Monday, 21 August 2017

Illumicrate August 2017 Unboxing!!

Today, my first ever Illumicrate box arrived!!

I legit could not wait to get into this thing, I'm way too impatient with book boxes. I'd been watching the tracking like a hawk all weekend to see when it would arrive.

*spoilerthatisntaspoiler* EVERYTHING IS AWESOME.

Let's dive in!

First we open it and see this....

I'll insert a pic of the back of the card at the end so it doesn't spoil what's inside.

 Under the cardboard the first item I see is AN ALETHIOMETER COASTER! 

The Alethiometer is from His Dark Materials and the artwork was done by Hannah Hitchman Art.
Then we have....

STICKY BOOKMARKS from Blossom Books.  
I've never had or used these before but that is about to change - look how cute they are!

Next up: MOXIE BADGES!! 

I haven't read Moxie yet, but these sure do make me excited to.


Then we have a SHAKESPEARE ZIP BAG that says 'Seek Happy Nights to Happy Days' from Miss Phi.

I think this could be my favourite item in the box - a BOOK MONEY JAR from Blossom Books.

Next is some RED CHURCH TEA from T-ology. 

This is inspired by Nevernight by Jay Kristoff. 

I am pretty wary to drink this since the card says '(Warning: may contain the blood of your enemies)' I mean, i'm all for vanquishing my enemies but i'm not sure I wanna drink their blood.

This gorgeous WISDOM JOURNAL is going to be perfect for me to make notes in. 

It's from Hey Atlas Creative and says 'Even Strength Must Bow To Wisdom Sometimes' which is a quote from The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan... a book series and author I still (shamefully) have not read. 

We also get a few BOOKMARKS and card in there for some upcoming books - including The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden which I am SO EXCITED for. 

If you haven't read The Bear and the Nightingale (the first book) I HIGHLY recommend it. 

The first book in the box is an uncorrected proof of NYXIA by Scott Reintgen. I have never heard of this book or author, but the many many 5 stars all over the cover have me intrigued. 

It's out on September 12th!

Finally we learn why the description of this box said the book was about 'a true ICON'. Included is an exclusive sprayed edges edition of WONDER WOMAN: WARBRINGER by Leigh Bardugo.

Along with the book there's a cool little  WONDER WOMAN BADGE to match.

Here's the official list of what's inside! 

Monday, 14 August 2017

Wonder Woman: Warbringer By Leigh Bardugo

29749085She will become one of the world’s greatest heroes: WONDER WOMAN. But first she is Diana, Princess of the Amazons. And her fight is just beginning. . . .

Diana longs to prove herself to her legendary warrior sisters. But when the opportunity finally comes, she throws away her chance at glory and breaks Amazon law—risking exile—to save a mere mortal. Even worse, Alia Keralis is no ordinary girl and with this single brave act, Diana may have doomed the world.

Alia just wanted to escape her overprotective brother with a semester at sea. She doesn’t know she is being hunted. When a bomb detonates aboard her ship, Alia is rescued by a mysterious girl of extraordinary strength and forced to confront a horrible truth: Alia is a Warbringer—a direct descendant of the infamous Helen of Troy, fated to bring about an age of bloodshed and misery.

Together, Diana and Alia will face an army of enemies—mortal and divine—determined to either destroy or possess the Warbringer. If they have any hope of saving both their worlds, they will have to stand side by side against the tide of war. (Goodreads)

Leigh Bardugo is one of my favourite authors, so I went into this book with complete faith that she would do Diana justice. I can report that she has done just that. 

I'm not someone who grew up with Wonder Woman, I knew of her but I don't think I could've called myself a fan. It's not that I didn't like her but rather due to a lack of exposure to her awesomeness. 2017 brought us the Wonder Woman film, which I eagerly went to see. I will forever wish I'd had that film when I was younger. Now could not be a better time for Wonder Woman: Warbringer to come out. 

Since Alia is a warbringer and so a descendant of Helen of Troy brings some Greek mythology into the modern day setting. It's not overwhelming or hard to understand, but it does make you eager to go pick up a mythology book and do some research. 

Diana is in her teenager years during this novel, young and eager to impress. You can still expect some amazing action from her, she might be younger but she's still a badass fighter. 
The whole cast of characters Bardugo has created is amazing. In the main group the only white character is Diana, which was so refreshing to see. Each one of them is important and interesting, they're not just there purely to gape in awe at Diana from the sidelines.
The dynamic between them was my favourite thing. The strength and complexity of their relationships is wonderful to read. Female friendships and strong women are a big part of the book, including showing that there are different ways of being strong, the ability to fight isn't the only one, which is amazing.

Wonder Woman: Warbringer is the first novel in a new quartet named the DC Icons. 3 other YA authors, Marie Lu, Matt de la Pena and Sarah J Maas. Each will deal with a different superhero during their young adult years. I have high expectations for the others now.

Definitely pick this one up. You don't need an extensive knowledge of Wonder Woman to understand it - it's a story anyone can enjoy. 

Bonus pic of me at YALC dressed as Sophie Hatter dressing as Wonder Woman!

Thank you to Penguin for sending me a finished copy to review!

Sunday, 6 August 2017

YALC 2017!!

As I write this it has been a week since YALC and I'm willing to give just about anything to be able to go back and do it all over again.

For the past three years, me, my brother and my dad have gone down to London to go to YALC and London Film and Comic Con. It's like a family tradition now.

This year we went down the day before the convention started, on the Thursday. I FINALLY got to visit Westminster Abbey - I've been meaning to go there for years but never got the chance. It's insanely beautiful inside.

In the evening we went to see Hamlet with Andrew Scott and Jessica Brown Findlay. Both were amazing to watch live, but I have to admit after such a long day by the end I was ready to fall asleep. It started at 7 and didn't end until 10:45!

On Friday it was finally time for YALC!
I dressed up as Sophie Hatter from Howl's Moving Castle for the weekend. The dress is so floaty and swishy - I felt so awesome walking around in it!
Friday was my busiest day for signings, so I hauled all my books from the hotel to Olympia. It broke my shoulders to do so, but it was so worth it.

Alison Goodman lead a Regency Dancing exercise on the afternoon, which I knew I just HAD to do. I'm obsessed with her series The Dark Days Club and could not pass up to opportunity to be taught to dance by her. It ended up being so much fun - I think everyone just laughed the entire way through.

 On Friday night we went to see The Phantom of the Opera aka the best musical ever. We got front row tickets and I literally could have cried it was so gooooooodddd. This is how close we were to the stage.

Saturday was filled with more signings, more panels, more books, more swag, more friends....

In the evening I ventured to Comic Con to see the Game of Thrones panel, which meant I missed the infamous Benedict sighting as he came past Non Pratt's head shaving. 

Sunday morning was all about grabbing an Invictus arc. Mission success! I then got it signed by the awesome Ryan Graudin!

The line for Invictus arcs taken by Ryan Graudin - with my dad unhelpfully standing right in the way! *shakes head* 

Sunday afternoon was all about spotting Cumberbatch for myself. Misson success! I first spotted him walking by, but then later he walked past and said hi to someone and then hi how are you? to me. Me being me, I just screeched HI back. I also spotted Natalie Dormer walking around - she's even more gorgeous in person.

Here are some amazing cosplays I got pictures of. There are so many more I wish I'd taken pictures of! 
I DIED seeing the Rhys and Feyre cosplay. It was just perfect.

My brother told me there was a Howl cosplay going around Comic Con, but after exploring the maze that was downstairs for a while we could not find him anymore. So disappointing! We would have been great to get a picture of!

Here's some pics of my haul from the weekend after I eventually managed to sort out everything I'd gotten signed/ bought/ grabbed in London. 
First pic is what I took myself. 
Second pics left stack is arcs I grabbed. Right stack is books I bought. 
Third pic is swag!

Undoubtedly the best part of going to YALC is seeing people I only see once a year. Chatting books with everyone is always an absolute joy. I can't wait to do it all over again next year!
(I also need to remember to get pics with everyone - I always get caught up in booktalk and forget!)

Thanks for reading!!! 

(Calcifer in his home for the weekend - My hat!
Taken by @BookAddictdGirl)