Friday, April 21, 2017

Owlcrate April 2017: Head Over Heels

Nothing to Disclose


I've mentioned this before, but the thing I love most about Owlcrate is how they look after their International customers. I received my box the day after I received the shipping notification - before the majority of U.S subscribers. It's a small thing, but it means so much when I'm used to having to wait and avoid spoilers from other companies. Much appreciated!

As revealed in last month's post, the theme for April is "Head Over Heels".

The contents were fantastic this month, I loved the variety.

The book this month is The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli. It's a YA novel about an overweight teenager, a twin, who wishes she had a boyfriend. Now at almost 34 I'm thinking I'm not the target age group for this, but I read an awful lot of YA, I was an overweight teen who wished she had a boyfriend, and as a twin Mum I'm all over anything with twins - so I'm going in with an open mind, hoping it's a light read. Also included are a letter from the author, a signed bookplate, and an emoji sticker.

There's a card print featuring a quote from A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (I squealed at this, I read the book recently and adored it) - designed by Evie Bookish. There's a sampler from Umberland by Wendy Spinale, this is book 2 in a series based around a retelling of Peter Pan. There's also the theme reveal for May - the theme will be Comic Explosion, and the item previewed on the back was............a full sized Funko Pop! figure. Can.Not.Wait.

On to the merchandise - this is honestly one of my favourite selections yet. That packet up in the top left is a pack of cherry chocolate tea from The Tea Spot, inspired by Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. The candle is vanilla, from Novelly Yours, and called Park and Eleanor after the novel of the (almost) same name by Rainbow Rowell. The little keyring designed by Bookworm Boutique features a quote from Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda also written by book of the month author Becky Albertalli, and the little badge is an Owlcrate exclusive (there's a badge every month). The final item is a headband from Storiarts with quotes from Pride and Prejudice.

Here are all the books that inspired the contents of the box - click on the covers to go to the Goodreads page for each book.

I'll probably never wear the headband, but the rest of the stuff is right up my alley - flavoured tea, candles, keyrings, quote cards - all some of my favourite bookish merchandise.

I really, really loved this box - more of the same, please!

If you're interested in subscribing to Owlcrate, you can use the code WELCOME15 for 15% off your first order. That's not an affiliate code, I gain nothing from it. If you would like to help me earn a free box, this is my referral link - otherwise go directly to and sign up there. It is expensive, it's just under €50 a month, but I put away €12 every week for it because no matter how many others I try - this is my favourite, I love it, and I look forward to it every single month. There's also a great facebook group for subscribers full of smart, intelligent book lovers of all ages and nationalities, it's a lovely place to chat.

Are you into bookish merchandise? What's your favourite type? 

Friday, April 14, 2017

March 2017 Reads

Not sponsored or paid | ARCs clearly defined


Somehow, I thought I had already done this post, so apologies for the lateness.

In March, I read 11 books.

Rick O'Shea Book Club

The Hearts Invisible Furies by John Boyne
I had never read anything by John Boyne before, so I didn't know what to expect with this. What I got was an engaging, warm, witty journey through one man's life. Cyril Avery was adopted as a child into an eccentric Dublin family - this is his story. There are moments of real sadness, heartbreak and loss - but there are also laugh-out-loud parts and really touching exchanges. I adored it.

I didn't fare as well with the other pick (A Line Made by Walking by Sara Baume) - it's a very introspective look at a woman coping with depression and I just wasn't in the right headspace for it, but I will pick it up again at some stage.


I got all three of these from Netgalley - actually, if you'd like a post explaining what Netgalley is and how to use it, please let me know and I'll do one. It's a resource available to all reviewers, some publishers require you to have a blog, others don't.


Let the Dead Speak by Jane Casey
This is part of a series - and I didn't know that before I requested it. It's about a newly promoted Sergeant, Maeve Kerrigan, and her investigation of a murder with a difference: there's no body. This was enjoyable enough, but I felt I missed out by not having much of a backstory on the Police characters and I also felt there were too many subplots.

Buzz Books 2017 Young Adult Spring/Summer 
I keep mentioning these because they're fantastic - and free. Publisher's Lunch publish a couple of these every year, and they have extracts of upcoming Young Adult releases. There's an adult version too. This has 18 previews, from fantasy and contemporary to non-fiction.

The Witchfinder's Sister by Beth Underdown
Set in 1645 and based on the life of Witchfinder General Matthew Hopkins, this is the fictional story of Matthew's sister Alice. Alice has fallen on hard times and returns to her homeplace to live with Matthew, who has started a crusade to condemn people as witches and have them hanged. Alice is horrified and tries to make Matthew see sense - but will he pay attention to her? Or does she need to tread carefully? I really enjoyed this, I liked Alice and I thought it panned out well. Really atmospheric.

Young Adult


A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
It has taken me so long to read this series but with the release of the third book in May, I said I'd give it a go. A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, this is about a young huntress named Feyre who accidentally kills a Faerie. A beastly creature arrives at her home one night and demands she return to his kingdom with him to amend for taking a life - so the adventure begins. I did like it a lot, even though this wouldn't be my usual read. I moved straight on to book 2, and adored that, but that'll be in next month's wrap up.

Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan
Having previously read One by the same author, I tried this - it's a story about a young teenager named Appollinia (Apple), who has been raised by her Grandmother after her mother left over eleven years ago. When Apple's mother arrives back on the scene promising Apple the world, what will happen? This was good, slightly younger than I thought, but deals with sensitive issues well. That mother though.........

Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
This was in an Owlcrate a few months ago. It's the story of three sisters, each born with a unique gift. Only one can take the throne - so they must fight to the death for it. I like books about sisters, but I was a little wary about the whole pitting them against each other thing - it actually works well here, it was quite slow but picked up toward the end leaving room for more action in the sequel as opposed to so much world building.



We Should all be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
A short novel based on a talk the author gave in 2012. It's a basic introduction to understanding feminism and why it's as important for young men as well as young women. So often, feminists are called "angry" - as the author says, we should be angry. A really great read.

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
Offred (literally Of Fred) is a Handmaid - one of a group of women in a society that only values men. The role of the Handmaids is strictly to procreate - to provide the men they're assigned to with children. Offred contemplates suicide regularly, and dreams of her former life as a mother and partner. This was always going to be an unsettling read, particularly in a world where President Trump is a reality - but it just didn't have the impact on me that it might have had if I'd read it a few years ago.

TV/Movie Adaptations


Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
The TV adaptation is showing on Sky Atlantic at the moment - I really wanted to read the book before watching the series. It's a sharp, clever story about the lives of three women that are all connected in some way. Madeline is worried that she's losing her daughter to her ex-husband's new wife; Celeste is hiding something about her seemingly perfect marriage; and Jane has moved to the area to escape something in her past - but is it catching up to her? A really engrossing read.

Nocturnal Animals by Austin Wright
Originally published as Tony and Susan, this is a novel within a novel. A woman receives a manuscript from her estranged ex husband and reads it in three sittings, wondering what it means to her. Unfortunately, I didn't really get along with this - I felt that nothing really happened.

And that's it - that takes my total up to 31 for the first three months of the year, which I'm pretty happy with. As always, the books will be added to my Books 2017 page so you can click through for longer reviews or more information.