Room Love: 50 DIY Projects To Design Your Space | Heather Wutschke | Review

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

room love

*Review copy c/o Netgalley, cover image via goodreads.com

Inspired by the fact that we each spend at least a third of our lives in our bedrooms new title Room Love shares a collection of DIY ideas to decorate and organise your space into one you truly love.

Aimed at a Middle Grade audience the book starts out by sharing tips on how to declutter, create mood boards and sketch layout designs to prepare for a room makeover. These preparation tips are followed by a series of DIY projects focused on using easy to access supplies and simple ideas that can make a huge difference to any room. Each tutorial comes complete with colour photos, in some cases including several step-by-step images or before and after shots.

Projects included range from painting up an old dresser or recycling cereal boxes as drawer dividers to the more unusual, for example using faux fur fabric to turn your desk chair into something that resembles a fluffy cat! One of my favourite projects from the selection were the room scents made using essential oils and natural ingredients like fresh herbs and fruit. Other projects that particularly caught my eye were the Driftwood Jewelry Hanger and Dream Jar.

Whilst I’m not amongst the target audience for the book myself, I believe that Room Love is a fun title full of bold ideas which will encourage young teens to use DIY as a way to make their space truly feel like their own.

Spark | J. B. North | Review

Monday, 21 August 2017


Summary:

Ivy, who lives in a world of shape-shifters, has just turned 17. Like all others of her age, she must now go to a trial to determine what her second form is. Her second form will determine the rest of her life. When it turns out her second form is one that hasn't been seen in about two hundred years, she gets put onto a strange and dangerous course.

Review:

I was kinda worried this book would be another Red Queen and I'd end up not finishing it. I was so happy to be proven wrong! This book genuinely surprised me in good ways. The world was rather easy to get into and, while there is exposition, it's told from Ivy's perspective so we only know what she knows. This really helps the world building feel better paced. A lot of times a single line of dialogue would help explain a lot.

Ivy was easy to root for and not just because she's the main character. Going into the test she has no aspirations of greatness. She's not completely happy with the system, but she's smart enough to know when to keep her mouth shut. 
"The poor can't help but hate the system, and if we tried anything, the noblemen would have us arrested and probably flogged within an inch of our lives." 
She is strong and determined, if a bit naive at times. She is easily manipulated by others, but in her defense, she hasn't had a lot of experience with the world outside of her orphanage. She makes up for it by learning fast. Really fast.

This is a very interesting world with interesting characters. There is a lot of political drama brewing, but I'll have to read more about that in the second book of the series. If you enjoy fantasy YA with smart characters and plenty of action sequences, I do recommend this book. There is a lot of fighting but, thankfully, no love triangle, no single teenager leading a rebellion to take down the government, or anything like that. It's simply a story of a young, smart, strong girl being put into extraordinary circumstances, and trying to survive. Just with a lot of magic and fighting. 

Did You See Melody? | Sophie Hannah | Review

Friday, 18 August 2017


Late at night, exhausted and desperate, Cara Burrows lets herself into her hotel room and is shocked to find it already occupied by a man and a teenage girl: Melody Chapa, the most famous murder victim in the country.

Cara Burrows has left a note for her husband and two children with the date that she'll be back home. She hasn't told them that she is flying to America. She hasn't told them about the five star spa resort she has secretly booked herself into. She hasn't told them why she's gone. She just needs some time alone, to think. When she finally arrives at the resort, tired and phone-less in the middle of the night, the last thing she expects to find are two people already in her hotel room.

A simple mistake made by the resort's receptionist sees Cara soon embroiled in a situation she can hardly begin to understand, at the centre of which is America's most famous murder victim, who Cara is sure is the same girl she saw in her hotel room on that first night. Could Melody Chapa still be alive? And if she is, then how did her parents end up serving life sentences for her murder? The chances of an English tourist happening to see the supposed dead girl entirely by accident may seem pretty slim but Cara isn't the only guest who thinks she's seen Melody at Swallowtail Resort.

With a possible murder and a definitely dangerous secret at the heart of it, Did You See Melody? walks an interesting line in terms of tone. Hannah balances the suspense filled plot with unexpected humour, which at times had me snorting in front of my eReader. It's an enjoyable novel, certainly, with plenty of twists and turns to keep you hooked from almost the very beginning. We don't begin with the mystery straight away but first take a little while to set up Cara's reasons for leaving her family to travel alone to America (something that maybe feels a bit of an overreaction as things become clearer), but once Cara begins her investigation into the famous murder of Melody Chapa the novel really gets its legs.

Cara, not being a local, doesn't know anything about the Melody Chapa case so the reader gets to discover the specifics slowly, as Cara does, through articles and TV transcripts. Some readers may find these intrusive to the story but I felt they came in at the right moments, telling Melody's story - at least, the version everyone knows of it - alongside Cara's. The only problem is that at times I began to feel as though Cara was little more than a device intended to react to Melody's story and nothing more. Until about midway through the novel anyway.

Then we begin the twists and turns that I suppose make this a psychological thriller. Personally, I didn't find much of it particularly thrilling. In my opinion the strength of this novel lies not necessarily with Cara's story, or even with Melody's, but with those of the surrounding characters: the outspoken hotel guest who involves herself in the mystery, determined to find the truth, and the famous criminal commentator who single-handedly twisted the whole of America to her way of thinking with her TV show during Melody's original murder trail. Did You See Melody? is an enjoyable read and as a funny and over-the-top take down of 'trial by media' it works. I'm just not entirely sold on the thriller part.

Maresi | Maria Turtschaninoff | Review

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Maresi, the first book in the Red Abbey Chronicles, has been waiting on my bookshelf for far too long. Following my resolution to read some of the more neglected works in my life, I decided to get started on it. I devoured this evocative work in a day and am eagerly awaiting the chance to read the rest in the series.



This book follows Maresi, a novice at the Red Abbey. On a secluded island, young women like herself learn far more than they ever could at home. Under the tutelage of the Sisters, they learn about medicine, history, languages, architecture and any number of other things. It is a sacred place, where men are banned. And then Jai arrives, pursued by men who will stop at nothing to get her back. The abbey is suddenly under threat.


Maresi is a novel of sisterhood and female friendship, with plenty of feminism woven in it. It is a harrowing tale of survival. Throughout it, is magic and wonder, which hooks you and draws you into the tale. The fantasy elements were definitely my favourite part of the book, little gems found within the vast descriptions of everyday life at the Abbey. Between the island’s strange defences and the hidden histories of the Red Abbey, I’m far too curious about discovering the secrets in the rest of this series.

Ultimately, this was enchanting fantasy that left you thinking for a long time after you read the final page. It is one that I would wholeheartedly recommend, whether you are a fan of feminist or fantasy literature.

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Sunday, 13 August 2017