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Friday, 20 September 2019

Feature Post: Bookwork Candles & Crafts - Autumn Themed Candles



I know how much you guys love autumn, so I thought it would give me the perfect opportunity to show you a selection of autumn themed candles by my favourite handmade candle companies, Bookworm Candles and Crafts.

Stars Hollow Inspired Candle - The Gilmore Girls
With the ultimate coffee scent, the Stars Hollow notes are loving bonds, strong coffee and home. And it comes in a jar decorated to match the perfect autumn weather along with a lovely warm peach tone with glitter. Available in 4oz and 8oz there is also a third option for adding the Lorelai and Rory Gilmore magnetic bookmark set.


Hocus Pocus Inspired Candle
Who else loves this movie? Well if you do, this candle is the perfect addition to your movie watching night. With a lovely plum, rose and patchouli scent, the Hocus Pocus notes are sistership, spells and immortality. The candle comes with a collar of green ribbon, along with a witchy charm and a marble green, purple and grey wax. Available in 4oz and an 8oz candle jar.


The Owen Sisters Inspired Candle - Practical Magic
If you love margaritas then this candle is perfect for you! With a warm orange scent with hints of amber, just like a margaritas, The Owen Sisters notes are blood bonds, midnight margaritas and spells. The candles comes with all the touches and has an orange coloured wax with a blue shimmer running through. Available in 4oz and an 8oz candle jar.

Lothlorien - Lord of the Ring inspired candle
The first middle earth candle is here and inspiration has been taken from the Elven Realms with a warm woody scent of patchouli, sweet orange and pine. The wax will be a redwood colour with a gold shimmer running through it along with a ribbon collar and a gorgeous golden tree charm to match. Available in 4oz and an 8oz candle jar.


Fraser's Ridge - Outlander inspired candle
In Drums of Autumn we were introduced to Fraser's Ridge along with the location full of trees and hills and this is where the inspiration for this candle comes from. The scent of the candle is a smokey wood with warm ember undertones. The notes for this candle are foothills, homestead and warm embers. The wax will be a green colour with a golden glitter along with a green tartan coloured collar and a Scottish thistle charm on the larger candle. Available in 4oz and an 80z candle jar.

If you wish to purchase any candles from Bookworm Candles Store, you can save 20% by using DONNABOOKWORM20 on all purchases.

Click this link here to be taken to Bookworm Candle and Crafts Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/Bookwormcandlescraft






Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Review: Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout

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Till Death
By Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release Date: February 28th, 2017
Publishers: William Morrow
Genre: Adult, Thriller, Suspense
Source: Bought 
Pages: 400
Goodreads: Add to TBR
 
In New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s gripping new novel, a young woman comes home to reclaim her life—even as a murderer plots to end it. . .

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

The Review: It’s been a while since I’ve read anything by Jennifer and I’ve honestly been feeling so guilty because she is one of my favourite authors and whenever I do pick up her books, I absolutely love them and Till Death was no exception.

Till Death is a standalone adult romantic suspense/thriller novel and follows 29 year old Sasha Keaton who is still trying to get over the horrible events that happened to her 10 years ago. It’s when she moves back home to West Virginia that the past won’t stay in the past and everything that Sasha is trying to forget, the killings suddenly starts happening again and once again Sasha’s life is in danger.

This was such a good read. As soon as I started it, it was impossible to put down so much that I ended up going in between the paperback copy and the audiobook, just so when I was doing day to day chores I wasn’t missing out on the story. 

Sasha and Cole were such fantastic characters to get to know. I immediately liked them and was rooting for them from the start. And with everything going on, Sasha remained such a strong character throughout the novel. 

The story was interesting and exciting and I was fully engrossed in who the killer was. I have to say I did work it out before the big reveal but it didn’t stop me enjoying the story any less. 

All in all, Till Death is a fantastic read and one I’m so glad I read and I am looking forward to reading another one of Jennifer’s book very soon.

                                                                                     Rating: 5 Flowers - Amazing

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Review: The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky #2) by Adrienne Young

42867937The Girl the Sea Gave Back (Sky #2)
by Adrienne Young
Release Date: September 3rd, 2019
Publishers: Titan Books
Genre: YA, Fantasy 
Source: For Review
Pages: 336
Goodreads: Add to TBR
 
The new gut-wrenching epic from the New York Times bestselling author of Sky in the Deep.

For as long as she can remember, Tova has lived among the Svell, the people who found her washed ashore as a child and use her for her gift as a Truthtongue. Her own home and clan are long-faded memories, but the sacred symbols and staves inked over every inch of her skin mark her as one who can cast the rune stones and see into the future. She has found a fragile place among those who fear her, but when two clans to the east bury their age-old blood feud and join together as one, her world is dangerously close to collapse.

For the first time in generations, the leaders of the Svell are divided. Should they maintain peace or go to war with the allied clans to protect their newfound power? And when their chieftain looks to Tova to cast the stones, she sets into motion a series of events that will not only change the landscape of the mainland forever but will give her something she believed she could never have again—a home.

The Review: I absolutely adored Sky in the Deep by Adrienne Young so I was thrilled to hear she was writing a companion story, The Girl the Sea Gave Back which is set years later. This time the story follows Halvard, Fiske’s younger brother who is in training to become the next chief and Tova, a Truthwitch from the Svell camp and a new character to the story all together. 

I really enjoyed being back in this world, even though it took me a while to get to know Halvard and Tova. Do I wish the story was about Eelyn and Fiske? Yes I do. But I can understand why it wasn’t and it didn’t stop me from enjoying Adrienne Young’s beautiful writing. It’s one of the reason I fell so in love with Sky in the Deep because of just how well the author writes and how compelling it is to read. 

I was pleased to see the story all come together. It was great getting to know Tova. Her story definitely bought something new to the story which I’ve honestly never read about. And it was very interesting to discover a Truthwitch’s ability and how it fit within the Viking world. 

I think my only gripe with the story was it did take a while for the characters to meet and when they do they have very little interaction. The romance is more from a distance and they meet at the end. As reader who loves her romance, I definitely wanted and needed more of it in the story but it didn’t stop me enjoying the story. 

In all, there definitely needs to be more Viking stories in the world and Adrienne Young did a fantastic job bringing this one to life. I for one will definitely be reading more of her work in the future. 

Thank you to Titan Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 


                                                                        Rating: Really Liked It - 4 Flowers 

Monday, 2 September 2019

Review: The Ultimate Unicorn Joke Book by by Egmont Publishing UK


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The Ultimate Unicorn Joke Book
by Egmont Publishing UK
Release Date: September 6th, 2019
Publishers: Red Shed
Genre: Kids 3 - 8 years old 
Source: For Review
Pages: 96
Goodreads: Add to TBR
 
Get ready to giggle glitter and laugh yourself silly in this hilarious new joke book all about . . .

. . . UNICORNS!

Where do unicorns throw their rubbish?
In the glitter bin!

What’s a unicorn’s favourite TV show?
Neighhhhbours!

Which unicorn smells?
The POO-nicorn!

Full of jokes, puns and one-liners about unicorns, mermaids, wizards, rainbows and much, much more. This book is hot-to-trot and you’re guaranteed to laugh yourself HORSE!

With a sparkly foiled cover and purple inside printing for an extra special magical touch, this is the perfect gift for fans of unicorn, mermaids, glitter, sparkles and anyone who loves a uni-corny joke!

The Review: My 8 year old daughter loves getting involved with reviewing books so when The Ultimate Unicorn Joke Book came up for review I immediately said yes because I just knew my daughter would enjoy it, and I was definitely right.

The Ultimate Unicorn Joke Book is a fun, magical and laugh out loud book filled with 160 different jokes about unicorns, mermaids, wizards, horses, rainbows and much more. Sparkly Jim ‘the funniest unicorn’ really is a bundle of laughs. My daughter absolutely loved reading all the jokes and finding her favourite ones where she would tell all the all the family to see if they could guess the answer. She even took it to school to share the jokes with her friends. 

The book is illustrated beautifully with eye catching designs and filled with unicorn’s having fun. I just enjoyed this book just as much as my daughter and it’s the perfect little present for Christmas or birthdays for young girls.

Thank you to Egmont for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 


                                                                     Rating: Really Liked It - 4 Flowers 

Thursday, 22 August 2019

Blog Tour: The Song of the Sycamore by Edward Cox


45890442. sy475 The Song of Sycamore 
Edwards Cox
Release Date: August 22nd, 2019
Publishers: Gollancz
Genre: Fantasy 
Pages: 496
Goodreads: Add to TBR
 
A new standalone novel set in a fractured world of magic and technology, from BSFA Best Fantasy and Best Newcomer nominee, and bestselling author of The Relic Guild

On the broken world of Urdezha, Wendal Finn died on the hostile plains of the wasteland, one more casualty in the endless war between the city-dwellers and the clansfolk. But now Wendal has returned to his home city of Old Castle, possessed by something he brought back from the wasteland, something old and best left forgotten. The spirits are calling it Sycamore, an ancient entity out to avenge all victims of murder. And in a city like Old Castle, no one is innocent.

With his mind trapped inside a dead body, Wendal can do nothing but watch as Sycamore turns him into a serial killer. Until the magicians take an interest in him. Preserving Wendal's body and trapping Sycamore inside it, the magicians now have the perfect assassin at their disposal. Whenever they need an enemy removed, they can set the killer loose on Old Castle.

The clans are massing. A supernatural storm is raging across the wasteland. It has already destroyed one city, and now it is heading for Old Castle. And the only one who might prevent oblivion is the murderous entity who the spirits are calling Sycamore.

Chapter One

The city of Old Castle rose from the wasteland like an abscess swelling on the festering skin of a diseased world. Across its neighbourhoods and districts a siren called, lifting and falling with an ominous wail that sent citizens scurrying for their homes. Hiding like monsters in burrows, they prayed that this latest threat from the wastes would pass the city by, while fearing that this time, judgement had come to demand penance for their crimes. The people of Old Castle were rank with guilt. The city was populated by murderers.
And it was my home.
Through the chill of evening shadows, I made my way to the outskirts of Old Castle. No breeze disturbed the air, no sound accompanied the siren’s wail; light from a setting red sun did little to warm a tense ambience. Beyond the last of the buildings, I began crossing a stretch of open ground, heading towards the city wall. But it wasn’t me walking, not really, not any more. I could see through my eyes, hear through my ears, smell the stench of the city, but I had no control over my direction. My footsteps weren’t made of my own volition.
I neared the city wall, a sturdy construction, thick and high, unbreakable, but at that moment it seemed merely a thin veil constructed for the illusion of safety. The huge turrets rising atop it housed the mighty ether-cannons which protected the citizens from the horrors of the wastes. But not from me.
‘He’s close.’
These words gurgled from an oily mass slithering over cracked, stony ground ahead of me: a ghoul, wheezing wet breaths, hissing with anger. This thing had been a woman in life, a simple soul; but in death, an oozing puddle fuelled by injustice, out for revenge. Caring nothing for the danger approaching Old Castle, the ghoul sang her Song, a Song of obsession and need, and I couldn’t deny her plea for vengeance.
Whirring.
Rattling machinery.
Up on the wall, the turrets were turning, sweeping the aim of their long, fat cannons left and right. A low, familiar drone came next, baritone beneath the undulating siren, rumbling through the empty streets behind me. From the centre of Old Castle, a great beam of energy shot towards the cloudless pink sky like a waterspout. The city had activated its ether shield. High above the buildings, the energy gathered into a monumental ball of clear, wavering magic before dispersing, smearing, spreading across the length and breadth of Old Castle, forming a barrier between the city and the sky.
Above me, the edge of the shield curved downwards, creating an umbrella that descended liquidly to the ruined ground outside the wall. In a matter of moments, this hive of guilt-ridden souls was secured within a dome of ether power like a city in a snow globe. Sunlight refracted, the siren changed its pitch, the breeze dropped and the air became stifled. The bitter taste of ether dried the inside of my mouth. But it wasn’t really my mouth now.
‘Closer,’ the ghoul hissed.
Cannons tracked the movements of whatever monstrosity the song of the sycamore was coming from the wastes as I followed the ghoul along the line of the wall. With no choice in the matter, I was led to a set of stone stairs rising to a pot-bellied watch post nestled between two turrets. The ghoul slithered up the stairs and I climbed after her like the dutiful puppet I had become.
No sign of movement came from beyond the watch post’s darkened doorway, but I knew a man hid there, a murderer who had nowhere left to run. He had taken sanctuary in the watch post in a vain attempt to hide from death. His subconscious under stood what was coming for him, and why. The dead deserved vengeance.
Reeking of sewage, the ghoul hissed in anticipation, gurgled with longing. Like a snake, her darkness oozed up around the doorway to form an oily frame. I stared into the gloom beyond.
‘Your sins have returned to you.’ My Mouth, using my voice, but it wasn’t me speaking. ‘Won’t you come out and atone with dignity?’
No reply.
The man in the watch post was by no means the first murderer I had tracked that day, and he wouldn’t be the last. I’d been leaving a trail of blood behind me for two days now, and there was an endless river’s worth waiting to be spilled yet.
Whatever will remained to me, I tried to force it into my legs, to make myself turn around and walk away, but I no longer had the strength or presence to make a difference to my actions. I stepped through the ghoul’s stench, entered the watch post, and the man attacked immediately.
He came out of the gloom, big and strong, a blur of motion in the dim light shining through the viewing slit in the back wall. With one arm, he pulled me into a tight embrace, spitting a curse into my ear as his free hand thrust a knife into my side. The blade couldn’t penetrate my ribs and sliced over bone before its tip ripped out of the skin beneath my chest. I was too far gone to feel the damage inflicted upon my body and pushed the man away with force enough to send him sprawling.
‘Kill him,’ the ghoul hissed from the doorway.
The murderer sat on the floor, staring up at me. He was no Magician; he couldn’t see the ghoul of his victim. His expression became stunned when I pulled the knife from my body and showed no distress at the hot blood soaking my shirt and trousers. Panic filled the man’s eyes when I used the blade to point at him.
‘The dead call me Sycamore. I am their Shepherd.’
With another curse, he jumped to his feet, fists clenched and ready to fight. I stepped close to him, dodged a clumsy punch and drove the knife into the side of his neck, down to the hilt. Such a simple and fluid act. I wished I could have turned away and covered my ears as the man dropped to his knees, choking, clawing at the knife’s handle with fingers slicked in arterial blood. Desperate, struggling to breathe, his eyes pleaded with me. He looked to be approaching twenty, the prime of life but not yet old enough to have seen the horrors of war.
When he toppled, falling face down and dead, the ghoul gave a peaceful sigh and slithered across the floor. The oily darkness mingled with the pool of blood spreading around the corpse of her murderer. As though in a show of gratitude, a single tendril reached out to touch my boot before the ghoul faded and disappeared. Finding peace through vengeance, she journeyed on to the other side.
The city siren continued to wail. I continued to drown inside myself.
Stepping over the corpse, I peered through the watch post’s viewing slit to gaze upon the desolation outside Old Castle. The sun was about to kiss the horizon, a sinking red orb quivering through the watery magic of the city shield, shedding the last of its rays upon a broken landscape. Shadows stretched and pointed at the city; the glassy summits of hillocks reflected light with majestic starbursts of rainbow colours. Millennia of humanity’s bad choices had been trampled down into a plain of scorched rock and rusty metal. This was the wasteland. This was the world now called Urdezha, ruined beyond recognition, just like its people.
It looked as though a dust storm was blowing in. A bank of debris rolled across the plain like fog on the sea, hued red by the sun’s backdrop. But this was no act of nature. The storm had been kicked into the air by the hundreds of feet galloping towards Old Castle. A herd of beasts. A stampede of monsters. They were too far away to see in great detail, but these creatures were as big as houses, thundering along on four legs, too many to bother counting. With stocky bodies covered in bony spikes and long horns protruding from great heads, the herd’s charge looked unstoppable. Was this an act of war? Had the herd been driven this way by Old Castle’s enemies? It didn’t matter. The creatures of the wasteland were never a match for the might of a city.
Along the city wall, ether-cannons took aim and fired with oddly subdued whumps. Ether knew ether, they said, and the shield allowed the lethal bursts of magic to pass through its energy and race across the wasteland trailing streamers of displaced air. The first wave of shots smashed into the herd’s front line, punching the life from the monsters. The cannons fired again – and again – and the charge faltered under their fury.
Through the sound of the siren, the drone of the shield and the whumps of ether, distant roars reached my ears. The cannons spat so many bursts of magic that the enemy was soon obscured by dust and debris. Whether or not the remaining monsters had turned tail and fled, leaving their fallen as carrion on the wastes, not one of them emerged from the storm. The abscess of Old Castle wouldn’t be lanced today, but . . . ‘Soon,’ said a voice inside me.
I placed a hand on the wall to steady a sudden flush of  fatigue weakening my legs. The knife wound in my side wasn’t critical, but it was bleeding freely. I needed medical attention, food, sleep, but none of them would be given to me. As long as I could draw breath, my body would continue this rampage, while my spirit, my essence, me, slowly spiralled down into the oblivion of Nothing.
The moment of weakness passed, and a voice gurgled from behind me.
‘Sycamore.’
Another ghoul had materialised. It stood in the watch post’s doorway, formed into the rough approximation of a human shape. It held no discernible features and oily shadows dripped from its outstretched arms. The ghoul’s presence came as no surprise; it was simply the next victim of murder to find me. And in this city, on this world, there would always be a next victim.


Extract from The Song of the Sycamore by Edward Cox (Gollancz, £18.99). 

Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Review: The Safest Lies by Megan Miranda


The Safest LiesThe Safest Lies
By Megan Miranda
Release Date: June 6th, 2019
Publishers: Penguin 
Genre: YA, Thriller 
Source: For Review
Pages: 352
Goodreads: Add to TBR
 
From the New York Times bestselling author of All the Missing Girls and The Perfect Stranger comes a captivating psychological thriller about a girl who must face her darkest fears - but can she outrun the past?

Kelsey has lived most of her life in a shadow of suspicion, raised to see danger everywhere. Her mother hasn't set foot outside their front door in seventeen years, since she escaped from her kidnappers.

Kelsey knows she's supposed to keep a low profile and stay off the grid for their protection, but that plan is shattered when her dramatic car accident and rescue by volunteer firefighter and classmate Ryan Baker sparks media coverage.

A few days later, she arrives home to find her mother missing. Now, to have a chance at a future, Kelsey will have to face her darkest fears. Because someone is coming for her. And the truth about the past may end up being the most dangerous thing of all.

The Review: It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book by Megan Miranda and I remember it was amazing, so I was more than happy to dive to The Safest Lies which is a YA thriller and it’s one I enjoyed.

The Safest Lies follows teenager Kelsey. All of her life she has lived under her mother’s strict rules for privacy and safety. Her mother was a victim of kidnapping years ago but she managed to escape and has never got over what happened to her. It’s when Kelsey is involved in a car crash and is rescued by a student from her school that the events hit the news and therefore putting Kelsey and her mother in danger. Kelsey’s mother has been taken once again and this time, they want Kelsey as well. 

I started the story really not knowing what to expect but I was honestly really surprised. I’m not a big thriller reader. I love my romance stories so I always tend to stick with the same reads. So this was a nice change. And it mainly came from just having read another thriller story, so two together was a big thing for me. But this is the kind of story I like. It had the right amount of suspense, secrets, action and romance for me to keep me turning the pages. Kelsey and Ryan were great to get to know. I enjoyed their story and there romance was super sweet and their moments together were ones to look forward to.  

There is one major twist to the story though that really flipped this story upside-down. Did I like it? Maybe. No, I don’t think so. I spent the first part of the story sympathising for Kelsey’s mother. Her past was horrible and I could understand why she was the way she was. I do think she could have dealt with things better – for the sake of her daughter. But by the end, I couldn’t help but dislike her. I really won’t say more because it will honestly spoil the story for others but the twist for me definitely changed how I felt for her. 

In all, The Safest Lies was a good turn paging reader and one I think many will enjoy and I will definitely be adding more of Megan’s book to my TBR pile. 

Thank you to Penguin for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

                                                                  Rating: Liked it - 3 Flowers 

Saturday, 10 August 2019

Review: What She Found in the Woods by Josephine Angelini

42504683. sy475 What She Found in the Woods 
Josephine Angelini
Release Date: July 25th, 2019
Publishers: Macmillan Children's Books
Genre: YA, Thriller 
Source: For Review
Pages: 384
Goodreads: Add to TBR
 
After a scandal breaks in her elite New York City private school, Magda is shipped off to her grandparents’ sleepy Pacific Northwest town to spend a summer recovering under the radar. Over-medicated and uninspired, she spends her days in a fog, hiking in the woods behind her grandparents' cottage.

But then gorgeous wildboy, Bo, stumbles across her picnic blanket and Magda starts believing she might be able to move on from her past. The only problem seems to be the series of crimes breaking out across town, and when a body is found in the woods near Bo’s encampment, it’s clear that Magda’s nightmare is just beginning. She's no longer sure who she can trust. . .

What She Found in the Woods is an addictive and all-consuming thriller with a twist from the internationally bestselling author of the Starcrossed series, Josephine Angelini.

The Review: Josephine Angelini is back with What She Found in the Woods and this time it’s a YA thriller. I’ve been a huge fan of the authors work ever since her debut novel Starcrossed released so I was very excited to see she was writing something different. And it was honestly a fantastic read.  

The story follows a teenage girl Magda, who following a huge scandal at her private school in New York moves to a quiet town to go live with her grandparents after her psychotic break. There Magda tries to get her life back together by trying to become a better person and tries to reconnect with her old friends. It’s when she is out hiking one day she meets Bo, a teenage boy who lives in the woods with his family that things finally start to turn around for her, but when a woman is found dead near where Bo’s family live, Magda starts to question everything that is around her.

I have to say I don’t read many thriller stories, I’m entirely sure why but I’m really glad I read What She Found in the Woods. It’s a compelling and page turning story that gives you insight of what it’s like to be a teenager, but one that is also dealing with life changing experiences and the consequences that follows after.

Magda for me was an interesting character to get to know. I immediately sympathised with her, even without knowing the full extent of her story. She was very likable and also very relatable. When she meets Bo he starts to bring her out of this sort of depression she has been in for several months and I found I really enjoyed the story when they were together. Bo and his family were honestly a mystery but I found I really liked them all from the start. 

There are a few mysteries to try and solve throughout this book that really keeps you guessing and I really enjoyed the reveals when they happened. I was honestly sad to reach the end of the story, and although I would have loved an epilogue just to see where the characters ended up, I also liked how it ended so I can imagine it for myself. 

In all, What She Found in the Woods was a good read and one I really enjoyed, so it’s one I would definitely recommend if you are looking for something different. 

Thank you to Macmillan Children's Books for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

                                                                    Rating: Really Liked It - 4 Flowers 
 
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