#ITravelByBook This August

Posted August 22, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Bookish Adventures / 0 Comments

August is fast approaching it’s end but there are still a few things to celebrate! 1) It’s my birthday on Sunday, hurrah! 2) It’s a bank holiday in the UK on Monday.

To celebrate I’m having the whole of next week to myself. No work, no stress. To add a bit of fun, though, I’ve created a bit of a reading challenge for myself. If you’d like to join in, feel free.

What’s it all about?

The premise of this readathon is to travel around the fictional Isle of August by book. Each book read during the readathon allows me to tick off a destination on the map below. How many areas can I visit over the next few days?

From the tranquil sea air on Dusky Beach to the heights of Butterfly Mountain- there’s no end of fun to be had on this journey.


Friday 23rd August @ 00:01 UK time – Friday 30th August @ 23:59 UK time.

The Rules

The maximum number of destinations on the map is ten (which is very wishful thinking on my part :P).

Any format of ‘book’ will do for any destination. There’s no genre restrictions – it can be a volume of manga, a novel, a short story, completed audiobook. Anything goes really because essentially this is just a bit of fun!

If you want to try it yourself but want more of a challenge, why not try for a book that makes you think of the destination you’re visiting- such as a beach read for ‘Dusky Beach’ and a story featuring pirates for ‘Sailaway Cove’. Maybe go for a book with animals in it for ‘Fox Hideaway’ and try for a book set in a quaint town for ‘River Town’.

But that’s just some of my suggestions. I think it’s fun to let loose, get creative and tell your own story with the books you choose to read for each destination.

And don’t forget to give yourself a stamp on your passport for everywhere you stop at!

Follow My Travels

I’ll be posting as I go using the hashtag #itravelbybookreadathon on Twitter and Instagram. I will also post updates here.

Talk To Me

Have you ever created a reading challenge for yourself? Let me know. Also feel free to join me on this bookish adventure if you want to.

Desk Tour

Posted June 7, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Personal / 1 Comment

Recently I redesigned my bedroom. One of my goals with the redesign was to make a new work space that I could use for gaming, writing, and crafting.

The key thing to find was a desk that would a) fit and b) give me useful storage and working space. After looking on Pinterest and Instagram I became pretty certain that I wanted the Micke Corner Work Station in white from Ikea.

I could not be happier with my choice!

I always love nosing about other people’s shelves and desks so I thought I would share a desk tour of my own.

The Tour

On top of the desk I have created something of a Game of Thrones shrine featuring the books, a flying dragon and, of course, Jon Snow himself. I feel like this is the crowning glory of the desk. I mean, what could be better than a literal flying dragon above your desk??

On the shelves I have a few Funko Pops scattered about. The most special one is probably the Woody on RC funko on the left hand side, coupled with faithful Bullseye. But I also really love my Yuri!!! on Ice funkos and the Ouran High School Host Club ones. I still wish they would make funkos of the rest of the Ouran High School Host Club gang.

Behind my PC there is magnetic whiteboard (which was one of the big selling points of the desk). So far I’ve put up a few of the art cards I’ve got from Fairyloot and Illumicrate boxes. The art features characters from the Shades of Magic series, Cruel Prince and Beauty and the Beast. I’ve used my Game of Thrones magnets from Primark to stick them up (you might be sensing a bit of a Game of Thrones theme by this point).

In terms of books, I’ve stuck my favourites in easy reach. These include The Cruel Prince (surprise, surprise), The Watchmaker of Filigree Street, The Goblin Emperor and The Song of Achilles.

I have an All-in-One PC with a HDMI input so I’ve managed to hook my PS3 up to it, which is heaven. I’ve put Persona 5 and Kingdom Hearts -HD 1.5 ReMIX- on my shelf so they are in easy reach for a gaming fix. For PC games I’ve got my blue Xbox controller ready to go.

Sometimes, though, I might just want to watch a film or a TV series. For that I’ve popped Howl’s Moving Castle, The Hunger Games Trilogy, Fruits Basket Yuri!!! On Ice, Black Butler (Book of Circus), Ouran High School Host Club and Kingsglaive on another shelf. Howl’s Moving Castle is probably the film I re-watch the most.

I’ve also got my BB8 alarm clock, llama pencil pot and unicorn glasses holder on the desk itself.

All together, this desk represents all my favourite things and it feels perfect.

Do you have a special work space? What kind of things to keep you keep on your desk (if you have one)?

Loz x

Re-spun Fairy Tales From the Grishaverse

Posted May 9, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Book Review / 0 Comments

Re-spun Fairy Tales From the GrishaverseThe Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grisha Verse, #0.5, #2.5, #2.6) by Leigh Bardugo, Sara Kipin
Published by Imprint on September 26, 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 281
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.

Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.

Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times–bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.

Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, these tales will transport you to lands both familiar and strange—to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.

This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, all of them lavishly illustrated with art that changes with each turn of the page, culminating in six stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.

Language of Thorns is a collection of short stories by Leigh Bardugo. The stories are set in the same world as Bardugo’s other Grishaverse books.  Each tale is inspired by fairy tales from around the world, but spun in Bardugo’s own unique style with a dash of Grisha magic.

This is a lovely book in two respects: the stories are brilliant and the design of the book is flawless.

First of all, let me tell you a bit about the design:

I own a hardback copy of this book (as published in the UK). The cover alone is stunning but the internal artwork really makes it something special. Each story features an illustration by Sara Kipin which gradually builds up over each double page spread of the story until the end of the tale when you get the full piece. I found this picture build up most effective with the Too Clever Fox story in which the twist of the story is reflected cleverly in the way the art evolves to its final state on the last page.

I should also mention Natalie C. Sousa is responsible for the book design. There is  rose gold detailing on the naked cover and spine which makes this book feel like a luxury, gift worthy item to be cherished.

Now on to the stories:

I loved reading stories I am acquainted with twisted into something new and delicious -if you’ve read (or know of) The Nutcracker, The Little Mermaid or Hansel and Gretal, for instance, then be prepared to see these well-trodden tales get new leases of life by Bardugo’s hand. The stories are also interestingly divided up between the cultures present in Bardugo’s Grishaverse books (which I thought was a really great extra touch).

I particularly loved The Soldier Prince and When Water Sang Fire (retellings of The Nutcracker ad Little Mermaid respectively). I would love to read full novel versions of either of them. They really triggered my imagination and I just wanted to spend more time exploring these characters and the well of potential their stories hold for further expansion.

In summary: This is a book I love to hold, love to read and will be rereading on many a dark evening.

I always find tales of betrayal, magic and romance that little bit more tasty when enjoyed after sunset.

This review is posted as part of #wyrdandwonder

IMAGE CREDITS FOR WYRD & WONDER BANNER: Dragon – by  kasana86 from 123RF.com 

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

[#WyrdandWonder Intro] “You’re like a story that hasn’t happened yet”-The Cruel Prince by Holly Black

Posted May 1, 2019 by Fictional Fox in Wyrd and Wonder 2019 / 9 Comments

“In Faerie, there are no fish sticks, no ketchup, no television.” – The Cruel Prince by Holly Black.

This is how Holly Black sums up the time between the bloody murder of Jude’s parents when she is seven to her teenage present in chapter one of The Cruel Prince.

It is one chapter made up of one sentence.

As the reader reads on they can quickly learn that this is, really, the least and most that can be said to describe Jude’s childhood years in faerie. This one sentence puts all the narrative stress on what Jude has lost. It mentions many contextual items from her memory of the day of her parents’ death with the glaring absence of any reference to her parents. We do not get ‘no mum, no dad’ and I think that is because there are no words good enough to describe some experiences.

There is so much harshness in the bareness of this chapter. The chapter has visual strength on the page because, bar the chapter heading, that is all there is. With the darkness and savagery of Black’s faerie world in mind, we simply cannot imagine or truly fathom what has gone unsaid about those years.

And the chapter makes a point of saying nothing of what has been gained.

The Cruel Prince is one of my favourite books. The writing style alone is amazing, let alone the character arcs and plot twists. Interestingly enough, all of my favourite novels fall into the fantasy genre. Sometimes you can’t beat a spot of magic to break up a dull day (I know I can’t).

Fantasy novels can take you to wicked places (as in The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King by Holly Black) or it can guide you down a hopeful path (as in The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison). Or maybe you just want a classic adventure a la The Hobbit. The fantastical can inspire and enrich the mundane, no matter what form it takes. Like Jude in The Cruel Prince we can be thrust into a world of faeries, far from the every day world we know, and come out  stronger for it.

 With that in mind I am officially starting this blog by joining Wyrd and Wonder which is a month long celebration of fantasy hosted by a group of bloggers (check out this post to find out more). I’ll be posting book reviews, discussions and other misc items that take my fancy throughout May.

Be warned: This is just the first page of the Fictional Fox story, there are plenty more chapters (and inevitable plot twists) to come.

IMAGE CREDITS FOR WYRD & WONDER BANNER: Dragon – by  kasana86 from 123RF.com