Library Haul!

There’s been some talk recently about people not using or needing libraries anymore, which is a topic which floats around every so often. I vehemently disagree with this! There will always be a need for libraries in my opinion, because there will always be a need for a place where people can access books with no charge. We weren’t poor when I was a child, but books were still a luxury that I only got on birthdays and Christmas, and the library was the only place I had a regular supply of books. People – kids and adults – all over the country still need that.

So to show that people do still use the library, here’s my current haul of books!

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(Yes, that is a Captain America tsum tsum on top of the pile. Isn’t he cute?!)

We have:

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams – this is the sequel to The Ninth Rain and I can’t wait to read it!

Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien – nominated for lots of awards, not my usual type of book, but it sounds fascinating.

Markswoman by Rati Mehrotr – Asian inspired fantasy, it sounded really interesting!

Aftermath by Kelley Armstrong – I love Kelley Armstrong books and this is a standalone YA that I picked up on a whim.

928 Miles From Home by Kim Slater – I basically picked this up because of the cover!

The Last Romeo by Justin Myers – otherwise known as The Guyliner, I really like Myers’ writing online and I was just reading about this book yesterday. It seemed like fate when I saw it in the library in the afternoon!

The New World by Scott Andrews – I liked the first book in this series and already have the second to read, so I thought I’d better pick it up when I saw it!

So there we have it! I have a fantastic library – I’m lucky in that I have access to Liverpool’s main library, which is also in a magnificent building – and it stocks a lot of books I’m interested in. Some of these books I’ve had out longer than others, but I’m looking forward to reading them all. I’m making no promises as to when that might be though!

Do you use the library? Let me know what books you currently have out!

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Blog Tour: Mirror Magic

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I’m delighted to be part of the Mirror Magic blog tour today. Written by Claire Fayers, Mirror Magic is a wonderful middle grade historical fantasy, and as soon as I heard the synopsis, I knew I had to read this book!

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Welcome to Wyse, the only town left in Britain with a connection to the magical Unworld. 

When twelve-year-old Ava meets Howell on the other side of a mirror, the two are quickly drawn into a mystery to discover why the enchantments that link their towns are disappearing. 

But it’s hard to distinguish between friends and enemies when magic is involved and Ava and Howell soon learn that it can be very unwise to mess with mirrors…

So, this book couldn’t be any further up my street if it lived in my house, so obviously I loved it. Set in a slightly alternate Victorian England, the action takes place in Wyse, a small town on the border of England and Wales, which is the last place in Britain that still has a connection to magic. The first thing I’ll say is that this setting was perfectly evoked! Wyse is one of those small tourist towns that you still see today, and I could picture it exactly in my mind. Wyse’s tourism trade, however, isn’t to do with the countryside, or history – people visit Wyse because of its connection to the Unworld and the Fair Folk who live there. It’s governed by Lord Skinner, who is a fine gentleman, and has invited young orphans Matthew and his sister Ava to return to the town where they were born. At the same time, Howell, the only one of the Fair Folk without magic, has attracted the attention of Unywse’s ruler, Mr Bones, which is not a good thing. (Incidentally, Mr Bones, who is a skeleton, is genuinely scary, and I say that as a 38 year old! But he’s exactly the sort of villain you need in a book like this and children will love the scariness I think.)

There are a lot of mysteries in Mirror Magic, some of which are more guessable than others, but they all combine to form an excellent story. I really enjoyed seeing how they all came together. Ava and Howell are a great pairing, and I even think about them every so often to wonder how they’re getting on! I mean, that’s how you know you’ve connected to the characters! Even the secondary characters are wonderful, from Charles and his family, who believe the Fair Folk are being exploited to Lunette, the mysterious lady who triggers a lot of events (and her ridiculous hats are amazing and I want them!). One of my favourite things about Mirror Magic is the chapter headings from The Book, which are funny and accurate. The Book eventually turns up almost as a character in its own right, and it’s such a good idea. I loved how Mirror Magic was so cleverly structured.

In short, Claire Fayers has done a magnificent job with Mirror Magic. It really took me back to my own childhood and the books I was reading then, like Joan Aiken and Lucy M Boston. I would say it’s probably best for the younger end of middle grade, which is younger than I usually read, but that just goes to show that you shouldn’t limit your reading material, because otherwise you might miss out on gems like this!

Mirror Magic is out now, and I highly recommend it for everyone, whatever your age!

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the stops on the blog tour!

5/5

ARC received from MacMillan Children’s Books via Karen Bultiauw, in exchange for an honest review

Unboxing Taken Moons’ “Dare to Be” Box

So. I’ve been a little bit…absent again. I can only apologise and hope that I can be better. I could write an entire post about why I’ve not been around, but that would only be boring for you lot, so let’s get on with the unboxing!

Taken Moons is a relatively new bookish candle shop on Etsy, run by Rebecca from This Booky Place. Full disclaimer here: I know Rebecca and think she’s fabulous, so I am slightly biased. But I really love Taken Moons, and I really really loved this box.

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The “Dare to Be” box is Pride themed, so the four candles are based on books that have LGBT+ stories, and Rebecca managed to pick two of my favourite books from last year. I squealed when I saw them!

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Look how beautiful they are! The books they represent are: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue; They Both Die At The End; The Miseducation of Cameron Post; and When The Moon Was Ours. I’ve only read two of them, but I really want to read the others, and I think the candles are perfectly scented to match the books.

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So, We Are Not Broken Things is the PERFECT title for the Gentleman’s Guide candle. It’s scent is botanical gin, which is also perfect! I love everything about this candle. Did I mention it’s perfect?

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Next we have Life Isn’t Meant To Be Lived Alone representing They Both Die At The End. I almost cried just at the memory of the book this title provoked! It’s scented as French toast, and let me tell you, it is GORGEOUS. I love it, and it’s my favourite candle in the box.

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The third candle is called Maybe I Still Haven’t Become Me, which is summer breeze scented and based on The Miseducation of Cameron Post. I own this book and haven’t read it yet, but from what I know of it, this candle ties in perfectly.

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The final candle is You Do Not Own What I Grow, which is from When The Moon Was Ours and is pumpkin spice scented. I know nothing about this book, although I own Wild Beauty by the same author, but I love the candle anyway.

We also get a couple of other items, as well as a charity donation made on our behalf to the Rainbow Cards Project. I love this idea, and I think other boxes should try it too, if the charity in question is linked to the box theme.

The first of our additional items is this beautiful bookmark by Literary Galaxy, based on the Malec pairing from Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books. Literary Galaxy is another new Etsy store, selling gorgeous bookmarks and bookish jewellery. I already own two bookmarks and I’d buy everything in the store if I could, so check it out! It’s run by Jenn from A Page of Jenniely, so you know you’re in good hands!

We also have an ally badge from Simon’s Nest and a lovely postcard of my favourite Oscar Wilde quote from Literary Emporium. (I had a poster of Oscar Wilde quote on my bedroom wall as a teenager, which I think explains a lot about the person I became!)

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Isn’t that a fantastic box? I’m so proud of Rebecca and her shop. She has a real knack for choosing appropriate scents, so I urge you to check out her other candles too! The “Dare To Be” box is still available, so head over to Taken Moons if you want one!