The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

 

Title: The Song Rising

Author: Samantha Shannon

Pages: 348

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 2017

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★


Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population. 

But, having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilising the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging. 

Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…


The Song Rising is the highly anticipated third book in The Bone Season series. If you haven’t read any of these books, look away now! I have read all three of the books currently out in this series this year so I am feeling pretty happy with myself as I usually start a series and then don’t end up finishing it for ages. The first two books have been pretty chunky books, so I was surprised when I received my copy of TSR as it weighs in at 348 pages which is comparatively less.

I did enjoy this book however I had to stop half way through it as I had my busiest month of University coming up with a few assignments and exams. This pause was about a month and a half to two months long which I think affected my experience of the book as I liked it but didn’t love it.

This book really ramped up with the action and I felt that as it was shorter, it had a better flow and the momentum was kept up by this. It was set in various locations in the Mime Order’s goal to track down a certain tool that might threaten the existence of voyants everywhere. There were some distressing scenes towards the end involving a form of torture that I feel was necessary to include as it didn’t skirt around it and really showed the book to be realistic. It relates to the real world and doesn’t leave anything out, making it a realistic novel. I think this made the book feel slightly more authentic. It also demonstrated more of the rise of the Rephaim in Scion London and Scion England as a whole. The use of Paige’s experiences and past were also utilised in this book, showing how this book almost comes a full circle a bit in some respects.

We have a lot of the same characters in this book with not many news ones. Some characters that we’ve had a glimpse of in the previous books have come to the forefront in The Song Rising. For example, we still have Nick and Eliza out of many other characters. We also see the return of a certain character in this book who was not present much for the majority of it which I think really added to the story, especially towards the ending as it made it a little more interesting. There are two characters however that were in the previous two books that were mentioned but not actually in The Song Rising so I’m really intrigued to know where they are hiding out. Hopefully the next book will answer this.

Warden and Paige’s relationship is a complicated one, as they are both different species and there are certain restrictions or opinions on relationships that Rephaim hold with humans. I feel like their relationship does change and grow in this book, but its still held back by both of their responsibilities. I hope that in one of the future books, they do end up together as they seem to go together well.

The ending in this book was not what I was expecting at all and came as a shock to me. I have developed a theory for possible answers to questions that came up from the ending and I’m really interested to see this series expand and where it will lead too.

One of the things that I always comment on with Samantha Shannon’s books are the long chapters. I am not a fan of long chapters in books and I felt like in this book, they were extra long. I feel like there’s a lot of information to take in with these books and so the long chapters don’t exactly help for me, especially when I want or need to put the book down as I prefer to finish a chapter rather than stopping in the middle of the book. I’m looking forward to the next book but I would not say it’s in my Top 5 anticipated reads for 2018 just yet.

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) at here!

Meraki Candles: April Anime Box

This box is the very first anime inspired box by Meraki Candles, with theme being Studio Ghibili! As someone who has not watched much of Anime, or any really at all for that matter, I was excited to see how Heather would create this box and I was not disappointed! Although I was a rep when I received this box, I will be giving you my honest opinion of these candles (although, I can’t help that I love both of them!).

So first all, the box included two candles, as pictured above and below, as well as a few goodies which you can see in the picture above. The goodies were: 

  • Notepad
  • Postcard
  • Pin badge
  • Yubaba’s Soap
  • Arreitty print

I love all these goodies, particularly the notepad and the soap! I obviously am not so clued up on Anime, so I wasn’t really sure about the print or pin badge however still think they’re super cute.

And now for the candles! Included was:

  • Howl’s Castle
  • Totoro

I’m going to go into detail about these two candles with their scents and what I think but aren’t they pretty? Wait till you see the colour of them and hear how they smell!

Howls Castle | Inspired by: The Mortal Instruments | Scents: Something, Jasmine and Rose

This candle is super, super pretty. I absolutely love the violet colour of it and the label matches the month’s card art! It’s super fresh and the rose comes through really well, but it’s quite subtle and not overly strong which is great, as sometimes I think rose scents can be quite overpowering. I also definitely get a whiff of the Jasmine which is lovely. Overall, this is a really nice candle that is just fresh and florally, but not too overpowering, plus bonus points because it’s purple.

Totoro | Inspired by: Totoro | Scents: Sweet Pea

As you can slightly see, this candle is a honey-like brown. It smells so lovely, and is a little bit stronger than Howls Castle. Totoro has one scent which is sweet pea. Again, this is quite florally, and although stronger, it doesn’t smell sickeningly so. I personally think it smells really lovely and fresh.

I think out of the two candles, my favourite is probably Howls Castle. I love the colour, the scent, just everything about it!

Now for the other items that came in this box! I’ve grouped them all together as usually my unboxing posts end up being really long!

The print is super cute, and is my first from tjlubrano, who I have seen around quite a bit in the bookstagram community. Her artwork is super cute and I have wanted to buy something from her for a while now. Although I haven’t watched Arrietty, I think this print is lovely. I would definitely love to get more prints designed by her!

The soap smells really good and is designed by Behind The Pages. I now have a few soaps from this shop and I also have two lip balms. I really like her products and although I am yet to use my soaps, I can confirm that they do smell super good, Yubaba’s Bathhouse especially smells good, with scents of Water, Satin and Sage – it really reminds me of the sort of scents my Grandparents have in their bathroom. It’s almost like a rose sort of scent!

The pin is cute, although I don’t watch anime so wasn’t sure where it was from. Hannah Hitchman created different Ghibli pins so not everyone has the same pin which is a fab idea! As you can see, I received this little fireball called Calcifer!

The notebook is super handy and was created by House of Wonderland, with little Soot Sprites on it. I love the blue colour and again, even though I haven’t watched Anime, I really like this notebook. It will be useful for writing any story ideas, plotting or just anything really!

 

So that is my April Meraki Anime unboxing. I hope you liked it, and if you received this box, what was your favourite candle and item? If you didn’t, which do you think you’d like the most?

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

 

Title: Days of Blood and Starlight

Author: Laini Taylor

Pages: 513

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Published: 2012

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★


Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

Once, the lovers lay entwined in the moon’s secret temple and dreamed of a world that was a like a jewel-box without a jewel – a paradise waiting for them to find it and fill it with their happiness.

This was not that world.


Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them. And its snap split the world in two.

Days of Blood and Starlight picks up almost immediately where Daughter of Smoke and Bone finished.

One of my first observations when reading this book was that there were more PoVs than the previous book, which is fine, but I mainly just wanted to read from Karou’s PoV. I felt like this book was a great addition to the series because as said, there were more PoVs, but we also got to see a lot more of Eretz. I found this to be interesting as it gave us a chance to learn more about where Akiva and Karou are from, although we get to see a lot more of Akiva’s homeland. We also learn more about Akiva, his father, family and also about his mother and magic. I found the addition of Akiva’s magic to be good and I would like to see how this will be incorporated into the last book because it just has to be. I also feel that there is more of Eretz to be discovered or read about so I’d like to see the last book do this.

We also get to see a bit more of Karou as the ressurectionist and about an upcoming battle which is exciting and I’m looking forward to reading about that in the last book. I am also looking forward to seeing everything come together and to seeing how things between Karou and Akiva are. I also would like to see where Karou ends up – in Eretz, or the mortal world. As just mentioned, Karou takes on Brimstone’s role in this book as the ressurectionist of the Chimaera which I think is a vital part to Karou’s character as it gives her a way to connect with him. Karou really throws herself into this role and into helping build the Chimaera forces up, however the other Chimaera soldiers really aren’t fond of her following her history. Although some began to warm towards her, I wish that the soldiers had given her credit and forgiven her as what she had fought for previously was a solid cause.

When I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone, it got to about half way/three quarters of the way through and I felt like it started to get very descriptive. This was similar, although I think I almost preferred this book to the first one. In this book, Karou fully remembers her past and becomes increasingly more involved with the war effort on her side of the battle. I thought that this was good as we got to see a little bit more of Karou, how she interacted with the other Chimaera and how the events of her previous life and most recent events have affected her character. I felt like Karou has taken a lot on so I was interested to see how she would cope with this.

Then there is the topic of Akiva. Maaaaan, I love Akiva! He is so into Karou and I want nothing more than for her to forgive him, although what he did is a pretty big thing to just forgive and forget. I feel like his character really progressed in this book and became someone who was much more than just a soldier. He did some pretty big things and took on a pretty big loss, and because of the events throughout this book, I really think he has grown as a character. Other characters that I liked were  Zuzana, Mik and Ziri.

The ending to this book was good but it, of course, left things loose as we have one more book after this novel. I enjoyed this book, but again, it became a little slow for me somewhere in the middle.  I am looking forward to Dreams of Gods and Monsters and how this story will conclude the series. I remember when it came out as I had just joined the book community and there was a huge hype about it so I am finally getting to it, 4 years later..

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) at here!

Meraki Candles: April Box

The April box was Far Away Lands! This is my third Meraki Candles box and I was so excited for this box because of the places featured. I hadn’t heard of two of them, but I had heard of the other two featured lands. Although I am a rep, I will be giving you my honest opinion of these candles, although I make no apologies for loving all the candles because they’re so gorgeous!

So first all, the box included four candles as well as a few goodies which you can see in the picture above.

The goodies were:

  • A bookmark by Till & Dill
  • Tote bag by Bookworm Boutique
  • Camp Half-Blood badge
  • The info card bookmark

I loved all these goodies, especially the bookmarks and badges! I also loved the bag!

And now for the candles! Included was:

  • Elendel
  • Essos
  • Narnia
  • Rivendell

I can’t wait to share with you what I thought of each of them!

Elendel | Inspired by: Mistborn | Scents: Jasmine, Amber and Musk

Wow, I don’t really know how to describe this one. It smells really lovely and reminds me a little of something that I can’t quite put my finger on. I feel like it’s quite a unique scent. I can definitely smell the musk scent and I can pick up another scent which is the jasmine. To be honest, these 3 scents together have made a really lovely candle.

Essos | Inspired by: Game of Thrones | Scents: Lemon, Orange and Aromatic Woods

This one is a little different to the other candles. Its scent is perhaps a little more tangy because of the lemon and orange. I think the orange does overpower the lemon ever so slightly, but I think the lemon comes through as more of an after smell. The aromatic woods are definitely there. It’s like a tangy wood smell, to sum it up!

Rivendell | Inspired by: The Lord of the Rings  | Scents: Wildflower and Cashmere Woods

Rivendell is a really fresh scent and smells exactly like it says on the tin! The cashmere woods comes through when sniffing this candle and reminds me almost of pine trees when I inhale a lot of it (that sounds odd, but if you take a really long sniff of it, more scents come through). I think this is definitely my favourite out of these three as it smells so fresh with a hint of flowers.

Narnia | Inspired by:  | Scents: Menthol, Lavender and Pine

Narnia is possibly my favourite out of the four candles. All 3 scents listed for this candle come through to make a really gorgeous candle. I can definitely smell the lavender and pine. The menthol is also definitely there which I think makes the pine stand out a little more and gives it a little bit of a minty scent.

In all honesty it’s hard to choose my favourite, but I think it has to either be Rivendell or Narnia!

Now onto a closer look at the extra items!

Here is the pretty design inspired by Lord of the Rings, created by Bookworm Boutique. I have never owned an item by Bookworm Boutique before, but I’ve always wanted something so this is perfect!

 

We received some Camp Half-Blood pins, which you can see above. I was lucky enough to receive two, however decided to send them to another bookstagrammer who was interested in one of them! I’ve only read the first two Percy Jackson books but have really enjoyed them!

On the left, there’s a closer look at the bookmark that Till & Dill designed. I really love this design as it’s so pretty and I love the blue/white colouring! This is my second Till & Dill bookmark which I super love and I am hoping to buy more as the designs are so gorgeous!

 

So that’s the April Meraki box and I really loved it. I think my favourite candle is probably Rivendell, but it’s a really tough choice! It smells really fresh and woodsy, but also has florally hints to it which I like. If you received this box, which candle was your favourite?

Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

 

Title: Always and Forever, Lara Jean

Author: Jenny Han

Pages: 336

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

Published: 2017

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★★


Lara Jean is having the best senior year a girl could ever hope for. She is head over heels in love with her boyfriend, Peter; her dad’s finally getting remarried to their next door neighbor, Ms. Rothschild; and Margot’s coming home for the summer just in time for the wedding.

But change is looming on the horizon. And while Lara Jean is having fun and keeping busy helping plan her father’s wedding, she can’t ignore the big life decisions she has to make. Most pressingly, where she wants to go to college and what that means for her relationship with Peter. She watched her sister Margot go through these growing pains. Now Lara Jean’s the one who’ll be graduating high school and leaving for college and leaving her family—and possibly the boy she loves—behind.

When your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?


When I started reading again in March 2014, one of the books I picked up initially was To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. I loved it and as soon as P.S. I Still Love You was released, I snatched that book up on pre-order. It’s safe to say that we all assumed that would be the last Lara Jean book we’d see from Jenny, but then last year she surprised us with an announcement that another book would be added to the duology, making it a trilogy and I am so glad we got this last book. As I saw someone say on Goodreads, it’s the wrap up you always want from a series, but you don’t usually get. Jenny most definitely delivered.

So, Always and Forever, Lara Jean, which for the purposes of this review (and my laziness), I’m calling it AAFLJbasically follows Lara Jean through her senior year at High School. As someone who lives in England, we do noooot go all out with our final year at high school because most of us are going to the same college and by the time we’ve finished that, I don’t think we really care all that much about finishing before going to University. From this book (and other knowledge of American school systems), Senior Year seems like a huge thing and Lara Jean further demonstrates this with her need for the ‘perfect senior year’.

New York played a small part in this book which I think really added to this story. I wasn’t really aware that Seniors went on trips or whatever, so it was cool to see Lara in a new environment. The trials and tribulations of college also played a pretty vital part to this book. In all honesty, there was a lot of focus on Lara’s senior year and her future. We saw her really deliberating over college, where she’d go, the disappointments but also excitement of college, and for once, we saw Lara be spontaneous as she usually plans her life down to a T. I would describe her as having a sort of romanticist and optimistic approach, with a little bit of naivety thrown in.

Obviously Peter Kavinsky plays a large part in Lara Jean’s life and has done in the past two books. This book is no different, although the book shows how senior year and college decisions really can affect relationships, specifically romantic ones. It was cute to see how much Peter really cares about Lara and their relationship really does come across as sweet. I enjoyed the interactions with Peter and seeing how happy he made Lara. To be honest, I just love Peter Kavinsky, I love Lara Jean and I love both of them together!

I felt that the ending was a good one, but I was ever so slightly disappointed by it as I expected the perfect ending and this wasn’t quite it for me. Although it was very good, I just wanted a little bit more closure following the last book, or a little prologue a year later to see where Lara, Peter and the other characters ended up.

Although I devoured and finished this book the day I received it, I don’t think the book was a totally necessary addition to the duology. However, it was lovely to have as a final goodbye to Lara Jean and all the other characters in the book. All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would most definitely recommend it if you, of course, have read the previous Lara Jean books, or if you are looking to read a quick, funny, light and cutesy read!

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) at here!

May Wrap Up

May has been a really great reading month for me and I’m super pleased with how much I’ve managed to read. I don’t think I’ve ever read this many books in a month before so I’m very happy! I even managed to surpass my Good Reads goal for the year, which was 20 books. I knew I’d probably surpass it fairly early on in the year but set it at 20 as the first 5 months of the year I assumed I’d be consumed with university work.

So I managed to read plenty of books because I finished University on the 15th of May. This meant that I had some free time, although I actually ended up fairly busy, what with getting new bookshelves (post to come within the next month or so about them!). I also read two of these before I’d finished university (ACOWAR and AAFLJ). The only book I acquired this month was The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which has been met with such a great response within the book community. I am excited to read it once I’m home from my trip around Europe.

Note: I am away travelling around Europe for 6 weeks between 12th June-25th July. I doubt much reading will be done in this time, although we do have quite a few train journeys as we are interrailing!

Books read this month: 7

Here are the books:

1. A Court Of Wings And Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

2. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han

3. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

4. The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

5. The Changeling’s Journey by Christine Spoors

6. Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco

7. Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit

Reviews for these books are up already but some are still coming so keep an eye out!

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J Maas

 

Title: A Court of Wings and Ruin

Author: Sarah J Maas

Pages: 705

Publisher: Bloomsbury

Published: 2017

Source: Bought

Rating: ★★★★★


Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin’s maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places.


Warning: Please don’t read this if you haven’t read ACOTAR or ACOMAF!

As with all Sarah J. Maas books that I have bought from Book Depository, I was lucky enough to receive my copy 5 days early meaning that I managed to get a head start on reading this book. I wasn’t even planning on reading it when I received it due to May being the busiest month of the Uni year and because my dissertation was due on the 4th May – this book was released on the 2nd. As it turned out, I was ahead of schedule with my dissertation and I wanted a little bit of time to myself so I started reading it when it arrived. I ended up finishing it just after 1am on its release date, so I’d say I was pretty successful in completing it before its release.

Sooo A Court of Wings and Ruin is the phenomenal book following the amazing ACOMAF and is the third book in the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. I thankfully only finished ACOMAF earlier this year, so my wait was quite short and thank god. This book was insanely good and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Fun fact: I kept calling this book A Court of War and Ruin instead of its proper name which I think is because it’s ACOWAR! I’ve kind of stopped now, but sometimes I catch myself saying it..

How to describe this book? Well, I still don’t have words, almost 2 months later. It was phenomenal and I loved it, plain and simply. I feel like we’ve had a really good opportunity to see Feyre really came into herself and from seeing her in ACOTAR to ACOWAR, she has really come into her own, matured and is a force to be reckoned with.

When reading this book, obviously it heavily features the Night Court’s Inner Circle. As we are already familiar with the characters, it was great to go back in to ACOWAR and see how they are doing. Two  characters that really stood out to me and have become firm favourites are Mor and Amren. I feel as if they are both just so important to the story, but also that they are interesting! I am also a huge fan of Nesta and Cassian and as there are more ACOTAR books coming out, but not focusing on Feyre, I’m hoping that one focuses on either Nesta or Cassian. I also like Elain and Azriel, although they are both characters that are quite quiet, although there are parts when Azriel stands out more. I also like Lucien in this book although there were parts where I felt that a little iffy about him.

Now onto my faves, Feyre and Rhysand. So as everyone knows, Rhysand is lovely and I absolute love him. He is so sweet and protective, but not overbearing and I love that he gives Feyre freedom and opportunity to do what she wants and needs to do. This is what helps to make their relationship work. There no one that stands out as the boss as it’s a joint effort, and that how relationships should be. Rhysand is fab, basically and you can really see the contrast between Rhysand and Feyre’s previous lover, Tamlin. As I mentioned a little bit earlier, Feyre really came into her own in this book and we really see more of her priorities, such as her family, romantic relationship, friendships and as the High Lady of the Night Court. I also especially think she is a wonderfully strong character, as demonstrated by the beginning chapters of the book. Feyre really owns her want for revenge. She really is a strong, fierce but also emotional character and I think Sarah really has created such a good character with Feyre.

Now I know a few people I’ve seen have sympathised with Tamlin in this novel, however I still personally hate him. He is still abusive and just a general butthead. It’s sad that this novel had to have even one scene with him in, but I understand why he had to be in this book more. That does not mean I like him in any way though. Oh, and I absolutely hate Ianthe. I also used to hate Jurian, but he has grown on me through out reading this book.

There were features of other characters too, including what I’d call more ‘mythical’ characters. We also got to hear more about the other Courts and get to know the High Lord’s that occupy them which was super interesting! I also found the battle front to be interesting and I really enjoyed the scenes that featured battle. I think this book just really packed in a whole load of different emotions, from anger to happiness, to sadness to frustration.

Following on from the battle scenes, the ending was super dramatic and hit me directly in the feels, which is exactly what I expected, but was definitely a satisfying one. It dealt with a lot of elements such as loss, love and friendship and all in all, I felt like this was a fabulous book to conclude Feyre’s journey.

To be honest, this book was like a whirlwind and took me for a wild ride but I loved it and it was amazing and deserves more than 5 stars. I can’t even decide which series I like better out of Sarah J. Maas’ two series currently out as they’re both unique and interesting in their own way. I definitely feel like this is more mature in comparison. It’s a tough decision!

You can see more of my pictures (like above!) at here!