Books on my Christmas wish list

Posted in Books
on November 11, 2018

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year and I’m very much looking forward to seeing what goodies I get from my loved ones this year. My boyfriend and I always give each other a Christmas wish list – it’s easier than trying guess what we both want!

This year, all I want is books – many books. Including some amazing pre-orders. So, I thought I’d show you what I’ve put forward!

For full transparency, this post contains some affiliate links for which I will earn commission. This does not make it more expensive for you!

Preorders

Ruin of Kings, Jenn Lyons

Ruin of Kings cover

 

What if you weren’t the hero? 

As a bard’s apprentice, Kihrin grew up with tales of legendary deeds. He also steals, desperate to buy a way out of Quur’s slums. Then he raids the wrong house, he’s marked by a demon and life will never be the same again. Kihrin’s plight brings him to the attention of royalty, who claim him as the lost son of their immoral prince.

But far from living the dream, Kihrin’s at the mercy of his new family’s ruthless ambitions. However, escaping his jewelled cage just makes matters worse. Kihrin is horrified to learn he’s at the centre of an ancient prophecy. And every side – from gods and demons to dragons and mages – want him as their pawn.Those old stories lied about many things too, especially the myth that the hero always wins.

Then again, maybe Kihrin isn’t the hero, for he’s not destined to save the empire.

He’s destined to destroy it.

 

Prophecy, anti-hero and demons? I’m in.

The Last, Hanna Jameson

The Last coverBREAKING: Nuclear weapon detonates over Washington
BREAKING: London hit, thousands feared dead
BREAKING: Munich and Scotland hit. World leaders call for calm

Historian Jon Keller is on a trip to Switzerland when the world ends. As the lights go out on civilisation, he wishes he had a way of knowing whether his wife, Nadia, and their two daughters are still alive. More than anything, Jon wishes he hadn’t ignored Nadia’s last message. Twenty people remain in Jon’s hotel. Far from the nearest city and walled in by towering trees, they wait, they survive.

Then one day, the body of a young girl is found. It’s clear she has been murdered. Which means that someone in the hotel is a killer.

As paranoia descends, Jon decides to investigate. But how far is he willing to go in pursuit of justice? And what kind of justice can he hope for, when society as he knows it no longer exists?

 

This book has been described as a cross between and Stephen King and an Agatha Christie book. Winner winner.

Red Snow, Will Dean

Red Snow coverTWO BODIES

One suicide. One cold-blooded murder. Are they connected? And who’s really pulling the strings in the small Swedish town of Gavrik?

TWO COINS

Black Grimberg liquorice coins cover the murdered man’s eyes. The hashtag #Ferryman starts to trend as local people stock up on ammunition.

TWO WEEKS

Tuva Moodyson, deaf reporter at the local paper, has a fortnight to investigate the deaths before she starts her new job in the south. A blizzard moves in. Residents, already terrified, feel increasingly cut-off. Tuva must go deep inside the Grimberg factory to stop the killer before she leaves town for good. But who’s to say the Ferryman will let her go?

 

A Scandi murder mystery? Yes, please.

Collector’s Editions

Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows collector's edition coverCriminal prodigy Kaz Brekker is offered a chance at a deadly heist: break into the Ice Court – a military stronghold that has never been breached – and retrieve a hostage whose knowledge could change Grisha magic forever. To succeed would mean riches beyond his wildest dreams – but he can’t pull it off alone . . .

A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Together they might just be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

 

 

I’ve just started the audiobook of this and I’m in love. And also a bit late to the game. This edition is gorgeous, though.

Darker Shade of Magic & Gathering of Shadows, V. E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic collector's edition cover A Gathering of Shadows collector's edition coverKell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Darker Shade of Magic

Confession time: I haven’t read any V. E. Schwab yet. I remember starting Vicious ages ago (I’ve bought a copy to start this month!) and just, never got round to finishing. I’ve also asked for another copy of Vicious, Vengeful and City of Ghosts – I just know that once I start, I’m not going to want to stop reading these books.

The book I couldn’t wait for

The Priory of the Orange Tree, Samantha Shannon

The Priory of the Orange Tree coverA world divided.

A queendom without an heir.

An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

I cannot wait for this book so I just had to order a signed and numbered first edition from Goldsboro Books before they sell out! I was also given access to the preview chapters via NetGalley which I’m trying to read as slowly as possible to savour every moment before the four month wait! Definitely booking a day off work to read it as soon as it arrives.

 

And there you have it! My dream Christmas wish list for the holidays (and a treat yo’self for the future). 

What books are you hoping to receive this winter? Let me know in the comments! And, if you’re stuck for a book, be sure to check out some of my reviews!

October Lush haul

Posted in Life
on October 9, 2018

Hi, my name is Natalie and I’m addicted to Lush products.

But seriously, why does everything Lush make smell incredible, be packaged in an eco-friendly way and actually work? TAKE MY MONEY. This month, I splashed some cash on a little post-Fresher’s week pampering kit which I thought I would share with you before I use them all up!

And, before you ask, no, I’m not a student – I was one of the poor staff members welcoming them all in the rain…

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First up, my one true love, Intergalactic

Find me someone that doesn’t love Intergalactic – I dare you. Smells great, looks great before the bath and looks INCREDIBLE in a bath. This should be a staple in everyone’s bath.

Intergalactic is the only product I’d tried before – the rest are all completely new to me!

A Little Bottle of Calm

Unfortunately, this cute little bottle broke a little bit in the box (I ordered online) so I couldn’t get any good photos of it. It smelled so good though, so I used it in the bath the very next day and let me tell you – my gosh did I relax! It smells beautiful and turned my bath a lovely light blue which complemented my current read quite nicely!

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Honey, I smell amazing

Who shops at Lush and doesn’t pick up some actual soap? Honey, I Washed The Kids smells amazing – it’s also super moisturising. I’m loving it so far!

Things I haven’t used yet

Are you a fan of Lush? What’s your favourite product? Let me know in the comments!

The Proposal, S. E. Lynes

Posted in Books
on October 8, 2018

I love a good thriller, especially the ones that keep you guessing. The Proposal by S.E Lynnes is absolutely one of those books.

Thank you to Bookouture for a free e-copy of this book via NetGalley. For complete transparency, there are affiliate links within this post.

As you were.

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Title: The Proposal

Author: S. E. Lynes

Page count: 324

The first thing you should know, dear reader, is that I am dead.

And so The Proposal begins. The book is set out in a series of blog posts and diary entries written by author, and lead character, Pippa Gates. After an encounter with a door-to-door salesman who sells her his life story for £200. Intrigued yet?

Lynes keeps you on your toes throughout the book, leading you in different directions away from your assumptions. Just over half way through, the twist comes and, boy, is it a good’un! From there, the story descends into organised chaos (in a good way!) until the dark and foreshadowed ending.

This book is a masterpiece in suspense. As a murder/thriller junkie, I didn’t see the twist coming. I was delighted when my assumed twist was completely wrong! It shocked me, made me scroll back to an earlier chapter to find the clues, and then smile like an idiot when I realised I’d been played. Honestly, such a good twist!

The writing style is fantastic. There’s a clear difference between the diary entries and the blog posts. There’s a narrative being played out here. The overly happy, perfect life portrayed in the blog posts is beautifully contrasted by the dark, twisted reality portrayed in the diary.

Have you read The Proposal? What did you think? If not, does it sound like one for you?

10 reasons why autumn is the best season

Posted in Life
on October 5, 2018

Autumn is the best season. No ifs, no buts, there is literally no competition. In the UK, it’s a bit of a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it season as we don’t seem to have the falling leaves and cold crisp weather for very long (then it’s just rain until March!).

Don’t get me wrong, I wish autumn could also have the long day of summer but, in case you aren’t of this mind (yet), here’s a list to sway your mind.

1. Autumn is the perfect temperature

It’s not too hot, it’s not too cold. You can wear a jumper or a jacket with your summer clothes, and you won’t feel cold.

2. Jumpers galore

I love jumpers. Preferably chunky ones, or ones with embroidery on them! I love pulling out my jumpers from storage (read: under the bed) and knowing that I’ll be nice and cosy all through the season.

3. Stews and hotpots are back!

The easiest and most tasty meal prep solutions ever. Stew, some cheesy polenta and a metric tonne of gravy = the perfect autumn meal.

4. These colours

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Photo by Efdal YILDIZ from Pexels

‘Nough said, really.

5. Cold outside, warm inside

Nothing says autumn like setting your boiler to come on in twice a day. You come in from work and it’s so toasty inside that your glasses slightly steam up – that’s autumn to me.

6. Hot chocolate becomes acceptable at any point in the day

I feel judged drinking hot chocolate outside of autumn and winter, so I’m always grateful for the opportunity to drink it all day everyday.

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

7. The sun has the most perfect aesthetic

The sunsets. The sunrises. The gorgeous shades of pink and orange and yellow that fill the sky – b e a utiful.

8. Saying “I stayed in all weekend” doesn’t get you a funny look

It’s cold, and likely raining, so no one thinks you’re strange for not leaving the house all weekend anymore.

9. Mulled wine and cider EVERYWHERE

Mulled cider is my absolute favourite thing about autumn. Mulled wine, too! The smell immediately takes me back to bonfire nights as a kid with sparklers, sticky toffee apples and a hunt for any hedgehogs hiding in the pyre.

10. It’s almost Christmas!

I’m so excited for Christmas this year. I’m determined to have a Christmas in our new home – fingers crossed we move in before then!

 

What’s your favourite season? If it’s Autumn, would you add anything to this list?

My Autumn Aesthetic

Posted in Life
on October 4, 2018

I love autumn. I can get the jumpers out, consume copious amounts of cinnamon (and it be acceptable!) and the heating goes back on to make everything nice and toasty!

Autumn just has an aesthetic that fits with mine. Colour wise, there’s reds, yellows, oranges and browns. I can layer up my clothes, bringing out my chunky knits and fleece-lined tights to layer with dresses and jeans. French tucking jumpers, inspired by Queer Eye, will be my go to this winter – I just need to order some more jeans!

So, here’s a picture post of things that I feel represent my autumn aesthetic!

 

What’s your autumn aesthetic?  Let me know in the comments!

How to cope with the decreasing daylight hours

Posted in Life
on October 3, 2018

The worst thing about autumn? The decreasing amount of sunlight.

I suck at the dark mornings and dark evenings. It never feels like I see the sun – leaving the house before 8 and getting home at 16:30. It really affects my mental and physical health, so this year I’m on a mission to make winter a bit more bearable!

Make the most of the daytime

I’m awful for staying indoors with a cup of tea and a book. So I’m going to be making the most of my lunch breaks and weekends by going for walks, having lunch outside/near a window (especially if it’s raining!) and making sure that I get at least half an hour in the daylight each day. I’m not being strict yet, as it’s not going dark until 19:30ish at the moment, but I will be going out and about as much as possible come November!

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Keeping healthy

Exercise is great for my mental and physical health, so I’m going to be making a much more concerted effort to getting exercise in my daily routine. One of my goals is to complete a Couch to 5k!

I’m also going to be cutting refined sugar from diet. I’ve done it before and I felt incredible so I can’t wait! It’s so easy to reach for something sugary to get me through day, especially in the office, so it’s going to be tough to cut it out, but I know it’ll be the best thing for me!

Splashing the cash

I’ve always been interested in Lightbox Therapy and I’ve read about people’s transformational experiences by buying one, so I’m going to take the plunge next payday and buy one!

Some are super expensive (I’m talking like £150+) but I’m going to go for this one from SAD.co.uk at £39.95. If it works, I might upgrade!

Are you affected by the darker days? How do you cope with it? Let me know in the comments!

How to create the cosiest reading nook for autumn

Posted in Books
on October 2, 2018

Wow, I made it to day 2 of #Blogtober – who saw that coming?!

After yesterday’s TBR, it’s only right to discuss how to create the cosiest reading nook for the shorter days that come with the autumn and winter seasons. I haven’t created my dream nook yet – I will do once we’ve completed on our house – so this is going to be a mixture of what I’m hoping to buy and what I think would be perfect to settle down at the end of a long week and bury myself in another world.

First up, you need pillows. Lots of pillows.

I have a bit of a pillow obsession. They’re the best way to create comfort, whilst also looking super cute too! I love using them for pops of colour/design!

 

Clockwise from top left:
1. ELDTÖREL Cushion cover by Ikea, £4.50
2. Ryker Embroidered Cushion by MADE, £25
3. Yellow Modernist Throw Pillow by Madeline Louise at Society6, $29.99
4. Ohhio Braid Cushion Square by Ohhio, £54.71

No nook is complete without a blanket.

I love blankets. You can chuck one over any item of furniture and it immediately looks like you’re an adult who has their life together. My favourite blanket is one my grandma made for me – it’s chunky, wide knit and very good at keeping the heat in!

 

Left to right:
1. Chunky Knit Blanket by King and Eye Crochet, £70+
2. Zig Zag Throw by Koko Blossom, £95
3. Succulove Throw Blanket by Crystal W Design, $59.99
4. Lindsay Campbell Throw by Anthropologie through John Lewis, £128

A bit cliche, but string lights = cosiness perfection.

I love a set of string lights! For ultimate reading perfection, try and get ones that have a warmer/yellow glow, particularly if you’re a nighttime reader – there’ll be less blue light in them which won’t disrupt your body’s way of letting you know you’re sleepy!

 

Left to right:
1. Pumpkin Halloween Lights by Mini Loca Shop, £9.25
2. Fairy lights by Juliet Turnbull, £7.85+
3. LED Copper Leaf fairy lights by Hook and Light, £14+
4. Mini Pumpkin String Lights by Party Touches UK, £4.99

Hot water bottles everywhere, please!

Keeping people cosy one kettle at a time, hot water bottles complete any cosy reading nook! I love that such a small thing can show off so much personality. My current faves are these!

 

Clockwise from top left:
1. Hand Knitted Hot Water Bottle Cover by High Fibre Design, £35
2. Twist and Turn Hot Water Bottle Cover by Story Horse, £20
3. “Children’s Personalised Crown Mini Hot Water Bottle by Chi Chi Moi, £28 absolutely not just for kids
4. Biscuits the Shark Hot Water Bottle by Terri Leahy, £38
5. Merino Hug a Hottie Hot Water Bottle by Plum and Ivory, £50

So, there you have the items I think would make the perfect cosy reading nook! Do you agree? Let me know what your perfect reading nook looks like in the comments!

None of the links above are affiliate links – I’m just a girl, in love with these products.

Featured image photo by Janko Ferlic accessed via Pexels.

October TBR

Posted in Books
on October 1, 2018

I wasn’t going to be doing Blogtober, but this awesome suggested post ideas from Jenniely has got me sold!

So, let’s kick this off with my October TBR!

For full transparency, there are affiliate links within this page.

As you were.

The Unit, Ninni Holmqvist

The unit

Page count: 288

Blurb: An eerie dystopian novel envisions a society in the not-so-distant future where men and women deemed economically worthless are sent to a retirement community called the Unit. With lavish apartments set amongst beautiful gardens and state-of-the-art facilities, elaborate gourmet meals, and wonderful music and art, they are free of financial worries and want for nothing.

It’s an idyllic place, but there’s a catch: the residents – known as dispensables – must donate their organs, one by one, until the final donation. When Dorrit Weger arrives at the Unit, she resigns herself to this fate, seeking only peace in her final days. But she soon falls in love, and this unexpected, improbable happiness throws the future into doubt.”

It Ends With HerIt Ends With You, S. K. Wright

Page count: 372

Blurb: Everyone loves Eva. Beautiful, bright, fun, generous – she’s perfect. So when her body is found in a ditch in the local woods the only thing anyone wants to know is: who could have done this?

It has to be Luke, her boyfriend. He has the motive, the means, the opportunity and he’s no stranger to the police. Even though the picture is incomplete, the pieces fit. But as time passes, stories change.

The Periodic Table of Feminism, Marisa Bate

Page count: 204periodic

Blurb: Feminism is a political, social and philosophical movement that has transformed and revolutionized women’s lives.

From fearless women campaigning for the right to vote, to pioneers in fields of medicine, politics and business by the way of pop-culture heroines, writers and creatives, The Periodic Table of Feminism explores over 100 inspiring and engaging international figures who have helped to shape it.

And there you have it! I’ve only got a small TBR again this month, but I also have about 20 books on NetGalley to work through too! What are you reading this month?

 

Featured image photo by Ylanite Koppens accessed via Pexels

Vox, Christina Dalcher

Posted in Books
on September 3, 2018

“I don’t think I really believed it would happen. I don’t think any of us did.”

IMG_0193Title: Vox

Author: Christina Dalcher

Page count: 326 (hardcover edition)

Imagine a world where women have a 100-word allowance each day. Go over that number, and you’ll wish you hadn’t.

That’s the reality for Dr, no, Mrs Jean McClellan, and all girls & women over 3 months old. No title, other than the one of ownership; no voting; no work but housework; no words, no signing, no gestures; no privacy. Not even any mail. The band around their wrist, calibrated to their voice, counts upwards throughout the day, enforcing quietness and submission to male dominance. And then, as if by total irony, the research Jean had been working on (until she couldn’t) was needed, beginning the fight for the right to have a voice.

Dalcher has created a masterful piece of literature, which uniquely combines the politics and turbulence of external factors, with family dynamics, not all of them good. Jean has to raise four kids, three boys and a girl, whilst adjusting to life within this new, intolerant country. Her husband, Patrick, works in the White House and is so wonderfully complex as a character, I could write a whole post on the mastery of it. It would, however, give away some major spoilers so I will save that for a time when people know how this book ends.

Add into this, Dalcher’s fantastic use of intersectional politics and identities, and there’s an element of this novel that makes you terrified for the future. The hints of Bible Belt religionism, nuclear family discourse, and corrupt politics make this book incredibly exciting and fast-paced. My one criticism – stylistically, it might have been a bit more impactful for each chapter to be 100 words or less.

That doesn’t really limit my love for this book, though.

Have you read Vox? What did you think? If you haven’t got a copy yet, you can pick one up here (not an affiliated link – I just love people buying books!)

Four ways to get out of your reading slump

Posted in Books
on August 23, 2018

I am awful at making time for reading.

My phone, social media, video games or binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy always seem to take a higher priority, even though they don’t bring me as much joy. So, I’ve been trying some new behaviours to try and teach myself to make more time.

1. Munching and reading

My most productive reading time? Lunch.

I’m very lucky to be able to take an hour-long lunch break, leaving me about 40 minutes to sit down and read every day of the working week (subtracting time to eat and get settled in). Find a quiet spot, put your headphones in, and you can transport yourself into another world quite easily. It also helps if a work pal reads with you as you can motivate each other to keep going!

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2. Go back to your classic

When all else fails, your classic read will always be there for you. My old faithful? Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. Following Lyra’s adventures never gets old and always increases my love of reading. Go back to that book you say down and read in a day – it may just be the one to get you back on track.

3. “App”y reading

I have fallen in love… with an app? The Bookly App is so much more than a handy, digital bookmark. You can track how long you’ve been reading the book so far, see how successful your reading sessions have been, add quotes/thoughts/words as you read (or take photos for later) and even play relaxing sounds, such as a thunderstorm, as you delve into another world. But, and this is the bit that gets me, you can unlock achievements as you go, meaning the more you put into to the app, the more you can get through! Gamification is a sure fire way to get me on board. I use the app pretty much every day, so have splurged on the paid subscription (£4.99) which allows you unlimited books on the app itself (you can only have up to 10 on the free version) and allows you to set yearly reading goals. I really, really, really love this product.

4. Read or write about them

For me, part of the reason I wanted to start a blog is to motivate myself to read more! I have many books I want to read, but I just haven’t done it, so I thought I’d tell you all about them instead! But, if blogging doesn’t seem like your thing, read them. There are book bloggers for all sorts of niche genres (and quite a few every-genre-possible bookworms too!) so there should be a blogger out there for you!

Are you struggling to make time for reading at the moment? What’re you doing to counter it? Share in the comments below and help out a fellow struggling reader! <3