw them all out is beyond me.

Ring-Dings hidden in a pajama bag.
Ring-Dings appear to be some kind of hybrid between a tea cake and a wagon wheel. They're now called Ding-Dongs. I don't know what a pajama bag is. I presume some kind of bag to put your pajamas in but - why?!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Throwback Thursday: The Babysitters Club #3: The Truth About Stacey

Nothing to Declare 


Continuing on with the recaps of my favourite childhood series, we have one from Stacey.

Stacey McGill has only been in Connecticut for a few months - before, she and her parents lived in New York in a building that overlooked Central Park. They left for a few reasons, one being Stacey's diagnosis with diabetes.

Stacey's parents are always looking for new discoveries that may help their daughter, so when they hear about a holistic doctor that specialises in experimental treatment, they think it will cure Stacey. Only - Stacey mentions him to the mother of one of the kids she babysits, who just so happens to be a doctor, and she's not impressed - he doesn't have a great track record. So, what's Stacey to do?

I'd wager that I had never even heard of diabetes before reading this. It gives a really great insight into what a 12 year old might go through - from struggling with having to watch what she eats and injecting her medication, to worrying about how it will affect her friendships. It's a really sensitive look at how a pre-teen deals with an illness, and it definitely made me more aware of what other people may be going through.

The wider issue going on here has Kristy absolutely FUMING - there's a new babysitting crew in town. They're older, they're cheaper, and they can stay out later. Kristy will stop at nothing to take them down - even if it means booking them for fake jobs to get information, or making the other girls wear sandwich boards around school advertising the club. There's also a mention of a poster with the slogan "YOUNGER IS BETTER" on it, but I'll leave that one there.....

This book mentions something that will be instantly recognisable to anyone who pays attention to phone numbers in books or films - a telephone number beginning with KL. In this book, Kristy gives her number as "KL5-2321". The Washington Post did an article last year about these numbers, I'll link it for fellow pop culture nerds to read (I found it really interesting) - A Directory for Klondike 5 - The Most Famous Telephone Exchange in the World.

Unfortunately, there were no real outfits to speak of, but Stacey did talk about some of her favourite accessories:

"Dinosaur brooch on a beret, red sneakers covered with beads and glitter, leg warmers covered in footprints, and plastic butterflies in my hair"

My favourite quote, however, is this one, referring to a woman who had given birth a few weeks before:

"I was surprised to see that Mrs. Newton still looked, well, fat. Not pregnant, exactly, but not the way I'd thought she would look after the baby was born."

THANK YOU, Ann M. Martin, for not squeezing poor Mrs. Newton into a pair of skintight jeggings.

A roll of Life-Savers hidden in a shoebox under her bed.
Life-Savers are pretty much identical to Polo Mints. As an aside, can you still get Polo Fruits?! I loved Polo Fruits......also, I found out while searching this that there are 23 mints in a standard roll of Polos. There's one for your next table quiz, fellow middle-agers.

A bag of Gumdrops and a packet of Saltines from under the cushion of her armchair.
Do we have gumdrops in Europe?! They look like they taste of the cheap fruity pastilles that come in Easter Eggs or Gingerbread House kits. Saltines are small square plain salted crackers.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Book Box Club 2018: January, February, March

Nothing to Disclose


I've been a regular member of Book Box Club for almost a year now and although I post monthly unboxings on Instagram, I thought it'd be nice to do a blog post on them too. I'll do a round up every three months, so you can get a better idea of what it's like as opposed to looking at just one box.

Book Box Club are a UK company, and specialise in Young Adult books. Every month they send out a book (either signed or including a signed bookplate), an invitation to their exclusive online Clubhouse (discussion forum) and a host of goodies. They champion small suppliers and cater to a wide variety of fandoms. They also have a membership option called "Purely Books", for those who want the book but not the goodies. Me? I want the goodies.

I use Address Pal to avail of the free UK postage, but they also post worldwide. One of the reasons I keep my subscription is because the women behind the company, Kate and Libby, are genuinely lovely people. They are always incredibly helpful and accommodating. The other is because this is a box that has gotten consistently better and better - I was a regular subscriber to a different box in the U.S, but cancelled because the quality varied so much between boxes. One box would be amazing, the next would be full of cheap or odd items. With this one, every item fits in with the monthly theme and they include fandoms that you wouldn't necessarily see in other boxes (there's going to be a Buffy item in the April box!!).

January 2018 - Geeks Unite

The January theme was "Geeks, Unite", based around The Fandom by Anna Day.

Cosplay ready, Violet and her friends are Comic-Con. They can't wait to meet the fandom of mega movie, The Gallows Dance. What they're not expecting is to be catapulted by freak accident into their favourite world - for real. Fuelled by love, guilt and fear, can the friends put the plot back on track and get out? The fate of the story is in their hands....

The box included:

* A copy of The Fandom by Anna Day & a signed bookplate.
* A Brains are the New Black tote bag by Newton and the Apple.
* A magnet by Book Box Club featuring a Cassandra Clare quote.
* Boom Pow comic book nail wraps from Dinkibelle.
* Fangirling candle by Bookworm Candles and Crafts.
* A calendar by Book Box Club featuring fandom art by12 independent artists.

February 2018 - Into Dystopia 

The February box was themed Into Dystopia and featured Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw.

Set in an England in the near future, Outwalkers follows a gang of kids and their perilous journey to make it through a country where the government is tracking everyone and their every move is analyzed and controlled. They must live on their wits, and must work together to survive and escape. 

The box included:

* Hardback copy of Outwalkers by Fiona Shaw & a signed bookplate.
* Handmaid's Tale bangle by Beautifully Bookish.
* Lemon & Ginger Dauntless Tea by Craft Tea Company.
* Orange Zest dark chocolate bar by Gnaw.
Supplies to Stay Alive notepad by Bread and Jam.
* Hunger Games arrow pen by Book Box Club.
* Promo postcards & Bookmarks from Penguin Random House, Usborne Books & Gollancz.

March 2018 - Under the Sea 

The March theme Under the Sea was built around the book The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw.

They were accused of witchery and of seduction. They were sentenced to death by drowning. Now every year, the Swan sisters haunt the sleepy coastal town of Sparrow, seeking revenge. They will inhabit the bodies of young girls. They will drag innocent boys into the depths of the sea. Can anyone break the curse and set Sparrow - and the sisters - free at last? 

The box included: 

* A copy of The Wicked Deep by Shea Ernshaw & a signed bookplate. 
* I Am Not Afraid of Storms pendant by Oh Panda.
* A Siren Song bath bomb by Ascent Bath and Body.
* Mermaid water bottle by Book Box Club. 
* Mermaid Kisses lip balm by Bliss Botanicals UK. 
* Swan Sisters bookmark kit by Kimcarlika. 
* Postcards and The Children of Blood and Bone sampler from Hot Key Books, Macmillan & Scholastic. 
I received a Book Box Club pin because I've been subscribed for 10 boxes or more. 

Every box also contains an invitation to join an online discussion/ Q&A with the author of that month's books. 

There are also a few discount codes available, if you search the #BookBoxClub tag on Instagram you'll find Club Reps who are given 5% or 10% codes. 

Does something like this interest you? Or do you subscribe to anything you'd like to tell me about? Let me know!