[MailCall Monday] 28th August 2017

Well, the week started off rather nicely with not one but two items of fun mail waiting when I got home from work on Monday!

First up was my #NinjaBookBox.

The Ninja Book Box is an awesome quarterly bookish subscription service. Each box has a theme, this one being GOING HOME.

Each box contains a book related to the theme, together with a small selection of items carefully chosen and created to match the theme.

The books are always from independent publishers, and the curated items are sourced from small businesses and independent makers. This championing of indie suppliers is integral to the Ninja Book Box ethos and is definitely something to be applauded.

There’s always so much to explore in a Ninja Book Box, that it’s probably best that I do a standalone post dedicated purely to my unboxing.

But, in the meantime, if you need a bookish fix; remember code HEATHER15 gets you 15% off orders over £5 in the #NinjaBookBox shop!

Next was a surprise gift:

LUCKY DIP CLUB X HELLO DODO

Mr Crafty actually purchased this for me as a lovely surprise.

I have received Lucky Dip Club boxes in the past, but after taking a baby break, Leona has returned to the subscription market with an update.

I must admit, I was intrigued when I heard about this collaboration with HELLO DODO, as I love their prints.

Inside I found an intriguing soft lightweight item, wrapped in sunshine yellow tissue; and a brightly coloured zine.

When I opened the tissue-wrapped gift, I discovered the most adorable bold flamingo print adorning a fab fabric zippered pouch.

  1. I adore flamingos
  2. I love puns
  3. Summery ice-cream shades are fab
  4. You can never have too many storage bags

I haven’t decided just yet what exactly I’ll be storing in my pouch; make-up bag or pencil case seem good options but I don’t want the inside to get dirty!!

Later on in the week was Boxcitement day…

Boxcitement is a lovely monthly subscription box which features a gorgeous selection of stationery, jewellery, housewares and decorative items; all curated around a theme, which this month is FANTASY ISLAND.

Again, look out for a full unboxing post coming soon!

BookMail

The first BookMail of the week was this fantastic foil-embellished, signed copy of INVICTUS by Ryan Graudin.

I received this Sci-Fi Fantasy; likened to Doctor Who meets the Guardians of the Galaxy; as part of a Twitter Giveaway, hosted by the Bournemouth Waterstone’s store .

Time is running out . . .

Farway McCarthy was born outside of time. With nowhere to call home and nothing to anchor him to the present, Far captains a crew on a dangerous mission into the past. When he collides with Eliot – a mysterious, secretive girl, whose very appearance raises questions about time itself – Far immediately distrusts her. But he must take a leap of faith, following Eliot on a race against time, if he is to protect everything he’s ever loved from disappearing forever . . .

A fast-paced, heart-stopping journey that will leave you breathless.

Via ReadersFirst; I received an ARC of Vince Cable‘s debut novel, OPEN ARMS; a political thriller which spans all the way from the parliamentary buildings of Westminster to the slums of Mumbai.

Kate Thompson – glamorous housewife-turned-MP – surprises everyone with her meteoric rise at Westminster. When Kate is sent as a trade minister to India, she hopes it will be her moment to shine. But, embroiled in a personal scandal, she gets drawn into a dangerous world of corruption and political intrigue… Billionaire Deepak Parrikar – head of an Indian arms technology company – is magnetically drawn to the beautiful British minister. But while their relationship deepens, India’s hostilities with Pakistan reach boiling point, causing more than just business and politics to collide. In the race to prevent disaster, can their conflicting loyalties survive being tested to the limit? Open Arms is an explosive thriller which circles from Whitehall to the slums of Mumbai. Cable’s sweeping tale combines unrivalled political detail with international intrigue, desire, and the quest for power. An electrifying debut.

Published by Corvus, OPEN ARMS is due to be released on 7th September 2017, and I’ll be reviewing it soon.

So, that was the contents of my mailbox for the week, did you receive any fun mail? Share in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Hugs, Crafty xxx

DISCLOSURE

  • Although I have a referral code for #NinjaBookBox, I receive this box through my personal paid subscription.
  • I also receive Boxcitement via a paid subscription.
  • The Lucky Dip Club item I received was purchased as a gift.
  • I regularly receive Advance Reader Copies of upcoming releases from ReadersFirst, these are sent free of charge, on the understanding I will read and review them; giving my honest and unbiased impression.
  • The signed copy of Ryan Graudin’s INVICTUS I received was won via a randomised draw hosted by the Waterstone’s store.
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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

[Monday MailCall] 12 June 2017

BookMail

Monday brought Bookmail from two different sources.

I finally won a goodreads giveaway! I know that the actual number of individual giveaways you enter make no difference to your chances of winning, but still… you’d think I’d win something after hundreds of entries!! Well, finally, I did!

Published by Bloomsbury Kids, Countless is Karen Gregory‘s debut book. It tells the story of Hedda, a young woman who; whilst suffering from an eating disorders; discovers she is pregnant. Countless then proceeds to weave a tale about the strength of love, heartache, and human resilience.

I was very taken with the beautiful cover, the pictures really do not do those lovely glossy embossed colour drops justice.

As usual, I’ll be sharing a review after I’ve read it, so keep an eye out for that in the coming weeks!

The next bit of book mail was another ARC via ReadersFirst. I actually won this one a while back but as it has only just arrived, I guess it got waylaid somewhere in the mail!

Exile is the sequel to James Swallow ‘s spy thriller Nomad. Recommended for fans of  Robert Ludlum’s Bourne saga, and also TV series such as Homeland, it’s sure to have plenty of action and intrigue.

(And, you know the drill by now … Review coming soon ….)

That’s so LAME!!!

This bright pink parcel of prettiness is from That Lame Company. I might have spoilt myself a little as a pre-birthday treat.

IMG_20170606_171412415

I ordered the May #Box of Lame. It is most definitely NOT lame!!

You can see my full review here, but in the meantime, I can share a little extra that I couldn’t​ resist adding to my order…

How cute are these snailmail cards?

Cards

As last week was birthday week, there were also a few birthday cards dropping through the letterbox.

So, what about your mailbox? Did you receive anything exciting last week?

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Hugs, 

Crafty xx