Waterstones – A little Grumble…

Hello everybody, it’s good to be back. Following on from my last post I am feeling better and have had my medication tweaked so fingers crossed for now.

I don’t like to post negativity on my blog but I feel like I need to have a little bit of a moan about the book seller, Waterstones. More specifically, their online ordering system.

I have a 9 year old son called James, who, like many other 9 year old boys, is obsessed with Minecraft. On the 28th of April this year, as a treat, I bought my daughter and son a book each that they had asked for. My daughter wanted a diary and James wanted the 2014 Minecraft Annual.

When I ordered the annual, it said that it was in stock (obviously, or I would have ordered elsewhere). My daughters diary arrived withing a few days but the annual still had a status of ‘processing’. This continued for over 2 weeks with James asking excitedly every night if his Minecraft book had been delivered. I gave Waterstones the benefit of the doubt and assumed that they were simply awaiting the annual arriving from a warehouse or something along those lines.

Yesterday evening I checked again on the status of James’s book and it had been changed to cancelled. I had no notification of this cancellation from Waterstones – as a matter of fact they have kept me uninformed throughout the entire process – and I have so far not received a refund! I am awaiting a response from Waterstones customer services regarding this matter.

waterstones

I am not concerned with the order being cancelled. What does concern me is the lack of communication, lack of refund and most importantly, a very upset little boy who has been excited for almost a month to receive his annual. I will say at this point that James is being assessed by CAMHS for suspected ASD. I only mention this to point out that James is prone to get obsessed and focused on certain things and cannot understand why now he cannot have something that has been promised for weeks and now believes he is being punished for something.

I understand that these things happen, but to string my boy along for so long, instead of just saying on the website (like they do right now) that the product is unavailable, has caused many tears, confusion and upset. I really do not know if I can trust Waterstones again.

Sorry for the negativity guys but I really had to say something.

Until next time,

Jackie

x

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Mystery Afghan Crochet Along 2015.

Hello lovelies ❤

As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently learned to crochet. I learned by watching the lovely Sarah-Jayne over at Bella Coco, who has some fantastic tutorials on YouTube. Find her blog here and her YouTube channel here if you are interested in learning crochet too. 

One thing I have found difficult whilst learning is the difference in terms between the US and the UK. If you are following a US tutorial you have to remember to convert the terms. Here is a table explaining the differences.

US.UK Conversion

Despite the confusion, I have decided to take part in the Yarnspirations 2015 mystery afghan crochet along (UK crocheters be aware that they use US terms). They also do a knitted version if you prefer. I think I may print out the pattern for the knitted version and make that one too. Here  is a link to both the knitting and crochet clues.

The idea of this mystery afghan is that you get a clue per week every Tuesday for 10 weeks. You follow the clues without knowing what the finished afghan will look like. There are diagrams as well as the written patterns for the crochet version. I cannot yet follow crochet patterns or diagrams so I am relying on the videos on Yarnspirations YouTube channel. The videos guide you with the clues and the crochet ones feature the adorable Mikey from The Crochet Crowd. We are up to week 3 so far and it’s certainly looking interesting up to now. Week one was simply crocheting 20 granny squares. Week 2 was crocheting a cross on top of these 20 squares in a different colour. Week 3 is using 2 more colours to add more layers to the 20 granny squares.

Week 2 Here are my completed week 2 squares. I didn’t take a photo of week one but it was just the plain green squares.

 

Week 3 And here is the week 3 clue completed. The corners of the squares now have large loops made with the blue yarn which look a little strange but I have faith that the pattern will come together in the end.

Week 3 CollageSome of the ladies on Facebook have been brainstorming and have come up with some ideas for how the loops may be incorporated into the design. At this point I have no idea. I did originally think maybe they were going to be butterfly wings but now I am leaning towards the top right picture as I think that looks very effective. It reminds me of a Maltese cross. Hopefully we will find out next Tuesday when clue 4 is released.

Yarnspirations came up with a few different colour palettes for both the crocheted and knitted afghan using either Caron or Bernat yarn. I chose one of the Caron Simply Soft sets and I am using Pistachio for my main colour, Autumn Maize as my first contrast colour, Victorian Rose as my second contrast colour and Light Country Blue as my third contrast colour. I have never used Caron yarn before and I’m not totally sure if I like it yet. The strands seem to split easily which makes it difficult to work with and it has a very strange sheen to it that I am not used to. I love the colours though so we’ll see what it looks like at the end.

Are you taking part in any crochet alongs or knit alongs? This is my first one and I am very excited to see how it turns out. If any of you are on Ravelry please feel free to add me. My user name is SpiritWild12791 ( which, incidentally is also my Pottermore user i.d if you are on there 😉 ).

I’d love to see how you’re getting along if you are making this afghan.

Take care,

Jackie ❤

 

Imperial Candles Review.

Hello lovelies.

Over the past month I have somewhat neglected my blog. If you follow my Instagram – which you can find here – you will see I have been a busy bee doing lots of crafts. I also learned how to crochet. If you would like any craft related posts on here do let me know and I will be happy to oblige.

Anyway, on to my thoughts on Imperial Candles.


 

Imperial Candles are a UK company who make hand poured, soy candles. In each candle there is a piece of jewellery that is valued between £10 & £2000. There is also a chance to win an IPad if you receive a code wrapped up with your jewellery. Your candle is poured after you place your order so there is a few days wait. I received mine exactly a week after ordering. Incidentally, when I did receive it, it was packed very well. The candle is suspended in a cardboard cradle within another box so would be very difficult to damage in transit.

There are so many beautiful scents to choose from but I picked ‘Festive Cranberry’. Having looked on their website – which you can find here – I am very tempted by the coconut scent and also the vanilla.

  FotorCreated

As you can see, the candles have 2 wicks which helps to prevent tunnelling and the glass jars that they come in are beautiful. The scent throw was not impressive at first but once we had burned it for about 30 minutes than it filled the room with a fruity aroma with a hint of festive spices.

Prices start at £22.99 and run up to £28.99 with sets of 2 also available. If you compare this to a large Yankee jar candle for £19.99, it is a few pounds more expensive but remember that as well as getting a piece of jewellery you are also getting a quality, all natural soy candle with Imperial Candles.

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It took my candle about 11 hours to burn down enough so that I could safely remove the jewellery. I will admit that I was tempted to dig down into the wax to get it sooner but I managed to refrain from ruining my lovely candle. You can see in the above photo the shadow where my ring was located and also what the package looked like when I had removed it with tweezers (which was a lot less messy than I anticipated). The ring was wrapped in 2 layers of foil and a little bag so there was no danger of wax getting onto it. Even if you do get the soy wax onto your jewellery, simply rinsing it under hot water will clean it up nicely.

A huge plus about Imperial Candles is that you can choose what jewellery you want. You can pick from a necklace, earrings or a ring. Obviously the style of your piece will still be a surprise but I like that you have the option to choose. Even better is that you get to select your ring size so you know it will fit you. I have seen many jewellery candle reveals on YouTube where you have no say in what you receive.

Overall I am hugely impressed with Imperial Candles. One word of caution though. As with anything it is complete chance as to what you receive. Do not buy a candle expecting to receive a valuable piece of jewellery. I saw it as I was buying a quality candle to enjoy and whatever I received inside it would just be a fun bonus. Speaking of what I received, I will leave a picture of it down below. The RRP of the ring I got in my candle is £35 and it is 925 sterling silver (handy as I am sensitive to most metals other than silver and gold).

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I’m really pleased with my new ring and it fits perfectly. Have you ever tried any jewellery candles before?

I’ll speak to you soon, 

Jackie

*All opinions are my own. I bought this candle with my own money and received nothing in exchange for this review.*

 

Don’t Look Back by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

dont look back

 

Publisher

Hodder Paperbacks – Published April 15th 2014.

 

Synopsis

What if you had the chance to start again…but only if you promised never to look back? Samantha is popular, rich, and seemed to have it all…until the night she and her best ‘frenemy’ Cassie disappeared and only Sammy resurfaced, with no recollection of who she is or what happened. Sammy’s a stranger in her own life – a life she no longer wants any part of. Losing her memory is a chance to start again. Then Sammy begins receiving mysterious notes warning her about that night, urging her to not look back. But she can’t let it go. As she starts poking around in her past she begins to remember…and something sinister begins to surface.

 

Review

First off, let me say that I wish I had gotten the other cover. The one with the music box is so much prettier than this one with a picture of Cassie on it. Anyway, don’t judge a book by its cover right? Moving on…

I started this book already knowing ‘whodunnit’ which I thought might impact my enjoyment, thankfully I was wrong. I have never read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout before but I have heard great things through the booktube community. Happily, I was not disappointed with ‘Don’t Look Back’. Even knowing the culprit Armentrout had me on edge whilst reading. She had me suspecting all sorts of people even though I knew it couldn’t possibly be them. Suffice to say, if you didn’t know already, you probably wouldn’t be able to point the finger at one person. The author keeps you guessing.

Usually, I find myself rolling my eyes at any romance in a YA book. However the romance between Sam and Carson was very nicely done. Although at first it seems rushed, you find out later that they have history. There are no corny moments and it’s both believable and sweet.

The reader is kept on edge along with Sam in her journey to discover what has actually happened to her and Cassie. I think the amnesia was very well handled (obviously never having experienced it, I can’t be certain…) with information coming back to Sam in flashbacks and hallucinations, both of which she naturally finds disturbing. The letters were a nice touch and the twist involving them was unexpected and shocking.

My only issue with ‘Don’t Look Back’ is I would have liked to know a little more of Sam’s mothers back-story. I was left wondering what made her so distant as there seemed to be more going on than the fear of what her socialite friends would think. She makes several remarks hinting at her regret at marrying Sam’s father but doesn’t give any information as to why. A little explanation as to why she behaves like she does with Sam would have possibly made her a more likable character.

All in all I think that this thriller is very appropriate to the YA audience it is aimed at. The quality of writing shines through and I was never left wishing the pace would pick up. I would recommend this book to all fans of thrillers but especially if you are new to this particular genre. Armentrouts writing will leave you wanting more and I am eyeing the copy of ‘Cursed’ on my bookshelf as we speak.

Rating

gold-star2gold-star2gold-star2gold-star2gold-star2

 

I’m going to discuss the book a little more now but if you haven’t read it yet I suggest you stop here.

caution_spoilers

 

 

The twist involving Cassie being Sam’s sister could be guessed pretty early on in the story. When Sam first saw a picture of Cassie and her together, saying something along the lines of ‘we look so similar, we could be sisters’, I guessed it straight away and if that hadn’t given it away then their having matching music boxes certainly would have. Even so, I think this was an excellent addition and helped to explain why Cassie was so intent on having everything that Sam had.

The notes being written by Sam as a way of her subconscious trying to get through to her was genius! I would have sworn that it was Scott as he was one of the only ones with access to her bedroom.

I wouldn’t have suspected her Dad until well towards the end of the novel if I didn’t know it was him to begin with. Although he seemed shady all the way through the book, I didn’t think he was capable of that. I was torn between Scott or Del.

Who did you suspect?

The Book Of Ivy by Amy Engel.

book of ivy

 

Publisher

Entangled:Teen  – Published November 11th 2014.

 

Synopsis

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president’s son—my soon-to-be husband—and restore the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he’s not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

 

My Review

If you have been reading my blog for a while now you will now that I love a good dystopian novel. I had heard a lot about ‘The Book Of Ivy’ from fellow bloggers and booktubers and could not wait to get my teeth into it. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and finished the entire thing in one sitting.

Admittedly, while the author was setting the scene I was a little apprehensive. The whole ‘USA destroyed by war and the survivors coming together to rebuild society’ concept has been done many times before – ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘Divergent’ and ‘The Testing’ to name but a few. I was struggling to see what could be different about this book. How could Amy Engel spin it to keep my interest and not just be another HG clone.  Well,she did it. Let me tell you what I love about ‘The Book Of Ivy’…

My favourite part of the book is Ivy herself. She is not just a starry eyed romantic who falls instantly in love with Bishop. She is intelligent and blessed with common sense. She didn’t want to go down the expected route and have children, she wanted a job and to keep busy. Engel writes in a way that you can relate to Ivy and feel her struggle with her loyalty to her family versus her ever growing feelings to the husband she did not want.

*Warning – Spoilers Ahead*

Ivy has been brought up in a society of two halves. The leaders marry off their sons to the daughters of the other side. Sixteen year old Ivy is to be married to the presidents son, eighteen year old Bishop. A boy she has never met and whose father she believes is responsible for the death of her mother. At least that is what her father and older sister Callie have lead her to believe. They have manipulated Ivy into thinking that Bishop is a cruel, uncaring man just like his father and that she must kill him so that her father can take charge of their society. However, as Ivy gets to know Bishop, she finds out the truth about her mother and develops feelings towards him which prevent her from carrying out her mission.

From the start of this book I thought that there was something fishy about Ivy’s father and sister. They seemed all too eager to pass her to a complete stranger just to further their plan to overthrow the government. Ivy seemed to grow to understand how she was being manipulated by them but still gave them the benefit of the doubt up until the very end of the book when they essentially threw her under the bus. It spoke volumes when even though it was obvious to Callie and her father that Ivy was developing feelings for Bishop, they still expected her to poison him just to get to his father. Ivy’s father had hidden motives for wanting Bishop dead. He was jealous of President Lattimer because Ivy’s mother had been in love with him, and had ultimately committed suicide because she could not be with him.  He wanted the President to feel what it was like to lose someone that he loved (his son). Ivy was loyal right to the end though, because just as she could not kill Bishop, she also could not let her father and sister get ‘put out’ because of the plot so she set herself up to save everyone that she loved.

This book is the best YA I have read in a long time. The plot is well thought out and the ending has left me willing November to hurry up and arrive! The romance was believable and not rushed. I cannot wait to get into book two. I have a feeling that we haven’t seen the last of Mark Laird, the rapist. Now that Ivy has been put out, I think he will cause problems for her. I really hope that Callie and her father get what is coming to them and that Callie doesn’t get her claws into Bishop. Hurry up November 2015!

This book gets a solid five stars from me and I would urge anyone who likes dystopian fantasy novels to give it a try. I guarantee you will not be able to put it down.

 

Rating

gold-star2gold-star2gold-star2gold-star2gold-star2

My New Years Resolution.

I’m usually terrible with resolutions. I’ve gone through all of the usual clichés in the last few years. You know the ones. Lose weight – didn’t happen. Go to the gym – lasted about 2 weeks. Eat healthier – that one usually lasts until I pass the chocolate cake in the supermarket. Well, I don’t pass it, that’s kind of the issue!

This year I’m going to make one that I can keep. It’s not to get healthy, exercise or lose weight, because truthfully I’m not in the right frame of mind to achieve that right now so why set myself up to fail? It’s to write down one thought every single day before I go to bed. Have any of you seen a book called ‘A Thought A Day’? Here it is.

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I suppose that technically it’s more of a journal than a book. It’s also more than a new years resolution because this journal runs for five years. Each page has the date at the top and then five boxes, each with a couple of lines to write down a thought. It could be a summary of your day, how you’re feeling, a highlight of what has gone on. Each year you fill in another box on the page with another thought. At the end of five years you will have something to reflect back on and remind you of the good times and the bad.

I already have a journal. I don’t use it as a daily diary or anything like that. It’s more of a ‘rant book’ I guess. When I’m having a particularly bad day, I just let loose. Be it a page of expletives or an in depth analysis of my depressive state. This journal is not consistent. I can go for months without making an entry or make several entries in one day. That’s why I bought ‘A Thought A Day’. I like the idea of looking back in five years, in December 2019 when I’m 34 and seeing what I was doing or feeling that day one, two, three or four years ago.

I’ve had this book for about a month now and have been itching to start it but my OCD mind was telling me that I had to wait until 1st January 2015. That was the only sensible time to start a diary. It would have bothered me had I started it on some random date in November. Obviously you can start it when you want, if your mind doesn’t work in odd ways like mine!

Where do you think you will be in five years time? Personally I have no idea. I have no five year plan. To be quite honest, I don’t even have a five minute plan. Life in this house is run on the fly. I think that will make for an even more interesting read in 2019 though. All I know is that in December 2019, I will have a 16 year old, a 14 year old and twin 10 year olds and that scares the crap out of me! Whatever happens, I can guarantee that ‘A Thought A Day’ will be a rollercoaster of a look back and something that will be kept in a drawer for many years to reminisce and look back when I’m feeling nostalgic.

What are your resolutions? Do you keep a journal?

Here’s where you can purchase ‘A Thought A Day’. They ship internationally for free too. CLICK HERE TO BUY

I hope you have all had a wonderful year and I wish you good health and happiness for 2015. Happy new year lovelies! ❤

My 2015 Reading Goals.

As this will be my first ‘New Year’ with this blog, I thought I would set myself some reading goals for 2015. Usually, I don’t set myself goals, I just, y’know…read. I did however take part in, and fail miserably at, the ‘Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge’. Six books below my target, I now find myself in the position of not wanting to read anything until January 1st because I can typically read a book in a day if I really go for it so that is potentially two books that could count towards next years challenge. I’m really restraining myself because I have a few books I’m dying to get into.

Anyhow, here are the goals I am setting myself for 2015.

1) Read 50 Books.

This is an average of four-ish books a month. Doable I think. I’ll see how it goes and how much having four noisy children impedes me!

2) Review Every Book I Read.

Either here on my blog or on my YouTube channel. I post my reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Bookbridgr (and Netgalley when appropriate) too.

3) Read The Hunger Games Trilogy.

Love the films but have so far failed to get into the books. Every time I pick up the first book I can’t get past the first chapter. I normally wouldn’t try to force myself to read a book that I struggle with, but I feel like I’m literally the last person on Earth to have not read these three books.

4) Acquire A Set Of Harry Potter Books.

I read them all in 2008/2009 after picking up the first one from the bookshelf in Stirling Ward at the Parkwood Unit in Blackpool. My lovely sister-in-law let me borrow the rest of the series from her and I loved them. I’ve been looking at different sets but I can’t decide which one to buy as they’re all so pretty!

 

I probably should add to read more adult books. I’m nearly twenty nine and my favourite genre is still YA (dystopian and paranormal in particular). Honestly though, who cares if it’s called ‘Young Adult’? Why should I let a publisher’s opinion of who the book is for bother me? I’m not ashamed to admit that I love YA and that I will no doubt continue to love YA well into my thirties. I’ve never felt my age anyway ;).

What are your reading goals for next year? Will you be taking part in the Goodreads challenge?

Take care, Jackie ❤