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We love to talk all things books, sharing reviews, features, lists, interviews and more, all penned by our team of six writers.

Getting lost in a book is escapism at it's finest and it's what everyone who contributes here thrives on.

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Sunday, 22 October 2017

The Vegan Cookbook: 100 Plant-Based Recipes to Inspire and Invigorate | Adele McConnell | Review


*Review copy c/o Netgalley, cover image via goodreads.com

The Vegan Cookbook is a new release from Adele McConnell who is used to seeing people all over the world recreate her recipes thanks to her successful blog Vegie Head.

Through sharing her recipes McConnell wants to show readers that plant-based eating doesn’t have to be bland or boring, highlighting the huge variety of foods to be enjoyed. As well as sharing recipes she talks about her own personal journey, reasons for following a plant-based diet and the benefits. Suggestions are included for those who may be looking to make the switch themselves, including tips such as taking a step-by-step approach to ease into the new lifestyle and advice on store cupboard staples.

One of my favourite things about the book was how clearly allergens are labelled for each recipe using a simple colour-coded key, making it quick and easy to find recipes to suit different types of vegan diet. The layout of the recipes is easy to follow and colourful photographs showcase many of the finished dishes well, although unfortunately not every recipe is pictured.

Whilst a lot of the savoury recipes look delicious, I have to confess I’m most keen to try out the Raw Chocolate Torte with Salted Pecan Sauce – what's not to love?
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Lettering With Purpose | Brittany Luiz | Review


*Review copy c/o Netgalley, cover image via goodreads.com

Lettering With Purpose is a brand new release from professional lettering artist and instructor Brittany Luiz, designed to teach readers how to get started with lettering and encourage them to create their own beautiful artwork.

The book takes you through all of the basics from tools and materials to compositions, different styles and even how to digitize your work using Photoshop. Once you have the basics mastered the book also shows you how to build upon these skills with tips on how to develop your own personal lettering styles using flourishes, frames and other extras. As well as basics and advice there are several full alphabet examples included which showcase different styles of lettering to help you practise and encourage you to develop your own personal style.

When you feel ready to put your new lettering skills to the test the book has some great art print project ideas using various techniques and materials such as watercolour paints and chalkboard pens. At the back of the book is the author’s favourite section, a set of 100 creative prompts complete with space to practise each one, plus a list of tips to help you find inspiration for your designs going forward.

Overall I think Lettering With Purpose is a great book for beginners, covering all of the basics needed to get you started with this art form and providing inspiration to encourage readers to create their own unique lettering styles and designs. I have my new brush pens at the ready and am looking forward to trying out all of the tips and tricks included in the book!
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Monday, 16 October 2017

The Twisted Ones | Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed Wrisley | Review


Summary:

It's been a little over a year since the events of the first book. Charlie is in college, studying engineering, and is trying to correct her father's legacy. Officer Clay shows up to ask her some questions. Apparently there's been a murder. The wounds on the body look exactly the same as the scars left by a spring lock suit. Someone, or something, is out for blood.

Review:

I said in my review of The Silver Eyes that I was buying this book because the first one was such a fun read. This sequel does not disappoint. 

This book reads so much like a 1980's B horror movie sequel. There were some scenes that I'm sure were meant to be scary but I just ended up chuckling. While the first book was conservative in its killing and scope, this one just goes over-the-top. It even scales up the scientific and paranormal aspects of the animatronics. The villain himself is so absurd that he wasn't scary at all. Just like what happens in the sequels to B horror movies! 

I'll give Cawthon and Breed-Wrisley full credit for the occasional cleverness the characters come up with. Unfortunately, while the last book had a great creepiness factor going for it, this book did not. There were no creepy scenes to help balance out the nonsensical attempts at scariness. Seriously, the scene where Charlie and John watch a zombie movie and she keeps thinking about all the things the movie got wrong was a great metaphor for the book. You don't read it for the logic, just the silliness. 

In all, I'm still glad I bought the book and that I read it in October. The authors left it open for a third book and I'm kinda hoping they follow through. If you don't take it too seriously, you'll have a fun time! 


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Friday, 13 October 2017

Features | A Halloween TBR


I've never really been very big on Halloween (I do not like being scared) but I never say no to seasonal reading and even I, a notorious hater of fear in any form, enjoy having my spine tingled by a chilling story every now and then. So, here are three books I'll be reading this month to get into the spooky Halloween spirit.

One-by-one, the students of Osborne High are dying in a series of gruesome murders, each with increasing and grotesque flair. As the terror grows closer and the hunt intensifies for the killer, the dark secrets among them must finally be confronted.
When Erin reviewed There's Someone Inside Your House recently she described it as 'a teen slasher movie in novel form'. Honestly, I am not a fan of teen slasher movies. Blood and gore? Not my thing. So why is this number one on my Halloween themed reading list? Well, Stephanie Perkins's other books (Anna and the French Kiss etc.) are among my favourite novels so I trust her to write something I'll enjoy, and I figure since this is a novel and not a movie, the gore can't be quite so graphic... right?

Heather agrees to a group camping holiday with Dougie and his friends because she's desperate to get closer to him. But when the two of them disturb a pagan burial site above the beach, she becomes certain that they have woken a malevolent spirit. Something is alive out there in the pitch-black dark, and it is planning to wreak deadly revenge.
Black Cairn Point sounds suitably spooky and atmospheric with its rural Scottish setting and supernatural twist. It's one I've been meaning to read for a couple of years now and this is the year I'm finally going to get up the guts to do it! I don't think I have too much to worry about anyway. I'm already not overly fond of camping so what's it going to make me scared of? Malevolent spirits? Way ahead of you, book. Erin reviewed this one too, back in 2015, if you want to know more about it.

Do you know what lived in the ancient forests, before we walked the earth? Do you know of the giants and cannibals who came before us? Do you know the origins of the first ymbryne? These are the stories that came long before us peculiars, and that will outlive us all.
Promising tales of cannibals, ghosts, and fork-tongued princesses, Tales of the Peculiar sounds set to be every bit as strange and unsettling as the series it is companion to. If the Wights and Hollowgast of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children are anything to go by, I'm sure these short stories from the peculiar world will have plenty of chilling characters to creep me right out and keep me up way past my bedtime.

So those are the books I'll be giving myself nightmares with in the run up to Halloween. What about you? Do you have any spooky books on your TBR to get you in the spirit for All Hallows' Eve?
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Obelisk | Stephen Baxter | Review


This year, I've been making a real effort to read more sci-fi. What's sparked this? Well I read I, Robot for the first time and really enjoyed it. When I heard about a new collection of short stories and novellas from an acclaimed sci-fi writer, I thought I would see if my new found love of the genre would continue.

Having not read much sci-fi before, I hadn't actually read anything else by Stephen Baxter but a quick google search told me that his work is highly respected in the genre. As such, Obelisk (which is packed full of stories, some of which are linked to his other work while others are entirely new) seemed like it would fill a major gap in my sci-fi education. The content of the book is varied, though each work within it is undoubtedly creative, engaging and packed full of 'what ifs'.

As I mentioned, some of the stories are linked to the worlds that Baxter explores in his other books. I was a little bit nervous that I wouldn't 'get' those ones, having not read any other work from Baxter. I needn't have worried. It was easy to dive into the world and now I am curious about his novels!

Though I enjoyed those stories, my favourites were probably the alternate histories. These imagined what the world would be like if things had gone a little differently. To say they were interesting would be an understatement and they really had me thinking long after I had finished reading them. The topics were varied, clearly well researched and very well handled. Like I said, they were the real highlight of Obelisk for me. In fact the collection seemed to move from strength to strength as I read further in the book.

There is some technical bits in many of the stories too. Even if I couldn't always follow the science, it added an air of authenticity to the narratives that was both intriguing and worrying. Many of the stories are set in the not too distant future and it's a sign of Baxter's talent that some of the situations seemed scarily realistic!

If you're a fan of sci-fi or a little intimidated by the genre, Obelisk is a great place to start.
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Saturday, 7 October 2017

Bookish Links #34


1. Library Love - we loved Michelle's recent post all about her new library membership and the reasons we should all join our local library. After reading her follow-up post we now have five more titles to add to our TBRs!

2. Unread Books - we found ourselves nodding along whilst reading Anjali's relatable post on her piles of unread books. How many unread books do you have on your shelves?

3. The Weird & The Wonderful - we loved Nihaad's list of books with wonderfully weird storylines, perfect to pick up if you're looking for a read that will keep you on your toes!

4. Life Lessons - this post from Stylist reflects on the life lessons many of us learnt from growing up with Jacqueline Wilson's novels. Which was your childhood favourite? It looks like Tracy Beaker is currently topping Stylist's poll.

5. Your Book Soulmate - find your next YA read with this quick Buzzfeed quiz!

6. On TBR Posts - we found Ali's post on why she stopped sharing monthly TBRs to be an interesting read. Do you find creating a monthly TBR list useful?

7. Bookish Podcast - if you're looking for something new to listen to on your commute this week check out new podcast The Bookcast Club for some bookish chat!

8. Kids Reads - Lauren has teamed up with Books & Pieces to share top reading picks for kids. Her post also includes a handy discount code perfect for those of us looking to do little early Christmas shopping.

9. Donating Books To Prisons - this post from Book Riot shares how much your unwanted books can help prisoners. Have you ever donated your old books to a prison?

10. Emotional Reads - we loved this post from Lauren Evie prescribing recommended reads based on different emotions, inspired by The Little Paris Bookshop and the power of words.

If you've read or written an interesting bookish article you think our readers would enjoy please let us know - it may be featured in a future post!      
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