Thursday, 5 July 2018

Book Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

A Court Of Wings and Ruin – Sarah J. Maas

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
First published: 2017
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 699

Blurb:    Feyre will bring vengeance.
She has left the Night Court – and her High Lord – and is playing a deadly game of deceit. In the Spring Court, Tamlin is making deals with the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees and Feyre is determined to uncover his plans. But to do so she must weave a web of lies, and one slop may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.
As mighty armies grapple for power, Feyre must decide who to trust among the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places.
But while war rages, it is her heart that will face the greatest battle.

History of my copy: I picked up ACOWAR whilst shopping in Waterstones as I had enjoyed the first two books, A Court of Thorns and Roses and A Court of Mist and Fury.

I was quite impressed by how quickly I read this book; 2 months isn’t bad during university term time!

Plot: The third instalment in the Court of Thorns and Roses series follows Feyre as she plays a treacherous game of spying in the Spring Court whilst she pretends to return to her initial captor turn love interest, Tamlin. As Hybern finally brings the wall down with the cauldron, a battle ensues (which is actually quite cool to be honest.) However, my main gripe with the plot is that it was too cliché and the ending too happy. It felt like something bad should have happened just to get some form of emotion out of the story.

Setting: I will, however, praise the setting of A Court of Wings and Ruin. As I’ve mentioned in previous reviews of this series, Maas is a master at setting the scene, and describes every location so vividly that you truly believe that you are there. I cannot wait to explore more of this world in future books!

Characters: The character development in A Court of Wings and Ruin was probably the most frustrating part of this book. Over the first two books in the series, the characters have really interested me and, as you can see from my past two reviews, my opinions of certain ones have changed. However, ACOWAR felt like a step back. Feyre’s great twist of becoming immortal has now just turned her really two-dimensional, and her whole relationship with Rhys has become nothing but sex and ‘vulgar hand-gestures’. Even Lucien, who I adore, started to get a bit boring once he left the Spring Court, although he did pick up again towards the end of the book. And, the more bored I got of Rhys, Feyre and the rest of the Night Court, the angrier I got about the injustice Maas has given Tamlin – she has completely twisted his character to make the reader favour Rhys. Sure, Rhys is the better partner for Feyre, but Tamlin is once again becoming my favourite character.
                The only enjoyable character development belonged to Nesta, who has become a brilliant character. But even she has her flaw – why are all the characters getting paired up? Yawn.

To read or not to read: Read, but only to continue the series. I was fairly disappointed with the third instalment of this series, and I really hope that the next book is much more interesting.

Illumicrate Number 7 Unboxing (May 2017)

Following on from my February 2017 Illumicrate unboxing, here is my unboxing of the 7th box, from May 2017.

Check Illumicrate out here.

This box was jam-packed with goodies, as you can see! See the packing list below:

Truth Or Dare by Non Pratt was the included book this month. It was signed, with little additions, by the author and came with a letter too. I haven't gotten around to reading it yet, but I am excited to!

The Feyre mug included is really cute! It currently sits on my shelves by the A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

I am a huge fan of candles and, as you can imagine, I was so happy when I found this gorgeous Mermaid Lagoon candle included! It smells amazing!

This Harry Potter inspired keyring in an exclusive colour was a great addition. I love the colour blue, and it's all sparkly and looks so good when the sun catches it. 

In case you didn't know, I am a humongous fan of Beauty and the Beast. The original animated Disney film is one of my all time favourites! Because of that, this print and door hanger are 2 of my favourite Illumicrate additions as they are so pretty!

I loved this little page-corner bookmark that was included.

Now onto the little extras included in the box.

A large poster promoting Windfall was included.

This cute Gender Games badge was also there.

I adore these little cards promoting Taste of Blue Light and I'm sure they will be featured on bookstagram at some point. My favourite is definitely the one in the bottom right.

The final item in this month's Illumicrate was a letter, bookmark and ARC of The Waking Land by Callie Bates, which I can't wait to read!

And that's it for the May 2017 unboxing of the Illumicrate box! Hopefully I will catch up with these soon so that I can post up-to-date ones.

I'm now on summer holidays after my second year of uni. And guess what? I've made it into third year! Hopefully I will catch up on all my delayed blog posts over the summer and set up a plan to keep posting regularly next year.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Illumicrate Number 6 Unboxing (February 2017)

Following on from my November 2016 unboxing, here is my unboxing for the 6th Illumicrate box from February 2017.

Check Illumicrate out here.

I do love the initial feeling when the unique Illumicrate box arrives through the post!

 Here is the full contents of the box. This box had a less items compared with the last box, but there was an ARC instead!

As always, I hid the packing list as I unboxed so that I didn't ruin the surprise for myself, but I did have a quick read afterwards to confirm everything was there (I'm a little paranoid!)

The main book this month was Wintersong by S. Jae Jones. Although the review isn't up yet, I absolutely adored this book! Probably not something I would've bought for myself, which makes the Illumicrate box even better as it encourages me to read books I wouldn't necessarily go for. The book came with a letter from the author, a bookmark and a signed bookplate.

My favourite item from the box has to be this gorgeous Bare Necessities pouch! Although I'm not a fan of The Jungle Book, the pouch is gorgeous and I use it as a pencil case for uni (hence the little mark on it).

This magic and mischief lip balm tastes amazing and is a lovely little extra to the box.

These magnets from A Darker Shade of Magic are cool, although I haven't read the book or have anywhere to put them. Maybe when I get my own place they will go on my fridge!

I love Newt Scamander so much, and so this bookmark quickly became one of my favourites! The drawing is gorgeous and the quote always makes me laugh.

Now onto the additional extras included in the box!

This little bookmark is from Following Ophelia, which I haven't read, but is on my to read list!

An exclusive sample of Flame in the Mist was included, and I can't wait to give it a read!

I love the postcard from Gilded Cage and I imagine it will make a feature on my bookstagram, but never be used as a postcard.

The best extra included in Illumicrate this month was the exclusive ARC of Red Sister. I really can't wait to read it!

And that's it for the February 2017 unboxing of the Illumicrate box! Hopefully I will catch up with these soon so that I can post up-to-date ones.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Book Review: The Science of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works by Roger Highfield

The Science Of Harry Potter: How Magic Really Works – Roger Highfield

*Warning – may contain spoilers*

Author: Roger Highfield
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing
First published: 2002
Edition: Hardback
Pages: 374

Blurb:    There are features of Harry Potter’s world that, though they are more understandable, still remain magical when ones takes a scientific view. Invisibility cloaks may use clever stealth technology that is only now being developed by Muggles. Broomsticks could switch off the tug of gravity, a feat that still seems incredible.
Giants, Lobalugs, Hinkypunks and the rest of the magical menagerie could be the result of genetic modification, a science in its infancy, while Bott’s beans could exploit new understanding of our sense of taste and smell.

History of my copy: I picked up this book at a rally for £3 about 8 years ago.

I started reading The Science of Harry Potter soon after I bought it, but soon gave up because I found the language and science too advanced. Over the past year or so, I have been reading it on and off. Thanks to taking biology, chemistry and physics for a-levels, it has become a lot more understandable to me and so I’ve been able to enjoy it more.
It’s definitely an interesting read if you are scientifically minded, as it tries to look at scientific explanations behind the magical phenomenon, e.g. invisibility cloaks. It’s probably rather out of date now, so you might be able to find a more recent book of a similar ilk.

To read or not to read: Don’t read. Unless you are very scientific, I don’t think it’s worth the effort. I quite enjoy science, and have a relatively good understanding of it, but even I found it dry. Stick with the magical theories behind it all!

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Illumicrate Number 5 Unboxing (November 2016)

I keep meaning to do an Illumicrate unboxing but, like every great blog post idea I have, I rarely find the time to actually put pen to paper (or should I say fingers to keyboard?) and actually get it up on my blog!

I have been longing for a book subscription box for a long time, but as a university student I could never justify >£30 a month on one. Then, however, I discovered Illumicrate, which is quarterly. At £29.99, with free postage I found I could spare just £10 a month! So with that, I ordered my first box back in August 2016 (for the November box) and have been a huge fan ever since.

Check Illumicrate out here.

 There is nothing more exciting that having your Illumicrate box turn up in the post!

Here is a photo containing all of the items from that month. Not only are there obvious amazing goodies (books, signed book plates, socks, etc.) but the Illumicrate boxes always come with little extras such as bookmarks, postcards and posters.

The boxes always come with a packing list too so that you can check what you have, just in case something is missing (although this has never happened to me, it is reassuring!) I always avoid looking at this until I've unboxed it all, as I don't want to spoil the surprise.
The main book this month was The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid. I still haven't got around to reading this one yet, but it sure does sound interesting!

The book also came with a bookmark (with a discount code for another copy of the book), a letter from the author about her inspiration for the story, and a signed book plate.

 Up next was a gorgeous coffee cosy from Sparrow + Wolf! I use this every day when I'm at uni to not only keep my coffee a little warmer for a little longer, but to stop me from burning my hands. It's also super pretty!

 The box contained an exclusive AIDAN candle by Meraki candles. I haven't burnt it yet, but it does smell gorgeous when you open the tin!
 An exclusive Evil Plans notebook by House of Wonderland was
a nice addition, although I do wish it was lined instead of blank. Despite that, I am using it to make coding notes.

Happy Socks have been a well-worn addition to this box, wrapping up the seven main gifts! Having stalked the #illumicrate tag on instagram, I saw that there were a variety of styles randomly allocated to the boxes. These socks were so comfy and snazzy.
 Now onto the little extras!

This Six of Crows case is lovely! I wish I still had a bus pass that I could use it for.

A lovely Caraval postcard was included. I keep meaning to buy this book!
 This little Replica poster/flyer was a vibrant addition too.

Temporary tattoos for Wolf by Wolf were a quaint extra.

I really enjoyed the snippet of The One Memory of Flora Banks that was included. Read my review for it here.
 This was a cute little Christmas gift tag (that I will hoard and never actually use).

I really liked these double sided posters! 

The final part of the box was an Unconventional post card.

As you can see, this Illumicrate box was full of amazing gifts! I hope you enjoyed my unboxing post - leave your thoughts below!