Book Review: Spinning Hair into Gold by Caitlin Keely Gemmell.

Book Review: Spinning Hair into Gold by Caitlin Keely Gemmell.

caitlin 2When I began reading Spinning Hair into Gold by Caitlin Keely Gemmell, I was immediately reminded of a quote by Wallace Stevens: “The poet is the priest of the invisible.”  I love poems and stories which tell us what we should already know about the world and that is the fact that in reality we still know so little.  Stories which hint and tease at the worlds within our own, of places and people and legends hidden from view perhaps, but visible to those who can see and this is exactly what this collection does.  Each story and poem is based upon a character created by Caitlin for a novel yet to be written.  A character that haunted her despite, or perhaps in spite of, never being fully formed on paper.  They are the glimpses into this story which had to be written and combined into the collection, they give the reader just enough of a hint of what Oriana and her fantastical tale may be, in order to feel compelled to know more.

The collection features several poems and short stories, all about Oriana and her as yet caitlin 1unwritten biography.  Stand outs for me were, ‘Oriana/Weaver of Fate’ a poem reminiscent of Greek mythology and ‘Oriana’s Cottage’ a short story depicting a meeting between a mortal and Oriana, glimpsing into her world of magic before returning to the mortal realm.  Whilst I enjoyed all of the writing separately and as stand alone pieces, they fit together to form a partial image of this mysterious character which enchants and inspires and it is through this collection of individual pieces, through them flowing from one to the other, that the picture becomes clearer and more fully formed.  I for one would love to read Oriana’s story in all of it’s glory now that my appetite has been wetted.

I was honoured to receive an ARC copy of Spinning Hair into Gold by Caitlin Keely Gemmell in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Unboxing: Books That Matter September Book Box.

Unboxing: Books That Matter September Book Box.

Hello readers!  For today’s post, I will be unboxing this month’s Books That Matter book box and I am particularly excited for this one.  Not only is it the box’s First Birthday (Happy Birthday guys) but in order to celebrate, it has an extra special, magical theme and one which could not be more up my street.  This month, the theme is (drum roll please) ‘Myths, Goddesses and Legends’, celebrating the women of Greek mythology.  As a fan of mythology and legends, I could not wait to tear into the box.  Before we see what is inside, remember you can use MARIE10 to save on a box all your own.

greek boxFirst and foremost, this month’s featured book is critically acclaimed Circe by Madeline Miller.  This book was shortlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year and I have heard nothing but positive things about it.  I know they say not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s hard not to swoon over this beauty.  The cover is a stunning metallic, which I am always a sucker for, and perfectly captures it’s Greek, mythological inspiration.  So what’s it about?

Woman. Witch. Myth. Mortal. Outcast. Lover. Destroyer. Survivor. CIRCE.

In the house of Helios, god of the sun and mightiest of the Titans, a daughter is born. Circe is a strange child – not powerful and terrible, like her father, nor gorgeous and mercenary like her mother. Scorned and rejected, Circe grows up in the shadows, at home in neither the world of gods or mortals. But Circe has a dark power of her own: witchcraft. When her gift threatens the gods, she is banished to the island of Aiaia where she hones her occult craft, casting spells, gathering strange herbs and taming wild beasts. Yet a woman who stands alone will never be left in peace for long – and among her island’s guests is an unexpected visitor: the mortal Odysseus, for whom Circe will risk everything.

So Circe sets forth her tale, a vivid, mesmerizing epic of family rivalry, love and loss – the defiant, inextinguishable song of woman burning hot and bright through the darkness of a man’s world.

This one has been on my to be read list for a while and now I really have no excuses not to read it.  Have you read this one?  What did you think?  As an extra special treat, there is an exclusive Circe postcard, beautifully frame worthy should you wish to express your love of Greek mythology.

As always, along side this month’s read, there is an array of perfectly picked goodies and greek box 3in this box, that metallic theme continues with a stunning 22ct gold plated star charm bracelet by CaruSer.  This really is one of those rare and extra special finds in a subscription box.  It is beautiful and I have no doubt it will become one of my go to jewellery choices.  There are also two metallic, and made hair ties by Cabellobands.  I am a firm believer that a girl can NEVER have enough hair ties (where do they vanish to) and I love the luxurious look of these.  Finally, there are two appliqué stickers of the Goddess Aphrodite and the nymph Daphne, along with a book mark featuring Medussa and Calliope, designed by the brand Myths and Tits. I adore the style and vibrancy of these beautiful images and I am already seeking a place to stick the stickers.

As always, Books That Matter present a thoughtful and inspirational box that not only sparks the joy in any reader, but delivers a clear and impactful feminist message.  This box is about giving the females of Greek mythology their rightful place.  No longer are they merely plot devices but feminist icons, given their own well deserved narratives.  Thank you so much for gifting me the box guys and remember, if you love it as much as I do, you can use discount code MARIE10 to save 10% on your own!

Unboxing: August Crime & Mystery My Chronicle Book Box.

Unboxing: August Crime & Mystery My Chronicle Book Box.

Hello readers, it’s that time again…time to open that beautiful blue box, pull out each book, all individually wrapped in brightly coloured paper and string like a series of wonderful presents, all signed by the authors, all perfectly chosen and just when you think you can’t possibly have a better day, there are the accompanying bookish goodies too. I love my quarterly my Chronicle Book Boxes and if you fancy trying one of your own, you can use MIRRORS10 to save 10% now!! So what does the latest Crime and Mystery box contain?

Our first featured book is Those People by award winning author Louise Candish: Until Darren and Jodie move in, Lowland Way is a suburban paradise. Beautiful homes. Friendly neighbours. Kids playing out in the street. But Darren and Jodie don’t follow the rules and soon disputes over loud music and parking rights escalate to threats of violence.
Then, early one Sunday, a horrific crime shocks the street. As the police go house-to-house, the residents close ranks and everyone’s story is the same: They did it. But there’s a problem. The police don’t agree.And the door they’re knocking on next is yours.

This one sounds like an enthralling read full of twists and turns and it’s definitely one I can’t wait to dig in to. Best part? It’s signed by the author herself and it’s a hardback.

Next up we have The Never Game by Jeffery Deaver, a fast paced thriller set in Southern California:

A student kidnapped from the park.
Nineteen-year-old Sophie disappears one summer afternoon. She wakes up to find herself locked inside a derelict warehouse, surrounded by five objects. If she uses them wisely, she will escape her prison. Otherwise she will die.
An investigator running out of time.

Sophie’s distraught father calls in the one man who can help find his daughter: unique investigator Colter Shaw. Raised in the wilderness by survivalist parents, he is an expert tracker with a forensic mind trained to solve the most challenging cases. But this will be a test even for him.
A killer playing a dangerous game.

Soon a blogger called Henry is abducted – left to die in the dark heart of a remote forest – and the whole case gets turned on its head. Because this killer isn’t following the rules; he’s changing them. One murder at a time…

This one sounds like one hell of a thrill ride reminiscent of the horror movie Saw and I’m always a fan of a serial killer story line. Again, this one is a hardback and it’s signed by the international best selling author himself.  I’m beyond excited to add it to my to read pile!

The final book is Tick Tock by Mel Sherratt, a gritty British Police procedural set in Stoke on Trent:

TICK… In the city of Stoke, a teenage girl is murdered in the middle of the day, her lifeless body abandoned in a field behind her school. TOCK Two days later, a young mother is abducted. She’s discovered strangled and dumped in a local park. TIME’S UP… Can they catch the killer before another young woman dies?

Again this sounds right up my street and it comes signed by the author herself. Each author has also given an exclusive interview which you will find inside your personalised, wax sealed envelope along with your spoiler card.

Alongside these epic thrillers, there is also a gorgeous scented candle by Bookwormmychronicle3 Candles and Crafts. This ‘Crime and Punishment’ themed, glittering beauty smells incredible with masculine tones of sandalwood and is exclusive to the box. There is an ‘I love Crime Fiction’ fridge magnet, perfect for proudly displaying your love for the genre and an exclusive engraved wooden bookmark to help you keep track of your reading progress. Shaped like a beautiful fish tail, it is a constant reminder to not be lured by an author’s red herrings!

This is another great example of well sourced books all of which I feel myself instantly excited about. This book box is such great value, always containing THREE books, all signed and all beautifully wrapped alongside carefully chosen, exclusive goodies and I will never stop gushing about it! Remember, if you want to get yourself a box you can save 10% using code MIRRORS10! And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with all my latest unboxings, book reviews and pieces of original writing.

Book Review: The Fearing Book 2, Water & Wind by John.F.D.Taff.

Book Review: The Fearing Book 2, Water & Wind by John.F.D.Taff.

You know those rare books you find utterly impossible to put down? The ones you simply must digest in one sitting regardless of what chores need done or appointments you must keep? Well, this is one of those books. Short, fast paced & gripping this book draws you in and insists you don’t put it down again until you’re done.

fearing2Book two in The Fearing series picks up right where we left off, following our bus of terrified tourists, our love struck teens & of course the creepy Adam who seems to be the only one happy about what is happening with the world.  This book also introduces two new characters in the form of the good Reverend Mark, who brings a little theological perspective to the apocalypse and the mysterious Monday, a young girl who has lost her memory after a head injury but appears to know a lot more than she is letting on.

This book  begins to explore what is actually happening and why, positing two potential theories.  Is this the collective fears of the world merely being expelled from their ‘vessel’ once it became full to capacity as Charles posited?  Or perhaps this is the rapture as hypothesised by Reverend Mark and Monday?  The rapture makes sense as it would explain the distinct lack of corpses laying around, but then why were these people left behind?  They seem like a pretty decent bunch of people, hardly worthy of limbo, but even if they secretly have pasts or reasons to prevent them entering heaven outright, then what about the children?  The baby carried by the butterfly lady or the young member of the Reverend’s flock?  Surely those young souls would be sent to heaven being innocent and unsoiled by the world as of yet?  I am personally drawn to the collective fear theory.  I love the idea of the most concentrated fears being first, the ones held simultaneously by millions such as nuclear war or natural disasters, before the fears becoming more select and specific to the few survivors remaining.  This would definitely fit with what is happening in both books so far.  Could Adam be the ‘vessel’ in question?  He begins book one overwhelmed with fears and anxieties, but as they have become released and acted out on others he has described feeling ‘lighter’ and less afraid.  It was also explain his eery ability to know what everyone fears and how they will manifest.  But if he is the vessel, Pandora’s box unleashing woes on to the world, then who is Monday?

And that brings me to the best part of this series, the fact that it gets you thinking, it gets you theorising, driving yourself crazy trying to figure out what is happening and who will survive.  These books have everything you need in a good horror, believable and most importantly likeable characters with whom the reader sympathises, fast paced and well written action and an enemy that is a threat to all of us, including the readers: Fear itself.  I read both book one and two in one sitting each and I cannot wait to read the third and final instalment in the series…can I have my copy now please?

*Grey Matter press and the author provided me with a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.  Thank you to both!

Free Kindle Book & Amazon Giveaway.

Free Kindle Book & Amazon Giveaway.

My crime thriller Broken Mirrors is FREE on Kindle from now until Wednesday and to celebrate, I am running a giveaway on my Instagram and Twitter.  If you download a free copy and send me a screenshot (either via Twitter or Instagram) and you will be entered for the chance to win any book you want from Amazon (to the value of £15.00).  Head to my Instagram or Twitter now to enter and Good luck! You can get your copy free here.

brokenmirrorsBroken Mirrors:  When Marie moves from Belfast to London, she envisions a fresh start and an escape from a broken home. Once there, she meets Malcolm Carter, a charming, handsome man who sweeps her off her feet and gives her a life she could only have imagined. But Malcolm isn’t all he seems; he’s a criminal, a mobster and a murderer. Detective Fraser Duncan knows what he is, and he’s determined to take him down, but things get more complex when a rival and brutal gang leader appears on the scene, setting his sights on Malcolm’s empire. When Marie chooses to stay with Malcolm, regardless of what he is and what he has done, she starts down a path from which she can never return, and now she has been taken. Detective Duncan and Malcolm must set their differences aside and join forces in a race against time to save the woman they love.

Who needs to practice some self Love? Unboxing the Books That Matter UK Body Positive Book Box.

Who needs to practice some self Love? Unboxing the Books That Matter UK Body Positive Book Box.

Hey guys, apologies for going dark for so long!  I have been abroad for some much needed rest and relaxation but now I am suitably destressed, I am back and ready to jump straight into blogging again.  I returned from my holiday to find the latest Books That Matter UK book box on my door step, so what better way to get back into the routine of blogging again than a good old fashioned unboxing?  What makes it even more perfect, is that this is the ‘Bodyposi box’ which is all about body positivity and self love.  I spent a lot of time while I was away doing some self reflection and one of the things I know I need to work on is my attitude towards myself and my body.

booksmatter self loveI have never had the best relationship with my body, constantly picking flaws and issues, but this was made even worse after the birth if my daughter.  Pregnancy and birth obviously change a woman body and we all enter this knowing that we will be transformed on the other side, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways.  But truthfully, nothing can prepare you for just how changed you are when you become a mother.  I try to remind myself that the stretch marks, the lumps and bumps and the weight are trophies, something to wear with pride because they show I literally MADE a human being.  I try to remind myself that they were all worth it to become a Mother and frankly I would happily have a lot worse if it meant I ended up with my daughter.  But we all know, whether we are men or women, that it is far easier to listen to the negative voices than the positive ones.  We compare ourselves to others, to friends or strangers or people online.  I try to be more body positive, especially now I have a daughter of my own and I am constantly trying to tell her how perfect and beautiful she is in the hopes she does not develop the same issues.

Well I am here to say NO MORE! We are all beautiful no matter our size or skin colour or booksmatter self love 2shape.  Our imperfections are what make us us and I am moving forward with a new found determination to listen to that positive voice more and to shut out the negative one, to stop comparing myself to others and to love myself and my body a lot more! With that in mind, this box’s arrival was timed perfectly and I am so excited to show you guys what’s inside! And if you like the box, you can use MARIE10 to save 10% now!

First and foremost, this is a book box, so let’s take a look at this month’s read: Memoirs of an ex-prom queen by Alix Kates Shulman.  This cult classic was originally published in 1972 and is renowned as one of the first feminist novels:

memoirs ex prom queenSasha Davis has everything a girl in 1950s suburbia could want: beauty, intelligence and an all-star sports captain boyfriend. All she needs to succeed is to keep her skin clear and her intelligence hidden under her Prom Queen tiara.

But when she drops out of college to marry, Sasha soon realises her life has become a fearful countdown to her thirtieth birthday – the year when her beauty will have faded, and life as she knows it will end. As Sasha rebels against her fate, she finds herself experiencing an intellectual and sexual awakening that might be her only chance of outrunning the aging process.

I am surprised I’ve never heard of this one before so thank you to Books That Matter for introducing me to it.  It is definitely soaring straight to the top of my TBR pile! Have any of you read this one?  What did you think?

Alongside this badass book, we have a bunch of other goodies, including this stunningbooks matter self love 3 Bodyposi journal by Talk and Tell filled with writing prompts and exploration pages for self reflection and self love.  The colours remind me of sweets or ice cream and send me all the summer vibes.  This will be getting used daily.  Next up, there is a pastel decal sticker from Lone Owl Studio which states,’Speak Kindly to yourself.’  Wonderful advice! This beauty can be placed on your mirror so you can remind yourself everyday to show yourself some love.  There is also a gorgeous, bright bookmark with a body positive statement of each side and last but certainly not least, a set of self love cards by House of Wonderland.  Each card has an affirmation which can be read aloud, or placed somewhere prominent or even kept somewhere private like your purse or journal, as a reminder to love yourself and show that gorgeous and amazing body of yours some love!

I love the message of this box just as much as I love its contents and I want to thank Books That Matter for continuing to be a positive force in the book world…You Guys rock!! If you would like a box of your own, you can use MARIE10 at check out to save 10%.  I would love to talk to you guys about body positivity and self love so please leave your comments and advice below and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to stay up to date with my latest posts.

Book Review: The Fearing Book One, Fire & Rain by John.F.D.Taff.

Book Review: The Fearing Book One, Fire & Rain by John.F.D.Taff.

Hello readers, I hope your weekend was as good as mine!  For this week’s blog post we will be reviewing The Fearing, Book one: Fire and Rain by John.F.D.Taff which was very Kindly sent to me by Grey Matter press for a fair and honest review.  Before we get down to it, let’s read that handy blurb to see exactly what it’s about:

fearing cover

Humanity faces a series of catastrophes spawned by a worldwide event that unleashes all of mankind’s greatest fears.
In the American high desert, vacationers returning from a road trip are thrust into a heart-stopping flight from death as they try to avoid a cataclysmic end. In rural Missouri, the lives of a group of high school students are destroyed after their small town is devastated and they’re forced to confront the end of everything they’ve ever known.
And on the eastern seaboard, there’s someone else. An enigmatic man who thrives on despair and embraces all fear. A man with his own dark and sinister goals. Someone who wants to ensure humanity goes out with the biggest bang possible.

At only 98 pages, this is a quick and absorbing read.  As a result, the reader is immediately thrown into the deep end.  The action sequences are still nicely spaced to allow an ever growing momentum towards and answer that the reader never receives in this first book in the series.  What I was seriously impressed with, was Taff’s ability to make a character fully formed and three dimensional in only a few pages and interactions.  He has an uncanny ability of revealing his character’s true natures and in this case, their darkest fears, without it feeling rushed or forced.  I found myself instantly drawn to and simultaneously creeped out by Adam and his dark, supernatural abilities.  I was routing for the teenage survivors Sarah and Kyle’s budding romance and I love the motley crew of elderly survivors aboard the tourist bus, particularly their badass driver Rich.  Despite these characters being of all ages, genders and backgrounds and despite being scattered around the USA, their fates and fears are inextricably linked by the strange, earth shattering phenomena sweeping the country and I for one am DESPERATE to find out exactly what is going on and who of all of these characters, will survive (Please Rich, Sarah and Kyle).

As you can probably already tell, I loved this book.  It is a truly original and exciting read fearing fire and rainwhich leaves you wanting more.  My only complaint would be the fact that the book has been split up into four separate small parts.  I liked the story so much, I want to read it in its entirety and I am a little irritated I have to wait.  Still, that’s a pretty good negative to have thrown at a book and it demonstrates just how well the plot and characters got their hooks in me as a reader and  I have a feeling the other parts will be worth the wait.  I’m giving it 4.5 stars out of 5 ND I am only marking it down slightly because they are making me wait. Book Two: Water and Wind will be released August 20th and is available for pre-order now.

Thanks to Grey Matter Press and John himself for sending me this copy, I genuinely enjoyed every bit of it.  What about you readers, have you read this or any of Taff’s other works?  What did you think?  Leave me a comment below and don’t forget to subscribe to my blog to keep up to date with all my latest articles, books reviews and pieces of original writing.