adventures in post, books, Illumicrate, updates

Book Post of the Week!

Welcome to what I hope will be a regular series looking at the books that came in the post.

They fall into 3 general categories; books I’ve bought, books for blog tours, books for general review.

I’m very lucky to be sent books by publishers to review, especially advanced copies, and I do know that, but I want to share the joy of getting books in the post, it’s just the nicest thing! Books marked with a star have been gifted.

Books I Bought:


I’ve read a couple of other books by this author and enjoyed them. This is the story of Rachel who realises on the morning of her wedding to Dan that they’re making a big mistake. Tragedy strikes and everything changes, can Rachel build a new life and make things right? There’s a dog rescue centre with adorable pooches in there too.


I remember this book being everywhere on Book Twitter when it was published in hardback, so I had to nab this one in paperback. Set in 1781, an abolitionist goes missing and war hero Capt Harry Corsham is asked to investigate.

big sky

The latest Jackson Brodie sees the grizzled PI trying to settle into a routine with his son, dog and sometime girlfriend Julia.

I love the Jackson Brodie series and and really excited to read the newest one in the series. Atkinson is a fantastic writer.

Books for Blog Tours –


I am intrigued by this premise – Jessica has a role on a YouTube series of vlog type videos, a sort of day in the life show, and she’s using this platform to find her mother’s killer. Will she succeed or will she become his next victim? – Blog tour post on 3rd Feb.

dead ringer*

New technology means you can use facial recognition software to find your doppelganger, and possibly meet up. Ella and Jem connect, and both want out of their lives, can they trade places? – Blog tour post 5th March.


The British sci-fi writer created two of the most famous stories in the genre – The Midwich Cuckoos and The Day of the Triffids. But it was a very private man – the author here has taken an interesting direction – focusing on the woman in his life, and through her, discovering him. – Blog tour post 21st Feb.


A Japanese murder mystery – in the 1970s 17 people are poisoned and the killer never answers to justice. The detective in charge of the case, Inspector Teru, believes there’s more to the murders and determines to find the truth. – Blog tour post 1st March.

Books to Review –


Unfinished books live in the Unwritten Wing, a space in Hell, presided over by Claire, the head librarian. Her role includes keeping a close eye on restless stories and their heroes. Claire and her team must track down and escaped Hero before things go wrong.

This looks really fun and as a fan of several books about book characters coming to life and detecting librarians, it’s right up my street, I’m looking forward to reading this.


Historical fiction set in Nazi Germany looking at the lives of ordinary Germans at the end of the war as they attempt to rebuild their lives and atone for their sins, and those of their families.

There’s been a lot of WWII literature around at the moment, some of it good, some not so much. This premise intrigues me, the lives of Germans after the war don’t get written about much it seems, and so this is an interesting angle to look at.


Yetu holds the memories of her people – water-dwelling descendants of drowned pregnant African slaves. These memories are painful and torturous, so Yetu escapes the surface in search of other worlds.

This book sounds both beautiful but also dark, the history of slavery has left deep scars on many people, echoing down the years, and this is an intriguing take on exploring that legacy.


Inspired by real events, set in war torn Syria, written by a pseudonymous journalist, the story of Sami, a young man in the streets of Homs, caring for the stray animals left behind by fleeing refugees.

This is probably going to make me cry buckets, but I think it’s important to read stories such as this, we’re so separated from the people we share this planet with, numb to horror, that these stories, real stories, need paying attention to.

atlas alone*

Earth was destroyed six months ago, living on Atlas 2, a ship following in the chem trails of the Pathfinder, Dee is drawn into a dark world of immersive reality, but people are really dying.

I’ve read two of the other books in this series – which are only loosely connected, and really enjoyed them. This is also really enjoyable and clever, a murder mystery where the person investigating might be the killer.


Emilie des Marais wants to be a surgeon but her mother is intent on sending her to finishing school. Annette Boucher wants more from her life and longs to be trained in magic. When the two cross paths, they swap places and soon become embroiled in a terrible war and conspiracies that threaten everything and everyone they hold dear.

I really enjoyed this book, it was clever, funny, magical and full of fantastic characters. It’s also really queer, which is right up my street. I know this hasn’t even been published yet but I already want a sequel.


Queen Talyien is struggling to hold her fractured country together, then her husband disappears, further destabilising things. Now she must find him and repair the damage done by the past.

This sounded interesting, quite traditional fantasy tropes but with the female protagonist responsible for saving things and rescuing the man.

Others –


I won this in a giveaway on Twitter hosted by the author.

Rumer Cross is the abandoned daughter of an assassin, working for a PI, when she gets kidnapped by mobsters who want a mysterious weapon, one Rumer’s mother supposedly had before she died.

Funny, violent, surprising, Rumer is a kickass reluctant heroine, forced to join forces with people she’d really rather not. It was very fun and I hope there’s a sequel coming.


In 1848 a motley crew of Danes set off to fight the Germans, not all of them will return, and those that do will be changed forever.


The most recent Thursday Next book, which means it’s going to be funny and a bit silly and feature lots of book jokes.

My husband has started randomly bringing home books from the ‘orphan table’ at work – along with odd things including a can of WD40, extension cords and other strange bits and bobs. Luckily the books are usually pretty good.


Illumicrate January 2020 – this will be having it’s own post, but it contained 2 exciting new books. Infinity Son by Adam Silvera and Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag, both of which I wanted to read so am super pleased to find them in the box.

And that’s my week in book post! Now to get on with my reading!!

books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #13 Clever Ruse

This month’s Illumicrate has arrived! Yay and it’s a really cool one too.

There are 2 exclusive editions inside along with a host of bookish goodies.

Empress of All Seasons – Emiko Jean. This gorgeous hardback edition has an exclusive cover, sprayed edges and a signed bookplate.

Wild Magic – Tamora Pierce. An exclusive edition of one of my favourite books by one of my favourite authors.

Circus Top Banner designed by @Illumicrate – inspired by The Night Circus and Caravel. I’m going to transfer all my book related pins to this.

Stag Amulet Necklace designed by @fableandblack – this was the first item I picked out of the box – I don’t think it’s something I’d wear but it will look excellent hung up in my book lair.

Diner Drink Cosy art work by @gicatam – this made me squeak out loud. I love To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, both the book and film so this is super cute.

Warcross Woodmark artwork by @chattynora – I read Warcross with my book club earlier this year and found it interesting. I collect bookmarks and this is going to hang out with its new pals.

Mulan inspired scarf artwork by Feifei Ruan @ruan0v0 – this is beautiful. Silky and soft, I can’t wait to gently tuck this in around my neck.

Bonus items: The Poppy War, This Mortal Coil.

I loved this box, a beautiful mix of books and lovely items all lovingly designed and curated. The Illumicrate team are doing a fantastic job putting these boxes together for all of us book loving souls.

adventures in post, books, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

#Illumicrate12 Oh So Criminal

August’s Illumicrate is all about the bad guys, the villains, the anti-heroes.

Kicking off the box is the book – Catwoman: Soulstealer by Sarah J. Maas. This is part of DC’s relaunch of their female heroines, following on from the Wonder Woman book last year. Without getting into all the debate around Maas and whether she’s too rude for YA, this book intrigues me. Catwoman is someone I remember from the reruns of the old 60s Batman series with Adam West, then the Dark Knight’s scene stealing Anne Hathaway version. So I’m interested to see what Maas has done with Selina Kyle.

I love a canvas bag, they’re ever so useful and I have hundreds. This Villains are my Bag number from @kdpletters will be added into the mix.

I’m not a HP fan so this Sirius coaster doesn’t really do it for me. I’m sure however that one of my book club will love it. @katieabey designed it exclusively for Illumicrate.

Darkdawn was one of my favourite books of 2018 so far so this handy little nail file designed by @heyatlascreative is going straight into my bag.

I don’t wear a lanyard to work as I work at home but if I did then I’d be upgrading to this one from @fableandblack to rep the crew from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

This necklace makes me smile – we’re all the protagonists of our own stories but are we also the antagonists in someone else’s? @down_the_rabbithole allows you to play both sides.

I love a good candle and this one will set the atmosphere for my next caper meeting. @elvenwickcandles has made this sparkly number which smells delicious.

A mirror is a handy tool to see who’s following you when carrying out the plan and this one from @reverieandink features a quote from Holly Black.

This art print card by @jamilamehio of Catwoman, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn round off the box.

There are also a few goodies from different upcoming books but sadly no bonus ARC this time.

I’ve enjoyed the themed boxes we’ve had recently, it brings everything together nicely. This box has a decent mix of bits and bobs which I can see myself making use of.

books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #10 Rise Up!

My lovely local Hermes courier braved the freezing weather and snow to deliver my Illumicrate, bless her.

This is a big box, so big it doesn’t have the usual logo on it – but it is packed full of books and bookish treats.

The theme is Rise Up! and the items are all about rebellion.

The book is Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyck – a female centred retelling of Spartacus, which really intrigues me as a premise. I look forward to reading this and sharing my thoughts later. There’s also an exclusive bookmark, pin and temporary tattoo.

There’s also an ARC of Sally Green’s The Smoke Thieves. I read Half Bad and thought it was interesting so I’m curious about her new series, of which this is the first book.

Now we have the box exclusives.

Fight the Darkness cushion cover by @stellabookishart – my copy of Ember in the Ashes is somewhere in my flat – until it turns up I will console myself with this bright and cheerful cover.

A Rebel’s Command List by @howstoreofficial – handy for making my lists of what books to read next.

Inimitable mug by @abbieimagine – I haven’t read the box this is inspired by but I like the design.

Daggermark by @rdashjackdotcom – this is a nice quirky bookmark but too bulky for my preferred bookmark so I’ll add it to my collection. Yes, I collect bookmarks and have done for years (I have the Brownie badge to prove it 😁).

Lunar Lip Balm by @lovely_lip_balm – a minty pot of lip balm, perfect for the current cold snap’s effect on my lips.

Phoenix magnet by @hannahhitchmanart – as I’m not a Potter fan I’ll be passing this on but it’s nice and colourful.

Bonus items are from Shatter Me, The Truth and Lies of Ella Black, Strange the Dreamer, Witchsign, Clean, The Hazel Wood – all either recently published or upcoming books.

I think that this was a nice mix of items from different rebellion themed novels/fandoms. Nothing really leaped out at me this time.

The books both look interesting but I might not have picked them up in a bookshop.

A solid box but not the best one I’ve had so far.

books, Illumicrate, reviews

Book Review: City of Brass – S.A. Chakraborty

I received this as an ARC in the most recent Illumicrate, although it has now been published. 

I hadn’t read a huge amount about this book before receiving it although randomly I follow the author on Twitter so who knows. 

I read it in one sitting, it was that good. Compelling writing, interesting plot and characters, clever world building. I just thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Nahri is an orphan who makes her living selling cures and telling people’s futures in a Cairo market, until one day she’s asked to perform an exorcism and things become very weird. 

Using characters and creatures from Middle Eastern mythology, Chakraborty creates an incredibly vivid world where myth and magic collide with our world. 

I cannot wait for the next book. As I finished this one I was going “but no, more story, now please!” 

If you enjoy fantasy then this is a book for you. 

Anyone else read it? If so what did you think? 

books, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate #9 November 2017

It’s here! I get a bit excited by this subscription box because, well, books. They’re not only my favourite thing but Illumicrate often has special editions and exclusives long before anyone else. 

This is no exception. 

Artemis by Andy Weir, exclusive edition. I didn’t read The Martian  (the one turned into a Matt Damon film I didn’t see either) but I have been getting a bit more into sci-fi recently and C loves it so this is definitely getting read. 

The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty, advanced reader copy (ARC). This book is published next year but subscribers get an ARC now. I’ve heard a lot about this book and I believe I follow the author on Twitter. Look out for a review soon (aka once I’ve read it!) 

Bookish Tea Towel designed by @evannaveillustration exclusive to the box. I like this, it’s fun, it’s bright. It’s just a nice thing to have really. 

“The Right Book” print designed by @nutmegandarlo exclusive to the box. It’s well documented that I don’t like J.K. Rowling much but I do agree with this sentiment. 

Unicorn Journal designed by @prismofstarlings exclusive to the box. This is lovely and brings the number of 2018 diaries/journals I have up to about 5. 

Reading in Bed candle designed by @merakicandles exclusive to the box. This smells so much like hot chocolate that I have to refrain from licking it. So good. 

Moon and Stars necklace designed by @ohpandaeyes exclusive to the box. Such a cute necklace that pairs excellently with Artemis. 

This Mortal Coil sampler by Emily Suvada 

Iron Gold sampler by Pierce Brown 

Artemis booklet & bookmark 

This is an excellent box and one I am happy to spend my money on. Really makes it up after a month of uninspiring beauty boxes – books ftw. 

I am really excited by these books. If you need me I’ll be reading and sniffing my candle (honestly I don’t know how I can avoid eating it!) 

books, Illumicrate, reviews

Book Review – Wonder Woman: Warbringer – Leigh Bardugo

This book came in my recent Illumicrate and I have to admit I was a bit apprehensive about it. I haven’t seen the Wonder Woman film for a variety of reasons. But this isn’t a novelization of the film or really part of that narrative. 
Bardugo wrote some of my favourite recent fantasy books (The Grisha trilogy, Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom), which meant I knew she could write but working with existing characters is not always a good idea (see some of the many recent continuation novels from Sophie Hannah, Anthony Horowitz etc, a rather uneven territory). 

However I was pleasantly surprised by her treatment of the DC super hero. Starting on the secret island Wonder Woman hails from, the novel really gets going once she leaves Themyscria for our modern world. 

Having saved Alia from a sinking ship and broken one of the laws of the Amazons, Diana must leave or face banishment. An ancient bloodline is also in play – and the end of the world could be nigh. 

In the end I read this very quickly, it certainly made my commute fly by, and it was really enjoyable. I hope this isn’t the one off it seems, Bardugo is a great writer and I really like the voice she gives to Wonder Woman. 

Have you read this book? Seen the film? Have anything you want to share? The comments section is waiting for you. 

books, fun stuff, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes

Illumicrate Summer Box 

Woohoo! Illumicrate is here. So many great bookish items and so many exclusive treats. 

There are so many good things in this box. I am almost too excited to know where to start! 

The book is Leigh Bardugo’s Wonder Woman: Warbringer which is published soon and will be reviewed once I’ve read it. This is such a great book and Bardugo is one of my favourite writers. There’s also a super cool enamel badge which will go nicely with my Wonder Woman Converses. 

Wisdom Journal from Hey Atlas Creative – it’s dot to dot so perfect for doodling. 

ARC of Nyxia by Scott Reintgen – another interesting looking advanced reader copy – review to follow. 

The Red Church Tea (may contain the blood of your enemies) from T-ology. 

Shakespeare canvas pouch from Miss Phi. 

Alethiometer Coaster from Hannah Hitchman Art

Book Money Jar & Sticky Bookmarks from Blossom Books 

Extras; Ringer, After the Fire, Harper 360, The Bear and the Nightingale, Moxie. 

I genuinely can’t pick a favourite item so I will just be here reading and patting my lovely new book things….

books, Illumicrate, reviews

Book Review: Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones

Calling all Labyrinth fans – this book, inspired by the author’s love of the film starring David Bowie as the Goblin King is a musical journey into the Underworld.

Liesl lives with her family in Germany near the Goblin Grove deep in the forest. She dreams of being a composer and her brother, the other half of her soul, plays her compositions. 

Her music attracts the attention of the Erlkonig  (Goblin King) and his minions. Drawing inspiration from Christina Rossetti’s poems as well as the aforementioned film, as winter turns, can our heroine escape the goblins’ lair and return to the World Above before the memory of her fades forever? 

I really liked this – fairy tale retellings are a bit favourite of mine and this is a well written one. German fairy tales aren’t as widely known as they should be, especially not the darkness within. 

This book was in my most recent Illumicrate, which means it’s a bit of a lucky find – I might not have read it otherwise as there are so many great books out there. 

If you like romance, adventure, fairy tales and plucky heroines, this book’s for you. 

books, Illumicrate, lifestyle boxes, reviews

Illumicrate review 

The new Illumicrate has arrived and it was a heavy one. 

The book in the box is Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones and it looks like a good ‘un. Inspired by the author’s love of the film Labyrinth yes, the one with David Bowie in those trousers. There’s also a note from the author and a bookmark. 

As well as that book, there is also a sampler from an upcoming book and an advanced reader copy of Mark Lawrence’s soon to be published Red Sister (a review of which is upcoming). 

There’s a whole bundle of other book based goodies too. 

There are fridge magnets with quotes from V.E. Schwab’s books. 

A really cute pouch featuring Baloo the bear from The Jungle Book and a Magic and Mischief lipbalm. 

There is also a Newt Scamander bookmark, as well as the usual freebies promoting some interesting looking upcoming books and discount codes at the included shops.  

I was really pleased with this box – I have already read one of the books included and am about to read the next one.