The Secret Loves of Geek Girls. Edited by Hope Nicholson.
I bought this on a whim, because I consider myself a geek (and nerd) “girl”. And my curiosity was picked. This did not disappoint.
The anthology starts with a set of cartoons from Margeret Atkinson and it goes on with a mix of short stories, essays, comics and illustrations about the many aspects of being a girl and geek. It is about the spaces we made, and then got taken and had to reclaim. But it is also about gleefully enjoying going into a comic store and being the odd one out but still loving the comics loads.
The book covers a wide range of experiences and of course not all of them rang for me but I could still enjoy them, and there were some I read and felt like they had been watching me as I grew up. Giggles, concern and sometimes a lot of nostalgia ensued.
And part of me wished I had seen this book when I was younger, I would have felt less like the only one going through it and more like part of a bigger thing, in a better way. It’s hard to capture all the stories into a single review but I had a soft spot for some of the comics in it and just enjoyed reading about others visiting shops, conventions, and more.
It is nice to know that some things never change, but that others do and they can be better, more open to others, more accepting.
I can recommend this anthology as a pick and mix read that you can read one or two stories, maybe a comic or two, and drop then come back to it for some more fun stories later on.
June’s Book Box Club definitely felt like they took the condition of the world into stride and wanted to give us all a pick up, a lifeline saying “you can be courageous and kind” and that they care, so let’s see what was inside. Starting from the top right corner and going clockwise:
A cute banner with watercolour art, I generally do not keep banners or prints but this one immediately went on to the side of one of my bookcases. I guess it felt right for me…
Vegan rainbow sweets, I love it when sweets and treats are included in the box.
A patch/decal that says Courage Dear Heart and has a nice desing, it makes me think of a cool tattoo design or something.
The theme card, very vibrant and alive!
A tiny cute planter which I think is adorable (just be careful as it doesn’t have drainage holes)
And to top the tiny planter, some seeds. This is one thing I like in some book boxes, they add things that go together, like value add, in this case you don’t just get a planter, you get something to plant in it.
The main book which is The Short Knife. It wasn’t in my radar at all and it sounds quite interesting so looking forward to buddy reading it.
A print with a quote from the book.
All in all, this is a cute box and it lifted my mood and spirits plus was a gotcha in that the book was completely out of my radar and I love that.
The Boy who Dreamed of Dragons by Andy Shepherd. Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie.
I discovered The Boy who Grew Dragons a while back and adored it so I ended up buying all three books. And then they announced there would be a fourth one and I immediately preordered it because between the cute illustrations and the adorable story, I was sold (plus, dragons, very important part).
The best way I can summarise what the book is all about is to say that it is a transition story, from what happened in the previous three to what is to come if there are more books (which I hope there are). There a lot of changes for the superhero squad, and some new characters added.
Tomas is struggling to cope with the changes and feels like things are moving too fast, but there are ways around them and change brings growth which is a lesosn he definitely has to learn in this book. Plus one of the new characters brings potentially lots of new stories to the game (and I am hoping they will come in more books for sure). We see more Flicker and more dragosn whcih was enjoyable, I just was sad that my original idea of what dreaming of dragons meant wasn’t what happened but I still liked what the title implied to (and it was more fo a “I went expecting/guessing this and something else happened but I still wish this one thing was something in this universe” maybe it will be at some point…)
One of my favourite things is the cute dragons and how unique they are which was wonderful to see here. And the relationships of family like how Tomas and his sister Lolli get along and I love that, or when he interacts with his grandfather. It is lovely to see some family around and the dynamics behind them.
As I mentioned before, the artwork is great and very enjoyable, giving the story a little bit more fun and depth. So go get the first one, or maybe the whole set, because maybe you will suddenly find an interesting fruit and need to know how to deal with the little dragon that may pop out of it!
I got this book gifted by a friend frm my wishlist, and I loved it. I can review it here but I think the best review you will get is my reading it aloud.
I absolutely adored the story and the artwork to match, it is easy, sweet but such a delight to read as you can see from the video. It is a gorgeous fun book that I would recommend as a joy to read to anybody who wants a bit of kindness and niceness in their lives or who wants a cute book to read to their children.
I saw this while browsing for new graphic novels and it sounded interesting. It does require a few content warnings: eating disorder, fatphobia, purging, body dysmorphia. As the topic is around food and the relationship of Mindy with it and her memories, it is a tough book.
The artwork fits the story well and gives a matching vibe to what Mindy is going through, it felt right to tell the story. As for the plot, we meet Mindy who is uncomfortable with her body size and being liked at her size. So when she finds a curious chocolate bar at the shop while replenishing snacks, she buys it without much thought.
However, eating it triggers almost a “go back to the past” memory where she sees herself and some key moments on her journey to where she is. Obviously they are a bit uncomfortable at times but it also shows her what looking back does, perspective on what was actually happening and the intentions of the people around her givent he circumstances.
The story was interesting and it deals with tough topics, but it was also easy to breeze through it and feel accomplished and nice after finishing it even if at times I wanted to reassure Mindy (and I mean, I don’t have the biggest confidence in my own body but working on it).
All in all, I would say if any of the topics make you uncomfortable, I wouldn’t suggest reading it, but otherwise it was a good read and the artwork was worth it too.
It is done! Completed. I knew this book was going to be intense as it had a lot of questions to answer, starting with what happens to Kalen (I’ve been biting my nails about it since book one!), and then there’s the whole changes in dynamics of the characters. Why is Tea doing all of what she has done? And who is traitor, maybe more than one? Will we ever find out Druj?
I kept reading and going “I am not sure how we’re going to get all the answers to everything I need to know” until suddenyl all the ribbons, hints and little things made sense. My suspicions on some characters turned out to be true (it was also fun to buddy read this and have a theory and suggest it but not be fully sure and doubt yourself and then have it confirmed) and new things kept coming that still managed to surprise me but made sense.
I think that is one of the beauties of this series. There is a LOT going on. And you get most of the answers at the end, in the last book, but they all make sense because you can remember scenes in previous books and even in the one you’re reading, and the dots connect. It takes skill to write and make all those dots connect and do so in such a way, so I can only admire Rin’s ability to write this story.
//Spoilers for content in the two previous books ahead but no spoilers for this one//
Tea and Kalen. I adored the scenes that happened between them including drunk Tea which was one of my favourite parts. And we had the relationship develop well so it felt right, it worked and the chemistry. Honestly, I was just like cooing and wanting more of them.
I also had a lot fo love for the other pairings happening in the book and how they slowly come to fruition. It was wonderful to see old characters keep up.
The one thing I would’ve loved, was a list of names and who they were plus which country they originally belong to (as at some point I had to stop and remind myself that X was actually from so and so and not the other country). But this is more due to the sheer size of the world and the amount of characters and me desperately wanting to understand it all and not miss a thing.
Honestly I can babble incoherently for a while, but all I can say is that the book shows Rin’s ability to weave a tale and bring it to completion breaking and mending your heart along the way.
Tales by Mail is a new book box subscription that happens bi monthly, has a podcast and is focused on 8-12 years old! The people behind it are the masterminds behind Book Box Club so of course I had to try this one and as is evident by my blog posts, I read Middle Grade and other children books so it felt right up my street.
This is the very first box of Tales by Mail and the theme was Mansion House Mysteries (makes me think of my own young self watching Scooby Doo!), and starting on the top right and going clockwise, let’s see what was included:
Not included in the box but can be bought separately is a binder to hold the pages of activities and “reviews” that get sent with each box. I decided to get it alongside the box as it felt more organised to myself that way and a simple way to collect them in a designated place.
A sampler of The Train to Impossible Places.
A tote bag for The Strangeworlds Travel Agency which I am super happy to find in the box.
Promotional bookmark for Tran to Impossible Places.
Mini notebook to write all the notes on mystery solving with the theme artwork on the front.
On top fo the books, are two pins, one makes you an official member of the Postal Express and the other has the theme art for the box.
The House to Hoarder Hill. This looks spooky like and I am super itnrigued.
Jack’s Secret Summer, which feels more like a fun adventure with a bit of mystery and no spooky (but I may be wrong)
The theme cards and activities, it has a couple fo pages for a review of each book but it also has activities and ideas so it’sa fun supplement!
As you can see it is jam packed with things to read and do and it’d be a good kickstarter for a childs’ creativity and adventures, so I was excited by it. There is also nothing in the box that I felt was just added for bulk, but instead it shows the focus of the subscription. Activities, fun little things that can be kept and lots of adventures to be. So far I can highly recommend it as a wonderful thing to get for children to enjoy and if you’re like me, for adults too.
Look, picture books that have sneaky foxes in the cover or involved foxes as characters, I will most probably add to my wishlist, and this was not the exception.
I needed a small filler book while I waiting between budyd reads and this fit the bill perfectly. It made me feel good and surprisingly goes well with the whole avoiding others and staying inside because of lockdown.
Julian likes to keep to his own company and has learned how to avoid his neighbours, until a sneaky fox shows up and things change for Julian. The artwork is extremely cute, and the story was sweet for a moment making you think something may happen and then it gets better whcih was nice to read.
I liked the concept behind it and feel like feel good books about those that keep their own company are rare, but this one was cute, fun and just worth reading.
So if you like mice, foxes, cute stories or just something to cheer up, I can recommend this book!
As I mentioned on ym previous unboxing, there was another box doing Incendiary and I was curious to see what was included instead for items, so let’s see what Owlcrate did (also, the theme is different). Starting on Incendiary top left corner and going clockwise:
Incendiary, Owlcrate edition.
Stickers, whcih I usually enjoy becuase stickers are fun, bonus points if they are the kind you can unstick. The ones here are less exciting as they are quotes and I prefer more image stickers than quotes.
The collectible pin, I think it’ll make more sense once I read the book.
10 metal straws, in a cute pouch with cleaning brushes. 5 of them with a bend and 5 straight ones. I like this because it gives you enough straws to have around.
Witchy, which I have reviewed before but for a different press, and this cover is also gorgeous. Great choice.
The pouch for the straws.
Pot holders, probably the most boring one of the items since they are just quotes rather than something fun, but I like they’re brihgt as it makes them easier to find!
A gorgeous wooden magnet that immediately went on the fridge because it is so elegant and simple yet beautiful.
All in all I liked the contents of the box and was happy with it. I would’ve liked less quote items and more image ones but that’s more personal prefernece rather than thinking the items aren’t great.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
This was a gift from the lovely Justine on one of those wishlist shares, and I had heard a lot of good things about the book.
It was tempting me since it has a fox in it, it is ink drawings and just a positive type of book, so it felt like a book to have at hand when sadness hits and when life just feels a bit not great.
I have to say, it is an easy soothing read with heavy pages and a lot of care, so I can see a lot of care in making it. As it says, you can technically read without an order and I didn’t try it this time round but as I read I noticed it does lend to an orderly or disorderly reading.
I think what got me the most was that the art is simple and yet so emotive and there’s a lot of detail and care. I was fascinated by it and the words go along well.
For some reason it reminded me a lot of Winnie the Pooh and old artwork in the books but also that kind of timeless quotes about life and friendships and just everything. It has a poetic way to it and I just found it soothing, a bit short if anything.
If you want a book that is art, coffee table material but also will make you feel good for reading it, then this is the one for you. Plus it has cute animals, particularly a fox…
April’s Fairyloot arrived quitelate this time, so it felt as if it was the May box rather than the April one. Oh well, this is the oen for April, and it left me with some opinions. Let’s unbox starting from the top right and going clockwise:
Tote bag, this is a thick quality one which is nice but the deisgn is very much quotes and small reading so it doesn’t shine much.
Emoji sticky tabs which is very much NOT my thing. Starting by it being emojis and then sticky tabs.
An enamel pin for a Memory Vial.
Wahsi tape for Daughter of Smoke and Bone, though it could be for many thing, however it is cute and blue so I like it.
A Secret Book Volume 3. I like the idea but it does look quite “fake” (whereas I already have a few other secret books that look more like books), so shall compare but I like the idea.
Tarot cards, not been collecting them so a bit meh about them.
A pin banner thing, which I am not keeping but I know of some people who would love it.
The main book, Incendiary which I am intrigued by it and looking forward to reading.
All in all it felt a bit not cohesive, and some items felt like fillers and add ons just to pad it rather than to really want ot be in theme and with the book. But shall compare later on to the other box doing the same book and we can decide…
After reading The Bone Witch, I ordered the next two books, then continued a buddy read. Life got in the way for both of us so it took us a while to coordinate again, but once we did, we flew through it.
One of my favourite things so far is the world building. You get so much in this world and it just keeps expanding more and more. The style of having Tea in the present talking to the Bard about her story of the past and what made her what she is, does a really good job in presenting items cohesively despite being different moments and different reveals.
The last 100 pages or so, they went by so fast because there was so much going on and slowly being revealed and surprisingly a lot of what I thought would happen, didn’t and things I didn’t expect did. As I reached the end I needed to know more.
The characters keep developing their layers and showing more of how grey they are and how difficult it is to know someone’s true intentions and what is going on behind closed doors but in figurative and literal sense. I have a big soft spot both for Khalad and Likh, and for their stories. But new characters also join in and add to the “team”, Mykkie is still a big part of the story and Tea keeps showing us more of who she is, what she has held inside and slowly revealing the secrets and motives that she carries as a heavy burden.
I am in awe of the story. It is deep and full and rich, and I cannot recommend it enough. Also, it is incredibly hard not to spoil it while reviewing because there is SO mcuh I’d like to say but it’d spoil it and it’s worth not doing that.
I can only say, go read The Bone Witch and have The Heart Forger ready to keep going because you will want to know more!
Illumicrate has been a bit of hit and miss the last few months, but I knew what book was coming in this box and it was one I was looking forwad to read so decided to see how the box would feel this time. Starting from the book and going clockwise:
The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence. I got into his writing thanks to Illumicrate and the proof copy for Red Sister. Borrowed his other books from the library and haven’t looked back. They’re definitely grim dark, so not for everyone.
Mercado de la Muerte Dark Spice hot chocolate. It smells slightly like Mexican chocolate, but I tasted it plain and it isn’t exactly right (it’s too much European/USA cocoa style and not enough mix of bitterness and sugar). But I’ll give it a try in water and shall see if it compares to proper hot chocolate.
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets book sleeve. The art is gorgeous, it’s really nice and do not find faults here at all.
Toss a Post it note to your witcher! (does this need explaining?)
A phone stand with the Moving Castle on it. This is my favourite item in the box and prefer it to other phone items they’ve done except for the battery charger thing.
Foiled stickers, they are gorgeous. Love them
All in all, it was a much better box than previous ones and it gives me hope. And it matches well with my new puzzle (shame I didn’t keep the one with Howl’s Moving Castle in the background whcih would match the phone stand!). Looking forward to the next box!
Book Box Club’s May box was all about dragons and I am always happy with a dragon themed box (who doesn’t like dragons? as long as they’re not toasting you to a crisp). And I also had the super awesome jigsaw puzzle somehow match this, so let’s see what was in the box, starting on the top right corner:
Dragon socks, they are the PERFECT socks to make a dragon sock puppet because the other side has an open dragon mouth. I wish it came with two pairs of them so I could do sock puppet and wear a pair of socks.
A golden foil print of Smaug, which is super gorgeous!
Dragon egg bath bomb, it smells delicious and I am looking forward to it.
Hungarian Horntail candle.
The main book, which is Burn by Patrick Ness. I am unsure about it mostly because I wasn’t too keen on previous books.
Personalised clubhouse invite
A sampler of All Your Twisted Secrets
A card set to promote Wodnerland by juno Dawson.
My favoruite thing was the socks, because they’re so cute, but it was a very dragon themed box and I am happy with it.