February reading round up...

[My February reading was inadvertently very pink...]

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
A really well written and claustrophobic thriller about Nora who hasn't seen her former best friend Clare for ten years, until out of the blue she gets an invite to Clare's hen party. Deciding to go, the weekend goes down a dark path as the lies of the past come back to cause trouble. I must admit I guessed the end fairly early on, but that didn't affect my enjoyment of the book as there were so many interesting and intriguing characters and Ware's writing provided the perfect amount of suspense without taking it too far. 4/5

The Widow by Fiona Barton
Technically I didn't read this one- I listened to the audio book. I rarely listen to fiction audio books but I'm very glad I gave this one a try. This was narrated by Clare Corbett and she did an amazing job of bringing the story and characters to life. The book itself was a gripping thriller about the widow of a man formally accused of abducting a two year old child. As you'd imagine the story was quite dark but we got to hear from various characters involved including the police detective on the case and a reporter. Overall I really enjoyed it and would recommend both the book and audio version. It seems the book is also being made into a TV show and there is a sequel being written! 4/5

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
I tend to struggle with reading memoirs as I find them kind of boring and hard work but Yes Please was an enjoyable mix of stories, anecdotes, lists and opinions. It was honest, warm, funny and uplifting. I dipped into this every now and then for a pick-me-up. I fell in love with Amy Poehler after discovering her through old SNL sketches on YouTube and my more recent obsession with Parks and Recreation and you can really hear her voice and personality in her writing. 4/5

The Death-Ray by Daniel Clowes
Clowes doing what he does best: teenage angst and outsiderdom. Telling the story of awkward teenager Andy in 1970s Chicago and his discovery that smoking gives him super strength leading him to become the death-ray and begin dealing out justice to bullies. Although a super hero story this is set in real life and told with Clowes usual style. I also loved that it cut to mini stories within the story- the layout made it a really enjoyable read. 4/5 

Paper Girls Volume 1 by Brian K. Vaughn, Cliff Chiang & Matthew Wilson

(Read in single issues) I love love love this series about a group of paper Girls who discover world changing events in the early hours of Halloween in 1988. Sci-Fi, monsters and time travel collide with growing up, nostalgia, and being a kid in suburban America in the late eighties. The story is fun, the characters are likeable and sassy and Chiang's artwork and Wilson's colours are breathtaking. This is going straight to the favourites list! 5/5  

Jem and the Holograms Volume 1 by Kelly Thompson & Sophie Campbell 
The artwork for this series is so beautiful- I can never resist comics that are pastel heavy! I was too young to watch the cartoon in the 80s so I don't have much knowledge of Jem and the Holograms but the story is about two competing bands The Misfits and The Holograms. Lead singer of the Holograms Jerrica suffers with stage fright until her fathers computer program Synergy allows her to transform into confident pink haired Jem using holograms...yeah the story is a bit silly but it's fun, there's diverse and interesting characters and I really enjoyed it. 4/5

Single issues...

Other than Paper Girls I didn't read a whole lot of single issues this month, but I enjoyed The Jem and the Holograms Outrageous Annual and Valentine's special as well as the Luna the Vampire valentine's issue.

I wish every reading month could be as good as this- nothing below a four star! :)

Indie Brand: Weili Wonka

Sometimes when I'm bored I like to type random stuff that I like into the search bar on Etsy and see what comes up. This is how I found Birmingham based Malaysian artist Weili Wonka after searching Adventure Time. I straight away fell in love with this beautiful AD illustration and it was an instant buy. I love the colours, and the candy by Princess Bubblegum, Marceline's cute face and BMO's goofy expression. 

I already have my eye on the Bee and Puppycat print and Studio Ghibli stickers. I was also kindly sent a ridiculously cute postcard with my order and a thank you note that had a little drawing of Princess Bubblegum. That's what I love about shopping with independent artists and shops :) One thing I would say is that a carded envelope would have been better than a jiffy bag as the corners got a little bent, but that's just a small thing. If you love all things cute please check out the links below! 

Pop in a Box: February

February's Pop in a Box arrived super quick and when I opened it it was a complete surprise as I forgot I even had this pop on my wishlist!

I got Mother Ghost from the film Crimson Peak (watch it if you haven't- it's great!) The pop itself is really cool and looks a lot better out of the box as there is a lot of embossed detail to the hair and dress. She is a grey metallic colour and looks genuinely creepy with those big black eyes. Overall another good month.

If you are interested in subbing use my link: Pop in a Box to get 20% off your first subscription and click here to see my other PIAB posts.

Payday haul...

I bought a couple of palettes from the Illamasqua sale- they are one of my favourite make up brands but I tend to buy most stuff in their sales as they are on the pricey side. I've been using the hell out of the Multi Facet palette in Semblance which I got for the bargain of £13.60! I also got a few Korean make up bits which I will review individually and some random Tesco buys.

These are most of my comic pulls for February. So many great issues!  It feels like forever since the last issue of Zodiac Starforce, but the beautiful cover by Babbs Tarr makes it worth the wait- speaking of Tarr the Batgirl issue featuring Black Canary is pretty special too :)

I bought these Pops at the beginning of January but as they were coming from the US they took a while to arrive. Lily Munster is possibly my new favourite, and I love the blood covered Helena from Orphan Black too!

This Doctor Who tee from Qwertee GLOWS IN THE DARK!! I'm so excited to try it out :D Random buy of the month goes to this cute Batgirl Super Best Friends trinket box with changeable heads!  

After trying out the Toni & Guy shampoo and conditioner that I got in the sales I am hooked. My hair is looking so much more healthier and shiny that I stocked up on the stuff. I bought two sets from ASOS as it was cheaper than buying individual bottles. To bump up my order for free postage I also got a Bourjious eyeshadow pencil.

Recently watched...

 The Revenant (2016)
I'm really glad I saw this one at the cinema because it was visually epic. Leonardo DiCaprio was brilliant as usual literally throwing himself into every scene as frontiersman Hugh Glass. Set in 1823 it tells the story of Glass fighting for survival after being attacked by a bear and left for dead by his team. If he doesn't finally get his Oscar I call bullshit! 4/5

Wild Tales (2014)
This was an Argentine-Spanish film consisting of six separate short films focusing on the extremes of human behaviour and vengeance. I found it a mixed bag...some were pretty good (the waitress getting revenge on a loan shark, and the wedding party that takes a turn for the worst were stand outs) but they were mostly predicable and a unrealistic. I get that there was supposed to be a comic element to them but for me it was just a bit meh. 2.5/5

Spotlight (2016)
Based on a true story about of a group of journalists who risk everything to uncover a child abuse scandal within the Catholic church this was a brilliantly acted and gripping film. Opting to stick to the facts rather than over dramatise the subject was handled with dignity and made a serious and shocking point about something that has been allowed to go on for far too long. Recommended. 4/5

The Duff (2015)
Painfully clich├ęd, ridiculous and unrealistic (can you tell I didn't like it?!) about the 'designated ugly fat friend.' I think it tried to have an empowering message but just ended up being a film about a non ugly or fat girl ending up with the popular guy. Yawn. 1/5

New books...

In a Dark Dark Wood by Ruth Ware
I must admit I partly got this one because I like the cover but as a bit of a thriller fiend this sounds like something I'll enjoy. This is about a woman called Nora who received an invitation to the hen night of a friend she hasn't seen in ten years. Set in a remote cottage Nora sees it as a perfect opportunity to reconnect with her old friend, but then everything goes wrong. I suppose that's a little bit thriller by numbers but I'm looking forward to giving it a try.

Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
This is a book I've been wanting to read for a while. A true story about Haig's experience with mental illness that almost destroyed his life and how he learnt to live again. This is supposed to be an uplifting read- and if it's anything like his novel The Humans than it definitely will be. I soak up books to do with mental illness and have high hopes for this one.

Touch by Claire North
'Kepler is like you, but not like you. With a simple touch, Kepler can move into any body, live any life- for a moment, a day or for years. And your life could be next.' Simply put I just couldn't resist that blurb!

Find me on Goodreads here

Indie brand: Gemma Flack

I first discovered Australian artist Gemma Flack after her zine featured in a comic book subscription service called Landfall Freight and I'd watched an unboxing (I would definitely sub to this if the shipping to UK wasn't so expensive). 

Anyway, I looked her up on etsy and bought the Imaginary Girl Bands zine there. I absolutely love her art style and her shop is filled with zines, stickers and prints featuring fierce ladies. My zine arrived in an envelope covered in cute drawings and came with some stickers and a cute card. The zine itself is pretty explanatory- imaginary girl band profiles, my favourites are Suga 'N' Kandi (on the cover) and The Secretaries. Everything is presented so beautifully I want to stick it all up on my walls! I already have a long list of things I want to buy from her shop including the High Anxiety Comic and the girlfaces in space stickers- if you love cute illustrations and baddass ladies please check out her links below.

Currently listening to...

Grimes- Art Angels
I've always found Grimes interesting but have never loved a complete album of hers until Art Angels came along.. Firstly I love the art work (by Grimes herself) and I love the mix of fun bubblegum pop, and dark and weird more experimental songs. I am always a sucker for synthy electronic music and this is definitely Grimes at her most accessible. The album also features a great colab with Janelle Monae. She also has a cool video for Kill V. Maim as well.

Pale Honey- Pale Honey
Swedish indie rock duo Pale Honey released their debut album last year and I can't stop listening to it. Their sound is kind of stripped back but their songs tend to have these great moments where they explode with guitar and attitude. My stand out song is Tease.

Icky Blossoms- Mask
Icky Blossoms make great electropop music and their second album Mask is less bold than their debut but sounds much more human with singer Sarah Bohling sounding less robotic. The result is catchy songs, that have a dark emotional edge running through them. There's definitely an 80's synth pop influence in there, I can also hear My Bloody Valentine too (but maybe that's just me). My highlights are the vulnerable Want You So Bad and ridiculously catchy Phantasmagoria.

Sia- This is Acting
I must admit the whole Sia hype passed me by other than liking a couple of her songs. Then I decided to give her new album a try and instantly fell in love with the song Bird Set Free. It's over the top (in a good way) and is just lovely. Perfect for playing loudly when your feeling a bit fed up or having a bad day.

What are you music picks?

Freedom Pro Melts Lipgloss...

I've had the pictures for this post sitting in my drafts folder for ages (d'oh) so thought it was about time I posted this review of the Freedom Pro Melts Lipgloss.

I hadn't tried anything from Freedom until a lovely friend sent me some bits including this gloss. For a 'budget' brand I think the packaging for this is really decent, and the tube doesn't feel cheap at all. The gloss itself is really thick, and applies really nicely without being patchy. This shade is called Sugar Fix which is a lovely vibrant almost neon hot pink. The pigmentation is amazing, and if I had to compare it to something I'd say it is similar to the Rimmel Apocolips (which I also love). 

Overall I'm really impressed, and would definitely recommend if you are into bold lip colours.

Pop in a Box January...

I recently re-subscribed to Funko pop subscription service Pop in a Box* (see all my previous posts here) It's worth mentioning that they now have the option to include Dorbz, Fabrikations and Mopeez in your wishlist.  

So, what did I get in my January sub.....

It's the Flame Princess from Adventure Time! I am happy to add her to my growing AD collection and she is a newly released character from the second wave of AD pops. How cute is she?!

*The link above is an affiliate link that gives you 20% off your subscription 

Japanese candy: Fettuccine peach gummi...

Since I was very lucky and received a big box of Japanese candy and snacks for Christmas It's meant I can start up my snack reviews again. The first thing I picked out to try are these Fettuccine Peach Gummis.

I am a huge fan of peach flavoured candy, and these are very soft strips which have a slightly tangy flavour which is balanced perfectly with the sugar coating. They are very moorish, although if you don't want to eat the whole pack at once they have a resealable package... not necessary in my case! 

All in all a very tasty soft candy, and they get top marks in the squish factor which is very important in making a good gummy as far as I'm concerned! ;)

You can find a huge array of Japanese candy at Oyatsu Cafe*
*affiliate link 

Latest beauty buys...

It's been a long time since I've bought much beauty related, but I'd run out of a bunch of things so needed a restock! I've been using up all my samples of the Etude House Moistful Collagen face cream so decided to get a full sized pot. I love this stuff- it's really moisturising but nice and light on the skin and has definitely helped with dry patches. I also got the Facial Stick, I'm not exactly sure why other than I thought it sounded cool! 

I've ran out of my favourite Holika Holika primer but couldn't find any anywhere to buy so decided to try the Tony Moly Luminous Goddess Aura Moisturising primer as it's from the same range as my BB Cream so hopefully they will work well together.

I needed a new face scrub and the Holika Holika Gonyak Soft Jelly Scrub has been sitting in my Ebay watchlist forever so decided to go for it. It really is very jelly like, it's all thick and squidgy but strangely nice... A total impulse buy was the Etude House Natural Konjac Face Cleansing Puff. This is super soft (and it's quite satisfying to use as a stress ball!) but it is actually really lovely to use with cleaser- my skin has been so much softer since I've been using it.

Finally, in the Amazon Boxing Day sales I bought the real Techniques eye brush starter set for £9.99. I needed some new eye brushes- the shadow brushes are lovely although I'm not so keen on the liner brush but overall it's a nice set and I love the colour.

January reading round up...

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Set in the 1970s this tells the story of a Chinese-American family dealing with the fallout of their eldest daughter being found dead. I loved Ng's writing style- it had an enjoyable laid back pace that allowed the book to really get to the heart of each character and there were quote worthy lines on each page. It had an interesting insight into life as a Chinese person living in America during that time as well a really interesting look at the struggle of being a woman and having dreams that stretched beyond motherhood. A beautifully touching read about family, grief, and being an outsider that I highly recommend. I will definitely keep Ng on my radar. 4/5

The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer

This book is quite deceiving as it kind of bills itself as a crime thriller about an eight year old girl who goes missing but I would describe it as more of a coming of age drama that looks at mother/daughter relationships with the crime as a side story. This book took a long time to get started and I almost gave up on it- I was only for the fact that I quite enjoyed the writing style that I kept going with it. Ultimately though I felt like it was only half a story- it was left with far to many questions unanswered, characters that were prominent then faded out of existence and it relied on some highly unlikely coincidences. 3/5 

Lumberjanes Vol.1 by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis & Brooke Allen

A fun for all ages series about a group of five 'rad, butt kicking best pals' at Summer camp and the adventures they find themselves in. Perfect if you love empowering female characters, bold and colourful artwork, and witty dialogue. Noelle Stevenson is the writer of the Adventure Time comics and if you love those it's fairly certain you are going to love this series. Now I need to get my hands on volume 2! 4/5

X-Men '92 Vol. 0 Warzones by Chad Bowers & Chris Sims

I read this mini series in single issues. As a kid one of my obsessions was the early 90's X-Men cartoon, and to my delight Marvel released a  four part comic book series last year as part of Secret Wars that featured the X-Men team from the show- looking and talking exactly as they did. For that reason alone I loved it, the artwork was perfect and all the characters were exactly as I remembered. The story itself was a pretty generic X-Men story but the nostalgia more than made up for it! 4/5 

Black Canary Vol.1: Kicking and Screaming by Brendan Fletcher & Annie Wu
I've had most of these single issues sitting on my shelf for ages and for some reason never got round to them. I'm so glad I finally did, I think this is now one of my favourite comic book series! Set in Gotham it follows former soldier, vigilante and all round badass Dinah and her rock band Black Canary as they hit the road and uncover a conspiracy. I loved her band mates and the sassy dialogue (definitely reminds me of The Wicked + the Devine) and what can I say about Annie Wu's glorious artwork other than I want to wallpaper my house with it so I can stare at it all the time! Also, can I be Dinah please :) 5/5 

Single issues... 

New horror series from Image The Violent, Gwenpool Holiday special (featuring She-Hulk and Hawkeye woo!) and my favourite of the Black Canary covers this Mike Allred iZombie- ish variant.