Nov 25, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

I have once again Backed A Thing and then promptly forgotten all about it. But now it’s here and I have remembered and it is so pretty and shiny! Photos will never do it justice.

Nov 25, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Forgot to take a photo when this one came in last week – a beautiful new edition of Mr Punch from the ever-lovely people at Bloomsbury!

Nov 22, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: AN EMBER IN THE ASHES by Sabaa Tahir

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

Set in a world that draws heavily from Ancient Rome, the social structure is fascinating to see. On one hand, we have the oppressive and brutal Martials, and on the other, the Scholars. There is a whole lot of history not covered in this book about how the Scholars came to be oppressed, and I found that to be quite disappointing, considering the impact it has on the plot and characters, especially as the differences between them are almost portrayed as though they’re separate races, as opposed to different levels of society.

The violence in the story is very well done, big action scenes are not necessary to show how brutal and nasty the world can be, and when they do come along, they’re handled well. The references to sexual violence/rape sometimes felt a bit flippant, almost like they were stuck in there to tick off a box, and didn’t add a lot to the story for where they were inserted. Certainly they gave great insight to the characters involved, it was just at the wrong time in the story. I also think that it came  up far more often than it should have in a structure that is allegedly disciplined beyond belief.

I did find the characters quite difficult to connect with on a personal level. As much as I enjoyed many of them (Helene in particular), I don’t care about them. I also found the budding romance between Laia and Elias to be really difficult to swallow, especially when both are presented with, and react better to, more than suitable alternatives. It would just be really nice to see two characters thrown together like this not end up together. Boys and girls CAN be close friends without any romantic elements!

I found this to be a really interesting book, not necessarily for the plot, which I did like, but more for how it’s all put together. The bits I like the most don’t get anywhere near as much narrative time as I’d like, but perhaps will be addressed in the sequel, and a lot of the time it feels like a whole pile of plot devices have been pulled out at random points. But, I did enjoy it, and I do recommend it. I just think expectations need to be tempered a little.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

Nov 20, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Charlie had commandeered my book basket, and is not the least bit repentant.

Nov 19, 2015 - Book Reviews    No Comments

Book Review: THE FANGIRL’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Sam Maggs

Fanfic, cosplay, cons, books, memes, podcasts, vlogs, OTPs and RPGs and MMOs and more—it’s never been a better time to be a girl geek. The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom. With delightful illustrations and an unabashed love for all the in(ternet)s and outs of geek culture, this book is packed with tips, playthroughs, and cheat codes for everything from starting an online fan community to planning a convention visit to supporting fellow female geeks in the wild.

I was quite looking forward to this one. I always really enjoy reading new takes on how women interact with pop culture, and anything that will help younger women navigate often-treacherous waters is very okay with me. It can be a really scary world out there.

Unfortunately, this is not that book. Far from being the “ultimate handbook”, it’s a very superficial look at what it takes to be a “fangirl”, perpetuating the squeeing-teenage-girl stereotype the whole way through. It’s filled with so much gushing and net-speak that I found myself glossing over many sections, and while there’s some great advice on how to deal with trolls, there’s a lot of emphasis on having the right swag and going to the right events.

I did enjoy the interviews at the end, their content was a lot more in line with what I was expecting from the whole book. There’s also a nice section with recommendations and resources that many will find helpful.

Overall though, this was not worth the time, you’ll find better content scattered around the internet, if you take the time to look for it.

Purchase: Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Nov 18, 2015 - Waiting on Wednesdays    No Comments

Waiting on Wednesday

Tyen is teaching mechanical magic at a school respected throughout the worlds. News arrives that the formidable ruler of all worlds, long believed to be dead, is back and enforcing his old laws – including the one forbidding schools of magic. As teachers and students flee, Tyen is left with no home and no purpose… except the promise he made to Vella, the sorcerer imprisoned in a book. Tyen must decide what he is willing to do to free her.

After five years among the tapestry weavers of Schpeta, Rielle’s peaceful new life has been shattered by a local war. As defeat looms, the powerful Angel of Storms appears and invites Rielle to join the artisans of his celestial realm. But what will he require in return for this extraordinary offer?

I confess, I haven’t read book one yet, but it is sitting on the shelf waiting to go! Trudi Canavan is one of my all time favourite authors, and I have no doubt that this will be another kickass book. 

Release Date: 12th November 2015

Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

Nov 16, 2015 - BookCat    No Comments

Charlie says the best pillow is made up of a sewing kit and Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan.

Nov 14, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Today’s crafting adventure. I have a crocheted frame for it, just need to stuff it. I plan on making a few more of these (2 Hufflepuffs and a Gryffindor) for birthday/Christmas presents, and a Ravenclaw one for me.

Nov 12, 2015 - Uncategorized    No Comments

Photos are terrible, but this is how I’ve spent most of my day. Some are already bookmarked (!) for people, but if there’s any interest, I’ll list the rest on etsy. I think they’d make cute secret santa gifts. 

I have a few other colours and combinations, and I have plans for Ravenclaw/Hufflepuff themed pom poms and flowers (and other flower designs, if I can make them work out).

Nov 11, 2015 - Waiting on Wednesdays    No Comments

Waiting on Wednesday

After years spent struggling to balance her desires with her responsibilities, Elspeth Gordie has fully embraced her role as the Seeker. Battle-scarred and lovelorn, haunted by memories of her beloved Rushton, Elspeth is not prepared for what she finds at the end of the black road she travels: the Compound, a lost community with a startling secret. As Elspeth strives against her captors, she learns that Rushton and her friends have fallen into the hands of the deadly slavemasters that rule the Red Land. And worst of all, as Elspeth stumbles, the Destroyer creeps ever closer to his goal: awakening the cataclysmically destructive weaponmachines that Elspeth has been charged with stopping. 

Has all her sacrifice been in vain?

I cannot even begin to describe how badly I need to read this book. I started this series ~17 years ago, and it has been a long (and sometimes painful) wait. This series was published a couple of years after I was born though, so some people have had a much longer wait than I have! Either way, it’s great to finally see the last book ready to go. 

Release Date: 12th November 2015

Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

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