Book Review: Basic Witches, How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with your Coven 

Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your CovenBasic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with Your Coven by Jaya Saxena
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

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Capitalizing on the rising trend of hipster witchcraft, BASIC WITCHES is a lighthearted and empowering book of spells and lifestyle tips for feisty millennial women.

In Basic Witches, readers will discover how to tap into their inner sorceress and channel the dark arts for everything from cluttered apartments to dating disasters. Want to enhance your attractiveness? Pick the right power color of eyeshadow and project otherworldly glamour. Need to exorcise a toxic friendship? Say the right symbolic curse and banish it from your life. Need to boost your self-confidence? Whip up a tasty herbal “potion” to strengthen your inner resolve. Plus historical and pop culture sidebars that situate the new witchcraft trend within a broader context. With humor, heart, and a hip modern sensibility, journalists Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman dispense witchy wisdom for the curious, the cynical, and anyone who could use a magical boost to get through the day. This ain’t your grandma’s grimoire!

I loved this book so so much, but can we just talk about how amazing this cover is? The look and feel is just delicious, and it doesn’t stop there, it’s inside too!

Basic Witches: how to summon success, banish drama, and raise hell with your coven

Basic Witches: How to Summon Success, Banish Drama, and Raise Hell with your Coven

I was hooked from the first pages:

 witchcraft appeals to the weird, the outcast and the unconventional

That’s me!

Sabrina the teenage witch

One thing I really appreciated was the below passage which addressed gender binary:

I think it was a really nice touch, and really set the tone for a lovely, funny, sassy book. I’ve always loved witches, from way back when I watched every Sabrina the Teenage Witch episode and even got her magazine and makeup! So this book really appealed to me.

Structure

So the structure of this book is awesome. It allows you to dip in and out of what you’re after at the time. It has seven chapters and I’ll give you a run down of what each chapter is:

  1. Self-initiation: An Introduction into Basic Witchery
  2. Glamours: The Power to Change How You Look
  3. Healing: The Power to Care for Yourself
  4. Summoning: Te Power to Care for others (and Have Them Care for you)
  5. Enchantment: The Power to Make Choices about Love and Sex
  6. Banishment: The Power to Avoid What Brings You Down
  7. Divination: The Power to Decide You Destiny

Each chapter is full of advice, spells and witchcraft history. I have the urge to just regurgitate the whole book right here but I can’t really do that so here are a couple of my favourite bits:

Glamour focussed on how to find the best clothing and colours to suit you, which is great for me because

Sabrina Basic Witches

Nail Art to Terrify Men – this graphic really made me laugh, make sure you check it out!

A spell for self careThis quick, gender-neutral ritual charges up your preferred moisturiser, sunscreen, aftershave, or other personal care product. Definitely tempted to do this one!

How Basic Witches made me feel

I love books that make me feel something, and this book certainly did that. I’ve had some serious self doubt and not been feeling too great about myself lately, and this book really helped that. It made me feel great about myself and empowered. There’s one section that talks about Imposter syndrome and as a writer, I’ve definitely felt that. In my everyday life too! It was so full of sass, you just need to read this book, m’kay?

I’m now looking for my coven, so hit me up!

YALC 2017 – Round Up, Tips and Tricks

YALC Book Wall

YALC 2017

What an amazing three days YALC has been. Surrounded by my kind of people of the book community for three days straight is definitely needed at least once a year, especially considering Benedict Cumberbatch kept on walking through the YALC floor!

Below is my book/swag haul from the entire weekend, I got my boyfriend to carry most of it…

YALC Book Haul

What is YALC

For those of you who don’t know, YALC is the Young Adult Literary Convention which is put on by the BookTrust and is held at the London Film and Comic Con. There were awesome panels with YA authors, signings, games and of course: BOOKS.

Top Tips for YALC

So most of the tips I made last year still stand:

  1. Bring bags with wheels, because no matter what you say you will buy ALL OF THE BOOKS (or get given them for FREEEE)
  2. Bring food and water. The cafe is SUPER expensive and the days are long, you need to stay hydrated!
  3. BE BRAVE! Authors LOVE their fans. See an author wandering about? Pluck up the courage to say hi! (If they look super busy though maybe hold off for a bit)
  4. Bring a few books with you that you want signed – I ended up buying duplicates of books I had so I could get the authors to sign them!
  5. Take the freebies! Don’t be shy, they’re there to get taken!
  6. On Sunday there are giveaways ALL THE TIME and everything is either drastically reduced or given away for free so keep an eye out!
  7. HAVE AN AMAZING TIME!

However I wanted to add some new things I learnt this year, especially if you’re after proofs/arcs.

  1. Plan what you want and have a list. I was SO lucky to stumble across a reddit thread detailing all the publishers and what proofs they had! So I was super prepared and knew who to ask for what.
  2. Follow all the publishers stalls on twitter and turn notifications on. They will do proof drops and giveaways and people will run to get them. I made a list on twitter (which you should subscribe to if you ever plan on going to YALC) and I was constantly refreshing it all day and checking my notifications.
  3. Get there early. This is easier said than done, but if you can get in for 9am, do. Then run to all the stalls before anyone has time to form a queue.
  4. Find out what you’re queuing for. The British love to queue, and YALC is no exception. Wherever there was a queue for more than a few people, others just joined in on the off chance, so make sure it’s actually for something and not just a group of friends having a chat!
  5. Ask stalls if they have proofs/when they’ll be giving them out. They’ll often tell you a vague-ish time. Set an alarm on your phone for slightly before.

That’s the most of it for now, it definitely helped me over the weekend.

Cumberwatch

What was extra brilliant about  YALC this yeas was Benedict Cumberbatch and his constant appearances. He even turned up in the middle of Non Pratt’s head shaving, which was amazing. It even became a twitter moment.Benedic Cumberbatch YALC

Proofs

I managed to snag a few proofs so thought I’d share with you. I am super excited to get my teeth into these and share my thoughts.

  • Everless by Sara Holland
  • There’s Someone Inside Your House by Stephanie Perkins
  • The Hazelwood by Melissa Albert
  • The Fandom by Anna Day
  • Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings
  • Otherworld by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller
  • This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
  • Moonrise by Sara Crossan
  • The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart
  • The Exact Opposite of Okay by Laura Steven
  • The Treatment by C.L. Taylor
  • Blackbird by ND Gomes
  • Fireblood by Elly Blake
  • The Extinction Trials by S.M. Wilson
  • The Truth and Lies of Ella Blake by Emily Barr
  • Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
  • The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
  • Book of Fire by Michelle Kenney

And a whole host of signed books and early releases, such as The Loneliest Girl in the Universe which I’ve reviewed here and you can enter to win a copy here.

Below is an example of what the publishers do when announcing their proofs, so I reiterate the importance of following them on Twitter and turning notifications on!

Book Proof Drop

 

I didn’t manage to catch many panels – I was in quite a bit of pain this weekend so was often resting. However here are some of my favourite bits I picked up on twitter:

 

 

 

 

 

Pictures

What is YALC without pictures? Here are some of the ones I snagged.

Authors and Fairyloot!

Martin Stewart Laura Stevens Katherine Webber Alywn Hamilton Laini TaylorFairloot

Some Stalls

Random other YALC goodness

LFCC

YALC 2017

Thanks for reading! Please subscribe for more bookish scribbles and reviews. Also follow me on Twitter, @jenniely! 

 

Win signed The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

 

I recently reviewed The Loneliest Girl in the Universe here and I absolutely loved it. I managed to meet Lauren James at YALC 2017 and got her to sign a copy to giveaway to you lovely lot! It’s not released until the 7th of September.


You can have to entries to win this book.

1. Follow me on twitter and retweet the tweet below (mandatory)

 

You don’t have to be following my blog to win but you will get an extra entry if you do ☺️

2. Follow my blog (optional) and comment. 

You can follow at the bottom of the page.

If you’re already following, that’s wonderful and I thank you from the bottom of my heart! If you enter and you follow please comment with your twitter username so I can make sure you get your two entries!
Good luck 😘


Terms and conditions

1. Winners will be chosen using a random number generator.

2. Competiton closes 21/8/17, just in time to read it before it’s released.

3. No giveaway accounts

4. Must follow and retweet specified tweet to be eligible. Following the blog gains an extra entry on top of the retweet and follow.

5. This giveaway is international

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James

The Loneliest Girl in the UniverseThe Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

 

Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met, never even spoken to – someone who is light years away?

Romy Silvers is the only surviving crew-member of a spaceship travelling to a new planet, on a mission to establish a second home for humanity amongst the stars. Alone in space, she is the loneliest girl in the universe until she hears about a new ship which has launched from Earth – with a single passenger on board. A boy called J.

Their only communication with each other is via email – and due to the distance between them, their messages take months to transmit across space. And yet Romy finds herself falling in love.

But what does Romy really know about J? And what do the mysterious messages which have started arriving from Earth really mean?

Sometimes, there’s something worse than being alone . . .

Well what can I say. This book was AMAZING. I picked it up at YALC and I read it on the way back home and couldn’t put it down. Don’t worry, I’m going to keep this review spoiler free.

Overview

This book takes place on board The Infinity, a spaceship manned by Romi Silvers, a lone teenage girl. It follows her journey as she faces challenges of a mental and physical nature. This book is not what you were expecting, I can tell you that. I’m usually quite astute at figuring out what’s going on, and where I was right with some of my inklings, I was definitely shocked at the end. OH THE END. It just keeps getting better and better.

Characterisation

I absolutely loved Romi. Her feelings and emotions were believable of a girl her age – so much so I felt childish relating to her. Romi has been alone for so many years, with no one but Molly, a NASA employee on Earth, for company via audio recordings with a couple of years delay. I really loved the idea of Molly, someone who was helping Romi with her Maths and her general well being after being left alone in space, having never set foot on Earth or having met anyone she wasn’t related to. It was refreshing to hear of her struggles and how she overcame them using fan fiction, of all things.

I will talk more about the intriguing J, the passenger of the Eternity, the other spaceship launched from Earth, in a more spoilery review in the future. I have SO MUCH to say about this fellow.

Structure

Romy communicates with Earth and The Eternity via a huge delay in sending and receiving the messages, which I found fascinating to think about. Could you imagine getting letters from someone and replying, knowing they weren’t going to receive it for years? Or reading what they had written and knowing they had written it years ago? I couldn’t imagine it before. It’s very well done.

The short chapters keep you going and going and going until you’ve finished the book and had no sleep!

I loved the interjections of Fan Fic where Romi used her writing to explore her feelings. It felt so raw and real, and I could really relate it to my teenage years.

The book takes a serious twist which I won’t delve too much into here but it is AMAZING. The last few chapters or so just keep on giving and honestly, it was amazing.

I 100% recommend this book, a more in depth review to follow when the book is released.

If you’re interested in winning a signed copy of the book, please subscribe to my blog as I will be announcing a competition soon!

 

Book Review: His Frozen Fingertips

His Frozen FingertipsHis Frozen Fingertips by Charlotte Bowyer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

“When he is diagnosed with a life-threatening heart condition at the age of seventeen, Asa is certain that his adventures have come to an end. He is alone, having been abandoned by parents who never wanted him and a village that couldn’t raise him. However, as the bells start to ring, those are the least of his problems. The evil sorcerer Erebus has the land of Eodem under his control. Thrust into a world of distrust and aggression, Asa can rely on just one person: his friend Averett. The wall that divides Eodem seems to be an unobtainable goal, and danger is always one step ahead.”

His Frozen Fingertips is a YA novel which explores LGBT themes. It was written by a 15 year old who managed to portray the relationship between Asa and Avery very well, a struggle that many have been through in their lives and very relatable, whether they are LGBT or not. The character building was done well and I felt that I knew the two main characters quite well.

A lot happens very quickly throughout, I would have preferred the novel to be longer as I felt I could have done with more time to explore the world, allowing for more depth in the story to develop. At times perhaps the pace is too fast, however, their misfortune was compelling enough to make you want to read on to find out what happens to Avery and Asa.

The end was bittersweet, which I was happy about as I would have been very disappointed if everything had worked our perfectly and they all lived happily ever after. Overall, I was left with some confusion in regards to the motivation of the main character to undergo this ‘adventure’, and why he was chosen.

Therefore, despite the fact that I’m giving it 3 stars, I feel that younger readers would enjoy it more, and I encourage you to give it a go if you want a fast fantasy read.

Thanks for reading!