[Book Review] TROLL by D. B. Thorne 

34007676

TITLE: TROLL

AUTHOR: D.B. Thorne

GENRE: Fiction, Thriller/Suspense

EDITION: Paperback

PAGES: 368

PUBLISHED BY: Corvus Books

PUBLICATION DATE: 1 June 2017

ISBN: 9781782395942

PRICE: £12.99

Monsters who live online don’t always stay there…

The Story

Fortune is a man who has found himself so far removed from life with his family that when his daughter goes missing he doesn’t know what to do or how to connect with his estranged wife. 
As time passes and the investigation is cut back, he accuses the police of giving up on her, whilst guiltily realising that he himself gave up a longtime ago. 

Sophie, the daughter, has a history of depression and attempted suicide on a number of occasions and the longer time passes with no information the easier it seems for people to assume that she has taken her own life. However, we are quickly introduced to various events which give cause to question this; Sophie loses her journalism position at a celebrity gossip magazine after a sting goes wrong and she is accused of stalking and threatening the mark, a celebrity with  a dubious taste for young girls. Her homelife suffers as her landlord eventually evicts her after anonymous complaints of noise & antisocial behaviour are heaped against her. Distanced from the few friends she has,  A Sophie finds herself alone and unable to get anyone to believe her assertions that she isn’t guilty. The only person who seems to have a vested interest in her is the troll posting vitriolic comments on her blog and it isnt long before we realize that his obnoxious actions have seeped into her offline world too…. 

Refusing to believe that Sophie has just vanished, Fortune leaves his home and work in Dubai and returns to London in an  a attempt to find out what happened to her. As he delves deeper into his daughter’s life (a life he comes to realize he knows very little about) he becomes more and more convinced that all is not as it seems. 

The cover gives the impression of a dark and foreboding thriller full of tension. 


As I continued reading, I found myself with more questions…. 
•IS Sophie alive? 
If not, what happened to her? 

•Was the sheet really a suicide note (i think not) or was it her thoughts regarding the problems she was having with someone trolling her online (and possibly IRL too?)? 

•Is Starry Urbano, the unusually named internet troll, someone known to them? 

•And is there a connection between both Fortunes’ worklife problems?

 

First Impressions

When i first started reading, I felt that the tension would continue to gradually build in this thriller; I liked the way the author kept the different story threads unravelling by lifting each in turn, as the chapters alternated between Fortune in the present day and Sophie in the recent past.
I was eager to continue reading to find out how they would all converge. 

Thoughts

Without wanting to give too much away (I try to keep my reviewing a spoiler-free zone!) I found TROLL an interesting read. The action and suspense were well-paced and I found the way that different forms of prose such as blog entries and email correspondences were woven into the storytelling gave the whole thing extra interest. It was almost a mixed-media collage of writing and ideas and alluded to layers of secrecy to be uncovered.

With regards to twists, I must admit that I had an inkling of what was coming relatively early on, but this in no way lessened my enjoyment of the story.

 

Rating & Recommendations

A suspense-filled read, I rate this thriller 4 out of 5 stars.

Recommended reading for lovers of thrilling fiction and fans of Holly Sneddon.

The Author

D.B. Thorne
You can connect with him via Twitter or find out more at davidthornecri.me.

Disclosure

I received a free ARC of this book from the publisher Corvus Books, via ReadersFirst  prior to publication.

As always, thanks for taking the time to stop by! I’d love to hear whether you have or would like to read this!

Hugs, 

Crafty xx

[MailCall Monday] 14th August 2017

I’ve had quite a busy mailbag this week, both outgoing and incoming, with lots of variety received.

Book Mail

Three print copies this week (I also read & review E-books, but they don’t land on my doorstep…)

\

In political thriller LORETICUS, J. B. Lucas has created a remarkable historical world that has parallels in both ancient Rome and modern diplomacy. I am eager to learn more about Loreticus ; in this historical fiction published by Type & Tell; as he plays spy-master to the emperor, finding himself in a tangled web of intrigues and deceit when the new emperor goes missing and Loreticus attempts to find him.

Published by Zaffre, Chris Whitaker‘s phsycological thriller ALL THE WICKED GIRLS introduced us to the troubled Raine Ryan, who finds herself with an unusual ally when she throws herself into searching for her missing sister Summer. With tension already simmering in their struggling small hometown of Grace, Alabama; it starts to emerge that not all may be as it seems with the smalltown model student, musical prodigy and all-round ray of sunshine….

Likened to tales such as The Roanoke Girls and Fargo, I have already heard great things about this one!

GOOD FRIDAY , published by Zaffre, is the third in Lynda La Plante‘s Jane Tennison series; charting the early career of the young Jane who is to become the central character in La Plante’s highly acclaimed Prime Suspect series. Set in 1970s London, Tennison finds herself a key witness after surviving an explosion during an IRA attack on a tube station, all whilst trying to convince her superiors that there is clear and present danger closer to hand than they may realize.

I love La Plante’s writing, and very much enjoyed Prime Suspect: 1973, the recent TV dramatisation of Tennison, the first novel in this series of prequels.

Look out for my reviews around publication date, all three are released 24th August!

(S)Nail Mail

The lovely Laila asked me to review her Jamberry nail wraps, so by the time you read this, we’ll be partway through our Seven Day Challenge. (Offspring#1 has more photogenic nails, so we’re both trying them)

Make sure you pop back later in the week to read the review and find out what we thought!

Flair Mail

Someone must’ve sneaked a punky pins order into my basket when I wasn’t looking!

They’re doing their mystery / blind boxes again, so I grabbed a few as they make great little gifties.

*I can neither confirm not deny that a certain amount of swapping around and pilfering may have or may not have occured.*

Beauty Mail

Birchbox sent out a replacement for the Whish face mask that was missing from my August Mermaid Vibes box.

Their customer service team is really fantastic; so far I have found that any issues are dealt with, to my great satisfaction, both professionally and speedily.

Mag Mail

Another issue arrived of the magazine I keep meaning to cancel. Please, someone keep poking me until I do it.

It DID come with a cute snowflake die though, so it’s not all bad!

Sample Mail

I received some Lemon Detox info and a free sample of Madal Bal Natural Tree Syrup.

Supposedly it is going to

  • cleanse my body of toxins
  • Increase my vitality
  • Improve my digestion

As well as giving me

  • shinier, stronger hair and nails
  • clearer skin and eyes
  • And a greater sense of well-being.

*Watch this space*

Looking forward to trying these free samples from Aveeno. Their moisturising products usually leave my skin feeling fab.

And a Card

You hear a lot about truly awful in-laws, so maybe we are just lucky in the fact that we both get on well with ‘The In-Laws”.

My mother-in-law sent me this lovely card to celebrate my new job, that I start today.

So, that was my week’s incoming mail, did YOU receive anything interesting?

See ya at the mailbox next time!

Hugs,

Crafty xx

Disclosure:

All ARCs supplied free of charge by publishers, via ReadersFirst.

Jamberry samples sent, for the purpose of review, by Jamberry franchisee, Laila

Free samples are described as such.

BIRCHBOX August ’17: Mermaid Vibes [Review] (& DISCOUNT)

Birchbox is a beauty subscription service. Their monthly boxes give you the opportunity to sample lots of different cosmetic and skincare brands, whilst their online store allows you to purchase full-size versions of the products you love.

Each box comes in sturdy outer packaging.

Inside which you will find your products and information sheet enclosed within further reusable packaging.

On most occasions it is one of these nifty little cardboard boxes which are easily stacked to create a clever set of storage drawers; whilst other times it can be a zipped pouch / purse, a clutch, or even a drawstring bag.

The August theme is Mermaid Vibes, and can we all just take a moment to admire that foiled print in gorgeous shades of blues and purples??

It’s always an exciting moment when you open the drawer and get your first peek of the contents!

The Contents

In my August box I discovered:

  • A full-size Spectrum Collection Powder Brush in shade Glam Clam. (Beauty Tool)
  • A full-size LOC in shade Rock Steady *RRP £8* (Cosmetics)
  • Number 4 Sugar Texturing Spray (Haircare)
  • NUXE Dry Oil Shimmer (Cosmetics)

Disappointingly, the Whish Revitalising Mud Mask (skincare), which should have been my 5th and final product, was missing from my box. I contacted customer service and subsequent to a friendly yet professional response, a replacement was received within a week.

Each month there is 1 product where you have the option to choose one of two variants, for the August box this was the Spectrum Collections makeup brush, in your preferred colourway.

Prior to despatch I had the opportunity to select 1 of 3 options:

  1. Glam Clam : shades of pink
  2. Bomb Shell : purple & turquoise hues
  3. Surprise Me! (It’s a lucky dip)

I chose to go with the surprise option, because who doesn’t like surprises?

September’s choose-your-own product is yet to be revealed, but we did get a sneak peek at another product to be included; a full-size MANNAKADAR BEAUTY Fantasy 3-in-1 blush, highlighter, and eyeshadow.

The Cost

A Birchbox subscription is £10 per month plus UK p&p of £2.95.
You can cancel or pause your subscription whenever you like.

There are also opportunities to purchase a 6 months subscription which give you free p&p on your first box. £60 + (5 X £2.95) or a yearly subscription which gives you 12 X monthly boxes for £100 + (12 X £2.95) meaning 2 free boxes!

What I Thought

I have yet to extensively try all the products in this box, but so far I think it’s reasonably good value for money.

The eyestick alone has an RRP of £8, and I would usually expect to pay around £6 for a similar product. I would expect to pay around £4 for the brush; meaning the rest of the products were essentially FREE.

  • The LOC Shadow Stick is a pretty shade, applies easily and is very wearable.
  • The NUXE shimmer oil smells of summer, it’s easy to apply, and leaves a slightly oily sheen with a golden glow.
  • After using the Whish Mask, my skin feels amazingly smooth and nourished and looks brighter. I would consider buying this product.

Rating & Recommendations

Appearance: I love the stylish look of the packaging, and think the fact it is usefully reusable is a definite plus. 5/5

Products: I received a pretty good variety in my box. Each month there are a number of core products that everyone receives, then an array of others from which you receive a selection to make up your 5 products. Mostly these are skincare, haircare, a body care or make-up; but accessories such as jewellery or beauty tools (like this month’s brush) are sometimes included. 4/5

Value for Money: As previously mentioned, one full-size item had an RRP of £8, so from that point of view, this box was definitely value for money. Personally, I didn’t perceive this particular selection as being as great value as other boxes; but this is just my personal opinion – the box is still great, I think I’ve just had a run of amazing ones so my expectations were high! The fact you also get to try smaller sizes of other products to see how you like them, rather than splashing out on the full-size only to discover that they don’t suit, is great. 4/5

Benefits: The opportunity to try new products from established and newer names in the beauty industry. There are a number of additional benefits to being a Birchbox subscriber, but perhaps the most notable one is that you are entitled to at least 10% off full-size versions of the products you like. 5/5

TOTAL SCORE: 18 / 20

I would also like to take this opportunity to mention:

Customer Satisfaction: Two month in a row, there has been a problem with my Birchbox, but the customer service system is a really sleek operatation. Submitting a query I via the contact form generates an automated response, this is then followed up by a named operative within 48 hours; any deviation from this is acknowledged with another automated mail. The first contact from a member of the team is always courteous, states an apology for what has gone wrong, and offers a solution. Subsequent correspondence is always friendly, helpful and they keep you informed of everything.

The delivery process is also incredibly slick, with emails informing you when your box is ready for dispatch, forwarded to the delivery company, with your local courier, on it’s way; and finally; confirming delivery.

 

If you want to try Birchbox for yourself, you can save £5 off your first box by signing up through my referral link .

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/thecraftylass

(Birchbox also credit my account with a small amount to spend in their online store each time someone signs up via my link. Remember to share your own link after you have signed up!)

Bonus offer!

Enter code: TAKE2 at the checkout, to claim a free full-size Nails Inc. Polish plus a make up bag when you subscribe to Birchbox in August.

*Terms and conditions apply. Cannot be used in conjunction with other offers. Available whilst stocks last, or until 31st August 2017.

Thanks for stopping by; see you again soon; and in the meantime, have you tried Birchbox, or another Beauty Subscription box? What are your recommendations?

Hugs, Crafty xx

Record-Breakin’ Bowls : A Crafty DIY

Well okay, we’re not breaking them, we’re bending them, but they’re still fun to make!

Did you know today is Vinyl Record Day? To celebrate I thought I would share this fun Crafty DIY with you!

It’s been years since I made some of these, but they make awesome inexpensive gifts and when Offspring#2 and I were in the local record shop recently we noticed they had a huge box of vinyls signposted

“FREE for art projects/students etc”

We decided it would be fun for him to make some projects over the summer, and a set of bowls will make a funky storage solution for organising nick-nacks on his desk at university.

What you need:

  • An oven, preheated to 100°
  • Baking paper, to line the shelf or a baking sheet
  • An oven proof bowl, tall cup or vase
  • Oven gloves
  • Old vinyl records

How To:

  1. Preheat oven to 100°C. That’s °F or Gas Mark , if you are those ways inclined.
  2. Line either your oven shelf OR a baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. Turn your bowl (or similar) upside down and place your vinyl on top. *Remember, if you have a preference for which side is seen (for example, which label is visible in the inside of the bowl), the side closest to the bowl will be the inside and the uppermost side will be the outside.*
  4. Put it in the oven and stay close by. *A note on safety: the fumes released can be quite strong, so it is advisable to make sure you open kitchen doors & windows; and when you’re done, leave the oven door open to allow any buildup to disapate.*
  5. After a few minutes you will see your vinyl start to droop, after 6 – 10 minutes it should be pliable enough to mould.
  6. When your bowl is soft enough to mould, quickly and carefully remove from the oven, along with your mould.
  7. Flip both over and insert your vinyl inside the bowl to shape it.
  8. Working quickly, flute, pinch, or otherwise shape the sides and rim.
  9. Leave for a few moments to set before removing from the mould and setting aside to cool completely.
  10. Stand back and admire your handywork!

Then make millions more of them because it becomes a bit of an obsession.

And enjoy finding new things to store in them.

Tightly pinching portions gives great loops to slip pens, pencils, mascara, scissors, rulers etc into; to store them tidily.

A few notes on selecting records to use :

  • They will no longer be playable, do not use your prized vinyl collection!
  • Look out for clear or coloured vinyls, as a change from all black.
  • Also keep an eye out for interesting labels; or the recipient-to-be’s favourite artists etc
  • Gifting for a special occasion? Why not try to tie track titles, album titles or artist to the event.

    Useage:

    • As these bowls are not made from foodsafe material, you shouldn’t use them for serving or eating. Of course, wrapped sweets are fine! (I have however lined one with a napkin in the past and used it as a bread dish. We survived.)
    • They made great dishes to empty your pockets into, or to store knick-knacks.
    • They also make great gifting containers to package up smaller gifts or a selection of items. Fill the bowl as you would a gift basket and wrap in cellophane, then tie it up with ribbons and bows. If you were really fancy, you could even make your own ribbon or packing shred from an old cassette tape!

    Yeah, so I might have pinched a couple for myself. Shhhh, don't tell!

    If you don’t have any old vinyls to hand, or a friendly neighborhood record store like Groucho’s, charity shops often have a boxful that they are selling off cheap.

    If you try out this crafty DIY, I’d love to see the results, so tag me on your social media pics ( @Crafty_Lass on Twitter and @The_Crafty_Lass on Instagram )

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Hugs, as always.

    Crafty xx

    A Quest, to Reach the Bottom of my TBR Pile

    I’m going on a Bookish Adventure!

    *I am tracking my current progress here*

    Aentee over at Read at Midnight has, through magical skullduggery and swashbuckling songsmithery, concocted the most amazingly in-depth reading challenge I have ever taken part in. Read on, intrepid Adventurers, and find out more….

    The Reading Quest takes it’s inspiration from Adventure Games and Aentee’s well-thought-out system of characters, paths, points and levels is wonderfully illustrated by the more than able skills of CW at Read Think Ponder .

    The Reading Quest runs from Sunday 13th August to 10th September, giving all us Adventurers 4 weeks to complete the challenge.

    The challenge prompts are laid out, bingo board style, on The Quest Board.

    Character choice is important, as it determines your path across the board.

    Are you a Knight, a Bard, a Rogue, or a Mage?

    EXP is earned by completing quests, whilst HP by pages read and activity on social media; and, to keep it all straightforward, levelling up occurs every 50 EXP.

    Aentee lays out all the info here and, honestly, you’re far better reading it firsthand!

    So, if you fancy joining in with the fun, why not head on over and sign up for The Quest?

    I have chosen to start my quest on the MAGE path (mostly because I have a few books in my TBR pile that both fit those prompts and have to read in a short timeframe) and at the moment my Adventuring knapsack contains:

    A BOOK WITH A ONE WORD TITLE

    LORETICUS by J.B.Lucas is a cleverly woven tale of political intrigue that draws parallels between ancient Rome and modern diplomacy.

    Purported to be similar in writing style to Robert Harris’ , I was eager to read this when the chance to receive an ARC came up.

    One man’s secret is another man’s weapon; and Loreticus, spymaster to an emperor, considers himself well armed. Secrets are Loreticus’ business; spies and sources his colleagues. But when the new emperor goes missing, he suddenly finds himself isolated and uncertain who to trust. His search for the young emperor reveals an underworld of coups, assassinations, ambition and infidelity that make him doubt how much he ever really knew about the power behind the throne. As he struggles to deliver the young emperor safely and reunite the country, he finds himself torn between his old-fashioned principles and a new political reality.

    250 Pages = +25 Health Points

    Completion = +10 EXP

    A BOOK THAT CONTAINS MAGIC

    THE DIABOLIC by S. J. Kincaid was originally written as a stand-alone YA Sci-Fi / Fantasy novel, the storyline has since been expanded to form two sequels.

    I received a copy of this from Bex a few months back, and have been meaning to read it ever since.

    Nemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia. She must become her. Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire…

    416 Pages = +41 Health Points
    Completion = +10 EXP

    A BOOK BASED ON MYTHOLOGY

    BOHERMORE, is book one of The Pirate Queen series, by Jennifer Rose McMahon is a YA novel with a liberal sprinkling of history, fantasy & romance.

    When American teenager Maeve travels to Ireland to try to unravel the secrets of her family ancestry and discover the truth about her visions, she finds herself becoming more deeply embroiled in mystery as she explores her new surroundings.

    I’ve had this sitting on my NetGalley shelf for a while, so I’m glad that #TheReadingQuest has given me the kick up the backside impetus I needed to read it.

    When your dreams become reality, being cursed can be a real nightmare. Like a punch in the face, eighteen-year-old Maeve O’Malley’s visions knock her off her path. The Pirate Queen stalking Maeve in her dreams killed her mother years ago, and now, the villian is coming for her. Maeve’s decision to ditch Boston College takes everyone by surprise as she packs her bags, leaves America, and heads to the west coast of Ireland to chase her dreams—and end them. Maeve uncovers an ancient family curse that refuses to remain silent until she accepts her predestined role in what many thought was only a legend. Her Irish history professor—a man she shouldn’t be falling for—is the only person who understands the origins of her torment. Maeve’s journey becomes a medieval treasure hunt through Ireland’s castles and ruins as she tracks the wrathful Pirate Queen who has her marked for vengeance.

    293 Pages = +29 Health Points
    Completion = +10 EXP

    *I am hoping there is some mythological aspects, I assume there will be as Maeve explores the medieval sites of Ireland. If not, I guess I’ll have to rethink!

    A BOOK SET IN A DIFFERENT WORLD

    THE CHALK ARTIST by Allegra Goodman is a contemporary fiction tale, full of love, obsession, and alternate realities.

    Twins Aidan & Diane live in a small American town, next door to Collin; artist, actor, misfit. Collin becomes involved with Aidan’s teacher, Nina and this is where the web woven by Arkadia; the large gaming company which dominates the town; tightens around it. Nina, is the daughter of Arkadia’s owner. Both Aidan & Collin become increasingly immersed in Arkadia’s online gameworld, Everwhen. When Aidan receives a mysterious black boX which allows him to physically enter the gameworld, he finds both the reality and his perceptions of the two worlds become skewed. As Collin also finds himself pulled deeper into the game, Nina begins to suspect there is something far wrong but doesn’t know how to help. When the two world collide, everyone involved find their lives changed, and their loyalties torn. In exquisite detail, Allegra Goodman explores what happens when an alternate reality takes over one boy’s life, and the forces at work behind his obsession: the all-encompassing gaming realm that becomes more authentic than his real world.

    This gritty and thought-provoking read seems to me to be reminiscent of the storylines of Tron, or the Spy Kids 3D movie; or Superpowerless, by Chris Priestley.

    335 Pages = +33 Health Points
    Completion = +10 EXP

    THE FIRST BOOK OF A SERIES

    THE CHANGE: LONDON ORBITAL by Guy Adams is the 1st in a 6 novella YA Horror series, currently 1-3 have been published, and you may well see the other two as my quest continues…

    Where were you when the world changed?

    One minute everything was fine and the next…they arrived. Those that saw them died instantly. The unlucky ones survived. Now unimaginable things straight out of nightmares roam the streets of our towns and cities. Nothing is impossible. Nowhere is safe. And no one can escape The Change… Howard doesn’t know where he is or how he got there. He’s not even sure his name is Howard. But he knows his in trouble. Alone on a stretch of motorway jammed with broken down cars full of corpses and strange creatures, Howard falls in with a motorbike gang living in a nearby service station. But even The Kingdom of the Welcome Break can’t keep him safe. Something is moving between the rows of cars, something that used to be human but now clanks with metal, hisses with hydraulics, and is always on the lookout for new parts… The first book in a 6 book novella series, aimed at the Young Adult market, and featuring protagonists trapped in a world irrevocably changed.

    160 Pages = +16 Health Points
    Completion = +10 EXP

    Side Quests

    Alongside the prompts on the character paths, the game board also has side quest prompts worth bonus points. By utilising one of the additional side quests on the board (TIME WARP) I have included THE DEVIL’S PORRIDGE by Chris Longmuir.

    Opening in 1917 London, most of the action happens at the ammunitions plant near Gretna.

    I was delighted to receive a copy of this from the lady herself at a recent bookish event.

    288 Pages = +28 Health Points
    Completion = +10 EXP

    Side Quest (RESPAWN) TROLL by D. B. Thorne

    368 pages = +36 HP

    Completion = +10 EXP

    Quest Updates.

    I’ll be posting regular updates with my progress on here, Twitter and Instagram; why not follow me to keep track of how I’m doing?

    Are you participating in The Reading Quest Challenge?? Please make sure you leave your link in the comments so I can be nosy follow your progress too!

    As always, thanks for stopping by

    Hugs,

    Crafty xxx

    #TheReadingQuest is the product of the bookish brain of Aentee @ Read At Midnight; you can find out more about it, her, and her reviews via her Blog / Instagram / Twitter

    All illustrations are courtesy of the Talented CW @ Read Think Ponder; and you can find out more about her art, and book reviews via her Blog / Instagram / Twitter

    [MailCall Monday] 7th August 2017

    Notebook & Pen Swap

    I received my swap parcel for the Notebook and Pen Swap hosted by Jessica over at The Paper Trail Diary.

    I was partnered with Emma, from A Cornish Geek and we were tasked with selecting notebooks & pens based on each others preferences, packaging them up, and mailing them off; before the deadline of August 7th.

    Emma stated a preference for hardbacked A5 or greater notebooks, containing plain paper pages, hopefully in pastel colouring, and preferably featuring a literary or motivational quote. 

    This seemed like it should be a super easy request to fulfill but for some reason I really struggled! I tried all the usual suspects: Paperchase, WH Smith, The Works, TK Maxx, Tiger, various online small businesses who stock stationery, both Asda & Tesco’s large stationery & back to school ranges, amongst others but had little success. Eventually I realized I was going to have to cheat a little, and I hope she didn’t mind! 

    Anyway, enough about that! Let’s get on with admiring the goodies that Emma selected for me, shall we?

    Inside a big bubble mailer I found a fabulous A4 bright pink notebook emblazoned with MAKE THINGS HAPPEN in gold foiling, isn’t it marvellous?

    The cute ribbon markers are incredibly useful for splitting sections or marking places, don’t you think?

    Interestingly, she had similar thoughts on pens as I did (remember the pens I mentioned here recently? Well, this is the swap they were for) and these colourful ballpoints will be very well used!
    Lastly, can I just draw attention to the delightful notecard?

    How did she know that Dolly is my Spirit Animal?? 😂😂
    I look forward to using those pens for writing many important notes, on the things that I am going to make happen, in my swish new notebook. 

    Book Swap

    July was Book Swap month in Jocelyn from The Reading Residence ‘s #BringBackPaper campaign.

    I was paired with Kathryn, AKA BookwormAndTheatreMouse , and the challenge was to select and send each other a preloved fiction book. The only clues we received was the other’s least favourite genre, so we knew what to avoid. Kathryn admitted to not being much of a SciFi fan, so I skipped the bookshelf full of distant planets and robot overlords, then chose a copy of a thriller I enjoyed reading a few months back. I packaged it up with some tea and chocolate, because what’s the point of settling down with a new book without making yourself comfortable? and sent it off.

    Meanwhile, the lovely Kathryn was doing exactly the same; so I came home from work one evening to find an interesting looking bubble envelope, emblazoned with the #BringBackPaper hashtag, waiting for me.

     

    I received a copy of INDIGO DONUT by Patrice Lawrence, I haven’t read it and the blurb sounds intriguing.

    In Bailey’s opinion, Indigo didn’t look like she needed a hero. One by one, she looked Mona, Saskia, Betti and Kay in the eye. Then she gave them the finger, slow motion. Headphones on again, she sauntered off towards the science wing. He’ll. That was … She was …

    Indigo lives with her foster mum, Keely. When she meets Bailey at sixth form, serious sparks fly, but Indigo has a secret that could ruin everything between them before it’s even begun.

    Bailey‘s blown away by Indigo; she’s so different to other girls. But when Bailey becomes the target of a homeless man who knows more about Indigo’s past than is normal, he is forced to make an impossible choice.

    I’m looking forward to reading this as I enjoyed Orangeboy, the first novel by Patrice Lawrence. (I think everyone else enjoyed it too, since it won a Waterstones Book Prize and was shortlisted for many others.)

    Important Paperwork

    Midweek, I received written details of the amendment to my terms and conditions of employment. Basically, it’s just confirmation of my start date, job title, new location & pay grade.

    I pick up my swanky new uniform when I start next Monday.

    Some EXTRA Beauty

    Birchbox’s discount code for July entitled users to an extra mystery box. Mine wasn’t delivered alongside my July box, but their customer service team were on the ball and soon sorted it out; and the courier dropped it off just as I was heading to work on Friday.

    The EXTRA box I received was actually June’s Daytripping Birchbag; a delightful pastel zippered pouch; inspired by Brighton Beach and it’s chalk-coloured beach huts, sorbet ice-creams and dreamy watercolour sunsets.

     

    Inside my lovely Birchbag I found:

    • A full-size MEECH AND MIA Brow Liner, in shade #21 (RRP £12.99)
    • A full-size 50ml tube of COWSHED Cow Pat moisturising hand cream (RRP £18)
    • A 50g sachet of SCRUB LOVE Invigorating Coffee Body Scrub
    • A set of ECOTOOLS Enhancing Eye Brushes (RRP £6.99)
    • And a dinky 2.5ml sample jar of BOBBI BROWN EXTRA Eye Repair Cream 

    As I mentioned, I received this free of charge, but full price would have been £10 plus £2.95 p&p. Given that 3 items were full-size products worth a total of £27.98 AND it came in such a delightful & very useable bag, I think this one was a real bargain for anyone who received this June offering!

    If you fancy trying Birchbox for yourself, you can save £5 off your first box by signing up via my referral link (Birchbox also credit my account with a small amount to spend in their online store)

    Even MORE Beauty : August Birchbox

    Given that Saturday morning was the third time in a week that the same delivery guy was met at the door by a frightful vision of unmadeupness, he is probably wondering why I buy all these Beauty Boxes….

    This time he was bringing my August Birchbox; the choose-your-preference item this month was a Spectrum brush, in one of two colourways; as usual I ticked the ‘Surprise Me!’ box, so I’m eager to see which colour of brush I received and what else is enclosed.

    You can see my full unboxing of August’s themed Birchbox here.
    So, that was the contents of my mailbox this week, what about yours?

    Until next time,

    Hugs, Crafty xx

    [MailCall Monday] 31st July 2017

    This week has been a bit of a mixture in terms of mail, some days there was lots of fun mail whilst others there wasn’t so much as a junkmail flyer popped through the door.

    It started off well on Monday, when I came home from work to find my monthly Boxcitement subscription box waiting for me….

    Boxcitement

    As usual; the Boxcitement box is a wonderfully eclectic collection of stationery, jewellery, accessories; all curated around a central theme, which this month is DRAMA QUEEN

    There is certainly plenty of drama, and more than enough special treats to leave me feeling royally spoiled.

    It’s Fabulous, Dahlings!! But you’ll have to wait for my unboxing post to see just how fabulous.


    BookMail

    Lots of Bookmail this week…

     

    SEEING RED is a harrowing semi-autobiographical novel written by Chilean author Lina Meruane and published by Atlantic Books.
    It tells the tale of Lucina, a young  A Chilean writer, who; whilst living and working in New York; suffers a life-changing eye haemorrhage.

    As she begins to adjust to a very different life of reliance on others, so too do those who love her find themselves learning to adjust to a very different woman.

     

    Crime Thriller, KILL ME TWICE, written by Simon Booker and published by Bonnier Zaffre ; tells the tale of Anjelica, a victim of domestic abuse who finds herself imprisoned for murdering her husband. Forensic experts attest to finding his charred remains after an arson attack and so she turns to Morgan Vine, an investigative journalist for help to prove her innocence. 

    The whole world knows Karl Savage is dead. It doesn’t matter that he was abusive. Or that Anjelica has a baby to care for. Or,  indeed, that she is petrified of fire.

    Then he turns up outside Morgan’s window….

    I’m intrigued to know more, but I must admit to hoping that in the end the only possible resolution is not for Anjelica & Morgan to kill him.

    Rosie Fiore’s WHAT SHE LEFT , published by Allen & Unwin , is billed as Contemporary Fiction. 

    When Sam Cooper’s wife Helen disappears, noone understands why. She has a charmed life; she’s beautiful, accomplished, organised; but she chooses to abandon her home & family. She hasn’t been abducted or murdered, she just walks away.

    Tormented by all the questions of why, where, what? ; Sam finds he is losing his grip on work and family life; he sees Helen’s face everywhere and he’s losing control.

    But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees…

    I received ARCs of these novels, free of charge via ReadersFirst , and you will be able to read my review of each nearer their publication dates:

    • Seeing Red : 3rd August 2017.
    • Kill Me Twice : 24th August 2017.
    • What She Left : 17th August 2017.


    Pen Mail (& a Panda) 🐼

    I signed up to a notebook and pen swap recently, over on , and my swap partner mentioned she liked smooth writing pens with easy on the eye ink colours.

    I’ve bought some of these pens from Tiger Pens before and personally find they write beautifully; they also look rather stylish, and the colour of the swirly tattoo print corresponds to the colour of the ink (except for the black ink one, which has a silver grey pattern). 

    I thought they would be ideal for adding to my swap package, and I might have added to my own pen collection. I lose/lend pens at an alarming rate so tend to overstock!

    I also noticed that there are refills available for these, so I think I’ll be adding a few sets to my next  order.

    There was also a special offer where you could claim a free Panda squishy with orders over £15 from this particular range.

    So, I got a Panda

    Tiger Pens stock a huge variety of pens & pencils, everything from left handed fountain pens to everlasting metal pencils, and UK shipping is free on orders over £10.

    Fabric Samples

    I love when a company do samples right, and furniture and homewares purveyors loaf certainly do!

    New sofa discussions have been ongoing for sometime but so far I have yet to see anything locally that has made me think “Yep, that’s the one!” 

    I recently stumbled upon the loaf website, and as a few of their offerings caught my eye, I promptly requested some fabric swatches.

    At the moment our sofas are dark chocolate brown leather and we’re swithering between sticking with leather or going for something fabric (in some misguided belief that as the kids are now grown, we no longer have to worry about jammy handprints; like it’s them that regularly knock glasses of red wine over…. actually, it’s the cat; but that’s another story!)

    The sample mailer arrived quickly and I was intrigued by the dinky little box.

    Then I opened it….

     Alongside the swatches I had requested, they had enclosed a witty little intro booklet, a blind measuring guide & templates, and a sachet of hot chocolate; to enjoy whilst perusing their offerings. 

    Stamps

    My attempts at used postage stamp collection and collation have somewhat fallen by the wayside but every now and then I receive an exchange bag returning home, or one of these Forever Stamp Exchange sheets. It’s essentially a chain letter (something I normally have no time for!) But they were handy to stick in envelopes I was sending to other collectors and in the beginning was a good way to ‘meet’ new people to exchange with.

    Susanne from Austria found my details next on her sheet and so sent me the required 50 stamps(actually, she sent far more), and an updated copy of the sheet. Next to receive is Claudio in Italy, so I’ll dig out my stamp box and send some off this week.

    Stationery Savings

    I received a mailshot from Paperchase with a coupon for 20% off Back-To-School stationery. It seems rude not to….

    I’ve already been instore recently for a sneak-peek and so far my favourite back to school ranges are:

    • FLY AWAY which is full of whimsical pastel unicorn & rainbow illustrations. 
    • BANANAS which is bright blue and yellow and features a fun graphic print.

    and, of course,

    • The new HELLO KITTY collab!

        Beauty Box

        You can read my full July Birchbox review here ; but for now you can have a sneak peek!

        In the meantime, if you’d like to try a Birchbox for yourself, you can save £5 off your first box by using my referral link .

        The full link is: https://www.birchbox.co.uk/invite/thecraftylass

        (Birchbox credit my account with a small amount to spend in their online store each time someone signs up using my link)


        So, all in all, it was a pretty busy week for my mailbox! What about yours?

        Till next time,

        Hugs, Crafty xxx