Sunday, 15 October 2017

{Feature Post} BookBud - Better than a Beau?


Today I’m excited to speak with Gabriel Lea, first time YA author and creator of BookBud. Her little Etsy shop is creating quite a stir with her beautifully designed and professionally sewn book sleeves that have customers coming back for more. Why? Gabriel has cleverly applied her college education in fashion design and manufacture to creating book sleeves that are not only stunning to look at but are made differently to other sleeves on the market. When I asked Gabriel what sets BookBud apart, here’s what she had to say.

So how are your sleeves different to the rest?
Gabriel: All the book sleeves I know of are lined with foam which seemed weird to me for a few reasons. Firstly, you want to be able wash your sleeve when it gets grubby…it’s made of fabric…duh! You can’t just throw foam in the washing machine. It would need to be hand washed - not very practical or user friendly. Second, foam tends to compress and dent. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that their foam-lined sleeve is permanently dented where books have squished it out of shape. And third, it can be a struggle to wriggle your book in and out of a foam sleeve. So I wanted to make a better product for people.

Well, it seems that you have, given all of BookBud’s glowing reviews on Etsy and IG. 
Gabriel: Thank you. I started the store in February this year and I’m thrilled with how it’s slowly been building recognition. People are loving the thick, fleecy lining as a better alternative to foam. 

They’re also loving how well your sleeves are made and all the extras and add-ons they can choose from to customise their sleeve.
Gabriel: Yes, people can choose to add pockets, a cute button flap or a velcro tab, to name a few of the extras. 

And your prices are much cheaper than many other book sleeve stores too.
Gabriel: Well, I guess having worked as a designer, pattern maker and seamstress for many years, my sewing skills are pretty speedy and I use industrial sewing machines which are SUPER FAST! I have no interest in overcharging people. I think my prices are fair for a hand-made product and I intend to keep my product and postage prices as low as possible so everyone can afford a Bud! 

You also have Designer BookBuds in your store. Tell me about those.
Gabriel: I wanted to be the first to create book sleeves with original fandom designs, so I did. The Harry Potter houses were popular, as was the ACOMAF quote. I create the graphic designs and have them custom printed onto fabric and then sew them into BookBuds. I’m a huge advocate for saving our environment so the fabric is printed with eco-friendly, non-toxic ink. I’m hoping to have some new fandom designs finished in time for Christmas. I wish I didn’t have a day job to go to. Otherwise I’d just sit at the computer and write my next book and design cool book sleeves all day…bliss.

Well thank you so much for joining us Gabriel! 

You can visit Gabriel's Etsy Store here: 
https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/BookBudByGabrielLea
Instagram here: 
https://www.instagram.com/gabriellea.author/



Monday, 11 September 2017

{Review} Ramona Blue by Julie Murphy

31449227Posted by Donna
Release Date: August 10th, 2017
Finished Date: August 13th, 2017
Publishers: Harper360 UK
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Hardback
Pages: 432
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
 
Ramona was only five years old when Hurricane Katrina changed her life forever.

Since then, it’s been Ramona and her family against the world. Standing over six feet tall with unmistakable blue hair, Ramona is sure of three things: she likes girls, she’s fiercely devoted to her family, and she knows she’s destined for something bigger than the trailer she calls home in Eulogy, Mississippi. But juggling multiple jobs, her flaky mom, and her well-meaning but ineffectual dad forces her to be the adult of the family. Now, with her sister, Hattie, pregnant, responsibility weighs more heavily than ever.

The return of her childhood friend Freddie brings a welcome distraction. Ramona’s friendship with the former competitive swimmer picks up exactly where it left off, and soon he’s talked her into joining him for laps at the pool. But as Ramona falls in love with swimming, her feelings for Freddie begin to shift too, which is the last thing she expected. With her growing affection for Freddie making her question her sexual identity, Ramona begins to wonder if perhaps she likes girls and guys or if this new attraction is just a fluke. Either way, Ramona will discover that, for her, life and love are more fluid than they seem.

The Review: Ramona Blue is a story about a gay teenage girl who is struggling through each day dealing with the suffering from Hurricane Katrina which ruined her family home years before, her mother leaving, her older sister becoming pregnant by some loser guy and now she is questioning her sexuality. Ramona knows she likes girls, she has done since she can remember so there has never been any doubt there until her long lost friend Freddie moves back to her hometown and her feelings for him make her question she thinks she knows about herself. 

Ramona is a strong character who despite her family’s problems, she loves very much. She is very caring and loving for her sister. Despite their limited space in her family’s trailer she appreciates how much her father works and tries to care for them despite his low earnings. It’s why Ramona tries to help her sister so much. This proves how much of a loving character Ramona is and how loyal she is to her family. She really is a fab character! 

I have to say I think (from what I can remember) that this might be the first book I’ve ever read about a bi-sexual character. I like to think as an open minded reader I’ve read my share of diverse reads but then once in a while a new book will come along and then it’s opened me up to something different. I really enjoyed Ramona’s story. It’s different, it’s honest, it’s raw and it’s definitely an eye opening read that makes you understand what real people might just be going through on a normal day to day basis.

Now if you ask me what’s my favourite between Dumplin’ and Ramona Blue, I have to admit, Dumplin’ is so far my favourite. I guess the one problem I had with Ramona Blue is how long the book is. It needed at least 100 pages taken off but other than that, I really enjoyed it and I can not wait to see what Julie will do next.

Thank you to Harper360 UK for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

{Review} Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1) by Lexa Hillyer

30163661Posted by Donna
Release Date: April 11th, 2017
Finished Date: July 27th, 2017
Publishers: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: eARC
Pages: 351
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
 
A kingdom burns. A princess sleeps. This is no fairy tale.

It all started with the burning of the spindles.

No.

It all started with a curse…

Half sisters Isabelle and Aurora are polar opposites: Isabelle is the king’s headstrong illegitimate daughter, whose sight was tithed by faeries; Aurora, beautiful and sheltered, was tithed her sense of touch and her voice on the same day. Despite their differences, the sisters have always been extremely close.

And then everything changes, with a single drop of Aurora’s blood—and a sleep so deep it cannot be broken.

As the faerie queen and her army of Vultures prepare to march, Isabelle must race to find a prince who can awaken her sister with the kiss of true love and seal their two kingdoms in an alliance against the queen.

Isabelle crosses land and sea; unearthly, thorny vines rise up the palace walls; and whispers of revolt travel in the ashes on the wind. The kingdom falls to ruin under layers of snow. Meanwhile, Aurora wakes up in a strange and enchanted world, where a mysterious hunter may be the secret to her escape…or the reason for her to stay.

The Review: Spindle Fire has only been on my radar for a few months after I kept seeing it pop up every now and then over Instagram. I decided to look it up and even though there are quite a few mixed reviews, I was intrigued enough to want to try it. I’m always looking for new retelling stories and with this being a retelling of both Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland I was immediately excited to see how the author could combine both stories into one but I was honestly just disappointed when I started.


The story is told by two different narratives, Isabelle & Aurora. Isabelle and Aurora are very different. For starters, Aurora is the illegitimate daughter of the king while the other, Isbe is not as she was born out of wed lock and has a different mother to Aurora. Aurora is lost her sense of touch and her voice to faeries as payment, while Isbe loses her sight. I actually really liked this aspect of the story and thought it was unique and interesting. I’ve read a lot of faery books in the past and haven’t come across this as yet so it was definitely something new and fresh. But just this one likable thing couldn’t hold my interest for long.
As the story progresses both of the girls start their own journeys which leads them onto different paths but ultimately trying to reach the same ending. This is where the problem for me lies. Once their journeys start I actually started to lose interest in the story. Each sister is basically telling each retelling, and for me it just didn’t work. I found the stories became confusing and as we get further into the faery world, it didn’t make sense. The girl’s stories were going in completely different situations that once again didn’t make sense – more so Aurora’s story.
I have to admit I’m not a patient reader. If a book doesn’t grab me within the first 100 pages or so then I start to lose interest. And I lost interest very quickly with this book and this why I decided to not finish the book at around 47%. If anything I actually gave this book more time than I normally would.
Thank you to HarperTeen for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 7 August 2017

{Review} Truth or Dare by Non Pratt

25458747
Posted by Donna
Release Date: June 1st, 2017
Finished Date: June 1st, 2017
Publishers: Walker
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 304
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
 
A powerful and moving novel about bravery from the Guardian's "writer to watch" Non Pratt, perfect for fans of Rainbow Rowell, John Green and Holly Bourne. 

How far is too far when it comes to the people you love? 

Claire Casey hates being the centre of attention. But if it means getting Sef Malik to notice her, it’s a risk she’s happy to take. 

Sef is prepared to do anything to help his recently disabled brother. But this means putting Claire’s love – and life – on the line. Because when you're willing to risk everything, what is there left to lose?

The Review: Truth or Dare by Non Pratt is a book that I was really excited to read. After reading and loving her debut novel Trouble, I was more than excited to see what this author could do next.

This story is about two teenagers, Claire and Sef, who are both going through some serious life issues mainly bulling and disabilities. The story tells the characters journey of trying to raise money for Sef’s brother who has been hurt and trying to afford the cost of his treatment. This brings Claire and Sef to create Truth or Dare, where they record themselves online doing crazy dares to raise money. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story because it was not something I’d read before and trying to bring awareness to an illness to a great achievement so bravo to the characters for doing something selfless and brave.

The story is also told from both main characters narratives, so different points of view and for a story like this I definitely think it was needed. It made the story that much more real and enjoyable to get the feeling from both characters. And I loved how you have to flip the book to get the other characters story. Very unique!

I have to say I really did want something more from the end. I’m not a big fan of open endings – I like closure so I can move on from a story but this felt much unfinished to me.

In all, Truth or Dare is an enjoyable read. I didn’t quite like it as much as Trouble but I’m excited to read more from Non Pratt.

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

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

{Feature} Bookworm Candles & Crafts: Fairytales and Fables Twist Range

                           
Hello, hello! Isn’t this year flying by - it's almost August!? And you already guessed it but we are here with a new feature post from the wonderful Bookworm Candles and Crafts. If you’ve been following our previous posts then you already know lots about Bookworm Candles and Crafts and if not, don’t worry – you can click this link HERE and have a quick look at what this company is all about. 
Today we are going to show you something really special. And I mean really special. And it’s going to be about one very special series that I know you all love. It’s one we love as well and even though the series has finished, we’re all still talking about it and begging companies like Bookworm Candles and Crafts to make more bookish goodies about this series. 
So…… today’s post will centre round THE LUNAR CHRONICLES by Marissa Meyer!



Bookworm Candles and Craft have recently released a new range called fairytales and fables twist range. This is based on all those great fairy tales retellings out there and of course the first series to be created is inspired by the Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer. So if you haven’t already seen them around on Twitter or Instagram or from her reps, well now is your chance. 
Fairytales and Fables Lunar Twist Candle Range: Cinders Flight
'All her life, at least, all the life she could remember all she'd ever wanted was freedom'
This is the first candle to be created and of course it’s inspired by Cinder. This candle is called Cinder's Fight smells like dry tears, courage and true heir. It’s perfect for you floral scented fans as this has a gorgeous floral scent. 
Fairytales and Fables Lunar Twist Candle Range - Scarlet's Love
‘She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him’
The second candle from the range is Scarlet’s Love which is inspired by the second book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Scarlet’s Love smells like alpha, unconditional and tomatoes and is perfect for you fruity scented fans as this has a lovely fruity scent.
Fairytales and Fables Lunar Twist Candle Range - Cress' Freedom
'Maybe there isn't such a thing as fate. Maybe it's just the opportunities we're given and what we do with them. '
The third candle from the range is Cress’ Freedom which is inspired by the third book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Cress’s Freedom smells like hacking, dreams and butterflies wings and has a really fresh true floral scent.
Fairytales and Fables Lunar Twist Candle Range - Winter's Innocence
'The walls have been bleeding for years and no one else sees it'
The fourth candle from the range is Winter’s Innocence which is inspired by the forth book in the Lunar Chronicles series. Winter’s Innocence smells like sweetness, candies and beauty and it also has fruity, caramel scent with hints of cinnamon.
Fairytales and Fables Lunar Twist Candle Range - Levana's Vanity
'But to be so cherished, what a dream that must be'
And lastly, no Lunar Chronicles set would be complete without the evil Queen herself Levana which is inspired by the novella from the Lunar Chronicles series, Fairest. Levana’s Vanity smells like glamour's, cruelty and ambition and has a fruity, floral scent with hints of bitter sweet lime.
Now all these amazing candles come in four great sizes 2oz mini starter candle, 4oz best seller candle, 6.5oz jar and lastly 10.5oz large jar and with all the usual bookworm candle touches and the prices also range from £3 - £10.50. 
Wondering where to purchase them? You can do so here: bookwormcandlesandcrafts.bigcartel.com and don’t forget you can save 10% on all purchases by using my code: bookpforlife10

There is one last thing we’d like to share with you and that is the Lunar Chronicles series has been picked for August’s monthly bookish box called Stars Above. It's an amazing tribute to your personal favourites. This themed box is going to have 4 candles in the box as well as other goodies and the good thing about this box is they are all exclusive items that you can’t purchase in store already! 
Available for £16.50 and it will ship around 15th August so get your orders in quick!

Monday, 17 July 2017

{Review} Avenged (Ruined #2) by Amy Tintera

31371485Posted by Donna
Release Date: May 2nd, 2017
Finished Date: July 12th, 2017
Publishers: HarperTeen
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Source: For Review
Format: Hardback
Pages: 416
Buy: Amazon UK Amazon US / The Book Depo 
 
A war that will fuel her. A bond that will destroy her.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory. 


But just because Em and Olivia are out of Lera doesn’t mean they are safe. Their actions over the past year have had consequences, and they are now targets of retaliation. Olivia will destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure. 


Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. Lera may have destroyed the Ruined for decades, but Em knows that Cas is different. And now that he’s taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.


Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, she faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

The Review:
You all know that YA fantasy has fast become my favourite genre and I’m always on the lookout for new series to try, so when I read Ruined by Amy Tintera last year I was instantly sold. With the release of Avenged - the sequel to Ruined, this series is now becoming a favourite because I enjoyed Ruined a lot but I enjoyed Avenged even more.

Emelina Flores has done the impossible. She has infiltrated her enemy’s world to rescue her sister from capture. Now finally free, Em and Olivia gather up the remaining Ruina people and try to rebuild their lives. However, with Olivia hell bent on revenge and with the Lera forces breathing down their necks, Em and Olivia aren’t safe yet. And so Em turns to the one person she never thought she could count on – Casimir, the Lera Prince for help while also trying to battle her feelings for him. While a war is brewing from all sides, Em must decide the right choice for her people while trying to stay true to herself in the process. 

I absolutely loved this book! I was actually quite surprised because you know sequels tend to have that problem of being boring or suffering from middle book syndrome but not Avenged. Avenged was action packed from the start with the story becoming stronger and stronger with each page and the story was very unpredictable. It really was hard to work out what was going to happen next. It also has great chemistry between the characters and the romance - just enough to keep you on your toes!

I really enjoyed reading Emelina and Cas’s point of views in the first book but one of the main reasons I enjoyed Avenged more was because we also saw more from Aren and Olivia. As a reader it was great getting to know them more – okay, maybe not so much of Olivia as I really don’t like her but, it was still interesting to read more about her. 

I honestly cannot wait to read the next instalment when it releases. I already know how I’d like the series to end but I honestly don’t know if that will or can happen. Either way, I’m eager to find out!

Thank you to Harper 360 for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Sunday, 25 June 2017

{Feature Post} Bookworm Candles & Crafts + Giveaway

                           
And we’re back with another feature post featuring the wonderful Bookworm Candles and Crafts and if you’ve missed the previous posts on this company, click HERE to catch up and don't forget their website address is
bookwormcandlesandcrafts.bigcartel.com
Today we’re going to a little something different. Normally we will show you a complete range of products but this time we are going to show you one product but, and the best part is, you will get to see the different sizes this candle comes in from tins, jars etc.
Now, we all know how much everyone loves Sarah J Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses series so we thought we’d show you a new product to our store featuring one of our favourite characters. Now this character has always been a good one but it’s only in A Court of War & Ruins did he because an absolute favourite or for me anyway. 
So everyone, please welcome Bookworm Candles and Crafts latest character candle reveal – LUCIEN! 

Lucien smells like Russett, Autumn Rose and Nutmeg and has a fresh autumnal feel with a sunny warm side. Sounds lovely right? And these are the candles sizes available.
2oz Mini Starter Candle Tin - £3
This 2oz starter candle is perfect for people who want to test a scented candle before buying a larger candle and priced at just £3 per candle it’s the perfect price too. As this is starter candle it comes with a cute handmade crochet band and lid artwork and, will roughly burn for around 15 hours.
4oz Best Seller Candle Tin - £6
This 4oz candle tin is one of our most popular tins. This tin is perfect if you want a bigger size at an affordable price or even as a gift for a family friend/relative. It’s the only candle tins that has a double wick and also comes with a bigger styled handmade crochet band and lid artwork. It will burn for around 25 hours. 
8oz Wooden Wick Candle Tin - £9
This 8oz tin is a little different from your 2oz and 4oz tins. Slightly bigger in size as well as having a different design on the lid as well as having a wrap-around label. It will also have a wooden wick and have a small handmade crochet band too and lid artwork. This is the largest candle tin and will burn for around 35 hours. 
7oz Signature Jar - £9.50
These signature candle jars are perfect for you candle lovers who prefer jar candles over tins – especially if you want them sitting nicely on your bookshelves. The wax in these jars all come in a white creamy wax and are only used for the character candles. This beautifully shaped jar comes with a book page glass button as well as a character related charm and lid artwork. This candle will burn for around 30 hours. 
10.5oz Large Candle Jar – £10.50
If you’re looking for a large candle jar then you’ve found the right one. This 10.5oz candle jar is the largest in the store and will burn for a massive 50 hours. It also comes with a full wrap design label as well as lid artwork along with a small version charm to match the signature candle jar. 
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So as you can see Bookworm Candles and Craft offer so many different varieties of candle jars and tins that any customer will be completely happy with their choices. 
Don’t forget that we’ve used Lucien’s character today only as a guide. Bookworm Candles and Crafts have many more different characters available to purchase from characters from The Hunger Games, Six of Crows, Shadowhunters, The Grisha Series, Throne of Glass, A Court of Thorns and Roses to name a few. So why not check out their store to see if they have your favourite character – and if they don’t then feel free to ask them. They are more than happy to do customer orders. 
Giveaway.....
Bookworm Candles and Crafts are offering ONE lucky winner a £15 gift card to spend on whatever you like in their store. So whether that be a selection of mini starter tins or a large jar – the choice is completely yours. As mentioned if the gift card given will be for £15 only, please bear in mind that if you win and your order comes to more than £15, you will of course have to cover the remainder of the payment. 
And don’t forget to use BOOKPFORLIFE10 to save on all your purchases on bookwormcandlesandcrafts.bigcartel.com.