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Next On My TBR List: And I Darken by Kiersten White.


A few weeks back the lovely Harriet at Penguin sent me a copy of the soon-to-be released And I Darken by Kiersten White. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet BUT this weekend will be THE weekend that I can finally get engrossed in it! I am so excited to be reading this book! Here’s the blurb:

AND I DARKEN by Kiersten White

Published 7th July 2016

 

“The phenomenal first book in an epic feminist trilogy set in the bloody Ottoman Empire, by the New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White.

 

Perfect for fans of Game of Thrones and The Queen of the Tearling, this is the ultimate, gripping, ‘can’t-stop-reading!’ novel to get stuck into on your summer holiday. Anti-princess Lada Dracul is destined to be the next feminist heroine, following in the footsteps of recent strong, gritty female characters Arya Stark, Jessica Jones and Star Wars’ Rey.

 

No one expects a princess to be brutal. And Lada Dragwyla likes it that way. 
Ever since she and her brother were abandoned by their father to be raised in the Ottoman sultan’s courts, Lada has known that ruthlessness is the key to survival. For the lineage that makes her and her brother special also makes them targets. 
Lada hones her skills as a warrior as she nurtures plans to wreak revenge on the empire that holds her captive. Then she and Radu meet the sultan’s son, Mehmed, and everything changes. Now Mehmed unwittingly stands between Lada and Radu as they transform from siblings to rivals, and the ties of love and loyalty that bind them together are stretched to breaking point.”

Look out for my review in the coming weeks! 😃

Have a lovely weekend, all!

Halloween Bookfest. Book #2!

Hi guys. So as stated in my last Halloween Bookfest post, next up on my Halloween TBR list was Stephen King’s Misery.

  

Oh boy what a read this was! It took a while for me to get into but I think that’s because I was getting distracted too easily. Half way through, though, I was finally engrossed and I couldn’t put it down. I spent the majority of yesterday reading it and finished it at 1am this morning! It was so scary in a suspenseful kind of way and there were moments when I was just too afraid to continue reading (like the axe part! Or the birthday cake)! Of course, I did. I guess I’m glutten for punishment lol! I got so panicky at times and thought my heart was gonna beat right out of my chest! A quote from the actual book summed my feelings up perfectly: “In a weird way it was just too good to put down. It was like a novel so disgusting you just have to finish it.” It was like Stephen King was talking about his own book! And that was another moment where I was afraid to keep on reading in case Annie came home to find Paul reading her “memory lane” book. Misery is one of those books that really gets you thinking about what psychological torture the main character must have gone through. He’s trapped in a house for months with someone who is a complete lunatic! One moment she’s all genuinely loving and caring and then the next she’s a complete psycho monster brandishing an axe (and that’s just one example)!! I’m surprised I didn’t end up having nightmares about it last night to be honest lol but so thankful that I didn’t! I thoroughly enjoyed this book but it really creeped me out. I think I’d better stick to my paranormal books because at least then none of that could ever be real. If you know what I mean.

The third book on my Halloween TBR list is the Crimson Peak novelisation by Nancy Holder. I am so excited to read this. I love Nancy’s style of writing and will no doubt sail through this book in no time!

Take care,

Dayna.

Kiss Cosmetics Mini Lip Vinyl in ‘First Kiss’ – Review. 💋💄

  

Oh my gosh how dinky and cute are these mini lip vinyls?! The lovely folk at Kiss Cosmetics kindly sent me a mini lip vinyl in ‘First Kiss’ to review and I was more than happy to do so. It’s taken me a little longer to do my review due to moving away, settling in and having a baby on the way but whew I have finally found a moment to sit down, have a natter and tell you all about it. On with the review…
At just over 4cm in height and aprox 1cm in diameter, they are a lovely little size to fit into a small bag on a night out and are also perfectly travel sized for taking on holiday! And at £2 each, they won’t break the bank if you fancy buying a couple to see which shade suits you best. They may be small but they still manage to pack a big punch of colour.  Even before I was sent this to review, I was already a fan of Kiss Cosmetics’ lip vinyls as they are so pigmented just like a lipstick, and though they glide on like a gloss, I find they last much longer. I already own their lip vinyl in the shade ‘Vinyl Lady in Red’ (and also have the matching Kisstick!) but this is my first time trying the mini ones. I have to admit, that with this particular mini, once applied, was a little patchy on my lips (prior to applying, I had used a lip scrub to get rid of any dead skin and make my lips smooth). I think this may be down to the small applicator though as I don’t get the same problem with the normal size lip vinyls. I had to put several coats of this on and lightly went over with my finger to even out the patchiness.

 

Mini Lip Vinyl in ‘First Kiss’

 
On me, the shade turned out to be a Barbie-pink kind of colour (though the photo was taken in natural light, I still couldn’t quite get it to depict the actual colour but it’s fairly close). A great shade if you have lighter hair, I think. I am going to carry on using this as I think maybe practice makes perfect when it comes to the mini applicator.

Have any of you tried out these lip vinyls or any of Kiss Cosmetics’ products before? What do you think?

Shade: ‘First Kiss’. Click the pic to check out Kiss Cosmetics full range of mini lip vinyls.

Half Bad By Sally Green – Book Review.

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Title: Half Bad (The Half Bad Trilogy, #1)
Author: Sally Green
Published: 3rd March 2014
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
Pages: 400

Blurb:

“Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.”

This is a really short review today so I apologise. I have been reading Half Bad for the past few days now but sadly, I felt here nor there about the book which is such a shame as the idea behind it was great. I struggled to be pulled in by the story and didn’t feel a connection with any of the characters. Maybe it’s a different writing style to what I’m used to? I was also shocked at how much violence the main character endured for someone so young! It was quite surprising to see that in a book. I seem to be one of the few who didn’t get on with the book as it seems to have gotten a lot of good reviews and ratings but it just wasn’t for me. I’m unsure as to whether I’ll read the next book in the series but I’m told it is much better than the first.

Have you read any of the books in this series, or maybe you’re planning to? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

Pre-order the ‘City of Bones’ Collector’s Edition!

When packing for my move to Wales, I had to be select in what I could bring as my life had to fit into a suitcase. Of course books *had* to be in there and I could not bare to leave without my well-loved copy of City of Bones. Which brings me to this post … I am dying to get my hands on a copy of this collectors edition!!

TMI Source

New CoB coverWe have less than a month until Cassandra Clare’s worldwide bestselling series The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices will be published with gorgeous new covers and some bonus content! Barnes & Noble is selling a Collector’s Edition of the book that started it all, City of Bones:

This edition of City of Bones features an exclusive poster and new scene, a brilliant new cover, a map of New York City, a new foreword, and a bonus story.

Cassie shared that this special edition will actually be a hardcover – the other books will be paperbacks – and that “[i]t contains the beginning of City of Bones, when Jace and Clary first meet, rewritten from Jace’s perspective.

Click here to pre-order the Collector’s Edition of City of Bones!

Edited to add:

Since some seem to have problems with the link, here it is again: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/city-of-bones-cassandra-clare/1100329400?ean=9781481456807

You can…

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Book Review: Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend.

  
Title: Jane Austen Stole My Boyfriend

Author: Cora Harrison

Published: 3rd February 2012

Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Blurb:

“Jane wants to meet a hero worthy of her extraordinary imagination: a gentleman who is dashing and daring and handsome and brave; who can dance like a viscount and duel like a king. Jane and Jenny are whiling away the season in Bath and there are plenty of dances, rumours and scandals to entertain them. But a good reputation, once lost, is gone forever; and Jane is in danger of becoming the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons…”

When I first started reading this book I felt neither here, nor there about it. It just wasn’t really pulling me in and I didn’t get that I-want-to-stay-up-til-the-wee-hours-reading kind of feeling from it. However, the further I got through the book, the more I warmed to it. Once I had gotten to the end, I had the warm fuzzy feels and wanted to clutch the book to my chest and sigh happily! It was a really lovely read. Having not read Cora Harrison’s previous book “I Was Jane Austen’s Best Friend”, I didn’t know what to expect and for some reason had it in my head that it was going to be some kind of modernised story about Jane Austen so I was thrilled to discover that, no, it was in fact set in 1791 when Jane was a budding author-to-be. The story was centred around, and written from the point of view of, Jane’s cousin, Jenny (though her real name was also Jane). I loved that it was written like a diary – complete with cute little drawings – and was written in a style fitting of that era. I love how they spoke back then! Jenny writes about her family, her and Jane’s trip to Bath (which involved going to balls and wearing exquisite dresses) and also about her love, Thomas Williams, a Royal Navy captain, who wants to marry her but her brother (who is her guardian) and his wife won’t allow it. With the help of Jane and her childhood friend, Harry, Jenny and Thomas write to each other in secret (Not surprisingly, Jane saw this as very romantic) and Jane was determined that Jenny and Thomas would be married. It was great seeing it all unfold and I found myself worrying that Jenny and Thomas wouldn’t get their happy ever after. I really liked how Jane was portrayed. She was so witty and she was also a bit of a flirt! But you discover, that in spite of all that flirting, she’s fallen for a boy and wants to have her own happy ever after with him!
This book is a fabulous summer read; something to take on holiday with you to read whilst relaxing on the beach, maybe. If you love a bit of romance with a taste of the classics about it, then this is for you!
Thank you so much to Pan Macmillan for kindly sending me this book to review. It was truly a delight.

Review: The Chair by R.R. Sechi

Title: The Chair

Author: R.R. Sechi

Published: 21st February 2014

Publisher: Independent

Format: Paperback

Pages: 145

Blurb:

“John Anderson goes to the site of an old dilapidated mental institution called, ‘Willow Brook’, in the hope of finding a special chair previously used for electro-shock therapy. His wife, Jess is a ‘white’ witch who believes the chair possesses supernatural power. With the correct spells and incantations, she thinks that she may be able to control and direct its spiritual energy to her own devices. Some might say, they should have left it where it was…”

When I discovered that this was about a chair in a mental institute, my initial thought was: “Ohhh crap! Stories about mental institutes never end well” and by “end well” I mean that it’ll be mega spooky and will more than likely scare the crap out of me! That was then …

Does anybody else find it hard to get into a book when there’s lots of bad punctuation that hasn’t been corrected? Well that was my problem. By the third page, I just wanted to give up and throw it across the room. There were commas in the wrong places and commas where there should have been full stops. In general, it just wasn’t reading right and therefore the story wasn’t flowing the way it should. As a proofreader, problems like this really irk me. The author also changes the character’s thoughts from italics to normal and are sometimes in speech marks and sometimes not which was a teeny bit annoying.

At one point in the story Sarah (John’s girlfriend’s best friend) and John sit on the chair and get transported back to the 50s. Sarah finds herself in the body of a woman called Liz but a couple of pages later, Liz’s friend, Sherrie, calls her “Sarah” instead of “Liz”. Oops! As you can see, I found the story to be inconsistent at times. Another example being: The author seems to go from implying that John hardly knows his girlfriend’s best friend, Sarah, to then saying she’s the couple’s best friend and then back to saying John hardly knows her and that she’s Jess’ friend, not his. Also, as you may have seen from the blurb, John’s other half is known as his wife, yet in the book she’s his girlfriend. These kinda things really shouldn’t have been over looked by the author.

The constant misuse of “feint” instead of “faint” became really annoying and made me wonder if the book had been proofread by anyone before the author published it. (He eventually did get it right). This can also be said for the misuse of “to”, “too” and “two” and also “their” and “there”.
I can’t say I really liked the protagonist. He was quite weak willed and was clearly governed by his penis. In the beginning he seemed so sickeningly in love with his girlfriend (I even wondered if he was under some spell) that he would never hurt her, yet further into the story it didn’t take much for him to give into sexual desire and fall into bed with her best friend!
Imagination was a little lacking at times. For example: Sarah’s husband, Rick, sits in the chair as joke, disbelieving their claims that it has magical powers. He then disappears but comes back several hours later engulfed in flames. Both Jess and Sarah faint and then, after trying to unsuccessfully douse out the flames, John faints too! And I thought, “Really? That’s all you could come up with?”. I know it’s a shocking thing to happen but I honestly thought the character would have the balls to stay conscious and at least phone the emergency services! Shortly after, there is a scene where after ringing the police, they are handcuffed and taken to the station to be questioned. The police are adamant they are all guilty of murder, yet they haven’t even investigated the scene to find out how exactly Rick caught on fire! The only reason the police eventually go back to the house is because they were at a “dead end” and so want to see if they can find evidence to actually put John, Jess and Sarah in jail. They also go in an unmarked car! I find it very hard to believe that investigating a crime scene would actually work this way. I mean, why go in an unmarked car? It just looks suspicious! And only going there as a last resort? That’s ridiculous. They should have had an investigation going on at the house anyway!
The author seems to forget what he calls his characters as at one point Detective Inspector Barnes gets referred to as “John” which is actually the main character’s name. Now, it could be possible that his name *is* John too, but giving characters the same names in stories is usually avoided so it’s highly unlikely that this is the case.
Over halfway through the book, Barnes tells John, Jess and Sarah that he’s no idea how he’ll tell his peers about what has happened regarding the chair and the mysterious deaths and that they’ll probably be re-arrested. He then says this again to them a little over a page later! It’s just not necessary and this wasn’t the first time that something was repeated in the book. Repetitiveness is a pet peev of mine I’m afraid.
Near to the end of the book, Jess and Sarah have decided to return the chair back to the mental institution. Sarah suggests they should just leave it near the entrance but Jess says, “John told me he took it from somewhere in the basement so maybe we need to leave it there as whatever we do, I don’t want to have to come back!” What? Plot-wise, this just doesn’t make sense! The institution was burned down and is now derelict so why would they even need to go back? To me, it looks as though the writer has got something planned to happen in the basement and needed a way to get to that point. – It didn’t quite happen that way which made Jess’ earlier statement even more pointless.
The writing comes across as very amateur. In fact, I was reminded of when I was in year 9 (age 14) and my English teacher had crossed sections of my story out due to it being unnecessary or irrelevant to the plot. That is what I wanted to do with this book!
I was so relieved when I got to the end. I stuck with it in the hopes things would improve but sadly they didn’t. There was also no explanation as to why the chair seemed to have magical powers and would transport a person back into someone else’s memories who had previously been in the chair.
As you can see, I seem to have a lot of negative feelings towards this book and not a lot of good things to say. The premise of it was a good idea. It wasn’t exactly spooky like I thought it’d be and to be honest it was quite a frustrating read, though you may have guessed that. It’s not really a book I would recommend unless you can overlook the things I can’t.

If you would like me to review something please feel free to get in touch. I’d be happy to help. You can find out more on the “Requesting a Review” page.

Teatoxing!



I’ve been reading a fair bit about this teatoxing lark lately and thought it a great healthy way to detox and cleanse your body so thought I’d give it a try. I’ve heard there are some Teatox regimes that require you not to eat but I decided to try the Bootea Teatox (£34.99 one time purchase for a 28 day detox but there is the option of doing the 14 day plan. It can also be subscription based which is a little bit cheaper and they send you the Teatox every 6 weeks) which requires you to eat like you normally do – a healthy calorie controlled diet, of course – alongside a daytime tea in the morning, every morning, and a bedtime tea every other night. I think one of the main reasons you have to do that with the bedtime tea is because it contains Senna which works like a mild laxative. Admittedly, this is one of the things that drew me to this particular Teatox. I’ve always had problems with my tummy and bowels so I was curious as to whether it would work for me (other things in the past haven’t). It has also been claimed that the Teatox may help a person lose weight – another thing that had me intrigued. In the past year I’d put on shy of a stone – they say love does that to ya lol – so I wanted to see if the same would happen to me.

Week 1.
Start weight: 8st 9lb.
I’m not sure I feel any different after taking the daytime tea (which I found the taste to be a little bland, maybe, but not unpleasant). After the first time of taking the bedtime tea (which, by the way, I liked even more than the daytime tea. I think it’s the peppermint that I liked), it took around 12 hours before I noticed any physical effect. Without being too … graphic … It was easier to go to the loo. By the third time of taking the bedtime tea … oh, boy, it had really kicked in. It took about 8 hours for it to take affect. Let me tell you, it’s like a colonic irrigation in teabag form. Which, personally, I thought was great. At least it means you don’t have to go through all that discomfort that a tube up your arse would bring! Be prepared, you may be on the loo for a while. Another thing that I like about the bedtime tea is that it made me drowsy about half an hour after taking it which lead to the most amazing sleep ever. I’ve struggled with my sleep for years and years so was thrilled to finally get a peaceful night’s sleep!
Week 2.
Things are still going well although I’ve noticed that I’m getting trapped wind. However, this could just be coincidental. The one thing I’ve noticed is that the Teatox suppresses my appetite. For example, my boyfriend and I went to our favourite restaurant, Frankie and Benny’s, for Valentine’s Day and I got half way through my pasta dish to find I was full! For dessert we ALWAYS have brownies and ice cream (it is to die for!) but, again, I just didn’t want to eat it all! This is unusual for me because I can usually eat it within minutes regardless of how much I’ve eaten prior to it! 
Weeks 3 & 4.
I’ve put weeks 3 and 4 together because there wasn’t too much to report. I found I was still getting trapped wind and also acid reflux. That week I did notice that if you have something naughty to eat *cough* like pizza on a Friday night for example *cough* and then have the bedtime tea that evening before bed, trust me, it’ll be telling you off the morning after! I was actually quite poorly and wasn’t sure if I wanted to be sick or the other and nearly fainted. Sorry to be so blunt. I was more than likely dehydrated as it was early in the morning so I hadn’t had anything to eat or drink at that point. It’s advised that you drink plenty of water after taking the bedtime tea which unfortunately I hadn’t. Despite that little glitch, I have no regrets about doing this Teatox. It has made me feel more awake, motivated and energised and, if the pizza incident is anything to go by, it has clearly done a good job of cleansing my body from the inside. I also feel happier in myself! When it came to taking the last of my tea last week, I felt quite sad that I was finishing it as for me it really worked. But it’s an awful lot of money to spend every 6 weeks. However, I would definitely like to do it again in the future. Maybe every couple of months when pay day comes around. I’d definitely recommend giving it a go. If you do, or already have, let me know how you got on. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Oh and after I finished my Teatox, I weighed myself. My finished weight was 8st 5lb! So I lost 4lb! Yay go me!

The Seven Deadly Sins of Reading Tag.

The lovely Katherine at Katherine’s Bookcase tagged me to do this post and I was more than happy to oblige as I do love to read!

Greed

Defined as: An intense and selfish desire for something.

What is your most expensive book?

Hmmm possibly one of my signed hardback books by Cassandra Clare. I think I paid something like £20 each for them.

Wrath

Defined as: Extreme anger.

 What author do you have a love/hate relationship with?

It would probably be Cassandra Clare as she isn’t afraid to kill off characters.

Gluttony

Defined as: Intense over-indulgence.

What book have you devoured over and over with no shame?

Twilight is probably the one I’ve read the most. It actually got me back into reading again. I got to the end and just wanted to start it all over again.

Sloth

Defined as: a reluctance to work or make an effort.

What book have you neglected to read due to laziness?

I’m going to mirror Katherine’s answer here and also say the Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire series. They were given to me as a birthday gift a few years ago but I still haven’t begun to read them. Partly because I have so many others still to read but also because I imagine George R. R. Martin’s writing to be like Terry Pratchett’s, whose books I found hard to get into as his attention to detail just goes on and on and on lol.

Pride

Defined as: satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.

What book do you talk about most in order to sound like an intellectual reader?

Hahaha it would have to be something by Shakespeare. I love his plays and sonnets. I studied both A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Macbeth in school. My sister and I both love Romeo & Juliet. We have Baz Luhrmann to thank for that lol! Although I’d wanted to study it long before Baz Luhrmann brought his magnificent version of Romeo & Juliet to the big screen.

Lust

Defined as: a strong sexual desire.

What attributes do you find attractive in male characters?

Hmm I do like a bit of cockiness and wit in a male character. Humour is also a must! I like the character to be protective and loyal too.

Envy

Defined as: a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

What book would you most like to receive as a gift?

Waterstones have gorgeous special edition leatherbound books of the classics. I’d love to be given one of them as a gift. The Complete Works of William Shakespeare would be at the top, I think.

So there ya have it, those are my answers.

Thanks so much for tagging me, Katherine. It’s been so much fun!

The bloggers who I’d like to tag are:

The Bookish Universe

The Happy Typewriter

Blonde Girl Talks

Dork Chops

Blu Chicken Ninja

Can’t wait to see your answers! And I hope you didn’t mind me tagging you. 😊

I am reading…

For a while now, my head hasn’t been in the game of reading and the only time I seemed to read was on the long train journey to and from my boyfriend’s. Anyhoo, this weekend I decided I would make a concerted effort to finish the book I was reading. And I have. I stayed up ’til 2am being engrossed in the final chapters of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Although I found myself lost and confused at times, I did thoroughly enjoy this book. There was this big cliff hanger at the end that had me rushing to Amazon to put books 2 and 3 on my wish list. I can’t wait to see how the story unfolds.

I am now about to start reading Winterspell by Claire Legrand. It looks to be such a magical and enchanting read. Hopefully, I will not be disappointed. 🙂

The blurb:

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince . . . but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted–by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets–and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed–if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

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My lovely boyfriend bought me Winterspell for Christmas and his equally lovely mum bought me the bookmark with my name engraved on it. 💕

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