Book review: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton

Book review: Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn HamiltonRebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands, #1) by Alwyn Hamilton
Genres: Fantasy
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 358
Published by Faber & Faber on February 4th 2016
Book Depository

"Tell me that and we'll go. Right now. Save ourselves and leave this place to burn. Tell me that's how you want your story to go and we'll write it straight across the sand."

Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It's not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al'Hiza must call it 'home'.

Amani wants to escape and see the world she's heard about in campfire stories.

Then a foreigner with no name turns up, and with him she has the chance to run.

But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan's army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion...
An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.

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April 2016 Wrap Up & Favourites

Monthly Wrap Up
Hi everyone! How did April fare for you all?

Luckily for me, I don’t feel like I’m drowning with no way out anymore — small wins 🙂 Work has gotten a lot calmer as the clients I’m working on has been decreased by two as we head in May. Going to enjoy this somewhat ‘freedom’ while I can!

This month, I’ve promised myself that I’ll get more active and work on my core strength. I’ve been playing netball and doing yoga for a half a year now, but nothing that really forced me to improve my cardio or fix up the problems I’ve had with my neck and my upper back. In April, my work place switched back to futsal, which is a CRAZY workout every week. Hopefully my cardio will have improved by the end of the season. We’re also doing two and a half minute planks at 4pm (baha), which surprisingly helps my upper back a lot!

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I’m also getting out of the house on the weekends more, enjoying bushwalks with my friends and even did some cycling last Sunday. All in all, I think a great start to my 2016 resolution! 😀

How was your April?

April Favourites


I have two favourites during the month of April! One book related, and one makeup related.

Rebel of the Sands was a wonderful read, meeting all my expectations and more! Action, intrigue and magic galore, it was like this book was specifically written for me. Review to come, but you know it’ll be a gushing one 😉

I first saw this SUPER COOL lipstick on the Mecca Instagram and was wonderstruck. Then the lovely Jeann over at Happy Indulgence purchased it and showed me her shade, and I became even more enamoured by Lipstick Queen’s Frog Prince lipstick. IT IS ACTUALLY GREEN. But don’t be fooled, despite it being green, it doesn’t go on green. In fact, the lipstick reacts to the pH in your lips and turns it into your own unique shade of pink that matches your skin tone. And it actually works, no joke!! Three of my friends and I tested the lipstick while we wandered around Myer on the weekend — we each ended up with our own unique shade of pink, and they all matched our respective skin tones.

Safe to say I’m absolutely in love with this lipstick and it’s definitely one I’ll be wearing a lot.

Bloggish News

Reviews

Posts you may have missed

Hope you all have a great month ahead of you!

Book Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

Book Review: Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria AveyardGlass Sword (Red Queen, #2) by Victoria Aveyard
Genres: Fantasy, Dystopian
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 464
Published by Orion on February 11th 2016
Book Depository

If there's one thing Mare Barrow knows, it's that she's different.

Mare's blood is red - the colour of common folk - but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from the prince and friend who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by the Silver king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red and Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat. Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

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ARC Review: Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra Bracken

ARC Review: Passenger (Passenger #1) by Alexandra BrackenPassenger (Passenger, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Time Travel
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 496
Published by HarperCollins - Australia on January 25th 2016
Book Depository

Highly anticipated novel from NYT best-selling author of The Darkest Minds trilogy.

Etta Spencer is a violin prodigy. When tragedy strikes and a mysterious power tied closely to her musical abilities manifests, Etta is pulled back through time to 1776 in the midst of a fierce sea battle.

Her capture was orchestrated by the Ironwoods, the most powerful family in the Colonies. Nicholas Carter, handsome, young, prize master of a privateering ship, has been charged with retrieving and delivering her to the family - unharmed.

Etta learns her fate is entwined with an object of untold value from her past. Ironwood is desperate to secure his future, but Etta must find it first in order to return home. Embarking on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind from a mysterious traveller, the true nature of the object and Ironwood's dangerous game, could mean the end for Nicholas and Etta ...

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Book Subscription Box Review: The YA Chronicles – Australia Made

Having just recently reviewed the delightful American book subscription service OwlCrate, I thought I’d check out an Australian version! The YA Chronicles is completely Aussie owned and is a great option for Australian’s — especially when international shipping and the exchange rate is such a drag.

The YA Chronicles has been running for at least six months and having already heard rave reviews of the service, I thought I’d see what all the great fuss was about! The March theme was ‘Australia Made’ so I was excited to see what would be inside.

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Arrival time was great! I kept up to date on their Instagram/blog about when they were shipping so I knew when to expect it at my door. A great form of communication on their half and one I really appreciated when I was just dying to get my hands on it!
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The packaging was cute, it definitely felt very much like unwrapping a present.

Inside was:

  • A copy of The Sidekicks by Will Kostakis that is autographed and personalised alongside a snazzy bookmark. Very cool.
  • A lovely Books + Stuff tote bag by JuneDesignCo on Etsy. Will definitely be using it to lug around my books from work!
  • One of two possible wooden bookmarks from Lillytales. I received the ‘Read More Books’ one and I love it! I’m also dying for one of the book themed candles on her Etsy shop. Much love, definitely check it out!
  • A poster featuring two upcoming reads from Pantera Press.

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Final verdict:

Overall I’m super happy with the box. The bookmark is the cutest and I’m already using it to read my books! The tote is lovely and I’ll definitely be using it to lug books around! I’m excited to get into The Sidekicks, I’ve heard great things about it. Also the fact that it was signed AND personalised by the author? Fantastic! Such a nice touch and something that can be cherished forever!

Given what was in the box I would say the price is great! It’s definitely worth it and you 100% get more than what you paid for. As with OwlCrate, I unfortunately can’t justify buying it every month (I have a holiday to save for!) but I am going to keep an eye on the themes and grab one every so often! Or if I’ve had a bad month…it’s a great present to yourself! It’s wonderful that we have our very own home-grown subscription box — it’s so rare, we usually miss out on the cool stuff!

So what are you waiting for? TREAT YOURSELF.

I’d love to hear if you have any subscription box recommendations I should try? Or even your favourite theme from a box so far!


*Disclaimer: I was not asked to do this review but did it of my own accord, I paid for the box myself in full.

March Favourites

Hey guys *waves shyly* Remember me?!

Yeah, the most sporadic book reviewer that there ever was (kidding). I really haven’t been great with keeping up with the blog — surprise, surprise — and the monthly wrap-ups? HA! I know I’ve popped up like a molerat here and there, but I’d like to explain why the blog has been so neglected lately.

To put it simply — work has been kicking my ass. HARD.

I know, I know…that same excuse again? Yeah, not gonna lie, work has been tough and March really gave me a beating. That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy what I do though. I actually love what I do, and despite the constant overtime and stress, I feel happy with what I’ve achieved and how I’m progressing in my career. Not many people can say they love going to work every day, but luckily I can.

However, it was a crazily tough month. Two of my colleagues went on maternity leave (!!!!), one of whom was the account manager on one of the accounts I work on. For a whole month, there was no one working on the account with me, which meant I had to step up and manage the account more than expected, working closely with the client to execute their strategies. This was during a month when I had to help them complete an award entry that literally told us: “Please start working on this award entry early as it’ll take around 40 hours to complete”….

I basically started it in January, and let me tell you…it took WAY more than 40 hours to complete, considering I had to make sure the client was doing their parts as well, and that was no small feat.

And aside from that, I came face-to-face with my first PR crisis during a robotics convention for a different client. Managed to get Seven News there, but the organisers of the actual event was not impressed that they didn’t get to be interviewed while the journalist was there. Shit went down despite the fact that we’re not meant to be doing publicity for the conference…end of the day, it all worked out but it was a stressful few hours.

March, I’m glad you’re over!

 So now you’re caught up with what I’ve been doing instead of reading and blogging. As there’s not much to wrap-up for March, I thought I would do a favourites post as I’ve discovered some pretty amazing things during the month.

Despite not being able to read a lot, I have instead been listening to a few audiobooks, and a few amazing ones at that. What I’m currently listening to is:

Outlander was a five star listen for me, brought to life through Davina Porter’s beautiful narration. I don’t think I can switch to reading it now that I’ve listened to the audiobook version. Davina’s wonderful with her accents, and the characters really pop because of it. Dragonfly in Amber is no different. I’m only halfway through the book at the moment, but I can already tell it’s another 5 star read. I’M TOO INVESTED IN THESE CHARACTERS. Highly anticipating season two of the TV show as well.

Outside of reading, I’ve been trying some new makeup and beauty products. I never used to be a makeup person — purely due to laziness — but now I’m really getting into it! What I loved during March include:

Okay, so I am the grumpiest person ever in the morning. I cannot function properly and usually do a lot of grunting. Nivea’s cleaning mousse has really been a lifesaver in the mornings. I don’t know what magic is in it, but I feel so much more awake as soon as I clean my face with the cleansing mousse. Magic, I tell you. Magic!

I’ve been looking for something that’s light, yet glossy for everyday wear. YSL’s lip tint does just that — it doesn’t look like I’m wearing lipstick, but gives my lips a nice shine so I look more awake and lively heh. Downside is that it’s a little drying, so I always wear a layer of lip balm underneath.

  • Revlon Living Lipstick – #20 Earthy

I used to hate this shade on my lips (probably because I was a lot more tanned than I am now), but I found the lipstick while cleaning up my makeup drawer and decided to try it on again. BAM, it looked amazing second-time around, and it’s such a great shade for the current autumny weather.

Now enough about me, how was your March?

Book Subscription Box Review: Owlcrate – Writer’s Block

Book subscription boxes! Whoever came up with this wonderful idea needs a medal, and a lifetime supply of books.

Having heard rumblings in the blogging-verse of the fantastic book subscription service called OwlCrate, I thought I’d give it a try. I have to say it was incredibly exciting ordering the March box and waiting for it to come. It definitely felt like I had a surprise present on the way (which is kinda actually what it’s like). IMG_1569

And then it arrived! Pretty quickly which was surprising considering they are a US based company. It’s fantastic that they put extra effort into shipping international orders off first to make sure they arrive almost the exact time as their US counterparts.

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I have to say that the opening was definitely my favourite part. The tension, the excitement – it’s like Christmas in March. And it’s so beautifully packaged as well. Kudos to the packing team. The theme for OwlCrate this month was Writer’s Block – broad enough that they really could have taken it anywhere and exciting because I had no idea what to expect! I was curious as to what book they’d choose with this one.

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And then there were the pretties! So many wonderful goodies that I really love!

Inside was:

  • A pack of three bookish pins from Bookworm Boutique. These were super cute and I can’t wait to add them to my board at work.
  • The CUTEST pair of bookish socks from Out of PrintThey’re the Banned Books Socks and I’m in love. I’ve been wearing them to bed all weekend!
  • A lovely little notebook called the 642 Tiny Things to Write About by Chronicle Books which has fun little exercises to get you thinking and writing when you’re suffering from writer’s block or just plain bored. I can already see myself taking this in my bag and using it when I get bored on the train.
  • The BEST PEN EVER for Harry Potter fans. It’s a quill pen from Kikkerland! I’ve never wanted to write letters to my friends more than since I’ve had this pen. It’s great!
  • And the book of the month: Serpent King by Jeff Zenter. I was excited to get this one as I’d seen quite a few people in the blogging community talking about it! It was also accompanied by a cool postcard with a message from the author and a typo-print with a quote from the book. Can’t wait to crack into this one.

Final verdict?

I LOVED IT. It was so much fun to unwrap and everything inside was amazing. Unfortunately, with the Australian exchange rate it comes to around $60-$70AUD (even with the discount code I found from one of the reps on Instagram). While I could justify that amount a few times a year, it’s a little too much for me to spend every month. It is a little annoying that your subscription auto renews as I’ll have to email them to cancel it every time I decide to order one, but I can understand why it would be something that other customer’s would find useful.

Insider tip: Find an OwlCrate rep on Instagram and they’ll generally have a 10-15% discount code.

I definitely recommend this to any book lover who is interested in book goodies and a new book every month. Even if you are Australian, while the price is a little steep with the exchange rate so low, I’d say you definitely get your money’s worth!


Disclaimer: This review was not obtained by OwlCrate but was reviewed because I wanted to! I paid for the subscription box in full myself.

Mini book reviews: Australian children’s books round-up

Mini book reviews: Australian children’s books round-upThe Dreaming Tree by Jo Oliver
Genres: Children, Australian
Format Read: Hardback
Published by New Frontier Publishing on January 1st 2016

The Dreaming Tree poems celebrate the joy and freedom of being a child in the Australian landscape.

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Book Review: Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1) by Eleanor Herman

Book Review: Legacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1) by Eleanor HermanLegacy of Kings (Blood of Gods and Royals #1) by Eleanor Herman
Genres: Fantasy
Format Read: Paperback
Pages: 428
Published by Harlequin Teen on August 18th 2015
Book Depository

Imagine a time when the gods turn a blind eye to the agony of men, when the last of the hellions roam the plains and evil stirs beyond the edges of the map. A time when cities burn, and in their ashes, empires rise.

Alexander, Macedonia’s sixteen-year-old heir, is on the brink of discovering his fated role in conquering the known world but finds himself drawn to a newcomer…

Katerina must navigate the dark secrets of court life while hiding her own mission: kill the Queen. But she doesn’t account for her first love…

Jacob will go to unthinkable lengths to win Katerina, even if it means having to compete for her heart with Hephaestion, a murderer sheltered by the prince.

And far across the sea, Zofia, a Persian princess and Alexander’s unmet betrothed, wants to alter her destiny by seeking the famed and deadly Spirit Eaters.

Weaving fantasy with the shocking details of real history, New York Times bestselling author of Sex with Kings Eleanor Herman reimagines the greatest emperor the world has ever known, Alexander the Great, in the first book of the Blood of Gods and Royals series.

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Excerpt: Limerence Episode 2 (The Cure #3) by Charlotte McConaghy

by 2016 release, book excerpt, charlotte mcconaghy, dystopian, limerence episode 2, momentum books, the cure #3, thoughts by j, thoughtsbyj

Limerence ep covers

Hey guys, today I’m working with Momentum Books again to bring you all another awesome except from the second episode of Limerence, the concluding book to Charlotte McConaghy’s The Cure series.

Check out the excerpt of Limerence episode one here

Check out my review for episode 1 of the first book, Fury.

Follow the blog tour for the second book, Melancholy, and read an excerpt.

Check out my review of Charlotte’s other series, Avery (The Chronicles of Kaya #1).

The Cure Series is full of action and romance, perfect for fans of Pierce Brown, Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

What’s really unique about this series is the episodic way that the series is released. Rather than publishing one whole book at once, each episode of each book is released around two weeks apart from each other, giving you time to read and take in the story before the next installment is published. Very similar to how online stories on sites like FictionPress and Wattpad are published.

Limerence is the thrilling conclusion to The Cure series, set in a wonderfully vivid dystopian NA world where emotions are slowly being eradicated for the good of society. It’s a very interesting concept, something that I have no seen elsewhere, so it makes for some interesting storytelling!

9781760302047_Limerence 1_coverLimerence Episode 2 (The Cure #3) by Charlotte McConaghy
Pages: 374
Published by Momentum Books Australia on February 25th 2016
Momentum Books

The Josephine that has returned to the tunnels is a version broken by her disappearance. And while she is propelling the resistance fighters toward action, demanding knife-edge precision, Luke is tormented by his lost memories and the transformation of his wife. His desperation to understand grows by the day, threatening his ability to lead his people.

As relationships shift, new alliances form and secrets hang heavy, the tunnels grow ever more dangerous.

Who exactly has Josephine Luquet become, and what is she hiding?

Perfect for fans of Pierce Brown, Laini Taylor and Maggie Stiefvater.

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