I’ve been reading so many fantasy and sci-fi books recently so this month is more of a contemporary month. Mainly due to the fact I read some… disappointing… dystopians recently. I’ve also cut down my goal to 6 books this month due to the fact I’m starting my placement on the 3rd and I’m unsure how much time I can put toward reading.

Darien by C.F. Iggulden

Darien: Empire of Salt (Empire of Salt #1)

‘Twelve families. One throne. Welcome the the Empire of Salt’

I’m excited to the enter the City of Darien with experienced historical fiction writer C.F. Iggulden. With his background I’m excited to see how immersive his fantasy world is. This is also the only fantasy on this list because I’ve already started to read it.

Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield

Paper Butterflies

‘June’s life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one—and a secret one. She is trapped like a butterfly in a net.’

A lot of people on my Goodreads have said this book is good. We follow June’s dark home life as she gains hope in the form of Blister. I’m excited to see how this book goes as I’ve tried not to spoil myself for the details.

Perfect by Cecelia Ahern

Perfect (Flawed, #2)

‘With tensions building, Celestine must make a choice: save just herself or risk her life to save all Flawed people.’

The second in a duology, I’m excited to see how Ahern completes the story. I’ve read Flawed this month so hopefully Perfect is just as good.

Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner

Goodbye Days

‘One day Carver Briggs had it all – the  next day he lost it all when he sent a simple text to his friend Mars, right before Mars, Eli, and Blake were killed in a car crash.’

Apparently this is an emotionally heavy book. But, it sounds really interesting and so relevant. I know so many people who always have their phones near them when driving so I think it’s important that someone has wrote about the aftermath.

The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli

The Upside of Unrequited

‘Seventeen-year-old Molly Peskin-Suso knows all about unrequited love—she’s lived through it twenty-six times. She crushes hard and crushes often, but always in secret’

This book has been so hyped up over on Youtube, Goodreads and other blogs. After hearing what it’s about I thought it would be a nice easy read for this month.

The Whole Thing Together by Ann Brashares

The Whole Thing Together

‘We live in the same place, but never together.’

So from what I gathered from the synopsis this is similar to the parent trap. Two parents separated but instead of splitting the kids the two in this book are unrelated children from either parent. Although they do share 3 half-siblings. I just feel like this book is going to get really messy, really quickly. Which I love.

 

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Clockwork Angel is the first in a trilogy of books. This series is a prequel to The Mortal Instruments, also written by Cassandra Clare. Tessa traveled to London to live with her brother, when he appears missing she is captured. Saved by Will, Tessa lives within the institute with the Shadowhunters helping to find Nate, whilst also finding out what the Magister’s evil plan is.

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

I’ve heard so many times that The Infernal Devices is so much better than the Mortal Instruments. In comparison I can definitely agree the writing and overall plot is improved. The main issue I had was that in some cases, it was too similar to The Mortal Instruments. My instant thought was Will was similar to Jace although I’m unsure if this was intentional or not. The love triangle was also reminiscent of Clare’s previous work.

I enjoyed that Clockwork Angel was set in London rather than New York. I was getting fairly bored of being focused on New York so this gave us a chance to see a new institute. The different location and different time means the institute is extremely different to the one in TMI.

The big question of who is the Magister? in the first chapter was important in the book. I found it both predictable and unpredictable. If Pretty Little Liars has told me anything, if a character claims it’s one person, it’s probably not them. I was however surprised of who it actually was. So well played, Cassandra Clare.

One of the big improvements is that the adults  actually take action. In TMI, there were so many times the teenagers acted purely because the adults weren’t doing anything. I was so tired of the adults being incompetent that Charlotte and Henry were a welcome surprise. They also really tried to help Tessa find Nate immediately. There weren’t multiple meetings with the Clave before they could do anything.

Clockwork Angel seemed to pick up a lot quicker than TMI and kept pace. The fighting scenes were written better. Less filler content was needed as we already know the world. Although there was a love triangle, a lot less content was put towards building on it. It seemed a lot more like a fantasy than a romance.

Please don’t comment any spoilers as I haven’t finished the other books yet. But I had a weird thought about Tessa’s name being Gray. As the dark sisters are called Black and Dark, does the inclusion of the name Gray fit there? Is this an insight into who she will become? Or who she ‘could’ become if she is a bad guy? I just thought it was odd to use a name so similar.

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We all have those days right? You have loads of work that needs doing but all you want to do is veg out and watch TV.

Focus on the end result

Instead of all the little things you need to do to complete your goals, think of what you will achieve in the end. If your to-do list has 50 things on it, it’s going to look very daunting and demotivate you. Hype yourself up by thinking of your goals and achievements of the past and future due to your hard work. You can also be more flexible with how you’re going to get to the results rather than a set list of tasks.

Think positively

Keep thinking ‘you can do this’ rather than ‘oh I’ve go so much to do’. Negative thoughts will affect what you do. Keep positive and you’ll achieve your goals much faster.

Look after yourself.

Eat. Hydrate. Sleep. Don’t forget to look after yourself. It’s all good binge watching Netflix until 5am but you’re going to make you feel worse in the long run. Keep your body running to top standards and you’ll feel happier, less stressed and more motivated to work on your goals.

 Surround yourself with positive people

The people around you will effect you. Surrounding yourself with negative and toxic people will gradually poison your life. Ensuring the people around you are positive towards themselves and you will help you move towards your goal.

Mix up your routines

If you end up in a rut, you will be demotivated. So mix it up a little. Instead of going to gym in the afternoon, have a home workout in the morning. Studying by reading? Trying talking out loud or teaching someone else the material. There’s a million and one ways to reach different goals, remember to try out multiple paths.

Remember past mistakes

Remembering where you’ve gone wrong before is important. If you know you’re going to get too stressed to be productive when leaving something to last minute, why would you do it again? Develop yourself further and learn from your past when reaching for your goals.

Stay ambitious

This is so important. If you don’t have the dream to achieve then you probably wont make as much as an effort. Push yourself to try and gain achievements outside your comfort zone. Really think about what you want to gain out of your life. You only have one.

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Harry is missing from Tall Oaks. Everyone has their secrets, but whose is connected to the missing child? A thriller surrounded by the average people you find in small town living. With so many secrets, anybody could be a suspect.

Tall Oaks

Tall Oaks is a mystery novel first, yet there’s a strong focus on the characters. As with most small towns, everyone knows everybody. This is both a good and bad thing for the characters involved. The town is in a panic after the disappearance. Tall Oaks follows a selection of residents as they try to deal with their own lives and secrets. Each character is distinct, complex and has a uniqueness without being unrealistic. The story gripped me as I wanted to know what was going to happen to each of them.

The mystery element was extremely well written. Some shady suspects were met throughout the book as we try find out who took Harry. A red herring or two were thrown in for good measure. Additionally, it had a nice even pace which rose near the end. Following each of the characters individually helped to keep pace because some characters had slower arcs than others. The slower arcs still compelled me to keep reading though.

Another good point was the plot twist. I love plot twists in mystery and thrillers. Tall Oaks didn’t disappoint as I didn’t see the ending coming. In hindsight, the signs were all pointing to the answer. But I hadn’t picked up on them. Whitaker had thought out the plot well.

I received Tall Oaks* by Chris Whitaker as an e-book from the publisher via Readers First. This is an unbiased and honest review.

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So after seeing so many beautiful unboxings of Fairyloot I decided to try it. I bought this last month, and had forgotten that I’d bought it because I got it so long ago. With moving twice and moving again next week, it’s not been the first thing on my mind.

As you can tell my Fairyloot June box got a little bit battered but fortunately everything inside was in perfect condition. This is my first ever book subscription box so I was so excited to get it in the post that I didn’t really mind that it was slightly damaged anyway.

On first opening you can only see the ‘spoiler’ card of what’s inside the box. This gives you information about everything that’s included so I just put it to one side and looked for myself what was there. I’ve seen someone complain about the purple springy things (technical term of course). But I thought they were good as they hid the products and they were quite tough and stuck together instead of flying all over the room.

On the card was the Elementalist artwork that has been promoted by Fairyloot. I’m really happy because this is one of the reasons why I purchased Fairyloot this month in particular. Compared to the book, I think it’s extremely relevant. Plus, it’s beautiful artwork.

I. Love. This. Candle. It’s the Twister candle from Witchwood Remedies which is also UK based! It smells good, I can’t tell what of though! Also, the candle looks so adorable. Luckily, I’m moving into a flat where I can actually use candles for the first time in two years!

When I saw this bracelet I was so happy. I used to have one really similar, but I lost it a while ago now. Fingers crossed I dont lose this one.

This is a Avatar: The Last Airbender related product. You could could get a fire, earth or water lip balm as well. I, obviously, got the air one. I haven’t opened up yet since I put it straight into my bags for moving!

This is by far one of my favourite items. This is an exclusive cushion cover made for Fairyloot. It’s got a quote by Stephen King who I love. The colour is just beautiful, and it’s actually brighter in real life than in this image. I think I might look into buying a couple more covers from Miss Phi to go with this one.

This is a small postcard for the Frostblood Series by Ella Blake. I haven’t actually heard of this series before so I will probably be checking that out.

This sample for The Waking Land was also really exciting. I have this on my wishlist at the moment, so it’s going to be good to read some and see if I like it first.

As cute as this packaging is, I cant actually use this soap. Because of sensitive skin, I dont really want to risk using this so I will probably be gifting this to a family member.

Anyone who knows me will tell you of my love of stationary. I can’t wait to be able to use these adorable sticky notes either for organisation or for revision when I go back to uni next year.

I love that the book comes in a lovely little bag. It means the book is not damaged and it’s like a second surprise opening. I’m probably going to reuse the bag for carrying books in my handbag too.

So as with every Fairyloot box (I think) you get a note from the author, a signed book plate, a bookmark (Which is really needed since I’ve misplaced mine when moving) and an insider to next month! I kind of want to get next months too, but the cost is worrying me as I dont want to pay every single month. I think I know which book it is though, so I might just pick up the book.

I’m so excited about this book. I actually put it onto my Amazon wishlist recently because I keep seeing this all over Goodreads and Twitter.  The premise just seemed interesting as there’s storm magic and Aurora, the future queen must somehow get her own magic before she’s forced into an arranged marriage. The book cover is also stunning, which means of course I wanted it. I have a problem with good looking books okay? But overall I’m really excited to read this!

Are you subscribed or do you buy from any book subscription services? If yes, let me know which one(s) you prefer in the comments!

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