Loot Crate: February 2015: Play!

This months Loot Crate is my favourite since Fear, I actually squealed at some of the things when I opened the box. The theme was play and while I was expecting a bunch of things I didn’t quite get, I’m not much of a video game player bar Pokémon and Animal Crossing, they really went in another direction that was really inclusive. Well played, Loot Crate, well played. So let’s have a look!

Can you see why I like it so much?

Ready Player One! Yes! This box came with a copy of Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, a book that has been adored by a lot of book bloggers and vloggers and has been on my Amazon wish list for months. It’s set in 2044 and has the main character taking part in a video game challenge, I’ve been dying to read this so I’m really excited that this came in my Loot Crate. The only book I have similar is the Doctor Who novel; Winner Takes All which I loved so I have high hopes.

I’ve never played Superfight before but after reading up about it and noticing it’s similarity to Cards Against Humanity, I’m already planning a game night with some friends. “Create hilarious fighters with these cards, then argue over who would win a fight between them.” Awesome. I can’t wait to play even if I lose like I always do when I play games with my friends.

Next thing I noticed was the Mini Munny, I’m possibly the least artistic person in existence- my strengths are words and occasionally clay but I’m sure I’ll find a buddy who will happily take this lil’ guy off my hands and do something amazing with the wipe-off markers it came with. A seriously adorable idea.

Next is this Hexbug Ant that has sensors at the back and front so it changes direction if it bumps into something. I just instagrammed a video of it in action. I wasn’t too sure about this when it came but now it’s my new best friend and I just find it really funny! I love insects. And it’s my favourite colour so what’s a girl to do?!

The rock-paper-scissors dice are a little confusing because rock-paper-scissors is literally the game that never needs dice but to each their own. 

The poster this month was this Pac Man cartridge design by Manny Peters, who you can find here! This is a really beautiful and clever print, I may even frame this one. He also has a Link version that may just have to be a birthday gift for someone I know.

And the usual magazine and badge! The digital Loot this month is for the Firefly game and you can bet I’m all over that, Brownouts forever. Since the box unfolds into a board game too, instructions and  pop-out counters came too. Who can pack the Loot the fastest? The box designs are just amazing lately.

I’m really impressed with this Loot Crate, especially after the disappointing January box. Just when I thought I was out, Loot Crate has pulled me back in again. I would’ve been so annoyed if I missed out on this box.

What do you think of this months Loot Crate?

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Beauty Review: KIKO Nail Lacquer in Pearly Golden Green!

A b-e-a-utiful NOTD today. I can’t stop glancing at my nails! It’s one of those nail polishes that just brightens your day to look at and is possibly my favourite colour of all of the KIKO polishes I picked up. You can see the others here!

533 – Nail Lacquer in Pearly Golden Green
You have to be really careful with this one to get very thin layers as it’s not the best at drying the thick layers but the formula makes this pretty easy and it’s super opaque because of the pearl in it! Love! You can get away with two thin coats because of the shimmer but I liked three because I like a bit of thickness to my polish.

Don’t you just love pearly nail polishes?
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5 Things I Need to Stop Doing!

Another 5 Things post! Today it’s 5 Things I Need to Stop Doing. We all have small bad habits, things that really need to be cut out of our day to day. Things that could save us some time/money/energy if we didn’t do them. So here are my top 5, hopefully now I’ve put this out there I can work on them.

1. Procrastinating!
I think we all struggle with procrastinating from time to time. Some things just beg to be put off, they sit on your desk and they don’t even want you to work on them! But you have to eventually and I have to deal with that and hop to it. Putting it off just makes it harder when you finally get round to it.

2. Biting the inside of my cheeks.
This is probably a stress thing; some people bite their nails, some squeeze stress balls, I bite at the inside of my cheeks which is a very irritating habit. I even do it in my sleep! Annoying.

3. Buying things!
Mainly books, I’m trying to stop. I have so many but I just can’t resist Amazon‘s deals. But apart from books I just need to stop buying things I don’t need, or have no use for. I have enough clutter and if I’m just going to end up not using it or putting it up on eBay then I might as well not get it. The best way to save money is to not spend it in the first place.

4. Not buying things!
On the other hand, while I find it very easy to spend money on some things, I find it very hard to invest in things I know that I want. It took me 8 months to buy a Nintendo 3DS and I use that almost every day to great enjoyment.

5. Biting off more than I can chew.
It’s hard to say no when an opportunity arises, it’s easy to think that you’ll be able to make that deadline, it feels nice to see a full calendar at the start of the month. But not every opportunity is worth the time, not every deadline is attainable and with a full calendar at the start of the month- you might be missing out on something that you only find out about on the 20th. Flexibility is good. Having your weekends and evenings free to do things you enjoy is good. Prioritising is important and  I definitely need to work on this one.

What do you need to stop doing?
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Independent Bookstore: The Cut-Price Bookstore in Helmsley!

My town doesn’t have an independent book store, in fact we only have one small chain store for 140,000 people. So to support independents I have to travel, and I took an hour detour while I visited family last weekend to call in on one of my favourites. Now I was stuck in a bit of a dilemma of wanting to support an independent book shop but not buy books ‘just because’. And I wanted to stick to my 2015 reading goal of only buying half as many books that I’ve read. And I know that I’m going to Barter Books in Northumberland over Easter so I want to be able to buy books and stick to my goal when I visit. Like I said dilemma, bit I think I did okay.

My independent book store of choice is The Cut-Price Bookstore in Helmsley, Yorkshire. So what books did I end up getting?

The first thing I picked up was Trouble in Mind by Jeffery Deaver. A collection of twelve short stories, including ones featuring characters Lincoln Rhyme and Kathryn Dance from his series. It may not reflect much on my blog over the past year but Deaver is one of my favourite authors; I have the vast majority of his books including his first two short story collections, I went to one of his signings and I read his work even when I wasn’t reading much of anything. I don’t have this one though as it was published last year, and it cost me £3.68 down from £18.99.

Next book to catch my eye was The Diviners by Libba Bray. I know next to nothing about this book but I’ve heard quite a bit about it on Booktube and it had a beautiful cover so I picked it up. Based in New York in the 1920’s, I see flappers and mystery in my future with this one. It has a lot of positive hype around it too so I have high hopes, and if I like it then the second book is out in Summer this year. At £3.60 from £12.99, who could say no?

And lastly, on my final scan of the shelves this little book caught my eye. Travel Writing by Peter Ferry isn’t a book I’ve heard of but the story sounds interesting and on the back it has a quote that described it as “-part mystery, par love story, partly a commentary on the art of writing fiction itself.” so as a Creative Writing student I felt compelled to pick it up. Again this was reduced from £12.99 to £3.60.

So that was my book haul! I think I was quite restrained and even though I didn’t get what I was after, I can’t find a copy of the second book in the Mistborn Trilogy in a bookstore for the life of me, I’m pleased with what I bought. Now to get reading so I can buy something when I go to Barter Books!

Have you read any of these books?

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Loot Crate: January 2015: Rewind!

It’s finally happened, I didn’t like last months Loot Crate. When it finally arrived and I got it all out to look I couldn’t help but be a little disappointed. The theme; Rewind, had so much potential and so many options to go with but the result was a pretty boring box with only one thing I liked.

So lets take a closer look!

The big ticket item this month was a Star Wars #1 Comic Book which is cool and all but I’m not much of a Star Wars fan. They were also tweeting about this loads before the box was even sent out, spoiler alert!
And it also came with a comic book notebook which, again, is cool but not my thing and I’m not sure how it matches the theme either…

Next is a shirt with a blueprint of Voltron, a cartoon from the 80’s that I had to ask my friend about because it was before my time and really not my thing. I was a Thunderbirds kid. It’s a neat shirt but I don’t like wearing random references I don’t understand.
And a game cartridge model- again, from before my time. I grew up in the age of gameboys and still have a little collection. If this had been a model of Pokémon Yellow, I would have been all over that.

The month before this came with a wallet, and this month a tie. I’m not saying that ladies can’t use wallets or wear ties, several have been instagraming some neat alternative ways to wear this, but I can’t help but think Loot Crate are letting their gender assumptions show. This’ll be going to my brother if he wants it.

The one thing I liked from this months Loot Crate was these sunglasses. They come with UV protection and you can bet these are going in my suitcase for my trip to Vegas. They don’t carry the rest of the box though.

And the usual magazine and badge. No digital Loot this month although the box does fold up into an NES. Like I said, it’s not my favourite box, it felt kind of oddly put together so I’m hoping that this months ‘Play’ box blows this one out of the water.

What do you think of this months Loot Crate?
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Books I Read in January!

January was a pretty amazing reading month for me, especially when I compare it to January last year. In fact, I completed one of my 2015 Reading Goals! I wanted to read a book over 500 pages and The Final Empire is a massive 660 pages. So that’s one goal checked, and I didn’t buy any more books which means I’m on point with my buy less goal, and I did full reviews of two of these books! So let’s round up.

Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
I picked this up on New Years Day for a cliché read to bring in the new year. Every New Years I watch the movies and I love them so I expected that the book was going to be just as good, or better. At the end of every month I pick up the books I’ve read and sit down with my book journal to write down the quotes that I liked; writing that impressed me, lines that made me laugh or cry, particularly strong moments- anything that stood out to me while I was reading. With this book I had none. That almost never happens, but I think that it explains this book to me. It was a fun read, but all the way through I was a little, well, bored. The movie was better!

The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson
My name is Imogen and I’m afraid of big books. Yep. They scare me. Anything over 400 pages is a little frightening, 500 pages is terrifying, at 660 pages this book was my equivalent to a horror movie. But read it, I did. And love it, I did.
It took me a while to get into this book, in fact at 100 pages- where I would normally pause a book if I wasn’t into it, I was still a bit eh about it. But I kept reading and thank goodness I did because it picked up. And it picked up. And it picked up to the point of me reading 200 pages a day to finish it and getting annoyed when I had to leave the house or do some work because I wanted to read goddangit.
The writing was a bit simplistic but the story more than made up for it, it was so well crafted and the twists just kept coming. Sanderson is a master of storytelling. I read a review before I read the book that the dialogue wasn’t great but surprisingly, I loved it and 9/10 of the quotes that I wrote were speech.
It took for me a long time to get into it and I found it difficult to get into the world. But it was well worth it and I definitely struggled on rating this one, but it deserves five stars. I need the next book ASAP.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
I hit a bit of a reading slump towards the end of January after reading so many great books and really needed something different and short. So I picked up The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas which I read as a kid and while I remembered the basic story, didn’t remember much else. This is a great book that focuses on a little boy Bruno who goes to live at a concentration camp where his father is working. It’s told from his third person point of view and the writing is quite childish, which actually makes this so much more painful to read. It shows the war from such an innocent view point that it takes on a whole new level of uncomfortable realisation. I cried at the end and even now, after a week, thinking of one line in particular makes my gut clench in uncomfortable sorrow.
John Boyne has written another book, about the first World War and I’m wondering how masochistic it is to buy it knowing I will probably cry like a baby.

Empire by Jennifer Ridyard and John Connolly*
My full review of Empire is here! But without spoiling Conquest, I’ll just say that this second book of the series focused on all the great things about the first and built up this amazing world. I am completely head over heels for this series and would recommend it to anyone.

Golden Son by Pierce Brown*
My full review of Golden Son is here! However it has spoilers for the first book in the series, Red Rising, so I’ll just say that it was okay! Not as strong as the first book in my opinion but a fair continuation of this series and the story.

Have you read any of these books? What did you read this month?

*These books were sent to me for review. It has not changed my opinion. Amazon links are affiliate links
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Book Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Caution: This is the second book of the Red Rising trilogy and contains spoilers for Red Rising. If you haven’t read the first book my review is here!

The first book had Darrow, a Red, become Gold and go to the school for Golds where he beat everyone, made friends and enemies and in the end got accepted into the house of the man who killed his wife. All in the name of revolution. In this book, there’s a bit of a time jump- which was very confusing for me, and we’re in the Gold version of university (at least in my opinion) but things are about to get ugly and for the first time in the trilogy we see action that isn’t just play acting. 

I have a couple of points to make about the book; Firstly, in the beginning it was very confusing to get into, and I said this about the first book but I expected the second book to be easier since I knew the world and the characters. It wasn’t and I struggled. It took me a long time to get into this book and I admit that until the last 200 pages, I was debating if I really wanted to be reading it. Not because it’s a bad book, just that I wasn’t involved in the story. This changed when I started reading at midnight and replied to a text, what seemed like twenty minutes later, that was actually two hours later. I literally lost time in this book. And it was wonderful.

This book has all the excitement of the first book in a higher stakes environment. Rather than playing war, we see an actual war and the methods that Darrow has to really bring down the Gold hierarchy. There’s a lot of violence and gore too, Pierce Brown doesn’t shy away from anything in his writing which can be quite unnerving when it’s 2am and dark apart from the lamp on your bedside table.

And oh, the cliffhanger. Oh. The second I finished this book I tweeted something along the lines of that I was so angry that I wanted to throw up. And to me, that’s a very specific type of anger. That’s not punching someone in the face anger, it’s pretty useless to throw up from anger- I didn’t but for some reason I wanted to? Chyeah, prepare yourself for this book.

All in all, I’m pretty excited about the third and final book, Morning Star which is set to release in Spring 2016. Until then I’ll just… wait and stew about the way this might end up. Want to buy Golden Son? You can get it here!

Have you read any of the Red Rising Trilogy? What are your thoughts?

*I was sent a copy of Golden Son for review, this hasn’t changed my opinion.
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