Friday, 30 December 2016

The Last 2 Months & Where I've Been

It's pretty difficult to find the right words for this post. I've been trying for a couple of weeks now and have never managed to actually hit Publish. If you follow this blog then you'll know that over October I posted a LOT...and then...nothing. I'll apologise in advance for the potential length of this post, but in order to get myself sorted and ready for 2017, I feel like I need to share this.

2016 has been a rough year for, well, all of us in one way or another. Until 1st November i'd probably have said that wasn't the case for me. It had been a pretty amazing year in all honesty. I've done so much stuff this year and I've travelled and had some amazing experiences. That all ended on 1st November.

On the morning of 1st November 2016 I sadly attended my uncle's funeral. He had suffered for a long time with cancer and we finally laid him to rest. It was a beautiful service honouring an especially talented, loving and caring man. Later that evening, I was exhausted from the day and decided to have a nap on the sofa in front of our gorgeous bay windows whilst waiting for Brianna to come over. We were going to Amsterdam the following day.

At around 10:38pm I was woken up. This isn't the time or place to go into detail as there is an ongoing court case, but it wasn't a gentle awakening by a friend or my boyfriend.

A car smashed into our house, ending up in the living room, just inches away from where I was sleeping.

A man in a stolen car, who was trying to evade the chasing police car, drove directly into my house. The entire exterior is destroyed and our home is completely unlivable. Within a short space of time, we were homeless and lost a lot of our possessions. My life has been thrown upside down and honestly, 2 months later, things aren't that much better.

This has been one of the most traumatic things I've ever had to experience. I don't think I've coped very well, and I'm learning that it's OK. As of right now, we are sleeping in my parents living room. Our belongings are scattered from house to house, thanks to our wonderful friends and family who have offered to store our things. I have very little access to any of my books. Thousands of books just....lying around in other peoples houses, getting damp in attic spaces or freezing cold garages. I'm extremely grateful to have the support and somewhere for Alex and I to live, but it's heartbreaking knowing that by the time we can find a new home, a lot of our belongings will be damaged and have to be replaced. We will be starting our life together all over again. But we'll make it.

Until then, I have a handful of books left, a whole host of new ones as Christmas presents and a loaded up kindle to take my mind off things. All i'm asking for is to bear with me whilst I process everything going on. Posts will be sporadic and well, probably not all that interesting with the limited amount of books I have to hand, but I will be trying. 2017 is going to be difficult and full of trials, but I'm stubborn as hell and we will find a way to get ourselves sorted!

With all that said, I've got a few posts in mind. Blogging is incredibly difficult giving our living situations but i'm going to try and get to grips with the iPhone app and see what I can do. I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas and get the very best out of 2017, whatever that may be :)

Cazz xxx

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Hello October // Brianna Reviews - Hidden by Benedict Jacka

Published: 2nd October 2014
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: Alex Verus is a diviner who can see probable futures - a talent that's gotten him and his friends out of many a tough scrape. But what happens when someone doesn't want Alex's help?

Alex's friend, the life mage Anne, distanced herself from him when she found out about his past as a Dark apprentice. Now she's in serious trouble, but wants nothing to do with him. Alex has to start wondering if Anne's problem is really with him - or if there's a secret she's trying to hide.

On top of that, rumours are swirling around London that Alex's former master may be back in town. Alex has no idea what his agenda may be, or who it involves . .

I spent a lot of this book mad with a lot of people: Anne, Sonder, Talisid, Caldera.  
Anne because she refuses to let Alex be human, maybe he made a mistake or a promise he knew I couldn’t garintee keeping but like I’ve said before Alex has never professed to be a saint she knew who and what he was. I’ve always suspected that her judgement of Alex and her reluctance to fight had something to do with her time with Sagash, which we find out in this book is entirely down to that, and I understand why she struggles with what Alex did and with what she did in her past, but that more than anything to me means she should get over it and forgive him.

Oh I really hated Sonder in this book and I fear he has crossed lines that he won’t be able to come back from I’m not sure Alex or Luna will be able to reconcile the differences between then and Sonder. Even if he turned out to be right, he put Anne at risk more than once; once with his attitude towards Alex and again when he lied to everyone. I don’t think Alex can forgive that. Although Caldera shares some of the blame on the lying front, if she had been willing to help regardless of if there was a link to crystal or not.

I’ve always liked Talisid and trusted him, but maybe I shouldn’t have, I don’t like that he deliberately targeted Alex to get to Richard. Never mind Alex, I feel betrayed. I wonder though if Alex will change his mind and help him… especially if Richard isn’t going to take no for an answer.

On a less irritating note… Alex has parents! Yeah okay so it was obvious he had parents but they got a mention, in fact we even meet his dad, and it is obvious that magic isn’t inherited. And I’m not the only one surprised Luna seemed just as surprised.

While on the subject of pasts I’m also glad that we got an insight into Anne’s mainly so I could answer all the ‘why is she like that?’ questions. I also weirdly like ‘evil’ Anne and was she coming on to Alex?? Is that something that is going to happen in the future?

You would think that I would have more to say about Anne and about this book in general but I don’t (other than what I’ve covered) the only real thoughts I had when I finished reading were: 

What is coming with Richard? Because I think Hidden is gearing us up to something big with Richard.

And secondly…
If Alex doesn’t want a pet Blink Fox I will happily adopt it. I really, really want a Blink Fox I’ll have none of that ‘they are fictional’ crap, where do I get one? Although maybe it’s just as well that I can’t have one – I can see the down sides of having an intelligent pet that can teleport.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Hello October // Holly's Halloween Movie Nights

Please welcome back Holly from The Arts Shelf who is sharing her favourite Halloween movies!

No Halloween is complete without a selection of scary movies, and these are a few of my favourites.

1: Nightmare Before Christmas

Okay, this one isn’t scary, but it’s still a Halloween staple; and a Christmas one too.

2: Ghost Ship.

I watched this one as a teen and it absolutely chilled me to the core. Now I’m older and can stomach the gore a little better, it’s become a favourite.

3: Cry Wolf.

This one’s a bit of a mind bender, and honestly a fave film whatever time of the year. Great both the first and second times around, it also doesn’t hurt that it stars Jared Padalecki.

4: Beetlejuice.

An absolute classic, passed down from my parents. Funny and freaky, Halloween wouldn’t be complete without this side of crazy.

5: Friday the 13th.

Whether the original or the remake, this story does not go amiss on the night of October 31st. If you want gore and a creepy location that will haunt your dreams, look no further.

What are your favourite Halloween movies? Let us know on Twitter!



Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Hello October // My must-see movies for Halloween

 One of the best things about the countdown to Halloween is ALL OF THE MOVIES! Ever since I was little, it's been one of the only months of the year (of course there's Christmas too...) that I just love snuggling up with blankets, tea and a stack of DVDs. Each year I always find something new and exciting to watch but there's always those films that are absolute staples of my October watch list. They are as follows:

1. Nightmare Before Christmas
I watch this film all year round but on 31st October & 24th December it is an absolute STAPLE. I'm very lucky that my boyfriend is understanding and will watch it with me and make appropriate excitable faces at all the right moments just to appease me. He's a keeper :)

2. Corpse Bride
Much like NBC, Corpse Bride has become one of those films where it just doesn't feel like Halloween without a good re-watch of it. This art style is my favourite and it fills my heart a little more with every year that passes.

3. Frankenweenie
......So you can probably see a theme by now =P As I said, I love this art style and it just doesn't feel complete without watching all 3 of the films in a big binge session!

4. Hocus Pocus
This one doesn't really need any explanation. From as far back as I can remember, we watched Hocus Pocus every year. It's completely fantastical and even as a 28 year adult I just can't help but love it.

5. House of 1000 Corpses
I LOVE a good horror film. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by people who completely refuse to join in the horror love and so I end up watching them by myself either a few days before or early November once the Halloween madness has calmed down and there are less people around. Saying that though, I can't happily pass up a chance to watch House of 1000 Corpses on Halloween. It's not much of a horror as it as a comedy (to me, at least) but it's definitely a film that I watch yearly for Halloween.

In addition to those 5, I pick a new film each year to watch and celebrate my favourite day of the year. Past picks have included classics like Braindead, Trick R Treat and of course, the Halloween films. Let me know if there are any films that you absolutely HAVE to see for Halloween!

Please get in touch if you'd like to be featured during the month. Any submissions are accepted as long as they are received by 30th October

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Hello October // Brianna Reviews - Taken by Benedict Jacka

Published: 6th September 2012
Publisher: Orbit
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: Welcome to Fountain Reach. Ancient seat of the Aubuchon dynasty. Majestic setting of the White Stone tournament Alex Verus' (not necessarily reliable) reputation attracts all sorts. Most are plain bonkers. Yet there's one invitation he just can't refuse At Fountain Reach, Alex is perfectly placed among the noted and notorious to figure out why apprentices have been vanishing. But the tournament is a minefield of ancient grudges and new threats and Alex can't afford to miss a trick as his elusive adversary stays one step ahead in this most dangerous of games.

Alex is definitely beginning to pick up a reputation for investigating things – or maybe just for finding is way right slap bang in the middle of trouble. He has been asked or pointed in the direction of Fountain Reach by several people and he has also been asked to quietly looking into the disappearances of several apprentices although a lot of people seem to know that he has been asked. So obviously Alex and Luna set off for Fountain Reach to investigate the creepy house.

I would like to start off by saying: Yes, no Deleo/Rachael!

As predicted both Sonder and Talisid make a reappearance, the more I see Sonder the more I like him. Other reappearances include Onyx and Morden. But sadly no appearance from Starbreeze, I hope she comes back soon. 

I feel like Luna takes a fairly central role in Taken despite that fact that Alex spends more time with Anne. I really like the way that we get to see the way in which Luna is changing in this book (for the good) there is definitely a noticeable difference between her in the last book and her in this book as she is becoming more confident and learning to control her curse more as well as learning more about mage society. There is also a change in the relationship between her and Alex, he’s no longer trying to push her away and accepting that she can also take risks, not just him.

I liked Anne from the moment she appeared it might have just been because she is friends with Luna, but she quickly won me over herself Variam took a little longer, in fact I’m still not sure I like him.

I found the house in this very creepy from the first time Alex visited it, in fact in places I almost had goosebumps, I think it’s that feeling of a building somehow watching you, that idea has always creeped me out, although I guess in this case it was more than a feeling.  I don’t want to say too much because I don’t want to spoil it, not because it isn’t something you can’t guess but because I really enjoyed the ‘who did it and how’ of this book, and in my opinion it is exactly the right mix of creepy, dark and disturbing. The longer you dwell on the scene inside the old shed with the bath tub, the worse it gets.

It’s starting to bug me a little how little we actually know about Alex, I still want to know how he became a mage, was he one before he met Richard? What about his parents? How old is he? (he seemed older in this book than he did in the others) and I also wonder how much other characters know about him, is it common knowledge that he was a Dark apprentice, because Natasha has her little speech about how Anne and Variam started off as Dark apprentices, yet Variam has a go at Alex for not understanding what it was like to be a Dark apprentice and to escape from it, which if Alex’s past was common knowledge surely Variam would realise earlier that Alex wasn’t judging him and Anne.  And if Alex didn’t finish being an apprentice, how come he’s not still one, and who taught him how to be a diviner I know he learnt from the Diviner from the first book (sorry I’ve forgotten his name) but Alex mentioned that it had never been a Master, Apprentice arrangement which to me suggests that he learnt from someone else. Maybe Alex’s past is something we’ll pick up slowly from each book.

Of course I will read the next book, I want to see if Luna continues to use her whip, if anne and Variam stick around did Onyx get out or have we seen the last of him… and more importantly does Starbreeze come back?

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Hello October // Holly's Cosplayers


In honour of Halloween, I’ve made a list of my top 5 characters who I think would Cosplay, come October 31st.

1: Brandon and Abel, from How to Repair a Mechanical Heart by J C Lillis.

Of course Brandon and Abel would spend Halloween cosplaying their favourite characters, Sim and Captain Cadmus, respectively.

2: Kaz Brekker, from Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo.

I’m pretty sure Kaz would dress up for the occasion, if only for a job. Grisha? Stadwatch guard? His choice in itself however is a mystery.

3: Lucien, from A Court of Thorns and Roses by S J Maas.

Tamlin would hate to wear a mask, and Rhysand would probably wear one just to annoy Tam, but I think Lucien would be game for costumes and a good time.

4: Simon Spier, from Simon Vs The Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

Would it be weird to suggest that Simon would dress-up as an Oreo? Or maybe he would join his friend Abel as Captain Cadmus?

5: Rhy Maresh, from A Gathering of Shadows by Victoria Schwab.

I honestly think Rhy, accompanied by Alucard, would make a fabulous pirate. But maybe that’s just me?

 Do you have any Cosplay Character suggestions? Let us know on Twitter!



Thanks Holly! This is such a wonderfully creative list and has definitely got me thinking about other book characters i'd love to see cosplay as someone else! Please do share any fan art or other cosplay ideas with us. You could even share your own list right here on the blog! Please get in touch :)
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